Ned Brooks: A Pair of Obituaries by Tim Marion

Ned Brooks around 1976.

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 Peru, 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).

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.

Yvonne Craig, R.I.P.

Yvonne Craig

Yvonne Craig

By James H. Burns: I’m not quite sure why Yvonne Craig’s passing is hitting me as hard as it is.

She had a lovely life, in both show business and afterwards (becoming successful in real estate, and other business ventures, decades ago).

But perhaps it’s as simple as that there are not too many figures from your childhood who you later become friendly with, if only for a brief time.

We met on the convention scene, in the mid 1990s. As many of you know, there was nothing quite as bright as Yvonne’s smile, or the sweetness of her laughter. She’d almost always be with her sister Meridel.

Spending some time with them,  kidding around, flirting — in the absolutely most innocent of ways! — struck me as something almost of another, far more pleasant era.

I have heard from many fans of the Batman television series (on which she played Batgirl), of course, that she was always absolutely terrific to them; and been told by friends of hers that there could not have been someone more caring.

I knew that Elvis Presley adored her, and that she and Bill Bixby had been in love, years later.  But I was astonished to discover when I read her memoir, From Ballet To The Batcave And Beyond, that she had also been involved with Vince Edwards, whose Ben Casey medical series was one of my personal favorites.

But how could anybody not help but fall for this gamin with the enchanting eyes, once upon a time?

It is entirely possible to make too much of actors and actresses one first encountered in a theatre seat or across the way from the cathode ray, when a child.

And truth be told, as a five-year old, I might have been annoyed at first that someone was being added to the Batman TV show in its third season, when all I wanted to see were the adventures of the Dynamic Duo.

But, ultimately, how could any of us not have been enchanted, by Ms. Crag’s particular charms?

Her genre appearances were numerous, including, famously, as Marta (a “green girl”) in the third season Star Trek episode, “Whom Gods Destroy,” Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea, My Favorite Martian, The Wild, Wild West, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Land of the Giants, The Magician, Holmes and Yo-Yo, The Six Million Dollar Man and Fantasy Island; and in the movies Mars Needs Women and In Like Flint.

There is a lovely message from Yvonne’s family at her website.

She wanted to make sure no one spent any time in grief, mourning her –

But instead join her in being grateful for a very happy life.

George Cole (1925-2015)

British actor George Cole died August 5, aged 90. Genre appearances include episodes of Out of the Unknown (“The Last Lonely Man”, 1969) and UFO (“Flight Path”, 1971), as well as The Vampire Lovers (1970), The Blue Bird (1976) and The Ghost of Greville Lodge (2000).

He worked a lot during his 60 year career but according to IMDB one part he was considered for and didn’t get was the role of Dr. Armstrong in Lifeforce — it went to Patrick Stewart instead.

He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1992 Queen’s Honours List for his services to drama.

[Thanks to Steve Green for the story.]

Robert Conquest (1917-2015)

Historian and sf anthologist Robert Conquest, famous for his groundbreaking studies of Stalinist purges and mass murders in the Soviet Union, died August 3 at the age of 98.

Conquest had wide-ranging literary interests. A love of poetry led him to become friends with Kingsley Amis, and together they edited New Lines, a showcase for Movement poets.

Both enjoyed science fiction, too, and they co-edited five editions of the sf anthology Spectrum (1961-1966).

Andrew Porter reminds that Spectrum II: A Second Science Fiction Anthology (1962) contained his famous epigram —

“SF’s no good,” they bellow ’til we’re deaf.

“But this is good!” –  “Well, then, it’s not SF.”

Conquest’s poetry collections included Between Mars and Venus (1962) and Arias From a Love Opera (1969).

He wrote one sf novel, A World of Difference (1955), published three short stories, and on his own edited The Robert Sheckley Omnibus.

Conquest was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1956 and a CMG (Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George) in 1996.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Jef Murray (1960-2015)

Boromir Fallen by Jef Murray

Boromir Fallen by Jef Murray

Artist Jef Murray, known for his illustrations of works by Tolkien and Lewis, died unexpectedly August 3 at the age of 55. Carl Hostetter announced his passing on The Mythopoeic Society’s Facebook page. He is survived by his wife Lorraine.

Murray loved the writings of G. K. Chesterton, and used his work to explore the connection between myth/fairy tales and Christian thought.

