— Consisted of Garth Spencer, Paula Johanson, Earnie B. Klassen, & David Gordon-McDonald, the Faneds of THE CENTRAL GANGLION which appeared in the early 1980s. The term is a spoof of the ‘Edmonton Gang Of Four’ faneds who put out the contemporary zine THE MONTHLY MONTHLY.



“A single-track Relaxi-Con with little to recommend it” held July 13th, 1987, at the home of Paul ‘Smokey’ Simms in Campbell River, “a charming sea-side resort with its own Motel 8 and the world renowned Gourmet-by-the-Pulp-Mill Restaurant.” A con for members of BCSFA North. Entire program book consists of:

“June 13 – Get there via BC Navy & BC highways. Upon arrival, orientation tour thru facilities. After that, figure out where to stay, get set-up, maybe eat, definitely socialize. Then write a short story from character list provided. Then sleep.”

“June 14 – Do something about having breakfast or lunch, whichever. Afternoonish, go home, and leave Smokey to deal with his neighbours and landlord all by himself.”

Info provided for the short-story workshop:

“This will be an exercise in how-not-to become a writer…The Character list….One slightly effeminate Centaur of the usual enormous proportions….One rabbity-looking carnivorous tree-dweller…. One scantily clad, nubile young female…The Setting: Pan-Galacti-Con… GoH is Harlan LeGuin, well known author of ‘Left Hand of the Beast’ and ‘The Dispossessed Boy and his Dog.” It is the night of the Bacchanal and our cast is charged with the responsibility of sheparding the GoH to the function and keeping him away from tall females & elevators… This, then, is what you’ve got work with, like it or not.”

The ‘Official Thank You Page’ in the program book for Generic Con 1 (also known as Generi-Con 1) lists Jeanne Robinson, Vaughn Fraser, the Girlings, the Colonel, Smokey’s neighbours, Smokey, & Empress Foods. Both the program book and the poster depict Smokey wearing a ranger’s hat as depicted by Vaughn Fraser.



— Affectionate title by which Canadian faned & pro-artist Howard E. ‘Gene’ day was referred to by his fans & admirers. Gananoque, Ontario, is where he lived & maintained his artist’s studio.



— This was a wonderful device the Gestetner company introduced ( in the late 1970s? S.40 used one when printing BCSFAzine from 1981 to 1991 ) to improve the quality of mimeo production.

Basically you first produced a master sheet complete with text and illustrations. Then you placed it on the Gestafax’s rotary drum next to a blank wax stencil. As the drum slowly rotated, a photoelectric scanner moved from left to right, and every time it detected an inked area, the stylus hovering over the wax stencil made a corresponding cut. This enabled fans to produce stencils with quite complicated artwork, including large dark areas, and even photographs ( providing they had been screened into multiple dots for the original master ).

Originally Gestafax stencils cost about $7-$8 each, and the Gestafax itself was quite expensive. So fans would cram as many illustrations as they could on a master sheet and take it to a commercial service that offered relatively cheap Gestafax processing. Next the resulting wax stencil was cut up into individual illustrations. When the time came to use one of the artworks, a corresponding area of a new master stencil was cut out, and the illustration stencil piece placed in, the edges being bonded to the master with obliterine ( corflu ). This cut and paste process saved quite a bit of money.

Eventually the price of both Gestafaxs and Gestafax stencils dropped low enough that virtually everyone using a Gestetner mimeo machine purchased them. I do not know if Gestafax stencils would fit on other brands of mimeo machines, but if they did, I’m sure fans used them. They were certainly handy. Guaranteed to improve the ‘look’ of your zine. (RB)



— This was the ultimate dream mimeo machine, the most sophisticated and advanced you could buy. But apparently, for quite a long time, Gestetner products were not available in the United States. Perhaps the homegrown competition was afraid of it and lobbied legislators to erect a trade barrier specifically aimed at Gestetner, which was a European company. Sources vary, but if Gestetner was German, and the name sounds German, I can see why it wouldn’t be available in the 1930s and 1940s. If British, you’d think, especially after WWII, the British would move heaven and earth to break into the American market, so great were their war debts. But, of course, for all I know Gestetner machines are a relatively recent development and I’m just blathering away with mindless speculation…lah, lah, lah….you can get away with quite a bit with working notes…

