Sunday 30 May 2021





on Mars the trees grow red
and cast a rose glow, 
through Martian twilights 
I feel you squirm inside my mind, 
and know you are close, 
on Mars the grass grows red 
and whispers secrets 
in the thin breeze, 
it tells me you are close, 
on Mars the moons are red 
and cast scarlet shadows that 
hint the contours of your face, 
in silence there is music 
in separation there is touch 
where there is you 
is where I choose to reside 
on Mars the constellations 
flit like fireflies 
to tell me you are here, 
I taste the storms roar in your mouth 
I taste your breath in my nostrils 
the map of your blood is in my veins 
your heartbeat is the pulse 
that moves the stars…

Friday 28 May 2021

SF Magazine: 'IMPULSE'




‘Impulse’ described itself as a ‘monthly collection of fantasy, 
science fiction and strange stories edited for the connoisseur.’ 
So why did it only survive for twelve issues 
across the 1966-1967 watershed?


Kyril Bonfiglioli had an agenda from the start. That becomes apparent as early as his second editorial for ‘Science Fantasy’, in which he pronounces that ‘science-fiction’s task is to abolish itself.’ For regular readers of this attractive little companion title to ‘New Worlds’, under John Carnell’s sure guidance, ‘Science Fantasy’ had forged out its own very distinctive fictional style. But with issue no.65 – dated June-July 1964, it ‘changed hands, editors and format all in one inter-issue period’ as the incoming Bonfiglioli phrases it. Reduced page-size, more compact, no glossy cover… difficult for the regular browser to even recognise it within the newsagent’s display. New publishers Roberts & Vinter, who had assumed ownership from the old Nova Publications, were making their new branding a clean sweep. Within which Kyril Bonfiglioli had his own agenda, which was ‘Science Fiction for Grown-Ups!’ Hence he eagerly reconfigured ‘Science Fantasy’ into what he considered a new more appropriate identity, as ‘Impulse’

So, not quite a new magazine, yet the twelve neat issues of ‘Impulse’ – considered as a separate entity from its predecessor, make up a delightful conundrum for both readers and collectors. A run of attractively-packaged issues with rapid changes taking places within its abbreviated lifetime. Yet flaunting a number of exciting firsts… early Christopher Priest and Brian Stableford, the debut of Harry Harrison’s ‘Make Room Make Room’ – the template for ‘Soylent Green’, the first teasing hint of Brian Aldiss’ ‘Acid-Head War’ psychedelic extravaganza – Michael Moorcock’s ‘The Ice Schooner’, and Keith Roberts, not only launching his evocative ‘Pavane’ fiction-series, but with his distinctive original cover-art, and in an editorial support-role too. ‘Impulse’ could have done more, with a longer lifetime and a bigger budget. But what it did achieve is worth a modest celebration.

The Rolling Stones’ “Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown” was no.1 on the charts when the first issue appeared. “I’m A Believer” by the Monkees was no.1 when the final issue emerged, a year later. I was eighteen-years-old, working as a print-apprentice in Kingston-upon-Hull. In the orbital skies above our heads, in their Gemini 8 spacecraft, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott carried out complex docking manoeuvres with their Agena launcher, while in the House of Commons Harold Wilson was returned for a second term as Labour Prime Minister with an increased majority, declaring the inauguration of what he terms the ‘white heat of technological revolution.’ It seemed that science was no longer the future, it was happening all around us. 

Science Fiction is not quite the same as Science Fantasy, although they share a common hinterland. Pure fantasy is the more ancient form of story-telling, unrestrained by rational conceits, and one of the great narrative traditions going all the way back to its mythic origins. Before science, alchemy had its fantastical elements. But it is not science. The introduction of science as a logical mind-set of procedures, allows for the same rigorous principles to be applied to fiction. Science, or quasi-sciences, depend on some kind of analytical interpretation, in ways that magic does not. Science Fantasy is the ‘Weird Tales’ zone that exists on the margins between the two, where definition breaks down into slipstream. Time travel forces writers to involve convoluted concepts of continuums and causalities that are as yet theoretical. Yet, from HG Wells’ first time-traveller, there is the construction of an invented technology in order to make it possible.

“Present From The Past” by Douglas Davis – in ‘Science Fantasy’ no.69, in which a dog-toothed reptilian Triassic Cynognathus outmanoeuvres Doctor William Messenger, uses the Chrono Department’s Back-Travel transporter as ‘the most comfortable cave he had ever found,’ and unwittingly arrives in today in Messenger’s place, exploits this ambiguity. Because it uses a theoretical technology, it is placed firmly on the SF side of the divide. Yet the same magazine issue includes the third and last instalment of Thomas Burnett Swann’s beguiling “The Blue Monkeys” serial, which draws from the full pantheon of Greek mythology, with no regard for the upstart pretentions of science whatsoever. Just as Michael Moorcock had first forged his reputation through earlier issues of ‘Science Fantasy’ with his lavish Elric tales, laden with dragons, soul-stealing swords and baleful enchantment. Fantasy can embrace this diversity, whereas strict Science Fiction cannot.

In channelling the title towards its new identity – as ‘Impulse’, Bonfiglioli was activating his agenda. He believed that ‘if SF has a future – and I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe that it has,’ that future must lie outside the nerdy geeks and misfits of what he terms its unwholesome genre quarantine. It must move into a more mainstream acceptance. It’s a similar stance to the ‘New Wave’ manifesto being enacted by ‘New Worlds’ incoming iconoclastic regime. Keith Roberts, who debuts in Bonfiglioli’s ‘Science Fantasy’ no.67 with an unprecedented two tales, would become a major part of this reconstruction strategy. His stories define everything that Science Fantasy can aspire to, reconfiguring England into a place ‘of unfelled woodland (that) harboured creatures of another age… haunted by things dead and others best forgotten; bears and catamounts, dire-wolves and Fairies.’ A fifty-year-old rediscovery of a Rudyard Kipling story set in the year 2065 – “As Easy As ABC”, in the same issue, also fine-tunes the fiction towards a more ‘literary’ setting.

Outgoing editor John Carnell writes apologetically that ‘your editor regrets that owing to other commitments he will not be connected with the new enterprise’ (in no.64). Meanwhile, changes are ignited in the manner of ‘Astounding SF’s gradual transition into its new more-adult identity as ‘Analog’ – with the new title gradually strengthening as the old one fades away behind it, so ‘Science Fantasy’ no.81, with its striking Keith Roberts art-cover illustrating Hugh Simmonds “Ballad From A Bottle”, has ‘Science Fantasy’ in bold with ‘Impulse’ in half-tone dots behind it. This, it announces, is ‘a new monthly collection for the connoisseur, enlarged and ranging far wider to take in more of the fertile field of SF, fantasy and speculation.’ A bold manifesto.

After the brief transition phase, the first issue of ‘Impulse’ proper, subtitled ‘The NEW Science Fantasy’ – and optimistically numbered Vol.1 No.1, dated March 1966, was 160-pager stuffed with stellar names. Bonfiglioli had assembled new fiction ‘specially written’ by Brian Aldiss, rising to Bon’s challenge by involving complex family dynamics as well as scrupulously-researched passages on oceanic biota. Contrasted by a new tale ‘specially written’ by touring high-profile Poul Anderson, solicited while the American writer and his wife Karen were in London in the aftermath of the SF Convention. His contribution is a hard-SF ‘Starship Trooper’ tale. With Earth losing a galactic war against the encroaching Morwain, Edward Breckinridge faces the prospect of airlock execution for refusing to unleash the ultimate planet-killer weapon, because even war has morality and ‘who, across the centuries, has forgiven Dachau?’ The story takes a strong ethical stance against atrocity.

