Diversity, if we can face it

By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1327; originally published 14 Nov 18)  Fred Patten (1940-2018) was a gentle giant.

In APA-L with him we saw this.

His Lzine ¡Rábanos Radiactivos! (“Radioactive radishes!”, an expletive of Profesor Mental in the Mexican comic-book Criollo, el Caballo Invencible) appeared every week over forty-three years – five years after a stroke disabled his favored side, leaving him to type with one finger of his left hand.

Not to be too one-sided, for a moment of plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (“the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing”, attr. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr [in Les Guêpes “the wasps” Jan 1849?]) you can find in RR 165 13 Dec 67 “We’ve all been crying about the dearth of good genzines in Fandom these days”.

That’s about the strongest language he used, and it was just before praising a genzine.

He did many things, and wrote about them, with quiet vigor.  I said he made prosaic a word of praise.

Besides ours, he was in the great apas FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Ass’n), SAPS (Spectator Am. Press Society), OMPA (Off-trails Magazine Publishers Ass’n), and The CultThe Cult??  “The thirteen nastiest bastards in fandom”??  Bruce Pelz said “Someone must have lied.”

Fred chaired Westercon XXVII (West Coast Science Fantasy Conference; 1974) and Loscon XIV (L.A. local con; 1987).  He edited the L.A.Con Program Book (30th World Science Fiction Convention, 1972) – my task for L.A.con II (42nd Worldcon, 1984) – and daily newszine.   He was a fine fanhistorian, e.g. in a series on Worldcon history for the MidAmericon I progress reports (34th Worldcon, 1976).  He wrote up Fan Guests of Honor Bruce Pelz for Noreascon II (38th Worldcon, 1980) and Tom Digby for ConFrancisco (51st Worldcon, 1993).

His first Worldcon was Solacon (16th, 1958).  He joined LASFS (L.A. S-F Soc.) in 1960.  In 1963 he was a Hugo Award finalist for co-editing the clubzine Shangri L’Affaires with Al Lewis and Bjo & John Trimble [there should be, but Electronicland may not manage, a circumflex over the j – an Esperantism indicating the pronunciation “bee-joe”].  He was given the Evans-Freehafer (LASFS award for service to the club) in 1965.  He was a reviewer for Locus and Science Fiction Review.  He co-founded DUFF (the Down Under Fan Fund, which elected me its 2010 delegate – alas, for all Fred’s connection to Australia, though he attended South Gate in ‘58 and lived to see South Gate Again in 2010, see here, p. 20, and here, he could not attend) in 1972.  He was Fan Guest of Honor at DeepSouthCon IX (1971); received a Special Committee Award at L.A.con IV (64th Worldcon) for “a lifetime of service to Fandom” and was Fan GoH at Loscon XXXIII (both 2006); received the Forry (LASFS award for service to s-f) in 2009.

At two special interests he earned particular fame: Japanese cartoons, animated, which came to be known as Japanimation and then animé, and still, which came to be known as manga (Japanese, “whimsical pictures”, in Japan meaning all kinds of cartoons, comics, animation, addressing all ages, and including comedy, commerce, history, mystery, s-f, sports; on Tokyo trains I’ve seen businessmen reading what English for lack of a better term would have to call by the same name as Criollo, comic books), and anthropomorphic-animal cartoons, which eventually gave rise to Furry Fandom.  In 1977 he co-founded C/FO (the Cartoon Fantasy Organization); he was so instrumental at introducing animé to America that he was given the Inkpot (Comic-Con Int’l award) in 1980.  In 2004 he published Watching Animé, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. A Dante scholar who became a top university librarian said talking with Fred about animé was like a graduate-level seminar.  These special interests were an ordinary, not a dominant, part of his fanwriting.

He was never an epigrammatist, just perceptive.  It was he, rooming with Art Widner and me at Westercon LIII (2000), who observed that the newest current into s-f cons came not from a barbarian invasion but a widened perimeter.

No one ever said fans were slans (A.E. Van Vogt, Slan, 1940), but we could regret carrying forward all-too-human foibles.  Clamoring against exclusions we don’t hesitate to practice them.  Few of the encomiums at Fred’s death have noted the breadth of his career.  It’s only been two days.  Perhaps we’ll do better when we catch our breath.  R.I.P.

3 thoughts on “Diversity, if we can face it

  1. Fred was also a stalwart in APATOONS, the APA for animation fans of all stripes, from before I joined in the mid-80s to the last (so far) issue. Jerry Beck was Fearless Leader when I became aware of it, then Harry McCracken, then I was #1 Monkey for a while, and I’ve forgotten who did it next (Bob Miller? maybe?) or after, but we all sent Fred his collated issues unstapled, per request.

  2. Pingback: Memories Are Made of This | File 770

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