Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Last Fanatic [Part IV: Mutation & Death]

Hello and welcome once more to our series on the growth of Fandom and the resulting death of the Adventure genre in traditional publishing. It has been a long journey through the first three parts of our story, but now we will be covering much more as we head into the later days of the 1930s where everything finally comes to a head. This entry covers the remainder of 1937 and the following year of 1938. Now is when we truly get into the thick of Fandom's activities.

Today we cover an event that was successfully paved over for a long period of time before finally getting dug up several years ago. This would be the rise of a group that was well known at the time, but has been ignored in the decades since. Unfortunately, this meant a lot of their assertions and ideas were allowed to fester in the open wound of Fandom instead of being cleansed out. Now they are all Fandom is.

But first, let us remind ourselves how we got here.

The first part of this series covered Fandom's humble beginning as a bunch of young nerds with hobbies slowly organizing their own clubs centered around them. The second entry went over how their subsequent organization eventually flushed out hobbyists and non-believers to the cause. Lastly, the third piece discussed how Fandom shaped itself into a blunt object against itself with delusions of grandeur. Today in our fourth segment we see how it all came together. This has truly been a descent into madness, but the bottom has not yet been reached.

We now step into this fourth entry with the full knowledge that Fandom, even though it is smaller than it ever was before, as now apparently at its strongest. What will it do with all this new strength they have amassed, including from industry insiders?

That is a good question, and all the previous scheming and convoluted machinations really came to a head in late 1937, when everything hit at once.

At what point did all this happen? Why, at Fandom's third convention, of course. Each one of these events gave the fledglings a more solid step to climb the ladder.

It's hard to believe, but by this point there had only been two Fandom conventions and yet so much had changed since the last. Now it was time for the third one, the final meeting before they would finally hit the payload. This is the Third Eastern Science Fiction Convention, and it's happenings as reported by our author.

"The medium of fast news dispensation in 1937 was first class mail. And some of the most exciting news carried that year emanated from Philadelphia when with thrilling suddenness PSFS members began to tell their correspondents of the convention that the society was planning for that October. Rumors of possible cancellations ran rife, and it was not until a few days before the scheduled date that circulars announcing that it was to take place on October 31 were mailed out. These told interested fans to write Baltadonis for information (which there was simply insufficient time to do) and neglected even to name the meeting-hall. Optimistic out-of-towners simply headed Pennsylvaniaward, trusting to luck. Unquestionably poor handling such as this cut down attendance."

Clearly they were not quite as organized as claimed despite all the plentiful advertisements and fan talk, but then again one should remember that there was apparently only fifty or so of them at this time. Yet they were readying to take on the world.

For such an important year in Fandom, little had really changed since its beginnings. Much still hasn't, actually. Aside from member number fluctuation, it's fairly the same.

Just as when you unperson someone and declare them inhuman, they must keep that label for the rest of their lives. No other possibility is welcome. 

Our old friend, William S. Sykora, is one such individual. He was announced to be dead and buried by the leader, which meant that is what he must be. There is no room for discussion on this topic, fellow freethinkers.

Unfortunately for them, reality doesn't reshape itself to Fandom's whims. No matter how much they wish it to be the case.

"In the background, meanwhile, an event of great future significance had taken place. William Sykora, thought out of fandom forever, the man who had decried the science fiction fan as hopeless, had unexpectedly attended a meeting of Taurasi's Flushing SFL chapter and been voted into membership. At this same meeting it had been decided to change the name of the group to the Queens Science Fiction League.

"Sykora left for Philadelphia on the evening of October 29. There was much speculation in the Wollheim camp when this, as well as Sykora's return to fandom, was learned. What were the significances of these moves? Did the man hope to swing the Philadelphia group into line with some scheme he had by utilizing his day's advantage in speaking to them? It was all quite mysterious.

As far as I am aware, Sykora's reasons for leaving Fandom were fairly straightforward and detailed in earlier entries of this series. There was nothing all too difficult to parse out. It appears his reasoning for returning comes from wanting to make sure the science side of his former stomping ground didn't die out despite the Wollheim faction pushing for such a thing. As you can tell by modern Fandom, it didn't quite work out in Sykora's favor.

Nonetheless, this castaway apparently had no right to exist or have hobbies or ambitions of his own. Unless you were a cog in Fandom's gears, you had no autonomy or individuality. The only individuality you had was to the collective. But no one had yet to notice that yet.

They would very soon, however.

"It should perhaps be emphasized at this point that fans in 1937 were not meeting in order to solve any problems that might be vexing the field. If these happened to be cleared up, well and good; but the prime reason for attending a convention was to meet and talk with other kindred personalities. Indeed, the very concept of a convention was at that time so unusual as to make the gathering together of any group for the purpose of talking about science fiction an eminently satisfactory end in itself."

Hard to imagine why a lot of this group my not have friends to talk to. Unless, of course, you've seen how they treat their allies.

What Mr. Moskowitz reveals here, though it isn't really intentional, is that Fandom still had no actual pull over the industry at this point. This must be mentioned over and over in order to hammer in to modern Fanatics about how little input they really had back in the day. Most of their meetings were about blacklisting and talk of revolution: not action. Though it appears not much has changed since then.

Something to keep in mind about all the nonsense you've read about so far: Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Astounding Stories, etc. were not affected by any of these people or their dreams of world conquest. Even by this point going into 1938. The stories, the point of this whole campaign, were completely unaffected by everything we have spoken of so far. No revolution had yet taken place on that front.

This is something to remember because it goes a long way to describing the downplayed split to come in a handful of years. As of now, Fanatics were just Fanatics; readers were just readers; writers were just writers; there was no grander plan.

But that will change, and it will change far sooner than you might think. The following is a description of William Sykora's experience at this third convention:

"But amid all the hilarity of talking, shouting, buying and selling one sombre fact persisted. One fan drifted aimlessly through the scattered groups, finding common ground nowhere. That fan was William Sykora. If he had hoped to win the Philadelphia group over to some plan of action (possibly the resurrection of the ISA) it was obvious that he had failed. He searched the faces of those present penetratingly, as if seeking allies, and seemed to find little solace in what he read in them.

"In one corner of the room Moskowitz had set up business with an entire shoe-box full of fan magazines. Sykora edged forward, examined a few, and proceeded to question the big, seventeen-year-old Newark fan. In Moskowitz's replies there was none of the coldness he had found elsewhere. Between sales Sykora engrossed Moskowitz deeper and deeper into conversation. When the selling was over, the conversation still continued. Moskowitz suggested that Newark would be a better site for a convention than Philadelphia, and Sykora was urging him to sponsor one, even offering to back the event financially. By the time the conversation had been concluded Moskowitz was considering this proposal half-seriously, and the first link had been forged in a friendship that was to be of paramount interest to fandom."

It appears that Sykora's interest actually was merely in seeking a connection through interests, with no greater scheming. What a novel concept for a supposed club of people sharing their hobbies. Perhaps this entire craziness could have been resolved earlier had anyone just talked to one another? We may never know.

Nonetheless, the convention went on, and this is when we finally see what we've been waiting for. Plans to take over were being made.

"Milton A. Rothman, the chairman, finally opened the convention at 2:37 p.m. with a welcome to the attendees and the introduction of secretary Baltadonis. (Conover, who was to have held this post, was not present.) The minutes of the preceding convention were read, and then Rothman plunged into his talk "Literature in Science Fiction." He held that the future of science fiction rested upon fans' recognizing that certain stories — such as McClary's Rebirth — contained all the essentials of good literature. He concluded with an invitation to others to air their views on the subject."

Turns out he was wrong.

But you can see the seeds of where this would all go. A gaggle of nerds wanted wonder stories to go in one limited direction without any talk or understanding as to why the normal audience might not like that or desire it. This is because the regular audience didn't matter and they never have to these people. All that mattered was the utopic future they needed to "fight" for.

This is the beating heart of the Fanatic: mechanical, oblivious, and uncaring. All it wishes to do is consume and destroy. All it would have taken was a single voice in opposition but, funnily enough, there were none.

"The guest of honor was R. V. Happel, associate editor of Astounding Stories magazine; he was the most important professional present, and most fans were doing their utmost to give as good an impression of themselves (and therefore of fandom as a whole) as possible. Happel spiked rumors to the effect that Astounding was losing circulation. Indeed, he revealed that it had been the only one in the Street and Smith chain to show a gain in 1937. He spoke of the new editor John W. Campbell, Jr., and of his intention to maintain and better standards set by the previous editor, F. Orlin Tremaine. Campbell had written a talk for the occasion, and this was read by proxy."

Now here we go. For an example of Campbell's changes so far, I present the following two covers of Astounding Stories.

From 1937, before Campbell
From 1938, after Campbell

By this point, there had only been one real change, and you can see it on the cover where Campbell forced in Fandom's made-up terminology onto the cover in 1938. That still hadn't happened yet in our story, but it was one of the promises he made to the Fanatics here. As you can tell, he was deliberately pandering to them.

The other thing to notice about the cover is that the authors are still the same, the stories are still the same, and the covers are still the same. The actual contents had yet to change in any appreciable way yet. It was still the same pulp magazine it always was.

John W. Campbell had yet to make any of his well documented changes to Astounding Stories by this point in 1937. In fact, he wouldn't really do so for several more years, perhaps due to a fear of losing the audience when pulp sales (of all genres) were down during said time period. That would happen when he would slowly morph the title into the irrelevant rag it has become today, and a hideaway for cultists who had long since rejected the real world. Nonetheless, his assurances to Fanatics that he was on their side did not bode well for regular readers. And sure enough, it didn't. But that was still years away by this point. For now he had to lay low and boil the frog very carefully. The audience needed to be eased into the New World, after all.

Interesting to note the respect that Astounding Stories commanded under F. Orlin Tremaine at the time when Fandom has worked so hard in the years since to erase him and his efforts from their official Canon. Remember that Sam Lundwall went without mentioning him once in both of his "history" books of the supposed genre. One can only wonder why that was.

Even by the time Tremaine left his position, Astounding Stories was in as great a shape as ever with higher sales and Campbell promised to Maintain Standards left by him. Why wouldn't he do that if people didn't appreciate Tremaine and wanted more of the same? These intentions by Campbell and reiterated by Happel were, of course, a lie, but Campbell wouldn't really change the game much until the 1940s rolled around. Why that is remains anyone's guess, but perhaps it was too early for a full take over just yet or perhaps pulp sales were still too high to gamble with. As we well known by our position in the 21st century, it is when sales are plummeting that Cultists go buck wild with their inane ideas that only shrink the audience even further.

