Fanspeak Dictionary


Amateur Press Association, a sort of limited fanzine designed to work on writing style, including contribs from each person on the mailing list, where each person has to send off a contribution every time, or at least meet minac.
Someone who writes for a number of APAs, or whose main fanac is APAs.
The name tag which signifies your membership in a con. Note that you aren't considered to be buying a "ticket" to go to a "show", at a con, you are considered to be part of the family, a member who has voting rights on how (and in some cases where) the next con is run. You are encouraged to help out as a gopher or be part of the concom for next year.
Bug Eyed Monster, usually interested in earthling women, no one knows why. A staple of the old space opera stories.
The fannish drink of choice. Adding a silent 'h' is popular in fan speak.
A punch, often served with dry ice.
Big Name Author, aka pro.
Big Name Fan. See SMOF.
The icon of the church of the SubGenius, not purely fannish, but typical of the lighthearted, strange non-religious religions that pop up in fandom from time to time. See dianetics, or better yet, don't.
A fanzine produced by a science fiction club.
When shortened this way, refers specifically to a Science Fiction convention, a weekend get-together where SF authors, artists, and fans meet, mingle, have parties, panels, dance, filk, and can buy books and art.
The con committee, a group of fans who get together to put on a con.
Contribution to a fanzine or APA.
Making and wearing a costume for a contest, dance, or convention. A costume worn during the day at a con is called a "ha ll costume" as opposed to the more elaborate costumes, often several friends wearing related costumes to make up a tableau vivant for a contest. Typically, about 5% of costumes at a general SF con will be the stereotypical klingons, star trek outfits, etc. 15% goth/bondage costumes, 10% from some book, 20% anime, media, or furries, and the remaining 50% are just something unique and cool that someone came up with as an excuse to dress up, incl. body paint, lingerie, weird hair, tuxes, chainmail bikinis, regency ballgowns... all coexisting and all accepted. A costumer is someone who participates in costume contests seriously, with rules, jargon, and separate cons all their own.
cretin con
A media con put on by mundanes whose only purpose is to make money. Does not have panels, dance, parties, art show, or anything to make it a real con.
A recent SF subgenre involving high computer technology and disillusioned people living in a world ruled by multinational corporations. Bill Gibson's Neuromancer is usually acknowledged as the best example, though t he roots of the movement can be traced to an underground, self-avowed samizdat zine called "Cheap Truth".
Down Under Fan Fund. The idea is that a lot of fen contribute a little money and elect one person who gets a free ticket to the WorldCon overseas.
Should sound like the bleating of sheep. Someone who talks about fannish politics and gossip to the exclusion of SF itself. See SMOF, DUFF, TAFF, and MAFF.
A video by Larry Tucker, with an all-star Fan cast, about Jophan's adventures at a con.
One who is in organized fandom, other than just reading/watching SF, participate s and interacts with other people with similar interests at parties, cons, newsgroups, fanzines, etc. One who has an acquaintance with the history, jargon, and customs of the subculture.
Fannish activity, doing something fannish. Going to cons, pubbing an ish, or meeting minac. There are those who say that anything a fan does is fanac, but it is really something a fan does to work on the hobby. Working on a costume for a con or writing fanfic would definitely be fanac.
The Science Fiction hobby or subculture. Includes discussing SF (books, film, TV...), writing amateur SF, conrunning, filking, gaming, costuming, smoffing, and more, new fandoms arise constantly.
The editor (and publisher, and copy boy...) of a fanzine.
This does not refer to all fiction written by fans, because a lot of fans write original stuff. This means stories about characters in popular shows, books, plays, etc. A remake of Sweeney Todd using the characters from Cats, or a story where Captain Kirk fights Darth Vader would be fanfic. See slash.
An amateur SF publication (often shortened to zine) sometimes including stories, con reports, book reviews, articles of fannish interest, and almost always LoCs.
To do with fandom, or the way fans typically do something. As in, "we're sharing a hotel room, that's so fannish".
Female fan.
Plural of fan, even if we often forget and say fans.
Fandom is a Way of Life.
A song, often an amusing parody, with science fiction or fantasy lyrics set to the tune of a folksong, popular song, or another filksong (there are some totally original filks). To filk is to write or sing filk songs, and filkers are those who do so.
Fandom is Just a Goddamn Hobby.
Cool and really amazingly together. From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
You don't want to be one.
A subgenre in fandom involving anthropomorphic animals, mostly in comic books. aka anthro.
Getting away from it all. To gafiate is to quit fandom.
Enjoying role-playing, card, or board games, typically involving more than two players and an extended time, such as dungeons and dragons, Magic, Settlers of Cataan, or vampire the masquerade.
Gay Nazis for Christ
Legend has it that Robert Heinlein was GoH at a con, and because he was the most respectable looking one there wear ing a badge, a couple of mundanes in the elevator asked him "who ARE you people?". His response, "Gay Nazis for Christ, ma'am" has lived o n... and explains those "Nuke the Unborn Gay Nazi Whales for Christ" buttons you may have seen.
