Some indication of the pacing can be gleaned from the fact that "The First Months of 1938" is only the 17th of 28 chapters listed in the table of contents.
Today I'm most interested in the chapter titled "The Atheism Issue," which I briefly excerpt here:
When the November, 1937, Cosmic Tales carried, as what was to be the last of [Donald J.] Wollheim’s Phantaflexion columns, an article later reprinted in the first Science Fiction Advance as “Science Fiction and Religion,” it seemed that another bombshell had been dropped into fandom from the hand of the genial W. Some months later appeared “Anent Atheism and Stf” in Imagination!, which debated the possibly question-begging proposition that scientifictionists were scientifictionists because they were atheists, rather than atheists because they were scientifictionists,as Wollheim argued. ... It became customary for new correspondents to inquire each others’ religious stands, or to state them without inquiry, as a natural part of getting acquainted. ...No, indeed -- though, in my experience, atheism is still taken pretty much for granted, in science-fiction circles. When I recently told a group of sf cronies, for example, about a Potlatch panel titled "Coming Out as Atheist," I got in return a half-dozen confused expressions. Many atheists in the field can't imagine the need to "come out" as atheist, since that's the default expectation -- and certainly can't imagine the need to defend the position, or risk suffering hardship for publicly taking it.
Curiously, it never became a red-hot issue. ... the general sentiment seemed to be to avoid religious controversies before fandom as a whole, as being unpleasant and getting nowhere ...
But perhaps the most important reason for the flat-falling of the atheism issue was lack of interest—lack of opposition! ... The only prominent fans known to acknowledge church beliefs were Catholic Baltadonis and Episcopalian McPhail, tho doubtless there were others. When the IPO got around to putting the question, agnosticism and kindred showed a definite, tho not overwhelming majority, with many
of those on the other side of the line doubtful, tongue-in-cheek, or indifferent.
In defense of religion little showed up. ...
There wasn’t enough opposition to give any thrill from attacking the churchmen. So atheism was taken pretty much for granted, and fandom rocketed merrily on its way. But there is no guarantee that the controversy may not blaze forth again.
Speaking of the first Worldcon, check out the contemporary coverage in Time magazine, which notes that the sf magazines of 1939 average 150,000 readers apiece and pay 1 cent to 4 cents a word.
Also, Speer's other major fannish writing project, the 1944 Fancyclopedia slang dictionary, is online here.