May Ghu bless this fanzine and make it worthy at least of the sacrifice of the trees that died to produce the paper. If you don't like the artwork - or even if you do - send something better, as Your Humble Editor is severely lacking in artistic ability. Preference is for line art that will Xerox well for thermal mimeo.
Sheryl Birkhead sent all the art in this issue - unless I run across something in one of the books that seems worth copying - and writes that she is still trying to get copies of Joe Siclari's FanHistorica stuff. Joe does not answer his mail, nor did I spot him at the Atlanta worldcon - he mysteriously vanished from the Program, after having been listed as director of Programming in the last PR. Are there Things that fan was not meant to know? Sheryl, who has to drive a lot, also asks if anyone knows of an economical source of tapes of old radio shows.
Don Herron (537 Jones Street, #9207, San Francisco, Calif-94102) sends a copy of his San Francisco Chronicle review of Howard Lachtman's Sherlock Slept Here, a Capra Press book that looks to be of interest to Holmes fans.
Lan Laskowski, whose Lan's Lantern won the fanzine Hugo for 19~6, writes that he was trying to get around to reading the Holdstock Mythago Wood that I mentioned last issue. I have since read it, and found it quite impressive, if a bit obscure in some places and a bit slow in others - and more than a little depressing.
Chester Cuthbert (1104 Mulvey Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 1J5, Canada) writes that he believes that free will is an illusion, principally, it seems, because he cannot imagine having made any other choice than he did at various times in the past. Once a choice is made, of course, it is no longer subject to the will. I cannot see, however, that this proves that the individual was not free to choose. Chester mentions two obscure (well, I never heard of them!) books based on this ancient controversy - Margaret Irwin's Still She Wished For Company, and an sf novel by Canadian Marie Jakober, The Mind Gods.
Laurine White (5422 Colusa Way, Sacramento, Calif-95841) writes to blame me for reviving her interest in comics by running a picture of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in my apazine - I don't remember that! She mentions, with regard to the illo from Flushed With Pride in IGOTS 1, that she saw what looked like Thomas Crapper's original toilet design on a trip to China. She also mentions a film loosely based on Orlando Furioso, titled Hearts and Armor - this never made the theaters or cable here, but is apparently out on videotape.
Ron "Tilted" Bennett (36 Harlow Park Crescent, Harrogate HG2 QAW, North Yorkshire, England) claims to have read all the books mentioned in IGOTS 2 and says I would be better to put them on the shelf unread... He also explains the "kodak clock" mystery, saying that it is a device used by Russian intelligence in hotel rooms, and I asks if I am coming to the Brighton worldcon in 1987 - not after that joke! Besides which, he insists that he plans to make me read Perry Rhodan books upside down.
Dave Hall writes to point out that I meant Samuel (not Charles) Taylor Coleridge in the back-cover quote from the Tim Powers Anubis Gates. Quite right.
Harry Warner (423 Summit Avenue7 Hagerstown, Md-21740) recalls a curious French tale that purported to explain why dogs sniff one another's backsides whenever they meet. It seems that after the emancipation of the slaves, the dogs of the South sent one of their number to President Lincoln with a petition that he free them as well. However, in several attempts, the emissary never managed to swim the Potomac without dropping the petition in the river. So at last he was sent with the petition shoved up his rump, with instructions that the answer was to be returned the same way. The dog was never seen again, but to this day dogs greet one another by sniffing head-to-tail, looking for the long lost answer to their petition for freedom. Ghee, Harry, this is a family fanzine... I have a vague notion that I have heard this tail before. Harry says it was creditted to a famous French writer, but he can't recall which one and has never seen the story in translation. Surely some learned fan out there will remember? Harry also notes that the mention of "Father Christmas" in the Milton/Coleridge/Powers quote on the back cover might date it to Coleridge rather than Milton. Perhaps - I can't find any reference in either the OED, Bartlett's, or the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
Walt Willis notes that Restif de Ia Bretonne's writings (mentioned in IGOTS 2) "are a prominent casualty of the devaluation of pornography in the permissive society". I'm not sure I fully understand that - I did read most of this writer's Nuits de Paris recently. Not particularly pornographic by modern standards. Most of his activities seemed to have to do with a countess who, not having National Lampoon to read "True Facts" from, paid De la Bretonne to go and find out weird stuff and come back and tell her. Walt says that he passed IGOTS on to famous London fan Vince Clarke who has not, alas, written me.
