Saturday 30 June 2012



stood in grassy Grasmere graveyard
where, engraved in graven image
on gravestone april 1850, but more,
the poet beneath died decades before,
at the moment this radical sold out,
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly wrote it new
but for Bill Wordsworth? no, Prometheus
plucks inspiration’s fire back to very heaven
leaving only dull apostate blissful emptiness

we pace them, to Sour Milk Gill and far
scrabble up EasdaleTarn, the still stillness
just as still, with brooding poetic musings
maybe fretful mind-ticks of laureate remorse,
as he and Mary picnic, of swarming cities
of malnourished illiterate children and oh,
how the poor do proliferate irresponsibly
what price tumbrels and cordite now with
poetry impotent against such profligacy…?

but not me comrade, not me, and yet and yet
two decades since a reading in noise where
May gazes up at me with ‘why such anger?’,
me? ‘no, I’m not angry’, she knows more,
anger is what I breathe, screwed in so hard
beyond even knowing, scripting night-dark
subversive xerox texts, revolution in the air,
but hey, stuff alters, we organisms evolve,
adapt, or we ossify, it’s basic survival
targets shift, evaporate, or we die, yes?
we grow, we learn, devour old selves
old orders fall, walls move, change is
the only constancy, stability speaks lies

but Adrian Mitchell never sold out,
Allen Ginsberg never sold out
(but bought in differently anyway),
Mike Horovitz never sold out,
Heathcote Williams rages now in
‘Autogeddon’ and anti-royalism,
Dave Cunliffe still the tousled radical,
Shelly never sold out… and me?
here in Grasmere graveyard now,
feel that burn, feel the earth turn?
that breeze in the trees…
is it not changing…?

Friday 29 June 2012



Album Retrospective of:
(5 August 1967, Columbia SCX 6157)

‘I know a room of musical tunes,
some rhyme, some ching, most of them are clockwork,
let’s go into the other room and make them work…’

The first question is, where did it come from? Where the hell did all those wonderfully strange musics come from? People say LSD. ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ was released as a mono album 5th August 1967, with its stereo counterpart following a month later. A lot of weird stuff was going on around that time. A lot of people taking LSD. None of them create anything approaching the extreme innovatory oddness of this album. There’s a plethora of answers. None of them in itself, totally adequate. To select one at random, Norman Smith is one such. He engineered for George Martin. He’s there on the liner credits of Beatles albums. He’d watched, and participated in the conjuring of ‘Rubber Soul’ (December 1965). ‘Sgt Pepper’ emerged 1 June, some few months before ‘Piper’, but recordings for ‘Piper’ were being made as early as February. In fact, both albums were being recorded simultaneously, in different Abbey Road studios. But Pink Floyd was Norman Smith’s opportunity to take up that stethoscope and walk the walk in his own right. To take that open attitude, and apply it to his own product. The fact that Syd Barret would’ve preferred Joe Boyd as producer, but straight-besuited Norman Smith was foisted on them by EMI, could be reason for some of his obstreperous behavior. The fact that Norman would later go on to become ‘Hurricane’ Smith and chart his own MoR hits is not here yet relevant. This was his event horizon into his own expression.

“Arnold Layne” – Floyd’s debut 45rpm release from 11th March, was produced by Joe Boyd, an American associated with Witchseason and the ‘UFO’ Happenings. He’d already worked with Incredible String Band, and would reach greater levels of expression through Fairport Convention. But “Arnold Layne” and its ‘B’-side “Candy And A Current Bun” make a stunning first outing for the Floyd, with Syd already sketching in complete stories with a few selected words – ‘Arnold Layne had a strange hobby, collecting clothes, moonshine, washing line, they suit him fine’. Pre-video, a short tie-in promo-clip catches the band cavorting on a beach with a bowler-hatted mannequin, in masks, with low-budget but effective reverse-film trickology. “See Emily Play” – from 16 June 1967, became an early project with Norman Smith, recorded at Sound Technique Studio 23 May. Syd had conjured the lyric about the girl who ‘tries but misunderstands’ and ‘always borrows somebody’s dream till tomorrow’ about fifteen-year-old ‘Far Out’ Emily Young, after seeing her smoking post-gig joints at manager Peter Jenner’s house, adding the ‘Games For May’ reference later after playing the 12th May concert of the same name at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

I watch them miming to “See Emily Play” on ‘Top Of The Pops’ (6th July) and it was revelatory. They sit cross-legged on huge cushions. The audio-inserts, the accelerated-tape piano bridge between the first chorus and second verse, all edited down into neat singles-length may well have been actioned by Norman Smith, in much the same way that George Martin translated and enabled the Beatles’ vague concepts into notated charts. Norman Smith is also credited as producer for ‘Saucer Full Of Secrets’ (June 1968), and although his name remains through ‘Ummagumma’ (1969) and ‘Atom Heart Mother’ (1970) there’s an impression that by then the Floyd themselves were becoming, album by album, more in control of their own work. But his DNA is all over ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’. He’s a catalyst.

Another answer – to me the more intriguing, is the Floyd’s own imaginings. No internet back then. No ‘YouTube’. Stuff moves more slowly. Reports and hearsay are tantalising. There’d been a rapid, but creepingly slow evolution taking place, almost month by month, step by step, single by single. The British invasion shook the world. Gradually, American bands retaliate with their own inventions and additives. The Byrds. John Phillips. The Turtles, Frank Zappa. Then yet more intriguingly evocative names. Especially those from Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. The acid sub-culture. But here, in this grey grey town, known for its sounds, there were only hints and rumours. Liverpool-born publicist Derek Taylor was working as PR in Los Angeles. He filed a weekly column to the ‘Disc’ music-paper, which became increasingly strange. Writers in US u/g magazines, and their local counterparts, ‘It: International Times’ and ‘Oz’, took surreal prose into fifth dimensions describing the hallucinogenic live-music psychedelic-events of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Country Joe & The Fish. Walls move, minds do too. An enticing weirdness, fiercely absorbing. But as yet, little more. When the Floyd finally got to play America I recall their disappointed reaction to Big Brother & The Holding Company, that they’re ‘just a Blues Band’. Because what Floyd had been doing, during those first days, was not replicating West Coast acid, but attempting to create something analogous to what they imagined was happening there. An imprecise distorted reflection of hypnotic ideas and images picked up from impossible hyperbole. From which they bled uniqueness.

There are other answers yet. Syd Barret obviously. He’s become his own continuum through the mystique of his post-Floyd albums, from ‘The Madcap Laughs’ (1970) and on. Which are amazing. But to me, his finest work is here, the vinyl within the sleeves of the first two Floyd albums. For the first, Vic Singh’s prism-lens kaleidoscope cover-photo of the group’s four members carries just the EMI logo, and the name Pink Floyd in yellow lettering. It only says ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ heading the monochrome reverse. Then the song-titles reversed-out in white across Syd’s own tentacular black image fusing the four group-members into a single organism. Syd wrote eight of the eleven tracks. Then co-wrote two more with the other Floyds (“Pow R. Toc H” and “Interstellar Overdrive”). Roger Waters adds one original song. Syd also does lead vocals for six tracks, two with Rick Wright (“Astronomy Domine” and “Matilda Mother”) and one with Roger Waters (“Pow R Toc H”). And there’s a mutant literacy about each which was never previously present in Rock, which right-angled everything that had gone before, and has seldom, if ever, been equalled since. Drawing in everything. Knowingly, people say LSD. But that’s inadequate. That’s to reduce all the complexity of imagination down to a chemical pill, a magic bullet. A ludicrous proposition. The poetic wonderings, the mental tendrils sparking synapses, were there all along. “Candy And A Current Bun” was a stoned word-play substitution when the original line ‘let’s roll another one’ was vetoed. But it was the word-game, not the joint that makes the track. It was 1967. There were ‘Plastacine Porters with looking-glass ties’. They ‘skipped the light fandago, turned cartwheels cross the floor’. Earlier, as early as August 1965, there was “Desolation Row”, and that’s closer still. But Syd Barrett takes it further, into knowing, and sometimes unknown otherness.

It starts from the very fade-in of the opening track – “Astronomy Domine”, with Peter Jenner’s muttering murmuring voice, amplified by megaphone, yet as indistinct as dialogue-signals from high-orbiting cosmonauts. First track. First album. A bass pulse. Morse bleeps. Syd’s Fender Esquire riff edged on by Mason’s drum-tick. What the Beatles down the Abbey Road corridor, or what ‘Their Satanic Majesties’ achieve with orchestration and budget, the Floyd conjure within their own group instrumentation and imagination, something totally unprecedented in Rock. Stunning. Glides and glissades of guitar, Wright’s Farfisa organ levitating it all, defying gravity. Yes, ‘the stars can frighten’, the sheer cosmic scale gets you, and the Floyd evoke in 4:12 minutes what it takes Stanley Kubrick 161-minutes to do in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968). The recitation of ‘Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania, Neptune, Titan’ envisioning head-swimmingly beautiful astro-literate mind-scapes of those psychedelic worlds in deep frigid space, until bringing it into even sharper triple-rhyme focus – ‘stairway scare, Dan Dare, who’s there?’ referencing the vivid lavish gravure-colour ‘Eagle’ pages where, chances are, listeners first saw those planets visualised. But listen to the internal rhymes within the lines, ‘lime and limpid green, a second scene’, then ‘a fight between the blue you once knew’, but – even more, the recurrent onomatopoeic chiming of ‘floating down, the sound resounds, around the icy waters resounds’. The words flow fluid as water, you wonder – were they written that way? rippling out one into the other in spontaneous cumulative connections? Or was Syd squatting in the corner scribbling in his pad, crossing words out with his biro, substituting and replacing them until it felt right? The ‘icy waters underground’ could just be a prescient glance towards Europa, the sixth moon of Jupiter. Yet the lyrics are both cryptic and enigmatic, expansive and numinous. Where the sound and music of the words matter as much as their literal meaning – a collusion between the figurative and abstraction. Recorded 11-13 April, to hear this for the first time barely four months after, was nothing short of revelatory. There’s a later 8:29-minute version on the ‘Ummagumma’ (1969) double-set, retrieved live from a set at the Birmingham ‘Mothers’ Club on 27 April 1969 with Gilmour’s guitar, and later still on the 2-CD ‘P.U.L.S.E’ (1995), from an Earl’s Court performance 15th October 1994. But nothing can ever capture the shock of wonder in that first spiral vinyl play-in groove.

Afterwards, if the second track carries more conventional shapes, that’s only within the extreme context of the album itself. “Lucifer Sam” (3:07-mins) supposedly written about Syd’s ginger ‘siam’ cat Rover, is also ‘something I can’t explain’, built on Syd’s descending echoed-guitar riff, overlaid with odd whip-like scratching-percussion slap-effects. Rick’s swelling organ breaks out into a mid-point bowed-guitar break. The lyric involves Syd’s then-girlfriend Jennifer Spires (not the same girl as ‘Iggy The Eskimo’ naked on the Hipgnosis ‘The Madcap Laughs’ sleeve). She’s ‘Jennifer Gentle you’re a witch’ – with Sam as her familiar, always by her side. The ‘you’re the left-side, he’s the right-side’ sees them, girl-and-cat, as the twin balanced hemispheres of the single brain, the poetically convenient but now psychologically-discredited idea of the logical girl left-brain, and feline-creative right-brain. Draft-titled ‘Percy The Rat-Catcher’ it goes on to add ‘he’s a hip-cat’ in a play on the Beatnik nad-sat, with the following line ‘ship’s-cat’ perhaps too throw-away obvious to miss. There had been cat-songs before. Some pretty good ones. Syd adds the supernatural edge. Sam and Jennifer work together to weave their spell.

