Well, the calendar on the wall keeps going around and the dreaded 15 dead-line approached and me without one word on the blank paper reserved for this chit. Maybe by utilizing Uncle Sam's air-mail, I can get this to r-t on or before the 15th ... (Happy tho't: maybe if it is late, Art will write it for me!)
Some theorizing: Quoting a newspaper story:
"OSAKA, Japan, April 10. -- (AP) -- Japanese astronomers report new observations of strange cloud formations on the planet Mars, caused possibly by a "terrific explosion."
Tsuneo Saeki's discovery of the phonomena Jan 26, set off a worldwide watch of the nearby planet. Now Tsuguo Ebizawa tells of observations begun March 29.
Saeki joined him in the watch and reported that clouds originally grey turned dirty yellow in two days, bluish white in another four days and dirty white but without brilliance in a week."
This little item gives one to think to be trite. Could it be that Mars, after all, is inhabited? And that our little planetary bretheren are indulging in the worldly pastime of tinkering about with the atom? Or perhaps was some sort of storm occurring that stirred up a helluva batch of Martian dust? Maybe the "explosion" was caused by space ships taking off? Could be. Or, possibly the planet ran into a batch of space dust. (Don't laugh! Space may be filled with dust in places. Who can say it isn't?) Whatever the answer, it is certain that now more than ever, more people will begin thinking that perhaps, after all, Mars is inhabited!
When this pillar of mimeo script reaches your post-box, after the postman has deciphered the little tribute r-t has selflesly composed for his benefit, there possibly will be soon after another pillar of mimeoing known as The Nekromantikon. The Nekro is the brain-child -- or love-child -- of one Manly Banister who resides at 1905 Spruce Ave. in the Missouri side of Kansas City. Nekro is unique among fanzines. It is more like a prozine. Each issue costs you 25¢ and costs Banister about 28¢, not to mention hours of toil. (This unprofitable angle is the only way Nekro resembles the ordinary fanzine.) When you open Nekro, you are amazed at the array of professional-quality manuscripts Banister has somehow managed to assemble. Banister has proved that the average fan can assemble good reading material if he will work for it. Every story or article in Nekro is professional in tone and quality. (With the possibleexception of one titled "Doomsroad". How that thing managed to get into the summer issue only Banister knows and he ain't telling.) Each illo is a work of inspiration that any prozine would well envy. If you're not on B.'s mailing list, slip two bits into an envelope and mail it to him. You'll be glad you did!
This column is indebted to one E. Greene of London, Engl, for three mint copies of the English prozine, New Worlds. This little pocket-sized mag is a neat little number that will soon be a number one contender with American magazines. That is, if the quality presented in the first three issues is any criterion. The editor claims that he is aiming for the British viewpoint in stf, and that he is interested in promoting the works of British writers. But even the conservative British can dish up some readable stf. And though he is striving for British viewpoint, he is using the old American trick of using two or more yarns from the same author in one issue via the pseudonym dodge. As witness stories by George Whitley and A. Bertram Chandler .... (Maybe Chandler is the British Henry Kuttner?) The stories, for the most part, were space operas, but without the blood and thunder. I don't have a copy handy, so I can't make intelligent references. But, all in all, I rather liked them and I hope someone else will send me some more of them.
We who read science fiction are often so absorbed in projection of future science that we become blind to the marvelous science of the present. We read avidly of the newest development in jet planes, we shiver at the prospect of a super H-bomb, or we argue pro and con anent flying saucers, but other marvels receive scant attention. For instance I have been reading an article about the calculating machines developed by the International Business Machines Company for use by top scientists and mathematicians. These machines actually think! They solve math problems that would take human minds hundreds of years to compute ... and they do the task in a matter of minutes! Such machines operate typewriters and could be "taught" to operate other machines! At present, such a machine is beyond the average fanzine author, editor, or reader. They cost, roughly, half a million bucks. But mass production would bring them to the upper income classes, such as movie stars, presidents and college football players. Just think: They could be taught to cook, read, adjust a television set, swab floors, scrub a guy's back ... in fact, anything. You would just feed the day's chores, worked out to mathematical symbols, punched in a tape, into the machine and then go out and get sloppy drunk or chase a blonde, or practice biology, or even go to work, and the machine would do all the gruesome little things such as listening to your wife rave when she discovers the hole you burned in her new counterpane while smoking in bed, or changing diapers on the infant, or doing the dishes or peeling spuds ... in fact, given the proper symbols, it might even assist in the practice of coition ... (horrible thought) or even prescribe medicines after it made a diagnosis from symptoms fed into it. (The answer to socialized medicine, eh what?) So, you see, the robot isn't a dream any more. If you want to use one, IBM has one available to the public in N.Y.C. for the mere price of $300. per hour. Pardon me, but I believe I'll stick to the old fashioned brain for a while. It may be rusty but it is cheaper!
NYC's bout with the drought is another milestone of present-day science. Whether or not the scientists succeeded in making rain isn't known at this writing, but the fact that big cities are beginning to do something about the weather is an indication that we are beginning to enter the marvelous age of science that we heretofore only dreamed of in stf stories.
Yes, this is a marvelous age we are living in. I only hope it doesn't prove too much for mere man to conceive and control.
LONGHAMMER'S HAMMERINGS: More and more new stf books are appearing. Anyday now, maybe Betty'll give me enuf money fer me to go out and buy one.
Text versions by Judy Bemis, page scans by Judy Bemis and Kim Huett
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.