“Karl Kofoed is probably best known for his Galactic
Geographic series that ran in Heavy Metal for many years, and
his astonishing planet and starscapes that have adorned numerous book and
magazine covers. Karl says this will be his first trip to Los Angeles in 60
years.” Matthew B. Tepper, Loscon 46 Chair said of the Pennsylvania-based
Kofoed steps in for the original invitee who cannot make it
for personal reasons.
Loscon’s guest of honor slate also includes award-winning
speculative fiction writer Howard Waldrop (The Ugly Chickens, Night
of the Cooters) and Edie Stern, a fan celebrated for her work at fanac.org, a Fan-history archive
as well as other fan community activities around the world.
Hosted by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, the
world’s oldest continuously active science fiction and fantasy club (founded 1934),
the 46th Loscon this family-friendly gathering includes program with
diverse participants such as Steven Barnes, Harry Turtledove, Tananarive
Due, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Tim Powers, and Larry Niven.
Loscon is hosted at the recently redesigned Los Angeles
Airport Marriott, located on Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International
Airport. Weekend memberships and room reservations are available at discounted
rates before the convention.
For updates, follow Loscon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and search for
Bob Madle, turns 99 today. A founder of First Fandom, Bob attended the 1936 event in Philadelphia considered by some the first sf convention, went to the first Worldcon in 1939, co-founded the Philadelphia SF Society, was a finalist for the 1956 Best Feature Writer Hugo, won TAFF in 1957, and was Suncon’s (1977) Fan GoH.
By Curt Phillips: I visited Bob at his home
two weeks ago just before Corflu 37, which was held in Rockville, MD this
year. Bob is doing very well, and in spite of some health issues over the
past couple of years is active, sharp as a tack, and still loving science
fiction and fandom as much as ever. He’s still selling rare science
fiction books and magazines too and during my visit I parted with a few hard
earned dollars to buy some Wonder Stories
and some other magazines that I’d been looking for, but the best part of my
visit was to simply sit in Bob’s enormous pulp warehouse and talk about early
science fiction with him. He’s known everybody
in science fiction and fandom over the decades and has fascinating stories to
tell. I only had a few hours to visit, but I could have stayed for
First Fandom founder, WWII veteran, science fiction’s master
bookseller; Robert A. “Bob” Madle. He was there at Fandom’s
beginnings and he’s with us still.
Corflu 36 FIAWOL (Rockville, Maryland, May 1-4, 2019)
“They toiled over their crude mimeographs, turning out their magazines. These magazines have long since crumbled into dust, but who amongst us can ever forget the names? Grue and Hyphen; Amazing and Astounding;Galaxy and Quandry and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Startling, Confidential, Infinity,Dimensions—these names will never die!”
Robert Bloch, “A Way of Life” (1956)
By Martin Morse Wooster: One of the advantages of living in Washington is that eventually all the branches of fandom you’re interested in will come to you. I’ve been to three previous Corflus—two held in the Washington suburbs in 1986 and 1994, and the one held in Annapolis, Maryland in 2002. I always am happy to go to conventions I can get to on the bus, so when I heard Corflu was coming to the Maryland suburbs, I signed up. I had a good time.
Michael Dobson, with Curt Phillips as second-in-command, organized Corflu 36. Phillips, among other things, ran a very well stocked con suite, including three kinds of orange marmalade for breakfast.
Members got quite a lot of stuff. Dobson edited a 163-page fanthology of members’ writings, which is also available on Efanzines. Some mossbacks grumbled that Dobson used CreateSpace as his publisher, but I thought the book was well done. Also included in the members’ packet was Thy Life’s A Miracle: Selected Writings of Randy Byers, a 135-page anthology edited by Luke McGuff.
But that wasn’t all! We also got a framed print by Dan Steffan, in a limited edition of 90, which showed a nude Japanese woman with creatures on her back that resembled those of British artist Arthur Thomson. It was a very handsome piece of art, and I will put it on my shelf next to the Star Wars thingie I got at Nationals Park.
The attendance was around 55, with half a dozen fans from the United Kingdom, Murray and Mary-Ellen Moore from Canada, and 10-12 fans from the West Coast. You could spot the Californians because they were most of the attendees at the wine tasting organized by Spike.
Younger fans allergic to grey hair would not have enjoyed themselves. Four of the fans attending—Greg Benford, Jim Benford, Steve Stiles, and Ted White—began their fan activity before 1960. Most attendees began to be fans in the 1970s and 1980s. No one surveyed became a fan after 1990.
