Pages Navigation Menu

News and reviews about the media that fan and geek culture consumes.

Categories Navigation Menu

Fan Speak: M – N – O

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.

M

  • Macrocosm – The world outside fandom, i. e., the mundane world.
  • Madge – Pet name for the SF/fantasy magazine Imagination.
  • The Mad 3 Party – Hugo-award winning SF fanzine (1989), edited by Leslie Turek.
  • MAFF – The Mid-Atlantic Fan Fund. A fund that does not exist; nevertheless, fans continue to nominate their favorite fuggheads for it. See Fan Funds.
  • MAFIA – Short for Minions of Anti-Fan, In America.
  • Magazine of Fantasy, The – See F&SF.
  • Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The – See F&SF.
  • MagiCon – The 1992 Worldcon, held in Orlando, FL. Jack Vance was GoH; Vincent Di Fate was artist GoH; Walter A. Willis was fan GoH; Spider Robinson was toastmaster; Joe Siclari was Con Chair.
  • Mail auction – A fan’s method of selling a collection by placing notices in adzines, or by mailing out flyers to other fans/collectors. Items for sale are listed with their minimum bids. The bidders send back their offers by return mail, and the seller compares prices. This process may go on for several rounds before winners are determined. Usually a mail auction is resorted to only when it is impossible to sell a collection at a convention. See Adzine.
  • Mailing – An APA bundle of fanzines mailed out by an OE (which see), containing one fanzine from each of the contributing editors.
  • Mailing comments – Comments in an apazine on the previous mailing. See Apazine. See APA. See Mailing.
  • Mainstream – The traditional realistic fiction of human character, i. e., most serious prose fiction outside the several genre categories.
  • Mana – SF term for magical energy. Attributed to SF writer Larry Niven.
  • Mañana Literary Society – A loose-knit group of Los Angeles SF writers who met at the home of Robert Heinlein in the early 1940s. The Society was featured in Anthony Boucher’s SF/mystery novel Rocket to the Morgue.
  • Manuscript Bureau – Service provided by N3F for distributing fanzine material to editors on receipt from contributors.
  • Mapbacks/map backs – Term for the Dell paperbacks (1943-1951) that had maps on the back covers–drawings of scenes, cutaway views of buildings, or sections of cities in which events in the books took place. The SF/fantasy books with mapbacks are sought by collectors.
  • Mark Time Award – Presented annually by The American Society for Science Fiction Audio, The Mark Time Awards honor the best SF audio production. See Ogle Awards.
  • Married – A magazine or comic book is “married” when two different issues have been used to make one complete issue (e. g., cover or centerfold replacement).
  • “Mary Sue” Story – A story in a fanzine that features a perfect heroine. Usually the heroine is the author as she would like to be. See “Marty Su” Story.
  • “Marty Su” Story – A story in a fanzine that features a perfect hero. See “Mary Sue” Story.
  • Mass-market paperback – A book intended for the widest possible distribution, usually printed on inexpensive paper and with cardboard covers. Most “popular” fiction – westerns, mysteries, science fiction, and romance novels – is published as mass-market paperbacks.
  • Master – Original ditto or multilith sheet, equivalent to a mimeo stencil.
  • Master costumer – The highest level of proficiency in fan costuming. A master costumer has won at least three “firsts” or “bests” at regional or Worldcon masquerades. See Novice costumer. See Journeyman costumer.
  • Mathom – Something one can’t bear to throw away, but which one doesn’t know what to do with.
  • Maxac – Short for maximum activity, term used by apas to limit the number of pages a member contributes. See Minac. See APA.
