Checkpoint 81

D. West cartoon masthead

Checkpoint 81 is edited & 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 (send list first), Star Wars bubble gum cards (one pack per issue), other fascinating things, or cash: 5/50p or 12/£1 (UK & Europe), 5/$1 (US airmail), or 8/£1 (Australia & NZ airmail). Overseas subscribers, please send dollar bills or something – no foreign cheques accepted. Heading by Don West. Restormel Press Publication: 115.

GOOD GRIEF: When I stumbled home from work yesterday I found three letters waiting for me, telling me that I'd just won TAFF. I still feel rather stunned. I mean, well – what can I say? Knockout. Amazing. Bloody hell. Far out.

The thing is, I haven't been able to tell anyone yet, so I'm not yet sure if I'm merely fantasizing. I rushed outside and gave the news to my beetroots immediately, of course; but though they're good listeners, they don't react much. The same goes for my china piggy-bank.

Anyway, I do have the letters to reassure me, so without further ado I'll give you the provisional results of the TAFF voting as I have them:

Peter Roberts UK & Europe: 43 America: 61 Total: 104
Terry Jeeves   34   54   88
Peter Presford   2   10   12
Hold Over Funds   -   1      1

Those figures are via the American TAFF Administrator, Roy Tackett; Pete Weston's figures are marginally different, but are unconfirmed. A circular will, in any event, be sent out shortly with full details on the race.

Meanwhile, all I can say is thanks – sincere thanks for voting. Thanks too to Terry Jeeves & Pete Presford – I hope I won't disappoint your voters too much. And – well, see you at the Worldcon if you're going. I haven't thought up any plans yet, except that I'd like to spend as long as I possibly can in America while I have the chance. More concrete proposals will have to wait till I recover; but one thing I've done today is to order a pair of sunglasses...

Hot damn. Surf City, here I come. Good on you all.

GUARDIAN FICTION PRIZE: The Guardian newspaper in collaboration with the publishers, Gollancz and Pan Picador, is sponsoring a competition for the best unpublished novel or short-story collection in the vein of "dark or utopian fantasy". I'm not sure exactly what they're after and they themselves say that the genre is "hard to define"; but if it's any help, they mention the following mixed bunch of authors as representative: Swift, Poe, Tolkien, Le Guin, Marquez, and Ballard. See what I mean? Anyway, if anyone's interested there's a £3000 prize for the winning book. Closing date is March 31st, 1978. Inquiries and entries to: Fantasy Competition, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 14 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8QJ.

EVERY PICTURE SELLS A STORY: (Terry Hughes) "The second issue of Isaac Asimov's Sf Magazine is on sale at newsstands all across America. As with the first issue, the only illustration on the cover is a photograph of Isaac Asimov. This strikes me as a bit odd since I don't believe a simple photograph of Isaac Asimov is enough to make an sf fan's heart go all aquiver – his stomach perhaps, but not his heart. It is even more unlikely that the said sf reader would pay money for such a publication. The magazine is unlikely to last more than four issues, since they will run out of printable photographs of Isaac Asimov by that time."

DENVER IN 81: (Mike Glyer uncovers another Worldcon bid) "Denver in 81 chairman, Lois Newman, and a band of Denverites were very active at MidAmeriCon, throwing room parties and circulating Tall & Terrific: Denver in '81 buttons. Since my hope is that Britain will host the 1979 Worldcon, I suppose I'd better do something to spread the word about Denver among British fans. The Los Angeles Group-mind supports Denver – they're Doomed!"

LASFS GETTING OLDER: Craig Miller tells me that the Los Angeles SFS will be coming up to its 43rd birthday this Autumn. A fund-raising benefit is planned for October – "Many Big Name pros have already agreed to help out. It'll be a one day affair with lots of books and manuscripts and stuff like that for auction." More details later, says Craig.

