Checkpoint 21 is the annish of a news and reviews zine published by Peter Roberts, 87 West Town Lane, Bristol, BS4 5DZ, UK. Subs are 10/40p (2nd class & Europe) and 6/$1 or 8/R1 (foreign airmail). Sample Copy is free for the asking. Agents: (USA) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Ca.94116. (Australia) David Grigg, Box 100, Carlton South, Victoria 3053. (RSA) Nick Shears, 52 Garden Way, Northcliff 4, Johannesburg, Transvaal. Back Issues: (vol I): sample, 1,4/5,6/7,8/9; (vol II): 00,0,1 to 7,9 to 20. Quantities vary, though the price is the same – 4 for 10p or 6/50¢ (seamail).
Heading this issue is by Harry Bell, illo inside by John D.Berry. Heading last issue was by Nick Shears, incidentally. Contributors this issue are: Archie Mercer, Hartley Patterson, Peter Weston, Ian Williams, Gray Boak, David Grigg, Susan Glicksohn, and Nick Shears.
31st August 1972. Restormel Press Publication: 64.
A CAST OF SEVERAL: The first thing I should say on the celebration of Checkpoint's first year of publication is a line of thanks for the various fans who've supported this, the lone British newszine. The circulation has been encouraging, if hardly in the Locus class; forty-four people have forked out money for this issue, nineteen of them from abroad, though the highest has, I think, been fifty-one (the result of cajoling backsliders at the Chessmancon).In addition a further seventeen fans receive regular copies for trade, agenting, and consistent news-gathering, and there are always a large number of free copies for odd pieces of information received or as samples. The total circulation is thus around the eighty mark with ninety or a hundred copies of each issue printed.
As always, I have plans for the future; but I don't intend to put them into print at the moment, since that always seems to destroy them. However, I hope to continue with Checkpoint as a newszine and I trust I'll be back with a second annish in 1973.
Compiled by Peter Roberts from forms sent out with Checkpoint 17 and returned by subscribers and others.
Twenty five people voted in this, the first British Fan Poll since those taken by Ron Bennett in Skyrack back in the late fifties and early sixties. The poll covered British fanac from Easter 1971 to Easter 1972, the first year of Checkpoint's publication. All fans were eligible to vote, though the majority (19) were Checkpoint subscribers; only a few attempted every category and some only voted in one or two.
The following fans voted: Harry Bell, Gray Boak, James Campbell, Pete Colley, Ed Connor (U.S.A.), Bryn Fortey, James Goddard, Jan Jansen (Bel.), Terry Jeeves, Ethel Lindsay, Mike & Pat Meara, Ian Maule, Hartley Patterson, Joe Patrizio, Philip Payne, John Piggott, Henry Pijohn, David Piper, Ben Prole, Dave Rowe, Nick Shears (R.S.A.), Brian Temple, Keith Walker, Mike Watson, & Ian Williams.
BEST BRITISH FANZINE: Twenty two different titles were nominated, sixteen of which received more than one vote. Five points were awarded to the top place, four to the second, and so on down to one point for fifth Place. Checkpoint itself was ineligible.
l) EGG (59 points). Edited by Peter Roberts, 87 West Town Lane, Bristol, BS4 5DZ, (15p, trade, LoC, &c). Two issues eligible (1971-72). Egg, the journal of aardvark fandom, is best described as a fannish fanzine, since it devotes little of its space to sf and prefers to concentrate on fans and fandom. Egg 4 was late, finally appearing a month or so after the Worcester Eastercon. It contained a Heicon report with a couple of pages of photos, plus an anonymous parody, 'Wired Tales'. Gray Boak's regular column, 'Kaleidoscope', also appeared as well as the usual fifteen pages of letters in 'Eggoboo'. The cover was a self-portrait by John Richardson and interior artwork was provided by Bill Rotsler, Terry Jeeves, Alistair Noyle, and others. It was the last Egg to use all gold paper. The fifth Egg was considered by many the best issue so far and appeared in September 1971. The lead article was by Hans-Joachim Alpers and dealt with the German group known as 'The Opposition'; James Parkhill-Rathbone, a UK fan from the thirties, wrote on his attitude to fans and fandom; Gray Boak was present with his 'Kaleidoscope' and John Brosnan contributed the first part of his 'Nog' column. The letter column was unillustrated and ran to thirteen pages. The cover was once again by John Richardson and interior artwork (in black, red, and green) was by Harry Bell, Dave Rowe, Atom, Bill Rotsler, Alistair Noyle, and John Richardson.
