FEMIZINE #3/4 (December 1954)
OCR/retyping this issue by Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer.
This is not, strictly speaking, an Editorial. We are slowly learning the fannish way of life, and the latest lesson was marked: 'NEVER MAKE PLANS'. So, no plans. The few editorial comments we do want to make will be found among the letters in 'Pot Luck'. After all, they are all in answer to your letters, so what better place to put them?
' – Just as I paid them a visit they all went out of town – '
Having got that out of the way, let us indulge in a popular feminine pastime – having a little natter. For instance, the other day I had a letter from a certain person who professed to be a fan. 'What do you do out there in your spare time?' this person asked. It was the last two words that gave him away. I won't reveal his name, for to do so would leave him open to the ridicule of all Trufen to whom the phrase 'spare time' is an abominable and filthy oath. There was nothing else in the letter of any importance, so you won't find it in the letter section
' – Superman blasted his enemies with a comic raygun – '
Eventually I got to thinking
about all the activities I was indulging in around this time last year, and I ended up by wondering where I got the time and the energy from. Fanac has made such careful and insidious inroads into my time that I never really noticed it…
Reversing the popular trend, I joined the Fayid Saddle Club before I became a fanne. I never got to the stage when I dared to take a ride on my own, but there was something nice about getting up at 5.00am and going for a canter across the desert. (Amateur psychos please note: I never once thought of a sheik. This place always used to make me think more of Injun country than anything else, or, at least, the Hollywood version of Injun country. Every time I went riding I looked forward to being menaced by redskin varmints and saved by the gallant 7th Cavalry. I don't know whether this conveys anything, other than that I have seen too many cowboy films, hmm?) As a matter of fact, I suppose it is bad enough admitting having seen a cowboy film, let alone too many – though I don't know why. There is one thing about them, though, that has always intrigued me. If you'll just spare a minute or two…
Why is it always the 7th Cavalry that gallops to the rescue? There must have been others. The only thing I can think of is that it is somehow connected with Hollywood policy. Imagine the scene: the first full scale Technicolour cowboy epic is about to be made. 'Make it real gold,' says Cecil B de Goldmayer to a junior executive who is enquiring about the flag for the gallant rescuers to wave. The flag is made – a figure '7' of real gold on a blue background. Then comes the depression. Studios fire stars and technicians. TV takes over from Boris Karloff. The flag has to be used time and time again because the studio can't afford to make a new one. At the end of each epic it is reverently entombed in the studio vaults flanked by Cecil B and Gary Cooper stood to attention; while 'The Last Post' is played on the 7th Cavalry's only trumpet (gold) before it also is entombed with the flag. There they will remain until some other bright genius decides it is about time we were inflicted with another cowboy opus…
And if any of you are wondering what all this has to do with sf, I can only say – 'Nothing'. But does it have to?
But where were we? Somewhere in the middle of the desert I think. Ah, those happy, carefree, innocent days. Then Sandy dragged me into this nut house of Fandom. When I look at the desert
now, all I imagine is rocket ships, canals and aliens. All I think about is whether or not Ray Bradbury and Ted Tubb ever passed through this place before they wrote their Martian stories.
Yachting was another of my hobbies, and with yachting there was, naturally, swimming. The Bitter Lake really is. There is so much salt it is almost impossible to drown. Mind you, I have come fairly close to doing the impossible…
And then there was archery. This I remember because of a conversation it once provoked at the dinner table. Somebody started it by asking how 'Maid Marion' got on. (I hasten to point out that they were not referring to me. They meant one of the boys who was... er... well, you figure it out for yourselves.) "MAID Marion?" said someone else. "I would have thought MATRON Marion would have "een more appropriate." "Why," enquired a third, "who made Marion?" "It couldn't have been Sandy,' I chipped in. "He isn't the Marion kind." (Incidentally, this was another of our spare time activities. Indulging in ridiculous conversations. I remember we once went on like this for about half an hour – but I'm getting away from the subject.) With the coming of FEZ, archery also faded into the background. I had my revenge, though. Sandy changed my life, so I have changed his. That remark about him no longer applies.
But why look back? It drags at your heart until all you can do is look back. Live for today! And for tomorrow, which we are assured sometimes comes. But what of today? The only swimming I do is through seas of duplicating ink. The only archery I practise is when I release shafts of wit. (Get her!) I occasionally get as far as yachting down notes for articles, but then I get side-tracked and never follow them. As for riding, well, every once in a while I get up on my hobby horse…
But then again, perhaps you aren't very interested in what I used to do.....
- - -T-H-E- -E-N-D- - -
SHORT SHORTRadar blip...
Women of fandom unite!
Too long have we taken a back seat. Too long have we been the mainstay of the BNFs.
It is high time we showed ourselves in our true colours. Now the full story should be told: how our menfolk have grudgingly allowed us the honour to scrape their sacred duplicating ink off the carpet – but no more. We are not allowed access to their precious duplicators, for somehow in their egotism they imagine we will harm them, that we will throw their dens into conventional organisation. All we are allowed to do is to supply their lordships tirelessly with ever pouring teapots, the contents of which they foolishly believe will inspire them to the heights of Trufandom. We may throw the whole house open for a fannish gathering as a special treat; but of course they are the star attraction and we are there merely to serve tea and hand round cakes and of course, replenish ever empty glasses with bheer.
When will they wake up? When will they realise that it is we women who are their inspiration – pick a random zine cover to prove it – that we are the ones who give them ideas, but we may not refresh ourselves with Egg-o-bu. Without us they would be as the void that clothes the stars. They must learn to think for themselves. Men are the jet black velvet upon which we scintillate as a double handful of diamonds scattered by a careless jeweller.
An end to all this. We must never be silent again. Every fanzine must ring with the name of at least one fam. for fen have basked too long in our inspiration. We must wake them up. We must start a campaign. No fanzine shall escape our magic touch; in each letter column we will stir up a controversy. Every fanzine gasps and struggles, vainly trying to achieve something – they know not what – but they are old fen and tired and we are young and must unleash the full blast of our genius.
Fams!! Expose the fen for what they are – mere robots waiting breathlessly, listening to our every word, trying
vainly to learn the secret of that effortless quote, the scintillating wit, the graceful charm and understanding. But they are spellbound; they are too busy hanging on our every word like the 'o's in a badly cut stencil.
We will stop at nothing. We must stand together. Have no pity, women of famdom. You must be ruthless and our menfolk must henceforth look to their laurels. It is time a woman wore the beanie in fan households. We will fight for our rights! We demand the right to be recognised as the brilliant species we are; the right to be admired, not just for our beauty – though we must never allow that to be forgotten – but for our intelligence, our wit, our unfailing patience and ungrudging silent aid. We must claim our rightful place at the core of fandom.
Now we cry out against their unjustness, we will fight to the bitter end. Break down the doors of their dens, snatch the duplicators, seize the ink, the stencils and all the paraphernalia of fanac that we have guarded so faithfully and so thanklessly.
We will chain ourselves to the lamp-posts outside the Globe and every fannish club or meeting place and we will not go until we are acclaimed with due respect. We will go on hunger strike, and if any of us die in such a brave cause our deaths will lie like an inky black smudge on every fanzine and, on a sudden, there will no longer be witty quotes alive on the bacover. Nirvana will publish a black border edition. No more will we stand like guardian angels ready with the life-giving tea or bheer, at their beck and call like slaves to do the bidding of serious and constructive Dan Dares seeking the enchantment of Trufandom.
There will be no lack of volunteers to be the first martyr crushed beneath the wheels of the bearded motor-bike and the stain of her militant blood will turn in the wheels of the rider's mind so that the pages of Authentic are stained for ever and the beard is clogged into a mere shadow of its once beauteous self. She will go down into history as the first martyr of famdom and we shall see that her sacrifice is not in vain.
To arms you shackled slaves of marriage! You who economise with the housekeeping, going short yourselves, nay all but starving so that they might buy their duplicators, their ink and paper, their stencils and their infamous magazines. An end to all this. United we are strong. Let them brew the tea whilst we besmear ourselves with ink and swearwords, producing the gems of wisdom for which we are justly famed. Women for fams! Fams for women!
Women of fandom – the path is plain before you. The fen circle aimlessly and do nothing but yak. Let us take over fandom and show them how to do something and still yak.
Famdom expects this day that every fam will do her duty.
"Science Fiction Club," she yelled scornfully. "A bunch of grown men talking about flying to the moon."
"You wouldn't fly to..."
"Oh, don't talk to me. It's just another excuse for you to go out drinking. It's about time I had a night out, but oh no! I've got to stay in night after night with the kids."
"You went out last night," he said patiently.
"Good Heavens! The first Saturday in months and where did I go to? My Mother's!"
"That's not my fault..."
"Well, things are going to change around here anyway. I'll show you. I do my best to be a good wife and a mother and what do I get for it? A husband that grabs every opportunity to go out drinking."
"What do you mean, drinking? If I have two halves of bitter that's the most..."
"I don't care what you have,' she said. 'It's not fair."
"I'm sorry, you'll have to continue when I get back. I'm late as it is."
"Oh! You make me sick," she called after him as he muttered "Good Night" and slammed the door. He knew from long experience that once she started she'd probably rake up every past demeanour, real and imagined, and metaphorically speaking throw them all in his face.
Oh well, Bill thought, I'm free for a couple of hours at least…
The Victoria Hotel seemed warm and inviting. It was a relief to take off his dripping raincoat and make his way upstairs to the room that the club hired. He was late. Everyone he knew had arrived already. Taffy Jones and Sid Bates were arguing amiably on the respective merits of various covers, Frank
Price was reading Les Mitchell's mail, and about five of the younger boys – hands lovingly cupped around glasses – were engaged in their usual pursuit of seeing who knew the best dirty story. Judging from the laughter there were some pretty good ones being told.
"Hi!" said Bill. "Subject normal I see."
"Lo Bill – Hiya!' The greetings came from all round and he felt at home.
"Oh Bill," said Joe Wilkes, coming forward. "I've got that copy of Amazing '35 you wanted, and I've some more stuff you might be interested in."
Bill grinned. "Hope it's cheap," he said, and ambled over to have a look through Joe's case. He sat down, leafing through the mags, happily wondering how many he could afford, and which to take...
It happened about half an hour or so after Bill had arrived, during one of those quiet spells that occasionally seems to fall on any company. There was a knock on the door and everybody turned, wondering who it could be at this time of night. Then the Alien walked in.
The creature was not a great deal different to themselves. Its hair seemed a little longer, and it wore a sort of tunic affair that stopped just below where its knees would be. That is, assuming it had knees. On its feet were some sort of sandals fastened with tiny buckles of a metal that could have been gold. The creature's face – well, it had two eyes and a nose and a mouth put together the same way as their own, yet every man present – though he didn't stop to analyse it – saw and felt the difference.
The Alien opened its mouth and in a voice pitched slightly higher than a man's, speaking in English without a trace of an accent, enquired, "Is this the Science Fiction Club? I'd like to join if I may."
They all smiled in welcome. Except Bill. He bent his head over his book and muttered fiercely to himself, "Blast it to hell. A woman!"
" – Costello on Mars, Bugs Bunny on the moon, what's wrong with Miss Monroe as Queen of the Space-Ways? – "
" – Martian Princess Weds Burgess; Burgess Divorced by Martian Princess – "
A hastily grabbed newspaper was all I had time to get in a ten-second experimental visit to the future. The details of the experiment are an official secret but the following extract, being of no military importance, is herewith reproduced...
The Daily Satellite (8th October 2054)
Good news for Spacewomen! This season's Paris dress shows bring us the glad tidings that those clumsy, bulky spacesuits you have all been wearing for the past thirty years are now definitely OUT, but definitely! No longer need you hide those feminine charms while away from Earth – dainty spacewear made possible by painstaking research in the great dress houses of Paris is now YOURS.
The helmets in these new suits are of the finest transparent plastic deliciously shaded in a range of pastel colours to enhance the dullest of complexions, while the six inch headroom gives scope for quite a variety of hats inside.
The new materials make the shaping of the suit itself much more flexible, so that they can be made in the latest fashions and to fit any figure, as the following details of those I saw yesterday will show.
The hip drape. This up-to-the-minute feature is cunningly cut with fullness on one side to conceal your oxygen cylinder. The breathing tube from this is more efficient than its ungainly predecessor, enabling it to be very
narrow, and, made in contrasting shade to the main colour scheme, it has the effect of a rope of exquisite silk lightly thrown across the suit.
Shoulders. The propulsion jets formerly worn on the back are now transferred to the shoulders. No longer need you be conscious of that round-shouldered look! The newly designed jets are small and light and worn one across the top of each shoulder, thus cleverly conforming to the new 'high-shoulder' look.
Footwear. The magnetic metal soles so necessary to safety when working in space have been incorporated into a specially designed shoe which completely eliminates the ugly boot which has, up to now, been thought an inevitable part of spacewear. The metal is encased in a 'platform' sole and 'high' heel. Both of these features were discovered by the designer quite accidentally while wandering around a museum. Incredible as it may seem, they were worn by our great grandmothers a hundred years ago!
Within six months these new suits will be on sale everywhere, and I venture to predict that more women than ever will be volunteering for the spaceways!
