gostak index SFN INDEX
Time goes on ... s-f fans are born, live, and sometimes fade away ... bombs go down, cities go up ... workers ask for higher wages and shareholders pocket their dividends ... the 'New Statesman and Nation' runs a plaintive 'Personal' in their March 24th issue from a Box No. who wants someone to share an island with him or her, away from the horrors of 'civilisation' ... through it all we stagger on, reluctant to bring the 'Science Fantasy Society' and its official organ to a close ... surely someone will spare us a letter and a kind thought ... even an unkind one would do ... or couldn't you care less? In a spirit of April foolishness, this is A.Vincent Clarke and H. Ken Bulmer of 84, Drayton Park, Highbury, N.5., bringing you, on behalf of the SFS :-
SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS No. 7
We are happy to state that, whether due to our efforts or through some other causes, Street and Smith Pub. Inc., publishers of 'Astounding' have discovered an error in their calculations re. the increased foreign sub. announced in their February '51 number. We have received the following letter from them, and similar replies have been received by all fans who protested against the rise.
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Assistant Subscription Manager.
** ** ** **
So there we are. 2/4d for one issue ( 2/ld on the 2-year rate) is still reasonable in spite of the recent quality of ASF.
We should like to thank all members of the SFS and other fans at home and abroad who co-operated with us in pointing out S. and S.'s error to them. Especial thanks go to the fanzine editors in Britain and the U.S. who recorded and repeated our protest.
Re. the sub. protest, we had a missive from Dennis Tucker, of High Wycombe. After reporting on a letter almost identical with the above, he goes on to say: -
"...I received a copy of your circular ... (but) ... did, and do, feel that the publishers should have been given a chance to explain, before such quite strong terms were used. (For instance, how did we know that the U.S. Government hadn't increased the rates for foreign mail out of all proportion? Remote, I agree, but possible)."
We appreciate the point, but although our circular was sent out soon after the Feb. ASF reached this country, we had, in fact, heard before Christmas that the sub. was being raised, but were disinclined to protest without printed proof. Several people who wrote to S.& S. in January received non-committal replies which gave no explanation and no hope of a decrease.
Incidentally, all of S & S's replies have been airmailed here, a nice gesture; many thanks Mr Youry et al.
Following a letter from David Griffiths, s-f author and member of the 'London Circle', Frank Muir of the Muir and Norden 'Take It From Here' writers wrote to say that he had been an s-f follower for many years ... two weeks afterwards (Easter Sunday), Jimmy Edwards, Joy Nichols, and Dick Bentley went for a (TIFH) trip to the Moon ... nice work!
The Convention membership list reads like a 'Who's who in British S-F', a large number of items have been promised for the auctions (but we've got room for more!), and at the moment the Committee is trying to obtain a rare s-f film to show at the Con. An advantage over the ordinary 'licensed premises' is the fact that under-18's can come to the 'Royal Hotel', and we hope to see several of the post-war 'fans' there ... incidentally, does anyone disagree with our estimate of 28 years as the average age of 'fans' as distinct from 'readers'?
The Convention Programme will be printed shortly, to enable it to be mailed out about a week before Whitsun, This means that our 'deadline' for it is Friday, April 13th; hope you realise the inner significance of the date!
As is usual with all large conventions, space in the programme is available for fans wishing to sponsor 'booster ads.' These and advertisements have the dual functions of helping with the already heavy expenses, and enabling s-f enthusiasts to send good wishes to the Convention, even if they are not there in person. l/12th of a page, providing ample room to send good wishes, will cost 2/-. Quarter page adverts. cost 6/-, half-page 10/6d, full-page £1. Double page spread and colour, rates on application.
The page size of the programme will be the same as Convention News 2 and 'Slant'. (If there exists any s-f enthusiast reading this who does not have a subscription to 'Slant', he'd better write to Walt Willis right away ... he is missing the best printod 'fanzine' in existence!)
Provision will be made for dealers and publishers to display choice items in the Convention Hall. This trading will go on during breaks in the regular programme, not interfering in any way with speakers or other functions.
Any dealer who has not already contacted the Con. Committee about space should do so at once. Any fan lucky enough to have books and magazines to sell or trade will find accommodation provided where this vital work may go forward free from restraint, outside session hours. Bring along all your 'trades', and don't forget to donate a tithe to the Committee for auction! The two auctions, usually the high spot of any convention, will be held on Saturday and Sunday evenings. These are your chances of grabbing that rarity you've been looking for ever since reading the 'rave' letters in a 1930 Amazing!
British fanzines are as follows;
SLANT Printed; irregular; stories, articles news. Editor:- Walter A. Willis, 170 Upper Newtownards Rd, Belfast, N.Ireland.
