WFC 2013 Names Mathesons as GoHs

Richard Matheson (Twilight Zone’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” The Legend of Hell House) and his son Richard Christian Matheson (TV, movie and short story writer) are the first authors to be announced as Guests of Honor at World Fantasy Con 2013.

The con takes place in Brighton, England over Halloween Weekend 2013.

The full press release follows the jump.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

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Rusty Hevelin (1922-2011)

Rusty Hevelin at a Boskone in the 1970s. Photo by Andrew Porter.

James “Rusty” Hevelin, a winner of First Fandom’s Sam Moskowitz Archive Award (2003) and a past Worldcon Guest of Honor, died December 27 at the age of 89. He was hospitalized a few days ago with poor circulation in his legs. When a planned surgical intervention was cancelled because Rusty’s condition worsened to the point where his surgeon and doctors concluded that he’d be unlikely to survive the surgery, he spent his last days in hospice care.  
As a teenager living in Riverside, California, Rusty somehow discovered the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. He attended a meeting in 1941 (– and from that experience deemed Laney’s “Ah, Sweet Idiocy” not grossly exaggerated!) Later in the year he hitchhiked to Denver to attend the Worldcon. (See his conreport here.)

After the con, Rusty  moved to Philadelphia where he soon was elected President of the PSFS. He also began publishing a newzine, Nebula. Once World War II began he joined the Marine Corps and served in the Pacific as a meteorologist.

When Rusty came back from World War II he resumed his role as an active fan organizer. Still the last President of PSFS, he suggested a merger of Philadelphia’s two small sf clubs. He also served as a director of the National Fantasy Fan Federation during its tempestuous postwar era, the N3F having been founded in 1940 at the suggestion of Damon Knight.

At the same time, Rusty took over publication of StefNews from Jack Speer. Other zines he published over the years include Aliquot, H-1661, and Badly.

A curious measure of the ebb and flow of Rusty’s role in fanhistory is the way Harry Warner’s All Our Yesterdays repeatedly cites him as a mover and shaker in 1940s fandom, yet judging by A Wealth of Fable in the following decade the only historic thing he did was keep Bob Tucker from stalking out of the 1956 Worldcon after missing Al Capp’s speech. (Tucker was one of the victims of events which produced the catchphrase “Dave Kyle says you can’t sit here.”)

Tucker and Hevelin were great friends. Tucker enjoyed introducing Rusty as his “Dad”, winking at the fact he’d been born in 1914 and Hevelin in 1922. Tucker would also say, “Some people wonder out loud why dad’s surname is not the same as mine. It’s a simple answer. He didn’t marry my mother.”

Rusty did eventually marry and has four sons, John, Scott, Bruce and Will.  

After a long hiatus that ended in the mid-Sixties, Rusty became active in fandom again and began huckstering at conventions.

He was always popular. Rusty was elected the 1975 Down Under Fan Fund delegate and attended the first Australian Worldcon. For his trip report he created a slide show and presented it at conventions around the U.S.

Though Rusty kept his hand in as a huckster and conrunner as the years went by (assuring that Pulpcon kept going after its first year, 1972, with the aid of Lynn Hickman and Gordon Huber), his memory really rests on his reputation for friendliness and the good times people had in his company.

Rusty’s contributions to fandom were celebrated by Denvention 2 (1981) where he was Fan Guest of Honor.

[Thanks to Bill Higgins, Steven Silver, Keith Stokes and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Update 12/29/2011: Two corrections. (1) I’ve learned Rusty never joined First Fandom although, of course, his fanac began early enough to make him eligible. And it was pointed out he therefore might not have wanted to be identified as a member. (2) Also corrected the description of his role in the beginnings of Pulpcon — thanks to Walker Martin. In fact that explains the phrasing of the info in Lynn Hickman’s obituary which I used as a source, intended to convey that they kept Pulpcon from being a one-shot. 

