New Mexico Author Victor Milàn Dies

Victor Milàn

By Craig W. Chrissinger: Victor Milàn, New Mexico science fiction and fantasy author, died late afternoon February 13, 2018, at the Lovelace Westside Hospital in Albuquerque, NM, from complications of pneumonia, brought on by multiple myeloma cancer, close friend Patricia Rogers has announced. He was 63 years old.

Born August 3, 1954, in Tulsa, OK, Victor Woodward Milàn was known for his libertarian-oriented science fiction and an interest in cybernetics. In 1986, he received the Prometheus Award for early novel, The Cybernetic Samurai. Most recently, he produced three novels in the “Dinosaur Lords” series, with The Dinosaur Princess (book 3) released August 2017.

George R. R. Martin described Milàn’s “Dinosaur” novels as “like a cross between ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Game of Thrones.'”

Milàn is a founding member of the “Wild Cards” shared-world superhero series (edited by Martin, assisted by Melinda Snodgrass). He will have a story in Texas Hold ‘Em, the 26th “Wild Cards” mosaic novel, to be released October 2018; and a short “Wild Cards” story, “EverNight”, is available February 14 on

His science fiction/fantasy career began with the first three books in the “War of Powers” fantasy sequence, all published in 1980 and co-written with Albuquerque author Robert E. Vardeman. The first book in the series was The Sundered Realm. A second trilogy was ordered by Playboy Press, and sixth book, Demon of the Dark Ones was published in 1982. One of Milàn’s earliest stories was “Soldatenmangel” for Dragons of Darkness, a 1981 anthology edited by Orson Scott Card.

Other novels include Runespear in 1987, co-written with Snodgrass; The Cybernetic Shogun, sequel novel, in 1990; solo “Wild Cards” novel, Turn of the Cards in 1993; Star Trek: From the Depths in 1993; CLD: Collective Landing Detachment in 1995; Battletech: Black Dragon in 1996; and Mechwarrior: Flight of the Falcon in 2004.

Milàn told the Albuquerque News in 1979 that his writing career began with the co-authoring of a cheapie novel at the age of 20. That same year, western novel The Night Riders, set in 1883 New Mexico, was published under the pen name Keith Jarrod.

He also wrote several action/adventure and near-future works under pseudonyms: James Axler for several Deathlands and Outlanders books, Richard Austin for The Guardians series, Robert Baron for the Stormrider trilogy, S. L. Hunter for two Donovan Steele books, and Alex Archer for many books in the Rogue Angel series. All in all, he had almost 100 novels and numerous short stories published.

Milàn also was a member of the Critical Mass writers group, a peer-to-peer group of New Mexico writers that he once asserted is a massive help in critiquing and helping each other grow as writers. And in 1979 he served as editor of the bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Before turning to writing full-time, Milàn also worked as a cowboy, a computer support technician, a semi-pro actor, and a night DJ for KRST, at that time an Albuquerque progressive-rock station. He graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 1972, and went to Yale University on a scholarship as well as the University of New Mexico. He was a National Merit finalist his senior year, president of the school’s community council, and active in the Academy’s drama club. As an eighth grader, he won The Albuquerque Tribune Spelling Bee, and represented the newspaper at the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

He enjoyed reading, birding, playing games, cycling, firearms, spending time with friends, and taking walks in Albuquerque’s North Valley. He also enjoyed serving as Master of Ceremonies for St. Louis’ Archon Masquerade and Albuquerque’s Bubonicon Costume Contest.

A celebration of his life will be held at Bubonicon 50 this August in Albuquerque.

He is survived by many friends and writers in the science fiction community.

— Craig W. Chrissinger


Patricia Rogers writes that she was with Vic when he passed, and posted this to Facebook —

Hi All,

I have very sad news.

Friend and wonderful author Victor Milán, passed at 430pm this afternoon of Myeloma complicated by pneumonia.

I was with him holding his hand. Spent the afternoon telling him how much he was loved.

It was a gentle passing.

Pixel Scroll 2/13/18 Contents Of The Pixels May Have Scrolled During Flight

Editor’s note: A lean Scroll because I’m on the road overseeing my mother’s care and the motel wi-fi is deadly slow!

