Fanartist Charlie Williams of Knoxville, TN died September 3 of cancer. (A different fan than the Charlie Williams of Nashville who died in April of this year.)
He first came to prominence as a regular contributor to Chat, the Chattanooga clubzine published by Rich and Nicki Lynch. He also later appeared in all 30 issues of their Hugo-winning genzine Mimosa.
Williams was a member of the Knoxville Science-Fantasy Federation and in the 1970s, he owned a comics store in Knoxville and taught cartoon illustration at the University of Tennessee. At one time he was a member of the Spectator Amateur Press Association.
Guy H. Lillian III noted, “I needn’t tell you how much brilliant fan art he gifted to Southern fandom” – including Guy’s own Challenger. In 1984 Williams won the Southpaw Award for Best Humorist given at DeepSouthCon.
Williams’ friend Rusty Burke visited him not long ago and he told Facebook readers: “I was privileged to be with Charlie near the end, while Shelly and I were in Knoxville. I hope he was aware I was there, telling everyone in the room how important he was to me. He really helped set my life on the course it has taken since college days. So many memories, so many good times, such a remarkable guy. He leaves behind his wonderful wife, Sylvia (who fed me I don’t know how many meals, and heaping helpings of good feedback and advice, back in the ’70s and early ’80s, before I left Knoxville), son Chuck, daughter Olivia, and her husband Ian and their children Liam, Soleil, and Luna.”
He was guest of honor at Imagincon ’81 (1981), Con*Stellation II (1983), and Roc*Kon 8 (1983).
Williams loved to draw complex, inventive scenes several of which are displayed below, including a cover for an issue of File 770 from the Eighties.
Writer Carol Carr died September 1 of cancer. She was 82.
Her short story “Look, You Think You’ve Got Troubles,” which first appeared in Damon Knight’s Orbit 5 (1969), has since been reprinted more than a dozen times, including in Jack Dann’s memorable Wandering Stars collection (1974).
Karen Haber said in Introduction to Carol Carr: The Collected Writings (2013), “She’s sold every piece of fiction that she’s written. She’s appeared in the highly respected Omni magazine, scooped up by its fiction editor Ellen Datlow, and twice in Damon Knight’s anthology series, Orbit.”
Carr’s other stories are “Inside” (1970), “Some Are Born Cats” (1973, with Terry Carr), “Wally a Deux” (1973), “Tooth Fairy” (1984), and “First Contact, Sort Of” (1995, with Karen Haber).
She was born Carol Newmark in Brooklyn, NY. For a short time she was married to Jack Stuart. She was married to Terry Carr from 1961 until his death in 1987. She is survived by Robert Lichtman, whom she married in 2000.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.][Update 09/03/2021: Corrected date of death per Robert Lichtman, from date originally announced by Robert Silverback and DisCon III.]
Author L. Neil Smith, a well-known advocate of libertarianism in the sf genre, died August 27.
Smith created the Prometheus Award – originally conceived as a one-off award when it was given for the first time in 1979. The Libertarian Futurist Society was organized by other fans in 1982 to continue the Prometheus Awards program. Smith became a perpetual favorite, nominated 15-times for the Prometheus Award and winning four times — for The Probability Broach (1982), part of his seven-book North American Confederacy series, Pallas (1994), The Forge of the Elders (2001), and a Special Award given to him and illustrator Scott Bieser for The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel in 2005.
With 28 books to his credit, Smith may actually be most widely-known for three Star Wars novels featuring Lando Calrissian, all published in 1983.
He also wrote the nonfiction books Lever Action (2001) and Down with Power: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crises (2012).
He was an early member of the Libertarian Party and twice mounted unsuccessful attempts to secure its Presidential nomination (for 2000 and 2004).
Erle Korshak, one of the last two surviving attendees of the first Worldcon in 1939, died August 25.
With Korshak’s death, Bob Madle is the sole surviving attendee of the first Worldcon.
Korshak’s first encounter with science fiction was in 1934 as an 11-year-old, following up his good friend Mark Reinsberg’s interest in the stories Astounding was publishing. In 1939, he created Moonstruck Press with the ambition of compiling a bibliography of every fantasy book published to that time.
Korshak also was part of the leadership triumvirate that brought the second Worldcon to Chicago in 1940. Reinsberg was chair, Korshak secretary, and Bob Tucker treasurer. Korshak presided over the opening day of the con, when Reinsberg fell ill.
Korshak was going to be one of the guests of honor at the 2022 Worldcon, Chicon 8. Convention chair Helen Montgomery said, “We were so happy to be able to call and ask him to join us. Erle was so excited to be our Guest of Honor, and told us so in every conversation we had with him since then.”
