BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY...........................
...............................................September 20th, 1945.
A few more members have rallied round the old firm since the appearance of the last Bulletin and their names are duly chronicled below for the benefit of posterity, together with the actual amounts received and appropriate saucy comments where such are called for.
Peter Hawkins (2/6 - this should have appeared last issue); S.L.Birchby (2/6d - New member No. 115, address 7662586 Sgt.Birchby, Command Pay Office, Box 4001, Nairobi, Kenya); Tom Holmes (2/6) W.A. Deveraux (2/6d); Bob Silburn (2/6); B. Laurence Sandfield (3/-, the extra being conscience money); Gibert Pusey (2/6d); Stanley Mason (2/6 - new member 116, address 1308130 A.C.L.Mason, c/o 319 Loughborough Park Estate, Lambeth, London S.W.9); Harry Manson (5/- the extra being a bribe because he wanted information regarding any American fans in San Pedro, California - a town he is interested in on accounta he went to school there; we've done what we can, but if anyone has any addresses of fans in that district would they please let him know - his address, is 52 Harbour Street, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland; Mike Vinter (5/- Mike has an atomic-energy-powered conscience); H. Andrews (2/6 - new member No. 117, Address 37 Oxford Avenue, Hayes, Middlesex; A. Salmond (2/6 - new member No. 118, address F/Sgt A. Salmond, c/o 551 Marfield Street, Carntyne, Glasgow E.2.); and, latest but by no means least, Bert Lewis (2/6).
To these may be added Messrs Walter Norcott and James P. Rathbone who have promised subs with such earnestness that for the nonce we must assume the money is as good as ours, and Ken Chadwick, operator of the Forces Chains, whose sub is being deducted from the payment due to him for the initial potage of those mags. This, if I am counting with my usual accuracy, means 55 pukka members, to which must be added the Honorary members, a few in the Services who will receive the benefit of the doubt as to their accessibility - or lack of it rather, plus a few who joined early this year and whose initial subs of 1/- were counted as part of the 2/6. Unless the latter fork out after the receipt of this Bulletin they too will be deemed to to have left us.
There are still some fifty members who have left us by default, and probably half of those have dropped out through lack of energy to get a P.O. There are still enough of us to have fun.
And Now What?
Owing to one thing and another, such as the going astray of an Executive Committee Chain, I must confess to being somewhat out of touch with the masterminds of the society at the present moment, and so I have no idea what mighty schemes are brewing for the use of the alarming amount of capital now in our possession - nor even if any schemes are brewing at all. This is one of the disadvantages of an Executive Committee which can never meet to discuss things directly, and therefore a big argument for dispensing with such a ridiculous arrangement at the earliest possible moment. (Yes, I know the tune sounds familiar, but the needle is going to remain stuck in this groove until someone takes notice of what I'm saying,) So what follows is purely of the nature of a fireside chat) and neither the Senate nor Congress will accept any responsibility for anything I say.
In the first place it may be of interest, and mayhap even spread some
useful alarm and despondency, if I mention the fact that for the last
year I have been quite out of touch with the library. Moreover in this
case at least it is not because I have not been trying. I have written
more than once to the librarian with no result. I have written to people
in the same neighbourood, and apart from being reassured that the thing
is still in existence have been little better off. Member E.C.Tubb
(hereinafter referred to as Ted), rashly complained that he could get
nothing out of the library, and laid himself open to the cunning suggestion
that the best way out of the impasse would be for him to become
librarian himself. Nobly he recognised the logic of this argument and
was making arrangements accordingly when his employers - the American
Red Cross - decided that he could best serve their interests if stationed
on the continent. That restored the status quo, and before you have time
to look away I would come to the point of this dissertation - we want
It is a job that entails a certain amount of work and trouble, but not an excessive amount if tackled in the right manner, for our collection is not of gigantic proportions. According to my latest information -- about two years out of date - it consists of roughly three hundred magazines and thirty or forty books, about enough to reach up to the ceiling of a normal room and half-way up again if stacked like that, though I do not recommend the method. If I had to look after it myself I would start by card-indexing the various volumes with the idea of keeping a record of the lending of each book on its respective card, and keep a register of the borrowers cross-referenced to the book index. Initially this might take five or six hours, but afterwards it would be possible to deal with requests for loans in a matter of ten minutes each including wrapping and addressing. (In case anyone is saying "What do you know about it anyway" I will mention that during the war I have sent about three hundred magazines of my own away by post on loan to various fans and have parcelled up fifty or sixty for delivery by hand, so there!) In my experience a parcel of ten magazines will suffice most fans for a month, and as quite a limited number of people use the library one would not anticipate more than two or three requests per week. Difficulty of obtaining wrapping paper in these hard times could be overcome by having each applicant supply his own - there are plenty of precedents for that these days. A certain amount of repair work would be necessary, and preparation of a yearly catalogue, but the whole amount of work would not compare with the amount required to issue a bimonthly fan-mag. What about it? One willing Librarian is all we want, though two together would doubtless be better.
