Introduction

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THE EARLY HISTORY OF UMSFS

by A. Joseph Ross, Class of 1967

I.

In the early 1960s, before Star Trek and Star Wars science fiction was not the mainstream form of entertainment that it is today. There was very little SF on television, and most SF movies were really bad. If you liked science fiction, you were unusual and considered odd. I went to a small high school, where those of us who were addicted to science fiction quickly found one another. But UMass was much larger. As a freshman, I knew that someone must be buying all those books and Analog magazines that I saw at the University Store, but I never met any of them anywhere. I always carried an SF magazine around with me, reading it whenever I had a few moments, and I would have thought that other people who were into SF might have found me if I didn't find them. But in the fall of 1963, as the first weeks of my freshman year went by, it didn't happen.

Not only did people think my interest in SF strange, but I missed being able to talk about SF with friends. My favorite SF-oriented friend from high school had gone to Stanford University in California, and his family had moved to Colorado. We exchanged letters, but it just wasn't enough (these days we're in touch by e-mail). So sometime during that first semester of my freshman year, I decided to form a science fiction club. Freshmen are always warned not to get involved too soon in extracurricular activities. Heeding those warnings, I decided to begin midway through my second semester.

As an astronomy major originally, I had joined the Astronomy Club (which has since gone off campus as the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomy Association). I had become friendly with Pamela Adams, the Astronomy Club's secretary, and we occasionally ate together at what is now called Worcester Commons. In those days it was the Dining Commons the only one. Eventually I mentioned the subject of science fiction, and she said that she liked it and might be interested in starting an SF club. Finally, at the end of an Astronomy Club meeting, as we were leaving Hasbrouck, I half-facetiously suggested starting a science fiction club. The vice president of the Astronomy Club was interested (though he never actually joined), as was Pam. That was enough for me. I turned the conversation serious and agreed to go to the RSO office and find out what to do.

Then it finally happened. I saw someone at the Dining Commons with a copy of Analog in his hand. I went over and started a conversation, and that evening I visited him at his dorm. He introduced me to a guy across the hall who was also interested in an SF club.

I went to the RSO office, filled out forms, reserved a room, and put a notice in the Collegian about the first meeting. It was required that every organization have a faculty advisor. Pam knew a friendly physics professor, Dr. William Ross (no relation), who she thought would agree to let us put his name down, so long as he didn't have to do much. We went to see him, and he agreed. Although he never was into SF and was never a really active faculty advisor, he was helpful on a number of occasions when we needed his help (I was sorry to read in the alumni magazine of his death sometime in the early 1980s).

The first meeting was held in the Norfolk Room of the Student Union on 22 April 1964. We adopted the name "Science-Fiction Club" and formed a committee to draft a constitution. I was named Temporary Chairman and Pam was Temporary Secretary. The fellow I had met at the Commons was there, and so was his friend. One other person had come as a result of the Collegian notice. None of them ever came again. I was disappointed at the small turnout, but I hadn't realized that late April is a lousy time to get people to join a new campus activity. We had another meeting in May, at which we had a discussion topic, but I can't remember what it was. Attendance then consisted of Pam, me, and one more new member. He also never came again.

Meanwhile, Pam, I, and one of the other people met around a table in the Hatch to begin drafting a constitution. We were under way, with some hopes for the fall.

II.

At home during summer vacation, I wrote a few drafts of the constitution. As a lawyer now, I suspect that one of the functions of constitution-writing in student organizations is to give budding young lawyers practice and let them make their worst mistakes where it doesn't matter much. Meanwhile, Pam., who lived (and still lives) in Belchertown, prepared a bulletin board display in the Student Union lobby, consisting mostly of dust jackets from hardcover SF books.

Since the roommate I had originally signed up with had changed his plans, the afternoon before the start of classes found me moved into 206 Brett, awaiting the arrival of an unknown roommate and typing the final draft of the constitution. When my new roommate arrived, he wondered what I was typing before any classes had started. When I told him, he was even more amazed. He eventually read some of my SF magazines and became a fan of John W. Campbell's editorials in Analog. We re still in touch now, again mostly by e-mail.

unclezobee.jpgThe first event of the fall was Student Activities Night, where the various participating organizations would set up tables in the Student Union ballroom and try to promote themselves to the students attending For a display, we had Pam's bulletin board, but I wanted something more eye-catching, I sketched an alien face with bulging eyes and antennae and colored it green. She immediately named it "Uncle Sobie" after our astronomy professor, Dr. Sobieski. I liked the name, but changed it to "Uncle Zobee" in case our professor ever heard about it. Uncle Zobee was given the title Imperial Lizard and became the Club's mascot for the next several years. We soon discovered that we couldn't get the right effect unless we traced my original sketch exactly. We used a grid system to make some precise enlargements, but we never changed the facial expression, drew a profile, or even added a body to the face, The only variation that I can recall was a Christmas poster which showed him with a Santa Claus hat and beard.

Student Activities Night was a success, We signed up enough new members to meet the RSO minimum of ten members required for continued recognition. Most were freshmen, and because of that, we couldn t hold the first meeting until late October.

Back in those dark ages, universities thought they were entitled and obliged to regulate various aspects of students' private lives -- especially women students. That year freshman women had an 8:00 P.M. curfew on weeknights for the first month. As I recall, they couldn t even be out at the library after 8:00 PM. I think exceptions were made for certain events such as Student Activities Night. The first Club meeting of the fall had to be held after that month was over. The constitution was adopted at that meeting, and I later typed it one more time onto spirit duplicator masters (the age of Xerox was just dawning, and personal computers existed only in science fiction stories, and not in many of those). The copy in my files says that it was adopted on 20 October 1964. I was then elected president, and a contested election was held between two freshman volunteers for treasurer.

I was soon to learn that first-term freshmen walking into their first meeting are not good candidates for responsible positions. But, besides Pam and me, freshmen were all we had. In any event, our first treasurer, Bob Gaudet, turned out to be a shining exception to that rule. Since nobody was yet interested in vice president or secretary (which Pam didn't want), we decided to postpone elections for those offices until November. Dues were set at one dollar per semester, and we began to have a treasury.

Either at that meeting or at Student Activities Night, we met Harvey Rosen, whose enthusiasm and resourcefulness soon proved invaluable. Before the November meeting, I asked Pam to nominate him for vice president, and he was elected without opposition. Another freshman, Gordon Bienvenue, was elected secretary. He resigned a couple of months later.

My original idea, born of my wish to meet other SF-oriented people, was simply that the Club would meet once a month and talk about SF. For that reason, "to provide a forum for the discussion of science fiction and related topics" was the first purpose of the Club listed in the constitution. That was a naïve idea. It never was easy to come up with discussion topics, and the best discussions are spontaneous. I don't remember who first got the idea to start a library, but Harvey found the first room in which it was located. The new part of Hasbrouck had just been opened, and the Physics Department had extra space. Our room was 234 Hasbrouck, on the second floor of the old building, next to the rotunda. It had built-in bookshelves, lab benches for work space, and a couple of desks and chairs. It became our headquarters for the next two school years. Ironically, we moved into Hasbrouck, down the hall from the Astronomy Department (a separate department from Physics in those days), just as Pam and I were changing our majors away from astronomy.