  • MC/mc – Abbreviation for mailing comments, which see.
  • Media – TV shows and movies, and anything related to such shows. See Media fan. See Literary fan.
  • Mediazine – A fanzine devoted to fiction based on characters from TV series and movies. The first mediazines are reported to have begun with the “Star Trek” TV series. See Spockanalia. See Mixed-mediazine.
  • Media fan – A person who is more interested in SF films and TV shows than in print SF.
  • Megafandom – Science fiction Fandom in all its facets, including fans of SF-related genres (e. g., comics fandom).
  • Mercer’s Day – The 31st of April, formerly May 1st. The addition of a 31st day to the month of May also eliminated May 1st (the day after Mercer’s Day is May 2nd). Mercer’s Day is named for fan Archie Mercer, who set a May 1st deadline for OMPA in 1957.
  • “Mess transit” – A fannish comment on mass transit, the means by which many fans get to and from conventions. A major factor in scheduling a convention is its proximity to “mess transit.”
  • MFS – Short for Minneapolis Fantasy Society.
  • MIB – Abbreviation for Mint In Box, term used by dealers to describe a collectible in mint condition. See MIM, MIP, MOC.
  • Microcosm – Used in the phrase, “Our microcosm,” to refer to SF fandom.
  • MidAmeriCon – The 1976 Worldcon, held in Kansas City, MO. Robert A. Heinlein was GoH; George Barr was fan GoH; Wilson Tucker was toastmaster; Ken Keller was Con Chair.
  • Milford Award – An award presented each year at the J. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature. The award is given for lifetime contributions to the publishing and editing of SF, fantasy, and horror literature.
  • Military SF – Science fiction stories about or involving military forces, war, or other armed conflicts.
  • The Millennium Philcon – The 59th Worldcon, held in Philadelphia, PA in 2001. Greg Bear was GoH; Stephen Youll was artist GoH; Gardner Dozois was editor GoH; George Scithers was fan GoH; Esther Friesner was toastmistress; Todd Dashoff was Con Chair.
  • MilPhil – Abbreviation for The Millennium Philcon, which see.
  • Milwapa – An APA located in the city of Milwaukee. See APA.
  • MIM – Dealer’s abbreviation for Mint In Mailer, a term used to describe a collectible in mint condition.
  • Mimeo – Short for mimeograph machine, a dry-stencil duplicating process used in the production of fanzines. See Hecto, Ditto.
  • Mimeozine – A fanzine printed on a mimeograph machine. See Mimeo.
  • Mimetic fiction – All fiction that is not SF. See Mundane.
  • Mimosa – Hugo-award winning (1992, 1993, 1994) SF fanzine, edited by Rich & Nicki Lynch of Gaithersburg, Maryland.
  • Minac – Short for minimum activity, the least amount of work required to maintain membership in some form of fandom (e. g., an APA, which see).
  • Minder – A person assigned to accompany the GoH at a convention to make certain the GoH gets to his/her scheduled activities on time.
  • Minicon – A small convention that usually lasts only one day.
  • Minneapa – An apa located in the city of Minneapolis, which at the time the term was coined had a strong fannish community.
  • Minneapolis in ’73 – During their bid for the 1973 Worldcon, Twin Cities fans decided they didn’t want to run a Worldcon after all, but because bid parties were so much fun they’d keep on having them. See Worldcon.
  • Mint – The highest grading classification. See Grading.
  • MIP – Dealer’s abbreviation for Mint In Package, term used to describe a collectible in mint condition. See MIB, MIM, MISB, MISP, MOC.
  • Mirrorshade SF – Another name for cyberpunk SF, referring to the rumor that the authors of such tales wear mirror-lensed sunglasses so others cannot see their crazed eyes.
