Ray Nelson

(October 31, 1931 —)

Radell Faraday Nelson is a fan, cartoonist, and writer whose early work (both cartooning and writing) was for fanzines. He was born in Schenectady, became captivated by SF at the 1939 World's Fair, and perhaps his single greatest claim to fannish fame is as the creator of the iconic propeller beanie of fandom while a 10th-grader. (Though he did organize the Second International Beanie Brigade in the early 80s.)

Ray is a long-time member of CAPA, the Golden Gate Futurians, the Detroit Science Fiction league, SAPS, Little Men, ISFS, and the N3F. He is also a member of First Fandom, one of the Wolverine Insurgents, and helped organize The Network.

His fanzines include Beret, The Berkeley Pops (for CAPA), Big Cat, Cafe BohemeThe Existentialist Eye, Garden Library, Garden Party, Le Marche Aux Puces Fantastique, Stupefying Stories, Sunflower, Universal Fanvariety (with Max Keasler), Universe, Which Witch?, Wireline, The Berkeley Bohemian (for CAPA), Quoth (for CAPA), and L'il Poo (for CAPA).

He was a published artist at a very early age. He and his brother Trevor created a comic strip, "Petie Panda," that appeared in The Oak Ridge Journal in 1945, when Ray was 13 and Trevor was 10.

His main professional work includes the story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning", the novel The Ganymede Takeover co-authored with Philip K. Dick and Blake's Progress later re-written as Timequest. In the early 70s. he ran a writers' workshop in the San Francisco area. One of his students was Anne Rice.

His SF novels include The Ganamede Takeover (1967) [with Philip K. Dick], Blake's Progress (1975), Then Beggers Could Ride (1976), The Ecolog (1977), The Revolt of the Unemployables (1978), The Prometheus Man (1982), and TimeQuest (1985). An historical mystery, Dog-Headed Death, was published in 1989. Several of his novels have been reprinted by Wildside Press.

Nelson was the subject of the Member Spotlight feature written by Heath Row and Jon D. Swartz in the March, 2010 (Vol. 10, No. 1) issue of The National Fantasy Fan. An interview with Nelson appears in the June, 2018 issue of Ionisphere, one of the current N3F fanzines.

He was married first to Perdita Lilly, then to Kirsten Enge, and in 2017 to Helene Knox.

An article on Nelson and the propeller beanie

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Awards and honors: Nelson's novel The Prometheus Man gained a Special Citation (runner-up) in the 1982 Philip K. Dick Awards. He was nominated for the 1951 Best Fan Artist Retro Hugo. He won the 2003 Rotsler Award. He was runner-up for the first Philip K. Dick Award. He received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement award from Corflu 31.

SFE Wikipedia File770 Ansible ISFDB Website FF

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