Checkpoint 43

ЧЭКПОИНТ 43 21st November 1973

Checkpoint, the fan newszine, is produced by Peter Roberts, Flat 4, 6 Westbourne Park Villas, London W2. It's available for news, letters, or 10/50p (UK & Europe), and appears Whenever I Have The Energy which is (nowadays) about once a month. Forty three issues, that's not too many.

USA: Charlie & Dena Brown, PO Box 3938, San Francisco, Ca.94119; 4/$1 (air) or 10/$1 (sea).

Aus: Robin Johnson, Box 4039, Melbourne, Vic.3001; 6/$1 (air) or 12/$1 (sea).

RSA: Nick Shears, 52 Garden Way, Northcliff 4, Johannesburg; 5/R1 (air) or 10/R1 (sea).

Restormel Press Publication: 89. mi flies with this issue.

SUPERIOR, FIRST-RATE, ALPHA PLUS, FINE, SUPERFINE, CLASSIC, VINTAGE, ABOVE PAR. These are just some of the judgements on the third Novacon held recently (Nov.2-4th) in Birmingham and organized by Hazel Reynolds and the Brum Sf Group. As in previous years it was held at the Imperial Centre Hotel, a good place for a con since, as Pete Weston remarked, it's just shabby enough for fans to feel at home in. About 100-150 turned up, including a contingent of Gannetfans from the Frozen North and a lively group of Flemish fans from Belgium. Ken Bulmer was Guest of Honour – an excellent choice since he combines the many virtues of being a long-time fan with that sublime majesty that belongs to Professional Writers. The programme, as is usual at these small British cons, was very light and was made even lighter when the Customs seized the films that were to be shown over the weekend. Perhaps they thought that The Transatlantic Tunnel was a longer version of Deep Throat. Anyway, some execrable low-budget movie was the only replacement that could be found at such short notice – you could see the strings on the actors, I'm told. Other than that, there were a couple of panels – one on Galactic Empires and another on the Hugo Award nominations – and two or three talks, including one on fanzines in which Keith Walker had to hold transparencies in the air, due to a lack of projector and screen. The programme, therefore, suffered from more than its fair share of difficulties. The essence of all good cons, however, is the fine fannish atmosphere, and that certainly wasn't lacking at the Novacon.

CHAMPION, WIZARD, CORKING, SUPER, TIPTOP, TOP-NOTCH, SWELL, BONZER. I strolled out of the bar at Euston and was met by a trio of impatient Ratfans. "This is not a time for urbane posturing, Roberts," said Greg Pickersgill. "We are Going To A Convention!" So we hurried onto the train and spent an unusually quiet trip up, during which I peacefully robbed the others blind at poker and also caught my hair in the lavatory door, which was a pretty damn silly thing to happen and not at all urbane. Rob Holdstock nervously read sf in last-minute preparation for a panel he was on, Roy Kettle quipped and beamed, and Greg sat in a cloud of doom since the omens and entrails had predicted a bad convention for him. (continued overleaf)

Greg cheered up when we reached Birmingham, however; the Gannetfans – Ian Maule, Rob Jackson, and Henry Pijohn – were already at the hotel and the notorious swivel chairs were still in the bar. (These are excellent for falling over in, as proved at every Novacon; first to go down was Ian Maule who disappeared in a flurry of legs, arms, curses, and cackling. This was not considered a suitable position for someone running the next Eastercon.) Friday was largely taken up with meeting incoming fans – Shayne McCormack on a post-TORCON visit to Britain before returning to the safety of Australia, Roj Gilbert ("You can call me by my first name now – it's Doctor."), Jan & Rosa Jansen and Simon & Caroline Joukes from Belgium, Tony & Simone Walsh, Norman & Ina Shorrock, Darroll & Ro Pardoe, Pete Presford, Jhim Linwood, and many, many others who will probably never forgive me for not mentioning them. I unwisely went into the hucksters' room in full knowledge that George Locke was selling old fanzines at very tempting prices and came out an hour later, staggering under the weight of a pile of Ancient and Fabulous Fannish fanzines. I won't tell you how much I paid, for fear of exciting incredulity; however, I have been forced to live somewhat frugally this month. Later in the evening I joined the regular game of dealer's choice, winning some of Ron Bennett's excellent and eccentric games, but finally losing on a straightforward round of three-card brag which I myself chose. A session of banging my head against a brick wall followed. Dolt. Next year I promise not to put £6 on a pair of aces when Phil Rogers isn't bluffing.

