About a year and a half ago, Opening Comments in Mimosa 18 ("Lost in the
Sixties") described an ongoing fan history project that may lead to a book about
1960s fandom. This would not, of course, be the first such fan history book; it's
intended to be, if anything, a sequel to some of the other fan history books that
have already been published. The following article describes some of these, so if
you've been wondering what an ideal fan history library should look like, wonder no
The other night I was speaking to some eager young fans on one of the computer networks. They were curious about some aspects of fannish history, and I was regaling them with tales about past Worldcons and Claude Degler and Room 770, and one of them suddenly remarked that it was essential to get some of this stuff written down before the last of us oldpharts died and there was no one to codify fandom's history.
I explained gently that they had nothing to worry about, that we oldpharts had been codifying fannish history for the better part of sixty years, and that very few hobby fields were as well documented as science fiction fandom.
I even mentioned some of the book titles to prove my point. They'd never heard of any of them... which meant it was probably time for someone to write this article, so neofen will know where to look for the Holy Books of Fandom before the last of us oldpharts dies without telling them.
Now, this doesn't pretend to be a complete list of titles. It's just what I have managed to accumulate during my 35 years as a fan and a pro (which, I hasten to point out, are not mutually exclusive. I am, always have been, and always will be, a fan -- the IRS's claims to the contrary notwithstanding). Anyway, I think it's not unfair to say that if you read every word of every book I'm about to discuss, you'll stop being a neofan somewhere along the journey, and may actually be faunching for the secret handshake to Trufandom by the time you're done.
The first book of major import has to be The Immortal Storm, by Sam Moskowitz (published by the Atlanta Science Fiction Organization Press in 1954, and later reprinted by Hyperion). It is nothing less than the history of American science fiction fandom, culminating with the first Worldcon in 1939, all described in incredibly minute detail.
Now, for those of you who may not know it, things did not go as smoothly at that first Worldcon as the participants might have wished. Moskowitz himself (a.k.a. 'SaM', just as Forry Ackerman is a.k.a. '4e') barred Don Wollheim, Cyril Kornbluth, Fred Pohl, Doc Lowndes, Jack Gillespie, and John Michel from entering, and the latter part of The Immortal Storm, told in the third person (though with Moskowitz as a major player), is an account of events leading up to, and including, what has come to be known as The Exclusion Act. Sometimes it's difficult to remember that these are not Kissinger and Disraeli SaM is writing about, but just a bunch of acne-faced kids with delusions of grandeur.
L. Sprague de Camp calls it "An extraordinary (if quite unintentional) study in small-group dynamics." Harry Warner, Jr. adds that "If read directly after a history of World War II, it does not seem like an anticlimax." An unnamed fan is quoted in All Our Yesterdays as calling it "Badly translated from the Slobbovian," a problem SaM would have again and again with his prose over the years.
Damon Knight devoted a short chapter of his book of criticism, In Search of Wonder, to The Immortal Storm. The title of the chapter was "Microscopic Moskowitz." How microscopic? Try this brief excerpt on for size:
"The membership never exceeded the original five, and since these five promptly split into two factions..."
I should add that there's a companion piece of sorts. It's Jack Speer's Up To Now, available in A Sense of FAPA (which will be discussed later), or as a stand-alone chapbook published by Arcturus Press in 1994. Up To Now is Speer's version of fannish history in the 1930s, and actually pre-dates Moskowitz's book. Is it any gentler and kinder? Well, according to Joe Gilbert, it's "As if someone had gathered up all the hates, prejudices and petty jealousies that have clogged the pipes of the stream of life since the world was first begun."
So is it possible to write a history of fandom that doesn't gather up all the hates, prejudices, etc.?
It is if your name is Harry Warner, Jr.
