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Toastmaster Emeritus - Rusty Hevelin

DemiCon 16: July 29-31, 2005

Back by popular demand, it´s Rusty Hevelin as DemiCon´s Toastmaster Emeritus (Toastmaster for life!). Rusty is one of our founding fathers here at DemiCon and we cannot do without him.

By Gay Haldeman:
You´ve seen Rusty Hevelin, around for years, the guy with white whiskers who looks like Santa Claus or Dumbledore or Gandalf, depending on your, um, frame of reference or religion. He looks like a nice guy who may be a bit eccentric. Usually he isn´t wearing shoes. Usually he is wearing a T-shirt. He´s always quick with a smile, a laugh or a hug.

You probably know that he´s been a dealer (or huckster in fan-speak) for many years. He´s a serious collector of pulp magazines and is the main organizer of PulpCon every year. He´s a very popular guy who´s been a Fan Guest-of-Honor at the World Science Fiction Convention (Denvention in 1981) and a number of other conventions. He´s been the perennial Toastmaster at this convention, from the beginning. Rusty has been a fanzine (1) fan for years, too, publishing several of his own and contributing to several APAs (2). He´s helped to run World Science Fiction Conventions and attended them all the way back to Denvention in 1941. He´s also on panels at conventions, telling folks how to enjoy their first convention, what forgotten books are still worth reading, how to take care of your book and magazine collection, or reminiscing about the old days. He´s a master panel moderator and auctioneer.

I think I´ll try to tell you a few things you may not know about him.

  • He went to his first science fiction club meeting, over sixty years ago, under an assumed name.
  • He´s a veteran of World War II, almost killed by a sniper in the South Pacific.
  • He´s the world´s best organizer of stuff. Joe calls him the "Vampire Packer."
  • He has four grown sons, John, Scott, Bruce and Will.
  • He got rid of his couch to make room for books.
  • He dated Coretta Scott before she married Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • He knew Rod Serling of "The Twilight Zone" when they were students at Antioch in the ´50s.
  • He´s traveled to all fifty states.
  • He used to be a shy man.
  • He´s never smoked and doesn´t like alcohol.
  • Several books have been dedicated to him, including my husband´s THE COMING.
  • Several SF and fantasy artists, including Don Maitz, have used him as a model.
  • He was an actor for a short time in college, where he worked with John Lithgow´s father.
  • He recruited the team that developed the first re-entry nose cone for a rocket, making space exploration possible.
  • He´s older than he looks, but younger than most of us.
  • He´s been "Tuckerized"(3) in several books.

So get to know Rusty if you have the chance. He´ll tell you the story behind each of the facts above, if you ask him.


  1. fanzine: Amateur magazine put out by science fiction fans.
  2. APA: Amateur Press Association. A closed group of people who contribute to a regular fanzine.
  3. Tuckerized: Bob Tucker (author Wilson Tucker) used to use his friends as characters in his books. When an author uses someone´s name for a character, it´s now known as Tuckerizing.

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Copyright 2004, 2005 Des Moines Science Fiction Society LTD.
Certain images used with permission of Mike Cole
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