The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom

Volume One: The 1930s

Finalist for the 2021 Locus Award for non-fiction

The definitive history of fandom’s earliest days.  A remarkable book!
— Robert Silverberg

“…a sumptuous scrapbook of photographs, magazine covers, artwork and hundreds of articles, letters and typescripts, everything beautifully held together by the Ritters’ concise but enthralling text.”
Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“It’s an undeniably impressive piece of work… As a resource for those interested in early fan history, there’s nothing to compare to it… Overall, it’s a fascinating, dusty attic of a book, a trove for researchers, and an entertaining reminder of the hapless ur-geek culture that eventually gave rise to [a] billion-dollar industry.”
Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

“Ritter’s impressive ‘The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom, Volume One: The 1930s’ has already established itself as an indispensable resource for scholars and a bounty of entertainment for history-curious readers.”
— Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Locus, February 2021

“It’s as fine a non-fiction work produced by and for fandom as has ever come down the pike and I urge everyone to take a gander – especially those who would argue that cos-play is a relatively new phenomenon.
Steve Davidson, Publisher, Amazing Stories

“The book is splendiferous. Forrest Ackerman would have swooned!”
JM Stine, author of “Season of the Witch”

“In the long-ago land of the ’30s, a flock of young visionaries crusaded to remake the world in the shape of their imaginations. This is their indispensable story — and ours. A much more detailed portrait of First Fandom than previously available, brought to vivid life with hundreds of rare illustrations.   I loved the book!”
John Locke, author of “The Thing’s Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales”

How did organized science fiction fandom begin?  Who were the pioneering fans that created the foundation of today’s massive science fiction and fantasy industry? What would it have been like to be a fan of this transformative genre in the 1930s?

The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom recounts the stories of the first active science fiction fans — pioneers who went on to lead the growth of speculative literature for the next several decades. Over 500 lavishly illustrated pages, this engaging and authoritative volume documents organized fandom’s origin in the 1930s. The book features:

  • Hundreds of examples of fan-created art, fanzines and correspondence, many never before published
  • Detailed commentary with fresh insight and perspective on the story
  • Original narrative comics that bring to life key events

“What an overwhelming presentation! This is a very important work.  FFE has done an excellent job of presenting a complex subject.”
Mark Wheatley, Breathtaker, Doctor Cthulittle, Song of Giants

Print copies of The Visual History are currently sold out.
A fourth printing is expected by the end of 2023.
Available now as a full print-replica eBook for Kindle.
Click here to purchase the eBook on