Forrest J Ackerman

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Forrest J Ackerman (born November 24, 1916 in Los Angeles, California) is a legendary science fiction fan and collector of science fiction books and movie memorabilia. Ackerman, known as "Forry" or "4e" or "4SJ", was influential not only in the origination, organization, and spread of science fiction fandom, but he was also a key figure in the wider cultural acceptance of science fiction as a respectable literary, art and film genre. Ackerman is also known as the editor-writer of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as an occasional author, actor, producer (Vampirella), and literary agent.

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[edit] Career

Image:Forrestcostuming.jpg
Costume worn to 1939 World Science Fiction Convention

Forrest J Ackerman (no period on the middle initial, although his middle name is actually James) or, "Mr. Science Fiction," saw his first "imagi-movie" in 1922 (One Glorious Day), purchased his first sci-fi magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926, created The Boys' Scientifiction Club in 1930 ("girl-fans were as rare as unicorn's horns in those days"), contributed to what some regard as the first fanzine, The Time Traveller, in 1932, and by 1933 had 127 correspondents around the world. He attended the 1st World Science Fiction Convention in 1939 (where he wore the first "futuristicostume" which sparked fan costuming, also sometimes called cosplay) and every Worldcon but two since.

Ackerman helped found the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, a prominent regional organization in science fiction fandom, as well as the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F). He also provided publishing assistance in the early days of the Daughters of Bilitis, and (as the author of several lesbian novels under the name "Laurajean Ermayne") was dubbed an "honorary lesbian." He is (or was) personally acquainted with many twentieth-century writers of science fiction. He is noted for having amassed an extremely large and complete collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror film memorabilia, which was, until 2002, maintained in a remarkable home/museum known as the 18-room "Ackermansion" in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles, filled with 300,000 books and pieces of movie memorabilia. He has entertained approximately 50,000 fans at open houses since 1951, including 186 fans and pros in one memorable night, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Ackerman is a board member of the Seattle Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, where many items of his own collection are displayed. Ackerman received the first Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, in 1946.

Ackerman is credited with nurturing and even inspiring the careers of several early contemporaries<ref name="Interview with Forrest J Ackerman on Geekson">Template:Cite web Retrieved August 18, 2006.</ref> like Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Charles Beaumont, Marion Zimmer Bradley and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame. He was Ed Wood, Jr.'s "illiterary" agent and represents 200 authors of science fiction and fantasy. Ackerman is also notable for having coined the term "sci-fi" by analogy with "hi-fi". Although many serious science fiction fans hated the phrase, considering it gimmicky and disrespectful, it gained widespread usage by the early 1960s. Harlan Ellison has derided it as a "hideous neologism" that "sounds like crickets fucking," a comment to which Ackerman fans responded by producing buttons bearing the slogan, "I love copulating crickets."

Ackerman has had 50 stories published, including collaborations with A. E. van Vogt, Francis Flagg, Robert A. W. Lowndes, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Donald Wolheim and Catherine Moore and the world's shortest — one letter of the alphabet. His stories have been translated into six languages. Ackerman is fluent in the international language, Esperanto. Ackerman named the sexy comic-book character Vampirella and wrote the origin story for the comic.

Through his magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland (1958-1983), Forrest J Ackerman introduced the history of the science fiction, fantasy and horror film genres to a generation of young readers. At a time when most movie-related publications glorified the stars in front of the camera, "Uncle Forry", as he's referred to by many of his fans, promoted the behind-the-scenes artists involved in the magic of movies. In this way Ackerman provided inspiration to many who would later become successful artists, including Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Stephen King, Penn & Teller, Billy Bob Thornton, Gene Simmons (of the band Kiss), Rick Baker, George Lucas, Danny Elfman, Frank Darabont, John Landis and countless other writers, directors, artists and craftsmen.

In the 1960s, Ackerman organized the publication of an English translation in the U.S. of the German science fiction series Perry Rhodan, the longest science fiction series in history. These were published by Ace Books from 1969 through 1977. Ackerman's German-speaking wife Wendayne ("Wendy") did most of the translation. The American books were issued with varying frequency from one to as many as four per month. Ackerman also used the paperback series to promote science fiction short stories, including his own on occasion. These "magabooks" or "bookazines" also included a film review section, known as "Scientifilm World", and letters from readers. The American series came to an end when the management of Ace changed and the new management decided that the series was too juvenile for their taste. The last Ace issue was #118, which corresponded to German issue #126 as some of the Ace editions contained two of the German issues, and three of the German issues had been skipped. Forry later published translations of German issues #127 through #145 on his own under the Master Publications imprint. The original German series continues today and passed issue #2300 in 2005.

