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BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY........................... .........................................................Dec 31st, 1945.

BULLETIN No.24

New Members.

Syd Bounds, 27 Borough Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey (119); Colin Brown, 3 Cambridge Gardens, Edinburgh, (126) (4/-!); Joyce Fairbairn, c/o 243 Crookesmoor Road, Sheffield 6 (124); Gomberg, 45 Elliott Road, Hendon Central, London N.W.4 (96 - delayed-action sub.); Frederick V. Giles, 10 Blake Avenue, Barking - or LX 31421 ditto, 1 Mess, H.M.S. Lightfoot, c/o G.P.O. London, (5/-) (d.a. again, due to time it took Bulletin No. 22 to reach H.M.S. Lightfoot in the back of beyond); Eric Hopkins, 1447691 F/Sgt., Sgts. Mess, 271 Squadron, RAF Broadwell, Nr. Shilton, Oxon - or c/o 6 Elm Park Avenue , Elm Park, Romford, Essex, (121)(and another 5/-); E. James, 5678818 L/C, Q.M.Staff, H.Q. Coy. 6th Bn. Durham L.I. Skipton Yorkshire, (125); Walter I. Norcott, 41 St John's, Worcester (54 - another d.a.); Erik S. Needham, FX 756410 AM/1, Kempenfelt Mess, R.N.A.S., Yeovilton, Yeovil, Somerset - or c/o 10 Smedley Lane , Cheetham Mill, Manchester 6 (120); J. Newman, 36 Bulstrode Avenue, Hounslow, Middlesex (122); F.G. Rayer, F.I.A.S., Longdon, Gloucestershire, (123)

A goodly haul, and for the benefit of the newcomers and those with short memories I had better explain that the figures in parentheses are the Membership numbers of the respective members, and that, where no other information is given the member concerned has joined - or rejoined - by virtue of having paid the standard amount of 2/6 for one year's sub.

The Society.

I had hoped to give a few details here about the position of the Society and its prospective activities, with particular reference to our present financial standing - which is better than it has ever been. But, if you will excuse the recapitulation of familiar facts, the Society is governed by an Executive Committee of five people - President, Director, Secretary, Treasurer, and Advisory Board Coordinator, whose only means of communication is by means of circular letter through the post, and those who remember back as far as the previous Bulletin will remember that at that time this arrangement had failed owing to the miscarriage of the current chain letter. I very much regret to state that this state of affairs persists, a further chain letter having gone astray.

Even when working at full efficiency this method of ruling the Society suffers from a number of grave defects, the gravest of which is the exasperating slowness of arriving at decisions, a slowness which in my opinion helped to kill some quite feasible schemes. When it fails to work at all the result is a cessation of new developments, and a progressive slowing down through lack of stimulus of the established activities. It is time that a better system was evolved, if such is possible under the present conditions, and if anyone has any ideas on the subject I would be very glad to hear from them, and to submit their schemes to public discussion by means of this publication. The following conditions have to be catered for:-

  1. For the present time, at least, no system involving personal contact of the executive members is possible. If it were, there would be no problem.
  2. It must be some arrangement by which the greatest number of people possible have a say in the affairs of the Society. This blocks the other easy way out - namely government by a single person, however chosen or elected.
  3. It can be argued, with justification, that perhaps the major fault with the existing method is the staleness of the present set of officials. But where can replacements be found?

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Congratulations... To Ron and Rita Holmes on the safe arrival of a daughter - Rita Veronica - on December 10th. To those three in particular we wish a happy and prosperous New Year.

JMR'S News Column.

First item consists of publishing news from USA. Messrs Tom Hadley and Don Grant of 271 Doyle Avenue, Providence 6, Rhode Island, have formed a company for the publication of science-fictionial and associated material. They have already issued a booklet entitled "Rhode Island on Lovecraft" and plan to follow this up with a series of bound novels. First on the schedule is E.E. Smith's "Skylark of Space", and after that three of John Taine's, ("The Time Stream", "White Lily" and "Seeds of Life", according to Arthur Hillman, who also gives the price of these as $3 per copy, (though somewhere else I have seen quoted the figure of $2-50 ..drs)....Ben Abramson of the Argos Bookshop, now in New York, is the publisher of a slim but well-produced volume entitled "HPL - a Memoir" and written by August Derleth......Latest addition to the Viking Portable Library is "Novels of Science" edited by D.A. Wollheim and including "First Men in the Moon" by H.G. Wells, "Before the Dawn" - John Taine, "The Shadow Out of Time" -H.P. Lovecraft, and "Odd John" by Olaf Stapledon. Priced at $2 this is good value for the Americans (or anyone else - drs) and a worthy companion to "Six Novels of the Supernatural" in the same series.....Projected publishing plans across the Atlantic include possible printing of the so-far unfinished A. Merritt stories by Messrs Hannes Bok and Connors, who have acquired rights to these tales. (Hannes Bok is finishing them, and they will be published with Bok illustrations at $3.00 per volume in a limited edition - 1000 off each. Titles are "The Fox Woman" and "The Black Wheel", and the period is that of "The Ship of Ishtar"...drs quoting Bill Evans)....In the realm of fan news the most exciting incident consists of the expulsion of Donald and Elsie Wollheim from the New York "Futurian" group, and the consequent widening of the policy of the latter. Wollheim has objected sufficiently strenuously to his characterisation as to threaten to sue for libel.... The other matter engaging American fandom is whether or not Tigrina will accept Forrest Ackerman's proposal of marriage. At the moment the girl is residing with Forry's grandmotner in Los Angeles, so the chances appear favourable. Apart from these furores little is doing in US fandom except to await the threatened deluge of the new pulp mags of all tripes (sorry - ''types" it should read -drs).....The only publishing activities going on over here consist of the steady accumulation of material by Walter Gillings (some say "Good Old Wallie !!" ...drs) for his post-war magazine(s), and the continued emergence of the "Utopian" reprints of American science-fiction under the strangest titles and invariably accompanied by nude photographs. So far about a score have been issued. (I haven't seen any - but I am narrow minded and my eyes automatically avoid nude photographs - assuming that this means photographs of nude women...drs).....Visitors continue to appear at all points of the Anglofan globe. From overseas Milton A. Rothman had a furlough in Britain and spent it in Aberdeen, Leeds, and London. William H. Groveman just missed going to Berlin with his unit in favour of a course in the "liberal arts" at Birmingham University, during the course of which he contacted the Birmingham fans and has visited numerous members of the British Amateur Press Association, including your columnist.....The Canadians Norman V. Lamb

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and Al Godfrey are still occupying England and both visited Leeds during September - precisely one week apart, with Milty in between. Other visitors to Grange Terrace have been Mr and Mrs Ron Holmes, on their last excursion before arrival of baby. Ted Carnell, first President of the BFS, also called at Grange Terrace during a wild motor-ride from the Isle of Wight to Scotland...

Postscript to the above by DRS.

Bill Evans - whose friends may like to know is now to be found at 2121 Monroe, Corvallis, Oregon, U.S.A. - gives the following gen on the new Arkham House books. Available now are "Opener of the Way" - Robert Bloch; "The Hounds of Tindalos" - Long; "Green Tea" - Lefanu; "Doll and One Other" - Blackwood; "House on the Borderland" - Hodgson, scheduled for early spring. Later in '46' are "West India Lights" Whitehead; "Dark Carnival" - Bradbury; "Revelations in Black" Jacobi; "Skull Face and -Others" Howard; an antholgy of weird poetry, and others. Also coming up are the novels "Witch House" - Walton; "The Lurker on the Threshold" - Lovecraft & Derleth, and "Slan" - van Vogt....and the first Lovecraft collection, "The Outsider and others" is now being quoted at - wait for it - $100.00 !!!!. Mr A. Bertram Chandler reports another couple of sales to Astounding, one a thirty-four thousand worder entitled "Special Knowledge" which gets him another cover. If it's as good as "Giant Killer" which had the October cover - and the cover iilustration appears to be the only one worth having in Astounding these days - it is a praiseworthy performance. ABC sailed early in December, bound for Baghdad-on-the-subway (New York to those unfamiliar with O.Henry) and places beyond in a nice new motor ship, to which he was transferred after his previous ship had had to return to port with summat bust...Maurice Hanson's excursion to the Middle East, mentioned in the last Bulletin, didn't come off, and he was exiled to Glasgow instead. He is expecting his release on or about Jan. 23rd, after an Army career lasting some 6 years. Another service fan, Cpl. Reg Diggins of the RAF, unfolds a sad tale in a letter from Madras. He was put on draft for despatch overseas back in March, taken off, put back on again, ditto repeat some sixteen times, and finally sailed away with his Class B release in hot pursuit. Offagin, onagin, backagin, Flanagin....News from our friends of the Cosmos Club is that President J.K. Aiken, Ph.D has had to resign onaccounta he's gone to work in the neighbourhood of Manchester and that the new President is Mr H. Gomberg - late Secretary of the Club - the post of Secretary having been taken over by Mr J. Newman.... Dennis Tucker mentions having come across an article in a 1937 "Modern Wonder" - the boy's paper - entitled "The Principles of Jet Propulsion"....anyone with a taste for sadism and a friend who is a Lovecraft devotee should persuade that friend to read Edmund Wilson's discussion of HPL's merits, and lack of 'em, in a recent "New Yorker". Some excuse for the critic may be found in the fact that apparently he's been suffering under a bombardment of propaganda from the Lovecraftian set, which I admit would put a bishop off the Bible, but for all that he is somewhat harsh. After reading some of the stories, and describing in some detail "The Shadow out of Time" to which he gives faint - almost imperceptible - praise, he says "the only real horror in most of these fictions is the horror of bad art and bad taste, Lovecraft was not a good writer." Nasty man! He comes down heavily on the side of those of us who think that one of Lovecraft's most irritating mistakes of style was

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his habit of sprinking his stories with such words as 'horrible', 'terrible', 'eldritch', 'eerie', 'unhallowed', 'unholy', 'blasphemous' etc. Mr Wilson finds Lovecraft somewhat more interesting than his stories, and says "his long essay on the literature of supernatural horror is a really able piece of work...he throws more light on the English Gothic novelists than anybody else I know, including, Saintsbury." I must confess that that last shoots past well outside the range of my comprehension, and makes it evident that any relationship between my views and Mr Wilson's is purely coincidental. But Lovecraft gets five full columns of the "New Yorker" devoted to his failings, which is publicity, and as no doubt Picasso would agree, it is better to be publicly loathed than publicly ignored....Charles Addams, one of the "New Yorker"'s cartoonists, is producing an occasional drawing with an amusing slant on the weird, in particular a series in which a ghoul and his vampire wife view with growing concern the depressingly normal humanity of their small son...."He doesn't get it from my side of the family", says one to the other on finding the lad admiring his reflection in a mirror.

BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY LTD (by guarantee.)

Acting somewhat faster than us fantasy fans the British Interplanetary Society - which suspended activities during the war - and the British Astronautical Society - which didn't - have got together and united themselves under the above imposing title, According to the Prospectus the idea is to further the cause of interplanetary travel by the study of all the relevant sciences and the dissemination of the knowledge so gained, the organizaction of research and experiment, the publication of papers on all relevant scientific developments, and the organization of meetings, lectures, debates, and exhibitions. A monthly Bulletin and a quarterly Journal will be published, and a reference library maintained for the use of members. There are three grades of membership - Fellowship open to those who have some scientific, academic, technical or professional qualifications enabling them to participate in the research conducted by the Society, subscription 1-1-0 per year; Membership, open to persons with similar qualifications but of insufficiently high standard for Fellowship, but who are thereby enabled to form sound opinions on the general trend and development of the Society's work and to benefit the membership of the Society, subscription 1-0-0 per year; Associate membership, for scrubbers without sufficient qualifications for either but willing to pay 10/- per year for no particular reason that is stated on the Prospectus, but which I assume to be similar to those of Membership - not stated either - apart from the privilege of voting in the conduct of Society affairs. The entrance fee for all grades is 5/-. The Enrollment Secretary may be reached at 2 Chesterford Gardens, Hampstead, London N.W. 3

Personally I can't see that Members are twice as well off as associates apart from the social standing of being able to say that one has certain qualifications - of a highly nebulous character - that Associates haven't. On the other hand Fellows ought to pay much more in proportion, because apparently they are the people who are going to have fun with the money the others provide. I advise all interested to write to the Enrollment Secretary for a copy of the Prospectus which goes into more detail than I have space for here. It may arouse more enthusiasm in you than it does in me...but I was never a very contented member of the old BIS either, I'm wondering if it's worth 15/- to find out if this latest incarnation is any better.... .

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BFS BEYOND No. 3

This is now on its way round the rota of those interested. For the benefit of newcomers I should explain that this magazine is made up of the typed manuscripts of stories written by members of the BFS bound together in magazine form with illustrations by our artistic members, and sundry other features, and is circulated on a chain system to all who apply to the editor, Mr Arthur Hillman, 100 Corporation Road, Newport, Monmouthshire. The present issue includes a couple of neat little stories by our Mr Chandler.

The Atlantis Research Centre.

In Cairo, where he is now stationed, our mutual friend Peter Hawkins has made contact with an energetic delver into odd branches of knowledge in the person of a Mr Sykes. The above-mentioned Research Centre is one of this gentleman's enterprises, and I have by me a pamphlet which he has prepared on the subject. The idea is to systematically collect and collate all possible references to Atlantis, or to phenomena, - such as the alleged similarities between Egyptian and American early civilizations - which may provide circumstantial evidence for Atlantis, and to study in detail such circumstantial evidence. Mr Sykes gives a list of such facts, theories and phenomena which he considers to require investigating with Atlantis in mind, some of which, such as "a comparitive classification of deluge stories" are obviously very relevant, and others, such as "the religious significance of children's games" not so apparently relevant. In view of the fact that Mr Sykes mentions, after an awe-inspiring review of recent works on the subject of Atlantis, that a bibliography of the subject is now being prepared which will have ovr 4000 references in it, it would seem that the ground has been fairly well-covered already, but no doubt enthusiasm could carry the task even further. Anyone interested should write to "Mr Egerton Sykes, 9 Markham Square, London S.W.3"

