Ackerman, Forrest J.

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Forrest James Ackerman, or as he preferred to be called “Forrest J Ackerman” (with no period after his middle initial), was a collector, writer, editor, literary agent, actor, and producer. He published the first science fiction fan magazine (fanzine) in 1932. From 1958 to 1982 he edited "Famous Monsters of Filmland" fanzine. In 1947 Ackerman created a science fiction literary agency. Ackerman was well known for amassing a large collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror memorabilia including books, magazines, movie props, and posters. He attended the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939 and continued to attend fan conventions annually. Ackerman helped create the "fandom" subculture by starting the first science fiction fan club in 1930. He claimed to have coined the term "sci-fi." In 1953 Ackerman was given the only Hugo award for “#1 Fan Personality.” With his wife, Wendayne, Ackerman translated and published the popular German "Perry Rhodan" series into English. Ackerman went by a number of pen names as well as nicknames including "Forry," "The Ackermonster," and "4e."

From the guide to the Forrest J Ackerman papers, 1920-1987, (University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.)

Forrest J Ackerman (1916- 2008) was a collector, editor, and writer of works on science fiction, fantasy and horror. He published the first science fiction fan magazine (fanzine) in 1932. From 1958 to 1982 he edited "Famous Monsters of Filmland" fanzine. Beginning in 1969, he edited a series of science fiction novels, "Perry Rhodan." In 1947 Ackerman created a science fiction literary agency. Ackerman was well known for amassing a large collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror memorabilia including books, magazines, movie props, and posters. He attended the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939 and continued to attend fan conventions annually. Ackerman helped create the "fandom" subculture by starting the first science fiction fan club in 1930. He claimed to have coined the term "sci-fi."

From the description of Forrest J Ackerman papers, 1920-1987. (University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 29527866

Forrest J Ackerman (no period after the middle initial) was born November 24, 1916 in Los Angeles, California. He saw his first fantasy film at age five and from that moment on his life and work was built around science fiction as fan, author, agent, publisher, editor and collector.

In 1923, at the age of seven, he was a charter member of the Science Fiction League and in 1930 he created The Boys' Scientifiction Club. In 1939 he attended the First World Science Fiction Convention, where he wore the first "futuristicostume" and sparked a tradition of fan costuming that continues to this day at science fiction conventions around the world; he has missed only two WorldCons in the ensuing 70 years. In 1946 he founded the Fantasy Foundation and helpd found the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F). In 1953 he received a unique Hugo Award for "#1 Fan Personality."

His writing began almost as early as his fan activities -- in 1929, when he won a contest at the San Francisco Chronicle with his original story of a trip to Mars. Since then, fifty of his stories have been published, including collaborations with A. E. van Vogt, Francis Flagg, Robert A. W. Lowndes, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Donald Wolheim and Catherine Moore, and his stories have been translated into six languages. He named and wrote the origin story for the title character of the Vampirella comic book series. In addition, he has ten non-fiction books (most on science fiction movies) and thirteen anthologies to his credit. His known pseudonyms include SF Balboa, Nick Beal, Walter Chinwell, J. Forrester Eckman, Jacques De Forest Erman, Laurajean Ermayne, Jone Lee Heard, Alus Kerlay, Alden Lorraine, Jack Parish, Spencer Strong, Fisher Trentworth, Allis Villette, Hubert George Wills, Weaver Wright, and Dr. Acula.

In addition to his own writing, Ackerman inspired or assisted many other future luminaries of the genre, including Ray Bradbury (whose first story was published by Ackerman), Ray Harryhausen, Charles Beaumont, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Stephen King (whose first story submission was to Ackerman's Spacemen magazine) and L. Ron Hubbard. He has represented some 200 science fiction and fantasy authors, including Hugo Gernsback, Andre Norton, A.E. van Vogt, and Jack Williamson, and was Ed Wood's "illiterary" agent. Ackerman is also credited with having coined the term "sci-fi" in 1954.

Ackerman edited, published, or otherwise assisted a number of science fiction magazines over the years, creating and inspiring a legion of fans. At the tender age of sixteen he became associate editor of Time Traveller magazine, the first-ever fanzine, and the next year became film editor of Science Fiction Digest . In 1939 he started his own magazine, Voice of Imagination, and later edited Famous Monsters of Filmland, Monster World, and Spacemen . He provided publishing assistance to The Daughters of Bilitis in the group's early days (that, and his several lesbian novels written under the name "Laurajean Ermayne," earned him the title of "honorary lesbian").