JG Ballard adds one of his ‘fragmentary and non-sequential’ texts around the theme of a twentieth-century Messiah. And if now we have come to comfortably accept his preoccupations with the Kennedy assassination, it’s worth recasting it into perspective. Maybe if he was writing today he’d use 9/11 as a similarly defining reference point? Both would be audacious, and shockingly relevant to their respect times. Jack Vance offers a symbolist story of an idyllic island of sensual youth, until Rona ta Inga builds a boat and sails west to discover the continent of ‘death’. James Blish too – he contributes his ‘first appearance with an original story in a British science-fiction magazine,’ while his wife Judith Ann Lawrence supplies the strikingly dramatic cover-art of an emaciated human figure in red venerating a giant white skull. However, so far ‘The NEW Science Fantasy’ is ‘not exactly a naked, new-born infant’ as the editorial explains, but ‘the old ‘Science Fantasy’ in a false moustache and dark glasses.’ 

There was some great fiction to come. Chris Priest makes his debut professional sale in no.3. Although he’d been floating around fanzines for some time, it was ‘Impulse’ that gave him that first step into Pro status. While Keith Roberts’ series of ‘Pavane’ stories that headline the first five issues – later collected into book-form, were a major achievement which would probably have been suited to no other publication. Not exactly an SF alternate history, because there’s no innovative science, not exactly fantasy either because it teases out possibilities from actual events. But they are magically written and beautifully conceived. Brian Stableford appears for the first time under his own name in no.8.

The magazine’s other major achievement was first serialisation of the Harry Harrison novel ‘Make Room! Make Room!’ which opens in issue no.6 supposedly on Monday, 9 August 1999 in a population-explosion New York. Of course, the story of Police Detective Andy Rusch caught up with ‘furniture-girl’ Shirl, in the accidental murder of racketeer ‘Big Mike’ O’Brien later formed the basis for the 1973 Charlton Heston dystopian movie thriller ‘Soylent Green’, although the original story had a more innocent, less cannibalistic definition of the foodstuff. Here, ‘Soylent’ stands for nothing more sinister than a fusion of ‘soy’ and ‘lentil’. By making the United States central to his eco-shock overpopulation resource-poor world, Harry Harrison was opening up a dialogue that has yet to be resolved, way beyond the date his fiction specifies. If ‘Impulse’ had published nothing else, it would be remembered for this. But it also serialises Michael Moorcock’s ‘The Ice Schooner’, in fact ‘one of Kyril Bonfiglioli’s last acts as editor of ‘SF Impulse’ was to commission’ this full-length novel of travellers in a future ice-age.

But if editor ‘Bon’ had literary aspirations, he also had a penchant for selecting strange fillers. In no.5 Russell Parker offers a three-page “The Report” in which the Indian Prime Minister discovers that the recent nuclear war was accidentally triggered by a massive meteorite strike in Norfolk. While Robert Clough contributes “The Beautiful Man”, a tired five-pager about radiation-warped mutant post-apocalypse goat-herders who discover what turns out to be a crucifix in a hidden cave. Both stories were already clichés. Bruce Gillespie of the Australian ‘SF Commentary’ magazine confides that ‘Brian Aldiss told us some stories about Bonfiglioli when he was out here in 1978 – for instance, he never read the slush pile, but just chose authors he liked. Keith Roberts did all the actual editing work, as well as the artwork.’ Michael Moorcock, under his ‘Jeremiah Cornelius’ guise notes that ‘Bon was the laziest man I knew. Keith (Roberts) was huge, shy, unassuming. He never claimed to be editor. But he was in reality editor for the whole Roberts & Vinter run. And a very good one.’

There’s a story that ‘Bon’ had at first wanted to retitle the magazine ‘Caliban’, with its even more portentously Shakespearean overtones, but settled instead for changing the name to ‘Impulse’. In doing so, by removing those awkward associations with ‘Science’ and ‘Fantasy’, he almost killed the magazine off. The change confused and lost readers, not least because a new distribution deal had to be arranged for the ‘new’ magazine (as detailed in Mike Ashley’s SF Magazine History series). While ironically the prefix ‘SF’ was hastily reattached to ‘Impulse’ from no.6 in a hopeful rearguard action. Yet ‘Bon’ has his supporters. Graham Charnock insists that ‘Kyril Bonfiglioli was not only a great editor, but also one of the funniest writers I know, in his picaresque thrillers featuring dissolute aristocratic art-dealer ‘Charlie Mortdecai’, plus the 1978 pirate story ‘All The Tea In China’.’ As if an appreciation of his non-genre fiction counterbalances his genre game-playing?

Bryn Fortey offers a more fully-detailed pen-portrait when he recalls ‘we were spending a week with a cousin of mine just outside Oxford. As with Moorcock, I was getting very nice detailed rejections from Kyril Bonfiglioli – Bonfiglioli wrote very nice rejections, and I thought that meeting him would do no harm, so off I trotted. I reached his house – at 18 Norham Gardens, around mid-day but got no answer when I knocked. There was a bit of parkland nearby so I sat there for a while before deciding to give it one more try, and if I still got no answer I would give up on the idea. Still no answer, but as I was about to leave two men arrived, went past me, and simply pushed open the front door. Standing just inside was a shortish man in pyjamas and dressing gown, with a couple of week’s worth of stubble on his chin. ‘Mr Bonfiglioli?’ I asked. ‘You haven’t come to punch me have you?’ he asked once I’d explained who I was. ‘Some writers get very angry at being rejected.’ I assured him that physical violence was not my reason for calling and he invited me in. He explained his appearance was because his wife was in France and that he had just given up the ‘Impulse’ editorship and said he would give me the new guy’s address (Keith Roberts, which he later did give me). The two men who had walked in before me were trying to sell him a camera because the one owed the other money. Bon (as I was now calling him) settled me in a room full of old horse racing prints and paintings while he went to look at the camera. He was very entertaining and remembered many of the stories I’d failed with. He seemed to think his job was done once he got the magazine name changed from ‘Science Fantasy’ to ‘Impulse’ and he had his own writing to concentrate on anyway. A very interesting man and by golly he liked his gin.’

Taking the story forward, Malcolm Wright recalls that ‘I used to read ‘Science Fantasy’/‘SF Impulse’ when I was a teenager, and submitted stories to the magazine, without success. With the October 1966 issue, following the departure of Kyril Bonfiglioli, Harry Harrison assumed the role of Editor in Chief, while Keith Roberts became the Managing Editor.’ So Harry Harrison wrote his ‘Introductory Editorial’ from the esteemed chair, for no.8 – with Keith Roberts credited as Managing Editor. The new partnership opens in promising style by rescuing the enticing strangeness of Frederik Pohl’s cover-blurbed “Day Million” from its soft-porn origins in the glossy American ‘Rogue’. Although SF-critic Paul Kincaid points out that ‘when Harry Harrison became the nominal editor and wasn’t even in the country much of the time, Keith (Roberts) was providing much of the content of the magazine, not only under his own name but through various pseudonyms, such as ‘Alistair Bevan’. All this, as well as doing most of the covers and internal artwork too. You wonder how he found time to eat and sleep.’ 

Issue no.10 features a cover-blurbed interview conducted by Thomas M Disch with Kingsley Amis, a mainstream writer whose ‘New Maps Of Hell’ (1960 Harcourt, Brace & World) had been an early academic investigation of the genre – although I’d waited for the 1963 Four Square Books paperback edition, as well as co-editing the ‘Spectrum’ series of anthologies gathering the best of SF into five volumes from 1961 to 1967. Amis tells Disch that ‘the battle for science fiction’s respectability has been half won.’ Yet the uncredited cover-art shows a dart-shaped spaceship plummeting directly downwards towards the foot of the page through a blurred red swirl of nebulae star-stuff. An anticipation of demise?

In ‘Science Fantasy’ (no.64), Michael Moorcock prematurely – or presciently, suggests that ‘ironically, future analysis may show that ‘Science Fantasy’s very death was due to its emphasis on literate and literary writing rather than on gadgets and gimmicks.’ This present feature could be seen as the ‘future analysis’ he was predicting, and yet the arguments are still not clearly resolved. Was it too literary, or not literary enough? Was it too clever for its own good, or simply pretentious in setting its aspirations too high? Given time and longevity it might have worked its way through those equations. But time was already running out. 

