First Fandom members have until May 15 to vote on the candidates for the organization’s annual awards.
The names of the winners will be announced at DisCon III, this year’s Worldcon, in Washington, D.C.
Here are the fans up for the three awards along with brief excerpts from their candidate bios.
FIRST FANDOM HALL OF FAME
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.
Candidate: William F. Nolan
…Among his many accolades, Nolan has twice won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He was voted a Living Legend in Dark Fantasy by the International Horror Guild in 2002, and in 2006 was bestowed the honorary title of Author Emeritus by the SFWA. In 2010, he received the Lifetime Achievement Bram Stoker Award from the HWA. In 2013 he was a recipient, along with Brian W. Aldiss, of the World Fantasy Convention Award. In 2014, Nolan was presented with another ram Stoker Award, for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction. In 2015, he was named a World Horror Society Grand Master.
POSTHUMOUS HALL OF FAME AWARD
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.
Richard & Pat Lupoff
…With Pat, he edited the SF fanzine Xero which they unveiled at the 1960 Worldcon in Pittsburgh. A regular feature of Xero was a nostalgic look at Golden Age comic books called “All in Color for a Dime” that later resulted in two books of essays: All in Color for a Dime (1970) and The Comic Book Book (1973), both of which Lupoff co-edited with fellow fan Don Thompson. Dick and Pat appeared at Pittcon, the 1960 Worldcon, dressed as the popular comic book characters Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel for the con’s masquerade event. Their picture as the two superheroes has been widely circulated in SF and comic book fandoms. Xero won the 1963 Best Fanzine Hugo Award. A collection, The Best of Xero, published in 2004, edited by the Lupoffs — and with an introduction by film critic Roger Ebert – was nominated for the 2005 Best Related Book Hugo. In addition, Dick edited other popular genre anthologies, including the What If? SF series (1980 – 1984)….
,,,Resnick won five Hugo Awards (nominated for 30+), a Nebula Award (nominated for 10+), and was GoH at Chicon 7 in 2012. He was one of the founders of ISFiC, the organization that runs Windycons. He was also a long-time member of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group (CFG)…
…Among his works were several SF books, including The Man Who Fell to Earth (1963), Mockingbird (1980), Far from Home (1981), and The Steps of the Sun (1983). Far from Home was a collection of his short SF, most of which had originally been published in popular genre magazines of the time such as Galaxy, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, If, and Omni.
…Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (1977) for The Man Who Fell to Earth; Nebula Award Nomination (1981) for Mockingbird; Locus Award Nomination for Best Short Story (1980) for “Rent Control” (originally published in the October, 1979, issue of Omni Magazine)…
SAM MOSKOWITZ ARCHIVE AWARD
Sam Moskowitz Archive Award was created in 1998 to recognize not only someone who has assembled a world-class collection but also what has actually been done with it.
Candidate:Kevin L. Cook
…As a teenager in the 1970’s Kevin kept reading in many places that no one knew more about SF than Sam Moskowitz. He had some questions. Why ask a lesser authority? Therefore, Kevin wrote to Mr. Moskowitz with his questions. Sam answered of course. That act impressed Kevin. If Sam Moskowitz was willing to share a bit of his vast knowledge with someone, should he not pass along the torch if he ever obtained knowledge of his own? With that thought in mind Kevin has provided many publishers in the field with photocopies, scans and even the actual loan of books and magazines…
For more than 25 years has continued to dispense information through his quarterly apazine for The Pulp Era Amateur Press Society (PEAPS). When he obtains a letter from a famous author such as A. Merritt or an interesting inscription in a book, he provides photocopies for the PEAPS members, which also includes people beyond since a copy of all PEAPS mailings are housed in the Popular Culture Library of Bowling Green University. That effort of sharing his knowledge through the collection he has gathered is why Kevin L. Cook is a candidate for the Sam Moskowitz Archive Award for 2021.
This month’s entry is from Doris Pitkin Buck, a Science Fiction Writers of America founder. Buck was mainly associated with The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which for various stupid reason was not a magazine I followed closely back in the day. Accordingly, I was not familiar with her work when I encountered this example of it way, way back in 2019. I see I carefully side-stepped my issues with poetry in my review. Let’s see what my Young People made of her poem.
(2) FREE MARS? In “Elon Musk’s Martian Way (Empire Not Included)” on National Review Online, Texas Tech economist Alexander William Salter says a curious clause in Musk’s Starlink satellite contracts doesn’t mean Musk quietly wants to conquer Mars.
…But a much more exotic charge against Starlink, and Elon Musk himself, has recently come to light. A curious clause in Starlink’s terms and conditions suggests SpaceX’s future plans for a Martian settlement will result in SpaceX becoming a law unto itself. As the service agreement reads:
“For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.”
Nefarious! Or is it? We need some context.
Clearly, the clause doesn’t pose any immediate legal concerns. This is a long-term issue. One of Musk’s ambitions is to create a settlement on Mars. In Musk’s vision, much of the infrastructure for the settlement, including Internet via Starlink, will be supplied by SpaceX itself. That includes governance: the rules dictating how the intrepid Martian explorers will live together. In fact, SpaceX’s legal team is currently working on a Martian constitution.
This science-fiction-esque plan predictably led observers to decry the prospect of corporate domination of space. “Elon Musk plans to get to Mars first, and that means he can quickly establish a fiefdom where he makes his own rules by a first-come, first-serve system,” complains Caroline Delbert at Popular Mechanics. Legal experts weighed in soon after, claiming that this language violates international law. The smart set seems more than happy to cast Musk in the role of Hugo Drax, the tech-savvy Bond villain who sought space power to control humanity….
(3) ISFIC WRITERS CONTEST EXTENSION. Steven H Silver brings word that the ISFiC Writers Contest for unpublished writers of science fiction and fantasy has extended its deadline for submissions to November 27. Guidelines for entries are at the link.
…Originally titled Anti-Life, the film’s premise is that a devastating plague has wiped out much of Earth’s population, and the survivors are being evacuated via an interstellar ark to “New Earth.” Willis plays Clay Young, described as a hardened mechanic who is part of the crew selected to stay awake and maintain the ark for the six-month journey. But then he discovers a shape-shifting alien (or “a malevolent cosmic terror,” per the early press materials) has also stowed away on the ark, and it seems to be intent on killing everyone on board…
(5) FIRST FANDOM SALUTE TO MADLE. First Fandom Annual 2020 has just been published with the theme “Celebrating Robert A. Madle.”
