Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, May 25, 1966. Intended for Apa L, Eighty-Fourth Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1502, May 26, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 3-6321.
|Cleveland in 1966!||Los Angeles in 1968!||Salamander Press #176.|
WE ALSO BRING you unauthorized reprints. From PUBLISHERS' WEEKLY, May 9th:
Editors, THE PUBLISHERS' WEEKLY:
Certain aspects of the settlement between Ace Books and Professor J.R.R. Tolkien reported in PW, March 14, seem to required clarification, which perhaps his English publisher may provide.
1. Far from being "on record from the start as willing to pay royalties to Dr. Tolkien, but not his publishers," Ace Books published and distributed their version of "The Lord of the Rings" without reference to our communication with their author. Only after energetic protests from numerous quarters had been sustained for several months did Professor Tolkien receive, last December, for the first time, a letter from Ace Books.
2. As Ace Books did not care to correspond with Professor Tolkien's publishers, the inference that the author would only receive one quarter of the U.S. paperback royalties is theirs. It is also untrue. Except in Formosa, incidents of moral piracy are happily rare. When they do occur, few responsible publishers would wish to profit in any way from an injury to one of their authors.
3. In reaching agreement with Professor Tolkien, Ace Books undertook not to print any further copies of their version of "The Lord of the Rings" without the author's permission. As sole rights for an authorized paperback have already been granted to Ballantine Books, it is difficult to conceive such permission ever being possible.
4. It is noteworthy that the net result of this affair has been to distract an author of genius for six months from all creative work. Those who admire Professor Tolkien's books and clamor for more will draw their own conclusion.
George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
40 Museum St.
London, W. C. 1, England
BRITISH BOOKS, the British trade equivalent of PW, has a similar article in its April 1966 issue, summing up the 'piracy' issue to date, and stating that it all became possible because "The official edition of 2,000 copies originally imported into the States in 1955 was 500 over the limit allowed by the 'manufacturing clause' of the American Domestic Copyright Act", thus making it a work 'published' in the United States, and needing an American copyright for protection, which, of course, it did not have. The article goes on to state that, to date, over 200,000 copies of the hardbound Ring Trilogy have been sold in Britain, at 3 guineas (approx. $8.82) the set; and concludes: "Professor Tolkien is working on a new book which is set in the same imaginary world as his trilogy and describes the first meeting of men and Elves and the marriage between the ancestors of Aragorn, one of the chief characters in THE RING BOOKS. Like their descendant, they go to war against the Dark Lord. The ending is sad and -- which will probably upset Tolkien fans even more -- there are no hobbits." Too bad, but then the hobbits weren't supposed to be in the First Age, anyway, so I suppose we couldn't really expect them. From the above description, it sounds as though the forthcoming work will feature the saga of Lúthien and Beren (cf. I,258-261). Conflicting reports have the work as an off-again, on-again thing; I hope that since the Ace piracy conflict is now settled, Prof. Tolkien is now devoting himself to the new work.
-- BEING COMMENTS ON LAST WEEK'S DISTRIBUTION
Dan Alderson -- While I realize that most of your zines are not run originally for Apa L, and therefore you can't run them back-to-back, over ten separate one-pagers in one Dist'n is a bit much. While I like a thick Dist'n as well as anybody else, there's no point in filling it with meaningless trash. (If you think your trash is worth something, that's something else again.) What was the need of the reprint of the back of BARSH? When I asked you last week, you said that you had the extra copies and you didn't know what else to do with them. In other words, you were using Apa L as your wastebasket, just to get your name mentioned once more on the Table of Contents. All it accomplished was to take the collators that much longer to finish assembling the Dist'n, on a night when we were already short of time. If you've got something of legitimate value for Apa L -- your want ads, your comic book material, even your Diplomacy zines -- we're glad to get it, but please leave out the junk that should go into the wastebasket.
Bĵo Trimble -- I'm not much on costumery, but I enjoyed this very much as a writeup on a section of our city that I hardly know at all. (Except for the couple of times I've been there with you.) Very good.
Ruth Berman -- Yes, thank you, that is what I meant in my comments to Barry: the fact that a person is an interesting author does not mean that he therefore must necessarily be an interesting speaker in person, as well. I had in mind Jack Vance, who's one of my favorite authors, but who proved to be one of the worst speakers I've ever heard (or haven't heard, since he talked so softly that the microphone turned to full power a few inches in front of him couldn't pick up his words), at WesterCon 1962. (It was '62, wasn't it?) I hadn't seen that particular quote about Dodgson's teaching habits, but it agrees with what I had heard about Dodgson: that he tried to be in person as unlike Lewis Carroll as he could, once even returning a letter addressed to Carroll as "no such person living at this address".