Syd is legendary for his long-drawn-out Buddha-like vegetative after-glow. This is the Syd I prefer. Sparking gem-like ideas. Where, you imagine, a chance observation in his flat, that Sam stays as close to Jennifer as a witches’ cat, ignites this strange track. “Lucifer Sam”, lest we forget, is also a quirky little spiky Pop-song. This is not the stadium-huge Floyd of the 1970’s and 1980’s with Flying Pigs and fly-past Spitfires. No, this is a small group. Four individuals inventing themselves in swirling times. More an Indie-group than the monster corporate dinosaur some accuse them of becoming. They don’t write this album for posterity, with the forethought of its contents being pored over, analysed and dissected four decades later. That wasn’t the way things happened. I doubt they even thought further ahead than weeks, the next gig, the one after that. The songs were instant ideas created for the moment, in the furious buzz of that moment.

So yes, where did it come from? Where did all this wonderfully strange music come from? “Matilda Mother” – side one, track three. Who is Matilda? There is no Matilda. There’s certainly a Mother-figure, the one reading the spell-weaving bedtime fairy-tales to the child. But the child, surely, is autobiographically Syd, and his mother is Winifred. No, this is another startling example of spontaneous creativity. Not that it was intended to be. The song had been an intact part of the Pink Floyd set even before they’d signed to EMI’s Columbia label. He’d written it in time for their support spot with Soft Machine at the Roundhouse ‘It (International Times)’ launch party, alongside “Intersteller Overdrive” (15 October 1966). Then they recorded it during the first album sessions, on the 21st February. Snag was, the lyrics were directly lifted from a series of comic-grotesque poems taken from ‘Cautionary Tales For Children: Designed For The Admonition Of Children Between The Ages Of Eight And Fourteen Years’ (1907) by Hilaire Belloc. The three verses tell the tale of ‘Matilda’ who told lies, ‘Jim’ who ran away from nurse only to be eaten by a lion, and ‘Henry King’ who dies from eating bits of string. Maybe they were poems that Winifred had recited to infant Syd – or Roger as he was then, during his childhood Cambridge days, the fairy stories that ‘held me high on clouds of sunlight floating by’. Drawn from sensory memories of ‘time spent in that room, the doll’s house, darkness, old perfume’. He uses the linking device of setting the verses way back then, when he was the child hanging on the tension of each ‘scribbly-black’ line, urging ‘Oh Mother, tell me more, why’d’ya have to leave me there, hanging in my infant air, waiting?’

Complete in itself, all that was necessary for the track was the mere formality of obtaining permission from the Belloc estate. Meanwhile, the group continued with the rest of the album, until, at the last moment, that permission was denied. Syd must hastily rewrite the song clear of litigation. But what is more impressive is the substitute lyrics Syd hastily contrives to replace the abruptly denied Hilaire verses, ghosting Belloc’s metre and rhyme-scheme. In doing so, he adds a new dimension to the song, and to the internal mythology of the album. He retains the link, the mother who reads the lines, so that ‘everything shines’ but conflates it with his own fairy-tales. Part Tolkien ‘a thousand misty riders climb up, higher once upon a time’, part Enid Blyton ‘across the stream with wooden shoes’ – wood floats, what other kind of shoes would you need to cross the stream? It opens ‘there was a king who ruled the land, his majesty was in command, with silver eyes the scarlet eagle, showers silver on the people’. A richly lyrical imagination of both ‘wandering and dreaming’, reflecting a child’s-eye view in which ‘the words have different meaning’. So, what of the original version? Although the song was re-recorded on 7th July with the new lyrics, and subsequently edited down by Norman Smith from 3:55 to 3:06-minutes, unheard takes of the Belloc’s lyric-version remained in the vaults. As decades passed, some doubted the veracity of the tale. That the draft-version had ever happened.

Sure, “Lucifer Sam” might nod towards Christopher Smart’s poem “My Cat Jeoffry” found in the collection ‘Jubilate Agno’ (written in a lunatic asylum 1759-‘63, first published 1939). And Syd performed much the same poem-into-song trick with the James Joyce “Poem V” from ‘Chamber Music’ (1907) to create the haunting “Golden Hair” for ‘The Madcap Laughs’. The phrase ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ itself is lifted from the Chapter Seven title of Kenneth Grahame’s enduring classic of Ratty and Mole, ‘The Wind In The Willows’ (1908). Syd with his raggled hair and disturbingly intense stare was, in the words of his biographer, a ‘Very Irregular Head’, his wide-eyed lyrics giving a hallucinatory spin to English sensibilities and eccentricities. He also had a thing about Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. “The Effervescing Elephant”, based on Lear and Belloc verses, also brings alive the bookshelf of a clever middleclass schoolboy. Just as Grace Slick reconfigured ‘Alice In Wonderland’ (1865) into Jefferson Airplane’s beguiling “White Rabbit”, or Marty Balin and Paul Kantner drew “The House On Pooh Corner” from AA Milne’s second book of Winnie-The-Pooh tales into their ‘Crown Of Creation’ (1968) album. Whimsical Fairy Tales were an integral part of Psychedelic DNA. While hints of the first take of “Matilda Mother” appeared on bootlegs, an intact track eventually appears as a bonus on the ‘40th Anniversary’ 3-CD edition of ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’, with the intriguing clearly-heard ‘the chief defect of Henry King, was chewing little bits of string, at last he swallowed some which tied, itself in ugly knots inside’. Evidently the Belloc estate had second thoughts, or belatedly appreciated the magnitude of royalties involved. This version also escapes Norman Smith’s edit-surgery, leaving the lengthy fade intact with teasing hints sampling other tracks. Which version is best…? It’s an impossible choice to make. Many years later, with Syd long-gone, Dave Gilmour with Roger Waters wrote “Comfortably Numb” for ‘The Wall’ album, dealing with his own disturbed childhood, writing ‘the child is grown, the dream is gone’. Pace Syd Barrett.

When the Floyd’s third single – “Apples And Oranges” totally failed to chart, their American label, Tower, a Capitol subsidiary, took note and it was substituted instead by the fourth album track, “Flaming” (c/w “The Gnome”) which became their equivalent third US single. It too, failed to chart. But it’s the superior track. It glides in on quivering organ, punctuated by strange whistles and night-calls resembling something from a haunted forest of phantom birds. Yet it leads into a deceptively careless sunshine-Pop of carefree throw-away lyric, sitting on a unicorn, sleeping on a dandelion, alone in the clouds all blue. The stuff of psychedelic cliché now. But not then. Its morphing metaphors magically suspend the laws of reality, logically illogical in a nonsense that makes perfect sense. ‘Hey-ho, here we go, ever so high’ with ascending spirals of organ lifted by rattling clatters, clumping percussion, sizzling serrations, shoots and tendrils, drum-thumps and guitar splinters. And cleverness too – the ‘buttercups cup the light’ and the teasing playful ‘I won’t touch you… but then, I might’. There’s also ‘you can’t see me, but I can you’ reprised with ‘you can’t hear me, but I can you’. Why this one-way perception? Something as banal as keyhole-voyeurism, or is Syd insubstantially lurking on some detached ‘Twilight Zone’ alternate plane of discorporated being? Is that to read too much into a simple hide-and-seek child-game scenario between two friends? How to unpack its meaning from admission and evasions? Perhaps there is none? Fading out with bells.

There’s mesmerising early film of Floyd performing “Pow R Toc H” in a kind of incantatory fluctuation of light-grids, effects and soft shadows. This is what journalist Penny Valentine meant when she wrote about how ‘the Pink Floyd burst on the London club scene in a kaleidoscope of colours some months ago. Literally, because colour, shapes and light gave impact’ (‘Disc & Music Echo’, April 1967). This is what she meant, the fifth album-track (the last to be recorded) is a surging instrumental with submerged voices, ‘whoo-whoo, and Doy-doy, ka-choom pa-pa, ka-choom pa-pa’, with cocktail jazz piano rising into distinct sections before resuming the signature jog-along rhythms. Yes, instrumental, but if by that you mean the Shadows, or even Booker T and The MG’s, tight catchy tunes with clean construction, this is not it. Or even jazz, of which there are free-elements. But no, it’s not that either. It is constrained by neither parameters. It’s more a mood, an atmosphere, a love-letter to instability, drawn back at touching distance from form. Later bands would dissolve into long free extemporising jams. This is concise. A sound poem. No filler. It’s by no means an insubstantial track.

The sixth track, and the closing one on the first vinyl side, is also Roger Waters’ debut song-writing contribution to the Pink Floyd. As part of the improvisational structure of “Pow R Toc H” and “Interstellar Overdrive” he gets a co-writing credit, but this is the first stand-alone song. Following Syd’s departure he’d inherit the role of principal writer and conceptual leader, until ‘The Wall’ (1979) is virtually his own creation, with ‘The Final Cut’ (1983) essentially a solo album. He mistakenly assumed his ambitions had outgrown the restrictions of the group. Causing a further rift as he went on to forge his solo career. Yet, against expectation it was the Floyd who went on to further success. All of that unknowable future began with the jerky rhythms of “Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk”. There’s something of Syd’s word-rhyme games with ‘gold is lead, jesus bled, pain is red’, spinning off apparently random connections based on their phonetic sound rather than their meaning.

Where did it come from? Where the hell did all those wonderfully strange musics come from? Lift the stylus as it circles into the final spiral groove of side one, and flip the big twelve-inch black vinyl album over. Drop the stylus onto the outer rim. See it bite. “Interstellar Overdrive” is a major anti-gravity moment for the album, and for the evolution of Rock music itself. The riff is a device with its roots in Blues and Jazz, the recurring motif that establishes and ties the architecture of the piece together, allowing for all manner of melodic changes, meandering explorations and instrumental interplays to happen above and around it, but always establishing the solid point of origin to which it will return. The riff entered the vocabulary of Rock with the Rolling Stones “The Last Time” in March 1965, followed by the Beatles “Day Tripper” in that December. By the time of Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” it had become central, and would subsequently decline into formulaic Heavy Metal repetitions. But “Interstellar Overdrive” – the 9:41-minute side two opener, takes the riff where it had never been before, and would seldom go again. They’d already demo’d the constantly evolving track as early as 31 October 1966 at the ‘Thompson Private Recording Studios’ in Hemel Hempstead. It’s loose structure allowing for improvisation at whim, an extended 16:52-minute live-performance is captured 11 January 1967 in Peter Whitehead’s ‘Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London’ ‘Swinging Sixties’ movie (released in an edited version on the July 1968 soundtrack LP, the full-length version not legally issued until the 1990 See For Miles extended CD). The version that appears on the album was recorded 16 March 1967, with final overdubs in June. Many radically altered live versions appear on bootlegs, there’s a BBC studio-session, and a later post-Syd incarnation with Dave Gilmour’s guitar. Seriously at play, it is capable of endless reinvention.

A down-turning whip of guitar leads into throbbing bass-pulse and the opening statement of the riff-figure. A core-riff that shuffles the spine of Love’s “My Little Red Book”, itself scored by Burt Bacharach. The drums kick in for its second repetition. The riff holds fast in knife-edge contours, but almost immediately variations and disintegrations start attacking its structure until it phases down into diminishing complexity. Lines controlled, incised, repeated. Fading in a minimalistic reductionism, devolving down until it clusters around a single throb, with fragments of Richard Wright’s Farfisa organ, drums and guitar orbiting like electrons around a nucleus. Even that gaining accelerating momentum, before declining back into a drifting silver ebb and nebulous vapour-flow of galactic swirls out of which cold squiggles of guitar emerge at the frequencies of light. Sealed off by alien perfection, pale figures loom out of chaos, dazzling, mysterious and disturbing. Then it finally pours back to full intensity, drums and channel-phasing ripping into the final reprise, and the way it shocks from speaker to speaker in a restatement of the motif-riff, swooshing from left-channel to right, makes the mind rattle and the skin tingle, into a climax droning and decelerating to a tom-tom-paced close. It’s a head-exploding piece, happiness guaranteed. How much is anticipated? There would be longer looser spacier improvisations in Rock-to-come – the Grateful Dead’s endlessly meandering “Dark Star”, but this is tight as well as loose. Although live it could work on intuition and rapport, in the studio it must have been disciplined tight, surely? It must have been scored. Yet Syd captures the lightning, if not in a bottle, at least in a vinyl groove. This final edit is a revelation.

There are four tracks remaining. Three neat little psychedelic songs, and one final extended mind-blower to close the album. All are Syd originals, in every sense of that overworked word. He puts a reliably effervescent spring into the step of each verse. “The Gnome” is Syd at his most twee and whimsical. Even Donovan Leitch, frequently dismissed for his whimsy, is never as whimsical as this. There’s a tick-tocking metrognome play-in. Then Syd, states his intention, ‘I’d like to tell you a story, ‘bout a little man, if I can’. He goes on to introduce ‘Grimble Grumble’. If this little gnome in his scarlet tunic with its blue-green hood, eating sleeping and drinking his wine, is a Hobbit-related species, then his (unspecified) ‘big adventure’ could be of a JRR Tolkien-ist nature. Or maybe it’s just more scribbly-black lines from fairy tales told by Mother Winifred to infant Syd during his ‘time spent in that room, the doll’s house, darkness, old perfume’. What does his big adventure consist of? He wanders in the enchanted forest, ‘amid the grass, fresh air at last’. He looks at the sky, he looks at the river – with whispered double-track echo and acoustic guitar-strum as he judges ‘isn’t it good?’ He’s finding winding places, and a new way for gnomes to say… what? Variously the long convoluted evocation sounds to be ‘Hoooooray’, or it might just be an existential ‘Whooooo-am I?’, or then again, a kind of invented mantra sorcery-word ‘oooom-rai’. Gnomically, it’s not easy to decipher. If it’s ‘Hooray’ then he’s repeating a refrain from two lines earlier. There’s a version on the ‘Dawn Of The Piper’ bootleg (HRV CDR018) recorded at the BBC Playhouse Theatre (25 September), and broadcast as part of Radio One’s John Peel ‘Top Gear’ (1st October 1967). Here the vocals are more harmonised, and the word ‘Hooray’ becomes a party-celebration. But instead, on the official album, he ‘leaves us there, hanging in the infant air, waiting’. Maybe for Marc Bolan – the ‘Bopping Elf’, to pick up on it…?

Between “The Gnome” and “The Scarecrow”, is “Chapter 24”, and on an album of much strangeness, this is seriously strange. With tune-lines structured around the kind of eastern phrasing favoured by the likes of Incredible String Band, with nothing resembling a conventional chorus or middle-eight, it opens with cymbal-clash, and is etched with the piping organ-sound soon to be repeated on the Beatles near-contemporary ‘B’-side “Baby You’re A Rich Man” (July 1967). The matching lyric-phrases are extracted and modified from ‘The I-Ching’, the Chinese ‘Book Of Changes’, ‘a movement is accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return’. Sure, it’s now become a commercial Fortune-Teller’s mystification with practitioners located through woman’s magazine box-adverts or tabloid classifieds. But back then it was something unfamiliar and esoteric, ‘action’ it suggests, ‘brings good fortune’. John Lennon was an early sceptic with ‘I don’t believe in I-Ching’ (in “God” on ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’, 1970). Although on outtakes from ‘Blood On The Tracks’ (1975) Bob Dylan sings ‘I threw the I-Ching yesterday, it said there’d be some thunder at the well’ (“Idiot Wind”). As a believer or merely an opportunistic visitor to the pages of hexagram divinations, sampling its oracular poetic potential, Syd constructs a web of allusions which imply philosophical depth while actually meaning very little, ‘the seven is the number of the young light, it forms when darkness is increased by one’. But it works on the cut-up principle of accumulating dislocation, with mesmerising effect.

One of the strengths of this album is that any individual track, even those that seem minor additions, can be spun off and unraveled into such speculative argument and analysis. “The Scarecrow” is just such an example. Superficially it’s a dip into the Worzel Gummidge, ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Straw Man world. The forlorn black and green man of straw, with the ‘bird on his hat’ standing in a field of barley. Unmoving, unless stirred by the wind. Only field-mice for company. With a head that does no thinking. The track clackety-clacks with click-click pop-pop percussion and a meandering organ blown by that same breeze. But the line lengths are disrupted by two jarringly brief seemingly throwaway couplets – ‘he didn’t care’ and later ‘he doesn’t mind’, intimating that because this is Syd Barrett, there’s a kick too. The last of the three brief verses, before finally bowed-strings emerge in time to fade, switches the focus. Now, the scarecrow ‘is sadder than me’. Is Syd, within the whirling psychic maelstrom of his own disintegrating meltdown, drawing parallels? As though he is the ‘head that doesn’t think’ who is ‘resigned to his fate’ because ‘life’s not unkind’? Or is that to be too fanciful?

And – finally, there’s “Bike”, recorded 21 May 1967. The Beatles made a point of closing their albums with a stand-out track, from “Twist And Shout” through to “Day In A Life”. With “Bike”, ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ follows this precedent. It crashes directly into the vocal, which, as an example of Syd’s seemingly spontaneous composition, seldom gets better. The four initial verses, each opening with a crash, use a throw-away first-thought rhyme that could seem casual verging on the slapdash – ‘I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like’, then ‘I’ve got a cloak, it’s a bit of a joke’, followed by ‘I know a mouse, and he hasn’t got a house’, before finally ‘I’ve got a clan of gingerbread men, here a man, there a man, lots of gingerbread men’. That it works, that it gets the balance right, that the cartoon-lightbulb inspiration equilibrium holds, validates his quirky technique of teetering on the serendipitous edge, a fragile creation made of words and dreams without safety-belt. The connecting chorus, defined first by a descending whine, then – for its first repeat, an ascending whine, ‘you’re the kind of girl that fits in with my world’ explains that ‘I’ll give you anything, everything – if you want things’. Things are material. They are not important. The world he’s inviting her into is not a materialistic world. Back at the very dawn of the sixties – a mere seven years earlier, blonde Popstrel Adam Faith had asked ‘vot do you vont if you don’t vont money, vot do you vont if you don’t vont gold, say vot you vont and I’ll give it you darling, vish you vanted my love, boy-bay’. As a further inducement to seduction Adam offers the object of his desire pearls, ermine and a diamond ring. For Syd, none of these things are important. Instead, she can have the bike, although he’s only borrowed it. She can have the cloak if she thinks it could look good, even though there’s a tear up the front. She can have a couple of gingerbread men too, they’re on the dish. Naturally, it’s easy for the likes of George Harrison to scorn those trapped in the material world, from the luxury of one of his Beatles-financed mansions. Syd Barrett was never a wealthy Rock star, although arguably the other members of Floyd use this album as a first step to achieving that status. For Syd this is naturally the Bohemian Beatnik contra-bling mindset of his unworldly world.

But for “Bike”, this is just the first phase. Going into the third bridging chorus repetition there are scattered keyboards, before a return to the ascending whine for its final reprise, but slowing. Now it seems that all of the afore-mentioned material inducement are less important than the song’s shattering denouement. His real gift is the invitation ‘I know a room of musical tunes, some rhyme, some ching, most of them are clockwork, let’s go into the other room and make them work…’ There are footsteps. A reverberating door-slam, then the crescendo cacophony clockwork sounds that represent ‘the other room’ (the same audio-joke of sound-footsteps leading the listener between rooms had been used by Norman Smith’s mentor, George Martin on his production of the Goons’ “Ying-Tong-Song”). The long introductory passage of chiming clocks and ringing alarms on the ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ track “Time” are perhaps a distant echo of this primal big-bang detonation. As the track’s final bizarre sound revelation, and the last for the album itself, there’s a procession of duck-voices! And what absurdist visual images that conjures! For me, it’s an endless spiral of quacking cloned yellow plastic-ducks receding, uncoiling to infinity across a background of swirling paisley-fractel images. And the last question has to be this, where did it come from? Where the hell did all those wonderfully strange musics come from?

On 9th June the Floyd arrived in Hull to play the ‘College of Technology and Commerce’. On Thursday, the 28th September they return to play ‘The Skyline Ballroom’ above the city-centre Co-op store. Prior to the gig I was intercepted by their tour-van adjacent to Drypool Bridge. An encounter detailed elsewhere. Across those same six months, from first sessions to album release, the Floyd had accelerated from humble shambolic support-slots to the front covers of ‘Melody Maker’. Critically, the album was generally well received, with ‘Record Mirror’ commending ‘plenty of mind-blowing sound’ in the way ‘the psychedelic image of the group really comes to life on this LP, which is a fine showcase for both their talent and their recording technique’. It entered the ‘Record Retailer’ album chart at no.14 (9th August), rose through no.13, spent two weeks at no.8, up one rung to no.7, then peaked at a modest no.6 (23 September). You wonder what five better albums could possibly have outsold it that week? Well – they were (1) ‘Sgt Pepper’, (2) ‘The Sound Of Music’ soundtrack, (3) ‘The Best Of The Beach Boys’ hits compilation, (4) ‘Scott’ by Scott Walker and (5) the ‘Doctor Zhivago’ movie soundtrack. ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ was listed for a respectable fourteen weeks. It gets no higher than no.131 on ‘Billboard’. For the Floyd, it was a start… for Syd, pretty much the end…

For Norman Smith the sessions seem not to have left pleasant memories. He considered Syd to be unmanageable, undisciplined. In truth Syd had always intended to be the aural equivalent of Jackson Pollock, not the neat Beat-group product Smith was tasked with shaping. But, if testing for Norman, this was a testing-to-destruction process for Syd, the doomed poet. Prior to their October American tour they were pressured to come up with a third single. The result was “Apples And Oranges” c/w “Paintbox” (18 November 1967), Syd’s final Floyd ‘A’-side, supposedly prompted by seeing his enigmatic one-time girlfriend Lindsay Corner shopping in Richmond. There are flashes of originality – ‘I love she, she loves me’, ‘I stop and have to think, what a funny thing to do ‘cos I’m feeling very Pink’, and the almost choir-boy mid-point break, but for the first time its strangeness seems forced, its dubbed-on effects (‘down by the riverside feeding ducks in the afternoon tide’ – ‘quack quack quack’) added to built wackiness rather than naturally growing out of it. The lyrics – ‘thought you might like to know, I’m a lorry-driver man’, clumsy and silly. Its failure would redirect Floyd away from singles, into concentration on underground album-centric status, encouraged by the reception of ‘Piper’.

In January of 1968 Dave Gilmour was tried-up to augment the four-piece, not as a replacement, more compensating for Syd’s increasing unpredictability. 26th January the group played Southampton without Syd. On April 6th Syd’s separation from the Floyd became official. He plays on three of the ‘Saucerful Of Secrets’ tracks (issued 29 June 1968), “Remember A Day”, “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”, and his only composition-contribution “Jugband Blues”. With some irony he writes ‘I’m wondering who could be writing this song’. Adding with some mocking self-awareness ‘it’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here, and I’m much obliged to you for making it clear… that I’m not here’. Other fractured songs he’d written, “Vegetable Man”, “Scream Thy Last Scream”, “In The Beechwoods” and “No Title (Sunshine)” were omitted from the album but have since filtered out in various salvaged forms. From that point on Syd, and Pink Floyd continue as distinct separate entities, with only very occasional cross-overs. The long-lost “Matilda Mother” was finally issued in 2007 as part of the 3-CD ‘Special Edition’ drawing in the constellation of surrounding singles – “Arnold Layne”, “See Emily Play”, and “Apples And Oranges” and alternate mixes of the 9:41-minute magnum opus “Insterstellar Overdrive”. Neil Armstrong’s small step was still two years into the future, but this album was the equivalent great leap forward for Rock music.

Tuesday 26 June 2012



It survived for just forty-one issues, from 1952 to 1959 –
‘brief lived but beloved by its readers’ according to Brian Aldiss.
But Scotland’s only S.F. magazine published the first stories
by Robert Silverberg, Bob Shaw – and Aldiss too, plus a
constellation of other star writers.
explores the history and enduring significance of
‘NEBULA’ with many new interviews with contributors...

‘Nebula’ – ‘brief lived, but beloved by its readers’ according to Brian Aldiss (in his ‘Science Fiction Art’), survived for just forty-one issues. But each one forms a time capsule of impossible and by now long obsolete futures. If it’s possible to feel nostalgia for things that never happened, a homesickness for the land of ex-tomorrows, this is where they’re located. A unique explosion of genre magazines occurred in Britain from the onset of the 1950’s to survive into the twilight of the sixties. To Kenneth Bulmer, ‘appearing at a time when the book-stalls were flooded with garish trash masquerading as Science Fiction, ‘Nebula’ at once became a quality production and formed a third limb of responsible British SF development – ‘Nebula’, ‘New Worlds’, and ‘Authentic SF’ (in ‘The History Of The Science Fiction Magazine: Part 3’). In his excellent and authoritative overview of British SF magazine history (in ‘Book And Magazine Collector No.8’) Mike Ashley values a complete run of the title at only £100. Although – since that 1984 estimate, that situation may well have changed, as the lens of critical perspective is altering and escalating their collectability. ‘Nebula’ in general, and certain specific target issues in particular, are increasingly considered well worth the devotees consideration. But to me, my collection of issues is beyond value. To declare a personal bias, since I first discovered ‘Nebula’ I’ve loved it, it has always been my favourite SF magazine.

For example – ‘Nebula’ carries “Gorgon Planet”, the first-ever professional sale by Robert Silverberg. A tough two-fisted space romp with – in retrospect, some unconscious humour, the story shows little trace of the poetic elegance of Silverberg’s mature work ‘Nightwings’ (1968) or his ‘Majipoor Chronicles’ novel series (from 1982). Admittedly there’s a tenuous sub-structure of classical references to the Theseus mythos, but they are buried deep beneath the kind of dramatic dialogue that seldom occurs in SF these days, except in pastiche; ‘visible monsters on a planet are bad enough, invisible ones are hell’. While the risible spectre of comic book caricature haunts other passages, ‘Steeger was an older man than most of us, one who had literally rotted in the service. He had contracted frogpox on Fomalhaut II, and now wore two chrome-jacketed titanium legs…’. But to any serious student of Silverbergiana the exploits of Joel Kaftan (Lieut. Spacial) on the planet Bellatrix IV is essential source material. It appears in ‘Nebula No.7’, and remains unpublished outside those covers. In another of his tales – “Always” (in no.16), loner George Marks, fixated by his dead Mother, wins his own personal planet in the Grand Lottery, only to discover Procyon VI harbours a shape-shifting life-form which, although he resists, it assumes the form of, and becomes his new ‘mother’. Only the final line betrays the threat, ‘after millennia of lonely emptiness, she began to feed’. Then there’s “Strong Waters” (no.38, January 1959) in which teetotaller Charley attempts to save the Berangii colonists from the native species’ ‘sabotage by sociability’, as they ply their sour-milk rotgut ‘by the light of three silvery moons’. Only to succumb himself when it appears that the local booze is the only antidote to parasitic viral infection.

Another ‘really promising ‘discovery’’ is award-winning author Bob Shaw, who debuts in issue No.9. His “Aspect” is a cleverly plotted short that operates on more than one level. The crew of starship ‘Panther’ investigate a single sealed room constructed on an otherwise dead planet. There’s a human dimension to Shaw’s characters, and a twist to the denouement that unsettles the reader’s expectations effectively. The alien structure is not ‘a house as Jennings knew them, but one in which instantaneous matter transmitters had replaced stairs and corridors. A place where one could step from one room to another even if the rooms were at difference ends of the house. In different cities. In different countries. On difference planets! A house that sprawled over a solar system.

And then there’s Brian Aldiss himself. Britain’s most respected Science Fiction writer had been published in ‘Science Fantasy’ a year earlier, but his first magazine SALE was to ‘Nebula’, and Aldiss became a regular contributor throughout its life-span. “T” – often cited as his finest early short, can be found in no.18, an impressive tale of an alien automaton’s journey back over five hundred million light years to the Silurian Age, programmed by a highly-evolved race called the Koax to destroy Earth before human evolution could begin. Oddly, the miscalculation that saves Earth is dependent on Pluto being classified as the ninth planet, since its demotion to ‘dwarf planet’ status, T’s target seventh world would indeed turn out to be Earth, with tragic results for humanity! “Dumb Show” follows in the very next issue, both stories later reprinted in Aldiss’ first volume ‘Space, Time And Nathaniel’ (1957). “All the World’s Tears” from no.21 went on to form part of his ‘The Canopy Of Time’ (1959) future history sequence. But other tyro-Aldiss from ‘Nebula’ remain unanthologised and hence form a bright constellation of undiscovered fantasy. His first – in no.12, is “The Great Time Hiccup” with a title-blurb promising that ‘when time went mad and sanity began to crumble, only a desperate plan – carried out in time – could hope to succeed’. Counter to the prevailing problem-solving format of 1950’s SF the ‘desperate plan’ fails. The temporal disruption swallowing the Earth accelerates and Aldiss uses experimental prose-repetitions to illustrate the process, anticipating in miniature the groundbreaking work he would write for the late-sixties New Wave, and in particular his ‘Report On Probability A’ (1968). Later on, “Sight Of A Silhouette” (in no.36) tells of a nursing sister called Venice aboard an orbital Luna hospital, enamoured by Norman Dall, an immortal explorer-archaeologist. Although centred on the genetic-impossibility of her partnering him, there are intriguing sub-plots. He is investigating the mystery of a set of two-thousand-million-year-old alien artefacts – anticipating Frederik Pohl’s ‘Heechee’ by a decade-and-a-half. Although discovered in excavated caverns beneath the moon’s surface, the Ganymede-Atara-Ira ship had originally landed on Earth when the planet was ‘still hardly out of the molten state’, when ‘Luna had not then been pulled from what is now the Pacific Desert’. Two startling images delivered almost in passing with typical Aldiss flair. “The Lieutenant” is a slighter tale, with John Wyndham cosy disaster overtones of giant alien spiders overrunning the Home Counties. But it can be found nowhere else than inside the covers of no.39.

But as far as ‘Nebula’ is concerned, there’s much more.

Launched in Autumn 1952 by editor and publisher Peter Hamilton, ‘Nebula’ is a digest-size magazine that survived until June 1959. The final issue carries no indication that there was not to be a no.42. Indeed, it even advertises forthcoming attractions by its leading regular contributors – William F Temple is promised, as is Sydney J Bounds, and – appropriately ER James too. It was James, a Yorkshire-based writer, whose novel-length “Robots Never Weep” was chosen to lead off ‘Nebula No.1’.

Artist Alan Hunter recalls ‘Peter Hamilton wrote to me with a half-page extract from the story asking if I would be interested in producing a colour illustration which he could use as the cover for his forthcoming magazine. When the first issue appeared, I suggested the inclusion of interior art and, as organiser of the FAS (Fantasy Artist’s Society) I was in a position to provide the artists. Peter was happy to agree to this and in recognition of my activities listed me as ‘Art Consultant’. Later, Peter sent me an oil painting by Bob Shaw which had also been intended for the first issue cover, asking me to return it to Bob! This was the first time I realised that there had been an ‘open competition’. Unfortunately Bob misunderstood the situation and in a speech at a SF Convention some years later accused me of rigging the competition to award myself first prize. I feel sure there are still some old time fans who believe his statement.’

In a more material sense Bob Shaw was compensated for this imagined slight by seeing his first six professional stories used exclusively by Hamilton, after which he ceased writing for some years. When Shaw returned to SF in 1965 ‘Nebula’ was no more, and his sales went to ‘New Worlds’ instead, so the complete cache of his very earliest work forms a vein through ‘Nebula’ back-issues. His “Barrier to Yesterday” is set in a future frozen Earth traversed by sail-propelled ‘sleds’, an idea later picked up by Michael Moorcock for his ‘The Ice Schooner’ (1969) novel. This issue (No.16) came in March 1956. It has a James Rattigan cover of a spaceship linking up with the moon Deimos above a beautiful background disc of Mars. Turn the page and there’s an ‘authors profile’ announcing EC Tubb as ‘TOP WRITER OF 1955’. Tubb himself writes ‘I am very pleased and proud to be considered the most popular author of ‘Nebula’, and even more pleased and proud to have been so voted for the third year in succession’. In fact he achieved the status five times out of a possible six! Tubb is now probably best-known for his popular Space Opera sagas relating the quest of ‘Lord Dumarest’ (1967 on), but before that his work dominated the scene, as the awards indicate. Seldom did a magazine edition go by without one of his powerful stories prominently featured, and he can be found in each of issues two to eleven of ‘Nebula’ – and regularly beyond, twenty-seven stories in total.

Perhaps most significant is “Operation Mars” (in no.11) which later formed the opening chapter of his ‘Alien Dust’ (1955) novel, a gruelling and often disturbing account of the colonisation of the red planet. Rationalising the outlandish excesses of other fantasists Tubb’s Mars harbours no multi-tentacled monsters or dead cities, replacing such tangible horrors with the more psychological hazards of hunger and isolation, with elements of cannibalism as the fledgling colony founders.

Peter Hamilton ably guided ‘Nebula’ through its seven-year life-cycle. But he was always more than just an editor. To Peter Nicholls (in ‘The Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction’) he was ‘an enthusiastic fan’ who subsidised the magazine himself. ‘Hamilton was serious-minded and prepared to experiment with difficult stories and to encourage young writers’, and although he was ‘unable to pay high rates ‘Nebula’ was popular with writers, and Hamilton was able to keep it going as very much a one-man show’. In an essay published in ‘Interzone’ (March 1992) Brian Stableford suggests that ‘Nebula’ was more of a ‘one-man show’ than even Nicholls suspects. Owing ‘its existence to the economic opportunism of the post-war paperback boom’ he writes, Peter Hamilton ‘left school in 1952 just as his parents, who were the proprietors of a small printing firm, were contemplating branching out into publishing in order to keep their machines active while other business was slack. He volunteered to edit a line of SF novels for them, but quickly converted this into a magazine on the advice of his distributor. ‘Nebula’ occupied the idle time of the firm’s machines between 1952 and 1959, thus justifying its existence in spite of its negligible profitability.’

This would indeed seem to be the case for at least the first twelve issues – which carry the imprint ‘printed in Scotland by Hamilton, Bale & Co. Ltd’. But a slight format change occurs with no.13 – the original thick pulp format is dropped in favour of thinner higher quality paper ‘which promises to give a much improved reproduction for interior illustrations and a much cleaner job in the printing generally’. The editorial also promises an end to the ‘production problems which were the cause of (frequency) irregularity’ because ‘a new firm has been given the job of printing the magazine’. Briefly the Perth-based Munro Press, then the Withy Grove Press in Manchester were responsible for print production, until Hamilton settled on Cahill & Co in Dublin. The advantage of having ‘Nebula’ printed in the Irish Republic, as it was for the remainder of its active life, became apparent during the long 1958 printing strike during which it became the only SF title to maintain its schedule unaffected.

At its peak ‘Nebula’ boasted a circulation of 40,000, with sales going to twenty-six countries, including a sizeable readership in the U.S.A.

