Fanorama by Walt Willis

Latest News of Fan Activities


You may remember that in the last NEBULA I mentioned there would be an election to choose a representative to be sent to the San Francisco Convention next September. Well, seven candidates have been duly nominated and the election is now raging in all its fury. The seven are Peter Campbell, Vincent Clarke, Walter Gillings, Derek Pickles, Michael Rosenblum, Tony Thorne and James White. Ballot forms and election literature can be obtained from me at 170 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast. There's not much more I can tell you that wouldn't be out of date by the time this is published, but if you are interested please write. And, of course, all contributions will be thankfully received, however great. After all, it's not the thought behind them that counts so much as the money.

Now, forward to the fan-magazines:

SPACE DIVERSIONS, No. 7. Editors Norman Shorrock, John Roles and David Gardner, 12a Rumford Place, Liverpool, 3. l/- per copy. This bi-monthly magazine, having been absent for something like six months, now breaks the news that it has gone irregular. To dry our tears, however, we're presented with almost a quarter ream of duplicating paper in the form of a large family size Christmas number. The strain of giving birth to this mammoth issue seems unfortunately to have overcome the Christmas spirit, and to some this Christmas box will feel more like one on the ears. The Londoners will be particularly troubled by the North wind: a bitter blast about the last Convention is all they get for their trouble in organising it. All I can say is that the next one, at Manchester, had better be good. Other things in this Christmas stocking, apart from a Liverishpudlian foot, include a Staple-donnish 'History of Mars' by 'Anon' (an author who has written some excellent if old-fashioned poetry, but whom I never expected to see in a fanmag) and a novelette by Dave Gardner which is good enough for a promag—in fact too good for some. There is also, thank goodness, the final instalment of a 'round robin' serial which has been round far too long. This poor little robin, like the one in the song, should have long ago been put out of its Missouri.

SPACE TIMES, No. 12. Eric Bentcliffe, 47 Alldis Street, Gt. Moor, Stockport, Cheshire. 6d. per copy. This 60 page Christmas issue still shows the aftereffects of a recent change in publishers, but most of it is worth a little eye‑strain. Most legible, and readable, is a little gem by that jewel personality Vincent Clarke, a brilliant and subtle satire called SCROOGE ON ICE which is pleasantly unexpected after the rather broad and simple humour of the Northern fans. Wickedly mimicking Dickens' 'Christmas Carol,' it describes how Scrooge, a fan about to abandon fandom for the fleshpots of professional writing, is shown the error of his ways by the ghosts of Fandom Past, Fandom Present—and the Fandom That May Be.

"Outside, a small boy was whistling 'Two Little Men On A Flying Saucer.' Glorious! Glorious!

"Hey, boy! Do you know the all-night Post Office?" "Yus, mate." " What an intelligent boy!" said Scrooge. "He should grow up to be a fan. Go around there now, my little man, and tell them to send a messenger with some Postal Orders. Here, I'll give you a letter to take to them. Come back in five minutes and there's five shillings for you."The boy was off like an A-bomb. "I'll send for all the fanzines I've ever heard of," whispered Scrooge, rubbing his hands and splitting with a laugh. "And an extra big one . . . no, two, for my membership of the Supermancon and a contribution to the Transatlantic Fan Fund."

With a sweep of his hand he sent story manuscripts and rough drafts flying from his desk, and sat down at the typewriter. Perhaps he could put out a oneshot fanzine to send with the Postal Orders? Ideas were bubbling up inside him; supremely fannish ideas that weren't worth a light on the market. Whistling merrily he started typing away.

The piece is a notable example of a recent trend in fan writing, the humorous story which carries a half-concealed, half-sincere message, in this case "What shall it profit a fan . . ?" I'm sure that it's without any intention of pointing the moral that the editor runs in the same issue a humorous story by Arthur C. Clarke exhumed from a 1938 fan magazine. (Ah, what genius he had then ! )

FISSION No. l. Colin Parsons and G. M. Wingrove, 31 Benwood Court, Benhillwood Road, Sutton, Surrey, England. 9d. per copy. Lithographed. What are things coming to? It's always been a fine old tradition of amateur publishing that first issues are illegible, unreadable, and consist almost entirely of a long apologetic editorial. This one, however, is well produced and interesting, and the editorial consists of six succinct sentences. In fact, there's a blank space below it which must be one of the largest blank spaces to appear on purpose in a British fanmag since before the war. What's more there are hardly any misprints, though you might expect a few clerical errors from anyone named Parsons. The contents include an article by Ken Slater about the influence of Lee Hoffman and myself on British fandom, modestly overlooking his own far greater services; reviews of S.F. magazines published or reprinted in Britain; a fascinating article by Bryan Berry on the life (if you can call that living) of a free lance writer and several stories of varying merit by F.G. Rayer, H.J. Campbell, and the editor. I'm told that Asst. Editor Wingrove is soon leaving to publish his own magazine. Apparently the name FISSION was well chosen.

from Nebula No. 7, February 1954

Last revised: 1 October, 2006

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