Murray Moore: Glicksohn Memorial Report

By Murray Moore: We decided after the memorial service not to go to 508 Windermere: if as little as 20 percent of the people attending the memorial went, the house would be jammed. But here is my account of the memorial.


Susan Manchester and Mike Glicksohn, I am sure, enjoyed their honeymoon, nearly 18 years ago, in a hotel in Wales. Members of a tour group, I equally am confident, clearly remember Mike, although they and Mike were not formally introduced.

The newlyweds were informed that the group was arriving at 5 a.m. The Singaporeans arrived. Noisily. “Jabbering” was Mike’s description. Mike got out of their bed, opened their room’s door, and, holding a finger to his lips, said “Sssh.”

Susan, when Mike returned to bed: “That seemed to work.”

Mike to Susan: “Maybe the sight of a naked Caucasian shocked them into it.”

“He was very hairy, you see,” Susan explained, describing “my amazing husband” to the family and friends attending her late husband’s memorial service on Wednesday evening.

Many of the places in the pews of Windermere United Church, Susan’s church, were filled by people who, to attend, trudged through the result of a late-winter day-long snowfall.

(The snow must have been a shock to one of my neighbours, who, a couple of days ago, was raking his lawn.)

Perhaps as many people attended Mike’s memorial service as attended Susan’s and Mike’s wedding. “He didn’t want to invite very many people to our wedding. ‘Who would come!?’ he asked. I invited 200!”

Mike attended church with Susan only at Christmas and Easter. “Mike didn’t ask for this” memorial celebration, Susan said. “I am not sure that he would like it very much.”

Rev. Kate Young confessed that she was not sure she would like Mike when Susan invited her to their home for supper. She knew Mike was an atheist, a math teacher, and a science fiction reader. She was nervous. Mike won her over quickly: “Can I get you a drink?”

Mike was delighted that Susan attended church: Mike admired her for her faith: “Susan will say a prayer for you” Mike would tell friends who were in a stressful situation.

Mike was a twinkly child. “I don’t know anyone who twinkled like Mike did,” Manning Glicksohn, Mike’s older brother by 16 months, said.

Manning taught at Humberside Collegiate for several years, but moved to another school before Mike started his long career at the same school. Manning is tall and bald. His younger brother was neither. One day a student delighted Mike by asking “Mr. Glicksohn, did you used to be bald and teach French?”

Love was a word spoken often during the memorial service. Manning said of his brother, “Mike had a deep belief in the reality of love. Mike embodied it.” Mike loved and helped others love. Also “Mike really knew who he was and he refused to be anyone else.”

Mike Glicksohn was a model for young Robert Sawyer. Robert attended the same high school as did Mike, but 15 years later. Mike’s name was on a varnished wood scholarship plaque. “I saw his name every day. I wanted to be a SF writer. And here was a guy from my neighbourhood who had won a Hugo.” (Torcon 2, 1973, Best Fanzine, for co-editing Energumen).

When Worldcon returned to Toronto (Torcon 3, 2003) Robert J. Sawyer won the Best Novel Hugo for his Hominids. Rob explained that in Hominids he needed a word for his Neanderthals to use describing the best qualities of humans. The word Rob created was Gliksin. “Mike was wonderfully pleased.”

Rob explained that inserting a reference to Mike into one of his works was difficult because Rob is not a fantasy writer: “I had nowhere to put an overgrown hobbit.”

“People are mourning all over the world” because, Rob said, “Mike was world famous among SF readers. Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, all over. Mike touched people all over the world.”

An audience member said Mike was a curmudgeon about the internet. But “When Mike was with you, he was with you 100 per cent. He didn’t need FaceBook.”

A Mike story. A young child at a meal clearly announced “I have to go potty. I have to poop.” Mike put his hand on the child’s hand and told the child “Thank you for sharing.”

Susan’s uncle praised Mike for giving his niece “the ability to grow, room to do that. Mike accepted people as they are.”

A Mike story. Mike attended a Blue Jays game that lasted 22 innings. Mike was one of the few who stayed in his seat to the end of the 22nd inning. The television camera panned the seats to show the mostly vacant seats. “Look at this man,” the announcer said, meaning Mike. “When this game started, he was clean-shaven!”

Former students, said a former colleague of Mike’s, when they met their teacher on the street, retired since 2006, greeted him “Hello Mr. Glicksohn. How are you?” The greetings were the “mark of a man who did his job. And Michael certainly did his.” Also “I thought it was important that a student be taught for one class by The Glick.”

