Start 2021 Right with Two Free Books from TAFF

Atom Abroad by Arthur Thomson and The Harpy Stateside by Ella Parker and others are available today in multiple formats at the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund’s website, where they hope you’ll make a little donation to the fund if you please.

Atom Abroad by Arthur “Atom” Thomson

The popular fanzine illustrator Atom’s lively report of his 1964 trip to the USA and Pacificon II – that year’s Worldcon, held in Oakland, California – was published in 1968… Our hero’s adventures include crossing the USA in a noisily dysfunctional car that eventually burst into flames, driving on the wrong side of Route 66, and being robbed of all his cash in a California motel – all paling into insignificance beside the terrors of the Sam Moskowitz Speech From Hell.

Cover art and selected interior illustrations by Atom himself, plus photos from the Vince Clarke collection. 35,000 words.

The Harpy Stateside by Ella Parker and others

Ella Parker was a prominent, London-based British fan of the 1950s and 1960s who published the highly regarded fanzine Orion and made a long fannish tour of the USA and Canada in 1961. Mundane circumstances prevented the completion of her intended trip report, partly published as Parker‘s Peregrinations with the subtitle (nodding to Walt Willis) The Harpy Stateside.

Rob Hansen has expanded this account with writing by many other fannish hands, tracking Ella’s triumphal progress through North America as she visited various fan centres, stayed with fannish notables and attended two major conventions. 42,000 words, with cover artwork and interiors by Atom (Arthur Thomson).

Making books is better than what many idle hands are up to these days. Let David Langford start your New Year off right with his fannish additions to TAFF’s library of free downloads.

The Zine Artists Online Museum

saarahonourrole36Many notable fanzine artists have banded together to present exhibits of their finest work at The Zine Artists, where they hope others soon will join them.

Here are high-resolution scans of great cover art unimpaired by cheap paper repro, faneds’ peculiar choices of colored paper, or massive blots of zine title typography. Pristine! At last, no barriers between the artist and the audience.

Already available are dozens and dozens of examples of the funny and beautiful work by —

Taral Wayne forestalls the obvious question —

The first thing you will notice is how terribly incomplete the list of artists is. “Where are Jeanne Gomoll,” you may ask, or “Jack Wiedenbeck, Randy Bathurst, or David Vereschagin?” The answer is that it will take time to track these artists down and contact them.

Taral has also penned a detailed history of the evolution of fanzine art – including his lament about the current state of affairs:

Then, of course, came the digital age, which changed everything.  No longer was it necessary to print anything at all to publish a fanzine.  Fan editors could  manipulate words and images directly on the screen, and distribute them in whatever file format was convenient.  It was no longer necessary to limit illustrations in any way.  Colour became almost mandatory.   Photographs were a breeze.  Any image that was already digitized was fair game to import into your document.  You could search the entire globe, through the Internet, for the exact image you wanted.  In effect, fanartists became redundant.

The golden age of fanzine art represented here never really seems to have been accompanied by a golden age of appreciation for the artists. In every era there have been justifiable complaints that the artists did not receive enough egoboo to “sustain life as we know it.” So take advantage of this chance to leave an appreciative comment in The Zine Artists chat section!

ATom Art Tile on eBay

ATom TileAn iconic example of Arthur “ATom” Thomson’s fan art on a “new decorative wall tile” is up for auction on eBay, with the proceeds going to the Down Under Fan Fund. 

The tile is 4-1/4 inches a side, 1/4 inch thick. I believe “new” indicates the tile was made by someone besides ATom, using his art.

ATom was a British fanartist whose work is identified with the classic fanzine Hyphen and was sought by faneds everywhere. He won the TransAtlantic Fan Fund in 1964 and his visit to U.S. is chronicled in ATom Abroad. He was a five-time Hugo nominee and received the Rotsler Award, posthumously, in 2000.

The tile is a donation from Edd Vick and Amy Thomson.

[Thanks to Murray Moore for the story.]

Keep Watching The Sky

Star Trek logo formed by lighted drones flying in formation over London Bridge.

Star Trek logo formed by lighted drones flying in formation over London’s Tower Bridge.

Drones often make the news when used in warfare, or to stalk reclusive celebrities. Now they have reached the literal nadir of civilized existence — as self-propelled advertising material.    

Londoners watching the night sky on Saturday, March 23 saw a fleet of 30 illuminated drones flying in formation as the Star Trek logo. Paramount Pictures staged the demonstration to coincide with Earth Hour.

Did anybody recognize it? How many of you, if you saw that without anyone around to explain it, would say, “Oh, that’s the Star Trek logo!”

Even now when I look at it my first thought is, “Oh, that’s the shape of a typical ATom cartoon character! Who else has legs like that?”

To show you what I’m talking about, compare the drone formation with this illo ATom sent to Avedon Carol. Avedon herself remarked the character’s idiocyncratic anatomy when she posted it in 2004, telling readers “And no, I’m not actually shaped like that. Atom’s characters were, though.”

ATOM armor

Huett: New Yorker Fanoclasts

By Kim Huett: I trust you have all seen the cover of The New Yorker’s special skiffy issue? Don’t know about you but to me this cover has a certain fannish sensibility about it. Actually the more I look at this cover the more it looks to me like Daniel Clowes has channeled the spirit of ATom in order to draw a cover that I could imagine gracing Hyphen (though obviously not in so many colours). In which case this is clearly a New York Fanoclasts meeting at the Lupoff apartment being interrupted by a visitor from the future. The couple in the foreground were originally Dick & Pat Lupoff, the bearded gentleman an aged Ted White with Sylvia Dees neé White behind him etc. 

I imagine this is set in the early Sixties when the Fanoclasts were the sort who listened to jazz and folk. Of course they look aghast at a man from the future who looks like an Elvis clone and who is even posing like Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show (before it was decided to only film him from the waist up so those sinful gyrations couldn’t be seen by the young and impressionable). They, of course, have the look of people who had always imagined the future looking like Thelonious Monk with rockets because they (like so much of the science fiction they had read) had assumed the future would be a mirror image of their world with added gadgets rather than genuinely alien. That, of course, is the implicit ATom style joke which could always be found in his Hyphen covers,

The Wow Factor

I learned from Storage Wars that bidders on repossessed storage units are always hoping to find a special item with the “wow factor.”

I’d say the Corflu Glitter auction has found its fannish counterpart – an item with the “goshwow factor.” Arnie Katz reports in Glitter #39:

A painting with both artistic excellence and major fanhistorical significance is the latest contribution to the Corflu Glitter auction. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Linda and Ron Bushyager, a savvy bidder will be able to acquire a large framed Atom (Arthur Thomson) cartoon that once hung on the door to the Fan Attic at 178 Newtownards Rd., the home of Walter and Madeleine Willis.

“The auction is a key revenue source for Corflu,” notes Chairman Joyce Katz. “It has spelled the difference between a minor and a major financial loss at all three previous Las Vegas Corflus. It’s an honor to have this item included in the auction and, due to Linda, it will mean a nice infusion of cash into the Corflu treasury.”

2010 Nova Award Winners

The 2010 Nova Awards for best fanzine, fan writer, and fan artist were presented at Novacon in Nottingham, UK during the November 12 weekend.

Best Fanzine: Journey Planet #7, edited by Christopher J Garcia, Claire Brialey and James Bacon
Best Fan Writer: Mark Plummer
Best Fan Artist: ATom

The winners are determined by a vote of Novacon members. The top three finishers in each category are listed here.

ATom, faanish name of renowned fanartist Arthur Thomson who died in 1990, is the first posthumous Nova winner since the awards were created in 1973. His work continues to be featured in several top British fanzines.

Steve Green said on Facebook, “I must confess I felt a little weird halfway through counting the Nova Award votes, as I looked set to win a Nova of my very own. Still, if I was going to beaten by anyone, Arthur Thomson is one hell of a candidate.”

[Thanks to Steve Green for the story.]