This is SKYRACK 51, published on April 4th, 1963 by Ron Bennett, 13 West Cliffe Grove, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. 6d per copy. 2/6d for six issues. 35 for 6 issues in USA (6 issues airmailed for 65 cents) where subscriptions should be sent to Bob Pavlat 6001-43rd Ave., Hyattsville, Maryland. News of interest to SF fans always welcomed. Locally captioned cartoon by Arthur "Atom” Thomson and contributions from Keith Freeman, Peter Singleton, Ethel Lindsay, Jhim Linwood and other worthies.
FOURTH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE...... SKYRACK POLL RESULTS ANNOUNCED INSIDE
AT THE SCIENCE FICTION CLUB OF LONDON’S 3rd March meeting author William F. Temple followed in the footsteps of earlier speakers Ian Peters and E.C. Tubb by telling of some of his experiences in writing science fiction. When he suggested that he spoke on the status of the amateur versus the professional, he was interrupted by shouts that his audience did not wish to hear about his sex life. He told that he had been writing for a fanzine about his early days in the B.I.S. He had mentioned this to Arthur Clarke during the latter’s recent visit to this country and was told that Clarke had also been writing up similar B.I.S. memories and had sold the article to Holiday Magasine.
Temple told of one story he had written. He had cut out the first three paragraphs on the advice of Van Vogt who had told him to “get the readers into the story.” He was then asked by the editor to cut off the ending, so that he wondered if most of his writing was produced for invisible readers.
He went on to discuss the current fashion for “calamity” novels like The Kraken Wakes and ended an excellent talk with an outline of an unpublished story which dealt with an onion-manufactured space ship.
At the same meeting the Club voted to sell its library and several items were auctioned off. The remainder of items will later be advertised for sale. ((If you still have Chandler’s The Simple Art of Murder, you have a customer)) George Locke and Bruce Burn mentioned that they were nominating OMPA President Bob Lichtman for TAFF and the meeting was attended by Sheila Barnes, a BSFA member and student nurse from Winchester, who was introduced by Ethel Lindsay. (EL)
As Skyrack strides forth into its fifth year of publication, it is with irony that what has been voted the year’s leading fan-publication in this country notes that it is getting a reputation for spite, nastiness, and under hand dealings. This type of reputation has been in the past, and no doubt will be in the future, eagerly sought by certain fans who try to leapfrog up the ladder of fame by pulling those above them down to their own level. It is not, thank you, a reputation which has been, or will be, sought eagerly or otherwise by Skyrack.
In the past SKYRACK has upset its share of fans. Certain British.fans were upset from the start when Skyrack refused to honour subscriptions paid out to the former Belgian newszine Contact. American fans were at one time annoyed at a suggestion made in connection to convention rates for overseas fans, though this suggestion was later acted upon. One American old-time fan and neo-professional was even annoyed when Skyrack claimed to be first with a particular news item, a claim which was later proved to be justified.
Now Skyrack has succeeded in upsetting two people with one issue, an all time record. Walter Breen, editor of the American newszine Fanac, took issue to a note last issue. In noting that Fanac had reached this country months late, Skyrack mentioned that this delay was not the fault of the British agent, Archie Mercer, but was instead the fault of Walter Breen himself. Mr. Breen has written on this point, outlining the facts which have delayed the distribution of the British copies of Fanac and accordingly the remark laying the faults at his feet are withdrawn unhesitatingly and without qualification. I apologise to him and sincerely regret any inconvenience or embarrassment he has suffered as a result of that remark.
An extremely well-known and highly respeeted S.F. personality took exception to a news item printed last issue. This was the printing of an item of some import as a rumour. The objection is to the publication of rumours per se, although this particular rumour is well understood to be fact. I have heard of rumours being passed off as fact and justified anger resulting but this state of affairs is a new one on me. The news item in question was and is common knowledge in London fan circles and my reporter passed the news on to me. As only a bare mention was made and as the matter concerned was one which otherwise would have been worthy of “a front page spread” I thought that I would be serving the best interests of all concerned by passing this off as a rumour.The said well known personality objects to this and refuses to qualify Skyrack’s statement as the time is apparently not yet ripe to do so, despite, I repeat , the fact that the matter is common knowledge. If he had not wanted any mention of this matter to be revealed in print he should, I feel, have informed me. Skyrack has in the past “sat on” news items until the proper time for their publication. An excellent example is the yearly Hugo Awards, whose winners I have been informed of some weeks in advance of their publication date of a World Convention weekend, whilst fans like Ethel Lindsay, Ella Parker and Bob Pavlat know that at present I am waiting the realise of an item which I am only too eager to publish
However, the fact remains that, because of whatever motives, I have inadvertently succeeded in annoying someone. Accordingly, again I apologise for whatever inconvenience caused that person. Nothing was further from my mind.
