Snapshots 15

Six developments of interest to fans.

(1) In science fiction’s Golden Age, every author treasured those long, helpful rejection letters from the great John W. Campbell, right? Well, not quite everybody. After a certain point, Robert Heinlein was willing to content himself with a little less money if it meant he didn’t have to put up with Campbell’s annoying feedback:

I don’t think Fantasy and Science Fiction is riding the edge; I think they are just stingy.… Still, it is pleasanter than offering copy to John Campbell, having it bounced (he bounced both of my last two Hugo Award winners) —and then have to wade through ten pages of his arrogant insults, explaining to me why my story is no good.

(2) Comic book takes on real presidents.

(3) Charley McCue knows what appeals to Chronicles of the Dawn Patrol readers. He promotes a relaxacon to them saying: “No programing is planned but great IMing face to face in the Suite.”

(4) The Naples Press Club’s “Salute to Ben Bova” will take place January 25. For more details, see www.naplespressclub.org. The local paper helped promote the event by publishing a short autobiographical article by Bova:

One of my greatest lessons in journalism came one evening when one of the paper’s elder editors took me for a walk around the Inquirer building. Working men were sitting on the front steps of their row houses, reading the evening paper.

“If you want to write for newspapers,” the old man told me, “you’ve got to be able to take the most complicated things happening in the world and write it so that they can understand it.”

I never forgot that. Write clearly enough so that anyone who can read can understand your words.

(5) Science fiction artist Charles Schneeman’s papers are preserved in the UC Davis Special Collections:

The bulk of the collection is comprised of sketches, compositional studies, final artwork, a presentation portfolio, printer’s proofs, and magazine clippings from 1935-1963, with the majority from 1938-1942, that document Schneeman’s working process as an illustrator for Astounding Stories/Astounding Science Fiction and other publications. In addition to the science fiction genre, Schneeman illustrated romance magazines, drew humorous cartoons, and created historical and scientific illustrations.

(6) I was intrigued by Lee Strong’s review of Hancock, which not only praised and panned, but warned:

First of all, it was very foul mouthed, which is not my cup of tea. Much of the language seemed to be appropriate (?) given the situation but I still prefer my superheroes to limit themselves to “Blast!” and “Holy road wheels, Tankman!”

[Thanks to Michael Walsh, Roger Tener and Steve Davidson for links included in this story.]