FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST - Issue 27 (Vol. 3, Number 5) Apr 1943
By the latter half of February, the Nazis were being forced into retreat in Russia and in North Africa, while the following month Allied bombers relentlessly pounded the Ruhr, the heartland of Germany's heavy industry.
Distributed with this issue:
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY BULLETIN #6 - ed. D.R.Smith - 2 pagesOCRing and copyediting this issue done by Greg Pickersgill.
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FANDOM IN FICTION|
Picture to yourself a novel in which T. Bruce Yerke (alias Wm Runcible) is murdered & "Austin Carter" (Robert A. Heinlein mostly may be a trace of Hank Kuttner) is a principle suspect. A book that mentions Chas Fort, Jules Verne, Willy Ley and many other fantasy personalities Sounds funny but it is actually true! Recently published in USA by Duell, Sloan and Pierce at 2$ is ROCKET TO THE MORGUE by H.H.Holmes; a detective story in which the investigator comes into contact with American fandom and is finally converted to fantasy. Incidentally we know H.H. Holmes as Anthony Boucher author of "The Barrier" etc.
(Oddments from the book ... "Matt & Concha Duncan" based on Cleve Cartmill and wife ... Captain Comet and Surprising Stories are 2 of the 4 stf pros mentioned ... Don Stuart edits the latter ... a major film company is Metropolis Pictures ... the invisible men of Wells and Chesterton are discussed in the plot ... an original by Tom Wright (known as Arthur Warrington) plays an important part in solving the crimes ... "fanzines" leaps out at the startled eye ... Cleator ... MPShiel ... Dale Arden ... the Denvention ... Atlantis ... Weinbaum's "Worlds of If" and 3 pages on the theme ... de Camp ... Heinlein's famous "History of the Future" chart ... 5 page condensation of "Rockets thru Space" ... the Califuturians ... 2 pages on what is stf ? and so forth.
We'll have to see it to believe it is really true.
Information taken from reviews by 4sJ in MFS Bulletin and FFF.
E.................Ess - tee - eff, and a gaggle of fans ................... herewith April 43 dose .......................being a
namature magazine allegedly devoted to the fuller enjoyment and propagation of fantasy fiction particularly as appealing to the "fans" of this peculiar perversion, who are undoubtedly superior to the mere ordinary humans. We, the Bandalog say it.
Vol 3 No 5 - Price 3d per copy, issued sixweekly, 4 Grange Terrace, Leeds 7
RUSSELL OF STF
The Eric Frank variety of course; pens thusly "There's a chemical process known as spontaneous combustion and sometimes I think that there's a fan equivalent which could be called ''spontaneous convention". It always takes place when sufficient material comes near enough in space. So, as you can guess, there's been some of it in the Metropolis. The last convention was Wednesday evening, February 17th, in the flat of one Manning, a psychologist, occultist, weird fan and wotnot, those present being Manning, Harold Chibbett, Lily Chibbett, Joyce Fairbairn, Herbert Something-or-other (Stark? JMR), George Medhurst, Sid Birchby, Maurice G Hugi and me. Gillings was notified, but evidently didn't happen to be home. Arthur Williams was also supposed to be there, but never made it - probably got drunk and lost himself en route. Not a bad meeting though, Manning provided tea and cakes. We yarned till I'd missed my last train outward; and I had to spend the rest of the night on a local station." Incidentally EFR adds that he is trying to arrange publication of SINISTER BARRIER in England.
After four months of enforced silence our friend Jack Gibson says:-
From 998613 Sigmn Temple W.F., B.D.R.A.2, M.E.F. "Just to let you know that I'm still kicking around. Only a few miles from (censored) at the moment, though so far I've been kept too busy to amble along and examine the original (censored again, but I'll give you three guesses. JMR) - but I hope to do so soon...You might publish my kindest regards to everyone, especially Ken Chapman, Ted Carnell (& their esteemed spouses) & Frank Arnold in memory of our last drink together in the "Beehive" and in hope of the next." Glad to know you've landed safely, Will.
