First Fandom Awards
at CoNZealand

Three First Fandom awards were presented during CoNZealand’s Opening Ceremonies. 

The First Fandom Hall of Fame, created in 1963, is a prestigious achievement award given to a living recipient who has made significant contributions to Science Fiction throughout their lifetime.

First Fandom Hall of Fame

  • Roger Sims
Roger Sims in 2002. Photo by Mark Olson.

Roger discovered Detroit fandom in 1949. He’s belonged to a science fiction club continuously since, and is married to fellow fan Pat Sims. His first club was the Detroit Science Fiction League, the Misfits. He’s been a member of the Lunarians of New York and the Cincinnati Fantasy Group. Currently he’s a member of the Orlando Science Fiction Society.

Roger was co-chair with Fred Prophet of Detention, the 17th Worldcon, held in Detroit in 1959. His first WorldCon was the 1950 NorWesCon. He’s attended 56 WorldCons. At NOLACon, he was one of the people staying in the famous Room 770. He’s been a fan guest of honour at many regional conventions, and in 1995 he was the DUFF co-delegate. Roger Sims is a lifelong true fan, with many accomplishments, and it is fitting that he take an honoured place beside his peers as a living member of the First Fandom Hall of Fame.

The Posthumous Hall of Fame was created in 1994 to acknowledge people in Science Fiction who should have, but did not, receive that type of recognition during their lifetimes.

First Fandom Posthumous Hall of Fame

  • Chad Oliver
Chad Oliver

This year, the members of First Fandom have inducted Chad Oliver to the Posthumous Hall of Fame. Chad Oliver, PhD, was an American anthropologist and science fiction and western fiction writer.

When he was young, he became a science fiction fan and wrote many letters to the pro zines. He also published a fan zine and attended science fiction conventions. He was married at the Ackermansion. Science fiction author Rog Phillips was his best man, and Ray Bradbury was a member of the wedding party.

Chad was a member of the West Coast Writers Group. Two of his most popular science fiction novels were Shadows in the Sun (1954) and The Shores of Another Sea (1971). Two of his western novels won awards.

Over the years, he was guest of honour and toastmaster at several regional conventions. With this award, the members of First Fandom honour and recognise Chad Oliver and his achievements, and welcome him posthumously to the First Fandom Hall of Fame.

Sam Moskowitz Archive Award was created in 1998 to recognise not only someone who has assembled a world-class collection but also what has actually been done with it.

Sam Moskowitz Archive Award

  • John Carter Tibbetts
John Carter Tibbetts

John’s father James, whose passion for Edgar Rice Burroughs led to John’s name, was a member of First Fandom. Together they read and collected all the classics of science fiction. To quote James E Gunn, “John Carter Tibbetts, PhD, is a man of many talents—author, editor, artist, musician, scholar, teacher—and his range of interests is as varied. Art, film, all fields in which he has already published one or more of his many books.”

As an educator and broadcaster, Tibbetts has worked nationally as a news reporter for CBS television, National Public Radio, and Voice of America. He’s written and illustrated 26 books, more than 250 articles, and several short stories.

It’s in recognition of John’s devotion to the lifelong pursuit of a sense of wonder that the members of First Fandom honour him this year with the Sam Moskowitz Archive Award.

Lester H. Cole, Past Worldcon
Co-Chair, Has Died

Les Cole at home in his library.

By John L. Coker III: Lester Hines Cole (1926–2019), the long-time beloved husband of Esther Cole, was a Bay Area SF fan who co-chaired SFCon, the 1954 Worldcon held in San Francisco that had John W. Campbell, Jr. as its guest of honor.  SFCon activities included a chamber opera based on a Ray Bradbury short story (narrated by Anthony Boucher), and the restoration of the tradition of a masquerade ball.  Les was married to Esther Cole, who joined him in many of his fannish activities.

Cole, who died in late September, was a member of the Elves, Gnomes and Little Men’s Science Fiction and Chowder Society (at one time serving as its president).  The Society was founded in 1948; meetings and other club activities were always centered in and around Berkeley, CA.  In the early days, the club published thepopular fanzine Rhodomagnetic Digest.

Cole published the fanzine Orgasm (aka The Big O) in 1951, along with his wife and Clarence Jacobs.  Les had about fifty genre short stories, articles, and letters published, most of which appeared in Amazing, Astounding, F&SF, Venture, and Startling.  He also wrote several genre novels, including an alternate history in 2012, Spithead, in which the two World Wars never happened.  He sometimes used the pen names of Roy Carroll, Les Collins, T. M. Mathieu, T. H. Mathieu, and Colin Sturgis.  The last was used when Les collaborated with Melvin Sturgis.

An associate member of First Fandom, Les was inducted — along with his wife — into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 2017.  A photo of Les (with wife Es) appeared in A Wealth of Fable (SCIFI Press, 1992) written by SF fan Harry Warner, Jr.

He was a historian; a scholarly gentleman with many interests and great capacities who was a life-long student and a mentor; a true animal lover; someone who had one foot firmly planted in the past with the other striding boldly into the future.

