Forrest J Ackerman, who influenced a generation of young horror-movie fans with Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and spent a lifetime amassing what has been called the world’s largest personal collection of science-fiction and fantasy memorabilia, has died. He was 92.
Ackerman, a writer, editor and literary agent who has been credited with coining the term “sci-fi” in the 1950s, died Thursday of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, said John Sasser, a friend who is making a documentary on Ackerman.
Over the years, that collection diminished along with Ackerman’s health; at its peak, it might have been worth $10 million.
But more valuable than the ephemera, I suspect, was the guidance Ackerman provided as Sort Of Godfather to what used to be something of a disreputable literary genre. And he was that rarest of creatures, an incorrigible punster (don’t incorrige him) who could raid seemingly any cubbyhole in the culture for material: he once knocked out a vampire story with the highly-Chestertonian title “The Man Who Was Thirsty.”