Saturday, February 26, 2022

Something is Coming...

I apologize for the radio silence around here, but there is a very good reason for it.

For those who are subscribed to the newsletter, you've got something big coming. Everyone else, don't worry, you'll just have to wait until next week on March 1st. Nonetheless, it's big! Check your inboxes. It should be arriving very soon.

See you when it gets there...

Monday, February 21, 2022

For Those About to Pulp Rock!

Find it Here!

This has been a long time coming, but the release of Pulp Rock is finally upon us today! This is the weirdest anthology to come around in some time, so buckle in.

Essentially, the idea came from author Alexander Hellene to create a collection centered on the theme of rock n roll music. But not just a random set of stories about music: he wanted tales that embodied the mythical, larger-than-life attitude that erupted out of the genre way back in the 1950s and went strong for near half a century since. So what you get is an anthology in the tradition of both a musical genre and a literary tradition of adventure storytelling that's even older. There isn't a whole lot like this one, and that's no exaggeration.

Originally crowdfunded in 2020, now it comes to all readers for easy access. 10 authors, 12 stories, all pure adventure and weird tales.

This is what you'll get in Pulp Rock:


Space pirates and superspies, ghostly singers and half-orc bards, lost cities and deals with the devil . . . all this awaits and more in Pulp Rock: Twelve musically inspired tales of adventure, excitement, and horror by some of the most exciting voices in science-fiction and fantasy. Come explore the nexus between music and the written word, and get ready to rock.

Altered Egos by Patrick Walts Glam-metal juggernauts Slamurai were past their prime, until a surprise new album and tour thrust them back into center stage . . . but is the band who it claims to be?

Mad Wind by JD Cowan On a distant colony world, a young student sets out to discover the secret of ancient ruins none have returned from . . . and music may be his only weapon against the Mad Wind.

Doom Chord by Ryan Williamson A half-orc bard and his gnome companion seek knowledge of the legendary chord required to play a song so epic even denizens of the netherworld long to hear it.

Keep It Burning Bright by Alexander Hellene An aging explorer with nothing to live for embarks on one final expedition to a frozen city to discover the one song said to be the source of all life . . . if he can make it past the city’s deadly guardians.

The Devil’s Harp by David J. West Her performance was magical . . . diabolically magical. Now a big-city reporter and a rough-and-ready lawman must track down the secrets of an occult instrument to save a woman’s soul from eternal damnation.

Farewell to Once and Future Kings by David V. Stewart They’re a band on tour in the far reaches of interstellar civilization with a secret mission: find the mole that threatens to upend the delicate balance of powers . . . even if it risks true love.

The Crying Girl by Alexander Nader She’s done it! She’s created a drug that allows its users to see and feel music. But even she doesn’t understand its side-effects during a powerful metal show for the ages.

Entomocronicity by Alexandru Constantin In the deserts of Afghanistan, a Marine hears a ghostly recording from the forgotten past that sets him on an obsessive, destructive quest to find the singer . . . and the malevolent intelligence behind her song.

Master of Puppets by Jon Del Arroz All he wanted was for his puppet show to be given respect it deserves! And when a blood ritual brings his marionettes to life, he will have his revenge.

Princess of the Night by Paul McKesley On an interstellar cruise, an undercover bandleader plots to recover his birthright from rival nobles . . . if scheming aliens out for revenge don’t steal it first!

A Song for Melienope by Alexandru Constantin A traveling bard gets more than he bargains for when his wanderings bring him to the doorstep of an ancient forest spirit. Now he must play the song of his life or forfeit his immortal soul.

Kentucky Mothers by Alexander Hellene What is the connection between a country music superstar and a spate of dead journalists? One imprisoned music reporter knows the secret . . .but will anyone believe him?

Once again, you can find Pulp Rock here!

As you can see, there is quite a lot of fun to be had in this collection, with many different takes on the subject of music mixed with the weird. I'm sure I can speak for the other writers when I say just how fun much of this was to write. It definitely comes off in the final version of the anthology.

As for my story, Mad Wind was an idea that came to me before I wrote the other two band stories (Black Dog Bend and Living Land) that released first. You can probably see how they'll relate by reading them for yourself. Nonetheless, Mad Wind was slightly different than those two. For one, it's a lot more explicit about the overall setting of the stories that I didn't have room to delve in before it. For the other, it has a much clearer link to stories that inspired its writing.

Since I first read Who Fears the Devil? by Manly Wade Wellman, I was inspired to create stories using the rock n roll mythos and overblown legacy and how it would affect a future generation, much like Wellman used his older legends for a different time and place in a changing world. What you end up with is a band that more or less lives their music.

The setup is easy enough to understand. The band is called Three Wolves, and the rockabilly trio travel across the land with their manager/driver running into strange occurrences of things that shouldn't be in a world no one really understands. Where does this group come from and what is their destination? Who knows. But they are here to put on a good show and chase away the blues for the suffering they come across in their journey. Sometimes that's all you need.

There will be future stories featuring Jordan, Edward (not Eddie, you punk!), and Daniel, but I thought it paramount to get the first three each featuring one band member out there as soon as possible. As you can tell, they're all quite a bit different from each other, except when it comes to taking action when it's needed. You will also notice that Mad Wind has a reveal about the setting that the other two didn't really delve into, for many reasons. I promise that all ties in together. Leaning in on that in the other two stories would have posed too many questions for the time, but future stories will be much more explicit about this alien place.

Either way, enjoy Pulp Rock! It was a fun time writing and Alexander did a great job managing this entire project. You're gonna have a blast reading this unique anthology.

Dig in to Pulp Rock today!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

February Signal Boost

Find it Here!

It's been quite a February, hasn't it? We're still only halfway done, but I've got a few new projects I wanted to share with readers regardless.

The first is Brian Niemeier's new Combat Frame XSeed RPG! You might have heard inklings about this before, but now it's finally here. It's available in ebook, hardcover, and even paperback. As far as mecha TTRPGs goes, this is one of the more interesting ones.

And it's coming straight out of NewPub!

The description:

"Ripped from the hit novels, the Combat Frame XSeed Roleplaying Game puts you in control of history's ultimate weapons. Stage hit-and-run strikes across the FMAS-Coalition border in your trusty Grenzie. Defend the L1 Colonies from ZoDiaC incursions in your bleeding edge Ein Dolph. Or play a soldier of fortune raiding desert trade routes in your junkyard Grenzmark I.The post-future is up to you. Forge your legend in a world of brutal mech combat. Play the Combat Frame XSeed Roleplaying game now!"

Once again, you can find the RPG here.

Find it Here!

Up next is an anthology of stories of combat vets who deal with the aftershocks of traumatic experiences. This one is entitled Can't Go Home Again and it is edited by Cedar Sanderson. Though it is primarily about heavy subjects, readers appear to connect quite well with is judging from the reviews. We are all human, after all.

The description is as follows:

"Men and women who lay their life on the line never escape unscathed, and when the time comes to return home, they find a wall between them, and loved ones. These tales follow those who gather the hope to begin healing, and tearing down the walls that have sprung up between them, and their loved ones. No one ever said it would be easy..."

You can find the anthology here.

Find it Here!

Finally, we have the next book in Declan Finn's new series, the space opera yarn called White Ops. The second book is entitled Politics Kills. A very apt description of today's climate, despite being a work that takes place in the far future!

Here is the description:

"Sean Patrick Ryan's White Ops team has taken on impossible odds and walked away unscathed. But when Earth President Douglas Wills turns Earth into a prison camp, they will fight an entire planet to save their loved ones.

"Along the way, they must unite hundreds of alien races against the looming threat from another galaxy and recruit allies that can only be reached through hyperspace filled with hostile space jihadis.

"War may be Hell, but politics may kill them first."

The second book in the series can be found here

But that's not all! Book 3 of the series will be out next month! You can preorder it here. NewPub never slows down.

So as you can see, there is still quite a lot here, even in these slower months at the start of the year.  The weather may be cold, but that doesn't mean you have to stay chilled. Grab yourself something new and warm yourself up. The heat will be here before you know it.

Things are just getting started! We're only a month and a half into the new year. There is much more to come in this wild year of 2022.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

The Last Fanatic [Part V: Dead Endings]

Now we reach the climax of our story and the end of the old era of adventure storytelling in our final entry. The rise of the Michelists has begun in earnest with no one to do much in the way of stopping them. In this entry we will now cover what remains of the 1930s and the last blips of the Golden Age of the pulp magazines before they were converged by the newly burgeoning establishment of Fanatics. This is, for all intents and purposes, the end of the pulp age.

Of course, there are two magazines we must mention before continuing on our quest. These were the last players of the Golden Age, both of which highlight the split that was finally occurring within the industry. One publication was the last true adventure magazine, the other was the first propaganda pamphlet. I am speaking of Planet Stories and Unknown magazines, two very different publications that started in the same year yet couldn't have been more different. One was successful, one wasn't, and one of the two is still held up by Fanatics as being vitally important to the cult. By now you should be able to easily tell which one that was.

1939 was the year both Planet Stories and Unknown magazines began, the former the final entry of magazines in the classical adventure vein, signaling the end of the pulp Golden Age. The latter was a magazine deliberately tailored by John W. Campbell to subvert Weird Tales by tying it down to 20th century materialism. The former lasted from 1939-1955, the end of the pulps, while that latter died by 1943, less than a half a decade, and was never more than a blip on the mainstream radar. Which one the audience preferred was obvious. Campbell was told he had to end either Unknown or Astounding by Street & Smith. He obviously chose the less successful one.

Nonetheless, critics since then have tried to frame Planet Stories as outdated, garbage, and pathetic, while propping up Unknown as the Most Important Weird Fiction Magazine Ever. the narrative being built was obvious.

No, that above statement about Unknown is perfectly real, as obviously ridiculous as it is. One wonk put it in regards to Weird Tales that it was "second only to Unknown in significance and influence" which as blatant a lie as you can get while still being looked at as an expert in the field. Anyone who believes this is already questionable at best. And, of course, no one argued against such a stupid claim despite this. Again.

However, there was a narrative to be constructed. We know this now. "Science Fiction & Fantasy" was growing up and moving past all those disgusting things such as audience enjoyment, wonder, and the real unknown. All of that had to die. Now it was about building Utopia for the Future. Those who refused to get in line simply had to go or get their legacy tarnished and buried in the process. The revolution was ready to go by 1939.

This was the first sign that things were beginning to shift in the actual industry, though it wouldn't truly be felt until the 1940s. For now, they were getting their feet wet.

It was enough that they had now infected the industry.

One thing you might be noticing through all of the happenings of the documented years is the slow rise of New York as the central hub of Fandom, to which everyone else now had to bow to. This never quite stopped, especially as it was the backbone of the old publishing industry that flourished off the hard work of others years before, and would for years to come. Its influence of the industry on Fandom's growth was obvious. Without it, they never would have had a foot in the door to begin with. Those who lived outside the holy land never had the opportunity these Fanatics did.

Take for instance, Hugo Gernsback's Science Fiction League, another appendage of his creation under target for absorption from the horde to subvert to their own ends.

Now it would also be subverted for the new cause.

"Under Hugo Gernsback's aegis the Science Fiction League had been a vigorous, forward-driving organization that went out of its way to encourage creation and growth of local chapters and their activities. The column devoted to the organization in Wonder Stories up to the very end of the Gernsback regime had increased in size and importance. When Standard Publications purchased and rechristened the magazine, and solicited a grade of fiction that would appeal to a lower mental average than that catered to by the former owner, it apparently regarded the League as an annoying appendage to its business bargain. For reasons of prestige and good will the firm could scarcely drop the organization — but on the other hand no planned campaign to encourage expansion would be initiated.

"The six-months' interregnum in 1936 preceding change of the magazine's ownership had in itself dealt a fatal blow to the weaker chapters in the Science Fiction League. Still, the more stable units, such as those in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, clung tenaciously to their League affiliations since these offered them their only means of advertising activities and recruiting new members. For the very same reason occasional new groups continued to arise and request charters despite the near-moribund state of the parent organization."

Despite another "institution" of Fandom failing, again, it was up to the acolytes to keep it alive no matter what the cost. And that is what they, sort of, did. Fandom never lets things be what they are.

"The League was also helpless to cope with such ruses as that of Frederik Pohl, who in December, 1936, applied for and received a charter for a chapter in Brooklyn, New York. This included on its roster such names as Elton V. Andrews, Henry De Costa and Allen Zweig — all of which were pseudonyms of Pohl himself. Two of the members, Walter Kubilius and Harry Dockweiler, were live fans, but it is extremely doubtful if they were guilty of anything more official than paying Pohl an occasional friendly visit. Pohl successfully continued his hoax, sending reports of the club's "progress" to headquarters at irregular intervals for several years, and even announcing a change in name to "The Greater New York Chapter" in order to "embrace more territory.""

"The Science Fiction League column in the August, 1937, issue of
Thrilling Wonder Stories announced that James V. Taurasi had formed a chapter in Flushing, New York. Taurasi announced that a July meeting had been held with Robert G. Thompson, Richard Wilson and Abraham Oshinsky in attendance. The club appeared thus to be following the lead of Frederik Pohl's — for actually only Taurasi and Thompson were present, and no regular meeting had been held at all!"

Yes, you aren't seeing things. It is yet more juvenility from the New York set. For some unfathomable reason they really enjoyed messing with people and throwing their weight around. 

Almost as if they were just that full of themselves.

For a supposedly serious "genre" it sure has yet to show itself as one. To be fair, it never really would, but that is beside the point.

"The appearance of such new fans as Taurasi, Wilson, Thompson and Gillespie in the New York area made it almost inevitable that a lasting science fiction club would eventually be formed there. This indeed proved to be the case. In October, 1937, Sykora, Thompson, Wilson and Mario Racic, Jr., assembled at the home of director Taurasi and joined the Queens chapter of the SFL. The second meeting held November 7, saw the planning of a hektographed club organ titled Jeddara (the Martian word for "queen" in Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels). The first issue was bound in with Taurasi's Cosmic Tales Quarterly, but two later numbers, also hektographed, were distributed independently. At the same meeting the club decided to send a delegate to visit the newly formed Washington Heights SFL, informing them of the Queens group and the presence of other fans in the New York area. One of the results of this visit, made by Richard Wilson, was to recruit to the Queens banner three important names from the Washington Heights club: Cyril Kornbluth, Chester Fein and David Charney.

