FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST - Issue 35 (Vol. 4, Number 5) Jun. 1944
On May 9th the Soviets recaptured Sebastapol, winning back control of the entire Crimea. On May 25th, Allied forces breaking out of the Anzio beachhead linked up with troops of the main Fifth Army, thus creating a front that stretched right across Italy and was within 25 miles of Rome. Meanwhile, in the UK, all leave was being cancelled for thousands of troops acoss Southern England as the Allies geared up for D-Day....
Distributed with this issue:
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY BULLETIN #16 - ed. D.R.Smith - 1 page
OCRing and copyediting this issue done by Greg Pickersgill.
page 1:............................ ................................................................ ............................cover art by Arthur Williams
OBSERVATIONS ON THE CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN SCENE
American fandom, as viewed by an outsider, appears to have reached an interesting, but somewhat hectic state, in fact matters now seem to be in the melting pot. By now the draft has succeeded in moving or removing quite a proportion of the leading figures of the Imagi-nation - Ackerman is at Fort Arthur as every fan on the globe ought to know, Bob Tucker is due for call-up as I write, Widner is in LA and waiting, Jack Speer goes overseas, Milty Rothman has been in the army a while and so on -----About the only top fans left in harness are Harry Warner and Al Ashley, both of whom were medically rejected, but E Everett Evans has just returned from a years absence without trace.
The organisational front is in a state of complete flux; subsiding ripples of the Degler-Cosmic Circle still agitate the surface of Amerifandom and nearly all of the old local clubs are moribund or petered out. Even the best of them, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, is riven in twain by a controversy anent the extent to which an stf fans life ought to be dominated by his hobby. However, steady as a rock stands the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, with more activity and interest than ever.
(Please look inside, continued about page nine or so)
A catch-as-catch-can publication issued bimonthly with the object of interesting and keeping
in touch science & weird-fantasy fans in Britain, & their like-minded cousins overseas. Mainly
responsible is J. Michael Rosenblum, 4 Grange Terrace, Leeds 7, England, with the help of
sundry abetters (betters?) notably Douglas Webster of Aberrrdeen, Price is 3d. per issue &
can be remitted in publications from the USA or lemons from the Mediterranean.
EASTERCON DIARY- by-Dr. John K. Aiken
......or the happenings at the London Convention Easter 1944 organised by the Cosmos Club of Teddington; Britain's first wartime full-scale Convention.
2.5 - 3.0 pm Gathering of the fans; by 3 Syd Bounds (Kingston), Hal Chibbett (Bowes Park N.11), George Ellis (Manchester), Bruce Gaffron, Fred Goodier, Gordon Holbrow (Teddington), Ron Lane (Manchester), Arthur Hillman (Newport. Mon.), Peter Hawkins (Surbiton), Don Houston (Letchworth), John Millard (RCAF, Jackson; Mich.), Dennis Tucker (High Wycombe) & Arthur Williams (Camberwell) have accumulated. Attempts are made to read the Con booklet, which. Hawkins has spent the whole previous day in duplicating, but although the cover is fine the paper inside too bad & the attempts are swiftly abandoned. (The quiz which was particularly illegible is to be reprinted.) Everyone worries because Gus does not appear (it is later leart that all leave is cancelled in his area). ((Ed. - No British fan gathering is complete these days without our pet Angeleno Norman (Gus) Willmorth - in American uniform, a friendly smile and.....well!)) [We know - don't tell us - a batch of 4e's nudes ? - DW]
3 - 4.30. Perambulations. Nothing interesting is found in Charing Cross Road. [This cannot be true, we positively know that Harold Chibbett buys books from the pornography shops. He boasts about it, the low fellow. - DW]
4.30. Coventry St. Corner House. Pandemonium. The Oaseleys (Stoke-on-Trent.) [? - JMR's copperplate stenographer must have slipped off his knee just there: the name is impossible - DW], Michael F. Lord (looking magnificent enough to be his namesake of the Admiralty); & Bullett turn up, and, like the rest, are put through the mangle which is called the cafeteria. Manchester expresses surprise that London can keep alive on such fare and retires to recuperate in the park.
