Checkpoint 4

Harry Bell cartoon header

Checkpoint is a news and reviews zine published by Peter Roberts, The Hawthorns, Keele, Staff, UK. Every fortnight or so. It can be yours for news or money: subs are 4/20p (2nd class: 5/20p) and 8/$1 (foreign airmail). US Agent is Arnie Katz, 59 Livingston St, Apt 6B, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Australian Agent is Dave Grigg, 1556 Main Rd, Research, Victoria 3095. Checkpoint 4 is being duplicated at Bristol and is dated 14th June 1971. Restormel Press Pub: 41.

HEINLEIN & BRUM: On my way down to Bristol I stopped off at the Speculation Conference at the BMI last Saturday and indulged in a day of sheer sercon sf which almost (but not quite) tempted me to start going to con programmes in the future instead of lounging around in the bar. Owing to a connecting bus running too early, I missed John Brunner's opening which, I gather, looked back at the prophesies made in the sf of thirty or forty years ago. Philip Strick looked at Heinlein in an entertainingly vicious manner which smothered his continual plea that he actually enjoyed and admired the writer. Chris Priest pulled Anderson's Tau Zero apart and made several demands for scientific and sociological standards in assessing the worth of science fiction. Finally James Blish examined Ringworld and the apparent trend back to 'straight' sf in relation to the Hugo and Nebula awards.

Pete Weston told me that he estimated an attendance figure between 75-100, much the same as last year; there seemed to be an average of sixty attendees at any one time with a considerable turnover of people. The party at the Imperial Hotel on Friday night apparently went well and the conference itself was lively and animated with heated debates on Heinlein, Larry Niven, and Tau Zero. A vocal trio of George Hay, Rog Peyton, Bob Parkinson, and Dr. Cohen kept audience response at a high level and other fans and authors present included Mark Adlard, Peter Tate, Vic Hallet, Rog Peyton (with bookstore), Malcolm Edwards, the Pardoes, & others. The NBL-SF Foundation book show was adequate without being exciting and was cumbered with some hideous crayoned scrawls and scribblings which George Hay said had 'accreted' somewhere in the exhibit's tour.

A very unfortunate and subjective response from me likened the conference to a nightmare dream of a miserable convention (few fans, few rooms, extremely short, ancient porters, book-lined interiors, and so on). I must hasten to add that this view did not reflect anything on the conference or my expectations about it; but the continued similarities with and remembrances of my dream managed to unnerve and unsettle me somewhat at intervals throughout the day.

Nevertheless, it seemed to be a successful event and also succeeded in attracting a fair number of local people who may now continue in the fannish fold through Pete Weston's reestablishment of the Birmingham SF Group.

NEW MANCHESTER GROUP: Pete Presford is said to be forming a new sf group, as opposed to the Delta Group who have been largely concerned with the cinema and amateur films. The first meeting will be at 8pm on the first Wednesday in July before when a suitable pub will have to be discovered. 'Oozlot' is the proposed name for the club and anyone interested can contact Pete at 10 Dalkeith Rd, Sth Reddish, Stockport, SK5 7EY or phone him at 061-480-1452.

BWFS PROGRESS: Keith Walker tells me that the British Weird Fantasy Society is "progressing remarkably well". The first issue of the bulletin is already out and the second is in preparation. The first issue of Dark Horizons (the quarterly journal) should be out by the end of the month and response to Whirlpool (the equivalent to the BSFA's Orbiter) is pretty fair. All that's needed now, says Keith, is a few more members to share the success. 75p for membership should go to Rosemary Pardoe, 15 Selkirk Court, Whitley Rd, London, N17 6RF.

SLANCON CHANGES: Although unconfirmed, three people have written saying that the 1972 Eastercon will not be held in Blackpool, since the NUT have booked the Imperial Hotel. Instead it's to take place in Harrogate.

TAFF NEWS: Locus (address opposite) puts the TAFF treasury at $842 (about £350) and the number of votes received at 78 (Europe 47, USA 31). The final ballot should soon be available, but I intend duplicating a copy of the Emergency Ballot for distribution with this Checkpoint (although overseas subscribers may have to do without because of postage difficulties). Please vote if you're entitled to and remember that Checkpoint supports Terry Jeeves.

GRUNCHY GANNETS: Ian Maule announces that Gannetfandom now incorporates Civil-Service fandom and Ian Williams whispers news of new blood & old blood surviving (Thom Penman will not – surprise – gafiate). Ian will be down in London for the September Globe meeting, so beware of the dwarf! If you're confused, it's only the North East Gannetfandom & Drinking Society which meets every Tuesday night in The Gannet at Sunderland ...

GRAY BOAK's supplier of A4 duplicating paper has packed up and Gray wants to know of any firm who supplies the stuff by post or home delivery. For that matter I'd like to know of any cheap suppliers too. Does anyone have any addresses?

