(Lanyesque Lispings, Languidly Listed)


This will be a three-page TIMBER, primarily because I asininely left a three-page space and have no one-page manuscripts on hand at the moment. This is not a signal for everyone to sit down and dash off one-page manuscripts for WARP. Next month it'll probably be a two-page or half-page hole that needs filling.

I want to explain here, for the benefit of those who are denouncing WARP's new contents policy, that fiction is not banned from these lurid pages. All you have to do is write a story which is so good it'll make me sacrifice an article or column to print it. Read Banister's NEKROMANTIKON and you'll see what I mean. By the way, I hate horror yarns. Tough, but there is nothing to be done about it. You might start your own zine, if you want horror stories. Or send your manuscripts to SHIVERS or one of the other fanzines specializing in that branch of fantasy. This is a stfanzine.

The unfortunate thing about writing these editorials is that by the time they get stencilled, run off, and mailed out I've usually had a change of mind about at least a few of the statements in 'em. For instance, right at the moment I could fill these pages with a denunciation of fans and fandom that would bring joy to the heart of ftl. But that's just the result of having encountered, lately, more of the stupidity and irritation of fandom than its brighter side. Just a minor siege of GAFIA, from which, eventually, I will once again develop an enthusiasm for stf. At least I hope so.

Etymological note for the benefit of fans who haven't met the word before: GAFIA is an intermittent affliction of fans. The letters stand for Getting Away From It All. Symptoms are sheer boredom while trying to read promags or fanzines, and allowing correspondence to pile up unanswered. Also a wish that half-done fanzines could be forgotten for a while. I am struggling to combat that last.

Contributing cause in this particular case might be that, having used all supplies on hand for the recent issue of TNFF, I couldn't run anything off until a new shipment arrived, which it did only after a week of agonized waiting. In that period I figured it would be wise to get some stencils cut ahead, so that when the paper finally got here, I had some 50 stencils to run.

This proves the value of my usual system, which is to cut two or three pages, then run 'em off, so there are no long stretches of the same sort of activity, thus averting boredom.

In case anyone wonders, I am as much appalled at the mountains of fanactivity that have piled up on me as you are -- or would be. Every time I turn around, it seems, I've let myself in for some new job. And it is vastly easier to take on new tasks in fandom than to shuffle off any of the old ones -- unless you follow the classic pattern of screaming to hell with it all and leaving the other fans to pick up the pieces where you decided to drop 'em.

For some obscure reason or other I feel obligated to complete any job I agree to do. Theoretically, by refusing to take on any new tasks, I should eventually work my way out from under at least a part of the load. Somehow or other it's a lot more difficult in practice than in theory to avoid new jobs. At least for me it is. They sneak up on me in the guise of minor additions to things I'm already doing, or have agreed to do. Now if I was the executive type -- or, to be disgustingly grammatical about it -- if I were the executive type, I'd get someone else to handle a lot of the stuff I'm now doing myself. Not being the e.t., tho, I find the cure worse than the disease. It's more work riding herd on someone else than doing the work myself and getting it over with.

In a way, my having more activities than I can handle is responsible for the new WARP policy. When I have enuf columnists to fill the zine, I don't have to spend any time hunting material for it. And since I don't ask anyone to be a regular columnist unless I know everything he writes is readable enuf to use, it eliminates the editorial job entirely. Except for things like this damn Timber!.

Do not let the bitching and moaning delude you into thinking I do nothing but cut stencils, turn mimeos, & write fanletters. There is much other local fanactivity amongst the Wolverine Insurgents. Unfortunately, much of it is concerned with matters which cannot be related until the time is ripe.

Somewhere around here I should make the vague point that my chief interest in fandom all the while I've been in it has been writing. Writing of my own, and the study of other fanwritings. As I have often said in various places, it has taught me much more about the art of narration than my college courses in the same topic did. I used to take the stuff I wrote for class assignments, select the best, polish it up, and it then was good enuf for fanzines sometimes.

Someone once said that a writer has to turn out a million words of practice material before he's ready to attempt to get his work published. I dunno if I've reached the million-word mark in my own composition, but I calculated the other night, while contemplating the increasing infirmity of this typer, that I've pounded out three million words on it in the past three years. And if writing a million words of your own will improve your style, copying, or more especially editing the writings of others will do even more toward teaching you to distinguish good writing from bad. After all, no matter how you go over something written by another fan, you can see a million ways to improve the crud he writes.