"The Queens chapter worked up an interesting correspondence with John W. Campbell, Jr., newly appointed editor of
Astounding Stories, who adopted a friendly attitude toward visits from members to his office and was kept informed of their progress. Another correspondent of the club was Thomas S. Gardner, well known in those days for contributions to Wonder Stories, who evinced the desire eventually to meet the membership. (Both of these events proved later to be quite important.) The chapter's January, 1938, meeting was attended by Moskowitz, who found the members congenial and who offered them suggestions and help. It was at this time that he definitely resolved to work with Sykora toward holding the First National Science Fiction Convention in Newark that year."

As has already been established, 1938 was the year Fandom had got all its ducks in a row and was readying for the takeover. John W. Campbell among others told them they would allow the Fanatics to now run the industry at the expense of the general audience. It was New York that rapidly turned out to be the beating heart of this monstrosity. Everything appeared to be filtered through there first before filtering outwards. 

Where else but the birth place of Michelism, the end point of their entire materialist philosophy on life?

"The group of Michelists and Michelist sympathizers continued to build up strength. One of them, Frederik Pohl, proposed at a meeting that the chapter send a delegate to the leftist American Youth Congress and/or support it with a contribution of ten cents per member. Director Taurasi, always an easy-going fellow amenable to reason, balked completely at this, refusing to allow a vote on the motion on the grounds that it was political and therefore had no place on the agenda of a science fiction organization. Accusing him of dictatorship, Michelists began impeachment proceedings against Taurasi. These were to culminate at the June meeting, but the banner attendance and presence of new members made the whole affair appear unseemly, so the matter was discreetly dropped. However, it is significant to note that Michelist-sympathizer Richard Wilson, secretary of the club during this period, included no mention of the incident whatsoever in the official minutes, which your historian has read."

It really is amazing how pointlessly aggressive towards their peers a lot of this is, isn't it? All supposedly to support a mere "hobby" space. And yet certain people still needed to assert control over it with an iron, totalitarian fist. This only got more and more vicious as the years wore on. It never did, and never will, stop.

The Michelists bum-rushed Taurasi out of the club and caused even more chaos among their membership, destroying yet another potential rival to the cause. Of course, that would be worth it to them. The message came above all else.

"And thus perished the Greater New York Chapter of the Science Fiction League, and not unnaturally neither faction was satisfied with the turn events had taken. In retrospect, however, we can see that it was inevitable. Equally inevitable was an even more important corollary to the break-up. By their own deliberate actions the Michelists had not only made a new enemy, but had caused him to join forces with two old ones. And the combination of Sykora's long experience, Moskowitz's widespread contacts and penchant for article-writing, and Taurasi's publishing abilities was a formidable one indeed. This triumvirate not only outlasted Michelism itself, but lived to wield great power in future fandom."

I am sorry to tell you this, Mr. Moskowitz, but no they didn't. Peruse the most recent Worldcon, or see Fanatics slobbering all over themselves to campaign for a convention in China to show how openminded they are, and you'll see just how badly Michelism actually won in the end. Every single one of the club practices those old tenets daily, looking for new targets to destroy or lawsuits to fund for the cause. Anything to protect their sandbox.

And it all started with Fandom seizing control of an industry they had no business controlling in the first place, especially not when we've seen how badly they manage their own lives. Let immature children in control of anything, and immature children will proceed to wreck everything. It happens every single time.

But that's just how the 20th century was as a whole. It was not exclusive to this particular fan club. What else can be expected from that time period? The times were changing, but the materialists wanted them to change in one particular way.

Now, however, it was time to go even bigger. Now it was time to plan for the next convention, the largest so far. It was time for the fourth convention! This would then be parlayed into a World Convention in 1939. That is correct, they were about to take on the world!

"It will be remembered that at the Newark convention in May much maneuvering and counter-maneuvering marked the choice of a committee to take charge of the 1939 world convention. Sykora had been authorized by attendees to appoint a group, and he maintained that their majority abrogated the authority of a previous committee named for the same purpose at the New York convention of February, 1937. Friends of Wollheim — chairman of the old committee — prepared and circulated at the Newark convention a petition protesting this, as we have previously stated (Chapter XXVIII). Wollheim himself refused to recognize the new committee or to relinquish his chairmanship in the old one. This action received support when the Michelist-dominated Greater New York SFL chapter, at its July meeting, passed a motion accepting responsibility for being the handling committee of the 1939 convention. Two active, competing committees now existed."

When you don't cut subversives off at the knees, this is what they do: they assert ownership and total authority themselves. A preview of things to come. 

Not that their enemies were any better. Now the subversives were ready to seize an entire industry for themselves and no one would dare cross them for fear of breaking a stupid meaningless rule. How very 20th century of them. When both sides don't play by the same rules, the one that cheats is going to win. There is no better proof than this entire mess we are currently swimming through. All it took was anyone standing up against them, but that never happened.

No wonder things fell apart so fast.

"Meanwhile the Michelists had shown their petition to the science fiction magazine editors Margulies and Campbell, who decided to make an attempt at reconciling both factions, since a successful science fiction convention would aid their own interests. Early in July, therefore, Campbell, Margulies, Sykora and Wollheim met in solemn conclave in a New York restaurent. Margulies acted as interrogator, alternately questioning Sykora and Wollheim to ascertain just what their ideas and opinions were. It soon became evident that it would be impossible to reconcile their diametrically opposed views. That left but one alternative: a choice must be made between the two, predicated upon evidence as to which showed better ability to present a successful convention."

Do you pick the communists or the normal fans? This must have been a really hard choice, for some reason. We can only speculate why that might have been the case.

Even though Campbell, apparently, intimately knew the non-subversives quite well, he still had to be impartial for the cause. Scheming and plotting to conquer the world was more important than using common sense. Then again, Fanatics typically don't have much in the way of that. None of this would be occurring if anyone had any to begin with.

This is what it came down to: one faction of Fanatics against the other. Who would be the one to dictate the industry from here on out? The 1939 convention would be the place to make that decision, apparently. The industry decided so.

"Wollheim named the Committee for the Political Advancement of Science Fiction as the logical group to sponsor the convention, and cited its support by the Greater New York SFL chapter. Sykora had nothing comparable to call upon, and it appeared the nod would go to Wollheim. And as a last resort he attempted to turn the odds by a bluff. Pooh-poohing the strength of Wollheim's supporters, he declared (with a nonchalant wave of his hand) that in a few months' time he could produce an organization twice as powerful as the CPASF. As capable a publishing executive as Leo Margulies could not be duped by such a show of mock bravado, however. If Sykora could produce something concrete, he said, he would be willing to reconsider; but in the absence of anything more substantial than boasts, he would string along at least temporarily with Wollheim. Picking up the check, he led the group from the restaurent. Campbell had taken little active part in the proceedings, but his silence plainly indicated that he seconded his fellow editor's stand."

I sometimes wonder why I'm supposed to care about John W. Campbell getting airbrushed out of his own "genre" in recent times when he allowed all this to happen in the first place. Anyone paying attention to this mess at the time, as he apparently was, would obviously understand why trusting Michelists would be a monumentally stupid idea, but hey follow the rules and all that. As long as the audience loses, who cares?

You let them take control, you take responsibility. And that's exactly why he is currently being dismantled by the even more rabid Fanatics of our Current Year. It was always going to end this way, though I doubt he would have cared even were he alive to see it happen. He accomplished what he wanted, in the end.

Let us now turn to the hoops that Sykora had to jump through to get this thing off the ground.

"Both Sykora and Taurasi were at the nadir of their fan careers, and had no bargaining points. Moskowitz, on the other hand, had the backing of not only the Philadelphia faction (second most influential in fandom at the time) but of the many fan publishers dependent on his manuscript bureau as well. Consequently he had his own way completely. Sykora went along because there was nothing else for him to do, but Taurasi displayed more enthusiasm when Moskowitz told him, as an incidental aside, that Fantasy News would have to be made the leading newspaper of fandom in both popularity and circulation. It was his intention, said Moskowitz, to perform the tasks of creating New Fandom and energizing Fantasy News concurrently. Probably the only thing more irritating than a braggart is a braggart who proves his point. This Moskowitz proceeded to do in as unusual a series of coincidences and political jockeyings as fandom had ever seen.

"The basis of Moskowitz's self-confidence was a letter from Raymond Van Houten, director of the Science Fiction Advancement Association, dated April 22, 1938. In this Van Houten offered to turn over the organization to Moskowitz in its entirety, since he — Van Houten — was no longer able to carry it. Here fate played a hand. Before Moskowitz could write his acceptance of the dormant SFAA, Fantasy News published Van Houten's resignation from the organization, and the news of his appointment of Roy A. Squires as temporary managing secretary. It now appeared that he would have to deal with Squires, an old-time fan residing in Glendale, California. But gambling on the premise that Squires might not want the job, Moskowitz promptly wrote Van Houten, requesting the organization and outlining his plan to have it form the nucleus of a powerful new group whose purpose would be presenting a science fiction convention the next year.

"On August 6 Van Houten replied as follows:

"Your plans to take over the S.F.A.A. are just what I've been looking for. I wanted to sponsor the 1939 convention but I didn't have the funds. You are hereby appointed Manager-Secretary; I will remain Chairman of the board of Trustees in an advisory capacity. The Mg.-Sec. runs the show, trustees notwithstanding. Will forward membership lists and other data later. Suffice it to say that the organization is in your hands."

It took Moskowitz using the connections he learned from the previous convention to finagle all of this together. The forces of Fandom were finally gathering.

Now we meet New Fandom, same as the old!

"The first official announcement of New Fandom appeared in the August 7 number of Fantasy News. Under Moskowitz's byline the following modest statement appeared.

"Watch for science-fiction's greatest organization! New Fandom! To form a new base for fan activities missing since the death of Fantasy Magazine. Backed by Sam Moskowitz and Will Sykora this is a sure-fire organization that will start with fifty members. Official organ out in a month.... Details in future issues of Fantasy News."

Yes, this was their play. The "new" part hardly meant much. They were amassing power behind the scenes.

But more importantly were other happenings at the time that played into this. Namely, what other fans were doing outside of the egghead set. Believe it or not, for now, they still existed.

In case you forgot, which is easy to do while diving into this whole mess, is that there was an entire world of fans out there beyond the cliques. They, of course, didn't really matter to the bigger groups of spoiled urbanites, but they could be used as weapons against each other in their petty wars.

Here is one such story.

"During the week of August 7, 1938, a strapping, red-headed young man, over six feet tall, knocked at the door of Moskowitz's Newark home and announced his name: Claire Beck. It developed that he had tired of fruit-picking in Lakeport, California, and had decided to visit his brother in San Francisco (not Reno, as Fantasy News erroneously reported). After leaving there he travelled east, passing en route to visit Clark Ashton Smith, R. H. Barlow, C. L. Moore and others, and arriving nineteen days later at the home of William Miller, Jr., one of his old-time correspondents, in East Orange, New Jersey. As Miller had dropped out of fandom at that time, Beck was able to spend two full weeks at his home without fandom learning he was in the East.

"Beck paid Moskowitz a second visit a few days later, and asked if he could be put up for the night, since he was unable to stay longer with Miller. As this was impossible, Moskowitz suggested that he speak to Richard Wilson, who in the past had been able to accommodate visiting fans.

"When the Michelists got wind of his arrival in Richmond Hill there was much excitement, for Beck's hitch-hiking feat was the first of its type by a famous fan, and represented the actual accomplishment of what many fans had dreamed of doing but had never dared to try — namely, travelling about the country, visiting well-known fans and fantasy authors, with lack of finances no serious handicap. Jubilantly, Richard Wilson mapped plans to scoop his competitor with the most sensational news story of the year. In fandom, Beck's hitch-hiking trip had a news-value comparable to that of Lindbergh's flight in the world press."

No comment. It gets dumber.

"On August 14, as scheduled, Van Houten, Taurasi, Sykora and Moskowitz met at the latter's home to iron out the SFAA-New Fandom merger. After some discussion, Van Houten agreed to have the personality of his organization completely dominated by the newer group. Moskowitz gained his point by pointing out that the SFAA had the reputation of a "do-nothing" group, that it was essentially dictatorial in make-up and that the best way of overcoming such faults would be to start anew with a clean slate. Arrangements were then made for Van Houten to play an important part in initiating success for New Fandom. He was first to write an editorial outlining the beneficial effects of the merger on SFAA members, and to type half of the stencils for the official magazine regularly. These negotiations had scarcely been completed when the doorbell rang.

"On the threshold was Claire Beck, and behind him could be seen faces of the opposition — Wilson, Michel and Pohl. The visitors entered, and the two factions sat in comparative silence and discomfiture glaring at each other across the big living room table. The incident was later described by Van Houten (then a neutral in the dispute) in the August 20, 1938, issue of his carbon-copied magazine of commentary Van Houten Says as follows:

"... I was very much amused when I was present at a meeting between (or among) Will Sykora, Sam Moskowitz, John B. Michel, Richard Wilson, and a fellow whose name I forget.... Quietude was rampant, to say the least. And the Hon. C. P. Beck was there, with a puzzled look flitting across his red-topped face every now and then. There seems to be a magnitudinous amount of bad blood someplace. Maybe I've been missing something."

Really goes a long way to show how stupid this looks to outsiders, doesn't it? Hard to imagine that this is what the people the industry would be catering to were actually like.

Yet, here we are.

"Despite the Michelists' silence, and despite the fact that as competent a historian as Jack Speer considered their actions at the time "wholly indefensible," it behooves us for the sake of accurate perspective to examine their motives. When Wilson moved to deprive Taurasi of his mimeograph he may have been morally wrong, but not technically so. He was a member of the Phantasy Legion as well as Taurasi, and certainly had as much right to the machine. Today, one wonders why the two made no compromise: certainly both could have used it without friction. When the Michelists impeached Taurasi, they were technically correct in their procedure, and he should have allowed a majority to make a decision. Similarly, Wollheim, in arguing for the chairmanship of the committee to sponsor the 1939 convention, had a legitimate point. If the Greater New York SFL members voted against letting Osheroff and Moskowitz join the chapter, it was Sykora's own sponsorship of the by-law making it possible that put that by-law on the club books; and he had sponsored it with the conjectural possibility of invoking it to exclude the Michelists. Obviously, then, the Michelists could justify their actions on technical grounds. And equally obviously the triumvirate was pushing its case on the grounds of moral and unwritten laws, the rules which in human society frequently outweigh in importance those actually in print."

