Issue Number Two.
Edited & Produced by: Peter Roberts, 87 West Town Lane, Bristol, BS4 5DZ.
American Agent: Richard Labonte, 971 Walkley Rd, Ottawa 8, Ontario, CANADA.
trade (large fnzs also receive Mor-farch and/or Egg),
FANZINES REVIEWED in this second issue:
New Millenial Harbinger 2
WSFA Journal 63
German SF Times 91
THE NEW MILLENIAL HARBINGER 2 (Duplicated -- 16pp:UK.Quarto).
Editor: John Bangsund, PO Box 19, Ferntree Gully, Victoria, 3156, Australia.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, show of interest.
Distributed through: ANZAPA 2nd mlg.
John Bangsund is one of the finest writers active in fandom, having an impressive ability to inject a curious humour into his articles, editorials, reviews, and general ramblings. Naturally, this has been somewhat stifled in his larger and more serious Australian SF Review, but The NMH is a near perfect vehicle for John's very individual style.
The second issue has a splendid photo-montage for a front cover which is described later as 'Freudian' (never mind the quality, just feel the symbolism...), and opens with an interesting letter from a frightened Bob Toomey who describes the Battle of Chicago, analyses his reactions to it, and decides to move (or, indeed, 'escape') to England. What's even more interesting is that he actually did leave America...
R.D.Symons follows this with a review of The Velikovsky Affair, recounting the affair itself (namely, the abuse Velikovsky received from established scientists after the publication of his unorthodox findings resulting from research into cosmic catastrophes and ancient history), examining some of the arguments, and considering the nature of scientific belief, An exhaustive review and a particularly interesting one. John Bangsund himself then writes a 'Probe on Reportability A', a review of the Brian Aldiss novel in the style of the original -- a mickey-take naturally, but without barbs and beautifully done. More undiluted Bangsund in the relatively brief ANZAPA mailing comments that follow and unlike many such these are undoubtedly entertaining to the outsider. The NMH's second issue closes with a letter and some final burblings by John, making this quite small, personal magazine one of the best of its kind. Don't look for Australian news and thoughts in here -- unlike, say, Rataplan, John's new fanzine has little group or national flavour, nor indeed does it need it. It's just an ideal personal zine and John's the ideal person to edit it... Recommended.
HAVERINGS 37 (Duplicated -- 8pp: UK.Quarto).
Editor: Ethel Lindsay, Courage House, 6 Langley Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey, UK.
U.S.Agent: Redd Boggs, Box 1111 Berkeley, Calif.94701, USA.
Available for: Trade, 2/3 ($1 or 8/- for 6 issues).
Thirty four fanzines are reviewed in this issue of Haverings -- thirty four, mind you, in eight pages... To be fair, though, Ethel has never claimed to write fanzine 'reviews', but simply 'comments' on all the fanzines that she receives -- more a letter substitute than anything else. As such, Haverings functions best as a guide to recent fanzines, their addresses, and their contents (although the space devoted to the latter subject tends to vary somewhat).
Two things I find rather annoying about Haverings (although the second doesn't affect me personally); firstly, the syntax and punctuation tend to be exceedingly curious (two dots (..) seem to stand in for commas, full stops, semi-colons, and dashes, for example) and occasionally this leads to very twisted sentences which require re-reading two or three times before their meaning becomes apparent. Secondly, the price seems a little high -- after all, Speculation only costs 2/6 and Haverings rarely goes over ten or twelve pages...
Nevertheless, the reviews are up to date and the magazine is pretty regular (more than can be said of certain fanzine review zines!). Ethel receives a very large number of fanzines, and thus Haverings is useful for fan editors looking for trades, and the curious looking for fanzines. It's always interesting looking and that's something...
SCOTTISHE 51 (Duplicated -- 25pp: UK.Quarto).
Editor: Ethel Lindsay, Courage House, 6 Langley Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey, UK.
U.S.Agent: Redd Boggs, Box 1111 Berkeley, Calif.94701, USA.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, 4 issues for $1 or 8/-.
