— A rather silly future-history-advocacy high school club deliberately pseudo-intellectual and self-referentially satiric in nature. Founded by R. Graeme Cameron at the King George High School in the West End of Vancouver in February 1970 while completing grade 12.
Club meetings were ad hoc affairs in the school cafeteria, mostly devoted to concocting wild schemes to take over the world (one member’s motto: “First the Earth, then the Universe!”). Active members were capped at 13 (considered a lucky number), but non-active readers were numerous enough to ‘sell out’ the club bulletin’s monthly print-run of fifty copies (which were handed out free and taken mostly, I suspect, by bored students desperate for something amusing to read).
The ‘active’ members were: R. Graeme Cameron, Chris Eastwood, Frank Liska, Arthur Nisbet-Jones, Frank Shapiro (Toronto division), Greg Melle, John Fearing (Teacher), Mr. Buim (Teacher), Berry Hartwell, Doug Gladue, Wolfred Nelson, Tony Yuen & Soren Jenson.
I proudly carried my membership card in my wallet till April of 2008 when I was mugged and beaten and my wallet stolen. Not quite what I had aspired to. Oh well.
At any rate, an example of a small high school club serving to express the student member’s creativity, originality and enthusiasm. Juvenile, of course, but at the time we thought we were being quite witty and sophisticated. I would describe the faculty’s viewpoint as ‘bemused.’
[ See ASPIRER’S CLUB BULLETIN ]
— The British Columbia Science Fiction Association.
GO TO: BCSFA
— BCSFAzine #137 (Oct 1984) reported: “BCSFA North, a branch of BCSFA once operating in Prince Rupert, has now been reactivated as the Campbell River Branch. Three meetings have been held in the homes of Kay Briggs (President) and of Paul H. Simms (Recording Secretary). Meetings are held whenever fans gather at one of these places.”
Selected quotes from the BCSFA NORTH ‘Conditions Of Membership’ document included in the GENERIC CON 1 Program Book:
“Article 1 – FUNCTION OF THE ORGANIZATION
1.1 – The official functions of BCSFA North are to provide an excuse for parties, to indulge the member’s hedonistic impulses, and to provide an outlet for the President’s latent megalomaniac tendencies.
1.2 – The organization also has something to do with Science Fiction, but no one is quite sure what.
Article 2 – THE EXECUTIVE
2.1 – The only executive officer of BCSFA North is the President, who is a self-appointed dictator and recognizes no form of democracy, parliamentarianism, collective bargaining, human rights, fair play, or anything else.
Article 3 – CONDITIONS OF MEMBERSHIP
3.1 – Members are persons who have been told by the President that they are members.
3.2 – Membership fees will be accepted gleefully by the President. There is no ceiling. Cash, money orders, cheques, postage stamps, books, household appliances, liquor, and half-dressed members of the opposite sex are all acceptable forms of payment.
3.3 – To retain their good standing in BCSFA North members must remain alive and must attend at least one meeting per century.
Article 4 – RELATIONSHIP TO PARENT ORGANIZATION
4.1 – The Parent Organization of BCSFA North is the B.C. Science Fiction Association.
4.3 – The President of BCSFA North recognizes the existence of the Executive of BCSFA, but pays no attention to them whatsoever.
4.4 – The official organ of BCSFA North is BCSFAzine, although BCSFAzine doesn’t know this.”
[ See BCSFA, BCSFA NEWSLETTER, BCSFA MEMBERs’ HANDBOOK, BCSFAZINE, THE BCSFA PRESS, THE BCSFA WAR OF ’74, FICTONS FREE-FOR-ALL & GENERIC CON 1]
COLOMBIA SCIENCE FANTASY SOCIETY
— This is yet another extension to Claude Degler’s Cosmic Circle of Cosmen, and one international in scope, supposedly involving fans in Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia. However, Degler never visited Washington State or B.C., and Oregon not till years later, so his announcement circa 1943 concerning this organization’s creation can be taken with a grain of salt. If it did exist it could lay claim to being the first fan organization involving British Columbia, as there was none such till Norman G. Browne founded the Vancouver SF Society in 1951.