Our first big program was held at the December meeting. Harvey had a phonograph record of the famous Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds, which caused panic when it first aired on radio in 1938. Radio drama had only recently died out, and nostalgic interest in old-time radio didn t get going until a few years later. Recordings of radio programs were much harder to find in those days than they were later (and now, you can find them on the Web). We made up some flyers and got a respectable crowd in one of the Student Union meeting rooms. There was also a business meeting, at which I announced that the Student Senate had approved our constitution. I also described the room in Hasbrouck, which we found filled with an incredible collection of junk. We adopted a bylaw establishing the appointive post of Librarian, with a seat on the Exec. Board, and I appointed Pam to that post.

Pam donated some hardcover books, and I found some paperbacks that I didn't want to keep. Over the holidays I visited the used book store in Bedford, my home town, and picked up some more paperbacks and magazines, which I donated. We cleaned up the room and began some limited library hours late in December. I soon noticed that Harvey was always at the library. Unfortunately, the University was not as appreciative of his enthusiasm for the Club as I was, and he had to leave us at the end of the semester.

We opened the second semester with our first guest speaker, Dr. Havens of the Mental Health Services, whom Harvey had found. I don't remember what he spoke about, something to do with fantasy I think. With him we began a custom of voting honorary membership for guest speakers. Later in the semester I got my English professor, Dr. Charlotte Spivack, to speak on the subject of science fiction as literature. She was also made an honorary member. [1] Meanwhile, Bob Gaudet brought in a friend from his dorm, Stan Levco, who immediately was elected the new vice president (last I heard, Stan was practicing law in Indiana).

Running the Club seemed rather difficult, particularly with a succession of freshman officers and my own lack of experience. I tried to find other collegiate SF clubs in the hope of learning from them. I somehow discovered and exchanged letters with a club at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. We also joined the National Fantasy Fan Federation for awhile, but that membership was disappointing. Then, in the April 1965 Analog there appeared a letter from Erwin S. Strauss of the MIT Science Fiction Society about the MITSFS Index to the Science Fiction Magazines. Seeing an apparently active SF club so nearby, we wrote to them.

III.

Fall 1965 brought us a more successful Student Activities Night and a membership of about 25. Also at Student Activities Night, someone asked me why we didn't run movies, pointing out that movies made money. That was news to me! I didn t know you could make money running movies, I thought it cost money to run movies! Now, I investigated and discovered that, while it cost money to rent the Student Union ballroom, Mahar Auditorium could be had free of charge. Movies then cost about $25, to $35, to rent, a projectionist about half that. [2]

Bob Gaudet had become photography editor of the Index, both he and Stan Levco had been elected to the Student Senate, and they both left us. Once again we had to rely on a succession of first-term freshman officers. The good news was that Harvey Rosen was back, though on academic probation. Since he once again seemed to be at the library (ours, not the University s) all the time, I wondered how long it would last.

We finally got a letter from MITSFS. As a result, sometime in October, I went home, got directions from my dad (and his car), and drove to MIT to attend a regular Friday evening meeting of MITSFS. Following the meeting, I was invited to join some of the members at House of Roy in Chinatown and got to meet the group of people who were eventually to start NESFA. Tony Lewis was MITSFS librarian, Mike Ward (now living in California) was president, Leslie Turek (who chaired Noreascon II in 1980) was secretary, Erwin S. "Filthy Pierre" Strauss was vice president. Leslie Turek and Cory Seidman (now Cory Panshin) were editors of the Society's magazine, Twilight Zine. The group also included Susan Hereford (now Suford Lewis), "Fuzzy Pink" (now married to Larry Niven), and DAVanderwerf, who headed the Boston Science Fiction Society (BOSFS), had chaired the first Boskonein early September, and was then planning for Boskone II in March.

Aside from the fun of meeting all these fascinating people, I learned and brought back a number of technical details about running a library. I also confirmed a conclusion that I had already begun to reach that we had too much democracy and that the average member really didn't care to have monthly business meetings. We soon amended the constitution to give more power to the Exec. Board and provide for only one regular business meeting per semester. Also, having learned from experience, we took a lot of details out of the constitution and put them in the bylaws, where we could change them more easily. The amendments were passed on 15 November 1965 and approved by the Student Senate on 9 March 1966. I had just been elected to the Senate myself, and by coincidence that happened to be my first meeting as a Senator.

Another change was the addition in the bylaws of a new appointive office of Publicity Chairman. Eventually there were to be three such offices (Movie Chairman was added the next year), all with voting seats on the Exec. Board. Copying MITSFS, we used Newspeak names for the committees: Libcomm, Procomm (.Public Relations Office), and Moocom. That system didn t last long after I graduated. Probably just as well.

I visited MITSFS again over Thanksgiving weekend, when John W. Campbell spoke at their meeting. Campbell was the legendary editor of Astounding Science Fiction (by that time re-named Analog) who had discovered and mentored the likes of Heinlein, Asimov, and many others. Having idolized Campbell for years, I was thrilled to meet him in person. MITSFS taped the talk, and we borrowed and copied the tape and played it at a meeting in February 1966. In those days of two-track reel-to-reel tapes, Harvey had found someone in the School of Education who allowed us to use tape equipment there for copying. Cassettes were still in the future. Meanwhile, I wrote to Campbell to ask him to come to UMass. He wrote back that he usually made two trips a year and that a visit in the spring was a possibility.

We ran our first movie in January 1966, just before finals (which, at that time, were held in late January). We picked 1984 and decided to publicize it in an unorthodox way. Since every bulletin board on campus was loaded with signs and flyers, we wanted something that would stand out from the rest. Most signs on campus at the time were mimeo or dittoed notices (as I said, Xerox was very new and not used much yet) or large signs printed on colored poster board on a hand-operated letterpress in the Student Union rather similar to the one Ben Franklin used.

Harvey and I shopped around and found a printer in Northampton (The Printing Press, on Crafts Avenue) who had a sense of graphic design and used the then-new and less expensive techniques of transfer-type pasteup and photo-offset printing. He designed a great flyer, and we ordered 500 copies, intending to saturate the campus.

As the day for our movie approached, the flyer didn't arrive. We called the printer, who said he had mailed it days ago. Disappointed, we made up a mimeographed flyer. Then the package arrived just after the mimeoed flyer had been run off! So two days before our movie, we had a total of 1000 flyers: 500 mimeoed and 500 printed. I think Harvey did most of the distributing himself, though I remember distributing quite a few, and a number of others did, too. Every building, every tree, everywhere one turned, there were 1984 flyers. The result was a packed Mahar Auditorium, and we had to turn away enough people to fill the auditorium again. Charging 25 cents per person, we made a net profit of almost $150.[3] Now we had a considerably larger treasury than before. We immediately subscribed to all the SF magazines and to Playboy (for the science fiction, of course ... er, of course!).