The new regime did inaugurate changes that expand the contents, with SF Book Reviews and guest features. Malcolm Wright adds that ‘the intention was announced to run a letter column, and ‘to get the ball rolling,’ readers were invited to define what science fiction is. I sent them my definition, which was published in the February 1967 issue. The prize was to have been a twelve-month subscription to the magazine, but as it turned out, that was to be the final issue! I did receive a prize, which I shared with the poet Peter Redgrove. My definition was concise; Peter Redgrove’s was a more lengthy and considered one. In due course I received a letter from Keith Roberts advising me of the demise of the magazine and inviting me to choose six books from the current list of Compact SF Books instead. My definition, as published, was ‘Any fiction concerning occurrences, facts etc, known by the author to be neither proved true or possible, nor untrue or impossible by science at the time of writing, according to the explanation(s) or lack of explanation(s) given within itself’.’

‘SF Impulse’ survived for just twelve issues. Theoretically it was swallowed up into ‘New Worlds’, where it carried a brief credit. Coincidentally, other symbols of futurity were also imploding. Three US astronauts – Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chafee, were asphyxiated when a fire swept through their spacecraft during a Cape Kennedy launch-pad rehearsal. While Donald Campbell was lost in the wreckage of his jet-powered ‘Bluebird’, during a speed record-breaking attempt on Coniston Water. It was becoming apparent that the future has limitations, and will have its casualties. In such a context the loss of an SF title assumes a more proportional significance. Malcolm Wright’s definition seems to sum up the best and not-so-good aspects of the magazine’s abbreviated lifetime. But as it is, it constitutes a deliciously contentious run of beautiful little fiction packages, and remains a delightful conundrum for both readers and collectors.


(Twelve issues, March 1966 to February 1967) 
Trailered in ‘Science Fantasy no.81’ (February 1966) 
with shadowed ‘Impulse’ behind the cover-title. 
It becomes ‘SF IMPULSE’ from no.6 
Harry Harrison becomes editor from no.8

March 1966 – IMPULSE Vol.1 no.1 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) cover says ‘The NEW Science Fantasy’ for the first three issues only. Editor Kyril Bonfiglioli, Associate Editor Keith Roberts. ‘All terrestrial characters and places are fictitious’ Cover art by Judith Ann Lawrence (married to James Blish). Issue themed around ‘sacrifice’
Kyril Bonfigioli ‘Editorial’, ‘a change of name and an increase in size is not the sum of the changes.’

Brian W Aldiss ‘The Circulation Of The Blood’, ‘Specially written’ for ‘The New Science Fantasy’, Clement Yale returns from long Antarctic research voyage on the ‘Kraken’ to tropical island Kalpeni where new wife Caterina has been involved with son of his first marriage Philip while he was away! The tiny copepods he’s been tracking from the Tyrrhenian offer the promise of an immortality virus, but Caterina’s first husband, Devlin intervenes, with a colony of immortals in Naples. Is an immortality of guilt and regret a prospect worth having? 

Poul Anderson ‘High Treason’, later anthologised by Harry Harrison into ‘Four For The Future’ (1969, Macdonal) and Anderson’s own collection ‘Conflict’ (1983, Tor) 

JG Ballard ‘You And Me And The Continuum’, Ballard prefaces ‘I have used a fragmentary and non-sequential technique… and have tried to invoke some of the images that a twentieth-century Messiah might see. You’ll notice that the entries are alphabetised.’ 

James Blish ‘A Hero’s Life’, on planet Boadicea Simon de Kuyl is official Guild Traitor to High Earth against the Green Exarch, in a complex tale he ingests a multiple-memory transduction serum 

Harry Harrison ‘The Gods Themselves Throw Incense’, another ‘Cold Equation’ variant with three survivors from the exploded spaceship ‘Yuri Gagarin’ returning from the moon, trapped in an emergency capsule with air enough for only two of them. Who will they sacrifice? 

Richard Wilson ‘Deserter’, a genuine man vs woman sex-war, Bill tries to meet wife Betty across battle-lines 

Jack Vance ‘The Secret’, a symbolist story of an idyllic island of sensual youth, until Rona ta Inga builds a boat and sails west to discover the continent of ‘death’. 

Keith Roberts ‘Pavane: The Signaller’, Rafe Bigland of Avebury – village of the Stone Circle, defies family tradition determined to join the Guild of Signallers in the alternate-history England where magical elements survive in hidden pockets.

April 1966 – IMPULSE Vol.1 no.2 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) Cover-art signed K Roberts 65 

Kyril Bonfigioli ‘Editorial’, he answers Chris Priest’s point raised in ‘Vector no.37’ (January) 

Keith Roberts ‘Pavane: The Lady Anne’ a cycle of stories about an England which might have been, haulier Jesse Strange drives out from Durnovaria with his cargo, to Poole via the Purbeck hills, wary of highwaymen routiers. Encouraged by rakish former friend Col de la Haye, he proposes marriage to Anne at the ‘Mermaid’, she turns him down. Col later turns out to be working with routiers, but the final truck of the land-train is booby-trapped with explosives and puts paid to their attack. 

John Rackham (John T Phillifent) “The Light Feint”, with references to Conan Doyle’s Holmes and HG Wells ‘Drachenflieger’ from ‘The War In The Air’, an inventor intends to devise a method of registering fencing ‘hits’, but accidentally invents the laser-sword 

John Brunner “Break The Door Of Hell”, the second ‘Traveller In Black’ novelette, in which the fools of the city of Ys (led by Lord Vengis) learn from where their folly originated – the first, “Imprint Of Chaos” appeared in ‘Science Fantasy no.42’, both included in his ‘The Traveller In Black’ (1971, Ace Books) 

Judith Merril “Homecalling Part 1 of 2”, originally in ‘(Original) Science Fiction Stories’ (Vol.7 no.3, November 1956) with Frank Kelly Freas artwork, erroneously cover-advertised as ‘a complete short novel’ Bonfiglioli welcomes it with ‘I don’t believe I have ever read a more successful attempt to imagine an utterly alien way of thought.’ Later collected into ‘Homecalling And Other Stories: The Complete Solo Short SF Of Judith Merril (2005). 

May 1966 – IMPULSE Vol.1 no.3 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) Cover-art signed K Roberts 66 illustrates ‘The Seventh Moon’ Kyril Bonfigioli ‘Editorial’ compares the ‘biped-meets-other-animal’ (Melville, ‘biped-meets-place’ (Defoe) and ‘biped-meets-concept’ literary tradition. 

John Rankine (Douglas R Mason) ‘Seventh Moon’, the people of Bromius were pleasure-loving and uninhibited. But they had a secret life which seemed to be bound up with the Seventh Moon 

Keith Roberts ‘Pavane: Brother John’, The Adhelmians are a mild monastic ‘order of artisans and craftsmen,’ in which Brother John operates the lithographic presses, until his artistic talents are recognized, and he’s designated to record the vile tortures of the Court Of Spiritual Welfare… previously known as the Inquisition. What he witnesses tilts him askew, his eyes ‘bright and mad as those of birds,’ and he flees as a heretic inspiring subversive rebellion against the established church. Intense and visionary. 

Alistair Bevan (Keith Roberts) ‘The Pace That Kills’, the imposition of the 70mph limit prompts ‘this bitter prediction of a day when the dead hand of the Traffic Warden will shadow every mile of English road’ 

Chris Priest ‘The Run’, a relatively sophisticated fiction-debut, with genuine symbolist menace in its Juvie-horde, subsequently picked up by Judith Meril for her ‘England Swings SF’ (1968) anthology 

Peter L Cave ‘Cry Martian’, debut story by a writer who later contributes two tales to ‘Vision Of Tomorrow’, child Timmy finds a camp of stooped greeny-coloured Martians in the dark woods, a two-and-half-page short with final line revealing ‘two huge moons hung like melons in the dark green sky.’ 