"Morally wrong, but not technically so" is why subversives always beat people like this, in the end. Civilized rules are for the civilized, not the barbarians and the lowlifes who aim to win by any means. If you want to know how this mess got so corrupt and up its own rear so fast, then you only have to look at 20th century naivety like the above for the reason. Treacherous snakes in the grass should be given no quarter, and squashed immediately, and yet here you'll find they were given what they wanted over and over. All they need to do is throw a tantrum by using technicalities like utter cowards to get what they want.

Swaths of people lost adventure fiction because a bunch of nerds didn't want to upset a gaggle of subversive nerds trying to destroy an entire hobby for their own gain. It is just this sad and pathetic. The industry was run by infants.

This is an unavoidable truth, and why OldPub was eventually destined to die in the future. Building houses on shaky foundations is always a bad idea, never mind bragging about doing so while taking a hammer to the floor at the same time. Thankfully there is no one left inside this long abandoned site, so when the condemned remains finally fall in on themselves no one will be hurt by the rubble except the squatters.

"The August 21, 1938, issue of Fantasy News followed its Claire P. Beck scoop with another, equally newsworthy. Black headlines announced to fandom the merging of the SFAA, Helios, Tesseract, Fantasy Review and the Moskowitz Manuscript Bureau into a single unit: New Fandom. Moskowitz's strategy was obvious: by maximum publicity he hoped to give the new organization such momentum that no reneging on the part of Van Houten or objection on that of Beck could effectively block submergence of the SFAA and its members therein. At the same time Fantasy News announced Van Houten's name as co-founder.

"Close upon the heels of this, the next week's issue circulated a four-page, hektographed supplement published by Moskowitz, Current Fantasy. This reprinted Van Houten's letter giving to Moskowitz all rights to the SFAA. In it Moskowitz also outlined New Fandom's aims, among which were:

1) New Fandom is to attempt to establish a new base for fandom, missing since the death of Fantasy Magazine.

2) Our immediate aim is to sponsor the World's Fair Science Fiction Convention in 1939.

3) We are to publish the official organ of the club, which shall be for the present 20 large-size, mimeographed pages, fine material, with a special silk-screen cover."

Now we are off to the races.

"By the alchemical process of the above mergings, New Fandom gained as automatic members all active and inactive participants in the SFAA and subscribers to Tesseract, Helios and Fantasy Review as well. The total came to approximately 125 — a staggering total for an organization in those days. Ironically, too, it included Wollheim and Wilson (unbeknownst to themselves), arch-enemies of New Fandom's founders."

It's honestly not that much larger these days, but I digress. New Fandom eventually did release, and it was a relative success for Fandom.

"New Fandom contained no fiction, but only articles and columns — a radical innovation in the field at that time. Its neatly silk-screened cover was reminiscent of the old International Observer's. The magazine ran to twenty mimeographed pages. About two hundred copies of the initial number were mailed to members and to likely prospects. By 1938 standards the results were sensational. Renewals of membership poured in; over two dozen recruits joined, including old-time fans not then active in the field, professional authors, and a surprising percentage of names previously unheard of. Though some (like Ackerman) were not particularly enamored of the new club, most comments on it and the publication carried unqualified praise. Fans active and casual, old and new, all found some responsive chord struck within them.

"Nothing succeeds like success, and the very appearance of New Fandom was one of success. Moreover, the forthright assertion that the organization would sponsor a banner world convention and was militantly working for that purpose with a nation-wide enrollment removed all air of sectionalism that New Fandom might otherwise have had to cope with. When such names as John W. Campbell, Jr., Eando Binder, L. Sprague de Camp, Willy Ley, Frank R. Paul, J. Harvey Haggard, John D. Clark, Thomas S. Gardner, H. C. Koenig, Roy A. Squires, Harry Warner, Dale Hart and Peter Duncan were associated with the magazine, fans had to sit up and take notice.

"But for all this the organization might never have been successful had it not been for the continual publicity it received in Taurasi's Fantasy News. The latter was fast supplanting Wilson's Science Fiction News-Letter as the leading news weekly in the field. Its policies, format, size and scoops rocketed it quickly to prestige over a fading competitor. And, since Fantasy News had become a sounding board for New Fandom, success for one meant success for the other. It became axiomatic, for a time, that if Taurasi gained a dozen new subscribers in one month, New Fandom would get the same dozen the next. And later we shall see that even as both publications rose and prospered together, so would they fall together."

With this Moskowitz proved he was the equal of Wollheim, but would it be enough to steer the pointlessly unbiased big dogs from handing control to communists? 

We shall see.

"Leo Marguilies' letter of September 14, 1938, which had formally dissolved the Greater New York SFL chapter, had left New York City, proposed site of the first world science fiction convention, without an official working organization to assume local responsibility for the affair. It was evident that the first group that could organize itself into a strong club would have a clear-cut superiority in pressing claim for the coveted post of convention sponsors. And it was equally evident that the Michelists and the New Fandomites would be the two competing rivals.

"New Fandom founders lost little time in making preparations. Under the stimulating aegis of Sykora, Taurasi called a meeting of fans at his home on October 2, 1938. Ten persons attended. This group agreed to organize a SFL chapter in Queens. Application for a charter was made to Thrilling Wonder Stories, and this was received within a week. Within the same space of time New Fandom had appointed the Queens SFL chapter the official sponsoring committee of the New York convention."

This was it, the final grab for power, or so it seemed. Whoever took control of Fandom would have the 1940s as their playground to do with as they wished. World domination was a kip and a hop away! The stakes were higher than ever, and the future was bright.

Of course, the Michelists were still around to cause problems. The main difference is they now had a new moniker to go with their aspirations. They were now to be known as The Futurians! It is fortunate that they shed the old name. How would they operate if Michel needed to be purged, after all? Very sensible choice.

"The Michelists, however, had lost even less time. On September 18 they formed the Futurian Science Literary Society (later humorously referred to by them as "a popular front blind for the CPASF") a title that usage abbreviated into simply "Futurians." The latter designation became so popular, by the way, that it eventually supplanted the term "Michelists" entirely. Among those present at this formative meeting were many names well known in science fiction circles: Frederik Pohl, John Michel, Donald Wollheim, Walter Kubilius, Jack Gillespie, Isaac Asimov, Cyril Kornbluth, Jack Rubinson, Herman Leventman and Robert W. Lowndes who had recently migrated to New York City from New England, and who (as we have seen) had come into the Futurian orbit.

"The Science Fiction News-Letter soon became the general propaganda organ of the Futurians, much as Fantasy News was for New Fandom. In an effort to offer stiffer competition to Fantasy News, the News-Letter added Pohl to its staff as reporter, and with the September 1, 1938, issue assumed a mimeographed format. However, the fantastic speed (in fan circles, at least) with which New Fandom had been created and was printed and distributed — and then, most paralyzing blow of all, accepted — proved a major setback. Even that might not have proved insurmountable had it not been for another development, equally swift and disconcerting."

Yes, you are reading the above correctly. Isaac Asimov was a Futurian and proud of it. Though had one read or listened to anything he has said about life, the universe, and anything, aside from mindless media worship over the man, then it would be even more clear. His views had never once changed on this topic. A rabid Futurian and Fanatic until the day he died.

It is no wonder his influence in the mainstream faded not long after he died. It was time to move on to the next prophet, and then the next. But I digress. Let us return to the subject.

As time has gone on, and as mystique has drifted away from the clown car that was "Science Fiction & Fantasy" we have very clearly seen just what this entire scene was constructed for and what it was made of. Part of the reason this book was kept out of print for so long was due to needing to hide just how ridiculous this all really was. It's an embarrassing story, full stop. Normal people were chased out of a hobby for essentially nothing.

And it was still getting more ridiculous.

"John W. Campbell, Jr., editor of Astounding Stories, had been sent a complimentary copy of New Fandom, and his reaction was enthusiastic indeed. In a letter he complimented the magazine highly, and went on to say:

"As I understand it, one of the main efforts of New Fandom will be directed toward the success of the World Science Fiction Convention. At the recent Newark Convention, I expressed my desire to help both fandom magazines and the World Convention idea as much as possible. If you'll send me a letter describing — in not more than 250 words — the New Fandom magazine, giving data, aims, and how to get in touch, I'll try to run it promptly in "Brass Tacks."

"Campbell went on to urge the New Fandom heads to visit his office and talk over the situation. This invitation was accepted, and the resulting interview led to his support of the organization. The October 2, 1938, Fantasy News spread this news throughout fandom; and when everyone learned that Street & Smith would give the convention publicity and donate contributions for its auction, and that Mr. Campbell himself would be present, the organization's prestige accelerated anew. All that there remained for New Fandom to do was gain a vote of confidence at the Philadelphia Conference. This, if obtained — and the prospects were decidedly favorable — would squelch permanently any Futurian hopes for sponsorship."

The most humorous part of this entire exchange is how this is the second time someone in a position of power is willing to help Fanatics, and just like with Gernsback, it will end with his name being erased from the greater picture.

Why exactly was Campbell willing to help a bunch of anti-social nerds who were obsessed with weaponizing fiction against the masses? Well, we will soon learn why. At this point he had yet to really show what made him different from his predecessor Tremaine, and he wouldn't until he was sure he had the Fandom support to do it.

As of now, the 1930s were not ready for his revolt against the masses.

If there is one thing this whole series should hopefully impart on readers it should be to never appeal or cater to Fanatics. Not even once. They are not your friends, are your allies as long as you are convenient, and will work tirelessly to destroy anything they didn't build themselves, which is everything.

How many times do we need to learn this lesson?

"The gospel of New Fandom, meanwhile, was being effectively disseminated in yet another way. Taurasi's Fantasy News, a Cosmic Publication, was not the only journal appearing under that banner. Cosmic Tales was revived as a Cosmic Publication under the aegis of Louis and Gertrude Kuslan, two serious-minded fans living in Connecticut. The first issue, dated September, 1938, proved very popular throughout fandom. Kuslan, receiving support both from Taurasi and the Moskowitz Manuscript Bureau (which now operated as a New Fandom unit) was naturally generous in "plugging" the organization. Similar plugs appeared in The Planeteer, now being issued by Taurasi after it had been dropped by Blish. And New Fandom's biggest boost came when Olon F. Wiggins, noted as a strong-minded individual not easily swayed to any loose cause, joined Cosmic and dropped his Galactic Publications masthead. The only remaining publishing house of importance was Philadelphia's Comet group, and all of the fans there — with the exception of Milton A. Rothman — were inveterate anti-Michelists and anti-Wollheimists, and so would scarcely be against New Fandom. The remaining independant fan journals either were neutrals or were in such moribund condition as to make them of no importance. The sole exception, Scienti-Snaps, though technically neutral did not hesitate to donate free publicity to New Fandom."

The "gospel of New Fandom" indeed. I should remind the reader that the audience for all of these fan publications barely stretched into the triple digits. It really was a battle over who should be the king of the sandcastle. It was all a blip compared to the larger audience of the professional world.

But some members of Fandom were clearly more ambitious than others. In a religious war, it is the ones with the stronger devotion that will come out on top.

We've already established who had that.

"The Futurians realized that time was running out and that they still lacked a promising rallying-point. Professionals and fans alike were falling into line behind their rivals. Theoretically, the Philadelphia Conference should give them an opportunity to meet them on even terms — but in actuality, since the conference was being sponsored by the antagonistic Comet group, the Futurians could not count on even this. Furthermore, with a sizeable delegation from the Queens SFL and such other visiting enemies as Jack Speer present, they were sure to lack numbers as well as voice. The Futurians knew these facts, and realized that a complete debacle could be avoided only by drastic methods.

"Their plan of action was unprecedented. Headlined in the News-Letter for September 3, 1938, (and here we must digress to keep in mind that the relationship between the date on the journal and the date subscribers received it was frequently tenuous, for at this time the News-Letter began a series of delayed appearances) predicted a "Convention War" in October, and the text which followed read:

"... in New York City John B. Michel and Mr. Wollheim, powers in the field, have decided to toss a lethal monkey wrench into the machinery by announcing a Fifth Eastern Science Fiction Convention to be held in their city on the same date as the Philadelphia affair. They reason that more fans will attend the New York gathering than its rival...."

Keep in mind that despite everything Wollheim and his group had done, everything they had said, Fandom still let them continue to operate and grow unopposed. Nowadays Fanatics froth and unperson when you vote for the Bad Guys instead of the Good Guys. Back then they had outright subversives telling you they were subversives, and were allowed to run rampant. One very clearly and obviously led to the other.

While Fandom is an irrelevant joke now, destined to die in a pathetic, half-dug grave, back then it was still relatively unknown to the world. It was a new phenomenon. However, it was no less of a joke. People back then were just afraid to acknowledge it as such. Especially in the years to come where you had to bow to their unelected gatekeepers or never get your work published, even as industry sales did nothing but crater as time went on. What this should be looked back on is as a cautionary tale for today.

Obsessives destroy.

Of course the Futurians' plan to do the above didn't happen--but it caused a fracas. And that is what they wanted to happen. We've seen it work every single time so far.

Nonetheless, the fourth convention went off without a hitch. Despite all the plotting and scheming, it ended up being exactly what it needed to be.

Here is the account from Mr. Moskowitz himself.

"Near-perfect fall weather greeted attendees on Sunday, October 16, at the City of Brotherly Love. A little over two dozen fans were present, and almost without exception they were individuals of note in the field. The New Fandom delegation of Sykora, Taurasi, Gardner, Thompson and Moskowitz made up the earlier arrivals. The better-known members of the PSFS were also present — John Baltadonis, Robert Madle, Jack Agnew, Milton Rothman, Jack Johnson, Helen Cloukey, Milton Asquith, Lee Blatt, Thomas Whiteside and Oswald Train. William Perlman had arrived from Baltimore, and Jack Speer from Washington. Authors John D. Clark, Otto Binder, David Vern (pen name: David V. Reed) had come, the latter in company with Mort Weisinger of Thrilling Wonder Stories. No Futurians appeared."

Of course they wouldn't. At this stage it was about posing themselves as a dangerous threat. Subversives don't play to win: they play to destroy. The long game is what matters, and they were playing it expertly.

Besides, New Fandom was doing a good enough job already shooting itself in the foot as a concept. They needed no help.

