Fred Duarte Passes Away

Fred Duarte Jr. Photo by Mark Olson.

Fred Duarte Jr. Photo by Mark Olson.

Fred Duarte, Jr. who died October 3, was one of the many Texas fans who have worked hard to earn their region an enviable reputation for hospitality.

I remember as fan GoH at Armadillocon 11 in 1989 that Fred and con chair Karen Meschke, to whom he was married, collected me from the airport and gave me a view of the Texas capitol illuminated by night as we made our way to the hotel.

Also, George Alec Effinger gave them a shout-out in the dedication of The Exile Kiss — “And special thanks to Fred Duarte and Karen Meschke for hospitality above and beyond the call of duty, while my car was in a near-fatal coma during the writing of this book.”

As a conrunner, Fred had a deep resume. He chaired or co-chaired two World Fantasy Cons (2000, 2006), four Armadillocons (1987, 1988, 1992, 1995), a Westercon (1996), and Smofcon 13 (1995).

He ran the WSFS division for LoneStarCon 3 (2013), and headed the “Program ‘Oops’” department for Noreascon 3 (1989).

Fred found fandom in 1981when he moved to Austin from Kansas City. He met Robert Taylor and Willie Siros after seeing an ad for ArmadilloCon in the back of Analog. His first Worldcon was ConStellation in Baltimore (1983).

He contributed to Pat Mueller Virzi’s fanzine Pirate Jenny. He also helped with the hotel contract and negotiations for Corflu Quire (2006), hosted in Austin by the Fandom Association of Central Texas.

Late in life he was fan guest of honor at the 2011 Armadillocon.

Fred’s passing shocked Pat Cadigan – as she wrote on Facebook:

In mourning for Fred Duarte until further notice.

Fred asked me to be the Toastmsster at ArmadilloCon, back in the day. It was my first ever TM gig and ArmadilloCon was a great place for it.

I’m sorry, this news has really shaken me. Today is cancelled.


Bill Parker and Fred Duarte in 2013.

Bill Parker and Fred Duarte in 2013.

Jack Larson (1928-2015)

Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen.

Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen.

Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman, died September 20 in Los Angeles.

Larson was raised in Pasadena and attended Pasadena Junior College, just like future Superman actor George Reeves.

He was also for a while a part of the social circle in the 1950s that included James Dean and Montgomery Clift.

Little remembered is that Larson once acted alongside Leonard Nimoy, who had the title role in Kid Monk Baroni.

Movie still of Kid Monk Baroni. Jack Larson, left, Leonard Nimoy, right.

Movie still of Kid Monk Baroni. Jack Larson, left, Leonard Nimoy, right.

Having become typecast as Jimmy Olsen, when the Superman TV series ended Larson unfortunately had trouble getting roles. He had a bit part on Gomer Pyle USMC in 1965 and another in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in 2010.

Many of his later credits came from appearing in subsequent versions of the franchise, playing an older Jimmy Olsen in an episode of Lois and Clark , an FBI agent (partnered with Noell Neill!) in the “Paranoia” episode of the Superboy TV series, and a bartender in the movie Superman Returns.

(In the “Paranoia” episode, when Superboy saves a woman who has jumped from a window, Larson’s character exclaims “Jeepers!” like Jimmy Olsen would.)

During the intervening years, Larson became an admired playwright, and librettist, as noted in his New York Times obituary, “A Playwright Better Known as Jimmy Olsen”.

He donned the sweater once again to host a Superman festival on New York’s WOR Channel 9, on Thanksgiving in 1987.

There’s also a blurry, 30-second promo for his hosting gig that includes many brief clips of him in character on the show.

He was life partnered with writer/director James Bridges for a reported thirty-five years, until his passing in 1993, and collaborated as a producer on some of the filmmaker’s productions.

[Thanks to James H. Burns for the story.]

Jor Jennings Passes Away

Jor Jennings was a quarterly Writers of the Future Contest winner in its first year. She's posed bteween Robert Silverberg and Jack Williamson. Gregory Benford is on the right, Roger Zelazny is on the far left.

Jor Jennings was a quarterly Writers of the Future Contest winner during its first year. Just behind her are Robert Silverberg and Jack Williamson. Gregory Benford is to the right, Roger Zelazny is on the left.

Marjorie “Jor” Jennings, one of the first Writers of the Future Contest winners, died of a heart attack on August 27.

She joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in May 1978. That was about the same time she was enjoying her first success selling sf. “The Devil and All Her Works” and “Unemployment Problem” appeared in Galaxy in 1978.

