Tom Reamy

Tom Reamy (January 23, 1935 – November 4, 1977) was an American science fiction and fantasy author and a key figure in 1960s and 1970s science fiction fandom. He died prior to the publication of his first novel; his work is primarily dark fantasy.

Tom Reamy
Thomas Earl Reamy

January 23, 1935
Woodson, Texas, USA
DiedNovember 4, 1977 (aged 42)
Independence, Missouri, USA

Fan, editor, convention organizer

Thomas Earl Reamy was born in Woodson, Texas during the Great Depression. While still in his teens in the early 1950s, Reamy became active in science fiction fandom's fanzine and convention culture, as both a fan writer and fan artist. During this period, Reamy began to experiment with writing fantasy and science fiction stories. He was never quite satisfied with or confident enough to submit his stories to the editors of the professional genre magazines of the era, despite encouragement from friends and others who felt he had talent; Reamy continued to hone his writing for many years, while exploring other expressions for his growing creativity.

Reamy, along with transplanted Texan Orville W. Mosher, founded the first organized science fiction fan club in Texas: The Dallas Futurian Society (DFS), so named after the earlier New York Futurians. The DFS was founded in late fall of 1953 when Reamy was eighteen, and the club was continually active until July 6, 1958, when it expired in a colorful fashion. During that five-year period, Mosher and Reamy traded off editing the club's fanzine CriFanAc (a fandom term for Critical Fan Activity), attracting a variety of contributors, both local and from greater science fiction fandom; Reamy became its sole editor with its sixth issue. He had been contributing both artwork and commentary to its pages, as he was also doing to other science fiction fanzines of the era.

With fellow Dallas Futurians James and Gregory Benford, Reamy organized the first science fiction convention held in Texas. A rotating city and state regional convention of the era, Southwesterncon's sixth incarnation was held in Dallas on the weekend of July 5, 1958, concluding the next day, July 6; the professional guest of honor was new writer and well-known fan Marion Zimmer Bradley, who by then had replaced Fredric Brown. Longtime science fiction fan personality, collector, and literary agent Forrest J Ackerman came from Los Angeles and served at the convention's banquet as toastmaster.

On the last day of the convention, the members of the Dallas Futurian Society disbanded their club as part of Southwestercon VI's business meeting. During that meeting, club co-founder Orville W. Mosher, the man behind much of the club's behind-the-scenes intrigue and politics during its final few years, was elected by club consensus as DFS' new president. Then just moments later, the same Dallas Futurian Society voted to officially disband itself forever; the motion passed, despite objections by Mosher. Some former DFS members went off to college following the club's demise, while others continued to gather socially for years, having dispensed with the negative fan politics that had divided them as a more formal science fiction club; Mosher was never heard from again. Gregory Benford later moved to California, where he became a physicist and astronomer at the University of California, Irvine and an award-winning science fiction writer; his brother James Benford, also a member, became a physicist and occasional fiction-writer.

During the mid-to-late 1960s, while working as a technical illustrator for aerospace contractor Collins Radio at their Dallas branch, Reamy became the editor and publisher of Trumpet, a slickly produced, professionally printed fanzine (the norm for the era was to use the much less expensive ditto or mimeograph reproduction for fanzines). Between 1965 and 1969 ten issues appeared, the later issues having full-color front covers. In 1966 Trumpet received enough nominations for inclusion on that year's final Hugo Awards ballot; it was later ruled as being ineligible because it failed to meet the Hugo's minimum number of published issues requirement needed for nomination. In 1967 and then again in 1969 Trumpet made it on the final ballot in the Best Fanzine category for science fiction's Hugo Award.

In the late 1960s Reamy also organized and became chairman of Dallas fandom's long-running "Big D in '73" bid to host the 31st World Science Fiction Convention. He also edited and designed the bid's official publication, The Dallascon Bulletin, which, like Trumpet, used photo-offset printing. Nothing like them had been produced by previous Worldcon bidders. Each issue's appearance polarized strong support for or against the Texas bid, due to its widespread, free circulation to 6000+, and the large amount of paid advertising each issue carried. As a result, the Texans were sometimes accused of trying to buy a win for the Dallas bid. Ultimately, the long-running Dallascon bid collapsed for complex reasons unrelated to this controversy, several months before 1973's site-selection vote was taken at Noreascon, the 1971 Worldcon in Boston. As a result, the Toronto bid won the 31st Worldcon, becoming Torcon II.

