We consider the genre a staple nowadays, but back in the 30s, science fiction was still a relatively new thing. It hadn’t even been coined “science fiction” yet — “science romance” was a popular term, along with “pseudo-scientific” and “scientifiction” (which sounds like some kind of chemical reaction). Time Magazine reported on the very first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939, and now, thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can read the original article. It’s a doozy, an openly condescending take on the “shamo-scientifics” that were so popular in the pulp fiction world at the time. It directly refers to the venerable Hugo Gernsback as a “shrewd, fat old man.” Don’t miss it.
Michael Sacco is a freelance editor and writer, currently working as senior editor at WoW Insider.