I assumed that, given better time to plan distribution, we could do a better job of it. But, though our movies continued to be successful, it was rare that we managed to do our publicity quite as well with adequate planning as we did that time under pressure. We never made as much on any movie even a return engagement of 1984 in the spring as we did on that first effort. In the early 1980s, Club members told me that running movies on campus at that time was more difficult and less profitable. I think that's too bad, and I hope things have changed again since then. It was a great way to raise money and a lot of fun.

Harvey Rosen left us for the last time at the end of that semester. He eventually got his degree at Suffolk University. Last I heard, he was working in educational media somewhere in Texas, but he seems to have left there some years ago, and unfortunately, I have lost track of him.

At some point during the 1965-66 year, we were contacted by Phi Alpha Psi fraternity at Amherst College. They were into fantasy and the occult and were holding some film shows at their house. I remember going to a showing there of Forbidden Planet and a hilarious and erotic amateur film called Sins of the Fleshapoids. For awhile we had an arrangement with them to publicize their events at UMass in return for their publicizing our events at Amherst College.

IV.

Early in the fall semester we had decided to try to get Isaac Asimov to visit UMass. He lived in West Newton at that time, and that made him the nearest big-name SF writer. We got his address from MITSFS and wrote him. He replied that, while he tried to help out science fiction fan groups, he also hated to travel. He would come for a fee of $300. It would take us a lot of movies to raise that kind of money, and we didn't feel we could do it. Since his letter seemed to imply that he might be open to negotiation, I called him. While he was friendly and good-natured about it, he said that he had hoped we wouldn't be able to afford $300 because he didn't want to come. But, if we did manage to find the money, he would probably swear under his breath, but he would come.

We decided to approach the Distinguished Visitors Program. I knew the DVP program chairman, Jim Allen, who was also treasurer of the Student Senate and had been chairman of the Senate committee that originally reviewed our constitution. Eventually, the DVP agreed to sponsor the Good Doctor as a DVP program. We would do the on-campus publicity, while DVP would do the off-campus publicity. I got to call Dr. Asimov and tell him the news. I said, "It looks like we're going to be able to pay you the three hundred dollars." He said, "Good Lord!"

Before Dr. Asimov's visit, Boskone II took place on an upper floor of the Statler-Hilton Hotel (now the Park Plaza) in Boston. There were about 60 persons attending, including most of the MITSFS crowd, Harvey Rosen, Guest of Honor Frederik Pohl, Lester del Rey, Judy-Lynn Benjamin (then Fred Pohl's assistant at Galaxy/IF and later, as Judy-Lynn del Rey, founding editor of the del Rey Books imprint, before her sudden death of a stroke in the 1980s), Ben Bova, Hal Clement, and New York fan Charlie Brown, who had not yet begun to publish Locus. Hal Clement presented the first E.E. Smith "Skylark" Award to Fred Pohl. It was a lens-shaped trophy whose design has been continued since NESFA took over both the award and the Boskone. When I told Lester del Rey how much Isaac Asimov was charging us, he told me to "make sure he earns every penny."

Dr. Asimov was coming on 29 March 1966. That afternoon Jim Allen called and invited me to introduce him, which I was delighted to do. The plan was for our Executive Board and certain DVP dignitaries to dine with Asimov before the program in one of the Student Union dining rooms off the main ballroom. I had written to him with directions and maps to get here. We asked if he wanted us to reserve a hotel room for him to stay over, and he replied that he would like the reservation, but whether he would use it or drive back that night would depend on the weather and how he was feeling at the time.

I was to meet Dr. Asimov that afternoon in the Student Union lobby. By the time I got there, he had arrived and somehow was already surrounded by attractive women. Since the campus was dry then, we went out to the Lord Jeff for drinks, and I had the thrill of riding in Isaac Asimov's car. Dr. Asimov always claimed to be a teetotaler, but on that occasion he ordered a whisky sour. I can t say whether he drank any of it, though. If I had known at the time that he was supposed to be a teetotaler, I suppose I would have tried to notice.

When we returned to campus for dinner, Isaac Asimov lived up to his reputation for shameless flirting. As we were sitting down to eat, he said he didn't care what the seating arrangement was, so long as there was a girl on either side of him and a girl across from him (women didn't object to being called girls back then). Later, when our secretary, Renee Lautzenhiser, passed him the salad dressing, he said, "It's undressing that I'm interested in!"

When I introduced him, I announced that he had been voted an honorary member of the Club and gave him an honorary membership card and a copy of the constitution and bylaws. He was the first member to get a membership card, since our first cards had just arrived from the printer in Northampton (the printing had been complicated by our insistence on having Uncle Zobee on the back of the cards). This also was the beginning of a practice of using an infinity sign for the expiration date on honorary membership cards. Dr. Asimov's talk was broadcast on WFCR, and I later borrowed their tape and copied it at WMUA. I think there was some discussion at one time in the 1970s or 80s about copying the reel-to-reel tape onto a cassette, but I don t know if anything ever came of it or whether any copy at all survives in the library.

At some point, I don't remember exactly when, a photographer from the Springfield newspapers came and took a picture of Dr. Asimov, me, and Jim Allen. I later bought a copy for the Club, which can be found in the scrapbook in the library.[4]

After the picture-taking, we opened the display case in the Student Union lobby, where we had a display of Asimov books from the library. I also had brought the rest of the library's Asimov books as well as those in my own collection, and he began autographing. When I jokingly related that Lester del Rey had told me to make sure Isaac earned his money, he inscribed the next book, "Lester del Rey is a Fink!" and the next one, "Down with Lester del Rey!"

Finally, we asked if he wanted to use the hotel reservation. He said he would drive home "unless, of course, you have a girl to stay with me!" Nobody took him up on it. As he was leaving, he asked if anyone would give him a good-bye hug. One woman did, and an unforgettable visit then came to an end.

A few days later was April Fools Day. We held a picket demonstration in front of the Student Union main entrance. Bearing signs which said, "End the War of the Worlds" and "Can a Martian Help It If He's Colored Green?" and "April Fool -- Science Fiction Club," we marched for an hour or so. Some bystanders apparently thought we were a real demonstration of some sort and called us "assholes." Protest demonstrations had not yet achieved quite the popularity they were to have a couple of years later.

Many new student organizations for that matter, many organizations in the outside world as well fail to survive the departure or loss of interest of their founding leaders. I didn t realized how often this happens, but I did recognize it as a problem. I worried from the start about the Club continuing after I graduated and I tried to do what I could to make that happen. From the beginning I had decided to step down from the presidency in my junior year, so as to give the Club a year with other people in charge before I left. When Harvey was around, we all assumed that he would be my successor. Now he was gone, annual elections were upon us, and I continued to insist that someone else had to take over.

We had a nominating committee, consisting of the Exec. Board and three additional appointees. I appointed the three non-Board members that I thought most likely to agree to be the next president, and we sat down in the Worcester Room of the Student Union to see who had the weakest will to resist the pressure. After lengthy discussion, Renee Lautzenhiser, our secretary, finally broke down and agreed. The remaining offices were easy to fill. There were by this time a reasonable number of competent people nearing the end of their freshman or sophomore years willing and able to hold office. Pam had a friend who took over as Librarian, and I became Publicity Chairman. The election meeting was held in mid-April, at the end of which I turned over the chair to Renee and sat for the first time in the audience.