He also contributed to film magazines from all around the world, including spanish speaking La Cosa - Cine Fantástico magazine, from Argentina, where he had a monthly column for over four years.

Ackerman says, "I aim at hitting 100 and becoming the George Burns of science fiction".

Ackerman currently lives in the new "Acker-mini-mansion" in Hollywood where he continues to entertain and inspire fans weekly with his amazing collection of memorabilia and priceless stories of the golden age of art, filmmaking, literature and all things fantastical.

[edit] Appearances

Ackerman himself appears as a character in Dead Alive, The Vampire Affair by David McDaniel (a novel in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. series), and Philip José Farmer's novel Blown. A character based on Ackerman, and his "Ackermansion", appears in the Niven/Pournelle collaboration Fallen Angels.

A life-long fan of science fiction "B-movies", Ackerman has had cameos in over 210 films, including bit parts in many monster movies (The Howling, Return of the Living Dead Part II), more traditional "imagi-movies" (The Power, The Time Travelers), spoofs (Amazon Women on the Moon, Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold), and at least one major music video (Michael Jackson's Thriller).

Ackerman appears extensively on-screen discussing his life and the history of Science Fiction Fandom in the 2006 documentary film Finding the Future. [1]

There is also an audio interview with Mr. Ackerman at Geeks On

[edit] Works

[edit] Pseudonyms

Weaver Wright, Spencer Strong, Walter Chinwell, Allis Villette, Alus Kerlay, Laurajean Ermayne, Alden Lorraine, J. Forrester Eckman, Fisher Trentworth, SF Balboa, Hubert G. Wells, Jacues De Forest Erman, Jone Lee Heard

[edit] Non-fiction

  • A Reference Guide to American Science Fiction Films
  • The Frankenscience Monster
  • Forrest J Ackerman's Worlds of Science Fiction
  • Famous Forrie Fotos: Over 70 Years of Ackermemories
  • Mr. Monster's Movie Gold, A Treasure-Trove Of Imagi-Movies
  • Worlds of Tomorrow: the Amazing Universe of Science Fiction Art
  • Lon of 1000 Faces
  • Famous Monster of Filmland #1: An encyclopedia of the first 50 issues
  • Famous Monster of Filmland #2: An encyclopedia of issue 50-100
  • Metropolis by Thea von Harbou - intro and "stillustration" by FJ Ackerman

[edit] Anthologies

  • Rainbow Fantasia: 35 Spectrumatic Tales of Wonder
  • Science Fiction Worlds of Forrest J. Ackerman
  • Best Science Fiction for 1973
  • The Gernsback Awards Vol. 1, 1926
  • Gosh! Wow! (Sense of Wonder) Science Fiction'"
  • Reel futures
  • I, Vampire: Interviews with the Undead
  • Ackermanthology: Millennium Edition: 65 Astonishing Rediscovered Sci-Fi Shorts
  • Ackerwomanthology
  • Martianthology
  • Film Futures

[edit] Short stories

  • Nyusa, Nymph of Darkness
  • The Shortest Story Ever Told
  • A Martian Oddity
  • Earth's Lucky Day
  • The Record
  • Micro Man
  • Tarzan and the Golden Loin
  • Dhactwhu!-Remember?
  • Kiki
  • The Mute Question
  • Atoms and Stars
  • The Lady Takes a Powder
  • Sabina of the White Cylinder
  • What an Idea!
  • Death Rides the Spaceways
  • Dwellers in the Dust
  • Burn Witch, Burn
  • Yvala
  • The Girl Who Wasn't There
  • Count Down to Doom
  • Time to Change
  • And Then the Cover Was Bare
  • The Atomic Monument
  • Letter to an Angel
  • The Man Who Was Thirsty
  • The Radclyffe Effect
  • Cosmic Report Card: Earth
  • Great Gog's Grave
  • The Naughty Venuzian

[edit] Notes

<references />

[edit] External links

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Forrest J Ackerman

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