PSIFA Resource Page

This page contains downloadable material and other information for PSIFA Officers.

We have this information here because students come and go.
For over a decade, successive generations of PSIFA officers maintained an 'archive'
in a clothes trunk, but this was lost sometime in the early 1990s. This resource page
therefore contains some early documents and key artwork for the
current generation of PSIFAn's to use should they wish.

 

The Hatfield Science Fiction Society (PSIFA) has been in existence since the Autumn 1978, founded by Steve Ford and Jonathan Cowie. It is therefore not years but decades old. The only Hertfordshire University student club or society older than PSIFA is the Rugby Club, so clearly there is some sort of evolution being represented here.

Back in those days Hertfordshire University was not a university but a polytechnic: Hatfield Polytechnic. (Even earlier still it was a technical college.  Today the university is still, in linguistic terms a 'polytechnic': a place where 'many technical' subjects are studied. (Greek: 'polloi' many, 'tekhne' art [as in subject].)  Universities, back in the 1970s, differed from polytechnics in that universities also regularly undertook research whereas polytechnics were focussed more on education and were also more applied with polytechnic degrees including a placement year in industry.  Irrespectively, linguistically as a 'university' can also be considered a 'polytechnic', and so the name PSIFA is still as appropriate today as it ever was.

'PSIFA' stands for Polytechnic ScIene Fiction & Fantasy Association.

Further information on PSIFA's history and early days can be found elsewhere on this site where we have an earlier short article on PSIFA's 30th anniversary get-together. Then there is also PSIFA's 10th anniversary reunion report: at the bottom of that page you will find a link to the 10th anniversary (pre-word processing) edition of Hypo Space, and a direct link to this is also here. (Do remember that the early PSIFA publications were produced in the years before desktop publishing and home computers: everything had to be done by hand with lettraset and a typewriter!)

PSIFA's logo for 'speculative fiction' fans embodies both 'fantasy' and 'science fiction' being a fantasy dragon riding a science fictional (SFnal) flying saucer. Conversely, if you are a science fiction purist, it can alternatively be considered as a 'cryptozoological' creature riding a flying saucer.

PSIFA logo

The colour version of the logo for button badges can be downloaded here.

There is also a version of the logo used for sweat- and t-shirts. The version depicted below is red on white but other colours have been used.

PSIFA logo

The black & white version of the logo with the society's name, as used for sweat shirts can be downloaded here, full size, for printing on A3-sized paper. (The university's reprographic unit should be able to print this off.) As you can see above, this version was scanned from a sweat shirt and is not a perfect circle. It should work for clothing as wearing invariably distorts logos and so should not be noticeable. However if someone does want to copy and re-draw this full-size, sweat shirt logo then do please send us a copy.

Making sweat-shirts and t-shirts.  Back in the 1970s, there was a shop in St Albans that carried the plate made off the original master artwork but this shop re-located sometime in the late 1980 (though it may still have the template?).  The shop provided a discount for bulk purchases. The first generation used part of its Society grant to pay for a mix of sweat-shirts and t-shirts. Though we had costings for a range of quantities in each colour ink (bulk discounts only count for one-colour as there is work to be done cleaning the template with colour changes), we assumed that only half a dozen would be sold in each colour. This attracted a discount, albeit only a modest one. Based on this we asked members to place their orders. This generated an order of various sizes and colours but to keep it simple so as to minimize ink colour changes and maximise discounts, the choices were:-
          - white logo on green, blue and black sweat shirts.
          - red logo on white sweat shirts and t-shirts.
          - black logo on white and yellow t-shirts.

For information in case those making these for you are new to the game, it is best to print using white ink first, then red and finally black as cleaning of the template is easier in this, progressively darker, order.

Orders were taken in various sizes and colours and then the order numbers were expanded by 10% in the same proportion of ink and clothing colours ordered (as it was likely that these proportions reflected popularity). And we sold out making a reasonable profit which was spent getting an SF professional guest attend our annual dinner at the Chinese.

PSIFA original headed paper: PDF here.

 

The original logo got lost (along with the PSIFA trunk) somewhere prior to the 2009 2nd, 30th anniversary event. This second event was closer to the 30th anniversary of PSIFA's first Shoestringcon convention in 1979 than PSIFA's founding in 1978. At that second gathering a version of the original logo was used for a special anniversary edition of the society's clubzine Hypo Space.

