By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 913): I gave him a gilt bottle of mimeograph correction fluid for his 50th birthday. I dressed as Auguste Dupin for him in a presentation at the detective-fiction convention Bouchercon the year he co-chaired. I drank Chivas Regal with him. Len Moffatt was of First Fandom, that happy band active among us at least as early as the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. Born in Arizona, by his teens he was a founder of the Western Pennsylvania Science Fictioneers, doing fanzines – a word not yet invented – and corresponding with fans around the United States and United Kingdom. In World War II he joined the Navy like his ancestors and served as a hospital-corpsman with the Marines; he was in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb. In 1946 he joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. He always pronounced LASFS to rhyme with mass sass. He did a lot of rhyming, sometimes as the clown Pike Pickens, sometimes clowning himself.
Some fans sell s-f, some become quite active as pros. In 1949 the LASFS began a yearly Fanquet honoring the member who sold the most words in the previous year. Moffatt tied for that honor in 1951. In 2004 the LASFS gave him its Forry Award, named after Forry Ackerman, for lifetime achievement in s-f, putting him in the company of Ray Bradbury, Kelly Freas, and C.L. Moore. In 2008 his poem “What a Friend We Have in Sherlock” appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Detective fiction has long been our next-door neighbor. Bouchercon, of which Len and his second wife June were co-founders, was named for Tony Boucher, a top and if I may say so tony editor and author there and here. It gave them its Anthony Award for lifetime achievement in 1999.
Len was probably Rick Sneary’s best friend. Both were active in the Outlanders, one of the many s-f clubs outside the LASFS – often overlapping the LASFS membership – that have flourished from time to time. Sneary lived in South Gate. In 1948 he began, first as a joke, the slogan South Gate in ’58. It caught on. The Worldcon moves around so as to be each year in someone’s back yard. In 1957 the con was in London. It voted for South Gate. Be careful what you wish. Luckily the mayors of South Gate and Los Angeles by joint proclamation constituted the premises of the Hotel Alexandria as South Gate for the duration and purposes of the Worldcon. The con was called “Solacon” in honor of the combination. It also combined with that year’s Westercon, the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference. Len was in the thick of it all. A decade and a half later he was Fan Guest of Honor at Westercon XXV.
Besides fanzines we have apas, amateur publishing associations, which distribute fanzines. We did not invent apas but we gave them our own life. Our first was the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, older than Worldcons. The distinction between science fiction and fantasy has long been known and blurred. The Moffatt FAPAzine was Moonshine. This was appropriate. Among Len’s achievements was fan fiction – in our sense, i.e. fiction about fans – that Terry Carr thought was factual anecdote. Len and June were in APA-L, much younger than FAPA, over thirty years until Len’s death. June still is.
Conviviality, hospitality were with Len’s wit, amplified, if possible, by June. Together clubmen and party hosts – the suffix -man is not masculine – they also welcomed and sponsored newcomers with open arms, and discernment, for them no paradox. Fine fannish things happened at Moffatt House and when the Moffatts went abroad. They went well abroad in 1973 as the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegates, nominated by Terry Jeeves, Ethel Lindsay, Juanita Coulson. Fred Patten, and Roy Tackett. attending the British national s-f con, and publishing their TAFF report in good time. In 1981 they were Fan Guests of Honor at our local s-f con Loscon. In 1994 they were given the Evans-Freehafer Award for service to the LASFS. Shortly before I had the honor of co-editing with them the Rick Sneary memorial fanzine Button-Tack. It seems like yesterday.
He was a lion. I loved him. Good-bye.