Journey Planet 31, Something Good To End 2016

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James Bacon invites one and all to download Journey Planet #31, co-edited by James, Christopher J Garcia and Pádraig Ó Méalóid.

In December 1966, fifty years ago now, a 15-year-old Irish teenager called Tony Roche did a remarkable thing. He published the first issue of a comics fanzine called The Merry Marvel Fanzine.

What was remarkable about this was that this was the first comics ‘zine on this side of the Atlantic. They had already existed in the US, but it would be over six months before the first British comics fanzine, Ka-Pow, produced by Phil Clarke and Steve Moore, would appear, in July 1967.

By producing The Merry Marvel Fanzine, and subsequently Heroes Unlimited, Tony Roche, all unbeknownst to himself, helped set in motion a tradition of ‘zines and communication between comics fans that continues, unbroken, to this day.

Tony went AWOL in the summer of 1969 – like many another – leaving the fan community to pursue an international academic career, culminating in a Professorship in Irish Literature in UCD. But he has now reappeared, and had opened a treasure chest full of unbelievable goodies, some of which he has allowed us to share, including artwork, articles, his Merry Marvel Marching Society membership card, and a previously unpublished Letter of Comment written by Alan Moore, shortly after his fifteenth birthday.

This issue of Journey Planet includes

  • An oral history of the time from Tony, which traces his adventures, including trips to a New York comic con and the very first British comic con
  • Fan artwork by legendary comics artist Paul Neary
  • An unpublished Alan Moore letter, sent to Heroes Unlimited in late 1968
  • Articles on Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, and The Avengers by Tony Roche from Heroes Unlimited
  • Unpublished correspondence from BBC presenter John Peel to Heroes Unlimited
  • A few words from Dez Skinn

And more!

This Was the Forrest Primeval

Ackerman Square sign installation. Photo by Michael Locke.

Ackerman Square sign installation on November 17. Photo by Michael Locke.

By John Hertz: When I passed a storefront bearing a sign “Esperanto Inc.”, I knew it would be a good day for remembering Forrest J Ackerman (1916-2008).

If he were reading over my shoulder he might say “But Esperan-Test was Roy Test [1921-2009].”  Maybe he is.  They were among the happy few who in 1934 founded the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, oldest SF club on Earth.  Roy’s mother Wanda was the secretary; Forry called her minutes Thrilling Wanda Stories.  In an inspired pun he called SF fandom the Imagi-Nation.

Eventually we recognized as First Fandom all those who had been active at least as early as the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939.  Forry’s first published letter was in Science Wonder Quarterly ten years earlier.

On November 17, 2016, the City of Los Angeles, as advertised, declared the four corners of Franklin & Vermont Aves. to be Forrest J Ackerman Square.  This was in District 4; Councilman David Ryu was there.  The ceremony was on the southeast corner, in front of Forry’s beloved House of Pies restaurant.  When he had to give up the Ackermansion on Glendower Ave. his real-estate agent was told “Get me something within a half-mile radius of the House of Pies”, and did.  Another Ackermiracle.

The Acker Mini-mansion. Photo by Michael Locke.

The Acker Mini-mansion. Photo by Michael Locke.

The City’s placards acknowledged 4e as “Mr. Sci-Fi”; he had coined sci-fi when high-fidelity audio recording was new and people talked of hi-fi.  He knew but was unconvinced by the sorrow some of us came to feel at the scornful use of his expression in the mass media.  His attitude might have been Don’t fight them, embrace them.  I never discussed it with him.  He wasn’t a fighter, he was a lover.

I also never discussed what he knew of Owen Glendower.

I was merely the first, by no means the only, person to remind Ryu’s staff there was no period after the J.  Forry had gone to court making that his legal name.  Replacement placards were promptly promised.  A deputy showed me the Council resolution had written it right.

Ackerman Square dedication placard (with erroneous period after the initial "J").