Letters

When, a couple of bulletins ago, the suggestion was made that members might like to write in and give their fellows the benefit of their opinions on the BFS and associated matters, I did not expect to be inundated with correspondence to the extent of doubling the size of the bulletin and how true a guide were my feelings, for the only letter to hand that is strictly relevant to this department is one from Ken Bulmer, which owing to his being a member of the C.M.F. and other things means that it is somewhat out-of-date, as it is devoted chiefly to Bulletin 21 of last June. One paragraph, however, appears to tie up with one of JMR's news items above....

"From the few American fanzines I have seen lately (mainly Acolyte), I gather a somewhat unfavourable impression of continual bickering over trivia - distasteful trivia to boot. When talk of libel and courts of law crops up in fanzines it's high time someone got their finger out and swept the cobwebs away and started over afresh?"
My knowledge of American fandom being of the slightest, and mostly ten years out of date anyway, I cannot identify this reference. It does seem, however, that in this connection two points can be made which I don't think are often discussed in fan-circles. The first is that a common interest in fantasy is not such a dominant influence as some would have us believe, and that is is quite possible and quite natural for two fantasy

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fans to be of such opposite personalities as to dislike each other intensely. If this fact is recognised in the admittedly rare cases when it does occur, and allowed for both by the parties concerned and their mutual friends, it need not be a disruptive influence in a club, in fact recognition of feeling followed by a little self-analysis on both sides may lead in time to the antipathy being eased out of existence, while pretending that it does not exist merely leads to a period of uneasy suppression followed by an outburst.

The other point that arises in connection with these sudden outbreaks of violence in fan clubs is that often the accuser is as much to blame as the accused in that he has, through idleness or lack of attention, withheld his protest until it is too late for a compromise solution. The usual accusation is that someone has been trying to establish himself as dictator, that being one of the "hate words" of the day, but probably this "dictator" is merely the poor sap who has been doing all the work of running the club, without advice or aid from those who suddenly accuse him of, rather naturally, having come to the conclusion that "The State - it is I!". The price of liberty is constant vigilance. (Not mine - but I've forgotten the source).

ADVERTISMENTS

2373109 Sigmn. H. K. Bulmer, 89 Tele Op section, 4 Company, 6th Air Formation Signals, CMF is anxious to buy old Astoundings. Harry Manson, 52 Harbour Street, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, wants; Amazing Quarterlies - Fall 1928, Spring 1929, & Fall-Winter 1932, & Wonder Stories Quarterly Winter 1941; in exchange he offers Amazing Quarterly - Summer 1929 (containing "Venus Liberated"), Wonder Stories Quarterly Spring 1930 (brown paper cover, otherwise in good condition, containing "The Stone from the Moon" ), two Avon books - "Burn Witch Burn" and "Creep Shadow Creep" by Merritt, and any one of the following bound books - "Three Men Make a World" by Andrew Marvell, "Lord of the Sea" by M.P. Shiel and "A Book of Miracles" by Ben Hecht. Also offer Wonder Stories - Jan. 1935 and April 1936.

F/S A. Salmond, c/o 251 Marfield Street, Carntyne, Glasgow E.2 wants Astoundings containing "Legion of Space" (up to 1 for the set), "Second Stage Lensman", & from August 1936 to March 1937. Top prices offered.

Colin Brown, 3 Cambridge Gardens, Edinburgh, wishes to buy back numbers of science-fiction magazines.

So does E.C. Tubb, 7 Randolph Avenue, Maida Vale, London W.9. U.K.

M.K. Hanson, c/o 95 Mere Road, Leicester, is selling a largish chunk of his collection. Unfortunately - for you who read this - much has gone to certain persons with inside information, but it's worth a try.

There are still a number of sad gaps in my own collection which I'd like to fill, particularly Astoundings from Nov. 1939 to Oct 1941 and certain pre- 1935 Astoundings, and I hope anyone who can help me will do so. I would also like to contact someone with a fairly complete set of BRE Astoundings, as I have a commission to prepare a list of these containing details of stories and cover pictures, and there are many of which I have no record. As cumshaw I offer a couple of recent US Astoundings, April 1944 and January 1945, and/or the loan of magazines from my own somewhat dogeared collection. Also I urgently need first editions of many of Talbot Mundy's works....D.R. Smith, 13 Church Road, Hartshill, Nuneaton, Warwks.

///Duplication and despatch of this by Ron Holmes, God bless////
Labels addressed by Gilbert Pusey. drs.

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Notes:

1) Scans of this issue supplied by Al Durie, OCR/proofreading by Greg Pickersgill.