Nolazine: A Retrospective

[By Tom Feller: Reprinted from SFC Bulletin Vol 6, #1.]

When I was at the New Orleans Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival, Dean Sweatman gave me some fanzines that he found during his cleaning out after the recent flooding. The most interesting ones dated from 1970-71. They were issues 10-12 of Nolazine. This was a publication of the New Orleans Science Fiction Association. Rick Norwood edited issues 10 and 11, Patrick Adkins 12.

Norwood's editorial in #10 concerned the aborted New Orleans in 1973 Worldcon bid. Shortly after St. Louiscon in 1969, they lost their convention hotel, the Roosevelt. Then the Shriners chose New Orleans for their annual convention on Labor Day weekend in 1973 and booked up the entire city. Norwood also describes the bad blood between the NO bid and the Dallas bid, accusing the Dallas bid of insinuating that a New Orleans Worldcon would discriminate against Blacks. Among Norwood statements, he says, "The Worldcon is a dinosaur; to survive it must evolve to meet new conditions." Something like this has been said many times in the last 25 years.

A consistent theme in the 3 zines is support for the space program. #10 has an article entitled "Memoirs of an Armchair Astronaut (active)" by Donald Markstein. Markstein describes his fascination with the old Captain Video TV program, then goes to the early space launches, including Sputnik. He concludes with predictions about the future of the space program.

"A dozen years from now [1970], there must be permanent Earth-orbiting space stations, permanent Moon-orbiting stations, and permanent bases on the Moon. These are coming. By the end of this decade, NASA envisions over 300 launches a year—almost one a day. … Twenty-five years from now…there will be commercial flights to the Moon."

Norwood's editorial in #11 mentions attending the Apollo 14 liftoff. #12 includes a Poul Anderson article on the space program in which he equates the future of the program with the fate of Western Civilization.

Fiction formed a large part of the zines. #10 featured "So! You Want to be a SF Artist!" by Jack Gaughan and "The Return of the Pooh" by Norwood. In Norwood's story, Christopher Robbins and his friends decide to hold a convention. #11 included "Once Upon a Time" by Dany Frolich, an anti-war fantasy. Pat Adkins published portions of The Night Falls, described as a "realistic novel of witchcraft in feudal England," in issues 10 and 11.

There was also some sercon, mostly by Guy Lillian. #10 included his article on the 1968 Hugo Award winners. He contrasts the novel and short story winners, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner and "The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World" by Harlan Ellison, respectively, with "Nightwings" by Robert Silverberg and "The Sharing of Flesh" by Poul Anderson, the novella and novelette winners. #11 has Guy's article on Harlan Ellison's non-fiction in which he contrasts Memos from Purgatory and The Glass Teat. #12 features an account of his visit to the home of Poul Anderson in Orinda, California, and Anderson's bringing Guy to a meeting of Little Men. There were also some short book reviews in 10 and 11.

Fan history is not neglected. #11 had an article by Don Walsh on Jan Penney, nee Jan Sadler, a NO (and Jackson, MS!) fan active from about 1956 to 1961. She edited a zine called SLANder and co-hosted Consolacon in 1961. #12 included a short history by Norwood of the first eight DeepSouthCons. He traces it from its humble beginning at Al Andrews' house in Huntsville to #8, when the convention's attendance exceeded 100 for the first time.

The letter columns contained a mixture of pros and BNFs. Loccers included Poul Anderson, Ned Brooks, R.A. Lafferty, Robert Bloch, Harry Warner (of course), L. Sprague de Camp, and Justin Winston. Harry discourses on the problems of Worldcons. "The worldcon and hotels will not be compatible much longer," he writes. Again, something that has been said many times in the last 25 years.