Dave Rike (1935-2014)

Dave Rike (R) and F.M. Busby (L) in 1958.

Dave Rike (L) and F.M. Busby (R) in 1958.


Dave Rike, who did his share to create the “wealth of fable” which inspired the title of Warner’s history of 1950s fandom, has passed away. A note from his son, Darius, in the latest newsletter of First Fandom reports Rike died November 1, 2014.

Dave co-edited the original issue of Innuendo with Terry Carr in 1956, a fanzine best remembered today for publishing the writing of “Carl Brandon”, a hoax who described himself as a fan of color but whose identity was created by several fanwriters to address issues of race within the science fiction community. Those who wrote under the name Carl Brandon included Carr, Bob Stewart, Ron Ellik, Pete Graham, Miriam Carr, Karen Anderson and Rike.

He had a hand in The Incompleat Burbee, an important collection first published in 1958 as Charles Burbee’s birthday present. Pete Graham, Terry Carr, Ron Ellik and Rike produced the 96-page volume containing 45 of Burbee’s best fanzine pieces.

And after cartoonist Ray Nelson invented the iconic fan wearing a beanie, Rike was one of the fanartists who helped popularize the image, along with Bjo Trimble, Lee Hoffman and ATom.

bheer can towerDave also was among the Bay Area fans responsible for the mythic Bheer Can Tower to the Moon (with Terry Carr and Bob Stewart), whose history he retraced for Mimosa #15. The Tower legend cast a figurative shadow over fandom for decades, and many a fannish room party has piled up a Tower of its own. Two examples: The first I ever saw was at the 1978 Westercon. rich brown, Dr. Gafia, noted in his fannish lexicon another at a room party during the 1992 Worldcon. I’m positive the Tower was part of the reason Randy Bathurst sculpted a beanie-weaing bheer can cranking a mimeo for the original FAAn Awards.

Dave, a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay area, enjoyed reading and according to Darius, “lived his life surrounded by books.”

He was active in politics and his left-leaning views were sufficiently well-known that a writer for Science Fiction Five-Yearly knew readers would appreciate his ironic contrast about someone standing out “like Dave Rike at a meeting of the John Birch Society.”

Wobbly cover by RikeHe lent his talents as a fanartist to promote the Industrial Workers of the World, creating the cover of Wobbly #2 (1962), illustrating what it would look like if an alien’s first contact on earth was with IWW members. The caption: “Leader? WHAT leader?”

That social conscience may be one reason Rike was on the distribution for Bill Donaho’s Great Breen Boondoggle or All Berkeley Fandom Is Plunged Into War (1963, which listed those being sent a copy).

Given his political activity, and bearing in mind the 1950s were the height of the Cold War, it is interesting that Dave was not deterred from applying for a position that required an investigation by Army Intelligence. Chaos spread throughout fandom as they did their background check, as Harry Warner Jr. explains in A Wealth of Fable:

They did such a thorough job on Rike that they visited a number of fans, some of whom knew Dave in only the most minimal fashion. One investigator was in a terrible tizzy over is inability to understand why so many fanzines which he inspected contained little or nothing about science fiction. Then he found a copy of Taurasi’s sercon Science Fiction Times, which seemed to quiet him. The membership rosters of The Cult and FAPA fell into the maw of the investigative machinery. This caused some individuals in those organizations to fear the most alarming sorts of consequences, none of which occurred.

Dave was a longtime subscriber to File 770. His mail was always identifiable because he liked to write notes in the margins of recycled subscription cards, and send them in the preaddressed envelopes that came with junk mail, his exaggerated large script in the white space making sure the postal service delivered it all to the right destination.

He was more than a witness to legendary times — he helped make the memories.

[Thanks to Robert Lichtman for the story.]

Update 03/06/2015: Corrected year of death in the headline.

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11 thoughts on “Dave Rike (1935-2014)

  1. I met him at E Corflu Vitus, where he told me some tales, but I wish I’d known more of these fables before I had that conversation. Sorry to hear of his passing.

  2. Thanks Rich. The typing fingers seem to have been disconnected from my brain when I wrote that.

  3. “Those who wrote under the name Carl Brandon included Carr, Bob Stewart, Ron Ellik, Pete Graham, Miriam Carr, Karen Anderson and Rike.” To the best of my knowledge, neither Miriam nor Karen contributed to the Brandon writings. They are not included in the list of those who did in Terry’s 1982 revelatory essay in Jeanne Gomoll’s oneshot publication of “Cacher of the Rye.” Where did you glean this?

  4. Their names were part of the list in an article at http://zinewiki.com/Innuendo. I have found the info on that site to be of good quality in the past so I accepted their list although I don’t know what their source was.

  5. Thanks for naming the source. I’m familiar with Zinewiki and have found their listings to be a mixed bag. Someone calling himself “Invisible Friend” is behind a lot of their entries for “our” fandom, and he doesn’t always get it right. Also being an editor there, I’ve gone in and corrected the article (which had other important errors as well).

  6. I am really shocked to hear of his death. Glad he’s gotten his due for his fanac, he was a jiant to me when I moved to the Bay Area.

  7. I visited Dave’s house in Crockett just shortly before Denvention 3 to borrow a mimeo light box for the production of a fanzine at con called MEOW. Frank Wu drew the art for the zine on the box and I still have it. I’m going to donate it and a copy of MEOW to the TAFF auction.

    Oh, and Dave was not the best of housekeepers. The trip to his house is a tale all its own.

  8. Considering that he used to send me his subscription renewals on recycled junk mail, I figured he was trying to dispose of his trash the way Harry Harrison described in Bill The Galactic Hero — post it off to the colonies. Of course those characters had the government free franking privilege. Dave had to pay for his own stamps.

  9. Glenn Glazer wrote: “Oh, and Dave was not the best of housekeepers. The trip to his house is a tale all its own.”

    Indeed so!

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