2) CYNIC (42 points). Edited by Gray Boak, 6 Hawks Rd, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, 1KT 3EG. (Free, trade, LoC, &c). Three issues eligible. Cynic, like Egg, is a fannish fanzine, though Gray's aeronautical interests are sometimes apparent and thus in many ways it is more personal zine than Egg. Both, incidentally, were distributed through OMPA. Cynic 2 contained a short piece by Andrew Stephenson, 'With Both Barrels', a tale of Gannet fandom by Ian Williams, and fanzine reviews by Jhim Linwood and Joe Patrizio. Gray contributed a long editorial and the letter column ran to eight (A4) pages. The cover was by Kevin Cullen and interior artwork largely by Alexis Gilliland and Andrew Stephenson. Cynic 3 contained a long article by Stephen Barclay, a humorous exploration of the Icarus myth, Bryn Fortey contributed a fannish piece and Jhim Linwood was present with fanzine reviews. The cover was again by Kevin Cullen and the interiors were decorated by Harry Bell, Dave Rowe, Atom, and Andrew Stephenson. Cynic 4, in best Boak tradition, was heavily disguised as something else – in this case a one-shot on the '71 Eastercon entitled 'Worcester With Sauce'. Between four pages of photographs, originally appearing in Speculation, were four intermingled con reports from Vernon Brown, John D.Berry, Roj Gilbert, and Andrew Stephenson. The remainder of the magazine was taken up with a transcript of the 'Fanzine Panel' at Worcester; illustrations were by Harry Bell, Dave Rowe, Andrew Stephenson, and Kevin Cullen. Unusually, there was no LoC column.
3) SPECULATION (41 points). Edited by Peter Weston, 31 Pinewall Av, Kings Norton, Birmingham 30. (20p, trade, LoC, &c). One issue. Speculation is Britain's best known fanzine, five times a Hugo nominee and considered as the foremost magazine of serious sf criticism in the world. Its recent irregularity and the fannish bias of a poll such as this probably prevented Speculation from coming top. The 29th issue contained four pages of photos from the Worcester convention which Pete and the Brum Group organized plus Pete's normally fannish editorial. A transcript of James B1ish's talk 'All In A Knight's Work' and Larry Niven's PresiCon speech, 'My World And Welcome To It' were two main features of this issue. Philip Strick reported on the Trieste Sf Film Festival and joined a debate with Tony Sudbery on the merits of Phil Dick. Book reviews and the letter column filled the rest of the issue. Vincent DiFate provided a printed cover.
4) MAYA (37 points). Edited by Ian Maule, 13 Weardale Av, Forest Hall, Newcastle on Tyne, NE12 0HX. (l0p, trade, LoC, &c) Two issues. Maya had a far more confused start than either Egg or Cynic; but, with a change of editors, it is now evolving into a fannish fanzine, gradually divesting itself of book reviews and the like. Maya 2, edited by Ian Williams, presented a curious mixture which included David Pringle's 'Race-Death in Sf', Roj Gilbert's 'Doomwatch Revisited', Gray Boak's column, 'Zero-Zero He Flies', and Mary Legg's reminiscent 'Looking Back'. A letter column, varied verse, and fanzine reviews also appeared. The cover was by Kevin Cullen and most of the artwork, where visible, was by Harry Bell and Jim Marshall. Maya 3 was edited by Ian Maule and was much improved visually. Like Cynic 4, a large portion of the contents was devoted to the Worcester convention with conreps from Ian Williams, Thom Penman, John Piggott, Ian Maule, and Mary Legg. Gray Boak and Mary Legg reappeared with their columns and Lisa Conesa contributed 'The Motorized Beggar'. There was no editorial, though the letter column remained. Almost all the artwork, including a printed front cover, was by Harry Bell.
