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History of Science Fiction Fandom
February 4, 2010 4:19 PM   Subscribe

The Fan History Project documents the history of science fiction fandom. The site covers it all: local histories, professional art, fan art, fanzines, and photos. Yes, the photos. Lots more inside.

Theodore Sturgeon on Guitar at the 1952 Worldcon.

Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, and Arthur C. Clarke at the above 1952 convention.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science Fiction Society 1959 Banquet. (Isaac Asimov is #14 in that photo)

Frederick Pohl and Jack Williamson at the 1979 Northamericon.

The Costume Show from Disclave 1989.

Ben Bova, Joe Haldeman, and Roger Zelazny, 1972.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I ran across this site researching a future post and can't stop looking at the pictures. The low-res photos and website design seem kind of right to me for this site. It is still being updated.

Of course there is a web ring too.
posted by marxchivist (20 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some of these business cards are great.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:35 PM on February 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, this is wonderful. FIAWOL!

Isn't Harlan cute?
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on February 4, 2010


LEZ
from Fancyclopedia 2
Pet name for Bob Tucker's legendary fanzine, LE ZOMBIE. (It began as a satire on Doc Lowndes' LE VOMBITEUR, but the tail began to wag the dog.) Lez-ettes, invented by Tucker for this 'zine, were the ultimate in literary condensation; one is displayed below.
Chapter 1:
Vampire
Chapter 2:
Mirror
Chapter 3:
Long time no see

...And look, Le Zombie is online!
posted by languagehat at 5:32 PM on February 4, 2010


Oh my oh me, just what goes on at those sci-fi cons anyway?
posted by Skygazer at 5:32 PM on February 4, 2010


Holy crap, this is wonderful. FIAWOL!

FIJAGH.
posted by Justinian at 5:37 PM on February 4, 2010


I have apparently been GAFIAted for too long.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 5:48 PM on February 4, 2010


Looking through the "other conventions," I found Conclave and Confusion, which I went to regularly for about four years. Both were in Detroit (or more realistically Troy). Sadly, there are no photos from the 90's when I went, though maybe that will change in time.

My first impression (as a 14 year old) was that cons were a place for nerds to have sex. I kept going back, though, and met a lot of very, very interesting people, people I'd hesitate to call nerds. So I changed my original description. Cons are a place where people with shared interests can gather, enjoy sharing mutual interests, and have sex.

I only went to three or four a year, but those weekends were pretty much the highlights of the year for me. In all honesty, the people I met at cons were some of the first real friends I ever had, and were responsible for making me realize that I could be liked be other people.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:00 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cons are a place where people with shared interests can gather, enjoy sharing mutual interests, and have sex.

Bingo. Except for gaming conventions which appear to be places where people with shared interests can gather, enjoy sharing mutual interests, and skip bathing for a while.
posted by Justinian at 6:04 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was quite active in fandom in the 70s and 80s (lots of letterhacking, lots of fanart) but have been essentially gafiated since then. Have reconnected with many fans on Facebook, however.

Those were good times.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:05 PM on February 4, 2010


Fred Pohl has a blog. I just can't get my head around this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:27 PM on February 4, 2010


Justinian, dead on. The gaming room at a Con hotel is like that in mini. I went once. I remember playing a game with a bunch of people in their 30s, maybe, and at one point, the party entered a town after the adventure. They decided to go to the tavern. One guy asked, a little too eagerly, if there were tavern wenches. And lo, there were. And they were described in great detail, to leering gamers. And then the gamers started to "role-play" what their characters would do.

I never went back. I did peek in from time to time, at different conventions, to see if games like Warhammer were being played. Always the same people. Always in the room the whole convention. Always the same odors...
posted by Ghidorah at 6:37 PM on February 4, 2010


Oh yeah, we got a picture of Bud Webster too.
posted by marxchivist at 8:35 PM on February 4, 2010


Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, and Arthur C. Clarke

wait... is... is Harlan Ellison... smiling?!
posted by shmegegge at 9:33 PM on February 4, 2010


Very cool, marxchivist, thanks. It's like finding photos of relatives you never knew you had.
posted by mediareport at 10:29 PM on February 4, 2010


Great stuff. Time to get some SCUBA gear, before I drown in waves of nostalgia.
posted by Splunge at 3:20 AM on February 5, 2010


The mid-century fandom seemed so much more genteel somehow. No stained, stretched T-shirts featuring anime chicks being menaced by tentacle monsters, or LOLcat speak. Maybe it was just a more formal time.

Thanks for this - lovely nostalgia for a period before my time, the cover art galleries are a great browse.
posted by jetsetlag at 3:34 AM on February 5, 2010


oh my. this could be embarassing to look thru. HELLO PLEASANTLY MIS-SPENT YOUTH, HOW ARE YOU TODAY?
posted by rmd1023 at 4:22 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand fan conventions (for sf, gaming, whatever). I go to them, and have a lot of fun, and enjoy hanging out with 'geeks like me'. Lots of showering (baths take too long), and no sex, but fun nonetheless.

But I don't understand how they came to be. Was it a reaction to prove you weren't the only one reading Harlan Ellison in the world (just your high school)? A banding together in self defense against the sports jocks (though I do know people who are both sf geeks and rabid hockey fans, so)? A natural outgrowth of the sociability that is tabletop rpg (okay, maybe not mainstream social behaviour, but we are talking about unwashed social misfits, here, right? They have to start somewhere)?

I'm not sure what my rambling post here is for. I need more tea. Stronger brewed, any way.

But this post is nifty.
posted by sandraregina at 8:00 AM on February 5, 2010


I think you're overthinking, sandraregina. Humans are social animals. They like having fun together, even more so with people they already know share their interests. Not sure why you need more than that to explain fan conventions.
posted by mediareport at 5:01 PM on February 5, 2010



I think you're overthinking, sandraregina. Humans are social animals.


Disgusting, smelly, social animals.
posted by grobstein at 7:01 PM on February 7, 2010


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