FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST - Issue 36 (Vol. 4, Number 6) Aug. 1944
D-Day, June 6th, 1944 saw the biggest seaborne invasion ever mounted as thousands of Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. The liberation of Europe had finally begun. On June 27th, ater heavy fighting, the US Army siezed the strategic port of Cherbourg. By July 31st, the Germans had been driven from Normandy entirely.
On June 14th Germany struck back when the first V1 flying bomb struck London. Nicknamed "doodlebugs" by the public, these pilotless flying bombs were the world's first cruise missiles. By July 11th the V1 assault had become sufficiently serious, with up to 150 being launched against Britain every day, that a second mass evacuation of mothers and children from London was ordered, the first such since the dark days of the 1940/41 Blitz.
On July 20th, Hitler survived an explosion at his Wolf's Lair HQ in East Prussia, an assassination attempt by disaffected officers led by Colonel Klaus von Stauffenberg that sadly failed.
Distributed with this issue:
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY BULLETIN #17 - ed. D.R.Smith - 6 pages
OCRing and copyediting this issue done by Greg Pickersgill.
page 10 * page 11 * page 12 * page 13 * page 14 * page 15 * page 16
page 1:............................ ................................................................ ............................cover art by Arthur Williams
CONSIDERATIONS ON AN INTERESTING PROPOSAL|
Some while ago, when American fandom began to get involved in going to war, a certain amount of thought was given to the disposal of some of the more noted collections of fantasy material, in the unhappy event of any fan failing to return. Notable was the Ackerman plan for a Science Fiction Institute, to be initially financed by an insurance policy on Ackerman's life, and just recently thoughts are again turning in the same direction with the lamentable demise of Paul Freehafer.
Whilst the same general long-range problem is in existence also in Britain, we now have an immediate problem which may give us the nucleus of a solution to the other. As most readers will be aware, there are in existence in these islands, three major non-privately owned fantasy libraries - those of the Science Fiction Association, the British Fantasy Society and the Cosmos Club. The librarians of the BFS are also Cosmos Club members and the library reposes at Teddington in close association with that of the Cosmos Club. Recently there was a suggestion that the library of the SFA which has been "frozen" during the war, ought to be available in some form to fandom, and the SFA librarian, Harry Kay, is in favour of such action.
To this end, therefore, D. R. Smith favours the merging of the three collections, to be administered as one, for the time being at least. He suggests that control should be vested in a Board of six trustees, nominated by the organisations concerned. The matter is open for discussion and suggestion out of which possibly will evolve some sort of permanent body capable of looking after this side of fandom. Possibly DRS will say more in the Bulletin.
Again the typewriter taps & out comes the August 1944 Fido.
Stencilled by Doug Webster, duplicated by George Ellis & slung together by J. Michael Rosenblum,
4 Grange Terrace, Leeds 7. Issued bimonthly at 3d. per copy. At one time a "litter" of sheets put
out by other people was attached but these seem to have disappeared of late - pity! And so till
October. . .
A Survey of American Fantasy Literature-- by -- Malcolm Ferguson.
(( Mr.Ferguson is an American literateur now in Britain with the USArmy. he is new to fandom but has developed an interest in the bizarre & weird, particularly in the form of the short story. We are glad to have persuaded him to type out these notes, in place of the more formal essay he would have preferred but which is impossible under present conditions. However, Fido is definitely ersatz itself. -- JMR))
In New England the fanciful was extensively pioneered by Nathaniel Hawthorne, of the old Salem family Hathorne (the "W" being a recent addition). Most of his stories are well-known and need little comment. FEATHERTOP was particularly good, also the more fantastic THE BLUE CARBUNCLE. RAPPACINI'S DAUGHTER, a bizarre piece, contributed the title to the poems of Baudelaire, LES FLEURS DU MAL - Hawthorne is following a strain found in the German romanticists - Tieck, Chamisso, et al - but none do it so wonderous well as Baudeleaire and his French colleagues of a later date. International exchange of ideas is quite complicated here. Consider for a moment - Hawthorne and Poe (along with Carlyle who was much more iron-fisted ideologically) saw much by the dying light of the German romanticism of the 1790s. Poe was translated by Baudelaire into prose even more perfect and less stilted than his. Baudelaire in turn influenced such writers as T.S. Eliot, Edna St Vincent Millay, Clark Ashton Smith and others. French translation from this school (Flaubert, Gautier, et al.) by Lafcadio Hearn brings the wheel full circle. English connections with this strain come with Oscar Wilde, Austin Dobson, Aubrey Beardsley and various other fin de siecle writers on THE YELLOW BOOK magazine and elsewhere. Here is a colorful skein to unravel; it is the favourite example of Robert Hillyer, the New England poet. . . .
Prior to Hawthorne is the poet, Philip Freneau, in the bizarre tradition. But it is of the later spate of writers in New England, from 1860 onwards, that I would write. It is this period that Van Wyck Brooks writes of in NEW ENGLAND: INDIAN SUMMER. Recently, Mr Brooks has been taken to task for the intimation that New England has come to an autumn of brown leaves and brown studies; I am not particularly alarmed by Mr. Brooks' assertions of this nature (nor is he, for it is exaggerated by professional jealousy at his writings), and it seems to be rather a device to accentuate a transition that need in no way be permanent, and a transition which brought in itself a second harvest of considerable interest. I recommend the book to you.
As elsewhere, so in New England, the paradox of the commonplace was being found. Confining ourselves to the weird will be difficult, as Emily Dickinson's images have Puckish eyes, and Sarah Orne Jewett's writing portrays people growing old in towns that are unruffled by the outside life, and how they are made strange thereby. Much like Hawthorne. While Sarah was partially an invalid, she studied widely and knew the writings of Flaubert and others.
