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Fan Speak: I – J

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.


  • IA – Short for Interplanetary Adventurers.
  • IAFA – Abbreviation for The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, which see.
  • IASFM – Short for Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, which see.
  • IBIS – Abbreviation for the Imaginative Book Illustration Society, which see.
  • Icarus Award – An award for the most promising newcomer to the fantasy field, given by the British Fantasy Society.
  • I Check You To 19 Decimals – Translates as “You are absolutely right!” [from “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series]
  • Ideatripping – Going as far as possible with a simple idea. Attributed to fan Dan Goodman.
  • IE – Abbreviation for Insurgent Element.
  • IF/If– A prozine that later merged with Galaxy. Also known as If: Worlds of Science Fiction, If Science Fiction, and Worlds of If. Also, short for Irish Fandom, a group once active in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • IFA – Abbreviation for the International Fantasy Award. Also, at one time, the Indian Fantasy Association. See International Fantasy Award.
  • IFF – Short for the Illini Fantasy Fictioneers.
  • IguanaCon – The 1978 Worldcon, held in Phoenix, Arizona. Harlan Ellison was GoH; Bill Bowers was fan GoH; F. M. Busby was toastmaster; Tim Kyger was Con Chair.
  • Ilford Science Literary Circle – The first SF group of British fandom, which held its first meeting on October 27, 1930.
  • Illo – Short for illustration. See Illos.
  • Illos – Abbreviation for illustrations, the fan and/or pro artwork appearing in a SF prozine or fanzine. Story illos depict events in a particular story; fillos are decorative pieces placed here and there to fill up otherwise empty space.
  • Imagination – This SF prozine (October 1950–October 1958) was known for its friendly and chatty departments. In particular, “Fandora’s Box,” a fan column conducted by Mari Wolf (and later by Robert Bloch). At the time Wolf was Mrs. Rog Phillips. From March 1948 to March 1953 Phillips (pen name of Roger Phillips Graham) conducted a similar department, “The Club House,” in Amazing.
  • Imagination! – Early SF fanzine that was the forerunner of Voice of the Imagi-Nation (VOM), which see.
  • IMAO – Abbreviation for the expression In My Arrogant Opinion, used in fanzines and other apa publications. See IMHO.
  • IMHO – Abbreviation for the expression In My Humble Opinion, used in fanzines and other apa publications. See IMAO.
  • Immortal Storm, The – An early history of SF fandom written by Sam Moskowitz.
  • Imprint – A division within a publishing house that specializes in a particular genre, or that publishes a certain type of book and has its own logo. Within an imprint, there may be different lines or series, each distinguished by its own characteristic design or logo.
  • Incompl. – Abbreviation for incomplete, used by dealer’s to describe a collectible item that has some part missing.
  • Infintesimags – Extremely small mags, with just the bare essentials (from Jack Speer).
  • Inkpot Awards – Annual awards presented at the San Diego ComicCon for achievement in comic arts, animation, film/TV, science fiction/fantasy, and service to fandom.
  • Inside – A SF fanzine edited/published by Jon White, predecessor to Riverside Quarterly.
    Inside and Science Fiction Advertiser
    – Hugo-award winning SF fanzine (1955/for Amateur Publication), edited by Ron Smith.
  • Insurgents – The fun-loving crowd in fandom, happy rebels who defy authority.
  • Interaction – The 2005 Worldcon, held in Glasgow, Scotland. Guests of Honor were Christopher Priest, Robert Sheckley, and Jane Yolen. Fan Guests of Honor were Greg Pickersgill and Lars-Olov Strandberg. This was the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention.
  • InterApa – An international APA, started in 1964.
  • International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts – An organization devoted to the study of the fantastic as it appears in literature, film, and the other arts. Often abbreviated as IAFA.
  • International Fantasy Award – Created in 1951, the IFA was the first award in the SF/fantasy genre, and was given in both fiction and nonfiction categories. The awards were discontinued in 1958.
  • International Science Fiction Guild – The ISFG was created by Wilson Shepard of Oakman, Alabama in 1934, with the first issue of the society’s Bulletin bearing the date of May-June 1934.
  • Intersection – The 1995 Worldcon, held in Glasgow, Scotland. Samuel R. Delany was GoH; Gerry Anderson was media GoH; Les Edwards was artist GoH; Vin¢ Clark was fan GoH; Peter Morwood & Diane Duane were toast mr.& mrs.; Vincent Docherty and Martin Easterbrook were Con Chairs.
  • Interzone – A semi-professional magazine published in the UK, beginning with an issue dated Spring 1982. Originally published by an unpaid collective of eight people, the SF magazine still is being published today in a slick format. David Pringle was editor and publisher for 22 years, stepping down in 2004 when Andy Cox became editor/publisher.
  • Into – Fan slang for “interested in,” probably borrowed from Hippie slang of the 1960s.
  • Invisible Little Man Award – Award for service to the SF field created and given by The Elves’, Gnomes’, and Little Men’s Science Fiction, Chowder and Marching Society of Berkeley, California. The first recipient was George Pal in 1951.
  • Isaac Asimov Award – Sponsored by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts and Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing is given annually for the best SF short story by a college undergraduate. The Award honors the award-winning writer/editor Isaac Asimov.
  • Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine – Abbreviated IASFC, this Davis Publication prozine , first issue dated Spring 1977, was created as a SF counterpart to the company’s mystery titles that also featured prominent names in the titles– Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. All three magazines are now published by Dell Magazines of New York and IASFC is now titled Asimov’s Science Fiction.
  • ISFCC – Abbreviation for the International Sci-Fiction Correspondence Club.
  • ISFG – Short for the International Science Fiction Guild, which see.
  • Ish – Short for an issue of a fanzine. See annish.
  • Italia Awards – Awards administered by World Science Fiction Italia. World SF is an international association of people with a professional interest in the field of science fiction: authors, editors, publishers, translators, academics, bibliographers, musicians, film-makers, artists, librarians, critics–anywhere in the world. It was founded in Dublin in 1976 and began operation at the 1978 Dublin meeting.


