( PART II OF II )
An upswing in quality from its momentary slump was evident in Spacewarp's October 1948 issue, and it was not, I must reluctantly admit, entirely due to the debut in that issue of "File 13". For in that issue William James' "Eyes of Roger Akner" appeared, and for those who have read James' fanzine fiction, especially those yarns collected in Dark Wisdom and Other Tales, that is recommendation enough. Though owing much to such greats as A. Merritt an d H. P. Lovecraft, James manages consistently to show himself a skilled craftsman even when working with much-used material.
Also in that issue was Hal Shapiro's "The Beercon: Burp by Burb" in which Hal chronicled the epic trip of the Michifen to Milwaukee over the Labor Day weekend, 1948, for Bob Stein's Beercon; and C. Stewart Metchette's "Forgotten Pros&quo t;, in which were listed a number of prozines that even Ackerman or Coslet cannot claim for their files -- such titles as Cataclysmic Cosmic Classics, Gaaaaahhhhh Stories, and Frankly Incredible Tales of Science.
Rapp himself provided the headliner for the following issue, November 1948: "The Armchair Fortean Discusses Arson". This was an article on the then-current Fortean mystery at Macomb, Ill., where strange fires broke out in the home of Charles Wiley despite vigilance of a deputy fire marshal and an insurance investigator. Using Fort's theories, Rapp was able to predict the outcome of this singular affair, and though Fate was not interested in it when it was submitted there, this article was one of the best ever to appear in Spacewarp. Also featured in the issue was T. E. Watkins' "Flickering Future", the first Warp contribution, I believe, of this fan writer who usually manages to write about subjects nobody else ever thought o f, or else finds distinctly new slants on old subjects.
The December 1948 issue had 32 pages into which were crammed such items as Marion Zimmer's "Outpost", a little yarn that won first prize in the Rog Phillips' "Clubhouse" fanzine contest; William James' "Dark Wisdom"; and t wo sterling articles, "Tastes and Phobias" by Norman Ashfield, and "The Romance of Alchemy" by Arthur Jean Cox -- this latter a two-parter, the second half of which appeared in the January 1949 issue.
December's "Timber!" editorial announced that, beginning with the first 1949 issue, Spacewarp would merge with Universe, a fanzine edited and published by Radell Nelson. Spacewarp in its mimeographed form had been duplicated on a borro wed machine which at year's end had to be returned to the owners, leaving Rapp without a duplicator. Under the new merger, Rapp was to cut stencils for Spacewarp-Universe, and Nelson was to run them off. Despite these plans however, the Janu ary 1949 did not appear on time -- the first issue in Warp history up to then not to pop into mailboxes in the month it was dated. For several months it seemed that Warp had gone the way of all good fanzines. Nelson had decided that he was unable to mimeo graph the combined magazine.
In March plans were altered, and the stencils for the January issue were sent to George Young, who managed to run them off. But in the meantime the subscription list had been lost, and many a paid-up subscriber -- even at least one contributor, namely, this writer -- did not receive a copy. Since the stencils were destroyed after being run off, this issue has become one of Spacewarp's rarest.
The "Timber!" editorial in that issue was followed by a page of explanation regarding the delay in publication, and it was announced that henceforth Spacewarp would be bi-monthly, and would return to its old monthly schedule only "when I have (1) a mimeo, (2) time". Among the manuscripts presented in that issue were Radell Nelson's puzzling but expert fantasy, "The Fall of the City", T. E. Watkins' "Fortune Tellers of Calcutta", and "The Great Stf Broadcast& quot;. Another round-robin serial, "SBA!" featured most of the same characters, except JaClem, but were more expertly plotted and better written. Except for a few lapses, it managed to retain interest throughout its ten installments. Writers of this interplanetary saga were Art Rapp, Art Rapp, Redd Boggs, William James, Bill Warren, Art Rapp (who assumed authorship of the installment after the real writer thereof complained at the editing done on it), Ed Cox, Art Rapp, Art Rapp, and Art Rapp.*
* This is one of the advantages of publishing your own fanzine. --ahr
Before the next Spacewarp appeared, new and significant developments occurred behind the scenes. Rapp "pawned his portable timewarper" and purchased the small Montgomery Ward mimeograph I had used for a year, publishing Tympa ni and the first three issues of Sky Hook, before purchasing a new Speedoprint and banishing it to the basement. With a machine of his own, Rapp decided to make Spacewarp a monthly again, and rather than skip any months -- though now it was mid-May -- he would get back on schedule by issuing Spacewarp at less than monthly intervals till he caught up. This he proceeded to do, much to the consternation of regular contributors who had to meet a new deadline every few weeks, but much to the gleeful satisfaction of regular readers.