Ethel begins this issue with a review of Mailer's Miami And The Siege of Chicago -- a fine piece of reportage and certainly one of the most entertaining things I've read this year. The review itself, however, is far too short to do it justice -- in fact all the reviews are extremely brief (although considering some of the books, it may be just as well...). These 'Nibblings' (and that fairly describes them) are followed by a short attempt at humour by Terry Jeeves -- 'This Stately Crumbling England'. It's a vague take-off of an English detective thriller writter "..in the leisurely days of the 308s." (Roman perhaps?), but it's a take off that doesn't come off -- it's clumsy and a bit too simple (for example: "Then there was the scullion. I gather she performed skullduggery in the scullery ...which was where the skulls were kept I should imagine.")
The letters form the central part of Scottishe and as usual they're what makes the magazine interesting (together with the Natterings that follow). Gray Boak makes a very useful point when he says: "Reading present issues of Shaggy, Warhoon, SF Review, ASFR, etc. will prove more useful to any budding faned than a boxfull of Retributions, Bastions, etc." This I've found to be true enough -- the Good Old British fanzines are only Good Old British fanzines to Good Old British fans. To the rest of us they're just old (and I have read a fair number of them incidentally). There's a good bit of discussion over Worldcons as well and it's all informed and interesting -- Scottishe undoubtedly has a good letter column. 'Natterings' starts off on the wrong foot, however, by thoughtlessly insulting Mike Ashley; Bryn called him Britain's "Mr.Fandom" in an earlier issue of Checkpoint and Ethel dumbly asks why he should even be considered for this title (a needlessly emotive one, but still). I think Bryn answered that in the original piece: Mike Ashley and Archie Mercer were the two most active people in British fandom for several years and did more to help and encourage new fans, aid faneds, and stimulate friendship in fandom than any of the tired Old Guard that Ethel mentions. Mike may never have been "Mr.Fandom", but he deserves something better than a blunt 'What did he ever do'.
Anyway, Scottishe as a whole is an interesting enough fanzine, if not a particularly exceptional one. The fifty-first issue is round about average, although the quality of the zine has a tendency to fluctuate considerably over a period of issues. Like Haverings, it's regular and always quite competent. A fair enough virtue for any magazine.
SPECULATION 20 (Duplicated -- 31pp: UK.Quarto).
Editor: Peter R. Weston, 81 Trescott Road, Northfield, Birmingham 31, UK.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, 2/6, 35¢ ($1 for 3 issues).
This issue was to have been edited by Pete's assistant, Bob Rickard, but owing to a large number of adverse circumstances Pete ended up by doing most of the work himself (in fact Speculation 20 was later labelled the 'Special Disaster Issue' because of the plethora of production difficulties which the editors faced).
Even taking this into account, however, Speculation 20 can only compare poorly with its recent predecessors. Principally, it's a matter of size -- this issue has less than half the number of pages as the previous one and since very little of Speculation can ever be called padding, this must mean a substantial loss. Even the promise of increased frequency doesn't quite make up for the shortened review and letter columns and a partial lack of variety throughout the magazine. Still, you can hardly blame Pete for cutting the work and expense down and even half a Speculation results in a fine fanzine -- certainly the most impressive in Britain and the only U.K. fanzine to compete with the best American ones.
Bob Rickard's brief editorial contains some optimistic comments on the growth of sf and in particular the growth of 'fringe sf' -- surrealism, fantasy films, underground magazines, and 'progressive pop'. Perhaps there is a strong sf influence in these fields, but is it honestly going to interest the average sf fan with his nose stuck in Analog and his outlook restricted to "the incestuous inner-circle of sf"? I fear you're somewhat too optimistic...
Only one full review this time -- David Pringle writing sanely about Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron. This is followed with a particularly interesting reply by the author who also makes a few comments on the novel, emphasising the conventional sf construction and pointing out that the language is an extrapolation of current 68 idioms. Other, shorter reviews follow later in the 'Speculation Book Guide' which also gives news of the latest British and American releases.
