Minneapolis & St. Paul

The earliest organized fandom in Minneapolis (which includes St. Paul and the entire metropolitan region) seems to have been the Minneapolis SFL, a chapter of the SFL organized by Oliver Saari and Douglas Blakely in 1936, but the Minneapolis Fantasy Society, organized in 1939 was longer-lived.

The MFS was organized by Phil Bronson, Oliver Saari, Morrie Dollens, John Gergen, Samuel D Russell, and Manson Brackney. After the war, it was resurrected by Clifford Simak and John Chapman, under the name of Tomorrow Incorporated, but this was quickly reorganized under the name MFS. The MFS — which included luminaries such as Redd Boggs and Poul Anderson — seems to have been focused on discussions and other fannish talk, and sort of just petered out sometime in the early 50s. With the exception of Ruth Berman's short-lived Twin Cities Fantasy Society in the late 50s, there was little or no organized fanac in Minneapolis until the Modern Era dawned with the organization of Minn-Stf on November 25, 1966.

Frank Stodolka and Fred Haskell were Twin Cities teenagers who had been comic book readers, and learned of fandom by reading a letter from Rick Norwood in Strange Adventures. In 1964, Stodolka and Haskell, plus two other teenagers, John Kusske from Alexandria, MN, and Gil Lamont from Beloit, WI met at Haskell's parents' house for an informal get-together that was dubbed by Stodolka as "the first annual PAINcon." The produced a one-shot fanzine resulted, and Stodolka began thinking about putting together a new club, which he intended to call the North Central Fan Group. Though it never was actually organized, seeds had been planted for a new Twin Cities club that would be based on an informal approach, without "a predilection for long, boring business meetings" as Haskell would later remember

While Minn-Stf was founded at the University of Minnesota, it quickly became a local club rather than a college club. Minn-Stf's Floundering Fathers were Ken Fletcher, Nate Bucklin, Frank Stodolka (who was elected first president), Jim Young, and Fred Haskell (who claimed he was actually out getting a sandwich at the time).

Minn-Stf quickly organized Minicon 1 which was a one day convention held January 6, 1968 on campus followed by the full weekend convention Minicon 2 in the Andrews Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

Minicon grew and thrived until the mid to late 90s when it ran into the same sorts of problems of uncontrollable growth that Boskone had run into a decade earlier (see Mark Olson's Rise and Fall of the Giant Boskones). MinnStf faced the problem openly, but reaped the same consequences NESFA did when it downsized Boskone. Minicon continues, but a number of other conventions have sprung up in the Minneapolis area.

Other clubs and conventions which have existed in the Minneapolis area include: MISFITS, the Nocres SF Social Club, the Rivendell Group of The Mythopoeic Society, the Fourth Street Fantasy Convention, The Minnesota Tolkien Society, Corflu 6, Invention, Convergence, Ditto 12, and Second Foundation.

Besides Minn-Stf itself, probably the most enduring organization to appear in the Minneapolis area is Minneapolis in '73 which started out as a serious bid to bring the 1973 Worldcon to Minneapolis (it lost to Toronto in '73) and has continued since, not as a hoax bid, but as a serious bid to bring the 1973 Worldcon to Minneapolis. (Not to be confused with the Minneapolis in 2073 bid.)

Fanzines and other things associated with Minneapolis: Rune, Einblatt, Stipple-APA, Blue's Apa, Lou's Apa, Minneapa.

For many years, Minneapolis has stood out by having two of the best SF Bookstores in the world: Uncle Hugo's and Dreamhaven (which for a time switched to online only).


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