THE OTHER FESTIVENTION REPORTS

CONTENTS:

  1. Ted Carnell

  2. Vince Clarke

  3. The PHANTASMAGORIA reports

  4. George Charters

1:

TED CARNELL

a) NEW WORLDS #11:

1951 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

The sun streamed through the stained glass windows of one of the ballrooms of the Royal Hotel, London, on Saturday, May 12th, casting a kaleidoscope of colour upon the highly polished floor. Muralled pictures of puzzled Victorian ladies frowned down upon the oak paneling, now with futuristic art work of spaceships in flight, of alien monsters, and heroines in dire peril. In front of the Chairman's table, across from the clutter of cables, microphones, wire-recording equipment, camera and sound equipment, a half circle of red leather chairs formed a perimeter of comfort for the hundred and fifty to two hundred delegates representing eight countries, who were attending the first International Science Fiction Convention. Behind them, tastefully dressed out on tables along the walls. were magnificent displays of fantasy books and magazines. Thus the setting for an historic moment in the annals of science fiction.

For, while the past eight American conventions have been termed 'world' affairs, this was the first truly international gathering, with Britain host to some twenty delegates from seven countries, and the Committee responsible for the success of the enterprise had worked prodigiously to see that everything was in readiness for the great event.

The previous two evenings had seen as many as one hundred delegates, professional and amateur, getting acquainted at London's celberated White Horse tavern off Fleet Street, so there was little reluctance or shyness upon the part of the conventioneers as the opening speeches and and addresses were disposed with.

Walter Gillings gave an interesting talk upon his theories of the future of science fiction in this country, followed by Forrest Ackerman from California talking about the publishing activities in the U.S.A. Author William F Temple then gave an hilarious "lecture" on how to write magazine serials (never having written one himself !), which. was followed by some more humour in the form of a radio playlet, acted by Committee members, "Life Can Be Horrible." This, and the evening satirical playlet "Who Goes Where?" were written by Milton A. Rothman of Philadelphia for earlier American conventions. They were highlights of some of the lighter moments.

During the evening session on the first day, just as the concealed lighting came on in the glass ceiling, author John Kerr Cross, who adapted Paul Capon's recent book The Other Side of the Sun for B.B.C. serialisation, discussed his efforts at interesting Broadcasting House in this type of story, and was followed by author Arthur C. Clarke, who gave a humorous account of his antics before the television cameras at Alexandra Palace in recent astronautic programmes.

Later, after an exciting auction of books and magazines, which bore some slight resemblance to "bear" days upon the Stock Exchange, and a brief break for a buffet supper, the lights dimmed and the audience relaxed and watched the film of Conan Doyle's "Lost World," which had lost little of its excitement during the twenty-five years since it was made.

Major session of the Convention was arranged for Sunday afternoon, May 13th, when a delegate from each of the visiting countries gave a summary pf the activities taking place in his own territory. Lyell Crane, from Toronto, Canada, discussed the Canadian plan for an international organisation, preferably with an H.Q. outside the two major publishing countries of Britain and U.S.A.; Forrest Ackerman, one of the American delegates, explained how fandom in the United States was becoming more sought-after by publishing houses, radio, TV. and film people, for their specialised knowledge of the field ; George Gallet, journalist and editor from France, long a well-known personality in the French field, discussed the new publishing venture he has started there, producing pocketbooks in French of some of the better-known fantasy novels. The Star Kings, Vandals of the Void, and Stowaway to Mars were amongst titles listed for forthcoming publication.

From Holland, artist Ben Abas explained, with many personal humorous reminiscences, the Dutch interest in science fiction, stating that he and his father were responsible for attempting to produce a regular science fiction magaine in Holland recently, but the interest was not sufficiently high for then to continue after four issues. Sigvard Ostlund, from Stockholm, discussed the small amount of publishing which goes on in Sweden, and surprised the assembley by telling them that a weekly science fiction magazine is published there - but that quite often detective and western stories are mixed in the issues.

Of two Australian delegates, only Ken Paynter from Sydney spoke, but enlivened the gathering with a pithy and witty account of events 'down under'. Wendayne Ackerman gave a glossary of earlier Germanic excursions into science fiction; Walter Willis, from Belfast, covered the Irish field; and Frank Arnold, representing Britain, gave a comprehensive coverage of all European fantasy book publishing, proving that science fiction was indeed international. During the debate which followed, guest Lee Jacobs, another American who had flown from Versailles to attend, discussed the number of technical and professional men he knew who were fans. Then followed the highlight of the entire Convention, which came as a complete surprise to most of the attending assembly. This was the 1951 International Fantasy Award, an idea which had been thought up only a few weeks before by some members of the London Circle, and was intended to be a presentation trophy offered to the authors of the best science fiction novel of 1950, and the best technical book in the field for the same year.

Announcing the award, G. Ken Chapman on behalf of the Award Committee explained that it was hoped the Award would be a yearly one, and that other branches of fantasy, such as art, films, short stories, and publishing would be embraced by similar trophies. "But, for this year," he continued, "owing to the limited funds and time at our disposal, we decided that only two awards were possible. A design has been approved and put on the draught-board, but it was not possible to have the actual trophies available at this Convention. An exact replica in wood, however, has been made for today's cermony".

The trophies, taken from a Bonestell design on the cover of the 1951 Galaxy magazine, would be a 12 in. high metal spaceship resting its fins upon a mahogany base, attached to which would be a beautiful global lighter. The fiction award would be in chrome, and the non-fiction bronze-coloured metal. The awards would be permanent and a inscription would be placed on the base.

Mr. Chapman then stated that, after due consideration by the Award Committee, it had been decided that Dr. George R. Stewart had won the fiction award for his book The Earth Abides, and Chesley Bonestell and Willy Ley would share the non-fiction award for their joint book The Conquest of Space. Both books had been published in Britain and America, but this was not a necessary qualification. Amidst thunderous applause from the assembly and the glare of numerous flashlight bulbs Forrest Ackerman then accepted the replica trophies on behalf of his fellow countrymen, and it was hoped that the actual awards would be ready for him to take back to U.S.A. when he left and present to the winners.

An Award Fund has now been opened, whereby anyone may donate monetary gifts from time to time during each year, and all donors will become adjudicators for forthcoming awards.

