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Fan Speak: X – Y – Z

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.


  • X. – Pseudonym of SF personality Donald A. Wollheim.
  • Xenophile – The first, regularly-published, periodical devoted to collecting pulps (March 1974 to March1980), edited/published by Nils Hardin. There were 44 issues in all.
  • Xero – A general SF fanzine, edited and published by Richard (Dick) Lupoff, that is credited with being the first fanzine to carry comic material (in a series of articles on the comics of the 1940s: “All In Color For A Dime”). Issue #1 was dated September, 1960. Xero won the Hugo-award (Amateur Magazine) in 1962. The Best of Xero was published in 2004.
  • Xlent – Short for excellent.
  • XLIB/Xlib/xlib – Short for Ex Libris. See Ex. Lib.
  • X-Over – See Cross Over.


  • Yaazz – Fanspeak for “yes, definitely.”
  • Yandro – Hugo-winning SF fanzine (1965/Amateur Publication), edited/published by Robert “Buck” Coulson and his wife Juanita Wellons Coulson. Yandro was a Hugo nominee for ten consecutive years,
  • Yarat – A blood-curdling scream.
  • Yazz – Variation of Yaazz, which see.
  • Year of the Jackpot – Between January 1958 and January 1959 many famous SF fans/writers died (including two suicides), and these deaths were widely reported in widely circulated newszines of the time. Subsequently, this year became known in fandom as the Year of the Jackpot (from a story by Robert A. Heinlein).
  • Yed – See Ye Ed.
  • Ye Ed/YE ED – The editor, as of a fanzine.
  • Yellowback Library – a long-running fanzine devoted to juvenile series books, initially was issued six times a year. It is now published monthly and remains one of the best resources of information about this field of fan interest.
  • YF – Abbreviation for Young Fandom, which see.
  • Yngvi – Used by SF fans in the catch phrase: “Yngvi is a louse.” [from de Camp & Pratt’s “The Roaring Trunpet” (May 1940 issue of Unknown), later included in their book The Incompleat Enchanter]
  • Young fan – See neofan.
  • Young Fandom – A SF club started by Rick Sneary and others in the 1940s.


  • Zap – Sound a zapgun makes when fired. See Zapgun.
  • Zap gun/Zapgun – Either a toy ray gun or a water pistol.
  • Zap gun and Blaster – Fannish term for a SF space opera, much as Sword and Sorcery denotes a certain kind of fantasy.
  • “Zap” stories – British term for “get’em” stories, which see.
  • Zilch – Absolutely nothing.
  • Zine – Short for magazine, the prefix usually determining just what kind of magazine is being designated: prozine, fanzine, etc.
  • Zinemanship – The art of convincing another fan that his fanzine is just so much wasted paper. Attributed to UK science fiction fan/author Bob Shaw. See Fansmanship.
  • Zorch ray guns – A pair of old glue guns that resembled a pair of ray guns.
  • Z ray/Z-ray – Mysterious ray found in many early SF stories.

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