Because, as should be reminded, once one takes paper production from the war out of the equation, the 1940s were no Golden Age of the magazines.

It is only steady decline.

By the way, the data actually proves the rumors Happel was discussing were actually true. 1937 did have a circulation dip from 1936. Whatever small gain Astounding Stories might have had meant little in the overall scheme of things. Which only goes to show that it was a mere part in a larger picture, as all were during the pulp era.

Nonetheless, the larger point is the admittance in all this that Fandom had zero control over anything Astounding Stories made during the Golden Age of the pulps. They did not build this industry in any capacity, but were readying to take credit for it. To this day you will still have folks bragging about how their group was responsible for X and Y in the industry, but they weren't. All they were responsible for was the oncoming decline.

And it is serendipitous what should occur after this foreshadowing of the biggest Futuristic Adventure magazine getting co-opted by Fanatics that John B. Michel should be the next to take the stage, really hammering in how much Fandom wanted to make their move.

The third conference was truly the moment all the pieces on the board came together, and you're about to see just how it happened.

"Then drama was enacted. The next scheduled speaker was John B. Michel. When Michel was called upon, Wollheim arose in his place and asked that he be allowed to present the speech, since Michel suffered from an impediment of speech which made public speaking difficult. No objection was raised. It was obvious from Wollheim's manner that something unusual was afoot. There was an almost defiant tone to his voice as he began to read."

And here it is, the rallying cry that would destroy an entire industry within the century. Yes, this is Mutation or Death, the very speech that signaled Fandom's bid to destroy storytelling and turn it into propaganda for the utopia to come.

This was the reading that changed Fandom forever and revealed their true face as, it should be reminded, these were the figures that had led it all since the beginning long after the hobbyists and amateurs were flushed out to the real world or the professional industry. They owned Fandom, never let it be forgotten.

And this was their mission statement, finally revealed. Their motivations had been hinted at since the beginning, but never explicitly described. So hear it is, the true face of Fandom and what they always wanted and were striving for.

Keep this in mind for everything to come later.

"Before he had gone very far fans were startled to hear:

The Science Fiction Age, as we have known it during the past few years is over. Definitely over and done with. Dead, gentlemen, of intellectual bankruptcy.

"How often was that phrase to ring out, again and again!

In a few words let me put forth my opinion on what we are doing. My opinion is that we are baloney bending, throwing the bull, indulging in dull flights of fancy, tossing barrels of rhodomontade all over the place.

"That, too, was to be heard many times more. How is your rhodomontade today? The older opinion of Wollheim that science fiction had got nowhere, that it was in a hopeless rut, that it had neither aim nor purpose was repeated. Those present were told that although they possessed imagination and ability superior to that of the average man they were satisfied to do little with it. Simply discussing science fiction was a senseless routine. Science fiction must have a purpose. Science fiction must help lift humanity from the morass of stupidity in which it had become imbedded."

This speech never gets old.

One thing that is fascinating is how suppressed this moment is in Fandom to this day, despite that fact that Mutation of Death has become their Creed. One look at how they operate today proves as much. They truly believed it was their duty to turn storytelling into a weapon against the readers and bring on the utopic revolution that would Save Humanity.

Mr. Moskowitz even mentioned it himself: "Those present were told that [. . .] they possessed imagination and ability superior to that of the average man" and I'm sure both Michel and Wollheim actually believed that as did everyone else present at the cult meeting. This is how writers, poets, painters, etc. were treated in the 20th century: like gods. 

This delusional view of art as some sort of high priest class for Superior Specimens, the 20th century pastime of propping up artists as rebels and revolutionaries to be worshiped, is where the above attitude came from. It sparked generation upon generation of narcissists who turned storytelling into a pulpit for their pet ideologies and sneering at normal human beings. And in the process it would eventually chase said normal people away from it. They turned the purpose of art and entertainment backwards and inside out.

Fandom has never changed, and it will never change. They are the result of this outmoded way of thinking that was never correct to begin with.

I'll let Mr. Moskowitz take the next bit for himself. We are beginning to get to the root of it all. Though pay special attention as to how our author misses the point spectacularly. He would have to, if only due to his roots in the scene.

"As the speech progressed many of the younger fans lapsed into a mental coma because of their inability to make head or tail out of it. To some it seemed that an unwarranted amount of abuse was being flung at their hobby and indirectly at themselves — but this they felt must be endured because Wollheim was an important fan and crossing him might mean personal extinction as far as science fiction fandom was concerned. But the older fans present strained for the meaning and implication of every word. They knew the talk was leading up to something. But what? Finally the revelation came —

And how sick we are at the base of this dull, unsatisfying world, this stupid, asininely organized system of ours which demands that a man brutalize and cynicize himself for the possession of a few dollars in a savage, barbarous, and utterly boring struggle to exist.


"In 1937 the press of America had made "communist" and "red" things to be feared even above Fascism. These were the labels all too frequently applied to liberals who wished to better their status, who asked for the right to live like respectable human beings without having their spirits broken on the yoke of WPA, CCC and "relief." Despite this, there were those present intelligent enough to realize that because a man had ideas of a leftist nature he was not automatically a fiend. But that was not the issue. To most attendees reading and discussing science fiction was merely a hobby, a diversion. They felt that if organizations for world-betterment were to be formed, they should be formed separately, outside of science fiction. And they probably had less respect for Michel and Wollheim for attempting to disguise cleverly their injection of communistic ideas into fandom than they would have had for open admission, advocation and recruiting for the party. And thus the true issue was not what ideology the majority favored, but rather simply "should there be politics in science fiction?"

Boy oh boy does this look familiar. Ideologues take their position to the logical endpoint and hedonists surrounding them simply shrug or furrow their brow as to how the house they built on sand is shifting. How many times is this to happen?

Judging from what Fandom eventually mutated into, and what Senator Joe McCarthy ended up being right about (which was everything), and the current sick state of art and entertainment as a result of both, I think we can clearly state without reservation that it was all a giant mistake to blindly trust people with "good intentions" who enabled those that see their "allies" as little more than stepping stones to the next conquest. The supposed "good leftists" he is referring to could have stopped any of this from happening at any time. They didn't. You can see how things ended up as proof of that. People like Mr. Moskowitz failed to stop them at all and let these anti-social weirdos destroy entire industries, yet act as if they were the superior of the two opponents.

How can you claim to be the superior fighter when you lost the fight? One could ask the same of current happenings in the same "geek" spaces today.

It isn't as if he and others didn't know what these people were like. Did we not see what Wollheim did to Sykora mere months earlier? Who stopped him from doing that? Who stopped an actual blacklist from happening while rolling their eyes at the possibility of "communistic tactics" or whatever drivel you prefer? Which of these good folks stood up and did the right thing to stop this madness before their eyes? Not a single one of them. This is how such ideologues operate. Fandom was always this way, just as they are today. Naïve youths such as our author simply didn't see it.

The fact that all of this factually happened, that you know the reaction to it, and that you know where it ended up, and that Wollheim went on to control a sizeable portion of the "Field" unopposed despite this, should tell you everything about Fandom and how easy they are to control and dominate. The world of freethinkers doesn't have much room for freethinking.

This was always the aim of these people. John B. Michel never hid his fascination with social subversion, even before this speech, and yet they let him operate and rise in the ranks unopposed while they cast those like Sykora out to the dogs right after attempting to destroy Gernsback and Thrilling Wonder Stories. Where are all these supposed good people doing anything about this? And yet they would go on to bring this to the professional world, unopposed. And now look at the industry. Was it worth it?

The root of all of this isn't one person, it is an attitude inherent to Fanatics and their ecosystem: the ambitions of the desperate and the pathetic needing control over those they see as being above despite themselves. This cancerous attitude was allowed to fester for years, which allowed it to get to the point we see right now.

It was never going to end anywhere other than where it did.

"Michel's speech ended in this fashion:

Therefore: Be it moved that this, the Third Eastern Science Fiction Convention, shall place itself on record as opposing all forces leading to barbarism, the advancement of pseudo-sciences and militaristic ideologies, and shall further resolve that science fiction should by nature stand for all forces working for a more unified world, a more Utopian existence, the application of science to human happiness, and a saner outlook on life.

"Such a Utopian resolution seemed harmless enough, being worded in such a way as to make it difficult to reject. But when discussion was called for plenty of it was to be had. The author Lloyd A. Eshbach was vehemently against what he plainly called "The introduction of politics into science fiction." William Perlman, a Baltimore fan considerably older than most of those present, attempted to moderate extreme views by saying that although the ideas expressed in the talk (which was later printed under the title Mutation or Death) were "wonderfully and idealistically expressed, the world was not yet ready for such action." Wollheim and some of his friends of course supported the speech on all points. Finally, Sykora entered into the discussion and managed to sidetrack the issue, so that controversy was soon centered on "the advisability of a world state." And there it remained permanently mired."

And nothing was done about it. The most you got were a few shrugs and posturing about how the world "wasn't ready" for a communist ruling. Aside from Lloyd A. Eshbach, who it should be mentioned was religious, no one appeared very upset or incensed about what they had just heard. Odd, isn't it? Now why is that?

Contrary to some revisionists, no one did anything about this speech. No one was really that upset, and Wollheim and Michel were allowed to go on unopposed after this. Why wouldn't they? He told them exactly what they wanted to hear and what they were already saying up to this point, just in more over the top bombastic language. Almost like their goals were already baked into Fandom's shallow worldviews from the get-go. And they were, since Donald A. Wollheim was Fandom by that point when he was permitted to chase out and blacklist whatever he wanted. What was to argue about? He called the shots.

Amazing that even at the time authors were arguing about "putting politics into science fiction" as if such a stance was common even back then. Perhaps escapist storytelling existed and was a valid form of expression? Modern Fanatics say no, everything must be in their heavily dated and binary political spectrum, but it looks like escapism did exist, according to their ancestors. Turns out things haven't changed all that much in Fandom in their bid for control. I suppose apolitical fans actually aren't the aberration cultists want them to be! Then again, accepting reality has never been their strong point. Everyone might be political, but everyone does not fit under your political frame. If they did, the world wouldn't be as complex as it is.

The more disappointing, yet obvious, outcome was how little anyone took this insanity seriously. Idealistic mid-twentieth century thought had unfortunately eroded their consciences into the general automaton thinking of the time. Progress would eventually Work Itself Out. So why argue about any of this? We will just Get There one day. Don't fight the river current, just let it take you over the waterfall. Everything will be fine!

