READERS LETTERS

ERIC FRANK RUSSELL

I know a place infinitely more sinister than the Portballintrae dump. You must take a look at it sometime -- and then you won't believe it. Vickery's Hotel in Bantry. Front door is conspiratorial and obviously once closed behind patriots doomed to be s hot in Dublin Castle. Entrance hall looks like a museum dating from 1840, with wax fruit, dust-ridden tapestries, fly-blown lithos of gents in billycock hats, some made crosseyed with strategically placed bluebottle shirts, faded bullrushes in antiquated jars, a carpet at least a century old, and other items too numerous to mention. Over all a fusty smell like that of Tut's Tomb and a brooding silence as of Something waiting ... waiting ... prepared to wait for a thousand years ... until at long last the wanted blood-type comes unwarily in and ..... A-A-A-Ahh!!!!

Upstairs, the dining-room resembles a mortuary that was converted into a ballroom about 1880 and ever since has striven to revert back. Here there is ONE, only ONE, nobody else seen or heard. He waits upon all regardless of number, hunger or urgency. H e has the build of a bean-pole, hollow cheeks putty coloured, sunken lifeless eyes, and he glides across the faded carpet with little dust-tracks following his heels. He brings soup which is warm blancmange in which he has a skeletal thumb. There is Utter Silence while he, one of the Undead, waits upon the Soon To Be Dead.

No fooling, boy, Erica at 19 can eat like a horse and she went into Vickery's hungry. She came out the same way rather than gnaw the corpses in a mausoleum. She just couldn't stomach it. Had to walk around Bantry to get some fresh air and then eat bisc uits after I'd paid the Undead 18/- for nix. Ghosts do the cooking in that joint and beds make themselves by order of a long-dead witch. There is nobody there but that One.

EFR also mentions that the story he told us about in the cafeteria in Liverpool is in the October S.F.PLUS.

PAUL ENEVER

Harris, an ex-pen-friend of mine, assured me that he was editing the next HYPHEN. Obviously then, this pale green palimpsest is a forgery, since I see practically no mention of his name except a few scurrilous references in the more libidinous p arts of the text. However, for something in which Harris had no hand (except for a dirty big thumb print disguised as a cartoon on p.11), Hyphen #4 does not discredit the Rainham reputation.

Taking, with unfannish logic, first things first, there is the front cover. I have long suspected Vin¢ of harbouring some great secret grief. It now reveals itself --- he has Artistic Leanings. Indeed, the portrait embodied in his design has quite lifelike properties. It reminds me strongly of a young woman I met at the Coroncon, a Miss Mahaffey. American, of course but quite a nice girl really.

Yes, Bea told me that whenever Englishmen wanted to be specially complimentary they always told her she wasn't like an American at all. It just proves she should have done as Bloch suggested --- wear a tight skirt split up the side, chew gum incessa ntly, and punctuate her conversation with "Hot dog" and Oh you kid!"

FRED ROBINSON

HYPHEN couldn't have arrived at a better time. I've just been to the dentist, I took it along with me and read James' piece (That's not a very nice way to talk about Miss Mahaffey, Fred.) de resistance (even so) in the waiting room. The o ther patients must have thought me mad as I sat and chuckled continuously. It was a change from looking at picture papers of flying bomb raids on London and similar up to date and cheerful items. (Dentists please write for special subscription terms fo r HYPHEN, the magazine your patients can get their teeth into.)

Great cover by Vin¢, only it's the cover I have for CAMBER #2. Great title 'Beacon', only it's the title of my conreport too. (Too bad, Fred. You have our deepest sympathy. Heh heh.)

Say, how many typers have you? Just because James has turned vile pro there's no need to swank.

Just two, an elite portable and this Varityper. The essential difference between a Varityper and an ordinary typer is that it has neither platen roller or type bars. All the letters are on a little quarter-circular plate which fits onto a wheel call ed the 'anvil'. The feed rollers hold the paper in front of this and when you press a key a hammer comes from behind and clouts it against the typeplate, which by some happy chance has by then moved round to the correct position. The main advantage of the contraption is that you can change your typeface to this or this or this or this or any one of a hundred others available to any millionaire. Letter spacing and line spacing are also variable to a certain extent.

