( B ) — from BACOVER to BYDCOMZ!




— Short for ‘back cover’ of fanzine. Sometimes a sort of wrap-it-all-up page with odds & ends of various columns, often an opportunity to run a full page piece of art. When I edited BCSFAzine I usually devoted the top half to art and the bottom half to promoting our club’s next convention. Anything goes nowadays, but what used to be quite common was to use the bacover as an envelope substitute. In other words, instead of mailing the zine in an envelope, fold it once or twice, tape it shut, so that all or a portion of the bacover is all that is visible. (I believe the Cdn post office, since automation, no longer allows this.) Thus the bacover would usually be printed with a return address and get a stamp and mailing address added. Back when both the Cdn and US post offices used to routinely open ‘suspect’ mail, some faneds couldn’t resist tweaking the long noses of the postal inspectors, US fan Arthur ‘Art’ Rapp used to print poems aimed specifically at postal authorities on the bacover of his ‘SPACEWARP’ (published circa 1947 to 1952). (Source: Dick Eney.)


— One of those fannish legends. At the 1956 NYCon II Worldcon, fans who refused to pay $7.10 for the banquet (outrageous price back then), yet wanted to hear the after-dinner speakers, especially the keynote speaker, cartoonist Al Capp of ‘Li’l Abner’ fame, hung around in the hall outside the banquet room. The Worldcon chair, Dave Kyle, ordered the banquet room doors closed on the grounds that only those who had paid for the event should take part.

Determined fans including Canada’s Boyd Raeburn (faned of ‘A BAS’), as well as prominent US fans like Bob Tucker, Dick Eney and Ted White, flooded up a stairwell and crowded into a balcony overlooking the banquet. They became somewhat unruly when volunteer gopher Sheldon B. Deretchin came up and up and shouted “Dave Kyle says you can’t sit here.” Finally everyone was ushered off the balcony by house detectives, presumably at Kyle’s bidding. This was motivation enough to reappear on the balcony during the convention business session and heckle the convention committee, (hence the term ‘balcony insurgents’).

For years afterwards “Dave Kyle says you can’t sit here” was a catchphrase often printed in fanzines. Meanwhile the number of fans claiming to have been among the ‘balcony insurgents’ grew exponentially. In the 1990s, writing in an article in ‘MIMOSA’, Kyle revealed he had been ordered by a fire marshal to clear the balcony. (Sources: Dick Eney & Dick Ellington.)


— One of those fannish legends that have long been suppressed. Yes, fans have not only performed skits and entire plays at conventions, some dared choose the way of pain for their fellow fen by performing an evil variant of dramatic presentation: ballet. Oh, the horror…the horror…

The classic fannish example is the science fiction ballet ASTEROID inflicted on the audience at the ChiCon II Worldcon in 1952. Harry Warner Jr. described it thusly: “Asteroid, the ballet, was an early example of the use of fluorescent costumes under ultra-violet light plus slides to accompany dancing and recorded music. It dealt with love and jealousy on a small planet among space travelers. Ray Nelson was a live drummer, producing sounds which reminded Art Rapp of toads copulating on a tin roof, and a former burlesque celebrity enacted the role of the heroine.”

( I am reminded of the mime performance of the LIFE AND DEATH OF A BLACK HOLE performed as her ‘term paper’ by a young woman in black leotards — a fellow student in my astronomy class at UBC, circa 1978 — and the look on the face of the professor as he desperately grappled with the task of assigning her a mark. Hmm, I should have invited her to perform at that year’s VCON. Full marks for guts I’d say. )

To be fair, ASTEROID sounds too good, or at least too complicated, to be strictly a fannish affair. Elsewhere HWJ mentions a ballet put on by University of Chicago students at ChiCon II which so disgusted reporters from Time Magazine that they fled in anger, though what disgusted them was that Look Magazine photographers were there first. Probably this was ASTEROID, or maybe there were TWO ballets performed at ChiCon II? But if ASTEROID and the student production are one and the same, then the presence of well-known fan Ray Nelson whaling and wanging on the drums indicates at least some fannish participation in the ballet.

That same year at a convention in London, England featured a ballet “which saw Daphne Buckmaster and Dorothy Rattigan dancing the roles of the first man on Mars and a Martian villain, while a group of males portrayed the female chorus.”

The 1956 NYCon II Worldcon in New York included the ballet CLICHE, starring Olga Ley, in its programming.

Continuing research may turn up further examples. I hope not. (Source: Harry Warner Jr.)

[ See DRAMA ]


— A quote placed on the bacover for emphasis, especially powerful when unaccompanied by any other text. Quite often promotional in nature, as in selected praise of the zine by a well-known fan, or — even more juicy — condemnation by an outraged competing faned. (Source: Dick Eney.)


— Generally speaking, the term any bunch of old-fhart fans will use to describe an influx of newcomers who have different interests, values, and priorities.

Fhistorically speaking, first used to describe a flood of new fans (including Harry Warner Jr.) which began circa 1938 and continued arriving thru the early 1940s. Inspired by an explosion of prozines, they shared a keen interest in pro fiction which the previous generation of fans had let slide because they had evolved fandom into a self-sufficient phenomenon. The rejuvenated interest in prodom in turn triggered a renewed interest by the editors of prozines & other ‘filthy pros’ in organized fandom, which helped generate sponsorship and promotional support for the first Worldcon 1n 1939. Some older fans resented this de-evolution process. Unbelievably excessive amounts of fannish politics and backstabbing were cheerfully applied by both sides, for a while.

More recently, many long-time sf fans, especially in zinedom, considered the rise of Trekdom to be the greatest Barbarian Invasion of them all. Robert Runte, however, pointed out that Trekkers either discovered greater SF interests or remained isolated in their specific fandom. What really hurt was the massive flowering of media fandom in general during the 1970s following the example set by Trekdom.