FANZINE COLLECTORS: I've just had a clear-out of old OMPAzines; it was a sad undertaking since these had formed my earliest introduction to fandom-at-large and fan publishing; but I'll never reread them after the intense scanning I initially gave them and space is at a premium in any case. Size and quality vary, so I'll just ask 4p per item or 4 for 5p, 10 for 10p!

Dolphin 4 (Elinor Busby), Hex 3,4,6,8,9 (Charles Wells), Fenris 7 (Dave Hulan), Whatsit 2,3,4,11,12,13 (Ken Cheslin), Cognate 2,4,5,6,7 (Rosemary Hickey), UL 8,9,10,11/15, 16,17 (Norm Metcalf), Sizar 8,9 (Bruce Burn), Quartering II 1,3,2 (Don Fitch), Binary 3,4 (Joe Patrizio), Cyrille 4,6 (Bill Evans). I still have a copy of ERBdom 1 which must be worth somebody's while (or are Checkpoint's readers too literate?) 25p if you want it. The OMPAzines, by the way, vary in date between 1962 and 1965; everything includes postage. Pegasus 4,5,6 are still around at 10p each – all large US spirit-duplicated fanzines from Joanne Burger. I also have copies of The Fanarchist 4 (Dave Grigg) at 10p each (5/50p). No more copies of the first issue now remain (though Dave may have some).

FANZINES RECEIVED: The following fanzines have been received since last issue. All are normally available for letters, contributions, or trades as well as money. An asterisk indicates that the fanzine is recommended.

*Fouler 6 (duplicated: 32pp. 1/4o). Greg Pickersgill & Roy Kettle, The Pines, Haylette Lane, Merlins Bridge, Haverfordwest, Pembs. 10p (6/50p). Faanishness and insults – Bryn Fortey, Ritchie Smith, Ian Maule, etc.

4M 2 (printed: 20pp. A4). Trevor Jones, 7 Weller Place, High Elms Rd, Downe, Orpington, Kent, BR6 7JW. 8p (5/35p). 25¢. Sf – Jeffers, etc.

Parallax 2 (spirit duplicated: 14pp. 1/21/4o). julien raasveld, Steynstraat 5/7, B-2710 Hoboken, Belgium. Free. Fiction – Bertin, Wyndham (Edgar).

*The Ley Hunter 18 & 19 (duplicated:20pp&17pp:1/4o). Paul Screeton, 5 Egton Dr, Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, Co. Durham. 10p. Zodiacs, leys, etc.

Chao 3 (duplicated:25pp.1/4o). John Alderson, Box 72, PO Maryborough, Victoria, Australia. 30A¢, 40¢, 15p. Sf & general – Phillips.

The Fanarchist 4 (duplicated;34pp.1/4o). David Grigg, 1556 Main Rd, Research, Victoria 3095, Australia. 5/$A1, 5/50p. UK Agent: me. Sf & fannish – Bangsund, Foyster (fnz panel), Cameron, etc.

Haverings 49 (duplicated:11pp.1/4o). Ethel Lindsay. Courage House, 6 Langley Av, Surbiton, Surrey. 6/40p, 6/$1. US Agent: Andy Porter. Australian Agent: John Bangsund. Comments on fanzines.

Scottishe 59 (duplicated:23pp.1/4o). Ethel Lindsay, as above. 15p, 30¢. Sf & general – George Charters, etc.

*Energumen 6 (duplicated:46pp.A4). Mike Glicksohn, 267 St. George St, Apt 807, Toronto 180, Ontario, Canada. 50¢. Sf & general – Offutt, etc.

Luna 19 & 20 (printed:32ppe.1/21/4o). Frank & Ann Dietz, 655 Orchard St, Oradell, NJ.07649, USA. 35¢, 12/$4. UK Agent: Gerald Bishop, 10 Marlborough Rd, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4JT. 12/£2.40p Sf news & reviews.

*The Mentor 18 (duplicated:43pp.1/4o). Ron Clarke, 78 Redgrave Rd, Normanhurst, NSW 2076, Australia. 3/$1, 7/£1. UK Agent: me. Sf, fiction & general – Wodhams, Chauvin, McCormack, etc.

WSFA Journal 75 (duplicated:48pp.A4). Don Miller. 12315 Judson Rd, Wheaton, Maryland 20906, USA. 50¢ (8/$3.25). UK Agent: Peter Singleton, 6044 Broadmoor Hospital, Block 4, Crowthorne, Bucks RG11 7EG. 6/£1. Aus. Agent: Michael O'Brien. Sf & general – Burnett Swann, Warner, etc.

Norstrilian News 28 (duplicated:6pp.1/4o). Bruce Gillespie, GPO Box5195AA, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia. 20/$1.20. UK Agent: Mervyn Barrett, 178 Walm Lane, London Nw2. 3p Australian news.