5.30 - 7. Disney programme at news theatre taken in. Things are looking up.
7 - 7.30. Consumption curve for Scotch Ale in the London area begins to rise.
7.30. The Convention President (Walter H. Gillings) and Mrs. Gillings and W.A. Deveraux arrive. The Shanghai Restaurant is invaded. Some participants perform prodigies of eating, despite the theory that the soup is nothing but an aquarium. They become completely surrounded by piles of empty dishes. Others hang back delicately, valuing their stomachs. Scotch Ale is brought in an enormous Jug, and is imbibed. Professor Low, unable to be present under military exigiencies, sends the gathering his love. Names are signed in wax (stencil). Deveraux, Gillings & Akien decide that everyone must take everything much more seriously.
9.30 - 10. Scotch Ale curve reaches peak for the year.
10.00 onwards. Many meet their Waterloo.
Gatland, Gomberg and. Sandfield (wearing a tie of a totally new primary colour) are newcomers. Swing discussions rage.
Hawkins appears with duplicated dinner-signatures. Ellis reads CAPTAIN FUTURE, undisturbed.
12 noon. Museum. Original Turners, an original Morey, MSS.of THE SMILE OF THE SPHINX ( "It's the cat's whiskers," says Hawkins) and other ToW contributions, first issues, old books and the complete files of BEYOND and COSMIC CUTS are on view.
12.30. Brains Trust. Gillings, Aiken, Hawkins & the questioners maintain high intellectual level except for typographical trouble leading to moonstuck fans, & ribaldry about Millard's socks. ((Ed. - A peculiarity of American servicemen is their rolled-down gents natty half-hose - can someone tell us the reason?)) As clank of cutlery comes from below, the last Question is answered in monosyllabic unison.
1.00. Lunch. "Proper Food" asks someone anxiously. (It is.)
1.45 - 3.15. Presidential Address - Gillings performs the prodigious feat of keeping large numbers of fans silent & attentive for half an hour while he discusses the possible future & functions of fandom & fan writings, emphasising the need for an attitude at once more serious & more broadminded. He outlines the kind of professional magazine he hopes will appear in Britain after the war, and suggests the BEYONDs as training-grounds for its authors. It is up to fans, he says, to show that stf is worth while and can really foster achievement. (The high-spot of the con.)
2.30 - 3.30. Talk.
5.30 - 5.00. Monologue by Parker: i.e. first session of the auction. Quiet opening: later terrific bidding for FFM's in particular. Surprising lack of enthusiasm for original drawings & manuscripts as against magazines.
5 - 5.30. Tea, & relaxation for auctioneer's throat.
5.30 - 5.30. More auction - top price (l0/-) paid for complete file of SCOOPS; the FFM of 10/6 fame does well again (8/6) . Only a half-dozen items turned in. Ellis gets his CAPTAIN FUTURES. Curiously no British Reprint Editions are left. A spare BEYOND does well.
6.30 - 8. Films. The Cosmos Club film, now patched & scratched almost beyond belief, plays all its tricks: it breaks, the reel falls off, the sprockets go haywire & finally the projector lamp blows. But Millard is a match for it, there is a spare lamp & after he has whirled it through in well under bogey the remaining films are almost hitch-free. The shorts (PIONEER MICKEY, the puppet film, & the Popeye) are tops, MONSTER OF THE LOCH being a little cryptic & dated. Departures begin. Tucker & Lord leading.
8.00 onwards. The King's Arms. Relaxation. Toasts are drunk to the Cranberry Bogs of Cape Cod and the Governor of the Greater Antilles. Trains are missed. By special arrangement the full moon rises to light the walkers-home.
In conclusion, the Committee would like to thank the participants (and in particular the President, for his generous sacrifice of a placid weeken) and the donors of auction items, for all they did to make the Con. a success. They announce that they propose to issue a souvenir booklet of higher quality than the illegible Programme: as to the proceeds (not so large as they would have been if that lamp hadn't blown!), a proportion will go to a Future Convention Fund. One further announcement: the Debate ("Man is not a free-agent") postponed for lack of time, will have been held at Shirley's on May 13.
