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Spacecrab's Journal
LB in SF
rich brown 
7th-Jul-2006 12:12 pm
I first met rich when I was 17 years old. It was at a Fanoclast meeting in New York City. I was young and impressionable, and he took a mischievous delight in plonking me: by pretending that he was a real representative of Ayn Rand's "John Galt Society." This probably sounds absurd by reality-quotient standards for today's 17-year-olds. You had to be there. If there were still a good Internet link to it, I would point you to rich's scholarly article in the 1990s, which explained how the true and actual S. Morgenstern used "William Goldman" as a pen name -- publishing "The Princess Bride" as a PR stunt to promote his masterwork, "The Silent Gondoliers."

rich was a good friend to me for all of my life. He was also really a butthead, sometimes, in fanzines and online communication. His closest friends will readily acknowledge this. Face-to-face, rich had a large and generous soul. Sometimes, this fact managed to shine through in his fanwriting -- along with a wry sense of humor. I'm happy that people are remembering that side of him, now. He was always ready to buy the next round in the bar or treat you to dinner, while explaining the intricacies of style in John Myers Myers' Silverlock -- or the cumulative paradoxes and plot flaws in Quantum Leap, Star Trek or Firefly.

To those who knew rich only from periodic bombastic tirades, all I can say is this: I don't think he ever understood that opinions and denunciations in fannish print had the power to upset people in their actual lives. rich looked at s-f fandom the way that fan-fiction shippers look at their stories: as a large parallel universe to escape into with his friends -- where they (we) could make the rules.

In person, rich was introspective and considerate, often willing to acknowledge that he'd allowed himself to be carried away in the "paper world." He would typically express surprise that people took the things he said in fanzines or online seriously, since he didn't take them seriously himself *outside of the world of fandom.*

I believe this fan world/real world dichotomy in rich's thinking is what managed to alienate him, so much, from some people in the modern s-f community. S-F Fandom Challenge No. 2814: find the operant domain where the Knight of La Mancha is a good spirit guide, not a pain in the ass.
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