Checkpoint 80

D. West cartoon

March 1977

Checkpoint is edited and produced by Peter Roberts, 38 Oakland Drive, Dawlish, Devon, UK. It's published at least once a month and is available for: news, selected trades, old fanzines (but send a list first), or cash: 5 for 50p or 12 for £1 (UK Europe), 6 for $2 (airmail US), or 8 for £1 (airmail australia & NZ); overseas subscribers, please send cash (eg. $ bills), or international money orders, or reply coupons (worth 10p each to me) – no foreign cheques and no foreign coins accepted. Heading by Don West. Restormel Press Publication: 114.

EVEN MORE FANNISH POLITICS: Whilst Philip Sargent and the Sf Looney Party were campaigning for a seat in the British parliament, Canadian fan, Henry Argasinski (editor of Paperchips, &c), was electioneering in Toronto in an attempt to become Mayor of the city. Despite headlines like "HE ZAPS MAYORALTY RACE WITH SCIENCE FICTION!" (Toronto Star), Henry actually polled 3160 votes and came third (out of ten candidates) – not bad for an 18 year old student. "It was a hell of a lot of fun," he reckons: "four tv interviews, two radio talk-shows, and countless newspaper articles." Sounds ok. Only thing that worries me is a footnote to Henry's letter asking if I've got any of the Cosmic Circle issue of Egg left. Fandom, be warned!

EDMOND HAMILTON DEAD: Edmond Hamilton died on Feb 1st, aged 72. He was best known for his early pulp writings, particularly the Interstellar Patrol series and the 'Captain Future' juvenile stories. He was married to the author, Leigh Brackett, and had many contacts within fandom. (from Locus).

WEIRD SERCON TALES: Thanks to John Millard for sending along a copy of the first (Spring) issue of Isaac Asimov's Sf Magazine. It's standard digest-sized, sports a large photo of Asimov himself on the cover, and bears a small "55p" which might mean it's available in Britain or may just be some arcane code. Contents, at a glance, look less than inspiring, so if you feel like rectifying that the editorial address is: Box 13116, Philadelphia, PA 19101, USA. // Darrell Schweitzer says the new prozine, Cosmos, is "excellent". Edited by D.G.Hartwell, the first issue is now out, quarto-sized and good-looking. // That reminds me of Britain's own glossy, Vortex. Pete Weston is probably going to take over as editor shortly., if he has his wicked way with the publishers. Best of luck to him too. Now where was that sf story I wrote back in..? // Rob Hansen sends in a clipping that claims that the US tv networks, hounded by their Nielsen ratings, are going to concentrate on "science fiction, domestic dramas, and fantasy series." Watch out for some more moronic rubbish on all our tv sets. // Hans-Joachim Alpers & Ronald Hahn are looking for British sf material for a new German prozine, Comet, the first issue of which should be out this month. They're also looking for sf illustrators. (Ronald Hahn, Werth 62, 5600 Wuppertal 2, W.Germany).

ASSORTED CONVENTIONS: The Britain in 79 bid has now collected no less than 800 pre-supporting members. The third progress report is scheduled for April. Eric Batard is the new French Agent for the bid. // Vernon Brown tells me that the next Eurocon won't be in East Germany after all; instead it looks like it may take place in Italy (Ferrara) in 1978. // Another change involves the dates for the Metz International Sf Festival: Philippe Hupp sends along some new information – Phil Dick is to be the GoH; Robert Sheckley and Roger Zelazny are supposed to be attending; and the new dates are 19-25th September (contact Philippe at: 7 rue Franchet d'Esperey, 57000 Montigny les Metz, France). // Vernon Brown (Pharmacy Dept, Univ.of Aston, Costa Green, Birmingham, B4 7ET) is agent for this year's Sfancon VIII, the Belgian convention that's always attracted a large number of British fans. Bob Shaw is GoH this year, Andre de Rijcke is organizing the con, the place is the Fabiolahome in Ghent, and the date is 9-11th September. Contact Vernon or Andre for details. // The Scottish Faircon, mentioned last issue, is going ahead; they've issued another progress report and hope to be giving out more details at the Coventry Eastercon. There are 50 members so far, mostly local, and the Friends Of Kilgore Trout (the organizers) are hoping to get more fans interested from points to the south of the Roman Wall. Supporting membership is 50p from Robert Shaw, 2/L 19 Park Rd, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow G4, Scotland.. // The 2nd progress report on the Skycon 78 Eastercon bid for the Heathrow Hotel is now out; voting will take place on the bid over Easter weekend – more news next issue, therefore. // The 4th and final report on this year's Coventry Eastercon is also out. In case any of you have just found out that you can make it after all, the place to aim for is the DeVere Hotel in Coventry where the con will be held over Easter weekend. Current membership is 450+. I shall be setting out early from the marshlands and heaths of Devon in order to be there. See you, possibly.

