Dick Smith

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(???? – )

Propeller-beanie in place, Dick Smith cranks a Gestetner at Windycon 29 in 2002. Photo by Chaz Boston Baden, courtesy Hazel's Picture Gallery.

Dick Smith (aka Uncle Dick and RheS) entered fandom in Wisconsin during the late 1970s, but has been most active from Chicago. He has been a prominent apahack, convention fan, fanzine publisher, traveling jiant and curmudgeon.

He is formally Richard H. E. Smith II.[1] Smtih, his Cultish nickname, is based on a typo, possibly in his own apazine.

Dick and his wife, Leah Zeldes Smith, were the 1993 winners of the Down Under Fan Fund and delegates to Swancon 18, the Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Perth, Western Australia, as well as to fan centers throughout the country. He is a frequent speaker and panelist on subjects related to fandom, fan publishing, science fiction and technology. He was toastmaster at Genuine ConFusion in 1984.

The Smiths' fanzine STET was a three-time Hugo Award nominee. In the 1980s, Smith published the Hogu Award-winning title Uncle Dick's Little Thing.

Dick was extensively active in numerous amateur press associations during the 1970s and '80s, including the Fantasy Amateur Press Association; The Cult, where he was a recipient of the Peter J. Vorzimer Award; ApaTech; MiSHAP; SLANapa; FAPA; TAPS; ANZAPA; and APA-H. He co-founded Windyapa and currently belongs to Milwapa, where he and his wife have contributed an apazine called Unsettled since 2011. He was OE of WOOF from 1981–84.

He created FEN, Inc., and for a number of years ran a service that mailed out fanzines for other faneds at educational bulk rates and consolidated them for overseas M-bag shipping. He and Leah pubbed Postal Pointers to explain the process.

Smith and his wife organized an unnamed relaxacon (sometimes referred to as Old Phart Con) in 1989 and 1990; Ditto, a fanzine convention, in 1990 and 2001 (the latter held jointly with FanHistoriCon); and Operacon in 2015. He has worked on the concoms of many Worldcons and other science fiction conventions and bids. The Smiths were the U.S. agents who spearheaded bidding efforts for Aussiecon Three, and Dick was appointed Ausssiecon's representative to the World Science Fiction Society's Mark Protection Committee.

Smith is a member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, the Cincinnati Fantasy Group and General Technics, and was a regular at Thursday.

Smith is known within fandom for his interest in antique printing techniques and collection of devices, such as hectographs, letterpresses, spirit duplicators, mimeographs and obsolete computers. People have been known to leave orphaned Gestetners on his front porch in the middle of the night. Bruce Pelz dubbed Dick’s collection the Museum of Ancient Fan Instrumentation & Artifacts (MAFIA).

A computer consultant in mundane life, he has also been a computer guru to many fans and pros, including Mike Resnick and Frederik Pohl. Fred dedicated his 2011 novel, All the Lives He Led, to Dick.

Leah and Dick Smith, 2012.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Dick moved to the Chicago area in 1979 (in time for the blizzard) and became active in both local fandom and around the U.S., since he traveled extensively for his job. He met Leah Zeldes at a con neither of them can remember. After several years of a long-distance relationship, they married in 1985.

Fanzines and Apazines:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:


  1. His middle names are Hilbert Edwin. (He was named for his father, and by some customs should be a “Jr.,” but the Smiths — who all have two middle names — believe in the dynastic system.)

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