M680 S/Sgt D de Woronin, Intelligence Branch, HQ E.A. Comd, c/o APS, East African Command writes to say that
he is pleased to be in touch with fandom once again after so long, is now transferred
to the Intelligence and is in the photographic section. Another old-timer pops up again
in 2194136 Spr R Fishwick, 505 Field Coy RE, M.E.F. He says that his letter will be
somewhat of a shock perhaps, but he felt he had to drop a line for old times sake and
SF. He enjoys the Fidos that reach him and has seen one or two stf magazines, but
having been in the desert most of the time, has had little opportunity for reading.
The next airgraph came from Canada and LAC Alan Miles in Manitoba there. He expects
to be back in England about May, with some fairly recent US news picked up during
trip over the border to Great Falls, Montana. Which concludes this month's airmail.
PRSSFL BECOMES C.S.C.
On Tuesday March 16th, for the first time in its three years history, a general meeting was called of the Teddington group known to BFS members as the Paint Research Station Science Fiction Library. This was held at the Secretary's home and attendance numbered twelve. It was decided to break off association with the Research Station in which the group first grew up and to throw membership open to all fans in the district who care to join.
The group is to be called the C.S.C. - Cosmos Club - and there will be payable an annual subscription of 2/6 per year with no entrance fee. Club activities will include the continued publication of "BEYOND;" (the amateur fantasy magazine), production of a club newspaper, maintenance of a club library and periodic meetings. Further particulars will be furnished pronto to interested fans by the Secretary, E. Frank Parker, 6 Greytiles, Queens Rd, Teddington, Middlesex.
The meeting welcomed Peter Hawkins, BFS member from Tolworth, who contributed some meaty remarks on fantasy music to the lively discussion of the evening, and presented interesting data on pseudonyms used by professional authors. Other subjects discussed were the new Library arrangements, discontinuing anonymity in "BEYOND", accommodation for future meetings, the contacting of fans in the US forces here, (not heard of any as yet - JMR) and the possibility of printing the Club newspaper (the "Memo Sheet"). Member Doyle offered to give the Club the use of a printing machine he owns.
At the next meeting, in mid-April, member Aitken's talk, "Beyond - the Future" will be featured.
from E. Frank Parker
The war hits the pulps! a 10% cut in the amount of paper used in pulp magazines has been announced in USA. Repercussions are beginning to be known. Astounding is to be drastically reduced in size and is likely to return to its old-time small size, though, alternatively it may go bi-monthly. And Science Fiction Quarterly is to be suspended entirely for the duration ... Willy Ley has written an 1800 word (2 part) article for Campbell on the old German rocket experiments, the very first account to ever be published in USA. He has also signed a contract with Viking Press to write a book on rocketry. To be entitled "Prelude to Spaceflight", at 4 dollars and with about 450 pages it should be out round about this coming autumn, that is if Ley is not drafted. (he is 36 and has bad eyes) - Keith Buchanan in BFS Bulletin ... The second Finlay portfolio has now been published - at 60 cents, and contains some of the finest specimens of this artists work, notably the illustrations to several Merrittales. Pity we have little chance of seeing it over here ... The big three of the oldtime fan group New Fandom, which started with such tremendous plans but which never quite succeeded in bringing anything off, messrs James V Taurasi, Sam Moskowitz and Raymond Van Houten, are now all in the US army. Arthur J. Widner is another fan on the edge of the draft abyss.
Roland Forster, subject of last issues Introducing, drops a line to say he is now near Swanage in Dorset, and likely to go overseas soon.