Saturday was a good, long day. More people arrived, including Harry & Irene Bell and the amazing Bob Rickard. Lots of things happened, though they've already dissolved into a pleasant blur of talking, drinking, and eating out. There was a Fancy Dress Party on Saturday night (except for pedants, for whom it was on Sunday morning); James and Judy Blish won a well-deserved prize for their splendid garb as a Lord & Lady of the Instrumentality; Gray Boak won a well-deserved groan with his single black glove, going as The Left Hand of Darkness. The party, however, was held in a very small and very stuffy room, so it quickly spread out all over the hotel. At about 3 am I announced that I was hungry and, since Ian Maule and Californian fan, Rich Coad, felt in the same state, we went out in search of food, eventually finding a subterranean Chinese place. "They've got the dancing girls on, lads!" said a good-natured policeman, but though we rushed down the steps to the restaurant, we only discovered some musicians packing up. The place was eerily full of people, however; a peculiar oasis of life in the desolation of late-night Birmingham. It took us over an hour and several weary miles to walk the hundred yards back to the hotel, but we were glad to discover that few fans had retired. I went up to a cheerful and crowded party in the Blish's room and eventually retired when it moved to Peter Nicholls' room shortly after 6 am.

Sunday started off quietly. As usual, there was the late afternoon exodus which is always depressing, the more so on this occasion since Ratfandom and I intended to return to London in the early evening. I'd been invited to Pete Weston's firework party that night, but had ruefully decided that I'd better go home. So when it reached a stage where virtually everyone but us was waiting around for lifts to Pete's house, sipping a last pint of Guinness, I decided that this was no way to end a convention and booked a room for Sunday night. The others had already given in to temptation. A new lease of life was the reward, and personally I enjoyed that final night more than any other of the con. First there was Pete Weston's party – we arrived too late for the fireworks, but still had a good time – and after that there were several splendid hours in the bar with Gannet and Ratfandom, plus the Belgian fans who proved to be excellent company.

A dismal Monday finally arrived. We journeyed back in sombre silence, reading fanzines. A last drink was taken at Euston station, Greg and I hallucinating as usual immediately after a con, and recognizing fans in every mundane face we saw. We eventually split up. It was a good con.

SPEC WINS NOVA AWARD: At the Novacon banquet on Saturday Ken Bulmer presented Pete Weston with the Nova Award for Best UK fanzine – Speculation. The award itself is an innovation which has been mentioned before in Checkpoint; any member of the Novacon could nominate a fanzine (or rather a specific issue), but the actual judging was done by a panel of well-known fans, none of who could be said to be directly connected to a group or specific fanzine. Ken Bulmer, Jhim Linwood, Phil Rogers, and Tony Walsh made the selection for the first award.

Pete uncovered an awkward point in his acceptance speech when he noted that Malcolm Edwards really deserved the Nova Award for his recent work on Vector which he's transformed into a regular and entertaining production. It turned out that Vector had not been nominated and would probably not have been considered eligible in any case (being funded by the BSFA). It also turned out, incidentally, that Speculation had only just been nominated at the last minute. So, various points will have to be ironed out by next year so that the mechanics of the award function smoothly. Congratulations to Pete Weston anyway, and thanks to the kind person (or – dare I hope? – people) who nominated Egg!

ZELAZNY ON TYNE: (Thanks to Rob Jackson for the following) Several items of news are on hand concerning Tynecon 74, the next UK Eastercon. Firstly, there should be an ad for it, embellished with Harry Bell cartoons, in this Checkpoint. Secondly, Roger Zelazny is planning to attend – this will be his first visit to a British convention. Thirdly, there's to be a Photo Competition at which groups of photos on either science fictional or fannish subjects will be shown; any photos you may have – either prints or slides – are welcome. Membership stands at 201 (as of November 18th). Slaughterhouse 5 will definitely be one of the con films. The committee would, by the way, like anyone who hasn't yet sent in their hotel booking form to indicate whether they want a room with or without a bath – it makes a difference, since you pay more for such a luxury.

