THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR
Walt Willis & Bob Shaw
Preface to the computer-readable edition.
This computer-readable edition of THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR is copied
from the 8th printed edition. Sadly, ASCII terminals cannot show Dan
Steffan's excellent illustrations. A very few typos have been corrected; I
have doubtless introduced more of my own. The only typographic peculiarity
present is that words bracketed by asterisks like *this* should be regarded
1 April 1985
Preface to the Eighth edition
This is the eighth edition of The Enchanted Duplicator. Walt Willis and
George Charters published the first edition, with illustrations by Bob
Shaw, in 1954. Ted Johnstone and George Fields produced a version with
Eddie Jones art in 1962. Arnie Katz and Rich Brown published the third
edition, illustrated by C. Rose Chamberlain, in 1971. In 1972, The
Enchanted Duplicator was serialized (as installments of "The Clubhouse,"
normally a fanzine-review column) in AMAZING SCIENCE FICTION. In 1979, the
British worldcon, SeaCon '79, also produced an edition. In 1980, this
fannish allegory was published in the 600-page WARHOON 28 as part of a
Collected Works of Willis. And in 1981, Gary Farber did a 300-copy replica
of the third edition. Obviously this is a durable work.
Some of the allusions in The Enchanted Duplicator will be clearer if one
knows a bit of fanhistory. For example, it is useful to know that Mari
Wolff, during her stint as a fanzine reviewer in the prozine IMAGINATION,
doled out egoboo with heedless abandon, or that many fans used Swift
Printers in the early 1950s. Still, the spirit of the work is just as
strong today as when it was first published, and a failure to understand a
few random bits of esoterica won't lessen your enjoyment.
Credits for the Eighth Edition:
The 1983 edition of THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR by Walt Willis and Bob
Shaw, and illustrated by Dan Steffan is jointly produced by Editions Dante
and Constellation, the 1983 World Science Fiction Convention.
*Credits*: Design and Layout: Dan Steffan; Typing: Lynn Steffan; Map: C.
Ross Chamberlain; Vile Instigator: Gary Farber; Boss Ladies: Avedon Carol
and Peggy Rae Pavlat; Inspiration: The Spirit of Fandom.
This 1983 edition is dedicated to the memory of BOB PAVLAT, A
In which the Spirit of Fandom appears to Jophan.
Once upon a time in the village of Prosaic in the Country of Mundane
there lived a youth called Jophan. Now this youth was unhappy, because in
all the length and breadth of Mundane there was no other person with whom
he could talk as he would like, or who shared the strange longings that
from time to time perplexed his mind and which none of the pleasures
offered by Mundane could wholly satisfy. Each day as Jophan grew nearer to
manhood he felt more strongly that life should have more to offer than had
been dreamed of in Mundane, and he took to reading strange books that told
of faraway places and other times. But the People of Prosaic mocked him,
saying that the things described in his books could never come to pass, and
that it was as foolish to think of them as to aspire to climb the great
mountains that surrounded the Country of Mundane.
The mighty peaks that hemmed in Mundane were ever present in Jophan's
thoughts, for since childhood he had loved to look at them and wonder what
lay on their other side. At times in the late Summer he had even seemed to
see a curious luminescence in the sky beyond them and once he had even
fancied that he heard the sound of happy voices singing, borne over the
vast distances on the still Summer breeze. But when he mentioned these
things to the People of Prosaic they laughed at him and said his fanciful
imagination was playing him tricks. Even if anyone could climb these
impassable mountains, they told him, there could be nothing on the other
side but howling wastes where no man could live except perhaps madmen and
Jophan believed them, for they seemed older and wiser than he, and tried
to put the strange thoughts out of his mind. But he still read the strange
books that told of faraway places and other times, and in the long evenings
of Summer he would go away by himself into the fields and read until
Now one day while he was reading in a cornfield, the drowsy fragrance of
the corn lulled him to sleep. In his sleep he dreamed that a fairy came to
him, a girl of wondrous beauty and shining with a light brighter than the
noonday sun, so that Jophan shrank away and hid his eyes. The fairy came
nearer and spoke to him.
"Have no fear," she said. "I am your friend."
And now Jophan looked and saw that indeed the fairy gazed on him with
kindness and love, and he took courage.
"Who and what are you?" he asked.
"I am the Spirit of Fandom," said the fairy serenely.
"What is Fandom?" asked Jophan wonderingly.
The fairy looked down on him with compassion. "Have you not been
searching for it all your life?" she asked. "Watch!" So saying, she
touched his forehead with her wand, which was called Contact, and thereupon
Jophan saw a vision that filled him with Joy.
"This is indeed what I have been searching for without knowing it," he
cried. "Oh, Fairy, tell me how I can reach your realm, for I wish to
become a Fan more than anything else in the world."
"The Way is hard," said the Fairy, "for it lies over the Mountains of
Inertia which surround Mundane."
"But those mountains are unclimable," protested Jophan.
"To a True Fan anything is possible," replied the Fairy. "But wait. I
have shown you only the superficial aspects of Fandom. Now I will show you
something of its inner essence." With those words she touched his forehead
with her other wand, which was named Fanac, and Jophan saw a second vision
so glorious that he was quite overcome by the wonder of it.
As soon as he could speak he cried aloud, "Oh Spirit of Fandom, tell me
how I may become a True Fan and publish the Perfect Fanzine, for that is
what I desire more than anything in the world."
"I see that I have chosen wisely," said the Fairy approvingly, "but the
way to your heart's desire is long and hard. To reach it you must obtain
the Enchanted Duplicator, sometimes known as the Magic Mimeograph. It lies
in the very heart of Fandom, on the top of the High Tower of Trufandom, and
the path to it is long and beset with many dangers."
"I do not care for danger," said Jophan stoutly, "so long as I can
publish the Perfect Fanzine, for that is what I want more than anything
else in the world."
"Very well," said the Fairy. "Then take this Shield, which is called
Umor. If you polish it every day and keep it shining it will protect you
from many dangers."
"But how will I know the way?" cried Jophan hastily, for the Fairy was
already beginning to disappear.
"If you are a True Fan you will know the way...." said the Fairy
faintly, for she had now almost completely faded into invisibility. For a
moment a faint glow remained in the air from which seemed to come the
whispered words "Good Luck," and then she was gone.
Jophan woke from his dream and realized that night was almost upon him,
for the sun was setting behind the Mountains of Inertia and their shadows
were advancing swiftly on him across the level plains of Mundane. Behind
the mountains there lingered a sea of glorious light, and a sadness
overtook Jophan to think that his vision had been but a dream. But as he
got to his feet he noticed that on the ground beside him there lay a shield
of curious workmanship. Jophan picked it up incredulously and than turned
his eyes once again to the mountains, his face transfigured with wonder and
In which Jophan starts on his Journey.
That evening Jophan told his parents of his intention to scale the
Mountains of Inertia and enter the Realm of Fandom. His mother pleaded
with him in vain, and in a fit of rage his father burned all the books that
told of faraway places and other times, but nothing could shake Jophan from
his purpose. As dawn broke he set out for the mountains, carrying all his
possessions on his back and turning a deaf ear to the protests of his
friends, who ran behind him begging him to return.
They soon fell far behind, and by noon Jophan arrived at the borders of
Mundane. He found himself at the great arterial road that ran to the
capital city. He was confused by the traffic that roared along the road,
and stood anxiously looking for an opportunity to cross. As he waited he
noticed other travellers boarding luxurious coaches bound for fabulous
destinations such as Wealth, Success, Respectability and other places, but
none of them seemed to be going in the direction of Fandom. During a
momentary lull in the traffic Jophan marched steadfastly across the road.
Then he took the narrow path that led through the Forest of Stupidity,
which forest grows all around the Country of Mundane and shelters it from
the searching winds that blow out of Fandom.
The path was overgrown, and in several places Jophan had to cut his was
through brush and thickets, but by mid-afternoon he had made his way to a
beautiful clearing where he thought he would rest before continuing his
journey. To his surprise he noticed that the clearing was laid out as an
aerodrome, and that a beautiful silver flying-machine was even now landing.
As he watched, the pilot and a passenger got out. The passenger seemed to
fall to the ground and lie there motionless but the pilot came trotting
over to Jophan. He was a fat, prosperous-looking man, and he eyed Jophan
with calculating cordiality.
Good afternoon, young man," he said genially. "My name is Swift. May I
ask where you are bound for?"
"My name is Jophan," said Jophan, "and I am on my way over the Mountains
of Inertia to enter Fandom and produce the Perfect Fanzine, for that is
what I want to do more than anything else in the world."
"And so you shall!" said Swift, eyeing Jophan's bundle. "But, my dear
young man, surely you are not thinking of *climbing* those mountains? Why,
my beautiful machine will fly you over to Fandom in no time. And as for
the Perfect Fanzine, my aeroplanograph will produce that for you too. No
trouble at all. All you have to do is give me that bundle of yours."
"The Fairy said that I must get the Enchanted Duplicator," said Jophan
"That old thing?" jeered Swift. "Why, no one bothers with old-
fashioned stuff like that these days. I've got some proofs for you."
