Max Keasler

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(1932 – August 12, 1968)

From left, Walter Willis as Southern Fan, Lee Hoffman as Quandry (she printed her fanzine on her dress), and Max Keasler as a fan from Missouri, at the Chicon 2 masquerade, 1952.

W. Max Keasler, a St. Louis-area fan, was one of the leading fans of the 1950s and of Sixth Fandom, but had largely gafiated by the ’60s. Ray Nelson had interested him in fandom, and while still in high school, he published Fanvariety in the very early 1950s. For a time, he was enormously prolific with a rough and ready writing and editing style. He was a fanartist, too; Harlan Ellison called him a “true ‘craftsman’ of the field” of fanzine art in Sol IX.

When he joined the N3F, the N.F.F.F. Committeeman (October 1950, p. 3) commented:

W. Max Keasler—420 South 11th St., Poplar Bluff, Mo. No other info as yet. Sent in name and buck on stationery for the BLUFFER student publication, Senior High School.

Along with Rich Elsberry and Roger Sims, he was the actual renter of Room 770 at Nolacon. He created Fanvariety Enterprises, and published Opus. He was known as an enemy of (or, at least, on unfriendly terms with) grammar. He published Universal Fanvariety with Ray Nelson.

Opus ran into problems with the Post Office because of content -- fans saw Censorship -- and due to obscure regulations about staples. When one post office refused to mail it, he went to another and later said that "It's the first time I ever border-ran a fanzine."

He left fandom abruptly when he enlisted in the Navy, though he credited his fanac with getting him a good Navy job.

Lee Hoffman said of him, "Max was the personification of Sixth Fandom in America: young, witty, enthusiastic. He openly avowed that he never read science fiction. He blazed across the fan skies, speaking in interlineations, publishing monthly, filling the world with Ray Nelson drawings. Then he disappeared."

Fanzines and Apazines:

Person 19321968
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