FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST - Issue 38 (Vol. 5, Number 2) Dec. 1944
On October 14th British troops accompanied by Greek partisans arrived in Athens, having encountered little German opposition since landing in Greece. On the 20th the first German city - Aachen - fell to the Allies after eight days of street fighting and bombing. That same day, the Red Army linked up with Tito's partisans and liberated Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia, destroying the German garrison.
In America in early-November, FDR won an unprecedented fourth term as US President, while in Britain on the 11th the Home Guard was disbanded, the threat of invasion now having well and truly passed. But although the Germans were being driven back on fronts all across Europe, the Allies received a nasty surprise on December 19th when, in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge, 24 German divisions punched a hole through the Allies' Belgium lines in the Ardennes. It was their last, desperate, roll of the dice....
Distributed with this issue:
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY BULLETIN #19 - ed. D.R.Smith - 2 pages
OCRing and copyediting this issue done by Greg Pickersgill.
page 12 * page 13 * page 14 * page 15 * page 16 * page 17 * page 18 * page 19
page 1:............................ ................................................................ ............................cover by Arthur Williams
YOU, TOO, can be at a meeting! Not quite as dramatic as that portrayed above, perhaps,
but an enjoyable break in the monotony of a year or so of lone 'fanning'. Anyrate here
are the latest details.|
This year's NORCON will be held at LEEDS from Friday Dec 29th to Monday Jan 1st. If there is any chance of you coming write at once to J. M. Rosenblum, 4 Grange Terrace, Leeds 7. If you don't get in touch quickly there is little chance of booking hotel accomodation in a bloc. Gus Willmorth, Eric Hopkins, Allan Miles, Ron Lane, George Ellis, JMR, Ken Chadwick, John Millard are all almost certain to be present. Non-attendees can show interest by donating material to the auction, to be sent c/o JMR, which has already a number of items from Claude Degler including some original illustrations, a copy of the Wallace Smith portfolio donated by Gus, and the Lovecraft "Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth" from Paul Searles. The programme has not been finally fixed yet so suggestions are still welcome. Business sessions will be held at the Dick Sheppard Centre, Leeds and receptions at 4 Grange Terrace.
--which is rapidly ceasing to be a digest at all & blossoming forth as a good & proper
publication dealing with & devoted to fantasy fiction. Produced bimonthly by J. Michael
Rosenblum, 4 Grange Terrace, Chapeltown, Leeds 7. Price 3d. per copy, 1/6 p.a., reciprocal
AUTHOR APPRECIATION -- by -- Arthur C. Clarke
Dunsany is a poet in the truest sense, but it is in prose rather than in verse that his finest work has been done. No-one has ever approached his skill in suggesting, so flawlessly and with such economy of means, that the world is not exactly as we suppose. No-one can make the blood run cold with a simpler phrase, no-one can suggest so much while saying so little. His stories sparkle with ideas, often single sentences that challenge the mind with vertiginous implications. Under the magic of his art, the commonest things become enchanted, and. when his imagination soars away from earth we enter realms of fantasy indeed.
By walls of cities not of EarthLet me quote a few passages which may give some idea of the flavour of his finest stories, little though I like to wrench these jewels from their settings.
"Something so huge that it seemed unfair to man that it should move so softly stalked splendidly by them ..."And one more passage, the conclusion of THE PROBABLE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE LITERARY MEN, who were so rash as to try and steal the golden box of poems from the house at the End of the World.
"... and then it befel that as they drew near safety, in the night's most secret hour, some hand, in an upper chamber lit a shocking light, lit it and made no sound.Perhaps - and. it will not surprise me in the least - all these extracts leave you unaffected. For it is sad but true that Dunsany's peculiar genius is all too rarely appreciated. One of his earlier books has the pathetic preface "These tales I gather together here for the few that seem to read my books in England." This lack of appreciation may in part be due
to Dunsany's unfortunate choice of parents, for an artist with a title is regarded as
a dilettante and is not taken seriously. The critics have not always been kind to Dunsany.
From little fountain-pens they wringBut who can deny that the man who penned these lines is a true artist:-
So much there is to catch,The radio has done much to make Dunsany known to a wider public, for he has written many plays for broadcasting as well as for the stage. GOLDEN DRAGON CITY and THE USE OF MAN have been broadcast several times: those who are familiar with the latter and its implied denunciation of hunting may be surprised to know that its author is a Master of Fox Hounds.
Mr. Joseph Jorkens, the well-known club raconteur who can always be relied upon to produce a good story in return for a drink, is Dunsany's best known character and his adventures seem to be popular with the general public. At any rate such statistical studies as I have made in libraries appear to show this. Jorkens thinks nothing of finding icebergs in the Red Sea in mid-summer, or a diamond which fully justifies his description of it as "a large one" - he walked across it for many hours under the impression that it was a frozen lake.
Nevertheless, much as I like Jorkens, the far rarer stories of World's End and other places, related in TALES OF WONDER, A DREAMER'S TALES and THE BOOK OF WONDER, appeal to me more strongly. And of them all this is the one that at the present moves me most. It is called THE FIELD and was written more than thirty years ago.
Not far from London is a field, beautiful and peaceful, where the poet loved to rest. Yet as he grew to know it better, there seemed something ominous about the place and the feeling grew with each successive visit. He made enquiries and found that nothing had ever happened there, so that it was from the future that the field's trouble came.
"Once to distract my thoughts I tried to gauge how fast the stream was trickling, but I found myself wondering if it flowed faster than blood ...And then the fancy came to me that it would be a terribly cold place to be in in the starlight. If for some reason one was hurt and could not get away."So at last he took to the field a friend who would be able to tell him what evil thing was going to happen there.
"By the side of the stream he stood and seemed very sad. Once or twice he looked up and down it mournfully, then he bent and looked at the king-cups, first one and then the other, very closely, and shaking his head.Is this only a story? Or is there such a field? There is foreboding there, matched equally by another line of Dunsany's:-
"Over mossy girders the old folk come back."Much of Dunsany's best work was done before or during the last war, and very apt today is the preface of TALES OF WONDER, published in 1916.
"These tales are tales of peace. Those who remember peace and those who will see it again may be glad to turn their eyes, though but for a moment, away from a world of mud and blood and khaki, and to read for a while of cities too good to be true."I cannot leave Dunsany without making some mention of the incomparable artist, S. H. Sime, who has illustrated so many of his stories. No-one has over captured the spirit of fantasy more perfectly than Sime, thought sometimes Finlay (whose style is similar) has approached this.
And now before we part let us gather one more quotation to take upon our separate ways. These words of Dunsany's prefaced the first Volume of E.M.'s GEORGIAN POETRY when it appeared in 1913.
"Of all materials for labour, dreams are the hardest; and the artificer in ideas is the chief of workers, who out of nothing will make a piece of work that may stop a child from crying or lead nations to higher things. For what is it to be a poet? It is to see at a glance the glory of the world, to see beauty in all its forms and manifestations, to feel ugliness like a pain, to resent the wrongs of others as bitterly as one's own, to know mankind as others know single men, to know Nature as botanists know a flower, to be thought a fool, to hear at moments the clear voice of God."A.C.C. 19.7.42
I might also mention that Hollywood has at last acknowledged the Master, for he has credit title in the Rene Clair film, IT HAPPENED TOMORROW. From this small beginning, who knows.....?
