Checkpoint 79

Alexis Gilliland cartoon


(February 1977)

Edited and produced by Peter Roberts, 38 Oakland Drive, Dawlish, Devon, UK. Checkpoint is an international fannish newszine, published at least once a month, and is available for: news, selected trades, old fanzines (but send a list first), or cash: 5/50p or 12/£1 (UK & Europe), 6/$1 (airmail America), or 8/£1 (airmail Australia & NZ). Overseas subscribers, please send cash, IMOs, or International Reply Coupons (worth 10p each to me) – no foreign cheques and no foreign coins accepted. Cartoon by Alexis Gilliland. Igor helped with collating. Restormel Press Publication: 112.

CHANNELCON BID FOLDS: Greg Pickersgill tells me that the Brighton bid for the 1978 Eastercon has faded away. The main culprit is the hotel, which is now asking painfully high rates (£22 for a double, for example) with no guarantee that even these prices will hold till 1978. This has made the Channelcon uncompetitive, and leaves the Skycon a clear field for next year. Pity, as Greg says, if only because we're deprived of a choice.

SCOTTISH CONVENTION? Roy Kettle has passed on a pamphlet from Glasgow where the local group (the Friends of Kilgore Trout) is planning a convention for the summer of 1978. They've got a title for it ("Faircon 78") and an hotel (The Ingram, Glasgow); but they're waiting for fan reaction to their ideas before committing themselves further. If you're interested or have any useful suggestions, drop a line to (the other) Bob Shaw, 2/L 19 Park Rd, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, Glasgow G4, Scotland. Meanwhile I'd like to know why Rob Roy McKettle receives such information and not me. So much for interCeltic unity.

SECOND FAANCON: Mike & Pat Meara's Faancon in Derby apparently went well, though the D&D players were out in such force that the con split into two groups – those engaged in Dragons & Dungeons, and those otherwise engaged. Some fifty fans turned up over the February weekend; Dave Rowe tells me they were "more or less the cream", which I suppose puts the rest of us in the skimmed milk category. Next year's Faancon will be organized by Gerald Lawrence; details from him at: Tower 6-13-16, Owens Park, 293 Wilmslow Rd, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6HD. (Con notes from Martin Easterbrook, Graham Poole, & Dave Rowe)

SUNCON FLIGHT: European readers should find a sheet with this issue giving details of the charter flight arranged by Pete Weston and Rob Jackson to this years Worldcon in Florida; the cost is about £158, London to New York. More details from the organizers.

JOHN RACKHAM DEAD: John T.Phillifent (John Rackham) died in December, aged 60, after a long illness. He was born in Durham, and wrote sf adventure stories for the British and American markets, his first novel being published in 1954. He also did some other writing, notably three of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. books. (News from Locus).

VORTEX, NEW UK PROZINE: The first two issues of this new monthly sf magazine have now appeared; they're quarto-sized, glossy, and attractively produced. The editor is Keith Seddon and the publishers are Cerberus Ltd, who appear to be a family concern. Vortex is remarkably well distributed at present – hell, if I can buy copies in Dawlish, that speaks for itself.

In my usual sluggish way, I've failed to come up with much background information. A mock-up copy of the first issue was on show at the Novacon, though the final line-up was different. The main item in the first Vortex is the serialization of Moorcock's The End Of All Songs which has already been published. A Rob Holdstock story is reprinted from Zimri and there's an illustrated interview with Jim Cawthorn. The second issue continues the Moorcock serial and features an interview with the artist, Rodney Matthews. Further fiction in both issues is by Ravan Christchild, James Corley, and Steve Axtell. Editorial address is: 18 Claire Court, High Road, Bushey Heath, Herts, WD2 1HY.

SF ENCYCLOPAEDIAS: Brian Ash's sf encyclopaedia is being put together by Trewin Copplestone Publishing and should appear in the US this Autumn, published by Ballantine. Pan is likely to publish it over here and there may also be editions in France, Italy, Germany, Holland, and Japan.

Peter Nicholls and John Clute's encyclopaedia of sf is scheduled for 1978 – Roxby Press in the UK and Doubleday in the US. Half of British fandom seems to be working on entries at the moment and it looks like being a remarkably thorough piece of work.

