The Play

A dramatic adaptation was performed on stage at Seattle's NORWESCON V in 1982. Bob Shaw was one of the Guests of Honour.

The Musical

This was scored by Erwin "Filthy Pierre" Strauss and performed at the 2019 Worldcon in Dublin.

The Audio Version

In 2006, Jim and Carrie Mowatt taped a reading of The Enchanted Duplicator. This is available to listen to online or to download.

Be warned: Some of the pronunciations are a little bizarre.

The Graphic Novel

Dan Steffan began his graphic novel adaptation in an issue of his own fanzine, BOONFARK #4 (January 1981). Alas, he only completed three chapters but this beautiful work can be viewed at the link below.



(Stu Shiffman art)

(Dan Steffan art)

Over the years there have been sequels to The Enchanted Duplicator by several people, myself included. And as proof that time marches on, not only does TED itself contain now dated references but so does my 1994 pseudo-sequel. After all, how many youngsters today would know what a dot-matrix printer is?

Beyond The Enchanted Duplicator by Walt Willis & James White (1991)

The Reaffirmation by Rob Hansen (1994)

The Miscarriage of Heaven and Hell by Taral (not online)



The Board Game

In Skyrack 51 (April 1963) Ron Bennett wrote:

BRUCE BURN threw an eviction party 9th March. Ken & Irene Potter made a farewell appearance before returning north to Lancaster. Jhim Linwood played the drums and Ethel Lindsay, introduced to the game of Monopoly, beat all comers. Following the usual trend in London circles, Bruce revealed a new game which has a board based on The Enchanted Duplicator.

Bruce was being evicted from his bed-sit at 5 Kingdon Road, West Hampstead for reasons best left unmentioned and was partying before his move to George Locke’s flat in Chelsea. I would move into his vacated bed-sit the following day. Also at the party was Dick Ellingsworth who had the bed-sit next to Bruce – with a Bruce and Dick on the top floor all that was needed was the Bat-pole. Bruce’s game was called Jophan’s Quest, based on Walt Willis and Bob Shaw’s The Enchanted Duplicator about a fan's progress from Mundane to the Tower of Trufandom. However, in the game being first to reach the Tower didn't necessarily mean you won the game – it was a bit more complicated than that. After a few die rolls I recall passing through the Jungle of Inexperience to land on a square that required me to immediately produce a one-shot. I retired to the typer in Dick’s room together with Marion who had come up from Salisbury for the party, quickly wrote some rubbish and found something more interesting to do. When we came back I think the game had descended into chaos and everyone was now playing Monopoly instead but Ken Potter, who had also landed on the one-shot square, produced the following poem:

Femmefans make our way so light
And fill with joy each lonely night.
As in darkling shadows we cower
Their memory livens each long hour,
And when the booze is flowing free
And when they sit upon your knee
Oh what exquisite joy you find
With lovely, lovely femmefan kind.
Alas, with all these praises said,
They hardly ever come to bed.

Dick and I later devised a fannish version of Monopoly. Bruce also invented a card-game called Convention Gaga based on running a con and the shenanigans involved. It was only played a couple of times but Bruce still has the pack of cards and rules.

- Jim Linwood (with a memory jog by Bruce Burn)

Paranoid #24, ed. Ian Maule, February, 2012


The Computer Game

Early in 1988, while living in the UK, New Zealand fan Nigel Rowe created a computer game based on The Enchanted Duplicator. Initially programmed on Vince Clarke's computer (Rowe didn't have one at the time) in the Basic programming language, it was test-played on his own Amstrad computer by Walt Willis. Of the game Rowe notes:

"I hasten to add, it was more an experimental work in progress than a fully fleshed out version. Think text adventure game style."


The Miniature Golf Course

From Progress Report 6 for MAGICON, the 1992 Worldcon:

Walt Willis Enchanted Miniature Golf Course
Part of the Theme Park in Exhibit Halls B and C will become the Walt Willis Enchanted Miniature Golf Course. This approximately 12 hole course based on Walt Willis and Bob Shaw's The Enchanted Duplicator will feature miniature golf holes designed by Worldcon bids and fan clubs. If your club would like to participate write to [address redacted] or call [phone number redacted] to receive more information. MagiCon will be supplying most of the materials, you'll supply the imagination and ingenuity.


The Academic Conference

In February 2019 at a conference on duplicators - no, seriously - I expounded on fannish mythologizing of the duplicator with specific reference to 'The Enchanted Duplicator'.


