( C ) — CONTENTS
CAFP / CALENDAR / THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION / CANFAAN AWARDS / CANVENTION / CARBONZINE / CARDZINE / CARR, JOAN W. / CARTOON WAR / THE CASE OF THE LITTLE GREEN MEN / CASPERS / CHRISTIAN SLANS READING SLANZINES / CHRISTMAS CARD / CHURCH OF HERBANGELISM / CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE / CLASSIFICATION ( OF FANTASY) / CLEAN UP FANDOM CRUSADE / CLUBHOUSE / CLUBROOM / CLUB VIRUS / CLUBZINE / COA / COFF / COLUMBIA SCIENCE FANTASY SOCIETY / COLOPHON / COMMENT COVER / / CON / CONCLAVE / CONCOM / CONDOM / CONFABULATION / CONFAN / CONFERENCE / CONREPORT / CONTRATERRENE / CONVACATION / CONVENTION / CONVENTIONS ( CANADIAN ) / CORFLU / CORFLU CONVENTION / CORRESPONDENCE / COSMEN / COSMIC CINEMA / COSMIC CAMP / COSMIC CIRCLE / COSMIC CITY / COSMIC CLOD / COSMIC CONCEPT / COSWORMS / CPASF / THE CREATIVE COSTUMER’S GUILD / CRIFANAC / CROGGLE / CROGGLED / CROTTLE / CROTTLED GREEPS / CROUTCH, LESLIE A. / CRUDZINE / CSFA / CSFFA / CSF/FFA / CUFF / CUFF TRIP REPORTS / THE CULT / THE CYGNUS SCIENCE SOCIETY
— Sources vary as to what it means. According to Harry Warner Jr., Jack Bowie-Read, & John Robert Columbo, it stands for ‘Canadian Amateur Fantasy Press’, but CANADIAN FANDOM #22 has the heading ‘Canadian Amateur Fan Publishers’ flanked by tiny mapleleafs with the letters CAFP inside the outline of each leaf. As well, several issues of CANFAN make reference to this or that zine as being a member of the ‘Canadian Amateur Fan Publishers’. Perhaps the meaning of the initials was adjusted or reinterpreted at some point in the history of the CAFP.
In any case the CAPF was founded by Fred Hurter Jr. in 1942 and originally consisted of just 3 publications: LIGHT – ( Faned: Leslie A. Croutch ), CENSORED – ( Faned: Fred Hurter Jr.), and, beginning in 1943, CANADIAN FANDOM – ( Faned: Beak Taylor ). The purpose of CAFP was to unite and promote Canadian fanzines and its emblem was indeed the Maple leaf. By 1948 the CAFP was affiliated with the Canadian Science Fiction Association, and added the Montreal SF Society publication MOHDZEE (Faned: Fred Hurter Jr.).
Jack Bowie-Reed noted in his history that the CAFP “which at its peak in 1949 had seven member fanzines, had dwindled back down to its original three…” by 1951. Four of the seven are listed above. I wonder what the other three zines were?
“In fact, the CAFP never amounted to more than a notice on the covers or in the colophons of all 3 fanzines. There was no formal organization at all. Though I have come across references to printing a small press edition of something or other, it was never done as far as I can tell. Curiously enough, some years after the CAFP faded from the picture, Gerald Steward took over CANFAN and re-established the CAFP logo in his personalzine GASP!, but not in CANFAN… Quite clearly the CAFP is a pretense by a small number of friends who saw each other regularly, not the organization of national scope that Jack Bowie-Read makes out” (in his HISTORY OF THE CANADIAN SF ASSOCIATION). (TW)
However, by 1954 the roll of publication members had expanded again to include: A BAS – ( Faned: Boyd Raeburn ), DAMN! – ( Faned: Norman G. Browne ), DEJU VU – ( Faned: P. Howard Lyons ), ESCAPE – ( Faned: Fred Woroch ), FIE – ( Faned: Harry Calnek ), FILLER #2 – ( Faned: Norman G. Browne ), GASP! – ( Faned: Gerald A. Steward ), IBIDEM – ( Faned: P. Howard Lyons ), & MIMI – ( Faned: Georgina Ellis ).
It should be noted that ESCAPE’s publication was aborted, and that FILLER #2 probably never appeared either. (Sources: Jack Bowie-Reed, Harry Warner Jr. & John Robert Columbo.)
— The most famous fannish calendar was probably that invented as part of Ghuist mythology. Its year one began in the mundane year 1935, the year Ghu was first revealed. The year is based on the mundane calendar, except that New Year takes place on the summer solstice. The first month is called dawn, for ‘dawollheim’. Another is named after John Michel (of ‘Michelism’), called j’mil. Not all months are named after prominent followers however, some reflect important aspects of the fannish state of being: vomb, Cthulhu, ktp. (Source: Jack Speer.)
In the 1950s the famous nude calendar of Marilyn Monroe apparently played an important role on the playing field of Ghoodminton. Her navel was said to form the outer boundary of the Ghoodminton court, though how this be possible only Ghu knows. (Source: Dick Eney.)
(Note: I have since found out the calendar hung on the wall, and the said navel was located opposite the exact centre of the Ghoodminton table and thus marked the spot where the net should be (evidently there wasn’t one). Thus, in order to determine whether a shot was ‘over’ or ‘under’ the net, players had to maintain a situational awareness heavily dependent on their peripheral vision. Must have been very difficult after numerous bottles of ale…)
Sometimes fans would alter the mundane calendar, ‘Mercer’s Day’ being perhaps the most famous example of the practice. Of this, Harry Warner Jr. wrote: “It wasn’t the first time that fans converted the calendar to their own purposes. Art Rapp had used a calendar for fandom as the cover of the December 1955 SPACEWARP. This included such things as National Bob Tucker Death Hoax Week, from September 8 to 15, and honoured November 16 as the anniversary of the day that ants take over the Earth.” (Source: Harry Warner Jr.)
Even today fans may issue their own calendars. For example, Dick & Leah Zeldes Smith of Illinois publish an annual ‘Dick & Leah’s Skiffy Calendar’ with notes on assorted topics: fannish birthdays (eg: Terry Carr, born 1937 Feb 19), pro birthday’s (eg: Robert E. Howard, born 1906 Jan 22), space events (eg: Svetlana Savitskaya, 1st woman to spacewalk, 1984 Jul 17), media events (eg: Star Trek TV premiere, 1966 Sep 8), & other good stuff.
[ See GHU, GHOODMINTON, VOMB, MERCER’S DAY, SKIFFY ]
THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION
— In 1946 the Montreal SF Society was formed, followed by the Toronto SF Society and the Lakehead SF Society (in Hamilton) in 1947. “A steady stream of correspondence between the three clubs resulted in the formation of the Canadian Science Fiction Association in 1948.”
The purpose of the CSFA was to bring geographically isolated Canadian fans together (remember, Canada is the second largest country on Earth, only Russia is bigger) in an organization devoted to encouraging Canadian fans, by virtue of constant written communication, to form a coherant national entity capable of achieving assorted fannish goals in a unified manner. Of course it didn’t work, but hey, what a nice idea!
1948 – CSFA founded. Each participating club deemed a constituent club representing a single vote in the elections for an executive. Elections held, Hamilton club forms the executive, Paul Revey as first President of CSFA. Picton (Ontario) SF club founded, affiliates. Now four members clubs in the CSFA.
Torcon I (sixth Worldcon) held in Toronto summer of 1948. Representatives of the four member clubs attended Torcon. “These fans held the first CSFA Canada-wide meeting — the main decision at this meeting was to form correspondence clubs so as to enable individual fans in small centres to obtain a vote at CSFA elections…. Two correspondence clubs were quickly formed. These were the Northern Fantasy Fan Federation, centred on Lelslie Croutch, and the Fantastellar Association, centred on Alastair Cameron at Deep River, Ontario (now 6 member clubs in CSFA)…. Besides this, amendments were introduced to the constitution and Jack-Bowie Reed was elected to the post of National Organizer. Lloyd Eshbach was elected as Honourary President, and a number of projects were delegated to individuals & clubs.”
Note: Chester Cuthbert wrote in June 1973: “Lloyd Eshbach was elected Honourary President because he was always very friendly to Canadian fans, and as Director of Fantasy Press gave science fiction clubs like ours a discount of one-third from published price on books. Many of us wouldn’t have collections of his books if this hadn’t been his policy.” (MM) & (LP)
Late 1948 saw four new clubs form and affiliate with CSFA (bringing the number of member clubs up to 10). They were the Deseronto SF Society (in Ontario), the Halifax (Nova Scotia) SF Society, the Ottawa (Ontario) SF Society, & the Thames SF Society in London, Ontario. “Correspondence was also established with the national organizations in Australia, Great Britain, & the USA with a view towards the formation of a World Science Fiction League.”
1949 – The Windsor (Ontario) SF Society forms & affiliates with CSFA. (Member clubs now 11 in number). A newsletter is being published, & numerous projects underway. Then Paul Revey resigns as CSFA President & is replaced by Clare Richards. Several founding members of the Hamilton club move away and the club, which functions as the CSFA executive, declines in strength & activity. The Deseronto SF Society folds. (Member clubs down to 10.)
As to the nature of the clubs, Harry Warner Jr. writes: “Canada had at least 10 fan clubs in various centres toward the end of the decade. They were generally characterized by lots of discussion of science fiction & scientific possibilities. There was little of the faanish fandom that is supposed to be the beginning of the end of fan groups, but they didn’t last long, anyway. Collecting was popular, with good collections of magazines & books frequently discovered in the possession of someone previously unknown to fandom.”
1950 – Newsletter ceases publication. Hamilton club folds. (9 member clubs left.) Halifax club collapses. (8 left.) Thames club expires. (7 left.) Windsor club joins the Michigan Science Fantasy Society. (6 left.) Fantastellar Association disappears. (5 left.) Organizer Jack Bowie-Reed joins the Canadian army & goes off to fight in the Korean War. Winnipeg SF Society founded & affiliates with CSFA (back up to 6 member clubs).
1951 – Northern Fantasy Fan Federation fades away (down to 5 member clubs again). Ottawa SF Society folds. (4 left.) Toronto SF Society moribund. (3 left.) But, the Winnipeg SF Society fields a new CSFA executive with Chester Cuthbert as President & Cam Brown as Secretary. Newsletter is revived in February. A survey reveals only Winnipeg, Montreal & Picton clubs still viable.
1952 – Alastair Cameron publishes his 52 page FANTASY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM on behalf of CSFA. Winnipeg takes over the circulating library project and collects several thousand books. Montreal club resumes the author pseudonym project. The Vancouver SF Society (founded Dec 1951) affiliates. (Member clubs back up to 4.) A Canadian Fan Directory is published. The Edmonton SF Society is founded and joins with CSFA in Nov. (5 now!) Significantly, the revived Toronto Club and the newly-formed Calgary & Windsor clubs refuse to affiliate.
1953 – Jack Bowie-Reed’s history of the CSFA is published. Membership holds steady at 150, of whom at least 100 belong to the five member clubs located in Montreal, Picton, Winnipeg, Edmonton & Vancouver. Executive consists of Honorary President Lloyd Eshbach, President Chester Cuthbert, Secretary/Treasurer Cam Brown & National Organizer Jack Bowie-Reed.
1954 – This may or may not mark the year of the CSFA’s decline. All I know is that I see no reference in my sources to any CSFA activity after 1953. Except for a brief reference by Gerald Steward, editor of CANADIAN FANDOM, in March 1954: “…that the group behind this organization is hard working and earnest… not just another Winnipeg farce like the CSFA…” Evidently CSFA had ceased activity by then, or at least some Canadian fen no longer considered it worthy of support. Perhaps many did not think a national organization was necessary anymore, or even useful.
Hmmnn, now that I think about it, you could say the CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION was an attempt to create a Canadian equivalent of the American NATIONAL FANTASY FAN FEDERATION but proved far less successful.
Note: Chester Cuthbert preserved the archives of the CSFA in his basement till October of 2007 when (hopefully) they were among the papers and 47 tons of books he donated to the University of Alberta. Chester subsequently passed away in March 20th of 2009. A Canadian fannish legend gone. (JBR) & (RGC)
[ See CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION: A HISTORY, CSFA NEWSLETTER, DESERONTO SF SOCIETY, EDMONTON SF SOCIETY, LAKEHEAD (Hamilton) SF SOCIETY, MONTREAL SF SOCIETY, OTTAWA SF SOCIETY, PICTON SF SOCIETY, TORONTO SF SOCIETY, WINNIPEG SF SOCIETY, VANCOUVER SF SOCIETY, WESTERN SF ASSOCIATION, NORTHERN FANTASY FAN FEDERATION, & FANTASTELLAR ASSOCIATION ]
— This idea came to me at 5:40 am, Nov 24th, 2004, as I lay soaking in my bathtub prior to getting dressed and going to work. The Americans have the HUGO Awards, and we Canadians have the AURORAS. The Americans have the HOGUs, and we have the ELRONS. The Americans have the FAAn Awards, and we have… why not the CanFAAns?
The FAAn Awards are peer group awards for Fanzine Activity Achievement. Why not have a Canadian equivalent? This is not meant to compete with the Auroras, any more than the FAAn Awards compete with the HUGOS. Both the HUGOS and the AURORAS are open to any SF fan to vote on, but the FAAn Awards are open only to those known to be active in fanzine fandom. Sort of like the difference between the HUGOS (open to all), and the NEBULAS (Only SF writers can vote), a peer group award.
NOTE: granted, the FAAn awards are open to all fen regardless of nationality, and Canadians do win (as witness Lloyd Penney receiving best loc writer in 2009), and likewise the Hugos are open to all authors, but just as the Auroras are open only to Canadian authors and fen, I feel the CanFAAns should be strictly for Canadians. Like the Auroras, the CanFAAns would be intended to bolster and enhance Canadian fanac within Canada.
Of course, there may not be enough active fanzine fans in Canada to make the awards viable, but I refuse to believe that. After all, I can think of at least three here in Vancouver alone. Besides, even if only a dozen or two dozen people vote, it’s a kind of census of active fanzine fanac, a way of bringing these people together & into contact, and mostly, a means of advocating fanzine fandom, focusing attention on it, maybe even recruiting new active participants. Hmm. One way of Cdn fanzine fandom to develop a fenaissance in the 21st century.
So, off the top of my head, here are some possible award categories:
– Best Fan Writer.
– Best Fan Artist.
– Best Fan LocHack.
– Best Fanzine ( Paper, and/or ‘fixed’ paper version hosted on web ).
– Best Fanzine ( Website only ).
Something like this is by definition small scale, can perhaps be handled by a single O.E. (so to speak) but ‘sponsored’ by a committee of active fen. No rush, but a concept to be considered and perhaps experimentally tried within a year or two. What do you think?
In February of 2008 Lloyd Penney commented: “I think the CanFAAns would be a viable award if there were more of us to participate and vote. Instead, it would look like we were glad-handing each other, handing ourselves awards for our fanzine efforts. To see any level of viability, perhaps we need a list of Canadian fanzine fans so we know who we’re dealing with, and how far we can go…”
To which I replied: “…your idea of a few people glad-handing one another is positively inspirational! How far can we go? Why not go all the way to the ultimate in simplicity and efficiency? Why don’t I just give MYSELF each and every CanFaan award? Glad-hand myself a trophy? And every year a bigger and better trophy, more and more gaudy and elaborate? Sooner or later other Canadian Fen would be so pissed about this they’d start pubbing their own ish in droves in order to compete with me and deny me victory…. I LIKE this concept… no visible flaws… seems perfectly logical…hmm…”
Note: Eventually founded the Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards (CSFFA), or ‘Faneds.’ Detail to be added.
[ See AWARDS, FAAn AWARDS]
— Stands for Canadian Convention, and refers to the annual convention held by the CSFFA (Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Award) committee for the purpose of presenting awards for best achievements in both French & English language Canadian SF literature and Canadian SF fan activities. These awards, inspired by and similar to the American HUGOS, are currently known as the AURORAs.
Canvention properly consists of two parts: the presentation of the Aurora awards, and a business meeting hosted by the CSFFA committee in which possible amendments to the CSFFA constitution are discussed and voted on. Any fan attending the convention is eligible to vote. An example amendment would be a recent change to the Fan Achievement Fanzine category, in which clubzines (sponsored and promoted by however many members the club possesses) are no longer eligible. Only fanzines produced by individuals can be voted on. This amendment prevents individual zines from being trampled on by organized club memberships. Clubzines can instead, perhaps, be included under Fan Achievement Organizational, or Other?
Canvention is bid for by other SF conventions, the winner acting as host. Traditionally, though not always, the Canvention alternates from one side of the country to the other in order to involve all of Canadian fandom over the years. A compleat list follows:
1980 – Canvention 1 / HALCON 3 — Halifax.
1981 – Canvention 2 / VCON 9 — Vancouver.
1982 – Canvention 3 / NONCON 5 — Edmonton.
1983 – Canvention 4 / MAPLECON 5 — Ottawa.
1985 – Canvention 5 / HALCON 8 — Halifax.
1986 – Canvention 6 / VCON 14 — Vancouver.
1987 – Canvention 7 / AD ASTRA 7 — Toronto.
1988 – Canvention 8 / KEYCON 5 — Winnipeg.