OPERATION FANTAST Printed (also duplicated and lithoed sheets at intervals) Stories, articles, items for sale and trade, news and library news. Editor:- Capt. K.F. Slater, 13 Group, R.P.C., B.A.O.R. 15.
PHANTASMAGORIA Duplicated. Quarterly; stories, articles. 2nd issue now available. Editor:- Derek Pickles, 41, Compton St. Bradford,Yorks.
SLUDGE 1st issue (current) duplicated. Prob. printed in future. Stories, articles. Editor:- Bob Foster, 2, Spring Gardens, Southwick, Brighton, Sussex.
SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS:- Duplicated. Irregular. News, comments thereon, general fan coverage. Editor:- A.Vincent Clarke, 34,Drayton Pk. London N.5.
* NOTES, QUOTES, NEWS AND REVIEWS *
Excuse us if NQNR gets over-compressed, but there's a lot going on -
BRITlSH BOOKS We start on a hopeful note; English publishers Macdonald propose publishing several U.S. s-f books here, starting with 'Pattern for Conquest'. (G.O. Smith, modern space-opera) ; Fell's 'Best S-F of '49'; Van Vogt's new 'Voyage of the Space Beagle' (his early space-exploration yarns from ASF, plus a recent sequel on 'Other Worlds'). Is this the first of the many? Ummm ... Boardmans announced last October that Fredric Brown's 'STS' novel 'What Mad Universe' would be published here in January ... it hasn't appeared yet....
Also booked for British publication --- 'Sands of Mars' by Arthur C. Clarke (Sidgewick & Jackson), 'Day of the Triffids' by John Beynon Harris, Bradbury's 'Martian Chronicles' (retitlod 'The Silver Locusts'); perhaps Clarke's 'Prelude to Space' (see below), certainly his sequel to 'Interplanetary Flight', a semi-technical non-fiction opus; also the U.S. 'Book of the Month' choice 'The Big Eye' (Ehrlich) and the 'Star Kings', (Edmond Hamilton). Vague rumours are circulating concerning the British publication of many other U.S. s-f books ... we'll wait and see!
RECENT BOOKS include 'Stringers Folly ' by Roger Pilkington (pub. Dennis Yates 9/6d), a mediocre yarn of mutants and monsters produced from enemy x-raying of Britain, and 'Eternal Echo', Atlantean story by Phyllis ('Gateway of Remembrance') Craddock.
Weird-tale fans are happy with 2 new British reprints from the US Arkham House books; 'Haunter of the Dark' by the late H. P. Lovecraft, who is revered by Derleth and others as the modern master of the genre ... If you like your short stories reeking of unspeakable horrors with unpronouncable names committing unthinkable deeds this is your (putrescent) meat. We can also shiver at (or in) L. P. Hartley's collection 'The Travelling Grave'.
If you can't imagine anti-science science-fiction, read another Arkham House book reprinted here, 'Throne of Saturn' by S. Fowler Wright. The stories, mostly futuristic, ranging from fair to excellent, were published here as 'New Gods Lead' before first crossing the Atlantic.
REMAINDERS When the public demand for a book is exhausted, the remainder on the publishers warehouse shelves are sold to wholesalers for the cost of the paper or less. These 'remainders' eventually reach the public at about l/6d each. English appreciation of science-fantasy being what it is, one occasionally gets a book like 'Summer in 3000' (Peter Martin) or 'Spurious Sun' (Borodin) appearing thus. But we are astonished to see S. Fowler Wright's 'World Below' (a 1st class story of time travel to 1,000,000 years hence) 'remaindered'; even more astonished to see it advertised as 'Galaxy S-F Novels' latest reprint, under the title of the first half of the story, 'Amphibians '. Nice dollar-earning, Mr Wright!
GALAXY. If anyone had prophesied in early 1950 that the leader of the s-f pulp field for 14 years, 'Astounding S-F', would be seriously challenged & in some fans' opinion beaten by a new 'zine, even forward-looking s-f fans would have been sceptical. Yet 'Galaxy S.F' and its companion reprint mag. 'Galaxy S-F. Novels' are doing it with out-of-the-groove stories by top-line authors, neat pocket-size format, good presentation, including Bonestell covers. The 'G' twins are well worth a subscription. Incidentally 'G.S.F.'s last 3-part serial, Asimov's 'Tyrann', was reprinted in book form as 'The Stars, Like Dust' before its magazine presentation was finished. Isn't that some kind of a record?
