Roseanne Di Fate (1945-2014)

Ro and Vincent Di Fate at Lunacon in New York City in the 1970s. Photo by and  copyright © Andrew Porter.

Ro and Vincent Di Fate at Lunacon in New York City in the 1970s. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter.

Roseanne Di Fate died March 30 at the age of 68. She is survived by her husband, sf artist Vincent Di Fate, and her two sons, Christopher and Victor.

Roseanne and Vincent married in 1968. Roseanne, who held a degree in Childhood Education from Lehman College, taught in the Mount Vernon (NY) School District until her first child was born. When her sons were grown, she became head teacher for Community Nursery School of Poughkeepsie United Methodist Church. She finished her career teaching at Wimpfheimer Nursery School at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie retiring due to illness in 2010.

The family suggests memorial donations in Roseanne’s name may be made to the American Heart Association, 301 Manchester Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603, www.heart.org or American Cancer Society, 2678 South Rd # 103, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, www.cancer.org.

Alan Rodgers Photos

By Andrew Porter: The photos of Alan Rodgers I’ve seen attached to his obituaries bear little relation to the author I knew in NYC in the 1980s. So, here’s my photo of Alan, upon winning his Bram Stoker Award for 1987′s “The Boy Who Came Back from the Dead”, plus another, from 1990.

Alan Rodgers in 1987. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter.

Alan Rodgers in 1987. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter.

Alan Rodgers in 1990.Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter.

Alan Rodgers in 1990.Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter.

Porter: It Was 50 Years Ago Today

By Andrew Porter: In 1963, I was a 17-year-old student at Milford Preparatory School, in Milford, Conn. I was in my second year, due to graduate in May, 1964. Milford was a small school, all male then, now long shut down. I was, even then, known for my love for science fiction. My nickname there was “spaceman”; those who didn’t know me thought it was an insult, but I was happy with the moniker. Among other things, they let me keep my growing SF collection, as long as I kept my grades up, and, even better, I was allowed to use the school’s electric Ditto machine to run off the first several issues of Algol..

We had Friday afternoon after lunch off from classes, and I’d gone into Milford’s small center, to the variety store that had been supplying me with new SF paperbacks. Afterwards, I went to the local Goodwill store on the way back to the campus. That store had received a big batch of mint condition pulp magazines – Planet Stories, Startling, Thrilling Wonder, etc. — from the late 40s through the end of their days in the early 1950s. I’d been buying them up, as many as I could carry, each time I went in. (And I still have them, a little dustier, today.)

There, with customers and employees clustered around it, was a big old b&w TV set, and …

When I got back to school, the dorm master, teacher Francis Gemme, was running around the dorm in his underwear, holding an antique whaling harpoon he owned, shouting about a conspiracy. The students in the dorm, and likely much of the school, thought he was acting like a madman. (In later years, Gemme did introductions to academic paperback editions of such books as The War of the Worlds, Leaves of GrassOur Town and The Bridge of San Luis Rey, etc. He and his wife were on the DC-10 headed to the 1979 American Booksellers Association Convention in Los Angeles which crashed just after takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare, killing everyone on board.)

That evening, at dinner, they announced that the school would close early for Thanksgiving Recess, sending everyone home the next day. From my parents’ reaction on finding me unexpectedly returned from school, apparently they failed to tell anyone about this.

Lost in the press of events: C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley also died on November 22nd, 1963…

Photos of 1981 NYC Party for James White

Peter de Jong recently found a set of 27 photos taken at a 1981 party for LunaCon GoH James White, the Irish sf writer, and has posted them here.

The party, organized by Moshe Feder, was held at de Jong’s apartment in midtown Manhattan. Feder says he does not know who took the pictures.

James White wears his famous Saint Fantony blazer in photo #1.

Fans identified in the photographs are: Norma Auer Adams, Larry Carmody, Ross Chamberlain, Alina Chu, Eli Cohen, Genny Dazzo, Peter de Jong, Moshe Feder, Chip Hitchcock, Lenny Kaye, Hope Leibowitz, Craig Miller, Andrew Porter, Stu Shiffman, James White, Jonathan White, Peggy White, and Ben Yalow.

(There is also an unnamed fan in photo #4 I recognize. She occasionally looks at this blog and I will happily add her name to this article if she grants permission.)

[Thanks to Moshe Feder and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Frank Dietz Passes Away

Frank Dietz. Photo by and copyright © Andrew I. Porter.

