Charles Burbee

(April 9, 1915 — May 27, 1996)

Charles E. Burbee, 'Burb' to friends, was a famously acerbic Los Angeles fanwriter active in the 1940s and '50s. In many ways, Burbee set the template for fanwriting as we know it with his tone of irreverence towards authority, puncturing pomposity and generally being hilarious. He was one of the original Insurgents, and followed in Tucker's footsteps in bringing humor into fanzines. He is famously credited with the invention of sex.

In mundane life he was a machinist.

Burbee was briefly editor of Spacewarp, published Burblings and Man from FAPA and was a long-time member of FAPA. He published the parody fapazine The Best Loins Are on the Floor. He also published One Fingers Number Four Fingers Number One (with F. T. Laney, Walt Leibscher, and Jack Speer), and Pneumo.

He was nominated for the 1946 Best Fan Writer Retro Hugo, and Shangri L'Affaires, edited by Burbee and Gerald Hewitt, was nominated for the 1946 Best Fanzine Retro Hugo. Although Burbee was long gafiated by then, he was FGoH at Westercon 27 in 1974, after timebinding fanzine fans had resurrected an interest in his fanac.

Terry Carr published the Incompleat Burbee, a festschrift of his fan writings, in 1958.

Burbee was unusually productive at coining fannish catchphrases and expressions, known as "Burbeeisms," which continue to resonate in fandom, among them: FIJAGH, Crifanac, "That's Not Too Many," "Meyer," "It Certainly Is a Wonderful Thing," "Sensitive Fannish Face" and "AKICIF."

He had his downsides, too, among them a wounding wit that he aimed at fans he disliked (although not to the extent of his friend and fellow LASFan Francis T. Laney) and expressions of homophobia that to contemporary eyes seem extreme even for the period.


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