Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, March 30, 1966. Intended for Apa L, Seventy-Sixth Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1494, March 31, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 3-6321.
|San Diego in 1966!||Thomas Schlück for TAFF!||Salamander Press #164.|
After a period of a little over a year -- since around November 1964, to be more exact -- I am once more the possessor of a television set. I lost access to my last one when I moved out of my parents' home into my present abode; and, what with all the hurlyburly of getting settled in a new home, building bookcases, etc., I gradually lost what little devotion I'd had to the glowing screen. Though I've slowly been adding to my store of living-type possessions -- a refrigerator, living-room chairs, an automobile, etc. -- getting a new television was pretty far down on my list of want items; I've been tentatively considering a hi-fi/stereo radio/record player as my next big acquisition, in about a year's time, after I see what my TriCon expenses will be.
But now I've got a television again anyhow, out of the blue. Or, rather, out of the Trimbles' living room. Bĵo phoned me last week to ask how I'd like their old set, which they were moving out to make way for their new hi-fi/stereo radio/record player, to be followed by a new television (probably color); results of the new Trimble affluence coming from Bĵo's new jobs. Naturally, I said yes, and John brought it over the following evening. It's an old Hoffman black-&-white, 19-or-so inch, floor model (year unknown). Tom hooked it up Sunday, and, except for slightly fuzzy reception of Channel 11, it seems to work fine.
So I've had my new television set for three days now, and, except for about five minutes after hooking it up to make sure it's working properly, I haven't used it yet. This is mostly because there isn't that much on the screen that I consider worth watching in the way of seasonal shows, and the worthwhile movies don't come on until after I'm in bed. As I have no need to spend the hours between arriving home from work and my bedtime in watching the boob tube simply to kill time -- my regular fanac plus trying to keep up with the stream of current s-f more than takes up all my available spare time -- I don't expect I'll be using the set much other than on the weekends, when so many of the better movies are on, anyway. Of course, there will be exceptions to this; any time there's a W.C. Fields movie on, or an old Marx Brothers, or something along that line. Or I may start watching "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." -- I never did see it much past about the fifth show of the first season. Ironically, the one show I would watch regularly -- "Batman" -- will be out for me anyhow, because I have a night class in German at USC on Wednesdays, and Thursdays are taken up with the LASFS Meetings. And I may or may not take to watching "Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea" regularly again; I'll have to try it and see if I still get as big a kick out of that crazy submarine as I used to. And then Tom has his favorite programs, of course. But most of all, even if I'm not planning on becoming an addict of the tv screen again, it's always nice to be able to watch something special when it comes along. Thank you very much, John & Bĵo.
In the line of some sort of special event to commemorate our 1500th Meeting on May 12, how do you all feel toward a beach picnic on the evening of Saturday the 14th? An after-dark, wienie-roast type of thing; I don't know whether the grunion are running at that time of year or not, but if they are, we can have a try at them, too. The LASFS has never sponsored this type of event, to my knowledge, and it's about time we broke into fresh ground. Let's have your ideas: does anyone know of a particularly good beach, or anything else that'd make one specific spot more desirable than others? Or should we plan on an all-day outing, culminating in the Beach Dinner? Suggestions?
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Well, I've decided to go into the book-dealing business. British books. Children's fantasies in particular. See me at the Meeting tonight or any night if you want to look through my catalogs for something to order, and allow a couple of months for delivery.
This decision isn't exactly a new one with me, though it's the first time that I've gone into it on such a large scale. Several years ago, I got disgusted with the poor selection of children's books available in cheap editions in this country, as compared to England in particular, and I began trading U.S. s-f with British fans -- first Jim Cawthorn, later Ian Peters -- for various titles I wanted. These agreements eventually fell through, as Jim and Ian got all the American books they wanted, or could afford -- as I was also putting in orders for various LASFS members, this often put the trading in terms of higher finance than the British fans were interested in going. So I've finally decided to take my ordering to the biggest mail-order bookstore in England, Blackwell's, and I'm ordering in quantity of those titles that I know a lot of you will want -- or, if you want a specific book, I'll put in a special order for you.
Since I'm not a professional bookseller, and I don't have access to the usual dealer's discount from the publishers, I have to pay cover price for these books. (Many of them, especially the Puffin editions labeled, "For copyright reasons this edition is not for sale in the U.S.A.", couldn't be obtained by such means in any case.) This, plus the additional charge of around a dollar or so in postage and insurance fees, means that I'm forced to charge you more than cover price if I'm not to lose money myself on the deal. Still, as I don't have any of the large overhead of a regular bookseller, I'm able to let you have these at well under the price any regular bookstore will charge. Campbell's Book Store in Westwood, for example, charges $1.25 for the 3/6 (48¢) edition of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince; my price is only 65¢. So on the whole, you'll save 30¢ to 60¢ on every copy you order through me.