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSMEN, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), FUTURE FANTASY FRENCH, MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
THE CYGNUS SCIENCE SOCIETY
— Founded in 1983, it was “a promotional organization intended to assist in the events and activities (particularly financial) of Victoria’s SF clubs… Its stated purposes include promoting science, SF, SF authors and publishers in Victoria, cooperating with and assisting the other Victoria clubs; discussion meetings; special events; fund-raising events; and a periodical…”
The society was named after the constellation Cygnus (the swan) and acknowledged as a Registered Society by the B.C. Government circa September 1983. “The first Cygnus activity I know of is an Oct 28 Halloween dance.” By Dec 1983 they had already held three successful fundraising events, so off to a flying start. At first only five members: Stephan Hawkins as President, Wayne C. Kelly as VP, James Dean Waryk as Secretary, Dave Armitage as Treasurer, & Ramsay Parker as legal & financial adviser. (GS)
GANGLION OF FOUR
— Consisted of Garth Spencer, Paula Johanson, Earnie B. Klassen, & David Gordon-McDonald, the Faneds of THE CENTRAL GANGLION which appeared in the early 1980s. The term is a spoof of the ‘Edmonton Gang Of Four’ faneds who put out the contemporary zine THE MONTHLY MONTHLY.
[ See THE CENTRAL GANGLION, & THE MONTHLY MONTHLY ]
— The Gamesters of Triskelion, a gaming club in Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., circa 1978 into early 1980s. They published a newsletter THE GAMESTERS GUIDE, and a semesterly magazine VULCAN MAIL.
(This may or may not be the SFU gaming club famous for its huge collection of boardgames which disappeared in a flash when an incoming new executive’s first act was to vote the club out of existence and take the games home, much to the chagrin of the members. Possibly this event may have happened in the mid 1970s to an earlier club?)
“The GoT was founded on both Thursday, Sept 28th and Friday, Sept 29th, 1978 in Rotunda 303 on the campus of SFU, with four people in attendance at the first meeting and ten at the second. The appointed executive, present at both meetings, consist of William Christopher Seth Affleck Asch Lowe (Manager), Ross Kerr (President), and Jacqueline Stirling (Vice-President & Treasurer)… two other motions passed at the (2nd) meeting were: To focus the membership of the club on Science Fiction and Science Fantasy (unanimous), and to set up an official committee to negotiate terms for a planned sortie against the members of the Medieval Society, to take place in the centre of the academic quadrangle with the purpose of gaining more members for both clubs….” (This apparently didn’t take place till March of 79.)
The club quickly got into a routine of holding weekly meetings every Friday in room 313 off the rotunda at SFU between 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Their posters stressed “Gamesters of Triskelion Star Trek & Science Fiction Meeting” and were accompanied by a drawing of a kite-like banner or scroll exhibiting a Trek symbol and what looks like a hairy eyeball whose meaning escapes me. Gaming sessions were held on Tuesday nights starting at 7:30 PM in room TC 313 across from the student print shop and hosted by Mike Rae.
In 1981 G.O.T. had “a good showing of members, a good strong D&D contingent… 22 on-campus members… one off-campus…only 3 are women.” By spring of 1981 they had acquired a library of more than 200 SF books of which “the hard-covers have over-flowed into a second locker.” Books for which there was no longer any demand were to be donated to the SFU library. For a gaming club, their interest in SF was strong. They arranged a showing of the British SF film ‘Village Of The Damned’, for instance. And their magazine VM was almost entirely devoted to SF reviews and SF&F fiction.
[ See THE GAMESTERS GUIDE & VULCAN MAIL ]
THE HIBITED MEN
— When Norman G. Browne founded the Vancouver SF Society in 1951, ‘The Hibited Men’ became the informal name of the club. ‘Hibited’ is the opposite of ‘inhibited’, so I guess this was a declaration that the Vancouver SF Society was not composed of introverts such as are usually found in SF clubs.
