Richard Toronto talks about Shavertron:
“The original Shavertron was a fanzine devoted to the Shaver
Mystery and the life and times of Richard Sharpe Shaver and his
editor, Ray Palmer. This leaves the playing field wide open since the
Shaver Mystery is rife with UFOs, a race of evil weirdos living inside
the earth, mind control, a high-tech Elder Race pre-dating our
history, abductions, conspiracies and, of course, the sci-fi pulp zine
scene of the late 1940s.
“The ‘mystery’ began in a 1945 issue of AMAZING STORIES magazine
with an article titled ‘A Warning to Future Man.’ Editor Ray Palmer
and writer Richard Shaver collaborated from there to bring Shaver's
unusual cosmology into the world of sci-fi pulp zine literature.
“The Shaver Mystery gasped its last breath when Shaver and Palmer
died within two years of each other in the mid-1970s. We stopped
publishing Shavertron in 1992 since most Shaver Mystery readers
were gone (mostly dead) with few leftovers to take their place.
“Writers like Jim Pobst, Brian Tucker, Doug Skinner, Tal, Timothy Green (Mr. UFO) Beckley , Mary Martin
(The Hollow Hassle), Branton, Bill Bliss and Gene Steinberg did what they could to keep the Mystery going.
“The scene eventually merged with water-cooler chit-chat about UFOs, abductions and government
conspiracies, all of which were a big part of the Shaver Mystery. Back in 1947, the Shaver Mystery was a
bizarre topic of household conversation (probably at cocktail time). Today it's obscure sci-fi history...though
it is now being rediscovered by a new circle of oddity seekers and outsider art buffs.”
© Richard Toronto
One of the sub-plots of Tamper involves the real-life writer, Richard Sharpe Shaver and the so-called "Shaver
Mystery." Many thanks to Richard Toronto for his website, Shavertron.
War Over Lemuria by Richard Toronto
Book Review by Bill Ectric
Richard Toronto is tuned in to what makes the "Shaver Mystery" so
enthralling. It's not the "mystery" itself; it's the people behind it.
What a movie War Over Lemuria would make! Imagine the
figment-laced A Beautiful Mind (2001), in which Russell Crow
portrayed the brilliant but schizophrenic mathematician, John Nash.
Add some inner-circle editorial and publishing industry intrigue
reminiscent of The Last Days of the New Yorker by Gigi Mahon or
George Clooney's biopic on Edward R. Murrow, Good Night and
Good Luck. Now project this mosaic of media messaging through a
prism of Ed Wood enthusiasm in the face of austerity, because this
is not The New Yorker or CBS news - this is the story of a weird,
almost forgotten episode in the history of pulp magazines, science
fiction fans, public and private controversy, and, some would say,
As early as 1797, when Bedlam patient James Tilly Matthews
described the mental torments inflicted on him by the so-called "Air
Loom," doctors have studied victims of paranoid delusions, but
post-World War II advances in science and communication
galvanized the lunatic fringe with the widespread awareness of
atomic energy, orbiting satellites, New Age harmonic convergence,
and conspiracy theories. It was the perfect time for Shaver's
pseudoscience and Palmer's mind-over-matter mysticism to collide.
Richard Toronto is the first to point out that Palmer embellished his life story almost compulsively; and that Shaver
sometimes described things that probably weren't there at all, even if he thought they were. It doesn't matter. What makes
War Over Lemuria so fun to read are the complex personalities, the secretly interconnected publishing ventures, run-ins
with the FBI, the boisterous controversy among science fiction fans, and, finally, the fact that it happened at all.
Toronto has researched the Palmer/Shaver collaboration for years. He corresponded with Richard Shaver himself, and
has interviewed family members, friends, coworkers, and associates of both Shaver and Palmer. War Over Lemuria is
everything I had hoped for and more.