Checkpoint 12

C*H*E*C*K*P*O*I*N*T 12 15th November 1971

Checkpoint is a news and reviews zine published by Peter Roberts, The Hawthorns, Keele, Staffs, UK, every fortnight or so. Subs are available at 4/20p (1st Class), 5/20p (2nd Class & Europe), and 6/$1 (foreign airmail). North American Agents: Charlie & Dena Brown, 2078 Anthony Av, Bronx, NY.10457, USA. Australian Agent: David Grigg, 1556 Main Rd, Research, Victoria 3095. Duplicated by Darrell & Ro Pardoe.

Restormel Press Publication: 52.

NOVACON SUCCESS: The first British November sf convention was held last weekend at the Imperial Centre Hotel, Birmingham, and was judged to be an exceedingly fine innovation with a pretty good chance of continuing. About 150 people turned up giving the local fringe fans a good view of British fandom in all its diversity and splendour – only the Durham 'Gannett' group appeared to be completely absent (although Brian Burgess and the notorious meat-pies were also sadly missing). The convention was chaired by Vernon Brown and his committee of four: Ray Not-the-Author Bradbury, Alan Denham, Alan Donnelly, and Pauline Dungate. Help was also provided by the hotel whose manager happened to be an avid sf reader and the rest of the Brum Group who use the Imperial as their regular meeting place.

GoH was James White and other professionals present included John Brunner, Anne McCaffrey, Ken Bulmer, James Blish, Bob Shaw and Kit Pedler. Chris Priest wasn't able to make it, unfortunately. Overseas fan attending were Mario Bosnyak (Germany), Fred Lehrer (US), and Peter Darling (Australia); the absence of a large continental contingent was one major difference between this Novacon and the normal British Eastercon.

The Imperial has fairly good facilities for a small convention with two bars (a public and a residents) and plenty of room. Drinks were served until demand and money were thin (about 3.30am) and the residents' bar stayed open all day – the first time I've encountered this at a con. The hotel appears to have been extensively modernized, the new swivel-cum-rocking chairs in the bar producing hours of entertainment, for example. Trouble with the hotel was, as far as I know, minimal (one room party was moved on, though not ended, after a noise complaint).

As usual I attended very little of the con programme (Saturday, 10.00am to 1.00am Sun., Sunday 10.00am to 4.30pm), but did catch part of James White's speech which was amusing and well received plus a talk on fanzines by Pete Weston wherein Pete discovered that the last Speculation had cost him £50 to produce, a fact he'd have preferred not to have found out... Other items were as follows: Jack Cohen on 'Man's Successors', Ken Bulmer & panel on 'SF Publications', John Brunner and Kit Pedler on 'Writing for the Screen', Bob Shaw on the 'Noreascon' (I would have gone had service at a nearby Chinese Restaurant been somewhat quicker!), James Blish, Jack Cohen, and Dr.Johnson on 'Pantropy vs Terraforming', and J.Young on 'Robots and Robotics'. The Time Machine, Village of the Damned, and Jason and the Argonauts were the three films shown on Saturday. The Programme Book is an attractively produced publication, though electrostencilled, and contains a John Brunner song, 'Only A Robot', and Bob Shaw on James White. Ray Bradbury produced a special Novacon commemorative cover – the first of its kind, since the Post Office strike prevented the Eastercon cover from receiving its special cancellation.

WHO WAS THAT HIPPY I SAW YOU WITH LAST NIGHT? I arrived in Brum at 11 am on Friday and immediately bumped into Pete Weston in Hudson's Bookshop which had detracted me from the straight course to the hotel. On finally arriving, however, I noted a disappearing James White and absolutely no one else, so after checking in ("Which firm do you belong to, sir?") I wandered off into the famed new shopping centre, The Bull Ring, and quickly lost myself amidst indoor fountains, torrents of escalators, open-plan shops, and budgie cages – all to a Musak accompaniment... As a topic of conversation, however, it succeeded quite well; about 50% of fans hated it, 20% liked it, 25% shrugged their shoulders, and 5% talked sf.

Gray Boak arrived early in the afternoon and, in the absence of anyone else, we returned to the Bull Ring for the best meal that Woolworth's could offer: greasy egg and chips. In the evening, however, a mass of fans poured into the Imperial and I managed to chat and drink into the early hours, visiting a quiet party in 329 (Dave Rowe's?), and finishing in the lounge bar with the last of the few: Fred Hemmings, Hartley Patterson, Ted Ball, Roy Kettle, and other late night wanderers.

Breakfast at the Imperial (8.30am, honest!) was small, but acceptable – ½r Cruttenden making his large and acceptable by demands, pleas, and outright scavenging. Saturday passed as before with much talk and trips to the bar, punctured by a trip to a Danish Restaurant with Fred, ½r, Gray Boak, Brian Hampton, Rambling Jake, and a couple of local fannish girls. Later on there was a Fancy Dress Party in 324 where Sam Long won a bottle of vodka dressed as 'Pontius Pilot' with toga and sundry aviational gear; Brian Hampton managed a very credible imitation of a daisy, though the remainder were largely second outings for Eastercon costumes. Migrating between that party, Ray Bradbury's party, and the bar kept me going until 5.00am or thereabouts.

The final day was comparably quiet, though I did manage to make the acquaintance of Peter Darling (over from Australia for eighteen months or so) and the two representatives of the M.A.D. Group, Peter Colley and Peter Presford who kindly gave me a lift back to Keele along with the half-ton of ancient Shaggys and Crys which I'd managed to pick up. Since they stopped off for coffee at Keele, they now have the doubtful honour of being the first fans to have visited me in my northern habitat – a rare and unlovely glimpse of the Roberts world...

