Rest in peace... or don't, Mr. Ackerman (MWAHHAHA)!

>> Saturday, December 06, 2008

In the busy week, I missed the news that Forrest J Ackerman passed away Thursday at age 92. Ackerman was an iconic figure in science fiction and particularly in science fiction fandom. Ackerman's most famous creation, the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland was a major inspiration to a generation of horror, fantasy and science-fiction writers and filmmakers who came along in the '50s and '60s (FM acolytes who have frequently acknowledged and praised Ackerman's influence on their lives and careers include, for instance, a pair of well known horror/fantasy/SF Steves: Stephen King and Steven Spielberg) and was arguably the most influential magazine devoted to SF/F fandom as a thing unto itself (Ackerman had previously co-created a magazine, The Time Traveler, that is frequently considered the first SF fanzine; another founder, Julius Schwartz, went on to be the DC Comics editor largely responsible for DC's entry into the Silver Age with the revamping of properties like Green Lantern and The Flash into the characters most of us know today). Ackerman is also credited with creating the term "Sci-Fi" and with sponsoring the early career of one Ray Bradbury.

His passion was infectious, and anyone who considers himself a geek (including yours truly) owes a debt to Ackerman--he practically founded our tribe of nerds, fans and common misfits who can sustain an argument over the merits of Bela Lugosi versus Christopher Lee (Lee), who the best Doctor is (Baker, but Tennant is giving him a run for his money), and Trek or Wars (Wars, duh). Ackerman's heyday was well before my time, but he's a major reason so many of us know we're not alone, can revel in our common love of strange fictions.

Normally in an in memoriam type piece, I'd wish the deceased to rest in peace. But this is Forrest J Ackerman we're talking about, and I say with respect and admiration that I don't hope for that so much as I kind of hope he bursts from the grave and grows into a giant, glowing, radioactive monster-Ackerman eighty feet or more in height, who goes and destroys the world--leaving Schenectady, NY and the Universal Studios lots in Hollywood undisturbed, of course.

Rampage on, Mr. Ackerman! Rampage on! And, of course, thank you.

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