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Fan Speak: A

Compiled/Edited by Jon D. Swartz, N3F Historian

There are many words and abbreviations of special relevance to science fiction. In addition, over the years science fiction fandom has created many new terms. A list of some of these words and abbreviations is provided here for N3F members and for any others who are interested in the history of science fiction and science fiction fandom. Additions and/or corrections are invited.

A

  • Ā – See Null-A.
  • AAPA – Abbreviation for American Amateur Press Association, which see.
  • ABA – Abbreviation for the American Booksellers Association
  • ABCs of SF – After the death of Heinlein (one of the “Big Three” of SF’s Golden Age: Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein), critics spoke of the ABCs of SF (Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke).
  • A. Bertram Chandler Award – An award for “Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction,” established in 1991 by The Australian Science Fiction Foundation. The name honors the Australian SF writer A. Bertram Chandler (1912-1984).
  • ABO – Abbreviation for Aboriginal Science Fiction, a SF prozine published from 1986 until 2001.
  • AC/ac – Suffix used to denote activity. Also, when capitalized, the abbreviation for The Alien Critic, which see.
  • ACBA – The Academy of Comic Book Arts.
  • ACBFC -The Academy of Comic-Book Fans And Collectors.
  • ACC – Abbreviation for SF writer Arthur C. Clarke.
  • ACCA - Abbreviation for the Arthur C. Clark Award, which see.
  • Ace Double/s – Paperback books published by Ace Books, Inc., founded in 1953. The format consisted of two titles bound together, back-to-back, giving the reader two books for one. There was an SF line and a mystery line, all edited by long-time SF personality Donald A. Wollheim. Some titles related to fandom are included in the SF Ace Double line (e. g., Barry Malzberg’s [as by K. M. O’Donnell] Dwellers of the Deep, 1970/SF fans save the universe!).
  • Acid free – Book papers which contain no free acid and have a pH value of 6.0 or greater.
  • Acidity – Acidity is probably the single most important factor affecting the permanence of archival materials such as book paper. It is defined as the condition in which the concentration of hydrogen ions in an aqueous solution exceeds that of hydroxylions. See Acid free.
  • Ack-Ack – Forrest J Ackerman’s nickname when he was in the Army. When he reached the rank of sergeant, he was also known as Sgt. Ack-Ack.
  • Ackermanese – The writing style of Forrest J Ackerman, characterized by simplified spelling, puns, neologisms, etc.
  • Ackermansion – Forrest J Ackerman’s house. Also called the Ackermuseum.
  • Ackermuseum – See Ackermansion.
  • Acolyte – Francis T. Laney’s fanzine.
  • Actifan – Someone actively engaged in the activities of fandom (a “trufan,” as opposed to a “fakefan”).
  • Activity – Any effort in fandom to do fannish things. In an APA, activity refers to the publication of a minimum number of pages per year (in order to retain membership). See APA.
  • Activity Requirement – The required amount of material needed to maintain membership in an APA.
  • Adams Award – See Douglas Adams Award.
  • Ad Lig – Fannish ad lib.
  • ADS – See August Derleth Society.
  • Adultzine – A fanzine that contains material not suitable for minors.
  • Advent: Publishers, Inc. – A Chicago publisher, run by SF fans, that specializes in nonfiction books about SF rather than SF itself.
  • Adzine – A fanzine consisting principally of advertisements.
  • AE – Abbreviation for Association Editor or APA Editor.
  • AFF – Short for The Atlanta Fantasy Faire, which see.
  • AG – Short for All Girls.
  • AGoH – Artist Guest of Honor. Some genre conventions have an AGoH.
  • Agberg – Fan name of SF author Robert Silverberg.
  • Age statement – A written declaration that the purchaser of a fanzine is over 18 years of age (or, in some cases, over 21).
  • AggieCon - Annual SF convention held in College Station, Texas.
  • Ah, Sweet Idiocy Day! – March 16, commemorating the birthday of Francis Towner Laney, a SF fan who wrote a famous fannish article with the title of “Ah, Sweet Idiocy.”
  • AJAY/AJ/Ayjay – Short for Amateur Journalism, AJAY (or Ayjay) is the name given to the hobby by the “mundane” amateur press associations. See APAs.
  • AKA/A.K.A./Aka/aka – Abbreviations for also known as (used to indicate an author writing under a pseudonym, a fictional character with more than one name, a story with two different titles, etc.).
  • AKICIF – Abbreviation for the phrase All Knowledge Is Contained In Fandom, a reference to the wide interests of SF fans and their penchant for collecting trivia.
  • Algol/Starship – Andrew Porter’s fanzine Algol, which later changed its name to Starship, and still later became the magazine Science Fiction Chronicle. Algol won a Hugo in 1973 for best fanzine (tied with Alien Critic, edited by Richard E. Geis).