On the other hand, the term may well derive from a short story by L. Sprague de Camp, titled ‘The Hibited Man’, which appeared in THRILLING WONDER STORIES in Oct 1949. I’ve not read the story, but an illustration from it appears on pages 214/215 of THE VISUAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION (Harmony Books 1977). It depicts 14 bare-breasted women, possibly showgirls in their dressing room, recoiling in horror from a man wielding a paint brush. This smacks of excessive prudery rather than lack of inhibition, so I’m at a loss to see how it relates to the Vancouver SF Society.
If anyone knows why the club picked that ‘nickname, or what the de Camp story was actually about, please let me know.
[ See VANATIONS, VANCOUVER SF SOCIETY, PAPA, CONCUPISCENT TALES, PAR, TORATIONS, DAMN!, FILLER, NORMAN G. BROWNE, HIBITED HAPPENINGS, SEVENTH FANDOM & DOCTOR OF FANOLOGY]
IMAGINATIVE FICTION SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
— Founded in the fall of 1983 as a replacement for the defunct UVic SF Association. Published the newsletter WHAT IFS and the Fictionzine WORLDS OF IFS, later combined into one zine titled
COME HOLD THE MOON. (Detail to be added)
[ See WHAT IFS, WORLDS OF IFS, & COME HOLD THE MOON ]
— The Science Fiction Association of Victoria.
GO TO: SFAV
— Perhaps the first Slan shack to exist in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area. Also known as the Surrey Slan Shack, home to the Surrey Contingent. It was in existence from early 1980 to August 1983.
As member Jim Welch wrote: “At a FRED meeting, Stuart Cooper mentioned that the people living in his parent’s rental house were moving out. Was I interested in moving in and forming part of a slan shack?…It’ll be great, we can hold parties and BCSFA meetings….The original intention of Shadowguard was to be exclusively Surrey Contingent. This was partly because we were all elitist in the S.C., and, also, because we knew each other well enough to know we were compatible…”
“Despite my initial thoughts, coming up with a name was easier than I thought. V-Con 8 was the upcoming convention with Roger Zelazny as the Guest of Honour. Shadowguard is the name of Jack of Shadows’ castle from Roger Zelazny’s book JACK OF SHADOWS. I suggested the name to the others and it was accepted. Shadowguard was formed.”
“Stuart Cooper, Gay Maddin, Marg Galbraith-Hamilton, and myself, Jim Welch, were the original members. Sometime later, Jerry Gallant would move in with Gay, and Marg and myself would move out.”
“Shadowguard will be disbanding this month (August 1983). However, in the Surrey tradition, a big blow-out is being planned and anyone who has ever been to Shadowguard is invited.” The many parties held at Shadowguard during its existence are fondly remembered by all who ever attended.
Among other activities, the inhabitants of Shadowguard produced the first three or four issues of the SFA DIGEST while they lived together, and the subsequent issues after Shadowguard was disbanded.
[ See SURREY FAN ASSOCIATION, SFA DIGEST, & SLAN SHACK ]
SURREY FAN ASSOCIATION / SURREY FAN CONTINGENT
— The group formed in a very traditional way circa 1975/1976, “nine farsighted young men” (i.e. High School students) “discovering their similar basic views of mankind, began a series of secret meetings… Merrick Terry (a true Trekkie), Randy Lingenfelter (later to become a trade unionist), Mark Adams (a confirmed sexual deviate), Iain Clark (aeons ahead in beerdrinking), Stuart Cooper (what can I say?), Jim Welch, (a Woody Allen reject), Chris Nagati (the invisible fan), Jim Robinson (all round cool guy) and ( ? ) did more toward the progress of science fiction than the Roman Empire.”
“At first, meeting only as a casual group, these men were driven to desperate measures by the almost overwhelming oppression they faced…” (i.e. being forced to read THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES in grade 11.) “but school librarian Keray Rollins saw what was happening…decided to do something about it… He discovered our obscure noon hour discussion group and gave us a cause. It was actually he who first coined the term ‘Students Seeking Better Science Fiction’, thereby giving us an identity. Thus was born S2BSF, the nucleus of Surrey fandom.”
At the same time they first conceived of a fanzine, to be called SFAN, but it was stillborn. In the summer of 1976 Randy, Mark, Ian and ( ? ) dropped away, but Merrick, Jim, Jim, Chris & Stuart carried on, among other activities making a science fiction home movie. In 1977 everyone graduated.
“…in mid-1978 the group made a miraculous recovery. We lost Merrick and admitted to our ranks… Jerry Gallant. From that point on, S2BSF – now known as the Surrey Contingent – proceeded ever onward… The members joined BCSFA, began attending cons regularly, en masse, and gernerally shifted the focus of fandom south of the Fraser river.”
“In 1979 Marg Galbraith-Hamilton joined…in early 1980 we were joined by the illustrious Gay Maddin, swelling the ranks of the Surrey Contingent to an astounding 7 members….Although the group is based in Surrey, not all Surrey fans have the wherewithal to belong to the Surrey Contingent, and it is not absolutely necessary to live in Surrey to belong…. We strongly maintain the necessary cynical attitude : ‘Surrey sucks, but we love it.'” – (Jim Robinson)
Also in 1980 some members of the group formed a slan shack they named SHADOWGUARD. “In the late summer period of Shadowguard… SFA was formed. The chief instigator this time was Jim Welch. For history buffs the momentous occasion occurred at Dave Wilson’s place during a BCSFA meeting…” – (MGH)
Beginning in 1982 they put out 8 issues of a zine called SFA DIGEST as a kind of alternative to BCSFAzine, thus establishing a reputation as a bunch of BCSFAn renegades (as far as some other BCSFAns were concerned), but bear in mind they did not break away from BCSFA so much as act as a subversive subset of BCSFA. As part of this subversion, in protest of BCSFA policies, the Surrey Contingent started referring to themselves as the Surrey Fan Association (in contrast to the BCSF Association). This made for lively politics.
Note: In THE SFA DIGEST #4, Margaret Galbraith-Hamilton writes: “…SFA does NOT stand for Surrey Fan Association…Nothing so noble crossed our minds when choosing the title of the group. I won’t print the name (I would hate to offend you) but I will tell you that while the A could be thought of as referring to a group it is not ‘association’….” Elsewhere in the same issue an additional clue to the meaning of SFA is offered: “SFA has similarities to co-operative anarchy.” Your guess is as good as mine.
[ See SFA DIGEST, SLAN SHACK, FAN FILMS, & SHADOWGUARD ]
— The University of British Columbia Science Fiction Society (which founded BCSFA).
GO TO: UBC SFFEN
THE VANCOUVER AREA FLYING SAUCER CLUB
— The Vancouver area Flying Saucer Club was founded in July of 1956 by Mr. Herbert Clark and by Miss L. Margaret Fewster. By March of 1958 the club had grown to 180 members and was actively considering incorporating as a society. How long it survived after that I do not know.
While it existed, VAFSC cost $2.00 to join, for which members were given a club card and a subscription to the single-sheet monthly newsletter. Any non-member was welcome to attend monthly meetings, in the fervent hope they would be moved to join, or at least toss some coins into the collection plate. Given the size of the club, meetings were probably held in rented halls, on at least one occasion at the Hermes Lodge of the Theosophical Society at 5th Avenue & Cypress.
Members were encouraged to write up their ‘sightings’, and to actively ‘spot’ UFOs. Wrote Miss Fewster: “The junior branch are organizing themselves as U.F.O. ‘spotters’ and have taken a business-like inventory of their equipment… Any senior members of V.A.S.F.C. who are equally keen, possess a car, camera and binoculars, and enough gas to drive said car, is welcome to arrange field trips for ( juniors & other ) members of the club…discourage yourself from going alone.. you will need reliable witnesses…and don’t forget your sandwiches; I am told extensive ‘spotting’ is a hungry business!”
‘Spotting’ evidently came easy for some:
“The Secretary has been lucky enough to make five sightings this month, over Kerrisdale, at night, after 10 o’clock, in each case the object was a glowing orange colour, which manoeuvred in various directions, at incredible speed… sizes varying from that of an orange to half the size of the moon!”