"What else could I have possibly done?" he demanded of her. "After all, I did take their individuality into account, didn't I? I got them a job where they would have plenty of adventure. Raising sheep's one of the most interesting and arduous tasks there is nowadays. No machinery, no gadgets of any sort, life in the open air with a campfire and the chance of getting wet by rain or even struck by lightning. What more could they ask for being such strong individualists? I only did what I thought was right for them, and then they go and tear up a whole space-way station by breaking the sand-protection-screen with charcoal! I ask you!" Estella tried to interject something about 'patience', but Ernest was away again.
"Don't give me that stuff about being patient. I've been patient long enough. And don't tell me they're my parents, please, because I know they are. But did I select them? Like hell I did! They had all the means in the world to influence my personality before I was born. I was at their mercy but they foolishly willed me to be as "nature choose" so it's really their own fault. They had it coming to them. Now it's my turn. According to law they are my responsibility and I just can't bear it any longer. I have to have the community's help to chastise them – to ostracise them if necessary. They have become completely out of hand. If I were fifteen now, with all my courses in applied psychology finished, I might try again. I could apply for the custody of this wonderful pair of morons and start working on them again. But I'm four, and I tell you I just can't do it. Real wisdom lies in knowing what one can and can't do!"
Still fuming and spluttering, Ernest walked away. Exhausted as he was by the mental strain of the last session in the case of 'the community v his parents', he retired to a sanatorium without waiting to hear that his parents had been sentenced to deportation to Mars.
Estella had a hard time fighting the cowardice of being glad to be three – and still subject to the community's supervision. "Responsibility!" she thought. "I'll never have a child if I can help it. I wouldn't like to burden any four-year-old with responsibility for me." But, as she knew perfectly well, such thoughts were heresy, so she at once entered a specialised hospital that treated cases of mental cowardice.
MOON MUSICLucile Coleman
(Reprinted from STARLANES)
Upon the staff of night, Oh full white note,
Newlands SF Club were given bad news this week. Their founder, Matt Elder, has to go into a sanatorium, probably for a year. Matt for a long time was the only Scottish fan, and is probably the best known one outside Scotland. Since the club was founded he has gathered around him another five enthusiasts. We meet weekly and are a very happy bunch. We are waiting hopefully to hear that Matt will not be sent too far away, so that we can keep in close touch with him. Whichever ward he lands in, we confidently expect it will soon show an interest in sf.
Sunday: Temm is still on leave, so met him today and he took me to the Space-port. We went to the observation room and watched the Mars boat take off. Temm explained it all to me, but I was far too excited to listen properly. There were some other Sirians there and they kept looking at me. I think it's my blonde hair that attracts them. Temm noticed after a while and got real mad. He looks so veeney when he loses his temper. His antennae were spacewell quivering!
Monday: Back to work. Had a row with one of the girls – Joan – a
real stinker. Just because she's not attractive herself she is always hitting out at me. Making sly remarks about 'Sirian morals' and all. When I snorted she needn't worry – even a 3rd grade Sirian wouldn't look at her – she screeched and let out at me. So the boss had to separate us, but he took my part and said, 'There Lena, I know you wouldn't start anything..."
Tuesday: Ma got to hear about the row – jets me how she knows everything. I suspect Joan's Ma tho. Anyways, I still went out with Temm at night, and he bought me a huge box of Venus fruits to make up for it.
Wednesday: Went to the gyro-races with Jan. She said I never see you these days, so I told her all about Temm and the bother with Ma. She was most sympathetic – her Ma is just the same, always on about 'why not go out with a Terran.' Huh! as if they weren't ten a credit. Won 50cr. betting on Teni Rarl again. He's so veeney I'd die if he just looked at me.
Thursday: I wore my Sirian houra to the cafe today, and the boss said, 'That's right, Lena, just the stuff to bring the customers in!' He gave me a ten credit raise and was Joan's face green. Ma was quite nice about it on account of the raise and on account of she is mad at what Joan's Ma said about me.
Friday: Out with Temm again tonight. Went back to the Sky Hotel. We 'flew' in the games room again and I am sure improving. Could almost loop the loop. Didn't let on to Temm tho, 'cos it's nicer when he helps me. He goes tomorrow and Space! am I desolate.
Saturday: Saw Temm off and cried and cried. After he had gone I was walking away when a Venusian bumped into me. After apologising he said, "How sad to see so fair a face in tears" – so romantic! So he saw me home and I have a date with him for next week.
A bit more news. Since this was first written ((Page 14 was originally cut for the October issue – JWC)) we have discovered that Matt Elder is now at Hut 5, Mearskirk Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland. So that is the place to watch for the emergence of yet another fandom! I think Matt would appreciate getting letters from some of you fen or femmes. Hmmm?
Dept. of Queries
The recent outbreak of 'columnia anonymousia' (see The New Futurian No 2, and Andromeda No 5) has now spread to FEZ. We know nothing about the next item other than that it was posted in London. (And that much is fairly obvious from the nature of the article.) Mind you, being an anonymous contributor to FEZ can have one or two disadvantages on the financial side – if anyone worries about such things. This column I like! Can we have some more, Francezka?
James Thurber once did an immortal series of cartoons on the subject of 'The Masculine Approach', which should be introduced to every young girl at the same time as the facts about the bees and flowers. There is a sub-species of this feature which could be termed 'The Fan's Approach', to be observed any Thursday at the Globe.
No prizes are offered for identifying subjects!
+ + + + + + + + +
Occasionally one comes across an activity which, though technically non-fan, repays attention by virtue of its originality and/or sheer eccentricity. Under this heading comes the recent exhibition of Street Literature held at St. Bride's Institute in Fleet Street. Not the kind of street literature furtively touted around murky Soho alleys, not even popular editions of the Decameron, but 18th and 19th century broadsheets, the 'yellow press' of an even less literate age.
These single sheet productions, in many cases from amateur presses, 'penny plain, twopence coloured', ranged in content from signs and portents and prophecies through fire, flood, and famine to the eternally popular 'Murder Most Foul'. Those who complain of the standardized press captions of today… KILLER SLAYS SEVEN IN LOVE NEST DRAMA… WE'RE JUST GOOD FRIENDS SAY PEER – STARLET… would not be pleased to find many standard wood-blocks used in these broadsheets, so that the same picture illustrates a dozen different executions, or a ship wreck and a mutiny, or even different murderers, presumably reduced to the lowest common denominators popularly recognised as portraying villainy at its most moustachiotwirling!
Odd… or perhaps not… how often the attention of visitors was attracted immediately to the same exhibit – 'The Sale of a Wife, for one pound and a silver watch' – have we a comparative economist in the house?! From there you could wander round such attentionrivetting descriptions as that of 'A Funny Wedding: wife left in pawn by her hard-hearted husband to pay for the wedding dinner' or of 'A Lady who longed for charcoal and was this morning delivered of' a Fine Black Boy' (Sunday papers please copy!). How little the gap between the gentlemen of the press then and in the present day could be considered with 'The Fight of Coburn and Mace for £1000, October 4th, 1864', with full details of the first five rounds and a space left for the result. The fight never took place! (Any con reports written on this principle?). Back to the 'Atrocious and Horrible Massacre of the Crew of the Ship Boyd by the Cannibal of New Zealand' – 'Eight Persons Murdered! A Father, Mother, Two Husbands, Three Children and an Uncle, all murdered by Margaret Joyer and Katherine Renter' – 'A New Mill Invented for Grinding Old People Young' (who says science fiction began with this generation!) – 'The Extraordinary Discovery of a Female Husband who has been Married to Another Female 21 Years' (take another look at your dear ones, femmes; you may find some new writers for Femizine yet!). And wall upon wall of pious exhortations upon religion, the aristocracy, politics, folk ballads and horoscopes.
The exhibition was opened by Gibbs-Smith of the Victoria and Albert, a man of such varied tastes as balloons, jets, and
broadsheets, having written on all three of them. He regretted the passing of the crude but vital character of the broadsheets, overwhelmed by the mass development of the popular press. Nowadays we are so much less uninhibited… or more hypocritical… so shackled by the laws of libel and slander to (at most) the politely implicatory insult, that the blood of the body politic has become distinctly anaemic.
I'm quite sure that the editors of fanzines would go pink with embarrassment or purple with fury at the suggestion that they were the inheritors and only modern exponents of a folk art! Yet what could be closer? The personality, the wit, the energy, and occasionally the crudity… In other words, in an age of increasing specialisation and professionalism, Fandom is almost the last outpost of the traditional British idol, the inspired amateur!
+ + + + + + + + + + + + +
If it so happens
TWO POEMS by SHIRLEY MARRIOT
i) THE SPHINX
JOAN – HER BIT:
Due to the present state of affairs out here, I'm starting this one week after mailing the last issue. ('This' being a mixture of the fanzine review column and the letter column cemented with editorial thoughts.) The idea is to cut the stencils as the material comes in, and then duplicate the pages week by week as the opportunity presents itself. Consequently I have no idea what will be in this column or what it will look like when finished. You'll just have to take....
Editorial comments marked thusly ((oop-a-doop-a-doop-a-doop)).
NIGEL LINDSAY: 311 Babbacombe Rd., Torquay, Devon, England.
You might be interested to hear how I obtained this copy of your zine. I read the blurb in the Convention Combozine, and having heard that Ethel was an ESP expert decided to telepath her for a copy.
That night when I went to bed I waited 'til everything was quiet then made my mind a blank. ((No comment.)) "Calling Ethel Lindsay!" I thunk loudly and clearly, and made contact at once. However, she took not the slightest notice as her mind was too preoccupied with mundane affairs. "...what a CUTE wee hat that was, wish I could afford it... it's a shame about puir Annie, but she did ask for it, the hussie... BURP, that's that haggis... you'd think that laddie would spend a wee bit more when he takes me oot..."
So it went on, 'til eventually I let out a telepathic yell. "ETHEL," I hollered, "S.O.S." That did the trick. I just had time to catch her startled thought before I lost her altogether. "Och," she cried, "who wants a bed-pan the noo?!" Perplexed and discouraged, I gave up, and next day wrote to Fran for a copy. Can anyone explain this puzzling rejoinder? ((Now look here. Better be careful of what you say about my Scots freen'. She's equipped with a superior weapon. Remember the motto – DODGE THE BAGPIPES!))
GEO. L. CHARTERS: 3 Lancaster Avenue, Bangor, Co. Down, N. Ireland.
Many thanks for the copy of FEZ. I would have acknowledged it sooner but at the moment am full of projects. ((Ethel, the stomach-pump please.))
Your mag should do well, but do not stick too rigidly to the 'no male' rule: for example, an article by Vin¢ Clarke is not to be sneezed at.
Sorry I can't take out a sub, but you will realise that a bachelor establishment like mine is no place for a woman's mag, more so if one is descended from a long line of bachelors.
Best wishes to you and your co-editors.
((I agree that articles by Vin¢, WAW, Mal Ashworth etc., are not to be sneezed at, but why should we always depend on them? We want to develop our own writers. I think the BNFs would agree with this policy anyway. They can't keep every zine in fandom going on their own. For instance, I bet this is one of the few zines that WAW has not been asked to write for! We wouldn't mind hearing from Madeleine though...))
Hyphen No. 9. July 54, from Walt Willis (address elsewhere), poses something of a mystery. This issue comes close to being 'sans Willis' yet it is still Hyphen. The lighthouse doesn't shine so brightly, and Joe Fan lies buried with his racket (I wonder if there is Mo in this than meets the eye?) but I repeat – THIS IS STILL HYPHEN! I think most of the credit must go to Chuck Harris. He brings to the lettercol a style similar to that of WAW, but with his own somewhat aggressive touch. Chuck is also responsible for the Toto reprint in this issue, a discourse on a man's ability to invent things that have already been invented. This is about the best Toto I've seen to date. There are – naturally – reports of the Convention. Three to be exact. Walt's consists of six pages, and it is this that prevents the issue from being unWillisised. A neo-fan such as I might be mistaken about this, but I have a feeling that Walt's report might lead to a bit more feudin'. It is detailed, humorous, and it has feeling and an air of sincerity about it. In fact it is the best Conrep I have seen. It even has its serious moments, as when Walt refers to the way in which all the dislikes and hostilities that had been building up in fandom dissipated themselves in an atmosphere of good humour. The trouble is, the London O might not be too happy about his reference to their lack of intestines, or the slant towards the North. I do> hope I'm wrong... Chuck's Conrep is also excellent, though I would have liked a little more. Like Walt he has that air of sincerity and feeling. The third report is by Vin¢, and I'm not certain what to say about it. It's good. Make no mistake about that, Vin¢ must have a wonderful memory, or else a good supply of old envelopes. Quotes abound – humour is everywhere – and I enjoyed reading it. It seemed artificial, though. Perhaps it was meant to be, but if so I think it was a mistake.
Hodge Podge No. 9. May-June 54, Nancy and Marie-Louise Share, PO Box 31, Danville, Penn., USA. 10¢ per copy. Seems we are not on our own. This is another fanzine edited by femmes, and as far as I
am concerned it is really good. (The contents anyway. The duplicating could be better but then, as the girls say, they're not doing a show-case zine.) Best item I think is the lettercol, but this fact is pretty universal now. It is closely followed by Lynn Hickman's 'Whimsey' [SIC] in which we get a glimpse of the home activities of the editorial duo. Speaking of same, they are only represented by one page each, and because of this the zine does not have the strong air of individuality that I think it should. Also, the editorial duo can write – and intelligently into the bargain! How about putting a little more of yourselves into the zine, girls?
