First Published in Science Fiction Quarterly, summer 1942.
|The Futurians in 1938 - DAW is top row at the right.*|
Coming straight after Lowndes, we have one of the most important editors in the later development of SF. Wolheim was already a seasoned pro at age 28 when this story was published, having made his first professional sale 10 years previously. He was an active SF fan and had been involved in one of the earliest of fandom’s schisms.
In the 30s, Hugo Gernsback had used the pages of Wonder Stories to promote the official-sounding ‘Science Fiction League’ as a kind of rallying point for the growing fandom movement. Ashley observes that ‘For science fiction fans [emphasis in original] the fiction came secondary in Wonder Stories.’ One of SF’s biggest magazines had become a house organ for a social group, rather than being about stories at all.
Wolheim was expelled from the Science Fiction League in 1935. He’d been responsible for setting up the International Scientific Association which, in Ashley’s words, ‘opposed the Science Fiction League’ on the basis that fan organisations should be separate from commercial publishers. The feud lasted a few years and numerous splinter and fringe groups grew up in its wake, like protestant religious factions in the 17th century. Wolheim was later a founding member of The Futurians, perhaps the most influential group in the history of SF, and certainly in the genre’s golden age.
In light of all this, this story becomes less an individual work and more like a rallying cry for certain types of fan.