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Fan Speak: K – L

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.


  • K-a – Abbreviation for Kappa-alpha. See CAPA-alpha.
  • KaCSFFS – Abbreviation for the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, the group that sponsors the SF&F Hall of Fame.
  • Kahoutek – Something that is built up to be great, but which turns out to be a flop.
  • Kalem Club – An amateur journalism club of the 1920s, named such because all the original members had surnames beginning with a K, L, or M. The Kalem Club is considered by some authorities to be the first SF club. H. P. Lovecraft, Frank Belknap Long, and Donald Wandrei were members. Lovecraft referred to the members of the club as “The Gang.”
  • Kappa-alpha – See CAPA-alpha.
  • Karl Edward Wagner Award – A special award of the British Fantasy Society, presented for lifetime achievement to fantasy. Since 1997 the award has been named for Wagner (1945-1994), a genre writer and editor.
  • Kaymar Award – Annual award given by The National Fantasy Fan Federation for work for the benefit of the club and its members. It can only be won once. Originated by K. Martin Carlson (1904-1986), an N3F member who maintained and financed it for 25 years, the first award was given in 1959 to Ray C. Higgs.
  • Ken McIntyre Award – An award for best fanzine art, named for British fan artist McIntyre who died in 1969.
  • Kipple – Materials with a very important use that is discovered only after they have been thrown out.
  • K/S fiction – Genre of fan fiction in which Star Trek’s Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock are sexually involved with each other.
  • Kurd Lasswitz Award/Prize – Annual awards, given since 1980, for the best SF published in Germany during the previous year (described as the equivalent of the American Nebulas). An award is also given for the Best Foreign Novel. The awards honor the memory of German SF writer Kurd Lasswitz (1848-1910).
  • KYHOOYA – Short for Keep Your Head Out Of Your Armpit.


