Well, THIS Explains A Lot...

My family moved a lot when I was growing up.[1] As a result, I gravitated towards first monster movie then sci-fi fandom b/c my friends were never further away than my mail box.

The classic pulps ala Astounding were gone by the time I entered fandom...

...long since replaced by or morphed into the digests (circa 1950) such as F&SF, Galaxy, etc.

The same spirit of sci-fi fan camarderie that existed on the letters pages of the old pulps carried over to the new digests.  In addition to those, there were literally hundreds of fanzines & semi-prozines where "letter hacks"[2] could exchange views and/or barbs.

It was, in short, very much like the InterWebs today...

...only using postage stamps.

Monster movie/sci-fi/comics fandom was probably the 2nd or 3rd greatest influence on my life outside of my family.[3] They gave me a sense of fun, a sense of purpose, but more importantly, a sense of belonging that I would have otherwise lacked moving from town to town to town.

There are people I first "met" thru the pages of Famous Monsters that I'm still good friends with today, fans & pros I "met" letter hacking on Dick Geis' Psychotic/Science Fiction Review/The Alien Critic whom I ended up working with years later.

My first published work was in a monster movie fanzine:  Gore Creatures #20.

I'm now at a stage of my life where I am one of the "old guard".  Doesn't mean I'm done[4] no more than the pros I met in my early days in fandom were done either (lotsa them went on to do some of their most impressive work in their later years).

But it does mean I see the new wave swirling around me, surging forward, and while I will be carried along with it for a ways, it's a whole new thing.

I have faith in the rising generation.  I trust they will do a good job.  I just hope my generation of creators will be judged as worthy successors to the old pros before us, and worthy predecessors of the new.

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[1]  But I always found 'em. >rim-shot<

[2] i.e., Fans who had nothing better to do than troll the interWebs read sci-fi fanzines all day & write LoCs (letters of comment)

[3] This was the other major influence.

[4]  Not by a long shot!

On The Convention Trail SDCC 2011

Thinkage