Early in the 1970s, Reamy became one of the founders of the Dallas area's Turkey City Writer's Workshop. Many new Texas genre writers emerged from this workshop, eventually giving birth in 1976 to the all-Texas original speculative fiction hardcover anthology, Lone Star Universe; the workshop continues to this day.

Reamy's high-profile Worldcon bid in science fiction fandom and its Dallascon Bulletin had a lasting impact: These and Reamy's ten issues of Trumpet inspired the formation on July 3, 1971 of the still-ongoing Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS) and several year's later, Kansas City's bid for the 1976 Worldcon. Many of Dallas' "Big Bid" concepts were adopted by KC and used in its multi-level bidding strategy. Reamy joined the KC bid at chairman Ken Keller's request, shortly before their victory in 1974, filling two key department head positions on the convention committee. The ill-fated "Big D in '73" bid was reborn in Kansas City as "KC in '76." Kansas City went on to win their Worldcon bid at Discon 2, held during Labor Day weekend 1974.

Following his move to KC in the late summer of 1974, Reamy retired Trumpet and began publishing the similar Nickelodeon. There, with new business partner Ken Keller, he started a typesetting and graphic design business, Nickelodeon Graphics Arts Service. Together, they created the publications division for KC's now official MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention. Reamy immediately established a strong editorial style and modern graphic design approach to the convention's progress reports and other publications. That included a first: a full-sized, hardcover program book, a concept left over from the old Dallascon bid. All of this had a permanent influence on all Worldcon publications that followed. Reamy was also the department head of the convention's ambitious film program department that developed another first: a comprehensive, 80-hour, all 35mm science fiction film retrospective within a World Science Fiction Convention. The concept included a movie theater-style concessions area that offered freshly popped popcorn, selections of soda, and candies.

Published writer

In the early 1970s, having honed his writing craft quietly for many years, Reamy felt confident enough to begin submitting his fiction to the genre's magazines and original short story anthologies; his work began selling almost immediately, the first two stories on the very same day. Thirteen stories of various lengths and one novel were completed before his untimely death.

Reamy's only novel Blind Voices, published posthumously in both hardcover and mass-market paperback editions, earned critical comparisons with the works of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, and Harlan Ellison. The novel deals with the arrival of a strange and wonderful “freak show” at a rural town in Kansas during the 1920s and its effects on the lives of the residents. While not quite as polished as those authors’ works (there was some question as to whether Reamy intended another draft of the novel, at least), critics regarded Blind Voices as an exceptional first novel, causing both fans and critics to ponder how important a figure he could have become if he had lived.

Other than Blind Voices, the only other Tom Reamy book is a posthumous collection of his shorter fiction, San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories, also published in both hardcover and mass-market paperback. "San Diego Lightfoot Sue," the individual story, won the 1975 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and was a finalist for the 1976 Hugo Award for Best Novelette.

Only one original, 17,000-word Reamy story remains unpublished after all this time: the novella "Potiphee, Petey and Me" was sold to Harlan Ellison for his now infamous Last Dangerous Visions original anthology and was supposed to have been published in the third and final volume of that series; the book has yet to appear forty-plus years later.


Tom Reamy died on November 4, 1977[1] at age 42 while at his home in Independence, Missouri. He was found dead from a heart attack, slumped over his typewriter seven pages into a new, untitled story for editor Edward L. Ferman at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He was laid to rest in Woodson Cemetery in Woodson, Texas, where other members of the Reamy family were interred. Prior to his death, Reamy and artist George Barr had begun working again on their graphic novel adaptation of Poul Anderson's fantasy novel The Broken Sword, which had begun appearing a decade before in the pages of Reamy's Trumpet; the project languished after his untimely death.

