Checkpoint 83

Carl Bennett cartoon masthead

Checkpoint 83 (July 1977) is edited and produced by Peter Roberts, 38 Oakland Dr, Dawlish, Devon, UK. Available for news or cash: 5/50p (UK & Europe), 5/$1 (airmail America), or 7/£1 (airmail Australia & NZ). Heading by Carl Bennett. Restormel Press Publication: 118.

Results of the 1976-1977 CHECKPOINT Fan Poll

Twenty three fans voted in this, the sixth annual British fan poll since the days of SKYRACK. The poll covered British fanac from Easter 1976 to Easter 1977, though these dates were only used as a rough guide. All fans were eligible to vote, though ballots were only distributed through CHECKPOINT.

The following fans voted: Harry Bell, Eric Bentcliffe, Bryn Fortey, Keith Freeman, Mike Glicksohn, David Griffin, Rob Hansen, Rob Holdstock, Rob Jackson, Roy Kettle, Dave Langford, Ian Maule, Joseph Nicholas, Darroll Pardoe, Brian Parker, Tom Perry, Greg Pickersgill, Graham Poole, Geoff Rippington, Kevin Smith, Simone Walsh, Don West, & Ian Williams.

BEST BRITISH FANZINE: Sixteen different titles were nominated, only eight of them receiving more than one vote. Five points were awarded to a first place vote, four to the second, and so on down to one point. CHECKPOINT itself was ineligible. Last year's position is in brackets.

1) WRINKLED SHREW (86 points)(4th) edited by Pat Charnock, 70 Ledbury Rd, London W11. (Available for the usual) Two issues in 76/77. The Charnock household is an enviable one, full of good things – shelves of strange books, stacks of records and tapes, assorted objects, unusual appliances, nice cats, cups of coffee – a great place to visit, in other words. Shrew shares this quality: it's full of good things, unexpected items, unusual articles, odd letters, nice cartoons – a great fanzine to read, in other words, and a fanzine that's attractive and large as well. If I half-close my eyes and hold it at arm's length, I can make-believe that it's the Egg that might have been. Pleasant day-dream, but Shrew, fortunately, is no fantasy.

The sixth issue featured Roy Kettle's account of an early fannish visit to Haverfordwest, cartoons and a column by Dick Howett, Chris Priest describing the Charnocks abroad, a Mancon report by Joseph Nicholas, a couple of lesser items, letters, and Bits. The giant seventh issue sported a barbaric cover and contained Rob Holdstock's report on the Dublin conference, Tom Perry's recollection of a childhood hoax, oddments by Greg Pickersgill, Charles Platt, and Andrew Stephenson, and Don West's lengthy survey of British fandom and fanzines (a piece which won the Best Article section of this poll).

Good writers; fine fanzine – may the Charnock's organ grow and prosper.

2) STOP BREAKING DOWN: (58 points)(2nd) edited by Greg Pickersgill, 7a Lawrence Rd, South Ealing, London WS. (30p or usual) Two issues. One of the features that makes SBD a distinctive fanzine is its topicality – snatch it out of the postman's hands, read it while it's still warm, and you'll get the latest stuff on British fandom as it really is. Strange, really, since it's no more frequent than any other UK fanzine. Still, this, the fannishness, the good writing, good lettercolumn, all produce an ace fanzine close to, if not indeed on, the focal point of British fandom.

The third issue contained a long Mancon report by Malcolm Edwards, briefer than usual fanzine reviews from Greg, Simone Walsh's column (on cons), and a solid letter column. The fourth issue featured Rob Holdstock and the agonies of a Master Author, Grah Charnock at the Novacon, Simone at the Silicon, Greg with his fanzines, and readers with their letters.

SBD combines the virtues of a personalzine and a fannish genzine – and, dammit, it's quick enough off the mark to steal news before it appears in Checkpoint. Active fanzine. Good stuff.

3) MAYA: (57 points)(1st) edited by Rob Jackson, 71 King John St, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5XR. (50p or usual) One (double) issue. If SBD manages to appear topical with only two issues in a year I suppose it's quite reasonable for Maya (and Rob Jackson) to appear superactive with only one issue. Must be my decaying sense of time, the onset of entropy, and the passing of some sort of youthful energy, but really I could've sworn that a good stack of Mayas had arrived over the last year. Still, that all says something for the quality of Rob's single issue. Maya 12/13 contained some exceptional material, notably Roy Kettle's advice for would-be authors and Pete Weston's exorcism of his personal demon, Charles Platt. Chris Priest and Greg Benford provided some Sf matter, Malcolm Edwards reviewed fanzines, Gary Hubbard penned a column, and the readers squeezed into the letter column.

An excellent issue of a good fanzine. I'd better say no more or Rob's eyes will glint and sparkle as the bigger, better, and even-more-locs syndrome burrows into his brain. I wouldn't mind, but it shows up my own vacant gaze – somebody lend me a syndrome, quick!

4) TRUE RAT: (43 points)(3rd) edited by Roy Kettle, 43 Chesholm Rd, London N16. (available for the usual) Two issues. True Rat ventured into the genzine field last year and earned itself some criticism for doing so; the major complaint concerned the dilution of Roy's own writing by including outside contributors in the fanzine. Criticism as egoboosting as that can't be all bad.

True Rat Ate contained a couple of Mancon reports from Grah Charnock and John Brosnan, one of Don West's all-embracing fanzine reviews, a piece of ancient fannish archaeology from me, letters, and a modicum of Roy's own writing. True Rat Nein had a lot more of Roy, plus Dave Langford on occult fanzines, Jim Linwood on real fanzines, and an excerpt from the life of Charles Platt.

