Price Is Trib “Pen Pal”

Long-time sf fan George W. Price was recently featured as one of the Chicago Tribune’s ”Pen Pals”, a series of profiles about people who frequently write letters-to-the-editor.

Unique trait: Price is obsessed with limericks and puns. “The more atrocious, the better,” he says. He is also a huge fan of science fiction, and has attended the WindyCon Science Fiction Convention and Cleveland’s World Science Fiction Convention, and was a member of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society.

George W. Price

George W. Price

For decades George’s parties were an important gathering point for Chicago fans. As a young fan, when I quizzed somebody about Chicago’s counterpart to the science fiction clubs in other big cities like LASFS, Lunarians and WSFA, he said George’s parties were it.

Since 1951 George has been a partner in Advent:Publishers, producer of legendary critical and historical books the sf field.  He recounted his role as an editor and publisher in this 2005 article for Earl Kemp’s zine eI.

Bill Higgins found online a rather science-fictional letter George wrote in 1993 to another publication, the Chicago Reader, proposing that to pay for highway use each car carry an electronic gadget

At each expressway entrance and exit a detector interrogates the plate as it goes by and relays its number to a central computer. Mileage is calculated and charged to the owner on a monthly bill, just like long-distance phone calls. (“ABC-123 enters Dan Ryan at 35th southbound; exits at 95th; total distance 7.5 miles; at 20/mile, charge $1.50.”)

Higgins says, “A decade later, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority was fielding a system much like this.”

[Thanks to Bill Higgins for the story.]