Dr. Christine Haycock (1924-2008)

Andrew Porter writes: “Dr. Christine Haycock, 84, widow of Sam Moskowitz, died after a sudden unexpected illness on January 23 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wayne, New Jersey. She had been in the process of moving from her home in Newark, NJ, to relatives in the Midwest, and had sold her remaining SF paintings and other collections before becoming ill. An award-winning surgeon and professor, active in cancer research, she was a nurse in World War II, and after becoming an M.D., was the first woman intern at Walter Reed Medical Center. In later years she obtained a Master’s in Political Science at Rutgers, was a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. She retired from the military with the rank of Colonel in 1984. With her husband, whom she married in 1958, she attended hundreds of local, regional and World conventions, was a GoH at the 1965 Disclave, and was active in New Jersey fandom. She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.”

Cons Piracy Hits the Web

Heavy aftershocks were felt for months after the New Madrid earthquake of 1812, and according to a popular joke if you asked a man in Natchez how his farm was he’d run home to see if it was still there. You’ll soon be hearing a new version of that story featuring conrunners who’ve been asked how their websites are doing. But the former owners of Eastercon.org and Boskone.com can save themselves the trip: cyber squatters now own their farms.

Cons are often marketed online using internet domain names identical to the convention’s name. Domain names have finite lives and must be renewed.

The Eastercon.org address, which originally hosted a site about the con’s history, with reliable pointers to current Eastercon publicity, was edited (according to a post at Anonymousclaire) by Alex McLintock and Chris O’Shea.

The New England Science Fiction Association unhappily found its “Boskone.com” address evidently had expired and been re-registered by a cyber squatter. The club is taking action on the squatter, according to Instant Message #796.

That is not the only Boskone domain. Boskone.org still forwards readers to NESFA’s official web page promoting the convention. (Athough this state of affairs is destined to end in November, according to www.who.is). On the other hand, Boskone.net already talks about nothing but last August’s Lynch/Cheshire wedding in Seattle, and for the explanation of that your guess is as good as mine.

Ken Slater (1917-2008)

Captain Ken Slater in his army days.

Captain Ken Slater in his army days.

Legendary British fan Ken Slater died peacefully over the weekend of February 16-17. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday in January.

Slater gained fame weaving connections between international fans. While serving as a Captain with the British Army on the Rhine after World War II, Slater launched his “Operation Fantast” network to put science fiction readers in touch with one another, and supply American magazines and paperbacks to countries where the postwar dollar shortage meant they were otherwise unavailable. In 1950 it had 800 members.

Slater continued to sell books by mail and at conventions for decades. Between 1953-1959 he also contributed a regular book review column to Nebula Science Fiction called “Something To Read.”

Ken and Joyce Slater were Fan Guests of Honor at Conspiracy, the 1987 Worldcon in Brighton. (Joyce died in 1995).

Gordon Van Gelder of F&SF reports that Ken’s funeral will be held on Thursday, Feb. 28 at a crematorium in King’s Lynn, followed by tea at a hotel in Grimston.

Update 2/20/2008: Corrected birth year. (Thanks to Jim Linwood).

A Humble Dissent

When SF Awards Watch editors Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee dissected complaints about the Best Pro Artist Hugo by the editors of the Spectrum fantasy artists website, the duo defended Hugo rulesmakers against charges of indifference but agreed with Spectrum’s critique of the voters, saying:

WSFS members have been very unimaginative in their choices over the years, and there seems to be good circumstantial evidence that artists are getting nominated based on name recognition rather than on any work that they have produced.

That’s great! The solution has finally been revealed. Get rid of the corrupt dimbulbs who have been voting for Hugo Awards all these years. Yes, turn the rascals out! I hereby fire myself as a voter. Finally the Hugos will work as Tucker and nature intended. High quality replacement voters will be imaginative enough to select the best professional artist each year, who will nevertheless always be a different person than has ever won it before! Cue Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” — we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden!

People may be frustrated by the Best Pro Artist category’s record of repeat winners, but it sure looks to me like the voters are working their butts off to get familiar with the eligible artists.

Every year a report shows how many nominating votes were received by each candidate that got at least 5% of the nominations in a category. The Nippon 2007 report of Hugo nominating statistics listed 32 professional artists with 6 or more nominations.

Compare that to only 21 editors in long form who had at least 6 nominating votes, the minimum to get listed. And only 18 editors in short form with the minimum (7) for that category. There were 39 fan writers with the 5% minimum necessary to be listed, but just 20 of them had at least 6 nominations. You’ll see a comparable record in the Best Fan Artists category. The truth is that more pro artists received serious attention from Hugo voters than the candidates in any of the other “Best People” categories.