The bottom suddenly drops out of the ordinary, everyday life in the writings of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, whose prosaic stories are stranger than those of Sarah Orne, but they do not suffer to any extent by thus being unreal. Miss Jowett is a more consummate artist, but there is certainly truth in the premises of Miss Wilkins' writing. From its well-chosen title, THE WIND IN THE ROSE-BUSH, which appeared in the 1900s, illustrated by Peter Newell, one goes directly into stories depicting hinted-at atavisms, repressions, things that the backwash of a country village leave accidentally uncovered. The skeleton in chains kept in the woodshed, strange, morbid thoughts such as those of the spinster whose
season-long spring-cleanings even delved under the parlor floor-boards, which were kept loose for that
express purpose. Strange fruit, this. Miss Wilkins has other books which I have yet to read. (A HUMBLE
ROMANCE, A NEW ENGLAND NUN, PEOPLE OF OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD), but her thesis is with this strange nether
The violent social changes, the westward surge has passed, and its stagnant pools have reestablished contact with the sea, or in some cases have died out. But the violence and the vacuum is less noticed. Remember, this is only one phase of writing, one that interests one as deftly hitting a minor key. The doldrums are limited in time and extent both.
Some stories along these lines can be found in other writers, although I haven't yet read all of them myself. Edith Wharton's TALES OF MEN AND GHOSTS, perhaps Grace Hill's MY SUGARBOWL OF HORROR STORIES Ralph Adam Cram's BLACK SPIRITS AND WHITE, F. Marion Crawford's volume that includes THE SCREAMING SKULL, THE HAUNTED STATEROOM, and others. Last but by no means least, H. P. Lovecraft of Providence, Rhode Island, whose THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS was an excellent bibliography of this genre - probably the best. BEYOND THE WALL OF SLEEP confirms Lovecraft's scholarship as well as his master-craftmanship.
England knows as well as America the middlewesterner, Robert W. Chambers whose bizarre THE KING IN YELLOW added much of its own to the multicolored patches of Poe and Bierce to make a strange robe indeed. Lovecraft, of course, used some of his ideas. While Chambers wrote many love stories that seem quite insipid, THE KING IN YELLOW is of quite a different calibre. Whether IN SEARCH OF THE UNICORN, THE SLAYER OF SOULS, or THE MAKER OF MOONS achieve some of the former's disticntion I do not know.
In California, the writings of Ambrose Bierce was to start a school. Many of his writings are more accessible in England than in America. His complete works were issued, but they contain much dross, a good deal of poor poetry, and are not presented as well as in other editions. I have CAN SUCH THINGS BE?, IN THE MIDST OF STRIFE, THE MONK AND THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER, FANTASTIC FABLES, and THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY. The Travellers Library has THE MONK--, with some of the FANTASTIC FABLES, but not all of the good ones. Vincent Starrett has done bibliographical work on him.
If I remember correctly, only four or five of his stories came out in THE OVERLAND MONTHLY, with which he is frequently associated. As Algernon Blackwood visited America, so Bierce visited England, and some of his work appeared in periodicals and humorous magazines here. In fact, most of his writing was to appear in newspapers, magazines throughout the West and Mexico. His disappearance at the time of Villa's insurrection in Mexico is puzzling - he apparently jumped into a hole and pulled the hole in after him.
Though a poor poet himself he inspired his junior, Sterling, whose THE WINE OF WIZARDRY is a heady poem. Sterling refused to compromise with tradition - his Miltonic writing is admirable, but out of season. Sterling lived at the Players Club in San Francisco, and died after writing the preface to the Modern Library's edition of Bierce's IN THE MIDST OF LIFE.
Against this background, at an early age Clark Ashton Smith began his writing, with which you are no doubt familiar.
In the South there was Poe who was born on the wrong side of the tracks to New England bluebloods and there was feuding - although Hawthorne and he recognised their kinship. Well worth reading are Poe's essays, although they're headstrong and opinionated. Conspicuous among Southern writers are Lafcadio Hearn, who catches the richness of New Orleans at Mardi Gras; Irvin S. Cobb, whose recent death was widely mourned; his short stories included FlSHHEAD, a tale of inbreeding, which is, I believe, contained in FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY - it has often appeared in anthologies; and there is William Faulkner, whose necrophillac study, A ROSE FOR EMILY, describes a spinster in a lushly decadent Southern city.
INTRODUCING---- another American, none other than Corporal Norman "Gus" Willmorth, who says. . . . .
WHO, ME? - - gus
Came 1939, I yearned for the New York Convention; in '40 for Chicago; in '41 I made it to Denver to meet the galaxy of star fantasy fans gathered there. I picked up my first originals there - a Paul cover, some Moreys, and several stories. Later that year I moved to California and to Los Angeles for the first time, to stay.
Soon a member of the LASFS, my political life began. I was first chosen Secretary of the Club, then, when Mrs. Finn resigned her position of Director, I succeeded her. As and while Director I edited my first and only fulfilled attempt at a fanzine - several issues of Shangri-L'Affaires. We lived a life in Paradise while things went along lovelier and lovelier.
Then the army intervened.and I moved from active fandom into active service. Aside from a short period in which I was stationed in Los Angeles proper, I have been more or less out of touch with fan activity in the United States since that time. However, arriving upon these English shores, I pitched in for some serious fanning, grasping as it were the fleeting hand of opportunity as it was raised to knock. Here I've been several places and did several things. I cannot claim to have been the most active figure in the islands, but I tried to keep up with the hurly burly of the rest of the crowd anyway. And shall some more, Ghu Willing.
Selected from questions posed by inmates during Whitson, at Avalon, Higherford; answers later.
Offhand and Without Preparation
---Book Chatter by R. George Medhurst.
If you dislike the whole idea of this column - me, talking about books - make your complaint to Michael, who not only suggested it but laid down the terms of reference contained in the title. If you have something to say yourself, within the general framework, write to me by all means.
