gostak index SFN INDEX
SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS
Vol. 1. No. 4.
Organ of the Science Fantasy
Cover: Dawn of the Space Age....Arthur Williams
Secretary: FRANK FEARS
Treasurer KEN BULMER and Editor VINCENT CLARKE:–
NULL - HIBERNATION
Unlike the squirrel, the wombat, the three-toed sloth and some other furry little creatures which we haven’t time to look up in ‘Every Child’s Book of Woodland Widgets’, the science-fiction fan is one of the few animals which, although shy and retiring, refuses to go to bed in the Autumn with a bag of nuts for five months of refreshing slumber. Indeed, as the long winter evenings draw on, not only are the magazines and books which have been gathering dust throughout the summer months unearthed, and sometimes even read; the fan makes attempts to communicate with its brethren, and a rash of what is known as ‘fanactivity’ overcomes the torpor indulged by long months of baking in the summer sun.
In other words, friends, after being on the point of throwing in their hands owing to sheer, continued lack of interest on anybody’s part in their activities, Ye Ed. and his colleagues have started to receive enquiries asking what was happening. Weren’t We Doing Anything? Did We Want Any Help? I’ve Got An Awfully Good Idea for an Article… What About Another SFN? I’m Sorry I Haven’t Written For Six Months, But…………..
Especially the latter.
Curiously enough, we have had several enquiries from the U.S. in the period of British blankness, and it’s not been an easy thing to confess to these enthusiasts that the Science Fantasy Society of Great Britain has only had the name to offer to the newcomer and the interested enquirer. Ye Ed. has even shirked this task at times, hoping that the ‘morrow would bring, not jam, but some concrete evidence that a group of people who pride themselves on having a fairly high I.Q. could produce something for their own satisfaction, especially in a field where something more than a cash payment is needed before one gets results.
In the hope that we can fan the enquiring glimmers into a sustained heat of creative activity, we are putting into effect the following programme:
During 1950 we propose to go on a monthly schedule, as being more appropriate for a news mag. This will be the first post-war British fanzine to appear monthly, and will be sent out on the 1st of each month plus or minus 3 days, starting with the February issue. This will eliminate Ye Ed’s tendency to wait for that little bit more news to put in and will give correspondents a definite date-line. Material in by the 20th of a month should appear in the next month’s issue. The size of SFN will depend on YOUR efforts, and if you receive half a page of foolscap in a small envelope as the monthly issue, don’t start throwing bricks. Glass houses crack awfully easily.
It’s the ambition of many fans to edit their own little ‘zine: to expound their views to the gaping world and show it what THEY could do if THEY were in charge of ‘Astounding’. Our scheme of issuing fanzines with SFN to save amateur editors work (addressing envelopes) and cash (buying stamps) still stands, with the proviso that the copies (120 is the figure at present) should be sent in by the 25th of the month to be distributed with the next issue. In addition, any member who would like to edit veys own ‘zine but does not possess the necessary equipment may now oil veys typewriter and get to work, for we propose to stencil for the member anything up to one sheet of foolscap, typed on both sides (that is, four pages like this), in the same format as the SFN, and to issue it in or with the News as quickly as circumstances permit. Anyone wanting to stencil their own ‘zine or ‘zinette and is not quite sure of the procedure should write in for a copy of ‘HINTS ON STENCILLING’, written by John Newman and Ken Slater, stencilled (horribly) by Ken and illustrated by Terry Jeeves.
We are proposing to issue in the near future a comprehensive and accurate check-list of all the fantasy magazines known to have been published in the last 25 years: an index to ‘UNKNOWN’, now presumed defunct (see our news pages); if wanted, a bibliography of all the British fantasy that the fan is likely to meet in the normal round of bookstall, bookshop and library searching with an indication of the plots; possibly some reprints of articles from former fanzines; and of course the usual coverage of the whole field of fantasy. In the latter category, we are trying to improve our U.S. contacts. Other plans are being discussed and announcements will be made in future issues of SFN.
With this issue we include a leaflet from John Gunn giving details of the re-organisation of the British Fantasy Library, the non-commercial ‘Public’ library of British fandom. We are very pleased to announce its resumption in full running order.
On the completion of a year in the position of Treasurer to the SFS, Owen Plumridge, to the general regret of the Committee, has resigned his post, as he feels that he is unable to devote as much time to it as he would like, his employment keeping him away from London and Committee meetings for long periods. We owe a vote of thanks to ‘Plum’ for his able handling of the arduous first year’s accounts, and the initial income and expenditure, and especially for his general willingness to partake in SFS activities whenever possible.
Kenneth Bulmer, well known ‘actifan’ of the early ’40s, when he published the fanzine ‘Star Parade', has very kindly agreed to take over Treasurership, and a report by him on the SFS funds will appear in the next issue. Ken has also started a ‘zine, ‘Nirvana’, first number of which is distributed herewith.
Another change is the departure of Vincent Clarke, Editor-in-Chief of SFN from his Welling address. He is now sharing Ken Bulmer’s flat in Drayton Park; Secretary Frank Fears lives only three miles away, and the flat has been tentatively named the ‘Epicentre’ - things are going to happen around it!
Jimmy Clay, Guardian of the Cosmos Library, has announced his forthcoming departure from the Lewisham address, with a consequent relinquishment of the custodianship which he so kindly undertook when the library was without a home. Now stored at the Epicentre it will eventually be added to the BFL when K. Bulmer and A.V.C. have sorted it into its appropriate sections.
(Being a revelation of the esoteric activities of the London Circle)
For over a year now it has been my privilege once a week to consort with a few of the more extraordinary, if not superfluous, members of the genus called homo. At the moment of going to press I appear to comprise the complete distaff side of the peculiar form of life which, as a species, is known as the S.F.S. (N.B. The impression that these letters represent “Semi-Fanatic Schizophrenics” is completely false.)
