THE PROGRAMME BOOKLETThe Eastercon 1960 Programme Book is 18 pages long (inc. covers). Those pages that are ads have not been included here. What follows is just the editorial material.
CONVENTION - EASTER 1960
Index to Programme.
Index to Advertisers
Programme Produced and Directed by G.W. Mosdell at 106 St.John's Hill London S.W.11.
Saturday 16th AprilSPEECHES
Sunday 17th April 1960
JOHN CARNELLAn appreciation by H Ken Bulmer.
A science fiction reader from anywhere in the world on a visit to London automatically looks up John Carnell, and although the traffic congestion in the Nova Editorial offices sometimes rivals Hyde Park Corner, John is almost invariably 'at home' with a smile, an outstretched hand and all the latest information.
This universality, coupled with the fact that the only three entirely British s.f. magazines are Nova Publications, places John in a significant position on thc stage of science fiction.
That he is now the only surviving British sf editor, that he is much sought after by all classes in the field, are merely results rising from the personality of the man himself.
Edward John Carnell is a masterful phenomenon on the stage of British science fiction, Any resume of his career can pick out only notable dates: discovering magazine sf in 1929, he became active in the fan field in 1935, attending the first sf con in Leeds in 1937. He took over the editorship of Novae Terrae translating the name in the process to one that was to achieve more than anyone realised - New Worlds. More, it may be true to say, than anyone, except John himself expected.
In the August, 1944 issue of Astounding, the Probability Zero department ran a winning entry by John Carnell. In this he showed then prominent writers and new stars on the horizon huddled in Central Park after atomigeddon. The Carnell editorial acuity showed itself then -- the names he picked as comers are today among the biggest in the field, No - perhaps John knew from the beginning that he was destined to develop into an outstanding editor.
Like many other professionals, he has grown out of the fan field.
Just after the war he piloted through three issues of the professional New Worlds, under the imprint of Pendulum Publications. When rationing and restrictions caused this company to cease publication, the drive for British sf that has characterised John for his whole career sparked the formation of a private company. Nova Publications was founded in 1948 and New worlds at once began to develop a persona that has maintained it at the head of professional magazine s.f. in this country.
Taking three of the now cover paintings with him, John attended the Cincinatti Worldcon in 1949, under the aegis of the Big Pond Fund. It is pleasant to know that John's long time friend, Don Ford, who masterminded the Cinvention, is his co-guest of honour from the fan ranks. His return to America to attend the Nycon in 1956 was something in the nature of a triumphant procession. In the interval New Worlds - plus Science Fantasy - had risen to the highest rank.
At New York too, London secured the site for the world con of 1957,
which John chaired in his usual impeccable fashion. Most of the many
conventions held in London since the war have been chaired by John;
he has worked hard - and often thanklessly behind the scones to make the cons
a success. His truly fabulous collection of contacts in every class of sf
fraternity has at all times been turned to the benefit of the field itself.
This absorption in the world of science fiction, this interest and appreciation of the literatUre as an entity in its own right, is more strongly pronounced in John than in any other pro editor. It shows itself in his editorials, where he can survey the field with a knowing eye and a peculiar authority, and sum up trends, careers, books, films, with the inside knowledge that, it is true to any, can be possessed by no other single sf enthusiast in the world - be he pro or fan. It shows itself, too, in the fact that his son Michael has for a godfather Robert A Heinlein. That dedication to of as a force of life importance is thoroughly sincere.
John says of his editorial acuity that he 'edits by the, seat of his pants!' Whilst this results in first class magazines, it is often frustrating to authors. I have, at certain times, been heard to mutter in my beard: 'Carnell doesn't know what he wants.' This is not, strictly speaking true. Again, people have been heard to say that New Worlds is a flat plateau of stories all written by the same person. This, fortunately, is demonstrably untrue. But what these comments boil down to is a strong personality running a magazine that cannot be confused with any other. That it has continued, and grown stronger, for 14 years or so, is proof enough that fundamentally the Carnell policy, perceived or not, is right.
Perhaps some of John's success can be traced to his help and encouragement freely extended to new writers. There is very little of the rejection-slip mentality about John.
Personally, my criticism extends to his habit of casually and callously splitting an infinitive that I had thought safely glued together away from the editorial blue pencil. There has, though, been uninformed criticism of the apparent policy of Nova in attempting to publish three identical magazines. New Worlds, as the senior and largest of the three, automatically dictates to the others. Yet Scifanny, although publishing straight sf, still leans largely on the fantasy element. The basic trouble, according to John, is the chronic lack of suitable fantasy material. Again, SFA is trending away from the Planet-type story, and is running longer lengths of material that could easily have been found in New Worlds. On a purely quality basis, this is to the good; but the required accent of action adventure is certainly not overlooked in the makeup of SFA. The danger that the three Nova zines will all be the same is remote; and John is too observant an editor to flirt with that sort of risk, despite the superficial attraction it may possess.
