( P ) – CONTENTS:
PAN-GALACTIC GARGLE BLASTER / PAR / THE PERFECT FANZINE / PICTON SF SOCIETY / THE H. BEAM PIPER COCKTAIL / THE PLANET / PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION / POKE THE PRO / THE PROFESSOR / PRUNECON / PSFiC
PAN-GALACTIC GARGLE BLASTER
— Perhaps the most famous drink in SF, appearing in Douglas Adam’s ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’. Canadian Fan Mike Glicksohn ordered it in Portsmouth England and was actually served one. Apparently it consists of: ( 6 parts vodka / 1 part Rose’s lime / 2 parts Galliano / stirred thoroughly over ice ). Yum. (SS)
[ See Blog, The Bullfrog, The H. Beam Piper Cocktail, Mead Bunny, The Spayed Gerbil, Fannish Drinksh Book, Fan Drinks ]
— All the earliest fanzines were subzines, i.e. fanzines available by subscription. This in imitation of the prozines. By the 1940s fanzines began to be available for ‘The Usual’, ie in trade with other zines, in trade for art contributions, for letters of comment, etc. Harry Warner Jr. stated that Canada’s Leslie A. Croutch was one of the pioneers in promoting ‘The Usual’, maybe even the first to have major influence.
In Nov of 1952 Norman G. Browne, faned of VANATIONS out of Edmonton, came up with a new concept, which he called P.A.R., or ‘Pay After Reading’. He explained with a hypothetical example in which the reader sends 75¢ for a 5 issue subscription:
“The first issue you receive is good; well worth the 15¢ it cost you. In fact you think it is worth 20¢. The second issue is even, it is just worth the 15¢ you paid for it. The third issue is fairly poor, only worth 10¢. The fourth issue is really bad, only worth 5¢. The fifth issue is pure crud, only worth 2¢. Add that up, and you find the cost of your five issues is 75¢, while the pleasure you received from reading them was only 52¢. A loss of 23¢!”
He therefore asked his readers to send payment for his zine after they had read it, a payment of their own choosing, based on a) the amount of pleasure they derived, b) the amount of work they think he put in to it, and c) the more money they send, the bigger and better future issues will be. For a while this highly subjective concept was all the rage in fanzine circles, till it became apparent that human nature and fannish apathy tended to push payments toward the lower end of the scale, or off the scale as in no payment. Nothing hurts a faned more than a lack of response. Faneds everywhere quickly reverted to ‘The Usual’.
How well did P.A.R. work for Browne? In issue #2 of VANATIONS he wrote: “The PAR system was favoured by 48%, disliked by 35%, and 17% had no opinion. 22% sent in a dime, 42% sent in 15¢, 11% sent in 20¢, 14% sent in 25¢, and 11% sent in over 25¢.”
But what do these figures mean? How may of his readers actually responded with PAR payments? In issue #3 he revealed that only 10% of the first issue’s readers sent money in, and for #2, only 23%. Consequently P.A.R. was not paying for his zine publishing, merely helping defray the costs a little.
In #4 of VANATIONS reader Paul Mittelbuscher asked: “Why don’t you discard the PAR system and charge a regular price?”
Browne replied: “Hah! And be the same as everyone else? Do you realize how much publicity I and Vn. get through the PAR system? It pays to be different.”
[ See THE USUAL, VANATIONS, BROWNE NORMAN G., PAPA, CONCUPISCENT TALES, TORATIONS, DAMN!, FILLER, THE HIBITED MEN, HIBITED HAPPENINGS, SEVENTH FANDOM, VANCOUVER SF SOCIETY, & DOCTOR OF FANOLOGY]
THE PERFECT FANZINE
— BNF Bob Tucker once stated that the ‘perfect’ fanzine (perfect in the sense of capturing the essence of the faned experience) would last but two issues: the first bursting with excessive, unbridled enthusiasm & massively scarred with typos; the second well put together but in tone already jaded & tired of fandom.