As Runte explained, in the 3rd edition of THE NCF GUIDE TO CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION & FANDOM, there were three specific problems brought about by the 1970s’ Barbarian Invasion:

1) “The mere size of the influx destroyed the close-knit intimacy of fandom…Fans felt themselves a minority at their own celebrations ( conventions )…prominent fanzines suddenly became obscure as their print runs fell hopelessly behind the exploding numbers of newcomers…Clubs were also shaken as established fans found themselves out-voted…”

2) “The newcomers were a new type of fan…As viewers rather than readers, they tended to be less literate…to be passive consumers rather than active doers. They arrived at conventions expecting the organizers to put on a show for them, rather then get involved…they often seemed to view fandom as a commodity or service they could buy, rather than as something one did. Two-way communication was lost.”

3) “…( as with most empires overrun by barbarians ) fandom was already rotting from within…factors had begun to erode fandom’s former cohesiveness…by the mid-1970s there were over a thousand SF ( book ) releases a year, making it impossible to remain current on the whole field…the chances of two fans having read the same book declined sharply, eroding the sense of community which used to stem from a shared literature..” (Sources: Jack Speer, Dick Eney & Robert Runte.)


— The British Columbia Science Fiction Association, founded in 1970, and still in existence. Oldest surviving SF club in Canada. (Detail to be added)



— BCSFAzine #137 (Oct 1984) reported: “BCSFA North, a branch of BCSFA once operating in Prince Rupert, has now been reactivated as the Campbell River Branch. Three meetings have been held in the homes of Kay Briggs (President) and of Paul H. Simms (Recording Secretary). Meetings are held whenever fans gather at one of these places.”

Selected quotes from the BCSFA NORTH ‘Conditions Of Membership’ document included in the GENERIC CON 1 Program Book:


1.1 – The official functions of BCSFA North are to provide an excuse for parties, to indulge the member’s hedonistic impulses, and to provide an outlet for the President’s latent megalomaniac tendencies.

1.2 – The organization also has something to do with Science Fiction, but no one is quite sure what.


2.1 – The only executive officer of BCSFA North is the President, who is a self-appointed dictator and recognizes no form of democracy, parliamentarianism, collective bargaining, human rights, fair play, or anything else.


3.1 – Members are persons who have been told by the President that they are members.

3.2 – Membership fees will be accepted gleefully by the President. There is no ceiling. Cash, money orders, cheques, postage stamps, books, household appliances, liquor, and half-dressed members of the opposite sex are all acceptable forms of payment.

3.3 – To retain their good standing in BCSFA North members must remain alive and must attend at least one meeting per century.


4.1 – The Parent Organization of BCSFA North is the B.C. Science Fiction Association.

4.3 – The President of BCSFA North recognizes the existence of the Executive of BCSFA, but pays no attention to them whatsoever.

4.4 – The official organ of BCSFA North is BCSFAzine, although BCSFAzine doesn’t know this.”



— Faned: R. Graeme Cameron. Back when BCSFA & WCSFA were one and the same organization, on 19th July, 1997, a motion was presented by Cameron calling for the establishment of “THE BCSFA PRESS, the purpose of which is to publish a series of chapbooks of potential interest to SF fandom, thus fulfilling our mandate to promote sf.” Among the conditions proposed: “… be administered by the current club archivist… none of the publications to be at the club’s expense …. that the printing and mailing costs be borne by the author… that each publication under THE BCSFA PRESS imprint be numbered in sequence…”

The press got off to a good start with several publications, and dozens more planned with titles like ‘A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ELRONS’, ‘A GUIDE FOR ADMINISTRATORS OF C.U.F.F.’, & ‘FAMOUS CANADIAN FANEDS’. But for a variety of the usual reasons the press was put on hiatus, to be revived when conditions are appropriate.

Here is a list of publications to date:

1998 – (#1 – Mar) – CANFAPA, V1#1WN1 – by R. Graeme Cameron. The Canadian Fanzine APA devoted to: promoting awareness of Canadian SF Fanzines, converting Canadian SF fans into faneds, & preserving Canada’s SF fanzine heritage. 6 pages. [ See CANFAPA ]

1998 – (#2 – Mar) – WIERDS DID IT! THE CHRONICLES OF BCSFA, Volume One: 1968 to 1972 – by R. Graeme Cameron. An account of the early history of BCSFA, including VCONs one and two plus Philip K. Dick’s life in Vancouver. (Note: Old English spelling of ‘weird’, a ‘wierd’ being a race of fates or supramundanes who do odd things.) 30 pages.

1998 – (#3 – Mar) – INDEX TO BCSFAZINE, Volume Three: 1990 to 1997 – by R. Graeme Cameron. 33 pages.

1998 – (#4 – May) – HARRY WARNER, JR. FAN OF LETTERS – by Murray Moore. Reprint. Assorted contributions in praise of HWJ. Originally published in FAPA. 30 pages. [ See HARRY WARNER JR. FAN OF LETTERS ]

1998 – (#5 – May) – CANFAPA, V1#2WN2 – by R. Graeme Cameron. 22 pages.

1998 – (#6 – Jul) – CANFAPA, V1#2WN3 – by R. Graeme Cameron. 32 pages.

1999 – (#7 – Jan) – CANFANDOM, (Name change from CANFAPA),V2#1WN4 – by R. Graeme Cameron. 48 pages. [ See CANFANDOM ]

1999 – (#8 – Mar) – THE TRUFAN’S ADVISOR, AN INTRODUCTORY GUIDE TO FANDOM – by Arnie Katz. Reprint of the 1995 edition pubbed out of Las Vegas, Nevada.