BRITISH AUTHORS. Street and Smith, holders of the 'Needle' copyright, (an ASF serial 3 years ago) would not allow the book-version by Hal Clement to be reprinted by 'Galaxy S-F.N', so 'GSFN' brought forward Arthur C. Clarke's 'Prelude to Space' for their 3rd issue (following 'Sinister Barrier', 'Legion of Space'). 'Prelude' is original in more ways than one; this is its first publication, and it deals solely with the problem of the organisation and difficulties attendant on Man's first attempt to leave the Earth ... a beautifully written story whose mature style should silence British critics of 'scientifiction fairy tales' if, as we hope, it is published over here.
Arthur C. (Ego) Clarke, though not televising lately, keeps in the news. With the above; with 'Interplanetary Flight' soon to be published in the U.S.; with a two-part serial on Moon-voyaging (under a pseudonym!) in a girls magazine; a yarn on flying saucers in 'Lilliput' (ACC alleges latter badly cut!).
Bill Temples '4-Sided Triangle', just reprinted (3rd time) in the US gets a 'rave' review" from Groff Conklin in 'Galaxy'; Bill's also had a new detective novel, 'The Dangerous Edge' published here; his 'Forget-Me-Not' (Sept.'50 'Other Worlds') is picked for the 'Best of '51' anthology.
Peter Phillips now has two jobs which will keep him out of s-f for a time. His latest yarns appear in April 'GSF' and 'Suspense' No I, a new U.S. s-f, fantasy, weird, new & reprint mag, published by Farrell. This first number, in 'Magazine of S.F & Fantasy' format, features top-line author Bradbury, Tenn, Sturgeon and others.
C.S.Youd had a story in the March 'Galaxy' under pseudonym of 'John Christopher'; Eric Frank Russell continues to appear intermittently in the land of dollars.
FIRST ACCEPTANCES Congratulations to E.C. (Ted) Tubb of the London Circle; 1st pro. story in 'New Worlds' 10, others accepted; also to Peter Hawkins, 1st p.s. in No 9; also to non-Circleites (we wonder why?) Peter Ridley, 1st p.s in 'Futuristic'; J.W. Groves, in 'N.W.' and 'A.S.F.'
NEW WORLDS Now bi-monthly, No 10 should be out May 1st, containing new long story by U.S. author Arthur J. ('Survival') Burks, and shorts. Look out for the startling cover (oddest ever?), and Ted Carnell's new column.
'Radio Times' has gone up in price; the U.S. s-f 'zines are cutting their pages. The link? Enormous increases in paper prices during the past year. Rather than cut its size, 'New Worlds' will probably increase its price to 2/- from the next issue.
Walter Gillings, recently promoted to a high position in an international news agency, will probably have to relinquish editorship of 'Science Fantasy' through pressure of work. Ted Carnell is substituting on 'S.F' at present.
BRITISH POCKET BOOKS
The Finn P.B.'s are about the finish. . 'Freaks and Supermen' ... 'Captives on the Flying Saucer' ... laws of libel prevent us from giving them full justice (& Ken Slater is dealing with them in 'O.F) but if you know any over-sexed 12-year-olds with manuscripts, tell them they've got a market.
But the 'Fortnightly' is causing the highest raised eyebrows., No's 1 & 2, (including 'Mushroom Men of Mars', .ugh!) were ordinary, poor, P.B.'s. No. 3 started the 'Fortnightly' banner, had a definite slant (if I may use the word) towards fans. It now (No 6) has readers letters, editorial, book reviews, all expressing editors Holmes and Campbell's desire to lift 'SFF' out of the rut. Mr. Campbell, who has just taken over, is looking for good quality 40,000 word stories, in a letter to us expresses his desire to publicise fan-doings (has already given space to Convention news, will be there himself) in return for good constructive criticism. Highly flattered by all this, we gently pointed out that opening one's space. helmet to snatch a quick kiss on the Moon, tho' a charming story incident, is hardly plausible. Being assured that such things passed before Campbell took over, and having met Messrs H. & C. at the 'White Horse', we have confidence that they're trying to turn out an acceptable 'zine. We wish them luck.
CLANG! Unfortunately, 'SFF's leanings towards the fans led to a small faux-pas in No. 5. In an Editorial headed 'Operation Fantast'. some space was devoted to the activities of the indefatigable Capt. Ken Slater, included the startling 'news' that the 'London branch' of the 'organisation' met every Thursday at the 'White Horse'.
But not a hair stirred on the collective heads of the anarchic 'London Circle', which is, as Ted Carnell pointed out in a grandfatherly way, a definite sign of maturity in the group. Ken has done more for British fandom than any other single person since the war, but it would take a superman to organise the 'L.C.'. Carry on 'O.F.' !