The Cosplay - ALBACON II (1983)

Eddie Jones's Jophan

Peter Weston's Jophan

Ross Chamberlain's Jophan

"That's not much of a costume, is it?"
"Why don't you have a sword with that shield?"
"Or a dragon on your shoulder?"

I felt a bit of an idiot at ALBACON, standing in a curtained-off alcove with the other fancy-dress contestants, they in glittering costumes, false heads, and so on, and me standing there with my trousers tucked into my socks! Chris's rucksack on my back, fanzines sticking out of the pockets of my faithful, battered old leather jacket, and my Shield of Umor on my arm.

One of the committee tried to move me on, "Only contestants allowed in here".

Somebody else was photographing the costumes, looked at me doubtfully, and decided not to bother.

Then the compere asked me what I was supposed to be, frowned at my card and spelled it out slowly,
"J-O-P-H-A-N in search of the Perfect Fanzine". She looked at my shield and frowned again. I could almost hear her thinking, "What story is that from?"

Actually, I was rather proud of that shield, and it had taken a considerable expenditure of energy and effort to get it to Glasgow.

The idea came to me just before the BSFG AGM, when the juices of fandom were bubbling away strongly. I remembered that I had a large sheet of aluminium in the garage, and a strip of brass, and like a flash I disappeared into my little workshop with a small hammer and a lot of determination.

I drew a large, grinning face on the metal, placed it onto a slab of foam rubber to act as a buffer, and started tapping away at the outline. Aluminium is malleable stuff, but it was a slow job - each 'tap' produced a dent about 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch deep. But by the end of the day I was well pleased by the result. A quick trip to Woolworth's collected an aerosol of silver paint and a small pot of black laquer, and those were the finishing touches.

"It has a sensitive fannish face," said Eileen, inspecting my masterpiece, a huge curved shield about 40 inches by 30 inches.

Have you ever tried to get something like that onto a standard British Railways carriage? It won't go on the luggage rack, behind, or under the seats. I sat there until Carlisle, clutching this great stupid parcel wrapped in brown paper. Only then did Steve Green suggest I put it into the guards' van, an idea which had never even occurred to me. (Cosmic Minds, we fans!)

And, apart from a brief moment of panic at Glasgow Central, when we discovered the rear half of the train had gone to Edinburgh, that was that. I stored the shield in Rog's room (I was staying in an overflow hotel) until the Saturday night, when I went public for all fandom to see.

There must have been at least a dozen people in the ballroom (out of 500) who understood the joke. But what the heck, I've read THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, I know the secret of the Tower of Trufandom; do you? (And it has nothing to do with bloody dragons!)

- Peter Weston, PROLAPSE #1 (June 1983)

(But that wasn't the end of the story, which Greg Pickersgill picks up after this):

(cover by Steve Green)

I was just cleaning my Shield of Umor.

No, honestly, I was. It's been in Catherine's gardening shed for a while (now how fannish is THAT, eh) because for one damn reason or another we've been short a bit of wall to put it up on. Anyway, to cut a long story short I've found a bit of wall and now all I need is a couple of big hooks and we're away to the races.

The Shield is in pretty good condition considering it hasn't been used for a while - a bit dusty, some strange aluminium-type corrosion on the backside, but the legend and the cheerful face are A-Number-One. Looking at it brings all sorts of times and places and people back to me - maybe I ought to be using it as a meditation piece, an aide-memoire to put myself back into a time when fandom was if not a nicer more interesting place then at least one I felt at home in. As opposed to the one with too many boring shitheads in it that I seem to see whenever I open the gate. Sorry, should have been more moderate there, must go and gaze into the Shield again, and see the funny side of it all.

I'd love to say that my Shield of Umor appeared by my bedside one night years ago when I was but a tiny fan reading a few pages of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS with the commitment of a convert every night before I forced myself to sleep at three in the morning, homework undone (yes, that's why I'm a poorly paid clerical at best, instead of running the country) but many scifi magazines read. I'd love to, indeed, and I wonder sometimes if it did. But the real story - as I remember it anyway - is more prosaic, but still charged with a kind of fannish fervour.

The Shield I have - I would say 'own' but that's not strictly true - originated with that person from Porlock, Peter R Weston. I can't for the life of me remember why Peter had one of his skilful minions in the door-handle factory run him up a Shield of Umor - it was almost certainly his entrance into a fancy-dress competition as Jophan (well, that's obvious isn't it!) but I definately don't recall when. I was probably in the bar at the time anyway. But it must have been before June 1983 as the cover of one of the two issues of Peter's rather good little fanzine PROLAPSE issued that year featured a cartoon of him plus shield

. Anyway, time passes and we arrive at the 1987 Worldcon in Brighton.