GODMOTHER, GET SET !
Several years ago some bright fan conferred upon me the title of "Grand-pop" Gillings. I still can't make up my mind if this appellation was intended to indicate my long association with science fiction in this country or whether it referred to my prevailing habit of reminiscing about the days gone by. The days when British fans were few and far between, completely isolated from one another, grubbing around market stalls and backstreet bookshops for remainder copies of AMAZING and. SCIENCE WONDER at threepence a time. The days when Keller, Verrill and Vincent filled fat Quarterlies, price sixpence (and which I paid half-a-crown for in Fleet Street at one time - and gave up smoking to do it). Dear, dead days, long before such things as B.R.E.'s and the B.F.S., or even SCIENTIFICTION and TALES OF WONDER existed.
Note that I do not say "were thought of"; because all these things were thought of very often, though as yet they were but rosy dreams, the Things to Come. [Aren't you confusing BREs with BEMs, old cock? - DW] Festus Pragnell was writing to AMAZING begging them to bring out a British Edition. Les Johnson, John Russell Fearn and myself were trying, by correspondence, to link up scattered groups of science fiction readers (we did not call ourselves fans in those days) in some kind of organisation. I was investigating the possibility of a printed fan magazine (before ever having seen an American one), wondering at the same time if there were enough fans to sell it to. I even had visions of a "pro" mag, was putting the idea up to British publishers - and champing at the mouth at their obstinate refusal to entertain it on the
ground that Verne and Wells had covered the ground quite adequately, thank you, before
Mr. Gernsback came along.
But I'm reminiscing again. Though perhaps I may be excused, just this once, for looking back over fifteen years of steady progress towards our present situation - which is one where we are just as badly off as when we started! At least, on the face of it. Fans are isolated as never before, some of them by thousands of miles. We have no British "pro" mag., the American prints are harder to get hold of than they were in 1928, and the sole surviving B.R.E. is practically as rare. The only things we have are the B.F.S. and its fan magazines, struggling against the throttling restrictions of a land in which science fiction's holiest horrors have materialised all too well and too long.
Of course, it doesn't look as bad as that to the hundred-odd members of the B.F.S, who have availed themselves of such inestimable books as the American magazine chain and had their interests remarkably well sustained by the few to whom we owe so much - at the even more remarkable cost of threepence per head per year! That this privileged circle is well satisfied with things, under the circumstances, is evident from the fact that none raises his voice when those who have catered for his war-time comforts remain to carry on their self-appointed tasks by common consent, and even the appointment of a President is accepted without demur! (Here, let me interpolate to all concerned that I am deeply conscious of this honour and the responsibility it carries with it, and assure them I shall do my best to bear it to the general satisfaction. Thank you!)
But what of those miserable beings who are not members of the B.F.S., who may not even justify the name of fan, but to whom fantasy is none the less an important factor in their well-being? What agonies they must have endured throughout the present impasse, especially if they indulged their tastes only in the few years before the war, when British science-fiction threw off its cloying Cinderella rags and went to the ball with the rest. Meaning, of course, those "ordinary readers" for whom I have always had the deepest concern, since they are numbered in thousands; apart from the hundreds of fully-fledged fans who have been so misguided as to let their interest flag under the pressure of events.
Recently, quite out of the blue, have come to me heart-rending appeals from some of those poor starved wretches who once boasted the name of fan, and are now filled with remorse at allowing themselves to become divorced from the greatest of their pre-war enthusiasms. How bitterly they regret the demise of Britain's own hard-won magazines! How nostalgically they recall the palmy days of British fandom and look forward hopefully, but not very optimistically, to a revival of these things after the war! I have not been slow to inform these prodigals that things are by no means as dead as they have imagined, and that those who have clung tenaciously to the remnants of prewar glories (and been so fortunately placed) have even dared to hold a Fan Convention amid the wreckage. Those lost souls, who have not been denied the freedom of action which fans in the Services have had to contend with, will doubtless be gathered back into the fold when they have recovered from the shock and the sense of shame which this revelation must have given them!
As for the rest, and the future of British science-fiction, we have no cause to fear that the revival we are all so anxious for will not come, or may not be upon us before the more pessimistic of us expect it. Though as yet there is but little indication of it, at least on the surface, the signs and portents are there for those who know where to look for them, and they promise even greater glories than we have known before - as, indeed, we deserve if we are to reap the reward of our patience and perseverance.
We should be fools to expect a return of everything we enjoyed before the war, all at once. Yet if those who would benefit commercially from such a resurgence of interest as is certain to arise in the science fiction field were able to contrive it, we would get just that - and more. Not one, but several post-war projects of publishers on both sides of the Atlantic have their inspiration in our erstwhile Cinderella, whose vast potentialities are now fully recognised in this land
where she was so long neglected. That silver slipper she left behind on the stair, when the
midnight sirens compelled her return to ragged obscurity, wasn't overlooked by our publishing
princes. And when the peace bells ring, Fairy Godmother will be waving her magic wand again
on the first peal!
For reasons known only to himself, the editor has asked me to write a comment on the following article by Malcolm Ferguson, Since my extensive ignorance precludes this, I'd like to add a note to the foregoing instead, for the benefit of such fans (Americans, provincials) as can know Wally Gillings only through his writings, TOW editorials, and letters. The impression they must get of him is in many ways quite distorted. Actually, Wally is quite human. More than that, he is a very nice guy. He may write screeds of eloquent rubbish like the above (on occasion he may even speak it - see reports of his Teddington Convention speech), but when he forgets about science-fiction and remembers about being a human being, he makes a big success of life. I say this fully remembering the days of SCIENTIFICTION, and the good work Wally has done for British fandom, for which a great deal of thanks is due to him. In person Wally is cheerful, sociable, a good talker, witty and wise. As for the "Grandpop" tag, he looks far too young to have a son as old as Ronnie; but I daresay he will be a grandpop before many of us confirmed bachelors have started out in the family way. As I say, he is quite human; like other real human beings, he boasts many queer abilities and scraps of knowledge: such as being able to quote the quality of beer sold in about three-quarters of the pubs in London at any time through the last 10 years. As he himself says, he is a powerful reminiscer. And no doubt he has other faults. But those who have known him only by proxy should know that the worst of these, the stf bug, is tolerated or discreetly ignored for the sake of Wally the Man. Just as, I daresay, our friends tolerate and manage to overlook such faults as George Medhurst's pride in being unsociable, my dislike of beer - and even skittles - Michael Rosenblum's compulsive collecting and even reading of books of no value whatsoever, Ted Carnell's belief that he is a rake, and....well, name your own.
I thank you for your attention. DW
SUBJECT SURVEY ----- by Malcolm Ferguson
(Note - I think this an interesting aspect of the fantasy field; perhaps it will stimulate someone else. The editor, for example, writes of Sabine Baring-Gould, and my ignorance of his writing reflects my sketchy knowledge which invites rebuttal.)The main sources of fantasy writing today seem to be:
(1) An analysis of human problems under the influence of the suspension, intensification, or alteration of certain natural laws, such as the normal rate of death as Lloyd's statistics have it, the law of gravity, the ability to travel to other planets or imaginary lands, the speeding-up or retrogression of time, and the alteration of dimensionality. Often these artificial-seeming devices serve to point up contemporary problems, to berate contemporary society for its shortcomings in business, the law, the church, the army and navy, the legislative chambers, and the like.