We know the result of that vapid thinking. We're living it today in the 21st century because no one fought it back then.

"It has been stated by other writers that elaborate plans had been laid by Wollheim and Michel to insure acceptance of this resolution. This has been stated because Wollheim's inner circle of friends — which included Pohl, Kyle, Dockweiler and others — was supposed to have voted en masse for the resolution on previous instruction. Opinion has also been expressed that the speech actually was written by Wollheim and accredited to Michel as a matter of strategy. Your historian does not agree with either of these views. The style of Mutation or Death is definitely Michel's. It is the fiery, awake-the-future-is-upon-us type of style that he has utilized on so many other occasions. The idea of "Michelism" (as the movement embodying these ideas later came to be known) is also Michel's for he was the first to express such ideas (cf. his article "Look to the Stars!" in a late 1936 International Observer). Wollheim has admitted being indoctrinated by Michel's ideas, besides. And Michel is known to have been the first of the clique to join the Young Communist League. Generally, Michel's influence has been sadly underrated, mainly because he let his friends do the bulk of the talking and the writing."

Whether it is underrated by ignorance or a deliberate sleight of hand is anyone's guess. Regardless, this speech defined Fandom as we know it, and no one reacted when he had been saying the same sort of thing for years at that point. It was always a project for subversives. John B. Michel was just the most vocal about their goals.

For a writer that has been obviously airbrushed out of the picture, Michel's influence sure is far reaching even into today. They even named this movement after him: Michelism. In fact, were it not for my own journey into this lunacy I would probably have never heard his name. Perhaps that was intentional.

Regardless, though, he is not the root cause for Fandom's destructive rampage over creativity to come, he is their obvious end result. Everything that flows out after him, existed before he even arrived or wrote a single word of this speech. John B. Michel merely fulfilled their goals for them, and his successors ran it in for a touchdown.

They wanted control, and they got it.

And as a result, everything died. Mutation or Death? The answer, was both.

"Scarcely noted was the fact that Kyle, one of the Wollheim inner circle, harangued at great length against the Michel speech. Dockweiler and Pohl may, peculiarly enough, never have voted on the resolution at all, since both were inebriated during the proceedings and out of the room much of the time. Ignored by fan writers also was the fact that although the Michelistic resolution was defeated by a vote of twelve to eight (with many taking neither side), both Moskowitz and Taurasi voted for it! This was not an acceptance or an understanding of its ideas on their part. They were among the younger fans bored by the talk and scarcely understanding or caring what motion was on the floor. Probably others present voted with a similar lack of knowledge.

"In later written reviews of the convention Wollheim asserted that for the only concrete proposal for the betterment of science fiction advanced there to be voted down to thoughtlessly was a stinging slap in the face for all fans. But if it was thought that this defeat disposed of Michelism, that belief was wrong indeed."

If the votes don't tell you everything about this group then nothing will. For such a "controversial" speech there sure was a lot of agreement or disinterest in it going through their membership numbers. It looks as if a lot of the "resistance" you were told about years later was a total fabrication of what occurred there. The speech was warmly received and almost accepted with either open arms or uncaring shrugs.

This is Fandom, folks.

What needs to be clarified here is that the root cause of using communism for people like this is for one who wishes to assert control over a majority who isn't doing what the individual thinks they should be doing, and to force them to do that Correct Thing. If this doesn't describe Fandom since day one then nothing does. It is also a perfect description of Donald A. Wollheim and his cronies. It was the perfect tool for group control so course they would use it as a weapon.

It is very possible Wollheim wasn't actually a communist at all, but merely an opportunist using everything he could to get a step ahead, included trampling over supposed allies like William Sykora. Perhaps "success" was all he desired at the end of the day, or riches. From all this writer has managed to gleam from his perspective looking over this nonsense is a man who clearly will do anything he can to get ahead. Whatever his real principles were, we may never know them. Perhaps he never had any to start with. There is no way to know now.

Those who desire control can easily take advantage of the bored, ignorant, and uncaring, simply by using their faults against them. This is, after all, how Fandom was so easily steamrolled by Wollheim's cronies since this whole mess began.

And he was not close to done yet.

"It was a strange paradox that a convention that took place for sheer exhiliration should have been followed by a singular resurgence of life in the turgid mass of the field. It was all the more unusual when one recalls that all conferences and conventions have been notorious for the sorry slump in activity that followed in their wakes. Perhaps all that fandom needed in late 1937 was an assurance that genuine interest still endured, that all had not been swept away with the old order."

As is well known by now, 1937 wasn't the end. Fandom was just getting started. It looks as if John B. Michel's speech was the shot in the arm he intended it to be, though our author doesn't say as much. What else would be the reason for this surge in activity, after all? It had never happened after a convention before.

There was more to come, and Fandom was more energized than ever. They had more countries to conquer.

"At this time two events of great importance occurred. The first of these was the appearance of what this writer recognized as the first true weekly fan journal devoted to the dissemination of news. It was titled The Science Fiction News-Letter, and was the work of Richard Wilson, former editor of The Atom and Jeddara, and one of the brighter lights among the younger fans. This publication proved to be a banner achievement in his career. Its first issue was dated December 4, 1937, and though fans at first grumbled over paying five cents a copy for a single-sheeted journal, the value of a regularly-appearing weekly devoted exclusively to news soon became self-apparent. No one realized it them, but this news weekly began a slow but sure reduction in the volume of correspondence among fans. Of what use was it to write voluminous letters to a dozen fan editors when the News-Letter provided all the up-to-the-minute information about these notables in cheaper, less time-consuming and better integrated form? The day of bragging about one's two dozen correspondents was gone forever."

Fandom now had a way of faster and cheaper communication, one that required less sociability. They were getting tighter and more insular. 

But for what purpose? Over the previous two years Fandom had grown their connections quite a ways, but had not actually used them for much. That would soon come. Nonetheless, their network continued to grow.

"The second important event was the distribution of Imagination!, which was a poorly hektographed, twenty-paged journal replete with "streamlined" English, Esperanto, atrocious puns and no end of enthusiasm. This magazine is not important because it was the forerunner of the long-lived Voice of the Imagi-Nation. The true significance of Imagination! lay in the fact that it marked the entrance of the Los Angeles SFL chapter into the main stream of fandom. Through this publication, edited by T. Bruce Yerke and Forrest Ackerman, the world's largest fan club gave notice that it was now a factor to be reckoned with. No longer would it remain aloof, disdaining to do more than subscribe to a few fan journals. It was signalling its desire to mix with the Taurasis, Wollheims, Baltadonises, Wilsons and Moskowitzes that made up the vigorously growing fan world of early 1938. It meant that the field was again on a solid basis of near-unity, and that its appearance would henceforth attract new fans rather than repel them."

More friends had joined the fray to take over the world, including the notorious hater of "Fantasy" Forrest J. Ackerman, the good little materialist ally. In 1938 the Fanatics were coming together faster than Sykora was originally blacklisted. Their numbers were banding together for a higher purpose. Michel truly was a prophet.

As it is, however, 1937 was the first year of unbridled success in the Fanatic world. They were now motivated like they never were before. The revolution was coming!

"As 1937 drew to a close, a formerly quiescent fan of unusual ideas and abilities began to project himself more and more into public attention. This fan was Jack Speer, former member of the Oklahoma Scientifiction Association and collector extraordinary of fantasy comic strips. Speer at first contented himself with producing articles about the collecting trend and about the appearance of a new school of fan writers headed by Lowndes and Moskowitz, which was presenting in its essays a pattern of fan philosophy. He modestly neglected to state that he himself was a leader in this field of fan analysis.

"Inspired by the Gallup Poll, Speer founded what he termed The Oklahoma Institute of Private Opinion (usually referred to as the IPO), which was to find out general fan opinion on a number of subjects. Speer was initially interested in the average fan age (which turned out to be in the neighborhood of eighteen), but added other topics as the polls progressed. Ballots for these were mailed out with Wiggins' Science Fiction Fan, and were usually forty in number. Results of these polls were published in that magazine, and showed, among other things, that fans were against a national federation (by almost two to one); that Wollheim was by far the "top" fan; and that The Science Fiction Fan was the most popular fan journal.

"This last was due not only to Wiggins' magazine being the one in which the polls were conducted, but also to its generally high quality. Such features as the IPO, Wollheim's "Fanfarade" column, the improved art work and the regular supply of articles both from the Moskowitz Manuscript Bureau and from unsolicited sources placed it high in fan esteem."

In case you were still under the mistaken belief that "Michelism" was in any way controversial at the time, it very obviously wasn't. It sure didn't effect the foot soldiers negatively and they still celebrated Donald A. Wollheim as their idol. They were in fact still following them both.

The speech had not changed a single thing. It really was a rallying cry.

And what would a cult leader not be if he didn't have to disparage opposing faiths? As he did before, Donald Wollheim once again went on another tear against real religions, blissfully unaware like all 20th century materialists just what it was that he was actually criticizing.

Fanatics do this a lot, as one can plainly see.

"Wollheim was responsible for initiating yet another topic of fan interest in 1937. In the November-December issue of Cosmic Tales, in his column "Phantaflexion," he brought out a sharp attack against religion and fans who accepted it. (This was later reprinted in the first number of The Science Fiction Advance as "Science Fiction and Religion.") The next issue of Cosmic Tales contained an indignant reply from Chester Fein of the Washington Heights SFL chapter. Subsequently Wollheim answered this reply, quoting among other things figures compiled by H. P. Lovecraft on the subject which gave overwhelming support to the materialists. Somewhat surprisingly, the topic never became a bitter issue, and with the exception of one item that will shortly be mentioned was confined almost completely to Cosmic Tales. This was probably due to the fact that little opposition to the materialists was brought up, most fans either possessing already such an outlook themselves, or, lacking it, believing that religion was scarcely a subject that could be resolved satisfactorily by objective debate. McPhail as well as Fein broke with Wollheim on the matter, however, and it seems likely that later anti-Wollheim blocs were contributed to by others who still adhered to the religious principles taught them in their youth."

None of it became a "bitter issue" because if they were actually religious they wouldn't be Fanatics to begin with. They would have already had a real religion instead. Most all normal people of the time had one. In fact, religion was respectfully treated in the pulps in those days, only to be turned into a whipping boy when these dull cultists got in control to push their social engineering propaganda in its place.

