The View from Entropy Hall (Online Archive) - From Ed Meskys - RR2 Box 63 - 322 Whitter Hwy - Center Harbor NH 03226
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Issue #12

The View From Entropy Hall #12 for APA-Q 408, 31 May 1997, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, (322 Whittier Hwy Mbo), Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected], 603-253-6207.


Brian Thurston was not able to put ENTROPY #11 on the WWW because of a software problem. He is thinking of buying new software but meantime he is going to direct e-mail copies of this to people I think might be interested. If you aren't, drop me a note (pest office or e-mail) and we will remove you from the listserve. And, of course, if you hear of this somehow and WANT to get this by e-mail write me.



Dick Lynch is collecting material for a history of Fandom of the '60s and putting out bits through the Timebinders internet discussion group as they are finished. For instance, a few months ago he distributed a draft on the role of the Society for Creative Anachronism in the fandom of the period. Since i played a part in Tolkien fandom of the period I thought I would write up my memories. They are far from perfect and I would need considerable sighted help to find some relevant documents in the garage and attic. I would appreciate any corrections or clarifications from the readers.

I was only vaguely aware of the beginnings of Tolkien fandom. While I was in local club fandom since 1955 and read a few fanzines, I did not get heavily into fanzine fandom until 1959 when under the influence of Leslie Gerber I subbed to SHAGGY, CRY, and several other major zines, and under the influence of Belle Dietz I joined the N3F APA, N'APA. (Because the N3F was denegrated by "trufen" Belle had suggested that N'APA be pronounced "nee-apa" and the official organ be called "N'APA YAP. The latter would re-enforce the pronunciation of neeyapa, to avoid confusion with the mundane National Amateur Press Association, and be self-effacing to short-circuit outside mockery. A decade later when Bob Lichtman was OE he didn't want to pub a zine called N'APA YAP and changed its name to the pretentious ALLIANCE AMATEUR.)

Anyhow, at that time the Los Angeles fen would discover one book after another and gush wildly about their greatness in SHAGGY and their APAzines. Enthusiasms of the time included Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED, John Myers Myers' SILVERLOCK, and Tolkien's LotR. There were probably others, but I don't remember them. Anyhow, it was because of this that I bought and read SILVERLOCK and Tolkien's five available books. The LASFen started a Tolkien club, "Fellowship of the Ring," with an Official Organ, I PALINTIR. They held their organizational meeting at Pittcon, the 1960 Worldcon, which I attended even though at that point I had only read FARMER GILES OF HAM and THE HOBBIT. I finally read LotR December 1961, during Christmas vacation from graduate school when I should have been working on my thesis, and was hooked like most everyone else.

Most Tolkien fen wanted to participate in all aspects of his world, including writing in his alphabets. Tolkien, as a linguist, had invented a completely logical and phonetic alphabet, Tengwar, which the elves used, and a variation on Norse runes used by the Dwarves. Since Tengwar was phonetic it did not correspond directly to the roman alphabet as used in English and it took a lot of work to transcribe English into it. Bjo Trimble told me that Don Simpson had developed a successful technique for doing so. (Later, members of the Tolkien society of America tended to use an arbitrary "orthographic" transcription wherein English letters were given the same Tengwar character regardless of pronunciation.) Tengwar, like Yiddish, only had consonants and vowels are indicated by diacritical marks over the consonants. I never became interested in this aspect of Tolkien fandom, nor the attempts to learn Quenya and sindarin, the two Elvish languages invented by Tolkien. My main interest was in the mythic history of Middle-earth which preceeded the events of HOBBIT and LotR.

The Fellowship published four issues of I PALINTIR before the group petered out. Meanwhile LA had bid for the'64 Worldcon with the slogan "Mordor in64" because LA is the "Deselation of smog." However the con went to Oakland and I had moved to northern California in June, 1962. I had joined N'APA with the second mailing and started a genzine for the group, POLHODE. (I was caught up by the sentence "The polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane" in a physics textbook.) I did three issues for the APA but never finished the fourth. Meanwhile I started a separate mailing-comments zine for the APA, and changed its name to NIEKAS and started the numbering over again with the June 1962 issue. Since it was coming out regularly and POLHODE wasn't appearing, starting with #4 or thereabouts I decided to use up the POLHODE material a bit at a time before it became totally dated. By #6 NIEKAS had grown into a genzine with mailing comments added and I gave up on POLHODE.

Al haLevy, co-chair of the '64 Worldcon, inspired the local club, The Little Men, to revive its long dormant fanzine, RHODOMAGNETIC DIGEST (title taken from a Jack Williamson story--THE HUMANOIDS?). It ran only two issues before con preparation pressures caused it to peter out. Al was a great Tolkien enthusiast and had compiled a giant card-file of all proper names in LotR and HOBBIT, giving page references, relationships to other characters or places or things, and a definition if necessary. He published the first part of it in the second RD.

