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Vale John Bangsund

Editor John Bangsund has died, aged 81.

Bangsund edited the Hugo Award–nominated fanzine the Australian Science Fiction Review in the late 1960s, helped organise the 1975 World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne, and was a member of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club and a founding member of the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association.

In 2001 Bangsund was presented with the Australian Science Fiction Foundation’s A Bertram Chandler Memorial Award for contributions to the field of science fiction.

A long-time editor of the Victorian Society of Editors’ (now Editors Victoria) newsletter, Bangsund was made a life member of the society in 1987. From 1988 to 1994 he was assistant editor of Meanjin and an editorial consultant for the magazine until 2005.

He is survived by his wife, Sally Yeoland.

Former Meanjin editor Jenny Lee writes:

‘John Bangsund, who died of complications from Covid-19 on 22 August, was a voracious autodidact with a vast range of interests. John came into editing through the trade; his highest formal qualification was a 1953 Intermediate Certificate, but his quick wit and wide reading soon gained him a formidable reputation as an editor, writer and proofreader. After stints on the editorial staff at Hansard and Cassell’s, he worked widely as a freelancer, taking time out in the late 1960s to edit the Australian Science Fiction Review, which was twice nominated for the Hugo award. He later became editor of the Victorian Society of Editors’ Newsletter, where he gained a small but enthusiastic readership for his editorial musings, many of which he later published on his website, Threepenny Planet.

‘In 1988 I appointed him assistant editor at Meanjin, and for the next few years we worked facing each other in a tiny office, with me on the keyboard and John at the desk with his annotated reference books. It was a constant learning experience, and one for which I’ll always be grateful.

‘John was also acting as a poison-taster for two book publishers, and periodically huge cartons of manuscripts would arrive at the office for him. He later condensed (and de-identified) some of his comments in a piece entitled ‘A taste of hemlock’. My personal favourite was the brief report: “Author claims to be the new Stephen King. Personally, I think one Stephen King is quite enough.” After I left Meanjin, John stayed on, continuing to act as a sounding board and safety net at the magazine for many years.

‘Life member of the Victorian Society of Editors, inventor of pre-stressed concrete verse, cartoonist and humourist, John leaves behind a space that is hard to fill.’


Category: Obituaries