Science Fiction Studies

#13 = Volume 4, Part 3 = November 1977

Linda Fleming

The American SF Subculture

At the 1976 Lunacon, a New York convention, young authors on a panel were asked if they could recall the moment when they knew they wanted to be professionals. One of the authors remembered it clearly. It happened at a convention when author Roger Zelazny spent an evening drinking with him and a few other fans. Zelazny, in turn, writes:

I reviewed my association with the area, first as a reader and fan, recalling that science fiction is unique in possessing a fandom and a convention system which make for personal contacts between authors and readers, a situation which may be of peculiar significance. When an author is in a position to meet and speak with large numbers of his readers he cannot help, at least for a little while, feeling somewhat as old-time story-tellers must have felt in facing the questions and the comments of a live audience. The psychological process involved in this should be given some consideration as an influence on the field.1

Very personal contacts have occurred regularly in SF circles for almost fifty years, contributing significantly, for good or bad, to the evolution of modern SF.   Literary studies of SF have minimized, even ignored, the particular social universe organized around the literature. A sociology of SF can not do so. Theorists of the sociology of knowledge state that the more immediate interpersonal milieu mediates the reciprocal relationship between human thought and the broader societal context in which thought arises.2 An observable networks of human relationships has influenced authors, the kinds of stories that have been written, and has mediated the reading experience for thousands of readers over the years. There is a socially important SF subculture.               

Subcultures are social collectivities within the broader society whose members share certain symbols, traditions, values, customs, rituals, interests, and ways of doing things. Members of a subculture relate to each other through a series of role relationships. They develop channels for communication, methods for recruiting and socializing new members, and rewards and sanctions for those who meet or fail to meet group expectations. Although subcultures vary according to the bases of common identity and their size, duration, and degree of organization, subcultures do influence their members' identities, beliefs, and behavior.

The SF subculture influences the core trinity of authors, editors, and readers, as well as those who occupy the subsidiary roles of artists, collectors and sellers, reviewers and critics, fans engaged in club, fanzine, or convention activities, publishers and distributors, scholars, and now the teachers. Is it really possible to understand fully the evolution of U.S. SF without studying the subculture in which most of this literature evolved? Can we afford to overlook the fact that many science fictionists, including authors and editors, have experienced a sense of community? It is sociologically significant that a nucleus of those in the subculture refer to their social world as an extended family, a tribe, with all those words imply about the intellectual, social, and the emotional bonds that unite them. In the pages that follow I present an overview of the subculture and then suggest certain questions future research might address.

The SF subculture can be identified, even if its boundaries are difficult to define. It originated in the pages of Amazing, Astounding, and Wonder Stories during the 1920s and 1930s. The first SF magazines all had letter columns which printed names and addresses, and from the very beginning readers found others who shared their enthusiasm for SF. They started communicating by letters and, when possible, in person. These young readers were the first fans, and through their activities a fandom grew and developed. This fandom is an integral part of the subculture; it is of great significance because U.S. (and British) authors have been a part of it. Jack Williamson writes of the authors for the first SF magazines: "Though of course we were writing it for all sorts of reasons, even desperately for money, I think most of us took it pretty seriously as a way of testing alternatives. As fellow pioneers in a new country, we needed one another."3               

The writers communicated with each other. They also communicated with the readers. As magazine readers themselves, the writers also found fandom a source of personal and social support and an enjoyable hobby. More than that, some of the addicted readers of the 1920s became authors by the 1930s. Ever since, the fans of one generation have provided authors and editors for the next. I have never seen any data to back up the claim, but science fictionists have told me that the vast majority (up to ninety percent) of "ghetto" writers were avid readers of the magazines before they wrote their first stories, and many of them were active in fandom.4

The pulp writers and editors defined modern SF as they collaborated, shared, innovated, and imitated. SF could build upon SF for "in a magazine devoted to science fiction, where the readers expected the unfamiliar, traditions began to develop. Authors could easily see what their peers were writing, and when one author came up with a new idea another could elaborate on that idea in a subsequent story. Thus certain devices and traditions came into existence."5 Writing for the magazines became in many ways a collective activity.                

Reading SF in the magazines is itself a social experience. The letters, editorials, science articles, book columns, special features and interviews with authors have played a crucial role in the creation and maintenance of the social and intellectual bonds, the sense of common identity, that exist among those who produce and those who read SF. The regular magazine reader—even one who does not write letters or in other ways actively communicate with other science fictionists—participates, at least vicariously, in the subculture.                

