Helicon's Newspaper

1 • Thursday 8 April


Welcome to Helicon

And welcome to Heliograph -- the newsletter which we understand is pronounced something like 'Heliogrrraph'. As noted by Helicon's most famous native, 'I have the Heliconian stress on the letter "r".' (Harrri Seldon, in Forrrward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov.)

Our Spies are Everywhere

IAIN BANKS perpetuated a noble sf tradition by breaking his bed on the first night of Helicon. (As Bob Shaw discovered after Brian Aldiss broke a bed during a party there, Tynecon '74 was 'a five-bed convention'. Go for it, Iain!)

GUO JIANZHONG of the China Research Centre for SF sends best wishes to all at Helicon and regrets not being able to make it....

HARLAN ELLISON, awesome originator of the 'Hey, why don't I come and be your guest of honour?' message on Tim Illingworth's answering machine, has decided not to visit Britain or even Helicon after all. One apologetic statement has filtered through from the great man: 'If you should see Chris Priest, please put a three inch spike through his heart and tell him he can run, but he can't hide forever.' Chris was bemusedly unaware that he had been either running or hiding from diminutive wrath.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: '(as it is not considered polite to murder people).... Caroline Mullan is adamant that her surname is spelled


... and not as shown in the Helicon publications. The Helicon publications subcommittee has apologised most abjectly, and quite right too. (It is a public service to give warning that future offenders will be murdered ... isn't it?)'

ALFRED M.BUTTS, inventor of Scrabble in the 1930s, is obituarized in today's Guardian. His last fatal mistake was in scoring 986 points by spelling a certain name as MULLENQXZ.

Programme Changes and Things

STOP PRESS! Jersey CTV are coming for the first Helicon programme item, All Our Yesterplays in the Golden Lounge at 1500. It would be nice, say the committee wistfully, if there were a good audience. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

More awesome than the GoH speech, more wallet-threatening than the dealers' room ... the Chocolate Shop is open 0800-2000 from Thursday to Monday (0800-1200 and 1600-1900 only thereafter).

Cinema: the Ciné de France (in the Lido) offers 50% discount to Helicon members at its 1400 matinée showings -- Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and ('the sf film') Stay Tuned. Closed Good Friday.

World SF meets at 1400 in the Museum Room on Thursday and Friday.

The ESFS meetings on Friday (1400 Other) and Saturday have moved to the Basement room.

Do Artificial Languages Have a Future? (Friday 1700 Starlight) Panellists are now Colin Fine, Gabor Megyesi & Harry Harrison.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen will be on Sunday at 1000 (not Saturday as in the Read-Me films page; the programme grid is correct).

After cruel treatment by the Style Police, the Read-Me authors promise never again to write about 'medias' (see But What Can Replace a Fanzine, 1100 Monday). 'We have now been told correct datas and rethought our criterias,' said a spokesman. 'There will be no more such erratas.'

Recommended Eating

Harvey's Fish & Chip Restaurant, junction of Beresford St and Bath St -- e.g. £3.50 for fish, chips, bread & butter.

Down the Helical

HELICON SPURNED: the Jersey Evening Post declined to cover this event when we miserably failed to meet its demand for 5 aliens to photograph before lunchtime....

A MOLE WRITES: 'The thing about these language ribbons is that a certain well-known Con chairman will be able to obtain one of each by merely learning one word in each language.... The difficult ribbon Tim (oops -- whoever we're talking about) has to obtain is that coloured YELLOW.'

7 APRIL BIRTHDAYS. Marty Cantor 1935, Henry Kuttner 1915-58, Susan C.Petrey 1945-80, James White 1928. This Island Earth released 1955. Great Plague began in Egypt 1901.

8 APRIL BIRTHDAYS. E.J.Carnell 1912-72, S.P.Meek 1894-1972, Ralph Milne Farley 1887-1963. Gemini I launched 1964. Prediction of worldwide deluge not fulfilled 1524. Helicon begins 1993.


Farewell then
North East London Polytechnic
As was.
'We can't afford it.'
That was
Your catchphrase.