Still, neither Speer nor Eney mention Gestetners in their Fancyclopedias, nor does Harry Warner Jr. in his history of fandom in the 1950s, so I think I can safely say Gestetners were not introduced into the States until the 1960s at the earliest, maybe not till the 1970s. Rich Brown says flat-out that Gestetner was a British brand “that for many years was unavailable in the U.S. because they were so much better than American brands”. The initial aspect of it’s legendary superiority probably gestated with the appearance of British fanzines of quality during the ‘forbidden’ period, but Brown implies that, when first available and utilized by a small number of American fans it only then impacted the awareness of US fandom with the belief “that it was impossible to get bad repro from a Gestetner”. He then goes on to point out that, as the use of the Gestetner spread, fans soon proved this wrong.

But what I’m wondering is…if available in Britain but not the States, was it available in Canada right from the beginning? After all, to this day Canada retains the old empire ties, what with the Queen still our Queen and our membership in the Commonwealth and all. Did we attain, for a brief moment of Glory ( like when we declared war on Japan hours before the U.S. did – a true fact by the way ) reproduction superiority? Damn! We lost it. Oh well.

So what the heck was the fuss all about? Rich Brown says it best: “Where US models have cotton ink pads, the Gestetner utilizes a silk screen; where American mimeos rely on internal brushes and centrifugal force ( or, on cheaper machines, outside applications with a brush ) to spread ink around, the Gestetner uses sophisticated wave rollers; the Gestetner also has a sophisticated method of adjustment that allows for better registration ( where the print area will hit on the page ), which made it superior for two-and-three-colour work.”

For roughly a decade, 1981 to 1991, Steve Forty laboured with Gestetners in his basement to produce more than 100 issues of BCSFAzine ( the clubzine of the B.C. Science Fiction Association ), using up at least 2,000 stencils, 200,00 sheets of paper and 200 tubes of ink, as well as printing “5,000 flyers, 750 program books, 700 Mr. Science booklets, 4 club directories & many other items” ( the latter figures were determined by Mr. Science at the halfway point in S. 40’s fanpubbing career, the final figures are much higher ). S.40 worked wonders, especially with the cover art. It was for this splendid achievement ( and his years as Faned prior to my reign as Ghod-Editor ) that he was rewarded with a lifetime membership in BCFA.

S.40’s production centre was a faned’s dream. He had at least 6 Gestetners, each loaded with a different colour ink, so he never had to switch inks when doing multi-colour covers, just switch the paper from one Gestetner to another. Let’s see, I know for sure he had Gestetners rigged up with the following colours: Black, Red, Orange, Blue, Brown, & Green. Typically, BCSFAzine being Digest-sized by virtue of each sheet folded in half, he would select two colours, with perhaps the cover art and bacover text in red, and the cover text and bacover art in green, and print on yellow paper. Indeed, almost every BCSFAzine was printed on coloured Twiltone paper, either Buff, Yellow, Blue, Pink, Golden Rod or, rarely, white. The result was quite striking and distinctive, not only because of the colour combination, but because Twiltone had a softer look and texture specifically designed to soak up mimeo ink. BCSFAzine maintained a ‘traditional’ look at a time when many zines, especially clubzines, had switched to commercial photocopiers.

When I was Ghod-Editor I spent many happy hours helping S.40 churn out BCSFAzines. It was boring. It was tedious. It was great fun. Combined with the collating party which took place in his living room afterwards, production of a single issue took virtually an entire day. But the club made a social event out of it. A great excuse for a party. Alas, today you hand in a disc to a commercial copying company and come back hours later for the finished product. Not quite the same thrill, is it. The old days are gone.

Well, not entirely. Here and there are a few fans with functioning Gestetners and carefully hoarded supplies of Twiltone and Gestetner ink, none of which is available any more. So once and a while an old-fashioned zine pops up, but as supplies dwindle and the ink hardens in the tubes….

