John Berry

(August 4, 1926 — November 25, 2011)

(See John D. Berry for the US fan and typographer.)

John E. Berry (AKA Goon Bleary) discovered fandom while serving as an English policeman (a sergeant specializing in fingerprinting) in Belfast. He had come across Walt Willis's name and the title of Willis's fanzine while scrounging sf books and contacted Willis to make an appointment to meet him at Oblique House. Willis invited him to attend meetings of Irish Fandom (The Wheels of IF) and Berry became active, along with Willis, Bob Shaw, and James White. (His English and police background made for some little awkwardness in the Belfast of the Troubles, but by and large IF transcended that.) He was known for playing ghoodminton with an exceedingly physical and violent style.

He published Fables of Irish Fandom with Ken Cheslin. He published many fanzines, including Retribution, Veritas (for OMPA), Pot Pourri (for SAPS), Robbery with Violets, The Bleary Eyes, Fables of Irish Fandom, Oneshots, Wholly Berry, Motley (for IPSO), Cloche by Night, Ipso Facto, The Damned Patrol, Out of Reitsch, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Goat Herder, and Harlequin. He was a member of SAPS from 1958-1968. He published Veritas with Arthur Thomson for OMPA.

He ran for TAFF in 1958, losing to Ron Bennett in a four-way race, but the following year was Fan Guest of Honor at Detention, the Detroit Worldcon and was supported with a special John Berry fan fund. (His 130,000-word trip report, The Goon Goes West came from that trip.)

He founded the APA IPSO in 1960, the same year he won the Skyrack poll for Best Fan Writer. Although extremely active through 1962, his activity began to peter out and by 1964, following the publication with ATom of Harlequin, he gafiated, only becoming active in fandom again in the 1980s.

He died in November, 2011, following a lengthy battle with cancer.


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