Klaus: Doctor Who and Iguanacon

By David Klaus: The novelization of Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks, given away at IguanaCon (1978 Worldcon) by the publisher as a promotion, was the first full-length story of The Doctor I ever knew of, as the program wasn’t available in St. Louis at the time.  I was so new to the Whoniverse that I had only seen a couple of clips with Tom Baker and that was it, not even knowing of Jon Pertwee yet.  When I read it, I saw Mr. Baker in my mind as I read, not the late Mr. Pertwee.

Harlan Ellison, as I recall, later described the IguanaCon presentation as having fans out for his blood and ready to riot because he was contemptuous from the podium of other s.f. heroes as empty shells or something similar, particularly Luke Skywalker (as this was the year after the first movie premiered and the convention at which it won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, back when it was just Star Wars, not Star Wars: A New Hope), in favor of “My hero, Doctor Who!”

I’m glad he liked the program and portrayal (and wonder what he thinks about the post-Baker Doctors or the revival since 2005), but it’s funny how I don’t remember that happening.  No riot precursors, no bloodthirsty attempted assaults.  But I wasn’t everywhere or saw everything, so what do I know, right?

Not Dead Yet

Even now, new local sf clubs are popping up. An Edmonton group founded just two years ago has been profiled by a local entertainment publication, Gig City, in “Edmonton Sci-Fi fans boldly go where everybody knows their names.”

[The] Edmonton Science Fiction Appreciation Society was established with a radically different philosophy: bring fans of many different kinds of science-fiction together, and bring them together face-to-face. Also in the philosophy: do it at Tim Hortons, because aspiring Arthur C. Clarkes are often broke.

“There’s a broad range of people from all walks of life who have nerd-dom in common,” explains Laura Snow, 28, who founded the group nearly two years ago.

Snow, who grew up in a remote part of Newfoundland and says she read just about every book her tiny local library had, looked for a science-fiction club when she moved to Edmonton. Surprised she couldn’t find one, she set about starting her own group by advertising on the website Meetup.

David Klaus sent me the link because he still remembers “Is Your Club Dead Yet?”, my 1998 article about the fading of many famous sf clubs formed in the Seventies. I was inspired to do that overview of the field by a spate of doom-filled statements from club members around the U.S., although I refrained from predicting wholesale extinction because even then few of these dwindling clubs seemed about to give up meeting. Indeed, a great many of them are still with us in 2011. On that account a couple of friends at Renovation suggested I write a follow-up.

David thinks I will find a surprisingly healthy sf club scene:

With the economy dropping, fans are going to want less expensive entertainment, and a club meeting and the attendant socializing will provide that, so I think we’ll see a resurgence of s.f. clubs.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

Suggested Design for Canadian Zine Award

R. Graeme Cameron is in the process of founding The Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards (nicknamed the “Faneds”) and has published the first suggested design for the trophy in The Fanactical Fanactivist #2 [PDF file]. It was submitted by Eric Chu from Hong Kong. Cameron explains:

In my original proposition I had described the backpack as a mimeograph machine shaped device, functioning as either a rocket or air supply system. On receiving his submission I wrote back:

“The fountain pen backpack rocket was definitely a surprise. Very retro and very appropriate to an old-fashioned faned. Were you thinking of all of it being sculpted? (The actual ink ‘nib’ or whatever it’s called looks complicated to sculpt.) Or were you thinking of a piece of an actual pen to be inserted in each award?

Eric replied: “Yes, I changed the jet pack to a pen because I felt that a mimeograph was a something that would not be easily recognizable to most people. I understand your reasons for requesting it, but in the end, I felt that a pen would get the same message across and also look better as a retro jet pack.”

I like the spirit of Eric’s design. However, The Graeme is still open to other suggestions – see the zine for more details.

Huett: The 1953 “Hugo Awards”

By Kim Huett: It is my usual practice when a topic of fannish interest comes up to wherever possible to go direct to sources. Usually this means having a quick rummage through my collection to see what it might reveal. In regards to the question of the 1953 Hugo awards handed out at the Sunday Evening Banquet (held September 6 between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the main ballroom according to the program book) I turned to Fantasy Times. Whatever one thinks of James V. Taurasi (and opinions on that topic tend towards the colorful) it’s hard to deny that his newzine was the fanzine of record at the time.

