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Fan Speak: B

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.

B

  • B – Short for Barbarian.
  • Backcover/bacover – The back cover of a fanzine or prozine.
  • Backwater – An area isolated from the rest of fandom.
  • Badge – The name tag issued with your membership at a con. Such a badge serves the dual purpose of admitting you to con functions and of introducing you to other fans.
  • BAE – Abbreviation for Books Are Everything!, which see.
  • Ballantine Books – Publishing company founded in 1952 by Ian and Betty Ballantine. Ballantine’s first SF book was The Space Merchants (1953) by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth. Ballantine went on to establish a prestigious line of SF books, many of which were published simultaneously in hardback and paperback and illustrated by Richard M. Powers.
  • Balrog Award – Named for the creature from Tolkien’s award-winning book, Lord of the Rings, the Balrog Awards were given in a variety of categories from 1978 until they were discontinued in 1985.
  • B&W/b&w – Abbreviations for black and white illustrations. See Black and White.
  • BAPA – Abbreviation for British Amateur Press Association.
  • Bardic circle – A filk-sing (sing-along) where chairs are arranged in a circle, with each member of the circle taking a turn in rotation. The songs are supposed to be authentic ballads.
  • BArea – The San Francisco Bay Area: Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, etc. The fans of the area are known as BAreans.
  • Baycon – The 1968 Worldcon, held in Oakland, CA. Guest of Honor was Philip José Farmer; fan Guest of Honor was Walter J. Daugherty; Robert Silverberg was toastmaster; Bill Donaho, Alva Rogers, and J. Ben Stark were Con Chairs.
  • BAYOR – Abbreviation for Buy At Your Own Risk.
  • BC – Short for the Bohemia Club.
  • Bcr/bcr – Abbreviation for backcover/bacover, which see.
  • Beanie – Cap worn by SF fans, usually with a propeller on top. This image of a typical SF fan was created by SF author, artist, and fan Ray Faraday Nelson.
  • Bedsheet – Approximately 8½ by 12 inches in size. At various times several SF magazines have been published in this format, including Amazing, Wonder, Fantastic Adventures, ASF, and Unknown Worlds.
  • BEM/Bem – Abbreviation for Bug-Eyed Monster, a cliché alien villain, often pictured on the covers of pulp magazines menacing a human female.
  • Bennies – Fannish term for benefits, especially to SF club members (e. g., discounts on books given by book stores to members of certain organizations).
  • Beowulf Poll – The 29th issue of the fanzine Sun Spots, edited by Gerry de la Ree, published in September, 1947, to coincide with the 5th Worldcon, carried the results of the Beowulf Poll, in which fans ranked all the works of Heinlein, Kuttner, Campbell, de Camp, Doc Smith, Wells, Weinbaum, Merritt, and Lovecraft.
  • Better Little Book – See BLB.
  • BFA – See British Fantasy Awards.
  • BFCG – Abbreviation for Buffalo Fantasy Collectors Group, which see.
  • BFL – Short for the British Fantasy Library.
  • BFLg – Short for Buffalo Fantasy League.
  • BGB – Abbreviation for the Bubble-Gum Brigade, a term used to describe pre-teen fans.
  • Bheer – SF fan term, originally for beer, now for any alcoholic beverage. Apparently this spelling originated as the result of a typo.
  • Bhoys – Male SF fans.
  • Biapans – Members of two APAs, which see.
  • Bid – Some conventions, such as the Worldcons, move to a different site each year. The people, facilities, and city campaigning for such a convention make a bid and the members of the committee involved are called the bidcom.
  • Bidcom – Short for bid committee. See Bid.
  • Bidding number – The number assigned to someone who wishes to bid on artwork at a convention. Often the number is the number of the bidder’s membership, as recorded on his or her badge, to make certain the only bidders are members of the convention.
  • Big Foot art – Comic book/strip art featuring cartoon-like or “big foot” characters.
  • Big Heart Award – Another name for the E. Everett Evans Award.
  • Big Hearted Howard – A nickname for SF fan Howard DeVore, of Detroit, Michigan. DeVore was a member of N3F and famous in fan circles for his publication The Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, a reference work that has seen several editions.
  • Big Little Book – See BLB.
  • Big Little Times – Fanzine published by The Big Little Book Collector’s Club of America, devoted to the BLB, which see.
  • Big Pond Fund – A scheme organized by American SF personality Forrest Ackerman to bring British fan/pro Ted Carnell to Cincinnati in 1949. This effort led to a similar fund in 1952 to bring Irish fan Walt Willis to Chicago. Dur to the success of these special funds, the TAFF came into existence.
  • Big Three – Originally the three best-selling prozines: Amazing, Astounding, and Wonder Stories. The lineup has changed many times over the years, but for a long period of time it was Astounding/Analog, F&SF, and Galaxy. Later used to refer to the three most prominent writers of SF’s Golden Age: Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein.
  • Biolog – Department of brief biographical sketches in ASF, beginning in the February 1977 issue. The department began as a monthly feature and was conducted by SF fan and photographer Jay Kay Klein who usually included a photograph of his subject with each sketch. The department has appeared on a sporadic basis in recent years.
  • BIS – Abbreviation for the British Interplanetary Society.
  • Bjohn – Collective nickname by which science fiction BNFs Bjo and John Trimble are known.
  • Black and White – Comics that are printed only in black and white, as opposed to full-color. Black and White comics are cheaper to produce than those in color. Often abbreviated as B and W or B&W.
  • Blad – A promotional brochure.
  • BLB – Abbreviation for Big Little Book (later known as a Better Little Book), a miniature hardcover edition of a comic book originally published in the 1930s and 1940s and sought by collectors today. Derived from the comic strips of the day, BLBs had color covers with black and white interior pages that alternated text and illustration. While most of the stories had their origins in previously published syndicated newspaper comics, others were taken from movies, radio, and popular real and fictional characters. Many were SF/fantasy.
  • Blister – Term used by some dealers to describe the protective plastic bubble that encases an action figure.
  • Blog – An alcoholic punch, sometimes served with dry ice. There are no specific ingredients. The creation of blog is credited to Liverpool fans in the 1950s. More recently, short for weblog, the Internet term for an editorial.
  • Blog and Crotted Greeps – Fannish terms for “nectar and ambrosia,” a liquor and a snack favored in the British Isles.
  • Blogging – Fierce or potent (from British fandom).
  • Bloody Colonials – British fans’ term for Americans and Canadians.
  • Bloody Provincials – British fans’ term for British fans living outside of the London area.
  • BNF – Big Name Fan, a person who has made significant contributions to fandom.
  • BNFF – Big Name Female Fan. See BNF.
  • BNN – Big Name Neo, a person who is not quite a BNF, which see.
  • Bodrio – A worthless fanzine, a crudzine.
  • Boggle – To bewilder.
  • Bolega – Mythical fannish liquor.
  • Bookazine – Dealer’s term for a SF novel published in a magazine format.
  • Book fans – SF fans who insist they only read science fiction, as opposed to those fans who watch it on TV or films.
  • Books Are Everything! – A fanzine, published/edited by R. C. and Elwanda Holland of Richmond, Kentucky, devoted to collectors of paperback books. The first issue was dated January 1988; the last issue was dated October 1995. Many SF/fantasy authors and books were featured during BAE’s run of 30 issues.
  • Booga Booga – A fan expression, possibly derived from Boogie, that has no real meaning.
  • Bootlegzines – Fanzines that have been reproduced without permission of the original publisher/editor, and offered for sale at exorbitant prices.
  • BoSh – Short for SF author Bob Shaw.
  • Boskone – Annual regional SF convention held in New England, the name based on a pun that equated Boston Conference with Boskone, the villainous culture in E. E. Smith’s famous Lensman series. The first Boskone was held in 1941.
  • Bounce back offer – Term used to refer to a premium offer that is advertised by an insert in the box of the premium that was ordered (e. g., a Buck Rogers premium is received by the person who sent off for it; along with the premium the person receives an ad for another premium, one that is available only to those people who received the first premium).
