The Hydra Club was a social organization of science fiction professionals and fans. It met in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s.
It was founded October 25, 1947 in the apartment of Judith Merril and Frederik Pohl on Grove Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York. As nine founders were present, the club took its name from the legendary nine-headed monster, the Hydra.
Among its members were Lester del Rey, David A. Kyle, Frederik Pohl, Judith Merril, Martin Greenberg, Robert W. Lowndes, Philip Klass, Jack Gillespie, David Reiner, L. Jerome Stanton, Fletcher and Inga Pratt, Willy Ley, George O. Smith, Basil Davenport, Sam Merwin, Harry Harrison, Jerome Bixby, Groff Conklin, Bea Mahaffey, Murray Leinster, Jack Coggins, and J. Harry Dockweiler.
An article by Merril about the club in the November 1951 Marvel Science Fiction was accompanied by Harry Harrison's drawing caricaturing 41 members: 
Harrison's caption adds, "The remaining twenty-odd members showed up too late at the meeting."
Alfred Bester (December 18, 1913 – September 30, 1987) was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books. He is best remembered for his science fiction, including The Demolished Man, winner of the inaugural Hugo Award in 1953.
Science fiction author Harry Harrison wrote, "Alfred Bester was one of the handful of writers who invented modern science fiction."Shortly before his death, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) named Bester its ninth Grand Master, presented posthumously in 1988.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in 2001.Basil Davenport
Basil Davenport (1905-1966) was a literary critic, United States academic, anthologist, author of science fiction novels, and other genres. He was one of the Baker Street Irregulars literary society. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky on March 7, 1905, the son of Ira William Davenport and Emily Andrews Davison. He died on April 7, 1966, in New York County, New York, at the age of 61.Frederik Pohl
Frederik George Pohl Jr. (; November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science-fiction writer, editor, and fan, with a career spanning more than 75 years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem "Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna", to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012.From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four "year's best novel" awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science-fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first 40 years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other year's best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards.The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers.Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, "The Way the Future Blogs".Gnome Press
Gnome Press was an American small-press publishing company primarily known for publishing many science fiction classics. Gnome was one of the most eminent of the fan publishers of SF, producing 86 titles in its lifespan — many considered classic works of SF and Fantasy today. Gnome was important in the transitional period between Genre SF as a magazine phenomenon and its arrival in mass-market book publishing, but proved too underfunded to make the leap from fan-based publishing to the professional level. The company existed for just over a decade, ultimately failing due to inability to compete with major publishers who also started to publish science fiction. In its heyday, Gnome published many of the major SF authors, and in some cases, as with Robert E. Howard's Conan series (published in six books from 1950 – 1955) and Isaac Asimov's Foundation series (published in three books from 1951 – 1953), was responsible for the manner in which their stories were collected into book form.Harry Harrison (writer)
Harry Max Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey; March 12, 1925 – August 15, 2012) was an American science fiction author, known for his character The Stainless Steel Rat and for his novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966). The latter was the rough basis for the motion picture Soylent Green (1973). Harrison was (with Brian Aldiss) the co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.
Aldiss called him "a constant peer and great family friend". His friend Michael Carroll said, "Imagine Pirates of the Caribbean or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and picture them as science-fiction novels. They're rip-roaring adventures, but they're stories with a lot of heart." Novelist Christopher Priest wrote in an obituary,
Harrison was an extremely popular figure in the SF world, renowned for being amiable, outspoken and endlessly amusing. His quickfire, machine-gun delivery of words was a delight to hear, and a reward to unravel: he was funny and self-aware, he enjoyed reporting the follies of others, he distrusted generals, prime ministers and tax officials with sardonic and cruel wit, and above all he made plain his acute intelligence and astonishing range of moral, ethical and literary sensibilities.Inga Stephens Pratt Clark
Inga Marie Stephens Pratt Clark (1906–1970) was an American artist and book illustrator, who with her husband Fletcher Pratt was at the center of a circle of New York literary figures during the 20th Century.Jack Coggins
Jack Banham Coggins (July 10, 1911 – January 30, 2006) was an artist, author, and illustrator. He is known in the United States for his oil paintings, which focused predominantly on marine subjects. He is also known for his books on space travel, which were both authored and illustrated by Coggins. Besides his own works, Coggins also provided illustrations for advertisements and magazine covers and articles.
