Snapshots 32 Snub-Nosed

Here are 8 developments of interest to fans:

(1) Morgan Holmes attended from the first Edmond Hamilton Day in Kinsman, Ohio on July 18, 2009:

I learned quite a bit about the personalities of both Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett including what cars they drove. The 1964 Corvette for example was Brackett’s and not Hamiltons. She also did the driving.

Stephen Haffner also circulated this link to a Flickr gallery of photos taken at the event.

(2) Gary Farber’s “wacky round-up of that ‘sci-fi’ news the kids today are so into!” has a lot to say about Wil Wheaton’s appearance on Big Bang Theory.   

David Klaus looked at a photo of Wheaton in character for the episode, captioned “Nerrrrddd!!!”, and asked: “Is it just me, or has young Mr. Wheaton managed to channel Dan Alderson?”

Dan was a long-time LASFSian who worked at JPL and kicked around science fictional ideas with Jerry Pournelle, such as the space drive given his name in Pournelle’s CoDominium series. David is quite right  – Wheaton in character could be Alderson’s twin from the days when Dan was fresh from Cal Tech.

(3) Farber also asks: “Hey, Mike, could they have used a rail gun in the trailer for the 1951 Raiders of the Lost Ark to destroy stuff built by Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication? You know you want to find out, and click the electric-powered videos!”

I’m touched by his confidence that a link here will drive tons of traffic to his posts. Such faith deserves a reward, so I encourage all 29 of you regular readers to visit.  

(4) Wendy McElroy may not have an alibi, but Robert Sawyer will.

(5) David Klaus treasured his Father’s Day present, the biography of DeForest Kelley From Sawdust to Stardust by Terry Lee Rioux:

I’ve asked a question of Leonard Nimoy from an audience; I’ve had one-on-one in-person conversations with James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Grace Lee Whitney; and once had a telephone conversation with William Shatner. Gene Roddenberry came over and introduced himself to me to ease a potentially awkward social situation and graciously keep me from embarrassment. But I never met DeForest Kelley. Yet as much as I love them all, and I do, he was the one I loved most.

Click on the link to find out why.

(6) Terry Pratchett has given a new interview to the UK Telegraph.

However, I’m being quite truthful when I tell him later on that if I didn’t know he had PCA, I would never have guessed.

‘That’s because I talk,’ he says. ‘I can turn a phrase and actually I can turn a phrase bloody well when I want to. But if I took off this shirt and you threw it on the floor and perhaps pulled a sleeve inside out, I would be able to put it back on again, but you would see the celebration happening afterwards. It’s all to do with one’s apprehension of the world.

(7) Fox plans a “Western with a sci-fi twist” that will “revolve around ‘a gunslinger caught between worlds’ and will feature a nod to Planet of the Apes.  

David Klaus is not sanguine about its chances: “Considering the Fox bastards ‘burned the land and boiled the sea’ from under Firefly, and have now also cancelled making more episodes of Saving Grace even though TNT wants to buy them (!), it’ll be interesting to see what happens here. The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr. was on Fox, and got cancelled in only one season, too. SF + Western = Murdoch’s Fox screws it up.”

(8) It’s animals with light sabers. I never knew those things worked underwater…

[Thanks for the links included in this post go to David Klaus, Gary Farber and Andrew Porter.]

Update 09/30/2009: Corrected link to David Klaus’ LJ per his comment.

Joe Haldeman Status, 9/29/2009

Gay Haldeman posted at, “Joe is still in ICU, still on the ventilator, still running a fever of about 102.  The consensus among the docs is that he doesn’t have an infection, he has an inflammation of the pancreas.  As far as I can tell, the plan is to keep all signs stable and wait it out.  This may be a very long wait, one doc told me.  So… one day at a time.  He knew I was there today, but he wasn’t agitated, thank goodness.”

Zanny Leach Dillson Passes Away

Zanny Leach Dillson, a Chattanooga fan  died from leukemia on September 25.  She was on the Chattacon board for over 20 years, served as Treasurer and ran several departments over that time, including consuite. She was 56. The family-posted obituary is here.

Her daughter told friends, “It was my mother’s wish that there would be no funeral held for her. She hated funerals and didn’t want people sad and grieving and, (in her words) ‘wearing drab-ass clothes.’ Her request was to have a wake in her honor to celebrate her life.” The wake will be held October 3.

Ben Indick 1923-2009

Ben Indick, popular and highly esteemed fanzine fan, passed away September 28 at the age of 86 after a period of shaky health. He is survived by his wife, Janet, two grown children and two grandchildren.

In years gone by Ben was a prolific writer of letters of comment to fanzines, File 770 luckily among them. He became one of the leading personalities in Donn Brazier’s famous Title in the 1970s.  

Andrew Porter reminisces: “Ben Indick received the First Fandom Hall of Fame award at Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon. Besides his long-running fanzine Ben’s Beat, he had hundreds of articles, reviews and other material published, for instance George Alec Effinger: From Entropy to Budayeen (1992), ‘H. Russell Wakefield: The Man Who Believed in Ghosts’ in Discovering Classic Horror Fiction (Borgo Press, 1992), short stories in a variety of places, an interview with Nelson S. Bond in Publishers Weekly, and material in REHUPA, the Robert E. Howard United Press Association.”

Robert Lichtman advised the Trufen list: “Contributions in Ben’s memory can be made to The Dramatists Guild Fund. The Guild, of which he was a lifetime member, is America’s national organization of playwrights, and is a group that was dear to his heart.”

[Via Robert Lichtman and Andrew Porter.]

Life in Fandom, Vintage 1951

While I’m impressed that Google can search Life magazine’s photo archive, it’s had no practical impact on my blogging – my posts don’t call for pictures of Dwight Eisenhower, Rita Hayworth and Jackie Kennedy. And when Google Books made 1800 complete issues of Life available online September 23, I supposed bloggers would attach the most significance to Google’s first having secured permission of the copyright holder. Not so!

Bill Higgins (I hear) was the first to discover within this massive collection something of unique fanhistorical interest. He triggered an internet stampede by posting the Google Books link to Winthrop Sargeant’s article in the May 21, 1951 issue of Life – “Through the Interstellar Looking Glass” – an astonishingly well-informed narrative about science fiction fandom. Such accuracy and sensitivity to fannish nuance remains beyond the capability of today’s journalists, so the achievement is all the more remarkable having come at a time when fans identified themselves with propeller beanies. (*)

Sargeant not only got the facts right, he also had remarkable sympathy for fandom’s received wisdom on many points, such as:

…the modern science fiction fan tends to be a little suspicious of any contemporary STF writer who, like Ray Bradbury, gives moral ideas and human problems precedence over invention and discovery.

James V. Taurasi, Forrest J Ackerman and various Detroit fans were Sargeant’s sources, according to A Wealth of Fable. These sources even arranged to have Life magazine put the slug on assorted science fictional embarrassments like the Shaver Mystery. (Richard Shaver is little remembered now, but back in the day when Bob Stewart invented a dartboard with pictures of annoying pros taped to it, players got 10 points for Ellison and 7 for Shaver.)

You can find good links to the article at Ansible or The Crotchety Old Fan.  

The visual pièce de résistance is the two-page spread devoted to a panoramic photo of pros and fans at a Hydra Club banquet. Curiously, no one in the photo is identified in the caption. I’d sure like to know what names go with all these faces.

The Hydra Club was a group of New York writers — Frederik Pohl was one of the nine heads who founded it. Dave Kyle says in “The Legendary Hydra Club” (Mimosa 25) that the banquet photo Life published was taken at the Hydras’ New York Science Fiction Conference of July 1-3, 1950. Hydras organized it and invited ESFA members to participate, too.

The photo may include any or all of the Hydra members named in Kyle’s article: Judy Merrill, Sam Merwin, Jerry Bixby, Isaac Asimov, Harrison Smith (Publisher of The Saturday Review of Literature), Bea Mahaffey, Walter Bradbury (Doubleday), Groff Conklin, Frederick Fell, Robert Arthur, Dr. Tom Gardner, Dr. David H. Keller, Will F. Jenkins (Murray Leinster), and Phil Klass.

Sargeant’s article would have been just the beginning of respectable mass media attention to fandom had things happened according to plan. The 1952 Worldcon in Chicago drew representatives from Look, Life and Time. Unfortunately, as Warner writes in A Wealth of Fable, when the representatives of the Luce magazines found Look photographers taking pictures of a ballet which University of Chicago students had worked up, they walked out in a huff. All three magazines turned up their noses and published nothing about the con.

(*) Mind you, John Hertz and I are quite fond of ours. However, we’d be silly to think wearing them confers upon us any authority with reporters.

Joe Haldeman Sunday News

Although Joe Haldeman’s fever went down overnight with the help of a cooling mattress, Gay Haldeman reports that his doctor wanted him running a fever to help fight infection. So they let his fever run extremely high for awhile, then the doctor put him back on the cold mattress. In her September 27 post to Gay says other signs are still okay.