Remembering My Friend, Bill Longen (1947-2023)

By Steve Vertlieb: It was in September, 1965, when I first “officially” entered the world of film and science fiction fandom.  My brother, Erwin, and I had received an invitation from Forrest J Ackerman (Forry or 4e) to attend the very first “Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine Convention,” being held at Loew’s Midtown Manhattan Motor Inn in the heart of New York City.  It was at that convention that this eager nineteen-year-old fan met Forry, along with other youthful movie fanatics such as Allan Asherman (author of The Star Trek Compendium), famed collector Wes Shank, and actor George Stover (Editor of Cinemacabre, and Black Oracle magazines, as well as the subject of a recent documentary film, “No Stopping The Stover.”).  Now, Wes working as a film editor at the local Philadelphia CBS Television affiliate, WCAU TV and, through Wes, I was introduced to yet another film editor and science fiction film fan by the name of Bill Longen.  Bill and I began our friendship somewhere around 1966 when I was a mere lad of twenty years.  In the decades that followed, Bill and I would often see one another, either at his home in Clifton Heights, PA, where he lived with his mother or, perhaps, at Wes’s home theater where a variety friends, and science fiction aficionados would congregate for an evening, laugh, and talk about their favorite films.  I would often chat with Bill on the telephone and, from time to time, he would visit my home.  I was working in television, as well, in the capacities of a film editor, cameraman, and sometimes “announcer” at our local Taft Broadcasting affiliate, WTAF TV 29, and so we were able to share many war stories.

Steve, Forry and Erwin

Some years later Bill decided to move to San Francisco where he worked for quite some time as a senior film editor at the local CBS television station in the Bay area, but we always managed to remain in touch, either by mail or on long winded telephone conversations. Television was changing rapidly, however, and Bill decided to leave the industry for newer, greener pastures. Wishing to stay in his beloved San Francisco, Bill eventually left the TV station, and found work as the manager of the world renowned Castro Theater, a one-time elaborate movie palace that had now become a haven for classic film lovers with cult film festivals and art house screenings.

In the Fall of 2007, I received a telephone call from Bill.  He was thinking about scheduling a major retrospective of classic films featuring the music of three time Oscar-winning composer Miklos Rozsa, and asked if I’d be interested in programming the festival.  Needless to say, I agreed quite enthusiastically, and chose the seventeen films that were to be included in the nine day event.  I also wrote the liner notes for the printed program, describing in some detail the backgrounds, stories, and technical information surrounding each film.

Now, earlier in the year, I had attended a unique, celebratory, one hundredth birthday event honoring Dr. Rozsa at The Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C.  I’d heard that the composer’s daughter, Juliet, was scheduled to appear, along with her daughters, and famed concert cellist Janos Starker who was an old friend of Miklos Rozsa.  I had been corresponding with the composer for many years, and had spent some quality time in his company, but I had never met his daughter.  Having written profusely about the composer’s career in a variety of publications for many years, I found myself introduced to the audience by the then Hungarian Ambassador to The United States, Dr. Ferenc Somogyi, and invited, along with Juliet Rozsa and her family, to the “royal residence,” following the ceremonies for a state dinner.

I had remained in touch with the Ambassador and so, when Bill asked me to put together a Rozsa festival, write the program notes, and host the event, I invited Juliet and her daughters to attend, and asked Dr. Somogyi if he would consider writing a special Embassy Proclamation, honoring the late Hungarian composer.  He told me that he would be quite pleased and delighted to do so, and that I might present it to Juliet on the stage of the Castro Theater.  Juliet and her daughters drove to San Francisco from Los Angeles, while Juliet joined me on stage for a thirty minute in-person interview, discussing her famous father’s career.  After our interview a 35 millimeter print of Ben Hur was run for an appreciative audience of some seven hundred movie goers on the giant Castro screen.

I arranged for The Mayor of San Francisco to offer a written tribute to Rozsa, which I read from the stage, as well.  When Ray Bradbury got wind of the tribute, he asked if he might contribute to the festivities with his own remembrance.  He had written the Orson Welles’ narration for MGM’s production of King of Kings, which Rozsa had also scored, and had sat in on some of the recording sessions in Los Angeles with Rozsa conducting.  The festival was covered by the local press, and was exceptionally well received.