“Mr. & Mrs. J. Rea, club members, made a wonderful sighting… at their home… (in) North Burnaby. Mrs. Rea, while gazing north over Mount Seymour, spotted a cigar-shaped U.F.O….She called her husband, who also saw object, both with naked eye and binoculars… and while watching object for three quarters of an hour, saw it change shape from cigar to star shape, and also saw lights in the middle and end of object… and at the same time red lights or discs seem to emerge from the object. Size of object 8 to 10 inches, height at top of mountain about 3,500 feet.”
The club bulletin contained numerous quotes from other sources, most trending towards the idea that an advanced civilization of aliens is urging humanity to cast off its primitive limitations and become one with the aliens through a meeting of the minds.
One quote, from London, England, is almost cheerfully reassuring: “A friend of mine, whom I respect and revere, informs me that he traveled beyond the stratosphere in one of those vehicles (flying saucers) many years ago, that he knows how space ships work, why they can turn so quickly, and why those within them are not affected by centrifugal force. Those who man them, some of them from other planets, are concerned with safe-guarding life — and not merely human life, which is not at the top of the evolutionary tree…”
Given the nature of these quotes, and the reviews of books offering similar views, I am inclined to think they were selected because they probably corresponded to the philosophy of the majority of VAFSC members, who seem to have been nothing less than a spiritualist movement of utopianists waiting for aliens to guide mankind to the next stage of evolution.
VANCOUVER SF SOCIETY
— Founded by Norman G. Browne in December of 1951. According to Harry Warner Jr., “Vancouver got a local fan club for an odd reason. The unknown Norman G. Browne of that city had gone all the way to Nolacon,” (the 1951 Worldcon in New Orleans) “where he saw nobody he knew. This sense of being an outsider left him upon his return with a determination to become a real part of fandom. So he organized the Vancouver Science Fiction Society before he learned about the existence of CSFA” — the latter being the Canadian Science Fiction Association, which the Vancouver SF Society joined in 1952 and was still affiliated with in early 1953, so we know the club lasted at least that long.
Here is what Browne himself wrote about the founding of the club, excerpted from his ‘NORMAN G. BROWNE: FAN’ article in VANATIONS #4:
“I left the Nolacon with an overwhelming desire to become a fan…. My first act when I got home from the Nolacon was to organize a S-F club. This took considerable time due to the fact that I had no knowledge or experience in fandom or stf and knew nothing about organizing clubs. But by dint of sheer work and luck, the club was organized and had its first meeting in December of that same year (1951). At a later meeting I was installed as President of the club.”
“As President of the Vancouver SF Society I pushed stf (Scientifiction) and my club as hard and strong as I could in my immediate area. Thus, from an utter unknown, I had made myself known and had created a sphere of influence to cover the Vancouver area. Gradually, I extended this sphere of influence to cover the whole of British Columbia.”
“As President of this club, I became contact man with outside fandom. Through a prozine letter-column, I learned of the existence of the Canadian S-F Association and contacted them. Also, through the same medium, I learned of the existence of the Seattle SF Society 100 miles to the South of us and got in touch with them…”
Browne informally called the club ‘THE HIBITED MEN’, presumably based on a short story of the same title by L. Sprague de Camp. Members met in Browne’s home, and presumably in each other’s. At one club meeting Browne and Curt Lang “got into quite an argument over the relative merits of certain comic books. Curt has taken fencing lessons and I own two swords…”
Because members referred to themselves as ‘THE HIBITED MEN’, the Vancouver SF Society newsletter was titled HIBITED HAPPENINGS. In explaining how the first nine months of his fan activity after Nolacon brought him to the point of feeling qualified enough to start work on his perzine VANATIONS, Browne wrote: “I had spent nine months studying and learning about fandom. I had learned about fan publishing and editing by studying fanzines and by editing a club newsletter….” Thus he was both President AND Newsletter Editor for the Vancouver SF Society. However, after issue #3 of HIBITED HAPPENINGS he moved to Edmonton, and Frank Stephens took over as club newsletter editor.