Franz Rottensteiner pulls Gordon Dickson's Soldier Ask Not apart with comparative ease during his investigation into the failures of traditional sf (pausing briefly to dismiss the New Wave as poor imitations of dadaists and surrealists. Hmmm.). There is more comment in 'Melting Pot', the letter-column (studded with authors as always), and in 'Opinion' -- a collection of excerpts from letters, magazines, fanzines, and so on. All solid sf stuff -- perfect for everyone who enjoys serious discussion of the field.
And that, indeed, sums up Speculation as a whole -- even in its new pre-shrunk size...
SUB-PHILE 1 (Printed -- 4pp: UK.Quarto -- micro-print).
Editor: Graham Charnock, 1 Eden Close, Alperton, Wembley, Middx., UK.
Available for: Trade, contribution, 1/-.
It would be a great shame if this turned out to be Graham's last fan publication. Phile was always maintained at a high standard and was, in my opinion and that of many others, the best fanzine in the country, reaching a peak with the fifth issue. Sub-Phile is another peak, but it looks like it may be a solitary one...
In a short editorial, Gray considers the Underground 'From the Top-side' and concludes that the alternative society must always remain an alternative -- to become the real society, it must destroy its own values. Fair enough, although, as Gray admits, it all depends on definitions.Tony Palmer's trendy television film, All My Loving, is admirably considered in 'The Pseudodelic Man' by Chris Priest -- the review, incidentally, is conceived in much the same way as the film itself, but is at least less pretentious. Other reviews (To An Early Grave by Wallace Markfield and Nebula Award Stories 3 edited by Roger Zelazny) are well handled by Gray himself.
Bryn Fortey's short story 'The Running Jumping Man' is the penultimate piece in a series of five interconnected shorts which have appeared in Ecco and Mor-farch and which together constitute the best writing that I've yet seen of Bryn's. Only thing I'd quibble about is the use of labels for people (rather like a recent Sunday Times Supplement on office politics), but it's legitimate enough within the form of the piece itself. Far better than the usual fiction displayed in fanzines anyway.
The same applies to Gray's 'Dial Universe Heaven City Group... Your Newspaper Ready To Play' -- a look, perhaps, at "media death" a la McLuhan. Felix Dennis has four arms, it seems, and Dick Howett relates his attempts at concocting jokes at 2/6 a time -- a fine touch of humour to end a very fine, but very brief, magazine. Recommended.
ZINE 1 (Duplicated -- cover printed. 33pp -- UK.Quarto).
Editor: John Hall, 124 Punchcroft, New Ash Green, Dartford, Kent, UK.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, 3/6 (this first issue free).
Zine is a very curious magazine; launched with quite a lot of publicity and with the help of a large group of people, it nevertheless managed to fall rather flat and seems to have produced rather a large amount of silence. The trouble probably lies with the lack of cohesion between the contents and their drastically varying quality...
The editorial is, bluntly, confused and naïve: "It would seem that there is a resurgence of 'because-it's-amateur/underground-material-bespatter-with-as-many-four-letter-words-as-you-think-fit' attitudes." A "resurgence"? Faneds gleefully inserting a 'fuck' here and a 'shit' there? I think not John; 'Success Syndrome' went to your head. The remainder of the editorial suggests all book reviews are boring and politics, marriage, and law & order have no relevance today. Oh. Mind you, that's not bad going in under twenty-five lines...
Far more profitable are John's two reports -- one of an evening's UFO searching at Warminster and another of a drag meeting at Santa Pod. Both a bit too short though. Greg Pickersgill is represented by a couple of his better poems and a vaguely amusing section from his saga of Jim (no Jack) Thenit. The remainder of the verse ranges from the fair (B.M.Birkenshaw's 'To A Life-Long Friend') to the idiot ('XXX' isn't even amusing gibberish). But notice that even this far in we've encountered stories, odd verse, reports on drag racing, and a very puzzling piece called 'Point in Question' wherein John makes a fool of himself over the question of the Second World War, Freedom, and the wearing of Iron Crosses by surfers... it's a hodge-podge, I'm afraid.
The remainder of Zine is fiction; C.A.Mackintosh's 'Transplant' is entirely non-descript, but Bryn Fortey's 'Multiplicity' is a joy to read. A fine piece of experimental fiction and the most interesting thing in the magazine.