Published works

  • Novels:
    • Blind Voices (1978)
  • Collections:
    • San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories (1979)
  • Anthologies containing stories by Tom Reamy:
    • Nova 4 (1974)
    • Orbit 17 (1974)
    • New Dimensions 6 (1975)
    • Nebula Award Stories 10 (1975)
    • Lone Star Universe (1976)
    • The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction #22 (1976)
    • Nebula Award Stories 11 (1976)
    • Six Science Fiction Plays (1976)
    • The Thirteen Crimes of Science Fiction (1980)
    • New Voices 4 (1981)
    • Sci-Fi Private Eye (1984)
    • Light Years and Dark (1984)
    • A Treasury of American Horror Stories (1985)
    • Demons! (1987)
    • The Best Horror Stories from the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1988)
    • Passing for Human (2009)
  • Published short stories:
    • "Beyond the Cleft" (1974)
    • "Twilla" (1974)
    • "San Diego Lightfoot Sue" (August 1975) The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction pages 6–45, 151
    • "Under the Hollywood Sign" (1975)
    • "Dinosaurs" (1976)
    • "Mistress of Windraven" (1976)
    • "The Sweetwater Factor" (1976)
    • "The Detweiler Boy" (1977)
    • "Insects in Amber" (1978)
    • "Waiting for Billy Star" (1978)
    • "2076: Blue Eyes" (1979)
    • "M is for the Million Things" (1981)
  • One unpublished 17,000-word story sold to The Last Dangerous Visions:
    • "Potiphee, Petey and Me" (1975)
  • One unpublished, untitled, unfinished short story
    • Untitled (1977)
  • Screenplays:
    • "The Goddaughter" (produced 1972; Reamy credited only as Assistant Director)
    • "The Mislayed Genie" (produced, 1973)
    • "Sting" (1975) (unproduced)
    • "The Screaming Night: A Screenplay" with Howard Waldrop (?) (unproduced)
  • Hollywood Film Crew:

Awards and nominations

External links


  1. ^ Tom Reamy, Find a Grave.
  • Budrys, Algis. "Tom Reamy: A Masterful Fantasist". Trumpet magazine #12, Fall, 1980, Kansas City, MO. No ISSN. (Posthumous essay on Reamy's professional works and their place in fantasy and science fiction literature.)
  • Cadigan, Pat. "Interview: The Genie-us of Tom Reamy." Shayol magazine #1, November 1977, Flight Unlimited, Kansas City, MO. No ISSN. (Lengthy Reamy interview published posthumously the same month of his death.)
  • Sanders, Joe. Science Fiction Fandom. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT., 1994. ISBN 0-313-23380-2.
  • Waldrop, Howard. "Tom Reamy Dies", Locus #206 (Vol. 10, No, 9), November 1977, The Newspaper of the Science Fiction Field. (Original draft version of Reamy's obituary that Waldrop would later expand as an Afterword for the Reamy short story collection. See next entry.)
  • Waldrop, Howard. "Tom, Tom! A Reminiscence", 1979, Earthlight Publishers, Kansas City, MO. ISBN 0-935128-00-X. (Lengthy book Afterword to Reamy's short story collection San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories, containing many biographical details.)
  • Warner, Jr., Harry. A Wealth of Fable: An Informal History of Science Fiction Fandom in the 1950s. SciFi Press, Van Nuys, CA., 1992. ISBN 0-9633099-0-0.
34th World Science Fiction Convention

The 34th World Science Fiction Convention carried the official name MidAmeriCon (abbreviated as MAC) and was held September 2–6, 1976, in Kansas City, Missouri, United States, at the Radisson Muehlebach Hotel and nearby Phillips House hotel. The convention committee was chaired by Ken Keller, who had also chaired the "KC in '76" bid. There were 4200 registered members of the convention, of which 3014 actually attended.

Balrog Award

The Balrog Awards were a set of awards given annually from 1979 to 1985 for the best works and achievements of speculative fiction in the previous year. The awards were named after the balrog, a fictional creature from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. The awards were originally announced by editor Jonathan Bacon in Issue #15 of Fantasy Crossroads and presented at the Fool-Con II convention on April Fool's Day, 1979 at Johnson County Community College, Kansas. The awards were never taken seriously and are often referred to, tongue-in-cheek, as the "coveted Balrog Awards".