The closing sessions of the two-day affair were even more convivial than any before. After a two-hour auction of books, magazines, and original art works, presided over by author E. C. Tubb as auctioneer, and another buffet supper, the audience settled down to an hour and a half's enjoyment of a series of short fantasy films (London Films having kindly loaned a complete projector equipment for the occasion). Arthur Clarke presented a technicolour film on rockets which had been made in U.S.A., and Forrest Ackerman had brought four films from Hollywood - one a weird playlet enacted by members of the Los Angeles Fantasy Society; another entitled "Monsters of the Moon" which had been salvaged from the cutting-room floor and the scraps fitted together to make a coherent fantasy by Bob Tucker of Bloomington, Illinois

By popular request the visitors asked London to stage another Convention next year, and it seems almost certain after the success of the 1951 gathering, that London - after it gets over its aching back - will be only too pleased to start planning for an even bigger 1952 Convention.


b) JOURNAL OF SCIENCE FICTION #1

DOUBLEGOOD REPORT FROM AIRSTRIP 1

ALTHOUGH The past eight North American science-fiction Conventions have been called "World" conclaves, to Britain has gone the initial honour of holding the first truly International gathering of professionals and fans. Geographical location made it an easier project for the London committee responsible for the highly successful two-day meeting held in the muralled ballroom of the Royal Hotel over the weekend of May 12th-13th, and first-hand information collected by myself at Cincinnati in 1949 enabled us to model the entire Convention along similar lines to those previously held in the USA.

The difference being that over 200 delegates from eight countries were able to compare notes and discuss the varying difficulties of their respective countries and make suggestions for each other's mutual advantage. These evaluations reached a climax during the special international session which ran for two and a half hours on Sunday, May 13th, the main theme of which was international fandom. Lyell Crane, Canadian delegate, outlined the plans of Science Fiction International, and proposed that an HQ should be established outside the two major fan countries of the USA and UK for the dissemination and correlation of news to scattered groups and isolated individuals throughout the world.

Forrest J Ackerman, United States delegate, followed with a highly interesting and entertaining talk on how fandom in the States was coming more and more into its own, and how the executives of radio, TV, films, and publishing houses were turning more and more to fandom for their specialised knowledge in the field. George Gallet, from Paris, editor and journalist, whose name has been known for some 17 years to fandom, next spoke on the increasing interest in France and how he hopes to be publishing at least eight pocketbook novels a year by 1952.

Already published in France by him have been Murder of the USA and Hamilton's The Star Kings. These are being followed by Vandals of the Void, and Stowaway to Mars. Gallet stated that the French-reading public prefers the simpler action-packed story to the currently American sociological and psychological story.

Holland was the next country represented, and Ben Abas, a commercial artist from Haarlem, revealed to the assembly that he and his father were responsible for the publishing of a science-fiction magazine in Holland which ran to four issues before they had to cease publication two years ago. He agreed with Gallet of France that unless one could read English-written magazines there was little chance of the field growing until some enterprising publisher produced translations of the better type of stories.

Sigvard Ostlund, representing Sweden, startled the assembly by informing them that a weekly science-fiction magazine had been running in Stockholm for some time, but that the publisher very often mixed detective and western fiction in the issues. Northern Ireland was represented by foremost fan Walter Willis, an enthusiastic amateur publisher from Belfast, who outlined the activities of his own group (four of whom were at the Convention), and mentioned the first science-fiction novel to be written entirely in Gaellic.

Ken Paynter, recently from Sydney, Australia, was one of two "down under" delegates, and gave a humorous as well as an accurate account of the troubles and trials of Australian fans during the past few years. Ken was originally treasurer of the still-operating Sydney Futurians. His countryman, Alan Shalders, who did not speak during the discussion, is a rocket expert from Woomera on a two-year reciprocal exchange with the British rocket propulsion department.

Wendayne Ackerman, USA, then gave a summary of early and recent Germanic excursions into the fantasy field, and was followed by Frank Arnold, representing Britain, who covered the rest of the European continent with a fascinating and highly entertaining eulogy, proving that science-fiction truly sprang from international sources. Lee Jacobs, another US delegate, who was stationed at Versailles, France, in the Signal Corp, had flown over specially for the Convention (he was at Portland last year, too), and gave a fine account of the number of technical men he knew who were active in fandom.

Some highly interesting subjects were bandied about by the gathering at the general discussion which followed, all of which was wire-recorded for posterity!

However, the piece-de-resistance of the entire Convention followed immediately after the international session. Unheralded and unannounced up to Convention time, and known only to a limited few, the 1951 International Fantasy Award was sprung upon an enthusiastic audience, who thundered applause and agreement at the decision of the London Circle to devise and present the equivalent of an "Oscar" to the author of the adjudged best fiction book of 1950 and one to the best technical book in the field.

A panel of critics had been instituted two weeks prior to the Convention, and from their deliberations George R. Stewart was adjudged the fiction winner for his EARTH ABIDES, and Chesley Bonestell and Willy Ley took the non-fiction award for their joint CONQUEST OF SPACE.

The two awards, which it is hoped will be yearly, comprise a 12" spaceship resting its fins upon a mahogany base, with a beautiful global lighter attached. The fiction award will be in heavy Chromium plate, and the non-fiction award in a bronzed metal. The design was taken from the Bonestell cover on the March 1951 Galaxy, and it is hoped that the actual awards will be ready by the end of June for Forrie Ackerman to take back to USA with him and present to the winners.

Although the actual design has now passed the drawing board stage, it was impossible to have the awards ready for the Convention, so a beautiful replica was made, and this was presented at an inaugural ceremony presided over by G. Ken Chapman, to Forrie Ackerman who accepted the awards on behalf of his fellow countrymen.

The International Fantasy Award Fund has now been thrown open to anyone who wishes to donate contributions at any time during each year -- it being intended that other branches of fantasy shall be admitted to the yearly "Oscar". The London Circle have appointed Mr. Leslie Flood as their Treasurer, who states that the Fund will be a non-profit making affair, and that, for the time being he is using the editorial address of New Worlds (Nova Publications Ltd., 25 Stoke Newington Road, London, N. 13)

A special letter has been designed, and the Committee of the Award Fund anticipate that by next year a number of prominent publishers will be contributing to the scheme, as well as organisatians and other bodies promiient in science-fiction.