“Tucker called this perfect because the neo could then gafiate and return to a normal life.” – Jim Caughran
PICTON SF SOCIETY
— Picton is a small town at the head of an inlet connecting the Bay of Quinte with Prince Edward Bay, and as we all know this concerns the North shore of Lake Ontario about halfway between Trenton (with its famous air force base)& Kingston (with its famous Fort Henry). Picton is not so famous, but nevertheless witnessed the founding of the 5th SF club ever to be created in Canada (predated only by the Ontario Science Fictioneers, the Montreal SF Society, the Toronto SF Society, & the Lakehead SF Society in Hamilton, as far as I’m aware).
The Picton SFS was founded in June of 1948 (Jack Bowie-Reed is given credit for accomplishing this), about a month before Torcon 1, and having affiliated with the Canadian SF Association, sent representatives to take part in the first Canada-wide meeting of the CSFA at Torcon. Now I’m guessing that the number of members in the PSFS was relatively low compared to some of the big city clubs, but after the CSFA fell from a height of 11 constituent clubs to a mere 3 viable clubs in 1951, the Picton SFS was one of them. So the club must have had something going for it, like active, enthusiastic members mayhaps. The PSFS was still a member of the CSFA in 1953. I wonder if the PSFS survived the demise of the CSFA in 1954 & continued on into the late 1950s? At any rate, existed for at least 5 years. (JBR)
Contemporary Picton fans listed in the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY who may have belonged to the Picton SF Society include: Robert L. Clapp, Don Dodds, Robert L. Gibson, William S. Juniper Jr., Bill Skitterall, John Walton & Paul Walton.
[ See CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION ]
THE H. BEAM PIPER COCKTAIL
— Fannish drink invented by Canadian fan Mike Glicksohn and named by Paul Skelton. Consists of: ( 4 oz. good scotch / 1 oz. Drambuie / 1 oz. Campari / shaken & served over ice ). “So named because after one of them, you’ll be a little fuzzy.” – Suzi Stefl. (Piper wrote a series of novels about ‘Little Fuzzies’.)
[ See Blog, The Bullfrog, The Spayed Gerbil, Mead Bunny, Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, Fannish Drinksh Book, Fan Drinks ]
— Generally considered the first true Science Fiction fanzine, first issue published in New York city, U.S.A. in July 1930 by a club called The Scienceers. THE PLANET was edited by Allen Glasser, Mortimer Weisinger & Charles Weiner. Of the club, Nat Greenfeld was President, Mort Weisinger was Treasurer, and other members included Herbie Smith, Phil Rosenblatt, Herman Kaidor & Cecil Corner.
Contents of the first issue consisted of:
The aims of the club, including “to foster a widespread interest in scientific fiction.”
– An article on ‘Science Fiction & The Future’ which seemed a tad optimistic about the present: “…Today these fanciful tales are realities. Submarines, airplanes, radio & television are commonplace… even moon rockets are actually under construction.” (!)
– An article predicting five billion people on Earth by 2028, and warning that there is only “thirteen billion acres of soil on the surface of this planet… one person consumes the produce of two and one-half acres, so you can see that five billion is about the limit…”
– An article on ‘The Sea as a Source of Power’ detailing French experiments in Cuba with “turbines running on the difference between the warm water of the surface & the cold water from the ocean depths.”
– An article on why snow, being made of frozen colorless water, appears white. (It reflects sunlight which, containing all colours, appears white.)
– A ‘Science Fiction Quiz’ based on WONDER STORIES magazine with questions like: “What story might have been inspired by H.G. Well’s ‘The New Accelerator’?” Answer: ‘The Super-Velocitor.’
– Plus two terrible poems and an article titled “X-Rays” containing both club news “The seating arrangements of the clubroom have been improved by the acquisition of a fine bench..” and gossip about the members “It’s only natural that Mort should write an article on the shortage of food. It’s something that worries him constantly.”
It is of interest to note that the term ‘Science Fiction’ is used several times, proving that the term predates zinedom, though used interchangeably with ‘Scientific Fiction’ & ‘Scientifiction’ in the decade to come.
[ See FIRST SCIENCE FICTION FANZINE & SCIENCEERS ]
PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION
— The umbrella organization, created by Claude Degler in 1939 but not reaching full flower till 1943, which contained the following state-wide fannish organizations:
The Circle of Azor (Tennessee), Louisiana Fandom, Alabama All-Fans, Valdosta Philosophers (Georgia), Georgia Cosmen, The Cosmic Thinkers (?), Florida Cosmos Society, Dixie Fantasy Federation (?), Cosmic Club (Indiana), Circle City Cosmic Society (Indianapolis), Muncie Mutants Irvington Circle (Indianapolis), Rose City Science Circle (?), The New Hampshire FFF, The Maine Scientifiction Association, the Slan Slum, Empire State Slans (New York), Cosmen of The Island (New York), New Philadelphia Fantasy Society, The Oklahoma Fantasy Circle, The Manana Society de Sonora (New Mexico), The SouthWest Fantasy Foundation (New Mexico, Nevada & Arizona), The Futurian Society of California (United Califans), The Futurian Society of Los Angeles (California), The Oakgrove Fantasy Society (Indiana), and last but not least, two Canadian Fan organizations: The Columbia Science Fantasy Society (British Columbia), and The Future Fantasy French (Quebec).
Claude Degler achieved BNF (Big Name Fan) status by virtue of having created (or in a few cases revived) each and every one of the above named Fan organizations. However, though he liked to boast that the Planet Fantasy Federation had more than 200 members, most of these organizations had but one member, namely himself under a variety of pseudonyms. Degler’s occasional attempts to ‘prove’ the existence of other members, such as quoting a certain Mr. Frank N. Stein (allegedly a member of the Oakgrove Fantasy Society) were somewhat less than credible.
The Planet Fantasy Federation headquarters was allegedly based in Newcastle, Indiana. Actual staff of the governing council included Head of the Psychological Ministry Helen Bradleigh (Joan Domnick), Don Rogers (Degler himself), Rex Matthews (minor fanzine artist Morrie Jenkinson), and Martha Matley (who allegedly headed a ‘Vughu’ cult devoted to Ghughuism).
All of the state-wide fannish organizations were claimed to be headed by various prominent fans, very much to their surprise as Degler never bothered to ask them if they wanted to belong, much less be in charge. It’s fair to say that 99% of the Planet Fantasy Federation existed solely within the Cosmic brain of Claude Degler. It could be construed as a hoax, except that Degler was fanatically serious. A classic example of the ‘I conceived it, therefore it exists’ syndrome. (DE) & (JS) & (HWJ)
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COLUMBIA SCIENCE FANTASY SOCIETY, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CLOD, COSMEN, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), MARTIAN MESSAGE, FUTURE FANTASY FRENCH, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION. ]
POKE THE PRO
— A Dart Board game invented by San Franciscan fan Bob ‘Boob’ Stewart in the 1950s. Pictures of fans turned pro who had allegedly abandoned fandom for the sake of profit were taped to a dart board and points awarded depending on which photo was darted. Harlan Ellison, for example, was worth 10 points. Noted for his fanzine BOO, Stewart later gafiated in order to become a Catholic Priest. (HWJ)
— This was the pseudonym or pen name of a virulently virtuous and putatively puritanical writer who frequently wrote to Ackerman’s VOICE OF THE IMAGI-NATION ( VOM for short ) in a relentless assault on the nude VOMAIDENS appearing on the covers, and also in opposition to the more liberal views expressed by other contributors, circa early 1940s.
This turned out to be “the lusty Les Croutch, the Canadian sexperimenter in stf”. Croutch was mildly condemned for the semi-nude covers ( not least for their poor quality ) on his own zine LIGHT during the same period, so he took great delight in parodying his critics under the guise of ‘The Professor’. In life Croutch was impatient with the censorship of his day and insisted that nudity in art was erotic rather than pornographic, views to the contrary being childish. His view was considered obscene by the more conservative fans, but was applauded by those who agreed with his advocacy of greater artistic freedom. (JS)
[ See CROUTCH, LIGHT, STF, VOM, VOMAIDENS ]
— Is a short, catchy slang term for ‘Professional Magazine’, specifically the pulp SF zines available on news stands. How far back does it date? Who originated it?
