Keller: KaCSFFS Celebrates 40 Years

The Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS) turned 40 on July 2. The club will celebrate the anniversary this Saturday (September 17).

Ken Keller remembers the night KaCSFFS began:

The late Rita Coriell and her husband, the late Vern Coriell (founder of Edgar Rice Burroughs fandom and The Burroughs Bibliophiles), were both at the very first KaCSFFS meeting; they were our First Fandom members.

The late John Taylor was also a founding member of KaCSFFS and attended the club’s first meeting, held on July, 2, 1971 in a rented classroom at Shawnee Mission West High School, in Shawnee Mission, KS (a suburb city on KC’s Kansas side). The club has met monthly ever since.

Exactly 25 attended that very first meeting. The following summer, in mid-June, 1972, we hosted our first SF convention, Mid-America-Con 1, with the late Phillip Jose Farmer and James Gunn (still living) as our pro GoHs; I chaired that convention and later co-chaired the ones that followed (BYOB-Cons) until 1974, when I then started the KC in ’76 bid; you know how that turned out…

Both Gary Mattingly and I are the co-founders KaCSFFS. Gary left later that summer of 1971 to return to college, and he came back to KC for a visit several times after the club was formed; unfortunately, he was uninvolved for the rest of the club’s history, leaving the KC area after graduating Kansas State in Manhattan. (I know Gary is still in fandom, is married, lives way out west {north of you, or did], and publishes a fanzine whose name I can’t recall right at this moment.)

I served as KaCSFFS’s first director in 1971 and 1972 and again on the club’s 30th anniversary, a decade ago, in 2001 and again in 2002. For both, I served two terms. I’ve also held the positions of Secretary and Treasurer, both in those early years. I’ve also worked on our regional (ConQuesT) a few times in recent years, both a co-program book editor and as a department head.

As for those at the very first KaCSFFS meeting, our first clubzine, X-Ray Delta One, contains a complete list of the 25 who attended:

Bob Boyed, Dr. J. J. Carduff, Chris Carduff, Rita Coriell*, Vern Coriell*, Paul Glavas, Sam Glavas*, Louis Graham, Randall Hawkins, Bob Hencey, Floyd Johnson*, Ken Keller, Larry Kopitnik. Doug Kruse. Jim Loehr, Gary Mattingly, David B. Pettaway, Neil Preston, Norma Preston, Ronald Rauch, Tim Roth, Steve Shapiro, Gary Stiffelman, Brian Tanahill. John Taylor*. (*= confirmed deceased.)

They were there when Gary and I took to the classroom’s two podiums to address the assembled and announce that KaCSFFS was formed. At one point, we almost became the Kansas City Futurians (KCF) or the Kansas City Science Fiction Association (KaCSFA), but we went crazy and adopted that long string of unpronounceable consonants (KaCSFFS) instead (i.e., Kax ~Fuss)! It must have been lucky since we’re still here and so many other traditional fan groups have expired. (But will the Kaxfen make it to the big five-zero in ten years?)

The club currently has 68 dues paid members, down from more than 130 a decade ago. But we’ve always had a revolving door with and ebb and flow of members over the years. Some stay for a meeting or two and then are never seen again others have stayed for awhile–or even quite awhile in a lot instances–and we’ve had a number who’ve also died in the last 40 years (inevitable); there’s a list of our deceased at the club’s website: kcsciencefiction.org, if you care to see who’s Left The Clubhouse.

Congrats on LAFSFS’ *3rd* clubhouse BTW!; wow, we’re green with envy! Here’s a weblink showing Writers Place where we’ve been meeting since 2001, after I became director. (The Writer’s Place is supposed to have three ghosts, so the WP staff has given us the honor of naming them; those names will be announced this month during our 40th.)

1 thought on “Keller: KaCSFFS Celebrates 40 Years

  1. Thanks! Those were enjoyable times. I did get a little involved in the MidAmeriCon bid later and drove my van with several members of KaCSFFS to Discon II to promote the bid.

Comments are closed.