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Fan Speak: U – V

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.


  • U – Short for “You” (from Forrest J Ackerman)
  • UAPA – Abbreviation for United Amateur Press Association.
  • UFO – An Unidentified Flying Object (Flying Saucer), at one time a favorite topic of SF enthusiasts.
  • UM – Short for Universal Musketeers.
  • Uncle Hugo – A nickname for Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the first English-language all-SF magazine with the publication of the first issue of Amazing Stories, dated April 1926.
  • Underground comic book – See Comix/commix.
  • Unfannish – Mundane and not measuring up to fannish standards, often used in a derogatory manner. A more benign term is nonfannish. See Mundane.
  • Unifen – Fans in uniform, i. e., serving in the armed services.
  • Universal Musketeers – A club for younger fans formed in 1949 by Ronald
    Friedman of Brooklyn. Friedman was elected president in the first election, and had all dues sent to him “because of the bill he had to pay for mimeographing the Official Organ, XRAY.” No official publications ever came out except for one Universal Musketeers News dated June 1950. In March 1952 Friedman announced that UM had combined with another club, the Teens Fantascience Club, into a group called International Scientific Council.
  • Universal Science Circle – An early UK science fiction fan group, formed in Liverpool in 1931.
  • Unknown/Unknown Worlds – A pulp magazine of fantasy fiction, published by Street and Smith from March 1939 (Volume 1, Number 1) until October 1943 (Volume 7, Number 3). John W. Campbell, Jr. was editor of the magazine for all 39 issues published.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin Prize – The Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Imaginative Fiction, created in 1999, is sponsored by Rosebud Magazine and judged by SF author Le Guin.
  • USC – Abbreviation for the Universal Science Circle, which see.
  • Usual, The – What the typical fanzine is available for from the editor/publisher. “The Usual” stands for trade, sub, or some sort of contribution (LOC, artwork, article, etc.).


  • Vaca Morada – A fannish brew. Derived from the Spanish words for “dead cow.”
  • VAMF – Short for Voluntary Active Membership Fee.
  • VAPA – Short for Vanguard Amateur Press Association.
  • Vector – The official journal of the British Science Fiction Association, published since the summer of 1958 and originally edited by E. C. Tubb. Many other prominent UK science fiction personalities have served as editor of Vector over the years, including Terry Jeeves, Archie Mercer, Michael Moorcock, and Ken Slater. See British Science Fiction Association.
  • Vertex – A slick SF magazine (later tabloid) published from April 1973 until August 1975, for a total run of 16 issues. Donald J. Pfeil was editor. Interviews with SF personalities were featured. William Rotsler worked for the magazine in an unofficial capacity.
  • Vin¢ – Fannish visual pun/abbreviation for the name Vincent.
  • Voice auction – The open sale of artwork (or other items) at a SF con by means of oral competitive bidding.
  • Voice of the Imagi-Nation – SF fanzine, published 1939 to 1948, that succeeded the fanzine Imagination!. Voice of the Imagi-Nation was winner of the 1996 Retro Hugo Award for best fanzine. This zine, edited by Forrest J Ackerman, was nicknamed Vom.
  • Void – The title of two different fanzines, one published by Ted White and one published by Greg and Jim Benford.
  • Vom – See Voice of the Imagi-Nation.
  • VT/Vt/vt – Abbreviation for variant title (i. e., story known by more than one name).
  • Vtg – Dealer’s abbreviation for vintage.
  • Vuzd – A fannish liquor.

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