During World War II he served in the U.S. Army, enlisting in 1942 a month after he turned 19. He later graduated from law school, as did others in Chicago’s influential Korshak family. He became a successful lawyer and businessman in California and Nevada. (A diagram of the family tree is here.)
In the Fifties, Korshak helped found Shasta: Publishers together with T.E. Dikty and Mark Reinsberg, one of the earliest sf specialty presses. They initially planned only to publish Everett F. Bleiler’s The Checklist of Fantastic Literature (1948). However, the Library of Congress reviewed the copy they received, calling it “a lasting contribution to the American arts in the field of the humanities,” Korshak told interviewers. “Every library in America bought the book, the checklist. We couldn’t believe it. All of a sudden we’re selling these things — and it was expensive, because six dollars was big money in those days.” They sold out the first edition, and then did a second edition. “So now [Dikty]and I are looking at each other and saying hey, this is a great feeling, why don’t we publish some more books?” They began reprinting famous pulp sf works in hardcover. Some of Shasta’s best-known books were Who Goes There? (1948) by John W. Campbell, Jr.; The Man Who Sold the Moon (1950) by Robert A. Heinlein; Sidewise in Time (1950) by Murray Leinster; and The Demolished Man (1953) by Alfred Bester. Shasta operated from 1947-1957. And in 2009, Korshak and his son Stephen revived the imprint as “Shasta-Phoenix” to publish collections of classic sf art.
When Shasta originally went out of business, Erle dropped out of organized fandom for three decades. He resumed attending conventions in the Eighties, beginning with the 1986 Worldcon where his friend Ray Bradbury was guest of honor.
He was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1996.
At the Chicago 7 Worldcon of 2012, Erle Korshak was interviewed onstage by John Scalzi. Asked by Scalzi how many people came to the first Chicago Worldcon, Korshak said 129, and Scalzi gestured to the front of the Grand Ballroom, “About the first two rows here.”
Chicon 8’s announcement of Korshak’s death says he will still be celebrated next year:
Our plans to honor Erle will not change. We will continue to plan to celebrate his amazing life and his contributions to fandom, from the early days of Worldcon to starting Shasta Publishing to his career as an attorney and his love of art which he passed on to his children.
A slideshow of additional photos of Erle Korshak taken by Andrew Porter.
Academic, activist and author Elizabeth Anne Hull died August 3 from complications a few months after falling and fracturing her hip. She was 84.
Hull served as President of the Science Fiction Research Association from 1989-90, after editing the SFRA Newsletter from 1981-1984. She was recognized for service to SF research with the organization’s Thomas Clareson Award.
She was a member of the panel for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel intermittently from 1986 until her death. For over ten years, she served as North American secretary for the World SF International Organization for Professionals.
A frequent contributor to Worldcon programs, she co-organized the academic track at Chicon 7 in 2012.
Hull was Professor Emerita of William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, where she taught English and science fiction for over 30 years, earning the school’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 1997. The Alumni Association of Northwestern University honored her contributions to her profession with its Award of Merit in 1995.
Active in Illinois politics, she was a former president of the Palatine Area League of Women Voters. In 1996, the National Democratic Party selected Hull as its congressional nominee against the longtime Republican incumbent in the 8th District, however, she was defeated.
She married Frederik Pohl in 1984, her second marriage, his fifth. They first met at the 1976 Worldcon. In 2016, three years after Fred had died, she shared this insight about marriage at The Way the Future Blogs based on a conversation she had with Fred’s third wife:
Long before Fred and I were married, Judy Merril once told me, “Everbody’s crazy in one way or another. We can’t see our own craziness, but we need to look closely at our love object. The most important thing to find out is, in what way is this person crazy? And then to decide whether or not we can, or want to, live with that craziness.”
Together Hull and Pohl edited the international anthology Tales from the Planet Earth (1986). She edited the 2010 anthology, Gateways: Original New Stories Inspired by Frederik Pohl
She is survived by two children from her previous marriage, and two grandchildren.
Hugo-winning fanzine editor Ed Meskys, a co-founder of American Tolkien fandom, died of a heart attack on July 25 at the age of 85.
Fred Lerner, who received the news from Ed’s wife, Sandy, adds that Ed “had been in declining health for some time, but was in good spirits when I visited him and Sandy two months ago. I first met Ed 58 years ago and have treasured my friendship with him ever since.”
Meskys found fandom in 1955 and joined a local sf club. He was then 19 and living in the Bay Area of California. During the Sixties he moved to New York (where he joined the Lunarians), then to New Hampshire, his home for the rest of his life.