It will be noted that both award winners have had their books published in both Britain and USA, but all fantasy books from any countries will be eligible each year for entry in the award. Subscribers to the Fund will automatically be placed upon the adjudicating panel.

Other highlights of the Convention were two successful auctions; the "rendering" of Milton Rothman's two soap operas, Life Is Horrible, and Who Goes Where?, scripts of which were sent by air to London, and adapted for European consumption! London Films loaned a projector and a variety of short films were shown, including four which Ackerman had brought over specially. Amongst these was the celebrated cutting-room floor epic of Bob Tucker's, Rocket to the Moon, shown at the first US Convention. Author Clarke showed a beautiful technicolor film on rocket firing, and Conan Doyle's Lost World was resurrected and proved excellent fare, despite the vintage.

Throughout the two days a variety of speakers, mainly professional, had spoken on numerous subjects, from editing to writing, and two lively debates had raged from the auditorium. Unlike American conventions, the London one died a natural death after 11:00 p.m. owing to transportation difficulties, but numerous delegates who were staying in or near the Royal Hotel, held private sessions. The two evenings prior to the Convention saw London's White Horse Tavern packed with over one hundred delegates getting together informally, and on the day following the official Convention a large group of delegates toured London's Festival of Britain site, ending up in the evening at yet another London tavern for the finale. Two days later Londoners staged a farewell party at the White Horse to send off the overseas delegates.

In retrospect, London's International Convention was as successful as any yet staged in North America, although it did not break any attendance records. Despite intense efforts by the Committee, and considerable interest by national press agencies and publishers, no publicity either before or after the Convention materialised. This was mainly owing to the convention being held on a national holiday, and it has been generally agreed that no publicity was better than adverse publicity.

A number of publishing houses interested in fantasy fiction had representatives present. Elaborate displays by both publishers and book dealers, plus panelled walls filled with original work, made colorful splashes against the setting. Author Paul Capon, whose current book, 'The Other Side of The Sun' is being serialised on the BBC, was present, and author John Keir Cross, who adapted the book for the BBC, gave an interesting talk upon his efforts to induce them to use more science-fiction serials. Author S. Fowler Wright, who was to have spoken, went to the wrong hotel, and subsequently didn't arrive.

The general consensus of opinion was that London should stage a yearly Convention, the city being better adapted for out-of-town delegates to reach than any other in the country. While the Committee at the moment say "Never again!" they will, undoubtedly, as soon as the back aches disappear, start planning for 1952.


c) SCIENCE FICTION NEWS LETTER #21

CONVENTION REPORT

London, England: Over May 11th to the 14th, between 200 and 300 professional and amateur enthusiasts of science-fiction, representing eight countries, met in the ballroom of the Royal Hotel (London), to celebrate the first International Science-Fiction Convention ever held. Highlight of this largest- ever British gathering was a surprise award promulgated by the London Circle for the best fiction book and best technical book of 1950. The panel of critics chose George R. Stewart's EARTH ABIDES (Random House) for fiction, and Willy Ley & Chesley Bonestell's CONQUEST OF SPACE (Viking Press) for the technical award. Forrest Ackerman accepted the two awards on behalf of his countrymen.

The awards, conceived only two weeks prior to the convention, went on the drawing board immediately and a twelve-inch spaceship taken from the Bonestell design on the February 1951 GALAXY cover has been approved; it will be mounted on an oak base complete with ornate lighter. Actual awards will be fashioned of heavy chrome for the fiction class, and bronze for the technical. Owing to the shortage of time, exact replicas were used in place of the models - not expected to be ready for same weeks. It is intended that these awards will be made annually, and planned to embrace other fields of science-fiction, including the films. A special Fantasy Fund Award has been opened whereby any- one may donate. At present, the Award Fund Committee are using the Nova Publications address.

The Sunday afternoon (13th) session included a three—hour coverage of the S—F fields by all overseas guests: Crane, Canada; Ackerman and Jacobs, the States, Gallet, France; Abas, Holland; Ostlund, Sweden; Willis, Ireland; Peynter, Australia; and Arnold for Britain. (LCpl. Jacobs flew in from his station in Versailles, France.)

In addition, Frank Arnold reported on the Italian and Russian fields, while Wendayne Ackerman spoke on the German. A proposal was made by Lyell Crane to set up an international S—F movement outside the United States and the United Kingdom.

The convention followed similar lines to American affairs in that two auctions proved it a moneymaker. There were debates and discussions by prominent professionals, and Milton Rothman's two soap-operas "Life Can be Horrible" and "Who Goes Where?" were re-scripted for British consumption with outstanding success. These and other major items were wire-recorded. Wendayne Ackerman gave an outline of dianetics to a packed hall.

Film shows each evening included Doyle's feature, "The Lost World", Tucker's cutting-room floor epic, "Monsters of the Moon", three short films brought over by Ackerman, and a technicolor rocket film supplied by Arthur C. Clarke. Science-fiction "art" vied with Victorian paintings adorning the walls.

2:

VINCE CLARKE

a) A PRELIMINARY REPORT on the 1951 Festival S.F. Convention

Chairman:
Secretary:
Treasurer:
Committee:


Projectionist:
Wire Recording:
Music:

E.J.(Ted) Carnell
A.Vincent Clarke
Charles Duncombe
Audrey LovettH.Ken Bulmer
Fred BrownTed Tubb
Jim RattiganF.E. Arnold
Kerry Gaulder
Jim Burch
Records supplied by Arthur C. Clarke
and Bill Temple

Dear 'Festivention' Member,

As you were unable to attend the Festival Convention, we are sending you herewith a copy of the programme, and here is a short report, A Souvenir Booklet is being compiled from recordings and personal reports ... we are at present weighing the respective merits of printing, duplicating and lithographing .... and one will be sent to you when it is published. This may not be for two or three months, an there is a large amount of material in the recorded speeches to sort out, and arrangements will be made to reproduce many of the photographs that were taken.

Owing to the uncartainity of many people as to whether they could attend and address the Convention, the programme was inevitably a last-minute affair. Even then changes were made such as the 'Guest Authors' session on Saturday, which had been reserved forS. Fowler Wright and I.O.Evans. In the event neither came, but as previous sessions had overrun their time there was no hiatus.

