Checkpoint 31

CHECKPOINT 31 10th Feb. 1973

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 & Europe) and 6/$1 or 8/R1 (foreign airmail). Sample copy free.

Agents: (USA) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Calif. 94116; (Aus) Dave Grigg, Box 100, Carlton South, Vic.3053; (RSA) Nick Shears, 52 Garden Way, Northcliffe 4, Johannesburg, Transvaal.

News this issue from: Gerald Bishop, Pete Weston, Malcolm Edwards, James Goddard, Ian Maule, Fred Hemmings, Keith Walker, and Dave Rowe.

Restormel Press Publication: 75.

FIRST EMBASSY CON? Two issues ago Gerald Bishop mentioned a seminar at the American Embassy in London on sf; Pete Weston & Malcolm Edwards sent further details – Malcolm noted: "Speakers/panellists include Amis, Conquest, Blish, Aldiss, Weston and Richard Roud (of The Grauniad and NY Film Festival). NASA films and Night of the Living Dead, plus a foreign animated film of some kind, complete the programme, organised by Phil Strick. There will also be an exhibition." After the thing was over, Lisa Conesa mentioned it in a letter as a "super minicon" and shortly after Fred Hemmings sent the following report. Now if I'd thought it would've been a minicon... ah well, so it goes. Here's Fred now: "The 26/27th January saw a new event in the annals of British (?) fandom when the American Embassy, through its Student Information Office, held what was advertised as a seminar & exhibition and turned out to be a Con – if a very mini one.

"I was unable to get there on the Friday when I gather that Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest were the highlights; but I was there the following day when Brian Aldiss succeeded in stealing the show.

"Having arranged to meet a small group at the nearest tube station, I arrived late – thanks to London's incredible one-way-no-parking system – and hurried into the hall expecting things to be well under way; I needn't have worried: true to fannish tradition things started late and became steadily more so. The day began, eventually, with two NASA films – the first of Apollo 16 and the other a somewhat out of date look at America's future space programme and a few of the offshoots from it with which people come into daily contact. No sooner was the hall lighted than a further blackout, penetrated only by a pencil torch on the platform, signalled Peter Weston and his slide show. Having missed all previous showings, I had quite looked forward to this and was somewhat disappointed with the result. Even with Peter's commentary and interesting asides from Brian Aldiss, who made his first appearance at this time accompanied by Chairman Philip Strick, there seemed to be something missing. Perhaps the main trouble was the way the talk, centered as it was around magazine covers, tended to overconcentrate on those produced for Astounding, barely admitting the existence of so many others. Phil Strick's choice of animated films is not mine and since the one that followed this was no exception, I shall say no more.

"After a fannish lunch at a local eatery known as the Dallas Cafe (appropriately ridiculous), we returned in time to see Isaac Asimov's mouth which proceeded, amid technical inadequacies and faced with a time shortage, to give a somewhat shallow review of post-Tremaine sf, mainly in the magazines with Astounding and John Campbell again dominating the proceedings. Jim Blish had by this time arrived and his scholarly dissection which followed left very little of the film intact, though it was still worth watching. During his talk Jim mentioned Campbell's predilection for long business lunches (with which another in the same film series concerns itself) and said that when it was impossible to meet in person Campbell would write letters thousands of words long criticizing and commenting on material submitted; he cited one he himself had received in connexion with his Cities in Flight series and how he had then spent four years crossing out, line by line, the suggestions included as he used them.

"Brian Aldiss now returned to the stage and after a highly interesting and entertaining talk of his own on the origin of science fiction ideas was joined by Phil Strick, Jim Blish, and, after he was observed to be in the audience, Chip Delany. Their discussion formed a post-mortem to the two days, ranging far and wide over a variety of subjects, the audience, especially those in fandom, joining in with abandon.

"Afterwards, I glanced at a poorly programmed computer producing 'stories' – these appeared to consist of condensed, condensed novels, the difference being that these were all plot and no story rather than the other way round. A two mile trip to reach the car (which was found to be suffering from an almost flat battery and had to be push-started) before we went on to Gray Boak's place and a 'Kitten' fan-meet didn't serve as a Grand Finale, but it was a good day for all that."

The Guardian gave the event some considerable coverage, with a piece in 'Miscellany' giving a transcript of a terrible computer-story and a later, and well-written, article-cum-conrep. Pity I didn't go, it seems.

