Have you seen the film "Invisible Agent"? One of the best recent fantasy efforts. Plot taken from Wells' "Invisible Man" but far better in everything.
Your Sandsman Ted Carnell, offers you this last Hour Glass for some time. Make a special point of writing to 17 Burwash Rd. London SE18.
ADIEU - DO NOT WEEP
ONCE UPON A TIME, a million years ago -- we seem to remember -- we had the great misfortune to write those terrorizing words that are the nightmare of all fanzine editors and columnists. We never imagined for one soul- destroying moment that it would be our fate to again write those deadly words, but here they are.
With this issue we reluctantly fold our tent (known as the Editorial Office) and steal away into the night on fresh trails of adventure. Not many columnists have the opportunity of bidding their frantic public goodbye -- they're usually only too glad to duck out the back way before getting caught by the mob. This issue is being typed by the Sandsman at the beginning of March, but will not be sent to Michael Rosenblum for duplicating until nid-April. By the time your limpid eyes read this (there are some femmes in the audience, we hope!), we shall be many thousands of miles away, thinking maybe, with just a pang of regret, that we have at last left fandom -- a thing we never really visualised, although we have got near it several times back in the old Frustration Days.
But stay! Sand gets in the hair and sticks. We hope that you will stick in ours as much as we have stuck in yours. To the many grains and granules that kept up correspondence with. us over the past year or so we earnestly request that you continue to do so. Mail will be forwarded to us, and although Time will delay letters we shall be only too glad to receive them and answer them. Also we hope to be able to continue Sands in letter form direct to JMR, sending you news and views from far places, and, as a roving reporter, telling you just how we find fantasy fiction adherents the world over. This should be good -- doubtless.
Taking a last look round the fan field in Britain we are appalled to note that the ranks are very thin these days. A postal in from Les Johnson last week places him out in North Africa somewhere, where several other fans have already roosted. No news from Bill Temple for several months places him probably in India. More and more younger fans being called up, and the few older ones still left in the country seem more than busy these days.
To you all, wherever you are as you read these lines, we wish you all the very best of luck, and the hope that we shall all meet again in the near future.
Somewhat sickly sentimental, that paragraph. It wasn't intended, droops. So let's take a last look round the fantasy field before fading away.
(Warning! More overleaf!)
OUR RECENT SOJOURN in hospital ((with tonsilitis - Rob)) enabled us to really got into some back-reading, having toted a pile of mags round for three months and never even opened a cover. (we even wrote some fiction which has since found a home, but to spare our blushes, don't ask where it's roosting). First surprise in the pro-mag line came when we read through a Fantastic Adventures Quarterly. Admitted that we were running a nice little heat-wave of a temperature, and they were already taking our measurements for a coffin, nevertheless we were greatly surprised at the vast improvement in Palmer's literary qualities. The last time we attempted to read a copy of this magazine, we gave up and went out on a bender. Now we found 50% readable material, and some very good stuff too.
An outstanding yarn in the Summer issue is "Spook For Yourself" by David Wright O'Brien, which carries an overload of humour. There's another good effort along humorous lines by Robert Moore Williams, "The Reformation Of Joseph Read. can usually be looked to for good stuff -- there's a catchy little thing of his, "Johnny Had a Gun," in the December Astounding which we liked. The former yarn above looks as though it was slant for Unknown, where it really belonged. Maybe Campbell wasn't in the day that one asked for room service.
Getting, round to some, recent issues of Weird Tales, we found that the magazine is sorcely missing the guiding hand of Farnsborough Wright, even the masterly genius of Seabury Quinn doesn't seem able to overcome the demands of the new policy being used. A quaint tale by Hannes Bok in the July issue pleased us -- "Poor Little Tampico." Remember the last time the Sandsman passed your way he mentioned Bok as an author to keep both weather eyes open for. In this short story as in some of his more recent ones, there is a great charm, and we hope that he can keep them coming.
In the November issue we find a Keller yarn which has caught the public fancy. "The Golden Bough" has all the earmarks of the old maestro at his best, but is overshadowed by a grand humourous yarn::7 "Nursemaid To Nightmares," by one of fantasy's leading writers -- Robert Bloch. Before passing from the stage we'd like to hand a bouquet to Ray Bradbury for a delightful gem in the same issue, "The Candle." But these few do not make up for the great loss since Lovecraft, Howard, and others left.
