Elliot Shorter

(April 2, 1939 — October 1, 2013)

Elliot Shorter was a well-loved New York and Providence area fan and huckster who won TAFF. He was a Worldcon GoH at Heicon, and tended to stand out in fannish circles as a 6'4" tall ex-marine and African-American. (He was often confused with pro-football player Rosie Grier.) Shorter was involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism where he went by the name "Master El of the Two Knives". He was one of the founders of Locus, serving as an assistant editor starting with issue 9.

After Harlan Ellison collected more money than was necessary at St Louiscon in the wake of the St. Louiscon Movie Screen Affair, Shorter objected ("Just a gosh-darned minute, Harlan!") to Ellison’s unilateral announcement that the extra money would be donated to Clarion Writers Workshop. Instead, the money was used to start an Worldcon Emergency Fund

At Heicon, the formidable Shorter (though no one ever saw him actually be violent) noticed that the Heicon committee had neglected to arrange for seats at the Hugo banquet for fellow GoHs Robert Silverberg and Herbert Franke. Silverberg and Franke were unable to get the committee's attention, whereat Shorter rose up and at full volume brought the issue to everyone's attention. They were quickly seated. According to some reports, he was the primary defender at the Battle of the Balcony at Heicon.

He helped run Suncon, as he was part of the 7 in '77 Worldcon bid, which initially found a site in Orlando, but had to move to Miami when their original hotel went bankrupt. He was a member of the Tolkien Society of America, the Hyborian Legion, ESFA, the Lunarians, the Fanoclasts, NESFA and the City College of New York SF Club (where he worked on Engram). He was an original Fellow of NESFA.

Shorter participated in the fannish musicals Back to Rivets at Boskone 14 in 1977 and again two years later in The Decomposers.

In 1979, Shorter opened Merlin's Closet, a used and rare book store specializing in science fiction in Providence, RI.

He was involved in the Flushing in '80 and Breckenridge in '85 hoax bids

Shorter ran for and won TAFF in 1970, traveling to Europe for the 1970 Worldcon. Because Heicon '70 had announced that their Fan Guest of Honor would be whoever won TAFF, Shorter was thus honored at the convention. Unfortunately, he never did a trip report. He was one of the world's slowest typists and didn't own a typewriter, so Joe Siclari and Jerry Kaufman set him up with a typewriter at the Cinemansion. Shorter sat in front of it and worked on his report. Click. Wait. Click. Wait. Click. Wait…when his hosts went to sleep the last thing they heard was Click. Wait. Click. Wait. Eventually, about three pages were written and published.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:


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