Vegas Tributes For Joyce Worley Katz

By Jacq Monahan & John Wesley Hardin: Joyce Worley Katz , High Priestess of fandom, fanzine fan, beloved wife and friend, died peacefully on July 30, 2016 after complications from a stroke. The co-chair of 1969’s St. Louiscon was a pioneer in video game journalism and educational software. She was once accused of destroying science fiction, which charge she wore with pride. She was also proud of her Native American heritage; she loved sparkly, oversized rings, a succession of indoor and outdoor cats, her vast amount of friends, and fellow fan and husband of 46 years, Arnie Katz. Known for her warmth, hospitality and welcoming spirit, Joyce Katz was the heart of Las Vegas fandom. She will be sorely missed.

Click the links above for an in-depth bio and fanac.

By Jacq Monahan: She was generous, warm, witty, and welcoming, hostess to the Vegrants, a bi-monthly fannish gathering, and to many a TAFF delegate.  She was gracious and wise, supportive and caring, at home in the kitchen or at the keyboard.  For her friends, home was wherever she was at the moment.  She was Joyce Katz, one of fandom’s finest (and Earth’s).  A brilliant star has had its supernova.  Now she belongs to the galaxy, which, even in its great expanse, is not nearly large enough to contain her heart, nor the love we had for her.     –Jacq Monahan (who speaks here for many others)

Joyce Katz (1939-2016)

Joyce [Worley Fisher] Katz died July 30, succumbing to an array of serious medical problems that followed a stroke in May. She’s survived by her husband of 45 years, Arnie Katz.

She spent the past 25 years, after she and Arnie moved to Las Vegas, helping organize and host fan groups and conventions.

They published numerous fanzines, and participated in Corflu, an annual con for fanzine fans. Joyce chaired Corflu 29 and was on the committee for Corflu 25, as well as several local conventions, Silvercon 1-4.

Joyce was named “past president of fwa (fan writers of america)” for 2003 at the 2004 Corflu, an affectionate honorific. Her fan memoirs were published in Hard Science Tales, and her fanwriting was collected in The Sweetheart of Fanac Falls.

Joyce was born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri (according to Arnie, also the birthplace of Claude Degler). She discovered sf after marrying Ray Fisher in 1956. Fisher had been active as a fanzine publisher but became alienated from the scene and, as a result, it was not until the mid-1960s that Joyce connected with other fans. Once having done so they immediately co-founded the Ozark Science Fiction Association.

She worked on five Ozarkons. Ray Fisher resumed publishing Odd, which was nominated for a Hugo in 1968. And with plenty of prodding from New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis fandoms, Joyce found herself spearheading a St. Louis Worldcon bid after only three years as an actifan.

She and Ray split up the year after they co-chaired St. Louiscon. Joyce moved to New York. In 1971 she and Arnie married. She was a member of New York’s two faannish groups, the Fanoclasts and the Brooklyn Insurgents.

After moving to Las Vegas in 1989, Joyce and Arnie eventually resumed fan activity, helped found two fan groups — the Southern Nevada Area Fantasy Fiction Union (SNAFFU) and the Vegrants – and once again became prolific fanzine publishers. Joyce and Arnie were Fan GoH’s at the 1996 Westercon in El Paso.

[Thanks to Deb Geisler for the story.]

Richard Thompson (1957-2016)

Cul de sac obit cartntease

Richard Thompson

Illustrator and cartoonist Richard Thompson, creator of the comic strip Cul De Sac, passed away July 27 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2009 and retired his strip in 2012.

Michael Cavna, who writes the Comic Riffs blog for the Washington Post, today commemorated Thompson’s career.

Within “Cul de Sac,” Thompson created a wry and whimsical suburban world partly inspired by his own upbringing in Maryland’s Montgomery County, just outside Washington. His pen-and-ink neighborhood featured outgoing 4-year-old Alice Otterloop (her surname a bit of wordplay on the Beltway’s “Outer Loop”), introverted 8-year-old brother Petey, her friends Beni and Dill and classmates at Blisshaven Academy preschool, and the Otterloop parents, who always seemed one step behind their children’s wild imaginations and antics….

Cul de Sac obit 61gW+nfGb3L

In 2012, Cavna interviewed Thompson about ending his strip:

MICHAEL CAVNA: How did you come to this decision now, Richard? Was there a moment that this choice became clear, or has this been a long and gradual decision — perhaps one that had a tipping point?

RICHARD THOMPSON: I’ve known for a year or more that I was working on borrowed time. My lettering had begun to wander off in 2009, but that could be fixed easily enough. But when Alice’s and Dill’s heads began to look under-inflated last winter, I figured I was losing control of the drawing, too. When I needed help with the inking (the hardest but most satisfying part of drawing the strip),well that was probably a tipping point. Parkinson’s disease is horribly selfish and demanding. A daily comic strip is too and I can only deal with one at a time. So it was a long, gradual, sudden decision.