  • Alien Critic, The – Richard E. Geis’ fanzine, winner of the 1974 Hugo for best fanzine.
  • Alternate history – Sub-genre of SF in which actual historical events are changed, producing different future events, often of a startling nature. Also called Alternate worlds and Alternative history. Examples: Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle, Christopher Priest’s The Separation.
  • AMA/Ama/ama – Prefix used in many words to denote something of amateur status (e. g., ama-heroes for amateur heroes).
  • Amateur – Not a professional, i.e., a fan.
  • Amateur Correspondent – Formerly titled Science Fantasy Correspondent, Amateur Correspondent was edited by Corwin F. Stickney, published during the 1930s, and devoted to “the amateur fantasy-writer”.
  • Amateur Magazines – In SF/fantasy and associated fields these amateur publications are popularly known as “fan” magazines or “fanzines.” Over the years thousands of these amateur magazines have been published throughout the world. Fanzine Index, compiled/edited by Bob Pavlat and Bill Evans, lists some 2,000 titles from the beginning of such publications until 1952. This index was reissued in 1965 by the late Harold Piser.
  • Amateur Journalism – Fan publishing activities in a variety of genres. The term predates and partially inspired SF fandom’s APAs. See AJAY.
  • Amateur Press Association/Alliance – A group of people who publish fanzines. Usually abbreviated as APA.
  • Amazing – Usual name for the first all-science fiction magazine (beginning April, 1926), considered by most critics to be the most important SF magazine to be published in that it gave the genre a home and a name. Originally (and most recently) titled Amazing Stories, the magazine has carried the titles of Amazing Science Fiction, Amazing Science Fiction Stories, and Amazing/Fantastic at various times during its long history. The most recent version suspended publication with the April 2005 issue. In March 2006 the current publisher announced that the magazine would no longer be published.
  • American Amateur Press Association (AAPA) – A nation-wide non-profit organization of amateur journalists founded in 1936, whose purpose is the promotion of amateur writers and the circulation of their work among the membership.
  • American Rocket Society – Organization that built, used model rockets. At one time the Society was close to SF fandom.
  • &rea – Fannish visual pun/abbreviation for the name Andrea.
  • Amra – Hugo winning SF fanzine (1963 & 1967/Amateur Publication), edited by George Scithers.
  • AMZ – Abbreviation for the SF magazine Amazing Stories. See Amazing.
  • André Norton Award – The André Norton Fantasy/SF Short Story Award, named for the prolific SF author, is part of a Florida state writing contest that started in 1989. Also, the name of an award, beginning in 2006, given by the SFWA for “outstanding young adult science fiction or fantasy.”
  • Anglofan – A fan from Britain. See Anglofandom.
  • Anglofandom – British fans, fanzines, clubs, conventions, etc., closely allied with American fandom but different from it.
  • Animation cel – The original art painted on a sheet of clear plastic used in the production of an animated cartoon. Fans of comic art often collect animation cels.
  • The Analytical Laboratory – A department of Astounding/Analog that rated stories in each issue as determined by a poll of readers. Beginning in 1953 the top story in each issue was given a cash bonus by editor John W. Campbell, Jr. The “AnLab” reported on each issue for thirty-eight years–from March 1938 through October 1976–and covered twenty-five hundred fiction items. Although it was dropped with the February 1977 issue, it was revived in 1979 as an annual poll–in which Analog readers picked their favorite stories, fact articles, and covers from the previous year – The creators of these fan favorites are honored each year with AnLab Awards.
  • AnLab – Abbreviation for “The Analytical Laboratory,” which see.
  • AnLab Awards – See AnLab.
  • Annish – An anniversary issue of a fanzine, usually containing extra pages and features.
  • Ann Radcliffe Awards – A category of awards once presented by The Count Dracula Society for outstanding achievements in television, cinema, and literature in the fields of SF, fantasy, and horror. The awards were named for Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, an 18th Century gothic writer.
  • Ansible – Hugo-winning fanzine (1986), edited by Dave Langford (who has also won multiple Hugos for best fan writer). Publishing note: Ansible was revived with issue #51 in October, 1991. Including 9 irregular “half issues,” thrown in for special occasions, that’s 130 issues since its return, 180 in all.”
  • Anthony Awards – Awards for mystery writers named for SF/mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher (pseudonym of William Anthony Parker White).
  • ANZAPA – An APA that serves fans in both Australia and New Zealand.
  • AOF – The Oklahoma Alliance Of Fans (1967-1983).
  • AOY/A.O.Y. – Abbreviations for All Our Yesterdays, the title of both a fan publication and a book by Harry Warner, Jr.
