Checkpoint 25

C:H:E:C:K:P:O:I:N:T 25 21st October 1972

Checkpoint is a fortnightly news and reviews zine published by Peter Roberts, 87 West Town Lane, Bristol, BS4 5DZ, UK. Subs are 10/40p (2nd class and Europe) and 6/$1 or 8/R1 (foreign airmail). Sample copy free. Agents: (USA) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Calif. 64116; (Aus) David Grigg, Box 100, Carlton South, Vic. 3053; (RSA) Nick Shears, 52 Garden Way, Northcliff 4, Johannesburg. Back issues available @ 4/10p (6/50¢ – seamail); quantities vary. News this issue from: John Berry, Jan Jansen, Hartley Patterson, Ian Williams, Ian Maule, Graham Poole, & Ethel Lindsay. Restormel Press Publication: 69.

LACon Report (John D. Berry): "The worldcon this year was more like a carnival than ever. It was one of those affairs where there are more people you want to meet and talk to than you possibly can, and all the parties are crowded. Even the closed-door parties. The last attendance figure I heard was around 1800, which makes the LACon the biggest worldcon ever held – a record that seems to be broken each succeeding year. With events scheduled for an amazing spectrum of fringe fandoms, right down to contract bridge players, the con took on the aspects of some kind of fair or festival condensed into the halls and public rooms of a hotel.

Most of the attendees had some feeling that the centre of the con was science fiction or fandom; but some didn't. Terry Carr was at the 'Meet the Pros' party in the Penthouse on Thursday night, talking to a well-known sf writer who felt neglected because nobody asked him for his autograph. Terry turned round and collared the first person passing by. "Ask him for his autograph," said Terry, "he's a famous author." The passer-by shrugged and said, "I'm just here chasing girls."

It seemed to be a con where everyone was wandering around looking for The Party. I remember tramping through the halls on Friday night with about eight other people, all well-known fans and all of us friends, trying to find a party. Eventually we stopped in one of our rooms for a while and realised we were a party. We had the restless urge to move on, though, to keep looking, as half an hour later we were all dispersed over the hotel again. This sort of thing kept up for the first three nights of the con. On Friday or Saturday, Ted White remarked that everyone he saw seemed to have a glazed expression; people would greet each other and mutter something in passing; but they were always looking for someone else. Among the fannish fans, or at least the fans I spent most of my time with, there wasn't a stable party till Sunday night, when everyone seemed to find his way to Don Fitch's room for a semi-closed-door party. (What that means is that anyone that someone knew was welcome in. This didn't work perfectly, as I later found out that Grant and Cathy Canfield were turned away because whoever answered the door didn't know them. Ron Turner, editor of Last Gasp Eco-Funnies, and Larry Todd were about to be turned away when Ted White exclaimed, "Don't turn them away! I know them", and told us who they were. Turner later delivered a lecture to those of us who were holding a last-gasp party around the pool, just before sunrise, about the terrible elitism of turning people away from parties. He insisted that our criterion for entrance was being famous; he was known to be famous so we let him in. We explained to him about friendship, and about overcrowded rooms.)

The only two panels I attended were those on 'Fandom in the 50's' and 'Fandom in the 60's'; the one on the 50's was good. It was held in a small room behind the main ballroom; so those who got there to listen were few and interested. Ted White was talking about the convivial feeling of cons in the 50's, when most people knew each other, and he looked out on the audience and commented that nearly every face was at least vaguely familiar. That could hardly have been said at the larger program items. Ted told us how he had decided that the whole concept of numbered fandoms, which he used to write about at length, was a lot of bunk. Terry Carr reminisced about Fanac, which he feels found the role it did because of the voice in which it was written; Fanac spoke as though all the disparate factions of fandom were one family, and fans started believing the reflexion of themselves that they saw in Fanac and made it the truth. Fanac was started when fandom was actually rent by the bitter WSFS Inc. feud; but Terry and Ron Ellik refused to take it seriously. It became a running joke. All they had to do was report the facts of the tremendous lawsuits being thrown around, and everybody except those directly involved would crack up. They even ran one news item, about a huge lawsuit, under the headline 'Can You Top This?' That's how Fanac became indispensable.