Why wouldn't they? You have to raze the competing faith before you can put up a golden statue in its place. This is how they have always operated throughout history.

Does any of this surprise you? Science Fiction Cultists, as can be surmised from every other part of this series, were absolute ignoramuses on the subject of religion. And what a surprise that they know less than nothing about people who believe in anything other than basic level 20th century materialism couched in baseless blind optimism.

Religion has no place in Fandom or "Science Fiction & Fantasy" because it is a competing faith at odds to their own. Wollheim was letting the followers know the proper thoughts to have and believe, and his acolytes all nodded sagely in unison at his declarations, as all individualists do. If you want to know why "Science Fiction" is so anti-religious, this is why. It is a fundamental part of their cult that it has to be so.

"The one item mentioned in the paragraph above was "Anent Atheism and Stf.," an article published in the March, 1938, number of Imagination!. This bore the byline of "Erick Freyer" (a pseudonym of the California fan Frederick Shroyer), and in expressive style suggested that fans read science fiction because they already were either agnostics or atheists. Shroyer felt that they were not true escapists, however, because they "realized" what they were doing when they lost themselves in fantastic literature. Religious adherents were labelled the worst type of escapists, since they believed what Shroyer termed the "mumbo-jumbo of the latter day witch-doctors.""

There is the first recorded Fanatic demonization of "escapists" and the religious in one fell swoop as one on the same, and enemies to be vanquished. Mutation or Death had really lit a firecracker under these anti-social nerds!

As you can clearly tell, modernist fedora tipping nonsense was brought to the industry by people like this. Does this look any different than the halfwit ramblings of the Nu Atheist crowd correctly as seen as clowns today? No, it's the exact same rehashed unthinking dimwit garbage. It's all just the same reheated and tired arguments over and over again.

Before these ignorant anti-socialites declared differently, religion was just another aspect of life that everyone had. Everyone is religious, everyone has religious impulses, which is why putting them towards an actual religion and not a political party or ideology is paramount. Otherwise you end with the modern day insanity we all have to deal with from outdated materialists who refuse to grow out of their childish tantrums.

Taking away belief in anything aside from nothing is why Fandom's material has no transcendental layer to it. 1940s-60s "Science Fiction" is really difficult to go back to because of this attitude and has, ironically, dated it worse than anything that came before it.

No blood, no soul, and no point, except to "educate" you. This appears to be an aspect of the Fandom conflict with reality that still exists to this day.

"Despite all disrupting forces, fandom was slowly progressing, holding fast to its gains as it achieved them. Let us examine the panorama of the 1938 fan field spread before us. There is a weekly newspaper, an amateur press group, a manuscript bureau. There are several regular monthly fan magazines and a half dozen regular bimonthly periodicals. A national convention is being planned. Two large SFL chapters hold meetings at opposite ends of the country. Hitherto lethargic groups have been stirred into activity. The field is vital, alive, progressing; and then — conflict. Not merely a petty argument or heated debate, but a destructive feud that ran rampant and left shattered plans, broken friendships and dead inertia in its wake."

So far this description could refer to any year, but Mr. Moskowitz is referring to the conflict he had over the years with Donald Wollheim. As we can tell from earlier events, it is easy to see why the two might squabble with each other, including why this book hasn't been in print for ages, but we haven't learned just why the fighting started to beginning with. 

Our author will now let us know.

First, we must remember the atmosphere around the Mutation or Death speech was very touchy to certain individuals.

"We have read of the Philadelphia convention and its introduction of Michelism. Accounts of this convention were written by various fans, among them Sykora, Wollheim and Moskowitz. Sykora's account, while it gave excellent coverage to the affair, naturally did not go out of its way to shower bouquets on the Michel-Wollheim speech. Wollheim's account covered the convention poorly, three-quarters of its bulk being quotations from or comments on the "Mutation or Death" talk. Moskowitz's account, titled "Convention Happenings," was published in the January 14, 1938, issue of The Science Fiction Fan under the pseudonym of William M. Weiner. (Moskowitz had employed a nom de plume in order to facilitate writing of his own actions as well as others'.) "Convention Happenings" had this to say of the "Mutation or Death" speech:


Then the bombshell of the evening was perpetrated by Donald A. Wollheim who expressed some very good arguments as written by John B. Michel but degenerated these arguments into a political issue. For over an hour pros and cons were rung on the subject by D. A. Kyle, J. Perlman, J. B. Michel, D. A. Wollheim and L. Burg who were apparently talking about the possibilities of a world state. Mr. Eshbach squelched the discussion very effectively by proposing that a motion be made that the convention be adjourned. He came, he said, to listen to a science-fiction discussion and not a pseudo-political argument. The motion was carried and the meeting was called to an end.


"This account was referred to by News-Letter editor, Richard Wilson as "the first unbiased views of the Third Eastern Science Fiction Convention.""

Essentially, he stated that this speech didn't really rally anyone to the cause at the time, but did cause an angry reaction from those who didn't want to steer the ship towards the waterfall. This seems a bit at odds with his early words, but who am I to argue? this is his account. All things considered, his was an attempt to be objective about a controversial subject.

And we all know how well attempts at objectivity work against modernists. As such, you can probably guess what happened next.

"But Wollheim, in the next (January 21, 1938) issue of The Science Fiction Fan, dubbed it "the most inaccurate piece of reporting" he had ever seen:

There was not a single paragraph without at least one error, and I may add few sentences likewise. The most outrageous misreporting was the remarks about the final part of the convention which is almost 100% wrong. But without essaying the arduous task of pointing out all the errors, I will merely sum up by saying that the Weiner-Moskowitz account is final and conclusive proof of the utter stupidity of a large portion of the so-called fans. The speech made by Michel hit deep into those shallow fans, which is probably why they refrain from giving any account of the actual issues of Michel's speech. ... The account given by Moskowitz which ignores all the intellectual aspects of the convention for the purely inane and frivolous, gives perfect proof."

Revisionism, revisionism, and yet more revisionism. You can't start a revolution without the illusion that you are the dominant and strongest force and that your enemy is as inept as he is evil and a threat needing termination.

Each side is attempting to assert that they were the majority, and the other isn't having it. Of course, knowing how Wollheim worked, it was clear where this would be going next. We can also guess which one is lying.

"Back in Newark Moskowitz was in a quandary on reading these words. His "Convention Happenings" had been written in naive sincerity. He had had no axe to grind. Michel's statements had not "hit deep" into him — rather, he had been interminably bored. He had told the truth as he saw it, with no intention of antagonizing Wollheim or anyone else. He was aware of Wollheim's tendency to go to extremes even in supposedly mild critical articles. And, knowing his critic's past record of successful feuds, he had no particular desire to become embroiled with Wollheim. But — what did others think? In Moskowitz's mind the situation boiled down to this factor: Had fans reached the point where they too regarded Wollheim's attacks as meaningless outbursts of temper, or would lack of reply to this new assault cause him to lose face in their eyes?"

Considering the contents of that speech, the natural reaction would be to yawn. Sure it was essentially the definition of "nerd rage" in written form, which meant it was all talk and no action. Even if one believed in said ideology, even unknowingly, it didn't change the fact that speech itself was silly, juvenile, and rather pointless. But Fandom has never known to be tactful, so they would have to double down on their madness.

And double down they did.

Moskowitz and Wollheim would go back and forth over this for a long time afterwards. The resulting feud would cause a fissure that would form two different sides in Fandom. Again. The fast revolutionaries, and the slow revolutionaries. The same war we see in modern politics today from similar sides.

This guerilla war was basically what Fandom was engaging in with each other throughout 1938. They were choosing sides in this monumentally important battle to shape the minds of the sheep. Only one could win.

Despite anything else happening, this was the paramount issue of the time. How would change come, and who would get to usher it in? Would it come through forceful revolution or that natural evolution of Change that guaranteed Paradise on Earth?

"Meanwhile the Wollheim-Moskowitz feud was continuing to run full-tilt. Here and there were still some who teetered on the tight-rope of diplomacy, but who realized that sooner or later they would probably have to choose sides. Among these were Richard Wilson and Jack Gillespie. Wilson was of course well known as publisher of the weekly Science Fiction News-Letter, and was among the ten most popular fans of the day. He had previously printed an issue of Moskowitz's journal Helios. Gillespie had time and again, in uncertain fashion, attempted activity in the field, but had somehow never quite entered the main current of the stream. He was well known to Moskowitz, who had in fact personally initiated him into the whys and wherefores of the fan world much in the fashion of a Dutch uncle."

If you thought the fighting petty so far, you haven't seen anything yet. I will recount the entire event in  Moskowitz' words, just so you can read the entire insanity for yourself. If there was any proof this group was socially inept, this is it.

Buckle in for the story of a prank as stupid as it was unfunny.

"The curious set of circumstances which led to the open break between these two and Moskowitz has many extremely humorous aspects. Much of the account was told by Wilson in "Newark Pilgrimage," an article that appeared in the second issue of his news-sheet supplement, The Science Fiction Dividend. "It all began sanely enough," he stated. "Donald A. Wollheim, John B. Michel, James V. Taurasi, Jack Gillespie, Robert G. Thompson, Fred Pohl and I gathered at the home of Herbert E. Goudket on the night of Saturday, March 12, 1938, in order to see our unlovely faces in the movies he had taken of us the previous Sunday." On conclusion of this visit all but Taurasi and Thompson treated themselves to a showing of a surrealist film Blood of a Poet and the fantasy The Crazy Ray at a Greenwich Village theater. This was more than adequate fare for putting a science fiction fan in a peculiar state of mind, so after a very late cafeteria repast Wilson and Gillespie took leave of their friends and strolled uptown to the ferry, which they took to Weehawken, New Jersey. On impulse they decided to pay a visit to Moskowitz who lived in nearby Newark, and after a somewhat roundabout trip reached the door of the Moskowitz abode at exactly 5:45 a.m.

"Neither Sam Moskowitz nor the other members of his family had any acquaintance with the spectre of insomnia, and when the bell interrupted their repose with its insistant clamor at that hour of the morning, speculations soared from such trivialities as the house being afire on up the scale of imagination. On being confronted by Wilson and Gillespie, Moskowitz demanded to know what urgency prompted visiting him at such an hour of the morning. With eyes almost brimming with tears, Gillespie broke the "news" that William Sykora had "passed on." Moskowitz was assured that this was an irrevocable fact, having been ascertained by Jack Rubinson, who, when he happened to pass the Sykora residence, had seen a wreath of flowers on the door. Upon inquiring, he had been informed of the event, but had not, he said, queried the bereaved further as to the cause.

"The strangeness of the early visit, the vividness of the detail and the note of sorrow in their voices added up to the real McCoy to Moskowitz, who told the news to his family (who knew Sykora well), all of whom swallowed the story with incredible naiveté and much sympathy. Gillespie and Wilson were given refreshments, and offered the use of a bed if they wished to sleep. Moskowitz now had every intention of calling off the Newark convention, since it had been Sykora's idea. At this point his visitors apparently realized that their prank was getting out of hand, for they tried to dissuade their host from such an action. However, during the dawn hours while they sat waiting for the world to wake up, their remarks concerning Moskowitz, his family and place of residence were insultingly caustic. Quite naturally Moskowitz took offense, though he remained silent.

"An early morning visit was made to Alex Osheroff, and quite deliberately (since he was still somewhat annoyed by their behavior) Moskowitz conducted Gillespie and Wilson several miles to the residence of William Miller, who was not at home, and then to an address of James Blish which proved to be incorrect. Extremely worried, the two departed for New York — without disclosing their hoax.

"Fortunately Moskowitz dispatched a letter of condolence to the Sykora family on the same day of the visit; upon receiving it Sykora himself made a quick trip to Newark in time to forestall Moskowitz's intentions to dismantle convention preparations. Just before his arrival he received several sarcastic postal cards from Wilson and Gillespie, informing him of the truth."

These were your supposed superiors that were going to bring class, elegance, and brainpower to your wretched field of low class pulp adventure magazines. This is who was let in to destroy an entire industry, unopposed, for the remainder of the century.

Let us not even question why these underage youths apparently had no school or job to worry about and were wandering all hours of the night with money to waste. Once again, we are given no insight into why that just might be the case.

That they were free enough to do this sort of nonsense is quite telling as to who these people really were.

Should you want to know why today's pulp aficionados have little love for these acolytes, and why they do not offer them the respect they supposedly deserve for ruining an entire industry, you can easily see why when deal with this sort of asininity. These are grown children with nothing to say except schoolyard insults towards those they deem themselves superior to, and that is where they have remained their entire existence. They never grew up.

That silly advice that amounts to respecting the elders who gleefully destroyed their elders as well as their peers, is insanity. And would you look at that? This is the attitude that lead us to where we now are in the Current Year.

"The relief felt on learning that Sykora was still alive almost cancelled an explosion Wilsonward that would have been Moskowitz's normal reaction. However, he was definitely affected by the whole affair, since he had always played the fan game naively "straight," and since this experience was a sort of climax to many shoddy stories he had heard. Previously he had written for Wiggins' Science Fiction Fan an article titled "They're Grand," in which the virtues of fans in general were extolled to the skies. Now his views swung to the other extreme and he found psychological relief in penning for The Science Fiction Collector an essay "They're Grand — But They Have Their Faults." The appearance of such lines as the following was a shock to the fan world of 1938:

"Imagine for yourself the terrific shock I received when upon acquaintance with these "top" fans I found a number of them reeling unsteadily about, definitely under the influence of alcohol. I took all that in, being careful not to let one example influence my opinion of all others. I made reservation for the fact that black sheep were present in all circles. The crowning blow came when I met one time a few fans whom I had always respected, whom I thought tremendously of, prancing crazily about at all hours of the night, obviously intoxicated or the next thing to it. One was fifteen years old!"

"In this day, when the average fan age is higher, drunkenness is more common and regarded more liberally, but in 1938, when most fans were from fourteen to nineteen years of age, imbibing alcoholic beverages by fans was looked upon as outright perversion — as, indeed, the law has always recognized it for minors."

There are so many things one could say in response to this, but what is the point? One who builds an entire "genre" off the backs of this embarrassment deserves what they now have. This is a scene run by a bunch of bored children with too much time on their hands, a suspicious mount of money, and absolutely no job, schooling, or supervision.

These are your supposed superiors. These are the ones we are supposed to bow to.

It isn't as if much has changed over the last century, either, except lower membership and greyer hair, of course. It is the same sort of children in charge regardless.

"The response to this article was rapid. Both Oliver Saari and Milton Rothman wrote lengthy replies of analysis and comment, concluding that New York fans were not typical of those throughout the rest of the country, and chastizing Moskowitz for his "hero-worship and idealism." Richard Wilson had also read the article, and, despite the fact that no names had been mentioned, he took it personally and stoutly denied being a drunkard. "Moskowitz," said he, "is a liar.""

And this is where the conflict truly started. The back and forths, libel, slander, the whole deal. To this day there are those who will ignore Sam Moskowitz because Wollheim's cadre told them to, even though careful research into everything Wollheim did will prove him to be a squirmy, deceitful, liar: one who will do anything to get ahead. 

He willingly published a book that lied about the history of his own supposed "genre" of choice, after all. Why would he tell the truth about other people?

Being a good editor does not give you impeccable character. Just as being a Fanatic does not make you a superior specimen of humanity.

At the same time as all this madness, Sam Moskowitz was attempting to build his own convention with others. Fandom was growing, apparently, and it had to be steered in the right direction. We couldn't quite leave that to Wollheim, could we?

"In early stages of planning "The First National Fantasy Convention" was considered suitable; but eventually this was altered to "The First National Science Fiction Convention," it being felt that the word "fantasy" might lead people to misconstrue the scope of the gathering. An elaborate printed program (such as later conventions featured) was vetoed on the grounds of the difficulty that would be encountered in obtaining advertisements to support it considering the economic state of the country at that time."

As you can see, the made-up terminology was very important to control what the field could be about. Is it any wonder Fandom became a hotbed of materialists when this all hinged on definitions created just for them? This is what the "Science Fiction & Fantasy" false dichotomy was made for, after all. Here Moskowitz mentions it as almost an afterthought: it was just the assumed normal mode of thought back then. They had just accepted it as fact, unchallenged. Just as many do to this day.

If only we realized we didn't live in the mid-20th century any longer. But then we wouldn't be in the Current Year, were that the case.

"It will be noticed that there was no publicity whatever in the professional fantasy publications. This should not be surprising, inasmuch as rapprochement between the fans and professionals had not as yet been consummated. In fact, the convention proposed to do that very thing."

Another reminder that even in the bowels of 1938, Fandom still had no impact on the industry whatsoever. It is good to be reminded so that we can pinpoint the moment it all finally imploded easier. They still had no influence.

Nonetheless, the convention did happen, as is well documented. This was one of the most important Fanatic gatherings of their entire scene. You will see from the documented events below. It was an even bigger success than the third convention at the tail end of 1937. This would be one for the history books.

The Fanatic organism was growing. Somehow, after losing 75% of their numbers during the span of 1936 and 1937 they had gained back a packet of new ones to replace those that moved on with their lives. This was good for Fandom, who needed more foot soldiers for the upcoming war. The more disposable, the better. Though, let's be honest, they were all considered as disposable as William Sykora was.

Here is the next step for Fanaticism in May of 1938:

"As luck would have it, the weather was exquisite on Sunday, May 29th. But this was small consolation to the fingernail-biting convention committee, as by three hours before convention time, no one had yet arrived in the hall. This lack of early-birds was a matter of grave concern, for at past gatherings fans usually arrived many hours in advance. At two o'clock, one hour before starting time, a scant fifteen people had put in their appearance. Thus arrival on the scene of Astounding Science Fiction's new editor, John W. Campbell, Jr., was the cause of more trepidation than rejoicing, if this skimpy showing was the best that could be made. Campbell's murmur of "Better than I expected," (which might have referred either to the attendance or the hall) was noted with uneasiness. Twenty-five attendees now appeared the maximum to be hoped for. Then abruptly, just twenty minutes before commencement time, a veritable cloud-burst of people converged on the hall. The scene grew with amazing speed to the aspects of a mob. There was a wild melee of talking, drinking, gesticulating, photograph-snapping fans. The hundred available seats filled up almost immediately, and a mass of standees began to assemble in the rear of the hall. It was fantastic, it was unbelievable — but in the vicinity of 125 people were jammed into the room — more than had attended all past conventions put together!

"They had turned out from every nearby state — New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire. It was virtually a "Who's Who" showing of past, present and future fandom. Professionals were represented, among them being authors Otis Adelbert Kline, Eando Binder, L. Sprague de Camp, Frank Belknap Long, Manly Wade Wellman, Lloyd A. Eshback and John D. Clark; in addition to Campbell, Mortimer Weisinger (editor, Thrilling Wonder Stories) was present, and with him Leo Margulies, the editorial director of Standard Publications itself.

"This last-minute onrush of fans resulted in the convention being called to order one-half hour late. At 3:30 p.m. chairman Moskowitz rapped the gavel on the speaker's stand for order. Robert Madle, taking the place of Baltadonis (who was too ill to attend) read the minutes of the Third Eastern Science Fiction Convention held in Philadelphia the previous year. Then the chairman launched into the welcoming address. He emphasized the fact that present were representatives of every category in the field — the publisher, the editor, the author, the artist, the reader, the active fan, the science-hobbyist. This, he maintained, was the ideal opportunity for ironing out misunderstandings.

"Sykora, the first speaker on the program, swerved from the sweeping generalities of the chairman's address. He emphasized that the large gathering before him assured the success of a world science fiction convention. He proposed that such a major event be held in conjunction with the World's Fair in New York City in 1939. With the active cooperation of all parties concerned, he maintained, there were virtually no limits to the possibilities offered."

This is where you begin to see the threads being pulled together. The patchwork that was Fandom was coming together, finally ready to become a unified force. In short time, they would rule the entire world, so to speak. All they needed was an even bigger event. 

Would they close out the 1930s, a decade of struggling to topple the professionals, finally on top? Or would they fail in their goals?

We will see, soon enough.

Despite all that, there was plotting to be done, including revisionism. But one should always expect revisionism when it comes to Fanatics.

"Rothman, the chairman of the two previous Philadelphia conventions, expanded still further these possibilities, and then veered into a talk drawing an analogy between the past histories of music and science fiction. He concluded by asserting that he felt a golden age was in prospect for both."

This would be the origins of the false notion of the 1940s-50s being the Golden Age of any sort of storytelling when it ended up being the nadir of the pulps and the magazines themselves. The ones that still flourished, such as Planet Stories and Weird Tales were detested by the Fanatics while every other magazine died off due to plunging sales.

