This is SKYRACK No. 1 and is dated April 4th 1959. SKYRACK is published by Ron Bennett, 7 Southway, Arthurs Avenue, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. Cost is 6d per copy, 6 for half-a-crown. U.S.A. subscribers should send money to Bob Pavlat, 6001 Ė 43rd Avenue, Hyattsville, Maryland. 6 for 35 cents. News of interest to fandom gratefully accepted. Illo on the left by Bill Rotsler, captioned by John Owen.
I TOO WOULD BE A PUBLISHING JIANT
About three years ago, Jan Jansen came up with the idea of producing a regular and frequent newsletters. This idea was nothing new in itself, but Jan also put forward that the newszine should pay for itself. He put out CONTACT which ran to over half a dozen issues before slipping away into limbo after Jan had broken a collarbone in a road accident. The surprising thing was that fandom didnít object to paying out for a newszine, but instead seemed to welcome the innovation.
Since that time, Iíve been in half a mind about putting out such a newszine myself. A year ago, I wrote to Jan asking if I might take over CONTACT but received no reply. About the same time, FANAC came on the scene. For the very few uninitiated, FANAC is a newszine put out by Terry Carr and Ron Ellik over in California. FANAC has filled the gap left by CONTACTís departure very satisfactorily, but deals primarily with Stateside news. Recently Archie Mercer attempted to balance this bias, by issuing a newszine called ANGLOFANAC. This is to be infrequent.
In the hope of balancing FANACís Stateside slant even further I am hoping to produce SKYRACK at regular intervals of a month. If there is enough news to merit more frequent ssues, then Iíl produce such issues. However have no intentions of stepping on Archieís toes, especially as ANGLOFANAC s free and is distrbuted along with FANAC. When Archie is preparing an issue, Iíll merely turn my news over to him and skip an issue.
All issues of SKYRACK will be charged for. No trades. News items, whether of science fiction or a more social nature, wilI merit the sender a free copy of the issue in which said news item appears.
Last weekend, the first British convention to be held under the auspices of the British Science Fiction Association took place at the Imperial Hotel Birmingham. Attendees included such wellknown fans as Eric Bentcliffe, Terry Jeeves, Archie Mercer, Bob Richardson, Norman and Ina Shorrock, Eddie Jones, Bobbie Wild, Sandra Hall, Ella Parker, Eric Jones, Ken McIntyre, John M Roles, Dave Cohen, Frank Simpson and Jack Wilson. Guest of Honour was Kenneth F. Slater who spent a small fortune buying coffee for late and all-night revellers! The gathering quickly recovered its feet after an early setback concerning drinking hours and the informal and friendly atmosphere was reminiscent of early days at Kettering. The programme was well attended and there was always something of interest to the audience. Several items lacked the polish of say Frank Simpsonís deadpan talk at the 1954. SuperManCon, but this tended to add informality to the already informal proceedings. At the very least the convention was a financial and social success and all those who worked so hard on its organisation are to be congratulated. No doubt fuller accounts will appear in various fanzines shortly. The souvenir programme booklet deserves special mention, however; an impeccable production.
As one of the British Science Fiction Associationís staunchest critics since its inception at Kettering a year ago, I think it only fair to mention that while I contested the Associationís implication that British fandom needed such an organisation in order to survive, I do congratulate the BSFA on the way it has gone about achieving its aims. There were several new faces present at the BrumCon, all of whom have been brought into fandom by the BSFA. Nor were these newcomers, as might have been expected, stuffy. They fitted in well and wore most interesting to talk to. It would be interesting to learn their views on the Convention. The BSFA itself elected new officers for the coming year. Roberta Wild took over as Publications officer and Editress of VECTOR. Sandra Hall was appointed Assistant. Doctor Arthur R. Weir (Primrose Cottage, Westonbirt Village, Near Tetbury, Gloc) was elected Secretary. Archie Mercer held his post as Treasurer and ubscriptions of £1 per annum should be sent to him at 434/4 Newark Road, North Hykeham, Lincs.
The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund is now in full swing with over £30 in the British Treasury. Have you voted yet? Ballot forms will be sent on application.