As he hurried past the aeroplanograph to his office, Jophan observed
that the passenger was crawling painfully over the grass, calling feebly to
Jophan. Jophan hurried over to him and could scarcely restrain his tears
as he saw the stranger's pitiful condition. The wretch was pale and
emaciated, his clothes in rags, and his hair prematurely white. Jophan
bent down to hear what he was saying. "Don't trust him," whispered the
passenger through his parched lips, "neither him nor his brothers, Offset
and Litho. They will fly you over the Mountains of Inertia, as they claim,
but you won't be able to land anywhere. You will fly around in circles for
months looking down on Fandom until all your money is gone and you die of
starvation like me. Be warned before it is too late. There is no easy
His voice trailed off into inaudibility, and Jophan realized that he was
dead. Solemnly he consigned his soul to Heaven and prayed that the great
BNF above would have pity on him. Then he ran across the aerodrome and
resumed his journey through the forest.
Soon the trees began to thin out and the ground to rise, and Jophan knew
he had arrived at the foothills of the Mountains of Inertia. As he paused
to strap his bundle more tightly about him he was startled to hear what
seemed to be a train whistle nearby. He went forward curiously and soon
found himself facing a large and imposing notice. In clear and elegant
letters it said: TO THE TUNNEL. LETTERPRESS RAILROAD. MUNDANE TO
TRUFANDOM TOWER DIRECT VIA TUNNEL. Beyond it Jophan saw a dark tunnel
leading into the mountain, and before it a resplendent locomotive and a
single tiny carriage behind it.
Had it not been for his encounter with the Passenger, Jophan would have
bought a ticket and boarded the train, but instead he stayed where he was
and watched the locomotive as it started off. With a deafening blow on its
whistle and an impressive clanking of gears it steamed forward towards the
inky blackness of the tunnel, but it had barely reached the entrance before
it shuddered to a stop. To his astonishment, Jophan saw the driver,
fireman and passengers get off and run to the back of the train. With
immense labor they lifted the last section of the track and staggered with
it into the tunnel. After some minutes they reappeared and boarded the
train again. The train moved another few yards into the tunnel, and the
process was repeated. Jophan watched them until they finally disappeared
into the tunnel, marvelling at their obstinacy and patience. It may be, he
thought, a wonderful railroad, but if they have to set every one of the
lines by hand it will be years before they even reach Fandom, let alone
He listened for a while to the groanings and clankings still coming from
the tunnel and then set off on the steep path up the mountain.
In which Jophan tarries in the Circle of Lassitude.
The path was steep, and by nightfall Jophan was near exhaustion. Worse,
he had entered a region of thick fog, and he could no longer see the path
in front of him. Afraid lest he would take a false step and fall down the
precipitous slope, Jophan stopped helplessly and resolved to wait until the
fog cleared. But as the sound of his own breathing subsided he heard
voices above him. He felt his way inch by inch along the path and suddenly
found himself at the entrance to a brilliantly lit, circular cave. It was
full of people of all ages talking and laughing and playing games. As soon
as they noticed his presence they hospitably invited him in, gave him
something to drink, and then went on with their talking and playing.
After a while one of the youths finished his game and came over to him.
"Where are you bound for?" he asked politely.
"I am going to Fandom to publish the Perfect Fanzine," said Jophan, "For
that is what I want to do more than anything else in the world."
"But *this* is Fandom!" exclaimed the youth indignantly.
"Well, not exactly," said an older man who overheard, "but it's good
enough for us. Actually this is only the Circle of Lassitude. We've heard
of Fandom, of course, but it's such a lot of trouble getting over those
mountains that we don't know much about it. We have all we want here, you
see, so we're quite happy. If you want to know something about it, though,
I could introduce you to those three old men in the corner. They lived in
Fandom for a time long ago, until they came back for a visit to the capital
of Mundane. They were never able to tear themselves completely away or to
face another journey over the mountains. It's easier to come back, you
know. By the way, my name is Leth, Robert George Leth. They call me Leth
R. G. for short."
The Circle was so pleasant and hospitable that Jophan decided to spend
the night in the cave. But they had so plied him with drink that he slept
most of the following day until it seemed too late to start. The same
thing happened the next day, and the next, and by degrees Jophan sank into
a stupor, in which he forgot the object of his quest. Now and then he felt
dimly that he had lost some precious thing but whenever he tried to recall
what it was one of the Circle would press a drink into his hand and
distract his attention with the latest verses of the wits of Mundane.
One day while Jophan was talking with the others a great wind blew from
Fandom and a sheet of paper whirled into the cave. Jophan picked it up and
examined it curiously. Its appearance stirred half-forgotten memories of
the dazzling vision he had had from the touch of the wand called Fanac.
"Why," he gasped, "It's . . . It's a Fanzine!"
"So it is," said Leth R. G., idly. "They blow in from Fandom
occasionally. We never pay much attention."
Without another word Jophan shouldered his bundle and marched out of the
cave. The others watched him in silence, and after he was gone it was a
long time before anyone spoke. Then they renewed their talking and playing
twice as loudly as before, as if trying to convince themselves that they
In which Jophan meets a Traveller from Fandom.
Jophan had been weakened both in mind and body by the drinks he had
imbibed in the cave, and he found the going very difficult. The path
became steeper and steeper, and one by one he had to abandon all the
possessions he had brought with him. Even so, by evening he was so tired
that he had to rest on a ledge to regain his strength. Below him he could
see the path winding down into the Region of Fog, strewn with his cherished
possessions. Further down the green Forest of Stupidity was spread below
him, and beyond that the peaceful country of Mundane basking in the light
of the setting sun. Shivering with cold as he was, for the Mountains of
Inertia screened the sunlight from him, Jophan found the prospect enticing
and it came to him how easy it would be to retrace his steps down the path,
gather up his possessions, and return to the placid life of Mundane.
While he was musing thus he heard a terrible sound above his head, and
cowered into the shelter of the ledge just in time to escape a deadly
landslide of rocks and loose stones. Behind them down the path there
slithered and stumbled the highest horse Jophan had ever seen, and on his
back an angry little man, pulling at the reins and swearing continually.
Every now and then the horse dislodged another stone which clattered down
the mountainside, awakening a fresh landslide.
"Pardon me," said Jophan, "but you really should be more careful. You
might injure some of the other pilgrims on the path."
"Serve them right," snarled the little man, without dismounting from his
high horse. "My name is Disillusion -- *the* Disillusion, y'know. Who are
"My name is Jophan," said Jophan, "and I am on my way to Fandom to
produce the Perfect Fanzine, for that is what I want to do more than
anything else in the world."
"More fool you," sneered the other. "Only a fool would want to enter
"Why, what's wrong with it?" asked Jophan.
"What's wrong with it?" repeated Disillusion incredulously. "Why
*everything's* wrong with it! They're either stupid or mad, every one of
them. Why, they didn't even come out to greet me when I arrived -- *me*,
mind you! At first they even pretended not to see me until I got down off
my horse, and when they did speak to me I couldn't understand a word they
were saying. And their customs! I've never seen anything like them!"
"Well, after all," said Jophan, "it's a different country. Maybe if you
had tried to learn the language ..."
"Nonsense!" snapped Disillusion. "They were just trying to keep things
from me and laughing behind my back. Well, they can have their secrets. I
don't want to have anything to do with them. They were all against me, I
tell you. Imagine, not even thanking me for entering Fandom after all I
tried to teach them ..."
Speechless with indignation, he spurred the horse on again and vanished
down the path. Jophan thought he was the most conceited and self-centered
person he had ever met, but nevertheless the encounter refreshed him. It
seemed to him that the dislike of such a person was a very good
recommendation for Fandom. With this new vigor he set off again on his
journey and by nightfall he had reached a point from which he thought he
should be able to reach the summit tomorrow. Happy in the prospect of
seeing Fandom so soon, he curled up in a little cave and went to sleep.
In which Jophan enters Fandom.
Next morning Jophan arose with the first rays of the sun and set off
towards the now beckoning summit in good heart. He was overjoyed to see
that there were no more gloomy people like Disillusion coming galloping by.
They are really very rare in Fandom, he reflected, and the thought put him
in such good humor that he redoubled his efforts to reach the top.
Thus far in his travels, Jophan had been journeying alone, but now he
began to overtake others on the same path. It pleased him greatly to hear
their fannish talk, and by the time he had achieved the peak he had
befriended several. The closest of these new found friends were Mr.
Plodder and Mr. Erratic.
The former was a slow-moving climber, who went straight at every
obstacle with grim determination, sometimes losing ground but in the end
winning through by the great quantity of his effort. He had no Shield of
Umor, as most of the other travellers had, but Jophan noticed that his skin
was tremendously thick and it looked as though even the fiercest blows
would but glance off it.
On the other hand, Mr. Erratic scorned to take great pains as Mr.
Plodder was forced to do. His method of progress was to wait for an
opportunity to make some great and brilliant leap which enabled him to do
in one second that which had taken the other a full minute. At times
Jophan was greatly impressed by some unusually clever bit of work by Mr.
Erratic, but he noticed that the other seemed to have very little real
strength and would rest for so long between leaps that Jophan left him far
In a short time, Jophan reached the top and felt compensated many times
over for the arduous climb. A smooth green slope ran gently downwards into
the most beautiful country Jophan had ever seen -- Fandom.
It was a land of streams and meadows and valleys, over and between which
ran meandering roads, dotted here and there with cheerful cottages. Beyond
all this, in the mists of distance, he saw yet another peak which was too
far away to be clearly seen. Jophan saw with wonderment that it seemed to
have a golden radiance about its summit.
With glad cries the band of travellers in which Jophan had found himself
ran down the grassy slope. Each and every Neofan felt in his heart that he
would soon reach the new peak which was called the Tower of Trufandom, for
here they had no Mountains of Inertia to climb, and just the bright
inviting land of Fandom to cross.
After a moments hesitation Jophan ran after them, and so brightly did
the sun shine on Fandom that he and the other Neofen (as they now were)
were blinded by the light and quite failed to notice the hazards, of which
in Fandom there are many.
As Jophan ran he was astonished and horrified to hear the eager cries of
those in front turn into screams of rage and consternation. On shielding
his eyes from the sun he perceived that some distance ahead the verdant
ground had become soft and treacherous underfoot, in the manner of
quicksand. And to his dismay he saw that many unfortunate wretches had
broken through the surface and were being sucked down, drawing down with
them others who had sprung to their aid.
When Jophan saw the horrible purple stains that spread from underneath
to clog the victims' mouths and nostrils he realized that they had
blundered into the dreaded Hekto Swamp, and that there was no help for
them. With a last pitying look he bore to the right onto ground which had
at first seemed uninviting because of its slightly stony appearance, but
which bore up underfoot, unlike the seductive smoothness of the Hekto
In which Jophan ventures into the Jungle of Inexperience.
Jophan soon found that the firmness of the ground was due to the
presence of mighty trees whose roots spread through the soil, making it a
secure if difficult surface to walk on. He learned that these great trees
had flourished in Fandom since time immemorial, and were called Abydix,
Roneoaks and Ellam trees. There was also another lengthy name beginning
with "G" which he was unable to remember.
Jophan had travelled but a short time over this difficult but promising
path when to his alarm he found himself confronted with a dense jungle.
This, the Jungle of Inexperience, had not been visible from the mountains,
but apparently it stretched all round Fandom and there was no alternative
but to try to find a way through it. Jophan plunged bravely into the
undergrowth, but the numerous pitfalls and creepers so impeded his progress
that he was eventually brought to a standstill.
As he paused to regain his strength, he was startled to hear a
heart-rending scream close by. He forced his way through a dense thicket
and found himself on the brink of a mighty torrent which roared through the
jungle in the direction of the Hekto Swamp. The waters that leaped and
churned along its course were as black as ink, and Jophan realized that
this was the notorious Torrent of Overinking. He was horrified to see that
some yards downstream a Neofan, doubtless the one who had screamed, was
being borne away by the flood.
The unfortunate Neofan's cries of help wrenched Jophan's heart, and he
ran quickly as he could along the bank in an effort to reach him. It was
plain, however, that the waters were too swift-moving, and he soon fell
behind. The calamities that Jophan had seen overtake his fellow-travellers
began to weigh heavily upon his spirit.
He was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to see on rounding a bend that a
number of people were gathered on the bank and had just succeeded in
rescuing the Neofan from the clutches of the torrent. On coming closer he
saw that there was a huge pile of sheets close to the edge and that the
rescuers had knotted these together and lowered them to the drowning
He discovered later that the sheets which had been used to rescue the
Neofan from the Torrent of Overinking were known as Slip Sheets.
Jophan joined the group and they all set off down the bank, having
agreed that it would be better to avoid the Torrent of Overinking
altogether rather then depend on Slip Sheets to rescue them. Further
along, however, they were overjoyed to discover a bridge across the
torrent. Laughing happily they crossed the bridge which bore an
inscription proclaiming it to be the Bridge of Moderation, and set foot on
the other side in the confident hope that their troubles were now at an
However, it seemed that they were not yet out of the jungle. Indeed, as
they progressed, the path became more and more difficult to follow, as it
wound its way among the overhanging vines and creepers, all of a sickly
light green aspect which reflected itself in the wan faces of the
travellers. This unnatural pallor was caused by the fact that it was very
rarely indeed that a cheering ray of sunshine ever penetrated the
It was in these unpleasant surroundings that darkness finally forced the
band of Neofen to pitch camp for the night.
In which Jophan encounters the Denizens of the Jungle.
On the next day, Jophan discovered a phenomenon which had hitherto
escaped his notice. Here and there through the jungle were large swathes
of flattened vegetation which bore the appearance of having been made by
some huge monster which had smashed through the jungle and left a wake of
uprooted vines and splintered trees. Alarmed by this ominous sight he
warned his companions to keep together and to proceed with caution. But it
was to no avail, for as the day wore on first one of them and then another
would grow impatient and stride on by himself. Others, again, would be
unable to keep up the pace of the rest of the band and would fall
discouraged and exhausted by the side of the path. From time to time
Jophan tried to encourage these faint hearts, but he was amazed to notice
that once they started to retrace their footsteps they seemed to disappear
almost instantly from sight. He reflected that if the way into Fandom were
as swift and comfortable as the way out, he would feel a great deal
So it was that by the middle of the afternoon Jophan found himself alone
on the path. He occasionally caught up with one of those who had rushed on
ahead, but each seemed either to have fallen victim to one of the countless
perils of the jungle or had collapsed in a state of complete exhaustion
from their reckless expenditure of energy. Several of them he found
crushed and bleeding in one of the swathes he had noticed before, and
Jophan wondered with trepidation what sort of monster was this which could
create such havoc by its mere passing. He kept an anxious watch on the
path ahead but it was difficult to see far because of the swirling vapours
that constantly rose from the dank vegetation. Jophan marvelled that in
his first rapturous view of Fandom he had failed to perceive any sign of
this dreadful jungle whose extent seemed to be almost boundless.
This thoughtful state of mind was rudely shattered by a dreadful
crashing sound like that of the stampede of a hundred elephants, and the
trees further down the path split asunder. Raising his Shield of Umor as
bravely as he might, Jophan stared intently into the steaming jungle.
A cold shadow of terror fell across him as he failed to see any cause
for either the sound or the crushing of trees. The Thing appeared to be
invisible. As the mysterious trampling sound grew nearer it took all of
Jophan's courage to stand his ground. But then, as he peered ever more
intently ahead, he suddenly perceived that it was not one great monster
which was advancing on him, but a horde of smaller ones. His difficulty in
seeing them at first was, he now realized, due to the fact that their
markings and colorings resembled so closely the those of their
surroundings. They were, he could see now, hideous creatures resembling
warthogs, but much heavier, and with dreadful spikes protruding all over
their squat bodies.
As they drew near, Jophan's eye was caught be one of the Neofen who had
earlier rushed on ahead and now lay by the side of the path recovering his
strength. As Jophan watched, the Neofan got to his feet to resume his
journey, and, unable to see the monsters, staggered abruptly onto the path
without looking where he was going. Jophan shouted a warning, but the
creatures had already seen their victim. Their little red eyes gleaming
cruelly, they changed direction and bore down mercilessly on the
unfortunate Neofan, brushing aside his Shield of Umor and crushing his
bleeding body to the ground.
When Jophan saw that the Shield of Umor was of no avail against the
monsters he was overcome with fear and would have turned to flee had not a
wondrous thing occurred. In the distance he heard the sound of golden
trumpets, and beside him the voice of the Spirit of Fandom.
"Stay, Jophan!" she whispered. "Do not run. These beasts you see are
called Typos and their attention is attracted by sudden movement. If you
proceed slowly and with care you will not be troubled by them."
Despite these assurances, Jophan was wary of passing the monsters, which
were moving slowly along the trail as if watching for more unsuspecting
Neofen. "But," he protested, "what if one of their spikes should
accidentally strike me? The trail lies very close to them and they are
difficult to detect in the undergrowth."
"If you go carefully enough this will not happen," said the Fairy
confidently. "However, to set your mind at rest, here is a bottle of magic
liquid called Correction Fluid. A touch of this will instantly heal any
wound made by a typo." At these words a tiny blue bottle appeared in the
air before Jophan. Clutching it in his hand, he walked carefully past the
herd and resumed his journey.
In which Jophan meets two Strange Neofen.
In the days that followed, Jophan saw and heard many hordes of Typos
blundering through the jungle but, thanks to the Fairy's advice, he came to
no harm. One day, however, he came upon a small herd of them on the path
in front of him, moving slowly in the same direction as he. He overtook
them carefully, meaning to pass unobserved, when to his horror he noticed
that there was a Neofan in their midst. He was about to call out a warning
when he perceived that the Neofan was sitting, apparently unharmed, on a
crude hurdle which was actually being borne along by the Typos. At this
sight Jophan cried out in astonishment, upon which the Neofan turned round
and greeted him cheerily.
"Good morning, friend," he said. "What is your name and whither are you
"My name is Jophan," said Jophan, "and I am on my way to Trufandom to
obtain the Enchanted Duplicator and produce the Perfect Fanzine."
"I also," said the Neofan. "My name is Kerles. Would you care to ride
"No, thank you," replied Jophan without hesitation. "To tell the truth
I should be afraid of these horrible creatures."
"Horrible?" laughed Kerles. "Everyone fights shy of me on account of
these Typos, but actually they are quite agreeable fellows. Look, they
will even do tricks for me."
So saying, he stretched out his Shield of Umor, which was large and
brilliantly polished, and gave a word of command. Instantly several of the
Typos jumped neatly over the Shield, performing somersaults and such other
odd antics that Jophan burst out laughing.
Jophan was impressed, but he noticed that while Kerles was admittedly
saving energy by this mode of travel, he was not proceeding very quickly.