Judith Merril ‘Homecalling Part 2 of 2’, two children, Deborah ‘Dee’ and her baby brother Petey stranded on alien planet when their ship out from Starhope crash-lands killing their parents. The Mother-bug Daydanda and her brood attempt to understand the Strange intruders. The plot urgency hinges on the need to change Petey’s diapers. 

June 1966 – IMPULSE Vol.1 no.4 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) 

Harry Harrison ‘Guest Editorial’ discusses ‘the future of science fiction’, deciding ‘Mr (William) Burroughs has shown us what to avoid.’ 

Mack Reynolds ‘Hatchetman’, veteran writer born 11 November 1917, a story originally titled ‘Pistolero’ and part of his ‘United Planets’ series, it was part of his ‘Planetary Agent X’ (1965, Ace Double) novel, with the two-part ‘Ultima Thule’ from ‘Analog’. 

Chris Boyce ‘George’, debut sale for Lanarkshire writer of novel ‘Brainfix’ (1980, Panther), a humorous playful conversational piece, domestic argument as dinosaurs run amok outside 

John Hamilton ‘The Golden Coin Of Spring’, opens with an Aldous Huxley quote, children Johnny and Dandelion Girl Julie find the coin-shaped alien probe from Abaddon, their banter and Dad’s ‘Abracadabra’ slight-of-hand wizardry dissuades the aliens from their Invasion Earth plan. 

Keith Roberts ‘Pavane: Lords And Ladies’, a return to haulier Jesse Strange. 

Angus McAllister ‘The Superstition’, debut story for Glasgow writer born 1943, the Krett on their asteroid-size planet believe in Zungribs who snatch them from the sky. Earthmen assume it to be superstition, until McCormick goes missing. A promising premise thwarted by the silly throwaway ‘Frying Tonight’ joke. 

Paul Jents ‘Clay’, the god-children in the classroom make planets. Another poor joke. 

George Hay ‘Synopsis’, what purports to be the ongoing plot of a lavish imaginary Space Opera serial, a ‘New Readers Start Here’ speed-reading update affectionately poking tongue-in-cheek satiric fun at Hay’s own galaxy-spanning fifties tales. 

RW Mackelworth ‘A Visitation Of Ghosts’, erroneously advertised on the back cover of no.3, bitter Boraston teaches in a resented school, the subject to visions he finds himself projected into a post-disaster future menaced by radiation belts, where he first rescues a group of children, then returns to the present in order to ensure the disaster doesn’t happen, an odd story. 

July 1966 – IMPULSE Vol.1 no.5 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) Cover-art signed K Roberts.66 for ‘Corfe Gate’ 

Kyril Bonfigioli ‘Editorial’, promises a magnum opus from Harry Harrison, ‘the gnomic New Yorker, the Svengali of Sweden and, at present, the Sage of Sutton.’ The back cover promises ‘other improbable stories.’ 

Harry Harrison ‘Critique’ (essay) tackling the issue of SF critics, should they write from a specialist genre perspective, or apply mainstream literary critiques? 

Keith Roberts ‘Pavane: Corfe Gate’. ‘This is the fifth and final story – for a while, at least.’ There’s a flash-forward to ‘our democratic twenty-second century,’ then a return to when Lady Eleanor’s resistance to Pope John’s taxes that keep Britain as ‘a scrappy little nation living just above the famine line,’ leads to insurrection. King Charles is on a Royal visit to the American colonies, so she faces the punitive Papal forces from Londinium led by Henry of Rye & Deal in her Corfe fortress located between Bourne Mouth and Swanage. Although she fails, is imprisoned and eventually assassinated, her example leads to a weakening of Papal power around the world. 

Brian Aldiss ‘The Oh In Jose’ first published in ‘CAD’ (USA), wonderfully inventive, three travellers find the word ‘Jose’ carved into a huge rock, and each construct a detailed story to explain its presence there 

Peter Redgrove ‘The White Monument: A Monologue’ first broadcast of the BBC Third Programme, a richly imaginative prose-poem rather than a story. It must have puzzled regular readers. 

Robert Clough ‘The Beautiful Man’, his only published fiction, as detailed in the text. 

John Rankine (Douglas R Mason) ‘Pattern As Set’, the hundred-year Cyborax mission is crewed by twenty-four personnel in deep freeze, plus one resurrected with ‘the keys of the kingdom’ each year. Mark Bowden is drawn to sleeper Dena Holland, but all the sleepers are dead… yet it’s only a simulation. When the real crew assemble, Dena Holland is there. 

John Bell ‘A Hot Summer’s Day’, Make Room Make Room in climate change heat, Race Riots, Anarchists, teenage-cult Simbas, teargas in Oxford St and mass destruction that leaves London in smouldering rubble 

Russell Parker ‘The Report’, his only published fiction, detailed in the text. 

Roger Jones ‘Hurry Down Sunshine’, his second fiction sale, following ‘The Island’ in ‘Science Fantasy no.69’. Twelve self-consciously experimental subheaded sequences, as the Bureau of Social Statistics determine that ‘the nation needs its criminals’, and nominates a designated Scapegoat. Attempted satire. Adverts page for the London Circle at the Globe Pub, and the Birmingham SF Group.

August 1966 – SF IMPULSE Vol.1 no.6 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) The cover title-shift to ‘SF Impulse’ is not reflected on the contents page, which remains ‘Impulse’ 

Harry Harrison ‘Critique-2’ (essay on Brian Aldiss ‘The Saliva Tree’) 

EC Tubb ‘A Comment’ (essay about Sex in Science Fiction), with special mention for Philip Jose Farmer (‘The Lovers’) and Theodore Sturgeon (‘The Wonder-Birds’ and ‘Green Monkey’). 

Harry Harrison ‘Make Room! Make Room! Part 1 of 3’, ‘If you have been thinking that the population explosion is just statistics – read this. It will frighten you’ 

Rob Sproat ‘Wolves’, a five-pager with ancient vengeful spirit-wolves that only he – Morey, can see. Sproat’s only other tale, ‘Sule Skerry’ was in ‘Science Fantasy no.76’ 

Peter Tate ‘The First Last Martyr’, a generation gap tale with a sly mention for ‘Wizard’, ‘Rover’, ‘Wham’ and ‘Hurricane’ comics, as Hubert takes a sten-gun from a Dunkirk-anniversary store-window display and mows down long-haired Rock group the Saddlebums, only to be ripped apart by incensed fans. 

TF Thompson ‘Disengagement’, his only published fiction listed on the ISFDB is what the blurb calls ‘some really chilly horror’, when young Sadie Smith is killed in a motor-accident following her wedding to ‘darling gorgeous Bill’, Doctor Theosophus Dog extracts her living brain. In alternate passages Dr Dog records his experiment while Sadie attempts to understand her sensory isolation. The last line, when Dog sets up a vocaliser, is Sadie’s anti-climax ‘May god forgive you.’ 

Alistair Bevan (Keith Roberts) ‘The Scarlet Lady’, ‘a motoring fantasy to follow up his ‘Pace That Kills’’, anticipating Stephen King’s 1983 novel/movie ‘Christine’, Bill Fredericks wonders if the accident-prone car is sentient. 

September 1966 – SF IMPULSE Vol.1 no.7 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) Cover-art signed K Roberts.66 for ‘The Rig’ 

Kyril Bonfigioli ‘Editorial’, ‘this one is for goodbye’ 

Harry Harrison ‘Critique-3’ (essay), the ‘Fantastic Voyage’ movie of the Asimov story 

Chris Boyce ‘The Rig’, following his debut story ‘George’, – addressing the reader directly as ‘you’, this is set on the North Sea oil-rig ‘Sea Horse’ where a quarrelsome Lab investigates strange ‘Sea Lily’ marine plant-growths. Soon ‘the whole place is crawling with head cases’ who are ‘in the mind grip of the sea lily.’ Its influence spreads across the UK causing a love and peace social breakdown. When the growth is destroyed Mr Jalovec escapes with a seed so he can grow it anew. 