E.J.Thribb, age 17 1/2

BICENTENNIAL: in April 1793, the New England inventor Eli Whitney did a huge service to all sf professionals by inventing gin. (A Pedant Writes: That was the cotton gin, you fool. Heliograph: There's no pleasing some fans.)

THE QUEEN'S TELEGRAM. People of sf interest born in 1893 include Wim Gijsen (Netherlands), Philip George Chadwick (whose 1939 The Death Guard finally got a mass-market edition in 1992), E.Everett Evans, Victor Gollancz, Captain W.E.Johns, Vladimir Mayakovsky (Russia), J.B.Morton ('Beachcomber'), Dorothy Sayers, Clark Ashton Smith, Harl Vincent and Tim Illingworth.

AN APOLOGY. We were lying about Tim Illingworth.

THEFT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: many arcane facts in Heliograph are pinched from the new Encyclopaedia of SF (ed. John Clute and Peter Nicholls), Science Fiction Chronicle, Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery, Let's Drink to That by Joyce Post, and The Perpetual Pessimist: an Everlasting Calendar of Gloom and Almanac of Woe by Daniel George.

TransAtlantic Fan Fund

In a hotly contested Europe to North America TAFF race (writes Pam Wells), the four candidates are all so certain of victory that none of them saw fit to come and promote their worthiness, brilliance, etc at Helicon. It is left to nominators and hangers-on to distribute badges, flyers and ballot forms, and coerce bemused Euro-fans to Vote Correctly. The campaign so far:

Michael Ashley. Minimalist approach: one issue of fanzine Saliromania during campaign; has otherwise steered clear of propaganda. You probably know all you want to know about him already, and love or hate him on that basis. Moderation? We don't need no steenkin' moderation!

Tony Berry. All Birmingham seems to be campaigning for Tony 'Interesting' Berry, selling badges, touting for votes, etc. as they did in 1982 for Rog Peyton (who lost to Kev Smith). Berry has produced two issues of his fanzine Eyeballs In The Sky during the race, and presented a middle-ground position in response to questions and heckling along the campaign trail. Possibly the man you least like to hate.

Abigail Frost. I can do no better than quote Nigel Richardson's letter to M.Ashley: 'All she has to do is state in her platform that she's female, single, heterosexual, has a posh voice and a couple of short, clingy dresses, and you're history. But she'll probably rave on about John Clute, Polish parliamentary reform in the 18th century and Lloyd George's underpants instead.' Full of ideas for TAFF having its own bank account and such like. Could pick up votes for being the only woman in the field, unless you count ...

Ashley Watkins trades on having dressed as a woman throughout the last British Eurocon, Seacon '84. And very good he looked, too! Known more as a social/gaming fan than for fanzine activity, but has contributed to several fanzines and even produced one of his own (Fubar) a few years ago. For someone who claims not to like campaign politics, Ashley is a natural born politician!


One hour before Will Handrich and Jane Routley were due to pick up their 'Century Auto Rentals' car in Frankfurt on Wednesday morning, the firm went bankrupt. Three hours later, having managed an amazing last-minute deal from Turtle Rentals, they were off -- through fog, rain, and rush-hour traffic. Many shortcuts later, including one through Paris, and one which would have been via Versailles had that town not kept moving, they achieved St Malo at 0300. Jane and Will awoke blearily in their car at 0700, expecting the ferry to leave at 0900 -- then discovered they were parked in front of the wrong ferry ... theirs was leaving at 0800. As they caught it at 0755, one of the ferry staff pointed out their new flat tyre. However, Jersey customs insisted Will and Jane clear the customs area before being allowed to fix it. Unbowed, they survived the ubiquitous St Helier roadworks, and the fact that the route they used in 1989 is 'no longer passable', and made it finally to the HdF still smiling (modulo one shower!). Amanda Baker

Heliograph 1, 8/4/93. Bellman: Dave Langford. Baker: Amanda. Boots: Dave Clements. Boojum: Caroline MullAn. Snark: John Dallman. Ocean Chart: Harry Bell. Strange Creepy Creatures: John Stewart, Mark Young.