This is SKYRACK (oh, come on now - you remember Skyrack) number 94, published 8th August 1967 by Ron Bennett, 52 Fairways Drive, Forest Lane, Starbeck, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. Vive le Starbeck Libre. Six issues for 3/6d or 50c ($1 airmail). Stateside subscriptions may be sent to Bob Coulson who has a house built of Yandros along Route 3, Hartford City, Indiana 47348. News of interest to sf fans is still, believe it or not, welcomed. Contributions this issue by Harry Nadler, Michael Moorcock, Ethel Lindsay, SF Times, Ratatosk, Rob Holdstock, Graham Hall, Stan Nuttall, Keith Freeman and the Ministry of Defence.
BULMER FOR BUXTON The 1968 British Annual Science Fiction Convention will take place over the Easter weekend, 12th/14th April, at the St. Ann's Hotel, Buxton, the Derbyshire spa. Organised by the Delta Group of Salford, Manchester, the Convention will be titled "The Thirdmancon," and will be the north’s first fan gathering for six years.
Convention membership is 7/6d (to Harry Nadler, 5 South Mesnefield Road, Lower Kersal, Salford 7, Lancs) and it's interesting to note that amongst the Convention Committee names is that of the old Cheadle Greybeard himself, Eric Bentcliffe, who lines up as Vice Chairman alongside Chairman Harry Nadler, Treasurer Bill Burns and Programme Co-ordinator Chuck Partington.
Ken Bulmer will be the Convention’s Guest of Honour, a well-overdue recognition of a sincere and likeable man who has won deserved admiration both in the world of fandom and in the larger world of professional writing in which he has been most prolific and consistently readable. A Knight of St Fantony, Ken was the first TAFF traveller, in 1955.
Peter Day, Flat 4, Beau Manor, Roebuck Lane, Sale, Cheshire, is handling the hotel registrations. Rates are 42/- bed and breakfast, 63/- full board.
Provisional programme plans include fan and professional films, slide shows, lectures, auctions, a St Fantony item, This is Your Fan Life and a fancy dress party with music provided by The Merseysippi Jazz Band.
(With thanks to Meteor, the Thirdmancon's own news bulletin)
The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund campaign to bring a Stateside delegate over to the Thirdmancon is now in full swing. Candidates - three Good Men and True - are Ed Cox, Ted Johnstone and Steve Stiles. Votes and contributions must reach either Terry Carr (35 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, New York 11201, NY) or Tom Schluck (3 Hannover, Altenbekener Damm 10, W.Germany) by 5th January 1968.
WHEREAS certain elements in fandom appear these days to be interested primarily in casting their minds back to their own times of former glory, when events and personalities are viewed with that golden edge of nostalgia, there is something soiled and sordid about publishing stale news, events and items from which the sense of urgency has passed. It is some nine months since the previous issue of Skyrack. The following items, fully covered in other publications, are presented with apologies to all concerned.
ERIC JONES, Grand Master of the Noble Order of St Fantony, died on 8th January. A TAFF candidate last year, Eric represented everything wholesome in fandom and his entire career was a most honoured and honourable one. He had edited and published several fanzines, amongst them Triode, Space Times and Sidereal. He had worked on several conventions and had organised the 1961 LXICon virtually singlehanded. He had even built a working psionics machine which was demonstrated at the London WorldCon of 1957 and which was the subject of a later editorial in Astounding SF. Little known about Eric was his constant work for old people's homes and blind societies and it is typical of the man that his last, lengthy and bravely borne illness was known to only a small circle of intimates.
NEW WORLDS, Britain's only remaining science fiction magazine, is continuing publication following an Arts Council grant of £1,800. New Worlds and its sister publication, Impulse, ran into trouble last year following the crash last July of Thorpe & Porter Ltd., one of the country's largest distributors (see Skyrack number 91). Compact Books, the magazines' publishers announced that they were to suspend publication both of the magazines and of their sf series of pocketbooks. The Government's official "Freeze" had meant that money was tighter and that credit was limited. Thorpe and Porter who operated largely on a credit and "sale or return" basis went bankrupt and the subsequent drop in distribution crippled the Compact firm's circulation. It was announced that New Worlds 170 and Impulse 12 would, in all probability, be the last issues of the two magazines.
In March it was announced that New Worlds would limp along for two interim issues, with material largely contributed free by the authors, while various worthies, Brian Aldiss, J.B.Priestley, Anthony Burgess, Professor Geoffrey Tillotson and Kenneth Allsop, approached the Arts Council about the possibility of a grant. The result has been £1,800, a reprieve for New Worlds (but not Impulse) and a new 10 ¾"x 8¼” 64 page format. The July issue, number 173, features fiction by J.G. Ballard, Thomas Disch, Roger Zelazny and David Masson.
