[Expanded from an article first published in the 1985 DSC program book.]
Two of the best moments science fiction fandom has held for me involved the DeepSouthCon's Rebel Award. One came in 1983, when I presented the honor to John Guidry, my friend of almost 20 years' standing. The other occurred a year later, when Hank Reinhardt, himself a winner ten years before, gave the traditional award for distinguished service to Southern fandom to "a rank neo": me. I guess I enjoyed '83 best, since then, I got to give a speech. In '84, I was utterly speechless.
And why not? The Rebel Award meant a lot to me. It means a lot to a lot of Southern fans.
For the inevitable newcomers scanning this article, an explanation. The Rebel Award is given annually at the DeepSouthCon to that Southern s.f. fan who merits special recognition for Contributions to Regional Fandom. It was created by Larry Montgomery at DSC III, about 30 years ago, to honor the late Al Andrews. Founder and President of the first significant regional fan organization, the Southern Fandom Group, and one of the earliest movers and shakers behind the Southern Fandom Press Alliance, and a kind, generous, patient presence around whom young fans could orbit, Al was admired not merely for his accomplishments but for his personal courage. He had muscular dystrophy. Even typing was a painful trial. But his personal suffering didn't stop him from inspiring a generation of Southern fans. There wouldn't be a Southern fandom without one man, Al Andrews, and there wouldn't be a Rebel without two, Larry Montgomery, who created the award, and Al, whom he created it for.
(Undoubtedly this latter fact was on the DSC committee's mind when, in 1985, Larry was given his own Rebel--simultaneously with one to his wife, P.L. Caruthers-Montgomery. What goes around does come around.)
DSC IV saw Lon Atkins present the second Rebel, to Dave Hulan, founder of the DeepSouthCon, second Official editor of SFPA and one of the most important members of our proto-fandom. But four years would pass after Lon's gesture until the award was revived. Since then, however, only one year has gone by since when a Southern fan--or two--has not been hailed by the DSC concom as worthy of rebel fandom's special gratitude. Of all the DSC traditions--the Hearts tournament, the Phoenix Award to professionals, the SFC meeting where future convention sites are selected--the Rebel stands at the apex; its presentation almost always climaxes the DeepSouthCon.
So who's won the Rebel, and why did they win it? What sort of contributions to this crazy game called fanac must a person make to take home Southern fandom's greatest honor?
Basically, fanac in the South can be broken down into con-giving, club-building, fanzine-producing (apas & genzines) and...miscellaneous: the intangible; the unclassifiable. Rebel winners are often involved in conventioneering, often involved in publishing fanzines, often involved in clubs. But almost always there is...the intangible involved, some arcane contribution of personality, leadership, dedication. Rebel winners believe in Southern fandom.
Let's tour this Hall of Heroes. The third Rebel winner was Irvin Koch, hustlin' bustlin' dynamo behind the rebirth of Tennessee fandom in the early 1970's. No fan in his right mind would ever honor Irvin's fanzines, but his efforts for Gnomoclave, Chattacon and UpperSouthClave were unmatched, and more importantly, Irv lured a slew of newcomers into active fandom. New people were the whole point behind the National Fantasy Fan Federation, which Janie Lamb, winner in 1971, served for 30 years. Janie also acted as secretary for the Southern fandom Confederation and chaired the '68 DSC in Knoxville. (All together now: red dye?) Like Al Andrews, she is gone from us now, but a great number of the longtermers in our number owe their membership in this madness to her.
Hank Reinhardt, who won the '73 Rebel at a New Orleans DSC, claims that s.f.ers in the South owe him a lot, too, but that's a matter of opinion: his opinion. "They owe me in that I have chosen not to slay them all," says Hank, one of the founders of the Society for Creative Anachronism in the South and present president of the world's foremost producer of antique weapons reproductions. In his heyday, the wolflord, as he deigns to be called, incurred over three million dollars in debt due to losses in the DSC Hearts tournament, reason enough to thank him for his generosity.
