This heading constitutes our Stop Press nowadays. This month we'd like to thank Doc Lowdnes for his explanation of the 'mystery' letter in a recent FUTURE. No hard feelings, Doc.
BACK AGAIN - SO SORRY!
YOU HAVE TO TAKE that how you want to. To the many followers of S&S who have missed us in the past two issues, our deepest apologies. Army schemes, and then a trip to Scotland (where this is being published), caused our activities to cease temporarily. The next month will probably be spent in more travelling to and from the Land of the Heather, so you have been warned. Contents this month is all material that was gathered eight weeks ago, so excuse it being somewhat stale. We hope to be somewhat brighter in our next issue, even though we haven't seen the mags for a couple of months.
YOU SAID IT
WE DIDN'T BARGAIN for a lot of hot air (with apologies to ZENITH) from our readers when we asked for their Top Ten in ASF 1941 In fact, we rather thought that another two months would have to elapse before the hibernating season was over. However some interesting Public Opinions have materialised since our last issue, and using other people's stuff saves us a lot of brain-wear.
Robert J Silburn of Aberystwyth, writing about "Two-Gun Smith" (his own title, incidentally), agrees with us that the Doc makes one think BIG. "It takes skill", he says "in handling galactic stuff and making it sound real. Williamson can talk about mile-long space-cruisers and make it sound as if one was reading a fairy tale, but Smith talks casually about doing sixty parsecs an hour and making one feel as if he were referring to actual happenings…I don't quite know what makes Smith seem so alive to me, but he does… a good mark in favour of EE is that he has based his tactics and strategyof space war on the weapons and conditions that he has built up. He hasn't slavishly copied 19th-20th Century sea or air warfare and substituted "spaceship" for "battleship" or "bomber," like so many-hack writers have." Well, Bob, we think Smith a nifty spell-binder too, despite any harsh words previously. Give the man credit for the stupendousness of his background, and the use he puts it to. However, this "parsec" business, and all the other frills that the Doc brings in - don't you think that that is part of the spell? After all, we can't possibly imagine the speeds he is writing abouts nor visualise more than dimly half the instruments and "inventions" that he brings in.
His descriptions of the Grand Battle Fleet are so minute, being more like describing 'moves' rather than what the pieces are like … well maybe you have something when you say "I have a feeling that "Second Stage Lensman" will not be as good as the -preceding epics". We didn't think so either.
SANDS OF TIME, granulated at 17 Burwash Road, SE18 by Ted Carnell.
BY OUR BOOTSTRAPS
WOW! BUT WE'VE JUST HAD that asked for communication from Canadian Bob Gibson, replying to the query by Dennis Tucker in SANDS No.2 - "When did Bob Wilson first go into the future through the Time Gate?'' ("MacDonald's "By His Bootstraps.").
"You will find a copy of Wilson's time-track graph enclosed. The question (above—ejc) , is a bit-misleading. "Through" is not exactly the word when one can go in 'later' and come out 'earlier'. For a bystander, the first time Wilson came "through" was on his third return! But the first time he entered it was when he was knocked through - and that was the first time he landed there from here. The first time he was sent back - after sleeping off his gin - was the "last" time according to a future bystander. But his own time-track was straight-forwards even if he did have four parallel phases in the 'present' that day. He went in at this end, did considerable circling, and passed out of the story as Diktor, in the future.
Phew! Now we don't know a thing at all! Does this clear up everybody's queries? Probably not, so we will endeavour to publish inour next issue the complete Gibson graph of the various entries and exits of Wilson. Space does not allow it to be enclosed this time. It may not be included next month, as we might not feel inclined to use a whole page on just a diagram.
CAMPBELL'S FREE FOR ALL
NOT SO 'FREE' AT THAT, is Campbell's latest prize contest, open to amateurs and professionals alike, starting currently in the April ASF. "Probability Zero" is the title of this novel feature, which, in short, is to tell a convincing stfictional lie. The three examples in the latest issue aren't so hot, but the entire idea looks as though it will be very intriguing by the time some of the fans have got to work on ideas they've been keeping warm in their pants for some years. JWC reckons to publish three PZ ideas with each issue - a PZ story runs up to 750 words - and $20, $10 and $5 will be paid respectively to the authors according to readers votes. You won't get rich quickly at those rates, but at least there should be some fun in trying to lie convincingly.