Last and First Fen
Last and First Fen was a tapera, an audio taped show, created by Liverpool’s MaD Productions in 1956, based (we think) on a script by Jack Speer. “Eighteen months in the making, and a quite fabulous thing,” according to Eric Bentcliffe in Waldo no. 1 (December 1959). The tape ran 45 minutes long and premiered at Cytricon II.
Last and First Men is the title of a 1930 novel by Olaf Stapledon. And we could be totally wrong, and the LāSFāS fans may have written their own parody instead of using Speer’s by then 10-year-old fannish play.
A United Press story in 1945 quoted Major P. C. Calhoun, “head of the A.A.F. guided-missile branch,” as saying that they expected to be able to shoot a rocket to the moon within 18 months, and within five years “to have a rocket that will carry men outside the Earth’s atmosphere and return safely.” Some stefinists were not so sanguine: in Gerry de la Ree’s polls of SF readers, authors, and editors, the majority estimated a date of 1950 or sooner for manned flight to the moon or another planet.
- The Captain is Arthur C. Clarke, who was nicknamed Ego.
- Starfasci is Larry Farsaci, who was stationed at Tule Lake during the war.
- Stuff is “Juffus.”
- Ole must be E. Everett Evans.
- One-Face is 4SJ (Ackerman), sometimes known as “#1 Face.”
- The Mad Scientist is Milton A. Rothman.
- Joke is Joe Kennedy.
- The Youngfans were not specific persons.
- Ninety-four is Al Ashley, AA-194 (his score on a test, which an excerpt in the NESFA Press book will explain).
- Gallop is Art Widner, the Poll Cat.
- BFSers would have been members of the British Fantasy Society.
- MFS is, of course, the Minneapolis Fantasy Society.
- The Nitrosynthetic (it was Nitrosyncretic in my manuscript) voice must have been Abby Lu Ashley, but I don’t remember why that word.
- Incidentally, it was X.J. “Joe” Kennedy, its original publisher, who named the play. I submitted it titleless.
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