Dwain Kaiser, owner of Magic Door Used Books in Pomona, CA, was shot to death July 3, Pomona Pride reported and File 770 confirmed. He was 70, and a long time member of Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS).

SF fan and bookstore owner Dwain Kaiser was killed July 3, 2017.

Dwain Kaiser, 1947-2017 {Image via GoFundMe}

A GoFundMe campaign has been started on behalf of his widow, JoAnn Kaiser.  They were married 32 years.

Dwain George Kaiser was shot several times, just past midnight on Monday morning.  The police arrested a teenager who was either a tenant or a guest of the Kaisers, the Daily Bulletin reported.  Because the suspect is a minor, the police have released very little information yet.  Paramedics pronounced Kaiser dead at the scene.  The shooting occurred in the Kaisers’ apartment, above Magic Door Used Books.

Dwain Kaiser was an active science fiction fan.  He founded the Las Vegas SF Society in 1964.  He joined LASFS in 1965.  He was an apa-hack, belonging to or founding several APAs and genzines.  (Amateur Press Associations [APAs] and generic fanzines [genzines] were paper methods for fans to keep in touch pre-Internet, homemade, fan-published amateur magazines.  Although rarer now, some still exist.)  He belonged to APA-L, APA-45, and TAPS.  Kaiser edited the ‘zines Astron, Nonstop Fun Is Hard on the Heart, Nimrod, and No Time, No Energy & Not Much To Say.  He had been attending science fiction conventions since 1964; his first con was WorldCon in Oakland, CA.  His was a familiar face at many Californian cons.

The Magic Door is the fourth bookstore of that name that Kaiser had owned.  It has been in business in Pomona’s Arts Colony neighborhood for twelve years.

Kaiser has been in the book trade since 1967, when he got out of high school and opened his first Magic Door used bookstore, in Claremont. Over the years, Kaiser opened several more in the Inland Empire including one in downtown Upland.  The Pomona store, his fourth named Magic Door — the name comes from an essay by Arthur Conan Doyle in praise of books — opened in 2005 at 155 W. Second St. {Daily Bulletin}

The Magic Door is one of the few remaining used bookstores in Pomona.  It’s a sad thing when a bookstore dies, but a sadder thing when a bookstore owner dies.

H. G. Wells said, “Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe.  Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow.  For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.”  Tom Batiuk, the creator of Funky Winkerbean and Crackshaft, once referred to teachers as staving off catastrophe one day at a time.  Bookstore owners also stave off catastrophe, so Dwain Kaiser’s loss affects us all, fen and mundane alike.



Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.