Rabanos Radiactivos 154

My plans to take records on the disposition of original cover art and manuscripts at the NyCon III fizzled out. Before the '68 Con site voting, I was too busy campaigning for L.A. and helping out at the Art Show to take any records; and afterwards, I was mostly too depressed to care. I don't even know what all was auctioned off; as usual, there was no display of the auction material in advance. I did see most of Jack Vance's work, because he brought a stack of it into the Art Show room the day before the Con started, to divide it between what was to be exhibited in the Art Show and what was to go to the NyCon auctions. It included, roughly, all of his F&SF covers, and all of his covers to the Pyramid Doc Smith paperbacks, plus a few other Pyramid covers. Aside from that, there was some Gray Morrow stuff -- covers from F&SF and CREEPY -- and I heard there was to be some Freas cover art, but all I saw was one piece that looked more like a preliminary sketch (it was the cover of an Ace paperback, Grinnell's Edge of Time, and was no larger than the paperback cover itself); and that's all I know about the auction.

Besides the auction, there was also an exhibition of Richard Powers' cover art that notes should've been made on but weren't. Well, I made a couple, anyhow. I got the original cover to the Ballantine edition of Arthur Clarke's Earthlight for $40, and Andy Porter picked up a couple, the only one of which I remember being to David Duncan's Dark Dominion. Powers' art was quite varied in the amount of work put into the paintings; some were large, detailed works, and others were no bigger than the paperback covers themselves, like the Freas mentioned above. Powers said that the size of his paintings depended on the length of the deadline he had; if speed was more important than art, he dashed off one of the small ones, to be printed without reduction. He had a distressing practice regarding much of his early art, the wraparound covers he did for the first Ballantine s-f books, such as Sturgeon's More than Human and Pratt's The Undying Fire; he chopped off the left-hand side of the paintings and discarded them, because he considered only the portion that was to show on the front cover to be a balanced artistic whole. (On the other hand, he did have a point; a couple of his old works were also there in their complete state, and it was obvious that they were designed in two equal horizontal masses, with a fairly wide "quiet" band down the center where the spine was to have the title lettering. I was considering getting the painting to the first Star Science Fiction anthology, but it just didn't have the aesthetic balance to be a good wall painting. Besides, the old poster paint he'd used was beginning to flake off.) I was tempted to rush around buying most of these out of sheer nostalgia, though; most of these were the covers of the first paperbacks I ever bought.

Zanahorias Electronicas
Dave Van Arnam -- Welcome back. Things have been mighty dull around here without the window onto N.Y. fan life we used to have; we're all glad you're opening it again. Say 'hello' to Andy, Ted, Alan Shaw, and the rest from all of us. ## I agree that it's nice to see Harlan finally 'In', though I personally don't care too much for his stuff (I belong in the 'Al Lewis' camp of s-f appreciation; Harlan'll tell you what that is -- and what he thinks of it -- if you didn't hear him at the San Diego WesterCon). I've been struck, though, with what seems to be a similarity between his type (not style) of writing and that of Ray Bradbury. Both have almost no content of science or what you might call 'cold' speculation; both are heavy in emotion, and on stories that are obviously parables about the faults of modern man. "Harlequin" is about the loss of individual identity and individualism; a very up-to-the-minute problem that everybody who has pretensions to social consciousness knows about. The jelly-bean incident is Harlan's way of emphasizing the lack of science in the story; as he's been screaming to fandom for the last year, "Will you forget about the jelly-beans; I wasn't talking about the goddam jelly-beans!?" And, of course, he wasn't; he was trying to paint a highly emotional word-picture, and he's mad because we scarcely will look at the picture as a whole. All we'll do is say that we don't like the way he used his pigments on that one small section of the canvas. "Delusion for a Dragon Slayer", to point at his other current "best" (most noticed, at least) story, is straight fantasy with no pretense at anything else, and another parable about how you have to be true to your own ideals, to yourself, or you can't live with yourself. (Heinlein summed it up more succinctly in Double Star: "...a man either likes himself, or he commits suicide, one way or another." (p.63)) I'd be interested in hearing what the fans who hold strong opinions one way or the other as to Bradbury's stories, have to say about Harlan's. To go back to the painting simile, while Bradbury's word-pictures make me think of Rockwell Kent or Norman Rockwell, Harlan's feel more like modern art -- sometimes controlled, as in Dali's surrealism, and sometimes as scattered at random as a splatter-painting. And, less I give the impression that I'm dismissing Harlan's stories as weak or undisciplined, let me admit that while I may not like a story such as "I Have No Mouth", or "The Last Night of a Very Good Woman", I still remember them long after a lot of mildly pleasant stories that I preferred while reading and then promptly forgot. Harlan's style of art isn't particularly to my own tastes, but he definitely does have a style (which has only become clear in the last three or four years, I think), and it definitely is Art. ## Then there's Zelazny and Delany (Or "Zelany and Delazny", as someone at the NyCon insisted on pairing them; it is hard to separate their similar styles and impacts which both hit us at the same time); which make me think of the artistic talents of Michelangelo combined with the architectural talents of Frank Lloyd Wright -- a good, solid skeleton under that beautiful painting/sculpture. Hmm, but I'm getting carried away, and I'd better not be so reckless as to try deep literary analysis at first draft. ## On the ethicality of using Guests-of Honor for seconding Con bidding speeches, there's an important side of the matter that I think a lot of people are overlooking. There've been pro &/or fan Guests-of-Honor before that've seconded bidding speeches -- look at the San Diego WesterCon again -- and nobody thought that any irregularity was taking place. That was because the fans in these instances were speaking only as individual fans -- the fact that they were also Guests-of-Honor was virtually ignored. What we're really objecting to this time, as I said last week, was the using of these Guests-of-Honorship to imply that the Convention itself was officially backing a particular bidder. Ben Stark made as much as he could of the fact that the NyCon's official Pro GoH, Fan GoH, and Toastmaster were all seconding the Berkeley bid; and while Harlan and Bob Tucker didn't dwell on their positions, del Rey also impled strongly that as this year's Guest of Honor (seeming to stand up there and weigh the two candidates), he was deciding for Berkeley! It's the ethicality of using the position, not the person, of the Guests-of-Honor that I feel is the real problem that must be solved. Possibly the two can't (or shouldn't) really be separated, but that's something else to decide. ## As to the number of speakers & seconders L.A. had at the bidding session, technically Al Lewis just introduced Bĵo, who gave our speech, and our two seconders, so we stayed within the limit we understood existed. I admit that this was technical hairsplitting to get another speaker up for us, and could probably be considered unethical on our own part.
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