So that's it. There's some good stuff in there, but the bad needs editing out; for a first issue, it's ok. But if you really mean it when you say that Zine 2 is going to be the best issue of any fanzine ever, you're going to have to make a hell of a lot of improvements.
HECKMECK 20 (Duplicated, some illos. Printed -- 41pp: approx.US.Quarto).
Editors: Mario Kwiat, 4400 Münster/Westf, Stettiner Str. 38, Germany.
Manfred Kage, Schaesberg (Limburg), Achter de Winkel 41, Holland.
Available for: Trade, LoCs (to Manfred Kage), show of interest.
Heckmeck is one of the few continental fanzines that appear in English (Sol andCepheus being the others) and the only regular one. The English itself is generally good, although occasionally tangled, and Manfred is, after all, translating from several different languages.
The twentieth issue has a fine Avengers/Batman cover plus a series of printed illustrations at the end, any of which could easily have been made into covers themselves -- fair enough if you have that much good artwork to play around with! The contents otherwise are of varying interest; the editorial concerns the dangers of stagnation in national fandoms (taking Holland as an example) and makes a plea for more international contact (backing this up with a list of fan addresses from Honduras to Switzerland -- an excellent idea). A translation from Dutch concerning Romanian sf is interesting and a report on the 68 Perkeo-con less son (a bit too short for the personal sort of conrep that it was trying to be).
'Who is Who', a brief piece about the editors, informs readers that Manfred escaped from East Germany in 1949 with a sentence of fifteen years hard labour awaiting his return... Somehow I don't think he's too anxious to go back.
Finally there is a rather non-descript letter column and a listing of fanzines received with a few comments thereon. So that's Heckmeck -- an average fanzine by English standards, but the fact that it's all written in a foreign language raises its importance (and I do believe that furthering the cause of internationalism is important for everyone). Although Manfred and Mario most certainly do make contacts through their magazine, Heckmeck really needs to be a fanzine in which discussion can and does take place if it is intending to bring fans from different countries together. In this issue only Franz Rottensteiner's relatively mild attack on Sword and Sorcery fiction (and in particular FOLLOW, the German s&s group) is likely to provoke any comment (for my part, I agree with his views on the juvenility of much of the sub-genre, although I wouldn't like to dismiss authors like Moorcock, Eddison, and Tolkien as "literary outsiders" -- much of their work reflects the contemporary world if only by accentuating its opposite). A few more articles of this nature and Heckmeck will become an even better fanzine than it is already.
SCIENCE FICTION TIMES 91 (Printed -- 38pp: approx.US.Quarto). In German.
Editor: Hans Joachim Alpers, 2850 Bremerhaven 1, Weissenburger Str. 6, Ger.
Available for: Trade, DM 7.50 for 12 issues.
SF Times is a fine magazine for anyone who is seriously interested in continental science fiction and fantasy -- and I stress the word seriously because SF Times reviews the field in some depth, leaving fannish material to the smaller and infrequent Fan Kurier.
This issue begins, as usual, with a listing of recent sf and fantasy books published in the German language, following this with film news and reviews (Die Bestie Mit Dem Skalpell sounds intriguing!) -- generally German and foreign films on release in West Germany. A round-up of news follows -- from Australia, Britain, France, East and West Germany, together with brief reviews of some of the latest German fanzines; to me this is always the most interesting section of SF Times -- even the British nes is news to me (a sad comment, perhaps, but outside of The BSFA Bulletin there just aren't any U.K. newszines).
Finally there are the detailed reviews of U.S. paperbacks and prozines, and more important, reviews of the latest German releases. SF Times is always comprehensive and efficient and even manages to be regular (monthly). I certainly haven't seen a better coverage of the continental sf field, anyway. Recommended.
I've a little extra space here, so I'll take the opportunity to thank everyone for letters and comments received (Archie Mercer, Pete Weston, Bryn Fortey, Ned Brooks, Kjell Borgström, and several others -- I'll print them at the end if I have room). Thanks too for the massive response from faneds -- I now have a backlog of 122 fanzines for review. Ow!
BEABOHEMA 2 (Duplicated -- printed covers. 64pp: US.Quarto).
