Harry Turner's Footnotes to Fandom
Christmas Nostalgia 1997    | FOOTNOTES Page | Obituary Page |

Space Times, Xmas 1953, front cover by Harry TurnerD 
IGGING THROUGH THE FILES recently I came upon this timely example of a fanzine cover, designed and produced (in a hurry, natch) all of 44 years ago.

The design is printed in a cheery red ink on green-tinted quarto duplicator paper, and inspired by gifts lined up for the Junior Turners—a plastic "Rocket Bank" and a host of spacemen in solid plastic, complete with clear acrylic space-helmets, which were on offer at Woollies that year (I'd built a space station to house them). The drawing was made with ink and crayon, directly on to an aluminium litho plate, and the sheets run off, after hours, on the Multilith machine housed in the ad department I was running at this time.

      Space Times was a monthly fanzine published by the Nor'West Science Fantasy Club, based in Manchester. It owed its regular appearance initially to the efforts of editors Eric Bentcliffe (in Stockport) and Eric Jones (in Cheltenham), supported by art editor Terry Jeeves (in Sheffield). However, complications upset production during the autumn of 1953, when Eric Jones decided to retire from the team. Rescue came from an unexpected quarter— up and coming fan Stu Mackenzie in London offered to take over editing and printing, with assistance from Brian Varley, who had moved from the North to the Smoke...

      Fannish relations between North and South became seriously strained during 1953, when fierce discussion raged about London's monopoly of the Eastercons. The editors of Space Times denounced the Coroncon as "the biggest flop ever", and then Authentic editor Bert Campbell stirred things up by referring to "those bloody provincials" when US guest Bea Mahaffey was chatting to Northern fans. So it seemed at odds with the trend to find the mag of a Northern group being edited and produced by a Londoner. (Some hinted that an ambitious Stu saw it as an easy route to fannish popularity and winning a future TAFF trip to the US, but maybe that was a mite uncharitable!).

      Space Times staggered on for several more issues though a promise by the editor that all future covers would be Multilithed did not, so far as I recall, materialise. But I remember the Christmas of 1953 because it heralded a welcome outbreak of Goodwill among Fen, and Manchester fandom even won the right to hold the next Eastercon. Later there were whispers of sabotage, threats to make the SuperMancon of 1954 a bloodbath of North-South rivalry. In the event it was so enjoyably disorganised that all hostilities were forgotten in the party spirit that prevailed.


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