( F ) — CONTENTS
FALCON / FALCON SF&F SOCIETY / FANADIAN / FANCESTOR WORSHIP / FANCYCLOPEDIA / FANDOM / FANDOMS (Numbered Eras) / FANDOMS CANADIAN (Numbered Eras) / FAN DRINKS / FANED – FAN ED / FANERGY / FAN FEUD / FAN FILMS / FAN FILMS ( AMERICAN ) / FAN FILMS ( BRITISH ) / FAN FILMS ( CANADIAN ) / FANICHE / FANNISH DRINKSH BOOK / FANNISH LEGENDS / FANTASTELLAR ASSOCIATION / FANTASTOLOGY / FANTASY / FANTIQUARIAN / FANUCK – FANUCKER / FEM FAN – FEMME FAN / FEN / FENAISSANCE / FEN COMMANDMENTS / FERGONOMICS / FIAGGH / FIAWOL / FIJAGH / FILK / FILKSONG / FILKER / FILK ROOM / FILLERS / FIRST CANADIAN CARBONZINE / FIRST CANADIAN FAN CLUB / FIRST CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY / FIRST CANADIAN FAN ED / FIRST CANADIAN FAN ED (FEMALE) / FIRST CANADIAN FAN WRITER / FIRST CANADIAN FAN WRITER (FEMALE) / FIRST CANADIAN FANZINE / FIRST CANADIAN HEKTOZINE / FIRST CANADIAN MIMEOZINE / FIRST CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION / FIRST CANADIAN STAR TREK CONVENTION / FIRST FAN CLUB / FIRST FANDOM / FIRST FANZINE / FIRST HOTEL ENTIRELY TAKEN OVER BY FANS / FIRST SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION / FIRST STAR TREK CONVENTION / FIRST TRANSITION / FLEAC / FMZ / FNZ / THE FOLLOWERS OF RASSILON / FOOM / FOOMRUNNER / FOUT! / FREDERICTON SF SOCIETY / FROME, NILS HELMER / FUTURE FANTASY FRENCH
— SF convention put on in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At least three FALCON conventions, the 3rd in Oct 1997 at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax. GoH: Author Lesley Choice. Artist: Kevin Loftus. Model Building Expert: Robert Lepine.
FALCON SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY SOCIETY
— A maritime SF club based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, circa 1997. Puts on the FALCON SF Conventions.
— Term for Canadian fan used by Forrest J. Ackerman (and perhaps others), as for example his loc in the 119th issue of LIGHT (Aug 1942): “…’Babsy’… she’s been making a faname for herself amongst u Fanadians!”
— Term possibly coined by Walt Willis circa 1950s to describe the fannish tendency to adulate earlier generations of fans, or at least the BNFs of said generations.
— A Fancyclopedia is nothing less than an encyclopedia of Fannish lore, legend and history. There have been two Fancyclopedias published, and many attempts, such as this Canfancyclopedia web site, at producing a third, updated version. Fancyclopedia I came along just in time to help fandom define itself and become truly self-aware as a phenomenon, the second allowed a new generation of fans to discover themselves as a collective entity. The advantage of both together is that, once read, they transform a neofan into a knowledgeable pro.
FANCYCLOPEDIA #1 — Was compiled by American fan John A. Bristol ‘Jack’ Speer and “submitted to the Futurians, Ackerman, Rothman and Tucker for corrections and additions; it was then returned to Bristol who stenciled it, incorporating many of the suggested changes, and bringing the information down to the end of 1943.” It was published by Forrest J. Ackerman in 1944. “Price, $1.50. First edition, 250 copies; of which 47 were ordered prior to assembly.”
Speer’s intention was to create an “Encyclopedic Dictionary of Fandom” and to “define all expressions…which have an esoteric meaning in fantasy fandom.” He certainly succeeded, beginning with the letter ‘A’ (shortest title for a fanzine) and ending with ‘ZWEIG, ALLEN’ (a pen name of Donald Wollheim). More than that, he wanted to put everything into context: “to supply other information, such as that on Esperanto, which may be needed to understand what fans say, write, and do.”
On the other hand, he had to draw the line somewhere: “Certain fields have been excluded…because they are well taken care of elsewhere…. biographies have been left to the various Who’s Who of fandom, and fanzines in detail to Dr. Swisher’s excellent S-F Checklist.”
Harry Warner Jr. wrote: “The Fancyclopedia was… the biggest single publication that fandom had yet known when its 100-page first edition was published in 1944. Jack Speer worked for four years on the writing of it, the NFFF (National Fantasy Fan Federation) provided financial assistance, and LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society) members did the actual production work. This first big compilation in dictionary form of fandom’s traditions, slang, and big events was an enormous success…Bob Bloch called it ‘probably the most important step ever undertaken in the history of fandom,’ and said that it made fandom ‘permanent as a social phenomenon.'”
Of the Fancyclopedia’s enduring value, HWJ wrote in 1951: “Originally it was both a reference work and entertaining reading. Now it has taken on a third value, because it treats of fandom as it was just before the atom bomb started falling and new prozines began appearing; the final years of fandom’s privacy, when the whole world wasn’t interested in stories about the future.” An historical snapshot of fandom at a point in time when Science Fiction had not yet become a mass market phenomenon, when fandom was yet pristine and separate from the mundane world….mostly…
HWJ also commented that, only seven years after publication, many of the terms and references in the Fancyclopedia were already obsolete. Newcomers, unfamiliar with the context which Speer had not detailed probably because he assumed contemporary readers knew the background, would find it difficult to understand the true significance of many items, and thus not be able to relate to the fannish experience of the day. On the other hand, reading it, plunging into the world of Confabulations, Il Duce of Flushing Flats, the FooFoo Special, Michelism and the Intellectual Brotherhood of Pro Scientists, is a joyous immersion in the dawn of fandom that offers at least a glimpse of what it was like to be a fan back in the 1930s and 40s. As an account of living fandom, the Fancyclopedia #1 is outdated and obsolete, but as an inspirational guide to origins, it is priceless.
HWJ adds that fans in 1951 would be puzzled by the lack of many terms they were familiar with , but this is because the latest terms had come into fannish usage after the Fancyclopedia was written. More important for the survival of the work, Speer’s sense of humour infuses the entire manuscript, making it an entertaining read even for those not particularly interested in the subject. It is Speer’s personal touch which has given longevity to the book.
Best of all, Fancyclopedia #1 is readily accessible. Just go to the wonderful Fanac History Project website at < http://fanac.org/Fannish_Reference_Works/Fancyclopedia/ >. Read and/or download. Anyone and everyone interested in the history and background of fandom deserves a copy in their fannish library.
FANCYCLOPEDIA #2 — Was written, edited and published by Dick Eney of Operation Crifanac, Alexandria, Virginia. Price: $1.25. First edition, 450 copies, of which 78 were ordered prior to publication.
I can do no better than to quote from his introductions to the two editions ( 1959 print & 1998 Online ):
“The purpose of the Fancyclopedia II, not fully realized, is to revise and bring up to date the original Fancyclopedia of Jack Speer… ( which ) was a tour de force by an exceptional scholar at almost the last moment when the entirety of fandom could be apprehended by a single individual. By the time I took on Fancyclopedia II, this was no longer possible…. I had to do as extensive a polling as I could among all the current and past fans I could reach… What began as a card file written on discarded Japanese library filing cards after three or four years of collection had expanded to a couple of yard-long filing cases of cards, many with references to separate sheets, folders, or booklets. Nearly a year of mechanical production followed, involving discovering a new method of binding, finding out that mimeo paper in bulk was handled as railway freight, and picking up graphics skills in a manner more logically than aesthetically pleasing.”
“Eventually Fancyclopedia II went on sale at the 1960 Worldcon in Pittsburgh, though only just — on the way my car’s motor burned out and Bob Pavlat had to come and rescue our party. I remember J&D Young and I sitting in my hotel room putting the finished booklet together with Acco fasteners. Mirabile dictu, people did buy this Special Convention Fanzine; enough of them, anyway, to pay for our hotel bill and most of the gas.”
“Then Noreen Shaw kicked up a fuss and got Fancyclopedia II thrown off the Hugo ballot the year it was eligible, on the grounds that I was on the Con committee at the time. ( No, I never did forgive her; would you have? ) The printing ( 450 copies, wow! ) was sold out over the next two years…”
The print version included a number of classic fanartist illustrations, such as Charles Well’s ‘Foof’, Archie Mercer’s ‘Trufin’, Dean Grennell’s ‘Blork Man’, Harlan Ellison’s ‘Max J. Runnerbean’, Ray Nelson’s ‘Globlie’, Rotsler’s ‘Phallic Symbol Man’, Jean Young’s ‘Poo and Yobber’… and most likely to be faunched for, an insert diagram of the Tucker Hotel! Alas, not included in the online version.
Fancyclopedia II included many of the listings described in Fancyclopedia I, but it also contained many newly coined concepts which, unlike a lot of material in Speer’s version, remain an active part of the fannish lexicon of today. Things like “BLOG” for instance. Consequently, reading the first Fancyclopedia is like delving into the archaic past of a long dead civilization, whereas reading the second Fancyclopedia is more like studying the early history of the contemporary world; easier to relate to.
Fancyclopedia #2 is available at:
FANCYCLOPEDIA #3 – Is an ongoing project edited by Jim Caughran and Joe Siclari. It is in the nature of a Wikipedia inviting contributions from any fan who can add a relevant entry or correct an existing one. While information selected from the first two Fancyclopedias form the core of the third, the editors are actively seeking entries containing information about fannish phenomena which took place in the years after the second Fancyclopedia was written. In other words, bringing the first two Fancyclopedia’s up to date as it were. A project well worth supporting, and contributing to.
It should be noted that the editors have my permission to use any material they wish from my Canfancyclopedia, and I have Jim’s permission to adapt any of their entries for my use.
Fancyclopedia #3 is available at : < http://fancyclopedia.editme.com/ >
CANFANCYCLOPEDIA – Is what you are reading right now at this precise point in time. Wowzers!
Actually, there are two incarnations.
The first is a straightforward (A-Z) encyclopedia with all topics included in a continuous manuscript designed to be printed out as a single manuscript or ‘book.’ This version, consisting of research completed in 2009, is available at Bill Burns fantastic site:
The second incarnation is this web site in which the topics are split into separate ‘pages’ specific to the topic, making it easier to look up particular areas of interest to the viewer. In addition, a number of actual zines are posted here as well. Additional postings of zines, as well as further research into the various topics, is ongoing.
There are at least five factors that differentiate my Canfancyclopedia from the ongoing third Fancyclopedia.
First, there is an emphasis on Canadian Fannish history.
Second, I include bibliographical material re Canadian fanzines and apazines.
Third, given that I first undertook this cyclopedia in order to have a handy dandy fannish reference guide just for my own lonesome, I don’t simply quote entries from earlier Fancyclopedias; I rewrite them to make the context clearer (at least in MY mind), perhaps present more recent examples of what a given entry is about, and where possible enliven them with my own brand of humour.
Fourth, rather than have the online reader click on individual entries in order to read them (possibly skipping much they SHOULD read), my readers are treated – in the first incarnation –to the thrill, or necessity at any rate, of scrolling through an entire letter-of-the-alphabet section to find what they want. Some will hate me for this. But others, who simply wish to browse and read only what strikes their fancy, will find this setup a lot easier to peruse than selecting and clicking on multiple entries. In the second incarnation I divide the material into separate sections by topic.