Whilst the magazine's departure from traditionalism will displease those who have in the recent past criticised "the Ballard cult," it must be appreciated that flexibility is desirable, that change is inevitable and that Michael Moorcock's endeavours to ensure the continuation of a market for British science fiction writers are to be entirely applauded.
CHARLES PLATT has sold a first novel, The Garbage World, to Berkley Books. ::: Belated but sincere congratulations to Ian & Olivia McAulay on the birth of a second son, Gavin (0ne year old on 1st August - how belated can one get?), to Jim and Sue Caughran on the birth of 9 lb 4 oz David in January and to Harry and Marie Nadler on the birth of Lindsay Marie in March.
As some readers will know I have of late been trying to establish myself as a book and magazine dealer. Because of an impending move which involves a new job working for the Ministry of Defence I hope to be in a position whereby I will be able to obtain material not usually freely circulated in this country, particularly American pulps and older magazines and pocketbooks. If there is any item for which you'd like me to keep an eye open on your behalf do please let me have your want lists. There will of course be no obligation to buy, you’ll merely have first refusal on any such material obtained. Collections purchased. Trades welcome.
THE LAST ANNUAL BRITISH SF CONVENTION took place over the Easter at the Hawthorns Hotel, Bristol. The Con opened on the Good Friday evening with Brian Aldiss introducing notable attendees, amongst them authors Ken Bulmer, Charles Platt, Ted Tubb and American Tom Disch. A First and Last Lines Quotation Quiz followed, with book prizes being given away.
The Saturday morning programme featured a professional panel of Tom Disch, John Brunner, Judith Merril, Brian Aldiss, James White and Michael Moorcock. Asked whether a new writer should concentrate on hack work in order to make money, the alternative being to try to write more qualitative material, in which case he would probably starve, John Brunner advised, "Write for quality," and Judith Merril advised one not to write at all because it's a badly paid profession. Brian Aldiss sidetracked to his earlier story-telling days when he would tell stories to his dormitory companions at school after lights out. These were long monologues interspersed by Brian asking, "Is anybody awake?" There would be tired replies, "Yes... Go on." When the warden would poke his, head into the domatory to ask who was talking Brian would own up and be dragged off somewhere to be beaten. This, he remarked, was probably his first form of payment.
In the afternoon John Brunner presented the British Fantasy Award to Philip Dick, whose representative, Tom Disch, collected it for him. Michael Moorcock also received an additional award for his services to British SF. John Brunner, who was the Convention's Guest of Honour, spoke briefly about his novel, The Productions of Time, which has been somewhat altered by the publishers, Signet Books (so "mutilated," said John, that he is contemplating legal action).
The film show followed, consisting of two very unusual short films, Ed Emshwiller's Relativity, which reminded one of an uncensored Mondo Cane, and the French fantasy, La Jetee, which was generally agreed to be very moving.
At the BSFA AGM on the Sunday morning the Salford group's bid for the 1968 convention, provisionally accepted last year, was confirmed and it was agreed that Cambridge should site the 1969 convention.
In the afternoon a fanzine editors panel seating Mike Ashley, Graham Charnock, Harry Bell, Mary Reed, Darroll Pardoe and Beryl Mercer discussed censorship in fanzines, during which debate one editor mentioned that American fanzines were largely superior to British ones and that this country had a long tradition of poorly produced amateur magazines, at which point Howard Rosenblum stood up in the audience to ask, "What about New Futurian?" to which question the editor concerned replied, "What is New Futurian?" This panel was followed by a lengthy, rambling speech by Michael Moorcock, who produced from a briefcase a whiskey bottle from which he imbibed frequently. In one of the convention's highlights, Michael read a speech during which he often disagreed with his printed notes. He followed up by auctioning fanzines and promags, mainly to himself so that he could have the pleasure of tearing them up on the spot.
The Noble Order of St Fantony admitted into its ranks Jill Adams, Wendy Freeman, John Ramsey Campbell and Charles Partington, and Doreen Parker won the Doctor Arthur Rose Weir Memorial Award for her services to British fandom. Room parties were not greatly in abundance, primarily because the hotel management banned them, but the Rosenblums managed to sneak in one particular humdinger. -- (after R.P.H.)
GRIMWAB 4 (Harry Bell, 28 S.Hill Rd, Gateshead 8,Co.Durham.1/-) Modelling itself on the old-style humourzines, this largely succeeds, tho' the humour is wordy and not terse. Notable but very vague convention report by Darroll Pardoe.
HAVERINGS 26/27 (Ethel Lindsay, Courage House 96 Langley Ave, Surbiton, Surrey. 2/- or 6 for 7/-) Fanzine reviews at length. Invaluable to neo-fen.