Mike was a strict but fair teacher. The very young daughter of his great friend and fellow teacher Mike Harper decided Mike’s name was Honey after she heard one-too-many daily phone calls by Mike when he was courting Susan. The young Miss Harper and some others called Mike ‘Honey’, Susan said, “but certainly not his students.”

Susan’s minister was pleased to see Mike in church: “He looked like Jesus!” She admired the sense of humour and the courage with which he met each setback. The progress/lack of progress e-mails which Mike sent were both “hilarious” and “life-affirming.”

When Mike was in St. Joseph’s Hospital Mike gave his minister a straight line. Mike wanted to know if she thought his asking to have the crucifix in his room covered would be offensive? “Not to me,” she told him. “I’m not Catholic.”

“Of course he was a sweet man. He was a great hugger,” Susan said. “And he loved to play card games: trump games, poker. I’m not sorry if you lost money to Mike. I benefited from it.”

“He was an incredible man, a beautiful man to so many, my dear husband. Not a day went by that we did not say I Love You to each other. And what else is there to say?”

glicksohn service

Bulletin from the service.

Update 3/24/2011: Added a copy of the bulletin from Mike’s service sent by Taral. (Thanks!)

SF’s Tough Interviews

AV Club’s list of “17 Notoriously Prickly Interview Subjects” features Hollywood’s most irascible personalities: Billy Bob Thornton, Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Lou Reed, Gene Simmons, Gallagher, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert De Niro. Two entries are especially near and dear to the hearts of fans.

Harlan Ellison logs in at #10:

Essayist/critic/screenwriter/author Harlan Ellison isn’t a prickly interview subject in the sense of many people on this list, in that he doesn’t seem to hate interviews or deliberately set out to make things hard for interviewers specifically. (Unless they seem unprepared, off-base, or otherwise likely to waste his time. His initial response to a softball opening question in a 1998 A.V. Club interview with Onion writer John Krewson: “This is by you an interview question, right? Let’s get a little more specific, since you and I both have a limited amount of life to live and I’d just as soon not turn this interview into a career.”)

Another sf fan favorite ranks even higher — at #3 — Harrison Ford:

His body language is slouched and defeated; his answers are short, curt, and mumbled; and when the questions aren’t to his liking, he lashes out.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

April Derleth (1954-2011)

April Derleth, daughter of August Derleth and CEO and President of Arkham House, died March 21. She was 56. Arkham House has announced that they are temporarily suspending sales and fulfillment. The cause of death was not given in the announcement.

[Thanks to Steven H Silver, Michael Walsh and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Corflu Glitter Picks Site

Corflu Glitter, the 29th in this series of conventions for fanzine fans, will be held at the Sunset Station Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chair Joyce Katz and the committee recently announced the site and the date of the con which will take place April 20-22, 2012.

Arnie Katz’ latest news release adds that Peter Sullivan has been named UK Liaison, to publicize the con to British zine fans. Peter will also help develop programming ideas and work with Bill Mills’ audio-video team which also includes Don Miller and Roc Mills. Ross Chamberlain has agreed to create the Corflu Glitter tee-shirt.

Ray Capella Memorial Exhibit in Pomona

Fan artist and popular LASFS member Ray Capella, who passed away in June 2010, will be remembered at an exhibit of his paintings and fan art March 26-27 in Pomona, CA.

“Although Ray had Alzheimer’s, his death was unexpected to us, hence this memorial is long overdue,” his daughter, Cybele Garcia Kohel explained in a message sent to LASFS members. “You should know that we intend to include not only many of his paintings in this exhibit, but also display covers he did for various newsletters.”

A Memorial Exhibit featuring selected work by Ray Capella 

Saturday March 26, Noon-5p.m. 
Sunday March 27, Noon-5 p.m. 

dA Center for the Arts
252-D South Main St., Pomona, CA 91766 
(909) 397-9716 

A Memorial Presentation will be given by family and friends on Sunday March 27 at 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Deadline Nears for 2011 Hugo Nominations

Renovation’s Hugo nomination deadline — Saturday, March 26, 2011 — is fast approaching.

