Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Hydra Club

In a conversation spun off from a 1940 letter cheering the "imminent demise of the science fiction comic magazines", the author, Thomas S. Gardner, was linked to a New York fandom club called the Hydra Club.  The Hydra Club has quite a bit of overlap with the Futurians in terms of roster. Not sure if the agenda is there, but the non-Futurian names really start to impress how NY centered fandom and it's resulting genre was.

What makes this interesting in hindsight is that the claims of the Worldcon crowd during the Sad Puppies years that SFF was theirs is strengthened by the existence of the Futurians and the Hydra Club. Many familiar names from the New York SF clubs of the time went on to become prominent authors in science fiction. A case can be made that literary science fiction has been catering to the tastes of the New York social crowd because it was written by the New York crowd, with those consigned to the ghetto such as Heinlein and van Vogt being authors outside those social circles. However, it is interesting to see that many of the prominent voices in the Sad Puppies affair on both sides are not from New York, but the Rocky Mountains. Martin, and Flint, and Correia, Hoyt, and Torgersen hail from New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Although they represent opposing sides in the Sad Puppy controversy, when joined with Sanderson, Card, the authorial team known as James S.A. Corey, and Kevin J. Anderson, it is clear that the creative heart of science fiction and fantasy is no longer in New York but westward.

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