Richard Hatch (1945-2017)

By Steve Green: Richard Hatch: actor, died February 7, aged 71. Genre appearances include The Sixth Sense (one episode, 1972), Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983), InAlienable (2008), Season of Darkness (2012), and its higher-budget remake Asylum of Darkness (2017).

Most famous for playing Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica (1978-9), which he campaigned to bring back (writing and directing a 1999 short, Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, and co-writing several novels set in that universe with Brad Linaweaver); his contribution was rewarded with a recurring role in the show’s reboot (2005-9, 22 episodes).

Carl’s Pick of YouTube Science Fiction Videos

By Carl Slaughter: Bless YouTube’s heart. YouTube suggests videos based on my previous searches. I watch a lot of Star Trek clips and a lot “best episodes/movies” reviews.  I also watch a lot of science fiction trailers, as well as other genres.

So YouTube offers me a lot of Star Trek parodies, interviews, panel discussions, reviews, and even a Star Trek movie I had never heard of and couldn’t find any background information for. Whoever designed YouTube’s suggestion algorithm apparently assumed there’s a large Star Trek/Star Wars fan crossover. I was also offered Star Wars auditions and rare early interviews and documentaries.  Throw in some Stargate,  DC, Steampunk, and even Frasier and Family Guy.  My favorite is probably the Batman/Avengers personality/MO conflict.

There was also a Wrath of Farrakhan skit from In Living Color with a young Jim Carrey, but it was more of a Farrakhan sendup than a Star Trek sendup, so I didn’t include it.

For every video worth watching, I had to plow through 10 that were junk. For every interview/panel discussion that offers insight, there are 10 that are perfunctory.  For every irresistible parody, there are 10 amateurish or not in good taste. So after you bless YouTube, you can bless my blurry eyes.

Carol Burnett Star Trek parody

Deep Stain 9 parody

Frasier / NASA Star Trek parody

With Kate Mulgrew as captain and the cast of Frasier as the crew.

Family Guy / Next Generation antics

Stewart Griffin, fake British accented baby mad genius from Family Guy, invents a teleporter that transports the cast of Next Generation to his time, then spends the day with them.  Nothing goes as planned for either of them, not even a trip to McDonald’s.  Spoiler, Denise Crosby doesn’t make it back into the transporter.  And how DO you pronounce the name Wil Wheaton?  The voice of Stewie, BTW, is Seth MacFarlane, creator of the series and co-creator of the American Dad series.  MacFarlane, BTW, is not British.

Star Fleet Academy movie

I don’t know how I missed this one all these years and I can’t find any background information about it.  Includes William Shatner, Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Christopher Plummer.

Star Wars auditions

Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill:

Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford:

Harrison Ford

Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell again:

Amy Irving

Ewok skit

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, backstage, in Star Wars costume, try to help an Ewok actor, in costume, knocking on their dressing room doors, find the right stage on the Star Wars set.  Notice the Ewok identifies the movie as Revenge of the Jedi instead of Return of the Jedi.  Spoiler, they send him to the wrong stage.

Early Star Wars interviews

Rare early Alec Guinniss interview:

Rare early Harrison Ford interview:

Rare early Mark Hamill interview:

Early Star Wars documentary

Batman / Avengers personality conflict

Batman tries to get the Avengers to be serious, the Avengers try to get Batman to relax.

Stargate SG1 marionette parody

Steampunk movie reviews

Awesome steampunk movies.

Annemarie van Ewyck (1943-2017)

Annemarie van Ewyck, an internationally-known Dutch fan, died January 15 at the age of 73. (She spelled her name van Ewyck when she wrote for File 770, and ConFiction chair Kees van Toorn spelled it that way when he announced her passing on Facebook, but the Dutch Wikipedia article about her spells it van Ewijck, as it appeared on some of the books she translated, and who wants to buck the Wikipedia?)

Van Toorn wrote, “She has been instrumental to Dutch Fandom in the ’60 and ’70 when she was ‘motor’ of the NCSF [Netherlands Contact Center for Science Fiction].” She edited the clubzine Holland SF for 19 years, and from 1970-1982 she was married to NCSF co-founder Leo Kindt.