PRELIMINARY MEETINGS

The final week before the Con. was a very busy period as last minute arrangements took place, but eventually Thursday, May 10th saw a large crowd of visitors at the "White Horse', Estimates vary, but there is little doubt that at least 60 were present, and probably about 90 passed through during the evening. Every now and then the Secretary, who had secured half-a-table in one corner, wormed his way through the crowd to pass out admission tickets to those who hadn't received them through the post, and the voice of Charlie Duncombe, our Treasurer, rose above the general high noise level as he extolled the merits of paying in advance.

Amongst the many overseas visitors present were the Ackermans and Lyell Crane, the Northern Irish fans, and Mr Abas, his brother and his wife from Holland, Professor A.M.Low, pre-war President of the 'Science Fiction Association' looked in for a short time during the evening but said he was unable to attend during the weekend. Another well known figure from SFA times, Doctor W.A. Gibson of Scotland was also there, and at the main sessions.

The Convention Committee retired to the Private Bar for their deliberations, eventually to leave the Secretary and Treasurer to official business and to rehearse the plays to be given during the weekend. These had been presented at U.S. Cunventions, and had been sent over to Ted Carnell who had translated the more esoteric references into modern English S.F.ism. As it happened, various changes in the cast on that day caused a complete change over of parts, but at least the voices raised in a mystic chant conributed to the volume of fantastic sound that shook Fetter Lane.

A similar meeting took piece on Friday night, though only about 40 wore presant, leaving enough room for a darts match in the usual corner. Amongst the new Visitors were old time fans D.W.F. Meyer and Sid Birchby, and during the evening a number of Northerners arrived; Mike Rosenblum, Max Leviten, Rick Dalton and Derek Pickles and his sister Mavis, amongst others. Artist Alan Hunter, who was there with his wife, was one of an interested group who discussed with Ted Carnell the cover of the next 'New Worlds', the original of which he had and which represented a startling departure from previous policy. On both evenings,and especially on Thursday, the 'London Circle' was present in force to meet visitors.

MAIN SESSIONS

Disaster nearly overtook the Committee's arrangements on Saturday morning when the duplicating machine on which the programme was supposed to be printed refused to work. The full and uncensored story will be contained in the Souvenir Booklet, but hare we'll only say that by tremendous efforts the programmes were eventually delivered during the lunch break at half past one. By that time, the introductory sessions were over and at 2,00 Ted Carnell opened the main Convention, Walter Gillings, who has had a great deal of bad luck in the past in his many efforts to establish s-f in this country, was rather pessimistic as to the success of future attempts in that line, but Forrest J. Ackerman in the next address gave a detailed account of the s-f field in the States which must have led to a great deal of argument in the breaks between the sessions on the difference between the two countries.

William F. (Bill) Temple, one of the very few s.f authors who can write with genuine humour, introduced a lighter touch into the Con, with his account of a spaceship powered by the mitogentic-rays given off by onions, and the plight of a crew when their food-supplies ran out and they had to start eating their fuel ..... we hope to reproduce Bill's mss. in the Souvenir Booklet, so will not go into details.

The S.F. Soap Opera Company scored a resounding success with their play of a typical s.f hero and heroine marooned on a desert planet; this play and the later 'Who Goes Where' in the evening were both recorded and disc records may be taken of them. Further details of this will be given later.

Following the tea break, a recording made when the 'Evening News' wrote a report on the 'White Horse' was played, in which authors Clarke, Temple, Youd, Harris, editor Ted Carnell and others took part. A short discussion followed, and then piles of magazines were taken to the tables in front of the audience, and the first auction began. Ted Tubb (whose first pro. story appeared in the current 'New Worlds') is always in demand as auctioneer, for he is undoubtably the best, and funniest, s-f auctioneer in this country, and even those who had no intention of buying took great enjoyment in sitting and listening.

After the buffet and dinner break, which produced an enormous queue at the buffet tables, John Keir Cross and Paul Capon were introduced. and J.K.C. spoke at length and very entertainingly of the inside story of the B.B.C, and their reactions to science-fictlon. It was, they thought, not real enough. Arthur C. Clarke followed with his experiences of television and his reactions to television make-up.

It was then announced that as by unfortunate circumstances a 9.5mm projector was not available, it was doubtful whether 'Metropolis' could be shown at all, though if a projector could be obtained the film was available for the next night. 'The Lost World' made in 1925 and based on Conan Doyle's fantasy classic was then shown. For its age it was remarkably good, and thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The formal programme ended about 10 pm and guests broke into a number of groups and sightseers who examined the tables on which books and magazines were displayed, and the numerous fantasy drawings which covered the walls.

The Sunday sessions began with a talk on the policy of New Worlds which led to such a hot discussion that Lunch break was 20 minutes late. On resumption, international science-fiction and fandom, were discussed by Lyell Crane, Forrest J,Ackerman and his wife, B. Abas of Holland, M. Gallet of France, Ken Paynter of Australia, Sigvard Ostlund of Sweden and Walt Willis of Belfast, who in the shortest but funniest speech told completists of a new s-f work written in Gaelic.

The International Award, which in its finished form will consist of a Bonestell-type space-ship in chromium plate standing an its fins mounted on a stand with a cigarette lighter, was awarded to George Stewart for 'Earth Abides' and Ley and Bonestell for 'Conquest of Space'. Ackerman received the award on their behalf.

After tea break, Wendayne Ackerman gave an interesting discourse on Dianetics, and two of the leading exponents were present to answer questions after the sessions. So many books and magazines were available for auction that the last was not sold till after the dinner break, and with a film show consisting of two rocket experiment shorts (one in colour) lent by Arthur C. Clarke, and 4 fan-made fantasy shorts lent by Forry, the Convention ended at 10.15. Some guests formed parties to visit the festival on Monday, and a farewell meeting at the 'Havelock' in Grays Inn Road that night brought 30 stalwarts to say farewell and to start planning the 1952 Convention!


b) SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS – No 8 (July 1951)

1951 FESTIVAL CONVENTION BIG SUCCESS

On Saturday and Sunday, May 12th and 13th, and during the evenings of the 10th, 11th and 14th, the largest and most successful science-fiction Convention ever held in this country entertained and exhausted over 120 London fans and visitors from all parts of the British Isles and overseas.