1999 – (#9 – May) – CANFANDOM,V2#2WN5 – by R. Graeme Cameron. 46 pages. (Never distributed)

2000 – (#10 – ? ) – TORONTO THE GHOOD – by Taral Wayne. Reprint of a 1988 anthology of fanwriting by fans living in or near Toronto from the 1940s thru to the 1980s. Included articles by: Beak Taylor, P. Howard Lyons, Boyd Raeburn, Peter Gill, Susan Wood, Rosemary Ullyot, Mike Glicksohn, Victoria Vayne, Bob Wilson, Janet Wilson, Phil Paine, Taral Wayne & Bob Webber. 43 pages. [ See TORONTO THE GHOOD ]



— The Saga of the competing BCSFA Newsletters. Mike Bailey edited #1 to #24. After #12, he carried on the numbering with his perzine (‘THE LONG GOODBYE’ numbered #13) simultaneously with the newsletter (BCSFA NEWSLETTER #14). This has to do with: WARNING: CONVOLUTED FANNISH POLITICS! Here follows an attempt to explain:

— MARCH 1974: Mike Bailey printed #9, and revealed he had been voted out of his position as Treasurer of VCON 3 at the last committee meeting. He described this as “a clash of personalities between himself and David George/Pat Burrows.” Mike declared that his zine “is the official newsletter and the ‘other’ you will receive is a convention committee newsletter.” The ‘other’ , an alternative #9, did appear shortly thereafter, and while subtitled “V-CON III AND BEYOND”, was firmly labeled “THE BRITISH COLUMBIA SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER Vol.2#1.” It was printed by the VCON III committee, which included Pat Burrows, David George & John Thomson, and promised, among other things, that at the next meeting the concom “will state why Mike Bailey was voted out of office as Treasurer…” Then, prior to the March 30th meeting, Mike produced a #9/a “special edition” with the agreement of “the entire convention committee of VCN III“! Evidently a process of reconciliation was at work, albeit a complicated one. First, the entire BCSFA executive had quit. Second, the “revised agenda” for the meeting called for the creation of a constitution (in the belief that this would prevent future squabbles?) in order to register BCSFA under the Societies Act. Third, after the transition was complete, elections would be held.

— APRIL 1974: With #10 (sub-titled ‘TRANSITION’) Mike Bailey threatened to quit as acting BCSFA editor yet continue the newsletter on his own as a perzine. An alternative #10 (V2.#3&4) was put out the same month by Ed Hutchings, John Thomson & Ed Beauregard, in which it was announced BCSFA elections were pending.

— MAY 1974: Mike Bailey now seemed to be giving in, as in #11 (sub-titled ‘GETTING THERE’) contains a reference to the rival zine as “the real BCSFA newsletter”. The alternate #11 (V.2#4) supervised by Michael Walsh to ensure “lack of bias”, contained word of an election run-off between Mike Bailey and John Thomson for the position of “Information Officer” (Newsletter Editor).

— JUNE 1974: I do not know if Mike produced a BCSFA newsletter as such for JUNE (nothing in the BCSFA archive), but he did pub an apparent perzine numbered #12 (titled ‘APOLOGETICA’) which contained club material such as the fact he was running for editor. No “alternate” newsletter appeared. At the June 15th meeting the votes were counted and Mike was confirmed as Info Officer, and thus as Newsletter Editor.

— JULY 1974: Mike Bailey celebrated his triumph by publishing a clearly titled ‘BCSFA NEWSLETTER’ which, however, was numbered #14! In it he refers to a #13 (sub-titled ‘SON OF MACHIAVELLI’) published the same month as “another monthly”, i.e. his perzine. I think the simplest way of understanding this is to interpret #1 (Aug 1973) to #12 (June 1974) as a continuous run of the newsletter, and then, after his election victory, Mike decided to ‘split’ the zine in July, with #13 being the ‘first’ issue of his new perzine, and #14 being the ‘first’ issue of the reborn newsletter. In that sense, there never was a ’13th’ BCSFA newsletter; the June issue was #12, the July #14, and that’s all there was to it.

— Why so much detail about an obscure subject? Because we’re talking about an early incarnation of BCSFAzine, and the CANFANCYCLOPEDIA is posted on behalf of BCSFA by the BCSFA Archivist. Nyah hah hah!…hee hee….



— A dismissive put-down aimed at the New York fans of the late 1930s known as the MICHELISTS who advocated that fandom convert to communism. The term is a reference to the cliché image of the anarchist fanatics around the turn of the century who assassinated a number of European monarchs and politicians. It is a particularly double-edged insult as true anarchists and true communists loathed and despised each other with a vengeance. (Source: Jack Speer.)



— A type of non-poem ‘invented’ by Damon Knight some time prior to 1944 as a kind of gag item for fanzines and humorous party/con recitals. To be mumbled as incoherently as possible and without pause for breath into one’s beard (a fake beard will do, or failing that, with one’s chin rammed into one’s chest). (Sources: Jack Speer & Dick Eney.)

The classic example by Knight as given by Speer & Eney is:








— A quick referential term for the three Irish fanzine fans living in Belfast who had achieved worldwide renown and popularity in zinedom by the mid-1950s. They were: Walt Willis, Bob Shaw, and James White. Willis & Shaw co-wrote THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, the greatest fanlit saga, and both Shaw and White went on to become professional SF writers. (Source: Dick Eney.)



— AKA ‘Loverboy’. Legendary Bellhop at the hotel in Chicago where Chicon II, the 1952 Worldcon, was held. He turned out to be a neofan, willing to do anything for his fellow fen. He even brought in two call girls. “Of course they weren’t pretty,” cried Bob Tucker, “but my Ghod, for free!” (Source: Walt Willis.)


— Everyone knows it stands for “Bug-Eyed Monster”. Generally it refers to any alien creature, monstrous in form, used in SF art. But few know that the term was actually coined by Martin Alger in Aug, 1939, when he announced the formation of “The Society For Prevention Of Bug Eyed Monsters On The Covers Of Science Fiction Publications”.

Alger’s first use of the shortened term “BEM” dates from a letter he wrote in January of 1941. According to Dick Eney it was the first strictly fannish slang to be included in a mundane dictionary (some time prior to 1959) when Funk & Wagnalls defined it as “various abhorrent monsters, such as are found in science-fiction.” (Sources: Dick Eney & Harry Warner Jr.)


— And as we all know, this is Melvin.



— At some point in the mid-1980s US fan Avedon Carol won the TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund). As is customary in such funds she became the administrator of the fund for the following year. Well-known US fan Richard Bergeron alleged that she tried to rig the subsequent election in favour of her future husband, English fan Rob Hansen. All facts being open to interpretation, faneds everywhere took one side or the other and the resulting debate was quite heated, threatening to become a divisive schism in fandom, until time and cooling tempers prevailed. One of those periodic controversies which gnaw at the foundation of fandom to no good purpose, often with the disastrous effect of turning off and driving away would-be neofans. (Source: Arnie Katz.)