Harry took up where SaM and Speer left off, and covered the next two decades of fandom in two volumes. The first, dealing with the 1940s, was All Our Yesterdays, far better written than its predecessors, and without any axes to grind, since Harry's primary interaction with fandom was through fanzines and letter-writing. It's a fabulous informal history, covering all the high points, reporting on (for example) the initial meeting after the war between DAW (Wollheim) and SaM (the man who barred him from the first worldcon), filled with well over 100 photos, even indexed. It's a true treasure of fannish history and anecdotes.
Advent published All Our Yesterdays in 1969, and was set to publish A Wealth of Fable (which dealt with the 1950s) a few years later when Ed Wood, who was editing Advent at the time, rejected the manuscript unless Harry agreed to make massive changes. (Ed told me that his reason for turning it down was the feeling he got -- rightly or wrongly -- that if it wasn't reported in a fanzine [and many things weren't in the 1950s], the book assumed it didn't happen.)
Anyway, it was Joe Siclari and his Fanhistorica Press to the rescue. Joe mimeographed A Wealth of Fable and turned it into three 'issues' of a fanzine in 1977, and that was the only form in which it was available until SCIFI Press finally brought out a fine-looking hardcover at the 1992 Worldcon. It's not even a sequel, but rather a continuation of All Our Yesterdays, heavily illustrated, obviously written by the same hand, chock full of the anecdotes that almost instantly become fannish legend.
A fascinating, though very localized history, was written by F. Towner Laney back in 1948. It was called Ah! Sweet Idiocy!, it was about his few years in LASFS (the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society), and it pre-dated Sen. Joseph McCarthy in accusing almost everyone the author knew of being either a homosexual, a communist, or both. The villain of the piece seems to be Forry Ackerman -- yet it was Ackerman who footed the publishing bill! Ah! Sweet Idiocy! appeared serially in FAPA, and was later included, in its entirety, in Dick Eney's massive A Sense of FAPA.
Laney soon dropped out of fandom. He was married four times, and theoretically died on June 8, 1958. I say theoretically, because in the early 1980s I saw the name 'F. Towner Laney' on the masthead of a computer magazine published in New York, and how many F. Towner Laneys can there be in the world?
Well, I've referred to A Sense of FAPA twice now, so I might as well tell you about it. Back in 1962, Dick Eney collected some of the most interesting items that had ever run in FAPA -- fandom's very first amateur press association (or 'apa'), which is still going strong in 1997 -- and published them before they could be lost forever. Included in its 370+ pages were tons of artwork and articles, as well as the Speer history and Laney's idiocy. In a way, it's a rival history of fandom, by people who had no idea they were contributing to fannish history until Eney put all their old articles and cartoons together in one fat fannish volume. You'll also find "Mutation or Death," John Michel's propaganda tract that drew the battle lines between the Futurians and New Fandom, and some wonderful excerpts from Redd Boggs' immortal Sky Hook, Silverberg's Spaceship, and other now-classic fanzines.
DICTIONARIES AND ENCYCLOPEDIAS
The first fannish encyclopedia -- a dictionary of fannish terms and their origins, actually -- was Jack Speer's Fancyclopedia, published in 1944 by Forrest J Ackerman. It ran over 100 mimeographed pages.
It was succeeded in 1959 by Fancyclopedia II, edited by Dick Eney (and with co-editorial credit to Speer). Fancy II, one of my two favorite fannish books, runs 184 single-spaced pages, with nineteen pages of Additions and Corrections and 24 pages of The Rejected Canon. A fabulous book, which is equally adept at discussing the X Document, telling you how to mix an Atomic cocktail, or displaying the floor plans to the Tucker Hotel. Jack Chalker's Mirage Press printed a facsimile edition in 1979.
Eney also published the Fancyclopedigest, which was to be a bridge to Fancyclopedia III. When he ceased publishing, the project was taken over by some Los Angeles fans, who announced a pending publication in 1984. As I write this, it's only thirteen years overdue, barely half as late as The Last Dangerous Visions (also a Los Angeles project, now that I come to think of it), and I still have some slight hope of seeing it during my lifetime.