OPINION ON UNKNOWN
WRITING ONE'S OWN opinions about magazines or stories isn't exactly a healthy habit, although one does manage to build up a reputation as a critic, whether good or bad. So from time to time we plug somebody else's columns knowing full well that his views are the same as ours, and letting you see that it is the readers who are at fault, and not us critics: Here are a few lines at random from Harry Warner's December 1942 issue of Spaceways (it was in the FAPA mailing).
"The six 1942 issues of Unknown gave me more pleasure, probably, than all the other stf fantasy and weird magazines I read during the year. Astounding had no brilliant issues, and a couple of bad one's.
I became increasingly disgusted with Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and only isolated stories in all other publications proved worthwhile. Campbell managed, on the other hand, to do the most important thing with Unknown -- get six novels without a bad dud; and the shorts were on a whole better than ever before."
Reviewing. Cartmill's "Prelude to Armageddon," which we both agree was not up to the standard of "A Bit of Tapestry," although still good, Harry quotes this dazzler:
"Although the work Cartmill turns out is slightly like Heinlein's, I claim the distinction of being the only fan in the country not to tell correspondents that I suddenly realised the two authors were the same."
This needs thinking about, pals. Cartmill was in California when Heinlein was there, and Bob was Best man at Cleve's wedding, actually driving him across country on his honeymoon. You work it out! Of Bok's "The Sorcerer's Ship" he says
"Remarkably good work, retaining some of Merritt's best tricks and yet being far from an imitation." Finally, about a story we forgot to plug but which we think was easily the best of the year -- "The Unpleasant Profession Of Jonathan Hoag," October issue. "John Riverside, who ever he may be, has written a humdinger. Even in the title there is a stroke of genius -- the subtle something conveyed by the spelling or Johnathan without the first h. Very few readers, I'll wager, were able to lay down the story after the first couple of pages."
THEY COME - THEY GO
EVER HEARD OF Bob Tucker, Le Zombie, or Hoy Ping Pong? All three are pseudonyms for a genii (not genius), who lives in the caves outside Chicago. In the November 1942 issue of his "Ghoul's Gazette" No.2 Fan Face of the United Nations has a squirt as "famed fans of 1938." We found this a vastly interesting article, and Pong, the Stench, makes us wonder if fanning is really worthwhile. We quote:
"...let's take a look at his (Wiggins' Science Fiction Fan - Denver), list of "famous fans" as reorted in July 1938. In first place there is to be Wollheim; Ackerman is second; Johnny Baltadonis third; Wiggins is fourrth; Sam Moskowitz fifth; Bob Madle sixth; John Michel seventh; James Taurasi eighth: Ted Carnell ninth; Wally Gillings tenth. Followed by 11 - Louis Kuslan; 12 - Julius Schwartz; 13 - Morris Dollens; 14 - Doug Mayer; 15 - Fred Pohl; 16 - Allen Glasser; 17 - Jack Darrow; 18 - H. Koenig.Huh-uh! Now this, dear children, is a subtle piece of propaganda designed by the Pong to leave himself a clear field. Knowing that Forrie Ackerman (now known as Ack-Ack), is in the Armed Forces, Stooge Pong thinks he will climb from 2 to 1, and hopes to jerk any other jerk out of promotion over his head.
"So where are they today," he asks "and what did it get them? That, dear aspirant, is an object lesson well worth taking to heart. The guys still around today are the guys who, yesterday, did not say "I'm gonna be the number-one fan or bust". Fan "fame" is an illusion."
Bobsy. But let's take a gander at where some of those fans are today
and what they're doing, before we believe your morass of mollasses.
Wollheim -- last we heard about him he was doing very nicely as an
editor, and working round to getting a ((unreadable)) of stf yarns
published. Ack-Ack graduated to No.1 Face, and retains that place
despite Army career. Manages two evenings a week in Los Angeles and
occasional weekends, thus keeping up "activities" Baltadonis of
Philadelphia, dropped out owing to heavy scientific sessions. No
recent news. Wiggins now in US armed forces -- got well behind
with issues of his fanzine, and tried to bring them out as much as one
year late. Moskowitz slid out after several "queer" affairs. Maybe
he got married or something. Madle, colleague of Baltadonis, still
as active as in 1938, although his name has not appeared before the gaze
of the gaping public so much.
