Checkpoint 78


(January 1977)

Bill Rotsler cartoon

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 Australia & NZ). Overseas subscribers, please send cash, IMOs, or International Reply Coupons (worth 10p each to me) – no foreign cheques. Cartoon by Bill Rotsler. Restormel Press Publication: 110.

EASTERCON SENT TO COVENTRY: Rog Peyton has sent along a note and a photocopy of the second PR (out soon, if not already) confirming a suspicion he had at the Novacon a couple of months ago, namely that the Holiday Inn at Leicester was in a mess. The Leicester site was the original choice for the 1977 Eastercon and the committee had obtained a quotation on room prices back before the Mancon last year, they then discovered that the Holiday Inn was under new management and the prices were being raised. The final straw came in the Autumn when the Holiday Inn changed hands yet again and the new manager claimed that the hotel had no records of the Eastercon booking (and he wanted to raise the price too). The committee gave up on Leicester as a result and looked around for another Midlands hotel, quickly settling on the De Vere in Coventry, scene of the 1975 Eastercon.

You'll forgive me if I sound a bit smug, but the move backs up Seacon 75's complaint about the difficulties of finding suitable hotels that can cope with British Eastercons of 500-600 people. We had to move to Coventry in 1975, and it seems the hotel problem is still with us in 1977. Anyway, the De Vere is a good, new hotel and the management still have the Seacon records and know what to expect of a convention. Remember to wear rubber shoes though – unless they've burnt those amazingly electrostatic carpets by now.

The Eastercon itself takes place over Easter weekend (8th-11th April). John Bush (of Gollancz) is the Guest of Honour, Pauline Dungate is Chairman, and Dave Upton is Registration Secretary (£1.50 con membership goes to him: 49a Moor St, Brierly Hill, West Midlands, DY5 3SP). Current membership is 290+. The programme is still being arranged, but Greg Pickersgill & Simone Walsh are working on the Fan Room, Marsha Jones is in charge of the Art Show, and the exciting Graham Charnock (with the chart-bursting Burlingtons) will be providing musical accompaniment for fans to stomp to. Hotel booking forms will be sent out with the third Progress Report.

I WAS A PUNK ROCK BNF: (Jonh Ingham reports from the fringe) "A bit of news worth noting is that there's been an incredible spate of fanzines recently in the rock world. Zig Zag is the granddaddy and there've been a few imitators plus the fifties-collectors zines; but now fans of the new wave bands – or punk bands, if you will – have been popping them out like a plague. Eight in two weeks, to be precise. There's a similarity to some of them – mostly gushing reviews, which is what fans are about after all – but a couple of them are pretty hot. The oldest is Sniffin' Glue, which first appeared in July and has kept to a pretty regular schedule. It interviews the new bands and is generally cynical ("We hate our readers" is their motto) in a quite witty way. Now there's Anarchy In The UK, which is almost all pix, Ripped & Torn and New Wave (from Glasgow and Newcastle, respectively), 48 Thrills, Bondage (with photos cut from papers and safety-pinned to the page), Moron, and the amazing London's Outrage, which is done by a guy with an obvious art school background and a very discerning analysis of the connexions between punks and fascism & violence (Fleet St would have done well to read this before flying off at the mouth recently). Most of these fanzines are xeroxed, and most of them disappear within a couple of weeks because the next one is under way. I can supply addresses if you're interested; but most of these people have never heard of the concept of 'the usual', nor even of selling fanzines. With my innate fannish superior intelligence I am attempting to inject such concepts as 'the usual', mainly by putting my own zine out. This is called London's Burning, after a song by the Clash, to whom it's devoted. It's mostly collage & photo-montage, and the only thing wrong about it is that my first fanzine in four years has nothing to do with sf fandom. Somehow I can't envisage anyone besides Greg Pickersgill being interested in it, and even he would look at me oddly." (Don't worry, Jonh, Greg often looks at people that way – it's a brave attempt to imitate a Really Piercing Look he once saw in a 1937 remake of Dr Doom Can See You.)(Actually, I should note that Jonh Ingham's address is: 143 Chesterton Rd, London W10. and he'd probably appreciate an SAE if you're after punk rock information).

FLUSHING IN 1980: (Stu Shiffman sends news of this important bid) The Shea stadium has been specially selected as the venue for this 1980 Worldcon bid, with Flushing Meadows as an overflow site if more than 100,000 fans turn up. The programme is still shaping up, but the Federal Pavilion (a left-over from the World's Fair) will house The Harry Warner Jr Museum Of Fanhistory and should prove ideal for special events such as dioramas of the landing of Berry & Willis in America, a dramatization of The Enchanted Duplicator using hand-puppets, and a 3-D slide show, hard rock 'experience' (in Sensurround) illustrating the evolution of the fannish fanzine. The aging, but spry Hoy Ping Pong has agreed to be Fan GoH – more info from Stu Shiffman (see the CoAs).

THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND: (Bob Shaw explains his recent silence) "The main news is that I've changed my address. My previous house was a neat modern box which was so small we couldn't have embossed wallpaper; but it did have one advantage in that the only maintenance required was the changing of a lightbulb now and then. The new house is at least three times as big, in a pleasant Victorian terrace, and has bags of character, as the saying goes, but it was in a ghastly mess when we moved in and I've had to work like stink to make it habitable. "Like stink" is an apt term in this case. The previous owners had six cats and a dog, all of which apparently spent their time defecating in the corners, and it took ten whole days with scrubbing brushes and Jeyes fluid before I had eliminated the animal pong. Then I had to spend time with Kleen-o-pine, trying to get rid of the smell of Jeyes fluid. Now there's just the smell of the Kleen-o-pine to go...

