Editorial

By Terry Carr


The concept of a fanzine devoted entirely to reprinting material from old fanzines is not a new one by any means. There have been a number of such fanzines in the past, the first of which I knew being Harold W. Cheney, Jr.'s Fantasy Aspects, which saw two issues back in 1947. That particular fanzine differed a bit from Entropy's approach, though, in that it was published specifically for the NFFF and reprinted from then-current fanzines only, "to enable the Nfffan to pursue the cream of the crop in fantasy with the minimum expenditure of time and money." Apparently NFFF members, then as now, were by and large not too active in general fandom, hence the need for a sort of fanzine-digest for them. (About five years later someone in FAPA -- possibly Harry Warner, who was in the early '50's almost totally inactive outside the Elephants' Graveyard -- suggested a similar publication for Fapans, but no one took him up on it.)

The first fanzine devoted to resurrecting top items from moldy old fanzines seems to have been Henry Burwell's Science Fiction Digest, which saw seven issues in 1951 and 52. Along with the reprints, Burwell also featured a column by Walt Willis called The Immortal Teacup, which did an excellent job of recounting early British fanhistory. The connection in interest between the study of fandom's past and the reprinting of material from the older zines is obvious, of course, and the pattern was to re-emerge several times later, most notably in Lee Hoffman's FanHistory, whose three issues in the mid-fifties each took a historical theme -- Numbered Fandoms, and the fan careers of Jack Speer and Damon Knight, respectively -- and covered it both in original articles and reprinted material.

Walt Willis has been one of our most timebinding fans; he has several times stated that he felt a historical perspective was essential to a healthy fandom. With this thought in mind, he began in Entropy in the early fifties (during the Seventh Fandom days, when few of the New Guard seemed interested in acknowledging anything before themselves except, perhaps, The Deluge) a department called Toto, devoted to fan-reprints. Contrary to its title, though, Toto didn't always reprint items in their entirety; most of its items, as a matter of fact, were simply excerpts. But it served its purpose in reawakening fans' interest in their collective past, and the column was thus dropped in the late fifties. By that time, Ron Ellik had published seven issues of FANtastic Story Mag, later Malignant, which was mostly reprints; Dave Rike and I were publishing Innuendo, in which we reprinted old items by Burbee, Laney, Harmon, and others as well as publishing original articles on fanhistory by Jack Speer and Harry Warner (who revived his Fanvariety/Opus column All Our Yesterdays for us): a coalition of fans headed by Dick Eney and Redd Boggs was beginning work on Fancyclopedia II; etc.

In 1958 and 59, Alan J. Lewis came out with a new version of Fantasy Aspects. Though this incarnation of the title was devoted to reprints from older zines rather than to the fanzine-digest concept, in many other respects it paralleled the Cheney version to an astounding degree. Some of it was intentional, of course: the use of the same title, the similar use of the front cover as a contents page, etc. The first issue, in fact, mentioned that the zine might soon be sponsored by the NFFF, as Cheney's had been -- Ralph Holland and K. Martin Carlson, NFFF stalwarts, were co-editors for this issue. But other aspects of Fantasy Aspects echoed the original in less planned, and certainly less happy, ways: the first issue, like Cheney's, listed the publication schedule as quarterly, but by the second issue the schedule was officially "irregular," again like Cheney's. And neither version ever made it to the third issue.

Since the disappearance of the second Fantasy Aspects there hasn't been a generally distributed fanzine-reprint fanzine that I know of. (In SAPS one or two, or maybe three, anonymous fans published occasional issues of Pistol Point, devoted to "pirating" material from past fanzines, and in FAPA Bill Evans has published eight issues of Remembrance of Things Past, each issue of which reprinted material from a particular old fanzine, but these had restricted circulations.) Most of the fannish archive-work of recent years has been in the form of special single volumes: Ted Johnstone's The Willis Papers, Len Moffatt's The Selected Writings of Rick Sneary, Bob Bloch's Advent collection THE EIGHTH STAGE OF FANDOMThe Eighth Stage of Fandom, Dick Eney's A Sense of FAPA, Berkeley Fandom's The Incompleat Burbee, Bob Lichtman's Some of the Best from Quandry, etc. A couple of series of reprint-volumes were short-lived: Guy Terwilleger published Best of Fandom volumes for 1958 and 59 but gafiated before completing the one for 1960; Ted White launched the ASDFGHJKLibrary in 1959 with The BNF of Iz by Carl Brandon and The Adversaries by Kent Moomaw, but got no further.

So it seems to me that the time is ripe for a new reprint fanzine, and Entropy is it. Actually, I've been planning this fanzine for a couple of years, but have been held back by the fact that the bulk of my fanzine collection was in storage in Berkeley, three thousand miles away. While I was out there two months ago, though, I shipped the collection east, so I'm now able to go ahead with it. With somewhat mixed emotions, remembering Cheney and Lewis, I'm setting the publication schedule at quarterly. This first issue is being distributed in FAPA, OMPA and SAPS, but future issues will be available only by subscription or letters of comment. (Lighthouse is my tradezine, so unless you're in FAPA and would get Lths anyway Entropy won't be available by trade.) There will be a letter column, beginning with the next issue, since it seems to me that good material is just as commentworthy now as it was in its original appearance. Where it's possible to track them down, the authors of reprinted items will receive copies of the issue in which their material appears and the following issue with comments on it.

Along with the regular magazine, I'm launching a series of Entropy Booklets, the first of which is Crime Stalks the Fan World by F. Lee Baldwin. This consists of two stories from the Burbee Shangri-L'Affaires of 1945 and 46: "Crime Stalks The Fan World" and its sequel, "The Girl With The Muddy Eyes", the latter of which was so long that Burbee had to serialize it. The stories are excellent satires on tough-guy private-eye stories, with authentic fannish themes; Milt Rothman called the latter story "the best piece of fan fiction that ever smashed me in the teeth like a breath of air laden with the fragrance of orange blossoms," so you can see that it's high-class stuff. In addition, there's an Introduction written specially for the volume by Bob Tucker, and cover and illustrations by Ray Nelson. Copies are now available from the publisher (me) at 25¢ each.

Oh, one last thing -- the title Entropy. Well, "entropy" might be called science's ultimate Law of Perversity -- in essence it simply states that anything in the universe, if left to itself, will tend to go to hell. That law has always struck me as inescapably droll, in a 'pataphysical way (Karen Anderson, by the way, uses it as an expletive to replace "Hell!" or "Damnation!"), and since its all-inclusive definition so obviously applies to fandom I think it's perfect for a fanzine title.

(data entered by Judy Bemis)