FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST - Issue 28 (Vol. 3, Number 6) May 1943
In April, the surviving Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose up against the Nazis. Hopelessly outmatched, they were brutally put down. A few days after this, in the forest of Katyn near the Soviet city of Smolensk, the Germans accidentally uncover a mass grave of 4,000 Polish officers, murdered by the Russian NKVD in 1939. On April 21st, to mark Hitler's 54th birthday, the RAF bombs Berlin and three other German cities.
Distributed with this issue:
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY BULLETIN #8 - ed. D.R.Smith - 2 pagesOCRing and copyediting this issue done by Greg Pickersgill.
page 1:............................ ................................................................ ............................artwork by Arthur Williams
Lloyd Cole announce the almost immediate publication of their first attempt at science fiction publishing consisting of an original work by Benson Herbert, "Strange Romance". A first edition of 10,000 copies will be printed and whether the firm will press stf depends on the sale of this and other pioneer works. It is priced at 1/6 and will be available through the normal channels, or can be ordered through the British Fantasy Society by sending your requirements to JMR. A somewhat frivolous description by Mr Herbert says "The cover is snappy, being in erotic purple (i.e. the shade of purple said to stimulate the erotogenic centres), deals with lovers in different dimensions (very awkward for them), with bits of interplanetary wars, fights between he-men, those funny old rays, stock monsters, enough gadgets to fill a childrens store and mental conflicts between patriotism and the Higher life."
Lloyd Cole have also accepted a MS. by Frank Parker of Teddington, entitled. "Mystery Ship of Space" - an agreeable mystery of the girl-in-the-clutches-of -the-gangster variety. Now on their long waiting list and we cannot dare to prophesy any date of publication these days.
A second edition of Benson Herbert's psychological thriller "They Don't Always Hang Murderers" will be appearing this month in a full clothbound format at 7/6. Advance copies are already available.
Onward, ever onward .... in the steamy swamps of Venus and the arid wastes
of Mars; from the rocket ports of Tellus to the furthest of the stars ....
but in the meantime here is Volume 3, number 6; May 1943 Issue of ...........
FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST an amateur magazine for those looking to the future, devoted to fantasy fiction and it devotees - the "fans". Published six-weekly from 4 Grange Terrace, Chapeltown, Leeds 7; price 3d per copy; reciprocal exchange with all other fan publications welcome, and subscriptions can be remitted from USA via packets of prozines. JMRosenblum.
NEWS FROM COSMOPOLIS
Teddington's Cosmos Club held its second full meeting at Shirley's Cafe, Park Road, Teddington on Tuesday April 13th. The total attendance matched the date! Maybe it was the unlucky influence of the "fatal figure", but three members were unable to turn up as expected owing to illness. The evening was a full one. Peter Hawkins started it by snapping the assembled fans in the doorway of the cafe, then followed a lively discussion on the future of "Beyond" opened by Editor Aiken, and as a result of which it was decided to try to duplicate artwork and thus make at least three identical copies of each issue (thus ensuring quicker circulation), and also to use occasional non-fiction articles.
New member Bruce Gaffron was welcomed to the club and displayed some of his fine fantasy artwork.
The latter part of the evening was occupied by some experiments in extra-sensory perception. Members were invited to discern the contents of a series of similar sealed containers, so mixed up that even the guy who sealed then didn't know which was which. Results were sometimes startling - and often the right article was named at the wrong moment in time, the blame here being passed on to Mr J.W. Dunne. Card tests weren't so successful, but the assembled company managed to think thought-reading member Mendum into walking into a table. Great fun was had by all.
-E. F. Parker.
Incidentally with the start of volume two, the Memo Sheet of the Cosmos Club has changed its title to "Cosmic Cuts", its method of production to duplicating, has run to 8 pages and is priced at 3d. It is overwhemingly a club organ but includes one or two interesting articles and a few copies are available to the "general public". Address, 6 Greytiles, Queens Rd, Teddington.
LIBELLETTER - Idlewild, Fountainhall Road., Aberdeen.