One of the first things Renee had to do was call John W. Campbell to take him up on his suggestion that he might be able to come to UMass in the spring. He agreed, and a date was set. He would speak on the topic "How to Test a Theory" on Friday, 13 May 1966, at 8:00 P.M. in Hasbrouck 126. That morning I arrived at the Student Union to find Campbell already at the RSO Office trying to find out where he should go. I introduced him to Dr, Ross, our faculty advisor, who took him to lunch at the Faculty Club. We met later in the afternoon for dinner in one of the Student Union dining rooms, with the entire Exec. Board, as well as Harvey, who had come from Boston for the occasion. After the talk, we took a group picture, which I believe can still be found in the scrapbook. Campbell had a fascinating intellect, and the conversation continued out into the parking lot (where the Campus Center now stands).

V.

The Student Senate, like all governmental bodies, has had its alternating periods of financial largesse and periods of belt-tightening. At that time it was in an extreme give-away-money mood. I think we were the last straw that changed that direction, at least for awhile. During a debate over giving some organization money to go on some trip that I thought utterly silly, I remarked that if the appropriation were passed, I would bring in a proposal to send the Science-Fiction Club to the World Science Fiction Convention. I thought that would sound ridiculous enough to non-fan Senators to defeat the bill. I was wrong. Jim Allen, still Senate Treasurer, pointed out that the Senate frequently sent people to conventions. The bill passed. At the next Exec. Board meeting, I proposed that, if the Senate was giving away our student tax money, we should get our share.[5] There was another reason to go to that year's Worldcon, since BoSFS was campaigning to hold Boston's first Worldcon in 1967.

I won't relate all the political machinations that our request engendered. At one point I was accused of bribing a member of the Finance Committee (I gave him a mimeograph stencil). When the voice vote was taken, it sounded to me that we had lost, but the chair called it in our favor, and nobody objected.

Since I was planning to take summer courses, the Exec. Board appointed me to run our first summer library hours. The first problem was a room, since we had to leave our headquarters in Hasbrouck. Dr. Ross put me in touch with Dean Wagner, the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, who had heard of our library and apparently was impressed that undergraduates were doing something so ambitious. Dean Wagner arranged for us to use Room 101 in Clark Hall, a beautiful room with bookshelves, a table and chairs, and a lot of wood paneling. He even cut through the bureaucracy of getting keys by writing out an authorization for me in longhand. I took full advantage of the room number by making signs for the door about Big Brother and the Thought Police.

Under pressure of the "Baby Boom" to take as many freshmen as possible, the University had hit on an idea which it called "swing-shift" freshmen. These were freshmen who would start their studies in the summer, take the fall semester off, then return in the spring when dropouts would have made room for them, and continue normally thereafter. Summer library hours was a good way to recruit them. The summer student body was housed in only four dorms, producing a small-school everyone-knows-everyone atmosphere and making it much easier to get our message out. One person who joined us then was not a swing-shift freshman. Adrienne Shanler was a regular freshman who was trying to get a head start on her studies.

Several times during the summer I tried to hold totally nonsense-type meetings of the type MITSFS has (MITSFS meetings do serious business only at the annual election meeting, and even that isn t entirely serious). The meetings we had were fun, but they never reached the madcap zaniness of a MITSFS meeting. I guess traditions can't be transferred that easily.

I also used my time during the summer designing a flyer for our first fall movie, War of the Worlds, featuring a magic-marker drawing of a Martian war machine. And since I was on campus, I dealt with the RSO Office to make arrangements for our trip to the Worldcon in Cleveland.

Three of us were going to Cleveland. Because of a late final, I arrived on Saturday, a day later than Renee and our vice president, Don Hetsko. The first thing I noticed was that, in the main meeting hall [6], there were large banners proclaiming "New York in 67", "Baltimore in 67," and "Syracuse in 67," and a conspicuous empty space where a Boston banner should have been. This did not bode well. As it turned out, whatever our problems, we were far better organized than BoSFS,

I also was upset to learn that, though I had a confirmed reservation, the hotel had overbooked and had no room for me. They offered to put me up at another hotel whose location I didn t know, which I did not relish doing in a strange city. Eventually, after I found Renee and Don, I learned that Renee's room had two beds in it, while Don's had one. I suggested that Renee and Don swap rooms, and I could share the two-bed room with Don. They readily agreed, and so did the harried hotel desk clerk.

Don became totally taken with Harlan Ellison, who was conspicuous in his obnoxious habit of interrupting speakers. One program item, a dialog" between Harlan and Isaac Asimov, consisted of Isaac sitting quietly listening to Harlan's monolog.

Gene Roddenberry was at the con with a preview of Star Trek, which was to premiere on NBC the following Thursday. The Worldcon membership greeted the showing of the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," so warmly that he arranged to get a black-and-white print of the original pilot, "The Cage," to show the next day. Whatever NBC's misgivings about the character, it was clear that Mr. Spock in particular was a big hit with us (the following year there were eight Mr. Spocks at the Worldcon masquerade). Roddenberry was very accessible to fans, and I got to have an extended conversation with him about his plans for the show.

Seeing all these live bodies attached to the biggest names in science fiction was a major thrill. In conversation with Robert Silverberg, I was impressed with his knowledge of Massachusetts politics, which he said he got from the New York Times. I then noticed on a nearby table a newsletter from the Syracuse bid announcing the death of Cordwainer Smith, whose identity was revealed as Paul Linebarger. "See," said Silverberg, "if you'd read the New York Times, you'd know that already!"

In those days all consite voting was done at the business meeting, with no mail ballot. The MITSFS/BoSFS people were passing out flyers which said, "For Two Cents I'd Vote Boston!" and gave everyone entering the business meeting a card bearing the same slogan and two pennies taped to it. Don Hetsko suggested, in the hearing of several Boston people, that since Boston was a hopeless cause, we should vote for New York, since that was closest to us. The Boston people resented that, particularly because Don was from Long Island. Renee and I did agree that, if Boston were eliminated on the first ballot, we would vote for New York on subsequent ballots. The Boston people were reluctant to believe me later, but I know that Don voted for Boston on the first ballot because I sat next to him and saw him vote.

Boston people felt that the New York bid had spread some untrue rumors and engaged in unfair tactics. DAVanderwerf, making the bidding speech for Boston, spent most of his time lashing out at critics. For the feelings of frustrated Boston backers, it was a satisfying speech, but it did not win supporters and made Dave's presence a liability in any later Boston bid. After our first ballot loss, flyers promoting "Boston in '70" were immediately distributed, as people were voting the second ballot. This was later changed to "Boston in '71" after 1970 was designated in the rotation as a year for a foreign city. Boston won in 1971, resulting in the successful Noreascon I, chaired by Tony Lewis.