Editor: Frank Lunney, 212 Juniper St., Quakertown, Pa.18951, USA.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, 40¢.
Beabohema 1 was plagued by annoying and continued exhortations to "Be a Bohema!", but fortunately Frank has dropped that almost entirely, although he explains its origins in the editorial 'Bellowings' (and as I surmised they weren't very interesting anyway...). The front cover is a fine sketch a la Gaughan by Jim McLeod, but the inside artwork is spoiled by extremely poor layout, overuse of coloured paper, and sheer bad drawing by two of the contributors -- Bill Marsh and Robert Gilbert.
The articles in this second issue are generally of a high standard, although curiously enough there were too many of them -- the whole magazine is packed with articles, stories, poetry (or rather, verse), and artwork; like Zine 1, the whole thing is a hodge-podge of pieces lacking thread or cohesion... Anyway, into the thick I go in a brave attempt to glance at some of the contents at least.
'Convention Fanfare' by Leo Kelley seems concerned with the size of American conventions more than anything else; in face he criticizes con committees for emphasizing the professionals rather than the fans and makes several suggestions for reversing this -- suggestions which are already put into practice in British conventions (which of course are small enough to allow such things as introductory parties, panels for faneds, and fan panel discussions -- hence my point that he is really criticising the size). Somewhere there is another piece about cons...ah yes, 'Baycon Lack Of Progress Report no.5' in which Dale A. Goble complains about hippies and other disasters at Baycon -- law & order at St.Louis, eh Mr. Goble?
Will Bog (I wonder if these are pseudonyms..?) reviews The Men In The Jungle and decides that Norman Spinrad is the "innovator of the Horror Juvenile" -- at least Beabohema always puts forward its own curious views... Robert Bloch examines Journey to the Unknown and Leonid Doroschenko explores 'The Creative Mind of Irwin Allen' -- both look good, although I know nothing about their subjects. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and The Master Of The Vortex are reviewed in depth and there are also some very average fanzine reviews. Now a quick check through to see if I've missed anything... indeed yes -- Piers Anthony writing on story contests, Seth Dogramajian considering artists Jeff Jones and Frank Frazetta, Ken Scher's far too brief '...So You Want To Be A Soldier', some poor verse, and 'Fit', a dismal bit of fiction by R.H.Racwain. Phew! All that remains is an overlong letter column (come off it Frank, you may want to show your LoCs off, but 22 pages?) which contains some points of interest on a quick glance through, but mostly eminently editable meanderings.
So there's Beabohema 2; a lot of very good stuff jumbled together with some very mediocre pieces. What this magazine needs is editing and if that's done properly, then it could become one of the top American fanzines -- it's got the material for it already.
ICENI 3 (Duplicated -- 29pp: US.Quarto).
Editor: Bob Roehm, 316 E Maple St., Jeffersonville, Indiana 47130, USA.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, 25¢ or $1 for 5 issues.
Unlike Beabohema, Iceni suffers from a drastic lack of contributions and is forced to fill out pages with editorial chatter, quotes, and gruesome verse. Bob doesn't start off too well by stating in his editorial that he doesn't think much of this issue -- not the best way, perhaps, to humour your contributors...
Anyway, the cover is quite fine (one by Richard Delap) and so are the film and book reviews (including Wild In the Streets and The Conqueror Worm), but as for the rest...well, perhaps Bob's editorial pronouncement was justified.
There is a Baycon report by Bob (who, incidentally, "hates to write") -- it's harmless enough, but lacks vitality or force considering it is the lead article and the largest piece in Iceni. Linda Eyster's 'It's A Doll's Life' is again entirely harmless -- an unexciting, not very original, but competently written example of fanzine fiction. And that, but for a page of uncritical fanzine reviews and a mediocre letter column, is that.
Iceni isn't a bad magazine -- just very very ordinary, lacking real interest, involvement, or enthusiasm. Mind you, I'm only going on the third issue and the fact that Bob isn't too happy about it himself may well mean better issues in the future. I hope so, anyway...
LOCUS 20 (Duplicated -- 8pp: US.Quarto).