Ed was born in Brooklyn in 1936 of parents born in Lithuania. His father was displaced by WWI in 1917. His father later married and brought his mother from over from Lithuania in 1930. Meskys spoke Lithuanian at home and learned English as second language when started school. In 1962, Ed took a job at the Lawrence Radiation Labs in Livermore, California, where he had a “Q” (nuclear weapons) security clearance. He also held summer jobs at Fort Monmouth NJ (secret clearance) and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He has a BS (cum laude) and MS in Physics from St. John’s University in New York. He preferred teaching to research and started at Belknap College in Center Harbor, NH in 1966.
Andrew Porter remembers meeting Ed at the Open ESFA meetings in New York more than 60 years ago. “Perhaps the first fan I ever met. A good friend for all this time. So many memories of Ed, ranging from his fanzines (including Hugo Award-winning Niekas) to his enthusiasm for all things Gilbert & Sullivan, his days at Livermore Radiation Labs [in California], where he worked on designing A-bombs, his enthusiasm for the NYC subway system, his booming voice, his passion for Lithuanian food, his ability, after he became blind, to see us as we were when he was sighted, not as we’ve aged to become, his many service dogs which doubled as vacuum cleaners for any food on the floor at parties…”
Ed became fully blind in 1971 from a detached and torn retina in his remaining eye, having previously lost sight in the other one in 1953 due to juvenile diabetes. He learned to navigate with the help of a guide dog, and over the years these dogs, who allowed Ed to keep going to conventions, became fannish friends, too. They were mourned when they reached the end of their lives — the 1972 Worldcon’s daily newzine reported there would be a wake for Ed’s old guide dog “Judge” who’d previously been put down because of cancer of the spleen. Ed’s last dog, “Gyro,” died in 2016 — a dog given the public name of “Killer Dog” (to avoid having people call to him when they shouldn’t), which also recognized the dog’s reputation for destroying toy Teddy Bears.
NIEKAS. In 1962, Meskys gave his existing apazine a new name — Niekas — and a new mission: “Since there was no Tolkienfanzine being published I decided to devote Niekas to Tolkien and try to run at least one Tolkien related piece in each issue.” The name itself had nothing to do with Tolkien, but was an inside joke whose meaning Ed enjoyed explaining with a story. Peggy Rae McKnight (later Sapienza) began publishing Etwas in 1960; “We traded fanzines at the time, her Etwas (German for something) for my Niekas (Lithuanian for nothing).”
Meskys had a series of co-editors on Niekas. Anne Chatland worked on the early issues. Felice Rolfe (later Maxam) co-edited the issues that gained a Hugo nomination in 1966 and won the Best Fanzine Hugo in 1967. Two decades later the issues Ed produced with Mike Bastraw, Anne Braude, and Todd Frazier also received a Hugo nomination in 1989. Frazier continued to help with Niekas until he died in 2012.
Ed had a hand in another famous fanzine, too. He helped Charlie Brown and Dave Vanderwerf found Locus, today the trade paper of the sff field, which began life in 1968 as a zine to promote Boston’s bid for the Worldcon. (They would later host the 1971 con.) Meskys was involved through the first year’s issues ‘til his work on the 1968 Tolkien Conference commanded all his time.
TOLKIEN. Ed not only dedicated Niekas to fostering an interest in J.R.R. Tolkien, towards that end he edited such publications as The Tolkien Journal, Valinorian Times, and Green Dragon.
He was one of the organizers of Tolkien fandom in the U.S. He was president of the Tolkien Society of America from 1967-1972, taking over after first Thain of the Society had to give it up.
He organized the 1968 Belknap College Tolkien Conference, held at Belknap College in New Hampshire, where Ed was a professor. It was a scholarly literary conference where papers were presented, many of them by people from the sf community, such as Lester del Rey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Dainis Bisenieks, and Fred Lerner.
In 1972, at Ed’s suggestion, Tolkien Society of America merged with the Mythopoeic Society founded by Glen GoodKnight, and overnight the Mythopoeic Society grew to more than a thousand members. Ed became a guest of honor at Mythcon in 1975.
OTHER INTERESTS. Ed also was part of the group created by sf fans who love Georgette Heyer Regency roman novels, called Almack’s Society for Heyer Criticism.
He was an associate member of the modern First Fandom club.
Outside of fandom, Ed provided leadership to the National Federation of the Blind of New Hampshire, acting as president of both the NH state affiliate and the Lakes Region local chapter. He and Sandy, whom he married in 1989, lived in rural Moultonboro, NH, in the summer and in North Carolina in the winter.
Late in life he was still producing his email-only fanzine The View From Entropy with help from family and friends.
