FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST - Issue 2 (Vol. 1, Number 2) Nov. 1940
On October 3rd, Neville Chamberlain - whom Churchill had replaced as Prime Minister in May - resigned from the Cabinet citing "health reasons". Within five weeks he was dead from cancer. Meanwhile, the bombing of London continued but Britain retaliated later in the month with large raids on Berlin and Hamburg.
The major new development in October occurred in the Atlantic at the end of the month. Having lost the Battle of Britain, Hitler decided instead to cut off supplies coming into the country and launched a major offensive against Britain's merchant fleet in an effort to starve us into surrender. This was the beginning of the Battle of the Atlantic.
Vol. 1, No. 2................... ........................................................... ......................................................November 1940
EDITORIAL - LETTER
News of the Leeds SFL's ex-director Harold Gottliffe, comes in a note. dated 3/9/40 from CAPETOWN! Seems the old Hospital Ship is travelling about a bit. Harold says "Just to let you know I am still about the place .... but I can't find any S.F. here. Still I expect I'll survive without it for a bit; I'll have no choice on the subject. Remember me to any of the lads you see."
The blitzkrieg has naturally enouqh effectively stopped fan activities in London. I can't do better than quote Georqe Medhurst on the matter :- "after I'd been worsted in a stirring conflict with the L.P.T.B. over the use of one of their Central Line trains, and finally reached the Red Bull after a circuitous tramp, I found myself just in time to enjoy a pleasant 29 minute SFA gathering of two. So ends the mighty flood of the traditional and hallowed SFA. Fortnightly Meet, In a little trickle consisting of Sid Birchby and myself. After I have set my course for Cambridge, the good lady of the Red Bull will no doubt brood melancholy, every other Friday, on the light and cheer of those mighty gatherings of the past, the flow of wit and the swish of beer,the stoutness that was Hal Chibbetts and the clink-gurgle, gurgle-clink-gurgle that was Bill Temple. While Sid Birchby, faithful at the last, slips as silently as his regulation army boots allow, in to choke down his glass of ale. (There's inspired writing for you!)" (I'll say it is - editor)
Fellow-snooper Ron Holmes has pinched the titbit of Abe Bloom's marriage from me, so I'll just add my very best wishes on behalf of all of us.
"FIDO's" only possible competitor, Ted Carnell's Postal Preview, has now been suspended (0, magic word) by Ted's call-up for military service. That's another one gone! But there is still a possibility of "Fantast" coming out and surprising us one of these days. Apparently besides his "The Survivors". Moreover, once Dave McIlwain's romance is settled one way or t'other - or even before, that worthy may find time to produce "Gargoyle" number 4, due in May last; out of the bab. Fandom is dead but it won't lie down.
Americanews - rather long this issue because the Chicon is included.
Rumours have been about for a while, but it now appears definite that "Fantastic Adventures" has been suspanded. In fact "Amazing" itself is not in too healthy a state, so that it looks as though the long-prophesied doldrums might be on its way, in the States. The Paul back covers which were very popular, are to be retained; and a series depicting the cities of each planet will be starting very soon.
Purloining portions from various accounts of the 1940 convention by Milton Rothman, Bob Tucker and Jack Miske, here are some of the details and scenes.
In all some 125 people attended, and a feature of the whole affair was the way visitors were met. "Anywhere fron three to a dozen fans, carrying printed signs: "Welcome! Science Fiction Fans", and "Chicon Greeting Committee", would be on hand at every bus and railroad station where a fan was expected. Many were the interested and/or amused glances at the committee and their signs as they rushed noisily into a station, waitad for a fan, and once he arrived, to pounce upon him and announce it to the world."
"It was the most successful convention we have had yet. Things went smoothly, altho the printed program was practically completely disregarded. Dr E. E. Smith (the guest of honour) turned out to be a very nice person and quite a fan. In fact more of a fan than the fans themselves, for he reads every magazine reqardless of how stinky. How many fans do that? Smith looked lovely in his Northwest Smith costume, which consisted of black leather breeches, a broad leather motorcycle belt, a grey shirt, black airplane helmet, and a ray gun in a holster. This gun was the only one in the crowd to shoot a real ray. What he had was the visual beam upon which would be heterodyned the destructive frequencies. Of course he did not have the destructive frequencies turned on during the convention."
