Seems that every once in a while fanzine editors dedicate their efforts to a magazine, author, artist or Death's Deputy. This issue is dedicated to all fanzine editors - especially those in the American FAPA.
A nocturnal effort by Ted Carnell. You'll need a night light to find 17 Burwash Road, SE18. Why not write? The postwoman isn't hexed!
YOU ARE WARNED!
FOR THE FIRST TIME on record we sit at the keys without any notes or letters to quote from, or fanzines to crib from, knowing full well that we boasted to fill four pages this issue. Except for a couple of ideas, anything goes.Time does not allow us to ponder out what we should write this issue, as we only have a few days leave left. So -- you get this first draft. As we write now, issue 6 hasn't been published. There again, we have nothing to lean on for inspiration.
A word of warning to our special friends whose letters usually follow us from one part of the country to the other. Owing to the new type of work we are now working on in the Services, we are unable to take the Imp with us. We can no longer guarantee when you'll hear from us, and as we aren't likely to remain in one spot for long, it is advisable you all write us C/o this home address.
As the Imp will no longer be with us on operations, SANDS can only be stencilled when home on leave, which means that We are now on a three-monthly schedule at least. Deeply sorry, although you may not be. Between now and the next issue we should have set foot on "foreign" soil of some description, so maybe we shall have some interesting notes to relate.
LOOKING AT THE STACK of fanzines that have arrived since our last trip to the Metropolis, gives us the idea that we should dedicate this issue of S&S to all fanzine editors. Maybe we can work in some good free ads for them at the same time.
Foremost amongst newcomers is MacWebster's CTHULHU, which we have christened "Lhulhu," a girl after our own heart. There's something about our Lhulhu which is more than appealing. Summing up the contents we find that the whole issue does not rely upon science fiction or fantasy as a backbone, but is merely a thread which has served to express a multitude of interesting ideas. Out of the welter of slime that the keeper of WIN always manages to hash up (mind you, we like this slime by the Swine), there emerges one paramount idea. It was broached by Art Widner (editor of HORIZONS, one of our favourite American fanzines), in which he states:
"It seems that the war has done something to you follows; stimulated your mental growth, or maybe you are just naturally smarter, but I hold the opinion with Chauvenet and Tucker, that fandom is much farther advanced in the British Isles than it is here. . . I think stf is no longer necessary to fandom. By that I mean, that it no longer has to be the pillar of support. I would like to see the
fanzines follow your lead of discussing serious subjects concerned with the more or less immediate future . . . instead of the ineffectual and boring gabble that now consumes 90% of fanzines over here. It need not follow, however, that all reference to stf should be tossed out of the window. . . Its still plenty interesting but no longer important. In the evolution of fandom, I think it's time we stopped chattering and swinging along thru the trees, to come down to earth and talk like men."That's a nice meaty statement, and one that we are in total agreement with. We feel that the reason fandom has swung away from stf as the mainspring of interest in this country, is because we have had to. With the trickle of supply that has been our misfortune since the war began, fans have had to find an out for their writings in other fields. We praise the older fans who refused to get out when there didn't seem to be much left in fandom to write about. We praise the newcomers who managed to sow some seeds amongst the most barren and stony ground that could possibly be found. That British fandom kept going is still a miracle to us -- but we feel that it is infinitely stronger and more sensible now than it ever was before, or could possibly have been if there hadn't been a war.
However, Art misses one singular thing. It wasn't us Britishers who started this trend away from the centre-pin fantasy, as a means of expression of thought. It originated in his own country, America, and he is one of the pioneers or the new style, although he seems to have overlooked the fact. For many years now there has been quite a number of American fans who have endeavoured in many ways to break the traditions that have kept fans and fandom in the groove worn by predecessors. Their efforts have often been ridiculed -- many of them have been ostracised, called Racacals, Reds, Fascists; embroiled in senseless arguments, until such a host of minor red herrings have been across the trail that it has been almost impossible to discern the true spirit of these pioneers.
Now, this isn't a plan for the New York Futurians (the above build-up might be misconstrued by some people as being such), but mention of the NY Futurians makes us realise that some of their members are amongst the foremost of the fans who have been endeavouring to lift fandom out of the rut. Many years ago Wollheim, Lowndes and Michel were expanding their fan writings into a broader field. Along with them went a score or more American fans who wanted to write better and more interesting stuff; who no doubt also felt the urge to cash in on their abilities and make their hobby pay for itself.
From this nucleus of fans came the FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Association). Yes, you can take this as a plug if you want to, although it won't help any for you probably won t be able to become a member of the FAPA these days. Art must have forgotten all about the FAPA when he wrote that we wore pioneering this new trend in fandom. He's one of the leading members himself, which is probably why he says "It is the kind of fandom I like." Obviously. The FAPA was formed in 1937. It's principal object in view was to assist would-be fanzine publishers who just wanted to publish "for the hell of it," by criticism from other members, and primarily as a central mailing office, whereby each quarterly mailing would be gathered and sent out under one wrapper.