And fifth, as you’ve no doubt noticed, in the first incarnation I make use of colour to A) colour-code titles by nature of topic, and B) break up the text in a pleasant visual manner which makes everything easier to read. My theory which is mine. In the second incarnation I somewhat abandon A) but maintain B).
In short, I’ve embarked on this task for very personal reasons, so it should come as no surprise that the Canfancyclopedia reflects my personal approach and style, my personal idiom as it were. (Or idiocy as some might suggest.)
And let me take this opportunity to remind everyone that I stand on the shoulders of giants, more than anything else I am merely collating information already gathered and recorded by others, and am simply making a sincere effort to combine it into a single, rather sprawling but potentially useful mega-source for them as are interested in fannish lore, traditions, and history, albeit injecting my sense of humour as often as I can in an effort to provide an entertaining read.
And let us not forget my hidden agenda; to convert Neos vaguely interested in fandom into fanatical fanactivists churning out fanzines!
(And then somehow segueing the sudden surge of fanergy into a movement to make me Emperor of Canada… however that’s a personal goal best kept hidden for the time being, methinks.)
— Here is Walt Willis’ definition: “Fandom is a very worthwhile hobby, and the most worthwhile thing in it is doing as well as you can something that interests you and gives other people pleasure, no matter how much trouble it is.” ( More to be added )
FANDOMS (Numbered Eras)
— This is a complex subject. Even the question of whose scheme came first is unclear. Jack Speer gave a partial list in his fannish history UP TO NOW published in 1939, and a fuller version in his 1944 FANCYCLOPEDIA, but Harry Warner Jr. thinks Sam Moskowitz originated the concept circa 1939 before Speer. I don’t know the answer. Probably the concept was bandied about in fanzine articles before appearing in the ‘official’ histories. I give SaM’s version first because it covers the shortest span of time, describing only the first decade of fandom. It was never taken up by fandom however, Speer’s version being preferred.
In the 1950s various people added more eras, redefined eras, and inserted more transitions, which Dick Eney summarized in his Fancyclopedia II in 1959. After that, with a few exceptions, fans gave up on the concept. Walt Willis suggested it was because fans had grown tired of debating the fine points of an increasingly irrelevant topic.
It should be noted that fan historian Harry Warner Jr. resolutely refused to believe in numbered fandoms, holding that the concept was artificial and entirely arbitrary and, while maybe reflective of this or that trend, had nothing to do with the vast majority of fans who simply went about pursuing their own interests. I believe that while the importance of these numbered eras may have been exaggerated, they do serve as a useful guide to the evolution of fannish obsessions during the first 3 or 4 decades of fandom. (JS) (SM) (DE) (HWJ) (RB)
SAM MOSKOWITZ VERSION ( circa 1939 ):
FIRST FANDOM — ( 1930 to 1933 ) — First fans find each other, creation of first fan clubs, first clubzines, first individzines.
SECOND FANDOM — ( 1934 ) — Decline of first fan clubs.
THIRD FANDOM — ( 1935 ) — A sort of lingering afterglow of the first fanac.
FOURTH FANDOM — ( 1936 to 1937 ) — Rapid growth of Individzines, inspired and led by FANTASY MAGAZINE ( pubbed by Conrad H. Ruppert & Julius Schwartz ).
FIFTH FANDOM — ( 1937 ) — Collapse of FANTASY MAGAZINE with negative effects on zinedom at large.
SIXTH FANDOM — ( 1938 ) — Entry of many new fans, leading to a resurgence of fanac.
JACK SPEER VERSION ( circa 1939/1944 ):
EOFANDOM — ( 1930 to 1932 ) — First fans find each other, creation of first fan clubs, first clubzines, first Individzines.
FIRST FANDOM — ( 1933 to 1936 ) — Fanac is intimately related to prozines, pro Authors and science fiction books. Individzines are often imitation prozines, publishing fan fiction, fiction by pros, interviews with same, analysis & reviews of profiction, and lots of speculation on the possibilities of science. Fandom has yet to evolve into self-sufficient entity, though does show early signs of self-awareness.
FIRST TRANSITION — ( Late 1936 to October 1937 – Date of the Third Eastern SF convention, held in Philadelphia ) — Witnesses the collapse of FANTASY MAGAZINE, and a shift in emphasis from profiction and pro-publications to the activities of fans themselves. New fanzines emerge, with lots of fan news, and the beginning of a tendency to discuss and describe concepts, events, and experiences outside the realm of science fiction.
SECOND FANDOM — ( October 1937 – Date of the Third Eastern SF convention, held in Philadelphia, to October 1938 – Resignation of the Quadrumvirs from FAPA ): Politics becomes the dominant debate in fandom. The Wollheimist faction, led by the Quadrumvirs Donald Wollheim, Frederik Pohl, Robert W. Lowndes, & John B. Michel attempt to convert fandom to Michelism, the belief that a synthesis of Stalinism with fandom would best solve the problems of the human race. They fail.
SECOND TRANSITION — ( October 1938 – Date of the 1938 Philadelphia Convention, to September 1940 – Date of the Worldcon Chicon 1 held in Chicago ): This era covers the so-called Barbarian Invasion, the influx of new fans, such as Harry Warner Jr., inspired by both the fanac of the Triumvirs and the revival of the prozines, with a shift in emphasis back to profiction and SF in general. The Triumvirs were Sam Moskowitz, William S. Sykora and James V. Taurasi, who took advantage of the Barbarian Invasion to found NEW FANDOM, a short-lived organization which, because of its no feuding policy, is also wildly popular with older fans who resented the politics of the previous era..
THIRD FANDOM — ( September 1940 to 1944 – publication of Speer’s Fancyclopedia 1 ) — Finally the appearance of a mature, balanced fandom, or as Speer put it: “…with the passing of feuds the underlying fraternity of fandom came more into evidence, and a broad balance was found between matters scientifictional and other things that fans were interested in.” The new decade also witnessed a retrospective fascination with fandom’s first decade, resulting in the publication of numerous histories, “digests and bibliographies and indexes of this and that, regarded as a summation and consolidation of past achievements in fandom.” On the downside, some of the older fans began to gafiate, although in some cases it was because they were establishing successful careers as pro-writers, pro-editors, ktp.
DOUGLAS WEBSTER ( BRITISH ) VERSION ( circa 1944 ):
FIRST FANDOM — ( 1930 to 1938 ) — Walter Gillins & Len Kippin found first UK SF club, the Ilford Science Literary Circle, in 1930, followed by general growth of clubs, especially the British branch of the SCIENCE FICTION LEAGUE supported by the US prozine WONDER STORIES, with chapters in Leeds, Glasgow, Belfast, ktp. Maurice Hanson pubs first UK fanzine, NOVAE TERRAE, in 1936. First SF convention happens in Leeds, January 1937, at which the national organization SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION is voted into existence. General emphasis of the era is on science and science fiction.
SECOND FANDOM — ( 1939 to 1941 ) — Just before the war fans like Cristopher S. Youd, faned of THE FANTAST and J. F. Burke, faned of THE SATELLITE, succeed in expanding fandom’s focus to include mundane topics like communism, socialism, “good literature, swearing, copulation, atheism, and phonetics” among other “appropriate pseudo-intellectual discussions”. They are more interested in self-expression than in belonging to organized fandom. However, as more and more fans reach the age where they are called up for military service, the numbers of active fans decline.
THIRD FANDOM — ( 1941 to 1944 ) — During the war an influx of very young fans begins. Not as sophisticated — or jaded — as members of Second Fandom, they shift the fannish focus back to science fiction and are supportive of the BFS ( British Fan Organization ), created by conscientious objector Mike Rosenblum, whose fanzine FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST helps keep the flame of fandom flickering. During this period no less than 5 conventions are held.
ROBERT SILVERBERG VERSION ( circa 195? ):
EOFANDOM to THIRD FANDOM — Presumably the same scheme as outlined by Speer, Silverberg’s version being in essence a continuation.
FOURTH FANDOM — Immediate postwar period which Silverberg felt was “dominated by hucksters and commercialism”.
FIFTH FANDOM — Late forties during which various insurgent fans behaved and wrote in opposition to fourth fandom’s acceptance of commercialism, and also against any fan and/or fannish organization in their view taking fandom too seriously.
SIXTH FANDOM — Begins in the 1950s. Represents a return to balanced fandom, a revival of traditional fandom at its best, i.e. something like third fandom.
HARLAN ELLISON VERSION ( 1953 ):
EOFANDOM to SIXTH FANDOM — Presumably the same scheme as outlined by Speer and Silverberg.
SEVENTH FANDOM — Created by Ellison, Norman G. Browne, and others at Ellison’s home in May of 1953 shortly after Lee Hoffman folded QUANDRY, the flagship of Sixth Fandom. The antics of the Seventh Fandomites at various conventions, plus the belief that a numbered fandom cannot be ‘created’, only defined in retrospect, led to the general rejection of Seventh Fandom by fandom at large, such that the furor and tumult of its adherents died down by late 1954. It is today more remembered as an aberration of fannish behaviour than as a numbered era.
DICK ENEY VERSION ( 1959 ):
EOFANDOM to THIRD FANDOM — Presumably the same scheme as outlined by Speer.
THIRD TRANSITION — ( 1945 to July 1946 – Date of Pacificon, the first postwar Worldcon, held in Los Angeles ) — Many fans from the 1930s gafiate, but many more fans return from the war and get back into fanac, which attracts new fans, and leads to a general revival of fandom. End date fixed by a controversial event at Pacificon, namely Operation Futurian, an abortive attempt to replace the National Fantasy Fan Federation with something called the Fantasy Foundation.
FOURTH FANDOM — ( Aug 1946 to Aug 1947 – Date of Philcon 1, the 5th Worldcon, held in Philadelphia ) — During the war 5 of the prozines became noted for ignoring fans. By the fourth Fandom loc writers had gravitated to the three prozines still catering to fans: THRILLING WONDER STORIES, STARTLING STORIES, and PLANET STORIES, the latter containing a letter column run by crusty Sergeant Saturn, who became a kind of fourth fandom icon. Letterhacking was the keynote function of fans at this time, along with a renewed interest in book collecting. Fourth fandom had a reputation for being somewhat juvenile. “And the raucous cries of the Hucksters were heard everywhere.”
FOURTH TRANSITION — Nothing listed in my copy of Fancyclopedia II. Perhaps no such period was ever defined.
FIFTH FANDOM — ( September 1947 to June 1950 – start of the Korean war ) — Art Rapp’s SPACEWARP is considered the premier fanzine of this era, somewhat insurgent in nature. The most insurgent publication of fifth fandom, however, is Laney’s AH! SWEET IDIOCY, which blows the lid of Los Angeles fandom. The reaction to ‘Dirty Filthy Pros’ at Torcon in 1948, and against ‘Miss Science Fiction’ at CinVention in 1949, helps fuel the growth of the Insurgent movement which takes over the battle against commercialism and the influence of the pros at conventions. AMAZING STORIES surprises fandom in May 1948 with the introduction of a department called ‘The Clubhouse’ in which Rog Phillips ( Roger Philip Graham ) “discussed and listed the fanzines submitted to him. Here a beginning fanzine publisher could be treated as seriously as if he were a major publishing house.” This boosts enthusiasm for fanpubbing tremendously.
FIFTH TRANSITION — ( June 1950 to September 1951 ) — Some prominent insurgents like Art Rapp gafiate, the insurgent feud with prodom dissipates, John W. Campbell pushes Dianetics in ASTOUNDING, and fandom softly loses focus as it diffuses into multiple trends. The rise of Lee Hoffman’s QUANDRY would soon change everything.
SIXTH FANDOM — ( September 1951 – Date of Nolacon, the ninth Worldcon, held in New Orleans, to May 1953 ) — Walt Willis described the sixth fandom as “more fun to be in than any fandom that ever existed before. It was intelligent but not stolid, wacky but mature, lively but not feud ridden, and sophisticated without being decadent. What distinguished it more than anything else was its close-knit and intimate quality.” Lee Hoffman, the fan from Florida, faned of the immensely influential QUANDRY, is the epicentre of Sixth Fandom. Her appearance at Nolocon, and the stunning revelation she was female, is held to be the kickoff of the era. With her help, Walt Willis becomes the other mover and shaker of that time. Also with her help, the comic strip POGO becomes the principal fannish icon of the day. BNFs from previous fandom eras, fans like Bob Tucker, Robert Silverberg, Harry Warner Jr. and Red Boggs, continue to be influential. The era ends when QUANDRY ceases publication, Silverberg predicts a Seventh Fandom will arise, and Ellison decides to jumpstart the new era.
SIXTH TRANSITION — ( May 1953 to 1954 ) — Under this scheme, the Sixth Transition describes the disruptive era of the Seventh Fandomites whose symbol is the red birdbath and their icon Mad Comics. Many fans flee to APA fanac. Others carry on the war against the “noisy Juveniles”, one strategy being to declare the onset of 8th fandom, 69th fandom, and even 200th fandom in order to quell Seventh Fandom. Eventually, they succeed.
SEVENTH FANDOM — ( 1955 to 1959 ) — Described as TRUE Seventh Fandom, as opposed to the false dawn of the Seventh Fandomites. Typified by a new interest in fandom for fandom’s sake, especially as the fame and influence of THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR slowly infiltrates fannish consciousness. Another aspect of the re-emphasis on ‘normal’ fannish behaviour is “the rise of weekly and bi-weekly fan magazines of the letter substitute ( news-and-chatter ) type, more fannish than the older formal newszines.” An occasional controversy erupts, like that over the definition of ‘the true fan’, but in general fandom has regained its equilibrium.
DICK LUPOFF VERSION ( 196? ):
EOFANDOM to SEVENTH FANDOM — Presumably roughly the same scheme as outlined by Speer and Eney.
EIGHTH FANDOM — ( 1958 to 1959 ) — An era best exemplified by Terry Carr’s and Ron Ellik’s Hugo winning zine FANAC, contemporary issues of CRY OF THE NAMELESS ONES ( a long-lived Seattle Club Zine ), and most spectacularly, the final issue of the Los Angeles club’s SHANGRI-LA ( or SHAGGY as most people call it ) in 1959, which contains a huge portfolio of fannish art along with Bjo Trimble’s THE LITTLEST FAN fiction piece, about a little boy who had nothing to give for Christmas except his sense of wonder, which becomes an instant fannish classic. Lupoff believed the geographical centre of Eighth Fandom was Berkeley, California, and that its general interests were FIJAGH ( fandom is just a ghod-damned hobby ), “movies, parties, politics and Jazz”.
NINTH FANDOM — 1960 to 19??: New York, Chicago, and Seattle become the new fannish centres, and the chief attributes of ninth fandom are “a more serious interest in fandom, a common interest in comic books, and fanzines like HABAKKUK and KIPPLE”.
FANDOMS CANADIAN (Numbered Eras)
GARTH SPENCER VERSION ( 1992 ):
— The only attempt I know of to define eras of Canfandom was limited to the history of fandom in British Columbia, written by Garth Spencer circa 1992, titled ON THE BONNY, BONNY BANKS OF THE FRASER. He divided the history into geologic zones, such as:
ARCHAEOSOIC ( 1936 – 1970 ), PROTERZOIC ( 1971 – 1973 ), CAMBRIAN ( 1974 ), ORDIVICIAN ( 1975 ), SILURIAN ( 1976 ), DEVONIAN ( 1977 ), PERMIAN ( 1978 – 1979 ), ktp.
This is not particularly useful, but was not meant to be. As Garth explained: “These geologic divisions for BCSFA’s historical periods are a gag I’ve ‘borrowed’ from Donna McMahon, who came up with them in BCSFAzine in 1986.”
R. GRAEME CAMERON VERSION ( 2007 ):
So now, with a bow to Speer, Silverberg, Eney, et al, I’m going to give a stab at creating Canadian fandom numbered eras. I choose, for the time being, to adopt a decade by decade format, considering the trends and developments within each decade. This rather pat scheme can always be revised at some point.
EOCANFANDOM — ( 1934 to 1939 ) — Early beginnings: Canadian Science Fiction fans, such as Allis Villete and Nils H. Frome, probably Leslie A. Croutch, and possibly Fred Hurter, John H. Mason, Gordon L. Peck, and Shirley Peck among others, begin making their presence known with locs to the letter columns of American Prozines. Someone publishes THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN out of Vancouver, Frome publishes two issues of SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES and one of FANTASY PICTORIAL, and Croutch begins publishing the CROUTCH MARKET NEWS. The Ontario Science Fictioneers club possibly forms late in this period. Frome — briefly — becomes Canada’s first BNF.
FIRST CANFANDOM — ( 1940 to 1949 ) (I will complete this entry soonest!) Includes the following zines: CANADIAN FANDOM / CANFANTATOR / CENSORED / CSFA NEWSLETTER / EIGHT-BALL / THE GOON’S GAZETTE / LIGHT / MACABRE / MEPHISTO / MOHDZEE / THE VOICE / VULCAN
SECOND CANFANDOM – to be worked out.
THIRD CANFANDOM – to be worked out.
— Over the years many fans (& some SF Authors) have unveiled startling concoctions at various fannish conventions and gatherings. Without a doubt, the most famous is BLOG, invented by Liverpool fan Peter Hamilton in 1955. Canadian fan Mike Glicksohn invented both ‘The Bullfrog’ & ‘The H. Beam Piper Cocktail’, was the first human to order the infamous ‘Spayed Gerbil’, and was actually served a ‘Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster’ when he ordered one in England. Probably the most complete compendium of Fan Drinks is the ‘Fannish Drinksh Book’ by Suzi Stefl.
[ See BLOG, THE BULLFROG, THE H.B. PIPER COCKTAIL, MEAD BUNNY, NUCLEAR FIZZ, SPAYED GERBIL, PAN-GALACTIC GARGLE BLASTER & FANNISH DRINSH BOOK ]
FANED / FAN ED
— A faned is, of course, the editor of a fanzine. This is a position of absolute power, at least if we are referring to perzines or individzines. A clubzine is supposed to represent the club in question in a fairly egalitarian fashion, but this is seldom the case, if only because of fannish apathy and the reluctance of most club members to get involved. Hence my unopposed reign of terror as Ghod-Editor of BCSFAzine in my day. But that’s another story.
Typically, a fan gets all excited about pubbing his/her own ish. Some suitably grandiose yet modest title is chosen, locs are sent off to other zines to attract subscribers and/or other faneds willing to trade ( the Usual ), and above, to encourage fan writers to contribute articles. Whatever the result of prepublication publicity, the fan ed chooses the format, the number of pages, the font, the layout, the editorial ‘tone’, the type of material, the illustrations, etc., etc., limited and constrained only by the amount of time he/she is willing to spend, the amount of funding on hand, and the cost and ease of the printing technology available. Printing, collating and mailing are usually done by the faned alone, unless he/she is really lucky in their choice of friends.
What usually gets faneds in trouble, apart from whatever controversy springs from their topics of choice, is how they handle contributions. Fan writers hate seeing the vital portions of their text cut, or worse, re-written. On the other hand, faneds argue they owe it to their readers to print articles that are at the very least articulate and coherent, something not every fan writer bothers to achieve. In general, editing text is the lesser sin. Rewrites are right out.
One thing that got me in trouble with my SPACE CADET GAZETTE was my habit of inserting comments at the end of, and sometimes in the body of, people’s locs. I felt entitled to respond, and it struck me as more dynamic, more dialogue-like, to treat locs in this manner. One critic went so far as to demand I cut-up the locs and print the material by subject matter. That struck me as even more intrusive. Lesson to be learned: you can’t please everybody. One of the joys of being a faned is to do your own thing. Pubbing your ish is one of the purest forms of self-expression a creative individual can accomplish. Tis a worthy thing indeed. (JS) (DE) (RB)
[ See EDITOR, THE USUAL ]
— The amount of enthusiasm available to a fan at any given moment for the purpose of fanac. (RGC)
[ See FERGONOMICS ]
— (Much more detail to be added, but here are Taral Wayne’s thoughts on the subject printed in Garth Spencer’s THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARTH #7 (Dec 1983):
“I could generalize that fan feuds are rarely important. Even when fought over money, and positions of influence, the issues are usually sordid, petty, or selfish.”
“Generally fan feuds are fought as if there was an attentive audience, but in actuality, only a few people pay more than cursory attention. The results will probably be forgotten by all but the participants and those egging them on in less than a year.”
“Fan feuds aren’t fought fairly. They are decided principally by rhetoric. The fastest talker usually ‘wins’. If you can snow the opponent with irrelevant details, ill-conceived logic, positions of one-upmanship, vilification, or appeals to the audience’s chauvinism, you will usually ‘win’. Most fans are quite impressed by the appearance of mastery or authority in a character, and simply fall in line with the one who makes the most convincing (even if inaccurate) case. Or would, if they were in fact paying much attention.”
“Finally, even if you’ve completely bamboozled a poorly-spoken (but right) opponent, you only ‘win’ over those who were predisposed to you or your argument in the first place. Your ‘enemies’ and those who bear you a grudge will automatically favour the other side, and will not be won over under any circumstances.”
“And remember, it’s all been done before. I recall reading in some old zines, how the editor had decided to follow a no-feuding policy and wouldn’t print inflammatory material. That was in 1944. Nobody today but a handful of old farts who have to be reminded could remember what the feuds of 1944 were about. Probably no-one cared by 1945. If you get into a feud yourself someday, it will have all the same Vast Cosmic Significance…”
— Most science fiction fans have also been movie buffs, perhaps the most notable being Forrest J. Ackerman who has long been an advocate of Sci-Fi ( he invented the term ) films. The urge to duplicate, if not actually improve on what they saw on the big screen encouraged many a fan to run out and get themselves a movie camera. 16mm cameras were available as far back as the1920s, 8mm by the late 1940s, Super 8mm by the 1970s (?) and eventually, bulky video cameras in the 1980s. Today you can record video footage with your digital cell phone. Ten years from now, you’ll probably be able to use your eyelid.
Point is, whatever the technology involved, fans get into film making for at least two reasons: first, the very act of making a film is a great and fun social event, everybody gets to do something, contribute somehow, and second, it’s good for egoboo when you run the film at a convention and entertain a large number of friends and strangers. For the latter reason, perhaps, most films have tended to be spoofs and parodies, since if enthusiastically done their sheer entertainment value makes up for any shortcomings.
My primary interest is little-known celluloid films of the first 3 or 4 decades of fandom. Beginning in the 1970s there has been a deluge of fan films, spoofing Star Trek & Star Wars especially, culminating in the full length Finnish Fannish motion picture STAR WREKKED; THE PERKINNING ( or something like that ) which is jam packed with sophisticated computer animation. I will eventually list some of these, but it is the amateur efforts at the very dawn of fandom which interest me most.
At any rate, here follows a brief selection of fan films broken down by nation of origin.
FAN FILMS ( AMERICAN )
— The 1940 Chicon 1 Worldcon in Chicago witnessed the premiere of MONSTERS OF THE MOON which Harry Warner Jr. described as “a wacky Martian Invasion pastiche… put together from various sources.” Bob Tucker and Sully Roberds were responsible. As was Forrest J. Ackerman, who had acquired discarded scraps of film originally intended for a 600 ft trailer promoting a MONSTERS OF THE MOON film project to Hollywood studios, all of whom declined to finance the movie, so the trailer was the most that was ever filmed. The short lengths of footage FJA got a hold of had been rejected as unsuitable for the trailer due to slight flaws in exposure. FJA forwarded the bits of film to Bob Tucker, who spliced them together. The plot had to do with astronauts — in plausible-looking spacesuits — discovering first a crashed Martian rocket ship on the moon and then a Lunar base filled with evil Martians plotting to take over the Earth. Everything was done with elaborate miniatures, the astronauts and the stumpy-legged, big-headed Martians with whip-like arms being animated stop-motion models. Tucker ‘Tuckerized’ the film ( sort of ) by inserting a shot of cowboys chasing Indians, and also a quick view of a cheerful woman disrobing on a large view screen attentively observed by Martian voyeurs. The film was considered quite a hoot and proved very popular with fans. Sadly, both the trailer and the fan film are now lost, but 9 wonderful stills can be seen in the first issue of FJA’s WONDERAMA magazine circa 1993.
The 1950 Norwescon Worldcon in Portland exhibited DEATH OF A SPECTATOR, subtitled NOT SO MUCH IN GOMORRAH starring Joe Kennedy, Lloyd Alpaugh and Ron Maddox.
The 1959 Westercon in Seattle featured a showing of THE GENIE, a 16mm colour film with sound 400 ft in length ( which I think makes it about 16 minutes long ) made by Unicorn productions, a group of Los Angeles fans. Bjo Trimble and Fritz Leiber scripted the film which was produced and directed by Dale Frey. Bjo Trimble, Fritz Leiber and Forrest J. Ackerman starred. The plot had to do with the misfiring of the traditional three wishes.
Also in 1959, at the Detention Worldcon in Detroit, the Philadelphia SF Society “showed a film it had been making off and on for two years, a satire of grade B westerns based on a dinosaur roundup.”
And speaking of westerns,1960 witnessed another Unicorn production, THE MUSQUITE KID RIDES AGAIN, authored by Lee Jacobs. This western apparently spoofed assorted legends and controversies to do with SAPS, the Spectator Amateur Press Society. Sounds like a series of injokes incomprehensible to the average fan, but the film proved quite popular, being shown at several conventions.
I know there were more films produced over the years. I hope continued research will allow me to name some of them. (HWJ)
FAN FILMS ( BRITISH )
— The earliest active amateur film group I know of is Grosvenor Film Productions of Bath, England, consisting of 30 film enthusiasts. By 1953 they had made 4 films, each 40 minutes in length. I do not know if they were SF fans as such — the nature of their first 3 films is unknown to me — but the fourth film, titled SPACESHIP, is very ambitious science fiction. The plot has to do with first spaceship to land on the Moon. While exploring the surface, one of the 5 crew members rips his suit and dies. The 4 survivors manage to take off from the Moon, but wind up drifting helplessly in space until their ship is destroyed by meteorites and all aboard perish.
SPACESHIP, made in 1953, has special effects probably the equal of many a 1950s B movie. The spaceship itself was a nine inch metal model with a gas jet for exhaust. The control room interior featured a genuine ( studio lighting ) console made of black glass and chromium. Space was represented by a large matte black panel with pin-prick lights for star patterns. The lunar surface was a combination of miniatures and “the use of a quarry to shoot the scenes on the moon…by shooting in the early morning and by using every reflecting device we could borrow we got a very hard light and deep contrasting shadows, peculiar to the Moon.” The crew’s space suits consisted of padded flight suits, rubber mittens, rubber boots, and helmets fashioned out of cardboard hat boxes painted silver and inset with celluloid panels. Incredibly, the film cost, in terms of Canadian dollars, a mere $70.
My source is British fan David Lane, a member of the Grosvenor group, who wrote an article on the making of the film which was published in CANADIAN FANDOM #18 in September of 1953.
The rest of the information I have is mostly about the films made by Mersey and Deeside Productions, a bunch of Liverpool fans, who were up and running when Norman Shorrock bought a camera in 1956.
1956 saw MaD’s first film MAY WE HAVE THE PLEASURE, debuted I know not where, but it did get an overseas premiere at a Midwescon.
The 1957 Loncon Worldcon in London showed not only MAY WE HAVE THE PLEASURE but also another MaD production called FANZAPOPPIN, which presumably was a madcap comedy in the like of the old ‘Hellzapoppin’ stageplay and movie ( which starred the Ritz brothers, if my memory is correct ). Yet another bunch of fans, from Cheltenham, showed a film they’d made titled ALL THIS GRASS IS CHIMING BELLS, which sounds as if it might be a spoof of surrealist films. Quite the fan film festival, was Loncon.
Circa 1958 MaD productions filmed ROOM AT THE TOP, featuring an alien made of papermache jiits wheels, could move its antennae, and possessed a bloodshot eye.” Sounds great! Exactly my kind of film.
Even better ( possibly ), was the film MaD was working on circa 1959/1960 though I don’t know if it was ever completed. 18 Liverpool fans put their heart and soul into the film with the perfect title: I WAS A TEENAGE CRAB MONSTER.
FAN FILMS ( CANADIAN )
— This is an old tradition among US & British fans, but Canadian Fan films, once we got started, include:
Perhaps, an interesting film project proposed by Leslie A. Croutch in #43 of LIGHT (Dec 1949): “Anyone with an 8 mm movie camera who wishes to can send me approximately a five-foot movie portrait of himself, and in return I will send him approximately the same footage of myself…. I will send black and white only, so you needn’t bother with colour. Each projection length sent by me will have an identifying title at the start and a short THE END title at the end. This is an attempt by me to build up a roll or so of movie shots of as many fen who wish to participate.” Alas, it is not known if this project ever got off the ground, or whether the footage survives if it did. Great idea though!
At a stretch, 3 minutes of film shot at Torcon in 1948 by Leslie A. Croutch. Strictly home movie stuff, but shot by a famous fan and recording a significant Canadian fannish event. Call it a fannish documentary. Many conventions have been recorded this way over the years, but probably the majority of film has long since been thrown out.
CONVENTION JACKPOT – photographed by William D. Grant and Leslie A. Croutch – A Miracle Picture – RT 20 minutes. As reported by William D. Grant in Canadian Fandom (#20) March 1954:
“Back in 1948, Les Croutch took some movies of the Torcon, the first films we know of recording a SF convention, we only wish he had taken more footage. Ackerman looks like he just shaved the Fuzz off his face. Then we jump to May 1951, the Midwest Con and all the big yearly events that followed. We meet Darrell C. Richardson at his home in Kentucky, Bob Tucker sitting on that famous chair, Harry B. Moore in New Orleans, great poker games of the century, all the horrible sights you would expect to see at a costume ball, Bea Mahaffey just before convention time in Chicago and many other scenes that are best forgotten, but fun to see. We admit this film is strictly a “hodge podge” of events, but what can the editor do when it comes to editing three hours of film down to twenty minutes.”
“By this coming May somebody (to be announced) will be distributing this film, free of charge, except for postage in the USA. This film is in 8mm gauge and is completely sub-titled.”
Great Galloping Ghu! Does this film still exist? Does anybody have a copy? Wouldn’t it be great to see it on Utube? Croutch’s film (all of 3 minutes long) was ultimately donated to the Merril collection in Toronto where, hopefully, it still exists. But twenty minutes of fan footage shot in 1951, the year I was born? Not to mention the two hours and forty minutes left on the cutting room floor? I faunch to see this. I really do… Sigh. Guess I never will…
Wait a minute, just checked Colombo’s biography of Les Croutch. There’s a delightful piece of artwork by Taral (depicting aliens in front of the Royal York Hotel about to place copies of Canadian Fandom in a mail box) “which was commissioned by Anne Sherlock, proprietress of an antiquarian book service in Toronto, as the label for film cans to accompany the home movies shot by William D. Grant, now part of SOL’s collection. “ (SOL = Spaced-Out Library = the original name of the Judith Merril collection.) Could this be the ‘lost’ footage?
I’m not sure. Taral Wayne, who presumably saw the films housed in the Merril, wrote in New Canadian Fandom #2/3 in 1981:
“Bill Grant himself was known by the other Derelicts as a “leg man.” He savoured feminine appendages almost as much as he was excited by bridges, keeping plenty of photos of each. Legs and bridges appear frequently in the hundreds of feet of film Grant shot at early 50s cons. He saw the humour of it, and made fun of his well-known proclivities in a pan of a bare leg that ended at the rolled up trouser of none other than Bob Tucker…”
Still, I’d like to see this footage (if it still exists), if only to catch glimpses of assorted fen of the era. Hundreds of feet of footage. Sigh.
Now consider an extraordinary reason for the disappearance of at least some fan historical footage. Commenting on how jealous and competitive fannish collectors can be, Taral mentions (in 1981):
“Films once available to Toronto cons are now withheld after a series of raids resulted in confiscations. The thanks go to one mean old bastard who tipped off the police to increase the rarity and value of his own films. So much do they love the dreams of their youth that many will extirpate every copy but their own in possessive madness.”
Is Taral referring to various home movies of fandom in action long ago, occasionally shown in his time at cons as an exercise in nostalgia, but then suddenly eliminated through the petty greed of one particular jerk of a collector? As a Fantiquarian this makes me shudder. It’s a twisted aspect of human nature completely new to me.
So what is the policy of the Merril collection concerning these two films by Croutch and Grant? Can they be shown to any suitably respectable researcher? At the very least they should be recorded on DVDs and posted online (Utube?) so that interested fen like myself can view them. But perhaps it is not in the nature of special collections to be so public. Conservation is the priority, agreed. But accessibility is important too. I must find out…
Fortunately, VCON persisted in recording panels and events on video tapes which now rest in the vaults of Mr. Science. Currently they are being transferred to DVD by Ed Beauregard. This can be done with film too. One hopes the visual treasures of old-time fandom can be salvaged at least in part.
On the other hand, VCON persisted in recording panels and events on video tapes which have been transferred to DVD by Ed Beauregard. This can be done with film too. One hopes the visual treasures of old-time fandom can be salvaged at least in part.
Note: Some video-to-DVD recordings have now been presented to the WCSFA/BCSFA archive. They include, by way of a few examples:
VCON 6 (1978) – Susan Wood on a panel discussing ‘Your First Time’ (i.e. first exposure to SF), & A.E. van Vogt giving a spectacularly dull, pedantic & utterly boring Guest of Honour Speech.
VCON 7 (1979) – A panel on ‘Armageddon in SF’ which included William Gibson.
VCON 8 (1980) – A Heavy Metal magazine ‘roast’ skewering former editor Ted White.
VCON 11 (1983) – A Guest of Honour speech by Frank Herbert, author of the DUNE series.
VCON 15 (1987) – Sam Moskowitz (famous fannish historian, author of THE IMMORTAL STORM, a history of 1930s fandom) being interviewed.
Getting back to amateur fan films, still surviving are a bunch of 8mm versions of WAR OF THE WORLDS I and Frank Shapiro made on his HO scale train set in the late 1960s, involving animated plasticine Martians, toy tanks in the best Toho studios tradition, Martian fighting tripods, and just for the sake of variety, a G.I.JOE covered in plasticine to resemble Godzilla. What makes this fannish is that excerpts were shown be me at the first ELRON AWARDS at VCON 1 in 1971 purporting to be scenes from the winner for Worst Melodramatic Presentation Elron: ‘Beneath The Planet Of The Apes’. Got some laughs.
BAMBI MEETS GODZILLA –
BUSTER KANE-SPACELORD – “The reduction in size of the group seemed to have a catalytic effect on the collective, creative processes and the classic [ sic ] film BUSTER KANE-SPACELORD was produced.” This took place in the summer of 1976 and involved High School buddies, some of whom eventually formed the Surrey Fan Association and pubbed the SFA DIGEST beginning in 1982. Jim Welch writes ( in the VCON 10 program book ):
“It was another Flash Gordon story…if someone says it’s stupid, you can just say you were trying to be sincere to the original…I chopped a Styrofoam egg in half and added fins to get our spaceship…We tied it to a stick and walked it around a landfill site covered with dandelions. Maybe they would look like alien trees? Well, at least you couldn’t see the wires…Other effects included a painting of a planet that looked a lot like a painting, a stop-motion alien, a stop-motion hydra with one disembodied head ( this time you could see the wires and often the person operating the head ), and a stop-motion centaur….The centaur was probably the most ludicrous. A live actor was used for most shots and he was only seen naked from the waist up. The model consisted of a fully-jointed horse from Ideal Toy’s Johnny West collection and some cheap male figure. We would intercut the live action with the model with little regard for matching background or any other form of continuity…For an anti-gravity effect, we flipped our camera upside down.. To do the stunt I had to jump backwards off a platform some ten feet off the ground. Even with foam padding below, it is still a scary thing to do…When we tried to record sound as we filmed, we discovered the basketball team was practicing at the same time…But probably the worst problem to plague the movie was Merrick’s spelling. I still cringe when at the end of each chapter we tell people: DON’T MISS THE NEXT EXCITEING CHAPTER”…
Sound recording would indicate 16mm film? Interestingly, a graphic art version of ‘Buster Kane – Spacelord’ ran for a number of issues of BCSFAzine in the 1980s.
DAWN OF THE LIVING SOCKS – Filmed in 1982 by ‘The Clan Entertainment Group, a bunch of Victoria, B.C., fans including Karl Johanson, Dan Cawsey & Myles Bos. Writing a review of the July 1982 IMAGINE Con in Victoria, Robert Runte stated:
“Highlight of the con was the world premiere of DAWN OF THE LIVING SOCKS which in the Great Fannish Tradition had only been completed the night before. In fact, I got to be one of the voices in the rough dub. The film features about half of Victoria fandom and some really first rate pixilation of killer socks wreaking havoc on the city. The producers had a slight advantage in that they had been in the militia last summer and consequently managed to talk real platoons into engaging the socks in combat. They even had helicopters at one point! As the movie has been transferred to video cassette, it is to be hoped that THE DAWN OF THE LIVING SOCKS will be available to other cons.”
POTATO JOE MOWS THE LAWN – Made in 1985 (or at least proposed at that time). Stars Karl Johanson as Potato Joe, Dan Cawsey as Rip Hammer, Myles Bos as ‘the Goat Singer’, & a cast of over half a dozen. “Bernie Klassen return’s to the director’s chair after a four year absence from the screen… location shooting will include Myles Bos’ house, the site of Worldcon ’89….Harlan Ellison wanted to call it ‘LAWN ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER’….”
PLANT NINE – Filmed on video by the Montreal Science Fiction Fantasy Association (MonSFFA), a spoof of ‘Plan Nine From Outer Space’. In Plant Nine the dreaded aliens are sentient cabbages.
THE FEDEX FILES: MOXIE – Filmed on video by MonSFFA, a parody of the ‘X-Files’ TV series.
ENCOUNTERS OF THE VERY CLOSE KIND – Filmed on DVD in 2001 by MonSFFA, a ‘Blair Witch’ parody.
BEAVRA – Filmed on DVD in 2003 by MonSFFA, a ‘Godzilla’ parody. Won an Elron Award.
MOOSEMAN – Filmed on DVD in 2004 by MonSFFA, spoofing comic book superheroes.
THE SIMPLETON’S LIFE – Filmed on DVD in 2005 by MonSFFA.
MonSFFilms GREATEST HITS – 2006, compilation DVD of last 4 films by MonSFFA. They vary in length from 2 minutes to 12 minutes.
More details on the above MonSFFA films to be added.
[ See TORCON MOVIE ]
— The particular fannish niche a fan’s fanac falls into, eg: faned, fhistorian, mediafan, filker, costumer, trekkie, etc. (RGC)
FANNISH DRINKSH BOOK
— A compendium of “Famoush Fannish Drinksh” compiled by editor Suzi Stefl for Conclave V in 1980. Contains recipes for 17 fan-invented drinks, including the ‘Gremlin’, the ‘Drunken Spacewoman Punch’, the ‘Virgin Spacewoman’, and the ‘Supernova’. Also the ones listed below (with the exception of Blog).
[ See Blog, The Bullfrog, The H.B. Piper Cocktail, Mead Bunny, Nuclear Fizz, Spayed Gerbil, Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster & Fan Drinks ]
— These have been numerous throughout the fandom eras. Quite simply, they are silly events or concepts which so tickle the fancy of fans that they are fondly remembered for years, if not decades after, often exaggerated with the telling and the retelling. The more fannish legends you know, can recount, can explain when mentioned by someone else, the greater your skills of fannish one-upmanship and the closer your status to that of a trufan — hence the vital necessity to read and learn this Canfancyclopedia by heart!
An incompleat short list — and if you know them all neofans must bow down before you — would include:
The Balcony Insurgents, Bellhop #31, Blog, Crottled Greeps, Daugherty Project, Diacybersemnetimantics, Exclusion Act, Fannish Religion ( worship of Ghu, Foo, The Great Spider, Melvin, ktp ), Ghoodminton, Great Stationery Duel, Mercer’s Day, Miss Science Fiction, Nydahl’s Disease, Ozark Love Camp, Papa, Poctsarcds, Room 770, Sensitive Fannish Face, Sevagram, Shaggoth 6, Slan Shack, Staple War, Tower of Bheer Cans to the Moon, Tucker Hotel, Vombi, “Who Sawed Courtney’s Boat”, & “Yngvi is a louse”.
— A Science Fiction Correspondence Club based in Deep River, Ontario, on the West bank of the Ottawa river just a few miles north of Chalk River (where Canada’s first nuclear reactor came on line toward the end of WW II as part of the joint British-Canadian-American Manhattan project).
The club was founded in 1948 during a meeting of the Canadian Science Fiction Association at Torcon I in Toronto. The idea was that fans isolated in small communities would remain in continual contact with each other, and as a group would be able to affiliate with the CSFA for the greater purpose of uniting fans across the country in a common gestalt.
The Northern Fantasy Fan Federation, likewise a correspondence club, was founded at the same meeting.
The Fantastellar Association lasted until 1950, at which point its correspondence secretary Alastair Cameron moved (to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) and the activity of the fen involved slowly faded away. (JBR)
[ See CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION, NORTHERN FANTASY FAN FEDERATION ]
— Term invented by Alastair Cameron, author of THE FANTASY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM, a CSFA project, circa 1952. He defines FANTASTOLOGY this way: “the word is derived from the Latin ‘fantasticus’ meaning ‘imaginary’, plus the combining form ‘-ology’ meaning a science or branch of knowledge. Hence FANTASTOLOGY is the ‘science’ of fantasy (more properly, fantasy arranged to form an organized branch of knowledge). FANTASTOLOGY lives up to its name at present in the sense that as an organized branch of learning it is still largely imaginary. I felt that it was worthwhile to coin the word, however, since my principal interest in fantasy lies in the analysis of its constituent elements. The sum total of these and all similar efforts will eventually fill out the field of FANTASTOLOGY, and perhaps one of the best ways to interest other people in any subject is to name it.”
That this did not catch on is possibly due to Cameron’s old-fashioned use of the word ‘fantasy’ as an all-encompassing term covering everything from folklore to science fiction.
[ See FANTASY, SCIENCE-FICTION, FANTASY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM, CSFA & DOCTOR OF FANTASTOLOGY ]
— Okay, we all know the most mundane way of differentiating Fantasy from Science Fiction is to pit Elves, Dwarves & Dragons against rocket ships and robots. And we all know this fancyclopedia is about SCIENCE FICTION FANS.
So why, among the listings, is there an American organization created (in 1941) to introduce sf fans to sf fandom called THE NATIONAL (!) FANTASY (!) FAN FEDERATION?
Why is the first SF APA (founded 1937) for sf fans called (!) FANTASY (!) AMATEUR PRESS ASSOCIATION?
Why did Sykora and Moskowitz, in planning a 1938 sf convention for sf fans, at first consider naming it THE FIRST NATIONAL (!) FANTASY (!) CONVENTION?
Why is the 1952 CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION sponsored project by Alastair Cameron called THE (!) FANTASY (!) CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM?
Stay tuned for the answer… These are working notes, remember?
— A fan historian (or fhistorian) who specializes in minute details of fan history as opposed to the broader scheme of things. By way of example, a fhistorian might detail the sweeping evolution of fannish eras and their significance, whereas a fantiquarian might research which zines were brought to a particular club meeting. This fancyclopedia is the result of both fhistorical and fantiquarian research. (RGC)
FANUCK / FANUCKER
— Nickname proposed by Howard Lyons in CANADIAN FANDOM (#21 – Jun 1954) for members of Harry Calnek’s CSF/FFA organization (Canadian Science Fiction/Fantasy Fan Association).
Commented Richard Geis in the ‘Maelstrom’ loc column in the next issue (#22 – Sept 1954):
“Fanucks or Fanuckers? Hooo, the things you’d be letting yourselves in for if you adopted one of those names. The abbreviations and shortenings of the name would slay you but quick.”
[ See CSF/FFA & CANADIAN CAPERS ]
FEM FAN / FEMME FAN
— An obsolete term, being the shortened version of ‘Female Fan’, a very rare phenomena until the advent of Trekdom. Such female fans as did exist often had an influence comparable to any male BNF ( Pogo, Lee Hoffman, Joan W. Carr, etc. )
— Simply put, the plural of fan. We are all fen ( I hope ).
— Term employed by Walt Willis in 1959 to describe an unexpected upsurge of fanac by neofans newly recruited to fandom, leading to a welcome renaissance in fan pubbing, a state of affairs devoutly to be hoped for at all times. (WW)
— Were coined by Irish fan Walt Willis in 1954. To whit:
1) – Egoboo unto others as you would they should do unto you.
2) – Honour the BNFs, that thy days may be long in thine own BNFdom.
3) – Never destroy a fanzine.
Many other Fen Commandments have been added over the years. For instance, in the late 1950s, someone came up with:
7) – Thou shalt not drink up all the Bheer before I get there.
— The science of utilizing fanergy. Example: from a fergonomic point of view it makes more sense to mail three copies of a zine to one person in three separate envelopes making use of stamps on hand than to bother going to the post office to weigh a single envelope containing the three copies and purchase the appropriate postage. Fannish logic in action! (RGC)
— Short for ‘Fandom is a GOOD ghoddamned hobby’, a phrase promoted by Walt Willis & others in the 1950s as a riposte to FIJAGH. (RB)
[ See FIJAGH, FIAWOL ]
— Short for ‘Fandom is a way of life’ , a concept first coined by Don B. Thompson in a 1943 FAPAzine titled ‘Fandom is a Way of Life’, a tongue-in-cheek examination of unique aspects of the fannish community. Some, like Jack Speer, considered it a sage slogan, others, like Charles Burbee, considered it nonsense and attempted to debunk the concept. When used today, the term can either be in praise or in condemnation of fandom, depending on the intent of the writer. (DE)
[ See FIAGGH, FIJAGH ]
— Short for ‘Fandom is JUST a ghoddamned hobby’, probably coined by Charles Burbee in 1943 to make fun of FIAWOL. Dick Ellington used FIJAGH as the title of his fanzine circa 1958. (DE) (RB)
FILK / FILKSONG
— A type of folksong sung by fans, generally a well-known popular song with fannish lyrics substituted, sometimes with parody or satiric intent, but can also consist of original music. Quality of writing/performing can vary from enthusiastic amateur to remarkably professional.
According to Rich Brown the term originated in a 1953 typo by Karen Anderson in a SAPzine which read ‘filk singing’ instead of ‘folk singing’.
But says Harry Warner Jr: “SAPS accidentally helped to popularize a new fannish term when it refused to distribute one publication. Lee Jacob’s THE INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE FICTION ON MODERN FILK MUSIC was rejected by Wrai Ballard as unmailable. The publicity from his decision helped to put into general fannish use the typographical error, ‘filk’ for ‘folk’. Fannish poems set to pre-existing tunes were known henceforward as ‘filk music’.” Again, circa 1953.
And, of course, the practice of filk already existed before it was named as such. For example, at the 1940 Chicon Worldcon held in Chicago: “‘Filksong’ was a term that had not yet been invented, but songs were sung that consisted of new lyrics with a science fiction theme set to familiar tunes”, and at the 1952 Chicon II: “everyone joined in ‘Glory, How We Hate Ray Bradbury’ to the tune of ‘John Brown’s Body’ during the ball.”
Can also be a verb, as in ‘to filk’, i.e. to sing filksongs. (DE) (RB) (HWJ)
— Someone who enjoys writing, singing, and/or listening to filksongs as their principal fanac.
— A room set aside for filkers to play their instruments and sing. This can be a ‘permanent’ room for the duration of a convention, or simply a programming room set aside for this purpose for several hours a day, usually in the evening. The overall effect can be quite attractive if numerous filkfen are involved with divers instruments, especially if some of the filkers are SCA members utilizing medieval instruments. You don’t have to be a filker to appreciate filk. Anyone who loves music… (RGC)
— From the earliest days of fanzines faneds often found themselves staring at leftover empty space once they’d finished typing their articles. Wracking their brains for something to fill the space, they would come up with clever sayings, additional editorial comment, any sort of ‘filler’ they could think of.
As Jack Speer once put it: “Frequently the fillers are better than the material listed in the table of contents.” (DE)
FIRST CANADIAN CARBONZINE
— CROUTCH MAGAZINE MART NEWS pubbed out of Parry Sound, Ontario, by Leslie A. Croutch beginning late 1937 or early 1938.
[ See CARBONZINE, CENSORSHIP, THE PROFESSOR, CROUTCH, CROUTCH NEWS, CROUTCH MAGAZINE MART NEWS, THE VOICE, ELECTRON, LIGHT, LET’S SWAP ]
FIRST CANADIAN FAN CLUB
— Good question. I’m researching this. Probably the ONTARIO SCIENCE FICTIONEERS founded 1940 or earlier.
[ See ONTARIO SCIENCE FICTONEERS ]
FIRST CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY
— This is hard to pin down. Harry Warner Jr. stated that a Canadian Fan directory was distributed around the time of Pearl Harbour (Dec 1941) listing 17 fans.
Writing in the prozine UNCANNY TALES (Feb 1942 issue), Leslie A. Croutch lists 6 active Canadian fans, namely himself, Fred Hurter, John H. Mason, Gordon L. Peck, Shirley Peck, and Nils H. Frome.
A directory in the October 1942 issue of Croutch’s LIGHT gave the names & addresses of 17 Canadian fans, 7 living in the Toronto region. No less than 9 of these Canadian fans were active contributors to LIGHT.
Harry Warner Jr. wrote that another directory in late 1942 “showed 22 names”.
CANADIAN FANDOM #6 (Feb 1944) had a cover featuring photographs of 15 fans, namely: Albert A. Betts, Alan Child, Ron Conium, Les Croutch, William ‘Bob’ Gibson, Al Godfrey, John G. Hilkert, Fred Hurter, Viola Kenally, A. Macrae, John Hollis Mason, Jack Sloan, Beak Taylor, Mrs. Jessie E. Walker, & Ted White.
Harry Warner Jr. stated: “A tabulation in 1944 showed that 21 Canadian fans consisted of 14 still in the nation and seven on duty elsewhere with the armed forces.”
I have in my possession a copy of a wartime “Canadian Fan Directory”, possibly published in CANADIAN FANDOM, listing 19 fans: Albert A. Betts (New York, c/o Norwegian Shipping & Trade Mission!) , Alan Child (Vancouver, B.C.), Ron Conium (Toronto, Ontario), Leslie A. Croutch (Parry Sound, Ontario), Nils H. Frome (Box 3, Fraser Mills, B.C.), William “Bob” Gibson (Central Mediterranean Forces, Canadian Army Overseas), A.E. Godfrey (Canadian Army Overseas), Tom Hanley (Toronto, Ontario), Fred Hurter (Mount Royal, Quebec), John G. Hilkert (US Army, Camp Claiborne, LA, USA), Viola L. Kenally (St. Catherines, Ontario), A. Gordon Keys (West Hill, Ontario), Norman V. Lamb (Canadian Army Overseas), Gordon L. Peck (Seattle, Washington), Shirley K. Peck (Vancouver, B.C.), Jack Sloan (Toronto, Ontario), Beak Taylor (Toronto, Ontario), Harold Wakefield (Toronto, Ontario) & Mrs. Jessie E. Walker (S. Porcupine, Ontario).
A directory in the May 1946 issue of Croutch’s LIGHT “included a list of fifty-five names — From Ackerman to Widner — of subscribers. Fifteen were identified as Canadian — plus Van Vogt who was tagged ‘US-Can’.”
Speaking of the postwar 1940s, Harry Warner Jr. wrote: “…most of the other names in Canada were new. Charles R. Johnston, Robert Loosemore, C.J. Bowie, Cecil de Bretigny, Dave Stitt, & Norman L. Barrett were heralded as particularly promising members of the new Canadian fandom, but the fame of most was confined to their native land.”
Jack Bowie-Reed, in 1953, wrote in his history of the Canadian SF Association: “The Canadian Fan Directory, a listing of Canadian fans, from 500 to 1000 in number, was issued in the fall of1952; although this list contains untold errors and is dated in many of its entries, it is the first step in the establishment of an up-to-date listing of fans in Canada.” (I suspect the phrase “from 500 to 1000 in number” does not refer to the number of fans listed, but to the number of copies printed.)
Chester Cuthbert later commented, writing to Murray Moore July 1973: “I am enclosing a copy of the Canadian Fan Directory. The part page which would finalize the list was never run off because we decided to try a test mailing, getting known active fans to check in their respective cities or district; and the result of this discovered so many fans had moved away, or disappeared completely, that a complete mailing to the entire list was never made, and we didn’t bother running off the final page. The whole project was aborted, and we simply concentrated our money and energies on getting Alastair Cameron’s FANTASY CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM published.”
The Canadian Fan Directory published by the CSFA consisted of “four foolscap pages with names and addresses on both sides in alphabetical order from Abbot, Miss Pat to Winchester, Virginia.” (MM)
FIRST CANADIAN FAN EDITOR
— Nils Helmer Frome of Fraser Mills, B.C., who first published in 1936. Or at least, that’s what I used to think. Certainly he is the first Canadian faned known by name. But there is an unknown faned who published a zine titled THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN at least 5 months before Frome pubbed his first ish. This unknown faned is the TRUE first Canadian faned.
[See THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN, FROME, SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES, FANTASY PICTORIAL & HERKANOS ]
FIRST CANADIAN FAN EDITOR (FEMALE)
— According to William D. Grant, writing in his “Fanzine Publishing In Canada” article which appeared in CANADIAN FANDOM #33A in Feb 1957, this honour goes to Georgina “Dutch” Ellis (Clarke) for her zines MIMI & WENDIGO which appeared in the mid 1950s.
[ See MIMI, WENDIGO, DESCANT, CANADIAN CAPERS, FIE, & DUTCHESS OF CANADIAN FANDOM ]
FIRST CANADIAN FAN WRITER
— Allis Villete of Alberta, who “turned up in the letter section of FANTASY MAGAZINE as early as 1934”. As opposed to any Canadian fans writing to Astounding or any other Prozine of the early 30s, Allis is the first (known) Cdn FAN writer, in that FANTASY MAGAZINE (formerly SCIENCE FICTION DIGEST) was a prominent American FANZINE edited by C.H. Ruppert & J. Schwartz. This proves that Allis was not just a fan of SF, but a participant in organized fandom.
I have heard ‘Allis Villete’ dismissed as a fannish hoax exposed by Forrest J. Ackerman, but I believe this is a misremembering of his attempt (in Croutch’s LIGHT #119, Aug 1942) to expose fan writer Barbara Bovard as a pseudonym for Croutch himself. (HWJ) (JRC)
FIRST CANADIAN FAN WRITER (FEMALE)
I would have to award the status of First Canadian Fan Writer ( Female ) to Shirley Peck of Vancouver B.C., who was described in a 1942 UNCANNY TALES article by Leslie A. Croutch as both a writer and an able artist. Since she and her brother Gordon L. Peck were very active contributors to Canadian fanzines, but not, as far as I am aware, to prozines, I assume he is referring to her fannish credentials. So Shirley Peck it is.
FIRST CANADIAN FANZINE
— THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN, published out of Vancouver, B.C. in early 1936, even though most people believe SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES by Nils Helmer Frome to be the first. To find out why I believe SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES is NOT the first, look up: [ THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN ]
[See FROME, SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES, FANTASY PICTORIAL & HERKANOS ]
FIRST CANADIAN HEKTOZINE
— SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES #2 pubbed out of Fraser Mills, B.C. by Nils Helmer Frome in February of 1938. Actually, the majority of pages were mimeoed, but the cover, contents page, and 3 pages of illustrations were printed by hektography.
( It’s possible the 1936 oneshot THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN was the first Canadian Hektozine, but its method of reproduction is unknown to me. )
[ See FROME – NILS HELMER, FANTASY PICTORIAL, SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES, HERKANOS ]
FIRST CANADIAN MIMEOZINE
— SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES #1 pubbed out of Fraser Mills, B.C. by Nils Helmer Frome in October of 1936, using a multigraph mimeo Frome had earlier purchased from San Francisco fan C. Hamilton Bloomer (who had used it to print the first American multigraphed zine TESSERACT). This makes SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES #1 not only the first Canadian mimeographed zine but also the first multigraphed zine. Whoohoo!
( It’s possible the 1936 oneshot THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN was the first Canadian mimeozine, but its method of reproduction is unknown to me. )
[ See FROME – NILS HELMER, FANTASY PICTORIAL, SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES, HERKANOS ]
FIRST CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION
— Incredibly enough, the 6th Worldcon, which was held in Toronto 3rd-5th July, 1948. It was known as ‘Torcon’. Nothing like starting at the top! There seems to have been nothing prior to this, not even a small single-day event.
However, Toronto fandom was already well known to American fans, which must have been reassuring, and the prospect of holding the Worldcon outside the USA for the first time must have seemed exotic and enticing, albeit relatively safe what with a common tongue and easy travel.
And bear in mind Worldcons were small back then, Torcon doing well by the standards of the time with 137 Pro & Fan attendees. By way of comparison the first VCON held some 23 years later had 75 members attending, considered a good start, if a bit on the low side by the standard of the average American convention by then.
The 1948 Torcon is now generally referred to as Torcon 1, since the Torcon 2 Worldcon followed in 1973, and the Torcon 3 Worldcon in 2003.
[ See TORCON, TORCON MOVIE, TORCON REPORT, ZAP GUN, PROPELLOR BEANIE, & ZAP! ZAP! ATOMIC RAY IS PASSE WITH FIENDS! ]
FIRST CANADIAN STAR TREK CONVENTION
— Toronto Star Trek Con 1976. Somehow managed to lose $27,000. But this failed to daunt enthusiasm, more were to follow.
FIRST FAN CLUB
— Many point to the ISA, but it was more of a science club rather than a science fiction club. The first true SF Fan club is generally considered to be New York’s SCIENCEERS, founded in 1930. (SM)
[See ISA, SCIENCEERS ]
— According to Speer, this period of fannish culture and history runs from 1933 to 1936. For details:
[See FANDOMS ( Numbered Eras ) ]
— This is a controversial matter of debate, or perhaps of definition.
According to Sam Moskowitz, “the earliest — and rarest — fan-published ‘magazines'” were COSMIC STORIES and COSMIC STORIES QUARTERLY published by Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster (the creators of ‘SUPERMAN’) circa late 1920s. These were perzine carbonzines and extremely few in number, probably circulated among friends and family.
Others point to THE COMET (later titled COSMOLOGY), first published in May of 1930 by the first organized fan group, the Science Correspondence Club (later called the ISA, or International Scientific Association). With articles like “The Psychology of Anger” and “Chemistry and the Atomic Theory”, it can be readily appreciated this was an organization of science fiction fans whose emphasis was science, and not really what we would today consider a fannish entity. Still, with a production of 17 issues over a three year span, THE COMET long held the record for longevity among fannish publications.
But according to Sam it was another organization “to which we must give credit for… publishing the first true science fiction fan magazine.” This was a New York club called ‘The Scienceers’ which first began publishing it’s club organ THE PLANET in July of 1930. It contained ‘fantastic fiction’ book and film reviews, and more significant in terms of the evolution of fanzines: “miscellaneous chatter and news about the fans themselves.” It lasted five issues.
Then Sam goes on to declare that “the first true fan magazine as we recognize such today” (he’s writing in 1945) that “had been the first sizeable central rallying point” for fans, was THE TIME TRAVELLER, published by New York fans Julius Schwartz and Mortimer Weisinger beginning in January of 1932, and edited by Allen Glasser. The first two issues were mimeographed, and the subsequent seven issues set by hand and printed on a printing press owned and operated by Conrad H. Ruppert. Meant as a replacement for the now defunct PLANET, THE TIME TRAVELLER achieved much wider circulation and a greater level of contributions. For instance, its first issue featured a “complete list of extant fantastic moving pictures” by Forrest J. Ackerman (soon to be the most well-known fan in the 1930s) of San Francisco.
Then in September 1932 Schwartz and Weisinger broke with Glasser and began publishing SCIENCE FICTION DIGEST, Siegel and Shuster got back into action in October with SCIENCE FICTION out of Cleveland, Ohio, and by September 1933 Charles D. Hornig was publishing THE FANTASY FAN (the first issue featuring the first article by still (!) legendary fan Bob Tucker). The SF fanzine phenomena was well and truly begun.
So, which was first? COSMIC STORIES? THE COMET? THE PLANET? THE TIME TRAVELLER? I lean toward THE PLANET myself. Most sources list THE COMET. Many Trufans prefer THE TIME TRAVELLER. Take your pick. (SM)
[ See THE PLANET, ISA, SCIENCEERS, ACKERMAN, TUCKER, FIRST CANADIAN FANZINE, FIRST FAN CLUB ]
FIRST HOTEL ENTIRELY TAKEN OVER BY FANS
— American fans tend to claim it was the Manger Hotel in Cleveland which was the site of the 1955 Clevention ( 13th Worldcon ) held the first weekend of September. Some 500 fans attended.
But in fact it was the George Hotel in Kettering, England, on the occasion of Cytricon 1, the 5th British National Convention, held over the Easter weekend in 1955, predating Clevention. Cytricon 1 also witnessed the fannish debut of the infamous BLOG. (HWJ) (WW)
[ See BLOG ]
FIRST SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION
— According to American fans, and especially fan historian Sam Moskowitz writing in THE IMMORTAL STORM:
“It was suggested by John B. Michel that the club (ISA, or International Scientific Association) join in a social outing of some sort; this agreed to, great controversy ensued as to the destination. Philadelphia was decided upon, chiefly because Donald Wollheim had hit upon the novel idea of meeting with out-of-town fans and thereby calling the affair a science fiction convention. Intrigued with this plan, members made hurried arrangements.”
“And on October 22, 1936, the ISA delegation, (Donald) Wollheim, (Frederik) Pohl, Michel, Sykora, Hahn, Kyle and Goudket, was met at Philadelphia by a contingent headed by Rothman, Madle and Train. After viewing the town both groups convened at Rothman’s home and engaged in a bit of officiality that gave them the uncontested title to the first convention in fan history. Rothman was elected convention Chairman and Pohl Secretary. It is interesting to note that but for this scrap of democratic procedure the honor would doubtless have gone to British fans who held a well-planned gathering on January 3, 1937, in Leeds, England.”
Yes, indeed, British fans insist it was their gathering of twenty fans at the Theosophical Hall in Leeds on Sunday, January 3rd of 1937 which constitutes the first science fiction convention ever held, on the grounds it was pre-planned and widely advertised ( a flu epidemic keeping numbers low) whereas the American ‘convention’ was considered too ad hoc to count, and was widely suspected of being hurriedly arranged to ‘beat’ the British convention only after word of British plans for their first convention reached American shores. That may well be, but the Philadelphia event did indeed take place first.
On the other hand, the Leeds convention was certainly better organized ‘as’ a convention. Here is British fan historian Rob Hansen’s description of the Leed’s convention:
“There was no membership fee, but fans had to register in advance to get free tickets. Most of those who attended lived locally, but six prominent fans came from other parts of the country. London was represented by Ted Carnell, Arthur C.Clarke, and Walter Gillings; Liverpool by Les Johnson and Eric Frank Russell; and Nuneaton by Maurice K.Hanson.”
“Herbert Warnes, then Director of Leeds SFL (Science Fiction League), presided and at 10.30am called the proceedings to order. Convention secretary Doug Mayer read out messages from Professor A.M.Low (editor of ARMCHAIR SCIENCE), Olaf Stapledon, H.G.Wells, John Russell Fearn, Festus Pragnell, and The Oklahoma Science Fiction Association.”
“Walter Gillings gave the first talk of the day, during which he outlined his plans for SCIENTIFICTION, a fanzine he intended to put out shortly.”
“Ted Carnell told the convention how fanzines were springing up all over the place in America and referred to the petty squabbles occurring between some of their fan groups. He warned British fans to avoid such bitter rivalry and then went on to report the progress of the new London branch of the BIS (British Interplanetary Society), and the recent resignation of Cleator as BIS President.”
“Arthur C. Clarke, an ex-Taunton fan and treasurer of the London branch, described the work that had gone into establishing it and said that members were anxious to embark on practical research.”
“Maurice Hanson told the sad story of the Nuneaton group’s activity which, apart from helping in the production chores on NOVAE TERRAE, seemed limited to borrowing books from the chapter’s library.”
So which was the first Science Fiction Con, the Leeds Convention? Or the Philadelphia convention? I don’t know. You decide.
FIRST STAR TREK CONVENTION
— According to Newsweek Magazine (!), a small gathering at the Newark Public Library in March 1969 known as ‘The Star Trek Conference’, organized by librarian Sherna Cornerford Burley.
There were no Trek celebrities involved, as it was a very low key rather localized affair, really just a community event. It featured a slideshow of Trek aliens, skits put on by local fans, and even a panel discussion of ‘The Star Trek Phenomenon’.
The program book cover depicts, under the title ‘Star Trek Con Script & Program,’ a simple drawing of a Vulcan child putting together a model kit of the Enterprise, and below that the inscription: ‘Special Edition published for and dedicated to the friends who pitched in to help put on The Star Trek Conference, Pax Vulcanis – Sherna.” Cool!
— The first period of change between ‘stable’ fannish eras. Took place from late 1936 to October 1937. For details:
[ See FANDOMS ( Numbered Eras ) ]
— Stands for ‘Fandom’s Leading Expert and Critic’, a distinction conferred on Irish Fan Walt Willis in a NEW WORLDS article describing the members of the International Fantasy Award panel circa 1952.
As a result, Willis was inducted into the Confederate army in his hotel room at the 1952 ChiCon II Worldcon in Chicago and given a peaked Confederate cap with the letters FLEAC to wear throughout the con. Don’t know if he did. A photograph of Walt wearing what may possibly be the FLEAC cap appears on page 121 of the 1992 hardcover edition of Warner’s A WEALTH OF FABLE.
Nowadays the title can be utilized to describe anyone deemed worthy of the honour, but I guess no one qualifies as it appears the term has fallen out of use. (WW) (HWJ)
— Back before the term ‘fanzine’ was invented in 1941, fanzines were known as fanmags or Fan Magazines. FMZ was a short form for same, as in Fan Magazine. Not often used nowadays.
