New York City

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 ideas 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.

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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While New York played a major role in early Worldcons, hosting NyCon, 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. This is caused by a combination of the famous fractiousness of New York fandom combined with the very high cost of hotel space 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 is an ongoing an attempted resurrection in the Lunarians (2)) and the NASF3 is a new foundation.

New York hosted the first SMOFcon and its longtime regional convention is/was Lunacon.


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