(2) Age-old lores and legends expressing basic human desires, reflecting human short-comings, revealing social, sexual and financial ambitions, delving at the roots of human fears, totems, taboos, in short, the eternal struggle between Prometheus and Zeus. Here, at the least remove from the first person singular, is the mother-lode of primordial religious
belief, of social
and ethical struggle, and of the sex-urge and the conflicting
life-death urges that is the driving force and the fly-wheel of human existence.
That the first premise is the child of the second seems to me undeniable. I have been more concerned with the latter and propose to deal with it in a general way by mentioning a few books and writers that have interested me. With some measly notes, an unexercised memory, my remarks will be even more limited than my parochial knowledge. Lacking further collation, I beg your indulgence.
Undeniably the best book about folk-lore is Sir James Frazer's THE GOLDEN BOUGH, whose half dozen [15? -DW] volumes, more or less (with convenient abridgements), as you probably know, arose from a footnote at which the author found himself failing at a complete explanation of the intricate pattern. Man's personification of instinctive and natural forces is often complex and skilful. Attributes are assigned to living persons until Quisling or Judas or Modred or Benedict Arnold means only one thing, complex though man actually is.
To take a specific example, John Fiske, in MYTHS AND MYTH-MAKERS, claims that whether or not there was an actual William Tell, his feats bear amazing similarity to others going back to central Asia that is the cradle of culture. Sigmund Freud in MOSES AND MONOTHEISM contends that Moses may well have been an Egyptian, draws parallels to other heroes who have been honored with legendary virtues and powers. While mentioning Freud, it is noticeable that he used legendry as a case-book of race-history and psychology, as does Oswald Spengler (THE DECLINE OF THE WEST) and to a lesser extent William James in THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. Andrew Lang's CUSTOM AND MYTH and MYTH, RITUAL AND RELIGION deserve mention.
Virtually every race has books of legends, folk lores, some of which were written as true, to be believed and used as examples, which others are compilations of twilight tales told to or salvaged by scholars. Recently to reach the market is Manuel Komroff's THE GREAT FABLES OF ALL NATIONS (Am. ed. Tudor Pub, Co. - I haven't seen it yet.)
The student of the subject should be able to get at copies of the Bible, the Bible Apocrypha, a Bible Dictionary, and Cruden's CONCORDANCE. Another source is THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, and A THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT by Richard F. Burton (in 15 vols.). (Here's a strange contrast - Cruden who was so nice as to carry a wet sponge in a small box to wash out naughty words that children had scrawled, and swashbuckling Burton, whose wolfish reply to the question of an anxious dowager as to his intentions toward her daughter is famous - "Strictly dishonorable, ma'am, strictly dishonorable." For writing of the corrupt places in a near-eastern city, in a report requested by the British government, his impolitic details banished him to a consular hellhole on the African west coast, but did not stop his deft pen as much as his Jane Eyre-like wife.)
Most of us get our Greek lore from the ILIAD and the more-colorful ODYSSEY, and a few delve into Hesiod. Bulfinch seems over-rated to me, but there's no substitute that has as much favor. Writing today lacks the colorful classical allusions - a Bellerophonic letter, Rhadamanthine judgment, &c., showing that our interest is diminishing.
Egyptian mythology is usually poorly presented, and its beauties come to us second-hand, and shopworn, instead of renovated. I don't know how worthwhile Budge's translation of the BOOK OF THE DEAD is. Some of Theophile Gautier is interesting, but as much for himself as for the lore. Cinderella's story - which is probably THE story of human ambition - is reputedly found in an Egyptian version.
France is distinguished by several collections, as well as what is probably the major attempt in the field, by Charles Perrault, who preceded the Grimm brothers by three fourths of a century. He was also the French "Mother Goose". (Incidentally, the English Mother Goose story's political implications have been written up in several books.) American associations with Mother Goose are a lot of hogwash.
The brothers Grimm have taken over the German field, with Teutonic thoroughness and considerable help from their friends. I believe it was the nephew Grimm whose compendious writing on mythology, as well as that of Max
Miller, falls heavily and solidly
in the category with Frazer's lighter, more readable work.
It is noteworthy that the national stories such as Anatole France's THAIS, Goethe's FAUST, or Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN are either based on legends or have become such.
Ibsen's PEER GYNT (suggested by the feats of Old Bull, the musician).
In the Scandinavian, Hans Andersen is the best-known, although some of his stories are of his own embroidering. Jean Hersholt's recently completed translation is well spoken of. A nice collection is to be found by the eminent Scot, Andrew Lang, and very well illustrated by Henry J. Ford. Appearing around the turn of the century, they include the Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Grey and Crimson Fairy Books, as well as the Icelandic (which abounds in trolls, giants, powerful creatures who leaped around for various dubious reasons). Some of Harriet Martineau's and Selma Lagerlof's writing is in this genre, too.
There have been several collections of Russian tales. R. Nisbet Bain's COSSACK FAIRY TALES are well considered. Paul Carus has been working in this genre, as well as translating Chinese and Indian language stories. Nicolai Gogol has contributed fanciful as well as realistic tales from the Ukraine.
The older Japan, whose heroes remain imprisoned on a silken battlefield in very act of overcoming some remarkable ogre or ghost, is well-represented - a volume of Lang's series, a collection of. Japanese ghost-prints by Lang himself, a volume by the British consul, Mitford, Basil Chamberlain's AINU FOLK TALES, John La Farge's writing (I believe touches on this) and Lafcadio Hearn, who co-operated on a distinctively-printed crepe-paper series.
I don't know of any outstanding collections on the Amerind. On the Agentineans there are two excellent volumes, TALES FROM SILVER LAND and. TALES WORTH TELLING by the late Charles J. Finger, illustrated by Paul Honore. From the West Indies, the writing of William Seabrook, Theda Kenyon, Zorah Neil Thurston, and I believe Frank Esteven, are good. The black magic, voodoo, zombie, are found here. Whether Callaway's NURSERY TALES OF THE ZULUS has any interest making it worth my while keeping it on a curious list of mine I don't know. I wonder if Grey's POLYNESIAN MYTHOLOGY is the source of the yarn in Laing's supernatural omnibus.
I have purposely kept until the last the legendry of the United States and the two most haunted islands of the world - England and Ireland - although much has been let out of the bag already.
Barham's INGOLDSBY LEGENDS is the leading collection of England itself. Outstanding are Malory's MORTE D'ARTHUR. and the even more enticing MABINOGION, translated by Lady Charlotte which begins by urging us to thrust our way through the hedgerow and find ourselves in fairyland. The task of translation made it a thorny hedge, but in English the tales such as SIR GAWAINE AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, with a dash of cherche la femme, make it an interesting country.
Scotland is distinguished by its border ballads (ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH BORDER BALLADS by Child is scholarly, copious, other versions by Scott, Noyes, &c. are pleasantly presented), which are compact, potent legendry. William Sharp (Fiona MacLeod) deals with the Celtic and Gaelic myths and legends as carefully and neatly as any.
William Morris and Mrs. E.V.Lucas have done considerable translating, as have others bringing us the old languages of England and northern Europe. Ireland is best characterised in William Butler Yeats' IRISH FAIRY AND FOLK TALES.
