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 Drawing on correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, and amateur publications (including a collection of Futurian wall newspapers which had wound up in Australia), he has written a fascinating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.
Damon Francis Knight was born in Oregon in 1922. He is regarded as one of the most important figures in modern science fiction, having made significant contributions to the field as an author, editor and critic. Knight co-founded the Milford Writers' Conference, the influential Clarion Workshop and the Science Fiction Writers of America, serving as its first president from 1965-67. Around this time he also made his reputation as one of the field's foremost anthologists. Beginning with reprint collections, in 1966 he launched the influential Orbit series of original anthologies. Starting with Orbit 1, the series would continue for over a decade, concluding in 1980 with Orbit 21. Orbit was the longest running and most influential anthology series in SF up to that point, showcasing such important authors as Gene Wolfe, R.A. Lafferty and Knight's third wife, Kate Wilhelm. A master of short fiction, Damon Knight is best known in wider circles as the author of TO SERVE MANKIND, which was adapted for THE TWILIGHT ZONE and later spoofed in a Hallowe'en episode of THE SIMPSONS. He was granted the SFWA's GRAND MASTER AWARD in 1995, and in 2002, SFWA renamed it the DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD in his honour. He died in 2002.
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