Misfits

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(For other Misfits, see Misfits (Disambiguation).)


The Misfits, so dubbed by George H. Young, were a Michigan-wide club, also known as the Michigan Science-Fantasy Society (MSFS) and centered in Detroit. The club was the major SF club there during the 1940s and ’50s.

When Art Rapp and Bill Groover met the remnants of the Hyperboreans on January 30, 1948, the MSFS was formed, Ben Singer doing most of the organization work. (Young promptly formed the name "Misfits" for the group.)

Mutant was the club’s early fanzine.

The uniqueness of the MSFS among Michifan groups lay in attempting to provide fan activities for everybody in the state, not just the Detroit area. During its two years of life MSFS members coined expressions (“Fanspeak,” “Real Soon Now”), pioneered in fannish publishing and philosophy (Spacewarp, Sexocracy), and set fashions for the microcosm ("Home of the Original Helicopter Beanie").

Picking a date for the end of MSFS is difficult, as the group slowly mutated from active fanac to a bowling league and overlapped with the Detroit Science Fiction League that formed after the Blowup that caused Art Rapp’s resignation, but it apparently had a renaissance after the Korean War.

In 1951, as reported in Odd 12, p. 52, Ben Singer, an unmitigated prankster, sent another Misfit, Norm Kossuth, an unsigned threatening letter. Kossuth promptly took the letter to the FBI. About three months later, Singer admitted that it was he who had sent the letter. Kossuth replied, "You’ll be having visitors soon!" and reported it to the feds. They questioned Singer, who told them he belonged to the Misfits and that many of the members were Communists. This caused Bennett Sims, president of the club, to be investigated, too. Sims was so disgusted he re­signed his position.

In the March 1952 issue of Science Fiction News Letter, Bob Tucker reported:

The Michigan Science-Fantasy Society (Detroit and environs), seeking to revive a moribund organization, held a "kill or cure" meeting last month and elected Martin Alger its president. A stiff activity program was laid out, calling on members to earn so many credits per month to retain membership. The club also decided to revive THE MUTANT, long-defunct fanzine of the previous club. Other newly-elected officers are Roger Sims as v-p, Miss Agnes Harook the secretary-treasurer, Nancy Moore the editor, and Ed Kuss her art editor. The Michigan club has lately undergone harrowing experiences, with one former member arrested for posse­ssing "obscene literature" and two others being quizzed by gov­ernment agents. Some time ago a "bomb" exploded at the home of still another member, bringing police and firemen to the scene. (Michigan is never a dull place to conduct your fan activity.)

In an ad in the Solacon PR 2 supporting its Detroit in '59 Worldcon bid, the members listed were Wm. c. Rickhardt, Frank Paccassi, Patty Paccassi, Ben Singer, Eleanore Singer, Elliot Broderick, Marlene Broderick, Dean McLaughlin, Erwin Stirnweis, Fred Prophet, George Young, Mary Young, Roger Sims, Jack Koppen, Mona Rhines, Ed Kuss, Bruce Davis, Agnes Harook, Jim Broderick, Arnim Seielstad, Orma McCormick, Howard DeVore, Sybil DeVore, Martin Alger, Gordon Black, Fred Reich, and Burt Beerman, with Art Rapp, Doc Smith and Jean Smith as honorary members.

Michigan Memories” by Chas. Stuart Metchette in Spacewarp 42 (September 1950).

See Michifen.

From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959
About 1948 Hal Shapiro, over objection, declared that this means "Michigan Instigators of Science Fantasy for Intellectual Thinkers Society."
From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959
From Michifen When Art Rapp and Bill Groover met the remnants of the Hyperboreans 30 January 1948 the Michigan Science Fiction Society was formed, Singer doing most of the organization work. (George Young promptly formed the name "Misfits" for the group.)

The uniqueness of the MSFS among Michifan groups lay in attempting to provide fan activities for everybody in the state, not just the Detroit area. During its two years of life MSFS members coined expressions (Fanspeak, Real Soon Now), pioneered in fannish publishing and philosophy (Spacewarp, Sexocracy), set fashions for the Microcosm ("Home of the Original Helicopter Beanie") and were involved in such antics as Singer's attempt to cross the Canadian border during a Red hunt carrying a prominently displayed copy of Banish Gods From the Skies and Capitalists from the Earth. After the Blowup and Rapp's resignation local Detroiters formed the DSFL, which existed in a fashion for several years, giving off splinter groups like the Morgan Botts Foundation. Return of some members from service after the Korean War led to a renascence in which the 1959 convention was held in the Motor City. What will come after your scholiast knows not.

from Fancyclopedia 2 Supplement ca. 1960: The actual title of the book Singer carried thru customs during that witch-hunt was The War Between Christianity and Communism. It was, however, decorated with a livid red jacket, and the outstanding blurb on this was the quoted "Banish Gods from the Skies and Capitalists from the Earth".


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