'1 9 5 8'


Art asked me a month ago if I'd care to take on a column for Spacewarp. At the time I told him no. I thought that perhaps one columnist from the Southern Cal. region was enough, but I have since changed my mind. (I hope Art hasn't. Though, who could blame him with Conner, Laney and Watkins already on.) The fact that it is reminiscent of Tucker's old LeZombie, with its many personalized columns, is a great attraction. Not only do I know I'm going to enjoy Spacewarp more, but I got the urge to be in there, too. So, if I'm good enough to stay with you, I'll fill your ear with stuff, picked up at the local club meetings, from club reports and general observations on stuff in general.

THE FABULOUS RAY BRADBURY. One could well write a column just about Ray, and his latest doings. There seems to be no end to his growing popularity and fame. His latest big sale is a 5,000 worder to Cosmopolitan for only 25¢ a word. This marks his fourth or fifth big sale to the slicks since the first of the year. Ackerman says he hopes to get Ray down to a LASFS meeting some week soon, and have him bring along a shopping bag of his money to show us. Poor Ray, 10 years ago he was a news boy in L. A., and the young devil of the LASFS. Now he is a famous writer, and a bloody capitalist.

Yale U. has its own radio station, and they have started a weekly science fiction program, and have asked Ray if they might adapt one of his stories for their program, of course without paying. It was pointed out by one local fan that Yale had plenty of money. But then, so does Bradbury.

As a pulp reader, though, I am wondering where this all will end. Will Ray slowly drift away from the pulps to the higher paying fields? This has happened before when an author got better, for example, Nelson S. Bond. The odd part about it is, Ray's style is changing. Perhaps you will disagree, but I think his earlier stories, such as "Million Year Picnic," "Homecoming," or even "The Irritated People" are more enjoyable reading than his current ones. They became a little more bitter, as the writing becomes better. Ray, is of course a rather bitter young man. The age of machines seems to bother him. I remember a few rather caustic remarks about the horror of a ball point pen, and collapsible umbrellas.

Maybe his better stories are going in to the slicks and books. I know he has some powerful stuff coming up in his book, Martian Chronicles, due out in about a month. To Bradbury fans (with money) this will be a must, as it carries some heretofore unpublished stories. The book is made up of a goodly number of his Martian stories, with, as I said, a few new ones to tie them together. They tell of the time from the first "Rocket Summer" when rockets left for Mars, to the last one home, in "Million Year Picnic."

HEINLEIN'S VIEW OF FUTURE HISTORY. By now I suppose you have heard that the latest Heinlein book is out; The Man Who Sold The Moon. It is the first in the much talked of series of five books, dealing with his 'history of the future.' The stories are for the most part from Astounding, with a number of short stories and novelets to fill in the gaps. The first one contains his first ASF story, plus novels like "Blowups Happen" and "Roads Must Roll". The title novel, which finds last place in the book, is one of the new ones, and those that have read it say it is up to the best of the rest.

I've heard that Heinlein got his future history idea from another famous author whose books were centered around one mythical town. The whole of his work room was covered with maps and charts of this town, so that his books would have an authentic inner-relation of locale. Heinlein's chart of his history is inner-cover design in the first, and I suppose all of the books... The binding is rather tasty, and though I imagine the jackets will be different, the bindings will make a nice matching set. This is a must for fans.

THE TUCKER INVASION. It was little over a week ago (it is now March 14th) that the first official word came Coast-ward of great Bob Tucker invasion planned for next Aug. As those of you who read the 100th issue of Fantasy Times know, Bob, and from 13 to 30 Eastern fans are planning to go to the NORWESCON by pullman, with a two day stop over in L. A. What you probably don't know is that they started working on it back in October. Starting out with invitations to a selected group of fans back there. They hope to be able to get 30 or so to come with them, so they can charter a whole car for the two weeks the round trip will take.

But that is not what has the local lads looking into the future and shaking their heads about. The sudden arrival of 20 to 30 fans, such as Tucker, Rothman, DeJack, Wheeler and others is a thing to ponder. A special meeting of the LASFS will be held, of course, but where? The present club holds about 35 nicely, but such a meeting would bring in the not-so-regular members and up it to about 40-50 locals, and 25 visiting Firemen. And as it is, we don't always have enough chairs. And, not only do we have to think of where to hold a meeting, but where to sleep them, and how the Foo to get them around. A rented bus is the only answer. -- And there is the special program. But with such people as Tucker here, why should we put on a program? All I can say is, that if the Convention wasn't going to kill off a few fans, this invasion will.

SCIENCE FICTION ON THE AIR. You have all been deaf if you haven't heard Dimension X by now. The new NBC Saturday night show. I've only heard the first so far, but the future looks bright. Ken Cross, a local newspaper and radio man, who you will all be hearing of in the not too far future, has had quite a hand in the starting of this program. A science fiction enthusiast himself, he has been after the networks to get a stf show started for some time. Dimension X is the result.

He was down to a LASFS meeting a couple months ago, and he said that all the networks have been aware that there was an increasing demand for science fiction, but were afraid to try it. Having the low opinion of their listeners that is seemingly shared by most other radio and movie directors, they felt that they might be over their listeners' heads, or be accused of being "arty".

It is not so much a question of writers or sound, as it is of the top brass. The writers and sound men would be, according to Crossen, delighted to get into the broader field stf offers. In fact, they are apt to go overboard. He said that the script for "First Contact" had to be done over three times, as the writer became too involved. The sound men on the other hand were so dulled from the past that they had to be prodded into getting better effects. The Humanoid's unhuman voice was achieved by having the actor speak into a mike that took all the highs and lows out of his voice. And the Aliens in "First Contact" is a combo of a human voice and a harp, played through a sono-vox.

Everyone of course is urged to write in to NBC about the show. Tell them what you think, and that you want more. Use your best brain, and don't, for the most effective results, talk about how long you have been reading the stuff. You just 'happened' to tune in, get me?

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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.