Checkpoint 46

CHECKPOINT 46 26th March 1974

Checkpoint, the fan newszine, is produced by Peter Roberts, Flat 4, 6 Westbourne Park Villas, London W2. It remains available for news and letters, but any further subscriptions are not required. Though outwardly ordinary, this Checkpoint may be considered as the third annish. King Arthur Is Not Dead!

Restormel Press Publication: 92.

AN ANNUAL ACCOUNT: Once again I've been busy with my calculations and have spirited up some facts. Here, for example, is the subscriber breakdown as of the 44th issue:

United Kingdom: 56 Sweden: 2 Australia: 1
United States: 12 Germany: 2 Ghana: 1
Canada: 3 France: 2 Eire: 1
South Africa: 2 Belgium: 2 Total: 84

That compares with 54 from last year and 42 the previous year; almost all the increase is from the UK. In addition to subscribers, there are between twenty and thirty fans receiving regular 'free' copies (agenting, trading, &c) and a varying number receiving occasional copies. Average circulation is 130-140.

Since January 1st 1973 I've kept regular accounts for Checkpoint. The result shows a total income of £59.56 (subs and the sale of review books) and an expenditure of £62.78 (postage & supplies – paper, ink, stencils, & staples). There is thus an apparent loss of £3.22 between Checkpoint 29 and 44 (16 issues). Unfortunately, the figures disguise the real loss – namely that the total income includes outstanding subscriptions (for Cp 45 and beyond) to the value of £32.35. Assets hidden in the figure for total outlay come to no more than a pound's worth of unused paper and stencils plus a number of back issues which might conceivably be sold for 30p or so. Revised figures therefore show a loss of £34.27.

If that looks rather grim, I should point out that Checkpoint is financially viable as long as it never folds! In other words, if people continue to subscribe there's always a sufficient income to offset the outlay. The day of reckoning only comes when a halt is called and outstanding subscriptions are refunded.

THE DAY OF RECKONING COMES: Three years is enough, Meyer. This will be the final 'regular' issue of Checkpoint and the whole thing will fold with the 50th issue in a few years' time. Producing a newszine, particularly a small-scale one like Checkpoint, is a comparatively thankless task. A fanzine like Egg is interesting to produce and stimulates a fair amount of comment and response. Checkpoint too often becomes a burden to publish and the response tends to be either "Dear Sir, enclosed is a postal order" or "Pete, could you bung this in the next issue..." In other words, a newszine doesn't produce much feedback; there have been a large number of letters and reviews over the years, but all spread rather thinly over 48 issues. A couple of good letters will send me happily to the duplicator; but too frequently an issue is met with silence.

That all sounds rather too gloomy. The response to Checkpoint in fanzines has been massive (overwhelming, in fact, since I can't keep up with the reviews any longer) and in general I've enjoyed producing a newszine. There's no particular reason why I should stop now except that now is as good a time as any if I don't intend to continue forever.

On average a Checkpoint has appeared once every three weeks or so for the last three years; this will be the last issue in that series. The final four issues (ending with a round 50, actually making 52 in all with the two trial issues) will appear once a year to carry the annual Checkpoint fan poll – something I think is worth continuing.

Subscribers up to the 50th issue will continue to receive Checkpoint; those who've sent money for issues considerably beyond the fiftieth (several go way into the seventies) will receive refunds; those who've subscribed to just beyond Checkpoint 50 will receive issues of Egg – in fact all present subscribers will receive at least one copy.

My plans at the moment are to produce regular issues of Egg. I'm still hampered by the lack of a typewriter, but I trust that won't be for long. It's dangerous to make promises, but I'm aiming for an issue every six weeks or so – fannish, of course, and relying a lot on letters and a few regular columnists.

So, farewell and thanks – particularly to the mass of people who've helped and supported Checkpoint over the years. May you all find shelter in that Golden Beaver Lodge beyond the sky...