The sub-section of the above-mentioned life form which regularly coalesces in the City has christened itself “The London Circle”, a circle being something which takes the long way round and ends up where it started. It is this group with whom, for better or for worse, I have joined in mental deadlock.
These weekly assemblies at an otherwise quiet tavern form a handy rendezvous for those who have not been able to acquire accommodation at Colney Hatch. At these meetings they are wont to indulge in mental wanderings de luxe on a scale that would make Mr Cook most envious. At these times the cortical gymnastics have been such that the air positively vibrates with the combined alpha-rhythms and once a passing jazz fan looked in to enquire what the new beat was.
Of course, this hyperactivity can only take place in the presence of a catalyst, such as light ale, with the result that there is a fine collection of glassware set against a background of colourful portrayals of superhuman pulchritude and sub-human menace. Unfortunate incidents sometimes occur as when an enthusiast with a new theory finds it necessary in conveying an idea to make a gesture which spills the contents of a glass, then a pitiful wail is heard – “Mind that collector’s piece, you lousy lug.”
Among these highly evolved mentalities, oddly enough, there still persists the primitive practice of barter. Occasionally a fan is to be seen wearing a blissful smile, tenderly regarding a dilapidated and dog-eared piece of pulp for which he has sacrificed half a dozen or so of his more recent publications.
For those with interests in more mundane directions we have among our numbers a resident communist who is ready to show a light to anyone in the dark about our strong silent neighbour to the north-east.
Eminent authors are by no means scarce and among these the well-known William Temple stands out – or is pushed out. He was to be seen the other evening appending his signature clearly to a few thousand copies of his recent book. Everyone admires him for thus taking the blame.
The lucky visitor may even meet the great Clarke himself. On Thursday evenings this noted stargazer will prise his eye from the contemplation of heavenly bodies and cast it upon those to whom the latter adjective in no way applies.
At times the assembly is brightened by members of my own sex. This is when fans have brought their long-suffering wives along, making them sit for two or three hours surrounded by para-human ravings.
In conclusion, it remains to be said that to those considering joining the circle, the only qualification needed is a certificate from at least three doctors and a magistrate.
Amid the City’s inky dens
All space is filled with a substance which I shall call ether, and this substance is a solvent for all other substances that exist, Throughout space all elements exist dissolved in either, which is a solvent for them as water is for salt.
Stars and planets are created in the following way. A vortex forms in the ether, in form spherical, and causes the elements to condense out of the ether. The force of the vortex is towards its own centre and this force causes the elements to become highly concentrated near and at the centre of the vortex, thus making condensation into solid matter possible.
When a vortex is formed, a star is created, and smaller vortices form within the larger one; this results in the creation of companion stars or planets. Every star will be found to have either planets or at least one companion star.
All forms of energy such as light, heat and electricity are manifestations of vortexial force which from now I shall call v-force.
This force can become concentrated in ferrous metals, in which state they are called magnetic and are given an attraction for other ferrous metals, iron etc, but not for other metals.
V-force is also the binding force that holds atoms and molecules together. It is this same force that we call gravity. Matter has no power of attraction in itself, but v-force becomes concentrated in and near a star or planet. Gravity therefore is the flow of v-force towards the Earth which is at the centre of a vortex, within the larger one, of which the sun is the centre.
The gravitic field of Earth reaches to within a short distance beyond the Moon. The gravitic field of the Sun does not reach to within 70,000,000 miles of Earth and therefore the mass of the Sun has no power of attraction for Earth. The Sun’s vortex is what holds the Earth to an orbit about the Sun, and the Earth’s spinning is caused by its own vortex.
The Moon’s mass does not cause the tides on earth, but the action of the Moon’s vortex does. Light and heat do not reach us from the Sun. Light has no substance and does not travel from one place to another. Earth manufactures her own heat by friction set up by her spinning against the force of the vortex, which is towards Earth.
The lines of vortexial force are in currents from the outer edges of the vortex towards the interior. The dissolved matter in the ether within the vortex takes the shape of needles pointing towards the centre. This is what we call light. The Sun acts as a focus for these needles of light which extend from the outer edges of the vortex to the planets and the Sun, but there is no travel of light from one place to another.
The Moon does not reflect light received from the Sun; it is lighted directly by the needles of light within its vortexial field. Night is produced when the Earth comes between the Sun’s focus and the outer extreme of the vortex.
Planetary disturbances are not caused by the attraction of one planetary body for another, but by disturbances in the vortices within which they float and by the action of one vortex upon another, where they overlap.
Meteors are created by the overlapping of the different currents within a vortex. This overlapping causes small whirlpools within the vortex, with the resultant concentrations of small amounts of matter. Nebulae are partly condensed clouds of matter which will eventually form into planets and stars.
Life arises on a planet through the concentration of vortexial force in water and the various substances that are dissolved in it. First the green scum which can be observed floating on bodies of water to this day is produced, then life. After a planet reaches a certain age life can no longer be produced anew. The reason for this is that the planet’s vortex is beginning to lose motion from the moment the planet is created, and after it slows beyond a certain minimum speed, the vortexial force is no longer powerful enough to create life by its action upon water.
After billions of years the vortices of stars and planets come to a standstill, by which time they and the stars and planets which were at their centre no longer exist, their substance having become once more dissolved in ether.
Much Fortean phenomena can be explained by this theory. All falls of non-living things to Earth are condensations of substance out of the ether, caused by the overlapping of various vortexial currents which produce small whirlpools in the ether.
Volcanos are caused by formation of a whirlpool in the ether which reaches right down to Earth and touches it. Lava is not condensed out of the ether, but is produced by the action of the etheric whirlpool upon the rocks it touches and the Earth’s vortexial force, causing rocks to melt and their composition to change.
Earthquakes are caused by the etheric whirlpool impinging on the Earth in and around the volcano, which is why most earthquakes occur in the volcanic belt. (“The Mysterious Comet” by Comyns Beaumont is full of data in support of this contention.)
Most falls of meteorites occur near volcanos because they are drawn towards the volcanos by the attraction of the small vortices which surround them.
Thus earthquakes and volcanos have an external source, and are not caused by disturbances within the Earth, which incidentally does not have a molten core, but a solid one. The belief that the substances in the interior of the earth must be molten because of the great pressure is false. Pressure is another manifestation of vortexial force which becomes greater the deeper into substance one travels.
The great “pressure” deep in the ocean is not caused by the depth of the water overhead, but by v-force. No matter how deep a body of water is, the water at the bottom is exactly in the same state as the water at the top, and is not more condensed. The substance at the centre of the earth is no more condensed than that at the surface.
The heat at the Earth’s centre is not great enough to cause the elements to become molten. Heat increases according to depth up to a certain point, and then remains the same. The heat we get from coal and oil is simply a release of stored v-force, and not of stored energy which was received from the Sun. Electricity is a form of v-force, and in that form it can be artificially stored as in dry batteries etc.
The difference in temperature between the poles and the tropics is caused by the fact that the circumference of the earth being smaller at the poles, those parts of Earth revolve more slowly than does the Equator. The difference in temperature between the summer and winter is because the Earth manufactures more heat while rounding the Sun’s vortex (summer) than while traversing the flat part of its journey round the Sun (winter). Heat of course being produced by friction against the Sun’s vortex, as well as by the Earth’s vortex.
THE GOLD STANDARD
by E.C. TUBB
Adaptability is the hallmark of intelligence. There are other standards of gauging how clever an animal is; but unles he is intelligent enough to survive, I.Q. tests are pretty useless, he won't be around to have them.
Oysters have adapted themselves, mice and cats perhaps best of all. They survive, multiply, and in the case of cats, live wholly on the expense of others. They survive; but that is as far as they have gone, perhaps as far as they can go.
Man is different. Man can not only adapt himself to, but can conquer his environment. He is able to take what he has, and bend it to suit his purpose. The more intelligent he is, the more he will make use of his environment. Will not merely survive; but will flourish, overcome the necessaity for constant endeavour, find time for cultural pursuits.
We do not now have to worry about the strains of mere survival, our forebears did that for us. And now we have a social system where the weak may live as well as the strong. No longer do we measure a man's intelligence by his skill as a hunter, his strength as a warrior, his stealth in living to a ripe old age. We are civilized, yet we are still animal, subject to all Nature's stress and strain, and with but one weapon.....adaptability.
Ours is a capitalistic system of society. There are those who dream dreams of changing all that... Others, who, having none, scorn all material wealth. There are those who, while praising poverty, avoid that state like the plague. Solemn men, leaders of the land, rail against the 'modern' craze of wanting something, whether it be security or health, for nothing, yet live on inherited wealth for which they did nothing but wait for a man to die. Like it or not we have to live in a capitalistic society in which money is the standard of progress, of culture, and of intelligence.
An intelligent man, one who is able to adapt himself to his surroundings, must soon see the need for wealth, He cannot avoid the discovery that it is the world’s measure of a man. He lives in a society whose constant theme is money. The need for it, ways of getting it, methods of using it, crime caused by it, misery for lack of it. He will work long hours to get it, spend it on the necessities of life, and have to work to obtain more. A vicious circle, a trap, a challenge to the intelligence of a man.
He may sneer at the culture of a civilisation that measures a man’s worth by what he owns. He may scorn the endless chase after worthless dross. The very tragedy of so much effort put to so little use may sicken him. The insanity of men striving after something they will be afraid to enjoy may infuriate him: but he cannot escape. Society is part of him as he is part of society. He cannot escape: but he is adaptable, he will conquer his environment or he will suffer economic death – and the intelligent do not die.
Aside from inherited wealth, and gamblers’ winnings, the rich are more intelligent than the poor. It is useless to say that the rich are ignorant, that they have picked the brains of others, that they have had the ‘breaks’, have ‘known the right people’, have had luck. They are more intelligent because they are more adaptable. They have bent their surroundings to suit themselves. If others suffered in the process – that again is Nature’s law. The survival of the fittest is still a truism.
The majority of us earn a living by selling something we possess, and which others can use. A labourer sells the strength of his body, a clerk, an aptitude for figures, a typist, an acquired skill in operating a machine. The professional men, doctors, lawyers, engineers etc, sell knowledge which may have taken them years to obtain. They are able to demand high sums for their services; yet basically they are no better than a labourer, they still sell something they hope others will buy. They are not more intelligent, they merely know more – which is not the same thing, though many confuse the two. Few professional men deliberately chose their profession, that was done for them when they were very young; economic barriers prevent a thirty year old labourer from becoming a doctor. He could never afford the cost of training, even though his mind remained agile enough to absorb it.
The truly intelligent man, the adaptive man, will not depend on selling the labour of his body or the knowledge of his mind. He will rise above the economic barriers, will turn the system to his advantage instead of trying to fit himself to this system. If he works, then he will see that he works to his own advantage. He will use laws, not break them, surmount obstacles, not be halted by them. He will look at the entire economic system as a challenge, a challenge to his intelligence. If he is adaptive he will rise above his conditioning, moral scruples, ethics etc. He will accept what is, not long for things that could be. He will set out to make money, and if he is intelligent, he will succeed.
A spiv flashing a roll of notes is not generally regarded as intelligent. He may be uncouth, foul mouthed, ignorant; yet compared to a low paid clerk, earning in a month what the spiv gets in a day, he is the more intelligent of the two. He may not even be able to write; yet he has risen above his handicap, adapted himself, and has the wherewithal to buy the services of a dozen others whose only claim to intelligence is that they are able to write.
A chemist, able after years of training to mix a formula, may know more than the man who owns the shop in which he works; but who is the most intelligent, the man who works for another’s benefit, or the man who is worked for?
