Sound and Fury Signifying Trivia

Today’s trivia question: Every winner of the Best Fan Writer Hugo has made at least one professional sale, but two winners have never sold a science fiction story. Can you name them?

The winners since the creation of the category in 1967 are: Terry Carr, Richard E. Geis, Mike Glyer, Dave Langford, Cheryl Morgan, Alexei Panshin, John Scalzi, Bob Shaw, Wilson Tucker, Harry Warner Jr., Ted White and Susan Wood.

Most of the names are easy to rule out because their record in the sf field is so well known.

Wilson Tucker won the 1970 Best Fan Writer Hugo, then had Year of the Quiet Sun nominated as Best Novel in 1971.

Scalzi’s novel Old Man’s War and its sequels have received Hugo nominations.

Dave Langford’s “Different Kinds of Darkness” won Best Short Story in 2001.

Bob Shaw’s classic short story “Light of Other Days” received a Hugo nomination in 1967. He didn’t get around to winning the Best Fan Writer Hugo until 1979 (and again in 1980.)

Ted White’s first novel was written in collaboration with another Best Fan Writer winner, Terry Carr. Invasion from 2500 (1964) was published under the pseudonym Norman Edwards. Ted went on to write lots of other novels under his own name.

Terry Carr, in the middle of a run of seven other nominations for his fan writing and fanzines (Fanac, Lighthouse) had a short story nominated for the Hugo in 1969, “The Dance of the Changer and the Three.” The year Terry finally won the Best Fan Writer Hugo, 1973, he was also nominated for Best Professional Editor (in the category’s debut), and it was as an editor he won his last two Hugos (1985, 1987).

Alexei Panshin won the first Best Fan Writer Hugo in 1967. He declined his nomination in 1968, hoping to set an example for future winners. He also had great success as a pro. His novel Rite of Passage received a Hugo nomination in 1969 and won the Nebula.

Harry Warner Jr. had 11 short stories published in the mid-1950s (and grumbled when that was discovered by his neighbors in Hagerstown — see the link below in comments).

Richard E. Geis has sold any number of erotic sf novels.

I trail this parade at a respectful distance, with one pro sale that appeared in Mike Resnick’s Alternate Worldcons.

That leaves two winning fanwriters to account for: Cheryl Morgan and Susan Wood. Cheryl has made nonfiction sales, but the Locus index lists no fiction. Susan Wood published scholarly work about the sf field, but no stories. So Morgan and Wood are the answer. (Subject to correction, as always…)

Update 10/12/2009: Of course Harry Warner sold short stories — text corrected. Thanks to Patrick Nielsen Hayden for the assist. Update 10/13/2009: And to Dave Langford for catching mistakes about Shaw’s story I have been helplessly repeating since, oh, 1967, although they ought to be avoidable  — I can always remember the exact year “Neutron Star” won its Hugo. 10/18/2009: Alexei Panshin’s comment gives the real reason he turned down his Best Fan Writer nomination in 1968.

14 thoughts on “Sound and Fury Signifying Trivia

  1. Actually, Harry Warner, Jr. wrote and sold a bunch of short stories in professional markets; they’re listed on the ISFDB here.

    A Warner piece about being outed to his Hagerstown contemporaries as someone who writes and sells SF is here.

  2. ‘Bob Shaw’s classic short story “Slow Glass” won a Hugo in 1967.’

    His classic story about slow glass is called “Light of Other Days”, and though it was shortlisted it didn’t win.

  3. “Susan Wood published scholarly work about the sf field, but no stories.”

    Also book reviews in non-scholarly publications, such as The Pacific Northwest Review of Books.

    “Can you name them?”

    This would have been a more fun post if you’d left it there, and seen who could answer, and given the answers in a subsequent post.

    (More fun for me, anyway. :-))

    “Wilson Tucker won the 1970 Best Fan Writer Hugo, then had Year of the Quiet Sun nominated as Best Novel in 1971.”

    Bob Tucker sold tons and tons of sf decades before that, starting in 1951.

    It might be worth distinguishing, while we’re discussing trivia, between those who became famous fans before they sold sf, and those who became famous fans after they sold sf, as well as those who were active as fans before they sold sf.

    Despite Tucker’s early sf career, he had been one of fandom’s biggest BNFs long before he sold any sf. Alexei Panshin’s writings on Heinlein and other fanac came before he sold Rite Of Panshin.

    John Scalzi is the only one who I think might be characterized as becoming known for his fanac only subsequent to his professional fiction career taking off. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    Then there’s a similar run-through to be/could be done with Pro and Fan Artists, and those who have been nominated or won the Best and/or Fan Artist Hugos.

  4. @Gary — The way it’s turned out I left plenty of work for the readers. As for distinguishing whether somebody became a famous fan before or after he/she sold sf, I think that’s an entirely solipsistic exercise in defining fame and fandom. We here on the Amber worldline have barely heard of the most famous organizers of the Star Trek Welcommittee and the San Diego Comic Con, for example.

  5. Susan Wood was my first guess, and not a hard one to make.

    That pretty much only left Cheryl Morgan.

  6. “As for distinguishing whether somebody became a famous fan before or after he/she sold sf, I think that’s an entirely solipsistic exercise in defining fame and fandom.”

    Really? “Famous fan” simply means “famous in fandom,” which is to say “a very well-known fan,” which is to say a “Big Name Fan.”