This is a tribute to legendary fan Bob Madle, who just recently celebrated his one hundredth birthday. In a long article featuring rare photographs and illustrations, Bob recounts his involvement in science fiction fandom over the course of ten decades. He also reflects on the early days of Amazing Stories, the origins of FAPA, and the genesis of First Fandom.
Among the highlights: appreciations of Bob by some of his long-time friends, including a poem from 1968 by Robert Bloch; a gallery of First Fandom photos and a Robert A. Madle bibliography prepared by Christopher M. O’Brien.
Edited by John L. Coker III and Jon D. Swartz. 60 pages, limited edition (26 copies); Laser printed on good quality paper; Photographs and interior illustrations; Gloss covers, 8½ x 11, saddle-stitched.
This will soon be out-of-print, so order your copy today by sending a check or money order for $30 payable to John L. Coker III to 4813 Lighthouse Road, Orlando, FL 32808.
The convention circuit has been profoundly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as social distancing guidelines and fluctuating positivity numbers have thrown out the possibility of large scale events. As a result, many high-profile events have been forced to move into a digital format, or delay their dates well into next year. The Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, is the latest to do so, announcing on Tuesday that its next convention will be held from December 10th through December 12th of 2021. This delays the 2021 convention pretty significantly, as it was originally set to occur March 26-28, 2021.
I met Kay McCauley at the World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto back in 2003. I was in desperate need of a new literary agent, and George offered to introduce me to his agent. Kay was there to support George who was the GoH, but wasn’t much into the convention scene so I took a taxi and met her for lunch at her hotel.
The woman I met was a bit taller than me with elegantly coifed brunette hair, elegant gold jewelry, a chic pantsuit and a perfect manicure. Kay alternated between being charming, brusque, funny, judgmental, demanding. She pushed me — what are your goals? Why do you do this? What do you want to write? I could tell she was sizing me up in every way possible. I guess I managed to do something right because she became my agent a few months later.
She worked tirelessly for me for nearly twenty years. But this wasn’t just a professional relationship. Kay became my dear friend and confidant and it was a two way street. I could call her when I was sad or upset and she knew she could lean on me whenever life dealt her a blow. We always kept each other’s confidences. We had each other’s backs….
(8) LAFARGE OBIT. Tom LaFarge (1947-2020) died on October 22. He is survived by Wendy Walker and his son Paul La Farge. Tom had recently completed The Enchantments, a series of three novels published 2015-18. Author Henry Wessells wrote an essay on his writings for NYRSF, “Ticket to Bargeton”.
(9) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
1975 – Forty-five years ago, Poul Anderson’s A Midsummer Tempest would win the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and be nominated for the Locus, Nebula and World Fantasy awards as well. Set in a world where Shakespeare was the Great Historian, all the events depicted within his plays were historical fact. Lester Del Rey in his August 1974 If review said that it is “a fantasy I can recommend with pleasure.” Tom Lewis is the cover artist. It is available in print and digital editions. (CE)
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born November 12, 1877 – John R. Neill. Starting with the second Oz book, illustrated the rest of Baum’s, all of Thompson’s, three of his own. Before, worked on newspapers; around the time of Baum’s death, became a free lance, drawing for e.g. Boy’s Life, Ladies’ Home Journal, Vanity Fair, Saturday Evening Post, Argosy. Here is The Lost Princess of Oz. Here is The Magic of Oz. Here is Scraps, the Patchwork Girl. Here is an interior from the Dec 19 Everybody’s. Here is “Beyond the Dark Nebula” from the 4 Apr 31 Argosy. A granddaughter maintains a Website. (Died 1943) [JH]
Born November 12, 1929 — Michael Ende. German author best known for The Neverending Story which is far better than the film which only covers part of the novel. Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves is a charming if strange novel worth your time. The rest of his children’s literature has been translated from German into English mostly by small specialist presses down the years. Unlike The Neverending Story and Momo which I’ve encountered, I’ve not read any of these. (Died 1995.) (CE)
Born November 12, 1930 – Irma Chilton. Ten novels, a few shorter stories. Wrote in English and Welsh. Tir na n-Og Award. Crown for prose at 1989 Nat’l Eisteddfod. Welsh Arts Council’s Irma Chilton Bursary prize named for her. (Died 1990) [JH]
Born November 12, 1943 — Wallace Shawn, 77. Probably best remembered as the ferengi Grand Nagus Zek on Deep Space Nine, a role he only played seven times. He was also Vizzini in the beloved Princess Bride, and he played Dr. Elliott Coleye in the My Favorite Martian film.(CE)
Born November 12, 1943 — Julie Ege. A Bond Girl On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as Helen, the Scandinavian girl. She also appeared in Hammer‘s Creatures the World Forgot and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. And in The Mutations which got released under the alternative title of The Freakmaker. She had a role in De Dwaze Lotgevallen Von Sherlock Jones which got dubbed into English as The Crazy Adventures of Sherlock Jones. (Died 2008.) (CE)
Born November 12, 1943 — Valerie Leon, 77. She appeared in two Bond films, Never Say Never Again and The Spy Who Loved Me, and in the horror flick Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb as Margaret Fuchs / Queen Tera. She was also Tanya in Revenge of the Pink Panther, and had one-offs in The Avengers, Space:1999 and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). (CE)
Born November 12, 1945 – Michael Bishop, 75. A dozen novels, a hundred thirty shorter stories, fifty poems; a dozen “Pitching Pennies Against the Starboard Bulkhead” essays, many others e.g. Introductions to Nebula Awards 23-25, “Forty Years with Asimov’s SF” (Jul-Aug 17 Asimov’s), letters in Locus, NY Rev SF, Riverside Quarterly, SF Commentary; a dozen collections, recently The Sacerdotal Owl. Reflections, Reverie for Mister Ray. M.A. thesis on Dylan Thomas. Two Nebulas, a Rhysling, a Shirley Jackson. Website here. [JH]
Born November 12, 1950 – Michael Capobianco, 70. Two novels and a shorter story; four more novels, two shorter stories, with William Barton. Two (non-consecutive) terms as SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) President; Service to SFWA Award. MC & WB interviewed in SF Eye. [JH]
Born November 12, 1952 — Max Grodenchik, 68. He’s best known for his role as Rom, a recurring character on Deep Space Nine. He has a long genre history with appearances in The Rocketeer, Here Come The Munsters, Rumpelstiltskin, Star Trek: Insurrection (scenes as a Trill were deleted alas), Tales from The Crypt, Sliders, Wienerland, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Bruce Almighty. (CE)
Born November 12, 1969 – Olivia Grey, 51. Three novels, four more under another name; half a dozen shorter stories. Muse of the Fair at 2011 Steampunk World’s Fair. Avalon Revisited won Steampunk Chronicle’s 2012 Reader’s Choice for Best Fiction. M.A. thesis on Le Morte d’Arthur. [JH]
Born November 12, 1976 — Richelle Mead, 44. Best known for her Georgina Kincaid series, the Vampire Academy franchize and its spin-off series Bloodlines, and the Dark Swan series. I’ve only read Succubus Blues by her but it’s a truly great read and I recommend it strongly. Spirit Bound won a Good Reads Award. (CE)
Born November 12, 1984 – Benjamin Martin, 36. Moved to Okinawa from Arizona. Two fantastic samurai novels (Samurai Awakening won a Crystal Kite Award), one shorter story. Karumi Tengo photography prize. [JH]
… This 314-page hardcover, published by Frederick Fell, with a cover by Frank McCarthy (1924–2002) collected twelve stories from 1948. It sold for $2.95, which in today’s currency is about $30.