Since there was no Tolkien fanzine being published I decided to devote NIEKAS to Tolkien and try to run at least one Tolkien related piece in each issue. I asked Al for permission to reprint his first installment, on Hobbit names, in NIEKAS and for Al to continue creating other installments for future issues. I missed publishing the June 1962 issue and #9 came out for the September N'APA mailing, and I believe it was this issue which contained the first installment. Al did only one other installment, on the Dwarves, before he lost interest in the project.

About this time Greg Shaw started the fanzine ENTMOOT and Paul Novitsky, often using the pen-name Alpajpuri, started another Tolkien zine whose title I've forgotten. Speaking of other zines, Marion Zimmer Bradley's brother Paul Zimmer had published the first Tolkien fanzine ever, ANDURIL, which saw only one issue. There was an unrelated fantasy fanzine of the same title published in England. It and ELDRICH DREAMQUEST ran some Tolkien material. TZhen Marion did a pamphlet for FAPA under the general series title of Astra's Tower, called MEN, HALFLINGS, AND HERO WORSHIP which I reprinted in NIEKAS and which Ted Pauls brought out as a chapbook under the TK Graphics imprint.

Then Ace books brought out FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING in an un-authorized paperback edition and everything went wild.

By the copyright laws of the time an American publisher could import a limited number of unbound copies of a British book and sell them in the US, but if the number so sold exceeded a critical value the copyright was lost. If more copies were going to be sold, the book had to be typeset again and printed in the US. Nobody expected to sell many copies of LotR and a few hundred were imported. When these sold out, a few more were brought in. Over the years LotR never had a large sale, but had a small steady one, and before they realized it the critical number had been exceeded and the copyright was lost. I do not understand how the copyright to THE HOBBIT was also lost as that had a first American edition different from the British.

At least one paperback hous had approached Houghton Mifflin about doing a paperback edition but was rebuffed, perhaps because H-M knew there were no rights to be sold. This is surprising as there was no market for fantasy at the time. The only fantasy published regularly was for children or "young adults." Ace had experimented with a Conan book a few years earlier and it had fallen flat. Anyhow, eith editor Wollheim or publisher Wyn had noticed the lack of copyright and decided to test market a pirate edition of the first volume. It succeeded wildly and plans were made to publish the second volume. but rumors were circulating that Pyramid Books, one of the "rejected suitors," was going to try to beat Ace to the punch with the third volume, so Ace rushed #s 2 and 3 out at the same time. Jack Gaughan was assigned the covers but never was given the time to read the books. He talked with his friend John Jakes (of Brak the Barbarian fame) who had been urging him to read the books before this all came up, and got some idea of the story from him and did the best he could with the covers.

Meanwhile the whole literary community was buzzing about the unfairness of American copyright laws and this and another pirate book. One of the literary porn books, TROPIC OF CANCER or LADY CHATTERLY'S LOVER or one of its ilk. It had been banned in the US and could not be published or copyrighted. Then the Supreme Court decided that porn with "redeeming social value" could be published and sold in the US, so there were unauthorized pirate editions of the book in question. Magazines like SATURDAY REVIEW devoted considerable space to the controversy. Earlier our field had been abuzz when publishers discovered that ERB Inc. had not been interested in the print rights to Burroughs' books but only in the TV and film rights to Tarzan, and had neglected to renew the copyrights. (Back then a book or other published item could be copyrighted for 35 years, and then renewed for another 35 years by filing papers and fees. If this was not done the item went into public domain at the end of the first 35 years.) Thus Bradford Day of SF&F Publications put out a hard cover of ERB's two novellas in one volume, BEYOND THIRTY & THE MAN EATER, some amateur had done a badly done booklet of THE GIRL FROM FERRIS, and then Ace had picked up several titles. After publicity ERB Inc. woke up, renewed the remaining copyrights, and negotiated deals with Ace and Ballantine for AUTHORIZED editions of various series, including both copyrighted and public domain titles. [Or did this happen after the Tolkien fracas?] Biblo & Tannen bookseller set up Caneveral Press to do hard cover editions of the newly popular ERB titles. Dick Lupoff had access to ERB's previously unpublished manuscripts and decided which were worth doing.

Shortly before I left the Bay Area in December, 1965, Don Wollheim visited and was guest at a local meeting or party. I asked whether, even if LotR was in public domain, Ace ought not make a voluntary payment in lieu of royalties. He said Wyn would never agree to make a payment he was not required to. He also explained that the popularity of the book with the college crowd had allowed Ace to break into the college bookstore market which had been closed to them until then.

Ruth Berman was working on a Master's in English at UC Berkeley in the fall of '64 where she met Diana Paxson and Anne Braude, and brought both of them to Little Men's meetings. I became good friends with them, and went to all sorts of meetings, plays, and concerts with all three. They became major parts of what I referred to as "the NIEKAS family." Anne said we were like MacBeth and the three weird sisters. Anne, who called herself Nan at the time, wrote much for NIEKAS and while Diana wrote some she did a lot of art for the zine. Ruth wrote a bit for it.

