photo from cover of VOM #21

Extrapolated A.I. photo reconstruction

Arthur Louis Joquel II, who also sometimes went by Alojo (his initials in Esperanto), was one of those who resided at 'Tendril Towers', a rooming house near the LASFS clubroom on what Francis T. Laney referred to as 'the Bixelstrasse'. In 1945, in the second part of his " Who's Who in Shaggy LA" covering its 'outer circle', fellow resident Jimmy Kepner described Joquel thus:

Art skyrocketed into fandom in 1941 and in a short period of time put out several of the neatest fanzines of all fantime. Among his publications were SPECULA, SCORPIO, FMZ DIGEST, COVENTRY (a mag with a Fortean slant), and poetry booklets by Fywert Kinge, Frances Moyer and myself, not to mention a large number of pacifist publications not connected to fandom. Art is lively, loud, blond, and plump, and expects to feast with Hymen soon as he can find a girl who fulfils a large enuf percentage of his qualifications, and who isn't already taken. I suppose he'd be looking for a ring now, if he weren't so out of sympathy with modern popular ceremonial.

In much the same way that J. Michael Rosenblum was a leading pacifist among UK fans, Joquel may have occupied a similar position in US fandom. On both sides of the Atlantic most of those serving in the armed forces got along just fine with other fans who were conscientious objectors, Mike Rosenblum in particular receiving a string of visitors in uniform during the course of the war.

US Army Cpl Milton Rothman, J. Michael Rosenblum, and (probably) Canadian Al Godfrey, October 1945 in Leeds.
(Rosenblum photo collection)

There were of course one or two exceptions to this mature and civilised accord. When Forrest Ackerman's brother Alden was killed during the Battle of the Bulge, he received a letter from Robert Heinlein:

These bastards let your brother die, Forry, and did not lift a hand to help him. I mean that literally. The war in Europe would have been over if all the slackers in this country had been trying to help out -- would have been over before the date on which your brother died. The slackers are collectively and individually personally responsible for the death of Alden. And a large percent of fans are among those slackers. Alden's blood is on their hands.

As for persons who are guilty not merely by sins of omission but who actively threw their weight against us, like that traitorous little bastard Joquel, I have no words to describe them. It is a bitter thing that he should be alive while your brother is dead. It would be well for him to stay out of my sight when this is over.

I can't imagine writing such a letter to someone grieving the loss of his brother, but then I'm capable of empathy and basic human decency where Heinlein evidently was not. Also, what he claimed about fans is a flat-out lie. When their draft notices arrived they may have grumbled, but most went on to serve in the capacity asked of them by their country not least members of LASFS, the fan club to which both Ackerman and his friend Joquel belonged. At one point there was a US flag hanging on the clubroom wall bearing the names of the eighteen LASFSans then in the armed forces. In January 1944, Bob Tucker listed those fans he knew to be in uniform at the time. It's a long list, 102 people, and I'm aware of at least one omission. You can view it in full here. Still, mustn't let facts get in the way of a hate-filled rant, eh? Those who want to read Heinlein's full letter can do so here.

One of the wartime screeds edited by Joquel that Heinlein considered so traitorous has recently come to light and I'm presenting it here out of historical interest:

THE PEACE WITNESS, vol 7, no.2 (1943)


The leaflet was an insert in THE PEACE WITNESS. Given the date, it's possible these were produced on the duplicator in the Bixel Street clubroom. You can read both by clicking on the images above. While on the subject of pacifism, Charles D. Hornig - the man who had run the SFL for Gernsback- related his own experiences as a Conscientious Objector in a 1946 letter to FANTASY COMMENTATOR:

I would like to clear up one other point: that concerning my "alleged pacifistic beliefs." I feel that the picture given of me is that of a man who worried his draft board and went into the Medical Corps, maybe after the war was over. I never gave the draft authorities any trouble, but was classified in 1941 (not recently) as a conscientious objector upon presentation of evidence of my sincerity. I refused, not merely combat service, but all military service and war work. In 1942 I was sent to a CO camp; I left there in 1943, and later that year went to prison as an absolutist. I believe I am more of an absolutist even today - next time I won't even register for the draft.

A pretty decent biography of Joquel can be read here. Paired with the unflattering but hilarious portrait of Joquel by Laney linked to below, the two probably give a reasonable view of the man.

his book (1952)

his cape


Fanzines online: