Checkpoint 75


(October 1976)

John D. Berry cartoon

Edited and produced by Peter Roberts, 38 Oakland Drive, Dawlish, Devon, UK. Available for news, trade, or cash (5/50p, 12/£1, or 6/$1 airmail). Overseas subscribers – please send cash or IMOs only. Restormel Press Publication: 105. Cartoon by John D.Berry.

TAFF TRIO: Three British fans are standing for the 1977 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, namely Terry Jeeves, Pete Presford, and a certain Peter Roberts. The first copies of the ballot were distributed at the beginning of the month and voting will continue till Easter Monday, 1977. Checkpoint and other fanzines will carry ballot forms shortly, alternatively they should be available from the administrators (UK: Peter Weston; US: Roy Tackett). Make sure you bestir yourselves and vote.

MILFORD MEETING: (Rob Holdstock reports) "The fifth English Milford Writer's Convention took place on the 4th-10th October in the Compton Hotel, Milford-On-Sea, and was an unmitigated success as usual. The conference, originated by Jim and Judy Blish in this country, is the high point of several writers' year, mine included. If it lacks heavy-weight presence (the conference, which is a critical workshop, is no place to air egos) it nevertheless represents an annual gathering of a cross-section of some of the best new and established professional and semi-professional writers. And me, they let me in too. This year those present were: Chris Priest (who brought in my opinion the best story of the workshop, a multi-level study of voyeurism called "The Watched"), Andrew Stephenson (who was remarkably fit for a man who's just finished his first novel, Nightwatch, due out mid-77), Richard Cowper (still shattered at being described as a 'boy writer' by Fantasy & Sf – he's just beginning work on a new sf novel), Judy Lawrence (American writer in English, resident in Greece), Charlotte Franke (German all-rounder: writer, publisher, editor), Jerry Schutz (a gentleman writer), Pamela Bulmer (a critic of considerable merit and breath), Dave Redd (remember him from the sixties? This fine young Welsh writer is coming back in a big way), Dave Garnett (he no longer wishes to be 'Dav' – here's another who will be back in force just as soon as he buries his last MS: "Rayguns Forever"), Duncan Lunan and his book, Man & The Stars (an inseparable pair; Duncan's recorder-like memory makes him a fund of anecdotes and light, witty stories), and me, they let me in too.

"Three manuscripts a day were dissected right until the bitter end, and evening discussions (on 'Writing From The Unconscious', 'Putting Personal Experience Into Writing', and 'Publishing Horror Stories') all provoked fascinating and furious argument. And there was Chris Priest's frisbee too, and a party on Saturday that was every bit as wild and memorable as last year's. The conference is open to all serious writers of sf, whether full-time or not. If you're interested in attending next year's, contact Chris Priest (1 Ortygia House, 6 Lower Rd, Harrow, Middx)." (RH)

FANTASY TALES – NEW MAGAZINE: Bryn Fortey writes to say that a new, semi-pro magazine, Fantasy Tales, is starting in the new year. The people behind the scenes are Dave Sutton (former editor of Shadow and a number of paperback horror anthologies) and Steve Jones (current editor of Dark Horizons). No further information at the moment. Bryn incidentally wonders whether this news is fannish enough for Checkpoint – well, hell, I'm willing to give sci-fi a plug now and again. I mean, if it helps and all.

ANOTHER AWARD: The British Sf Award presented by Futura (Orbit) Books to the best sf novel published in the UK over the last year went to Ian Watson's The Jonah Kit. Kingsley Amis did the honours at a special lunch in London on Oct.7th. (News from Malcolm Edwards, who can always give dependable information on 'special lunches' and is not looking any thinner these days)

THE SCIENCE FICTION YEARBOOK: Jim Goddard sends information on this new project that he and David Pringle are working on. They're hoping to publish an annual book containing information and reviews of recent sf titles, notes on sf in the media, publishing news, and so on. The first Yearbook should cover 1976 and will be published early in 1977 by Bran's Head Books Ltd. Jim mentions the BSFA's Yearbook and assures me that his similar project has been around longer and that he isn't usurping the BSFA's idea.

DRAMATIC EVENTS IN LIVERPOOL (Colin Lester reports) "Ken Campbell, actor/producer/dramatist extraordinary (also famed Fortean and fringefan), is in Liverpool working on a series of plays based on the Illuminatus! books of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. The three books have been turned into five plays, each comprising five 20-minute episodes, and titled: 1) The Eye In The Pyramid; 2) Swift-Kick Productions; 3) The Man Who Murdered God; 4) Walpurgisnacht Rock; 5) Leviathan. Rehearsals started on 17th October, with a first night of each play sequentially from 23rd November (a Tuesday), and a complete run-through of all five on Sunday 28th. The dedicated cast then go through the same sequence weekly to January 2nd (but missing Christmas week).

