A Visit To Science Fiction House

From the papers of Donald A. Wollheim

This is the first in a series of posts that will surface unpublished articles and fiction by Donald Wollheim. These come from a set of papers recently acquired from Lloyd Currey, who sourced them from the Wollheim estate. The provenance appears clear and the content consistent with his other writings of the period.

The notion of a “Science Fiction House” emerged in New York fandom in the late 1930s, and first became real with the establishment of a residence in Brooklyn known as Futurian House. The story of that fabled abode is told in detail in the October 1939 and January 1940 issues of the Jim Avery’s M.S.A. Bulletin, the club organ of the Maine Scientifiction Association. (Full reproductions of that account are found in The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom.) Given the ages and largely unemployed status of its residents, it’s not too surprising that the story reads a bit like an early draft script for Animal House.

Frederik Pohl in Science Fiction News Letter, v2n14, September 1 1938

But Wollheim had already formed a vision of an idyllic communal living space for fans. This fictional history, sadly incomplete, is dated December 3 1937. (Click the images for full-screen renderings.)

Neil Young comes to mind:

“Oh to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons…”

We can all wish for such a place, these days.

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