*Locus 84 (duplicated:10pp.A4). Charlie & Dena Brown, 2078 Anthony Av, Bronx, NY 10457, USA. 12/$3. UK Agent: Malcolm Edwards, 236 King's College, Cambridge, CB2 1ST. 10/£1.50. Aus. Agent: Bruce Gillespie. 10/$A.3.50. Sf news & reviews – Patten, Pauls.

Midgard 3 (duplicated:4pp.fscp). Hartley Patterson, Finches, 7 Cambridge Rd, Beaconsfield, Bucks. Free. Fantasy wargaming.

FANZINES UNLIMITED: Phil Muldowney asks that contributions for Zimri should be sent to Lisa Conesa, 54 Whalley Range, Manchester, M16 8HP rather than to Phil himself. Malcolm Edwards (address above) is agent for SF Commentary (9/£1.50): No. 21 will have The Original SF Anthologies (Gillespie) & stuff by Rottensteiner & Gregg. No. 22 will have a 20 page Lem article on Sex in Sf. No. 20 has Lem on Borges.

ENERGUMEN 7 (duplicated:38pp.A4).
Editor: Mike Glicksohn, 267 St. George St, Apt 807, Toronto 180, Ontario, Canada.
Available for: Trade, Loc, contribution, 50¢.

It isn't too hard to see why Energumen is amongst this year's Hugo nominees, nor is it difficult to understand its reputation as an art-conscious fanzine. Mike balances content with illustration and uses a fairly standard layout in standard one-colour mimeography. This, perhaps, gives it an advantage over Bill Bower's Outworlds, a fanzine which delights in experimentation and a variety of reproductive methods and which places its contents second. Mike apologizes, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, for the lack of artwork in Energumen 7, despite a Rotsler portfolio and fine drawings from Kirk, Austin, Carter, and Shull (plus printed covers from Jack Gaughan); nonetheless, Energumen 6, a 'sercon issue' published simultaneously with 7, the 'fannish issue', contains even more artwork on the one-drawing-per-page standard that Mike has set for his fanzine.

Nevertheless, even if the fine duplicating and impressive artwork have led to the Hugo nominations, the actual contents still remain, for me at least, the most important aspect of any fanzine, including Energumen. The point is well illustrated in Arnie Katz's column, 'Light of Other Days', wherein Arnie looks back at BEM ("a scruffy-looking publication") and looks at the gems it contains as well as some anecdotes concerning its publishers, Tom White & Mal Ashworth. One of these gems, Willis' "How to BNF without tears" (from BEM 1, April 1954), is reprinted immediately after Arnie's article. Together with a fine little piece on home-made lie-detectors by Bob Shaw, these three items form a central core of first-class fannishness from which the editor can elaborate and build. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the rest of the magazine doesn't reach the same high standards.

Rosemary Ullyot and Susan Glicksohn both use the same dialogue style in their columns and it's a rather difficult structure with which to succeed; the hectic incidents and snappy answers somehow seem to fall a little flat. It might work better with a con report or have more appeal when the participants are well-known, rather than being used to describe personal and domestic happenings. Ted Pauls' column and the letters section both give a lot of space to the current American fan-feud: the new fannish New Yorkers vs the rest. It's mostly bitching about cliques and mutual rudeness and as far as I can see I've friends on both sides. Mike handles the feuding fairly well, but nonetheless allows Ted Pauls' 'Salty Kumquat' column to continue it. I suppose it's typically fannish and boosts circulation but the whole thing will probably turn extremely boring if it's permitted to trundle on for any length of time. Energumen 7 then has three excellent articles (one reprinted) and supporting material which is both creditable and entertaining. The division between the sercon and fannish issues has put paid to the usual criticism of Energumen's uncohesive mixture, though I suppose this may return with the eighth issue. As it stands, Energumen 7 is a beautiful presentation: highly recommended.

IMMINENT ISSUES: Greg Pickersgill, Malcolm Edwards, and possibly Phil Spencer are thinking of starting a new rock fanzine, tentatively entitled Boogie Music. Anyone interested should contact Greg or Malcolm. Erg 35 is now out and so is Psywar 3 (Keith Walker). Fouler 7 is due out July.

OSFAN 15 (duplicated: 32pp. A4).
Editors: Marsha Allen & Douglas Clark, 62181/2 Hancock Av, St. Louis, Mo. 63139, USA.
Available for: trade, LoC, contribution.

Normally I choose fanzines I enjoy for review in Checkpoint, but every once in a while something appears which is so ghodawful bad that I'm tempted to give it the full treatment in the hope that it might warn others off. The arrival of Osfan 15 was just such an occasion...

