I Guess You Had to Be There - Introduction

Some Opening Remarks

Garth Spencer

Why a history of Canadian SF fandom? (Or any fanhistory, for that matter?) And who am I to write this?

People who come to SF conventions now, or enter an SF club today, may not know (or care) that there were a few decades of history in the subculture before they came along. But (reason one) I happen to think there's a practical benefit for them, when (and I do mean when) clubs dissolve due to apathy or petty bunfighting, or trouble and strife afflicts SF conventions; these things happen periodically to any volunteer associations, whether they are service clubs or hobby groups, and there are constructive lessons to be learned from previous events, some of them practical and remedial and some of them amusing.

Personally, I entered a small local fan club in Victoria, British Columbia about 1979 or 1980. I have been active in Canadian and Northwest fandom since then, once going to the extent of publishing a newszine for Canadian fandom for three and a half years. From the first (reason two), like other fans who became interested mostly in fanzines, I perceived that fans occupy themselves with many different interests and activities - film and TV series, the ongoing story worlds that some authors return to again and again, costuming, filking, live-action or fantasy role-playing games, SF and fantasy art, Regency dancing, the Society for Creative Anachronism, or running conventions - and like other fans, it seemed to me that many of my contemporaries lack some background information, or common points of fannish reference, from which they could benefit.

So I think there's a point to the chronicles which follow, and I think I may be an acceptable person to compile them: and by that, I mean only that I can put documents together. I mean only this, and nothing more.

Now, I have to admit right away that I have no training in history. I have developed a style and format for these chronicles as I went along. It shows. For one thing, I have depended heavily on such written information as I was able to gather. This implies certain consequences.

For one thing, wherever the following fanhistories are incomplete or in error, please point this out to me and I will correct them as soon as I can. For your convenience, and ease of immediate response, I am putting e-mail links to my @ddress throughout the chronicles, wherever I suspect you can add or correct something.

For another thing, I keep descending to a bare, bald recitation of facts, this club or fan name published this zine and held that con in the indicated year, these here names are mentioned, there's another new SF book or magazine ... without background. I make this confession: I don't put a lot of colour or background into these chronicles. My only excuse is, I can only work from the written information available to me. Feel free to point out what is missing, or better yet, supply some of the material this fanhistory needs. This is an interactive, ongoing, community project.

Garth Spencer

Canadian SF Fandom history (30s & 40s)

Canadian SF Fandom history (50s)

Canadian SF Fandom history (60s)

Canadian SF Fandom history (70s)