By Jon D. Swartz and John L. Coker III: Born in May 1916, Norm Stanley was a science fiction (SF) fan from Maine who was very active in fandom in the 1940s. He was a member of the famous Stranger Club, and was one of the club members who attended Noreascon 3 as a Fan Guest of Honor.
Norm was also tangentially involved in the Skowhegan Junior Astronomical and Rocket Society, the kind of fan club that combined both science and SF activities and was common in this country in the 1930s and 1940s. He was generous with his fellow club members, and let them borrow from his seventy bound-volumes of SF prozines.
He attended early conventions such as Philcon, as well as some of the early Boskones. He also participated in Mainecon Jr, a “conference” in the language of the times, in 1943, with his friend Jim Avery and the visiting Claude Degler. He gave Degler some fanzines, and got along well with him. This generosity of his, plus the “conference” they had had with Avery, apparently qualified him to be a member of Degler’s legendary Cosmic Circle. Norm was still active in fan matters in the late 1940s, and attended the 1948 Torcon where he participated in a roundtable discussion on the probable date of the arrival of interplanetary travel.
Norm’s major fanzine was Fan-Tods, which ran for nineteen issues. He also published Beyond with Roscoe E. Wright. Fan-Tods was a SF fanzine that was subtitled “The Magazine for the Tod Fan.” It appeared in the 1940s-1950s, and was edited and published by Norm from his home in Rockland, Maine. This fanzine was mimeographed using blue ink. Issue #1 appeared in December, 1942; with #2 appearing in Spring, 1943; #7 in Summer, 1944; and then following a regular quarterly schedule until issue #18 in 1949 — after which there was a three-year break; and then Issue #19 was published in the Fall of 1952, and was the last issue. Fan-Tods was an apazine, distributed through FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Association), and then VAPA (Vanguard Amateur Press Association). Cover illustrations were by Wright, among others. By issue #7, Wright had become a co-editor. SF historian Harry Warner once described Norm as “a power force in FAPA.”
Jack Speer’s 1944 poll of the top SF fans found Fan-Tods to be among the nation’s top five fanzines. On the other hand, in 1947 – in his fanzine Matters of Opinion — Speer wrote an article, “The People vs. Norman F. Stanley,” that was very critical of the 16th issue of Fan-Tods.
In the 1940s, Norm was very much a member of the “sense of wonder” camp of SF. According to Warner’s All Our Yesterdays, when Norm’s mother told him about atomic bombs and Hiroshima he remembered thinking: “I confess my first reaction was one of elation, which even the obvious misgivings couldn’t quench. ‘Geez, we might blow up the whole planet,’ I thought, ‘but it’s still wonderful.’ ”
In addition to his fanzine work, Norm wrote for the SF prozines, including several letters to Astounding Science Fiction. Three of his letters were published in 1938, two in 1939, and one in 1940. In addition, he had an essay (“The Theory of Thing Things”) published in the 1948 Torcon Report.
Norm was one of the original members of First Fandom; and he was elected to the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 2013.
Norman F. Stanley passed away on October 22, 2016, at the Sussman House, Rockport, Maine, with his family in attendance. He was 100 years of age. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Eleanor, their two children, a granddaughter, and four children of a nephew.
Here is a link to the obituary notice that appeared in The Courier Gazette / The Camden Herald on October 26, 2016: http://knox.villagesoup.com/p/norman-stanley/1588807
Sources: All Our Yesterdays; The Immortal Storm; Fancyclopedia 3; ISFDB; Wikipedia; and other Internet sites.