I spent much of the time in the con suite listening to stories about 20th century fan legends. I heard about the Scottish fan who, after losing a feud with everyone else in his club, dropped out only to appear in the pages of a tabloid completely nude except for a hand coyly placed over his manhood. The headline of the piece about the fan was ‘IT’S ORGYTASTIC.”
“Do you mean this guy discovered orgy fandom?” I asked.
“No, it was more like orgy con-dom,” said my source, who added that the fan liked showing up at the orgies he organized in a gorilla suit, because women liked sitting on his lap and stroking his fur.
But the story too good to check was whether two Arab sheiks offered to buy Baltimore fan Lee Smoire at Discon II in 1974 for two camels. This claim would be absurd and ridiculous about any other fan than Lee Smoire, who stories cluster around like gaudy barnacles. I cite it to add to Lee Smoire’s legend.
The first day of Corflu had the opening ceremony, where a sacred box is unearthed that included a crusty bottle of correction fluid or “corflu.” The convention chooses a guest of honor by pulling a name from the box, but you can opt out of the honor with a $20 donation. The winner was Jim Benford, who got all the donation money, which he reportedly spent at the fanzine auction on Saturday. His other prize was a pillow, designed by Alison Scott, which says “Dave Kyle Says You Can’t Sit Here” and has the badge of the Science Fiction League of the 1930s.
Saturday’s program included three panels and I went to two. A panel on archives featured Non-Stop Press publisher Luis Ortiz, who has just published an anthology of fanzine writings from 1930-1960, Michael Dobson, University of Maryland (Baltimore County) archivist Susan Graham, and Joe Siclari, head of fanac.org.
Susan Graham said that her library bought the fanzine collection of Walter Coslet in 1973 and subsequently acquired the fanzines of Peggy Rae Sapienza, who was graduated from the school. These fanzines included many of Sapienza’s first husband, Bob Pavlat, a famed collector. They’ve also gotten some Frank Kelly Freas art and some papers, including manuscripts by Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny, and Lawrence Watt-Evans. They’re still organizing their zines, but their website https://lib.guides.umbc.edu/fanzines has a finding aid and essays on feminist fanzines of the 1970s, fanzines’ role in society, and the Atlanta Science-Fiction Organization fanzine Cosmag.
Fanac.org scanned 2,000 pages of fanzines at Corflu. Siclari said that he had gotten research requests from unexpected places. They helped out the recent documentary on Ursula K. Le Guin, for example. And when the family of fan H.F. Koenig asked for copies of Koenig’s fanzines, they donated a copy of the family genealogy to Fanac.org.
There are also reports of what happened to Harry Warner, Jr.’s fanzine collection. It is apparently in one piece and is being stored at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. No one knows what Heritage plans to do with Warner’s collection.
The second panel was on Void, which included the zine’s editors, Greg Benford, Jim Benford, and Ted White, and Luis Ortiz, who is working on an anthology of pieces from the zine. Void began in 1955, with teenage fans Greg and Jim Benford as editors. When the Benford brothers moved from Germany to Dallas, Tom Reamy became an editor.
The Benfords put out 13 issues of Void between 1955-58. But Jim Benford decided to give up fanac for college. Another catalyst for change was when Kent Moomaw, a columnist for the zine, killed himself on his 18th birthday rather than be drafted. In 1958 America was at peace, so there was about a 20 percent chance he would be drafted.
Void then moved its headquarters to New York City, and continued with editors including Greg Benford, Ted White, Pete Graham, and Terry Carr. It lasted another 14 issues through 1962 with a final issue published in 1967.
Both Greg Benford and Ted White said that writing for Void inspired their professional careers. Greg Benford said that his fan writing prepared him to win a contest sponsored by Fantasy and Science Fiction that launched his career as a novelist.
“All of our fanac was fun because of the challenges we met,” White said. “I thought Terry (Carr) was a better writer than me, and it was a daily challenge to write to his level.”
Void even had a song, with the music being whatever you’d like. Here is the first verse.
“We are the Void boys We make a lot of noise! We sing songs of fandom Hitting out at random Because we are all co-editors of Void.”