— For reasons unknown to me, by tradition nothing is considered truly fannish until it has an h inserted in its name. And nothing is considered more fannish than Bheer. Most probably, the ‘h’ tradition derives from the worship of Ghu, the first ‘Ghod’ of fandom, in which case the term ‘bheer’ may date back as far as 6th August 1935 when Ghu-Ghuism was first established.


— Some conventions are one-shots thrown together by enthusiastic local fans (all fan-run cons begin that way), but most annual conventions are the product of an organization, usually the local club. Some cons are under the auspices of an organization separate from the local club (though often containing members common to both). An example of the latter is WCSFA, the West Coast Science Fiction Association, a legally registered society which oversees Vancouver’s annual VCON. Be it a club or a society specific to a convention, said organization decides who puts on the annual convention, usually through a bid process. There may be competing bids, or a sole bid, but any and every bid is reviewed to make sure it is realistic and feasible, especially from the financial viewpoint.

The WCSFA bid process may or may not be typical of bids in general. A meeting is held in which the bid chairman presents information meeting the following requirements: a concom list of at least 5 competent and experienced fans including 3 specific roles: Chair, Treasurer, & Hotel Liaison, a realistic budget, a Guest of Honour willing to attend, or a specific theme with suggested programming, a letter of intent from a facility prepared to host the convention, and a start-up fund of at least $500. If there is more than one bid, the WCSFA executive (and all WCSFA members attending the meeting) vote on which bid to choose.

In the case of Worldcon, Westercon, and other large cons, bids for future cons several years ahead are voted on at the con itself by attendees. This practice has led to some rather spectacular bid parties in a last ditch attempt to influence voters.



— Since many large conventions such as Worldcon vote on future convention bids during a meeting

usually on the last day of the current convention, competing bids often throw competing bid parties during the convention in an effort to woo undecided voters. This involves a hotel suite rented by the bid committee, often decorated to suit the theme of the bid, and well stocked with free food (the more exotic and memorable the better) and awash with free high quality (or at least unusual) alcoholic beverages (though donations are gratefully accepted). This may seem pure bribery, but in fact a bid party is viewed as an opportunity to judge how well a bid committee can handle organizational challenges. If the party is poorly run, dull, unimaginative, and just plain unappealing, it’s a good indication the bid committee is not competent to run a successful convention. If, on the other hand, the bid party is well stocked, genuinely entertaining, and full of original and imaginative touches, it’s a good indication these are the people who should win the bid.



— The first fund to bring a British fan, in this case Ted Carnell, across the big pond (Atlantic Ocean) to attend a Worldcon. Forrest J. Ackerman first promoted the idea in the Oct 1946 issue of SHAGGY, a clubzine of the LA SF Association. The 1947 Philcon Worldcon was the target convention. But insufficient funds were raised and the project was postponed. Carnell wrote a thank you note to contributors, in which he stated prophetically: “There is no reason why a delegate should not visit each other’s country on alternate years…” The importance of the Big Pond Fund is that it set a precedent for the 1952 creation of TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) and all other fan funds. Carnell did eventually get funded over to attend the 1949 Cinvention Worldcon. (Sources: Dick Eney & Harry Warner Jr.)



— The three pro SF pulp magazines which dominated the market in the 1930s and early 1940s. They were, AMAZING STORIES, ASTOUNDING STORIES, and WONDER STORIES. In those days most fans read all three, and thus most fans were familiar with virtually all published SF, and were ready to argue the merits of each and any story. This commonality of interest and knowledge made a geographically diverse scattering of fans a tight-knit community. Nowadays the SF genre has expanded to the point where it’s rare to meet a fan who reads the same authors you do (or as one critic put it, rare to meet a fan who reads…). (Source: Jack Speer.)


— A red bird bath was carried in triumphant procession by the self-acclaimed Seventh Fandomites at the 1953 Midwestcon as a “rallying totem” or symbol, provided by Harlan Ellison. According to Dick Eney, “Its symbolism should be obvious to anyone familiar with Freud, being the lingam combined with the yoni.” Or, in more western terminology, the hotdog and the doughnut (or is it the other way around?) In addition, the term ‘bird bath’ was inserted into conversation at every opportunity by Seventh Fandomites as a phrase of immense import and significance, though not to the listener I suspect. A bit of whimsy, the kind of harmless silliness fans indulge in from time to time, especially at conventions. Although the term was sometimes used in derision by those opposed to the Seventh Fandomite movement, such as this quote from ABAS (#0 – Jan 1954): “Such a way of fandom is strictly for the bird baths.” (Sources: Dick Eney & Harry Warner Jr.)



— The British Interplanetary Society, founded in 1933 by P.E. Cleator and Les Johnson of Liverpool. Since British law forbade actual rocket experimentation, the work of the society was purely theoretical, though of high calibre as many scientists and engineers were members, as well as many SF fans. Much intelligent work was done on the practical design of spacesuits, suitable instrumentation, spaceship design and the like. The first organization to produce a (reasonably) accurate projection of what it would take to accomplish a Lunar landing, revealed to the British public in 1939 and generating widespread publicity as a result. Though basically dull reading (being serious and scientific and mathematical, etc), such BIS publications were perhaps the first to instill in the general public the idea that space travel was a real possibility and not just ‘Buck Rogers stuff’. It was still in existence as late as 1956. (Sources: Jack Speer & Dick Eney.)


— Spoof fannish awards first created and presented by US fan Matthew Tepper in 1973. Somewhat similar to the Canadian ELRONS (created 1971). Categories include: ‘Incompetence’, ‘Greed’, ‘Half-assed Con Officiousness’ & the ‘Brown Hole Award for Outstanding Professionalism.’ The actual award consists of a plastic black sphere subtly different depending on the nature of the award.



— A concept first defined by Bob Tucker in the early 1940s. Basically a stand-alone short sentence blurted out to disconcerting effect. There are three types:

– 1) – A phrase orphaned from it’s context: “Gotta bird bath?”

