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Remembering a First Lady of Fandom

One of fandom's first ladies is no longer with us. Joan Winston died September 11, 2008. She was 77 years old.

If you've ever attended a con or enjoyed a zine or read non-fiction work about fan communities/culture, you owe a debt to Joan Winston, whether you knew her name or not.

Her contributions to Star Trek fandom -- and to fandom in general -- cannot be overstated. She was one of the organizers ("The Committee") of the very first Star Trek convention, which was held in 1972 in New York City, the story behind which she wrote in her 1977 book The Making of the Trek Conventions. Only a few hundred people were expected to attend, but instead three thousand fans came to hear Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rest, as they say, is history.

She also contributed an important chapter to Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Sondra Marshak’s 1975 book Star Trek Lives! and appeared in the documentary Trekkies 2. In 2007, she was named the 4th most influential Star Trek fan of all time by Trekcore.com. A professional author and literary agent, she continued speaking at conventions for decades; her last appearance was at Shore Leave in 2006.

Thanks to the great people at Orion Press - for whom she wrote more than three dozen Trek stories and edited four issues of the zine Number One - I had the very good fortune of getting to meet Joanie and share dinner and a movie with her one year at Shore Leave. (There's another one I owe you, dodger_winslow. And as a matter of fact, I first met beledibabe there that year, as well.) I already knew her through her writing and accomplishments in fandom, and she was a delight to spend time with in person. She was a remarkable lady and an outstanding ambassador for fandom and science fiction.

Tributes to her memory can be read here:
* at the TrekMovie site
* at the TrekToday site
* at the ComicMix site

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
beledibabe
Sep. 14th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
What sad news!

(I remember that Shore Leave -- it was wonderful to finally meet you.)
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 15th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
It was wonderful to meet you, too! And fantastic to "discover" you once again thanks to LiveJournal. I'm so glad we've been able to keep in touch! :)

Sad news indeed.
tuilelindowen
Sep. 15th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. Her memory is served, indeed, by such a caring and loving soul as yours. I imagine she is smiling at you from a sea of heavenly hearts, floating and caressing, and hearing sweet harpsong....
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 15th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your lovely and kind reply. It means a great deal.
estellye
Sep. 15th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
Joan Winston sounds like quite a wonderful individual and I guess we have her to thank for pioneering great forums for fandom. Thank you for giving us her brief bio and some links so we can appreciate her life further. *hugs you*
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 15th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading the post, and for your kind reply! She was a remarkable woman, as you say, and her influence lives on in many of the fan forums we take for granted today. *hugs you back*
wellinghall
Sep. 15th, 2008 08:32 am (UTC)
That is sad news; thank you for letting us know.
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 15th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Of course - and thanks for your kind reply.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )