Francis Towner Laney
(Did you mean a different FTL?)
(March 11, 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. He and his friend, Charles Burbee, had a mutual-admiration society, Laney coining the phrase “Fabulous Burbee-Like Character,” but they could be cruel. They made such mock of Al Ashley with the Ashley Mythos, which Harry Warner said was an unfair characterization, that Ashley left California and gafiated.
Other fannish publications included Fan-Dango. Laney 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),
In 1937 he married Georgia Turner in Washington state, but they divorced not long after. In 1939, he married Alberta Mallow (called "Jackie" in FTL's fanwriting) in Clarksburg, Washington. They had a daughter, Sonya (called "The Child Quiggie" in FTL's fanwriting) in 1942. FTP reported in fannish publications to have had another daughter called "Sandy." Alberta and Francis divorced in about 1947. He gafiated in the late 1940s, and embraced Dianetics in 1950. He married Edith Campbell Bouck in 1951 in California and appears to have adopted her sons by a previous marriage David and Lionel. He died of bone cancer in 1958.
- 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)
|This is a biography page. Please extend it by adding more information about the person, such as fanzines and apazines published, awards, clubs, conventions worked on, GoHships, impact on fandom, external links, anecdotes, etc. See Standards for People and The Naming of Names.|