Tell the Truth and Run

By John Hertz:  (reprinted from Vanamonde 1389) Dan Goodman (1943-2020) was active in New York, San Francisco, L.A., and Minneapolis fandom.  In New York he was in FISTFA (Fannish & Insurgent Scientifictional Association; scientifiction the coinage of Hugo Gernsback 1884-1967); FISTFA started APA-F, the first weekly fannish apa, which in 1964 inspired APA-L; APA-F lasted until ’69, we in APA-L are still at it.

When I came to fandom in 1969 he was already here.  Then and since I’ve seldom been able to attend LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Society) meetings; my Lzines (APA-L is the Amateur Press Ass’n – LASFS, though collated only at, not by or for, the club) have been printed and gotten to the Official Collator, then the distribution gotten to me, with assistance.  

For years Dan was my go-between.  If I wasn’t home he slid my disty (John Trimble famously said Anyone who would call a distribution a “disty” would probably call it a “disty-wisty-poo”; naturally we –) under my door; I didn’t have a transom for him to throw it over.  I lived near Alvarado St.; he sometimes called this the Alvarado APA, or STUD (Shoving Things Under Doors).

We talked of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages – and kings. Then and since another of my interests has been the folkdance of southeast Europe; Yugoslavia (as it then was), Bulgaria, Greece.  He joked that his physical condition left him with the balance and coördination of someone who’d had a few beers, or a shot or two of šlivovica (“shlee-vo-vee-tsa”, plum brandy), so he could dance the kolo (Serbian dance idiom; people in a curved line, or you could call it a chain, holding hands, no partners, with individual variation on a basic step; kolo, literally “circle”, or “village”) as well as anybody else.

He gave me a Serbian proverb, Reci pravo pa bež’ (“reh-chee prah-vo pa bezh”, more formally beži “beh-zhee”) – Tell the truth and run – which I took to an ethnographer friend who, knowing the region well, said he’d never heard of it, but it had not only the right spirit but the right linguistic structure.

After a while Dan moved to Minneapolis.  He started, edited, and I believe named the Minn-STF (there’s scientifiction again; more formally the Minneapolis Science Fiction Society) clubzine Einblatt.  He got one SF story published that I know of, “The Oldest Religion” in Tales of the Unanticipated (1988; semiprozine, sometimes “TOTU”, started by Minn-STF, independent since 2003); he was in the fanzine Lofgeornost at least as recently as 2014.

In February of 2020, with his health failing at last, and after he’d been hit by a train – not the only reason I’m glad Van 1389 wasn’t ready in time to be dated April 1st – Minn-STF brought a meeting to him.  He did not live to see the end of March.  Ave atque vale.

The amateur-journalism hobby is credited with inventing the amateur press association, in which, subject to local variations, members print their own zines and get them to a central officer, who collates and distributes them; the first known is NAPA the Nat’l Am. Pr. Ass’n, founded 1876, still active; the first fannish, FAPA the Fantasy Am. Pr. Ass’n, founded 1937, still active; most apas have been monthly, or quarterly: weekly was and remains a shocker, even after the rise of Electronicland.

[Editor’s note: In the fifth paragraph the Latin letter “c” has been substituted for a character which WordPress does not support and persists in turning into a question mark.]

6 thoughts on “Tell the Truth and Run

  1. Disty-wisty-poo, eh? Hmmmm…

    This is a sweet memorial.

    If I’m ever struck by a train, I want to go so quickly I don’t have time to notice I’ve been struck by a train.

  2. FISTFA didn’t start Apa-F; the Fanoclasts did. The hosts of FISTFA, Mike McInerney and rich brown, were also in Fanoclasts, and made it weekly, rather than biweekly, because of the overlap between the two groups. (Fanoclasts was invitational; FISTFA was initially open to all.)

    Apa-F started because Dave Van Arnam published a zine, First Draft, which detailed what he called the Subway Incident, then started making FD weekly, distributing it at meetings. The rest, someone said, is history…

    Apa F lasted for 69 weeks, and I was in every one; I was also in Apa L for a couple of years, air-mailing my zines to Fred Patten, and getting the disty back the same way.

    I’m also, I think, the one who introduced Dan to fandom. But that was more than 50 years ago, and the memory is dim.

  3. John Hertz replies by carrier pigeon:

    Thanks for the corrections, Andy. You were there and I wasn’t.

  4. I went through all my copies of the Apa-F mailings—we called them mailings although they mostly weren’t mailed out to anyone—this morning when I should have still been asleep. I saw how many zines Dan Goodman contributed.

    Time has not been kind to my fanzine collection. Now I have to go in and sweep up all the little bits of paper that fell on the floor when I was looking for the Apa-Fs.

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