a - b

It is past time to post this fan dictionary substitute. FanCy III this is not, but it's a pretty fair list of fan terms, and where it appears on a web site is being used as a supplement to another listing of fan terms ANYway, namely Arnie Katz's TRUFAN'S ADVISOR. Then too, to provide egoboo for where it is overdue, Roxanne Graham-Smith has been maintaining this list at:


For the record, this is the first listing of fan terms since October 1996. These are dated February 1998. My thanks to Anita Rowland, Gary Farber and Jim Singleton for helping me put this back together again after my own files became corrupted.

To the best of my ability, I am including only terms coined and used in traditional sf convention and fanzine fandom or net terms which have won acceptance by the closest on-line parallel of which I am aware -- the rec.arts.sf.fandom news group. Most definitely excluded are terms that come from sf stories rather than the community of sf fandom and "net" language, excepting (subjective judgment) where it is relevant to "fan" language. Thus, you won't find the sf term 'ftl' defined here as faster- than-light, but you might fine the fan term 'ftl' defined as being short for the late Francis T. Laney.

Quibble with me anytime you disagree with my definitions; I've been known to change my mind from time to time. Not often, but it happens.

Katie Rathslag rathslag@research.inland.com was responsible for the listing of fan terms on which this is based; when I got on line, I commented on some and critiqued others, then sat back waiting to see if another version might appear either soon or Soon (as we used to say in SAPS). One didn't, so I stepped forward with a listing of my own and now pipple are sending me their clarifications, interpretations, suggestions and comments at DrGafia@aol.com. Additions and suggested corrections are always welcome.

Contributors to this process thus far include Rich Brandt (RB--not to be confused with moi, rb), Seth Breidbart (SB), Chris Croughton (CC), Steven J. Dunn (SD). Gary Farber (GF), Dick Eney (DE), Rob Hansen (RH), Nancy Lebowitz (NL), Morris M. Keesan (MK), Tom Perry (TP), Cecil Rose (CR), Alan Swain (AS) and Dick & Leah Zeldes Smith (D&LZS). [Note: All "DE" entries represent places where I, specifically, had to dig out my copy of FanCy II to fill in the details. There are probably any number of other places where any number of us are going on what we first read there; there doesn't seem to be a proper way to credit this, except to acknowledge that it is most probably the case.]

One place where I could use a lot of help: The apas. There are now a few hundred, some not really part of our microcosm but most that are, a good number of which I know virtually nothing about. See what has already been done with the apas I >do< know about and try to give me something of similar length and depth about those I don't.

Finally, if I've used something of yours without crediting it, please let me know—-I assure you it's only an oversight and I will try to rectify it the next time.

A party (at an sf convention) usually attended only or largely by netters and their friends. Attendees gain access by stating their net address. (KR)

Short for "Active Fan". Implies activity in fanzine fandom and usually at least one other major area (conventions, clubs, on- line activity) of the microcosm. (Archaic term, but making a comeback.) (rb)

(aka "A.J." for Amateur Journalism)
The name which the hobby printers who belong to the mundane amateur press associations (essentially, the National, American and United Amateur Press Associations, or NAPA, AAPA and UAPA for short) have given to their hobby. Ajay dates back to the end of the 19th century, and thus predates our microcosm; our apas are in part inspired by their hobby. The mundane versions differ from fandom's in two important respects—-theirs have neither minimum activity requirements (see MINAC) nor any limit on number of members. Most participants in the mundane apas are hobby printers—-the disdain with which our fandom viewed Xeroxing of fanzines is but a pale reflection of the way mundane apans have looked upon the mimeo and the ditto as a means of publishing "papers" (as they call their amateur publications). However, hobby writers have made up an Important Segment at different times in their history as well, the most notable of whom from our point of view was probably H.P. Lovecraft, who distributed his journal THE ALCHEMIST through AAPA and UAPA before and during WWI. As a result of coming in contact with and being favorably impressed by the maturity of mundane apans, some of the Insurgents of the late 1940s, notably Francis T. Laney, began calling themselves "amateur journalists" or simply "amateurs" because they felt the Gernsbackian designation (fans) was too closely associated with "fanatic" (and that the actual fans of the period were too juvenile). This aspect of Insurgentism attracted a few followers, but never became widely popular. Walt Willis, whose "Serious Constructive Insurgentism" was a counter to Laney's, nonetheless presented a convincing argument, overcoming those who used "amateur" as a pejorative, by pointing out that the term comes from the Latin "amare," which means "to love"; thus, amateurs are people who do things for the love of doing them. Those who felt "professionals" were invariably superior to "amateurs", he pointed out, would condemn themselves to preferring the ministrations of a gigolo or gold-digger to those of a willing and imaginative lover. (rb)

Name given to generally stfnal Japanimation, and the people who enjoy it. (rb)

See "Nydahl's Disease".

