Glimpses of the Past

After a long absence Bill Plott has returned to the Southern Fandom Press Alliance, an apa he helped found.

He’s also created a one-shot, The J. T. Oliver Photo Collection, available at eFanzines, from an assortment of photos Plott was given when he visited Oliver in Columbus, Georgia in the 1950s. 

There’s a remarkable photo of Lee Hoffman, looking quite the belle, with J.T. Oliver and Paul Cox. Belle is not a word I’d previously associated with Hoffman. They were all Georgia fans, the two men from Columbus and Hoffman from Savannah.

The album also includes pictures of Bob Tucker in a bow-tie, flashing a suave smile. Ray Bradbury appears sans glasses. And Henry Hasse poses with his dog (a note on the back saying, “The one on the left is me.”) Hasse co-authored Bradbury’s first professional sale.

Plott weaves a narrative around these photos to explain who’s in them and why they mattered to fandom.

And he includes a link to a website about Lee Hoffman maintained by her nephew, Gary Ross Hoffman. Well worth a look. Ever wonder about the spelling of her fanzine title? The answer is there —

I called my fanzine Quandry. Some time earlier, I’d come across a paperback by Robert Benchley titled My Ten Years In A Quandary. I’d had to ask my mother what “quandary” meant. She explained and I liked the idea. But I mispronounced the word. When I titled my fanzine, I spelled it the way I said it. Surprisingly few people pointed out my error but I was embarrassed by the ones who did, and considered correcting the title. However I liked the look of the word “Quandry” and I thought “Quandary” rather ugly. I stuck with what I had.

Tucker Stories Sought

Lee Hoffman, Bob Tucker, with Lee Jacobs at rear, at NYCon 3, the 1967 Worldcon. Photo by and © Andrew Porter

Lee Hoffman, Bob Tucker, with Lee Jacobs at rear, at NYCon 3, the 1967 Worldcon. Photo by and © Andrew Porter

Toni Weisskopf is assembling the raw material for a formal biography of Wilson “Bob” Tucker —

Back in the ’80s I trailed Bob Tucker around from convention to convention with a tape recorder, with an eye to getting his stories down and eventually turning them into a full-length biography. I knew then that I didn’t have the writing chops or life experience to do justice to his story, but still wanted to make sure I had the raw materials.

Time has passed. And I think it’s time this part of fannish history gets recorded before it’s lost. So, in my copious spare time, I’m going to start on the thing for real. And I’d like anyone who has Tucker stories to send them to me.

You can e-mail them to toni (at) baen (dot) com.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Fanwriting Before the Internet

The other day I wrote how happy I was to find a collection of John Bangsund’s fanwriting, and moaned over the superb fan writers who thrived in the age of the mimeograph that have none of their articles online.

I’ve realized since then I oversold the tragic fate of these great fans of the past. They didn’t write blogs, and for the most part their material is unavailable in searchable HTML form, so their work has a low profile. However, a lot of fanzines have been scanned in and posted online. All that needs to be done is to give people a reason to want to read them. The PDF versions may lack the scent and feel of disintegrating Twiltone paper, but is that a bad thing?

Quite a few of Wilson “Bob” Tucker’s fanzines can be accessed. For example, 46 of the 67 paper issues of Le Zombie, and the five issues of e-Zombie are at the Midamericon site. And there are even more on

The Classic Fanzines site has many zines by top fanwriters of the past. The Walt Willis, Chuck Harris, et al, issues of the immortal Hyphen are there, as well as Lee Hoffman’s Quandry, and Terry Carr and Ron Ellik’s BNF of IZ.

Also, an entire area within the site is devoted to The Enchanted Duplicator by Walt Willis and Bob Shaw. The introductory page includes Willis’ revelation that the portions specifically written by Bob Shaw are most of Chapters 5 and 6, part of Chapter 7, and the first paragraph of Chapter 17.

Update 8/1/2008: Removed Bangsund ASFR link, which only leads to a list of issues.