Johnny Chambers -- Like the cover blurbs to Vargo Statten's novels, each new zine of yours is the best thing you've ever done. Keep it up. ## We'll look forward to seeing you in town with the WesterCon mob. Any chance, I wonder, that we could get up a cartooning contest, between you, Bĵo, Dian, Rotsler, etc."
Jack Harness -- "Gondorfinger" does improve. Particularly liked this time was your comment about the 17 languages. You seem to've lost track of your numbering system for GALLSTONE, though.
Tom Digby -- Yes, it was too bad about Barman! I've seen that sort of thing happen before; someone tries to build up a powerful statement and then ruins it all by misspelling the climax. An example I recall offhand was an article about a certain character familiar to all of us as a stock monster in horror movies, but it seems that this same character (though not exactly in the same format, of course) is also a powerful figure in Navajo mythology. Who is this character? The Woflman! I looked at that statement and said to myself, "The Waffleman?" He sort of ruined his effect there, at least as far as this reader was concerned. I like your idea of Barman, though; he can battle against Abstinence Aggie, the Hatchet Horror; or maybe you should use the secret agent schtick and make him Barman, the Man from BARLEYCORN? Anyhow, you get the idea. Who knows what one innocent little typo may have started?
Len Bailes -- Since when does anybody need Lee Hoffman before they can laugh at "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral"? I cracked up the first time I saw it. Burt Lancaster looks about as much like Wyatt Earp as Zsa Zsa Gabor looks like Marie Curie; and if the real Doc Holliday ever saw that movie, I wouldn't want to be in Kirk Douglas' boots. It might be even more fun to rewatch it with Blackjack Sam in mind, though; I'll have to try it.
Chuck Crayne -- All the mundane comments about Science having Caught Up with Science-Fiction are true to the extent that, science is continuing to make big strides forward today, whereas science-fiction -- gimmick science-fiction in particular -- has pretty much been at a standstill for the past decade. "Science" has given way to "sociology" in the s-f field because "science" needs a gimmick -- a space ship or a time machine or a mind-control device or a youth serum -- and practically all of the gimmicks that there are have been used so thoroughly that they're all old hat now. There aren't many new aspects of scientific technology to use in s-f; not without finding something so technical that the average readership couldn't follow the story, anyway. That's why, these days, the emphasis is on the characterization and sociology; not the gimmick, but what's done with the gimmick. ## Gilbert & Sullivan were topical, but not that topical. There are many gags throughout their operettas that remain funny even though the social context has long changed. The rotten boroughs mentioned in "Pinafore", for example. I feel that "Princess Ida" is weak, not because it's no longer topical, but just because it isn't as well written. The 2nd act has nothing lively to keep it going; it just drags. The ideas expressed on the "then-novel" subject of women's education are just as funny as they were then, because of the manner in which they are expressed; the militant feminist theory that women are superior to men, men need a woman behind them to ever amount to anything, a civilization of women could exist without men, etc. Science-fiction stories written around this theme are still appearing regularly, and most continue to be quite amusing: Robert Sheckley's "The Girls and Nugent Miller", Cyril Kornbluth's "The Cosmic Charge Account", William Tenn's "Venus is a Man's World", etc. It is surprising that Ida is not a sympathetic character; because she's the female lead in a light comic operetta, she must be sympathetic, rather than cold and haughty. The role should've been played as Glynis Johns played Mrs. Banks in Disney's "Mary Poppins", or as Natalie Wood played Maggie du Bois in "The Great Race". ["Wood" and "du Bois"; I hadn't noticed that before...] A dumb female, but loveable. I think the actress who was playing Princess Ida in that performance took Marie Antoinette and Queen Victoria as her models of how royalty should act.
Andy Porter -- It sounds as though you have an excellent Con hotel lined up. It's attending to details like this in advance -- and getting your publicity out -- that'll help you get the bid. Of course, we're getting a preponderance of MY propaganda here, due to the geographic arrangement of our contributors. It's nice to see word coming from someone; there's been nothing but silence from San Diego for months, now.
By the way, people, this Dist'n is the last one from which material will be considered for inclusion in The Best from APA L: 1966. It'll cover the 33rd to 84th Dist'ns; June, 1965, to May 1966. Tentative goal is 125 pages, like last time; about 1/10 is already completed. The next month will be a busy one...