Rather than charging different prices per title, as the regular bookstores do, basing their prices on the popularity of the title, I've worked out the following conversion rate: 50¢ for 2/- books, with the price increasing by 5¢ per 6d to the rate of 75¢ for a 4/6 book; then 90¢ for a 5/- title, and so on. (These rates are for fairly low denominations because I expect to be dealing mainly in paperbacks; if someone wants a 15/- or 18/6 book, I'll have to make a special rate.) This means I'm charging 50¢ for a 28¢ book, 55¢ for a 35¢ book, 60¢ for a 42¢ book, 65¢ for a 49¢ book, 70¢ for a 56¢ book, 75¢ for a 63¢ book; then 90¢ for a 70¢ book, etc. As most of the books run from 3/- to 4/-, you'll ordinarily pay only from 60¢ to 70¢ -- and for a British paperback, with all the text and illustrations of the original edition, this is well worth it!
For my first selection, I have 8 copies of C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader", 8 copies of his The Silver Chair, 9 of his The Horse and His Boy, 9 copies of Alan Garner's The Moon of Gomrath (a Tolkienish fantasy), 3 copies of Arthur Calder-Marshall's The Fair To Middling, and one copy of Michael Bond's Paddington Helps Out. The books are all 3/6, or 65¢ each, with the exception of the Paddington book, which is only 3/-. The Lewis books (vols. 3-5 of his Narnian Chronicles) contain all the material of the American editions, plus various illustrations and maps left out of the American editions, not to mention original cover illustrations by Pauline Baynes. The Moon of Gomrath and The Fair to Middling are unavailable in the U.S. in any edition. I expect these to sell out fast, so you'd better get yours quickly.
-- BEING COMMENTS ON LAST WEEK'S DISTRIBUTION
Andy Porter -- A very good cover, and thank you very much for contributing it. We get all too little from our out-of-town contributors; I think Ted White's on the 42nd Dist'n was the last one prior to this. Not that I have anything against Bĵo, Dian, Don Simpson, Jack Harness, or Luise Petti, but we do have other talent in Apa L, and it'd be nice to see it on our covers more often. Ted, could we get another cover from you? Johnny Chambers? ## Yeah, I know about the Numismatic Soc'y's museum; I'd be interested in seeing it, though not as interested in hitting the NY numismatic shops to add to my own collection. I've just about cleaned the LA coin stores out of their stocks of (uncirculated) foreign paper money. Since there's no market for it, it's mostly very cheap; but contrariwise, none of the shops stock it regularly. So I'm going to have to go further afield in my search; I expect to do a fair amount of looking on my way to, in, & back from Cleveland this year, & ditto with the East Coast next year. And, if I can get up to the Bay Area early enough before the next G&S Party, maybe go through the San Francisco shops next month. ## Ditko leaving Marvel? Whyfor?
Bruce Pelz -- Alton B. Chermak sounds a bit too suspiciously like an amalgam of Alton B. Parker and Anton Cermak, two names that should be fairly familiar to anyone studying American 20th-century history in college, to be taken without more than a grain of salt; I'd definitely like more proof for Chermak's existence before accepting him as a regular Apa L receiving contributor. (Alton B. Parker was the Democratic candidate for President against Teddy Roosevelt in 1904; Anton Cermak was the Democratic mayor of Chicago who was killed in the attempted assassination of FDR in Miami in 1933. Both Democrats; both "losers" to a Roosevelt. Anybody happen to know the political affiliations of Messrs. Kaiser and Kusske?)
Dan Alderson -- My ordering of the Narnian Chronicles, from most to least excellent, would run: 1. The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader". 2. The Last Battle. 3. The Horse and His Boy. 4. Prince Caspian. 5. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 6. The Magician's Nephew. 7. The Silver Chair. These are my personal choices; I know the ordering of the series according to personal preferences never gets two lists alike. Several people have told me they consider The Silver Chair to be one of the better works in the series (one considers it the best); why, I don't know, but it just doesn't impress me that much. On the other hand, Andre Norton, whose opinions regarding children's fantasy I generally regard very highly, refuses to even give The Horse and His Boy shelf space with the other six volumes in her personal library, though I consider it one of the best titles in the series. And Dave Hulan dislikes the series as a whole. Another heated topic for argument among Narnian fans is whether the Chronicles should be read in the order in which they were written, or according to the internal chronological order (particularly in the case of reading The Magician's Nephew first or sixth.)? I say in the order in which they were written, but though there are many fans who agree with me, this opinion seems to be in the minority. (I feel that the reader who has already come to love Narnia, will get much more out of the story of the Creation of Narnia, than the reader who reads this first, when he's not yet familiar with the world. Lion, Witch & Wardrobe is in mood obviously the introductory volume to Narnia, and needs no prelude.) I think you can read C.S. Lewis' own feelings toward the Chronicles in the books. The first, Lion, Witch & Wardrobe, was obviously a private labor of love not originally intended for publication, as were Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit; Lewis says as much in his dedication of the book to his Goddaughter: "My Dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. ..." it was a success when published, and he went on to write Prince Caspian and "Dawn Treader", still obviously writing about a land of which he was very fond. The Silver Chair and Horse and Boy seem slicker to me; I think he was keeping a successful thing going, but beginning to tire of producing a volume a year. And The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle, telling respectively of the Creation and the Termination of Narnia, were written to tidy up the loose ends and definitely bring the Chronicles to a conclusion.