A Brief Historical Overview

On Monday, September 28, 1987, Harvard science-fiction fans gathered to watch the series premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association (HRSFA) is generally regarded to have been founded on that day, at that meeting. Since then, the organization has prospered and grown. On Monday, September 24, 2007 (twenty years later, almost exactly to the day), papers were officially filed to establish the alumni branch, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Alumni Networking Society (HRSFANS).

HRSFA officers have often been asked, "What does HRSFA do?" They often reply "everything," but the word "everything" tells people nothing about anything. Perhaps we should begin with a brief history of the organization. In 1986, a group of students who were interested in role playing games decided to get together and form a club, so they petitioned the administration, but the club was rejected. Soon after that, another group of students decided that they wanted to form a comic book group, they petitioned the administration and were rejected. The following year, a group of students got together to watch the premier of a new TV series starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and they came up with the idea of forming a club. The idea was presented to the administration, was accepted, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association was born. Then, the people that were interested in role-playing games joined, and the people that were interested in comic books joined, and the club grew. Not everybody wanted to do everything, so Special Interest Groups (known as SIGs) were created. As interest developed, new SIG's were created; as interest waned, old SIG's would disappear.

HRSFA-wide events were created, such as the Game-a-thon (hours of all sorts of games during reading periods), the Masquerade Ball (which generally occurs in February), the Wyld Hunt (a Germanic/Celtic ritual of running scantily clad chasing a deer through the streets of Cambridge in October painted blue), and the Myld Hunt (a leisurely English fox hunt). Basically, HRSFA will do anything up to everything, and we hope that you will hear something that interests you. HRSFA is what you put into it, there is always room for more. HRSFA gathers people with diverse interests, and membership has its privileges. For a small membership fee, you get a nice card, discounts off HRSFA events and local stores, and borrowing privileges from our library.

The Four Categories of HRSFA, With Apologies To Kevin Martin

1. We are science fiction fans. We have numerous resources, such as our library, where we keep our books, games, movies, comics and other paraphernalia. We get together in groups to watch Star Trek, Babylon5, tapes of old BBC shows, and various other programs. When a blockbuster pseudo Sci-Fi movie comes out, we get together and go watch it anyway. We also occasionally host speakers. We have held meetings with such authors as Joe Haldeman, Hugo Award winning author of "The Forever War," and Terry Pratchett, bestselling author of the Discworld series. There is even movement afoot to get Walter and Louise Simonson (Louise was integral in the Death of Superman series) and Neil Gaiman to speak. Further, we have been considering a science fiction convention for some time, as well. [Webmaster's note: This convention, Vericon, now exists.]

2. We play games, be they short or long, of role-playing or of non-roleplaying varieties. We play Magic: the Gathering, Nuclear War, Black Death, Dungeons and Dragons, and more bizarre fringe element games such as GURPS Illuminati (which is a unification of all conspiracy theories), Ars Magica (where mages have all the power and rule the world), and Cthulhu Punk (a combination of them all).

3. We are a social club. We typically host a fall and a spring party, and our bizarre pagan rituals are very social.

4. We do bizarre things and confuse people. As examples, we host the Wyld and Myld Hunts, the Comings and Goings of the Hour (where we dress in black and march around the yard with candles, performing the rituals to the God Chronos which twice a year doth cause an hour to appear or disappear), and the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony (which honors those achievements which "cannot or should not be reproduced").