QUESTIONNAIRES: Form-filling fandom will be delighted to learn that several sheets of questions are now available – guaranteed to appeal to the Civil Servant that lurks within us all. Eric Bentcliffe, for example, has a list of queries for a Fan Humorist Symposium to be published in a future Triode – copies available from Eric if you're interested in answering: 17 Riverside Cres, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, CW4 7NR. Meanwhile, Victoria Vayne (PO Box 156, Stn D, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 3J8) is asking faneds about the 'joys of duplicating' for a handbook on fanzine production scheduled for publication next summer. A (well-duplicated) questionnaire is available, should you feel inclined to help with the project. Finally, Roy Kettle sent along a daft list of questions from an egregious and haphazard bookshop in London which labours under the name of the 'Einstein Intersection' (or 'Intersexion' – depending on which of their handouts you're reading). They're apparently looking for serious answers to such eternal queries as this: Do you have any specific requests with regard to stocking items such as particular authors? (Can I have half a pound of Heinlein, please, and some Vargo Statten for the dog) or If you had £1000 that you could spend on a constructive and entertaining sf 'attraction', what would your thoughts first come up with? On that fascinating note, I think we'll leave it and hurry on to another page.

EASTER IN COVENTRY: This year's UK Eastercon proved to be good, comfortable, and enjoyable, if not, perhaps, unusually eventful or exceptional. Thanks to my rural exile in Devon, the first evening was spent in exchanging greetings, jibes, and anecdotes, rounded off by a card-game in which I had the pleasure of winning real money from four sharp-eyed hucksters. The con officially started on the following day, Friday. As usual, I managed to miss most of the programme (the exception being Bob Shaw's speech – the only item able to empty the hotel bars of fans); instead I was happily occupied in the Fan Room, organized by Greg Pickersgill, Simone Walsh, and a vagrant band of helpers. The room worked very well – the fans, the fanzines, the photos, the electronic games and the tape deck all combined to make it one of the most comfortable and fannish places I've yet encountered at a convention. A couple of informal discussions were held in there on Saturday which seemed to go ok, even if (predictably) they didn't uncover any Great Truths about fandom. David Bridges also organized a competition on the car-crashing machine – an ingenious device designed to alleviate tension and aggression (so much so that I forgot to kick Mike Meara for beating me in the first round).

Thanks to my gross appetite in an Indian restaurant, Friday evening was quiet and bloated. Saturday evening, however, saw a mass of room parties and a well-planned and critical survey of the same by Pete Weston and myself, working effectively in tandem. Amongst the strange sights and scenes we battled through was an amazing anti-party where entirely unknown fans gathered around us and took away our drinks. Escaping from this and other perils we eventually judged the Swedish party to be the most affable and drink-filled and so settled there for the night. The Swedes, incidentally, had a giant bottle of Jim Beam for Tucker trufans; not being one to miss a fannish tradition, I swallowed a glassful, raised my arm, and mouthed the word "Smoooth!" Unfortunately, the noise I made was more of a strangled wail, since it turns out that the much vaunted Jim Beam has all the taste and attraction of unrefined toad venom. Someone should have warned me.

Notable event of Sunday evening was the glorious return of Graham Charnock & The Burlingtons for the post-banquet dance. I'm afraid I crushed innumerable feet in my unusually energetic stamping across the floor, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly and hardly noticed the shrieks of pain around my steel-shod heels. Highlight of the dance, however, was Eric Bentcliffe's masterful jitterbugging. My attempt to emulate this died a quick and feeble death, but Gerry Webb seemed to be persevering, judging by the sickening thuds as he crashed periodically to the floor. The trick, Gerry, is only to lift one foot off the ground at any one time.

So there's a quick glance at the con. Consult forthcoming fanzines for more organized and considered reports. As usual, I forgot my role as Checkpoint editor and neglected to ask the con committee for information on total attendees and so on; I'd guess that 400 or so fans turned up – somewhat smaller, as far as I could tell, than the last couple of Eastercons.

The Heathrow Skycon won the bid for the 1978 Eastercon, as anticipated. The Doc Weir Award went to Keith Freeman. John Bush (of Gollancz) was Guest of Honour; other professionals attending included Harry Harrison, Ken Bulmer, Chris Priest, Anne McCaffrey, John Brunner, Rob Holdstock, and, briefly, Brian Aldiss.