Moreover, every now and then the Typos would wander off into the jungle,
from which they were brought back with such difficulty that Kerles seemed
in constant danger of losing his way altogether. Jophan felt that it was
impossible to press the beasts into any really useful service, and,
reluctant to remain in the presence of the ugly creatures, bade Kerles a
He had not gone very far when he perceived another traveller on the
path, and hurried to overtake him. By the speed with which he was able to
do so he surmised that the other was standing still, but when he caught up
with him he found that such was not the case. The Neofan was in fact
moving forwards, but so slowly that quite a considerable time elapsed
between steps. This time the Neofan seemed to spend in consulting various
books from a pile which he carried under one arm, and in clearing away
every tiny frond from the the margin of the path before he ventured
forward. On the Neofan's back was a huge rucksack which appeared to be
crammed full with heavy objects, and a bundle of peculiarly-shaped swords,
walking-sticks and umbrellas. Jophan's curiosity was aroused by this
extraordinary mass of equipment and he addressed the Neofan politely.
"Good afternoon, friend," he said. "My name is Jophan, and I am on my
way to obtain the Magic Mimeograph and publish the Perfect Fanzine. Could
you please tell me what are these things you're carrying?"
"Good afternoon," said the Neofan. "These," he said proudly, pointing
to the books, "are my guides. These swords and things are for cutting,
shading, burnishing, and so on. A large number of all these are absolutely
essential if one is to find one's way through this jungle safely.
Although," he added mournfully, "I didn't want to come this way at all. I
would have gone by the Letterpress Railroad if I had had enough money. My
name is Perfexion, and I too --"
At this point there was a rustling noise in the undergrowth and,
panic-stricken, the Neofan threw all his belongings to the ground.
Rummaging in his rucksack he pulled out a peculiar-looking article made of
wood and glass. Holding this to his eye, he peered intently into the
After some moments he was apparently satisfied, and put the instrument
back in his rucksack.
"What was that thing you were looking through?" asked Jophan curiously.
"That was my 'scope," said Perfexion. "I use it to watch out for
"You mean the Typos?" asked Jophan.
The Neofan seemed terrified by the mere utterance of the word and stared
hauntedly into the jungle.
"Yes," he whispered fearfully. "Those dreadful Things. Er... would
you like to travel with me? It would be so much safer if we could both
watch out for... Them."
Jophan was filled with pity for the timorous Neofan, but he realized he
would make very slow progress in his company.
"Thank you," he said kindly, "but I'd rather just take my chances with
the Typos. I want to get on."
He shook hands with the Neofan and continued on his way. At the next
bend in the path he turned around to give a friendly wave, but Perfexion
was so busy with his equipment that he did not notice.
Jophan slept fitfully that night, his mind occupied with the events of
the day, and was up and on his way before daylight the next morning. So
adept had he become at negotiating the jungle, and so dextrous at avoiding
the Typos, that he had covered a considerable distance before the sun rose
above the horizon. When it did so Jophan saw to his delight that the
jungle seemed to be coming to an end. The trees were further apart, the
undergrowth less dense, and the path stretched invitingly in front of him,
clear and well-marked. Jophan broke into an eager run.
In which Jophan encounters the Hucksters.
In a few minutes he was standing, breathless with excitement rather than
exertion, at the very edge of the the jungle. Before him he saw a broad
well-surfaced road which ran gently through a fertile plain, towards where
in the far distance gleamed the towers and spires of a splendid city. A
few yards ahead of the point where he was standing a myriad of tracks such
as the one he had travelled converged together to make the road, as
countless tiny tributaries form a great river. Along these paths as Jophan
watched, other Neofen came running with glad cries, to dash along the road
in the direction of the shining city.
Mindful of the unseen perils to which such over-eager Neofen had fallen
victim on a previous occasion Jophan resolved to be on his guard, and
followed the others more soberly.
It soon became obvious that he was approaching civilization. Although
the city itself was still far away there were great hoardings in the fields
by the side of the road covered with brightly-colored advertisements from
various establishments in the city. Jophan read each of these, impressed
despite himself at the attractions they had to offer.
While he was staring at a particularly large and brilliant hoarding he
was startled to hear what sounded like a cry of pain from behind it.
Vaulting the low fence by the side of the road, Jophan quickly ran behind
the hoarding. There, running around in little circles and uttering
heart-rending cries of anguish, was one of the Neofen he had seen that
morning. Jophan was horrified to see the change which had overcome him.
His once ruddy face had taken on a dreadful pallor, and his body was
emaciated almost beyond recognition. Before Jophan could reach him the
Neofan collapsed on the ground and began to moan piteously.
Jophan ran and knelt by his side. The Neofan looked up at him wanly.
"Too late..." he murmured, "...dying...beware...don't buy..." His lips
continued to move but no sound came forth.
"Don't buy what?" asked Jophan anxiously.
The Neofan summoned up his last reserves of strength. "...tin bug," he
whispered. Then his eyes closed and he ceased to breath. Jophan saw that
he was dead and consigned his soul to the Happy Fanning Ground. Then,
tenderly, he commenced to arrange the body in a more seemly position.
No sooner had he raised the Neofan's shoulders from the ground than
Jophan started back in horror. There, on the back of the corpse, was
clamped a hideous leech-like creature, bloated with the life-blood of its
victim. Aghast, Jophan dropped the body and stumbled back to the road.
So stunned was he by the horror of what he had seen that it was some
time before Jophan recovered himself sufficiently to resume his journey.
Even then he was still worried and perplexed as to the meaning of the
Neofan's warning, for so far in his travelling along the road he had seen
no establishment where anything might be bought.
This last problem was solved when in a few moments he rounded a slight
bend in the road. He had arrived at a crossroads where among a small
forest of hoardings there clustered a group of hucksters' stalls. They
were heaped with gaily colored and attractive objects, and behind each
stall stood a huckster loudly proclaiming the merits of his wares.
As Jophan walked past, one of them accosted him ingratiatingly.
"Greetings, young sir," he said, rubbing his hands together. "Might I make
so bold as to inquire your name and destination?"
"My name is Jophan," said Jophan guardedly, "and I am on my way to
Trufandom to obtain the Magic Mimeograph and produce the Perfect Fanzine."
"Then I have just the thing for you," exclaimed the huckster. "It is a
long journey on which you have embarked, and a lonely one. Why not take
one of these adorable little pets to beguile the tedious hours?"
With these words he held up a transparent case in which reposed a
captivating jewel-like creature resembling a lady bird, gaily colored and
beautiful to look upon. Its appearance so fascinated Jophan that his hand
went involuntarily to his pocket. "What do you call it?" he asked, in a
last effort at caution.
"Its a Kolektinbug," said the huckster, holding out his hand for
With the meaning of the Neofan's warning now made hideously clear to
him, Jophan backed away from the deadly little creature and its insidious
temptation. "No, thank you," he said. I...I've changed my mind."
Pursued by curses and imprecations of the thwarted hucksters, Jophan
continued steadfastly on his way to Trufandom, pausing only at one of the
less pretentious establishments to replenish his provisions.
In which Jophan comes to the City.
It was now obvious that the hucksters' settlement had been merely the
outskirts of the great city. The towers and spires which Jophan had seen
that morning now loomed directly ahead, and the green fields had completely
disappeared behind a great wall of hoardings. Shortly these in turn gave
place to a region of barracks-like buildings, each backed by stretches of
bare concrete and separated from one another by barbed wire.
As Jophan entered this district a great number of people came running
out of the buildings to welcome him, pressing gifts into his hands,
clapping him on the back and offering him hospitality. Meanwhile, others
shouted greetings from the windows of the buildings and showered him with
pieces of paper in such profusion that Jophan could scarce see his way in
front of him. He caught one of the pieces as it fell and saw that the
message emblazoned across it was the same as that which was being shouted
by most of the people around him. "WELCOME TO TRUFANDOM," it proclaimed.
Jophan turned it over and found that the other side consisted of an
advertisement for a club for fans, which was evidently what these buildings
were. Curious, he turned his steps towards the nearest one. At once a
huge howl of rage arose from the representatives of other clubs, and they
shouted at him and plucked at his garment in an attempt to divert his
footsteps. However, reinforcements quickly arrived from the club in whose
direction he was proceeding and he was hustled inside.
There his new friends welcomed him effusively and asked him his name.
"My name is Jophan," said Jophan, "and I am on my way to Trufandom to
obtain the Enchanted Duplicator and produce the Perfect Fanzine."
They looked horrified. "Do you mean," asked one of them, "that you were
actually going to attempt that journey *by* *yourself*?"
"Yes," said Jophan diffidently.
"But my poor fellow," said the other, "that is quite impossible. You
must, absolutely must belong to a club before you can ever think about such
an undertaking. Here we will train you for the journey, outfit you with
all the necessary equipment, and in time send you out as part of a properly
organized expedition. *That* is the way to go about such things," he added
"How long will that take?" asked Jophan.
"Training is going on this very moment in the exercise yard," said the
other impressively. "But first let me show you the benefits our club has
to offer you."