A NOTE TO SF MONTHLY READERS: As you can see from the above, those of you who've written after seeing the plug in Sf Monthly have come upon Checkpoint rather too late. The large response, though, has encouraged me to go ahead with a small project that I'd been intending to do for some time, namely: the production of a brief guide to current fanzines. It'll have some sort of introduction concerning fanzines (what they are and how to get them, sort of thing) followed by a listing of virtually all current fanzines in the UK and most of the important ones overseas; unlike the earlier fanzine checklists I compiled, this thing will have some relevant comments on the fanzines listed. Every one who has written to me as a result of seeing Sf Monthly will receive a copy (free) some time after Easter. Anyone else who wants one had better write and ask.

SEE YOU AT THE TYNECON – and yes, thanks, I will have a Guinness.

CLOSING DOWN SALE: The following are a few fanzines that have accumulated and which are unwanted or duplicated. Price: as shown (including postage); take 2p off each fanzine if you buy more than one. The older stuff is difficult to price, but the ones below reflect the prices I've paid for similar material – UK dealers, incidentally, often charge far more: Phantasmagoria is asking £1.50 for a copy of Forerunner 1, for example, and that puts my price of 25p in some perspective. Condition: recent material is as good as the GPO allows; much of the older stuff looks well-read and attic-stored – complete, but far from mint. First Come, First Served – so please give alternatives, if possible. Here's the list:

Ancient: (USA) Cosmic Circle Commentator 1 (1943 – Degler) 25p
Fan-atic 2 (1941) 20p
Fantasy Advertiser 2 and 3 (1946 – Willmorth) 10p
Le Zombie 46 (1942 – Tucker – photos gone) 25p
Sun-Spots 17 (1941) 25p
The Timebinder 1 (1st and 2nd edition!), 2, 3, II/1, II/3 (1944-) (E.E.Evans) 25p
(UK) Cthulhu (? Supplement with cover from LeZ) 10p

Vintage: (USA) Cry 143, 144 (1960-) (Seattle Group) 20p
Grue 27 (1956 – Grennell) 20p
Habakkuk II/3 (1967 – Donaho) 25p
Shaggy 51 (1960 – Trimble) 15p
Spaceship 15,116,18,20,21,22 (1951 – Silverberg) 30p
Speculative Review II/4 (Eney) 15p
(UK) Orion 15, 18, 13, 16, 17 (Enever) 20p
Sidereal 4 (Jones) 15p
Skyrack 47,58,59,61-70,72,75-81,84,85,87,88,90,
92, 94 (1962-) (Bennett) 4p
The New Futurian 2, 3, 7, 8 (Rosenblum) 20p
(Aus) Forerunner 1 (1952 – Nicholson) 25p
Telepath 1 (1951 – Haddon) 20p

Modern: (USA) Forthcoming Sf Books 13-17 (Burger) 4p
Instant Message 124-5, 127-136 (NESFA) 4p
King Biscuit Time (Lichtman) 8p
Maybe 23, 25 (Koch) 5p
Otherworlds 1 (Gerrold) 10p
SOTWJ 78-89, 92-107 (Miller) 4p
WSFA Journal 81, 82 (Miller) 25p
(UK) Qwertyuiop 3-5 (Long) 8p
Scottishe 40,47, 49-54, 56-64 (Lindsay) 8p
Sf Writers' Bulletin 1-4 (Kenward/Priest) 4p
(Aus) Kangaroo Feathers 1 (A in '75) 10p
(Can) Riverside Quarterly 20, 21 (Sapiro) 20p
(Ger) Sf Times 131 (Alpers) 15p

For double the postage I'll happily offer 'my choice' bundles of recent mixed fanzines – there are a lot of odds and ends, and I can only sell them as a grab-bag mixture. Send 10p and I'll send you as much as 5p postage will allow – that's the plan, anyway.

RESULTS OF THE 1973-1974

Nineteen people voted in this, the third British Fan Poll since the days of Skyrack; twenty four people voted last year. The poll covered British fanac from Easter 1973 to (almost) Easter 1974, the third year of Checkpoint's publication. All fans were eligible to vote, though the majority (14) were Checkpoint subscribers; not all attempted every category, however.

