ENTERTAINMENT IS FANDOM'S PURPOSE
(With apologies to The Master)
A Reprint from ERB-APA No. 43
Copyright © 12 September 1994
Although I was neither a participant in nor an observer of the legendary battles in the early days of Fandom of which we have heard tales from Sam Moskowitz, Fred Pohl, and other silverbacks of the tribe, I have been active long enough to watch a number of smaller feuds erupt, even within the relatively narrow circle that is Burroughs fandom. I find this more than a little puzzling, considering what ERB himself had to say on the subject:
There is one thing that I would constantly impress upon the young writer — and possibly with greater reason upon the established writer — that he should not take either himself or his work too seriously. Except for purposes of entertainment, I consider fiction ... an absolute unessential. I would not look to any fiction writer, living or dead, for guidance upon any subject, and, therefore, if he does not entertain, he is a total loss.
That having been said, I will admit that at one time or another I have disagreed with virtually everyone in the hobby over points of interpretation. I hope, however, that I have been able to do so in a spirit of good fellowship, without rancor (certainly on my part, hopefully on the part of my opponents). No doubt in the articles I expect to submit to the APA, there will be points that other contributors find unsubstantiated by their own reading of the text. This is to be expected, and is one of the greatest benefits of organized fandom; but I hope it never descends to the level of personalities. In my own immortal words, "It's a HOBBY, for chrissakes!" In fact, I think I'll make that my motto on all future APA submissions.
According to the APA rules sent to me by Henry Franke, it is traditional to use one's first APA submission to introduce oneself to the other contributors. A number are old friends of nearly thirty years' acquaintance (at least by mail, if not in person), while several others are friends from more recent Dum-dums. For those who do not know me at all, I am a historian by training, a science resources analyst by trade, a Washingtonian by residence, and a conservative by political inclination.
Wife Victoria & my Dad, who started me collecting. My son at right. Part of the ERB collection.
I began collecting Burroughs books in 1947, having been introduced to Tarzan via the Burne Hogarth comic strips in the war years. Although I have been collecting science fiction for nearly fifty years, it was only at the time of the "Burroughs boom" of the sixties that I became aware that there was such a thing as organized fandom — thanks mostly to Vern Coriell's urging that I attend the Worldcon in New York in 1967. I first met Vern and Rita, Caz, John Guidry, Pete and Joan Ogden, and John and Ev Roy at that con, and immediately began arguing with John Roy over the location of Zodanga — an argument that eventually led to my "Barsoomian Glossary" in ERB-dom and an "Atlas and Gazetteer of Areography," as yet unpublished. Aside from a few years while I was in graduate school and especially when I was working on the dissertation, I have been to a varying extent active ever since. On the basis of a review of ERB-APA # 42, I envision this publication as an opportunity to continue the discussions that we have enjoyed in hotel lobbies at past Dum-dums and ECOF's.