A SF subculture originated, developed, and exists today because of the enthusiasm SF arouses in some people, the subsequent commercial exploitation of that enthusiasm, and because both professionals and readers have found belonging to the group a socially rewarding experience for brief or long periods of their lives. The process was helped along, however, by SF aficionados being labeled as "nuts" who read and wrote "That Buck Rogers Stuff." A very strong ingroup situation developed. The reactions of the outsiders reinforced the sense of being a group apart, which is one of the dimensions that defines the SF subculture.                

Cut off from society in certain ways, the subculture developed its own traditions, symbols, customs, and understanding of the literature. The symbols include a special language "fanspeak," a "Golden Age" of SF, a "new" and an "old" wave, and—very importantly—a special shorthand for reading countless stories based on conventions and devices that "ghetto" writers and editors constructed together. Years ago it became unnecessary for authors to develop each argument or premise, explains Donald Wollheim, for the author "has only to say he has a Gate or a transmitter and the reader is able to supply from memory of past stories all the plausibility quotient he needs to accept this as a future probable invention."6 There are SF "classics" that are well-known to members of the subculture but, except for a few rare exceptions, are unknown to outsiders. Authors make esoteric references to members of the subculture in their stories. There is even a folklore about the literature and science fictionists. (Can one become involved in the subculture and not hear stories about John Campbell, some version of the first meeting between Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison, about the late 1930s feud between the Futurians and New Fandom that lead to the "Exclusion Act," or about the intelligence officers who came to Campbell to investigate if Cleve Cartmill's "Deadline" meant a leak in the secrecy surrounding the Manhattan Project?)                

The symbols, traditions, and history of the subculture are passed on to each "generation" as new members learn from older members. Over the years the most active science fictionists developed and institutionalized a variety of channels of communication. Most important have been the clubs, fanzines (amateur SF magazines), and the conventions. All three, along with the prozines (professional SF magazines), have been forums for those occupying various roles in the subculture to present and discuss their ideas about the literature, themselves, science, and society. Each has been an important means for the "socialization" of readers and for the recruitment of authors. Fred Pohl, for example, writes, "In the fan mags I acquired the skills necessary to prepare something for public viewing—and the courage to permit it."7 These communication channels function to unite people who have different interests in the field and who live in various parts of the U.S., even in other countries (Britain in particular). And each has provided feedback from readers to authors and editors.                

The high degree of feedback to authors and editors is commented upon frequently in SF circles. It is a characteristic that makes the SF field unique among both paraliterary and "high lit" genres today. Much of the feedback has been institutionalized—in the letter columns of the prozines and fanzines, in the works of fan scholars and reviewers, in personal contacts made at conventions, in such traditions as Astounding/Analog's Analytical Lab for rating stories which Campbell initiated in the late 1930s and which Ben Bova has just recently discontinued, and in the Nebula (since 1965) awards for professionals in the field and the Hugos (since 1953) awarded to professionals and amateurs.                

The first editor of Astounding, Harry Bates, wrote, "You who were the demon fan-letter writers were not very helpful to us as guides. You were indiscriminately enraptured with everything."8 Addicts who love just about all they read have remained a segment of the subculture. They support all types of SF, the good and the bad. On the other hand, there have always been readers who, for various reasons, are not at all pleased with all they read. Finding an author's mistakes, for example, has always been something of a game for some of the readers. Author Hal Clement tells other writers: "Remember, though, that among your readers there will be some who enjoy carrying your work farther than you did. They will find inconsistencies which you missed; depend on it. Part of human nature is the urge to let the world know how right you were, so you can expect to hear from these people either directly or through fanzine pages. Don't let it worry you."9               

While it is probably impossible to measure its influence on the fiction, there is no reason to doubt that this feedback has significantly affected the relationship between society and SF. First, it provides a great deal of reinforcement for authors. Very few have much popular recognition outside the field; even fewer have ever received critical acceptance; and only a minority of them can earn a full or respectable living from writing or editing SF. It is very likely that many of the writers, the good ones, the hacks and those whose talent developed over time, would not have remained in the field were it not for the social recognition subculture members give them. Second, the feedback has let professionals know the kinds of stories various readers like and dislike. This process thus affects the subtypes, styles, and quality of the stories they write. And third, since much of the feedback is public, SF readers can learn what others think about the literature. All the established communication channels expose readers to discussions of the literature and to perspectives for interpreting the reading experience.