Daphne Castell ‘Martians At Dick’s End’, with a folksy homespun narrative-style and an unconscious innuendo, the Dick’s Enders meet ten-feet-tall white-furred aliens whose dialogue is learned from TV-shows. Their ‘Unidentical Flying Object’ was damaged by a Photon Storm, they learn to enjoy home-brew rough beer, Shove-Ha’penny, and a touch a Misky Jenation. 

Keith Roberts ‘Timothy’, ‘to placate the people who continually write demanding more ‘Anita’ stories’, another charming fantasy in which a bored Anita animates a scarecrow Worzel Gummidge-style, at first playfully answering his questions, but when he becomes amorous she’s forced to flee, breaking him until his parts tumble over the handrail of Fynebrook bridge. Through the night ‘she could hear Timothy thinking old mouldy thoughts about rooks and winds, and worms in the thick red ground.’ 

MJP Moore ‘The Writing Man’, vaguely experimental four-page lay-out, the ‘writer’ was executed 5 September 1963 and is buried in the prison graveyard. 

Fred Wheeler ‘Audition’, one-&-a-half-page extended joke, alien contact ‘Don’t call us. We’ll call you’ 

Harry Harrison ‘Make Room! Make Room! Part 2 of 3’. ‘The year is 1999 and the world is a living hell,’ albeit without CCTV, and they use telegrams, as well as tugtruck rickshaws.

October 1966 – SF IMPULSE Vol.1 no.8 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) Editor-in-Chief: Harry Harrison. Managing Editor: Keith Roberts. Surreal Keith Roberts cover-art An Introductory Editorial ‘Picking Up The Reins’ by Harry Harrison 

Frederik Pohl ‘Day Million’, beautifully strange tale reprinted from soft-core Designed For Men ‘Rogue’ (Vol.11 no.1, February-March 1966) which also includes Mack Reynold’s ‘Dracula Slept Here’ and JG Ballard’s ‘Confetti Royale’ 

Ernest Hill ‘The Inheritors’, in a fully-automated machine-city future are the Manager and his stay-at-home wife the only humans left alive? 

Brian W Aldiss Reviews book ‘The Clone’ by Theodore L Thomas & Kate Wilhelm (Mrs Damon Knight) 

Alistair Bevan (Keith Roberts) ‘Breakdown’, a return to Bill Frederick’s garage in King’s Warrington, with a curious reprise of Daphne Castell’s story in the previous issue, in which he’s called out to repair a damaged alien space vehicle, ‘when they want to fly they don’t set to and build a plane, they make a wish. And the wish gets cladded in metal and jewels, and it flies.’ 

GD Doherty ‘Fantasy And The Nightmare’, a rather highbrow article discussing JG Ballard’s definition of Fantasy by the academic who contributed ‘The Use Of Language In SF’ to ‘SF Horizons no.1’, Harry Harrison jokingly refers to ‘after some difficulty in tracking down the editors’ – who were, of course, him and Brian Aldiss. 

CF Hoffman ‘The Boiler’, a rediscovered tale by an American writer born in 1806, ‘Ben Blower’s Story’ of a seafarer trapped in the Boiler Room during a storm, ‘an exploration of the strange and terrible obsession of claustrophobia.’ 

Brian M Stableford ‘The Man Who Came Back’. He’d made his pro debut in ‘Science Fantasy no.78’ with ‘Beyond Time’s Aegis’ under the joint alias ‘Brian Craig’, this is his first under his own name, in just over three pages, William Jason’s ship ‘Stella’ was captured en route to asteroid Vesta by alien Slugs and transfigured him. Is he still Jason? Is he still human? What had they done to him? He eventually confesses ‘they killed me…’ 

Chris Hebron ‘The Experiment’, the first of three ‘SF Impulse’ tales, radiation from the Limited War results in Esper births, and when Espers in turn have strange children the Race Purity League have concerns. He brings Koestler’s ‘The Act Of Creation’ in to add to its credibility. 

Robert J Tilley ‘The Unsung Martyrdom Of Abel Clough’, Cowboys & Aliens, Vat’s Scouter from the King Hunter mothership is stranded on primitive alien planet, the Wild West, only to be shot by the sheriff. 

Harry Harrison ‘Make Room! Make Room! Part 3 of 3’. ‘Census Says United States Had Biggest Year Ever End Of Century. 344 Million Citizens In These Great United States. Happy New Century! Happy New Year!’ Three pages of ads, for the next issue, for Michael Moorcock’s ‘The Twilight Man’, and small-ads 

November 1966 – SF IMPULSE Vol.1 no.9 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) Editor-in-Chief: Harry Harrison. Managing Editor: Keith Roberts, who also illustrates cover for ‘The Ice Schooner’ and the first interior art, for Disch, Moorcock and Aldiss. The issue opens with two ad pages for ‘Science Fiction Book Club’ and ‘Compact Books’. 

Judith Merril ‘Guest editorial’ about meeting Michael Moorcock and Kyril Bonfiglioli. 

Michael Moorcock ‘The Ice Schooner Part 1 of 3’, ‘we believe this powerful tale of a world in the grip of the Fourth Ice Age will prove his finest work to date.’ The world lies frozen under a thousand feet of ice. People live in the Eight Cleft Cities of the Matto Grosso, hunting the wary ice whales for meat and oil, and following the creed of the Ice Mother who foretells the end of all life in ultimate cold. 

Tom Boardman Jr ‘Book Fare’, discusses Frederik Pohl’s ‘A Plague Of Pythons’ and Hal Clement’s ‘Close To Critical’. 

Keith Roberts ‘The Simple For Love’, Anita imagines she’s in love with Roger Morrison who drives a red MG and lives in Hampstead, she tries to change, ‘I’m going to Hampstead and I’m going to get a job, and that’s that. And I’m going to be married. Properly married, in Church…’ She defies Granny Thompson, catches the train with Roger and confides the secret of her abilities, until he starts to plan her visits from the Catholic priest, and the psychiatrist. She pulls the communication cord and escapes. Walking home to Foxhanger she meets a Farmer’s Boy… 

Robert Wells ‘Stop Seventeen’, after the Disaster and Exodus, Hart rides the tube-train through the deserted city, glimpsing a shadow on the electro-animated platform of Stop Seventeen, he contrives to stop there at the station located beneath the CIMD, The Central Index of Memory and Dreams, and meets himself. 

Letters To The Editor: Archie Potts, Brian Stableford argues with EC Tubb about Sex in SF, Michael Butterworth defends William S Burroughs from Harry Harrison, while George Collyn (as Colin Pilkington) debates with Keith Roberts about the ‘Pavane’ stories. 

Brian W Aldiss ‘The Eyes Of The Blind King’, a prequel to his ‘Science Fantasy no.78’ tale set in the chaotic last days of Byzantium, seven-year-old Vukasan joins his father Jurosh’s return to Serbia to reclaim his throne from brother Nikolas, sons of the Emperor Orusan. Milos and Petr, ordered to blind Jurosh had only disfigured him, so that his sight seemed to have miraculously returned. On his return, he rewards them by killing the ‘brave torturers.’ 

Thomas M Disch ‘The Roaches’, plain Marcia Kenwell moves from Minnesota to find her own way in Manhattan but finds only ‘dull jobs at mediocre wages’ and cheap apartments with dread cockroaches she battles against. But when the insanitary Shchapoli trio move into the next room, she discovers she can will the bugs to obey her, and uses them to drive the three out. She is now mistress of every cockroach in the city. 

Francesco Biamonto ‘SF Film Festival’, among the films he discusses are Vincent Price in ‘City Under The Sea’. 

