Chicago Clubs

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Chicago is another of those cities which has abounded with short-lived clubs over the years, many with confusingly similar names. Here are the clubs we know of grouped by type and then arranged (roughly) in order of the date they were founded. The Floreat dates (fl.) cover the range of dates for which we have evidence the club was active. (The ranges are doubtless narrower than actual due to lack of information.)

Corrections are very welcome!

See also: Chicago, 6 in 60.


Contents

The Early Clubs[edit]

International Scientific Association[edit]

fl. 1928-38

The ISA was a science club which resulted from the merger of a Chicago club and and Alabama club. It is unclear that in its earliest years it was an SF club, though it later morphed into something like one. It was certainly one of the very earliest sf-club-like-things.

See International Scientific Association for much more.

Chicago Science Fiction League[edit]

Chicago Science Fiction Club[edit]

fl. 1935-38

The CSFL (also known as TCSFL) was founded by Walter Dennis in 1935 as chapter #14 of the SFL. The club attracted members including founder Paul McDermott, Jack Darrow, Allen Kline, Arthur Hermann, Otto Binder, Earl Binder, Jack Binder, and William Dellenback. Sam Moskowitz called it "the outstanding chapter of the time."

Three of the members, Darrow, Binder, and Dellenback, planned to visit New York that summer to meet members of the New York chapter of the SFL. Charles D. Hornig planned a chapter meeting to take place at the offices of Wonder Stories, but the Chicago delegates arrived a day late and missed the meeting, instead visiting with Hornig, Mort Weissinger, and Julius Schwartz. Arguably, had this meeting happened, this would have been the first science fiction convention.

The club published the clubzine The Fourteen Leaflet from November 1935 through Spring 1937. In 1937, it severed its ties with the SFL and renamed itself the Chicago Science Fiction Club, but by the time the final issue was published, many club members had left Chicago and the club soon went dormant.

In 1990, Las Vegas fans claimed control of the CSFL and this claim was not disputed. What they did with it is unknown.

The Chicago Science Fiction League (II) (below) was an entirely separate group.

Chicago Science Fictioneers[edit]

fl. 1930s

The Fictioneers was an early SF club in Chicago, formed by fan W. Lawrence Hamling, apparently as part of an effort to run Chicon I -- though this did not happen and the Chicon was run by the Illini Fantasy Fictioneers instead. Jack Darrow was also a member.

Windy City Wampires[edit]

fl. early 40s

From Fancyclopedia 1 ca 1944
Informal name for the gang in Chicago; apparently they have no organizational setup.

College Clubs[edit]

University of Chicago Science Fiction Club[edit]

University of Chicago Science Fiction Society[edit]

fl. 1950-1960s

The University of Chicago Science Fiction Club (Society) was founded in 1950 by Tom Seidman, George D'Asaro, and John Boardman. It published The Journal of Science Fiction.

In its early years, club meetings were so informal as to be pretty chaotic -- though they weren't dull. Its 1952 Halloween party included an imitation black mass, which gained it unwelcome notice by the university's President. Earl Kemp became club President in 1953. Its faculty adviser was Nobel-Prize-winning chemist Harold Urey!

In 1963, the club split into two groups. By this time, none of the members were students at the University of Chicago, and many felt that the club had become stale. George Price, who had been doing the club's program and sending out meeting notices wanted a more sf-oriented group and began hosting a monthly meeting (see George W. Price) and Rosemary Hickey helped set up a monthly social group (including drinking) called the Chicago SF League.

Along with the (second) Chicago Science Fiction League, it was part of CHIAC.

University of Chicago SF Society[edit]

fl. 1969-73

The University of Chicago SF Society was a new UofC club founded in April 1968 with Jerry Lapidus, Michael Jensen, Linda Kravinski and Charles Fuhrer as officers. By 1969, it was meeting in Ida Noyes Hall on campus. This club made a short-lived and unsuccessful bid for the 1973 Worldcon.

See Chicago in '73.

Armchair Speculators of DePaul University[edit]

fl. 1970s

Founded in the early 1970s, an active club which was one of the predecessors of General Technics.

See Armchair Speculators of DePaul University for a much longer article.

University of Illinois at Chicago Science Fiction Society[edit]

fl. 1970s

(See University of Illinois SF Society for the Champaign-Urbana club.)

The University of Illinois at Chicago Science Fiction Society, a club at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle campus, published a clubzine, Tesseract, and fed heavily into later Chicago fandom and Thursday.

In the 1970s, members included Robin Beal, E. Michael Blake, John Donat, Cory Glaberson, Kathy Hoover, Joy King, Jim Kobrinetz, Doug Price and Doug Rice.