A shop assistant, dragging out the weary hours behind a counter, sneers at the man selling things in the kerb; but when the kerbside trader sells a thing, the profit is his. He works where and when he pleased, sells to whom and what he likes. He has no boss, no clock card, stands no insults, and had far more money than the shop assistant/ Which is the more intelligent?
Lord Nuffield is a perfect example of a man adapting himself to his environment. He was not born to the purple, had no influential friends, discovered no new process. He could have remained a cycle repairer; he chose to become one of the richest men in the country.
Sidney Stanley is another. He is not a hero; but he was not a criminal. While a parasite on the community; yet is it fair to blame him, or the system which allows itself to be preyed on? Stanley was born poor, started from a poor neighbourhood, he adapted to his environment – and ended by eating caviar in Park Lane. Could a fool do that?
There are many such examples of men and women who have risen unaided in the world. They may not be useful, talented, educated; but they are – must be – intelligent. They are acclaimed wherever they go, they are fawned on, respected, admired. They have money, and with money, brains, culture, nice manners are unnecessary. They are rich, therefore they are important. They have money, therefore they are superior. They are wealthy, therefore they are intelligent. That is the judgement of the majority, and the majority must always be right.
And what of us? We the devotees of the weird, the fantastic, the bizarre, the incredible. We have eliminated a word, the word impossible, and consider ourselves intelligent. We seek release from reality in the pipe dreams of imagination, and consider ourselves above the common herd. We find escape from truth in the medium of fantasy, and delude ourselves that we are different. We, the refugees from reality, the hard up, the unadaptive, the dumb.
Not all fans are fanatics. Some can take their fantasy or leave it alone. They deliberately read it for relaxation, for fun, and for nothing else. To them it is a pleasant exercise of the imagination, to others – a drug.
To these others fantasy has acquired a distorted importance. It has become a dope, as much a dope as opium. It provides a perfect escape medium from life; within its dreamlike world of make-believe anything can, and does, happen. Devotees vicariously enjoy the thrill of striding through hostile environments, ray-gun in one hand, beautiful girl in the other. Space has no meaning for them, time is but a word, immortality a mere wish, and nowhere do they ever meet with the cold harsh necessity of earning a living.
Once absorbed in their favourite literature they are in a state of ecstasy. Imagination bursts the bonds of probability, nothing is impossible. No concept is too weird, no character too implausible, no situation too unreal; but that it is accepted and eagerly acclaimed by the fans. The more that they read the worse they get. Imaginations become dulled, the fantasy of yesterday becomes the commonplace of today. Newer and more fantastic concepts are demanded until some of the stories verge on the very edge of insanity; yet all are avidly read and applauded. To these readers fantasy is life, and life a mere annoyance, something that separates the monthly magazine, something to be borne, instead of enjoyed.
In a way it is tragic. Lovers of fantasy are not at the low end of the intelligence scale, they are not morons, imbeciles, stupid dream-lovers. They are those whose minds have revolted against life as it is, against things as they are, and they seek surcease in fantasy.
Life for these people is unpleasant, even unbearable. They are sensitive, with overdeveloped imaginations. They find themselves shackled by rigid bounds, a harsh economy, the facts of necessity; they are unpleasant facts – so – they ignore them.
It is far easier to imagine oneself a rocket pilot, than to undergo years of training to become an aviator. Easier to imagine an inimical environment than to seek out one. Easier to dream of adventure than to find it. They crave the unusual; yet cling to the things they know. In a capitalistic world the majority are failures – they are nearly all hard up.
Why is this? Can it be that imagination can only grow at the expense of initiative? Surely men with such vivid imaginations can imagine how nice it would be to have wealth? Surely if they have the nerve to stand by a type of literature commonly regarded as fit only for the insane or the juvenile, they have the nerve to engage in commerce? We know that we are intelligent; but by the gold standard of this world there is only one way to prove it – get rich – and so far we haven’t done so.
It has been said that fans are proud of being highly individualistic. Are they? Or is it rather that they have retreated so far within their shells or make-believe that they fear any outside influence in case it should break their dream-world? The very type of literature they love is impossible to obtain without co-operation. It cannot be enjoyed half as much if the reader stands in splendid isolation. Is this claim to individuality a last attempt to assert themselves as individuals – a self delusion that they are sufficient unto themselves? Or could it be that they are merely conforming to a standard, a standard in which a claim of individuality is the norm?
No matter how we look at it we are, by the standards of this world, unintelligent. We have not met the challenge of our financial system. We have not successfully adapted ourselves to our environment. We have compromised with it, not conquered it. Come to terms with, not mastered it. We are not wealthy therefore we are not important. We are not rich, therefore we are – must be – unintelligent.
Need this be? We, all of us, are not rugged individuals able to hew a path alone. If we were, we should have done so before. There is no shame in confessing failure; the shame is in denying that any failure exists. Admit it, and are half-way to beating it. Refuse to recognise it – and we are failures indeed.
Are you satisfied to scrape along at a menial task, sighing for the good things of life: yet content to dope yourself with dreamlike fantasy? Or do you want to arouse, shrug off the inertia that is the curse of initiative and prove your intelligence? It can be done: but no one will ever do it for you.
We are a gregarious race, we like company. Alone we are weak, together we are strong. One man could rarely build a house, a dozen can with ease. Several men, each doing a little, can accomplish much. This fact has been recognised since commerce first began; it is the basis of every private company. There is little that several men, each determine, each co-operating, each after high rewards, the reward that the world pays to those who prove their intelligence, could not do. It would be an interesting experiment to master ‘the gold standard’ and after all – wouldn’t it all be rather fun?
THE DOUBLED-ANGLED TEMPLE
If at some time in the far-distant future the SFS starts to erect statues of British s-f authors, the figure with a glass of beer in one hand and a pipe in the other will be William F. (Bill) Temple. From the time when he shared the famous Grays Inn Rd flat of pre-war days with Arthur (Ego) Clarke and Maurice Hanson to his present infrequent visits to the 'White Horse', this has been a characteristic attitude of his -- -physically.
