Monday, December 8, 2008

Forrest J. Ackerman, RIP

I wrote to friends that sf and horror fandom (heck, the whole genres, from books to movies to videogames) might not exist as they are now without Forrest J. Ackerman (aka "Uncle Forry"). He really was that influential.

Ackerman passed away last week at the age of 92. I never met the fellow-- which I think puts me in the minority-- but from all accounts he was the best of us ("us" being anyone who enjoys a good story or is excited, even passionate, about their favorite things).

In his home, the "Ackermansion," he amassed a legendary collection of memorabilia (much of which was sold, I'd heard, to cover his growing medical expenses) and published FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, one of the earliest horror-specific entertainment periodicals. He is closely associated with Ray Bradbury, having been an early fan and supporter of the great writer's work.

The passing of a tremendous talent is always cause for sorrow and reflection. But the passing of a man whose enthusiasm, generosity and greatness of spirit made the careers of so many talents possible is, if anything, an even greater loss. Many modern fans may never have heard his name, read his work or realized what role he's played in science fiction-- but there are not many who will be regarded by historians as more vital to the creative fields he so loved and nurtured.


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