A young fan, I think it was Greg Shaw, from Marin County joined the Little Men about this time and he too was a great Tolkien fan. He had an artist friend near home who drew large pictures inspired by Tolkien and Greg urged ne to publish them. I thus started the practice of running a large illo (11 x 15) in NIEKAS, printed offset, and stapled in as a "fold-out." Then Caroline Teeter, known as Mary, Dave Thewlis, and Ken deMaife moved from the east coast to Berkeley. (They were to play a major part in the founding of the SCA.)Mary was from Philadelphia and I had known her for several years, so they got in touch with me upon arrival. Ken was a very good Tolkien artist and took over doing the fold-outs.

NIEKAS #16, June 1966, was going to be my fourth anniversary issue and I decided to do something special to celebrate. Among other things I asked Diana to do a portfolio of six whole-page illos for the issue. I left the Bay Area right after #14 came out in December, 1965, and Felice Rolfe kept the Gestetner and took over printing and mailing the zine. She made the decision to not staple the art into the issue in case readers wanted to frame some of it, and she forgot to mention the portfolio in the table of contents or anywhere else in the zine. Today anyone acquiring a back issue would have no way of knowing that it was accompanied by the portfolio.

All the Tolkien fen were very unhappy with the Gaughan covers on the Ace edition and the Barbara Rambella (spelling?) covers on the Ballantine. I came up with the idea of making the next four fold-outs "dust jackets" for the paperback editions and Diana drew them. Later I sold extra sets through the Tolkien Society of America.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...that is, in New York, a high school student named Dick Plotz started leaving messages in Tengwar at the Columbia University subway station as grafitti on the billboards. Others responded, and he put up grafitti calling for a meeting in Central Park at a specific time and place. I believe he also took a classified add in a publication like THE VILLAGE VOICE. He got help from Ian Ballentine at Ballantine Books who paid for the mimeographing of the first two issues of TOLKIEN JOURNAL, the first one page long and the second three legal size pages. Dick then started having quarterly meetings in his back yard in Brooklyn. Ballantine also arranged for Lee Letter Service in Manhattan to put Dick's mailing list on addressograph stencils or some equivalent using the technology of the time. He heard about me and NIEKAS from other members and put me on the mailing list for meeting notices, but I was visiting my family in NY at the wrong times to attend. I did visit him and his close friend, Bob Foster, and finally made a meeting. The main program item was a Mr. Resnick who conducted a telephone interview of Tolkien for, I think, THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, telling of his experience. I taped the talk and got Mr. Resnick's permission to print it in NIEKAS. Fen present at the meeting included John Boardman, Sherna Comerford, and Devra Langsam, the latter two publishers of a major Trek fanzine. I believe there were other active fen present, but most were persons who had never heard of fandom. I went to another meeting somewhere in lower Manhattan where Clyde Kilby, C.S. Lewis scholar who had just spent a summer with Tolkien in order to help him work on THE SILMARILLION, spoke about his experiences. He found an old yellowed manuscript of SMITH OF WOOTAN MAJOR which was published as a result. I also published his remarks in NIEKAS.

But back to my visit to Dick and Bob. It turned out that Bob was working on a similar guide to Tolkien to that of Al haLevy, and I asked Bob whether he could do it in installments for NIEKAS. He did so and I wrote Advent: Publishers to see whether they would do a book version when it was finished. They said they couldn't handle it, but suggested that I contact Jack Chalker about Mirage Press doing it. Jack was interested and eventually brought it out in hard cover. Later Ballantine reprinted it in paperback, and when THE SILMARILLION was published Bob did an expanded version for Ballantine including the new data. Meanwhile Bob went to and graduated from college and went on to get a PhD in English and take a teaching job. Since then I have lost touch with him. Jack and I had also talked about a book collecting the Tolkien material from NIEKAS and I started going over back issues to gather it, but never finished. I now expect to publish it as a special issue of NIEKAS, with new material added, in a few years and will probably use a re- write of this piece as an intro.

There were a flood of articles about Tolkien in all the major magazines and newspapers, and all gave an address for the TSA. SEVENTEEN magazine paid Dick to go to England and interview Tolkien for them. Subscriptions poured in and the membership grew to over 2,000. In the fall of 1966 Dick entered Harvard, but the TSA took so much of his time that he got very poor grades. Harvard had the very enlightened policy of letting someone they admitted but who got poor grades to re-take the freshman year and try again, for they were so sure of their admissions procedures that they knew the student COULD do the work. Dick announced he had to give up the TSA for the sake of his education. I volunteered to take it over. I thought I could help integrate Tolkien and general fandom, and it would help the circulation of NIEKAS. Dick had his last meeting at a Unitarian church in downtown Brooklyn one afternoon of Labor Day weekend, 1967, and I ducked out of the NY Worldcon in order to attend. At a short ceremony he turned the organization over to me. Later I drove to his home to pick up the back issues and unsold merchandise, and to transfer the savings account to my name.

