Polytechnic Science Fiction and Fantasy Association

The Polytechnic Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (also known as PSIFA) is a student SF club at the University of Hertfordshire (Hatfield Polytechnic prior to 1992) in Great Britain. It was founded in 1978 by Jonathan Cowie and Steve Ford.

Its clubzine is Hypo-Space (named after Hypo or 'Hype-of-the-polytechnic' the original polytechnic student newspaper). It has engaged in may activities over the years including: regular wargaming evenings, writers workshops, field trips to conventions, and for a while it even had its on radio show (Radio Free Entropy) on Campus Radio Hatfield.

For over a decade it ran annual Shoestringcons. These began in 1978 with Shoestringcon 1: Polycon (reviewed in the Hugo winning Ansible here http://news.ansible.uk/a04.html#03) with GoHs Ken Bulmer and Mat Irvine (Dr Who & Blake's 7 BBC special effects model maker)

The first convention (and the series) was named 'Shoestringcon' so as not to be unfairly compared with that year's heavily-resourced British Worldcon Seacon '79.

PSIFA's official mascot is 'The Gronk', an alien from the comic strip 'Strontium Dogs' in 2000AD with permission granted appearing in 2000AD Prog 129. The first PSIFA member to have an SF novel published was its 1984/5 President Jaine Fenn in 2008 with Principles of Angels (Gollancz))

By the early 2010s, with the demise of the university rugby club, PSIFA became Hertfordshire University's oldest student society. Further historic details here http://www.concatenation.org/articles/psifa_resource.html and 10th anniversary (1988 pre-word processing) Hypo Space here http://www.concatenation.org/articles/hypo_space_10.pdf


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