HAPPY (BELATED?) 85th BIRTHDAY, FANDOM

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Sometime back in 1929 – though it might have been earlier or it might have been later, some disaffected teens (in age and in spirit) got up the gumption to meet in person.

There’s good evidence to suggest that this event took place on December 11th, 1929;  the meeting led to the creation of what is arguably the first SF Club – the Scienceers. Attending a meeting in New York were – Warren Fitzgerald, Nathan Greenfeld, Philip Rosenblatt, Herbert Smith, Julius Unger, Louis Wentzler, and Allen Glasser.

On the other hand: Ray Palmer, Walt Dennis and several others apparently got together in early 1929 and formed the Science Correspondence Club.

And

there was the Eastbay Club in Oakland, California organised by Aubrey MacDermott, which apparently met in June of 1928.

Thanks to the Chums from the Fictionmags Group for some of the above info.

The formal “birth of fandom” largely depends upon whether or not you insist on it being “national” or “international” in scope, what the intentions of the group were and, I suppose, what you consider fandom to be.  Back in the early days the minds of young readers were split between those who wanted to emphasize the fiction and those who wanted to use the fiction as a springboard for popularizing science.  History gives the win to the literary crowd (if only because its champions got so good at wrecking other clubs!)

There’s one fact that is immutable, however.  The call to fandom originated in Amazing Stories and was continued into the successor magazine Gernsback would edit after he lost Amazing – Science Wonder Stories.

I think we ought to pick a formal month and designate it Fandom’s Birth Month.  June or December are good candidates.  As for the year, I think we ought to settle on 1928 since that was the year of the first appearance of something that anyone into fandom would recognize as formal fan activity.  Which would make this a celebration of the 86th anniversary, six months late, or the celebration of the 87th birthday, six months early.

Regardless:  A big shout out and THANK YOU to those pioneers of science fiction fandom, long may your legacies live!

 

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