The BSFA’s history in numbers

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.

London Meeting: Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer

The guests at tonight’s BSFA London meeting are Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer, editors of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Banana Wings. They will be interviewed by Tony Keen.

The venue is the upstairs room of The Antelope, 22 Eaton Terrace, London, SW1W 8EZ. The closest tube station is Sloane Square, and a map is here.

As usual, there will be people in the bar from 6-ish, with the interview starting at 7. (I’m going, this month! Though I probably will not arrive until just before 7.) The meeting is free, and open to any and all, though there will be a raffle with a selection of sf books as prizes.