Forrest J Ackerman

Wikidot is dying. This site has moved to

(November 24, 1916 – December 4, 2008)

Forrest J (he affected no period after the "J") Ackerman — 4e — was a fan (indeed, one of the founders of fandom), collector of books and movie memorabilia (he was called The Grand Aquisitor), magazine editor, science fiction writer, Esperanto enthusiast (using ktp instead of "etc"), and literary agent. He was married to Wendayne Ackerman.

He was central to creation and growth of science fiction fandom. Famous for his word play, simplifyd spelng, and neologisms, he coined the genre nickname "sci-fi". In 1953, he was voted "#1 Fan Personality" by the members of the Worldcon, a unique Hugo Award never granted to anyone else.

He had a forest of nicknames: Fojac (from Esperanto), Mr Science Fiction (self-applied), Efjay, 4e, The J, Wacky, Efjay the Terrible, Ack-Ack, and J.

He found SF when as a ten-year-old he saw the Frank R. Paul cover of the October 1926 Amazing. He became active as a fan around 1930. (See Aubrey MacDermott on the Origins of Fandom for a dubiously reliable report.)

He attended the First Worldcon in 1939, where he wore the first "futuristicostume" (a typical Ackermanism) and sparked fan costuming. He attended every Worldcon but two thereafter during his lifetime. He invited the very young Ray Bradbury to attend the Los Angeles Chapter of the Science Fiction League, later LASFS. He was not a founder of LASFS, but joined in its first year and became so active in and important to the club, that in essence he ran it.

He originated the Big Pond Fund, the first fan fund and was also active in the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) and was for many year its only lifetime member. He was West Coast Representative for Silvercon. (And, embarrassingly, he was a supporter of Claude Degler and effectively the only member of the Futurian Society of California and the Futurian Society of Los Angeles.) His publishing included the publishing houses dyktawo, Snafucius Pubs, and Fubar Pubs.

He was the editor and principal writer of Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as an actor and producer (Vampirella). He and Wendayne also brought Perry Rhodan to the US.

He accumulated an extremely large collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror film memorabilia, which he stored in a house and museum known as the "Son of Ackermansion." (The original Ackermansion was where he lived from the early 50s until the mid-70s.) The Ackermansion contained some 300,000 books and pieces of movie and science-fiction memorabilia. One of his attempts to deal with the accumulation was the Fantasy Foundation. He was a candidate for TAFF in 1956.

He suffered heart problems in 1966, but recovered and on December 2, 1966 185 people paid $5 each to attend a not-quite-a-surprise Birthday Dinner and Testimonial at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel. It was organized by Walt Daugherty, Robert Bloch was toastmaster. Speakers included Ray Bradbury, Jim Warren, Guy Gifford, Carel Borland, A. E. van Vogt, Walt Leibscher and many others. He was presented with a plethora of plaques, trophies, scrolls and other stuff. The tradition of huge birthday celebrations continued and on November 21, 1986 there was a virtual convention called (in the best Ackerman tradition) 4E 2B 70.

Christopher M. O'Brien has written The Forrest J Ackerman Oeuvre, a comprehensive catalog of his writing.

Fanzines and Apazines:

He won the 1946 Best Fan Writer Retro Hugo at L.A.con III in 1996. In 1989 he wrote several reminiscences of Worldcons he had attended for the Noreascon Three program book:

He is the subject of a Founding Members profile by Jon D. Swartz in the June, 2016 (Volume 75, Number 6) issue of The National Fantasy Fan.

For an early biography, see Who's Who in Fandom 1940 p3.

Awards, Honors and GoHships: (IA) Audio interview with Richard Lynch, 1996 (IA) Documentary on Ackerman

RE SFE Wikipedia File770
Ansible ISFDB FF (IA) Website

This is a biography page. Please extend it by adding more information about the person, such as fanzines and apazines published, awards, clubs, conventions worked on, GoHships, impact on fandom, external links, anecdotes, etc.

Wikidot is dying. This site has moved to