A much more recent and much less ambitious publication is Elliot Weinstein's The Fillostrated Fan Dictionary, published in two parts by "O" Press in 1975. It comes in two volumes, totaling 171 pages, and may even have more definitions than Fancy II. But the reason I prefer Fancy is that it gives anecdotes and histories of the terms, while Fillostrated simply gives definitions.
Halfway between a (small) dictionary and an (equally small) encyclopedia is The Neo-Fan's Guide, written by Bob Tucker back in 1955. It has been reprinted a number of times, to the best of my knowledge without ever being updated. The most recent copy I've seen was published by Mike Glyer in 1984, though Dave Truesdale tells me that Ken Keller published the authorized 7th edition in 1996. I think its popularity is a combination of two things: Tucker's continuing status as fandom's most beloved member, and the fact that, unlike, say, the Fancyclopedia, is it quite small and hence inexpensive to print. It really is for neofen; if you could find the fanzine in which this article appears, you're past needing it.
Finally, there's Roberta Rogow's Futurespeak: A Fan's Guide to the Language of Science Fiction, published by Paragon House in 1991, and much too limited and media-oriented for my taste.
For a while there, I had high hopes that I could revisit every Worldcon since 1962 just by reading the transcript, but alas, it was not to be. Still, three of them did see print.
The first was The Proceedings: Chicon III, the complete transcript of all the panels and speeches from the 1962 Worldcon, edited by Earl Kemp and published by Advent in 1963. To me, the highlights of this book are Bob Bloch's lecture on Hollywood, and Ted Sturgeon's Guest of Honor speech.
Then came The Proceedings: Discon, the 1963 Worldcon transcript, also with close to one hundred photos, edited by Dick Eney and published by Advent in 1965. The best thing in this one is a panel with Asimov, de Camp, Lieber, Ley and Brackett that addressed the question, "What Should a BEM Look Like?" There's also a fine Guest of Honor speech by Murray Leinster, who seems to have been forgotten a little faster than most of our giants, and if you never experienced Isaac Asimov as a toastmaster, this will show you what you missed.
Finally, Leslie Turek edited the profusely-illustrated coffee-table-sized edition The Noreascon Proceedings, the main-track transcsripts of the 1971 Worldcon, which was published in a coffeetable-book format by NESFA Press in 1976. Highlights include a panel with Asimov and Cliff Simak, and another with Asimov, Marvin Minsky, and Larry Niven.
By then, Worldcons had gotten so large that it was impossible to glean even a hint of their flavor from a single track of the program, and to print the entire proceedings -- which has occasionally run to fifteen and more tracks of programming, from eight to fourteen hours a day, during a five-day weekend -- was simply not feasible.
The continuing growth of Worldcon eventually spelled fini to a series produced by Jay Kay Klein, science fiction's unofficial photographic historian. Surely no one who has ever been to a Worldcon has been able to avoid Jay Kay and his flash camera -- but not all that many people know that in 1960 he published his Convention Annual #1, Pittcon Edition, a memory book filled with hundreds of photos and captions from the convention, covering panels, speeches, masquerades, the Hugo ceremonies, lobby lizards, and dozens of parties.
This was followed in rapid succession by Convention Annual #2, Chicon III Edition, in 1962; Convention Annual #3, Discon Edition, in 1963; and Convention Annual #4, Tricon Edition, in 1966. Jay Kay was all set to publish a fifth book, from 1974's Discon II, but the Worldcon had grown so huge by that time that even with help, he could barely identify half the fans in the photos, and so he retired the series.
Looking back on them, I think the Klein photo books gave even more of a sense of what the conventions were really like than the various Proceedings did, since Jay Kay not only photographed every panel, but also thoroughly covered the art shows, the huckster rooms, the masquerades, and just about every party that was thrown on Worldcon weekend. Until we invent a time machine, these photo books are probably the closest you'll ever come to experiencing -- or re-experiencing -- those early 1960s Worldcons.