The Hugo banquet was marked by Frank Herbert getting the best novel award for Dune (accepted by Poul Anderson) and Frederik Pohl getting the best magazine Hugo for Worlds of IF. Harlan Ellison got a Hugo for his short story "Repent Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman then took over the podium from toastmaster Isaac Asimov and presented Isaac with the Hugo for the Foundation Trilogy as the Best All-Time Series. Presented later with a special award for his novelization of Fantastic Voyage, Isaac said it was all "a campaign to make me speechless." I later caught him in a corridor and said, "You know nothing can make you speechless except Harlan Ellison!" He said that was not so, that he never spoke when kissing a pretty girl. He then grabbed a passing woman and demonstrated, repeating the performance for the cameras. I believe the picture (and all of our pictures from that Worldcon) is still in the scrapbook in the library.

VI.

When I got home from the con, my friend from high school, whose absence prompted me to start the Club, was in town for the first time since graduation. Having stayed elsewhere for a few days, he now moved in with us for a few more. I told him all about the con, and on Thursday we watched the network premiere of Star Trek which was interrupted by a news bulletin about the assassination of the prime minister of South Africa.

And presently the fall semester began, and I was a senior. The high-rise dorms in Southwest were opening for the first time, and I settled into my new room, 2212 John Adams, from which I could watch Whitmore under construction. My sister, starting her freshman year, was in John Quincy Adams without that obnoxious 8:00 P.M. curfew! Spring 1966 had seen a major student effort to change University rules. The 8:00 PM curfew, most other curfews, as well as a lot of other annoying rules, had been abolished.

Since we could not remain in Clark Hall, the books were temporarily stored in boxes in Dr. Ross's lab. We had met with Dean William F. Field, the Dean of Students, in the late spring. He had been noncommital but we hoped he might be able to find us space. Eventually, as the weeks passed with no news, Dr. Ross called Dean Field's office asking him to find us a room "so they can get their books out of my lab! Not that we were that much in his way, he explained to me, but if he put it that way, it might help motivate some action. Maybe it did. We soon moved into 203 Berkshire House, one of the "county circle" dorms. These old buildings were put up temporarily after World War II to house returning veterans and had just been taken out of service (though the war veterans were long gone). Two were torn down to make way for Massachusetts Avenue, the road that now runs from Whitmore Hall down past Southwest and Boyden. The rest were to be used for various purposes. Most of the rooms in Berkshire were being used at the time to store surplus mattresses.

We needed to give an accounting to the Student Senate of funds spent on our trip, but our treasurer had left school over the summer. Since I had once been treasurer of the Astronomy Club, I called Renee and volunteered to serve as interim treasurer until we could hold an election. After she appointed me, I spent an afternoon with the books and found we had spent exactly $99.99 less than our appropriation. When I returned that surplus to the Senate, it occasioned some amusement, and I was accused of making the figure come out that way on purpose.

Our first movie of the season, War of the Worlds, took place on Tuesday, 4 October 1966, according to the flyer in my files. Since the president, vice president, and secretary all had to be elsewhere that night, I was again in charge. Besides being a financial success as usual, the movie helped with membership recruitment. It was the first time we could have a movie that early in the year because the 8:00 PM curfew was gone.

I don't remember Student Activities Night, but I'm sure it took place, and I may have been there. Shortly after the movie, we held our fall meeting, and Adrienne Shanler was elected the new treasurer.

Our librarian had resigned, but we had a volunteer who was an upperclass transfer student and had previously been a member of MITSFS. With him I learned that my rule about first-term freshmen is only part of a broader rule: anyone who comes into his or her first meeting, sounds gung-ho, and wants to take on major responsibility right away is probably a bad risk. It's better to let them start with something small under supervision and demonstrate their abilities and reliability first. I've since found that this is also true in organizations in the outside world. The weeks passed, the library never opened, and the books sat unused in our new room.

But there were other Club activities. As Publicity Chairman I organized a large committee. We did a display in the Student Union lobby display case and distributed posters for movies, at last doing with some organization and efficiency what we had done so well under pressure the year before. But we still had a bad turnout for our second movie. We distributed the flyers well, but I had forgotten that their first purpose was to catch people's attention and communicate a message, not be artistic. For Journey to the Center of the Earth, I designed a flyer in which the movie title circled in a spiral to the word "Earth" in the center. People saw them all over campus, but couldn t tell what they were unless they stopped and looked closely. I blew it, and we had a very poor turnout.

MITSFS ran Boskone III over 1-3 October, but we didn't get notice of it until about a week before. None of us went, but I did get an article about it into the Collegian.

We did another display case in December, centering around a poster we drew showing an interstellar convention of assorted alien Santa Clauses -- including Uncle Zobee Claus.

In early December we received a letter, apparently sent to the entire 1966 Worldcon mailing list, from Harlan Ellison on behalf of "The Committee," a group of nine SF writers. Star Trek was having its first cancellation crisis, and letters had to be written to NBC (Star Trek's biggest and best known crisis was the following year). We called a special Club meeting and put an article in the Collegian urging that people write letters to NBC. Earlier in the fall, a few of us had traveled from dorm to dorm looking for a TV where Star Trek was on (there was a Peanuts special on CBS that night). By December Star Trek had developed a following on campus.[7] I don't know how many letters we generated, but Star Trek was saved that time. I believe the letter from The Committee and the article we got into the Collegian are still in the scrapbook in the library.

Also by December we had some limited library hours. But with no shelves, the books were spread about on the floor, desks, boxes, etc. Cataloguing and other work was neglected, and the library hours that were set up were no thanks to our Librarian. As he continued to do nothing, Renee, not really a take-charge type, also did little about it. Don Hetsko and I tried to talk to Renee, but things continued to drift.

The problem finally was solved for us in a most unfortunate way, one we would never have wished for. During the December holiday vacation, there was a major train collision in Everett. Renee was on board, returning from a Celtics game. Her date was killed, and she was severely injured. I learned of it, after we returned to school in January and called Don. Since he was now president, he called the Librarian and got his resignation. Then he called me back and appointed me Librarian. I quickly ordered some metal shelves from Sears and got the books on them. Then I got a crew of volunteers to update the inventory and make sign-out cards for all the books. The library was opened promptly in the second semester, Monday through Friday, 3:30-8:00 P.M.

One morning in the RSO Office I told Don he needed to take the "Oath of Office" as president. I then swore him in as follows: "I do solemnly swear -- Dammit!" That oath became a tradition for several years.

The academic calendar was different in those days. We would come back from the December holiday vacation, have a week or so of classes, a couple of days reading period, and then finals for the fall semester. We would then have a week or so off (depending on when your last final was) for intersession and then return for the start of spring semester around the first of February. Going home for intersession just a few weeks after being home for the holidays seemed a pretty useless vacation, and I'm sure that was part of why things were changed a few years after I graduated.

When some of Renee's friends asked me what kind of present they could get her, I looked up her membership application. Seeing that she had listed Isaac Asimov as her favorite author, I got an idea. During intersession I called Isaac and told him what had happened. He remembered Renee and was sorry to hear the news. I asked him if he would send her a get well letter, he agreed, and I gave him her hospital address. I later learned that he did write to her, and she was thrilled. The Club officially sent flowers and a card, and Adrienne and her roommate, Sue Spooner, made her a large stuffed Uncle Zobee.

