Vintage Mimosa

Rich Lynch announces Mimosa #6 has been posted online, “a mere 24 years after its original publication:

There’s a lot of good writing on display, including the second of Sharon Farber’s “Tales of Adventure and Medical Life” series and Harry Warner, Jr.’s amazement about the contents of his late neighbor’s home in “The House on Summit Avenue”. For the fan historian there are two articles: Dave Kyle’s remembrance of the circumstances surrounding “The Great Exclusion Act of 1939” at the very first Worldcon, and a joint article (written as a one-act play) by Roger Sims and Howard Devore about “The Definitive Story of Numbered Fandoms”.

The real star of the issue, though, is Bruno Ogorelec’s “Great Jumping Grandmothers – A Cautionary Tale of Female Emancipation” which offers evidence that being a science fiction fan is heriditary, over several generations. There’s also a meaty letters column, including a long one from Mike Glicksohn (almost an article in itself) and a short note from Robert Bloch.

And besides all this, there’s even an article by me about my experiences in and observations about a small Kentucky place known as “Paradise”.

I think the issue still holds up well, after all these years. I hope you’ll find it an entertaining read.

Lynch Rides Again

Rich Lynch has posted the ninth issue of My Back Pages [PDF file] with another collection of his articles at

This issue covers Rich’s visit to the world’s largest Chinatown. Would you like to guess where that is?

There are also notes about “magnificent cathedrals, unusual wedding strategies, new kinds of metrics, expert craftsmanship, large sports trophies, tardy commuter buses, hotel lobbies, small fanzines, long road trips, un-dark skies, expensive food, cool breezes, spectacular views, scale models, tourist attractions, dangerous places, good beer, and many, many absent friends.”

Hertz: Two Chicon Exhibits

Leo & Diane Dillon Exhibit

Chicon 7 exhibit about Leo and Diane Dillon. Photos by Richard Lynch.

By John Hertz: In May when Leo Dillon died I felt that Chicon VII (officially “Chicon 7” for the Mercury 7 astronauts) really ought to have an exhibit honoring the Dillons’ work, two of our finest illustrators over fifty years.  I found nobody else was yet planning one.  I got valuable advice from Vincent Di Fate and Jane Frank.

Mark Olson had the swell idea of displaying books the Dillons had done.  Alice Massoglia rounded up two dozen decent-quality reading copies – not collectors’ copies, I wanted to let people pick them up and look through them.  A good handful of Harlan Ellison books, issues of Fantasy & Science Fiction with Dillon covers, the Byron Preiss collection, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with their cover and interiors, Ashanti to Zulu which won one of their Caldecotts (and reminded me of my Nigerian drum teacher), Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymous Bosch which they did with their son Lee, the hundredth-anniversary Wizard of Oz, some Lafferty, The Snow Queen, and a host of others reached me in Los Angeles, were sent on to Chicago, and arrived safely.

Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink resplendently with her electronic powers made three banners, one for the top with “Art of Leo and Diane Dillon” and a color photo, one mounted under that and one mounted on the front of the display table with images of every shape and size, some we had physical examples of and James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Shakespeare, Mark Twain.

Richard Lynch took photos so you can see how it looked.  This involved his climbing onto a chair on top of a table muttering “This is stupid, this is stupid” while Nicki across the Exhibit Hall wondered.

Richard also helped me put up the Rotsler Award exhibit and photographed that for you.  My guide through various spacetime problems with it was Randy Smith, as ever a big help.  All three judges, Claire Brialey, Mike Glyer, and I, were at the con, but no more than two of us ever managed to be in the same place.  If we all had, that might have popped Dave McCarty into the 14th Chorp Dimension.

Which reminds me, Dave, what happened to the Jay’s potato chips?

Dillon exhibit.

Dillon exhibit table display.

Rotsler Award exhibit at Chicon 7.

John Hertz.

Classic Mimosa Issue Added to Website

Rich Lynch has unveiled Mimosa 9, the December 1990 issue, in a web-readable format. Despite my frequent use of the superb Mimosa website for fanhistorical research I hadn’t realized that the entire run of the zine has yet to be posted. So I’m happy to see that #9 has been added. All but the first eight issues are now available.

Rich reminds everyone:

As usual there’s plenty of fan history in that issue, including an article by Dave Kyle that provides some background to the fannish phrase “Dave Kyle says you can’t sit here” and a long letter from Alexis Gilliland about 1960s fan publisher Don Miller.  Nicki and I also have a report of our trip “Across Europe on Rail and Plastic” for the 1990 Worldcon, and the issue also contains the great Bob Shaw’s last Serious Scientific Speech “Corn is the Lowest Form of Wheat” and a collection of poems (of many different forms) by Australian fan Dave Luckett.  In addition, the letters column includes correspondence from Harry Warner, Buck Coulson, Terry Jeeves, Mike Glicksohn, rich brown, and Joseph Nicholas, among others, and the covers are by the late Joe Mayhew.

Straw Man on Fire! Dial 911!

“There’s no such thing as science fiction fandom,” Eoghann Irving declared on Solar Flare yesterday. Fans immediately rushed to the site for an explanation of their nonexistence from the new anti-Descartes. Instead, they found that Irving only meant:

It would be more accurate to claim that there’s no such thing as a single unifying science fiction fandom.

There’s not one monolithic fandom? Shock! Horror! What earth-shattering news will he reveal next? (“Today on Solar Flare, Eoghann Irving announced the breakup of the Soviet Union…”)

Irving goes on to observe:

I think there’s a strong case to be made that historically there used to be one.

Nothing controversial there, even Arnie Katz would agree. The question is: When did things change? My answer is, in a nutshell:

By the 1950s, science fiction fans had developed the activities that comprise fandom, such as clubs, conventions and fan publishing. Once the concepts had been proven workable, to use them to organize people around other interests was “just engineering.” It started in earnest when comics fandom spun off in the 1960s, and the real “big bang” happened when Star Trek was syndicated in the early 1970s.

(Richard Lynch has collected some data about this in his outline of 1960s fan history, see chapter 6.)

Surveying the myriad internet communities that each discuss their own slice of the sf or fantasy genre, Irving observed that it’s sometimes disappointing when two people who think of themselves as science fiction fans don’t actually have any common interests:

But the scale of the genre now is such that you really can’t assume that another science fiction fan will like or even be interested in what you are interested in.

While there’s some truth in that warning, it’s not due to “scale” (numbers of participants) or technology, but individual personalities. Just consider the bitter political schism between a couple of small groups in the microscopic fandom of 1939 that led to the exclusion of one faction from the very first World Science Fiction Convention.

In the end, Irving finds himself admitting that people generally don’t have one exclusive interest:

And in most cases online groups haven’t become so specialized that they only discuss one topic and no other science fiction. So I’m overstating my case a little.

After that nothing more needs to be said than, “Welcome to Big Tent fandom on the internet!”

[Via SF Signal.]