TED CARNELL

Dear Slug-ugly: A magnificent effort. What was it all about? Who is this fellow White who holds a torch for Mahaffey, and seems to have held more than that playing tag up and down the mountains?

I always think that it is a great pity you get tired so easily and go to bed before ever finishing an article. Can't ever remember seeing a complete one by you. How many unfinished MS have you to your credit now?

Dig that crazy mixed-up pro-ed. Ever since I said he looked like Groucho Marx he's gone all sardonic on us. Where is the happy laughing Ted that Frank Edward Arnold told us all about? I always finish my articles, though maybe the readers don't.

I had a letter from Bert Campbell in which he was flat broke and almost destitute in NY, living on the charity of Dave Kyle, eating bread and cheese once daily and walking around NYC, (but thoroughly enjoying life.) The wind was so low in Philly that h e owed his hotel bill and had to be helped out by a whip round by some of the boys ... I imagine his story will be one of the most outstanding in the annals of fandom when (and if) he ever gets back. Last report I had he had put off sailing three times. H e was due to sail on Oct. 21st, but as he was in Vancouver on the 18th even that was problematical. He found his way to Los Angeles, where Ackerman devoted much of his valuable time to showing him around. Thereafter he worked his way up the West Coast, la nding in Vancouver where he has been earning money doing radio talks. I gather that he borrowed money right left and centre in NY, and has stayed on in Canada until he'd earned sufficient to repay his debts.

Vernon McCain in REVIEW says; "I have encountered few people with worse manners than an otherwise likeable British fan now in this country." Bert, have you been calling them 'bloody colonials'?


I do a little writing on the side.


TERRY JEEVES

Many thanks for the excellent issue of HYPHEN. Since it appears to be customary to slate your multitudinous publications (lotsa fanzines) herewith is/are my two cents. The paper makes me sea green, and the staples stuck in my fingers. Oh yes, and I did n't find the marked ones until I had undone the others, consequently I now have a looseleaf folder of HYPHEN.

Congratulations to James on flogging a yarn to ASF. Strangely enough, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hate to admit this, but it was a good yarn. That's enough praise for one day, let us get back to our muttons. Bea Mahaffey seems to figure (?) in the publi c taste. Me, I'm entirely unbiased. I don't care whether I have her on toast, or for a nightcap. YUM YUM. The title was a damn gudun. More praise dammit; hold on while I find summat to gripe about. Oh yes, the name of the mag. Every time I tell a femme fa n that I simply lurve to go through a new 'Hyphen' she ups and slaps me down. Apparently it sounds like 'hymen.' Why not change the name to something dignified like 'New Doors'? Hmm. then saying something about getting stuck into 'New Doors' would earn a slap .... There is an idea here somewhere --- why not publish a series of fanzine oneshots called 'Necking', 'Petting', 'XXXXing', and so on. Then I could waltz up to a luscious popsy at a con and say "Do you like Necking?" If she turned frigid, I could hastily produce your product. If she said yes, I could produce mine. Period (I hope not).

ARCHIE MERCER

It always makes me feel uncomfortable when people begin soliciting money for supposedly deserving causes. If I harden my heart against them I feel like a louse, and if I fork out I feel like a sucker. I find the two descriptions about equally objection able --- but in the former case you can at least have the satisfaction of keeping the money, so it's strictly preferable. Therefore I'm not going to give you two hundred pounds. No, nor one hundred. Not so much as one paltry guinea will I give your Transatlantic Fund. Here's a pound.

Of course, I know perfectly well I could afford two if I wanted to. I'd be simple to raise it -- just pawn the other shoe.

As an idea, the Fund certainly has my approval. Liaison between the two branches of fandom appears to be intrinsically a Good Thing, and in principle I'm all for it. So you can book the pound down to a principle or something. Naturally, I've got no con structive nomination to make. But it occurs to me that the following point might be well emphasized; odd loose characters like myself, with no local or other axe to grind, would do well to plump for somebody who's known to be capable of writing interestin gly and entertainingly about his experience. In any case, the person who benefits most from the trip will be the Chosen One, but if he (or for that matter, she) is chosen with that end in view, the rest of us can at least get something back./ Your argumen ts in favour of the franchise being extended to Americans appear to be unanswerable.

