Chandler Award Winners
Perry Middlemiss has done virtually everything in the Australian and world science fiction
community, apart from writing his own fiction or creating dazzling costumes. Perry started off
with the Adelaide University Science Fiction Association where he developed his skills in
convention running, fanzine writing and in critical analysis of science fiction and mainstream Australian
literature. He has been a valued contributor to ANZAPA and has recently taken to publishing
two fanzines, in addition to his ANZAPA contributions. With David Grigg he produces a regular
podcast - Two Chairs - the name referring to the fact that both he and David chaired Aussiecons.
It should be called Two and a Half Chairs as, with Rose Mitchell, Perry also co-Chaired Aussiecon Four.
Perry somehow finds the time to preserve old Australian fanzines, scanning them for fan history sites.
Oh and then there was his role as the 1996 Down Under Fan Fund winner. All in all, it’s amazing that
he found the time to accept this well-deserved Chandler Award!
- Marc Ortlieb
Photo by Robyn Mills
Perry Middlemiss 2021
Gillian instituted the popular historical banquets at Conflux. At Aussiecon 4, she was awarded the Best Achievement Ditmar for the Conflux Southern Gothic banquet and produced a related recipe book Five Historical Feasts (Conflux/Eneit Press, 2011). At the 2017 Worldcon in Helsinki, she introduced many con goers to Australian bush tucker. She has been a co-auctioneer and runner for auctions, and has volunteered at many conventions including Conflux, Loncon (where she was GUFF winner), and the 75th Worldcon in Helsinki. She was chosen as a Guest of Honour for Conflux 5, and Liburnicon in Croatia.
Many conventions and fanzines have turned to Gillian for assistance when needing material to complete their publication in a short timeframe. She has also published multiple short stories and novels for which she has been nominated for Ditmars and been listed in the Years best listings by Ellen Datlow and Gardner Dozois. She is the editor of the Baggage anthology (2010) and co-editor of Masques, (2009). She spent four years judging the Aurealis awards. Recently she won the 2020 Best Novel Ditmar award for her book, The Year of the Fruit Cake.
- Danny Oz & James Allen
Photo by Cat Sparks
Gillian Polack first encountered fandom in 1979 at a Melbourne University Science Fiction Association meeting. She has been a Canberra fan since 2002 and was on the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild committee for several years, where she coordinated a team to document CSFG standard operations and how to organise their anthologies. Gillian was on the Conflux committee for seven years, organizing historical banquets, being part of the small team running the Conflux online minicon, and convening/judging the short story competition. She was a co-convenor of Flycon, the first international online SF convention.
Alan Stewart believes he entered fandom in 1979. Since then, he has been continuously involved in a variety of fanac both in Australia and overseas.
Alan joined the Melbourne Science Fiction Club (MSFC) in 1984. He was MSFC Secretary 1985-2002, the Ethel Editor from Oct/Nov 1988 to Sept 1992, and the Public Officer until 2012. This means that he was an officer of the Association for 27 consecutive years, and was made a Life Member in 2004. The position of MSFC Honorary Secretary was unofficially renamed ‘The Alan Stewart’ at the 2002 AGM in recognition of this service.
Alan has served on several major convention committees: Aussiecon 4, Aussiecon Three, Convergence 2, Constantinople, Danse Macabre, Conjunction and Eastercon. In 1996, he was a member of the judging panel for the Aurealis Awards.
Alan was a Board Member of Victorian Science Fiction Conventions, the legal entity for both Aussiecon 3 and 4, from its inception in 1997 to 2012 when the association was wound up. He was Vice President of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation 1990-1994 during which time he was instrumental in creating the A Bertram Chandler Award. He was FFANZ Delegate in 1991 at Forrycon in 1991; and was the 1994 DUFF Delegate, attending Conadian, the 52nd World Science Fiction Convention. He remains active in supporting both FFANZ and DUFF.
Alan has edited fanzines, YTTERBIUM, THYME and THULIUM, and been a member of ANZAPA since 1988. He is also the Australian distributor of Dave Langford’s Ansible. Alan has won multiple Ditmar Awards for Best Fanzine Editor; the William Atheling Jr Award for SF Criticism; and three ASFMAs awards. He was a Hugo Nominee for Best Fanzine in 1999. In 2004, he was recognised internationally when he was awarded a Golden Beanie Award.
Edwina has been an active member of Australian science-fiction fandom: writing, publishing and with her amazing artwork for 40 years.
Edwina was one of the founding members of Astrex, the Star Trek fan club of NSW, and contributed fiction to its fanzine Beyond Antares and other SF zines from the mid 1970s onwards. She was also an active member of The Hitchers Club of Australia (Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy fanclub) from the early 1980s, contributing to the newsletter Australian Playbeing.