There were two more memory books, published only months apart -- and both, while slickly produced, were far less thorough than the Klein books. In 1984, Steve Francis edited Memories of NorthAmericon, a photo book of the 1979 NasFic that was held in Louisville, Kentucky -- and just a few weeks later, Massachusetts Convention Fandom brought out the Noreascon Two Memory Book, the photo book of the 1980 Worldcon, edited by Suford Lewis.
It's been well over a decade since the last photo memory book was produced, yet I know fans cherish them; hopefully some future committee(s) will reestablish the practice.
As science fiction has reached larger audiences, and its practitioners have become more famous, it was inevitable that some of the leading professionals would be asked to write memoirs and autobiographies -- and since so many pros came up through fandom, especially in the early days, many of their recollections also concern fandom.
The most important, and delightful, of these is Damon Knight's The Futurians, published by John Day in 1977 (and later brought out in mass market paperback). Damon chronicles the group of teenagers who banded together in New York in the late 1930s, determined to have an effect on the field of science fiction -- and considering that their numbers included Don Wollheim, Fred Pohl, Isaac Asimov, Damon Knight, Robert Lowndes, Cyril Kornbluth, Virginia Kidd, Judith Merrill, and James Blish, among others, I think it's fair to say that they did just that. Knight chronicles their interior and external feuds (and one can be forgiven for feeling that, for their first couple of years of existence, they lived only to feud), follows them as Wollheim, Pohl and Lowndes nail down editorial jobs and begin buying from each other (and by 1943 they controlled more than half the prozines in the field), and then traces them to the present day, with Isaac becoming an international superstar, Wollheim metamorphizing from communist to capitalist and starting his own very successful publishing company, Kornbluth dying far too young, John Michel dying in almost total obscurity. It's a difficult book to put down.
There's a collection of six novelette-length autobiographies, edited by Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss, entitled Hell's Cartographers (an editorial tip of the hat to Kingsley Amis's groundbreaking collection of essays about science fiction, New Maps of Hell). It was published by Harper & Row in 1975, and three of the six autobiographies -- by Fred Pohl, Damon Knight, and (peripherally) Robert Silverberg -- deal with fandom.
Fred Pohl also wrote a full-length autobiography, The Way The Future Was, published by del Rey in 1978, which covers much of his life in fandom before he turned pro. Isaac Asimov's In Memory Yet Green, published by Doubleday in 1979, does much the same, though Isaac was never as heavily involved in fandom as many of his contemporaries. Surprisingly, Robert Bloch's Once Around the Bloch, published by Tor in 1993, contains almost nothing about fandom, though Bloch himself was the best professional friend fandom ever had. (He wrote me that he had included a number of fannish anecdotes, especially about himself and Bob Tucker, but that they were later excised.)
Some passing references are made to fandom in some other memoirs, most notably Lloyd Arthur Esbach's Over My Shoulder and Jack Williamson's Hugo-winning Wonder's Child, but in truth these are so pro-and-publishing-oriented that they don't really qualify for mention here, despite their outstanding quality.
Finally, David G. Hartwell's Age of Wonders, published by Walker in 1984 and since reprinted by Tor, has perhaps the best analysis of the symbiosis between prodom and fandom that has ever been written. It took a pro editor, rather than a fan, to write a general book for the sf-reading public that explained in simple, straightforward terms the historic connection between fandom and sf, the pervasive influence of fans on the literature through fanzines, conventions, awards, and the graduation from their ranks to professional status of dozens of writers. Anyone even mildly acquainted with the field knows this is true, but it wasn't until Hartwell's book that it was stated so clearly that people who weren't acquainted with fandom would know it too.
My other favorite fannish book, along with Fancyclopedia II, is Bob Bloch's The Eighth Stage of Fandom, a collection of 49 articles and poems, plus some hilarious filler ads. Bloch made his reputation as a writer of psychological horror, but he was also one of the field's master humorists, and that sense of humor was never on better display than here. The book was published in hardcover and trade paperback by Advent in 1962, and thirty years later Wildside Press reprinted it in hardcover.