  • MISB – Dealer’s abbreviation for Mint In Sealed Baggie, term used by dealers to describe a collectible in mint condition. See MIB, MIM, MIP, MOC.
  • MISHAP – Abbreviation for the Michigan Society of (Hapless) Amateur Publishers, an APA organization. See APA.
  • MISP – Dealer’s abbreviation for Mint In Sealed Package. See MISB.
  • Missing Scene story – A story in a fanzine that tries to explain what occurred between characters in a SF film (or an episode of a SF TV series), either during a particular scene or between scenes.
  • MITSFS – Abbreviation for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science Fiction Society.
  • Mixed-mediazine – A fanzine with stories based on several different TV series or films, as opposed to a fanzine that concentrates on one series or film or on one character. See Mediazine.
  • MLG(S)/Mlg(s)/mlg(s) – Abbreviations for mailing(s). See Mailing.
  • M.L.S. – Short for the Mañana Literary Society, which see.
  • MMM – Short for Murder Mystery Monthly, which see.
  • MOC – Dealer’s abbreviation for Mint On Card, term used to describe a collectible in mint condition. See MIB, MIM, MIP, MISB.
  • Mollycon – Also known as the Mollycoddle, the Mollycon is a convention of SF writers, publishers, artists, agents, and academics held at Mollymook on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. The inaugural con was held in 2003.
  • MONSFS – Short for Montreal Sci-Fiction Society.
  • Mosaic – Another term for fix-up. See Fix-up novel.
  • Movie serial – A multi-episode film, usually an action/adventure melodrama, presented one chapter at a time in weekly installments over a period of months. Each chapter typically ends with a cliff-hanger, a moment of uncertainty that leaves the audience eager for a resolution that does not come until the next chapter. Also known as chapter plays, or just serials. Many serials of the 1930s-1950s featured SF/fantasy characters and/or plots.
  • Movie Tie-In – A book issued in conjunction with a motion picture.
  • MSFS – Short for Michigan Science-Fantasy Society.
  • MTI – Abbreviation for a Movie Tie-In book, which see.
  • Multiapan – A member of several APAs. See APA.
  • Multi-fans – Fans of three or more genres of popular culture. See Double-fans.
  • Munchies – Free food provided to con goers, usually in the con suite or at room parties. See Con suite. See Room parties.
  • Mundac – Short for mundane activity. See Mundane.
  • Mundane – Anything not pertaining to fandom, and sometimes used in a derogatory fashion by members of fandom when speaking of things not related to fandom.
  • Mundania/mundania – Where mundanes live. See Mundane.
  • Murder Mystery Monthly – This digest-sized Avon series of mystery and SF/fantasy books was introduced in 1942, beginning life as the Avon Murder of the Month series. The first title in the series was A. Merritt’s Seven Footprints to Satan, and all the SF/fantasy books of A. Merritt eventually were published in this format.
  • Murphy’s Law – A satiric comment on the so-called Laws of Science, i. e., “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible time.” Several corollaries/similar formations also exist in fandom.
  • MWA – Abbreviation for Mystery Writers Award. See Edgar Awards.
  • Mystery Writers Award – See Edgar Award.
  • Mythopoeic Awards – Annual awards given in several categories by the Mythopoeic Society, a nonprofit organization of readers, scholars, and fans of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Charles Williams (The Inklings, an Oxford affinity group in the 1930s) and related myth and fantasy studies. The awards are announced at annual conventions called Mythcons.
  • MZB – Initials of SF fan/author Marion Zimmer Bradley. SF fans often are known by their initials, contractions of their names, or by nicknames. See FJA.

N

  • Nameless Ones, The – 1) A group formed by SF fan Art Widner in 1940 at the home of Louis Russell Chauvenet in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Later the group became the Stranger Club (the Strangers), and still later changed its name to the Eastern Massachusetts Fantasy Society and published the fanzine Fanfare; 2) A SF club in Seattle, Washington in the 1940s-1960s. The club fanzines were Sinisterra and Cry of the Nameless.
  • Nank – A nonsense word, invented to pair with poo, as in “nank and poo.”
  • NAPA – Abbreviation for the National Amateur Press Association.
  • NAPFC – Abbreviation for the Napoleon Fantasy Club.
  • NASFIC/NASFiC – Abbreviation for the North American Science Fiction Convention, held during years when Worldcons are located outside of North America.
  • National Bob Tucker Death Hoax Week – September 10 to September 16, the week commemorating the two hoax announcements of Tucker’s death.
  • The National Fantasy Fan – Current fanzine of the National Fantasy Fan Federation, known by the abbreviated title The Fan. See National Fantasy Fan Federation.
  • National Fantasy Fan Federation – Known as the N3F and the NFFF, the National Fantasy Fan Federation, a SF/fantasy fan club, was founded in April 1941 through the efforts of Damon Knight. Over the years it has published several different fanzines, including The National Fantasy Fan (TNFF) [The Fan], and Tightbeam. It gives the annual Neffy Awards, which see. Its members are known as Neffers.
  • NCI NCO – An apa acronym for “no comments in, no comments out” and refers to the belief in fan circles that one is required to write comments in apas in order to receive them from others.
  • N.D./n.d. – Abbreviation for no date.
  • Nebula Awards – Awards presented annually in a number of categories by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
  • Neffer – Nickname for a member of the National Fantasy Fan Federation.
  • Neffy Awards – Awards given in a variety of categories by the National Fantasy Fan Federation. The first of these were presented in 2005. See National Fantasy Fan Federation.
  • Neo – See Neofan.
  • Neofan/Neo-fan – A newcomer to fandom.
  • Neofan’s Guide – The Neo-Fan’s Guide to Science Fiction Fandom, edited by Wilson “Bob” Tucker, the eighth edition of which was published in 1996.
  • Neo-Pagan Movement – An attempt to recover the religious fervor of the pre-Christian worship of natural phenomenon. Members of the various cults associated with the movement often appear in distinctive clothing at Worldcons. See Worldcon.
  • Neopro – A person who is new to the professional side of SF.
  • NESFA – The New England Science Fiction Association. The NESFA Press has an ongoing publishing program devoted to keeping worthwhile SF/fantasy books in print.
  • NESFA Press – See NESFA.
  • New Era Publishing Company – Specialty press formed in 1948 in Philadelphia by SF fans Robert Madle and Jack Agnew.
  • Newfangles – Comic fanzine, edited by SF fans Don and Maggie Thompson from March 1967 (issue #1) through December 1971, for a total of 54 issues.
  • News – Short for newszine, which see.
  • Newsletter – A small publication, usually no more than 8 pages, that contains news items about a particular club, or that announces forthcoming publications of a particular publisher. Newsletters may also be called fanzines, but they are more ephemeral and usually limited in distribution.
  • Newspaper Sunday Pages – The Sunday funnies, from the early 1900s to the present day and usually in color, are often collected by SF/fantasy fans. The full-page strips are the most desirable.
  • Newszine – A fanzine that publishes news about fandom and/or a particular genre. The newspapers of fandom.
  • Newt Award – Annual award presented by the Czech Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. The name of the award is taken from Czech author Karel Capek’s novel War Against the Newts.
  • New Wave – SF literary movement in the late 1960s-early 1970s that emphasized the “soft” sciences over the “hard” sciences. The term was borrowed from the French films of the same period, and first used by Judith Merrill who applied it to British SF stories of the mid-1960s.