Hank shares a number of accomplishments in fandom with Jerry Page, his friend of 40 years and his partner in many fannish and professional endeavors. [For the Real Truth to this relationship, see Part IV below, Miscellaneous Silly Stuff.--TKFW] Jerry, who was given the Rebel in 1980, has won great esteem for his writing and editing skills as Gerald W. Page--under which name he won the Phoenix Award several years later. Jerry also chaired the fifth DSC back in the golden sixties, and served as Fan GoH at one convention, proffering a magic show instead of a speech. Some say he deserved a Rebel just for that.
Conventioneers have received their just due in the Rebel sweeps. Neither Ken Moore, who took home the trophy in 1974, nor Cliff Amos, who won the Rebel five years later, ever set fire to the fanzine world--in fact, I can't think of a single zine Khen (as he's known) ever did. But few in Southern fandom, or fandom anywhere, can match the accomplishments on which they hang their fame: Kubla Khan, in Khen's khase, and Rivercon, which Cliff founded on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville. Also involved in the birth of Kentucky fandom was John Collier, Rebel winner in 1976. Not only are these gents tall, they're also leaders of men. Ask them.
Regional conventions are all well and good, but the 1980's saw worldcons begin to spring up in the South. Numerous are the accomplishments of Steve & Sue Francis, Rebel winners in the early '90s; their efforts on the Louisville worldcon bid were at least partially responsible for their victory. Several times Atlanta sought fandom's ultimate prize, and Don Cook, Rebel winner in 1994, was honored for his efforts on that city's behalf. In 1986, of course, the worldcon actually made it to Georgia: Penny Frierson chaired Confederation, both the bid and the actual worldcon, and was duly recognized for it. As you'll see later, her Rebel was remarkable in more ways than one....
Fanzine creators have also been honored with Rebels. Though Cliff and Susan Biggers were remarkable active in apas (OEing Myriad for years) and congiving (chairing one DSC and several ASFiCons), it was their genzine, Future Retrospective, which won them the '77 Rebel. Dick and Nicki Lynch have made a terrific impression in fanzines--winning three consecutive Hugos for Mimosa--but their newszine Chat scored the Rebel for them--not to mention the raft of superb new fans they drew into the Southern orbit in the late '70s, fans like Rusty Burke, Charlie Williams, and Vern Clark.
Apas have been of seminal importance to Southern fandom. I refer the interested to my short squib about SFPA elsewhere in this handbook. Five of SFPA's Official Editors have won Rebels, and their--*ahem* our--activities there were undoubtedly what led to the triumph. Don Markstein was intimately involved in two DeepSouthCons, but his OEship of SFPA is credited with leading the upswing in regional fanac in the 1970s; that's what led to his selection in 1978. Lon Atkins' 1982 Rebel was regarded as the most-overdue ever when he was finally acclaimed; in addition to chairing DSC IV back in the Pleistocene, he had edited SFPA for four years and provided a standard of apazine excellence that is still regarded as the ne plus ultra in the genre. Stven Carlberg was not only a five-term SFPA OE, but founded the South's other senior apa, Myriad, which has been booming along nicely for more than 20 years. And I credit my Rebel to the four years I'd spent OEing SFPA (including the awesome celebration surrounding our epic 100th mailing), my tour as SFC President, and the years of whining and bleating I'd leveled at DSC concoms that *sniff* I hadn't won it yet....
The SFC, or Southern Fandom Confederation, has been lucky for Rebel winners. Meade Frierson founded the great Southern fan organization and was its president for many productive years. Onetime SAPS OE, founder of Apa-VCR, publisher of HPL, collector of s.f. radio shows and probably the great Southern fan, Meade's 1975 Rebel was applauded as no other. Here's another reason why Penny Frierson's Rebel was so remarkable: while other married couples had won Rebels, Meade and Penny are the first co-nuptials to do so...in different years!
The SFC has also brought Rebel recognition to J.R. Madden, its longtime Secretary-Treasurer, whose convention listings in The SFC Bulletin helped draw the increasingly busy region together. Pat Molloy, many-termed vice president of the SFC, won a well-applauded Rebel; his other accomplishments include DSCs chaired and OEship of the fine apa, KAPA.
Fannish excellence has been gauged in many ways in the South, but sometimes intangible qualities have won Rebels.
Ned Brooks won his Rebel in 1976, while he was publishing a hilarious account of his faanish correspondence called It Comes in the Mail and keeping up a now-unparalleled string of publications in SFPA. He had attended every DSC since the third, a matchless record. Yet it was for being Ned Brooks that he won his award, as Southern fandom values Brooks as Brooks, and the Rebel was our way of saying so. Ditto John Guidry, although John's accomplishments are many. In 1983, when he won his award, John was noted for bringing worldcon fever to the South through several New Orleans bids and for chairing three DSCs. His Ignite fanzines were the terror of the South for years. But it was to honor John for being John that he was presented his Rebel. mike weber--lack of caps intentional; mike thinks he's e.e. cummings--and Sue Phillips were hailed for their years of outstanding friendship and enthusiasm for Atlanta and Southern fandom, which included tours as Myriad OEs, hard fighting for Southern worldcon bids, and chairing at least one DSC.
And then there are people who are simply essential. Charlotte Proctor was an indispensable worker in bringing the South its first modern worldcon, Confederation, won a Hugo nomination for her fanzine, Anvil, and has been the unofficial den mother of Birmingham club fandom for two decades--so how can anyone single out a singe achievement among all of those? She won her Rebel in gratitude for her mere existence. Maurine Dorris, costumer, trouble-shooter, and healer of bashed souls, won well-deserved acclaim after decades of keeping Nashville fandom on the straight and narrow. As Birmingham says about Charlotte, Nashville says about Maurine: but for her the city would have sunk into the earth years ago.
The late Lynn Hickman's name is legendary among Southerners for his efforts to bind the early South with a regional fan organization, to bring the word of unified fandom to youngsters of the '50s who could barely believe others shared their love for "that crazy Buck Rogers stuff." The first convention Lynn ever organized had three attendees--even smaller than the first DSC, which had five. (The DSC where Lynn was hailed as a Rebel winner was the largest ever, at over 900.)
Lynn was the first honoree to receive just due for efforts in fannish prehistory: Lee Hoffman also won a Rebel for her extraordinary fannishness back in the forties and fifties...when lady fans were much more rare than they are today. Her fanzines are still held up as models of the genre, and the story of how she fooled Bob Tucker into thinking she was a man is one of the great anecdotes to come out of science fiction fandom. [See below, Part IV, for her account of this legendary meeting.--TKFW] Her name honors our award.
The same can certainly be said for Samanda Jeude, whose Electrical Eggs organization has championed easy convention access for the impaired. Our pride in this redheaded Southern belle was echoed by national fandom, when she won the Orlando worldcon's Big Heart Award. And perhaps Rebel's most delightful, not to say cosmopolitan moment came in 1994, when Bob Shaw was honored. It's one thing to win the Rebel and live outside the South. Hickman and Atkins both reside far from the Mason-Dixon. But Shaw--acclaimed for his years of support and friendship to Birmingham fandom--took things a bit farther: he lived in England.
Since each DSC committee has the right to choose the Rebel winner, it also may create its own Rebel trophy. Ergo, the Rebel Award has taken many forms. Don Markstein's was an engraved lucite block. Don Cook won a ruby pyramid. Cliff Amos was given a meerschaum pipe. I have a nice plaque, a nifty button, and a Confederate cap that doesn't fit. Railroad nuts Steve & Sue Francis took home a model locomotive, Pat Molloy a conductor's lantern. But the many media carry a common message: the gratitude and appreciation of all Southern fans. The Rebel has served as thanks, but also as a goad, leading its recipients towards greater accomplishments yet. Dick & Nicki Lynch created Mimosa and won three Hugos after winning their Rebel. P.L. Caruthers became SFC President and served with distinction for several years. Guidry founded ERB-Apa and chaired the 1988 worldcon. I've heard it said by Rebel winners that after you have the trophy, then it's time to really earn it.
But that's not the Rebel winners' call. They've already done what it takes. Out there, right now, others are earning their Rebels, and it's only a matter of time until they're called to the stage, given their award, and forced to endure the congratulations of earlier honorees, all saying, Welcome to the club, whoever you are. If you find the company heady. . . as I sure did, and do. . . don't worry. . . you deserve to be here.