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February 7, 2007

Lee Hoffman, 1932-2007
Posted by Teresa at 08:25 PM * 33 comments

LeeH is dead of a massive heart attack; this news via Geri Sullivan.

Some links:

A page about Lee Hoffman, with links to further material.
Geri Sullivan’s memorial essay.
The Wikipedia entry.
Lee Hoffman’s autobiography.
From the autobiography: Mimeo ink, fanac, and paperbacks.
In and Out of Quandry, a collection published by NESFA Press.
An online archive of Quandry.
An online archive of Science-Fiction Five-Yearly.

Comments on Lee Hoffman, 1932-2007:
#1 ::: Rich Coad ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 09:05 PM:

That's awful news. I was looking forward to reading my piece in the latest SFFY into a tape recorder for her at Corflu this weekend. Damn. Another legendary fan gone.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 09:30 PM:

Now I really wish I were going to Corflu. Raise a glass for me, Rich.

#4 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Damn. Another good one gone.

#5 ::: Kiwi C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 10:00 PM:

That's too bad! I liked her books! I also knew her nephew Gary once upon a time. Sigh.

#6 ::: D. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 10:04 PM:

Damn. Just...damn!

As a Fancestor, and as a person, she will be missed.

#7 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 10:07 PM:

Oh no. She was one of the first fannish fans I met, at Chicon in 1982 (my second convention), and she was very nice.

I ought to have read The Valdez Horses before now. I'll dig it up.

#8 ::: Robert Lichtman ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 10:23 PM:

So sorry to hear this! She'll be *very* missed....

--Robert

#9 ::: handdrummer ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 10:36 PM:

One of the proudest days of my life was when Lee, in an inscription she wrote in one of her books, pronounced me a "trufan".

Just how many irreplaceable people has it been this past year?

I'm feeling so old...so old...

#10 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 10:42 PM:

Years ago when I was little the King County Library System published and sent out a summer flyer of books they recommended in all sorts of genres. I remember I got the flyer in the mail and got the Bookmobile to order two of the listed books for me, and one was The Legend of Blackjack Sam. I've read a few westerns since then, but none as outrageously funny as that one: I finally got myself a copy via addall.com last year and found out the author was Lee Hoffman. This is sad news.

#11 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 11:21 PM:

One of the first books I ever bought by myself in a real store (as opposed to book fairs/Weekly Reader book sales sheets) was Caves of Karst. At the Jones Store in Metcalf South.

introduced all kinds of ideas and helped kick start me into looking for more.

We're losing all our old ones. Dammit.

#12 ::: Carol Carr ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2007, 11:31 PM:

I knew her best in the '60s: funny, smart, and a sterling heart. So sorry to hear this.

#13 ::: Geri Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 01:45 AM:

A few minutes ago, I found myself adding this to yet another announcement about LeeH's death:

"One thing I do know: the Pogo gang is welcoming her spirit home to the swamp right now. And that, at least, is a good thing."

Indeed. Realizing that quickly led me to the Mock Fueds entry on rich brown's list of fan terms. After covering the Staple Wars, and the mock "religious" wars between GhuGhuism and FooFooism, we get to the battle over steam:

One of the best mock feuds was the battle over steam between Ken Bulmer and Vincent Clarke, on the one hand, and Walt Willis and Lee Hoffman on the other. Bulmer cleverly established his claim to be the 'inventor' (a.k.a. the father) of steam during a visit Willis paid to the Epicentre; noting that the lid to his tea kettle appeared to be lifted by the strange forces that resided in the vapors produced by the boiling waters, Bulmer remarked on the possibility of someday harnessing this energy to provide transportation and other benefits to all mankind. Not long thereafter, LeeH formed Hoffmanothing to supply the needs of the Ft. Mudge Steam Calliope Company. Vincent Clarke, acting as Bulmer's m/o/u/t/h/p/i/e/c/e/ barrister, sent notice to Ms. Hoffman that this was a clear infringement of Mssr. Bulmer's patent or copyright or whatever it was. Rather than pay the fees suggested by Clarke, however, Ms. Hoffman retained the services of Walter Alexandrew Willis, whose legal expertice may be gauged by the fact that his firm had apparently never heard of the concept of 'conflict of interests'--he was one of her columnists, so he wound up representing her. As is usually the case when matters turn litigious, no real 'results' were obtained by either side, and although Hoffman and Bulmer managed (without the aid of legal counsel) to reach enough agreement to form an international group to supply white steam for general use, aka "Fair Steam," clearly the edge was off. The legal exchanges were really only so much hot air--but that, of course, is a vital element in the production of steam. Thus, neither firm managed to capture the markets they should have, as witness the fact that NASA went on to utilize those dreadfully expensive liquid-fuel rockets and, in all the world, there's not a single steam-powered computer to be had.

LeeH. Walter. VinĀ¢. Tucker, rich brown, Chuch, and oh, so many more. Their shields of Umor are passed along to us. May we all keep them well-polished and shining bright.

#14 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 04:28 AM:

Damn. Another great name of fandom leaves the convention lounge. I never met Lee but was proud to be allowed to write a couple of pieces for Science Fiction Five-Yearly. May Pogo be with her.

#15 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 05:58 AM:

I've been a fan of Lee's writing for about 30 years now. Very witty. I met her very briefly at Chicon in '82, but that was it in person.

Fancestor - lovely term that someone used uptopic.

#16 ::: Debbie Notkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 10:35 AM:

I thought of LeeH within the last couple of weeks, of all things while watching The Buddy Holly Story. The sequence where Buddy Holly and the Crickets show up to play their booking at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and cause a great stir by being white reminded me of Lee showing up at an early Worldcon and causing a great stir by being female.

#17 ::: Geri Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 11:17 AM:

And here's another small tale from LeeH, with a followup from me. We were talking about symbols that belonged in the masthead when starting work on SFFY #10; this would have been sometime in 1995 or early in '96. After telling me about the Hugo Gernsback SF logo she liked to use, she wrote the following:

"Similarly I'd planned to use the NRA Blue Eagle regularly, too (even if I couldn't print it in blue). Not so fannish perhaps, but definitely trivial, and it did appear on some of the pulps and comics.

"Or should I switch to the NLCRA Blue Eagle? That's trivia, too, and while it's not exactly filk, it's kind of fannish. I had the initial idea for the tags, the people sponsoring the concert were all SF readers and on the fringes of fandom. The tags were printed by Dick Ellington on the Lib League press. And Tom Paley once did a cover for a fanzine. (Don't ask me which one. I don't remember. It was before my time. Though come to think of it, it may have been Al Weinstein's _Ad Infinitum_--though my Galloping Senility has prolly churned my memory to the point I've got ed's name and the zine's name wrong.)

"I wonder if there's anyone in fandom who'd know the NLCRA was the New Lost City Ramblers Appreciators. Handing the tags out in Wash Sq was the first move in publicizing the Ramblers' premiere concert in NYC. We started giving the tags away without telling anyone what they were all about. When anyone asked what NLCRA stood for, we told'em "National Labor Council of Russian Anarchists." That didn't seem to stop anyone from wearing a tag on a button, or hanging it from a guitar neck. Shortly after, Izzy Young told us people were coming into the Folklore Center looking to buy them. I'm quite sure there's an old NLCRA tag around here somewhere. If I can ever find it, I'll send it to you."

Some months later, LeeH did find that old NLCRA tag, and she gave it to me. I treasured it until the right time came, then passed it on to PNH at a Minicon music party. Some Making Light readers have probably seen it hanging from his guitar or tucked in Patrick's guitar case.

#18 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Ah, damn. What a loss.

#19 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 03:39 PM:

I know her only as a Fancestor, but I feel the loss.

My generation is quickly becoming the Elder Generation of fandom. The losses just make me sad; that prospect scares me.

#20 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 03:55 PM:

While sorting maps, one summer long ago;
Okeefenokee quadrangle I found
And searched upon that sheet, and hoped to know
If Fort Mudge was a veritable town.
I found the spot, beside a railroad line;
A name alone, no building could I see.
If marked at all, it's only with a sign,
Yet it's a shrine to human comedy.
So friends we never meet, yet know by name
Are like a party somewhere else, unseen.
We hear the sound, but know it's not the same.
They're lines on paper, faces on a screen.
Another day, another chance is gone.
Their words, like names on maps, will still live on.

#21 ::: Chris Priest ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2007, 07:01 PM:

What sad and depressing news. One by one we slide off the twig. Goodbye, Lee. Tell them the one about Harlan ...

#22 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2007, 07:58 AM:

I wonder if someone will someday make a collection of old fanzines online that is sliced sideways, so one could read, for instance, all the available fanzines that arrived in the mail in April 1952, then proceed to the May 1952 issues...

Then a reader could see the fannish dialogue unfold in the same way the original participants did.

The phone calls, club meetings, conventions, and poctsarcds would still be missing, though.

#23 ::: Gregg Calkins ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Sometimes the idiocy isn't so sweet. LeeH was my inspiration and my ideal, I desired nothing more than to have Oopsla! someday considered maybe even a bit like Quandry, I aspired to her style and to her columnists and to her friends. The high spot of my fannish career was meeting her and Tucker and Vick and Willis and Elsberry and others now also hanging on, way back at the Chicon eons ago. LeeH was two years older than I am, I see...I knew she was an Older Woman back then, of course, but still this comes as a shock to me...how can such things happen? I will have to get out my copies of Quandry tonight and revisit her while I still have time.