Dear Fido: This is us. Guess who us is. Well, half of us, we'll admit is Webster - that's obvious. But who is the other half?
Listen - we think science fiction is lousy. We think it stinks. Why do you read it why does anybody read it. Question mark. Therefor why should you devote all your spare time to writing about it, inveigling people to read it, collecting it holding Conventions about it and so on. ...
News: Sir Arthur Ego Clarke has at long last moved from Yatesbury, tearing up roots with reckless abandon on all sides and leaving 3 dozen bevies of weeping local maidens all-forlorn behind him. Rumour has it that Arthur Williams has been secretly married for the last six months to Joyce Fairbairn (Garn - JMR) We forbear from comment. Eric Hopkins' visit to London on leave was the occasion of the usual disgusting alchoholic debauches, starring the usual disgusting alchoholic debauchees. If anyone by now does not know who these individuals are, we will be glad to supply the names and unexpurgated details in plain envelope. Beau Turner, late of Cottonopolis, arrived at Yatesbury just in time to take over the BIS sinking fund from Technician Clarke. He is taking a special course in frames -. and we don't mean air-frames either. Tliere is one further extremely juicy piece of news which half of us can't for the life of us persuade the other half to release. Pity. This news comes to you by courtesy of the other half of us who has transferred his stamping grounds from Highams Park to the wilds of the North. Silly fool.
Yap-yap, youse ---- Douglas Birchby.
Boskone III held! That is the third Boston science fiction conference, a smallish sectional affair held annually and without undue ballyhoo. Only some 10 people managed to get there this year due to the ever-present unfortunate circumstances. They included Messrs J.Unger, Suddsy Schwartz, Jack Speer, Art Widner, and Claude Degler who hitch-hiked a mere 1600 miles from Newcastle, Indiana to attend. It was an informal affair purely for the enjoyment of the participants and apparently a good time was had by all ... "Fantasy Fiction Field" on the US magazines; "Unknown Worlds and Astounding to go small size to conserve paper. Astounding changes with its May issue, Unknown probably with the June. We already have direct results of the 40% cut of pulp paper, other being retirement for duration of Science Fiction Quarterly. Prediction; Fantastic Adventures to go bimonthly again with fewer pages, Weird Tales to drop out entirely, Planet to go quarterly, Super Science to go quarterly, Science Fiction Stories to disappear entirely, Astonishing to keep its present schedule, Amazing to keep monthly but with reduced pages, Famous Fantastic Mysteries to continue as a quarterly, 20-40% of the other pulps to fold too" ... fanzine production in America is at a very low ebb, but this is more than offset by two interesting and significant facts. Firstly, intense activity within the "Fantasy Amateur Press Association" which includes just about all the really important fans whose informal publications within the mailing reach a high standard. And secondly, better style, presentation, format and contents in the fanzines which are coming out; and a welcome maturity of viewpoint. In this connection a comparative newcomer "Acolyte" is commendable indeed. It is devoted to H.P. Lovecraft and features fantasy and the supernatural, including fiction and poetry besides authoritative articles. And as the editor has access to many unpublished essays etc by Lovecraft, and a number of works of Clark Ashton Smith, there are undoubtedly many treats in store. (F.T.Laney 720 10th St, Clarkston Wash.)