– 2) – A phrase complete unto itself, often propagandish: “Bird bathes for Ghu-Ghu!”

– 3) – A phrase that makes no sense at all: “My bird bath has no corflu.”

Blank thots are best employed to bring a conversation to a halt for a few precious seconds which give you time to: a) think up something even more devastating to say, or b) run away from the fugghead you’ve been talking to. (Sources: Jack Speer & Dick Eney.)


— In pre-STAR WARS days the popular concept of a ray gun (unlike the more modern concept of a deadly laser) was either a H.G.Wells-like ‘Martian’ Heat ray, or a gun that blasts out a bolt of electricity or atomic energy. The latter type of ray gun was often called a ‘Blaster’, for it unleashed a raw, tumbling energy that blasted its target to smithereens whereas the more general term raygun implied a more elegant, focused energy weapon.

For a faned to focus his raygun editorial powers on a target conveyed little, but to promise to fire his blaster at some hapless foe in his nish editorial offered the prospect of great and exciting violence. In short, the standard SF ‘blaster’ is a weapon more in tune with the politics of zinedom and was liable to be mentioned or employed as a literary device more often than ‘raygun’. Not often used nowadays though.



— In mundane reality, the German words for ‘Lightning War’, a term an American journalist writing for Time magazine in late1939 invented in an effort to describe the new military techniques the Germans were using to swiftly conquer Poland. The Germans themselves did not begin to use the term ‘Blitzkrieg’ till they picked it up from the western media.

In fannish terminology, a ‘Blitzkrieg’ was a drastic collective action to solve a problem created by another fan’s inaction. This originally referred to expeditions to seize an APA mailing (in order to distribute it) from a lazy O.E.’s home, but subsequently came to describe any frenzied deadline activity involving a group of fans, such as last ditch efforts to pub a clubzine. A common term during the war – the Flushing blitzkrieg of February 1940, the Philadelphia Blitzkrieg of July 1940, etc., – it fell out of use by the 1950s.


— Go to any SF convention and someone, sometime, is liable to offer you a drink of Blog at a room party. This alcoholic drink is often so potent as to be dangerous. I once, at a VCON, saw a man (admittedly already totally wasted) pass out after merely sniffing a glass of Blog. What is Blog? And where and when did it originate?

The concept of Blog, though not the actual drink, was invented in 1955 by the Liverpool Science Fiction Society. It featured prominently in their thirty minute ‘Tapera’ (tape recorded space opera) ‘THE MARCH OF SLIME’ which they played at the first Cytricon ( the 5th British National Convention also known as ‘Eastercon’ ) in the George Hotel at Kettering. These Liverpool fans had also handed out “thousands of Blog advertisements in Kettering, proclaiming it ‘the bride’s best friend'” as part of their pre-con publicity. Consequently hordes of mundanes flooded the hotel bar the first night of the convention in search of Blog. When they pointed at the ‘Drink Blog!’ sign fans had hung up at the bar, the bartender told them he was “all out, next shipment in tomorrow”, but when confronted by more and more thirsty customers demanding Blog, he created his own Blog on the spot, a mixture of cider and rum which proved quite popular. However, Liverpool fans refer to this as Blog Mark II, since it was not, in fact, the genuine original Blog.

Blog Mark I was concocted by Liverpool fan Peter Hamilton and first unveiled to fandom at large during room parties at Cytricon before the hotel bartender was finally pressured into creating his own version. The Hamilton version consisted of: “a brandy and egg flip base, to which was added black currant puree, Alka-Seltzer, and Beecham’s powder. It effervesced.” On the face of it, the bartender’s version would appear to be a more pleasant drinking experience.

Today Blog’s contents are limited only by the imagination of the fiends concocting the vile, horrible, extremely high alcohol content stuff. I was once invited to dip my glass in a large bucket of red, bubbling goo in which floated a coconut and a dead crab. “It’s Blog! You’ll like it!” No thanks. One of fandom’s deadlier traditions. (Sources: Dick Eney & Harry Warner Jr.)



– Stands for BIG NAME FAN. This is not a title you can award yourself. It is earned, usually through years of fanac which add up to a solid fandom-wide reputation, instant name recognition, and sufficient awe and respect to motivate people to actually listen to what you have to say. If a fan, having just met you, runs from the room to tell other fen he just met you, it means you’re a BNF. If strangers crowd around and write down your every word (so they can quote you in their zines), you’re a BNF. If known fuggheads go out of their way to avoid offending you, you’re a BNF. If convention after convention asks you to be their fan guest of honour, you’re a BNF. Lots of egoboo perks to being a BNF. Alas, only a universal consensus by fandom at large can grant you this title. It is rarely bestowed. But, once you are recognized as a BNF, you can then aspire to become a SMOF.


— Bob the Earthlng and Koso the Martian are the two main characters in a series of short fan fiction written by James V. Taurasi which appeared in his zines circa late 1930s and early 1940s. They were apparently quite stunningly bad stories, even Taurisi admitted he put them in merely as space filler. Eventually he wrote a story in which they both died, and someone else wrote a story killing them off again just to make certain of their demise, and fandom breathed a collective sigh of relief. (Source: Jack Speer.)


— The original meaning was ‘Best of Fandom’, and there were a number of annual anthologies of fan writing by that name, such as BEST OF FANDOM ’57. Some of these were published for and distributed at Corflu conventions. Nowadays the term BOF in casual fannish conversation stands for ‘Boring Old Fart’, a term which is usually applied to any fan who talks like a fantiquarian, insists the old days were better, and refuses to adapt to the contemporary fannish scene. Most fans eventually become BOFs. Some, like myself, revel in it. But it is still impolite to actually call someone a BOF to their face, no matter how well the term applies. (Source: Richard Brown.)



— The title of a spoof ego-boosting crudzine proposed by Walt Willis in 1952. The idea was that it would have no articles, fiction, artwork or locs, just “enthusiastic and unrestrained praise of its subscribers… ranging from a one line mention to an entire ‘appreciation’ issue.” The ultimate egoboo! (Source: Walt Willis.)