Dept. of Typos
ASF, October '53. 'In a way their closest skinship is to the - - -'. They don't come any closer!
In case any of you are wondering, the rather nasty looking type on the left is a 'sand-devil'. They keep popping up all over the place out here. For instance, the minute you step outside the office you look around you; not a breath of air to disturb your hair. But the minute you take your beret off there is a slight rustling sound, a spiral of dust, and there is the sanddevil to spoil the hair you spent all the previous night fixing! Or again, take Sandy. He is often afflicted by sand-devils. I have never yet seen him succeed in lighting a cigarette out of doors. No matter how calm it is, and despite all his speed, a sanddevil always manages to form in time to blow out the match. I have come to know these creatures fairly well in the time I have been here, and ever since they found out I edited a fanzine they have been demanding publicity. Seems they are annoyed about the publicity given to various types of swamp-critters etc. in other zines. These swamp-critters, being damp, are their worst enemies. I don't want to start a war, but what can I do? It hurts when they twist my arm. Back to the letters!
VIN¢ CLARKE: 10 Wendover Way, Welling, Kent, England.
I know that my mental picture of you slaving over a hot duplicator with your khaki sleeves rolled up, feebly brushing tons of desert sand from the works, is probably all wrong, and that you are actually known as the Cleopatra of MELF 17 and trail a retinue of adoring, fawning sheiks and Sergeants around
wherever you go, occasionally commanding them to crank out a page of FEZ for you… ((I'm framing the rest! Thanks for all the info re: stencils, Vin¢. I don't know whether the cracks (actual) in the stencils were due to the heat or to my inexperience. Probably the latter.))
ARCHIE MERCER: 434/4 Newark Road, North Hykeham, Lincoln, England.
FEZ 2 to hand – and if ever a mag title needed an abbreviation, this one does. I hated to mention it before, but the name 'FEMIZINE' conjures up awful visions of Woman-and-Beauty type of thing. ((Why 'awful'? You a misogynist or something?)) You could hardly have chosen yourselves a worse name, and I hail the abbreviation with undiluted feelings of sheerest relief...
Now, look here. If you want to receive interesting letters – or letters that I fondly imagine might possibly be construed as providing interesting reading – the first essential is to settle on some interesting subject to discuss. That is what the mag's supposed to provide. And what do we get? Conrep. Pages and pages and simply pages of conrep...
From which you may judge that I didn't much care for 'Up The Hill Down'. I don't even see anything particular in the title. I've dreamed of better titles than that before now.
So much for Conrep. What else have we then'? A story. A short story. A very short story, for which relief much thanks. (Shakespeare, I understand.) ((I'm glad you understand something! Oh, I see what you mean. 'For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold and I am sick at heart.' Don't let old Bill influence you too much, Archie.)) But not a very good very short story. Even if it was, of course, I probably wouldn't care for it, but still, to the stake with short stories.
Conrep and short story. What else now? Poetry, if you please. Now I haven't even read that – except for the one on p.18, which is good but repulsive. Oh yes – and the bit on p.24, which is good but seductive. Which leaves absolutely nothing except for the editorial matter pure and simple, such as 'P. Around the P.', lettercol, reviews and odds and sods. All of which give me absolutely no cause for complaint, which is at least something saved from the wreck. Can you run a mag on nothing but editorial, lettercol and filler? If so it'll probably be good. ((Well, thenk you! Excuse me' while I interlineate –
But I still haven't found any meat for an interesting letter.
Well, maybe one teeny-weeny little pointlet – that of stylus. Strikes me you've been going a long way round to get one. Now I've just had cause to cut me a stencil, and for stylus I used the point of a compass – opened out full-length for easier gripping. And it worked perfectly. Of course, I fully realise that a compass (geometrical, of course, not geographical) probably doesn't figure in the normal equipment of an Army Pay Office. ((How else could we fiddle Estimates in round figures?)) Can't you go to the stationery bloke and tell him you want to draft a circular
letter or something? – otherwise, I can't see that an ordinary knitting needle wouldn't suffice just as well. Besides being far easier to hold.
Well, I've had my say. I've probably given you grounds to do a Chuck Harris on me, but still. ((Oh no, I'm not falling for it! One 'Gilbert Harding' can be quite amusing but I have no intention in helping the formation of a second one. Besides, FEZ hasn't been going as long as Hyphen yet. I want to see what you have to say in your next few letters.))
HARRY TURNER: 10 Carlton Ave., Romiley, Cheshire, England.
I guess Orma McCormick has a hold on you – why else the gentle review of Starlanes and further reprints? 'She nestled, drank, and took my best'… I ask you! Sounds like a report of the London Con party. I like the bits about 'folds of space' and 'panting ship'; and could anything be flatter than that gruesome line: 'Thrown clear he clutched a squirming clump of sticky, orange grass'? Wish you'd typed 'familiar aunt' a bit further down – it would have livened up the piece… No, I am not tempted to try 40¢ worth. The pomes by Anon are the type you want, not this precious stuff that Orma's followers churn out. If Anon is who I think he is, you should get Frances to coax him to write more for you. The lad's an unrecognised Genius at this sort of thing when in the mood. ((No hold Harry – maybe I just like to get your letters of comment? No more reprints after this issue anyway. Er, 'he'? Get to it, Frances.))
Why waste your time at the next Con? So far as I can see, if the trends at the Supermancon continue, future conventioneers will go in search of alcohol or women, or both, and wander around clutching little note-books to record every 'witty' word that passes, while endeavouring to ensure their own carefully memorised witticisms are recorded. It looks as though the pendulum is at the end of its swing away from the tight programme reaching the tight party. I prefer to stay in the peaceful atmosphere of the Stock Dove at an unofficial gathering of the Romiley Fan Veterans and Scottish Dancing Society. Can I tempt you up? ((Better make it Ethel. She should be interested in the Scottish Dancing, and besides, she should also be used to being tempted after the last Con.))
As to whether BNW and 1984 are sf or not, surely it is a matter of how one defines the term? I'd love to see S&y expounding on this. Personally, I shouldn't think the authors considered their works as 'sf'. Anyway, it is the book that matters, not the label: I don't enjoy a book merely because someone has described it as sf (that's more likely to scare me off) but because of its intrinsic merit – or so I like to think! It seems that there are some folk in this world who read little else but sf, and are annoyed if misled by a title or recommendation. Anyway, after all the argufying, I am tempted to read Limbo '90: if the public library can get it in time I might let you have my views on this vital matter! ((One of the best novels I have read recently is 'Bhowani Junction' and that is far from being sf. I showed your letter to S&y who had this to say: a) he liked 'Limbo '90', b) he wouldn't dream of trying to define sf, except to say it does not include books of this
nature, and c) he rather wished he hadn't mentioned the thing in the first place. Then, being Sandy, he yawned and resumed his sun-bathing.))
TERRY JEEVES: 58 Sharred Grove, Intake, Sheffield, England.
The printing is very good, as is the dummying and page centreing. Triode will have to watch out for stiff competition, though we do have an edge, if only by virtue(?) of having no policy… we're not confined to femmes, but we love 'em just the same. I liked your editorial, especially the irrelevant(?) cracks, but the pyramid heading rather jarred on me… draw it next time huh? ((I did – but the stencil ripped as I put it on the machine. At 1.00am I wasn't going to settle down to draw it again!)) The poetry I did not like but then, being an intellectual misfit, I never do like poetry...
I saw a saucer in the air,
That portion of a rare poem shows you my reverent approach to the poetic muse. Gertcha. ((*))
Fanzine reviews. I like this section in any zine, and I'm eagerly waiting (waiting eagerly)(?) for you to get round to T. Your write-ups give the gen, low-down, or what have you (fallen arches?) in a manner which I like. The lettercol is another good section, but I object to Brian Varley's insinuations that I was pruned of wearing apparel… just because I lost my shirt in a strip poker game… he never saw the six spare cards I had in my pocket, just as insurance against an early Fall. Again, on behalf of my client Ethel Lindsay, may I announce that owing to my investigations the lost day has been returned to my client. On the other hand she is in error when saying that I tried unsuccessfully to have the lights put out. Good staff work by Eric Bentcliffe saved the day (or night) – check with Ethel under Lensman's seal. Only snag with the letters – seemed to be too few, and too long – however, as they were all interesting, I can't grumble.
Last, but top of the lot, comes the con-coverage; this I liked, especially the various viewpoints presented. I also liked it for the nice things said about me, and the backshi egoboo. Who am I to say it isn't all true? I'd like to shed a little light on the panties (no cracks). Glad to hear you got the pink ones; I'd have brought them over myself if Sandy had mentioned it. As for the black pair, I am still playing at 'Cinderella' in the hope of finding a wearer. Sad to say, no customers have been forthcoming. ((You must mean 'Prince Charming' – or perhaps 'Buttons'...?))
Then there is PAUL ENEVER who says – 'Right off I was disappointed with the potry [SIC] in FEZ 2. I read it through two-three times in bewilderment before I realised that it wasn't meant to be rude. Fancy publishing clean poetry...' This seems to be the general feeling, and unless there is a different reaction to this issue, clean poetry will be out. Coming to the ((*)) I stuck in the
letter from Terry, I have here a further fragment which might illustrate his opinion of poetry a little clearer:
Like twin star-spangled shards of silver
Phantasmagoria No 1. (New Series). No sub rate – just drop a line to Derek Pickles, 197 Cutler Heights Land, Bradford 4, Yorkshire. A short Conrep by Stan Thomas leaves me with the impression that he didn't like it. Strange – he's the only one up to now. The main item is a two page account of the Ultimate Convention complete with references to HIM and other BNFs. Eight foolscap pages for a letter – Why not learn to write hmm?
like the arrival of another woman with two men – "
Starlanes. July 54. (See FEZ 2.) How does one review poetry? All I know about it is that I did enjoy quite a number of the poems in this issue. If I had to attempt to pick out the best I think it would be 'Baby is Ugh!' by Garth Bentley: shades of Sturgeon and Bradbury! But then brevity brings to mind 'Caution' by Richard E Geis:
Don't condemn caves with rhetoric arousing
Another that pleased was 'Worlds' by K Houston Brunner. (Didn't know you wrote poetry, John – I like!) One that did not please was 'A.B.C.s' by Isabelle E Dinwiddie. This consisted of twenty-six lines, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet and written in alliteration. Lines such as 'Jangling jewellery just justifies jeers' or 'Vagabond vampires vanquish vigilant visitors' might be technically 'clever' but have no meaning or feeling.
'Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange,
And judging by some of the war stories and 'escape' books that have appeared during the past few years, the quotation above is quite true. I have always thought so anyway. Excluding, that is, fantasy and sf. After all, what could be stranger than some of the things in the latest promags?
Now, don't all dash away to make out magnitudinous lists. I know that in many things the real world is fast catching up with the sf world. Atom bombs, rockets, robots and heaven alone knows what else. But these are the conspicuous things. The momentous things... And they don't form the sf world I live in. My 'dream' world is made up of the infinitesimal details of stories. A mood. A hint of future morality. In fact, all the minor delineations of that school of writing so brilliantly lead by Sheckley, Matheson and Leiber. This is the sf world that I have hitherto mentally excluded when agreeing that truth is stranger than fiction. But now I'm not so certain...
I noticed the following items while reading the newspapers:
their victims died. 'We set a kick out of seeing blood flow,' they said. They attacked two elderly men seated on benches. Then – But we needn't continue with that one!
You could almost make a competition out of this . Name the sf authors and stories that have paralleled the above news items. In fact, I think I will. Most fen will probably find them rather easy, but I'm always interested in reaction! None of these things are connected directly with the theme of a story; they all fit in to that mysterious portion known as background, the background that forms my fantasy world. I object to it being overshadowed by truth!
PETE TAYLOR: 18 Kildoran Road, Brixton, London SW2, England.
Ouch, no sooner do you put typer key to paper than you start punning at the expense of Cockneys – and talking about Cockneys – What am the '...London O...'? London Oddities mebbe... or even London Ostracisers? ((Just plain 'circle'.))
So you have neofangled ideas on fanlanguage? I plump for fanne – so chic I think. But as for your statement 'Fan – male singular', well, dammit, some fen are happily married you know – even those who run around at Cons in false beards and thick-lensed glasses proclaiming with pride to every popsie-fan (quote – Mal Ashworth) that he is yet the happy fan bachela. ((Come off it… Singular means one male as opposed to two or three males… Nothing to do with their marital status – as if you didn't know.))
Liked muchly Joy Goodwin's story. Great pity the theme didn't warrant a longer one; the idea of Homo Saps being kyboshed by such an innocent move as sending off a coupla monkeys in a test rocket is really intriguing. Do we have the pleasure of Joy's presence in a near future ish? ((I hope so.))
