Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, April 21, 1966. Intended for Apa L, Seventy-Ninth Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1497, April 21, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 3-6321.
|San Diego in 1966!||Cleveland in 1966!||Salamander Press #170.|
Though I didn't get a chance to participate in voting for the LASFS' "Hugo" nominees, due to the press of getting Apa L out, I did hear enough of the debate to note that a strong new factor has arisen that will affect every fan's "Hugo" considerations in the future. This, of course, is the new "Nebula" series of awards, presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America, in March -- well ahead of the deadline for the preliminary nominations for the "Hugo" final ballot. The "Nebula" list will at least give a recommended voting list to the "Hugo" voter who can't recall whether there's been anything worthwhile in the Best Short Fiction category in the last year, and it may also come to provide the Favored Contender in both that and the Best Novel categories from now on. The big question is, how can the average fan, who's no professional critic, presume to know more (or "better") than the professional s-f writers themselves who've selected what in their professional opinion is the best from among their own works? How many fans will henceforth limit their own preliminary (and possibly final) judging to among the already-chosen "Nebula" winners of the year, as a "preselected" list of the best in the field, to save them the rigors of original thought? How many fans would rather die than vote for one of the "Nebula" winners, whatever it may be, feeling obligated to vote for anything else just to prove that they're Original Thinkers: (And don't tell me that there aren't such fans; we've got a prize selection right here in the club, who'd never submit to being Told how to vote!) Is this to become a source of bitter feeling between the fans and the pros, with Fandom feeling that it simply has to differ from the "Nebula" list in order to keep the "Hugo" from being a mere rubber-stamp echo of the March awards, in the same categories? How will the "Nebula"'s short fiction breakdown into Best Short Novel, Best Novelette, and Best Short Story categories affect the "Hugo"'s overall Best Short Fiction category -- one that many fans have felt is too all-inclusive anyway? How will the pro feel, who has won the "Nebula" but who loses -- possibly isn't even nominated for -- the" Hugo"; will this prove that fans are Better or Worse than the pros, or that they're operating under such a different set of voting criteria that they really shouldn't both be giving awards in the same categories? There's any number of questions along these lines that only time will bring out -- we'll just have to wait and see whether the two sets of awards complement each other or prove a source of friction.
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We have a semi-resignation from Apa L. Gregg Wolford, who's been with us for going on a year now, reports he's fast running out of money -- BOROGOVE at only one page costs at least 67¢ to produce and mail, and he only has about $1 a week fanac budget. So, for at least a while -- maybe until August -- he'll have to take our leave. We're sorry to see you go, Gregg, even if we can't read your almost-illegible dittography. Hurry back.
-- BEING COMMENTS ON LAST WEEK'S DISTRIBUTION
First of all, I'd like to thank all the contributors who said so many nice things about my HEAVY WATER #11 (the article on "Batman"); I was hoping it'd be liked, but I wasn't expecting so much comment on it, since I know there aren't that many people who are really interested in comic books, in Apa L. Yes, June Konigsberg, the illustrations were produced on electronic stencils -- Rex-Rotary's Electro-Rex Stencils, to be specific. I find these still give much better results than the electronic ditto masters that Fred Whitledge uses; and, unless there're large dark areas to be reproduced, the results are even better than Xeroxing. (It's not a question of Xerox or Electro-Rex being better at large dark areas; they're both bad.) Since an Electro-Rex stencil costs $2.25 to have made (special LASFS discount; regular price is $3), I ran all three illustrations on the same stencil, then cut them out and pasted them individually into the stencils with the text. This process may or may not work with photographs; I hope Digby tries it out with some of those snapshots he was taking at the Mad Hat Party last Saturday. It could add a lot more interest to Apa L. (I almost said "more color", but Not Exactly.) Yes, Bruce Pelz, I'll put more of the same sort of stuff through Apa L if & when I write it; as Don Fitch notes, most Comics Fandom zines are pretty wretched, which is one reason you didn't see HEAVY WATER ##1-10 in Apa L. (For one thing, since HW is produced for another apa, it often contains mailing comments that'd be meaningless here.) As a matter of fact, Barry Gold and Jim Schumacher, probably the key factor that prompted me to write the article was the discovery of Charles Champlin's article in the L.A. Times defining Pop and Camp and relating "Batman" to them; it summed up my own feelings on all three subjects so perfectly that I couldn't just ignore it. Frankly, I don't know whether or not I'll be able to write another article on comic books (& related interests) of so general a nature again, so this may be the last one to go through Apa L. To try getting a little more specific before signing off, though, I do have a general question to throw out to you; if you ever saw the Hanna-Barbera "serious" cartoon show, "Jonny Quest", at all -- which failed, I gather, because the good artwork wasn't enough to save the absolutely wretched plots -- how do you think the same show would do today, with this season's "camp" attitude toward comic books: the worse, the better? If the show were released today, instead of one or two seasons ago, do you think it would've been a hit instead of a flop?
June Konigsberg -- The Puffin British paperback editions of the Narnian Chronicles not only have all the illustrations in the U.S. editions, they also have several more illustrations & maps from the British hardback editions that were left out of the U.S. reprints. That's one reason the Puffins are always such a good buy.