Ballantine Books sold the TSA books, posters, etc., at the 50% discount given to wholesalers and it sold these items to members and used the proceeds to support its activities. Dick had put out one issue of a one-sheet newsletter, THE GREEN DRAGON, and two fractional issues which consisted of nothing but price lists of available materials. I quickly put out #2 which was a real newsletter but included a coupon for ordering materials, including NIEKAS subs. Lee Letter Service ran off a set of mailing labels for me and I sent it out.

Since I came to NYC every Christmas to visit my parents I arranged to hold a meeting over that time. At Dick's suggestion in 1967 I rented a meeting room in a hotel near Times Square and arranged for a number of speakers. I only remember that I had W.H. Auden speak on the use of old Norse names for the dwarves in THE HOBBIT in addition to Gandalf, and he read his translation of the part of the Eddas which included the list of names, and John Boardman wrapped up the program with a talk "Back to the Middle Ages With Tolkien." For the next few years I held a "Yulemoot" in NY, a meeting at Boskone in the late winter or early Spring (a regular time for Boskones wasn't established the way it is now) and at Worldcon. The next Yulemoot or two were at Columbia University, later ones at a Jewish social club in the Bronx suggested by Joni Serrano. I had a number of speakers over the years including Peter S. Beagle at the 1969 Worldcon and Lester del Rey at the 1968 Boskone. My last meeting was at Noreascon I where, among other program items, Cory Seidman (later Panshin) gave lessons in Sindarin.

I decided to hold an academic Tolkien conference at Belknap College where I was teaching, and sent out a flyer announcing it for October, 1968. Charlie Brown, Dave Vanderwerf, and I at a party at my house decided that since the latest fannish newsletter had folded we would start one of our own. We planned it to be on a single sheet of paper, which would have each news item typed on stencil as it came in, and it would be run off and mailed as soon as the two sides were filled. It was to have no regular schedule and was to concentrate on news of fandom. We called it LOCUS because if a lot of news were to break quickly we would publish a plague of LOCUSes. (Dave had wanted to call it LGM, the initial name for pulsars which had just been discovered and which astronomers speculated might be beacons of a galactic civilization.) The "first trial issue" was circulated with the flyer. We sent a second trial issue to people who responded to the first and other prospective customers, and then started with the real #1 sent out for real money. Dave dropped out with #4 and I with #11. You know what Charlie did with it after that!

Belknap College had been established in 1963 by two physicists who were cousins, Dr. Royal M. Frye, and Dr. Virginia M. Brigham. They bought an old estate and farm which had once belonged to the tufts of Tufts University, who had made his fortune by inventing the soda fountain. Classrooms were set up in the old Edwardian manor house, farm house, barn, stables, paint shed, etc. The goal was to put up a modern classroom building and gymnasium/auditorium. The building was finished just in time for my conference, which was the first function held there. The building had stood unfinished for about a year before it could be completed, and all sorts of insects had laid eggs in the structure. When the heat was turned on all the eggs, mostly of house flies, hatched. All during the conference we were bombarded by dying flies. Each morning the janitor would fill a five-gallon bucket with their remains. Since the building was named Frye Hall after the founding president of the college attendees gave it the obvious nickname "fly hall" and referred to the conference as Flycon. Speakers included Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lester del Rey, Nancy Lou Patterson, Anne Braude, and Nan Scott. Ivor Rogers, a scholar, theatrical director, and book dealer from Wisconsin, put on a play version of FARMER GILES OF HAM using Belknap students as actors. His skill put local thespian Ray Rushampkin, a talented director himself, to shame. Marquette University sent an exhibit of samples of Tolkien's drawings and pages from his manuscripts, and Ballantine Books arranged for a showing of a half hour BBC documentary about Tolkien.

Attendees included many Bosten fen like Tony & Suford Lewis, Drew White, and Dainis Bisenieks, and many NY fen like Charlie & Marsha Brown, Stu Brownstein, and Fred Lerner. [I need some more names. I vaguely remember at least one of the Haldeman brothers. Hal Clement? Elliot Shorter? Devra and Sherna? what other NESFen? Was Cory Seidman a speaker or attendee?] I had parties in my house the two nights of the con. Saturday night Lester and Evelyn del Rey, Charlie and Marsha Brown, and several others closeted themselves in my bedroom with Tony and Suford Lewis to plot strategy for getting Boston the '71 Worldcon.