Blind Voices

Blind Voices is a 1978 science fiction novel by Tom Reamy. Reamy's only novel, it was published "posthumously in a complete but not final draft" by Berkley Books.

Bud Webster

Clarence Howard "Bud" Webster (July 27, 1952 – February 14, 2016) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer who is also known for his essays on both the history of science fiction and sf/fantasy anthologies as well. He is perhaps best known for the Bubba Pritchert series, which have won two Analytical Laboratory readers' awards from Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine. Farewell Blues was featured on the cover of the January/February 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Webster is also known for his survey of Groff Conklin's contribution to science fiction in 41 Above the Rest: An Index and Checklist for the Anthologies of Groff Conklin.Webster was a contributing editor and columnist for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Bulletin and published a collection of those columns titled Anthropology 101: Reflections, Inspections and Dissections of SF Anthologies through Merry Blacksmith Press. His Bulletin column, "Anthropology 101", examines the history of science fiction and fantasy through classic anthologies and anthologists, frequently pairing books by different editors but also presenting two or more books by the same anthologist. The column has included multi-installment pieces on Frederik Pohl, Robert Silverberg, Harry Harrison and more recently, Terry Carr. In addition, he has co-wrote three Bulletin articles with Dr. Jerry Pournelle. He was also a frequent contributor to the "Curiosity" page of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He was the poetry editor and columnist for Helix SF, an online speculative fiction quarterly. After Helix SF ceased publication, he took his column, "Past Masters", to Jim Baen's Universe, and when that closed, to Eric Flint's Grantville Gazette. The "Past Masters" columns are retrospective appraisals of so-called "classic" science fiction and fantasy authors, and include extensive bibliographies. Some of the authors covered in the "Past Masters" series include Zenna Henderson, Fredric Brown, Edgar Pangborn, and Murray Leinster.

Webster was poetry editor at Black Gate, a print fantasy magazine, for which he also wrote a column about little-known authors titled "Who?!" The only one of the columns appeared in Black Gate 15 and discussed author Tom Reamy.

In 2007, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) appointed Webster Estates Liaison, placing him in charge of their Estates Project, which makes it possible for publishers to contact the agents or individuals who represent the literary estates of deceased science-fiction and fantasy writers so that material by those authors can be reprinted. The Estates database currently contains information on more than 450 sf/fantasy authors.

In March 2012, SFWA announced that Webster would be given their Service to SFWA Award at the Nebula Awards banquet in May for his work on the SFWA Estates Project.In June 2013, Merry Blacksmith Press published a collection of Webster's essays about science fiction and fantasy authors and books titled Past Masters and Other Bookish Natterings, including articles on Clifford D. Simak. R. A. Lafferty, Judith Merril and others. This volume also includes short-short essays originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as part of their "Curiosities" column, as well as three articles co-written with Jerry Pournelle.

Webster was also a collector of science fiction books, and is the author of The Joy of Booking: Webster's Guide to Buying and Selling Used SF and Fantasy Books.


Demons! is a themed anthology of fantasy short works edited by American writers Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. It was first published in paperback by Ace Books in July 1987. It was reissued as an ebook by Baen Books in March 2013.The book collects fourteen novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, together with a bibliography of further reading by the editors.

Fire Watch (short story)

"Fire Watch" is a science fiction novelette by American writer Connie Willis. The story, first published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in February 1982, involves a time-traveling historian who goes back to the Blitz in London, to participate in the fire lookout at St. Paul's Cathedral.

The protagonist has a deep emotional attachment to the Cathedral and is highly devoted to his role in defending it - especially due to his bitter knowledge that St. Paul's would survive the World War II bombings but would be obliterated in a terrorist attack in the protagonist's own time.

Goat Song (novelette)

"Goat Song" is a science fiction novelette by American writer Poul Anderson. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction issue of February 1972, it was later included in the anthologies Nebula Award Stories Eight and The Hugo Winners Volume 3.This story has strong parallels to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice

Nebula Award Stories 11

Nebula Award Stories 11 is an anthology of science fiction short works edited by Ursula K. Le Guin. It was first published in the United Kingdom in hardcover by Gollancz in November 1976. The first American edition was published in hardcover by Harper & Row in February 1977. Paperback editions followed from Corgi in the U.K. in July 1978, and Bantam Books in the U.S. in August 1978. The American editions bore the variant title Nebula Award Stories Eleven.