Bloch's second fannish collection was Out Of My Head, published by NESFA Press in 1986. It contains 22 stories and articles, including the first new 'Lefty Feep' story in four decades.
Another fine fannish writer turned pro was the late Terry Carr. His most interesting collection was Fandom Harvest, a hardcover containing some twenty articles -- including such classics as "The Hieronymus Fan" and "The Infinite Beanie" -- and published in Sweden (but with English text) by Laissez Faire Produktion AB in 1986.
Terry also authored another collection of fanzine articles, Between Two Worlds, the flip half of a hardcover double with Bob Shaw's delightful collection, Messages Found in an Oxygen Bottle. This two-in-one book was published by NESFA Press in 1986, when Terry was the Worldcon's Fan Guest of Honor and Bob was its Toastmaster. Terry's half of the book has five pieces, including the classic "The Night of the Living Oldpharts"; Bob's has nine pieces, including the text of perhaps his most famous speech, "The Bermondsey Triangle Mystery."
Another Terry Carr product was The Cacher of the Rye, a parody by 'Carl Brandon'. Brandon was more than just a pseudonym; he was a fictional creation -- a black California fan -- that Terry foisted on fandom in the mid 1950s, and at one time most of fandom believed Carl was an actual person. The book begins with a long article by Carr explaining how and why he created Brandon, then presents the story, and ends with a thorough index of every article and story ever credited to Brandon and who actually wrote them (Carr did the bulk of the writing, but he was helped from time to time by Bob 'Boob' Stewart, Ron Ellik, and a handful of others who were in on the secret). The story itself is a semi-loving criticism of fandom, which also manages to take a shot or two at Dianetics.
Another half of a convention double book was In and Out of Quandry, by Lee Hoffman. (The flip side is A. Bertram Chandler's Up to the Sky in Ships.) Quandry was the best and most important fanzine of the early 1950s; Lee was its editor, and this hardcover contains nine articles from it, including "The Bluffer's Guide to Publishing a Fanzine" and "A Surprise for Harlan Ellison." It was published by NESFA Press in 1982, when Lee was the Fan Guest of Honor at the Chicago Worldcon (Chandler was the Pro Guest of Honor).
Paranoid/Inca Press brought out a couple of Bob Shaw chapbooks back in 1979, each a sheer delight. The first is The Best of the Bushel, a collection of thirteen articles, and second is The Eastercon Speeches, containing his always-hilarious "Serious Scientific Talks" from 1974 through 1978. A later book, A Load of Old BoSh (published by BECCON in 1995) collected ten of Bob's Eastercon speeches. (A word about these speeches: Bob Shaw ranks with Bob Bloch and Isaac Asimov as one of the funniest natural talents ever to hit science fiction's Toastmaster circuit, and his collected speeches are almost a textbook demonstration on how to delight an audience, without letdown, for a full hour.)
Perhaps the most famous single collection of fannish writing ever put together is the massive Warhoon 28, published in hardcover by Richard Bergeron in 1978. This contains more than 600 pages, single-spaced, by Northern Ireland's legendary Walt Willis, arguably the greatest fan writer of all. This enormous tome contains, among other things, installments 1 through 44 of his classic column, "The Harp That Once Or Twice," the 36 chapters of "The Harp Stateside" (his memoir of his first American visit, in 1952), the 20 chapters of "Twice Upon A Time" (the story of his return visit to America, in 1962), and 21 segments of the mostly-autobiographical "The Subcutaneous Fan." There are also a number of convention reports, some fan fiction, and various other examples of Willis' literary art. A very worthwhile volume.
More recently, NESFA Press published a pair of fannish collections, both of which were nominated for Hugos. First came Teresa Nielsen Hayden's Making Book, in 1994, which included fifteen articles from fanzines; and then, in 1996, multiple Hugo winner Dave Langford's The Silence of the Langford, which includes more than fifty articles and reviews (and incorporates the earlier Langford collection, Let's Hear It For the Deaf Man).
