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The Futurians

Damon Knight

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Prose: non-fiction, Science fiction

The Futurian Society was founded in 1938 by thirteen science fiction fans; it never numbered more than twenty, including wives, girl friends and hangers-on; yet out of this small group came seven of the most famous names in science fiction: Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Damon Knight, Cyril Kornbluth, Judith Merril, Frederik Pohl and Donald A. Wollheim.

Brilliant, eccentric and poor, the Futurians invented their own subculture, with its communal dwellings, its folklore, songs and games, even its own mock religion. In later years many of them became influential novelists, editors, anthologists, literary agents and publishers.

The author has interviewed ten of the surviving Futurians and has traced down the widow of one member whose tragic fate was unknown until now. Drawing on correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, and amateur publications (including a collection of Futurian wall newspapers which had wound up in Australia), he has written a fascinating narrative of the early days of the Futurians, the feuds and lawsuits that divided them, and their later careers.

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