(1) DUANE AND MORWOOD APPEAL. Diane Duane and Peter Morwood have run into a financial shortfall, and are in danger of losing their house. Diane tweets about it, and points to an ebook sale:

Their ebookstore is

Duane details the background on her blog: “A Difficult Appeal” and concludes —

…What’s most infuriating (and mortifying) about all this is that if what’s happening now was instead happening in six or eight weeks, it’d be less of an issue, as Peter’s entire (newly revised) backlist will be coming online in paperback format at Amazon. But it’s happening now, and the truth is that without assistance, we won’t make it to the spring—not and keep our home. So, swallowing our corporate pride, it’s time to turn to the larger community and ask for help.

(2) FUNDRAISER FOR A BIG HEART FAN. Big Heart winner Samanda Jeude needs financial help – Marcia Kelly Illingworth explains —

Due to the recent passing of Don Dea Cook, and Samanda Jeude now in residence in a Canton nursing home, there will be a number of sales and auctions of their vast collection of books, art, and collectibles, with all proceeds going to the continuing care of Samanda.

For those younger fans who may not have known Don and Sam, they were very active in the Science Fiction community for many years.  Don/Dea was the Chair of the Atlanta in 1995 Worldcon Committee.  Samanda was the Founder of Electrical Eggs, which started the move toward access to conventions for people with different physical challenges. She spent the biggest part of her adult life working to help others. Now it’s our time to help her.

Sam has asked my husband Tim Illingworth and myself to coordinate the disposition of their collection. Our plan is to hold auctions at as many conventions as possible, as well as online auctions and fixed price sales. We are awaiting word from this year’s DeepSouthCon, ConCave in Kentucky later this month, where we hope to be able to hold the first auction.  After all, Samanda is a past winner of the Rebel Award.

We welcome any suggestions for venues, and volunteers for assistance.  With careful oversight and management, we should be able to take care of Samanda’s needs. If you have any further questions, please contact me via Messenger or email. This post is public, so please feel free to share it far and wide.  Thank you.

If you, or anyone else, have any questions, or suggestions for venues or methods, please feel free to email me. My email address is no secret.

[email protected]

(3) TOLKIEN EXHIBITION. The “Maker of Middle-Earth” exhibit will be on view at the Weston Library, Oxford from June 1-October 28, 2018.

Journey into Tolkien’s worlds in this once-in-a-generation exhibition…

Wizards, elves, hobbits and creatures: the life and worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien are revealed in this unique exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth explores Tolkien’s legacy, from his genius as an artist, poet, linguist, and author to his academic career and private life….

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth explores Tolkien’s amazing legacy from his genius as an artist, poet, linguist, and author to his academic career and private life. The exhibition takes you on a journey through Tolkien’s famous works, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, displaying an array of draft manuscripts, striking illustrations and maps drawn for his publications. Discover Tolkien’s early abstract paintings from The Book of Ishness, the touching tales he wrote for his children, rare objects that belonged to Tolkien, exclusive fan mail; and private letters.

This once-in-a-generation exhibition runs from 1 June to 28 October 2018 at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

(4) MILÀN OBIT. Victor Milán died February 13 of myeloma complicated by pneumonia announced Patricia Rogers on Facebook.

Mark Lawrence summarized his career on Reddit’s r/Fantasy section:

In 1986 he won the Prometheus Award for his novel Cybernetic Samurai. More recently he wrote the Dinosaur Lords books.

He was a regular contributor to the George Martin’s Wild Cards series and will have one of his Wild Cards short stories on their site tomorrow morning.

(5) RAPP OBIT. Tom Rapp (1947-2018). Joel Zakem writes —

I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite musicians, singer and songwriter Tom Rapp from the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 11. While I can only recall two songs that have SFF connections, I believe both are based on favorites of yours.

First, from their second album, “Balaclava” (!968) this adoption of some of Tolkien’s most famous lines (extra credit for knowing the meaning of the album title):


And this Bradbury-based number from 1970’s “The Use Of Ashes”.


(6) I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. Rose Eveleth, in the podcast Flash Forward, has an episode called “You’ve Got  Brainmail” where she interviews author Ramez Naam, sf scholar Roger Luckhurst, and the etiquette columnist of the Boston Globe about such questions as the history of telepathy, whether brain to brain interfaces are possible, and what happens when your first wedding invitation is sent telepathically.