BOOK REVIEW -by- Fred Brown
"In Heaven," says the author, "everything within reason was done to make people feel at home; but except for small dispensations, such as those enabling the French to have their ambrosia baked in long rolls and the English to keep dogs, nationalism was firmly discouraged." Then the smoke of the World War reaches them and "plays the deuce with discipline."
With everyone clamouring for news, Marco Polo and his secretary Rusticiano descend surreptitiously to earth with a wireless transmitter ingeniously adapted by Leonardo da Vinci. A slip in Euclid's arithmetic lands them in England,
where Marco is quickly involved with the Right People, spends weekends at Blynde, the stately home
of Anethema, Lady Longacre, and with that distinguished military family, the Waite-Waites ("she's
artillery on the mother's side"). Meanwhile Rusticiano joins the Left Book Club and broadcasts to
heaven with disastrous results. During their hilarious progress the reputations of a choice selection
of social snobs and political humbugs are ruthlessly exploded, and, accompanied part of the way by a
London barrage, the travellers return to heaven as confirmed Anglophobes and democrats, only to find
fascism has got there first.
The story ends with Marco acting as Question-master to a session of the Celestial Brains Trust (Residents: Solon, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Confucius; Guests, Xenophon and Pliny the Elder) in which are advanced some startling views on democracy, snobbism, Dr. Joad and the future of Britain.
Delvings into the Weird and Imaginative ----II-- Jack Banks
In a recent fan-chain, comparisons were drawn between the relative merits of the weird fiction published in WEIRD TALES and UNKNOWN. Not having seen any copies of the former since 1939 [lucky man! --- DW], except one reprint issue, I can only base my remarks upon the stories in issues prior to the middle of that year.
I think there is a very definite and obvious difference between the two magazines. WEIRD, the elder publication, set out, in the twenties, to present to that section of the public likely to be interested, a selection of stories of a type hitherto only to be found scattered lightly throughout the pages of popular magazines, or in the writings of such authors as Blackwood and M.R. James. I cannot write with authority of those earlier issues, but from what one can gather from fan-magazines it is possible to get a broad idea of the stories printed. Writers of the calibre of A. Merrritt or H. P. Lovecraft presented tales of such distinctive style and plot, that would appear to have put a permanent seal of quality upon WT. Not that the conscious or unconscious imitation by other writers in any way led to the publication falling into that rut of ''sameness" that has engulfed many of its contemporaries. In fact, it might be safe to state that WEIRD TALES has maintained a higher average of well-written and original stories than most magazines.
Rarely have I felt when reading an issue that this or that story was not worth reading and could be skipped. Very different from the impression made by some science-fiction publications of today: (It must be remembered that I am speaking of earlier issues of WT. Some deterioration seems to be apparent recently.)
To turn to UNKNOWN. There seems to be no doubt that this magazine commenced its existence with a different policy to that of WEIRD TALES. A policy that seems rather difficult to define when we think of the earlier issues. SINISTER BARRIER, THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE, FLAME WINDS and RETURNED FR0M HELL present some variations in type, that is obvious. And the multifarious serials, novelettes and short stories that have appeared within its pages have shown innumerable facets of fantasy writing, ranging from the 'straight' ghost story to medieval episodes of adventure. But has any story such as those written by H.P.Lovecraft appeared within its pages? I cannot think of any that approach either the style or plot of Lovecraft's writings. Incidentally I have often found that the short stories in UNKNOWN were superior to the novels and novelettes. I have more than once been bored by the feature novel.
The 'fairy tale' element has predominated largely in UNKNOWN, but this has given a welcome relief from the heavier stories. Perhaps the term "heavier" should be used in a relative sense, for I have the impression that the depth of the stories in UNKNOWN does not approach that of those in WEIRD TALES. This is a point to be debated, perhaps.
"NAKED LADIES" &c
As to the general question you may agree with Havelock Ellis when he says, "..... it is not desire but a sacred awe which nakedness inspires, an intoxication of the spirit rather than the senses..." Or you may dismiss him as a nasty old man.
