Sep. 19, 1948 - July 19, 1999
GoH/FGoH/Listener GoH: Minicon 24 (1989),
Capricon 13 (1993), OVFF 11 (1995).
Fanzine Hugo 1986, 1991 for
His name was George Laskowski, and he was my friend.
I don't remember when we first met -- probably a Midwestcon
or an Octocon. He was pretty distinctive. Whether he was wearing a
suit, a t-shirt, or a tux, he almost always wore this Davy
Crockett raccoon hat. (I finally named it Cedric and began writing
it up whenever I could, explaining that it was all that remained
of the twin brother George always wished he'd had.)
I vaguely knew that he published a fanzine called
but I'd never seen a copy. One day he offered to send me
one. I asked what was in it. He said the usual -- reviews,
articles, artwork. I said as long as he was doing reviews, why
didn't he review my stuff?
Well, he'd never read me any more than I'd read him, so when
I got home from the con I mailed him a few books -- and damned if
he didn't review every book I wrote for the next 15 years. And
they were as thoughtful as any reviews I've received.
Any guy who likes my writing is aces with me, so I went out
of my way to know him a little better, and then better still, and
what I found was a man who exemplified everything that was best in
fandom. He had a bright, inquisitive, probing mind. He was a
voracious reader. He had no enemies that I could see. He had
better manners than 98% of his contemporaries. He put out one hell
of a fanzine, which got better each issue, and he was always open
to (and even solicited) suggestions for improving it. In his
mundane life, he was a teacher at a special school, and he was as
dedicated to excellence there as he was in the Lantern
other aspect of his life; he loved the kids, loved teaching them,
and hated the politics that went along with it.
He won a couple of Hugos for Lan's Lantern,
more. He also showed a couple of thousand members of the Hugo
audience at Orlando what the word "class" is all about, when,
back in 1992, Spider Robinson read off the wrong name -- Lan's --
and had to take back the Hugo and give it to Rich and Nicki Lynch.
Lan stayed on stage to applaud and sincerely congratulate them. If
they'd have taken a Hugo out of my
hands and given it to Bob
Silverberg or Joe Haldeman, good friends both, I'd probably have
tripped them as they climbed up onto the stage to accept it.
Lan was so friendly, so interesting, so happy just to be part
of fandom, that it seemed he'd go on forever.
much too soon, but there's one thing I know: he won't be forgotten
too soon, or at all. As long as there are trufen in the Midwest
and elsewhere, he'll be remembered, not for the Lantern
Hugos, but for exemplifying all that was best in a fan -- and a
Photo by Laurie Mann, Sep. 1991
Data: Aug. 2014