When I visited Renee at Mass. General during intersession, I found her unusually cheerful and remarked about it. She said that she had been glad to discover that she was alive, when she hadn't expected to be. Her hands were severely burned and required skin grafts. When she eventually returned to school, the scarring was visible.

Don Hetsko showed promise and might have made a good president. He quickly appointed his friend, Bill Wrigley, temporary vice president and set up a meeting in February to elect a vice president. Since I had built an active publicity committee, I felt able to leave it in competent hands to take over the library. It began to look as if the Club would be in fine shape by my graduation.

But on returning from intersession, I found a letter from Don in the Club's RSO mailbox. He had to leave for academic reasons. Trying to avoid problems for us, he said in the letter that he (1) was removing Bill Wrigley as vice president, (2) appointing me to that office, and (3) resigning, leaving me in charge as acting president.

I had enjoyed being president, and I must admit that my first reaction was a kind of thrill at being back in office. But after a couple of minutes, I calmed down. I had only one more semester, and the Club really needed to have someone else take charge. Besides, I doubted the legality of what Don had tried to do. The constitution allowed the president to fill vacant elective offices temporarily by appointment, but I didn't think that, having done so, he could remove an appointed vice president any more than he could remove an elected one.

I called together the Exec, Board. I expressed my reservations about the legality and made it clear that, in any event, I would not be president again, even temporarily. Bill also did not want to serve as president and, regardless of whether Don could remove him, he resigned. This left secretary Walter Koski in charge. Although Walt had always firmly resisted every suggestion that he become president, he was willing to serve for a couple of weeks until the meeting that had already been scheduled to elect a vice president. There wasn't much that he had to do during that interim period. The other Exec. Board positions were filled, and the major pressing problem was the library, which I was handling. He did come with me to a meeting of a Student Union committee on our application for space in the Student Union/Campus Center complex upon opening of the new building. I don't think he had to do much else before he chaired the business meeting.

It wasn't until I visited Walt in his dorm at the end of his senior year that I finally learned the reason for his steadfast refusal to be president. He had a scholarship, he told me, which required him to maintain a certain grade-point average well above the flunk-out level. That was his priority, and I could only admire his determination in the face of strong pressure at times that he take on a post in which he surely would have done well. Unfortunately I have seen him only once since then, at Noreascon I, the 1971 Worldcon in Boston.

On 13 February, after some scrambling to get a quorum, the meeting started. Someone nominated Jane Cochran, a freshman whom I had been dating since the fall, and she was elected president, 12-6, over Jim Halliday, another freshman. There were three candidates for vice president, requiring three ballots before Paul Basile got a majority. Finally, Walt administered that silly Oath of Office to the winners.

VII.

From the beginning, one of the things I had intended for the Club was that it publish a fanzine. It was the one thing we hadn't done yet that I wanted to do before I left. Since we had gone through two presidential turnovers and a semester of turmoil with the library, we thought that publishing a newsletter might help improve morale. Another impetus was that, as more details became available about Paul Linebarger aka Cordwainer Smith, it turned out that he had been a prominent expert on China. I was taking a seminar course on International Relations of Modern Asia, and I asked my professor whether he knew of Dr. Linebarger. It turned out that he had known Linebarger personally. This meant we had a source for a potentially great article that no other fanzine would have. I began looking forward to impressing the MITSFS/BoSFS people with it.

The zine was done as a Publicity Committee project, and I actually put it together. We called it The Zobee, and I drew a logo with three-dimensional letters reminiscent of the old Astounding Stories logo -- and, of course, the face of Uncle Zobee. Since I was trying to keep a lower profile in the Club, I didn't list my name as editor. The colophon listed Perry White as Editor, Dave Agazarian as Publicity Chairman, and Uncle Zobee as Imperial Lizard. Listing Perry White as editor became a tradition for several issues.

It was a ten-page mimeographed zine with a two-column format. I still have my copy, and I hope that there is still one somewhere in the library. The front page, under the title "We Changed Presidents," carried the story from Renee's accident through the election meeting. Dave Agazarian wrote the article about Cordwainer Smith, and I wrote about the library. There were articles on upcoming events: Boskone IV, Frederik Pohl's upcoming visit to campus, the next Worldcon in New York, and regular elections in April. Another article indicated that Star Trek had been pencilled in for Tuesday nights at 8:30 in the fall, but that it was still tentative and letters should still be written to NBC (as it turned out, Star Trek was moved to Friday at 10). When Walter Koski heard about the fanzine, he submitted some excellent poetry, and we used all of it. Walt was always such a quiet, straight type, and it surprised many of us to see this side of him that we hadn't known.

There was also a Hugo nominations ballot and a tongue-in-cheek set of predictions for the future. My copy of that first issue has refreshed my memory of a number of things in this history.

There is a mention in The Zobee of our having lost money on our last two movies. One was probably Journey to the Center of the Earth, which I've told you about. The other was Conquest of Space. I don't know how well it would have done in good weather, but there was a big blizzard that day. Since we had to pay for the movie anyway, we decided to run it and collect whatever admissions we could. Since the projectionist never showed up, I ran the projector. It took three starts before we managed to figure out how to get the Mahar sound system turned on. Finally, on one of my trips out of the projection booth to try again with the sound system, I managed to lock the booth with the key inside. Our small audience formed a human pyramid to reach into one of the projection windows and toss the key down to me. After all that, it turned out to be a lousy movie.

Boskone IV took place on the weekend of 1-2 April 1967, just at the end of spring vacation. The amorphous group that was BoSFS had little formal structure. When a serious internal dispute took place, it could only watch the in-fighting tear it apart. The group managed to pull itself together one more time, calling itself the Boskone Committee, to run one more Boskone, the last held on a twice-yearly schedule. All subsequent Boskones have been run by NESFA, which was founded in October of that year.

It was a good con, with Damon Knight as Guest of Honor. My favorite memory is of a discussion of "New Wave" SF. We listened to a tape of British authors in a panel at a British convention, turning it off whenever someone wanted to comment. At one point someone asked why Brian Aldiss, on the tape, was saying so many bad things about Fred Pohl, who had been receptive to New Wave material in his magazines. Pohl replied that he had rejected a novel by Aldiss, which he found ponderous and boring. Isaac Asimov then revealed that Fred Pohl had rejected his novelization of Fantastic Voyage. Finally, after the tape finished, Lester del Rey got up, with a copy of one of J. G. Ballard's novels in hand, figuratively ripped it to shreds with almost page by page comments, then asked if anyone wanted his heavily annotated copy. I wish I could say that we got it for the library, but someone else got it.