5) CYPHER (30 points), Edited by James Goddard & Mike Sandow, Woodlands Lodge, Woodlands, Southampton. (l5p, trade, LoC, &c). 3 issues. With Speculation's irregularity, Cypher has come forward as a new sercon fanzine for British sf fans. I'm afraid I no longer have the fourth and fifth issues; but highlight of Cypher 4 was a piece by Kingsley Amis and Cypher 5 contained an interview with Greg Benford and a controversial piece by Terry Jeeves. Cypher 6 had a Brian Aldiss interview as its main attraction, whilst Gordon Johnson talked on Wells, David Pringle on 'SF & The Death Of The Future', and Eddy Bertin on sf in the Low Countries. An unusual item was a long cartoon strip with satirical intent by David West and John Constantine. A letter column and book reviews concluded the issue. Kevin Cullen provided a printed cover with interior artwork by Terry Jeeves, Jack Gaughan, Cy Chauvin, and Dany Frolich.
The next five positions were as follows: 6) Scottishe (19 points) edited by Ethel Lindsay; 7) Fouler (16 points) edited by Greg Pickersgill and Roy Kettle; 8) Hell (14 points) edited by Brian Robinson and Paul Skelton; 9)= Shadow (11 points) edited by David Sutton and Erg (11 points) edited by Terry Jeeves.
The first five positions were clear early on in the voting, though they took some time to arrange themselves in any definite order and even at the close one extra ballot could have changed things. Egg attracted the largest number of voters with Cynic second. Egg and Maya both had the highest number of first-place votes (five each).
BEST SINGLE ISSUE: Only seven titles were nominated in this category, 1) MAYA 3 (4 votes) edited by Ian Maule (see above).
The only other fanzine to receive more than one vote was Greg Pickersgill and Roy Kettle's one-shot for the Worcester convention, The Little-Read Stool Book.
BEST BRITISH FANARTIST: Sixteen people were nominated, twelve receiving more than one vote. Three points were given to the top place and so on downwards.
1) HARRY BELL (31 points). Harry has contributed to a large number of UK fanzines over the last year. The founding of the Gannet Group in the North-East seems to have woken him from his gafiation which started after Grimwab folded in 1968 and much of his work, mostly cartooning, has appeared in Maya. Harry has also contributed to Egg, Cynic, and, of course, to Checkpoint itself.
2) KEVIN CULLEN (17 points). Kevin has risen quickly as a popular artist for British fans and faneds, mainly concentrating on sf subjects, though also producing a few cartoons. He has done cover work for Cypher, Maya, and Cynic as well as interior illustrations.
3) DAVE ROWE (14 points). Dave is also a popular newcomer who has done a wide variety of work for many British fanzines, notably Egg, Cynic, Viewpoint, Vector, and others.
The next three positions went to: 4) Terry Jeeves (12 points); 5) Andrew Stephenson (Ames) (11 points); 6) Arthur Thomson (Atom) (10 points).
BEST BRITISH FAN WRITER: Twenty people were nominated, only eight receiving more than one vote. Three points were given to the top place and so on downwards.
1) GRAY BOAK (20 points). Gray is one of Britain's most active fans. He has edited Cynic (placed 2nd in the Best Fmz section) and has naturally written a considerable amount in that; but he has also contributed columns for Egg, Maya, and Binary and various individual pieces for other British fanzines. His letter writing has been extensive, notably in Hell, but also in foreign fanzines. His writing is largely humorous and closely linked to fandom itself; however. Gray also has considerable outside interests which also include... sf.
2) BOB SHAW (9 points). Bob Shaw's fannish pieces are renowned for their fine humour in the best Irish Fandom tradition. As far as I know, however, he did not appear in any British fanzines over the last year, keeping to the American fannish fanzines (Focal Point, Rats!, Energumen, &c). Considering the comparative insularity of most British fans, Bob's placing here is fairly remarkable as well as pleasing in its own right.
3) TERRY JEEVES (8 points). Terry has been writing for his own fanzine, Erg (placed 9th in the Best Fmz section); but has also contributed to many other fanzines both in the UK and abroad. The level of Terry's fanac can thus be seen to be notably high, since he also appears in the 'Best Fanartist' section. Terry was also a runner-up in the 1971 TAFF race.
The next three positions went to: 6)= Mary Legg (6 points), Ian Williams (6 points), and Thom Penman (6 points).
BEST ARTICLE: Only seven pieces were nominated in this category.
1) 'Looking Back' (3 votes), Mary Legg's reminiscent series in Maya 2 and Maya 3 in which Mary looks back on her time in fandom.