American legendry is to be found in widely scatered books. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving are thought of first, and then the stylized, pretentious poetry of Longfellow. Whittier is read by some who speak well of him. The characteristics of the writers are in the foreground, but legends have been used successfully by Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Joel Chandler Harris, John Hay, Stephen Vincent Benet, Frank Stockton, and. Howard Pyle.
Some living American legends are to be found in her music - Carl Sandurg's AMERICAN SONGBAG, Downes & Siegmeister's TREASURE OF AMERICAN SONG. Lomax's volumes and recordings, and the recordings of
Dyer-Bennett shed light on lumberjack heroes like Bunyan,
railroaders like Casey Jones and John Henry and pirates like Captain Kidd.
A TREASURY OF AMERICAN FOLK-LORE, by B.A. Bothin (U.S. - Crown Pub. Co. 1944, $3.) is a bumptious collection of tales of a more rough and tumble nature, but may add to some collections. I like it.
SIGNIFICANT BOOK REVIEW
by Willy Ley (New York: The Viking Press. $3.50.)
Willy Ley's long-awaited book need not be recommended to all who are interested in astronautics - and presumably all s.f. fans are included in that category. It supersedes at once all earlier books on the subject in the English language, and it comes at a time when the rocket has done all and more that its most enthusiastic supporters predicted. In one way, Willy Ley has been unlucky in the date of publication (early 1944). Developments since the beginning of the year have already made some of his conclusions out of date, and two of the most important events in the history of the rocket - the first pure rocket aeroplane and the giant long-range rocket shell - were not revealed to the world until after the book was in the press. Let us hope that the first edition will sell so quickly that subsequent printings can be brought up to date.
The first fifty pages of the book contain a detailed history of interplanetary fiction since the first imaginary voyage to the Moon, written in A.D. 120. It is a little odd to think that these stories, which have been popular for eighteen centuries, will soon be written no more.
The history of the rocket in warfare is much more extensive than generally realised and Ley devotes a chapter to it. How many people know that in 1807 Copenhagen was largely destroyed by a bombardment of 25,000 rockets? But the development of rifled artillery closed the history of war rockets for a century, and only now are they coming back into their own. Ley shows a curious conservatism in his remarks about rocket weapons, and he makes no mention of the extremely important rocket boosters now used in many aircraft.
Under the appropriate title "Prophets with some honour" Ley traces the history of the spaceship on the scientific rather than the fictional side. Most of the credit for the serious conceptions appear to be due to the German Ganswindt and the Russian Ziolkovsky. It is pleasant to know that for the last ten years of his life Ziolkovsky was a famed and respected man in Russia, certainly the first astronaut ever to win national renown for his work.
However, the real fundamentals of astronautics were well and truly laid by Oberth in 1923 with his mathematical study DIE RAKETE ZU DEN PLANETENRAUMEN. In this book, for the first time, the fundamental equations of astronautics were set out and the problem was analysed as an engineering undertaking which might be achieved within the next few decades.
Oberth, a Rumanian, is just over 50 and a lot of rubbish has recently appeared about him in the British press. He may or may not be associated with V. 2. (that would help to explain the delay in its appearance - as a practical experimenter Oberth left everything to be desired), but he will certainly be honoured in the years to come as the founder of modern astronautics.
Ley devotes two fascinating chapters (reproduced with some alterations from the ASTOUNDING articles, THE FALL OF THE ROCKET SOCIETY) to the history of astronautics in Germany. It contains many lessons which all interplanetary societies would do well to bear in mind.
The German rocket society, the ''Verein fur Raumschiffahrt", had succeeded in virtually perfecting the small liquid fuel rocket motor when Hitler came into power.
It seems likely that the Nazis took over the society on principle rather than through any
realisation of the rocket's ultimate possibilities. That came later, and the purely scientific
work of the VfR is undoubtedly responsible for the enormous interest the Germans have shown
in reaction propulsion during this war.
Only the last seventy pages of the book deal with the spaceship and the problems associated with it. Ley points out that it is not difficult to send an unmanned rocket clear outside the earth's atmosphere, though when he wrote he certainly had no idea just how quickly it was going to be done. It is, however, immensely more difficult to effect a landing on even the nearest body, still less return to earth. With the fuels we possess today, interplanetary travel is barely possible using complicated engineering principles and tolerating shocking overall inefficiencies. For it to be practicable, we must have higher exhaust velocities and/or refuelling stations in space. Both of these will come in time, though when Ley does not venture to predict.
Ley makes no mention of the B.I.S. cellular design which overcomes some of the limitations of present day fuels, in particular the impossibly large rates of combustion at take-off. The ARS will probably take a poor view of the paragraph he devotes to their work. However, as they have officially deserted astronautics and are now purely a rocket society they deserve it.
One of the most interesting parts of the book is the Appendix, which contains amongst other things a very extensive bibliography. Ley points out that "a complete literary history of that variety of imaginative literature which is based on facts and theories of a scientific nature - so-called "science- fiction" - still remains to be written." When the extent of this class of literature is considered, this is certainly a remarkable oversight.
Ley's book is written for the popular and semi-technical press but nevertheless contains a good deal of "meat". It is extremely well-written and readable, with occasional flashes of wit. There is no doubt that it will admirably fulfil the author's intentions.
Arthur C. Clarke.
What is the essential magic of Abraham Merritt or H.P. Lovecraft, that lifts their writings out of the realm of ordinary "escapist" fiction? For it cannot be denied that much of that which pretends to be "different" in the world of fiction and especially in the "pulp" field, relies merely for its effect upon cheap physical thrills, the reiteration of meaningless blood-shed and the introduction of ephemeral sexual episodes.
Undoubtedly there exists a market for such productions, but that fact should only be a reminder that the task of fully educating the peoples of the countries concerned still remains to be accomplished, (And obviously, not solely in this sphere is the urgency of the task apparent. It is only a minor facet of the universal need for new standards of intelligence and behaviour throughout the world.)
However, my present purpose is not to prescribe for the ills of the whole world, but to examine briefly some aspects of "weird" fiction. The masters are well known; Lovecraft and Merritt represent the peak, but clustering around the lower reaches are many whose work at times makes a worthy comparison with that of the two acknowledged leaders. Kuttner and Bloch, for instance, have produced several excellent stories of great imaginative power, based upon themes as grandiose and fascinating as anything from the pens of those who wrote CREEP, SHADOW! and AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.
For some years there existed but one magazine to supply the enthusiasts with their regular quota, and it is a tribute to the editor and the authors whose work appeared there that the standard remained consistently high. Many "classics" have been printed in WEIRD TALES, and several authors have made their reputation purely by their contributions to it. Today, the advent of FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, with its reprint policy, has released a store of longer masterpieces, including several by A. Merritt, which have added considerably to the pleasure of readers.
I was inspired to formulate the question at the beginning, after I had introduced some
copies of FFM to friends who were not "fans". Their attitude approached something resembling
amused condescension, and astonishment that a person reputedly intelligent should read such
books. Whatever doubts they might have raised in my mind vanished when I began to read CREEP,
SHADOW!, and marvelled afresh at the wonderful power of Merritt's writing. Here is literature,
surely, no matter if presented within the pages of a "pulp" magazine. And I did not feel drawn
to apologise for the cover of this particular issue on the familiar ground that it was only for
"newsstand, appeal". Although the not-uncommon sight of partially-dressed young women on the
covers of magazines, does lead one to wish for a different interpretation of a fantastic theme.