The answer to the first question is: as early as 1941.
The answer to the second question is: Leslie A. Croutch, Canada’s leading fan of the 1940s. Or at least, according to Croutch himself. In a loc published in UNCANNY TALES in Feb 1942, on describing his fanac, there is the following line:
“I have had stories in the following prozines (short term coined by me for professional magazines): UNCANNY TALES, EERIE TALES, and FUTURE FICTION.”
Now, Jack Speer’s Fancyclopedia written in 1944 uses the term prozine, but doesn’t explain its origin. Until someone offers proof to the contrary, Croutch’s 1942 claim stands for what it’s worth.
[ See CROUTCH ]
— The convention that never was, yet was carefully planned by OSFiC (Ontario SF Club) to take place June 9-11, 1978 at the Lord Simcoe Hotel at 150 King Street West in Toronto. Guests of honour were to include Alexei & Cory Panshin “authors of many books including the well known HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION”, and Ed Meskys “publisher of NIEKAS, a renowned fanzine back in the late sixties recently revived, who also founded LOCUS with Charlie Brown and Dave Vanderwerf. Programming will be light, with some fantasy slant, (NIEKAS was fantasy oriented, and Meshkys was influential in the Mythopeic Society), and very faanish in the evenings (Prune juice drinking contests, slide shows, and the like). A neat and attractive program book will be printed, Hucksters tables open, and an art show on display.” – (Taral)
Prunecon’s slogans? — “Let go at the ultimate relaxacon!”and “A close encounter of the turd kind.”
A flyer for Prunecon contains a wonderful art piece by Taral. It depicts a bank of computers, each supporting a fluid-filled glass globe with a human brain inside, starting with the brain of Aristotle and running through the genius’s of following centuries, namely Newton, Beethoven, and Einstein, with the last being that of (Walt) Willis, famous Irish fan. However, the brain of Willis more closely resembles an enormous prune with propeller beanie perched jauntily atop. Possibly too esoteric for the general public (who is this Willis guy?) but I love it.
— Stands for PENULTIMATE SCIENCE FICTION CLUB of Peterborough, Ontario. Flourished circa 1978. As club member (founder?) Barry Meikle reports in OSFiC’s ISHUE #7:
“We’ve got an official club in Peterborough… We think we have a membership of about ten, but it’s hard to tell, because we never get the same people at a meeting twice in a row…. I don’t know how solid a club we are yet. There hasn’t been time yet for any fannish social functions, and everyone is being very stiff and formal, but I hope to rectify that situation. I figure if we can survive the name, we can survive anything. And we’re underselling you (OSFiC), our major competitor, by $3.50.” This implies a membership fee of $2.50 a year as opposed to the $6.00 OSFiC membership.
“About the name… We’d been tossing names around, trying to find something that wasn’t too formal or pretentious. You know: The Kawartha Regional Science Fiction & Fantasy Appreciation Society. And we couldn’t use the obvious Peterborough SF Club, because Jim Allan pointed out how PSFiC sounds… Finally we gave up, and wallowed in pretentiousness. The PENULTIMATE SF CLUB. (It still says PissFic though.)”
“It’s really fascinating the way everyone in Peterborough denies ‘being’ a fan. They’re all avid readers, but, heaven forbid, not fans. Really! Whose been spreading these nasty rumours about fandom? ‘Fans got leprosy’, ‘fans is second cousin to trekkies’, ‘fans is a bunch of mental and moral deficients’, and then there’s the real killer: ‘fans are juveniles’. Aaarrggggh! Anyway, I think there’s hope – they all read my fanzines when they’re over.”
To the above, Taral (editor of ISHUE) replied: “Personally, I like PSFiC as a name, but then I invented SOpSF, so what do I know? But you are right to call yourselves the PENULTIMATE SF CLUB. There’s only room in Ontario for one ultimate club, and that’s why we charge the other $3.50. I’m mystified that Jim didn’t like PSFiC; he liked Prunecon…”
[ See THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, PENULTIMATE TRUTH, PRUNECON ]