Francis Towner Laney
(1914 – June 8, 1958)
Francis Towner “Fran” Laney (also known as FTL and the Laniac) moved to LA in late 1943 or early 1944 and was an important fan there in the 1940s. He gafiated (spectacularly) in 1948 and went silent to even the friends he’d remained in touch with in March of 1957. Still, his death a year later was one of those which marked 1958 as the Year of the Jackpot.
His best-known fanzine was The Acolyte (14 issues, 1942-1946) (with Duane W. Rimel and later Samuel D. Russell), devoted to the memory of H. P. Lovecraft, but he is most remembered for his gafiation zine, the autobiographical Ah! Sweet Idiocy! (1948) that reported what Laney saw as the seamy side of fandom. His incisive writing made him a major figure long after his relatively brief tenure in fandom.
Laney was one of the Insurgents. Other fannish publications included Fan-Dango. He also tried to recognize fuggheadedness with the Fan-Dango Awards. He was active in the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (and was a member of the Order of Dagon), but left SF fandom in the late 1940s, and embraced Dianetics in 1950. He was married to Jackie Laney.
In 1996, Laney was nominated for the 1946 Best Fan Writer Retro Hugo.
He died of bone cancer.
- Obituary in Fanac #19 p. 1.
- Terry Carr's The Stormy Petrel has articles by Carr, Charles Burbee, Robert Bloch, Harry Warner and Jack Speer about Laney after he died.
- Francis Towner Laney Collection, 1943–1952, Cushing Library, University of Texas.
- The Acolyte [1942-46] (with Duane W. Rimel and Samuel D. Russell)
- Ah! Sweet Idiocy! [late 40s]
- Cosmic Circle Commentator
- Facts in the Case of W. Dunkelberger 
- Fan-Dango [1943-50] (for FAPA)
- Laniac 
- One Fingers Number Four Fingers Number One [1940s] (with Charles Burbee, Walt Liebscher and Jack Speer)
- The Panty Raiser  (with James Kepner)
- Shangri L'Affaires [1940s] (some issues)
- Wild Hair [late 40s-1950] (for FAPA with other Insurgents)
- Venus-Con  (with Mel Brown, for FAPA)
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