I'll bet your con feature would have been at least ten pages longer if two femmes had turned up wearing identical beanies – could imagine the spiteful scribbling that would have resulted. Frances might remember that I was also present at the Ping Hoy's (not Hong – you must have been thinking of his brother, Frances) ((You sure it's Hoy's? Frances only lives in Manchester, you know Anyway, it can't be Hoy's because that would mean my re-writing this pome:
The restaurant known as Ping Hong
He was a Frenchman you understand?)) and asked her if Chop Sue had ever contemplated joining the Femizine staff – especially after Jim Rattigan expressing the opinion that she was a tasty dish!
Your fanzine reviews were very good. I much prefer to see 2 zines reviewed from the comparatively detached viewpoint of an outsider looking on from the unbiased outside rather than
that of the 'It'll-never-beat-mine-of-course' attitude of some faneds, or was that a stage of feeling that died out with 7th fandom?
TED CARNELL: 17 Burwash Road, Plumstead, London SE18, England.
I particularly enjoyed the Con reports – it would appear from this (the fourth I have read), that I must have attended a Con at the Deansgate Hotel next door to the Grosvenor about the same time! (Only a Mancunian will appreciate that one.)
Especially I want to tell about next year's Con which is being planned as the Convention to End All Conventions. After this nobody will dare run a Con...
It is being planned along the lines of a French brothel. ((You mean it will be an enlarged version of THAT party?)) We are taking over an entire hotel with exactly half the number of bedrooms required, thus everyone doubles up. No husbands allowed with wives and vice versa ((and I doubt if you could get any versa vice any other way)); no two fellows allowed to sleep in the same room, ditto women. There will be three sleeping periods per day allocated to everyone throughout the three 24-hour sessions, which will be held at Easter not Whitsun, thus getting in an extra day and night of debauchery. Only people without morals at all or the most broadest of broads should even contemplate going. ((But won't Brian be lonely?))
Me? I don't expect for one minute that my wife will let me go, so I'll see you at the one in 1956 wherever that will be held… ((I wonder what film they'll show??)) ((PS. He's only joking – I hope!))
BOB TUCKER: Box 702, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.
Many many thanks for the copy of Femizine, issue two. I enjoyed it very much… especially the convention article… and will have to accept Eva Firestone's hint. She wrote me not long ago reminding me that she would accept subscriptions for the magazine. I didn't know what she was talking about at the time, for the zine had not then arrived, but I know now! I don't believe I received a copy of the first issue. Do you have a spare one you might send me? Eva can deduct the cost from my subscription money. ((Isn't it just too too sordid to talk about cold cash? But then why should I end up in the red if it can be avoided? The first issue was for free, Bob. You should have gotten one. I haven't got any left here, but Frances will send one 'badin' - if she has any! How's that for international writing? English, American and Arabic. Clever))
I've read several Supermancon stories ((You mean articles hmm? – or do you?)) in several fanzines now and I'm puzzled by one aspect that is either prominently mentioned, or prominently omitted. The business of the necking parties on the beds in
someone's bedroom. The first report I read, by Walt Willis I think, mentioned those affairs but prudently omitted the names of the parties involved. So I kept hoping each succeeding magazine would reveal a bit more ((l knew we should have had Gypsy Rose Lee on the staff!))… and last of all I hoped that the report by the three girls would TELL ALL. I'm a nosey character, you see, and wondered what was being left unsaid.
But blast it, the three girls also left it unsaid. Now how will I find out the gossip? Pray tell, just WHO was lying on the bed with WHO? And what were they doing that had the limpid Willis eyes popping and the fair Willis cheeks blushing? After all, Willis observed a lot of that kind of thing in Chicago and should be immune. I'm curious as to who and what put on a better show than Chicago. Who could make Willis blush, mumble and back out of the room? ((Sorry, the heat generated when putting the complete details on paper is greater than Fahrenheit 451. As a matter of fact I do not know much more about the party than you will have read. And the others were busy at another one most of the time… Besides, if someone does REVEAL ALL, what is going to happen to the interlineation industry? However, to put you out of your misery, perhaps one of our readers can add to your knowledge. Anybody? Let me a have a copy if you do – I'm curious as well!))
I've run across references in the British Fan Press before this, about a certain 'Sergeant Joan'. Up until now I had always believed she was a sequel or something to Shaw's 'Major Barbara'. ((My mother. She was frightened by a St Bernard. I'm Joan of WRAC, and I have an idea that Sandy is a pygmy alien. As you can see, I'm being quite Candida-bout all this.)) How are you? Pleased to make your acquaintance. ((Ditto for me – very much so. Thinks: 'Why, in ten more years I might even be well known enough to figure as a Tucker book character!')) ((PS. If you are interested in what the Bhoyo Hiself has to say, a letter from 170 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, N. Ireland, has the next page all to itself – pretty hmm?))
DEAN A GRENNELL: 402 Maple Ave. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA.
I must confess that I found several items in FEZ that were hardly more scrutable to me than Potrezebie (the 'r' trilled) was to you. I'm reasonably au courant with the esoterica of the / & – crowd but much of this was as baffling to me as it would be to someone who'd never seen a fanzine before. But you are a good writer, a good editor and an excellent mimeographer (duping was definitely top drawer) and I found many items I liked. Despite your oblique and ladylike sneer at willisian humour ((What other kind could I use against Walt of O'Bleak House?)), you seem not totally bereft of talent along the same lines. I think that when I've read a few issues and begin to assimilate the frames of reference (I'm dreadfully muddled
CONTINUED ON PAGE 32 ---
Well, now no one will be able to
say that a purely female fanzine isn't justi-
fied. Though perhaps a deadstraight right-hand
margin isn't really essentially feminine enough. If
you're going to go to the trouble to justify every
line, why not do it so that the right-hand margin forms
a graceful curve? Perhaps in the shape of the female form
divine, for instance. Though now I come to think of it
there are snags there. A couple of short lines occurring at an
awkward place could lead to the most peculiar and embarrassing
results. ((So you cut out paragraph breaks, or indicate them by
a sign such as ⫳. I'm not very good at profiles – will this do?))
Editorial was entertaining, and so was Joy's story. The Convention
report was a proof that too many cooks don't necessarily spoil the
Soupermancon. Oh, it's 'broth' in the proverb isn't it? Could I
say 'spoil the brothel'? – no, that would be unjust. (Get me
out of here). Anyhow it was a very good convention report.
⫳ No review of Hyphen. Boo hoo.⫳ The letter column was
fine, and some of the editorial interpolations were
brilliant. I don't approve of these egalitarian paren-
theses though… it's often hard to make up one's mind
which side of them you're on. ((Agreed. I've chang-
ed them in this ish)). ⫳ Hey, I've just discov-
ered a possible explanation why you didn't re-
view Hyphen. You didn't get it! ((Right in
one. For the review in this ish I borrowed
Sandy's copy!)) How on earth did that happen?
I was sure you were on the list – you should
be as an exchange at least. I'll attend to it the
minute I get this letter out of the typer. ⫳ By the way,
I've noticed here and there that you refer to me and Hyphen
as being representative of 7th Fandom. This wounds me deeply.
Quandry and Lee Hoffman and myself were of what is known as 6th
Fandom and 7th was the young and brash crowd who arose after Q
folded and took themselves so seriously that they were laughed out
of existence. Not by me though, I hasten to add. The only crack I
ever made at them was on the mailing wrapper where we showed
the Hyphen lighthouse showing fans the way through storm and fog
labelled '7F'. ((Sorry about the 7th Fandom business, Walt. May
be that I miscounted somewhere. I see that it is a case of –
'LE FANDOM EST MORT, VIVE LE FANDOM!' Only,
if you are 6th Fandom, and you were followed by 7th
Fandom which is no more, where do we stand at
the moment? Is this 8th Fandom, or did 7th
Fandom pass away as though it had never
been, leaving no trace behind and thus
restoring the status quo? (And does
it really matter?) But then again,
why not take advantage of all
this numbering and label
this zine a product of
8th fandom? Could
be – it's new. But
let me know if
we begin to take
wondering what happened to the young lady who lost her 'tammy'… most provocative!) I will become a devoted reader, even though barred from the elite of the contributors by reason of physical disqualifications.
I wanted to say a couple words about your name. I suppose it's frightfully bad taste to ask but I keep nursing a morbid curiosity over whether the 'W' might stand for Wad. ((That's my secret – and I intend to keep it!)) Also, I did a mild double take at the initials at the bottom of page 18. We've become used to the confusion attendant upon two Campbells, both of whom edit promags called ASF. But the sight of 'JWC' tagging a paragraph gave me a brief giddy moment of wondering if John W Campbell Jr., had a hand in FEZ's operations.
My good friend Enever to the contrary, I think your typewriter does superbly well. I admired the crisp meticulous typing on your letter and the printing in FEZ leaves absolutely nothing to be desired... from this quarter at any rate. Would love to swap this machine for yours… sure you wouldn't like one with a $-sign and an 'é'?
Enjoyed the episode of S&y slipping into the Grosvenor. But why didn't he try disguising himself? Of course, in British Fandom, long black beards are of dubious help in such a situation but he could have resorted to a heavy walrus moustache and went as Sam Small (do I have that name right? – you know, the Flying Yorkshireman). ((But S&y is a Lancastrian – and for him to act as a Yorkshireman is unthinkable! Besides, wasn't he disguised enough with those clothes? On the right is my version of S&y. As a sketch on paper it looks remarkably like him even if I do say so myself. What it will be like on a stencil I don't yet know. You try drawing a moustache on him!))
It would seem that everyone who went to Manchester wrote a conrep about it and I think I have read most of them. But I still found interesting and amusing things in this one. I seem to get the impression that the folks at the SMCon were either less inhibited in their behaviour or less inhibited in writing about it than the people who go to such things over here. I've never been to a national affair myself but I've never heard of such incidents as have been reported to me from Manchester… Wonder how much a round trip steerage ticket costs? It would be worth it and more, just to drill Chuck Harris in the face with a stream of water from my trusty De Lameter Hydro-Jet (and I could show him all the notches on the handle!) Ah well… one can dream.
Just as I was about to – I think – puzzle some sense out of S&y's letter, I came to the top of page 33 and the upper 3 or 4 lines were scrangled up as though your stencil had
started to melt in the heat. Only repro flaw in the whole issue and it had to happen there!
Would luvv to see an item in FEZ with the byline of 'Charlotte Harris'… haH!
One (very) minor complaint is that I wish you'd print the addresses of the contributors in the letter column. I know, for my part, there may well be some that I'd like to send my magazine to but in many cases you can't tell what country they're from, let alone where to address it. By the way, I got your address out of the Programme Combozine. Regarding that, I've meant to ask someone and you'll do – is 'souvenir' the approved British spelling or did the combozine have a typo on the cover? Just wondered – that's all. ((With effect from this issue addresses are given. I hope nobody objects – after all, fandom is to enable people to get together. My dictionary says that 'souvenir' is correct – from the French word of the same spelling.))
May I get nosy and ask what all the various initials in your address stand for? WRAC, RAPC and MELF? I have a large-size bump of curiosity for things of this sort and didn't rest till I'd found out from Ken Slater that BAOR stood for British Army On (the) Rhine, etc. ((You'll find my address in full in this issue – and you'll also be able to see why I use the initials!!))
Just for the records, what does 'FEM' stand for? I've heard some say it was a contraction of feminine while others – unchivalrous dogs – thought it stood for 'Frog-Eyed Monster'. Just thought I'd ask, that's all. If it stands for feminine, you have a good idea there… very good. Thinking it over, I believe I'll start a mag and club for himfans… I'll most likely call it MASCUZINE. ((Ten to one I'll be able to say 'He thought about publishing another fanzine but grue out of it' truthfully!)).
PAMELA BULMER: Tresco, 204 Wellmeadow Road, Catford, London SE6.
The con report was good – funny thing, we went to a Con at the Grosvenor in Manchester – they seem to have held half a dozen Cons there all at the same time – I've read about four different reports and I can only remember one Con. ((One more than most people can remember!)) I wonder what would really happen if we held a con in a Holiday Camp? One thing I didn't like was the way the quotes were inserted. As I see it they should be inserted at convenient breaks in the narrative and should form a part of the zine in their own right. It's very irritating to the eyes to have a break that isn't really a definite break. ((Agreed. They are now placed between paragraphs. But what about your OMPA zine, Pamela?))
I'm not quite sure just how to take the little tailpiece about Conventions. Obviously these can't really be your ideas, never having been to a Con. Personally I regard them much as I do a party. I go to have a rattling good time, to meet a lot of people I have heard about/written to (from now on) etc., and generally let my hair down in a Trufannish way. I don't do anything
I don't want to do because that's essentially a part of the fannish way of life and nothing is 'done' or 'not done'. ((It was written with tongue in cheek.))
The reviews were good. I shall be interested to see your view on Hyphen since you don't think it perfect. I rather gather you don't think a lot of it...((I'm afraid you've heard wrongly, Pamela. Of all the zines I have seen so far, I think I rate '-' first – as far as humour is concerned, at least. What I meant to infer was that, considering some of the pomes and quotes, I didn't think the Hyphen style was perfect for a ten-year-old girl. Hence the crack about the sort of stuff she would be writing at the age of twenty. Incidentally, I think it only fair to point out that Pamela's article on page 6 of this issue is one of those that was crowded out of the last issue. It was rather unfortunate, in view of a letter from Harry Turner also in FEZ 2. There is no connection. Another point (this wasn't mentioned by Pamela but I do know she was one of the people affected) concerns the mailing of FEZ 2. When the copies left here there was an interval of three days between the first and last. When they arrived in the UK the interval was a fortnight. Different ships I suppose. These copies will all leave together!))
Grue No 21. Summer 54. 15¢ (but the price might vary) from Dean A Grennell (address elsewhere). From close inspection it seems that there are two versions of Grue. One, a slightly smaller version than the one I have, is circulated as a FAPAzine. Hence the fact that the last two pages are numbered 29/41 and 30/42 respectively. I shudder to think of the amount of work Dean must put into this zine, and I hope he has the appreciation he deserves. Not only is it one of the best-produced jobs I have seen, but the material is excellent – from an article on Degler by Bob Tucker, through a conrep that is slightly different by Phyllis H Economou, to 'Miscellania' by the Editor. The only thing I didn't like was a page of 'Little Willie' verses. Maybe I have a peculiar sense of humour but I don't think Willie is the least bit funny. In fact, I'm surprised to see him still around. I thought Max Adeler had the last word when he wrote:
Oh no more he'll shoot his sister with his little wooden gun;
Still, one can hardly complain about one page out of forty-four! I was especially intrigued by the photographs reproduced on a Gestetner. Apparently the photos are cut onto the stencil by a 'Stenofax'. I don't know how this works, but at a rough guess I would say the process might be likened to the transmission of pictures by radio. Right or wrong? Who's the technical expert?
The New Futurian No 2. Summer 54. J Michael Rosenbloom (see FEZ 2). Every now and then I form an opinion. Sometimes it is based on a lot of information, and sometimes on a little. Occasionally it turns out to be an opinion shared by the majority – very occasionally. My opinion on the first issue of this zine was that, although I liked it, I thought it would not go down too well. Why I should consider myself unique I just don't know. Apparently everyone else likes it also. (Or, at least, a goodly proportion.) The second issue is very good indeed. Several of the regular departments are missing, but the forty pages of material are full of interest. The nostalgia is not quite so pronounced, and perhaps that explains something – perhaps not.
I'm rather surprised that the latest American craze doesn't seem to have caught on in fandom – or maybe you have never heard of DROODLES? It seems that droodling is replacing the art of doodling and it has even got to the stage now where newspapers are offering prizes for the best droodles submitted. The idea is to produce a simple little line drawing that illustrates humorously a word or a phrase. For instance, HURRICANE: a walking stick that seems to be whistling through the air; POLICEMAN'S BEAT: a beat with a policeman's badge on it. Surely fandom can produce something unique in droodles? The one above on the right is a – what???? Machiavarley really ought to know.
Let's have a few short extracts for a change. There's a letter here from PAUL HAMMET – 'Following the Mancon and a State Visit by Martian Princesses Fran and Eth, the Brum crowd were stimulated to get cracking on a mag. Suggestions for a name for the effort are craved as the project is as yet anonymous.' A new fanzine yet! Still, best of luck to all.
Another comes from CHARLES LEE RIDDLE who has been – 'extremely busy this past month being a father for the fourth time, as Mrs Riddle presented us with our first daughter on the 8th August …' Our sincere congratulations, Lee, and we hope everyone is doing well. Oh, and thanks for your offer. I might take you up on it when I've had time to think. (Lee said, 'Anything you want me to get for you over here?' – What an opening!)
And one from MICHAEL KELLY. He wants more femininity! Seems he likes knitting patterns and such. I don't give a Rapp what he wants. I did so much knitting during my first few months in the WRAC (to pass the time away) that I have now sworn off for life. Michael also wonders why I should spend three of the best years of my life out here with this female counterpart of
an army. Don't ask me! I'm still trying to puzzle it out. Perhaps this issue agrees more with your ideas, Michael.
MAL ASHWORTH: 40 Makin Street, Tong St., Bradford 4, Yorks, Eng.
It occurs to me that in some fannish celestial sphere some deity is doubtless expounding to the others ((May Oogo forgive you for such vagueness)) on the lines of: "It's about time that sluggard Ashworth, who's been sublimating his fannish instincts such a lot of late up in Yorkshire, wrote to that lonely isolated and deserving fanne-ed by the name of Joan Carr, stuck somewhere out in the desert. ((The peaches and cream type?)) Darn it, she sent him the first issue of Femizine and he not only never said a word about it but he sent the exchange copies of BEM to Frances Evans instead of Joan Carr; and now even though he's sent a copy of BEM 2 to Joan Carr in addition to the one he sent Frances, he still hasn't written to congratulate her on one of the brightest of the recent fanzines, to say how much he enjoyed FEZ 2 and how he rated that issue high up among the current crop of fanzines. Consequently he hasn't made any corny puns about the current crop taking some raisin', or even one about the humour in FEZ to the effect that the old adage about Hell having no fury like a woman's corn still holds true. ((It's these Army pattern shoes – oh, sorry, you meant the other corn.)) He hasn't pointed out the similarity between her initials and those of another famous editor and he hasn't asked her why she Maida Camp just there. Neither has he told her how much he admires the editorial character which she gave to her magazine with its second issue and he hasn't expressed his appreciation of her many puns, witticisms and odd bits of humour and the way in which she answers correspondents in the letter column; he hasn't said how much he enjoyed that really wonderful con report and that lovely quote of Ethel's about being contra-Terry matter ((Frances surely?)) and he hasn't said a word about it being a superb little zine all the way round and about how he's surprised that the femme fans could make such a good job of it on their own without any (or with very little) male assistance. ((Most of said assistance comes in via the letter column – and we are grateful even if we don't always have time to write and say so.)) And to crown it all I'm DAMNED if he's said a word about how he wishes them all the luck in the world with it and hopes to see a lot more pieces of such fascinating whimsy just as often as possible. And it just won't do, I tell you. He'll have to do something about it."
Well, I'd just hate to get in bad with the fannish Ghods; believe me there are times when I need them (like, for instance, when one of your number goes and mistakes Burgess for me. Yeah. Or when I look for some femme fans at the Convention and there aren't any unattached ones around and Ted Tubb is there to boot) ((But must you take it out of poor Ted?)) – so to avoid incurring their wrath I'm writing to say just that.
BEM No 2. 1/6 for two issues from either Mal Ashworth or Tom White (addresses elsewhere). (Yes, I know this review is late, and so will you if you've read Mal's letter, but on a basis of better late than never, here goes.) I'll let you in on a little secret. Every now and then – not very often, but just now and then – I find myself torn between the office and FEZ, running round in ever-decreasing circles imagining how nice it might be if only I could relax once in a while. I begin to wonder why… Then along comes a certain type of fanzine and I am saved. My faith is restored. Hyphen is one such zine and BEM 2 proved to be another. What more can I say? I loved it. (It, Mal, IT.) I find it necessary to echo the words in Mal's letter. These boys have given BEM a terrific personality of its own. The zine as a whole reflects their own particular brand of insanity. Apart from the Editorials, Mal gives an amusing account of the publication difficulties that surrounded BEM 1, Tom tells of the BEM – HYPHEN Hoax (which might be a hoax in itself, because if it isn't they certainly went to a lot of trouble on the original job!), and they both go to town on the Convention and in the letter column. Vin¢ Clarke continues to write in his brilliant style in the second instalment of his reminiscences of the Epicentre (a must for all fen), and the remainder of the material appears almost average by comparison. 'Portrait of a Fan' by Vernon Ashworth, which starts with the phrase "I am not a fan", makes me wonder "Why?" You can't be doing your job properly, Mal! Special note for femmes: Eric Bentcliffe gives his opinions on what a femme pro-mag might be like. Anybody with better ideas?
PS. I wonder how many people noticed that the BEM pages have even numbers on the front and odd on the back instead of the other way round? And I wonder if it was done on purpose?
PEON No 32. Aug-Sep 54. 10¢ per issue or 12 issues for $1.00 from Charles Lee Riddle, 108 Dunham Street, Norwich, Connecticut, USA. (12 issues for 7/- from Fred Robinson, 63 Newborough Avenue, Llanishen, Cardiff, Glamorgan, S. Wales or John Gregor, Newhaven St., Everton Park, Brisbane, Queenland, Australia)… What a wonderful issue this is for anyone who is just starting to get the zine. The first eleven-and-a-bit pages are taken up by an article by Jim Harmon, reliving the past six years of Peon. True, this is mainly a review in the light of Jim's contributions to the issues, but who cares? I like Harmon and the way he writes. I think he's being pretty sincere as well. Due to the size of the article, 'Harmony' is missing, but the other columnists are present – T E Watkins on dreams and their meaning, Terry Carr on various things ('Fantastuff'), Ian T McCauley reviewing fanzines. There is an article by Vernon McCain titled 'Who's A Paranoid?' – discoursing on the reasons for reading 'Superman' styled stories, and another by Carol McKinney on dummying material.
A short story by Lawrence Stark, a poem, and the usual excellent editorial round out another first class issue. If Peon ever wanted a subtitle it should be 'The Consistent Fanzine'.
The cartoon on the opposite page would appear to have been very timely since it assuaged the wrath of the Lord High Muck-a-muck Chief Devil himself. Yes, I have just been visited by Khamsin (whirlwind to you) and, instead of bringing the office I am in down around my ears, he simply bowed slightly towards me and then rushed past the office and through the other ranks' tent lines. Now, all is well with the whirled once more – or at least I think it is, but I can't be certain because most of it is about two miles away by now. The things these winds pick up! Ugh, nasty, put it down. You never know where it's bin.
VIN¢ CLARKE: 16 Wendover Way, Welling, Kent, England.
Darned if I can remember when I received FEZ 2… It just seemed to fit into my life (fan life) so naturally, and is just here… like Trafalgar Square, haemoglobin, and the kids screaming next door. However, it was certainly some weeks ago when it arrived… probably in the frantic period around Sept 1st… trust you received your OMPA mailing OK… and is overdue for comment.
Overall the production is really first class: perfectly legible and beautifully justified. The only drawback is the lack of illustrations; it's particularly noticeable in the poetry section. Poetry needs good laying-out and preferably illustrating; it's part of the art itself. Haven't you ever noticed how, in commercial printing, the more luxurious the edition of poetry, the more illustrations and better lay-out it gets? In printing ordinary stories there is usually an increase, but most of the extra expense is devoted to the binding. A striking case in point is our old friend (and Ken Potter's) ((and mine)) The Rubaiyat, which can be bought in increasingly luxurious editions until one gets a full page illustration with every stanza.
Like your explanation of the two summers in the ed… ugh… pirouette. There is also a general 'joie de vivre' here which races along nicely. But fancy using paper clips for styli when you (presumably) have such oddments as knitting needles and crochet hooks (or perhaps not the latter, now I come to think of it) around! ((But I haven't!)) There's certainly some standardisation needed amongst fan names, tho I never have liked 'fen' as the plural. The origin of which is lost in the swamps of Norfolk… in other words, Ken Slater.
Joy's story well written and, for its size, good. Like the laconic ending.
Convention report: very nice idea, the conversation pieces. How did they do it? Wish you'd give technical details like.
this (make of typer Sandy bought, for instance) here or in OMPA. Irene seems to have a very nice style for a newcomer. Have already commented to Ethel on most of this, especially on the two Tubb quotes which I didn't get but which I remembered when seeing them in FEZ, and for the description of things not appearing elsewhere. I really think that this has been one of the most reported on Cons in the world; it easily runs off with the British section of course. Your comments at the end of the piece owe rather a lot to Thorne Smith in sentiment and perhaps in style, but hear-hear to the remarks about the work that goes in to Cons.
Pomes weren't all that good, coming generally under the heading of 'Things Which Could Have Been Better Said in Prose'.
'Zine Here Please'… excellent reviews. The cracks at self will be answered, I think, in EYE 2 (latter has been held up for lack of paper, by the way). They could have been tightened a little, thus leaving you more space to burble on other zines or to include more of your opinions, but that'll come in time.
Next year's con: I've made an effort to contact other actifan; no one seems very eager to put on the '55 Con, so it looks as tho' London will Shoulder the Burden once again. Now folks know how difficult it is to put on an organised Con and how much the individual guest can contribute, we may have something really epochal. We are making tentative efforts to get a complete suburban hotel. And are all looking forward to seeing the mysterious Joan Carr in person, of course. ((You couldn't keep me away – after hearing so much about last Whit!))
'Mail and Female': Don't like the way you mark your editorial comments, but I'll say here that 'maybe a leetle more s-x' doesn't strike me as a strong condemnation… and it probably got you a few extra subbers. Of course, you may not like that kind of subber but they're faans, aren't they? ((I like all subbers – I was only being deliberately 'awkward', Vin¢. A bad habit of mine.))