THE PRISONER CULT: David Barrie, an enthusiastic follower of the British tv series, The Prisoner, managed to get his name and address on the small screen after a recent episode (apparently it's still being repeated in some ITV areas ten years after it was first shown). Within a couple of hours he had his first visitors and within a couple of days he had his first 400 letters. Once he recovers he intends organising some kind of appreciation society. If you want to join the flood, his address is: 39 Union St, Cheltenham. (News from Graham Poole)

WEIRD SERCON TALES: A look at the new kid's comic, 2000 AD, reveals that the 'new' Dan Dare resembles a vicious David Bowie. How are the mighty fallen, &c. // Ken Campbell's Illuminatus! cycle of plays is supposed to be moving to the National Theatre in London. // Darrell Schweitzer notes that Laser Books, the Roger Elwood novel-by-cookie-cutter sf series, has finally folded. This means, for the moment, that Elwood has run himself out of the field entirely. // Bob Shaw should be on the UK tv programme "Read All About It" soon – 20th March, says Malcolm Edwards, and who would mistrust Malcolm? // The second issue of the Argentinian prozine, La Revista De Ciencia Ficcion Y Fantasia has appeared with local and translated fiction. Next issue should have a letter column, so Hector Pessina (our man in Argentina) is preparing for an sf boom.

CHRIS PRIEST LOANED TO AUSSIEFANS: Though it may seem rather a bizarre idea, Chris Priest has spent February in Australia, leading a writers' workshop with George Turner and American, Vonda McIntyre. Whilst over there Chris and Vonda were Guests of Honour at the Melbourne Monaclave, which appears to have been an unusually successful convention. In fact the whole trip seems to have stirred the Aussie imagination and plans are being made for similar projects in the future. Meanwhile Chris has returned with some DUFF ballots (enclosed with this CP, if you're reading this in Europe) and plans for a new, one-off fan fund by the name of GUFF (Get Up and over Fan Fund). This is a tentative idea designed to bring an Australian fan to Britain for the 1979 Worldcon; naturally we've got to win the con first, but Chris has brought back an autographed boomerang which will be auctioned off at the Coventry Eastercon in aid of GUFF (or, should the idea come to nothing, DUFF). Yes, an autographed boomerang. Might look rather fine over there, by the mantelpiece, I reckon. (News from Robin Johnson, Carey Handfield, Marc Ortlieb, and Chris Priest)

YET MORE CONS: A one day gathering called the LUUNICON is being arranged in London, so Martin Easterbrook says. The date is Saturday, April 30th, and the place is the University of London Union in Malet Street. There'll be as many programme items as can be fitted in – films, talks, what-have-you. Registration is 75p to Frances Folley, Bedford College, Regents Park, London NW1. Meanwhile, there's another con in France (besides the big Metz festival mentioned a couple of issues ago); it's the French National Con at Limoges, scheduled for May 16th to the 22nd. Eric Batard says he'll be there, smoking John Player Specials for no good or healthy reason (except that they've just started selling them in France). The registration, meanwhile, is 20f to Daniel Fondaneche, B.P.8, 87001 Limoges Cedex, France. Then there's D.West's BIG CON...

D. West cartoon ad: BRADFORD 78

DALE DONALDSON DEAD: Pauline Palmer informs me that Dale Donaldson died last month of lung cancer. Jane Donaldson, with Bill & Sutton Breiding, plan to publish Dale's novelette "The Reluctant Warlock" and also a final issue of Moonbroth.

MAE NHW I GYD WEDI MEDDWI: (Bryn Fortey) "Welsh fandom took its first faltering steps towards a group identity yesterday when Rob Hansen journeyed over from Cardiff to Newport and met with Mike Collins and myself at the Greyhound. Individual motives for this attendance were fairly mixed. Rob Hansen was curious to see what this aged Fortey character he'd heard about was really like; I was finally doing something about the local fan group I'd been thinking about since 1966; and Mike Collins was happy to meet anyone, as long as it involved the imbibing of ale. It could have been a one-off fiasco, but, I'm happy to report, we enjoyed it and I intend to arrange regular meetings. There's even the possibility of stimulating local interest and we're investigating the feasibility of a Welsh Eastercon bid, 1980 being mentioned as the year to aim for.