Novelist Barrington J Bayley remembers Hamilton as an editor who ‘offered comment and advice. When I first started writing in my mid-teens I got most encouragement from Peter Hamilton, who did take one or two stories, although my one ever published contribution to ‘Nebula’ was in 1959, with an uninspired piece under the name of ‘Jack Diamond’’. “Consolidation” appears in no.38 – the story of how a decadent future Earth ‘peaceful and calm as a still lake’ is savagely revitalised by a sudden attack from space. A crude effort by comparison to the stunning sophistication of Bayley’s adult work, it nevertheless shows Hamilton’s ability to recognise and foster embryonic talent.

He also managed to obtain prestige fiction by American writers of reputation, while seldom resorting to reprint material. Harlan Ellison appears in no.30, A.E. Van Vogt (“Letter from the Stars”) in no.1, while a late work by early giant Ross Rocklynne (“Alphabet Soup”) in no.5 was even later reprinted in the US. Robert A Heinlein also appears three times, “Rebellion on the Moon” in no.11, and a story two issues earlier which includes an evocative passage conjuring up the quintessential ‘sense of wonder’ solar system that so many writers of the period populated, while anticipating Rutger Hauer’s ‘Bladerunner’ (1982) soliloquy. ‘At times, he would find himself daydreaming about the star-sharp, frozen sky of Mars, or the roaring nightlife of Venusburg. He would see again the swollen, ruddy bulk of Jupiter hanging over the port on Ganymede, impossibly huge, crowding the sky. Or he might, for a time, feel again the sweet quiet of the long watches on the lonely reaches between the planets…’ (“Ordeal in Space”). Australian A Bertram Chandler made six appearances too, including the quirky “Artifact” (no.24) in which sand-castles on Mars lead pioneers to discover the lost child of an earlier Russian expedition.

John Christopher, famous for his televised ‘Tripods’ trilogy contributes a story called “Talent” to no.11. But there was a bedrock of reliable regular contributors. The amazing Philip E High – a gentle man who created some of the most horrific weaponry in all of SF. His story “Wrath Of The Gods” (in no.17) tells of radiation-victim Hendricks who is deliberately marooned on hostile Gathos, where his mutation gives him godlike power (anticipating the theme of his novel ‘Blindfold From The Stars’, 1979). Another candidate for this prolific writers’ best-ever, most unsettlingly disturbing story is “City At Random” (in no.19, December 1956), in which Cransville is plunged into a chaotic anarchy of vicious conflict between Virts – virtuous, and psycho ‘characters’ in a lifting-social-inhibitors test of fitness imposed by Centauri aliens. A test humanity fails. Eric Frank Russell – a pioneer British SF superstar used ‘Nebula’ to relaunch his career with his first UK sale since the war (in no.4). And HK (Kenneth) Bulmer – who also wrote as H Philip Stratford AND as Kenneth Johns achieving an aggregate of thirty-four ‘Nebula’ appearances. Then there is ‘the evergreen’ Sydney J Bounds, ER James, William F Temple, Lan Wright, James White, John Brunner, Arthur Sellings and London chemist Robert Presslie…

But to casual purchasers it’s the eye-grabbing quality and imagination of the cover art that initially attracts attention. And following Alan Hunter’s two colour paintings there are ‘handsome and distinctive covers’ (Nicholls) by Hamilton’s discovery – the late Ken McIntyre, and James Stark whose ‘brilliant and sterile visions… succeed in capturing the dream of a clean technology born in the arid wastes of other worlds’ (Aldiss). There’s Irish-born Gerard Quinn, who also worked for ‘New Worlds’, ‘Science Fantasy’, and – on into the early 1970’s for ‘Vision Of Tomorrow’. To Aldiss he is ‘one of the best British artists to use astronomical themes’. Eddie Jones – who began in ‘Nebula’, went on to do book jackets and received two Hugo nominations for his detailed alien landscapes. From issue no.10 the art was extended to include distinctive black-and-white illustrations on the back cover, often by Arthur Thompson. They frequently introduce wry elements of humour. Astronauts from a sleek space-craft approach two crouching cavemen, one of whom reaches slyly for a primitive but murderously effective club (no.14). He returns to the theme ten issues later where a high-tech space-suited figure sprawls in planetary dust impaled by a crude spear. By no.39 deviously small alien rodents emerge from their warrens to steal tyres from an astronaut’s space-buggy as his back is turned.

Manchester-based Harry Turner met Peter Hamilton when the editor – ‘a strict abstainer’ of alcohol, was chairman of the ‘SuperMancon’ SF Conference in 1954, and ‘so far as ‘Nebula’ is concerned I seem to have started drawing in no.10, and contributed to most of the next twenty issues’. Always technically voracious Turner uses mechanical tints to frame his interior illustrations for Eric Frank Russell’s “Boomerang”, allying this with repeated facial images for John Christopher’s “Talent” – through to his final work, which is sympathetically stark and black for William F Temple’s “War Against Darkness” (in no.31). Hamilton ‘at least let me do work as I wanted to’ explains Turner, ‘though as he operated on a shoe-string budget, the pay was far from magnificent. In fact I asked for the return of the artwork after he’d used it, but got very little back. I understand most of it finished up at auctions at Cons!’

‘Nebula’ was a magazine that developed a uniquely intimate dialogue with its readership. As well as the quality of its art and fiction there was ‘Fanorama’ – a regular column by Walter Willis that now stands as a history of SF Fandom through the Fifties, detailing the activities of celebrity writers at Conventions alongside the contents of Fanzines that include the embryonic work of writers who would achieve celebrity status in years to come. A cartoon by Arthur ‘Atom’ Thompson caricatures personalities at the 1955 Con – portraying Sydney Bounds, John Brunner, EC Tubb, Ken Bulmer, and a blonde relaxed Peter Hamilton himself. Forrest J Ackerman contributes a ‘Scientifilm Review’ feature from Hollywood, punctuating his advance notices of classic films such as George Pal’s ‘War Of The Worlds’, ‘Forbidden Planet’, or ‘This Island Earth’ with snippets of gossip, name-dropping screen-writer friends of the calibre of Ray Bradbury. Book reviews, readers letters, and the inside front-cover photographic features on astronomical phenomena by John Newman or ‘Kenneth Johns’ add to the period flavour. In this 1950’s solar system, Saturn is the only world to possess rings, and Mercury has two extreme climatic zones separated by a twilight belt. Both ideas now rendered obsolete by the march of science.

‘Astronomers tell us that a nebula is the place where stars are born’ explains Peter Hamilton, whose persistent ill-health eventually brought the magazine to its untimely demise. ‘Here, they say, is where the new luminary takes shape and first shines its message of new life out across the void. In a way, our ‘Nebula’ is like that too’. EC Tubb develops the spatial metaphor to suggest that ‘Nebula’ achieved ‘a form of ‘gestalt’ in which the writers and contributors felt as if ‘Nebula’ was ‘their’ magazine, and… became a happy, well-integrated family’.

The blurb regularly run beneath the cover illustration reads ‘NEBULA: FOR READING THAT’S DIFFERENT’, and oddly, that’s still the case.



‘Nebula Vol.1 No.1’ (Autumn 1952, 2/-, 120-pages, from Crownpoint Publs, 159 Crownpoint Rd, Glasgow) Novel: ‘Robots Never Weep’ by ER James. Short Stories: ‘Letter From The Stars’ by AE Van Vogt, ‘The Ass’s Ears’ by Peter J Ridley. Art: Cover by Alan Hunter. Articles & Departments: ‘Here We Are’ (Editorial), Know Your Author: ER James, ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis, Book Reviews by Matt A Elder of ‘The Day Of The Triffids’ (John Wyndham) ‘What Mad Universe’ (Fredric Brown). Guided Missives (Readers Letters) & ‘Do You Write Science-Fiction?’ competition. Also back-page Open Letter from Kenneth F Slater, and ad for ‘Peri’ fanzine

‘Nebula Vol.1 No.2’ (Spring 1953) Novel: ‘Thou Pasture Us’ by FG Rayer. Short Stories: ‘Brainpower’ by K Houston Brunner, ‘Atoms And Stars’ by Forrest J Ackerman, ‘Dark Solution’ by EC Tubb. Art: cover by Alan Hunter, inner by Hunter & Bill Price. Articles & Departments: ‘Look Here’ (The Editor), ‘Know Your Author: FG Rayer, ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (announcing sequel to ‘When Worlds Collide’ as ‘After Worlds Collide’ and news of Ray Bradbury adaptation ‘The Monster From Beneath The Sea’ which became ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’). ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis, Guided Missives (Readers Letters)


‘Nebula Vol.1 No.3’ (Summer 1953) Novel: ‘Freight’ by EC Tubb. Novelette: ‘Limbo’ by William F Temple. Short Stories: ‘Mr Udell’ by David S Gardner (an ad for his fanzine ‘Space Diversions’ on p.42), ‘Enigma’ by Australian writer Michael Hervey, ‘The Beautiful Woman’ by Charles Beaumont (reprinted from September 1952 ‘If’), ‘All Men Kill’ by HJ Campbell. Art: cover by Bob Clothier, inner by Alan Hunter, Clothier, Quinn & Wilson. Articles & Departments: ‘Look Here’ (The Editor), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ with Forrest J Ackerman bestowing his ‘Ack-olade’ on George Pal’s ‘The War Of The Worlds’. ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (reviews fanzines ‘Space Times’ & ‘Operation Fantast’), Guided Missives (Readers Letters, including Terry Jeeves, Walter A Willis, Capt Ken Slater & Robert A Heinlein), SF Crossword compiled by AC Thorne

‘Nebula Vol.1 No.4’ (Autumn 1953, 128-pages) Novel: ‘The Adaptable Planet’ by Sydney J Bounds. Novelette: ‘Pawn In Revolt’ by William F Temple. Short Stories: ‘The Pilot’ by EC Tubb, ‘This One’s For Me’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘Ultimate Harvest’ by Paul Enever, ‘…And It Shall Be Opened’ by Peter J Ridley. Art: cover by Bob Clothier, inner by Hunter, Clothier, Wake & Jeeves. Articles & Departments: ‘Look Here’ (The Editor), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ with Forrest J Ackerman (‘Donovan’s Brain’ & ‘The Twonky’), ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis, Guided Missives (Readers Letters), SF Crossword by Tony C Thorne


‘Nebula No.5 (Vol.2 No.1)’ (September 1953) Novel: ‘The Troublemaker’ by EC Tubb. Novelette: ‘Destiny Is My Enemy’ by William F Temple. Short Stories: ‘Sabina’ by Forrest J Ackerman, ‘War’s Great Organ’ by JT McIntosh, ‘Alphabet Scoop’ by Ross Rocklynne. Art: cover by Ken McIntyre, inner by Hunter, Price, Clothier & Wilson. Articles & Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Time Of Terror’), ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (Harry Turner’s ‘Zenith’ fanzine), ‘Something To Read’ book Review by Kenneth F Slater (‘Beyond Human Ken’ anthology edit Judith Merril), ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters), ‘Nebula Crossword Puzzle’ by Tony Thorne

‘Nebula No.6 (Vol.2 No.2)’ (December 1953) Novel: ‘Firstling’ by FG Rayer. Novelettes: ‘The Happier Eden’ by JT McIntosh & ‘Sustained Pressure’ by Eric Frank Russell. Short Stories: ‘Tea Party’ by EC Tubb, ‘Inside Information’ by Tony C Thorne, ‘It Will Grow On You’ by L Major Reynolds. Art: cover by GH Irwin, inner by Alan Hunter, Bob Clothier, Jack Wilson & Brian Miller. Articles & Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Riders Of The Stars’), ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (‘Space Times’ & ‘Orbit’ fanzines), ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Spaceways’ by Charles Eric Maine), ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters). Ad for Alfred Bester’s ‘The Demolished Man’