Mentally, he has a terrier-like alertness with which he is always liable to burst some conversational platitude with a verbal pin-prick; to make puns as outrageous as Ogden Nash's, and - to write s-f . Older fans will remember his 'The Fan in His Natural Haunt' in the pre-war fanzine 'Novae Terrae', the most successful series ever run in a British fanzine, and his 'Smile of the Sphinx' in 'Tales of Wonder' which gave to British fans a suspicious attitude towards cats which has never entirely left them. As Guest of Honour at the '49 'Loncon', Bill made a speech which 'brought the house down' and caused us to regret the lack of a wire-recorder with which to preserve his highly libellous comments upon s-f in general.
Maybe it was just as well, for Bill has been much too busy of late to fight any actions for slander; busy not only at his employment on the Stock Exchange (where he has to clean up the mess after dealers are 'hammered'! - a gruesome job), but in having his first book published this summer, beating two other pre-war 'actifans', Sam Youd and John Burke, by a short head.
In 'The Four-Sided Triangle', (John Lane, 9/6d), he impudently flouts popular convention by writing a story which attacks the reader from two separate and almost incompatible angles, the science-fictional and the romantic. 'F-S.T.' is told from the viewpoint of a village doctor who has the guardianship of an orphan, Bill Leggett. Bill, an infant prodigy, grows up to be a specialist in electronics, and in collaboration with Robin Heath, another scientist but a contrasting character, invents the Leggett-Heath Reproducer. This useful machine has the property of duplicating any matter placed in its field of force. During the initial stages of the invention, Robin and Bill meet a girl, Lena Maitland, and both fall in love with her. She marries Robin, and the disappointed Bill conceives the idea of carrying the experiments to a stage where living matter can be duplicated unharmed, and then reproducing a copy of Lena for himself.
As neither will live the same life after duplication, their differing environments will eventually cause the copy to have a slightly different character. Lena and Robin agree to the experiment, which ends successfully in the creation of the duplicate, Dorothy, and she and Bill are married. Afterwards, the Doctor discovers that Dorothy, having been copied from Lena after the latter had fallen in love with and married Robin, inevitably has the same feelings towards Robin. Thus the four-sided triangle, which becomes even worse with further developments.
The characters are exceedingly well drawn, the dialogue bright and intelligent, and the suspense in the latter part of the book is of the sort that builds up in a well written detective yarn, where one has the impulse to sneak a look at the end to find what is eventually going to happen. But the point that will draw a gasp of horror from the s-f fan is the total neglect of the sociological implications of the invention. This is no ‘Pandora’s Box’. There is no hint of Government control, or of world wide interest. Artistic objects and radium needles are produced in quantity, but no one breathes a word of extra cash or U235. It is only fair to point out here, though, that the story in its original form first appeared in ‘Amazing’ about 10 years ago. The concern of the story is the Reproducer’s effect on that central circle of four characters, and here we can congratulate Bill on his explicit psychological detail, but feel that the late Stanley Weinbaum, in ‘New Adam’, is still the only author to have successfully wedded s-f with the more emotional type of fiction. This story, like ‘Invisible Man’, ‘E for Effort’, ‘Power’, and ‘Three Men Make a World’, leaves one day-dreaming as to what one would do with personal possession of the thematic invention…. an amusing but unprofitable pastime – unless you’re an author.
FROM THE BBC
The B.B.C. gives us many stray, unobtrusive items of general interest to fans. There are series of scientific talks, plays with fantastic themes, readings from recent books on philosophy and the sciences. Here are some items of the last few months which appear to show that the province of the well-informed fan is not bounded by his bookshelves, but should include his radio set as well!
Listed by programme, some of these broadcasts are:–
1) Semi-fantasy plays, e.g. ‘Trog’—the adventures of an ugly, big-headed mutant, rescued (during an air-raid) from his mother, who exhibits him for pecuniary purposes. The creature lives - in his own imagination - in a fairyland world which he learnt about from two children’s books, his only literature. Rather pathetic in places.
Also Lance Sievking’s ‘An Echo from the Moon’ - a strange (even to a fan!) story of great atmospheric quality, at the end of which the listeners are asked whether they can say, “Yes, I see what you mean” - I couldn’t! It dealt with a queer journey by a forgotten railway which two men have, seemingly, dreamt of independently of each other. (Perhaps someone else who heard the play can straighten it out?)
2) Science Talks are fairly common, e.g. ‘Is There Life Elsewhere in the Universe’, a debate, and 'The Homeostat’, a description and demonstration of this adaptable, ‘intelligent’ machine; ‘The Physical Basis of Mind’, a discussion and attempt at location of this particular region of the brain; ‘The Lysenko Controversy’, ‘History of Science’ (in 16 talks), etc. etc.
3) Philosophical talks and discussions, e.g. ‘Atomism and Pattern’ by L. L. Whyte, ‘The Crisis of Reason’ by D. M . Mackinnon, Prof. of Moral Phil. and so on.
4) Reviews of various scientific and religious books, such as ‘Psychological Panaceas’, ‘Man for Himself’ (Erik Fromm’s book on Moral problems), ‘The Elements of Genetics’ (reviewed by Julian Huxley), Bradley’s ‘No Place to Hide’ and other books on atomic physics and the atom-bomb; Russell’s ‘Human Knowledge: its Scope and Limit’ etc etc.
1) Occasional talks on fantastic subjects, such as ‘The Abominable Snowman’ (which was reprinted in the ‘Listener’ with photos of the strange footprints found in the Himalayan snows; ‘Space-Ship’ by G. Gibbs-Smith, concerning the proposed space-stations.
2) Science talks such as the monthly astronomical talk by Dr Porter, the weekly ‘Science Survey’ and some so-called science talks such as ‘New Frontiers in Science’, etc.
3) Religious and philosophic lectures, e.g. the Reith Lectures, ‘The Pattern of the Future’, by Dr Alex Comfort, recently reprinted in book form, an excellent series of four talks on Scientific Humanism and related subjects, etc.
1) Comparatively frequent fantasy and semi-fantasy plays, e.g. Conan Doyle’s ‘Lost World’ and 'Poison Belt’, Sherriff’s ‘Hopkins Manuscript’, ‘Childers’ ‘Riddle of the Sands’; Mystery Playhouse often features ‘supernatural’ plays, and afternoon short plays with fantasy themes are fairly common. But there is hardly any actual science-fiction.
2) Occasional ‘telepathy’ experiments - no comment needed.
3) Occasional ‘science’ lectures, e.g. ‘Evolution’ - very elementary.
Very occasional fantasy plays such as ‘The Time Machine’, which was well-reviewed, and 'Summer Day’s Dream’, J. B. Priestley’s play of England after the Atom Bomb (1975), which had a short run on the London stage this autumn.
2) ‘Inventors Club’ - demonstrations and explanations of usually commonplace inventions.
3) Features such as the televising of the moon through a telescope.
You will note that anything on the occult, spiritualism and like subjects is almost non-existent, though we did have ‘Hypnotism’ not long ago. But if you would like more fantasy on the radio, in both plays and talks, we could try spasmodically flooding the BBC offices with letters of praise for certain fantasy items, and requests for more.
QUOTES, NOTES, NEWS & REVIEWS
We start this section with news of the most important happening in the lives of two fans, both members of the S.F.S. and the ‘London Circle’. Wisely waiting till after the event, Daphne Bradley and Ron Buckmaster announced that they had committed holy matrimony at Chatham Registry Office on Sept. 3rd, honeymooned in Devon, and are now the proud possessors of two rooms in Plumstead, S.E., a district hitherto renowned for the domicile of Ted Carnell. The S.F.News takes this opportunity of extending its very best wishes on behalf of the SFS, coupled with the time-honoured s-f fans’ wish:– May all their troubles be little Slans!
Preliminary reports of the 7th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Cincinnati, Ohio, indicate that a good time was had by all the 240-odd fans who assembled there between Sept. 3rd and 5th. Proceeds from the ‘Big Pond Fund’ contributed to by many US and British fans (including the proceeds from London’s ’48 ‘Whitcon’) enabled British fans to have a representative there in the person of Ted Carnell, editor of ‘New Worlds’ and active supporter of s-f for 12 years. Part of the proceedings were televised, and viewers got an eyeful according to Ted’s description. A New York model, dressed (or undressed) in the fashion of a Bergey cover girl (TWS and STS) opened the show: after screening her from head to foot, the TV camera swung off (probably to the viewers’ regret) to a view of each s-f magazine, finishing with the cover of ‘New Worlds’, and from there to our own Ted, who recounted the story of ‘Our Struggle’ - a story for which we thought Wally Gillings held all the copyrights.
The SFS Committee sent a cable of good wishes to the Cinvention, but Australian fans went one better and actually telephoned through for about 15 minutes. The Convention voted a large sum of money to the Australian and British societies, concerning which we hope to give full details in the next issue of SFN.
John Keir Cross, author of ‘The Other Passenger’, ‘Angry Planet’ etc., well known as producer and adapter of novels for the BBC, contacted Frank Cooper (of Nova Publications), was introduced to the ‘London Circle’ and has spent a couple of Thursday evenings in one corner with authors Arthur C. (Ego) Clarke, Bill Temple, John Beynon, Edward Frank Arnold…. JKC is not only interested in s-f for its own sake, but has also persuaded the BBC to put on a series of six s-f plays; he believes he can convince the BBC that ‘genuine’ s-f will have a wide popular appeal on the air. Some stories will be culled from anthologies, and he is now engaged in making a selection, but there’s a chance for our British authors if the project succeeds in focussing attention on the field. Readers with ideas of what stories would make good radio plays please write to SFNews -- NOT the BBC!
The B.I.S. (British Interplanetary Society) started its ’49-’50 season with a Conversazione on Oct. 1st, featuring an exhibition of photos, drawings, models, lantern slides, etc. etc. Further meetings will be held once a month during the season, ending with ‘Ego’ Clarke’s lecture ‘Space Travel, Fact and Fiction’ on April 1st (no fooling). Fans will be there in force!
The B.I.S. have also opened a Manchester branch this year, with monthly lectures, etc., as in London.
Arthur Clarke, whose Ego was heard to remark the other day “I hate a story I’ve only sold once”, will have a technical book on space-flight published over here next year, probably at about the same time as the book reprint of his ‘Startling’ story, ‘Against the Fall of Night’ appears in the U.S.
‘New Worlds’ No 5 has appeared at last, with a striking cover by a new artist, Clothier, interior illos by old-timer Turner and Clothier, and a very good line up of British authors. John Aiken contributes the second in the ‘Dragon’s Teeth’ trilogy, Peter Phillips a neat cybernetics yarn with a twist in the tail, ‘Unknown Quantity’ and John Beynon deserves a bouquet of his own ‘tinkerbell’ flowers - remember that they were also in a recent ASF story of John’s? - for the well-written ‘Time to Rest’. Other stories by ‘Ego’ Clarke, Syd Bounds, Rayer, and Moore help to fill its 96 pages with s-f with a British accent. ‘New Worlds’ can look forward to a long future if it continues to improve at the present rate, and if its distribution is better handled than that of the previous issue. Events - a shareholders’ meeting of ‘Nova Publications’ before Christmas: No 6 out in January or February.
Latest British Reprint Edition is that of the first ‘Super Science Stories’, (at 1/6d), which includes most of the original stories. Most copies are marred by extremely bad reproduction of illustrations. The U.S. edition is improving rapidly, and old-time fans will welcome the return of Neil R. Jones’ 'Professor Jameson’ series, which originated in ‘Amazing’ in the early ’30s.