"The first business to come before the conference was that of New Fandom. Rothman opened it by announcing that the organization's preeminence seemed unchallenged, and introduced Sykora as one of the heads of the committee. Sykora pointed out that at this early date few concrete promises could be made, but if fans and professionals alike extended their help New Fandom would present a gathering to be proud of. Moskowitz next spoke at considerable length about the general set-up of New Fandom. At the moment, he admitted, it was dictatorial — and this came about necessarily in the early stages of any organization because no one save the creators cared to do any of the ground work. He felt that this dictatorial essence was to a large extent mitigated, however, comparing New Fandom to the professional magazines: these were run by single individuals for profit, yet they were democratic in the sense that their success depended on how well they followed the wishes of the majority. New Fandom was also bound by that law. Moskowitz intimated that once the organization had successfully staged the world convention steps would be taken to adopt a constitution and hold elections. He humorously mentioned the accusation of New Fandom having "sold out" to the professionals, and stated his belief that science fiction could not advance unless all concerned parties worked together; that cooperation was an imperative necessity since neither the fans nor the professionals were independant of one another. One of the aims of the organization, indeed, was to bring the two groups into the close cooperation that had existed during the era of Fantasy Magazine."

Which point should one harp on first? There are so many ripe ones for the picking.

You can see at this point what Fandom's goal was: it was to rule the entire scene with an iron fist. At this point, the magazines were still run by editors attempting to sell to the widest possible audience: normal people. Even though those like Campbell were quickly and happily throwing the wider audience out by 1940, most magazines had not made that shift yet. They were still selling the same stories they always had.

What Fandom wanted to do (whether Futurian in name or not) was to change that gross, unforgivable error. Catering to customers is purely wrong; allowing the very smart Fanatics to lecture the idiotic plebeians is where the future lay. We need to Advance Science, in one particular way, not tell stories.

And this is why the Futurians would eventually win this war. They wanted to crush the audience more than general Fandom did, and they had a clear logical endpoint where such an attitude leads. Totalitarianism by the clique. And the people in charge let them enact that exact plan. The only difference between the two groups was speed.

"Discussion by the conferees followed. Finally Jack Speer suggested, and then himself framed, a motion recognizing New Fandom as the official sponsor of the 1939 convention and stating that the Philadelphia Conference went on record as supporting it. This motion was passed without dissent, though not unanimously, and New Fandom breathed a sigh of relief."

Again, a sigh of relief for what? What exactly is it that they believed they were doing? Nothing had really changed. Progress was finally here? Was that it? 

It's a very 20th century attitude towards the arts that only makes less sense as the years go on. When normal people were in charge, the industry thrived. When they left, it stagnated and died. The question in all of this must then become obvious. That being, why do you need a gaggle of Fanatics in charge of anything at all?

That question is never asked, never mind answered.

"The next item on the program was a round-table discussion on the purpose of science fiction. In the process of his contribution to this, Weisinger revealed that his company would very shortly issue a new science fiction magazine called Startling Stories, and the first issue, in addition to carrying a new novel by Stanley G. Weinbaum, "The Black Flame," would initiate a unique department of interest to fans, "Review of the Fan Magazines." Complete addresses as well as prices would be included with these reviews."

Now we have the important thing to take note of: the reason the split between normal audiences and the genre happened. It was because of Fandom and their cult beliefs. When Mythic stories became material and the adventure was stripped out, the wonder died.

"This amounted to an official announcement that the barrier between the fans and the publishers was broken, and was vitally important in what it portended. For the first time in many years an efficient method was being set up by a mass-circulation magazine to funnel new faces into fandom, and the field was bound to be changed by this influx."

And there it is. The goal for the 1939 to come would be to let Fanatics have more say than general audiences. By 1940, the old field would be unrecognizable, and the only reason it happened was because Fanatics were given carte blanche to do and have whatever they wanted.

All for the cause.

When certain Fanatics say to never read anything before 1940, this is why. The saying is absolutely a real thing made by these people. It is an actual dividing line. They do not want you to see what the landscape was like in the Before Times--when storytelling had no boundaries created by dated materialists and control freaks. You can't know this world ever existed or is a possibility to have again. Therefore, they must be buried and tarnished.

But we're not done yet.

"Weisinger went on to state that the purpose of science fiction — as far as professionals were concerned — was to make money, an assertion that did not shock the assembly. (Fandom was indeed growing up!)"

For the old guard, this was true. For the new guard, clearly not. You do not deliberately cater to smaller audiences if your goal is to make money.

If this statement were actually true, they never would have had the drop of sales in the years to follow by deliberately throwing out adventure and romance to chase the wet dreams of Fanatics with an obsession for 20th century materialism.

But that is what happened.

"Neither did John Clark's speech, which concluded that it was an escape from reality for readers."

You might want to tell the acolytes of the Clarion Writer's Workshop and SFWA that. They seem to be convinced that All Fiction Is Politics, obscure prose one has to decipher instead of follow, and that wonder is bad for wonder stories. To have good storytelling, one must essentially do the opposite of every successful story that came before them. Originality is Doing The Opposite. That's the future, normie!

Yet, here we are seeing others arguing for escapism back in the day. Prisoners dream of escape; wardens dream of keeping prisoners locked up. Which one will you listen to?

"Thomas Gardner backed up in part Sykora's long-standing opinion that science fiction could inspire one to pursue a career in science; he went on to state that he also believed the development of rocket-power or practical atomic energy would arouse intense public interest in science fiction — a prediction that has recently proved highly accurate. Both Robert Thompson and Milton Rothman felt that stories in the field offered inspiration to scientific workers, and William Perlman cited an example he had personally observed that lent credence to this view."

Sykora wasn't wrong with this assertion, and even Ray Bradbury said as much years later. Adventure inspires!

Here it is once again:

"I love to say it because it upsets everyone terribly—Burroughs is probably the most influential writer in the entire history of the world. By giving romance and adventure to a whole generation of boys, Burroughs caused them to go out and decide to become special. That's what we have to do for everyone, give the gift of life with our books. Say to a girl or boy at age ten: Hey, life is fun! Grow tall! I've talked to more biochemists and more astronomers and technologists in various fields, who, when they were ten years old, fell in love with John Carter and Tarzan and decided to become something romantic. Burroughs put us on the moon. All the technologists read Burroughs." ~ Ray Bradbury

So if progress and science was the point of this "genre" above all, why have so many cultists, such as Sam Lundwall, thrived to erase Burroughs from the industry? Was this not the goal? He outright admitted if it were up to him, Edgar Rice Burroughs books would be banned.

And yet Donald Wollheim eagerly published multiple works of Lundwall's, even including excited introductions by him.

One would have to conclude that this is actually about more than Advancing Science. A hatred of adventure, of romance, of love and life, attaches itself to Fanatics like leeches. It has always been there, and always will be. Would they really be anti-social losers if they appreciated those things, to begin with?

It might sound mean or uncharitable, but we are over three quarters of a century removed from these events, and we know where it all ended up. They succeeded in their goals, but their stories have absolutely not. It is very clear at this point what works, what doesn't, and what should be abandoned. 

Fandom failed. "Science Fiction & Fantasy" was a failure. It is the mythic storytelling, the adventure and romance, that was the success, as it had been for centuries beforehand. The former is dead and gone--the latter still breathes even with a boot on its neck from a cadre of Fanatics that have tried hard to kill it for near a century.

So no, it isn't about "science" above all. It is about life, love, and adventure. It's about the wonder of existence itself, and how exciting it all is. This is something the industry from the 1940s on completely missed.

As we are to see:

"At this point in the proceedings a 700-word telegram arrived. It was from John W. Campbell, Jr., who was unable to attend, and gave his ideas on the topic of the round-table discussion. His strongest point was that science fiction was able to point a road or issue a warning more effectively than any other type of fiction, but he stressed that its message would not be read if it were not presented in an entertaining human fashion. It is generally believed that Will Sykora had been given this speech by Campbell in New York, and that just before leaving the city he had telegraphed it ahead in order to create an effect at the conference favorable to New Fandom; it turned out, of course, that an added boost such as this was unnecessary. In any event, the attendees telegraphed a reply to Campbell in the name of chairman Rothman, in which they expressed the hope of seeing him at the 1939 convention."

Campbell's words are very ironic given where he deliberately, and forcefully, took Fandom over the next two decades. "Human" is not the word most attributed to Big Men With A Screwdriver stories, because humans are not the point of such stories. It is no wonder how this strain turned nihilistic amazingly fast by the time the pulps died out in the 1950s. The materialist worldview's cap on wonder is too tight to allow pure imagination through.

But we still aren't there yet. This is just laying the groundwork for the chaos to come. The 1930s still weren't yet over.

"The dinner that followed the more formal part of the meeting was a joyous occasion of grand good fellowship, and bantering tomfoolery was the order of the day. The climax came when the toast was offered: "Gentlemen, down with Wollheim!" — and most drank to it. The ceaseless feuds had taken their toll, had built up a tremendous opposition, had virtually shattered the once commanding-position held by Donald A. Wollheim. They had brought, too, a general feeling that feuds were to be avoided. On Sykora's advice the New Fandom leaders capitalized upon this, letting it be known that thenceforth none of them would engage in feuding, regardless of what heights of vituperation their opponents rose to. This stand proved popular with fandom as a whole, though there were a few die-hard dissenters — such as Speer and a few Philadelphians — who felt that the initial anti-Wollheim and -Futurian advantage should be pressed until the opposition had been reduced to helplessness for all time. Some of these, indeed, continued their open campaign. Most fan journals, however, were quick to adopt the no-controversy policy. The result was that almost all means of propaganda other than that self-published became closed to the Futurians.

"New Fandom's string of quick victories nevertheless resulted in several unusual and totally unexpected actions by the Futurians, as we shall eventually see."

What I wish to know is what exactly is New about New Fandom? It just appears to be more of the same, except with institutional backing. The same immaturity, the same misunderstanding of basic human decency, and the same aversion to reality.

It is no wonder the Futurians refused to die. They were what New Fandom was, taken to its logical conclusion. Eventually this would be come clear as the years went on.

For now, they had to tirelessly fight over it.

"The influence and popularity of any general movement is usually determined by the ability of its leaders to express its aims and ideals; and the personal beliefs or views expressed by those leaders on related subjects are, rightly or wrongly, attributed to the organizations they head or are influentially connected with. Therefore in the fan world of 1938 when two powerful groups, the Futurians and New Fandom, wrestled for supremacy, their strength and ability to recruit new members could adequately be measured by the readiness of their leading writers to compose propaganda about the organization and communicate their own ideas about science fiction itself to interested fans.

"Because of a deliberate and wearing campaign by his opposition, Donald A. Wollheim, while a leader of the Futurians and a competent writer whose knowledge of fantasy was generally respected, had but little influence on the field. His right hand man, John B. Michel, was not particularly active in fandom, and his writings were confined to a few flaming manifestos such as the notorious
Mutation or Death document. Richard Wilson, on the other hand, was one of the Futurians' stronger aids, liberally publicizing the cause in a generally favorable manner in his Science Fiction News-Letter; he was well liked throughout the field, and was noted for an ability to turn cynically biting phrases of wit."

This is ironic looking back now, isn't it? The only name from this book, or entire scene, you will ever see any "Science Fiction" aficionado under a certain age mention these days is Wollheim. Unless you deliberately dig into the pulp age, you will never know the other names. Back in the day this wasn't the case, but post-1940 that apparently changed.

Funny how this happened to apparently a man with "little influence on the field" at the time. In fact, Mr. Moskowitz at the time of writing this book believed he was completely defeated! They really believed the day had been won.

It hadn't.

"Wollheim's article "Retreat" (The Science Fiction Fan, December, 1938) came as a bomb-shell. In that work he pointed to his long-standing interest in the field, his outstanding collection of fantasy magazines, books and fan journals, his dozens of published articles, his attendance at innumerable fan gatherings, and personal associations with countless fantasy enthusiasts to attest his sincerity and his authority in the field. Through acquaintance with science fiction fans he had come to note, he asserted, that they were mentally different, that they seemed to be searching for certain logics and truths. The search for these had led him and his friends to find out that they "were closely parallel to communism. That is to say to the intellectual aspect of communism as it affects literature, science, culture." The scope of Marxism very closely approached, in their opinion, the goals of the fans. "Accordingly," said Wollheim, "We came out openly for communism." Its immediate acceptance had not been expected, but the overwhelming, "vicious" nature of the opposition had taken the Futurians by surprise. "What intelligent fans there were failed to stand up firmly, we were deluged by a mass of stupid and vicious hate. This slop pile grew in quantity and intensity. Actual violence was threatened. And through lies, the editors of the magazines were enlisted into the campaign against us." At the same time, Wollheim maintained, the standard of the material in fan magazines and the activities of the fans themselves had sunk to a hopeless low. "To remain further active in stf fandom while it is in its present condition would be to lower myself to its level. I, and my friends, fought as best we could against those overwhelming odds. My purse and my health do not permit me to carry on such a one-sided fight. There comes a time when it becomes necessary to withdraw for a while and recuperate." Fan activities, concluded Wollheim, would forever remain puerile until they accepted the basic tenets of Michelism.

"Donald A. Wollheim, scarred veteran of fan feuds, had for the first time publicly admitted defeat. The campaign that had begun so gloriously a year before with Michel's fiery "Mutation or Death" speech at the memorable Philadelphia convention had run its course. The very vigor with which it had been pressed, its callous, rough-shod ways, its uncompromising viewpoint that the end justified the means — these things had first created lethal opposition where there had been none, then strengthened that opposition, and finally gave it sufficient momentum to crush its creator."

Again, this doesn't jive with the situation described or what eventually happened. I am unsure if this was written before Wollheim's career really took off, or if Mr. Moskowitz is simply ignoring the reality of his surroundings, but this attitude of a defeated Wollheim is the most dated aspect of the book. Wollheim's goals were a purer version of what Fanatics wanted, and he never stopped fighting for them.

He didn't lose; he won.

"Very few fans of that period took Wollheim's statement of retreat as being anything more than temporary disgruntlement over continued setbacks. Least of all his opponents! Even though Wollheim meant what he said, New Fandom leaders were by no means sure the Futurians would be content to sit back and lick their wounds. Later events showed their suspicions were justified, but equally they showed that the Futurians no longer had the support or contacts to wage anything more than a harrassing delaying action. The fight had long since resolved itself into the question of whether the fan world was willing to accept communism as the price of peace with the Futurians — and the answer was definitely no.

"Realizing that the attempt to communize the field had been a failure, Lowndes' "Open Letter to Louis Kuslan" (published in the January, 1939, Science Fiction Fan) tried to convince fans that they had been misled by the personal beliefs of Michel into thinking that Michelism and communism were identical. Michelism had never had as its purpose the converting of fans to the Communist Party, asserted Lowndes, and one might be a good Michelist without being a communist.

"The reply to this was more membership in New Fandom, more new subscriptions to Fantasy News."

This wasn't a defeat of an ideology. This is typical human behavior of not wanting to be seen as unpopular or one of the out-group: something anti-social geeks are quite acquainted with doing themselves. If anything, it was a setback and Fandom as a whole was too full of itself with big heads to notice.

Nothing was over.

"But an era was coming to a close, an old order was changing. The day of the hektograph and the close-unit corollary of fifty active fans was already a thing of the past. Of the two formerly leading journals in the field, The Science Fiction Fan was discredited and The Science Fiction Collector had just suspended publication — ironically enough with an issue carrying an article by Moskowitz that showed current trends pointed to the end of an era. New names were entering the field; and old names, some of which had been driven into inactivity by disagreement with Wollheim, were returning. The complexions of the professional fantasy magazines themselves were completely altered, and new titles were appearing. For the first time in many years most of fandom was united in seeking a common goal: a world science fiction convention to be held in conjunction with the 1939 World's Fair. The past, since 1937, had been an era of turmoil, ceaseless feuding, shattered plans and abortive dreams. The immediate future, at least, looked better. And as 1938 drew to a close, the keynote of science fiction fandom was optimism."

Now with the Bad Guys seemingly defeated, Fandom was now free to dump the remnants of their past behind in the horrible 1930s. A new decade was on the way: and Fandom would take their rightful place of kings and queens at the quickly emptying banquet. 1939 would be the start of a brand new era for the Future.

This was a victory, yes, but for the wrong people, and I'm not even talking about New Fandom.

As an example, take the magazines:

"Finally, two new titles competing more or less directly with the hoary Weird Tales came into being. These were Strange Stories, put out by Standard, and Unknown, which John W. Campbell declared was being put out be Street & Smith solely because receipt of a sensational novel by Eric Frank Russell called for creation of an entirely new type of fantasy magazine. Both of these periodicals hit the newsstands early in 1939."

As mentioned above, Unknown was a deliberate attempt to subvert Weird Tales and traditional storytelling. They needed to destroy those pesky old ways as soon as possible. Don't those dumb readers understand that The Future Is Now? It is time to grow up and read dated materialist stories that are entirely locked to their day and age instead.

The assault on the normal readers had begun, though it was not a success in the short or the long run. Unknown was a complete non-entity, just another magazine among others, despite how Fanatics in years since have continually embellished its influence for obvious reasons. It was just another also-ran. Nonetheless, now Fandom felt it was their place to tell readers what they should have and what they were not allowed to have any longer. 

Suffice to say, it didn't work out.

"The nerve center disseminating all these reports was Taurasi's weekly Fantasy News, which, by the aid of reporters Racic and Moskowitz, easily scooped its rival The Science Fiction News-Letter and continued to gain prestige and circulation. Professional publishers were appreciative of the liberal space and bold headlines with which their ventures were publicized throughout fandom, and were in turn generous with their own help whenever it was solicited. As a result New Fandom, through Fantasy News, made good its promise to promote a more harmonious relationship between the fan field and the professionals. Doubtless this was in part responsible for the fact that almost without exception every new magazine featured numerous departments of chief interest to the fans themselves, printing letters and announcements with complete addresses. The most influential of these were the fan magazine review column in Startling Stories and what amounted to a miniature fan magazine in every number of Hornig's Science Fiction.

"It was inevitable that as a result of this cooperation there would be a great influx of new names into the fan field, and this indeed did come to pass. And New Fandom, which had set itself up as representing fans everywhere, found itself working towards the First World Science Fiction Convention with steadily mounting membership, the wholehearted cooperation of almost all onlookers, and the complete good will of every publisher, who, without exception, promised help without stint — all in vivid contrast to the antagonism that had marked the condition of the field a year previously."

Once again, I must share this graph of the largest pulp magazine publisher of the time period. The 1940s were no Golden Age for the magazines. The audience hemorrhaged.

Aside from a boost in production during the war, the pulps never increased in sales throughout the 1940s.

Reality proved much different from Mr. Moskowitz's words and hopes. To this day Fanatics insist there was some sort of revolution in the 1940s. However, there was not any at all. This is revisionist history and self-mythologizing. The 1940s were when the pulps died. This revolt against reality didn't save anything.

The changes to the magazines led to a leak of readers that never reversed course until the day they died off in the 1950s. When other mediums came around to offer the adventure the audiences were denied, they jumped ship and never looked back.

This is Fandom's true legacy. They killed the industry.

Of course, fanzines still existed at the time, even as the professional ones were beginning to be openly co-opted by the cliques.

"New Fandom preached the doctrine of improvement through cooperation instead of through anarchic effort. Instead of half a dozen fans publishing as many diverse titles, none of which had any great impact singly, New Fandom urged, and set by example, the consolidation of many small efforts into a few big ones. New Fandom magazine itself was the result of merging the major resources of six smaller journals, one large club and a manuscript bureau. Fantasy News became a success because several fans, each capable of gathering material for and publishing a newspaper, foreswore this course in the interest of unity and were willing to work constructively together to produce a single superior effort.

"Fandom as a whole was not unaffected by the example set by New Fandom, and as a result early 1939 saw appearance of a comparatively small number of fan magazines of better quality; moreover, these magazines adopted a more serious attitude toward professional publications than they had done previously."

Fandom, however, was changing. The old world was over. They would no longer be amateurs; they would take the pro world by force.

"The field for the first time in some years was not glutted with titles, and titles that were being published appeared with commendable regularity. With increased professional publicity drawing more and more fans into activity, circulation and general quality rose steadily higher, and fan magazines once more became items that were worth collecting."

Now they were a force to be reckoned with, even though none of this stuff has been preserved at all. It isn't as though preservation was ever the point, however. The past was always meant to be killed and buried.

Nonetheless, 1939 was the year united Fandom would make their final push for the brass ring. The new era was here.

"The end of 1938 found the New Fandom faction, headed by Taurasi, Sykora and Moskowitz, approaching their objectives more rapidly than in their most optimistic hopes. Older organizations and publications had been successfully amalgamated into this new one, which was receiving prompt support. Its official organ, New Fandom, had won the admiration of John W. Campbell, Jr., who pledged to the convention the backing of Astounding Science Fiction, Thrilling Wonder had just climbed on the band wagon. And of course fandom itself had endorsed convention plans by a majority vote at the Philadelphia Conference the previous autumn, an act that automatically rejected the bid by the Futurian group. The reorganized Queens SFL chapter was now one of the largest and most active fan clubs in the country, and as we have seen was serving as a base of operations for New Fandom's convention aspirations. Fantasy News had no near competitors, and fan periodicals generally were swinging into line behind it, the Cosmic Publications group and the manuscript bureau. Obviously, then, the machinery for a successful convention now existed. It was only up to the operators to use it properly."

Now there was nothing to stop them from . . . doing whatever it is they thought they were doing. I'm going to be honest, I'm still not sure what New Fandom thought they were accomplishing by being Fanatics and sharing Fanatic opinions with each other. Did they think they would change the world by being their special selves? It seems so. However, all they succeeding in doing was detaching Mythic and Futuristic storytelling from each other into narrow categories that bled readers like a stuck pig over the next decade.

There wasn't really any victory here, especially as Mr. Moskowitz completely ignored Wollheim's group and their bigger influence on the now-dead "field" . . . such as it was.

It would all start at the 1939 Worldcon!

"One can see that this initial world convention required far greater effort than did its successors, which by and large used the original pattern with comparatively few major modifications. Nothing was mere routine in 1939!

"To give fandom at large a sense of solidarity and to give the event a truly national flavor, New Fandom from the outset appointed regional representatives throughout the country to solicit aid and handle convention work in their areas. Soon a cross-section of the most influential names of the day formed a network that resulted in large regional delegations to the affair."

As you can see, the 1939 convention was a very big deal. It was going to be Fandom's big statement, and their mark on the world itself. Their thesis statement would ring around the planet itself! As long as it went off without a hitch, that is.

"As promised, professional publicity was also forthcoming. Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Science Fiction all published announcements of varying lengths with full details. In some cases these were beautifully timed to appear just near enough to the affair to boost potential attendance."

That's right. In case you didn't notice, Astounding Stories changed part of its name in 1938 to match the non-existent genre Fandom wanted to sell you. It was a taste of things to come, especially among the rest of the magazines. Though their sales were about to crater following giving Fandom the keys to the castle, at this point, they still had more than enough influence.

"Material" and "Fantasy" were now their own categories, as nonsensical as that is outside a 20th century context. This was the future, they said.

It was time to accept it, and give up your wonder stories.

The average customer had no idea they were to be ejected in the years to come. At this point, as the sales indicate, they were still reading the pulps, blissfully unaware of all this nonsense going on behind the scenes.

Little did they know that a new era had arrived. One that was as irrelevant to their interests as they were to Fandom itself. The world was changing! Better keep up or be left to the dust bin of history. The future was Now, they proclaimed.

But don't think there wasn't opposition to the 1939 convention. This is Fandom! There is always drama to be had.

"Olon F. Wiggins, editor of the Fan and by devious politics president of the FAPA, suddenly launched an anti-convention campaign that for vicious unreasonableness had no parallel before nor any since. Its opening gun was "What's New about New Fandom?", published in the February, 1939, Science Fiction Fan. In this article he denied that there was anything novel about New Fandom, insisting the latter was not essential to the success of the convention."

To be fair, he isn't exactly wrong in his point. There isn't anything new here whatsoever. It's basically just the same small group of people as before but now being given kudos by the industry to do what they were already doing. That's about it.

"Wiggins doubted that New Fandom had formed a new base for fan activity, and he refused it any credit for the influx of fans into the field that had been brought about since its inception. New Fandom, he reiterated, had "failed the fans miserably."

"Are its leaders incapable of handling the affair now that they have started it? Present indications point in that direction. The New Fandom group are not the logical sponsors of the convention anyhow. The only logical committee to handle the convention is the one headed by Donald A. Wollheim.... Before it has gone too far why not put the convention back into the hands of its logical sponsors. The Wollheim-headed group. For a true stf. convention for the real fans and a return to normal."

"Whatever Wiggins lost in being cryptic and ungrammatical, he gained in forcefulness: there was no doubt where his sympathies lay!"

Fandom did not bring Fans in. I'm sorry to say, Mr. Moskowitz, but you are affording yourself too much credit here. Audiences come in because of the product: in this case, the stories. If there was an influx of new people it was because the magazines were doing well, although the chart above indicates this was not the reality of the situation. 1940 was the last year the pulps increased in sales at all, and even then it was just barely. The reality is that the house of cards was to come tumbling down.

But reality and Fandom seldom go hand in hand.

"And this article was but the beginning. He also wrote letters to every important fantasy magazine editor urging that support be withdrawn from New Fandom. One was even published in Amazing Stories' letter column early in 1939. Another was brought by John Campbell to the March 5, 1939, meeting of the Queens SFL. In it Wiggins disparaged the attempt of appealing to a mass audience, saying he doubted if there were more than fifty true fans in existence, and stating that authors, editors and artists of fantasy had no place in such an audience."

As I just said above, this entire screed is half-right and half-misguided. Wiggins had a point, but did not express it well because of his obvious bias.

Let us take this piece by piece.

1. Fandom NEVER appealed to a mass audience. Ever. At most they wanted to take away the stories the normal readers already had and wanted to replace it with propaganda of their choosing. Which propaganda depended on the side of Fandom that was arguing that day. Eventually, the Futurians won that battle.

2. Wiggins let the cat out of the bag with these words. He was undershooting it, deliberately, but his actual point is correct. Fandom, at this point, barely hit the triple digits. Yet they were supposed to have a say in a magazine industry that reached over a million in circulation? What gave any of them that right, and based on what? This doesn't wash.

3. Authors, editors, and artists, of the day, should NOT be numbered among Fanatics. Yes, agreed. They clearly were not, judging from their output. We can see the results of ignoring this by the dead "genre" that exists today in place of the pulps. When the writers were replaced by cultists that was already the end.

"Yet throughout all these attacks New Fandom had hewed closely to their no-feud policy, confining themselves merely to formal explanations of the facts behind the "Metropolis" rental and Wiggins' letter to Campbell. However, the continuous barrage was worrying. New Fandom sponsors were, in effect, pioneers. They were tackling what up to then was the biggest fan job ever attempted. They needed every bit of help they could get, and felt it reasonable to suppose that if some, such as the Futurians, were unwilling to help, they at least would not go out of their way to harm the affair. But the facts show clearly that New Fandom was subjected to a most trying ordeal, and that the nature of the opposition was definitely calculated to be damaging. This should be carefully borne in mind when appraising the situation soon to follow."

As for what happened next, well, that's pretty obvious. 1939 was rolling full tilt ahead, which meant there was one event that mattered above all.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first Worldcon:

"July 2, 1939, the first day of the convention, was a fair day with the temperature in the mid-eighties. At 10:00 a.m. the hall, located on the fourth floor of the building, was opened so that the growing groups of fans in the street below might have a comfortable place to congregate and converse before the program got under way. A refreshment stand selling soft drinks and pie at a nickel per portion was also opened.

"Among the things first impressing a fan arrival were the striking modernity of the newly decorated hall; the original colored paintings for covers of fantasy magazines, loaned especially for the occasion, and including a colored Paul original never before published; and the official souvenir booklet with its shining gold cover. The latter, it should be noted, had been printed by the old time fan Conrad Ruppert. It featured original decorations by Frank R. Paul and two pages of photographs of such well known professionals as Stanley G. Weinbaum, Henry Kuttner, David H. Keller, Otis A. Kline and others.

