Checkpoint 77

Harry Bell cartoon


(December 1976)

Edited and produced by Peter Roberts, 38 Oakland Drive, Dawlish, Devon, UK. Checkpoint is an international fannish newszine, published once a month, and is available for: news, selected trade, old fanzines (but send a list first), or cash: 5/50p or 12/£1 (UK & Europe), 6/$1 (airmail America), or 4/50p (airmail NZ & Australia). Overseas subscribers, please send cash, IMOs, or International Reply Coupons (worth 10p each to me) – no foreign cheques.

Cartoon by Harry Bell. Restormel Press Publication: 109.

MORE FANNISH POLITICS: British readers may already have noticed the result of the Cambridge parliamentary by-election on Dec.2nd in which a new political party fielded its first official candidate. To the relief of professional politicians, Philip Sargent, standing for the Science Fiction Looney Party, gained only 374 votes and thus failed to become the new Member Of Parliament for the city of Cambridge.

The Cambridge University SF Society was responsible for this bizarre, fannish bid for power, since no less than forty members were persuaded to raise the £150 deposit required to field a parliamentary candidate. The idea was apparently first heard of back in 1974 when John Piggott was Chairman of the Group; hut apathy and a lack of cash postponed the attempt, though some time later the CUSFS fielded several dozen candidates in the Student Union elections.

The stated aim of the SF Looney Party was to get Philip Sargent into the Guinness Book Of Records as the candidate with the least votes ever gained in an election for Parliament; in fact he failed quite dramatically to beat the record (23 votes) and indeed polled sufficiently well to score a genuine political point by embarrassing the far-right National Front Party which didn't poll much better. (News supplied by the BBC; inside stuff by John Piggott)

SF FOUNDATION ON TV: BBC 2's "Open Door" programme on Dec.10th & 11th was given over to the Sf Foundation which used the time to promote science fiction in schools and education. A neat-looking Peter Nicholls faced the cameras and briefly interviewed Tom Disch; the whole thing was produced quite competently, though it took some while for me to recover from the terror and shock of seeing Pete on the small screen.

WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION (Darrell Schweitzer reports) "The 1976 World Fantasy Con, held in New York over Halloween, was less Lovecraft-oriented than the one in Providence last year and lacked the special atmosphere that that one had, though the banquet was said to be a true eldritch horror. I never attend con banquets because quite literally all you get for your money is the food – everyone is allowed in for the subsequent speeches anyway. This time I certainly did the right thing; I heard that Frank Belknap Long & party made their protest by sending out for a box of Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken – they dined better than everyone else.

Otherwise the convention was very well run and more big-name pros attended than at most worldcons (conveniently there was an SFWA function to be held in the same hotel the day afterwards). How many conventions can claim a line-up like this? Michael Moorcock & C.L.Moore (the Guests of Honour), Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Lester del Rey, Fritz Leiber, Frank Belknap Long, Lin Carter, David Drake, Don Wollheim, H.Warner Munn, Gahan Wilson, L.Sprague de Camp, Leigh Brackett, Edmond Hamilton, John Ramsey Campbell, Theodore Sturgeon, andy offutt, Karl Edward Wagner, Christopher Stasheff, C.L.Grant, & Norman Spinrad.

One of the highlights was a panel shared by Ellison & Wilson in which someone asked why they hadn't ever collaborated on a story. By way of an answer they proceeded to do so, right on the spot; it was unrehearsed, impromptu, and quite funny – I wouldn't be surprised to see it turn up in print somewhere.

In short it was one of those rare conventions where I regretted missing any item on the programme. I did manage to see Moorcock talking on the comic elements of sf & fantasy, offutt reading part of the "Black Sorcerer Of The Black Castle' parody, and Ellison reading a forthcoming story, "The Diagnosis Of Dr.Darkangel". Several awards were given, but they were greeted with a total lack of enthusiasm by the convention members since both the nominations and awards were picked by a mere five judges and were thus pretty meaningless." (DS) (Darrell, incidentally, is looking for material for his anthology of sword & sorcery parodies, called Blundering Barbarian Tales. If you're interested write – and remember to enclose return postage. The address is: Darrell Schweitzer, 113 Deepdale Pd, Strafford, PA 19087, USA)

