S L U R P !

BY R. J. BANKS

the ultimate column

This column is instigated at the request of the editor, and therefore all complaints, threats, and time-bombs should be addressed to him and not to your columnist. As long as this column continues (please don't laugh until I finish the sentence!) you will see in it a duke's mixture of news, impressions, tips on various aspects of fandom, and my own pet gripes.

One of these pet gripes is the most prevalent opening line of column first installments: "The editor of this fanmag has requested that I write a column." Nothing in the world could be more obvious. If the editor had not wanted the column there would be none! Just as bad is the hackneyed, "Well, here is the first installment of Burp, your new column." Any literate fan can see it is a new column, as well as the title; illiterate fen won't be reading it.

The new best seller, reprinted by Popular Library, "The Big Eye" by Max Ehrlich is a good story. In fact, it is equal to "1984", that is until the story progresses to page 215. Even after that the story itself is all right, but on that page is a scientific mistake which reduces a classic to a mediocre yarn unworthy of the name of science fiction. Up to there a huge planet drawn by Sol is due to collide with the Earth (said collision would have the obvious effects on our "beautiful" planet), but on the day the collision is scheduled it spins past Earth and back into interstellar space ((like a yo-yo?)). All this is very fine until you consider the scientific implifications ((The wot??)) A huge planetary body is drawn inexorably toward a certain star. As it nears the star its velocity naturally increases due to the stronger gravity pull of the nearer star. But wait, instead of continuing on its course after swinging past the earth, and plunging into the sun the planet changes directions and speeds away from the sun. Even if it only passed the sun and streaked away (there is no mention of anything even remotely like this in the story, which states; "As the months passed into the year 1963 the Big Eye grew smaller and smaller."), it would have still been pulling against the supreme gravity of the Sun. There are one or two other mistakes which are woven tightly into the story, but this "anti-grav planet" is the most damning error.

I also want to put in my two-cents-worth on the subject of fan fiction. There has been a strong trend away from fiction in fanzines of late: SPACEWARP stopped using fan fiction shortly before the end; ORB followed suit; WYLIE STAR will switch; most of the new mags are starting out with non-fiction plans. I think fiction is just as important (if not more so) in fmz as articles. Where else will embryo pro-authors get their start? My own subscription zine, UTOPIAN, will continue using fiction and I shall continue contributing it to other mags. Furthermore I hereby offer a free listing in each issue of UTOPIAN to all zines whose editors plan to continue them as fiction fanmags. This listing will be in the form of six-line ads. In addition I will not even sell ad-space to non-fiction mags. ((Don't cry, QUANDRY will))

While he hates fiction in general, the other Corsicana fan's private opinion seems to be: "If it's signed Wood, it's bound to be good!"

"Destination Moon" is getting quite a build-up and most fans think that it is just the thing to "sell" stf to the general public. But will it really? What does the name "Heinlein" mean to anyone other than the people who know what stf is? On nine out of ten movie goers the "free space"; "acceleration", and other trick photography will be wasted. Most of the movie-reviewers which I have read tended to place more emphasis on the acting than the production tricks. And the one or two reviewers who even mention stf in a literary sense classed it as "pure escape reading". No, my friends, for some time to come we can still expect "Destination Moon" to make a really big splash. Even then Hollywood cannot be expected to share very much of the glory with pulpdom. Pessimistic, aren't I?

By the way, the reason for the name of this column being "Slurp" is certainly not that QAZ likes them between two slices of bread. The reason is that that is the first thing most fen say when they see a Bergey cover. Since someone would ultimately put this name forth as a column title the subtitle is, and shall remain "the ultimate column".

Now, having either bored or alienated the few readers I had at the beginning of the column I shall stop.

I have one last suggestion as to how you can enjoy fandom (particularly this zine) more. Sit down right now, while this atrocity is still fresh in your minds, and write Lee a letter telling him how much you dislike this column. Don't cancel your sub, just threaten to. After all every faned is entitled to one mistake.

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Data entry by Judy Bemis

Updated June 18, 2001. If you have a comment about these web pages please send a note to the Fanac Webmaster. Thank you.