DAVE NEWMAN didnít show up at the BrumCon but he did send carbon copy letters to members of the BSFA Committee. Dave tells of his bad luck since moving from Liverpool to Bournemouth. First he suffered a breakdown in health because of overwork and had to drop out of fandom as well as giving up his honorary posts with thc Hoylake, Cheshire, rugby and sailing clubs. Later when things were pulling round, Dave was put into hospital after a cycling accident. It is hoped that his recovery is soon complete and that he is soon back with us.
HOLIDAY PLANS are being made by various British fans. There is, on the cards, a Liverpool party at Whitsun, whilst at the same time several London fans are planning to swoop on Cheltenham. Fans from both Liverpool and Cheltenham are planning to visit the Mediterranean regions during the summer, perhaps to search for Atlantis. It is with cheerful alacrity that I have accepted an invitation to stay at Inchmery with the Clarkes and Sandy Sanderson during my own summer vacation.
A BAS 11 (25 cents; Boyd Raeburn, 9 Glenvalley Drive, Toronto 15, Canada) is notable for an outstanding report by Boyd on his travels to and from the SolaCon. Trailing not very far behind is a four and a half page article by Walt Willis on the differences between thc purely fanzinc fans and. the purely convention fans. While this viewpoint is presented in conversation form it is gratifying to see that Walt keeps his arguments straight-forward and readable but does not fall into the trap of using his chosen medium to confuse the issue and shoot off a few snide remarks at the different personalities concerned. Highly recommended. Note, incidentally, Boydís new postal district.
BILL RICKHARDT who struck me as being surprisingly mature when I met him in the States has now come up with another surprise and one which is nowhere near as pleasant. Having kept right out of the New York feuds simply because a)Iím not interested and b)both sides have participants who are good friends of mine, Iím now rushing in headlong to take Bill to task on a piece heís recently published in FLIP. Here Bill attacks the Dietzes and George Raybin. Whatever Belle, Frank and George have said to incur the Rickhardt wrath, Bill cannot be justified when he begins to be extremely personal or when he speaks for fandom as a whole. Snide snipings at physical features have no place in a logical argument. Note also William that Belle and George are highly thought of in Britain by those who are not in the least concerned in WSFS wrangles and who have memories of the work put in by Belle, Frank and George at the London World Convention in l957.
APORRHETA should be here any day now. Sandy has delayed the March issue in order to get back on a regular monthly schedule and we can look forward to a double offering. RETRIBUTION and HYPHEN arc also expected shortly.
FUTURE FAN GATHERINGS are always in the news. This yearís World Convention is to take place in Detroit, and British fans can join by sending me seven shillings. Plans are already being formulated for the 1960 Convention and it must be put on record that the entire editorial staff of SKYRACK (at home and abroad) is totally in support of WASHINGTON IN 1960. At the same time, British fandom must look to its own future. Having stood up at the BrumCon in order to suggest that the 1960 national convention is held in Harrogate, I'd like to learn the views of fans who might want to attend, particularly the viewpoints of fans living in the south. Remembering that hotel prices are generally rising (even thc Kettering George now charges 22/6 and 25/- for bed and breakfast) Iíd like to hear what fandom has to say about a Harrogatc hotel with a nightís charge of 30/-. (80 rooms, 3 star AA rating), which is centrally situated. There is also an alternative of 95 rooms which is not so central. A further alternative is that the Convention is held sixteen. miles to the south, in Leeds. There are two centrally situated commercial two-star hotels, each with over seventy rooms and charging only 25/- per night. Whatís that? No, Iím not thinking of making bookings. Iím merely scouting round for opinion. Wherever the 1960 Con is held, Iíll attend, so that if somebody plumps for a convention in a southern centre, then thatís fine with me.
THE DIRECTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM 1958 sold like hot cakes at the BrumCon but there are still a few copies left.Those may be obtained either from me, or from Bob Pavlat, at 1/9d or 25 cents per copy.
THE LONDON CIRCLE has organised itself and hopes to put local fandom on a par with its fellow bodies in London and. Cheltenham. Subscriptions to the London O are 5/- per annum pro tempore. The Chairman is Ted Tubb. Charlie Duncombe is Treasurer and Sandra Hall is Secretary. Ken Bulmer, Vince Clarke, Pete Taylor and. Ella Parker make up the General Committee. Over forty fans have already joined. Ken Bulmer, interviewed by long-distance phone, sounds reasonably enthusiastic and says a new sheet is planned.