A Warning

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Also known as The Yellow Pamphlet, A Warning was the fanzine that provoked the First Exclusion Act. Several of the Futurians were not allowed to enter the first World Science Fiction Convention because Chairman Sam Moskowitz said they were distributing an offensive publication. A WARNING! was written and published by David Kyle, who was not expelled because he was already in the convention hall.

Dave Kyle's Nycon Reminiscence tells some of the story of the Yellow Pamphlet.

I M P O R T A N T !
Read This Immediately!
July 2, 1939

You, who are reading this pamphlet, have come to attend the World's Science Fiction Convention. You are to be praised for your attendance and complimented on the type of fiction in which you are interested. But, TODAY BE AWARE OF ANY MOVEMENT TO COERCE OR BULLY YOU INTO SUBMISSION! Remember, this is YOUR convention, for YOU! Be on the alert, lest certain well-organized minorities use you to ratify their carefully conceived plans.

Why This Warning?

This warning is being given to you by a group of sincere science fiction fans. The reasons for this warning are numerous; THEY ARE BASED UPON EVENTS OF THE PAST -- particularly events which took place at the Newark Convention of 1937. At that time the gathering of fans and interested readers was pounded into obedience by the controlling clique. The Newark Convention set up dictatorially, the machinery for the convention which you are now attending. THE NEWARK CONVENTION MUST NOT BE PERMITTED TO REPEAT ITSELF! It remains in your power to see that this convention today will be an example of perfect democracy.

Startling Facts 

The Queens Science Fiction League was formed by the Newark Clique, after that convention, in order to make the necessary local organization upon which the dictatorial Convention Committee could base itself. The editors demanded such an organization. The self-appointed chairman of the Newark Convention accordingly arranged to form it so as to get a New York City organization for the similarly formed New Fandom. A constitution was written for it which is kept secret for the most part, but is arranged so as not to allow the possibility of any opponent joining the organization by the mechanics of allowing only one blackball, instead of the traditional two.

ALSO, The Queens Science Fiction League is run arbitrarily by its three leaders and discussion from the floor and dissension in any form is rigidly controlled or suppressed. The editors and those dependent on them for a living, the authors, have made it a duty to attend Queens S.F.L. meetings regularly in order to keep it going and to keep the 1939 Convention in hand. At the elections held last meeting, held openly so as to detect any possible opposition, the three dictators were re-elected unanimously in perfect un-democratic harmony.

The Newark Revolution 

Led by a few indignant science fiction fans, the Convention of Newark in 1937 passed, OVER THE REFUSAL OF THE CHAIRMAN TO RECOGNIZE THE MOTION, by A MAJORITY OF MEMBERS, a resolution officially censuring the Chairman for his "undemocratic, dictatorial acts" which was place in the minutes of the convention. Afterwards, a petition was SIGNED BY A MAJORITY further censuring him, together with his cohorts.

High Handed Tactics 

At the same time that the Queens SFL was established, a large number of New York City fans formed the Futurian Society of New York. Contrary to much propaganda, the Futurian Society is not confined to communists, michelists, or other radical elements; it is a democratic club, run in a democratic way, and reflecting sincere science fiction fan activity. At a meeting about three months ago, the Futurians, in the interest of peace and united friendly action in New York for the Convention, voted an offer of a united meeting with the Queens S.F.L. to work out such co-operation. THIS OFFER HAS NEVER BEEN PLACED TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE OTHER ORGANIZATION, BEING SIDE-TRACKED BY THE DICTATORS OF THE CLUB.

A Loaded Weapon

The World's Science Fiction Convention of 1939 in the hands of such heretofore ruthless scoundrels is a loaded weapon in the hands of such men. This weapon can be aimed at their critics or can be used to blast all fandom. But YOU, the reader of this short article, are the ammunition. It is for YOU to decide whether you shall bow before the unfair tactics and endorse the carefully arranged plans of the Convention Committee. Beware of any crafty speeches or sly appeals. BE ON YOUR GUARD!

History In The Making 

What is done at this convention will make science fiction history. YOU are making it. MAKE THIS A DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION!


BE CAREFUL, when the chairman asks you to vote for something without discussion. DEMAND DISCUSSION! Be careful; when the chairman suggests that a person be UNANIMOUSLY elected to an office; that is DICTATORSHIP! Be careful; if the chairman says his critics are deliberately destructive; HEAR THE OTHER SIDE! Be careful, if the chairman says there will be no time to vote; TIME MUST BE MADE! Be careful; if the chairman refuses to recognize a speaker from the floor; FREE SPEECH IS ESSENTIAL! Be careful; in every way not to place unlimited power into the hands of the Convention Committee. THERE MUST BE REPRESENTATION, REPRESENTATION OF YOU! And above all, INSIST UPON DEMOCRATIC CONDUCT OF THE CONVENTION. DO NOT BE ROUGHLY SUPPRESSED!

In Conclusion 

It must be said that this pamphlet has been written not because it is KNOWN that something dictatorial will happen. This pamphlet was written only because of past actions of the present Convention Committee. We sincerely hope we are mistaken in our suspicions. But we have learned too much from the past, not to be warned of the future.

The Publishers

Who are we that have published this? We are science fiction fans, young men who believe that science fiction is a new type of literature which must not have its future destroyed by any selfish interests. We believe that free speech, co-operation, and democratic acts and thoughts must be granted to science fiction fandom. This pamphlet was NOT published by the Queens Science Fiction League. Likewise, it was NOT published by the Futurian Society of New York. Nor by "communists." Nor by "Fascists." Nor by any other clique or organization. This is published by a group of science fiction fans for no other purpose than to assure the person who attends the Convention a voice in the Convention, and to set them on their guard against any un-American dictatorial, or subversive management of the Convention. DESPITE ANYONE, OR ANYTHING, THE 1939 WORLD'S SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION IS BOUND TO BE A SUCCESS! And if the Convention Committee should decide that democratic methods are best we will be the first to admit that they deserve full credit and praise for this gathering for the three days of July first, second and third. MAY SCIENCE FICTION PROSPER!


See also: A History of Fandom in 100 Documents.

Publication 1939
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