Science fiction fandom is 80 today

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9 Responses to “Science fiction fandom is 80 today”

  1. mdh says:

    That’s an impressive group, but I always figured Matthew, Mark, Luke and John took honors as the first fan-fic writers.

  2. freshacconci says:

    The assassination of Nikephoros II still affects you?

  3. Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey says:

    Rob Hansen says:
    “I’ve always been fascinated that the first president of that first US fan group–indeed, the world’s first fan group–was a black guy, Warren Fitzgerald, and that they held their early meetings at his home in Harlem.”

    Sam Moskowitz says in Seekers of Tomorrow (1966) that Fitzgerald’s home was in the Bronx. But Moskowitz’s account in The Immortal Storm (1951 in its book form) says Harlem (but also says Fitzgerald’s name was “James”). Harlem is part of the borough of Manhattan in New York City; the Bronx is a separate borough.

    I’m sure Rob is more familiar than I with the tangle of errors and facts for which Moskowitz, fandom’s first historian, is legendary.

    A first-person account online, a fanzine article by Allen Glasser, says Harlem, and recalls multiple meetings at Fitzgerald’s home. So I’ll bet on Harlem. (Glasser also lists seven founders of the Scienceers where Moskowitz claims four.)

    Speaking of tangles, at its founding in 1930 the space group Fitzgerald helped found was the American Interplanetary Society. (Lt. Robert A. Heinlein joined in 1931.) It changed to the American Rocket Society in 1934 and its descendant today is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

  4. Patrick Nielsen Hayden says:

    Forrest J Ackerman was remarkably successful at putting over a lot of claims, not least of which is the idea that he was present at the creation of SF fandom.

    It’s a shame, since in fact Ackerman’s fannish career was extremely distinguished. But basically, you can’t take any of his latter-day claims at face value.

  5. _OM_ says:

    …Still, I’m sorry that Uncle 4E isn’t around for this, or the next thousand anniversaries. All of the various life extension techniques that SF writers predict will happen just didn’t come true fast enough.

    Ah well, there’s always hope that Frank Herbert’s gholas will come to pass, because I could just see Forry being one of the first, just to say “I told you so”…

  6. Nadreck says:

    I thought that fandom started when this kid called Forry Ackerman decided to dress up in a costume from the movie “Metropolis” and get some autographs from the SF authors at a writer’s convention called “WorldCon”. This would mark the invention of CosPlay, and of readers and media fans going to “Cons”. This is why Ackerman was called “Fan #1″: a reference to his chronological precedence if not his eminence.

    • devophill says:

      WorldCon was in 1939. How could a convention have been the first fan event? There would have to have been preliminary meetings for the Con, at least. I always figured Forry was Fan #1 due to eminence more than anything else. He did write for the first fanzine, if I’m not mistaken.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m afraid you’re mistaken. The first fanzine is generally agreed to be THE TIME TRAVELER eedited by Alan Glasser and Forry had nothing to do with it. Forry became active in fandom a bit later. He just made it *seem* as though he’d been there from the start.

        Curt Phillips

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually Forry won a poll of about 40 fans conducted in Bob Tucker’s fanzine in the 40′s and was named “#1 Fan Face”. That’s where that “#1 fan business came from. Forry certainly was a big man in early Fandom, but he didn’t get started quite as early as taht. Cory’s story about the Scienceers meeting 80 years ago is correct.

      Curt Phillips

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