PROZINES RECEIVED: None of your boring old Analog or Fantasy & Sf in Checkpoint, of course – this month's prozine is X-Bilinmeyen, a copy of which was recently received from Turkey. It's quarto-sized, sports some stills from Space 1999 on the cover, and runs to 34 pages all told. As to the contents – I can only guess (Turkish being outside the scope of the Difficult Languages film or tv based, and only a couple of items look like fiction (though all the contributors are Turkish, which is unusual – most foreign prozines rely on translations). Star item, however, is a page devoted to the Little Gem Guide to Fanzines and which is apparently a Turkish version of the introduction. Try an example for the sake of international fandom: "Fannish Fanzines: Bunlar, B'Kdan cok fandom'lara egilirler. Ilgine seylere ve mizaha yer verirler." I rather think it'll make as much sense to the Turks as it does to you or me. Anyway, the address for X-Bilinmeyen seems to be: PK:40 Kiziltoprak, Istanbul, Turkey. Try a copy and amaze your friends.

FANZINES RECEIVED: A further selection from the stacks.

Wizard 2: Carsten Schiøler, Morboerhaven 5/91, DK-2620 Albertslund, Denmark. (usual or 3/10 Dkr – 3/20 Dkr in USA) Carsten used to edit the Danish Sf Circle's attractive journal, Proxima. Now that he's passed that on, he's started Wizard, and, moreover, with this second issue, he's started an English language section. As a beginning he's just given a brief history of Danish fans and fandom, but he's hoping to extend it and thereby promote contacts between English-speaking and Scandinavian fans. That's basically a sound idea and certainly one that's worth investigating. Drop him a line, therefore.

Alternativa: Giuseppe Caimmi, via S.Calocero 2, 20123 Milano, Italy. (trade or L 1000) As far as I can remember this is the first Italian fanzine I've seen – rather surprising, actually since Italian fandom has been strongly established and active for a good many years. Once again, however, the language barrier has fouled up contacts – the last time I met an Italian fan at a convention I could only chat to him through the omnilingual Simon Joukes. Anyway, Alternativa is a solid, giant-sized, sercon fanzine with articles and interviews on Italian and English-language sf. There's also a comics' section and some film material. If you're interested, try it out – at least Italian is easier than Turkish.

Summa 6/7: Mats Linder, Bergandsgatan 11, 13300 Saltsjöbaden, Sweden. (trade or 10kr) Might as well make this an all-continental page and commend Summa to any of you who think you've a chance of battling through Swedish. In fact it's an attractive, printed fanzine and probably one of the best that I've yet seen from Scandinavia: mostly sercon stuff, but it's partly fannish – even has a Rotsler cartoon with Swedish caption. Can't be bad.

Ken Bulmer, Waterdown House, 51 Frant Rd, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5LE
Merf Adamson, 1 Hallgarth Farm Cottages, Pittington, Durham
Mike Scantlebury, 142 Gretney Walk, Moss Side, Manchester, M15 5ND
Randy Reichardt, 58 Penrose Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Eli Cohen, 2236 Allison Rd, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1T6, Canada
Paul Thompson, c/o Mike Donahue, Flat 2, Plas Llwydonn, Llanfairpwll., Ynys Mon (Anglesey), Wales.
John Brosnan, 23 Lushington Rd, London NW10 (in a fortnight)
Sam & Mary Long, c/o Mrs Welch, Apt K-1-B, Emerywood Court, N Main St, High Point, NC 27262, USA. (temporary)

FLIERS: European readers should get a sheet from the Sf Book Club with this issue and, since a couple of others have asked about distributing stuff with Checkpoint, I might as well come clean and tell you what's what. Firstly, I'm quite happy to distribute any advertising sheets as long as you're happy to pay. The rates are £1 (or $2) per sheet for Europe, or £1 ($2) + extra airmail postage (about £7) for the full mailing list. At the moment I need 100 copies for Europe, 200 copies for the whole lot – quarto preferred. Anyone wanting to plug a convention or a fanzine, therefore, should send me the cash and the sheets. My nimble fingers will do the rest.


