Erle Korshak first stumbled on science fiction when an issue of Astounding crossed his path in August 1934. Five years later, he created Moonstruck Press to compile a bibliography of every fantasy book published to that time. He also became one of the driving forces, along with Mark Reinsberg and Bob Tucker, behind the second World Science Fiction Convention, Chicon, held in Chicago from September 1-2, 1940, exactly 82 years before Chicon 8. Erle served as the secretary of the convention and, when Reinsberg fell ill, took the role of acting chairman. By making sure that Worldcon became an annual event, Erle helped create the fannish culture we celebrate every year at Worldcon.
Following World War II, Korshak, his Moonstruck partner Ted Dikty, and Reinsberg formed Shasta:Publishers to release Everett F. Bleiler’s The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Over the next ten years, Shasta published collections by L. Sprague de Camp, Murray Leinster, Robert Heinlein, and other early science fiction authors. After Shasta went out of business, Erle dropped out of organized fandom for three decades before starting to attend conventions again in the late 1980s. In 2009, he revived Shasta as Shasta-Phoenix to publish classic SF art. He was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1996.
On April 27, 2021 as part of the Fanac Fan History project, Chicon 8 Guests of Honor Joe Siclari and Edie Stern conducted an interview with Chicon 8 Guest of Honor Erle Korshak.Please enjoy this look at the history of Worldcon and the first Chicon.