‘Nebula No.7 (Vol.2 No.3)’ (February 1954) Novel: ‘Pilot’s Hands’ by William F Temple. Novelette: ‘Divine Right’ by JT McIntosh. Short Stories: ‘Troubleshooter’ by Charles Eric Maine, ‘Projectionist’ by HJ Campbell, ‘Gorgon Planet’ by Bob Silverberg, ‘Emancipation’ by EC Tubb, ‘Cold Storage’ by David S Gardener. Art: Bob Clothier cover, inner by Martin Frew, Bill Price, JackWilson, Clothier & Tony Steele. Articles & Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (giant ant-attack in ‘The Naked Jungle’ plus ‘Project Moonbase’ co-scripted by Robert Heinlein), ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (reviews fanzines ‘Space Diversions No.7’, ‘Space Times No.12 & ‘Fission No.1’), ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Shadow On The Hearth’ by Judith Merril’ & ‘Earth Abides’ by George R Stuart’), ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters), & ‘Space-Time Research Bureau Coupon’ (Reader Survey), full-page advert for ‘The Vargo Statten SF Magazine’

‘Nebula No.8 (Vol.2 No.4)’ (April 1954) Novel: ‘Blaze Of Glory’ by ER James. Novelettes: ‘Fly Away Peter’ by Eric Frank Russell & ‘Episode’ by EC Tubb. Short Stories: ‘Weather Station’ by Sydney J Bounds & ‘Wind Along The Waste’ by Kenneth Potter. Art: Ken McIntyre cover, inner by Hunter, Clothier, Wilson & Turner. Articles & Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Killers From Space’ & ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’, ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (‘Orbit No.3’, ‘The Medway Journal’ & ‘Orion’), Book Review by Kenneth F Slater (‘City’ by Clifford D Simak, ‘Lands Beyond’ by L Sprague de Camp & Willy Ley, ‘The True Book Of Space Travel’ by William F Temple, ‘The Weapon Makers’ by AE Van Vogt, ‘The Twenty-Second Century’ by John Christopher, ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters) plus ads for ‘Supermancon’ and ‘Space Times’ magazine

‘Nebula No.9’ (Vol.2 No.5) (August 1954) Novel: ‘Project One’ by EC Tubb. Novelette: ‘Ordeal In Space’ by Robert A Heinlein. Short Stories: ‘Curtain Call’ by James White, ‘Cul De Sac’ by Lan Wright, ‘Alcoholic Ambassador’ by Dan Morgan, ‘Aspect’ by Bob Shaw. Art: Bob Clothier cover, inner by Wilson, Clothier, Frew, Greengrass, Hunter. Articles and Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Them’). ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (‘BEM No.1’). Book Review by Kenneth F Slater (‘Hole in Heaven’ by F Dubrez Fawcett, ‘Childhood’s End’ by Arthur C Clarke, ‘The Green Hills Of Earth’ by Robert A Heinlein, ‘Beachheads In Space’ edited by August Derleth, + ‘The First Astounding SF Anthology’). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters). Plus ad for ‘Spaceflight – Venus’ by Philip Wilding + Boardman SF (‘Project Jupiter’ by Fredric Brown, ‘Children Of The Atom’ by Wilmar H Shiras) + ‘Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine’

‘Nebula No.10’ (October 1954) Novel: ‘Project Starship’ by Sydney J Bounds. Novelette: ‘Anachronism’ by Charles E Fritch. Short Stories: ‘Closing Time’ by EC Tubb, ‘The Marriage Prompters’ by Geoffrey Humphrys, ‘Final Curtain’ by Robert Donald Locke, ‘By Needle And Thread’ by Richard P Ennis. Art: Bob Clothier cover (‘The End Of The World’), Jack Wilson back cover, Martin Frew, Jordan, Turner, Hunter inners. Articles and Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (George Pal’s ‘The Conquest Of Space’), ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (fanzines, EC Tubb’s ‘i’ – with John Brunner, ‘The New Futurian no.2’, ‘Orion no.5’ – with Bob Shaw, Brian Lewis’ ‘The Medway Journal’), Book Reviews by Kenneth F Slater ‘The Robot And The Man’ edited by Martin Greenberg, ‘Children Of The Atom’ by Wilmar H Shiras, ‘Caves Of Steel’ by Isaac Asimov, ‘The Starmen’ by Leigh Brackett, ‘Mutant’ by Henry Kuttner, ‘The Red And Green Planet’ by Hubertus Strughold), ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Terry Jeeves)

‘Nebula No.11’ (December 1954) Novel: ‘Operation Mars’ by EC Tubb, Novelette: ‘The Yupe’ by Charles Eric Maine. Short Stories: ‘The Trespassers’ by Bob Shaw, ‘Boomerang’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘Ujutjo’ by Harry Warner Jr, ‘Talent’ by John Christopher, ‘A World In Exile’ by Cyril Myrescough. Art: James Rattigan cover, Jack Wilson back, Frew, Clothier, Turner, Wilson, Hunter inner. Articles and Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (Paul W Fairman’s ‘Target – Earth’, plus ‘Tobor The Great’, ‘Destruction Orbit’, Charles Eric Maine), ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (fanzines ‘BEM no.3’ with Bob Shaw, ‘Alpha no.7’, ‘Phantasmagoria no.2’, ‘Operation Fantast no.16’ plus ‘The Immortal Storm’). Book Review by Kenneth F Slater (‘The Long Way Back’ by Margot Bennett, ‘Kings Of Space’ by Capt WE Johns, ‘Starman Jones’ by Robert A Heinlein, ‘Young Traveller In Space’ by Arthur C Clarke, ‘Worlds In Space’ by Martin Caidin, ‘Worlds Of Tomorrow’ edit by August Derleth, ‘The Frozen Planet’ by Patrick Moore), ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters with Alan Hunter). Research Survey Results

‘Nebula No.12’ (April 1955) Novel: ‘Report On Adam’ by ER James. Novelette: ‘Decision Deferred’ by David S Gardner. Short Stories: ‘Rebellion On The Moon’ by Robert A Heinlein, ‘The Journey Alone’ by Bob Shaw, ‘An Apple For The Teacher’ by Jonathan Burke, ‘The Great Time Hiccup’ by Brian Aldiss. Art: Front Bob Clothier, back Bill Price, inner by Turner, Greengrass, Frew, Hunter. Articles and Departments: ‘Hypnotism’ by WH Powers. ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘This Island Earth’ + Forry Says Thanks to Charles Eric Maine). ‘Electric Fan’ by Walter A Willis (‘Triode 2’, ‘Femizine 3-4’, ‘Satellite 4’ + ad for Kettering ‘Cythricon’ Convention). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘World Out Of Mind’ by JT McIntosh, ‘Timeliner’ by Charles Eric Maine, ‘Martin Magnus: Planet Rover’ by William F Temple, ‘Lord Of The Rings’ by Tolkien, ‘Down To Earth’ and ‘World At Bay’ by Paul Capon, ‘Best-SF’ edit Edmund Crispin with Van Vogt, JT McIntosh, Bradbury, Wyndham, Eric Frank Russell). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters). Ad for ‘This Island Earth’ by Raymond F Jones and ‘Best From New Worlds’ by John Carnell with introduction by John Wyndham. Ad for ‘Vargo Statten British SF Magazine’

‘Nebula No.13’ (September 1955) Novel: ‘This Night No More’ by FG Rayer. Novelette: ‘Planetbound’ by EC Tubb. Short Stories: ‘Counterpoint’ by Lan Wright’, ‘Mansion Of A Love’ by William F Temple. Art: James Rattigan cover, Arthur Thomson back, inner by Turner, Greengrass, Articles and Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Bride Of The Atom’). ‘Cytricon Report’ by Peter Hamilton with cartoon of guests Tubb, Bulmer, Brunner, EJ Carnell, Hamilton etc. ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Year Of The Comet’ by John Christopher, ‘Bright Phoenix’ by Harold Mead, ‘Alien Dust’ by EC Tubb, ‘This Island Earth’ by Raymond F Jones, ‘Assignment In Eternity’ by Robert Heinlein, + William Tenn and Blish). ‘Guided Missives’ letters by Terry Jeeves and Bob Shaw, about Tubb. Ad for ‘Timeliner’ by Charles Eric Maine + Bodley Head titles by George O Smith (‘Hellflower’), William Tenn, James Blish and Alec Brown

‘Nebula No.14’ (November 1955) Novel: ‘Sunset’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘Pushover Planet’ by James White. Short Stories: ‘The Beautiful Martian’ by Sydney J Bounds, ‘Quis Custodiet’ by EC Tubb, ‘Question Answered’ by Mark Trent, ‘Down Rover Down’ by Eric Frank Russell. Art: Kenneth McIntyre cover, Arthur Thomson back, inners by Thomson, Frew, Greengrass, Turner. Articles: ‘Universe Times Two’ science by John Newman and ‘The Facts About Hypnotism’ by WH Powers. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Invasion Of The Body-Snatchers’ and ‘Beast Of 1,000,000 Eyes’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis with Ken Bulmer + ‘Hyphen no.14’ with Thomson art and Damon Knight reviews). Book Review by Kenneth F Slater (‘White August’ by John Boland, ‘The Sky Block’ by Steve Frazee, ‘Hellflower’ by George O Smith, ‘Currents Of Space’ by Isaac Asimov, ‘Angelo’s Moon’ by Alec Brown, ‘Alien Landscapes’ by Jonathan Burke, ‘Martin Magnus: Planet Rover’ by William F Temple, ‘Lest Darkness Fall’ by L Sprague de Camp), ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters with Joy Goodwin). Ads for WE John ‘Return To Mars’ and EE Smith ‘First Lensman’

‘Nebula No.15’ (January 1956) Novel: ‘Investment’ by EC Tubb. Novelette: ‘Sounds In The Dawn’ by Bob Shaw. Short Stories: ‘In Loving Memory’ by James White, ‘Green Hills Of Earth’ by Robert Heinlein, ‘The Artifact’ by Christopher Lyster, ‘Birthday Star’ by David Irish. Art: James Stark cover, Ken McIntyre back, inner by Turner, Frew, Greengrass, Hunter. Articles and Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Day The World Ended’ with p.2 photo, ‘Invasion Of The Body-Snatchers’, and Ray Harryhausen ‘The Animal World’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (Ken Bulmer in USA, and ‘Quatermass’ movie). Book Review by Kenneth F Slater (‘Born Leader’ by JT McIntosh, ‘Martin Magnus On Venus’ by William F Temple, ‘The Man With Absolute Motion’ by Silas Water, ‘Big Ball Of Wax’ by Shepherd Mead, ‘Return To Mars’ by Capt WE Johns, ‘Angels And Spaceships’ by Fredric Brown. ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Alan Hunter)

‘Nebula No.16’ (March 1956) Novel: ‘Frontier Encounter’ by Sydney J Bounds. Novelette: ‘Dying To Live’ by EC Tubb + ‘Top in 1955’ writer-feature. Short Stories: ‘Always’ by Robert Silverberg, ‘Hot Water’ by ER James, ‘Barrier To Yesterday’ by Bob Shaw, ‘The Moron’ by John Seabright. Art: James Rattigan Mars cover, Arthur Thomson back, Turner, Thomson, Greengrass and Hunter inners. Articles and Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues’ and ‘Tarantula’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (BBC’s ‘Journey Into Space’). ‘Something To Read’ Book Reviews by Kenneth F Slater (‘Crisis 2000’ by Charles Eric Maine, ‘Shadows In The Sun’ by Chad Oliver, ‘Beyond The Barriers Of Space And Time’ edit Judith Merril, ‘Untouched By Human Hands’ by Robert Sheckley). ‘Guided Missives’ (Letters from Robert Bloch on Kenneth Bulmer)

