...but that name has already been taken: Hugo Gernsback, father of science fiction, is also the father of amateur radio. I discovered while researching early newspaper stories on wireless communications that Gernsback published an early magazine on the topic, "Modern Electrics," imported European electronics gear for amateur radio builders, and organized the Wireless Association of America in 1909 that had 10,000 members within a year. Gernsback estimated that 400,000 amateur radio aficionados were at work in 1912.
Does this all sound a bit familiar? Working with cheaply available equipment, clambering on roofs, and working inside the law while not being subject to regulation, these amateurs--largely boys and young men--spent countless hours messing with technology to extend transmissions. It was some kind of combination of instant messaging, phone phreaking, and Wi-Fi with a distinctly modern flavor to it.
The popularity of wireless led to regulation, of course, as unregulated high-powered output caused enough interference to challenge "legitimate" uses. There are some hilarious stories from these days, including a cover story in the New York Times about a miracle "wireless boy" who could send messages around the world without them being detected--was he using a virtual private network?--and people using so much power to broadcast trivia to each other, such as, "I'm stepping out to tea," that folks in Australia were picking it up from England.
Ultimately, the regulatory power of the government pushed amateur use into specific bands and powers and gave primacy to commercial and governmental licensed use. (Amateur users are licensed primary or secondary users of the bands they live in giving them some fairly strong rights, however.)
It's nice to see that the man that popularized the notion of other worlds, space travel, and science that seemed like magic at the time also helped lead efforts that democratized access to public airwaves. I'm surprised hams don't call themselves hugos, but perhaps Wi-Fi community groups could organize a Huge Urban Galvanizing Organization Seminar in his honor?