cience fiction fandom -- composed mainly for (and by!) Bob Tucker -- is a strange critter. To many of you, this is not news; for others, it may be. We're composed of representatives from all walks of life, the common, the weird, the average -- all lovers of science fiction in one form or another. Planetary Stories is -- obviously -- designed for those who love the old rip-snortin' days when heroes were Heroes, when Good wins over Evil -- and all that.

Of course, there are many of you who weren't around in the old pulp days, but to whom our theme still has its appeal. Well, this being our issue devoted to Bob Tucker -- at one time, The Number One Fan -- I thought it might be a good idea to explain just what Fandom is about.

For one thing, we like FUN in life -- again, thanks to Bob Tucker. Way Back When, he created his classic Hoy Ping Pong, using the scalpel of humor to poke fun in all directions. In fact, my '50s fanzine confusion grew to be a take-off of Hoy Ping Pong, with my little Chinaman and things like: "confusion sez -- "Better late than later!" You know, 'the sincerest form of flattery', and all that.

Seems to me the best way to explain fandom is to recall the classic Sixth Fandom, from the very early 1950s. (Besides, it's what I'm most familiar with.)

The Focal Point of Sixth Fandom was Lee Hoffman's Quandry. (Yeah, yeah; it's supposed to have another 'a' in it, but LeeH didn't spell it that way; she made up her own word, just as she made up many fandom rules -- and nobody objected; they LOVED it!)

Quandry (familiarly known as Q) attracted many Big Name Fans, such as Robert Bloch and Bob Tucker. Plus a new BNFs (BigNameFans) from Ireland known as Walt Willis. ALL believed in FUN. Bloch would end his letters with a comment such as: ". . .and everything was yellow," followed by his trademark sign-off, "Hoping you are the same." Tucker would just, well -- be Tucker. It would take a Bob Tucker to give you a good example and, as I'm not Tucker, let it go at that!

Now, Tucker had been around since First Fandom and was a well-established BNF, but Q gave him yet another opportunity to expose himself, so that new fans thus became acquainted with him. (I'm sure some of you never heard the tale about Bob's 'exposure', so I'll repeat it briefly. At NolaCon in 1951, I was one of the few who knew Lee Hoffman was actually HoffWoman. LeeH, a fan named Paul Cox and I went to Bob Tucker's room to get his reaction at the revelation. The way the tale goes, Bob met us at the door, straight from his bath, and was only wearing a towel. I told Bob I wanted to introduce him to Lee Hoffman. He held out a hand to Paul. "No, no, not him," I said, and pointed at LeeH. "Her." Bob's jaw dropped, and so did his towel.

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One aside about Q: Pogo! LeeH was a great Pogo fan, and often had Pogo cartoons, and used interlineations such as "Who sawed Courtney's boat?" or (naturally!) "I go Pogo!"

What's Pogo got to do with science fiction?


It's just another example of how sf fanzines strayed so far from the field, bringing in things that were interesting -- and fun!

Right up Bob Tucker's alley!

So Tucker's appeal spread as new fans came along. And they were coming along! Just to give you an idea of the way fandom was growing, according to one source there were 190 attendees at the 1951 Nolacon (Tucker was there, of course) and in 1952, 870 came to ChiCon II.

And there were parties, of course.

Don't let me mislead you; fandom has always had its sercon element, (SeriousConstructive fans) people who would come forward to correct something another fan had said, people who would object to certain levity, people who would stir up feuds. . .but, overall, fandom was and is about fun, and Bob Tucker certainly represented that element.

With sadness the editors of Planetary Stories learned that Lee Hoffman passed away on February 6, 2007, just as this issue was about to go to press.

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And now, Locus gave us permission to reprint a letter they received from legendary oldtime fan, Erle Korshak, concerning Tucker's reputation. Dear Locus,

With all the attention given, and rightfully so, to the passing of Arthur Wilson "Bob" Tucker I should like to add the following: Tucker was one of the three greatest, most prominent, most important science-fiction _fans_ of all time; he ranks in that rarefied company with Forry Ackerman and Jack Darrow. I was fortunate to have known all three personally and intimately.

Three? In choosing these three two others could have easily made the cut had we picked the Big 5: Sam Moskowitz and Don Wollheim; indeed, in discussing my top three with several knowledgeable old-timers there were those who would substitute Moskowitz for Darrow and Wollheim for Tucker. I can appreciate their arguments but I still stand fast with Ackerman/Darrow/ Tucker.

Instead of a Big 5 how about a Big 10? In that case my list expands to Dave Kyle, Harry Warner, Rusty Hevelin, Jack Speer and Robert Madle. But let us make it a Baker's Dozen and then we stop. Right up there are three fans often thought of only as "pros." But they were fans first and foremost: Ray Palmer, Ray Bradbury, and Julie Schwartz.

Living as we do in an Age of Lists perhaps Locus would do well to open the Korshak Baker's Dozen to their readership for suggestions and comments.

--Erle Melvin Korshak