For no doubt positive reasons Peter donates his Shield to the fanfund auction, which takes place in the Fan Program Room towards the end of the convention. I was Bossing the whole fanroom setup during that convention and like many of the staff I'd got a bit overwrought about it all - it was a peculiarly stressful convention in many ways, and far too many people got far too carried away with it all, sometimes in quite the wrong directions; we won't even go into the paper planes, for example. Or the unknown young twerp I had in a strangling deathgrip at one time. Let's just say that we had our little war, then and there, and fanrooms have never been quite so Involving ever since. Some of them have been fucking useless, it has to be said.

Anyway, there we were, wired up tight like that and the Shield of Umor comes up for auction, Immediately this great light goes on behind my eyes and I'm thinking of this as just the most Fannish Damned Thing ever to have existed on the planet - in my state I'm probably convincing myself that it actually is the Shield of Umor itself. It is a wonderful thing, it seems to glow with a deep internal brightness and the murky surroundings and dulled and exhausted faces of fans who have had Too Much Fun seem illuminated by its very presence. To cap it all, the first bidder is bloody Moshe Feder. Bloody hell, the man's an American, for gods sake. OK, he's a fan, and he's a right guy as far as I can tell (hangs about with publishers a bit much for my taste tho...but you have to make a living) but crikey that means that the Shield of Umor will LEAVE THE FUCKING COUNTRY!

Of course this can't happen. I instantly resolve that whatever happens the Shield will be British. We need it for gods sake, we take fandom so seriously here. (Oh how I wish I'd actually thought that at the time - as it was I was just roaring away on a huge wave of fannish nationalism, this was Our Worldcon, we'd just run a pretty damn fine Fanroom, we deserved a Symbol, a rallying point, something that linked us directly to the heart and soul of the ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR!) So whatever Moshe bids, I top, thinking the hell with it, I will win and worry about the consequences later.

We rapidly charge up the scale - fifty pounds passes and the damn thing is now more valuable that a double room in the convention hotel - sixty, the price of two nights drinking in the hotel bar - seventy, two nights drinking and a hotel meal - eighty, drink, meal, and enough cash to waste on books....

Moshe wavers, he obviously hates to let it go, but I also sense he thinks I haven't got infinite reserves (well, I haven't, but at this point I don't give a damn) so he pushes it up to 82 pounds (drink, meal, books, and the price of medication for liver failure...) in the vain hope I'll crumble. But no. My 85 pounds is too much for him, and with obvious disappointment he let's it go. (Of course he claimed later he only kept bidding to keep the price up and make sure some substantial money went to TAFF or whatever it was...yeah, sure thing...).

The Shield of Umor is mine, it's part of British Fandom now and forever, it is a wonderful moment. I'm genuinely elated and I carry the thing to my hotel room with real pride and tears in my eyes, and no doubt nonfan convention attendees passing me in the corridors and halls perceive me as a crazy man.

Later while in the bar I discuss the idea of the Shield being owned cooperatively by British Fandom - part of me already wondering where the hell I'm going to get 85 pounds from, but overall I genuinely want it to be an Us rather than My thing. There's a chorus of agreement to my suggestion that a group of us contribute towards the actual cost of the Shield; I certainly don't expect any cash at the end of a pretty damned expensive convention but feel, in my position as Fanroom Boss that all of these people, all of whom had been in my team, all of us flushed with Unit Pride and a job well-done in the fact of almost overwhelming hostility, that everything will be alright. The responsibility won't be mine alone, we will share the burden, work together.

Of course it doesn't turn out like that in real life. Within days it's all forgotten. The fans who were so behind the idea at the time appear to have no memory of it - except, oddly, one AM Berry (Master Locksmith). Tony Berry comes through with a small sum of money - ten pounds or so (or was it 12-50?) and from thenceforward owns a proportion of the Shield of Umor. It's almost unbelievable how inappropriate this is; not that Tony is an especially humourless individual, but he's more known for his dour cynicism than anything else.

But he has done the decent thing, and eventually even more; some months later he presents me with the Sword of Angst, a peculiarly British-fandom complement to the Shield of Umor. Made with his own hands from a sturdy wooden pick handle, it's name neatly painted on and well-varnished, I have it still, and for years it rested along the top of the Shield when we had a wall to put it on.

