Edward John Carnell

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Carnell was editor of New Worlds Magazine from 1946-1962 and was also a guest editor for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society shortly after World War II. He was also a member and chairman of the BIS.

This autobiography appeared in Futurian War Digest November 1942.

"The name is CARNELL, usually known as "Ted" ... maybe you've disagreed with my views occasionally, for which healthful sign I'm very grateful, as variety is the spice of a stfans life Especially when it is opinion.

"Born in 1912 (that makes me 30 now, my son); first dabbled in fantasy reading with Verne at the age of 8. Shortly afterwards came "Boys Magazine" a lurid red-covered 'blood'; which ran lengthy serials on invasions by Martians and others of that ilk. I used to bind the damn things into book form - which cost me a Trade Scholarship in book-binding because the Board thought that I shouldn't read such tripe! Later when working through a printing apprenticeship, one of the machine hands used to pass me his copies of WONDER. That was coming up to 1930 I believe.

"That died away, as we only obtained copies spasmodically, until I 'discovered' the Clayton ASF secondhand on the junk stalls in 1930. Became somewhat enthusiastic, and followed ASF till it faded out in 1933. Didn't even know that S&S had taken it over until early 1935, when a copy was sent to me by a New York correspondent. But before that arrived, I had become embroiled in US fandom through the letter section of Amazing. When I lost touch with ASF, I took Doc Sloane's mag into my bosom, and was greatly desirous of having some New York correspondents.

"I picked out George Gordon Clark of Brooklyn, as a possible and wrote him without any response at first. In desperation I then picked out a round dozen names and wrote all of them - that great friend of mine, Forrie Ackerman, was amongst those who didn't reply. Wild Bill Hoskins was another, as were several other well known names of the times. Then I received replies from Clark, and also from Harold Kirshenblit, also of Brooklyn, and the great game was on. Correspondence began to spread out over the States - Wollheim and a host of New Yorkers; Dan McPhail of Oklahoma; the Beck's of California; Wiggins, Colorado; Baltadonis, Philly; even down to NZ and Aussie the mail list extended.

Back on the home front, through Clark of Brooklyn, I became acquainted with Les Johnson, later to be in partnership with him in Britain's SCIENCE FICTION SERVICE. Through Les and Eric Russell I met and became firm friends with Wally Gillings, and through Wally I met Ken Chapman and the host of other British fans that was gradually built up in the days of 1937-38. While meetings began to get under way in this country, I was steadily writing badly phrased articles and opinions for numerous American mags, and becoming involved in more correspondence than I intended. At one time I had over 30 American correspondents writing continuously.

The above is a very sketchy outline of earlier days, and what has transpired since would fill at least three of these pages - a length I'm forbidden. Sorry. Briefly there was the formation of Britain's SFA; meetings and journeys with fans in different parts of the country; weekends spent in the attic with Maurice Hanson churning out his NOVAE TERRAE, which later I took over and issued as NEW WORLDS (to fade out with the advent of war). The attempt at getting a professional monthly going, early in 1940, which brought overwhelming response from American authors - one of these days I'll publish all the facts about that failure, & some of the original letters in my possession - and of the great help British authors gave - most of them.

"Of the work that went into the SERVICE, and how it grew from a hobby, into a flourishing business, and spread right round the globe. Of the friendships that formed with Americans - Forrie and I started off with a slanging match about Esperanto, in an early NOVAE TERRAE, and then formed a friendship that time and distance cannot break. Of the interesting forceful letters of Williamson and Heinlein, Campbell, Swisher and many others.

So to the war period, which didn't break me of stf. By various ways and means, mainly from American sources, I managed to keep my file of ASF and UNKNOWN up to date - from 1936 onwards I leaned more and more towards S&S publications, partly because the stories they publish make good reading (BLACK MASK is another of my favourites).

In condensed form, as Michael has asked for it - hobbies: dance bands, have played banjos and guitars for years, fitting dances into spare time not devoted to fandom. Typing, table tennis and cricket - the latter two in a big way. Stencilling - yes, I love to see a fan mag taking shape - if anyone hasn't seen a copy of the last NEW WORLDS that was put out by the SFA I'll gladly mail them a copy for a 2d stamp. That's a bargain.

This hasn't worked out so briefly as I anticipated - but then, half a lifetime in stf packs plenty of memories, and I've left out much that would be of interest. See you all at that first British convention after the war...

Ted Carnell