The last time I saw a Gestetner for sale, I think in the early 1990s, it was a clever and pathetic attempt to join the computer generation. Basically, in a very complicated and expensive manner ( I think the asking price was $5,000 ), you could transmit the final version of your computer generated Word document to the Gestetner and it would automatically cut the stencil AND print to your specifications…on Twiltone…which is now extinct. As is Gestetner I suspect. (RB) (RGC)

Sure, modern technology is wonderful, but…….sigh….



“Are you not tired of seeing those impossible Ghods upon the throne of sf?…. While you lowly peasants have… been following the obsolete command of such ghods as Foo Foo, Ghu, etc., … there has been lingering in the darkest corners, waiting for the light to appear… the great Ghod Gha!”

So wrote Douglas Mitchell of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1952 (He is listed in that year’s CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY). It may have originally appeared in a zine of his own, or possibly was circulated by letter, but my source at hand is a reprint in G.M.’s ‘COOL’ which was itself reprinted in CANADIAN FANDOM #22 (Sep 1954).

The creation legend of Gha was: “Gha was born on the cover of GALAXY one day” but lesser Ghods subverted the fen and “obliterated all mention of the word Galaxy Magazine from the stands so that I …. am the only one that knows of such a magazine ever having appeared in the olden daze…. his magazine has unwittingly appeared once again.. the mighty GALAXY.. he now rises to claim his own. Gha seeks his rightful place in this world that he created.”

Hmm, so GHA was inspired by a BEM depiction on a GALAXY cover. Trouble is, the prozine edited by H.L. Gold began in Oct 1950 and appeared through and past the time Mitchell was writing. There was no previous GALAXY, unless he was thinking of the American fanzine by that name which Olin F. Wiggins published between 1938 & 1943. Seems unlikely. Perhaps Mitchell mistakenly believed the founding of GALAXY in 1950 was the return of some golden age prozine, when in fact he was confusing it with something else?

At any rate, GHA failed to catch on. The following may indicate why: “Even now we can see his influence upon the world. For instance, there is GHAlvinised iron… when people say GHAds…. GHAstly… GHAsoline… the name men usually apply to women’s legs, GHAms… GHAdzooks……I have pleaded his cause to sufficient purpose. I leave it up to your hands. Let the GHAllons of blessings be poured on to you from the vessels at GHA’s feet.”

All in all, a bit lame, yet nevertheless a bold attempt to add to the fannish pantheon. (RGC)


— Any fannish deity such as GhuGhu, FooFoo, Roscoe, Khamsin, the Great Spider, Mota, etc. The spelling of ‘ghod’ ( always small case ‘g’ to distinguish fannish spoof deities from the mundane bunch of Gods ) derives from the GhuGhuist tendency to insert ‘gh’ ( thus invoking the presence or spirit of Ghu ) into important words.

[See Ghu, FooFoo, Roscoe, Khamsin, The Great Spider, Mota, Herbie ]


— The sacred writings of GhuGhuism, only a few books of which were actually published in the 1930s, but enough to be invoked by GhuGhuists as proof of the existence of GhuGhu. (JS) (SM) (HWJ) (DE)

[ See Ghu / GhuGhu, GhuGhuism, GhuGhuist Calendar, GhuGhuist Territory, FooFoo ]


— The fannish and infinitely more moral version of badminton played in the attic of the legendary Oblique House, home of the equally legendary Irish fans Madeline & Walt Willis, circa 1950s & 1960s.

One end of the court was defined by a large mirror “on which was painted a rocketship, with a long exhaust trail…cunningly contrived to camouflage a crack in the glass.” The other end of the court was marked by the belly button on a large nude photo of Marilyn Monroe. It should be noted that both the mirror and the Monroe photo were hung on the wall, so one had to judge the boundaries out of the corner of one’s eye while playing. Multi-dimensional spatial awareness a vital necessity!