“Flash Mobs” in Wired

“#Riot: Self-Organized, Hyper-Networked Revolts – Coming to a City Near You” in the January issue of Wired analyzes the role of communication technology in recent public violence. The author, Wired senior editor Bill Wasik, says when he held the first flash mob in 2003 he thought Niven’s phrase was a bad fit for his benign cultural happenings. Now, in 2011, he appreciates Niven’s foresight:

One reason the term “flash mob” stuck back in 2003 was its resonance…with a 1973 short story by Larry Niven called “Flash Crowd.” Niven’s tale revolved around the effects of cheap teleportation technology, depicting a future California where “displacement booths” line the street like telephone booths. The story is set in motion when its protagonist, a TV journalist, inadvertently touches off a riot with one of his news reports. Thanks to teleportation, the rioting burns out of control for days, as thrill-seekers use the booths to beam in from all around to watch and loot. Reading “Flash Crowd” back in 2003, I hadn’t seen much connection to my own mobs, which I intended as a joke about the slavishness of fads. I laughed off anyone who worried about these mobs getting violent. In 2011, though, it does feel like Niven got something chillingly correct. He seems especially prescient in the way he describes the interplay of curiosity, large numbers, and low-level criminality that causes his fictional riots to grow. “How many people would be dumb enough to come watch a riot?” the narrator asks. “But that little percentage, they all came at once, from all over the United States and some other places, too. And the more there were, the bigger the crowd got, the louder it got—the better it looked to the looters … And the looters came from everywhere, too.”

Wasik devotes most of the article to probing the psychology of the participants, and I feel one comment resonates with the early history of sf fandom:

One might call this the emergence of mega-undergrounds, groups of people for whom the rise of Facebook and Twitter has laid bare the disconnect between their real scale and the puny extent to which the dominant culture recognizes them.

Doesn’t this also apply to the 1930s, and that disrespected popular genre whose pulp magazines were nevertheless selling 200,000 copies a month? When the magazines started letter columns to help market themselves, they also created a channel of communication between the fans of this fiction that allowed them to realize they were far from alone. While hardly a flash mob, limited by the speed of second-class mail and Greyhound buses, the revelation of an sf mega-underground led to a fannish convergence at the first World Science Fiction Convention.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]

Rusty Hevelin in Hospice

Rusty Hevelin is now in end-of-life hospice care at the VA Hospital in Dayton. The Cincinnati Fantasy Group’s Michaele Jordan wrote:

While his mind is still sharp, his body is shutting down and the pain medications are also taking a toll. How long will we have him? Days, probably; weeks, still possible.

She says visitors are welcome. His address in the hospital is:

James Hevelin (Rm. 140, 9th Floor)
c/o Dayton VA Medical Center
4100 W. Third Street
Dayton, OH 45428

She also believes cards can be sent there.

Lorena Haldeman offers her blog as a place to leave stories and memories of Rusty which she says Gay Haldeman, who is in Dayton overseeing Rusty’s care, can read aloud to him.

Lorena Haldeman wrote:

I love Rusty. He is a rapscallion, and a tease, and gives a good back or foot rub, and he reminds me of a dinner roll because he’s hard and crusty on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. He’s pragmatic, and practical, and is a “show, not tell” kind of guy. I don’t think he’s ever told me he loves me; but he shows up, and isn’t that what love is? He doesn’t need to say the words because he shows you all the time. He’s been to every Christmas, Thanksgiving when we still celebrated it, birthdays when Aunt Gay and I used to have joint parties at Tarrytown or Merritt Island, random month-long visits, both of my weddings, my fathers death, Uncle Joe’s illness. He’s full of stories and I’ve gotten to hear a good portion of them. He’s Santa’s Evil Twin, he’s the Wise Old Man, he’s Gandalf and the Trickster and a librarian and a font of knowledge all rolled into one twinking-eye’d Old Man. He’s the best Grandfather a girl could choose to have.

[Via Leah Smith.]

Free Ebooks for Christmas

Long-time File 770 letterhack Joy V. Smith sends these holiday wishes:

Merry Christmas to friends and family! For those of you who got an ebook reader for Christmas — or couldn’t wait — here are three of my ebooks. Or you can read them on your computer.” Your choices:

Pretty Pink Planet
Lori, an agent of SOESFOL (Search Out and Establish Sentient Forms of Life) visits Prism, a popular tourist destination, to track down planet pirates and rescue aliens, if she can find and talk to them.
[No coupon code necessary]

Hot Yellow Planet
In the sequel to Pretty Pink Planet, Lori and Chiing continue their adventures, meeting up with Chameleons, Ghosters, Splurts, and other aliens and humans.
Your coupon code is UX77Y (not case-sensitive).

Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure
How we coped with selling a house–at last, looking for a new house, buying a new house that was a foreclosure and needed lots of work, and then remodeling it since it didn’t even have a kitchen sink!
Your coupon code is YP83R (not case-sensitive)

Note: Coupon codes expire January 2, 2012

Hamit Makes Audiobook Deal

Francis Hamit reports, “We have just signed our first two co-production deals for audio books. These will be shorter pieces , less than three hours, and new editions of [my] short story ‘Buying Retail’ and his novella ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ both of which can be read on Amazon Kindle.”

The narrator will be Michael Ward of Chicago. The deal was done through, an Amazon company which promises that its products will be available through the three biggest online sellers of audiobooks,,, and iTunes.

More details and release dates to be announced later.

2012 Williamson Lectureship

Daniel Abraham and Carrie Vaughn will be the guests of honor at the 36th annual Jack Williamson Lecture, to be held March 29-30 at Eastern New Mexico University. This year’s theme is Urban Fantasy. All events except the luncheon are free.

Daniel Abraham writes epic fantasy set on other worlds (The Long Price Quartet and The Dagger and the Coin series) and as “MLN Hanover” he writes urban fantasy set in something very like our world (The Black Sun’s Daughter series.)

Carrie Vaughn is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Kitty Norville” series (the 10th novel, Kitty Steals the Show is due Spring 2012).

Connie Willis, Misstress of Ceremonies for the event, is herself fresh from winning the Nebula and Hugo Awards for the newest novel in her Oxford time travel series (published as two volumes: Blackout and All Clear).

See the schedule and full press release following the jump.

Still available from Haffner Press is Thirty-Five Years of the Jack Williamson Lectureship, a collection of transcribed speeches and presentations by a variety of Lectureship guests since its beginning.

[Thanks to Stephen Haffner for the story.]

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What to Give People Who Hate Sci-Fi

Last-minute holiday shoppers gravitate to quickie gift suggestions like “Sci-Fi Books for People Who Hate Sci-Fi” Alex Knapp’s book-buying guide at Forbes.

With one quick click online, we can send a book to our mom’s iPad without a hitch. But what to send? Obviously, as a science fiction fan, I like to try to get other people as excited about science fiction as I am.

It’s not an easy task. A lot of people are simply averse to the science fiction genre, whether it’s because of the association with nerd-dom or an aversion to space and lasers.

As a fellow fan I am perfectly satisfied with Knapp’s mix of classic authors – Heinlein, Bester – and contemporary legends – Scalzi, Sawyer, Resnick. Unfortunately, his premise breaks down immediately in the face of reality. The thing about people who are adamant in their dislike of sci-fi is that as soon as they detect a sniff of it they indignantly spout something that translates to, “I say it’s spinach and I say to hell with it.” To suppose that quality sci-fi, however carefully chosen, will fly under their radar is absurd. Especially a bright orange paperback with a BEM on the cover. (What were you thinking, Alex?)

If you’re a fan who’s desperate for a gift idea, why get sidetracked into unwelcome evangelism? Profit from your knowledge of the best sf novels by making them your guide to non-genre works people will love to receive. Here’s what I mean.

Impressed with Heinlein’s Starship Troopers? Then don’t lose a minute gift-wrapping a copy of Eugene V. Sledge’s autobiographical account  of his WWII service, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. Truly, when I read it this summer I was utterly impressed by its narrative flow and dynamic style, beyond anything I’ve ever found in a historian (even David McCullough). I also suspected I’d discovered the literary roots of Heinlein’s most famous combat novel – until I saw that Sledge’s was first published in 1981. If there’s an influence at work, it must be Heinlein influencing Sledge. And there’s no question the old master would have been proud to acknowledge Sledge as a student, if such is the case, given the brilliant result.

The Guns of the South came out just a couple of years after I’d read Shelby Foote’s account of the Civil War. Reading Harry Turtledove’s novel I remembered Foote’s coverage of The Wilderness well enough to be impressed by Harry’s detailed historicity of his fictionalized battle. He faithfully replayed the battle until the point where his Confederates turn the tide using AK-47s. For armchair strategists Foote’s The Civil War: A Narrative is just what the doctor ordered. (A Ph.D, that is.)   

So that’s the plan – backtrack from your favorite sf novels to the great books that equipped you to enjoy them and the people on your gift list will think you’re a genius.