  • Lacktivity – Lack of activity, the principal cause of expulsion from an APA.
  • L.A.con – The 1972 Worldcon, held in Los Angeles, CA. Frederik Pohl was GoH; Buck & Juanita Coulson were fan Guests of Honor; Robert Bloch was toastmaster; Charles Crayne and Bruce Pelz were Con Chairs.
  • L.A.con II – The 1984 Worldcon, held in Anaheim, CA. Gordon R. Dickson was GoH; Dick Eney was fan GoH; Jerry Pournelle was toastmaster; Craig Miller & Milt Stevens were Con Chairs.
  • L.A.con III – The 1996 Worldcon, held in Anaheim, CA. James White was GoH; Roger Corman was media GoH; Elsie Wollheim was special GoH; Takumi & Sachiko Shibano were fan Guests of Honor; Connie Willis was toastmistress; Mike Glyer was Con Chair.
  • L.A.conIV – The 64th World Science Fiction Convention, held in 2006 in Anaheim, CA. Connie Willis was author GoH; James Gurney was artist GoH; Howard DeVore was fan GoH; and Frankie Thomas was special GoH.
  • Lambda Literary Awards – Annual awards given since 1988 by the Lambda Literary Foundation to recognize excellence in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender literature and publishing. The awards are presented in several categories and are not limited to SF/fantasy works.
  • Lammy Awards – See Lambda Literary Awards.
  • Lamont Award – Name for a variety of awards given at annual Pulpcons for achievement related to the early pulp magazines. The award is named after Lamont Cranston, the most popular alias of the fictional pulp hero, The Shadow.
  • Langdon chart – A chart tracing fannish romantic/sexual alliances.
  • Langford, David – See Ansible.
  • Lan’s Lantern – A Hugo-award winning fanzine published by George “Lan” Laskowski (1948-1999). Many numbers were Special Issues, each one honoring a writer on the anniversary of his 50th year of publishing SF.
  • Laser war – A mock battle conducted at cons by SF fans, and waged with weapons that project a beam of light. Sometimes called a “blaster-battle,” these wars were popular during the 1970s, but have been outlawed at most cons today.
  • LASFAPA – An APA located in the city of Los Angeles. See APA.
  • LASFS – The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, founded in 1934 (making it the oldest local fan group in the United States still in existence). The official fanzine of LASFS is Shangri L’Affaires (aka “Shaggy”).
  • “Lay” story – A fan-written story in which the principal action consists of getting the main character (often Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock of Star Trek) into a sexual relationship with a female character.
  • LBB – Abbreviation for Little Blue Books, which see.
  • LC/lc – Dealers’ abbreviation for a motion picture Lobby Card.
  • LD – Abbreviation for the SF club Louisville Dreamers.
  • Lensman Award – See Skylark Award.
  • Leslie Perri – See Perri, Leslie. See Doë.
  • Lettercol – Abbreviation for Letter column, a feature of many prozines and fanzines.
  • Letterhack/Letter hack – Someone who writes (and gets published) a large number of LOCs to fanzines and/or prozines. See LOC.
  • Letterhacks’ Day – December 19th honors the birthday of SF fandom’s greatest letterhack, Harry Warner Jr. In general, a day to honor all letterhacks. See Letterhack.
  • Lettersmanship – The art of answering a letter from another fan in such a manner that the fan will never write again. [Attributed to U.K. SF fan/author Bob Shaw] See Fansmanship.
  • Letterwar – An exchange of letters between fans in the pages of a fanzine. Sometimes more than two fans are involved in an acrimonious exchange, and the letterwar escalates into a fan feud. See Fan feud.
  • Letter-writing campaign – A concentrated effort by fans to urge renewal of a TV series, when the series has been cancelled. The most celebrated example is the campaign organized by “Star Trek” fans after the cancellation of the series was announced in 1967. Bjo Trimble led a group of fans on the West Coast who wrote thousands of letters to NBC offices, resulting in the renewal of the series.
  • Letterzine – A fanzine devoted almost exclusively to the printing of letters by fans.
  • LEZ/Lez/LeZ – Abbreviations for Tucker’s fanzine Le Zombie, which see.
  • Lez-ettes – A tightly condensed story told in three chapters, created by SF fan/author Wilson “Bob” Tucker. An example is Chapter 1: Vampire; Chaper 2, Mirror; Chapter 3, Long Time No See.
  • Le Zombie – Wilson (Bob) Tucker’s most famous fanzine, published on a regular schedule in print form from 1938 until 1948, and still available as an e-zine.
  • Lim. Ed. – Abbreviation for the book term limited edition.
  • Lime Jell-O – A catch-phrase that originated with SF author Joe Haldeman. Apparently, he once stated that his fondest fantasy, and by extention every fan’s: a bathtub filled with lime Jell-O and nubile women.
  • Lining out – The process of writing a story by reciting it to another person, who in turn contributes criticism that improves it. If the criticism is deemed to be especially valuable, the person providing it may even become a collaborator on the story.
  • Lino – Abbreviation for interlineation, a quotation or remark reprinted between parallel lines at the top or bottom of a fanzine page.
  • Literary – Fiction in printed form, regardless of its merit as literature. See Literary fan.
  • Literary fan – A fan whose preferred form of SF is books and magazines, rather than other media (movies, TV, etc.).
  • Little Blue Books – Small paper-covered booklets, published by E. Haldeman-Julius (1889-1951) of Girard, Kansas, beginning in 1919. At one time the largest mail-order book publishing house in the world, more than 500,000,000 of these 5¢ books were published in over 2,000 different titles. Several SF stories were published in this format.
  • Little Green Men – Mundane synonym for SF aliens.
  • Little Men – Short for “The Elves’, Gnomes’ and Little Men’s Science Fiction, Chowder, and Marching Society,” a San Francisco Bay Area SF fan club. The title comes from the comic strip Barnaby. The Society created and awards The Invisible Little Man Award.
  • Little Monsters of America – SF fan club formed in 1950 by Lynn Hickman and Wilkie Conner in Statesville, NC. The club was formed for the solace and unification of SF fans who were stared at as if they were little monsters when mundanes saw them reading SF prozines in public.
  • Living out of the box – Expression used to describe a dealer at a convention who is using the daily proceeds of sales (from the cash box) to pay for convention expenses.
  • LNF – Abbreviation for Little Name Fan, one who has not yet made a significant contribution to fandom. See BNF.
  • LMA – Abbreviation for Little Monsters of America.
  • LMJ – Short for Loud Mouth Jackass. See Fugghead.
  • LOC/LoC/loc– Abbreviations for a Letter of Comment, a letter to a prozine or fanzine, commenting on a particular issue. LOCs are often considered mandatory by fanzine editors who send out free copies of their publications for the expressed purpose of getting feedback on their efforts. Also, LOC was a comics magazine published by New Media Publishing Company in the early 1980s. See Loccers. See Loccing.
  • Loccers – Fans who write LOCs to fanzines. See LOC.
  • Loccing – Writing LOCs. See LOC.
  • LOCcols/LoCcols – Abbreviations for letter of comment columns.
  • LOC’D/loc’d – Abbreviation for sending a LOC, which see.
  • Locus – Short for Locus: The Newspaper of the Science Fiction Field, published/edited by science fiction BNF Charles N. Brown. Over the years Locus has won many Hugos in the fanzine, amateur magazine, and semi-prozine categories, as well as other awards.
  • Locus Awards – Annual awards given in a variety of categories by the magazine Locus, based on a vote of its readership. See Locus.
  • Logistics – The committee at a con that handles things, as opposed to people. Logistics provides both needed equipment (projectors, screens, blackboards, etc.) and amenities (pitchers of water, ash trays, etc.) for speakers and panelists.
  • Logo – The title layout of a comic strip or magazine as it appears on the cover, masthead, or splash panel.
  • Loncon – The 1957 World Science Fiction Convention, held in London. John W. Campbell, Jr. was GoH. Ted Carnell was Con Chair.
  • Loncon II – The 1965 Worldcon, held in London. Brian Aldiss was GoH; Tom Boardman was toastmaster; Ella Parker was Con Chair.
  • LoneStarCon2 – The 1997 Worldcon, held in San Antonio, Texas. Algis Budrys and Michael Moorcock were Guests of Honor; Don Maitz was artist GoH; Roy Tackett was fan GoH; Neal Barrett, Jr. was toastmaster; Karen Meschke was Con Chair.
  • LOTR – Short for Lord of the Rings.
  • Lovecraft Mythos – Fictional references created by HPL (e.g., the non-existent Necronomicon).
  • Ltd./ltd. – Abbreviation for limited (e.g., limited edition of a book).
  • Lunacons – New York area conventions. They vie with the PhilCons for the honor of being the largest and most important cons on the East Coast of the U.S. See Lunarians.
  • LUNA Monthly – A SF fanzine (edited by Anne F. Dietz), successor to Luna (edited by Frank M. Dietz, Jr.), which was published briefly in the early 1960s and then again from June 1969 to Spring 1977.
  • Lunarians – A New York area SF fan club that sponsors the Lunacons.
  • Lustrum – A period of five years. Term is attributed to SF personality Forrest J Ackerman.

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