— Version of FMZ preferred in Europe & the UK, as in Fan Magazine. Probably because it was easier to pronounce.
THE FOLLOWERS OF RASSILON
— Essentially a Dr. Who club based in Welland, Ontario circa 1987-1989 & perhaps longer. Their club magazine was titled OMEGA. Former member Martin Hadamek writes: “While the core of the club was Dr. Who, members also enjoyed STAR TREK, and various British Sci-Fi shows such as RED DWARF and BLACK ADDER. We also attended Sci-Fi conventions and did volunteer work at the PBS station in Buffalo, N.Y.”
“I have good memories of the club and the two years I was a member of ‘THE FOLLOWERS OF RASSILON’ ( 1987-1989 ). The name of the club was voted on by the members and picked out of about ten other possible names. ( The name picked was one of my suggestions actually. ) Club founder and President was Darte Miller.”
The following story by Martin really captures the flavour of youthful fannish enthusiasm:
“Meetings were held in Welland, Ontario, on the third Sunday of each month. I attended along with my best friend Steve Mackie, usually with the assistance of one of our fathers, who would drive us there from St. Catherines, Ontario. One time however, we were unable to get a ride. So, we took the Saturday bus from St. Catherines to Welland and stayed up all night ’till Sunday morning. We tried sleeping in a park but were unable to sleep. It was a long but fun next day. In 1989 I started working and was unable to attend further meetings. That marked the end of my childhood I think….”
[ See OMEGA ]
— A term coined by R. Graeme Cameron in May of 1996 as a truncated title of the Fanzine Room he ran in order to display fanzines from the BCSFA/WCSFA archive during the VCON 21 convention in Vancouver, Canada. Never used by anyone, not even me.
— Term coined by R. Graeme Cameron at VCON 21 in 1996 to describe his function in operating the foom at that convention. Endorsed by legendary fan Walt Willis — “I’m proud to be present at the birth of a new word in the fannish language” — in a LoC appearing in the February 1997 issue of Cameron’s perzine SPACE CADET. Utterly failed to catch on.
— Obsolete fannish swear word, first blurted out by the younger brother of Phil Bronson, a member of the Minneapolis Fantasy Society, circa 1940s. Originally used as an expression of extreme disgust, but eventually devolved through constant usage by faneds and LoCcers to become a reflection of mild annoyance, displeasure, or disappointment. (HWJ)
FREDERICTON SF SOCIETY
— Apparently existed circa 1983 in Fredericton New Brunswick. Published the newsletter STAROVER. (GS)
Still active circa 1995, with Clubzine FAST-FORWARD. Possibly General Interest SF combined with Star Trek fandom since the club is also known as USS Hawking. (LP)
Still active 1997: “On Sept 19th the Fredericton Science Fiction Society will be hosting another movie night in the theatre at McLagan Hall on the University of New Brunswick Campus…Sept is the start of a new operating year for the FSFS. General meeting will take place in room 203 at the Student Union Building on the U.N.B. Campus…The FSFS annual Christmas party will be held… room 104 of the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel in Fredericton..” (BD)
Aha! Apparently a thriving, long-lived University SF club. Probably still functioning.
[ See STAROVER ]
FROME, NILS HELMER
— Canada’s second sf faned, first leading fan, and quite possibly, earliest fan whose name is known. Published SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES & FANTASY PICTORIAL out of Fraser Mills, B.C. in the late 1930s.
Born in Ratansbyrn, Jamtland, Sweden on July 10th, 1918. After his mother died, given by his father to another family to raise. At the age of 4, refused to go back to living with his father! Eventually adopted by the foster family, who moved to Canada, & ultimately settled in Fraser Mills, B.C., on the North side of the Fraser River just East of New Westminster (and about 40 minutes walk from where I used to live in Coquitlam).
Michael Dann wrote: “Helmer was very much a loner as a child and throughout his life. He seems to have had few, if any, close friends, spending most of his time collecting science fiction, reading history, drawing and writing.” After high school he attended Vocational Art School in Vancouver.
His first issue of SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES came out in early 1937…
(Note: The Pavlat/Evans Fanzine Index lists issue #1 as being published October 1936. This is incorrect. True, certain pages say “for October” in the header, but this is over printed by “for December and January”. Most pages just say “for December.” As Moskowitz pointed out, Frome stamped the ‘date’ atop each page as he composed or revised them. He started working on the zine in October 1936. His last work on the issue was done in January of 1937. Therefore, the earliest possible date he published the zine is January 1937.)
…Frome would have been 18 years old, a relatively mature age for a fan of that era. The point is, he was already an established fan well known North America-wide and considered Canada’s leading fan. He had, for instance, been in touch with C. Hamilton Bloomer, a prominent San Francisco fan, and purchased a multigraph mimeo from him. He established regular correspondence with James Blish and H. P. Lovecraft, among others. Sam Moskowitz began corresponding with him in 1937 and acted as an unpaid agent, distributing Frome’s articles, art & fiction to numerous fanzines.
Commenting on this in 1985, Moskowitz wrote: “I still have unpublished fiction by Frome in my files, since from 1937 on I conducted a manuscript bureau, placing material written by fans in fan magazines. I placed quite a number of Frome’s, though his Lovecraftian-style script was devilishly hard to read — he didn’t own a typewriter.”
Here is Moskowitz’s list of publications he agented Frome’s work to and saw published in the late 1930s & during the 1940s: Moskowitz’s own HELIOS & FANTASY ARTISTS, Alex Osheroff’s THE SCIENCE FICTION SCOUT, Robert Madle’s FANTASCIENCE DIGEST, John V. Baltadonis’ SCIENCE FICTION COLLECTOR, Litterio Farsci’s GOLDEN ATOM, John Giunta’s SCIENTITALES, Louis Kuslan’s COSMIC TALES, Beak Taylor’s 8-BALL/CANADIAN FANDOM, Francis Paro’s FANFARE, Bob Studley’s SCIENTAL, Oswald Train’s SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURES, J.J. Fortier’s STUNNING SCIENTIFAN, Walter Marconette’s SCIENTI-SNAPS, Olon F. Wiggin’s SCIENCE FICTION FAN, & James V. Taursi’s VADJONG. In addition, Harry Warner Jr. contacted Frome direct for material to use in his zine SPACEWAYS, as did Les Croutch for LIGHT (#115 April 1942 for example, its cover a line drawing of four nymphs or driads). Those searching for Frome’s work should note that he sometimes used the pen name ‘Herkanos’, especially in his letters of comment.
After graduating school Frome found work in various lumber camps and mills, which may explain why he stopped publishing SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES. He did, however, maintain a high level of fanac, as Moskowitz’s activity on his behalf attests. This may have been in compensation for being continually trapped in a working environment where his interests in art & SF were not held in high esteem. According to Michael Dann “He seems to have been unhappy with his life…. had emotional problems dealing with people… seems to have resulted from his being a loner and from a creative mind that quickly became bored…. due to his above average intelligence and his inability to communicate on the more mundane level.”
The war must have been particularly frustrating. Being a skilled lumberjack, considered a strategically important job, he was not allowed to change jobs or enlist. So he spent most of the war, and some years after, in lumber camps. For a long time his address was ‘Camp 5, Bloedel, B.C.’
Still, he found time to send out a stream of art, commentary, fiction & articles. One example of his fiction is ‘THE MIRROR’, published in CANFAN #10 in may 1946. The first paragraph reads: “As the car gasped its last and finally expired, John Sloan cursed the fate which had stranded him there on that lonely road, with night coming on, and an uncertain storm muttering to itself in the distance.” And the last: “The curious mirror cast back the reflection of the figure of an old man, his ruthless countenance painted by the fire, now slack in death. He was sitting crumbled there in the midst of the house he had stolen….Alone.” A common theme in his life it seems, being alone.
Of his art, Michael Dann wrote: “Throughout his drawings the eyes were somber, dark, brooding, and somehow frightening. Perhaps his inability to understand people expressed itself in the eyes of his portraits. The only portraits which did not suffer from the ‘strange’ eyes were those of a few relatives & close friends.”
Taral wrote: “Frome himself continued as an active fan into the 40s, drawing and writing for CANADIAN FANDOM. He was one of Two artists” (Al Betts the other) “who alternated covers for CANFAN for all the copies I’ve seen of the first dozen issues. Of the two, Frome was the better, in my opinion, having a better grasp of anatomy and exhibiting better draughtsmanship…. Like most fan art of the 40s, it was derivative of the pulp illustrators, and particularly of the fantasy illustrators. The style was dramatic and brooding, effects achieved by crosshatching, and the art showed good understanding of light. Of the three covers in my possession, two are dominated by huge, moody faces that have some real power as art. Generally less claustrophobic than most fantasy art of the time, and more surreal than illustrations for most adventure of sf stories, too, Frome had a real talent and may well have gone on to some professional career. Somewhere, but not in science fiction.”
Moskowitz wrote: “Frome was head and shoulders above most fan (graphic) artists, and with a little training his work would have been of professional quality. His style was patterned after J. Clement Coll & Austin Briggs — entirely line work with some cross-hatching in the background.”
In the summer of 1953 a nearly fatal bowel obstruction dictated a hospital stay lasting 76 days. Frome spent much of the time drawing, expanding his artistic skills. Afterwards, among other jobs all over B.C. working for various companies, he did design work for the Dept of Recreation & Conservation. Then he came back to the Lower Mainland and tried to survive as a commercial artist. Despite selling illustrations of B.C. “buildings, ships, trains & places” to newspapers, success eluded him. A drinking habit begun in his early twenties was now a major problem. As if desiring to begin anew and find his roots, he left for Sweden to visit his relatives circa 1960/1961. He never came back.
In the words of Michael Dann: “Nils Helmer Frome was found dead in the Hydro Hotel in Llandudno, Caernarvonshire, Wales. He had been working on odd jobs and as a part-time boiler man for the hotel. His diary reveals he had considered suicide for some time. The date was the 27th of March, 1962. He was less than 44 years old. He had one three-penny piece in his possession.”
Sad. But at least in his early adult years his fanac provided the sense of accomplishment and community which evaded him in the mundane ‘real’ world. And he’s not forgotten. His memory lives on for at least as long as Canadian fandom itself survives. (SM) & (MD) & (HWJ) & (TW) & (JRC)
[ See SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES, FANTASY PICTORIAL, HERKANOS & CANADIAN FANDOM ]
FUTURE FANTASY FRENCH
— Circa 1942 the infamous Claude Degler visited the province of Quebec in the company of a young Indian girl he had picked up hitchhiking. Evidently she stayed behind. At some point she was detained by Canadian authorities and Degler returned circa 1943 (to Quebec city? Montreal?) to testify on her behalf as to her citizenship. Later he claimed he attended a Quebec SF conference while visiting and convinced Quebec fans to band together into an organization called the Future Fantasy French, an international extension to his Cosmic Circle of Cosmen. We have only his word for this. There is no other evidence extant. Had Future Fantasy French actually existed, it would have been the first fannish organization in Quebec. In truth this honour belongs to The Montreal SF Society founded in 1946. (JS)
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COLUMBIA SCIENCE FANTASY SOCIETY, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CLOD, COSMEN, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, MONTREAL SF SOCIETY, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]