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Coordinates: 34°10′21″N 118°22′59″W / 34.1725°N 118.383°W / 34.1725; -118.383

The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, Inc., or LASFS (pron: "Lahss-Fuss", "Loss-Fuss", "Lass-Fass", or "Lahss-Fahss") is a membership fan club in North Hollywood, California, a district in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California. It is the oldest continuously operating science fiction club in the world, helped considerably in that record by being one of the few to own a clubhouse. LASFS meetings are held every Thursday evening at 8 p.m. at 11513 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood, California, 91601. Telephone: (818) 760-9234, human beings only answer during meeting hours. (The telephone number may also be remembered by the mnemonic SO-nothing, Y BEG.)

LASFS Official Motto: De Profundis Ad Astra ("From the Depths to the Stars").

LASFS Unofficial Motto: Death Will Not Release You

Meetings and significant activities

The organization continues to hold regular weekly meetings on Thursdays. The club maintains private lending libraries for books and videos, for use by members.

The club has hosted the World Science Fiction Convention several times, initiated the regional science-fiction convention Westercon, and hosts a yearly science fiction convention called Loscon.

It maintains a web site and discussion forum, publishes (at irregular intervals) an amateur magazine called Shangri L'Affaires, and hosts the collations of a weekly amateur press association, APA-L, as well as its own official monthly publication, De Profundis (De Prof for short).

History

In 1934 Hugo Gernsback, editor of the then-prominent science fiction magazine Wonder Stories, established a correspondence club for fans called the "Science Fiction League." Local groups across the nation could join by filling out an application.

By 1936, the League had begun to fail. New management was less interested in the League, and the members grew up and lost interest. One charter group, number four, in Los Angeles, had an active member named Forrest J Ackerman, whose enthusiasm and imagination provided a focus for the group. "Forry" and a cadre of other members kept it alive as the science fiction and fantasy genres developed. Local authors also helped by coming to meetings from time to time.

By 1940, the group had broken with the Science Fiction League, changed its name to the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, and begun to meet every Thursday. In this decade, the club began publishing the fanzine Shangri L'Affaires. Nicknamed "Shaggy", the zine has died and been revived many times over the decades. When published now, it is photocopied, but originally it was done on mimeograph. One of the ways to earn your dues was to crank the machine and collate the sheets.

World War II had few effects. Most members were either below or well above draft age, and many out of town fans from around the country visited en route to the war in the Pacific.

In the 1940s, some members such as Ray Bradbury began writing professionally, and an increasing number of professional Science Fiction authors visited meetings or joined as "Members at Large" elsewhere in the world. In the postwar McCarthy era of anti-Communist investigations, the FBI inserted an agent into LASFS to probe possible Communist influence on fandom.

In the 1960s the club continued to grow, with the effects of the counterculture of the 1960s adding new members from the surrounding suburbs of Southern California. Many members became fans of the newly-created Star Trek television show, and in 1968 Bjo Trimble and other members of LASFS were instrumental in organizing a nation-wide letter writing campaign which saved the show from its announced cancellation by NBC at the end of its second season.

The club's meeting place (called 'Freehafer Hall' by the members after member Paul Freehafer) was usually in a public meeting hall and so it would be forced to relocate from time to time. Over the decades it moved from central Los Angeles further west until it reached Santa Monica, "as far west as it could go and remain dry."

In the 1964 member Paul Turner made what seemed like a frivolous suggestion: that the LASFS establish a building fund, generated from weekly meeting dues and fund-raising events such as auctions, with the idea of eventually purchasing its own permanent clubhouse. Members quickly began taking the idea seriously, and by the late 1960s the building fund was vigorously promoted and shepherded by the late Bruce Pelz.

In 1973, less than 10 years after its inception, the LASFS building fund had enough money in the bank to purchase a small private residence on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City and convert it into the weekly meeting hall. By 1977, the club needed a newer, larger clubhouse, and so it sold the Ventura Boulevard property and purchased the current incarnation of Freehafer Hall (the rear building of a two-building complex; the building actually fronting the street is called "Building 4SJ" after the previously mentioned Forrest J Ackerman, and contains the society lending library, furnished rooms for socializing, and the listed pay telephone) at its present location at 11513 Burbank Boulevard, just west of Lankershim Blvd., in North Hollywood, California.

External links

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