Charles Fort

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(August 6, 1874 – May 3, 1932)

A collector of anomalous data, Charles Hoy Fort was hugely influential on science fiction, particularly in the Astounding era. His 1931 book Lo! was serialized in eight installments in Astounding in 1934.

Fortean concepts such as “steam-engine time” and “I think we’re property” remain important to the genre.

But he never mentioned wombats.

See also:

From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959
An iconoclastic individual whose delight was in the flaw of the horde, meaning clots like us who believed what we were taught in school about the world. Fort, boasting [!!] that he believed what he read in the papers, culled from them and the rubbish heaps of the sciences (especially astronomy) a considerable mass of reports on unexplained occurrences, such as the well-known mystery of the Marie Celeste. In arranging and commenting on them, he seemed to be maintaining, among other theories, that the Earth is visited and considered as property by superior beings (a notion Eric Frank Russell developed into his novel Sinister Barrier); that there is a power of matter-transmission which he calls teleportation being evidenced from time to time, as by showers of objects from within a room near its ceiling; and that the Earth is surrounded by a shell not far away, the planets and stars being eruptions on the shell similar to volcanoes. Forteanism is not necessarily these beliefs themselves, but the iconoclastically anti-orthodox attitude associated with them; the main idea being that modern science is a tissue of outworn saws, holes continually appearing in it and being patched up or glossed over by new explanations. (It has been suggested that Fort himself didn't believe the theories mentioned above, but advanced them as being no more ridiculous than the suggestions of science.) The Fortean Society, founded 1931, publish an OO, Doubt, devoted to reporting of Fortean incidents, and claim to seek the company of all who want a belly laugh at the powers that be; a number of fans are members. A strictly fannish organization with the same purpose, the Frontier Society, was founded by Donn Brazier in 1940 and died when the US entered the war.

Person Search: Fanac, Fan, Pro, SFE, Wikipedia, Reasonator 18741934

Also involved: - H. Beam Piper - Miriam Allen deFord - Preface to the Initial Edition of Fancyclopedia II

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