Forrest J Ackerman, the man who essentially began the world of fandom, the man who coined the term scifi* and the man who was likely partially responsible for the horror love of an entire generation of kids (myself included), died at the end of last year. It was a sad moment for everyone who had ever picked up an issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland, or who ever loved a genre property.
There was a memorial to Forry in Hollywood last week (read an account by one of Forry’s closest friends here), and now his final video message to his fans has been released. It’s short, and Uncle Forry is pretty straightforward, and it’s really oddly moving. I mean, Forry died four months ago, but watching this video I felt it personally for the first time, and found myself getting choked up.
One of the things that really got me about the video is how calm and serence Forry is. Maybe it’s the meds he’s on in his final days, but there’s real peace in him, and it doesn’t come from a religious conviction. Forry didn’t believe in an afterlife, and when he died he assumed he would just slip away from consciousness, ceasing to exist. That concept terrifies me, but he seems to be okay with it here. Forry had some very specific instructions for his passing, and they included his wife being at his side and speaking to him as his body cooled and his brain activity slowly stopped. To me that seems so much more touching than any preaching about eternal life and resurrection.
The last words Forry says in this video are ‘Science fiction.’ He had said that his hope was that these would be his dying words. I hope he had one more chance to say them before he went.