Presumably, few publishers can afford the necessarily limited circulation in the casual market,
resulting from the printing of strictly abstract, or symbolical, covers. Although UNKNOWN is
a case in point.
... And so when my reflections lead me to think of the many masters of literature past and present, who have turned their gifts to the production of fantasy, pure and simple, there seems ample encouragement for the lonely fan, attempting to raise the interest of his apparently stolid and unimaginative acquaintances.
In the Summer 1944 issue of the US fan-magazine ACOLYTE, there is a list of works by Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818). The reason for the inclusion of this list is that, in the words of the editors, many of them "may be classed as Weird-Gothic". Lewis's first novel, AMBROSIO, OR THE MONK, was praised by Lovecraft. I have no knowledge of this author's work, but struck by a note in the list, that he had collaborated with Sir Walter Scott, I looked in Lockhart's life of the latter author, for mention of this collaboration. There are several highly promising references. On page 87 of the Everyman edition, there is the following: "When William Erskine was in London . . . he happened to meet in society with Matthew Gregory Lewis, M P. for Hindon, whose romance of The Monk, with the ballads which it included, had made for him, in those barren days, a brilliant reputation. This good-natured fopling, the pet and plaything of certain fashionable circles, was then busy with that miscellany which at length came out in 1801, under the name of Tales of Wonder, and was beating up in all quarters for contributions. Erskine showed Lewis the versions of Lenore and the Wild Huntsman; and when he mentioned that his friend had other specimens of the German diablerie in his portfolio, the collector anxiously requested that Scott might be enlisted in his cause: -
"Apart from this collaboration, Scott took some interest in imaginative themes, for his other works. In the Eve of St. John, in the words of Lockhart, he "re-peoples the tower of Smailholm, the awe-inspiring haunt of his infancy; and here he touches, for the first time, the one superstition which can still be appealed to with full and perfect effect; the only one which lingers in minds long since weaned from all sympathy with the machinery of witches and goblins. And surely this mystery was never touched with more thrilling skill than in that noble ballad." . . . "Then came the Grey Brother, founded on another superstition, which seems to have been almost as ancient as the belief in ghosts; namely, that the holiest service of the altar cannot go on in the presence of an unclean person - a heinous sinner unconfessed and unabsolved. The fragmentary form of this poem greatly heightens the awfulness of its impression ..."
See! Hear!! Act!!! ......Up-to-date 1944 American ASTOUNDINGs offered in exchange for pre-1935 WEIRD TALES or FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES. A.F. Hillman, 100 Corporation Road, Newport, Mon.
FANTASY PHILOSOPHY -- by -- John F. Burke
For most fantasts Time - spelt with a capital T - begins with H. G. Wells.
There may be a few of those exploratory collectors who occasionally contribute to Fido a list of obscure seventeenth-century manuscripts they know no-one can possibly secure who have found early records of time travel, but the majority of us begin our excursions from one century to another with THE TIME MACHINE. Wells was, however, only one of the men whose interest had been aroused by the problem of Time. Philosophers were beginning to toy with ideas about its nature and its connection with human development. Life, they suggested, was not just a matter of one day following another; life was not like those stories which proceed from start to finish by a series of incidents; smooth and mechanically - "and then . . . and then . . . and then ..." Ouspensky made suggestions that were the forerunner of J. W. Dunne's theories. Strindberg' s restless mind produced rather vaguer ideas that remind one of J. B. Priestley's work - or rather the other way round, if you prefer. And the scientists, too, began to wonder.
The novelists realised the vast new possibilities that the subject opened up. Perhaps Sterne's wandering, inconsequential TRISTRAM SHANDY may be considered as one of the earliest attempts to destroy the dictatorship of Time.
Wells characteristically adopted a semi-scientific attitude, and produced one of the first of his successful romances. His Traveller, explaining his methods by the hokum jargon that is familiar to all readers of science-fiction magazines, wandered about in time, but the construction of the story stays on the old lines. It conformed to Alice's rules, beginning at the beginning and going on to the end. Henry James towards the end of his life, growing more and more absorbed in expressing the inexpressible, sought to bring the past and present together and allow representatives of each to live in one another's worlds. The work he attempted was never finished but in A SENSE OF THE PAST we are left with one of the most exquisite, provocative fragments in literature. There was still, however, no great departure from the accepted conventions of telling a story.
It was left to the writers of what may be called the inter-war generation to branch out and smash the old tyranny. James Joyce's ULYSSES, though preserving the chronological order of events, showed that one can live a lifetime in a day. The whole scope of the Odyssey was reduced to eighteen hours in the life of ordinary man; or would it be more correct to say that the life of an ordinary man was exalted to the level of an epic? Virginia Woolf, eschewing the more obvious story of "action" showed that the smallest things in life are what effect one most, and in MRS DALLOWAY and TO THE LIGHTHOUSE fills the minds of her characters and of the reader with an overwhelming sense of the past. Her characters are lifted clear of space and time into the crystal world of their own where memories endure and time is somehow abolished - and yet somehow oppresses the reader with a feeling that it is slipping away, destroying as it goes.
The most outstanding figure was Marcel Proust. Living alone in his room, allowing his mind to wander into the past, straying to and fro without noticing any barriers, this introvert recreated a world that had once been. A fleeting scent, the fragment of a tune, an elusive sound . . . they all annihilated the intervening years. In the twelve tortuous, absorbing volumes of REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST is a wonderful study of a man to whom the past is forever present. For him, as for J. W. Donne, "Nothing Dies".
Dunne surely needs no introduction to the modern devotee of fantasy. Influenced by him, J. B. Priestley wrote I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE and discussed the riddle of Time in his autobiographical MIDNIGHT ON THE DESERT. Aldous Huxley, reflecting none of Donne's ideas, nevertheless saw fit to wreak havok with the normal sequence of events in EYELESS IN GAZA. The coherence of this novel is a coherence of writing and subject matter, not of chronological narrative.
There are, of course, innumerable humorous possibilities. Mark Twain, in YANKEE AT THE COURT OF KING
ARTHUR exploited them well and at the same time took the opportunity
of indulging in a burst of social satire. Generally the entertainment value alone is stressed,
as in a recent rather painful English film TIME FLIES, containing one good scene wherein
Evelyn Ball, knowing ROMEO AND JULIET by heart, prompts William Shakespeare when he cannot
evolve the next line. There is the typical UNKNOWN story, which, can be very agreeable
entertainment. One thinks also of T. H. White's trilogy, THE SWORD IN THE STONE, THE WITCH
IN THE WOOD, and THE ILL-MADE KNIGHT, wherein Merlin's omniscience is explained by the fact
that he lives backwards in Time, starting in the future and growing old as he moved towards
The experiments are by no means ended. Modern films have favoured the rather obvious "flashback" style recently, obviously owing its inception to the new ideas. The modern popular novel indulges in much the same methods - John P. Marquand with some success, others with less. The most advanced point yet attained is probably James Joyce's FINNEGAN'S WAKE, in which the whole physical universe, the mind of men, past, present and future, the mythologies and sciences and languages of the world, the city and the country, the whole of space and time, are united in a bewildering dream of JUDGEMENT DAY - the end and the beginning - a symbolic dream for the expression of which Joyce had to construct a language of his own.