So much for that. The balance of the '-' hardly needs comment. It kept me away from reading for an evening, and I didn't count the evening as wasted. At times I even found myself bursting into peals of laughter, which I don't often do when I should, ev en if the story's supposed to be funny. It would hardly be politic to say whose style of humour, yours or James White's, I preferred, but I do. (Huh?)

DEREK PICKLES

Thanks for H4, which I waded through. Who made cracks about maximum wordage on fanzine pages? Of course the astounding news was reserved until the inside back cover -- that a sterling gentleman who recognises talent has nominated me , among the first s ix of what will eventually roster the whole fan population of these islands. If the worst comes to the best (or vice versa) I shall be honoured, nay delighted (as the politician says) to go --- and as a little help towards whoever does eventually g o I enclose a copy of 'Tarzan & The Foreign Legion' (1st BRE, bound, 7/6) for auction, sale or raffle.

PETER CAMPBELL

So once again Hyphen hits us in the letterbox -- ouch! The front cover is quite an artistic job, though Bea is much better looking than that. James White made quite a job of the Beacon report, didn't he; and all without mentioning the actual con vention. TOTO is good stuff, especially Ray Nelson's cartoons -- let's see more of these if you can get them. What's his name short for -- Raybid?

The Transatlantic Fund is going to need all the Willisagacity to handle it, but your proposed rules make a good start. I can't suggest any additions or changes to the plan.

The 'Beacon' was supposed to be the Irish do.

PETE TAYLOR

That report on Bea's tour was a rill treat, please to congratulations my convey to james white (whom Ghu crush) and tell him to expect a dozen packets of lens cleaners by mule-pack next Boozday or so. I enclose a short sub which I'll renew only if you feel a slight conscience for omitting to acknowledge my dreary presence in our sooper-colossal epic 'Food'. Why Potterfella only managed to open his chatterorgan before Fred started the malarky which finished us off in complete confusion. Surely 'twas Shi rley and I who actually managed to convey an impression of a play being staged; though I must admit the audience were too kind with their polite laffter, it all came at the wrong moments.

Excuse my heathy (where the 'ell?) curiosity that befits a young fan, but do you really think that we young-fen don't bother to mix with you-all sixth-fandomers? Heck, it takes us all our time to get into conversation with you olderfen, usually because you simply ignore us most times. Not you personally, Walt, but some others.

Not really --- I put the remark in mainly to see what the reaction would be.

KEN POTTER

Old Man; I don't suggest that you are a doddering old fool -- that should hardly be necessary -- but perhaps your memory is not all it might be. I bring myself to quote from Hyphen; "These younger fans keep very much together and don't mix with us old has-BNFs."

Walter Willis! We spent a good 70% of the Convention flaunting ourselves before 6th Fandom. Dave and I spent the entire afternoon trying to slip your confederate cap beneath our jackets. I even condescended to ask your opinion on my theory that stars are the fairies' daisychains and (NB) you grinned sheepishly. If liaison did not take place between the Young Blood, and the aneamic (sic) (How do you spell anemic anyway -- we spell it XPOHV and pronounce it silently) (these bloody provincials!) it was your fault.

Aren't you confusing 'mixing' with 'mixing it'? You admit you came not there to praise us, but to seize our beret. Obviously you think we're old hat and prefer acts of war to cultured fannish discourse. Hands off our has-beanies!

Perhaps we have only ourselves to blame, when one looks deeper into the problem. For you had not then quite declined, and we were young and callow. We admit it, we were beneath your notice.

But now we have grown out of all that. We have realised that although we are in fandom, and contemporaries of the 7th, we cannot be numbered amongst the common herd. We are not of the hoi polloi. We are the party. Due solely to our intell ect, David Wood, Harry Harlan and I stand out amongst all the others. Due solely to my personal prejudices, and opinion that she is Britain's answer to Bea Mahaffey AND Marilyn Monroe, and the fact that she actually reads good sf, showing certain i ntellect, Irene Gore is also a member of our happy group. She is a new fan, you have not heard of her. You will, you will!

