Checkpoint 96


(Apr/May 1979)

Paul Thompson cartoon

Checkpoint 96 is produced by Peter Roberts, 38 Oakland Dr, Dawlish, Devon, UK, and is available for news, selected trades, several other things, or cash: 5/50p (UK & Europe), 4/$1 (America & Africa, airmail), or 6/£ (Australia & NZ, airmail). Please pay in sterling, US dollar bills, or International Reply Coupons (one of which is worth 10½p to me, though they'll cost you more than that to buy – such are the wicked ways of post offices the world over). Cartoon by Paul Thompson. Restormel Pub: 142 (I think).

1979 HUGO NOMINEES – DON WEST DEMONSTRATES TRUTH OF ASTRAL POWERS! And even I get shivers down my back when I note that all four of the fan-writing nominees that I put forward in Checkpoint 94 have appeared on the list. Well, strike a light and put out the flags – it's the first time I've seen the Hugo fan list look anywhere near sensible. All power to the Astral Leauge. Anyway, here are the official Hugo Award nominations:

Novel (61-90):
Blind Voices (Tom Reamy)
Dreamsnake (Vonda McIntyre)
The Faded Sun: Kesrith (C.J.Cherryh)
Up The Walls Of The World (James Tiptree, Jnr)
The White Dragon (Anne McCaffrey)

Novella (39-182):
Enemies Of The System (Brian Aldiss)
Fireship (Joan Vinge)
The Persistence Of Vision (John Varley)
Seven American Nights (Gene Wolfe)
The Watched (Chris Priest)

Novelette (34-57):
The Barbie Murders (John Varley)
The Devil You Don't Know (Dean Ing)
Hunter's Moon (Poul Anderson)
The Man Who Had No Idea (Tom Disch)
Mikal's Songbird (Orson Card)

Short Story (30-50):
"Cassandra" (C.J.Cherryh)
"Count The Clock That Tells The Time" (Harlan Ellison)
"Stone" (Edward Bryant)
"The Very Slow Time Machine" (Ian Watson)
"View From A Height" (Joan Vinge)

(next page for the others)

Dramatic Presentation (62-137):
Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
Lord Of The Rings
Watership Down

Professional Artist (44-71):
Vincent Di Fate
Stephen Fabian
David Hardy
Boris Vallejo
Michael Whelan

Professional Editor (52-150):
James Baen
Ben Bova
Terry Carr
Edward Ferman
George Scithers

Fanzine (26-71):
Janus (Jan Bogstad & Jeanne Gomoll)
Maya (Rob Jackson)
Mota (Terry Hughes)
Sf Review (Dick Geis)
Twll-Ddu (Dave Langford)

Fan Writer (24-61):
Richard E.Geis
Leroy Kettle
Dave Langford
Bob Shaw
Don West

Fan Artist (24-64):
Jim Barker
Harry Bell
Alexis Gilliland
Bill Rotsler
Stu Shiffman

473 ballots were received (the spread of votes in each category is given above). Voting on the final ballots should begin shortly and will end on July 31st. Only Seacon 79 members are eligible to vote. (Taken from the Seacon news release)

NEBULA AWARDS: These are the annual peer awards, presented by the SFWA.
Novel: Dreamsnake (Vonda McIntyre)
Novella: The Persistence Of Vision (John Varley)
Novelette: A Glow Of Candles, A Unicorn's Eye (Charles Grant)
Short Story: "Stone" (Ed Bryant)
Special Award: Joe Siegel & Joe Shuster (creators of Superman).

(Information from Gerald Bishop)

EVEN MORE AWARD NOMINATIONS: These are a few further awards that ride along with the Hugos. Nominations for the JOHN W.CAMPBELL AWARD are: Stephen Donaldson, Cynthia Felice, James Hogan, Barry Longyear, Elizabeth Lynn, & Charles Sheffield. For GANDALF GRANDMASTER: Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Gum, Mike Moorcock, Jack Vance, and Roger Zelazny (I voted for Don West, but you can't have everything). (Also taken from the Seacon news release)


Inverted World – Christopher Priest (Pan, 85p)
The Perfect Lover – Christopher Priest (Dell, $1.75)

I read Inverted World when it was first published a few years ago and was impressed then by a single passage (the trip downtrack) where the normal perception of reality is stretched and grotesquely deformed in some bizarre images that are impressive and memorable. It's a Good Bit, in other words, and I'm a sucker for Good Bits. However, one fine passage isn't enough to sustain a whole novel. Inverted World is written as a mystery, inasmuch as the reader is left to puzzle out the mechanics and rationale of a mobile city travelling in a world that appears to be the mathematical inverse of a sphere. Information is doled out sparingly and the key isn't produced until the end. That's just about tolerable on first reading the book, though I found the 'solution' barely comprehensible and less than fascinating; but it really messes things up when you try to read it a second time. The moral of that is only to read Inverted World once, I suppose. Seems a pity.

The Perfect Lover (a gaumless retitling of A Dream Of Wessex) also deals with illusions of reality, but in this later novel Chris Priest puts a lot more flesh on the idea. We're presented with a group of people dreaming up a pooled vision of the future – a vision that, for some of them, is more real and certainly more worthwhile that "reality" itself. A lot of the interesting things that ought to have been in Inverted World, but weren't, are in this book: the characters and the vision, for example, act and influence each other – the dreamers mould the dream and vice-versa; we're also treated to the paramount question of choice between illusion and reality and, something I always like to see, the problem of where, exactly' reality actually lies. No particular Good Bit in A Dream Of Wessex, but it's altogether a much more entertaining novel than the rather skeletal Inverted World.

Ship Of Strangers – Bob Shaw (Pan, 80p)
The Shadow Of Heaven – Bob Shaw (Corgi, 85p)

I've just picked these two books up a moment ago and I can put my hand on my heart and say that honestly, I can't remember a single thing, about them – even though I've read both within the last few weeks. They're pretty lightweight, in other words, and I must admit that I usually find Bob Shaw's fiction a lot less interesting than the writing he does for fanzines.

Ship Of Strangers is a collection of fairly vacant space adventures based around a survey ship and its crew. Train journey stuff, at best. The Shadow Of Heaven is one man's struggle against an overcrowded future; quite readable, but also quite forgettable. Seems a shame, really.

Swimmer In The Secret Sea – William Kotzwinkle (Corgi, 50p)

After Doctor Rat there seems to be a lot more interest in Kotzwinkle's writings. This short story, despite its rather mysterious title, is a simple, in fact a disarmingly simple, account of a pregnancy, birth, death, & burial. The style works well and appears entirely unaffected. It's a bit of a cheek to publish this as a separate work, but still – you do get a strange and curious cover on this paperback which, for once, is an excellent accompaniment to the story.

The Makeshift God – Russell M. Griffin (Dell, $1.95)

You get two sf scenarios for your money with this novel – first an overcrowded, Arab-dominated, fuelless future earth, and second a plain space-opera planet, full of monsters and quaint humanoids. I won't dwell on the plot itself, because frankly it's a mess and doesn't inspire a willing suspension of disbelief (I don't, for example, really fall for the idea of the Wandering Jew being a robot built in the Sirius system); nonetheless, there's quite a bit of action and a few pleasantly humorous passages. I've seen worse.

Still I Persist In Wondering – Edgar Pangborn (Dell, $1.75)

I haven't read Pangborn's novel, Davy, but these short stories are apparently set in the same post-disaster world. They're not at all bad – certainly readable and of some quiet merit, though they're also a little precious and sickly at times, and too frequently dosed with finger-shaking homilies about our present way of life.

Triad Optical Illusions – Harry Turner (Dover, $1.75)

Harry sent me this some while ago, so I trust it's still available. It's a quarto-sized paperback, profusely illustrated (there are even 32 full-size plates for colouring, which seems a little eccentric) and dealing with "triads" – an apparently three-dimensional solid whose principal use is as a building block for impossible and mind-befuddling designs. Harry used some of these triads in his artwork for Zimri and this book forms an explanation of the art and a guide for anyone who cares to experiment with the idea. Should prove useful to budding Eschers or builders of Lovecraftian monoliths. Interesting & unusual book.


Anglica et Americana 4 (Vølvo – Scandinavian Views On Sf): (The Secretary, Dept. of English, Univ. of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 84-96, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark)

These are papers from the 1977 Scandinavian Sf Festival and include articles on Danish sf and fantasy & sf in general. Contributors (in printed discussions) include Brian Aldiss & Philip Jose Farmer. The whole thing's in English – can't see a price anywhere, however.

Sorcerer's Apprentice 1: (Flying Buffalo Inc, PO Box 1467, Scottsdale, AZ 85252, USA ($2 per issue)

Slick fantasy-gaming magazine, based on Tunnels & Trolls rather than D&D. This issue has a Bob Vardeman story, plus some rule-making, and some rather second-rate fantasy artwork. Ok for a fanzine, but a bit expensive otherwise.


Fireship – Joan D.Vinge (Dell, $1.75)

The style of this sf novel has all the bounce & vigour of a cheap comic book. Unfortunately there aren't any pictures, so I gave up. Too hard for me, boss.

Underkill – James White (Corgi, 95p)

Gosh, I thought James White was supposed to be a better writer than this. Unbelievable & tedious account of aliens mysteriously among us in some miserable future society. Good luck to them.

