William S. Sykora

(1913 — 1994)

William Stephan (Will) Sykora was a charter subscriber to Amazing Stories, and attended several meetings of The Scienceers before joining the five-member New York City chapter of the Science Fiction League in January 1935. The other members were Donald A. Wollheim, John Michel, Conrad Ruppert, and Julius Schwartz. Sykora also joined a branch of the International Cosmos Science Club (ICSC), a group devoted to both science and SF.

According to Sam Moskowitz, Sykora “epitomized the Gernsbackian ideal that all readers of the genre should consider the advancement of science their serious aim.” The ISA embodied this idea.

Skyora (along with Moskowitz], Wollheim, Michel and several others) was at the center of the epic battles which shaped (and shook) fandom in the late 30s. At the root was the [[SF]] (and science) focus of Sykora and Moskowitz versus the left-wing political focus of the Futurians such as Michel and Wollheim. See Sam Moskowitz' Immortal Storm for a comprehensive, though not entirely unbiased, history of the time.

The battles were fought with the intensity that only a young fan can muster — Sykora who was in his 20s then, was one of the older players. For example, Sykora was calledOily Will and The Mikado of Long Island City by his opponents. (For example, the Wollheimists attempted to throw Sykora out of the GNYSFL at a meeting he absent from. When the president ruled this out of order, the Wollheimists got him impeached and Sykora ejected, resulting in the collapse of the GNYSFL.) He was one of the Triumvirs who opposed the Quadrumvirate and who organized a number of the early conventions, including the First National (also known as the Newark Convention) and the Second Eastern States Science Fiction Convention. He attended the First Convention and the 1938 Philadelphia Conference.

As a member of the Triumvirs, Sykora helped plan and run the First Worldcon.

After World War II Sykora resurrected the Queens Science Fiction League, which met at his home, sponsored the SF gatherings, and established a short-lived small press, The Avalon Company, with Moskowitz. He was the US representative of the Big Pond Fund.

Beginning in the late 1930s Sykora made several attempts to create groups for producing SF films. He published the fanzine The Scientifilmaker in the 1930s. He also participated in the SFCC. Later in life he had some serious legal problems.

Fanzines and APAzines included FFFFanewscard in the 40s, Fanews, Fantasy News.

In 1949, he promoted another New York Worldcon with the losing New York in '49 bid.

His photo appears on page 203 of Warner’s A Wealth of Fable.