One wonders where this can lead. And one wonders who will make the next advance - the philosophers, the writers, or the scientists.
Bookcolumn "Offhand and Without Preparation" -- R. G. Medhurst
What a thing is a fan! Why is everybody shouting and jumping around about one of Stapledon's new fantasies (SIRIUS) and just ignoring the other, and no less interesting (OLD MAN IN NEW WORLD, P.E.N. Books, Allen & Unwin, 1944)? What has Stapledon done to deserve such a reception for his latest work? I needn't describe it, of course, to all you ardent Stapledon enthusiasts. You who think that Stapledon is the greatest thing of the century - short of Robert Heinlein. You better-than-Wells propagandists. You proud possessors of signed copies of STAR MAKER. But why don't you talk about the thing?
Jerome K. Jerome's sole attempt at scientific fantasy is THE NEW UTOPIA in DIARY OF A PILGRIMAGE (AND SIX ESSAYS), Arrowsmith, 1891. A poor, thing, one wonders how in the world he managed. to write THREE MEN IN A BOAT. It is a satire on WHEN THE SLEEPER AWAKES and an attack on the idea of Socialism. There is an illustration showing a man waking up in a glass case, in the 29th. century; according to the caption he had already, when discovered, been asleep for over ten years, his landlady having forgotten to call him. Presumably people can be found who enjoy this standard type of humour (incongruity of everyday ideas in a different - usually larger scale - setting).
A very nice thing is Thomas Hood's THE LAST MAN, a narrative poem written in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is in most Hood anthologies (mine is POEMS OF WIT AND HUMOUR, 3rd. edition, Edward Maxon, 1851). THE LAST MAN is not good poetry, but it is vividly done and goes with a cheerful rattle. It deals with a hangman, in the year two thousand and one, who has survived a world-wide plague, and how he hangs the only other survivor. It has something of the feeling of Shiel's magnificent PURPLE CLOUD: ravening packs of wild dogs make a grisly back-ground.
Curiously erratic is the distribution of Lloyd Cole's booklets. Benson Herbert's STRANGE ROMANCE appeared in most of London's West End magazine shops, and his HAND OF GLORY got around quite extensively. Festus Pragnell and Benson Herbert's THIEVES OF THE AIR, however, I had immense difficulty in tracking down (it turned up, rather
bedraggled in a market near Harrow), and Benson Herbert's latest, THE RED-HAIRED GIRL (full
of space-pirates and knock-about) I've only seen in one shop in Praed Street. Though I shouldn't
think anyone would worry.
More and more of these paper-backs are flooding out from Everybody's Bookshops and similar places. Justin Atholl is getting to be as prolific as Benson Herbert. Besides various crime opi [interesting problem for word purists and morbid psychologists; why did George, who certainly knows better, start to write "opuses', score it out, and substitute the horrible "opi"?], which we shall not consider here, he's done THE MAN WHO TILTED THE EARTH (Mitre Press, 1/3, with a cover picture of an idealized New York toppling in all directions), THE OASIS OF SLEEP (Mitre Press, 3/6, described as "Another Grand Thriller", and all about nasty Italians and Germans, after the war, in a retreat packed with suspended animation, and so forth), LAND OF HIDDEN DEATH (Everybody's Books, 9d, about a lost civilisation - Inca survival - I like the look of it, though I haven't had time to read it), and a weirdie story called THE GREY BEAST (Everybody's Books, 9d, called an "Eerie Vampire Thriller"). These Justin Atholl books are quite well printed on good paper, and relative to the Lloyd Cole booklets they are better value for less cash. [I get even better value for less cash still by not buying any of them at all. -DW]
"Everybody's Books" have also put out a booklet of 5 ghostie stories by .Eugene Ascher, UNCANNY ADVENTURES, for ninepence. A previous publication, by the same author about the same "occult" gentlemen, was THERE WERE NO ASPER LADIES.
"New Saxon Pamphlets", year one, price 1/3, has a futurish story by John Atkins, THE APOPLEPTIC REVOLUTION, in which all the people who permit themselves intemperate fury, from Radio announcers to Prime Ministers, die with a click and an unwinding noise.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING AIRMEN, in the series "Martin Speed, Detective" (Swan, 4d.) is a horrid thing full of death rays and so forth.
One of the latest Swan productions, WEIRD SHORTS, FIRST SELECTION, price 9d., is not at all bad. Some of the stories are well on the way to being readable, and include IN ALIEN VALLEYS by Henry Rawle, THE KRAKEN by I. O. Evans (of "World of Tomorrow" fame), another W.P.Cockroft tale, THE REVENGE OF ARNUL, THE DEMON AND HIS DICTATOR by David Alun, and things of lesser interest. I was pleased and surprised by this booklet, especially after a most unpropitious cover. Quite one of the best things Messrs. Swan have done.
THE MOON ROCKET, a tiny book measuring 2" x 4", with no page numbering (there are 9 pages of text and 7 full-page coloured illustrations), no author, no dates, no price, and no publisher's name (I'm sure this is illegal) is the story of Boobie and Brenda, how they built a rocket in the wood shed, flew to the moon, met the Man in the Moon, saw the factory where he made moonbeams, and knocked over the stool on which he sits, behind magnifying glasses, so as to look large to earthlings.
Cheiro's TRUE GHOST STORIES (London Publishing Co., no date, price 2/6) is solemnly sworn to be full of nothing but truth. The last two episodes concern a "mysterious recluse", the Duc de Ravigo, known as Edmund Savory D'Odiardi, 'Occultist, Mystic and Physician." Cheiro, summoned before him, reads his hand with impressive exactness and is welcomed in as a comrade and brother. Ultimately, Cheiro finds himself strapped up with copper electrodes, and so forth, at the bottom end of a huge aerial, and, helped out by organ playing, he has a vision of Atlantis. A fairly orthodox Theosophical Atlantis. [Cheerio to Cheiro. Thank God. -DW]
((Editorial note - Your editor possesses a copy of OLD MAN IN NEW WORLD & 3 further copies have left this address for USA. Mr. Ron Lane of Manchester is also known to possess a copy & has duplicated a review of it to be incorporated in the page-per-book bibliography file. Perhaps this will soothe Mr. Medhurst slightly. But the trade distribution appears to be erratic - only one bookshop in Leeds [the bookhunter's Gobi - DW] stocked copies, which may account for much of the silence. JMR))
"ARKHAM HOUSE" COMMUNIQUE, from August Derleth, September 1944.
The most recent issue (August) of the FUTURlAN WAR DIGEST has just reached me, and I hasten to set
down for you the meet recent news from this side. No doubt you have received the new Arkham House
catalog by this time, and thus you will know that we are publishing not one or two but four new books
this year. To supplement that catalog, I offer you the most recent news. This is the status of Arkham
House books at present:
Our list has more or less been set for 1945 too. It will contain at least three $3 books; my own SOMETHING NEAR, Frank Belknap Long's THE HOUNDS OF TINDALOS, and Robert Bloch's THE OPENER OF THE WAY; and one $5 omnibus, Robert E. Howard's SKULLFACE AND OTHERS. I much doubt that the paper situation will permit us to print, even if we can make the legal arrangements to do so, the projected William Hope Hodgson omnibus, THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND AND OTHER NOVELS (containing apart from the title tale, THE BOATS OF THE GLEN CARRIG, THE GHOST PIRATES, THE NIGHTLAND); so we will hope to do this one in 1946, and in that year also collections by Henry Kuttner and C. L.Moore. We hope also to do collections by Fritz Leiber Jr., Howard Wandrei, a second Whitehead (THE GREAT CIRCLE), a 3rd Smith, a Smith COLLECTED (or SELECTED) POEMS.