Weird fiction, to some authors and publishers, seems to lend itself particularly to pornography in varying degrees. Witness several publications that have appeared in recent years, usually in America, devoted to fiction of a very poor type, in which the author's main purpose appears to be to contrive the utmost possible number of situations wherein the heroine is observed in differing stages of undress by the hero The "classic" Weird magazines have been refreshingly free from literature of this kind. I have only read one story in WEIRD TALES that falls within this sphere. That was ISLE OF THE UNDEAD, by L.A.Eshbach, in 1936. There have been stories that might just "cross the border". I am thinking of some by Henry Kuttner. But looking at them again, one could term them "exotic" rather than employ more condemnatory words. As to several efforts by Kuttner under other names, the less said the better.
There are some types of weird fiction that can be handled in differing ways by various authors. Compare Merritt's treatment of the "beautiful girl for sacrifice", (a classic example) with that of lesser authors. Then there is the vexing question of illustrations of weird fiction. The covers of WEIRD have been the subject of controversy for, literally, years. The merits of Brundage and Finlay have been discussed and the question as to the permissible amount of clothing on the young women has been endlessly debated, until within recent months the "naked ladies" appear to have fallen into desuetude. (On this point I am open to correction.)
Inside illustrations do not appear to have been the subject of such heated contention, except that some readers believe that weird fiction loses much of its appeal without Finlay's illustrations, while others think that imaginative literature needs no pictorial representation. Most of the pre-magazine weird stories were published in book form without illustrations. That the effect of those classics has not been diminished thereby might appear to be an argument for the latter school of thought.
But lo! while thus amidst the desert dark
On her (Famine) while we thus firmly fixed our eyes,
Rex Warner's allegorical fantasy THE AERODROME is in Penguins. Book on Witchcraft by Montague Summers [WITCHCRAFT AND BLACK MAGIC - - DW] is promised in Pelicans.
BOB GIBSON DEPT.
(Apologies to Tucker) RCA Gunner William Robert Gibson writes at length from the Eighth Army Front in Italy, in two airmail letter-cards & one proper letter written on (a) BFS notepaper, (b) a sheet from "Ospedale Militare Marittimo di Messina", (c) Canadian Legion War Services paper, & (d) a book review on the blank side of a sheet of Le Zombie. Bob has had quite a stay in hospital - with jaundice - but now appears to be well & hearty again. He says that the March period mail to the UK was lost, including a number of letters of his to people here. But his main news is a problem, vis:-
"Until recently this hospital had a practising science fiction author on the medical staff. (It would be 'until recently'!) His real name was Capt . Theodore Stephanides. And now the vagueness of people's memories becomes serious. He was an amateur astronomer and had discovered, 'some planet or something' - presumably an asteroid or a nova. He was of Graeco-English descent, and had worked many years in Greece and conducted a malaria survey of the Balkans. He was an entomologist. He collected Balkan folk-music and had the collection blown up in Crete. He wore, by extra-special permission, a beard. He was absent-minded. He wrote science-fiction and sent it to a man in New York, and at times received cheques in return. No one could recall the pen-name he used, but the man he sent them to had 'Simon' in his name. Something was printed in POPULAR SCIENCE FICTION (a reasonable confusion of names). No one could recall a story title. One plot was said to be - 'A man fell through a hole in the floor - a two-dimensional .... three-dimensional (I suggested four and my informant counted up) - yes, a four-dimensional hole into all sorts of trouble in another world.'
"That is all I could get. I know of lots of stories where people fell, climbed, jumped, were pulled, pushed or extruded, revibrated or whatnot into other dimensions, planes and energy levels. But I do not recall one that had the hole specifically in the floor. Do you ?
"Later inquiries yield a little more. He was in charge of the radiological department, he read science-fiction with enthusiasm, and he believed that it was less impossible than it seemed to my informants. He was interested in rocketry.
"I'd like to know what he wrote."
Thc noble fellow who stencils this stuff for no more reward than an occasional nip of whiskey or opportunity to read the Rosenblum stf magazines (DWebster, Idlewild, Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen, Scotland) is desperately anxious to find some intellectual American who can swap, or exchange or procure on any suitable terms non-fantasy books & other items of interest. Is USA so barren that it holds no such saviour? He also apologises for horrifying misprints last issue, due to having to use his sister's nail varnish as correcting fluid.