He was Artist-in-Residence for the St. Austin Review (StAR). His writings appeared Amon Hen, Mallorn, Silver Leaves, the St. Austin Review (StAR), the Georgia Bulletin, and Integrated Catholic Life. Coincidentally, today, August 4, his short story “Beginnings” posted to The Integrated Catholic Life —

“And that is how the people of Orbaratus destroyed themselves.”

Charles sat looking at the old man across the table. Thunder rumbled outside the diamond-paned windows of Charles’ Oxford flat, and the deep purple light of the approaching storm contrasted eerily with the flickers of gold and red from the fireplace and the lighted candles on the mantel. Upon the table, between the two friends, sat an ancient book, bound in black leather, that Azarias had brought with him. It was a medieval collection of spells, he had told Charles….

Murray was nominated for the Imperishable Flame award in 2006.

On the Wing

By John Hertz: I’ve learned, as you have, that Adrienne Martine-Barnes (1942-2015) left our stage, a woman I loved. Platonically. She was a philosopher and had been a queen.

Her powers were substantial. She had a Hispanic heart — she had been Adrienne Zinah Martinez — which was only sometimes on her sleeve. She did not always have calm, peace, or quiet. She was a Master-class costumer, published twelve novels and nine shorter stories, co-generated Regency mania, and did paper sculpture.

She started selling stories around the time of Chicon IV. During its Masquerade I stood at the back of the hall, my favored place when I’m not judging (and when I am, if I persuade the Masquerade Director). Her entry was “Lilith”. She threw off her cloak in a single gesture I’ve never forgotten. She could be superb.

She was a Patroness of Almack’s Society for Heyer Criticism, in honor of which I’ll probably keep rhyming Georgette Heyer’s name with fire until I’m introduced to some member of the family and have to rhyme it with sayer. Their Heyer Tea at L.A.Con had, among others, Judy Blish, Charles N. Brown, Suford & Tony Lewis, Anne McCaffrey, Fuzzy Pink & Larry Niven, Bruce Pelz, Robert Silverberg, Bjo & John Trimble, Leslie Turek.

One New Year’s Eve at the Nivens’ in Los Angeles, when we had all been drinking Fuzzy Pink’s eggnog, we decided to hold a Heyer convention, in San Francisco where Adrienne then lived. I volunteered, or was volunteered, to research and teach English Regency ballroom dancing. Fuzzy Pink doesn’t make that eggnog anymore.

I remember why I was in Chicago, but not why Adrienne was, when we met one afternoon at the Hyatt Regency for SMORFing. SMOF is Secret Masters Of Fandom, as Bruce Pelz said a joke-nonjoke-joke, part of the joke being that there’s never been any secret, part of the nonjoke being that someone has to sow the wheat and harvest and thresh and grind and bake before everyone can show up for a share of the cake. This was Regency fandom. Over four hours in that wonderful atrium she had eight whiskies. As to her focus, insight, and judgment they might have been water.

Three of her novels were about Fionn mac Cumhal — I knew a woman who spelled it McCool — with Diana Paxson, and three about Darkover, with Marion Zimmer Bradley. That was hardly all. I sometimes had her confidence, or some of it. She sometimes had some of mine.

Here’s a dinner with her in 2001. It’s in my first collection West of the Moon.

***

When stars seek the clouds,
Who will light the lonely sky?
Waiting April night.

Adrienne Martine-Barnes, in town for the Nebula Awards, played hooky for dinner with me at Valentino, wonderfully a few doors away from McCabe’s Guitar Shop, seared tuna with morels, Muscovy duck with pears and greens balsamico, 1989 Schlumberger Gewürztraminer Cuvée Christine; oraza filet with fennel, sautéed quail alla diablo, 1998 Aldo Conterno Chardonnay Printanie; hazelnut crème brûlée, caramelized pear tart, 1995 Royal Tokaji, Guatemala Antigua.

The balsamic vinegar was indeed a problem, but the morels were glorified by the Gewürztraminer, rich, still young, with the dark taste I associate with Schlumberger. The Conterno proved, as wine writer Hugh Johnson says, that Italians have quit scanting their whites, a princely drink and a glad accident since at the same place, in 1992 for the 500th year of Columbus, Sean Smith and I with a mundane friend drank a kingly red 1961 Barolo by Giacomo Conterno.

