TAFF Taking Nominations for 2022 Race

The 2022 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund race is now officially open for nominations.

After two consecutive eastbound races, it is time for a westbound race. Johan Anglemark, European TAFF Administrator, and Geri Sullivan, North American TAFF Administrator, say ”These are still uncertain times, but we think it is realistic to proceed with the race. It seems unlikely that the pandemic will make a TAFF trip impossible in 2022.”

Therefore, European fans who want to stand for TAFF for an East to West (Europe to North America) race should round up their nominators and contact one of the administrators by December 10.

Voting to elect the TAFF delegate will commence December 15 and close April 18, 2022. The winning delegate will attend Chicon 8, The 80th World Science Fiction Convention, in Chicago, Illinois, (chicon.org) from September 1 to September 5, 2022 and take over as TAFF’s next European administrator upon returning home.

This year candidates will need three European fans and two North American fans known to the Administrators to nominate them: these people must contact the current Administrators by December 10, 2021, informing them of whom they are nominating. Potential delegates will also need to send an official statement to the administrators that they are standing for TAFF (contact information provided below) listing their nominators, plus a 101-word platform statement, and a £10/€12 bond fee sent via PayPal to EUTAFF@gmail.com.

Note: When counting the votes, if there are more than three candidates, we will not apply the “20% rule” until the candidates with the fewest votes have been eliminated and there are just three candidates left.

More details about TAFF can be found at David Langford’s excellent website, taff.org.uk. If you are interested in standing for the 2022 TAFF Race or would like to nominate some deserving fan, please contact Johan Anglemark, the European Administrator (EUTAFF@gmail.com), or the North American Administrator, Geri Sullivan (TAFF@toad-hall.com).

[Based on a press release.]

Learn About SAFF, the Space Agency Fan Fund

Astronaut Jeanette Epps (seated) and unidentified fan flashing the “Live long and prosper” handsign.

By Patty Wells: While searching out some photo permissions from a group of Thermians (long story, but know that Thermians are very helpful), Mike saw info about the Space Agency Fan Fund (SAFF) fly by on FB and asked about this non-profit. Since we are always happy to have a chance to reach out to a wider audience, let us tell you more!

The mission of SAFF is to keep the factual progress of space exploration out there for our community and to help individual Worldcons and other conventions in dealing with the arrangements and funding of space experts as special guests. For more specific information you can contact us via the website: The Space Agency Fan Fund – Bringing astronauts to WorldCons since 2015.

Multiple Worldcons have arranged for astronauts to appear as special guests with notable success. However, as much as fans and pros enjoyed and learned from space professionals, it depended on the relationships and initiative of individual conventions.  Sadly this did not happen every year.  Some con runners saw a need and focus on creating a new fan fund for promoting space-related guests.

Sasquan, the 73rd Worldcon in Spokane, WA, had Kjell Lindgren appear online from space, which was wildly popular. After Sasquan, convention organizers had the vision that funding a fan organization to facilitate astronaut and other space agency personal appearances at future conventions (including Worldcons) was a great idea. The Space Agency Fan Fund was born out of this and was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Space enthusiasts and those with NASA contacts were sought out to act as a board of directors for this fledgling fund. 

Since Sasquan in 2015, we have reached out to large conventions such as Worldcons and made the arrangements for and funded several astronaut appearances. For MidAmeriCon II, the 74th Worldcon, in 2016 NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps and Stan Love appeared. Both were SAFF funded, both participated in the Hugo ceremony, with Stan accepting the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer on behalf of Andy Weir. Jeanette accepted on behalf of The Martian for Best Dramatic Presentation, an outstanding mix of real and fictional space travel, and gave a great speech about how the film did a such a good job of portraying the teamwork between astronauts in the “field” and mission control solving problems. It is also worth noting that Jeanette carries her own sonic screwdriver (should it be needed) and delighted the children with it during one of her program items.

 In 2017, SAFF funded  Kjell Lindgren to appear in person at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland and also for Worldcon 76 in San Jose, CA. 

Jeanette Epps appeared again in Dublin, Ireland, at Worldcon 77. Then, of course, the world became very different, very suddenly. However, an astronaut appearance is in the works for DC in 2021, and the first steps have been taken to discuss an SAFF funded appearance for 2022. At each Worldcon, there will be a chance to take advantage of SAFF support in providing NASA astronauts and others as guests and participants.

Start 2021 Right with Two Free Books from TAFF

Atom Abroad by Arthur Thomson and The Harpy Stateside by Ella Parker and others are available today in multiple formats at the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund’s website, where they hope you’ll make a little donation to the fund if you please.