Mention of the labour involved in producing fan-mags reminds me that one of our bold members, Mr Gilbert Pusey, is contemplating blossoming forth in this field. I am all in in favour of this sort of enterprise myself, and yet hope to see the day when enough willing helpers will rally round the editor of a fan-mag to enable the production of something of sterling size and quality which will become a fairly permanent feature of the fannish landscape. Notable magazines have been produced in the past by the sole efforts of a single editor-printer-publisher, but only companies are immortal. I await hopefully the development of this latest enterprise.
The fan directory published last year proved to be rather popular
with some members and the time will soon be ripe for putting out a
revised edition. Doubtless many of you will have spotted mistakes or
omissions in the original and we would appreciate it very much if those
of you who have any such information would write in and give it us, so
that the information in the second edition may be both as extensive and
accurate as possible.
Members will recollect seeing in the late-and-deeply-lamented Fido a series of book-reviews, each of which occupied a single page of the magazine and was presented in a certain standardised manner thus :-
Author Name. Type (i.e, weird, scientific,The idea was of building up a bibliography of fantasy books in which one page would be devoted to each volume. An immediate advantage of such an arrangement is that the pages can be filed alphabetically as they are issued in a loose leaf file, and the bibliography thus built up steadily over the years. Moreover, because so much space is devoted to each work the information is of a much more extensive nature than is usual. In the original scheme a number of fan-mag editors on both sides of the Atlantic were to always print book-reviews in the approved form so that separate copies of the pages concerned could be run off the stencil to provide pages for the bibliography. Michael Rosenblum was, of course, the leading light in this country, and for the benefit of those interested he gives the following list of reviews in hand, the order being that of the authors' names.
Armour, D. - So Fast He Ran; Balsdon, D. - Sell England; Bell, N. - One Came Back; Brahms & Simon - No Nightingales; Chesterton, G.K. - The Napoleon of Notting Hill; Cox, Erle - Out of the Silence; Dell, J. - News for Heaven; Dent, G. - Emperor of If (? Gf); Derleth, A. - Sleep No More; Dick Mr. - James Ingleton; Fawcett, G.D. - Hartman the Anarchist; Fraser, R. - The Fiery Gate; Fraser, R. - The Flying Draper; Fowler, G. - A Flight to the Moon; Fuller, A.M. - A.D. 2000; Ganpat - The Speakers in Silence; Ganpat - Walls Have Eyes; Glendon, G. - Emperor of the Air; Gloag, G. - 9990; Graves & Lucas - The War of the Winuves (???); Hanson, M. - Sorceror's Chessmen; Hodgson, W.H. - Carnacki the Ghost Finder; James, M.R. - The Five Jars; Jeffries, R. After London; Knight, E. - Sam Small Flies Again; Lindsay, D. - A Voyage to Arcturus; Macdonnell, A.G. - Lords & Masters; Malden, H. - Nine Ghosts; Malet, L - The Gateless Barrier; Marchane, B. - The Star Called Wormwood; McIlwraith & Connolly - Invasion from the Air; Moore, T. - The Epicurian; Munro, J. - A Trip to Venus;
Newman, B. - Secret weapon; Nostradamus, M. - The Age
of Science; Oppenheim, E.P. - Mr Mirakel; Shelly, M. - The. Last Man;
"Snilloc" - Ghost Stories; Stapledon, O. - Sirius; Stapledon, O. - Old
Man in New World; Stern, P. van D. - The Moonlight Traveller; Todd, R. -
The Lost Traveller; Wandrei, D.- The Eye and the Finger; Wignall and
Knox - Atoms. (Question marks indicate doubt as to my reading of
The list is already ofquite useful proportions, but as it only represents about two or three per cent of the total number or fantasy books to have been published it is obvious that there is plenty of room for expansion,whose address, in case you don't know, is 4 Grange Terrace, Chapeltown, Leeds 7.
