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Obituary of Ian Gunn

Australian fan Ian Gunn has died of cancer

A photo of
Ian Gunn

PNN was very sad to hear that Ian Gunn died earlier today. His widow, Karen Pender-Gunn, writes:

Tonight, at approximately 9.40 pm, in Box Hill Hospital Oncology ward, Ian died peacefully in his sleep.

Yesterday, we were married in the Box Hill Hospital chapel with about 50 friends wishing us the best. Ian lasted out the party until about 1.30 in the afternoon then returned to his room. Later in the night his condition deteriorated and this morning the registrar said we should call in family and friends. Ian was surrounded the entire day by friends and family who I am sure helped him to a peaceful and pain-free death.

Please pray with all your hearts that Ian is safe and well and finally in rest and peace after a long and painful illness.

Ian was one of the finest and funniest fan artists of the last few years. His collections Silly Illoes and Son of Silly Illoes became essential source books for fanzine editors around the world. These illos cover a wide range of fannish subjects, and reflect Ian's view of fandom as a broad and inclusive society. Knowing there was a picture here for every occasion, I turned to it for an illustration for this article.

A cartoon by
Ian Gunn

Ian was also very generous with art for specific fanzines, of which Plokta was one grateful beneficiary. Although best known for his fillos, his more considered artwork was superb. You can see his wrap-around cover to Mimosa 18 here. His talents did not go unrewarded. He won several Ditmars, and had been nominated for the last three Fan Artist Hugos. He and Karen attended Intersection, the 1995 Worldcon, as the GUFF winners; at which they were excellent representatives of Oz fandom, and charmed the many UK fans they met.

Ian was not merely an accomplished artist, but a fine fan writer as well. He produced many issues of his personal zine Stun Gunn which incorporated the rule that locs should be exactly 23 words. His more recent fanzine, Mind Wallaby described itself as "marsupial nonsense", and was an eclectic collection of amusing bits and pieces.

But just speaking about Ian as an artist and writer only begins to scratch the surface. The Melbourne SF Club website described him as follows:

Ian has had a busy and varied career in fandom: editor, writer, cartoonist, reviewer, convention runner, costumer, filksinger, collector, author of one professionally published short story, winner of several ASFMAs, Ditmars and one Fan Achievement Award, Hugo nominee, former MSFC President, joint winner of two Fan Funds, fundraising organiser, master of ceremonies, trivia buff and teller of bad jokes. He does not, however, do windows.

Ian fought his cancer with courage and determination. Writing in his last fanzine, Mind Wallaby 3 in May 1998, he said "I seem to have reached a plateau of calm and contentment, ready to accept whatever cards Dame Fortune deigns to deal."

-- Alison Scott

09 Nov 1998

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