Lou Tabakow told some fine stories about the origins of the Midwestcons. It seems the first Midwestcon was got together on the spur of the moment by Doc Barrett to welcome a visiting fan from overseas. The next year someone else famous was coming through, so they organised another con. It was held at first in Doc Barrett's office; but once it became an established con it was moved to Beastley's-on-the-Bayou, the Midwestcon's first hotel. It was there that Harlan Ellison dropped a bag of water on Jim Harmon's head and Harmon ran upstairs and kicked Harlan's door in. The next year the Midwestcon had to leave town, so they moved to Cincinnati, where it's been ever since.

The panel on 'Fandom in the 60's' was a fiasco. Jack Harness was the moderator; but he was not forceful enough to do the job. The panel was almost exclusively made up of convention fans, giving an over-balance to the con aspect of the 1960's. Rich Brown tried to correct that by talking about fanzines; but his talk was diffuse and he never got down to specific stories and anecdotes, which is what makes a panel like that really come alive. Lon Atkins appeared to talk about Southern fandom, and he was the only one who really had fun with the panel. Tony Lewis cane up with an intriguing view of East Coast con fandom: to him it resembled the 'Regency Season' of 19th Century England, with a regular circuit of cons that everyone goes to. Con fandom on the East Coast, he said, is much more cohesive now than fanzine fandom, on account of this 'Season' approach. Rusty Hevelin commented from the audience that it was only a few years ago that a 'Con of the Month Club' was a joke...

One of the most entertaining items of the con was the film shown by the Australian fans, in support of their bid for Australia in '75. Aussie Fan is a super-hero spoof filled with fannish allusions and jokes. Robin Johnson showed it over and over again throughout the con, whenever enough people wanted to see it, and everybody seemed to love the film.

The LA con never developed into a poolcon, even though there was a large, warm pool just a few yards from the main building of the hotel. But one of the disasters that had been predicted never occurred. It had been said that there was no place to eat within walking distance of the hotel, which would have left most fans without a car at the mercy of the hotel coffeeshop (which did not stay open all night). It turned out, though, that there were quite a few restaurants just a few blocks up Sepulveda Blvd, and I the evenings the sidewalks were populated almost entirely by fans. The only trouble was that all the best places were closed on Labor Day."

John D. Berry.

SFANCON 4: Jan Jansen has sent details of next year's Belgian convention in Ghent: "Plans are well under way, indeed almost complete, except for some specific items. Contrary to previous conventions there will be a semi-official pre-con day on the Saturday in order to cope with visitors travelling some distance from their homes; there'll be a welcome service and a get-to-know-each-other session in a café-cellar, Rotonde, where, from ten in the morning till sleep overcomes the Ghent organizers, fans will be welcomed, introduced, and generally given the feeling of Flemish fandom at its best." The con itself is well-programmed and will be held at the casino; cost of membership is about £1 and Jan suggests that English fans might like to visit Ghent in 73. Unfortunately, I can't provide the exact date at the moment; but doubtless it'll be noted shortly.

NOVACON II: I haven't received any recent information on Britain's new annual convention and have, indeed, only just remembered to register. But it should be held on November 4th and 5th in the imperial Centre Hotel, Birmingham, and 50p registrations should be sent to Pauline Dungate, 8 Stirling Court, Stirling Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham 16, or to Jeff Hacker. Checkpoint 26 will appear immediately after the Novacon weekend with a conreport. See you there?

A POSTAL FAN GROUP? It may sound a weird idea, and it probably is; but Graham Poole and several others are forming such a group with a round-robin of letters as their major form of contact. They are still looking for a few more people (in the UK, please) to bring the group to an ideal number, so if you've been looking for more fannish contact and involvement, but have found few other fans on Lundy Island, try writing to Graham: 23 Russet Rd, Cheltenham, Glos., GL51 7LN.

GIANT TAPEWORMS make lousy pets and Ben Prole, in the wilds of Ghana, is faunching after fanzines of virtually any description – even sercon stuff... One of the objects is to convert the natives (and his sf reading colleagues), so send him a sample copy: PO Box 50, Bawku Secondary School, Bawku, Upper Region, Ghana.

A PLAGUE OF GANNETS: News from the Northeast suggests Paranoid 3 will appear after all, though it'll be a final issue. Ian Williams is interested in doing a fanzine review column and asks "if anyone would like my services?" (presumably in the guise of fanzine reviewer...); Ian Maule is also offering his services, or rather those of his duplicator for a reasonable fee. Write if you're attracted...

fanzines received

Aleph 1 (40pp:A4:p) Jacques Soulier, 3 allee de Beziers, 69190 Saint-Fons, France. Much of this fanzine is fiction, a common practice in many European publications; but more interestingly, there is a large section on Trieste and the Eurocon. At the moment Aleph looks rather sercon – whether it will ever become somewhat more fannish, I'm not sure, though I rather doubt it; it's a pity, since French fandom is still something of an unknown quantity. It's in French, by the way.

