Born July 19, 1927: Richard E. Geis
Dick Geis was an urbane, funny fanwriter with a genius for getting pros involved in his fanzine and presiding over their personal feuds in his pages. Today we’d call those kerfuffles.
Whether titled Psychotic, Science Fiction Review or The Alien Critic it was the same winning recipe. His humorous editorials, everybody else’s problems, and tons of book reviews. It was a semiprozine before the term was invented.
Geis earned 34 Hugo nominations, including a streak where he was a Fan Writer Hugo nominee every year 1973-1986. He won 7 Best Fan Writer Hugos and 6 Best Fanzine Hugos.
While I was in junior high school in the 1960s, a local librarian started a science fiction discussion group. We were never in contact with mainstream fandom, though we had a few hints about it. Merely seeing an ad for Science Fiction Review inspired us to publish a fanzine. We modeled it on Analog and I wrote the Campbell-wannabe editorials.
I wrote a lot of letters of comment to Geis, and sent him my own fanpublishing efforts. Geis was the first to note my inability to choose a felicitous title and even made several suggestions for a replacement, the only one I remember being Back Space. I demurred, and within a few years was publishing another zine with a dubious title, File 770.
He was a legendary recluse. We never met – he stopped attending LASFS poker games about a year before I joined the club. However, when Geis was looking for a Hugo accepter in 1974 Bruce Pelz lined me up for the job. Geis won, so I got to carry the rocket around to parties the rest of the night.