The great wave of popular enthusiasm for stf in the United States, more or less crude, more or less adolescent, frequently very baldly sexy, has produced its academic counterpart in the American Colleges. The Americans (like the British - see any issue of THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT !) seem to have a considerable capacity for solemn scholarship grotesquely applied to the trivialities of very inferior hacks.
But let us not be bitter. What started this train of thought was the remarkably erudite and painstaking work of Mr (or Professor?) Philip Babcock Gove, THE IMAGINARY VOYAGE IN PROSE FICTION (New York, Columbia University Press, 1941). Apart from the actual reprinting of early scientific fantasy (THE MAN IN THE MOONE, THE DISCOVERY OF A NEW WORLD, A VOYAGE TO CACKLOGALLINIA) this is the most valuable contribution that has so far appeared from the American Colleges. After an interesting introduction in the way of "A History of the Criticism of the Imaginary Voyage" comes the meat of the book consisting of a minutely detailed check-list of no less than 215 "imaginary voyages" between 1700 and 1900, arranged chronologically. "A TRIP TO THE MOON". By Mr. Murtagh McDermot. Containing Some Observations and Reflections made by him during his Stay in that Planet... Printed at Dublin: and Reprinted at London . . . MDCCXXVIII." looks an automatic item - and permancency - on one's Wants List. And what in the world is Thomas Northmore's MEMOIRS OF PLANETES, OR A SKETCH OF THE LAWS AND MANNERS OF MAKAR...1795 ?
Remarkably little scientific fantasy has been written posthumously. Consequently, special interest attaches to the last volume of short stories ever to appear under the name of Frank R. Stockton. Entitled THE RETURN OF FRANK R. STOCKTON.... the book was put out in 1915 by the Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co, of New York and William Hodder of London (printed in U.S.A.). The medium was Miss Etta de Camp, as attractive a young lady as any deceased author could wish to write through. Stockton, in an apologetic foreword, says "I present this work to the public trusting it will overlook any crudeness, due to the great difficulties under which it was written..." However, death does not seem to have impaired this author's powers to the extent that one frequently finds (see, e.g., the posthumous writings of Oscar Wilde or Jack London). The stories are surprisingly good and the style very recognisable. Two - WHAT BECAME OF THE GHOST OF MIKE O'FLYNN and THE MAN WHO ALWAYS TURNED UP - are ghost stories, and THE WIDOW HE LOST, perhaps the poorest in the collection, is a stfish tale concerning an ancient Roman survival, complete with Queen, in a catacomb under Rome.
Does anyone know the complete list of J. B. S. Haldane's scientific fantasy? All that I am aware of are THE LAST JUDGEMENT, an account "broadcast to infants on the planet Venus some forty million years hence" of the break-up of the Moon and the migration to Venus (in POSSIBLE WORLDS. 1927, reprinted in Evergreen Books series, price 1/-, in 1940), THE GOLD MAKERS, an excellent short story concerning the solving of the wave-equations for gold, the consequent discovery of a method of extracting it cheaply from sea water, and the impact of this on capitalist industry (1932, reprinted price 6d, in 1937), and a passage on the future of biology in DAEDALUS: OR, SCIENCE AND THE FUTURE - "Today and Tomorrow Series, 1925, price 2/6d. Bob Gibson talks of at least one more stf. short story - possibly in another book of essays, though he isn't sure what.
MODERN READING Nos. 8 and 9 (edited by Reginald Moore - Big Ben Books, 9d.) both contain
a stf. short story. N.8 has THE COLONISTS by Norman Nicholson, a rather obvious tale of
a future tribesman in the ruins of a modern city who re-discovers machinery and is wisely
slain by an Elder and better tribesman. It also has a very good fantasy called CHANGELING
by an UNNOWN author Dorothy K. Haynes. Neil Bell contributes to No. 9 THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL,
which is particularly nicely done. It is an account of what seems to me a fool-proof method
of finishing off this war. [Open up and give out. George: I for one should like to know
that method. -DW]
Delvings into the Weird and Imaginative ----III-- Jack Banks
There is an edition of Dante's PURGATORY and PARADISE, published in 1893 by Cassell, that is illustrated by sixty engravings by Gustave Dore. As pictorial expressions of the morbid, some of these are well worth study, but the eighteen illustrations to the section containing PARADISE have little to distinguish them, in treatment, from those reverent pictures of angels and the other hosts of heaven, that abound in the pages of 19th.Century bibles, and religious books for children.
It is from among the illustrations to PURGATORY that one can single out for special attention several interesting examples of detailed imaginative work. The treatment of natural scenery, however, is somewhat conventional in some instances, although precipitous cliffs and rocky crags are imposingly drawn. Darkness and shadow is the key-note of the majority of these pictures; dispirited beings lie in postures of despair or indolence, peering with dull eyes at the poet and his companion, or oblivious of their presence, carrying out their eternal tasks. Perhaps the best example is the illustration to Canto XXIV, lines 47: -
The shadowy forms,In regarding these pictures purely as examples of imaginative art, it is well to remember that the original verses on which they are based were often complexes of symbolism, referring to events of Biblical and later history, or illustrative of human thoughts and desires. The same consideration might be taken into account in other, more recent attempts to translate symbolic conceptions into visual forms. Roger Manvell, in FILM (Pelican), writes, "Mixed with a spurious religious content came films like DANTE'S INFERNO ..... With that dash of puerility which seems to lurk in the most sophisticated film executive, you may at any time find yourself affronted with the primitive vision of religious mania dictated between telegrams into a dictaphone. " The Pelican volume mentioned above, while not strictly confirming to our theme of the "weird and imaginative", will nevertheless be of interest to those who see in the cinema an instrument for the expression of the imaginative in its widest sense. With 192 reproductions of film "stills", it represents the best value, in price, at least, for books of this type.
