Up To Now: The Second Fandom Finds Itself

Up To Now by Jack Speer, 1939

The Second Convention and the Shift of Power«« »»Then What Happened?

The field had been leveled to the ground; it was time for the emergence of a new order. If no new order did emerge, then fandom was finished.

As there had been a scramble to take Fantasy Magazine's place, so there was a scramble to take the ISA's place as leading fan organization. Several New York clubs made only partially successful attempts. Philadelphia always rides thru storms with the least change, and the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society was still functioning as stoutly as ever. They called the Third Convention. As the time for that gathering, October 30, 1937, drew near, there was talk of using it to form a federation of fantasy clubs, since many local groups, such as the Los Angeles SFA-SFL and the Oklahoma Scientifiction Association, as well as specialized horizontal guilds, were doing or had shown capability of doing well in spite of the collapse of the headship.

Thrilling Wonder's place in the professional field had been found, and things there had steadied down. The SFL was continued, and there was somewhat more incentive to form local groups when they could be part of the larger SFL and their meetings reported in TWS.

The new Science Fiction Fan was beginning to be recognized as the leading fan magazine. A multitude of minor publications continued to appear, and more were being projected all the time. The cheap hektograph was definitely the medium.

So much for the means. What was to be the end? What were fans to talk about? Most of them were tired of discussing stories; some very active fans no longer bought and read the science-fiction magazines regularly. The fan magazines at this time were filled mainly with news of — themselves. A typical column of gossip would report that A had given B the rights to his magazine's name, that C would illustrate the allegedly October issue of D's magazine, that E and F were going to New York to see G before the Convention, that H had broken his association with I, and would publish their magazine alone, on the hekto instead of mimeo.

The nearest thing to a contemporary recognition of the change that had occurred was Sam Moskowitz' "This Changing Tendency Among Fan Magazines", in which he called attention to their growing independence and asserted that all professional magazines might go out of existence and fandom would continue on its way.

Fans had found a new center of interest: themselves and their own activities.

The Second Convention and the Shift of Power«« »»Then What Happened?