Saturday, June 29, 2013

16: SciFi is Not for Sissies; Westercon 66: A Skeptic Comes Home

E Hoffman Price with SASSAFRASS shirt

“The solicitude of Linda’s voice, the seductiveness of her perfume, her very presence as they sat in the artificial twilight of the Domes of Venus, tempted him to abandon his plan to sail at once for Terra, venture among the savage Terrestrians, and get possession of that enormous ruby they called the Fire of Skanderbek.”  E Hoffman Price, “Exile From Venus”, Planet Stories, May 1951

On the occasion of SASSAFRASS’ fifth anniversary, Happy Jack designed a commemorative t-shirt.  Across the top were the words “Outlaw Fandom”.  Below that was the yin/yang circle with SASSAFRASS scrolled across the middle.  A vertical sword blade was visible behind these images, with a line on the blade, representing the “fuller”, or groove down the center of the blade (sometimes called a “blood groove”).  To the right of the blade’s tip was a foaming beer mug with the number one, representing the Society’s victory over LASFS at the 1975 Westercon’s beer drinking smackdown.  To the left of the blade’s tip was the Ozzie “axion”, a symbol representing their 1978 science fiction punk rock opera. 

Berlin 1990: Cindy "Princess Violetta" Rushkin

Three members of Outlaw Fandom were in Ozzie (named after the big band leader/’50s sit com star, NOT the heavy metal dude), and though the band was not a “sci fi” band, many of its songs had sci fi subject matter, including its biggest hit, “Android Love”.  As part of radio station KZAP’s 10 Anniversary, Ozzie took these tunes, wrote a half dozen more, and bundled it all together for Berlin 1990: “The world was crumbling into ruin.  The terrorist nuclear device that obliterated the first and last of the deep-space habitats was the match igniting the overpopulated and impoverished Earth to flame…In all the black and bloody world there was but one small place that did not stink of the corruption of death…Behind The Wall lay the last city of the world.”

Planet Stories: Exile From Venus 
Outlaw Fandom found a fellow traveler in pulp writer E Hoffman Price, who was generous with recollections of his exploits with friend HP Lovecraft, including their ill-fated, fetid days in New Orleans.  At a con around that time, OF was proud to present Price with a brand new SASSAFRASS shirt, little thinking he would immediately excuse himself and  return shortly thereafter with a drink in his hand and the shirt on his back!  We all toasted the pulps, SASSAFRASS' newest member, and fantastic literature.  RIP, E, seeya down the road, you are the best!

As explained before, because Mira Grant’s Hugo nominee Blackout is the third book in the Newsflesh trilogy, I opted to read the first in that series instead.  I’m over halfway through Feed, which was also a Hugo nominee in 2011.  More on that later.

To Be Continued      

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