Thompson came out of fanzine fandom. Many of his cartoons appeared in the 1980s and 1990s in such fanzines as Stephen Brown and Dan Steffan’s Science Fiction Eye, Ted White and Dan Steffan’s Blat! and the Disclave program book.

[Thanks to Arnie Fenner and Simon Bisson for the story.]

With Honor in His Own Country

By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1203) On June 29th we lost Fred Prophet (born 7 Jul 1929), co-chair with Roger Sims of Detention the 17th World Science Fiction Convention (4-7 Sep 59, Detroit, Michigan), whose publicity was headed by George Young, the head upon which as I understand was previously the first propeller beanie.

This was the Worldcon of the celebrated panel discussion — a panel of fanzine editors, John Berry (brought from Ireland by a special fund), Ron Ellik, Boyd Raeburn, Wally Weber, Ted White, moderated by Bjo Trimble — which began Sunday night, attended by six dozen, and ran until 4:30 a.m. having somehow adjourned to Harlan Ellison’s hotel room, leading Bjo to explain “After that they wouldn’t let me moderate panels anymore.” Her name is written with a caret over the “j” (possibly beyond Glyer’s or your software) to show by an Esperantism the pronunciation “bee-joe”.

Opening Ceremonies hauled a seeming corpse across the stage: Howard DeVore had said a Worldcon could only be held in Detroit, his home town, over his dead body. Alas, that did stop our giving the Big Heart Award (first presented in Detention) to Howard forty-seven years later. By then he’d long been Big-Hearted Howard anyway.

When I first met Fred, a while if not quite so long later, he still looked like his photograph in A Wealth of Fable (photo by Elinor Busby; book by Harry Warner, Jr.; 1992 rev. p. 403). After that I dared call him the Prophet of S-F.

Detention seems to have detained us all from holding another Worldcon there, but we did make Detcon the 11th NASFiC (17-20 Jul 2014; North America S-F Con, since 1975 held when the Worldcon is overseas). Shall we have a Detention or Detcon II?

Detcon made Fred and Roger its Con Chairs Emeriti. When Geri Sullivan put up a banner in the Fanzine Lounge where one could sign for each NASFiC one had attended I had the honor, or luck, to find Fred and get him to sign it. R.I.P.

Roger Sims and Fred Prophet, co-chairs of 1959 Worldcon, Detention.

Roger Sims and Fred Prophet, co-chairs of 1959 Worldcon, Detention, on a panel at the 2014 NASFiC in Detroit.

Roberta Gellis (1927-2016)

Roberta Gellis

Roberta Gellis

Roberta Gellis (1927-2016), an author of fantasy fiction and sf/f novels as well as a prolific romance writer, died May 6.

She wrote her two earliest sf novels, The Space Guardian (1978) and Offworld (1979) under the name Max Daniels. Later, under her own name, she co-authored several fantasy novels with Mercedes Lackey.

The family obituary supplies more details about her achievements.

She worked both as a freelance scientific copy editor and as a research chemist for Foster D. Snell for many years, where she and her inventing partner developed aerosolized shaving foam and pink hair dye, among other creations, before she entered a second career as a best-selling author. Starting with Knight’s Honor in 1964, Roberta was the author of nearly fifty novels. These included more than twenty historical romances, including the Roselynde Chronicles and the Heiress Series, a number of medieval murder mysteries, and several historical fantasies. Other novels ranged from space opera to gothic romance to a mystery featuring the much-maligned Lucrezia Borgia as an amateur detective. She mostly wrote under her own name, but occasionally wrote as Max Daniels, Leah Jacobs, and Priscilla Hamilton. She won numerous awards for her writing, including a 1983 award from Romantic Times for Best Historical Series and a 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Already well advanced in her writing career, Gellis’ first genre short fiction sale was to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine and appeared in 1994. Her last sf/f story, the novelette “Renaissance Faire” (2005), was published in a collection co-edited by Andre Norton and Jean Rabe.

Our Loss, His Gain

By John Hertz:  Luckily I managed to attend the memorial service for Jim Busby (1954-2016) on Tuesday June 14th.  Luckily I managed enough presence of mind to say something suitable when the floor was opened.

JimBusby2

James Busby

We were in the spacious brick Latter-day Saints church at 2000 Artesia Bl., Torrance, CA 90504. The service was conducted by Zack Robertson, a bishop in the LDS lay clergy.

Pastors giving eulogies have the sober but perhaps inspiring duty of learning or refreshing memory about any parishioner whose life on Earth has ended. The rest of us most often need only recall people we knew well.  Not only the tasks near to hand are worthwhile.

Many in the room knew Jim from aerospace work, the science fiction community, or both. The memorial pamphlet began, “This death takes place in … the sunrise of a new world, a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish … and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings,” quoting James Tiberius Kirk.