What is clear about the Vancouver SF Society’s involvement with VANATIONS is that the members of the club early on devoted their resources to helping Browne produce his first issue. They contributed art, articles, and a cover which was printed in Vancouver. The issue was actually mailed from Edmonton, where Browne had moved, in June of 1952. In #2 he commented: “The planning for the first issue of VANATIONS covered a period of four months. The actual construction and work was done over a period of another three months.” This would appear to indicate he started planning the zine the very month he formed the club, and that fellow members contributed by April, if not earlier.
As to who belonged to the club, Norman G. Browne, Alfred W. Purdy (later a famous poet), Victor Samoila, Frank Stephens, Jim (James) Wills & Curt Lang are known members. Close reading of issues of VANATIONS suggests other prospects, some probable, others merely possible. Of the probable members I include 2 Vancouver fans in touch with Browne: Vic Miller & Bill Galliene, 3 Vancouver fans known across Canada: Alan Child, Gordon Peck & Shirley K. Peck, & 2 fans located outside Vancouver but who contributed to VANATIONS & may well have belonged to the club: Terence Barker (of Westview, B.C.), & L. Lockhart Layton (of Prince Rupert, B.C.).
Of the possible club members, I quote from the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY (donated to the B.C.S.F.A. archive by Chester D. Cuthbert) published by the Canadian Science Fiction Association in Fall of 1952. This includes the names & addresses of Vancouver fans who were members of the Vancouver SF Society which was affiliated with the CSFA, single members of CSFA not involved with the VSFS, and well-known fans not members of either organization. Unfortunately the directory does not indicate their status. Consequently the following list merely consists of Vancouver fans contemporary with the VSFS, but since the basic source material used to compile the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY was undoubtedly the membership of the affiliated organizations, it is highly likely that most of the following persons named belonged to the Vancouver Science Fiction Society. Especially since Norman G. Browne himself was the primary source of information for the B.C. listings. He must have known, or known of, all of the following fans:
Allen Baratelli, M.S. Barnett, P.L. Booke, Robert H. Bowman, Edward Bowser, Mary Brock, E.J. Broome, H.O. Clarke, Yvonne Cooper, B. Creer, Roy Davidson, Peter Duncan, Donald Foster, Rose Frew, Gordon Futcher, Gordon Gibson Jr., Terry Graham, Peter Grant, Gordon Hackett, Rose Hafley, Arthur Harris, Terence W. Hibbert, James Hill, James C. Hinds, Brian Hurst, George M. Kerr, C.R. Mackenzie, Don Maclaren, Claude Mayes, S. McIntyre, Tom McKitch, G. McPherson, Barry Nelson, J.W. O’Connell, Otto Pfeifer, Jim Polson, S.R. Price, Ralph Redden, Gordon W. Rix, Eric Rogerson, Tom Rosenburg, Helen Smith, Charles Stephens, George Stephens, Peter Whalley, R. White, & Bob Wilson.
(Note; the names I listed as ‘known’ & ‘probable’ members of the VSFS are also listed in the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY, with the exceptions of Victor Samoila & Shirley K. Peck.)
In sum, I have listed 60 fans who, if not all members of the VSFS, were known active fans, most of them from Vancouver. I haven’t even mentioned the fans living in Victoria, Squamish, Penticton, Kelowna & elsewhere in B. C., some of whom may also have been members, given Browne’s statement he “extended this sphere of influence to cover the whole of British Columbia.” From the numbers it appears Science Fiction fandom was alive and thriving in B.C. in 1952!
If any of the above mentioned people come across this entry I would be happy to hear from them. Please comment on this page.
(RGC) & (HWJ) & (GS) & (CC)
[ See VANATIONS, BROWNE NORMAN G., PAPA, CONCUPISCENT TALES, PAR, TORATIONS, DAMN!, FILLER, THE HIBITED MEN, HIBITED HAPPENINGS, SEVENTH FANDOM, & DOCTOR OF FANOLOGY]