Some amusing sidelights on the production of sound effects for radio horror plays were given in an article in the READER'S DIGEST. The programmes put on the air by Orson Welles called for various sound effects, some of them needing the utmost ingenuity to produce. DRACULA required a hollow laugh, for the Count, so Welles almost suffocated in a wooden box, attempting to perfect the sound. When the script called for the noise of a stake being driven through a vampire's heart, the CBS sound man brought out a cabbage and sharpened broom-stick. Welles' verdict after
rehearsal was that the effect was "Much too leafy", and he suggested that a hole be drilled in
the cabbage and the vegetable filled with water. "We need blood," he said. The result again did
not satisfy him, so he obtained a water-melon and hit it with a hammer. "Even the studio audience
shuddered at the sound," we are told.
ANSWERS TO QUIZ - - How right were you ?
Michael F. Lord
It is with great sorrow that the death of Lt. "Mike" Lord, BFS Member No. 68, must be recorded. Mike had only recently completed his course of training as a naval officer in the Fleet Air Arm, and indeed it was during a holiday in Norfolk, taken whilst he awaited posting to a ship, that the accident happened.
Mike was a keen photographer, and was endeavouring to photograph a kestrel's nest which he had discovered beneath a cliff ledge on one of the Norfolk mountains. He slipped in the attempt, and fell to his death.
He was a comparatively new addition to the ranks of fandom, and a member of the Cosmos Club. His activities included the production of two fantasy tales, published in the CSC Editions of BEYOND, and some distinctive art work which appeared in the same magazine. Those who knew him will feel a great sense of loss, and will sympathise deeply with his mother. - E.F.P.
Two new fantasy books out recently, both by well known writers in the genre. John Gloag has "99%" (Cassell 7/6), which is time travel by pills. One swallows a pill & slips backwards to dream of a crucial six month period in the life of an ancestor. There are several dreams in the book besides the connecting story of the nerve specialist who discovered the tablets, his hopes & his ultimate demise. However this is overshadowed by the new Stapledon SIRIUS - "a fantasy of love and discord" (Secker & Warburg 8/6). Briefly 'tis the tale of a wonder dog, an artificial mutation; & his life with, & reactions to, humans. A fuller review by your editor was incorporated in BROWSING VIII for the Fantasy Amateur Press Association.
And concerning book news in USA, Paul J. Searles writes... "As to new fantasy books over here, Willie [sic - DW] Ley's ROCKETS (non-fictional of course) is excellent. There is also NOT TOO NARROW, NOT TOO DEEP which is more mystical than fantasy, and a cheap reprint of 5 Lovecraft stories has just appeared." Sometime about October August Derleth will publish Donald Wandrei's THE EYE AND THE FINGER, he also hopes to put out Vol.III of Lovecraft in the Spring of 1945. Sometime next Autumn, Derleth's collection of ghost-stories titled SLEEP NO MORE will be published - the table of contents shows it to be a non-hackneyed collection. If this book sells well, the same
publisher (Farrar & Rinehart) will publish two other anthologies
which Derleth will also edit, of ghost & horror stories - the latter taken largely
from WEIRD TALES. Incidentally J.O. Bailey's TRAVELLERS IN TIME & SPACE (the history
& bibliography of stf previously mentioned in Fido) has not yet been published (it
was scheduled for February 1944).
JUNE JIVE - Forces Fans:
Letter card from Roland Forster dated June 17th., which arrived on June 27th, informs us that he is no longer in England but "over there". He says (censor permitting): "It all happened fairly quickly in the end & more or less as I expected - a move at short notice to a_________ area, _______ news of "D-Day", move to a_____ thence to the _____ point, a short sea trip & there we were."
Yes, Roland, we follow exactly. Roland & pals made a dry landing without any interference from Jerry, & so far all is well. Roland is anxious to know if he is the first fan to set foot in Europe with the liberating armies - he landed on June _____! [We believe that Eric Russell went abroad about the same time; presumably also to France. There may be some chance, eventually, of contact being established. - DW]
After experiencing the salubrious attraction of Formby near Liverpool, Peter Hawkins passes on to the next phase of his military career at Catterick Camp, N Yorkshire, whence comes a despairing cry that without fan succour he will go mad, amid the dreary wastes. Knowing Catterick, we sympathise, and hope that he & Johnny Millard some 12-15 miles away near Thirsk will be able to got together, & if possible, Peter will get as far south as Leeds!
From Italy comes another airgraph from Bill Temple with news & notes of books; he notices that the critics are not taking Stapledon's new work "siriusly". Ouch! American fan, bibliophile & bibliographer A. Langley Searles of New York City has been deferred from the draft, thus enabling those of us collecting his bibliographical sheets to heave a sigh of relief.
Edwin Macdonald airgraphs from Moss Bank, Saskatchewan, to say all is well so far, Canada is a great country, he hasn't met any fans over there as yet but is still hoping.
Welcome visitors to Grange Terrace during the month have been George Ellis, who helped Ken Chadwick & I [tush! - DW] get out the last issue of Fido & is duplicating & mailing this issue; Maurice Hanson who has slipped in a couple of times, dashing over from Liversedge, Yorks; and Frank Parker, who spent a long weekend in & around the city on business.
Did anyone else hear Margaret Lockwood in a "Monday Night at Eight" radio programme say she was engaged at present in the production of a film based on A PLACE OF ONE'S OWN, Osbert Sitwell's well-known ghost stories? Most people are aware that Hollywood has filmed THE UNDYING MONSTER by Jessie Douglas Kerruish. Several other fantasy films are projected or under way, including, we believe, a version of Fritz Lieber Jr.'s CONJURE WIFE: the epic UNKNOWN yarn.
John Frederick Burke of Pen-y-bryn Hall, nr. Ruabon, North Wales, will have a short story in the second issue of the new Collins magazine CONVOY. This is good news - congratulations to Johnny.
From the new secretary of the "National Fantasy Fan Federation" - Walter Dunkelberger - comes a letter to your editor informing him that he has been elected an Honorary Member of the NFFF. May I take this opportunity of thanking all concerned for the honour, which is deeply appreciated.