Ackerman Square dedication placard (with erroneous period after the initial “J”).

Most of the sixty standing on the corner, and all the speakers, knew Uncle Forry as the Ackermonster, for twenty years editor, writer, chief cook and bottle-washer, and blithe spirit of Famous Monsters of Filmland.  They spoke of his generosity — which he certainly had — and his turning focus from the stars to people behind the camera, make-up artists, technicians.  They thanked him for inspiring them to become professionals and to achieve recognition.

Some of the Ackerman devotees on hand for the dedication. Photo by Michael Locke.

Some of the Ackerman devotees on hand for the dedication. Photo by Michael Locke.

Half a dozen from LASFS were there too, including two on the board of directors and a former president.  No one had invited us to speak, nor indeed to attend; we came because we were willing and able (must be both) and it seemed the fannish thing to do.

LASFS delegation. Standing (L-R) Michelle Pincus, Gavin Claypool, Beverly Warren, Matthew Tepper. Kneeling (L-R) John Hertz, Debra Levin, Shawn Crosby.

LASFS delegation. Standing (L-R) Michelle Pincus, Gavin Claypool, Beverly Warren, Matthew Tepper. Kneeling (L-R) John Hertz, Debra Levin, Shawn Crosby.

It’s a proud and lonely thing to be a fan.  I’m not surprised that commercial science-fiction conventions run to six-figure numbers while our local Loscon draws a thousand.  The difference is in the participation.  Not much mental voltage is needed to imagine people must be either buyers or sellers.

Some fans do turn pro; if willing and able, why not?  Some pros develop careers as fans.  Some people are active as both.  Forry was.  But as Patrick Nielsen Hayden says, and he should know, in our community fandom is not a junior varsity for prodom.

And there was cake. Photo by Michael Locke.

And there was cake. Photo by Michael Locke.

Forry’s hundredth birthday will be in a few days, November 24th.  Buy a book — or write one.  See a movie — or take part in one.  Send a letter of comment to a prozine — or a fanzine (since you’re here in Electronicland you might as well know, and you may already, that you can find some fanzines electronically.)

Visit fans in another country, in person or by phone or mail.  Forry did all those.  To him it was all good.

Photo by MIchael Locke.

Photo by MIchael Locke.

Swedish Fanzine Scholarship Rewarded

The Swedish Royal National Library announced April 11 that “Research on science fiction fanzines gets this year’s Klemming Scholarship”. Hampus Eckerman has provided a translation of the press release.

Jerry Määttä, PhD in Comparative Literature, has been awarded this year’s Klemming Scholarship of 50 000 swedish crowns from the Royal National Library. He receives the award for his project “Swedish science fiction fanzines, about 1970-1990: bibliography, functions, forms of expression.”

The citation reads: “A scientifically rigorous application with realistic implementation plan on an exciting and underutilized category of material that deserves more attention.”

A fanzine is a simple amateur produced publication that is primarily intended for a small circle of readers with a common, but in the public’s eyes narrow interest. This year Klemming scholar Jerry Määttä studies the Swedish science fiction fanzines uniqueness, functionality and expression.

The project is meant to result in a bibliography of the most important Swedish science fiction fanzines from the 1970s and 1980s. The aim is also to study the fanzine as an expression of a pre-digital Community similar to that of digital media (mailing lists, web forums and social media) later launched to a wider public.

The applications in this year’s call for proposals have been assessed by Dr Erika Kihlman, Stockholm University, tf. Head of Department Miriam Nauri, KB, and associate professor Jonas Nordin, KB.

Määttä’s webpage outlines his other scholarly activities:

He is currently involved in research of the study “The End of the World: The Rhetoric and Ideology of Apocalypse in Literature and Film, ca. 1950–2010”. He seems drawn to this area as his previous study was “Elegy for an Empire: The Disaster Stories of John Wyndham, 1951–1957”. Another study on the same subject, “Keeping Count of the End of the World – A Statistical Analysis of the Historiography, Canonisation, and Historical Fluctuations of Anglophone Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Disaster Narratives”, can be downloaded from here: http://www.cultureunbound.ep.liu.se/v7/a23/cu15v7a23.pdf

The download is in English.