"Ken expects a visit from the authors during the first week, and has found a lot of interest in the theatre world and in Liverpool, where the plays are being run. The Arts Council think enough of the idea to have put up £4000, with a further underwriting of £5000. Enquiries to: Ken Campbell, The Sf Theatre of Liverpool, The Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream & Pun, 18 Mathew St, Liverpool, L2 6RE." (CL)

THE SCIENCE FICTION COLLECTOR: Ted Ball has sent along a copy of a new Canadian magazine, The Sf Collector, published by James Grant Books. The first issue is devoted to an index/checklist of Ace Books; future issues should contain more checklists, bibliographies, and relevant articles. If you've got the collecting twitch, I should think this magazine will happily serve to encourage it. Copies are available for $1.25 from: J.Grant Thiessen, 943 Maplecroft Rd SE, Calgary, Alberta, T2J 1W9; or for 75p from: Fantasy Centre, 43 Station Rd, Harlesden, London NW10 4UP.

Hazel Reynolds, 12 Heatherdale, Ibstock, Leicester, LE6 1JU, UK.
Donald Robertson, 6100 Cavitt-Stallman Rd, Loomis, CA 95650, USA
Steve Beatty, 303 Welch ## 6, Ames, IA 50010, USA.

WORLD SF WRITERS CON: (Rob Holdstock reports on the gathering in Dublin mentioned last issue, and provides a handy-dandy guide to sf professionals) "The first World Science Fiction Writers Conference was held in the rich and plush Burlington hotel in south Dublin over the weekend 24-26th September. It was a great success. We will all be back. Writers came from all over the world, although Peter Szabo of Hungary was the sole representative of the Eastern Bloc, a role he found difficult to shoulder when, one quiet evening, a core of the better writers gathered in a dark corner and initiated the World Sf Association. Between times there had been excellent panels on International Science Fiction and what different countries and different publishers want from writers (alas, most British publishers seem to want thin, commercial fiction suitable for a Foss spaceship cover); an excellent panel discussion on sf criticism caused much anger and controversy, and 'Backtalk', a panel with writers on one side telling publishers on the other what they should be publishing, and vice versa, was a formula for the sort of discussion that ordinary cons always strive for and never attain. There were super talks by Tom Shippey and Willis McNeilly, and two hours of insensate and arrogant boredom from Richard Kirby, who could make a fortune talking to insomniacs – and curing them.

"Running around from the bar to the lounge and back again one could see: Brian Aldiss, cheerful and young as ever; Ted Sturgeon, a quiet, sparkling-eyed man who seemed as anxious to learn from we newcomers as we were to learn from him; Harry Harrison, chairman and organizer, sharing the chores of the con with his son, Todd, making light of the inevitable lateness of the programme and rearranging of items; Bob Sheckley, whose enigmatic smile haunts me to this day; Forry Ackerman, whose conversation consisted of nodding; Alfred Bester, a real smooth man with an easy style, a witty edge to his conversation, and an apparently endless supply of anecdotes about Holiday magazine; Gordon Dickson, a smashing fellow, a true professional and a great fan; Jim White, whose enigmatic smile...etc; Frederik Pohl, who in a ten second contribution to a panel discussion said more than ten minutes from anybody else – a rather distant man, uneasy in strange company; Kyril Bonfiglioli who defies description and thinks humanity are toads; and Anne McCaffrey, who seemed to be everywhere and probably was. A couple of fans were there: Ian McCauley and Gerry Webb, great fellows both. Younger writers also made their presence felt: Andy Stephenson, Chris Boyce, me, Duncan Lunan, Charlotte Franke; Patrice Duvic, a Frenchman who looks very debauched; Michael O hUanachain, a smooth Irishman with beard and wit and whom I hate for it; Seamus Cullen, who needled the publishers endlessly in areas none of us others dared (for we are all chicken-hearted, but for this noble writer of modern myths who put into words what we had only dared dream about); Elisabeth Gille, a French lady with an accent like adrenalin, representing the top French publisher, Denoel, who pay out huge amounts of money; Naomi Mitchison, who walked around with a briefcase that was almost as big as she was; Maggie Noach, whose wide-eyed laughter could often be heard drifting through the convention hall; Abby Sheckley and Anne Webb; June Hall and Dot Houghton (from Sphere and NEL respectively); and Janet Freer.

"On Sunday night we stuffed ourselves on thick pieces of Irish beef, tinned carrots, and a red wine that was crimson garbage. We watched an irish senator called Dooge doing what Irish senators do, getting us to nod agreement for his half-baked ideas. Then there was the John W.Campbell award, which did not go to Bob Silverberg's Stochastic Man (it came third, McNeilly explained why, and the certificate was accepted by Harper & Row's Buzz Wyeth, whose enigmatic smile... etc), nor to Bob Shaw's Orbitsville (which came second, John Bush of Gollancz accepting). No, the winner was Wilson Tucker's The Year Of The Quiet Sun. Brian Aldiss explained why it was being awarded to a book six years old and reduced us to hysterical laughter as he did so. There were, later, mutterings of disapproval, but most of us were glad it had been acknowledged at last. It was a great convention." (RH)

IGUANACON CHANGES: Firstly there's a new address for this, the 1978 Worldcon: "Iguanacon, PO Box 1072, Phoenix, Az 850001, USA"; the dates are also changed and the con is now planned for Aug 30th – Sep 4th, 1978; deadline for the cheap ($7.50) membership has been put back to April 1st, 1977.

The first issue of the Iguanacon Bulletin has been sent out to members (get in touch with the committee if you haven't received one) and naturally this contains more detailed information. The con, incidentally, is looking for a European Agent – drop them a line if you think you can help. Latest membership figure is 1350. (Information from Greg Brown, the Chairman, and also committee member, Bruce Arthurs – thanks for writing)

BRIGHTON EASTERCON BID: Preliminary negotiations with hotels for the 1978 Brighton Eastercon bid have been successful and the bidding committee are busy choosing the most suitable site. The originators of the bid, John and Eve Harvey (Secretary and Chairman respectively) have gathered to them several well-known fans, well-versed in conventioneering: Rob Holdstock (in charge of the sf programme), John Piggott (Treasurer), Greg Pickersgill, Simone Walsh, and Leroy Kettle (who will ensure a strong fannish presence at the con), and Carol Gregory (in charge of the film programme). Further news later, or contact John Harvey, 64 Elthorne Ave, Hanwell, London W7 2JN. (Information from Greg Pickersgill, to whom thanks. There'll probably be some notes on the other 1978 Eastercon bid in the next Checkpoint)

MAULE'S CURSE: (New readers prepare to be baffled – the following is a left-over from the last of Ian Maule's Checkpoints and is a summary of Dave Rowe's letter in reply to Jim Linwood's comments on the forthcoming Nova Award) "Contrary to Jim Linwood's implications, during the brief time we discussed the notion of a judge's own fanzine being available for the Nova it was only as long as a judge couldn't discuss and vote for his own fanzine. How Jim got the opposite impression I have no idea. The idea was unworkable anyway and so was dropped there and then, as I've already said." (The letter continues with a complex and involved reply which calls into question Jim Linwood's account of his resignation from the Nova panel. I don't propose to print anything further on this, however, since the whole thing really doesn't stimulate my sense of wonder.)

COLLECTING ANTIQUES: "There I was," says Malcolm Edwards, "mooning away my lunch break in one of the local bookshops, when I happened to pick up the latest issue of a thing called Antiquarian Book Monthly Review. Leafing through it, what should I find but the enclosed article. Fascinating. Is this the beginning of the end, I ask myself." Fascinating indeed, since the article was on fanzines, forming a column titled 'Ephemera' by C.W.Hill. I seem to recall him writing to me some time ago, asking for information; since I get a mention this must probably be the same bloke. Anyway, it's a reasonable piece, giving a brief survey of fanzines with a note on the Sotheby's auction (where I myself saw two bundles of forties fanzines disappear for the ludicrous sum of £50). Interesting, but Roscoe preserve us from hobbyist collectors.

THEY CALL HIM MR.TOUCHDOWN: Mike Glicksohn, that is. Locs and puns have been replaced, at least temporarily, by blocks and runs for Mike, who now spends three hours a day as assistant coach of the football team at the school where he is employed as a teacher. Surely this is a new era of fandom when our hobby can number among its participants wrestlers, football players, and now Mike "Big Whistle" Glicksohn.