Finally, there is a totally different type of collection, and a must-have for any serious student of fandom. This is Science Fiction Fandom, edited by Joe Sanders and published by Greenwood Press in 1994. The book contains 26 articles which cover fandom in various countries, its history, collecting, conventions, apas, Fanspeak, and just about everything else you need to know about science fiction fandom. It's not cheap -- I believe my copy cost $50.00 -- but it's worth every penny of it.
I should add that some books consisting of fanzine articles, such as The Conan Reader, The Conan Swordbook and The Conan Grimoire, all from the two-time Hugo-winning fanzine Amra, have nothing to do with fandom. On the other hand, there is an on-going series of Fanthologies, which collect the best fan articles of the year, that would be of interest to anyone who enjoys fine fannish writing. (The Fanthologies, by the way, are sponsored by the annual Corflu fanzine fans' convention, with a new volume appearing every year. As I write these words, they're up to 1993.)
There have actually been seven professional novels about science fiction fandom. Six are set at conventions. Perhaps even more surprisingly, five of them are murder mysteries. Or maybe it isn't so surprising at all.
The two best -- both of them quite brilliant -- are by Barry Malzberg, writing early in his career under the pseudonym of 'K. M. O'Donnell' (his tribute to Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, who often wrote under the pen name of Lawrence O'Donnell; hence K(uttner) M(oore) O'Donnell.) The first is Dwellers of the Deep, half of a 1970 Ace Double, in which fandom must save the universe from alien invaders. The second, Gather in the Hall of the Planets, a 1971 Ace Double, takes place at a Worldcon, and for months after it came out fandom's (and prodom's) favorite game was trying to figure out who was who, because every pro and fan in this mordantly funny book has a real-life analog.
Gene DeWeese and Buck Coulson wrote a pair of murder mysteries set at Worldcons. Now You See It/Him/Them... (Doubleday, 1975) takes place at the 1974 Discon II, and Charles Fort Never Mentioned Wombats (Doubleday, 1977) is set at the 1975 Aussiecon.
Perhaps the most famous novel about fandom -- or at least the best-selling one -- is Sharon McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun (Windwalker Books, 1987). The fandom is not one I much care for -- the convention it's set at is mostly media and gaming -- but it's a fine mystery, and in fact won an Edgar Award. She later produced a sequel, Zombies of the Gene Pool.
Finally, there's William Marshall's Sci Fi (Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1981), in which a murder takes place in Hong Kong at the All-Asia Science Fiction and Horror Movie Festival. Again, fandom -- but not necessarily as we know it.
Peripherally, there's another novel -- Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn's Fallen Angels (Baen, 1991) -- in which thinly-disguised fans appear (even Mimosa itself is mentioned), but this, unlike those already mentioned, is not a novel about fandom and/or conventions, but merely a science fiction novel in which some of the characters are fans. I suppose if you stretch the definition far enough, you could even include Frederic Brown's delightful What Mad Universe?, since the entire story takes place in a universe imagined by a goshwowboyoboy teenaged fan (or, more accurately and confusingly, presumed by an editor to be a universe that this particular fan would create -- and even that's not exactly right, but it's close enough.)
There are two more books that must be mentioned. Neither is a professional novel, but each was co-authored by a pro, and their place in the history of fannish literature is secure. I'm referring, of course, to the classic work of fan fiction, The Enchanted Duplicator, by Walt Willis and Bob Shaw (a Hugo-nominated writer as well as a fan). This completely charming allegory follows the adventures of Jophan as he sets out to find the Enchanted Duplicator and publish the Perfect Fanzine. It was originally published in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1954, and has been reprinted so many times I've lost track of all the editions.
Then, 37 years later, Willis teamed up with another fan-turned-Hugo-nominated-pro, James White, to produce Beyond the Enchanted Duplicator...To the Enchanted Convention. It was published by Geri Sullivan's PROmote Communications in 1991, and to be honest, it's not up to the level of its predecessor, though it's still an enjoyable read.
