Larry Niven's Five Minute Speech PDF Print E-mail

In 1963 I was determined to become a writer.  Taking a correspondence course, Famous Writers School.  I had heard about fandom, though it was only a rumor.  Decided to seek it out.  

Here’s how I did it.  I’d met Ray Bradbury in doctor’s office, age 10, and he’d given me a copy of The Martian Chronicles.    On the strength of that, I wrote him a letter with a bunch of questions.

“No, I won’t look at your rejected stories to see what’s wrong with them.”  

I asked about fandom too.  He sent me to 4SJ Ackerman, who sent me to LASFS.   

I dawdled for months.  Unsocial I was, and shy.  I feared fandom.

I got to Silver Lake Playground around December 1963.  

At LASFS I learned about a Worldcon in Berkley.  I hung around the outskirts; but also Fred Pohl knew who I was because I’d sold him a story.  I heard "Young Fan Mulligan" there.  It was Sunday before I knew that my car had been stolen.  

When first published, I would go to Bergen’s House of Irish Coffee after the club meeting and read my own stuff there.  

I met David Gerrold, Jerry Pournelle, Steven Barnes, and Dian Pelz/Crayne through LASFS.  That’s about half my collaborators: the first half.   

Bjo Trimble trekked a bunch of us out to the Mojave while it was in bloom. I vividly remember the alien-seeming flower called “squaw cactus”.

For my skewed view of LASFS, and to meet a lot of LASFS members, see Fallen Angels by me, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn.  

There was a time when fandom was my social life and my business life.  
I met Marilyn at a worldcon in New York.  

We had been meeting in borrowed places and members’ houses.  The last was a public library, the turf shared with some high schoolers.  I got beat up one night.  

We were the last investors paid off when the new LASFS clubhouse had paid for itself.  We staged a ceremony in which, as evil landlord, I threatened to turn the place into a parking structure.   

LASFS has civilized a lot of people, and I am one of them.  

Larry Niven


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