The following fans voted: Eric Bentcliffe, Gray Boak, Ian Butterworth, Rich Coad, Lisa Conesa, Malcolm Edwards, Chris Fowler, James Goddard, Rob Holdstock, Rob Jackson, Terry Jeeves, Greg Pickersgill, John Piggott, Pete Presford, Chris Priest, Brian Robinson, Roy Sharpe, Harry Turner, & Ian Williams.

BEST BRITISH FANZINE: Sixteen different titles were nominated, fifteen of which received more than one vote. Five points were awarded to the first, four to the second, and so on down to one point for the fifth place. Checkpoint itself was ineligible. Last year's position is in brackets.

1) ZIMRI (37 points) (5th) Edited by Lisa Conesa, 54 Manchester, M16 8HP, Lancashire. (20p a copy, or trade, loc, &c). Two issues eligible (1973-4). Last year I called Zimri "one of Britain's most active and energetic fanzines" and the result in this year's poll can only enhance my reputation as a soothsayer. Zimri is a large, attractive, general interest fanzine. Issue 4 1/2 , despite the peculiar numbering, was a full-sized affair with photo covers from the Eastercon at Chester in 1972. Main items within were an account of a rock festival from John Hall, splendidly illustrated by Harry Turner, a fine personal piece by Ian Williams, and a strong letter column (always important in this kind of fanzine); shorter pieces included poetry, book reviews, and a few fannish definitions. Zimri 5 was notable for a variety of things: firstly for the cover by Harry Turner, voted the best on a British fanzine in this year's poll; secondly for verse (or worse) by Brian Aldiss amongst others; and finally for a variety of entertaining and interesting pieces – a con report by Bryn Fortey, an article on writing by Ted Tubb (with fine graphics, again by Harry Turner), a piece of fiction from Jack Marsh, Gray Boak reviewing fanzines, plus the usual letter column & book reviews. All credit, then, to Lisa (and Harry Turner) for two fine issues of an entertaining and active fanzine.

2) VECTOR (36 points) (10th) Edited by Malcolm Edwards, 19 Ranmoor Gardens, Harrow, Middx. (30p a copy – free to members of the BSFA). Two issues eligible (1973-4). The number of Vector editors since 1958 is legion – the British Sf Association has often had to pressgang unknown fans into editing their journal with the result that Vector has never had a sustained reputation for quality and has long been a standing joke in its abysmal lack of regularity. Malcolm Edwards, however, has produced fine issues of Vector and, furthermore, he's actually produced them on time. To put Malcolm's achievement into some perspective, I ought to review one of his Vectors alongside one of his predecessor's efforts – the comparison would show Malcolm's interest and involvement against the bored and apathetic state synonymous with the unwanted job of editing the BSFA's journal until now. However, turning to the specific issues, Vector 65 contained a long interview with Gene Wolfe, an article on H.G.Wells by Brian Aldiss, Roger Zelazny's "Author's Choice" (selecting his own work that he likes most), Bob Shaw on buying a telescope, book reviews, amazingly wonderful fanzine reviews, letters, and a fine editorial-cum-conrep from Malcolm. This 65th issue, therefore, is exactly the sort of magazine Vector should be – it's attractive (cover by Ames, all neatly printed); intelligible to the average BSFA member, yet also interesting to fans and long-time sf readers; serious and constructive, but not in the pejorative sense of "sercon"; fannish as well and genuinely entertaining; but most of all – it's alive (and Vector is usually stillborn). The 66th issue contained an interview with D.G.Compton and an article on the author by Mark Adlard; the main item, however, was the first part of "The Robot In Sf" by Brian Stableford. Exquisite fanzine reviews plus book and fanzine reviews completed the issue. A brilliant year for Vector and it damn near won the poll too. What will happen when Malcolm finishes as editor next issue, though?