SF and its subculture have developed together. The "youth" of the magazines and of fandom coincided with the youth of the early science fictionists. A ten year old who discovered the early issues of Amazing would be about sixty today. Young authors who wrote for the pulps in the 1920s and 1930s are now in their fifties through seventies. A number of science fictionists who are in positions to influence the subculture, like Isaac Asimov, Fred Pohl, Jack Williamson, Donald Wollheim, Forrest Ackerman, Sam Moskowitz, "grew up" with SF pulps and fandom. They and members of subsequent generations participated in, are familiar with, and have reacted to the evolution of the literature through its various stages: the gosh-wow, formula technocratic and action-adventure stories of the first decade; the "Golden Age" of Campbell's Astounding; the catastrophe stories of the late 1940s; the broadening of the field into more literary and social SF by Anthony Boucher at F & SF and Horace Gold at Galaxy; the Boom and Bust of the 1950s; the "new wave" of the 1960s; and the heterogeneity—in terms of styles, themes, philosophy, subtypes—of the literature that is labeled SF today.                

An evolving SF continually attracts new kinds of readers and professionals into the field. Each generation modifies and redefines the social role of authors: from Gernsback's missionaries for science and technology, to Campbell's writers of stories that might be contemporary novels in a 25th century magazine, to Fred Pohl's or Ben Bova's frontier scouts who report on alternative futures so that people may choose wisely today, or James Blish's explorers of the ethical, moral, and philosophical horizons."10               

The subculture has evolved too. Social structural changes include increases in total size, the average age of members, the proportion of females, the complexity of social organization, and the number of subgroups with different kinds of interests in SF.                

Subgroups and people with different orientations toward SF have been part of the subculture since the beginning. The current division between the more "literary" and the more science-oriented members, for example, is nothing new. Fan historian Harry Warner notes that even at the start of fandom there were "the fans who wanted to talk a lot about science and those who preferred the literary outlook on the hobby."11 Similarly, just as the label "science fiction" has been applied to stories that are in the "pure" fantasy tradition, the SF subculture is a world of science fictionists and fantacists. When SF went into its "ghetto" built around the specialty magazines, those involved with the kinds of stories in which science and technology did matter kept the most intimate company with those involved with stories of the supernatural and imaginary worlds where magic really works. The fans of space opera have always associated with the fans of sword and sorcery. The subculture has included rocket societies and Lovecraft fans. The overlap between the two literary traditions has been pervasive, and it extends to readers, writers, editors, artists, collectors, sellers, fanzine topics, those attending conventions, and "sister" magazines.                

The SF subculture, even with its various subgroups, was small enough to identify without too much difficulty until the 1960s. The boundaries are much less clear today, however, because of the increase in size and because the literary SF subculture now overlaps with the larger, more commercialized Star Trek and comics fandoms and the small academic organization, the Science Fiction Research Association.               

Important external events that have had such an enormous impact on the field—i.e. the A-Bomb, Sputnik and subsequent developments in space travel, the social crises of the 1960s, environmental issues—did not just directly influence authors. These events have been of tremendous symbolic significance to science fictionists who had shared the power fantasies of the first decades of the SF magazines. After 1945 and Hiroshima the realities of power led many to confront the futures they had been constructing. "We are in that tale wherein the great inventions were made before the installation of Utopia," writes Donald Wollheim. "That story never had a happy ending."12 The new directions the literature has explored since the 1950s can be explained, in part, as a collective re-examination of the shared dreams that members of a subculture had created together.

The "new wave" of the 1960s was of particular significance to both SF and the subculture. For the first time SF and its aficionados were attacked from within, by members of the tribe. Fandom was criticized as a conservative influence on the field. These writers challenged many of the basic assumptions, the philosophy, which had been a foundation for so much SF up to then. They "decided that the battle for the future is a lost cause."13 We were already living in Brave New World.14 Their concern with experimental style, with "inner worlds," and their alienation set in motion a very heated "new" versus "old" wave controversy. No attack by outsiders could have mattered so much. And SF and its subculture have never been the same since.                

