A FIDO inclusion, owned and operated on by Ted Carnell. Please send brickbats to: 17 Burwash Road, S.E. 18. Dealing mainly with the Street and Smith twins.
DOC SMITH'S "Second Stage Lensmen" serial seems to be blocking out all hopes of us having a really enjoyable issue of ASF until said serial closes, unless the new large size brings something better. November and December shorts are by far the most inferior since JWC took over. Three yarns at least should have been in UNKNOWN. The only saving grace in both issues is Vic Phillips' "Defence Line" (Dec) a yarn with the flavour of Simak at his best - a '35'er if ever there was one.
A second peek at the new sized UNKNOWN, this time the December issue, and we're more convinced than ever that it is hopeless. On top of which the "unknown" quantity is degenerating fast into jes' plain fairy stuff.
SCHACHNER's "Beyond All Weapons" in the December ASF (his 47th by the way) is a beautiful letdown after the two excellent predecessors "Old Fireball" (June) and "Jurisdiction" (Aug). The latter two copped the best ratings with us since his "I Am Not God!" way back in November 1935. The surprising part to us is that Nat can turn out good stuff, and Stuart knows that Campbell has tried hard enough to get him to write in the required S&S style - yet still the Schachner turns out the bilge! Which leads to…
IS CAMPBELL RIGHT?
CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT which has run for 48 issues of ASF - that is, since JWC. took over editorship - still rages amongst American fanzine editors and writers. Is the policy Campbell is using correct? Is the magazine benefitting from the new type of writing - we'd like to know the sales, but that won’t be released anyhow. Dyed-in-the-wool S&S fans that we are, the latest few issues of ASF have rather stuck in our gullets. The punch has gone out of the yarns. The style was unique and interesting when first introduced - to us it seemed that the missing factor from competitive stf had been found. Science fiction needed something new to get it out of the rut - Campbell supplied that something new, plus exceptionally good writing technique, but he seems to be resting on his laurels. "Mutation or Death" was his axiom a few years ago. We were chivvied around from pillar to post, changes came so fast it was hard to keep up with them. But now the only change we have to contend with is the coloured back-strip - the large size we have already dealt out of our poker hand.
SANDS has become difficult to produce - we have now been sent to the wilds of Devonshire with a picked unit and its a case of back to school with a vengeance. We intended increasing the size by two more pages. But it looks as though that will be impossible owing to lack of time. We shall have to remain as we are for a while.
A GUY NAMED '"Frank Mills' stuck his neck out in a recent COSMOS (read your files, palookas), and insinuates that ordinary readers of ASF who couldn't understand Heinlein's psychological yarns wouldn't have the nerve to write Campbell and say so, but would run with the herd (meaning the fans) , say nothing, or else praise Heinlein without meaning it!
Mr Mills - I won't call you by your correct name, pal - I think.you wasted 17 good lines of typing in COSMOS, as well as laying yourself open to the death stroke.. May I point out to you that it is the readers and not the fans who shape the destiny of the stf mags - a point which I've stressed time and time again (Carnell speaking for SANDS at the moment). If a proportion of readers, say 25%, don't understand Bob's yarns. then Campbell will make some alterations - and don't say those 25% won't write and tell Campbell so, because they will, and do. After all; Heinlein takes up quite a number of pages in ASF and no sane reader cares to have most of his favourite mag written in such a manner that he wishes he had bought a science journal instead.
However, I don't think you will have to worry over too much Heinlein in the future. Firstly, Bob has been expecting his recalling papers to the US Navy - he's probably received them by now, as his last letter (Dec 3) was written before the Americans were engaged by the Japs. Secondly, if not recalled, he is very keen to do something in the book line, which will mean that his pulp work will be curtailed.
News just to hand confirms that Heinlein, Hubbard and de Camp are all in the Services - kiss the boys "Goodbye" my friends!
DE CAMP wrote in "Brass Tacks" some time ago that the readers seem to have lost their debating qualities We think this is so as far as stf is concerned. The lack of discussion over Anson MacDonald's "By His Bootstraps" is proof. Dennis Tucker asks "When did Bob Wilson first go into the future through the Time Gate?" This is a question we'd like to turn over to Canadian Bob Gibson, or any other fan who has notions of Time. The only one that we are familiar with is "Time, Gentlemen, please" - about the only mention we get of being a gentleman while in the Army!
LARGE SIZE CHAMPION
DELVERS WHOSE minds can stretch back into the dim past, will remember that we are not keen adherents of large magazines. Always willing to give the opposite viewpoint to be fair - here's another S&S fan's opinion of the new-sized ASTOUNDING, which, at the moment of typing, we haven't seen.
"Renny" writes: "True, the large size is cumbersome, but I think you must admit that the exterior appearance is improved 100%. Far from looking like a pulp mag, it now appears more of a slick book type. The border round the cover picture gives it a slick appearance and the material and cover are very reminiscent of the old WONDER Q days. I like the large size very much indeed and hope that S&S stick to the present format. However, somehow I fear the worst'" (JWC please note -- ed)