2019: Alan Stewart

Alan Stewart – photo by Cat Sparks

Nominator Rose Mitchell

Alan Stewart believes he entered fandom in 1979. Since that inauspicious entry 40 years ago, Alan has been continuously involved in a variety of fanac both in Australia and overseas.

Alan joined the Melbourne Science Fiction Club (MSFC) in 1984 after winning a membership in a short story competition. He was MSFC Secretary 1985-2002 and the Ethel Editor from Oct/Nov 1988 to Sept 1992. The position of Honorary Secretary was unofficially renamed ‘The Alan Stewart’ at the 2002 AGM in recognition of this service. Though proposed in jest, the members were unanimous in their fierce support of the proposal. Alas, the Department of Consumer Affairs deemed the position remain The Honorary Secretary: they just didn’t understand what an Alan Stewart does! Alan was also as the MSFC Public Officer till 2012 when new Legislation came into force. This means that he was an officer of the Association for 27 consecutive years. He was made a Life Member of the MSFC in 2004.

Alan has served on several major convention committees: Aussiecon 4 (Worldcon 2010 Held in Melbourne) as the Division Head Publications, the only division not to suffer continual staff attrition, a testament to Alan’s leadership skills. He also served on Aussiecon Three (Worldcon held in Melbourne in 1999) first as the Bid Chair; then Head of the Publicity Division; Convergence 2 (2007 Natcon) as Treasurer, Constantinople (the 1994 Natcon) serving first as Bid Chair then as a committee member; and on Danse Macabre (the 1990 Natcon), Conjunction (1989) and Eastercon (1987) as a committee member. A pretty strong Resume of con-running.

Alan was a Board Member of Victorian Science Fiction Conventions, the legal entity for both Aussiecon 3 and 4 from its inception in 1997 to 2012 when the association was wound up. To this day, Alan can always be found at Worldcon volunteering in some capacity such is his commitment to fan-run conventions. His competitive nature sets a goal each year to accrue the most ribbons and can be seen trailing a tail of ribbons much like the 4th Doctor’s scarf. Closer to home he is always seen on the program of the cons he attends.
He was Vice President of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation 1990-1994 during which time he was instrumental in creating the A Bertram Chandler Award. The Award continues to this day and is considered the most prestigious Fan Life Achievement award in Australia and is one of the primary projects of the ASFF.

Alan was FFANZ Delegate in 1991 when he attended Forrycon in Wellington, New Zealand and was the 1994 DUFF Delegate, attending Conadian, the 52nd World Science Fiction Convention, held in Winnipeg, Canada. He remains active in supporting both FFANZ and DUFF.
Alan edited his award winning fanzine THYME (issues #88 November 1992 to March 2002) and it was an ongoing joke and cause for gentle ribbing that Thyme was never on time nor timely. He has been a member of ANZAPA since 1988, where his zine, YTTERBIUM appears and also editor of THULIUM an Acnestis APA zine. Alan is also the Australian distributor of Dave Langford’s Ansible.

Alan has won the Ditmar Award for Best Fanzine Editor in 1990, 1995 and 1997; the William Atheling Jr Award for SF Criticism in 1997; in 1990 he also won ASFMAs for Best Newsletter Editor and Fan Writer and again in 1992 for Fan Newsletter. He has been a Hugo Nominee for Best Fanzine in 1999.

In 1996, he was a member of the judging panel for the Aurealis Awards, Science Fiction Division. In 2004, Alan’s fanac was recognised internationally when he was awarded a Golden Beanie Award, conferred by Sheryl Birkenhead. To this day Alan supports Australian fan writers and authors by distributing to his overseas networks Australian collections and anthologies that showcase Aussie creative talent. He purchases these himself to send to his friends O/S, putting his money where his heart is, Aussie science fiction, a truly selfless commitment to spread the word about Aussie SF.

When Alan is not pursuing fannish interests, he can be found collecting Yowies, playing board games (he is a member of several gaming groups and plays competition Scrabble at a national level) or watching the Hawthorn Football Club compete. His current non-fannish interest is craft beer which he is passionate about and extremely knowledgeable.

Alan Stewart’s fannish reputation commands great respect not only here in Melbourne, but around the world. He is a man of quiet achievement, of modesty and geniality: always generous and good-natured with his time and resources. To sum up Alan’s fanac would be to deem him the perennial volunteer, always to be relied on to ‘be there’. It has been said many times that he always can be trusted to get done what he promises to do. That’s still the case. No greater praise can be heaped on the head of any fan. Incidentally, one of Alan’s early fanzines was the quaintly named, ‘Show Us Ya Willy’.