THEN, my wide-ranging history of the first fifty years of Science Fiction Fandom in
the UK (see link at bottom of this page), was published serially 1988-1993 and has been
available online since the mid 1990s. 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. I'm currently in the process of upgrading THEN (not updating - the
history of UK fandom from 1980 onward is a story for someone else to tell) and realised
the internet afforded me an opportunity I did not have when I originally wrote it, 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.