3) BLUNT (35 points) (-) Edited by Dave Rowe and Bob & Mary Smith, 131 Coxtie Green Road, Brentwood, Essex CM14 5PT. (20p or trade, loc &c). Two issues eligible (1973-4). Blunt is a brand new fanzine, yet here it is only two points from first place in the poll. It's an excellent, thick fanzine, produced by three fans who've waited a long time before producing anything with the result that Blunt shows no real trace of neohood or first-issue cruddiness. In fact the first issue contained a mass of entertaining items: Rob Holdstock's survey of a future Globe meeting, conreps from a variety of people illustrated with splendid caricatures of fans drawn by Penny Grant, plus reports from fan groups throughout the UK. For a first issue, Blunt 1 was extremely fine; however, the second issue was better – less fragmented and less phrenetic too. Dave Rowe, Ames, and Alan Hunter wrote on various aspects of fan art and the fan artist; Ken Bulmer wrote about Walt Willis, and other contributors included James Rathbone, Jim Linwood, Syd Bounds, and Julia Stone – all good fannish stuff. The only low point was the experimental letter column. So, there is Blunt: two issues and it takes third place. And next year?

4) CYNIC (28 points) (7th) Edited by Gray Boak, 6 Hawks Rd, Kingston upon Thames, 1KT 3EG, Surrey. (Trade or loc, &c) One issue eligible (1973-4). Cynic's only problem is its infrequency, though I must admit that Gray has been churning out issues compared to Ian Maule and Maya or myself and Egg. The sixth Cynic is closer to a personalzine than previous issues, since a piece on the Nova Award by Jim Linwood is the only outside contribution. The rest consists of letters and Gray talking entertainingly about recent conventions – all very fannish and very fine. Artwork includes a poor front cover, but a couple of good (though only electrostencilled) full page photos.

5) GRIM NEWS (19 points) (-) Edited by Greg Pickersgill, Flat 1, 62 Elsham Rd, London W14. (15p, trade, loc &c) One issue eligible (1973-4). After an amazing number of false starts, Greg finally produced the fanzine he's long been talking about. Also known as Ritblat (the year-long anguish over choosing a title led to such a compromise, I suppose), this new fanzine will inevitably be compared to Fouler and, indeed, it contains such things as the famed yellow pages for outside contributions (Ian Williams, John Brosnan, Roy Kettle, and the ludicrous Alan Burns appear this time) and "Eyeball", Greg's column of trenchant fanzine reviews. There's a new section for fannish news, however, and a good few pages of Greg himself, raking over the bones of British fandom. All god stuff – often vicious, always enjoyable.

Next five:
6) Hell (17 points) (12th=) Ed. B. Robinson & P. Skelton
7) Cypher (15 points) (4th) Ed. Jim Goddard
8) True Rat (11 points) (-) Ed. Roy Kettle
=9) Magic Pudding (9 points) (-) Ed. Malcolm Edwards
=9) Erg (9 points) (9th) Ed. Terry Jeeves

Out of this year's Top Ten, therefore, are Egg, Speculation, Maya, and Turning Worm (all ineligible, since they produced no issues) and Lurk (which only produced a single issue).

Zimri attracted the largest number of voters (12), whilst Vector received the largest number of first place votes (5).

BEST BRITISH FANWRITER: 28 people were nominated, only ten, however, receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as in the 'Best Fmz' section and last year's positions are again given in brackets.

1) MALCOLM EDWARDS (41 points) (13th=) Former editor of Quicksilver and present editor of Vector, the BSFA's journal, and Magic Pudding, a personalzine, Malcolm is one of the most active fans in Britain. Vector doesn't allow much room for personality to show through, yet Malcolm has managed to insert entertaining and often fannish editorials and has made his presence essential to the success of a previously tedious official journal. There's only been one issue of Magic Pudding, but it provided Malcolm with a showcase for his considerable talents as an entertaining writer on a diversity of subjects. I still wouldn't pay him £50 for his bloody fanzine reviews, though. Miserable bugger.

2) GREG PICKERSGILL (32 points) (28th=) A timely issue of Ritblat/Grim News reminded everyone that Greg was a good writer, especially within the fannish field. Fearless in his exposure of fakefans and fuggheads, particularly those who've dared to produce a fanzine, Greg's fanwriting contains libel, humour, and a strong streak of hell-fire, fannish evangelism. Hot stuff.

3) JOHN BROSNAN (19 points) (3rd) John has been less conspicuous a fanwriter this year, most of his energy (if it can be called that) going into Scab, a small scandal sheet largely restricted to Ratfandom and associated buddies.

