( U ) — from ‘U’ to THE USUAL




– Ackermanese for “You”.



— Affectionate term employed by fans (when he was still alive) for Hugo Gernsback, the founder and publisher of AMAZING STORIES in 1926, the world’s first pro-magazine devoted to what Gernsback then called SCIENTIFICTION, what everyone else called FANTASY, and what we today call SCIENCE FICTION. But a further, more fannish reason, for using the term was because he virtually created sf fandom itself, for it was his inspiration which brought about the SCIENCE FICTION LEAGUE, the catalyst which spawned fandom’s self-awareness and purpose. He was as much beloved in his day as Gene Roddenberry was by Star Trek fans in later years. And for virtually the same reasons. He was the originator, the founder, and the inspiration. Without UNCLE HUGO sf fandom would never have come to be. (SM)



– A quotation taken from a novel about a wandering immortal, and evidently referring to the pleasure of an eternal relationship with an immortal of the opposite sex, this quotation was used by Sam Moskowitz to describe the state of bliss fans experienced while attending the first World Convention in New York city in 1939. (JS)


 – A rare example of a fannish con artist at work (or perhaps a not-so-rare example of incompetence). In 1949  the ‘Universal Musketeers’ SF club was formed in Brooklyn for younger fans, dues collected and handed over to the newly elected President Ronald Friedman. He promptly disappeared.

In late 1950 he finally showed up, demanding the club pay him $100 to cover his “illness, business, and National Guard duties.” I strongly suspect they told him to go back where he came from.

Possibly in a spirit of revenge, he promptly announced he had combined the UM with another outfit he claimed to have founded, the ‘Teens Fantascience Club, forming a new entity to be called the ‘International Science Council’ which, naturally, he was in charge of. I strongly suspect they told him etc.

 If nothing else, a good example of empire-building immature fans sometimes indulge in. (DE)


— Whenever you see this term in a zine’s masthead, “Available for the usual”, it means the faned is willing to trade his zine in exchange for yours, or in exchange for article contributions, art contributions, or regular letters of comment. Getting something to read, or use, or getting a reaction, is of far greater worth to a faned than getting cash for a subscription. In fact, many zines do not have a subscription price, as mere money is considered valueless compared to the true coin of the realm, egoboo.

Yet the earliest zines were all subscription zines, or subzines. At what point did the concept of THE USUAL take hold?

Many point at Robert W. Lowndes LE VOMBITEUR which ran 37 issues from Dec 1938 to Dec 1940. But according to Harry Warner Jr., the more likely culprit is Canada’s own Leslie A. Croutch.

Warner stated in FOCAL POINT #11 (Aug 1970): “Le Vombiteur has been credited with the pioneer status in this respect… but that was an awfully small fanzine, and for years after its appearance, its influence wasn’t fully felt. I suspect that an untitled single-sheeter that Les Croutch mailed to a lot of fans late in 1945 provides one of the first full statements of the attitude that was taking control of fannish thinking, and the appearance of this philosophy in duplicated form may have helped to popularize it.”

This influence may date from even earlier. As far back as Feb 1942, contributing to UNCANNY TALES, Croutch wrote that LIGHT “is a rather unique (zine). It is not a subscription affair, but is a sort of semi-private house organ, going only to correspondents of mine who wish to read it.”

 At the very least, it can be said Croutch was in the forefront of spreading an early version of a concept (later known as THE USUAL) among the faneds of his day. (JRC) & (HWJ)