KEN CAMPBELL'S "ILLUMINATUS": (Andrew Stephenson reports on the cycle of five plays, staged in Liverpool from Jan., by Ken Campbell & Chris Langham and based on Shea & Wilson's Illuminatus trilogy, now published by Sphere) "Basically it's a powerful paranoid fantasy, stemming from the notion that a secret sect, the Illuminati, dating from the fall of Atlantis, have been trying to take over the world; other counter-groups oppose, or compete with them. Facts and quasi-facts are drawn from many surprising sources: the US dollar bill, Washington's diaries, Playboy, etc. Simple sets of great ingenuity and effective sound services bring this liberated comedy to life by backing an extremely talented cast – no names, since all deserve credit for giving their services (pretty well) free. Of the five parts, 1-3 are by far the best; 4 & particularly 5 suffer from padding (the number '5' has a mystical value throughout, so there had to be five parts). Plot and structure reflect the training methods of the assassins, whose leader, Hasan i-Sabah, used brainwashing to control his agents. The impact of the plays, all on one day, is similar. Not an unqualified success, but it comes so close to it that objections are academic. Perhaps Ken Campbell will try sf again; his use of theatrical technique suggests that some sf themes are just waiting to be staged." (AS)

ASSORTED CONVENTION NOTES: Jim Hudson for the Boston in 1980 bidding committee (PO Box 714, Boston, MA 02102, USA) asks for information and ideas on the world convention to help plan and produce a better con. I might add that we in the Britain in 1979 bidding committee (Seacon 79, 14 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8QJ) are also keen to receive useful suggestions and good ideas. Looking further ahead, Rich Coad mentions a Hawaii in 1981 worldcon bid, headed by Stu & Amy Brownstein, though I'm not sure just how active Polynesian fandom is at the moment so don't polish your surfboards just yet.

Lower down the league table there's the forthcoming Faancon II to be held at the Clarendon Hotel in Derby over the first weekend in February (Fri 4th to Sun 6th). Registration for this informal convention which will have no official programme is £1.25 and the organizers (Mike & Pat Meara, 61 Borrowash Rd, Spondon, Derby, DE2 7QH) tell me that 43 fans have joined so far.

I'd better move rapidly onto Europe and give a mention to Fabula 77, since I've been bombarded with information on this Scandinavian con. It's scheduled for Whitsun weekend (28th-30th May) at the University of Copenhagen and is being organized by the Danish Sf Circle in conjunction with the University's English Department. It seems to be planned as more of a festival than a convention, though the annual Scancon is included in the weekend. The address, if you're interested, is: Fabula 77, Morboerhaven 5/91, DK-2620 Albertslund, Denmark, and they're publishing a circular in English. (Thanks to Carsten Schiøler, Henry Madsen, David Griffin, and Niels Dalgaard for the news). Meanwhile in France there's the 2nd Metz International Sf Festival which seems to be more of a carnival than a convention, since Philippe Hupp tells me that 30,000 people turned up last year. This year's festival runs from May 30th to 5th June and if you want to be part of the crowd write to the Hotel de Ville, 57000 Metz, France. There's a Wargame-Sf-Fantasy Con in Belgium, says Martin Easterbrook, which will take place in Brussels on 2nd-3rd April; further info from Joseph Vanden Borre, Gelukstraat (rue de Bonheur) 14, B-1070 Bruxelles, Belgium. Finally Giuseppe Caimmi sends along the programme for Milancon 1977 and an accompanying letter in Italian; with the aid of some dim and confused memories of schoolboy Latin, I think I've managed to translate this – except for the date of the con which is "6-9 Gennaio". Now I reckon that's probably January, in which case the con will be over before this Checkpoint appears; if I'm wrong perhaps some swot will be kind enough to correct me.

CoAs: Bob Rickard, P0 Box 152, London N10 1EP
Brian Parker, 28 Ascot Cres, Pin Green, Stevenage, Herts.
Jean Frost (Staves), 65 Charnley Aye, Sheffield, S11 9FR
Mike Scantlebury, BA General Arts 3, 10th Floor, Aytoun St Bldg, Manchester Polytechnic, Manchester
Geoff Cox, 188 Clarendon Rd, Broadstone, Dorset, BHI8 9JA
Dark They Were & Golden Eyed, 9-12 St Anne's Ct, London W1
Ken Josenhans, 364 East Holmes, MSU, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA (till June)
Patrick Hayden, 900 W Indian School Rd (18), Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA
Phil Paine, (as above)
David Cohen, 43 Golden Hill Aye, Goshen, NY 10924, USA
Jonh Ingham, 143 Chesterton Rd, London W10

LE ZOMBIE – 40th ANNISH? Though publication has been a little erratic these last thirty years, Bob Tucker is even now scouring the world in search of material for Le Zombie 68. "I'm thinking very strongly," he says, "of publishing another issue next year. It'll be my Jiant 40th Anniversary Issue, and I already have a Harry Warner LoC saved up for it. All I need are submissions by Hon.Sir & Hon. Mam Willis, who were the star attractions of the last Jiant issue." Hell, forty years is a long time. Makes me feel young and foolish. Hand me the rusks, Igor, and we'll move on to the next item.

AMOEBOID SCUNGE OOZES ON: Seth McEvoy threatens to resurrect Amoeboid Scunge (last seen hiding under the title Primordial Slime) and has already absorbed two new co-editors, Patrick Hayden & Gary Farber, as well as honorary coeditors, Renee Seiber & Ken Josenhans, not to mention ex-co-editors Abner (both), Sgt Saturn, & Jay Cornell. The Scunge thus threatens to ingurgitate the greater part of American fandom, even though Seth plans to disguise the beast with a brand-new name which won't even hint at its real nature. He was considering Protean Sludge when last heard of.

SHABBY FANS TABOO: (John Thiel sends news for the genteel & unsullied) "Lafayette, Indiana, has started a science fiction club called THE INTERSTELLARS which holds weekly meetings and publishes a monthly magazine called Vor-Zap. It exchanges fan magazines and correspondence with other clubs and interested parties who are likeable and respectable. It has 32 members at present, some of whom are also members of the Indiana Sf Association. We are presently compiling a list of science fiction on television. Contactable via: John Thiel, 30 N.19th St, Lafayette, IN 47904, USA." John Thiel also publishes a fanzine called Pablo Lennis which is available for "25¢ or the usual to people who can meet our standards of respectability." Well, there's no flies on me, guv'nor, so I thank you very 'umbly for condescending to bestow on Checkpoint such a precious prize as The Respect Of The Interstellars. God bless you, sir!

THE BLOG & SAFETY COMMISSION THREATEN LASFS: Craig Miller reports that progress on the building of the second storey for the Los Angeles clubhouse, now required because of increasing attendance at meetings, is being slowed down by city officials. Craig blames an apparently fannish group called 'The Blog & Safety Commission', but I reckon the blame lies with American handwriting. Anyway, despite these troubles, the LASFS is "almost always ready & willing" to greet alien fans passing through Los Angeles – give them a bit of warning, though, and drop them a line first: LASFS, 11360 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604, USA.

A WEALTH OF FABLE: Most of you will probably already know that Harry Warner Jr's history of fandom in the fifties, A Wealth Of Fable, has been completed and is ready for publication. After a disagreement involving changes to the manuscript, Harry retrieved the book from Advent and turned it over to Joe Siclari to produce a duplicated edition. This was promised for September and part was ready at the time of the MidAmeriCon; but quite what's happened since is uncertain. Joe's marriage in October (to Karin Girsdansky, a NY fan) probably hasn't helped the deadlines, and Karma's parents, John & Perdita Boardman, apparently have a stack of uncollated pages in their house. Anyway, here's hoping Joe sorts things out soon – I for one am looking forward to reading the book and the waiting is making me fretful. Can't have that, can we?

TRADITIONAL CANADIAN NEWS: Eli Cohen tells me the noonday temperature in Regina has just hit -33°C. Eli is moving out in March (when the huskies thaw out).

FANTHOLOGY 1976: Victoria Vayne is working on a 100 page compendium of artwork and writing from 1976 fanzines. It'll be a personal selection and should be available in the summer; meanwhile Victoria says she's taking advance orders (@ $2.50 in America, $3.00 overseas) and her address is: P0 Box 156, Stn.D, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Also in the pipeline is a handbook on the techniques of fanzine publishing, tentatively titled The Joy Of Duplicating, which seems an optimistic title.

BRITISH FANZINE INDEX: This happens to be one of my own projects and I've started off as gently as possible with a listing of British fanzines from 1971-75 (inclusive); much of the work is already done, though I've still got to find details of certain apazines and fringe material. When it's finished I'll publish it as a booklet and after that there'll be time to tackle the earlier years. Anyone interested and able to help, please drop me a line – a lot of information is needed. I'm still, incidentally, looking for a copy of the Pavlat/Evans Fanzine Index and I'd be willing to pay a reasonable price for this.

RECENT FANZINES: Just about room for a couple of brief reviews:

Science Fiction Five-Yearly 6 (Lee Hoffman, 350 N.W.Harbor Blvd, Port Charlotte, FL 33950, USA)(?limited) Chances are that most people reading this Checkpoint weren't around to see the last issue of SFFY and won't be around to see the next; it must be rather discomforting to watch fans come and go inbetween each issue of your fanzine – hell, it certainly makes a mess of the mailing list. Anyway, as is customary, Lee has gathered together some fine fannish material for this sixth issue: Bob Tucker surveys forty years of inedible con banquets, Bob Toomey takes a whimsical look at necrophilia, Ted White, Harry Warner Jr, and Robert Bloch go all nostalgic, and Bob Silverberg continues SF Five-Yearly's regular serial. The letter column is a little thin, but some magnificent cartoonwork and Terry Hughes' lavish black & white duplicating bring the fanzine added glory. Well worth subscribing to.

Black Hole 2 (Judy Mortimore, 21 Owens Cl, Long Stratton, Norfolk)(usual or 20p) This 50pp fanzine contains little other than fan fiction, so isn't of great intrinsic merit. What is interesting is that it comes from the Norwich Sf Group who I'm told have had no previous contact with fandom, issuing this fanzine as an 'official organ' for local readers. Of course this has meant that they've gone and used the same title, Black Hole, as the Leeds University fanzine which is going to cause some confusion. No matter. They'd appreciate contacts, incidentally, so drop them a line – or a fanzine.

ANY OLD FANZINES? Somehow or other I've accumulated a stack of duplicate fanzines of all kinds, from the famous to the obscure, fannish to sercon, and from the thirties to the seventies. Cowed by the stern gaze of Gray Boak, I'm not offering them for sale, but for exchange. I daresay I can type up a list, so if you've anything to offer in the way of old fanzines (mostly fannish) I'd be delighted to hear from you. I'm also willing to buy elderly fanzines, either singly or in bulk, and I'm more than willing to exchange them for Checkpoints.

BACK ISSUES: The following issues of Checkpoint are available from me @ 5/20p (or exchange – see above): 00, 0, 1-7, 9-16, 21*, 22-25, 27-35, 36*, 37, 39, 42-46, 63a. Asterisked issues count double. Some are in short supply, so please list alternatives.

CONKER: Your Checkpoints have probably run out if there's a cross here (___); a number indicates the length of your subscription. The GPO conned me into parting with £21 in postage last issue which isn't really on for a monthly fanzine, so regretfully I shall have to cut down the 'free' list. Faneds who are trading will get the next issue of Egg (partly on stencil at the moment); but Checkpoint in future will only be traded for frequent or jiant fanzines – sorry about that, but I'm hoping to make Egg more frequent, if that's any consolation.

WEIRD TALES: Pete Presford says that any money left over from the Mancon will be passed on to TAFF. // John Piggott has lost at poker again – this sort of bad luck has brought his winnings for 1976 to below £400. It's a tough life, John. // Frank Lunney is now the proud owner of a delicatessen shop and says "Its speciality is an incredibly large sandwich named after my cat, Elmer." He doesn't say exactly what goes into the sandwich, which is just as well. // Continuing our 'Spot Eric Lindsay' competition, Bob Tucker earns a gold star for the following sighting: "I attended Chambanacon at Champaign, Illinois, last weekend (Nov 26-28th) and found Aussiefan Eric Lindsay still in the States. He came over early in August, has attended perhaps twenty or thirty cons, and refuses to go home." Somewhat later a sharp-eyed David Griffin found Eric Lindsay in London, attending a December One Tun gathering. There's now a rumour that Eric's back in Australia at last. Checkpoint just won't be the same without him. // Rich Coad, well-known hippie freak, reports that "nitrous oxide is Bay Area fandom's drug of the year – it's more fun than anything legal has a right to be." Far out. What a gas. Etc. // Jerry Kaufman & Stu Shiffman supply us with a Famous Faned anecdote: "A curious thing happened at the World Fantasy Con when Andy Porter tried to give Sprague de Camp his contributor's copy of Algol. He handed the author the latest issue open at de Camp's article. Sprague scanned it, inscribed his customary autograph after checking Andy's name badge, and said "I haven't seen this thing before; I hope the editor remembers to send me a copy." Exit faned, befuddled. // Jan Jansen's recovering from an illness, Kees van Toorn's recuperating from a serious motorbike crash, and Jonh Ingham's convalescing with a collapsed lung. Sickly lot, aren't we? Still, I wish everyone a speedy return to good health. // Dave Rowe wishes to apologize to Brian Hampton. As a result of a typing error in Wild Fennel Dave's description of Brian as "an impassive boffin" inadvertently appeared as "an impassive buffoon".

A Happy New Year! Free with
every copy of:


Peter Roberts
38 Oakland Dr

Printed Matter Only – Reduced