There's no truth to the rumour that Mike will attend next Spring's round of American conventions in complete football regalia. This plan was considered, but it was abandoned once it was realized that there was no helmet large enough to accommodate Mike's funny hat. (Arnie Katz)

SLOUCH ON ZANZIBAR: Brian Hampton, winner of the coveted Most Quaintly Dressed Fan Award for 1967, has taken time off from making his own trousers and has trundled off to East Africa and Zanzibar in the earnest hope of seeing an eclipse of the sun. Brian was naturally annoyed to be sent a list of compulsory clothing regulations by the excessively repressive Zanzibari government; it seems that 'bell-bottomed' trousers are illegal if they exceed 14" at the ankle, but Brian is hoping that his home-made speciality, 'bell-kneed' trousers, will catch the authorities by surprise.

Anyway he seems to have survived, since he's sent along a nice poctsacrd showing the Zanzibar 'House Of Wonders'. Well. Yes. Good grief.

NY NEW FACES OF 1976: New York City fandom, still reeling from the exodus of several years ago which took such leading lights as Terry & Carol Carr, rich & Colleen brown, Jay Kinney, Ted & Robin White, Bruce Telzer, and Dave Emerson away from the local scene is showing renewed signs of life. The latest additions of note are Eric Mayer and his lovely lady, Kathy Malone. Eric, famed as the modern day scion of Claude Degler, is in the Big Apple to attend Law School. Also new to the area is Nick Polak, who had been active in the Albany, N.Y., area. (Arnie Katz)

DAWLISH NIGHT OUT: Several ducks were alarmed recently when a group of London fans looking for fun tasted the delights of Dawlish on a Saturday night. Pat Charnock, Simone Walsh, and Greg Pickersgill accompanied me and my ragged possessions on the move down to Devon from the Big Smoke. Having marvelled at the fact that there was more than one room here and that the house contained such strange and hitherto unheard of luxuries as chairs and cupboards, the group quickly became restless and demanded to see the red-light districts of Dawlish. Hurrying into the main street so as not to miss any of the action, we discovered the town was deserted – at 9pm on a Saturday evening. We ate in an empty restaurant and moved on to drink in an empty pub. Highlight of the evening was Greg's falling over the steps whilst going in to the pub – an event so unlikely that it lured a local out of the shrubberies to enquire after his health.

WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS, the branch will fall, and down will come Terry and Carol Carr's carport. Well, not all the way down, but the falling limb did do several hundred dollars worth of damage to the structure which adjoins the Carr's home in Oakland, California. No one was hurt, thankfully. (Arnie Katz)

CHECKPOINT INFORMATION: Firstly you'll note that I'm using my real address this time, since I've discovered that it's probably easier and certainly quicker than using the Starcross one (though that's still valid). Sorry if I've caused you any confusion.

Information and news is, of course, always welcome, particularly fannish oddments and anecdotes, whether from the UK or abroad. News will get you a credit and an extra issue. Incidentally, I'm keen to see people subscribing – it's a lot easier to keep records and it insures that you get copies of Checkpoint regularly. Meanwhile, you've got this particular issue: a) as a sample; b) on subscription (to no ......); c) in trade (for ............); or d) for news. If there's a cross here ( ), then this is probably your last issue unless I hear from you.

WEIRD TALES: I hear that DARROLL & RO PARDOE are now touring America and are visiting various fans in Canada and the States. *** Sf authors, ALFRED BESTER and TOM DISCH, are currently living in London. *** FRED POHL is supposed to be visiting London shortly, arriving on Nov 18th. *** GREG BENFORD was at the last One Tun meeting in London and was able to correct last issue's note; he is in fact staying in Cambridge and doesn't, unfortunately, look like remaining here much longer. *** Joseph Nicholas sends a newspaper clipping on the recent Star Trek con in Leeds; if anyone actually went to this, perhaps they'd send along a con report – make it brief though, for all our sakes. *** Linda Williams of the TOM BAKER FAN CLUB writes to mention her recent publication, Timelord, and says it's mostly fiction. Fout on people who don't send me review copies, but it's available for 75p apparently (45 Durham Rd, Blackhill, Consett, Co.Durham, DH8 8RS, UK).

NEXT ISSUE should follow quite swiftly, all being well, with a Novacon report, assorted fanzine reviews, and whatever news is uncovered in the next week or so. Meanwhile you can all sit down and write me a fascinating and articulate letter, ok?

Cripes, Nobby, it's:


Peter Roberts
38 Oakland Drive

Printed Matter Only – Reduced

(Return requested if undeliverable)