Incidentally the revived NFFF has great plans & may get going in a worthy manner in the very near future. E.E.Evans has taken over the helm again & is issuing BONFIRE, the official organ. A "Plancom" or planning committee & a "Welcom" or welcoming committee are in operation, & several interesting schemes are suggested. [No US fan organisation, apparently, is complete without its planning committee; one ponders why some enterprising souls don't get together to form a Plancom & enjoy themselves, dispensing with the need for any other organisation at all. I trst thz wl b regrdd z n "interesting scheme'' by the N3F Plancom. - DW] Walter Daugherty is to issue a regular "Directory" & be in charge of
looking after the ever-varying addresses of fans. Dr R.D. Swisher is to form a 'copyright bureau'
for the 'patenting' of fanzine & column titles. A 36 page explanatory booklet on fandom is already
under construction - with articles by Milton Rothman, Harry Warner, DAWollheim, Al Ashley, Bob
Tucker & FJAckerman.
Anyone who was interested in the machinations of American fandom during the 1938-1940 era will be interested if not astonished to note that Sam Moskowitz, New Fandom's belligerent head, has met amicably the leading New York Futurians - DAWollheim, Elric Butler (Mrs. Wollheim) & John B. Michel. Handshakes all round & promises of cooperation in the future. SaM, by the way, spent some months in the tough "tank busters" section of the American army but was recently discharged: & the blighter now scoops me with an announcement of the post-war science-fiction magazine Walter H. Gillings is now working on. You were going to let me have an article on it, Wally; what happened?
We note with disapproval that a gentleman fairly new to fandom, Russ Wilsey of Bellerose, NY, has issued a single sheet magaaine entitled FELIX, followed immediately by a heckling parody from Al Weinstein of NYC, even newer to fandom, entitled FIDO. Horrors! And possibly there are one or two people not aware that a recent ASTOUNDING included a story with that title. [How true: neither I nor Winston S. Churchill knew that. - DW] (Can you prove that last statement? JMR)
..... and assorted oddments of news as it comes in.
Your editor is having quite a pleasant time of it. The first weekend in July was enlivened by the company of E. Frank Parker. On the second, George Ellis & Ron Lane popped over from Manchester. For the third Maurice K. Hanson arrived back just outside Leeds at Woodlesford, & on the 23rd. I go over to Manchester for final details & instruction to our heroic duplicator & mailer this issue - George Ellis - take your hats off gentlemen! As yet I am not aware as to whether the promised. Leicester meet at Bank Holiday will eventuate, but if it does I am likely to be there. Frank Parker, by the by, now tours England, Scotland & Wales as part of his job, so people in the larger towns at least are quite likely to see him sometime or another. In August 'twill be the Midlands, with Lancashire & South Wales to follow when they can be fitted in.
The Webster is due for a trip southwards & will probably insert details such as are known immediately following. [All highly uncertain. Hope to be wandering through England during Bank Holiday week, & to be in London perhaps Aug 9-13, chez Arnold; anyone who can contrive to be in Town at that time will be very welcome, & no doubt Frank will stand them a beer.--DW]
News item from Bob Chittock of Norwich, now with the RAF in the CMF - "Have exchanged several literary efforts with Les Johnson, & imagine my surprise when I found him in a "tiffin" queue next to me. I was with a fellow who used to be on the same squadron as Les & the latter was standing right behind me. Of course I didn't have an ASTOUNDING under each arm, nor did he, so it was extremely lucky that this fellow recognised Les & an introduction rapidly followed. Needless to say, we had a two-man Convention in the evening."
Announcement : - Anno Domini MCMLXIV circa horam nonam - ante diem quintum Idus Martias (mensis Martis die XI) filia nata est; Sandra Ley - Willy and Olga Ley. (FFF)
Latest news from USA is of another unfortunate loss to fandom in PFC Blaine R. Dunmire, U.S. Army Air Corps. Dunmire was on a ship sunk with all aboard in the Mediterranean about the beginning of May. He was comparatively new to fandom, was Assistant Director of the Western Penna Science Fictioneers, & put out two short-lived fanzines, STELLAR TALES and THE GHOUL. Another Amerifan of whom the worst was feared when all communications were being returned, has been located safe & sound. He is Emrys H. Evans, still in the Pacific, where he took part in the battles of Guadalcanal & the Fijis.
Sergeant Eric C. Hopkins airmails from Prince Edward Island, Canada, His main news is of three days spent with Canada's greatest (in all senses) fan, Leslie A. Crouch at Parry Sound, Ontario, & he knows not when, if ever, he is likely to return to England.
Jack Gibson announces a new address at ''Linden Lea", Palmer Road, Poole. And Ron Lane asks all correspondents
to communicate with him at his home address only - 21 Beresford Road, Longsight, Manchester 13.
Although still coalmining at Leigh, he is home each weekend.
A mysterious 4-page list, emanating from Anchorage, Kentucky, with the name of D. C. Richardson on the envelope - a name new, to me at least - gives complete data on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs up to May 1944. It gives magazine appearances & details of book publication if any. Most interesting points to me were: SEVEN WORLDS TO CONQUER in AMAZING Jan/42 has seen book publication as BACK TO THE STONE AGE; & 3 AMAZING yarns, RETURN TO PELLUCIDAR, MEN OF TIE BRONZE AGE, and TIGER GIRL go together to form the book LAND OF TERROR. These two were published in April/44 as the 5th. and 6th. volumes in the Pellucidar series. Listed are 25 Tarzan books, 3 Venus & 9 Martian, besides oddments.
Further details of the Lovecraft reprint work mentioned earlier. A new company Bart House are publishing it at 25 cents as their fourth release, & it is to contain the following 5 Lovecraftales - SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH, HE, THE WHISPER [WHISPERER?] IN DARKNESS, THE OUTSIDER, and THE FESTIVAL. And we hear of another Anglofan who has at last crashed the pro field with two stories accepted. We can't say who it is, just now, but this is just to let you know that we know. We don't want to be scooped again on infornation we have been asked not to publish.