KITTENCON 74? Gray Boak and Jhim Linwood are tentatively suggesting a small local convention in the South of England for next Summer. The idea at the moment is to book a small, inland hotel suitable for a fannish convention with little or no programme. They're sounding out opinion at the moment, but Gray tells me he hopes to get it off the ground. Support and suggestions welcomed.

NOVACON IV: Jack Cohen will be chairman of the next November convention in Birmingham. I've no further details yet, except that, as announced at the Novacon III banquet, all members of the last convention will receive automatic, free membership of the next – this is to make up for the loss of this year's films. A nice gesture, I think.

FANZINES FOR SALE: These are a few duplicates, all complete (unless noted) but mostly in well-read and attic-stored condition. Best offer by Jan.1st will take them (individually, I should think). I would, however, prefer to exchange them and will give preference to any reasonable trades; I'm looking for a variety of old fanzines (and will, incidentally, pay for them, if you prefer), mostly fannish, and including: Hyphen, Quandry, Spacewarp, Oopsla, Grue, Innuendo, Quip, Shaggy, and many others. Here's the list:

Sun Spots 17 (April 1941) edited by Roy Plotkin, Rod Gaetz, & Gerry de la Ree. Fiction, articles, etc. by F.O.Tremaine, Lew Martin, & others.

Fan-atic 2 (March '41) Charles Heling. Articles, letters, &c. by Forry Ackerman, Art Widner ('Too Many Fanmags'), and others.

Fantasy Advertiser 2 & 3 (May & July '46) Gus Willmorth. Virtually all ads – pieces of news about a new UK prozine called New Worlds...

Le Zombie 46 (April '42) ed.Bob Tucker. News, letters, &c, inc. a pome by Liebscher, Boskone report, Ed Conner's first meeting with a fan, &c. Photos on the cover are missing, I'm afraid (not my fault!).

Spaceship 19 (Oct.'52) ed.Bob Silverberg. Articles, fiction, &c. Includes Silverberg's look at BREs with a checklist to Sep.'52.

Grue 27 (Feb.'56) ed.Dean Grennell & Chuck Harris. Fannish pieces by Bob Bloch, Lee Hoffman, Bob Shaw, and others. Atom cartoons extensive.

Telepath 1 (Dec.'51) ed.A.W.Haddon. Printed Aussie fanzine; short, but with articles by Vol Molesworth & Heinlein (rpt) "To the Moon in '52?"

I've a few more (Cry, Orion, The Timebinder, Shaggy, Forerunner, &c) and I shall list these next time, if there's any evidence of interest. God knows what US prices for fanzines are like, but (to give you some idea) I'd reckon 20p (inc.postage) would be a minimum for most of the above.

GHANAIAN FANDOM "NONE TOO HEALTHY" says Ben Prole; "We have been reduced by attacks of cholera and Black Death to three members reading Heinlein juveniles..." Ben has a few sage things to say about Checkpoint: [*]

"The most significant and interesting parts of Checkpoint are the typer decorations. You know, the xxxxxx and the ******. There really ought to be a fannish term for these things. If there isn't, I suggest the word Distings – a very useful West Africanism that means whatsit-thingummy (comes from "this thing"). Distings are an integral, necessary and beautiful part of fan publishing and their place ought to be officially recognized. You ought to include them in your next Fan Poll; but why stop there? Obviously a new Hugo is called for. I envisage some kind of copyright system: rights for Hugo entry go to the first to publish. Each design would be given a name, of course. A whole new field of criticism would have to be invented: I suggest it will be based on the architectural criticism of John Betjeman (You know, the Poet Laureate).