Bwana’s in the Organlegger Business

Mike Resnick, best known to the internet’s luxury shoppers as Bwana25, always keeps a cargo of vintage fanzines for sale at his outpost on eBay. Every now and then that includes an old zine of mine.

This weekend Bwana’s selling a copy of Organlegger #7, from my first foray into fannish journalism back in 1973. The copy looks in good condition (it might be better than my file copy!), and that’s a pleasant surprise when you’re talking about twiltone paper printed with oil-based mimeo ink. If any of the earliest issues are still readable that’ll be even more surprising, for reasons that will be revealed in a moment.

Organlegger #7 came out in August 1973. The first issue had been produced just the month before. So was it a weekly? Never. But it had been a daily.

Elst Weinstein hauled his ditto machine and supplies to San Francisco in case they’d come in handy for whatever mischief we got into at the 1973 Westercon, a 5-day convention. The Westercon daily newzine had an aloof tone, and was full of official announcements. Elst and I were tempted to parody it until we considered how much real news we knew and that it would be more fun to launch a rival zine and play it straight.

Though it was a Sampo Westercon in the Bay Area, many of the con’s most interesting stories involved Southern Californians. Larry Niven was a GoH (in those days he was also hawking memberships in the highly-amusing parody Trantorcon in 23,309). Marjii Ellers scored a coup in the Masquerade as the “Queen of Air and Darkness”. The LA smofs bid for (and won) the right to try their own Bay Area Westercon, OakLaCon in 1975. And so on. Elst and I filled several ditto-reproduced issues of Organlegger by the end of the con.

The experience also confirmed I’d been bitten by the newzine bug. When I got home I took over the title and set out to print all the fannish news people felt Locus was neglecting (which was plenty even then, in only its fifth year of publication!) Organlegger failed to last only because I was a college student who simply couldn’t afford the project. The zine survived just long enough to report LASFS’ purchase of its first clubhouse — indeed, 2008 is the 35th anniversary.

If you’re someone who enjoys all the nostalgia brought on by a whiff of twiltone, don’t miss this opportunity. Bwana wants six bucks minimum. Buyer pays postage. Bidding ends February 18.

Lou’s the News

I was scrolling through SF Signal, a high-energy blog about sf in all media, when the name “Lou Tabakow” leaped off the screen. What was he doing there? You see, SF Signal is where I expect to find someone ranting that Heroes has jumped the shark, or see capsule comments directing me to the latest blog posts by sf writers. I don’t expect to see news about a famous fan of long ago, the patriarch of MidwestCon and OctoCon, one of the original founders of First Fandom.

What was that news? There’s a website where you can read for free “Faithfully Yours”, a good story by Tabakow that Campbell ran in Astounding (1955) and that reappeared in a collection edited by Asimov, Greenberg and Waugh, Tin Stars (1986).

Maybe somebody tipped them to the Manybooks site and coincidentally one of the current posts is Tabakow’s story. But if the folks at SF Signal recognize Tabakow as a newsworthy name, all the better. A tip of the hat to them in either case.

Roy Scheider (1932-2008)

Andrew Porter writes: “Actor Roy Scheider, 75, whose first film role was the low-budget 1964 horror film The Curse of the Living Corpse, directed by Del Tenney, died February 10th at a Little Rock, Ark., hospital of complications from a staph infection, after suffering cancer for several years. He lived in Sag Harbor, NY. His best-known film role was in Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), and he also starred in The French Connection, All That Jazz, and Blue Thunder, amongst others.”

Stiles-Designed Samaritan Medal Goes to Shimon Peres


shapeimage_2shapeimage_3Steve Stiles‘ dramatic new artwork is unlike any he’s done before.

He writes: “Ages ago I was commissioned (thanks to the efforts of Michael Dobson and his contacts in the Lutheran Church) to design a medal, intended to further the cause of peace, for the Samaritan community in Israel. Recently it was finally cast and Shimon Peres has agreed to accept this Samaritan Medal Sunday, February 17 at the President’s House in Tel Aviv.”

The Samaritan Medal for Peace and Humanitarian Achievement is awarded for distinguished service, the only one of various Samaritan medals actually awarded by the original Samaritan people of Israel.

The Medal is made of pure silver, two inches in diameter, with a scene from the parable of the Good Samaritan on the front, and the sacred Mount Gerizim on the reverse.

Recipient Shimon Peres, now Israel’s President, was its Foreign Minister when he shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Steve Stiles has worked in virtually every medium, from comic strips to modern abstracts, but this is his first medal design. He is a frequent Hugo Award nominee, and a past winner of the FAAn Award and the Rotsler Award.