Mike Shoemaker (2123 North Early Street, Alexandria, Va-22302) says that Nostradamus in the original is worse than just archaic French, it's more like Finnegan's Wake, full of anagrams, puns, etc. Says that he hopes to get back to the Library of Congress soon to finish copying Arthur Machen's Notes & Queries. He has since sent me the last of this, and I have entered it into the word-processor, from where it may emerge if I still feel like doing another IGOTS after I have exhausted the five essays from the Dalton, Georgia, Citizen that I started reprinting in IGOTS Number 1.
Ruth Berman (2809 Drew Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minn-55416) wonders if Dickens realized how close Esther in Bleak House is to Uriah Heep in David Copperfield, with her "squirmingly good-and-humble niceness" - I don't know, I don't read much Dickens myself. In fact, the only Dickens I have read since I was a child is Hard Times.
WAHF Jan Howard "The Wombat" Finder, and from Mike Hall, who says I should turn off the right-hand-margin justification in this text because FancyFont spaces line by line and doesn't have room to get it right. I thing this is true if "word wrap" is off. I forget when I learned how to do it right.
91-100 - Steal it if you have to!
81-90 - Worth Looking for
71-80 - Wait until it's remaindered....
61-70 - For collectors only.
51-60 - For completists only.
11-50 - Forget it!
0-10 - To read aloud in the con-suite at midnight....
Grypula, cruel, stern, affectionate, repulsive, faithful, fascinating and unscrupulous man of mystery, aged 2003, accompanied by his grey stoat "Moloch", which he carries about in a diamond-studded reticule, has employed Ralf Bunyan, a struggling young Australian chiropodist as Ais amanuensis. thee latter met his employer in the lions cage at Jamrach's and has since been commissioned by his master to record some sixteen hundred of his unique exploits. Ethel Liffey is the niece and sole heiress of the Duke of Dublin, a millionaire noble in Grypula's pay. Ralf has been ordered by his master to keep in touch with the Duke, and contrives to obtain professional employment in the house. Ethel knows the secret of the Den. Grypula knows everything. Ralf knows nothing.
This lunacy runs on for ten pages or so,
with a half-dozen hilarious illos that are signed with a
"double-S" monogram - perhaps they are collaborations between
Sykes and Sandars. We are advised that in the next chapter
"... Grypula, with the aid of the Lynx, discovers the thumbless
Negro in his living tomb." Next in the magazine is Mortimer
Tombes' article on London dustmen, which has rather the flavor
of a Monty Python skit. A legal parody. A silly poem about
knights of old. And then there is Quax Blunderthud's "For The
Royal Rusks", set in the "Silurian Dukedom" and poking fun at
the Germans. The ltalians are up next, in Britton Maphik's
"Bunnie", followed by two pages of dreadful jokes and two more
of "Startling Wonders" that might have come from this year's
Science Made Stupid. Thanks, Mary Kay and Cathy!
With a knight of ghosts and shadows,
I summoned am to Tourney:
Ten leagues beyond
The wide world's end;
Methinks it is no journey!
From the hag and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye
And the spirit that stands by the naked man
In the book of moons, defend ye.
That of your five sound senses
Ye never be forsaken
Nor wander from yourselves with Tom
Abroad to beg your bacon.
The second section waxes ever more rabid:
"Not one individual named as an active participant in the Biblical scheme ever existed. It is all born of the drunken imagination of the most fiendish brutes that ever betrayed mankind for selfish ends. The earth has been fertilized with the blood of untold millions of innocent beings in the promotion and perpetuation of the meanest imposition ever forced upon the peoples of the earth."And to think that this was written long before the video spectacles provided by Oral Roberts, Ernest Angley, Jimmy Swaggart, and that ilk. This copy of the book is adorned with three rubber stamp marks - "Library of Congress / Surplus Duplicates", "Library of Congress / Duplicate Exchange", and "Department of Commerce / Sep 6 1927 / Library".
THE EXPEDITION SPACE-SHIPS-TRAIN. No. 1
"The pioners on comand will be, engineer, X. Lovelly, architect J. S. Schiaparelie and wife; Mrs, Schiaparellie, is an expert in photo-tele-electronics. No, 1, space-ship, as 'flag-ship."
Farther on, we hear about a visit to the -AMI- satellite where,
in the "show of the Cosmic Kitchen and Farm Products" there is
"Rest Room", for tired bees, that come from distant places.
---And sometimes they fight one another, and get their wings broken, but at these bees hospital, there are spare wings.
---The ones that are killed are embalmed, in little plastic crystal balls.
---At this stand, Mrs Schiaparellie said to her secretary Miss Umi, this is a real marvel, and I will never forget it.
---And in the next section, there is a real wonder too.