John is so many things in the field of sf - member of the Advisory Committee of the SF Book Club, author's agent - that a mere catalogue would read as the activities of six persons.
Enough has surely been said to show that he towers in the field.
If sf were deplorably suddenly to be left without his presence, the gap
would be stunning and devastating.
Of his own attitude to the science fiction field, he says, in part:
"Any editorial job, however intensly interested one can be, must of necessity have long periods of boredom and monotony in attendance. The saving grave, to myself at least, has always been that when things have seemed at their lowest ebb in sf, along comes a new author or a cover painting wlth 'zing' which changes the whole picture, and usually triggers off a whole train of ideas and inspirations. This applies just as aptly to the broad picture of sf in general.
Here at this London convention sponsored by the British Science Fiction Association, which he has supported from the first, it is good that we should do him honour. He has so many times been the guiding hand on the conventions of the past that his new role may cause him to ponder.
May he do so.
Any honour we can possibly extend is already years overdue.
Any convention is measurably of less stature if John Carnell is not attending. This BSFA London convention of Easter 1960 gains enormously in stature because of his presence.
It would be good for us all to ponder - and to realise that it is he who is doing us the honour of being here.
DONALD E FORDAn appreciation by Ted Carnell
This is not intended to be a case of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" although when Don Ford reads that quote he will immediately recognise it as one belonging to one of his greatest friends in sf, Dr. Charles L. Barrett. As it wasn't politic that I wrote an appreciation of myself (much as I would have liked to do) it was thought that I might make almost as good a job of introducing my co-Guest of Honour - by right. he should he the only Guest of Honour and if I had my way he would have been. After all, it isn't everydoy that a BNF of 25 years standing travels 4000 miles to attend a British gabfest.
Don richly deserves his TATF Trip this year and there can hardly be a fan on either side of the Atlantic who begrudges him the honour, for he was the original instigator of the idea and has worked for many years behind the scenes to make it a success, although I seriously doubt whether he ever imagined that he personally would participate in the scheme. Therefore we are doubly indebted to him on this occassion - for coming himself and for originating what is one of the most fascinating aspects of the type of friendship formed in sf fandom.
Don is quiet and unassuming, although extremely forthoight on subjects which he thinks need airing publicly, a tireless worker where his favourite hobby is concerned, a great organiser (usually without credit) and as untypical of the Hollywood version of what American manhood looks like as we have found from other visiting firemen. To honour his six feet six of Ohioan flesh and bone we are raising all the lamp shades another foot.
My first meeting with Don at the World Con in Cincinatti in 1949 wasn't particularly impressive; he had been up virtually for 48 hours putting the last minute touches to the organisational side of running a con, and as it opened he was on his way home to bed for a few hours. Subsequently we met officially on the stage in one of those bull sessions where half a dozen different things were going on, plus microphone trouble, but with a little effort Don managed to do without the gadgetry for voice production.
With Doc Barrett he later organised a Cincy party in my honour which took place at the backend of my stay at Indian Lake, which was apparently so succesful that it developed into the Annual Midwestcon the following year and has become part of American Convention history. But, as I remember that two day marathon, Don's greatest pleasure was in dropping the odd question into conversation and then sitting back and listening to the resultant debate. Over here we officially call his type a "stirrer" - so if he is not ever talkative, you have been warned.
I met him again at the New York Con in 1956, together with his staunch bunch of Ohio friends, who recently have him a sendoff-cum-birthday party in honour of his TAFF success.dBy anu large, headed by Don, the Cincinatti group are much like our own groups here (as we are continually discovering in this two way exchange) and, apart from odd alien habits (driving on the right side
of the road, using a fork in the right hand, demanding a room with a bath -
interesting phenomenon this, statistics show that per capita Americans bath
less than do the British - a yen for Chinese food, and being a camera bug)
you will find Don a pretty average sort of guy.
It will be a great pleasure to share the spotlight with him for a brief moment and introduce him officially. After that I hope to retire into the shadows - because, rightfully, the Top Spot goes to Don, not myself.
We regret the inconvenience caused to Convention attendees by the last minute change in Hotels.
The reason, briefly, is because the management of the hotel we had previously negotiated with suddenly decided - two days before the Con was due to be held - to refuse our bookings! No constructive reason was given for this sudden change of mind and, frankly, we can think of none. They told us, in so many words, to go find another hotel.
Thanks to the combined efforts of Bobbie Gray, Sandra Hall and Ella Parker, the Kingsley - within three hours of learning the Worst. Thanks to a very co-oparative management we were able to make new arrangements speedily. We think that the three ladies should be heartily congratulated upon their quick thinking and fast work.