“Krazy Fucha,” by Steve Stiles
Contents – eI52 – October 2010
Cover: “Krazy Fucha,” by Steve Stiles
…Return to sender, address unknown….42 [eI letter column], by Earl Kemp
The Anthem Series, Part VIII, by Earl Terry Kemp
Back cover: “Homage to Clark Ashton Smith,” by Ditmar [Martin James Ditmar Jenssen]
How on earth can religious people believe in so much arbitrary, clearly invented balderdash?....The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to fight loneliness. Any time I see a person fleeing from reason and into religion, I think to myself, There goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore.
THIS ISSUE OF eI is in memory of Ted Tubb.
As always, everything in this issue of eI beneath my byline is part of my in-progress rough-draft memoirs. As such, I would appreciate any corrections, revisions, extensions, anecdotes, photographs, jpegs, or what have you sent to me at email@example.com and thank you in advance for all your help.
Bill Burns is jefe around here. If it wasn’t for him, nothing would get done. He inspires activity. He deserves some really great rewards. It is a privilege and a pleasure to have him working with me to make eI whatever it is.
Other than Bill Burns, Dave Locke, and Robert Lichtman, these are the people who made this issue of eI possible: Jacques Hamon and Earl Terry Kemp.
ARTWORK: This issue of eI features original artwork by Steve Stiles and Ditmar.
IMPORTANT NOTE...SNAIL MAIL: Please change your snail mail address for Earl Kemp to: P.O. Box 369, PMB 205, Tecate, CA 91980 .
I am an atheist (or at best a Unitarian who winds up in church quite a lot).
…Return to sender, address unknown…. 42
The Official eI Letters to the Editor Column
By Earl Kemp
We get letters. Some parts of some of them are printable. Your letter of comment is most wanted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail to P.O. Box 6642, Kingman, AZ 86402-6642 and thank you.
Also, please note, I observe DNQs and make arbitrary and capricious deletions from these letters in order to remain on topic.
This is the official Letter Column of eI, and following are a few quotes from a few of those letters concerning the last issue of eI. All this in an effort to get you to write letters of comment to eI so you can look for them when they appear here.
Tuesday August 24, 2010:
Dennis Lien: Always happy to see a new issue of eI out -- when the word hits the streets, we all become honorary farmers for the day and you can hear the happy cries of "eI, eI, OH!"
If I ever find any of the famed Copious Free Time I'll have to re-read all the Anthem Series sections to date with my fine-tooth comb in hand to see if I can add anything or pick the rare tiny nit, but on basis of my quick readings over the last couple of years this seems to be exceedingly well-done and accurate. Instead I'm going to spend way too many words commenting on one sentence in one letter in this issue:
In your letter column, sometime Minn-STFer John Purcell notes that:
"Will Murray’s article was enjoyed, albeit brief. He is right in that the history of SF pulps is “reasonably well documented,” but there is a need for pre-Gernsback science fiction magazine publishing history, such as Argosy, Munsey’s Weekly, and others."
Certainly more study is always useful, but there is actually quite a bit out there in this area. The first major cut at the data was Brad Day's self-published 1953 checklist An Index on the Weird & Fantastica in Magazines; Day reprinted and somewhat erratically updated this in 1995.
The late E.F. Bleiler's Science Fiction: The Early Years (Kent State U Press, 1990) devotes almost a thousand pages to description and commentary on all pre-1930 sf stories in the non-genre magazines he could find (and pre-1930 sf books), and a number of such stories in the fantasy and horror field had already received shorter treatment in his 1983 Kent State Guide to Supernatural Fiction.
Sam Moskowitz's anthologies Science Fiction by Gaslight; A History and Anthology of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, of Science Fiction by Gaslight; 1891-1911 (1968) and Under the Moons of Mars; A History and Anthology of the “Scientific Romance” in the Munsey Magazines, 1912-1920 (1970) include substantial introductory material on magazines of the period and their authors.
Some recent anthologies of sf/f stories from such sources include Steampunk Prime, edited by Mike Ashley for Prime Books, and two anthologies edited by Gene Christie for Black Dog Books: The Space Annihilator and Other Early Science Fiction from The Argosy and The People of the Pit: Early Horror Stories from the Munsey Pulps.
All issues of Munsey’s and virtually all issues of Golden Argosy and of its successor just-plain Argosy up to around 1920 (and a large majority of later issues as well) have been indexed in the free online Fictionmags Index: http://www.philsp.com/homeville/FMI/0start.htm though the stories with sf/f content are not singled out there. So are thousands of issues of other popular magazines.
Having done most of that site's indexing for Golden Argosy myself, I can report that sf or fantasy was very thin on the ground in that version, but that one of the serials that began in the initial issue and ran through the first 20 issues was a fantasy: Argosy Yarns—The First Ship, by D.O.S. Lowell, a somewhat snarky version of the Jason and the Argonauts tale, later published in book form as Jason’s Quest and free online to the curious at: http://www.archive.org/details/jasonsquest00lowegoog
If lost race fiction counts as fantasy, even if the races aren't very lost or very fantastic, a couple of early borderline-relevant serials are George Manville Fenn's (reprinted from a UK magazine) The Golden Magnet; or; The Treasure Cave of the Incas, and David Ker's The Lost Race and the Unknown River (later published in book form as Lost Among White Africans), both appearing in Golden Argosy during 1888.
