Hertz: The Tetrachiliad

By John Hertz: The 4,000th meeting of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society was held on Thursday, April 10, 2014.

Yes, “tetrachiliad” is Greek to me too (so its ch is like chorus). Writing it seemed the fannish thing to do.

The LASFS, my local s-f club, is I’m proud to say the oldest in the world. Most of us rhyme “LASFS” with joss fuss but Len Moffatt always rhymed it with sass mass. May yours live so long. I realize that’s something like “May you live in interesting times.” Ours have been.

From the name you’ll see we as long ago as 1934 were coppering our bets (to use an English Regency expression) with “science fantasy”. Technically science fiction and fantasy are distinct. Practically – well –

I saw Mike Glyer there. But Glyer keeps forgetting where he’s put his pen (see “Twice Times” in A.A. Milne’s Now We Are Six). So here I am.

The meeting hall in our current clubhouse, our third, was crowded. So were the social hall, the computer room, and the library, with members who didn’t care to attend the meeting. Some things never change.

On a table near the door was a display of historical photographs. Among refreshments in the social hall was a box of Cthulhu Peeps. I being among the few to rhyme “Cthulhu” in a limerick took one. It had no – heh heh.

President Eylat Poliner called us to order. Poetic license is part of life. She introduced former president David Gerrold who took the chair. In fact for decades we didn’t have a president, we had a director, but I’m leaving some things out.

We honored current and past officers and directors (either kind) present. Even this clubhouse couldn’t hold all our members, especially because Death Does Not Release You.

I brought greetings from Paul Turner, who’d invented our Building Fund, and from Roger Hill, one of the Cal Tech gang which included Ed Buchman our first president, and Dan Alderson the eponym of the space drive in The Mote in God’s Eye. Turner was in the desert. Hill was in Illinois. Buchman was present. Alderson was in After-Fandom.

June Moffatt having joined in 1947 was the longest-time member in attendance. Heedless of Methuselah’s Children neither Gerrold nor the rest of us put her into the chair.

We heard historical minutes from our first clubhouse, and a Forrest J Ackerman note of the first meeting there. Some things never change.

Jerry Pournelle said when Turner thought up the Building Fund, Pournelle had told him “You’re out of your mind”; Turner answered “Sure I am”; we should also remember Chuck Crayne and Bruce Pelz who made it happen. Up to then Pelz had shown no evidence of his ability to conjure money from stones.

Tom Locke announced the apparent discovery of magnetic monopoles. Larry Niven said Shipstar was out in hardback, showed a copy, and donated it to the library. Gerrold showed a precious hardback of Mote he’d had as a birthday present. He donated it to the library needling Niven and Pournelle to autograph it.

Fred Patten didn’t mention his new book Funny Animals and More. He remains exemplary as a general-interest fan who happened to become a big name in his special interests. So does Lee Gold; we’d read her first-clubhouse minutes. We adjourned to the program, a panel of members who’d joined over the decades.

No one joining in the 1930s was present or admitted it so Charles Lee Jackson II answered for them. June Moffatt spoke for the 40s; Bill Ellern, the 50s; Milt Stevens, the 60s; Glyer, the 70s; Karl Lembke, the 80s; Cathy Beckstead, the 90s; Peter Santell, the 2000s; Mimi Miller, the 10s. Stevens learned of us while reading fan-news columns in the prozines. Santell learned of us while a seminary student but then worked hours that kept him from meetings for twenty years.

In the 50s we rented a room in the Prince Rupert Apartments, which still exist and now charge $480 for what had cost us $40, i.e. about the same.

Through the years we’d maintained our involvement with Westercons, started our local Loscon, and by virtue (look it up) of individual members had much to do with Worldcons, Bouchercons for detective fiction, and Animé L.A. Also collecting, costuming, fanzines, filksinging, gaming, pro writing and illustrating, and things too fierce to mention.

We calculated when our pentachiliad would be and ended “See you there!”

Update 04/16/2014: Corrected to Lee Gold’s first-clubhouse minutes.

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3 thoughts on “Hertz: The Tetrachiliad

  1. I believe Lee Gold’s minutes were from the first meeting in the *first* LASFS-owned clubhouse, the one on Ventura Bl., as they were from 1973.

  2. Congratulations on 4000! Recently I’ve been remembering a pair of two short films LASFS did, “The Genie” (with Fritz Leiber in the title role & Forrie Ackerman as the unlucky wisher) and “Wrai Ballard: the Musquite Kid.” I wonder if there’s any chance LASFS could issue these as a DVD. I would think there’d be some fair number of buyers?

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