Both the literature and the subculture in the 1970s represent such a diversity of styles, attitudes, themes, beliefs, and interests that one can say something of a SF group identity crisis now exists. Any consensus view of the future that might have existed is now part of SF history. "They Don't Make Futures Like They Used To" becomes the informal motto of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Individuals with conflicting points of view debate and articulate their ideas about what SF is or should be. For example, should the "S" in SF stand for "science" or "speculative"? Should the "adolescent" pulp stories of the ghetto period be rejected in favor of a search for more illustrious and respectable SF ancestors and contemporary kin, or should they be viewed with nostalgia, as stories that provided young readers with a sense of wonder, adventure and exciting ideas? Does the SF label affect an author's chances to be taken as a "serious" writer? Is characterization less important in SF than in other literary traditions?                

The diversity of science fictionists' views about the literature, science, and society helps explain those qualities of SF that Robert Scholes suggests are the reasons for SF's relevance and vitality. SF succeeds, he believes, because it satisfies at both the cognitive and the subliminative levels. It provides both intellectual stimulation and narrative excitement.15 Some members of the subculture prefer the literature's dreaming pole, while some prefer its thinking pole.16 The latter set increasingly higher criteria for authors to meet in terms of literary, scientific, philosophical, sociological, or political values. Others articulate and communicate their beliefs that whatever other standards authors strive for, they must not neglect storytelling. Ideas and narrative are expected. SF should entertain. These various ideas about SF are expressed by people who, for various reasons, do care, often at deeply emotional levels, about the SF literature, people, and traditions. And the institutionalized communication channels ensure that the professionals are aware of the preferences of both their colleagues and the readers. The literature and the subculture have evolved together, each shaping characteristics of the other.

While studies of SF literature proliferate, very little is known about the social structure and dynamics of the subculture. A sociology of SF should include comparisons of people according to the extent and the nature of their involvement in SF. Let me begin with the extent. Since the 1930s the total audience has been divided into a minority who seek active involvement with others who share their interest in SF, and the majority who may read just as much fiction as the active fans but do not seek direct social contact with others. At present we know a few things about the vocal minority; we know almost nothing about the silent majority.17 Each of the existing surveys of the SF audience is a self-selected sample of (a) prozine readers, (b) fanzine readers, (c) convention goers, or (d) active fans who administer questionnaires to each other. None of these studies can be used to make generalizations about the total SF audience—even by the most generous of social science standards, though the consistency of some of the findings allows us to make certain statements about the more active readers.               

Researchers are not limited to the kinds of quantitative data surveys provide. Fortunately, members of the subculture have been talking about themselves, their literature, and their social world for years. And they ask questions about the social role of SF.18 The non-fiction pages of the prozines are full of relevant information about the social structure, dynamics, and values of the subculture. So are the fanzines and the books and articles written by those who have been part of the subculture. But like the survey data, these other more impressionistic kinds of evidence inform us about the members with the greatest social involvement in the subculture and not about the majority who just read paperbacks.                

How many members are at the fringes, people whose participation is limited to reading just enough of the fiction to be defined as marginally belonging to the subculture? And how many are as involved as Donald Wollheim? "Science fiction shaped my life and I can truthfully say I am marked by it in every way. Through it and my association with its readers and writers I have found my profession, my life, my philosophy, my hobby, and yes, my wife and friends."19 How can readers be differentiated according to their reading patterns? What subtypes do they prefer? Where do they read SF? How much? How many occupy more roles in the subculture than just that of reader?                

The readers who organize and attend conventions, belong to clubs, become involved in fanzine activity, or read prozines are those who provide the most feedback to the authors and editors. They are the ones who talk and write about the literature and the people and events that influence the field. They inform new readers about subcultural traditions. From their ranks come so many of the authors, editors, artists, collectors and sellers, fan publishers, and until recently, almost all the scholars of SF.20 In what ways do these active fans differ from the "mere" readers?                

The authors and editors also participate in various ways. Some of the most popular authors and important editors are deeply involved in the subculture, and have been since adolescence. Many have formed enduring friendships with other professionals and with active fans, and they can call upon each other for ideas, support, and for information they may need when writing a story. Some collaborate, edit each other's stories, teach would-be SF writers and high school or college teachers of SF at various workshops. Others just send manuscripts to editors. Some are active in the Science Fiction Writers of America which functions as something between a fraternal organization and a union. And a few participate in the academic Science Fiction Research Association. It is certainly of social consequence that some of the authors occupy multiple roles in the subculture. Authors like Isaac Asimov, Jerry Pournelle, and Norman Spinrad write science articles for the prozines. Others are engaged in SF scholarship and book reviewing. Authors contribute to fanzines and attend conventions. The dual author-editor role has been a common one over the years; it has also been commented upon as something rather unusual to find in a literary tradition today.21 The authors and editors also occupy leadership roles within the subculture. Who among the professionals are the most influential—among each other or with the readers? And which ones exercise that role by engaging in activities other than fiction writing?