She worked as a translator of a wide spectrum of fiction and nonfiction. In 1977, she was nominated for the King Kong Award, a prize for translations within horror, science fiction and fantasy. Jack Vance reportedly was her favorite SFF writer to translate.

Van Ewyck was a key member of the Dutch Worldcon bid for 1990. To help pique American fans’ interest in attending ConFiction, she wrote a trio of articles for File 770, two of which are available online at Fanac.org, “Fantastic Literature Below Sea Level” about SFF in the Netherlands and “Netherfandom”, which begins by telling how Forry Ackerman was instrumental in planting the seeds of fandom there.

In later years, writes van Toorn, “She organized many local conventions, was the den mother in many green rooms; started Cozy Cons – just to bring fans together to have a good time, no real programmes but just fun, talk and beers.”

Peter Weston (1943-2017)

Peter Weston in 2005. Photo by Bill Burns.

Peter Weston in 2005. Photo by Bill Burns.

Peter Weston, a prolific fanzine publisher and convention organizer, one of the most influential British fans during his lifetime, died of complications of cancer on January 5. He was 73.

Weston discovered fandom in January 1963 at the age of 19. Rummaging through the SF books on sale in the Birmingham Rag Market, he found a slip of pink paper in one of them. “Are you interested in SF?” it asked, exhorting him to “Join the Erdington SF Circle.” Weston soon became active in Birmingham fandom and by November 1963 had published the first issue of his fanzine, Zenith.

Evolving through several name changes — Zenith, Zenith Speculation, Speculation – the fanzine became one of the most successful of those devoted to serious discussion of sf, receiving four Hugo nominations and a Nova award. Weston recalled, “I served a long and painful apprenticeship before Speculation hit its stride around the twentieth issue, when I had wall-to-wall professionals jostling for position – Harlan Ellison, Tom Disch, Fritz Leiber, Terry Carr, they were all there, along with Michael Moorcock who wrote a series of incredible columns… Later Mike was joined by Fred Pohl, who wrote a column for a while, and other professionals contributed, such as Greg Benford and Larry Niven…”

In the mid-Sixties, Weston wrote a fan news column for the British Science Fiction Association’s fanzine Vector under the pseudonym “Malcolm Edwards” – which had humorous consequences when, a few years later, a real Malcolm Edwards joined fandom and was greeted by people who expressed their pleasure at finally meeting him. By coincidence, both the fake Malcolm Edwards and the real Malcolm Edwards went on to chair British Worldcons.

In the Seventies, Weston held three Speculation Conferences in Birmingham (1970-1972), science fiction symposia inspired by his fanzine. He co-founded the Birmingham Science Fiction Group (BSFG) in 1971 and helped originate the convention Novacon that same year. He edited three volumes of the Andromeda anthology (1976, 1977, 1978).

Peter Weston and Ron Bounds at Discon II (1974).

Peter Weston and Ron Bounds at Discon II (1974).

Weston was voted Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate in 1974 and traveled to Washington DC for Discon II — even though this meant leaving behind his pregnant wife, Eileen, who gave birth four days after he departed, according to his trip report Stranger in a Very Strange Land. While in America he gathered support for a newly-created British bid for a Worldcon he would end up chairing at the end of the decade, Seacon ’79 in Brighton.

In his professional life, he once owned a foundry that produced the chrome-plated automobile door handles and hood ornaments for Jaguars, a technology he also put to use (beginning in 1984) manufacturing the rockets for the Hugo Awards.

Peter Weston auctioning a Hugo rocket during Noreascon 4 (Boston), the 2004 Worldcon during which he was a Guest of Honor. Photo by Murray Moore.

Peter Weston auctioning a Hugo rocket during Noreascon 4 (Boston), the 2004 Worldcon during which he was a Guest of Honor. Photo by Murray Moore.

Weston was a Worldcon guest of honor at Noreascon 4 in 2004, where his memoir With Stars in My Eyes: My Adventures in British Fandom was released. The volume knitted together several of Weston’s autobiographical articles, including two that held the record for number of views on Victor Gonzalez’s early fannish blog, Trufen.

In 2006, Weston revived his fanzine Prolapse (re-titled Relapse in 2009) after a 23-year hiatus. He concentrated on publishing articles about fanhistory. Issues can be downloaded from eFanzines.