What did the best of 1948 look like, you wonder? I am so happy you asked.
The table of contents is dominated by men. One of the two women included, Catherine Moore, was concealed behind her husband’s byline effectively enough that an editorial comment makes it clear the editors believed the story was by Kuttner alone. Women were active in the field at the time, but as documented by Lisa Yaszek, the editors crafting SF canon were not much interested in acknowledging women. Who else, one wonders, was overlooked?
Still, one has to review the Best SF anthology one has, not the Best SF anthology you might want or wish to have at a later time….
Relaxing from the universe’s withering stresses has always been an important part of the Star Trek universe. For some, that included imbibing alcoholic drinks. Be it solemnly inside their quarters to mark a moment, or collecting with peers in a bar like Ten-Forward, Trek has given us plenty of tantalizing visual cocktails in all of its various film and television iterations that audiences have long wished to taste at home.
Luckily, you can now give almost 40 different Star Trek inspired alcoholic drinks a spin at home with the release today of Hero Collector’s Star Trek Cocktails: A Stellar Compendium. Written by Glenn Dakin with drinks curated by mixologists by Simon Pellet and Adrian Calderbank, the coffee table book features photos and illustrations of the drinks, the characters, and the events that inspired their creation.
(15) SPACEX IS GO. SPACEX but it’s THUNDERBIRDS! by Psyclonyx.
…The scandal has roiled Bird of the Year 2020, an online popularity contest among the native birds of New Zealand, and made headlines in the remote Pacific Island nation, which takes its avian biodiversity seriously.
“It’s kind of disappointing that people decide to try their little tech tricks on Bird of the Year,” Laura Keown, the spokeswoman for the competition, told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday. “I’m not sure what kind of person could do it, but I like to assume that it’s somebody who just really loved native birds.”
No one has claimed responsibility, and no one is expected to.
The contest, which began on Nov. 2 and ends on Sunday, is conducted through an instant-runoff system that allows voters to rank their favorite birds — just as New Zealanders do when they elect humans to office. The organizer, a New Zealand-based advocacy group called Forest & Bird, has said that the contest is designed to raise awareness about the plight of the country’s more than 200 species of native birds, many of which are threatened or at risk of extinction.
(17) HONEST TRAILERS. In “Honest Trailers: The Evil Dead Movies,” the Screen Junkies say the three “Evil Dead” movies are “as light on substance as they are heavy on style” and contain “enough red-dye corn syrup to flood the Eastern Seaboard.”
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, James Davis Nicoll, David Doering, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]
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 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
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’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.
Happy one hundredth birthday, Bob Madle! We’re celebrating the date with the help of Rich Lynch, John L. Coker III, and Jon D. Swartz, plus highlights of interviews conducted over the years with the birthday boy himself!
Bob Madle: A Fan for the Ages
[This essay was originally printed in the Boskone 33 Program Book in February 1996. Photos were added when it was reprinted in My Back Pages 6 in 2011.]
By Rich Lynch: Recently, I read somewhere that an average American’s life span is now over 72 years, up something like 100 percent over what the average life expectancy was for people who lived way back in the Middle Ages. Mankind doesn’t have the longest life span in the animal kingdom, of course; great land tortoises are reported to live well over 100 years, for example. Even longer lived, one of the bristlecone pine trees out in the Sierras was calculated to have lived for about 2,000 years, but even this pales in comparison to the ancient creosote bushes of the Mojave Desert, some of which are reportedly over 20,000 years old!
And then there’s Bob Madle…
Now, wait just a minute! Before you think I’m having a little cheap fun at your Special Guest’s expense, I’ll hasten to tell you that no insult is intended. In fact, I meant it as a compliment! You see, Bob Madle is a member of that fabled Dinosaurs of Fandom organization, First Fandom, which he helped found back in the 1950s. To be a member of First Fandom, you had to be active as a fan no later than January 1, 1938, by taking part in such activities as writing letters, publishing a fanzine, or attending a fan gathering. Actually, Bob’s involvement in fandom dates back even further than that; he discovered that there was a fandom way back in 1933 when he found that letters from other fans were being published by Hugo Gernsback in Amazing Stories (Bob’s first published letter to Amazing appeared in the August 1935 issue). Once he discovered there were other fans, he was part of the vanguard to organize them: in 1935, Bob was one of the founders of the world’s second oldest continuing science fiction organization, the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. And in 1936, Bob was one of the attendees of the very first science fiction convention ever held, when PSFS hosted a contingent of fans from New York City.
Now that alone is a pretty impressive resume, but it doesn’t nearly end there. The first World Science Fiction Convention was held in New York City, in July of 1939. Bob was there. He was also at the second, in Chicago in 1940, and the third, in Denver in 1941. He even attended the very first Boskone, in 1941. After World War Two finished interrupting just about everyone’s fan activities, Bob became involved with the running of Worldcons, as part of the committees for the Philadelphia Worldcons in 1947 and 1953. And there’s more: he was one of the decision-makers of that 1953 Worldcon committee that came up with the idea for the Hugo Awards, which were presented for the very first time at that convention.