"From the earliest hours it could easily be seen that the convention had been successful in bringing distant fans together. There was a California delegation composed of Forrest Ackerman, Morojo and Ray Bradbury. From Texas had come Dale Hart, Julius Pohl, Allen R. Charpentier and Albert S. Johnston. New and old Chicago fans were represented in Erle Korshak, Mark Reinsberg, William Dillenback and Jack Darrow. A photograph of Darrow and Ackerman, most famous of the letter writers to fantasy magazines, was of course taken for posterity. Several Canadian names lent an international flavor to the convention. Others, too, had travelled long distances to attend. There was Jack Williamson from New Mexico; Ross Rocklynne from Cincinnati; Nelson Bond from Virginia. Among other authors in attendance were Harl Vincent, Ray Cummings, Manly Wade Wellman, Edmond Hamilton, L. Sprague de Camp, Isaac Asimov, Norman L. Knight, Eando Binder, John Victor Peterson, Frederick C. Painton and Malcolm Jameson. In addition to Frank R. Paul, artist Charles Schneeman was in attendance, and the professional fantasy magazine editors were represented by Campbell, Margulies, Weisinger, Hornig, and Farnsworth Wright of
Weird Tales, who unfortunately arrived after the main sessions had been concluded. Many of the authors, editors and artists brought wives and children with them. Present also were such well-known fantasy fans as David V. Reed, L. A. Eshbach, John D. Clark, David C. Cooke, R. D. Swisher, Milton A. Rothman, Oswald Train, Kenneth Sterling, Charles F. Ksanda, Robert A. Young, Scott Feldman, Julius Schwartz, Vida Jameson, John V. Baltadonis, Walter Sullivan, Gertrude and Louis Kuslan, David A. Kyle, Robert A. Madle, John Giunta, Julius Unger, Richard Wilson, Herbert Goudket, Robert G. Thompson, A. Langley Searles, Arthus Widner and Leon Burg."

Here it is, the biggest event in Fandom's history and their largest success. The first Worldcon in mid-1939 was a big hit, featuring professional names from all over the country. It looked as if almost everyone who was alive at the time managed to make an appearance. There was nothing quite like it at the time.

But it wouldn't be Fandom without drama. You see, the Futurians showed up on the scene, and they had something to say.

"So it happened that when the main body of the Futurian group — Wollheim, Lowndes, Pohl, Kornbluth and Gillespie — stepped from the elevator and headed toward the hall Taurasi alone was on hand to confront them and question their right to enter in view of their flagrant anti-convention activities.

"Now, prior to the convention the New Fandom heads had discussed what course should be taken if a Futurian delegation did put in an appearance. They felt, first of all, that in view of the Futurians' slurs they might not come at all. But if they did, then the triumvirate felt serious consideration should be given to excluding them. Taurasi, Sykora and Moskowitz reached no definite decision, however, other than that the Futurian group was not to enter the hall unless it first satisfied the convention heads as to its good intentions."

And then it played out like a comedy.

"It was at this juncture that fate played its peculiar hand. Sykora, it so happened, was not destined to arrive until considerably later, and in the normal course of events Moskowitz and Taurasi would simply have waited a reasonable time and then permitted the Futurians to enter. But the next group of fans leaving the elevator included Louis Kuslan, the well-known Connecticut fan. He carried in his hand a little yellow pamphlet titled A Warning!. "Look what John Michel gave me downstairs before," he said as he handed the pamphlet to Moskowitz. Michel, who had joined the other Futurians awaiting entry, said nothing.

"The pamphlet was dated July 2, 1939, and its cover also bore the heading "IMPORTANT! Read This Immediately!" It contained four pages of text, and when Moskowitz opened it he found himself reading the following:


YOU, who are reading this pamphlet, have come to attend the World's Science Fiction Convention. You are to be praised for your attendance and complimented on the type of fiction in which you are interested. But, TODAY BE AWARE OF ANY MOVEMENT TO COERCE OR BULLY YOU INTO SUBMISSION! Remember, this is YOUR convention, for YOU! Be on the alert, lest certain well-organized minorities use you to ratify their carefully conceived plans.


This warning is being given to you by a group of sincere science fiction fans. The reasons for this warning are numerous; THEY ARE BASED UPON EVENTS OF THE PAST — particularly events which took place at the Newark Convention of 1937. At that time the gathering of fans and interested readers was pounded into obedience by the controlling clique. The Newark Convention set up, dictatorially, the machinery for the convention which you are now attending. THE NEWARK CONVENTION MUST NOT BE PERMITTED TO REPEAT ITSELF! It remains in your power to see that this convention today will be an example of perfect democracy.


The Queens Science Fiction League was formed by the Newark clique, after that convention, in order to make the necessary local organization upon which the dictatorial convention committee could base itself.... The editors and those dependant on them for a living, the authors, have made it a duty to attend Queens S.F.L. meetings regularly in order to keep it going and to keep the 1939 convention in hand. At the elections held last meeting, held openly so as to detect any possible opposition, the three dictators were re-elected unanimously in perfect un-democratic harmony.


At the same time that the Queens S.F.L. was established, a large number of New York City fans formed the Futurian Society of New York. Contrary to much propaganda, the Futurian Society is not confined to communists, michelists, or other radical elements; it is a democratic club, run in a democratic way, and reflecting science fiction fan activity....


The World's Science Fiction Convention of 1939 in the hands of such heretofore ruthless scoundrels is a loaded weapon in the hands of such men. This weapon can be aimed at their critics or can be used to blast all fandom. But YOU, the readers of this short article, are the ammunition. It is for YOU to decide whether you shall bow before unfair tactics and endorse the carefully arranged plans of the Convention Committee. Beware of any crafty speeches or sly appeals. BE ON YOUR GUARD!

"The booklet ended after a few more paragraphs of a similar nature, and was signed "The Association for Democracy in Science Fiction Fandom.""

That this actually happened is as stunning as it is funny. Ove half a decade of this nonsense, and nobody can still grow up. Well, if they could grow up then they wouldn't be Fanatics, would they? We would have then been spared the madness to come.

"Later examination showed the booklets to be recruiting fodder for the cause of Michelism, their common denominator being more pro-Marx than anti-New Fandom. There were five different titles, as follows: An Amazing Story, by Robert Lowndes, a bitter, five-paged condemnation of editor Raymond A. Palmer because he published anti-Russian and anti-communist stories; Dead End 1938, also written by Lowndes, which discussed whether the dreams expressed in fantastic fiction could ever be broken by economic, social or psychological disaster from a Marxist viewpoint; John Michel's Foundation of the CPASF (a reprint from the April, 1938, Science Fiction Advance); a reprint from New Masses of Upton Sinclair's article, Science Fiction Turns to Life, which is a review of two social satires, Show and Side Show by Joshua Rosett and E. C. Large's Sugar in the Air; and The Purpose of Science Fiction, in which British fan Douglas W. F. Mayer expressed the opinion that science fiction broadened a fan's horizon, and even if it did not lead him to take up a scientific career, if it could but influence him to follow political movements promoting social reform (such as, of course, the Futurians) it would be accomplishing its purpose."

They were actually recruiting for the Communist cause. Very brave, though unnecessary. We will later learn in years to come just how little this bothered Utopian Fanatics and soon to be industry insiders. It was merely a sign of things to come.

"Sam Moskowitz opened the program with an address of welcome. Said he in part:

"You know, it's really a soul-inspiring sight to a lover of science fiction to stand on this platform and gaze down at an assembly of two hundred or more kindred souls. Five years ago I might have said that such an assembly was impossible (in fact a few of my colleagues were reading my thoughts back to me only a few hours ago). But now, one glance assures me that the event is a success! The World Science Fiction Convention, probably the greatest gathering science fiction has ever known, is at this moment recording its name indelibly on the record of history."

"This was indeed a vital moment in the lives of the convention committee; all its members felt that a great progressive step forward had been taken in the face of continuous turmoil and strife. In future days world conventions might surpass this one; they would undoubtedly be held in a more harmonious setting; but this was the first — and its effect was to be profound."

Again, all of this over such a small amount of people is very, very odd. But again, this is looking back at the past with the benefit of hindsight. Perhaps they didn't have much in the way of perspective at the time to see just they were doing. Though the attendance numbers are not too far from where current Worldcon is at these days. Perhaps they can shatter that record when the 2023 conference in China rolls around.

It really is funny how all this has come back around again. Nothing has changed since then, despite claims of Progress being the goal here.

"After the customary eulogies and acknowledgements, Moskowitz went on to differentiate the active fantasy fan from the entire group of fiction readers as a class unique, unparalleled in interest and enthusiasm for his literary choice. He pointed out that science fiction was on the threshold of vast expansion and greater popularity, and that an effort must be made to plot its course and guide its development. He asked attendees to weigh their words carefully at this convention, for they could be exceptionally influential at a time when every important name in the field was either present or eagerly awaiting report of events."

Funny is it that crime, horror, and women's romance readers never go to this extent or have this level of ego about themselves or their hobby. Yet for some reason writers of futuristic stories believed they had the right to guide the future of humankind? Who gave them that right? Where did they learn that storytelling was weaponry to be used on others?

This is the exact opposite purpose of art.

Nonetheless, this was a sign of things to come. Starting in 1940, Worldcon's clique would decide the future through their "Science Fiction & Fantasy" split to guide the world to Utopia and away from its evil, barbaric past. All we needed to do was cede society to the scripture of a gaggle of anti-social geeks who couldn't even agree with each other for five seconds. They knew how to fix everything! How could that haphazard idea possibly go wrong?

As you can see by basic observation of things that happened so far and were still to come it was colossal failure, and is now primarily known as a punchline.

What better way to reiterate this by decrying escapism as a concept, yet again. Certainly, nothing ever really changes among these people.

"The first speaker introduced was William Sykora. The title of his address was "Science Fiction and New Fandom." He offered the presentation of this convention as proof that fans were not escapists; escapists, he maintained, could never have pushed through so massive an affair, any more than they could have created New Fandom, the Queens SFL or the many amateur journals in existence. Escapists might exist, but they were a tiny minority. He concluded by saying:

"My message, then, to you delegates from far and near to this great gathering is this: Whether we believe that science fiction justifies its existence as pure entertainment or not, let us not permit ourselves to be labelled as "save the world" crackpots; let us rather take the messages of the authors of science fiction, and working together, hand in hand with progressive New Fandom, strive to make the fancies of science fiction become reality."

"Leo Margulies, editorial director of Standard Magazines, was introduced and said, "I didn't think you fellows could be so damn sincere. I've just discussed plans with my editor Mort Weisinger for a new idea in fantasy magazines... that will interest you." He did not state what the idea was at the time, possibly to preclude competitors' using it, but the idea developed to be a character fantasy magazine titled Captain Future."

In case you weren't aware yet, Fandom is where Escapism became known as a bad word, and it was allowed through by the owners of the publications at the time. No more would audiences get what they always had: now it was the duty of these secular saints to preach the new religion instead. What exactly that nu religion was, and would become, didn't matter. What did matter was that they saw the audience as nothing more than mindless sheep to be molded.

That's more or less what this entire conference was about. Wrestling control of stories from the readers for an elite class of losers.

"Then followed the introduction of the feature speaker, Frank R. Paul, whose many illustrations in fantasy magazines had brought him wide fame and great popularity. Though his hair had turned gray and a trace of Austrian accent had not left his speech, he was in manner and statement typical of the average science fiction lover. His talk was titled "Science Fiction, the Spirit of Youth." Said he in part:

"Two thousand years ago a meeting such as this, with all these rebellious, adventuresome minds, would have been looked upon as a very serious psychological phenomenon, and the leaders would have been put in chains or at least burned at the stake. But today it may well be considered the healthiest sign of youthful, wide-awake minds — to discuss subjects beyond the range of the average provincial mind.

"The science fiction fan may well be called the advance guard of progress... [he] is intensely interested in everything going on around him, differing radically from his critic. His critic is hemmed in by a small provincial horizon of accepted orthodoxy and humdrum realities and either does not dare or is too lazy to reach beyond that horizon.

"Once in a while we also find eminent scientists throwing cold water on our enthusiasm; for instance the other day Dr. Robert Millikan said we should stop dreaming about atomic power and solar power. We.., as much as we love the doctor as one of the foremost scientists of the day, because he cannot see its realization or gets tired of research is no reason to give up hope that some scientist of the future might not attack the problem and ride it. What seems utterly impossible today may be commonplace tomorrow."

Boy, that sure didn't age well, especially in a Fandom today where the average demographics are mainly floating around retirement age. But then again humanist materialist doggerel rarely does age well. 

As for "spirit" they didn't have much beyond their doctrine as well as looking out for fellow cultists. Considering the sort of thing Worldcon engaged in and supported behind the scenes as the years went on, a burning at the stake would be too good for certain individuals.

"Ray Cummings, well known author of "The Girl in the Golden Atom," was introduced from the floor, and was greeted by an exceptional display of enthusiasm, which was perhaps surprising, for his recent stories had received adverse criticism in magazines' readers' columns."

It isn't surprising, because they were snakes in the grass. Readers loved his work and Fanatics didn't. It was always the case. Once Cummings died, his work went out of print amazingly fast, and no one would republish him or even speak of his material. His works went obscure for not being the right sort of propaganda, so Fandom buried him, just as they did many others from the time. That they were cordial to him here is not surprising, because they are cowards. 

This is who Fandom actually is. Readers liked his stories, not fanatics: therefore, it made sense that his stories had to go.

"After another recess of considerable conviviality the convention reconvened. John Campbell of Astounding spoke next on "The Changing Science Fiction." He pointed to "Metropolis" as an example to show how science fiction was advancing. He compared the crude description accompanying the early science fiction character Hawk Carse with that utilized in present-day stories. Campbell stated that science fiction must continually advance, and that there must be no halt in the development of plot and story; and his magazine, he declared, was dedicated to presenting "modern" types of science fiction and keeping abreast of the times."

And he did this by ejecting adventure and romance for science worship: the Big Man With A Screwdriver story. Propaganda for Science and Progress--not wonder at the romance of existence. He also continued on the outdated and incorrect idea that storytelling "advances" when it clearly does not. Not everything is an allegory for Evolution, despite Fanatic fever dreams.

Plot and story don't "advance" because this isn't how storytelling works. There are trends and fads, but it always comes back to the same thing in the end. People wish to see other people live through a story and see how they deal with it. There are many ways to tell stories like this, but they are all fundamentally in the same spirit. It is about connecting the audience to the happenings of the story. To do this, it needs to connect on a deeper level. Propaganda is the opposite of this and, unless you are an adherent of said propaganda, will chase audiences away.

Hence the pulps after the 1930s.

Perhaps if Campbell understood this he wouldn't have taken Astounding Stories from the popular and respected position Tremaine left it in and dragged into the irrelevant and forgotten place Analog is in today. Clearly, he did not know what he was talking about.