The National Fantasy Fan Vol 36 No 6: published for the N3F by Joanne Burger, 55 Blue Bonnet Ct, Lake Jackson, TX 77566, USA. ($3 p.a. to join) America's aged equivalent of the BSFA occasionally sends me something like this and I flip through it and wonder quite why the National Fantasy Fan Federation survives year after year. It appears, after all, to be a perpetually moribund organization, ingrown, and self-digesting – the BSFA in comparison is strong, secure and dynamic. The official National Fantasy Fan contains very little more than addresses and empty department reports – the BSFA's Vector has never, in all its varied history, been as feeble, as the average N3F magazine. Damned if I know why the N3F should be so blighted, either. Perhaps it's a subject worth a few moments' pondering sometime – mind you don't fall asleep, though.

Actifan 3: John Thiel, 30 N 19th St. Lafayette, Indiana 47904, USA ($1, he claims, or usual). Talking of blighted fanzines, this half-page scrappy 'newszine' looks pretty ague-ridden. It consists almost entirely of addresses and they're far from accurate (why, for example, am I listed as a contact-man for an obscure US fantasy convention that's already been held?). Well, the minds of fans are strange – and pretty resilient, too: if I'd only had three responses to a fanzine, two of which were negative, I think I might get the message. Not John, though.

Barddoni 1: Pete Presford, Ty Gwyn, Maxwell Close, Buckley, Clwyd, Wales (usual). Well, I'm tempted, Pete. But I'll let you off lightly by noting simply that this is an all-poetry fanzine and that it's available to anyone who might like that sort of thing. Can't say fairer than that.

DEADLINE: Next Checkpoint should be out in mid-May. Remember to drop us a line before then with as much fannish news as you can invent.

CONKER: A cross here .... is not a token of my religious regard for you, but merely serves as a symbol of parting. Cash, news, or fannish anecdotes will bring you back to the fold.

TELEPHONE: After months of wishy-washy foot-shuffling, I've finally allowed a squat machine to invade my hermitage. It's sitting in the hall, as yet quite virginal and waiting for its first call. Fans incapable of writing or with urgent and exciting stop-press news for Checkpoint can ring me (6.30pm to midnight) at Dawlish 864718 (STD Code: 0626). Fans who just want to chat about nothing much at all can reach me at the same number.

WEIRD TALES: Since this is the third issue of Checkpoint that I've produced in the last four weeks, I'm afraid that items are rather sparse. Mike Scantlebury, however, sends a warning concerning his old address: it's been burnt to the ground. "Rumour is that the holocaust was started by one of the college porters trying to liven things up," says Mike. Note his CoA on the previous page, therefore. // Whilst we're talking of disasters, John & Eve Harvey had their car stolen and wrecked on the last day of the Eastercon – a grim way to end a convention. // Tom Perry, meanwhile, blames the BA strike for his non-appearance in Coventry. That's a bit feeble, Tom – any trufan would have swum across the Channel to reach the con. // Tom has also sent a copy of a complaint to Suncon concerning the non-arrival of the Hugo nomination ballots, the deadline having passed. The sting is taken out of this, since I did get my ballot in time to vote, despite some chaos resulting from my change of address. Maybe the gods have it in for you, Tom. // Bill Rotsler is collecting material for another Quotebook. Think I'll steal some of Roy Kettle's quips and send them in. // Elst Weinstein is hoping that his fannish game, For This, You Die!, will be ready shortly. He's vague about the rules, but says that "the players get to exercise qualities of treachery, bribery, diplomacy, intrigue, dishonesty, and the old fannish desire to conquer the universe." Sounds much like brag, to me. Anyway, I should be agent for it when it's ready; more on that later.

Peel me a grape, Igor,


Peter Roberts
38 Oakland Drive
Dawlish, Devon

Printed Matter – reduced

Return requested, if undeliverable