  • Bow-tie – The emblem of the SMOF.
  • Bradbury Award – Award presented by the SFWA, beginning in 1992, for excellence in screen writing. It is named for author Ray Bradbury.
  • Brandco – Short for Buck Rogers and Company.
  • BRE – Short for a British reprint edition of any SF magazine, usually one from the United States.
  • British Fantasy Awards – The British Fantasy Society presents annual awards for the best fantasy works of the year. The award for the best novel, established in 1971, is named after August Derleth; the Icarus Award, established in 1987, is for the most promising newcomer to the field. See August Derleth Award.
  • British Science Fiction Association – Formed in the 1950s, the BSFA publishes the journal Vector and runs the British Science Fiction Awards, which see. Abbreviated as BSFA.
  • British Science Fiction Awards – Annual SF awards presented since 1969 by the BSFA in a variety of categories.
  • British Science Literary Association – The second national SF association in England, launched by Walter Gillings to replace the Ilford Science Literary Circle after it went into recess in the summer of 1931.
  • BSFA – See British Science Fiction Awards. Also, the abbreviation of the British Science Fiction Association and the British Science-Fantasy Association.
  • BSFS – Short for the British Science-Fantasy Society.
  • BSLA – Abbreviation for the British Science Literary Association, which see.
  • Bundles – Large mailings or other distributions of fanzines.
  • Bram Stoker Award – An annual award, given in several categories, to recognize outstanding achievement in horror and dark fantasy, chosen by members of the Horror Writers of America (HWA). The award is named after the Irish novelist, Abraham (Bram) Stoker (1847-1912), famous as the author of Dracula (1897). Several SF personalities have received life achievement awards from the HWA, including Fritz Leiber, Jack Williamson, and Gahan Wilson.
  • Brass Tacker – A SF fan who published LoCs to “Brass Tacks,” the letter column in ASF.
  • Brass Tacks – The letter column in ASF.
  • BRE – Abbreviation for British Reprint Edition (of a U. S. magazine).
  • Btw/btw – Abbreviation for “by the way,” used in fanzines and other apa publications.
  • Bucconeer – The 1998 Worldcon, held in Baltimore, Maryland. C. J. Cherryh was GoH; Milton A. Rothman was fan GoH; Stanley Schmidt was editor GoH; Michael Whelan was artist GoH; Charles Sheffield was toastmaster; Peggy Rae Pavlat was Con Chair.
  • Buck Rogers – SF character created by American writer Philip Francis Nowlan (1888-1940). Anthony (Buck) Rogers first appeared in the story “Armageddon 2419” in the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories. This story was followed by “The Air-Lords of Han” in the March 1929 Amazing. Nowlan later collaborated with artist Dick Calkins on the 1st SF comic strip, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” that ran from 1929 until 1967. The strip was originated by John Flint Dille, president of the National Newspaper Service Syndicate, Chicago. Deriders of SF once referred to it as “that Buck Rogers stuff.”
  • Buffalo Fantasy Collectors Group – An organization of genre collectors located in Buffalo, New York.
  • Bug-Eyed Monster – See BEM.
  • Burned out – Fannish synonym for GAFIA (which see), usually used when a fan has taken on more obligations than s/he can handle and withdraws from fandom.
  • The Burroughs Bibliophiles – See The Burroughs Bulletin.
  • The Burroughs Bulletin – Fanzine founded in 1947 by Vern Coriell, at that time a traveling circus performer. The Burroughs Bibliophiles, a literary society devoted to the life and work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, was created in 1960 (ten years after the death of ERB), and now publishes the Bulletin. The current editor is George T. McWhorter, who took over the publication in 1990. At that time McWhorter was curator of the Burroughs Memorial Collection, an archive of 70,000+ books and related materials, at The University of Louisville.
  • The Burroughs Newsbeat – An Edgar Rice Burroughs fanzine published by Kevin Hancer for forty-seven issues during the 1970s. It was revived in October 2002 (issue #48) by James Van Hise.

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