Yes, many of the fans turned up in sciencefictional costume at the "party" -Kyle as the Emperor Ming of Mongo, Tullis as Johnny Black (the bear), Ackerman, Morojo and Pogo in the dress of the future (their version), Honey Smith (EE's daughter) in nurses uniform as Clarissa MacDougal, Speer, Korshak and Reinsberg were three editions of Buck Rogers, E1mer Perdue as Jurgen, Cyril Kornbluth as the invisible man - swathed in bandages as in the picture, and of course Bob Tucker in a brown Chinese coolies outfit as the inimitable "PONG".
There was a pre-convention get-together which. took place quite literally when 50 fans managed to crowd into Morojo's room. "They were perched on the writing desk, the dressers, the beds, and probably hung from the light fixtures by the time the 49th and 50th pushed their way in. Or perhaps they overflowed out the window."
For the first time since - well I don't know since when - there are no feuds waging amongst US fandom. Taurasi and Sykora have dropped out of fandom, and Hyman Tiger for the Queens X SFL and Doc Lowndes for the Futurians publicly shook hands and at last buried the hatchet. It even, seems likely that these two organisations will combine. Jack Miske had a heart-to-heart talk with several several people who "misunderstood" him and that's all right for now.
Before I forget, next years convention convention will take place in Denver, Colorado, and be sponsOred by the Colorado Fantasy Society, which is headed by both an old-timer and a modern fan in Olon F. Wiggins and LeW Martin. Best wishes for next year, fellas.
....................................BY BERT LEWIS
Judging by recent s.f books, time travel themes are quite popular,and that applies to travelling backwards, as well as forwards. The book I have in mind is by an author whom none wouid expect to be qiving us fantasy, Warwick Deeping, the book, "The Man Who Went Back" (Cassell - 9/-). The creator of "Sorrell & Son" gives us something different. A warm spring day and the bluebells out in the woods; a motorist driving along the metalled road, when --- Crash!!! He comes to, to find himzelf in the same country-side, though time had gone back fifteen - hundred years to when the ancient Romans were quivering at the blow of the Saxon invasion. With so much to whet the collectors appetite,what more is needed to add this title to their many want-lists??
There are two other Fantasy books which may be new to collectors in general, and on this presumption I thought it best to include them in this review.
"Lords of the Earth" by J.M.A.Mills (Andrew Dakers 8/6) is of special appeal to the fan who likes a helping of occult fiction mixed with his/her fantasy. Here we have a book of beings, strange and powerful beings who or which inspire dictators with dark powers of evil for the crushing of the people. The thwarting of the powers and their defeat is a climax of unforgetable effectiveness.
The other book I had in mind was; "A Book of Miracles" by Ben Hecht (Nicholson & Watson 8/-) The "miracles" being each a complete story in itself; here are a few to tempt you:- A "Lost Soul" in a New York skyscraper: A Professor who became an ant and saved the world; An Angel who defied God for love of humanity.
..................................garnered by RON HOLMES
Hello Chums, I'm back again - and you'd better get used to me, for I'm here for a long - long time. My application to the R.A.M.C. has failed. In spite of the encouraging words of the recruiting officer, the central Board has turned me down - without explanation, Next registration will add another C.0. to the list. It may seem a complete turn-about to you --but you don't know the wheels within wheels.
Talking about turn about, you must see "Turnabout" which is at present showing in London. It's taken from the original book by Thorne Smith author of "Topper") and follows the story pretty well. It's about a Man ard Wife who envy each others' mode of living, until a Bust (who is called "Mr. Ram") changes them over. Besides the exchange of personality they also exchange voice -- this was not in the story, but it helps to identify just who is speaking in the film. Smith's original story was naughty - to say the least - the film is Spicy and entertaining' I advise you to see it. Man and Wife are played by John Hubbard and Carol Landis. And assisted by Adolf Menjou.
Tis said my column is like Winchell, and with my announcements of Engagements, Marriages and subsequently Births - I agree. In fact I tend to out Winch-Winchell. The latest addition is the marriage of "Wayfarer" - alias Abe Bloom of Birkenhead. He has recently returned from a honeymocn in Blackpool - I hope to visit him shortly and I'll let you know anything worth knowing. Meanwhlie we all wish him the best of Luck, Happiness and Prosperity -- he deserves it.