(7) MORE 1976 WORLDCON VIDEO. The FANAC Fan History Project has posted another video from the Video Archeology project, “Fifty Amazing, Astounding, Wonderful Years, a talk by James Gunn.”

MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Kansas City in 1976. It was also the 50th anniversary of the first science fiction magazine. In this video, Professor Gunn talks about the impact of the magazines on science fiction and the creation of fandom. There’s also an entertaining description of the responses of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne to each other, a brief account of how to create a science fiction writer, and a sense of what the field was like in the early days, all delivered with charming wit. This essay later appeared in Gunn’s “Inside Science Fiction”, published by Scarecrow Press. (1992). The material is brought to you by the FANAC Fan History Project, with video from the Video Archeology project.


(8) RESEARCH ALREADY DONE. I didn’t think this was news. In fact, I’m sure crusading journalist (and frequent blockee) Jon Del Arroz has written about it quite often, in the process convincing people it’s the right choice.

(9) NOT MAXWELL’S SILVER HAMMER. Marvel’s Thor will tee up a new hammer in the next Avengers movie:

Thor Ragnarok had Chris Hemsworth lose his trusty hammer, Mjolnir, but the God of Thunder will get a NEW one in Avengers Infinity War and we have our first look! Jessica has the reveal (WITH SPOILERS) on today’s Nerdist News!


[Thanks to Marica Illingworth, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Joel Zakem, Rose Embolism, Danny Sichel, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

Pat Rogers Visits Ray Bradbury’s Old Neighborhood


On the quiet tree-lined streets of Cheviot Hills in Los Angeles there is the new house being built on Ray Bradbury’s old lot.

In November, Pat Rogers made a pilgrimage to see what the new owner is doing. She wrote, “The owner said he bought in that area because he liked the quaint charm of the neighborhood. Which is now a little less quaint and charming. He also just had the last tree over the sidewalk cut down. Sigh. So it goes.”

John King Tarpinian’s photos of the Bradbury house being torn down went viral in January 2015.

Interior A RESIZE


Bradbury house


The property had been acquired by Thom Mayne – a famous LA architect — and his wife, Blythe Alison-Mayne. They discussed the plans for their new house with a KCRW reporter a week after the teardown.

DnA: What are you planning to build? On the blogosphere one of the terms that’s being thrown around is McMansion.

BM: That is so, so wrong. It’s the exact opposite of a McMansion.

We are building this really, really modest house. Most of it is landscaping.

It’s really interesting because the ground is being excavated and the house is going down below the level of the ground, a lot of it, not all of it. We come up only four feet from the ground level.

TM: If you look at the maximum envelope which everybody’s building, we are we are building only 20 percent of the volume that we are allowed to build so it’s actually an anti, a super-anti-McMansion.

We are attacking that issue because I see this very much as a prototype for a California house. I’m aware of the Case Study program; I studied with Pierre Koenig and I see this as the next generation of a Case Study for a residential environment in California and it has do with scale, it it has to do with landscape, it has no air conditioning, it has to do with climate, it has to do with lifestyle. The main room is exterior, it’s an outside room and we’ve learned that because that’s how we live in our house currently.

Blythe also said, “There is a wall that we will design that will be seen from the outside of the house and all of the titles of his books will be embedded in this wall.”

How does it look right now?

Pat Rogers said, “If I put aside my bias about Ray’s house being torn down and take it as interesting architecture (the metallic looking walls may be adapted solar panels) — I would still have a problem with it in this neighborhood. Maybe if it was located out in the desert near Palm Springs or on Mars, it would be OK.”


Pat's shadow points to where the last tree used to be.

Pat’s shadow points to where the last tree used to be.

Ruth Speer Update

Patricia Rogers gave Andrew Porter an update on Ruth Speer, and the preservation of the late Jack Speer’s science fiction stuff:

Ruth Speer is doing well. She has moved into a lovely apartment in an adult living complex. Her room is decorated with several SF paintings and lots of photos of Jack. I took her to Bubonicon (our local SF con) last year and spent time with her on both her birthday and Christmas eve. The Speer home is up for sale and the family has had many garage sales to finish clearing everything out. Last March I packed up the last of 60 large legal size boxes of Jack’s SF papers and sent them out to ENMU (Eastern New Mexico University, home of the Jack Williamson Special SF Collection). It was good timing as they had just expanded the space for the Special Collections and had room to take it all. Even included several mimeograph machines and typewriters.