After some years of ownership changes at The Castro, Bill moved on yet again, and found himself managing a prestigious chain of movie theaters.  He would visit me at my apartment from time to time, whenever he happened to find himself in Philadelphia once more.  We would continue to exchange birthday and Christmas cards … until Bill grew ill with Cancer.  I spoke with him at length by telephone in December, and he spoke hopefully of a surgery he’d agreed to that might, at last, render him cancer-free.  I received a message on Facebook the other day from another old mutual pal, David Gregory Lee, who let me know that Bill had finally succumbed to his illness, and passed away on January 2nd, 2023.  I knew Bill for some fifty-six years.  He was bright, funny, knowledgeable, and charming.  He was a good and loyal friend.  I’ll miss him terribly.

Charles Partington (1940-2022)

Graham Connor, Charles Partington, Jonathan Cowie and Laura Wheatley (former Warwick U. SF Society) at a Festival of Fantastic Films in the 1990s.

By Jonathan Cowie: Charles Partington, the British SF fan and writer, has died aged 82. Much, if not all, of Chuck’s adult life was in part SFnally related and much with his friend from his school days, Harry Nadler, who was also his life long business partner. He, Harry, Anthony (Tony) Edwards, Ina Shorrock among others, were members of the Delta SF Group that made spoof SF films (occasionally with SF notables such as Harry Harrison. Delta SF members, including Chuck, were also a mainstay of MaD SF, the Manchester & District SF Society (not to be confused with BaD SF down the A666 Devil’s highway in Bolton): in many of its heyday years (1970s and ’80s) MaD met fortnightly at the Crown & Anchor near Piccadilly Gardens station and meetings continued into the 2000s with Chuck invariably in attendance.

Chuck, along with the afore fans mentioned, were also Knights of St. Fantony: a group of fans who would help introduce new SF aficionados into fandom and generally support good causes. For example, Chuck and Harry were responsible for printing the Ken Bulmer Bibliography for BECCON Publications, as well as printing the first edition (1987) of the zine, the SF2 Concatenation back in its pre-online paper days: we have always been appreciative that Chuck and Harry were part of our team and associated with our founding. They also printed the programme book for the BECCON ‘ 87 Eastercon at which SF2 Concatenation was launched. This was particularly notable as it was the first time an Eastercon’s programme book had a colour cover: Harry processed the artwork to create the plates and Charles printed.

Charles was inducted into the Knights of St Fanthony at the 1967 British Eastercon, a convention they regularly attended from the 1960s to ’90s. With Harry Nadler, Charles was on the committee of three Eastercons and so was known for his national-level fanac. Arguably, his serious fanac began with Harry and Tony Edwards when they produced the fanzine Alien between 1963–1965. This evolved over three issues into the, sadly short-lived, semi-prozine Alien Worlds (1965). Charles’ own semi-prozine, irregularly produced in the 1970s and 1980s, was literally Something Else. With high production values, despite it being the pre-desktop era, and paying its contributors, Something Else attracted some high profile writers including Michael Moorcock with whom he had a friendship over many decades.

In 1976, with Dave Britton and Mike Butterworth, he co-founded the Savoy Books publishing house. Though Charles was only involved in the publishing house’s formation, Savoy Books lasted over three decades and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2006. It too attracted high-calibre writers, some of whose output was considered by the major publishing houses as non-commercial. These writers included the likes of Samuel Delany, Harlan Ellison and Charles Platt. Savoy was infamously subject to censorship and notably for the very dark, humorous, satirical and graphic Lord Horror (1989) which landed one of its editors (not Charles) a brief time in jail. Savoy published the magazine New Worlds no.213-216 between 1978 to 1979.

Harry and Charles’ business for many years was the Manchester Print Centre based in a basement of the Corn Exchange. This commercially viable venture enabled it on the side to produce a number of SF conventions’ progress reports, programme booklets and promotional leaflets.

In the 1980s, at the very start of the software games industry era, while keeping the Print Centre, the pair created Red Rat Software that devised and published approximately thirty 8-bit, 16-bit and IBM PC compatible computer games, some of which were genre-related. Its games included a Tilt d’Ore prize in 1992 for ‘Best Puzzle Game’.