Perhaps all your editing is done mentally -- even so, you have formed some notions about what parts of the next issue will get praises from the readers, and which will be panned. And nine times out of ten the readers will cross you up, independent cusses that they are.

After this happens a few dozen times, into the thickest skull slowly seeps a notion of what will or won't please the readers. I think I have that knowledge by now, and if I don't always use it as a criterion, it's because this is an amateur zine, and if I don't happen to want to sacrifice something I like in order to print something you will like, that's your worry. And since you don't know I did it, it's not much of a worry at that.

At the moment, however, we have reached a turning point. Don't blame this on the aforementioned siege of GAFIA, because this turning point didn't arrive suddenly. I've been parting its little hair with a baseball bat for several months, but it refuses to be downed.

Why the hell, it keeps insisting, am I spending a lot of time on amateur writing that I should be spending on bombarding the proz with r-tRappian manuscripts? The longsuffering prozine editors are probably unanimous in wishing I'd ignore this prompting of the subconscious, but they have existed in blissful unmanuscripted peace for long enuf. Comes it now time to do something about it. I do not intend to fold SPACEWARP, or even to reduce its schedule -- two thoughts that have occurred to me several times. But I do intend, as fast as possible, to shuck off all other fanactivity that cuts importantly into my time.

To wit: the cutting of stencils for SPACEWARP SERVICES customers. I will still run stencils off for fen without mimeos -- or rather, Bill and Ralph will operate the mimeo on 'em, unless they read this editorial and decide not to cooperate.

POSTWARP. Unless someone shows up willing to take the letterzine over lock stock and barrel by the end of April, that flourishing enterprise will refund its subs and quietly fold.

NFFF activity. I'll serve out the rest of my term on the directorate, and do as much as I can to help the N3F, but I won't sacrifice other activities to NFFF. Incidentally, I won't be running for re-election, and it is about time some of the newer fans set their sights on NFFF directorships -- Chabot, Venable, Friedman, etc., are you listening?

THIRTY-TWO pages this month, mainly because I've been suddenly deluged with ads. WARP's advertising rates are on a highly uneconomic basis, inasmuch as (1) roughly, I add an extra page of copy for every page of advertising, from the base figure of a 24-page mag. (2) This means that every fullpage ad means an expenditure of 80¢ or so. (3) I charge 50¢ for a full page ad. This is one reason why WARP only theoretically breaks even.

However, I don't think I should charge higher ad rates. After all, I run only 125 copies of this thing. Surely ½¢ per message is steep enuf to charge an advertiser. Suddenthot though -- I suspect WARP gets read by more friends-of-subscribers than a lot of other zines. Leave me take a poll -- how many fans (as far as you know) read your copy of SPACEWARP last month? If I get enuf replies to be significant, And it turns out that the audience reached by an advertisement in WARP is greater than I think, I'll boost the ad rates.

Those people you see running around tying blindfolds on other people are advertisers.

The necessity of advertising in a 32-page issue like this is shown by some quick mental calculations which reveal that each copy of SPACEWARP costs roughly 16¢ to produce and mail. (A 34-page issue would take 4¢ postage, incidentally). The average subscription price is about 11 ½¢.

I can use several book reviews each month -- of new books, preferably ones upon which the writer of the review has formed a violent opinion and can tell why he likes or dislikes the book.

Coming next month, in addition to the columns: "Extra-Sensory Perception" by Sherman Nelson; and "The Stereotyped Sirens of STF" by Jim Craig.

Did you see Jimmy Taurasi's 100th issue of FANTASY TIMES? A beautiful job...

Spring is supposed to be here. It is half-raining and half-snowing, and all outdoors is a sea of mud. I wonder how much it would cost a guy to buy thirty acres in the Amazon Basin?

You know what? All this empty space is filled...


Text versions and page scans Judy Bemis

Data entry by Judy Bemis

Updated June 19, 2015. If you have a comment about these web pages please send a note to the Fanac Webmaster. Thank you.