Saturday night had two panels. “Just a Minac,” organized by Sandra Bond, was the fannish version of the British game show “Just a Minute.” The idea is that the contestants—John D. Berry, Rich Coad, Rob Jackson, and Nigel Rowe—would give one-minute speeches, delivered “without hesitation, repetition, or deviation”—on topics such as “The Nine Billion Names of God” or “My Favorite Beer.” This was not as easy as its sounds, and I thought it was agreeably silly. Nigel Rowe seemed the most creative contestant to me, but Rich Coad was the winner.
“The Time Chunnel” was a play by Andy Hooper that described two worlds, one where sf dominated and one where fandom ruled. In the fannish world, mimeos were much better but leaf blowers didn’t work. It had plenty of in jokes about fanzines, but also weird popular culture references; if you are excited by references to comedian Durward Kirby, best known as a host of Candid Camera in the early 1960s, “The Time Chunnel” is a play for you. I didn’t think it worked.
Since the FAAN Awards have already been covered, I’ll skip them, but I should write about Jim Benford’s guest of honor speech, which was very good.
If Greg Benford’s day job was as a physicist at the University of California (Irvine), his brother worked in technology. He said that fanzine writing prepared him to write proposals. “I had the best proposals,” Benford said, saying that fan writing ensured his proposals were better organized than other physicists with less writing experience.
Jim Benford has spent most of his career developing particle beams and other energy weapons. But three years ago he was given a ten-year contract by billionaire Yuri Milner to design starships. He now works on solar sails that could guide a future mission to Proxima Centauri.
The problem with solar sails, Jim Benford said, was “The Fearless Fosdick problem.” Li’l Abner fans will recall that Fearless Fosdick valiantly fought the bad guys until they blasted him full of holes. How do you create a solar sail that wouldn’t tear apart? Benford showed how a spherical shape would produce the best outcome.
He said that if someone in 1959 told him that 60 years in the future “I’d be talking to a bunch of fans about starships, I’d be a very happy man.”
Next year’s Corflu will be run by John Purcell in College Station, Texas, in a date to be determined.
The best story I know about Lee Smoire is that, after John Lennon was
assassinated in 1980, Yoko Ono asked for a moment of silence to honor him. Smoire was escorting people around the
Baltimore Convention Center and when the designated minute occurred spent the
time shouting, “DON’T YOU KNOW YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE QUIET?”
After Smoire left Baltimore for Perth, Australia, packed panels at the next two Disclaves told stories about her.
By John Hertz: Spikecon, 4-7 July 2019, will combine two general-interest s-f conventions, Westercon LXXII (West Coast Science Fantasy Conference – oh, all right, it’s been in Colorado and Texas) and the 13th NASFiC (North America Science Fiction Convention, held when the World Science Fiction Convention is overseas), and two special-interest ones, 1632 Minicon and Manticon 2019. There’s a big tent for us! Or maybe a geodesic dome. Or a Dyson sphere.
The con is named in honor of the Golden Spike, the last
spike driven to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific creating the
Transcontinental Railroad on 10 May 1869, just forty miles from the con site.
We’ll do three Classics of SF
discussions, one story each. Come to as
many as you like. You’ll be welcome to
I’m still with A classic is an artwork that survives its
time; after the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it
remains, and is seen as worthwhile in itself. If you have a better definition, bring it.
Here are our three. I think each is interesting in a different
way. Each may be more interesting now
than when originally published.
Kuttner & Moore, “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (1943)
The authors each said, after they
married, anything under their names or their various pseudonyms was by
both. Decades later, Tim Powers is known
for explaining the real – i.e. SF – reason for something in history; here’s the
real – i.e. SF – reason for something in fantasy; yet even that’s hardly the
greatest element. The title alludes to
Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass
(1871), as we – maybe – eventually understand.
Rocket Ship “Galileo” (1947)
We’ve also come to the golden
anniversary of the Glorious 20th, when humankind first set foot on the
Moon. Decades earlier came this
speculation. It isn’t, incidentally, a
rocket ship built in a back yard; and as A.J. Budrys used to demand, it answers
“Why are they telling us this?” Nor are
these pioneers the first – nor yet the second.
Hoyle, October the First Is Too Late (1966)
This first-rate astronomer – he
was knighted six years later – also wrote SF.
In both fields he was famously willing to propose speculations far from
others’. In science one may someday be
proved right or wrong; fiction doesn’t work that way. We might say of this story It’s about time. Only maybe it isn’t. Maybe time isn’t.