FANZINES AND PROZINES
Remember a book called Seduction of the Innocent, by Frederic Wertham, M.D.? It's the study that suggested Batman and Robin did more together than fight crime, that the Phantom Lady was the logical successor to Gypsy Rose Lee, and that William Gaines of EC Comics was in league with the devil. In the end, it was the prime reason the Comics Code was created. Well, that same Frederic Wertham began seeing his name reviled in one fanzine after another -- the editors thoughtfully sent copies to him, since he couldn't purchase them on the newsstands -- and lo and behold, a few years later he wrote a flattering, if shallow, study of them, called it The World of Fanzines, and sold it to Southern University Press, which published it in 1973.
The only other book about fanzines would be the Fanzine Index by Bob Pavlat and Bill Evans, which purports to list every fanzine "From the beginning through 1952." Assuming that it was published in 1952, I've never seen an original; but it was reprinted (I assume) and published (I know) in 1965 by Harold Palmer Piser.
A lovely, nostalgic book, one that demonstrates exactly what fannish enthusiasm is all about, is A Requiem for Astounding, by Alva Rogers, an issue-by-issue study of the golden days of John Campbell's Astounding, in which Rogers' less-than-scintillating prose is more than compensated for by his boundless enthusiasm. He imparts that sense of almost unbearable anticipation he -- and so many other fans -- felt while waiting for each new issue, the agony of not knowing the end of a Heinlein or van Vogt serial for weeks on end. It was published in 1964 by Advent, which tried to recapture the magic in 1986 with Galaxy: The Dark and Light Years, by David L. Rosheim, but while Galaxy was a fine magazine, in ways even better than Campbell's, the book is a failure. Far from being the adulatory fan that Rogers was, Rosheim didn't even read Galaxy during Horace Gold's editorship; and since he can't capture the sense of enthusiasm Rogers imparts, what remains is a simple recounting of the stories -- which has been done better by many other writers and critics.
A chapbook of absolute brilliance is The Best of Elmer T. Hack, by Jim Barker and Chris Evans, a BFA/Hack Press Publication, printed in England in 1979. Elmer T. Hack is a cartoon character, a science fiction writer who represents the hack of your choice. The comic strips are hilarious, and there are some mock biographical tidbits and an interview of sorts. Delightful.
For completists, there's Fandom is For the Young, or One Convention Too Many, by Karen 'K-Nut' Flanery and Nana Grasmick, a vanity hardcover published by Vantage Press in 1981. It's not very well-written, and far too media-oriented for my taste.
Then there's a wonderful little chapbook called Love's Prurient Interest, by Cathy Ball, published by the Norman Oklahoma Science Fiction Association in 1983. I still don't know if it's a parody of fandom set in a romance book, or a parody of romance books set at a science fiction convention, but I do know I liked it enough to purchase it for my 1988 anthology, Shaggy B.E.M. Stories, where it appeared alongside parodies by Asimov and Clarke and didn't have to take a back seat to either.
Closing out the miscellaneous section are a pair of one-shots by Earl Kemp. Both are in symposium form (i.e., numerous answers to the singular question posed by the title). The first, Who Killed Science Fiction?, published in 1960, won the Hugo Award; the second, Why is a Fan?, is as valid today as when it was published back in 1961.
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
That takes care of my library, and should provide a sufficient answer to those neofen who were afraid we doddering old folk would take all this fannish history to the grave with us.
So what's next? Well, as fandom both grew and splintered, it became obvious than neither Harry Warner nor any other single author could do justice to an entire decade of fannish history. But we have three decades to catch up with -- the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s -- and in three more years we'll have a fourth.
Well, cheer up. Trufandom, never willing to let an opportunity to publish slip by, is currently, under the leadership of Rich Lynch, preparing the definitive history of fandom in the 1960s. And after he collapses and dies of overwork, I'm sure The Widow Nicki will be more than happy to take over and organize the authors who will codify the 1970s and 1980s.
As for me, I look forward to planting flowers on their graves (right next to Algernon's), and reading those soon-to-be-assembled histories.
All illustrations by Joe Mayhew