Members of Renovation who joined by January 31, 2011, and members of Aussiecon 4, the 2010 Worldcon, are eligible to cast nominating ballots for the 2011 Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. All ballots must be received by Saturday, March 26, 2011, 11:59pm PDT.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Steve Davis Passes Away

Steve Davis died March 19 of cancer at the age of 72. Writes Gregory Benford: “He’s the husband of Grania Davis, herself the widow of Avram Davidson. Steve was an active fan and physician. I went up to Oakland last week to visit him twice, say goodbye. The cancer had ravaged him and he weighed less than 100 lbs.”

NYRSF Readings for 4/5

Two Brooklyn fantasists will present their work at the next New York Review of Science Fiction reading on April 5.

Lev Grossman‘s first novel, Warp, was published in 1998; his second, Codex, appeared in 2004 and became an international bestseller. The Magicians, his third, debuted at #8 on the New York Times bestseller list and was one of the New Yorker’s best books of 2009. It is currently being published in 20 countries. The sequel, The Magician King, is slated for publication this fall.

Barbara Krasnoff’s recent sales include “In the Household of the Brelsh,” which will appear in the April edition of Crossed Genres; “Button Up Your Overcoat,” which will be included in Broken Time Blues: Fantastic Tales in the Roaring 20s, and “Red Dybbuk,” which will be part of a yet-unnamed anthology.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Service for Mike Glicksohn

A service of remembrance for Mike Glicksohn will be held at Windermere United Church, 356 Windermere Avenue, Toronto ON, at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday March 23. 

Sara Stratton, a family friend, has also sent out a preview of the announcement that will appear in the Toronto Star next week:

Michael David Glicksohn (“Honey”), born May 20, 1946 in Portsmouth, England, died March 18, 2011 in Toronto after a lengthy illness. Amazing husband of Susan Manchester, he will also be missed by brother Manning (Louissa) and nephew Ray (Mary Ellen), cousins Dale (Petra), Jo (Howard) and Abby, great-nieces Willow and Jade, cousins Alison Purdy and Kevin Purdy (Rosemary), step-mother Hilary, and by many, many good friends. Predeceased by his parents, Paul and Ellen (nee Mullane). Mike taught mathematics at Humberside Collegiate Institute for 34 years. He was involved in science fiction fandom for many years and won a Hugo Award for best fan writer. Each Memorial Day weekend for more than 25 years, Mike and his friend Michael Harper hosted MikeCon, which was attended by hundreds of friends and fans from across Canada and the U.S. A service of remembrance will be held at Windermere United Church, 356 Windermere Avenue, on Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers or donations, Mike would probably appreciate it if you raised a glass to him.

(Of course, it was the Best Fanzine Hugo he won.)

[Thanks to Larry Hancock and Sara Stratton for the story.]

Mike Glicksohn (1946-2011)

Mike Glicksohn

Mike Glicksohn, an iconic figure at conventions with his flowing beard and Australian bush hat, passed away on March 18 after suffering a stroke, reports Robert Sawyer. This came at the end of a years-long struggle with cancer. Mike was 64. He is survived by Susan Manchester, his wife of almost 18 years.

I was fortunate to know Mike from my earliest days in fandom, meeting first in fanzines, and soon after at conventions. Mike’s written personality struck me as the epitome of “cool” — ironic, outwardly unaffected by crisis, with a clever and cutting sense of humor — but in person he was much more than that, as I discovered when we met at the 1972 Worldcon. Mike was colorful, sure of himself, and smiled a lot. A man would recognize in Glicksohn’s witty demeanor a challenge and have to decide – was he laughing with me, or at me?  Also, while he enjoyed socializing he was always winnowing the crowd in search of who was really worth his time.  Mike especially cherished the company of fandom’s legends, like Ackerman, Bloch and Tucker (see, as he wrote in Mimosa 30.)

From where I was viewing things at the time as a relatively new fan, Mike was already a legend himself — yet he’d only been in fandom four years longer than me. Mike attended his first Worldcon in 1966, Tricon in Cleveland, after learning about it from an ad in Famous Monsters of Filmland. He also co-founded the Ontario Science Fiction Club (OSFiC) that year. He came to the next Worldcon with a contingent of Canadian fans, who wore Spock ears as they watched banquet from an overlooking balcony. (Spock ears were still cool in 1967.) These fans formed the core of the winning 1973 Worldcon bid.

