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Science Fiction Fanzines and Fandom

Posted in Academic Communities, Academic Disciplines, General News, and Visiting the Library

Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories

CSUF University Archives & Special Collections is showcasing our collection of science fiction fanzines as part of the 6th Annual Orange County Zine Fest. The growth of science fiction fanzines and fandom can be traced back to the 1920s, and has its roots in the first science fiction pulp magazine: Amazing Stories.

First published in April 1926 by Hugo GernsbackAmazing Stories initially contained reprints of works by well-known authors like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, but gradually began to include more works of original “scientifiction”. Over the following decades, the magazine was an inspiration to countless writers, including Isaac Asimov, Arthur c. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury, who would later publish their own work in Amazing Stories.

The magazine also printed letters from fans, who responded to stories and offered their thoughts, criticisms, and suggestions, along with their names and addresses. As a result, fans began writing directly to each other, forming the early foundations of SF fandom. In 1928, Amazing Stories readers formed the first SF fan organization, the Science Correspondence Club, and in May 1930, the group published the very first fanzine: The Comet.

The Comet
The Comet

Throughout the 20th century, fanzines played an important role in fan communication, and not only for American science fiction fans. Around the world, fanzines acted as a medium for fans to share their passion for numerous subjects, from comic books and horror films, to punk rock and countercultural movements.  

With the advent of the internet, fandoms quickly adapted to communicating, organizing, and publishing online. Yet fanzines continue to serve as an outlet for the creative expression of SF fans, and CSUF’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature Club continues that tradition with their own zine publication.

The items featured in this display are primarily located in the Star Trek collection and the newly processed Science Fiction Fanzine Sample collections, as well as University Archives. Please contact University Archives & Special Collections if you would like access to any of the materials used in this display. 

CSUF University Archives & Special Collections will be participating in the upcoming 6th Annual Orange County Zine Fest on August 24 at the Anaheim Public Library. 

This post was authored by David Wells, a student assistant in the CSUF Archives and a graduate student in the CSUF History Department.


Duncombe, Stephen. Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture. London: Verso, 1997.