— Ron Bennett.
LATEST FLASH ON TAFF comes from Ron Ellik’s excellent fortnightly which mentions that Bob Lichtman will not, after all, be standing for TAFF, despite the fact that George Locke and Bruce Burn had nominated him. College committments would interfere with the trip and he can’t have it both ways. There is, however, still a mighty campaign to run a candidate against Wally Weber.
THE SAME ISSUE OF STARSPINKLE headlined the news that Los Angeles was dropping out of the bidding for the 1964 World Convention, leaving San Francisco as the only bidder on hand.
AUCTION.: Ellis Mills donated a dozen Stateside prozines, proceeds less postage to be donated to TAFF, with sale to the highest bidder up to and including the Peterborough Convention. Reserve of 7/-. or $1. The zines are AMAZING Nov 58, April 60, May 60; ASF Mar 58, April 58, May 58, Jan 59, Apr , July 60; FANTASTIC Jan 59; Jan 61, and SATELLITE Feb 58. Also for Auction are eight issues of APORRHETA with an outstanding collection of fan writings and comment. 50% to TAFF and top bid to date is from terry Overton with 10/-.
THE DIRECTORY OF SF FANDOM 1962. This eighth annual listing is selling well and contains the addresses of over 500 fans the world over, being the most up to date and revised listing of this type ever produced. Arthur Thomson cover. $1 or 5/- to non-fans from Bob Pavlat or Ron Bennett. 1/6 or 25 cents to fans and the cost of the postage to members of OMPA or FAPA.
THE 1963 NATIONAL CONVENTION will be held this month - over Easter weekend at the Bull Hotel, Peterborough. Harrogate fandom hopes to be there and will look forward to seeing you there also. The Convention’s newsletter, The East Fanglian Times, announces that Mack Reynolds will be attending, as will Harry Harrison, Brian Aldiss, Ted Carnell and Arthur Thomson. Audrey Eversfield, late of Cheltenham and now of Gay Paree also hopes to be present. The March E.F.T. announces a brand new competition in which one has to foresee the 12 book titles Guest of Honour Edmund Crispin would take with him if he were stranded on a desert island. Ted Tubb will conduct the auction. There will be a fancy dress party. Films will be shown. And the winner, the first winner, of the Dr. Arthur R. Weir Memorial Award will be announced. Terry Jeeves is asking you to support former BSFA Librarian Peter Mabey, Eric Bentcliffe is asking you to support Convention Organiser Ken Slater and Ron Bennett is asking you to support former BSFA Secretary and Convention Organiser Ella Parker The result of the voting will be announced at the Convention and Skyrack has hopes of presenting a break down of the voting next issue, which of course will be devoted to reporting the Convention.
ROT 5 (Mal Ashworth, 14 Westgate, Eccleshill, Bradford 2, Yorks) Making a surprise but very welcome appearance on the zinescene is this up to standard humourzine from gafiate Mal Ashworth. Dated Summer 1961, but with a special up to date section, this contains recommended material by Irene Potter, the late Doc Weir and Mal himself.
JD-ARGASSY (Lynn Hickman, 224 S. Dement Ave., Dixon, Illinois, USA) also bears a long-past dateline (March 1962). and is notable for a Dave Prosser art folio and a wonderfully analytical survey of The Wild West Weekly by that past master of this sort of thing, Redd Boggs.
