O R A L   H I S T O R Y   A S S O C I A T I O N                                         

     In the early 1980s, staff members at Odessa College, Texas, with local friends, produced a program called the Science Fiction Radio Show.  It was first aired once a week locally; later it was syndicated by the Longhorn Radio Network in Austin, Texas, and aired nationwide over National Public Radio. 

     The basis for these shows were taped interviews, mostly by telephone, one to two hours long. The subject list reads like a science fiction Who's Who with fancy additions like Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets; Eric J. Holmes, who wrote the original rules for Dungeons and Dragons (R); Fred Meyer, President of the International Wizard of Oz Fan Club; and on and on. 

     The collection was shipped to Ray Beam, SFOHA Archivist, in five large cardboard boxes, and on their arrival Ray noted that they took up three times as much space as the previous entire SFOHA archives. In terms of interviews with the better-known authors, this doubled the size of our collection at one stroke, and it also included many names we had not previously succeeded in adding to our archives, some of whom were deceased or otherwise no longer available. 

     SFOHA offers its thanks and the thanks of science fiction fans and scholars everywhere to those who patiently accumulated this oral history bonanza:  Daryl Lane, Professor of English at Odessa College; David Carson, Director of Media and Computer Services at Odessa College; Bill Vernon, a research chemist in Odessa at the time the tapes were made; David Crews, local TV technician; and Keith Johnson, Astronomy Instructor at Odessa College. Those actually participating in the interviews are noted in the descriptions when possible. Interviewers are not identified on most tapes; sometimes the statement in the description, "Interviewed by," represents at best an educated guess. In the recording process used, the subject's remarks came through clearly, but those of the interviewer tended to be distorted, and it often proved impossible to recognize voices. The interview team responsible for the majority of the interviews was Daryl Lane and David Carson. 

     The tapes in the Series WB are re-engineered from the original raw tapes made for the Science Fiction Radio Show. Tapes of the actual shows as edited for broadcast will also be included in the SFOHA Archives. The tape description will indicate which is which. Actually, some SFRS tapes have been in the archives for many years--they reached SFOHA as part of the Eastern New Mexico University collection. Probably they were recorded from the air. They are catalogued as Series ENMU numbers 21-29. 

     William Nelson Cramer Beard was born in 1935 and began to read at an extremely early age, was writing fan letters to comic books by age seven, loved all the SF and horror movies of the day, and discovered the pulps at about age 12. He claims that for long periods of his life be has read four or five books a day. His varied occupations include glass blower, machine repair-man, "Guided Missile Installation Electrical Equipment Repairman" (the official government title was Motion Study Specialist), and finally "ended up crunching stats for the GM warranty analysis program." He played and recorded music in Nashville in the early seventies. "Just another run-of-the-mill know it all," he calls himself. He is now retired and composing ballads and jingles, straight and computerized. 

     He also has found time to re-engineer the SFRS master tapes, the "raw material" from which excerpts were taken for the Science Fiction Radio Show programs. The originals are on reels, and the material must be transferred to cassettes for inclusion in the SFOHA Archives. This means that someone must replay the tape in real time and re-record it while also performing certain technical chores to enhance the sound quality. Several long-suffering individuals who have performed such functions for SFOHA: Martha Tattan, Charles Oliver, and Larry Tucker come to mind, and you will see their names on tapes scattered through the archives--"re-engineered by _____."  No one else has undertaken such a massive job as this one. Bill Beard--and all the rest--deserve the thanks of everyone using the SFOHA Archives. 

     Both Sides. Ray Bradbury, interviewed for the Science Fiction Radio Show by Daryl Lane with David Carson as engineer. Two interviews, the first conducted on May 15, 1982 and the second the following August. A review of Bradbury's entire career to date, from beginning writing to origins of such books as The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Also includes background on motion pictures based on Bradbury's books as well as his work as a screen writer with such films as Moby Dick. Invaluable insights into Bradbury's life and work for the fan or scholar. 70+ minutes. 

     Side A. Short (15-20 minutes) interview with Charles M. "Charlie" Brown, interviewed by David Carson on July 15, 1983. Brown is founder, publisher, and editor of Locus, the news magazine of the science fiction industry. it began in 1968 as a one-page mimeographed chronicle of science fiction fan activities and gradually evolved and grew to include professional activities as well. It is now (1996) a full-fledged magazine, professionally printed, with a circulation in the 9-10,000 range. Interview covers Brown's background and contacts with science fiction professionals and fans as well as the history of the magazine.

     Side B. Interview with Greg Benford. Interviewed by David Carson on July 28, 1981. Detailed exploration of Benford's background and writing philosophy. Discussion of the origin of Benford's Nebula Award winning novel Timescape. Last 15-20 minutes are blank. 

     Both Sides. Interview with Poul Anderson on December 1, 1980. Daryl Lane and David Carson, interviewers. Covers Anderson's writing career from beginnings as a science fiction reader and early stories. Anderson discusses the origin of his "future history" stories and gives details about individual works in his long and productive writing career. Short conclusion on side B. 

     Both Sides. Interview with L. Sprague de Camp on December 1, 1980. Daryl Lane, and David Carson, Interviewers. Discussion of de Camp's long and productive career from its origins including his collaborations with other writers.Writing and research problems encountered in specific works are discussed.Also discussion of de Camp's nonfiction works with the history of science fiction during the period as a background. Tape concludes after 15-20 minutes on side B. 

