New York

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Early History

If fandom can be said to have formed in any single place, it probably happened in New York City which was at the center of so many of the events of the Thirties.

The Scienceers (founded 1929) was the first New York fan club, or the first club ever for those who think the SCC/ISA should be discounted because of its science orientation. Perhaps the ISA was not strictly am SF club, but the NYBISA's officers included such legendary figures as Will Sykora, Don Wollheim, and Fred Pohl.

It's impossible to briefly summarize NY fan politics of the 30s. Read Sam Moskowitz's The Immortal Storm and follow the links on this page to get more details. Basically, NY fan politics revolved around a trio of factors: (1) mundane politics, (2) fannish egos, and (3) youth. The major split was basically political between the left (the Michelists, the Futurians, the Wollheimists) and everyone else (the Queensies, the Triumvirate). The lefties were kids (in the teens and early 20s) in love with the communist ideals of the day, while everyone else (also a bunch of kids) was an assortment of conservatives, moderates, and apoliticals. Read the articles under ILSF, QSFL, GNYSFL, and Futurians for more details.

The major players in the battles were Don Wollheim, John Michel, Sam Moskowitz (who lived in Newark, but was part of NY fan politics), James V. Taurasi, and Will Sykora. Also involved were Isaac Asimov, Fred Pohl, Doc Lowndes, Cyril Kornbluth and many others.

Early Conventions

New York fans took part in one candidate for the title of first convention, and certainly some of the most important early conventions were held there, the Second Eastern States Science Fiction Convention, and, of course, the First Worldcon on July 4th, 1939.

Early Clubs

New York's fannish history has been driven by its clubs. To start with, the Scienceers and the ISA, the various SFL-related groups and the Futurians. After the war, there were groups like the Fanvets, NYUSFS (CUSFS), the Metrofen, and most importantly the Lunarians. There were also vital invitational groups like the Fanoclasts, and the Brooklyn Insurgents.

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Later Conventions

While New York played a major role in early Worldcons, hosting NYCon 1, NyCon II, and NyCon 3, it has not had one since 1967 in spite of a variety of Worldcon bids since then: New York in '86, New York in '89, NY in '95, Nieuw Amsterdam in 2004 (though it did host the first SMOFcon). This is caused by the famous fractiousness of New York fandom combined with the very high cost of hotel space and labor in the city. Another consequence seems to be the general decline in organized fandom in the city since the 90s: The Lunarians are extinct (though there was an attempted resurrection in the Lunarians 2). The move of Lunacon (New York‘s longtime regional convention) out of New York City sparked resistance, including a counter-con, Empiricon, starting in 1978.[1] Lunacon succumbed in 2017 to the above-mentioned New York fannish politics, and was succeeded by HELIOsphere and NASF3.

The annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium, organized by Professor Jason W. Ellis, began in 2016 with Amazing Stories: Inspiration, Learning, and Adventure in Science Fiction. The Asimov Centennial Meetup was held shortly after the one-hundredth birthday of Isaac Asimov (on the ninetieth anniversary of the first official meeting of The Scienceers), at the same location, but organized by a different City Tech professor and her husband.

New York Area Science Fiction Links

Conventions and Meetings

Publications

Stores with Events


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Also involved: Bob Studley - Chicago Science Fiction League - Dave Mason - David Jabin - Doris Baumgardt - Frederik Pohl - Hydra Club - Imagination - Infinity - John B. Michel - Ken Beale - Larry Ivie - Mario Racic - Noreen Shaw - Odd Tales - Omnivores - Oscar J. Friend - Ozark Science Fiction Association - Peter Graham - Phoxphyre - Raffles - Rats! - Robert A. Rosenberg - Robert Sacks - Robert Schmunk - Robert Silverberg - Roger Sims - Ron Ellik - Ron Smith - Rosalind Cohen - Roy G. Krenkel - Science Fiction Quarterly - Signet Books - Spaceship - Stranger Club - Velma Bowen - Virginia Kidd - WSFS, Inc. - What About Us Grils? - What Mad Universe - William Morrison - William S. Sykora
This is a locale page. Please extend it by adding information about the city, state, or country, the history of fandom in this locale, major fans, clubs, conventions, good stories, etc.

References

  1. Personal communication, David Levine 2019-05-07 at the New York City Sci-Fi/Fantasy Meetup Group and Lynn E. Cohen Koehler 2019-12-12 City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.