Restormel Press Publication: 6
Also intended for 19th APA-45 mlg
A Sample Copy of ...
Well, my genzine MOR-FARCH looks like appearing somewhat infrequently in future (as usual, because I lack sufficient time to send out begging letters, etc.), and so I thought I'd separate the fanzine review column and attempt to clear up the backlog.
That was, at any rate, the original idea. But another factor has also contributed to my publishing this mini-mag -- the almost total lack of fanzine reviewing in other zines, particularly in Britain. Ethel Lindsay, of course, still publishes HAVERINGS; but HAVERINGS really only consists of a few brief comments on fanzines received (and indeed, it was, I believe, originally intended as a LoC substitute for faneds rather than a review zine). Now, I don't receive anything like the number of magazines that Ethel Lindsay does -- and it is precisely because of this that I can attempt to publish comparatively lengthy reviews of each fanzine I receive... Whether it'll work out ok, or be of any use, I don't know.
Briefly, I intend to review every fanzine received in relative detail, with the help, I hope, of several other fans. For this issue my thanks go to Bryn Fortey and Greg Pickersgill, both of whom contributed at very short notice. Ta.
I also hope to have space for small ads -- if any subscribers want to sell or buy fanzines, prozines, books, etc.
At the moment, I haven't any idea how frequent the LOST C-P will be... I'll probably put an issue out whenever I've got a dozen or more fnz reviews ready.
The LOST C-P is primarily intended for trade -- largish fanzines will also receive the current issue of MOR-FARCH and/or CORBOLLAK (Yes, Virginia, it does exist...). Money is ever welcome, and so are LoCs: BUT, although a LoC on this sampler will bring the first issue proper free, I fear that after that it'll be money or trade only.
FANZINES REVIEWED in this sample issue:
HUGIN and MUNIN 6
In the first issue proper, there will be reviews of the following:
CRAB APPLE 7, GOTHIQUE 8, SCOTTISHE 50, SON OF THE NEW FUTURIAN 2, SPECULATION 19, ALPDRUCK 5, CEPHEUS 1, GERMAN SF TIMES 89 & 90, EN GARDE 5, SIRRUISH 7, TRUMPET 8, WARHOON 24, THE WSFA JOURNAL 60, & RATAPLAN 2.
HUGIN AND MUNIN 5 (46pp) Reviewed by Bryn Fortey.
Editor: Richard Labonte, 971, Walkley Road, Ottawa 8, Ontario, CANADA.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, goodwill, 25¢.
U.K. Agent: Peter Roberts -- see page one. (2/-).
The official organ of ACUSFOOS, the sf club of Carleton University.
HaM 6 also incorporates KEVAS & TRILLIUM 1½ (10pp)
Editors: Alicia Austin, Maureen Bourne, Rosemary Ullyott...
P.O.Box 2427, Station D, Ottawa 4, Ontario, CANADA.
Available for: Trade, interest, contribution, LoC, 35¢ (3 for $1)
Though HaM 6 and KaT 1½ appear between joint covers, I understand that this is not normal practise. In all probability the two zines will be produced separately in the future.
Phew, after all that editorial information, let's see what I can find to say about the contents that appear between the ivory coloured covers. HaM 6 first.
This is the first Canadian fanzine I have come across and if you, like me, didn't know such a thing existed, it provides an ideal introduction.
Talking about the issue, in his editorial, Richard Labonte says -- "...and it's a showcase of sorts for Canadian fandom." A fair enough comment.
The editorial itself, 'An Editor's Ravin's', plus 'CSFiC: Testimonial or Requiem' by Mike Glicksohn, and 'Ah, ACUSFOOS' by Earl Schultz all help provide the uninformed with an inside review of the current state of Canadian fandom.
I found the Labonte and Schultz pieces both informative and interesting. The writing style used by Mike Glicksohn is an acquired taste. I quote -- "Since know won present had even herd of him, he was ejected by proclamation." -- and -- "Next somebody painted out that by making all fore people who weren't there officesores the club had been dis-membered so an all out rekrooting drive was startled." I'm sorry, Mr. Glicksohn, but not for me.
And while I'm wielding my critical whip in this particular contributor's direction, I'll move straight on to his fanzine review column, 'The Zinephobic'. I've read only one of the four he deals with, the Randy Williams edited ECCO 4. With regard to this fanzine, I consider Mike Glicksohn to have committed an unjustified hatchet-job of extreme severity. His comments amount to bad taste.
I'm sure that Randy Williams would be the first to agree that ECCO is not the best fanzine currently being produced. But it is better than many, and nowhere near as bad as this review indicates.
A non-direct source of information tells me that Mike's main fanzine contacts have been with the better known ones. The TRUMPETs, YANDROs, and AURAs, so maybe it's a case of imbalanced critical standards. If this is so, I suggest HaM uses a reviewer more familiar with the overall fanzine scene.
On the fiction front, Ray Nelson provides a very readable story in 'Strange Mara.' This author appears to have a penchant for 'lost love' story lines. His 'Whiskey Sour' in ECCO 3 was also based upon this theme, though far different in construction. Well worth reading.
I'm afraid I cannot say the same for 'On Incongruity' by Colin Stafford. This short-short is based on a mathematical definition of the infinite. If this fact isn't appreciated then I don't think the story itself will be either. I didn't get it, and still don't, but I must admit to being rather poor at maths.
Also present are depth film/book reviews of '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Rosemary's Baby', various assorted reviews in 'ExHellinations,' and a neat 'Sherlock Holmes & Forensic SF' article by Chris Redmond.
Plus a name-dropping letter column, 'HaMlocs', which is enough to send most fanzine editors green with envy. LoCs from such worthies as Alexei Panshin, George W.Price (of Advent Publishers), and Issac Asimov are included.
To sum up; even allowing for the fact that Mike Glicksohn succeeded in earning my displeasure I feel able to recommend HaM as a fanzine worth looking at and deserving of your attention.
The KaT tacked on the end is hard to judge. It consists of assorted funnyisms and reviews by various contributors. Some come off and some don't, but a mere ten pages gives an impression of haste.
The front cover is quite unimpressive and the back is a montage of 3 unused cover sketches for Philip K.Dick's 'Solar Lottery' by Jack Gaughan. Fair fanzine artwork, but nothing more.
So that's it. KaT: judgement deferred. HaM: recommended.
BADINAGE 5 (60pp) Reviewed by Greg Pickersgill
Editor: Robert F.Johnson, 175 Oxford Gardens, Stafford, U.K.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, 1/6.
The journal of the Bristol & District sf group.
So, with half a new editor, BADINAGE is 5... and it is noticeably different from the first four issues -- most prominently in the proliferation of editorial remarks which appear in the middle of damn near everything. I am undecided as to whether this is bad or good; on one hand it is irritating to lose the thread of a letter; but on the other it saves constant referring back to the point in question. It makes for a more than usually fannish magazine anyway. That is another point of indecision. I half equate fannishness with rubbish, tending more towards the magazines like MOR-FARCH or PHILE, but some fannishness (e.g. HYPHEN) is very good. This BADINAGE type does not quite come off, in my opinion, as I found the issue to be rather trivial on the whole. Trivial, but interesting -- the way a Superman comic would be to a man on a desert island.
Anyway, let's have a look at it... On the first page, and as though a harbinger of things to come, we see -- "Any correspondence not intended to reach the editor should be sent to the Mothers Guild of Weybridge." We progress, struggling through more of the same inanities, and find that the editorial has something to say, and interesting it is too. Not what one would expect...a man of many parts, this Johnson. If you get past the 'contoon' things, you will eventually find that you have entered the 'Saga of the Mercatorial Move', which reads like one of the things I wrote for an OMPAzine I almost published. Does anyone really care about a band of people moving about the countryside (or town, if you must quibble)? Sure as hell I don't. This is one of the cases where a great blaze of pre-publicity can ruin any effect an article may have. I remember Rob Johnson or someone writing in something about how brilliant and gripping this bit was. I laughed at the time, but some things are beyond joking. I gave up about half way through this one.
Next in line is another offering from Mercer & Mercer, with the highly original title 'The Great Miniature Railway Robbery'. It is not all that surprising that there should be no mention of railways -- miniature of otherwise -- indeed, the only surprising thing about this piece is that it should be published in a fanzine in 1968. The writing becomes bogged down in description, and the dialogue is unbelievable. Surely not even fan-fiction characters should talk like that! It is funny however, but not for the reasons the author intended.