CoAs: Tony Lewis, Pussywillows, Off Wheeler Lane, Natick, MA 01760, USA.
Leigh Edmonds, P0 Box 103, Brunswick, Vic.3056, Australia.
Ron Bounds, Klingsorstrasse 10, 6 stk, 8 München 81, W.Germany.

IN OLE VIRGINNY: (Bruce Townley relates) "That staunch cultural institution, the Virginia Commonwealth University, now has an sf group, called VaCUSFORG, naturally (rhymes with Bjorn Borg). Every so often (mostly on Thursdays) all manner of landed gentry drifts into the lounge of Ritter-Hickock Hall where Things are discussed and beaten into submission by our fine minds. For example: Rollerball (plans are afoot for a team at VCU), tv show theme songs, Harlan Ellison (his stories too), MidAmericon (we managed to infiltrate it), and Ray Harryhausen. In the works is the showing of several films and a genzine called Interociter. Phoebe Davis is President & Creator; Bruce Townley is VP & Head of the Secret Police; Frank Daniel is Secretary & plays a mean rhythm guitar; David Kirby is Editor-to-be & Jack Kirby's Nephew; and Bud Webster is moving to New York. Anyone interested in this (and/or Southern Comfort), contact Phoebe Davis (Rm 301, 821 W.Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23284, USA)."

BRUMMIES: The Birmingham Group meets every third Friday of the month at the old Imperial Centre Hotel (Temple St), Birmingham. There's usually some programme item (starting 8.00pm), followed by a rush to the bar. Next meeting is April 15th when there'll be a discussion on "Put sf back in the gutter where it belongs" (I'll drink to that). Vernon Brown (address on the opposite page) edits the BSFG's Newsletter, so contact him if you want further details.

THE NORTHLANDS: (Rob Jackson reports) "Our biggest piece of news is that NESFiG (the North-East Sf Group) is deeply involved in an 'Expert Advisory' capacity in the next Newcastle Festival, an annual arts jamboree lasting a fortnight and held in June. This year they've decided on a strong sf theme, with a season of films, lectures by sf authors, and sf art displays by professionals and children. Perhaps the biggest brainstorm so far has been Andy Hudson's (the festival 's director) idea of borrowing 800 tons (ie, 100 lorry-loads) of aluminium ingots, piping, tubing, sheeting, &c, in order to construct an enormous spaceship – for kids to play in. After the festival it'll be returned to Alcan Ltd. Anyway, if anybody knows of possible speakers who'll be in the UK this June, perhaps they'd let me know."

EVEN NORTHER: (The Scottish Bob Shaw cracks the ice) "Regarding FOKT: we're Glasgow's sf fan group. There was an earlier group, ASTRA, but I defy anyone to find it now. About three years ago, a group of renegade fans formed "The Friends Of Kilgore Trout", figuring that the guy couldn't have any other friends anyway, so he'd be quite pleased. A pub was arranged (Wintersgill's Lounge Bar on the Great Western Road, Glasgow) and now FOKT meets every Thursday (8.30pm onwards) and can count on fifteen regulars and often double that number. Details from me (address on opposite page) – telephone (041) 334 6874."

COURT CIRCULAR: The fannish peer who's been turning up at the London One Tun meetings recently is, so Dave Langford informs me, Jestyn Reginald Austen Plantagenet Philipps, Baron Strange Of Knokin, Baron Hungerford, Baron de Moleyns, and Viscount St Davids, Bart. That should put the St Fantony hoi-polloi in their place. Dave also sends a press clipping wherein Lord St Davids claims "I have been touched on the shoulder by the Time Police." – a mild fate, compared to Mr Langford's well-known nose-tweaking abilities. Anyway, anyone who is Baron Strange Of Knokin (created 1299) is ok by me. As a lesser-known descendant of Hywel Dda, I'd better dust off the family coat of arms, I reckon.