The first preliminary meeting on Thursday, May 10th, packed the famous 'White Horse' to capacity, well over 60 visitors being present during the course of the evening. Among many notable visitors were Forrest J.Ackerman and his wife Wendayne, from the U.S.A., Lyell Crane from Canada, Walter Willis, his wife and his partners Bob Shaw and James White of the Northern Ireland fanzine 'SLANT', Ben Abas, editor of Holland's now-defunct one and-only s- f 'zine 'FANTASIE EN WETENSCHAP' and his wife and brother. Professor Low, famous popular-science writer, pre-war President of the 'Science Fiction.Association', was present during the evening, and another notable first-timer at the 'W.H.' was Doctor W.A.Gibson of Scotland, also a prominent member of the old SFA.

Authors Clarke, Temple, Beynon Harris, Phillips, Bounds, Hay, Tubb, and Dave Griffiths were also present, if slightly crushed, giving some point to a pessimistic (optimistic?) fan' s declaration that if Lew the Manager had doped the drinks English sciencefiction would have finished abruptly that night.

Only (!) about 40 were present on Friday evening, leaving room for the entrance of Northern enthusiasts Mike Rosenblum, Max Leviten and Rick Dalton, 'PHANTASMAGORIA' editor Derek Pickles and his sister Mavis (who have said some hard...and disrgarded.. .things about London fandom , and entered with a slightly hunted and wary look), old time fans D.W.F. Mayer and Sid Birchby, and Swedish fan Sigvard Ostlund and his wife....and many, many others.

Saturday at the 'Royal Hotel' brought a dizzy round of activities and personalities. The Convention was opened by its a chairman Ted Carnell, Editor of 'New Worlds'; Walter Gillings, 'grandpop' of British pulp s-f followed with a. gloomy speech anent the present boom, which he thought would die as on previous occasions; famous American fan Forrest J.Ackerman (4e) cheered guests up with a detailed and interesting survey of s-f in the States, and Bill Temple brought the roof down with his speech on 'S-F Serial Writing', which involved reading the synopsis of what Bill alleged was a special serial, and in which and Arthur C. (ego) Clarke crossed space in a giant onion, propelled by it's mitogenetic rays (!)

The roof was hastily put on again, ready to be brought down again by the hastily organised and totally un-rehearsed 'S-F Soap-Opera Company' in a 15 minute sf skit on a 'hero and heroine marooned on a desert planet' theme. A much needed tea-break followed, giving guests an opportunity to slake their thirst and to examine the items of fantasy art decorating the walls, and the many tables of books and magazines.

Following the tea-break, a recording was played of an interview with authors and editors at the 'White Horse' and a short discussion followed. Then came the first auction and numerous magazines and books were soon disposed of by wise-cracking auctioneer Ted Tübb, ably assisted by Charlie Duncombe.

Buffet/dinner break followed, and the last sessions began with a discussion on the 'B.B.C. and Science Fantasy'. John Keir Cross, BBC producer, gave a very interesting talk on his endeavours to introduce s-f into the B. B.C. and he was followed by Arthur C.Clarke, who spoke of the possibilities of televised fantasy, and related his own experiences during his tele-talks on interplanetary flight.

Paul Capon, author of the recent BBC serial 'The Other Side of the Sun' was also present during this session, and was introduced to the audience, as was Bruce Angrave, who illustrated J. Keir Cross's 'The Other Passenger '.

The 'S-F Soap Opera Company' then showed the B.B.C. how it should e done in 'Who Goes Where', a wilder and, if possible, even funnier skit than the previous effort, with a cast consisting of Audrey Lovett, Fred Brown, H.Ken Bulmer, Ted Carnell, Charles Duncombe and Ted Tubb. This play was recorded, so may be heard again at s-f gatherings in the future. The last item of the day was a showing of the 'Lost World', a film based on A.Conan Doyle's famous fantasy of a South American land in which dinosaurs and pteradactyls still exist. Made in 1925 and, starring Wallace Beery and Bessie Love, the film was naturally silent, but by clever manipulation of gramophone records ('Night on Bare Mountain', 'Rite of Spring', etc), and of the volume control, Bill Temple and.Arthur C. Clarke managed a very appropiate accompaniment. Fan Kerry Gaulder was the extremely able projectionist.

The Sunday morning sessions started with an informal meeting of the guests, and Ted Carnell made the only speech of the morning when he spoke of the present and future policy of 'New Worlds'. This led to a very animated discussion which aroused such interest that the Lunch break started 20 minutes late!

After lunch, the overseas guests were presented to the audience, and asked about the present state of s-f in their respective countries. '4e' gave a very encouraging report on the notice taken of well-informed fan opinion in the States by the producers of s-f items; George Gallet of France followed with some very interesting views of the French and general European .views of s-f; Ben Abas of Holland and Sigvard Ostlund of Sweden told of the difficultyof getting people interested in s-f in their own countries, and Wendayne Ackerman spoke of some of the sf and fantasy she had read during her childhood in Germany.

Lyell Crane, lately of Toronto, who is now living in this country, was a very appropiate speaker in the International Sessions, for he has edited the Canadian 'Interim News Letter', official organ of the 'Science Fiction International' society designed to promote international correspondence. He offered to act as a 'clearing house' for all fans desiring foreign correspondents, and gave his address Lyell Crane, BM/LRFC, London, W.C.1.

Ken Paynter then spoke of the Australian scene, and of the difficulties fans there have in obtaining s.f. Ken was a member of the Australian 'Sydney Futurians' and gave some interesting statistics in the discussion period afterwards concerning the scientific status of the various members. Walt Willis, who rose to tumultuous cheering and cries of 'Good old Walt' and 'Slant! Slant!' made the shortest speech of the Convention, giving details, of a speciality for completist collectors... an s-f book in Gaelic. As the total known fan population of Ireland was in the hall to hear his speech, Walt evidently felt that any comments on Irish Fandom would have been not only superfluous but egoistical!

Frank Edward Arnold, the-British, s-f author, who is at present engaged on a work about international fantasy, finished the speeches with comments on s-f from other European countries not heretofore mentioned, including Czechoslovakia and Italy, and mentioned Russian works in the field. He ended by expressing an opinion that all present shared with him,that any literature of an international scope, as was fantasy and science-fiction, was a means to understanding between the various races, and should be given every encouragement in this worth while task.

Questions were asked for from the audience, and several interesting points, such as the number of technicians and scientists who read s.-f, and the proportions of woman readers (this last brought up by Mrs Murray, the editor of the girls paper 'Heiress'), -were discussed.