Les is survived by his wife and their two sons, Dana and Lance.

(Prepared by Jon D. Swartz)

Es and Les Cole. Photo by Tove Marling

Remembering Les Cole

By Es Cole: Les was a treasure trove of SF experiences and interactions with the great fans and writers during the glory years.  He chaired the Elves, Gnomes and Little Men’s SF and Chowder Society and helped produce the 1954 Worldcon.  He also captured his bride of 70 years by reading to her The Black Flame (by Stanley Weinbaum), who wore a gown of Alexandrites, rare gemstones that cost more than 15,?000 dollars a carat.

I accepted Les’ marriage proposal on condition the engagement ring be an Alexandrite.  Les, that sneaky, funny, intellectual, got me the ring, but the Alexandrite was an artificial stone. 

My SF relationship with Les started when we first met.  I had been assigned to run the switchboard of the men’s dorm, and Les walked into that area, wearing a new hat.  He was a wiseass sophomore, age 18; I was a sophisticated, 20-year-old freshman.  This was at Cal, Berkeley.  Les spent about two hours hanging about, and I learned from him about “dry labbing.”  First thing Les taught me was how to cheat in my chem class.  Thus, I began my college career.  And it worked.  Plus I got a boyfriend.  And the rest is history — a history of almost 80 years. 

We made our first convention appearance in New Orleans, where Bob Bloch started a rumor that Es and Les were 15-year-old twin brothers, and we’ve been gender confused ever since.

No. 1 son, Dana, attended the Worldcon in Chicago at age 4 1/2 months.  Both sons – Dana and Lance – attended the Worldcon in San Francisco in 1954.

Les and Es Cole, Gary Nelson, Tom Quinn and a few other people produced SFCon 1954.  We started out with almost bare pockets.   First, we turned the 2-day event into a 3-day weekend; we upped the registration from $1 to $2.  Fans screamed at the outrageous increase.  Our most important accomplishment, which is still followed today: we voted to have world conventions produced in a different city each year, moving westward.  Prior to that, conventions had primarily been on the eastern side of the U.S.  We restored the masquerade ball.  Bob Bloch was a judge.  Willy Ley’s wife, a professional ballet dancer, wore a black, filmy, flowing gown with glowing stars.  She was “deep space”.

We arranged for a wonderful museum in San Francisco to display some original sf art, including Chesley Bonestell originals.  Additional entertainment included a chamber opera based on a Bradbury short story narrated by Anthony Boucher.

When Les was president of the Little Men, he, and several other people, hatched an idea to involve the United Nations to claim to have authority over ownership of the Moon.

The idea for the Moon Claim, originated, with the owner of the bookstore where The Little Men held their meetings.

The people who executed the Moon Claim were pros or near pros.  Les wrote about the geology of the area of the moon; a graduate student in astronomy was able to outline the area of the moon being claimed; Les’ father was studying law, so he was able to write a proper claim.  They picked a date to local papers, describing the attempt to claim a portion of the Moon, by filing such a claim with the Legal Department of the United Nations.  And yes, it worked.  Press releases went out, written with a slant that would appeal to each Bay Area newspaper.  The response was far greater than we expected.  The local Berkeley paper tore up their original front page for that day and ran the Moon Claim story.  Les received a phone call in his place of work from a reporter from England, calling from New York. The reporter was interested in the ramifications of such a claim. 

Les, as president of the Little Men had the responsibility of fielding the phone calls, hoping for a legal way to determine the ownership of part of the moon.

Les authored about 50 SF short stories, published in F&SF, Amazing, Startling; an article in Astounding; and 6 novels.  His letters to sf magazines were published regularly from when he was about 13.  After we married in 1947 he added my name – thus was born Les and Es, or Es and Les.

Books by Les Cole: The Sea Kings, Lion at Sea, The Sea People (a prehistoric arch-aeological adventure trilogy, also available in Greek); Baker’s Dozenth (a spy novel set against the American Civil War); Spithead (an alternative universe spy/adventure novel where WWI and WWII never happened because the British Navy sailed out of Spithead, England and intervened).

Judith Merrill played a big part.  Long distance by mail and phone she helped Les hone his writing skills, gave advice about character development, dialog.  Les passed on this help to other aspiring writers, an important obligation.

Les was never boring.  I don’t think he could be boring; he knew too much, his sense of humor never stopped.  His use of language was always interesting, thoughtful, and unique.  And he could write; short stories, science fiction, historical novels.

He was younger than I, and insisted that I had to marry a younger man because women live longer than men.  He was right about so many things.  Smart and funny, and knew so much.  He was never boring. 

He is still in our house.  In every corner: his books, his photographs, his little notes tucked into books.  We made each other laugh.   He taught me stuff and I may have taught him a few things, too.

Sending love,

Es and the doggies

First Fandom Awards at Dublin 2019

Three First Fandom awards were presented during Opening Ceremonies at Dublin 2019. 