REVIVED FANZINE: Eleven fanzines were nominated, ranging from Scientifiction to Egg and Speculation...
1) FOULER (6 votes) Edited by Greg Pickersgill & Roy Kettle. Fouler was actually eligible for the Best Fmz section, since two issues appeared during 1971-2. The strength of this vote, however, shows that many Fouler fans had defective memories and probably pulled Fouler down to 7th place in the main category. Fouler itself, seemingly dead now, was a brash and invigorating fanzine of a generally fannish disposition which delighted many, whilst alienating others. Perhaps it may yet return under another guise or in its true form.
Walt Willis' Hyphen (5 votes) came a close second.
That completes the first Checkpoint Fan Poll; my congratulations to the winners and my thanks to the voters. I think the response was good enough to warrant another poll next year – certainly it was higher than I anticipated, since I'd expected the ballots to disappear in a sea of fan apathy and had set a minimum of only ten returns and an optimum of twenty. Despite the voting strength of Gannetfandom, the polling seems to be from a fairly wide cross-section of British Fanzine Fandom as well.
A number of votes were ineligible (mainly for foreign material); but I should note that Scottishe 55 lived long enough in several memories for it to top the Best Single Issue category, despite its age.
TEN YEARS AGO: In the Skyrack Poll for 1961, twenty one fans voted for Best British fanac. For no good reason except gratuitous time-binding, some of the results are given below.
Best British Fan Publications (1961)
Best British Fanwriters (1961)
Best Fan Artist: l) Atom. 2) Eddie.
A few fanzines have lasted those ten years and received votes in both polls Ethel Lindsay's Scottishe came 7th in 1961 and 6th in 1971, whilst the BSFA's Vector came 10th in 1961 and 19th in 1971. Atom and Bob Shaw also appear in both polls, you'll note.
OTHERWHERE: The Egoboo poll seems to have disappeared, leaving only the Locus poll for 1971 British representatives in the fan categories were Speculation (8th, Best Fnz) and Arthur Thompson (6th, Artist).
A series of reports from centres of fanac in Great Britain and abroad...
The B.S.F.A. (a report from Archie Mercer)
To begin at the low-point: Ted (known professionally as John) Carnell, Chairman of the Association, died in harness shortly before Easter. Ted's successor in the Chair is author John Brunner, holder of the record for the number of times he has won the Association's Award. This Award, incidentally, has this year (1972 in respect of 1971 publication) gone to our original. Chairman, and the one-and-only President of the former unincorporated Association, Brian Aldiss, for Moment of Eclipse,
Keith Freeman, as Vice Chairman and ex officio Chairman of the Committee, has superintended a year of average activity on sundry fronts. Doreen Parker has resigned as Company Secretary, being replaced by accountancy-trainee Graham Poole of Cheltenham, Jill Adams continues to reign competently over the Treasury, and has this year deservedly won the 'Doc' Weir Award by popular vote.
The Association's biggest problem is still the editing, production and above all the regularity of its journal, Vector, Currently it is being edited by Malcolm Edwards of Harrow and printed professionally, and incorporates the former BSFA Bulletin (still under Archie Mercer's editorship) as a news column.
The Association is collaborating in a number of fields with the recently-formed 'SF Foundation'. In particular, the membership has now agreed that its book library should be loaned on a semi-permanent basis to this Foundation; members will be entitled to borrow from it as now, but it will be housed and administered by the Foundation which will naturally also be able to make use of it for its own purposes, Elaine Wash, who has housed and administered it for the past several years with notable efficiency, has set an excellent standard for the Foundation to maintain.
The Association's various far-flung enterprises continue to prosper. About the furthest-flung is the magazine library, up in Ross-shire (hands up who said "Wherever's that?") with Joe Bowman. The 'Orbiter' (round-robin writers' workshop), the advice bureau, the fanzine-introduction scheme, and similar departments, remain in business – sometimes indeed with the accent on the 'busy'.
When all is said and done, the Association is perhaps not exactly the most spectacular thing around, and seldom if ever has been. However, the membership remains around the average 250-350 level, which seems to indicate that there is still a need for it, a need which it fills (to my mind) reasonably effectively.
Anyone interested in joining the BSFA, or wanting further details, should contact Mrs E.A.Walton (Membership Secretary) 25 Yewdale Cresc, Coventry, CV2 2FF, Warks.
