|tilt fannishness that runs rampant in Masque, Void and Wild Heirs.
The Great Staple War, started in "Brass Tacks," the Astounding letter column, was the first major expression of the philosophy of Trufannishness. In late 1934 Bob Tucker proclaimed the Society for the Prevention of Wire Staples in Scientifiction Magazines (SPWSSTFM). His tongue-in-cheek diatribe elicited suggestions from subsequent letterwriters. Soon Don Wolheim introduced the rival International and Allied Organization for the Purpose of Upholding and Maintaining the Use of Metallic Fasteners in Science Fiction Publications of the United States of America. (IAOPUMUMFSTFPUSA) to challenge Tucker's mob.
Both sides embellished the concept with clever (and not-so-clever) flourishes. The anti-staplites founded Episodes (chapters) and the pro-staple forces banded together as Fortresses. There were zany suggestions, such as substituting rubber staples, and bogus titles for everyone including Jack Speer (Lord High Bradder, because he sometimes used split pins as fasteners)..
Moskowitz asserts that Astounding readers had lost interest by the time it ended in the January, 1936 "Brass Tacks." That's when a F. Orlin Tremaine printed two letters. The first described the death of Bob Tucker. The second, a posthumous communication from Tucker, called for unity among the alphabet groups. Tremaine piously urged fans to heed these final words.
When Tucker had the temerity to remain alive after such a grand gesture, Astounding banned him from "Brass Tacks." Tremaine reacted to Tucker's sham demise like a conscientious professional editor. He had a duty to
| his readers, most of whom were obviously outside the orbit of the alphabet groups and their leaders, Tucker and Wolheim.|
Fought over a trivial matter, The First Staple War's outcome didn't greatly affect fandom. Its existence certainly did. The Staple War began the process of separating fans from the general readership.
The alphabet societies, mustering about 20-40 members, discovered that the letter columns weren't the ideal venue for fan doings. Long lead time and uncertainty about whether "Brass Tacks" would print every precious word of their deathless prose encouraged staple warriors to look for other arenas.
Accordingly, each faction had a fanzine. Tucker's D'Journal and Wolheim's Polymorphanucleated Leucocyte showed that fanzines could be frivolous. These were the first fanzines to engage in trufannish myth-making and give-and-take humor.
The contrast between "Brass Tacks" and the Staple War zines made an impact, too. Tremaine couldn't control fan activity outside Astounding. Fandom was developing its own agenda, separate from the pros. The war and the death hoax were a long way from intellectual discussions of speculative physics and story critiques.
The First Staple War, and the Tucker Death Hoax that ended it, drove a wedge between fandom and professional science fiction. These events served notice that fans weren't merely the most literate readers; they shared concerns that left regular readers cold.
In the long run, these new perceptions gave fandom more than it lost. They raised the hobby's consciousness and began to pry fandom out of its position as the handmaiden of the pros.
Professionalism and Commercialism Over Fandom
The orientation of printed fanzines of the 1932-1936 period is alien to today's fanzine fandom. Professionalism, always lurking at the fringes with fans-turned-pro like Allen Glasser, united with sincere Sercon devotion to science fiction and a touch of Commercialism, is a potent brew. These fanzines wanted to further the cause of science fiction through union with it.
Time Travelers, The Fantasy Fan, and Fantasy Magazine (born Science Fiction Digest) were semi-prozines in format, circulation and mentality. These fan publishers wanted wanted to make money