The February 1949 issue was fronted by a distinct innovation in the art of fanzine illustrating: A combination mimeo-hekto picture. Though this first attempt moved one fan to comment that it resembled an outline picture a four-year-old had tried to col or with a box of water paints, the mimeo-hekto technique became perfected and resulted in such outstanding covers as those on the April and May 1949 issues, as well as Ray Nelson's two classics -- those on the August 1949 issue and the Third Ann-Ish.
Andy Gregg visited Providence, R.I., and told of his trip in that February issue. In describing this Lovecraft locale, he wrote: "Providence hasn't been the same in the eleven years since H. P. Lovecraft died. Since 1937 there have been civic impr ovements, housing projects, and a general deteoriation in those weird and mystic places that made him love the city. True, Poe Street, Benefit Street and the others are still there, but the older houses are going fast, and there is a movement to rip down the Portuguese section of Benefit Street for a new housing project ..."
"What Far World?" was another William James tale; this came in the March 1949 issue. In the same number was an "editorial" by Wilkie Conner, "The American Way", in which he called for tolerance in fandom: "Don't kick your neighbor out because his sex is different from yours, or because he is more intelligent than you. Argue with him, feud with him, but keep it clean! Keep it American!" The April 1949 issue was a bit sub-par, except for T. E. Watkins' "Declin e of the Pulps", which was well done despite the fact that its conclusions do not agree with recent events that have found nearly 20 stf pulps reposing on sagging newsstands. In the April issue, Bill Warren's humorous verse, "Archie" should also be mentioned.
"Problem in Ornithology" by Andy Gregg was the important item in the May 1949 number. This must be read to be appreciated, and I still don't know just how much basis in fact this startling anecdote had, but it is undoubtedly one of the most a musing things ever to appear in Warp. The Best From Spacewarp (published 1960) will automatically include this article, or story.
Two other candidates for The Best From Spacewarp came along in the following issue (June 1949): Stewart Metchette's scholarly "The Weapon Shops of Isher: An Explanation" and Art Rapp's "Introduction to Roscois m", transcribed from a collection of birch bark scrolls found in a hollow tree by a punch drunk lumberjack named Bjornsen, or Cornwallis. These portions of the Sacred Writings dealt with "Roscoe, the Good Beaver, and with Oscar, the Evil Muskrat , who is constantly palming himself off on this gullible herd as a beaver." Ed Cox contributed "Symptoms", a yarn based on a rather old idea, but very amusingly presented.
H. P. Longhammer returned in July in another yarn by Wilkie Conner, and Dan Mulcahy, in "Vicious Circle", decided that fandom is becoming more decentralized and that Joe Phann is becoming isolationist. Dan forsees the day, he claims, when the NFFF "will have gone to wherever old fan clubs go to die, and the FAPA will be as much a memory as the SFL; a day when there will be no national convention, but merely an endless procession of Beercons and Whitcons; a day when the Insurgent Element will have rejoined the LASFS from sheer boredom, or moved across the border en masse to set up the Baja California SFS ..."
Further revelations of Roscoe in the August 1949 issue contained such highly important pages as the following: "... when Roscoe thwacks the water with his tail on Judgment Morn, the fen who sneer at beavers will wish they had not been born, for su ch heathen will be punished then as promptly as can be: they'll float downstream to Oscar, who will CHEW ON THEM with glee ...." In the same issue was a review of Joe Kennedy's fan-collection, No Greater Dream, and Warren Baldwin 's unusual excursion into philosophy, namely predestination, in "Pitiful Puppets." Not the least of this issue's attractions, though, was Ray Nelson's cover, the significance of which strikes one belatedly -- but strongly.