Frank Dietz. Photo by and copyright © Andrew I. Porter.

By Andrew Porter: The death of Franklyn M. Dietz, Jr., — Frank to his many friends — was announced on Facebook on October 22. Dietz, who lived at the end of his life in Marietta, Georgia, participated in many of the major activities of mid-20th century SF fandom. With David A. Kyle and his then wife Belle, in late 1956 he founded the Lunarians, aka the New York Science Fiction Society, which in turn launched Lunacon, a convention that continues to this day. For years, Lunarians met in his Bronx apartment at 1750 Walton Avenue, moving with him and his second wife, Ann — Belle had died — to Oradell, NJ, as the neighborhood around them decayed.

He was chairman of the first 14 Lunacons, and was Fan Guest of Honor at the 2007 Lunacon. His activities as “Station Luna,” an effort to record the proceedings of many World SF Conventions, continued for many years. He recorded events at the 1951 Worldcon in New Orleans. It was there that a loud party in his room was moved to a larger venue: the now legendary Room 770, and the name of a Hugo-winning newszine. He was one of the organizers of the Guild of Science Fiction Recordists, and of the International Science Fiction Correspondence Club in 1949, which promoted correspondence among fans in different countries. Frank recorded events on tape at many other conventions, continuing at least until the 1967 Worldcon in New York City.

He possessed an original tattoo of a mouse on his upper arm, done especially for him by Hannes Bok.

He recorded events at the 1957 Worldcon in London, and while there was inducted into the Order of St. Fantony, which featured, according to Rob Hansen’s website, “an elaborate ceremony staged by the Cheltenham Circle, in full medieval costumes, with real swords, armor, etc. Those who received this signal honor were Walt Willis, Bob Silverberg, Terry Jeeves, Bobbie Wild, Eric Bentcliffe, Ken Slater, Bob Madle, Franklin Dietz and Ellis Mills. We were given the test of the true fan, under threat of the executioner’s axe — a real one — if we failed. It was to drink a glass of water from the well of St Fantony. It looked like water, smelled like water … but it turned out to be 140 proof white Polish liquor.”

Photos of Frank and Belle, and many other legendary figures in SF, at Loncon, are here.

1957 Worldcon in London: (Seated at left) Belle Dietz. (Standing) Frank Dietz, John Wyndham, Sam Moskowitz (in background), Ted Carnell, Arthur C. Clarke, Bob Silverberg, Barbara Silverberg.

1957 Worldcon in London: (Seated at left) Belle Dietz. (Standing) Frank Dietz, John Wyndham, Sam Moskowitz (in background), Ted Carnell, Arthur C. Clarke, Bob Silverberg, Barbara Silverberg.

He was involved in a notorious legal battle, with suits and countersuits, over the incorporation of the World SF Society, Inc., which had its genesis in the 1956 Worldcon, and ended at the 1958 Worldcon with a whimper and the bang of Anna Sinclair Moffat’s gavel at that worldcon’s Business Meeting.

Among the fanzines he published or co-published, with Belle and later with his second wife, Ann, was Science, Fantasy and Science Fiction, starting in April 1948, Ground Zero, from March 1958 to February 1960 and Luna Monthly. He and Ann also published books as Luna Publications, including Speaking of Science Fiction, a collection of interviews by Paul Walker. They also did typesetting for other publications, including for my own Algol (later Starship), Science Fiction Chronicle, and various of my Algol Press titles, including The Book of Ellison.

In an editorial in the December 1990 issue of Science Fiction Chronicle, I wrote, “Don Wollheim … took me seriously… I must have been 13, maybe 14 at the time; I’d been reading SF for about 4-5 years. ‘What you need is fandom,’ is more or less what Don told me, and more to the point, he told me how I could contact this miraculous community. He gave me the name and phone number of … Frank Dietz, who headed the New York SF Society, the Lunarians… I … fit right in with the Lunarians. My first fannish contact, I dimly remember now, was the Lunarians Christmas party in December, 1960.”

I wrote, then, “Thirty years ago this month.” Now, it’s fifty-three years ago. And I’m finally saying farewell to Frank Dietz.

Update 10/24/2013: Corrected year of NOLAcon I to 1951 per comment.

Dot Lumley Passes Away

Dot Lumley. Photograph © Ellen Datlow.

Dot Lumley. Photograph © Ellen Datlow.

