Officially, the New York Science Fiction Society (which no one uses or remembers) or the NYSFS (ditto), the Lunarians was a NY City area fan club which sponsored Lunacons. Post-War, it was probably the most important and certainly the most long-lived club in NYC.
The first meeting of the Lunarians was held on Sunday, Nov 18, 1956 as "a social organization for mature fans who are sincerely interested in science fiction as well as fandom." The founding members were Belle Cohen (Secretary), Martha Cohen, Frank Dietz (Treasurer), Bill Donaho, Allen Glasser, Dave Kyle (President), Ruth Landis, Dave McDonald, Sam Moskowitz, Dave Pollard, and George Nims Raybin.
For many years it met once a month on Saturday night at Frank Dietz's home in the Bronx to socialize. Belle Dietz (née Cohen) would usually make muffins or cookies and it would quickly turn into a fangab though a Hearts game also played a big role. In the ’60s, other members included John Boardman, Charlie Brown, Ed Meskys, Julius Postal and out-of-town members Jack Chalker, Ted Pauls, and Mark Owings who would drive up from Baltimore to attend.
The Lunarians’ focus on a monthly party at the Dietzes’ ended when their neighborhood deteriorated and they moved to New Jersey. By the late ’60s meeting had moved to the home of John and Perdita Boardman and the club had become much more formal, with meetings run by Robert's Rules of Order and more of the entertainment derived from debating the club's constitution and by-laws than from anything else. File 770 #20 p3 recounts an amusing anecdote about this.
The Lunarians gave out the Isaac Asimov Memorial Award.
By around 2000, the Lunarians' tendency to focus on hairsplitting over rules combined with the traditional fractiousness of New York fandom had led to a largely fixed and consequently slowly shrinking membership, with fewer meetings and, ultimately, none. (The club had decided that the notice of the election meeting had been improperly distributed and consequently, the elections were invalid. Without officers, no one knew how to call a meeting to remedy the problem....) The treasury was depleted subsidizing money-losing Lunacons and with no meetings, no new officers were elected. By around 2010, the club was moribund.
In 2015, the New York Science Fiction Society was formally discontinued and replaced by "The New York Science Fiction Society - the Lunarians (2), Inc." Meetings are now held about every month in Manhattan. The Lunarians (2) sponsored Lunacon 2016.
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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!