Two new U.S. mags have joined the field: ‘Other Worlds’, 35¢ from the Clark Publishing Co. is the first across, and turns out to be another pocket-size edition on ‘Avon Fantasy Reader’ lines. Lead story of No 1 is Shaver’s ‘Fall of Lemuria’, supported by Irvin, Browning, Wiley and Rog. Phillips. Advertising, for ‘Fate’, etc., is definitely ‘Shaverian’.
The second new prozine is a companion to ‘Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine’ entitled ‘The Magazine of Fantasy’. Edited by Anthony Boucher (who wrote ‘Rocket to the Morgue’, book featuring number of s-f personalities disguised by pseudonyms), ASF author, and J. F. McComas, co-editor of ‘Adventures in Time and Space’. ‘Ellery Queen’s Mystery Mag.’ has been for many years the sole example in the detective fiction field of the sort of liaison between reader and editor so common in s-f, with the editor taking a keen interest in readers’ reactions coupled with a connoisseur's feeling for the published material.
Of the same pocket-size and general format as ‘EQMM’, the ‘MoF’ has a cover photo of an auburn-haired damsel and a shadowy green BEM, and a distinguished line-up of authors, past and present: amongst the stories in No 1 are ‘Bells On His Toes’ (Cartmill), ‘The Hurkle is a Happy Beast’ (Sturgeon), ‘Review Copy’ (Holmes/Boucher), ‘Men of Iron’ (Guy Endore), ‘Rooum’ (Oliver Onions) etc etc. The general rule seems to be that anything goes if it’s fantasy and well written. (The last qualification will probably invalidate some prolific authors we could name.) Extrapolating from the first issue, ‘MoF’ will probably be a second, but more modern, ‘Avon Fantasy Reader’. It has our best wishes.
There are rumours that the latest BRE ‘Unknown’, Winter ’49, will be the last issue. The lack of short stories to reprint is evident in the contents, two, ‘Hexer’ and ‘Summons’, having appeared pre-war. ‘Ultimate Egoist’ by ‘E. Waldo Hunter’ appeared in the recent ‘Without Sorcery’ collection of Sturgeon’s, but the rest of the stories, ‘Crossroads’ (Hubbard), ‘Forbidden Trail’ (‘Rice’), ‘They’ (Heinlein), and ‘Carillon of Skulls’ (James) are reprinted for the first time. Excluding the pre-war US editions, there are enough short stories left to fill about two more BREs; most of the novels, serials, etc., are scheduled for book publication, e.g. ‘Undesired Princess’, ‘Typewriter in the Sky’, ‘Sorcerer’s Ship’, ‘Reign of Wizardry’ etc.
The November ’48 ASF contained a reader’s letter commenting on the stories, by various favourite authors, in the November ’49 issue. Campbell’s editorial comment was - “Afraid it isn’t this November ’49 - ”: the current issue bears out at least 75% of the prophecies, though even if some of the titles fit only by sympathetic use of the imagination. For the first time since ’35, ASF has two serials in the same issue, but who will grumble when one is the culminating episode in Asimov’s 'Foundation’ series, and the other brings Heinlein back to the fold? Campbell’s editorial, on ‘Science Fiction Prophecy’, expounds the theory that a desirable idea, expressed in prophecy, has a chance of forcing itself into reality by its very existence - “like” (concludes JWC) “this issue of ASF”! A nice effort - but what about that Don Stuart story???
Editor of ‘Amazing Stories’ since Ziff-Davis took over in ’38, the departure of Raymond Palmer has caused wide-spread speculation amongst fans. Former fan RAP’s policy, especially the featuring of the ‘Shaver’ mystery, earned him much personal dislike from his former friends in the U.S. After a farewell editorial in the December issue of AM, RAP now moves into the ownership of the Clark Publishing Company, publishers of the new ‘Other Worlds’ and ‘Fate’, the pocket-sized ’zine featuring unusual phenomena. Will there be any policy changes in ‘Amazing’ and its sister ’zine ‘Fantastic Adventures’? Time, and circulation figures, alone will tell!
Hollywood producer George Pal, having nearly finished the technicoloured ‘Destination Moon’ (adapted from Robert Anson Heinlein’s ‘Rocket-Ship Galileo’, semi-juvenile s-f), has announced that his next s-f film will be ‘When Worlds Collide’, famous s-f classic by Balmer & Wylie. Some fans may remember that this story and its sequel, ‘After Worlds Collide’, which concern the entry into the Solar System of two wandering planets, was serialised in ‘Passing Show’ before the war. The British editions of the pair are out of print.
It Never Rains Department. Conan Doyle’s fantasy can never have reached a wider public than in 1949, with two BBC serialisations of ‘The Lost World’, one of its sequel, ‘The Poison Belt’, the showing of the film ‘Lost World’ at the Science Museum to illustrate talks on prehistoric animals, and a paper-backed reprint of ‘L.W.’ in the ‘Pan’ series (which has also, incidentally, recently reprinted Priestley’s semi-fantasy ‘Doomsday Men’). Eyre and Spottiswood have now announced a 6/- reprint – ‘LW’ and ‘PB’ in one volume……….
From lost worlds to other worlds - just beginning to arrive from the U.S. are copies of the large-size, non-fiction ‘Conquest of Space’ (Viking £4), text by Willy Ley, illustrated by Chesley Bonestell. Those fans who have read Ley’s lucid and interesting articles, in the s-f ’zines and elsewhere, on the prospects of interplanetary flight, and have seen Bonestell’s interpretations, on the cover of ASF and in the ‘Satevepost’, ‘Look’, etc., of the vistas that man may see when he fulfils this ambition, will need no assuring that here is an exceptional volume. Bonestell’s series showing Saturn from each of its satellites, his Lunar mountains towering over the slim spaceship of some Terrestrial explorers, and many other pictures in colour and in straight black-and-white are magnificent. This book should be on the shelves of every s-f reader who lays claim to having a comprehensive collection.