---"signs reading",'pigmy parrots', very little parrots, in a big cage, 6 feet high, a very big electronic toy. Was called "Pigmy Parrots City".
"All....were either sad, sardonic, mystical, or obscure. They delighted most in those in which bawdiness and irony were mixed in equal proportion with a mournful nihilism, or those which were mystical and almost meaningless like "Green Grow The Rashes O!""Two and two for the lilywhite boys,This they sang exquisitely and with a sort of reverential air, as if they knew it was strong magic, which indeed it is.
Clothe them all in green-O!"
Note: On the following pages is the third of the Arthur Machen essays from the Univ. of Georgia microfilm of the 1931 issues of the Dalton Citizen.
I was saying, I think, when we last met, that I once heard X, say to Y: "You know, of course, that Confucius has come over?" and that I didn't believe a word of it. Well, I didn't and I don't; but, if one comes to think of it, I should find it difficult to justify my disbelief on strictly rational grounds. Who are we to pretend to understand the laws of the kingdom of the unseen? Confessedly, demonstrably, we blunder daily, we blunder hideously over the laws of our own region. We condemn innocent men, we acquit guilty men. We stone the prophets and the poets; we laud and laurel horrible quacks and impostors. Germany makes certain of tremendous victory; and comes to the most appalling grief. And betting men back horses as "dead certs", which, somehow, crawl in at the tail of the field. Evidently, we know very little about things seen: how shall we presume to be dogmatic about things unseen? What right had I to be derisive and incredulous about the supposed manifestations of the great sage of China?
None whatever, taking the proposition - "Confucius has come over" - simply as it stands. I know nothing whatever about the present state of the spirit of Confucius or its possibilities; and I have no right to any opinion on the subject. My defence for my derision must be founded on the fact that this was the pronouncement of a Spiritualist. Now I know from long experience that the Spiritualists are highly credulous folk, that they have been deceived, cheated, humbugged again and again, and that they never learn caution or the critical habit of mind. The medium with the faked slate is found out; and is succeeded by the medium with the faked photograph; and the exposed "spirit" photographer yields place to the manipulator of ectoplasm - which turns out, in due time, to be cheese cloth. So, on the whole, I think I was justified. I may yet be brought to believe in the apparition or manifestation of Confucius; but not on Spiritualistic evidence. Emphatically, what the Spiritualist says is not evidence; when he speaks on his own topic. When he talks about chess or chemistry or the culture of roses he may be the most trustworthy of men.
So much for grounds for disbelief; now for the more difficult matter: grounds of belief in one of the strangest stories that I have ever heard. And let me say at once that it appeared last year in Light, which is the principal Spiritualistic paper in England, and that, for all I know, the narrator herself may be a Spiritualist. I do know one thing: that she was most unwilling to publish her experinces, lest she be thought a fool. And it is to be further remarked that whatever may be thought of her tale, it is certainly not a Spiritualistic tale. Its atmosphere is wholly remote from that of the seance.
Well: to our adventure. On or about July 20,1929, a party of six people set out to climb Mount Nephin, by Lough Conn, in County Mayo, Ireland. There were three men and three women, and of the women, one, with an injured knee, turned back after an hour's climb, and was to wait at the cottage where the party had left their car. It was a clear and sunny day. The climb began at eleven, the summit was reached at a quarter to three, and at three o'clock the descent began. "We started down in groups and singly, my husband by himself, F. H., James, and myself together, and the other man quite a bit ahead of us. Suddenly, F. H. turned away, and vanished over the shoulder of the mountain. Little was said, for she often took her own way down the various mountains we climbed during the summer. James and I continued our way for a while, then turned to each other and said, "Something has happened to F. H.!" We felt so sure of this that we called to the other two men, who returned. We agreed that they should go back to the mountain to where she was last seen, and search for her while I should continue down, and meet them at the cottage."
The teller of the tale set out on her way down the mountain, keeping a sharp lookout for the missing F. H. She sat down and heard "a funny kind of crying" behind her, the crying of a lost child. She looked about her and saw a figure which she took to be James, waving to her. She walked towards the figure; but there was no one there. She sat down again, and admired the view, and `someone laughed', directly behind her. The figure that seemed James again appeared and disappeared, and the narrator at last reached the cottage, expecting to find there the girl with the injured knee. "The cottage people told me she had not been there all the afternoon." Presently she came in very angry, saying that early in the afternoon I had come down the mountain and waved to her, but had not waited for her to come up. (She had not gone very far, as she stumbled in a bog, and found the walking too hard.) Obviously I had not done any such thing."
