Fan Guest of Honor John Hertz
When I came to Los Angeles at the end of the 1960s I’d been reading science fiction for years. Although Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, where I’d lived, were bright spots in fandom, I never knew it. Which reminds me, consider telling your friends.
I found myself in fanzining and fannish social life long before I got around to joining the LASFS. LASFS, the L.A. Science Fantasy Society, is the oldest SF club on Earth. Fanzines, our amateur publications by fans, for fans, rarely publish fiction-there are prozines for that-but essays, reviews, comment, anecdote, correspondence, adorned by drawings people send; many SF conventions maintain a Fanzine Lounge. My own fanzine is Vanamonde, named after a creature in Sir Arthur Clarke’s novel The City and the Stars.
What makes a fan is participation. Which reminds me, consider visiting the Volunteers Desk.
After a while I began taking an interest in things I couldn’t do. I listened to the home-made music we call filksinging, named after a 1950s typing error that stuck. I watched the on-stage costume competition at SF cons we call the Masquerade, once a dress-up party, eventually developing its current form. I looked at drawing and painting and sculpture in SF con Art Shows and people’s homes.
At cons these days I’m often a moderator of panel discussions, a judge or Master of Ceremonies in Masquerades, a leader of Art Show tours. I’ve been promoting discussion of SF classics. By now a dozen 1,000-word book notes by me are at Collecting Science Fiction Books <www.collectingsf.com>; some books I note are collectible, some recent. I’m a judge of the Rotsler Award, given annually for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the SF community, see <www.scifiinc.org/rotsler>.
I may be best known for teaching English Regency ballroom dancing. This colorful period, roughly the year 1800, appeals to fannish whimsy. I tried to explain in the fanzine Mimosa, see <www.jophan.org/mimosa/m29/hertz.htm>, which I hope doesn’t have too many fanzine in-jokes. I recommend Georgette Heyer’s historical romances. Jane Austen is one of the great authors.
People will tell you, so I might as well, that I’ve received the Big Heart, SF’s worldwide service award; I’ve had three Hugo nominations as Best Fanwriter; I was elected the DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate to Aussiecon IV, the 2010 World Science Fiction Convention, and sent by a one-time travel fund HANA (Hertz Across to Nippon Alliance) to the 2007 Worldcon. Three collections of my fanwriting have been published, West of the Moon, Dancing and Joking, and On My Sleeve; you can see 1994-2009 samples at <johnhertz.sciencefictionleague.org>. As was said of a more powerful being than I, I’m fond of rum-pots, crack-pots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?