Frederik Pohl visited us on 10 April 1967. I met him at the bus stop and took him to a dining commons in Southwest, where the entire Club or as many as chose to dined with him. He didn't even complain about commons food! As at Boskone, he had one arm in a sling from an auto accident. We then took him to the library, where he signed some books, and we took him to the 19th floor of one of the new high-rise dorms for an aerial view of the campus. At the Student Union, Jane mistakenly introduced him as "editor of Analog, then quickly corrected herself to "editor of Galaxy and IF." He then came to the dais and said, "It's nice to be speaking here at Princeton University." After his talk, a number of us adjourned to the Hatch, where we sat and talked with him for awhile longer.

Election of officers on 18 April resulted in the re-election of most incumbents. There was a new vice president, but I can't remember who it was.

We ran one more movie on 1 May, with an odd foulup. We had wanted to run This Island Earth and ordered it in plenty of time. Eventually, after we failed to receive a confirmation or a reply to our inquiring telegram, we ordered When Worlds Collide from another company. Sometime during all this our first movie chairman, Jim Halliday, resigned and was replaced by Bill Wrigley, who sent a letter cancelling This Island Earth because of the lack of confirmation. The afternoon of the movie, Jim Halliday came into the library carrying the film This Island Earth. Although we had given the company our full address, complete with RSO number, they had simply addressed it, "James Halliday, Movie Committee Chairman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass." It was delivered to the Department of Chemical Engineering, Jim's major department, where he happened to notice it that day on a table in the department office.

We had When Worlds Collide and had advertised When Worlds Collide, so that was what we showed. Eventually a letter arrived addressed "William Wrigley, Movie Committee Chairman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass." It somehow got to RSO, where someone recognized Bill's name and left it in our box. The film company said that, since we had ordered the film and they had shipped it before receiving our cancellation, they expected us to pay for it. Bill wrote back that the University was a small city, with several hundred schools, departments, and student organizations, any number of which could have a movie committee chairman. Since the problem was caused by their steadfast refusal to address mail to the address we had given them, we would not pay for the film. We never heard from them again.

Increased use of the library gave us a problem, for the first time, with seriously overdue books. The MITSFS solution, the Vergeltungsflotte (Vengence Fleet), consisted, I was told, of a few big guys going up to the rooms of offenders and demanding the books. This didn't appeal to us, though MITSFS's occasional use of small claims court sounded possible. Jane and I met with Dean Field, the Dean of Students, who told us that the University would not be our enforcer. But he suggested that we could threaten to report people to him, even send a demand letter with a cc to him. His office would simply receive and file the letters, but some people might be scared into compliance.

We soon devised a series of letters, which I learned later in law practice was a standard collection technique. The first letter was a friendly reminder. The second was more stern and threatened to report the matter to the Dean of Students. The third threatened court and stated "cc: Dean of Students " (we actually did send copies to Dean Field). A couple of offenders got phone calls, and one reached the point of my calling the District Court in Northampton to ask about small claims procedure, but before we actually filed anything, the books finally were returned.

Shortly before the end of the spring 1967 semester, I resigned as Librarian. I can't remember who replaced me. It may have been John Ketler, since he is listed in the next Zobee (a year and a half later) as Librarian. But I keep thinking that he became the new vice president that spring. After I was off the Exec. Board, they voted me an honorary member, and I got a new membership card with an infinity sign for an expiration date. I still have it.

My relationship with Jane deteriorated over the summer (we lived in adjacent towns). But we stayed somewhat in touch, and she and my sister, who had become friends, were to be roommates in the fall. Nevertheless, her interest in the Club seemed more a function of her interest in me than any interest in science fiction, and I wondered how well she would take charge of the Club with me gone. But I could do no more. The Club would have to determine for itself whether and how it would continue without me.

VIII.

I visited campus for several days during the summer of 1967. John Ketler was in charge, and he was rooming with Don Hetsko, who was at UMass for the last time. I don't recall whether Don flunked out or decided to go elsewhere. I've seen him a few times since at Worldcons, but not since the 1980s.

My first visit in the fall was the last weekend in September, an eventful weekend which started with a suicide jump from the 19th floor of JFK Tower and ended with the Red Sox winning the American League pennant. The library had by then moved to 109-110 Hampshire House, a building which also housed WFCR.

For homecoming my sister arranged a date for me with Sue Spooner, who had been Adrienne's roommate and was also active in the Club. That became another year-long relationship and then a friendship which continues. Sue, now Sue Hilker, is tax collector in Brimfield, where she grew up.

By the end of the semester Jane had become inactive. Adrienne, as treasurer, had informally stepped into the void but seemed reluctant to make it official by becoming president. I had sort of guessed that things might drift until someone filled the vacuum by taking charge, and it had even occurred to me that Adrienne might be the one to take charge. Sometime around January I told her that and encouraged her to run for president. Maybe that helped. Since my spring vacation in law school was different from the University's spring vacation, I could spend some of my vacation on campus. Club elections were held during that week, and Adrienne was elected president. I was asked to administer the Oath of Office. Now that Adrienne was president, I finally believed that the Club would continue.

I haven't as many memories of Club history after this point. Although I remained in touch with Sue and later with others, my participation was minimal. I do have a file of the Club fanzine, from which, together with some things I can remember, I can reconstruct some of the Club's later history.

The second issue of the Zobee is dated "Fall 1968." It again lists Perry White as editor, but contains no picture of Uncle Zobee. Officers listed include a new position of "Intercomm & Extracomm etc." held by Mark Leeper. My somewhat hazy recollection is that this was a not-entirely-serious post, with duties involving contact with extraterrestrials. The library duty list shows that Renee had returned. There is a review by Mark Leeper of 2001: A Space Oddessy. Earlier that fall I had driven a group from the Club, including Mark, Evelyn Chimelis, Sue Spooner, and Bob Sutherland, Sue's eventual first husband, to see 2001 in West Springfield. That was the first time that I met Mark and Evelyn, and they had just met each other.

The third issue, undated but apparently winter/spring 1969, lists the editor as John Carter of Mars and contains extensive material on Burroughs and maps of Barsoom.

The fourth issue, May 1969, once again has Uncle Zobee's picture on the contents page and lists Perry White as editor-in-chief. Patrick Carey is listed as issue editor, the first time that an actual editor was ever listed. The list of Club officers still shows Adrienne as president but for the first time lists the office of "Head Librarian" and omits the other appointive posts. I remember Adrienne telling me at some point of having revised the constitution, making Head Librarian an elective office, and eliminating all other appointive posts from the Exec. Board. In an editorial, Pat Carey gives a brief summary of the founding of the Club and the origin of Uncle Zobee. This was the last issue to bear the title Zobee and the name "Science-Fiction Club." I had first floated the idea of changing the name from "club" to "society" near the end of my presidency, but we never got around to making the change at that time.

With the fifth issue, November 1969, the title changes to Grok. This is the first issue to use the name "Science Fiction Society" and the abbreviation "UMSFS." But there is also a list of "SF Club Officers." Pat Carey, still editor, explains the zine title change. It seems that the Powers that Were at the time "found the name, and also the character, Uncle Zobee, Imperial Lizard of the Planet Umie, particularly ridiculous." Nevertheless, Uncle Zobee's picture was still on the contents page because "Uncle Zobee is still my buddy. ... Maybe if we're good to him he'll change his name." Carey was unsure, though, about keeping the title Grok and solicited suggestions for another name. He still used the word "club"' here and there in the editorial. To this day, although the official name is "Society." the word "Club"' seems still to be used.