FOOP 2 (Ivor Mayne, 35 Grosvenor Terr., Cheltenham, Glos - CoA; 1/6). Dustbinned.
SCOTTISHE 43/44 (Ethel Lindsay, 4 for 7/-). Highly readable, highly irritable fanzine of wide and varied opinions.
THUD-F (Chris Priest, Cornerways, Willow Close, Doddinghurst, Brentwood, Essex) Some very good comments and fannish chit-chat. I always have the feeling that were Chris's zines monthly rather than every-two-yearly fandom could go a long way towards regaining its former glories.
BADINAGE 1 (Tony Walsh & The Bristol mob, 61 Halsbury Rd, Bristol 6) Good title, good mag. Excellent article - except for one small detail - by Simone Walsh.
SPECULATION 15 (Pete Weston, address back page this Skyrack) At 2/6 per or 5 for 10/- this regular commentary on the sf scene must rank as one of the world's two best buys. Leiber and Silverberg are amongst the contributors. (‘ors’, Ethel)
LES SPINGE 17 (Darroll Pardoe, 11 Cheniston Gardens, London W8). Pretty fair going - definitely on the up swing.
PHILE 3 (Graham Charnock, l Eden Close, Alperton, Wembley, Middx.1/-) Special thin issue. Yes. (A pity, too, as there is some sound material here.Good cover, too)
NEMESIS 2 (Brenda Piper, 35 Baxendale St, Bethnal Green, London E2).More, good, sound material. Definitely improved, but seems to be searching for a personality of its own.
XERON 5 (John Quattromini/Mike Ashley, 9 Shurland Ave, Sittingbourne, Kent.1/6) Special macabre issue, containing the best and most sensible editorial ever to appear in a fanzine.
AUSTRALIAN SF REVIEW (British agent Gray Hall, 57 Church St, Tewkesbury, Gloc. monthly, 27/6 per year). Highly priced - worth every fraction of a penny. The other of the world’s best buys. Excellent commentary and criticism.
ODD MAGAZINE 14/16 (Ray Fisher, 4404 Forest Park, St Louis, Mo 63108).Very neat, very bulky. Good range of contributors, including Richard Gordon commentating in a somewhat haphazard manner for him on English life. Recommended. (50c)
YANDRO (2/- or 12 for 18s; Buck & Juanita Coulson. UK agent Alan Dodd, 77 Stanstead Rd, Hoddeson, Herts.) Monthly. Great diversity of subjects, opinion, contributors.Very mellow these days.1965 Hugo winner, still up to highest standards.
RIVERSIDE QUARTERLY (Lee Shapiro, Box 82 University Station, Saskatoon) Highly literary, just a little precious. Panshin on Heinlein is a must. (50c)
THE VILLAGE IDIOT 2/4 (Paul Shingleton, 874 S Walnut St, St Albans, W.Va 25177.) At 1/- per a very good buy. Fair and promising, but Paul needs to work on it rather than letting it simply happen (which of course also applies to Skyrack).
QUIP 5 (Arnie Katz & Lon Atkins, 98 Patton Blvd, New Hyde Park, NY 11043.5051).Very bulky. Tries hard - and succeeds admirably - to capture the fun-loving swinging ingroupism of a decade ago. Excellent use of layout space.
DOUBLE BILL (Bill Mallardi, 214 Mackinaw Ave, Akron, Ohio 44313. 30/.) Another of the really Good ones, as is of course.
NIEKAS (Felice Rolfe & Ed Meskys, 1360 Emerson, Palo Alto, Calif 94301.50c; 5/$2.) Very bulky, crammed with micro-elite wordage. Available from Gray Hall).
HIPPOCAMPELEPHANTOCAMELOS 3/5 (Fred Hollander, Lloyd House, Caltech, Pasadena, Calif. 25c). fair all round zine, with a good snappy title and obviously a favourite with Cecil.
And tell me - how does one do justice to some forty or so fanzines in so limited a space...? Tch!
CHANGE OF ADDRESS Department:
ERIC BENTCLIFFE, who is charge of the Thirdmancon's PhotoContest, asks me to mention that there will be special categories for photographs taken at this year's Bristol con, such as "Funniest” “Most Off-Beat" "Artistic" and "Puzzling”. He also asks for slides to be loaned (send list, first please) for the Thirdmancon's Slide Show. Do it now. The next reminder in Skyrack may be too late!
Recent visitors to Fairways Drive: Brag playing Frances Varley, cricket coaching Brian Varley, kibbitzing Ethel Lindsay and bewildered Graham Hall and Don West ::: Ron Bennett recently visited kindly aged Ella Parker.