[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman for the story.]

Free Download of NYRSF’s Special Hartwell Memorial Issue

David G. Hartwell in 2006.

David G. Hartwell in 2006.

The New York Review of Science Fiction #330 is a Special Memorial Issue devoted to the magazine’s co-founder, the late David G. Hartwell. Produced in conjunction with the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, it presents “a collection of memories, conversations, appreciations, poetry, arguments, and outpourings from friends, family, fellow travelers, clients, coworkers, and others whose lives David touched.”

The Ebook/PDF can be downloaded free here.

Andrew Porter, who sent me the link, cautions that the download link is live for only another four days. In case that’s true, get a move on! However, no time limit is mentioned in NYRSF’s announcement on Twitter –

— nor on vendor’s site, Weightlessbooks.com.

Contributors

  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Kathryn Cramer
  • Gary K. Wolfe
  • Dave Drake
  • Eugene Reynolds
  • Gordon Van Gelder
  • Mary Robinette Kowal
  • James Morrow
  • F. Brett Cox
  • Marco Palmieri
  • Henry Wessells
  • Susan Palwick
  • Toni Weisskopf
  • Michael Swanwick
  • Ann Crimmins
  • Kit Reed
  • Farah Mendlesohn
  • Rudy Rucker
  • Shira Daemon Houghton
  • Joseph T. Berlant
  • Judith Collins
  • James Frenkel
  • Jan Vane?k, Jr.
  • Paul Levinson
  • Kathryn Morrow
  • Joe Milicia
  • Michael Levy
  • Gregory Benford
  • Samuel R. Delany
  • Jean-Louis Trudel
  • Donald “Mack” Hassler
  • Paul Park
  • Randy Byers
  • Gwyneth Jones
  • Liz Argall
  • Michael Bishop
  • John Clute
  • Lisa Padol
  • Andy Duncan
  • Yves Meynard
  • Darrell Schweitzer
  • David Brin
  • Alex Donald
  • Jo Walton
  • B. Diane Martin and David G. Shaw
  • Ron Drummond
  • Alexei Panshin
  • Christopher Brown
  • Stephen B. Gerken
  • Kevin J. Maroney

 

 

SF Scholar Rob Latham Fired by University of California

Rob Latham in 2008.

Rob Latham in 2008.

Rob Latham, a tenured professor of English at University of California, Riverside and a member of its science fiction research cluster who evangelized the Eaton Collection throughout fandom, has been fired by the UC Board of Regents. Charges of sexual harassment and substance abuse are addressed in Latham’s 3,900-word statement, first presented to the Regents and now published by the Academe Blog, however, the exact charges are not quoted.

He denied the complaint of sexual harassment:

….I can’t believe that this case, which began with false charges of sexual harassment brought by a disgruntled graduate student and his girlfriend, has been allowed to reach the Board of Regents. It should have been settled through informal mediation long ago.

However, not only was no such good faith effort ever attempted by the UCR administration, but I was never even invited to respond to the charges or to submit exculpatory evidence. Instead, the administration adopted an adversarial posture from the outset, as if the original allegations—the vast majority of which we now know to be untrue—had already been proven. As Vice Provost Daniel Ozer testified at the disciplinary hearing, the administration never sought to change course even when it became clear that the two complainants had submitted doctored evidence and leveled charges that were proven false by a police investigation.

He argued the issue of substance abuse was being manipulated to support a disproportionate disciplinary action:

I made a serious error of judgment in relation to substance abuse, for which I sought treatment one full year before any charges were filed against me. The Senate, for whatever reason, gave me no credit for that effort at self-correction, and now Chancellor Wilcox is asking you to dismiss me for the recurrence of a psychological illness, rather than for the original charges of flagrant, serial sexual harassment—charges that were considered and dismissed by the Hearing Committee, whose findings the Chancellor has accepted in their entirety.