Patricia will be going out in April for the Williamson Lectureship and may have more news then.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story, and Patricia Rogers’ permission to run it.]

SF in LA: Patricia Rogers’ Photo Album

You can pack a lot of stfnal adventure into a week in LA if you time it right. Patricia Rogers picked the last week of April and set some kind of record – and she has picture to prove it.

Here are some photos from my whirlwind trip to LA which was pretty much all SF all the time. Harlan, Nebulas, Eaton Conference, book stores, LA Festival of Books, and best of all (time) – Ray Bradbury invited me over his house! Gosh I love him! Thought y’all would enjoy seeing them. 

Patricia Rogers even stopped to help clean up fire debris at Len Wein and Christine Valada’s house. Afterward, looking at the photo of her smudged face she wondered, “Maybe I should have worn a mask – Huh?!” 

New File 770 Issue
Posted at eFanzines

Cover of File 770 #154Now find File 770 #154 at

A cover collaboration by Brianna Spacekat Wu with Frank Wu adorns the issue. The news inside is complemented by Taral’s article about La Dolce Vita of being a fanartist. My Denvention 3 report is matched with Chris Garcia’s autobiographical explanation about “How to Present a Hugo.” John Hertz’ Westercon Notebook covering the con in Las Vegas, is followed with con reports by Martin Morse Wooster, James Bacon and Francis Hamit, and the collected Adventures in Speerology from Patricia Rogers.

Adventures in Speerology #3

Patricia Rogers has been writing some wonderful posts about helping Ruth Speer sort through Jack’s fan stuff. Patricia sent me the newest installment on July 22, and I’m finally catching up. She’s attending the San Diego Comic-Con as I write. Here is her third installment of Adventures in Speerology:

Jack Speer was a very lucky man. I am just home from spending another wonderful afternoon with the charming Ruth. Now here is a woman who just lost her life companion, best friend, and beloved husband of 57 years. Yet even in her time of grieving she is the perfect hostess: full of life, quick to laugh, and exuding the very essence of joie de vivre. A pearl of great price.

We laughed so often in the 3½ hours I was there that even though I am exhausted from running a zillion errands today, Ruth’s laughter has energized me… Shouldn’t I be giving her my energy? Well, maybe it is mutual.

I told her of all your good wishes and comments on what I have written describing our forays into Jack’s ziggurat. I also gave her hard copies of Speerology 1 & 2 to read. Now I am the anxious student waiting to find out if I will get a passing grade on my term paper. I gave her veto power on anything I have written before it is committed to paper and asked her to please let me know if I have gotten anything – I used the word “wrong,” her more ladylike take was “interpreted incorrectly.”

Let me jump back to last night. While washing, packing, cleaning, and doing a myriad of other chores that needed doing in my home before I leave for San Diego early Wednesday, I would occasionally take a few moments out and sift though Jack’s 1938 envelope of photos. Some of these photos are very small – postage-stamp size. Ruth says that Jack enjoyed developing and printing them himself, which explains why there are multiple copies of some photos. The pictures are so small that after a while I found myself wandering back to my library/office in search of a loupe so I might better make out what was in them. One tiny landscape needed no magnifying glass to identify, though it did take my brain a moment to register what I was seeing; with a childlike smile I realized that here was a teensy-tinesy Munchkin-sized photo of the Emerald City. Dorothy and friends have just turned the last corner on the Yellow Brick Road and a breathtaking Emerald City looms before them. The first thing I thought was: “Oh look – Jack took a photo of The Wizard of Oz on the TV. All the problems with this statement quickly occurred to me and just as fast I remembered that the movie came out in 1939 and he must have been seeing it in a theater during its opening run. So I pictured our 19-year-old Jack seeing The Wizard of Oz for the first time and being so in awe of the futuristic design of the Emerald City that right then and there in the dark theater he pulled out his camera and took a photo of the screen. You can even see the outline of other moviegoers’ heads in the foreground. I feel like I know and like him all the better now because of this postage stamp image.