I n t r o d u c i n g
I was born in a little village in North Staffordshire, called Silverdale (Stoke members please note) in 1906 and was always keen on anything apertaining to the bizarre or unusual; my earliest memory being the ghost story in "Uncle Tom's Cabin", and I would always read all the fairy tales I could lay hands on. I graduated to "Young Briton" with "Gods of the Purple Planet" as a serial, and then "Boys Friend" with "The Space Destroyer" & "Skundd the Eternal" (how I'd like to get my hands on a copy of them now). I progressed through Haggard and Burroughs until in 1928 I got a peep at "Amazing" with Seaton learning to "fly" with a weird affair like a poker. After that it was hopeless to try and turn back; now, I have to creep in at the back door when I get any new books and hide them for a while, & later try to take them into my library as if they had really come from there originally, otherwise I'd go out on my neck, followed by an assortment of fantasy books in the region of 800 and about a hundredweight of magazines bound into volumes. Which of course would be a bit heavy all at once on one's neck. So if you fans want a nice quiet S.F. library, you'll have to live the life of a hermit. (Or convert the wife - if possible - JMR) So if any of you guys come to "Carthoris" on an S.F. pilgrimage don't be surprised if you get chased away with a long brush. Being on essential government work I'm not even allowed to join the forces, so I don't think I need bother about being called up; but they take it out of me by depriving me of all the spare time they can, with the result that I usually manage to read a book about every three months. Which is about enough of that." Bert omits to mention that like all true Stf fans he has many outside interests, including Home Guard, guitar playing - and teaching - and his record library competes vigorously with his wonderfully-looked-after science fiction collection.
Three fantasy writers have recently departed this life. Eric Knight was best known as a more general author but he was responsible for a series of tales about Sam Small the "Flying Yorkshireman". He was born just outside Leeds and spent his early life in this city, but curiously, was far better known in USA where he had lived many years. He met his death in a plane crash in South America.
Coulson Kernahan, who has been gathered in at a goodly age, is best known for his "A Dead Man's Diary" (early 1890's) which described the afterdeath experiences of a sinner. It was followed by "A Book of Strange Sins" and "Visions Old and New". "The Dumpling; A Detective Love Story of a Geat Labour Rising" (1906) is a futuristic anti-socialist opus.
The American poet and writer Stephen Vincent Benet has three fantasy books to his credit namely "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (but he got the first name wrong - its Douglas, surely) "Tales Before Midnight" and "Thirteen O'clock" the latter two being collections of short stories, RIP
"Rocket to the Morgue"
- when I stencilled the review of this book on the front page of this issue of FIDO, I had considerable suspicions about its truth and wouldn't be surprised to learn that I was not alone. However the book does definitely exist; not only is it reviewed in the January 1943 Astounding (which I didn't know at the time) but, last week a copy arrived at 4 Grange Terrace marked "To Anglofans from Forry". On behalf of all of us I extend our sincere gratitude to Angel Ackerman. The book will be placed in the library of the British Fantasy Society, and will be available to all members who request it on the usual terms, tho you may have to wait a little.
Some Thoughts on the Writing of Science Fiction by James P. Rathbone
Writers who attempt to predict the future are apt to do one of two things -- radically to alter the principles of culture-making; or place in a future world of superior mechanical and economic organisation, human beings essentially similar to ourselves. To my mind both methods fall short of permissable imagining, and a far better method is obtained by study of past cultures and contemporary history. For it seems to me very true that the germs of the possible future are contained in the present and the immediate past; and by study of events, the likely future is apt to cast its shadow back into the present - it is true, still quite vaguely - but at least the science fiction super-villain and his world-destroying Z ray is eliminated, weapon and all, from the scheme of time, and several Kimball Kinnisons and mad scientists quaver rather protestingly in the sun of that superior knowledge, only to drift into the dark realm of impossibility as the perception of world events becomes clearer.
I would suggest then, that science fiction writers who wished, say, to tabulate happenings of 2500 A.D., would study contemporary records in the light of Egyptian or Greecian history, and so gain a sense of perspective. The "Yellow Peril", the "Nazi Heel" would appear in the nature of cultural trends towards one direction of another, and the politics of this era of chaos would appear less prominently in the sociological problems of that far distant age.
