Page 5 of 'A Short History of Baltimore Fandom'
© Jack Chalker
While all this was going on, BSFS members
were also engaged in other types of activities. One
of these was Jay Haldeman's 'Guilford Gafia', a
writers group that met in his house and attracted
local and regional writers to various party/workshops that were often sleepovers. Guilford was the
section of Baltimore where Jay's house was located
(which provided an alliterative, less-pretentious
alternative to Damon Knight's 'Milford Mafia'
writers group up in Milford, Pennsylvania). I hate
self-criticism sessions for writers so I wasn't much
involved in it, but I do know that some of the regulars included Jay's brother Joe, Roger Zelazny (who
had moved to Baltimore in 1964), and frequent
Haldeman houseguest George Alec Effinger. There
was also a gaming group that revolved around Ron
Bounds, but had no formal name as such. Members
often gathered on weekends and played elaborate
war games, with 'Diplomacy' being a particular
favorite. Both Ron and I published Diplomacy
fanzines, which allowed play-by-mail...plus
Besides these Diplomacy fanzines, many other fanzines of a more traditional nature were also published by BSFS members, so many that it was almost a fanzine-of-the-month club. Kim Weston is still one of the major experts on and collectors of comic books; he published comics-related fanzines and participated in comics-related amateur press associations. Bounds did other gaming fanzines, and I did Mirage.
Mirage evolved out of my earlier fanzine, Centaur. My second issue was called Kaleidoscope 2, but it had no title on the cover, as I had announced a contest for a permanent title. K2 couldn't have been more different from Centaur; this time August Derleth was the big influence, and the fanzine was very Lovecraftian in content. K2 was printed by Don Studebaker, and took some time to get out since I actually had to pay for supplies this time. I was very surprised by the positive reaction to it; I picked Mirage as the 'winner' for its permanent name (which had been suggested by a Sears & Roebuck salesman and would-be horror writer from Knoxville, Tennessee, named Gene Tipton) and decided to go with the 'serious and constructive' path that K2 had taken rather than the 'same-old same-old' of Centaur. The cover was drawn by David Prosser, a classical music disk jockey and part-time portrait painter from Ohio whose portraits of great opera stars are in major opera houses across the country. In fact, Prosser did the cover for every issue of Mirage and also designed the distinctive logo for Mirage (which I still use with my Mirage Press publications).
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