Right after the opening hymn and invocation we heard “The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds in science,” quoting John Glenn, and “Wonder is the basis of Man’s desire to understand,” quoting Neil Armstrong.

Arlene Satin, Jim’s widow, told how she first met him. While in charge of Programming for a Westercon, and noticing he’d fallen off a list, she asked if he wanted to be put back on.  Good deeds can be rewarded.

Jim’s sister Alexis told how when she was twelve Jim already had her in a makeshift Space suit. Later for schools and other exhibitions he helped build detailed replicas, one of which, with Andy Monsen in it, came to the reception afterward.  Alexis said, “I got so sick of drinking Tang….  Jim, you won’t have to talk so much about Space to God, He was there first.”

The California Museum of Science & Industry, after Jim’s twenty years there, awarded him an honorary Doctorate in Space Science Information.

He advised the Hugo-finalist film Apollo 13 and the Emmy- and Golden-Globe-winning television miniseries From the Earth to the Moon – in which he also acted: he was the Grumman fellow tapping his pencil in the fifth episode, “Spider”.  That was lifelike.  We were all given pencils inscribed with Jim’s timeless expression, “Sorry.”  The episode, incidentally, used a real Lunar Module, built for Apollo 18.

We also heard due reference to the Ancient Honorable Order of Turtles, for Gene Cernan and Walt Cunningham still alive, and in memory of Jim, Donn F. Eisele, Paul Haney, Walter M. Schirra Jr., Donald K. Slayton, John L. Swigert, Walter C. Williams, and John F. Kennedy – no questions asked.

Mr. Robertson named sources he’d consulted. The first was File 770.  He inquired “Is Mike Glyer here?”  I answered “In spirit.”  So, of course, was Jim.

Honor him with a donation to Aerospace Legacy Foundation, P.O. Box 40684, Downey, CA 90239.

Remembering Jim Burns

Jim Burns and Steve Vertlieb.

Jim Burns and Steve Vertlieb.

By Steve Vertlieb: My win for the 2016 Rondo Hall Of Fame Award the other night was, is, and always will be tempered by the heartbreaking news and realization that my beloved friend and brother, Jim Burns, has tragically passed away at age fifty-four of an undisclosed illness. Jim was one of the best friends that it’s ever been my honor to have. He was a cherished pal, confidante, and brother. Jim and I would speak for hours on the telephone, catching up on the latest news, talking, and always, always laughing.

When I nearly died just six or so years ago during major open heart surgery, Jim was ever on the telephone, and always sending me supportive e-mails and love.

Jim pushed hard for my lifetime achievement award at the Rondo’s every year, and it was Jim who joyously announced my win for the Hall Of Fame by awaking me from a deep sleep just two months ago to inform me that I’d been elected to the Rondo Hall Of Fame.

My elation on Saturday morning in Louisville, Kentucky, was abruptly shattered when David Colton (the head ot the Rondo Awards, and former editor of U.S.A. TODAY) gave me the terrible, terrible news that Jim has passed away on Thursday, June 2nd.

Jim…I love you. I shall always love you. I cannot believe that I’ll never hear your voice, or your terrible jokes ever again. I cannot believe that I’ll never again know the happiness of reading your prolific commentary on the arts. Your work was sheer poetry. It was beautiful, haunting, and evocative. Your last years were tortured, and I hope that you found a degree of comfort in my love and respect for you, and in our profound bonding and friendship.

I dedicated my Rondo Award to you in my acceptance speech in Louisville Saturday evening. You always wanted to win a Rondo but never had an opportunity to do so. May it bring you a degree of solace to know that David Colton dedicated this year’s Rondo Awards ceremony to you. I love you, Jim. I miss you…and I cannot believe that I will never have an opportunity to speak with you again. God Bless you, my friend. God Bless you, my cherished brother. Sleep well, Prince Jim. Sleep throughout eternity in the knowledge that you shall always be loved….both by me, and by so many adoring friends and fans.

James H. Burns Has Died

James H Burns

A day of mourning. Frequent File 770 contributor James H. Burns has died, found by his landlord on June 2. A month ago Jim was hospitalized for blood clots in his legs and put on blood thinners. After he was released, Jim also told me he was troubled by other medical “mysteries,” comparing his case to an episode of House but without ever saying in so many words what the problems were.

Now other friends of Burns’ are saying on Facebook that doctors found a lump in his lungs and he’d been scheduled for a biopsy on Wednesday, but having no one to go with him had stayed home. By the next day he passed away.

Jim was about 56 years old. When this photo was taken by Patrick O’Neill in 1976 or 1977, he was about thirteen or fourteen years old – and already writing for some of the science fiction film magazines. (On the right is longtime sf fan and 1970s convention organizer, Steve Rosenstein.)