Although, this issue already contains information from Paul J. Searles on the subject, as we go to press we have a communique from August Derleth which is well worth printing; - "Since you used my letter in the last issue of your magazine, I think it is only just that I pass along the most recent developments on the fantasy-weird front over here. First and foremost, Arkham House will publish Donald Wandrei's THE EYE AND THE FINGER in October, $3.00 the copy. Secondly, Arkham House will publish in January, H. P.Lovecraft' s MARGINALIA - containing a ghost-written piece, three revisions, 8 prose fragments, 8 essays, photographs of HPL's study, script, drawing, some appreciations etc., at $3.00 the copy, uniform with books by Smith and Wandrei, and not an essential part of the HPL trilogy. Thirdly, Farrar and Rinehart will publish sometime this Fall or Winter my anthology of out of print horror tales, SLEEP NO MORE! Represented are Lovecraft, Shiel, Robert Bloch, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Hazel Heard, Maurice Level, Chambers, Blackwood, James, Henry S. Whitehead, Thomas Burke, John Collier, W. B. Talman, Howard Wandrei, Carl Jacobi, Wakefield and Alfred Noyes - 8 tales have never before been published in book form, 10 have, though not all in America. Of the 10, only 3 are currently in print elsewhere, only one in any other anthology of such tales. If SLEEP NO MORE! succeeds, it will be followed by an anthology of utterly strange tales and by another anthology of out of print ghost stories (WHO KNOCKS?). ... Among other publications in the field here these are outstanding: GREAT TALES OF TERROR AND THE SUPERNATURAL, 52 tales, 1000 pages, edited by Herbert L Wise and Phyllis Fraser, Random House, New York; $2.95 the copy; BEST GHOST STORIES OF M. R. JAMES, and two anthologies of weird tales edited by Boris Karloff; all three published by World Publishing Company, Cleveland, Ohio, at $0.49 each."
LAST MINUTE NEWS
Canadifan Al Godfrey in Normandy...John Millard to spend weekend July 29-30 in Leeds...Terry Overton now in convalescent home at Bradford, will get to Leeds at same time...possibly Maurice Hanson too, fine. Backcover with resumed JMR Booklist supplied by Bob Tucker, reprint of contents page of first Unknown..nostalgia!..Jack Banks at home, not going back to IVSP in London...WHGillings, 15 Shere Rd, Ilford Essex will swap 50 issues Weird Tales '36-39; & 18 Modern Wonder, No 9 onwards for US wartime prozines...AWBusby 40 Brooklands Rd, Birmingham 28 has Lavender Dragon - Phillpotts 1/9, Last Man - Noyes 1/9, Starmaker - Stapledon 1/6, 25th Hour - Best 1/9, One Came Bank - Bell 1/9 Dr Nikola's Expt - Boothby 9d, for sale.
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY...........................
................................................................27th July. 1944
NOW WE ARE TWO.
A year has passed by since I started a Bulletin off with the heading "Now we are One" (and it will be observed that I still can't think of another way of starting an Anniversary issue) and I suppose that all and sundry will be expecting me to give a review of the activities of the Society during that year. A typical specimen, if I may say so, of the notorious callousness of all and sundry.
For the cynical amongst our midst, the Aneurin Bevans and the Shinwells who specialise in asking awkward questions, will be asking harshly "what activities?" and I cannot even plead that I must have notice of that question, let alone refer the Right Honourable Members to the statement made by our Great Leader the last time he opened his lips and forbad any dogs to bark. There are drab facts which cannot be denied, and which I shall have to face in the end, wiggle and squirm among involved metaphors as I may. The membership, for instance, has only increased by seventeen new members in the past twelve months, and even that meagre gain has been partially counterbalanced by the resignation of two members. There has been no Advisory Board and no president for this period. The Library was in the doldrums for a long time through the Librarians suffering an unprecedented run of ill-health. The Science Discussions Chain made one laborious circuit and part of another before it faded into the empyrean. A less rugged Secretary would have cut his throat by now.
But why should I play the human (or Japanese) fool and perish by my own sword. All is not completely rotten in the state of Denmark. The Library has continued in spite of hold-ups, and some Library is better than none. (Have I not even now four early "Amazing Quarterlies" waiting to be read as soon as I can finish this goddam Bulletin?) The Magazine Chains have continued most successfully under the patronage of Ken Chadwick. The Weird Section is flourishing under the enthusiastic lead of Arthur Hillman. Thanks to the efforts of Frank Parker and a number of enthusiastic amateur authors and illustrators the first issue of the BFS BEYOND came out and has been circulated to an approving audience, while a second issue is well on the way. The Magazine Mart has been opened under the guidance of Walter Norcott, - it is not the fault of the sponsors that customers have so far been few and practically impossible to satisfy. The Bibliophiles Chain still circulates - according to my latest information it does anyway. There have been Conventions - notably the one put on at Easter by the Cosmos Club. And by its mere existence the BFS does represent some sort of a bond between nearly a hundred fantasy fans in this country - and the establishment of that link was our primary objective.
There is another point on which we may claim a little glory. If we haven't done much, then we haven't spent much money either. As you will see from the Financial Statement expenditure works out at about threepence per head per year. (For the purposes of the demonstration we will ignore the fact that if you want anything you have to pay for it.) There are not many societies run cheaper! Besides, Don't You Know There's a War On?
I now have much pleasure in presenting an article from our mutual friend and ex-President Edward J. Carnell, who has gallantly snatched a little time from his military duties to labour on our behalf. So over the page for a feast of wit and wisdom!
by Ted Carnell.
