THE CANADIAN FANCYCLOPEDIA: Introduction (April 2009)
An Incompleat Guide To Twentieth Century Canadian Science Fiction Fandom
by Richard Graeme Cameron, BCSFA/WCSFA Archivist.
A publication of the British Columbia Science Fiction Association (BCSFA)
And the West Coast Science Fiction Association (WCSFA).
You can contact me at: < rgraeme[at]shaw.ca >
For 15 years I’ve been working on an “incompleat” guide to Canadian Science Fiction fandom & fanzines, and it could be years yet before it is complete. It may never be complete, since I intend to update it whenever new information comes to hand. How to publish a work in progress?
At one point I transferred my working notes to a web site so that fandom could access it as it developed. This worked for some years, but then my computer went kablooie and for reasons too complicated to get into a web site doesn’t seem viable anymore.
So now I’ve decided to put a ‘frozen’ version of the work in progress online in PDF format at Bill Burns’ http://efanzines.com site. This will enable fans to peruse and perhaps download my work to date. Meanwhile I will continue adding more material, making corrections, etc., until I have sufficient new material to ask Bill to replace the files with updated ones. My intention at this point is to replace the files available online on an annual basis, which gives me plenty of time to research and update as the mood hits me without any pressure to worry about.
This Canfancyclopedia is already massive enough to represent a good exposure to its topic, but experienced fans will note many a missing item, and even those unfamiliar with the lore will see that my coverage of zines in particular is spotty, describing some at length and merely listing others. In part this is due to what is and what is not available to me, but also because I’ve not yet put in enough time to describe all that I do have access to, never mind what further research turns up. But give me time. This is a work in progress. I’ll keep adding to it as long as I can. A lifelong hobby in other words.
I note that few people on this planet have access to ANY of the zines described herein, let alone a significant collection. Consequently, my intention is not so much to write a bibliography to aid collectors of the material – there being very few collectors — as to describe the milieu in which these zines exist so that readers can come to understand what this phenomenon was (and is) all about.
Since Canadian organized fandom (clubs & conventions) AND Canadian Fanzine production appears to be on the decline, predictions of the ‘death’ of Canadian traditional SF fandom are once again being sounded. In my own small way, I want to acquaint contemporary Canadian fandom with its 60 or 70 year heritage in the hope this will lead fans into greater fanac, yea, even unto being moved to pub their ish, by Ghu.
Say again? Fandom has its own terminology, mostly American in origin, much of it now obsolete, and quite obviously pointless and silly to outsiders, but to those in the fold, an expression of the fannish COMMUNITY. For the first fans were fanzine fans, loners in their own neighbourhood mayhaps, but reaching out to each other via fanzines exchanged by mail and in the process developing their own culture, their own shared mental environment where everyone instantly related through the basic concepts they all held in common. Out of this shared vision sprang wonderful things, like clubs and conventions, and more fanzines.
It’s hard for a newcomer to understand traditional SF fandom, hard to grasp that it DOES have a tradition, that it IS a shared vision of complexity and depth infinitely more elaborate than the shallow, superficial nature of fans as perceived by outsiders. It is even harder to explain fandom in a coherent, to the point, concise manner without making it sound like a load of shallow, superficial (albeit complicated) nonsense.
You have to grow into fandom, get used to it, increase your participation, immerse yourself slowly into it like some great wallowing hot tubber until finally you are relaxed and comfortable in the fannish environment. Unfortunately there are fewer and fewer venues available for this process to occur.
But as you browse through the Canadian Fancyclopedia, dipping a toe here, testing the water temperature there, I am confident you will gradually begin to gain a sense of what it was like to be a fan in the twentieth century. I include enough information to illustrate what SF fandom in general was like, but with particular emphasis on anything pertaining to Canadian fandom and, as far as fanzines are concerned, exclusively Canadian fanzines. Thus you will, if only by osmosis, slowly become aware of what it means to be a traditional fan, a Canadian traditional fan.
And if you should be so moved as to want to get involved with other fans, or even start your own fanzine, I will have accomplished my goal.
Cheers! ………. The Graeme
P.S. You can reach me at < rgraeme[at]shaw.ca > I’d greatly appreciate your comments and, in particular, any new info you old-timers out there can give me about Canadian zines.
Formerly: THE CANADIAN FANCYCLOPEDIA
Now: THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FANZINE ARCHIVE WEBSITE
Introduction (June 2013)
Twenty years ago a panel on Fanzine publishing would draw at least thirty to forty fen. Nowadays the panelists tend to outnumber the audience. Are these the end of days for traditional SF fanzine fandom?
I used to believe talking and writing about fanzines and fandom would be a great and effective way to encourage neofen to pub their ish. Thus I began the Canfancyclopedia.
Now I’m convinced ‘describing’ zinedom isn’t good enough. The only way to ‘inspire’ new zine fen is to actually SHOW them zines, to let them peruse the actual contents of numerous zines illustrating Canada’s fanzine heritage. To let the zines speak for themselves.
At the same time I will continue to add relevant historical data, and write it up in a mildly humorous and entertaining manner to maintain reader interest.
For example, you’ll note I’m writing my own version of entries from previous fancyclopedias by earlier fantiquarians. I do this partly to entertain in my own inimitable style, but also because the background context of much of the material is no longer part of the situational awareness of contemporary fen and further explanation is required, especially of obsolete terms no longer in use.
It may strike you as odd that some of the zines posted here are also described at length in the actual encyclopedia section. This is an artifact of the fact the bulk of those descriptions were written before I began posting actual zines. It may be that some readers will peruse the selection of zines to examine individual zines at random, or perhaps because they’re intrigued by the title or the age of the zine, but if you read through the fanzine (A to Z ) section first, you will get a better idea of which zines are most likely to intrigue you.
Of course, the current selection of actual zines is rather limited, but I intend to add at least one or two on any given day, with the inevitable result, given sufficient passage of time, of a large number of zines being available. Thus will the heritage of Canadian fanzine fandom slowly be unveiled.
Meanwhile, I continue to do original research. But don’t give me too much credit for what you see written and displayed on this site. I stand on the shoulders of giants. I have merely added a few inches to the heights they achieved.
To find out the identity of these giants, check out SOURCES.
For more of my reasoning concerning this latest incarnation of my Canfancyclopedia, check out my OPEN LETTER.