‘Nebula No.17’ (July 1956, delayed from May) Novel: ‘Project Pseudoman’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘By The Name Of Man’ by John Brunner. Short Stories: ‘Storm Warning’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘Cry Wolf’ by Arthur Sellings, ‘Wrath Of The Gods’ by Philip E High, ‘Into The Empty Dark’ by EC Tubb. Art: James Stark cover, Alan Hunter back, Turner, McKeown and Thomson inners. Articles and Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial), ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (he doesn’t like ‘Forbidden Planet’!). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Alpha no.13’ with Bob Shaw, ‘Retribution no.1’). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Time Transfer’ by Arthur Selling, ‘Deep Space’ by Eric Frank Russell + ad, ‘One In Three Hundred’ by JT McIntosh, ‘Pursuit Through Time’ by Jonathan Burke, ‘Christmas Eve’ by CM Kornbluth, ‘A Private Volcano’ by Lance Sieveking, ‘Burn Witch Burn’ by Abraham Merritt), ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters). Ad for ‘Flying Saucer Review’

‘Nebula No.18’ (November 1956) Novel: ‘Reluctant Farmer’ by EC Tubb. Novelette: ‘Outside Position’ by William F Temple. Short Stories: ‘T’ by Brian W Aldiss, ‘Hope Deferred’ by John Brunner, ‘More Than Hormone’ by Dan Morgan, ‘Armistice’ by Arthur Sellings. Art: James Stark cover, Arthur Thomson back plus inners. Article: ‘Gotterdammerung’ by John Newman (‘the affects and causes of the dropping of the H-Bomb on a large centre of population’). Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial celebrating 4th year of publication). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Eye’, ‘Triode’, ‘Hyphen’, ‘Fez’ aka ‘Femizine’ and ‘Contact’). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Tiger Tiger’ by Alfred Bester, ‘Men Martians And Machines’ by Eric Frank Russell + ad, ‘No Man Friday’ by Rex Gordon, ‘The Death Of Grass’ by John Christopher, ‘Ninya’ by Henry A Fagan, ‘Dawn In Andromeda’ by EC Large, ‘They Shall Have Stars’ by James Blish). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Ron Bennett of Harrogate, and Joy Clark nee Goodwin)

‘Nebula No.19’ (December 1956) Novel: ‘The Number Of My Days’ by John Brunner. Novelette: ‘The Great Armadas’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Short Stories: ‘Dumb Show’ by Brian W Aldiss, ‘The Evidence’ by Len Shaw, ‘Whispering Gallery’ by William F Temple, ‘City At Random’ by Philip E High, ‘Flesh And Blood’ by Robert Presslie. Art: James Stark future city cover, D McKeown back, inners by Arthur Thomson and Martin Frew. Article: ‘Case Of The Missing Planets’ by Kenneth Johns (John Newman and Kenneth Bulmer). Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Mole People, Curt Siodmak’s ‘Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon’, ‘Mesa Of Lost Women’, ‘It Conquered The World’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (Eric Bentcliffe’s ‘Triode no.8’ and Ron Bennett’s ‘Ploy no.7’). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Further Outlook’ by W Grey Walter, ‘Beyond Mars’ by John Stafford Gowland, ‘Best SF 2’ edit Edmund Crispin includes Fredric Brown’s ‘Placet Is A Funny Place’ + ad for ‘Shadow Over The Earth’ by Philip Wilding). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters). Ad for ‘Science Fiction Book Club’, with Edgar Pangborn, + ‘Flying Saucer Review’


‘Nebula No.20’ (March 1957) Novel: ‘Beacon Green’ by FG Rayer. Short Stories: ‘Man Of Imagination’ by EC Tubb, ‘One Man’ by DM Schneider, ‘The Men Marched Out’ by John Ashcroft, ‘Better Than We Know’ by William F Temple. Art: James Rattigan cover, Eddie Jones back, inners by Turner, Thomson and Somerville. Article: Photo-feature ‘The Modern Mars’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (various films in production), ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (the Sam Moskowitz / Damon Knight debate, fanzines ‘Meuh no.2’ and Vince Clarke’s ‘Eye no.6’). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Science And Fiction’ by Patrick Moore, ‘The Isotope Man’ by Charles Eric Maine, ‘The Seeds Of Time’ by John Wyndham also in ‘Sometime Never’ with William Golding and Mervyn Peake’s ‘Boy In Darkness’). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters, by Peter Ridley)

‘Nebula No.21’ (May 1957) Novel: ‘Somewhere A Voice’ by Eric Frank Russell. Novelette: ‘Treason’ by John Brunner. Short Stories: ‘All The World’s Tears’ by Brian W Aldiss, ‘The Pool’ by A Bertram Chandler, ‘Dream World’ by Lan Wright. Art: James Stark cover, Arthur Thomson back, inners by Thomson, Greengrass and Harry Turner. Article: ‘Far Distant Fires’ by Kenneth Johns about galaxies. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’, ‘Dr Cyclops’ by Henry Kuttner from Manly Wade Wellman book). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Camber no.7’ and ‘New Futurian no.6’ with ER James). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Space, Time And Nathaniel’ by Brian Aldiss, ‘Thunder And Roses’ by Theodore Sturgeon, ‘Day Of Misjudgment’ by Bernard MacLaren, ‘The Power’ by Frank M Robinson, ‘The Tramp’ by L Ron Hubbard, ‘Blast Off At Woomera’ by Hugh Walters, ‘A Land Fit For Eros’ by Atkins and Pick, ‘Seven Days To Never’ by Pat Frank). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters) + ‘Nebula Authors Awards 1956’ EC Tubb favourite author

‘Nebula No.22’ (July 1957) Novel: ‘The Thoughtless Island’ by H Philip Stratford (Ken Bulmer). Novelette: ‘Pompey’s Planet’ by ER James. Short Stories: ‘The Window’ by A Bertram Chandler, ‘And So Farewell’ by Lan Wright, ‘A Date To Remember’ by William F Temple, ‘Murder In Reverse’ by Stuart Allen, ‘Morality’ by PJ Ridley. Art: James Stark dinosaur extinction cover, Arthur Thomson back, inners by Turner, Thomson and Greengrass. Article: ‘Cradle Of Stars’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (Ray Bradbury movie, Boris Karloff in ‘Voodoo Island’ and ‘Voodoo Woman’, ‘The Undead’, ‘Attack Of The Crab Monsters’, ‘The She-Devil’ from Stanley Weinbaum, ‘The Man Who Turned To Stone’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis on Flying Saucers. ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Brother Bear’ by Guy Richards, ‘The Master by TH White, ‘The Deep Range’ by Arthur C Clarke, ‘Prisoners Of Saturn’ by Donald Suddaby). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from John Ashcroft and Nigel Jackson)

‘Nebula No.23’ (August 1957) Novel: ‘Against Goliath’ by William F Temple. Novelette: ‘Lethe Lend’ by H Philip Stratford (Kenneth Bulmer). Short Stories: ‘Sentimental Journey’ by EC Tubb, ‘Time Bomb’ by Philip E High, ‘The Successors’ by A Bertram Chandler, ‘Out Of Thin Air’ by Lan Wright’, ‘The River’ by L Major Reynolds. Art: James Stark cover, Arthur Thomson back, inners by Turner, Thomson and Greengrass. Article: ‘Nomads Of The Sky’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Three To Conquer’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘Plutonia’ by RV Obruchev). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (’20 Million Miles To Earth’, James Whale Obit). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Triode no.10’ from Eric Bentcliffe and Terry Jeeves, ‘New Futurian no.7’, ‘Retribution no.7’ from Arthur Thomson with Bob Shaw). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters) + as for the ‘Solascope’ guide to the Solar System

‘Nebula No.24’ (September 1957) Novel: ‘Proving Ground’ by Lan Wright. Novelette: ‘The Ties Of Iron’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Short Stories: ‘The Eyes Of Silence’ by EC Tubb, ‘Further Outlook’ by Philip E High, ‘Artifact’ by A Bertram Chandler, ‘In The Beginning’ by Kris Neville. Art: James Rattigan cover, Arthur Thomson back (spacesuit skewered by primitive spear on alien landscape), inners by Harry Turner, Thomson and Greengrass. Articles: ‘Jupiter The Mighty’ by ‘Kenneth Johns’, ‘Facts Behind Fall-Out’ by John Newman. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘The Supernatural Reader’ edit Groff Conklin with Ted Sturgeon and Ambrose Bierce, ‘Operation: Outer Space’ by Murray Leinster, ‘The Trembling Tower’ by Claude Yelnick + ad for ‘SF Book Club’ with ‘the Twenty-Seventh Day’ by John Mantley). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Invasion Of The Saucer-Men’, ‘The Monster That Challenged The World’ and ‘The Vampire’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (EC Tubb + ‘Ploy no.9’). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters, from John Newman)

‘Nebula No.25’ (October 1957) Novel: ‘There’s No Business’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘No Escape’ by JS Glasby. Short Stories: ‘Brief Encounter’ by William F Temple, ‘The First’ by Edward Ludwig, ‘Chip On My Shoulder’ by Robert Presslie, ‘Act Of Aggression’ by Robert J Tilley. Art: alien spores cover by KT McIntyre, Arthur Thomson back, inners by Turner, Thomson and Quinn. Article: ‘Saturn: The Ringed Wonder’ by Kenneth Johns, and ‘Satellites And The IGY (International Geophysical Year)’ by Donald Malcolm. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘High Vacuum’ by Charles Eric Maine, ‘The Strange World Of Planet X’ by Rene Ray, ‘Up And Out’ by John Cowper Powys). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘I Was A Teenage Werewolf’, ‘The Vampire’, ‘Killer On The Wall’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis

‘Nebula No.26’ (January 1958) Novel: ‘Dear Devil’ by Eric Frank Russell. Novelette: ‘Training Aid’ by EC Tubb. Short Stories: ‘Fiends For Neighbours’ by Robert J Tilley, ‘The Meek Shall Inherit’ by Philip E High, ‘Ten-Storey Jigsaw’ by Brian W Aldiss. Art: James Stark lunar cover, D McKeown back, Harry Turner inner. Article: ‘Station Sol’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Strange Evil’ by Jane Gaskell, ‘Fallen Star’ by James Blish, ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ by John Wyndham, ‘Mary’s Country’ by Harold Mead, ‘The Black Cloud’ by Fred Hoyle). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Amazing Colossal Man’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis. ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Robert J Tilley, Robert Bloch) + ad for ‘British Interplanetary Society’

‘Nebula No.27’ (February 1958) Novel: ‘The Great Game’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘The Hired Help’ by John Brunner. Short Stories: ‘Risk Economy’ by Philip E High, ‘Colour Bar’ by Jonathan Burke, ‘Escape from Plenty’ by WT Webb. Art: D McKeown cover, Arthur Thomson back, Harry Turner and Gerard Quinn inners. Article: ‘Morning And Evening Star’ by AE Roy Bsc. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Atomic Submarine’ by Alastair Mars, ‘The Space Encyclopaedia’ and ‘The Viking Rocket Story’, ‘Dandelion Wine’ by Ray Bradbury, ‘Prisoner in The Skull’ by Charles Dye, ‘Great World Mysteries’ by Eric Frank Russell – who wins 1957 Readers Poll). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Invisible Boy’ and ‘I Was A Teenage Frankenstein’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (with Forrest Ackerman, Arthur C Clarke, EC Tubb and Ken Bulmer). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Nigel Jackson)

‘Nebula No.28’ (March 1958) Novel: ‘Touch Of Reality’ by EC Tubb. Novelette: ‘Solitary’ by Robert Silverberg. Short Stories: ‘Shift Case’ by Philip E High, ‘Necessity’ by Robert J Tilley, ‘Verdict’ by Robert Presslie, ‘Forgivable Error’ by Stuart Allen. Art: James Rattigan cover, Arthur Thomson back, Gerard Quinn and Martin Frew inner. Article: ‘The Solar Bomb’ by Kenneth Johns and ‘Pluto The Unknown’ by John Newman. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (August Derleth’s ‘Arkham Sampler, plus ‘Into Other Worlds’ by Roger Lancelyn discussing Garrett P Serviss, Olaf Stapledon, Clare Winger Harris, Miles J Breuer). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Teenage Monster’, ‘The Brain From Planet Arous’ and ‘Blood Of Dracula’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (William F Temple bio, Arthur C Clarke)