Now the Osfan Group have plenty of enthusiasm and obviously enjoy putting their club fanzine together; however the result is a mess visually. A curious system of mailing the thing flat with a couple of staples through the open side means that Osfan invariably arrives without a cover, something of a minor blessing I suppose, having seen some of their past efforts at cover design.

Interior layout is unbelievably scrappy and possibly even worse than the proverbial British crudzine. In addition Osfan is adorned with artwork that is stunningly nauseating; the grotesque deformations of the female body picture in every issue are enough to put anyone off his breakfast and yet they even have a J.T.Rikosh Award named after one of their 'artists' ...

I'm afraid I didn't have the intestinal strength or mental courage to read this issue, but at a guess it will contain several boring reports of parties where the writer will display his lecherous virility by listing all the women he touched, made, leered at, or fondled (probably including grandmothers and female pets for good measure). When I first read one of these, I thought the writer a rather nasty adolescent; now I'm no longer sure what to think.

I note that this issue contains a list of Doc Clark's 1970 film viewing, "How I rate the movies I saw last year". It consists of a list, in order, of 105 general films, the majority of which possess no merit whatsoever ... Amazing.

There we are then: keep clear of Osfan for the sake of your stomachs. I'm sorry I can't find one good thing to say about the fanzine, especially since the OSFA Group may be a nice bunch of people. It's just that Osfan, under Hank Luttrell's editorship, used to be a serious newszine rival to Locus. Nowadays it's hardly a rival to Ruffcut...

GRANFALLOON 12 (duplicated:52pp.A4).
Editor: Linda Bushyager, Apt B211, Sutton Arms, 121 MacDade Blvd, Folsom, Pa. 19033, USA.
Available for: trade, LoC, contributions, 60¢ (4/$1).

Granfalloon used to be a large, good-looking, but essentially non-descript fanzine something like the late an unlamented Sirruish. Recently, however, Linda has found a new batch of writers and columnists who have helped place Granfalloon amongst the higher ranks of fan magazines and who have made it one of my personal favourites.

In this issue there are three excellent fannish articles. The first by Arnie Katz ('I have Seen the Future and it is Scruffy') wherein John (uh, well it's actually written under the pseudonym of John D. Berry, you see...) looks at fandom in the sixties and attempts some extrapolations. The second is a new and entertaining column by Mike Glicksohn, mainly centred around his addiction to buying artwork by Gaughan. Finally John.D.Katz has a small reprint from his personalzine, Log.

For the sercon there are, unfortunately, the inevitable book reviews and a small piece on 'Borrowed Plots' by Don D'Ammassa. Andy Offutt gushes (as only he can) about moon-shots and thunder with his 'Remembrances of 31st Jan 1971' when he was down at Cape Kennedy. There's also a playlet by Ron Miller which isn't too bad, nor conversely too good, and a very interesting piece on professional American SF artistry by Mike Gilbert.

I think the answer to Granfalloon's success lies in Linda's abilities as a collector of good items and a demander of the same from the writers and artists she admires. Her editorial and other natterings are inferior to the works of her contributors, but aren't (in this issue at least) too prominent or too self-congratulatory. Fine artwork is provided by Austin, Gilbert, Kinney, Grant Canfield and others, although the lettering is disappointing. Despite its shortcoming, Granfalloon remains an established favourite and I recommend this issue in particular highly.

COAs: julien raasveld, Steynstraat 5/7, B-2710, Hoboken, Belgium.
Malcolm Edwards, 28 Kinch Grove, Wembley, Middx., HA9 9TF. (June 27th)

NEW WORLDS: Issue 202 is now out in the new paperback format under the title of New Worlds Quarterly 1; it contains stories by Disch, Sladek, Ballard, M.John Harrison, David Redd, Keith Roberts, & B.J.Bayley. Locus, I note, prints the complete contents of the first three issues and a summary of the fourth. Hmm, I think I might start a new book column for sf freaks in the absence of a British sf newszine, but fear not fans! I shall keep it in its place ... Meanwhile. There's always Locus.

TUNISIAN HORROR: A letter from Tunisia announces a new sf/horror fantasy film magazine by the original name of Fantastic Worlds. The editor is American and the magazine is printed in North Africa by a Hungarian/German firm! $1.25 for the first 40 page issue from David Soren, 22 Chauncey St, Apt. 18, Cambridge, Mass. 02138, USA.

CHECKPOINT: Reprinting of items or news is welcome, but please credit Cp and give the address and appropriate sub rates. Harry Bell did the cartoon on p.1, by the way. Next issue may contain the promised checklist of British fanzines, but I won't commit myself! I'll be back in Keele by then as well ...

'T' – trade, 'N' – news, 'R' – review, 'S' – sample, 'XXX' – last issue, any number – final paid issue, 'A' – agent, 'J' – jesus.


Printed Matter.

Peter Roberts,
The Hawthorns,
Keele, Staffs,
Great Britain.

Return Requested if Undelivered.