Fanwriting Before the Internet

The other day I wrote how happy I was to find a collection of John Bangsund’s fanwriting, and moaned over the superb fan writers who thrived in the age of the mimeograph that have none of their articles online.

I’ve realized since then I oversold the tragic fate of these great fans of the past. They didn’t write blogs, and for the most part their material is unavailable in searchable HTML form, so their work has a low profile. However, a lot of fanzines have been scanned in and posted online. All that needs to be done is to give people a reason to want to read them. The PDF versions may lack the scent and feel of disintegrating Twiltone paper, but is that a bad thing?

Quite a few of Wilson “Bob” Tucker’s fanzines can be accessed. For example, 46 of the 67 paper issues of Le Zombie, and the five issues of e-Zombie are at the Midamericon site. And there are even more on

The Classic Fanzines site has many zines by top fanwriters of the past. The Walt Willis, Chuck Harris, et al, issues of the immortal Hyphen are there, as well as Lee Hoffman’s Quandry, and Terry Carr and Ron Ellik’s BNF of IZ.

Also, an entire area within the site is devoted to The Enchanted Duplicator by Walt Willis and Bob Shaw. The introductory page includes Willis’ revelation that the portions specifically written by Bob Shaw are most of Chapters 5 and 6, part of Chapter 7, and the first paragraph of Chapter 17.

Update 8/1/2008: Removed Bangsund ASFR link, which only leads to a list of issues. 

Denvention 3 Party Guide

Denvneiton 3’s Melissa Morman announces:

With assistance from many great people, I’ve put together a Party Planner’s Supply Guide that lists grocery stores, specialty stores, etc. near (walking or driving distance) from Denvention.  If you’d like a copy (it’s a Word document), please send me an e-mail (melissa.morman (at) and I’ll get a copy out to you.  I’ll also have hard copy at the Information Desk.

Lakes on Titan

Yes, JPL says there are lakes on Titan, but they are lakes of a kind that would be more at home in Dante’s Inferno than here on Earth:

Scientists positively identified the presence of ethane, according to a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which manages the international Cassini spacecraft mission exploring Saturn, its rings and moons.

Liquid ethane is a component of crude oil.

The Law According to John Bangsund

Every time I leap into a Smofs list debate, or get into any kind of e-mail argument, I can count on making invisible typos that will erupt from the screen as if written in letters of fire the moment my message hits the list.

I just learned a few days ago that a subset of this experience is so widespread it has inspired Muphry’s Law, an adage that states that “if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.”

Muphry’s Law was invented by John Bangsund, the great Australian fan writer, in 1992. While it is easy to imagine Bangsund writing something of worldwide interest, Muphry’s Law implies John sometimes made copyediting mistakes — he’s such a polished writer I find that beyond belief.

A lot of superb fan writers who thrived in the age of the mimeograph have none of their articles online. We’re fortunate that a treasure trove of Bangsund’s work is available. Don’t miss out!

[Via Mark Manning, Randy Byers, Andrew Porter.]

Seattle Convention Center Goes Green

The Seattle in 2011 bid is pleased to announce that their proposed facility, the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle has gone green.

Bobbie DuFault explained to readers of the Smofs list this is a plus for the convention center, not the general philosophy of the Seattle bid: “The Worldcon bid should we win will not dictate just how green you go with your own individual endeavors. The hotels are not green either to my knowledge.”

The bid’s full press release appears after the jump.

Continue reading

A Fannish Take on the Quake

Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Warriors

Today’s 5.4 magnitude earthquake in Southern California subjectively felt like the biggest one I’ve experienced since the 1994 Northridge quake, but I really wouldn’t compare the two. Today’s quake rolled the ground like shaking jello. The Northridge quake felt like a giant fist trying to punch through the surface: all the up-and-down slippage helped cause tremendous damage in 1994.

I haven’t seen any e-mail from local fans saying their homes sustained any damage. We had none. Sierra was at school and didn’t even notice it happened, though teachers took everyone outside. 

I have seen two reports about minimal quake-related problems at facilities that are well-known to anyone who’s been to Worldcons in this area.

First, a chef who’s a friend of mine was working inside the Anaheim Convention Center today. He said it “suffered a little bit with a couple of burst water pipes, but not much else as far as I could tell.”

Second, the Los Angeles Times had this report about Los Angeles International Airport:

The quake briefly knocked out the ground radar system at Los Angeles International Airport, but did not affect any flights, LAX officials said. The radar is linked to a safety system that warns air traffic controllers of potential collisions. Nancy Castles, a representative for the airport, said no damage has been found at LAX except for a broken water heater that caused some flooding in the checked baggage area of Terminal 7.

And I can end this story with an exotic touch: The quake struck while 300 people were filing through a Santa Ana museum exhibit of Emperor Qin’s 2,200-year-old Terra Cotta Warriors, among the signature artifacts of ancient China. The 20 large clay figures from China were unharmed, safe in their special mountings designed with earthquakes in mind.

History, Where Is Thy Sting?

The University of Iowa has made a very nice beginning in publicizing the M. Horvat fanzine collection on its website.

There’s also a page devoted to describing the way amateur press associations (apas) work. I wish its section on Contributors was less celebrity-driven:

Apas have historical signficance in that many of them contain the amateur work of famous genre writers and illustrators. Much of this material predates the writers’ fame, although this is not always the case. In addition, many apa members, though not professional writers, were significant voices in the world of fandom. Examples of apas with contributors of significant importance in the field include Apa-Five (Frank Miller), APA-H (Harlan Ellison, as “Cordwainer Bird”), Apa-L (Alan Dean Foster; David Gerrold; Larry Niven); Apanage (Jane Yolen); Elanor (March Laumer); Fantasy Amateur (Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Silverberg, Donald Wollheim); Rehupa (Charles de Lint; Michael Stackpole); and SAPS (Jack Chalker; Gordon Eklund).

In this case the fascination with famous names has hoist the writer by his own petard. How can somebody understand the notion of an apa for hoaxes and still be taken in by the contributions of Cordwainer Bird? All of Cordwainer Bird’s contributions to APA-H were written by Elst Weinstein or me.