SwanCon XI – Con Book – Jack Herman Bio

being page 7 of the SwanCon XI con book. Transcribed by Anna Hepworth


What can you say about the fan who has done everything?

(An attempt to write and introduction to Jack Herman without mentioning his hats)

By Marc Ortlieb, with additional information from Justin Ackroyd and Carey Handfield.

If there is anything that Jack Herman hasn’t done in fandom, then I’ve yet to hear of it. You could easily call him the Compleat Fan. Among Jack’s many qualifications are Convention Chariman, Worldcon Bid Chairman, Worldcon Business Meeting Chair, National Convention Business Meeting Chair, Sydney Science Fiction Foundation Chair, DUFF winner – and the first person to produce at Duff report since Leigh Edmonds, fanzine editor, apa official editor, multi-apan, fantasy gamer, Tolkien scholar, actor, debater, letter-hack, convention panelist, founder member of the infamous Moira Crescent Slan Shack, and party giver of the first water. The fact that Jack has squeezed all this into less than twelve years in fandom says a lot about the man.

Of course, Jack has had his lapses in taste. Despite knowing about the first AUSSIECON, Jack didn’t get there. His excuse is that he was in Brisbane for the National Debating Championships. He claims that meeting the Queensland Premier was an experience. One is tempted to suggest that that meeting had an important effect on Jack’s constitutional philosophy. I’m sure we’ll see more evidence of that at the Swancon Business Session. One doubts though that he’ll be able to scale the dizzy heights of his LACON II Business Session performance where his motion to divide the Solar System into two zones for Worldcon Bidding purposes was narrowly defeated (Carey Handfield claims that, had he not tried to include Minneapolis in the frigid “Outer Planets Zone”, he might have pushed it through.)

Certain lapses in taste were evident during Jack’s DUFF trip. The episode with Justin Ackroyd, Carey Handfield, a jar of vegemite, and a jacuzzi speaks for itself. Perhaps less well known is the fact that, during LACON, Jack slept with either Carey or Justin, depending – according to Justin – on who got to bed first. (Justin also claims that Jack preferred him because Justin was smaller. He did not elaborate on what he meant by “smaller”.)

Jack did make up for this. He allowed Cath McDonnell to make an honest man of him. (Cath is also responsible for renovation at their co-owned household. It’s amazing what she can do with a little plaster of paris and a few licks of paint. The house looks pretty good too.)

Jack is one of the best people in Australian fandom. He does not even react strongly to comments about his height. At a long-forgotten Australian convention, a fan was looking for Kevin Dillon. The only description said person had of Kevin was that he looked rather like a garden gnome. It is said that Jack Herman did not even snarl when the fan walked up and said “Excuse me. Are you Kevin Dillon ?” . (Jack’s D&D persona was drawn as a dwarf with a sub-machine gun standing by a dead dragon. The motto inscribed on the drawing was “There was nothing in the rules about it”.)

During AUSSIECON TWO, Jack was invaluable. Not only did he work in the fanroom, but he appeared on panels, chaired the business session, and, with Cath McDonnell’s assistance, he dragged at least one member of the Programming Sub-committee off for a much needed meal break. Jack is indeed a scholar and a gentleman

Hopefully, at SWANCON he’ll have the chance to sit and natter with lots of people. He’s work nattering to.

About australian sf-history

ASFDAP was set up in 2011 after the rediscovery by the wider SF community of an impressive hoard of Australian SF community related ephemera, fanzines and other materials in the Murdoch University basement.
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