The next item, unannounced except for a note in the programme, was the first presentation of the International Fantasy Award, the first of a series of annual awards for merit in the field of sf writing and art during the previous year. Sponsored by anonymous London enthusiasts, the award, which consists of a model 'Bonestell' type rocket (i.e. Feb '51 'Galaxy' cover) mounted on a wooden base with a spherical cigarette lighter, was accepted by Forrest J. Ackerman on behalf of Geroge R Stewart, author of 'Earth Abides', and the author-artist partnership pf 'Conquest of Space', Willy Ley and Chesley Bonestell. These books were picked by a small Awards Committee on this occasion, but a very large number of fans all over the world will be asked to co-operate to decide future presentations. Secretary of the Award Committee is Leslie Flood, who is using the offices of Nova Publications at 26, Stoke Newington Road, London, N. 16. Contributions are being asked for to enable the two awards to be modelled in silver, and we are sure that all enthusiastic fans will wish to support this endeavour to give the fantasy field an 'Oscar'.

After the Sunday afternoon tea-break, Mrs Wendayne Ackerman gave a very interesting lecture on the new psychiatric science of 'Dianetics', founded by fantasy author L.Ron Hubbard (who also writes under the names of Rena Layfayette and Kurt Von Rachen in the s-f field). Dianetics has been the cause of a good deal of controversy in the U.S. since 'Astounding S-F' made the first public announcements last year (see this June's British Reprint Ed.), especially as some American magazines have included 'ASF' in their generally strong criticism of Dianetics and Hubbard. Britishfans will have an opportunity to decide it's a merits for themselves soon, as Hubbards 'handbook' will soon be reprinted here.

There were so many books, magazines and examples of fantasy art in the auction on Sunday evening that three auctioneers, Tubb, Duncombe and Walter Shaw, practically exhausted themselves, but the whole affair was a great success, and many fans left the hall that evening clutching a rare 'zine or drawing as their fruitss of victory. It's hard to single out mentionable items from the scores offered for sale, but notable were a copy of 'Slan' with emendations and inscriptions in A.E. Van Vogt"s hand (ready for it's re-issue this autumn in a revised edition) which fetched £4-15., two copies of his 'Weapon Makers' which fetched nearly as much, a first issue of 'Wonder Stories' at 45/- and a first 'Astounding' at 21/-.

Sunday ended with a film show, consisting of various 'shorts' lent by Arthur C Clarke and '4e'. Notable shots were those taken by a rocket from above the atmosphere, and another of a V-2 exploding during take-off ( in colour, too!), and those, in '4e's' fan-made fragments of a trip to the Moon and of pseudo-weird (and really hilarious) happenings in .a haunted house, '4e' also had a real find from an un-identified German s-f film showing a rocket taking off from Earth (from a huge viaduct), and making a rather abrupt descent on the Moon.

On Monday, May 14th, a party of fans under the guidance of live-wire Manchester enthusiast Dave Cohen penetrated the unknown hinterland of the South Bank Exhibition, and those that managed to fight their way out in time, with others to the number of 40, assembled in the 'Havelock. pub. in Grays Inn Road that night.....not, we noticed, with mixed feelings, so much to talk about the exhilharating/exhausting goings on of the last few days, as to talk about the 1952 Convention....which is, we suppose, about the biggest compliment that they could have paid the 'Festival Convention' of '51.

AVC

3:

PHANTASMAGORIA

a)"THE OUTPOST" by Walter Willis

I wasn't myself for a good part of the Convention-- -when I find out who I was I'll let you know--the reason being an arch suggestion by that arch fiend Ted Carnell that I should have to make a speech.I do hate to see people suffer, especially myself. However, innocent of the doom hanging over them, the rest of the guests seemed to be having a very good time. In fact it seems to me that the Convention was a wonderful success, from every point of view. Most of the credit should go to three men, Ackerman, Carnell and Temple. Other striking personalities included Alan Hunter and his beard. It suits him too, if not quite down to the ground. And Derek Pickles.with his surprising size. I had expected a lot of Pickles, but not just in that way. I got quite a jar: I suppose it must have been the large economy size. (I know you never thought I would sink so low as to make puns about Derek's name. How little you know me.) BUt the biggest surprise was H.J.Campbell, editor of SCIENCE FICTION FORTNIGHTLY. His beard made Alan Hunter's look almost like 5 o'clock shadow, and the rest of his hair looked as if it was his ambition to become a Big Mane Fan. As far as I can see this magazine has more hair-raising possibilities than we ever imagined. Seriously, he seemed a very likeable and intelligent chap, and I felt a greet deal of sympathy for him at times. Especially during one conversation he had at the White Horse, with a well-known author. Campbell asked him baldly (it must have been a difficult thing to do!) if he would write something for him. The author asked him who he was, though of course he already knew. Campbell explained that he edited SFF. "Must you?" said the author rudely. Down in the forest something stirred, but Campbell with an obvious effort smothered the crushing retort he was well capable of making, and listened patiently while the author, of whom I had hitherto held the highest personalopinion, explained exactly how many cents a word he could get for his stuff in America. He was nearly getting two black eyes per word in England. Personally I thought Campbell should have been invited to speak at the Convention. It may be of course that he was, but refused, and certainly Ted Carnell was generous enough to pay him a well deserved tribute in his own speech.

Other things that stand out in memory are:- TED TUBB'S amazing talent as an auctioneer. Maybe it was his dianetic training that enabled him to clear the table so quickly, and so profitably. TED CARNELL valiantly defending his feature POST MORTEM against an attack which had never been made. Actually the point Derek wanted to make was that the title POST MORTEM implied not only that the last issue was dead, but that there was a strong suspicion of foul play. The way FORRY ACKERMAN surpassed our expectations. Not only did he show just why he is Fan Number 1, but there was, unexpectedly, enough of him to make Numbers 2 & 3 as well.

I could fill 20 pages with this stuff, but as Derek says, paper for Phantas is very dear, especially when you think where most of it ends up.


b) THE MOON WILL BE HELL - a Convention Report by Bob Shaw

After the introduction, in which one heard so many names that one forgot the few that one already knew, the first item of the Convention proper was a few speeches to get everyone into an amiable frame of mind. Walter Gillings got up end attacked Bill Temple. FOrry Ackerman got up and attacked D.R.Smith. D.R.Smith's deputy got up and attacked Forry Ackerman. Bill Temple got up and attacked Walter Gillings. When the debacle was over some of the younger fans had to be carried out and revived.