By Andrew Porter: British literary agent Dorothy (Dot) Lumley died of cancer on Saturday morning, October 5. She had been fighting cancer for the last year, and refused a final round of chemotherapy, which would only have given her another month to live.

I met her several times, over the years, at various British Fantasy Conventions, and the World Fantasy- and World SF Conventions held in the UK. She was a charming, intelligent, and astute person.

Dot Lumley was the former wife of author Brian Lumley, who she still represented — which shows how good an agent she was!

A moving farewell tribute to her is on Jo Fletcher’s blog, here.

Elliot Shorter Health Update

By Andrew Porter: [Paraphrasing an e-mail by Mark Blackman.] Elliot Shorter has been experiencing some unexplained health issues that taken together show an overall decline in health. After examination at the VA Hospital, it was determined that he has cancer. It has spread to the extent that treatment is more than he can cope with. He is not in pain, but is tired. He is not on e-mail nor phone, but letters can be addressed to him at Harris Health Center, 833 Broadway, East Providence RI 02914.

The time table is uncertain. “He knows and clearly stated, he can’t beat this one. … he sees this as time to quietly enjoy what is left, reminisce about good times past and remain comfortable as long as he has quality-of-life.” Hospice staff will read correspondence to him.

“Do not gift him items; we have begun determining how he wants his current possessions bequeathed and that is taxing as is.  Photos and letters are welcome reminders of the good things he has begun talking about, highlighting what he has valued in the past. If you are concerned about items or gifts given in years past or are remembering something he promised you in the past, contact <camorissette (at) aol (dot) com> … so I may relay this information to El. This information may be shared in the effort to notify those for whom El has been a friend or more.”

James Gunn in 1960s

Harlan Ellison and James Gunn.  Photo by and copyright © 2013 Andrew Porter.

Harlan Ellison and James Gunn. Photo by and copyright © 2013 Andrew Porter.

Andrew Porter is on his way to San Antonio to “hobnob with my fellow wizards.” His farewell gift to you is a photo of LoneStarCon 3 Guest of Honor James Gunn, taken on East 40th Street in NYC in the 1960s.

“Snazzy dresser; nice mustache!” says Porter. “Pay no attention to Harlan Ellison, behind him. I hope that photo, plus others I took of other GoHs, will be in the Program Book.”

A Tree Wilts in Brooklyn

New York Times’ City Room blog published Andrew Porter’s entry to its tournament in purple prose, “Odes To Heat-Struck New York” –

The hideous sun, swollen like a rotten maggot upon the face of the heavens, beat down upon my sweat-besotted brow like an infernal hammer, straight from the depth of the lower pits of Hell. Alas, that I had lived to see these days of living nightmare, the great masses of the city fleeing in their thousands to the shores of our trash-strewn city. Fortunate man that I was, I praised the gods for giving me the wonders of the lightning, harnessed to Man’s needs, in the form of the brilliant inventor Carrier, whose clever mind had devised a means by which esoteric gases are forced through metal channels, the end result being that the air within my dark chambers, instead of scorching my very being, was cooled and flowed delightfully upon my person.
— Andrew Porter, Brooklyn Heights

Buy SFC on eBay

Andrew Porter reports his brother Stephen is selling a complete set of Science Fiction Chronicle on eBay. The description reads:

200 plus issues of Hugo winning SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE, SF/ fantasy news magazine published from 1979 to 2000 by Andrew Porter (issues published after 2000 not included). Contains thousands of book reviews, photos. Interviews. Material by leading authors including Jack Williamson, Orson Scott Card, Terry Carr, Gene Wolfe, Frederik Pohl, Brian Aldiss, Robert Silverberg, Jack Chalker, Donald Wollheim, Marvin Kaye, Phyllis Eisenstein, original and only appearance of Ray Bradbury speech. Reports on hundreds of conventions through the decades. Letters from authors, editors, publishers, artists. Obituaries of leading authors, of example, April-May 92: Philip K. Dick death. Adverts from major and minor publishers. Listings for thousands of forthcoming books. Full color covers by leading artists Emshwiller, Freas, Gaughan, Di Fate, Hunter, Mattingly, Walotsky, Maitz, Lundgren, many many others. Hundreds of hours of reading. A complete chronicle of the decades with content never reprinted or available anywhere else!

At this writing he’s still looking for an opening bid. The auction has a week to run. Bid early, bid often!