  • APA/Apa/apa – Amateur Press Association (or Alliance). A group of people who publish fanzines and send them to an official editor who mails a copy of each to each member in a regular bundle. Members comment on each other’s fanzines in a kind of group discussion. Usually some definition of minimum activity (minac) is required to maintain membership. Plural of APA is APAE.
  • APAE – Plural of APA, which see.
  • Apa-Eros – An apa concerned with sex. See APA-69 Classic. See APA.
  • Apa-F – The first weekly, local club apa, written by Dave Van Arnam, that lasted for 69 mailings. See APA.
  • Apa-45 – An APA whose membership is limited to those fans born in 1945 or later. See APA.
  • Apa-50 – An APA whose membership is limited to those fans born in 1950 or later. See APA.
  • Apa-H – An apa about and in the form of hoaxes.
  • Apahack – A person who belongs to several apae at the same time, especially when that activity consists of most of his/her fanac. See APA.
  • Apa-L – An apa associated with the club LASFS. See APA.
  • Apa-Lambda – An apa on gay issues. See APA.
  • Apalogia – An apa, the title being a combination of/pun on the word apology. See APA.
  • Apan – A member of an APA, which see.
  • Apanage – An apa on children’s literature. See APA.
  • Apa-NESFA – An apa run by the New England Science Fiction Association. See APA.
  • Apa-nu – An apa based in the city of New York. See APA.
  • Apa-Pi – An apa based in the city of Berkeley, CA. See APA.
  • Apa-69 Classic – An apa devoted to sexual topics. See APA.
  • Apa-Q – An apa based in Queens, New York. See APA.
  • Apa-X – Also known as Apex, this was the first “secret” invitational apa. See APA.
  • Apazine – Any fanzine distributed through an APA, which see.
  • Apex – See Apa-X.
    Apocryphals – Items carried by fans at conventions as good-luck charms, decorations, etc., many of which can be considered works of art. Some cons offer prizes for the most original apocryphals.
  • APPLE – An apa devoted to home crafts. See APA.
  • ARA – Short for American Rocketry Association.
  • Archtypal collector – The collector who collects just for the sake of collecting.
  • Ariel – An art-oriented fanzine, sub-titled “The Book of Fantasy,” this large-size semi-professional publication began publication Autumn 1976. A total of four issues were published, with the final issue dated October 1978.
  • The Arkham Collector – A 10-issue booklet published by Arkham House, beginning with a Summer 1967 issue. Contents included stories, poems, essays, and news from the field. August Derleth was editor until his death in 1971, at which time publication ceased.
  • Arkham House – A specialty SF, fantasy, and horror book publisher. Arkham House was founded in 1939 by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei for the expressed purpose of keeping the works of H. P. Lovecraft in print.
  • ArmadilloCon – A science fiction convention held annually in Austin, with several hundred attendees. The primary focus of ArmadilloCon is literary science fiction, but other topics are also featured: art, animation, science, media, and gaming. Every year, dozens of professional writers, artists and editors attend the convention.
  • Armed Services Editions – The paperback reprint books given free to servicemen during World War II. Some were SF/fantasy titles, including several books by H. G. Wells. Often abbreviated as ASE.
  • Army of Goons – Phrase used by author Robert Bloch to describe juvenile fans.
  • Art show – An exhibition of SF/fantasy artwork at a con for both pro and fan artists.
  • Arthur C. Clarke Award – The Arthur C. Clarke Award honors the best SF novel published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. The first award, presented in 1987, went to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
  • Arthur Ellis Awards – Often called “The Canadian Edgars,” the Arthur Ellis Awards are juried awards given annually since 1983 by Canada’s national association of mystery-fiction writers. Jurors are all active members of the Crime Writers of Canada.
  • Artzine – A fanzine specializing in art: original illustrations, comic art and cartoons, book/magazine cover art reproductions, or other art.
  • Artwork – Fans became interested in artwork through newspaper comic strips and the covers and interior illustrations of SF and comic magazines. Today most fanzines are illustrated in some fashion, and some are devoted almost exclusively to artwork. Both professional and amateur artwork is collectible.
  • Articlezine – A fanzine specializing in articles.
  • A.S.B./a/s.b. – The Usenet newsgroup alt.sex.bondage, and, by extension, anyone who enjoys sado-masochistic sexual games, sometimes played at conventions.
  • ASE – Abbreviation for Armed Services Editions, which see.
  • ASF – Abbreviation for Astounding Science Fiction. See Astounding/Analog.
  • ASFA - Abbreviation for the Association of Science Fiction Artists, which see.
  • ASFA Quarterly – The official publication of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. See Association of Science Fiction Artists.
  • ASFCC – American Aci-Fiction Correspondence Club.
  • ASFSFA – Abbreviation for The American Society for Science Fiction Audio.
  • Ashcan copy – A preliminary, mock copy of a new publication made up for the sole purpose of establishing copyright.
  • Asimov’s Science Fiction – One of the major SF magazines being published today. It is currently published ten times a year (two double issues) by Dell Magazines. It began as Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, usually abbreviated as IASFM, with Volume 1, Number 1 dated Spring 1977.
  • As is (or As found) – Dealer’s term to indicate that an item has some sort of damage and is being sold in the condition in which it was found.
  • Associational/association copy – Often a collectible is made even more valuable because of its associational value. A book may have belonged to a famous person and contain his bookplate or be signed off to another famous person, a magazine may be signed by the editor/writer/artist, original artwork may be inscribed, etc.
  • Association of Science Fiction Artists – A professional organization of SF illustrators that promotes the interests of SF artists, also known as the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. Usually abbreviated as ASFA.
  • *- – – – -* – Asterisks, used in fanzines to denote side comments (e. g., *snicker*).
  • Astounding/AnalogAstounding (later Analog) Science Fiction, originally launched in 1930 as Astounding Stories of Super-Science, was the premier SF magazine of SF’s Golden Age. The magazine has gone through several variations of format and name, but either Astounding or Analog has always been the principal word in the title. The current title is Analog Science Fiction and Fact. It is published 10 times a year (two double issues) by Dell Magazines.
  • The Atlanta Fantasy Faire Award – Established in 1982, the AFF Award is presented annually for lifetime achievement in the fields of SF, fantasy, horror, comics, and related fields, in any medium. Past recipients include SF personalities Forrest J Ackerman, Greg Bear, Robert Bloch, and Julius Schwartz.
  • ATom – Nickname for SF BNF/fan artist Arthur Thompson, who died in 1990. Thompson won the Rotsler Award for 2000.
  • Auction – In order to pay for conventions and other fan gatherings, auctions of collectibles are often held. The materials auctioned off consist of art, fanzines and prozines, manuscripts, books, etc. See Auction Bloch.
  • Auction Bloch – An auction at conventions at which fans bid for the time of professionals. Named for writer Robert Bloch (1917-1994).
  • August Derleth Award – Award for the best fantasy novel given each year by the British Fantasy Society. The award is named in memory of the American author/editor/publisher August W. Derleth (1909-1971).
  • August Derleth Society – Established in 1978, the ADS promotes the works of August W. Derleth, prolific Wisconsin writer and co-founder of Arkham House. See August Derleth Award.
  • Aurora Award - Since 1991 the name for the Canadian SF and Fantasy Achievement Awards, also known as the Prix Aurora Awards. Formerly known as the Casper Award.
  • Aussiecon – The 1975 World SF Convention, held in Melbourne, Australia. Ursula K. Le Guin was the pro Guest of Honor. Susan Wood and Michael Glicksohn were fan Guests of Honor.
  • Aussiecon Three – The 1999 Worldcon, held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. George Turner and Gregory Benford were Guests of Honor; John Bangsund was toastmaster; Peter Middlemiss was Con Chair.
  • Aussiecon Two – The 1985 Worldcon, held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Gene Wolfe was GoH; Ted White was fan GoH; David Grigg was Con Chair.
  • Australian ballot – A type of preferential balloting used by various SF organizations, including the fan funds, which guaranties a majority winner.
  • Australian Science Fiction Review – SF magazine published during 1966-1969, edited by John Bangsund. It was nominated for Hugo Awards (Best Fanzine) in 1967 and 1968.
  • Author Emeritus Program/Award – An award presented by the SFWA, beginning in 1995, to recognize senior writers in the SF and fantasy genres who have made significant contributions to the field. Recipients have been Emil Petaja, Wilson “Bob” Tucker, Judith Merril, Nelson S. Bond, Philip Klass (William Tenn), Daniel Keyes, Robert Sheckley, Katherine MacLean, Charles L. Harness, and William F. Nolan.
  • Avon Fantasy Reader – This digest, a companion publication to the Avon Science- Fiction Reader, was edited by Donald A. Wollheim. Eighteen issues were published on an irregular schedule during 1947-1952. See Avon Science-Fiction Reader.
  • Avon Science-Fiction Reader – Published as a companion to Avon Fantasy Reader, this saddle-stapled digest appeared on an irregular schedule for a total of three issues during 1951-1952. It was edited by Donald A. Wollheim. See Avon Fantasy Reader.
  • AWA – Abbreviation for A Woman’s Apa. See APA/Apa/apa.
  • Awards – Many awards are given out by the various fandoms. The principal award of SF fandom is the Hugo.

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