Even this full resume of his activities barely suggests his social impact among his friends in fandom, where he was valued as a raconteur, or diplomatic skills, especially a rarity in early Seventies fandom when it still was an anarchic community largely composed of young men.

Weston’s funeral will be on January 23 at Sutton Coldfield. He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and his daughters.

Weston at the 1987 Worldcon. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter

Weston at the 1987 Worldcon. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter

Update 01/10/2017: Changed year of birth to 1943 per correction in comments.

Nila Thompson Passes Away

Nila Thompson (1954-2016), St. Louis club and con fan, Anglophile, who came in to fandom via Star Trek and met her husband David K. M. Klaus at a Trek club meeting.  Partially fafiated to raise to adulthood two of the Next Generation of fen, but never lost her love for sf/fantasy, written or screened, esp. any with a British theme.  Died on December 10 of ovarian cancer, body buried in a deliberately natural fashion so that it can nourish the future.  She was 62.

[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus for the story.]

Richard Adams (1920-2016) Made Me Want To Write

watership-down

By Ursula Vernon: There’s an origin story for fandom that goes like this—“I was a precocious reader and I was tired of the kid books and one day I picked up X and that changed my life and I never looked back.” This isn’t true for everybody, but it’s a common enough origin that it’s nearly a cliché. There I was and I got bit by radioactive speculative fiction.

The value of X changes in this story from person to person. Heinlein juveniles and Asimov and Lord of the Rings are popular. But for a good number of us, that book was Watership Down.

Richard Adams, the author, passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve. He was 96.

“It was the book that made me want to write,” I said into the phone, wiping my eyes. I never cry on the phone and the fact that I was now doing so infuriated me enough that I stopped. “It was the book that made me write fan-fic for the first time.”

“Me too,” sighed the author on the other end of the line. “That was me, too.”

I was nine years old and I read this story about rabbits and at the end, the book couldn’t be over. It had mattered too much. I knew, as nine-year-olds do, that things that mattered that much weren’t allowed to just end. There had to be more, and if there wasn’t, I would make there be more. I had no idea what fan-fic was, I had no idea it was even a thing, I just sat in front of the Notepad program on my Amiga 500 and began to savagely hunt and peck because it was important.

Richard Adams was 52 when he wrote Watership Down. He’d been telling a story to his daughters in the car, and they asked him to write it down. He would say later that some of the characters in the story, notably Hazel and Bigwig, were based on soldiers he served with in World War II.

Mention Watership Down now, and there’s about a fifty percent chance the person you’re talking to will say “That movie scared the crap out of me!” The animated version is legendary now, perhaps because adults of the time assumed a cartoon about bunnies would be great viewing for children and did not realize how lovingly animated the blood pouring from General Woundwort’s jaws would be. (I watched the movie approximately eleven thousand times as a child, and clearly was not among the ranks of the traumatized, although my grandmother, who had to rent it for me, definitely was.)

Adams wrote several other books—Shardik, Maia, and The Plague Dogs, (which even George R.R. Martin described as a gut punch of a book, and which I could not finish because it was flaying my heart open) but Watership Down is what people remember. It was straightforward, almost brutally simple, and the characters felt like animals, not like little humans in fur coats. It was never cute.

Write a book with talking animals in it these days and you can expect to be compared to Richard Adams. (Trust me on this one.) Very very few of us measure up, of course. That’s okay. If we had to meet those standards, we wouldn’t get very far. As a children’s book author, I’ve often tried to explain to assemblies of kids that we didn’t used to have all these books with talking animals—we had Watership Down and we liked it.* (Also, it was uphill in the snow to the library. Both ways. And you had to kill wolves with your library card.) They gaze at me with the polite pity of children who have grown up surrounded by books with talking animals, knowing that I am from some unimaginably ancient era, before the internet or the discovery of fire.

I suspect that the vast majority of authors of those books were once like me—nine years old, maybe, with Hazel and Fiver and Bigwig and Blackberry newly etched on their hearts, determined that the story would not end here.