Another image also looked familiar, but took me a few more moments of thought to figure out with its strange spires, angles and shadows. Finally it hit me: here was a photo from a World of Tomorrow, the General Motors “Futurama” ride from the 1939 World’s Fair – Jack must have snapped the photo from the chair moving past the models. WOW! So now we have a photo from the time and place of the World Con in 1939! There must be more! There are some photos of individuals standing on what appears to be New York City street corners. Also, there are shots of lots of young men surrounded by paper and books. Maybe just maybe we are on the right track. Really, I will scan these for you when I get back… I promise. There will be prizes for anyone that can identify anybody in the photos… But remember these images are so very small!

I kidded with Ruth that here we have Jack taking photos of everything from The Wizard of Oz to the World’s Fair – surely there have to be World Con photos!!!! Unless Jack filed them separately… Always a possibility.

Speaking of filing: Ruth and I chatted for a long time and I mentioned Curt’s idea of taking documentary photos so we headed off to Jack’s office. I got down at the level of his chair and started snapping pictures of Jack’s office as he would have seen it every day. Ruth laughed and said “Wait, he would not have this (mundane) business paper out,” and we quickly got out his last mailing of Synapse. (Which by-the-way, Robert – Jack had opened and made a file for but had not started to work on yet. Ruth says he never worked on anything until the last possible moment.) I also started taking documentary photos of the myriad of filing cabinets.

After taking several dozen photos we headed to the garage and on the way I grabbed a few shots of the front hall and living room which are, in the words of my mother, “Company Ready.” Not a SF zine in sight. Oh, and I did ask Ruth to pose for a photo. She said, “But I’m not a Science Fiction Fan.” I came right back and said, “But you are a fan of Jack’s!” She laughed and with a soft smile said I had her there and she sat down for the camera.

Once we got to the garage I went right over to the wonderful pulp magazine area and I started opening a few envelopes to place the pulps out for aesthetic picture purposes. Of course the ones I picked up were completely different than those I had seen the other day. All I wanted to do was stop right then and there and open each and every one! But with great determination and strength of will I wrenched myself free after talking only a few photos.

Ruth and I went over to a wall of small file drawers (index card size). We started opening them to peruse the treasures inside – then the laughing started in earnest! Look, this drawer is full of old wallets, and this one is filled with old broken belts, broken eyeglasses in another… Have I mentioned that Jack never threw anything away? I liked the one full of SF pins, badges and name tags. There is more – like the one full of plastic coffee cups from the late 1960s, but also in there was what I am sure is a Bakelite red and black marbled holder that once held shaving cream circa 1910-1930. So like every good dig, there may be a mountain of oyster shells in your midden, but if you keep looking you may just find a perfect spear point.

We took lots and lots of photos amidst our laughter. I said I had better get some shots of the attic and Ruth asked for the camera so she could take photos of me on the way up. I started to climb and Ruth, standing below me with camera in hand, kept saying – “Just go up one more rung, OK, one more, well, maybe one more so they see your head going up into the dark.” I envisioned the classic Grand Canyon scenario: “No, really, Honey – just step back one more step.” I took some photos in the attic too and of the garage from that angle.

We dug around for a while longer in drawer after drawer of bill statements that had been paid 25 years past and ancient Christmas holiday giveaways in a festive card – small plastic devices that you could press into you checks like a notary seal that would protect your writing from fraud. There were a bunch of these from some fifty years back. I said to Ruth – “Well, now you are all set for next Christmas.”

To escape the heat of the garage we took a cool respite in the lovely green backyard which is complete with fountain and recently-added gazebo. Camera in hand I headed over to the shed to document the plethora of boxes housed there and some of the oh-so-water-damaged files.

Finally we went back into the living room and had another long chat and made a date for next Tuesday July 29 when I am back from Comic Con.

Ruth said during our afternoon conversations that – “Jack tied to squeeze every last bit out of life.” Not a bad thing to emulate… I am sure going to try to do the same.


Adventures in Speerology #2

Patricia Rogers reports her latest foray into the collections of Jack Speer: 

Wow – Y’all are going to get tired of me using the word “Amazing” while I sift through Jack Speer’s life in collecting, but if you were with me you too would find that “Amazing” really is the word that keeps coming to mind. I am glad I have y’all to share these stories with because I am busting to talk about it when I get home and I don’t want to forget even the smallest detail.

I didn’t get over to the Speer home today until close to 5 p.m. It is monsoon season here and around 4 p.m. the skies opened up with a heavy deluge of rain and hail, all accompanied by a spectacular show of lightning. The storm had just let up when I arrived at Jack and Ruth’s but the street in front of their house was still channeling a deep stream of rushing water. Ruth met me at the door and commented how their front porch rarely got wet yet here it is covered with several large pools.

