Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Saturday, 6 December 2008

Sci-fi 'creator' Ackerman dies

Forrest Ackerman
Forrest Ackerman's love affair with sci-fi began when he was a small boy

Forrest Ackerman, a writer and editor credited with discovering the author Ray Bradbury and coining the term "sci-fi", has died, aged 92.

Ackerman died of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, said a spokesman.

Ackerman's achievements included founding the sci-fi pulp magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland.

But he is probably best known for finding Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicles, when looking for people to join a sci-fi club he was starting up.

Ackerman was also the owner of a huge private collection of science-fiction movie and literary memorabilia.

"He became the Pied Piper, the spiritual leader, of everything science fiction, fantasy and horror," said Kevin Burns, trustee of Ackerman's estate.

After finding the then teenage Bradbury, Ackerman went on to give him the money to start his own science-fiction magazine Futuria Fantasia.

'Never catch on'

He also paid for Bradbury to go to New York for a writers' meeting that the author said helped launch his career.

"I hadn't published yet, and I met a lot of these people who encouraged me and helped me get my career started, and that was all because of Forry Ackerman," Bradbury told the Associated Press news agency in 2005.

As a literary agent, Ackerman represented Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and numerous other science-fiction writers.

He said the term "sci-fi" came to him in 1954 when he was listening to a car radio and heard an announcer mention the word "hi-fi."

"My dear wife said, 'Forget it, Forry, it will never catch on,"' he said.

He began using the term in his magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, which he helped create in 1958 and edited for 25 years.

Ackerman also appeared in many films including Queen of Blood, Dracula Vs Frankenstein and Amazon Women on the Moon, to name but a few.

Ackerman once said he fell in love with science fiction when he was nine years-old and saw a magazine called Amazing Stories, which he kept for the rest of his life.

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