I live on Twitter these days, which is either a great personal failing or just the way of the world, and I watched it fill up with remembrances, from authors of bestsellers and authors of small niche works and readers of both, from comic creators and artists and fans. From all of us who, to this day, remember every word of Lapine, who know what El-ahrairah’s name means and why his ears glow like starlight.

The story will go on.

*Okay, we also had Bambi, and if you read the book by Felix Salten, the death of Bambi’s mother is possibly the least traumatic part of it. I choose not to mention this to third-graders.

Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

Princess Leia from Star Wars reel shown at SDCC 2015.

Princess Leia from Star Wars reel shown at SDCC 2015.

Actress Carrie Fisher died December 27, four days after going into cardiac arrest on an LA-bound airline flight.

In addition to the original Star Wars trilogy, and last year’s The Force Awakens, Fisher starred in such movies as The Blues Brothers, Under the Rainbow, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Amazon Women on the Moon.

She was also an accomplished writer, the author of best-selling books Postcards from the Edge, Surrender the Pink and Delusions of Grandma, and a script doctor who made uncredited contributions to numerous Hollywood films like The Wedding Singer, Hook and Sister Act.

Kate of Kate Hall, praised in every town

Kate Yule. Photo by Janna Silverstein.

Kate Yule. Photo by Janna Silverstein.

by John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1227)

Take this of me, Kate of my consolation,
thy virtues spoke of, yet not so deeply as to thee belongs.

There was of course no question of “taming” her, nor was she in any way – I don’t even want to say it.  Nor for that matter do I believe Shakespeare thought so of women; the play is Sly’s dream, and Shakespeare as ever – see Love’s Labors Lost – the all-too-true satirist of male folly.

David Levine was her husband for 25 years.  I can’t speak for him; nor should I; nor shall I.  Nor do I measure myself with him.  He knew her more in every way.  I only speak for myself.

The consolation is that I ever knew Kate Yule at all (1961-2016).  How many people I meet or see or guess traces of who are less than she – or of whom I think no better for lack of knowing them!

And in this universe ends are also, like it or not, beginnings; and if the morning brings me grief, if I feel the sunshine puts me in my rotting place, there is glory in growing.

Can I speak to her?  Go ahead, tell me about apostrophes.

And wherever she was, whatever else it was, that was Kate Hall.

I mustn’t omit Mad magazine’s putting on a cover that 1961 was the first upside-down year since 1881, the last until 6009.

She was a faithful correspondent of my fanzine Vanamonde.  From her letters:

  • “Yes yes to … naming the LASFS [L.A. S-F Society] restrooms Disposed and Communicado [Phil Castora’s suggestion]….  I will fight for the honor of the misused apostrophe.”
  • “Do you think cows are presented with meadows neatly sorted?”
  • “I read the tamburitza as being from the Pandemonium region of SE Europe.”
  • “I commend to you A Fez of the Heart: Travels Around Turkey in Search of a Hat by Jeremy Seal.”
  • “German can use the subjunctive to indicate support for a cited statement – neutrality – or a strong desire to hold it at arm’s length and downwind.”
  • “You, age 10, performing magic tricks for an audience…. is as intriguing an image as Woodrow Wilson cracking up at Will Rogers’ jokes.”

She and her husband published the small but perfectly formed fanzine Bento.  A few years ago I sent

“Both” say each of them
Engaging in much bothing,
Not uncaringly
Touching, trying, exploring,
Omnivoracious and neat.

Here’s an adventure from 2002 – last palindromic year until 2112 (reprinted from Vanamonde 484).

     David Levine was in town for a Writers of the Future writing workshop; Kate Yule came along, both I believe attending the annual Writers and Illustrators awards ceremony.

On Thursday night I reached the LASFS Clubhouse just before they left.  On Wednesday morning I met Yule for dim sum at the Empress Pavilion, took her through the main public library down town with its headless pillars four stories deep and its elevators lined with catalogue cards, and since Cathy Cupitt had, we lunched at the Oaxaqueño restaurant Guelaguetza.  On Friday, Simon Rodía’s Watts Towers, which I’d never visited, then Al Gelato in Beverly Hills.

In a museum at the Towers was Glass Lace, an artform of mirror-chip pictures, by Judson Powell; there also live folk instruments collected by Dr. & Mrs. Joseph Howard.