Around the time when Harry and Charles ‘retired’, Harry, as is well known in British SF film fandom, established the Festival of Fantastic Films (initially along with the fellow SF fan, and also fellow Knight of St Fantony, Tony Edwards, which was a thriving convention up to Harry’s passing in 2002. Albeit much reduced, such was the momentum the Fest gathered that it has continued to the present day (see SF2 Concatenation’s convention reviews link list for past Fest con reports) and Charles could always be found at these Fests in the bar chatting to old friends right up to the late 2010s.

Charles also wrote stories beginning with ‘The Manterville Inheritance’ in the anthology Dark Things (1971) edited by August Derleth. Others appeared in editions of the New Writings in SF anthology series edited by Ken Bulmer. His only novel was the young adult book Winter Hill (2015). This was meant to be the first of a series but sadly others never arrived. Old age subsequently took its toll and many of us saw little of Charles from the late 2010s onwards. Nonetheless, he packed much into his life and was a true master of SF fandom. A chapter of northwest English SF has closed.

Ray Nelson (1931-2022)

Ray Nelson self-portrait

SF writer and Rotsler Award winning fan artist Ray Nelson died in his sleep overnight November 29/30 his son, Walter, announced today on Facebook. He was 91 years old.

As an author Ray Nelson was best known for his short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning,” which became the basis of John Carpenter’s film They Live. He also had a short story, “Time Travel for Pedestrians,” in Harlan Ellison’s Again Dangerous Visions (1972). Nelson collaborated with Philip K. Dick on The Ganymede Takeover. His 1975 book Blake’s Progress, in which the poet William Blake and his wife are travelers in space and time, has been called his best work by critic John Clute.

As an artist, in the 1940s Nelson appropriated the propeller beanie as a symbol of science fiction fandom. His fannish cartoons were recognized with the Rotsler Award in 2003. He was inducted to the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 2019.

The Ray Nelson website, which Walter set up, has more bibliographical information, and samples of his artwork. There you can also read a humorous article about Ray’s collaborator, “The Last Days of Philip K. Dick”.

Nelson was born in Schenectady, NY in 1931. He became an active science fiction fan while attending high school in Michigan. After graduation, he went to the University of Chicago (studying theology). In the Fifties he lived for four years in Paris, and met Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William Burroughs among others of the Beat Generation, as well as existentialists Jean Paul Sartre, Boris Vian and Simone de Beauvoir. He subsequently co-edited Miscellaneous Man, the first “Beatnik” little literary review. In Paris, he worked with Michael Moorcock smuggling Henry Miller books out of France.

Honors Nelson received as a writer included a special citation from the Philip K. Dick Award in 1983 for The Prometheus Man. As a fan, in addition to the awards already mentioned, he was a Best Fan Artist Retro Hugo finalist in 2001 (commemorating work done in 1950) and received the 2014 FAAn Lifetime Achievement Award.

Justin, We Hardly Knew You

Justin E. A. Busch

By John Hertz: (partly reprinted from Vanamonde 1520)

Justin Edwin Anton Busch (1959-2022) left for After-Fandom last month, on the first day of Corflu XXXIX (fanziners’ convention; usually in the Spring, this year 21-23 Oct).  He had been living in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was a member of Stipple-Apa.  His own fanzines were Far Journeys and Dreams Renewed.  He had been active in the Nat’l Fantasy Fan Federation, contributing a monthly fanzine-review column “Fanfaronade” to FanActivity Gazette and editing Films Fantastic.  The First Fandom organization had just given him a Merit Award, which it does not present often.

He had two books published by McFarland, The Utopian Vision of H.G. Wells (2009) and Self and Society in the Films of Robert Wise (2010; RW [1914-2005] inter alia directed The Day the Earth Stood Still [1951] and the first Star Trek movie [1979]).  The publisher and titles may suggest academia: a good inference, he had a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada).

