Science Fiction Fandom
|See also:||Fandom, Media Fandom|
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Science fiction fandom formed in the 1920s around American pulp magazines and has expanded in scope since its humble beginnings with the development of sf novels, television, and movies. The fandom was born in the letter columns of the first sf-only magazine, Amazing Stories; Hugo Gernsback, the magazine's publisher, is credited by many with creating science fiction as a genre in its own right. Since the letter column included the letter writers' addresses, early SF fans found it easy to get in touch with each other. Soon, fans were writing letters directly to each other, then (in some cases) forming local fan clubs, then creating fanzines to trade with each other, then having conventions so they could talk in person.
The practice of making fanzines originated in science fiction fandom in the 1930s. The first printed fanzine was "The Comet," a fanzine published in 1930 by Raymond Arthur Palmer and published by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago. 
Fan conventions, also known as cons, were and remain an important way for fans to meet in person. Science fiction writer Frederick Pohl claims that the first con was a trip that he and seven other New York-area fans took to meet a similar group of fans in Philadelphia in 1936. However, the title of first ever con is disputed; a group of British science fiction fans had a more carefully planned public event in Leeds on January 3, 1937. The first World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was held over the July 4, 1939 weekend in New York City and, aside from a few breaks during the second world war, Worldcons have been held annually ever since. As have plenty of other sf conventions, of course - the closest thing to a full list of current science fiction conventions can be found on Wikipedia.
Science Fiction Fanzines
There are thousands of science fiction fanzines. You can see a list of over 500 at ZineWiki, and a few are documented here on Fanlore:
- Astra's Tower (1947-1961)
- Granfalloon #1-20 (Feb 1968-1976)
- Luna Monthly #1-? (Jan 1972-?)
- Minus 273
- Nargothrond (1968-?)
- Niekas (1962-c.1998)
Science Fiction Fandom History Resources
- Fancyclopedia 3 
- Fanac Fan History Project
- Fan History Archive (a Timebinders project).
- Wikipedia:Science fiction fandom
- MIMOSA - archives of MIMOSA, a fanzine about recent SF fan history
- First Fandom
SF Fandom and Media fandom
Historically, SF fandom was overwhelmingly male, so much so that some female fans have been made to feel unwelcome. To this tension -- the sense that fandom for televisual sources, the sense that female fans were "doing it wrong" -- is attributed the splitting off of female-dominated media fandom from sf fandom beginning in the late 1960s. (See Star Trek for more on the split.)
Much of the early jargon and fan activity of media fandom came directly from SF fandom (fanzines, letterzines, BNF, filking and more). Many women do participate in SF fandom, and many people feel equally comfortable in both SF and media fandom, but the two fandoms do diverge in many ways, e.g. vocabulary, attitudes towards fan fiction, and behavior standards.
From the sixties on, producers of science fiction movies and television have used science fiction conventions to promote their work. Gene Roddenberry brought the pilot episode of Star Trek to a Worldcon before it aired on television. Nevertheless, TV and movie SF have stayed a small part of 'classic' non-profit SF/fantasy conventions such as Worldcon and others.
Eventually commercial organizations started putting on larger for-profit sf/media/gaming/comic conventions that combined many fannish interests, including TV and movie SF, under one large, expensive roof. The two largest of these in the US are Dragon*Con and Comic-Con. Interestingly, both media fans and classic SF are just two small tracks of the larger whole, gamers are another, etc.
- Gary Westfahl, "The Popular Tradition of Science Fiction Criticism," Science Fiction Studies 26.2 (July 1999). Online version here.
- See also Hugo Gernsback: The man who invented the future by Michael A. Banks.
- Sam Moskowitz, The Immortal Storm: A History of Science Fiction Fandom (Atlanta, GA: The Atlanta Science Fiction Organization Press, 1954; reprint, Westport, Conn.: Hyperion Press, 1974), 5.
- Sam Moskowitz, The Immortal Storm: A History of Science Fiction Fandom (Atlanta, GA: The Atlanta Science Fiction Organization Press, 1954; reprint, Westport, Conn.: Hyperion Press, 1974). The Immortal Storm describes the activities of several early fan societies that also published fanzines (8-12). The "first professionally sponsored club for fantasy fans" was The Science Fiction League, formed in 1934 (32).
- Zine Wiki, accessed 14 May 2012
- THE FIRST EVER CONVENTION. ROB HANSEN'S FAN STUFF website. text reproduction of THE STORY SO FAR, a 1987 Worldcon publication. See also photographs from the Leeds convention. (Accessed 4 January 2012)
- Francesca Coppa, "A Brief History of Media Fandom." In: K. Hellekson, K. Busse (eds.) Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet. New Essays McFarland, 2006. p 43.
- Wikipedia List of Science Fiction Conventions.