Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Science Fiction League

The other day some great scans of  Science Fiction League ephemera were posted over at Golden Age Comic Book Stories. While the Science Fiction League wasn't the first sf fan club, it was very important in the history of fandom. The story of its creation was related by Everett F. Bleiler in his study, Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years (1998).

"Gernsback's most visible promotion device was the creation of the Science Fiction League, a quasi-fraternal national organization of science-fiction fans set up in local chapters. In later issues of the magazine [Wonder Stories] several pages were devoted to inspirational material about the league, chapter publicity, and similar matters. There were no dues, but paraphernalia was available from Gernsback - buttons, insignia, stationary, and other matters, on all of which Gernsback undoubtedly turned a profit. At an earlier date Gernsback had operated a similar club through his technical magazines."

"Gernsback's Science Fiction League seems to have peaked at about a thousand members while Wonder Stories was in existence. While it was directly and indirectly profitable to Gernsback, it also accomplished a fair amount in organizing science-fiction fandom, which had hitherto been sporadic and individual. Such organization had mixed results. On the one hand, it helped create an "esprit d'âme," if such a term be permitted; on the other hand it opened the way to the intense factionalism that has long been characteristic of science-fiction fandom."

No comments: