|Don Carter wrote to me and shared
the following story about Bea Mahaffey, Russell and others of the SF crowd
in the 1970s.
Bea Mahaffey in the 1970s
Back in the '70's, I recall that Bea Mahaffey would honor a few visitors like me with stories of her days working beside publisher Ray Palmer, and talking with many of the big name SF authors of the time. She was even courted briefly by Asimov, but couldn't stand the man's overweaning conceit and "Roman hands", evidently. She attended various cons, and was undoubtedly quite a party animal during the 50's and 60's. Harlan Ellison, Alfred Van Vogt, Jack Williamson, Fred Pohl were a few of the names who might still remember her fondly.
Bea's favourite writers
Anyway, of all the big-name authors of that time she met, two she thought stood out as just plain fine people: Theodore Sturgeon (for his radiant charisma as a shy, gentle, and sensitive man), and Eric Frank Russell, for his wry and mischievous wit. Not that there weren't scads of others whose company she enjoyed, but these two she seemed to find really delightful.
Her original manuscript for Dear Devil
She had in her possession the original manuscript of Dear Devil, hand marked and annotated by EFR.The interesting thing about it to me was a change EFR made to his original last sentence, which kind of alters the tone of the whole thing, or at least the ending.
Bea had selected this story for its first publication in Other Worlds in 1955. That helps explain how she had the manuscript in her possession.
Don's ownership of the manuscript
Anyway, when Bea's health was starting
to fail, she offered to sell me the Dear Devil manuscript,
and I took her up on it. I could see even then, that hand-marked original
manuscripts might become as dated as scribes. I have no idea if the manuscript
is still worth anything, but I am proud to be its owner. EFR
was one of the unsung best, for my opinion.