At half-past seven, the men came back. They had seen nothing of the missing girl, F. H. One of the men, James, had twice seen, "out of the tail of his eye", a club whirling down on him, and had, each time, taken flying jumps to avoid it. The party was feeling extremely worried about the disappearance of F. H., and the narrator began to question the man of the cottage. Were there holes or quarries on the mountain, into which one might fall? Nothing of the kind. Might there be children on the mountain? All the children had been at school. Then: "What about the Little People?" "He became very severe, and turned to go out, saying `We do not talk about that.'" And poor, missing F. H.? They found her, at last, in a police station at the foot of the mountain, And she told a very odd story "She does not know,"
writes the narrator, "she cannot possibly imagine what happened to her. She can only say that it was as though she had lapsed into complete unconsciousness and all the while thought she was walking beside us. She was in reality walking straight away from us. She does not know what it was that `took' her suddenly; she said it was as though there were no time for a moment, and some strange force were pulling her away. Then she realized that we were not there, and heard the crying of voices. She went in the direction of the sound, thinking she would find someone; on crossing a ravine, the voices were still audible, and she heard someone blowing a horn, but no one was in sight. Then she thought she saw a small person beyond and below her, possibly a child; she went down towards it, but on crossing another ravine, found no one, though the voices still continued. After this, she realized she was lost, and headed for the white roadway below her, and walked about eight miles to a police-barracks, where we later found her." I believe every word of that strange story; but I find it difficult, or rather, impossible, to give the grounds of my belief. Sometimes we can appeal to the character of the teller of the tale; but I know nothing of the character of the lady who tells this tale of Mount Nephin. She is, or was, a university lecturer; and it might be urged that university lecturers are not in the habit of making up outrageous fictions. This is, probably, a true proposition; but it falls very far short of demonstrating the veracity of our story. I can only say that, to me, the whole narrative reeks of the truth; I am convinced that the persons of the tale really experienced the impressions and sensations which they say that they experienced. And what, or who, caused these impressions and sensations? There, I must be content to symbolise with F. H., who lost her way. "She does not know, cannot possibly imagine, what happened to her." I neither know, nor can I conjecture the causes of the things that happened to this party of hill climbers. Were they harried and misled and deluded by the Little People, Daioine Sidhe, the Fairies? I am with the "man of the cottage" here; I don't talk about that because I know nothing of it. Tradition, even wild tradition, is often trustworthy in a high degree: I could bring forward many instances in proof of that proposition. But the original traditions of the Little People have been hopelessly corrupted by literary invention; the fairies of Shakespeare, and Herrick and the other Elizabethans have travelled far from their native hills and wilds. I dare not say that the people who climbed Mount Nephin in July, 1929, were beset by fairies; but I think we may say that experiences such as theirs were the foundation of the older fairy lore.
Faith is not an exotic bloom to be laboriously maintained by the exclusion of most aspects of the day to day world, nor a useful delusion to be supported by sophistries and half-truths like a child's belief in Father Christmas - not, in short, a prudently unregarded adherence to a constructed creed; but rather must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God. This is why religion can only be advice and clarification, and cannot carry any spurs of enforcement - for only belief and behavior that is independently arrived at, and then chosen, can be praised or blamed. This being the case, it can be seen as a criminal abridgement of a person's rights willfully to keep him in ignorance of any facts or opinions - no piece can be judged inadmissible, for the more stones, both bright and dark, that are added to the mosaic, the clearer is our picture of God.
The above quotation is from a speech about John Milton by Charles Taylor Coleridge, contained in The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, published by Ace as an original paperback novel in December 1983. Perhaps some graduate student in English Literature can tell us whether Milton or Coleridge ever really said any such thing - I like it anyway, and will keep it around on this page of It Goes On The Shelf until I find something I like better as representing the proper attitude of a journalist.
This fanzine will not be sold. It will not even be distributed in the usual sense of mailing out a lot of the copies at once. This tired old fan will just send it through SFPA and Slanapa, and in trade as zines come in, and to correspondents as letters go out. If you should hear of it and feel you must have a copy, you may send a SASE for lack of anything better. If there is to be much art in future issues, I will need some good line art - no tone, no solid blacks, no shading except for dot or line - suitable for thermal stencil. I do not have to have the original, a good xerox is fine.
For those interested in the gruesome technical details, this fanzine is composed in FancyFont using WordStar on an Osborne microcomputer. It is printed on a RexRotary M4 mimeograph from stencils cut directly by the Epson MX-80 dot-matrix printer. Art is printed from thermal mimeo stencils cut by a 3M Thermofax machine.