THE FANTAST - rejected article (1939)

This is an interesting curiosity, an article Sam rejected after stencilling yet still ran some copies off, several of which ended up in the Vince Clarke collection. From internal evidence this was clearly written in 1939, though which issue it was originally intended for is less clear. It's mentioned as being fothcoming in the lettercolumn of issue #3, so possibly it was intended for #4. The piece is critical of a lot of people so Sam may have got cold feet and decided it was just a bit too controversial to run.

page 1:

Awaken, O Fan, who sittest in cow-like contentment digesting with dispassionate indifference the copious verbal dribblings of those whom the sycophantic dutifully dub "Top Liners"; and open your optics to the Truth.

Adeste fideles, and with me scrutinise this Fandom, this conglomeration of perverts herded and fed by the egotistical few, this precious jewel (sic) set in a turbulent political sea, this institution for the elect -- the aesthetically perfect -- the mentally superlative - in short Homo Superior.

For in the Beginning God made Wollheim, and since that one ghastly and cataclysmic faux-pas on the part of the no-doubt well-meaning Deity, the Serpent has run amok in Fandom, and everywhere there are whispers, rumours, black looks and ominous hints - for Fandom is undergoing an attack of acute anti-peristalsis. The bowels of Fandom, tiring of the perpetual and insipid diet of propaganda and commercialism which the incautious "Top Liners" force upon them, seek to eject the undesirable - the sordid - from their midst, and establish a new order of things. The Old Order Changeth ....and pre-natal eruptions indicate the gestation of a New. Michelism has had its day - and Escapism has become an out-moded term, a toy to amuse the quibblers. Sundry commercial fan ventures begin to pall, lacking as they do the efficiency and sterling honesty of their professional prototypes; and various "Service" catalogues and price-lists help to feed the kitchen fire.

Fandom is growing old, but young, fresh blood is surging forward to keep alive the Land of the Fantasts; young, fresh blood that cannot perform its beneficial function because of the senile and decrepit specimens who still infest the Higher Places, frantically holding on to their aura of faded glory.... the Top Liners!

Psychological perverts, who -- aware of their own apalling insignificance in the great, big world around them, hope to compensate by achieving some measure of fame and glory (?) in the world of science-fliction!

The methods they employ in order to keep themselves before the eyes of their fantasy-loving public are painfully obvious and trite. D.A. (Me und Gott!) Wollheim together with his cronies, concocts a pseudo-Communist party (in no conceivable way relevant to fantasy!), and satiates his ego by flooding fanmags with infantile propaganda. Infant prodigy 4SJ Akrmn struts like a sophisticated peacock on a flimsy stage built from Achermanese and Esperanto; the former an ingenious excuse for inability to spell, the latter a vapid pipe-dream of some thwarted genius.

And Tucker, incompetant nincompoop, rockets to a dubious sort of fame astride the egregious "staple war", after which, pining for the publicity of those hectic days, he endeavours to resurrect the defunct puerility of yesteryears by inaugurating WAFFF. But let him be; he and his WAFFF can play for hours, for we are not obliged to pander to the egotism of the Tucker nor the Wollheim, the Ackerman, the Michel, the Carnell, the Johnson, the Mayer, the Lowndes, tbe Moskowitz, the --, but I could go on indefinitely recording the names of those who have made Fandom the unhappy, unstable mess which it is.

page 2:
A few plaintive voices can be heard in this wilderness of antagonism and rivalries, a few sincere voice, that cry - ”Give Fandom a Square Deal".

They appeal to the fogies who call themselves ”Top Liners" to look to their motives. Are they egoists or Altruists? Is the Carnell really catering to the fans, or is he merely trying to ingratiate himself with those in places professional by featuring "big names" in that odiferous effusion - NEW WORLD? Is the Johnson really running his "Service" in order to help and assist fans and collectors or is he merely using the S.F.A. as a field of exploitation in which to make money? Is he an Altruist or a Profiteer?? Does the Mayer really publish TOMORROW with the edification of Fandom as his motive, or is he merely appeasing his vanity and satisfying his lust for publicity? Is he an Altruist or a snob?

But enough of this mournful discussion. I recall, in closing, an article by the Moskovitz which appeared in Wiggins' FAN --- "Disillusion". [LASFL "Imagination!"] Disillusion - the experience which inevitably comes to every fan of normal intelligence; the discovery that these wonderful, knowledgeable and admirable chaps - the Top Liners - are mere conceited and self-centred reptiles, feeding on publicity and existing on the adulations of the masses.

Sic transit gloria.....


[It is surely unnecessary for us to say that the above is for removed from the view held by the Editor - we do not publish merely work that expresses our views. In future such personalities as are contained in this article will be barred, unless some of Sumus victims dare to have a smack. Incidentally I would like to warn in advance London SFAers that the arch-criminal John F. Burke is not, this time, guilty.]