Meanwhile, SLEEP NO MORE is now ready; it officially appears September 21st, but it is in print, with 24 illustrations by Lee Brown Coye. Appearances are that it will sell well, and I understand that Farrar and Rinehart have given a large print order. Arkham House has bought 500 copies for redistribution to our patrons; we plan to buy 500 more in time. The Book of the Month Club has recommended the book. All this bodes well for WHO KNOCKS?, the index for which has been virtually completed. I should rather say the contents, not the index - and all the stories in it are op.
But something that should be of great interest especially to those British fans who missed out on THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS is this; about 60% of the material in that volume is coming out in Spring or Summer under the World Publishing Company imprint, cloth-bound, titled THE BEST SUPERNATURAL STORIES OF H. P. LOVECRAFT with an introduction by me, at only forty-nine cents. The print order will be for 100,000 copies, and these should surely hold until after the war and conditions permit ordering in quantity from over there.
WALT LEIBSCHER adds that Armed Services Editions in USA is planning a serviceman's edition of Lovecraft stories. He also mentions the forthcoming appearance of SIX NOVELS OF THE SUPERNATURAL in the Viking Portable Library series, to include; A BELEAGURED CITY, Mrs Oliphant; THE RETURN, de la Mare; THE WHITE PEOPLE, F. H. Burnett; THE TERROR, Machen; SWEET ROCKET, Mary Johnson and PORTRAIT OF JENNIE by Robert Nathan.
Allan H. Miles has a. fair number of pro magazines for sale, mainly war-time issues, US editions. First
come, first served, and large orders preferred. All communications to be sent c/o 4 Grange Terrace,
Leeds 7. List:
Wonder; Sep 35; Feb, Oct, Dec 36; Jun 37; Feb, Jun 39; @ 9d each.
Jun 41; Apr 42; Feb, Apr, Jun 43; @ 1/6
Badly delayed by the interference of doodle-bugs, the souvenir booklet of the EASTERCON 1944 has made its appearance at last. A 14 page booklet, illustrated and printed by Bruce Gaffron (11 Erridge Rd, Merton Park, SW 19); it is a neat and worthy remembrance of the London Meeting earlier this year, organised by Teddington's Cosmos Club. The contents consist of a report of the Presidential Address by Walter H. Gillings, in the best parliamentary manner; J. K. Aiken's Convention Diary, or blow by blow commentary; Gordon Holbrow Goes Bang (his report) and Johnny Canuck's (J. F. Millard's) Review. Also included is the Convention Quiz; without answers to my dismay. The whole enlivened by bonny little sketches giving someone's opinion on the proceedings. Distribution system unknown to me but no charge appears to be visible.
To appear in November is the second publication put out by Benson Herbert's "Utopian Publications" (The first was a booklet of nudes!) This is presented to the trusting public as "Girl in Trouble", E. Frank Parker's full length romantic novel. Members of fandom have met the tale previously in the Cosmos Club "Beyond" where it was called "The Stolen Spaceship". However it is quite competent adventure fantasy of Planet Stories type and standard. Priced at 9d, it is nice to see it, anyway.
More bookhunting in Italy as told by Sgt Norman Lamb of Toronto, the other half of the Gibson-Lamb two-man blitz on Italian bookshops. "Bob Gibson and I spent a five day holiday in Rome last week. We went with the intention of bookhunting and were very successful. When the smoke and dust of battle had settled down we discovered that he had gotten 30 odd books and I had 47. I bought a few good items such as - a first ed. of Haggard's "Allan Quartermain", a first of Doyle's "Maracot Deep", a first of Crawford's "Little City of.Hope", a good copy of a late 18th century "Asmodeous", And here's the best one - a copy of "The Flying Machine and other stories" by Ronald Belfort. It was privately printed by Flli Pallotta, Rome in 1912, I believe the author's right name is F. S. Arnold. Ever heard of it? (No - Ed). I also managed to get two of Verne's stf/fantasy stories that have never.been translated i nto English so far as I am aware. They are called "Un Giornaliste Americani nel 2900" (An American journalist in 2900 ad) and "La Strabiliamente Avventura della Missione Barsac" (The astonishing Adventure of the Barsac Mission). Alec got a well illustrated copy of Twain's "Yankee at the Court of King Arthur". I was quite pleased with the trip, I can tell you." I Bethchawur.
A welcome to.Britain is extended this time to PFC William H. Groveman, originally of' Hempstead, New York. Bill has been moderately active in US fandom over a period of some five years, was a member of FAPA for two years in '40 -'42, and has had a try at putting out both a subscription fanzine - Fantaseer - and a Fapazine- Lovecraftian. But Bill has always primarily been interested in amateur journalism and has been active in the National Amateur Press Association of America. He hopes to link up with Anglofandom during his stay and maybe meet some of us.
Talking of meetings, here are a few which have occurred of late. Messrs. Peter Hawkins and Terence Overton, having both managed to get stationed at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire, were able to say hello for the first time there. An impromptu meet took place at Manchester just at the end of September when Frank Parker landed there on his business tour of Britain. Benson Herbert slipped up from Cheadle, accompanied by a Czech girl friend and a portfolio of nudes; JMR managed to get over from Leeds and Manchester provided the old team of Lane and Ellis. Idlewild, Aberdeen has been busy, & Doug Webster has been host to Eric Hopkins. Johnny Millard and Gus Willmorth in rapid succession. The first and last of these also popped in at Grange Terrace; and Gus went on to Lincoln to spend a day with Harry Turner stationed nearby at Granwell. The usual Selby-Leeds trips continued to be made by Allan Miles, now nearing the end of his tour of flying duty. And Pilot-Officer Edwin Macdonald ought to be wandering back any time now.
Last issue's surmise concerning the whereabouts of Eric Frank Russell turned out to be correct and Eric drops us a line from Holland. He reports a crime story dumped across the pond and a yarn to come up soon in Astounding, and says he is well set for being the first of Anglo-American fandom to set foot in Berlin. A cryptic PS on an epistle from Canadifan Al Godfrey concerning Arnhem and doings there makes it appear that he may have a competitor.
Announcement; Arthur W. Busby of 40 Brooklands Road, Hall Green, Birmingham is in the throes of setting up a local chess club, and finds the present scarcity of boards and sets awkward. Can anyone help?
More postings. Manchester's Erik Needham isn't so far from home at Carnforth, North Lancs. Incidentally, Erik found a copy of Edgar Wallace's "Planetoid 127" in a bookshop there, with the signature of Eric Williams therein. Howcome? Somewhere near him is Peter Knott of Northampton, one of the victims of the RAF to Army transfer. Being near Preston, Peter managed to see Bert Lewis and "stare goggle-eyed at his wonderful collection"
November 3rd who should pop over to Leeds but Ron Holmes of Liverpool, and the following Saturday Grange Terrace was the rendezvous for Eric Hopkins and Allan Miles stationed respectively at Selby and Brough, and both aircrew.