Rodía built the three Towers, and a gazebo with a 38-foot spire, and a Ship of Marco Polo with a 28’ spire, evenings and weekends over 34 years until 1954, when he was 75 years old; then he went away, giving all to a neighbor, and never returned.  Three weeks after his death in 1965 the Watts Riots left his work untouched.

The Towers are 55’, 97’10”, and 99’6” high, with 5,000 joints among 150 horizontal bands, 50 external vertical columns, and large external loops.

After the 1994 earthquake, a restoration crew needed eight years because only a few workers at a time could use the scaffolding; Rodía used none, nor bolts, rivets, welds, a drawing board; he made these soaring, interlacing, mosaic things with pipe-fitter pliers, a window-washer’s belt, scrap metal bent by hand, wire and steel-mesh wrapping, mortar, glass green from 7-Up bottles and blue from Phillips Milk of Magnesia, tiles, sea shells, ceramic shards, designs hand-drawn or pressed in, and sly jokes, like a shape odd from the ground which you could see was a horse-head from thirty feet up its Tower, and exactly one bottle cap.

Yule thought of Gaudí.

At her death – it was National Poetry Day in the United Kingdom, but that wasn’t my fault – I sent

Know – what?  Who we are?
Ardent looking not sated, stopped,
Thoughts, acts, to join or team ready,
Ending now?  Only the flesh is dropped.

                                          

Both poems are acrostic.  The first is in 5-7-5-7-7-syllable form, like Japanese tanka.  The second is roughly like Chinese Regulated Verse: for the scansion, I try sentence-stress instead of the First Tone (Chinese has no sentence-stress), and ignore insubstantial words (omitted in literary Chinese); below, / marks the caesura, R the rhyme.

– – / – x x
x x / x – – R
x x / – – x
– – / x x – R

Binker Hughes (1946-2016)

Elizabeth Mabel Binker Glock Hughes, Ph.D., died June 28 of cancer. The death of the long-time member of the Southern Fandom Press Alliance (SFPA) was just recently learned by her friends in fandom.

Guy H. Lillian III recalls, “Binker joined SFPA the same mailing as I did — #39, January 1971. She and her husband Steve were able Emergency Officers during a terrible crisis several years later and ran a fine DeepSouthCon in 1976.  She was always great company and a great friend. Rose-Marie and I send our best to her family, and I am saddened beyond description at her loss.”

Binker Hughes lived most of her life near Atlanta, GA, was married to Steve Hughes for 20 years and divorced in 1991. They ran two DeepSouthCons, in 1972 and 1976, the latter co-chaired with Ned Brooks.

Binker, Steve Hughes, and Ned Brooks at the 1976 DeepSouthCon.

Binker, Steve Hughes, and Ned Brooks at the 1976 DeepSouthCon.

The family obituary lists her many interests.

A freelance writer, she wrote for many commercial clients and online magazines; leaving a body of unpublished fiction work. She loved music, speleology, taekwondo, travel, science fiction and particularly St. James Anglican Church in Sandy Springs, GA.

[Thanks to Guy H. Lillian III for the story.]

Fritz Weaver (1926-2016)

Fritz Weaver in an episode of The Twilight Zone

Fritz Weaver in an episode of The Twilight Zone

By Steve Green: Fritz Weaver (1926-2016): American actor, died 26 November, aged 90. Genre appearances include The Twilight Zone (“Third from the Sun”, 1960; “The Obsolete Man”, 1961; “The Star”, 1985), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (“The Vulcan Affair”, 1964), The Invaders (“The Captive”, 1967), Night Gallery (“A Question of Fear”, 1971), Demon Seed (1977), Wonder Woman (“The Return of Wonder Woman”, 1977), The Martian Chronicles (“The Settlers”, 1980), Jaws of Satan (1981), Creepshow (1982), Tales from the Darkside (“Inside the Closet”, 1984; “Comet Watch”, 1986), Friday the 13th: The Series (“The Prophecies, parts 1 & 2”, 1989), Monsters (“Jar”, 1989), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (“Tribunal”, 1994), The X-Files (“Tunguska” and “Terma”, both 1996), The Cobbler (2014).