1989 – Canvention 9 / PINEKONE II — Ottawa.
1990 – Canvention 10 / CONVERSION 7 — Calgary.
1991 – Canvention 11 / CONTEXT 91 — Edmonton.
1992 – Canvention 12 / WILFCON — Kitchener.
1993 – Canvention 13 / WOLFCON VI — Wolfville.
1994 – Canvention 14 / CONADIAN Worldcon — Winnipeg.
1995 – Canvention 15 / CANCON 95 / BOREAL 12 — Ottawa.
1996 – Canvention 16 / CONVERSION XIII — Calgary.
1997 – Canvention 17 / PRIMEDIA — Toronto.
1998 – Canvention 18 / CON*CEPT 98 — Montreal.
1999 – Canvention 19 / INCONSEQUENTIAL II — Fredericton.
2000 – Canvention 20 / TORONTO TREK 2000 — Toronto.
2001 – Canvention 21 / VCON 26 — Vancouver.
2002 – Canvention 22 / CON-VERSION 9 — Calgary.
2003 – Canvention 23 / TORCON 3 — Toronto.
2004 – Canvention 24 / BOREAL — Montreal.
2005 – Canvention 25 / WESTERCON 58 — Calgary.
2006 – Canvention 26 / TORONTO TREK 20 — Toronto.
2007 – Canvention 27 / VCON 32 — Vancouver.
2008 – Canvention 28 / KEYCON 25 – Winnipeg.
(to be updated.)
[ See: AURORAS, CASPERS, CSFFA ]
— In the 1930s and 1940s not every fan had access to a planograph or a lithograph or a muiltilith or a mimeograph or any other somewhat expensive method of printing. Hektography ( or hectography ) only began to catch on as the ’30s progressed. So, many fans simply typed their zines, employing as many carbon copies ( Two? Three? Four? ) as were acceptably legible. Since the majority of copies mailed out of any given issue were carbons, the term ‘Carbonzine’ was coined. I suppose the typed top copies went to especially favoured correspondents. This method was certainly time consuming, but it worked.
Canadian Fan Leslie A. Croutch’s CROUTCH MAGAZINE MART NEWS / CROUTCH NEWS were carbonzines up to issue # 99 (April 1941) and then he switched to Hectography. Of interest, he himself retained no copies of any of his carbonzines prior to # 89a, which would indicate he mailed all copies to reach as many people as possible.
THE CRANFAN by Birchby published in 1942 is an example of an American carbonzine. THE BEYOND, by Parker, also 1942, is another. CURIOUS STORIES by Donald A. Wollheim dates from 1935. There were many others, but few lasted more than one or two issues, since so much work was involved.
Perhaps the last gasp of the Carbonzine was an APA titled the Carbon-Reproduced Amateur Press or CRAP. This started in 1957 when American fan Bill Meyers began sending out a series of lists of his collection to a few friends. He titled his list BEM. With the 22nd mailing it became the APA named CRAP, with five members. By the 55th mailing membership reached ten. However it was no longer typed on typewriter carbons, yet still technically counted as a carbonzine because, in Harry Warner Jr.’s words: its contributions used “either the ditto process which involved carbon-type masters or stencils cut with cushion sheets popularly called carbons.” CRAP APA folded in 1961.
It is still possible to produce a classic carbonzine if you own a typewriter (remember those?) but presumably would be strictly an exercise in nostalgia.
— Sometimes fans used to distribute news or announcements by purchasing a number of cheap postcards on which to print very short articles by one means or another, including, rarely, the use of a custom-made rubber stamp! American fan (and later author) Robert Silverberg had a short-lived cardzine series in the early 1950s. The practice died out as the price of both postcards and postage rose. I do not know of any Canadian cardzine, but there may well have been some in the old days. (HW)
CARR, JOAN W.
— The most infamous Femmefan of the 1950s. She was a British army WRAC serving in North Africa, introduced into fandom by Sergeant Sanderson from Manchester in October 1952. At first she typed letters to Manchester fans, with her signature always in green ink. By 1954 she was corresponding with numerous fans throughout Britain. She came up with the idea of editing a zine strictly for femme fans, and FEMIZINE ( or FEZ for short ) was born. FEZ soon reached a membership of 200, with an average readership response per issue of 50%, phenomenal by fannish standards. Rumours had it that she and Sanderson were to be married. Then Sanderson announced he and Joan had broken off their engagement. This helped explain the sudden lessening of her fanac.
In May 1956 the 9th (& final) issue of FEMIZINE was mailed. As Harry Warner Jr. explained: “On the cover was Joan Carr’s uniformed, beanied cadaver, reposing on a bier among palms and a pyramid. Above in giant letters was the laconic admission, ‘HOAX.'”
Yes, perhaps the most successful fannish hoax of all! Joan W. Carr was actually Sgt. H.P. Sanderson (her creator), and Frances Evans and Ethel Lindsay, who put FEMIZINE together, and Pamela Bulmer, who edited the last two issues. Ironically, the demand by various faneds for contributions from J.W. Carr during her short ‘life’ grew to be so great that Sanderson was forced to cut down on his own fanac in order to maintain Carr’s prolific correspondence and status as a BNF (Big Name Fan). It was rather a relief for him to finally lay her to rest. (HW) (DE)
[ See: CARL J. BRANDON & JOHN A. BRISTOL for other famous hoax fans. ]
— This is a relatively common feature of SF conventions, frequently happening at VCON (Vancouver’s annual SF Convention) for instance. Two or more cartoonists/artists are given themes suggested by the audience and compete within a strict time-limit (say a minute or two) to come up with the funniest toon interpretation. Quite often the convention’s Artist GoH takes part, and sometimes the results are auctioned off to raise money for the convention, for CUFF (in VCON’s case), or some other worthy fannish cause. Usually done nowadays with large easels of cheap paper and plenty of marker pens.
I don’t know which convention first took up the practice — certainly it has been a venerable institution at VCON since VCON 8 in 1980 when Steve Fahnestalk hosted a contest among George Metzger, Trina Robbins, John Byrne, Marv Newland, Artie Romero, Tim Hammell, Darrel Anderson, Steve Leialoha & other artists –but the very first cartoon war is said to have taken place in the pages of the American fanzine ODD, pubbed by faneds Ray Fisher and Joyce Worley Fisher (Katz) circa (I’m guessing) late 1960s? The artists were Jack Gaughan and Vaughn Bode. This battle of the gifted inspired other artists to do the same. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see it live at a convention. Some artists, however, do it just for fun between themselves as a kind of training exercise to improve their art. Occasionally the results get published. But the cartoon wars at cons are exhilarating examples of spontaneous creativity well worth attending. (AK)
THE CASE OF THE LITTLE GREEN MEN
— An early example of a novel with strong fannish aspects. Written by Mack Reynolds & published in 1951. Essentially a murder mystery, it features a murder at an SF convention and a detective hired by a Worldcon committee to track down BEMs. (HWJ)
[ See BEM ]
— The Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy awards ( or CSFFAs ) are Canada’s premier SF awards. The first, a life-time achievement CSFFA given to A.E. van Vogt in 1980, was called ‘The Coeurl’ after one of his fictional aliens. The second, given in 1981, was just called the life-time achievement CSFFA.
Possibly as early as the next CSFFA given in Edmonton in 1982, the award became known as ‘Casper’. Eventually, as the number of awards multiplied, becoming the ‘Prix Casper awards’. 1989 was the last year of the Caspers. Beginning in 1990, the CSFFAs were henceforth known as the ‘Aurora Awards’.
Why was the name Casper given to the award? As far as I can determine, it was simply because if you try to pronounce CSFFA as a word it sounds like ‘Casper’ spoken with a lisp. Inevitably the name conjured up visions of Casper the Ghost, so I think it’s a good thing the switch was made to the more dignified ‘Aurora’, especially since beautiful aurora displays are a frequent visitor to our northern skies. (Not so sure about Casper.)
[ See: AURORA AWARDS, CSFFA, CANVENTION ]
— As late as the early 1960s the RCMP routinely opened mail looking for subversive and/or smutty material. Of course, Canada Customs does this even now, but only to mail received from OUTSIDE the country. the RCMP used to examine mail moving WITHIN the country. (They used to raid people’s homes, too, looking for banned books like James Joyce’s ULYSSES or Henry Miller’s TROPIC OF series. Happened in my neighbourhood when I was a kid.) Of course the FBI, and American Postal authorities, were especially keen on this sort of action in the 1950s. so it’s no wonder that faneds and APA O.E.s used to worry about what was acceptable and what might land them in jail (and to a lesser extent, still do).
There seems to be no known instance of the American (or Canadian) authorities cracking down on a fanzine, though sometimes the threat loomed large. As Harry Warner Jr. put it: “Perhaps the worst aspect of the occasional conflicts between fandom and the postal officials was the inability of fans to distinguish between what was permitted and what was forbidden… the only consistent pattern was the fondness of postal people for throwing a fan into an advanced state of panic and then never following up on the matter.”
Max Keasler, faned of FANVARIETY, was told by US postal authorities his zine contained “material of questionable mailability”, so he simply hopped over the state line and mailed his zine from the next State without any problem. This enabled him to claim FANVARIETY as the only ‘border-run’ fanzine in fandom.
A Portland zine, INCINERATIONS, resulted in its faned being threatened with a $5,000 fine or five years in jail, but fortunately no charges were laid. Seems printing a proposed Christmas card with a portrait of Madonna & child “indelicately retouched” was a bad idea!
On occasion faneds went out of their way to provoke such a response, a risky business indeed. William Rotsler, for instance, had a rubber stamp reading ‘Danger: Subversive Material’ which the post office found less than amusing and forwarded all of his mailings so stamped to Washington Postal Inspectors, imposing a significant delay in the mail reaching the intended recipients. Eventually this was sorted out with no harm done.
More often, it was the faneds themselves, out of fear of what the Postal Authorities might do, who imposed censorship. A classic example happened to Canada’s own Leslie A. Croutch with the second zine he submitted to FAPA, his LIGHT #130 (tho admittedly this is somewhat earlier than the era in question, namely 1944). He himself referred to it as his ‘sexy number’ because it included a female nude ‘with just a hint of pubic hair’. This was more the FAPAn O.E. could accept, and it raised a storm of controversy among his fellow FAPAns. He was forced to recant and repent, but remained tainted in the minds of some members as long as he remained in FAPA (until the late 1950s).
Poor Croutch. Harry Warner Jr. once commented: “Les kept getting into trouble…over his artistic productivity. He had a bad habit of putting extremely ugly nudes on his covers…breasts usually looked like an extra pair of lungs…” In one instance someone submitted a FAPAzine with a nude cover. “After some questioning by postal people., no action was taken against either the publisher or the FAPA official editor (O.E.), but the authorities asked to see the next mailing.” This could well have been one of Croutch’s submissions.
Canadian fan Norman G. Browne also raised a few hackles in FAPA around 1952/1953. In his FAPAzines he kept referring to his PAPAzine CONCUPISCENT TALES, PAPA being the Pornographic APA. It was a while before his fellow FAPAns caught on that there was no such zine or APA, that it was all a hoax by Browne. But as his mentions of same could have led to trouble with the Post Office, his humour was not appreciated.
William Clyde (bit of a hoax fan, actually Sam Martinez of Tulsa) went a step further and succeeded in being banned from participation in FAPA because of the explicit nature of his drawings and stories in his FAPAzine. Who knows? Maybe that was his goal all along?
But as usual, the most outrageous example of censorship (or anything else) was not to be found in fandom but in the mundane world. Writing in Browne’s VANATIONS #1 (June 1952), Alaistair Cameron explained in his article ‘Fantasy Censorship In Canada’ how the Canadian Minister of National Revenue, a certain Dr. McCann, had ultimate responsibility for the banning of books and magazines being distributed in Canada. Dr. McCann was accountable to no-one for his decisions. He was not even legally required to give a reason for banning a book!
Wrote Cameron: “Dr. McCann will ban the item ‘if I wouldn’t want my daughter to read such a book’. In actual fact Dr. McCann has no daughter. The final criterion of what Canadians may or may not read is the moral sensitivity of a young lady who doesn’t exist!”
In May of 1952 Cameron wrote to the Dept of National Revenue requesting a current list of banned books, none such having been made public as yet. He was informed he should properly direct his request to “The Chief Of Parliamentary Papers”. The latter, a Mr. Williams, upon being contacted wrote back that he lacked sufficient staff to mail a copy, but should Cameron show up at his office in Ottawa he would be happy to hand him one. In other words, certain books were banned by the Federal government, but the public could only find out which ones if they showed up in person! Less than forthcoming I must say. (HWJ) (DE) (JRC)
[ See CROUTCH, THE PROFESSOR ]
— The fannish form of a chain letter. Didn’t really exist until WWII when Youd in Great Britain began the practice to disseminate news among fans in a manner which conserved as much precious paper as possible within the limit established by the government rationing. He would start by mailing off a page oor more to the first fan on his list, who would compose and add a page of his own, in turn send it off to the next guy, until finally the last fan would mail the entire bundle back to Youd, who would then make a final copy of the first round using selected ‘best’ material, add another sheet of fresh news, and start the process all over again.
The practice caught on in the United States after Pearl Harbour, with Harry Warner Jr. starting up several. Noting that the Youd system was hardly fair to the earliest recipients, in that they never got to see the full bundle of ms — sort of like belonging to an APA but only being allowed to read selected excerpts — Warner adopted a unique solution. He insisted the entire bundle be intact at the beginning of the second round, so that the fans in the chain got to read ALL of the material produced in the first round, but that as the bundle made its way down the list each would remove his original one-sheet zine (which those next on the list had already read) and substitute a new one. And being Harry Warner Jr., archivist extraordinaire, he insisted each zine, after being removed, be sent to him for inclusion in his gigantic attic archive.
Certain crafty faneds quickly caught on that this was a most efficient way to gather material for their regular zines distributed to a wider readership of fans not participating in the chainzine. (I assume paper rationing was less severe in the States, being a local product as opposed to an importation. The UK got most of its paper from Canada, I believe.) Bob Tucker, for example, managed to establish a photo chainzine in order to acquire fannish photos for his zine LE ZOMBIE.
Sadly, and oddly, when the US War Department got wind of military personnel who happened to be fans participating in chainzines, they banned the practice within the military in 1943. Perhaps they mistook the chainzines for mundane chain letter scams such as still exist today.
An audio version of a chainzine developed in the same period, at first in the States alone, but spreading to Canada, England, and Australia. This involved Sono-discs, blank record discs which fans with record players could — with some rather expensive additional equipment — record snippets of conversation and be passed on to the next fan for additional voice material. Trouble is, by the time the disc was full and returned to the first person who sent it off it was usually scratched and worn to the point of being inaudible, or even cracked or broken in the mail. At some point, again for war material purposes, ‘platters’ were banned.
Later versions of audio chainzines utilized wire recordings (wire being used before the invention of tape), reel to reel tape recorders, tape cassettes (the Graeme did that in the early 1970s!), and for all I know, video cassettes and now electronic audio/visual clips sent over the internet. (HWJ) (DE)
[ See SONO-DISCS, WIRE RECORDERS, TAPERA ]
“CHRISTIAN SLANS IN SLANDOM READING SLANZINES”
— A rather striking phrase. Coined by Eva Firestone. She was an old-time fan (born 1900), a member of First Fandom. If you’ll bear in mind that throughout the history of fandom many fans have been practicing Christians, and that there have even been SF fanzines exhibiting a Christian outlook as a matter of policy, and that for several decades in the mid-twentieth century the concept of fans being superior to mundanes, like A.E. van Vogt’s mutants or Slans in his novel SLAN who were more advanced than ordinary mortals, was promoted and believed in by many fans, then you can perhaps begin to grasp what she was getting at. Context is everything.
Basically, she was reacting to what she perceived as a kind of irreverent elitism she detected in contemporary fanzines which she felt was at odds with a proper Christian upbringing. And so she felt compelled to warn, in an issue of Max Keasler’s FANVARIETY circa 1951/1952, that “It should be a good policy to remember that there are many Christian Slans in Slandom reading Slanzines.” This was such an extraordinary pronouncement it immediately entered into fannish legend.
Next time there’s a lull in the conversation at a party, try quoting Firestone. Probably make the lull last longer. (HWJ)
[ See SLAN, SLANSHACK ]
— A few of fannish note. The INCINERATIONS religious spoof that got them into trouble with the U.S. Postal Authorities. YUM, the edible xmas card by john Roles. The always eagerly awaited pun-filled mini-xmas-zine from Walt Willis. And most joyous of all, a card with a rubber finger poking thru a slit surrounded by the inscription “To help you make Merry Christmas, here’s something else to screw your friends with.” which Will Sykora received in 1939. He was feuding with Wollheim & the Futurians at the time and treasured deep suspicions, but was unable to pin responsibility on them despite offering a reward for information. (DE)
[ See CENSORSHIP ]
CHURCH OF HERBANGELISM
— A typical fannish (i.e. inventive and hilarious) holy order founded by Elst Weinstein, “Chief Expounder of the Truthe”, dedicated to the spreading of the teachings of the minor fannish ghod Herbie. Among other accomplishments, the CoH “did save the world from Terrible and Ghastly destruction with the exorcism of the Blasphemous Comet Kohoutek — Killer Firebomb from Heck.”