Of course this supposition of an oncoming "Golden Age" hinged on Fandom getting their way and changing the definition of genres and the meaning of "success" and all that it entailed. Either way, time has revealed such views to be a very closeminded view of the scene at the time. The 1940s and 1950s were a dark age for magazines and prose storytelling.

There was no oncoming "Golden Age" of any sort. The 1920s and 1930s era of pulp writing remain the golden standard for adventure stories, having influenced so much to come, even outside its medium and into later burgeoning scenes and inventions such as tabletops, comic books, video games, and even the movie industry. All were poised to snatch the ball the publishing industry would fumble so ineptly in their quest for social engineering. Essentially, there was already a Golden Age before Fandom came in to tear it down. They just didn't like it.

Somehow this is never admitted, despite being the objective truth of the matter for anyone who researches it themselves. Subversives crashed the party and have been burning the house down ever since. Thankfully, the rise of NewPub is correcting the grossly incorrect record and rejecting their influence as best as they can.

And believe it or not, all of Fandom's changes were all against the common man and in support of the insatiable Fanatic. Yes, even the championed (though not anymore) hero of materialists, John W. Campbell. Campbell was the first Fanatic to be allowed control over a publication, and even he took his time before making a move.

"Campbell, the feature speaker, was then introduced. His topic aroused much surprise: he was going to speak about science fiction fandom. For the first time an editor was publicly acknowledging the existence of such an entity. Campbell outlined his views of an inner circle of fans (the letter-writers, amateur publishers and participants in associated activities), and the outer circle of fans (those who were merely readers). He announced his intention of aiding this inner circle by offering to print in "Brass Tacks" (Astounding's readers' column) a letter of what amounted to free advertising to any fan publication that could support an expanding audience. (This would of course exclude hektographed journals.) Also he was honestly interested in obtaining more of these amateur periodicals. As this and later events proved, Campbell was undeniably a very real fan himself. He answered Goudket's question anent editorial support for a 1939 world convention by implying that he was ready to support the efforts of any generally recognized group to sponsor such an event."

How condescending towards the majority reader base. If that doesn't prove Campbell's true loyalties, nothing would.

Once again showing that Campbell was as much a Fanatic as anyone, though at this point he had still admittedly yet to change the direction of Astounding Stories, aside from a slight idiotic change in the title, it was clear the shift was coming. He just couldn't pull the trigger yet for whatever reason. That frog would need to be thoroughly boiled first, as Fanatics did quite well back in the day. The 1940s was going to be the decade of the Fan, not the audience, he assured his fellow acolytes.

And what a Golden Age that would create!

"After the eulogies were over the next item on the agenda was fan business. And anticipating trouble, the professionals began their hasty departure. They had ample justification for concern, since CPASF members present had come well loaded with ammunition. Moskowitz had been handed (as convention booklets) by Wollheim and Michel The Science Fiction Advance and Rejected — Convention Committee, the latter bearing the subtitle "Speeches by Donald A. Wollheim and John B. Michel Suppressed by the Committee of the Newark Convention." Both of these were placed on sale at the official table with all other convention publications. (Advance sold out completely, and Wollheim of course received a set of booklets in exchange for its submission. Rejected failing to sell, Michel agreed for it to be given away; he was denied a set of booklets, however, when he later claimed undistributed copies.)"

Even the professionals knew to stay clear of this business, but as you can see the Wollheim clique was still at it. Too bad none of those professionals put two and two together that giving power to people like this was an obviously stupid idea.

But when you see the sort of things this group wished to say to the rest of the present Fanatics, you can see why they were suppressed. It was even worse than the last time. They make Mutation or Death sound sane.

"Prior to the convention a rule had been stipulated to the effect that all speeches should be submitted in advance to the convention committee. Both of these speeches had been rejected for specific and fair reasons. Wollheim's talk "Science Fiction and Science" had been excluded because it contained passages which might offend Campbell, the feature speaker, who had a technical education. For example:

"Does a man study science in high school and college, master a B.D., an M.S., or finally perhaps a Ph.D. only to become the editor of a pulp magazine? Why did he not utilize this hard won technical knowledge to pursue a research career?... The answer is easy but sad. Society had no place for this trained mind...."

There is the inference that pulp magazines are inferior and below the "trained mind" who is totally going to change the world. There is also the expectation that storytelling was a waste of time, and useless. Which, to be sure, is an attitude non-readers share with propagandists. They have a lot more in common with each other than they do to normal folks who desire wonder tales.

Of course, you've heard of Mutation or Death, but have you heard of Michel's other winners? Probably not, as most of them have been quite astonishingly memory-holed over the years. I assure you, he had many to spare!

"Michel's proposed speech, "The Position of Science Correlative to Science Fiction and the Present and Developing International Economic, Political, Social and Cultural Crisis," was rejected because it was considered too dull and too far removed from probable interests of attendees. The following are typical passages from it:

The dialectic is a process resulting from the conflicts of the varied interests of humanity which coalesces the nebulous forces released by these conflicts into a rigid thread running through history which determines irrevocably the course of human affairs and which lasts as long as opposing interests exist in human intercourse.


This [the perversion of science to war] is due entirely to the economic contradictions of the present economic system, namely capitalism. On every hand these contradictions appear, throttling the very life out of scientific research.

"Also in the booklet with these two speeches was an exceedingly uncomplimentary editorial regarding the convention and its sponsors."

Sounds like something you'd hear from WorldCon today, no? Michel was truly ahead of his time with letting the cat out of the bag. What you are reading are excerpts from ideologues with no relation to reality attempting to define reality for the rest of the present sheep. It is insane, backwards, and idiotic, but it is Fandom.

John B. Michel was simply the first to say the quiet part loud. They were your betters, and they were going to change the world for you. And the professionals would soon let them do it.

However, is this any different than what these Fanatics preach today?

"The Science Fiction Advance, official organ of the Michelistic CPASF, was simply an easy-stage education in communism. As such, it was by 1938 standards blatantly obvious, though today, when many scientific tenets have been more thoughtfully evaluated by sober liberals, it would seem quite mild. This issue contained a cartoon-illustrated poem by Pohl poking fun at Moskowitz, Sykora and Speer in decidedly unpleasant fashion.

"But this was not all. In addition, CPASF members distributed by hand four different leaflets. One protested the discharge of a
Thrilling Wonder Stories printer who was a member of the CIO. Another, aimed to counteract the possibility of Sykora's debating the legality of the ISA dissolution, announced that formation of an organization titled "Friends of the ISA"; this group was opposed to "the efforts of those who would willingly distort to selfish and inimical ends the history of the ISA and the facts concerning it," etc. A third circular asked fans to vote for Michel as president of the FAPA on a free speech, free copies and no censorship platform. And the last of the quartet contained lyrics by Michel titled "Science Fiction Internationale" which were to be sung to the tune of "The Internationale."

Boy, it really DOES sound like modern Fandom! All that's missing is a weepy blowhard crying about capitalism while suing online libraries for carrying his books during a pandemic. His corporate masters need their cut, fascists!

But what else can you expect from the Big Brain set? They've always been like this. They were simply gatekept out at one point.

And, of course, there was no pushback at the time in 1938. This nonsense was allowed to continue, unopposed.

"By the statements of cooperation drawn from editors of professional fantasy magazines this convention was vitally important in redirecting the interest of fandom from the fans themselves back to the professionals. Just as surely its very size and general air of success convinced the editors that fandom was not without its potent influence, and that it would be wise not to disregard it. Finally, it was a new type of activity that differentiated the newer fandom from the old. The Fantasy Magazine group had produced publications which its followers were unable to match; the newer fans produced conventions, which their forebears had never dared to attempt, and which as a factor for boosting science fiction were infinitely superior in range of influence."

There you have it! The moment the professionals opened the door to Fandom and let them have more input over the wider audience. Instead of letting them stew in their own goofiness towards the self-destruction they were barreling towards, the pros instead gave them a leg up towards their industry to do it there instead.

It would be funny if it wasn't so dumb.

This offer of help hadn't been taken advantage of just yet, but 1938 closed with signaling to Fanatics that their insanity actually did matter and they would be justly rewarded for it and given more pull and influence over the millions of readers who just wanted to read wonder stories.

Is it any wonder disaster soon followed?

And of course this also meant fertile ground for Michelism to grow unopposed by the so-called "sensible" progressives who thought it all a bunch of silly chest puffing. No one took them as seriously as they should have.

All the seeds of destruction had now been planted and were readying to sprout while nothing had yet to change on the professional front. Readers had no idea what they were in for. They were the last frontline in the war they had no idea was raging.

"The year 1938 found the United States still in the throes of a depression serious enough to weaken the faith of many — particularly the youth of the country — in the soundness of its economic system. With few jobs available, little spending money, and no prospects for a better future, it is both excusable and understandable that young people would at least examine other forms of government on the chance that something better might be found. It is also natural to expect that some of these young people would be science fiction fans."

This is certainly part of the reason, but the other half is a matter of control. By creating fiction that preaches the right things and forcing the lowly working class to read it, you will then alter the thinking of those around you to be Better and Proper. You can already see this from the content of John B. Michel's speeches and Wollheim's actions thus far. This is where they can assert control in their lives, and others' where they couldn't anywhere else.

The other unspoken thing is how exactly through the entire Great Depression were these Fanatics able to do all the crazy things they did. Where did they get the money when they didn't even have jobs? Who were their families? How were they so out of touch with the reality of their surroundings? Forget other economic systems, how were they surviving in this one as they had been? These are the questions we should be asking.

Unfortunately, we will be getting no answers on that front. I wish I could speculate as to why, but somehow the poor people buying cheap wonder magazines to help them through their miserable conditions needed to be educated by spoiled, uncaring kids who were going to teach them the truth about reality.

This is what they actually thought, and who they actually were.

"Perhaps John B. Michel was the first to become vocal over his researches into communism. His interest certainly led him as far as joining the Young Communist League. (Here it is essential to deviate long enough to point out that this does not necessarily mean that Michel ever became a member of, or affiliated with the party itself. The Young Communist League is an organization sponsored by the party to educate youth in the essentials of communism. From there, if desired, one might seek membership in the communist party, or, on the other hand, decide that the system had no merit and cease further investigation of it.) It was Michel who introduced Wollheim to communism, and explained to him many of its ramifications. Later Frederik Pohl evinced interest in the American Youth Congress, held by many to be a communist front organization."

This is truly a clown world we live in.

One of the faults the older generation had was their inability to look past economics as motivations for anything. Their misunderstanding of man's religious impulse is matched only by their hatred for tradition or their ancestors. There is more to life than what you can see and touch, but this was taken for granted back then.