He was a composer.  A 2008 audio Compact Disc from TraumSpiel has his “Destiny and Desire”, “Consent”, “Meditations”, “Obsessions”, and works of Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894); its notes say Busch’s

compositions … have been performed internationally … a chamber opera, two sinfoniettas … six string quartets … works for choral ensembles, and dozens of songs and piano solos.  Several dance and theatre groups have commissioned him to create new music for their productions.  He is a past prizewinner of composition contests held by the Anchorage Flute Society and Zeitgeist, a St. Paul, Minnesota, new music ensemble….  wine columns in two separate independent magazines … writings on music, film, and philosophical topics [in] The Clarinet (U.S.), Wagner (U.K.), CineAction (Canada [“The Centre Cannot Hold: Betrayals in Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz”, No. 66, 2005]), and Aspekt (Slovakia)….  fiction in Hooligan Follies and Challenging Destiny [“In the Sight of Eternity”, No. 12, Apr 2001].

About himself he wrote (W. Breiding’s Portable Storage 5, pp. 6-7),

I’ve been fascinated by the fact of print for pretty nearly as long as I have memories….  pleasure in the tactility of books….  Before I was ten I’d read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Lord of the Rings, Catch-22, The Scarlet Letter, and War of the Worlds….  I read Sam Moskowitz’s The Immortal Storm before 1974.  I didn’t know about Harry Warner’s fan history books until years later.  I attended Discon II [32nd World Science Fiction Convention]….  practically every SF book or story before Star Wars is obscure to modern fans.  The idea of doing [Dreams Renewed] as miniature pamphlets was inspired by Jack Speer’s fanzine A, although I needed a bit more space than [his] 1×1.5 inch size.

About his use of “Fanfaronade”, he wrote (FanActivity Gazette Nov 2021),

So far as I can ascertain, the first person to use the title was Jeff Wanshel … three issues … #1, dated 1960; #2, dated April, 1961; #3, dated July, 1961….  Terry Carr attached it to a single column, “Fanzine Fanfaronade,” in the April, 1964 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction….  Carol Kennedy’s column, “Fanfaronade” … ran in Mnstf’s clubzine Rune from issue 51 (1978) to issue 61 (1980)….  in … Rune 61 [she wrote] “I prefer to live in a world in which people draw the lines they think are beautiful, rather than a world in which everyone draws the lines I think are beautiful.”  Further comment would be otiose.

Here are some of his notes on fanzines.

Banana Wings
Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer; 59, Shirley Rd; Croydon CR0 7ES; England, U.K.
“Fanfaronade” 17, Gazette Dec 2021

each issue begins with a widely ranging article, “Roadrunner”, by Mark Plummer…. smoothly and engagingly written….  a similarly expansive essay by Claire Brialey….  readers supply, in the guise of letters, their own essays, some quite extensive … edited [but] given plenty of room to develop their ideas, arguments, memories, and associations….  The result, as so often is the case with extensive lettercols like this, is greater than the sum of its parts

Beam
Nic Farey & Ulrika O’Brien; Farey, 2657 Rungsted St.; Las Vegas, NV 89142; E-mail <[email protected]>; O’Brien, 418 Hazel Ave. N., Kent, WA 98030, E-mail <[email protected]>; available at <efanzines.com> F 25, G Sep 22

another of the worthy successors to Bill Bowers’ renowned Outworlds: a substantial zine … presenting an extensive mix of personal, fannish, and sercon essays, capped … with a zestful lettercol … art and photographs ([which] would, in decades past, [have] been a bountiful harvest of fillos from a wide range of artists)….  What appears to be the conclusion [of an essay by O’Brien in B 16] is nothing of the sort; general discussion of scientific principles and their application suddenly, seamlessly, becomes a deeply personal account of the process necessary for Beam itself to exist…. depicted beautifully and with unexpected touches of humor….  “Be ready to change your mind….  You can practice … by regularly considering ideas you disagree with”

Christian * New Age Quarterly
Catherine Groves, P.O. Box 276, Clifton, NJ 07015; four issues “and plenty of extras” for US$12.50. F22, G May 2022

a zine, edited by one person for decades, with what appears to be a limited focus…. [but] despite the specificity of the zine’s remit, and the often personal foundation of the articles, it somehow manages to provide (that is, its editor insists upon) essays upon a wide range of often unexpected topics [and] critical yet generous letters of comment

