Forrest J Ackerman was an American writer, literary agent, magazine editor, and one of the most influential figures in the science fiction world. Born in Los Angeles on November 24, 1916, Ackerman was a passionate reader of science fiction and fantasy. He was an early proponent of the genre, encouraging its acceptance in mainstream culture.
Ackerman began writing for fanzines in the 1930s, and in 1939 he founded the first science fiction fan magazine, “Famous Monsters of Filmland.” The magazine was an instant success, highlighting science fiction and horror films and featuring interviews with filmmakers and actors. Ackerman also wrote for other sci-fi magazines such as “Imagination” and “Fantasy Fiction.”
In the 1950s, Ackerman established himself as a literary agent, representing some of the top science fiction writers of the day, among them Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein. He was also instrumental in launching the careers of many young authors, including Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, and A. E. van Vogt.
In addition to his influence in the literary world, Ackerman was a collector of science fiction memorabilia. He began collecting movie posters and props in the 1940s, eventually amassing a large collection of props and costumes from films such as “King Kong” and “The Time Machine.” Ackerman’s collection was so extensive that it was featured in a number of museums and exhibitions.
Ackerman was also an important figure in the early days of science fiction conventions. He was a founding member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, which hosted the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. He was a frequent attendee and panelist at conventions throughout the United States, and in 1971 was awarded the World Fantasy Convention’s first lifetime achievement award.
Forrest J Ackerman passed away in 2008 at the age of 91. He left behind a legacy of influence in the science fiction world and is remembered as one of the genre’s most important figures.