|(Michelists) The idea that the proper function of science fiction is to serve as a vehicle for educating the public -- for making fans into scientists by putting accurate, tho sugarcoated, scientific information into stf stories. Sam Moskowitz declares Uncle Hugo to be innocent of any such folly, but the following quotation from the letter column of Amazing for June 1926 may be advanced as the first appearance of the idea:
"One of the great surprises since we started publishing Amazing Stories is the tremendous amount of mail we receive from -- shall we call them 'Scientifiction fans'? [And they did] -- who seem to be pretty well oriented in this sort of literature... Some of these fans are constantly visiting the book stores with the express purpose of buying new or old scientifiction tales, and they even go to the trouble of advertising for some volumes that have long since gone out of print.
"Scientifiction, in other words, furnishes a tremendous amount of scientific education [...] and fires the reader's imagination more perhaps than anything else of which we know." -- Hugo Gernsback, FRS.
The failure of the ISA, said the Michelists, proved this wrong; the purpose of SF should be to make active idealists. Some fans who were working in or studying science replied that stf had stimulated their interest in science a great deal, they believed; and others claimed that reading our favorite literature puts the scientifictionist well ahead of the average man in understanding sciences.