Lets cram in as much as we can ... Canadian Ted White has loaned about 40 fanzines (Notably a score of Lights ) to Anglofandom. They can be borrowed by contacting D.W. Gardiner 148 King Edward Ave, Worthing, enclosing postage ... Derek himself stationed at Farnborough, but sister Ann would seem to be taking his place as a fantast. Welcome indeed to a recruit fannette.. Penguin "What About Business" by John Gloag (Author 4 fantasy novels) has an.excellent chapter devoted wholly to science fiction, saith Frank Arnold ... John P. Rathbone passes on the information that Messrs G. G. Swan are prepared to consider weird stories of merit to a limited extent, terms for purchase of copyright being 15/- per 1000 words ... B.T.Sandfield, 17 Ellesmere Rd, Greenford, Mddx very anxious to obtain Astoundings with Second Stage Lensman & Galactic Patrol. Any offers? I'd suggest trying borrowing from the BFS library ... and I.M.Vinter, 47 Stanhope Rd, St Albans, Herts wants Amazing for Aug, Oct, 41; Feb, Mar, Apr, 42; Fantastic Adventures for Mar, Jul, Nov 41; Mar 42. Also US editions of ERBian novels "Swords of Mars" "Carson of Venus ""The Mad King" (so does JMR) and any American Tarzans not yet over here. Also American pen-pals ... Subs expiring with this issue , S.A.Beach, A. Bloom, J.Z.Craig, P. Knott, E. Macdonald, J. Parr, E F Russell, A. Salmond, T. W. Strange, H. Vella, I. M. Vinter. Underlined last issue ... Your editor now putting out a "sheet" for the FAPA, entitled BROWSING. It is mainly devoted to Fapa matters and bookish topics, and BFS members who would like a copy can have 'em by sending a stamped (1d) addressed envelope. Will probably appear quarterly ... recent visitors to Grange Terrace were George Medhurst whom we were pleased to see again, and John Miller whom we were pleased to meet ... there is just a possibility of a Whitsuntide meet coming off anyone interested write JMR ... weekend May 15-17 Webster & Birchby to be in Edinburgh, maybe Macdonald too ... BFS "Bibliophiles Section" now in operation with eight bibliophans participating ... the prozine chains doing nicely with a score of circulators ... anybody doing anything about proposed Esperanto sec?
I n t r o d u c i n g
This month we offer you the brief autobiography of one of Britain's oldest and stauchest fantasts, and regret deeply that the preoccupation of our friend Derek Gardiner with military matters prevents the production of the worthy doctor's likeness.... "Considered by many of my friends as a "queer bloke" who never takes any interest in the "real things" of life - usual query:- "Well - what are you up to now?" Born 1898 and old enough to know better. Background of liberalism (paternal side) and 'singing the Red Flag' (maternal side) - hence the result. Educated at George Watson's, Edinburgh (but not yet a Cabinet Minister). Entered Civil Service '14 - resigned 16 - 'hauled up" and sent to France '17 - wounded and discharged '18 - qualified medicine and dentistry '22 - tossed up and dentistry won. Started up in Bathgate, West Lothian '22, working one hour per week - now sweat eleven hours a day. Married '25 - honeymoon under canvas in Dorset. Three children, all girls 1 to 14 - all very bright (of course). Always up to the eyes in some absorbing subject. Wife says she has been waiting seventeen years to speak to me! Disposition - 'agin the government'. Contradictory in nature. Impulsive-cautious. Selfish -generous. Credulous (with sufficient evidence) - incredulous (of loose statements). A listener and not a talker. Very logical and statistical. Horror of hypocrisy, double-dealing and snobbishness. Conscientious but careless of fine detail if a thing works. Capable of great concentration.
Fascinated by - any gadget - the unknown - the way women talk when in a bunch. Intimate friends all from long wave end of spectrum. Interests Esperanto (fluent) - photography (Leica) - General Science (very general) - Psychics (Spiritualism) especially the physical phenomena. (Quite convinced that these happen but advance no firm explanation - would not be too surprised to 'die' and find I was still conscious. Fundamentally still agnostic.) Camping - Writing stories (S.F.) for own amusement. Wouldn't know a garden if I saw one.
Science fiction addict from early infancy. Fairy Tales - B.C.P. - Chums -Ferrers Lord (in the 'Magnet' - who remembers that?}.'08 onwards - Wells, Haggard, Verne, Strand. '29 onward, American mags. Once had a wonderful collection but have now given up this useless habit - only keeping stories which appeal. Stuart-Campbell - Smith - Weinbaum and now Heinlein. Favourite stories: Skylarks - Time Stream - Forgetfulness - Eternal world - Penton&Blake (fairy tales) - Martian Odyessy - Night - When and After Worlds Collide. But have strong doubts if interplanetary travel possible owing to possible lethal action of radiation at present screened by atmosphere (I hide my head in shame)"
FANTASY AND THE FUTURE - by John F Burke.
