Rotsler Award to Ulrika O’Brien

Exhibit of 2022 Rotsler Award winner Ulrika O’Brien’s art at Loscon.

By John Hertz: The Rotsler Award for 2022 has been given to Ulrika O’Brien of Kent, Washington.

The annual Award, begun in 1998 after the death of Bill Rotsler and in his memory, is for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community.  It is decided by a three-judge panel and carries an honorarium of US$300.  Rotsler was, among much else, one of the great fanartists.

O’Brien might be called a triple-threat player among us.  She’s an important fanwriter; she’s published her own fanzine Widening Gyre, and currently co-edits Beam with Nic Farey; she was the 1998 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) delegate, attending, among much else, the 42nd Eastercon (United Kingdom national convention, held annually over Easter weekend) —I guess that and her fanart make her quadruple.

“Fanzine” was coined by Russell Chauvenet in the 1940s for the periodicals by and for fans that are so characteristic of fandom.  We long took for granted that they’d be on paper, although tales mention slices of bologna, or worse; today there are electronic media too, as well as fannish conventions’ fliers, program and souvenir books, and other such companions.

You can see some current fanzines electronically here.  Some, not all, of course — did you expect we’d all march to the same drummer?

O’Brien arrived after the age of the mimeograph stylus and correction fluid.  By then, fanzines were mostly produced with photocopiers; after that, scanners and computer printers.  Lately some fanzines have been able to use color.  O’Brien has done that too.

The Rotsler Award is announced at Loscon, the long-running Los Angeles convention held on the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend.  The Award is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc.  The current judges are Suzanne TompkinsJohn Hertz, and Sue Mason.

Here are some photos of this year’s Rotsler Award exhibit at Loscon XLVIII, showing fanart by O’Brien and by previous winners.

PHOTOS BY KENN BATES.

3 thoughts on “Rotsler Award to Ulrika O’Brien

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Your email address will not be published.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.