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Last updated 31 December 2021 11:52
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Ah! Sweet Laney!
The Writings of a Great Big Man
Francis T. Laney
Though best remembered for his infamous 1948 memoir and polemic Ah! Sweet Idiocy! (also in the TAFF ebook library), Francis Towner Laney also published much other notable work in his own and others’ fanzines. This selection, compiled by Robert Lichtman, first appeared as a lavishly produced print edition designed by Pat Virzi and released at Corflu Quire (Austin, Texas; 9-11 February 2007). In addition to a generous helping of Laney’s best writing other than Ah! Sweet Idiocy!, it includes a new introduction by Robert Lichtman and memoirs of “FTL” by Robert Bloch, Charles Burbee, Terry Carr and Jack Speer.
This first ebook edition is produced with the kind permission of Robert Lichtman and the welcome support of Pat Virzi, who provided the text in PDF format, now also available at Bill Burns’s eFanzines.com. The PDF download button above gives this 10Mb PDF (with all print layout, artwork, photographs etc) rather than the usual quick-and-dirty conversion from ebook format.
Cover cartoon by Virgil Partch from June 1945; enhanced version created in 2007 by Dan Steffan. Added to the TAFF site on 1 January 2022. 74,000 words.
From the Introduction
Some of the articles in this collection have been reprinted in various fanzines over the years, but for most this is their first airing since they were written in the ’40s and early ’50s. Since not everyone has access to the original fanzines or the reprints, they are included here for all to enjoy. What you won’t find in this volume is a selection of two other forms of writing in which Laney engaged: his short but pungent fanzine reviews (his column, “Fanzine Scope,” appeared in a number of fanzines over its lifetime) and his often fiery mailing comments in Fan-Dango (which would require too much context here to be truly meaningful).
The articles in this collection amply demonstrate the wide range of Laney’s interests and obsessions without any further editorial comment. [...] I hope you derive as much enjoyment reading it as I did putting it together.
– Robert Lichtman