Checkpoint 67, edited and produced by Ian Maule, 8 Hillcroft Crescent, Ealing. London W5 2SG, United Kingdom. Available for letter, trade or subscription (5/40p or 10/70p). News this issue from Terry Hughes, Peter Presford, Eric Bentcliffe and George J. Laskowski Jr.
Richard Bergeron is hard at work on the special Willis issue of Warhoon. Dick is trying to make this the definitive collection of Willis material. Contents will include: The Harp That Once or Twice, Willis Discovers America, The Harp In England (1&11), The Harp Stateside, The Enchanted Duplicator and many more besides. The whole volume will come to well over 300 pages. Dick sent me a copy of a page that has already been run off, so as you can see this project is very much alive. (Terry Hughes)
John Piggott is intending to produce a new fanzine this Summer after his stint as General Secretary of the National Games Club ends in July. It won't be a resurrection of The Turning Worm but may contain certain letters that were originally sent as locs for that zine.
Henry P. Pijohn and Kevin Williams are planning a new fanzine to be called Bland. Kevin has already written his section and it only awaits Henry to finish his.
The idea of holding a convention on a University campus is one that I'm sure won't be brought up again. Mancon 5 will go down in fan history as one of the worst British Eastercons due mainly to the site and not a little to the lack of organisation. My doubts about the whole affair were to a certain extent realised soon after I arrived on the Thursday afternoon when the Chairman came towards me and asked where the restaurant was! From that point onwards the convention lost all credibility. Things went wrong from the outset: the first film on the Friday morning was projected with the wrong second reel and the TAFF panel on after lunch was cancelled as no-one had told the participants that it was on. In effect the first day of the programme was a complete failure with nothing coming off as the committee intended.
As usual I spent most of my time in the bar talking and socialising. There too problems arose – the bar was too small for the number of people attending the con and the lack of carpets on the floor meant that those unfortunates without seats had to stand and suffer the pains of sore feet. The bar staff were not the friendliest of people either and many a time they would ignore people standing waiting to be served and talk to their boyfriends.
Friday night I went to bed before midnight out of boredom and thus was fit for any all night parties that would take place on the Saturday night. Just like the previous day the programme didn't exactly excite me apart from the Bob Shaw talk in the evening which as you can expect was side-splitting and perhaps the highlight of the convention; this will be appearing in Maya 11. All night parties there indeed were. A combined Ratfandom/Gannet party took place in one of the quiet rooms in the Tower block and attracted a fair proportion of active fandom to it. This finished in the small hours of Sunday morning just in time for me to go outside and watch the dawn break over Manchester. At that hour the Swedish fans were still entertaining and so I made my way back into the block to round the night off. I'll say one thing for the Swedes, they certainly can drink, unfortunately their parties tend to get out of hand and this one was no exception. The first thing I noticed on stepping into the room was that my feet weren't on the floor but on the debris of broken bottles, chairs and people. The second thing I noticed was that the Swedes were still sober whereas the British fans were in various stages of drunkenness. The party lasted until breakfast which is just as well as there was no other place to go to at that time in the morning, the bar area being closed.
Sometime during the weekend the long awaited football match between Ratfan Dynamo and Gannet Flyers took place on a full size pitch not far from the con. With Ratfandom leading four to nil we were turned of the pitch and told to play somewhere else which we eventually did. Bob Shaw was referee and ably controlled the two teams of maniacs. The eventual score was two goals each but being on the Ratfan team I have to say that we wuz robbed.
SILICON. Imperial Hotel, Newcastle on Tyne. 27th-30th August 1976.
Although an excellent idea along the same lines as the recent Boakcon in Blackpool I can see several problems with this convention, and I hope my good friends in Gannetfandom don't mind me pointing them out as I see them. First of all the whole idea of Boakcon was for a cheap informal convention with no programme where people who knew one another could relax and have a good time in each others company. I feel that Gannetfandom have gone the wrong way about organising Silicon. The hotel is expensive, it's the wrong time of year and perhaps more important the short spiel about the con given to the massed ranks of neofans in the con hall at Mancon 5 may mean that it won't be the fannish affair they envisage if these neo's register and attend. Boakcon worked because we all knew each other, there was no need for name badges or other items usually associated with a convention. It was fun. I just hope that the Gannets haven't bitten off more than they can chew.
Drilkjis 1, Dave Langford, Boundary Hall, Tadley, Basingstoke, Hants., RG26 6QD, and Kevin Smith, 26 Hawks Rd., Kingston on Thames. Surrey, KT1 3EG. Usual or 40p. Another new fanzine; the things are breeding like flies these days. This one is more impressively produced than many a first issue but nevertheless still manages to be fairly tedious. All the usual obligatory short stories, book reviews and crosswords are there and quite a dire lot they are.
Mota 15, Terry Hughes, 866 N. Frederick St., Arlington, VA. 22205, USA. Usual; sample available on request. As you may have guessed from previous issues of Checkpoint this is my favorite fanzine and as such you can't really expect an unbiased review from me.
Scabby Tales 2, John Brosnan, c/o 43 Chesholm Rd., Stoke Newington. London N16. Usual. Unofficial journal of the Malcolm Edwards and Chris Priest appreciation society. Main feature this time around is John's disclosure of being a Rosicrucian.