OTHER MOST WORTHY FANZINES to arrive of late have been CADENZA (Chuck Wells, 200 Atlas St., Durham, NC, USA - issue No.7 btw), WARHOON (Dick Bergeron’s 18th issue. COA on back page) and the BANE Annish (Vic Ryan, Box 308, 2309 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois). All thoroughly devoured and enjoyed.
the skyrack poll
26 fans voted in the poll, as against 21 last year and 22 the year before. Whilst this number is doubtlessly meagre, it was surprising to see as ballots rolled in, how certain selections were favoured. On the whole I feel that it may again be said that this year’s poll reflects a truly representative cross section of the opinions of fandom as to the merits of British S.F. and fandom per se of 1962. The 25 Good People who voted, apart from myself, were: Sid Birchby, Bruce Burn, Ken Cheslin, Buck Coulson, John Foyster, Colin Freeman, Keith Freeman, Jim Groves, Lynn Hickman, Eddie Jones, Roy Kay, Helmut Klemm, Marion Lansdale, Jim Linwood, Ethel Lindsay, Archie Mercer, Norm Metcalf, Len Moffatt, Terry Overton, Ella Parker, Dick Schutz., Norman Shorrock (whose vote arrived right on deadline day, as usual. I was waiting for it this time), Peter Singleton, Ken Slater and Arthur Thomson. Surprising how many of these names have featured in former ballot listings. Thank the powers that be for faithful stalwarts! And so, on to the results:
THE BEST BRITISH FAN PUBLICATION OF 1962
(Out of last year’s top ten are reports EPITAFF and COCOLONIAL EXCURSION, one- shot THE ATOM ANTHOLOGY and Daphne Buckmaster’s ESPRIT)
Runners up are: 11. HAVERINGS (36 points); 12. CAMBER (33); 13. THE HARROGATE CONVENTION BOOKLET (26); 14. OUTPOST (l7); 15.POT POURRI, (14); 16 THE FAN DIRECTORY (13); 17. ERG (12); 18. FOCUS (9); Equal 19th @ 7points were NORTHLIGHT and ENFOCADO.
I have always been somewhat doubtful and have felt vaguely cheated
when a fan poll has been won by the fanzine conducting that poll
and now I feel both guilty and apologetic about this year’s first
place. Put it own to the fact that the overall standard of British
fan publishing has so fallen.
THE BEST INDIVIDUAL FANZINE FEATURE OF 1962
THE BEST FAN COLUMN OF 1962
THE BEST FAN ARTIST
BEST FANZINE COVER
THE YEAR’S BEST FANZINE REPORT
BEST PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE
THE YEAR’S BEST PROFESSIONAL FEATURE
THE BEST PROFESSIONAL WRITER OF 1962
FAN PERSONALITY OP THE YEAR
THE BEST BRITISH FAN WRITER OF 1962
Out of last year’s top ten ratings are Bob Shaw, James White, Ian McAulay, Mal Ashworth and Ron Bennett.
That’s it for another year. And thanks to all who voted
IT HAS BEEN THE FASHION IN VARIOUS CIRCLES IN THE PAST to sell off fanzines in “Grab Bag” fashion. Prices have varied between 10 and 15 zines for 7/-. or a dollar. NOW! A selection of of surplus zines is being sold, at the all time bargain price of twenty different, very readable zines for that price. Postage free to anyone who takes $3’s worth. Ron Bennett, address on front page.
LARRY & NOREEN SHAW have settled in in Evanston and are again publishing their news and review zine, Axe. ::: Bruce Burn recently kept up his fannish existence by being evicted. ::: Early March Express Poll of Public Opinion designed to investigate Britain’s book-reading habits, showed that 7% of reading public prefers SF. :::: Ethel Lindsay’s TAFF trip report is all but ready and should show up at Peterborough. ::: TV 23rd March showed the Douglas Fairbanks-Yolande Donlan film Mr Drake’s Duck about a duck which extracts uranium from the soil. :::: Terry Overton will not be at the con – expects to be in the States instead. ::: Annual Fan Poll ballot sheets, delayed as a result of an accident to Harry Warner, have now been distributed. :::: BRE Analog may shortly fold as there is a strong possibility in the near future of the importation of the American issues. :::: George Locke is reviving Smoke. :::: Phil Rogers sent copy of his Works paper, The App-Frod Record which features Phil and his proposed trip to the Peterborough Con. Report mentions that last year’s Harrogate Convention “was attended by more than 200.” Thanks Phil.
BRUCE BURN threw an eviction party 9th March. Ken & Irene Potter made a farewell appearance before returning north to Lancaster. Jhim Linwood played the drums and Ethel Lindsay, introduced to the game of Monopoly, beat all comers. Following the usual trend in London circles, Bruce revealed a new game which has a board based on The Enchanted Duplicator. (EL)
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