But there’s still more! I can’t end this appreciation without mentioning that Bob did much to organize fan groups in other places besides Philadelphia. In the early 1950s, for instance, he was a founder of a fan club in Charlotte, North Carolina, which led to some of the first science fiction conventions ever held in the southeastern United States. Much of today’s very active fandom in that region can be traced back to these origins. And in 1957, Bob was elected North American delegate for the still-new Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, which had been conceived just a few years earlier. TAFF brought Bob to the very first non-North American worldcon, which was in London that year. (This resulted in one of the best fan trip reports ever written, which he titled for obscure reasons, A Fake Fan in London. But that’s another story…)
Anyway, it’s only because Bob has spent much of the past few decades as a dealer of rare and hard-to-find science fiction books and magazines that his fan activity has finally slowed by just a bit. Not by so much that I can keep up with him, though! Even now, sixty years after that first science fiction convention, he still gets to more conventions each year than most other fans, myself included. So when you talk with him, ask him about some of these adventures. You’ll find he’s easy to chat with, and who knows? You might even find yourself buying a book from him that tells all about some of those yesteryear exploits of fandoms past.
I began this introduction of your Special Guest with a metaphor; I’ll finish it with another. Even though the dawn of science fiction fandom happened way back in the 1930s, we should remember that fandom is really still quite young; the fact that many of its founders are still active is something we can treasure. Bob Madle is such a treasure; he’s living history – a fan for the ages.
Robert A. Madle – In the First Person
(Excerpted from conversations with John L. Coker III during 1994 and 2006-2008)
My name is Robert Albert Madle and I was born June 2, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I grew up in the City of Brotherly Love and attended Northeast High School. I started reading when I was very young, and by the age of nine I had a big collection of boy’s books. I discovered science fiction in Tom Swift, then began reading Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was a great Buck Rogers fan. I was ten years old when Just Imagine came out. I thought that that was the greatest movie ever made.
In 1931 John V. Baltadonis and I discovered two issues of Wonder Stories in a junk shop. A few months later, my father gave me two dollars to buy a new pair of Boy Scout trousers. So, to downtown Philadelphia I went. I never did get the trousers, as an incident of vast importance intervened. I happened to see a large window crammed full of Wonder Stories, Astounding Stories and Amazing Stories. I entered to find many more issues–and they were six for twenty-five cents! I bought two dollars of the treasures to start my S-F collection. Several weeks later, my father discovered what had occurred. I don’t recall exactly what happened but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty.
In 1934, I formed the Boys’ Science Fiction Club with Harvey Greenblatt, John V. Baltadonis and Jack Agnew. My very first letter appeared in the July 1935 Pirate Stories. I was a Gernsback fan, and anything he published I picked up. I read his editorial in the first issue. He said that they would publish pirate stories of the past, the present, and yes, even of the future. So, I wrote a letter saying that they ought to publish a novel about a space pirate and they should get Edmond Hamilton to write it. They printed the letter and I won a year’s subscription to Wonder Stories. I was fourteen years old and I thought that this was one of the greatest things that ever happened.
Gernsback announced the formation of the Science Fiction League in the April 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. In the May 1934 issue, he went into more detail about how science fiction was a literature that was a force that would change the world forever. It would be a wonderful world of tomorrow where science rules everything. It was the Gernsback Ideal. I was thirteen years old at the time, and I thought “Wow! I could be a part of this.”
In October 1936, the New York group – Donald A. Wollheim, William S. Sykora, John B. Michel, Fred Pohl, Herbert E. Goudket, and David A. Kyle – made a train trip down to Philadelphia. They were met downtown by Milton A. Rothman, Oswald V. Train and me. We showed them around the city. Later that day, John Baltadonis and several others joined us at Milt Rothman’s house. Then we actually had a meeting. As Sam Moskowitz said in The Immortal Storm, if we hadn’t had that little meeting, we could not have called it the first convention. The first science fiction convention would have been the one in Leeds, England, in early 1937.
At the first World Con – New York, 1939 – everybody was being let in, including the Futurians, although the promoters were very wary of them. Someone did discover a bunch of propaganda that the Futurians had stuck in between the steps with the intention to distribute later. At that point, Moskowitz kept them from entering – Wollheim, Lowndes, Michel, Gillespie, Kornbluth and Pohl. This has gone down in fandom history as “The Exclusion Act.” Later, a number of us went over to Coney Island, and had a photograph made where we’re all sitting in an old car. It would be two months before England and France would declare war on Germany, but we knew it was on its way. When Japan attacked us, most fans went into the military.
I enlisted in the Army in July 1942, but wasn’t much of a fighting man. For some reason, probably because I had a driver’s license, I wound up as a truck driver, even though I had never driven a truck in my life. I had gone in under a new program, because of my bad eyesight. They had just started what they called “limited service,” non-combatant duty.
Next thing you know I’m heading for overseas duty. I was called in to see the captain, who said that I wasn’t supposed to be in that outfit. The orderly room said that there was an opening in the signal office for a teletype operator. That is how I met my wife Billie, a switchboard operator at the time.
There was a period when I was assistant to the public relations officer. He was looking for somebody who could write and had something that had been published. The job had to do with writing news articles for the Charlotte newspapers. Because of all the writing that I had done, I received a promotion. I spent three and a half years in the service.
I got married during the war and already had a three-year-old son when I started college. After I graduated, I worked and went on for my MBA at night. I got a job in Charlotte, North Carolina, and after that I worked for the government in Washington, D. C. I went to work for the Navy Department doing personnel research. We helped determine requirements for future weapons systems and worked with the contractors. Later, I had the background and school credits to become an engineering research psychologist and was involved with the interfaces between man and machine.
One day in October 1958 I received a call from Don Ford, saying that Doc Barrett was having a small group over at his place in Bellefontaine, Ohio and I was invited. When I arrived, the group was already there. They consisted of Doc Barrett, Don Ford, Lou Tabakow, Ben Kiefer – four old-timers – and a youngster named Stan Skirvin. We all sat around and drank beer and talked of the tumultuous events of the day.
It was kind of an opportune coincidence how First Fandom came up. Someone once claimed that he saw something written on a toilet wall, which said, “First Fandom is not dead!” Recalling this, I said, “What science fiction needs is a new organization, one in which the old-time fans are paramount, instead of those young upstarts who wouldn’t know a 1933 Amazing Stories if he tripped on it.”
Don was immediately for it, and said, “Great! We can give recognition awards to the great authors of the past such as E.E. Smith, because none of them will ever get a Hugo.” Everyone was enthusiastic about the idea, and great plans were conceived right then and there. Don said, “To be a member, one would have to be active in some phase of science fiction prior to January 1938.” A magazine would be published. Don thought it should be a formal organization. But serious things would be accomplished also, mainly, keeping the history of SF in front of the fans of SF today. Membership credentials would be required and acceptance would be tough. It would be a Last Man Club, with the last First Fandom member alive in a certain year knocking off a privately held fifth of liquor.