Atom Abroad by Arthur “Atom” Thomson

The popular fanzine illustrator Atom’s lively report of his 1964 trip to the USA and Pacificon II – that year’s Worldcon, held in Oakland, California – was published in 1968… Our hero’s adventures include crossing the USA in a noisily dysfunctional car that eventually burst into flames, driving on the wrong side of Route 66, and being robbed of all his cash in a California motel – all paling into insignificance beside the terrors of the Sam Moskowitz Speech From Hell.

Cover art and selected interior illustrations by Atom himself, plus photos from the Vince Clarke collection. 35,000 words.

The Harpy Stateside by Ella Parker and others

Ella Parker was a prominent, London-based British fan of the 1950s and 1960s who published the highly regarded fanzine Orion and made a long fannish tour of the USA and Canada in 1961. Mundane circumstances prevented the completion of her intended trip report, partly published as Parker‘s Peregrinations with the subtitle (nodding to Walt Willis) The Harpy Stateside.

Rob Hansen has expanded this account with writing by many other fannish hands, tracking Ella’s triumphal progress through North America as she visited various fan centres, stayed with fannish notables and attended two major conventions. 42,000 words, with cover artwork and interiors by Atom (Arthur Thomson).

Making books is better than what many idle hands are up to these days. Let David Langford start your New Year off right with his fannish additions to TAFF’s library of free downloads.

No TAFF Race For 2021

Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund administrators Johan Anglemark, Geri Sullivan and Mike Lowrey say “After much thought and consideration, [we] have come to the conclusion that we need to postpone the 2021 TAFF race due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The TAFF race for 2021 was intended to go East to West, from Europe to DisCon III. They will now wait until 2022, and instead have a race from Europe to Chicon 8, the 80th Worldcon.

The administrators explained the reasoning behind the delay:

The general expectation of expert epidemiologists is that the pandemic will continue to rage well into 2021. For example, the British government has announced that they expect severe restrictions, including the bans on public events, to be in place for another half year. We think that DisCon III likely will be one of the first large conventions after the pandemic has been successfully beaten back or we have learnt how to live with it. Our concern is with having a TAFF race in the midst of the pandemic, without any physical conventions to attend. It would be much more difficult to enthuse people and get them to vote and to donate.

Postponing the race reduces the uncertainty for the eventual westbound TAFF delegate, and it greatly increases the probability that Michael Lowrey — this year’s TAFF winner — will get to take his postponed trip first.

“We don’t want to increase the inventory of TAFF delegates waiting to travel,” say the administrators. “And it’s not just TAFF and Mike Lowrey. Fandom has two more fan fund delegates waiting to take their trips: Alison Scott (GUFF) and Erin Underwood (DUFF). We think there will be a lot more excitement for another race once we start having in-person conventions again.”

[Based on a press release.]

2020 GUFF Race Decided

The winner of the GUFF 2020 race is Alison Scott of the UK.

GUFF, the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund or the Going Under Fan Fund, depending on which direction it’s running, exists to provide funds to enable well-known fans from Australasia and Europe to visit each other’s national (or other) conventions and get to know each other’s fandoms better.

Marcin “Alqua” Klak, European GUFF Administrator, writes:

Considering the current global situation and in consultation with the GUFF candidates and CoNZealand the GUFF delegate will participate remotely in CoNZealand (29th July – 2nd August). Once it is possible and safe to travel again the GUFF trip will be organized.

And he adds, “The current GUFF administrators would like to thank the other candidates and all those who voted in the race. We would also like to thank Claire Brialey who helped us with many things.”

There were 102 valid votes received. Also, 5 invalid votes were received (these were missing the voting contribution, additionally one voter claimed he didn’t vote.) Two fans provided the contribution but not the vote.

As one candidate withdrew from the race because of the current global situation ballots cast for them were allocated to the second preference. (Klak did not name that candidate in the press release.)

The other candidates were Cora Buhlert (Germany); Hisham El-Far and Lee Fletcher (UK); Hanna Hakkarainen (Finland); Elizabeth Jones and Claire Rousseau (UK); and Dave Lally (UK).

The votes were not tabulated in the initial press release [see update], but some other statistics were released.

There were voters from 12 countries: Australia – 17; Belgium – 1; Finland – 7; Germany – 2; Greece – 1; Ireland – 3; Netherlands – 2; New Zealand – 2; Spain – 1; Sweden – 6; UK – 48; USA – 12.