The storm had cooled the afternoon so we headed right out to the garage to check out Roy Tackett’s papers. But… On the way to the back of the garage we were grabbed by a large tentacled arm and pulled over to a shelf of Pulps. Now I know a lot of you have collected early SF pulps for many a year. I have long read the authors in them but not collected the pulps themselves. Not even handled many of them as most of the Pulp Cons are in areas of the country that I have never lived near and rarely visited. So here Ruth and I are standing in a dusty corner of a dimly lit garage and one by one Ruth would take an envelope off the shelf, open it, pull out a rare gem cut like a magazine, read the title and date for me, then gently handed me the pulp to look at. Here are a few of the titles she recited to me… Amazing Stories – August 1928; Wonder Stories Quarterly – Winter 1932; Science Wonder Quarterly – Fall 1929; Amazing Stories – October 1927; Wonder Stories – March 1933; Science Fiction Plus – run of all of 1953; Wonder Stories Quarterly – Fall 1931; Amazing Stories – October 1930; Vargo Statten – January 1954; Amazing Stories – April 1926 and September 1926; Amazing Stories – May 1932; Terry and the Pirates comics 1950’s; Science Fiction – October 1939; Fantastic Novels – March 1948; Fantastic Adventures – September 1952. Also, in an old cigar box there were lots of Buck Rogers comic strips clipped from their original newspapers.

Sure – I have seen pulp art in collections of SF art and on-line and I love the images but there is something magically different about seeing them on the original magazines. Maybe it is the old printing techniques, maybe the size of the image, maybe just the wonderful quality of the art itself but I was completely mesmerized. I could have looked at them for hours and wanted to study each painting to see every nuance like on the cover of Science Fiction Quarterly – Fall 1929… Wow – These guys in the plump space suits are tethered to an incredibly cool rocket but the rocket is obviously moving because it has a full thrust flame…. etc…etc. So now I get IT – why y’all collect these fragile old magazines. As of this afternoon in Jack Speer’s garage, I truly understand.

The issues I mention here are all in surprisingly good shape, some even in excellent tight clean condition. Others on the shelf had lost covers or been though a flood. But – and you need to remember this – Jack never threw anything away. Ruth said she would occasionally try to throw something away like an old broken lawnmower but Jack would get home just in time to stop this silliness and would lug the lawnmower up to the attic and out of harm’s way. I was up in the attic this evening and just the thought of getting a lawnmower up there fills me with respect for Jack’s determination.

While we were enjoying the pulps Ruth shared more gold nugget stories about Jack. When looking at one sadly water damaged magazine she said, “This must have been in one of the Oklahoma floods.” I said, “There were more floods?” Ruth: “Yes, when Jack was growing up his father did not approve of him reading SF so Jack hid his pulps in the barn and there were occasional floods. The funny thing is that it was Jack’s father who introduced Jack to Science Fiction. He felt to be well-rounded you needed to read and learn something about everything. The trouble was that Jack was really struck from the start by Science Fiction and his father only wanted him to sample it for educational purposes.” Jack father was a lifetime military man and Ruth said Jack respected and adored him. His father’s love of knowledge and learning was forever a part of Jack’s life too. Ruth said Jack loved being a boy scout while growing up and loved learning about nature. He also loved digging in the creek – something his father also preferred Jack not do but that did not deter the young Jack from his creek explorations.

Jack’s love of learning kept him going to every science talk he could get too his whole life, right up to the end. He always wanted to learn something new and even when they traveled Jack never wanted to take the same path twice. He wanted to find new ways to get there so he might have a new learning experience along the way.

One more note on floods. When the great basement floods happened (mentioned in the first chapter) Ruth said “You should have seen the backyard.” Jack filled every inch of their back yard with wet fanzines and pulps to try and sun dry them. He would even walk up and down turning the pages of individual magazines to try and help them dry out. Poor guy – I know how I would feel if my prized books were in a flood. Looking through some of the water-damaged fanzines today I noted that mimeograph ink just turns into illegible lines with dark blue halos when drenched.