File 770's very own James H. Burns (back when he was more usually known as Jim!), circa 1976 or 1977 (when he was only thirteen or fourteen years old, but already writing for some of the science fiction film magazines!), with long time SF fan and 1970s convention organizer, Steve Rosenstein. Photo by Patrick O’Neill.

James H. Burns circa 1976 or 1977 with long time SF fan and 1970s convention organizer, Steve Rosenstein. Photo by Patrick O’Neill.

He was among the first writers for Starlog and a contributing editor to Fantastic Films, and Steranko’s Prevue. Jim was one of the first genre magazine nonfiction writers to cross over to mainstream publications like Gentleman’s Quarterly, Esquire and American Film, while continuing to write for Cinefantastique, Starburst, Heavy Metal and Twilight Zone magazines.

Jim also had the chance to appear in some movies, given minor parts in Igor and the Lunatics (1985), On the Q.T. (1999) and For Love of the Game (1999).

In his last years he became active in radio, and authored Op-Eds and features for Newsday, The Village Voice, thesportingnews.com and The New York Times.

Jim had a large fund of anecdotes about sf, movies, tv and the New York theater, which he enjoyed sharing on several fannish blogs and in the forums at the Classic Horror Film Board.

Around 2012, Jim discovered File 770. Initially I was signal boosting his pieces for other sites, Jim earning his way by authoring entertaining original “hooks” that made fans want to click and read the rest.

I always wished Jim was writing that stuff for me – and eventually my wish came true. He became one of the most active and creative participants here. The past two years we’ve exchanged e-mails every couple of days, Jim constantly coming up with ideas, drafting new articles, or finding ways to adapt material published earlier in his career.

Jim was especially proud of a trio of posts that paid tribute to the influence of his father — My Father, And The Brontosaurus, Sons of a Mesozoic Age, and World War II, and a Lexicon in Time.

Quite often his posts here were inspired by memories of “growing up fannish,” such as the very popular Once, When We Were All Scientists, and CLANKY!.

He also wrote about celebrities he’d known (Joe Franklin, R.I.P., THE Man from U.N.C.L.E.), comics history (Marvel Comics to Implode — End of a Fifty-Plus Year Era and Lee Falk’s Phantom of Happy Memory), longtime figures in NY fandom who’d passed away (Alan Levine, “Original Dealer,” 79 Years Old, R.I.P.), and pop culture classics that needed a champion (Are We Ready Again For George Pal’s Puppetoons?).

Jim’s strength as a writer was his ability to remind readers why they were – as he was – sentimentally attached to the works and experiences that brought us into fandom. That’s been a lifeline for me amid the uninterrupted controversies that fill my blog. Filers often ask each other what they love. That question was one Jim clearly enjoyed answering over and over. How much he will be missed.

James Busby Passes Away

JimBusby2

James Busby

Space flight historian James Milton Busby died June 1 after a lengthy hospitalization. He was 61 years old, and had suffered many health problems in recent years.

He is survived by his wife, Arlene, a longtime LASFS member. They married in 2012.

James volunteered and consulted with the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles on the 1980 redesign of their aerospace museum. He was hired in 1984 as a museum assistant and was employed there until 2003. The museum awarded James with an Honorary Doctorate degree of Space Science Information.

He was part of the Organization to Support Space Exploration, the first group to do historical recreations of the Apollo Moonwalks. In 1979 they became involved with Rockwell International’s speakers bureau in Downey, Ca. where James was master of ceremonies for the open houses and astronaut visits to the plant from 1979 until he plant closed in 1999.

In 1994, he assisted in the Universal film Apollo-13 and participated in the Tom Hanks-produced Apollo miniseries From the Earth to the Moon as a technical advisor, historian — and actor. He appeared as a “pencil tapping Lunar Module designer” in the fifth episode, “Spider.”

James was employed in 1999 by the Space Frontier Foundation as Director for its International Lunar Conferences for two years.

He also worked in space suit sales and rentals at Global Effects in Hollywood.

He served on the History Committee for the American Astronautics Society, and frequently wrote for Space Times magazine and Apogee Publishers Mission Report book series.

In 2006 he joined XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, Ca, to rebuild their media relations.

Late in life he was part of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation of Downey, CA and had been trying to raise funds to represent ALF at Spacefest VII next week in Tucson.

James and Arlene Busby

James and Arlene Busby

Burt Kwouk (1930-2016)

By Steve Green: Burt Kwouk, British actor, has died aged 85. Genre appearances include Curse of the Fly (1965), The Avengers (three episodes, 1961-65), Out of the Unknown (one episode, 1965), the first episode of The Champions (1968), The Tomorrow People (two episodes, 1978), Doctor Who (the 1982 four-parter ‘Four to Doomsday’) and Spirit Warriors (four episodes, 2010).