Editors: Charlie & Marsha Brown, 2078 Anthony Ave., Bronx, N.Y.10457, USA.
Available for: Trade, News, 6 issues for $1.
The finest American newszine can only be Locus (although to be fair I haven't seen its rival, Osfan, in some while); in eight pages of issue 20 there are news of conventions, obituaries (Boris Karloff), Changes of address, club news, report on 'The LASFS Fugghead of the Year award', news of books and authors (Isaac Asimov complaining because he wasn't called a "pretentious Intellectual"), fanzine news, apa news, and finally some short but very good fanzine reviews -- all interspersed with beautiful cartooning by Bill Rotsler, Jack Gaughan, Tim Kirk, John Berry, and others.
What's more it's regular and well-produced (although possessing a distinct tendency to fall apart when the staples are removed in order to open it up) and is often accompanied by single sheet flyers (adverts for cons, Taff, fanzines, and so on) which are of interest in themselves. Recommended.
MONSTROSITIES 2 (Duplicated -- printed covers. 78pp: US.Quarto).
Editor: Doug Smith, 302 Murray Lane, Richardson, Texas 75080, USA.Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, 35¢ ($2 for 6 issues).
A monster zine in many ways -- it deals vaguely with horror-orientated sf, it's exceptionally large, and (I'm sorry, Doug, but you chose the title) it is itself pretty monstrous...
The trouble is probably inherent in the difference between Doug's science fictional likes and my own -- for example, Planet of the Apes and Doc Savage are praised in Monstrosities as the twin peaks of the medium. Since I would consider them as the abysmal depths of sf, there isn't too much hope of our seeing eye to eye. Nonetheless, this isn't a totally valid excuse for the poorness of the magazine; the production, for example, is not at all good (the front cover is on a smaller sized paper than the rest, duplication is patchy, and layout generally is very poor); the art work is terrible (some really pathetic stuff by Tom Satani and Bob Gersman besides the normally bad Robert Gilbert) and is relieved only by some poorly reproduced film stills.
'Red Eye', the editorial, is a rather dreary ramble through a variety of subjects largely concerning Monstrosities itself and the editor's likes and dislikes. Pat Dhooge's piece of fiction, 'The Strange Case of Mr. John W.Aldon' is, like most fanzine fiction, of relatively little merit or consequence -- it's better than some, but unfortunately that's not saying much. Fanzine reviews are conducted without much critical judgement (both Psychotic and Gore Creatures rate an 'A', nothing gets lower than a 'C', and the scale itself descends to 'F' -- hmmm.) and book reviews are little better (with the exception of Bill Jonathon's brief examination of Hodgson's The House On The Borderland).
Perhaps I'm painting too dismal a picture, however. Parts of Monstrosities 2 are not without merit -- a review of 2001 is not at all bad (although, of course, everyone had already gone through umpteen reviews of it in prozines, fanzines, and even mainstream magazines) and presents a viable interpretation of the film based on Kubrick's assertion that he used no complex symbolism. Only annoying thing is Doug's insistence on dividing films into the artistic (2001) and the entertaining (Planet of the Apes) -- my belief is that if a film fails to reach ordinary artistic standards, it becomes as irritating as a badly written book; and if a film is 'artistic', without entertaining as well, then the artistry is no art at all, but a sham and a failure...
There is also a 35 page review and tapescript of Planet of the Apes which is competently done and must be of some value to film fanatics -- and at thirty five pages, they must be fanatics!
A poor letter column and the second issue of Monstrosities is over. It's the sort of fanzine that recommends going to The Green Berets for its gore and exciting action -- if you can stomach that, you can stomach anything -- including Monstrosities.
NEW NEWPORT NEWS NEWS 4 (Spirit duplicated -- 22pp: US.Quarto).
Editor: Ned Brooks, 713 Paul Street, Newport News, Virginia 23605, USA.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, show of interest.
Distributed through: N'APA Sep 68 mlg.
At first sight this pale purple fanzine looks vaguely uninteresting, but in fact I found it was well produced and quite entertaining -- even though this issue is apparently far shorter than usual (missing a letter column and a fanzine review column).