Mr A. Bertram Chandler, son of the sea and member or the BFS, has pulled off the feat known technically, I believe, as "scooping the cover" of the October Astounding with his story "Giantkiller", an effort of which the exacting Mr John W. Campbell speaks very highly in the September issue. JWC being one of the very few fantasy magaine editors whose tastes happen to coincide with mine I am prepared to belleve that this is a story well-worth reading for more than patriotic reasons.
JWC has apparently been much in demand to give, as an expert on such matters, his views on the atomic bomb and its effects on society. An issue of Dunkelburger's FANEWS dated 20th August mentions a broadcast Campbell gave on the subject from a New York station on 7th August, a broadcast which Joe Kennedy, who reported it, describes as being very good. 'The New Yorker' of 25th August gives an account of an interview with him under the handing "1945 Cassandra". Here is mentioned the fact that when the censorship clamped down on talk of atomic energy in magazines Astounding was allowed to carry on becuuse its editor pointed out shrewdly to the authorities that it would be more suspicious if Astounding stopped talking about atomic energy than if it continued to use this fruitful source of plots. As a sample of the goods "Blow Ups Happen" by Heinlein is described in detail, and the post-atomic-bomb war series of Lewis Padgett is mentioned. The title to the interview comes from Campbell's prediction that in the next major war every major city will be wiped out in thirty minutes, that the explosion of an atomic bomb on the ground would leave the spot radio-active for anything from ten months to five hundred years, that sterilisation and mutants would be caused, and that atomic power will never be used for ordinary road vehicles because of the possible devastation resulting from a collision. Such predictions are familiar enough to us, they are the stock-in-trade of the science-fiction world, but we were regarded as more than somewhat crazy for contemplating such things as possibilities. Now we are vindicated, we are regarded as quite sane, but I feel uneasily that this is only because the world is now as crazy as us, and our last state is worse than our first.
Coming to more personal items, the address of 14756848 Sigmn Hawkins P. is now Ops. Section, Eritrea Signals, M.E.F., a locality well-designed as a testing ground for salesmen of gents full-length wooly underwear. A letter just received from Peter gives sad news of his state of well- being, for it was written from a hospital whence he had been
taken with some sort of headachy illness probably aggravated by his having an abscessed
tooth removed during the initial stages. However he was recovering
rapidly when he wrote. In a previous letter he mentioned visiting Massawa
to see what it is like in the hottest place on Earth, but unfortunately
for the records it was on a coolish day, the temperature only being about
130 oF...., 2375076 Sigmn Youd, C.S, is abroad again after his recent leave
in England, address being Message Centre (BS), A.F.H.Q., C.M.F. - about
three minutes from Naples, if you had a jet-plane.... Another new address
come my way is 7002586 Sgt Birchby, S.L., Command Pay Office, Box 4001,
Nairobi, Kenya... Not quite so far away is E.C.Tubb (DVR), American Red
Cross, Continental Headquarters, A.P.O. 887, U.S.Army which being as there's
a war off, I can tell you quite frankly is Paris, and he hopes to maintain
his contacts with fandom. A question he asks is of somewhat general
interest - "What has happened to the Cosmos Club?".... Maurice Hanson,
who after nearly six-and-a-half years in the army has been rewarded by
placing in Group 25, is being rewarded by being shipped off to the Middle
East, a pair of putty medals which he is wearing with remarkably good
grace - considering....
A last minute subscriber of 2/6 to the war-chest is another new member - Syd Bounds, 27 Borough Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, No.119.
Concerning the mass-meetings of fans in London during August, the joyous days and riotous nights they spent, my lips are sealed, for a Special Publication is to be issued giving all the printable details.
I am given to understand that at a recent meeting of the BIS it was suggested that recent developments made such a body hardly neccessary, as interplanetary flight will soon be here in any case. Othello's occupation one.
Exchange and Mart Department.