((A couple of points raised above. Details of the typer etc. have been stated in my OMPA zine, but for anyone who isn't in OMPA but is still technically minded, I'll try to find space later on to repeat the information. As for the Conrep, well that was rather accidental – I had asked for a report, but time seemed to be passing, and I became a little anxious. Letters passed backwards and forwards, and then Voila! three conreps. Just as I was wondering what to do for the best, a fourth one turned up – and I also wanted to say a few words. I could have gone ahead and printed them as four straightforward reports but after reading them several times I noticed there was very little overlapping. So I spent two/three days cutting and splicing and making slight alterations – and 'Contour' was the result. On next year's Con, there is a note here taken from correspondence between Ted Carnell and Sandy re: the suburban hotel. Seems the main trouble is the fact that it might prove too expensive. It would be on an 'all in' basis – catering etc. As Ted remarks –
"It really is a most intriguing idea for a con – only ten miles from the centre of London, on a hill overlooking the river – and just think of those woods! But how much it would cost for two or three days (and nights!) and what rules and regs (if any) we would have to comply with still remains to be seen. Vin¢ was going to find out – but I bet he hasn't. If not I'll take a trip along there one Saturday and see what gives."
Sounds like a wonderful idea to me, and I hope it comes off. This would be halfway between a normal convention, and the convacation suggested by Eric Bentcliffe. FEZ has a no advertising policy but, of course, the Con is something special. If whoever is concerned will let me have a few details I'll be more than glad to publish them...
And still nobody seems to want my half-crown!
Talking about Conventions, what has happened to all the photos that were taken? I'm anxious to get as many as possible to see what some of you types look like! (And why not? Sandy said he'd pay for them as a recompense for missing the Con. Oh rash and foolish youth!) I think I opened double brackets way back – better close them again I suppose…))
HELEN WINICK: 12 Budleigh Crescent, Welling, Kent, England.
Ghod knows how you got my address; I feel this is establishing a dangerous precedent for me, as during an estimated seventeen years of reading sf I've remained rigidly uninvolved with fan activity – barring a somewhat incoherent session at the last London Convention. Also, after an early, and mutually disastrous, embroilment with the ATS, I felt for many years that I'd had women, and became highly selective about them – notoriously more so than about men! However, the women I've met at the White Horse and subsequently the Globe have been of a quality actually capable of inducing an inferiority complex in my normally blandly imperturbable character. (That latter description is a bit of typical British underestimation, by the way, as anyone who's heard the crash of breaking china when I'm aroused can testify!) Also, it is a welcome change to read adult prose in a fanzine, neither coy nor brash (only spoiled by that conscientiously jovial letter of Paul Hammett's. At any minute I expected him to break out with a polysyllabic rendition of 'Diddums then, there, there!'). And finally, one or two men who shall be nameless gave out with such smug comments on your zine one evening that I thought the hell with this, and my Irish came out with the rallying cry, 'Is this a private fight, or can anyone join in?' ((Come in, by all means come in! Just because the lettercol is the only place the men can get a word in, I didn't intend that they should hog the lot!)
A more recent letter here from NIGEL LINDSAY has a bearing on the above. He says – "You certainly have a grand letter column. I can see just what is happening; the BNFs, nettled at being excluded as contributors, are determined to get in through the only loophole. Apart from that FEZ is a good excuse to get in a dig
at the opposite sex. You'll never suffer from a lack of good letters..." He might have something there! But don't anybody change it!
BRIAN VARLEY: 8 West Cromwell Road, London SW5, England.
...rather tickled by Irene finding me younger than expected; actually I owe it all to regular treatments by masseuse. ((Masseuse in the cold, cold groin…That one is straight from Limbo '90, but I couldn't resist applying it to you.)) Takes away those dissipated looks and gives a young, fresh, healthy appearance. If, for instance, Ted Tubb were to try my masseuse… ((Brian doesn't like letter columns that contain droolings on how good the previous issue was. I have no objection to getting letters of that nature if they are sincere – who has? But they don't stand much chance of being published unless they contain something of more interest to readers. I am interested in showing how different the opinions of individual fen can be, hence the inclusion of some letters in this issue. You have yet to see 'Gosh-wow-boy-o-boy' in FEZ, and I hope you never will...))
TOM WHITE: 3 Vine Street, Cutler Heights, Bradford 4, Yorks, Eng.
Having finally managed to pry FEZ from Mal's clutching (and sweaty) paw, and, having NOT written to you about the first issue – as I have been intending ever since I got it... now where am I?... oh start again.
If my wife Betty hadn't swiped the zine from under my nose I would have commented upon the second issue. The convention reports were good, but suffered from the fact that, by now, everyone else has also published one. Even the feminine angle, interesting as it was, has been published in 'Alpha' previously.
Not that this is criticism – merely condolence; how you ever manage to publish at all with your widely scattered staff is a mystery to me. Mal and I are no more than a mile apart, yet we suffer from frequent breakdowns ((There is room here for a remark about a Miss being as good as a mile, but I can't quite work it out.)) My cunning partner always manages to switch the blame onto me, but don't you believe it! When the page number is stapled under the spine you can bet he's irresponsible.
With all my gentlemanly instincts coming to the surface I hereby forswear the use of the hackneyed phrase 'corn in Egypt'... and by so bringing it out from under the stone (so to speak) also prevent anyone else from using it.
The pictorial heading for the con reports had me puzzled for a while – then, with a flash of intuition (or something) I saw the meaning! Of course – the wrinkles surrounding Brian Varley's eyes on the Sunday afternoon… Right? ((Ain't a-sayin'.))
I don't dislike the poetry at all. ((Surprise – surprise!)) Letter column was interesting. Regarding Paul Enever's
description of himself – don't take any notice of the 'short, dark, ugly and evil-minded' – he's really quite tall.
Ghod, I didn't know that Ethel had lost her tammy! What rogue would be foul enough to steal a woman's tammy? I'm surprised that she didn't make more fuss about it – should we run a Lost and Found column in BEM? ((A great idea! Then you could hold a Jumbled Monster Sale every now and then – meb.be?))
HA! Very funny – that little blue star on the bacover – for review, it says – for REVIEW! Are we a mere hack fanzine relying upon splashed ego-boo for circulation? Shall BEM descend to the depths of a mere huckstering publication in order to reap the boot-licking plaudits of faneditors whose crud items are dishonestly praised in the 'review' column? Never… what's that? Er – yes Joan – YES sergeant – at once Ma'am… ((Stand at ease, son. Just for that I've a good mind to re-write my review of BEM – only it's too much trouble. Severe rep. Next case.))
Andromeda No 5. 2nd Oct 54. 2½d (5¢) per copy, 35 issues for 7/- or one dollar from Pete Campbell, 60 Calgarth Road, Winnermere, England… I certainly had a surprise when this turned up. The change from 50/60 pages quarterly to 8 pages per week is rather a big one. For the money Pete's asking for this, tho', it is well worth it. Apart from the editorial (which explains the reason for the change), this issue also carries an anonymous column of bits and pieces, a fanzine review column by the editor, two pages of letters, and a page by MachiaVarley in the style of his Space Times London Letter. ((I believe that at the moment plans have been altered again, and after the next issue Andro will go monthly.))
As his last breath rattled in his throat he was filled with a vast, numbing surprise.
There hadn't been a knock!
Hyphen 10, from you know who, goes to prove the point I mentioned earlier. The letter column is full of comments on WAW's Conrep, and most of them are concerned with the London party. Everything seems to be straightened out now tho' – I hope. The latest outbreak of 'Hoaxes' (see BEM 2 and PLOY 2) has been carried to the limit in a story by Bob Shaw. This wonderful bit of inanity made me wonder just how many fen are using their own names. I guess that most of them on this side of the Atlantic are, but how about America? There are an awful lot of 'Box No' addresses over there . Other items in this issue
include Bill Temple's version of the early days of the B.I.S., the conclusion of Stu Mackenzie's 'Tale of a Potter' (not you, Ken, sit down), Toto, this time edited by Harry Turner (a slight disappointment for me), and the usual columns by Vin¢ Clarke and Chuck Harris. Vin¢ has got hold of a couple of newspaper items that I missed. The things he does with them are the things I would like to do with the ones I don't miss! Chuck writes about fans – a new branch of the genre that he seems to have just discovered. I enjoyed this piece, but I must point out that we femmes have known of this type of fan for some time now – after all, they were created for us! This is one of those 'all-round' very good issues, where the letter column shows up best by virtue of its variety – which seems a little unfair on the rest of the material...
I've mentioned several times that FEZ is a non-advertising zine. The main reason for this is that I feel I haven't the time for cutting adverts – and might not be able to do them justice in any case. Thinking it over, tho', there is no reason on earth why FEZ shouldn't be used for distributing adverts that have been mimeo'd or printed by someone else. If anyone wishes to distribute leaflets through the FEZ circulation they should send them to me well in advance. Oh yes – 150 copies please. Surprised?
Sandy and I went out watching a bonfire the other night. (No, he was not the guy.) We went along to help the children of a married couple we know to enjoy themselves. They would probably have enjoyed themselves far better had they been left alone, but you know what grown-ups are like. The scene on bonfire night was slightly different from anything I could remember back home, because there is hardly a building in the area higher than a tent or Nissen hut. At one time I could see nine huge fires lighting up the horizon all around us. And as for the science fiction angle, well, the sky was full of rockets...
Talking about science fiction, have you read the fiftieth issue of Authentic? I felt quite at home with it. First there was that beautiful cover painting – spoiled somewhat by the amount of print on it – of the sand storms of Venus! (Incidentally, the credit is given to Davis, tho' the illo is signed 'Richards'.) Then the lead story... 'It Takes Two' by Ken Bulmer. More sand storms and camels yet! I enjoyed reading the beginning of this tale of a small group of refugees who developed a group mind away from the war hysteria of Earth, but the ending rather fell down badly. Of the short stories, 'Won't Power' by S M Lane and 'One Hour' by G C Duncan both toyed slightly with good ideas. 'The Kid' by K E Smith was rather useless I thought.
The idea was fair enough but it deserved better treatment. The other short – 'Hidden Treasure of Kalin' by E C Tubb – proved to be a disappointment. This is one of Ted's 'mood' stories, concerning the world after the next war when men are reduced to barbaric tribes and a book is a precious thing. From a new writer it would probably have appeared good – but not from Ted. After all, we know he can do better! On the whole, I would say the stories were fair to average. Out of the 144 pages in this issue, the fiction takes up just under 98! The departments and adverts have the rest. With the departments it is a different story. Interesting – easy to read; I enjoyed them all to some extent. The question is – how much fact can you put into a fiction magazine before the readers start to dislike it? And how many readers are there who get the idea that some of the science articles are just a bit too easy – that they're being treated as youngsters? I had the feeling myself once or twice, although my scientific knowledge is not very great. Still, it must be quite a problem to decide at which level the articles should be written, arid I think it best to be a little too simple rather than a little too hard. Of most interest to me were the articles on the Expanding Universe, and on the connection between the brain and the mind. Fandom is taken care of in an article on the Nor'west Science-Fantasy Club by A Hopeful Provincial... (wonder who he is?) and in the fanzine and book review columns. All in all I'd say well worth the 1/6 you are asked for it.
Orion No 6. Published by Paul Enever from 9 Churchill Avenue, Hillingdon, Middlesex, although 'Panting subscribers should make themselves known to George Richards at 40 Arncliffe Road, Eastmoor, Wakefield, Yorks, England'. They will require a sixpence if wishing to obtain one copy – and I recomend [SIC] that they do! (Shouldn't that have two 'm's?) Paul writes a very nice editorial, and there is the second part of a story by James Keeping about which I will say nothing because I haven't read it. And I haven't read it not because I don't I like fan literature, but simply because I never read serials in instalments. And if you think this is getting complicated, you should see the state of my mind. The irrepressible Willis is also present with a light piece (star-light?) concerning the regularity of the zine. (Now let's see someone make a joke out of that as they did about the periodicity of a fanzine!) I sympathise with George Whiting, who writes in his column 'A Fan In Greece' about the RSM types. Both Sandy and I have had similar experiences over here. In fact, Sandy was going to write an article on the subject, but I haven't heard anything about it for some time. Must remember to ask. A fanzine review column, in which fanzines are reviewed, and a letter column, containing letters, completes the issue. Oh, I almost forgot Harris on the Aristocracy! Still, he is so unlike the normal Harris that I can hardly be blamed...
Department of Personal Details.