Remember Roy Tackett’s stuff? We had started out to look at that – well, not quite there yet, next a detour up to the attic. While looking at the pulps I noticed a skinny metal ladder extending up into a dark opening in the ceiling. Who can pass up the allure of that! I asked Ruth if I could climb up and she smiled and said, “Sure – Just be careful.” So up I went. First I plugged in an elaborate set of power cords to hopefully bring a little light to the darkness above. Hey, I’ve read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft – I know what waits in dark attics.

From what Ruth had said about all the stuff Jack had been depositing up there I expected a large finished attic with a floor. Wrong. There are open beams to be tightrope- walked/crawled on with the always-present threat of falling one way or another through the ceiling into the garage below. A few loose boards and old table tops have been placed between some of the beams to help as wobbly stepping stones. Now you think all this would slow me down. Wrong again. My degree is in Anthropology and I did lots of Archeology field work in college. There is nothing I love more than exploring dangerous difficult places while looking for hidden treasure. And from the looks of it this attic fits all those criteria. Even with the couple of power cords only one flashlight-sized bulb worked and I tugged at the cord to try and get the light to reveal the far corners of the attic. There were boxes here and there, hubcaps, an old leather 1940’s briefcase and then a later 1970’s hard-sided one close by. Way in the back were large bicycle wire rims more like something from a bike in the 1920’s. About 8 feet away from me was a small bookcase with what looked like Fantasy Press size books on it but I just could not see well enough to tell. OK – I have to climb over there… slowly. Sigh. They were just 1970’s SF paperbacks which had vinyl covers to disguise their true appearance. At the other end of the attic was a box that looked to be full of art but I just could not see what was in it from my distance. I tried to figure out a way to get over there but decided it was going to have to wait for another day with better clothing and more preparation. I did not even open any of the boxes so there are still lots of mysteries to be explored up there.

OK, Really – now to look at Roy‘s stuff. There are 4 or 5 stacks of file cabinet boxes and each stack is over 6 feet high, all full of fanzines. We just glanced at them but everything seemed to be in good shape and well organized. I will move those out of the garage soon and look though them more thoroughly.

Ruth and I headed into the kitchen and noted the time to be almost 7 p.m. and Ruth said she was going to make us some dinner. She suggested since it was nice and cool that I check out the outbuilding in the backyard again and maybe I could find some of the papers she is looking for. Ruth and her children have been working very hard the last few weeks to find all the legal papers they need for the estate but as she has smiled and said to me on several occasions, “All we keep finding is Science Fiction papers.”

In a serious talk I asked Ruth if she or her children or grandchildren wanted to keep any of the fanzines or fandom papers? Ruth smiled and said no, that her children have come to the point that they have enough stuff in their lives and didn’t need to collect anymore. Hummm… Have enough stuff??? “Don’t need to collect any more???” I wonder if I will ever grasp this concept. No. Probably not.

In the early evening light I headed out to the shed. Inside there are many boxes neatly lined up, with pathways through them. I checked out a number of drawers and found lots of old video tapes, some games and toys, and lots of fanzines – even some in the boxes marked FAPA. Then I started looking though a box that was marked TBF (To Be Filed, I assume). Not very far in I saw a carbon copy of a letter written by Jack on July 28, 1983. It caught my eye right way because in the first line it mentions The Futurians, Harry Warner’s books and the Immortal Storm but it was the last paragraph that really blew me away. Of all the thousands of letters everywhere around me that I should find this one…Well, maybe Jack is still directing things.

Toward the end of the letter Jack is talking about the task of dealing with the life, works, and possessions of his parents’ estate. Jack wrote: “…discarding much, sorting some into categories particular to one of them, their ancestors… …and keeping some papers and things for such use as I can make of them… But it is melancholy how much meaning has been lost.”

And the last paragraph in this letter Jack wrote:

“Perhaps because I expect to live forever, I haven’t felt your quiet panic to rush things onto stencil, but I do feel bad about projects languishing, such as my promised printing of the balance of Swisher’s time-travel thesis, and the decimal index of old prozine stories. I think it was May Wollstonecraft Godwin’s husband, who died at thirty, who wrote “When I have fears that I shall cease to be Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain…” (He didn’t reach a very profound conclusion.) I suppose it’s better to die before than to keep writing after one has run out of ideas.

“Fen may come and fen may go, but stf goes on forever. Jack”

I will leave you with Jack’s words.