THEN, my wide-ranging history of the first fifty years of Science Fiction Fandom in the UK, was published as a fanzine part-work from 1988-1993. Doing extensive research in public records and old fanzines, as well as writing to and conducting interviews with many old time fans, I uncovered surprising links to contemporary peace groups, the counter-culture, and even to the Beatles. The first major work to cover this subject in the UK, it became the standard reference.

The expanded and upgraded edition (not updated - the history of UK fandom from 1980 onward is a story for someone else to tell) saw its first book publication in 2016 (see link at bottom of this page). The Internet gave me access to research resources I did not have when I originally wrote THEN, resources I took full advantage of when working on the current book edition. It also gave me the opportunity to make stuff available to others that I couldn't before, hence THEN: The Archive.

The purpose of the Archive is to act as a repository for some of the material I referenced when researching and writing THEN that people should find interesting for its own sake, some complete old fanzines, and ancillary material such as, for example, the lettercolumns that appeared in the original fanzine part-work version of THEN. And, of course, there will be stuff I just think is cool. Everything is grouped by the five decades covered by THEN, and these will be added to periodically.

All copyrights acknowledged, all articles, photos and artwork remain the property of their creators.
From next month this site may be archived regularly as part of the British Library Library Web Archiving Programme. Should anyone not want their material included, they should contact me urgently to request its removal from the website.
...Rob Hansen, July 2011.

THE 1930s

The decade in which SF fandom in the UK was born, beginning its life in a suburban house in Ilford. It was a decade of firsts which saw the UK (and the world's) first science fiction convention in Leeds, our first fanzines, and our first national organisation, the Science Fiction Association.

THE 1940s

With the world at war and the young men who made up fandom in the UK increasingly finding themselves being called up to fight for their country, it was no easy task to keep fandom together, yet somehow they managed that feat. This was in no small part due to the efforts of pacifist fan J. Michael Rosenblum and of our second national organisation, the British Fantasy Society. In the aftermath of the war and the death of the BFS, the slack would be taken up first by the British Fantasy Library and then by our third national organisation, the Science Fantasy Society.

THE 1950s

The period that saw the true flowering of post-war fandom in the UK.This was when the Worldcon came here for the first time, the start of a once-a-decade tradition. This was also the decade that saw the creation of TAFF and where UK fandom happily went for seven years without a national organisation before setting up our fourth (and current) one, the British Science Fiction Association.

THE 1960s

UK fandom had been around long enough by the early 1960s for it to experience its first significant generation clash as the Baby Boomers - the biggest generation in history - began to enter fandom. And unlike the 1950s, the leading UK fanzine of the 1960s would be sercon rather than fannish.

THE 1970s

The second wave of Baby Boomers would have a huge impact on UK fandom in the 1970s and unleash a flood of new fanzines. The decade would see both the fall and rebirth of the BSFA, and the number of annual conventions in the country rise from one to four, prefiguring the explosion in their numbers that was to come in the 1980s.


This section is for fanhistorical pieces that are not tied to one specific decade but instead either span several or are general and not categorizable in terms of decades.





  • A short list of useful works.