Edwina and Karen Auhl (known locally as the Fund Raising Queens) have organised fundraising events for Medtrek 4, Huttcon 90 and two Sydney Worldcon bids. Edwina has been a contributing member of FOLCC (the Friends of Linda Cox Chan) which was an informal group donating monies raised to Diabetes Charities in Australia in memory of Linda Cox Chan, a Sydney-based SF fan. Since 2012, she has run a lucky-dip at Australian SF conventions to raise money for FFANZ. She is a well-known and respected fan huckster, the “Celestial Cobbler”, promoting Australian written and published SF.
Edwina has been organiser/co-organiser of three SF relaxacons: Nowracon, Nelcon, and the highly successful Medtrek Reunion 33 and 1/3rd Reunion. She was secretary for Huttcon 90, and was the treasurer for Comedycon. More recently, Edwina was Guest of Honour at the highly successful Medtrek 6: the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek in Australia.
Edwina was one of the founding members of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM). She has co-edited two anthologies of (mostly Australian) original speculative fiction. With Ted Scribner, she co-edited the revivified version of The Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet. She is the author of three books, and currently works as a freelance editor, having edited several SF books for Peggy Bright Books in Australia and Dragonwell Press in the USA.
Photo by Cat Sparks
The Club he was a member of is the Melbourne Science Fiction Club. While there is some dispute as to when it could be said to have actually started, there is no denying it has been around for a very long time, and Bill is one of the few people graced with a life time membership. The Worldcon was the FIRST World SF convention to be held here in Australia. Just getting it out of America was a feat in itself in those days. The APA? That was the Australian New Zealand APA (ANZAPA), coming up for its 50th birthday and still going strong. The Fanzine? Interstellar Ramjet Scoop, which started in 1969 and did not cease publication until February 2014, when ill health forced him to stop. The literary award? The Norma K Hemming Award at the ASFF. And that’s just some of his ‘ones’. Not everything he does turns to gold, but one could definitely be forgiven for thinking so.
- LynC, 2017
Photo by Geoff Allshorn showing Bill Wright and Bruce Gillespie.
Bill Wright (17 January 1937 - 16 January 2022)
In his time in fandom, Bill Wright has achieved many things. Run a convention • Helped run one Worldcon • Starred in one Fannish film • Was instrumental in founding one Literary discussion group • Was instrumental in founding one Fan Fund • Was instrumental and a major contributor to one incorporated company, set up for the preservation of SF. • Founded one literary award • Won one Fan fund • Was a long time member of one SF Club • Was a founding member of one APA • Until 2013 had published one long-term fanzine.
That’s a long list of ‘ones’, you might think. But let’s actually dissect some of those ‘ones'.
Jocko joined the Hitch-Hikers club in 1982, followed by the Doctor Who Club of Victoria, and then the Melbourne Science Fiction Club (MSFC) in 1983, back when it was still atop Space Age Books. When Space Age closed down in 1985, Jocko found MSFC its follow-up 'permanent' location, where it stayed for 27 years. He was MSFC librarian for long periods in the 1990s and beyond, as well as serving as kitchen-hand for many years. He has organised many and varied activities. He also received a Green Putty Award for Vogon poetry. In 2009 MSFC recognised his long service to the club by making him a life member.
Jocko and Ian Gunn produced all manner of fanzines and costumes. In 1984, Jocko wrote his first issue of Kalien, which he still produces to this day. With his friends, he has produced a large number of memorable fanzines over the years, including Get Stuffed, which won a Ditmar Award. Jocko and Phil Wlodarczyk created many fanzines for Anzapa, the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association.
James was part of the committee that ran Huttcon in 1990, a media Natcon. He was also a involved with Constantinople in 1994, the first ever joint Media/Lit Natcon. Jocko was on the committee and/or programme of virtually every Victorian SF Convention from the late 80’s through to the 1999 Worldcon.
- Danny Oz, March 2016
Photo by Helena Binns showing Merv Binns with Jocko.
James 'Jocko' Allen
Jocko’s love of science fiction was kick started by the British Marvel reprints of his childhood, episodes of Space Patrol, and H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. He joined his first fan club (The Monster Club) at school in Grade 4, 1966 - sharing a love of Lost in Space, and horror film host Deadly Ernest.
She’s probably better known Australia-wide for her con-running. She ended up chairing the inaugural Conflux in 2004 and was involved with Aussiecon 4, which re-awakened her love of con-running. In 2013 she was the co-chair with yours truly of Conflux 9, the second Conflux Natcon. Behind the scenes from 2012-2014, she was the Conflux bookkeeper and worked hundreds of hours getting the books and paperwork in order. Conflux exists in no small part because of Donna.