The school gave me a work-study student, Nancy Miles, as secretary starting in early 1969 and we were married that December. (It last just under six years.) I was behind in handling TSA correspondance and filling orders, so my mother-in-law Bunny Miles offered to help. She was very prompt in answering all the mail that came, most direct to her, and had a great deal of fun corresponding with the members. John Closson, a NY fan, had designed the major Tolkien buttons which were very popular at the time; "Frodo Lives" in the Tengwar alphabet and Gandalf's firelighting spell in Sindarin in the Tengwar alphabet around the rim with "go, go, gandalf" in Cereth or runes in the center. Button On MacDougal had paid him $25 for each design and no royalties, and there was a heavy demand for the buttons by out-of-town members. I made him official button purveyor for the TSA and members sent orders directly to him. I appointed Paul Novitsky "Sherif of the Smials" (as local chapters were called) and all local groups reported to him. He made regular listings which were published in THE GREEN DRAGON.

Archie Mercer, a long-time fan from Cornwall, became British agent for the TSA and NIEKAS and also enjoyed his role. He put out a newsletter for British members, THE MIDDLE-EARTHWORM. Since he was also a great enthusiast of white's retelling of the Arthurian story he later changed the name to THE ONCE AND FUTURE WORM.

Coming back to NIEKAS, Felice put out #s 15-18 between January 1966 and summer 1967. Charlie Brown suggested that I get the Gestetner moved east and offered to keep it and help run off the zine. Since Al Lewis was driving from LA to NY for the '67 Worldcon and often visited the Bay Area he offered to drive out the Gestetner and all its accessories and supplies. (LA was bidding for the '68 Worldcon and then the voting was by show of hands at the business meeting the year before the con in question. LA was banking heavily on its Trek connection with promised studeo tours, etc., and that it was "LA's turn." Oakland put in a token opposing bid but their presentation was so good that they won the '68 worldcon.)

Charlie, Marsha, Elliot Shorter, and I ran off a second printing of NIEKAS 18 which was just about sold out, and started work on #19. We only did two more issues, ending with a 1,000 copy print run on #20 with 103 pages, many in two colors. Elliott did much of the mimeography and it took forever to collate the zine. There were piles of pages all over Charlie and Marsha's living room, dining room, hallway, etc for weeks. We had the first copies ready to bring to a SCA new year's party at Sherna and Brian Burley's in New Jersey.

I started work on NIEKAS 21 several times but something always interfered. I got married and had to get settled in family life, I became blind and had to go off to rehab school, my job was threatened when some marginal students complained about having a blind teacher, the college went belly up and I was out of work, my son was born, my wife left me, etc. I acquired new co-editors, Sherwood Frazier (brother of current co-editor Todd Frazier), his sister-in-law Margaret Shepard, and Rafe Folch-Pi, a former Belknap student. We didled with it for a long time until Margaret took charge and nagged us into finishing it. She lived in Salen NH, just north of Mass., and Rafe in Boston at the time and they ran it off on the NESFA Gestetner in time for the 1977 Boskone, eight years after #20 had come out. Margaret dropped out and Sherwood's friend, Mike Bastraw, joined us but it took us another three years to produce #22 in time for the 1980 Lunacon, which I failed to make because of a snow-storm. {Do I have things reversed? Did I miss the 77 Lunacon and we had 22 for the 80 Boskone?}We had used a church Gestetner to run it off. My old Gestetner was broken and it was so old that parts were no longer available. The local Gestetner agency said it would cost $200 to fix it and they could not guarantee the results. We found a used offset press for only $250 which we used for issues 23 to 34. We had #35 printed by a Boston shop recommended by NESFA and starting with #36 Andy Johnson of Laconia printed all issues.

Dick Plotz had put out 8 issues of TOLKIEN JOURNAL and I did two more in the year or so after I took over. Charlie Brown, Marsha and her sister Sheila (now Gilbert), my first wife, and some Belknap students were a big help. The journals were printed by NY fan and printer, Al Schuster. #10 started to publish transcriptions of papers given at Flycon and one by Dainis Bisenieks was so badly garbled in copytyping by a student volunteer that I had to reprint it in a later issue. I ran GREEN DRAGON off on the college mimeo and used their Bitney Bowles folder to prepare it for mailing.

Meanwhile dick West, originally a Boston area fan, who later took a job teaching English at a university in Madison WI, started a new Tolkien fanzine, ORCRIST. (He later published a book on the different editions of Tolkien.) He had trouble publishing the next ORCRIST so I arranged for the TSA to publish it, and for it to be both TJ and ORCRIST. I did a total of three combos with ORCRIST and one with MYTHLORE. I was finishing my third issue of TJ edited by myself, set to mark Tolkien's 80th birthday, when I became blind and had to drop work on it while I went through rehab. Since I had to have everything read to me including students' homework and exams, and everything took longer, I decided to pass the TSA on to other hands.

Glen Goodknight had started the Mythopoeic (myth-makers') Society about three years earlier. It was devoted to the Inklings, especially Tolkien, Lewis, & Williams, and was publishing a regular quarterly zine which looked much like TJ, as well as a monthly newsletter, MYTHPRINT, and a specialized zine for those interested in Tolkien's languages. I arranged for the TSA to merge with the MPS, and forwarded the funds, most of the back issues, the mailing list, and the other merchandise to Glen. The MPS was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization and Glen was worried about the organization "making a profit" on the merchandise. He arranged for Ballantine to take most back. He didn't realise that "non-profit" means that there are no stockholders or owners to make money from it. The organization can sell merchandise at a profit in order to subsidize its operations. Look at all the museum gift-shops and stuff advertised in SMITHSONIAN, NATURAL HISTORY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, etc. Glen finished laying out my last TJ and arranged for it to be printed and mailed from California. He has arranged for University Microfilms to put the complete run of TJ on film and to produce Xerox copies on order. I do not know whether he still has any of the printed issues. I have a few copies of a little under half of the 15 issues published. I sell about two sets a year for $10 a set at the NIEKAS table at cons. My original intent was to do a column for MYTHLORE called "The Green Dragon" but I only did two installments before other cares distracted me. In the first I reminisced about the TSA and Flycon, and in the second I wrote about a store in lower Manhattan called "The Boggle Shop." Ben Indick, still active in Lovecraft fandom today, and an avid Tolkien enthusiast, had directed it to me. It was what we might call an art botique today and was run by Barbara Rambella who had done the covers on the initial Ballantine edition of LotR. She sold all sorts of artsy things including "soft sculpture" bats. She had on display a chess set she and her husband had made based on Tolkien characters. It was a beautiful piece of work and I had dreamed of getting enough money together to do a color TJ cover showing the pieces and board.

Shortly after the merger a woman who was an officer of the MPS, treasurer?, got unhappy over how some things were managed and pulled out, starting a new organization. I think it was called The Fantasy Association. They published an excellent magazine, GANTASIAE, for about three years and then vanished.

Sometime in the late '60s Jan Howard Finder, a graduate student in Indiana, held a Tolkien Conference, and I was preparing to hold Flycon II when I gave up the TSA.

During the height of the Tolkien craze many fanzines were published, mostly by people only interested in Tolkien and outside of fandom. I remember one was called TRIPLANETARY because the editor was interested in Middle-earth, Eddison's Mercury, and I forget the third. Tolkien fandom continues to exist and I get MINAS TIRITH EVENING STAR from the American Tolkien Society, MYTHLORE and MYTHPRINT from the MPS, and items from the New England Tolkien Society run by Gary Hunnewell in Arnold Missouri. (He lived in Maine when he started it.) There are other zines I do not get, like FRODO FORTHNIGHTLY a zine published in the DC area on linguistics, and the publications of the (British) Tolkien Society. The latter held a joint conference with the MPS in Oxford in 1992 to mark Tolkien's hundreth birthday.

Today I would say that Tolkien fandon is separate from our fandom, just like Trek fandom, the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Whovians, comics fandom, gameing fandom, and other media fandoms. (Is there still a Burroughs fandom as such? They used to hold "dumdums" at Worldcons and their zine ERBdom received the 1966 fanzine Hugo.) There is some overlap of interest and some fen read Tolkien zines and go to Tolkien meetings, and some Tolkien fen read a few of our zines and occassionally come to our cons and meetings. The same can be said of all the other fandoms. They are essentially separate universes but with some overlap of membership. We have gameing and movies at cons, and occassionally the SCA puts on fighting demos. In the early '80s MPS members put on a tolkien track at the Darkover Con in Baltimore, and I expect it happens at other cons too.

However Tolkien fandom, as well as the SCA and Trek, had lasting effects on our fandom. Before the '60s femfannes were rare...10% or less of all active fen. Also fandom was much smaller than it is now. These three groups brought many women into general fandom for the first time, and also helped swell its ranks. NIEKAS was the major bridge between Tolkien fandom and general fandom, bringing Tolkien fen to cons where there were TSA meetings and making them aware of other cons and fanzines.



Just finished reading the latest FILE 770 with its letter from Charles Platt concerning his receipt of a Hogu Award at LAcon 3. Below is what I wrote in my LoC.

I think Charles Platt had some telling points to make in his letter. I have read in fanzines of the Hogu ceremony and gathered it was always a small group at a local fast food place during a worldcon with only about 20 or 30 participating. The reasons for the specific awards and their recipients often eluded me. Take the one "given" to Platt. What was meant by "dead writer?" Why given to those three. Platt has been controversial because of his association with the New Wave and his angery criticism of conventional stf. (Wasn't he somehow involved in an incident at a Lunacon some 20 years ago when a pie was hrown in Ted White's face? Or is my senile memory failing me?) I did enjoy his fanzine PACHIN REVIEW and his books of interviews of authors. Perhaps I read the wrong fanzines but recently I have not heard of his involvement in any feuding or fussing. Why was he singled out? And why was he lumped with John Norman, a mysogenist writer of bondage porn, and Shatner who lent his name to a ghost writer to do a series of SF novels?

Who picks the Hogu categories and "recipients?" I have never attended the ceremony and, to tell the truth, have no interest in doing so. There is a place for humorous negative awards (I fondly remember John Boardman's "Eleven Foot Poll") but these do seem pointless.



Of the last two distys, I have had the earlier completely read to me and half of the latter. the material is on several cassettes buried in the clutter around my computer and I write the comments as I find and listen to the tapes. I was going to skip this disty too so I could finish the comments, but John urged me to try to get it in with whatever I have ready. It is now Friday night, 31 May, and I will mail this out Monday since John is in the middle of finals grading and says the disty will be a bit late. What comments don't make it here will be in ENTROPY 13.

BLAnCmANGE (Mark Blackman). Do you have an e-mail address? Since i am always having trouble with my printer would it be possible to send you ENTROPY by e-mail, have you run off a copy, and have it Xeroxed for me? I will, of course, pay duplicating costs.


DAGON (John Boardman). I have gotten some more information on the Tarot cards and their connection with modern playing cards, in a LoC from Dick eney and in the long newspaper clipping you sent me. I will try to run these in ENTROPY #13.

The 17 May 1997 issue of AMERICA magazine has a review of a book which might interest you: IN THE SHADOW OF WAR: THE UNITED STATES SINCE THE 1930S by Michael S. Sherry, Yale UP, 595 pp., $35. According to the review the thesis of the book is thatin the 1930s the US became entranced with not only the bomber (discussed in his earlier book, THE RISE OF AMERICAN AIR POWER) but with war itself. I will quote the beginning of the review rather than try to paraphrase it.

The early cold war years consolidated the militarization of American life

that had begun with the New Deal. "War and national security became

consuming anxieties and provided the memories, models, and metaphors that

shaped broad areas of national life." Large chunks of the nation's ecology,

economy, politics, cultural life, and social relations, everything that

defines a nation, became annexed to this historical process. War, as deed or

state of mind or model, as horror to be contemplated, deterred, or waged,

moved to the center of American political culture. Because the cold war

alone did not cause these developments, Sherry insists the cold war's end

was not the death knell of militarization. Having lost old enemies,

Americans are now driven by militarization to find new foes....

The reviewer, Donald L. Hafner, prof of political science at Boston College, disagreed with much of the book but found much interesting and valid. Anyhow, I thought you would appreciate this blast of the American war mentality.

I remember the fuss when someone wrote a book claiming he was cloned. Was the book called IN HIS IMAGE? Anyhow, since at that time only frogs had been successfully cloned there was humorous speculation about the clone being a Frenchman or Mogli. Wasn't this in DAGON?

When I first got into fandom several people in NY fandom were active in the "Libertarian League" and I believe Dick ellington, who had an offset printing business, published their newsletter. I understand this form of Libertarianism was quite different from that of today. You said that the term "fanarchist" either applies to fen who do not fit into organized fan groups or to active modern Libertarians. When the NY SF Circle folded in 1957 two groups sprang up from the ashes, the Lunarians and an actual group which rejected formal meetings and called themselves "The Fanarchists." (A little later there was also a neofan group called "Metrofen.") Bill Donoho was part of the Fanarchists and they put on a "Fanarcon" in the late '50s. Bill wrote about this in an ish of HABAKKUK about two or three years ago. Dick Lupoff's article reprinted in FANHISTORICA which I recently read told how the Fanoclasts split off from the Futurians. Was there any connection between the Futurians and Fanarchists? When did the Fanarchists fold? When the Fanoclasts split off from the Futurians how long did that group survive?

In your comments to QUAINT STUFF where John Malay wrote about his family vacation trip to the Tampa area you said that when Perdita made a similar trip she stuck to out-of-the-way places. What did she actually go see? You wrote about various comedy teams of the buffoon and the heavy like Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, etc. In most of the Martin and Lewis films Martin was the sane one, but I remember seeing one film in the '50s, THAT'S MY BOY, where, if I remember correctly, Lewis was the sane one. Can anyone confirm this? Or has my memory played me false again?

In your Lunacon report you commented that C.J. Cherryh and her brother both being GoH's was the first such incident. I believe it happened at a Boskone about a decade ago. She was GoH and he did the dust jacket for the corresponding NESFA Press book, and that is usually done by the artist GoH.

