Opere Citato

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146-149

[page 146] opere citato BY HARRY WARNER, JR. Sometimes the negative approach comes closest to getting things explained. It would help, for instance, to point out that this is not a new fanzine review column. It appeared regularly in Gregg Calkins' _Oopsla!_ five or six years ago. Next, it is not the kind of fanzine review which synopsizes and expresses opinions on a group of fanzines chosen as the most recently arrived or the best of the recent arrivals. Nor does it make an effort to be totally comprehensive on the particular aspect of fanzines that gets attention in each instalment. Finally, the writer, while welcoming fanzines for review purposes, can't guarantee that any given publication will fit neatly enough into the column's subject-matter to get reviewed. Since this column last emerged into print, the fanzine field has undergone significant changes. There are more fanzines than ever before, principally because of those very changes: specialised subfandoms have become more prominent in the preoccupation with one author or one type of fantasy; the amateur press associations have been born slightly faster than other amateur press associations have died, a considerable feat; and fandom has begun publishing on a major scale in a half-dozen nations on the continent of Europe. The dividing line between fandom and prodom has been breached repeatedly, with definite effects on the kind of material appearing in many fanzines and the appearance of the material in a few other fanzines. The very word "fanzine" has not yet appeared in dictionaries, but it has been used in a mass circulation magazine like _TV Guide_ calmly and without an explanatory footnote. Some developments in fan publishing have been dwarfed by these obvious trends. But the less obvious changes could turn out to provide in the future some of the most important influences on fandom as a whole. I have been impressed by the manner in which colleges and universities are without deliberate intent or fanfare beginning to produce more and more clusters of fans among their student-bodies. This is not a new phenomenon, of course. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science Fiction Society originated in the early 1950's. The Science Fiction Society of City College of New York was formed in 1961. Miami University of Ohio organised a Science Fiction Association in 1949. UCLA claimed 78 members for its science fiction club when Forrest Ackerman discovered it in 1949. The University of Chicago Science Fiction Club started in 1952 or earlier. [page 147] OPERE CITATO But there was a difference in the 1940's and 1950's. Science fiction groups on the campus were frosting on the cake then. The bulk of fandom was still recruited from the reader sections in the prozines. Today, the letter sections, fanzine reviews, and club columns in the prozines are almost one with Nineveh and Tyre. More and more new fans are being recruited in the classrooms: either because a solitary fan finds a fellow student who reads science fiction, or because there is a formal science fiction club sanctioned by the school. This is not as undependable a site for recruiting new fans as you might assume. Most young people read at least a small amount of science fiction, and a state university with enrollment of 40,000 or so provides as many potential new fans as the prozine that used to have trouble selling 50,000 copies of each issue. The eventual result could be both a continuing source of new fans and a difference in the whole makeup of the average fan. Those that come from the campus may be expected to possess at least a minimal amount of intelligence developed into thinking habits. The prozine-derived fan was sometimes eleven years old and unable to act his age. Symbolic of what might become the future norm is a present exception to the general run of fanzines. The eighth issue of _Golana_, "published at semi-irregular intervals by and for the students of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute," contains in its 54 pages such luxuries as multi-colour covers, professional reproduction with most of its text in letterpress typefaces, and one absolute novelty in my experience for a fanzine: remarkable calligraphy by John Closson which provides each of the poems with its own distinctive and theme-fitting style of lettering. The bulk of the prose is fiction, most of which possesses the freshness of approach and technical inadequacies that you'll find in most stories by good students. Fandom in general seems little aware of this publication or its staff: John Hoffman, John Najberg, Marshall Schwartz, Reggie Barry, Bob Mattson, Jef Bienenfeld, Edward V. Dong, Gilbert Wachsman, Allan E. Levy, and so forth are hardly the names you hear dropped at worldcons. They should produce many thuds if their publishing interest survives graduation. Not nearly as elegant in appearance is _Hugin and Munin_. This publication by fans at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, seems to have resulted from spontaneous combustion: its first issue appeared from the hands of a group of new fans who had seen only one issue of one fanzine in their collective lives, and decided to put out their own magazine before any more fanzines arrived. The second issue, with some 44 dittoed pages, emanates the unforgettable aura of slightly unbridled enthusiasm that can come only when a bunch of new fans have grown active almost simultaneously. The local readership is inexperienced enough to find useful a list of science fiction novels which aren't labeled as such by the publishers, but sophisticated enough to have published a useful checklist of the fiction of Roger Zelazny. The editor is Richard Labonte, who has become a fairly familiar name in fandom by now, and there are lots more where he came from, for we