As a historian I probably make a very good undertaker, so don't expect this to be a true history of what has happened to fandom during the war years. At the best it can only be an angle, and not a good one at that, because I have been away from the country and active fandom on and off during the past two years, thus losing many of the contacts I had for information. Perhaps, however, a fresh mind will see things more clearly, not having been involved in very much correspondence or fan work, or article writing, or even reading for that matter.
I have four notes on outstanding events taken against the broad background of the war years. No - five. The last one is the outstanding factor that the coming of war and the resultant curtailment of publications, and the fact that large lumps of fans and readers were whisked away to places they had never even thought existed on this mud-heap of a globe, didn't cause the death of fandom or fantasy literature. That in itself is an outstanding feature. You all know how active fandom had been continued despite almost insurmountable obstacles, by a chosen few, and their praises have been sung elsewhere upon numerous occasions. But fandom and fantasy have survived, and now that the future looks brighter there is no need to doubt that fandom will come through with flying colours and probably a lot of New Order ideas to be exploited as soon as the fans get back into circulation.
One outstanding feature I have in mind (not for the New Order), is that British, American, and Canadian fans have met through the War, and have been able to discuss each other's outlook on fandom and get to understand the other's point of view. They have swapped ideas for the future, these ambassadors of fandom, and many of the differences of opinion which, from a distance of three to six thousand miles have seemed incongruous and alien, now drift away into the limbo of small things not worth raising a dust over. I foresee a more closely-knit Universal fandom after the war based on the corner stones already set during the past couple of years. The wandering tribe of fandom have also brought new members into the flock, as well as cementing personally correspondence friendships. Yes, there's one good thing that has come out of this war.
Another point that stands out sharply is the fact that the pro-mag has become almost extinct. By itself that isn't so monstrous - there were plenty of mags that could have been exterminated comfortably and still not missed - but the fact that in Britain particularly, where fantasy was kept alive by the influx of American pulp magazines, the flame has lived on without the help of the original fuel. True, this country has been and still is a great book reading one, as opposed to magazine fiction, and has been supported during the war years be considerable numbers of "escapist" novels, but the majority of fans were Americanised, enough to prefer the type of stories which the American pulp market offered. A more mature type of fantasy built up over many years of careful reader nurturing. That fandom and fantasy should still survive despite the curtailment of 90 per cent of its literature is also a milestone in history.
Just what changes will evolve after the war I cannot prophesy. Obviously the publishing firms will endeavour to get back to their old peacetime productions with as little delay as possible, but I do not think they will achieve their ambition.
First, I think that the authors will turn to wider fields for their markets, because
there will be more publications upon the market - people will want more fiction after
so many years of being book-starved and propaganda-pumped. Secondly, world conditions
and commodities will not revert to normal as quickly as people estimate - I expect
quite a long period immediately after the cessation of hostilities before commerce,
and in particular the publishing trade, will find that the raw materials are available
in sufficient quantities to allow publication of the vast amount of new periodicals
that will inevitably come.
Yet another outstanding feature I find is the large number of British fans who have left the country, and, through their war activities, been unable to keep up with fandom in any shape or form. Some, well-known and on the active list just prior to hostilities, have dropped out of sight from even their closest friends. Others have been reported as missing, or even killed. Yet despite this exodus fresh fans and readers have continued to crop up and take their places; it is for this reason that I feel the work done by the British Fantasy Society stands out as a pillar of support during the recent years. Quite obviously without an organization of some kind, fandom would have dwindled to a matter of correspondence between a few fans - but to have a live organization endeavouring to answer everyone's needs was more than any of the old Science Fiction Association members imagined. Which brings me to the final outstanding achievement. The fact that despite depleted ranks, the lack of adequate supporting literature, inadequate travel facilities, and the war effort in general (whether in the forces or the factory), this country managed to run a Convention over the Easter holiday! And that one not the first during the year, although the biggest and most imposing. From from my own experience of Conventions I feel sure that it could have been an overwhelming success, better even than expected by the organisers, but even in peacetime things cropped up to prevent people attending in large numbers. With a war on, the Eastercon gave everyone their answer....fandom will stay for ever despite its changing face.
Footnote to the above. I would like to mention, while the iron is hot, that possibly Ted's isolation from fannery through his Army career has caused him to take an overdim view of the supply of pro-mags. Admittedly those odd persons who go in for a complete collection of every magazine on the market have felt the cold somewhat, admittedly it has been almost impossible to obtain the magazines without some degree of skullduggery, but the generous help of American fans has sent over a sufficient supply of the magazines to enable most fans who would take a little trouble to read sufficient of them to keep up the tradition. They have been circulated under various schemes, of which the BFS Magazine Chains are the most recent example, and as serials are comparatively few the missing of odd numbers has not been a tragedy. I might suggest. in fact, that the strongest force drawing fandom together during the war has been a desire to share in this slender supply!
Elections and All That.
Dearly beloved brethren, I am sorry to say that you responded to my appeal for nominations for the Executive Committee in your usual brilliant style. Maurice Hanson gallantly made a few suggestions which unfortunately do not get us anywhere as the only change suggested to the recent line-up involved bringing in a gentleman who has many excellent qualifications but not the essential one of being a member of the BFS. (I refer to no other than Douglas W. L. Webster.) So it seems as if we shall have to carry on with the present set-up until the strain causes one or more of us to collapse. The executives for the next year are, then :-
President. Mr Walter H. Gillings.The above list is subject to alteration. The position with regard to the Advisory Board is even less satisfactory. For this defunct body we have one volunteer in the person of Jack Gibson, who we are happy to welcome back to active fandom after his recovery from the illness that enforced his retirement from the position of Librarian. Reviewing the situation, though, we - I - can't see him getting much action as a member of the Advisory Board, for the only other suggestions for members of this body (again by courtesy of Corporal Hanson) are Messrs Frank Parker and John Aiken. I have not made any specific enquiry of the gentlemen in question about their reactions to this proposal as yet, but although their qualifications are admirable they are both very busy men and I doubt their being able to accept. In any case three people, however willing and competent, do not make a very substantial committee. What would you do, chums?