‘Nebula No.29’ (April 1958) Novel: ‘Old MacDonald’ by Robert Presslie. Novelette: ‘Advertise Your Cyanide’ by Kenneth Bulmer (collected into ‘The Best Of British SF Vol.2’ edit Mike Ashley). Short Stories: ‘Godling, Go Home!’ by Robert Silverberg, ‘End Planet’ by John Kippax, ‘Motivation’ by Bertram Chandler. Art: Gerard Quinn Arabian nights cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Thomson, Quinn and D McKeown inner. Article: ‘Moons Of Jupiter’ by Donald Malcolm (12 airless moons only!). Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘After The Rain’ by John Bowen, ‘The Naked Sun’ by Isaac Asimov). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Body-Snatchers’ and ‘The Fantastic Puppet People’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘SF News’). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters)

‘Nebula No.30’ (May 1958) Novelettes: ‘Journey To The Interior’ by Brian W Aldiss and ‘The Covetous’ by H Philip Stratford. Short Stories: ‘PS’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘Nothing For My Noon Meal’ by Harlan Ellison, ‘Training Area’ by ER James, ‘Lone Voyager’ by Donald Malcolm, ‘The Wanton Jade’ by EC Tubb. Art: D McKeown cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Thomson, McKeown and John Greengrass inner. Article: ‘Galactic Outposts’ by AE Roy Bsc and ‘Solar System Ecology’ by John Newman. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘The Dreamers’ by Roger Manvell, ‘On The Last Day’ by Mervyn Jones). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Colossal Beast’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Perihelion no.2’, ‘Camber no.9’). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters)

‘Nebula No.31’ (June 1958) Novel: ‘War Against Darkness’ by William F Temple. Short Stories: ‘The Fires Die Down’ by Robert Silverberg, ‘Ninian’s Experiences’ by Brian W Aldiss, ‘The Beatific Smile’ by EC Tubb, ‘Wish Upon A Star’ by Peter J Ridley. Art: D McKeown ‘Spacewreck’ cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Harry Turner, Gerard Quinn, D McKeown inners. Article: ‘Stardust Patrol’ meteors by Kenneth Johns, ‘And The Kings Depart’ Neanderthals by John Newman. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Non-Stop’ by Brian Aldiss, ‘The Centenarians’ by Gilbert Phelps, ‘Operation Satellite’ by WH Fear). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Creature From Galaxy 27’, ‘The Saga Of The Viking Women And Their Voyage To The Waters Of The Great Sea-Serpent’, ‘The Astounding She-Monster’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Triode’, ‘Brennschluss’)

‘Nebula No.32’ (July 1958) Serial: ‘Wisdom Of The Gods Part 1’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘Sense Of Proportion’ by EC Tubb. Short Stories: ‘Carriage Paid’ by William Aitken, ‘Bighead’ by WT Webb, ‘No Time At All’ by Mark Patrick, ‘They Shall Inherit’ by Brian W Aldiss, ‘Words And Music’ by Bertram Chandler. Art: James Stark cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Kenneth Barr inners. Article: ‘The Crater Controversy’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘Strangers In The Universe’ by Clifford Simak, ‘Double Star’ by Robert A Heinlein). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (Ken Bulmer, Bob Shaw, death of Henry Kuttner). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from John Brunner)

‘Nebula No.33’ (August 1958) Serial: ‘Wisdom Of The Gods Part 2’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘Talk Not At All’ by EC Tubb. Short Stories: ‘Way Out’ by Robert Lloyd, ‘Mute Witness’ by Clifford C Reed, ‘Debt Of Lassor’ by NK Hemming, ‘Conflagration’ by Stuart Allen. Art: Kenneth Barr cover and rear, Barr and John J Greengrass inners, Paul Wakefield 2 cartoons. Article: ‘Cinderella Of The Skies’ the Moon by AE Roy Bsc, ‘Who Rules In Space’ by Donald Malcolm. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (Edmund Crispin’s ‘Best SF Three’ with Murray Leinster’s ‘The Warbler’, ‘The Domes Of Pico’ by Hugh Walters). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Fiend Without A Face’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (Damon Knight new editor of ‘If’ and ex-‘Worlds Beyond’)

‘Nebula No.34’ (September 1958) Serial: ‘Wisdom Of The Gods Part 3’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘Fourth Factor’ by Brian W Aldiss. Short Stories: ‘Agent Provocateur’ by ‘H Philip Stratford’ (Kenneth Bulmer), ‘Friction’ by ER James, ‘Take Your Partners’ by Robert Presslie, ‘Threshold’ by James Inglis. Art: Gerard Quinn cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Thomson, John Greengrass and Kenneth Barr inners. Article: ‘Light And Darkness’ by Kenneth Johns, ‘Riddle Of The Dinosaurs’ by John Newman. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘The Edge Of Beyond’ by Capt WE Johns, ‘The Clock Of Time’ by Jack Finney). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Space Children’, ‘The Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Ploy’)

‘Nebula No.35’ (October 1958) Serial: ‘Wisdom Of The Gods Part 4’ by Kenneth Bulmer. Novelette: ‘The Captain’s Dog’ by EC Tubb. Short Stories: ‘Bitter End’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘Dark Talisman’ by James White, ‘The Undiscovered Country’ by William F Temple. Art: Kenneth Barr Steampunk cover, Arthur Thomson rear, John J Greengrass, Gerard Quinn, Kenneth Barr inners. Article: ‘Nova And Supernova’ by AE Roy BSc, ‘First Breakthrough’ by Roy Malcolm (discussed in editorial of no.36). Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘The Once And Future King’ by TH White, ‘Forty Years On’ by Doreen Wallace). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Night Of The Blood-Beast’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (Kenneth Bulmer anecdotes, ‘Satellite no.7’)

‘Nebula No.36’ (November 1958) Novel: ‘The Hard Way’ by Dan Morgan. Novelette: ‘Wallpaper War’ by EC Tubb. Short Stories: ‘It’ by John Kippax, ‘Sight Of A Silhouette’ by Brian W Aldiss, ‘Sell Me A Dream’ by Stuart Allen. Art: Eddie Jones cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Kenneth Barr, John J Greengrass inners, two ‘Atom’ cartoons. Article: ‘The Great Nebula’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial on Gerard Quinn). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (‘The Tide Went Out’ by Charles Eric Maine). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘The Blob’, ‘I Married A Monster From Outer Space’, ‘Earth Versus The Spider’, ‘Teenage Caveman’, ‘How To Make A Monster’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (‘Aporrheta’ fanzine). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Nigel Jackson, John J Greengrass)


‘Nebula No.37’ (December 1958) Novelette: ‘Lords Of Creation’ by Philip E High. Short Stories: ‘Pariah’ by Robert Presslie, ‘The Truth’ by ER James, ‘House Divided’ by Robert Silverberg, ‘Infiltration’ by Mark Patrick, ‘Thy Rod And Thy Staff’ by John Kippax. Art: Gerard Quinn Cosmic Chess cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Thomson, Kenneth Barr, John Greengrass inners, Atom ‘Bem’ cartoon. Article: ‘Next Call Alpha Centauri’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial on Australian contributor Miss NK Hemming). No Book Reviews this issue. ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Monster On The Campus’, ‘The Sun Demon’, ‘It! The Terror From Beyond Space’, ‘The Cures Of The Faceless Man’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (James White anecdote). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters)

‘Nebula No.38’ (January 1959) Stories: ‘A Race Of Madmen’ by Philip E High, ‘The Arm’ by Brian W Aldiss, ‘Consolidation’ by ‘John Diamond’ (Barrington J Bayley), ‘Medicine Man’ by ‘H Philip Stratford’ (Kenneth Bulmer), ‘Cold Storage’ by Donald Franson, ‘Hospital Ship’ by ER James, ‘Strong Waters’ by Robert Silverberg. Art: Eddie Jones cover, Arthur Thomson rear (+ Atom cartoon), Kenneth Barr, John J Greengrass inners. Article: ‘The Nearest Star’ by AE ‘Archie’ Roy Bsc, Glasgow University Professor of Astronomy. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (Ray Harryhausen’s ‘The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (anecdotes on Bob Shaw, James White, Ken Bulmer, Eric Frank Russell). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters)

‘Nebula No.39’ (February 1959, 2/-, 116pp) Novelette: ‘Suicide Squad’ by Robert Presslie. Short Stories: ‘Infection’ by Philip E High, ‘Survey Corpse’ by Kenneth Bulmer, ‘The World He Left Behind Him’ by Robert Silverberg, ‘The Return’ by Mark Patrick, ‘The Lieutenant’ by Brian W Aldiss. Art: D McKeown cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Thomson (+ Atom cartoon), John J Greengrass and Eddie Jones inners. Article: ‘The Barred Spiral Enigma’ by Kenneth Johns. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (Poll Results). ‘Bob Madle’s American Letter’ (Forrest J Ackerman and ‘Transatlantic Fan Fund’, Ted Carnell, Walt Willis and Ron Bennett). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (James White sells to Italy, Edmond Crispin). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from James Inglis). BSFA as ‘A Society For You’ says Peter Hamilton. SFBC, Science Fiction Book Club


‘Nebula No.40’ (May 1959, 2s 6d, 116pp) Novel: ‘Imbalance’ by William F Temple. Short Stories: ‘To See Ourselves’ by Philip E High, ‘The Strangers’ by James Inglis (brief biog), ‘Viewpoint’ by TB (Thomas Burnett) Swann, ‘The Colonel’s Last Safari’ by Nigel Jackson. Art: Eddie Jones cover, Arthur Thomson rear, Thomson (includes BEM cartoon), Jones and John Greengrass inners. Articles: ‘Galaxies At Random’ by Kenneth Johns, ‘Seven Days To Nowhere’ by John Newman (US lunar plans). Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Something To Read’ by Kenneth F Slater (hardback round-up). ‘Scientifilm Previews’ by Forrest J Ackerman (‘Missile To The Moon’). ‘Bob Madle’s American Letter’ (Forrest J Ackerman launches ‘Famous Monsters Of Filmland’, ‘First Fandom back to 1929, Arthur C Clarke US tour, and EE Smith new sale to ‘Amazing’). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (John ‘Sam Youd) Christopher, Arthur C Clarke). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Eric Bentcliffe) + 1958 Author’s award, EC Tubb again, Ken Bulmer no.2, Brian Aldiss no.3

‘Nebula No.41’ (June 1959) Novelette: ‘Legends Of Smith’s Burst’ by Brian W Aldiss. Short Stories: ‘For Those Who Wait’ by Philip E High, ‘The Silent Partners’ by Bob Shaw, ‘Day Without A Name’ by WT Webb, ‘Song Of Ages’ by ‘H Philip Stratford’ (aka Ken Bulmer), ‘Cadet’ by John Rackham (aka John T Phillifent). Art: Kenneth Barr Dinosaur cover, Arthur Thomson rear, John Greengrass and Gerard Quinn inners. Article: ‘Miniature Mercury’ by ‘Kenneth Johns’. Departments: ‘Look Here’ (Editorial). ‘Fanorama’ by Walter A Willis (Arthur Thomson and ‘Quatermass’). ‘Guided Missives’ (Readers Letters from Nigel Jackson). Ad for SFBC (‘Occam’s Razor’ by David Duncan, and ‘The Tide Went Out’ by Charles Eric Maine)

‘Nebula No.42’ (scheduled for September 1959, unpublished) advertised contents would have included William F Temple (a spacecraft lands in a remote rural area), ER James (two rival colonies on a barren planet), Edward Mackin (a wistfully sad tale), Robert Presslie, Ian Wright, Nigel Jackson, Sydney Bounds