Then in 2012 a variation of the logo was used for a PSIFA Facebook page. This logo was further modified in 2014.

PSIFA logo
2013/4 Facebook variant of the logo.

 

PSIFA's mascot is 'the Gronk'.  The Gronk is a four-armed, two-legged alien roughly four feet tall from the planet Blas, in the Gallego system (a tribute to the fantasy artist Blas Gallego). His mouth is where you would think his stomach would be and he eats metal. He first appeared in the comic strip Strontium Dog in the weekly Starlord before it merged with 2000AD taking the Strontium Dog with it. Gronks are timid and the Gronk's role with the Strontium Dog team was as a medic. The first Gronk, Gloppus, died of fright and Wulf (Strontium Dog Johnny Alpha's bounty-hunter partner) subsequently wore the Gronk's fur-skin on his shoulder in memory. Later, Gloppus's brother Gronk joined the team. Notably in 1993 (2000AD progs 817-824) the Gronk received a shock that did not kill him but turned him from a timid creature into a fearless warrior. This adventure has been collected in Strontium Dog: The Return of the Gronk (2010) and is available from Rebellion.

The Gronk

PSIFA wrote to 2000AD asking permission to adopt the Gronk as the Society mascot and have non-commercial copyright permission to use the image. This was granted by editor Steve MacManus. As it transpired at the same time the Cambridge University SF Society made a similar request and summaries of the respective societies' letters plus the editor's reply was printed in 2000AD prog 129 on the 8th September 1979.

As an aside, for a number of years PSIFA had a relationship with 2000AD. On two occasions PSIFA members visited 2000AD offices at IPC's Kings Reach Tower. 2000AD staff were Guests of Honour (along with SF author Ian Watson) for PSIFA's Shoestringcon 2 in 1980. Here, the 2000AD representatives at Shoestringcon 2 included Steve MacManus, Alan Grant and letterer Tom (nobody-knows-who-I-am-or-what-I-do) Frame. Alan Grant was also the Guest of Honour at PSIFA's 1981 annual (Chinese) dinner. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, 2000AD was the second most-sold publication from the Student Union shop (the most sold was New Scientist). PSIFA members have also appeared as background characters in Judge Dredd and one story features a Mega City One block called 'PSIFA'.

 

The Society's fanzine (clubzine) was Hypo Space.  The name came about because the then Hatfield Polytechnic student weekly newspaper was called Hypo which in turn was derived from the 'hype of the polytechnic'.  Hypo Space's logo were the words 'Hypo Space' in the font 'Shelley Andante Script': Shelley Andante Script was the font used for the polytechnic newspaper Hypo.

 

For a glimpse of early PSIFA's activities in its first year, here is the society's then promotional leaflet used during the Freshers' Week Clubs and Societies Fayre. (Again, remember that this was produced years before desktop publishing and home personal computers.)  In addition to weekly term meetings, these included a weekly wargames subgroup meeting, a fortnightly writers workshop meeting, and a weekly radio show on Campus Radio Hatfield. This ran for two years, but two terms worth included 'Radio Free Entropy'. Here the premise was that three aliens had taken over the now empty Salyut space station and were beaming information to Earth in order to 'educate' its primitive population. In order to have a low 'needle time' (which Campus Radio Hatfield's officers needed), items included interviewing authors at SF conventions some of which were also published in the Society newsletter Hypo Space. Kenny Everett also very kindly gave permission, and generously provided the tapes, for episodes of his Captain Kremmen to be broadcast.  Other PSIFA activities included field trips to various SF conventions. A number of conventions were very generous in giving substantive discounts if we did a bulk booking of ten or more. (Only a few didn't, but it never hurts to politely ask.) Now that Eastercons (the British national convention) are held two or three times a decade in London, it may be worth revisiting this especially as Heathrow is not to far around the M25. There was also a Film and Theatre Entertainments (FATE) PSIFA sub-group that organised outings to West End screenings of SF films and plays.

 

Jumping forward through the decades has seen PSIFA go through a number of changes. This is nothing unsusual and all part of growing up and being British (a Goon quote if you are perplexed). It has gone through various phases and since 2013 has for the time being recently had more of a films and gaming focus. For those of you into Facebook you can get in touch with the current generation here www.facebook.com/psifa.

 


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