You have committed another sin. Not only did you fail to spell out the name STAN KENTON in full capitals, but you merely passed over the fact that his records were being heard in the Con hall as if it were a mere detail. STAN KENTON is not a mere detai l. Never will he be a mere detail. He is a great man, in fact it is one of the qualifications for Party membership to appreciate his music. You might at least give me credit for knowing it was Stan Keaton records, and not something wrong with the publi c address system.

I don't remember ever having a sub but behind my name is a cross. Well, not exactly a cross, rather a little squiggle. Perhaps a subtle dig at the Unknown Political Prisoner, perhaps a pun of some kind, perhaps one of your witty little cartoons. More l ikely a counterfeit doodle. Anyway I don't want the damn thing.

Scintillatingly,

Ken

I should explain that the person who wrote out your address foolishly reasoned that two copies of SLANT, four of HYPHEN, one of the BOB SHAW APPRECIATION MAGAZINE, and two of QUANDRY were almost adequate recompense for two of PERI, and put an X afte r your name to indicate as much. I however struck it out, knowing we could expect from you a charming and helpful letter of comment on the magazine.


"Say something memorable."


DAVE ISH

.....I recognise Seventh Fandom as a definite force and influence in fannish history but I'm damned if I'll let myself get carried away with the idea. It's my firm opinion that Seventh Fandom will never equal the level of the not-so-old days, and any f anzine that could ever hope to come up to the standard of QUANDRY could be published by no one else but Lee Hoffman. The transition is a drastic one, but that doesn't make it a better one, not by a damnsite. Ellison's magazine will probably come to the to p of the heap, but not in the same manner Q did. It lacks the touch that all good mimeography and material in the world couldn't match. SFB is good at what it is, but it can't replace QUANDRY.

Another thing about Seventh Fandom that strikes me as being a definite defect is the youthfulness of it as a group. With the lone exception of Dean Grennel, I don't think there's a fan in it that can legally drink a glass of beer. Youth is a fine thing , but what Seventh Fandom needs is more people with youth behind them and a tendency to reminisce. Seventh Fandom is full of people just finding out about life and about themselves, and uttering concepts that are new to them, but unfortunately old hat to the 30 year old. I haven't got anything against people who discover themselves and think it's pretty wonderful and form a general philosophy of life. Hell, I do that myself. It's just that when you have a predominance of it in fandom, it's as bad as compl etely living in the past as fellows like Gernsback do. A balance has to be struck, and there aren't enough older fans to do it. There aren't enough fans who have had experience enough in life to view things objectively and say 'so what?' when somebody mak es a statement at right-angles with his beliefs. There are too many young fans that scurry around writing furtive little articles, forever clarifying their points. There are too many fans that can't take it easy, but have to put out top drawer stuff and b ootstrap themselves to BNFdom, instead of doing it graciously and quietly as Hoffman did. It's no longer a case of "This is a fanzine, if you like it .. fine: if you don't .. read someone else's." It's now "This is my fanzine --isn't it ter rific!" It's a bandwagon with too many people wanting to jump on. It's a bandwagon that's headed for oblivion at a high rate of speed, pushed by too-eager fans. We need a few older fans to slow it down.

I owe you an apology, Dave, for extracting this from a private letter which wasn't meant for publication, but it seems to me the first and best expression I've seen of an interesting reaction against 'Seventh Fandom' among the younger fans themselve s.

ROBERT BLOCH

...It's true, I've finally moved up north and will devote my full time to writing. It is my ambition to become the poor man's Arthur C. Clarke ... this is lending added weight to the old saying, "Poverty is a dreadful thing." I am doing sever al Clarke-type book-lengths (THE EXPLORATION OF TIME, THE SANDS OF BRIGHTON, SECOND CHILDHOOD'S END) and amusing myself by a senile puttering with paint, cement, plaster, sand, varnish and iodine in an effort to restore the house. Also some scotch to rest ore me.

I felt I was succeeding until today, when the mouse that is Box 362 yielded forth a mountain -- HYPHEN, no less. There goes my dream of Clarkedom, for I can see drastic action is called for. I refer of course to the treatment accorded Bea Mahaffey, as limned in the pages by one James White.