'Yes, I do' by Dean Koontz is a finely written piece wherein the author bemoans his treatment as a science fiction writer by fellow teachers and friends who make idiot judgements whilst lacking any knowledge of the subject and, for that matter, literature in general (and some of the examples Dean quotes are really idiotic...). He then makes several suggestions for improving public attitudes and 'spreading the gospel', but I think I must agree with Ned (who allows himself room for a short answer) -- it's just not worth bothering, since people who want to read sf already do... Ned's definition of "truly great books" is a bit off, however; the fact that they will still be read with enjoyment one hundred years hence is irrelevant -- after all, there are plenty of great books which are books of their era (like Lucky Jim, Catcher In The Rye, Babbitt, The Beautiful And The Damned, etc). Others are still read and will be read in the future, even thought they are only thrillers or adventure stories.
Glen Brock's 'Half A Gallon Of Water And A Mouthful Of Seaweed' is a rather typical piece of fan fiction -- very flat, I'm afraid. Apart from some generally good artwork (including a brilliant cartoon cover by Steve Stiles), the remainder of The New Newport News News is made up of verse (which could be worse) and some amusing parodies (suitable, I suppose, for filk-singing). It can't really compete with the best magazines, but for an apazine, it's exceptionally pleasant.
QUARK 8 (Duplicated -- 68pp: US Quarto).
Editors: Lesleigh and Chris Couch, Route 2 Box 889, Arnold, Missouri, 63010, USA.
Available for: Trade, LoC, contribution, show of interest.
Distributed through: APA-45 17th mlg and SFPA 29th mlg.
Quark, the rockzine, is always interesting, always good, but like other Cymry publications is never outstanding. Even the increased size doesn't help -- in fact it may well be a hindrance, since what Quark badly needs is editing. Lesleigh and Chris are having the same trouble as Frank is with Beabohema -- fairly good material junked in with some mediocre stuff and a large amount of space-filling chatter.
This eighth issue starts off with a very long (too long) Baycon report by Lesleigh Couch; somehow there's something missing though -- I'm not too sure quite what, but it's a bit flat and pedestrian, tending to develop into name-dropping sessions and recounts of the exploits of the St.Louis Good Guys. Anyway, it's difficult to attempt a conrep and perhaps it may have meant more to an attendee -- I'll give it the benefit of the doubt...fair enough?
Rock and associated music is dealt with in four sections: an article by Bill Kunkel, 'Electronic Music In Rock' (a far too shallow look, really); 'Strobe' (record reviews -- lps of course); 'Hey fan!' -- Lesleigh's account of concerts by Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother & The Holding Company (not too bad at all, though I don't care for the groups themselves); and finally discussion in the letter column over Ted White's reviews in Quark 7, featuring John Brunner displaying his record collection and plugging the Incredible String Band (and there at least I wholeheartedly agree).
Jerry Kaufman's regular column, 'Non Sequitur', is entertaining -- even the categorizing of 'professional fans' (four classes typified by Samuel Delany, Jack Gaughan, Harlan Ellison, and Ted White -- I don't agree, but I enjoyed the arguments...). Jim Reuss also has a column, 'If You Don't Love Computers' -- I don't (surprise).
Now reread that paragraph and see if it makes sense this time...
Mailing comments, an over-long letter column, some interesting poetry for a change (Jim Reuss again), and finally some non-descript artwork (and almost non-existent too...): thus is Quark 8 reviewed in too few words. The thing is that I can never really find anything much to say about Quark; there's rarely anything really bad in it, rarely anything really good -- it seems to provoke comments in others, however, so it's probably just me again. Try it anyway, and see for yourselves.
THE WASHINGTON SF ASSOCIATION JOURNAL 63 (Duplicated -- covers printed. 44pp: US.Quarto).
Editor: Don Miller, 12315 Judson Road, Wheaton, Md. 20906, USA.
Available for: one-for-one trade, LoC, contribution, 35¢ (3/$1, 7/$2, 12/$3).
The WSFA Journal never seems quite able to make up its mind whether to be a newszine or a full scale group fanzine -- I suppose that in fact 'Journal' is as good a way as any to describe it. Anyway, it's monthly and regular and usually very good to boot.