Most desirable, God's own, superlative, of the first water – I'm using up Roget's synonyms for "good" too quickly. It's about time Checkpoint readers voted for some bad or even non-descript fanzines just to give me a break once in a while. True Rat is a corking fanzine. I'll leave it at that.

5) TWLL-DDU: (42 points)(-) edited by Dave Langford, 22 Northumberland Ave, Reading, Berks, RG2 7PW. (available for the usual) Five issues. Starting as a half-time substitute for the genzine, Drilkjis, TD has proved to be more successful than Drilkjis itself. It's a personalzine, entertaining, erudite, often too-damn-clever, but always enjoyable. Highlights have been Dave's own conreports, one of which actually made Mancon seem fascinating.

I'm not getting the Thesaurus out again. Another corking fanzine, and probably a wizard one as well.

Next five: It seems that great fannish minds think alike and, although over sixty British fanzine titles were published in the last year, only one other publication received more than five points:

6) Vibrator (9 points)(=7th) ed Graham Charnock.

BEST SINGLE ISSUE: Seven issues of six fanzines were nominated.

1) Wrinkled Shrew 7 (eight votes)(Pat Charnock)
2) Maya 12/13 (four votes)(Rob Jackson)

BEST ARTICLE: Seven items were nominated.

1) Don West – "The State Of The Art" in Wrinkled Shrew 7 (five votes).
=2) Roy Kettle – "How Not To Be A Writer" in Maya 12/13 (four votes).
=2) Rob Holdstock – 'Eight Days A Week" in SBD 4 (four votes).

BEST BRITISH FANWRITER: Fifteen people were nominated, thirteen of them receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as in the 'Best Fanzine' section and last year's positions are again in brackets.

1) ROY KETTLE (82 points)(1st) Once again Roy stands on the giddy pinacle of fame and breathes the rarefied airs known only to winners of the Checkpoint Fan Poll. Over the last year he's produced some excellent writing, notably for Maya (with 'How Not To Be A Writer') and Wrinkled Shrew (with 'Once Upon A Time In Haverfordwest'), as well as some good stuff for his own True Rat. Vive Le Roy!

2) GRAHAM CHARNOCK (51 points)(Sth) Grah's been busy with his Vibrator once again and has also contributed some of the good Bits that appear in Shrew. His con reports have brought sunshine and paranoia into the pages of SBD and True Rat. All this and music too. Talented bugger.

3) DON WEST (39 points)(=9th) The old fannish saying that All Knowledge Is In Fanzines has been refined by Don who somehow manages to get the essential philosophy of mankind and several other equally interesting subjects into his fanzine review columns. Mind you, they are somewhat longer than most fanzine reviews. True Rat published one such and Don's other piece, 'The State Of The Art' in Shrew, won the 'Best Article' sect ion.

4) DAVE LANGFORD (37 points)(-) Though he's been found in True Rat and Drilkjis, Dave has mostly displayed himself in his own personalzine, Twll-Ddu. His writing is precise and witty – the only hindrance to fame and fortune is those bloody awkward fanzine titles. Reminds me of Mor-fach and Tykky-dew somehow.

5) GREG PICKERSGILL (32 points)(3rd) Greg's been exhibiting himself in Stop Breaking Down where lurks his famous "Burning Hell" column of fanzine reviews and assorted editorial features. Good incisive material.

Next five:

6) Bob Shaw (17 points)(2nd)
7) Pete Weston (15 points)(6th)
=8) Rob Holdstock (10 points)(-)
=8) Tom Perry (10 points)(-)
=10) David Bridges (6 points)(-)
=10) Peter Roberts (6 points)(4th)

BEST FANZINE COVER: Ten covers from ten different fanzine titles were nominated. No winners, however.

BEST BRITISH FANARTIST: Nineteen people were nominated, nine of them receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as in the 'Best Fanzine' section and last year's positions are in brackets.

1) HARRY BELL (85 points)(1st) Once more entirely on form, Harry's been active in America as well as the UK where he's produced some great cartoonwork, notably for Maya, True Rat, and Stop Breaking Down. Is there no stopping this kid? Tune in again next year.

2) JIM BARKER (55 points)(-) A recent Gannet discovery, Jim has drawn some fine cartoon illustrations, principally for Maya. His speciality is drawing fans and he can be seen peering intently at people in the corner of conventions.

3) DON WEST (39 points)(7th) A yet more famous peerer at people – possibly the plumb line and set square make it more obvious as well as the looming proximity. Don's another character cartoonist and his work has appeared in True Rat, Checkpoint, and the masterpiece, Egg 10 1/2.

4) TONY SCHOFIELD (12 points)(-) Tony has appeared with sf and comic- inclined artwork in Nebula and, most especially, in the one-shot, Dawn Patrol Blaster Aces.

5) JON LANGFORD (11 points)(-) Jon, as might be expected, has appeared in the Langford publications with assorted artwork for Twll-Ddu, Drilkjis, and the Skycon bid.

Next five:

6) Terry Jeeves (9 points)(4th)
7) Carol Gregory (7 points)(-)

No one else received more than five points.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Checkpoint is just about getting old enough for a little time-binding, so here, briefly, are the results of the 1971/2 poll first published in Checkpoint 21.

Best Fanzine: 1) Egg (ed Peter Roberts)
2) Cynic (ed Gray Boak)
3) Speculation (ed Pete Weston)
4) Maya (ed Tan Williams & Ian Maule)
5) Cypher (ed James Goddard & Mike Sandow)
Best Fanwriter: 1) Gray Boak; 2) Bob Shaw; 3) Terry Jeeves.
Best Fanartist: 1) Harry Bell; 2) Kevin Cullen; 3) Dave Rowe.
Best Issue: Maya 3 (ed Ian Maule)
Best Article: Mary Long – "Looking Backward" in Maya