Maya 10, Rob Jackson, 21 Lyndhurst Rd., Benton, Newcastle on Tyne. NE12 9NT. Usual or 40p each, 3/£1 in UK. USA and Canada $1 or 4/$3. Perhaps the most absorbing fanzine ever published in Britain and a just winner of the Nova award last year. Rob manages very nicely to combine fannish and sercon material in a way no other British faned can do.
The Inverted Ear-Trumpet 3, Richard McMahon, 287 South Lane, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 5RR. Usual. Rather a skimpy fanzine composed mainly of the editors ramblings. Graham Poole contributes an article of sorts on SF music and TV.
Fanew Sletter 53, Leigh Edmonds, P0 Box 114, Balaclava, Victoria 3183, Australia. 10/$2. The Australian counterpart of Checkpoint.
Vibrator 5, Graham Charnock, 70 Ledbury Rd. London W11. Usual. One of the few personalzines now being produced. Good comments on the Nova award controversy as well as an introspective view of performing in a group.
The Proper Boskonian 13 NESFA, Box G, MIT Branch Post Office. Cambridge. Mass. 02139, USA. This issue edited by David Stever. Not much in this issue apart from a short story and a couple of articles; not very interesting.
Forthcoming SF Books 30, Joanne Burger, 55 Blue Bonnet Ct., Lake Jackson, Texas 77566, USA. 50¢ per issue airmail in Europe. Useful listing of SF books to be published.
NESFIG Newsletter 9, Alan Isaacson, 34 Weldon Cres., High Heaton, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Usual. This is the official newsletter of the North East Science Fiction Group but don't be put off by that. This issue is particularly useful containing as it does articles originally printed in the Tynecon programme book on the history of British Easter conventions, if you didn't read the programme book I strongly recommend you get a copy of the Newsletter.
Fanzine Fanatique 16, Keith & Rosemary Walker, 2 Daisy Bank, Quearnmore Rd., Lancaster, Lancs. Usual or 4/35p, 3/$1 US. Fanzine reviews.
The Spang Blah Vol. 1V, No. 1, Jan Howard Finder. PSC Box 614, US Air Base 1-33081 Aviano, Italy. Free. The truly international newszine that covers fan news from all parts of the globe.
Instant Message 189, NESFA, Box G, MIT Branch Post Office, Cambridge, Mass. 02139, USA. Usual. Official newsletter of the New England SF Association.
Stop Breaking Down 1, Greg Pickersgill, 4 Lothair Rd., South Ealing, London N5, Usual of 20p (in stamps). Every time I came to this fanzine I looked at it and put it back on the bottom of the pile. It wasn't because I was afraid to make disparaging comments about it, rather the fact that I couldn't find the words to describe this, the first Pickersgill fanzine for over two years. From a cursory glance it's the usual Pickersgill package apart from a front cover, ably hand-cut by Graham Charnock. A look at the contents page soon makes you realise that this fanzine is something special; articles from Peter Roberts, Rob Holdstock, Graham Charnock and the long unpublished Simone Walsh make this something of a London group zine. For all this ingroupish contribution Stop Breaking Down if remarkable, being readable and understandable to a large segment of fandom; something previous Pickersgill fanzines have been criticised for not being. Greg seems to have learned in his two years in exile that a fanzine can be painted on a broader canvas than he previously imagined.
I won't attempt to give an analysis of the articles published. Take my word for it that they are interesting and well written. One point I will mention though is Greg's own fanzine reviews. A few years ago one of the joys of reading the late lamented Fouler was the fine fanzine reviews contributed by Greg. When Fouler ceased publication and Greg's reviews went the way of all flesh a certain arrogance went out of the British review field. The joy of Greg's reviews are in essence this arrogance....he is right, you are wrong. You may not agree with his conclusions but Christ you can't help admiring the way he reaches them.
Karass 19, Linda Bushyager. 1614 Evans Ave., Prospect Park, Pa. 19076. USA. Usual or 3/$1. After a lengthy gap between issues it's good to see this American newszine back in production.
Ash-Wing 18, Frank Denton, 14654 - 8th Ave. S.W., Seattle, WA. 98166, USA. Usual. Not up to the standard of previous issues mainly because of the predomination of fiction. Still worthwhile getting though.
Sfinx 11, Andrew Chapman, Oriel College, Oxford. 3/80p. Billed as the foremost amateur SF magazine in Britain – who am I to disagree?
True Rat 7, Roy Kettle, 43 Chesholm Rd., Stoke Newington, London N16. Usual. Best thing in the issue is the seventh progress report from Mancon; the remainder of the zine is pretty good too.
Thangorodrim 27, Patrick Hayden, 206 St. George St., #910. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Usual or 3/$1.50. Although ostensibly an apazine, this fanzine makes a rather good genzine. Apart from some mailing comments most of the issue is taken up with articles and letters that wouldn't disgrace many a genzine. Well worth getting.
Vector 73, Chris Fowler, 72 Kenilworth Ave., Southcote, Reading, RG3 3DN. After all I've said about this magazine it pleases me to say that Chris now appears to have full control of the reins now. Oh, it's available in Britain for £3.30 for 6 and $6 in US and Canada.
K2, Dave Rowe, 8 Park Drive, Wickford, Essex, SS12 9DH and Bernie Peek, 6 Hawks Rd., Kingston on Thames, Surrey, KT1 3EG. Usual or at the last resort, 25p. Coming only a month after the first issue I'm quite surprised they've managed to produce such a good second issue. One thing missing though is some of that famous Dave Rowe artwork; how about it Dave?