Sally A. Syrjala (1948-2010)

Sally A. Syrjala

Sally A. Syrjala

I learned today via Arthur D. Hlavaty that fanzine fan Sally A. Syrjala passed away in 2010 at the age of 61 after a lengthy illness. Some fans were aware (one signed her memorial page) but this may not be generally known.

Sally was especially active in the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F), co-editing its publication Tightbeam in 1986-1987 and serving as President in 2008-2009. Her valuable service to the N3F was recognized early with the Kaymar Award in 1983, given for work for the benefit of the club and its members.

She subscribed to File 770 for years and wrote many letters of comment, from which I learned she also was an early Star Wars enthusiast – “Once upon a time I wrote paragraphs on Vader’s transformation and transcendence from the Garden of Eden’s death sentence bestowed from the eating of the Tree of Knowledge” – and kept up an interest in zines that discussed The Empire Strikes Back although she was not pleased with the end of the original trilogy — “the coldness in Return of the Jedi made my interest in SW wane” — and she asserted having no interesting in seeing The Phantom Menace when the second trilogy came out.

Sally belonged to LASFAPA and many other apas over the years.

Her public obituary notes that she was high school valedictorian. She held degrees in accounting, and during her career worked at the Christ Church in Harwich Port, Independence House, Health Education Associates, and Art Waves.

Sally was a member of The First Lutheran Church in West Barnstable. Her many volunteer activities included: Treasurer of Green Cape, Chair of the Friends of Cape Cod Museum of Art, and Secretary of West Barnstable Historical Society. She also was a past trustee of the Massachusetts Archeological Society.

She was predeceased by her husband Edward and sister Helen. She is survived by two other siblings, Victor and Nancy, and their families.

Update 03/13/2015: Corrected memorial tribute link.

DetCon 1 Names Guests

DetCon 1, the 2014 NASFiC in Detroit, will be held July 17 to 20.

The Guests of Honor will be author Steven Barnes, artist John Picacio, multi-talented fans/academics/pros Bernadette Bosky, Arthur D. Hlavaty and Kevin J. Maroney, scientist Helen Greiner, filkers Bill and Brenda Sutton, plus ConChairs Emeritus Roger Sims & Fred Prophet (chairs of the 1959 Worldcon, Detention).

Memberships are $55 adult $25 child $35 supporting through end of 2013. Voters who pre-supported automatically get attending memberships.

[Via Kevin Standlee.]

Nice Distinctions #17

Arthur Hlavaty carries on Nice Distinctions #17 in the witty, intelligent tone that you go to fannish parties hoping to find. But parties are hit-and-miss affairs, while Hlavaty never disappoints.

Hlavaty is a skilled practitioner of “idea-tripping,” Tom Digby’s term for applying rigorous Campbellian logic to twist an idea in a fannishly amusing direction. Short examples are often the best, like this one in issue #17:

That would be a weird job: texting copy-editor. “Spell out ‘you’ again and u r fired.”

Always interesting are Hlavaty’s verbal snapshots of the annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. He communicates contagious enjoyment of everything from scholarly insights to new juxtapositions of quirky ideas. He even shares my fascination with Philip K. Dick’s posthumous literary ascent. (Though he’s unlikely to share my feeling that this is the mundane world’s revenge on sf writers who took an optimistic view of the future.)

Hlavaty also makes many brief comments or entertaining connections from the political news of the day. I haven’t found it necessary to dwell in Hlavaty’s end of the political spectrum to enjoy his mind-stretching wordplay: I expect those who do will find it all the more delicious.

To read Nice Distinctions #17, click on the link and open the PDF file on