'The Way It Is' (a poem by George Scantlebury) ... hell, man, this is funny FUNNY -- last line reads "no no hey hey hey." Unbelievable! And what the hell is he talking about anyway? Still, I won't forget this one in a hurry. "no no hey hey hey" indeed!
At last -- I knew it -- light of sense, and an article on U.S. fanzines, closely followed by one on the U.K. counterparts. A bit like extracts from HAVERINGS really, but there are some intelligent comments. Book reviews are average, nothing inspiring. The letter column is just what one would expect from a magazine of this sort; I found a lot of it quite embarrassing.
This was not a good issue of BADINAGE, others have been better. My entire attitude to the magazine can be summed up in a quote from one of the reviews: "Inoffensive, and mildly interesting."
PHILE 7 (22pp) Reviewed by Greg Pickersgill.
Editor: Graham Charnock, 1 Eden Close, Alperton, Wembley, Middx., UK.
Available for: LoCs, contributions, 2/-.
It is a strange fact that the last really good, readable issue of PHILE was no.5. It was also no.5 in which the worthy Charnock proclaimed that henceforth he would have to start charging money for the magazine, and gave out all kinds of wild promises for the future. Oh well, one day perhaps we may have professionally printed issues of PHILE cascading through our letterboxes -- that is, if there are any subscribers left at that future date, because, gentle readers, the present PHILE is only worth a fraction of the 2/- being extorted for it.
I mean, for god's sake, look at the cover! It wasn't until I saw the faint inscription PHILE SEVEN at the top left hand corner that I knew just what the hell this was (I had horrible thoughts about those damn Scientologists again...). But unfortunately, the cover is just about the second best thing in the magazine...
The best, undoubtedly, is Dick Howett's 'Rhubarb Time Revisited', which brings back the flavour of things gone, like HYPHEN, and similar. He rambles pleasantly and interestingly over various topics, such as the Great Pimple Problem, Moving, Trains and Spiders. Several of these strike very near home for this reviewer -- especially the latter. This is the only thing in a fanzine that has ever raised any interest at all among the nonfan friends of mine, and, as such, I think has slightly greater value than many other fanzine articles. There was, however, a general opinion that the humour tended to become a little strained after the first few pages. The layout of this particular article seems to suggest that the editor was rather short of material, as it is obvious it could have been compressed drastically. The illustrations, as Howett's always are, are brilliant!
The other article, by Gray Charnock, is on the compositions of Paul Simon, and as I'm pitifully ignorant musically, I don't feel qualified to make any comment on the conclusions and opinions expressed. However, the piece was hard going, it was curiously flat & uninspired -- rather if it had been dashed off in a hurry to fill the space. This is not a bit of ignorant carping, as I found the article on 'Herostratus' in MOR-FARCH 2 to be fascinating, even though I know nothing about the field in which it dealt.
The rest of the magazine is taken up with reviews by the editor, and one by Dick Howett which is particularly interesting, on the notorious L.P.Davies. Gray Charnock's reviewing cannot be faulted. Unlike a lot of fanzine review artists, this character knows what he is talking about, and also has the ability to put it across on paper. I hope the next PHILE has more of his reviews.
So there you have it -- PHILE 7. 7 out of 10 for effort, & worth about 1/- I'd say.
PLINTH 3 (47pp) Reviewed by Bryn Fortey.
Editor: Mike Ashley, 8 Shurland Avenue, Sittingbourne, Kent, U.K.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, or 1/9 (25¢)
U.S.Agent: Randy Williams, Box 581, Liberty, NC 27298, U.S.A.
Mike Ashley was (is?), for quite a spell, Britain's Mr.Fandom. He edited fanzines, encouraged newcomers, and contributed to every 'zine whose editor asked, and many who didn't. Renowned particularly for his articles, he also writes very readable fiction. Indeed, he sold two short stories to GOLDEN EAGLE PAPERBACKS for a proposed 'Tales of Terror and Imagination' series. I was pleased to have been instrumental in these sales, and, incidentally, sold them one myself. However, the economics of publishing caused G.E.P. to postpone publication. To when I have no idea, but if the series ever does achieve actuality, look out for Mike's first professionally sold stories. All of which has nothing to do with PLINTH 3, but does provide background information concerning its editor.
