Right at the top of the Sand Castle we'd like to thank the numerous grains of sand who wrote us such interesting and varied letters last month. Time does not allow individual replies.
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the number of people who fall asleep while reading FIDO and the number of people who intend to write or vote or stir themselves when there's something doing - but don't, we feel quite satisfied at the early poll result, recently asked for. Neither were we in the least surprised when Heinlein walked off with the first five places - it was to be expected.
We have excluded the "Reprint" voting, as very few came in at all. It seems that more fans than we knew about are managing to get the regular American issues through. Results now stand at "Universe" Heinlein--63; "Methuselah's Children" Heinlein--45; "Common Sense" Heinlein--40; "Solution Unsatisfactory" MacDonald and "Nightfall" Asimov both receiving 37; "Microcosmic God" Sturgeon--30; "Stolen Dormouse" de Camp--28; "By His Bootstraps" MacDonald--27; "Jay Score" Russell--9; "Logic of Empire" Heinlein--8.
Final result of Widner's Best Author Poll is listed on left, while to jog your memory we republish his last Poll result on the right, which were taken in mid-1940.
(1941)Notice how, despite no further stories during the past year, Campbell, Merritt, and Lovecraft have retained their place in the top ten
(1940)Hubbard was 15th and Heinlein 19th at this time.
Wells, Weinbaum, Taine, and Keller have all dropped below top places.
Maurice. K. Hanson, that pioneer of British fandom writes: "Seeing your appeal for votes on the ten best stories in ASF in 1941, I'll break my monastic silence. Not having files to refer to I'm none too sure that the stories all fall in 1941. Heinlein, you will see, gets five of the ten. He is easily the outstanding writer of the day. You, my boy, appear to possess plenty of literary discrimination." We bow before the long applause.
While Roy Rowland Johnson of Leicester cracks "The advertisements in SANDS are very good. If I had as much money as Heinlein, I'd try to insert a few myself." (All adverts are free, Roy, we are the panhandler's delight.)
SANDS - a Carnell concoction from 17 Burwash Road, London, SE 18
SLAN!DER - SACRILEGE!
ROY, HAVING DRAWN HIS "foil or epee or my sabre "(remember the Salvage Campaign, pal), wades into the attack in defence'of everything appertaining to ASF.
"I will deal with the covers, illustrations and format of ASF. Rogers has done some simply wonderful work on the covers, and his interior illustrations are scarcely less praiseworthy. What cover, pre-1940;, with the exception of Schneeman's beautiful picture of Saturn in April 1939, could compare with that for December 1941? And even this is not so neat. What older illustrations could be called better than those clear, plain, pleasing drawings in the November 1941 issue? And the format: the new style of lettering and binding is far superior to the old, both in appearance and binding. I am no judge of art-work and similar things - far from it - but I would say that ASF has advanced 100% in this respect in the last two or three years".
You get us there, Roy. We. just had a peek at those pre-1940 issues., and even all our favourite covers pale into nothingness besides Rogers' good work. We rave over the latest cover - April 1942. It is by far the smartest cover that has ever been on any stf mag. As for the new size - guess it kinda grows on one. We are already beginning to appreciate everything that is the new ASF, especially as during the past three issues the contents have taken a decided turn for the better.
"It is true", continues Roy, "that the present policy of ASF is more narrow than might be desired; it does not give all the authors full scope to work in. But, at that, the magazine seems to be getting along okay at the present moment. In format, size., art-work, stories (NOT departments), and general appearance, it is decidedly superior to the same magazine two, three, or six years ago - and to any other pro-mag on the market.""UNKNOWN" ON THE UP
WE REALLY HAVE TO RAVE about the contents of the February UNKNOWN, which rates the highest of any issue of that magazine. It seems that now Campbell has an Assistant, he can devote more time to bringing the 'unknowness' back to the pages of our favourite fantasy magazine. de Camp's feature novel, ''The Undesired Princess" is probably the poorest yarn in the issue. We are very much in agreement with Little Joe's slander of last month, that Sprague no longer rings the bell. He's even losing that wackiness that was three quarters of his charm. However, you must read "Etaoin Shrdlu' by Fred Brown, if you get an opportunity. The letters in that title represent some on the keyboard of a linotype machine, and having been in print ourselves, we fully appreciated just what that enchanted linotype got up to.
Robert Bloch, an all too-infrequent author within the pages of UNKNOWN, turns in a 5-star masterpiece - "The Shoes". Hank Kuttner, (remember his "The Misguided Halo"?), whom we reckon is the prince of fantasy-humour writers, turns in a magnificent epic of a Hollywood writer whisked away to write dream plots - you'll revel in "Design for Living". Still up amongst the 4-star masterpieces comes Fritz Leiber with "The Sunken Land", another adventure of the Grey Mouser. While F. B. Long with "The Refugees" and Hubbard with "He Didn't Like Cats" have to share bottom honours with de Camp - 3-star stories.