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Challenging Moskowitz
1930s Fandom Revisited

Expanded Edition – 2024

Rob Hansen (editor)

ISBN 978-1-913451-19-6

Sam Moskowitz’s The Immortal Storm (serialized 1945, book edition 1951) is regarded by many as the definitive history of US science fiction fandom in the 1930s. However, several contemporary fans either presented alternative versions of events or took issue with the book’s alleged selectivity (New York-centrism in particular) and partisanship. To offer a different perspective Rob Hansen has compiled and introduced this collection of relevant fanwriting by Redd Boggs, E.J. (Ted) Carnell, Allen Glasser, Charles D. Hornig, Damon Knight, Julius Schwartz, Jack Speer, Harry Warner Jr, Donald A. Wollheim and T. Bruce Yerke – plus a rebuttal to Warner and Knight by Sam Moskowitz himself.

Short version first published by Ansible Editions for the TAFF site in ebook format only on 1 November 2019; approximately 47,500 words. Much expanded with additional material in May 2024; now over 71,000 words. The cover photograph of (from left to right) Jack Darrow, Julius Schwartz, Conrad Ruppert, William Dellenback – formerly misidentified as Donald A. Wollheim – and Julius Unger at the 1939 New York Worldcon is from the Ted Carnell collection. Photographer unknown.

A printed paperback of the expanded edition was also released in May 2024: click here for more.

From the Foreword
by Rob Hansen

If you are interested in the history of, say, World War Two, it’s possible to find multiple books covering all but the most obscure parts of the conflict. Which is how it should be. The more viewpoints that are available, the more rounded an appreciation you’re likely to acquire of the matter at hand. This has not traditionally been the case when it comes to histories of SF fandom. For many years, you went to Harry Warner Jr’s books for the history of fandom in the 1940s and 1950s, and to Sam Moskowitz’s The Immortal Storm for the 1930s. Apart from Damon Knight’s later The Futurians, and bits in autobiographical works by members of this particular group, that was it for the decade. However, there were others who covered the period at length in fanzines at the time and whose writings when taken together constitute another viewpoint: hence this volume. Though Challenging Moskowitz is, I know, a provocative title, my intention is not to undermine or disparage SaM’s work but rather to supply another text that can be read alongside his and provide some contrast.