The first clear-cut sf (as opposed to fantasy and/or lost race) novel in Argosy was The Conquest of the Moon, by Andre Laurie, a 17-part serial beginning in the November 16, 1889 issue (and reprinted in Argosy in 1890 as A Month in the Moon). This was a translation of a French original, though Argosy did not cop to that fact (they did quite a lot of uncredited reprints in their early years; in fact the short story often credited -- incorrectly -- as the "first sf/f story" published in Argosy, "The Man With the Brown Beard" by Nathaniel Babcock, in the February 1896 issue, was itself a reprint from the January 1892 issue of Munsey’s.)
My notes to hand on a couple of 1887 fantasy stories, both brief ones:
January 1, 1887: "A Country Romance" by Anonymous (page 79) is a standard-plot ghost story: house haunted by ghost of murdered peddler until his bones are found and given proper treatment
January 15, 1887: "The Enchanted City" by Hubert Murray (page 100): young Indian (South Asian) boy does favor for a fairy/goddess whom he meets in snake form; she repays him by sending him to the City of Gold; when he is forced to leave he spends his life pining and trying to return, succeeding only on his death bed. (Moskowitz reprinted this one in his anthology Ghostly by Gaslight.)
And a later "story" of sorts (more nearly a "nonfact article") from the August 5, 1893 Argosy, which might count as the first straight-up science fiction short story in Argosy if (a) it were more of a story and less of a spoof, and (b) if it were not yet another reprint (this time from a newspaper):
i · “A Bold Peep Ahead” · Anon. · ex Pittsburgh Press Jul 5, 1893; allegedly a description of the Independence Day celebration in Pittsburg in 1993 (sic) and thus sf of a sort — weather control, tourists from Jupiter, a million airships, wonderment at viewing almost-extinct horses, inflation (a million dollar prize was complained of as small), flight with artificial aids, etc.).
I transcribed this last item and could send a copy to John or anyone who might be interested (assuming I can still find it in my files), but this letter has now gone on long enough, so --
cheers and best wishes.
Thursday August 26, 2010:
Lloyd Penney: I’ve decided that when a new issue of eI arrives, I will download it, whether or not it’s a long webpage or a .pdf. That way, I won’t fall behind; I have plenty of fanzines to respond to. So, here are comments on issue 51.
I have seen some great artwork from Brad Foster, but this has to be one of the best I’ve seen. No wonder Brad has a small fleet of silver rockets on his mantel. I must also marvel at Ditmar’s work on the back.
Kurt Vonnegut’s opinion mirrors what happens in Canadian politics, too. Generally, liberals look at the benefit to the individual, and conservatives look at the benefit to the society, and they are not always the same. I daresay that when 9/11 happened, Bush and the Republican elite saw their golden opportunity. Those eight years are seen as heady by the right wing, and among the worst days in American history by the centre and left.
My loc... So many used bookstores have dried up and gone, and I am certain the books within have been recycled or worse. For many years, I’d pass by a used bookstore not far from my home, and it always looked closed. I needed more to read, just about out, so I called the store, and got their hours, and eventually headed down for a visit. The store is called the Batta Book Store, and I met Mr. Batta. A day of nostalgia…shelves upon shelves, rack upon rack of paperbacks and hard covers, and Mr. Batta said he had ready access to another 20,000 books, some of which he purchased wholesale more than 20 years ago. The hunt was on, the place smelled of musty books. A day well spent, and I will return for more. He sells most of his books for one-quarter of the list price…Mr. Batta is running a retirement sale. When all the books are sold, the store closes, but I think that won’t be for some time. Nonetheless, I will be helping Mr. Batta get a little closer to that retirement and store closing, but not too fast….
And even more from Terry, more wonderful books, and a true tribute to Ken Krueger. Why is it we usually find out so much about a person after they die? I was on a fanzine panel with Ken several Eeriecons ago, and chairman Joe Fillinger let me know when Ken passed away. I am sure Joe tried his best to honour Ken and his memory, but attendance at Eeriecon is usually small. I honestly didn’t know the extent of Ken’s legacy. I wonder if Ken’s efforts inspired the creation of the Buffalo Fantasy League more than 60 years ago…Eeriecon was started as a 50th anniversary project of the BFL.
(A small coincidence…I see listed The Mightiest Machine by John W. Campbell, Jr. I didn’t know about that title, but I did purchase a paperback copy of that book at the above-mentioned Batta Book Store. It’s Ace’s second printing, December 1972.)
Just made it onto the second page, and I must end this. Once again, my thanks to both Kemps for another look at the earliest roots of science fiction, and more tribute and information about Ken Krueger. A single volume about Ken would suffice, perhaps an induction into the SF Hall of Fame, if they have a builder’s category. Thank you again, and there must be more to marvel at in the next issue…bring it on!
To me, wanting every habitable planet to be inhabited is like wanting everybody to have athlete’s foot.
—Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
Anthem Series: Part VIII
Copyrighted material removed at the request of the author.
Vonnegut is a case in point. In a year when his Sirens of Titan, an unbelievably adroit and inventive book, vastly superior to anything else even attempted that year, was published, the Hugo went to a second-class, inept, paucive, adolescent, hysterical piece of nonsense, strictly on the reputation of the author, who has done infinitely better work in the past.
—Harlan Ellison, The Double Bill Symposium, 1963-64
“Homage to Clark Ashton Smith,” by Ditmar [Martin James Ditmar Jenssen]