PLINTH and XERON (Mike's other fanzine) were originally the product of Kentish fandom: Mike himself, John Quattromini, and Bob Hough. The most recent issues of each, as was explained on the PLINTH 3 contents page, have been solo efforts. The Kentish Trio, through circumstances beyond their control, are splitting up, and Mike has found the cost of producing two fanzines on his own too much for his pocket.
So, PLINTH 3 was the final edition. One more XERON has been promised, and after that the two will combine under a brand new title. Therefore, in reviewing this fanzine, it does not fall to me to recommend that you should subscribe or not. PLINTH is dead, there will be no further issues, so I feel free to talk in more general terms than I would when reviewing a current publication. And, because the editor in question has been such an important figure in British Fandom, at greater length than the issue itself probably deserves.
PLINTH was originally born to provide a regular platform for -- a) Mike's meticulously compiled checklists; b) Articles that bore certain relationships to those checklists; c) Book reviews; d) Pertinent fanzine reviews; e) A question and answer column relating to sf and fandom (similar to VECTOR's 'For Your Information').
Checklists, articles and book reviews did appear as planned. Lack of space, time, and maybe reviewers, removed 'pertinent' from the fanzine reviews, leaving them mere lists of fanzines received with a couple of lines describing the contents. The question and answer column never got off the ground.
So PLINTH, with regard to its editorial intentions, was, in part at least, a failure. But a worthwhile failure. Checklist fans will not agree with me, but I was looking for serious fanzine reviews, something lacking on the fannish scene, and I was disappointed. Maybe Peter Roberts will do better with the publication in which this review is intended to appear. I hope so.
Issue number three contained an article on 'Amazing' which led into a checklist of that magazine's lead stories, and a look at sf in 1967, all by the editor himself. Various book, TV, and radio reviews followed; these were provided by a number of people. Then came the listing of 34 fanzines received and a final ten pages devoted to checklists.
If you're a faneditor who wants to establish as many 'Trades' as possible, a writer who wants to contribute to a wider circle of fanzines, or a fan who wants to receive more zines for reading, then write to Mike & see if any PLINTH 3's remain. 34 fanzines and their editorial addresses will help in any of these directions.
One final word before I shut-up; Mike Ashley might not be as active within fannish realms as he once was, but I think he deserves serious consideration as a candidate for the Doc Weir Award at the next British Convention.
STARDOCK 1 (24pp) Reviewed by Peter Roberts.
Editor: Stanley Nicholls, 5 St.John's Wood Terrace, St.John's Wood, London, N.W.8, U.K.
Available for: Contribution, LoC, Trade, 2/6.
Beautifully-produced (litho) and amply illustrated, this is one of the TRUMPET-like fanzines which you tend to frame and stare at enviously without ever really reading through the contents.
STARDOCK is intended to be a companion to the horror and fantasy fanzine, GOTHIQUE, and is -- to quote Stan Nicholls -- to be "devoted to sf". Taking this into consideration, it must be admitted that at the moment, STARDOCK is still too fantasy-orientated for its particular role. Many of the illustrations, including the 'Moy -- A Portfolio', are entirely fantasy-based and the second of the two articles is largely concerned with horror films.
Another aspect of STARDOCK is its emphasis on the film-world (which is doubtless intentional, since the whole thing is linked to the Gothique Film Society). John Ramsey Campbell pens a rather disappointing article -- 'But Is It SF?' -- which quickly degenerates into a listing of sf films with only a rough attempt to answer the initial question. Far more interesting is Tim Stout's piece, 'The Blurred Borderline Between SF & Horror Fantasy', in which he applies the standard definition of the distinction between sf and fantasy (that a scientific and rational explanation is essential to the former) to films, and produces some interesting results. Both articles are well illustrated with stills from several of the films in question.
'Moy -- A Portfolio', mentioned earlier, is a collection of original fantasy artwork by Moy Read. Unfortunately, it's not really up to her best standard (the cover of BADINAGE 5, for example, was more impressive) and the small size of the magazine does not aid the reproduction.
Finally, there are three well-written and intelligent fanzine reviews -- pity two of them were wasted on comic zines, though...
