Checkpoint 63

Edited and produced by Ian Maule of 8 Hillcroft Crescent, Ealing, London W5.

Available for Letter, trade or subscription (5/40p or 10/70p). Fanzine reviews by John Piggott.


Apart from some unusual problems with booking my room I enjoyed this year's Novacon a great deal, perhaps I should say that for me it was one of the most pleasant conventions I've attended. The use of a new hotel in preference to the old Imperial helped I'm sure in that like the surroundings I found most of the attendees interesting and fresh. Having the bar and lounge in one complex made wandering around looking for people unnecessary and perhaps this one fact made the convention a good rather than very good convention. All the conventions I've attended since I arrived in fandom five years ago have had separate bar and lounge facilities which over the years I've become accustomed to. For one thing they made people circulate, if only to avoid the boring chatter of someone sitting near you. This time there was hardly any way of avoiding the banal comments of people near you except to wander off to the toilet every five minutes. At least in a hotel with many rooms set aside for fans you have the choice of sitting in with the fan group you're most interested in at the time.

The Royal Angus is a very good hotel but for a convention a large and well situated con hall is essential and unfortunately the Royal Angus does not have one. With seating for only 100 people I found it extremely disconcerting to find myself surrounded by standing figures entering the hall by the two doors situated on the side. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage was the support pillar one third of the way from the center which seriously handicapped anyone showing films larger than 8mm on the screen. For a convention using standard 16mm films an unobstructed view down the length of the hall is essential.

Aside for some criticisms over the hotel the only other item to likewise merit this same sort of treatment was the fancy dress parade. Isn't it about time British fandom did away with this hoary idea of presenting ridiculous and poor costumes? From experience we should have realised that it just doesn't gell. Not enough interested parties spend time on their dress, the majority being cobbed together generally during the course of the convention, and a number of the well planned falling down through being too esoteric and irrelevant. A special mention should be given here to Hazel Reynolds who over the past few years has come up with a number of fairly successful costumes, at least she does appear to put time and effort into her dress.

On the whole I have only pleasant memories of the weekend although nothing in particular stands out in my mind. I remember sitting-in during the quiz and marvelling at the lack of knowledge some SF fans seem to display. Only Roy Kettle and Malcolm Edwards seemed to have the slightest idea what was actually going on and I wasn't too surprised when Malcolm won.

Another winner was Rob Jackson who this year won the Nova award for Maya. I feel that although the award itself is quite laudable the rules and actual process for adjudging the nominated fanzines could be adjusted somewhat to avoid any confusion at a future date. For example: nominations should close at a set date say one month before the convention and the judges subsequently chosen as opposed to the current practice of selecting the judges first, this to avoid as far as possible any bias among those giving the award. I also feel that the rules should specify whether the award is for the best issue during the year or the best series of issues.

Venue for Novacon 6 had yet to be decided but the committee have announced that Dave Kyle will be Guest of Honour.


John Piggott is now Secretary of the National Games Club. If you're interested in becoming involved in postal games of any description then contact John at the editorial address (he lives here too).

Ian Williams and Harry Bell are planning a joint venture into the children's illustrated story-book market. Naturally enough Ian will be writing and Harry illustrating. Ian has apparently already completed the first draft and intends re-writing it in the near future.

Bob Shaw has turned full-time writer and given up his job with Vickers in Barrow-in-Furness.

Mary Legg is currently vacationing in the States.

Paul S. Ritz (C/O The Mythopoeic Society, University Hall, Box 55, B.G.S.U. Bowling Green, Ohio 43403, USA.) and other members of the local Mythopoeic group have decided to produce an address list for SF/Fantasy people. Also they're thinking of reviving the old Tolkien Society. If you want to be listed contact Paul at the above address.

Paul Kincaid, 20 Sherbourne Road, Middleton, Manchester, M24 3EH.
Mike Scantlebury, Flat 2, 1 Palatine Road, Withington, Manchester, M20 9LH.
Are new members of the MAD Group and would like to receive fanzines. Mike, I seem to recall, was a Bristol fan in the old days.


Maya9 commemorating 5 years of Gannetfandom is due out shortly. This issue will feature a major article by Ian Williams on the growth of the group since he founded it late in 1970. Accompanying the article will be a photo feature of past and present Gannetfen.

Dave Rowe and Bernie Peek are collaborating on a new fanzine to be titled K. 90% fannish says Dave.


