Merv Binns

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(8 July 1934 – 7 April 2020)

Merv Binns, an Australian fan and bookshop owner, was a founding member of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club and founder of the Melbourne Fantasy Film Group. Proprietor of Australia's first specialist SF bookshop, Space Age Books. GoH at the Ninth Australian National Convention in 1970, at Ozcon in 1974, at Wellcon B in 1980, and at Thylacon IV, the 44th Australian National Convention in 2005. Chair of 1981 Cinecon convention. Winner of 1985 Ditmar Award for Best Australian Fanzine for his Australian SF News. Recipient of A. Bertram Chandler Award in 1993, Big Heart Award in 2010, Infinity Award in 2012, and the Peter McNamara Achievement Award in 2015.

In 1952, a small group of Melbourne science fiction fans formed the Melbourne Science Fiction Group, which was later to become the Melbourne Science Fiction Club, or MSFC. Mervyn Binns, who worked at McGill's Newsagency bookshop, one of the few places in Melbourne that stocked science fiction magazines at that time, joined the group in that year. He was a member of the Amateur Fantasy Publications of Australia whose mimeo was located in his garage.

Merv improved the range of science fiction literature available through McGills, and found the club some space it could rent from McGill's, at 19 Somerset Place. He was the club's first librarian, and operated a Roneo duplicator for fanzine production.

In 1966, the McGill's warehouse at 19 Somerset Place was the venue for the seventh Australian Natcon, Olympicon.

By April 1971, Space Age Books had opened. Its initial upstairs premises did not have room for club meetings, but when the shop had moved to larger premises on Swanston St, it had space for the club library and club meetings.

In 1980 he was a GoH at Unicon 6.

Merv sourced films, including a rare copy of Metropolis for his Melbourne Fantasy Film Group and, in 1981, ran a Cinecon convention that had Bob Bloch as its GoH.

In 1992, Merv was amongst the Guests of Honour at Conjunction 3.

In 2005, he was awarded Life Membership of the MSFC, or had such status reconfirmed.

In 2015, it was announced at Swancon 40, in Perth, that he had won the Peter McNamara Achievement Award. It was presented to him by Bruce Gillespie at the opening ceremony of Continuum 11, in Melbourne, later that year.

He continued to publish fanzines, and was working on his fannish memoirs. From early in the twenty-first century he suffered from serious heart problems which eventually led to his death in April 2020.

Obituary in The Sydney Morning Herald by Leigh Edmonds.

Fanzines and Apazines:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19342020
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