Fan Gallery Contents: George Laskowski

[photo by Laurie Mann, Sep. 1991] George Laskowski [high-res photo]


Sep. 19, 1948 - July 19, 1999

GoH/FGoH/Listener GoH: Minicon 24 (1989), Capricon 13 (1993), OVFF 11 (1995).
Fanzine Hugo 1986, 1991 for "LAN'S LANTERN."

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 Lan's Lantern, 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 or any 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, and deserved 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. He departed 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 and the Hugos, but for exemplifying all that was best in a fan -- and a man.
(Mike Resnick)

Photo by Laurie Mann, Sep. 1991
Data: Aug. 2014

Rev. 11-Aug-2014