"Two distings recently published by you are real classics of the infant genre. I refer to the examples in Checkpoint 36 on p.7. The first (HXHXHXHXHXHX) is an immensely pleasing symmetrical arrangement of Hs and Xs, simple enough to be quickly unravelled, but complex enough to satisfy the viewer that he is looking at a work of art and not merely a line of Hs and Xs. Compare this pattern with the one at the bottom of the preceding page (V:V:V:V:V:V:V) – Vs and colons. What sterility! No artistic merit whatsoever, merely a line of Vs and colons – a couple of minutes' hack-work. However, the other disting on p7. is far better. One of the asymmetrical type, with a fine flat top and intriguing saw tooth pattern (vwvwvwvwvwvw). To the experienced reader it is soon apparent that it is composed of Vs and Ws – a clever, lighthearted little composition..."

Ben is anxious to receive fanzines, preferably by air mail ("I don't mind the delay of 2nd class post, but the cleft stick is hell on the cheap paper"); spare a copy, therefore, for Ben Prole, Hawku Secondary School, PO Box 50, Bawku, Upper Region, Ghana.

"YOU WANT NEWS, EH?" asks John Berry, who has taken to living on a farm ("I always though roosters only crowed when the sun came up...") "Briefly," says John, "I moved to Northern Virginia last winter, at the same time as rich and Colleen Brown, and a couple of months later Terry Hughes moved here too. We seem to have precipitated something we laughingly call "Falls Church Fandom," although most of us have a hard time taking the term seriously. I suppose we really do constitute a local fangroup, what with a hardcore of old fans and tired like Ted White, rich brown, Terry, and me. (Neither Robin nor Colleen will admit that they're fans, most of the time, even though Colleen is a coeditor of The Gafiate's Intelligencer.) In addition we seem to attract other people; Ed Smith (who succeeded me as fmz reviewer for Amazing) is living in Washington, and a couple of other Charlotte, North Carolina, fans are planning to move up here one of these days. What an unlikely place to create a fandom!

"It is perhaps significant that none of us has published a fanzine since we all moved here, unless you count The Gafiate's Intelligencer. It seemed quite reasonable to expect that with Ted White and me living in the same town, indeed for a while under the same roof (while I was looking for a place), Egoboo would appear more frequently. Reasonable, indeed, but not true. A big, thick issue has lain mostly stencilled since April, awaiting a few finishing touches such as Ted's editorial. I do expect it to be done this year, but I suppose Egoboo has become "The Frequent Annual Fanzine." Still, as Ted said, "It's too good a fanzine to let die," so we'll continue to publish it whenever the urge takes us, even if it is literally annual. Look at it this way: we still publish more frequently than Lee Hoffman.

"You want real Fan News, don't you? There's not much of that, since American fandom has been in the doldrums over the past year: by far the better part of the fanzines that have come my way since the LACon have been either British or Australian, with only isolated issues of worthwhile American fanzines. The best stuff seems to be in FAPA, which is enjoying the beginning of a renaissance that I've been participating in since I became a member in May of last year. The Brooklyn Insurgents have been practising what they call "passive insurgentism" which means that almost nothing has come out of that area until recently. At present I get my news by word of mouth or by waiting for Checkpoint. US fandom (and Canadian fandom) is quite directionless these days."

Forry Ackerman, 2495 Glendower Av, Hollywood, Ca.90027, USA.
Ron Bennett, 36 Harlow Park Crescent, Harrogate, HG2 0AW, Yorks.

fanzines received

*Blunt 2 (63pp:A4:d) Bob & Mary Smith, Dave Rowe, 131 Coxtie Green Rd, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5PT. (20p) A large issue like this following swiftly on the heels of the first Blunt is pretty astounding; what's more it's a good issue. Dave Rowe and Andrew Stephenson talk about fan art; Alan Hunter gives the history of the F.A.S.; James Parkhill-Rathbone reminisces; Ken Bulmer mourns Walt Willis (this piece started rumours that WAW has died 0- no truth in that, I trust); Syd Bounds and Jhim Linwood talk about the Kitten Group; and Julia Stone considers 'What's Wrong With Fandom'. Plenty of entertaining and interesting material in Blunt, therefore. My only major complaint is that the cut-up letter column is pretty feeble; other than that, it's recommended.

Cypher 10 (54pp:A4:d) James Goddard, Plovers Barrow, School Rd, Nomansland, Wilts. (20p) I have the feeling that I've always been a little unfair in my criticism of Cypher: it's a well-produced, nicely illustrated fanzine dealing largely with sf. But I can't ever work up much enthusiasm for it. Main item in this issue is a transcript of a conversation between Brian Aldiss and James Blish; there are a couple of general articles on sf as well, a bunch of book reviews, a fairly good letter column, and (a surprising and useful item) J.G.Ballard answering questions about Crash. There are a couple of humorous pieces which did not amuse me, but otherwise this is one of the better issues of Cypher and should be worth of your attention.

Fanews 42,43 (10pp:A4:p) Martin Eisele, 7332 Eislingen/Fils, Schillerstrasse 20, Germany. (75pf – sample: 40pf) Every once in a while Fanews disappears and then surfaces again with a new bunch of people at the helm; this latest return sees little change in content – it's a good sf and fannish newszine and is my main source of information on activity in Germany. In German, by the way.

Forthcoming Sf Books 16 (6pp:A4:d) Joanne Burger, 55 Blue Bonnet Ct, Lake Jackson, Texas 77566, USA. ($1/2) As usual, this contains lists of sf intended for publication in the U.S. (Oct-Jan '74); this issue also has a piece on the closing of Lancer Books. Expensive, unless you really need the information.

Instant Message 135,136,137 (av.8pp:A4:d) NESFA, PO Box G, MIT Branch Station, Cambridge, Mass.02139, USA. ($4 p.a. – NESFA membership) A very regular newszine from New England, it's mainly concerned with club and local matters, but often contains other items of more wide-spread interest.

*Kwalhioqua 8 & 10 (46 & 20pp:A4:d) Ed Cagle, Route 1, Leon, Ks.67074, USA. (50¢) There must be something wrong, since Kwal is beginning to look quite presentable. Still the same lunacy within, however: a mass of short pieces, an excellent letter column, and the mighty editor holding it all together. Contributors in these issues include John Bangsund, Jodie Offutt, Bertram Chandler, Ophelia Swanshit, and many others; material ranges from book reviews outwards. Excellent fanzine (and I hope Kwal 9 isn't lost at sea).

Les Spinge 29 (13pp:¼o:d) Darroll & Ro Pardoe, 24 Othello Close, Hartford, Huntingdon, PE18 7SU. (OMPA/free) An editorial plus letters – Spinge is an unassuming and enjoyable personalzine.

Malfunction 4 (16pp:¼o:d) Pete Presford, 10 Dalkeith Rd, South Reddish, Stockport, SK5 7EY. (free) Messy, childish, illiterate, and insulting - I quite enjoyed it. Front cover is a collaboration between Terry Jeeves and Brian Aldiss - the rest is largely personal.

Nadir 1 (46pp:A4:d) Roland Prevot & others, 13 rue des Petites Ecuries, 75010 Paris, France. (4f) Dhieu nous en preserve! This is a French zine which isn't deadly serious and which shows every sign of becoming quite fannish. Main item of interest is a comparison by Roland Prevot between French and Anglo-American fandom; after that there are reviews, some fiction, and a page or two of verse. It looks good and I only hope it continues without becoming depressingly sercon. In French.

SoNF 5 (14pp:A4:d) Howard Rosenblum, 46 Moray Rd, London N4. (10p) I remember trading Mor-farch 1 for SoNF 1 at Buxton in 1968; it isn't a very regular fanzine... It's somewhat better than I remember, though Howard's dislike of letters remains annoying. Bryn Fortey completes his serial in this issue – I don't remember what went before and neither, I think, did Bryn. Otherwise there's a poor con report gimmick from Vera Johnson and a couple of small oddments. A bit thin after all this time, but we shall have to see how often it's going to appear in future.

Starship Tripe 5 (33pp:A4:d) Michael Gorra, 199 Great Neck Rd, Waterford, Ct.06385, USA. (35¢) Several pages of this were reproduced with fuzzy electrostencil and are literally unreadable; I'm amazed that Mike sent any out like this – what's the point? With the best will in the world I can't read it, and I did try since he spent $1.26 airmailing it to me. Sorry, guv'nor. Anyway, what I could make out seemed fairly neoish, but not at all bad; a considerable improvement over the previous issue, certainly. I shall look forward to further, legible issues.

