Though science-fiction clubs were small, they were contentious. The membership tended to consist of intelligent, articulate, argumentative, short-tempered, and opinionated young men (plus a few women) who git into tremendous power struggles.
You might wonder how power struggles can possibly arise in small clubs devoted to something a arcane as science fiction, and I wonder too--but it happens. There are arguments over what happened to the other 35 cents in the treasury, who is to run the fanzine, and other equally momentous problems. I believe there were even arguments as to how best to “control fandom” or, on a lesser scale, the world.
When the arguments overflowed the possibilities of word-of-mouth, letters flew from fanzine to fanzine-long, articulate, venomous, libelous letters, which often degenerated into threats of lawsuit that never materialized) (largely because no lawsuit could ever result in substantial damages when no one being sued was worth more than $1.65, clothes, pocket change, blood chemicals and all.)
Naturally, it didn’t take a club long to split up into two clubs, with each then proceeding to put out competing fanzines. The main task of each fanzine was to vilify the other group with an intensity and a linguistic fluency that Hitler might have studied with profit.
This may sound as though I’m exaggerating a bit, but, honestly, I’m not. If anything I lack the words (competent writer though I am) to describe the intensity of the tempests brewed in the microscopic teapots of science fiction fandom.
Okay - tomorrow we'll get to Sykora!
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