(Amateur Press Association)
A bulletin board system conducted through snail mail that produces actual artifacts. For each edition (called a "mailing" or "distribution"), members contribute pre printed personal informal fanzines (apazines). Sometimes the OE will do printing for the members; some apas even accept emailed zines which are then printed by the OE. In any event, many apazines include or consist mostly or entirely of comments on the contributions published in the previous mailing/- distribution. The contributions go to an Official Editor (OE) [the actual title may vary], who makes up distributions/- mailings consisting of one copy of each zine and gives (in the case of a distribution) or sends (in the case of a mailing) them out to each of the members. To remain a member, one must meet minimum activity (minac) requirements, usually defined as a certain number of pages of original material within a given timeframe, plus (in most instances) pay dues to defray the costs of postage and publication of an Official Organ (OO). Some apas are designed for discussion on specific topics (e.g., APA 69, sex; REHUPA, the Robert E. Howard apa; CAPRA, the movie apa, etc.) while most are general interest. (NL)

Plural of APA. But not much used. Fans say "Data is" too, even when they're not talking about the android or making a statement like "'Data' is a plural."

The first weekly amateur press association. The (largely overlapping) membership of Fanoclasts and FISTFA of the 1960's met on alternate Fridays in New York City. Dave Van Arnam and various other Fanoclasts got involved in an incident on a subway (see "Subway Incident") after one meeting which Dave was urged to write up. He began doing so in a weekly fanzine he named FIRST DRAFT, which he distributed at FISTFA and Fanoclasts meetings; Dave was a professional mimeographer who lived in The Bronx but worked near Times Square, and it made more sense to stay after work on a Friday and while away the time pleasantly, writing the zine, than it did to leave work at the usual time, travel to the Bronx, and then turn around and come back to lower Manhattan (for FISTFA) or the fringes of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (for Fanoclasts). When others began publishing and bringing fanzines to the meetings for distribution in a similar vein, an OO was published on site and APA-F got started. It was killed off after 69 mailings by generally mutual agreement; it was amusing for a while, but frequently led to people sitting around reading the zines (rather than interacting) at Fanoclast and FISTFA meetings—- which were nominally supposed to be bi-weekly parties. But see: APA-L. (rb)

Somebody who (arguably) spends too much time writing for apae and/or who expends most of their fan activity in apas.

The second weekly apa, distributed at meetings of LASFS. When APA-F was in its infancy, word of it got back to people in Los Angeles, some of whom began contributing from afar (having someone in NYC fandom act as agent, franking their zine into the APA-F and picking up a copy of the distribution to be mailed to them). In a very short period of time, LASFS instituted its own apa along similar lines—-but in this case the apa continues to this day. Some interesting records were achieved as a result: When both groups were going concerns, Dave Van Arnam was publishing four weekly fanzines simultaneously--two for APA-F and two for APA-L--some of them 20pp or more in length. Fred Patten was the "Cal Ripkin" of APA-L, having a contribution in each of the first 1000 APA-L distributions. (That's one thousand--not a typo.) The actual number without a miss went well over that; we haven't heard from anyone in LASFS that the string has been broken. (CR)

An apazine is any zine that is distributed through an apa, whether or not it has any additional outside circulation. (rb)

The first fanzine fan's convention. A good idea but no one at the time thought of continuing it beyond the first, either locally or by passing the convention around to other groups across the country.