I really enjoyed reading your reprint from the '76 DAGON about the two nuts who started the flying saucer cult which did itself in. However you said a pilot who saw some odd items in 1947 first named them "flying saucers." I recently read somewhere that the pilot didn't come up with "flying saucers" but the press reporting on his "sighting" did. When the suicide was in the headlines the on-line fanzine ANSIBLE had an interesting story. The person who claimed to see a saucer in the wake of the comet was an old acquaintance of the person writing to ANSIBLE. (I do not save the files and do not remember any of the names involved.) When they were in school together the person in the news was always hoaxing the credulous flying saucer and other crackpot science nuts with reports of seeing something which would fit into their weird world view, and then pull the rug out from under their feet. The ANSIBLE reporter speculated that the cometary flying saucer was just another of his hoaxes and he had not foreseen the tragic results. Could these suicides be serving a purpose by clensing our gene pool? On the other hand a number had already done so by castrating themselves. Speaking of cleaning out the gene pool, would you consider Wac(k)o Texas and Jonestown in South America as such clensings or as deluded victems of insane leaders?

You spoke of conservative nuts attacking the Internet for seducing youth. It is a free market for information and ideas, including wackos like flying saucer nuts, astrologers, flat earthers, militarists and militia types, etc. They will seduce some of the credulous but that is a price we have to pay in order to enjoy a free society. Try to censor them and before you know it WE are being censored.

While on cultists and the like, you spoke of three end-of-the world cults which later became respectivle main-stream religions. I knew of the Millerites who evolved into the Seventh Day Adventists. I heard that they now believe that "the world as they knew" did end in 1833, and that God made some kind of supernatural change to the world on that date instead of just ending it. I had not heard of the Jewish cult you spoke of, and had not realised that the Anabaptists had started off as an end-of-the world cult. I thought they had started out by rejecting infant baptism and had themselves baptised anew (hence the name) as adults. I have heard from a former Menonite that that religion evolved from the Anabaptists. What were the steps in the branching off of the modern Baptists?

I guess you could say that the whole Christian religion is an end-of-the-world cult which went straight when Christ didn't have an immediate second coming in order to wrap things up. Reading the gospels and ACTS OF THE APOSTLES you can see that they were expecting his immenant return. I saw speculation by one liberal theologian that Yeshua himself did not have a clear idea of Yahveh's plan and was expecting immenant rescue, hence the "Father, why have you forsaken me?" And will Scientologists become respectible one day?

You mentioned the 1938 Orson Welles scare and the 1954 one in Equador by radio dramatizations of WAR OF THE WORLDS. I remember reading about the latter in the NY DAILY NEWS at the time, though I had forgotten the year and in which South American country it had happened. One thing I DO remember from the newspaper story was that when the people discovered they had been hoaxed they mobbed and burned down the radio station.

Finally while on luddite reactions to science you mentioned the story of the two monkeys. I am confused. You said that an egg had been fertilized by sperm, and when it had divided the two cells were separated and allowed to develop independently. I thought this would give identical twins. Isn't this technique used in cattle breeding where multiples of genetically identical offspring are desired? (Wasn't a similar technique used in BRAVE NEW WORLD to manafacture the children of various mental and physical abilities, predestined for certain tasks on maturity?) You said the two monkeys were of opposite sex. How can this be? Or were they haploids with only half the normal number of chromosomes?

I have only read the first Feintuch book, MIDSHIPMAN'S HOPE, but found it quite interesting. I found the society interesting though I wondered at one inconsistancy. If one strong religion became so dominant on earth, how was it that a missionary of some old funnymentalist church was a passenger going to another star system? Stanley loves what he calls "war fic," books with lots of violence, just as he loves the violent SF movies like TERMINATOR. I do not like this kind of story, but am willing to put up with limited violence in an otherwise good story. You say all Cherryh is violent war fiction. I have read and enjoyed the five Chanur books. In these there is an uneasy stability between a half dozen star-faring races who do not understand each other. There are occassional violent incidents, usually firefights between short tempered crews in a neutral spaceport, but no warfare. Sandy likes Cherryh and enjoyed all five Feintuch books, so I will try at least one more.

I had not heard of Piers Anthony's BALOOK and will have to give it a try. Another highly regarded Heinlein Juvenile clone is Panshin's RITE OF PASSAGE. While I liked it I found the space dwellers' destruction of the entire world for some people mistreating some visitors a bit much. It struck me as unreasonable as some of the punishments meeted out by Yahveh in the old testament. A few years ago I ran into Alexei at a Readercon and asked him about it, but didn't understand his answer.

You likened his view of future major cities as biforcating into the equivalent of Wells' Eloi and Morlocks. I wonder if Wells had inspired Fritz Lang's view of the future in his film METROPOLIS. As you say, murders in major cities like NY and Washington have decreased recently but aren't most still among the lower class? And mostly over turf among drug pushers. I wouldn't mind the druggies killing each other off if they didn't kill bystanders with their poor aim.

You said the move to abolish rent control in NYC was a move to drive out the lower classes in order to make room for the yuppies. From what I heard on radio newscasts, it is mostly the yuppies who are lucky enough to still have 9 room luxury apartments at rents equivalent to that on new one-room studeo apartments who are leading the fight to retain rent control.

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