— Though often invoked by wannabe Ghuists, the Book of Ghu does not actually exist. What they are really referring to, if they but knew it, is the Gholy Ghible.


— This is a less expensive form of Angeling. Basically, to aid someone in pubbing their superduper annish, you take out a small ad in same, saying something like “Congratulations! Who woulda thought your crudzine coulda lasted this long?” or some such cheery praise, or perhaps a spoof ad of the AHMF variety, in order to give them some money to put towards their special more-expensive-than-usual issue. Like angeling, and annishs themselves for that matter, a practice pretty much fallen out of use.



— Bop talk is 1940’s hipster slang, derived from the cool world of Jazz. It was adopted by both the rock ‘n roll crowd and the beatnik movement in the 1950s (hip, cool, daddy-o, crazy, square, dig, flip, man!, stoned, etc) but in its purest form (zorch, hub-cap, cube, slith, Hollywood eyes, Kat, outest, pin, etc.,) was also to be found in the fannish writings of fen hip enough to dig that cool scene. The Toronto Insurgents were known for this, especially the ultra-cool Boyd Raeburn.



— Before the advent of computer word processing the primary engine of fanac was the typewriter. Trouble is, the typewriter has a fixed, limited armourment of symbols.

Now, if the writer of an article wanted to insert a parenthesis-type comment, it could be done using one of several methods: ‘By Ghu, I’m a great writer!’ or “By Ghu, I’m a wonderful writer” or — By Ghu, I’m a fantastic writer — or [ By Ghu, I’m a nifty writer! ] or ( By Ghu, I’m the all-time most totally awesome writer ever to come out of Spuzzum! )

But faneds being the crazed lot that they were (and are), how on earth were they to differentiate such parenthesizes from their own inserted editorial comments without confusing their readers?

According to Jack Speer, various faneds came up with different solutions, as per the following:

– Swisher drew in his own brackets, quite obviously distinct from the type key version, but this was too much trouble for most faneds to contemplate.

– Bob Tucker & others employed double parenthesizes a half space apart: (( Martian scum, you lie! ))

– Speer sometimes used Gregg shorthand parenthesizes: -( Vile Venusian, it was NOT the first convention! )-

– The most popular was probably bracketing parenthesizes within oblique marks: / Cunning Callistonion, join the cult of vacuum breathers! /

– Youd used oblique marks but also underlined the parenthesis: / I did not spill your corflu! /

– Mirta Forsto (Actually combo of Forrest J. Ackerman & ‘Morojo’ Myrtle Forest writing together) underlined her/their bracketed parenthesizes with tilde marks: ~~~~~~~~~~.

– & faned Ray Bradbury simply did his in caps: SOMEDAY I WILL BE A PRO WRITER! but this didn’t catch on.

Each one of these solutions not only served its purpose, but had the added advantage of lending a unique appearance of style to a zine, thus helping differentiate one zine from another. It was part of an editor’s signature, so to speak. (Sources: Jack Speer & Dick Eney.)


— In fandom, a term first used to describe certain members of FAPA such as Harry Warner Jr., Jack Speer, Art Widner, Russ Chauvenet & others, noted for discussing serious matters seriously (unusual in fandom!) within a context of profound knowledge & serious analysis of the subject at hand. This was circa the early 1940s, at the height of Third Fandom, which was proud to claim the Brain Trust as exemplar members of the movement. For long afterwards any FAPAn trending in that direction was called a brain-truster. The term ‘Brain Trust’ has since fallen out of use, perhaps because it smacks of elitism. (It’s true that fans are notorious for viewing themselves as an elite superior in imagination & intellect to mere ‘mundanes’, but they also tend to be very resentful of anyone they perceive as setting themselves up as a super-elite within the ranks of fandom itself.) (Source: Jack Speer.)


— At first, this was simply the name of a black fan living in the Berkeley area in California, first appearing in print in 1953 and becoming widely known by 1956 as fandom’s most amusing writer of parodies. Over the years, much was revealed about him, as for instance, the fact he was a ‘Moldy Fig’ (slang for a traditionalist Jazz fan). His articles appeared in many zines, and his locs seemingly in every zine. Tremendously popular, he was voted organizing editor for FAPA. When he announced he intended to attend Solacon (the 16th World Convention held in Los Angeles in 1958), dozens of fans vowed to meet him. Faneds, in particular, hoped to rush into print the ‘first’ impressions of meeting this legendary BNF.

At Solacon it was revealed the Carl Joshua Brandon was nothing less than the most successful hoax fan in the history of fandom. He was actually Terry Carr, one of ‘The Berkeley Bhoys’, a group of Berkeley area fans (Ron Ellik, Dave Rike, Pete Graham — and supposedly, Carl Brandon) who had also participated in the hoax. So elaborate, skillfully wrought, and extremely amusing were the elements of the hoax that fans readily forgave Carr & friends for putting one over on them. To this day the Brandon hoax is pointed to with fannish pride as THE classic example of its type. (Sources: Jack Speer & Dick Eney.)

[ See CARR, JOAN & BRISTOL, JOHN A. for other famous hoax fans ]


— Hoax fan Carl Brandon’s popularity was in large part due to his wonderful fannish parodies. They were not simply written in the style of the original work, but followed the plot closely, with the protagonist experiencing events in parallel fannish terms. For example, in his parody of J.D. Salinger’s ‘Catcher In The Rye’, Brandon “has Holden Caufield getting kicked out of FAPA rather than an exclusive boarding school, living in a Slan Shack instead of a dormitory”, etc. This made for very fine satire of fannish life. Any classic work of literature selected for this treatment is said to have undergone the process of BRANDONIZATION. (Source: Richard Brown.)


— One of those disputes which periodically divide fandom into warring camps, only this time the subject was very serious indeed.

Walter Breen was the husband of SF writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, and a well-known faned & fan writer, popular in fandom circa the early 1960s. In 1964 allegations surfaced that he was an active pedophile. He was on the waiting list for FAPA, and 13 members insisted he be dropped, then another 65 voted to reinstate him, on the grounds that the allegations were unproven hearsay.