About four hours after the proceedings had started Willis, Bulmer,and Clarke arrived with the programme which let us know what we had been doing all morning. Further proof of the axiom that British Fans have no money was evident at the auction which was cheerfully manhandled by Ted TuDb. The first Wonder Quarterly went for fifty bob, which was the most extravagent buy of the day.

In the buffet I received a cup of lukewarm tea which didn't EVEN look warm (I don't like luke-warm tea), two sandwiches with tinned salmon in them (I think tinned salmon is a cod), one sandwich with cheese (I was cheesed off with it), and one flaky jam tart (I'm not very stuck on jam tarts). I didn't like the buffet very much.

A shortened, abridged, reduced version of excerpts from part of the film "THE LOST WORLD" was shown to a few members of the audience. The rest, being more than ten fact from the "screen" had no idea what was happening. When the lights were doused (about fifteen minutes after the film started) the fen with books etc. on display were seen anxiously edging closer to their collections. And very wise too! Ego Clarke looked after the musical accompaniment. I saw a very touching piece of spooning on the screen to the resounding strains of what sounded like the "Entry of the Gladiators". When Ego caught on, he switched records just in time for us to see a death struggle between two prehistoric monsters accompanied by some tender, romantically lilting music. It was great!

After it was all over a bespectacled young chap got up and after saying they had been let down, asked if anyone had a 9.5mm projector with him. Strangely enough - nobody had! That was one thing I noticed about the Convention - nobody had any 9.5mm projectors with them.

SUNDAY I was so weak after the previous days session that I was unable to crawl out of the mattress until nearly lunchtime. The first item which I was able to take an active interest in was the Internatioral Discussion. The overseas guests were asked to speak about the state of SF in their countries. Walt Willis got up to say a few words - and did just that. When he sat down (about 30 seconds after he got up) nobody would believe it was over. Then there was wild cheering. It was voted the best speech of the day.

Next came the presentation of the International Fantasy Award. Forry Ackerman accepted it on behalf of Willy Ley and Chesley Bonestall for "THE CONQUEST OF SPACE". Forry is a big, handsome, obviously American Chap with an easy smile and a musical voice. The Convention would have been rather lost without him - as well as just BEING there he lent some very funny short films, donated some marvellous gifts to the auction, made some great speeches, and, in general, gave things a lift. Thank you, Forry!

After the second auction and second buffet, which I dodged, we saw Forry's films and a technicolour one lent by Ego Clarke, on which he commented as it was being run. It was a tremendous film from the fans point of view. I'll always remember the shot in which the V2 keels over while taking off and blows itself to smithereens. Ego, too, is a very good talker with a great enthusiasm for his subject (especially when it's himself) and an impressive fund of knowledge. I felt very annoyed when the finale came - things had just begun to warm up and I was just preparing to revenge myself on my postal enemies.

A certain young lady from Bradford actually had the cheek to WIN the Bonestell picture for which there was a raffle. I wanted it!...Van Vogt's own annoted 1st ed. copy of "WEAPON MAKERS" went for £4/5/-...a lot of faneds were annoyed when they found that Lee Jacobs had annexed Bill Temple's "ONION DRIVE" yarn for the U.S.A.... ..somebody on the Convention Committee was wearing his friend's new shirt.... it is rumoured that Ego Clarke plans to hold the next Convention at the bottom of Copernicus .........see you at the MOONCON. 'Bye!


c)"THE EDITOR SQUEAKS" by Derek Pickles

Having by now partially recovered from the happenings jocularly called the "FESTIVAL CONVENTION", recovered enough,that is, to actually want to DESCRIBE some of the people and happenings that I met and saw; first of all, if you haven't a strong stomach don't read any further, if you have, take the same advice. Someday I hope to be strong enough to attend another CON, and then I may be able to solve the Sphinx's second riddle - "What is a S-F Fan???'.

One of the most vivid memories I have of the Convention is of Mr. Hill, an elderly, but obviously highly intelligent man joining in a discussion of magazines and their appeal to the public, and saying with great force & feeling that the people present at that meeting could no longer speak as a 'reader of science-fiction' because once you reached the state when you become a 'fan', write letters, produce magazines, attend meetings, you are no longer a reader, and therefore you have no authority to say what the public's tastes are. Mr Hill received one of the most enthusiastic bursts of applause that I have ever heard.

Of course one of the events of the trip to London was meeting Walt Willis (and his very charming wife), and of the "SLANT" staff (if staff isn't too serious a word), after seeing them in action in the "WHITE HORSE" and other hostelries, I now know why there are so many illustrations in "SLANT", its because of the fact that James White sticks to orange crushes and Walt & Bob don't, obviously by the time they re ready to start composing they can't tell the p's' from the 'q's'.

They are tho' extremely nice people all of them, not quite normal, because if they were they wouldn't be fans & have been at the Convention in the first place,and in the second place you are at home with them at once.

Two of the great attractions at the meeting were, naturally, the beards of Alan Hunter & H.J. Campbell of SFM. One was Van Dyke, and one was Van Gogh. The cartoon will help, the gentleman on the left is AH. I (and Mavis) spent several days in Alan's company, with him was his charming wife, Joyce, they are both extremely nice folk, and we only hope they could tell half of what we said in our not too broad Yorkshire. For accents tho' the Wild Irishmen took some beating, half the time we couldn't tell a word they said, & the other half only part of their conversation, but we got on very well in sign language.

The funniest part of the proceedings was when Bill Temple told one of his legendary stories of his life with the "EGO". 'The Voyage of the Space Onion' was the wittiest and most hilarious yarn I have aver heard, even exceeding his story at the "LONCON" in 1949. Briefly it is the story of Clarke and Temple's attempt to reach the Moon in a spaceship which is a gigantic onion, working on the principle of mitogenic rays. The bare idea is astounding but the details were superb, especilly the trouble they have when supplies run out and they have to exist on the onion itself and the consequent biological effects on C & T. Unfortunately (as Bob Shaw says elsewhere) it has been lost to British fandom.