Edward Mackin ‘Pasquali’s Peerless Puppets’, the last of the Liverpool-born writer’s sixteen tales of twenty-first-century cyberneticist Hek Belov, that began with ‘The Trouble With H.A.R.R.I’ in ‘Authentic SF’ (no.77, February 1957). Strapped for cash ‘money isn’t everything, friends; but it does dictate the larger part of one’s waking existence,’ he’s compromised into investigating the animated puppets left by the disappeared Pasquali, only to discover they are ‘a mere cover-up for the grand plan and the ultimate take-over’ from a parallel universe. Personable, and humorously inventive.

December 1966 – SF IMPULSE Vol.1 no.10 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) 

Harry Harrison ‘Editorial’, about he and Arthur C Clarke at the Trieste Festival Of SF Films. 

Kenneth Bulmer & Richard Wilson ‘Inside Out’, Duke Walsh steals alien Arlendren’s replicator, ‘a machine that could give a man anything in the world,’ he gets five-thousand bucks out of it, but fails to understand, and tosses the box over the rail into the river. 

Thomas M Disch ‘Three Points On The Demographic Curve’, vast time-spanning mini-epic ‘in a tone of wry humour’, in a ‘Make Room Make Room’ Malthus-overcrowded 2440, Investigator Darien Milkthirst tracks down mass child kidnappings to Prosper Ashfield – Last Man On Earth, from the future, who is trying to repopulate a lifeless Earth. When the stolen children lack motivation he sells them to Elijah Grasp in 1790 as factory child-labour, kicking off the Industrial Revolution. As his robots work, Ashfield places himself in stasis until the solar system’s bleak end. 

Keith Roberts ‘The Familiar’ (with his own cat heading art), when Granny Thompson’s mischievous cat, Vortigern becomes invisible, Anita chases it through the rain, then ensures its visibility by tinting it technicoloured, ‘done up a treat.’ 

Thomas M Disch ‘Hell Revisited’ Interview with Kingsley Amis Six years after the publication of ‘New Maps Of Hell’, Amis expresses his disappointment with the subsequent work of Pohl, Bradbury, Sheckley, Clarke and Blish. ‘Perhaps it’s the curse of ambitious science fiction that it goes outside the field of science fiction altogether and becomes something pretentious, fantastic and certainly obscure.’ 

Eric C Williams ‘The Real Thing’, from the Interplanetary Jumpoff, ‘Smith & Thackeray offer a flight round the Moon in a fully authentic reproduction turn-of-the-millennium-style rocket ship.’ Pretentious writer Holt Mannering hires the ‘Magpie’ for one last hazardous fact-finding trip, crash-landing into the dark side of the Moon in order to research his next novel, ‘Moondays’. 

Brian W Aldiss ‘The Plot Sickens’, taking his example from George Hay’s ‘Synopsis’ (in no.4) Aldiss writes spoof reviews of a series of pretend novels, including ‘Ingurgitators Of The Infinite’ in which a secret mission to locate and destroy god with Sol-Vex nuclear weapons in a spaceship propelled by the McMoorcrow Drive vanishes from normal space into a universe that consists of sponge cake. Knowingly humorous. 

Michael Moorcock ‘The Ice Schooner Part 2 of 3’ (with James Cawthorn art), legend tells of a city far to the north – and in ‘Ice Spirit’, the best ice ship in the Eight Cities, unemployed and embittered Konrad Arflane embarks on the impossible voyage to fabled New York, whose towers rose above the ice, whose crypts hold the forgotten lore that might bring warmth to Earth once again, on an odyssey of incredible peril and adventure with a shattering discovery at the journey’s end… 

Harry Harrison ‘The Voice Of The CWACC’, with two previous CWACC tales published as by ‘Hank Dempsey’ in ‘Analog’ – as he explains in the introduction box. They test a new aircraft-recognition system powered by a rat. Followed by a rambling investigation into Ch’in’s acupuncture. 

January 1967 – SF IMPULSE Vol.1 no.11 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd). Editor-in-Chief: Harry Harrison. Managing Editor: Keith Roberts, who also paints the cover and inner-art for ‘Mantis’. 

Harry Harrison ‘Editorial: The Fiction In Science Fiction’ discussing Gordon Dickson’s ‘Mission To Universe’ 

Chris Boyce ‘Mantis’, at ‘one-hundred-and-thirty-six this March’ sculptor Eric Summerscale is ‘not young by any standard’, but when his muse Ursula ‘Urs’ Peters returns from her latest affair, the abrupt arrival of Security Major Bardolph Jacks claims she’s been replaced by Conclavist rebels. In a long rambling and highly stylised prose style. 

Richard Wilson ‘Green Eyes’, following his ‘Impulse no.1’ story about The Greatest War – aka the Impossible War fought between males and females, the collaborationist ‘Phoebe’ turns out to be a man in drag. 

Letters To The Editor, discussions about EC Tubb’s sex-in-SF continues with Langdon Jones and Chris Boyce

Brian Aldiss ‘Book Fare’ reviews ‘The Genocides’ by Thomas M Disch and its place in the optimism-pessimist scale 

Judith Merril ‘The Shrine Of Temptation’ (with Keith Roberts art), the ‘Pinkies’ investigate the idyllic but devolved Island culture and its Shrinemen cult, assisted by young native Lallayall – ‘Lucky’. 

Chris Hebron ‘Coincidence’, an epistolary and diary-form exchange name-dropping Robert Graves ‘White Goddess’ and Béla Bartók ‘Concerto For Orchestra’. ‘An experience in communication both vivid and harrowing.’ 

Pete Hammerton ‘Grutch’, as no-one else believes him, antiques-&-curios-dealer Luke Varm writes a letter to the editor, explaining how drinking rum opens up his psionic ability to talk telepathically with Brutus, one of a group of Martian mice marooned on Earth who need his psychic energies in order to teleport home. Chaos and amusing escapades ensue as they attempt to convince him to help them. ‘It works like a charm. They had all vanished by the time the men in the white coats called for me.’ Cats are Venusians. 

Michael Moorcock ‘The Ice Schooner Part 3 of 3’ (with Keith Roberts art), the Ice Spirit is wrecked and the crew are captured by nomadic barbarians riding bears, and together they reach New York where it is explained that although the Ice Age is the result of nuclear war, already the climate is reverting and the ice melting. Unable to accept the imminent end of his world Konrad Arflane continues north in search of the Ice Mother.

February 1967 – SF IMPULSE Vol.1 no.12 (3/6 cover price, Compact SF, Roberts & Vinter Ltd) Editor in Chief: Harry Harrison. Managing Editor: Keith Roberts. 

Keith Roberts ‘Editorial’ (Mr Harrison is at present unavailable, having made tracks for Philadelphia’), plus interior art for his feature ‘Keith Roberts re-reads the ‘True History’ of Lucian Of Samosatos’ (with his own art). 

Alistair Bevan (Keith Roberts) Book Fare, reviews DF Jones (‘Colossus’), editor Douglas Hill (‘Window On The Future’ anthology, with Aldiss ‘Circulation Of The Blood’), and praises Ray Bradbury (‘the Machineries Of Joy’). 

Chris Hebron ‘The Bad Bush Of Uzoro’ (Keith Roberts art), in the style of classic weird tales, told by Father Flynn about his attempts to reclaim a haunted African mission where he’s visited by a dead man who had walked twenty-six miles through the bush with a six-inch nail driven into his head. 

Brian W Aldiss ‘Just Passing Through’ (Keith Roberts art), an early fragment of the novel ‘Barefoot In The Head’ – subsequent extracts will appear in ‘New Worlds’. There are elements of JG Ballard autostrada fatalities, and of Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius, spiced with Aldiss own early take on LSD – so early it’s called psychodelic, as the Acid-Head Wars bombard cities with hallucinogenics. Charteris – a Montenegrin who christened ‘himself with the surname of his favourite English writer’, works for NUNSACS who resettle refugees. He calls off in Metoz where he meets Angelina and experiences a vision of the fragility of reality.

Brian M Stableford ‘Inconstancy’, a self-consciously arty symbolist story of three figures on a beach where a village is eroding into the sea, none of them know why they are there or have memories of other lives, they question each other in inconclusive dialogue. Stableford is skilful enough to make this Samuel Beckett strangeness work.

