Memories of D Potter

D Potter at “New York is Book Country,” mid-1980s. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter

People are sharing memories of the late D Potter, a long-time fanzine fan who passed away October 25 in Oakland.

She lived in New York in the early 1980s, when these photos by Andrew Porter were taken.

That also was the period when she was Fan GoH at Balticon 16. It occurred to me they must have run a bio of her in the program book, and BSFS’ Dale Arnold very kindly connected me with this wonderful 1982 tribute by Avedon Carol.

D Potter (right). Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter


WombatCon, the jan howard finder wake, took place June 1. Lin Daniel has posted a short report on Facebook:

WombatCon was what I wanted it to be. Friends old and new, gathered to sit and talk. There were some stories about jan, but mostly there was just friends, old and new, talking about whatever friends talk about. Perfect.

The display I put together of a sample of jan’s life got the reaction I wanted. A whole lot of people said, “I never knew jan had/did/was…” As I was cleaning up the house and finding some of these things, I said pretty much the same.

jan howard finder Irish Wake Slated

Wombat and RedShift

jan howard finder

Lin Daniel is holding a jan howard finder Memorial and Irish Wake, aka WombatCon, on June 1 in Albany, New York.

This deserved a post of its own post to amplify Lin’s announcement in the comments section of Wombat’s obituary.

WombatCon will he held at the Holiday Inn Wolf Road, 205 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205 – telephone (518) 533-1720. There is a special room rate of $99 for Friday and/or Saturday night. Use the code Wombatcon for the reduced rate.

Lin – “jan’s ‘Otter Half’” – adds:

Please come. I would love to see you, to meet you for the first time, or meet you in person. If you cannot attend, but wish to share your memories of jan, please reply to this email. I’ll be posting material to jan’s blog.

Lin is still writing new material for The Real Wombat, such as —

Archeology At Jan’s House just turned up… *drum*roll*please* jan’s grade school report cards. With things like “needs improvement in self control” and under “promptness” the note “stalls”. All I can say is the man was consistent.  

[Thanks to Lin Daniels, Steven H Silver and Andrew Porter for the story.]

jan howard finder (1939-2013)

jan howard finder (“Wombat”), one of fandom’s great characters, died February 25 at 12:54 a.m. in Albany Medical Center Hospital CCU from renal and liver failure. He had been battling prostate cancer for several years.

Lin Daniel reports she and a friend were with jan when he died. “We probably had the hospital staff wondering about us, because we sat there and told stupid jan stories and laughed a lot.”

He was a conrunner, costumer and Tolkien fan. He toured New Zealand’s LoTR film locations in 2004 and 2006, and bent every effort to get Guillermo del Toro to agree to put him in The Hobbit when the director was still attached to the project.

Appropos of his nickname, jan’s best-known publishing project was Finder’s Guide To Australterrestrials, a 28-page collection of sketches of antipodean creatures done by sf and fan artists.

jan was a guest of honor at the 1993 Worldcon, ConFrancisco.

[Thanks to Michael J. Lowrey for the story.]

Update 02/26/2013: Corrected attribution of quote.

“Leadbeater’s Possum,” by Katherine Wadey for Finder’s Guide To Australterrestrials.

Medical Progress Report

jan  howard finder was released from the hospital on August 24:

The doctor decided I could face the world. The stents were doing what they are supposed to do.

He planned to stay in Reno a couple of days before returning home.

Bill Patterson, meanwhile, was in ICU at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles until Thursday, August 25 when he was moved to a hospital room. He is expected to be there several more days.

John Hertz: Forry Remembered at Lunacon

By John Hertz: Lunacon is hosted annually by the New York S-F Society, the Lunarians. Lunacon LII in 2009 was March 20-22 at the Hilton Rye Town, Rye Brook, N.Y., fondly known as the Klein Bottle Hotel because the fourth floor is the seventh floor and the green grass grows all around.

The Forry Ackerman memorial was Sunday morning at 10. Lee Gilliland moderated Louis Epstein, Dennis McCunney, the Wombat, and me. Dave Kyle was attending the con but not staying in the hotel. We asked him to join us but he couldn’t get his car through the multi-dimensional barriers in time.

Without Kyle, everyone on the panel was much younger than Forry. I thought this showed how he reached into the future. The Wombat had met him in 1973 – when Forry had already been an active fan almost forty years.

Lenny Provenzano in the audience had some photos of Forry and his house the Ackermansion on a laptop computer. Failing to get a big screen and a projector we put the laptop on the table and crowded in. Forry would have found some way to joke about the laptop turning into a desktop and no doubt being a were-computer.

Gilliland who is active in Man from U.N.C.L.E. fandom remembered Forry in “The Vampire Affair”. He had many cameo appearances. Epstein who co-founded the National Tolkien Society remembered Forry in the 1981 edition of Tolkien’s letters. Forry was an agent for an early project to film The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s comments are pungent today.

I told how Forry had co-founded the Big Heart Award. When he stepped down from administering it after fifty years, we could finally give it to him. He won the first fan Hugo. When he was called to the stage he said “But I really think this should go to Ken Slater” and walked away.

Once Forry was driving Walt Willis across the country. Just thinking of those two punsters together staggers the mind. In Wyoming he told Willis they should visit Cheyenne because of its literary reputation. Willis said he didn’t know it. “What!” said Forry, “you haven’t heard of Cheyenne’s fiction?”

Forry held Open House at the Ackermansion every Saturday he was in town. He had hundreds of thousands of books, and things too fierce to mention. He told tours, “I’ve read every last word.” They would gasp. “Yes,” he would say, “as soon as I get another book I turn to the last page, and read the last word. So I’ve read every last word.”

See Denvention TV Coverage

John Picacio has posted video from a newscast aired by the Denver NBC affiliate at the beginning of Denvention 3. Picacio recognized these faces:

John Hertz and his propeller beanie got a lot of love. Look for a funny cameo by SCI FI editor Scott Edelman. Looks like the blonde, braided head of LOCUS‘ Amelia Beamer is in the background at the :59 mark (looks like her, anyway). FACT‘s Laura Domitz pops up at the :57 and :56 mark. And oh yeah — News9 has apparently discovered a new way to spell my name — “Piacacio” instead of “Picacio”. Now I know how Paolo Baciagalupi feels….

There also are glimpses of Marty Massoglia, Robbie Bourget, jan howard finder, Gail Barton, Dennis Caswell, and plenty of others. Are you there, too?

[Via Isaac Alexander]