Meanwhile, Rob Hansen has been distributing his Welsh Dragon badges. Besides Mike Collins and myself, Welsh exiles such as Greg Pickersgill and Dave Langford have been sent them. Anyone else who's not of Welsh birth, but lives in Wales, will qualify for one upon the completion of twenty years unbroken residence in the Principality, or regular attendance at the South Wales Sf Group meetings."

ANNUAL FUGGHEAD: "Ed Buchman, Mike Glyer, and Oogle Boogle tied in the LASFS' annual Fugghead of the Year contest, with Craig Miller coming in fourth. Idi Amin was a favoured nominee, but in fact received few votes; nobody wanted to risk the possibility of him actually turning up for the customary speeches, I guess." (Mike Glyer)

ICE AND OZANNE: (Bob Tucker writes from the Northlands) "I'm entitled to another gold star – this time for spotting Ken, Marea, and Alexander Ozanner, who used to dwell in the Blue Mountains above Sydney. They were in the Blue Mountains the last time I saw them in 1975, but now they are in or near DeKalb, Illinois, living it up in blizzards and bitter cold. That will teach them to leave home! Ken has taken a research position with Northern Illinois University and expects to be here for perhaps a year. They landed in Los Angles and drove across country visiting fans along the way. They hadn't been driving very long before encountering snow and ice which hounded them all the way. It was their bad luck to reach the midwest (without proper clothing) while we were having the worst winter of the century. Undaunted, they left Jacksonville early the next morning, in yet another snow-storm. I only hope they reached DeKalb; there's been no word from them..."

Mike Glicksohn adds that half the people trying to get to the Confusion were thwarted by a mammoth storm which closed down the entire top half of North America earlier this month. Anyone heard from Eli Cohen lately? Darrell Schweitzer notes that the Delaware is frozen for the first time since 1903 and suggests an Icecon on the river. "A fannish first!" says Darrell, happily. And a fannish last, for that matter, if there's a sudden thaw.

FLASH! SCIENTIFIC WORLD QUIVERS! "In a recent press release, Loren MacGregor, well-know respiratory therapist and would-be author of a novel about the Seattle bus system, announced that if you attach an electro-encephalograph to a bowl of lime-jello, you will get a positive reading, indicating LIFE. He insists this is true." (This great step backwards for mankind reported by John D.Berry, otherwise known as the Jelly Green Jiant)

LINYCON I: "Tom Anderson organized a party-con in Long Island on Jan 29th. About 20 people attended, receiving a fabulously limited publication, One Dragon Too Many by Guest of Honour, Lin Carter and illustrated by co-GOH, Roy Krenkel. I mention this just to torment any completist collectors out there. A pleasant time was had by all. Notable programme item was a Bugs Bunny film version of Wagner's Ring Cycle." (Darrell Schweitzer, unintentionally anglicized by PJR)

PUBLICATIONS & PROJECTS: It looks like everyone has spent the long winter nights nurturing their pet ideas and the coming of spring has brought some of this cupboard fanac into the open. Terry Jeeves, for example, says that his handbook on duplicating is now available: it's 74 pages, contains most of the material on fanzine production that's appeared in Erg over the last few years, and is selling for £1 ($2) (230 Bannerdale Rd, Sheffield, S11 9FE, UK). Mike Glyer says that a Fanthology of 1977 material is planned "under the wing of the 1978 Westercon" (funny place to plan things), directed mainly at the Hugo and FAAn Award voters. Steve Beatty tells me that the new edition of his Fanzine Directory is ready – just has to stencil it, he says. Sure, Steve, but forgive me if I put that into the Real Soon Now category. Jerry Kaufman mentions a collection of covers from APA-Q to be published in support of DUFF and to promote Fred Haskell's candidacy; Garry Farber and Moshe Feder are producing the thing and the price is 60¢ from Moshe (142-34 Booth Memorial Ave, Flushing, NY 11355, USA). Finally, I think, Mike Glicksohn reminds me that he has copies of 'The Hat Goes Home', his DUFF trip report @ $1.40 (all profits to DUFF) and Derek Carter's 'And Lo God Made Rotsler For DUFF' also $1.40 (all profits to DUFF)(141 High Park Ave, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 2S3, Canada).