He smiled kindly to Jophan and turned to speak to one of the other club
members. Jophan could not hear what the latter said, but he saw him shake
his head and point to another member. He in turn pointed to yet another
with a great deal of muttering and whispering, and soon they were all
arguing bitterly among themselves. Every now and then one of them would
stamp angrily out of the room, slamming the door behind him, but another
always seemed to come in to take his place. This went on for a long time,
and they seemed to have forgotten all about Jophan. He rose from his seat,
tiptoed quietly out of the other door of the room, and found himself in the
Marching up and down the yard was a line of several dozen Neofen, under
the supervision of a drill instructor. When they came to the barbed wire
fence at one side the instructor would shout, "About face," and they would
turn round and march to the other side of the yard, where the process was
repeated. Jophan watched for a considerable time, but this seemed to form
the sole activity. At length one of the Neofen fell out of line and walked
tiredly over to Jophan.
"One gets a little tired of it at times," he said rather shamefacedly.
"I thought you were quite right," said Jophan. "I never saw anything so
pointless in all my life."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that," replied the Neofan defensively. "You see,
there's to be an election shortly, and then it'll be the turn of one of
*us* to give the orders. Why, it might be *me*," he added eagerly.
"But how will all this help you get to Trufandom?" asked Jophan.
"Trufandom?" said the other, astonished. "Why, *this* is Trufandom!
"It is not," said Jophan firmly, and proceeded to impart to the Neofan
something of the glory of the vision he had experienced from the touch of
the wand called Fanac.
The Neofan passed his hand dazedly across his forehead. "Yes..." he
said, "I do remember something like that. But I've been here so long I'd
quite forgotten it."
"Leave all this marching up and down," urged Jophan. "It will never get
you anywhere. Come with me to Trufandom."
"I'm not sure I'm strong enough yet for such a journey," said the Neofan
hesitantly. "Maybe I had better let the club help me."
"No," said Jophan. "I am only a Neofan, but I know this: that the
journey to Trufandom is one which must be accomplished by a Fan's unaided
"But," pleaded the Neofan, "couldn't you wait until after this
election...or maybe the one after it?"
"No," said Jophan firmly. "I must be on my way." He waited for a
moment to see if the Neofan would change his mind, and then left him
reluctantly. He slipped back into the building, through the room where the
organizers were still arguing, and back into the streets, still unnoticed.
Then, brushing aside the crowd of well-meaning organizers and welcomers
with a friendly but firm arm, he continued on his was to the center of the
The buildings now began to take on a more and more elegant appearance,
and became ever higher and more imposing. The streets became broader and
more smoothly paved. At each intersection the vistas were more and more
beautiful and awe-inspiring, until at last he reached the center of the
Jophan knew this was the center of the city for the simple reason that
his instinct told him that there could not be anything more beautiful still
in store. He found himself in a broad, gleaming thoroughfare, beautifully
paved. On either side there towered shining marble skyscrapers, their
pinnacles plunging into the very heavens. It was all so wonderful that
Jophan could do nothing but stand there motionless, breathless with
admiration. This, he thought to himself, must be Trufandom. True, it was
not as the Fairy had led him to expect, but he could not imagine that
anything more wonderful could exist.
In which Jophan learns the Truth about the City.
As he stood at the entrance to the great avenue, still transfixed with
awe, a dapper, bespectacled young man came up to him. He eyed Jophan's
tattered garments somewhat askance, but spoke to him civilly enough.
"Good day," he said. "Might I enquire your name?"
"My name is Jophan," said Jophan humbly, "and I am on my way to
"You need go no further," said the young man. "Perhaps you would like
me to show you around the city. My name is Dedwood," he added proudly,
"and I am one of the City Planners. I am a Serious Construction Engineer
Taking Jophan's arm, he led him along the street, pointing out one great
building after another. Before they had reached the end of the avenue
Jophan was, if possible, even more overcome with admiration, but he began
to feel out of place in all this elegance with his dirty clothes and
tarnished Shield. As Dedwood was pointing out yet another imposing
building he took the opportunity to give the Shield a surreptitious rub
with his handkerchief.
"This," Dedwood was saying, "is the Federation Building ---"
He broke off in alarm as a strangled sound came from his listener. In
wiping his Shield Jophan had caught a glimpse of the reflection of the
building on its surface, and he had been unable to suppress a cry of
astonishment. Reflected in the Shield was not the imposing edifice of the
Federation Building, but a ramshackle affair, in visible danger of falling
into the street. Seen in the mirror of the Shield, the building was not
even soundly constructed, but disfigured by cracks and faulty workmanship.
Even so, Jophan would have been half inclined to dismiss the reflection as
the result of a distortion on the Shield's surface, had not the thought
suddenly occurred to him that not once had he been allowed to see inside
one of the buildings.
Before Dedwood could stop him, Jophan darted through the door of the
Federation Building. As he had by now half-suspected, it was not a
building at all, but a mere facade. Although it reached high in the air,
it was but a few inches thick and obviously unstable. Even as Jophan
watched a little gust of wind produced several dangerous-looking cracks in
the flimsy structure. At the splintering sound, two harassed Neofen
appeared, pushing a tall scaffolding before them on wheels. Stopping close
to the wall, they clambered up and hastily filled the cracks with cement.
Then they pushed the scaffolding along to the next danger point, working
more and more feverishly as the cracks seemed to grow in number more
rapidly than they could be repaired.
Jophan tore his eyes away from this depressing sight, and went outside
again. Dedwood was still standing on the sidewalk, but he now had an
almost guilty expression on his face.
Jophan faced him accusingly. "What is the idea of all this?" he
demanded brusquely, annoyed at having been taken in by such a senseless
"Well, you see," said Dedwood awkwardly, "it's to impress the Public.
They wouldn't be impressed by Trufandom, so some of us thought we'd erect
this city of Serious Constructivism to give them a better idea of our
"But surely the Public never come into Fandom?" protested Jophan.
"Well, no," admitted Dedwood, "but they sometimes send a representative
in, usually a Mr. Press."
He seemed to be having difficulty meeting Jophan's gaze, and the
reflection from Jophan's Shield of Umor seemed to be hurting his eyes, so
that while he was talking he glanced sideways up and down the street.
Abruptly he broke off with a cry of excitement. "Why, there he is now!"
he exclaimed. "This is a great day..."
The rest of his words were lost as he ran helter-skelter down the street
to where a little man with a notebook had appeared as if from nowhere,
accompanied by another little man with an easel under his arm.
Jophan followed more slowly and found Dedwood already talking volubly to
the stranger, while the other little man set up his easel and began making
sketches. At great length Dedwood expiated on the glories of the City, on
the Magnificent Work that was being accomplished there, on the grandeur of
the buildings, on the intelligence and forethought of the inhabitants, on
their sobriety of deportment and the importance of their work to Humanity,
on the various functions and important duties they performed, and on the
contribution he himself made to these mighty achievements. Jophan noticed,
however, that the little man was writing very little of all this in his
notebook, and as Dedwood drew to the close of his impressive oration he
sidled behind Mr. Press and looked over his shoulder. The page was
perfectly blank except for one cryptic sentence which Jophan could not
understand. He only knew that it bore no relationship whatever to what
Dedwood had been saying. It read, simply, "Gosh-wow-boy-oh-boy!" Puzzled,
Jophan moved behind the artist, who had already completed several sketches.
Jophan noted that they were all recognizable caricatures of Dedwood, but
that for some reason the artist had in each case shown him as wearing a
peculiarly shaped headgear which incorporated a small propeller.
Completely baffled by these quite extraordinary phenomena, Jophan
withdrew and waited quietly until Dedwood had finished talking. Mr. Press
and his assistant thanked Dedwood effusively, promised to give the Public a
full and accurate report of all that he had told them, and said goodbye.
Their shoulders were shaking as they walked off, but Dedwood did not seem
to notice. Becoming once more conscious of Jophan's existence, he turned
to him with pride. "There!" he said smugly. "I flatter myself that
*this* time the Public will learn the truth about us."
He seemed so pleased with himself that Jophan did not have the heart to
tell him what Mr. Press had actually written in his notebook. Instead he
merely thanked him for his courtesy and left the center of the city with a
last glance of contempt and pity for the preposterous erections.
In which Jophan finds a Friend.
It took Jophan a much shorter time to leave the City of Serious
Constructivism then it had to enter it, and he was soon in the suburbs
again. Here there were no advertising hoardings, club buildings or
hucksters' settlements. Instead, the district seemed to be an exclusive
residential area, entirely composed of enormous wooded estates surrounded
by high walls. There seemed to be a limitless number of them, and as the
evening wore on, Jophan became very tired. The walls were too high to be
climbed, and the gates were all locked, so that try as he might he could
find no way to get off the road to make camp for the night.
At last he realized that he could go no further, and that he must spend
the night as best he could by the side of the road. Huddling up against
the wall near one of the entrance gates, he wrapped his tattered garments
about him and made himself as comfortable as the hard surface would allow.
Some time later he was awakened from a fitful sleep by a great blaze of
light in his eyes. In his dazed condition it was a few seconds before he
realized that he was staring into the headlights of a huge motorcar which
had evidently approached from the direction of Trufandom, and was now
halted before the entrance gates. As Jophan watched, the driver got out
and unlocked the gates. As he was walking back to his car Jophan called
weakly to him. The driver looked round, startled, and then, perceiving
Jophan lying against the wall, came over to him.
"Hello, young fellow," he said. "Who are you, and what are you doing
So faint was Jophan with exhaustion that he could scarcely speak.
"...Jophan," he murmured, "Trufandom...Magic Mimeograph...Perfect Fanzine."