The Middle Years[edit]

CHIAC[edit]

fl. 1950s and ’60s

Not properly a club at all, CHIAC was Chicago fandom in the 1950s and ’60s, consisting of the (second) Chicago Science Fiction League and the University of Chicago SF Club. They put on the fannish plays, The Purple Pastures by Carl Brandon and Requiem for a Fake Fan by James O'Meara, jointly with LASFS at Pittcon in 1960.

Chicago Science Fiction League (II)[edit]

Chicago SF League[edit]

fl. 1962-??

When the University of Chicago Science Fiction Club fell apart, it broke into two entirely new clubs, one called itself the Chicago Science Fiction League (unrelated to the old Chicago SFL which was long gone). It was formed around 1962 by Rosemary Hickey and held monthly meetings on the first Saturday night of each month (except in months when a convention took place) at the home of Rosemary Hickey at 2020 North Mohawk Street and later at the home of George Price.

At Chicon III in 1962, they sponsored an exhibition of the art of Richard M. Powers on the Saturday of the convention. The league compiled the exhibit separately from the con and paid rent on the room themselves, asking con-attendees for voluntary donations to offset the cost.

Along with University of Chicago SF Club, it was part of CHIAC.

George W. Price[edit]

fl. 1965-1985

As attendance and activity at the University of Chicago Science Fiction Club dropped off, beginning in 1965, George W. Price began hosting parties at his home at 1439 W. North Shore Avenue on the third Saturday of each month, which continued for 20 years. Many Chicago fen found fandom at George’s.

Eventually, the attendance changed from members of the University of Chicago club to members of the University of Illinois at Chicago Science Fiction Society and Armchair Speculators of DePaul University.

Clubs of Latter Days[edit]

Thursday[edit]

fl. 1970s and ’80s

Thursday was an informal social gathering of Chicago fans which met weekly on Thursday nights during the 1970s and '80s. It constituted most of Chicago fandom’s social activity in its time.

See Thursday for much more.

SFFNCS[edit]

Science Fiction Fans of the Northwest Chicago Suburbs[edit]

Sphinx[edit]

fl. 1970s and ’80s

SFFNCS, initialese for Science Fiction Fans of the Northwest Chicago Suburbs, an informal club, began in the early 1970s, when Betty Hull and George Fergus, who had been regulars at George Price’s parties in the city, each moved out to the Northwest ’burbs.

The name was George’s idea, according to Betty: “I said, ‘That’s unpronounceable.’ He said, ‘We’ll pronounce it “Sphinx.”’” So they did.

Regulars included Hull, Fergus, Gene Wolfe, Phyllis and Alex Eisenstein, among others. The group was still going in the mid-’80s, when Hull married Fred Pohl. Leah Zeldes and Dick Smith attended meetings about then, too.

West Suburban Science Fiction Society[edit]

fl. 1979-82

A club located in the western suburbs of Chicago. It was founded by Ken Mason. {Could this be related to the West Suburban Group?}

DuPage Science Fiction and Fantasy[edit]

DPSFFS[edit]

fl. 1980s–2000

A social club in DuPage County that held monthly parties in members homes. Founders included Larry Cole, Lindalee Stuckey and Phil Kotula. It became the core group behind Super-Con-Duck-Tivity and DucKon.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum[edit]

fl. 1989

An apparently short-lived Chicago club.

The Nite Group[edit]

fl. 1989

An apparently short-lived Chicago club.

West Suburban Group[edit]

fl. 1989-present

A club that seems to be centered around FermiLab.

{Could this be related to the West Suburban Science Fiction Society?}

Chicago-SF[edit]

fl. 2006-present

A club founded in 2006. It hosts monthly book discussions, a monthly social gathering, and organizes movie outings, bowling, trips to Great America, museums, picnics and parties at local cons. Members include Neil Rest.

Strictly Conventions[edit]

Chicago Science Fiction Society[edit]

Chicon II Society[edit]

fl. 1950-53

The Chicago Science Fiction Society AKA Chicon II Society was the organization that ran Chicon II, which see for more

ISFiC[edit]

fl. 1973-present

ISFiC is probably the most durable of all the extant Chicago clubs. It is not a social club, but is the group that runs Windycon.

See ISFiC for a long article on the organization.

Phandemonium[edit]

fl. 1981-present

Phandemonium is the organization which runs Capricon. See Capricon and Phandemonium for more.

49th Ward Regular Science Fiction Organization, Inc.[edit]

fl. late ’80s

An Illinois 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation created by Neil Rest to sponsor the Bermuda Triangle Bid for the 1988 Worldcon. Rest was President, Alexia Hebel was VP, and Hillarie Riley was Secretary. The group’s name was a joking reference to the Chicago Democratic Party machine.

Super-Con-Duck-Tivity[edit]

fl. 1993–2014 The organization that sponsored and ran DucKon and presented the Golden Duck Awards, which see for more. It was centered in DuPage County (some of Chicago's western suburbs).

Chicago Worldcon Bid[edit]

fl. 2005–present?

The organization that sponsored two Chicago Worldcon bids and Chicon 7. See Chicago Worldcon Bid for more.

Reading & Writing Groups[edit]

Twilight Tales[edit]

fl. 1993–2008

A weekly reading series created by Tina Jens following Halloween in 1993. Generally held at the Red Lion Pub on Lincoln Avenue, across from the Biograph Theatre where John Dillinger was shot, the series hosted more than 500 authors, both established and unpublished before it was forced to close when the pub underwent "renovation" in 2008 from which it never re-opened. Attempts to move the reading series elsewhere met with limited success.

Some of the authors who read at Twilight Tales included Max Allan Collins, Brian Lumley, Yvonne Navarro, Melanie Tem, Gahan Wilson, Robert Weinberg, Gene Wolfe, Algis Budrys, and Jay Bonansinga.

The group that ran Twilight Tales, which also included Andrea Dubnick, published several volumes of the stories ranging from chap books to trade paperbacks that were read at the events.

Dubnick and Jens received a 2000 Bram Stoker nomination for their work on the series.

Speculative Literature Foundation[edit]

Chicago Deep Dish Readings[edit]

fl. 2004–present

Founded in 2004 and based in Chicago, this national group promotes speculative literature in various ways, including bestowing writers’ grants. It has a Chicago chapter, which, since 2017, has sponsored the Chicago Deep Dish Reading Series.

Readings have taken place quarterly at Volumes Book Cafe in Chicago, although the last scheduled reading on March 14, 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19 and the series remains on hiatus pending the end of the COVID pandemic. Chris Bauer is also one of the event's organizers. Readers have included Mary Anne Mohanraj, Mary Robinette Kowal, Richard Chwedyk, Sue Burke, Steven H Silver, David D. Levine, Cory Doctorow, Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

See Speculative Literature Foundation for more.

Tuesday Funk[edit]

fl. 2008–present

Tuesday Funk is a monthly reading series founded in 2008 by Connor Coyne (coincidentally arriving on the scene as Twilight Tales was dying). Each month features five authors and a poetry reading in the Hopleaf Bar, located on N. Clark Street. Over the years, the series had various hosts. In 2010, sf author William Shunn took over the series, bringing on Andrew Huff as co-host in April 2013. Despite moving to New York City in June 2013, Shunn continued to host the series until that December, when sf writer Eden Robins joined Huff as co-host.

Readers at Tuesday Funk include both genre and non-genre readers. Some of the genre readers have included Richard Chwedyk, Bradley Beaulieu, John Klima, Rae Carson, Maurice Broaddus, Wesley Chu, Brenda Cooper, Steven H Silver, Mary Robinette Kowal, Daniel Kraus, James Kennedy, and more.

Suburban Fantasy Book Club[edit]

fl. ????–2015

An SF readers’ group. Website.

Western Suburban Science-Fiction Book Club[edit]

fl. ????–present

An SF readers’ group that meets monthly at restaurants in the near western suburbs of Chicago. Meeting attendance is capped at 16.

Lords of Lore[edit]

fl. 2007–2016

An SF readers’ group. Website.

Evanston Fantasy and Sci Fi Book Club[edit]

fl. present

An SF readers’ group. Website.

Northwest Suburban Fantasy Book Club[edit]

fl. 2014–present

An SF readers’ group. Website.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Moebius Theatre[edit]

fl. 1976-2021

Moebius Theatre is a Chicago SF drama troupe, founded in 1976, who put on stfnal and fannish plays at conventions and elsewhere, including Stage Wars at Minicon 13 and a live audio theater performance of The Island of Doctor Moreau at Chicon 7.

Members have included Alice Bentley, E. Michael Blake, Phil Foglio, Lisa Golladay, Gretchen Roper, Martha Soukup and Alan Ziebarth.

Website.

American Hobbit Association[edit]

Minas Aeron[edit]

fl 1977-89

The American Hobbit Association was a national Tolkien club that grew out of a Chicago club, Minas Aeron, and remained centered there.

See American Hobbit Association for more.

Queen to Queen's Three[edit]

QQ3[edit]

fl. 1975-2016

A media SF club formed as a Star Trek club by Rosary College students in October 1975. Michael Jencevice was its Captain (president) from 1979 until his death in 2016. The current status of the club is unclear.


Club Reasonator 1928
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!