    Is it really solipsistic and unusual, or controversial, to say that that Terry Carr, Richard E. Geis, Dave Langford, Alexei Panshin, Bob Shaw, Wilson Tucker, Harry Warner Jr., Ted White, and yourself were Big Name Fans before you had professional fiction published?

    Really? Which people on this list weren’t very well-known fans before their sales, exactly?

    If you were talking about who is a well-known fan now, you’d be making perfect sense to me. But I wonder who you might suggest, of the above, wasn’t well-known to fandom-as-it-was-then-defined back in the 1970s.

    You and Langford are the most junior on the above list in terms of both when you first became active as fans, and when you were first Hugo nominated, which was 1979 for David and 1980 for yourself.

    I don’t think there’s anyone of the people I’ve listed other than possibly David who could conceivably be said to not have been well-known to fandom before their first fiction sale.

    (David’s being “Heatwave” in New Writings in SF 27, ed. Ken Bulmer (London, Sidgwick & Jackson hc, 1975, according to his bibliography; I think it’s fair to say that in 1975 David was reasonably well-known in British fandom, but wasn’t yet very well-known in American or non-British fandom.)

    On the other hand, perhaps you’re right that it’s not worth distinguishing or mentioning. 🙂

  7. I see what you mean now, and your point is well taken. For some reason I interpreted you to be making a sweeping comment when you only meant to refer to the Hugo winners in the trivia question.

  8. > We here on the Amber worldline have barely heard of the most
    > famous organizers of the Star Trek Welcommittee and the San Diego
    > Comic Con, for example.

    According to the Wikipedia article about it, the Star Trek Welcommittee was based on an idea of Jacqueline Lichtenberg’s, fashioned after, believe it or not, the N3F. Although not the first chairwoman, the best-known was the late Mrs. Shirley Maiewski. The organization has since been disbanded.

    The San Diego Comic Con, according to Mark Evanier, was the idea of Shel Dorf, who is very ill, also according to Mr. Evanier, and from whose description I suspect may soon be described as the late Mr. Dorf, unfortunately.

    It’s not Murder that Will Out, it’s Entropy.

  9. For Gary:

    No, I don’t think I was well known in British fandom when I sold my first short story in 1974 or when it appeared in 1975. I was just a small part of the Oxford university group crowd at my first conventions (Novacon 1973, Eastercon 1974), and didn’t start either writing for or publishing fanzines as we know them until 1976.

  10. Thanks for the correction, David (L); as we know, I didn’t hear of you (or at least other than in oh-I’ve-seen-him-mentioned sense) until 1977, but I was a bit vague as to whether you might be said to have become well-known in British fandom in ’74, ’75, or ’76.

    David K. reminds me that I was idly wondering just the other day if any remnant of the N3F was still around, and it turns out they seem to be running with about as much enthusiasm as they ever did. Seth Johnson no doubt would be proud.

    And speaking of the N3F inspiring the ST Welcommitee, there seems to have been some flowback, judging from this:

    […] We also have the N3F mailing list online,
    at n3f@yahoogroups.com, exclusive to
    Neffers only, where you can talk to your fellow
    Neffers with online access in a more speedy
    fashion. On our very own website, n3f.org
    (hosted by the ever-generous simegen.com),

    Hey, did you know that:

    […] It is possible to be a highly active fan without ever sending a letter outside of the N3F membership.

    Something to keep in mind!

    I’m also relieved to know that the Birthday Card Bureau is still going. I was worried.

    And here’s something that seems ultra up-to-date:

    […] CORRESPONDENCE: Would you like to meet
    up with some new N3F friends? Find someone who
    shares your interests? This popular bureau matches people
    interested in acquiring pen pals. If you enjoy writing
    letters and want pen pals with similar interests, this bureau
    provides that service for members of N3F.

    This is great, because in 2009, I can’t imagine how I might find a pen pal if not for the N3f.

    But oh noes, there is no current head of the Birthday Card Bureau!

    […] BIRTHDAY CARDS:
    OPEN

    I’m going to join up right away, and apply for the position, and then I’ll finally be able to retire from fandom, my ever last fannish dream having come true.

    Interestingly:

    […] CONVENTION COORDINATOR:
    Chris Garcia
    garcia@computerhistory.org

    I’m also relieved to read the elaborate explanation of how the snail mail Round Robins work.

    And before I quit the ever-reward sport of mocking the N3F, I have to note that while the “Your Place In Fandom” essay has been duly updated with a couple of phrases and sentences about using computers and email, this part remains retained:

    […] If you’re such a quiet person that the
    thought of activity and notoriety makes you
    turn pale, then you can remain happily in the
    background, carrying on correspondence and
    sending letters/email to the Voice of the Imagination.

    Yes, folks, get started on sending locs to VOM today!

    It’ll certainly keep you quietly in the background.

  11. For what it is worth, I sold my first professional SF story, “Down to the Worlds of Men” (a portion of Rite of Passage) in 1962, more than a year before I published my first fanzine essay. So “turning pro” had nothing to do with my declining the nomination for Best Fan Writer in 1968. Rather, my thinking was that having won the award the first time it was given, I shouldn’t be greedy. I hoped to set a precedent, but it didn’t work out that way.

  12. “For what it is worth, I sold my first professional SF story, ‘Down to the Worlds of Men’ (a portion of Rite of Passage) in 1962, more than a year before I published my first fanzine essay.”

    Thanks for that correction to what I wrote, Alexei; I’m always glad to not to perpetuate a misstatement of fact in future.

    John Scalzi told folks not to vote for him for Best Fan Writer again this year after winning last year, on the same reasoning as yours, by the way.

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