Her story “Other” was published in Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine in 1982, and collected in The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories 9 (ed. Art Saha).

Jennings’ “Tiger Hunt” was a quarterly winner during the first year of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest (1984). She was a featured participant at the first Writers of the Future Award banquet (1985), and her winning story was published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, edited by Algis Budrys.

Bart Merrigan Murdered

Louis "Bart" Merrigan III

Louis “Bart” Merrigan III

Louis “Bart” Merrigan III, 58, a LASFS member since August 1981, was found murdered beside a motorhome in Phelan, California on August 24 by Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputies. Investigators determined he was killed two days before he was found.

Two suspects have been arrested, a 15-year-old boy and 26-year-old Kyle Comrie. Comrie is being held in lieu of over $1 million bail.

Bart Merrigan’s brother, Tim, also a LASFS member, has been the most active in the club over the years.

Lennart Sörensen (1936-2014)

By John-Henri Holmberg: Very belatedly, I am sad to announce the death of Swedish critic, translator, academic and editor Lennart Sörensen, born 1936, on May 18, 2014.

LennartSörensen was raised and lived in Malmoe. An early SF reader, he attended the first Swedish SF convention, Luncon, held in the neighboring university town Lund on August 18-19, 1956. He also joined the Malmoe club Chaos, edited the second issue of its fanzine Chaos, and contributed to the most literary of the Swedish fanzines at the time, Urvoat, published by Claes-Otto Wene.

While studying at Lund University, where he gained an M.A. in English, Sörensen in 1957 began contributing reviews and essays, often on SF, to daily newspapers like the morning Sydsvenska Dagbladet and the two afternoon Aftonbladet and Kvällsposten; he also wrote in various literary magazines. In late 1957 he began contributing to the Swedish SF magazine Häpna! in which he over a period of six years published four short stories and more than 60 essays, editorials, and in-depth reviews; from 1958, he was also the magazine’s co-editor, selecting as well as translating more than half of its content. In 1959 he also contributed a story as well as two essays to the Swedish edition of Galaxy magazine.

After ending his work for Häpna! in 1963, when he had married and needed to increase his income, Sörensen accepted a teaching position at Lund University and simultaneously began to write textbooks in literature, English and Swedish for immigrants. He continued writing freelance reviews and essays for newspapers.

Sörensen’s work in fandom and SF was on the whole limited to the eight years from 1956 through 1963. Nevertheless, he was the first literary critic in Sweden to discuss and review SF as a serious, adult literary form, and his work on Häpna! very obviously contributed greatly to the magazine’s quality. He deserves to be remembered as one of those making a lasting contribution to the establishment of SF in Sweden.

[Via Andrew Porter.]

Warren Murphy (1933-2015)

Warren Murphy

Warren Murphy

Warren Murphy, co-creator of the Destroyer series with Richard Sapir, died September 4 in his Virginia Beach home.

The first Destroyer was written in 1963, while Murphy served as secretary to the mayor of Jersey City and Sapir worked as a city hall reporter. Murphy decided to leave politics — “when everybody I worked for went to jail, I thought God was sending me a message to find a new line of work.”

He co-authored dozens of Destroyer novels with Sapir (who died in 1987), and later revived the series as a franchise with other co-authors.

He also wrote Grandmaster, which won the 1985 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original Mystery Novel, and numerous other award-nominated novels and short fiction.

Murphy’s screenwriting credits include Lethal Weapon II and The Eiger Sanction.

Murphy served in the military during the Korean War.

Interestingly, his list of five favorite novels (“not written by partners or friends”) featured Theodore Sturgeon’s More than Human.

Ned Brooks: A Pair of Obituaries by Tim Marion

Ned Brooks around 1971.

Ned Brooks around 1976.

Ned Brooks: subjective obituary

By Tim Marion: I can’t believe it. This must surely be a hoax, ’cause Ned just loved hoaxes. He even liked death hoaxes, as long as they weren’t carried too far.

Just got news on Facebook that Ned (Cuyler Warnell Brooks Jr.) passed away while attempting to repair the roof of his house; he apparently fell, sustaining a fatal injury. What a waste! He used to brag that he would probably live to over 100, like his mother did. I used to joke that he could leave me this or that in his will, as I am slightly over 20 years younger than him. “How do you know I won’t live longer than you?” he would rejoinder.

Although I recall some hand-scrawled correspondence with another Doc Savage fan, for whose fanzine I wrote comic book reviews (a zine which never materialized, as far I know), it wasn’t until several months later that I met the first fan I ever knew, Ned Brooks, in October 1970. A mutual acquaintance had told me of a man whose house was filled with science fiction books and I became very much inspired to meet this fellow. Upon entering his house, I saw stacks of ERBdom on a tabletop. “Wow, ERBdom! Do you have any other fanzines?” I asked excitedly. At this point, he gave me an extra copy of the final issue of his genzine, The New Newport News News (a title that played on the name of the city we lived in, Newport News, Virginia).

Over the years we had our ups and down with each other, and our failures to understand one another, but basically, he introduced me to fandom and published, on his ditto machine, my first several fanzines and apazines. More recently, he has helped me with both my art collection and in other ways, while I have, in the midst of collecting fanzine collections, filled in holes in his. Even during these days we still have had trouble understanding each other on occasion, but have remained friends. I will continue to think of him that way, just a friend now whom I can no longer write, call, or, alas, visit.

Have a good time at that Worldcon in Brownsville, Ned — I’ll join you when I can.

Ned Brooks: objective obituary

By Tim Marion: Cuyler Warnell Brooks, Jr., was born in Montana and was the son of Cuyler Warnell Brooks Sr., who was also nicknamed “Ned.” Ned never did discover the origin of the nickname. Ned once boasted that at the age of five, he had the sense to leave Montana. A military brat, his family moved to Chile, where Ned spent his childhood. There, Ned learned to read Spanish, although he never really spoke it all that fluently.

Ned went to school at Georgia Tech where he graduated with a 2.5 grade average and a degree in physics. He went to work for NASA, in Hampton, Virginia, in 1959, during which time he rented a room on Briarfield Road in Newport News, Virginia. Somehow he got a hold of an issue of Buck Coulson’s fanzine Yandro and started subscribing to fanzines from there. At one point or another, Ned was quite a proficient letterhack. However, his accumulation of books grew to the point that the people he was staying with had to say, “It’s either you or your books…!” and so Ned purchased the now mildly famous house at 713 Paul Street (on which he, years later, had still more additional rooms built in order to hold his continually burgeoning collection).

Ned met Vaughn Bodé at a convention in the mid-1960s. Vaughn had a strong interest in science fiction and a brilliant cartoony style that was perfect for fanzines. At Vaughn’s request, Ned gave Vaughn the names and addresses of a bunch of prominent fanzine publishers. This was the beginning of Vaughn being “discovered.” In the early 1970s Ned, with George Beahm, started The Bodé Collectors, a mail order company designed to cheaply and affordably offer Bode products to his growing legion of fans, as well as to prepare the way for The Vaughn Bodé Illustration Index, which George compiled and published in 1976 (which unfortunately shortly followed Vaughn’s death). Years later, the two also collaborated on Kirk’s Works, a complete (at the time) listing of all appearances of Tim Kirk’s art.

Ned worked for NASA for 39 years, then retired to Lilburn, Georgia, in order to be closer to his relatives. He purchased and arranged a large house with room for all his books and there was even a separate room for his antique typewriter collection.

Ned also published a lot of fanzines — besides being a member of SFPA since the late 1960s and SLANAPA since 1970 (during which he had a perfect attendance record for each mailing) and a member of N’APA and Apanage (the latter which he named) briefly, he was also a member of the N3F and published ten issues of Collectors’ Bulletin for them, a mighty bibliographic effort each time. He also did five issues of a ditto’d genzine, The New Newport News News, as well as 26 issues of It Comes in the Mail (personalzine listing and reviewing the interesting and fan-related mail he received), and most recently, 36 issues of It Goes on the Shelf (personalzine reviewing books he had picked up). He also published the Hannes Bok Illustration Index in the 1960s and, much later, several small-press books in magazine format, including an edition of C.L. Moore’s and Henry Kuttner’s story “Quest of the Starstone” which was illustrated by Alan Hunter (book entitled Quest for the Green Hills of Earth). He has been popular in the N3F, Southern Fandom (where he won both Rebel and Rubble Awards at different times), and fanzine fandom in general.

He is survived by his sister Mary and her son Joe.

Ned Brooks (1938-2015)

Ned Brooks. Photo by Gary Meek.

Ned Brooks. Photo by Gary Meek.

Southern fan Cuyler W. “Ned” Brooks died August 31. The 77-year-old had been on his roof making repairs when he fell off and died.

He was in his sixth decade as a fan, a life begun by answering a small ad in a science fiction magazine, “Discover fandom for $2.”