Flying Officer Alan H. Miles, R.A.F.V.R.
For many & varied reasons (chiefly an amorous one) I was unable to visit fans over there, most of my time being spent in the state of Montana. Being then only recently introduced to fandom I was not in any way capable of being termed a representative of English fandom, It was good being able to buy current mags off the stands though, & I made the most of it. I became engaged to a Montana girl before leaving & am returning at the first opportunity. I received a commission & returned to England where I am now serving on operations in Bomber Command as a Bomb Aimer. I have made several trips into the Third Reich & hope to make many more. My hobbies include collecting classical recordings, oil colouring photographs, general photography & motor cycling. I have met Edwin Macdonald at his home & am a frequent visitor to the Rosenblum household of which I have enjoyed the hospitality many times, & am in fact writing this autobiography there now. Good reading, fans...............................AHM
.......News of the month. More transatlantic guests turn up - Sapper Al Godfrey of the Royal Canadian Engineers reported present to your editor early in the month & hopes to make the acquaintance of British fandom, & British fantasy books in the near future. And an oldtime American fan pops up, none other than Claire P. Beck, onetime editor of the SCIENCE FICTION CRITIC, of Lakeport, California, now a lieutenant in the US Troop Transport Units. From FANEWSCARD comes the information that Gordon M. Hull, former secretary of Golden Gate Futurians, is in England, Jack Speer, one of the most prominent American fans, has obtained a position with the Lease-Lend authorities, in their French section, & should by now have left USA for parts unknown, probably Algiers or some such spot.
And now for our home products. William F, Temple writes:
"Have been playing around in the Allied beachead in Italy (a sticky business) for some time now. By the time you get this there may be plenty of "Allied beach-heads", but just now this is the one and only original, refuse all substitutes. You may remember I lost all the MSS I'd written since leaving England, in action in Tunisia. And here I've just lost in similar chaotic circumstances all the MSS I'd written & re-written since. This brings me full circle to the zero mark. And don't say it was good practice anyway, you Job's comforter. I feel like a spider trying to climb out of a glass tumbler, & slipping back to the bottom with a bang every time he had. scrambled up so high. And don't say "Remember Bruce!" 'cos that spider was plain dumb. He couldn't learn from experience. He should have moved his pitch & built his web elsewhere, away from interfering Scottish fingers. But I'm kind of stuck here. However, things can't remain static for ever, can they? But they're having a damned good try! ***** Someone's just sent me the Dec. 43 issue of the Leftish review OUR TIME (never ' eard of it!) & the first thing I see is a long letter of criticism in the correspondence columns by Osmond Robb. Is this a fan going serious? Are we to have something new - WORKERS' SCIENCEFICTION ? One sees titles: SPACEHOUNDS OF THE INTERNATIONAL BRIGADE, THE SOCIALIST SIXTH OF THE COSMOS, THE INFRA-RED FLAG, THE HUMAN PARASITES, THE OIL POOL...
Another lost sheep, also in the CMF, is Sigmn. CSYoud, who sends his regards to all & sundry, particularly thanking the Norcon participants for their airgraph to him. Congratulations to Eric Frank Russell on the broadcast of his SINISTER
BARRIER as a serial from Cairo - wish I could have heard it, & why Cairo of all places? Eric has been
wandering around of late - leaving Northern Ireland, he had a brief stay in Hertfordshire, South Wales,
& then on to Chigwell, Essex.
Americano - Capt . S. P. Meek of old, is now Lt.-Col. Meek; & Dr. David H, Keller is also Lt. Col. Keller (WHGillings); Fred Shroyer is now with the 15th. Fighter Squadron of Fort Myers, Florida, & Henry Kuttner is in the US Medical Corps (EFRussell), Milton Rothman finishes a university course in electrical engineering - which the US Army has put him through, in April, & emerges with a degree.
Call-up:- Peter Hawkins of Surbiton, Surrey, is the latest victim, He reports at Formby, Lanes, on May 10th, Peter is a comparative newcomer to fan ranks, but had rapidly created a place for himself. He held the post of Liaison Officer between the Cosmos Club and the BFS, and took as especial interest in prozine authors & their pseudonyms, He was a bank clerk in ordinary life.