  • New Worlds – Influential British SF magazine, published from July 1946. John Carnell was the first editor. The title began as a fanzine called Novae Terrae in 1936. After 29 issues, Carnell became editor. He reverted to Volume 1, Number 1 with the March 1939 issue, and changed the title of the fanzine to New Worlds.
  • NewYorCon – The 1956 Worldcon, held in New York. Arthur C. Clarke was GoH; Robert Bloch was toastmaster; David A. Kyle was Con Chair.
  • NFC – Short for Neo Fen Club.
  • NFFF – See National Fantasy Fan Federation.
  • Niekas – Hugo-winning SF fanzine (1966/Amateur Publication), edited by Ed Meskys and Felice Rolfe. The first issue was dated June 1962.
  • Nippon2007 – The 65th World Science Fiction Convention, held in 2007 in Yokohama, Japan. Sakyo Komatsu and David Brin were Guests of Honor; Takumi Shibano was fan GoH; and Yoshitaka Amano & Michael Whelan were artist Guests of Honor.
  • Ni var/ni var – A form of poetry, consisting of antiphonal verses that express a duality of conceptions or that compares two unlike things. By extension, the term has come to mean any artistic effort that contrasts two aspects of something.
  • NMBG – Abbreviation for the dealers phrase Near Mint By God, meaning that an item is really in mint condition. See Grading.
  • Nolacon – The 1951 World SF Convention (Worldcon), held in New Orleans, LA. Fritz Leiber was GoH; Harry B. Moore was Con Chair.
  • Nolacon II – The 1988 Worldcon, held in New Orleans, LA. Donald A. Wollheim was GoH; Roger Sims was fan GoH; Mike Resnick was toastmaster; John H. Guidry was Con Chair.
  • Nonfannish – See Unfannish. See Mundane.
  • Noreascon – The 1971 Worldcon, held in Boston, MA. Clifford D. Simak was GoH; Harry Warner, Jr. was fan GoH; Robert Silverberg was toastmaster; Anthony Lewis was Con Chair.
  • Noreascon Two – The 1980 Worldcon, held in Boston, MA. Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm were Guests of Honor; Bruce Pelz was fan GoH; Robert Silverberg was toastmaster; Leslie Turek was Con Chair.
  • Noreascon Three – The 1989 Worldcon, held in Boston, MA. André Norton and Ian & Betty Ballantine were Guests of Honor; The Stranger Club was fan GoH; Mark Olson was Con Chair.
  • NorWesCon – The 1950 Worldcon, held in Portland, OR. Anthony Boucher was GoH; Theodore Sturgeon was toastmaster; Donald B. Day was Con Chair.
  • NOSFS – Short for the New Orleans Science-Fantasy Society.
  • Novae Terrae – British SF Fanzine founded by Maurice Hanson and Dennis Jacques in 1936 (later edited by E. J. Carnell as the forerunner of New Worlds). See New Worlds.
  • Novice costumer – A costumer who has never won at a Worldcon, or someone at a regional con who has never competed. See Journeyman costumer. See Master costumer.
  • Now and Then – See Widowers.
  • N.P./n.p. – Abbreviation for no place.
  • NR – Short for No Reserve.
  • NrMt – Short for Near Mint.
  • N3F – See National Fantasy Fan Federaton.
  • Nufan – See Neofan.
  • Nuke – To utterly destroy something, with the term coming from the use of nuclear weapons. Also, applied to the use of a microwave oven, as in “nuke a dinner.”
  • Null-A/Ā – Non-Aristotelian logic (from General Semantics), the subject of several SF stories, including early novels by A. E. van Vogt.
  • Number One Fan – At one time, the most active fan of the year (as determined by an N3F member poll). See National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F).
  • Number One Rat of Fandom – Early nickname for Donald W. Wollheim, according to Jack Speer’s Up to Now.
  • Number zilch – See Zilch.
  • Numerical fandoms – The belief that the history of SF fandom can be divided into discrete numbered eras, beginning with Eofandom in 1930. First Fandom followed in 1933, Second Fandom in 1937, etc. The idea was discredited in the 1950s. See First Fandom, Second Fandom, Third Fandom, etc.
  • Nuts ‘N’ Bolts – See Hardware stories.
  • NWSFS – Short for the Northwest Science Fiction Society (pronounced Niss-Fiss).
  • Nycon – The first Worldcon, held in New York in 1939. Frank R. Paul was GoH; Sam Moskowitz was Con Chair.
  • NYCon II – See NewYorCon.
  • Nycon III – The 1967 Worldcon, held in New York City. Lester del Rey was GoH; Wilson “Bob” Tucker was fan GoH; Harlan Ellison was toastmaster; Ted White and Lester Van Arnam were Con Chairs.