BERMUDA TRIANGLE MYSTERY – SOLVED: You'd better believe it too, since this remarkable claim is made by none other than the Wise One himself, Don West (better known by the code letter 'D'). Full details are to be found in the Astral Leauge Yearbook, available at Easter for a paltry 50p (or free with the Astral Leauge Badge, which costs a paltry 50p as well). "Many other amazing and hitherto suppressed facts also in The Yearbook," says Don. The Astral Leauge is not a religious organization.

WEIRD FANNISH TALES: Darrell Schweitzer apologizes and says that it's all his fault – and that's official. He's been elected the Philadelphia Sf Society's Scapegoat, defeating several other potential scapegoats for this doubtful honour (Barry Malzberg among them). It is, of course, Darrell's own fault that he won. // Also Darrell's fault was some recent confusion in German-American relations: "I got a letter from a German literary agent who mentioned that he'd previously written to an address of mine mentioned in some fanzine, but that his letter had been returned unopened. The address? c/o Gruntvig's Mead Hall, Hackscribblevik, Iceland," Darrell would like it to be known that he has never actually lived there, nor in Hokum, Massachusetts, nor in Dumbfoundlinshire, Scotland, &c. Fun-loving Germans, please note. // Leroy Kettle tells me that Pete Weston is going to start keeping chickens. // Elst Weinstein says that the LASFS is looking for a new clubhouse to accommodate a recent influx of new members. I thought the group was planning on rebuilding the current place, Elst? Laurine White mentions that red tape is still blocking the project – they're required to have sloping ramps to the second floor, more toilets, and so on, and so on. I reckon the LASFS should move to Guatemala, where the living is easy and everything can be blamed on Darrell Schweitzer. // In response to the Flushing in '80 worldcon bid, Simon Agree is putting forward a bid of his own: My Backyard in 1980. "I'm advocating a return to smaller, more personal worldcons," says Simon, "so the program will center on jolly entertainments like pig-tossing and greasy-egg-wrestling." Sounds like fun. He's having trouble with the GoH though; he was hoping to get Lenin on loan, but since that's not too likely, he's had to settle on using the cat. "He's buried nearby, and hence is less bother," says Simon. Checkpoint will stick with the Flushing bid, I reckon... Thanks all the same. // Commenting on the fact that he has lived in a series of basement apartments, Terry Hughes recently remarked that he may soon become a contender for the world's record for staying underground. This record is currently held by several dead people. // Ian & Janice Maule have discovered rising damp in their prospective house, so they've given up on it and have decided to publish a fanzine instead. Nabu, says Ian. The same to you, squire, though it may be just the word for Ian Williams who tells me he's giving up goblin's grotto in favour of another issue of Sidarthur. Make for the hills! // Stu Shiffman claims that large chunks of New York fandom are planning to defect to Seattle, lured by the evial influence of Loren MacGregor. Largest chunk is Jerry Kaufman. // Stu also tells me that there won't be any strict clothing rules at Suncon, as, apparently, was feared. Hell, I thought it was an hotel, not an army camp. Meanwhile Gary Farber (who's undoubtedly a good man) is working on the fannish programme, so that sounds ok. Finally, Marsha Jones is expecting the British copies of the third PR soon – it 's already out in America. // "There have been a number of rumours that because his blood-drive at the 1976 Worldcon was so successful, Robert Heinlein is seriously considering staging similar events at smaller regional conventions, perhaps even at Midwestcon, long known for its lack of programming and surplus of good parties. Fannish fandom is aghast." (Terry Hughes) // Keep writing...

SF ARTWORK: If anyone is interested in Eastern European sf art, I've got a few spare copies of a glossy publication called INTERPRESS GRAFIK. The issue concerned contains an article on sf by the Hungarian fan and writer, Peter Kuczka, (in English) accompanied by fifty pages of illustrations from Eastern Europe, many of which are in colour. IPG is a plush publication and the quality of print and production is excellent. I haven't figured out the postage yet, but I reckon £2 should cover everything (or $5). Send me the cash if you want a copy.