  • First Fandom Hall of Fame Award:  Ray Faraday Nelson
  • First Fandom Posthumous Hall of Fame Award:  Bob Shaw, James White and Walt Willis
  • Sam Moskowitz Archive Award:  Dr. Bradford Lyau

The First Fandom Hall of Fame Award (est . 1963) is presented annually to honor an individual’s lifetime of accomplishments in the field of science fiction. Geri Sullivan, the TAFF Delegate, announced the Ray Faraday Nelson as the award recipient and it was accepted on Nelson’s behalf by Chair James Bacon.

First Fandom Hall of Fame Award citation:

Because of his life-long genuine love of science fiction and his enthusiastic service to that community for decades, the members of First Fandom have elected Ray Faraday Nelson to the First Fandom Hall of Fame for 2019.

Ray Faraday Nelson – except from Wikipedia entry:

American SF author and cartoonist most famous for his 1963 short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning,” which was later used by John Carpenter as basis for his 1988 film They Live.  Nelson became an active member of fandom while a teen-ager.  He began his career writing and creating cartoons for SF fanzines.  Later, he wrote many professionally published short stories.  Nelson collaborated with Philip K. Dick (a friend since childhood) on The Ganymede Takeover (published 1967).  At the 1982 Philip K. Dick Awards, Nelson’s novel The Prometheus Man gained a Special Citation.  Nelson professed his greatest claim to fame to be the creator (while still in high school) of the iconic propeller beanie as emblematic of science fiction fandom.

The First Fandom Posthumous Hall of Fame Award (est. 1994) is presented to honor the accomplishments of a worthy member of the SF community who did not receive that recognition during their lifetime. Geri Sullivan announced the selections of Bob Shaw, James White and Walt Willis to be inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. 

First Fandom Posthumous Hall of Fame Award citation:

These three great Irish fans collaborated for decades and promoted genuine goodwill around the world.  It is our privilege to honor their memory in the same year that the Worldcon is being held in Dublin.

Background information from the Wikipedia:

Walt Willis

Well-known part of influential Irish SF Fandom, the Wheels of IF.  Special guest, 1952 Worldcon, and recipient of travel funds raised by fans.  This inspired the annual TransAtlantic Fan Fund (TAFF).  Willis was awarded a 1958 Hugo Award as Outstanding Actifan.  Nominated for best fan writer Hugo (1969) and for two Retro-Hugos in the same category (2001, 2004).  Nominated in fanzine category (1957, 1959) for Hyphen.  Received Fanzine Retro-Hugo nominations (2004) for Slant and Hyphen.  He shared a Retro-Hugo for Slant with that fanzine’s art editor James White.  Willis’ best known work is The Enchanted Duplicator (1954), co-written with Bob Shaw.  Willis was Fan Guest of Honor at Magicon (the 1992 Worldcon). (d. 1999.)

James White

Northern Irish author of science fiction novellas, short stories and novels who became a SF fan in 1941.  With Walt Willis, he co-wrote two fanzines, Slant (1948–1953) and Hyphen (1952–1965).  White’s first novel, The Secret Visitors was published in 1957.  White was a long-time Council Member of the British SF Association and a Patron of the Irish SF Association.  (d. 1999.)

Bob Shaw

SF writer and fan from Northern Ireland. Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer (1979, 1980).  His short story “Light of Other Days” was a Hugo Award nominee in 1967, as was his novel The Ragged Astronauts (in 1987).  (d. 1996.)

The Sam Moskowitz Archive Award for attaining “Excellence in Collecting” was presented to Dr. Bradford Lyau by First Fandom International Vice-President Mr. Erle M. Korshak.

Dr. Bradford Lyau

The Sam Moskowitz Archive Award citation:

Dr. Bradford Lyau is a genuine SF enthusiast.  He has been an avid collector for more than fifty years and has assembled an archive of pulp magazines, books and vintage comic books. Through active correspondence, Brad developed friendships with many of his favorite writers.  He knew Sam Moskowitz and visited Forry in the Ackermansion.  Dr. Lyau has published numerous academic articles and scholarly books and has served over the years as a panelist and moderator at conventions throughout the world.

Information from BayCon 2016:

Dr. Bradford Lyau has been a life-long reader of SF, part of fandom for over forty years, and a panelist for over twenty-five years. He is a historian by training (BA, UC-Berkeley; MA, PhD, University of Chicago) and once taught at several universities in California and Europe. He presently works for a start-up company and is a political activist/consultant. He remains active in formal scholarship, publishing academic articles on American, British, French, and other European SF. He was an invited program participant in 1984 for the George Orwell Conference held in London, and in 1991 for the Utopian Conference held in Yverdon-les-Bain, Switzerland, as part of Switzerland’s 700th Anniversary celebration. One of his recent articles analyzed Cixin Liu’s recently translated novels, his first attempt to analyze SF from a non-Western culture. His book analyzing French SF, The Anticipation Novelists of 1950s French Science Fiction: Stepchildren of Voltaire, received very positive reviews from leading academic SF journals and is listed as a reference for further reading in the “France” entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

[Thanks to John Coker III for the story.]