Back home in Toronto Mike made his living as a high school mathematics teacher. He and Susan Wood had married in 1970 after meeting at Boskone the year before. Together they published the leading fannish fanzine, Energumen, for several years, turning out 15 impeccably mimeographed issues filled with brilliant art and contributions from the most sought-after fanwriters. Their zine won a Hugo at Torcon II in 1973. However, by that time their marriage had broken up although they remained on terms that allowed them to accept Aussiecon’s invitation to be joint Fan Guests of Honor at the 1975 Worldcon. The Hat Goes Home is Mike’s report of that trip.

In the coming years Mike won three Fanzine Activity Achievement Awards (FAAn) as Best LoC Writer. He was nominated for a Hugo as Best Fan Writer in 1977. He was even selected Past President fwa  (Fanzine Writers of America) at the 2006 Corflu.

Mike reviewed fanzines for my genzine Prehensile in his notorious fanzine-killing column “The Zineophobic Eye.” I don’t say “fanzine-killing” because he indulged in KTF-style reviews. Rather, Mike took a perverse pride in the way every one of the host fanzines had expired soon after his column started running in it. The column had appeared in Richard Labonte’s Hugin & Munin (as “The Zinephobic”), Mike’s own Energumen, and Osfic Quarterly. That’s why Mike began his first installment for me with a warning: “Read this issue of Prehensile carefully friends. Savor it, enjoy it, admire it; it’s very likely one of the last issues you’ll be seeing…”  And in that respect my fanzine did not disappoint: his first column appeared in Prehensile 11 and the zine ended its run four issues later.

If Mike had a fannish philosophy, I’d say it was something he’d inject into the dialogue when, now and then, things got a little heated: Unless you were having fun, there wasn’t any point in staying in fandom.

He was always ready to enjoy the good times and help create them. He’d play along with the joke – like when he let Elst Weinstein and I make him co-GoH of the 1978 Hogu Ranquet. He even refused to let us pay for his hamburger.

Mike liked the fun, but not necessarily the publicity that ensued. He once told me, “I’ve only had seven embarrassing moments in fandom — and Jay Kay Klein was there to photograph every damn one of them! One was at PghLange: I took off all my clothes and was sitting on the floor naked, talking to people, and Jay Kay was there to photograph it.”

Similarly, Mike, who was famously devoted to playing poker, once was part of a game held in an elevator car at a Canadian convention hotel. But when Lloyd Penney wrote this in a LoC Mike followed with his own letter saying the story was completely apocryphal, or at least he’d completely forgotten about it “because those brain cells were destroyed.”

There was also a serious side to Mike. He was sensitive to injustice within fandom. He helped fight our battles. A motion he made with Marty Cantor to change the Best Fanzine Hugo rules launched a discussion that spun off Locus and several other perennial award contenders into a new Best Semiprozine category in 1982. As Cantor remembers, “Mike and I felt that zines which either start as amateur zines and grow into something else (or start as something else) provided unfair competition to those who wish to re­main amateurs (in the best and original sense of that word, doing it strictly and only for the love of doing it without any thought of making at least part of their living doing it) should be able to compete on a level playing field, com­peting only with like-minded fans.”

He was also instrumental in returning the Worldcon to Toronto for the first time in 30 years, co-chairing the Toronto bid for 2003. And because it was Mike Glicksohn who called to invite me as Torcon 3’s fan guest of honor, that meant the world to me.

It was just two years after that Worldcon, 2005, that Mike was first diagnosed with cancer. In 2006 surgeons removed his right ureter because a cancerous tumour had been found there. At the same time his right kidney was taken out. Cancer was detected again in 2008. Doctors removed his gall bladder. There were courses of chemotherapy prior to all the surgeries. For a six-month stretch in 2009 tests came back with no sign of cancer, but it showed up again in November and thereafter that Mike and his medical team were in a non-stop battle. Despite that, whenever Mike sent out an e-mail telling about his progress he always tried to sound at least one lighter note amid the heavy medical news, such as the time he wrote, “I think Nietzsche was wrong. What almost killed me left me weaker but I’m working on it!”

And in mid-2010 Mike was well enough “to attend a mini family reunion on Vancouver Island in the context of my brother’s wedding, so I’m not complaining.”

But in January 2011 Mike said his team had recommended a short session of additional chemo as the cancer had not been eliminated. That was the last time I heard from him.

Mike will be remembered with tremendous affection. And although forewarned this day was coming his friends still will find it hard to let him go.