Your editor has a couple of items to get off his chest, viz,-- Firstly the matter of my own mail, correspondence & all the assorted items coming this way from the USA. Really & truly everything is deeply appreciated & I would like to answer everything. However, I hope all neglected correspondents will appreciate that my opportunities simply won't run to it these days - I simply can't get everything attended to. Moreover Fido itself should serve as my part of the personal link. I hesitate to name examples but perhaps most sinned against are Terry Overton, Peter Hawkins, Edwin Macdonald, Walter Norcott & John Pennington. Then about all the assorted extra copies of fanzines which trickle in to Grange Terrace. To distribute them fairly & regularly would necessitate quite a system; so will all concerned 'make do' with my passing them on as circumstances permit, to visitors here, servicemen I'm writing to, & so forth; with the BFS chains and Library coming high on the list. Or would British fans like them collected into an envelope & second copies sent around people interested ? --- just an idea that cropped up. Stuff from Forry keeps coming over, duly marked with recipient & all are sent on except Kenneth Chapman's -- Forry was told this but GKC's material still comes over. And now a 'Nancy Featherstone' [shades of Jabberwocky! -- DW] appears on some copies, & I don't know the lady. Enlightenment welcome. At the moment I'm holding a batch of material from Claude Degler destined for the Eastercon, which arrived too late, & will be passed on to next meeting instead.
After that, there is the matter of contributions to Fido. It is an old cliche to say that a magazine is what its readers make it [it is also untrue: a magazine is what its editor & his financial backer make it -- DW], but the statement is even more true when applied to Fido. By all means send in your information, viewpoints & arguments, the only criterion being that the matter be connected with fantasy & not offend legal regulations. Book reviews & author critiques are always welcome & only recently reviews of current prozines were particularly requested. One or two "basic" articles on what is fantasy, its value & development, the history of fandom in general, & here in England; possible & preferable future developments would be particularly suitable at the moment. And for prolific scribes - several of the American fanzine crop would welcome contributions from this side of the Atlantic.
-- the publication issued by Arthur F Williams, 11 Kenbury St., Camberwell, SE5 recently mutated from a one-copy chain-circulated magazine to a circulation duplicated fan magazine. The first of the new series is dated May 1944, costs 6d, except to Servicemen overseas who can have it for the asking, has 20 half-foolscap pages, features considerably good class artwrork, & a policy of reprinting good fan articles from past fanzines. Especially noticed in this issue is COSMIC CASE #l - "The Right of a Race to Live" by DRSmith, reprinted from NOVAE TERRAE.
FCBrown, Digbeth Police Station, Digbeth, Birmingham is desirous of swapping fantasy books. Send lists of wants & disposals.
Observations on the Contemporary American Scene (continued)
The membership limit of the FAPA was raised from 50 to 65 only recently , but not only was this slack immediately taken up but the March mailing has a waiting list of no less than 14. And this is entirely limited to active fans. But the question of general reorganisation has been raised and an attempt is being made to revive and resussitate the National Fantasy Fan Federation on not so ambitious a scale as that which apparently overawed the general mass of US fans. Failing the success of this, Art Sehnert has plans for another form of organisation, though he is willing to cooperate in the rebirth of the NFFF. And behind that still lies the idea of a central guiding nucleus of leading fans to act as centre for all the various projects a united fandom could achieve. Out of such a welter of ideas surely something worthwhile is likely to appear.
Meanwhile a flock of new fans is putting in an appearance. They crop up all over the place exuding unrestrained enthusiasm; some are old readers but the majority are youngsters just cutting their fan teeth. And of course the fanzine field reacts immediately to these phenomena. The old and tried 'zines are disappearing; Voice of the Imagi-Nation plods on merrily amid bevies of nudes, Le Zombie concluded in a blaze of glory with a magnificent fifth anniversary issue, Nova's third issue has at last appeared, Fanfare has gone for the durations. On the other hand, however, we have Microcosmos (Claude Hall), Fan Slants (Mel Brown), Toward Tomorrow (James Kepner), Arcana (Harry Honig), Diablerie (Bill Watson) and a whole sheaf of Vulcan publications from a group of the younger end who have got together for publishing purposes, including Cluster (Ray Karden), Apollo (Joe Hensley), Thoth (William James), Mara (Van Splawn ) and maybe others.