The total contributions (before PayPal claiming their fees) were: 210 AUD;  310 EUR; 558.95 GBP;  82.32 NZD.

Update 04/18/2020: The administrators have released the ballot count:

Erin Underwood Wins DUFF

Erin Underwood has won the 2020 Down Under Fan Fund and will become its new North American Administrator.

DUFF co-administrator Paul Weimer reports 60 ballots were cast. One of the ballots did not contain any voting information and the donation was just counted as a donation to the fund. Erin won an outright majority on the first round, with 37 first place votes.

However, with ConZealand being a virtual Worldcon this year and Corvid-19, Erin will not be traveling to New Zealand this year, but hopes to travel to Australasia in the DUFF tradition in 2021, health and world events permitting.

Shredded Orange TAFFeta: A Journal of the Plague Year

By Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey: As the 2020 TAFF delegate, I was booked to begin next week with Fantastika 2020, the Swecon (Swedish national SF/F convention), then going on to Turku and Helsinki in Finland; Warsaw, Katowice and Krakow in Poland, and Madrid and Barcelona, before carrying on to London, parts unknown in the UK, and eventually Birmingham for Eastercon (the British national con). Less than 24 hours ago, I posted a defiant determination to be fandom’s delegate across the Great Water.

Now Fantastika has been cancelled/postponed, and Eastercon may follow. All the meetings and stayovers and gatherings in between? They may be banned, or fans may simply consider it prudent to avoid such assemblies for now.  

I am sorry if anybody perceived my previous attitude as one of irresponsibility; I thought of it rather as steadfast determination to fulfill the obligation I had undertaken to serve as fandom’s ambassador. I had all these invites from eager fans (they FELT like they were younger and more enthusiastic than the Old Fans and Tired I usually hang with) in places like Helsinki and Katowice and Barcelona, boldly seizing a chance to connect with the broader fannish world. I was looking forward to crashing on sofas in Krakow and Madrid and Turku. And now….

My heart is breaking as I face the probability that all this planning, all this enthusiasm, will prove to have been for naught. I am hoping that something can be salvaged from the wreckage, and in the meantime I thank all of fandom for their input, even those who criticized me most harshly.

Jeanne Gomoll Publishes Her TAFF Report

Jeanne Gomoll has released her TAFForensic Report: A cold-case investigation – about her journey to the UK as a TAFF delegate over three decades ago.

She told Facebook readers today:

As winner of the 1987 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) Race, I traveled for 3 weeks in England, Scotland and Ireland, visiting with UK science fiction fans and attending the 45th world science fiction convention, Conspiracy 87, in Brighton. This is my much-belated trip report — written and published 33 years after I returned home, reconstructed from audio tapes and photographs. Highlights include tales of my convention experiences, visits with Chuck Harris, Vincent Clarke, Walt Willis, James White, David Langford and Greg and Linda Pickersgill.

The report can be ordered through Lulu. Page count: 96 pages. All proceeds of this publication will be donated to TAFF

  • Printed version (with B&W photos) $15; Order paperback here.
  • PDF version (with color photos) $8.99. Order PDF here.

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

Free Read: Homefront – Fandom in the UK (1939-1945)

The cover photo shows the remains of The Red Bull, the first pub to host London fandom’s meetings, after it was destroyed during an air raid on 16 April 1941. Photo courtesy of Holborn Library.

Homefront – Fandom in the UK (1939-1945), a massive fanhistorical compilation by Rob Hansen focusing on British fandom during World War Two, is available as a free download from the TAFF website. (Donations to the fund appreciated.)

Hansen brings together first-hand accounts of wartime experience through fannish eyes, showing how the lines of communication between fans continued during that huge national disruption – and so, somehow, did the fannish sense of humor.

It chronicles how against all the odds a handful of dedicated individuals kept that community together in circumstances inconceivable to any who didn’t live through them. Despite being bombed out of their homes, called up to serve in the armed forces, or facing the hostility of tribunals in order to register as Conscientious Objectors, they somehow succeeded in keeping our eventually far-flung fandom together when it could all so easily have just faded away. Many of those who feature most prominently in Homefront went on to be the first post-war generation of British SF writers and there is much here that should be of interest to scholars of their work.

Hansen says “I’ve also included as a prologue Chuck Harris’s funny and evocative account of his 1930s childhood amid poverty and the British Union of Fascists in London’s long-gone Jewish East End.”

To accompany Homefront, he has set up an online photo gallery of fans in uniform during World War Two.

The Ansible Editions ebook is available in several formats. 161,500 words.