Blue Petal (1950-2014)

Blue Petal in 2007. Photo by Baron Dave Romm.

Blue Petal in 2007. Photo by Baron Dave Romm.

Minneapolis fan Blue Petal (originally Louis Fallert) died February 16 from central nervous system lymphoma first diagnosed following his stroke on December 29.

Blue Petal joined Minn-Stf, the Minneapolis sf club, in the late Sixties.

He started Lou’s Apa in 1968 — changed to Blue’s Apa with the second distribution, after he renamed himself for the Vaughn Bodé character Blue Petal.

He transferred allegiance to Minneapa when it was founded in the early Seventies. (In this photo of Minneapans from 1974 he’s in the second row on the right.)

I was also a member of Minneapa in its early days, a mesmerizing window on Minneapolis faannishness. I learned about many things – such as Spiderism, the fannish religion originated by John Kusske, Al Kuhfeld, and Blue Petal. (As you know, Bob, The Great Spider eats peoples’ souls when they die, unless they have bribed one of the priests of the Great Spider.) They provided Minneapans with copies of a trifold brochure with a voracious spider on the front and contents explaining the faith, which they claimed to be handing to evangelists who came to their door. Fans were invited to order copies and follow their example.

Blue Petal provided leadership for two early Minicons. He chaired Minicon 5, the second Minicon in 1971 and a relaxacon-style convention (no GoH, less programming than Minicons held in the spring) and co-chaired Minicon 7 in 1973.

Local gamers revered him for initiating them to Dungeon-style games:

In February of 1974, a Minneapolis science-fiction fan named Louis Fallert (better known as Blue Petal) began running a game called “Castle Keep” which he based on his experiences playing in dungeon adventures with the MMSA (Fallert wrote a blurb about this for Alarums & Excursions #3). While it seems likely that Fallert himself was vaguely aware of Dungeons & Dragons, he presented “Castle Keep” to local science-fiction fans as a game of his own invention. Much as Gygax ran Blackmoor with Arneson and then largely implemented his own rules from his experience, so did Fallert build a system for dungeoneering that followed his own subjective impressions as a player.

By the summer of 1974, the Minneapolis area featured 9 dungeon campaigns that traced their roots to his “Castle Keep” game.

Blue Petal also was appreciated for his music and songwriting.

Many old photos of Blue Petal appear on his Caring Bridge page and in David Dyer-Bennet’s archivesAmazing Stories blog also features a remarkable shot of a very young Blue Petal at the 1969 Worldcon taken by Fred A. Levy Haskell

[Thanks to John Purcell for the story.]

One thought on “Blue Petal (1950-2014)

  1. A very nice obituary of a very fine person. A couple of comments…

    The Great Spider brochure mentioned is online:

    http://washuu.net/Arachnid/Trapped.htm

    Re “Dungeon-style games” — well phrased, since Twin Cities fandom in the 1970s played their own variant (formal D&D, with rulebooks and such, was unknown). As I recall, Blue and/or one or two other local fans had been introduced to the basic idea of the game (possibly via early testing from local co-creator Dave Arnason) and decided to adapt it rather than waiting for access to the “canonical” version. The local variant was always called just “Dungeon,” and was even more story-telling based than D&D, since we trusted the gamesmaster to make most things up from scratch as needed as he went along — and Blue was always great at that.

    Denny Lien

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