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Laney, Francis T

Entry updated 17 January 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic, Fan.

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(1914-1958) US fan, author, critic and Fanzine publisher whose publication of greatest genre significance was The Acolyte (14 issues 1942-1946), an Amateur Magazine centred on H P Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. A resulting spinoff was Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937): A Tentative Bibliography (1943 chap) with Bill Evans.

Laney's fanzine Fan-Dango (25 issues 1943-1950; also known as Fan Dango or Fandango) was also highly regarded in Fandom, where however he is best remembered for the autobiographical Ah! Sweet Idiocy! The Fan Memoirs of Francis T. Laney (1948; exp 2019 ebook), published like Fan-Dango through FAPA. This lively though often embittered polemic attacked many contemporary fans – mostly fellow-members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, including Forrest J Ackerman – for perceived faults of personality and commitment; there is a troubling vein of homophobia, yet many of the pen-portraits are surprisingly affectionate. It has been reprinted more than once and is of some historical value when taken with the necessary grain of salt. A posthumous collection of generally more light-hearted work from Fan-Dango and elsewhere is Ah! Sweet Laney! The Writings of a Great Big Man (coll 2007) edited by Robert Lichtman; this also reprints some appreciations first published in The Stormy Petrel: A Collection of Articles about Francis Towner Laney (anth 1959 chap) edited by Terry Carr. [DRL]

Francis Towner Laney

born Denver, Colorado: 11 March 1914

died St Louis, Missouri: 8 June 1958

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