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Science Fiction Association

Entry updated 21 June 2021. Tagged: Community, Fan.

This first attempt at a genuinely national UK organization devoted to furthering the cause of sf in Britain was proposed and launched at the Leeds, Yorkshire, sf Convention of January 1937. It was initially headquartered in Leeds, with E J Carnell's Novae Terrae adopted as the official organ. Another official publication, intended as a respectable front to entice non-fans, was the quarterly Fanzine Tomorrow, first published in February 1937 and edited by Douglas W F Mayer; the seventh and last issue appeared in Autumn 1938. In that year membership reached its peak of more than 200. 1937-1938 also saw the publication of the SFA's fiction fanzine Amateur Science Stories (which see), also edited by Mayer, in which Arthur C Clarke's first published story appeared.

The SFA was unfortunately plagued by various controversies and power struggles, and faded away during World War Two, though not before London members (after meeting for a time at the flat shared by Arthur C Clarke and William F Temple) had established a tradition of regular London pub meetings which still continues. Other known SFA members included Sydney J Bounds, Walter Gillings, E C Tubb and John Wyndham. Ultimately, the SFA was a tentative precursor of the British Science Fiction Association.

Another early UK Science Fiction Association or SFA was based in Liverpool; its official organ, published from 1938, was The Satellite. [DRL]

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