In 2005, Donna created ‘Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview’, which was a complete snapshot of the profession in Australia at that moment, including interviews with most writers, examples of the artwork being produced, and introducing newcomers. The company she formed to produce this then went on to publish works by Karen Sutcliffe and Robbie Matthews. She was treasurer of the ACT Writer’s Centre for two years, was a slush reader for Angry Robot during their first open call for manuscripts in 2011 and in 2013 was an Aurealis Awards judge.
Throughout all this, Donna was also chasing her own passion – writing. Under her pen name Dani Kristoff, she publishes paranormal romance.
— Nicole Murphy, March 2015
Photo by Cat Sparks
Donna Maree Hanson
The Canberra SF scene would be a vastly different place right now if not for Donna Hanson.
She started her involvement in 2001 when she joined the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG) and the following year, she was part of the committee for the Canberra SF Con. Within a couple of years, she was basically running both entities. In 2006 CSFG was incorporated– an action mostly inspired by the realisation we needed to take the load off Donna. She was the inaugural president and then acted as vice president for a number of years. The CSFG today is a vibrant, active writing community.
Danny was born in 1968. Early on, he was Danny Heap, but many years later (in 2003) he decided to change his name to Danny Danger Oz (yes, Danger really is his middle name).
Danny came to love science fiction, fantasy and horror stories as a child, joining the Doctor Who Club of Victoria in the early 1980s. He joined the Melbourne Science Fiction Club at age 14 in 1982 and has been a member ever since, starting the fund-raising trivia quiz nights on the first Friday of each month.
Danny co-edited the Get Stuffed fanzine with James ‘Jocko’ Allen, under the pseudonym ‘Jacob Blake’. In 1989, Danny drove across Australia to his first Swancon. There, he was presented with the ‘Best Fanzine’ Ditmar Award, for his fanzine Get Stuffed. He has subsequently edited and co-edited fanzines, and co-written essays for anthologies.
Danny has made enormous contributions to the Western Australian science fiction community. He has been to most Swancons, since 1989, also attending other Western Australian SF conventions such as GenghisCons. In 1994, he was Fan Guest of Honour at Swancon 19; and in 2000, he won the ‘Best Fan Production’ Ditmar Award at Swancon 25 for producing the Opening Ceremony video for Aussiecon 3 the previous year. In 2008, he received a Silver Swan Award for contributions to Western Australian SF.
In 1989, he co-chaired Conjunction 1, and Conjunction 3 in 1992. In 2003, Danny founded the annual Continuum convention (chairing both Continuum 1 and Continuum 2) and, in 2004, established the Continuum Foundation Incorporated (ConFound) not only to run Continuum conventions but also to provide ongoing training of convention committee members. Subsequent convention activity has included being Australian Guest of Honour at Swancon 31 (2006); and winner of a Ditmar Award for Best Fan Writer (2007).
— James ‘Jocko’ Allen, June 2014
Photo by Cat Sparks
Russell B Farr
Russell B. Farr’s affair with publishing began in 1996 when he was a 23 year old punk rock loving kid from Narrogin in the wheat belt of Western Australia, full of wild enthusiasm and lacking solid clues. He picked up the telephone number of the late Steven Utley, a titan of American short form fiction. Despite the huge cost of overseas calls in those days, he phoned Utley with a proposal to publish a collection of his short stories in Australia. As it turned out, Steven had just had a collection deal fall through, so he was happy to talk. The rest is history.
Other publications followed. Here was an eager young fan, willing to put in the hard research yards, with the chutzpah to make a publishing deal to realise something he wanted. He was willing to put up money to achieve publication, and put in more hard yards to distribute the finished items into readers’ hands.
During Swancon 22, at which he was joint chair, his new Ticonderoga press published anthologies of all the Guests of Honour, Howard Waldrop, Steven Dedman and Sean Williams. Our boy wonder quickly became a publishing impresario.
The world of print was changing and Ticonderoga changed with it. Russell took his efforts online. In 1999 he established ticon4, Australia’s longest running semiprofessional science fiction webzine. As editor of Ticonderoga, Russell has overseen publication of landmark story collections by such major Australian writers as Simon Brown, Stephen Dedman, Terry Dowling, Angela Slatter and Kaaron Warren; as well as the aforementioned anthology of best selling American author Steven Utley’s short fiction. Print and Online forms of Ticonderoga Books coexist in healthy symbiosis.
Russell’s partnership with Liz Grzyb deserves mention, as they both channel their genre enthusiasm into Ticonderoga Books.
— Grant Stone, April 2013
Photo by Cat Sparks
Richard was born in England and migrated to Australia in 1970 when he was offered a scholarship to do his PhD in the theory of language.
