In my opinion, the 1960s were the best time to be a sci-fi buff. Everything was new: the unfolding space race was not only beginning to justify decades of literary speculation about space travel, but it was also ratcheting astronauts and engineers up to rock-star status, making science cool for (maybe) the first time. Meanwhile, science fiction, being an outsider genre, was necessarily aligning itself with the burgeoning counterculture and psychedelic spirit of the time. Some hazy confluence of these factors led to the radical period known as the “New Wave” of sci-fi, spearheaded by the generation’s great antiestablishment auteurs: Harlan Ellison, J.G. Ballard, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, Samuel Delany, Joanna Russ, and Ursula K. LeGuin, to name a few. In this nascent era, the scene was small enough that conventions and science fiction clubs were intimate, convivial affairs, and…well, mostly, it seems like the clothes were pretty cool.
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