Written & published by Fred Patten on the LASFS Rex Rotary, December 2, 1964. Intended for Apa L, 7th Distribution, LASFS meeting #1425, December 3, 1964. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GR 3-6321.
|LONCON II in 1965!||Jock Root for TAFF!||Salamander Press #60|
The Ballantine paperback edition of Edgar Pangborn's Davy just went on sale here in Los Angeles today, and I think that Ian Ballantine should get some sort of prize for the job he did on it. To my mind, it is possibly the most dignified and tastefully produced science fiction paperback ever to be published. The cover illustration is positively beautiful (the signature looks like "R. Foster"), and the entire cover, front and back, is well laid out. The blurb quotes emphasize the literary qualities of the book, comparing it with Tom Jones and Huckleberry Finn. The entire package is designed to sell to the intelligent, literary adult, rather than to the steady sf fan (who can be counted on to buy it anyway); at the same time, no effort has been made to disguise the fact that this novel is science fiction, which seems to be the practice every time the publishers aim at an audience larger than the regular hard-core sf buyers. Indeed, Davy is billed as "One of the ten best science fiction novels of the year"; a vivid statement which is undoubtedly true -- they could've said it is one of the five best, and still be right. This paperback edition impresses me as being the best attempt I've ever seen to rank an admitted science fiction book as a serious literary work of art, rather than as just a pleasant time-passer. I am tremendously pleased with it (and I haven't even read the story yet!), and I urge everybody to go out and buy a copy -- even at 75¢ (for 266 pages), it is well worth it. At least, stop at the newsstand long enough to look at the cover. I am looking forward to reading this book, both because I understand it is an excellent book and because it is almost sure to be one of the finalists in this year's "Hugo" nominations (and I naturally want to read them all before I vote); and if it's anywhere near the quality of this cover, this 75¢ will be one of the biggest bargains I've ever found on the newsstands. Don't wait to buy a beat-up used copy in some second-hand bookstore; get it now while it's still mint and clean on the stands. If Ian Ballantine is taking a gamble with this 75¢ sf paperback, he deserves our full backing. He's certainly got mine.
|- o0o -||- o0o -||- o0o -|
The contract for our theater party to see "The World of Ray Bradbury" has been mailed in with the $14.00 deposit, so we're committed now -- come on, sign up. I already have 27 people down; only 3 more are needed to fill our 30 seas, and anybody else who wants in had better let me know fast while I can still increase the number of seats they'll hold for us. The party will definitely be on the evening of Sunday, January 17th -- the booking agent says that as far as she knows, Bradbury is so engrossed in the preparations to film the three plays that he's letting his license to the theater expire at the end of January, so that may be the end of the live stage performances. The tickets are $1.88 each, for seats that regularly run up to $4.75. So let me know if you're interested. Ted, better get that Newsletter out fast.
-- BEING COMMENTS ON THE SIXTH DISTRIBUTION
Dian Pelz -- Ah, it's good to have a cover on the Distribution again. I hope you'll keep these coming. ## The size of these Distributions is becoming mindcroggling. On our Thanksgiving Meeting -- usually a slow night -- we get 57 pages, with 20 people contributing. That means that 2/3 of our copies are going to contributors. In a way, this is not a good thing. Apa L (as I understand it) was supposed to be a sort of contribution from the active publishing faction in the LASFS to the larger non-publishing segment; partly to serve as a means for furthering intra-club communication and conversation to make the Meetings more friendly and enjoyable, and partly to encourage those members who've never published a fanzine to try their hand at an issue or two (without any necessity to "make every Distribution" if they don't want to) to see how they like it. That's how the first Distributions went, and I must say it worked very well. We've drawn contributions from such people as Earl Thompson, and the CalTech crew -- notably Jay Freeman -- who've never published before; we're drawing out those such as Hank Stein, Tom Gilbert, and Gretchen Schwenn, who hadn't published much before, but are now regular contributors; and we're getting an increasingly steady amount of excellent material from such people as John & Bĵo Trimble, and Jack Harness, whose once-voluminous fanzine production had trickled off to a mere driblet before Apa L turned the tap back on again. But with 20 active contributors -- and I know of at least two more local fans who should have their first Apa L contributions in this Distribution, not to mention several more out-of-town fans who've written me for information on how to join -- Apa L is rapidly growing to the point at which we will only have enough copies of the Distribution for the contributors themselves (if that many), and it will become just a LA-based apa rather than a LASFS club function. We will not have copies to give out to the non-contributors; both those who regularly show up (Paul Turner, Betty Knight), and those who drop in occasionally (Rick Sneary, Ed Meskys) who would certainly like copies; in short, ApaL will become another isolated in-group within the club, one of the things it was formed to help disperse. We'll have to turn down the visiting out-of-town fan and the guest, to whom we were giving the Distributions as an inducement to come back. If we grow much more, we won't have copies for the regular contributors who might happen to miss a Meeting and a Distribution, who up to now have been able to have someone save them a copy of that Distribution anyway until they could return next week. I would say at the point at which we start getting 25 contributors as a matter of course, leaving only 5 or less copies for other distribution, we'd better start seriously making some sort of drastic change. Whether that will be raising the number of copies required to 35 or 40, or arbitrarily denying Distributions to anyone who is not physically present at the Meeting to pick it up, or setting a specific limited membership list with publishing requirements and a waiting list for those who don't make it in right off, I'll leave to the following discussion. But assuming the active contributors to Apa L continue to increase -- and I think they will -- something is going to have to be done soon. ## Interesting piece on torture and execution, but you didn't mention one of the practices that has always fascinated me: defenestration (though admittedly this is local in practice; it seems to have been mostly located to Prague.) Can't you use this as a school paper and get credit for it?
