The Second Occasional LoneStarCon Science Fiction
Convention and Chili Cook-off, Variously known as the 55th World Science
Fiction Convention and LoneStarCon 2, the 1997 Worldcon, To be held from
August 28th through September 1st, in the year 1997, in San Antonio,
Our Honored Fan Guest, by Bob Vardeman
n the face of it, the appellation seems
obscure, insulting perhaps, or at the very least, misguided. Why saddle a
trufan with roots back in first Fandom with the acronym HORT: Roy Tackett
hardly seems to deserve being called "Horrible Old" in spite of being a
retired sergeant of Marines who enjoyed the prospect of telling some poor
recruit, "When you've finished digging the six foot by six foot hole here,
I want it moved over therewaay over there."
That hardly qualifies. Nor does his later mission in
life, helping maintain Air Force electronics designed to incinerate half
the worldthe other half, the Evil Empire on the other
side of the Berlin Wall. Wow, he does go back a long way, doesn't he?
Before that, he refused to climb radio towers on 11,000 foot Sandia Crest
during 100 mph blizzards. What's so horrible about that, I ask you? Common
sense is what I call it. An while it might be a shame Roy has to partake
of quinine for the malaria he picked up on some obscure Pacific Island
during his stint in the Marines, it seems appropriate (in the Bob Tucker
SMOOOTH! tradition) that he does so using tonic switched around with gin.
This is not necessarily horrible.
So how did this former Marine electronics tech First
Fandom member earn the nickname? History requires a closer scrutiny.
I first met Roy somewhere around 1956. Let me qualify
that. The year was 1963. The place was a used bookstore. And the magazine
we both collided over, grabbing for it at the same instant, was the
September 1956 issue of Astounding. He took pity on me since I
needed it for my fledgling collection. He later told me he needed only
seven more of this particular issue to corner the market and drive the
prices through the skysee? He really isn't so
horrible. He's an archivist, at heart. And I had to pay him only ten times
the cover price for the privilege of buying it from the bookstore. Even
then it was obvious to see why he was a retired sergeant of Marines.
Soon after our collision, Roy decided there were enough
fans to start the Albuquerque Science Fiction Society (ASFA). The June,
1963, meeting had three of us in attendance and there is no truth to the
rumor that Roy's Doberman, Trojan (110 pounds of teeth in a 190 pound
body), ate six other prospective members before they reached the "safe
zone" as Roy jokingly called the steel cage just inside the front door,
put there for the use of his more nimble visitors. (Trojan was later sold
to a junk yard because of his propensity for eating packs of dogs and
large horses. For a snack. Roy liked Trojan and felt a great camaraderie
with him, though Roy's mail delivery did improve after Trojan was put to
work in the junk yard.)
The club grew and Roy managed to trade a few hoary,
dog-eared copies of F&SF and Galaxy for an equal number
of pristine copies of Weird Tales when our professional Boy Scout
club member found a garage full of the latter. Roy later traded the
Weird Tales for an entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is
not true that Burroughs personally delivered them. It was John Carter.
Around this time Roy was fan GoH at the 1969 Westercon
in Santa Monica. The reports of several con members being thrown to sharks
in the swimming pool are exaggerated. Roy just mentioned something about
shark fin soup and well, you know how rumors spread. I'm not even sure Roy
likes shark fin soup, but perhaps it was the animal lover in him that
wanted to see those poor endangered animals properly fed. It's possible.
So, Roy has been in fandom since there was a fandom. He
is popular as guest and attendee at conventions. He collects books and
magazines. And since the late '50s a Marinated Publication has slid into
select mailboxes when Roy started Dynatron.
For those of you who don't remember such things, a dynatron is a form of
vacuum tube, not at all like a Sony Trinitron. And if you don't know what
a vacuum tube is, ask Roy.
He is a member of that elephant's graveyard known a
FAPA, the second oldest amateur press association in the world. He's a
member of a carbon paper apa called CAPA, the Carboniferous APA/ (If you
don't know what either a vacuum tube or carbon paper is, don't even think
of asking Roy. He might hurt himself laughing.) And he is also a member of
SLANAPA, the Slanderous APA, the oldest continually published monthly apa
in the country. Somehow the name SLANAPA appealed to him, I think.
For years at Albuquerque's annual convention, Bubonicon,
Roy has taken part in the never-quite-serious serio-comic performance art
play. He even launched and presided over the Green Slime
Awards, Albuquerque's answer to the Hugos. Except ours are edible.
Oh, yes, he sometimes dresses up in a clown suit.
Really. In public. In parades, in public. The Worldcon's Fan GoH,
therefore, is quite easy to find. He will be barking out orders to sell
your old SF magazines to him at bargain prices, publishing the details in
fanzines and might be dressed up with big floppy shoes, green-polka-dot
baggy pants and a bright red nose. Or not.
Most of all, Roy Tackett is one of those rare treasures
in our field, someone who has grown up with science fiction and loves
every aspect of it. But how did he get the nickname HORT?
Answer: Just ask him what he thinks about stories with
unicorns in them. You will find out quickly.