  • Jacket – See dust jacket.
  • Jack Gaughan Memorial Award, The – Award presented annually at the Boskone conference to the most promising new artist in the SF field. The award honors SF artist Gaughan (1930-1985). See Boskone.
  • JAFA – Short for the Junior Amateur Fantasy Association.
  • JAM/jam – Short for Jacket and Mint, used in referring to a book that has its dust jacket and is in mint (fine) condition.
  • James Tait Black Memorial Prize –  Scotland’s oldest book awards, given annually for Fiction and Biography, written in English and originating with a British publisher during the previous year.
  • James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award – See Tiptree Award.
  • James White Award – Original short story competition for non-professional writers throughout the world, presented for the first time in 2000. The award, sponsored by the SF magazine Interzone, honors SF fan/writer James White (1928-1999), born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. White is known primarily for his “Sector General” series of books.
  • Jiant Jack – Nickname of BNF fan John B. (Jack) Speer (1920-2008).
  • J. O. Bailey Award – See Pilgrim Award.
  • Joe Fann – A typical fan. The term originated in Bob Tucker’s fanzine, Le Zombie.
  • Joe Phan – Alternate spelling of Joe Fann, which see.
  • John Bristol – Pseudonym used by SF fan Jack Speer in his prankster days.
  • John W. Campbell, Jr. Memorial Awards – Awards that honors the best SF novel of the preceding year. The award is named for the well-known editor/writer who was one of the founding fathers of modern SF.
  • Jophan – Character in The Enchanted Duplicator by Willis and Shaw (from Tucker’s Joe Fann, which see) and in many other works of fan fiction.
  • Journeyman costumer – The division of costuming judging, between that of “novice” and “master,” which see.
  • Judging – The evaluation of costumes in a variety of categories at a convention masquerade. See Novice, Journeyman, and Master costumer.
  • Juffus – A nickname for Jack F. Speer, originating from the time when he wrote his initials j’f’s.
  • Julie Award – Award presented annually at Dragon*Con for “universal achievement spanning multiple genres” and named for Julius Schwartz. “Julie” Schwartz was co-founder of the first SF fan magazine, the first Worldcon, and the world’s first SF literary agency. The initial recipient of the award was Ray Bradbury in 1998.

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