“It was played with a molting shuttlecock and heavy cardboard squares over a table tennis net stretched between the printing press and a chair.” A small table was placed under the net to prevent players from colliding with each other, and for further protection, a rule was strictly enforced that no heavy objects were allowed to be thrown at one’s opponent. (HWJ)



— The sole deity of the fannish cult of GhuGhuism, otherwise known as Donald Wollheim. An opposing religion, that of the FooFooists, insisted that GhuGhu was a beetle-bodied monster living on the sunward side of the planet Vulcan and Wollheim was merely his unwitting dupe, if not an actual zombie controlled by Ghuish telepathy. The phrase ‘By Ghu!’ is still occasionally to be found in fanzines for tradition’s sake. (JS) (SM)

[ See Gholy Ghible, GhuGhuism, GhuGhuist Calendar, GhuGhuist Territory, FooFoo ]


— Being the organized worship of GhuGhu. The first revelation of this, the Purple Religion, came to Donald Wollheim on the 6th of August, 1935. He soon spread the word in the pages of ARCTURUS, the organ of the Eastern New York chapter of the Science Fiction League.

Known as the Purple Religion because purple is the sacred colour of GhuGhu, the very colour of his hands, and indeed that of his followers, all of whom were devotees of the Hektograph and its purple ink, but in particular, because anyone, even non-believers, who are exposed to the very mention of GhuGhu’s name become purple-souled and are thus ‘saved’. ( That means YOU, my readers…)

In the words of Wollheim himself: “Once acknowledge GhuGhuism, and you will be saved, even tho you spend the rest of your life… putting up all sorts of anti-ghods. For your soul knows, and nothing, I repeat NOTHING your fallible brain may do thereafter, can erase the purple tinge of truth from your soul…”

The FooFooist remedy for this state of affairs, incidentally, is to remove the soul should it, by virtue of being exposed to GhuGhuism, become troublesome.

John B. Michel was the High Priest, and leaders of the church of GhuGhu in various cities were known as Archbishops. Lesser titles included Archdeacon Infernal of all Ghu ( ‘Doc’ Robert W. Lowndes ), Ghuardian of the Gholy Ghrail, etc.

During the Second World War faith in Ghu waned, but with the Revelation of Roscoe in 1948 it was prophesied that the false faiths would be reborn, and so it came to pass with the emergence of Lee Hoffman (the new incarnation of Ghu, called GhuHoffWoman ) and her zine QUANDRY circa 1950. Wollheim himself had become empty of the Ghuist essence or presence by this time, for he was in the process of becoming a vile-pro, but in so doing he carried on the ghod’s tendency to be unspeakably vile.

It should be noted that GhuGhuists have a tendency to insert ‘gh’ into important words, such as ghod, demighod, ghood, gholy ghrail, & so forth. Modern faneds will sometimes make use of these words hallowed by tradition.

It should be further noted, in case it’s not obvious, that GhuGhuism was a spoof of religion in general and was never meant to be taken seriously, merely a classic example of fannish humour & satire in action. (JS) (SM) (DE)

[ See Gholy Ghible, Ghu / GhuGhu, GhuGhuist Calendar, GhuGhuist Territory ]


— Being a calendar based on the GhuGhuist religion. It begins on the Summer Solstice ( 21st or 22nd of June ), and the months are named after prominent GhuGhuists, the first month named ‘Dawn’ after dawoolheim, others being ‘J’mil’ after John Michel, ‘Sterl’ after Kenneth Sterling, & so forth, plus a few months named after fannish terms, such as ‘KTP’, ‘Vomb’, ‘Cthulhin’, etc. (JS) (DE)

[ See Gholy Ghible, Ghu / GhuGhu, GhuGhuism, GhuGhuist Territory ]


— A nameless limbo shunned by all ghods with the exception of Ghu. Here, by invoking the name of Ghu, one can condemn one’s enemies for all eternity. (DE)

[ See Gholy Ghible, Ghu / GhuGhu, GhuGhuism, GhuGhuist Calendar ]


—  A Scotch Terrier who was the first non-human to be acclaimed Number One Fan, this at Cinvention Worldcon in Cincinnati in 1949. Dave & Pam MacInnes were his servants, both Canadian born, though living in the States while putting out NECROMANCER circa 1947. All three were present at Torcon 1 in 1948.