Technically speaking, I'm supposed to work here at Maida Camp, and spend most of my time in another one just down the road. In fact, I sleep at this other joint, and spend most of my time here at Maida. The reason for not mentioning this fact before? The name of the other camp is Ladysmith! Now watch all the humourists have a field day! The reason for using Maida as an address, of course, is mainly due to the fact that the mail is delivered during the morning, and I get it on the section I work on. I'm always eager to see mail, even if I'm not so quick in replying to it. Another reason, of course, is the fact that all my equipment is here. I presume that there is a duplicator at Ladysmith, otherwise how could they publish all the orders they do? However, I have never seen it. Here there are three or four. In view of this, my section is fixed up for both office work and fanning. There is a desk in front of me, one to the left, and a rack of files against the wall behind me. In the morning the table in front has things like binders, block proofs and other office material, none of which can be of the slightest interest to you. To the left, there are – uncut stencils, cut stencils, typing paper, carbon paper, material for FEZ 3/4 (and for 5), card index of subscribers etc., Correctine, stylus (still that paper clip), cleaning fluid for the typer, oil for ditto, and several other accessories. There is also a pane of glass for cutting illos on, and sand paper for shading – and, last and not least, the typer. This (not this one, if you see what I mean) is an Oliver Portable, and it has just decided to do the dirty on me. It had developed several peculiarities before it finally went for a burton – the 'f' had begun to print double, the platen had become greasy from these non-wax stencils and wouldn't feed the stencil through properly. The platen had even warped a little from the heat. But I loved that machine. Then, about an hour ago, I came to the end of a line in a letter I was writing (see, I do, occasionally), pulled the roller back, let go, and the thing almost took off. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get it to stay in place. Then I picked the machine up and found a tiny piece of metal under it, shaped something like a small screw, but with no thread on it. Now all I have to do is find out what it is and where it goes, and put it there. At least I hope that is all I have to do… but perhaps it would be best to get an expert on the job. I don't know enough about them to fiddle about. The one I am using at the moment is an office one (naturally) – an ancient Imperial. I don't know how this stencil and the following ones will turn out, but it seems to be cutting very well. Here's hoping! Still thinking of the technically minded, the duplicator that the first twenty odd pages of this issue have been run off on was a Gestetner 26. At least, it had a cover with that written on. However, after getting to page 26, there was a gap of a week, and when I started again, the machine had become a Gestetner 230. They grow up pretty quickly. This one also had the same trouble as the typer, i.e. a warped roller. Nearly all the stencils I ran off on it (up to page 40) developed cracks in the same places. One or two, and I would have blamed myself for it, but not sixteen! By the time this is finished, I don't think it will be as good as the last – as far as repro is concerned. Still, we can but try...
Oh yes, that rack against the wall that I mentioned contains files of zines and correspondence. I also forgot to mention that at my loft I have a dictionary, a book of vocabularies, and a book on English language. It's not surprising that I forgot them really, since they have never been used. That is, except for the dictionary when I wanted to check on the word 'souvenir'.
And that reminds me. I knew I had to use the dictionary for something else. Excuse me for one moment. Amuse yourselves with this till I get back:
Yes, here we are. In BEM 2, Mal Ashworth said "Two words in the dictionary, two whole words beginning with bem, and neither are at all punnish." Well, in BEM 3, the readers have a go and discover quite a number of other words. The best I think is Archie Mercer, but he used a number of reference books and only got four from the dictionary. I've just had a quick look-see at mine, and apart from words such as BEMAD, BEMAUL, BEMAZED, BEMIRE, BEMOCK, BEMUD, BEMONSTER (to make monstrous), BEMOUTH, BEMUDDLE, and BEMUFFLE, I noticed a couple of nouns: BEMBEX – a genus of sand wasps, noted for their loud buzz (it's a pity the second 'b' is pronounced. Otherwise it could be linked up with the cross for expired subs) and BEMA – the rostrum from which Athenian orators made their speeches. This last one should fit in somewhere. I think someone could do with a new dictionary for Xmas! Incidentally, BEM 3 is well worth having.
Move over Paul, or, Orion and FEZ both!
From what I have been told (in a letter today), it would appear that FEZ has now joined ORION in the 'Authentic Slated Club'. I haven't seen Bert's review of FEZ 2, but apparently it is completely the opposite to that he gave the first issue. I also believe that the horrible word s-x rears its ugly head again. Now, I don't want to get too deeply involved in a war over this, BUT – When Vin¢ and Stu Mackenzie first raised the point, they were joking. Or at least it wasn't deadly serious. When I took them up on it, I was joking also. The fact that my attempt at humour failed miserably, since nobody seemed to realise it was a joke, has nothing to do with it. It was a joke, and it circulated amongst fen. Now we have Bert Campbell making nasty noises at us through a professional magazine whose circulation is somewhat bigger than ours. I disagree with him entirely on this question of sex in FEZ. If anything, there were more 'risqué' remarks in the first issue (the one Vin¢ and Stu referred to) than there were in the second issue. And yet Bert gave No 1 a pretty good review. It just doesn't add up! Never mind, we'll struggle on. Only – move over, Paul, will you? We want to join you.
" – In a way that is a very masculine statement – when a man makes a risqué remark or joke, that is funny and a sign of virility. When a woman does the same thing – that is 'unhealthy'. – "
By the way, I've just realised that February is a short month, and from my point of view it will be a busy one. Towards the end of the financial year, work tends to mount up. On the back page, I have given January 14 as the date for material to reach Ethel for inclusion in the next issue. Will you try to make that the seventh? Sorry if I'm rushing anyone, but I don't want to be late again...
In that connection, I'm sorry if some of the stuff in this issue is a bit old. Quite a lot of this was originally cut for October.
Dept. for Queries.
If you picked up a copy of the first issue (July '47) of a fanzine called '2000 AD' and found that on the back were pencilled the magic names – 'Madelaine', 'Walt' and 'Bob' heading three columns of figures with the high-number under Bob, would you immediately assume that you had a real collectors' item, cover the zine in cellophane and put it in a bank vault, or would you sit down and think it out – finally coming to the conclusion that THEY had been receiving the Tucker Postal Course on Poker or Somesuch – with 'Bob' one lesson ahead...........?
Sandy came across one the other day in a stack of old zines he'd just got from Pete Campbell, and he's dying of curiosity!
Talking about fanzines – I've got a stack of them here myself, but I'm afraid this column has gone on too long as it is. I hope you boys don't mind if I just mention them while passing? In particular, there is 'Phantasmagoria No 2' well worth dropping a letter to Derek Pickles (address on page 26). Then there's the first issue of 'Brennschluss' put out by Ken Potter from 5 Furness St., Marsh, Lancaster – an excellent first issue with very clear duplicating. The illos in this issue didn't come through very well tho'. No doubt this is now under control. Next comes BEM 3 which I have mentioned – this is another good issue, but lacking somewhat in interlineations, which isn't like Mal or Tom. Subs to Tom (address on page 42). American zines are PEON, November 54, well recommended; Starlanes, October 54, for those who like fan poetry; the fourth and fifth copies of the Archives – a SAPSzine from Larry Touzinsky; STF TRENDS No 15, another SAPSzine, this time from Lynn Hickman; and CHIGGER No 4 from Bob Farnham. I enjoyed reading them all.
The letter situation is just as bad; in particular there are letters from Mavis Ryan and Irene Boothroyd, and TWO from Rose Frommann. I really will have to do something about them or else I can see myself being cut off without a friend in the world. To all who wrote – many thanks. To those who didn't – why? In company with most faneditors, we are more interested in hearing from you than we are in taking your sub money! Tho' we'll do that also if possible........
Some of you, seeing the name Robert Conquest on the contents page, have no doubt thought that this was the thin edge of the wedge. You're wrong. I happened to read the poem that follows in the 'Listener', and thought it just the thing for the final word on poetry. Not only does it have sf connotations, it is also a poem about poetry. My thanks to the author for permission to reprint.
Walt Willis (Hyphen 9), Chuck Harris (Hodge Podge 7), ASF (BRE) May 54. Paul Hammett, Pat Doolan, Brian Varley, Ethel Lindsay, Michael Kelly, Mike Rosenblum, Mal Ashworth, some sources I have forgotten, and my head (just to prove it isn't exactly empty).
And that's your lot........
Excerpts from a Report to the Galactic Council...on the third planet too, life is found.
(This section is presented in this form under the regulation
The race is one of those which use (in this case, orally) discreteThe 'poem' (at which this, in the biped dialect 'English', is an attempt)
Is an integration of symbols which may be defined
As a semantic composition fusing what is thought and dreamt,
And working in senses and thalamus as well as what is called mind.
Moreover it liberates their symbology from over-definition,Observations of real events includes the observer, 'heart' and all;
(The common measurable features are obtained by omitting this part.)
But there is also a common aspect in the emotional
Shared by other members of the species: this is conveyed by 'art'.
The poem combines all these, so that the whole sceneA further note on this race is that, like those of Deneb III,
Its reproductive method is the sexual, which has led
(Relevant at this point) to ability to conceive otherness, mystery,
Illuminating life, thought, and especially poem, from the bed.
Before the body of the report, it would be well to enter the caveat
We can now proceed to the detailed evidence. An O.P.
Accompanying records show...
by Irene BoothroydShe was thirty-eight, running to fat, but as yet only nicely rounded. There are thousands like her everywhere – just another housewife, husband, two sons, reasonable income, ordinary you'd say.
She walked up the road, her arms full of groceries, and as usual her mind was busy planning the evening meal. Thank goodness their tastes were all alike. Frank would be home on the six-fifteen as always, with their son Leslie who was doing quite well in the office after an initial attempt at a garage. Donald would be home from school very soon, hungry as usual, but he would wait for Dad and Leslie. The evening meal was the only week-day one they had together and all the news of the day was exchanged across the table. She opened the back door and went in, closing it behind her.
After a cup of tea it occurred to her that Donald was late. Yes, a quarter past five and vegetables to start yet. She busied herself at the sink, part of her mind on Donald, part on the job in hand. He'd probably turn up when he was hungry. Time passed – rather slowly. Surely he wouldn't say out to tea without letting her know. Everything was ready and now Frank and Leslie were overdue. The evening paper rattled the letter-box. That was wrong – Frank always called for it at the newsagents.
After half an hour anxiety began to rise. Something was wrong, really wrong. A meal in readiness, table laid, a house waiting. It was quiet – too quiet. Suddenly terrified, she ran to her neighbour's gate, only to meet her.
"Mrs Hopkins, has your Jim come home from school?"
"Why no," said the neighbour. "I was just coming to see if Don knew where he was."
"And that's not all," said Gladys. "Frank and Leslie are late too."
Mrs Hopkins said, "Come to think of it, it's time David was getting ready to go. He's om night shift. He was in the garden, but I haven't heard him, but I haven't heard him for some time, and he's not here now."
"Do you think he might have met Frank and gone for a drink?" said Gladys – "but no, it couldn't be that because Leslie would have come home."
"And Donald and Jim from school," added Mrs Hopkins.
The two women paced slowly down the road. "Isn't it quiet?" "Perhaps it's going to rain."
Mrs Hopkins stopped. "Mrs Farrell, I'm scared. It's too quiet. Have you noticed the women looking out? I'm going to see if they have heard anything, an accident..."' Her voice trailed off. To her queries she got the same answers – "My son is late" – "My husband is late". Soon, a knot of women were standing in the roadway, uncertain.
"Well," said Gladys firmly, "I'm going for the police."
"Yes," said Mrs. Hopkins, "a good idea. It's past eight." Some of the missing boys were mere seven-year-olds –
They walked quickly, nervously looking about them, eight or nine ordinary women – slow to anger except when something threatened their family – their secure happy homes. There was no conversation, just a sense of urgency. They didn't see a man at all on the way, or any small boys on the usual street corners. The police station was some distance away – somehow nobody mentioned the telephone.
Then suddenly, as they turned into the High Street, a voice spoke to them. "Return to your homes everyone, return to your homes." A sweet, sad, sexless voice – from where? The women paused. Again the voice. "Return to your homes, your menfolk are safe and will return, soon." There was something in the voice that impelled them. They turned and walked back again without question, yet somehow at peace. They turned to their individual homes. Smiles and goodbyes were exchanged – yes, all was well.
Gladys picked up the paper – nothing new. She cleared away – the food would not be needed now, and she did not feel hungry. She dozed quietly. When she awoke, her husband's arms were about her, and the boys were standing quietly by, their eyes aglow.
"My dear," said Frank, "we were called, all the males, at four o'clock. We have met the Venerians! They seemed to call to us in our minds, and we had to go. They have come to bring peace to all our hearts – there will be no war ever again. The Venerians are our people, our own flesh and blood. In past ages they left Earth in panic – just a few hundreds – and settled on Venus. They are here now so that the same panic will not occur again. They have learned to live in peace with one another, and their love of Earth has brought them back now that we are on the verge of catastrophe. They will help – must help. My dear, one of our sons goes back with them. That is all they ask in return, one son or daughter from each home because their race is dying. We agreed that the choice be left to you – which of our sons is to be honoured?"
She gazed at him fearfully, then at her two boys – still silent, but with eager faces.
She said slowly, "My choice? My son?" Her mind cleared.
"Neither," she said. "A sterile race?... No, when we reach the planets, as we will soon, then my boys will be pilots – pioneers. Earth needs no help – ours is a growing race. In good time we shall see our sons as men. The Venerian's lure, our love of peace, is not for us. We must make our own
way in this world, and into others."
As she ended, in tears, the voice spoke again. "We have looked into your hearts and minds. Not one will come, we know. We leave in peace."
There was a rushing as of wind. Her husband shook his head slowly, and the boys looked sullen now.
"That was our one chance, Mum," said Leslie.
Donald returned to normal. "I'm hungry!" he said. Her husband had been deep in thought, but now he came to her defence. "Your Mother is right," he said. "Nobody can give us the worthwhile things in life. They have to be worked for." The tension eased a trifle.
"'But, VENUS..." said Leslie.
"You'll get there," his father said. "And in our time too. Now we'll have an overdue meal. I'm hungry as well."
Gladys prepared the meal, laying the table again quietly.
When they were all seated, Donald said, "I wouldn't have gone anyway. I feel scared now."
"Yes," said Leslie. "So do I." He gave a glance at the window. "Mum," he said, "is my shirt ready for tomorrow?"
