The Panic Button
The Panic Button was a science fiction fandom fanzine by Les Nirenberg published in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Les Nirenberg was introduced to fandom and fanzines by Boyd Raeburn and P. Howard Lyons; all three were fans of jazz music. The Panic Button began publishing in 1960 and at least 14 issues appeared until it ceased publication in 1964. It had originated as the fanzineQue Pasado, later Vahana. and by issue 5 or 6 Nirenberg changed the name to The Panic Button. In its later issues it evolved from a fanzine to a semi-pro newsstand magazine, but with the same writers, many of whom were fanzine editors.
Contributors included Greg Benford, F.M. Busby (Cry of the Nameless), Cal Demmon, Alan Dodd, Gary Deindorfer, Jerry DeMuth, Roger Ebert, Colin Freeman (Scribble), Les Gerber, Rolf Gindorf, Jim Linwood, Barry Lord, Len Moffatt, Ted Pauls, Richard Schultz, Alan Trogg, Harry Warner, Jr. (Horizons), Ted White (Void), and Norm Clarke and Gina Clarke Ellis (Descant, Queebshots).
Ron Bennett, in Skyrack, called it, "A way out production" and "Fandom's leading Terse Commentary Fanzine". He went on to say, "Personally I enjoyed it, particularly Les's joke about not having the time to argue with Ted Pauls and then doing so for three columns". The Panic Button was characterized by Jim Linwood as "a strange hybrid of fandom and the 1960s Toronto hipster scene".
In 1964, Nirenberg transformed his magazine into "The Panic Button Review" comedy nightclub act in Toronto. Later he worked for the CBC and then produced his own films and video productions and making and appearing in films for the National Film Board of Canada, such as Les Quebecoise. In 1987 he appeared in the film Adventures in Babysitting. Les Nirenberg died in 2010.