My suspicions were initially aroused by the cover drawing. It may be some English idea of humor to portray Our Sweetheart as rising out of a cuspidor, but in the interests of Chivalrous American Manhood, I protest against such a desecration. (Even tho it is a spitting image.)

What follows inside only confirmed my worst fears. A long, sordid account of the efforts of British horticulturists to pluck this Fair Flower of American Womanhood. Drinking bouts. Orgies. What must poor Bea have thought . . . used as she is to the sta id decorum of American Conventions.

However, she survived. I know, because I saw her in Philadelphia. And like the blessed saint she is, when I asked about the London Convention, she merely placed a finger to her lips and ventured a weak little smile, followed by a faint whisper of what sounded like an archaic English expression . . . "ruddy dastards" or some such phrase.

By this time, of course, you must know all about Philadelphia. Believe me, Elsberry was there and he wasn't missing a thing. Every so often I would /s/t/a/g/g/e/r/ walk into a smokefilled room and see his face peering over the blade of a nine-foot hatc het. You've probably had your con-report from him, to which I can add but little except to say that I enjoyed meeting Bert Campbell and seeing him beard the literary lions in their din.

However, speaking personally, I found Philadelphia a good cut under Chicago; it was too hot for much cavorting, the room service was non-existent, the facilities comparatively poor. And a lot of my favourite faces were absent. No Lee Hoffman, Shelby Vi ck, Max Keasler, Tony Boucher, Howard Browne, Fritz Leiber, Ray Palmer, Mack Reynolds, Richard Matheson, Jack Williamson, Judy Merrill, Fredric Brown-people I've come to associate with the social and antisocial life of a Convention. And alas, no Walter Wi llis. No Ginny or Ollie Seari, either. It seems one of them is having a baby.....Ginny, I think.

Come right down to it, I suppose Conventions are 'successful' only in the personal sense of the word. If you meet a lot of nice people and enjoy yourself with them, the program doesn't matter. If you don't manage to latch on to a congenial circle of as sociates, you wander around dismally and regard the frivolity of others with a jaundiced eye. Then is when you begin dissecting the program offered and brooding about the decadence of the dissolute fans and the cliquishness of the fatuous egotistical pros . I used to be shocked when, after returning from a con where I personally had a marvelous time, I'd read a fanzine report blasting the affair. Now I more or less expect that reaction ... but continue to enjoy myself.

The program's highlights, to me, were high enough, but there wasn't sufficient program to stretch out over the three days. These conventions are too unwieldy, now, and I fear for San Francisco; they'll have such a job on their hands. However, I hope to be there, and to enjoy one con without performing. Seems to me the fans deserve a rest from me, and from Tucker and Sturgeon and Willy Ley and the other old vaudeville artists who generally end up on the platform. Let Seventh Fandom take over.

BERT CAMPBELL

Back at last! You were right about my having a wonderful time. Wonderful people, wonderful country, wonderful food. But give me England every time. The Convention, by American reports as well as my own feelings, was not so hot. Apparently not a patch o n the Chicon. American conventions never are a patch on the previous one. That 1938 affair must have been terrific.

I got on very well with, and received very fine welcomes from, all the fan personalities. Had a nice little session with Harlan Ellison. That guy's certainly a pusher. There was an incident in the foyer of the Bellvue-Stratford that will amuse you. Som e fan from out in the wilds was accusing Harlan of saying nasty things about him in SFB, and wanted to beat the brains out of him for it. H.E. said he wouldn't fight, didn't want to have anything to do with a punk like that. He began to walk away. Disgrun tled fan grabs his arms and says suppose I sock you on the nose, huh?, what'll you do then, huh? Harlan spreads out his hands and says "So, I'll just lie there and bleed!" End of incident.

In the main, I got parcelled off with the pros ... The great Campbell (not me!) has gone hard for ESP -- tried to lift an ashtray in front of my eyes, couldn't, said I was a sceptic. And he was perfectly serious.

...The Philcon Committee paid my hotel bill, treating me as a guest of honour. And that was all the money I got that I don't have to pay back, apart from what I made by the auction of some of my collection ... I'm very interested in your scheme for tak ing over a British fan, but I'm also rather hesitant about its success where American contributions are concerned. Forry Ackerman was telling me that he has finally given up his faith in American fandom's co-operation for such things. Despite all the publ icity he put out concerning Tetsu Yano, he received just one dollar from the great masses of fans. Tetsu's trip was financed by Forry and by generous donations from Bill Hamling and Kris Neville -- and Forry had to part with valuable collect ors items at the auctions to raise a very small amount of cash.

I don't think we should be discouraged by the Tetsu Yano affair. After all, I made it. Admittedly there was that powerhouse Shelby Vick, and I had to write my guts out over the affair, but on the other hand that was a purely American project -- British fandom didn't even hear about it until it was a success -- while this will be worldwide. With all due respect to Forry Ackerman, who is just too generous for this world, the Tetsu Yano affair was fundamentally fuggheaded. Who the devil is Tetsu Yano that anyone should pay his fare to Philadelphia? If he had done something in fandom or even got himself heard of, or if he represented some Japanese fan group that had, I could see some point in it. But the idea that any bloody Jap who chooses to ex press an interest in science fiction should have his passage across the American continent for it is just preposterous. Publicity is not enough -- there has to be some sort of personality interest aroused, enough to produce the, as it were, tension .. capacitance .. that results in flashover. To my mind the greatest benefit of this Transatlantic Fan Fund scheme will be that it will produce more and better fan writing and publishing. Every fan will have before him the possibility of being 'Big Ponde d' as the ultimate reward and glittering climax to his fan career. And we will all benefit from that.


"Bert Campbell alone was worth the price of admission."


EVELYN SMITH

In response to your announcement that a fund is being thrown together for exporting a British fan to the US I should like to contribute this beautiful ten-shilling note which I found in the bottom of my handbag while looking for a pill wrapped up in a raffle ticket. My nomination for the fan to be sent over is Michael Redgrave.

Thank you, Ermengarde. That brings the Fund to £11;7;9.

And that's all the letters for this time. As you'll have noticed, American readers will have to write by airmail to have their letters printed in the next issue, but I won't mind carrying an interesting one over. I'd like to have a large letter sect ion, and I hope you'll all make with the large letters.

As some of you will have suspected, this new monthly HYPHEN is a premeditated attempt to fill in the gap left by the suspension of QUANDRY, CONFUSION and OPUS, a gap in which what is now referred to as 'Sixth Fandom' has fallen and almost disappeare d from view. With these funloving magazines absent, there is hardly a single fanmag primarily devoted to the fascinating field of fandom itself, as opposed to science fiction. (Well, not actually opposed to it, just more or less taking it for grant ed.) It's no use for photo-offset fuggheads like Graham Stone to complain publicly that HYPHEN is esoteric. It's meant to be a special kind of fan magazine and to review it as if it were SFBULLETIN, which tries to be all things to all fen, is like reviewi ng GALAXY as if it were the SATURDAY EVENING POST. Basically, HYPHEN is more interested in people than in things (and it so happens that the group of congenial individualists associated with science fiction include some very interesting people) and in cre ative writing rather than writing about writing. Not that I wouldn't welcome intelligent literary criticism but it will have to be a lot better than most of the stuff you see in fan magazines, which is obviously written by people with neither creative nor critical ability who just can't think of anything original to say.

I've been publishing more or less the type of thing I want, but I'd like more of it from more people. I can offer prompt publication, a circulation of 260 (most of them in America) and positively no typoes. At least on the stencils cut here, I cannot vouch for those hacked about by semi-illiterate Englishmen.

Subscribers; please do not write and tell me you have half a million assorted science fiction magazines in the attic/basement and you will send me a thousand or so if I let you know which ones I want. I have my pride and won't answer. On the other hand don't send me a 1949 FANTASTIC ADVENTURES with a fried egg marking the place on page 11. I rely on subscriptions for reading matter, not food, or any other household use. Any good sf mag or pb, preferably recent, will do.

This issue's cover by Bob Shaw. Stencils for pages 11 to 16 cut by Chuch Harris.


Data entered by Judy Bemis

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