"Ah, yes," said the stranger understandingly. "You have come a long way
and you have a long way to go. You will be the better off after a good
meal and a night's rest."
He picked Jophan up and carried his limp body to the car. Then,
stopping only to relock the gate behind him, he drove at high speed up the
long entrance drive.
Jophan could not see much of the house in the darkness, but the
bedroom to which he was carried was large and luxuriously furnished, and
the meal which he was served was tastefully cooked and sumptuously served.
Feeling comfortable and safe for the first time since he had embarked on
his journey, Jophan fell into a deep sleep.
Next morning he awoke late and found his way down to the breakfast room.
His host had evidently breakfasted, and sat before a cheerful fire with a
writing machine on his knees. As Jophan entered he put the machine down
and rose to greet him.
"Good morning, Jophan," he said. "Let me introduce myself. My name is
Profan ... you may have heard of me?"
"I have, indeed." said Jophan, awed, for before him stood the author of
many of the books telling of faraway places and other times which he had
read during his life in Mundane -- a life which already seemed unreal to
He attempted to express his admiration and gratitude, but Profan waved
the latter aside and motioned him toward the laden breakfast table.
When Jophan had finished breakfast and joined his host beside the fire
he again attempted to express his thanks, but the other would hear none of
it. "It is nothing," he said. "I am glad to be able to help any pilgrim
on his way to Trufandom. As long," he added wryly, "as they do not descend
on me in too great numbers."
This was the first resident of Fandom Jophan had encountered who had
really encouraged him in his quest, and it put him in good heart.
"Am I then," he asked, "getting near to Trufandom?"
"You have done about half the journey," said Profan, "but since you have
come this far I have no doubt you will complete it. I wish I could take
you there, but as you know, each Neofan must make his way by his own
"But you know the way, then?" asked Jophan eagerly.
"Indeed, yes," said the Profan. "I go there for a visit at least once a
year. This, as you must know, is a colony for those who wish, and can
afford, to travel frequently to both Trufandom and Mundane, and who have
accordingly settled here, midway between the two places. Some of us,
indeed, came here from Trufandom, for occasionally it happens that a True
Fan will forsake the high and dedicated life of Trufandom for our more
worldly community. They make their choice, as it were, between the Sacred
and the Profan." He smiled at his little joke, and Jophan laughed
"I will tell you all I can about your route," continued Profan, "but I
should first warn you that any advice I give you will be of no avail unless
you continue to exercise the courage and discretion which have brought you
so far, and unless you keep your Shield bright and shining. For you have
many dreadful periods yet to face."
"I shall remember," said Jophan.
"Well," said Profan, "the first of these perils is the Desert of
Indifference, which begins at the borders of this community and stretches
for a good distance unbroken save by an occasional oasis. To carry enough
food and water to cross this vast expanse is beyond the powers of any
Neofan, so that you must enlist the aid of native porters from the strange
tribe that dwells on the fringes of the desert. On the far side of the
desert is a huge rocky defile, known as the the Canyon of Criticism,
through which lies the only path to the plateau above where stands the
Tower of Trufandom. Further I cannot help you, for the more subtle
temptations and perils of the last stages of the journey assume a different
form for each Neofan."
"Is that all?" asked Jophan.
"All?" said Profan, amused. "I admire your spirit. But alas, it is
not. On each side of your path, far away but always accessible, are the
green, enticing regions known as the Glades of Gafia. Perpetually you will
be pursued by the insidious temptation to turn aside and rest awhile there.
But, should you do so, there is a danger you will be unable to face the
effort of resuming your journey, or that, roaming forgetfully though the
beckoning glades, you will find yourself back in Mundane. Far better to
proceed with moderation so that you will not be driven to the Glades to
recuperate from too-strenuous effort.
Profan went on to give Jophan much other helpful advice, to which Jophan
listened respectfully. Then he thanked his host again and prepared to
resume his journey. Profan went with him to the gate to wish him luck, and
then stood watching Jophan march sturdily down the road. Once Jophan
looked back to wave a final goodbye. He fancied that he detected in the
other's face an emotion which, in the case of one less fortunately
situated, he would have taken to be envy. But this cannot have been so,
any more than the raising of Profan's hand to his eye can have been to wipe
away an involuntary tear of regret.
In which Jophan recruits Native Bearers.
Much refreshed by Profan's hospitality, Jophan stepped out briskly, and
by noon had left the region of great estates far behind. He was now in
open country again, a region of dry scrubland interspersed with bare sandy
patches which became more frequent as he journeyed on.
As the country became more desolate he kept an anxious eye open for the
tribesmen whom Profan mentioned. Then, as he was on the point of turning
back to look more carefully, he espied a faint column of smoke rising into
the still air from some distance to his left. Threading his way through
the scrub in that direction he was greatly relieved to come upon a group of
tents which he knew must be a village of the strange natives.
The encampment contained several dozen of the Subrs, as Profan had said
they were called, all sitting perfectly still on the ground before their
tents and staring blankly into the distance. They seemed to be a sturdy
and honest race, but with a strangely impassive cast of countenance, and
their faces showed no sign of emotion when Jophan made his appearance.
Nevertheless, he strode into the center of the village and greeted them
cheerily, expecting that they would spring to their feet and cluster around
him. But instead they continued to ignore his presence completely.
Surprised, Jophan raised his voice and greeted them again, announcing his
name and the purpose of his visit. But still the strange people seemed
unconscious of his existence. Indeed he would have judged them to be both
blind and deaf had he not noticed one of them raise his eyebrows slightly
when Jophan had finished speaking. Incensed at their apathy he lost his
temper and flew into a rage, jumping up and down and waving his arms to
attract their attention, and then launching into a loud and impassioned
discourse, describing in detail the importance of his visit and the
impossibility of fulfilling it without their help. At this a few Subrs
turned their eyes curiously in his direction, but none of them showed the
slightest sign of answering his call.
In desperation Jophan went up to the native who had appeared to be the
first to notice him, and pleaded with him for an explanation of the tribe's
reluctance to cooperate.
The Subr looked indifferently at him and spoke.
"Many Neofen come," he grunted. "Many seek help. Many leave us in
desert, our help wasted. You show difference."
For a moment Jophan could not understand what he meant, and then he
realized he was being called upon to demonstrate that he had the necessary
stamina and strength of will to cross the desert. Resignedly, he began to
run round and round the encampment.
The afternoon wore on, and Jophan continued to run round the encampment,
watched impassively by the Subrs. Every now and then he would stop and
plead with them again, and each time they evinced a little more interest.
Finally one of them rose and nodded to Jophan. Still without a word he
picked up a skin water-bottle, and a package of food and stood waiting.
His example was followed by several others until a small group had
collected at Jophan's side. He thanked them gratefully, and the small
expedition started off into the desert.
In which Jophan starts across the Desert of Indifference.
As they progressed ever farther into the wilderness the hot sun and
scorching sand began to take their toll of Jophan's strength, and he
realized more fully the magnitude of the task before him. He also came to
appreciate the virtues of native porters. Although the Subrs preserved
their unnatural silence, uttering no word either of praise or condemnation
of Jophan's behavior, whatever it might be, they showed their feelings
clearly enough by their actions. Twice when Jophan, unnerved by the
hardships of the desert, spoke tactlessly to them or made some error of
judgment, some of them quietly left the expedition and were never seen
again. But, on the other hand, whenever he exhibited his better qualities,
reinforcements appeared to arrive from nowhere. Thus, by studying their
reactions carefully, he was able to increase the strength of his party by
quite a substantial number.
It would have faired ill with him had he not done so, for as day
followed day the strain of the journey began to tell on him. The heat of
the sun seemed to dry up the very marrow of his bones, and its setting
brought only momentary relief, for with nightfall the air became bitterly
cold, and he passed many sleepless nights shivering under the meager
protection of his blanket. The loyal support of the sturdy Subrs was a
great comfort to him, but willing as they were they could carry only a
certain amount of their dried food and it seemed to accord ill with his
constitution. It was of a tasteless and insipid nature, affording only the
merest sustenance and gravely deficient in energy-producing qualities.
Jophan, though in no danger of actual starvation, began to grow weak and
faint of purpose, and at times his eyes strayed longingly to the green
Glades of Gafia to be seen clearly in the distance.
So it was that when after many days the party came upon the first sign
of other life in the desert. It had appeared in the distance to be a small
hut, but on approaching more closely Jophan saw that it was actually a
species of altar before which crouched a pale and sickly Neofan. He seemed
to be in the process of muttering some prayer or incantation, and Jophan
waited patiently until he had finished before addressing him.
"Good day, friend," he said politely, when the Neofan seemed to have
completed his mysterious rites. "My name is Jophan, and I am on my way to
Trufandom to obtain the Magic Mimeograph, so that I may publish the Perfect
"Good day, Neofan," said the other, somewhat superciliously. "My name
is Sycofan, and I am on a similar errand. I trust you will set up your
altar at a reasonable distance from mine."
"Altar?" asked Jophan, surprised. "What for?"
"Why, to invoke the BNFicent spirits," said the other condescendingly.
"Surely you don't imagine that you can cross the desert without their
"I did not know it was possible for a mere Neofan to have any
intercourse with the BNFs until he reached Trufandom," said Jophan
"Why, of course it is," said the other. "You must--" At this point
there came a blinding glow of light above the altar, and Sycofan threw
himself on his knees and began beating his head on the ground.