If my photos turn out, they should appear in Speculation some time; otherwise I can promise nothing except the possibility of a longer conrep (and, I trust, better) in Egg. Briefly, however, the whole affair was extremely enjoyable and a good deal better than some past Eastercons (1968, 1970, for example). My thanks to the Brum Group.

NOVACON 1972: Three bids were made for next year's con: Pauline Dungate for the Imperial, Birmingham; Lee Hopewell for Nottingham; and Fred Lerner for Teaneck, New Jersey (seconded Mario Bosnyak & myself). Pauline Dungate's bid won very soundly and doubtless further details will appear in the near future.

FANZINES RECEIVED: An asterisk indicates a recommendation.

*Focal Point 32 (d.35pp.A4). Arnie Katz, 59 Livingston St, Apt 6B, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA. 3/$1. Faanish – Warner, Shaw, Carr, &c.

Pozitron 71/2 (p.66pp.1/8o). Arpad Toth, Trdomanyos Fantasztikus Klub, Budapest XI, Bocskai ut 37, Hungary. Sf. (In Hungarian).

Fanews 25 (sd.16pp.A4). Uwe Sitzenstock, D-3321 Salzgitter-Ohlendorf, Gartenweg 2, Germany. 10/2.70dm. German news. (In German).

*Locus 99 (d.8pp.A4) Charlie & Dena Brown, 2078 Anthony Av, Bronx, NY 10457, USA. 12/$3. UK Agent: Malcolm Edwards, 28 Kinch Grove, Wembley, Middx HA9 9TF. 10/£1.50 (airmail). Sf news.

Satellite 4 (d.3pp.¼o). Peter Colley, 2 Bristol Av, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3NU. 6/18p. MAD Group newsletter.

Chao 5 (d.25pp.¼o). John Alderson, Havelock, Victoria 3465, Australia. 30¢ or 40p (15p sounds more likely). Sf & general.


November/Hardback: Remploy: Seeds of Life, White Lily (Taine). Faber: First Contact (Hugh Walters).

November/Paperback: Corgi: Inside (Dan Morgan), New Writings in SF 4, 5 & 6 (ed.John Carnell).

December/Hardback: Hutchinson Education: Day of the Triffids (Wyndham).

December/Paperback: Sphere: The Other Side of the Mountain (Michel Bernanos). Panther: Nebula Award Stories 3. NEL: Swords Against Devilry (Leiber). Pan/Ballantine: Lost Horizon (James Hilton), Phantasies, Lilith (George Macdonald), Alpha One, Great Short Novels of SF (ed. Silberberg).

Gerald Bishop, 1971.

CORRIGENDUM: Gray Boak duplicated Checkpoint 11, not the Pardoes (as stated in that issue's colophon). Gray apologises for the duplicating – his duper packed in half-way through and at this very moment is probably in the hands of the small grey men from Gestetner...

PHIL DICK, GoH: The 2nd Annual Vancouver SF Convention on Feb 18/19 1972 will have Phil Dick as Guest of Honour. The con will be taking place at the Hotel Biltmore and anyone interested should write to SF3 c/o Student Society, Simon Fraser Univ, Burnaby 2, British Columbia, Canada.

PHILIP WYLIE DEAD: Philip Wylie, the well-known general-and-sf author (When Worlds Collide, &c) died of a heart attack on the 25th of October, aged 69. (Locus 99)

Peter Darling, The Grange, Copeswood, Coventry, CV3 1HS.
Greg Pickersgill, Flat 1, 62 Elsham Rd, Kensington, W14.
Mick Rowley, 71 Church St, Tamworth, Staffs.
Ken Eadie, 1 Prosser St, Park Village, Wolverhampton, WV10 9AS.
Ed Reed, Box 681, Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.06106, USA.

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DELTA GROUP HALLOW-E'EN: "On Saturday the 31st of October, the Delta Group (Manchester) held its annual Hallow-E'en Party at the home of Tony and Marjorie Edwards. Also present were the LiG Group who journeyed from Liverpool and consisted of the entire Shorrock family, Eddie Jones, Tom Hogan, Suzanne & Kim. Numerous other fen who arrived will have to remain anonymous, due to an increasing alcoholic haze on my part, though I do recall Pete Presford of the MAD Group putting in an appearance. As is to be expected at these gatherings much bheer and wine were consumed, interspersed with a buffet laid on by Tony and Marjorie (I don't mean they actually laid on it of course...).

The traditional apple-ducking went exceedingly well, so well in fact that I for one began to suspect that the bowl being used did have punch in it!

Before everyone became too plastered to think straight, there were several interesting discussions on definitions of fantasy and sf and, of course, on the merits of 2001. Harry Nadler projected a silent version of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad which was enjoyed by everyone, though some of the ad-lib dialogue provided by the audience had to be heard to be believed. Blame it on the booze.

The party went on into the very early hours and finally broke up with a vague plan of visiting Belle Vue Zoo sometime on the Sunday.

Harry & Marie Nadler, Lynda & I arrived at the Zoo about two thirty and though we saw no sign of other fen (apart from the occupants of the ape house), we had a great time looking at the animals and drinking, and giving little Lindsay Nadler rides on the fun fair, and drinking, and drinking, and drinking..." (Chuck Partington, via Satellite).

TED CARNELL IN HOSPITAL: Locus 99 reports that Ted Carnell is being treated for near crippling arthritis and would appreciate letters: Ward M-6, Royal Masonic Hospital, Hammersmith, London W6.

GERMAN FANZINE CHECKLIST: Fanews 25 prints a full list of German language fanzines currently being produced (with addresses, &c). Thirty six are listed of which I've seen a bare half dozen. Anyone interested in contacting this segment of international fandom might well start here – address in the 'Fanzines Received' column.



Peter Roberts
The Hawthorns
Keele, Staffs
Great Britain