He went on to lecture at the University of Wollongong for ten years, and in 1983 had the perspicacity to marry the beautiful Aileen. He claims to have had a record twenty-five year writer’s block. Well, I think we can safely say he’s over it.
Richard is the author of the “Edden and Vail” series (The Dark Edge, Taken by Force, Hidden From View); the “Heaven and Earth” trilogy (Ferren and the Angel, Ferren and the White Doctor, Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven); the “Wolf Kingdom” young adult series; the cult gothic The Vicar of Morgan Vale; The Black Crusade; and the quintessential steampunk novels Worldshaker and Liberator.
And this doesn’t even come close to covering Richard’s oeuvre! It might also be noted that Richard has won five Aurealis Awards, including the coveted Golden Aurealis Award.
May he go from strength to strength…and award to award! Thus we congratulate our very own maestro of the written, and the spoken, word – Richard Harland.
– Jack Dann, Windhover Farm, Victoria, 26 April 2012
Photo by Cat Sparks
Paul published Void from 1975 to 1977, providing a venue for new authors, encouraging established authors to begin writing again, and even reprinting works by overseas authors. In 1978 the magazine morphed into the Worlds anthology series, in which original Australian science fiction was showcased beside some early works of Australian fantasy. Paul had a particular interest in fantasy, and was the first to spot it as a strong, emerging field.
In 1981, Paul and Rowena Cory formed the publishing venture Cory and Collins. After fourteen books were published, he returned to his own writing, supporting himself with a second-hand books and records shop. Paul's commercial success with fiction was such that he had to sell his shop because he was losing money by not writing full time.
In 1999 he edited The Encyclopedia of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy for Melbourne University Press (MUP), which won the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review. In 2001, he won the inaugural Peter McNamara Award for lifetime achievement in SF.
Children’s and Young Adult literature has remained his main area of interest since the mid-1990s, with a staggering 140 adult and young adult books published, and a similar number of short stories. Two of his books, The Dog King and Home Run were named as Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council awards, and his co-edited series Spinouts Bronze won the Aurealis Convenors’ Award.
Paul continues to be a major force in Australia’s genre literature.
– Sean McMullen, 9 February 2011
Photo by Cat Sparks
Paul Collins decided to support his writing career by publishing a science fiction magazine. The magazine actually broke even – a near-miraculous achievement for its time, and typical of Paul’s future work, because he showed Australians how to transform science fiction and fantasy publishing from a labour of love to a viable business proposition.
This launched Damien’s international literary career. He has long been at the forefront of Australian science fiction – even since moving to San Antonio, Texas, where he’s been based for several years now. He’s won numerous awards, including his first of several Ditmar Awards for The Dreaming Dragons (1980) (this book was also runner-up, to Gregory Benford’s Timescape, for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award). During the 1980s, Damien completed a PhD from Deakin University, with a doctoral dissertation on the semiotics of literary and scientific discourses, paying particular attention to science fiction. Thereafter, he emerged as a major commentator on the implications of advanced technology, and on the complex boundaries and relationships between literature and science.
Damien’s novels and stories can be enjoyed for their clever accounts of extraordinary adventures, for their author’s ever-deepening personal philosophy, and most certainly for his gift of humor. His narratives are surprisingly funny, employing irony, wordplay, and even slapstick comedy.
Damien has developed a mastery of style, technique and voice. He displays a versatility that marks him out as a writer of exceptional value and interest.
– Russell Blackford, 1 August 2010
Photo by Cat Sparks
In 1963, a local religious magazine published Damien Broderick’s first short story: a non-SF piece entitled ‘Walk Like a Mountain.’ However, his real breakthrough came a year later with a much longer story – definitely science fiction this time – ‘The Sea’s Furthest End.’ It soon appeared in the UK, in the first of John Carnell’s New Writings in SF anthologies. Despite the touches of melodrama, ‘The Sea’s Furthest End’ is rich and clever and memorable. It’s an impressive achievement for a writer who was still a teenager at the time.
Her creative writing began with short stories, which kept winning short story awards. Her first story, ‘The Laws of Life’, won the FAW State of Victoria award for 1983. She placed stories both in science fiction and literary publications, from Aphelion to Overland and Westerly. At the same time she was science writing, being a science columnist for Australian Society, and a contributing editor, Science and Technology, for the Age Monthly Review.
Her first book was an edited anthology of Australian science writing, If Atoms Could Talk, for Greenhouse Press (1987). Other books followed, published in London in 1989. She thus became the first Australian women speculative fiction writer to publish a collection of short stories internationally. Although she had regularly appeared in science fictional shortlists, it was not until 2006 that she won an Aurealis award.
Love has continued to work in the short-story mode, alternating with science writing. She has appeared on numerous convention panels, science-fictional, scientific, and futuristic, being a regular guest at the Wiscon convention.