FAAN AWARD NOMINATIONS: deadline for voting is July 13th. Ian Maule (5 Beaconsfield Rd, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3HY) will be Master of Ballot-Distribution. These nominations hot over the phone from the same Ian:

Faneditor: Don D'Ammassa
Mike Glyer
Terry Hughes
Rob Jackson
Victoria Vayne
Fan Writer: Arthur Hlavaty
Dave Langford
Tom Perry
Peter Roberts
Bob Shaw
Jim Barker
Harry Bell
Derek Carter
Alexis Gilliland
Stu Shiffman
Dan Steffan
Jeanne Gomoll
Joan Hanke-Woods
Jim McLeod
James Odbert
Janus 12/13
Janus 14
Khatru 7
Maya 15
Mythologies 14
Scientifriction 10
Simulacrum 8
Avedon Carol
Adrienne Fein
Arthur Hlavaty
Jessica Salmonson
Harry Warner, Jnr

The fact that I'm on the ballot makes me almost excited enough to vote. However, there's still a pointless 50p voting fee which serves no good purpose at all (unless you're desperate for a solid, three-dimensional award), so I'd suggest keeping your cash for TAFF or somesuch (though you could splash out 7p and return your Checkpoint fan poll).

NORTHERN TUN: Don West notes that the Leeds Group, crazed with power, are establishing a North Country equivalent of the London One Tun meetings. The pub in question is the West Riding in Wellington St (just off City Square, by the railway station), Leeds. I did glimpse this soon-to-be-famous place at the Yorcon, though it was, as usual with my timing, shut (as Pete Weston said, it was probably because it was the Eve of the fifth Sunday in Lent, or something equally reasonable). Anyway, the West Riding should certainly be open on the last Friday of every month – and that'll be the date for regular, informal meetings. Anyone welcome (and don't let Don breathe on your Guinness...).

CoAs: Terry Hughes, 606 N Jefferson St, Arlington, VA 22205 Steve Stiles (as above).
Bryn Fortey, 46 London St, Newport, Gwent, NPT 7BY
Peter Singleton, Martins Ward, Park Lane Special Hospital, Maghull, Liverpool, L31 1HW.
Ian & Janice Maule, 5 Beaconsfield Rd, New MaIden, Surrey, KT3 3HY.
½r Cruttenden, Idiocy Couchant VI, 17 Knella Green, Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
Joyce Scrivner, 2528 15th Ave 5, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Elst Weinstein, 12809 Neon Wy, Granada Hills, CA 91344

CONKER: A cross here .... means farewell (maybe); a number is that of yr last issue.

NOVACON 9: This year's Novacon, to be held over the weekend of 2nd-4th November, is returning to the Birmingham Royal Angus Hotel (site of Novacons 5-7). The first PR has appeared and Guest of Honour will be Chris Priest, Chairman Rog Peyton. Membership is already 116, though the organizers suspect that total numbers may be lower than in recent years (which would be a Good Thing); thanks to Seacon. Attending membership isn't yet available, but £2 will do for the moment (as a supporting fee) and should be sent to: Stan Eling, 124 Galton Rd, Smethwick, Warley, West Midlands, B67 8QL.

FAIRCON 79: The date for this, the second Scottish convention, is July 20th-22nd. The third PR is now out and, though I'm not 100% certain, it seems that the con is in the Ingram Hotel, Glasgow. What is certain is that the GoH will be Bob Shaw and the Faircon chairman is The Other Bob Shaw. Confusing, huh? There are 81 members so far and the new attending rates are £4.50 (£1.50 supporting). The address is: Registration Secretary, Gerry Gillin, 9 Dunnottar St, Ruchazie, Glasgow, Scotland.

PICACON NOT ON: It's instant past history now, but Dave Cockfield and Ian & Janice Maule were thinking of holding an informal Easter convention next year in South London and circulated flyers to that effect. However, Janice now tells me that response doesn't warrant the con, so it looks as if we'll all have to buy extra woollies for the long trek beyond the Northern Borders to Albacon. No huge hardship, I suppose – though Devon is a hell of a way from Scotland.

DUFF: You'll have to be quick to vote in this year's race for the Down Under Fan Fund, since the deadline is June 4th. Anyway Mike Glyer, Cy Chauvin, and Ken Fletcher & Linda Lounsberry are candidates for the trip to Australia. Voting fee is $1Aus ($1.50US) & administrators are: Bill Rotsler, P0 Box 3780, Los Angeles, CA 90028 and Paul Stevens, 305 Swanston St, Melbourne, 3000.

The Gostak distims the Doshes!
– but we don't care,
we've got:


Peter Roberts
38 Oakland Dr

Printed Matter Reduced Rate