Thomas M Disch ‘The Number You Have Reached’ (Keith Roberts art), astronaut Justin Holt returns from Mars to find he’s ‘the last man on earth’ in a winter city after neutron bomb war, everyone is dead although buildings remain intact, with bodies automatically removed by cleansing, except a woman keeps phoning him. Is she real? Or will admitting her reality be to accept his own madness? 

Paul Jents ‘The Pursuit Of Happiness’, Krane is caught up in a culture that rejects technology for fear of computers taking over control, yet have implanted happiness-chips in order to endure the drudgery. 

DG Compton ‘It’s Smart To Have An English Address’, ageing concert-pianist Paul Cassavetes in rambling dialogue with old friend composer Joseph Brown, who is fitted with a rejuvenating radionic stimulator, by Dr McKay who uses XPT recording to tape death. ‘The truth was that the row of black and white keys got in the way of music. Tone should be produced with the inner ear, not with the fingers. Music does not care for fingers.’ 

Chris Priest ‘Impasse’, rare traditional SF-themed flash-fiction length ‘mordant and satirical glimpse of a future’ as a four-armed Denebian intruder makes ultimatums to the Earth Field-Marshal who makes a counter-ultimatum, then shoots him! 

Richard Wilson ‘See Me Not’ – billed as a ‘Long Complete Story’, Avery wakes up invisible, the story slowly developing until he traces it to pills from Lindhof Laboratories. He can now claim a million dollars compensation! 

Letters To The Editor from Michael Butterworth, Tony Sudbery, Peter Redgrove, Malcolm E Wright

March 1967 – NEW WORLDS & SF IMPULSE’ Vol.50 no.171 (3/6p cover price) with Michael Moorcock’s editorial ‘Changes Coming’ announcing ‘for a while, at least, our companion magazine ‘Impulse’ will be merged with ‘New Worlds’ and we hope that we will be able to reflect the policies of both magazines.’ By issue no.173 (dated July) the ‘SF Impulse’ credit had disappeared from the cover.



Brian Aldiss – no.1 (p.4), no.5 (p.3 and.69), no.6 (p.2), no.8 (p.19), no.9 (p.98), no.10 (p.29 and p.62), no.11 (p.51 review), no.12 (p.17) 

Kingsley Amis – no.10 (p.28 interview) 

Poul Anderson – no.1 (p.36) 

Isaac Asimov – no.12 (p.147 review) 

JG Ballard – no.1 (p.53), no.10 (p.30 Amis interview) 

John Bell – no.5 (p.108) 

Eddie Bertin – no.12 (p.155 letter) 

Alistair Bevan – see Keith Roberts 

Francsco Biamonti – no.9 (p.132 movie) 

James Blish – no.1 (p.3 and p.61), no.8 (p.41) 

Tom Boardman Jr – no.9 (p.62 review) 

Kyril Bonfiglioli – no.1 (p.2), no.2 (p.2), no.3 (p.2), no.5 (p.2), no.7 (p.2) 

Chris Boyce – no.4 (p.50), no.7 (p.4), no.11 (p.6 and p.48 letter) 

Ray Bradbury – no.12 (p.149 review) 

John Brunner – no.2 (p.2 and p.61) 

Ken Bulmer – no.10 (p.5) 

Mike Butterworth – no.9 (p.94 letter), no.12 (p.152 letter) 

Daphne Castell – no.7 (p.51) 

Peter L Cave – no.3 (p.127) 

Hal Clement – no.9 (p.62) 

Robert Clough – no.5 (p.90) 

George Collyn (as Colin Pilkington) – no.9 (letter) 

DG Compton – no.12 (p.78) 

Gordon Dickinson – no.11 (p.4) 

Thomas M Disch – no.9 (p.119), no.10 (p.9 and p.28 Amis interview), no.11 (p.51), no.12 (p.43) 

GD Doherty –no.8 (p.41) 

John Hamilton – no.4 (p.63)

Pete Hammerton – no.11 (p.80) 

Harry Harrison – no.1 (p.87), no.4 (p.2 Guest Editorial), no.5 (p.2 and p.4), no.6 (p.2 and p.5), no.7 (p.3 and p.87), no.8 (p.2 and p.101), no.9 (p.4 biog), no.10 (p.2 and p.136), no.11 (p.2) 

George Hay – no.4 (p.121), no.10 (p.62 Aldiss replies) 

Chris Hebron – no.8 (p.62), no.11 (p.73), no.12 (p.2 comment and p.4) 

Ernest Hill – no.8 (p.10) 

CF Hoffman – no.8 (p.51) 

Paul Jents – no.4 (p.112), no.12 (p.3 comment and p.53) 

DF Jones – no.10 (p.31 Amis review), no.12 (p.148 review) 

Langdon Jones – no.11 (p.47 letter) 

Roger Jones – no.5 (p.133) 

RW Mackelworth – no.4 (p.124) 

Edward Mackin – no.9 (p.137) 

Angus McAllister – no.4 (p.102) 

Judith Merril – no.2 (p.2 and 99), no.3 (p.129), no.9 (p.4), no.11 (p.55) 

Michael Moorcock – no.8 (p.158 ad), no.9 (p.7), no.10 (p.68), no.11 (p.90) 

MJP Moore – no.7 (p.81) 

Russell Parker – no.5 (p.130) 

Fred Pohl – no.8 (p.4), no.9 (p.62), no.10 (p.31 Amis on), no.11 (p.90)

Chris Priest – no.2 (p.3), no.3 (p.118), no.12 (p.95) 

John Rackham (John T Phillifent) – no.2 (p.3 and p.480) 

John Rankine (Douglas R Mason) – no.3 (p.4), no.5 (p.95) 

Peter Redgrove – no.5 (p.80), no.12 (p158 letter) 

Mack Reynolds – no.4 (p.4) 

Keith Roberts – no.1 (p.1 and p.3 and p.127), no.2 (p.3 and 4), no.3 (cover and p.47), no.4 (p.70), no.5 (cover and p.7), no.7 (p.68), no.9 (p.65, p.95 letter and Roberts reply), no.10 (p.20), no.12 (p.2 Editorial and p.139 (on ‘Lucian’)… also as ‘Alistair Bevan’ no.3 (p.87), no.6 (p.120), no.8 (p.22, no.12 (p.147 review) 

Rob Sproat – no.6 (p.85) 

Brian M Stableford – no.8 (p.58), no.9 (p.93 letter), no.12 (p.3 comment and p.30) 

Peter Tate – no.6 (p.90) 

TF Thompson – no.6 (p.103) 

Robert J Tilley – no.8 (p.90) 

EC Tubb – no.6 (p.117), no.12 (p.149) 

Jack Vance – no.1 (p.118)

Robert Wells – no.9 (p.81) 

Fred Wheeler – no.7 (p.85) 

Eric C Williams – no.10 (p.34) 

Richard Wilson – no.1 (p.104), no.10 (p.5), no.11 (p.40), no.12 (p.98) 

Malcolm Wright (future editor of ‘Sol’) – no.12 (p.157 letter defining SF)



Judith Ann Lawrence (married to James Blish) – no.1 cover 

Keith Roberts – no.2, no.3, no.5, no.6, no.7, no.8, no.9 (cover and inner), no.10 (cover and inner), no.11 (inner), no.12 (inner only) 

Agosta Morol – no.12 

Jim Cawthorn – no.10 (p.68)

The Bevis Frond



CD Review of: 
(1992, Reckless Records CD Reck-25) 

There are lies, damn lies, and there’s Record Company hype. But Jimi Hendrix and Syd Barrett ARE alive and well and living inside Nick Saloman’s skull. “Cuvie” is a vintage saucerful of secrets, spacey and intriguingly electro-instrumental, blurring into “Blurred Vision” (from 1991’s ‘New River Head’ set) through Epiphone solar storms of Hendrix distortion. It deftly kicks arch-pretender Lenny Kravitz into touch. This is the kind of album they automatically file under ‘Sixties Reissues’ alongside the Byrds box-sets and the prized Thirteenth Floor Elevators obscurities, yet Bevis Frond is happening in the here and now. 