O

  • OAK – Initials of SF/fantasy author Otis Adelbert Kline, by which he is often identified.
  • Ob – Prefix denoting “obligatory or expected reference to” a topic.
  • OC – Abbreviation for Official Collator, one who is in charge of putting together the pages of a document (e. g., a fanzine, an APA, or a program book for a con).
  • OE – Abbreviation for Official Editor, the person who runs an APA (which see).
  • Offprint – A separate printing of part of a larger publication (e. g., a story from a magazine or from a collection of stories).
  • Offset – A printing process in which the inked impression is first made on a rubber-covered roller, than transferred to paper. Used in fannish publications when high quality reproduction of drawings, photographs, and text is desired.
  • Ogle Awards – Presented annually by The American Society for Science Fiction Audio, Ogle Awards honor the best fantasy audio production. See Mark Time Award.
  • Oily Will – Nickname of SF fan Will Sykora.
  • Old & Tired Fan – One who has been in SF fandom for more than five years.
  • Old Guard – The oldtimers of SF fandom.
  • Old Wave – Out-of-date term for stories that emphasized the scientific aspects of SF. See Hard Science Fiction.
  • One-shot/one shot/oneshot – A publication, such as a fanzine, that is intended to be for only one issue.
  • On Stencil – Term meaning to compose as you are typing.
  • On the Drawing Board – Early comics newszine published by Jerry Bails.
  • OO – Abbreviation for Official Organ, the newsletter of a club, society, or APA.
  • Oocho – A putrid echo.
  • Ook Ook – Phrase signifying putridity. See Ook Ook Slobber Drool.
  • Ook Ook Slobber Drool – Complete phrase signifying putridity as witnessed by an individual.
  • OOP/oop – Abbreviation for Out Of Print.
  • OOTWA – Abbreviation for Out of This World Adventures, which see.
  • Op. cit./op cit – Abbreviation for Latin term opere citato, meaning “in the place cited.” This term is used in footnotes to indicate that a source has been previously documented.
  • Open-ended series – A series of stories that goes on and on for as long as an audience exists that is willing to read them. Often the characters seem to exist in a timeless place where they never seem to age and where they are never changed by their experiences.
  • Origanth – Short for original anthology.
  • Original art – Actual drawings done for magazines/comic books/comic strips. Such artwork is often offered for sale at convention art shows.
  • Originals – Drawings made by the artist, as opposed to photocopies of these drawings. See Original art.
  • Orphanzines – Either new issues of a fanzine, or fanzines that someone is selling out, by a dealer for a commission and not by their own publisher/editor. For this reason such zines are said to have no “home.”
  • OS – Abbreviation for The Outlander Society, which see.
  • Ose – Filk songs of a long, morbid, miserable content, in imitation of many Middle Age ballads. The name is a pun: the joke is that there is “ose. . .and more-ose (morose).” See Filk song.
  • OSSF – Abbreviation for the Oregon Society of Scientifantasy.
  • OTC/Otc/otc – Abbreviations for over the counter.
  • Other Worlds – Short for Other Worlds Science Stories, which see.
  • Other Worlds Science Stories – Digest-sized (November 1949 to November 1955) SF magazine, edited by long-time fan Raymond A. Palmer. Bea Mahaffey was associate editor. In its final years (May 1955 to November 1957) it was published in a pulp format.
  • Otoh – Abbreviation for on the other hand.
  • OTR – Abbreviation for Old Time Radio, generally the period of time from 1926 until 1962. Some OTR programs and the premiums associated with them are sought by genre collectors.
  • Outfit – Any clothing used by the SCA for ordinary dress. See Society for Creative Anachronism.
  • Out of This World Adventures – A SF pulp magazine that lasted for only two issues in 1950. Edited by Donald A. Wollheim, this publication had the distinction of containing 32-page comic book inserts in each magazine.
  • The Outlander Society – A SF club organized in October, 1948 by fans who lived in outlying areas around Los Angeles. The original eight members were Len Moffatt, Rick Sneary, Stan Woolston, John Van Couvering, Con Pederson, Bill Elias, and Alan & Freddie Hershey. The club’s fanzine was The Outlander (1949-1952).
  • OWSS – Short for Other Worlds Science Stories, which see.

Latest posts by Jon Swartz (see all)

%d bloggers like this: