Seattle fan Wrai Ballard (b.1924) died on July 24. Ballard was an active contributor to FAPA and official editor and contributor to SAPS. Lee Jacobs created a series of pulp-style adventures in SAPS entitled “The Ballard Chronicles,” starring a fictionalized version of Ballard. In the early 1950s, Ballard refused to publish Jacobs’s essay “The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Filk Music,” which inadvertantly coined the term filk because of fear that its bawdy nature could get SAPS in trouble with post office censors. Ballard thereafter promoted the typo. Ballard has been suffering from cancer.
Wizards of the Coast has announced a contest for kids between the ages of 8 and 14 to write lyrics set to the story of the Green Dragon as presented in the book A Practical Guide to Dragons. The contest runs until August 9, 2009. The winner and their associated library will receive a collection of books from Wizards of the Coast.
Filker John Caspell (b.1951) died on May 2. Caspell, who was also known as “Dr. Filk,” performed with Brooke Lunderville and both hailed from British Columbia. Caspell and Lunderville performed many original filksongs, including “The Space Lasers May Already Have Penetrated My Tinfoil Helmet (Despite My Extensive Field Research),” “Gone Fission,” and “Blind Date on the Island of Dr. Moreau.”