As to the nature of people's involvement in SF, one question with very few answers is how fiction affects people. This is an area of inquiry plagued by the difficulties involved in disentangling the effects of reading from all the other experiences and personal characteristics of the readers. Yet the fact that SF is a shared experience for so many readers raises some intriguing questions.                

What is the consequence, for example, of reading stories about UFO's, ESP, space colonies, innovations in the biological laboratories, or over-populated worlds while at the same time reading articles that review the current scientific status of such phenomena? SF authors discuss the field and express their views on a variety of subjects in fanzines, prozines, before audiences or small groups at conventions, and more recently, on college campuses and T.V. My impression is that for some readers the real heroes of SF are the authors. Do the things they say outside their fiction influence people? If we think in terms of "reading careers," how many young readers are introduced to the field via space opera and the more action-adventure kinds of stories and then "graduate" to more sophisticated SF because their involvement in the subculture exposes them to the ideas of those who articulate increasingly higher standards for "good" SF? Might we think of the subculture as an "informal learning environment" in which such subjects as science and technology, the human and the social condition, alternative futures, pseudo-science, magic, escapism, or different kinds of fiction are discussed—playfully or seriously, superficially or knowledgeably—by people with varying backgrounds, knowledge, and orientations to the issues involved? Campbell and his team of authors during the Golden Age at Astounding have been referred to as a "think tank." A sociological approach to SF might view the subculture as a think tank, not necessarily a very sophisticated one, but a democratic one that explores ideas in an idiom and at levels that people at different ages and backgrounds can understand. Questions about the effects of the literature on its readers must explore how the various channels of communication function to give special meaning to the reading experience.              

One can argue about the extent to which there has been a SF "ghetto" and whether or not the "ghetto walls" still exist. But one cannot ignore that both objective and subjective aspects of the ghettoization of SF exist, nor that there is a ghetto issue in SF circles today.                

At the objective level the SF ghetto refers to the fact that for more than two decades almost all SF published in the U.S. appeared in the SF prozines, and that even now the magazine connections and influences remain. Much of book SF is still written by authors who do or have had prozine associations, and a good proportion of book SF is reprints from the magazines. Also, people with prozine backgrounds edit SF series and anthologies and the SF lines for various publishing houses.                

At the subjective level there exists among many science fictionists what James Gunn calls a "ghetto mentality,"22 and it affects how professionals and fans feel about SF, the subculture, and outsiders. Attitudes toward the recent (relative) respectability of SF are a case in point. Some, like Gunn and Ursula Le Guin, welcome the academics and outside critics; such attention and outside criticism could be good for SF. Others, perhaps defensive about "their" literature, are much more skeptical. Lester del Rey, for one, fears the academics, not the fans, will be a negative influence. He is concerned that authors will write for the critics, not their readers, and he questions whether the academics can provide informed and valuable criticism. SF should be read, not taught and studied in schools.23               

Popularity, like respectability, is perceived as a mixed blessing. Increased popularity means new markets for SF, but it also means authors will be writing in a vacuum, less SF building on SF, and less of the valued feedback from readers.24 Evidently, the ghetto issue is complicated because it concerns not just the future of the literature but of the subculture as well. Science fictionists get caught up in the ambivalent love-hate feelings normally associated with those who belong to a smaller community. There are popular "ghetto" authors who have at one time or another announced they do not or will no longer write SF. They want to be taken as serious writers, and they believe the SF label is a liability; and yet they have very personal ties to the subculture and to SF.                

Today the magazines no longer dominate, even represent, the field. More authors with no ghetto associations and training write SF. Fan critics, scholars, and historians are joined by "outsider" academics. The subculture is becoming larger and less of a closely-knit community; it is no longer as differentiated from the rest of society as it once was. But I think it valid to say that the majority of the most popular and/or respected and/or influential authors and editors of SF today have some ghetto or subcultural associations. For some these associations began in adolescence and have been an extremely significant part of their personal and professional lives. Can one fully understand modern SF without understanding the subculture in which so much of it has evolved?