4) GRAY BOAK (18 points) (2nd) Gray has confined himself mostly to Cynic, though he's appeared with fanzine reviews in Zimri and other fanzines. Actually most of the writers this year have produced personalzines (rather than columns and suchlike). Must be a new trend of 17th Fandom, I suppose.

5) IAN WILLIAMS (16 points) (1st) Ian has been less evident in fanzines this year, though he too has appeared in Zimri and elsewhere and has, like the others, produced a personalzine: Siddhartha.

Next five:
6) Roy Kettle (15 points) (-)
=7) Dave Rowe (10 points) (-)
=7) Jack Marsh (10 points) (-)
9) Peter Roberts (9 points) (6th=)
10) Andrew Stephenson (7 points) (16th=)

BEST BRITISH FANARTIST: Sixteen people were nominated, thirteen receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as per the "Best Fmz" section and last year's positions are in brackets.

1) ANDREW STEPHENSON (53 points) (2nd) Andrew (Ames) has produced quite a considerable amount of artwork this year, including both a cover for Vectorand interior pieces for a variety of fanzines (both cartoons and sf material). Andrew, by the way, is now entering the ranks of the filthy pros, starting with some illustrations recently published in Analog.

2) HARRY BELL (47 points) (1st) Noted mainly for his cartoonwork, Harry has spent much of his fannish time splendidly embellishing the adverts and reports for the TYNECON, whilst also appearing in various other fannish fanzines.

3=) HARRY TURNER (10 points) (-) An old-time fanartist recently returned to the fold, Harry has so far restricted himself to Zimri, but has produced excellent artwork and graphics of a kind rarely seen in British fanzines. His cover for Zimri 5 came top in the 'Best Cover' section.

3=) DAVE ROWE (19 points) (3rd) Dave has appeared in a mass of fanzines over the last year, mainly with cartoon work; he's also found time enough to edit a Top Five fanzine and end up in the Fanwriters' Top Ten as well. Don't let it go to your head, Dave.

5= ARTHUR THOMSON (15 points) (6th) Undoubtedly Britain's most well known fanartist and nominated for a Hugo last year, Arthur Thomson (ATOM) is best known for his cartooning, most of which appears (traditionally hand-cut) in Scottishe, though he's contributed to several other recent UK fanzines. Unlike his compatriots, Atom has also done a lot of artwork for US fanzines, notably Locus.

5=) PENNY GRANT (15 points) (-) Penny Grant's caricatures of fans and authors at the OMPAcon were printed in the first issue of Blunt and resulted in fulsome praise and sudden fame. Her connexions with the professional SCI-FI magazine, Sf Monthly, are not held against her – and indeed the news page is brightened by an occasional cartoon or two.

Next five places:
7) Paul Skelton (11 points) (10th=)
=8) Eddie Jones (10 points) (9th)
=8) Dave Britton (10 points) (-)
=10) Jim Cawthorn (8 points) (10th=)
=10) Kevin Cullen (8 points) (4th)

BEST SINGLE ISSUE: Nine issues of eight fanzines were nominated.

1) MAGIC PUDDING 1 (ed. Malcolm Edwards) 4 votes.
2) GRIM NEWS 1 (ed. Greg Pickersgill) 3 votes.

BEST ARTICLE OR REPORT: Eight pieces were nominated, but only one received more than a single vote.

1) ROY KETTLE – OMPAcon Report (Part 1) in True Rat 1 (2 votes).

BEST FANZINE COVER: Six covers from four fanzines were nominated.

1) ZIMRI 5 – HARRY TURNER (3 votes)

That's it for another year. Once again, thanks to all the voters and congratulations to the winners. The decline in numbers reflects, I think, a certain apathy in the face of a poor year for British fanac (in quantity, at least). Comments coming in with the ballots certainly suggest this and I was thus anticipating a certain drop in the number of voters. One ballot was received too late for the poll (though I continued to accept votes a week after the deadline) and at least three people wrote to say they didn't really consider themselves qualified to vote.