Yes, I know most superannuated Hippies are acid casualties with IQs no higher than their cheese-plants, argument enough to convert the most rabid pro-lifer to the social benefits of euthanasia. But this ‘compendium of pleasant refrains’ refocuses all that weirdness into a New Age context that shoves the Frond – aka Nick Saloman, into an unlikely currency, building and developing on his already impressive cult back-catalogue. Starting with ‘Miasma’ (1987), recorded in his home-studio and issued on his own Woronzow label, Walthamstow-born Nick, with various co-conspirators, has built a solid following through orbiting around that Hendrix-Byrds nexus, concentrated by a Punk-edged Indie sensibility. ‘A Gathering Of Fronds’ is ‘further perambulations’ for completists, collecting the album’s best cut “African Violet” from a 1988 ‘Freakbeat no.4’ free flexi-disc – phased and charged with sonic bear-traps and tripwires it’s also quirkily melodic. While the hypnotically driving “(Power) Possession” appeared earlier on the Imaginary Records theme compilation ‘Through The Looking Glass: 1967’ (1990, ILLCD 1000). But the oldest and oddest cut is “Alistair Jones”, an acoustic novelty preserved on domestic tape-recorder by Nick’s Mum when he was fourteen – and if it’s not the great lost Syd Barrett demo then I’ll kiss the sky, the missing link between “Arnold Layne”, “Mr Dieingly Sad” and Grimly Fiendish”. But El Frondo is more than just a psychedelic Shakin’ Stevens doing revamp versions of the past. If some of the other roaring guitar-strangling tracks sound familiar – they’re not, and even though at least one sounds familiar because it is, a revival of “Bad Time” by Sandie Shaw and Adam Faith’s songsmith Chris Andrews, it doesn’t really matter because it’s all liquidised through the Frondian blender into a squiffy neo-freako mix fine-tuned for Glastonbury, Stonedhenge or simply your own front room. Play it loud in total darkness and the Narco Squad could bust you for possession of an illegal consciousness-altering substance. 

Doubters unfamiliar with New Age alchemy might sneer that if Hendrix and Barrett were really on operational mode today they wouldn’t sound like this, they’d have evolved into something else. But that argument is about as much fun as French Truckers blockading Les Autoroute. Whoever or whatever is in his skull, the Bevis Frond is uniquely here and now, and that’s no lie.


(1) ‘Down In The Well’ (from LP ‘New River Head’, 1991) 
(2) ‘Motherdust’ (from LP ‘New River Head’) 
(3) ‘Cuvie’ (from LP ‘New River Head’) 
(4) ‘Blurred Vision’ (from LP ‘New River Head’) 
(5) ‘Solar Marmalade’ (from LP ‘New River Head’) 
(6) ‘Son Of Many Mothers’ (from LP ‘New River Head’) 
(7) ‘Hillview’ (from 1989 LP ‘Woronzoid’ (WOO 10) as by The Parthenogenetick Brotherhood 
(8) ‘Bad Time’ (by Chris Andrews) taken from flexi with The Bob 
(9) ‘High In A Flat’ taken from free ‘Bucketful Of Brains’ single 
(10) ‘Snow’ taken from free limited edition ‘New River Head’ EP 
(11) ‘Express Man’ (by Muddy Waters) from LP ‘Beavis Through The Looking Glass’, 1987 
(12) ‘African Violet’ taken from free ‘Freakbeat’ flexi 
(13) ‘Possesion’ (written by Doug Ingle) taken from ‘1967’ Imaginary Records album 
(14) ‘Visions Through Dilated Eyes’ from LP ‘Woronzoid’, as by The Vacant Plot 
(15) ‘Somewhere Else’ taken from free magazine ‘Ptolemaic Terrascope’ single 
(16) ‘Alistair Jones’ from LP ‘Beavis Through The Looking Glass’ 
with bass by Adrian Shaw (track 5), and Dominic Colletti (track 7), drums by Martin Crowley (tracks 1-7), and guitar Bari Watts (track 4)

Saturday 22 May 2021

New Books: 'CRIMEUCOPIA' from Murderous Ink Press





Book Review of: 
 (Murderous Ink Press: Crime & Mysteries, 2021)  
ISBN-978-1-909498-23-5. 274pp

Crime Fiction is not all dour noir detectives tramping those mean neon streets, or methodical police procedurals carried out by cops going through drink-dependency or divorce issues. Although it can be. Strict genre definitions are fluid, in the un-tender care of a writer’s temperament or ingenuity. The valiant Murderous Ink Press is a case in point. This hugely enjoyable anthology – made up of nineteen largely new or unfamiliar tales, is collected around the idea of the beast within. Or sometimes the beast without. The cover image line-drawing of a well-dressed chimp brandishing a pistol, by Mr Bananas from Matt Cioffi’s original composition, sets the tone. We are all one step from the concrete jungle, with lurking lycanthropic tendencies. 

John Gerard Fagan’s opening “When What You Love Is Broken” is a strong dialogue piece with weird fiction overtones, concerning Eck and his evil childhood familiar, maybe the imaginary friend summoned to numb the pain of disablement stress and uncaring parents? An imp of the perverse who bargains matricide as the solution to his isolation. Hull-writer Nick Boldock’s “Superstition” – collected from Luca Veste’s 2013 collection ‘Of The Record’, is less concerned with crime per se, as by chance, the obsessive compulsion to invest portents and symbols with mystical significance. A black cat that brings a gambler good luck. Then there’s the Stephen King-style horror of Weldon Burge’s “White Hell, Wisconsin” – lifted from ‘Broken: Stories Of Damaged Psyches’ (2013, Smart Rhino), a tightly vicious thriller in which feral children ride snowmobiles to hunt down Snow Plough operatives in a blizzard white-out as a kind of play hunt game. These tales are less crime in the accepted sense, and more about extreme deviant behaviour. 

Other tales are snatched direct from red-top sensationalism, Chris Phillips’ “Saint George’s Day Massacre” is a thinly-disguised re-run of the Kray’s East End mobster funeral complete with a ‘Victorian carriage drawn by four plumed black horses,’ plus a close Barbara Windsor facsimile, a ‘one-time star of TV dramas’ who ‘fought to keep herself in the public eye with appearances on chat shows and panel games.’ The funeral is used as an excuse for a reunion of ‘The Firm’ and the dramatic revenge of the victim of their earlier extortion protection-racket. 

There are some Cop-Show shoot-outs with a pronounced American accent, hard double-cross with a bullet between the eyes, and drug-deals gone down. But some diversity content too, with Fabiyas MV from Kerala in India, and Emilian Wojnowski’s prison work-detail. And there are all the relentless Gum-Shoe investigations and spoilt brat psycho-killers you could ever hope for. Lamont A Turner’s serial killer who raises mutilation into an art-form by rearranging his victims into a collage of entrails, or a sculpture – as the “Concrete Bimbo”. The potential parent-killer in Caroline Tuohey’s “Agatha’s Simple Plan” who exacts revenge for being named after Ms Christie, the ‘Queen of Crime’. Or Al Hagan’s “Brit’s Rules” where she eliminates with casual brutality those with the temerity to be her rivals or her opponents. 

A companion volume, ‘Crimeucopia: The Lady Thrillers’ (ISBN 978-1-909498-19-8) adds sixteen tales by ‘Countesses of Crime’ with an equally warped agenda. Posing the teasing question, what is crime? Is it a social construct defined by a punitive legal structure? Is it deeply-ingrained deviant behavior that transcends natural morality? Or is all morality simply an artificial concept imposed on an essentially amoral cosmos? None of these questions are answered, but it makes for one doozy of a quest. 

Don’t close your eyes. It’s dark inside.