Allthough on a larger scale altogether, it seems to your editor that events across the sea are paralleling British experiences; ,and after being well shaken up by events on the larger horizon fandom in the States is about ready to settle down under present conditions, get into trim, and become something really worth while. At least that is what I hope to see in the near future.
In twin publications from the two groups in Los Angeles comes an announcement of the death of PAUL FREEHAFER, long known as an active fan in the district. Paul was a non-feudist, and was well-beloved by all sections of fandom, he was interested in literature generally as well as the fantasy section, was noted for the publication of "Polaris" with a high standard of literary content and an impeccable format, held a job in the research laboratory of a large corporation, was extremely interested in astronautics & hoped to see the first space-flight take place within his lifetime, had a large and varied library and was always up to the eyebrows in assorted jobs and favours for the various people and causes he was associated with. His early demise was due to heart disease of long standing, and although he was doomed, he never allowed this to cause a bitter attitude towards life.
An Airgraph from Edwin Macdonald, the onetime hermit of Inverness, places that gentleman at MPO 304, RCAF, Ottawa, Canada. He arrived there towards the end of April and a week later mentions that the only stf he has seen is the Wollheim Pocket Book of Science Fiction. Anent that work, DAW will be interested to learn that in one week I had tributes to it from the Anzac beachhead, and two young lady neophytes to fantasy in Leeds and Los Angeles.
Another overseas fan just head from is Liverpudlian David McIlwain, with the RAF in North Africa still. Dave is lonely but glad to keep in touch with things, and he still rates Esperanto even higher than stf so far as his own personal interest goes. Has found local Espeantists but no one in the locality seems to be the fantasy type...However he can now get into touch with Mr John Bristol Speer, Civil Affairs Section, NAJEM, Algiers; for a most interesting contact. In fact I almost envy him. ...Comparatively newly departed fron these islands is Sidney L. Birchby and he has landed up in East Africa. We suggest he contacts John Miller who preceded him there and is at Kilindini... Latest status of Australian fans: Bert Castellari in NEW GUINEA. Bill Vaney operating a search light near Brisbane. Bruce Sawyer in the great western deserts somewhere. Civilians are still Eric Russell, the only one of the old crowd still retaining interest in fandom and stf, and Vol Molesworth, still a junior reporter in Sydney. (Nebula)... As to Candains, latest letter fron Gnr. Bob Gibson still in Italy include the astonishing news that he is now in the same unit as Sgt Norman Lamb onetime of Toronto so Bob meets another Canadian Fan. The week previous Norm and Ted White managed to meet up in fact they are thinking of an all Canadian "Italycon" ... We regret to have to announce sad news for two fans overseas, late in April Bill Temple's second child and only son, Peter Douglas, died of pneumonia; deep condolences go to Joan and Bill. Ken Bulmer's father passed on, on the 18th of May so to him we sent our sympathy... Jack Banks, 28 Annington Road, Eastbourne has for sale Science Fiction March, June, August, October, December 39. (Oct Dec B.R.E.) Dynamic S.S. Feb, April 39, Marvel S.S. Aug 39, Startling Jan 41. at 1/- post free for all except BRE (9d.) each but would prefer to sell the lot together rather than single copies. Jack is still at home and awaiting medical advice concerning future activities. ..Fred Brown has been on two weeks leave at his home in London. We predict a few more books added to linited to 200 Brown collection, which numbered just over 300 at the last count. .. And here your editor goes into paeans of cheers. For his collection of fantasy in book form has now topped the one thousand at long last. Short interval for gloating. ... Whitsuntide 1944 was spent at "Avalon", Higherford near Nelson by Ron Holmes and Rita James of Liverpool; Ron Lane, George Ellis and Ron Bradbury of Manchester and JMRosenblum of Timbuctoo. Fans make good housekeepers - well, some fans shall we say? Anyway an enjoyable time was had by all I think. This was the second annual affair - so it can't have been too bad last year...Two of the latest American fans to be drafted are Tom Daniel, the gentleman who was going to put out an extra-special "Album" one fine day, and Bernard Seufert of Rochester, NY, known as a helper and collague of Larry Farsaci. Bob Tucker still loose at latest hearing but the army gets him at any moment now ... Harry Warner is to put out a special All-Degler issue of his FAPA magazine "Horizons" to memorise the last six months or so in which Degler-Rogers turned American fandom topsy-turvey. Degler is still at Newcastle, Indiana and his "Cosmic Circle" continues to emit one sheet publications, but Degler has officially resigned his leading position in the organisation, and the papers appear to be edited by some of the bevy of females Claude has collected. .. Interlineations on the other side of this sheet consist of alternative titles in place of that horrible phrase "science fiction fan". (Bob Gibson wants to know if Sax Rohmers "Si-Fan Mysteries" have any connection) and a selection of the pseudonym of one, Henry Kuttner... Remember James Parkhill Rathbone? He's still living and even though not active in fan circles, is finding plenty of occupation as an active member of the Communist Party. At present he is organising a Unity Theatre in Worcester, even to writing their first play. Coming Attractions include a production of R.U.R.
