Marty Cantor (1935-2023)

Marty Cantor in the 1980s. Photo by Galen Tripp.

Devoted fanzine fan and longtime LASFS member Marty Cantor died April 29 of cancer. He was 88.

Cantor started reading science fiction when he was 10 but did not find fandom until he was 40, joining the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in May 1975.

Years before discovering fandom Cantor lived in the San Gabriel Valley in Sierra Madre Canyon. He helped save the wash – a natural channel for rain runoff — from being paved over by the Army Corps of Engineers, and was appointed to Sierra Madre’s Downtown Youth Plan committee. I used to tell him the idea of a city where Marty Cantor helped run the government is awesome – of course, this is also the city where outdoor location shots for the Kevin McCarthy Invasion of the Body Snatchers were filmed.

As a brand new LASFSian in the Seventies Marty plunged into club life, writing for its weekly amateur press association, APA-L, eventually serving as its Official Collator. He later helped start a second local apa, LASFAPA, which he ran as official editor (or the title he preferred, “Little Tin God”). Together with Mike Gunderloy he even briefly revived the club’s legendary genzine Shangri-L’Affaires in 1980.

For many years Marty was married to Robbie Bourget (Cantor). As Marty told it, he arrived at Chicon IV, the 1982 Worldcon, “as a 47- year-old, more-or-less confirmed bachelor and left in a lovely emotional turmoil, thoroughly in love.” A few weeks later he proposed and they wed in January 1983. No sooner had Robbie’s name joined his on the masthead of their fanzine Holier Than Thou than they immediately scored three consecutive Best Fanzine Hugo nominations (1984-1986). They also were elected the Down Under Fan Fund delegates to Aussiecon II (1985). Each wrote a DUFF trip report which they published in the format of a kind of Ace double – with Marty’s Duffbury Tales on one side, and Robbie’s Tales of Duffbury on the reverse, a single volume of over 100 pages.

Their marriage ended in divorce around 1998.

Originally, Marty was a tobacconist by trade. He had his own shop for a number of years, then later worked for another tobacco store owner. While that was a way to encounter Hollywood characters and gather colorful anecdotes, it never approached his bizarre experience in 1994 while working as the manager of a U-Haul facility — when he auctioned off an unclaimed locker the winning bidder found several decomposing corpses inside. (Eventually the renter was tracked to Jakarta and arrested for murder.)

In later years he produced the genzine No Award (although I don’t really believe he was opposed to the idea of winning one if offered).

On the conrunning side, he organized Lasfapacon, helped run Corflu 9, and chaired Corflu 34.

Late in life Marty continued to be one of LASFS’ most active members, editing issues of the clubzine De Profundis. He was honored with the club’s Evans-Freehafer Award for service in 2016.

His remains will be cremated, says John Hertz, and there will be a memorial service.

John Hertz, DUFF delegate Clare McDonald-Sims, and Marty Cantor in the LASFS library (2016).

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

16 thoughts on “Marty Cantor (1935-2023)

  1. I knew about his health problems, but thought he was at least temporarily winning that fight. As for “No Award,” Marty’s joke was that if it got nominated for a Hugo (not an impossibility), the zine would benefit from the name when voters would be confused by “No Award” appearing on the ballot twice.

  2. Very sorry to see this news. I was in LASFAPA for years and appreciated his work to keep it going. He was an interesting guy.

  3. Our fannish ranks are thinning so fast now. I am so saddened to hear about Marty. I am just feeling hit in the gut.

  4. A great guy and a good friend. We shared a love of classical music, and I always enjoyed when he shared his enthusiasm of a composition or performer he had just discovered. He came to the rescue with a pile of previously-unpublished Rotsler illos when Loscon 46 wound up without an artist Guest of Honor to supply artwork for membership badges. I’ll miss him, big time.

  5. In December 2000 Marty posted on an email list that he would like to make a PDF edition of his fanzine No Award available on line, but had nowhere to host the files. As I had my own webserver, I offered to host the issues for him, and he took me up on it.

    This seemed like such a good idea that on December 8th 2000 I registered the domain name, then made this offer:

    “I’ve decided to extend this idea, and I can now offer free perpetual webspace on my server to any editors who’d like to make their zines available on line.
    “All that’s needed to participate is your fanzine in electronic form, and the ability to email or FTP the file(s) to me. There’s no restriction on size or format, and I have sufficient space to keep all issues on line indefinitely.”

    The rest is history, and today, almost 23 years later, hosts thousands of issues of hundreds of fanzines. Thanks, Marty!

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this. Marty gave me a job at his tobacco shop when I first moved to LA with my wife and daughter after leaving the army, helping us get on our feet as I started looking for work at the studios.

  7. I’m part of the board game meetup that Marty hosted every Friday. I had the pleasure of playing dozens of games with Marty, who continued backing games on Kickstarter, even though he knew he’d probably never live to play them all. We will miss him like crazy.

  8. So sorry to hear about Marty’s passing. He was one of the first people to introduce me to boardgames and was always eager to teach a new game or play Suburbia or another one of his favorites. He was always fun to be around.

  9. I was introduced to so many new and unique games that I’ve come to love and cherish because of Marty. His philosophy of ensuring new players learned the game thoroughly (meaning at times new players win) is something I now practice when playing a game with new players who aren’t familiar. My favorite quote of is when I was thinking about my next move he would say ‘that’s not in the rules” or “that’s dangerous”. I will always cherish the games we played and the conversations we shared over the years. Rest easy Marty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.