I was intending to tell you some interesting tidbits about this year’s BSFA Awards – but you’ll have to wait until I have one last piece of information: the approximate current number of BSFA members. I emailed away for the details earlier today, but here I was, sitting in front of a web browser with access to a search engine… which is how I came to be reading the eleventh issue of Peter Weston’s Prolapse fanzine, dated May 2008.
The fanzine features a write-up of one of the BSFA’s fiftieth anniversary events that year at Eastercon, organized by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer. What interested me most about the write-up, given what was on my mind, was the discussion of the BSFA’s membership history. I particularly appreciated Peter Weston’s graph of ’64 to ’78’s membership numbers. (p. 7) These were based on Greg Pickersgill’s work of compiling a history of membership numbers, beginning with a membership list published in Vector #2, from 69 members up to around 738 of them in 1980. By 2008, he estimated numbers were around 600.
I like having long-term data to play with, and between Greg Pickersgill’s (Unofficial) BSFA Archives and the Prolapse discussions, I’m feeling a little more orientated to the BSFA’s – and thus Vector‘s – development. If I use or abuse these numbers in the future, you’ll know where they came from.