PSIFA - 30th Anniversary 0.1

2008 saw the Hatfield SF society celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Linked from this page (below) is a PDF of the group's fanzine
Hypo Space that was produced two decades ago
to mark its then 10th anniversary.


PSIFA was established way back in October 1978 at the Hatfield Polytechnic (now Hertfordshire University) in England that aimed 'to promote the enjoyment of science fiction in all its forms'. PSIFA itself stands for Polytechnic Science fiction & Fantasy Association. That the poly is now a university is largely irrelevant as in addition to polytechnic's meaning relating to a place for 'the study of many arts/disciplines', a university is also such a place. And so PSIFA is still an appropriate name for Hatfield's SF Society.

As for PSIFA's longevity, well out of the many literary and cinematic genres 'science fiction' is one whose aficionados do seem to have some sort of calling, or 'vocation' if you will. If at some stage you start reading and enjoy SF books, or watching films, then it is most likely you will continue to do so. Present bright young minds with a vehicle for SF enjoyment and it is bound to have a lasting following. And so PSIFA is today (2008) the second oldest, hence longest existing, student clubs at Hatfield: this is no mean feat. Over the years its membership has varied between a score or more to over a hundred. A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals that with student generations equalling three (or four with an industrial placement) years then by now it must have had a cumulative membership of around 500 souls.

In its three decades PSIFA has organised: weekly meetings of talks, slide shows, quizzes and such; run writers workshops; had a war gaming sub-group; put on a SF conventions (the now legendary Shoestringcons (that just preceded Unicons)); had a radio show (two series and five presenters); organised field trips to West End films and plays as well as the national SF convention (the UK Eastercons); and, of course, produced its clubzine Hypo Space.

Now Hypo Space got its name from the original polytechnic students newspaper Hypo and Hypo itself was so named as it was 'the hype of the polytechnic'. Of course back then in the late 1970s there was no such thing as desktop publishing, in fact home computers were a novelty with the BBC just bringing out one of the first home PCs! It was the days of cut-and-paste and offset litho printing and gestetner duplication. The clubzine therefore had a somewhat quaint home-spun look to it. Anyway you can see for yourself as two decades ago to mark PSIFA's 10th anniversary a special edition of Hypo Space was produced that even then looked back to review some of the highlights of the society's first few years. So if you ever wondered what a college SF society did back in the late 1970s then you can find out by perusing....

Hypo Space: Ten Years on a Shoestring. PDF 3.3MB

Meanwhile the current generation of PSIFAns organised two 30th-anniversary celebratory events (April and June, 2009). An article on the second of these can be found here.


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