His love of the genre is not limited by national borders, as evidenced by his active contributions to film magazines from around the world, including the Argentinian La Cosa - Cine Fantástico, where he had a monthly column for over four years. In 1960, he introduced American readers to the longest science fiction series in history when he organized Ace Books' publication of an English translation of the German science fiction series Perry Rhodan (much of the translation was done by his German wife, Wendayne).

Over the years Ackerman amassed a comprehensive collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror film material amounting to some 300,000 items: books (including 500 editions of Frankenstein and Dracula), magazines, videos, photographs, clippings, manuscripts, autographs, toys, and movie memorabilia (among which is the head of The Creature from the Black Lagoon and a Martian death-ray machine from War of the Worlds). Until 2002 the collection resided in the 18-room "Ackermansion" in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles; he later donated a number of items to the Seattle Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, of which he is a board member. Among his friends are icons of the genre including Fritz Lang, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and Boris Karloff, and he has made cameo appearances in more than fifty films.

His efforts across a broad spectrum of the arts not only encouraged the organization and spread of science fiction and its fans, but also did much to foster the acceptance of science fiction as a respectable literary, art and film genre. He has truly earned the sobriquet "Mr. Science Fiction."

"I regard myself as a sci-fi sponge that should be squeezed for information and anecdotes as long as I'm here. So while I'm still around, squeeze me." - Forrest J. Ackerman.

From the guide to the Forrest J Ackerman Papers, 1924-1977, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Papers of T.L. Sherred, 1966-1989, 1966-1989 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Department of Special Collections
referencedIn Frederik Pohl Papers, 1917-1968 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Forrest J Ackerman Papers, 1924-1977 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Milton Caniff Collection, 1805-2007, 1910-1988 The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
referencedIn Miscellaneous photographs of celebrity library visitors to the University of Virginia Library, ante 1969-1998. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Ciardi, John, 1916-1986. Letters, 1952-1955, to J. Vernon Shea, Jr. University of Michigan
creatorOf Margulies, Leo, 1900-1975. Papers, 1946-1977. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
creatorOf Forrest J Ackerman papers, 1920-1987 University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Sherred, T. L. [Papers of T.L. Sherred] University of Kansas Archives / MSS / Rare Books, Kenneth Spencer Research Library
referencedIn Will Jenkins (Murray Leinster) Papers, 1915-1968 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Ackerman, Forrest J. Forrest J Ackerman papers, 1920-1987. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
referencedIn White mss., 1932-1969 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Papers of Florynce Kennedy, (inclusive), (bulk), 1915-2004, 1947-1993 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992 person
associatedWith Boucher, Anthony, 1911-1968 person
associatedWith Bradbury, Ray, 1920- person
associatedWith Ciardi, John, 1916-1986. person
associatedWith Count Dracula Society (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Jenkins, Will, 1896-1975 person
associatedWith Kennedy, Florynce person
associatedWith Margulies, Leo, 1900-1975. person
associatedWith Milton Caniff person
associatedWith Norton, Alice Mary. person
associatedWith Norton, Andre. person
associatedWith Pohl, Frederik. person
associatedWith Science Fiction Writers of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Sherred, T. L. person
associatedWith Silverberg, Robert. person
associatedWith Van Vogt, A. E. (Alfred Elton), 1912-2000 person
associatedWith Wellman, Manly Wade, 1903-1986 person
associatedWith Wollheim, Donald A. person
associatedWith World Science Fiction Convention. corporateBody
associatedWith World Science Fiction Society. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Monsters in mass media
Rhodan, Perry (Fictitious character)
Adverttising--Motion Pictures.
Authors, American
Popular culture
Editors--United States
Science fiction films
Collectors and collecting--United States
Television programs--Collectibles
Radio, television, film
Science fiction, American
Novelists, American
American literature--20th century
Advertising--Motion pictures
Science fiction--Collectibles
Motion pictures--Collectibles
Collectors and collecting
Science fiction
Horror comic books, strips, etc.--United States
Fantasy films
Horror comic books, strips, etc
Periodicals--Publishing--United States
Science fiction fans
Fantasy fiction, American
Film posters
Horror films
Science fiction television programs
Periodicals--Publishing
Journalism--Editing--United States
Television programs
Godzilla films
Fantasy in literature
Journalism--Editing
Occupation
Editors
Novelists
Authors
Function

Person

Birth 1916-11-24

Death 2008-12-04

Americans

English

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