Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another Two from 4e: Genre Magazines & "Mr. Science Fiction"

(originally posted November 26 and December 3, 2008)

Forry celebrated his 92nd birthday on Monday!

In the third featurette derived from our interview for Volume 1 of Thrilling Wonder Stories, Forry talks about how he discovered his life's passion, how his grandmother supported it, and how it worried his mother.


Well, in October 1926, little nine year old me was standing in front of a magazine rack, and the October 1926 issue of a magazine called Amazing Stories jumped off the newsstand, grabbed hold of me, and in those days magazines spoke. And that one said, "Take me home little boy, you will love me."

I didn’t realize, I thought this is just a miracle, this is the only copy of this magazine that there ever will be, but as soon as I discovered every four weeks I could have a new fix of science fiction, why, I was off and running.

I spent most of my youth with my grandparents, who were very supportive of me. In 1926, I was also interested in a magazine called Ghost Stories, and my dear maternal grandmother would read me the entire issue of Ghost Stories, and then go back to the beginning and read it all over again to satisfy me.

Several years later, my mother came to me quite concerned, she said, “Son, do you realize how many of these magazines you have”—'cause I never threw them away—said, "I just counted them. You have twenty-seven! Can you imagine? By the time you’re a grown man, why, you might have a hundred." Well, mother lived with me till she was 92, in my 18-room home with 50,000 science fiction books and complete runs of Amazing Stories and Science Wonder Stories and Astounding Stories and Unknown and Strange and 200 different science fiction magazines from all around the world.

* * *

Another video featurette from our interview with Forry for Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 1. Forry talks about the lonely life of the young fan, recognition by others in the science fiction community, and what science fiction means to him.


Originally, a fan named Rick Sneary said it is a sad and lonely thing to be a fan, because... well, for instance, at high school, I was regarded as the resident crazy. Everybody was ridiculing Forry Ackerman, he thought we're going to the Moon, we're gonna have atomic power, all these things they knew were never gonna happen. And I remember on that fateful evening when I saw a human being set foot on the Moon, I said, "Vindication! Where are you now, all you laughing hyenas? Thought Forry Ackerman was a crazy kid."

Hugo Gernsback, who was regarded as the father of science fiction, called me "the son of science fiction," and he inscribed his novel Ralph 124C 41+, "to Forrest Ackerman, the premier science fiction authority in America." And in 1949, Willy Ley, the great exponent of space travel, in a public newspaper named me "Mr. Science Fiction."

I don’t believe in life after death, or reincarnation. I feel I'm only here once, and I've been fortunate to have been born with what is called a sense of wonder. I've wondered about prehistoric times, and dinosaurs, and the sunken city of Atlantis, and I've, via the imaginations of H.G. Wells, and Olaf Stapledon, and Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein, I've been catapulted from my armchair into distant times of the future. So I’ve been able to live a very exciting, fulfilling life via the imagination of the authors of science fiction.

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