He levied many criticisms against the hearing process in his address to the Regents, including —

I have outlined, in my ten-page written statement, the political pressures and rank homophobia that deformed the disciplinary process, including acts of official misconduct that are currently being investigated by the Faculty Senate. All I will repeat here is that the intervention of the graduate student union, at an early juncture of this case, and their threats to “go public” if the administration did not acquiesce to their demand for my “removal as Professor of English,” was crucial in setting the administration on the course they pursued. This course included manipulating and corrupting an ostensibly fair and impartial Title IX investigation, coaching student witnesses supportive of their case while attempting to intimidate those supportive of me, and suppressing evidence crucial to my defense before the Faculty Senate.

Latham spent the first 13 years of his teaching career at the University of Iowa as a Professor of English and American Studies, where he ran a Program in Sexuality Studies.

He was hired by UC Riverside in 2008 to join the English Department faculty, with responsibilities that included serving as an informal liaison to the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature. He received the Clareson Award for Distinguished Service from the SF Research Association in 2012, the field’s premier award.

Latham has made many connections with fanzine fans. He contributed a perceptive and well-received article to Earl Kemp’s eI #37 about using fanzines for academic research. Mike Horvat’s vast fanzine collection landed at the University of Iowa because a former student of Latham’s, Greg Beatty, a UI graduate spotted the listing online, and immediately emailed Latham.

Despite the growing prestige of UCR’s science fiction collection and research, there have been signs of conflict between the administration and faculty members in UCR’s science fiction research cluster. Both Latham and Nalo Hopkinson, a well-known sf writer and another member of that research cluster, publically expressed concern in summer 2014 about the way the Eaton Collection was being administered (see “How Healthy Is The Eaton Collection?”.)

Nothing that was aired in 2014 seems directly related to the issues in Latham’s hearing, other than the foreshadowing of the toxic professional relationships explicitly described in Latham’s statement to the Regents:

My hiring was the result of an international search for a senior scholar, mounted by former Dean Steve Cullenberg and former Chancellor Tim White, two very good men and superb administrators with whom I had an excellent working relationship. However, following the hire of Chancellor Wilcox in 2013—and especially of Provost D’Anieri in 2014—the atmosphere at UCR changed from one of cooperation and consultation with faculty to one of confrontation and hostility. I say this merely to indicate that I gave seven years of exemplary service to the campus but, following the lodging of false charges by a student with a grudge, have been hounded by a vengeful administration intent on railroading me out of my job.

Readers do not have full information to evaluate the case, nor is that likely to become public unless Latham follows up with a lawsuit and the suit goes to trial. However, news of Latham’s firing is all the more surprising for coming at the same time his standing as a scholar has been affirmed by an announcement that the MLA 2017 session “Dangerous Visions: Science Fiction’s Countercultures” will base its call for papers on responses to Latham’s “Countercultures” chapter in his edited volume The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction (2014).

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Nick Mamatas for the story.]

File 770 #165 Available

Another New Year’s Eve tradition — ring out the year with the fanzine version of File 770.

Click here — File 770 #165, [5MB PDF file]

With a cover by Steve Stiles, the issue features these original articles:

  • One Month a Grand Master by Larry Niven and John Hertz
  • The Rotsler Winners: Personal Musings by Taral Wayne
  • John Hertz’s Westercon Notebook, a report of the 2014 convention
  • Red Letter Days, Taral Wayne muses about the calendar

Plus reprints of three popular articles:

  • The Man From U.N.C.L.E by James H. Burns
  • My Father, And The Brontosaurus by James H. Burns
  • Viewing The Remains of Bradbury’s House by John King Tarpinian

Journey Planet Letters Issue

journey planet 26 letters COMP

Journey Planet #26 delivers “Letters from Absentia” – about the art of letter writing, penmanship, stamps, philatelia, fountain pens and ink, as well as letters in time of war, and gameplay. Get your copy here.