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY...........................
................................................................26th May 1944.
Chandler, A Bertram, c/o Mrs J. M. Chandler, 62 Grove Road, Beccles, Suffolk, (97); Godfrey, Spr. E.A. 1124523, 23rd Field Coy, R.C.A., C.A.O.S, (98); Youd, Sigmn. C.S., 2375076, 1 Special W/T Section, Royal Signals, C.M.F. (99).
We are happy to announce that Mr Doyle, co-Librarian with Mr Goodier, is out of hospital, but have to take the edge off this good news by stating further that he is in bed suffering from lumbago. This is what is known to the hoi polloi as just one damn thing after another. Apart from this the library is going smoothly enough. The following additions have been made recently. Astounding, Sept. 1940, May, Aug., Sept., Nov., Dec., 1943. (Given to us by the Cosmos Club, to whom many thanks.) Unknown (B.R.E.) Jan '44. (Given by Mr Gomberg.) (One sixth as many thanks to Mr. G.)
This is flourishing under the guidance of Mr Arthur F. Hillman as Director, and now has eleven members, Messrs S.G. J. Ouseley, Syd Bounds, and Ron Holmes having joined, since Terry Overton was forced to relinquish control due to his calling-up - a fate which has also deprived the Section of Peter Hawkins. A Chain-parcel is circulating containing several interesting items such as a copy (Spring '43) of the American weird fan-mag Acolyte, two Lovecraft stories, and No. 1 of an information sheet called "Did You Know That?" devised by the Director himself.
Mr Hillman is typing out some of the shorter Lovecraft epics from the Arkham House collection "The Outsider" (an unfortunate title from an English point of view in my opinion!), to circulate with the chain, and has also extracted a number of Clark Ashton Smith's stories from "Out of Space and Time" for the same purpose. (For two pins I'd join this Section myself!)
It is very apparent from all this that the enthusiast for non-scientific fantasy will find much to interest them in the Weird Section chains, and welcome is extended to all who wish to join. The Director's address is 100 Corporation Road, Newport, Monmouthshire.
Executive Committee And All That
Careful readers will have noticed in the last Bulletin or two a few howls of despair, cries of anguish, weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth about the state of the E.C. and the non-existence of the Advisory Board. Unhappily the careful readers also seem to be very hard-hearted, for nobody has manifested any sympathy, or even interest.
The next issue of the Bulletin being the second anniversary one, we propose holding an election, both for the Executive positions of President, Director, Secretary and Treasurer, and for Coordinator and members of the Advisory Board. Nominations are urgently required. I will repeat that at dictation speed. NOMINATIONS ARE URGENTLY REQUIRED.
But there is one bright spot. We are happy - delighted in fact - to announce that Mr Walter H. Gillings has agreed to stand as President.
(handwritten) PS (from JMR) - where is that Bibliophiles Chain Letter? Oh and is there anyone else for the promag chains?
1) Theodore Stephanides had an interesting career (see here) but extensive enquiries have failed to identify the SFstories he wrote, or the pseudonym he used. Any information in this regard would be much appreciated.