Next year the poll will probably be held in a slightly different way, since Checkpoint will have folded. I hope to distribute ballots with other fanzines in Britain and then gather them up in time for the Eastercon. They'll be distributed early with a deadline for first as well as last votes, in order to insure that late fanzines don't miss out in the voting.

Finally, here's a piece of time-binding:

TEN YEARS AGO: The British fan poll for 1963 appeared in Ron Bennett's Skyrack 66 in April 1964. Twenty nine fans voted and some of the results are given below.

Best British Fan Publication:
=1) Hyphen (Walt Willis)
=1) Skyrack (Ron Bennett)
3) Les Spinge (Dave Hale)
4) Scottishe (Ethel Lindsay)
5) Vector (Archie Mercer)
(Pete Weston's Zenith – aka Speculation – came in 8th)

Best UK Fanwriter: 1) Walt Willis; 2) John Berry; 3) Brian Varley

Best UK Fanartist: 1) Atom; 2) Eddie Jones; 3) Jim Cawthorn.

MIKE GLICKSOHN EXPECTED: Mike says he'll be over in Britain sometime this summer and hopes to have at least a fortnight free for visiting fans. Look forward to seeing you, guv'nor.

FANZINE ODDMENTS: Jim Goddard tells me that Cypher has suffered exactly the same fate as Speculation and Vector – Jim Diviney, the printer, has failed to produce anything. Nonetheless, the eleventh issue is expected shortly after Easter – and will include Ballard reviewing Billion Year Spree, by all accounts.

Graham Poole writes to say that Genesis, the BSFA's introductory fanzine for neofans, is now complete and includes the following: a) BSFA History; b) BSFA posts and facilities; c) other organizations; d) British competitions and awards; e) "fanfare – fandom's many faces" (?); f) address list. Write to Graham if you're interested – 23 Russet Rd, Cheltenham, Glos, GL51 7LN.

DEALERS TAKE NOTE: Frank Halpern (of the Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia) is compiling an International Classified Directory of Dealers in Sf and Fantasy Books & Related Materials. It'll be published in the Autumn by Haddonfiel House, 300 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033. Information would be appreciated from all sf dealers – contact the publisher.

US FANS: I forgot to note on the page of fmz for sale: $1=40p. Currency notes welcome, but no cheques, please.

GILLON FIELD: I've just heard at the Globe that Gillon Field, an active member of the Birmingham Group and organizer of the Nova Award, died last month (March).

The publishers and editorial board of CHECKPOINT have pleasure in informing you that the sum of _______ is presently held in your credit. This will entitle you to: 1) further issues up to number ___; b) ___ issues of Egg; b) a refund of _______. NB: Don't wait up for the postman – like all good things, refunds and issues of Egg may be a long time acoming.

NOVACON 4: The first Progress Report has now appeared giving some details of the smaller series of annual UK cons, the fourth of which will be held as usual in the Imperial Centre Hotel, Birmingham.

Dates of the con are: October 25-27th, 1974 – earlier than usual in an attempt, it seems, to allow some American fans over here for a MENSA conference to attend the Novacon. Guest of Honour will be Ken Slater. The programme, as usual at the Novacons, is to be sparse and generally made up of assorted films.

Hotel booking forms have been distributed with the Progress Report and so have Nomination forms for the Nova Award (for best UK fanzine). Judges for this have also been announced – Jhim Linwood, Greg Pickersgill, Ina Shorrock, Andrew Stephenson and Keith Walker.

Membership (50p) and further details of this year's Novacon can be obtained from: Robert Hoffman, 44 Middleston Hall Road, Kings Norton, Birmingham 30.

THE AUSSIECON: Just a reminder that you can join the 1975 World Sf Convention in Melbourne by sending me, as UK Agent, £1.25 (supporting membership). This entitles you to full Hugo nomination and voting rights, plus, of course, all the printed Progress Reports and the usual massive Programme Book. The supporting membership can always be converted to attending membership (£4.25) should you suddenly be offered a free trip Down Under in '75. Further details from me – all questions welcomed, honest!



Peter Roberts
6 Westbourne Park Villas
London W2

Printed Matter Only

Return requested, if undeliverable