Monday, October 4, 2010

The Immortal Storm, pt 3

Isaac Asimov continues to write about the Futurians, pg 209 of part 1 of his autobiography.

Let me refer you instead to something else [Asimov writes]. Back in 1954, Sam Moskowitz, one of the most active of the fans of the 1930s (and a dear friend of mine for many years), recalled those days and wrote a book the subtitle of which was "A History of Science Fiction Famdom." It dealt with the period from 1935 to 1938 chiefly, and yet Sam found enough to say to fill a closely printed book of 250 pages.

In that book, endlessly and (forgive me, Sam) unreadably detailed, are all the feuds and quarrels of the period among people known only to themselves, over issues unexplainable to others. The title Sam gave the book, without any intent of satire at all, I believe, was The Immortal Storm.

Science fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp (another dear friend of mine) has, in this connection, developed a theory of human contentiousness that I rather like. He points out that in the long history of human groups in the food-hunting stage, a multiplying tribe was alwats in danger. A group o 50 could not cover any more ground than a group of 25 could, and would not find any more food. Therefore, the 50 might starve where the 25 would not.

If the 50 were full of loving kindness and brotherly affection and could not bear to break up, they would bein serious trouble. If they were contentious individuals who tended to split up, each smaller group, staking out a territory of its own, might survive. Hence contentiousness had survival value and flourished, and still exists among mankind despite the fact that ever since agriculture became the most important activity of man, cooperation, and not contentiousness has been required.

Sprague says that if the contentiousness of small groups is to be studied seriously, no better start could be made than to ead and study...The Immortal Storm.

And let me emphasize that, despite the contentiousness, the fans learned to love each other somehow and friendships were formed that not all the viccitudes of the decades could break. There is, to a science fiction fan, no stronger bond that can exist than that which is coveered by the phrase "fellow fan."
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