It is wrong to write with posterity in view. Disappointed young writers invariably console themselves with the reflection that although their contemporaries ignore them, the world to come will bow down and worship. Osbert Sitwell has satirised those who pretend to be ahead of their time in his excellent short story "Friendship's Due", included in the volume "Triple Fugue", which can be recommended to avid collectors as containing two fantastic stories. No really great writer concentrates on the next generation; he may look ahead and may, indeed, be more advanced than the people
about him, but he will nevertheless write for his time. It is the writers who are
most representative of their day who, for some peculiar reason, become immortal -
"timeless". They reflect eternal values. Do fantasy writers present eternal values
in a way that will penetrate to the normal readers mind?
I do not propose to go over the ground so often covered before by fans who, on the verge of growing up, write bitter articles and letters about the monotonous inhumanity of magazine science fiction. The only thing more tiresome than the enthusiastic readers banal letter is the attitude of those who repudiate science fiction as though it were a fad of which they were now ashamed. All I wish is that every person who reads a magazine in preference to a book (there are many fantasy fans who do so) shall ask himself these questions; is this saying anything? allowing for the fantastic circumstances, are the characters and their actions credible? And, if possible, what will these stories seem like to our descendants?
This last is a test that is hard to apply. No man can say what the next generation will admire or scorn. The history of literature shows so many critical errors that we should be very wary of making any pronouncements. That mysterious quality that makes one work of art immortal and lifts it above the rubble of its own time cannot be detected by those who are closest to the artist and his work - those who cannot see the wood for trees; or would it be more appropriate to say, those who cannot select the live tree from the forest of dead and dying trunks? Remember Keats and Shelley and beware. Remember Handel and Bonancini, and the great Jonathan Swift's comparison of them as "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" ... why did one of them survive? We dare not prophesy that our own favourites will live. But I think it safe to prophesy that the man of the future will not be as likely to call science fiction magazines as "progressive" or enlightened as their devotees would expect. Science is not enough. Wells made some commendable forecasts, but Kipps and Mr Polly will live longer than all of Well's science fiction. Stories of a fictional future may fall down in their factual background, but they will fall much more heavily if their characters do not live, Stapledon's "Last and First Men" is not accurate or even probable, but it has something that will keep it alive for quite a time. Certainly after the Heinleins, de Camps and Campbells have been forgotten. Poetry? Characterisation? It may be style, or conviction, or its picture of the age - a book may live for any one of a dozen reasons; it has an indefinable quality, What is it?
Has science fiction anything to say? If not, isn't it about time you looked somewhere else?
Extract from Epistle;
I must confess that I enjoy a good deal of Unknown, mainly because the tales are so thoroughly impossible and escapist. Sometimes I wonder if the authors aren't creating modern myths. Perhaps a thousand years from now readers will take these stories seriously as representing 20th century beliefs - just as we look upon Jove, Apollo, Thor, Wotan etc. as representing beliefs of Romans and the Norse. How ironic if this happens. A few of us enjoy the yarns in Unknown, realising that they are utterly untrue and impossible, and we are looked upon by the great majority as being slightly insane. What if the future accepts these stories as representing our religious or philosophic beliefs and becomes convinced that 20th century Americans and British believed in magic, fairies, wizards etc. Naturally I reject the possibility of any of these things having reality but, on the other hand many of our pronounced beliefs - such as the one in the permanence of capitalism - I consider equally silly,
Of course the above is predicated upon the possibility of any of our present civilisation (?) lasting a thousand years, and this I doubt very much. My guess is that the people of 3000 A.D, will know as little of us as we know of the people of
1000 B.C. or 1000 A.D, and from what little they do know will look upon us as barbarians.
When they consider the incredible poverty, suffering, tyranny and bloodshed of today, they
may well overlook the causes and lump all of us - British, Americans, Germans, Russians,
Ethiopians and Japanese - as one breed of savages. What do we know of the real causes of
the Trojan War? And what will the people of 3000 or 4000 AD know of the real causes of the
present war? (What does the average person know of them now - JMR) Maybe they will view
Hitler as another Armenius, never realising the vast gulf separating then - not in time
but in motives. Or maybe they will say, "Nelson, Napoleon, Mussolini, Lenin, Washington,
Marlborough, Hitler - oh yes they were all savage chieftains a couple of thousand years ago".
