On 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 youve finished digging the six foot by six foot hole here, I want it moved over there - waay over there.
So how did this former Marine electronics tech
First Fandom member earn the nickname?
That hardly qualifies. Nor does his later mission in life, helping maintain Air Force electronics designed to incinerate half the world- the other half, the Evil Empire on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Wow, he does go back a long way, doesnt he? Before that, he refused to climb radio towers on 11,000 foot Sandia Crest during 100 mph blizzards. Whats 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 sky - see? He really isnt so horrible. Hes 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 Roys 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. Im 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. Its possible.
Roy later traded the Weird Tales for an entire
collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
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 dont 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 elephants graveyard known a FAPA, the second oldest amateur press association in the world. Hes a member of a carbon paper apa called CAPA, the Carboniferous APA/ (If you dont know what either a vacuum tube or carbon paper is, dont 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 Albuquerques 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, Albuquerques 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 Worldcons 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.
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