Beneluxcon 4, 15-16th May 1976. De Leewenhorst, Noordwijkerhout. Attending membership £5, supporting £1 to Paul V. Oven, Riergors 62, Eemnes – 2670, Netherlands.

Suncon 77 (Orlando). Marsha Jones, 25 Mount Way, Bebington Hill Park, Higher Bebington, Cheshire, L63 5RA is British agent for the 77 Worldcon. At the moment supporting membership is £2.50 and attending £3.75. All British fans concerned about the British bid for 79 should register, you have to be registered with Suncon to bid for 79.

BRITAIN IS FINE IN 79. Brighton has been chosen as the sight for the 79 Worldcon if we get the bid at Orlando. Pre-supporting membership is 50p to, Peter Roberts, Flat 4, 6 Westbourne Park Villas, London W2. The New Orleans counter bid which has been mentioned recently is apparently not fully supported by the local group in the area, so it looks as if we should be unopposed in our bid.

Mancon 76. Membership up to the last morning of Novacon was 309.


A number of people have mentioned that Vaughn Bode the American artist died recently in strange circumstances.

Zimri has folded according to some sources of information, although other rumours indicate that this is not the case. Only firm news is that art editor Harry Turner has returned Harry Bell's front cover for the next issue. What is the situation Lisa?

News reaches me of a new SF specialist bookshop in Edinburgh. No further details as yet apart from the fact that it's near the Odeon cinema!


Goblins Grotto 2, Ian Williams, 6 Greta Tce., Chester Road, Sunderland, SR4 7RD, Tyne & Wear. Available for Loc, trade or contrib. This issue only available for 35p or $1 (cash).

Rob Jackson's piece on his experiences as a doctor leads off this issue; it succeeds in being pleasantly fannish and very serious at one and the same time. A superb article, it is fitting that it should appear in one of the best zines of the year. Pat Charnock's article is also interesting, though I think Ian made a mistake here in asking Pat to write about feminism (again!) – I have the impression that Pat is in danger of becoming typecast; she's developed into a major fan-writer in a remarkably short time and I'm sure she could write about many other subjects with equal skill. There is also a substantial letter column; unfortunately Ian left himself very little space for his own writing this time, which is a pity as Ian can write with the best of them as long as he doesn't get too introspective. This wouldn't matter so much, except that 2 1/2 pages of this issue are totally wasted on 'discussion' of Chip Delany's DHALGREN. Not that there's anything to discuss: it's the most dreadful book of the year and, if it ever got onto an award ballot, would probably come second to RUNTS OF 61 CYGNI C. Even introspective Ian would be more interesting than this!

This issue is printed professionally and, as you'd expect, looks extremely smart. Ian bleats a little at the beginning about how much it's costing him; frankly I think it's always worthwhile spending extra money to guarantee a decent-looking product, especially when the standard of writing is as high as it is here, and of course one can hardly go wrong with litho provided a few elementary precautions are taken. Certainly some of the Harry Bell illoes in this issue would not have reproduced satisfactorily in mimeo.

Anyway, all in all this is a great issue from one of our best editors. I'll stick my neck out and even say it may be worth the 35p he's asking for. Still, getting it free was one of the better things to happen to me this year.... rather like coming fifth in the National Scrabble Championship, I suppose.

Knockers from Neptune 2, Mike and Pat Meara, 61 Borrowash Rd., Spondon, Derby, DE2 7QH. Available for Loc, trade, old fanzines or $ per copy.

This is a personalzine in diary format and, as expected, it isn't particularly good. Diary-type fanzines never are, and I'll tell you why: the editor needs to take far less trouble over this type of zine than when producing a conventionally-structured one, and naturally the reader suffers. With an incompetent editor, indeed, disaster ensues. Despite these harsh words I have to admit that KFN is the least bad example of the diary fanzine I've seen in some time. I suspect that most of this is because the Mearas can string words together in reasonably correct English; and because they have an instinctive grasp of the rules of layout so that, even unplanned, their zine looks all right. It's difficult to say anything about the actual contents: varied would be a fair description. I cavilled at the 'fantastic free gift' inside; it turned out to be an unfunny limerick between two computer cards. And I don't see why they started the page numbers where the first issue left off, unless it was to fool Keith Freeman (in his Vector review), in which case they succeeded beautifully.

It's been opined that to enjoy this and similar fanzines you should read just a few pages each day. Presumably by the time you finish, a new issue should be on its way! Whether you think the Mearas are interesting enough characters to warrant their being permanent bedside companions is another matter altogether; I know what I'd answer, which is that I'd prefer to see another issue of their erstwhile genzine Lurk, insipid as it undoubtedly was.