A very fair first issue then, albeit somewhat brief. At the moment, however, there seems to be too great a resemblance to the parent zine, GOTHIQUE. It might help if STARDOCK declared its independence more forcibly.
AMPHIPOXI 8 (34pp) Reviewed by Peter Roberts.
Editor: Billy H.Pettit, Control Data Ltd., 22A St.James's Sq., London S.W.1.
Available for: Trade, LoC, show of interest)
(U.S. fanzine 'in exile').
AMPHIPOXI is (or was) a fanzine devoted almost entirely to fan history with a particular emphasis on fanzine cataloguing and collecting. As such it was a valuable aid to faneds, bibliographers, and collectors and it's thus all the more sad to see Billy Pettit announce its departure from the scene.
The reason for the fanzine's folding is given in the editorial, 'The Last Word', together with some striking personal thoughts and opinions which have resulted from the editor's recent and extensive travelling. Indeed, it is this latter element which has finished off AMPHIPOXI -- Billy Pettit, it seems, has become involved in a large number of activities in a great many countries and no longer has the time or desire to continue this particular fanzine (though hopefully there seems to be just a vague chance that AMPHIPOXI might return again at some later date).
Besides the thoughtful and very readable editorial, AMPHIPOXI 8 contains two major articles on fan history. The first is a reprint from the first series of the Australian fanzine ETHERLINE and consists of a detailed, but surprisingly interesting account of the growth and development of 'Prewar Fanzines in Australia' by W.D.Veney. As Billy Pettit comments afterwards: "...the author still had the feeling of wonder, though the article was first printed 14 years after the events." The principal reason for the article's success (given the unlikely subject matter) probably lies in this feeling that W.D.Veney is reliving the events described -- he often relates facts to his personal thoughts and actions, for example. Anyway, it certainly makes a change to read some fan history from somewhere other than America...
It would be pointless to say that the next article -- 'One Man's Fandom' by John Berry -- wasn't interesting; I have to admit it was... But quite honestly, I found it at times very difficult to stomach such a blatant piece of self-eulogy as this. I mean, there is (for example) a page-and-a-half long extract from a John Berry fan-fiction story, of which he himself says "I reckoned it was a masterpiece"; plus a list of half-a-dozen quotes about the author from a Robert Bloch prozine column, such as: "The quantity of his products is amazing, and even more amazing is the quality."; plus finally a three page checklist of his own 'Irish Fandom' stories, including reprints and translations!
Walt Willis, I think, in WARHOON 23 called this disease "Berry-berry" -- I only hope it isn't catching...
The letter column is full of almost unknown neo-fans like Forrest J. Ackerman, Harry Warner Jnr., Buck Coulson, Rick Sneary, Sam Moskowitz, & Walt Willis (to mention a few); although the LoCs are mostly confined to biographical and indexing data, many of them are nonetheless entertaining as well as informative.
The star-studded lettercol is a sufficient indication of the importance and value of a fanzine like AMPHIPOXI and I sincerely hope that Billy Pettit can be persuaded to continue it in some form or other -- even if only on an irregular basis.
BEABOHEMA 1 (18pp) Reviewed by Peter Roberts.
Editor: Frank Lunney, 212 Juniper St., Quakertown, Pa. 18951, U.S.A.
Available for: Trades, LoCs, contributions, or 25¢.
Quote from the editorial: "BEABOHEMA heralds itself as the first, last, and only magazine of Bohema fandom." -- Bully for them, I suppose; but I fear that if they continue in their attempt to form an in-group, by the fourth or fifth issue, BEABOHEMA will be so esoteric as to be virtually unintelligible to outsiders. If this does not transpire, then it'll be largely because they've failed to convert enough people to their particular segment of fandom...
Anyway, to the issue on hand: the cover, by Jack Gaughan, is not one of his better drawings, being rather poorly laid out (for those who've seen it:- the warrior would appear to have thrust his broadsword through the octogenarian's legs -- nasty.). It's nevertheless printed and is obviously far better than the average first-issue coverillo. The interior 'artwork' is of an unusually loe standard -- even allowing for the loss of clarity through stencilling, and it is not helped by the lack of a planned layout.