For many years a rare ‘collector’s item’, S. Fowler Wright’s ‘World Below’ has been re-issued simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic – by Shasta in the US and by Books For Today (@ 9/6d) over here. The latter company is Wright’s own. The US edition is rather poorer in quality than most Shasta productions, and the cover, with ‘This is a science-fiction novel’ writ large across it, a definite mistake. The British edition has a cover drawing from the US fanzine ‘VOM’ (No 50), unfortunately printed on very thin paper. General production is average. The story itself concerns the adventures of a man of our time projected into a world of a million years hence, in search of two others from this era. He finds that man as we know him has vanished, to be replaced by various strange races, whose comments on present day morals and manners, etc. give Wright many opportunities for biting satire. This book does not, however, fall under that heading for forlorn causes, ‘Utopian Fantasy’, for the future races are unsettled enough to provide the hero with as much adventurous action as any reader could desire. This, in your reviewer’s opinion, is Wright’s best fantasy, and well worth reading.
Fantasy books are booming in the States - many of the big publishers are starting their own series of s-f titles. ‘Antiquarian Bookman’ Sept 3rd issue was a special s-f number, with 86 pages of articles and adverts on the field. Professional dealers Greenberg, Kyle, Williams and Dikty had articles, the latter ending his:– “But the important thing is:– the present issue of AB will see the market for imaginative fiction at a new all time high. This type of fiction has finally arrived!” Well over 40 titles have been announced from various publishers. Many - too many - are reprints from magazines, serials, collections of short stories, etc.
Ray Bradbury, ‘chromium-plated horror’ author, has two books coming from Doubleday - ‘Martian Chronicles’ and ‘Frost and Fire’. Nelson Bond’s ‘Blue Book’ novelette ‘Exiles of Time’ will be published by Prime Press, who are also doing the ex-Astounding serial ‘Nomad’, the ex-Argosy, ex-'Famous Fantastic’ ‘Blind Spot’ and ‘Spot of Life’ (Hall and Flint), and others; Shasta have just published Leinster’s collection of ASF stories, ‘Sidewise in Time’, the ex-Unknown ‘None but Lucifer’ (H. L. Gold) is forthcoming, and of course the Heinlein ‘Future History’ series.
Merlin Press have two collections which should be popular: ‘From Off This World’, edited by TWS and STS editor Margulies and Oscar J. Friend, a reprint of the ‘Hall of Fame’ ‘classic’ stories from STS, which were in turn reprinted from earlier issues of TWS and STS, and ‘My Best S-F Story’, contributed to by all the best-known writers in the field.
Gnome Press has several books of special interest. Nelson Bond’s ’31st of February’ has an interesting and not-too-well-known collection of various types of fantasy, from the multiple-probability ‘Five Lives of Robert Jordan’ to the humorous ‘Gripes of Wraith’. One story, 'Pilgrimage’, has the same characters and background as ‘Magic City’ (cover story ASF BRE Feb '41) but entirely different plot. The adulation of James Branch Cabell expressed in the preface is out of place; mutual admiration societies of authors add little to the readers’ enjoyment.
‘Porcelain Magician’ from Gnome Press is a collection of 14 stories by Frank Owen, the well known author of oriental fantasies, and includes the famous weird ‘Wind That Tramps the World’ from Weird Tales amongst others from this magazine.
‘Pattern for Conquest’ (2d.50c) from Gnome Press has a melodramatic cover in black and orange by Cartier, to illustrate a scene from G. O. Smith's ex-ASF serial: those who like E. E. Smith will probably enjoy this interstellar adventure in which for once the alien hordes overrun Terra.
‘The Coming of Conan’, first in a series of books concerning the famous pre-Glacial Era adventurer created by Robert E Howard in ‘Weird Tales’ has had its title changed before publication to ‘Conan the Conqueror’.
Frederick Fell Inc. is one of the professional US publishers who have started to issue s-f - in this case an ‘s-f Library’. We regret to report that in the first two volumes to appear they have not been too successful. ‘Best S-F Stories: 1949’ has one of the best covers we have yet seen, and is extremely well-produced, but $2.95 is a lot to ask for 12 reprints from ’48 s-f magazines and others (one of which is a two page effort), even from 6 are from ASF! ‘Kid From Mars’ by Oscar J. Friend, concerning a Martian who comes to this planet looking for a sense of humour to save his race, is described as ‘fun-packed s-f’ by FF: the reader’s sense of h. is not likely to be called into action even by this.
‘The Humanoids’ by Jack Williamson, pub. by Simon and Schuster, is a partly re-written and much improved reprint of the ASF serial ‘…And Searching Mind’, without the short-story prelude ‘With Folded Hands’ that also appeared in that magazine. The story of a small band’s fight against a race of robots who invade a planet for self-professed benevolent purposes, a fight by mental and material means, is interesting and unusual. Recommended.
ARE YOU INTERESTED in membership to the
BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY ?
Technical qualifications are not necessary; only your co-operation in forwarding this relatively new branch of science. Astronautics has a footing in England - will YOU help?
Full details from:– Frank R. Fears, 6, Ferme Park Mansions, Ferme Park Rd, London, N.8.
Someone who has a workshop, and who would be willing to manufacture a small part. Someone who is interested in photography, with knowledge of lenses, irises, etc. Someone - anyone - who will help me to make a special type camera. Thank you.
E. C. Tubb, 27, Clarendon Gardens, London, W.9.
INFORMATION concerning ANDREW CROSS, who in 1837 was alleged to have produced insects on a lump of iron oxide immersed in an acid solution and acted upon by an electric current. Especially wanted is the loan of any book containing a reprint of his original papers, or the Public Library index number of same.
John A. Wiseman, 41, Northcote Rd., Sidcup, Kent.
Up to quarter page free to members of the SFS.
For subsequent appearances, small ad. 6d, ¼ page 1/-; ½ page 1/9d; full page 3/-.
Duplicated at:– 84, Drayton Park, Highbury N.5.