I'm afraid the future will never realise the differences separating races and individuals
today or that some of us are struggling for freedom against oppression.
Anyway I wish I could hear the comments of Homo Sapiens of 4000 A.D. on the tales of' magic in "Unknown" - assuming there are Homo Sapiens left in 4000 AD, and that a few copies of Unknown still survive.
...I think that Olaf Stapledon is one of the present day's most intelligent and profound thinkers, whether writing fiction, suppositions, future history, or as a metaphysicist. His "Starmaker" is a remarkable tour de force, showing a vision not granted to many. The universe will probably not follow Stapledon's visions but it certainly will, a few thousand or a million years from now, be utterly unlike what we are today. There is no liklihood of present day man surviving indefinitely - he is too stupid, belligerent, selfish and unintelligent. I don't believe that man will be replaced by ants, spiders, horses or beings from Mars as some science-fiction writers predict, but I do believe that present day man will evolve physically and mentally into something utterly unlike what we are today. Maybe he will be able to live on the earth's surface, in the air or under the water at will. Certainly his mind will evolve immeasurably or he will perish.
If I said these things to most of my acquaintances they would laugh derisiv«ly, thereby proving their lack of vision or imagination. That's one of the great troubles with mankind, lack of imagination. They cannot foresee a future free of greed, brutality and the other human vices. They think private profit and wars will continue forever. I don't believe they are right, but if they are, then mankind will cease existing."
Captain Paul J. Searles, US Navy Air Corps.
Rather intersting after that is that your editor has just read a ten-point "proof" that Napoleon Bonaparte never existed, that he was in fact a personification of a solar myth identical with Apollo, his three sisters were the three Graces, his four brothers the four seasons, his 12 active Marshals the points of the zodiac and the four inactive ones, the four cardinal points. It all fits in remarkably consistently yet I still possess a strong suspicion that there was such a man.
Politics and fans
Saith Ted White of the Canadian Army in England: -It just struck me that until I really got mixed up with the nuts that call themselves fans at home, I knew nothing about politics. Now I believe I know quite a bit but I find the subject hateful. Still, I believe that it is a necessity in life and in order to do the right thing by my own conscience, I keep up to date and when I am again given a chance to vote there will be no hesitancy on my part. First American fan to land on British territory is John L. Chapman of Minneapolis, but the territory he has landed on is India. Shame.
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY...........................
................................................................10th May 1943
Pusey, Gilbert (73), 35 Mendy Street, High Wycombe, Bucks; Sandfield, B. L. (75), 7 Ellesemere Road, Greenford, Middlesex; Webb, John, (74), Hermit Lodge, Stockbriuge, Hants.
'twill be observed by the alert that the inclusion of the addresses of new members is a new departure. We trust that the innovation will be appreciated.
This is now in the hands of the new Librarians, who solicit enquiries from anyone interested. They hope to have an up-to-date catalogue ready for issue in the near future, in the meantime the original catalogue may be used as a guide. The address - just to remind you - is Mr Fred Goodier, 31 Holmesdale Road, Teddington, Middlesex - and don't forget the old Stamped Addressed Envelope with any queries. Incidentally Fred will also resume the issue of the fan-mag Chains as soon as arrangements can be made so anyone who wishes to be added to one of these chains had better tell him.
The executive Committee are discussing a suggestion by Mr Rosenblum that borrowers should, in addition to paying postage both ways, make a small payment per volume to cover the cost of wrapping paper etc which otherwise must be a charge on the Society as a whole. Any comments?
The Brains behind the throne have sent in their first report, which is now going the rounds of the Executive Committee. Following are the details of it, separated under suitable headings, in reading which it should be remembered that most or them are, as yet, proposals only, and may be subject to amendment.