The theme issue was assembled by guest editors Meg Frank, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, and Linda Wenzelburger, plus James Bacon and Chris Garcia.

We have a veritable rogue’s gallery, starting with work and writing from Terry Pratchett, Seamus Heaney, Iain Banks, Robert Rankin, Alan Moore, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Gaynor and Myke Cole. Regulars Helena Nash, Pádraig Ó Méalóid and James Bacon focus on a variety of subjects from letters to the pen of Flann O’Brien to stalking Neil Gaiman’s pens, and there’s also advice about getting pens, histories of games by mail, food and letters, heartbreak and handwriting.

The editors have utilised handcrafted scripts, postal artwork, a customised ink and headers, and correspondence from the Instant Fanzine (sent by post, of course!) to illustrate the pages of the zine.

I’ll be surprised if our resident pen collector, John King Tarpinian, isn’t among the first to download the issue!

Shields’ GUFF Report Available

James Shields won GUFF in 2010 and attended Aussiecon 4. Shields recently completed and published his trip report, titled A Rough Guide to GUFF.

Yes, it’s been a long time coming.

I’ve put a lot of work into getting the report from my trip report finished, and I hope the result makes it worthwhile. I wanted the finished product to look really good, and I hope I’ve achieved that.

Copies have been taken to a few conventions for sale, and they are also available from print-on-demand publisher Blurb.com. Shields reminds everyone that his report is a fundraiser for GUFF:

€5 from the price goes directly to the GUFF fund. Unfortunately, the shipping on single issues is pricey, so if you’d prefer to wait and pick it up at a con, it should be considerably cheaper.

Mimosa #5 Online — At Last!

Mimosa #5 cover by Alan Hutchinson.

Mimosa #5 cover by Alan Hutchinson.

Rich Lynch announces that after a mere 27 years the 5th (yes, Filers, fifth!) issue of Mimosa (August 1988) is now online in easy-on-the-eyes HTML.

The issue contains articles and essays by Robert Lichtman, Carolyn Doyle, Greg Hills, Dal Coger, Sharon Farber, Alan Hutchinson, and Nicki Lynch.  The Farber article is the very first in her long series of “Tales of Adventure and Medical Life” stories, while Alan Hutchinson’s article is an example of that great Southern Fandom tradition, the hoax convention report (though some of it actually happened).  Robert Lichtman gives us a glimpse onto what was perhaps the most successful commune settlement in the United States (it was simply known as “The Farm”), Nicki talks about her brief career as a coffee shop barista, and Dal Coger remembers fandom’s most eccentric character, the legendary Claude Degler.  In addition to all this, a Midwestcon 39 conversation between Howard DeVore, Lynn Hickman, Ray Beam, and Roger Sims informs us on “The Awful Truth About Roger Sims”.

This was the final issue that Nicki and I published from Chattanooga, and it’s more-or-less themed as a “Farewell to Tennessee” issue.  It’s all entertaining.  Hope you think so, too.

Mimosa won the Best Fanzine Hugo six times between 1992 and 2003. With many interesting fanhistorical articles – including autobiographical series by Dave Kyle, Forry Ackerman and Mike Resnick – its website is well worth a visit.

Corflu Chiflu in 2016

CORFLU_CHIFLU_LOGORegistration and hotel information has been posted for Corflu Chiflu, the 33rd edition of the fanzine fans’ convention, to be held in Chicago from May 13-15, 2016.

Fans will gather at the Club Quarters in downtown Chicago. The convention rate is good until April 1.

Attending memberships are available for $75 through the end of 2015. Payment will be accepted by check or Paypal. Supporting memberships can be bought for $25. See the website for payment details and overseas agent options.

[Thanks to Nigel Rowe for the story.]