Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Look Back

When I first got involved with the world of Science Fiction Fandom in 1972 I soon got to wondering just how long this sort of thing had been going on. Fortunately, I soon found a huckster with Harry Warner, Jr.'s excellent history of Fandom in the 40s. I also encountered some of these early fans, now pros, at some cons, starting with Kubla Khan I in Nashville, TN, in 1973. My first pros were Fred Pohl, Andy Offutt (a mere youngster at the time), Perry Chapdelaine (who lived in Franklin, TN) and Nashville's own Charles L. Fontenay, who recently passed away.
Of course I fell in love with the art auction, managing to snag an astronomical painting by Morris Scott Dollins (a name that features in Warner's book). As I later read All Our Yesterdays, something stood out. Original art from the old pulps by Bergey, Paul and others was often sold at con auctions during the decade. Whatever happened to those original cover paintings that were purchased at those auctions? Does any of it ever turn up at Worldcons, for example? What would a Paul bring at one of today's auctions? Certainly more than the two or three dollars they brought 60 years ago.
Fans and Fandom have changed in the passing years. Not many today have a great deal of interest in science, although I launched model rockets at one time. Also seemingly a thing of the past are the feuds so lovingly written about by Sam Moskowitz in his history of fandom The Immortal Storm. Today's fans seem to be a more mellow bunch. And they are, on the average, older. Maybe it's tired blood that keeps everything so peaceful
Fandom is much more splintered, too. There almost isn't general fandom any more, but it has become very compartmentalized. Anime attracts an astounding number of fans. Star Trek fandom seems to be dying to some extent. More Fantasy then Science Fiction is on store shelves today.
I'll get started on the second year of Startling Stories soon, so keep checking in.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I own a Morris Scott Dollins. I've always loved it. It's a rocket over Jupiter. Today I thought I'd just google the name for the hell of it and found your post. do you know anything else about this artist?

8:58 PM  

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