Martine-Barnes fretted at the groaning by some science fiction writers how the field is being rolled up by fantasy. Their first remedy is of course to write better. One hears argued that feeble science fiction is superior to feeble fantasy since, by definition a literature of the possible, it at least bears the torch of achievement; our plunge into fantasy is driven by a vicious distortion of doubt, which we smugly brandish but which amounts to a craven and indeed dangerous fear. Thus the prevalence of women fantasy writers is very troubling to a feminist.

But I think a worse trouble is this fixing upon topics. Why should any published art be feeble? Any fantasist can, I suppose, speak to the wishes, great or idle, that seem, by any theory you please, resonant, perhaps universally, perhaps culturally, in human nature; who does no more is a weak artist, but some will applaud: a science-fictionist must imagine a means, and at once must either be deedy enough to get over the bog of explanation, or end with a thing which if any praise it will still be no art. As a reader, between the worst of each, in the wallowing of one and other, I find little to choose; in the best of each I rejoice.

***

At Adrienne’s death Naomi Fisher said “The world is far more boring for her absence.” Greg Benford said “She was a fine lady, an expert writer.” Her health had gone. Sue Stone Shaffer said “You are free and you are missed.”

Ascending at last.
My friend, do not regret that
Both of us could touch.

Adrienne Martine-Barnes (1942-2015)

Popular Darkover author Adrienne Martine-Barnes died July 20 in Portland, OR.

Born in Los Angeles, she joined LASFS in 1961 at the age of 19. She attended the University of Redlands for a year and UCLA for another. She married Ronald Hicks in 1964 and they had a son before divorcing in 1968.

Larry Niven wrote in “Adrienne and Irish Coffee” (Playgrounds of the Mind) that in the mid 1960s –

I developed a strong preference for Irish coffee. Somewhere in there, I started taking Adrienne Martine to Bergin’s. She too was a novice writer. She says that Bergin’s should have put our names on the wall, for all the Irish coffee we consumed. We may have overdone it. Adrienne developed an allergy to caffeine.

We’d spin stories at each other, then poke holes in the plot lines. Hers were generally fantasy: a heroine in her late teens finds a portal out of an intolerable situation into a world where magic is more powerful…

Soon afterwards she moved to New York and became an agent.

The first King and Queen of the SCA's East Kingdom, from the Bomticc Tapestry.

The first King and Queen of the SCA’s East Kingdom, from the Bomticc Tapestry.

On the East Coast she participated in the recently-formed Society for Creative Anachronism under the name Adrienne of Toledo. In the summer of 1968 she served as first Queen of the East Kingdom – a reign that lasted less than two months:

The seneschal/autocrat appointed Maragorn and Adrienne to be King and Queen so they could preside over the first tourney and first crown lists. However, the tourney was rained out and postponed.

Her special expertise was the life and times of Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was well-known for her knowledge of medieval cooking and costume.

She married Larry Barnes in 1972.

She was a very active costumer. A gallery of her masquerade entries is here.

Adrienne Martine-Barnes at Costume Con 3 in 1985 wearing "Tea Party Gown from Planet Glitzy"

Adrienne Martine-Barnes at Costume Con 3 in 1985 wearing “Tea Party Gown from Planet Glitzy”

In contrast to most fans referenced in the book, Martine-Barnes’ character in the Niven/Pournelle/Flynn novel Fallen Angels used her real name.

Although Niven says in their brainstorming days in the Sixties she never seemed to finish a story in spite of her friends’ encouragement, by the 1980s she had clearly learned the knack. She published five fantasy novels during the decade. The Fire Sword, The Crystal Sword, The Rainbow Sword, and The Sea Sword were notable for “her somewhat off-the-wall interpretations of Celtic and Mediterranean gods” commented the Science Fiction Encyclopedia. She also wrote a stand-alone fantasy The Dragon Rises.

Then in the 1990s she wrote a trilogy of Exile’s Song, The Shadow Matrix, and Traitor’s Sun, set on Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fictional planet of Darkover, which Naomi Fisher says are, “the finest written about that world in decades, and brought new life and fully-realized, sympathetic characters into the series.”

She also co-authored three novels with Diana L. Paxson in the 1990s, a series called the Chronicles of Fionn Mac Cumhal — Master of Earth and Water, The Shield Between the Worlds, and Sword of Fire and Shadow.

In accordance with her request to be near family, she will be buried in Kingman, Indiana.