FANZINES RECEIVED: Just room for a couple off the pile:

Stop Breaking Down 4: Greg Pickersgill & Simone Walsh, 7a Lawrence Rd, South Ealing, London W5. (usual or 20p) I'll be frank and admit that I didn't expect to see this again – I thought lethargy and house-moving might have strangled it. But here it is, and it's an excellent issue too – could be the best yet, in fact. Fine material from Rob Holdstock on authoring, Graham Charnock at the Novacon, and the editors' columns. Letter section is good value, too. Bloody great. Damn near made me miss my train.

Spicy Rat Tails 4: Rich Coad, 1735 47th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA. (usual or interesting peanuts) This pales a little alongside SBD, as Rich would doubtless agree; but Spicy is still an enjoyable personalzine with a relaxed, fannish style that reads well. Good stuff.

FANZINES FOR EASTERCON: Details of the fan room at the Coventry Eastercon are in the third Progress Report which is now available. However, it's worth putting in this reminder to all interested faneds; fanzines are wanted for sale in the fan room – and no, we don't keep the money. Remember to bring them along, therefore, or (if you're not attending) send them to Greg Pickersgill, address below.

Paul Ryan, 14 Wrangthorn Terrace, Hyde Park, Leeds 6, W.Yorkshire
Greg Pickersgill & Simone Walsh, 7a Lawrence Rd, South Ealing, London W5.
Carey Handfield, 33 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Vic 3065, Australia
Mike Carlson, c/o James Tower, The Knowle, Barcombe, Lewes, Sussex
Patrick Hayden & Phil Paine, 94 Avenue Rd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Graham & Susan Hall, 695 Cordova (4), Pasadena, CA 91101, USA.

CONKER: If there's a cross here (.....), then just leave quietly and don't make a fuss. If there's a number there, then that's the measure of your days (and a day is only complete when a Checkpoint arrives). All good fans, of course, renew their subscriptions and send in lots of news (fannish events, projects, meetings, parties, anecdotes, foolishness, and real news too). Keep writing.

WEIRD FANNISH TALES: Shock-horror news this time is that I've got a job, despite my active lethargy. I'm now indexing eighteenth century newspapers in Exeter City Library – a more tedious task than it sounds, but with some amusement amongst the yellowed papers. // Talking of odd jobs, Bill Kunkel says he's working on Wrestling Training Illustrated (a periodical which he recommends as "dignified and well-written") and also on DC Comic scripts ("The Vigilante", "The Fabulous World Of Krypton", and "Weird War", if you're interested). // Steve Stiles is also working with comics, only this time (says John Berry) he's produced a series of distinctive greetings cards for Krupp Comic Works. John doesn't know their price, but the address for Kruppcards is: Box 7, Princeton, Wisconsin 54968, USA. // In case any of you don't happen to subscribe to Cornish Nation, I might note that the latest issue has a photo of me inside, carrying the Cornish flag. Guaranteed to make base Saxons quake in terror. // Mike Glicksohn sends along a poctsarcd with a torn bit of dollar bill stapled to it by way of subscription. No, I don't think it got lost in the post, Mike. It's a little Canadian joke, isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it? // Speaking of whom, Bill Brummer tells me that aged Mr Glicksohn was recently asked to prove his legal age when ordering his regular supplies of alcohol. Maybe this Boy Wonder business has some truth in it after all. // Speaking of thirty year olds, Harry Bell recently celebrated the coming of middle-age and was presented with a jigsaw, signed by a multitude of fans. Yes, I thought it was an odd idea too. Still, we all have our little-known fantasies. (Mine are in the garage.) // Graham Hall has got married – to a woman, quips Roy Kettle, helpfully. Apparently the wedding was on January 12th and the bride was Susan Spalding; they've moved off to California where Graham can spend most of the day watching Star Trek on Channel 5. Each to his own, and thanks to Pat Charnock for the real news. // More fantasies: femme fan, Jenny Sewell, is on display in the January Mayfair, says Don Allen. Well, that's his excuse. Don, incidentally, is re-emerging after a year of family tragedies – hope 1977 is a lot better for you, Don. // No room – till next time.

The daffs are out,
and so is:


Peter Roberts
38 Oakland Drive
Dawlish, Devon

Printed Matter – reduced