No one becomes a communist because they don't like money; they become a communist because they don't like how the world is working out for them. It is a desire to usurp the current world order towards a new Utopic direction that they have control over. That is all this is about. Why else do so many give up on communism when they get money? One would think a group priding itself on "Science" would understand basic cause and effect, but of course they didn't.

There is therefore nothing out of joint with Michel's behavior in regards to "Science Fiction" which posits itself as Utopian propaganda in its aims. Their tract writing is merely just another way to get there--the laziest possible way.

And that is why it was so unopposed in Fanatic spaces even back in the middle of the 20th century. When Progress was Inevitable, all that mattered was reaching Utopia. They didn't actually care about how they got there.

"We have already read of how Michel and Wollheim, at the 1937 Philadelphia convention, had generously tried to disseminate some of their newly-acquired wisdom through fan ranks by means of the "Mutation or Death" speech. Apparently believing it would be wise to give their political ideology a new name, so as to sugar-coat the pill, they decided upon "Michelism." This, of course, was in honor of Michel, who inspired the movement. Those who supported it thus became known throughout fandom as Michelists — and Michelists were for the most part located compactly in New York City and its environs. Those who agreed with or supported only a fraction of Michelism's tenets were likewise loosely — and incorrectly — referred to as Michelists. Prominent under this heading were Robert W. Lowndes, David A. Kyle, Richard Wilson, Jack Gillespie, Jack Rubinson (nom de plume: Jack Robins), Cyril Kornbluth (later writing fiction under the name S. D. Gottesman) and others who will later be mentioned. (It should be carefully noted that association with Michel and Wollheim under the banner of Michelism did not necessarily make those fans communistically inclined, though undoubtedly some had more than a speaking knowledge of the subject; yet just as certainly at least a few went along with the movement just for the sake of excitement or because interested friends did.)

"The Michelists' bible was the fiery "Mutation or Death," which exhorted fans to snap out of their doldrums and use their superior mental attributes for bringing about "progress." This oft-repeated and -quoted speech was printed in a neat little red-covered pamphlet under the auspices of the Committee for the Political Advancement of Science Fiction, a title adopted by the Michelists as being descriptive of their activities. This pamphlet was designed to be sold for five cents, but more often than not was given away to anyone who requested a copy as well as being distributed through the FAPA mailings."

For something that was so instrumental to Fandom development, it is funny how so few today, far more communistic than even Michel was at the time, are so completely unaware of Mutation or Death's existence. Probably just due to how expected its tenets are now to what remains of this dying space. Especially when you have entire movements telling you to be careful about using that imagination too much and in incorrect ways. Wouldn't want unrealistic things like space travel or aliens in your imaginative story about the future!

Though that is the logical endpoint of Michel's early ambitions. It is a hard limit on wonder when it is sealed by 20th century materialism and the unrealistic utopic fever dreams thereof. They frame it all as a "suggestion" but then ignore how their industry deliberately only publishes material in that accepted range.  Oops! Guess you're going to have write what we want or you can't make money, even though what we want doesn't actually make money! Funny how that works. Throw in the Thor Power Tool case to screw things up further years later, and you have an entire playpen for antisocial nerds to roll around in while throwing the past out to the curb.

Why should these Fanatics even have this control over the industry to begin with? Such a question is never asked by the free-thinker set. They just accept it as reasonable on the face level. They are "superior specimens" after all.

It is no wonder the "field" hemorrhaged readers throughout the 1940s and up to the death of the pulps in the 1950s, yet we are supposed to consider that a Golden Age. All because it is now led by the correct people in the proper direction. Story quality doesn't matter, but then, the truth doesn't matter as much as getting the correct result.

There was no way this would end in any other place.

Case in point, here they admitted that their "genre" was never about Science to begin with. It was about controlling others' imagination with rules and boundaries that didn't exist before. This stands counter to the very concept of imagination itself.

Pay special attention to this next passage to understand why the pulp approach, the Gernsback approach (now known as "The Gernsback Delusion" thanks to the very detractors he courted), and everything beforehand was wrong. The mentality of the big brain materialist secret king was how this genre was to be run from now on. Get used to it, or get out.

You see they knew the real reason as to why people read. As we all know, no one understands normal folk more than anti-social weirdos who hate normal people and wish to control them. Except, of course, anyone else.

"In the December, 1937, issue of Novae Terrae (the official organ of the British Science Fiction Association) Wollheim's article "What Purpose, Science Fiction?" was featured. This article embodied much akin to that in Michel's "Mutation or Death" speech, but couched in less pyrotechnic terms. The original premise that science fiction would inspire its readers to scientific achievement was false, Wollheim contended, maintaining that those youths "who were primarily interested in science probably gave up reading science fiction after their first experimental glance at such stories." The "dreamers" were the ones who continued to read the stories, and their penchant was literary and artistic pursuit, not science. (It might be mentioned in passing that these views had been expressed by Wollheim previously, when he popularized the belief that the Gernsback idea of science fiction being educational was a delusion.) Wollheim's argument was actually in accord with the facts up until that time — but he neglected to give the adolescent science fiction fan time to grow up. It was unreasonable to suppose that science fiction would induce many already vocationally settled adults to adopt a scientific profession overnight, and it was equally unreasonable to expect the scant eleven years of science fiction's existence in magazine form to prove or disprove the "Gernsback delusion." Time had proven Wollheim to have been much in error. As he predicted, science fiction produced a great number of writers and artists — but it produced scientists as well. Dr. Thomas S. Gardner, well known gerontologist whose recent researches on longevity factors in queen bee royal jelly have been widely publicized, admits to having been stimulated to a career in science through reading fantastic fiction. Is it unreasonable to assume that others, not as well known, may have similarly been inspired to their careers? Avid science fiction fans today include mathematicians, doctors, psychiatrists, chemists, physicists, engineers, faculty members of college and university science departments; some such — David H. Keller, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Eric Temple Bell ("John Taine"), to name a few — are writers as well as fans; and such prominent scientists as Drs. Muller and Oppenheimer, of Nobel Prize and atomic research fame, have been tabbed using quotations from current science fiction magazines. Current evidence seems greatly in favor of the premise that this type of literature did (and does) attract scientific man as readers as well as actually aid in producing them."

This is a sleight of hand. In saying the above, Mr. Moskowitz has deliberately ignored and downplayed everything that happened before his so-called "Golden Age" which had far more reaching effects than any of his preferred material has.

There was a whole world before the 1940s, but for some unfathomable reason Fanatics had been building a narrative that reading anything before it was a fool's errand. There's nothing there, they scream. All the stuff that matters came later.

But, we know better now. The pulp revolution has long since smashed this ridiculous lie into atoms. There was an entire industry before the Fanatics, and not only was it much more successful, it was far better for both the audiences and artists.

Of course, once again the above is more revisionism in an attempt to prop up Fanatics over normal people. Adventure stories have inspired more than their fabricated genre definition has. Even if you take out the centuries of influence before modernity, the successful media IPs of the 20th century, and the explosion of the pulps, over what came later in their own "genre" ghetto, adventure still stands tall over it all. 

And one man represents that victory better than anyone else of the time period. That would be the man most hated by Fanatics to this day: Edgar Rice Burroughs.

In the words of Ray Bradbury:

I would question why Mr. Moskowitz would ignore such a thing if you hadn't seen how much "Science Fiction" Fanatics hated or looked down on Burroughs in every entry of this series we have covered so far. It's one constant that never goes away. They really did loathe him. He was the proof their "genre" and all its ambitions were fake and offered nothing he hadn't already done better, never mind the centuries of people before him that he was following after.

The tradition of adventure was stronger than the mutation of "Science Fiction & Fantasy" could ever hope to be. And that is why they have attempted to strangle it to death ever since. Adventure is not as easy to propagandize with--it's too honest and audiences rightly see through that sort of thing. Better to just change the game and rewrite the rules.

It should also be reminded that Wollheim is the same individual who earlier said that religious people are foolish and lesser, but what is that word vomit you just read in Moskowitz's passage? It is pure religious speak for the irreligious.  That is not even going into the gospel of Mutation Or Death on top of it.

All of this is nonsense, of course. We all realize that now.

Mr. Moskowitz, of course, also misses the forest for the trees in his critique. The point of wonder stories is to inspire wonder. To bring the reader up, lift them from their doldrums and imagine a world far above where they currently are, where anything can happen to anyone. It does not exist to educate them like bad pamphlets would. That would close their minds to the beauty of the universe, which is the opposite intent of true Romantic storytelling.

Had anyone in Fandom actually had an actual religion, this might have all been avoided. But alas, the times did not allow for that.

"England in 1938 had begun the gradual shift toward the left that ultimately resulted in the victory of the Labor Party over Winston Churchill and his conservative government shortly after the close of World War II. This trend could be found in the opinions of young English fans, some of which saw print in Novae Terrae. Among these was Eric C. Williams' article "Are You a True Science Fictionist?" in the November, 1937, issue, which stated: "If there is anything worth going out for it is the introduction of sociology in science-fiction...." In the same number Albert Griffiths' article "The Future" declared dramatically that if fans put aside "Utopian dreams" and examined the world of practicability a world beyond their wildest imaginings might be attained."

Now you can see where younger Fanatics like Sam Lundwall received their indoctrination from. This is the false frame that Fandom was trying to bring to the Average Joe's fiction. Whether they wanted it or not, they NEEDED to be educated by their superiors. We would have Utopia, even if we have to destroy good things to get it.

It was simply inevitable. After all, you can string a few words together. That instantly makes you the smartest guy in any room.

One would have to imagine how badly the 20th century is going to be looked back on in the distant future. We are all going to look like utter morons who threw everything away for fads and fancies that on reflection are utterly ridiculous.

"Upon reading such words Donald Wollheim probably felt them to be stirrings of a credo similar to Michelism but stated in more cautious terms. He felt, too, it would seem, that this British periodical did not represent merely fertile ground, but a crop soon ready to be harvested; so, in one of the most daring, self-indicting and honest articles of his career, Wollheim pulled the cloak away from the body of Michelism and revealed it in completely positive terms as a directed instrument for recruiting fans to the communist movement. "Commentary on the November Novae Terrae" appeared in the January, 1938, issue of that magazine. In it Wollheim laid down his basic definitions of Michelism preceded by statements explaining why he believed that no existing government could possibly be overthrown without the use of force of some kind, but adding that he did not advocate the use of force until

... the present system has lost control and chaos is setting in, or when it begins to throw aside its shell of "democracy" and institute fascist crystallization of the old, then (and not before) these practical idealists united in almost military order will be the ONLY FORCE LEFT which will be able to save civilization from barbarism.... The only such force today, the most powerful force alive for the World State and the only organization that will ever achieve this result is the Communist International."