The sixty third issue is dominated by Doll Gilliland's fanzine reviews (five pages in the magazine itself plus a ten page supplement) and these are certainly the best I've seen where reviews of all zines received are contemplated; only thing is that they tend to be slightly too kind and therefore not exceptionally valuable (after all a reviewer must make some definite distinction between something like Warhoon and a four page purple CRAPAzine...). Book reviews are also handled well by Alexis Gilliland and David Halterman, although Banks Mebane's prozine reviews are far too brief to be of much service.
Thomas Burnett Swann rereads some Roy Rockwood juveniles with some despair, but much affection -- a regular and amusing column this. 'Automaton', by Bob Vardeman is a slightly heavy satire on the U.S. Post Office and its expensive, automated inefficiency -- the whole thing is written in the style of an interview and almost comes off, but as far as I'm concerned just manages to miss. Other contributions include a rather fine piece of comic fiction by nine year old Stephen Miller; I felt slightly ill when I saw this coming and was considering skipping it (not being a fan of 'cute' kiddie stuff), but really it's not too bad at all (although a bit macabre!). There's a filk poem and song, a massive amount of news -- business stuff from WSFA meetings, comprehensive convention news, and other bits and oddities. Finally a short and interesting letter column.
There it is then -- The WSFA Journal, an in-between fanzine which I can't fully recommend as a newszine (Locus is better), nor as a group zine (Shangri L'Affaires...for example). Yet as I said last time, in its annual twelve issues there's quite a large amount of interesting work which may then compete with the annual content of bigger, better, but less regular fanzines. I'm not sure anyway... Like Quark, you'd do best to take a look for yourself.
FANZINES WANTED: (free ads)
John Muir wants new fanzines: LoCs or money guaranteed -- send to: 50 Holker Street, Manchester, M13 0DE, U.K.
Hartley Patterson's University SF Society is also interested in fanzines and may sub to some (it has an annual grant, no less!). Contact Hartley at Dalton Hall, Victoria Park, Manchester, M14 5RL, U.K.
WORDS and such.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a great many fanzines on hand for review and I'm hoping to cut down this backlog with a series of Checkpoints through July and August -- until I manage to catch up. So Checkpoint 3 should be available next week... (Did I hear laughter?)
LETTERS (and please note that Checkpoint is not available for LoCs).
Peter Weston, 81 Trescott Road, Northfield, Birmingham 31, U.K.
I received your Checkpoint and honestly thought it was very well done, and although you did give us a good review this hasn't entirely influenced my decision! For instance, I thought your review of Crabapple was very fair, along with most of the others. Britain needs something like this, so I hope you can keep it up. On the other hand, Bryn Fortey is, I think, not on such firm ground as he thinks. Ecco is a crudzine and Bryn hasn't got the background to criticize if he hasn't read the other items mentioned. And I don't think Mike Ashley can really be called "Mr.Fandom" in Britain -- Bryn is a little out of touch with the bigger picture!
Archie Mercer, 10 Lower Church Lane, St.Michael's, Bristol, BS2 8BA, U.K.
I prefer this last issue to its predecessor. This is mainly because it's more consistent. The reviews being (with one exception) all done -- and well -- by one person, it is possible to compare the subjects against each other in a way that is not possible with multiple reviewers.
Good as it is, Bryn's guest review is out of place. The only excuse for a guest review should be to review other Restormelzines...
((And that's all there's room for -- WAHFs on page five. Thanks to all...))
Part of my paperback collection is being sold (lack of room mainly) and I'll list a few items in this and future Checkpoints -- contact me if you're interested:
Ken Bulmer --
Good condition --
The Fatal Fire (Digit)....The Wind of Liberty
To Subscribers, Friends and Others -- a cross here .... means no more Checkpoints unless money is received. A number indicates the last C/p that you are paid up to.
To other editors: the next issue you will receive is number ... when your fanzine ................ will be reviewed. I'm afraid that you'll have to sub for other issues (your review issues naturally free). Ok?
CHECKPOINT 2 from:
87 West Town Lane,
Bristol, BS4 5DZ,
PRINTED MATTER ONLY