#24 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2007, 06:40 PM:

Long time no see, some of you -- and Kip, that's lovely.

A couple of nights ago, I dreamed that I was the last fan in the world. I didn't like it.

At our last Tor editorial meeting, while we were waiting for the meeting proper to start, several of us got into a discussion of First Fandom's new rule that anyone can qualify who's been a fan for thirty years. We deplored this on the grounds that (1.) it doesn't make sense, and (2.) several of us would qualify.

I opined that the real First Fandom was the set of all fans who remembered a world before science fiction. I don't mean before Verne, Wells, and the World's Columbian Exposition; I mean before there were reassuringly regular, tangible, explicitly skiffy magazines, and other real-world manifestations (for instance) of the scientifictional thing.

I don't know what dates our generation. Maybe we're the ones for whom the default state was that unless we were second-generation SF readers, or lucky in our friends, we had no one to talk to about science fiction. (Back then, you didn't have to append "and fantasy," because it wasn't separate yet.) I think it was Jim Young who defined that era's fannish mating call as "Say, I see you read science fiction."

"It is a proud and lonely thing to be a fan" was genuinely axiomatic. Young fans now may understand that we used to say that, but I don't know that they can completely wrap their brains around what that meant, or how it was back then, the same way I know that I'll never entirely understand what it was like to fall in love with the idea of science fiction when the thing itself had only a slender existence.

I have lived to hear the fannish diction spread out over the internet and be spoken all over the world. It's a strange future I find myself living in. If Claude is still alive, I hope he's laughing his ass off.

#25 ::: Art Widner ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2007, 03:53 PM:


In the program book for Noreascon 3, where NESFA honored The Stranger Club, by bringing the 6 of us still living back as Fan GOHs, I wrote a history of the SC, ending withe tribute that the club took out the "lonely" and left the "proud."

I just found out from Lenny that Lee has passed, & am moved to relate a strange coincidence:
Way long ago, Lee Tuckerized me in a western story called "Trouble Valley." I knew nothing of this,Tuckerizing having started after i gafiated. Speer informed me of this many years later, & sent me a copy of the book, altho he denies this now.

Anyway, Lee made me the lead character but named me "Gus." so i wasnt sure that it was a true Tuckerization, since there never was a Gus in our family, & i thot she mytv got it from the fone book or some such, Widner being a more common name in the South. She said no, it was me.

Now leap ahead another dozen years or so & my grandotrs r popping our great gsons at a frytning rate. Magenta, my Forest Ranger gdotr, married a Norwegian from Alabama, who escaped & wound up on Mt Baker where they now live. They named their first baby "Gustav" after one of his relatives.
So this may be the first case since Pinocchio of a fictional character becoming a real boy! Magenta & her husband, Mark, of course, knew nothing of all this background. And teknikly, he isnt "Gus Widner" but "Gus Widner-Rikard."

#26 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2007, 04:24 PM:

Art. Who's left besides you and Speer and Ackerman?

#27 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2007, 04:38 PM:

At Conjose, back in 2002, a First Fandom meeting was held at which Dave Kyle, Jack Speer, and Art Widner all expressed opposition to the policy of extending membership eligibility to anyone with 30 years in fandom. Jack Speer proposed a modification in which 30 years of fanac would qualify applicants for an "associate" membership. I had been under the impression that this modification was voted at that meeting as a specific directive. But Jack was just by a couple of minutes ago. He says that his notes on the consensus at that meeting were received only as an advisory recommendation.

Corflu has been great, so far, by the way. Last night we got to see Graham Charnock in concert performing the song cycle from his legendary Astral Leaugue Tape. ("He was not much to look at -- but his broomstick was intact.")

#28 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Fred Pohl, Bob Madle, Dave Kyle, Rusty Hevelin ....
Art says Pogo (Patty Corinne Gray) may still be around.

#29 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2007, 06:33 PM:

Would Ray Bradbury be considered part of First Fandom? I saw a really aged picture of him at a very early con when he was quite young.

I've been kicking around fandom for over 32 years now, but still think the notion of being "eligible" for First Fandom ludicrous. I think those of us who stumbled into fandom in the mid-70s are part of Seventh Fandom, aren't we? And I think the next breakpoint was the horde of fans who came in after Star Wars.

#30 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Well, Bradbury's first published story was in a fanzine called Imagination! in 1938, so I guess the answer would be yes.

If our mid-1970s cohort was the real Seventh Fandom, does that mean the mad dogs have kneed us in the groin, rubbed dirt in our eyes and rabbit-punched their way to a first-round decision? You know, for that one article in Lee Hoffman's Quandry (#25, January 1952), Robert Silverberg has a lot to answer for.

#31 ::: David Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Sad news indeed. Fare well, Lee....

#32 ::: Mark Edward Branson ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Lee was my father's first cousin.

Our family will always be proud of her.

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