Don suggested that I be president, as it was my idea. Lou and he would share the secretary and treasurer’s duties. Lynn Hickman was contacted and he became the official editor. Announcements were sent out, and the first person to join – Member Number One – was Robert Bloch. I never called an official meeting, and I remained president for over twenty-five years.
When I was young, the sense of wonder meant “Gosh! Wow! Boy oh boy! Stories of how great the future’s going to be! How science fiction is going to be the most powerful force that would change the world.” The magazines had personality – fans wrote letters and editors commented on them. In fact, I received several letters from the editor of Astounding, F. Orlin Tremaine, in response to my letters. One issue claimed that he got the best stories from the best authors, but I told him that he got the worst stories from the best authors. He wasn’t too happy with that comment. The magazines had an aura about them. To me, that was the sense of wonder.”
MORE HONORS, AWARDS, AND PUBLICATIONS. Notes by John L. Coker III & Jon D. Swartz
Bob Madle was the TAFF winner in 1957, and published his famous A Fake Fan in London as his trip report. Also at the 1957 Convention Bob became a member of St. Fantony.
Bob’s other fan publications include Fantascience Digest, Fantasy-Fiction Telegram, Fanzine Review, and PSFS News. For the prozines he wrote a column, “Inside Science Fiction.” Bob was also distributor of the British prozine Nebula.
Bob’s Guest of Honor appearances, awards, and other honors over the years include: 1974, Big Heart Award; 1977, FGoH, Suncon; 1982, GoH at Lunacon; 1990, elected to the First Fandom Hall of Fame; 1996, Special Guest, Boskone 33; 2002, Sam Moskowitz Archive Award; 2012, GoH at Philcon.
Bob is also credited with naming the Hugo Award, and was Treasurer of Philcon II. In 2014, Madle was nominated for a Retro Hugo Award for Fantascience Digest.
For many years Bob has been a highly respected book dealer, specializing in rare science fiction and fantasy books and magazines.
In a potential landmark ruling, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held this week that access to a basic minimum education “that can plausibly impart literacy” is a fundamental, Constitutionally protected right.
In a 2-1 ruling released on April 23, the court held that basic literacy is “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” and central to “the basic exercise of other fundamental rights,” including political participation.
“The recognition of a fundamental right is no small matter,” the court conceded in its written opinion. “But just as this Court should not supplant the state’s policy judgments with its own, neither can we shrink from our obligation to recognize a right when it is foundational to our system of self-governance. Access to literacy is such a right. Its ubiquitous presence and evolution through our history has led the American people universally to expect it. And education—at least in the minimum form discussed here—is essential to nearly every interaction between a citizen and her government.”
The Appeals court ruling reverses and remands a 2016 case in which lawyers claim that the State of Michigan failed to provide a suitable education to a plaintiff group of Detroit Public School students, after invoking the state’s Emergency Management Powers to take over control of the plaintiff’s schools. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that they were forced to sit in classrooms that were “functionally incapable of delivering access to literacy,” marked by “unqualified instructors,” and “a dearth of textbooks and other school supplies.” The result: a number of students with “zero or near-zero” proficiency levels on state-administered tests….
The fanzine Sweetness and Light was launched in Spring 1939 by the “Moonrakers,” clique of members of the Los Angeles Science Fiction League. The Editorial Board consisted of Russ Hodgkins, Fred Shroyer, Henry Kuttner, Jim Mooney and Art Barnes. The subtitle proclaimed the publication to be “The Friendly Magazine.” Like all of its contents over its five-issue run, the masthead was ironic.
Includes an array of screencaps from the zine, like this one –
2. What upcoming book are you really excited about? Oh no, this whole interview is going to have to be about choosing just one, isn’t it? I am very much looking forward to R.B. Lemberg’s The Four Profound Weaves. I’ve been following Lemberg’s shorter work for a number of years; it’s beautiful and warm and comforting, and hopeful without falling into the trap of skirting tougher issues or minimising them. The Birdverse verse (of which The Four Profound Weaves is a part) is filled with people you don’t find as often as one might like in fiction, and yet resonate so strongly for me. I’m really excited about seeing what Lemberg does at novella length.
Earlier this month, the design world was delighted when NASA unexpectedly revealed it was bringing back its iconic “worm” logo, which Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn created in 1974….
…By virtue of a connection, Danne and Blackburn eventually got an invite to bid on the NASA redesign, which they did on Oct. 1, 1974. They presented one concept—the worm—which they brought to life in a deck showing applications on everything from newsletters to vans to buses and, of course, the space shuttle.
And, of course, their firm of five (which included their receptionist) won. “It was against all the odds,” Danne recalled, noting they presented such a minimalistic design because the agency—which didn’t have any designers on staff—was producing a lot of “garbage.”
“We saw all this debris and it drove us toward a simpler solution.”
Danne paired Helvetica with the worm because the two blended so well together. (He was also quick to note that he has hardly used it since.)
Owing to Pantone’s rules for its numerical designations back in the day, Pantone 179 became “NASA Red,” and the rest is branding history.
(6) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.
You have to know French counting 1,2,3,4 …………un, deux, trois, quatre, ………..Quarantine
Year 1403: Despite the fact that nothing was known about how disease came to be (except for the usual theories of punishment by God or infestation by demons), people tended to avoid those who were sick with some particular fatal or loathsome disease. When the Black Death struck, people instinctively fled from those afflicted, often leaving the dying to die unburied. In 1403, the city of Venice, always rationally ruled, decided that recurrences of the Black Death could best be averted by not allowing strangers to enter the city until a certain waiting period had passed. If by then they had not developed the disease and died, they could be considered not to have it and would be allowed to enter.
The waiting period was eventually standardized at forty days (perhaps because forty-day periods play an important role in the Bible). For that reason, the waiting period was called quarantine, from the French word for “forty”. In a society that knew no other way of fighting disease, quarantine was better than nothing. It was the first measure of public hygiene deliberately taken to fight disease.
++ Isaac Asimov. From Chronology of Science & Discovery (1989)
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
April 25, 1941 — In London, The Devil Bat premiered. It was directed by Jean Yarborough. The screenplay was by John Thomas Neville from a story by George Bricker who was responsible for House of Dracula and She Wolf of London. The film starred Bela Lugosi along with Suzanne Kaaren, Guy Usher, Yolande Mallott, Dave O’Brien and Donald Kerr. The film was re-released in 1945 on a double bill with Man Made Monster. It was consider one of the best films that Lugosi ever made, though it only has a 58% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. It’s in the public domain as it has been since it was released, so you can see it here.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 25, 1873 — Walter de la Mare. His supernatural horror was a favorite of H. P. Lovecraft. Ramsey Campbell and Joan Aiken would also cite him as an influence on their writing. Though he did write a number of novels, I’ll hold that the short story of which he released at fifteen collections was his his true strength. Out of the Deep and Other Supernatural Tales is an excellent introduction to him as a writer. It’s available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 1956.)
