Photos: De Profundis Ad Astra

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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.

Click on photos to enlarge!

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Images culled from the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) photo archives, and feature period heads like Harlan Ellison, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Ray Bradbury, Philip Jose Farmer, John Campbell, Fritz Leiber, and Lester del Rey hanging out with a radical company of fans, including legends like Forrest J. Ackerman and Bjo Trimble.

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6 Responses to Photos: De Profundis Ad Astra

  1. Thanks for these, Claire, they’re amazing. Seeing them go by on your Tumblr today, I was wondering where you found them. Was the PK Dick dancing with a belly dancer from LASFS too?

  2. Claire Evans says:

    Hello Gregory, yes! An exclusive photograph of PKD having fun, from the LASFS archives.

  3. robert says:

    I stumbled onto this blog kind of by accident, but I’m already totally enamoured of it. Very cool photos! PLEASE do Tomorrow’s Eve/Eve of the Future (depending on the exact edition/translation). The author is Villiers. Along with Baudelaire and Huysmans he was one of the foundational French Decadent writers. If I remember correctly this was the novel that popularized “android.” The novel has a very strange but cool concept of robotics–the android (technically an androidette) has “two golden phonographs for lungs,” or some such thing. There’s also a lot tere to critique, ideologiaclly speaking.This is such a cool project–PLEASE KEEP IT GOING!robert

  4. Claire Evans says:

    Thanks Robert! I’ll add Tomorrow’s Eve to the master reading list.

  5. Doctress Ju'ulia says:

    Holy cow! Get a load of all those NERDS!
    0_o

    LOVE these. Is it weird that I think PKD was smoking hot?

  6. Claire L. Evans says:

    No way. PKD was bona-fide.

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