The A.B. suggest that elections are hardly necessary in the case of the Executive Committee except when a member resigns or is black-balled by a sufficiently large proportion of the society. Michael Rosenblum and myself disagree with this, suggesting that although an annual election may, owing to lack of candidates, be merely nominal, it is essential to preserve the form of an election.
They agree to the idea of an annual election for the A.B. itself.
The decision was reached that a national one is impossible under present circumstances, but that localised ones could and should be held on a limited scale wherever there are enough fans living in proximity to make the effort worthwhile.
(a) It is suggested that a Science-Fiction Mart be formed under the auspices of the Society for the sale and exchange of magazines or books. Would anyone like to volunteer to run such a service? Space for necessary announcements would be made available in the Bulletin. (As already outlined in Activity 4 in the prospectus, members may make use of the Bulletin to advertise for any books they would like to borrow or to buy.)
(b) The other suggestions made, such as the Bibliophiles section. and the Scientific Discussions Chain, have been anticipated. The latter was discharged into the blue on the 30th March by myself - where it is now I canot tell.
(1) The suggestion that we might celebrate our first anniversary with some sort of an annual was turned down, the A.B. suggesting that an enlarged Bulletin as appeared a few months ago will suffice.
(2) They are very enthusiastic about the project of a Who's Who of British fandom, which would contain autobiographical details of every fan from whom the required information could be secured, or obtained by indirect means. I understand that Dennis Tucker is prepared to do the donkey work, including publishing, planning, editing, and so on. The plan hasn't as yet been O.K'd by the Executive Coimmiittee, but there does not seem to be a particular objection - though there may be doubts as to its feasibility. Anyone got any comments to make?
(3) They give the all-clear sign to the BFS Beyond. The present position is that Frank Parker and John Aiken have volunteered to act as editors (I hope they haven't forgotten about this offer, which was made some time ago!), Mike Vinter has promised a story and help in typing the efforts of others not possessing a typewriter of their own, Bob Gibson has promised a story (which he will need typing) and help with the illustrating - subject to the co-operation of the Canadian Army in providing leisure.
So far so good, the nucleus is here - and not only the nucleus. Any stories will be required, so gird up your loins and get stuck in! Any length from 500 to 15000 words of either scientific or weird fantasy, typed on reasonably good quarto paper, both sides of the paper, single-spaced, with a margin on both sides of one inch minimum to allow for binding. Five copies will be required, one original and four good carbon copies that is, so that the magazine can be sent round the society on five different chains - the authors, illustrators, and other workers having the advantage of viewing the master copy. Volunteers for help in typing out the manuscripts of the needy are required, and more illustrators too. The illustrators will have to work hard too - producing five copies of each of their masterpieces.
Here is an opportunity for authors and illustrators who have still to crash into professional publication to flap their wings before an audience whose criticisms, constructive or destructive, should prove of great benefit. If you feel dubious of the merits of that secret chef-d'ouevre of yours - give it a trial run in the BSF Beyond. Then, fortified (maybe) by the discerning praise of seventy or so acute critics you may submit it for professional consideration without a qualm!
(4) Don Houston suggests the formation of a Mss Centre to assist amateur authors by "correcting, typing and placing their work either professionally or otherwise". Is there a Fairy Godmother in the audience? (Ted Carnell, of course, has already volunteered to help in placing stories professionally - but unfortunately he ain't at home much these days).
A pamphlet, written by Ted Carnell (itma!), introducing fandom to newcomers is to be duplicated for distribution to all members and for use when contacting new ones. It is also proposed that we try to place an advert with the Astounding BRE. Terence Overton suggests that we appoint a Member Hunting Committee of three to handle the job of obtaining new members from publicity to enrolment, to examine methods of introducing fandom to new chums, and to advise anyone doing a little crusading of his own. Any volunteers? I will repeat that. ANY VOLUNTEERS?
I SUGGEST that the BFS be hereafter known as the Beefas, that male members be known as Beefasms, female Beefasmettes, JMR the Beefasdic, moi the Beefasec, this here thing the Beefasbull, and the motto "Be good, sweet fan and Beefasm".
D.R. Smith, Secretary.