August 17th, 2002


The Eighth Stage of Fandom, by Robert Bloch

This is a collection of essays Bob Bloch wrote for fanzines back in the fifties. Somewhere around here I have a copy of the original 1962 edition of this (which I was fortunate enough to buy in the mid-60's new and for cover price), but the edition I just finished reading was published more recently by The Wildside Press ( The writing is consistently brilliant throughout, and the essays range from the piercingly insightful to the delightfully silly.

The Eighth Stage of Fandom makes me happy, sad, proud, wistful, and ... well ... dozens of other things in turn. It provides a fascinating glimpse at what fandom (and the field of science fiction/fantasy) was like way back when. It is a fandom that had ceased to exist by the time I got involved -- or at least by the time I had some real notion of what was going on around me. There are times it's hard to detect any relationship between fandom as it can be seen in this book with fandom as we know it today; there are other times when Bloch's thoughts and observations seem as profound and relevant as when they were written.

If Minn-Stf had a lending library, I think I'd donate a copy of this and encourage everyone who's the least bit serious about our community to read it. Maybe even before they read Harry Warner, Jr.'s histories.
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