The editorial consists of some 'Bellowings' concerning the organization; a list of "I wants"; and some news of current U.S. TV programmes -- all written in a peculiar staccato style, consisting of slang and short sentences which seems to characterize all but one of the contributions.
There then follows a short and incoherent piece concerning comics.... oh dear.
The remaining articles, however, are all sensible and generally interesting. Ed Reed writes about 'The SF Magazines and Norman Spinrad', but spoils an otherwise well-reasoned piece by taking a rather patronising attitude towards the author in question. The article does show though that at least one person in the U.S. reads and appreciates 'New Worlds' -- there's hope yet...
"Roger Zelazny writes old movies with sf trimmings." says Gary Hubbard; it's certainly a new angle on Zelazny's work and one which may very well be true. Not having read very much by this particular author, I can't very well make any relevant comments, I fear. An interesting essay, nonetheless.
Leo Kelly follows with a reasonable, if oft repeated plea for more characterization in science fiction and BEABOHEMA closes with 'Minatory Mimosa,' the only piece of fiction in the magazine; I should imagine that Faith Lincoln had more fun writing it than her audience is likely to have reading it.
Not too bad a first issue, but better layout and some decent editing of the contributions would probably improve BEABOHEMA considerably.
QUARK 7 (70pp) Reviewed by Peter Roberts.
Editors: Lesleigh & Chris Couch, Rt.2, Box 889, Arnold, Missouri 63010.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, show of interest.
Circulated through: APA-45 (16th mlg) & SFPA (28th mlg).
This is a special 'St.Louis in '69' issue and is also dubbed the 'SUPER-QUARK' -- but apart from its size, I fear that there isn't that much in the seventh issue to warrant the 'super' prefix.
'Hey Fred', the Midwestercon report by Lesleigh Couch, gives the impression that the gathering was very dull and lifeless, with a few tired parties and a host of people to be kept at bay. I feel this probably isn't the case and that the fault lies more with Lesleigh's reporting rather than the Midwestercon itself. Con reports are difficult things to write interestingly and I know that I wouldn't particularly like to try (though I may do yet...). Even so, 'Hey Fred' at times reads like a report on a school outing complete with name list, and lacks the necessary sparkle to bring the thing to life. Pity.
One thing that QUARK is good at is its coverage and review of contemporary U.S. groups -- particularly the progressive 'West Coast' people. The notorious Ted White writes about an evening spent with Samuel 'Chip' Delany and Alex Panshin listening to three somewhat second-rate groups in The Village. He gives a fine coverage of their performances which rather bears out my own opinion of some of the people concerned: Big Brother & The Holding Company are even more pathetic on stage than on record, and The Who drown themselves in noise (which, considering the standard of their records, is probably just as well). Another point Ted White makes is that the sheer volume of the 'music' provided by many live groups can be seriously harmful. I can only agree, since I myself have had to leave concerts before now because the noise was unbearable -- even though the groups concerned were and are fine on record. Also a doctor that I was talking to a month or so ago mentioned that he was seriously worried about the volume that many groups consider 'normal'; he believed it could very well result in permanent damage to the ear. So, be warned, or something.... QUARK also contains detailed record (LP) reviews (over-detailed in the case of 'Bookends') plus an article on the groups Lesleigh Couch has seen recently in St.Louis (St.Louis to you!).
On its own and out on a limb is James Reuss's contribution 'If You Don't Love Computers' in which he attempts to explain to the non-technically minded roughly what computers are about. I have to admit that I didn't read all of it ... just not interesting enough, I'm afraid.
The poems in QUARK 7 are quite fair, if not spectacular and the same can be said of an article by Mike Noval on 'The Soviet Union Today' -- a personal account of a visit he made there.
Finally, there is a long letter column which is interesting, although it might be improved with some judicious editing, and sections of APA-45 mailing-comments by Chris and Lesleigh.
As I said earlier, not really a SUPER-QUARK -- more like an extra-long normal issue. For all that, I enjoy the 'normal' issues of QUARK and I look forward to seeing the eighth which is, I believe, out already. Recommended (as they say...).
This sample copy of the LOSTWITHIEL CHECK-POINT is dated Dec.23rd 1968.
The first issue proper should be out in a fortnight or so (ie. August...).
Happy New Year.....!