Then Bill Donaho, Chairman of Pacificon II (the 22nd Worldcon held in Oakland, California in 1964) announced that Breen would not be allowed to attend, as the convention committee feared the legal consequences if Breen were caught in the act with a minor. Many fans reacted to this with protests & threatened boycotts of their own. Consequently, Donaho published a pre-convention zine titled THE BOONDOGGLE in which he summarized all the allegations. Some fans dismissed the charges as mere character assassination & leapt to Breen’s defence in print. Others supported Donaho.

As for the truth of the matter under dispute, Rich Brown wrote: “Breen did write the authoritative book on man-boy love and died in prison a convicted pederast.”

The furor over Walter Breen came to be known as the Boondoggle (or Breendoggle, Breenigan, etc.). Because of this war within fandom, many fans grew estranged from each other and were not on speaking terms for years afterward, thus ruining the illusion of a unified fannish community. For a while, some were afraid it had soured so many fans that fandom itself was in danger of dying. Fortunately this proved not to be the case.

Basically, it was a sad situation where one of the sordid, unpleasant realities of the mundane world intruded on the castle-in-the-sky approach to fandom common among actifen, and as it threatened to pull fandom itself into disrepute, was greatly resented by many, even to this day. (Source: Richard Brown.)


— Perhaps the first hoax fan. Bristol was actually Jack Speer. When Speer moved from one address to another in Washington D.C. in 1938, he gave out his new address as Bristol’s, and had the post office forward to his new address any mail sent to Speer at the old address. In his own words: “By giving Bristol a full background of life, easing him in gradually, and taking great care to have him speak like a newcomer and use a style of writing and grammar quite different from his own, Speer got him generally accepted as a new fan.” Donald Wollheim, who knew that Speer’s middle name was Bristol, had his suspicions, but the hoax was not actually exposed until Nycon I, the1st world convention, held in New York in 1939 (where Speer wore a John Bristol name tag– surprisingly few fans noticed). Speer’s ‘Bristol’ may have inspired Carr’s ‘Brandon’. (Sources: Jack Speer & Dick Eney.)

[ See BRANDON, CARL JOSHUA & CARR, JOAN for other fan hoaxes ]


— Something all fans claim to have. The first use of this descriptive phrase pertaining to fans appeared in a 1948 article in Writer’s Digest written by Margaret St Clair. Whether she was a fan herself or simply a journalist somehow impressed by the fannish phenomena I do not know, but the catch phrase caught on, and it’s part of the fannish lexicon. (Source: Dick Eney.)


— A contemptuous slang term for the New York Michelists who dwelt in Brooklyn circa 1937-1945, fans otherwise known as the Futurians. Many of them promoted communism as the solution to mankind’s problems. Hence the term ‘Bolsheviki’. (Source: Jack Speer.)



— A New York club composed almost exclusively of fanzine fans (a very rare sort of organization indeed!) co-founded by Arnie Katz and Rich Brown in the late 1960s. It was invitational only, thus ensuring that all members were active fanzine fans. Much good writing & several good zines came out of this club. Became inactive in the early 1970s as people moved on. It’s a concept worth repeating. (Source: Jack Speer.)


— One of the most prominent Canadian fans of the first half of the1950s.

In 1951, at the age of 18, having been advised by Ted Sturgeon to do so, he attended Nolocon, the 9th World Convention held in New Orleans. He had hitchhiked to the con, a feat which impressed everyone greatly. As Harry B. Moore, Chairman of Nolacon put it: “It is an exceedingly rare thing to find a fan with guts, self-respect, tenacity, responsibility, dependability, or honour. Your feat of hitchhiking… stands out astonishingly amidst such a morass of pseudo-persons…” (It’s a wonder the rest of the congoers didn’t take this as an insult!)

Feted & celebrated beyond all reasonable expectations, Browne later wrote: “For 5 years I had read STF, but had no knowledge that fandom existed, and had never met anyone who even read STF. On Aug 31st at 3:00 PM, 1951, I walked into the lobby of the St. Charles hotel in New Orleans and met my first fan. I consider that date & time as my entrance into fandom.”

All the same, he experienced some difficulty: “At the Nolacon, I was an outsider, an onlooker; I knew nobody and nothing. I felt strangely set apart from these people who were fans. They talked and acted beyond the powers of my comprehension and understanding. They talked about people, places, and events of which I had no knowledge. To me they seemed to be talking on a higher plane; a plane far, far beyond my reach. Knowing so much about what they discussed, they seemed to be combining telepathy and speech in their conversation. It was interesting — in a tantalizing sort of way.”

“I left the Nolacon with an overwhelming desire to become a fan; to become one of them, to talk with them in their own language, to understand what they understood, to enjoy what they enjoyed.”

As soon as he returned to Vancouver, B.C., he feverishly set about single-handedly creating a club, formally titled ‘The Vancouver SF Society’ (tho often referred to as ‘The Hibited Men’). This was in existence by December of 1951. It was the first organized fandom on the West coast of Canada. Browne served as its first President & also its first clubzine editor. He made sure it affiliated with the Canadian SF Association. There were at least a dozen members, maybe more.

Then by summer of 1952 he had moved to Edmonton, Alberta. From there he produced 6 issues of his well-regarded fanzine VANATIONS (Jun 1952 to Jul 1953). Highlights included articles by Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, & Marion Zimmer Bradley. VANATIONS was noted for Browne’s innovative PAR system of payment.

The Fall 1952 Fan Directory of the Canadian Science Fiction Association listed Browne at his Edmonton address.

While in Edmonton, sometime in 1953, he co-edited (with ‘Art Wesley’, actually Dean Grennell, of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin) a one-shot titled FILLER, consisting of 527 numbered ‘filler’ items, most of them interlineations, the idea being that faneds, in order to save space, would type in the appropriate number and leave it to the readers to look up the actual ‘filler’ in FILLER. This concept proved very popular.

In May 1953 he attended HEcon (Harlan Ellison con) in the Cleveland home of Harlan Ellison, a gathering whose purpose was to establish 7th Fandom.