I am including all of this material that Mr. Moskowitz presents in order to show you just how deep the rot and backwards thinking goes into this forged "genre" that doesn't actually exist. It is a safe space for loser thinking, bitter and angry people, those who think themselves above their neighbors and family and society itself. All they really want, at the end of the day, is to be the king of the world and all others to bow to them.

That is really it: that is why this "genre" exists in the first place. It isn't about stories, imagination, or even the future. It is about controlling all of those things in a haphazard 20th century framework that clearly has no foundation in anything aside from novelty thinking. This scene exists to control all of those things, not to build them. And that is why it is a dead end.

It was only an excuse to smash adventure fiction up to serve it piecemeal through a broken ideology that has long since been outdated, as fashions always become given enough time. It has no relevance to modern day, and didn't really at the time either. There is no future on this path. There is nothing but dead endings.

Hence why readers departed en masse by the end of the pulps and why "SFF" is the lowest selling "genre" today. This is because at its heart it is anti-human and destructive and normal people are instinctively chased away by it. Where adventure storytelling once housed all, it was now neutered and gutted by busy-body materialists.

Case in point, from Wollheim himself:

"He asked fans to do him the decency to investigate communism for themselves. He pointed out that in New York a group of fans called Michelists were already working toward the enlightened end. Terming Michelism "the theory of science-fiction Action," Wollheim further defined the movement as follows:

"MICHELISM is the belief that science-fiction followers should actively work for the realization of the scientific socialist world-state as the only genuine justification for their activities and existence.

"MICHELISM believes that science-fiction is a force; a force acting through the medium of speculative and prophetic fiction on the minds of idealist youth; that logical science-fiction inevitably points to the necessity for socialism, the advance of science, and the world-state; and that these aims, created by science-fictional idealizing, can best be reached through adherence to the program of the Communist International."

"Wollheim concluded his article with "SALUD, Comrades!"

You read the above and tell me it's not all about control. Nothing about this nonsense has anything to do with exploring the imagination, and it never did.

"Jack Speer, with the damning Novae Terrae article at hand, composed "A Fairly Complete Case Against Michelism," which was published in the May, 1938, Science Fiction Collector. Speer stated that he believed everything about the movement to be wrong except the intentions of its perpetrators, which impressed him as being sincere."

And this is why the opposition to Michelism ultimately failed. Their intentions were not sincere, because they were couched in hate and resentment brought on by warped loser thinking. You are their enemy, and you are to be destroyed. To not understand that, is to be destroyed by them. You don't defeat an assassin bullet by waving your finger at it, and that is exactly what the opposition believed they could do.

They did not understand the true intentions of those who wish to assert control like this. It was never for the benefit of others. How many countless numbers of people have suffered from the "good intentions" of others in the 20th century alone?

Despite this arguing from the position of Facts and Logic, Michelism didn't shrink. It only grew as time went on. What a surprise.

"New recruits were found in the greater New York area; outside of it few were to be had. Among those that were acquired, however, was the promising young fan artist, James M. Rogers, whose writings in this period led Jack Speer to nickname him "Oklahoma's gift to the Communist Party." Forrest Ackerman, a prominent name in the field at the time, gave Michelism his tacit support; he had joined the Socialist Party, a fact which Wollheim reported in his "Fanfarade" column with the remark that that group had at the time "greater revolutionary tendencies" than the communists."

This explains much about why Wollheim and Ackerman's early feud was abandoned so fast when they were more secretive about their true intentions. You have to put aside differences for the cause, of course. Funny how little things really change. And wouldn't you know it, it was the materialists that detested "Fantasy" that so easily bought into all of this nonsense. All those that sided against Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft in their early feud were now with the materialistic Michelist group attempting to destroy and tear apart adventure stories. Now how about that!

It should be mentioned again that this was all going on during 1938, and still none of it actually reached the magazines or the actual stories being published. Still. This insanity remained all in the background, but if not nipped in the bud it would soon consume the field.

That would change, since the opposition was toothless. As some Fanatics protested, some of the arguments against them were the wrong kind of progressivism! We're better than that! Guys, can't you all be better?

"Some anti-Michelists were more disconcerting than the creed's supporters — witness Bernard E. Seufert of Rochester, New York, who, in his Asteroid for June, 1938, remarked that he would dearly have liked to attend the Newark convention: "I would have visited New York's little colony of Germans, Yorkville — I would have sipped a few drinks with some of the fellows — I would have Michel explain Michelism more fully — I would have had an argument with Wollheim as I am a fascist." Thankfully, there were not many like this!"

Thankfully! We wouldn't want an industry run be people like that, destroying reading and the appeal of books for generations to come.

That would be crazy! Not like Utopianists aren't insane as it is.

"Wollheim contended that it was enough for science fiction fans to do something — however small — to bring about world unity."

World unity under what and who? This is the part of the statement they are never clear on, and for a very good reason.

You already know the answer as to why.

To combat these people, even back then, one had to put aside their laissez-faire view on life and fight back, otherwise they would lose everything. Being lazy and aloof just allows ideologues to seize control and tear everything you love and enjoy down instead. It is a lesson some of us still refuse to learn in the Current Year.

Mr. Moskowitz was learning this himself back in 1938. Being lazy leads to death.

"For Moskowitz metamorphosed from a person with few and vague political views into a candidate for the world's premier eighteen-year-old red-baiter. He seized it with a vigor that left an odor permeating the vicinity. Under no circumstance would he even consider discussion of the movement. His view was that it was a political ideology and therefore had no place in science fiction whatsoever; that even to discuss it was to forward its tenets. Thus, in replying to Wollheim's complaint anent his poor reporting of the "Mutation or Death" speech, Moskowitz branded both the speech and its author as communistic. When Imagination! banned Michelistic material Moskowitz wrote the editor jubilantly, saying that "there is no difference between Michelism and communism... Michel is a communist and makes no bones about the fact." "He also advised the communists to use "their own journals."

One of the things ideologues always fail to understand is that the more aggressively hateful you are about your ideology, the more those will deliberately go out of their way to combat your ideas out of principle and evens spite. This is not too dissimilar from how things work in the eternal Current Year we now live in, and it is how many turned on the nu atheists when they weren't particularly religious beforehand.

Most people do not wish to have their world overrun and overturned by people who hate and have no respect for them unless they capitulate to their every whim. And most of the people that pushy and forceful about their creed are frequently wrong about them on a base level they never considered. Mostly because they are not as smart as they originally thought they were.

This is why one should have a philosophical and religious bedrock to push back against attackers and subversives. Otherwise, you will lose, as all non-committed consumers who "just want to be left alone" do. You have no weapons to fight back with and will eventually go with the flow to avoid confrontation or being made a target.

Michelism probably would have faded away if even one person in Fandom was actually religious and knew how to squash it as a concept or idea, but because they weren't they now had to find new reason to reject this mutated strain of Progressivism overtaking them. However, and this is clear in hindsight, they could not convincingly beat it back. It was the logical endpoint of their philosophy, and they couldn't accept that.

And as said already, the view from most on the ground was that the "genre" was not actually political in the modern sense . . . even though they very much wanted it to be, in the end. They knew they didn't want this, but could not fight it at all. They knew it deep down. Therefore, they got the end they deserved: irrelevancy.

You don't get arguments about adventure storytelling being this ideology or the other, because it is too generalized and universal for such a thing. A "genre" focused on predicting the future can't help but be painted by ideological weirdos who want their pet Utopias to come into existence instead. Hence, the black hole of storytelling in magazines that was the later days of the pulps.

Thankfully that era is long over! Michelism, however, still exists today.

"Whether or not the reader accepts or rejects communism as it was promulgated by the Michelists, it must be stated that many of their observations as to the condition of the world in 1937-38 were highly accurate. From the first they maintained that the revolution in Spain was the beginning of a great struggle between the larger forces of democracy and fascism; that the world teetered on the brink of the most disastrous war in history; that citizens should face the facts. Michel's exhortation "Awake! The future is upon us!" was as prophetic as it was dramatic. Perhaps this accurate appraisal resulted in a sense of impending doom which in turn may have brought about a feeling of desperation that would justify to the Michelists their adoption of an end-justifies-the-means philosophy which outraged fans and created a powerful opposition. In any event, the open advocacy of communism more than nullified, as far as fans were concerned, whatever logic Michelism utilized."

Boy, this sure hasn't aged well, especially for anyone who learns what the "larger forces of democracy" did to a lot of the non-combatants. Not like a bunch of spoiled kids with too much time on their hands and a suspicious amount of money during a large depression would understand. The Michelists were, in fact, wrong on every point.

But it should be expected considering people like Mr. Moskowitz were only really rejecting Michelism's tone and pace, not so much its insane and expected belief in One World Government ruled by the Big Brains was inevitable and desired. This doesn't even go to how badly, once again, these master of future prediction were once again completely wrong on the future.

At this point, however, it's expected. They were always wrong.

The fact is that this was a problem Fandom created for everyone else. Without them, we would have been left to our adventure and romance and it we could have grown the scene ourselves out of pages of the pulp magazines into new natural horizons. Instead, a bunch of Fanatics got together to prop themselves up on pedestals to call for a new world order where they will no longer be stuffed into lockers and could instead rule the world with an iron fist.

Well, clearly they weren't shoved into enough lockers as these brats should have been. Their industry is in shambles, their conventions and awards are worthless and punchlines, and their clique a laughing stock among sane people and on a watchlist among certain other crowds. The worst part is that this whole mutation won't even last a century, and will be forgotten soon enough. It's already on its death bed.

This is where all those lies and fabrications eventually ended up. A dead scene, a censored history, an approved blacklisting, and plenty of arrests over abuse with more to come. It's all over now, and not a moment too soon.

Truly the "genre" for winners.

But we're not done yet! there is still one more part to go where we wrap up the the 1930s with our host, Mr. Moskowitz, and see Fandom's final triumph. We are in the home stretch now. What lies ahead for the year of 1939?

The only thing I can say is that we are reaching the point of no return. This is where all things will finally come to a head, and a climax.

Grab a shovel and get digging. The end is almost here.