Amazing Quarterly has at last hit the U.S. Mag-stands, tho' I'm sorry to say it's going to be a sad blow to the fans. According to an American correspondent of mine it consists only of three old Amazings - namely Volume 14, numbers 3, 4 & 6 - all bound together and given a new cover) the lot costing 25 cents. As a collectors item it's good, as reading value it's good -- to new fans. The weight is considerable, as the whole thing is massive.
Rumours have reached me of the Chicago Convention, tales of the Futurians (all drunk) singing the "Internationale" during the Auction. And of others drunk too, of Michel being swung on to Miske under a pseudonym: and of the latter worthy's remarks on the first person. Of course, that is only the bad side - but thousands are willing to give you the good, so I need not dwell on the point. Taking an all- round view of both conventions (U.S.) I still consider the '39 London Convention has outshone both U.S, conventions for Organisation, Order and all-round sanity.
So far there has been a rathar disappointing response to the request in the last FIDO for a poll of British fans. Only 2 complete sets & several partial sets of replies have been received. So if you havn't'already done so, take a sheet of paper and put down in order of preference your favourite ten of the following,- a) stortes (book or magazine) b) authors (c) fans (British or American) (d) artists (e) magazines (g) fanmags. And let your friends do the same. J. Goldsmid.
Since the last issue we have received 5 new subscriptions, 1 promise & 1 enquiry, so that the slogan now is:-
We Want Forty-three New Subscibers!
.....................................WELL I AM!
Mr. Samuel Youd has succeeded in his aim, and I've been dragged off the editorial pinnacle to write this personal sheet, and so join the common hurly-burly of contention. I want to answer some of his points, and naturally, am speaking for myself alone.
Firstly, are Pacifistic fans pessimistic? I don't think I am, in fact in the long run I am most optimistictic of humanity's progress. But where Sam seems to be misled is that the ultimate optimism naturally leads to a sort of pessimism regarding humanity at the moment. When one tries to visualise the marvellous possibilities of mankind, one is utterly disgusted at the degraded grovellings of present-day "great men" of all kinds; and even more at the attitude of the man in the street, who just doesn't care so long as he is all right. And do our present antics really matter much in the scheme of things? I doubt it. In short I sincerely believe that humanity is still only in the crawling stage of its childhood. I am sorry there is no time to elucidate further.
Just a few facts on the Poster Trial - no views here - to clear up the matter. The poster was issued three years ago, the people summoned were in no way responsible for it or its display, the whole business was a storm in a teacup & the movenent is not concerned with posters when they can't be displayed in wartime, in any case. Since then a leaflet has been issued with the object of putting the PPU's views foursquare in front of the government should they desire to take any action. Some of you will find a copy of this enclosed.
Now for a quote:
"The trouble began I suppose when the colonel got hold of the Court Martial Guide and Friend that I had in my possession. I had 2 or 3 terrific stormy scenes with him as soon as I came here and he as good as told me that I could expect no Court Martial from him. I would have had to stick an indefinite series of short terms of detention. I got 14 days and was handed over to the regimental police at the head of which was as brutal a sergeant as I ever have met.
On Sunday three of us decided to refuse to work partly in support of a chap who had gone on strike a few days previously and had been beaten up several times for his pains. I was thrown about a bit and we were all put on bread and water. On Monday we again refused to work and this time I was properly beaten up by the sergeant and his assistants. We were all put in solitary confinement, my cell being less than 4 feet wide and 10 feet long with no light at all. I was given one blanket to keep warm at night and the floor was tiled. The nights were terrible. In addition we were aroused at twelve, two a.m. and four a.m. and paraded around the playground in our shirt sleeves. My head was completely shaved on Wednesday morning doubtless to add to my humiliation." Unquote.
No it isn't a Nazi concentration camp - it's England fighting for liberty. The quotation is taken from a personal letter written by a personal friend of mine and I will absolutely guarantee its truth in every particular. It's the treatment given to a C.O. in Liverpool, this September; a Leeds boy 21 years old who is as sincere a Pacifist as anyone I know. So don't think a C.O. can get away with it quite easily because Doug Webster and myself were lucky enough to obtain some form or exemption. And it is luck, for a more hideous caricature of justice than our local C.O. Tribunal would be difficult to imagine. Ask Ron Holmes who saw it in action for a few minutes, and left hurriedly while he was still in control of his temper.
1) The PPU referred to above was the
Peace Pledge Union.