Dzarmungzund 8 (70p:A4:d) Joanne Burger, 55 Blue Bonnet Ct, Lake Jackson, Texas 77566, USA. (free) This is a continuation of Joanne's former fanzine, the spirit duplicated Pegasus; it has all the faults of the latter I'm afraid: the artwork is horrendous and looks like it's been put onto stencils with a pair of sharp false teeth (the cover, however, is printed and good, making the contrast worse), whilst the written material is poor and messy – there seems to be seventy pages of fillers and nothing substantial. Not recommended, I fear.

Focal Point 35 (Arnie Katz, 59 Livingston St, Apt 6B, Brooklyn, NY.11201, USA. (£/$1) One of the finest fanzines around, Focal Point rears its monthly head again – after a gap of six months or so. After a long introduction from Arnie, Terry Carr tells of his travels (of a fannish nature for the most part) in his 'Infinite Beanie' column and intersperses it with quotations from long-gone fanzines ("Dick Lupoff on death: 'When it happens, just don't be there.'"); Calvin Demmon's column, 'Cheese Sandwich', is a personal one and is this time devoted to an account of a recent beatnik party; finally John Berry takes a look at Speaker's Corner, not all that entertainingly, I fear. There's a good letter column and some excellent cartooning throughout. Focal Point is thus highly recommended to one and all.

Granfalloon 15 (62pp:A4:d) Ron and Linda Bushyager, 1614 Evans Av, Prospect Park, Pa.19076, USA. (3/$2) Granfalloon came fifth in this year's Hugo voting; it's large and attractively produced, though some of the artwork is overrated – thus Walt Simonson, a minor Derek Carter (himself not the beset of fan artists), is given a 'folio' supplement which he hardly deserves. But Granfalloon's contents vary considerably in quality and spoil the whole; the principal offender is Linda herself who is a poor and rather tedious writer, given to long editorials about Hugo awards and suchlike subjects of minimal interest. Then too there is a section of book reviews... However, on the bright side Grant Canfield has a fine little personal piece, Arnie Katz is present, and Jeff Glencannon does some good fanzine reviews. Granfalloon is recommended, despite my criticisms, however; I just wish it would look closely at itself and raise its standards to the highest fanzine level instead of that of the good, but soon forgotten, also-rans.

Haverings 53 (11pp: 1/4 o:d) Ethel Lindsay, 6 Langley Av, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 6QL. (6/40p) Haverings is now quarterly and consists, as always, of 'comments upon fanzines received'. I always find it interesting, though the frequent mistakes and typoes are an irritation, especially when they occur in an address.

Hell 6 (52pp: 1/4 o:d) Brian Robinson and Paul Skelton, 9 Linwood Grove, Manchester, M12 4QH. (free?) Hell is an OMPAzine and bears all the scars of its origin. I've seen many worse; but this is only somewhat better and the only item of any real merit is Ian Williams playing at columnist again with a further saga of Gannet fandom. Otherwise there's Mike Meara on Django Reinhardt and precious little else – poor mailing comments and letter column, plus sundry fillers. Hell appeared to have some energy and potential when it first appeared; but its subsequent performance has been sadly disappointing.

Les Spinge 24 (4pp: 1/4 o:d) Darroll Pardoe, 24 Othello Close, Hartford, Huntingdon, PE18 7SU. (free?) Just a short Spinge consisting of a four-page editorial rambling, marking Darroll's return to fanac after a brief bout of gafiation (a nasty disease that hits the best of trufen).

Locus 124 (8pp:A4:d) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Ca.94116, USA. (10/$3.50 – airmail) The latest issue of this popular sf newszine contains all the details of the LACon Hugo voting in a mass of figures – why, I'm not sure – plus magazine reviews and the usual items of news. Pete Weston is UK agent and Locus is hereby recommended.

Parallax 7 (28pp:A4:sd) Julian Raasveld, steyn 5, B-27 10 Hoboken, Belgium. (free?) Parallax tends to reprint quite a large amount of recent material which was fairly well distributed in its original form. This issue has, for example, Ron Clarke's article 'The Australian Fmz Explosion' as a leading piece – it appeared recently in, I think, The Penultimate Blimp. More worthy is a Ron Bennett reprint from an obscure French fmz of 1956. The rest consists of letters, a few non-descript reviews, and some fiction; it's not great stuff, though it does represent great effort and dedication – it's in English, after all – and it has improved since its early issues. Parallax would stand up well in British fandom as it is.