Her writing encompasses fiction and non-fiction, writing for children and adults, science, ecology, the indigenous and the spiritual.
- Lucy Sussex
Photo by Cat Sparks
Rosaleen Love was born in 1940 in Sydney, but grew up in Ipswich, Queensland. She gained early knowledge of science from her father, a pioneer in country veterinarian practice. Her mother combined science and writing, being first a cattle bacteriologist, then a writer of short stories and two books about being married to a country vet. Her sister is a soil biologist. Rosaleen studied at Queensland, Cambridge and Melbourne Universities, firstly graduating in science, then the history and philosophy of science. In 1961, she married Harold Love, a Professor of English, who died in 2007. She has two grandsons.
Bruce Gillespie was born in 1947 and has been publishing fanzines since 1968. In January 1969, the first issue of SF Commentary appeared. It has been nominated three times for the Hugo Award (1972, 1973 and 1975), and has won a number of Ditmar Awards (Australian SF Achievement Award). Eventually he received what he considers the ultimate accolade, serving as Fan Guest of Honour for Aussiecon 3, the world convention held in Melbourne in 1999. More recently Bruce was welcomed to the U.S. as a paid guest by dint of the efforts of the many contributors to the Bring Bruce Bayside fund.
In 1984, Bruce began The Metaphysical Review as a fanzine filled with all the bits and pieces, apart from SF and fantasy, that SF fans tend to be interested in — music, films, travels, other fans, general books and chatter.
Bruce has contributed to several apas, including Anzapa (Australia and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association) since 1968, APA-45 during the early 1970S, FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Association) from 1984 to 1994, and Acnestis (the British apa for fans who still read a lot) since 1995. Scratch Pad is an electronic-only fanzine that includes all the non-mailing comment sections of Bruce’s apazines since 1991.
Bruce has also written short stories for Australian anthologies and was one of the co-founders of Norstrilia Press with Rob Gerrand and Carey Handfield.
Through his fanzines (see efanzines.com), and through publishing contributions from fans all over the world, Bruce has provided an invaluable link between countries and between fans, filthy professionals and even more filthy critics.
Bruce is a much-loved and widely-acclaimed Master of Fandom.
- Leigh Edmonds.
Photo by Elaine Cochrane.
The life and career of Lee Harding can be summed up in one word: enthusiasm.
Dick Jenssen recounts: “Lee (née Leo) Harding began reading science fiction at about the age of ten, and five years later was a fervent and addicted fan of the genre...” Lee got to know Race Mathews, who was then forming the nucleus of what would become the Melbourne Science Fiction Club. At the time, Lee was, to quote Race, ‘an aspiring professional photographer’, and consequently provided history with what must surely be the only visual documentation of most of the founding members of MSFC.
Lee saw fanzine writing as a stepping stone to professional writing. During his years as a professional photographer, he also wrote SF stories and submitted them overseas (there were no markets in Australia). In 1961, his first story, ‘Displaced Person’, was published; twenty years later, this would become the basis of Lee’s most successful novel.
In 1966, Lee began his involvement Australian SF Review, which not only became world famous, but led directly to the renaissance of Australian fan writing, professional SF writing, and convention organising. The termination of ASFR coincides with the beginning of Lee’s second fruitful period of science fiction writing.
For several years, he was a valued bookseller at Merv Binns’ Space Age Books. In 1973, he became the first Australian to conduct a Clarion-type SF writers’ workshop. Throughout the early 1970s, he worked tirelessly for Australia’s first world convention in 1975. He was involved with the Aussiefan film, many Aussiecon 1 panels, Australia’s first fan opera (Joe Phaust), and a wide range of overseas writers.
Lee edited anthologies of stories written by overseas and Australian writers. His novel, Displaced Person won the 1978 Alan Marshall Award and the 1980 Australian Children’s Book Council Award.
- Bruce Gillespie, 29 March 2006
Photo by Dick 'Ditmar' Jenssen
Lucy’s most original research achievement was to track down a previously unknown author, a pioneer of women’s detective fiction. Since then, Lucy has undertaken further researches into mystery fiction written by women in the nineteenth century. She is currently completing her doctorate in this field.
Lucy has maintained her interest in the writers’ workshop movement as a way of handing on and encouraging writing skills in budding writers. She has conducted several workshops herself, most notably the Writers’ Workshop that accompanied Aussiecon III, the World SF Convention held in Melbourne in 1999, and as one of the teachers at Clarion West, in Seattle, in 2001. Lucy and her partner Julian Warner have been hosts to the monthly Nova Mob, Melbourne’s SF discussion group. Julian won DUFF in 2002, and Lucy a Guest of Honour at Convergence and Con with the Wind (the 2002 New Zealand National Convention).