I do not know if Browne was part of the Seventh Fandomite contingent invading the fourth Midwestcon where Seventh Fandom (& the red birdbath) was first unveiled to a disbelieving fannish world, but Browne did attend Philcon II, the 11th Worldcon, held in Philadelphia in Sept 1953. There he was photographed with Harlan Ellison, a drawing based on this photo appearing in CANADIAN FANDOM #19 (Dec 1953). No doubt he took part in any & all merry pranks, as he was, according to Rich Brown, ‘one of the leading lights of Seventh Fandom’.

However, Browne soon got on Ellison’s nerves. While Ellison took Seventh Fandom somewhat seriously, believing it had great potential, Browne seems to have been possessed by a crusading zeal which Ellison found too confrontational (hard to believe, given Ellison’s reputation, but apparently true). That Browne wanted the 7th Fandomites to deify Dean Grennell was harmless enough, but his plot to infiltrate FAPA with 7th Fandomites to the point of taking over through sheer numbers struck Ellison as likely to give 7th Fandom a bad reputation. Harlan also didn’t like some of the 7th Fandom broadsheets Browne had written & distributed. At some point, in reaction to all the flak he was getting, Browne quit the movement in anger.

By December 1953 Browne had moved to Wilson Heights in or near Toronto, Ontario. Throughout 1954 he remained active, writing for CANADIAN FANDOM, attempting to put out a second issue of FILLER, and contributing his apazine DAMN! to FAPA, where he got into a bit of trouble regarding his CONCUPISCENT TALES/PAPA hoax.

Then Browne dropped off the fandom map, apparently gafiated. I can find no references to him subsequent to 1954.

A key to the reasons for his gafiation may possibly be found in some comments he made in VANATIONS #4 (Feb 1953):

“With the issuance of VANATIONS, I pushed myself considerably higher up the ladder of fandom and at the same time forced the fact of my existence before a considerable number of fans, I had arrived.”

“My original ambition was to become a fan — a relatively simple goal. But, although that ambition has been realized, my final ambition has not. For as I progressed into fandom, as I studied & learned, as I matured, my final goal raised accordingly.”

“In my first year I progressed from a non-fan to a fringe-fan, to a neophan, & finally to a master-fan. Who knows how far I will go in my second year? Would anyone deny me the ambition of becoming a BNF or a super-fan?”

Browne would appear to have possessed a healthy dose of ego. Perhaps he did not realize that the status of BNF is an accolade, & not just some sort of prize you reach out & grab. It may be significant that one of his loccers in the same issue chided him, saying: “You say your interest in STF is 10%, and your interest in fandom is 90%. Translation: interest in STF & fandom 10%, interest in egoboo 90%.”

It may be that Browne ultimately was bitterly disappointed that his long term effort ‘to force the fact’ of his existence generated resistance & negative reaction, & so he decided to chuck it in.

Any & all info regarding Norman G. Browne is eagerly sought.

Addendum: In 2005 I was contacted by Norman’s sister Wenda. She informed me Norman had continued to live in Toronto, editing some community newspapers and a weekly newspaper. Eventually he sank into poverty. She recalls seeing a half page article about him in the Edmonton Journal (perhaps it was syndicated Canada wide? Or was he now in Edmonton?) in which he revealed how he managed to live on just $10.00 a day. (Dire necessity or lifestyle choice?) The last time she saw him, in Toronto circa 1990, he had been unemployed for quite some time. She suspects he has since passed away.

Early BC fandom seems to be unlucky. The identity of the Vancouver fan who in 1936 produced THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION FAN, Canada’s FIRST Science Fiction fanzine, remains unknown. Nils Helmer Frome of Fraser Mills who produced Canada’s second SF fanzine SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES in late 1936, died penniless in Wales in 1962. And now it seems that Norman’s youthful enthusiasm and promise just faded away as time went on, as happens to so many of us fans.

But I will let Wenda have the last word:

“I do know that the Vancouver club was the best of all his endeavours. He was so happy then and his mind was so active and imaginative. He knew so many people and so many knew him or of him….”

(Sources: Norman G. Browne, Dick Eney, Harry Warner Jr. & Richard Brown.)



— Here is a unique club concept. The BSAW is the ‘Bachelors STF Association of the World’, founded in 1951 by Hal Shapiro. Thoroughly tongue-in-cheek by nature, it was meant as a friendly spoof of fan organizations in general. Though in theory restricted to sex-crazed bachelors, it in fact attracted married couples and single women as well, at one point boasting of 85 members. After a few bantering publications it faded away, though fondly remembered by some. An example of the kind of self-kidding spoofs fans frequently come up with. (Source: Dick Eney.)


— Stands for the ‘British Science Fiction Organization’ founded Easter 1958 & still in existence. One of the larger, if not the largest, SF clubs in England.


— This is the Bachelor of Scientifiction, a ‘degree’ awarded by the Science Fiction League sponsored by Hugo Gernsback in the 1930s. All a fan had to do was fill out a questionnaire on general science & scientifiction (as science fiction was called back then), and if all the answers were correct, a B STF would be awarded through the mail & the recipient identified in Gernsback’s WONDER STORIES. A clever means of maintaining the activity & interests of SFL members. (Source: Jack Speer.)


— Fan drink invented and named by Canadian fan Mike Glicksohn in 1977 when he noticed that author Joe Haldeman had simultaneously run out of both gin and vermouth. Consists of: ( 4 parts tequila / 1 part pernod / stirred over ice ). “So named since tequila is the national drink of Mexico, and pernod the national drink of France.” (Source: Suzi Stefl.)

[ See Blog, The H. Beam Piper Cocktail, The Spayed Gerbil, Mead Bunny, The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, Fannish Drinksh Book, Fan Drinks ]


— A term often met with in APA mailing comments. It means: ‘But you didn’t comment on MY zine!’ The underlying implication is that the writer will now refuse to comment on the other person’s apazine by way of retaliation. This seldom happens however. It’s really just an expression of frustration, along the lines of: ‘I was so looking forward to reading what you thought of my zine. I’m disappointed you didn’t comment.’