Parker's Patch 2, see COA for address. Available for the usual, no price listed.

I'm glad to say this one is pretty good, although the reproduction could best be described as 'traditional British' (just readable). There will now be a short interlude while I deal with THE MEN WITH BIG STICKS.....

Over half the zine is taken up with the writings of one Don West, a fan of uncertain though lengthy vintage whose appearances up to now have been confined to the odd letter and a few cartoons. In view of this, the quality of his fanzine reviews is surprising; I find them interesting and perceptive, showing a refreshingly cynical regard for the realities of fandom! I wish I could say the same the same for his other contribution, a tedious and unfunny exposition involving jumbling up people's names in order to get something 'amusing'. Example: Greg Pickersgill becomes 'Er? Er? Sick pill, ggg'. like, wow.

Parker has a nice editorial at the start; he doesn't say a lot except that he's soon to become a 'Doc, but it's pleasant stuff to read. The letter column is interesting; I found Peter Roberts' reminiscences therein fairly amusing: 'I remember when Greg Pickersgill wrote letters beginning "Dear Mr. Roberts"....I seem to have wandered off the point somewhat: the main thing is that this is a good zine and worthy of support.

Scabby Tales 1, John Brosnan, see COA for address. Available for the usual.

Brosnan's return to fan-publishing has been long overdue, and he's certainly the better for it. 'I wake up each morning feeling a new man,' he recently confided. Nevertheless one can't help wondering whether ole Broz has lost his touch: the expected swipes at Priest and Edwards were pretty muted, and even the introduction of Gerry Webb as the new whipping-boy hasn't saved the day. For all that, it's a sweet little fanzine. I liked it.

Titan 1, Geoffrey Rippington, 15 Queens Ave., Canterbury, CT2 8AY. Available for the usual or cost of postage.

Ten pages of Ethel Lindsay-type reviews of Poul Anderson stories, some doomsday-watching, more short book reports and a page of editor-written fanfic. Rather a pity, this thing; one has the impression that if the editor had waited till he'd seen a few more fanzines before starting his own it would have been much better. I put the blame on SF Monthly.

Syndrome 4, Frank Lunney, 715 11th Ave., Bethlehem, PA. 18018, USA $1 or the usual.

Mota 12, Terry Hughes, 866 N. Frederick St., Arlington, VA. 22205, USA, usual.

Scientifriction 3, Mike Glyer, 14794 Osceola St., Sylmar, CA. 91342, USA, usual.

Egladil 3, Stuart & Rosie Clark, 36 Valley Rd., Liverpool, L4 0UD. usual or 15p/1 – 3/40p US and Canada 40¢ and $1.

Spicy Rat Tails 1, Rich Coad, 295 Jayne Ave., Oakland, CA. 94610, USA. Usual.

Scottishe 70, Ethel Lindsay, 6 Langley Ave., Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 6QL. usual or 2/50p or $1.

Vibrator3, Graham Charnock, 70 Ledbury Rd., London W11. usual.

Malfunction 8, Pete Presford, 10 Dalkeith Rd., South Reddish, Stockport, SK5 7EY. Usual.

Atropos 1, Dave Cockfield, 31 Durham Court, Hebburn, Tyne & Wear, NE31 1JX, usual.

Prehensile 14, Mike Glyer (address above) and Milt Stevens, 14535 Saticoy No.105, Van Nuys, CA. 191405, USA. Usual or $1 per copy. Money to Milt.

Dynatron 63, Roy Tackett, 915 Green Valley Rd.NW, Albuquerque, NM. 87107, USA. For trade or 50¢ per copy only.


John Brosnan, C/O Harrison, Flat 18, Elm Court, Merrion Rd., Dublin 4, Eire.
Brian Parker, 3 Walsham Close, Hertford Rd., Stevenage, Herts.
Note that Brosnan's address is good for only 6 weeks from 1st December.

And now a quick word from the editor. In future issues I hope to publish not only news but in addition articles and letters. If you've anything to say that's interesting or relevant then drop me a letter and I might publish it. It's also within the realms of possibility that I'll be publishing some sort of fan-profile in each issue accompanied with photos. I'll be contacting people about this in the near future. Until then....have a good Christmas and a merry and drunken New Year.

If a cross is in the square below this is your last issue unless.........

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Ian Maule,
8 Hillcroft Crescent,
London W5,
United Kingdom.