7th Fandom

(1) An Era

Some fanhistorians maintain that there was actually a Seventh Fandom, but if one existed, it was far overshadowed by the birdbath-wielding Phony Seventh.

Beginning with Jack Speer's theory of Numbered Fandoms as deliniated in "Up to Now" and the first Fancyclopedia, Bob Silverberg updated the theory as far as Sixth Fandom in a 1952 column in Quandry. Silverberg declared that Sixth Fandom was collapsing, and predicted the imminent rise of Seventh Fandom.

Not understanding that historical eras don't commence by self declaration, Harlan Ellison convened HEcon in his apartment in Cleveland, inviting a group of other young neofans to formally organize themselves as "Seventh Fandom." The group went on to Midwestcon where they announced their advent, with symbolic birdbath, only to be thoroughly vilified for their hubris.

Adding to the foofaraw, Peter J. Vorzimer soon began publishing a fanzine called Abstract in which he declared the arrival of Eighth Fandom, and he and his friends engaged in a number of childish antics that became conflated with the Ellison group's excesses.

In A BAS, Boyd Raeburn editorialized, "7th Fandom is really a gimmick employed by a group of asinine teenagers to publicize themselves in order to get more egoboo than is obtainable through conventional methods," and in Fancy 2, Dick Eney, agreed, "That's a pretty accurate appraisal; some people who were at least nominally 7th Fandomites went on to better things as they matured, but 7th Fandom during its existence was identified with such imbecilities as the overly-public sessions of stewing and wooing that forced the MidWestCon to move from Beatley's, and other idiot-child capers…."

Although fans were poking fun when they proclaimed the rise of Eighth, 69th and 200th Fandom on the ruins of Seventh, "the phony Seventh" did in fact hasten the end of Sixth Fandom, which disintegrated amid the war against the "noisy juveniles." Older fen refused to lie down and die, but the survivors largely withdrew into apas, which became the main carriers of fannish tradition while the barbarians howled outside.

Harlan, meanwhile, gafiated in high dudgeon and disillusion, indignantly declaring, "The mad dogs have kneed us in the groin!" The mixed metaphor made fandom laugh even harder (which may explain a lot about Harlan's subsequent attitudes toward fandom).

Some fanhistorians suggest that a true Seventh Fandom began in 1954 with renewed interest in fandom as a community, exemplified in such publications as The Enchanted Duplicator and the rise of weekly and biweekly faanish fanzines. This emphasis on fandom qua fandom vs. sercon promotion of science fiction led to clashes with the pros and their satellites, resulting in dissatisfaction with NYCon II and a violent fan feud over the definition of a "real" fan. A disgraceful fight over WSFS' plane trip also marked an era in which fan interests began to diverge.

Other fanhistorians suggest that Vorzimer and Abstract, though claiming to be Eighth Fandom, were the real Seventh Fandom. Still others hold that the true Seventh Fandom's focal point was Joel Nydahl's Vega, and the first incarnation of Dick Geis's Psychotic or Terry Carr and Ron Ellik's newszine Fanac.

See also Numerical Fandoms.

from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959
(Silverberg:Ellison) was a group, mainly of neofen, who flourished during the Sixth Transition. Bob Silverberg had predicted that Sixth Fandom would presently be followed by Seventh Fandom; when the black-bordered Quandry announcing Lee Hoffman's gafia arrived at Harlan Ellison's apartment he called the HECon there (May '53) at which 7th Fandom was "organized". Its members did not realize, apparently, that historic eras do not end by some person's arbitrary decision. Early in 1954 A BAS editorialized: "7th Fandom is really a gimmick employed by a group of asinine teenagers to publicize themselves in order to get more egoboo than is obtainable through conventional methods". That's a pretty accurate appraisal; some people who were at least nominally 7th Fandomites went on to better things as they matured, but 7th Fandom during its existence was identified with such imbecilities as the overly-public sessions of stewing and wooing that forced the MidWestCon to move from Beatley's, and other idiot-child capers chronicled here under Con sub SFCon, Haircream, and Doors. Its passing in 1955 was not lamented.

(2) A Fanzine by Harlan Ellison

A newszine published by Harlan Ellison.

Issue Date Pages Notes
1 July 1953 2

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