In a few moments there was a loud clap of thunder, and a small solid
object fell on the altar and rolled off on to the ground. Jophan remained
erect and gazed at the phenomenon.
"There!" said Sycofan smugly, snatching the object up and showing it to
Jophan. It seemed to be a sort of thin pancake or waffle, rolled up like a
scroll of paper.
"What is it?" asked Jophan.
"It's called a manna-script," said Sycofan, devouring it greedily.
Jophan watched enviously until the other had swallowed the last succulent
"I suppose you will be resuming your journey now?" he asked.
An uneasy expression crossed the other's face. "Er...no," he said,
rather shamefacedly. "I think I shall wait here until my strength is built
up. The manna-scripts need a great deal of praying for, and I haven't
enough of them yet."
Jophan looked at Sycofan's weak face and privately decided that it was
doubtful if he would ever complete the journey to Trufandom. After
pondering the matter for some minutes he came to a conclusion.
"I was told," he said earnestly, "that the journey to Trufandom is one
that can be accomplished only by a fan's unaided efforts, and I believe
this to be true. I cannot believe that if the BNFicent spirits give aid to
one who merely asks it they would withhold it from one who shows that he
deserves it. I urge you to leave your altar and come with me."
"Why, you're only a Neofan," sneered the other. "Why should I associate
with you when I can have the help of BNFs?"
"Even they were once Neofen like me," said Jophan quietly. "Yet they
are wise and will not waste their gifts. You may find," he warned Sycofan
gravely, "that they will not continue to feed you indefinitely."
But Sycofan would not abandon his parasitic existence, and instead
promptly embarked on another session of prayer.
Shaking his head regretfully, Jophan left him and resumed his journey.
Before he had gone much further, Jophan was both delighted and relieved
to find that his surmise had been correct. To the accompaniment of a blaze
of light and clap of thunder a bulky manna-script fell beside him; and
before disappearing the light moved on toward Trufandom as if in
Thereafter, the manna-scripts fell with increasing frequency during the
remainder of his journey so that he had no longer any cause to worry on the
score of food.
In which Jophan enters the Region of Oasis.
But Jophan's difficulties were by no means at an end. The scorching
heat by day and the bitter cold by night made sleep almost impossible, and
as time went on he became more and more exhausted. But he staggered on
dauntlessly, searching ceaselessly through red-rimmed eyes for some sign of
the end of this terrible desert.
Shortly before nightfall one day they came upon an oasis. Jophan let
his feeble limbs carry him into the welcome shade of the trees and lay down
to rest for the night, observing as he did so a flock of gaily-plumaged
birds flitting to and fro among the trees, to the accompaniment of their
sweet song. It sounded like "Bu! Bu!" Idly he asked one of the Subrs
what the birds were called. "Bu-birds," replied the Subr laconically.
Smiling quietly to himself at the ingenious reply, Jophan went to sleep.
Whether it was the soothing song of the birds, or the fact that the
oasis retained its heat longer than the open desert, Jophan slept unusually
well. Nevertheless, he realized when he awoke next morning that he was in
no fit state to resume the march. His limbs were stiff and enfeebled, and
it was all he could do to raise his head and look about him. He knew he
would have to rest awhile here in the hope of regaining his strength.
As he was about to lie back again, however, he noticed just a few feet
away from him a beautiful translucent egg, which must, he realized, have
been laid by one of the Bu-birds during the night. It occurred to him that
it would make a welcome addition to his diet, and, reaching out painfully
for it, he pierced a hole at each end and raised it to his mouth.
As the first mouthful of the liquid passed his lips Jophan was almost
shocked in his astonishment. This was clearly no ordinary egg. The fluid
it contained was cool, refreshing and intoxicatingly delicious to the
taste. With each drop Jophan felt new energy flooding into his body. When
the egg was finished he jumped to his feet and began to run eagerly round
the oasis looking for more, so intent on the search that he scarcely
noticed how quickly his tiredness had been replaced with boundless energy
Soon he opened all the eggs he could find and poured their content into
one of the empty water bottles. Then he called his party together and
strode confidently into the desert at their head.
During the days which followed he found that when his energy began to
flag all that was necessary was to take a draught of the life-giving fluid.
Instantly his vigor and enthusiasm was restored. Furthermore he had
apparently reached an area of the desert where oases were plentiful, and
each morning he usually collected a sufficient quantity of "Egg o' Bu," as
he now affectionately called it, to sustain him for the day's journey. He
was now able to dispense almost completely with ordinary food and water,
and would indeed have been prepared to do without the help of the Subrs had
that been necessary. The only ill effects he noticed were that over-
indulgence in the elixir was inclined to produce a species of intoxication
and a painless but unsightly swelling of the head. These he resolved to
guard against as carefully as he could.
Jophan now began to make very rapid progress, and with each day the
change in the character of the desert became more pronounced. The days
were cooler, the night warmer, and oases increasingly numerous. Mirages
began to appear of the high mountains of Trufandom, and though he was
disappointed each time on finding they were illusions, he consoled himself
with the thought that they indicated he was approaching his goal.
At last his patience was rewarded. One morning he breasted a long, low
ridge of sand-dunes, to see before him, far too clear to be a mirage, a
stupendous mountain range stretching as far as the eye could see. Beyond
those mountains, he knew with a thrill of awe, must lie the land of
In which Jophan enters the Canyon of Criticism.
Jophan now pressed on with redoubled energy, and by evening he could
plainly see a deep rocky cleft leading into the mountains. This, he knew,
must be the Canyon of Criticism, the only route through the Mountains of
Trufandom. He resolved to fortify himself with a night's sleep before
attempting this new peril, and spent the night at an oasis.
Next morning, having partaken cautiously of the Egg o' Bu lest it should
foul his perceptions, Jophan set out for the entrance to the Canyon. As he
approached it he noticed other Neofen converging on the point from all
directions. They rushed past, wild-eyed and eager, and plunged into the
Canyon. They had obviously partaken too freely of Egg o' Bu, for their
eyes were glazed, their steps unsteady, their heads unnaturally swollen,
and their clothes and Shields neglected and dirty. Reluctant as he was to
let them overtake him, he took thought of his previous experience and the
warnings he had been given. He polished his Shield of Umor hastily,
checked his provisions, and only then set foot cautiously into the Canyon.
The path proved to be along the side of the Canyon rather than at its
foot. After he had travelled some distance Jophan noticed that while the
ground still fell away sharply to his left, the cliff on his right had
gradually merged into a more gentle slope. Along this the path split into
several smaller paths which wound their separate ways along the
As he picked his way along over the rougher ground he heard a clatter of
falling rock in front of him, and looked upwards in time to see several
small stones bounding toward him over an overhanging boulder. Hastily he
brought up his Shield and covered himself with it. Most of the stones
bounced harmlessly off it, but to his dismay one of them passed through as
if the Shield were made of vapor, and dealt him a severe blow on the
shoulder. Suppressing a cry of pain, Jophan looked closely at his Shield.
There was, he now noticed, a tarnished patch which had escaped the hasty
polishing he had done that morning. Retreating quickly to safety, he
polished his Shield to a uniform brilliance. Then he ventured again
towards the danger area, looking curiously ahead to see how the other
Neofen were faring.
It was a dreadful sight that met his eyes. Lying on the paths were the
crushed and bleeding bodies of many of the Neofen who had passed him that
morning. Among them others staggered about, panic-stricken, trying to
dodge the hail of stones. But their minds were so befuddled, and their
swollen heads so vulnerable beneath their tiny and tarnished Shields, that
the efforts of many were in vain. Even as he watched, one of the
unfortunate wretches was struck from the path by a particularly heavy
stone, and with a heart-rending scream vanished from sight down the rocky
On emerging from the lee of the big boulder which had been affording him
some shelter, Jophan shielded his eyes from the sun and peered up the slope
to try to discover why the falls of rock were so frequent. To his horror
he saw, outlined against the sky, a row of dark, misshapen little men
busily engaged in uprooting stones and hurling them at the defenseless
Neofen below. He watched them for a while, but they showed no sign of
abating their activities. Indeed, they did not even seem to stop for food
for he noticed one dwarf hurling stones with one hand and with the other
eating what appeared to be a bunch of small sour grapes.
This last sight caused Jophan to decide that there was no point in
delaying further. As he ventured forth a savage howl arose from the
dwarfs, and the grape-eater seized a particularly sharp stone and threw it
with tremendous speed directly at Jophan. Without flinching Jophan held
his Shield firmly above his head. The stone bounced harmlessly off the
Shield and back to the thrower with undiminished force. With grim
satisfaction he observed it strike the dwarf with deadly effect, dislodging
him from his perch so that he fell screaming down the slope and vanished
into the abyss.
Greatly pleased with the excellence of his Shield, Jophan proceeded
along the path. The dwarfs seemed to have learned a lesson from a taste of
their own medicine, and such stones as were thrown in his direction were
cast in such a tentative and half-hearted manner that he could almost
afford to ignore them. He began to think that the perils of the Canyon
were at an end.
This mood of over-confidence was soon rudely shattered. On rounding the
next curve in his path he suddenly found himself in semi-darkness.
Thinking that a cloud had passed over the sun, he looked up casually. His
heart almost failed him to see that the shadow was cast by several huge,
swarthy giants sitting drowsily among the swarming dwarfs on the crest of
In which Jophan continues through the Canyon.