The sixth issue, Fall 1970, is still called Grok, still edited by Pat Carey, now president, and still carries a picture of Uncle Zobee. In the editorial Pat tells of Arthur C. Clarke's visit to UMass the previous spring. DVP invited Suzanne Chretien, Adrienne Shanler, Evelyn Chimelis, Mark Leeper, and Pat to have dinner with Clarke before his lecture, invited Mark and Pat to share the dais with him, and asked Pat to introduce Clarke. Mark and Evelyn then drove with Clarke down to Bradley Field.

Next, arrangements were made with DVP to have Isaac Asimov pay a return visit. The price this time was $750. and 16 November 1970 was to be the date. Over the summer these best-laid plans ran into a snag. Isaac and his first wife were separated in June, and Isaac moved back to New York. On advice of his lawyers, Isaac avoided setting foot in Massachusetts while divorce negotiations proceeded. As vice president of NESFA at the time, I was aware of these things. Until the separation, Isaac was a regular at NESFA meetings. Knowing of Isaac's scheduled visit to UMass, I asked him about it when I saw him in August at a con in Toronto. He said that he thought he would be unable to go to Massachusetts, so I notified the Club, in case they were unaware of Isaac's problems.

In his editorial, therefore, Carey goes on to describe having received a letter from me, getting in touch with Isaac, and learning that the visit would have to be cancelled. Isaac did promise to come to UMass when he was again able to, free of charge. I vaguely remember that he did eventually come, but I don't know any of the details.

Pat also tells of having made almost $300 showing 1984 in Mahar Auditorium and of moving the library from Hampshire House to 328B Student Union. That room was within the area which is now (last I looked) People's Market. The area was originally a music lounge, which contained two piano practice rooms, Room 328B, one of the piano rooms, contained the library. When the place was open, people spread out into the lounge area.

Issue no. 6 was the second and last to bear the title Grok. the last to carry a picture of Uncle Zobee, the last to be edited by Pat Carey, and the last to contain much news of Club affairs. Pat Carey and Sue Chretien were married shortly after their graduation. Last I heard, they lived somewhere in the area (South Hadley, I think).

The seventh issue, fall 1971, is the first to bear the title Betelguese which, with the spelling corrected, is the title used ever since. The library is still in 328B Student Union, and Dave Bara, president, and Mark Leeper, vice president, are co-editors. The list of officers is entitled "UMASSFS Officers,," using the acronym I preferred when we first thought of changing the name. I thought "UMSFS" sounded silly, but that is the abbreviation now in use, and so be it (or, as some of us used to say, "Zobee it"). Dave Bara graduated in January and was succeeded as president by Mark Leeper until the next Club elections, when he in turn was succeeded by Lance Glasser.

Subsequent issues contain fiction, articles, features, but almost no information on Club activities. The 9th issue, Spring 1972, contains an excellent article by Pat Carey on the star Betelgeuse, spelled correctly, although the zine title is still spelled with the u before the e.

I visited in the summer of 1972, when Mark Leeper was working out of the area and Evelyn Chimelis was with her parents in Chicopee. Both had just graduated. As Matt Zimet and I were driving down to visit Evelyn, I noticed that we were going past Pam Adams's home. We stopped and invited Pam to join us, and the three of us went down to visit Evelyn. Mark and Evelyn were marred later that summer. They now live in New Jersey and have been regular con-goers. Evelyn Leeper writes voluminous con reports and has been nominated for the Best Fan Writer Hugo. Adrienne Shanler also lives in New Jersey, and I have seen her at Worldcons, most recently Noreascon IV in 2004.

Issue 11 (which is misnumbered 10), Spring 1976, lists Alicia Lesnikowska as president, the first president whom I have never met. It indicates that the library is now located in room 434 Student Union, That was upstairs in back, directly above Peoples Market. I think the library first moved there around 1972 or 1973. I visited the campus for a few days after the 1974 Worldcon and helped Matt Zimet and Club president Henry Scannel move the library from there to a room on the ninth floor of the Campus Center. That was a good room, but apparently it was coveted by the University Ombudsman, whose office was next door. Therefore, in the fall of 1975, the library was back in 434 Student Union.

Issue 12 appeared in Spring 1979, after three years. It was the first to spell the title Betelgeuse< correctly (Astronomers, by the way, pronounce it "Betel-gerz" or "Betel-geez. Dictionaries give it as "Betel-jooz," and Boy Scouts call it "Beetle Juice.") That is the last I have until the "Spring 1985" issue.

In the mid-1980s, Matt Saroff and others started the annual Not Just Another Con, which evolved into the organization SCUM. By the late 1980s, that crowd had graduated and, looking for new worlds to conquer, started a new convention. Various disasters at Boskone 24 in 1987 resulted in Boskone being scaled back and moving to Springfield for several years. Stepping into the breach, this group of recent UMSFS graduates founded Arisia. The first Arisia was held in Boston in 1990, and it has been held every year since, usually in January. I served as Arisia corporate president for two years in1992-94.

NJAC stopped happening every year sometime in the 1990s, and since then I have rarely found anyone at the Club on weekends, when I have been on campus. I originally wrote a version of this history in the early 1980s. More recently, I have scanned it into my computer and revised it in 2005. I recently discovered the UMSFS Yahoo e-group and joined. But that's as much as I can tell you of UMSFS history. It is for those who have carried UMSFS through over 40 years to write its later history. And I hope they do because I'm sure I will enjoy reading it.

Footnotes


[1] About 20 years later, she was a speaker at NotJustAnotherCon.

[2] Gasoline was about 30 cents a gallon, a comic book was 12 cents, a new car could be had for under $2000, and $10,000 was a really good annual salary.

[3] Again, in those days that seemed a sizeable amount. We never again did that well on a movie while I was there.

[4] I never had the foresight to get a copy for myself, but sometime in the fall of 2000, on a visit to campus, the Club officers of the time were kind enough to let me borrow it and scan it, and I was careful to return it promptly. In May 2001 that picture appeared in the Campus Chronicle, a weekly newspaper which was then published by the University Administration. Because of a typo, it referred to a visit by Dr. Asimov to campus in 1996," rather than 1966, which prompted a humorous letter in a later issue from David J. MacKenzie, then interim Chancellor at Umass-Boston, speculating that Asimov must have had a time machine if he could visit our campus four years after his death!

[5] I hear that payment of Student Activities Tax is now voluntary. In those days, it was mandatory for all undergraduates.

[6] SF conventions in those days had a single track of programming, with all panels, talks, masquerade, awards banquet, business meeting, and even some film events taking place in one main ballroom. This was true even of the Worldcon. With an attendance of about 800, Tricon in Cleveland was one of the largest ever at that time.

[7] In those days there was just one TV per dorm in a common room. The rules had just changed to allow students to have small TV sets in dorm rooms, but few of us could afford one.