Tommyworld
Tommy Ferguson; <http://tommyworld.net>; 85125 Haypark Ave; Belfast BT7 3FG; Northern Ireland, U.K. F11, Nameless News Jun 2021; F 14, Gazette Sep 2021; F18, G Jan 2022

In just four pages [T 84, May 2021] the heartfelt tributes to [Paul] Campbell [1949-2021] bring him to life vividly and touchingly.  If you care about fan history, and you should, you will enjoy….  This [T 87] is normally a two-pager; it says much for its loyal audience that the lettercol issue this time around needs four pages, and could easily have been four pages longer still (seven letters; eleven WAHFs)….  the whole lettercol is so energetic that…. this is a publication well worth investigating….  Ferguson … revealed that he “has a tattoo of Lenin on his person” (he didn’t say where)….  Chatty, pleasant, and very fannish: if you’re a fan of fannishness, pluck this one

Vanamonde
John Hertz; 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409; Los Angeles, CA 90057
F14, G Sep 2021; F19, G Feb 2022; F25, G Sep 2022

a … cabinet of wonders, with Hertz as the cheerful proprietor….  a terse but informative account of the high points….  one of the most efficient writers in fandom….  Hertz is … aware of context, and takes … pleasure in making … connections….  genial, amusing, and educational….  ranges over topics fannish and mundane, usually several per issue, in his urbane and often witty prose

Requiescat in pace.


Singing “Johnny, we hardly knew you” about Justin is due to Jerry Kaufman. Corflu = mimeograph correction fluid, once indispensable; First Fandom = those active at least as early as 1936, or maybe the 1st World Science Fiction Convention (1939), also a club in their honor founded 1953; fillos = fill-in illustrations (or other drawings), lettercol = letter column, Mnstf = Minnesota Science Fiction Society, stf (pronounced “stef”) from Hugo Gernsback’s word “scientifiction”; sercon = serious and constructive (sometimes a compliment), Stipple-Apa, an amateur press ass’n of Minneapolis & St. Paul; WAHF = we also heard from (correspondents whose letters weren’t printed)

Rolling Toast to Honor Greg Bear

By Astrid Bear: This weekend there will be a Rolling Toast to honor Greg Bear. This is a tradition that began in the Gunroom of HMS Surprise, a group that Astrid Bear is a member of.  Many of whose members have met and care about Greg and Astrid.

The Rolling Toast emulates a rolling broadside from the Age of Sail warfare. We each “fire” our toasts as the clock reaches the appointed hour. Thus the toast rolls around the world for 25 hours. Astrid and Greg’s family will have the option to end the toast with another toast on the 25th hour of the rolling toast.

The Toast will begin with Astrid at 4:21 PM Pacific Coast (USA) Time on Saturday the 26th, as the sun goes down. All those in that time zone are invited to raise a glass and toast Greg at that time. As that hour reaches each of us in the following time zone we will join the rolling toast, by raising our own glasses to honor Greg.

Since the toast will cross the international dateline, those on the other side of that line will pick up the toast on Sunday the 27th at 4:21 PM. The toast rolls towards the west from the Seattle area starting point, so most folks in the US will pick it up on Sunday.

This toast is to honor Greg and can be anything that you wish, alcoholic or not. It is very much the spirit (not the spirits) that count.

Feel free to post here with a note about the beverage of your choice.

Greg Bear (1951-2022)

Greg Bear

Five-time Nebula winner Greg Bear died November 19, a week after heart surgery from which he never awoke. A CT scan showed stroke damage was caused to many parts of the brain by clots that had been hiding in a false lumen of the anterior artery to the brain ever since an earlier surgery eight years ago. After a review of the possible outcomes by the medical team, and following the wishes expressed in his advance directive, Bear was taken off life support and died two hours later.

The author of over 50 books, Bear’s novels won Nebulas for Moving Mars (1995) and Darwin’s Radio. Three other works of short fiction won Nebulas, and two of those – “Blood Music” (1984) and “Tangents” (1987) — also won the Hugo.

Bear’s writing was very successful in translation, too. He twice won Japan’s Seiun Award, as well as the Ignotus Award (Spain), and Prix Apollo (France). Altogether his works have been translated into 19 languages.