Spacewarp wound up its fifth volume (September 1949) with Cinvention coverage by Rapp, "Vas Ve Effer in Cincinnati?" Though not as good as "Torcon Daze" and not as prompt in appearing -- at least in these parts -- it was a solid and informative report on what went on, formally and informally, at Cincinnati over the 1949 Labor Day weekend. In the same issue was the first Morgan Botts story in a beaver's age, "Machiavelli" in which the fabulous Botts revealed that certain fa mous fans of the 1940s and '50's, namely Sneary, Boggs, Ackerman, Cox, Moskowitz, Rapp, and Kennedy, had been mere stooges for fan-dictator Botts, ... all but one of them, that is. This writer can reveal here that he is the only independent on that list.*
* A likely story indeed! -- ahr
The longest fictional item ever to appear in Spacewarp came in the October 1949 issue. It was L. T. George's "The Rumor", which occupied more than eight pages in the issue, -- eight pages which were not wasted, incidentally, for though some t rimming here and there would have sharpened the yarn it was a good quality fan-story as it stood. "Quien Sabe?" was a warm place in that issue, and others of that period, with several controversies going on anent atheism in fandom and use of Ang lo-Saxon terms in polite society. A character named the "Stf Weirdist" had also shown up to challenge some remarks made in "File 13". More of this person will be heard in future Spacewarp issues.
Charles Stuart discussed "The Road to Stellar Empire" in the November issue, and T. E. Watkins reviewed George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. To celebrate the holidays, the following issue was a 40-page affair, accompanie d by a supplement, The Spacewarp Index, which itself ran 22 pages, or the equivalent, almost, of an ordinary issue of Spacewarp.
There were many unusual items in that December 49 issue, including Warren Baldwin's "One of Us Must Die", which was fan science fiction; Herman Stowell King's "Starvation", Hal Shapiro's "The Bloodless One" and Charles L. Hames' "The Corpse", all weird tales; and numberless other fictional items. Some of these were humorous -- Lyon de Coeur's "Lost In Lovecraft Land", "H. P. Longhammer and the Frivolous Witch", by Conner, and the last installm ent of "Stf Broadcasts Again!" -- or allegedly so.
Among the articles were Baldwin's "A return to the Old Ideas", Watkins' "Super What?", and Edco's slightly wacky "How to Write an Article".
Since most of you have seen the last three issues of Spacewarp, I will just mention that since the dawn of 1950 this magazine has published such worthy items as Conner's exclusive article, "Have the Venusians Landed?"; Joe Kennedy's review of The Homunculus, Ed Cox's "Is Science Catching Up With Science Fiction?" and Warren Baldwin's "Will Spaceships Outrace Light?" It has also introduced three new columns, T. E. Watkins' "Kan Kan Kabitzer", Wilkie Conner's "Konner's Korner", and of course F. Towner Laney's old Vampire feature, "Fanzine Scope".
So this has been a review of 36 issues of Spacewarp, now one of the oldest subscription fanzines extant, and certainly one of the most interesting. I hope it will be around long enough for me to write a review of its next 36 issues, in 1953.
Unfortunately, this review has not been able to deal with other manifestations of that man Rapp's fannish yearning for expression and/or egoboo -- Postwarp, various one-shots he has published, the leaflets and flyers he has from time to time iss ued, and the many SAPS and FAPA mags he shoves into every mailing of late. Since Rapp publishes all these magazines, and Spacewarp, in addition to various publications run off for other people, all on a dinky, one-sheet-at-a-time mimeograph, which cost $1 9.75 when new, Arthur H. Rapp must be reckoned one of the seven wonders of the fan world.
All this lends a point to a nightmare I had the other night. I dreamed that the Postmaster-General burst into the office of whoever chairmans whatever congressional committee is in charge of the postal department, and shrieked, "Senator, you've go t to raise postal rates on mimeographed matter!"
"Why?" asked the committee chairman.
"You've got to save thousands of postmen all over the country from a fate worse than mad bulldogs! I've just got word from Saginaw, Michigan. Art Rapp has just bought an electric, automatic mimeograph!"*
* This seems like the appropriate place to announce that Saginaw fan Ralph Fluette is negotiating for the purchase of an electric automatic mimeograph. Plans for an intensified publishing program by Saginaw fandom are well under way.
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.