Arthur Hillman, 100 Corporation Road, Newport, Monmouthshire, has the following quarterlies for sale.
Amazing - Summer 1929, Fall 1929, Summer 1931 at 5/- per copy.
Robert, Silburn, The Dingle, Rhydyfelin, Aberystwyth has an assortment of mags for sale cheap. Write for list.
Walter Norcott, 41 St. John's Worcester has a number or magazines and books for exchange for other mags&books on a one-for-one basis. Included in those he has are Science Wonder April&May 1930, Air Wonder July, Oct. November 1929, Amazing Nov. 1932, Startling, Spring 1944, Super Science Feb 1943 (U.S.) April, June 1943 (Cad.), Fantastic Adventures Aug & Sept 1941, Weird July '41 & March '45, FFM Sept & Oct '42, Sept & Dec '43, Mar. June, Sept, Dec. '44, Planet Stories Vol.1 no. 1. Books include "The Jungle Girl" & "The War Chief" by Burroughs, Metropolis, 50 Strange Stories, 50 Weird Stories, and Blackwood's Pan's Garden. Wanted mags include Fantastic Adventures Nov. '39, all '40 except Mar, June, Sept, Oct, '41 May, '42 Sept. Nov. Dec., T.W.S. '40 July, Oct, Nov, Weird '41 March, F.F.M. all '40 except March & April; Planet Vol 1 Nos.2,4,7,6,7,8,11, Vol. 2 No. 2,6, and & all following.
Fun and Games Department.|
All serious minded members are warned that what appears on this page is nothing to do with the BFS and possibly not fandom either, the whole thing being what pedantic fan-editors call a "filler".
First I would like to mention some rather dubious publicity for the late Mr Charles Fort which I have found in the recently-published "Poltergeist Over England" by Harry Price, a book which I have actually bought, instead of waiting for it to appear on the library shelves. From. the index I discover that the works of Fort are drawn on quite freely for accounts of poltergeistic phenomena, and they also appear in the "Bibliography". The reason I qualify this publicity as being rather dubious is because I doubt whether the Fortean Society will approve of their Prophet's Teachings being described as a belief in a sort of cosmic poltergeist. On the other hand they might as apparently Fort himself made comprisions between the small-scale disturbances usually termed poltergeistic phenomena and the large scale irregularities he also collected.
I cannot refrain from reproducing from a letter of Maurice Hanson's a really choice bit of criticism of some of Lovecraft's stories which he read in a Bart House pocket-size collection named after the chief story "The Dunwich Horror". Sez Maurice, sezee:-
"I hope this is a selection of Lovecraft's poorer work, and that my former high estimate of his worth is not entirely mistaken. If ever stories were written to a recipe these are, (how can a shadow or a shape or a footprint be blasphemous, anyway?) and their ridiculously dumb characters, who are not convinced that something is amis when a month-old corpse rings them up and says "Glub...glub...glub" - upon which they tell it its phone is out of order and recommend getting in touch with the operator."With which, although an admirer of Lovecraft myself, I joyously agree; it is quite true that Lovecraft at times wrote like a parody of himself, and this is a pit into which any writer may fall who practices a novel and individual style. The last is not my opinion, it is that of H.E.Bates, as set down in his book "The Art of the Short Story" - a book which contains much excellent thought on the subject and which nearly made me discontinue reading fiction entirely, so repelled was I by Mr Bates' idea of a good short story. But something which should be carefully noted by up-and-coming writers is that if Lovecraft himself sometimes made his own style seem ridicuious, it is clearly most improbable that any imitator can avoid anything else.
And now, there still apparently being limitless supplies of stencil before me, I will write a play, to be called:-
Much Yuk-Yuk About Ni.
Act 1, Scene 1.. Enter the villagers, laughing and singing. Enter op.
the Squire, with his pots on (or one might say sozzled).
"It is my daughter's wedding day,Villagers :-
"Cor, stone the flaming crows!"Squire, changing key :-
"On Second thoughts I think it bestChorus of villagers :-
"Stingy old b----- !"Exit Squire, followed by loyal peasants hurling insults and mangold-wurzels.
(probably not to be continued in our next.)
1) Scans of this issue supplied by Al Durie and forwarded by Greg Pickersgill.