Bear sold his first short story, “Destroyers”, to Famous Science Fiction at age 15, and along with high-school friends helped found San Diego Comic-Con.

He also published work as an artist at the beginning of his career, including illustrations for an early version of the Star Trek Concordance, and covers for Galaxy and F&SF. He was a founding member of the Association of Science Fiction Artists. He even created the cover for his novel, Psychlone, a 1988 reprint from Tor.

In 1983 he married Astrid Anderson. They have two children, Chloe born in 1986, and Alexandra, born in 1990.

He was a guest of honor at the 2001 Worldcon, Millennium Philcon.

He served as President of SFWA from 1988 to 1990.

A resident of the Pacific Northwest, he was eligible for and won the first Endeavour Award in 1999 for Dinosaur Summer – and won it again the following year for Darwin’s Radio.

Bear participated in Sigma, a kind of think tank where science fiction writers share insights about the future with agencies laying real-world plans, twice making national news as one of the group’s representatives to Department of Homeland Security conferences.

Bear’s career honors include San Diego Comic-Con’s Inkpot Award (1984), the Robert A. Heinlein Award (2006) presented by the Heinlein Society, and the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society’s Forry Award (2017).

Martin Morse Wooster (1957-2022)

Martin Morse Wooster died Saturday night, November 12. He had been attending an ale conference in Williamsburg, Virginia and was walking along the highway from the convention venue back to the hotel where he was staying when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. A local news station says police are asking for help in identifying the driver.

Martin’s sister, Ann Wooster, notified a member of Potomac River Science Fiction Society (PRSFS), a group he co-founded. Kyle McAbee released it to their mailing list. That is all the information presently known.

Martin has been a daily contributor to File 770 for years, and I will sorely miss him.

Martin Morse Wooster

Remembering a Man of Light

Ray Nelson, Frank Lunney, & Robert Lichtman, ConFrancisco, 1993; photo by Jeff Schalles

By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 1508): Robert Lichtman (1942-2022) left for After-Fandom on the day I came home from Westercon LXXIV. May his memory be for a blessing.

He missed his 80th birthday by two months. He hadn’t been to many Westercons recently, either, although he was Fan Guest of Honor at Westercon LV — whose ringmaster, Bruce Pelz, had died two months earlier. He was at Westercon XXXIV; so was Pete Stampfel, who’d played with the Fugs and the Holy Modal Rounders (and later married Betsy Wollheim); people kept telling Lichtman how much they liked the Fugs or the Rounders, so he cut his hair.

Now that he can take no more part in affairs of this world, I can offend his modesty — ow! what was that?? — by telling you his name meant illuminator.

Cover by Harry Bell for TD 16

He was a shining star of fanwriting. His letters of comment won eight FAAn (Fannish Activity Achievement) Awards. His loved and acclaimed — not always the same, alas — fanzine Trap Door won five. In the 2020 FAAn Awards he won Lifetime Achievement.

He wrote one of the Nat’l Fantasy Fan Federation’s seven fandbooks (fan + handbook; pointers from veterans for newcomers), The Amateur Press Associations in Science-Fiction Fandom. He edited a collection Ah! Sweet Laney! (F.T. Laney, famous for Ah! Sweet Idiocy!); another, of Walt Willis’ “Fanorama” columns from Nebula; a fanthology Some of the Best from “Quandry” (Lee Hoffman’s loved and acclaimed fanzine); and Fanthology 92Fanthology ’93,Fanthology 1994. He got Jack Speer’s 1939 history Up to Now onto <efanzines.com>.

He was Secretary-Treasurer of FAPA (Fantasy Am. Press Ass’n, our oldest, founded 1937) from 1986 until his death, no small achievement; if I hadn’t just called him a shining star, enough to make him a pillar. David Bratman said, “As sometime Vice President of FAPA, and as emergency editor after Official Editor Seth Goldberg died in 1997, I … found Robert Lichtman as Secretary-Treasurer an absolute rock of reliability.”

His SAPSzine (Spectator Am. Press Society, acronym deliberate; our second oldest) was Door Knob. His FAPAzine was King Biscuit Time. He had others there and elsewhere.