And what is his legacy in the 21st century for doing all this? Is he now worshiped as a profit and thought of as a forward thinker, pointing the way towards Utopia? Were all his changes to chase away the wider audience appreciated?

No, because it doesn't work that way with Fanatics.

He is now seen as this:

It would be sad if it wasn't deserved. Feed the bears if you want, but don't be surprised when they eat you next. This is the legacy he built for himself and his industry.

Nonetheless, the first Worldcon was a relative success. It was easily the most successful convention Fandom had organized so far.

"The July 7th issue of Time magazine gave the convention a two-column illustrated write-up, which unfortunately emphasized the juvenile aspects. Later accounts appeared in The New Yorker, Writers' Digest, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Amazing Stories, Science Fiction and other periodicals. That in Thrilling Wonder featured photographs of the convention committee.

Thrilling Wonder Stories also played dinner host to the convention committee as well as to the more distant out-of-towners as Ackerman, Morojo, Reinsberg, Korshak and Rocklynne.

"The sixth issue of New Fandom was devoted almost entirely to the convention; reprints of (or from) most of the speeches, review of convention magazines, a partial list of auctioned items and an itemized expense account were included. It is interesting to contrast this latter with expense accounts of later conventions, and amusing to remember how the 1939 fan press sarcastically challenged such an item as Mario Racic's three-dollar carfare, incurred during nearly a year's time. Although the total income of the convention ($306.00) was given as topping expenses by $36.06, this "profit" had actually been used to buy the makings of free lunches for attendees. Officially, then, the convention broke even, though actually money was lost in those miscellaneous, unlisted expenditures that always accompany preparations for such an event. It might be noted at this point that the cost of the gathering was almost equally divided between the fans and the professionals.

"Of special interest also was Julius Unger's Illustrated Nycon Review, which in addition to summarizing the main points of interest, contained over two dozen pertinent photographs, and briefly reviewed previous smaller conventions in the field. Fantasy News devoted three issues (#55-57) to the gathering. The Futurian viewpoint was covered in two numbers of Looking Ahead, which appeared as a supplement to Robert Lowndes' Science Fiction Weekly. Finally, there was Erle Korshak's "Memoirs of a New York Trip," published in the June-July, 1939, issue of Fantasy Digest, which gave good coverage of the event."

This was the biggest success Fandom had ever had (and ever will have, to be quite honest) so naturally it was talked about quite a lot.

"An appraisal of the far-reaching effects of the first world convention can be made more clearly and accurately now, over a decade later, than it could have been shortly after the event. First of all, the convention widened the potential recruiting area for new readers by attaining publicity in well known, nationally circulated periodicals. This was publicity that the professional fantasy publishers could never themselves have obtained because it would appear too commercial — but a show put on by two hundred fans to extol their choice of reading matter was definitely printable news. Moreover, breaking this ice made subsequent write-ups easier to obtain, so that by now such general publicity is not at all uncommon.

"As a corollary to attracting a larger audience was the attraction of a number of new writers to fantasy's cause; and as an indirect result of the convention a number of outstanding new names thus began to appear in the magazines.

"Secondly, the convention brought about a change in relations between fans and professionals. Previously, general aid from the latter to the former was confined exclusively to those few fans who knew an open sesame to the portals, and all the rest found themselves held coldly at arm's length. Now, however, both fans and publishers were awakened to the fact that it was of mutual benefit to cooperate. The old axiom that fans were fans and pros were pros, and never were the twain to meet was discarded. Henceforth such magazine features as reviews of fan journals and fan clubs became regular.

"Thirdly — feuds and bickerings aside — the New York Convention presented substantial evidence that fandom was rising to a more mature level; and it was through the mature efforts of Julius Schwartz and Conrad Ruppert, indeed, that a large measure of the event's success was obtained.

"Finally, the very success of the convention insured that it would be an annual affair thenceforward. With the exception of the war years, there has been a world science fiction convention every year, its site alternately moved to and fro across the country to favor different groups. Each of these conventions has proved newsworthy, and the cumulative publicity has done much for the field."

1939 was the year Fandom had finally accumulated power. How they would use it was still unclear, even to them, but they had now learned just how strong they were. The final barrier towards the mainstream had been broken.

"Seeing all these things as clearly as we do today, one would certainly expect that the First World Science Fiction Convention would have reaped little but praise. But though credit was duly given unstintingly in the general and professional publications, the convention committee was to find fandom's attitude far, far different."

What a surprise, they were still miserable. Assessing reality has never been a Fanatic's strongpoint. Though it did keep them from infecting adventure fiction for a few moments longer, at least. Never let it be said that cultists can ever be satiated until everything around them is subverted into total obedience to them.

Suffice to say, they are never happy.

Regardless, time marched on.

"On July 4, 1939, the day that the convention was winding up with a softball game at Flushing Flats, the Futurian Society held an open meeting attended by some two dozen people, including Morojo and Ackerman of the California delegation. An open forum on science fiction and fandom was held, such topics as Michelism, actions at the convention just concluded and the site of the next convention being discussed. It was decided to back the bid of Chicago for the 1940 gathering. Mark Reinsberg, spokesman for the Chicago delegation, had approached Moskowitz repeatedly in an effort to gain New Fandom's support for this, mentioning several times in the course of the conversations that no one should take seriously any derogatory reports about him coming from W. Lawrence Hamling, whom he described as the leader of a Chicago faction opposing him. Not wishing to involve either himself or New Fandom in any developing fan feud, however, Moskowitz cautiously had asked Reinsberg to wait until New Fandom leaders had had an opportunity to discuss the question at greater length; and at the same time he had ventured the personal opinion that holding major conventions only a year apart might result in an annual farce where the time at each convention would largely be spent fighting over the site of the next. Reinsberg was of course dissatisfied with this wait-and-see attitude. He needed something concrete, such as a New Fandom or convention vote of approval, to take back to Chicago in order to give his proposal officiality. He considered Moskowitz's stand uncooperative, and felt embittered over it. Quite naturally, then, he was inclined to view the Futurians in a good light when they voiced support of his plan."

Naturally, this nonsense would continue to go on for years of back and forth until everyone involved would eventually retire and die. What never changed was just how much was really altered by the industry allowing Fandom to have hold in commercial interests. The end result was one of decay, slow death.

The rest of Mr. Moskowitz's book is essentially on more of this back and forth, but it really buries the lead. None of that arguing is as important as allowing Fanatics and their insanity into the front door to destroy everything. The rehashed political posturing is just covering for the fact that while nothing has really changed, everything has changed.

The Philadelphia Conference happened, the Futurians got in yet another feud with New Fandom, yada yada yada. You know how it goes by now. This continued through 1939 into 1940. At this point, it's old news.

However, what actually changed was that the juvenile behavior was dragged out of the amateur league and into professional publications. This would cause an irreversible damage that would eventually chase readers out of the industry towards other mediums, and create spaces that are now walking corpses of what they once were.

And it should be mentioned as many times as it takes that the Futurians never went away. They're still with us today.

"To the Futurian Society of New York, the events that terminated in six of their members not being permitted to attend any of the sessions of the First World Science Fiction Convention was a political wind-fall of great consequence. If, as Sam Moskowitz had attempted to reason, through a chain of inductive logic in his bitter article "There Are Two Sides," the situation had been planned that way by the Futurian Society mentors, the strategy could be termed no less than brilliant. If, as the Futurians stoutly maintained, it was caused by a chain of coincidences, nothing more providential had ever befallen them. Previous to the convention, New Fandom and its leaders had succeeded in thoroughly discrediting most of the Futurian Society's leadership, and with the aid of the Futurian leaders' own published statements attached the red label to the Futurian Society, the political implications of Michelism and the leading Futurian figures' own personal political beliefs. The Futurian influence had dwindled to their local New York meetings and the pages of Olon F. Wiggins' Science Fiction Fan. Even in the Fantasy Amateur Press Association they were no longer all-powerful. Their only major source of dispensing news, The Science Fiction News-Letter, had been driven out of the race and at one point they had dipped to a low-point of despondency where Donald A. Wollheim wrote what at the time appeared to be his swan-song in fandom, "Retreat," which appeared in the December, 1938, issue of The Science Fiction Fan."

But we all know this didn't happen, and Wollheim would go on to have the greatest career of any of the others from this era in Fandom. Even to this day, his name is brought up in gushing tones and he is never held up to the scrutiny that Hugo Gernsback or John W. Campbell are. That isn't even putting into account all the other pulp era creatives deliberately buried.

So how did we get here from this nonsense?

"Even before the convention was many hours old the Futurians had grasped the value of playing the "exclusion" angle for all it was worth. Outside the hall they halted and spoke with prominent science fiction delegates from many points of the country. They influenced Jack Williamson from New Mexico to temporarily take the stand that if his "friends" were not admitted he would not stay either. Women attendees such as Frances N. Swisher, wife of R. D. Swisher, Ph. D., and Myrtle R. Douglas, better known at the time as Morojo, were particularly active in the Futurians' behalf, urging almost unceasingly that the barriers be dropped and that the Futurians be permitted to enter the hall without pledging good behavior. Dale Hart from Texas, a well-known and active fan of the period, made considerable effort for the Futurians. There was no denying then that the Futurian group had gained tremendous sympathy from that part of the science fiction world that they had been able to contact. Knowledge of this catapulted them into action. Before the sessions of the convention were over the Futurians were distributing to delegates entering or leaving the hall a hastily mimeographed circular which announced an open meeting of the Futurian Society of New York to be held Tuesday, July 4, 1939, 2:00 p.m. at 224 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. On the agenda were placed the following topics: 1) The future of science fiction organizations. 2) The Fantasy Amateur Press Association crisis. 3) Conventions in coming years. 4) Estimates of the convention just past. An open forum was promised on all questions."

That's how! Connections. That is what makes the old publishing industry such a joke. Because of these connections, and their rabid undying loyalty to the Cause, the Futurians would never die. And they never have, regardless of the name they use.

Quality has never, and will never, matter, as long as you have that nepotistic and materialist spirit in you. It's all for the cause, comrade!

"The last-minute preparation of the affair, and the inability of the Futurian Society to offer more of a program than one of general discussion necessarily limited the attendance. Seventeen were present at this meeting. Ten of them — Wollheim, Michel, Lowndes, Pohl, Kornbluth, Gillespie, Wilson, Kyle and Isaac Asimov — were members of the Futurian Society, one other was Asimov's sister. Significantly, while only six non-Futurians attended this gathering, most of them were people of considerable influence in the science fiction fan world. They included Forrest J. Ackerman and Myrtle R. Douglas of California, Milton A. Rothman of Philadelphia, Mark Reinsberg of Chicago, and Kenneth Sterling, a New York area fan who was noted for several short stories he had sold to Charles D. Hornig's Wonder Stories. While the Futurian "Conference," as it was later referred to by its sponsors, was a dismal failure from the viewpoint of attendance and presentation of a particularly interesting program, it was a considerable political success inasmuch as all of the important science fiction figures named above swung toward the Futurian viewpoint to the extent that in action, in print or in speech they turned emphatically against New Fandom.

"Cyril Kornbluth was the chairman of this special Futurian meeting. As a youth, Kornbluth was blocky and rotund in appearance, possessing a voice of stentorian depth. He was described by his Futurian friends as "faustian, ribald, puckish." He was a master of the cynical and bitter retort and maintained a facial expression that led one to believe that he was repressing a sneer by the excercise of prodigious restraint. Beyond the immediate New York circle he was seldom active, and therefore, nationally, but little known. His fiction and verse had appeared in Louis Kuslan's Cosmic Tales and Robert W. Lowndes' Le Vombiteur. Small though his published output was, it did, even then, show some talent. He entered fandom through the Washington Heights SFL chapter run by Chester Fein (see Chapter XXVI) and first made the acquaintance of the Futurians when Richard Wilson and Jack Gillespie visited the Washington Heights SFL in January, 1938. He gradually became an accepted and important member of the Futurian Society's inner-circle, but his value to that group was shown to better effect in his literary production as will eventually be shown."

Because that is where the battle was now being moved to: the stories themselves. The legacy of the 1940s in a nutshell. And what better way to make an argument through fiction when you don't have to publish the rebuttal? It makes you look like you are the unchallenged king of the playground. One can do this by, of course, seizing the means of power for themselves.

And now you know the rest of the story.

This can't even be denied any longer as one sees today how quickly independent and small publishers have taken advantage of new publishing advantages outside this broken old system, and found tremendous success in the process. Once the monopoly is broken, the truth is allowed to flow out. OldPub was a failure.

For example, the reason it took so long to have a response to "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" is not because it was such a brilliant idea no one could counter it, even though Fanatics still pretend it is a masterpiece of philosophical thought for cowards. No, it was because no one would publish the likes of "Mortu & Kyrus in the White City" which refuted the entire concept completely and successfully, and with an actual plot to boot. You never got that back in the day for a simple reason. The rebuttal simply wasn't allowed to be published. The narrative had to come first, and that is what mattered most of all.

This is how you build an ideological brand that is allowed to run unchallenged. You simply shut the gates tight to outsiders and nonbelievers.

All because the industry was handed over to Fanatics, when it never should have been in the first place. Now you know how things ended up as they are today.

"Harry Dockweiler, John B. Michel, Donald A. Wollheim and Richard Wilson were still the four primary members in the act. They secured a new residence at 2574 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, running into difficulty when John B. Michel, the only member of their group over twenty-one was taken ill and hospitalized and couldn't sign the lease. Harry Dockweiler, who lacked a few months of being of legal age, bluffed it through and signed the lease. At this time Dockweiler was the only man of the group with a job."

I don't think I have to add to any of this. It speaks for itself, and the insanity of both professional publications and Fandom at the time. They let immature and dumb kids (who never grew up) run an entire industry into the ground unchallenged because they jumped through some hoops. Anything other than failure was impossible from the start.

Of course, they would continue in this vein for the rest of their days, never moving on, never growing up, never reaching that future promised just around the corner. It was all for naught. Fanatics never change.

"In a pamphlet written by Robert W. Lowndes titled "The Futurians and New Fandom," Lowndes had set the key-note of the new, reinstated Futurian drive against New Fandom. He offered the fact that the Futurians and New Fandom basically were working for the same things, and in point of fact, he asserted that New Fandom had accomplished much more in the field than the Futurians, but he asked science fiction fandom to unite against the New Fandom leaders for New Fandom represented to his eyes dictatorship and the Futurians democracy. He dramatically presented incidents to illustrate his point, and ended to the effect that the Futurians were united and strong and would never relent or give up in their battle until this matter was decided and their opponents crushed. This pamphlet was prepared in October, 1939, shortly before the Philadelphia Conference and distributed there with a long poem by Lowndes on a single sheet with the self-explanatory title Moskowitz's Farewell to his Greatness."