Rachel in Love

"Rachel in Love" is a 1987 science fiction short story by American writer Pat Murphy. It was first published in Asimov's Science Fiction.

San Diego Lightfoot Sue

"San Diego Lightfoot Sue" is a 1975 fantasy short story by Tom Reamy. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Sci Fiction

Sci Fiction was an online magazine which ran from 2000 to 2005. At one time, it was the leading online science fiction magazine. Published by Syfy and edited by Ellen Datlow, the work won multiple awards before it was discontinued.

Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast

"Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" is a 2009 science fiction novelette by American writer Eugie Foster. It was first published in Interzone, and has subsequently been republished in Apex Magazine, in The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011, and in The Mammoth Book of Nebula Awards SF; as well, it has been translated into Czech, French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, and Hungarian, and an audio version was released on Escape Pod.

The Broken Sword

The Broken Sword is a fantasy novel by American writer Poul Anderson, originally published in 1954. It was issued in a revised edition by Ballantine Books as the twenty-fourth volume of their Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in January 1971. The original text was returned to print by Gollancz in 2002.

The Queen of Air and Darkness (novella)

"The Queen of Air and Darkness" is a science fiction novella by American writer Poul Anderson, set in his History of Rustum fictional universe. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novella and the Locus Award for Best Short Story in 1972, and the Nebula Award for Best Novelette in 1971.

The Screwfly Solution

"The Screwfly Solution" is a 1977 science fiction short story by Raccoona Sheldon, a pen name for psychologist Alice Sheldon, who was better known by her other nom de plume, James Tiptree, Jr. It received the Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and has been adapted into a television film.

The title refers to the sterile insect technique, a technique of eradicating the population of screwflies by the release of large amounts of sterilized males that would compete with fertile males, thus reducing the native population more with each generation this is done. This story concerns a similar distortion of human sexuality with disastrous results.

Tower of Babylon (story)

"Tower of Babylon" is a science fantasy novelette by American writer Ted Chiang, published in 1990. The story revisits the tower of Babel myth as a construction megaproject, in a setting where the principles of pre-scientific cosmology (the geocentric model, celestial spheres, etc.) are literally true. It is Chiang's first published work.The story won the 1991 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and was reprinted in Chiang's 2002 anthology, Stories of Your Life and Others.

Turkey City Writer's Workshop

Turkey City Writer's Workshop is a peer-to-peer, professional science fiction writer's workshop in Texas. Founded in 1973 and still ongoing today, it was consciously modeled after the east coast Milford Writer's Workshop. The workshop "was a cradle of cyberpunk" where many of the practitioners of what would become cyberpunk first met.Founding members of the group included Lisa Tuttle, Howard Waldrop, Steven Utley, and Tom Reamy. The workshop was first held in Grand Prairie, Texas, but soon shifted to Austin when most of the writers involved moved there during the mid-1970s. Bruce Sterling was one of the youngest members of the workshop when he joined it in 1974. Harlan Ellison "discovered" Sterling at Turkey City and arranged for the publication of his first novel. Other writers who have attended Turkey City include Ted Chiang, Paul Di Filippo, Cory Doctorow, Andy Duncan, George Alec Effinger, Mark Finn, Steven Gould, Eileen Gunn, Leigh Kennedy, John Kessel, Rick Klaw, Raph Koster, George R. R. Martin, Maureen McHugh, Paul O. Miles, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Chad Oliver, Lawrence Person, Jessica Reisman, Chris Roberson, Jayme Lynn Blaschke, Lewis Shiner, Lou Antonelli, John Shirley, Jeff VanderMeer, Don Webb, Martha Wells, and Connie Willis.The workshop also compiled "The Turkey City Lexicon," a collection of terms used when discussing recurring SF writing tropes. This guide for writers has been used and adapted by other writers workshops, both within and outside the science fiction genre.

What We Found

"What We Found" is a science fiction novelette by Geoff Ryman, first published in 2011, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It won the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and was nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novelette. It was included in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois.

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