Photo by Cat Sparks (on Wikipedia)
Born in New Zealand in 1957, and educated in New Zealand, France, the United Kingdom and Australia, Lucy Sussex has been writing since she was eleven. She moved to Australia in 1971 and in 1979 attended the Sydney Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop. She quickly began to publish short stories, both here and overseas. In 1979, she was invited by John Foyster to become part of the original collective that published the revitalised Australian Science Fiction Review in the 1980s.
Lucy has published more than 30 short stories, which have been extensively anthologised, both here and overseas. In 1998 she won the Aurealis Award, and she has won two short story Ditmar Awards. She has also gained a reputation as an anthologist and editor. In 1995, she co-edited She’s Fantastical, a beautifully produced volume of short science fiction and fantasy by Australian women writers that was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award.
John Foyster (13 April 1941 – 5 April 2003)
Far be it from anyone to suggest that John Foyster would not get out of bed to have an argument. Younger SF fans will know him as that argumentative old bloke from South Australia who will not let the more radical possibilities of conventions, constitutions and awards remain unexplored. To older fans, John is first and foremost, a friend. He is also an inveterate publisher of fanzines and APAzines, continuing to do so with his current eFNAC. He has run and chaired conventions and still offers lots of advice to those foolhardy enough to do the same. John was a key figure in both incarnations of the Australian Science Fiction Review. He has hosted the Nova Mob in Melbourne and Critical Mass in Adelaide.
The life of John Foyster has already been celebrated by his friends (many of them fans) and relatives upon the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. His partner, Yvonne Rousseau and two friends, Juliette Woods and Damien Warman produced a special commemorative fanzine named Festzine which included many testimonials and reminiscences and a detailed chronology of the Foyster life to date.
An awards ceremony, or even a whole night, is too brief to list the meritorious achievements of John Foyster in Science Fiction fandom. It would not be an exaggeration to say that John Foyster has touched (and sometimes singed!) the lives of all of the older generation of Australian fans and he has, in many ways, influenced the lives of younger generations.
I would urge you to seek out copies of the Festzine and to seek out John Foyster’s own writings in fanzines and on the internet. The more you read, the more you will appreciate the depth of his assocation with Australian fandom and Australian Science Fiction.
- Julian Warner
Photo by Dick 'Ditmar' Jenssen.
John Bangsund (21 April 1939 – 22 August 2020)
John Bangsund is, first and foremost, an editor. His name appears on many books, of general fiction and non-fiction, and would have been familiar to those who read the prestigious Australian magazine Meanjin during the period in which he served as assistant editor. The Victorian Society of Editors has honoured John by making him a life member because of his many contributions to the Society. In editing the newsletter of the Victorian Society of Editors he became the editor’s Editor.
John’s career in SF fandom began in the early sixties. His first fanzine article was published in a fanzine named Canto 1 in 1964. John became central to Melbourne fandom and was effectively the midwife to a re-birth of Australian fandom in general. Fandom was in somewhat of a lull in the early to mid sixties but it was revived by the regular monthly publication of the Australian Science Fiction Review, within which John Bangsund edited and commented. ASFR lasted only a few years but it set a new standard for quality. Not only that, but ASFR was noticed overseas as well, putting Australia on the map. The Australian readers of the original ASFR went on to become our established SF writers, our most erudite critics, our Big-Name Fans and our Boring Old Farts.
As well as editing ASFR, John was instrumental in efforts to bring Australia its first-ever World Science Fiction Convention in 1975 Aussiecon 1. The first Adelaide SF convention Advention 1 – is described as having been started in John’s flat. It seems that an awful lot of what was happening in Australian fandom in the sixties and seventies was done at Bangsund’s place.
Since ASFR, John has edited and published many fanzines and apazines. Principal among these would be the long-running Philosophical Gas. John estimates that he has published some 200 or so zines in his fannish career. He has also contributed to APAs such as ANZAPA, FAPA and FLAP.
He was integral to the fabric of Australian fandom for many years and remains strong in the memory of both Australian and overseas fans.
- Julian Warner, April 2001
Photo by Dick 'Ditmar' Jenssen
Graham Stone (7 January 1926 -- 16 November 2013)
Born in 1926, he became a SF fan in the late 1930s, and witnessed the birth of Australia’s fan movement and local SF pulp publishing. From the beginning of his involvement he diligently collected and documented Australia’s SF, preserving works and information that could have easily been lost. In the early 1950s he tried his hand at fiction with the novel Zero Equals Nothing with Royce Williams, contributed to several commercial magazines, ran the Australian Science Fiction Society, and helped run Australia’s first national SF convention. In 1968 he published the first comprehensive bibliography of Australian SF, a book which is still in demand.
