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The British Science Fiction Association, the BSFA or BoSFA, is a UK club founded in 1958. It has published the critical journal Vector, the newsletter Matrix, and writers' magazine Focus, as well as other shorter-lived or one-off publications. It administers the BSFA Awards and from 1959 to 1966 the UK Eastercon was held under its aegis.

The organization was formed in 1958, with its origins traceable to a fanzine article written by Vincent Clarke in early 1958. The club came officially into existence at Cytricon IV, the 1958 Eastercon. Clarke was unable to attend, sending a collection of reactions to his article instead. A series of meetings at the convention brought about creation of the club. An article in Space Diversions #10 linked below lists the 37 people who attended the inaugural meeting, not all of whom joined the Association, and set out the 'aims and ideals' of the new group:

The Association shall exist for the benefit of those interested in science-fiction and allied branches of imaginative literature.

It shall encourage the reading, writing and publishing of good literature of this class, shall assist and encourage contact between enthusiasts, shall provide liaison between its members and the science-fiction profession, shall endeavour to present science-fiction and associated art forms to the Press and general public in an advantageous manner & shall provide such amenities as may prove desirable for the use of members.

The foundational committee was given as Dave Newman (Chairman), Eric Bentcliffe (Secretary), Terry Jeeves (Asst. Secretary), Archie Mercer (Treasurer) and Ted Tubb (Editor of the Official Organ).

The club experienced a difficult first year, trying to rise from obscurity. Little publicity about the club was produced at first, and some of the fans leading the club had to cut back activity for various reasons. The first issue of Vector appeared in the summer of 1958. The second, now edited by Jeeves, appeared in the Autumn and included the first known membership list with 69 members to 4 October 1958. The third issue at the end of 1958 listed further members but also directed, 'From the previous list in Vector 2, delete M.l. (D.J.Newman) who was originally listed due to a misunderstanding.' This left the BSFA in the peculiar position where its first member was #2, Eric Bentcliffe. The club finally came of age in 1959, when Brumcon, the Eastercon in Birmingham, was run under BSFA sponsorship.

But by the end of the 1950s, both Jeeves and Bentcliffe had resigned, and their places were taken by Bobbie Wild (who married and became Bobbie Gray the next year) and Doc Weir, though ill health forced Weir to turn the BSFA Secretary position over to Sandra Hall after just a few months.

The officers of BSFA include the usual complement of Treasurer, Secretary, etc. The President of BSFA, however, is an honorary figurehead, ceremonial in purpose. Presidents have included Brian Aldiss, and Edmund Crispin. In the early 60s, the Chairman of BSFA was the person actually in charge of club, but by end of 60s, this too had become a figurehead position. Chairmen of BSFA in the 60s included Terry Jeeves, Ken Cheslin, Roy Kay, Ina Shorrock, Phil Rogers, and Roger Gilbert. By end of 60s, the Vice-Chairman of BSFA was the person actually in charge of the club.

Club publications over the years include Vector, Focus (current), Paperback Inferno, Matrix, Tangent, the BSFA Newsletter, BSFA Yearbook, the SF Writer's Bulletin, and the BSFA Bulletin (defunct). A BSFA fanzine lending library was established by Chris Priest in 1965 as a companion to club's existing SF library.

The BSFA holds an "Annual General Meeting" each summer, combined with the Science Fiction Foundation AGM as a mini-convention open to the general public, and has sponsored a lecture at the Eastercon since 2009. It sponsors the BSFA Award which is presented at Eastercon. Dave Kyle was initially appointed to oversee the award's administration. It became the BSFA Award as of the 1970 Eastercon.

Controversy erupted in late 1960 over the club's purpose. Its stated purpose was "furtherance of science fiction", but its actual purpose appeared to be bringing new people into fandom. Both sides of controversy has its supporters. John Phillifent, who wrote SF, complained that BSFA was "being run by, and heavily slanted toward 'fandom'", a group that he felt negative toward. Archie Mercer wrote that it was only the fannish fans who were interested in doing the work necessary to keep BSFA going. The ongoing dialog resulted that lasted for a number of months in the letter column of Vector. The differing positions of both sides of the argument were summed up by Daphne Buckmaster in vector 10: "The main problem seems to be the fact that you [the officials of BSFA] are trying to cater for two separate and differing bodies of people, fans and non-fans. I would suggest, with all modesty, that you cannot do both in one magazine. The editors and publishers in the professional SF field have never made any secret of the fact that they do not want or need any contact with fans, as such. It is my belief, therefore, that you will either have to decide that you are going to be a reputable organization to encourage a serious and impersonal interest in the SF field or that you are an organization for recruiting SF readers into the ranks of fandom. And if you want to do the first, you will need a more formal attitude if you want to be taken seriously."

In 1969, the club's purpose again became point of discussion in Archie Mercer's fanzine Pertinence. BSFA divorced itself from sponsorship of Eastercons in the late 60s. Many fans thought this a mistake, as Eastercon was the major annual event of British fandom. Suggestions were put forth by Chris Priest and Bob Rickard on how to rejuvenate the club. Priest suggested a strategy on how BSFA could expand membership sufficiently to have the resources to bring in a full-time secretary to actually run the club. Rickard thought club's image was that of chaos and anarchy, and needed change before any improvements could happen. Unfortunately, discussions had no effect on BSFA, and club decline gradually continued until its collapse in 1974, mainly due to the (probably coincidental) gafiation of Membership Secretary Dave Tillston and a number of other committee members at about the same time.

BSFA was later successfully revived and continued as a center for British fandom for decades after that.

From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
British Science-Fiction Association, a newly-formed organization (Easter 1958) meant to organize and recruit in British fandom. It put on a successful con at Birmingham in 1959. An Official Organ, fairly regular, and a number of valuable activities are planned, but little data is yet to hand.

Club 1958
This is a club page. Please extend it by adding information about when and where the club met, when and by whom it was founded, how long it was active, notable accomplishments, well-known members, clubzines, any conventions it ran, external links to the club's website, other club pages, etc.

When there's a floreat (Fl.), this indicates the time or times for which we have found evidence that the club existed. This is probably not going to represent the club's full lifetime, so please update it if you can!