He was elected the 1989 TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) delegate.

He found us in 1958 through Bob Bloch’s fanzine review column in Imagination. By then he was living in Southern California. That year he published his first fanzine, called (what else?) PSI-PHI, co-edited with Arv Underman. He joined the LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Soc., oldest SF club in the world; pronounced as if rhyming with a Spanglish “más fuss”), to which, wherever he is now, he still belongs, since Death will not release you. Later he moved to the San Francisco Bay area; to the Farm, a 1,700-acre commune in Tennessee; to San Francisco Bay again; he married twice, by his first wife four sons, Carol Carr his second as he was hers.

I don’t know the fate of his fanzine collection. I hope it was directed soundly. The tragedy of Harry Warner’s arrangements I learned of too late. Bruce Pelz disposed of his collection while he was alive. Jay Kay Klein’s photographs I believe are safe.

Although the moment seems much longer ago — time flies when you’re having fun — and of course time flies like an arrow — fruit flies like a banana — Pogo fans know about timing gnats (see I Go Pogo no. 20, 1960) — Trap Door 23 has my reminiscence “I Thought I Had a Pumpkin Bomb”. Not counting that, it’s a good issue. The electronic may see it here. Earlier TD reprinted (Trap Door 18) from Van 232 my appreciation of Bill Rotsler, another giant, with Bashō’s poem “A cicada shell / it sang itself / entirely away.”


Westercon, the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, on the N. Amer. continent west of the 104th W. Meridian or in Hawaii.  Originally faan was a pejorative form of fan; the extra a, or more of them e.g. faaan, denoted excess; enough of this lingered in 1975, when Moshe Feder and Arnie Katz started the F Awards, that the name showed a self-depreciation thought suitable; the Awards were given 1975-1980, then 1994 to date; since their revival they have been associated with the annual fanziners’ con Corflu (corflu = mimeograph correction fluid, once indispensable). Release, a decades-old LASFS catch-phrase; the electronic may see here. Worldcon, the World Science Fiction Convention.

Ellen Caswell (1953-2022)

Ellen Vartanoff (left), Bob Burrows, and Ellen Caswell (right) at a Christmas party in 2008. Photo taken by Bill Hussar.

By Martin Morse Wooster: Ellen Caswell, a long-time member of the Potomac River Science Fiction Society (PRSFS) and Knossos, the Washington chapter of the Mythopoeic Society, died on October 16 of cancer.

Ellen grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in linguistics.  She worked with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for many years as an editor and graphic designer.

She was an avid reader not just of sf, but also mysteries and other genres.  She once read 18 Harlequin romances in two days while staying in a Boston hotel room during a snowstorm. She also read the last page of any novel first and if the ending satisfied her, she would then read the rest of the book.

Some examples of her tastes came from the books she picked for Knossos, which has a monthly book discussion.  The last five authors she picked as selections were novels. by Rosemary Kirstein, Garth Nix, Katherine Eliska Kimbriel, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Diane Duane.  It is because of her that I read Bujold’s Paladin of Souls and discovered that the book was an entertaining historical fantasy novel in the tradition of Rafael Sabatini.

Some examples of her writing come from the club newsletter, which she edited from 1986-1988. PRSFS, in its 45-year history, has prided itself on never collecting dues, and one recurring gag is for one member to say, “I vote to raise the dues” and members come up with increasingly facetious multiples of zero.  “For any who may be coming to the club for the first time,” Ellen wrote, “don’t worry, only a few people have been bankrupted by the dues.”

In another newsletter, Ellen wrote about “New Works in the Prissyfish Library.”  For Jean Dunnington, who worked in the Folger Shakespeare Library and liked to knit, Ellen came up with Shakespearean Crochet.  Another member who liked cats and Jewish culture was presented as the author of Yiddish Cat Tales.  Two other members who had recently moved were the joint authors of Surviving Torture:  A Guide to Moving Incredible Numbers of Books.

Ellen spent a few years as a caregiver or her parents and had enough money from the inheritance to rent a small old house which we used for several pleasant meetings.  She was an active officer of the local community association until her death.  She also kept up membership in her two clubs, including more than one meeting where the Zoom connection was made from a hospital bed.

