Australian fan and bookstore owner Merv Binns, 85, died April 7, 2020, at the Kingston Centre of Monash Health in Melbourne. He suffered serious heart problems for several decades, and was admitted to the hospital following a seizure on April 2, 2020. Binns was a founder of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club (MSFC) in 1952, published fanzine Australian SF News, and ran Space Age Books, Australia’s first specialist science fiction bookstore, until its closure in 1985.
Mervyn R. Binns was born July 8, 1934 and was involved in fandom from a young age, working as a teenager at McGills newsagency, one of the few sources of science fiction books and magazines in Melbourne at the time. After the foundation of the MSFC, Binns secured space for club meetings, first through McGills and then later through Space Age Books.
Binns was guest of honor at numerous conventions, including the Ninth Australian Natcon in 1970, the 1974 Ozcon, Wellcon B in 1980, and Thylacon IV, the 44th Australian Natcon in 2005. He received the A. Bertram Chandler Award in 1993, Big Heart Award in 2010, Infinity Award in 2012, and the Peter McNamara Achievement Award in 2015. Australian SF News won the 1985 Ditmar Award for Best Australian Fanzine.
He is survived by his wife, Helena Roberts.