learn that _Hugin and Munin_ has an on-campus circulation of 200. [page 148] HARRY WARNER The halls of academe can have other influences on the fan magazine field. Consider the case of the Tolkien fans. As everyone should know by now, the Ring novels have had three incarnations: the first, when they won a _succès d'estime_ in the general literary world, the second, when general fandom discovered them and incubated within them a subfandom devoted to the author, and the third, when their paperback publication in the United States produced unexpectedly large sales, with particular demand in college towns. In volume 3, number 2, of _The Tolkien Journal_, editor Dick Plotz describes the current state of affairs in the most graphic possible terms: "There is no returning to the days when one could write messages on subway walls in Elvish and expect that they would remain confidential." He reports himself impossibly swamped by the demands for memberships in and services of his Tolkien Society of America. College fandom came to his rescue: Ed Meskys, an instructor in physics at Belknap College, Center Harbor, New Hampshire, offered his computer for the good of Middle Earth, since it can relieve the burden of addressing envelopes; and he "hopes to take advantage of other opportunities at Belknap which would enable him to take over most of the functions of the TSA with much less effort. The button-book-poster business may have to go to someone else," Plotz warns, as a reminder that fandom must still show some self-reliance and cannot be certain that institutions of higher learning will do all the work involved in distributing the travel poster, "Come to Middle Earth," prepared by Barbara Remington, or the lapel button that urges, "Support Your Local Hobbit." Still another phase in the evolution of college fanzines is provided by a whole slew of publications emerging from a large geographical area in the general environs of MIT. _The Twilight Zine_ has long been coming from MIT's science fiction club. As the years pass, the institution's graduates have formed occasional isolated colonies elsewhere in the nation, while back at headquarters, something odd happened: the editors became Cory Seidman and Leslie Turek, who initially surprised fans elsewhere by turning out to be feminine, and then startled MIT graduates by admitting that they weren't MIT students, either. In the first issue of _The Proper Boskonian_, Cory writes: "Leslie and I have long realized how unusual it was for two non-MIT undergraduates to be editing an MIT fanzine. Now that we are non-MIT non-undergraduates, the situation is nearly unendurable." As a result, college fandom in New England is entering its second generation through the creation of the New England Science Fiction Association, which has begun to emit several small publications while in its formative stage. [page 149] OPERE CITATO Meanwhile, the recent history of the MIT Science Fiction Society shows how useful a university's equipment and finances can be for large fan projects. MIT funds made possible the production two years ago of Erwin Strauss's index to 1951-1965 science fiction magazines, and it has turned into a best seller by fandom's standards: 700 copies had sold, at last reports, and a supplement covering 1966 had been issued. Without financial assistance, Mike Ward organised the Technology Amateur Press Association, the only school-centred apa in my experience, It survived through ten distributions until its recent demise. Released in October was the third issue of _Bibliographica Futurica Fantastica_, the latest MIT project. Edwin W. Meyer hopes to make it the only complete source of information on "all recently published and forthcoming science fiction, fantasy and off-trail literature published in this country and abroad with descriptive details." A dozen pages of listings are included in this issue, together with instructions for using the elaborate system of symbols and keys to the bibliographical information and classification of each novel. These listings rely too much on publishers' blurbs for some titles and provide no supplemental information at all about other books, but regular publication of this service would be stupendously useful for research workers and collectors. _The Twilight Zine_ itself has reached its 22nd issue, evidence that fanzines can show academic influence without being too serious about it. The minutes of the MITSFS meetings reveal that the organisation voted to censure NASA because of dissapointment @disappointment@ with its estimate of the quantity of molecules at the surface of Mars, and discovered that a Selectric ball furnished with Elvish characters could be ordered for $215. Nineteen stanzas, to be sung to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," are devoted to Maxwell's equations, starting out: "Oscillate, oscillate, e-m wave; / Maxwell's equations will make you behave." {Divider: A short line made of hypens divides the text above from that below.} _Golana_: Edward V. Dong, editor in chief, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, 333 Jay St., Brooklyn, New York 11201, care of Box 439; no price specified. _Hugin and Munin_: Richard Labonte, editor, 971 Walkley Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 25¢ per issue. _The Tolkien Journal_: Edmund R. Meskys, Physics Dept., Belknap College, Center Harbor, New Hampshire 03226, $l per issue. _The Proper Boskonian_: Cory Seidman, 20 Ware St., Cambridge, Mass., 02138, included in $2.50 subscribing membership in New England Science Fiction Association. _Bibliographica Futurica Fantastica_: Edwin W. Meyer, Box E, MIT Station, Cambridge, Mass., 02139, six issues for $l.50. _The Twilight Zine_: MIT Science Fiction Society Room W20-443, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass. ,02139; 25¢ per issue.

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