At this point in Fandom history, it's essentially the same thing over and over again. There is not much left to go over.

"Robert W. Lowndes wrote and had published by the Futurian Society another mimeographed pamphlet entitled "Unity, Democracy, Peace," which was an attempt to counteract the effect of Moskowitz's article "There Are Two Sides." Again Lowndes proved that he was the wisest politician on the Futurian side. He recognized that Moskowitz's letter in Tucker's convention issue of Le Zombie, expressing his loss of faith in fandom and asking readers to buy The Science Fiction Collector for the true facts about the case was but a feint to divert and mislead. He pointed out techniques Moskowitz had used to defeat the opposition and win his point. Previously the Futurian method had been to satirize their opponents, search for spelling and grammatical errors which could be offered as indications of lack of intelligence, to malign and tease their opponents but never, under any circumstances, give them credit for good intentions or intelligence. Lowndes changed all that with his series of bulletins. He took a new tack. First he claimed that the New Fandom intentions were fine but their methods, which were "those of fascists," made it necessary to fight them. Now he admitted that there was intelligence, design and artfulness in the methods of his opponents which he contended proved the insincerity of their statements. He particularly deplored the fact that the communist label was used to "frighten" fans and turn them against the Futurian group. He said: "Their cry is: a communist cannot be a science fiction fan. When they have persuaded fandom as a whole that this absurdity is true, then they intend to raise the same cry against others who oppose them or with whom they disagree.""

See how little things have changed even from back then? Not very much. The Fandom path is a dead end, leading to nowhere and nothing.

"The same pamphlet went on to urge fans to stay completely neutral so far as the war in Europe, which had broken out in September, 1939, was concerned. They urged immediate anti-war activity. They wanted anti-war stickers printed and pasted on all envelopes. "We must explain to new fans, and to oldtimers who may not understand, precisely why the entrance of the USA into war would mean the end of stf and fandom here." This was diametrically opposed to their previous promise to keep politics out of fandom. Shortly later, when Germany attacked Russia, the viewpoint against the United States entering the war altered radically."

I can't imagine why.

Though the Futurians were clowns in all aspects, their influence still remained as the years went on. That never changed, it only deepened. The truth is that they always were Fandom. That much is clear.

Even Mr. Moskowitz realizes this as he moves into the epilogue. This is more or less where the story ends.

"It was originally the intention of this historian to utilize this Epilogue to very briefly outline the major events and trends that immediately follow the preceding chapter and in synoptic form bring the History up to America's entry into the war. It was while doing an outline and research on this period that I realized that this History could not be carried forward in that manner, and what is more, should not. The actual events and occurrences themselves are so minute on a national scale, that if individual personalities, aims, ambitions, emotional motivations are not taken into consideration, this History loses all meaning and impact.

"This History should be carried further. Carried forward with the same detail, research and thoroughness which has characterized it to this point. There must be no important omissions that might cause knowledgeable parties to question its authenticity or careless errors that might be seized upon to discredit the entire work. There are so many fascinating aspects to the field, so many events filled with interest and purport.

"It is my hope and desire to someday have the time to carry this History forward in detail at least to Pearl Harbor, and possibly beyond. Carried that far, it will be seen that the events in the science fiction field that follow will, in widening circles, be merely history repeating itself. Then, even if the History is never carried further, it will be a complete unit, for the problems and difficulties faced by the science fiction fans and professionals today are unquestionably the same as those of yesterday. The play remains the same, only the costumes and scenery have been changed."

His continuation never happened, for the obvious reason that Fandom became the Industry in the 1940s. Fandom and Professionals were now one and the same. Nothing was left to catalogue because it was redundant. There were no more rags to riches stories, or nerds beating the jocks, or whatever imaginary feud they had imagined was happening. They were given everything without even a bit of struggle or effort aside from jumping through hoops to be handed positions. From this point on the game was rigged for the Utopianists.

The industry was done, for all intents and purposes.

There was no longer a dividing line between amateurs, wannabes, professionals, or the profit-minded. All of it had been condensed and crammed into one ball of Fanaticism, one that was so full of itself it tore apart "New Wave" (which they themselves named) and any other trend that came along that went against their broken narrative for decades to come. They were the industry now. Essentially, they became the gatekeepers that they never had themselves.

This is what happens when there are no standards, when no one is watching what is being allowed in the front door. You simply get this.

There is no more underdog story here, if there ever was one to begin with. This is a story of a bunch of spoiled children being given keys to drive cars they couldn't drive and crashing them into every building along the strip. It all ended in a massive car wreck for all involved, killing the industry and driving readers and customers away in droves. Fandom should be looked back on what it was: a plague that ruined storytelling for nearly a century. The fact that they are currently fading away to nothing should be celebrated. It's long overdue.

"As it stands, this History may be said to be complete up to November, 1939, as far as the American fans are concerned. With sections needed to bring the professional magazines and British fandom up to that same point. Summarily, the situation in the science fiction world when this work terminates was as follows:

"In England, the high-promise of British fan and professional activity continued strongly in upward spirals of achievement through 1938 and into 1939. Novae Terrae, the official organ of the Science Fiction Association continued a roughly monthly publication until January, 1939, maintaining an increasingly high standard of interest in their articles and columns, after which it was carried forth under the title of New Worlds under the capable editorship of Edward J. (Ted) Carnell, who raised the quality of interest and reproduction still higher, counting among his contributors Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Sam Moskowitz, Donald A. Wollheim and Robert W. Lowndes. Other important British fan journals were John F. Burkes and David McIlwain's The Satellite, begun as the official organ of the Liverpool SFA; C. S. Youd's The Fantast which leaned predominantly toward fiction with lengthy, somewhat callow letters from readers on various phases of communism and socialism, with digressions for appropriate pseudo-intellectual discussions, and J. Michael Rosenblum's The Futurian continuing as a nicely printed publication. Undoubtedly the banner publishing accomplishment of the British fans was Tomorrow, which had seen four issues as a mimeographed publication and then combined with Walter Gillings' Scientifiction, metamorphosing into a handsomely printed, 16 paged, letter-sized publication with a quality of material and presentation far too good for the times. Douglas Mayer capably edited the three issues of this publication during 1938, after which it was suspended because of the expense.

"Professionally, Walter Gillings' Tales of Wonder continued quarterly publication, featuring selected reprints from American science fiction magazines plus some new material by British authors. Its average quality was as high as any of the American science fiction magazines. In 1938, a second professional British science fiction magazine titled Fantasy was placed into circulation by George Newnes, Limited, publishers of Wide World, and the same company which Walter Gillings had unsuccessfully attempted to persuade to publish a science fiction magazine previous to beginning Tales of Wonder with the Worlds Work people. Edited by T. Stanhope Sprigg, this magazine was an excellent job for the times, with a few exceptions featuring new material by leading writers comparable in quality to magazine science fiction being published anywhere in the world. So it was that despite the depression England was showing steady building and accomplishment in science fiction."

The subversion rolled on regardless. The old order had been toppled and now they were busy salting the ashes.

What else is there to say after this point, though? There isn't anything more Mr. Moskowitz can add. Fandom was allowed into positions of control, deliberately stopped publishing stories the masses wanted to read, sales went down, and eventually the magazines folded when the pulps died. Only Analog went on, supported by its cadre of dwindling Fanatics over the decades, as a slick magazine that slowly faded into further irrelevance. There is no victory here--there is only death. This is how it all ended: not with a bang, but a whimper.

The audience left the pulps behind for TV, comics, movies, and eventually video games. When those same people then tried to invade those mediums in the same way they did this one, the mediums would suffer a similar death and slide into irrelevance. All from ignoring what the customer wanted because the Fanatic knew better than they did.

And now here we are watching the death of OldPub, readying to host its Freethinker WorldCon event in Chengdu outside of a concentration camp where they can truly preach their messages of Utopianism by force. What a legacy. It would be funny if it wasn't so embarrassing. But this is where we are today after being brought here by the Fanatics.

From the horse's mouth:

"In the United States the fights and feuds continued, the petty struggles for power parallelling on their microcosmic scale the major events of world history. The Futurians gradually moved into the professional ranks, controlling at one time five professional newstand publications. To the consternation of the Futurian group, the leaders of New Fandom (which organization gradually died a slow painless death due to inertia and lack of funds) also moved into the professional field and the feud of the fan magazines continued unabated in the professional magazines. The leaders of both factions were fully cognizant of the dangerous potentialities of this situation, so much so that Donald A. Wollheim, writing with a touch of contemplative fear said in his article "The Final Feud" published in the March-April, 1940, issue of Fantasy Digest: "What will be the outcome of this I dare not predict. This is something that has never happened before in science fiction. This is indeed the final feud..."

"Sam Moskowitz also understood the dangers of the situation and split with Sykora and Taurasi as to a matter of procedure and policy, even meeting with Frederik Pohl of the Futurian group to attempt to arrange a truce, but his associates were implacable and most of the members of the Futurian group too undiplomatic to permit a dignified "cease fire."

"As a back-drop loomed the threat of another World War as Germany began a systematic annexation of nearby countries and provinces in Europe and France and England came to grips with her. The culmination came on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Things would never again be quite the same in science fiction or science fiction fandom."

And that's where the book ends. Not so much as victory or defeat, but just an acknowledgment that all this was for naught. It was, but Mr. Moskowitz didn't notice it at the time. How could he? He was too deep into the nonsense.

The Futurians were the winners, consuming everything in the 1940s and sending the industry into a tailspin. By decade's end, the pulps would be on their death bed, and by the mid-1950s, all the pulp magazines would be gone entirely while the Fanatics looked for new sources to infest, such as book publishing. It was truly the end of an era.

Now it was Fandom's industry, and that is what it would remain all the way up into today in the 21st century. There is no more story to tell here. For all intents and purposes, the dawning of 1940 was the end. The industry became an entirely different place and started its long decay over the decades to come.

The past is dead, now we live in the oncoming utopic future. Listen to your betters, and everything will be okay. Forever and ever. Amen.

Don't Read Anything Before 1940, indeed.

For a final analysis, the book could have been edited better. There are quite a lot of tangents that do not smoothly flow into each other very well at all. There is also a lot of information that feels fairly superfluous and could probably have been dealt with in a few paragraphs. Once Mr. Moskowitz himself enters the story, a clear bias emerges, and the pacing is thrown off. This work would have benefited from a proper editor, though as we've established with all these books in our series so far it feels as if this entire industry simply didn't know how to do that.

On the other hand, the book also goes far too long after the first Worldcon in 1939, which is really the climax of the narrative and where we hit the point of no return. Everything after it is just more of the same taking too long to wind down. This makes the work a bit of a dry read when by the end of 1939 you know exactly what is going to happen next and in the years to come.

Despite all of this, the book was invaluable in cataloguing just what Fandom was and what they did. That it is out of print is very telling. It certainly isn't due to quality. This is because Mr. Moskowitz gives the entire game away. Every charge the Pulp Revolution made against the industry was entirely 100% correct, and this is the proof.

The phrase "Don't Read Anything Before 1940" exists for a reason, because that is the very clear dividing line in all of this. Everything before that point was against the Fandom narrative and made purely to entertain readers. It is to be avoided and derided. It is heresy. This is one thing the book makes very clear.

That said, for those who want to know about the failure of "Science Fiction & Fantasy" and its accompanying Fandom, as well as the behaviors and mentalities that has led to the destruction of just about everything to come in the 21st century, it is an invaluable read. Here you can see how 20th century idleness and boredom, and suspicious wealth during large depressions and wars, allowed the fostering of false religions that sprang into cultish behavior centered around materialist philosophies which are aging worse by the day. It's all outdated and irrelevant even though the people in charge still cling to them.

Fandom changed mainstream perception by bullying and forcing themselves inside the system and lying continuously. It goes without saying that everything they pushed, every term they invented, everything they said, and everything they supported, must be looked at with the highest level of suspicion. They were never your friend.

Now we know the truth, and it can be said out loud. What was controversial is now merely the truth, and can be spoken out loud.

The Golden Age of the pulps were the 1920s and 1930s. The real influential Big 3 were Edgar Rice Burroughs, Abraham Merritt, and Lord Dunsany, all who would go on to inspire those to fame and notoriety of their own. Weird Tales was the most important magazine of the era followed closely by Argosy and Black Mask. There are countless writers still deserving of rediscovery and preservation where our immediate ancestors deliberately failed in doing. These are just a few of the truths uncovered by the Pulp Revolution that exploded into more common knowledge a scant few years ago that can now be declared as official.

In other words, we no longer live in Fandom's artificial world any longer. Times have changed, perception has shifted, and the truth has been made known. The cultists have lost their power, their pants now down around their ankles as they have voluntarily decided to stuff themselves in their own lockers and lock the door behind them. The 21st century is already a much different place from where we were, and it is still changing.

To think that all of this started because of a small cadre of antisocial geeks with no higher purpose in their lives. From an outside perspective, it is hard to believe. And yet, that's exactly where this all began and never really grew from. Fanatics overturned an entire industry to their own ends and then leveled it for all to see.

None of this would have happened if their passions were ordered properly. No one would be trying to find meaning and purpose in things they won't find any in. But Fandom wasn't alone in this. It was simply what the times were like.

This is the legacy of the 20th century: pretending that we have outgrown history instead of acknowledging the current state of things was a fluke never to be replicated again. Those days are over, and they're not coming back. The time for such juvenility has passed just as the old industry has wasted away to nothing thanks to their invasion into it. OldPub is dead, and it's NewPub's time to shine in the sunlight. No artist or writer needs to be held back by the constraints of a false materialist religion any longer: they can do whatever they want.

As we head into our own version of the '20s, around a century when the last pulp Golden Age started, we can take these lessons forward with us. We can avoid the mistakes of the past and build a greater future, uncoupled from the mad desires of a small cultish minority of subversives. All we have to do is aim higher, so that is what we will do.

The dark clouds have passed and now we have clear skies ahead. It turns out the storm was never quite immortal to begin with. Let us see what awaits us beyond those fading skies into the future ahead. I'm sure we can imagine better things.

After all, that is what storytelling is for!