Monday, October 8, 2007

Canadian fan history

I just learned from Claw of the Conciliator that a significant sf-collector and fan has donated his collection to a library. I wanted to know more, and googled Chester Cuthbert. In this way I found A History of Canadian SF Fandom by Garth Spencer, and a long and informative blogpost by Randy Reichardt at the Pod Bay Door blog about Chester D Cuthbert and the story behind the donation, including links to pictures and other interesting things.

I like stories like this (quoted from Randy Reichardt, link above):

In the mid-1970s, when I was active in sf fandom and lived in Winnipeg, I made regular visits to Chester’s home on Saturdays, where the local group of sf fans would congregate on an almost-weekly basis to swap stories, discuss the latest novels and writing, report on conventions, and make plans for our various fanzines and upcoming trips to sf conventions. Chester, who turns 95 on 15 October 2007, welcomed us into his home, and would often share stories of the glory days of past decades in the world of sf fandom. In the 1950s and 1960s, other local fans had descended upon Chester’s house, and spent many a Friday evening until the wee hours doing the same as our local group, nicknamed Decadent Winnipeg Fandom (DWF), did in the mid-1970s.

I want a Decadent Kingston Fandom!

By the way, today is Thanksgiving in Canada and I'm not working (well, not much anyway). (My husband decided to buy some turkey, and since I love sweets I got us a pumpkin pie.) Since some of us found it inconvenient to have a meeting between Thanksgiving and the election on Wednesday we moved the Fearless Fantasy meeting to next Tuesday. (If you are in Kingston: we will meet at Indigo about 7PM and then find a coffee place where we can sit and discuss A Wrinkle in Time and other things, and then decide on the book for next month.)


Elliot said...

You'd think that a Winnipegger like me would know about some of this local fandom history... but I had no idea!

Randy Reichardt said...

Greetings. I wrote the original post from which you excerpted the paragraph in this post. I don't mind you re-publishing it here, and am grateful for your enthusiasm about the project, but would appreciate attribution to my original post other than the link, which doesn't necessarily suggest a connection to my excerpted paragraph. Perhaps you could change the preceding line to "a long and information blogpost by Randy Reichardt...". Thanks.

Decadent Winnipeg Fandom was a phrase coined by one of the "local group" of fans that were active in Winnipeg 35-37 years ago. Many of us published fanzines, attended conferences, etc.

Elliot, check out some of Garth Spencer's accounts on this page:
His coverage of Winnipeg fandom in the 1970s is relatively accurate.

I haven't been active in fandom since the early 90s; the last con I attended was the WorldCon in Winnipeg in 1994, but by then the flame had all but burned out. I had attended a couple of KeyCons in the mid-80s, and even then, some 20 years ago, the Wpg fans there had heard of DWF, but didn't know much about it. They wanted to know if they could continue with the name, but I suggested it would be better for then to start anew and create a new local group of active fans. I don't know if that ever happened.

It was rewarding to work on securing Chester's collection for eventual transfer to the University of Alberta Libraries, but it was not without some melancholy as well. As I wrote, many of us spent a lot of time at Chester's home, and all of it was very rewarding. Last Thursday, when the last box left his house, family members who were present commented that for decades they would say that if the books ever left the house, it might float away. That didn't happen, of course.

Kind regards,
Randy Reichardt

Åka said...

Oh. Randy: of course I will change it. I'm not always so careful with references, I tend to think that everyone will follow all links anyway, which is of course not true.

Åka said...

And by the way: I was not able to find the name Randy Reichardt on the site of the pod bay door. Other links I have seen later have not referred to the name either. So I'll have an exclusive correct reference ;-)

Randy Reichardt said...

Thanks for updating the post. And I've added my name to my own site, thanks for pointing that out as well. - Randy