SFWA’s Nebula Conference Mass Autographing – open to the public – will be held during the 2019 Nebula Conference on Saturday, May 18 from 1:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m. in the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills Grand Ballroom (21850 W Oxnard St, Woodland Hills, CA 91367).
On the first night of the con, Hugo nominee Alec Nevala-Lee will
speak about “John W. Campbell & Astounding,”
the Pulp Factory Awards will be presented, and a major auction will be held.
Friday night auction consists of 230 lots of material from the estate of famed
collector Robert Weinberg, while the Saturday night auction begins with 100
lots from the estate of Glenn Lord, literary executor for the Robert E. Howard
estate, followed by 56 lots from a few other consignors. And more lots will be
added to the Saturday night auction at the convention, to include material
consigned there by convention attendees.
the highlights in this year’s auctions are:
The first issue of the legendary pulp, Weird Tales
A fine copy of the December 1932 issue of Weird Tales, featuring the first appearance of Robert E. Howard’s immortal barbarian, Conan
“The Case Against the Comics” by Gabriel Lynn, an extremely scarce 32 page pamphlet published in 1944 by The Catechetical Guild, advocating the censorship of comics, predating Wertham’s “Seduction of the Innocent” (note that an 8 page version was also published, but this is the full version)
H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House”, printed in 1928 by The Recluse Press but never bound by them, which Glenn Lord later had professionally bound
Two of famed SF editor Ray Palmer’s bound copies of the legendary fanzines, Science Fiction Digest and Fantasy Magazine, later signed and inscribed by Julius Schwartz to Bob Weinberg
Correspondence from SF author Philip K. Dick, signed by him, with great content regarding his “The Man in the High Castle”
A complete bound set of the legendary fanzine, The Fantasy Fan, edited by Charles D. Hornig
The complete auction catalog can be downloaded here.
Friday through Sunday, the dealer room will be buzzing, with
roughly 100 dealers from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. displaying pulps,
vintage paperbacks, science fiction, fantasy and mystery hardcovers, golden and
silver age comics, original illustration art, and movie memorabilia.
Acclaimed artist and pulp enthusiast Mark Wheatley willhave an extensive gallery show. In the spotlight will be his illustrations for Swords Against the Moon Men, part of the new “Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs” series published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
The inked originals will be framed and presented along with high
quality, full size Giclée prints of the digital paintings, offering a unique
chance to see the entire set of illustrations for the book in one place. This
is made possible because a single collector purchased all the art for the book
and is allowing it to be displayed for the public.
The show also will feature artwork from the pulp Planet Stories, pulp and paperback art with a Chicago connection, and a unique display of original photographs featuring pulp authors, artists and publishers.
And Sunday morning will see the new Director of Publishing for
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Christopher Paul Carey, leading a panel on the
exciting things planned from ERB, Inc., followed by “New Pulp Sunday,”
programming devoted to the vibrant and colorful world of New Pulp organized by
Ron Fortier of Airship 27 Productions.
Will Kevin Standlee realize his dream to bring Westercon to
Fresh off hosting the 2018 Worldcon, San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. has filed a bid to host the 2021 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (Westercon 74) in Tonopah, Nevada. With Kevin Standlee as the bid chair, and Bruce Farr as treasurer, they propose to hold the con from July 2-5 at the Tonopah Convention Center and nearby hotels.
In case there are any doubts that they mean business, they reassure everyone:
Tonopah is a serious bid. While the town itself is somewhat smaller than the typical Westercon site, the town has expressed its enthusiasm for hosting us, and we think it has the right mix of facilities to accommodate a small but entertaining and affordable Westercon.
We have filed our bid with Westercon 72 (SpikeCon) in Layton, Utah. You can read our complete filing here.
With site selection voting to take place less than three months from now at SpikeCon (Westercon 72), Tonopah isn’t selling “pre-supporting” memberships — but donations are welcomed.
The bid’s web site is here. Not only is there a wealth of detail about the facilities and local attractions, you’ll find your time repaid by the amusing fanwriting. For example, the myriad transportation options include horse rental (price quoted!), or for those driving, an attractive alternative route:
The primary access to Tonopah is by highways US-95 and US-6; however, there are interesting alternative routes and side trips along the way
From Las Vegas and points south: US-95 north, or take the alternative route via US-93 and the Extraterrestrial Highway and stop by the Little A’Le’Inn. (Convention not responsible for alien abductions or misadventures at Area 51.)