1. Roger Zelazny, "Forum: Some Science Fiction Parameters: A Biased View," Galaxy (July 1975), p 11.

2. On the sociology of knowledge see: Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge, rev. ed.; trans. Louis Wirth and Edward Shils (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, a Harvest Book, 1936); the essays in James E. Curtis and John W. Petras, eds., The Sociology of Knowledge: A Reader (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970); or Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1966; Anchor Books, 1967). The latter presents a historical survey of the field and a theory that includes a social-psychological level of analysis. On the related sociology of art and literature see: Georg Lukacs, Realism in Our Time: Literature and the Class Struggle, with a Preface by George Steiner, trans. John and Necke Mander, ed. Ruth Nanda Anshen (New York: Harper & Row, 1964; Harper Torchbooks, 1971); Milton C. Albrecht, James H. Barnett, and Mason Griff, eds., The Sociology of Art and Literature: A Reader (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970) which includes an essay by Lucien Goldmann; or Robert N. Wilson, The Sociology and Psychology of Art (Morristown, N.J.: General Learning Press, 1973) which presents a concise and helpful overview of theory and research in the area.

3. Jack Williamson, "The Campbell Era," Algol 24 (Summer 1975), p 19.

4. See Ted White, Editorial, Amazing (July 1975), p 111.

5. Ted White, Editorial, Amazing (June 1976), p 121.

6. Donald A. Wollheim, The Universe Makers (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p 16.

7. Frederik Pohl, "Basement and Empire," reprinted in Algol 26 (Summer 1976), p 35.

8. Harry Bates, "Editorial Number One: To Begin," Introduction to A Requiem for Astounding by Alva Rogers (Chicago: Advent: Publishers, 1964), p xv.

9. Hal Clement (Harry Stubbs), "The Creation of Imaginary Beings," in Science Fiction, Today and Tomorrow, ed. Reginald Bremor (New York: Harper & Row, Penguin Books, 1974), p 275.

10. See William Atheling, Jr. (James Blish), The Issue at Hand (Chicago: Advent: Publishers, 1964), p 128; Ben Bova, Editorial, "The SF Game," Analog (October 1975); and Frederik Pohl, "The Shape of Science Fiction to Come," Luna Monthly (October/November 1972).

11. Harry Warner Jr., All Our Yesterdays: An Informal History of Science Fiction Fandom in the Forties, with an Introduction by Wilson Tucker (Chicago: Advent: Publishers, 1969), p 29.

12. Wollheim, p 6.

13. Ibid., p 105.

14. Brian Aldiss, Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction (New York: Doubleday, 1973; reprint ed., Schocken Books, 1974), p 298.

15. Robert Scholes, Structural Fabulation: An Essay on Fiction of the Future (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975).

16. Brian Aldiss discusses the field's dreaming and thinking poles in Billion Year Spree.

17. Studies that review available data include: Beverly Friend, "The Science Fiction Fan Cult" (Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1975); Linda Fleming, "The Science Fiction Subculture: Bridge Between the Two Cultures" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1976); and Charles G. Waugh, Edwin F. Libby, and Carol-Lynn Waugh, "Demographic, Intellectual, and Personality Characteristics of Science Fiction Fans," paper presented at the Science Fiction Research Association annual meeting, Miami, November 1975.

18. For example, in the Summer 1975 issue of Algol, Brian M. Stableford wrote an article on "The Social Role of S.F." He initiated a debate as readers responded to his views in subsequent issues of the fanzine.

19. Wollheim, p 2.

20. The importance of fan scholarship is a subject of Beverly Friend's "The Science Fiction Fan Cult."

21. See Anthony Boucher, Introduction to In Search of Wonder: Essays on Modern Science Fiction by Damon Knight (Chicago: Advent: Publishers, 1967), p. viii, or Judith Merrill, "What Do You Mean: Science? Fiction?" reprinted in SF: The Other Side of Realism: Essays on Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Thomas D. Clareson (Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1971), p 79.

22. James Gunn, Guest Editorial, "Teaching Science Fiction Revisited," Analog (November 1974).

23. Lester del Rey, Forum: "The Siren Song of Academe," Galaxy (March 1975).

24. Ted White, Editorial, Amazing (June 1976).

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