4:

GEORGE CHARTERS

OPERATION FANTAST 9 (Summer 1951)

NON-CONVENTIONAL REPORT

Dear Ken,

Many thanks for your letter, received this morning.

You asked me to write an account of the Convention (incidentally, your sister-in-law got mixed up between 'Convent' and 'Missionary', and told a friend I had gone to a Mission In London). For many (not to say multifarious and multitudinous) reasons I am unable to do as you ask. Firstly, I hate - repeat, hate - writing of any kind, as I do it all the time in my work at an aircraft factory. Secondly, the little writing that I have attempted is so poor that in editing and re-editing my effort you would eventually curse the day you ever asked me.

Thirdly, well, there is no thirdly, so I'll go on to the next. Fourthly, my viewpoint is that of a poor country lad (poor but proud) and would cause derision both for G.L.C. and O.F. (Reverting to reason No. 2, look at all the brackets that have worked their insidious way already into this letter.)

I may say, however, that I think I was the only fan who flew to the Convention. As Confucius says, "Better be airsick for two hours than seasick for twenty-four." Also I think I was the only one to get a room in the Royal Hotel - a purely fortuitous circumstance, by the way. However, for the first half-hour after the Viking lifted I was okay, but the steward served a light lunch, and having injudiciously partaken thereof, I very shortly began to fear that Short Bros. would be short one checker. I asked for a paper bag, and when the plane touched down I was able to give the lunch back to the steward. Coming back, I took two Kwell tablets and the old tum did no flip-flaps at all, at all.

This letter started out as a one-page effort, but like my figure, its spreading.

Going to the Hotel from the terminal I took a taxi - cost 5/-. That was on Tuesday the 8th. On my return I went by underground - cost 4d. That was on Monday, 14th.

Only saw two shows: Wednesday at the Berkeley (" Odette" and "Une si jolie petite plage") and the Folies Bergere at the Hippodrome, on Friday. Thursday, went to see the Changing of the Guard at the Palace; St. Paul's; Tower of London; The British Museum, etc. The last named could do with a cleaning, it is a grim, forbidding pile. One can almost imagine that it actually does have a copy of the fabulous NECRONOMICON. Come to think of it there are quite a number of similar piles in London, which reminds me I saw Harley Street. And nearly every book-shop I saw had several prominently displayed copies of "How I Cured My Duodenal Ulcer." In between times I wandered around High Holborn, Tottenham Court Road, Charing Cross, Fleet Street, the Strand, the Embankment, and so on. Somehow I got a great kick out of seeing places I've often read about. The greatest kick of all, however. was the morning I saw the Household Cavalry passing along the Strand in brilliant sunshine. I was fascinated.

Thursday night, about eight, I wandered down to the White Horse and was met by a terrific babble of noise. Definitely they are not the strong silent type, these London fans. Vince Clarke painlessly relieved me of 15/- and it was the following Sunday before I began to realise how they could do it all for so little. It was almost 10-30 before I dragged myself away. I went round again on Friday and got back to the Hotel at about eleven. You'll see I was not an all-night member! I gather there were plenty of those, tho.

Ted Carnell made a very good Chairman and thoroughly deserved the applause he received on Sunday night. Ted is the optimistic type. Forry Ackerman is a grand speaker - I could listen to him all day. William Temple's "feud" with Arthur C. Clarke was grand fun, though I think Temple won on points; his deadpan "Serial" was excellent.

The S.F. Soap Opera Company's "plays" were very good, and in particular I think most of us were surprised at the discovery of the Second Foundation. The auction went off well, and Ted Tubb got some good laughs from the folk who were being stung. Vince Clarke dished out 21/- for a first. aSF, and a copy of 'WEAPON MAKERS' went for 95/- ... I shouldn't give Ted all the credit, other folk were auctioneering also, but I can't remember just who! Talks by Mrs. Ackerman and A. C. Clarke went down very well, and I was specially interested in the subject of DIANETICS, which Mrs. Ackerman explained much better than the book! Ben Abas, the Dutch artist, many of whose water colours of fantastic animals, etc., decorated the walls, delivered a very good talk. A surprise item was the S-F AWARD, a Bonestell-type rocket, about a foot high on a stand, with a cigarette lighter in front, finished in chromium plate. One for non-fiction was awarded jointly to Bonestell and Ley for CONQUEST OF SPACE, and another to George Stewart for EARTH ABIDES. Forry Ackerman accepted the presentation on their behalf. This was arranged by an anonymous group, but whoever they were, it was a fine idea, and they deserve a pat on the back for it.

I enjoyed the films that were shown, but it was unfortunate that a misunderstanding 'twixt Vince and Ted prevented METROPOLIS from being included. As it happened there were plenty without it, and LOST WORLD was shown Saturday; and sundry assorted items, including rocket shots loaned by A. C. Clarke, and four amateur fantasy films, loaned by Forry, on Sunday. I don't know who the projectionist was, but he did a very creditable job, considering the difficulties under which he had to work.

I may have confused the auctions . . there were two. Forry ran one, and Ted the other. However, mags and books went for very reasonable prices. An autographed copy of SLAN fetched 75/-. I think it was £10. There were various side-shows. SCIENCE FICTION FORTNIGHTLY was displayed by Editor Campbell, who was present all through the proceedings. Frank Cooper displayed, as did Ted Carnell.

All in all, I think everyone enjoyed themselves...nearly 200 people attended, 8 countries were represented, and there were about twenty overseas visitors, including George Gallet, France; Sigvard Ostlund, Sweden; Ben Abas, Holland; Lee Jacobs, U.S.A.; Ken Paynter, Australia; Walt Willis and Party, and me, Ireland; and of course the Ackermans. And some more, whose names I didn't get. I enjoyed myself, anyway. The weather was good all through my visit and I do not think London could have looked any better. And everyone seemed anxious to help a visitor: in fact the only mean thing in London was Greenwich Mean Time! It even has a 'Shaver's Place'! (The Belfast fans are quietly proud of their 'Bradbury Place'). The police over there are not so tall as the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and it seemed odd at first to see so many of them without revolvers.

The Royal Hotel is in W.C.1. They tell me that W.C. stands for "West Central." How quaint!

If you have had the patience to read thus far you can see why I cannot send a report as requested. It is a case of the spirit being willing, but the mind being weak. Maybe next year - if I can get to it - and maybe also Ken Slater will be there.

GEO L CHARTERS

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