Len Bailes -- The way you out-of-towners always manage to make the Distributions (except for Mann that once) is a Wonderful Thing. How much did this 57-pager cost to airmail to you? If the Distributions keep growing, you guys may not be able to afford to keep having them airmailed every week to you. ## See my comments above to Dian. It'd be nice to have enough copies of the Distribution for everybody, but at the rate we're growing, we soon just won't be able to spare copies to people who neither have anything in the Distribution nor show up at the Meeting, no matter how regularly they contribute usually. If someone like Bob Bloch or Don Wollheim were to show up at a meeting -- which is not too unusual -- it'd be nice to give them a copy of that week's Distribution. What do you suggest? Another thing to consider is that if we start getting over 25 contributing members or start requiring over 35 copies of the zines, the whole thing will become so unwieldy that it'll lose the charm that makes it so much fun now. I'm afraid we may have to clamp some limitation on the thing.
Lloyd House crew -- Obviously, your title is whatever Dian puts it down on the table of contents as. That's one of the things you're going to have to learn to accept about being in an absolute dictatorship. ## Anybody says you can't wear lederhosen with an aloha shirt, you just send them around to see Jack Harness. He may not be wearing anything that simple, but after one look at whatever he does have on at the time, they'll be glad to accept lederhosen and aloha shirts without any further arguments.
Bill Blackbeard -- Your "Over the Sea to Skye" is the biggest surprise & best thing in the Distribution, and I eagerly await the next installment. Since it is a "tale for the season", I'm betting that "the realm of Nick" is the North Pole. Logical? ## I refuse to watch "The Addams Family" or anything else with a laughtrack. You may fight low-grade conformity how you will; this is my way. In fact, now that I'm out here with Al, without a tv set, the whole subject becomes academic.
Tom Gilbert -- Great Roscoe; not only do you manage to turn out six pages for Apa L, you also find time to justify your right margins! Incredible! ## I have been recommending you to the out-of-towners who've been writing me for instructions on joining Apa L; I hope you don't mind increasing your Agenting. If you do; well, we've got too many members anyway. ## If the Distributions will stabilize at 20-25 contributions, all will be well. I doubt that they will, though. So far, at least two people (the Pelzes) have stated that they will drop out if more than 30 copies of their zine is required; I certainly wouldn't want to increase the size of the apa at the cost of some of our best members. ## I was also somewhat disappointed in reading the hardbound version of Farnham's Freehold; after hearing how bitterly Heinlein felt about Pohl's revisions for publication in IF, I thought that the complete book would probably contain much more material and smooth out some of the rough places in the serialized version. But they were almost identical, after all, as far as any important changes went. ## I'll be looking forward to seeing the film version of "The World of Ray Bradbury" after we see the stage play, to see how they compare. You remarked earlier in response to my comment that this might be the first sf dramatic production to win critical acclaim that I'd forgotten about Vidal's "Visit to a Small Planet". This is true; I also forgot that Swedish science-fiction opera and the stage production of Simak's "How-2" -- and, of course, Capek's classic "R.U.R." But the number is still small enough to count on your fingers, and "The World of Ray Bradbury" is probably one of the best serious attempts of those at dramatizing sf. Frankly, I do not consider "Visit to a Small Planet" as being serious science fiction; basically, it was presented as a comedy-fantasy, on a par with "Damn Yankees", or any of the numerous plays or movies in which an angel comes down to Earth to straighten out some mortal's problem. As serious dramatic science fiction, "The World of Ray Bradbury" is still one of the first efforts to win critical acclaim.