So here we are today. I didn't consciously extract the Shield with any fannish motive - I was just cleaning out Catherine's gardening shed - but I do feel I need it more now than ever. I must try to see the joke; I don't have any problem with picking up and pointing out the fundamental foolishness of life in every other circumstance, but setbacks and disappointments and collision with unsavoury fools and unpleasant shitheads in fandom bring me down very low.

It isn't that I need to convince myself that It Doesn't Matter - I don't want to do that because it does matter and if it didn't, bloody hell, I might as well just take up gardening or collecting typewriters or steel helmets or some pointless shit like that - but I have got to be more reasonable and balanced about it all, not want to discard the whole business because of disappointment with things or people.

I must be more reasonable - I will see the Joke - I will look into the Smiling Face and remind myself of what I liked about fandom, and try to find some evidence for it around me.

Maybe everything will be alright in the end

- Greg Pickersgill, 2001.


Greg, I'm not going to miss this chance for a little late egoboo on The Shield of Umor - I'm delighted you valued it so much and still appreciate it now.

It wasn't made by "one of the minions" because I didn't take over the door handle factory until the following year. No, the Shield was made by me, myself, personally, in one frantic Saturday afternoon of creativity in my shed, just before the 1983 Glasgow Albacon. I'd missed Eastercon for a year or two, and you'll remember this was when I was trying to get the Brum Group "Renaissance" underway, so for both of these reasons I thought I'd make a special effort to be fannish, and would go as Jophan to the Fancy Dress.

The Shield started as a piece of aluminium sheet, originally part of a display board we used at an exhibition in France in l968 when I was with the BSA company. When I left I took various bits of wood and stuff like this away with me, on the general basis that it might come in useful. So when inspiration struck in 1983 I just had to get off the letraset, using an abrasive pad, then I cut the sheet into a rough triangle and drew the face in felt-tip pen. (modelled on the Eddie Jones illo in the second edition of TED, produced by Ted Johnstone and LASFS in 1962. This is my preferred edition and I have it now).

Next step was to put the thing onto a thick bed of latex foam, and then I started tapping away with a small hammer and punch. If you're careful, you can gradually distort a sheet of aluminium in this way, but it takes a long time since each 'tap' makes only a tiny dent, and you don't want to tear the sheet. (It's called 'panel-beating' and that's how Morgan Motors made body panels for their cars until recently, at their factory in Pickersgill Road, Malvern [thought you'd like to know that!])

Finally I sprayed the face with some aluminium car-paint to brighten it up a little, outlined the features in black gloss paint, and bent the top around and secured across the arc with a piece of broomstick, which holds the shape and gives you something to grip. I think I put a piece of polished brass strip across the top as well; that was also scrounged, and was originally due to be used as a rain-deflector on my back door.

Anyway, I went up to Glasgow on the train with Steve Green, Martin Tudor and (I think) Tony Berry, but my problem was that the Shield was too big to put on the luggage rack, or behind the seat, so I had to sit and hold it, all the way up (5 hours). And when I finally went into the Fancy Dress line-up, I felt a bit of a prat because no-one, not a soul, knew what it was supposed to be. There I stood with fanzines stuffed in my socks and a knapsack on my back, along with all these people with swords and cloaks. "Not much of a costume, is it?" they said, and "Maybe if he had a dragon on his shoulder..." (You can read all about it in Prolapse).

The best bit was when I shambled around the area and got a round of applause from Mal Ashworth, who had chosen that year to re-enter fandom. He was almost the only one to recognise the Shield for what it was. (You certainly were in the bar - I mean, you NEVER go to Fancy Dress). So it was all a bit of a waste of time, really, but I enjoyed making the Shield and I'm very pleased it went to a good owner.

Now make sure you keep it well polished, Gregory. You know what will happen if you don't!

- Peter Weston, 2001


An Additional Note of Clarification:

Just before I added this exchange, I received the following from Owen Whiteoak on the pre-exchange version:

"At the 1987 Worldcon, Greg organised a whip-round to make sure the Shield stayed within British fandom - I ontributed to it, as did many others."

To which Greg responded:

"It wasn't so much a whip-round as me thinking I was running out of money and making a general request to whatever UK fans were sitting closest if they'd come in on it. Honestly, the only one I remembered afterwards who made a significant donation was Tony Berry. On the other hand if anyone claims they did then they may well be right."