The Planet: One Last Landing

The delightfully inconclusive debate here on the topic of whether the Scienceers or the Eastbay Science Correspondence Club was the first sf club led to a discovery I am happy to share with you.

From Guy H. Lillian’s The Zine Dump I learned Ned Brooks had scanned a photocopy of first issue of The Planet, published by the Scienceers in July 1930. Ned kindly sent the images to me and I have uploaded them here.

A squib on page 3 says the Scienceers published meeting notices every Friday in the New York Evening World, confirming Allan Glasser’s memory about the weekly meeting schedule. Unfortunately, I was denied the minor pleasure of locating one of those ads because the paper has only been digitized through 1922.

As for Aubrey MacDermott and the Eastbay Science Correspondence Club, Fred Patten wrote in comments about his conversation with Cliff Amsbury, one of the other members: “He said that, yeah, MacDermott and other S.F.-area teenage s-f fans often got together in 1928, so they were first. But those were all one-shot social meetings. They did not hold club meetings.”

MacDermott only claimed they met, not that they met on a regular schedule. Bill Higgins’ jibe, “Which is more fannish?” hits the nail on the head.

The Scienceers had more traits of the prototype sf club. Yet the Eastbay group identified itself as a club and met socially in 1928 more than once. Depending on your preferred criteria, either club could claim to be first. And since 99% of you are already picking the Scienceers, there is your official wisdom-of-crowds answer…

P.S. Read The Planet’s science fiction quiz on page 2. I used to consider myself a trivia master but I scored zero out of 10…


11 thoughts on “The Planet: One Last Landing

  1. Sadly, the EVENING WORLD is not scanned on the archival service I have access to.

  2. Mike: It’s probable that the reason why the Library of Congress has only posted scans of the NEW YORK EVENING WORLD through 1922 is because copyright laws kick in in 1923. Obviously someone needs to go to the Library of Congress Newspaper Reading Room and crank up the microfilm! Martin

  3. Ned had also kindly scanned Robert Bloch’s “A Way of Life” for me. It strikes me that this should be shared more widely, but I don’t know whether the author has an estate, or whether it feels it can squeeze more blood out of the stone.

  4. There are parallels between this debate (about the first SF club) and the ongoing 70+ year old controversy about which get-together was in fact the first science fiction convention.

  5. Re “the dead do not procreate” — IIRC the context is that the gimmick involves racial memory passed down from ancestors to descendents, but the story goofs by including instances of memories “recalled” even from those who died without first getting around to having any descendents.

  6. I just took a closer look at my copy of THE PLANET v.1#1, three sheets of yellowing 8.5×11 paper – it is definitely an old xerox copy, as the printing is ON the paper, not IN the paper.

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