Owen Hannifen -- If you are actively working at Turning People Off, you have reached the stage at which you can start giving lessons. I consider Bill's layout, cramped as it is, infinitely better than this script type you insist on using after numerous complaints. And since when did you become the staunch upholder of Serious and Constructive Interest in the LASFS? Oh, well, I'll just copy your practice regarding silly and uninteresting lines and read no further.
Bruce Pelz -- I've had second thoughts on notifying Comic Fandom of the "Hugo" nominations. I still think giving Stan Lee the award for Best Publisher is a great idea, but can you be sure it'd stop there? I mean I'd hate to see the race for Best Novel fall between Side By Side with Sub-Mariner and Fate of the Flattened-Out Atom; the race for Best SF Artist between Steve Ditko and Carmine Infantino; etc.
John & Bĵo Trimble -- I notice that there seem to be quite a few printing supply houses in the vicinity of 2900 Beverly Blvd., though DupSupply & Gestetner are the only two I've ever used. DupSupply is such a friendly place, and as they have everything you need, and at such low rates, there's no real need to go anyplace else. ## The Rainbow Revival Chapel is pretty weird, all right -- I pass it every day going to & from work, now that I drive into town down Olympic Blvd. -- but I still think my favorite of Los Angeles' outré places of worship is the Church of the Holy Superet Light on 3rd near Alvarado, which seems to measure holiness by the amount of purple neon lighting you can string over your building. Come to think of it, they've got a rainbow, too -- that rainbow neon arch behind their life-size plaster statue of Christ on their front lawn... And then there's that 7th-Day-Adventist place on Hollywood Blvd. that looks like a futurific atomic blockhouse. ## The "Hugo" elections have been so fouled up lately in spite of all the resolutions passed by fans over the years specifying how they want things done that I'm beginning to think that it'd be best to take the awarding of the "Hugo"s away from the Worldcon Committees and hand it over to a Special "Hugo" Committee (not necessarily like the one voted on at the PacifiCon) that can be counted on to abide by a given set of rules and that can develop some continuity of practice. As for a "Hugo" for Best Dramatic Presentation being awarded at the Westercon, I realize that this would be compounding an already bad situation, but I'd rather see one given there than have no Best Dramatic Production "Hugo" at all in this year that has seen so many good sf dramatic productions. And frankly, if London sticks by its decision to cancel the award in spite of everything, I'll be so disgusted with the present setup that I'll be glad to sponsor the Westercon-given "Hugo" as a means of giving the strongest possible emphasis to our protest, and of deliberately confusing the issue so much that new, stronger measures will have to be adopted to handle the awarding of the trophies in the future. ## No, no; it was my pants I set fire to, while wearing Nick Falasca's. And Nick was in Colorado at the time, so I don't see that the Westercon Committee could have any grounds for complaint. Besides, I've got the precedent of the British Ambassador to Yakabakoo on my side. ## I just vaguely remember the air raid alerts; my family used to gather in the hall, which was toward the back of the house and was pitch-black with all the doors to it closed. Conversely, with all the doors closed you couldn't see the hall light (when it was on) except for an unimportant sliver under the doorjamb. So my parents turned out all the other lights in the house, and we gathered in the hall, with the hall light on and all the doors closed, which is pretty cramped. We never had an Air Raid Warden that I know of. When I went to Junior High School, I remember there being a rusting CD Gas Alert gong attached to a telephone pole nearby, which I presume was a leftover from the war.
Dave Hulan -- Well, it's about time you joined in this here apa. Glad to see you. ## Yes, I was very pleased when I found that I can get to DupSupply on my lunch hour without any trouble. One of the disadvantages I was afraid I'd have to face once I began a mundane job was that of not being able to replenish my mimeo supplies, and being dependent on the good graces of the other fans to keep me going. But, fortunately, it turns out I need not have worried. There's even time to wait while a photostencil is being run off. Did you see Bĵo's advertising cartoons on their display board when you were there?
Jay Freeman -- I think one reason the civil rights drive for Negroes is so much in the news is that it's easier than a lot of others to focus upon. Here you have a group of people of varying abilities and drives, united only by physical characteristics, and, in the public eye, they are all being denied progress, no matter how able some of the individuals might be. And of course you have the situation down South, where they are being frankly treated as second-class citizens. This is something you can point a finger at and say, "this is wrong and must be stopped!" With such things as employment for high school drop-outs and creeping welfare-statism, most people do feel that something should be done, but there's no obvious, ready-made solution at hand for them to focus upon. So they'll stick to pushing the civil rights drive, which can obviously be Solved if Those People would just Let Negroes Vote and Give Them Equal Job Opportunities and Education Facilities, and so on.