"On top of that, literally thousands of man-hours of work are ahead of me in fixing the place up. I'm not complaining too much, because if the house had been in good order it would have been way beyond my price range. But there's been no chance at all for fanac lately and a pile of unlocced fanzines stares at me in mute reproach. Here's the sort of interesting problem one encounters in a house which has the aforementioned bags of character. My tv picture kept getting worse and worse for no apparent reason, and I suspected the aerial or its lead. I followed the lead back through the house and found a link in the cable. When I unscrewed this about an eggcupful of water poured out! This cured the picture trouble, but did you ever hear of anyone having a waterlogged aerial cable before? I suppose I could always convert it into a shower unit." (It was shortly after this that Mr Shaw first discovered the hidden sub-cellar and that strange lights were seen in Ulverston...)

RECENT FANZINES: A couple from the posh end of the spectrum.

Nickelodeon 2 (Tom Reamy & Ken Keller, 1629 Scott, Independence, MO64052, USA)($2 or usual) In my Little Gem Guide to fanzines I recommend Nickelodeon to newcomers, the idea being that they won't suffer from culture shock since Tom Reamy's fanzine is as glossy as anything in the newsagent's magazine rack. Nickelodeon looks like the old Trumpet, of course, and is really a straight continuation of Tom's former title. Contents aren't quite as impressive as the production, unfortunately: there's an entertaining piece on Ted White's slushpile ("Izat Knows The Way To Flushing" by Tom Monteleone & Grant Carrington), a Fred Pohl interview, and a couple of lesser articles and oddments. The idea of fannish nude centrefolds is bizarre, but the idea itself (and a list of suggested names) is actually more interesting than the result – the photos are dull and unimaginative (hell, Tom, these are sf and weird fantasy fans – I want to see a full frontal sense of wonder). Anyway, overall it's an enjoyable fanzine and one I look forward to seeing.

Algol 27 (Andy Porter, PO Box 4175, New York, NY 10017, USA)(UK Agent: Ethel Lindsay, Courage House, 6 Langley Ave, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 5QL)($1.95, £1, or usual) Another plush fanzine, this issue with a multicoloured glossy Eddie Jones cover, Algol usually concentrates on straight sf material: Isaac Asimov is interviewed this issue, James Gunn has an article, and Dick Lupoff looks at books. A particularly interesting item is Vincent DiFate's column on sf artwork and Sprague de Camp also has a useful piece on professionalism, particularly with regard to Lovecraft. On the fan side, James White's 'The Exorcists of IF' is reprinted from Mota and Susan Wood's column of fanzine reviews looks at British material. It's a good issue – I'm often inclined to skip sf material, but Andy Porter is good at presenting his contributions in a tempting manner; with patience and care I should soon be eating out of his hand.

Bob Shaw, 3 Braddyl Terrace, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 0DH
Stu Shiffman, 880 West 181st St (Apt 4D), New York, NY 10033, USA
Tom Reamy, 1629 Scott, Independence, MO64052, USA.

DEADLINE: for the next issue is Feb.20th or thereabouts. Meanwhile, this may be your last issue if there's a cross here (.....) – a number indicates the last issue on your subscription. Crosses may be eradicated by money or letters containing fannish news & anecdotes – here's hoping.

WEIRD TALES: We've actually got some prozine news on hand which doesn't concern Isaac Asimov's new publication – you see, Checkpoint brings you something different. Kees van Toorn, for example, says he's working on a new Dutch prozine called ESSEF, the first issue of which is to be published this month; the material is 50% fiction, 10% information, and 40% comics. Philippe Hupp is also working on something – "a new slick & sophisticated magazine" – which should interest French readers; it's scheduled for publication in May. Finally Hector Pessina tells me that sf is booming in Argentina, despite economic difficulties, and that the publisher he's working with (Andromeda) is planning an sf magazine (presumably in Spanish). Hector, incidentally, has just finished a translation – La Casa En El Limite (and I'll leave you to work that out for yourselves).// "International Fandom must be a wonderful thing," says Bob Tucker. "I was one of the lucky few who managed to see Darroll and Rosemary Pardoe at the worldcon. They were emerging from an elevator as I was entering it. We said 'Hi' and I haven't seen them since." // Mervyn Barrett can't find any fannish news in New Zealand and is feeling sorry for himself: "In some strange way my fannish life seems to have gone in some sort of circle and I am back to where I began and to what I was – an oddity. A New Zealand fan. Something that the existence of wasn't ever suspected. Something to be cherished and nourished with gifts of fanzines." Isn't that sad? If anyone feels like feeding an oddity, Mervyn's address is: Flat 4, 151 Abel Smith St, Wellington, NZ.// Pamela Boal has become heavily involved with a newspaper for the disabled (called Passion) and says it'll be taking up a lot of her fanac time for the next couple of months – fanzines still appreciated, however.// Jerry Kaufman says the next Spanish Inquisition is still in the works, Richard McMahon has had to delay his new fanzine (the one with the horrible title – Chandeliers & Candelabras – which sounds like a refugee from Liberace fandom), Geoff Rippington is changing Titan to Sf Arena (not a great idea, Geoff, since Ian Williams used the same title for a small fnz a couple of years back), and Rich Coad has published Spicy Rat Tails 4 and is keeping it in his closet until he can hire a stamp licker: his generous offer of $1 per gross licked has so far gone unanswered.

Loose the kites, Igor!
It's time for:


Peter Roberts
38 Oakland Dr

Printed Matter Only – Reduced