Jan Howard Finder
|Jan Howard Finder|
March 2, 1939|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||February 26, 2013
Albany, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||American science fiction writer and academic administrator|
Jan Howard Finder (March 2, 1939 – February 26, 2013) was an American academic administrator, career counselor, science fiction writer, filker, hostelling tour guide, costumer, and fan. He was a guest of honor at the 1993 Worldcon, ConFrancisco. As a personal affectation, he often spelled his name in all lower case letters, jan howard finder. (His last name is pronounced finn-der.)
Background and work
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Finder became a devotee of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien in 1964, when he "spent three straight days curled up at his parents’ house" reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He studied academic administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and while there organized the "First Conference on Middle-earth", in 1969. In 1971, he held the second "Conference on Middle-earth" at Cleveland State University, where he was working as an assistant dean. He ended up spending most of his life as a career counselor for various employers, including a stint at the United States Army's Fort Drum.
Finder, nicknamed "The Wombat," was a frequent guest of honor at science fiction conventions, including "Honored Guest" at ConFrancisco (the 1993 Worldcon). He was also Fan Guest of Honor at BYOB-Con 8 (1978), Lastcon 1 (1981, Albany NY), LepreCon 8 (1982), Genericon 1 (1985), NotJustAnotherCon 4 (1988), and Arisia 12 (2001). He was a co-founder of Albacon.
He was the chairperson of several science fiction conventions not specifically dedicated to the writings of Tolkien. He was chair of Albacon in 1996 and of the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) 32 in Schenectady, New York in 2001. Well known in fannish circles, Finder was editor of the fanzine The Spang Blah. Until 2011 he was "scribe" (secretary) of the Latham-Albany-Schenectady-Troy Science Fiction Association.
The Wombat was a frequent masquerade judge, costumer charity auctioneer, and participant in panel discussions, from Arisia and Albacon in the Northeast United States to Worldcons  and Lunacon 2007. He also mentored other prospective con chairs.
He edited the 1982 anthology Alien Encounters (1982) Taplinger ISBN 0-8008-0168-7, which included short stories by Lynn Abbey, Ben Bova, Lee Killough, David Langford, and Ian Watson, among others. Finder was tuckerized when Anne McCaffrey named a character for him.
For 2011, Finder organized the "3rd Conference on Middle-earth" (deliberately hearkening back to those of 1969 and 1971 which he had led), in Westford, Massachusetts. "I just finally said, 'I want to do it, and I don't give a damn if I lose money — I'll pay for it...'" "This is something I've wanted to do for 40 years." Finder retired from academia and battled prostate cancer, spending parts of March and August 2011 in the hospital.
- Pern Characters web site
- Edgers, Geoff. "At Westford conference, a fellowship of Tolkien fans" Boston Globe March 24, 2011
- Jan Howard Finder, #1 fan, dies at 73
- SciFi Fan Gallery page on Jan Howard Finder
- WorldCon programming cached web site
- LepreCon web site
- Readers Advice web site
- Sci Fi Fan Photo website
- Latham-Albany-Schenectady-Troy Science Fiction Association website. Accessed March 25, 2011.
- WorldCon 2005 official web page program listing
- Costume Con Gallery web page on one of his creations
- Worldcn 2003 program
- WorldCon 2005 Photo gallery
- LunaCon web site
- Archon web site
- IBList web site
- Diverse Books web site Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections listing for Finder as author
- Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections listing for Finder as editor
- Pern Character web site
- Lastfa web site discussion
- IMDb listing for Jan Howard Finder