Leslie A. Croutch was so smitten at the sight of Pam he offered to trade Dave five mint copies of the first issue of ASTOUNDING for her. As for Goldberg Soda, Croutch described him as “a low-slung, long wheel-base, narrow tread, pooch, that sings when Pam and Dave sing…. (they) sang a song and Goldberg Soda sang his accompaniment. Pam has a high, sweet voice. Maybe I am just impressionable, though. No attempt was made to say whether Goldberg Soda was actually singing or merely voicing his criticism of what was going on at that instant.”


— In origin an early example of media condescension toward SF fandom. In a Time Magazine review of the First World Convention (New York’s NYcon 1939) in which SF fans were described as “the jitterbugs of the pulp magazine field”, an allegedly typical fan letter revealing the supposed frantic, breathless, over-excited mentality of fans was quoted in which the phrase “gosh-wow-boyoboy’ appears. Many fans thought the reporter made up the quote, but U.S. fan Martin Alger tracked its source, a letter which was printed in ‘The Reader Speaks’, the letter column of the August 1939 prozine THRILLING WONDER STORIES.

In time the phrase evolved into ‘Goshwowoboyoboy’ and became a gagline in fannish writing. More specifically, it was claimed to be the cry of the NeoFan. Even now it has not fallen entirely out of use, cropping up once and a while, especially in fannish cartoons. (JS) & (DE)



— Minneapolis fandom published in the 60s a mock tract for the great spider who loved to eat souls. Amazingly enough, this arachnidist mock religion was taken seriously in Margot Adler’s history of neo-paganism, ‘Drawing Down the Moon’.

“I believe Great Spiderism was created by John Kusske, Al Kuhfeld, and Dick Tatge (perhaps with a little assistance from Ken Fletcher). I’m not sure which of those (alone or severally) were responsible for that particular tract. It was a fairly early effort, and was designed (I think) to be casually left on reception-room tables where other religious tracts were found, or handed to door-to-door tract distributors.”   (Uncredited source – will correct if I can find my original notes)

The tract consists of a single sheet fan-folded to create 6 narrow pages. The cover page is labeled ‘TRAPPED!’ and depicts a helpless fan trapped in a giant web as a monstrous & very hairy spider approaches.

The text begins: “Do you feel TRAPPED in the WEB of LIFE? Then you have grasped the first truth of the worlds: the omnipotent Ruler of the Universe actually – as far as our limited minds can perceive his glory – like unto an ENORMOUS SPIDER… Yes, other gods exist… yea, even the depraved Ahriman, Ghughu and Herbie – all these gods exist. They exist as sparkling drops of due in the intricate WEB of the MAGNIFICENT ARACHNID himself. The worshipper of these gods is guilty only of self-delusion – of thinking that a miniscule part of the WEB is all that is needful in holiness…”

The tract then describes the GREAT SPIDER creation myth, and ends with an explanation of his follower’s afterlife possibilities. If you are not a true follower, or not a follower at all, the GREAT SPIDER will eat your soul (not to punish you, but simply because human souls are very tasty). If you are truly devout, you will sit eternally at the multiple feet of the GREAT SPIDER sharing his repast of souls. Particularly favoured followers will be reincarnated as a star or planet, hopefully sentient. And at the lower end of the scale, less than fully committed followers will be spared being consumed, but can only aspire “to spend the rest of eternity upon a dusty shelf in the Celestial Dead Letter Office.”

“I can tell you that John Kusske wrote a nice article which appeared in RUNE 45 (1975), ‘A History and Commentary on The Book of Eucalyptus’ (illustrated by Ken Fletcher), that Explains Much about Great Spiderism.”  (Uncredited source – will correct if I can find my original notes)


— An Ontario club active circa 1979 & early 1980s. Their first clubzine was called NIGHTWINDS and subtitled VOICE OF THE GUILD. Lasted at least 3 issues. Their next clubzine, or at least a zine associated with the club, was called THE ALIEN PARCHMENTS and included a brief history of the club in issue #5/6. (LP)