Mike Glyer (FILE 770 faned) was ‘the Holy Gopher, North American Kahuna’, and under him, four ‘Sector Sinbus’ including Leah Zeldes (Smith). James Hall of Manitoba was the Sector Sinbus for Canada.
But for mere money anyone could become a “Highhead, a member of the college of the Coo-Coos, one of Those who Spit at the Hand of Fraud; be they Bopper, the Pun, or the Holy Gopher.” Or to put it another way, a High Priest.
Thus, on Sept 6th, 1981, Gerald Boyko (First Archivist for BCSFA) was “Anointed and Appointed High Priest of the 54th Church of Herbangelism British Columbia.”
[ See HERBIE, HERBANGELISM, HERBAPA ] (RGC)
CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE
— This was a hodgepodge of publications run off by Claude Degler using the clubroom printing facilities of LASFS (the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society) circa 1943 in which he and other writers belonging to the Planet Fantasy Federation ( Don Rogers – in fact a pseudonym for Degler himself; Helen Bradleigh – a pseudonym for Joan Domnick, Degler’s ‘girlfriend’ ) advocated the Cosmic Concept on a weekly basis. Titles varied, including: COSMIC CIRCLE COMMENTATOR, FANEWS ANALYZER, TRUE FANTASTIC EXPERIENCES & SPICY SPACESHIP STORIES. Projects pushed in these newsheets included: contacting ‘cosmic-minded mutants’ everywhere, the infamous Cosmic ‘love’ Camp, how to procreate a race of superhuman mutant Slans, getting fans serving in the military involved, and how the Cosmic Circle would eventually dominate the Solar System. (JS)
Jack Speer wrote: “The most noticeable characteristic of the publications was that they were the worst-looking legible fanzines ever published: abounding strikeovers; overuse of caps, quotation marks, and underlines; wandering, unplanned sentences; countless simple grammatical errors like “can and has went”; malapropisms like calling Widner a “stolid and far-seeing fan:, etc.”
[ See COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSMEN, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), MARTIN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
CLASSIFICATION (OF FANTASY)
— The Dewey Decimal System is employed by libraries to place books by subject matter in the appropriate location on their shelves. Though cumbersome, and sometimes open to question (what the heck are von Daniken’s scam books doing in the Archaeology section?), it is a system which works quite well.
Given that many fans are collectors, primarily of books and magazines in the early decades of fandom, it is not unnatural that fans would, from time to time, seek to devise a fannish ‘Dewey Decimal’ classification system to enable fans to put their own libraries in order.
Jack Speer was probably the first, and certainly among the most popular, to do this. He used 5 basic categories: the future, the past, time travel, impossible by contemporary science, and extrapolations from the present or the past. All other listings within his system were derived from one of those 5.
Sam Russell and Langley Serles also devised comparable systems of classification. But it was Alastair Cameron who produced Canada’s first contribution to this genre, titled simply ‘FANTASY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM’.
[ See FANTASY, FANTASY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM ]
CLEAN UP FANDOM CRUSADE
— Launched in 1951 by US fan Russell Watkins, the faned of DAWN. Concerned about postal authorities opening the mail to look for pornography and other illegal activity (a common practice at the time, in Canada too!), he tried to convince faneds everywhere not to publish anything to do with sex, and nothing critical of any religion. He failed. The majority of faneds opposed him. He gafiated when he entered the armed forces. (HWJ)
— It is the dream of every SF club to own its own Clubhouse. Certainly this is a longstanding dream of the BCSFA, even to the point of occasionally passing a motion that this be an official goal of the club. But given that we can seldom afford to rent a room for a single meeting, much less a permanent clubroom by the month, the goal of owning (or building!) our own clubhouse has remained elusive. But also given that the local chapter of the British Israelite Society (dedicated to the belief that the British are the Lost Tribes of Israel) has maintained a closed, derelict store front for decades, and another local chap maintains a private museum of postcards and other knickknacks acquired on his retirement travels, you’d think it might be possible to rent some cheap dive somewhere…there’s a very cute one room house opposite the Hell’s Angels clubhouse in Maillardville for instance…hmm…not for rent though…
The Decker Dillies of Indiana may have utilized the first fan clubhouse. It consisted of a single-room shack on a field outside the town of Decker. Here the members kept their typewriter and mimeograph, their collection of fanzines, promags and books, numerous photos and artworks pinned to the walls, and — rather oddly — a human skeleton. The clubhouse, like the Decker Dillies themselves, was in use for only one year: 1940.
LASFS, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, which has been around since 1934, has owned its own clubhouse since the early 1970s. They purchased a small building on Ventura Boulevard, using a fund for that purpose which had first been set up a decade earlier. In 1977 they relocated to their current facility in North Hollywood. It consists of two structures: building 4sJ (named after Forrest J. Ackerman, perhaps their most prominent member in the 1930s & 1940s) which contains the club library, a computer room, and a small social room, & Freehafer Hall (also named after a famous member) which contains their principal meeting room, their archives, and their press room for the production of various clubzines. Maintenance and upkeep is a constant problem, with most labour and material, or as much as possible, being provided free by willing members. Both buildings have a bathroom. Speaking of which, for years I read references to the latest visit by Mr. Skunk before it finally dawned on me that there was not a long-term resident herd of skunks dwelling beneath the building, but rather an ongoing problem with the drainage pipes.
I’ve heard there are at least two other SF clubhouses in existence, so it MUST be possible…given a certain amount of money…
It should be noted that a clubhouse is distinct from a Slan Shack, in that no one actually lives in a clubhouse, and a Slan Shack, while inhabited by fans, does not necessarily witness formal club activity. (DE)
[ See SLAN SHACK ]
— A room dedicated to club activity is the closest thing to a Clubhouse most clubs ever achieve. The BC SF Association has generally held its meetings in various members living rooms, though lately (due to a lack in volunteered facilities) in just one home every month. In the past, function rooms were occasionally rented but could only be used for an hour or two. In the ancient of days parties held in homes would last many hours. Probably Steve 40’s mimeo room where BCSFAzine was printed for many years was the closest we came to a dedicated clubroom.
LASFS, the Los Angeles SF Society, before it acquired a permanent clubhouse, rented a room for many years on an ongoing basis, one equipped with typewriters, mimeos, and even a cot for fatigued faneds resting their mighty brains. The room also contained the club’s library of books, prozines & fanzines. It had specific meeting times, but was open at other hours for members use, be it working on the latest clubzine or checking out the library.
Probably the most famous clubroom in fandom was the attic in Walt Willis’s ‘Oblique House’ in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Here Willis, James White, Bob Shaw (the latter two fans who became ‘filthy Pros’) and many other fans visiting from as far away as America met to play ‘Ghoodminton’ and further fannish relations. In the 1950s it was one of the sacred shrines of fandom.
Slan shacks, it should be noted, often contain a particular room dedicated to the fannish activities of the shack’s inhabitants, but not in every case.
But the earliest ‘clubrooms’ were assorted teenager bedrooms back in the 1930s, chock full of professional-zine collections (mostly AMAZING, WONDER STORIES & ASTOUNDING), growing collections of fanzines, walls covered in illustrations, and at least the spirit of ambition to produce a fanzine, if not any actual apparatus; bedrooms where local fans hung out and discussed how Scientification, and by extension themselves, being fans of the stuff, were going to save the world, improve it, and advance mankind to the stars. I can’t help but wonder if anything like this still exists today, and if not, when did the practice die out? (DE)
— A branch of ESFACAS, sharing the same mailing address, consisting mostly of University of Alberta ( in Edmonton ) students active on the University Computer Bulletin Boards, circa 1980s. Met once a week on Thursday nights beginning 9:00 PM. Published NEOGENESIS on occasion. Probably the originator of the VirusCon concept, a sort of mini-relaxicon within a major con, first at NONCON, CONVERSION & ONOCON, then later at VCON.
[ See NEOGENESIS ]
— I’m certain every club on this planet, be they barbed wire collectors or three Stooges enthusiasts, prints a clubzine. More often than not, it’s a sort of bulletin or newsletter informing members when the next meeting is scheduled, when memberships are due, who the new members are, and such-like. This is the core of most Science Fiction clubzines, but given the varied interests of fans, not to mention the fans rabid enthusiasm (on occasion), many clubzines have traditionally been very successful in attracting regular columns/contributions by members, subscribers and even professional writers. Thus many a club newsletter was more like a genuine magazine in content, complete with numerous articles, reviews, personal editorials, letters of comment and even ads. Alas, today, dedicated columnists are hard to come by. There’s a tendency for Faneds to download and print reams of information from the internet, so that today’s clubzines are often very informative newsletters, providing a digest of detail not easily obtainable otherwise, but in danger of becoming a sort of wire service rather than a fascinating read. Where this trend will lead?
Early Canadian clubzines which have long ceased publication include:
CENSORED – first issue ( June 1941 ) for the Montreal Science Fiction Society.
CANADIAN FANDOM – first issue ( Feb 1943 ) for the Toronto Science Fiction Society.
HIBITED HAPPENINGS – first issue ( March 1952 ) for the Vancouver Science Fiction Association.
OSFIC – first issue ( Jan 1967 ) for the Ontario Science fiction Club.
NEOLOGY – first issue ( Sept 1976 ) for the Edmonton Science Fiction & Comic Arts Society.
WATS NEW – first issue ( Jan 1979 ) for the Waterloo Science Fiction Club.
PHOENIX – first issue ( Nov 1979 ) for the Science Fiction Association of Victoria.
Three longtime clubzines still in publication (as of August 2009):
BCSFAZINE – first issue ( Aug 1973 ) for the British Columbia Science fiction Association.
OTTAWA SCIENCE FICTION STATEMENT – first issue ( March 1977 ) for the Ottawa Science Fiction Society.
WARP – first issue ( Dec 1987 ) for the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.
[ See BCSFAZINE, CANADIAN FANDOM, CENSORED, HIBITED HAPPENINGS, NEOLOGY, OSFIC, OTTAWA SCIENCE FICTION STATEMENT, PHOENIX, WARP, WATS NEW ] (RGC)
— Simply stands for ‘Change of Address’. In the past COAs were very important. COA announcements, and fan addresses listed with their letters of comment, were the only source of information allowing local fans to connect with each other ( many a club was founded that way ) or to connect with fans across the country or, indeed, wherever a particular fanzine circulated. Fans/faneds rely on COAs found in other zines to update their files if they have not otherwise been informed of the change. However, given modern problems of identity theft and privacy laws, the tradition of printing correspondent’s addresses and COAs may well die out.
— Coff stands for ‘Concrete Overcoat Fan Fund’, a British spoof fan fund which ran for several years in the early 1980s. Good only for flight halfway across the Atlantic. Trophy consisted of a very small concrete overcoat under a beer glass. Votes cost 10 pence each, and multiple votes encouraged. All proceeds went to TAFF and GUFF (legitimate fan funds). British fans Steve Green and Kev Clarke ran COFF while it lasted. Here follows a tentative list of winners:
1982 (?) – ‘Plastic’ Bob Shaw, a Glasgow fan and conrunner (not to be confused with the Irish BNF Bob Shaw).
1983 (?) – Unknown, “who stormed out of the hall at Eastercon saying ‘I’ll never speak to any of you bastards again!'”
1984 – U.S. fan Richard Bergeron.
1985 – British fan Phil Probert.
1986 – The COFF award was given to the COFF award itself. (DL)
“The reason it was cancelled had to do with people spending obscene amounts of money to pursue personal vendettas, buying hundreds of votes, and the joke factor had gone out of it.” – Mike Cheater.
Roughly twenty years later Kevin Clarke posted an article about COFF on the web. Here are some excerpts:
“The concept of COFF as an award for the fan most likely to benefit fandom by sleeping with the fishes was born of a conversation with Chris Suslowicz, but Chris seems to have had a tendency to ignite interesting ideas and promptly disappear without a trace for long periods of time. Hence it was with Steve Green that it was developed into a light-hearted way of raising funds for TAFF and GUFF.”
“In keeping with the ideals of raising a smile and a few quid, we subscribed to the motto “vote early and often” and made a virtue of “corrupt” administration, accepting bribes to leak information to guide tactical voters and even allowing negative votes as long as they were accompanied by positive fees.”
“I’m sure most voters, nominees and winners shared our view that it was all good, clean fun. Its first winner, the “fake” Bob Shaw, was so pleased with the thought that he might win that he came to the closing ceremony of 1982’s Novacon in a tuxedo to accept the award in true Oscars style. Sadly in 1985 it was tainted when a significant number of voters decided to use the award to express their dissatisfaction with aspects of that year’s Novacon, the chairman of which was less than thrilled (to put it mildly) to get the award…. COFF won itself the next year, and vanished into recursive oblivion.”
Kevin adds that COFF usually brought in 100 English Pounds or more.
As for the award itself, one remains in the possession of Steve Green. It is rather more elbaborate than the above description by Dick Lynch. In fact it features a stepped wooden base, a white square with nameplate, a fluted metal shaft, another white square atop which sits a ‘concrete’ cube at an angle, and finally the shoulders and head of the smiling (yet worried-looking) victim/winner poking out of the concrete. Said victim/winner is white with fear (or cement dust) and sports a red & white beanie propeller. Whether it’s small enough to fit under a beer glass I can’t say. Maybe under a pitcher…
COLOMBIA SCIENCE FANTASY SOCIETY
— This is yet another extension to Claude Degler’s Cosmic Circle of Cosmen, and one international in scope, supposedly involving fans in Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia. However, Degler never visited Washington State or B.C., and Oregon not till years later, so his announcement circa 1943 concerning this organization’s creation can be taken with a grain of salt. If it did exist it could lay claim to being the first fan organization involving British Columbia, as there was none such till Norman G. Browne founded the Vancouver SF Society in 1951.
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSMEN, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), FUTURE FANTASY FRENCH, MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
— Rich Brown points out that dictionaries describe colophons as appearing at the END of books, which is weird, since every book I have ever seen places it just before, on, or just after the title page. When I check my handy-dandy Award Illustrated Dictionary (I can’t abide a dictionary without pictures!) it says: “Inscription or device at the end of book or manuscript, containing title, scribe’s or printer’s name…” AHA! The term ‘scribe’ is a bit of a giveaway. Must be a medieval practice relating to the weary scribe celebrating completion of a scroll by noting down the pertinent data at the end rather than go to the trouble of rolling it back to the beginning (my theory which is mine). A practice no doubt carried over to early printed books, but abandoned when readers complained about having to read the whole book in order to get to the colophon (another theory which is mine).
In any event, early fanzines deliberately imitated prozines, whose colophons were printed on the contents page, so it’s no wonder that faneds followed suite. A fanzine colophon traditionally gives the title, issue number, date of publication, name of Faned, name of publisher (if different from Faned), name of publishing house if any, contact/subscription addresses, price of zine (early zines often charged subscription fees even though they usually ceased publication before the subscription term ran out), copyright notice, production run number, size of mailing list, and anything else the Faned felt like putting in.
Brown also points out the classic neofan mistake when publishing their first issue (pubbing their ish) is to leave out the usual colophon entirely, thus making it difficult to contact the Faned to tell him/her what you think of their first attempt (hmmm… perhaps a deliberate mistake on the part of insecure neoFaneds…?). Far more annoying, from an Archivist’s viewpoint, is the deliberate practice on the part of SOME Faneds (who shall remain nameless, British though most of them be) to NOT print the date and/or issue number in ALL their zines. Whether this is done from a sense of mischief, or because they want each issue to stand alone in magnificent isolation, near impossible to put into context, is beyond my ken. (RB)
— Is described in FANCYCLOPEDIA II as “Another name for a Quote-Cover.” I would argue that a comment-cover is a specific or specialized form of Quote-cover. Given that the latter has one or more interlineations (isolated single sentence quotes) instead of art, a comment-cover features interlineations commenting on a single theme, perhaps the host zine itself, or the Faned. For example, when I was ‘God-editor’ of BCSFAzine, I ran a kind of hybrid cover for our 250th issue featuring computer art by Ezekiel Norton and an entirely unconnected interlineation at the bottom which was a Mike Glyer quote: “BCSFAzine is the best clubzine in the world.” If that isn’t a comment cover I don’t know what is.
[ See INTERLINEATIONS, QUOTE-COVER ]
— Short form of ‘Convention’. As such frequently forms the last portion of the name of a convention, as in Noncon, Wolfcon, Maplecon, Torcon, Halcon, and VCON, to use some Canadian examples.
— A Conclave (obsolete term) is a specific type of conference, namely a behind-the-scenes, secretive gathering of in-the-know fans to pursue some purpose, be it planning an as-yet-unannounced con, dealing with a crisis, or maintaining the power of smofdom. The earliest I am aware of took place in July 1938 in a New York restaurant where ASTOUNDING editor John W. Campbell and Leo Margulies, Director of the Science Fiction League, met with local fans (including Donald Wollheim and David Sykora) in a doomed effort to reconcile factions competing for control of the upcoming 1939 world convention. (SM)(DE)
— Short form of ‘Convention Committee’. This is the committee who actively prepare a con, keep it running during the actual event, and solve any problems after the event is over, such as outstanding debts. Given that even a small con nowadays costs several thousand dollars, a competent committee is a vital necessity. Consequently the core positions on the concom are usually held be people with previous experience in those positions, or at least in some aspect of conrunning. Frequently concom begin their concom careers in lesser positions, become assistants for core positions, then graduate on the basis of consensual approval to the key positions.
The most important positions on the concom are:
CHAIR – Co-ordinates planning and preparations, chairs meetings of concom, has final approval and veto on anything and everything. Ideally has nothing to do during the actual con itself.
TREASURER – Has power of veto over any and all proposed expenses, forces the concom to stick to the budget, keeps track of all expenses, track of all income, maintains a running balance so that the concom has some idea how the finances are going at any given time, makes sure income gets deposited, produces a final post-con financial report in which every penny spent or earned is accounted for.
OPERATIONS – Responsible for initial set-up (and at the end, the breakdown) of facilities for the convention, such as the artboards in the art display, the tables in the dealers and gamers rooms, the layout and appliances in the hospitality suite, audiovisual equipment where required (and moving them from room to room as needed), clearing away tables and chairs to make room for the dance or other special events, transporting supplies and rented equipment, and a myriad other physical projects, even those as minor providing pitchers of fresh water at the beginning of every lecture. In sum, making sure the physical plant of the convention runs smoothly. Operations is heavily dependent on volunteers.
PROGRAMMING – Responsible for putting together multi-track programming. It begins well in advance of the con by asking the major and minor guests of honour what sorts of lectures and activities they’d be prepared to give and take part in. Guests of honour should not be overloaded, so this leaves plenty of time for other programs to fill. This is usually done by selecting themes, breaking them down into topics, then asking local fans to participate. Add the traditional items, such as a dance, a writers workshop, or a costume contest, and the program is complete.
In one sense programming is easy. You choose multiple themes, such as writing, publishing, reading, films, TV, fandom, gaming, history, futurism, science, art, sociology, etc, create 3 or 4 panels for each theme, and your slate is full. Sounds dull, but the final result can be fascinating, as these panels from the 2005 VCON attest: ‘Future of Gender’, ‘Immortality: Implications and Possibilities’, ‘Alternate History in SF’, ‘Getting Published Without Getting Ripped Off’, and ‘Sex With an Alien’.
On the other hand, juggling the program so that every congoer always has an interesting choice at any given hour is an art in itself. Since so many subjects have been discussed so many times at so many conventions, nowadays originality and freshness of theme is highly desirable.
REGISTRAR – Processes applications for membership, beginning with pre-registration, often as soon as a bid is approved. Or sooner. In the case of VCON pre-reg memberships are accepted during VCON on the assumption there will be a VCON the following year. This is almost always the case. Typically, pre-reg memberships are significantly lower than the cost at the door, usually with incremental increases every few months as the con approaches. It is important for the Registrar to maintain an accurate, up-to-date address list of paid-up pre-reg members, as this will be used one or more times before the con to mail progress reports.
The registrar also oversees registration of memberships during the con and ensures that money, cheques and credit card paperwork is forwarded frequently to the treasurer. Each membership is recorded when processed, so that it is absolutely clear who paid what, how much was paid, and how many paid. In this manner it can be determined if the projected break-even number of memberships has been reached at some point during the con.
HOTEL LIAISON – First, negotiates with the hotel to pin down as many details as possible in a formal contract comprehensive enough to prevent any financial surprises at the end of the con. For example, most hotels will give a discount on function space if a certain number of rooms are booked by congoers, and this should definitely be included in the contract.
Second, liaises with hotel management during the course of the con to resolve any problems or misunderstandings. An example of what can go wrong: hotel staff going around a VCON tearing down information signs as soon as they were posted by the concom. Turned out, the hotel had an absolute policy of ‘no signs!’ Permission to post signage in a designated manner is one of those minor details which should be in the contract. As much as possible should be in the contract.
In general, an active hotel liaison enhances the reputation of the concom with hotel management for it is evidence the concom takes its responsibilities seriously.
Some of the other positions often included depending on the size and complexity of the con are:
ART SHOW – Almost every SF convention has at least part of a room dedicated to an art display featuring local artists, the art of the Artist Guest of Honour, and possibly artists from out of province/state or even from other countries. The head of the art show is responsible for contacting artists, providing them with information on border crossing if needed (many U.S. artists find the process of bringing art in to Canada in accordance with Canada Customs Regulations so cumbersome they choose not to come), providing sufficient display facilities (VCON uses now-aging custom-made display boards), running a silent written auction during the con, perhaps a live auction at the end of the con, securing the art so that nothing is stolen or damaged, and keeping track of all monies earned so that the artists receive their full share.
COSTUMING – Costuming tradition varies from con to con. It can be as simple as an ad hoc committee of judges awarding prizes to congoers in costume in the halls, or it can be a major event at the con, an elaborate display involving skits and music with an ‘official’ panel of judges including one or more of the Guests of Honour. In some cases, the sole purpose of the con is costuming and everything to do with costuming.
DEALERS ROOM – Many SF fans are readers and collectors, and want an opportunity to add to their collections. The head of the Dealers Room contacts potential dealers and invites them to participate. Dealers usually pay a set fee for a table in the dealer’s room, then try to earn a profit over and above the fee in the course of the con. Dealers can be professional merchants, private collectors selling off part of their collection, local fan artists and artisans, just about anybody willing to sell something. A typical dealers room might offer comics, used books & magazines, rare books & magazines, videos & DVDs, jewelry, costumes, models, swords and armour, memorabilia, anything and everything related to SF and Fantasy. The Dealers room should be in a high traffic area and not stuck in an out-of–the-way corner, because if the dealers lose money, they won’t be back for the next con.
FILKING – Often it is sufficient to assign a room for this purpose and let the Filkers run it themselves, filking being in the nature of a musician’s jam session. Just make sure it’s on a designated party floor and not on a quiet floor where mundane hotel guests are seeking sleep.
GAMING – Essentially, gamers want a large room with multiple game events where they can spend every waking moment gaming. But if the head of gaming goes beyond this bare bones arrangement with special gaming guests, such as pros from the companies which make games, and gaming events, such as the launch of a new board game, the number of enthusiastic gamers attending will make the expense of setting aside function space for this purpose more than worthwhile.
GUEST OF HONOUR LIAISON – This is not strictly necessary, but it’s a darn good idea. Guests of Honour, especially if old-time pros, appreciate being pampered. Ideally, the person assigned to this task will drive them in from the airport, make sure they’re settled, provide them with information not only about their projected activities at the con but about the locality at large, maybe take them on a tour of places worth seeing, maybe arrange a restaurant outing with local fans, shepard them about the con, provide little extras in their suite like good quality coffee and snacks, answer their questions, and just generally always be available and at their service. Of course, some Guests of Honour are quite content to be left alone to do their own thing, especially if the con is picking up their bar tab (this can be a major drain on finances), but a GoH Liaison, if needed, is a great way to make a GoH feel welcome and get them through a worry-free con experience.
HOSPITALITY – The reputation of many cons is made or broken by their hospitality suite. Sometimes the hospitality suite’s profits are the only thing which prevents the con from losing money. On the other hand, too much money spent on the hospitality suite can put a con in the red. It’s a juggling act.
In general, hospitality is (usually) a large suite designated as a place where congoers can go to relax and meet with each other in a party atmosphere, availing themselves of free food, free coffee, free pop, and free alcoholic beverages. The alcohol must be ‘free’, since most hotels reserve the right to sell liquor to guests, especially as far as function space is concerned (temporary bar set up on the dance floor & such). But usually an agreement is reached wherein the concom can provide liquor for ‘donations’, as long as all local laws are followed and the person behind the counter is a certified bartender operating under a genuine, if temporary, liquor license. At VCON, ‘Chang’ has been serving for more than a decade.
Hospitality can be as simple as chips and coke, or as elaborate as near-catering-level potluck meals and special brewery draft beer fresh from the barrel can be. Just be aware fans can be as voracious as a cloud of locusts. Be prepared to make additional supply runs to local stores. All supplies should be adequate, pleasing in variety, and fall within the budget. Often a second room is needed to prepare the next batch of goodies to go on the ‘buffet’ tables every half hour or so, or as needed.
Sometimes it is possible to share the expense by getting another fannish organization, say a different convention’s concom, to ‘host’ hospitality for an evening in order to promote their cause. Often, at the end of the convention, the very last night, hospitality hosts ‘the dead dog party’ where all the supplies are used up, last minute efforts are made for more donations, and everyone, especially the concom, relaxes now that the con is over.
PROGRAM BOOK – Since hardly anyone attending a con bothers to read the program book till after the con is over (which is why a separate pocket-sheet listing programming is necessary), a program book is basically a souvenir of the con. It typically contains a message from the Chair, a list of the concom, appreciations of the Guests of Honour (VCON 30 program book included both a modern appreciation of Robert Silverberg by Gardner Dozois and a reprint of the Silverberg appreciation by Frank Herbert which appeared in the VCON 4 program book), brief bios of all minor guests and panelists, information about convention policy, the hotel, the locality, etc., a complete listing of all programming (tho the pocket program book will be more accurate, incorporating the latest changes), cover art probably by the Artist Guest of Honour, perhaps short fiction by the GoH, a list of memberships by order of purchase, articles by local fans, and numerous purchased ads (hopefully enough to cover the expense of printing the program book).
Size, content and quality varies depending on financial resources available. For example, while the VCON 1 program book consisted of 3 sheets stapled inside a cardboard cover, the Vcon 19 book was a gargantuan 170 pages with numerous interior art fillos by Warren Oddsson. Perhaps most impressive of all, the program book of the 34th Worldcon, MidAmericon in 1976, was a hardcover book with a full colour cover depicting Robert Heinlein and nostalgic icons like a robot and a green-skinned alien, titled ‘A Sense of Wonder’ and painted by George Barr. VCON program book covers have included works by Rob Alexander, Warren Oddsson, Mike Jackson, Steve Fabian, Alex Schomburg, Tim Hammel, Ron Norton, Robert Kalthoff, Adrian Kleinbergan & Todd Lockwood. Time. money, and number of contributions are the chief constraints on the creation of a program book. It is usually one of the major con expenses.
PUBLICITY – This is the major Achilles heel of a convention. Since the media persists in portraying SF fans as nerds and geeks, it is difficult to get the media to take a con seriously as a worthwhile news item. Purchasing ad space & time is an option, but costs a great deal of money. Often cons are reduced by circumstance to rely on word of mouth, posters in book & game stores, free mention in the ‘upcoming stuff to do’ newspaper columns, and brochures left on the tables at other conventions. At times VCON has managed to get radio interviews, and once a half-hour public TV video broadcast, but in general, it is impossible to reach a significant number of potential first timers without spending money. Some congoers prefer it that way, since they are more comfortable surrounded by experienced fen who know what it is all about. Trouble is, there are fewer and fewer such as time marches on. Fresh blood is urgently needed. The concom rep in charge of publicity occupies a position of supreme importance nowadays.
SECURITY – Because alcohol is generally available at a con, and because some people just naturally find it amusing to vandalize, cons may run into trouble such as fire hoses turned on in stairwells, belligerent drunks, malicious pranksters and suchlike. In the past, cons have sometimes employed fan groups who offer their services for security purposes. These are groups, often uniformed, who exist not unlike Star Trek clubs, except that they role-play being elite security forces with their own system of rank and command. This has advantages, such as a code of discipline, common experience and training, enthusiasm of purpose, etc., but there are also potential disadvantages, such as taking themselves too seriously, or running up against the fact that some people hate uniforms the way dogs hate postmen. The Dorsaii Irregulars in the American Midwest, and here on the West Coast of Canada the Starwolves, are two examples of fannish security groups.
On average, VCON adopts a low-key approach. Volunteers are expected to summon concom members to defuse any problem through quiet discussion. If that fails, hotel security can be called to expel the troublemaker. Final resort, bring in the police. At one VCON held in campus facilities at the University of B.C., there not being any ‘hotel’ security, it was necessary to call the R.C.M.P. (who policed the campus, since the university does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver police) twice in one evening. The R.C.M.P. informed the concom that if they were called back again, they would shut down the convention. So nipping problems in the early stages is very important, and best done as quietly and diplomatically as possible.
Rarely, problems nip themselves in the bud, as witness a VCON where we shared facilities with a bunch of amateur soccer teams, members of whom were overheard urging each other to beat up the ‘geeks and weirdos’, till one of their own pointed out: “Maybe we better not. Some of those nerds are carrying real swords…”
But sometimes things get out of control through no fault of the SF convention itself. NonCon 11, held in Calgary in October 1988, was forced to share the Palliser Hotel with the 1988 Alberta Liberal Party Leadership convention. “Turns out the Liberals threw one hell of an undisciplined, boisterous room party which resulted in A) all open door room parties in the hotel being told to shut their doors and be quiet or risk being shut down, and B) significant numbers of drunken Liberal politicians and supporters being hauled off to the drunk tank in multiple paddy wagons.” In fact there was so much vandalism and bellicose behaviour that the Palliser hotel actually apologized to the SF concom for having to put up with the offensive activities of the Liberals!
This brings up an important point. Some large-scale mundane conventions, most importantly groups everyone knows but it would be prudent of me not to name, cause enormous amounts of damage at their annual conventions. But the hotels never complain, if only because these groups put down damage deposits beforehand of many thousands of dollars and never ask for any of it back. In this case, the damage and mayhem is usually profitable for the hotel, so they tolerate it. But most SF cons lack sufficient money to pay a significant damage deposit, and the hotels consequently are hypersensitive to any potential damage. Some hotels refuse to accept SF conventions for this reason alone. In actual fact while SF conventions are ‘notorious’ for their generally peaceful and law-abiding nature, it is the mundane conventions of so-called normal people who cause the most problems in hotels. But because fans generally have less money to spend than professionals on a spree, we’re the ones the hotels are reluctant to deal with. Who said life is fair?
VIDEO ROOM – The person in charge is responsible for selecting a program of films which are then shown in a room set aside for this purpose. The general idea is to offer an alternative to the lectures and panels if none of the latter appeal at a particular hour. And there’s always the chance it will include a film which some fan has always wanted to see and will delight in finally getting to view. The nature of the film program may reflect the theme of the convention, or it may simply be a collection of hard to find golden oldies mixed with more recent movies. In theory it should be quite diverse to appeal to as many fans as possible.
I once ran a video room 24 hours a day for 3 days at a VCON. I was quite proud of my selection, but perturbed to find an average of only 2 people watching any one film. Hardly seemed worth the effort. Then a member of the concom told me, “Don’t worry, we only wanted a video room in order to provide crash space for fans who couldn’t afford a hotel room.” I no longer believe in 24 video programming. Anyone genuinely interested in obscure SF films has only to haunt the video stores or watch the Space Channel. Far better to have a few showings as a special event with related panel or discussion. Further, though I have always loved old B movies, I believe the fad of watching ‘cult’ movies has run its course and that media fans today are mostly interested in the latest and greatest. I don’t believe there’s currently much of a demand for the old style video room, the concept is near obsolete, with the exception of Anime. That remains tremendously popular, albeit as a kind of niche market in fandom.
VOLUNTEERS – A con does not function well without volunteers. These are the members who volunteer to put in an hour or two of ‘gopher’ activity, be it checking bags of people leaving the art show, standing at the door of a function room making sure only paid-up members (as opposed to other guests of the hotel) are attending the events within, helping the registrar process members, helping operations move stuff, etc., etc. In return for their time volunteers get something in return, a special badge, freebie goodies, maybe participation in a draw for a special prize, something. The concom rep in charge of volunteers has to figure out how to get members to volunteer in the first place, what to offer them as a reward, how to parcel them out as needed, and how to keep track of their activity so that it is known who is doing what at any given time. This can be a big headache, but is absolutely vital to the success of the con.
TO SUM UP – A convention committee is a group of people, each with a specific role, who must function competently both collectively and individually if a convention is to run smoothly. All fan-run SF conventions experience problems of one kind or another, but they are often behind the scenes conflicts which the average member is unaware of. Consequently a harried, overworked concom rep may come away from any given con thinking it a near failure when in actual fact the majority of attendees found the convention quite delightful. The striking thing about fan-run SF conventions is that the so-called amateurs running it are often as good as, or better, than the professionals hired to run mundane cons. But than the latter only do it because that’s their job. Fans do it for fun. It makes for a fun con.
— An obsolete term for that portion of fans whose primary fannish interest and activity is attending and/or running SF conventions. Condom is the world (or alternate reality) of SF conventions, so to speak. Mundanes (i.e. non-fans) tend to think of something else when they hear the word condom. (JS)
— An obsolete term in use during the early 1940s for a meeting where local fans get together with fans visiting from another community, an event purely social in nature, with no agenda or specific programming. The first Confabulation (or at least the first fan gathering to be so labeled) took place in Washington D.C. in 1940, with fans from Wyoming and Philadelphia attending. Another took place in the summer of 1941, when the Swishers and Russ Chauvenet visited the Washington Worry-Warts. (JS)
— A fan whose primary form of fanac is fan-run conventions. Simply attending conventions qualifies one to be considered a confan, especially if you partake in no other fannish activity, but this is a passive role. To be fair, there are a number of retired old time fans, some of them genuine legends, like Art Widner for example, who follow an annual circuit of conventions just for the fun of attending room parties. These are more than ‘mere’ confans, but they can be said to constitute an exception to the rule that, in general, a ‘real’ confan, which is to say an ‘active’ confan, is someone whose main hobby is participating in the running of or conventions, usually taking a position on the concom (Convention Committee). Ultimately a highly experienced (and aging) confan takes on an advisory role and enters into the Valhalla of the Smofs, the Secret Masters Of Fandom.