During World War II, he served as an artist and correspondent for YANK magazine, capturing and conveying wartime scenes from the front lines. Over the course of his career, Coggins produced more than 1,000 paintings and taught art classes for 45 years. He retired in May 2001 and died at his home in Pennsylvania in January 2006.Judith Merril
Judith Josephine Grossman (January 21, 1923 – September 12, 1997), who took the pen-name Judith Merril around 1945, was an American and then Canadian science fiction writer, editor and political activist, and one of the first women to be widely influential in those roles.Although Judith Merril's first paid writing was in other genres, in her first few years of writing published science fiction she wrote her three novels (all but the first in collaboration with C.M. Kornbluth) and some stories. Her roughly four decades in that genre also included writing 26 published short stories, and editing a similar number of anthologies.L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard ( HUB-ərd; March 13, 1911 – January 24, 1986) was an American author of science fiction and fantasy stories, and the founder of the Church of Scientology. In 1950, Hubbard authored Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and established a series of organizations to promote Dianetics. In 1952, Hubbard lost the rights to Dianetics in bankruptcy proceedings, and he subsequently founded Scientology. Thereafter Hubbard oversaw the growth of the Church of Scientology into a worldwide organization. Hubbard was cited by Smithsonian magazine as one of the 100 most significant Americans of all time.Born in Tilden, Nebraska in 1911, Hubbard spent much of his childhood in Helena, Montana. After his father was posted to the U.S. naval base on Guam, Hubbard traveled to Asia and the South Pacific in the late 1920s. In 1930, Hubbard enrolled at George Washington University to study civil engineering, but dropped out in his second year. He began his career as a prolific writer of pulp fiction stories and married Margaret "Polly" Grubb, who shared his interest in aviation.
Hubbard served briefly in the Marine Corps Reserve and was an officer in the Navy during World War II. He briefly commanded two ships, but was removed from command both times. The last few months of his active service were spent in a hospital, being treated for a duodenal ulcer.During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he spent much of his time at sea on his personal fleet of ships as "Commodore" of the Sea Organization, an elite, paramilitary group of Scientologists. Some ex-members and scholars have described the Sea Org as a totalitarian organization marked by intensive surveillance and a lack of freedom. His expedition came to an end when Britain, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela all closed their ports to his fleet.
Hubbard returned to the United States in 1975 and went into seclusion in the California desert. In 1978, a trial court in France convicted Hubbard of fraud in absentia. In 1983 Hubbard was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an international information infiltration and theft project called "Operation Snow White". He spent the remaining years of his life in a luxury motor home on his California property, attended to by a small group of Scientology officials including his physician. In 1986, L. Ron Hubbard died at age 74.The Church of Scientology describes Hubbard in hagiographic terms, and he portrayed himself as a pioneering explorer, world traveler, and nuclear physicist with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including photography, art, poetry, and philosophy. Though many of Hubbard's autobiographical statements have been found to be fictitious, the Church rejects any suggestion that its account of Hubbard's life is not historical fact. In Scientology publications, he is referred to as "Founder" and "Source" of Scientology and Dianetics.
His critics have characterized Hubbard as a mentally-unstable chronic liar.Martin Greenberg
Martin Greenberg (June 28, 1918 – October 20, 2013) was an American book publisher and editor of science fiction anthologies.Scientology
Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices launched in May 1952 by American author L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86). Hubbard initially developed a program of ideas called Dianetics, which was distributed through the Dianetics Foundation. The foundation soon entered bankruptcy, and Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, the E-meter, and the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.Hubbard describes the etymology of the word "Scientology" as coming from the Latin word scio, meaning know or distinguish, and the Greek word logos, meaning "the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known". Hubbard writes, "thus, Scientology means knowing about knowing, or science of knowledge".Hubbard's groups have encountered considerable opposition and controversy. In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners brought proceedings against Dianetics Foundation on the charge of teaching medicine without a license. Hubbard's followers engaged in a program of criminal infiltration of the U.S. government.Hubbard-inspired organizations and their classification are often a point of contention. Germany classifies Scientology groups as an "anti-constitutional sect". In France, they have been classified as a dangerous cult by some parliamentary reports.Scientology as a business
The Church of Scientology publicly classifies itself as a religion, and some scholars consider it a new religious movement, but that claim has been challenged for decades on the grounds that the Church operates more like a for-profit business than a church. Overall, as stated by Stephen A. Kent, Scientology can be seen as a "multi-faceted transnational corporation that has religion as only one of its many components. Other components include political aspirations, business ventures, cultural productions, pseudo-medical practices, pseudo-psychiatric claims, and (among its most devoted members who have joined the Sea Organization), an alternative family structure." The Church of Scientology justifies that its financial activities support its religious purpose, a position accepted by several governments globally.