Even as Jophan watched, one of the giants awoke, snorting angrily. With
no apparent reason, or even perception of what he was doing, the giant
uttered a great bellow of wrath, seized a boulder as large as a house and
hurled it down the slope. The huge mass of rock hurtled down into a line
of Neofen, smashing several to the ground despite their upraised Shields of
Umor, and continued on its way down the mountainside, bounding from path to
path, and sometimes carrying away whole fan groups at a time.
When the last despairing cry had died away, Jophan looked back up the
slope to see that the giant had settled back down to sleep, a contented,
imbecilic smile on his countenance. Shuddering with disgust and fear,
Jophan withdrew a few paces and sat down in the entrance to a cave to
recover his nerve.
The sound of his own breathing had barely subsided when he was again
startled by a clicking noise behind him. He turned round sharply, and, as
his eyes became more accustomed to the semi-darkness, he could see that the
noise came from a Neofan who was striking a flat piece of stone with a tiny
axe. He was so intent on his work that he did not notice Jophan's presence
until the latter spoke to him.
"What are these dreadful beings?" asked Jophan fearfully, speaking the
first thought in his mind.
"They belong to a race known as Magrevoos," said the Neofan
knowledgeably. "The dwarfs are called Fanmagrevoos and the giants
Promagrevoos. Many of them are not really evil, merely thoughtless and
stupid. The giants, for example, have no idea of their own strength, and
do not understand half of what is going on down here. In fact they would
probably ignore us altogether were it not for the fact that they are
continually being prodded into activity by a strange and powerful tribe
known as the Headeaters, who live in the mountains." As he spoke, he
lifted up a flat stone, which Jophan now saw was covered with neatly-cut
lettering, and carried it to the mouth of the cave. He beckoned Jophan to
"Moreover," he went on, "there are other Magrevoos who do their best to
make up for the harm done by their fellows. They are known as the Fair
Jophan looked again at the scene of carnage on the mountainside. He saw
that groups of fair-complexioned and kindly-faced dwarfs were passing among
the victims reviving them with draughts of Egg o' Bu, raising them to their
feet, and helping them some distance along the path. There was even a
beautiful, blonde giantess assisting in the work of mercy. Jophan noticed,
however, that while most of the dwarfs carefully selected those among the
survivors who seemed most likely to benefit from their help, the giantess
showed no such discrimination. Instead, she would sweep up a random pile
of Neofen, including some who were obviously dead, drench them with Egg o'
Bu from a large pitcher she carried slung over her shoulders, and with a
few mighty strides deposit them far along the path. He saw that many of
them merely sat in a daze where she placed them, quite incapable of taking
advantage of their good fortune.
"Who is she?" asked Jophan.
"She comes from a now almost extinct tribe known as Fillips," said the
Neofan absently. He had been swinging the stone in his right hand and now
flung it with great force towards the crest of the mountains. He and
Jophan watched it spin over the heads of the the dwarfs and disappear from
"You missed," said Jophan.
"It was not a missile," explained the Neofan patiently, "but a missive.
A message to the Headeaters who control the giants. It is important to
propitiate them, for they are by far the most important tribe in Fandom.
indeed, there is a tradition that on their existence depends that of
"If that is so," said Jophan, impressed, "your work is obviously of the
greatest importance, and I should like to help if I may. My name is
Jophan, and I am, of course, on my way to Trufandom to find the Magic
Mimeograph and produce the Perfect Fanzine."
"My name is Letterax," said the other cordially, "and I am delighted to
make your acquaintance." With these words he gave Jophan a small axe,
similar to his own, and they composed several messages to the Headeaters.
When the last of these had disappeared into the mountains Jophan spoke
reflectively to Letterax.
"Since these mountains surround Trufandom on all sides," he pointed out,
"it occurs to me that it would be quite as easy to send the messages from
Trufandom as from here. Should we not continue our journey?"
Letterax looked doubtful. "Do so if you wish," he said, "but I have
several more messages I want to write. I shall follow you later."
Privately, Jophan doubted if the Neofan would ever stir from his
peaceful existence in the cave, but he expressed the hope of seeing him
again in Trufandom and wished him a cordial farewell. Then, having
generously replenished Letterax's skimpy supply of Egg o' Bu, he started on
the last stage of his journey to Trufandom.
In which Jophan reaches the End of his Journey
By the use of care and discretion, Jophan was able to evade the blind
rages of the giants, and he found his Shield an infallible protection
against the malice of the dwarfs. Thus he emerged from the danger area
unscathed, and soon reached the head of the Canyon. He now found himself
on a pleasant, flower-decked path leading gently upwards to a pass between
the mountains. The sky in that direction was tinged with a warm golden
glow, and at the sight he quickened his pace, for he knew that the glow
could come only from Trufandom.
However, the path was longer than it had seemed, and the sun had set
before he had reached the summit. Regretfully he decided that he had
better pass the night where he was. The grass beside the path was soft and
the night was warm and pleasant, but Jophan found great difficulty in going
to sleep. Borne on the mild breeze he heard the faint sound of happy
voices coming from Trufandom, and they filled him with impatience to
complete his journey.
Next morning he was on his way at the first hint of light in the sky,
and as dawn broke he had almost reached the summit of the pass. Gasping,
he ran the last few hundred yards and flung himself down on the ground to
drink in the beauty of the scene which lay before him.
Bathed in the mysterious, golden light of early dawn lay the fair land
of Trufandom. Only its hills and spires were picked out by the questing
rays of the sun, for the country was a sunken plateau ringed on all sides
by mountains, so that it formed a secluded world of its own. A more
wonderful one Jophan could not have imagined. Beautiful as it was,
however, his eyes were caught and held by the most wonderful thing of all.
It was a tall, white tower which rose out of the rolling park land, and
soared into the sky. On the summit something glittered like a tiny sun.
This, he knew, must be the Tower of Trufandom -- and on its top The
All eagerness, he started down the grassy slope. He had taken but a few
cautious steps when the thought came to him that here his Shield of Umor
might have other uses than as a means of defense. Smiling happily to
himself, he put the Shield on the ground and used it as a toboggan.
Thus, Jophan sailed gaily down into Trufandom.
At the foot of the the slope he again took up his Shield, now shining
more brilliantly than ever before, and strode through the leafy lanes in
the direction of the Tower. On either side of him were numerous parks and
gardens, great and small, and of varying types of beauty, and in them
walked shining, godlike figures whom he knew to be Trufans. Now and again
one of them would notice Jophan, and come to greet him and wish him well,
and with each encounter his eagerness grew to reach the Tower and become
one of their number.
So it was that late in the afternoon Jophan came at last to the Tower.
There was a spiral staircase inside, and without hesitation he began to
climb it. Up and up he went, round and round, higher and higher, long
after he thought he should have reached the top. But the Tower was higher
than he realized, and he was giddy and out of breath when at last he
reached the head of the stairs. Above him now there was only a short
ladder to a trapdoor.
Jophan sat on the stairway for a while until his dizziness had passed,
and he had regained his breath. Then he climbed up the ladder and pushed
at the trapdoor. It swung open easily, on a concealed counterbalance.
Above him was the blue sky.
Though he had come so far, and braved so many dangers for this moment,
his heart almost failed him now that his goal was at hand. But at last,
pulling himself together, he stepped quickly up the ladder and onto the
He was on the very top of the Tower. Far beneath him was spread out all
the Land of Trufandom as far as the now distant mountains. The top of the
Tower was a sheet of burnished gold, and in the center was a cube of solid
gold. On the cube there stood a mimeograph.
At the sight of it Jophan felt a sickness in the stomach, and his legs
almost failed to support him. Whitefaced, he stared at the mimeograph. He
had expected a gleaming, jewel-like machine. Instead he saw a rusty,
battered hulk. The framework was filthy with ink, the drum was caked, and
there was something obviously wrong with the self-feed. It squatted on the
gleaming, gold cube, an obscene eye sore.
Jophan tried to pull himself together, telling himself that there must
be some mistake. But there was nothing else on the roof, just the trapdoor
through which he had come, the gold cube, and the old mimeograph. Dazed by
the shock of his disappointment, he wandered aimlessly across the top of
As he did so his hand brushed against the handle of the mimeograph, and
something like an electric shock coursed through his body. Amazed, he took
a firm grip on the handle. A current of some potent force seemed to flow
between him and the machine, feeding back and forth from one to the other
until Jophan felt every particle of his being suffused with a strange new
life. The mimeograph had also changed. There was no difference in its
outward appearance, but he knew that the potent force had also taken
possession of it. It was subtly changed, as if it had been dead and was
now alive. The handle seemed to throb in his hand. Still uncomprehending,
Jophan looked down at his own body. His skin was glowing with the same
golden radiance he had noticed in the bodies of the Trufans. His limbs
were being invested with the same godlike strength.
As the revelation came to him, there was a sound of golden trumpets in
the air, and he heard again the voice of the Spirit of Fandom.
"Yes, Jophan," it said," you are now a True Fan; and it is yourself that
has made you so, as it must be. And now you realize the second great truth
-- that this is indeed the Magic Mimeograph, and it will produce the
Perfect Fanzine. For--" and now the song of the trumpets filled the air,
ringing across Trufandom to the far mountains-- "FOR THE MAGIC MIMEOGRAPH
IS THE ONE WITH A TRUE FAN AT THE HANDLE."
And Jophan found that it was so.....