An Outline of Fanhistory

Fanhistory was first written by Jack Speer Up To Now (1935-39), Sam Moskowitz The Immortal Storm (1935-1941), and Harry Warner, Jr. All Our Yesterdays (1940-1949) and A Wealth of Fable (1950-1959). These volumes do an excellent job of covering the period 1930-1959 in decent detail. Joe Siclari did a summary history of a longer period, 1935-1979, for Marshall Tymm's The Science Fiction Reference Book, but because of limitations of space and time, could write no more than a sketch.

As fandom has expanded, the approach of writing a book covering a decade's worth of fan history in a single volume has proven impractical. Rich Lynch compiled extensive notes towards a history of the 60s following the approach of Harry Warner, but abandoned the project as undoable: The result would be a book too thick to be read and perhaps too thick to be printed. Even if split into multiple volumes, it would be uneconomic to produce and too unwieldy to be widely read. And it just gets worse in later decades.

Instead, we present here a series of articles which (hopefully) cover the main threads of the history of fandom. Naturally, 98% of the detail is skipped — though much of it can be found elsewhere in Fancyclopedia 3 — and important threads are missed or slighted. For this we apologize — perhaps you can help us fill in the gaps?

The time periods are approximate throughout, but are useful in anchoring a article in a logical place.



The Outline:

Time Article Description
1930-35 The Dawn Readers discover each other through the prozine lettercols
1935-39 Fandom Arises Teenage fans across the US and the UK find each other, form clubs, invent fanzines and conventions, and fight epochal battles among themselves
1935-37 The SFL Comes and Goes The first club for all of fandom
1937-39 The Invention of Conventions The first conventions
1938-45 The Futurian Wars The Futurians rise, dominate fandom, fission and fall — while inventing parts of modern fandom along the way
1939-45 Fandom and WW II Fandom goes to war
1939-45 The First APAs FAPA and its progeny
1939-45 Hotbeds of Fandom New York, Philadelphia, LA and a number of other cities were vibrant early centers of fandom
1945-50 A Focus on SF After the War, much fannish energy was devoted to SF and not just to fandom itself
1935-1950 Present at the Creation Some of the fans who created fandom
Insurgentcy
Fandom Should Be Fun A reaction to the serious focus on SF
1945-60 The Midwest The Midwest was a fannish powerhouse
1950-60 Legendary Fanwriting The 1950s saw the blossoming of fanwriting and fanwriters
1950-70 Hotbeds of Fandom 1950-1970 A look at the centers of fannish activity, 1950-1970
1950-1980 Shapers of Modern Fandom Many of the people who shaped fandom as we know it today came in after the War
1950s? Numbering the Eras The idea of numerical fandoms reached its zenith
1955-60 WSFS Inc. and the Yearning for a National Club All through fannish history, fans felt there should be wide fannish coordination. There were many tries. None worked.
1955-60 The Hugos Are Born The Hugo Awards creation and growth
1950s Fandom After the Bomb and Sputnik Fans and SF wanted to be seen as guides to the future. What happened when they became accepted by society?
1960-70 Conventions Grow Conventions grow to become a major type of fanac
1965-72 Star Trek Bursts onto the Scene The arrival of Star Trek profoundly changed fandom
1970-2000 Hotbeds of Fandom 1970-2000 A look at the centers of fannish activity, 1970-2000
1970s The Splintering The SCA, Comics fandom, and Star Trek fandom eventually split off from the fannish mainstream, though many fans kept a foot in more than one camp
1970-90 Shapers of Modern Fandom II Who shaped fandom during the years of exponential growth?
?? Fandom Is Plunged Into War Feuds have been an unhappy part of fandom from the beginning
A Proliferation of APAs For a long time, apas seemed to be the major outlet for fan writing
1970-85 A Proliferation of Conventions Cons pop up everywhere and become the dominant form of fanac
1990-2000 Fandom and the Internet Fandom embraced the Internet from its beginning — and the Internet has changed fandom
1995-2015 The Decline of Clubs and Fanzines As the Internet improved communication and as conventions proliferated, clubs and fanzines became less vital
Filk Is Fandom's Song Filking grew, but remained part of fandom
1980-2000 The Rise of Specialized Conventions With the growth of fandom, specialized conventions became more common
2000-today OK, We Won. Now What? By the 21st century, SF became a major part of the popular culture. Can fandom survive success?