A small groups of fans who attended NYCon II attempted to hear the banquet speech without paying $7 for rubber chicken--first by hanging out in front of the hall and then by moving to the balcony. They included but may not have been limited to Bob Tucker, Boyd Raeburn, Ted White, Ron Ellik, Larry Stark, Jean & Andy Young, Dick Eney and Richalex Kirs. In both cases they were told, "Dave Kyle says you can't sit here"--which they laughed at and turned into a catchphrase that appeared thereafter in many fanzines. Kyle, as chairman of NyCon II, had effectively over-promised/under-sold the banquet, which put the con in the red. He had the doors closed on fans waiting in the hallway, declaring that those who hadn't paid for the banquet shouldn't get to hear Al Capp's GoH speech. When the same people showed up in the balcony to hear the rest of the banquet speeches and doings, it was felt he was only continuing his pique by telling them they couldn't stay there. In the 1990's, Kyle wrote up the happening for MIMOSA and explained for the first time that it had all been a misunderstanding--a Fire Warden had told him people were not allowed in the balcony but when he sent one of his convention helpers to tell the fans sitting there about it, the helper (apparently knowing no better) told them it was Dave who said they couldn't sit there. (rb/DE)

(1) A kind of poetry invented by damon knight in which there are no spaces between words, indicating that it should be declaimed as one long word: openeyestodarknessstillness- feelwormscrawlingovermeohmyGodcoulditbethatIamdead?
(2) Title of a fanzine published in the '70s and '80s by rich brown. (rb)

Beer. Some fans may stick an "h" into a word like "Beer" or "Beerbust" and not realize that, by implication, they're indicating an affinity for the fannish ghod Ghu (or GhuGhu). Then ,too, there are those who regard Beer (or Bheer) as a minor fannish deity unto itself. Thus, Berkeley Fandom's "Tower of Bheer Cans to the Moon" is both a totem poll and a technological marvel. (rb)

A totem of Harlan Ellison et al.'s 7th Fandom. Don't ask why; it's a bit of whimsy. (rb)

A fannish drink, like bheer. The present version, we are told, is a punch, often served with dry ice. According to Fancy II, it has come to be used for all the indefinable concoctions of alcohol and other things usually too hideous to mention which go the rounds of fan clubs and conventions. It started with Liverpool Fandom, first as the supposed sponsor of their taped faanfiction play "The March of Slime," then by hanging a "Drink Blog" sign at First Kettering (with the cooperation of the bartender); anyone who asked (including a few mundanes) was told they were "out" and didn't expect the next shipment until the next day, but later the barman made up a mixture of cider and rum to sell. The first fan concoction to bear the name was eggflip, brandy, bits of Tia Maria, Beecham's powder, aspirin, Benedictine, Alka-Seltzer, black currant juice, a touch of mustard and "other things". (SD/DE)

Big Name Fan; a fan of accomplishment who is not merely "well known" but "well liked" throughout the microcosm. It is important to note that, unlike certain other designations (e.g., "fan", "neofan", "trufan") one cannot legitimately claim BNFdom for one's self; to do so invites laughs of derision, since it's a term of admiration which must be applied to you by others, if at all. Because fandom is an anarchistic meritocracy, a BNF has status but no real power. (rb)

Initially stood for "Best Of Fandom"; several fanthologies bore the title with the appropriate year attached "Best of Fandom '57," best of Fandom '58," "Best of Fandom '63" &c. Now generally published annually by Corflu. But another meaning has crept into usage: Boring Old Fart. A salvo fired by those who are bored by any talk of fandom before they came on the scene (since nothing of importance could have possibly happened without them). See "SBOF". (rb)

a.k.a. "Breen Boondoggle. See "Exclusion Acts".

After Carl Joshua Brandon, who turned out to be a hoax created by Terry Carr, Ron Ellik, Pete Graham and Dave Rike. Carl Brandon's specialty was writing full-scale fannish parodies that went quite a bit beyond pastiche; they were close to word- for-word translations of certain mundane works into parallel fannish terms and happenings. Brandon's parody of J.D. Salinger's _The Catcher in the Rye_ has Holden Caufield getting kicked out of FAPA rather than an exclusive boarding school, living in a slan shack instead of a dormitory, interacting with other fans rather than school mates and faculty &c. By elevating fannish concerns to such levels, the works often served as effective satires as well. (rb)

New York's third club (and second invitational club) to be made up almost exclusively of fanzines fans, begun in the late '60s and continued through the early '70s. Noted for not really insurging against much of anything, except the same thing insurgents had been insurging against since the '40s. Co- founded by Arnie Katz and rich brown, initially called "Raymond" (until the joke wore thin), held first in the apartment of rich & Colleen Brown and later in the apartment of Arnie & Joyce Katz. (rb)

An apa term, the letter "M" being underlined, standing for "But You Didn't Comment On _My_ Zine (so I'm not going to comment on yours)!". The parenthetical comment is implied. (rb)