Tom Digby -- "Nov shmoz ka pop?" used to be one of the biggest unanswered questions in America; it was asked for years by the weird little old hitchhiker in Gene Ahern's comic strip, "The Squirrel Cage", and ranks with Bill Holman's "Notary Sojac" (in "Smoky Stover") for Famous Frustrating Unanswered Questions. (If either of the two were explained, I wish somebody'd let me know about it.) ## BETA ETA ZETA was/is a horrible little fanzine published by Bernie Kling, of Beverly Hills. It's run off on his school ditto, on whatever scraps of paper he can get (which vary wildly from page to page in size, color, & texture), and is crudely written, typed, & drawn; all in all, it looks about like a ten-year-old's work. (Kling is at least in his mid teens, judging by the few brief meetings I had with him; he used to deliver BETA ETA ZETA to me in person every few months for about three issues, but whenever I invited him into the house, he'd say his mother was waiting for him in the car, and leave.) One of the reasons he & his zine became rather notorious is that Buck Coulson gave BEZ a "1" rating in his Fanzine Review Column, which is the lowest score he can give according to his rating charts, and one he doesn't hand out often -- most zines, no matter how much he criticizes 'em, get at least a "2" or a "3". Instead of accepting this quietly, though, Kling replied in a blast accusing Coulson of being a Grouch, using his column solely as a means of getting his kicks in tearing other fan's zines down without really judging them on their merits; and saying that if Coulson was really interested in helping neos adjust to Fandom, instead of just poking fun at them, the least he could've done would be to give BEZ a top "10" rating (for comparison, SHAGGY seldom got better than a "7" or "8") to make him (Kling) feel welcomed to Fandom and encourage him to do better in the future. Kling didn't seem to find anyone who agreed with him, though, and after making an idiot of himself for five or six more issues, he seems to've abandoned Fandom -- at least I haven't seen a new issue of BETA ETA ZETA in over six months now.
Hah! The April K-a mailing just arrived today -- the one HEAVY WATER #11 was prepared for -- and it pretty well underscores Don's observation that most CF zines are pretty wretched. Hmm, a couple of notes of possible general interest: 1) There are at least fourteen new television shows featuring comic-book costumed heroes in various stages of planning for next Fall's viewing, ranging from mere consideration to actual production, and ranging in treatment from cartoon to live-action and from straight adventure to "Batman"-type campy humor. Mentioned are: Plastic Man (otherwise defunct since his own comic book folded around 1955), Metamorpho, Wonder Woman, Capt. America, the Flash, Superboy, Superman (a new cartoon series, not more re-runs of the old live series), the Green Hornet, Iron Man, Sub-Mariner, the Incredible Hulk, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four (the last-named apparently being under consideration by Hanna-Barbera; the deal contingent on H-B's coming up with scripts that the comic's regular publishers will accept). Whoops, Aquaman too -- make that 15 new shows. 2.) Various U.S. comic book and comic strip characters are being "used by Castro's propaganda machinery to instill in the youth of Cuba a contempt and hatred of American society. In crude attempts at satire, using our own cartoon characters as foils, the Communist press wallows thru the vice and hypocrisy of our nation". (Quote from adv't for CF zine reprinting examples of this Cuban propaganda.)
Bruce Pelz -- I consider one of Thorne Smith's better books to be The Stray Lamb; a title of his I don't often see mentioned. If you like Thorne Smith, try some H. Allen Smith, too -- Rhubarb, or Mr. Zip.
Johnny Chambers -- I think you're underestimating the amount of time it take Book Rate material to travel between Los Angeles and San Jose; your zine for the 77th Dist'n didn't reach here until the following Monday, 4 days later. Better either allow more time for delivery or add more postage. ## Ah, the Golden Years of Walt Disney's Comics, 1947-1950. I frankly think that a lot of those old stories are worth of hardback republication. ## The art in Double "Ork!" is good, though the plot is pretty nothing so far. Let's see how it develops.
Andy Porter -- Gee, you Lucky Fans who live in the comic-book center of the universe and get all your news direct from the publishers and editors and artists and writers themselves! I usually have to wait for the monthly K-a Mailing for my news.
Bill Glass -- Your serial's still good; keep it coming. And that's a nice floor plan (more or less) of the Booby Hatch, our current 5th Ave. slan-shack.
Felice Rolfe -- Well, I guess I won't be coming up for the April 30th party, after all. I'm considering making a special drive up by myself sometime when there is no party planned, so I'll have plenty of time to look over the 'Frisco & Berkeley book, stamp, and coin shops, and see some of the sights such as Golden Gate Park. I'm getting tired of coming up with other fans on a schedule that gets me there just in time for the party, and drags me away immediately afterward, with no time to see or do anything else; this time I'll be driving, and setting the schedule. But it probably won't be until after the Westercon; The Best from APA L is going to be taking up all my spare time between now & then.
Fred Whitledge -- No, Jack Harness isn't really a stamp collector, but I am! Bring in your stock books & suchlike the next time you come in.
Barry Gold -- The fact that Charles L. Dodgson wrote interesting books on math is no proof that he was or was not a dull professor. (Semantic quibble for today.)