On December 11, 1929, the world’s first club devoted to science fiction met for the first time. They called themselves the Scienceers. Years later, in 1961, one of their original number recalled those days in a fanzine article which, through the magic of the World Wide Web, can be read here.
Our thanks to Rob Hansen, author of the formidable history of British fandom Then, for reminding us of this anniversary. Says Rob, “I’ve always been fascinated that the first president of that first US fan group—indeed, the world’s first fan group—was a black guy, Warren Fitzgerald, and that they held their early meetings at his home in Harlem. I’m amazed this doesn’t seem to be widely known.” Rob also points out that Fitzgerald was one of the founders of the American Rocket Society.
All that aside, it would be nice to establish December 11 as the official anniversary date of the formation of SF fandom. And certainly it’s a more pleasant thing to associate with December 11 than the assassination of Byzantine emperor Nikephoros II in 969, the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936, or the arrest of Bernard Madoff in 2008. Go, fandom, may you always be creative, unconventional, and neurodiverse.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a musician, a blogger, and the fiction editor of Tor.com. He is aware of all internet traditions.