Bob Briney’s Passing Revealed

The Advent Publishers display table at the 1960 Worldcon. Robert E. Briney, Earl Kemp and Joe Sarno. Photo by James O’Meara.

Robert E. Briney, a co-founder of Advent:Publishers and an active sf fan in the 1950s and 1960s before he became a mystery fan, was found dead in his home in November.  He was 78. Francis M. Nevins, Jr.  announced his passing on the Mystery File blog. Nevins says:

Bob Briney was something of a universal genius. Physically he evoked Orson Welles or Nero Wolfe but was soft-spoken and totally without their irascibility and moved with a certain gingerliness as if he were afraid he’d crush something if his movements were more forceful.

Advent was founded by several fans in 1955. The following year Advent published its first book, a collection of Damon Knight’s critical essays, In Search of Wonder.

Briney was also involved in publishing a fanzine, Cataclysm, with Del Close, which was published sporadically from 1949 to 1954.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster and Andrew Porter for the story.]

8 thoughts on “Bob Briney’s Passing Revealed

  1. Mike: Robert Briney published THE ROHMER REVIEW for many years, which was a fanzine devoted to Sax Rohmer. I don’t have the details about when it started and stopped but it was a major mystery fanzine in the 1970s and 1980s. Martin

  2. Del Close worked in St. Louis for many years — I never met him but I have close friends in the local theater community who knew him. He worked in Chicago and Toronto for Second City, teaching improvisational comedy. It is estimated that at any given time, approximately a quarter of the Saturday Night Live performers were students of his. (A list may be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del_Close .) You may be surprised by how many of the names you will recognize.

    I had no idea he had ever co-published a fanzine. I should have realized that at some point he had contact with fandom, but instead I am croggled.

  3. Del Close worked in St. Louis for many years — I never met him but I have close friends in the local theater community who knew him. He worked in Chicago and Toronto for Second City, teaching improvisational comedy. It is estimated that at any given time, approximately a quarter of the Saturday Night Live performers were students of his. (A list may be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del_Close .) You may be surprised by how many of the names you will recognize.

    I had no idea he had ever co-published a fanzine. I should have realized that at some point he would have had contact with fandom, but instead I am croggled.

  4. I see THE ROHMER REVIEW is available on a CD-ROM for $20 from the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box at batteredbox.com. There were 18 issues published, the last issue being published in 1981.

    THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FANTASY says that Briney’s 1953 anthology SHANADU was “not only the first small-press anthology of any scale but the first shared-world setting in genre fantasy.”

  5. Advent was founded by several fans in 1955.

    Earl Kemp
    Robert Briney
    Sidney Coleman (Retired 2001)
    Earl Kemp
    James O’Meara
    George Price
    Jon Stopa
    Ed Wood (Deceased 1995)

    It’s worth remembering each of them, rather than subsuming them as “some fans.” It’s hardly as if ANY of them weren’t highly well-known fans. Alternatively, just googling “Advent:Publishers” would tell you it via the third link: http://efanzines.com/EK/eI16/Advent/advent.htm

    That’s if you’re too impatient to look at the first link, Wikipedia, and read it to find the link I just gave.

    There’s also George Price’s version: http://www.efanzines.com/EK/eI1/

  6. The Salem (MA) News has published a full obituary about Bob Briney which says in part:

    Bob’s avocations, however, were in the fields of mystery writing, science fiction and fantasy. A freelance writer and editor, he contributed to numerous publications including Classical Outlook, The Armchair Detective and the Journal of Popular Culture. In 1970 he took over as editor/publisher of The Rohmer Review and contributed to many other journals and publications over the course of his life. He was a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Science Fiction Research Association.
    He was a leading expert on author Sax Rohmer and lectured on aspects of crime and mystery fiction at various universities. Bob wrote prolifically and with dry wit about the books and authors of the genres he loved; his appetite for mystery, science fiction and fantasy novels was insatiable. He assiduously collected a vast library as well as a capacious music collection including styles ranging from jazz to classical to medieval troubadour.

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