The Alien Critic 6 (80pp:½;A4:p) Dick Geis, Box 11408, Portland, Or.97211, USA. (UK Agent: Wm.Dawson & Sons, Ltd, Cannon House, Folkestone – £1.98 p.a.) Talking of illegible zines, this has a couple of blank pages; but I suppose that's the fault of the printers. Anyway, it's the first issue of this I've seen and I must confess I'm rather disappointed. The unusual continuous column format looks interesting and full of entertaining goodies: closer examination reveals a large number of book reviews and suchlike. Ho hum. In fact the whole thing is pretty sercon – more so than SFR, it would seem (though remember I'm judging it on one issue). Ted White has a column; R.A.Lafferty is interviewed; and lots of sf writers have their letters printed (including the one I like, namely Phil Dick, who's getting eerily paranoid these days). Anyway, TAC is good by the standard of the average fanzine; I just expected something better, I suppose.

True Rat 1 (16pp:¼o:d) Roy Kettle, 74 Eleanor Rd, London E8. (free) An unexpected offering from the Ratfan master of the quip. It's funny and entertaining and reminds me of Malfunction, though the latter is less messy. Nice one, Roy.

War Bulletin 50 (19pp:A4:d) Hartley Patterson, Finches, 7 Cambridge Rd, Beaconsfield, Bucks. (5/30p) A special anniversary issue of the UK's original fannish Dippyzine; there are precious few fans left in it now, however. A Tolkien variant and a Saxon/Celt variant are included (with rules and maps); contact Hartley if you're a games fan.

*Wooden Nickel 18,19,20 (2pp:A4:d) Arnie Katz, 59 Livingston St, Apt.6B, Brooklyn, NY.11201, USA. (free, but limited) Small, regular, fannish, and good. May fold with 21, however.

FOUR FOR DUFF: Lesleigh Luttrell has sent along a copy of the 1974 Down Under Fan Fund ballot. Four Australians are standing for the opportunity to go to the Washington worldcon: John Bangsund, Susan Wood, Leigh Edmonds, and Paul Stevens. DUFF is run in much the same way as TAFF, but the cost is $1.50 (US) and the deadline is June 1st. Australian administrator is Shayne McCormack; US administrator is Lesleigh Luttrell. I shall probably run a ballot with Checkpoint at a later date, but for the moment I'll be content with one comment: John Bangsund for DUFF!

RETURN OF RON HOLMES: (Thanks to Rob Jackson for the following) "Last night Ian Maule, Harry & Irene Bell, and I went to see Ron Holmes at his home in Ryton. Ron was very active in early forties fandom and was involved in a convention in Leicester in the middle of the war which doesn't even seem to be included in the "History of British Conventions" as listed in recent con booklets. He appears repeatedly in All Our Yesterdays. Ron produced some convention booklets of those days for us, including '40 and '41 Worldcon booklets – amazing stuff. After dropping out of fandom in favour of his family letter in the decade, he feels he can now devote his time rather more in fannish directions once again. Even when he was out of touch with fandom generally, he still kept in touch with a few fannish friends, for example Dave McIlwain (Charles Eric Maine) who, it may not be known, was involved in a car crash a few months ago, but is happily now recovered."

SF INTERVIEWS ON TV: Malcolm Edwards notes that there's a series of brief interviews on ITV this week; Chris Evans talks to a variety of people connected with sf (Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, George Hay, &c) in The Shape of Things To Come. Look out for it.

THE PIT: Farewell to the following, unless they send money, news or interesting letters: James Goddard, Sonya Porter, Brian Temple, Deirdre Smyth (Eire), John Mansfield (Ger), Sezar Ergin (Turk), Jack Collins (US), and Mitchell Kapor (US).

AND THE PENDULUM: One more issue before the pit: Jim Diviney, Mary Legg, A.J.Savage, Phil Spencer, Mae Strelkov (Arg), Will Straw (Can), J.Sabourin (Fra), Jean-Phillipe Cremona (Switz), and a large bunch of US fans who haven't responded to sample copies.

CODE: X = last issue; S = sample; R = review within; a number = your sub.



Peter Roberts
Flat 4
6 Westbourne Park Villas
London W2

Printed Matter Only

Return requested, if undeliverable