Another line might be - but seldom is - developed, lying in the rather dim mists of instinct. It seems obvious, on reflection, that the Kassite king of Mesopotamia, who set himself up as a God before the people, has definite psychological peculiarities which are not present, or lie hidden, in modern man (Oh, James, how could you? or is it sarcasm? - JMR) The difference between Peking man and neolithic man is enormous - presumably. The difference between ourselves and man of the far distant future may then be taken for granted. Yet only in one or two stories have I seen this even indicated.
It seems to me that if we are going to write stories of reasonable probability - i.e. if we are going to write science fiction, the exact sciences of history and archeology have much to say and more to suggest. My hope is that these few notes will stir some amateur writer into activity, to produce at last the story we will all read.
Mr Rathbone has an idea there, but it seems to your editor that he wants to start an argument. So if anyone has any constructive comments to make, I'll be pleased to receive a follow-up article.
Subscriptions expiring with this issue are those of JFBurke, ENeedham, H. Vella, AGardner, JWHolland, and ABloom. The usual solicitations to renew immediately or sooner are extended...A new address for John Briston is reported c/o 95 Abbotts Road, Cheam, Surrey...Ron Bradbury writes to inform that a reshuffle at his place of work has drastically reduced his available time and he deeply regrets that for the nonce, it is absolutely impossible for him to indulge in any fan activity and will thus have to effect a temporary retirement...AC2 Julian Parr is now stationed at Windle, near Macclesfield, and his address is c/o a pub...and a compassionate posting has put Cfn Jayeff Burke at Wolverhampton, nice and near for the Midvention he hopes...published in February was Benson Herbert's "They Don't Always Hang Murderers" which is neither fantasy nor really a whodunit. A psychological study might define it better, in fact our Benson seems to have been practising character delineation...from Canada is announced the formation of the Canadian Association of Fan Publishers, backers being Leslie Crouch & FHurter.
The meeting of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society held the week before Xmas, garnered together such a heterogenous mass of assorted fans that it has been humourously hailed as an ersatz convention. Attendance totalled 26 and was made up as follows; Phil Bronson & Morrie Dollens of Minneapolis; Helen Finn back from Washington; Pogo, Russ Wood and red-tendriled slan-child all of San Pedro, Cal; Ross Rocklynne and spouse of Cincinnati; "Simad" and Mel Brown from Seattle; Milty Rothman of Philadelphia now in US army near LA; and sundry localites such as Forry Ackerman, Daugherty, Morojo etc etc, from Hollywood, Pasadena, El Monte and Los Angeles itself. This congregation came together more or less haphazardly and would be worthy of comment in the best of times, but to take place nowadays is astonishing.
Science Fiction (and its fan attachments) received a write-up in the February l3th, 1943 issue of the snooty "New Yorker''. The writer, one Angelica Gibbs, rapidly traces the origins of stf; and needless to say it is the American pulp variety only, and the Gernsback legend appears in full force; runs through its position today; and that mainly from the writers angle; and tries to evaluate its significance. Several statements made are extremely interesting, here is the introduction for example;-"One of the most contented minorities in the country today is the group of some quarter million Americans, most of them of high school age or older, who spend in the neighbourhood of a hundred thousand dollars a month to project themselves by means of literature into the intergalacic regions..." The number of active fans is reckoned at three thousand, and New Fandom and the Futurians (the New York variety) are mentioned by name.