The Tolkien Society (A report from Hartley Patterson)
A year ago the Tolkien Society was passing through one of the crises that seem endemic to fannish organizations: the Bulletin Editor and the Treasurer had gafiated, the magazine editor and publisher were refusing to put out another issue without being paid for the last, and the Committee was inactive and had not met for some time. Since then the TS has made a remarkable recovery.
We now have over 100 members and mailings are hoped to be about 8-10 per year. The magazine Mallorn is following American precedent by having a different editor for each issue; number six is expected soon from the Chairman and it is theoretically quarterly. The other TS publication is Anduril which carries news, though it is more a magazine than a newsletter.
We have good contacts with America where the TSA has unfortunately ceased operations owing to the blindness of Ed Meskys. Its place has been taken by the Mythopoeic Society. At Eurocon I in Trieste this year the possibilities of European cooperation were also discussed.
The TS has always wanted to encourage local groups (smials) and in this we differ from other such national societies. Smials are given a reduction in subscriptions. At present the only regular meetings known to me are in Liverpool (c/o Grahame Lamb) and London (c/o Keith Bridges). In Manchester Tolkien fans are attached to the MaD Sf Group.
The TS is not, by the way, limited to the works of Tolkien; other connected subjects are covered: mythology, fantasy, and so on. The Committee (July 1972) consists of: Mrs V.Chapman (Secretary), Keith Bridges (Chairman), Jon Symonds (Vice-Chairman), John Martin (Anduril), Archie Mercer (Treasurer), and Hartley Patterson (Member without portfolio).
All enquiries to Keith Bridges, 31 Great Dell, Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
Unfortunately a promised report from Sandra Sutton did not appear. the British Fantasy Society, having dropped the 'Weird' from its title, seems to be doing well in its emulation of the BSFA and has, I think, some 75 members to date. Try contacting Sandra Sutton, 194 Station Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham 14 for further information.
The Birmingham Sf Group (A report from Peter Weston)
A few years ago I came across a little paragraph which made me smile in one of those old British fanzines that existed under the shadow of Hyphen and which no-one seems to remember now. I think it may have appeared in Space Diversions, but if not it was certainly in one of the many similar fmz spawned in the early nineteen-fifties by various now-vanished fan groups up and down the country. The paragraph said something like this: "Now is the time for a really big recruiting drive to build up the membership of the plonkety-plonk Science Fiction Group."
I smiled because in the light of the subsequent collapse of British fandom and the almost complete absence of this sort of tight local group throughout the sixties, that excited imperative from the past seemed ridiculous in its very suggestion that normal people could somehow be dragged in off the street and turned into fans. Yet now the wheel is turning full circle again and my current project is to do precisely that – for fans can be made, can't they ?
For the past year we have been running an experiment which may eventually produce a definitive answer to that question. The experiment is the resurrected Birmingham Sf Group, and it is based on the same hopeful theory which inspired the formation of the BSFA in 1958 – that discussing sf could serve as a bait to draw in readers who, after processing, would emerge as keen new fans. And in all fairness I must admit that this 'bait' does provide a lot of enjoyment to those of us in the area who already consider ourselves fans.
The system works like this. We hire a large room at the much-loved Imperial Centre Hotel, and regularly on the third Friday of each month we have a meeting about sf. We may invite an author along, show a film, or have some sort of discussion panel (a recent one on Star Trek was particularly successful). After meetings Roger Peyton sells books and we all retire to a private bar where, thanks to an arrangement with the kindly Magistrates' Court, we can drink and talk until midnight.
That is the visible part of the Plan; the rest involves a lot of work through a proper Management Committee and a big effort to publicize the Group within the area and to attract new people into becoming members. This is where Vernon Brown is a key man, particularly since he is also responsible for a monthly newsletter which really must appear on time (during the week before a meeting). I originally produced this newsletter as a simple duplicated thing; but under Vernon's editorship it has grown into quite an attractive little fanzine; the purpose remains the same, however – to remind everyone of the forthcoming meeting and to encourage participation in. Group affairs.
