The Elron Awards are Fandom’s longest running spoof awards, predating the HOGUS by one year and the BLACKHOLES by two. Contrary to rumour, they have nothing whatsoever to do with L. Ron Hubbard, the pulp SF writer who invented the ‘science’ of Dianetics and founded the Scientology religion. The originators simply liked the science fiction ‘feel’ of the name, chosen from a long list of suggestions.
First presented in 1971 at VCON 1 in Vancouver, B.C., the awards are presented annually by The British Columbia Science Fiction Association. The actual award is usually a plastic lemon painted bronze, but often with an addition to help illustrate the theme. For example, the Elron awarded Mr. Science had a foot-wide model space station atop the lemon.
Which brings up a point concerning the evolution of the Elrons. The founding concept was: “If we honour the best, should we not also honour the least?” So originally the Elrons were simply awarded to the ‘worst of’ anything, be it the worst novel, worst editor, ktp. Robert A. Heinlein won WORST NOVEL ELRON in 1971 for his I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, selected excerpts being read out “to hilarious advantage”. But as time went on the mandate of the Elrons expanded to include gentle japes, with less and less emphasis on outright condemnation. Eventually, if you were a local fan, it was considered a great honour to win an Elron. For instance, Mike Bailey won an Elron in 1993 for “Least Outstanding Contribution to Fandom”, i.e. founding the Elrons in the first place. Frank Skinner won the “Special Spider Robinson Elron” for outdoing Spider in terrible puns at local pun contests. I gave myself a nifty Elron (with a plastic flying saucer on top ) “for preferring Nude on the Moon to Citizen Kane and inflicting 14 years of reviews of bad films on the readers of BCSFAzine”.
One thing most Elron presentations have in common is John Norman, author of the Gor novels. ( Indeed, for many years a Gor novel formed the base of the Elron lemon. ) In a letter to BCSFA circa 1974 Ursula K. LeGuin suggested Norman deserved at least a “bronze lentil for semi-literate fetishism”, and such was awarded at VCON 3. Over the years John Norman has won over 30 Elrons with titles like “Special Brass Bra Elron for Best Feminist Gor Movie” ( awarded at VCON 18 in 1990 — it consisted of two brass painted Elrons glued side by side in a suitably mammary tribute ). In fact, I even awarded Norman the “All time winner of the Most Elrons and Deservedly So ” Elron in 1993.
What I would like to stress is the emphasis on humour. Award titles like: the “Least Promising Dead Author” Elron ( to P.K. Dick ), the “Shove it Up your Mundane” Elron ( to Ray Perry on behalf of Forrest J. Ackerman ), and the “Make Lovecraft Grit His Teeth and Yell ‘Arrgh!’ from the Grave” Elron ( to the film Cthulhu Mansion ) are a subtle reflection of the intent of the awards: sheer entertainment, raise a few laughs, a few chuckles, not hackles.
Presenters have been surprisingly few over the years. They include Mike Bailey, David George, Brent McLean, John Thomson, Ed Beauregard, Michael Walsh, and –since VCON 18 in 1990 — myself, R Graeme Cameron. We select few are the SMOTE, the Secret Masters of the Elrons.
[ See BLACK HOLE AWARD, HOGU AWARD ]