Correspondence Situation; This has just about reached the worst state yet. What with overmuch occupation, not-so-good health and a welcome plethora of visitors, I have been absolutely unable to deal with more than a small proportion of the letters received. What precisely can be done about it I know not, but I do want to reply adequately to all the interesting epistles received. So please accept my apologies, I'm doing my best.
Received from USA have been two publications of the National Fantasy Fan Federation. The first is the printed introductory booklet to fandom mentioned previously; a small-size 40 page survey by half a dozen top fans of the fantasy field to be sent to neophytes by the Welcoming Committee of the NFFF. The other is the monumental "Fancyclopedia" compiled and stencilled by John Bristol (Jack Speer), the historian and chronicler of Amerifandom, before he went overseas to North Africa, and mimeoed by the Los Angeles group under the leadership of Forrest Ackerman. Its professionally bound 100 pages contain data on and definitions of practically everything known to or connected with fandom except such matter as available in yearbooks and Directories.
GEORGE MEDHURST REPORTS;
If you send 1/6 plus 3d postage to "Freedom Bookshop, 132 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, and ask for "A Martian Examines Christianity" you will acquire a paper bound volume by Arthur Levett, put out by Watts in 1934 (pp 118). It has a cover in black & blue presenting a humanoid Martian with a metal collar, looking disapprovingly at a cross held between finger and thumb. The thing is Rationalist propaganda, not too badly done, using the device of a Martian who discovers anti-gravity and sets off to earth primarily to find out at first hand about religion, which has eluded the understanding of Martians observing earth doings with ''super-telescopes" "sensitive radios" and "long-since-perfected television receivers".
The November 10th issue of "The Guardian - the Church Newspaper" contained the first instalment of a new story by C. S. Lewis "Who Goes Home - or the Grand Divorce" billed as a fantasy, and later to be published by Bles.
George also mentions that he has about a dozen wartime prozines to swap and particularly desires FFM for Aug 40 and April 41. 126 Finborough Rd. S.W.10.
And the usual final frenzy of oddments.
Two Xmas cards already received are from Sam Youd with the CMF and one of our Leeds people - Austyn Snowden with the MEF.
Some interesting news about "Herbert Strang", prolific writer of boys books including many fantasies, has just been released. Strang is a penname - worse an assumed name that covered the identity of two people; Mr G Herbert Ely who did the writing and Mr C. J. L'Estrange who thought of the plots. They are colleagues in a famous publishing house and nearly 40 years ago put their heads together to write a story for boys.
Congratulations to Irene and Ted Carnell on the birth of a son, hight Michael John Carnell. All best wishes to them and him in the future.
The latest FAPA mailing included three book reviews arranged in the page-per-book style that JMR is advocating and contributed by Messrs Warner and Searles. Both of these gentlemen are in favour of the project and put forth suggestions for its working. As regards the British side, only Peter Knott and Terry Overton have asked to be incuded on the list of people sent copies of these reviews. But the following have also shown interest by contribution of reviews and presumably wish to receive the sheets; Bob Gibson, and Norman Lamb (are Canadians classed as British?) Fred Brown, J. F. Burke, A.W. Busby, Peter Clarke and Ron Lane. And surely our premier bibliophiles George Medhurst and Bert Lewis want to be included. But if anyone else does, better write at once.
Within the next couple of months it is hoped that the following will be published from 4 Grange Terrace. A new Prospectus of the British Fantasy Society brought up to date. Stencilled by Gus Willmorth. Free. A Directory of British Fandom, compiled, stencilled and published by JMR. Free to members of the BFS and FAPA, second copies and to nonmembers price 4d. A pamphlet entitled "Discussions on a theme, No 1; Some Words of Wisdom on the Weird" with contributions from J. K. Aiken, J. Banks, J. F. Burke, Malcolm Ferguson and Paul Searles based on an article by Edmund Wilson in the New Yorker. Arthur Hillman has MCed and stencilled this opus which is a really serious and worthwhile discussion on the subject. Priced at 4d.
Now just another word on the correspondence situation. At the moment there are some 40 unanswered letters piled up here. Reason apart from preoccupation is that I am now enjoying fibrositis (?) in my wrists and arms brought on by overstrain and am unable to write more than a page without considerable pain. At some future date I hope to catch up on correspendence but at the moment only the most urgent can possibly get attention.
News of two Amerifans; Fred Pohl ex-editor of Astonishing Stories, is in Italy, Mario Racie is in France, and Len Moffatt is on Saipan in the Pacific.
BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY...........................
................................................................Sept. 18th 1944
Are none. Not of the standard variety. But the following two American fans have been appointed honorary members in recognition of their services to British fandom.
Walter M. Dunkelburger, 1443 4th. Ave. South, Fargo, N. Dakota. Bill Watson, 1299 California Street, San Francisco 9, California.Two more names which must be remembered by us when (and if) the good times come again and we can give favours instead of accepting them.
BFS Beyond No.2.
I am asked to publish the following notice from the new editor, Mr Arthur Hillman:-
"The BFS amateur magazine Beyond No. 2 is now practically completed and should be circulating in the next week or two. It contains some excellent stories and illustrations. All persons who wish to be put on the rota for it are asked to drop a line to the Editor, Arthur F. Hillman, 100 Corporation Road, Newport, Monmouthshire. this will obviate the magazine going to addresses which may be from one to two years out of date. Contributions (including stories, verse, and offers of artwork) are welcomed for Beyond No. 3. A professional editor will be reading the Beyonds with a view to printing the best efforts of contributors, so the higher the standard of work submitted the more chance there is of authors and artists earning a substatial financial reward. This is your fantasy magazine --- help it to gain the heights you wish for it."To which I can only add that from what Arthur tells me, this second issue promises to surpass the first one in every respect, and I propose a vote of thanks to him for the energetic way in which he has tackled the job of getting this issue out. Consider, mes enfants, that he also runs the Weird Section of a dozen members, has volunteered for the Advisory Board, and finds time to take not-unsuccessful sallies at the field of professional writing as well!
Walter Norcott, 41 St. John's, Worcester, has the following U.S. magazines of recent issues for sale or swap:-
Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct 1941
Will swap for copies of Strange Stories, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Planet Stories, or Weird Tales. Write for prices stating which magazines are wanted and what swaps are offered.
It may be pointed out that the above magazines are from Walter's own personal collection, not the result of any mart trading. Dealings on the Mart are, in fact, not few - they just ain't.
This and That.
A second edition of the Prospectus is being prepared, including an offer from our President, Mr Walter Gillings, that will interest all would-be authors.... A "Who's Who" of fandom - as you were - I mean a directory of ditto (British) as bruited about a year ago will soon see light through the unaided efforts of Michael Rosenblum.... hasn't anyone even got an opinion about the grand Library proposal mentioned in the last Bull?
1) The pieces by Arthur C. Clarke included herein, whose first appearance their original FWD publication was, are copyright the Rocket Publishing Company.
2) BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY BULLETIN #20 - the next issue - was not distributed with FWD but instead was sent out between this issue and the next. In many ways, it's FWD #38.5 containing as it does what may be the only report on the second NORCON.
3) BFS Bulletin courtesy of Al Durie, via Greg Pickersgill.