Michel still in there rooting, although not as active. Still inseperable from Wollheim. Lowndes and Pohl, the old nucleus gang of New York. Taurasi went out about the same tiee as Moskowitz. Definitely got married. Carnell -- h'm! Did he aspire to Face Fame? Now in British Armed forces, not quite as active as before, but still there. Gillings involved with production of pro "Tales of Wonder" dropped right out when called to the to the colours. Louis Kuslan still about as active as ever, unless he is now in US Services. Schwartz still an authors' agent. We don't remember that he especially aspired to fan face, unless it was from a business point of view. Dollens active until recently. Mayer right out as of 1939. Pohl editing. Glasser out. Darrow out. Koenig as active as ever and didn't appear to be an aspirant for any special laurels.
There you have it, brothers. We don't think that many fans are willing to burn the neon the neon tubes at both ends and in the middle for the sake of being termed No.1 fan. The majority just keep meandering along, fanning as the urge takes them. Why worry about what the shades of Tucker has to say? He dies in. 1937 and really is a ghoul! His fiancee resurrected him, married the remains, and his ghost has haunted fandom ever since! Pooey, Pong.
THE YEAR 1943 sees Astounding starting off about on a par with its usual standard. Stewart's "Opposites React" is good if you like this heavy-type of stf. Up our alley van Vogt's "The Weapon Makers" looks far better, and we bemoan the fact that we will not read the complete story for upwards of a year or so. But let's look back, over 1942 -- a year when the magazine was becalmed in the doldrums.
Only four very good stories saw publication. MacDonald's "Beyond This Horizon", van Vogt's "Asylum" and "Weapon Shop," and del Rey's "Nerves". Not exactly a great list. Nothing there like "Rebirth" or "3000 Years". However short stories were way above average compared with any previous year of Astounding. Also outstanding was the performance of van Vogt, who ran off with credit marks for all yarns he had published, and is still going.
We wonder what will have transpired in the fiction line by the time we next get round to reading the magazine. That's all.
The next issue would not appear until December, but in the interim, Ted
kept Mike Rosenblum up to date with his travels via airgraphs, which were
duly reported in FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST:
FWD #29 (July 1943):
1081355. Bdr. Carnell, E.J., No.1 Bombardment Group, c/o APO 4545 sends an airgraph, Reached ME, regards to all & sundry. Letters will be welcome. Hoping to see some of the boys out that way. Finds plenty of SF mags but at 2/- each mainly 1941 remainders. Found his sergeant pal is a fan - been together a year & never knew. Helped produce ship's newspaper on way out & contributed an astronautical article. Wottaman!
FWD #30 (Aug 1943):
Airgraph from the Sandsman Ted Carnell dated July 22nd 1943 recieved on Thursday July 8th. Is this a record, or time travel? Sands of Time indeed. Says his travels have ranged from the pyramids, all through the land of the Bible, to the plains before Damascus where the Crusades were fought...literature is at a low ebb but hopes for parcels from home. Sends his love to the gang. Will see us soon, he hopes.
FWD #31 (Oct 1943):
August 2nd., 1943 -- "Just some more Sands of Time: Only this time there is little of fictional interest - it's been 100% adventure again. We slightly altered the American marines' signature tune to read 'To the Shores of Sicily", from whence come these few thoughts, so you can see that I have had no time for reading. The last mags I saw were in Cairo some time back, where a stack of '42 FANTASTIC MYSTERIES were on sale, Once again found two of my colleagues were addicts! ... Despite some hair-raising episodes this is no ghost writing & you can record in the academical bulletin my flesh & blood greetings to all the gang. A detailed account may be permissable later on, when I may be able to bat it out on the "Imp" at home. Haven't run into any of the boys since meeting up with the 8th. Army, & doubt if any are here...Special greetings to Doug Webster [thanks, old lech: got your recent weinweibgesang Airgraph, & would you care to send me the bar of chocolate? - DW], & will you announce greetings to Forrie & all other Americans. It is impossible to write them from here."