Born April 25, 1897 — Fletcher Pratt. He’s best remembered for his fiction written with L. Sprague de Camp, to wit Land of Unreason,The Carnelian Cube and The Complete Compleat Enchanter. I’m also fond of The Well of the Unicorn and Double Jeopardy. (Died 1956.)
Born April 25, 1915 — Mort Weisinger. Comic book editor best known for editing Superman during in the Silver Age of comic books. He also served as story editor for the Adventures of Superman series, Before that he was one of the earliest active sf fans, working on fanzines like The Planet (1931) and The Time Traveller (1932) and attending the New York area fan club “The Scienceers.” (Died 1978.)
Born April 25, 1920 — John Mantley. He wrote but one SF novel, The 27th Day, but it rated a detailed review in The Magazine of F&SF which you can read here. (He wrote the screenplay for the film version of his novel.) He also produced a number of episodes of The Wild Wild West, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and MacGyver. (Died 2003.)
Born April 25, 1929 — Robert A. Collins. Edited a number of quite interesting publications including the Fantasy Newsletter in the early Eighties, the IAFA Newsletter in the late Eighties and the early Nineties along with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual with Rob Latham at the latter time. He also wrote Thomas Burnett Swann: A Brief Critical Biography & Annotated Bibliography. (Died 2009.)
Born April 25, 1957 — Deborah Chester, 63. Jim Butcher in a Tor.com interview says she’s his primary mentor. She’s authored nearly forty genre novels and I’ve read her pulpish Operation StarHawks series (written as Sean Dalton) which is good popcorn reading.
Born April 25, 1961 — Gillian Polack, 59. Australian writer and editor. She created the Ceres Universe, a fascinating story setting. And she’s a great short story writer as Datlow demonstrated when she selected “Happy Faces for Happy Families” for her recommended reading section in the ‘04 Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.
Born April 25, 1981 — Silvia Moreno-Garcia, 39. Canadian of Mexican descent. She’s the publisher of Innmouths Free Press, an imprint devoted to weird fiction. Not surprisingly, she co-edited with Paula R. Stiles for the press, the Historical Lovecraft and Future Lovecraft anthologies. She won a World Fantasy Award for the She Walks in Shadows anthology, also on Innsmouth Free Press. She’s a finalist for the Nebula Award 2019 in the Best Novel category for her Gods of Jade and Shadow novel. And finally with Lavie Tidhar, she edits the Jewish Mexican Literary Review. Not genre, but sort of genre adjacent.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has been testing a new piece of hardware to help them treat coronavirus cases — a robot called Spot.
Last week, the hospital began using the robot in interviewing patients suspected of having less-serious cases of COVID-19. It’s only been deployed a handful of times so far, but according to Peter Chai, an emergency medical physician at Brigham and Women’s, the hope is that using Spot could limit staff exposure to COVID-19.
“It also eliminates PPE,” said Chai in an interview. “Spot doesn’t need to wear a mask or gown.”
…”One of the hospitals that we spoke to shared that, within a week, a sixth of their staff had contracted COVID-19 and that they were looking into using robots to take more of their staff out of range of the novel virus,” Boston Dynamics said in a statement.
Boston Dynamics than consulted with MIT and Brigham and Women’s, outfitting Spot with an iPad and radio so a medical technician could interface with patients in the triage tent the hospital — and others — use for potential COVID-19 patients.
(12) SPACE SKEPTIC. In “NASA Astronaut Breaks Down Space Scenes From Film and TV” on YouTube, retired astronaut Nicole Stott discusses space scenes in sf and space movies, from the silly (the scene in Spaceballs declaring the ship would travel at “ludicrous speed” to realistic films such as Gravity and First Man.
…Even though hats are no longer as ubiquitous as they once were, there will always be a place for millinery in both film and fashion. So whether your own personal style is hat-centric or not, it is hard to imagine the following characters without their signature accessory. For inspiration or to simply relive these memorable moments, check out some genre hat highlights below….
One of the selections is —
The Sorting Hat – Harry Potter (2001-2011)
There are a variety of hats in Harry Potter including the traditional styling to Dumbledore’s flat top version. However, there is one hat that has a huge impact on every single Hogwarts student. The only sentient hat on the list has the task of sorting the Hogwarts pupils into one of four houses. It is a rather hefty task for a rather unassuming looking piece of headgear, but the Sorting Hat comes alive in its wear and tears. It might not be the prettiest of garments, but it is the only hat on this list that can sing.
(14) CREEP FACTOR THREE, MR. SULU. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] This story isn’t exactly genre, but it does have the feel of a horror show. In a recent museum #CuratorBattle, the chosen field of battle was #CreepiestObject. The taxidermied monkey/fish hybrid “mermaids” were but one type of item that strayed very near the genre boundary.
Fish-tailed monkey “mermaids.” A snuff box for storing pubic hair. Enough creepy dolls to fill a haunted schoolhouse.
With their doors closed due to the pandemic, museums in the UK and beyond have been taking to Twitter to showcase the most terrifying items in their collections, and it might be enough to make you glad to be safe at home.
I’ve included herein a link for a tableau of unfortunate tabbies having tea. The article references it, but I felt it appropriate to highlight these SJWCs.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made” on YouTube is a short film made by RKO (DIsney’s distributor at the time) explaining how Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs was created. From 1939, but it’s news to me!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, Kendall, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint with an assist from Anna Nimmhaus.]
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
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)
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
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.
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
idea for the Moon Claim, originated, with the owner of the bookstore where The
Little Men held their meetings.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
(1) GALAXY QUEST. See the trailer for Never Surrender: A
Galaxy Quest Documentary, which will be distributed through Fathom Events.
By all accounts, it was a movie that beat all odds: Surviving a set fire, the loss of a powerful director, and a studio that didn’t understand what it had, “Galaxy Quest” turned into a pop-culture phenomenon that would “never give up, never surrender.” As the cult classic nears its 20th anniversary – premiering on December 25, 1999 – “Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary” explores how the science-fiction comedy became an enduring fan favorite, a movie that helped launch the sci-fi- and fantasy-driven movie and TV industry that dominates global entertainment today.