In personality, Ellen was very calm.  She certainly let you know what she thought but she never tried to dominate a conversation.  She always had plenty to say—and she always kept reading.

A Living Time Machine: Bob Madle

Rich Lynch and Bob Madle in 2008.

By Rich Lynch: There have been many times, during my nearly 50 years in science fandom, that I have wondered what it must have been like to been a member of the very earliest fan organizations.  To have attended the very earliest science fiction conventions including the first Worldcon.  To have been friends with famous fans and pros when they were young men and women.  What would it have been like to have been a part of the forefront of fandom back then?  What would it have been like?

I was fortunate to have had a friend who had done all of those things and more.  Whenever I met or corresponded with him, whenever I sat in on a convention panel where he was a participant, whenever I read from some of his many fan publications that described previous eras of fandom, it was like I was in the presence of a living time machine.  His name was Bob Madle.

I had known of Bob even before my first days in fandom back in the mid‑1970s.  But it was my great misfortune not to have met him in person until shortly after I had moved to Maryland in 1988.  By then I had taken a strong interest in what had happened in earlier eras of fandom and this had manifested into me becoming co-editor, along with my wife Nicki, of a fanzine (Mimosa) whose very reason for existence was the need to preserve bits of fan history, especially from the First Fandom ‘dinosaur’ era, that were then only fragilely kept in the memories of some of the older fans.  After our relocation to Maryland it seemed almost too good to be true that one of the most prominent fans of all lived just a short distance away.

I don’t have strong memories of my first meeting with Bob except that he was warm and welcoming when I showed up at his front door one afternoon.  He took me down into his basement to see all the science fiction books and magazines that he had for sale in his mail order business, and I do have a strong memory of that.  It was awesome. It was like a miniature version of the Area 51 warehouse where the Lost Ark of the Covenant ended up, except that there were stacks of books instead of wooden crates. I must have looked dumbstruck because when I looked over at Bob he had a big grin on his face.

It was only a bit more than two years after arriving in Maryland that I had taken on a big fanhistory project as editor of Harry Warner’s 1950s fanhistory book A Wealth of Fable, and Bob was an invaluable resource who I called upon frequently.  He was everything from a fact checker to a provider of photographs for the book to a source of anecdotes and stories about fandom of the `50s.  I didn’t actually need the latter since it was Harry’s manuscript, but it allowed me to plant the seed that he really ought to preserve these tales, either in print or on tape.  And eventually he did.

It was at the 1998 Worldcon, held in relatively nearby Baltimore, that I finally got the opportunity to do a taped interview with Bob.  It was unfortunately not very well attended and held in a room where there were distractions going on outside, but it still resulted in a transcript which was published in two parts in Mimosa.  In the first part Bob described his personal odyssey, starting with his discovery of science fiction from futuristic pulp magazine covers in the early 1930s, to the first-ever science fiction convention in 1936, to the beginnings of the Worldcons, through the war years of the 1940s, to the first Philadelphia Worldcon in 1947.  In the second, he brought the narrative into the 1950s where the he was involved in the invention of the Hugo Awards, the origination of First Fandom, a very contentious Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund election, and even a less-than-successful attempt to bring fandom to another part of the country.  Wonderful stuff.

Come the new millennium, my contacts with Bob became fewer and fewer with the passage of time.  We still crossed paths every so often, but usually it was for only relatively brief instances.  The last time I visited him at his home was in 2008, and it turned out to be a memorable encounter because it was the only time that I ever had my picture taken with him.  I remember that we had an extended chat about fan history and, more specifically, the 1939 Worldcon.  And I also remember that I wished it could have gone on a lot longer than it did.

Bob was 102 when he died, and we’re all wishing he could have gone on a lot longer than it did.  It was a life well-lived, filled with many memorable events that he participated in.  I feel honored that I was his friend and that he shared many of those events with descriptions vivid enough that I could almost believe I was there.  So I’ll end this remembrance by paraphrasing Dr. Seuss: “Don’t be sad that it’s over, smile because it happened.”  I’m sad, but all my pleasant memories of Bob are making me smile.  I think he’d have liked that.