Not new, but still worth getting; Fredric Brown's 'What Mad Universe', wacky s-f, Jack Vance's (who is NOT Kuttner) 'The Dying Earth'. If you like the fantasy of Dunsany, Cabell, Merritt, this is a must!
'Voyage of the Space Beagle' is mentioned elsewhere; Van Vogt's other new book, 'Masters of Time' contains title-story, and 'The Changeling'; his 'Weapon Shops of Isher' (ex-Startling) is also coming soon. Other ASF reprints include 'Galactic Patrol' 3rd in the 'Lensman' series, & George O. Smith's space-opera 'Nomad ' (which is a wandering planet!)
John W.Campbell's 'The Moon is Hell' contains that previously unpublished story and 'The Elder Gods', an adventure-fantasy from 'Unknown', last time he used the famous 'Don A. Stuart' pseudonym. 'T.M.I.H.', with a nice Bok jacket, tells of the peril of the 1st Moon-expedition when their relief-ship crashes, marooned without enough food or drink to last till another ship can reach them. A quiet, moving, story, with, thank god, no helpless heroine, no he-man heroics. Good science-fiction.
'Green Man of Graypec' by Festus Pragnell, (British author prominent in pre-war 'Wonder Stories') is a serial from that 'zine, circa '34, Even then the theme of adventures on a world in an atom was slightly dated, now this curious by-product of Rutherford's atomic theory casts a fatal museum-like shadow over a story excellent in a Burroughsian way. The jacket, by Bok (what, again?) is very striking.
'The House That Stood Still', an uneasy misalliance of super-science and detective fiction, starts with the hero resurrected from seeming death, (with amnesia), ends with his unlikely victory and potential immortality. Yes, Van Vogt's here again. Said hero loses consciousness about 6 times during the story ... we just managed to keep awake to the end.
Theodore Sturgeon's 'Dreaming Jewels' is one of the best of the current crop of books, set in a travelling fair, its plot encompasses a boy who loses three fingers ... and grows them again, the midget and the ordinary girl who fall in love with him, and the fair proprietor who on his travels finds crystalline life, the dreaming jewels from another planet. Well written, well worth reading.
'Things to Come' has been revived for some Sunday shows recently. George ('Destination Moon') Pal's production of 'When Worlds Collide' is nearly finished. 'Prehistoric Women' concerns a Cro-Magnon (?) matriarchy. Reports on 'Who Goes There'.(one of the best stories ASF ever published) are disheartening. They say :- (a) only resemblance between film and story is that there's snow in each; (b) only 17 words of the original dialogue are retained; (c) the plot (Arctic meteorological expedition finds a shape-changing interstellar monster), is changed to a Martian landing at the Pole combated by an expedition which includes a female scientist. We imagine from this that 3 of those 17 words are those in the title. Work on other s-f and fantasy films is reported from various studios, including 'Man from Planet X', 'Two Lost Worlds' '5000 AD'.
S.F.S. FAN MAIL
COSMOS MAGAZINE LIBRARY
DAVE COHEN, 32, Larchfield St., Hightown, Manchester 8,
"Spring's in the air, flowers are blooming, (blooming well under the snow), lambs are frolicking in the fields (some sinking in the mud) ... fans are peeping out of their burrows (after a winter of de-active fandom), some even climbing out, 'Sludge', 'merself', etc etc. Next branch of activity's around Newcastle ... friend of mine wants addresses of fans around there to form a club. If you know any, send to Ken. E. Smith, Manager, Amplivox, 59, Grey St., Newcastle, marked PRIVATE."
**** Dave continues with some trenchant criticism of this that and t'other, which we'd love to print if we had enough stencil and time. Which brings us to:-
B. HIGH, of 13, Marlborough Rd., Stockton on Tees, Co.
****This is the kind of letter we appreciate, and if there were six more members like Mr High, to help with stencil cutting, envelope addressing etc., we could get cracking. We could, for instance, print vigorous opinions such as the following, unlikely-to-be-pro-printed, letter.
A.D. MacGREGOR of Church Street, Dundee, WRITES:-
****We had to cut it, but you get Mr MacGregor's idea -- and ours.
But do SFS members and other fans want a journal in which they can voice their opinions like this and get the News From London at the same time? We've got an idea of stencilling news and letters as they come in, instead of extracting from an accumulated pile; sending out the 'zine when enough has been stencilled; we'd probably get held up for lack of paper then, but anybody interested?
BATTERED out at 84, Drayton Park, Highbury, N.5., the typing being by A.Vincent Clarke, duplicating by Ken Bulmer, best wishes from both.