In the mid 1980s he began an even more ambitious project, when he began to comb Australia’s newspapers and periodicals for SF, going on to discover hundreds of forgotten stories. In 1990 he began to assemble his fanzine Notes on Australian Science Fiction into a book tracing its development from European utopian novels to the Scientific Thrillers of the late 1940s. This history is soon to be published. Graham also operates a small press, republishing rare but historically significant Australian SF, and his mail order book service is the best source of rare Australian SF anywhere.
As we enter the 21st century, we have Graham to thank for the detail in which Australia’s SF is known. His meticulous and exhaustive work have made him its greatest historian.
- Sean McMullen
Susan has four children aged between 11 and 22 and, at the beginning of the year, her eldest daughter was married ( the week before the 7th Medtrek Convention of which Susan was the Chairperson). She is currently completing her Master’s degree in Writing. She is also currently engaged to Graeme Batho and they are in the middle of planning their wedding in January and the building of a new home for the family, videos and fanzines.
- Patricia Anderson
Photo by Ron Clarke
Susan Batho (Smith-Clarke)
Susan is a firm believer in Fandom is a Way of Life. She has been in fandom for over 25 years and was the founder of the longest running Australian Star Trek Club – ASTREX (now 24 years old) and she was the president for 9 and a half years. She was also the editor of DATA, the club newsletter for 10 years.
She is the editor of BEYOND ANTARES – Australia’s longest running Star Trek zine (24 years in production) and CHRONICLES – Blake’s Seven magazine (16 years in production). She was four times winner of the National SF Media Award for Best Media Fanzine. Susan has also won numerous FAN-Q awards at MEDIAWEST Con in America for her fanzine DOWN UNDER EXPRESS. She has been Chairperson of nine conventions since 1975. She was Fan Guest of Honour at various conventions in Australia since 1979 and at MEDIAWEST Con. For two years she was president of the Sydney Science Fiction Foundation and was editor of its magazine, Forerunner.
Over the past 24 years, Susan has become Australia’s most prolific fan editor, over 400 fanzines (most 40 to 50 pages in length). She is still producing fanzines as well as a bimonthly newsletter called Reviewzine. She still writes stories for numerous local and overseas fanzines.
Grant Stone is an archivist, bibliographer, collector, librarian, organiser, publicist, publisher, reviewer and critic, fan and professional. He is a botanist by training, a librarian by profession, a collector by inclination and a new renaissance person. It might be said that Grant Stone is one of the not so quiet achievers of Australian Science Fiction.
In Western Australia, Grant Stone is almost unavoidable. Every week he broadcasts the Faster Than Light Radio Show which has been going to air regularly on RTR-FM since the 1970s. To listen to the FTL Show is to be exposed to Grant’s deep and passionate interest in science fiction and everything related to it. From around the world, he brings together the news of the latest happenings, the new books, comics and movies, spices them with his wry observations and enlivens them with his quirky humour. If they could bottle it they could make a fortune. (Most people around Australia can now sample Grant’s radio style, if not his knowledge of sf, some time during the week on local ABC radio stations...)
It may be that his greatest contribution to science fiction will not be recognised for decades to come. He joined the library at Murdoch University in 1974 and immediately began putting together a collection of popular culture material which features science fiction and related fields. On the open shelves of the library is one of the best science fiction and fantasy collections in Australia available for everyone to enjoy. Grant’s most important contribution is behind closed doors in the Library’s Special Collection: one of the most extensive collections of special publications, fanzines and fan memorabilia in the world.
And this achievement, a life’s work for any normal person, is only a small portion of the total Grant Stone.
- Leigh Edmonds, March 1996
When Wynne returned to fiction it was 1952. Chandler and Clarke were now promising newcomers in SF Wynne was now writing crime fiction but when 'Ancestral Home' appeared in the local commercial magazine Science Fiction Monthly in June 1956, he was back on a path that would lead to sales overseas in Amazing, Fantastic Universe, New Worlds, If, Super Science Fiction and Science Fiction Adventures. 'Who Rides the Tiger' even made the front cover illustration of Science Fiction Adventures #12, 1959, an almost unheard of honour for an Australian author back then.
In 1960 Wynne again left SF to concentrate on journalism. When the young and enterprising Paul Collins launched Envisaged Worlds in 1978, Wynne again returned to SF with 'Beyond Aldebaran', from his Kesrii series.
Wynne’s first novel, 'Breathing Space Only', was published by Collins in 1980. The next ten years were Wynne’s most prolific. Another five of his novels were published and his work was translated into French, German and Japanese. Wynne’s SF is undeniably popular with Australian fans: five out of his six novels have had Ditmar nominations, and all three of his novels published in 1985 made it into Van Ikin’s ‘best ever’ poll.