MORE INFO ON SFANCON 4: Details of the programme for this Belgium con were given by Jan Jansen in Checkpoint 25 and further information has been printed since from Jan and Julien Raasveld. The following is mostly mundane, but necessary information for potential travellers; it comes from Simon Joukes, the con organiser (haantjeslei 14, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium), via Dave Rowe: "SFANCON 4 will take place in the World's Most Gothic Town – that's to say: Ghent – on May 19/20th 1973. It'll also be titled BENELUXCON 1, as our sister organization, NCSF, agreed to join the Committee. GoHs will be Brian Aldiss and the young French author, Daniel Walther; Fan GoH is our German friend, Gerd Hallenberger. Supporting membership is 50f (Belgian) – roughly 50p – and attending membership is 100f (including a drink on Sunday morning!); payments to my postal account: 4529 47. We expect around 150 to 200 attending members (this year, in Antwerp, we had 135 with Mike Moorcock as GoH).

"The programme is more fannish than most European conventions, although we've still got serious items. Accommodation: a) there'll be some rooms in the Cafe Rotondo, the Con place on Sat.19th, at very low prices – about 150f. b) across the street is the Hotel de Karper – b&b (single) is 220f. c) at the railway station (5 minutes walk) is a series of hotels – price range 150f to 275f b&b. d) Die Draeke youth hostel is at St.Pieters Plein, about ten minutes walk away. e) Camping Vervoort is about 15 minutes away by streetcar.

"If you arrive by boat at Ostend, Ghent is easy to reach both by car (60 miles on the motorway) or by railway. From Britain, the best way is by boat – Dover/Ostend or Harwich/Zeebrugge. All members will receive a Hotel Booking Form plus a map & guide to Ghent in English."

the sercon page

BOOK NEWS FOR SF FREAKS: (Gerald Bishop lists new sf books for February)

February: Hardback: Gollancz: Wolfbane (Pohl & Kornbluth), Tomorrow Lies In Ambush (Shaw), Inconstant Moon (Niven). Hart-Davis: The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (Bradbury – plays). Hodder: Terminal (Cordell), The Mountains At The Bottom Of The World (Cameron). Sidgwick & Jackson: A Choice Of Gods (Simak), Earthlight (Clarke), The Best of J.W.Campbell (ed.Blish), The Probability Man (Ball).

Paperback: Corgi: Sturgeon in Orbit (Sturgeon). Hodder/Coronet: Transit (Cooper). NEL: The Silkie (van Vogt), The Interpreter (Aldiss), Weapon Shops of Isher (van Vogt), Carson of Venus, Fighting Man of Mars (Burroughs). Pan: Gold The Man (Green). Sphere: The Hugo Winners:I 63-7, II 68-70 (ed.Asimov), Cryptozoic (Aldiss), Hothouse (Aldiss).

CAMPBELL AWARD: The following notes come from Leon Stover via Jim Goddard: "The John W.Campbell Memorial Award For The Best Sf Novel Of The Year is an event that will take place on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on 6th April 1973. The first of three prizes consists of cash amounting to $600, a trophy especially designed by advanced members of the institute of design, and an inscribed scroll. It appears that everyone on the committee will be present (Brian Aldiss, Tom Clareson, Harry Harrison, Willis McNelly, and myself), plus Ben Bova, Gordy Dickson, and others." This, I should note, is not to be confused with the Campbell Award for new writers which will be presented at TORCON 2 (with members voting).

PAPERBACK RECEIVED: Joseph Green's Gold The Man (Pan: 30p) is a fairly straight sf adventure where the interest lies solely in the odd situation – a 300 foot alien invader is captured and part of his brain is hollowed out to allow control rooms for two persons so that the alien can be used as a spy on its home planet. The novel is shallow apart from this gimmick and further aliens have to be produced half way through to resuscitate rapidly dying interest on the part of the reader. Not, I fear, recommended.

SF MARKETS, YET... I don't really want to follow in Locus' footsteps, but Pete Weston has asked me to pass this on: "By the middle of this year, a new fantasy magazine will be in publication in the USA. Entitled The Literary Magazine Of Fantasy & Terror ((sic)), or simply F&T, it will provide a showplace for new and talented authors. This, then, is an invitation to little known but serious British authors to submit their finest efforts for consideration. Payment will vary with the assessed quality, but – since we are a young and not wealthy publishing house – will probably average only about 1¢ per word at first. All submissions must be accompanied by self addressed return envelope and two International Reply Coupons." Editor is Amos Salmonson, Box 89517, Zenith, Wa.98188, USA.

ARE YOU A WEIRD PUBLISHER? If so, F.C. Adams (R.D.1 Box 498, Lemont Furnace, Pa.15456, USA) would like to hear from you; he is compiling a directory of all magazines, pro & fan, publishing material on Lovecraft, Howard and similar authors. He also intends to produce a regular newsletter for fans of the Lovecraft circle of writers.