Side A. Interview with Hal Clement on August 5, 1980.  David Carson, interviewer.  Clement discusses the origins of his writing career, the scientific basis for his writing, and individual stories. Interview about 30 minutes in length.

     Side B.  Interview with Michael Bishop on October 20, 1982.           David Carson, interviewer.  Bishop discusses science fiction and how he came to write it. Bishop also discusses and gives information about the origins of individual works. 

     Both Sides. Interview with English author James P. Hogan, author of Inherit the Stars, on October 15, 1981. Interview by David Carson. Hogan's non-literary background covered. His association with scientists and their work and an interest in them as people led him to the writing of science fiction. He discusses sources of stories and individual stories. Lengthy intellectual and well-thought-out discussion of Hogan's personal philosophy.

    Technical: Volume Alert! The interviewer will be much louder than the subject due to phone patching. 


     Both Sides. June 15, 1982 interview with Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets.  Side A begins with one of the actual Science Fiction Radio Shows--concerning the motion picture, The Dark Crystal, based on the interview.  The interview follows.  Discussion of the development of the Dark Crystal story, the design of the "creatures" and the world they populate, the development of the story, the making of the picture. Discussion of the Muppet motion picture.  Henson tells how he got started with the Muppets. Brief conclusion on Side B.

     Technical: Volume Alert! The interviewer will be much louder than the subject due to phone patching. 

     Both Sides. August 10, 1980 interview with Dr. Richard Hains of the Center for U.F.0 Studies. Interviewed by David Carson. Discussion of the Center for U.F.O. Studies and what it does. Hains was a scientific board member and a field investigator. Discussion of "first contacts" with aliens--the effect "close encounters" has on a person. (At that date, there had been hundreds, many documented fully.) Discussion of actual attempts that have been made to contact alien intelligences. Speculation as to what aliens might be like.  Discussion of the Center's approach to reports of sighting of U.F.O.s.  Discussion of possible reactions to a first contact and the possible response.  The role of science fiction in preparing people for a first contact. Interview concludes about twenty minutes into side B.

     Technical:  Volume Alert! The interviewer will be much louder than the subject due to phone patching. 

     Side A.September 5, 1980 interview with Joe Haldeman, author of The Forever War and sequels. Interview by David Carson. Daryl Lane, engineer.  Haldeman discusses the origin of his writing career, the impact of his Viet Nam war experience on his writing. Discussion of individual works and their sources.

     Side B. 1982 interview with J. Eric Holmes, who wrote the definitive guide to Dungeons & Dragons (R). Discussion of how the game got started, reasons for its popularity, and how Holmes became connected with it. Mention of related games. Violence in games.  Social use of games. World-wide popularity. Games as big business.

     Technical:  Volume Alert! The interviewer  will be much louder than the subjects due to phone patching. 

     Both Sides. Three men who knew Robert E. Howard in boyhood and all of his life tell in 1982 interviews of Howard's growing up and his untimely suicide in 1936.  Leroy Butler, Jack Scott, and J. Brown Baum reminisce about the young author. Daryl Lane interviews. Invaluable material for Howard enthusiasts and scholars. There are three short (10-20 minute) individual interviews, one at the beginning of Side A (Leroy Butler) and two at the beginning of Side B. The last two subjects are not identified on tape.

Technical:Volume Alert! The interviewer will be much louder than the subjects due to phone patching. 

     Both Sides. Physicist and science fiction writer Professor Robert Forward interviewed on March 12, 1982 by Daryl Lane and David Carson.  Forward's beginnings as a writer and the scientific backgrounds of his writing. Excellent discussion of scientific bases for gravity, space-time, faster than light travel, space colonies, development of intelligence, the Theory of Relativity, and other scientific concepts important to science fiction.

     Technical:Volume Alert! The interviewer will be much louder than the subjects due to phone patching. 

     Both Sides. October 15, 1982 interview of Philip Jose Farmer.  Daryl Lane and David Carson, interviewers. Farmer reviews his literary career--its origins from his first story, "The Lovers," and the impact of his personal life on his writing. The sources of ideas for his stories. Extensive discussion of the Riverworld and other well-known stories and novels. Also discusses his soft porno books and the Oz books.  Last fifteen minutes on Side B is blank.

Technical: Volume Alert! The interviewer will be much louder than the subject due to phone patching. 

     Both Sides. July 10, 1980 interview with Jack Williamson. Daryl Lane and David Carson, interviewers. Williamson discusses then-current writing projects as well as his entire long literary career. Discussion of his collaborations with Frederik Pohl and others. Discussion of individual works. Discussion of his two terms as President of Science Fiction Writers of America and the current science fiction scene.

     Technical: Volume Alert! The interviewers will be much louder than the subject due to phone patching. 

     Both Sides. Two Science Fiction Radio Show programs on "First Contact," stories of first meetings with aliens. Daryl Lane, Keith Johnson, and David Carson are hosts and panelists. Side A leads off with an excerpt from a radio presentation of H.G. Wells's, The War of the Worlds, and the program discusses other presentations of alien contacts in science fiction novels and stories. Side B, with the same hosts, presents the second program, which is concerned with motion pictures. Well-done survey of the subject.

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