On Sunday March 7th, at 10.15 am; to John Frederick and Joan Burke of Pen-y-Bryn Hall near Ruabon; a daughter: to wit Miss Bronwen Frances Burke - "far too intelligent-looking a child to be a science fiction fan, I am pleased to say" - JFB. Congratulations. Who's the next to be featured in this column?
is the title of a folio of potted fan biographies put out by A.L. Schwartz and J.L.Lazar of Dorchester, Mass, USA. About 70 are included in all and cover practically all the notable Americans; a couple of Canucks and nine Britishers. Most unfortunately the effort suffers from its inferior format and apparently hurried production but fundamentally it is quite a worthwhile venture. In fact it is rather a pity that this sort of thing is not done properly under the auspices of a responsible society when a standard format could be used to provide this extremely interesting information at regular intervals keeping the series up-to-date. For those people who like to know all about fans, tis a must. The information is very mixed & one learns a lot about the ages, interests, jobs, education etc of people who were only names previously.
we were hoping for the first instalment of a new column, but it hasn't eventuated and Fido will have to go off without it. Which seems a good place to mention that we've not been precisely swamped with articles, suggestions and contributions in general, as we had hoped. And that applies to Ron Holmes' Review Section too! So those of you who have a little time to spare and some brains you've not used yet, get out the old typewriter or pencil and paper and think out some deep words of wisdom. Page four of my Booklist is included herewith - I was surprised at the enquiries caused by the omission of an instalment last ish. But this is really a when-I-have-time affair. Back covers again are provided by US fandom, quite an assortment but some are the latest VOM photographic. Next issue due May 20th.
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY...........................
................................................................24th March 1943
Baker, C. Ashmore (72); Brewer, G.H. (71); Holmes, Ron (69); and Medhurst, Richard George (70).
And still they come! Mr Baker and Mr Brewer are the first fruits of the Society's advertisment in the "British Esperantist". We have hopes of a good crop.
For the lateness of the last Bulletin which missed the Fido mailing, and which therefore may only reach many members with this. It will not happen again -d.v.
Paging all Bibliophiles
Members interested in collecting fantasy books will find it to their advantage to communicate with Mr Rosenblum, who is forming a Bibliophiles section. Here you will be able to discuss your hobby with other enthusiasts, to swagger about the rare prizes you have captured, to draw upon the pooled information of the entire section. At this stage it should be superfluous to mention that our Director is a notable collector himself. Science Discussions Group.
Interest in this is not so extensive as might be expected, but an effort is to be made to give it a run - the preliminary impetus being supplied by Terrence Overton, who has been working hard to create enthusiasm for it.
The BFS "BEYOND"
This was put forward in some detail in the last Bulletin which, as mentioned above, will only now be in the hands of some of you. I trust that this is the explanation for the apparent complete lack of interest - or complete lack of amateur authors - amongst the Society. Some sort of data on the possible supply of manuscripts is essential before planning this publication, so I will repeat the request made in Bulletin No. 6 that all amateur writers interested drop a line giving an estimate of the possible magnitude of their contributions. (The address is 13 Church Road, Hartshill, Nuneaton, Warwickshire)
No report on the affairs of the Library is to hand at the moment, but we hope to prepare an up-to-date catalogue of books and magazines available for loan in the near future.
Members interested in the science-fiction booklets to be published by Messrs Lloyd Cole under the editorial guidance of Benson Herbert will be able to obtain them through the Society. Enquiries should be addressed to Mr Rosenblum (accompanied by a tamped addressed envelope, please!).
Mr Alden H. Norton has written expressing his appreciation and thanks for being made a member of the Society.
The Advisory Board is still wrapped in profound meditation, and we have, as yet, nothing to report.
No more Bull, for now.
The Benson Herbert science fiction series are for the nonce, delayed. Immediately they are published a review and details will be inserted in Fido and they will be obtainable thru the Society. Till then don't bother writing. The promised explanatory leaflet is still not available, the Advisory Board having evinced a desire to pass judgement on it. The Bibliophiles Section is in shadowy existence, and a "weirdists" section has also been proposed. And its getting near time to consider the commencement of our second year on July 1st, with attendent elections, etc. Any suggestions welcome. J.M.Rosenblum