Ed is survived by his wife, Sandy, and a son from his first marriage, Stanley.
By Jason V. Brock: Author, screenwriter, artist, and occasional actor William Francis Nolan passed away without pain on July 15, 2021, during a brief stay in the hospital following complications from an infection. He was 93 years old. He had no living relatives and was married one time.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Nolan was an only child. His father, Michael Cahill Nolan, was an adventurer and sportsman. His mother, Bernadette Mariana Kelly Nolan, was a stenographer. The family resided on Forest Avenue in a predominantly Irish section of the city. Nolan spent his youth riding his bike up and down nearby Troost Avenue, close to the Isis Theater, meeting with friends to spend hot days in the cool of the movie palace, where they watched Westerns, ate candy, and reveled in the adventures of Tom Mix and other film heroes of the day. An avid reader, he devoured Max Brand, comic books (especially Batman), the pulps, and any other books he could get his hands on. He held very fond memories of his childhood.
Later, the family moved to Chula Vista, California just after World War II (Nolan was unable to serve due to flat feet and poor vision). Though the times were hard, his cherished parents had unflinching Irish roots, and the family endured, eventually winding up in Los Angeles. It was during this time Nolan caught the Science Fiction fandom bug. Talented at drawing, Nolan spent many hours working as an artist (including a stint at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City), still enthralled with pulps such as Black Mask, Weird Tales, andcomics, especially Jack Kirby’s output. Movies eventually became his greatest enthusiasm, and for years he attended several a week. Being in L.A. only added to his interest in all forms of genre, from Noir to horror to Science Fiction.
Once established in L.A., he stumbled across a fresh new writer named Ray Bradbury, becoming an instant convert. Seeking Bradbury out, by 1952 he had learned enough about him to compile his first serious book, Ray Bradbury Review. It contained a mix of art, stories, and nonfiction, including pieces by writer Chad Oliver and Bradbury. After a few years of doing art, active semi-pro fanzine work, and other fan-related organizing, Nolan made his first big professional sale, “The Darendinger Build-Up” to Playboy, and decided he wanted to be a writer full-time. Around this time, Bradbury introduced Nolan to the man who would become his best friend for ten years, until his untimely death, Mr. Charles Beaumont. Beaumont, Nolan, Richard Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, Chad Oliver, Charles E. Fritch, Kris Neville, John Tomerlin, Mari Wolf, and several others eventually comprised “The Group”, meeting to discuss stories and hang out together.
Nolan’s career flourished as a writer and later a screenwriter, primarily for Dan Curtis. Logan’s Run, which he co-wrote with the late George Clayton Johnson, propelled both men into the public consciousness in a major way, especially after the release of the classic MGM film adaptation in 1976. Although Nolan has written roughly 2000 pieces, to include biographies, short stories, poetry, and novels, Logan’s Run retains its hold on the public consciousness as a political fable and dystopian warning. As Nolan has stated: “That I am known at all is still astonishing to me, as I can so vividly recall the boy flying down the road on his bike in Kansas City all those years ago. My later years have brought me much happiness, I will note, especially my current family, Jason and Sunni Brock. We’ve been a unit for nearly 15 years, and it has been one of the best times of my life.”
By John Hertz: Long-time fan Marty Helgesen, active in fanzines and thus known across the country, sometimes seen at SF cons, quick-witted and comical, thoughtful, cheerfully Catholic, left our Earth for a better life, as his co-religionists trust, on Sunday, May 23rd. He was 82.
He was a wise guy in the highest sense, like – though the comparison would have embarrassed him – Ronald Knox, a Catholic priest who made a new translation of the Bible and wrote detective stories. Marty’s fanwriting included – as I noted here – things like “All syllogisms have three parts. Therefore, this is not a syllogism.”
His own fanzine Radio Free Thulcandra in the mid-1980s through mid-1990s ran three dozen issues of five or six dozen pages, its title alluding to Radio Free Europe broadcasts and a name for Earth in three books by C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength. Marty was, besides, in three apas that I know of, Minneapa, APA-L, and FLAP. Minneapa, mighty in its day, came to an end; APA-L and FLAP continue.
He knew and quoted Msgr. Knox’ writing; also the writing of another who had the gift of speaking clearly on topics difficult to manage, Frank Sheed. This was welcome. Marty resisted anti-Christian or anti-Catholic prejudice – as I’ve sometimes put it, too often we fans aren’t really tolerant, we just march behind a banner that says “Tolerance” – but, although Christians may proselytize, he did not misappropriate fannish moments to urge his faith. He was a counter-example to the Spanish proverb Every man pushes his own sardine a little closer to the fire.
He earned his living as a librarian. He lived in Malverne, New York.