Wynne frequently achieved his overseas successes during very bleak times for local SF, showing his fellow Australians that getting published there was not beyond their reach and thus helping to keep Australian SF alive.
- Sean McMullen. The Instrumentality, 1995
Photo by Geoff Allshorn showing guests of the Space Association of Australia presenting a 'Space Show' at Southern FM radio station for the 25th anniversary of Star Trek on 8 September 1991. From left: Greg Franklin, Diane Marchant, Geoff Allshorn and Wynne Whiteford.
(23 December 1915 -- 30 September 2002)
19 year old Wynne Whiteford sold 'Beyond the Infinite' to Adam and Eve magazine in 1934. At that time a dozen or so other Australian authors had managed to participate in the explosion of SF creativity and wonder taking place overseas, but young Wynne found that scene too daunting. After selling 'Automaton' to The Bulletin in 1935, he gave up writing SF for twenty years and concentrated on earning a living.
George had been reading SF since he was very young. But literary death would be the result of publishing an SF novel in Australia in the early 1970’s. An overseas publisher was needed, plus a powerful stimulus to write.
At the age of 62, George Turner had begun another career: short stories. His most successful short story is “The Fittest”, which he used as the basis for his novel, The Sea and Summer. George became the first Australian to be nominated for a Nebula Award. In Britain, he won the first Arthur C. Clarke award, and was runner-up for the Campbell Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. Translated into several languages, it put George on a whole new map.
- Bruce Gillespie
Photo supplied by Dick 'Ditmar Jenssen, photographer may have been Helena Binns. Photo showing Ditmar Award winners from an unknown convention. Back row: Leigh Edmonds ; middle row: George Turner, Lee Harding, unknown; front row: unknown, John Foyster, Merv Binns
George Turner (8 October 1916 – 8 June 1997)
George Turner started his literary career writing mainstream books, one of them receiving the Miles Franklin Award His last mainstream novel was published in 1978. Most admirers of hiss novels would have been unaware that their favourite writer was interested in science fiction. Indeed, one of his first published writings was a letter to Amazing Stories that appeared in the late 1930’s. The full story of his infatuation with science fiction can be read in George’s wonderful memoir In the Heart or In the Head, published in 1984.
In 1967, John Bangsund was the editor for Australian Science Fiction Review, and he asked George to write book reviews for the magazine. George had never written a book review or a critical article in his life. Long articles and short reviews spouted from him, firstly for Australian Science Fiction Review, then for SF Commentary, and later for many others. He became The Age’s SF critic.
Merv Binns (6 July 1934 - 7 April 2020)
I knew Mervyn before I knew anyone else in Australia, since a visit in the mid-sixties before I settled in Sydney. He saw me browsing the SF at McGills, and pushed a leaflet about the MSFC and a fanzine into my hand. He also gave me the name of Ron Clarke and mentioned the Sydney Science Fiction Foundation – and thus I became part of Australian fandom thanks to Merv.
After I moved to Melbourne in 1970, and the MSFC, its library and meeting place, migrated from the Somerset Place loft to upstairs at Merv’s own Space Age Books emporium, it became obvious that he was the living, breathing centre of Melbourne fandom – and so he remained until his retirement. His part - not least in the Antifan movie of happy memory - in the preparations for Aussiecon 1 helped ensure that Australian science fiction achieved that pinnacle.
- Robin Johnson
Photo by Cat Sparks: Bill Wright with Helena and Merv Binns
The announcement of Van Ikin as winner of the inaugural Chandler Award at Syncon ’92, the 31st Natcon was greeted with resounding applause. It was a welcome and very popular choice.
Susan Chandler, Bert’s widow, was delighted with it.
' I’ve known Van as a close friend and colleague since our undergraduate days at Sydney University, when he was editing and single-handedly publishing the SUSFA fanzine Enigma. He is presently a lecturer in English literature at the University of Western Australia, a husband and father and – too rarely these days for those of us who know his stories – a writer whose fiction has appeared in everything from Adam to Omega. Since 1977, he has published and edited Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature, now at its 32nd issue, plus two impressive anthologies, Australian Science Fiction (UQP, 1982) and Glass Reptile Breakout and Other Australian Speculative Stories (CSAL, 1991). As well as being resident genre reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald since 1983, he makes regular appearances at genre-related conventions and seminars, such as the 1991 Legends Seminar in Sydney and the Imaginings Conference in Brisbane for which he was Keynote Speaker... He has a sense of humour to be reckoned with, a charm and goodwill second to none.'
Photo by Cat Sparks showing Van Ikin with Terry Dowling in Galaxy Bookshop, 1993.