Thursday, August 30, 2007

Joe L. Hensley dead and my grief about it

I read today that American author and jurist Joe L. Hensley died recently. I've never read anything by Hensley (unless a short story in an anthology), but I know the rough outline of his career and am pretty sure he was a good writer and a good man. Regardless of my pretty small knowledge of him, there's a sense of loss for me.

You see, I've been planning a one-off fiction zine to go along with Isku and my other fanzines. This one would be a sport story zine. Sport stories were a major genre in the original pulps and there were still some sport novels in the paperbacks of the fifties and sixties (and even in the seventies). Lots of writers known better from some other genres wrote for the sports pulps: Lester del Rey, Evan Hunter, James Blish, George O. Smith, William R. Cox... And these were intended for adult readers, not for kids, like sports literature in Europe and Finland quite easily is. Some of the stories were hardboiled in tone, some had crime and even murder in them. And I would've liked to try do a fiction fanzine with only sports stories in it. Maybe three or four Finnish ones, with one maybe a reprint, and of course a story from the vintage pulps themselves. Not a huge seller (as if my mags were huge sellers anywhere), but perhaps fun to do.

And Joe L. Hensley was one of the few writers alive who did stories for the sports pulps. I'd been thinking that I'd try to contact him - I believe I could've got his address or even e-mail quite easily. Then I would've written to him and asked him a permission. Then I'd have had to hunt for a suitable story. I know lots of pulp collectors and some collect sports mags, even though they don't seem to be very collectible in the US.

But no. With Joe Hensley gone, there's no one to ask.

(Well, on second thought, there's Robert Silverberg and then there's Milton Lesser, who's better known as Stephen Marlowe. And Robert Madle, who's also written some science fiction.)

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