Western Pennsylvania SF Association

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A club centered on Pittsburgh also known as WPSFA (pronounced "Woops-fa") which ran PgHLANGE.

It was begun as an expansion off-campus of the CMUSFS (Carnegie Mellon Science Fiction Society) by the Founding Mothers (Linda Bushyager (then Linda Eyster), Ginjer Buchanan and Suzanne Tompkins) in 1967.

It appears to have been unrelated to the much earlier Western Pennsylvania Science Fictioneers, but it soon made contact with members of the previous generation of Pittsburgh fandom.

The Pittcon group that ran the 1960 Worldcon was inactive by the late 60s, but some people continued social meetings at a local Lebanese restaurant, and rarely discussed SF or fandom. It was still run by Dirce Archer, and much to the delight of the new group, included a real live science fiction professional, P. Schuyler Miller. Meetings of the older group were attended by members of WPSFA, but members of the Pittcon group did not reciprocate. Eventually, the two groups drifted apart. According to Linda Bushyager, "We didn't seem to have much in common. We kept going to their meetings and inviting them to ours. This went on for quite a few months, but none of them ever came to our meetings." After about 6 months, the new club gave up and let the older club continue on its way to extinction and the Pittcon group disappeared forever in the early 70s.

Members included Debbie Atherton, Dena Benatan, Ginjer Buchanan, Linda Bushyager, Ron Bushyager, Dale DiNucci, Connie Faddis, Suzanne Tompkins, Jeff Schalles, and Art Vaughn.

Initially, meetings were held at Carnegie-Mellon University, since most members were CMU students or graduates. By May 1968, most members were no longer associated with CMU, so the club's name was changed to WPSFA {from what?} and meetings were held at club members' homes. The 1968 'death car' expedition to Disclave 12 in Washington, DC was perhaps the club's most memorable event. The 'death car' was a rental station wagon, loaded with nine members of the club and driven by a CMU graduate student, Nancy Lambert. Just before reaching the Maryland border, the club had a near-death experience, when the driver lost control and it spun around several times. Linda Bushyager remembered that "somewhere on the Pennsylvania Turnpike the station wagon began fishtailing. It went into a spin, and I remember Suzle screaming something about 'Don't slam on the brakes!' as Nancy slammed on the brakes. We spun out of control, but fortunately there were no other cars near us, and we ended up in the grass on the side of the road. All of a sudden a lot of cars were driving past us, very slowly, trying to see what the 'accident' was all about. Something got into me then, and I yelled, 'You want blood? Here it is!' and I staggered and fell on the grass as though I had been injured, just to give the gawkers a thrill. Everyone else seemed to find this wildly funny."

There was also a second car in the expedition, a decrepit Ford with three other WPSFA members, which also had its share of misadventures> It died on hills several times, and had to be roll-started by pushing it to the top for a gravity assist down the other side. Somehow, they all eventually made it to Washington and Disclave, where the 'death car' tale made the rounds of the convention, in the process giving some legendry to the Pittsburgh group. Also, many of the fans who attended were young, single women, which made fandom "sit up and take notice" of club's existence.

Its clubzines were Woops, Syzygy, and Cygnus X-1. Granfaloon was not a club publication, but was published by several club members.

WPSFA seems to have disappeared around 1980 amidst some complex local feuds which left Barbara Geraud running the last PgHLANGE by herself.

See File 770 #13 p9 for a letter by Geraud.

Club Reasonator 19671980
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