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 <fancynic@gmail.com>; O’Brien, 418 Hazel Ave. N., Kent, WA 98030, E-mail <ulrika.obrien@gmail.com>; 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)

4 thoughts on “Justin, We Hardly Knew You

  1. Justin sent me that TraumSpiel CD – interesting, but I’m not an art song fan. I suspect that the label is (or was) his own. Far Journeys included a lot of interesting and idiosyncratic material, and I’ll miss it and Justin’s contributions to fandom. I especially miss the opportunity to someday meet him face to face. I tyhink we would have been friends.

  2. Thank you for listing my birthday, Cat. My co-author on “Pied Piper of Atheism” was Peter Vere. To this day,we’ve never met in person. May I put in a plug for the academic book I co-edited with Paul Kerry? It’s “Light Beyond All Shadow: Religious Experience in Tolkien’s Work” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011)

    Poul Anderson was also a Grand Master and served as President of SFWA.

  3. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: November 27, 2022 - Amazing Stories

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