You can appreciate that all this is a lot more complicated than a simple Globe meeting, and some fans might find such a regimented arrangement not at all to their taste. Don't forget though that these aren't fans, and that Globe-type Groups have been tried here before, several times. Without London's supply of professionals and fannish visitors previous Groups have remained very small, ingrown affairs and have finally died. The theory this time is that newcomers want to do something more than sit and look at each other, and that a programme event breaks the ice for an evening as well as acts as an attraction.
The present society is something I thought about for years; but I didn't do much until the summer of last year after the Worcester Convention when we had reached a sort of high-point of fannish activity in the Midlands. As a project I've found it a lot more satisfying than almost any other in which I've been involved – certainly a lot more fun than organizing a convention or conference for instance, although I think Speculation remains my first love.
And so far we can chalk up a modest record of success – 14 or 15 meetings with a programme each time, the same number of newsletters, and average attendances that must number over 50 per meeting. At the last count we had 73 paid-up members and nearly as many 'interested parties', the majority of whom have been attracted since we began operations.
That does tend to prove one part of the theory – that for every sf fan there must be hundreds who read the stuff fervently, but who have never come into contact with other enthusiasts. The sort of people we want – and are getting – are not those who "read an sf book last week but I forgot who wrote it", but the types who have kept a secret hoard in their attics for years, and who have been laughed at for their obsession, just like us. Honestly, that's what they say!
So far then we've pulled in a large crowd of keen sf readers; but lately I'm getting rather apprehensive as the months roll by and they don't enter fandom. Perhaps you can lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink; for, despite the efforts made by Vernon and I to thrust all the latest news of fandom under their noses, our followers remain largely uninterested. Talk of the marvellous times had at Chester, that great new Peter Roberts fanzine, it all seems to leave them cold.
There are some honourable exceptions such as Stan Eling, Meg Palmer, and Hazel Reynolds, all of whom are infiltrating nicely into broader circles. There are others attracted by the Group like Tom Shippey, who will probably never be a true fan because he has too many other interests, but whose presence will be a big asset to Speculation at least, and perhaps to some future conventions.
The majority of real fans within the Birmingham Group remain the usual faces seen at every convention – and yet where did we come from? Rog Peyton, Martin Pitt, myself, from the previous attempt at organizing an sf circle; Jack Cohen and Bob Rickard from the Interregnum period; Vernon, Pauline, and a few good others from the Aston sf group (which must have been one of the most potent of all recruiting sources). Perhaps I'm looking for lasting results too quickly – for it is difficult to really enter fandom. How long does it take most people before they stop festering on the fringes?
In the meantime the second Novacon is on the horizon, we have a University course on sf this autumn which should attract yet more newcomers, and Fred Hemmings is hoping to get a lot of new Birmingham people to join next year's Eastercon. Then perhaps the final and most secret part of the Plan can be achieved, and Vernon and I can slip off the committee to become just members of the herd, watching those crazy, keen neofans organizing their local Group!
Enquiries to Peter Weston, 31 Pinewall Av, Kings Norton, Birmingham 38.
Pete Presford did not, unfortunately, provide a promised report from the Manchester or Mersey & Deeside Group. When last heard of it was meeting happily in a pub and producing a newsletter, Satellite. Contact Pete at 10 Dalkeith Rd, Sth Reddish, Stockport, SK5 7EY for further information.
The Liverpool Group has really become a social gathering of friends and I doubt whether they still hold organized meetings or encourage much in the way of new activity. I should try the MaD Group first, anyway.
Gannetfandom (A Report from Ian Williams)
We huddle loosely around the North Sea shores in the North East corner of our black and industrial land, but we like it. After all we're fans and like booze and women even if the latter are in short supply. Our small group is fandom in microcosm comprising men of talent, idiots, and fuggheads. So I'll introduce us in no particular order.
Harry Bell: fat and furry, one of the best fanartists in the country. Ian Maule: editor of Maya, has appalling taste in sf, but a dab hand at reproducing. Dave Douglass: soon to produce a fanzine called The Rapists' Weakly, quiet and loveable. Irene Taylor: doesn't say or do much, but is nice to look at and giggles exquisitely, belongs to Bell. Jim Marshall: a comics fanartist and bloody good when he pulls his finger out and does something, would-be freak. Thom Penman: highly intelligent, writes well, very imaginative, totally insensitive, fugghead, and pet fool. Ian Penman: no relation, edits comic fanzines, Oracle and Armageddon, professional womanizer, and hateful creep. And that leaves me who's responsible for gathering all these idiots together every Tuesday in a pub called The Gannet; used to edit Maya, was once fat and jolly, spasmodically send LoCs and articles to faneds with known bad taste, and am currently giving up smoking.