STOP DUPER! Vonnegut's Between Time & Timbuktu on BBC2 – Sat.24th Feb.

fanzines received

Amoeboid Scunge 8 (4pp:A4:d) Jay Cornell & Seth McEvoy, 105 E.Wilson, MSU, E. Lansing, Mi.48823, USA. (free) An entertaining fortnightly idiocy – this issue has a few oddments from Scunge readers and a 'scandal' over Locus (the theory being that it's profit-making and hence ineligible for a Hugo – I've heard that Charlie sends so many free copies to publishers and authors that he makes a loss, but...). Recommended.

Bundalohn Quarterly 4 (28pp:¼o:d) John Bangsund, PO Box 357, Kinston, ACT. 2604, Australia. ($1) BQ is an apazine-cum-personalzine; it has some FAPA mailing comments, but most of it is taken up with John's own, charming kind of humour, although there are two fairly good articles from Shayne McCormack and Paul Stevens. It's as entertaining as any Bangsund fanzine and I thoroughly recommend it.

Cynic 5 (26pp:A4:d) Gray Boak, 6 Hawks Rd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, KT1 3EG. (20p) Cynic has been long awaited by British fans: it's a good fannish production and one that I always enjoy. But it's a pity it's so short – when there's almost a year between issues, you're led to expect something rather large. Still, I'm glad to see it back for all that. Jean Finney has her promised article on the professional Messiahs of the Globe, Jhim Linwood reviews a few fanzines, and Gray talks of The Brunel Bridge Sunrise Observance Society (of which I'm a practising member) – and the rest is letters. Recommended.

Down Alien Skies 1 (1pp:fscp:d) Nick Shears & Greg Lee, 52 Garden Way, Northcliffe 4, Johannesburg, South Africa. (10/55p) This marks the start of a new series of Postal Diplomacy games; interested international players should write to Nick or Greg for further information – games fee is 35p plus a 50p deposit which is forfeit if you drop out, but returned if you're eliminated.

Egoboo 16 (24pp:A4:d) John Berry & Ted White, 35 Dusenberry Rd, Bronxville, NY.10708, USA. ($1) Egoboo has long been one of my favourite fanzines; this is the fourth annish, in fact, and is heavily disguised as a copy of Hyphen (of which it is reminiscent in any case). It's a splendid fannish creation and carries probably the best column around at the moment – Calvin Demmon's 'Whole Hog'. Bill Rotsler has a fine column as well and John & Ted both have long editorials. Even the letter column is good. What more could you ask for? Highly recommended.

Fanews 60 (10pp:A4:p) Ralf Kleinschnittger, 5868 Letmathe, Theodor-Hürth-str. 61, Germany. (10/DM4) Fanews is probably the best place to find information on German fandom – and sf, if that's your interest. It's a straightforward newszine and a pretty regular one too. In German.

Gegenschein 8 (42pp:1/6o:d) Eric Lindsay, 6 Hillcrest Av, Faulconbridge, NSW 2776, Australia. (50¢) I'm afraid I always find Geg a rather ho-hummy fanzine – the contents are ok, but nothing more. This issue is no exception: Darrell Schweitzer on 'generation ships', John Alderson on 'Why I Read Sf', Jack Woodham on 'Why I like the USA', Christine McGowan on aborigines, plus other material from Leon Taylor and V.MacKenzie – unusually there are no letters. There's just nothing of particular interest there, I'm afraid, and Eric is beginning to indulge his peculiar, apparent love of the mechanics of duplicating – a rather dry and fruitless exercise.

Inworlds 2 (8pp:A4:d) Bill Bowers, Box 354, Wadsworth, Oh.44281, USA (5/40p) UK Agent: Terry Jeeves. "A fanzine about fanzines" it says at the top of the colophon, mainly meaning short fanzine reviews (quite useful & fairly good) and a few oddments of news; its other function is as a letter-substitute. Inworlds is monthly and I'll be looking forward to future issues.

Locus 132 (8pp:A4:d) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Ca.94116, USA. (12/$3) UK Agent: Pete Weston (10/$3.50). Locus is calling itself an sf newspaper nowadays, and I suppose that describes it well enough. Lead stories are that Random House has bought Ballantine books and that a person called Heinlein is publishing a new novel (Robert Q. Heinlein's I Will Fear No Weevil, of course – Checkpoint is first with the news again!). Tony Lewis reviews sf magazines – a monotonous task – and Rotsler has some fine cartoons. Recommended.

Norstrilian News 4/3 (4pp:¼o:d) Robin Johnson, GPO Box 4039, Melbourne, Vic. 3001, Australia. (20¢) I'm UK Agent (5/50p). Another newszine, this time from Australia – a very fannish place these days. Lead story is another hoax – Moorcock's Breakfast In The Ruins was sent to a newspaper with a note from James Colvin saying that Moorcock had died of lung cancer; great importance was attached to this in the subsequent review... NN is, of course, good for Aussie news and if any pommie bastard wants a copy, I've a few samples spare.