[See CONCOM, CONVENTIONS, SMOF ]
— Obsolete term for a small convention held for a single specific purpose. The first was sponsored by the PSFS (Philadelphia Science Fantasy Society) in October 1938 to further the cause of New Fandom, an organization founded by Sam Moskowitz to put on the first World Convention (Nycon 1) in 1939. When the Nycon took place, Moskowitz evicted or prevented from attending certain members of the Futurians, who promptly held a conference apart from the Worldcon venue to protest his actions and elicit support from sympathizers. Few congoers attended, as they were busy watching or participating in a pro vs. fan baseball game on Flushing Flats.
The term eventually evolved to describe a small general convention with limited programming, one step above a relaxicon. Most notable perhaps was the annual Michiconference put on by Michigan fans, the first being held in November 1941. On his way to infamy, Claude Degler showed up at the 2nd conference in 1942, leaving people shaking their heads. More sanely, Canadian fans, especially from Ontario, frequently attended. (JS) (SM)
[See CLAUDE DEGLER, EXCLUSION ACT, FUTURIANS, MICHAELISM ]
— Faneds used to attempt to scoop each other on the (fannish) political happenings and resulting ramifications of every SF convention. Fan reputations could be made or broken by editorials hot off the press shortly after, or even during, conventions. Entire clubs might dissolve into schism and finger pointing re organizational schemes hatched or abandoned (schemes concerning fandom in general, not just cons). The late 1930s (when conventions began) and early 1940s was the tail end of the deathly serious wave-of-the-future all-must-unite-or-die approach to fandom. Conreports of the era often reflected this. Exciting for a while, but eventually fans grew weary of the tempest-in-a-teapot posturing.
By the 1950s wry humour, as evidenced in the writings of Irish Fan Walt Willis, were paramount. Faneds competed to regale their readers with humorous anecdotes, especially ones concerning Big Name Fans. Some BNF’s were wont to complain about the sheer number of note-takers jotting down their every utterance at cons. Made it difficult to be spontaneous. But the result was some classic fannish writing, still readable and entertaining today.
The only problem being, with the focus on individuals, the con itself sometimes remains unreported. On the other hand, the signature of a novice con-reporter is a straightforward (and usually) dull accounting of what he/she did at the con: “and next I attended a panel on the influence of fantasy in science fiction and the Guest of Honour said there wasn’t any and somebody else disagreed and a person in the audience stood up and said it was the other way around and then I killed half an hour in the hospitality suite listening to great conversation by some really cool people I never met and then I had a nap…” etc., etc.
The solution seems to be, either make it clear you are focusing on a particular aspect of the con, writing an essay as it were, or write the traditional linear report but enliven it with humour, droll observations and asides, utilizing only the choicest quotes. When in doubt, be amusing.
Be aware of the potential perils of conreporting. If you make a fool of someone (or they think you have), you may have added to your legion of enemies. Even worse, if only for reasons of space, you fail to mention someone despite having attended their extraordinary panel/lecture/performance, you may have gained an enemy for life. In general the solution is to praise everyone you write about, don’t mention the fuggheads (unless they really deserve it and you need to warn people), and throw in an apology for not including all those who deserve kudos.
— Just the other day I came across this adjective in a sentence in the writings of either Walt Willis or Harry Warner Jr. (Can I remember where to find it? No!) I have seen it used before in the manner of a comfortable item of slang the reader is expected to be familiar with. I have the vague suspicion it may have originated in the LENSMEN series of E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith. Appears to have been in common usage in the 1940s & 50s at the very least. I think it means ‘against Earth’ in the sense of ‘alternate to Earth’ in the sense of ‘off worldly’ in the sense of ‘oddly alien’ in the sense of ‘oddly different or unexpected’. I may be completely wrong. But I like the sound of it, no matter what it means.
Since I wrote the above I have found out the true meaning of contraterrene. Turns out it is also a noun. Simply put, it’s another way of saying ‘anti-matter’. I don’t know the origin, it may still derive from the early pulp era, but by 1941 it was, at least in SF magazines, the preferred term for anti-matter. That year John Campbell, editor of ASTOUNDING, suggested Jack Williamson write a series of stories about terraforming contraterrene worlds. Campbell’s abbreviation was CT, which Williamson wrote out as “seetee”. After the war the three stories were rewritten into a novel titled “Seetee Ship.” Because of this, and common usage of the term in the professional magazines, the term ‘contraterrene’ crops up from time to time in 1940s fanzines.
— Conventions and vacations go hand in hand. A con may be held on a weekend with an adjoining statutory holiday to give members a chance to attend all three days of the con (ie Friday, Saturday & Sunday), or during summer for the convenience of high school students, or between semesters to attract university students, but at the same time faces the handicap that people often use holidays/vacation time to go somewhere else. What you gain in out-of-town attendance you may lose in locals going off camping for the weekend. Bit of a juggling act, scheduling conventions.
But when all is said and done, many people pencil in their vacation time to take in a convention, i.e. its purpose is congoing. The term ‘convacation’ was coined by British fans Eric Bentcliffe and Nigel Lindsay in the 1950s to name this specific type of vacation.
— In Science Fiction fandom terms, a convention is an organized gathering of fans, run by the fans themselves, to celebrate some aspect of Science Fiction/Fantasy. Examples would include: General conventions (devoted to all aspects, or as many as can be shoehorned in), comic conventions, media conventions (devoted to film and/or TV), Star Trek conventions (concerned solely with the many series, films, and culture associated with that show), other series-specific cons (such as Dr. Who), Literary conventions (primarily concerned with SF literature), Award conventions (such as Canvention, which exists, in combination with some other convention, for the sole purpose of awarding the Auroras), Filk conventions (an example of a narrow interest convention, namely the art of filking), Costume conventions (another example of a narrow, or ‘focused’ interest convention), Relaxicons (a convention with little formal programming), World conventions (the biggest convention of the year), gaming conventions (traditionally concerned with board games), and many more. Not all of these are always exclusively devoted to SF&Fantasy, but they often contain strong elements.
Sadly, many modern fans, having only been exposed to commercial conventions whose sole purpose is to relieve them of their money, are completely unaware of the unique joys of a full-scale fan-run SF convention. First of all, you don’t buy a ticket, you buy a membership. This entitles you to attend the convention and EVERY event in that convention, with the exceptions of the banquet (if any) which costs extra and must be arranged beforehand (hotels like to know in advance how many they’re catering for), and writers workshops, which must also be prearranged (there’s usually a fee to cover the cost of copying manuscript submissions). Otherwise a member is free to attend any panel, lecture, demonstration, workshop (other than closed writers workshops), dance, costume competition, autograph session, Bacchanal, publicity unveiling (new book, film, etc), view any film showing, participate in filking, in gaming, visit the dealers room, the art show, the hospitality suite (where finger food, coffee and often beer is offered on a ‘donation’ basis), and even volunteer to help run the convention (be it checking membership badges at the door to make sure only paid-up members are attending a particular event, helping operations move equipment, etc). And let us not forget the evening’s room parties!
— This is meant as a handy-dandy reference to when & where. The nature of each Con will eventually be detailed under their own headings. ( See ‘VCON’ for a preliminary idea. )
This is no doubt an incompleat listing with many gaps, especially regarding Maritime and Quebec conventions. But all in all, not a bad result from one week’s intensive research among the zines & folders of the BCSFA/WCSFA archive! Feel free to contact me to correct mistakes or add info.
I chose to list the following types of Canadian SF cons: General Interest SF Cons, Literary SF Cons, Media SF Cons including Anime Cons, SF Awards Cons, Star Trek Cons, Creation Cons, Worldcons, Costume Cons, Filk Cons, SF Club Open Houses, University SF Cons, & Relaxicons.
I chose NOT to list the following types of Cons on the grounds that they are only marginally related to SF: Gaming Cons, Furry Cons, & Comic Cons. ( However, they do have a strong Fantasy element so I may wind up listing them eventually, but for now the focus of my list is on traditional Fannish SF Cons.)
Note: ( ? ) after the title of a Con means I’m not sure if I’ve placed the Con in the correct year, or if I have it numbered correctly.
Toronto – ( TORCON 1 – WORLDCON 6 ).
Kingston – KINGCON.
Toronto – TORONTO TRIPLE-FAN FAIR 1.
Toronto – FAN FAIR 2.
Oromocto – OROMOCTOCON.
Vancouver – VANCOUVER SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION 1 ( VCON 1 ).
Calgary – ALBERTA SCIENCE FICTION SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE 1.
Vancouver – VANCOUVER SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION 2 ( VCON 2 ).
Calgary – ALBERTA SCIENCE FICTION SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE 2.
Toronto – ( TORCON 2 – WORLDCON 31 ).
Vancouver – VCON 3.
Vancouver – VCON 4.
Calgary – UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY SCIENCE FICTION WEEK.
Toronto – FAN FAIR 3.
Vancouver – VCON 5.
Toronto – TORONTO STAR TREK CON 1976 (1st Cdn ST Con), ALPHA DRACONIS.
Vancouver – WESTERCON 30.
Toronto – SUMMERCON ( FAN FAIR 4 ).
Vancouver – VCON 6, RAIN 1.
Edmonton – NONCON 1.
Winnipeg – UNCON.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 1.
Toronto – OZYMANDIUS 1, PRUNECON, SCIENCE FICTION WEEKEND.
Halifax – HALCON 1 ( ? ).
Vancouver – VCON 7, KULACON 1.
Edmonton – NONCON 2.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 2.
Toronto – BETA DRACONIS ( ? ), NASFACON 1 ( ? ), OZYMANDIUS 2.
Montreal – BOREAL 1 ( ? ).
Halifax – HALCON 2 ( ? ).
Delta – VCON 8.
Vancouver – RAIN TOO ( 2 ).
Edmonton – NONCON 3.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 3.
Toronto – GAMMA DRACONIS ( ? ), NASFACON 2 ( ? ), TORQUE 1.
Montreal – BOREAL 2 ( ? ).
Halifax – ( HALCON 3 – CANVENTION 1 ).
Victoria – FAIR ISLE.
Vancouver – ( VCON 9 – CANVENTION 2 ), RAIN TREE ( 3 ).
Calgary – NONCON 4.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 4.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 1 ( ? ), DELTA DRACONIS, TORQUE 2.
Montreal – BOREAL 3 ( ? ).
Halifax – HALCON 4.
Victoria – IMAGINE.
Vancouver – VCON 10, RAIN FORE ( 4 ).
Edmonton – ( NONCON 5 – CANVENTION 3 ).
Ottawa – GALLIFREY.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 2, EPISILON DRACONIS, NASFACON 3, TORQUE 3.
Chicoutimi – CHICOUTICON ( BOREAL 4 ).
Halifax – HALCON 5.
Victoria – CONSTELLATION.
Richmond – VCON 11.
Vancouver – RAIN CINQ ( 5 ).
Calgary – NONCON 6.
Ottawa – ( MAPLECON 5 – CANVENTION 4 ), INCOGNICON.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 3, MILLENIUM CON.
Halifax – HALCON 6.
Vancouver – CONCENTRIC, VCON 12, RAIN FINALE ( 6 ).
Calgary – CONVERSION 1.
Edmonton – NONCON 7.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 1.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 6, WORLD FANTASY CON.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 4, INCOGNICON.
Waterloo – WILFCON 1.
Halifax – HALCON 7.
Vancouver – VCON 13.
Calgary – CONVERSION 2, ONOCON 1.
Red Deer – NONCON 8.
Edmonton – MICRON 1.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 2.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 7.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 5, TORQUE 4.
Oakville – OPUSCON 1.
Kitchener – WHO PARTY 7.
Quebec City – BOREAL 7.
Halifax – ( HALCON 8 – CANVENTION 5 ).
Vancouver – ( VCON 14 – CANVENTION 6 ).
Calgary – CONVERSION 3, ONOCON 2.
Drumheller – HOODOOCON 1 ( ? ).
Edmonton – CONTROVERSY 1, MICRON 2, NONCON 9 (& VIRUSCON 2).
Drayton Valley – DRACON.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 3.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 8, BYCON 1.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 6, OPUSCON 2.
Rexdale – WHO PARTY 8.
Waterloo – ( WILFCON 2 – BLIZZARD CON ).
London – LONDON ANNUAL FANTASY MEDIA CONVENTION ( ? ).
Longueil – BOREAL 8.
Halifax – HALCON 9.
Vancouver – VCON 15, UNICON.
Campbell River – GENERIC CON 1.
Calgary – CONVERSION 4 (& VIRUSCON 4), ONOCON 3 (&VIRUSCON 3).
Drumheller – HOODOOCON 2.
Edmonton – NONCON 10.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 4.
Ottawa – MAPLECON 9, OTTAWA SF FESTIVAL.
Toronto – ( AD ASTRA 7 – CANVENTION 7 ), OPUSCON 3, TORONTO TREK CELEBRATION 1 ( ? ),WHO PARTY 9.
London – LONDON ANNUAL FANTASY MEDIA CONVENTION ( ? ).
Waterloo – WILFCON 3.
Montreal – BOREAL 9.
Halifax – HALCON 10.
Vancouver – VCON 16.
Calgary – CONVERSION 5, NONCON 11, STAR TREK CON 1988.
Edmonton – 25 YEARS OF DR. WHO, NONOCON 1.
Winnipeg – ( KEYCON 5 – CANVENTION 8 ).
Ottawa – FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE FICTION, MAPLECON 10, PINEKONE 1.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 8, DITTO 1, TORONTO TREK CELEBRATION 2.
Waterloo – WILFCON 4.
Chicoutimi – BOREAL 10.
Vancouver – MYTHCON 20, VCON 17.
Banff – ( BANFF INTERNATIONAL 1 – NONCON 12 ).
Calgary – CANCON 2 ( ? ), CONVERSION 6, STAR TREK CON 1989.
Edmonton – CONTEXT 1989, FIRST CONTACT, NONOCON TOO ( 2 ).
Winnipeg – KEYCON 6.
Ottawa – BOREAL 11, MAPLECON 11, ( PINEKONE 2 – CANVENTION 9 ).
Toronto – AD ASTRA 9, TORONTO TREK CELEBRATION 3, SMOFCON 6.
Waterloo – WILFCON 5.
Montreal – CONCEPT 1 ( ? ).
Victoria – ICON 1.
Vancouver – VCON 18, WHO PARTY WEST.
Calgary – ( CONVERSION 7 – CANVENTION 10 ), NONCON 13, STAR TREK CON1990.
Edmonton – NONOCON 3.
Winnipeg – CREATION CON, KEYCON 7.
Regina – CONBINE 0.
Ottawa – CONVALESCENCE 1 , PINEKONE 3.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 10, CANCON 3, CREATION CON, TORONTO TREK CELEBRATION 4.
Waterloo – WILFCON 6.
Montreal – CONCEPT 2 ( ? ).
Wolfville – WOLFCON 1990.
Halifax – NOVACON 4 ( ? ).
Victoria – ICON 2.
Richmond – VCON 18.5.
Vancouver – CREATION CON, ( VCON 19 – WESTERCON 44 ).
Calgary – CON-FEDERATION, CONVERSION 8, CREATION CON, STAR TREK CON 1991.
Edmonton – ( CONTEXT 91 – CANVENTION 11 ), CREATION CON, NONCON 14, 25 YEARS OF STAR TREK CON.
Hinton – OUT OF CONTEXT.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 8.
Brandon – BEACON.
Ottawa – CREATION CON, ( MAPLECON 11.5 – BIZARRE BAZAAR ), ( O’CANADA: Downsized MAPLECON 12 ),
Toronto – AD ASTRA 11, CREATION CON, TORONTO TREK 4.
Kitchener – WILFCON 7.
London – RHINO 1.
Mississauga – FILKONTARIO 1.
Montreal – CREATION CON, CONCEPT 1991.
Wolfville – COMUNICON.
Halifax – NOVACON 5.
Victoria – ICON 3.
Richmond – VCON 19.5.
Vancouver – CREATION CON, NONCON 15.
Calgary – CONVERSION 9, STAR TREK CON 1992.
Edmonton – CREATION CON.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 9.
Ottawa – CANCON, CREATION CON, MAPLECON 13.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 12, CREATION CON, TORONTO TREK 6, WHO PARTY 10.
Kitchener – ( WILFCON 8 – CANVENTION 12 ).
London – RHINOCON 2.
Mississauga – FILKONTARIO 2.
Montreal – CONVICTION, CREATION CON, TRANSWARP.
Wolfville – WOLFCON 5, COMUNICON 2.
Halifax – NOVACON 6.
Vancouver – CREATION CON, VCON 20.
Prince George – SPRUCECON.
Calgary – CONVERSION 10, CREATION CON, NONCON 16, STAR TREK CON 1993.
Edmonton – CREATION CON.
Vulcan – VULCON 1.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 10.
Saskatoon – CREATION CON.
Ottawa – CANCON 1993, CREATION CON, RELAPSE.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 13, CHRONIC HYSTERESIS, CREATION CON, STAR TREK EARTH TOUR, TORONTO TREK 7.
Bellville – CONSANITY.
Kitchener – WILFCON 9 ( ? ).
Mississauga – FILKONTARIO 3.
Oakwood – PSEUDO-OPUSCON.
Montreal – CONCEPT 1993, CONVICTION 1993, CREATION CON, K&L SCI-FI MEDIA CELEBRATION, MONTREAL SCIENCE FICTION FESTIVAL 1, TRANSWARP, WHO CON 1993.
Wolfville – ( WOLFCON 6 – CANVENTION 13 ).
Halifax – NOVACON 7.
St. John – KINGCON.
Vancouver – CREATION CON, SCIENCE OF MURDER.
Calgary – CONVERSION 11, ONOCON 1994, STAR TREK CON 1994.
Edmonton – CREATION CON, NONCON 17, TERRACON 1994.
Vulcan – VULCON 2.
Winnipeg – ( CONADIAN WORLDCON – CANVENTION 14 ), KEYCON 11, KEYCLONE 1994.
Ottawa – CONCINNITY 1, CANCON 1994, RELAPSE.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 14, CREATION CON, EYE OF ORION 2, TORONTO TREK 8.
Brampton – PRIMEDIA 1.
Etobicoke – FILKONTARIO 4.
Waterloo – WILFCON 10.
Woodstock – NOVA TREK.
Montreal – CREATION CON, FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE FICTION 2, TRANSWARP.
Laval – CONVICTION 1994.
Halifax – TREK CON..
Victoria – PACIFICON 1995.
Vancouver – SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL, SF SATURDAY (EV CON), X-FILES CREATION CON.
Kamloops – INTERCON 1995.
Banff – ( BANFFCON 2 – NONCON 18 ).
Calgary – CALCON 10, CONVERSION 12, ONOCON 1995, STAR TREK CON 1995.
Edmonton – CREATION CON.
Vulcan – VULCON 3.
Saskatoon – STAR EXPO.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 12.
Ottawa – ( BOREAL 12 – CANCON 1995 – CANVENTION 15 ), CONCINNITY 2, QUADCON 6.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 15, COSTUME CON 13, CREATION CON, EYE OF ORION 3, PRIMEDIA 2, TORONTO TREK 9, X-FILES CREATION CON.
Guelph – FILKONTARIO 5.
Montreal – CREATION CON, CONCEPT 1995.
Laval – CONVICTION 1995.
St. John – KINGCON 1995.
Richmond – VCON 21.
Calgary – ( CONVERSION 13 – CANVENTION 16 ), STAR TREK CON 1996.
Vulcan – VULCON 4.
Winnipeg – ( KEYCON 13 – NONCON 19 ), OURCON 1.
Saskatoon – ECLIPSECON ( ? ), BATCON ( ? ).
Ottawa – CANCON 1996, CONCINNITY 3.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 16, FLEET ACADEMY NORTH, FILKONTARIO 6, ( PRIMEDIA 3 – EYE OF ORION 4 ), TORONTO TREK 10.
Brampton – SCIENCE FICTION SATURDAY.
Hamilton – STARBASE ENDEAVOUR.
London – RHINOCON 3.
Montreal – ( CONCEPT – BOREAL ).
Wolfville – WOLFCON 7.
Halifax – FALCON 2 ( ? ), MARITIME SF FESTIVAL 1, TREKCON 4 ( ? ).
St. John – KINGCON 1996.
Surrey – VCON 22.
Calgary – CONVERSION 14.
Lethbridge – NONCON 20.
Winnipeg – CONQUEST, KEYCON 14.
Ottawa – CONCINNITY 4 ( ? ).
Toronto – AD ASTRA 17, ECLIPTICON ( ? ), FILK ONTARIO 7, TORONTO TREK 11, ( PRIMEDIA 4 – CANVENTION 17 ).
Montreal – ( CONCEPT 1997 – BOREAL 1997 ).
Wolfville – WOLFCON 8.
Truro – FIRST CONTACT.
Halifax – FALCON 3.
St. John – KINGCON 1997.
Surrey – VCON 23.
Calgary – CONVERSION15.
Edmonton – EARTHSTATION 1998.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 15, OURCON 2.
Ottawa – CONCINNITY 5 ( ? ).
Toronto – AD ASTRA 18, ANIME NORTH, FILKONTARIO 8, PRIMEDIA 5, TORONTO TREK 12.
Montreal – ( CONCEPT 1998 – BOREAL 1998 – CANVENTION 18 ).
Dartmouth – MARITIME SF FESTIVAL.
Halifax – MARFEST 1998.
Fredericton – INCONSEQUENTIAL.
St. John – KINGCON 1998.
Surrey – VCON 24.
Calgary – CONVERSION 16.
Edmonton – CONSPEC 1.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 16.
Ottawa – CONCINNITY 6 ( ? ).
Toronto – AD ASTRA 19, CANADIAN NATIONAL SF EXPO 1 ( ? ), COSTUME CONFERENCE NORTH 2, FILKONTARIO 9, PRIMEDIA 6, TORONTO TREK 13.
Montreal – ( CONCEPT 1999 – BOREAL 1999 ), EMPIRECON 1, EMPIRECON 2.
Fredericton – ( INCONSEQUENTIAL 2 – CANVENTION 19 ).
Surrey – VCON 25.
Calgary – CONVERSION 17.
Edmonton – CONSPEC 2K.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 17.
Ottawa – CONCINNITY 7 ( ? ).
Toronto – AD ASTRA 20, ANIME NORTH, CANADIAN NATIONAL SF EXPO 2 ( ? ), COSTUME CONFERENCE NORTH 3, PRIMEDIA 7, ( TORONTO TREK 14 – CANVENTION 20 ), WHO PARTY 12.
Mississauga – CON-MONALITY 2, FILKONTARIO 10.
Montreal – ( CONCEPT 2000 – BOREAL 2000 ).
Victoria – COMIC BOOK, SCI-FI & FANTASY CON.
Vancouver – AKA KON 2001, MERLIN’S MADNESS 2, SEATREK 2001.
Burnaby – ( VCON 26 – CANVENTION 21 ).
Richmond – GATECON 2001.
Calgary – CONVERSION 18, COSTUME CON 19.
Edmonton – ANIMETHON 8, CONFUSION, CONSPEC 3.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 18.
Ottawa – CANCON 2001.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 21, ANIME NORTH, TORONTO TREK 15.
Mississauga – FILKONTARIO 11.
Montreal – WORLD FANTASY CON 27.
Vancouver – GATECON 2002, VCON 27.
Calgary – ANIMETHON 9, ( CONVERSION 19 – CANVENTION 22 ).
Winnipeg – KEYCON 19.
Toronto – ANIME NORTH 2002, DITTO 15, FILKONTARIO 12, TORONTO TREK 16.
Mississauga – CTHULHU CON.
Montreal – CONCEPT 2002.
Vancouver – VCON 28.
Burnaby – ANIME EVOLUTION 2003.
Richmond – GATECON 2003.
Calgary – CONVERSION 20, OTAFEST.
Edmonton – ANIMETHON 10.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 20.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 22, FILKONTARIO 13, ( TORCON 3 WORLDCON 61 – CANVENTION 23), TORONTO TREK 17.
Burnaby – GATECON 2004, VCON 29.
Richmond – ANIME EVOLUTION 2004.
Calgary – CONVERSION 21, OTAFEST 2004.
Winnipeg – AI-KON 2004, KEYCON 21.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 23, ANIME NORTH 2004, FILKONTARIO 14, TORONTO ANIMECON, TORONTO SCI-FI CON.
Montreal – ( BOREAL 2004 – CANVENTION 24 ).
Victoria – KEICON.
Vancouver – ANIME EVOLUTION 2005.
Richmond – VCON 30.
Calgary – ( WESTERCON 58 – CANVENTION 25 ).
Edmonton – ANIMETHON 2005.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 22.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 24.
Victoria – KEI-CON IV: A NEW HOPE, RIMCON VICTORIA.
Vancouver – OFFICIAL STARGATE SG-1 & STARGATE ATLANTIS CONVENTION.
Richmond – TIMELESS DESTINATIONS, VCON 31.
Burnaby – ANIME EVOLUTION.
Calgary – CON-VERSION 22, OTAFEST 06.
Edmonton – ANIMETHON 13.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 23.
Toronto – AD ASTRA 25, CORFLU 23, (TORONTO TREK 20 – CANVENTION 26).
Richmond – (VCON 32 – CANVENTION 27), TIMELESS DESTINATIONS (STARGATE)
Burnaby – ANIME EVOLUTION.
Calgary – CON-VERSION 23.
Edmonton – PURE SPECULATION 3.
Winnipeg – KEYCON 24.
Toronto – WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2007.
Montreal – CON*CEPT 2007.
St. John’s – SCI-FI ON THE ROCK 1.
Surrey – VCON 33.
Burnaby – ANIME EVOLUTION.
Calgary – WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION 2008.
Winnipeg – (KEYCON 25 – CANVENTION 28).
Toronto – AD ASTRA 2008.
St. John’s – SCI-FI ON THE ROCK 2.
(To be updated.)
— Slang term for the type of correction fluid, consisting of an acetate-based solution of wax suspended in ether ( rather like nail polish, which would do as a substitute in a pinch ), once used in mimeography to correct typing mistakes on wax stencils. It worked like this: if you proof-read a spelling error on the stencil, the offending opening in the wax could be delicately rubbed closed ( using, say, a paper clip ) and then sealed with a drop of corflu. This would dry in mere seconds, after which the ‘healed’ stencil could be retyped.
One problem with Corflu is that the ether tended to evaporate quickly when the bottle was open, leaving a solid mass of waxy gunk at the bottom, so it was vital to keep the cap on the bottle at all times except when actually and briefly in use; hence the art of corfluing involved delicacy of touch, accuracy of placement, and above all else…speed. Get that cap back on the bottle soonest!
[ See OBLITERINE ]
— An annual convention devoted entirely to science fiction fanzine fandom, initiated by Allyn Cadogan, Lucy Huntzinger and Shay Barsabe circa ? It has no fixed address, being held in whichever city wins the bid. A small, intimate conference-like convention, it is nevertheless larger than the other fanzine fan convention known as DITTO, which is more of a confabulation-like relaxacon. (AK)
[ See CONFERENCE, CONFABULATION, DITTO ]
— Hugo Gernsback’s AMAZING STORIES, in addition to being the first ‘true’ SF magazine (founded April1926), was the first to establish a letters from the readers column “Discussions” (in January 1927), and the first to print the letter writer’s addresses, which enabled fans to begin contacting each other directly by mail, or in person if they lived in the same community. This resulted in the formation of local clubs and the publication of fan magazines by the year 1930. Fans subscribed to their fanzines of choice and frequently mailed in letters of comment (or LOCs), in addition to letters sent to professional magazines and any correspondence maintained between individual fans sharing news, opinions, etc.
This correspondence was so lively, and sometimes so lengthy, full of mini-essays, trip reports, & such, that the line between correspondence and fan magazine article became rather blurred. Faneds became so adept at trolling for material in any letters they received, even private ones, that fans had to adopt the expediency of marking items they did NOT want published ‘DNP’ (Do Not Print!).
Ultimately a type of fanzine known as a Loczine developed, in which the bulk of the material consists of a letters of comment column. (Canada’s THE FROZEN FROG circa 1990s springs to mind.) Many APAzines are more-or-less loczines in that they consist largely of written comments on the previous issue. Fans whose primary activity is letters of comment are known (affectionately) as ‘letterhacks’. Today snailmail correspondence is rare, most is distributed by email.
[ See DNP, FIRST FAN CLUB, FIRST FANZINE, LETTERHACK, LOC ]
— Two meanings. First, the title of those active, extremely intelligent mutants/fans who supported Claude Degler in his quest for domination of the Solar System, and second, the result of a proposed breeding program of Cosmen (and presumably Coswomen), namely a race of superhuman mutants/fans who were true Slans, the next step in human evolution. Not surprisingly, given that Degler was most active circa 1939 to 1944, many fans felt that the racist ideology of the Nazis had some influence on what he was promoting, but this is not entirely fair, given that the concept of artificially speeding up evolution to produce advanced humans was already a science fiction cliché by that time. What was unusual about Degler is that he took the concept very, very seriously.
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION, SLAN ]
— A Sci-Fi movie club situated in St. Thomas, Ontario, circa 1981/1982 run by Brad Haiste, a reporter for the St. Thomas Times-Journal, who also functioned as faned for the club’s zine of the same name. The club held meetings in a used-bookstore owned by Ron Kowalski on Saturday nights after closing.
Desmond Emery, a former member, writes: “The group was mainly teens and high school seniors, and a few older guys. It lasted that fall (1981), over the winter, then folded in the spring…Brad Haiste was the one whose energy kept the club afloat. Brad went to a great deal of trouble to set up the bookstore where the club met to get seating for all and to work on the proper distance from the projector to the screen, not to speak of the movies involved. One of the first movies shown was that Canadian masterpiece of ironic humour. ‘Bambi Meets Godzilla’. Brad rented that and other shorts to complement the regular screenings of movies we held to go along with the conversation and general discussion.”
“I remember showing up at the bookstore with many of the teen members, who looked longingly at the promos for the movie ‘Star Wars’ [ finally showing at the Capital Theatre opposite the bookstore, years after its initial release ] and, once critical mass was achieved, deserted en masse and roared across the street to the real theatre. And for the life of me I can’t recall what movie we had on schedule that night.”
— The infamous ‘Love Camp’ of the infamous Claude Degler where fans (already an advanced form of mutant he thought, whom he like to call Cosmen) were supposed to mate and produce a race of super mutants (Slans) to rule the solar system. Hardly likely, since it was a bit of land in Arkansas owned by Degler’s mother and I doubt she would have approved of such goings on.
To jumpstart the evolution of the human race Degler did attempt to breed with a teenage girl by the name of Joan Domnick, apparently in New Castle, Indiana circa 1942, but “townsmen prevented them from starting the super race”. Alas for the future of humankind, no Cosmen or Coswomen are known to have vacationed at the Cosmic Camp, though they have been known, even now, to be active elsewhere. No sign of any Slans, however. (DE) & (JS) & (HWJ)
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMEN, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION, SLANS ]
— The collective entity of all fans who believed in the Cosmic Concept as laid down by Claude Degler, organized in a number of State and Province-wide fan groups under the umbrella of the Planet Fantasy Federation. These Cosmen and Coswomen, who shared a Cosmic outlook, were intended, with Degler’s gleeful participation, to breed a race of superhuman mutants. (DE) & (JS) & (HWJ)
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMEN, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLeR (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
— Cosmic City was to be a planned community built by the COSMIC CITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. for fans and fans alone to live in somewhere on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie. Unfortunately the Corporation in question was but one of many ‘branches’ of a tiny high school club led by one Henry Argasinski circa 1976/77. Claude Degler was his hero and inspiration. Indeed, Argasinski believed his ‘revived’ COSMIC CIRCLE, known as the STELLAR FOUNDATION, actually met with Degler’s approval. I have no doubt whatsoever that Degler, had he been aware of Argasinski’s crusade, would have heartily supported him.
[ See DEGLER, CLAUDE , PAPERCHIPS, STELLAR FOUNDATION ]
— A not-very-affectionate title awarded to the infamous Claude Degler, coined by T. Bruce Yerke circa 1943, in reference to the Cosmic Circle of Cosmen founded by Degler. So alarmed was Yerke (a prominent Los Angeles fan) at the prospect of the general public gaining a bad impression of fandom by virtue of Degler’s relentless and bizarre self-promotion, that he canvassed a number of fans who had had dealings with Degler and put together a report in which he concluded the Cosmic Clod was a schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur and a persecution complex. He proposed to ban him from the Los Angeles Science fiction Society unless he reformed. This was the beginning of the end of Degler’s influence in Fandom. (JS) & (DE)
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMEN, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLeR (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
— A 1939 brain fart by the notorious American fan Claude Degler, historically fandom’s most embarrassing fugghead. Essentially, he believed true fans shared a ‘cosmic outlook’ rendering them superior to mundanes. Many fans shared this belief. However, he took this attitude a step further by claiming that if only such fans were to breed selectively, a race of superhuman mutants would evolve that would not only rule the earth but dominate the Solar System. To that end he launched a crusade to convert as many fans as possible to his cause. It was considered great fun by some for a while, but by 1944 prominent fans began to fear Degler’s crusade could only reinforce the general public’s impression that fans were juvenile idiots, and began a counter-crusade to ostracize him. He soon disappeared below the fannish horizon.
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMEN, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
— A spoof version of Degler’s ‘Cosmen’ concept coined by prominent U.S. fan Wilson ‘Bob’ Tucker. It would seem to imply that the offspring of the Fannish breeding program envisioned by Degler, far from being superhuman mutants or Slans, were more likely to be an inferior sort of creature, possibly due to inbreeding. In a pinch, ‘Cosworms’ could also be used as in insulting term for active supporters of Degler. (JS) & (DE)
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COSMEN, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CONCEPT, DEGLER (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
— Stands for ‘The Committee for the Political Advancement of Science Fiction’, founded in January 1938 by Donald Wollheim, John B. Michel, Frederik Pohl, Harry Dockweiler and Jack Rubinson, their “mighty mission” to educate SF advocacy of Michelism. They published two issues of ‘SCIENCE FICTION ADVANCE’ (or ‘VANCE’ as it was known) to spread their ideas. Opponents referred to CPASF as ‘The Communist Party’s Agitators in Scienti-Fandom’. Pohl refers to this era as his “Boy Bolshevik” period. (JS) & (FP) & (DK)
[ See EXCLUSION ACT, MICHELISM, QUADRUMVIRATE ]
THE CREATIVE COSTUMER’S GUILD
— “A Canadian-based organization run by and for costuming fans” organized in the fall of 1983. “The main organizers are Yvonne Penney and Barb Schofield (who appeared on CANADA AM this Halloween to display some Worldcon award-winning Toronto costumes). The Guild is planning a quarterly newsletter, a referral service, and information centre and an apa. The basic aim is to help others in costuming.” Based in Toronto.
Only 2 issues of the Guild’s newsletter A BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE were published, the last in 1984. The Guild defunct by Oct 1985. But at least for a while it did well. Lloyd Penney wrote in MAPLE LEAF RAG #4 (Mar 1984): “the Creative Costumer’s Guide is not a dinky club, but an organization to link costuming fans in a cooperative effort. Guess what? It’s working. The Guild trades information, connects fans with each other to trade tips, information, skills, etc.”
Lloyd continued: “Costuming may have been laughed at in the 50’s, perhaps, but this IS the 80’s, and we must change with the times. Isn’t that what SF is all about? Why are we, readers of a very liberal literature, so conservative and traditional?” Ah, an age-old conundrum. Even today, costumers face a certain amount of prejudice on the part of elitist-minded SF fans.”
Yvonne Penney, as part of her fanac with the CCG, started up YRP Productions “to produce costumes for other fen on order.”
[ See A BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE ]
— Short for ‘Critical Fan Activity’, ‘critical’ in the sense of minimum requirement to maintain or improve status. Originally this was a FAPA term for the minimum amount of writing required to maintain membership in good standing for that APAzine. Later it came to refer to any fan activity conducted in order to remain within the top ten Big Name Fans as determined by fan polls. Then it was extended to mean any fan activity whatsoever which might conceivably earn respect from other fans. (DE)
When I first entered fandom (circa 1970s) I sometimes came across ‘Crifanac’ being used (or mis-used) as a term applied to film & book reviews, trip & con reports, or any other sort of fan writing in which a judgment or critical observation was made, as if the term had evolved to mean ‘A Critic’s Fan Activity’. Now, however, the term ‘Crifanac’ is obsolete and no longer, or at least rarely, used. (RGC)
— A term invented and developed in the course of three-way correspondence between US fans Dean Grennell, Red Boggs and Robert Silverberg circa late 1940s or early 1950s. Dick Eney’s Fancyclopedia II (published 1959) states that ‘croggle’ combines the words ‘crush’ & ‘goggle’, although Grennell himself says it is a combination of ‘crumble’ & ‘joggle’. Eney implies it is a noun, one which describes the state of having been “shocked into momentary physical or mental paralysis”.
Harry Warner Jr., on the other hand, in his A WEALTH OF FABLE (first version published 1976, but bear in mind Warner’s career in fandom began much earlier than Eney’s) declares ‘croggle’ “is normally a verb signifying intense disturbance of a subjective nature.”
I have always thought of ‘croggle’ as a verb, as in ‘to croggle’ somebody, ie to startle or stun them to the point of being gobsmacked, with the word ‘croggled’ better used to describe the resulting state of mind of the victim. (DE) (HWJ)
[ See CROGGLED ]
— As in “I’ve been croggled!”, or “I am croggled!”, the state of discombobulation one feels if someone has been very successful in their plot to croggle you.
[ See CROGGLE ]
— An obscure cartoonist term for the little bubbles sometimes drawn above inebriated cartoon characters, first coined by an article in an American newspaper Sunday supplement titled THIS WEEK. Source of inspiration to US fan Dean A. Grennell to create the classic fannish food “crottled Greeps’. (RB)
[ See CROTTLED GREEPS ]
— Inspired by the mundane word crottle, Dean A. Grennell (writing as Art Wesley) created the interlineation “But if you don’t like crottled greeps, why did you order them?” as filler item #378 in his one-shot FILLER (co-edited with Canadian fan Norman G. Browne) which contained 527 numbered filler items for Faned use. Published in 1953. For a while this was a popular fannish tradition, best-guess versions often being served in Con hospitality suites and the like. To this day no one knows what crottled greeps actually are, but ‘crunchy’, ‘overcooked’ and ‘green’ are usually part of the formula. (HWJ) (DE) (RB)
[ See CROTTLE, FILLER ]
CROUTCH, LESLIE A.
— Canada’s third faned, and the most famous Canadian fan in the 1940s.
Croutch was born in White River, Ontario, on April 25, 1915. The family moved several times, before finally settling in Parry Sound, Ontario, on the Eastern shore of Georgian Bay in 1929. He lived for the rest of his life at 41 Waubeek street in Parry Sound, until dying in a very Canadian manner on January 2nd, 1969, suffering a heart attack while shoveling snow. He never went beyond grade 10. Self employed all his life, he ran ‘Croutch Radio Service’ out of his bedroom for many years, then had a workshop built on to his home, and with the advent of television, operated ‘Croutch Radio & Television service’.
He was a no-nonsense, plain-speaking kind of guy with a punning sense of humour. His brother Victor stated: ” He had no private life. He met the public day in and day out as a repairman…. Les was neither bashful nor retiring. He kept to himself a lot.” Bob Tucker wrote that Croutch “was solidly rooted in the mundane world of radio and television. To me he was someone for whom sf was a hobby.” He had many close friends in Parry Sound, yet none of them knew of his sf fanac which seems to have been strictly relegated to contact with outsiders. His other interests included a life-long love of movies, going to see an average of two a week, and reading a great number of history and electronics publications.
In his life he produced at least 175 fanzines under the titles LET’S SWAP, CROUTCH NEWS, CROUTCH MAGAZINE MART NEWS, LIGHT, THE VOICE & ELECTRON. In 1944 and again in 1946 he was elected to the board of the National Fantasy Fan Federation, being considered its Canadian representative, and also served as corresponding secretary for the Northern Fantasy Fan Federation for its short-lived four year existence (1948 to 1951). He was a member of FAPA from 1943 to 1963.
He was a prolific writer of articles for other zines as well as his own, as well as being a major letterhack. Of his fanac he wrote (in 1942): “For myself, I think I am doing my share in upholding Canadian fandom. In the past I have appeared (articles, news, fiction) in the following U.S. fanzines: MSA BULLETIN, SPACEWAYS, VOICE OF THE IMAGINATION, LE ZOMBI (cartoon). In England in TIN TICKS and FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST. I have material coming up in America’s SPACEWAYS, VOICE OF THE IMAGINATION, TELLUS, FAN-ATIC, and plenty of material out going the rounds…”
He also wrote a large amount of fiction, at least 100 stories, most of which appeared in his or other’s fanzines, but some of it was professionally published. For a while Forrest J Ackerman served as his agent. AMAZING STORIES published his ‘The Day The Bomb Fell’ in its Nov 1950 issue, and his most famous, a post-holocaust story titled ‘Eeman Grows up’, appeared in the June 1948 issue of FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES. Other stories were published in UNCANNY TALES, EERIE TALES, and FUTURE FICTION. His story ‘Playmate’ was anthologized in both THE AUTHENTIC BOOK OF SPACE (London 1954), and TALES FROM BEYOND TIME: FROM FANTASY TO SCIENCE FICTION (New York 1974), the latter edited by L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp.
But it is his per/genzine LIGHT for which he is best remembered. As Harry Warner Jr. wrote in NEW CANADIAN FANDOM #6 (Jan 1983): “Les was one of my favorite fans of all time…. I’m quite aware that Les wasn’t the kind of writer who took enough time to make his fanzine contributions as entertaining today as they were when first published, but there’s a vitality to everything he wrote, an enthusiasm and joie de vivre that makes them better than the more polished output of the famous fans of the period who wrote dearly dull stuff.”
He became a legend in his own time, being described in the Fall 1948 issue of CENSORED as “…one of Canada’s oldest and most prominent (in more ways than one) fan, and the pioneers of aj-jay Canfanac.” The “in more ways than one” reference is a dig at his size, 5 foot 11 inches and somewhat overweight in a rumpled, bear-like manner. Or as Fred Hurter observed: “General impression of Croutch — there’s a lot of him.” Croutch was held in affection by Canfandom through out most of his fanpub career. But alas, he always remained true to his chatty, informal, punning style, and gradually began to seem dated to new generations of fans. This led to a falling off of his fanac, till he gafiated in 1963. But there’s no doubt that at his height he beat the drum for Canadian zinedom & Canfanac, inspiring many to contribute and even pub their ish, and was much beloved by Canfandom for his efforts. He deserves to be remembered. (JRC) & (TW) & (HWJ)
Note: in 1982 Hounslow Press of Toronto published a book on the life of Croutch by John Robert Columbo, titled “YEARS OF LIGHT: A CELEBRATION OF LESLIE A. CROUTCH: A COMPILATION AND A COMMENTARY.” Now out of print, it’s well worth getting a hold of if you can. It not only puts together a compelling story of Croutch’s life, interests and achievements, it’s a great survey of Canadian Fandom in action.[ See CENSORSHIP, THE PROFESSOR, CROUTCH NEWS, CROUTCH MAGAZINE MART NEWS, THE VOICE, ELECTRON, LIGHT, LET’S SWAP
— A ‘crudzine’ is a fanzine whose quality is below what faneds generally consider the minimum standard for fanzines. This can involve poor grammar, multiple spelling mistakes, illegible printing, cheap reproduction, execrable writing, immature tone, offensive art, and so forth. Any of Degler’s Cosmic Circle Fanzines would be considered typical crudzines.
Although the classic crudzine is the product of a faned’s incompetence, or perhaps laziness; there are at least two sub-types which merit less disdain on the part of the reader:
First, the hesitant yet eager and sincere effort of a neofaned publishing his first fanzine. This is traditionally most often a teenager who has newly drifted into the outer fringe of fandom but has not yet learned the ropes. Donald Comstock’s COOL published out of Winnipeg circa 1952 comes to mind.
Second, a humourzine masquerading as a crudzine for the sake of emphasis and impact. This can be in the form of an in-your-face satirezine like Neil William’s SWILL, published out of Toronto (and then Vancouver) circa 1981, or a more laid-back humourzine like Michael S. Hall’s LARDZINE, or even his LAID, both published out of Winnipeg in the late 1970s.
Sadly, the more experienced a faned, the higher his minimum standard for other faned’s fanzines. For many a jaded, aging faned, nearly ALL fanzines are crudzines.
— The Canadian Science Fiction Association, founded in 1948.
[ See CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION ]
— The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards, founded in 1980. Canada’s answer to the American Hugos. Quickly nicknamed the Casper Awards, the name was officially changed to the Aurora awards beginning in 1990.
[ See AURORA AWARDS, CANVENTION, CASPERS ]
— The Canadian Science Fiction/Fantasy Fan Association, apparently a one-man organization founded by Harry Calnek of Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia, in 1953. It cost $1.50 to join. Members were to receive the club bulletin CANADIAN CAPERS, and another official organ of the club which apparently never appeared.
Cdn fandom was originally impressed, Gerald Steward writing in CANADIAN FANDOM #20 (Mar 1954): “Aside to Canadian Fen: You have see two issues of CANADIAN CAPERS & a third issue is in the production stage. This should be enough to prove to you…. that the group behind this organization is hard working and earnest… not just another Winnipeg farce like the CSFA. Furthermore, the Canadian club is putting out its publications on schedule, which is more than can be said for either the N3F or the ISFCC in the U.S. We feel this group merits your support…Lend a hand, eh?”
In CANADIAN FANDOM #21 (Jun 1954), Howard Lyons wrote: “The CSF/FFA are looking for a nickname. The Toronto Science Fiction Society calls itself the Derelicts. How about taking Canuck as a starting point? Then the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Fan Association could call themselves the Fanucks or Fanuckers.”
Alas, in CANADIAN FANDOM #22 (Sep 1954), Howard noted simply: “The Fanucks have folded.” Presumably this meant the demise of CANADIAN CAPERS as well. (Feedback requested! Info wanted!)
[ See CANADIAN CAPERS, FIE & WHAT THINGS COME OUT IN THE SPRING ]
— Stands for ‘Canadian Unity Fan Fund’. CUFF was created in 1981 by Toronto fan Bob Webber, inspired by the American/British TAFF, or ‘Trans Atlantic Fan Fund’ which was founded in 1953. TAFF was designed to foster personal communication between British and American fandom. CUFF aimed to overcome geographical barriers to a unified Canadian fandom by bringing a Western fan to an Eastern convention, and — in alternating years — an Eastern fan to a Western convention. Since 1988 that has usually been ‘Canvention’ where the Auroras (formerly Caspers) are handed out. The East/West boundary is defined by the Ontario/Manitoba border.
Winners are expected to publish a — preferably humorous — trip report afterwards, and to serve as Administrator for a year, their task: to generate publicity, raise funds through voting fees and mail auctions of fannish goodies like rare fanzines, liaise with the target convention, encourage nominations, and conduct the actual mail-in election to determine the next winner.
1981 – Michael Hall of Edmonton – attended Torque 2 in Toronto.
1988 – Taral Wayne of Toronto – attended Keycon 5 / Canvention 8 in Winnipeg.
1989 – Robert Runte of Edmonton – attended Pinekone 2 / Canvention 9 in Ottawa.
1990 – Paul Valcour of Nepean – attended Conversion 7 / Canvention 10 in Calgary.
1992 – Linda Ross-Mansfield of Winnipeg – attended Wilfcon / Canvention 12 in Kitchener.
1996 – Rene Walling of Montreal – attended Conversion 13 / Canvention 16 in Calgary.
1997 – R. Graeme Cameron of Vancouver – attended Primedia / Canvention 17 in Toronto.
1998 – Lloyd & Yvonne Penney of Toronto – attended Con*cept98 / Canvention 18 in Montreal.
1999 – Garth Spencer of Vancouver – attended InCONsequential II / Canvention 19 in Fredericton.
2000 – Sherry Neufeld of somewhere in Saskatchewan – attended Toronto Trek 2000 / Canvention 20 in Toronto.
2001 – Murray Moore of Mississauga – attended VCON 26 / Canvention 21 in Vancouver.
2002 – Colin Hinz of Toronto – attended Con-version 19 / Canvention 22 in Calgary.
2003 – Lyndie S. Bright of Winnipeg – attended Torcon 3 / Canvention 23 in Toronto.
2005 – Brian Davis of Fredericton – attended Animethon 2005 in Edmonton.
2007 – Peter Jarvis of Toronto – attended VCON 32/ Canvention 27 in Richmond.
2008 – Lance Sibley of Toronto – attended Keycon 25/ Canvention 28 in Winnipeg.
(to be updated.)
[ See CANVENTION, AURORAS, FAN FUNDS, TAFF, CUFF TRIP REPORTS, CUFF-LINKS, FISTI-CUFFS, OFF THE CUFF ]
CUFF TRIP REPORTS
— It is a tradition among fan fund winners to write up an account of their trips so that other fans can share vicariously in their experiences. In 1952 Walt Willis even wrote an account of his trip to America BEFORE going, titled: ‘Willis Discovers America (Or Why Magellan Sailed Completely Around It)’. Part of the tradition demands wry humour. Another part of the tradition calls for copies to be sold in order to raise funds for the next winner. Generally, CUFF has lived up to this tradition.
1981 – Michael Hall: Published a brief account, more a con report than a trip report, in #2/3 of NEW CANADIAN FANDOM (June-Sept 1981):
“I ran into the Pro Guest of Honour, Tom Disch, late Saturday night, while he was in the process of forming a new religion…”
1988 – Taral Wayne: To the best of my knowledge Taral never wrote a trip report, though he apparently thought it would be a good idea. Writing in #1 of his fundraising CUFFzine titled CUFF-LINK, distributed with #7 of Michael Skeet’s MLR (July-Aug 1988), he commented: “I can always get an article published, somewhere, eventually. But I’d like to see a tradition begin, of the CUFF winner writing a short piece for the Canvention which will also serve as his trip report.” He did write a speech detailing the history of CUFF which he hoped to deliver at Canvention 8, but he was never given the opportunity. Fortunately it was published in full in #13 of MLR (July-Sept 1989):
“…two weeks before the deadline for nominations, there still weren’t any…So much for the open, above board, democratic way of running a fan fund… there was always the closed-door, smoke-filled room full of SMOFs approach. In the original tradition of 1981, CUFF was fixed… Once again there was no final ballot, no candidates, nor a vote. But by god you’ve got a winner whether you want one or not!”
1989 – Robert Runte: Published his CUFF report in #7 of his perzine I’M NOT BORING YOU AM I? circa Nov/Dec 1989, consisting of 8 pages of impressions and musings. As he put it: “While we’re establishing traditions here, I thought I’d borrow one from TAFF and DUFF, and produce the first CUFF trip report.” In it he quotes his banquet CUFF speech in full, but first describes a bit of a problem:
“Realizing somewhat belatedly that I would probably be called on to speak, I wrote a few notes on the general theme of ‘Fandom is a Family’ and awaited my turn. I was somewhat dismayed to hear Michael Skeet give his speech on the theme ‘Fandom is a Family’ a couple of minutes ahead of me, and so switched to a few brief comments on ‘The Purpose of CUFF’. I was therefore definitely dismayed to hear the MC explaining ‘The Purpose of CUFF’ as he introduced me. I ended up extemporizing something on the ‘Ecology of Fandom’ theme.”
1990 – Paul Valcour: Elected to drive from Ottawa to Calgary but got creamed by a heavy metal object falling from a truck ahead of him: “Black Beauty had to eat the damn thing. The transmission and bell housing were destroyed; the gas tank was severely ruptured; the stick shift and console was no more; and I had an ashtray in the ceiling of my car.” Fortunately he was unhurt. He described his trip to the convention in #1 of his perzine LONG DISTANCE VOYEUR (Dec 1990) along with some very significant musings on the nature of CUFF and the direction it should take. He then promised:
“The next LONG DISTANT VOYEUR will form a rough draft of my CUFF trip report…The main trip report is going to be a fanzine…may contain photographs…will contain copies of gathered memorabilia. Cartoon illustrations are planned as well…” Unfortunately, due mostly for burn-out reasons, neither a second issue of LDV nor the planned trip report ever appeared.
1992 – Linda Ross-Mansfield: Alas, I have no information as to whether or not Linda wrote a trip report, but she did eventually publish ‘THE CANADIAN UNITY FAN FUND – A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE CONCEPT AND SPIRIT OF THE FUND’ in V7#4 of her husband John Mansfield’s con-newszine ConTRACT (Jul-Aug 1995), which is a valuable snapshot of the state of CUFF at that time:
“We have used as our guide, the rules of both other existing fan funds (ie. TAFF & DUFF), but since CUFF is still in it’s infancy, and has a smaller financial base than it’s sister funds, it does not run an election until funds have reached a reasonable quantity to cover the cost of airfare and some accommodation. It usually takes a couple of years to build the fund up again to such a point.”
1996 – Rene Walling: I know of no trip report. Perhaps he thought there was no point. I remember that in a 1997 phone conversation he sadly stated that he was able to raise only 50¢ for CUFF while attending the Canvention meeting. Depressing.
1997 – R. Graeme Cameron: I published my 9 page (six point type!) ‘THE 1997 CUFF TRIP REPORT’ in Issue #10 of my perzine SPACE CADET in October 1998. It included 13 tiny, photo-reproduced photos of well-known Canadian fans at Primedia, like Lloyd & Yvonne Penney, Mike Glicksohn, Dennis Mullin, Brian Davies, John Mansfield, & Larry Hancock, plus pros Robert Sawyer, Jean-Louis Trudel, & Artist Jean-Pierre Normand. One reader commented: “I couldn’t recognize the people pictured and I KNOW most of them personally!” Ah the perils of cheap photocopying..
A very personal account. “I should mention that I’m wearing two badges, the first of which states ‘THE 1997 CUFF WINNER’, and the second of which reads ‘THE GRAEME, EDITOR OF SPACE CADET’. People in the con suite lean forward to read my badges and forever after seem to back off and keep their distance. Hmm. Oddly, no one throughout the entire convention asks me what CUFF stands for or what SPACE CADET is all about. Hmmm.”
“Jean-Pierre greets me as I enter his room. It is very crowded with people everywhere…he sells me a print (out of a limited edition) of his artwork showing the Titanic about to strike Godzilla’s fins. It’s beautiful. I especially like the deep blue of the water which well emphasizes how cold the scene is… Pleased by my response, he hauls his portfolio from underneath the bed. He does the kind of hard-edged, photo-realist art I like… I find his attention to detail with old sailing ships and aircraft (albeit posed in fantasy or SF situations) to be fantastic…I suggest he expand his market by contacting the various aviation and marine history prozines in the States. He seems intrigued.. Inspired by my interest, Jean-Pierre pulls out his photo collection showing his many SF models. Hordes of them. Shelf after shelf of assorted monsters and spaceships. I am impressed that he has so many. He is impressed that I recognize and can name most of them. We get along hugely well.” (Note: Jean-Pierre wins the Aurora for ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT at Primedia.)
“I tentatively produce my working copy of ‘INCOMPLEAT GUIDE TO CANADIAN FANZINES 1937 TO 1998’ (an early printed version of this website). Mike Glicksohn leafs through the pages. ‘I didn’t know there were so many, ‘ he comments. Gives me a thrill to hear him say that. If one of the most important Faneds in the history of Canadian zinedom is impressed by the amount of research I’m doing and the results I’m coming up with then surely I must be on the right track.”
“Run into Larry Hancock in the hall. ‘Oh, by the way,’ he says, ‘did you know that Canvention is planning to leave it to the CUFF winner to organize next year’s Canvention?’ My jaw hits the floor. Always a kidder, is Larry Hancock.”
1998 – Lloyd & Yvonne Penney: Wrote ‘PENNEYS UP THE RIVER and other CUFF Stories’, publishing it in December of 2000. Contains illustrations by Teddy Harvia & Brad Foster. My favourite is by Harvia depicting two robots, the one with the maple leaf saying: “Allow me to download to you the entire history of the Canadian Unity Fan Fund”, and the other commenting “Sure, I have a nanosecond or two to spare.”
The 25 page report is in itself an excellent promotional vehicle for CUFF. The first few pages are devoted to their growing awareness of the history behind CUFF, with some very nice compliments directed my way as then CUFF administrator, and their slowly dawning acceptance of their candidacy.
By page 11 they’ve won and are underway, flying to Montreal from Toronto ( due to time constraints and taking advantage of a 2-for-1 seat sale ). The hotel is straight out of Kafka, what with the staff having been on strike for nearly three years and a sign in the bathroom reading “The base of this bathtub is threatened with a non-slip product for your safety”. Lloyd comments: “That’ll teach THAT bathtub…and we can all rest easier at night.”
Not to mention the surreal episode at the masquerade where “one of the entries was Andrew Gurudata, dressed as…. Lloyd Penney, tacky shirt, Bill Shatner diction and all. He didn’t get many points from Yvonne ( grin ), and I heckled him from the audience. He would have been disappointed if I hadn’t.” ( It should be noted that Lloyd is notorious for his signature extremely LOUD Hawaiian shirts at conventions. Where he finds them is an ongoing fannish mystery.)
Lloyd and Yvonne are attending Con*cept98/Boreal98/Canvention 18. Con*cept GoH is Robert J. Sawyer, of whom Lloyd writes: “I remember how busy he was at our school, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, especially in his year as the editor of the school’s literary magazine, the White Wall Review, and he hasn’t changed all that much, now that he’s the most successful SF writer in the country.”
On the subject of Yves Meynard, Boreal GoH, Lloyd notes: “Yves Meynard is schmoozing with the Francophone members of the Boreal part of the convention. Boreal was, at one time, a stand-alone convention in Quebec, focusing exclusively on Quebec French language SF. It shares space with Con*cept now because according to that year’s Boreal Chairman Claude Mercier, it can’t survive by itself anymore. Boreal attracts an attendance of about 40, down from about 300 in its heyday. The appeal of literary SF seems to be in trouble in many places.” Sigh. Still true.
And as for Fan GoH Forrest J. Ackerman, Lloyd writes: “And then there’s Forry. I have the chance to chat with him a little bit…I got the impression he was tired…but 4sJ is in his early 80s now. Anyway, Forry is everywhere, spreading good cheer among the denizens of the convention. I’m sure there’s a lot of kids gaming in the darker rooms, wondering who the hell the old man is, but that’s okay…those who should know do know, and Forry is doing his job in fine style.”
Lloyd and Yvonne do their utmost to promote CUFF, and Lloyd storms out of a tempestuous CUFF business meeting tired of the “slimy politics” and the “carping criticism”, but all in all “No regrets though… We didn’t go to Montreal to add our names to an illustrious list of CUFF winners, but to go see people and be with friends. In that, we succeeded admirably. Mission accomplished.”
The report concludes with a list of winners to date, ‘A Brief Explanation of the Concept and Spirit of the Fund’ penned by former CUFF winner Linda Ross-Mansfield in 1995, a detailed financial statement, and a touching tribute to an old friend of theirs, fanartist Joe Mayhew who passed away in 2000, which includes a photo of him and one of his last illustrations, the latter showing two aliens reading a fanzine, one of them commenting: “This isn’t a real Earth fanzine; there’s no Loc from Lloyd Penney.”
1999 – Garth Spencer: Titled his CUFF report ‘WHAT I DID ON MY OCTOBER VACATION’. He’s quite intrigued about attending inCONsequential II/Canvention 19 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, writing: “I have some outspoken opinions about regional fandoms like the Maritimes… It was curiously difficult to get word on Maritimes fanactivity, or indeed to get word to them, for years at a go…I still perceive them as low-profile, barely visible…In short, there are hurdles to overcome and not a little work to do.” Not least is the fact he can only get a flight to Halifax and must bus for six hours to get to Fredericton. GoH is Tanya Huff, MC Robert J. Sawyer, and Artist GoH Donna Barr of ‘Desert Peach’ fame.
“Evening events were pretty much limited to the consuite…there were no room parties…It is of interest to note that inCONsequential’s consuite is a ‘dry’ consuite. Apparently, this is a general policy for Maritime conventions, ever since Halcon 10. ( The story I got is that Maritime Fandom experienced a phase when university students discovered their cons, and perceived them as a cheap place to get drunk and weird. Also, Maritime fans are generally concerned to present their fandom as a safe place to bring kids. ) I commented that other cons in North America have similarly found reason not to serve alcohol.”
Garth has brought numerous chapbooks on CUFF, Maritime fanhistory, the Auroras & Canvention, to hand out in an effort to stimulate interest in fannish history and communication. By the time he gave a CUFF presentation on Sunday he found “to my dismay all the historical chapbooks had gone, so I extemporized on fannish fanzine fandom, fan funds, the history of the Canadian Fan Fund, and the topic of Getting the Word Out.” It’s a good sign of interest that all his chapbook freebies had been snapped up, and that a dozen people showed up for his 10:00 AM presentation. Not bad for a convention of only about 80 attendees. Especially considering that no one showed up for the Saturday slave auction, or the Kingcon SF Society presentation. So kudos to Garth for stirring things up and getting people interested.
One sour note: “I’m not really proud of my exhibition of temper…I was really appalled at the CSFFA ( Canadian SF & Fantasy Awards ) meeting, and kept saying so, heatedly. But Robert Sawyer, and Tanya Huff, and Patricia Evans all assured me that meetings usually are slow ( this one lasted three hours ), and inefficient, even in professional associations and conferences. I guess it’s just as well, for me and for you, that CUFF is not run by a committee.” Famous last words. Currently, circa late 2007, CUFF is being run by an ad hoc committee of 11 former CUFF winners, including, ironically enough, Garth.
The trip report is rounded out with a financial statement and an alphabetical glossary “intended to fill in some context, if you are unfamiliar with the fans or writers at inCONsequential, or with Canadian fandom, or with this fan fund. Anything I haven’t explained here has yet to be explained to me.”
2000 – Sherry Neufeld: I do not know if a trip report was ever written.
2001 – Murray Moore: Produced an absolutely delightful report titled ‘A TRIP REPORT FOUND IN A PLAIN MANILA ENVELOPE’ describing his visit to Vancouver’s VCON 26 and continuing on to Seattle to meet with fans there. Cover art by Craig Smith shows ‘Adamski’ style UFOs hovering over the Seattle Space Needle. The interior is enlivened by 2 art fillos by Craig Smith and no less than 25 by Cumberland fanartist Scott Patri. Carolyn Clink contributes colour photos showing Murray with Vancouver fans Garth Spencer, Fran Skene, Steve Forty, Clint Budd, as well as writers Rob Sawyer, Candas Jane Dorsey & Donna McMahon. To top it off, an index is included, so those who met Murray at the con can immediately look up the pages wherein he gives his impression of them.
The 22 pages of the report itself are easy on the eye. Murray took notes throughout and the report is written up in diary form as a series of wry observations rather than a continuous narrative which nevertheless captures the spirit of the con, the character of the attendees and the nature of the setting. Plus a lot of interesting quotes:
“Al Betz recalls an idea that never got off the ground: ‘Stone Lake is in the middle of the Golden Gate Park ( in San Francisco). People drive their remote control boats on it. I wanted to make a remote control dirigible and drop bombs on the boats.'”
“To make Ice Cream using liquid Nitrogen, Al Betz is wearing oven mitts, a red and white plastic helmet, and a white lab coat with red trim. ‘I have on occasion hidden a hot dog wiener in a glove finger, put the glove in liquid nitrogen, and then smashed that finger with a hammer. The tricky part is to remember which finger I want to hit.'”
“Frank Johnson describes becoming the maker of the Aurora Award Sculptures. In conversation with Robert Runte in a bar in Alberta. ‘Just like that I said I’ll build it.’ Robert: ‘There’s 10 of them.’ Me: ‘Oh’. Frank signed the base for 2001. ‘It’s the polish that’s the grind. I don’t know how people do it for a living.'”
Note: The title of Murray’s report is a takeoff on the most important Canadian SF novel published in the 19th century: James de Mille’s A STRANGE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN A COPPER CYLINDER (published 1888), a utopian satire set in a lost world. Rather appropriate, what? They don’t call the West coast ‘The Land of the Lotus Eaters’ for nothing you know!
2002 – Colin Hinz: Not aware of a published trip report as yet.
2003 – Lyndie S. Bright: Have not heard if a trip report is available.
2005 – Brian Davis: Do not know of any trip report.
2007 – Peter Jarvis: No report of any trip report so far.
2008 – Lance Sibley: Again, have no idea, but it’s early yet.
ARRGH! Is the CUFF Trip Report tradition dead? ARRGH!
to be updated)
[ See CUFF, CUFF-LINKS, FISTI-CUFFS, OFF THE CUFF ]
— were members of an American APA which was something new in the way of APAs, so new in fact that Harry Warner JR. described The Cult as “..one of the very few new ideas which fandom seems to have acquired by specific invention on a certain occasion.”
Apparently inspired by the Fannish habit of sending multiple copies of a letter to a number of fans, in 1954 Peter Vorzimer envisioned THE CULT, a semi-APA combining aspects of both APAs and Chain letters. Limited to 13 members, each had to contribute ASAP a short item to the acting publisher so that he could publish the next issue within three weeks of the previous issue. Each member would take on the role of publisher in turn. A complete cycle would take 39 weeks (in theory). Thus every member would receive and contribute to the APA every 3 weeks, but only have to take on the burden of publishing once every nine months or so.
Because membership was so limited, and contributions so light, the APA’s Official Organ (variously titled but always subtitled THE FANTASY ROTATOR) averaged 20 to 30 pages in size and thus was relatively easy and cheap to publish, hence the quick turnaround of only 3 weeks. This had the advantage of spontaneity (compare to FAPA’s ponderous once-every-four-months publishing schedule), but of course, everything depended on the members responding instantly to every mailing. Delay, and you might miss being included in the next mailing. Miss 2 mailings in a row, and you were bounced.
Another advantage, given the limited membership and the right of every member to accept or veto any proposed new replacement member, was the freedom to be bolder without worrying about stirring controversy outside the group, especially since a condition of membership was to keep everything in-house. Maybe not really bold, since HWJ comments “The language was more vivid than anything normally found elsewhere in fanzines, approaching at times the quantity and quality of bad words that can be heard at Boy Scout meetings.”
According to Eney The Cult originally consisted of 7th Fandomites “handpicked by Vorzimer”. I can’t help but wonder of Canada’s Norman G. Browne (one of the founders of 7th fandom) was one of these presumably rowdy original members, but The Cult got off the ground at roughly the same time as he was drifting away from Fandom so it is perhaps unlikely that he was involved.
At any rate, despite becoming infamous for excessive constitutional wrangling and bickering (a condition not unknown to many APAs and clubs), THE CULT accomplished two things: it spawned many imitators “some of them so secret that nobody knows how many have existed”, and produced at least a certain amount of quality writing deemed worthy of being reprinted in larger circulation general fanzines. (HWJ) (DE)
THE CYGNUS SCIENCE SOCIETY
— Founded in 1983, it was “a promotional organization intended to assist in the events and activities (particularly financial) of Victoria’s SF clubs… Its stated purposes include promoting science, SF, SF authors and publishers in Victoria, cooperating with and assisting the other Victoria clubs; discussion meetings; special events; fund-raising events; and a periodical…”
The society was named after the constellation Cygnus (the swan) and acknowledged as a Registered Society by the B.C. Government circa September 1983. “The first Cygnus activity I know of is an Oct 28 Halloween dance.” By Dec 1983 they had already held three successful fundraising events, so off to a flying start. At first only five members: Stephan Hawkins as President, Wayne C. Kelly as VP, James Dean Waryk as Secretary, Dave Armitage as Treasurer, & Ramsay Parker as legal & financial adviser. (GS)