Scottishe 63 (23pp: 1/4 o:d) Ethel Lindsay (see Haverings) (15p) A thin, but venerable fanzine, Scottishe continues along its customary path with a good account by Ethel Parker of her visit to an Apollo launching and a non-descript article by Ken Cheslin on intelligence; book reviews are brief and the locs are cut a little too severely for my liking; but Scot, together with Atom (rather poor this issue, though) is usually an entertaining fanzine and a regular fannish standard.

Sfinx 6 (25pp:A4:p) Allan Scott, New College, Oxford. (free?) Now printed and with a large circulation, only part of which is in fandom, Sfinx has little of the fanzine about it; it's more of a university magazine devoted to sf fiction and in that role it's quite good. At least two of the pieces are extremely readable: a Phil Dick story by Chris Morgan and a Pythonesque short by Kev Smith with the fine start: "Howdy! Dis am de Queen Mudder speakin'!" In fact I'll recommend Sfinx as one of the best amateur fiction magazines I've yet come across – and I usually detest the breed.

The Middle Earthworm 18 (20pp:A4:d) Archie Mercer, 21 Trenethick Parc, Helston, Cornwall. (free) A letterzine largely devoted to Tolkien, The Middle Earthworm nevertheless allows space for all sorts of rambling and as such it entertains. It's also interesting as a last stomping ground of such British fans of the early sixties as Mike Ashley and Adj Cook – not to mention Beryl Mercer who makes a rare appearance as well.

Warm Heart Pastry 1 1/2 (6pp:A4:d) Neal Goldfarb, 30 Brodwood Dr, Stamford, Ct.06902, USA. (35¢) The first issue was a good one and this is just a personal zine to let the world at large know that he's back from the dead – Neal Goldfarb, that is, not JC...

COME IN NUMBER SIX, YOUR TIME IS UP! A freind (sic) from Stockport warns me that a new "secret service of terrifying magnitude" has got my name down as a potential collaborator with alien invaders, who are apparently expected shortly. I'm not alone, however, since "everyone who has ever contributed to your zine or any other in the field of amatuer (sic) publishing" is also on the list. Ah well, at least someone is reading Checkpoint...

SUPER DUPER: The following ad has been passed on to me for the titillation of potential faneds: "For Sale – surplus to the requirements of the Naval Wargames Society, one Gestetner 310T, £30 or offer, and one Roneo 250, £15 or offer. Ring 01-309 2562."

6TH BRITISH COMICON: John Mansfield, the Chairman, has passed on the following information: the 1973 Comicon will be held on the weekend of July 21st/22nd at the Regent Centre Hotel, London W1 (b&b in double room is £3.50 each). Guests of Honour are Frank Bellamy, of Dan Dare fame, and Morris, apparently of Lucky Luke fame. Programming includes films and such like. Membership is £1 to the treasurer, Diane Stokes, Dark They Were and Golden Eyed, 10 Berwick St, London, W1V 3RG.

SUNDRY MEETINGS: Hartley Patterson notes some further British fan activity not covered in Checkpoint 21: Herts Fandom meets on the Saturday after the Globe (1st Thursday in the month) at Keith Bridges' place; the Tolkien Society meets on the fourth Saturday of every even month at the Cock off Euston Rd (behind the Xerox building) at 7pm; finally, regular Diplomacy meetings are likely to start in London soon – there are now six new Diplomacy fanzines in Britain and the British Diplomacy Club has 150 members, after its first six months.

THE WORLD OUTSIDE: Ethel Lindsay has forwarded further American newspaper clippings, if anyone is interested, including a Bill Glass column ('Slow Glass') from the LA Staff. // Arthur C.Clarke will appear in The Observer colour supplement on Oct. 29th, writing about his home in Ceylon. // Brian Aldiss is writing fairly regularly for The Guardian; an article on Oct. 10th described fandom and fanzines in fairly glowing terms. // Bram & Diane Stokes appeared in The Observer colour supplement recently in connexion with Dark They Were... // Prof. Tolkien's son, a local priest, appeared in The Evening Sentinel (Potteries) recently.

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Last issue, if crossed, or marked 'S' (sample); a number indicates the extension of your subscription – please renew early, eh?



Peter Roberts....
87 West Town Lane
Bristol, BS4 5DZ,
United Kingdom....