Placebo 3.5 (22pp:A4:d) Moshe Feder & Barry Smotroff, 147-53 71 Rd, Flushing, NY.11367, USA. (free?) This consists of locs on the third issue – not very interesting in its own right, though the magazine proper is usually better. They slaughtered an article I did on aardvark fandom (by request) – it appears here, massively cut down, as a meaningless loc. Potential contributors beware!

SF Times 130 (52pp:A4:p) Hans-Joachim Alpers, 2850 Bremerhaven 1, Weissenburger Strasse 6, Germany. (DM3.60) A serious semi-professional production, part newszine and part underground paper, Sf Times is largely concerned with films this issue with the second part of Fernand Jung's article on sf and fantasy cinema. The rest is mostly reviews and news. Recommended. In German.

Something Else 1 (36pp:¼o:d) Shayne McCormack, 49 Orchard Rd, Bass Hill, NSW 2197, Australia. (4/$1.50) Shayne's new fanzine is, I must admit, a lot better than expected; it's generally fannish and contains the first part of John Bangsund's autobiography, a history of primeval Aussie fandom, and two lesser pieces by Bertram Chandler and Margaret Oliver.

Son of the WSFA Journal 58-68 & 70 (av.10pp:A4:d) Don Miller, 12315 Judson Rd, Wheaton, Md.20906, USA. (20¢) UK Agent: Brian Robinson (12/70p). This is mainly concerned with reviews – largely books and fanzines. Naturally enough the early issues are somewhat dated by now. Quite useful.

Warm Heart Pastry 2 (11pp:A4:d) Neil Goldfarb, 30 Brodwood Dr, Stamford, Ct.06902, USA. (free?) WHP has turned into a fannish personalzine – a good one too – and this issue deals with the aftermath of the LACon with a report from Neal and another from John Berry. Recommended.

Wombat 4 (50pp:¼o:d) Ron Clarke & Shayne McCormack (see Something Else) (free) There's always a mixed bag in Wombat – contributors include Barry Danes, Jack Wodhams, David Hough, Christine McGowan, and Graham Love (plus a number of would-be poets) and contents vary from conreports to a photo-illustrated trip to Cambodia. Letter column is fairly large. Always interesting, if only in parts.

FANZINE NEWS: Viewpoint, says Fred Hemmings, is not unnaturally "in cold storage" until after the Eastercon. // Next issue of Maya is due this month, says Ian Maule; inside will be articles from Rob Jackson, Gray Boak, John Piggott, John Hall, Terry Jeeves and, possibly, Ian Williams and Darrell Schweitzer.

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Last issue if crossed, marked 'S' (sample) or 'R' (review within); a number indicates the last issue before your sub expires.

RETURN OF THE FANZINE AWARD: The following comes from a letter from Keith Walker (3 Cromer Grove, Burnley, Lancs): "For the past couple of months I have been toying with the idea of sponsoring a Best Fanzine Award. I have recently purchased a piece of hardware which suitably mounted should serve. I know that early issues of Checkpoint carried some discussion on some similar award. However, so many things seem to get talked of in fandom – and that's all!

"Whether one of the two organisations I'm a member of – the BFS or the BSFA – would sponsor it, I don't know. However, I intend to make the award a reality. My own feelings are that initially it should be a single category award, ie. the best fanzine, that it should be judged by a panel, not a popularity poll (perhaps I might persuade you, Peter, to serve on such a panel), and that the award should be presented at Novacon (if the concom agreed) rather than the Eastercon – Novacon seems to me the more fannish.

"The award would consist of the trophy which would be held for a year and a scroll (to keep); the award would be the Fanzine Foundation Award; the fanzine would be from the fantasy, sf, and fannish fields.

"I'd like you to throw the idea to your Checkpoint readers to chew over. However you might like to stress that the award will be made, though details, time and place remain to be negotiated."

I've no space to comment here, but I would appreciate letters on this – either for publication or to forward to Keith. I assume, incidentally, that he means the award to be for a British fanzine.

MORE FANZINE NEWS: Cypher 9, says Jim Goddard, will be out this month; it includes material from Harry Harrison, Brian Aldiss, Mark Adlard, Jeff Clark, & Paul Walker. Mike Sandow is no longer co-editor.

MIDGARD MOVES: Rowan Edwards and Graham England (11 Churchill Close, Didcot, Berks) are now running this mammoth postal fantasy game, since Hartley Patterson and Will Haven have resigned their posts. Game-start is anticipated soon and there are still a few places left. Write if you're interested.

BRUM GROUP: Pete Weston notes that the AGM was on Jan.19th: 95 members listed for 1972 and a favourable balance in the accounts of NOVACON II.



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

Printed Matter Only.