Up To Now: The Order Begins to Crumble

Up To Now by Jack Speer, 1939

The Situation in the West«« »»The Decline and Fall of Wollheim

At the same time that Speer's petition was helping build up sentiment against Wollheim, it was by no means making him more popular. People were getting tired of this constant wrangling.
The next Mailing of the FAPA carried voluminous refutation by the Philadelphians and allies of the charges against them, and, mailed in a separate envelope, several 1¢, 1d, and 5¢ printed pamphlets on matters sociological, by the CPASF, the Leeds SFL, and Speer. FAPA members rose up in wrath when they saw the postage that had been expended on this envelope, out of the FAPA treasury, on material which many thot out of place in the FAPA.

But perhaps the most curious development was that Wollheim and Michel made no further attempts to defend their charges (and have not, to this writing), and, instead, made an unsuccessful play for support from those who desired an end to controversy. Speer and the Cometeers were all primed for some fine sarcasms aimed at such method of evading the burden of proof of the election accusations, but found themselves utterly alone. Their former allies, the Flushing-Newark axis, were leading the center group that desired an end to controversy. The Wollheim clique refused to fight. Independents, Dale Hart excepted, felt much as did the Cosmics. Under urging from their friends, the defeated ones agreed to reduce, but not entirely do away with, their replies to Wollheim and Michel's inferences ("Their hands are not clean", etc). But circumstances unforseen intervened to prevent even this.

Meanwhile, the whole political situation in the FAPA was changing. McPhail was reported attempting to form a Center Party with Wiggins, which it was thot might hold the balance of power between the two extreme groups. Wiggins, for some reason, held back, not desirous of setting up anything in opposition to Wollheim, and the plan fell thru. When the 1939 elections appeared on the horizon, however, McPhail joined with Taurasi and Marconette in forming the National Progressives, an anti-controversialist, nationalistic group, which was thrown into a turmoil by application for admission by Wollheim's group, on the Progressives' terms. Other definite parties were there none; of little two-man combines, some.

Tho not yet acting upon his observations, Speer foresaw that a new kind of fandom was coming into being. His prophecies won a contest conducted by the Madgicians, and received some notoriety. Their essence was that there would be a tremendous influx of new fans (afterwards termed "the barbarian invasion") as a result of the cooperation of the professional magazine editors, whose (the barbarians') influence would be felt after the World Convention in 1939, making fandom a more dignified place, with a less spontaneous air, and a relaxing of controversy. He was wrong in his placing of the time, for before the end of 1938, the Second Fandom had passed into the Second Transition, which this history treats as continuing to the time of the World Convention.

The Situation in the West«« »»The Decline and Fall of Wollheim