Apart from sitting around talking, drinking, producing first class fanart, fanwriting, fanzines, and laughing at Thom Penman, we sometimes talk about projects that never get off the ground. We've always wanted to hold a convention in Newcastle. I suggested it over a year ago and was faced with an overwhelming chorus of 'It'll never come off.' A couple of months ago somebody suggested it again. Everyone was in favour, 'Not enough time,' I said, but nonetheless wrote to a couple of people plugging it and dragged Penman's Ian and Thom and a sitar to a possible hotel. After that, Thom wrote to everyone he knew plugging the hotel and the date whilst the rest wallowed, unknown to him, in apathy. So there isn't going to be a minicon in Newcastle this August Bank Holiday. But in 1973, well that's different...
If you are ever in Sunderland on a Tuesday night after 7:30, visit us in The Gannet. Our undying friendship is won easily with the words: "What are you all having then?"
Enquiries to Ian Williams, 6 Greta Tce, Chester Rd, Sunderland, SR4 7KD.
Kingston Group (A Report from Gray Boak)
Meetings: my place, on the last Saturday of the month. Officers: Jhim Linwood, self, and Brian Hampton. Regular attendeess Sid Bounds, Fred Hemmings, and Dave Rowe.
That should be enough to put people off altogether. Assorted other people come (perm any number up to a dozen – in my room? I must be mad – which I believe is the record). So-far-unfulfilled promises from Ethel Lindsay, Arthur Thompson, and Alan Chorley – BaD Group in exile, did I hear someone say?
Enquiries to Gray Boak, 6 Hawks Rd, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, 1KT 3EG.
Other sf groups in Britain are known to exist, though I can't vouch for their state of activity or fannish inclinations. Amongst these are a Glasgow group containing at least one fan, James Campbell, and university groups at Aston, Cambridge, and Oxford all of which contain several fans.
There's also an informal meeting at The Globe in London, of course (the first Thursday of every month, as ever); but organized groups in the big city no longer exist, I rarely seem to get any information from London though recent rumours indicate that all is not as fine and friendly as it might be at The Globe, which seems rather sad.
Australia (a report from David Grigg)
Australian fandom in the last year has been showing an increase in kind and numbers, A whole range of new fanzines has sprouted up and become established institutions, whereas there were perhaps two regular fanzines two years ago. One reason for this upsurge, I'd guess, is the interest being shown in the Australia in '75 bid and the enthusiasm this has stirred up. John Bangsund's Scythrop and Bruce Gillespie's SF Commentary reached new heights, the latter hitting the Hugo ballot this year for the first time, Leigh Edmonds revived his excellent fanzine, Rataplan. New fanzines include John Alderson's Chao, Eric Lindsay's Gegenschein, Ron Clarke and Shayne McCormack's Wombat, whilst Ron continued with The Mentor and I produced my own Fanarchist, A large number of one-shots filled the mails, including a well-done hoax-zine, The Kraken Wakes. Another interesting aspect of Australian fandom was the increase in the number of local groups and conventions. In Adelaide an sf group was formed at the local university and held film nights and discussions, becoming healthy enough by the beginning of 1972 to put on the Advention, an enjoyable regional con. In Melbourne Australia's first specialist sf bookshop, the Space Age, started up under the proprietorship of Merv Binns and featuring Lee Harding, one of our best known sf authors, as its ace bookseller; much fannish activity has centred around this bookshop. In Sydney the preparation for Syncon 72 has taken up a lot of interest; but meetings of the SSFF still go on in association with the old Futurian Society of Sydney, In Brisbane the F&SF Association has been holding reasonably regular meetings and plans to hold a con at the beginning of 1973. Our first hotel convention, the Melbourne Eastercon, was a great success considering it's only a regional, John Bangsund moved from Melbourne to Canberra, so we expect to hear of a renaissance of the Canberra Sf Club.
ANZAPA, the local amateur press association, continued with a growing membership and returned to Melbourne hands when Leigh Edmonds was given the OBE (Official Bloody Editorship) recently.
The number of new fans coming onto the scene at present is enormous; one litmus tests I've had more enquiries about my fanzine from completely unheard-of people in the last six months than I've ever had, and the same seems to be true of other fanzine editors here,
This year the first of a projected series of fan funds to transport fans across the Pacific, DUFF, started and the winner was American Lesleigh Luttrell; she'll therefore be coming to the 11th Annual Australian Sf Convention, Syncon 72, in August.
Canada (a report from Susan Glicksohn)
The sf year, which always seems to begin with the Worldcon, rather than the recovery from New Year's Eve parties, got off to a good start in Toronto when this city played host to the fourth annual Secondary Universe Conference, the first weekend of October. Many excellent scholarly papers were featured. Academic interest continues to grow, with courses in sf and fantasy at the University of Toronto, York University, and Seneca College in Toronto, as well as McGill University in Montreal and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The Vancouver Sf Club held their second successful regional con early in the new year, with Phil Dick as their guest of honour. A group of Toronto sf and comic fans organized the first Cosmicon last March at York University; the guest of honour was Jim Steranko, and other interesting guests included Marvel's Stan Lee and film director Alain Resnais, who is planning a film based on Marvel characters. The Cosmicon was so successful that – shazam! – another is planned for this autumn, with more emphasis on sf.
Out in Calgary, Canada's peripatetic goodwill ambassador, John Mansfield, hosted sixteen half-hour tv shows on various aspects of sf and comics, before being posted to Germany with the Canadian Armed Forces, who knew he wanted to attend more European conventions! The club he left behind also plans a convention, probably in November with Murray Leinster as guest of honour.
The Canadian publishing scene is quite active; Energumen was nominated for the Hugo award a second time, and not one but two Canfen, Rosemary Ullyot and Susan Glicksohn, received Best Fanwriter nominations (Mike Glicksohn refuses to say how he voted in that category). To foster better communications among Canadian fans, the first-ever Canadian apa was organized by Vaughn Fraser (PO Box 338, Corunna, Ontario). The second Canadapa mailing is due out August 1st; the membership roster is full, but interested non-Canadians are invited to put their names on the waiting list – we have one Belgian and at least one American for variety!
The single most exciting event in Canadian fandom, though, is the preparation for TORCON 2, the 31st World Sf Convention to be held here Aug 31st to Sept 3rd 1973. This will be the 25th anniversary of TORCON 1 and to celebrate we plan to emphasize fandom and its history as well as sf. We even have the same GoH, Robert Bloch – and remember, Bloch is superb! Our fan GoH will be the talented Bill Rotsler. Programme plans are still in the making, so if you have any ideas, please contact us at PO Box 4, Station K, Toronto 12, Ontario. We hope to continue such good ideas as film shows – perhaps with a Bloch Film Festival – and the small discussion groups which proved so popular at Noreascon. A fan history display is also in the works. Membership rates are $3 (£1.20) supporting, $5 attending until December 1st, $4 and $7 thereafter and $10 at the door.
The British agent for TORCON 2 is Pete Weston. Please contact him for more information, memberships, and plans for a cheap package flight to the TORCON. We hope to see you all in 1973!
South Africa (a report from Nick Shears)
Organized fandom in Sarf Efrica falls almost entirely under the auspices of the Science Fiction Club of South Africa (SFSA), which celebrated its third birthday in June this year. In the past year we feel we have accomplished a lot – a current membership of about 70; an established Writers' Circle providing criticism and guidance for aspiring authors; an annual short story competition judged by professional writers; and contact with various overseas fan groups, not to mention the normal meetings, parties, etc, of any club. Our plans for the future include making the clubzine, Probe, a semi-pro litho job, an exhibition to tour libraries, hobby fairs, and so on, and Sarf Efrica's first convention, the date and site of which will be finalized this September.
Individual fan efforts are sparse, but improving. These are the SA fanzines at present: Entropion and aFricAN (Nick Shears); Foreign Office Report and Foreign Office Journal (Bernie Ackerman); Probe, And Having Writ..., and SFSA Bulletin (Tex Cooper), But fans seem willing to become involved in our own fandom now and quite a number subscribes to overseas zines; maybe we can persuade them to contribute to them or even publish their own.
That's it, then, for this year. Many thanks to all contributors and I trust something similar can be staged again in 1973.
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