Posted by: kshayes513 | December 8, 2008

Goodbye, Forry

A couple of years ago at San Diego ComicCon, I took an hour from the long lines, the cheering fan crowds, the booming studio presentations on huge screens to packed halls, to sit in a quiet room and listen to three old men reminiscing. They might have been three old guys sitting on a park bench talking about the lost days of boyhood.

Except that the three were Forrest J Ackerman, Ray Harryhausen, and Ray Bradbury, and the youth they recalled was the early days of science fiction fandom: the pulp magazines, the first conventions, the beginnings of the stop action animated monsters. These guys were the masters of stories that I devoured, and movies that either delighted or terrified me when I was little. And for that one hour, their conversation was better than a time machine. With only their words, and the interplay of their anecdotes, without so much as a photograph, they took their small audience on a trip to Los Angeles in the early and mid 20th century, when their careers, and fandom, were just beginning.

Forry, Ray Harryhausen, moderator Arnold Kunert, Ray Bradbury (no idea who the guy on far left is)

From right: Forry, Ray Harryhausen, moderator Arnold Kunert, Ray Bradbury (no idea who the guy on far left is)

Forry Ackerman at SD ComicCon 2006 (a different panel but a better portrait)

Forry Ackerman at SD ComicCon 2006 (a different panel but a better portrait)

(Thanks to Patricia Rogers for these photos. Still having trouble posting images from URL’s, so here’s the link to the source, her ComicCon 2006 gallery on Flickr)

Forrest Ackerman passed away on Saturday at the wizardly age of 92.  For many fans, he was the godfather of science fiction, especially in its myriad pop culture incarnations. I owe him a special debt because he mentored Ray Bradbury, whose stories were my introduction to science fiction literature at the age of 12. And of course, for that trip through time.

Here’s a fine obituary on Time.com:

Sci-Fi’s No. 1 Fanboy

And another from Associated Press

Sci-Fi’s Grand Old Man

The world may seem a little smaller without Forry in it, still I find it hard to feel terribly sad. He had a wonderful, enviable life, and seems to have relished every moment. And because of him, the world of science fiction and fantasy is certainly much wider and shinier than it might have been.

Good-bye, Forry, and safe journey!

Updated Wednesday 12/9:
I knew I’d find a good fannish tribute a nanonsecond after I posted this entry. Here’s Sci Fi Wire’s farewell:

25 Things We Miss About Uncle Forry

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Responses

  1. If you like this post about Forrest Ackerman, here’s a link to my post about the passing of the second man in that SDCC trio: Ray Bradbury. They’re riding their rocket ships together in some higher plane now.
    https://worldbuildingrules.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/ray-bradbury-mage-of-wonders/


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