Erwin S. (Filthy Pierre) Strauss got into fandom and filking (science- fictional folksinging) at MIT in the mid-1960s. He caused a stir there by publishing the MIT SF Society’s collection of underground campus songs. He went on to be a fixture at East Coast cons, playing the piano at the group-style filksings that were traditional there. In the mid-1970s, he started publishing a newsletter of SF convention listings, and shortly thereafter began a similar column for Asimov’s SF Magazine, the latter of which continues. Around that time, when the existing “hymnals” for group filks went out of print, he first published the Microfilk, an encyclopedic compendium of all the filks he could get his hands on, in ridiculously tiny type. The first edition cost a quarter (fans of his generation had better eyes, and less money, then than now). This continued till the early 1980s, when other filk publishing began to boom, and people started getting persnickety about things like rights and permissions. He continues to write occasional filks.
Outside the musical field, he’s written books like “Basement Nukes” and “How to Start Your Own Country.” These have been mentioned in SF novels (e.g., Lewis Shiner’s “Slam”), and are rumored to have been found in the library of the “Heaven’s Gate” comet cult. Less controversially, he’s written “The Complete Guide to Science Fiction Conventions,” an introduction for the neophyte congoer. He is an inductee in the Filk Hall of Fame, a recipient of SF fandom’s Big Heart service award, a Fellow of the New England Science Fiction Association, and the recipient of the Special Noreascon Four Award for contributions to the fan community. He can be recognized by his iridescent “Filthy Pierre” badge, and his mouth-powered organ.
- The MIT SF Society Index to the SF Magazines 1951-1965; preliminary mimeographed edition 1964; expanded hardcover edition 1966.
- Filthy Pierre’s Songs of MIT; self-published; 1965 (traditional bawdy songs of the MIT campus’ life and culture).
- Filthy Pierre’s Songs of Significance; self-published; 1965 (just plain bawdy songs).
- Filthy Pierre’s Microfilk, self-published; 1975 through 1983.
- How to Start Your Own Country; Loompanics; first edition 1979, second edition 1984 (what the title promises, plus case histories of those who tried and mostly, but not always, failed).
- The Case Against a Libertarian Political Party; Loompanics; 1980 (philosophical contradictions in the concept of a libertarian political party, and war stories of run-ins with the Libertarian Party).
- Basement Nukes: The Consequences of Cheap Weapons of Mass Destruction; Loompanics; 1980, reprinted 1984 (expanded version of 1970s writings from his APA, The (Libertarian) Connection; for an updated edition, see your daily newspaper).
- The Complete Guide to Science Fiction Conventions; Loompanics; 1983 (an introductory booklet for neophyte congoers, and for their friends and families).
- The Con Committee’s Guide; self-published; 1984 (intended to be a starter for a comprehensive guide — essentially what Ross Pavlac puts out now as the “WorldCon Runner’s Guide” — it contains a few of my ideas like the Voodoo message board used at WorldCons).