2002: John Foyster

John Foyster

The Foyster ÷ Un-Dish-Covered

To entirely mis-quote Lewis Carroll:

The time’s come,” Carey Handfield said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes laced with green rafia
Of Gafia’s great sins,
Of how all great men must have beards –
And Hugos must have fins.”

The Eldest Foyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The Eldest Foyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head ÷
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the Foyster-bed.

Far be it from anyone to suggest that John Foyster would not get out of bed to have an argument. Younger SF fans will know him as that argumentative old bloke from South Australia who will not let the more radical possibilities of conventions, constitutions and awards remain unexplored. To older fans, John is first and foremost, a friend. He is also an inveterate publisher of fanzines and APAzines, continuing to do so with his current eFNAC. He has run and chaired conventions and still offers lots of advice to those foolhardy enough to do the same. He has published serious criticism of the mighty and the meek, although you will have to take John’s word as to who was mighty and who was meek. John was a key figure in both incarnations of the Australian Science Fiction Review. He has fostered a critical approach to SF in others by hosting the Nova Mob in Melbourne and Critical Mass in Adelaide.

John can be both gruff and blunt,which is quite off-putting at first. However, in very little time you discover that he has a wicked sense of humour and sense of fun. Perhaps he enjoys misleading people, leading them up the garden path before letting them drop down a slippery slide of their own making (to mercilessly mangle a metaphor). There are many fannish controversies of the past which have been associated with the Foyster name (amongst others, of course). And all of this from a man who is famed for not drinking!

Of late, John has not been well. As he hates any misinformation or misrepresentation regarding his state of health, and therefore prefers to provide his own bulletins, I will leave the curious to seek out news of his health on the various e-mail lists where messages are propagated by Bruce Gillespie and Elaine Cochrane. Whilst still at high school, John contracted polio and was hospitalised for a couple of months. This did not stop him from enjoying rugby and running in later years but it left him with a legacy of post-polio syndrome. This has been a part of his life that he has simply dealt with, even becoming a member of post-polio “fandom” for lack of a better word.

The life of John Foyster has already been celebrated by his friends (many of them fans) and relatives upon the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. His partner, Yvonne Rousseau and two friends, Juliette Woods and Damien Warman produced a special commemorative fanzine named Festzine which included many testimonials and reminiscences and a detailed chronology of the Foyster life to date.

An awards ceremony, or even a whole night, is too brief to list the meritorious achievements of John Foyster in Science Fiction fandom. It would not be an exaggeration to say that John Foyster has touched (and sometimes singed!) the lives of all of the older generation of Australian fans and he has, in many ways, influenced the lives of younger generations.

I would urge you to seek out copies of the Festzine and to seek out John Foyster’s own writings in fanzines and on the internet. The more you read, the more you will appreciate the depth of his assocation with Australian fandom and Australian Science Fiction.

The Australian Science Fiction Foundation is very proud to present the A. Bertram Chandler Memorial Award for 2002 to John Foyster.

Written by Julian Warner

After a long illness John Foyster died on April 5th 2003.