I cherish the memory of running across him one day at a convention, dressed in his usual white short-sleeved shirt with four pockets, black trousers, drawing a little red wagon carrying a children’s T-shirt, the T-shirt filled out somehow as if worn on a human or humanoid body and reading “My parents went to Middle-Earth and all I got was this stupid ring.”
A friend of his posted a notice here about Marty’s funeral Mass and burial, to be held on Friday, May 28th. If you can go, do. If you can remember him in prayers, do that. He and I had substantial differences, but we were too occupied with what we had in common to dwell on them. I’m not sure fandom is a way of life, but if it is, that’s in it.
By Dann: Actor Norman Lloyd has passed away at 106 years of age. His career spanned over 7 decades as an actor. He was also an active producer and director. He formed the Mercury Theatre with Orson Welles and John Houseman, appeared in two Hitchcock films, and directed most of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents (including Ray Bradbury’s “The Jar”).
While I remember him primarily from the TV series St. Elsewhere and the movies FM and Dead Poets Society, it turns out that he has quite a few genre credits including:
The most recent genre TV series was Seven Days (1998-2000) where a character would travel back exactly seven days and then work to adjust history; presumably for the better.
Movies: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000), The Omen (1995), Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes (1989), The Jaws of Satan (1981), The Nude Bomb (1980), Audrey Rose (1978)
TV Series appearances: Star Trek TNG “The Chase”, The Twilight Zone “The Last Defender of Camelot”, The Dark Secret of Harvest Home, Night Gallery “A Feast of Blood”, several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, One Step Beyond “Delusion.”
His directorial credits include Tales of the Unexpected which featured adaptations of stories written by Roald Dahl.
IMDB had a trailer. Mr. Lloyd plays a Q-type character named Carruthers presenting weapons/tools for use by the secret agent Maxwell Smart. Yes, that Maxwell Smart. He does miss by just that much.
While speaking into a telephone that looks like a stapler that most certainly does NOT function as a stapler, Carruthers says: “I’ll be at my piano number in half an hour. If you need me earlier, call me on my jockstrap. But, please, just ring once.”
Apparently, some of his telephones also functioned as the devices that they appeared to be. Just not the stapler.
Many of you know him as Bob or Rev. Bob. He died peacefully at home last night.
The paramedics took him to the hospital in hopes of resuscitating him, but they couldn’t.
It was NOT covid-19.
When Rev. Bob began participating here in 2015 he was working as an ebook creator and as a proofreader/copyeditor doing business as Tittle & Jot.
For the previous 20 years he had been an active fan of Steve Jackson Games, and by then was maintaining the company’s website.
He was a Tennessee fan and on the conrunning side, for a time, he ran LibertyCon’s board/card gaming. The Chattanooga con is noted as a magnet for Baen authors, and when he finally dropped out around 2015 he said, “I parted ways with the con when they got too overtly conservative for me to feel comfortable attending – not in the ‘I don’t want my money going there’ sense, but in the ‘if they knew how liberal my politics are, I believe I would be very unwelcome’ sense.”
Rev. Bob described himself as a voracious reader who owned thousands of books – many of them print books he had scanned and converted to ebooks, as he once explained:
Goodreads puts me at 4255, and that’s only (a) physical books I’ve scanned since August 2011 and (b) all books purchased since the same date that I’m willing to admit to owning. There are a few other exceptions, like books in storage by a handful of key authors (pre-2011, manually added rather than scanned) or pre-2011 ebooks that I’ve added as I find them (e.g. contents of Baen CDs), but I know I’ve got boxes of currently-inaccessible books that Goodreads doesn’t know about. I’ve even got a bundle of Angry Robot ebooks that I got in their “100 for £100” deal and haven’t completely processed yet. Yes, I’m way behind.
Heck, I’ve got over 1600 DVDs and Blu-rays…
Having once been a prolific writer, he was able to share “Rev. Bob’s Rules for Writers”:
1. Get the words out of your head and into the manuscript. 2. Never submit/publish an untouched first draft. At the very least, read it over one time and be sure there’s nothing you want to change. 3. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If you’re going to break those rules, do it on purpose.
That’s about it, really.
However, as he discussed from time to time, “Depression and despair have positively slaughtered my creative output since 2016. The chronic pain doesn’t exactly help, either. It used to be nothing for me to bash away at a keyboard for several hours, writing thousands of words at a time. Now I struggle to get from one scene to the next before I have to stop.”
Yet he was still one of the most incisive and analytical debaters here. And whenever fannish wordplay broke out he contributed to the fun. (Three of his parody filksongs follow the jump.) He will be sorely missed.