As soon as I woke up I knew it was going to be one of those days. A bad tempered wind snapped irritably at the golden autumn leaves, sending them in untidy flutters everywhere. A feeble sun tried to cheer me up; but it was Saturday morning and as usual there was so much to do and there looked like being no rest for me this weekend. In a weak moment I had promised my school friend I would attend an Old Girls' Meeting and so I was stuck with it. I bundled Ken off to see Ted Tubb with the promise to see him there later and carry him home, exhausted after a day at cement laying.
As soon as he was gone I set about the task of getting ready. I never took such trouble for a mere boy friend as I took dressing myself for that Old Girls' Meeting. It seemed somehow to be a point of honour that I should arrive looking my best, and whatever happened I should not look married! I dare say I had looked a good deal more married in my single days, but then it wasn't so important to look attractive. I bought some nail varnish for
the first time in my life and donned my best suit, hat, coat and diamond pendant and scurried down stairs to find it was 1.45pm. My appointment was for 2 o'clock so l just had time for a quick once over to see that everything was in place. And then it happened. At first I wasn't worried as I thought it was Ken come back having forgotten something. But when I opened the door IT stood there. I just stood and stared. I couldn't think. After a few seconds I managed a weak but brilliant O-O-aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
"Er – is Ken in?" said Norman.
I shook my head in frantic negation.
I've always dreaded being caught in such a predicament. I still couldn't think clearly but I just had to gain time so I asked him in – just inside the door that is.
"I'm afraid I'm just going out and I have an appointment which I'm late for and I can't cancel and I have to go right away – oh where the ----- did I put my gloves?" Norman looked a bit worried and uncertain and did a lot of uming and aahing and I raced from room to room distractedly trying to figure out just why I was racing from room to room distractedly. Norman followed somewhat gingerly but near enough to prevent me getting a quick look at the seams of my stockings (which were to torment me for the rest of the afternoon). I finally found my way to my own front door endeavouring to chat appropriately to Norman the while, showed him out and followed him and triumphantly closed the door. Then I knew what it was I had been racing from room to room distractedly for. My purse. I stared back at the door but it was indefatigably locked and my key was in my purse.
"I've locked myself out without any change for my bus fare and I can't get back in," I announced. Norman said ooooerrr and he was very sorry and what was I going to do now? Before I realised what I was saying I'd said you'll have to break in for me and had ushered him round the back. At this point I spied one of my neighbours and thought better of allowing Norman to climb over our fresh broken white paint. I said I'd manage. By this time my mental television set had caught up with me and I had a gorgeous picture of Norman breaking in to my own home for me and gallantly letting me in. (For appreciation of entertainment value of mental images – apply Walt Willis.) For some peculiar reason this mental picture stayed with me nearly all afternoon and Norman at least must have wondered why I spluttered into hysterics every so often whilst trying desperately to carry on a conversation
with him. We walked down the hill together but although what Norman had to say was very interesting I just couldn't get that image out of my mind and I even giggled as I handed the bus driver a £1 note for a 5d fare and tried to sound apologetic . I needn't have worried about being late for Betty turned up ten minutes later, apologising profusely, and some fiendish streak in me allowed me to accept her apologies.
Old School Tie Dept.
Going back to school is for most people like stepping back into another world and I am no exception. For those who attended Convents it is an even more different world. I have often heard of the inner light which all nuns are supposed to possess but to me when I think of a nun I think of a kaleidoscope of colourful characters; flashing angry Irish eyes; a kindly motherly smile; hitched skirts of figures on a tennis court, looking strangely droll, like a puppet show that has strayed into real life. I think of jangling rosaries; the sharp authoritative rap of a gold ring on a school desk; a fragile adult crystal silence following the Angelus Bell and the soft swish of robes along polished corridors. My childish eyes never perceived an inner light because each one of the Mothers was an individual, essentially human and just as prone to anger, joy, laughter and sorrow as any other teacher.
It was not until this Old Girls' Meeting that I stopped to think about that inner light, because it was here that I first saw it. Stella had been a mouse of a girl, a nondescript shadow, present but never obtrusive, with apologetically blonde hair and lustreless eyes which scarcely noticed against the insipid pallor of her face. Not all that was changed. The lanky hair was covered by a smooth black habit and her hands rested composedly in her sleeves; her eyes shone, and for the first time I realised how attractive she was. There was no pallor now, and the mouse-like personality had been transformed so that now we saw a vivacious animated girl bubbling over with an inner happiness.
We stood talking to her for a long while, tentatively remarking on the lack of worry in her way of life. We couldn't help observing the change that had taken place – there must be something to it, we said. She agreed fervently, but like all the other nuns she skilfully steered the conversation to asking us about our lives. There does not seem to be one particular type of girl who takes the veil. Quiet ones, tomboys, everyone's favourites, and girls who seemed just like us can all be found as nuns. It must, I think, be a vocation and some girls have never known any life other than that in a Convent. However, many parents insist that their daughters spend a few years in the outside world. I have heard that this compulsory waiting period was a hell on earth to the girl concerned and on being granted her wish she changed from a miserable to an intensely happy person. Then there are those who take the veil for purely personal reasons, perhaps in an endeavour to find peace of mind; 'what is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?' I feel sure that most of them are very happy in the life that they have chosen, but to me it is like being given a beautiful dress for a present and then putting it away in a glass case because to wear it would mean that it would become worn and spoilt. I would prefer to wear the dress so that I could let the giver know the pleasure I had derived from wearing it.
I was contemplating a tomato the other day when I suddenly realised that I had had a little Fandom all of my own for years and I hadn't recognised it. At one time I didn't like tomatoes, but shortage of everything else and a determination on my part not to be left out whilst everyone else gorged soon put that right. Somewhere along the road I also acquired my own Tomato Fandom. Have you ever realised what a fascinating fruit the tomato is? Those voluptuous curves, that blushing firmness, those intriguing desirable indentations. Each one has an individuality all its own and it holds a secret. Once you begin to seek the secret it provides hours and hours of amusement and the beauty of it is you can indulge in it without anyone knowing a thing about it and have your own private little game. This alone provides a diabolical pleasure because, of course, all your table companions will think you are in profound meditation, which is of course where you should be. Those bounteous curves and tiny indentations are not there as an idle flirtation by nature. It is essential to remember that the tomato is not a stone, but a living luscious fascinating fruit. You are going to murder that fruit and not just one fruit but the seeds of thousands of baby tomato plants and their children and their children's children. This is a necessary deed but the least we can do is to be humane about it. There is a right and a wrong way of cutting a tomato and it is an art which requires infinite skill and patience in the execution thereof. If you do the job like a real craftsman you will be rewarded, because somewhere in the glowing sphere is a line dividing the right pips from the left pips and once you realise this no one with an ounce of feeling would wish to behead not just one side but two sides. Be merciful and let it die decently – not indecently with all its pips naked to your hungry stare – remember you are merely satisfying the lusts of the flesh.
Teepee or not Teepee
If any of you are wondering what insane flash of genius inspired me to the title of this column, it was me. I decided to be completely original and the means I employed were devastating in their brilliance. I used none other than an Oxford Dictionary! Now, who would think you could find the title of a column in a Dictionary? I have seen my husband, in a blessed moment of sublime inspiration, resort to the Radio Times for a name, but to use a Dictionary – and Oxford at that – shows an all too rare daring of spirit. The method I used then was nothing short of 'insight cosmic in its significance'. I used a pin. I picked up the book and flicked the pages at random (this is a Chuc at Harris). This performance was repeated several times until at last I found The Word. I pass this revolutionary discovery to Fandom in the hopes that others will
take courage and follow in my pioneering footsteps. As soon as I saw this word I had an inner vision of the members of the London Circle congregating at each others' wigwams as they so often do, and smoking the pipe of controversy.
If Winter Comes...
As I write this S/Sergeant Buckmaster (Ron to you, brother to me, and husband of well-known famme Daphne Buckmaster) is engaged in extremely unfannish activity – cleaning his kit amidst muttered curses audible at least 100 yards down the street. Come to think of it, I've seen most of the London Circle doing unconventional things – Ted Tubb administering a fanbelt to his car – needed it to hitch his zap gun on (by Daphenition), Sid Bounds sketching alien entities, Ted Carnell and Burt Campbell trying to sell each other stories (at least I took it that was why they each bought the other a drink), Joy Goodwin administering black coffee to survivors of her non-alcoholic wine holocaust. I even speak to Ken Bulmer, Editor of Nirvana and president of the B.A.V.C.** – sometimes, when I'm not otherwise occupied. And Vin¢ Clarke working...
And the best of Fannish Christmases to you all!
**((Bulmer Aqueous Vapour Company - Rob))
As you probably know by now, plans are well under way as regards holding the 55 Con in Kettering; following is the con information to date.
So far everything seems to be running smoothly; we have the support of the London O (Stu and Vin¢ are on the committee, by the way), the Bradford and Newcastle groups at the time of writing; oh yes! And Ken Slater, and I feel sure the others will rally round as well...
So there it is. Now we all know who wants those half crowns! There is only one fault from my point of view – I might not be able to make Easter after all – or Sandy. The leave year starts on 1st April! Keep your fingers crossed.
As you probably know by now, plans are well under way as regards holding the 55 Con in Kettering; following is the con information to date.
So far everything seems to be running smoothly; we have the support of the London O (Stu and Vin¢ are on the committee, by the way), the Bradford and Newcastle groups at the time of writing; oh yes! And Ken Slater, and I feel sure the others will rally round as well...
So there it is. Now we all know who wants those half crowns! There is only one fault from my point of view – I might not be able to make Easter after all – or Sandy. The leave year starts on 1st April! Keep your fingers crossed.
SHAGGY HORSE STORY
by IRENE GORE
The horse gazed glassily at me over a barbed wire fence. "Are you a Fan too?" it enquired eagerly. I nodded pleasantly. "Sure," I said. The horse looked pleased. "Well, I'm real glad to meet you," it continued, "come right in. Most folks around here are horrible proles." It unlatched the gate with its nose. It didn't open very far, but I managed to squeeze through the gap. The horse looked on approvingly. "Good show," it said.
I found myself in a small meadow, very hilly, and rather overgrown with thistles. "It's not much," apologised the horse, "but it's all I have. You see no one cares much about me now." It swung its white tail sadly, and tears glistened for an instant in its eyes and then splashed steamily downwards. But its mood changed suddenly, and with a shake of its beautiful white head it said happily, "But I know you will help me."
I was deeply touched by its faith in me, and I patted its neck soothingly. 'There, there,' I said. "Let's sit down and then you can tell me all about it." It nodded gravely, and, selecting a spot free from thistles and the like, sank heavily into the grass. I squatted down beside it, close to its head, and waited patiently for it to begin. "There isn't much to tell," it said quietly. It looked up at me as though struck by a new thought. "Am I right in thinking you're a New Fan?" it asked. I made a Hmmmm-ing noise and nodded my head. "Ah! Still, you will have heard of me I think." "Are you a BNF?" I asked in a hushed voice. "I," it said, "am the White Horse!"
I was stunned. I gazed at the White Horse and the White Horse looked steadily up at me. After a while he spoke again: "I'm afraid I've given you quite a shock." I smiled at him weakly. "Here you are – drink this," he went on, and thrust a glass of something into my hand. "What's this?" I mumbled. "Whisky." "Oh!" I took a large mouthful, choked, and spilt the remaining liquid on the grass. The White Horse made a 'tutting' noise and thumped me on the back with a fore-leg. I waved him off. "Thanks," I spluttered, "I'm O.K. now." "Not a very good drinker, are you?" he said. I didn't reply as I couldn't think of anything except "No", which didn't seem like a good thing to say at the time. I struggled to my feet and, feeling rather silly, sat quickly down again. I glanced at the White Horse. He was lying on his back, with one leg waving pathetically in the air.
He sighed and after a while began to relate his sad story. "I was at the height of fame," he said, "when suddenly, without warning, I was deserted." A sob escaped him. "I was deserted, I tell you. Deserted!" Here he broke down completely, recovering only when I promised to lend him some fanzines. "Thank you," he said. "I'm much obliged." Then he sniffed quietly, and in a softer tone told me of the gay times which once were his.
When dusk came I left the White Horse, and as I passed through the gate he reminded me of the promised fanzines. "Tomorrow," I said, "I'll come again, and you can have the zines with pleasure."
The next day I went back to the place where I had left the White Horse; not seeing the old fellow around, I made enquires at the farm-house. "No White Horse has ever been in that field," I was told. "Surely you must be mistaken."
I spent the entire day searching for that horse, but not a hoof-print could I find. Only an empty whisky bottle under the hedge.
FEMIZINE is the bi-monthly fanzine with a female angle (curve?) and the BNF's Letterzine.
It is edited and published by Joan W Carr 'midst sand, sun and perspiration. (You see, I can be ladylike if I try!)
Fanzines for review and exchange, and letters of comment, to:
American columnists should still send material through Ethel – saves confusion!
This is the THIRD and FOURTH issue of FEZ, and is dated DECEMBER 1954.
It will, unfortunately, have to count as two against subs.
Lay-out of this page (and also page 31) is by kind permission of PiCaSsO!