[Kim sent scans from issues of Fantasy Times, excerpted below.] These selections from Fantasy Times add further evidence to the argument that the Fan Personality Award was voted on in exactly the same way and indeed on the same ballot as all the other awards. On the other hand Taurasi’s reportage on the convention doesn’t confirm that categories were dropped due to a shortage of votes. Instead he claims the problem was a matter of no clear winners which does seem every bit as likely as Warner’s lack of votes suggestion.

Fantasy Times, September 1953.

The winners of the Awards were: #1 Fan Personality: Forrest J Ackerman, who turned it down and gave it to Ken Slater of England. Bert Campbell will bring it back to England with him and present it to Slater.

There were no awards for short stories, novelettes or fan magazines, as there was no clear cut vote on these; too many named with too little vote for each.

It’s also interesting to note that even before the convention was held Lyle Kessler felt he had to issue a statement explaining the awards weren’t called the Hugos. He also seems to be capitulating on the topic and accepting the awards be called Hugos though I suppose you can’t call that an official naming.

Fantasy Times, August 2, 1953.

Lyle Kessler: There is no official name for the Awards themselves. It seems the word got around that they were to be called “Hugos” (after the father of science fiction, Hugo Gernsback). That isn’t so. If fans decide that “Hugos” are the proper name for the Awards they they shall be called “Hugos”.

I hope all this adds to your understanding of the matter.

[Thanks to Kim for sharing his research!]

New Worlds Revival

Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds magazine will release its first e-edition on November 10. The historic prozine will enter a second life with editorials and guidance from its iconic former editor.

The web magazine will have several original stories by new writers, audio visual content from both the British Library and the Greenwich arts festival and features by well-known figures in sf.

Meanwhile you may enjoy John Parker’s article about the history of New Worlds at Comics Alliance. It’s worthwhile despite a few clangers, such as the line “Michael Moorcock (yes, it’s a very funny name)…” and this howler-filled sentence:

Campbell was the Editor of Amazing Stories, the first sci-fi magazine, with a group of contributors that included Frederik Pohl, Isaac Asimov, and Damon Knight.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Corflu Announces Chamberlain Anthology

Corflu Glitter will produce a Ross Chamberlain anthology in conjunction with the “New York Fandom Reunion” being held at the convention. The collection will have approximately 50 pages of his fannish, sf and fantasy artwork.

“Ross has been a great fan artist for nearly a half-century,” says Joyce Katz, Corflu Glitter Chairman. “This anthology will be a lasting testament to the excellence of his work.”

[Via Glitter #24. Thanks to Arnie Katz for the story.]

Pinch Hitters of Honor

Context: Carol A. Modesitt is yet another person who fell seriously ill at Renovation. As a result, her husband L.E. Modesitt has withdrawn as one of Context 24’s Guest of Honor.  The convention is happening this weekend (August 26-28) in Columbus.

The committee turned to their fellow Ohioan, John Scalzi, who agreed at the last minute to come and “help fill the sudden gap in their programming.” Scalzi can’t attend the entire convention but will do a full block of programming on Saturday, August 27 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

I thought that was pretty cool.

VCON: Larry Niven deserves kudos, too, for helping out  VCON 36 (September 30-October 2) on short notice.

Gregory Benford, initially announced the con’s Author GoH, will be unable to attend VCON this year “due to an unavoidable summons from DARPA” (the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). He must attend its meeting on September 30.

Now Benford will be among next year’s guests at VCON 37 while Niven has stepped in as VCON 36’s Author Guest of Honour.

The committee also announced that program participant Robert J. Sawyer will miss the con because he, too, was “swept up by DARPA.” The committee called it, “A signal honour for a Canadian Author.”

Media Covers Garcia’s Hugo Win

Chris Garcia’s Hugo triumph has made the news in San Jose. Do you think the reporter liked Chris a little?

…If you have ever visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, you most likely have had a conversation with the bearded hunk of charisma. And if you are anyone who is anyone in the Sci Fi industry, you’ve most likely met, shaken hands with or been interviewed by this amazing writer and human being.

The coverage includes Chris’s true confession:

9. Where are you going to keep your Hugo Award?
On the table right in front of my TV so I can claim to be watching whatever’s on while I’m actually staring at the trophy!

Andrew Trembley also supplied a first-rate photo of the bearded one.

Renovation Attendance Estimate

How many people came to Renovation? John Lorentz is working on the database and will soon have an official number. In the meantime he says, “We can safely say we had (after excluding folks like vendor comps) well over 4000 warm bodies, possibly more than 4100.”

As of the close of pre-registration on August 14, Renovation had 4875 members of all types which included 3503 attending members.

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.