OTHER THINGS FOR SALE: I've still got copies of Bob Tucker's NEOFAN'S GUIDE @ 30p (available from Linda Bushyager in America) and Elst Weinstein tells me that further copies of the FAN DICTIONARY are in the post (£1.90 when they arrive). The new edition of my LITTLE GEM GUIDE TO FANZINES has been delayed as a result of the lunatic lack of offset-printers in Devon; the same fate has befallen my BRITISH FANZINE BIBLIOGRAPHY, the first two parts of which (1936-60) are typed up and ready for printing. I hope to get something sorted out within the next few weeks – at the moment I'm still in the fout-shouting stage and am thus not sufficiently calm enough to consider alternative plans. Finally there's the inevitable back issues of CHECKPOINT – a snip at 5/20p (please list alternatives, since I'm out of several issues).

FANZINES RECEIVED: being a brief selection from the stacks.

Tocsin 1: Harry & Irene Bell, 9 Lincoln St, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 4EE. (whim) A pleasant fanzine, inclined to be somewhat bitty in this first issue, but with some very readable contributions, notably a piece on the pre-war Manchester Rocket Society's brush with fame & the law (by Harry Turner). Tocsin probably needs a more thorough injection of Harry Bell before it takes off. I look forward to future issues, therefore.

Paperback Parlour:1: Philip Stephensen-Payne, 1 Lewell Ave, Old Marston, Oxford, 0X3 ORL)(10p or selected trade) A straightforward collection of book reviews – an idea to convulse sensitive fannish fans, but probably a good thing in its own way (& Philip is aiming at BSFA readers). The only thing that worries me is that Philip likes some appalling rubbish which I couldn't tolerate. Still, what's new?

Index To Popular US Fanzines: John Thiel, 30 N. 19th St, Lafayette, IND.47904. ($1 or trade) Another straightforward fanzine, consisting of a simple list of US fanzines currently available (plus a page-filling ramble of little virtue). It's ok, but I don't know what the hell the $1 price tag is for. Capitalism run wild (or am I underpricing my LITTLE GEM GUIDE?).

Sf Nachrichten 23: Ronald Hahn & Uwe Anton, Werth 62, 5600 Wuppertal 2, W. Germany (DM 13.50 per year or trade) It's a long time since I last saw a German newszine, so this merits a mention. Most of the news is, as expected, pretty sercon, but none the worse for that.

CONKER: You know what this means by now: .... A cross in that space and you're doomed. Crosses and other burdens can be lifted by the simple, honest gift of news (or cash – I'm not proud). For the benefit of pedants, I'd better make it clear that a letter containing news every two or three issues will keep you on the mailing list and that subscribers who send in news will receive extra issues over and above their sub. Ok? No excuses now.

D&D ENGULFS ALL: (Darroll Pardoe reports on the Dungeons and Dragons Day in Fulham Town Hall) "There were more people there than I expected – I estimate about 200, but including some familiar faces. Sf fans who were there included Chris Bursey, Fred Hemmings, the Mearas, Bernie Peek, Martin Easterbrook, and Hartley Patterson. Hartley distinguished himself by being elected Chairman of the new D&D Society, whose meeting during the afternoon was a shambles even by BSFA standards. Most of the attendees went on with their games, providing a loud background noise to those who were trying to participate." Darroll & Ro were happy enough though, since they emerged from an expedition with a +2 mace, which, as all D&D addicts will tell you, is a Good Thing.

Bill Kunkel tells me that Arnie Katz is a D&D freak, so I guess it's fannishly all right to disclose the fact that I am too. In fact, I even publish a D&D fanzine called The Massymore Of Trevarow (rush your 10p to me now!). Future D&D news and notes will, indeed, be hived off by Massymore. Non-addicts and puzzled outsiders can therefore rest easy.

MORE FANNISH TALES: Craig Miller confirms Elst Weinstein's note that the LASFS is indeed looking for a new clubhouse to accommodate the 90-100 fans now turning up at meetings. "No luck, yet," says Craig, "but we've had an offer from some people who want to buy our current building." // Craig has also sent some notes on an hotel for Westercon attendees at Vancouver; the con is arranged for a university campus and British survivors of the 1976 Mancon won't need much prompting to recommend Americans to leave well alone and stick with the modest luxuries of hotel life. Craig's block-booked some rooms at the Rembrandt Hotel – get in touch with him if you value your comfort (9115 Beverlywood St, Los Angeles, CA 90034).

Open the pod door, Hal, it's:


Peter Roberts
38 Oakland Drive
Dawlish, Devon

Printed Matter – reduced