In 1963 Ned attended his first Worldcon, Discon in Washington, DC. In the mid-1960s he was also involved in the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) and edited its Collector’s Bulletin. In 1972 he won the organization’s Kaymar Award, given for service.

Ned joined the Southern Fandom Press Association (SFPA) in May 1967 and remained a member the rest of his life. His SFPAzine, The New Port News, reached #200 back in September 2001. The last issue in July was #282.

He co-founded Slanapa, (Slanderous Amateur Press Association), a monthly apa with rotating Official Editor. He was OE for the August 2015 mailing, the 547th, which members received about a week ago.

Ned gained fame throughout fandom by publishing 28 bimonthly issues of It Comes in the Mail (1972-1978), and around three dozen issues of a review-oriented successor, It Goes on the Shelf, which he started in 1985.

“[It Comes in the Mail] worked on the basis that I would comment on everything pertaining to science-fiction and science-fiction fandom that I got in the mail,” he once explained. “It died of success — with only an electric typewriter and a mimeograph machine, I could not keep up – the larger the zine got, the more came in the mail.”

People were impressed with the relentless effort required to do It Comes in the Mail – including Donn Brazier, who in 1972 made Brooks one of the first 13 fans on the mailing list for his soon-to-be legendary fanzine Title.

Tim Marion recalls that Brooks not only introduced him to fandom in the 1970s, but published Tim’s first zines for him on his ditto machine.

Brooks’ worklife was spent as a NASA wind tunnel engineer, hired after graduation from Georgia Tech in 1959. D. Gary Grady once visited Brooks’ home where he saw “hanging over the stairs to the basement was a net, one used by NASA to catch tiles that fell off the Shuttle during launch. If I recall what he said correctly, the tiles were tested in the wind tunnel he helped run at NASA’s facility in Langley Virginia until his retirement.”

In recent years he notably did generous yeoman work copying things in his collection for other people’s research and projects. He donated fanzines to help fill in gaps in the archives of the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside. And he was interviewed about his devotion to paper fanzines for a pre-Dragon*Con feature in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal in 2010 – although he never attended the con. (Read the full story here.)

Ned Brooks with his fanzine collection. Photo from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ned Brooks with his fanzine collection. Photo from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Don’t be fooled, though, Ned engaged in internet fanac, too. As of this writing his website is still online. Also, in June 2014, Brooks brought the quasiquote to the attention of the Shady Characters blog (about “The secret life of punctuation”).

He was the Fan Guest of Honor at Rivercon IV in 1978 and at DeepSouthCon 39 in 2001. He was the recipient of the Rebel Award in 1976 and the Rubble Award in 1992.

Andrew Porter reports, “He did have a will, and his family is aware of the value of his many collections. They will do the right thing by him, and dispose of them with the assistance of fandom.”

[Thanks to Steven H Silver, Tim Marion, Taral Wayne, Kyla and Rich Lynch for the story.]

Toni Lay Has Died

Toni_cl2009 COMP

Tony Lay in 2009.

Veteran masquerade participant and Worldcon regular Toni Lay of the NJ/NY Costumers’ Guild (a.k.a. the Sick Pups) died August 28 after a lengthy hospitalization caused by a series of strokes. Her passing was reported by Susan de Guardiola who said, “Toni was 65 and had been a part of the NYC metro fan community since at least when I met her back in the late 1980s (and probably longer).”

Some merriment, circa mid-1970s, at a New York STAR TREK convention... That's also Elyse Pines (Rosenstein) second from left in front, Joan Winston on Jeff Maynard's lap (sadly, both Joan and Jeff are also gone), "Patia Von Sternberg," redheaded, fourth from left in the back, and a very popular helmsman, under the beanie....

Some merriment, circa mid-1970s, at a New York STAR TREK convention… That’s also Elyse Pines (Rosenstein) second from left in front, Joan Winston on Jeff Maynard’s lap (sadly, both Joan and Jeff are also gone), “Patia Von Sternberg,” redheaded, fourth from left in the back, and a very popular helmsman, under the beanie….

Toni Lay was a Deputy Chatelaine for the Crown Province of Ostgardr in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), Program Director for Costume Con 5, a Historical Masquerade Director for Costume Cons 16 and 22, a Historical Judge for Costume Con 28, and a Presentation Judge at Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon.

She worked as a secretary for the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

Her early fan activity included writing about Star Trek in the 1980s and participating on the 1992 Worldcon (MagicCon) program.

A photo gallery of some of her masquerade appearances is here.

Toni Lay in 2015. Photo by Jonathan Gleich.

Toni Lay in 2015. Photo by Jonathan Gleich.