The University of Wyoming could lose the papers of a longtime “Superman” comic book editor after his son took offense to comments by Congresswoman Liz Cheney.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports Hank Weisinger contacted the university’s American Heritage Center Tuesday demanding the return of the collected papers of Mort Weisinger.
The elder Weisinger spent three decades as the story editor of the “Superman” series published by DC Comics Inc.
Hank Weisinger says his action was prompted by comments the Wyoming Republican representative made Monday placing blame for Turkey’s Oct. 9 invasion of Syria on presidential impeachment proceedings by Democrats.
Weisinger says he does not want his father’s papers at a university represented by a member of Congress he perceives as opposing Superman’s values of “truth, justice and the American way.”
Collection contains materials relating to Weisinger’s work as a writer and editor from 1928-1978. Collection includes correspondence (1932-1978) mostly regarding his work as a writer and editor for “This Week” and other magazines and with companies who were included in “1001 Valuable Things”; the galleys and manuscripts for “The Contest,” “The Complete Alibi Handbook” and “1001 Valuable Things”; the manuscript for an unpublished novel about a U.S. President (ca. 1975); legal agreements between Weisinger and “This Week” and Bantam Books (1954-1978); and photographs of Weisinger, the Weisinger family and various celebrities.
The classic graphic novel Watchmen – an explicit, realistic take on what the world might be like if people actually put on costumes and masks to fight crime — tackled many social and political issues: American imperialism. Nuclear tensions with the Soviet Union. The corruption of a President Nixon who stayed in office for five terms.
But there’s one subject the book — hailed by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the last century – didn’t really approach.
So it makes a certain kind of sense that, when superstar TV producer Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) decided to build an HBO series around a modern continuation of the 1980s-era novel – okay, comic book — racial tension would be the first thing he tackled.
The result is a visually stunning, energetically complex series that digs into the hottest social issue of our time. But it’s done in a way that may leave viewers unsure exactly what Lindelof is saying about it all.
Comic Book Libraries is a Hero Nation initiative that seeks to improve youth literacy by providing high-interest reading material to classrooms throughout our community.
We currently have educators at five different schools throughout our community hosting Comic Book Libraries and checking books out to eager students.
Graphic novels and comic books are excellent resources that help engage students with literature and art. From phenomenal fantasy adventures, to riveting retellings of historical events, there’s a graphic novel for everyone!
On whether it’s difficult to have millions of people waiting for The Winds of Winter, the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire
Yes, especially because a certain portion of them are really impatient and snarky about it. You know, you can get one person who posts 150 messages in three days, all of which is “Where is Winds of Winter?” If any of you go home and post on your Twitter account, “Hey I was just at the Chicago Public Library Sandburg Award dinner and George R.R. Martin was there,” you know by the third message someone will say, well, “What the hell is he doing there? Where is Winds of Winter?” So at this point, it is what it is. And, you know, I should probably leave right now and go back [to] writing Winds of Winter.
It’s very important me to finish A Song of Ice and Fire. I want to finish it. I still have two more books to do, and I want to finish it strong. So people look at it and say, you know, this entire thing is an important work, not a half-finished or broken work. I know some of the more cynical people out there don’t believe that, but it is true.
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
October 19, 1979 — Meteor premiered. Starring Natalie Wood, Sean Connery, and Karl Malden, it was inspired by the 1967 Project Icarus from MIT. The film was a box office failure and received a 12% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
October 19, 2010 — The BBC’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The First Men In The Moon was first aired. Written by Mark Gatiss, it also stars Gatiss as Cavor and Rory Kinnear as Bedford.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 19, 1903 — Tor Johnson. He acted in a lot of really bad films starting with Bride of the Monster andThe Unearthly with the next being Plan 9 from Outer Space followed by The Beast of Yucca Flats and finishing with The Night of The Ghouls. Three of these are directed by Ed Wood. He appears on in genre tv just once as Naboro in the “Inferno in Space” episode of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. (Died 1971.)
Born October 19, 1909 — Robert Beatty. He’s best known for being in 2001: A Space Odyssey as Dr. Ralph Halvorsen. He played General Cutler in “The Tenth Planet”, a First Doctor story, and was General Halstead in The Martian Chronicles. He was in Superman III and Superman IV, respectively playing a tanker captain and the U.S. President. (Died 1992.)
Born October 19, 1921 — George Nader. In 1953, he was Roy, the leading man in Robot Monster (a.k.a. Monster from Mars and Monsters from the Moon) acknowledged by him and others to be the one of the worst SF films ever made. He showed up in some decidedly low budget other SF films such as The Human Duplicators, Beyond Atlantis and The Great Space Adventure. (Died 2002.)
Born October 19, 1940 — Michael Gambon, 79. He’s best known for playing Dumbledore in the final six Potter films after the death of Richard Harris who had previously played the role. He also shows up in the 2010 Christmas Special of Doctor Who, “A Christmas Carol”, an Eleventh Doctor story, playing Kazran/Elliot Sardick.
Born October 19, 1945 — John Lithgow, 74. He enters SF fame as Dr. Emilio Lizardo / Lord John Whorfin in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. He’ll later be in Santa Claus: The Movie, Harry and the Hendersons, Shrek, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar and the remake of Pet Sematary. Oh and he voiced The White Rabbit on the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland series!
Born October 19, 1946 — ?Philip Pullman, 73. I’ll confess that I like his Sally Lockhart mysteries far more than I enjoy the Dark Materials series as there’s a freshness and imagination at work there I don’t see in the latter. Oh, some of the latter is quite good — I quite enjoyed Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in The North.
Born October 19, 1969 — Vanessa Marshall, 50. Voice actress who’s Hera Syndulla on Star Wars: Rebels, a series I’ve been enjoying immensely. She’s gave voice to myriad characters from Poison Ivy to Black Widow.
Born October 19, 1990 — ?Ciara Renée, 29. She was Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl in Legends of Tomorrow in the Arrowverse which means she showed up on Arrow and The Flash as well.
(8) SOMETIMES IN SPITE OF POPULAR DEMAND. Trae Dorn of Nerd & Tie discusses why reporting issue-focused
fan news is a hazardous occupation. Thread starts here.
The European spacecraft that aims to take the closest ever pictures of the Sun is built and ready for launch.
The Solar Orbiter, or SolO, probe will put itself inside the orbit of Planet Mercury to train its telescopes on the surface of our star.
Other instruments will sense the constant outflow of particles and their embedded magnetic fields.
Scientists hope the detailed observations can help them understand better what drives the Sun’s activity.
This goes up and down on an 11-year cycle. It’s sure to be a fascinating endeavour but it’s one that has direct relevance to everyone on Earth.
The energetic outbursts from our star have the ability to damage satellites, harm astronauts, degrade radio communications, and even knock power grids offline.
“We’re doing this not just for the sake of increasing our knowledge but also for being able to take precautions, for example by putting satellites in safe mode when we know big solar storms are coming or letting astronauts not leave the space station on these days,” said Daniel Müller, the European Space Agency (Esa) project scientist on SolO.
(11) DAWN OF FANDOM. John L. Coker III, President of First
Fandom, introduced members to David Ritter’s First Fandom Experience project
late last year:
…David is seeking material for an ambitious project: the First Fandom Experience (FFE). The purpose of the FFE is to “honor, preserve and bring to life the experience of the first fans – the pioneering fans who were instrumental in defining, driving, growing and supporting science fiction and fantasy in the 1930s and beyond.”
David’s primary initial focus for FFE will be to “publish fan-created content from the SF and fantasy fields dating from the 1930s, in facsimile form, from the rarest to the most prominent fanzines of the period. FFE will also seek to find and republish other related ephemera of the period, especially content relating to the fan club activities and conventions held through the 1930s. In addition, FFE will publish new content authored by current fans and historians reflecting on their experience and knowledge of the genres in the 1930s.”
Two recent posts from Ritter’s First Fandom Experience site
“They’re Grand, But… “ is the story of a late-night adventure in 1938, and its
consequences, scanned from Sam Moskowitz’ fanzine.
In some ways, early science fiction fandom was like a family. Think Leave It To Beaver meets Jersey Shore. The love and hate in the complex web of relationships often played out both in person and in fanzines. A shining example: a 1938 late-night road trip worthy of Scorsese’s After Hours.
In February 1938, Samuel A. Moskowitz penned a saccharin homage to his brothers and occasional sister in the fan community. “They’re Grand” appeared in The Science Fiction Fan (v2n6).
“Dessert of the Day: The Science Fiction Special” documents an eofannish obsession with ice cream, with a recipe by Frederik Pohl in the The International Observer (v2n7, January 1937), later refined by Donald A. Wollheim and John B. Michel in The Science Fiction Bugle, May 1937. (Scans of both items at the link.)
(12) NO TIPS, PLEASE. “LEONARDO
Bipedal Robot With Thrusters” on YouTube is a robot developed at Caltech
with a really good sense of balance.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ,
Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick
First Fandom awards were presented during Opening Ceremonies at Dublin
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
Bob Madle, turns 99 today. A founder of First Fandom, Bob attended the 1936 event in Philadelphia considered by some the first sf convention, went to the first Worldcon in 1939, co-founded the Philadelphia SF Society, was a finalist for the 1956 Best Feature Writer Hugo, won TAFF in 1957, and was Suncon’s (1977) Fan GoH.
By Curt Phillips: I visited Bob at his home
two weeks ago just before Corflu 37, which was held in Rockville, MD this
year. Bob is doing very well, and in spite of some health issues over the
past couple of years is active, sharp as a tack, and still loving science
fiction and fandom as much as ever. He’s still selling rare science
fiction books and magazines too and during my visit I parted with a few hard
earned dollars to buy some Wonder Stories
and some other magazines that I’d been looking for, but the best part of my
visit was to simply sit in Bob’s enormous pulp warehouse and talk about early
science fiction with him. He’s known everybody
in science fiction and fandom over the decades and has fascinating stories to
tell. I only had a few hours to visit, but I could have stayed for
First Fandom founder, WWII veteran, science fiction’s master
bookseller; Robert A. “Bob” Madle. He was there at Fandom’s
beginnings and he’s with us still.
By John L. Coker
III: Lottie Levin Robins, who was happily married for 66 years to Jack
Robins (a member of the Futurians, First Fandom and N3F) died peacefully on
November 18, 2018.
Lottie was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on September 18,
1915 to immigrant parents from the Ukraine – the last of five children. She graduated high school in 1932. Wrote her first play at age 9 and wanted to
be a writer from that day on. From age
11 to 18 Lottie was published every Saturday in the Winnipeg Free Press Young
Authors pages: letters, essays and a novel.
At 17 she won first prize in a Young Zionist essay contest. At 19, first prize coast-to-coast in the same
contest. At 22, in charge of music and
drama and wrote a daily newsletter and was Assistant Director at an 8-week camp
for 500 children. During that time she
wrote a weekly column for a three provincial Anglo-Jewish newspaper and read
every book in the library about writing.
She also was secretary for her attorney brother, social worker for a
Children’s Bureau and a student nurse at a children’s hospital for a year.
In 1945, Lottie left for Brooklyn where she worked as a medical
assistant for a doctor’s office for 4 years until she met Jack. They
immediately found common interests: writing, photography, classical music and
politics. After dating for only 5 weeks,
they became engaged and were married on December 25, 1949. In 1956, when their children were 3 and 5,
Jack went back to college full-time, attending Brooklyn Polytechnical Institute
on a fellowship where he received his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry.
After she and Jack started to take weekly college courses, Lottie was
invited to be an instructor in Adult Education for 5 years, teaching
non-fiction and writing memoirs. She
eventually published in Guideposts,
Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Canadian Writer’s Journal, Saturday Evening Post,
Jack and Jill, McCalls, the New York Times,
and many others. She was Executive
Editor of a two-language magazine, transliterated Yiddish and English for Rodel
Press, and wrote 400 columns for Canadian and USA newspapers.
She had many other interests, including photography, embroidery,
sewing, making dolls, quilting and Persian rugs.
Science Fiction was such an important part of their marriage and
they got to know many of the people who became famous, including Don and Elsie
Wollheim, Isaac Asimov, Fred Pohl, Damon Knight, Sam Moskowitz and others. Jack was the photographer at the SF functions
that they attended, so he was not in many of the pictures. Together, they attended three World SF
Conventions. At one SF conference in
Philadelphia, Jack and Lottie wrote and performed a humorous skit in honor of Don
Lottie celebrated her 103rd birthday last year. She thought of Jack as her loving husband,
encyclopedia, editor and best friend.
When asked about her secret for having lived so long, Lottie would often
replay that Jack was wonderful to live with and they had such an interesting
Lottie is survived by her daughter Lohrainne Janell; her son
Arthur Robins; three grandchildren (Alisa, Amy and Leila); and, three
great-grandchildren (Jordon, Fionah and Jaxon).
an article in First Fandom Annual, 2018,
ed. by John L. Coker III and Jon D. Swartz)