This doesn't sound a particularly
worthy ambition, on the face of things. Especially as membership was
limited to 50 members. Yet it was the seed from which much has grown
in five years. That first mailing is still a pain in the neck to me.
It was representative of the awful junk that American fanzine editors
were flooding the mails with. Bad duplication, uninteresting articles,
childish art work. It was a great disappointment to me, for I foresaw
that the FAPA could be one of the finest and strongest amateur
organisations for would-be authors and artists both in America
With subsequent mailings, however, the standard began to creep up. Each editor-publisher began to strive hard to beat his 49 competitors. Realising that they had practically three months to turn out a good issue, they really got down to it, and by the end of the first year, FAPA had reached the stage where classy, pleasing to the eye fanzines were rolling off the duplicators and mimeographs.
This had a tremendous influence on contomporary fanzines -- those who were publishing monthly fanzines, and belonged to the FAPA, forced the pace for those who didn't belong. The latter either had to turn out good stuff or fall out of line in the circulation race. (Not that this has ever been very high, but it makes the difference in loss considerable). Then gradually throughout FAPA fanzines I noticed this vast swing away from fantasy as the backbone of amateur publishing It was a welcome trend, for it brought forth many healthy ideas along with the increased perfection of production.
Jack Speer and Milt Rothman were pioneers of the new trend. The former's "Sustaining Program" and the latter's "Milty's Mag" are both running commentaries on almost anything from politics to pills. Far different from them is H.C. Koenig's "Reader and Collector," which has always been our favourite. HC debunks everything debunkable in humourous style, as well as providing reviews of many old stf books from his vast collection.
There are many others -- and there are still some that need alteration to bring then up to standard -- but all of them have helped to break fandom away from that narrow-minded groove whereby all fans bowed down and worshipped the Good God Science Fiction -- as presented by Gernsback. That age is dead. Therefore, we feel that the healthiest sign here was that trend away from fantasy, and the swing to normal writings on many subjects.
It is interesting to note that many of the original FAPA members are now established as authors or editors. Some have become professional artists. Many of the present members are writing and selling stories to numerous markets as well as to the stf magazines.
PLUG FOR ASTOUNDING
THIS ISSUE wouldn't be complete without our usual rendition appertaining to the source of our title S&S. Remember in SAND 4 we published quite a lengthy diatribe of Joe Gilbert's announcing his
opinion that both of
the Twins would soon be dust and ashes? You'll probably remember
that we endorsed quite a number of those statements.
It seems that Editor Campbell more than realised the facts for himself, and decided to do something about it. Maybe we forgot that JWC had to earn his bread and butter. Anyhow, recent editorials and subsequently the appearance of new authors gives us proof that ASTOUNDING is going through another trial and error period. Due, of course, to the number of old authors who have gone into Service.
We've just had the June, July and August issues in, and the changes are coming fast. Despite a galaxy of names the July issue didn't hold up at all (that's our opinion, and brother Chapman told us on the phone two weeks ago that it was one of the most uninteresting issues he'd read for quite a while). You'd think with van Vogt; Simak, Jameson, de Camp and Hubbard inside one cover, thac the issue would be something worthwhile. Instead, we found that it was thc second lowest rating we've ever recorded for the mag. (Lowest was November 1941 at .37. This issue rates .48 -- out of a possible 1.00. We should point out that we allocate 5 possible marks for each story. The resultant percentage is what the mag is worth. Average for issues over the past four years is .68).
Well, van Vogt snagged a 2 for "Secret Unattainable," as did Hubbard for "Space Call," and de Camp got 1 for "The Contraband Cow." All these are below average yarns, and, incidentally, they are the lowest recordings there three authors have ever received. The two bright spots of the issue came from new authors, David V. Reed with a nice humour yarn, "Penance Cruise," and Will Stewart with "Collision Orbit" both exceptionally well done. Simak held his usual level standard in an interesting story, "Tools."
So, in "Times To Come," in the August issue, JWC devotes an entire page to explaining the difficulties he's experiencing obtaining new authors to fill the gaps that have been made. Undoubtedly, we believe that he will manage it, and that the magazine will still retain it's crown of glory. On the art side, Schneeman, Cartier and Rogers have all gone, although their illustrations are still appearing. The August cover is up to Rogers' best standard, but the interiors are fast becoming just "blocks" on the pages. We miss the Isips' freshness more than ever these days.
Meanwhile "Probability Zero" continues to grow more interesting, although it is evident here too that JWC is experiencing difficulty in obtaining material. You'll find many of the well-known fans gracing the pages with their ideas on what constltutes a good stf lie.
AND ONE FOR ASTONISHING
FANZINE REVIEWS from USA have been raving of late about Fred Pohl's pro ASTONISHING. After a lapse of some eight months we have again seen a copy and add our eulogies. We are apt to place this mag in second place with UNKNOWN, for it has excellent material and is well produced.
THE LINE BEFORE THE LAST. Our (Maison Carnell), greetings and best wishes to British fans now overseas, especially Eric Williams.