Owing to a change in the nature of his work which necessitates his absence from home for considerable periods of time Frank Parker is having to relinquish the editorship of this reluctantly. This promised to put us into something of a spot, for it is not a job that everyone could do (even if they were willing, said he laughing bitterly) but Arthur Hillman has gallantly agreed to have a smack at it in spite of his existing commitments as director of the Weird Section. As far as my gen goes the change has not yet actually taken place, as Frank is trying to get number 2 into circulation first. Those of us who read and enjoyed the first issue will owe a debt of gratitude both to Frank for his past efforts and to Arthur for taking up the torch.
Harry Kay, the SFA Librarian, has suggested to us that this considerable collection of books and magazines which was left in his care at the outbreak of the war when the SFA suspended its activities might well be made use of by the BFS, an offer for which we are all most grateful. In considering this matter it occurred to me that libraries, being material things, are likely to be of greater duration than societies, which are subject to many diseases. The remainder of the Executive Committee agreeing. we have therefor suggested to the Cosmos Club, who possess a very considerable library too, that all three libraries, BFS, CC, and SFA, be combined and placed under the care of a board of trustees made up of the best-established fans of the country with a view to maintaining it as a permanent body irrespective of the rise and fall of societies. At the moment that would mean that the books would be available to members of both the present active societies, the Cosmos Club and the BFS, under the usual conditions as regards the payment of postage, the benefit to all concerned being obvious. Fans outside both societies could be admitted too on payment of a suitable fee, and the collapse of either or both societies would not mean the dispersal of hard-won collections should no succeeding body appear at once.
The reactions of the Cosmos Club have not yet arrived. We would appreciate the comments of any of our members who has anything to say on the matter.
Assistant Librarian Doyle, having recovered from his lumbago, is now waiting for a vacant bed so he can return to hospital. Fred Goodier, in giving this piece of information, adds "What a bloody awful life", and I think that this one instance when the strong language is justified.
From our old friend of the BSFWRS, John Cunningham, now PFC J.M.Cunningham No. 38243760, comes a copy of Weird Stories, July '44, for the Library. Thankyou, John, as much for the thought as the gift.
From Honorary Member P.J. Searles we have a courteous acknowledgement of his election to that rank and his best wishes for long life to the BFS.
From Edwin MacDonald, now training in Canada for flying duties in the RAF, an airgraph conveying the news that he likes Canada, likes the course he's on, but some times has to rise at 3 a.m.
From Bob Gibson, in Italy for the last six months, a sample of genuine Italian grit (I thought it was some exotic flower seed and nearly planted it!) and a most extraordinary request, which, as others are involved, merits a paragraph to itself.
Astonishing behaviour of sundry members.
The request from Gunner Gibson which shook me so was to the effect that he wanted to know when his subscription was due. Before I had recovered from this a letter from Mr G Ashmore arrived with a P.O. for 1/- in payment of the subscription he assumed to be due. And when Jack Gibson wrote to me volunteering for the Advisory Board he enclosed a P.O. for 3/- for assumed back subscriptions.
However, in the Prospectus it is laid down that "subscriptions will be asked for by the Executive Committee whenever they consider that the financial state of the society demand additional funds being raised" and as will be observed from the Financial Stamement, that is not yet the case, so the money has been returned. But we very much appreciate the spirit!
Elsewhere in Fido appears the sad news of the death of Micahel Lord in an accident whose nature, at such a point in his career, must surely rank as one of the bitterest jests of malignant Fate. One can but record the facts of such a tragedy, nothing more is required to produce in the sympathetic reader those few moments of silent sorrow that are the only tribute we can pay.
LITTLE FAN - WHAT NOW?
When I somewhat reluctantly (but not half so reluctantly as I would have been if I could have foreseen the future) took on the task of BFS Secretary, I was very vague as to what a secretary did and what a society was for. Well, I know now what a secretary does. He returns home tired and weary after a fortnight's holiday to find his garden entirely obscured by fifty-seven different assortments of weeds, a ton of coal to be stacked in a coalplace, a postcard from the local librarian, threatening legal proceedings if he doesn't return a book he borrowed some time ago and hasn't had time to read, a stack of letters to be answered, and a letter from the Director asking for the stencils for the next Bulletin to be sent not later than the previous week-end. But I am not quite so clear as to what a society does.
Perhaps I should expand that somewhat, into "I am not clear as to what the members of a society think it should do". And this is a serious matter, for I have heard by this way and that of a feeling abroad among some members that the BFS does not do all it should. Library, Magazine Chains, Weird Section, Bibliophiles chain, BFS Beyond, Bulletin - always available for members advertisments, occasional small conventions, these and other features aren't enough. So what I would like to hear from anyone interested is their idea of what a society should do, and how it should do it. Which, of course, is what the Advisory Board should do. If only we had an Advisory Board.
Another topic which is ripe for discussion is what to do after the war. There will be, I foresee, a tendency for local groups to arise, particularly in London (apart from the existing Cosmos Club maybe). But there will still be a large number of more or less isolated "country" fans who will want an organisation like the BFS, who have a tendency to feel rather out of things if they are hangers on of a central group, and to sulk accordingly (as I did as a BIS member). Do we, then, resign ourselves to a number of different bodies with a separate one for country members, or can we organise a combined society in which everyone will feel happy? This too ought to be discussed in time so that when we recover from the Armistice celebrations to face the complications of peace we shall be prepared, and ideas would be welcome. I propose to print all/any letters dealing with this subject - or the parts of letters dealing with it, in the Bulletin.
That this has been typed straight onto the stencil (apart from the Carnell spasm) will be so evident that I feel it almost superfluous to offer it as an excuse for the mistakes - especially for the mistakes which I have missed, and shall not find as it is too late to read through the thing again. But there may come a day when I can devote full time and care to a Bulletin,.....until then a fond farewell.