Science fiction fandom

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Science fiction fandom or SF fandom is a community of people actively interested in science fiction and fantasy literature, and in contact with one another based upon that interest. SF fandom has a life of its own, but not much in the way of formal organization (although clubs such as the Futurians [1937-1945], the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society [1934–present], and the National Fantasy Fan Federation [1941–present] are recognized features of fandom).

Most often called simply "fandom" within the community, it can be viewed as a distinct subculture,[1] with its own rituals and jargon; marriages and other relationships among fans are common, as are multi-generation fannish families.


Origins and history

Science fiction fandom started through the letter column of Hugo Gernsback's fiction magazines. Not only did fans write comments about the stories — they sent their addresses, and Gernsback published them. Soon, fans were writing letters directly to each other, and meeting in person when they lived close together, or when one of them could manage a trip. (Travel was slower and costlier in the 1930s than it would become by the beginning of the 21st century.) In New York City, David Lasser, Gernsback's managing editor, nurtured the birth of a small local club called the Scienceers, which held its first meeting in a Harlem apartment on December 11, 1929. Almost all the members were adolescent boys.[2] Around this time a few other small local groups began to spring up in metropolitan areas around the United States, many of them connecting with fellow enthusiasts via the Science Correspondence Club. In May 1930 the first science fiction fan magazine, The Comet, was produced by the Chicago branch of the Science Correspondence Club under the editorship of Raymond A. Palmer (later a noted, and notorious, sf magazine editor) and Walter Dennis.[3] In January 1932 the New York City circle, which by then included future comic book editors Julius Schwartz and Mort Weisinger, brought out the first issue of their own publication, The Time Traveller, with Forrest J. Ackerman of the embryonic Los Angeles group as a contributing editor.

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