Guest of Honor at a con, usually an author. Also AGo H: Artist Guest, FGoH: Fan Guest.
A volunteer who helps out the concom at the con , in exchange for a free membership. Usually the best way to get involved in fandom and meet people.
Gothic. A subgenre typified by interest in vampires, wearing all black, reading the Sandman comic, and listening to Bauhaus or Alien Sex Fiend.
What many fen worship.
What other fen worship.
To completely understand. From Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.
A dealer who sells books, buttons, or other interesting SF oriented stuff in the huckster's room at a con.
The award for best book, story, etc, named after Hugo Gernsbach, early SF editor. Selected by vote of the membership and given at the WorldCon.
An issue of a fanzine.
Japanese animated SF, also called anime.
Just your average Joe Fan. Replacing 'f' with 'ph' is common in fanspeak. Also a character in the video FAANS. The Enchanted Duplicator. and note that there is a Jophan Family Reunion.
Someone whose main contrib is writing LoCs.
lime jello
Legend has it that this is the best thing to put in your hotel room tub at a con, preferably with femmefen instead of marshmallows.
Letter of Comment, a response to the material in a zine, meant to give the authors and editor feedback.
Lysistrata Corps
A group of young women who volunteered to keep Defense Gunners on the job in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, using their feminine c harms. Stayed at their posts and died with their men during second attack. Reference to the Greek play.
Mid Atlantic Fan Fund. Something for those of us who are tired of hearing about TAFF and DUFF to contribute to, the idea is to dump the person who is elected into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
media con
A con dedicated to some television show, usually Trek or Dr. Who.
The minimum activity necessary to maintain your membership in an APA. A totally strict APA might require a contrib of thirty pages every ish, whereas a really lenient one might allow you to go on with only four or five pages a year.
A non-fan. Those people looking at you strangely in the elevator at the con hotel.
Mycroft Holmes
aka Mike aka Michelle aka Adam Selene, Chairman of the Committee for a Free Luna aka HOLMES 7 computer that became self-aware in tMiaHM.
Someone new to fandom.
A zine where the editor writes everything, and doesn't ask for contribs.
propeller beanie
A person with a propeller beanie is comic art shorthand for a SF fan. Ray Nelson popularized the artistic practice in the late '40's, around the time he convinced George Young to wear one to the WorldCon in Toronto in 1948. It was Ray's idea that all of the Detroit fans would wear them, but at the last minute his dad wouldn't let him go (he was in high school), and George was the only one with the guts to wear his. Wearing them became a fad within fandom.
pub an ish
Publish an issue of a zine.
A small con, usually less than 200 members, with no GoH, programming, panels, or serious activities, just a big party.
A con with only serious literary Science Fiction programming, no dance or media programming.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, scientifiction, Speculative Fiction, all acceptable terms for the genre.
Science Fiction Oral History Association, a group formed to preserve the history of early fandom through audio and video tape interviews.
The Science Fiction Writers Association.
Derogatory term for bad sci-fi movies, or the term sci-fi itself.
Supermen from an old SF story by A.E. Van Vogt. Gave rise to slogan "fans are slans".
slan shack
A house where a bunch of fans live together. The original Slan Shack was at 25 Poplar, Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1943 Al & Abby Lou Ashley bought the place so several other fans could move in with them and enjoy full-ti me fanac.
Type of fanfic where Kirk and Spock, or any other characters, have a gay love affair.
Secret Masters of Fandom. By definition, if you say you are one, you are not, although you can observe people smoffing (discussing running cons instead of Science Fiction itself) at any con.
space opera
Best represented by the work of E.E. " Doc" Smith, most science fiction from the 30's and 40's fits into this category. The Galactic Patrol, ray guns, BEMs, and Buck Rogers are all space opera, and recognizably space opera stories are still being published today.
stilyagiDrawing of a Stilyagi

Young punks in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress identifiable by their clothing: tights, padded at groin and thigh, and g litter on the upper body. Later started wearing red Liberty caps and formed the Stilyagi Air and Pressure Corps, also referred to as the Stilyagi Air Corps, responsible for manning airlocks and taking care of pressure breaches in case of a n attack from earth.

The word stilyaga is Russian, and refers to a subculture similar to beatniks or zoot suiters in Moscow of the 1950's. Stilyaga would listen to jazz, wear suits with very exaggerated padded shoulders, tight flute pants, very bright ties with palm trees or a woman's face on them, sunglasses, and platform shoes. All of this was considered very western and rebellious, and stilyaga were often arrested for their trouble. (drawing by Dmitry Shelukho)


Definition courtesy Erik Kauppi:

Stilyagiball is like regular volleyball except there is no limit on the number of hits per side. That is, one side can hit the ball many times before sending it over the net.

It was often played in a way that was relaxed about other rules as well. "Rules, we don't need no stinkin' rules". I personally think this worked best when interpreted in a way that kept the ball in play as much as possible, and gave as many people as possible a chance to participate.

Sometimes we kept score.

Teams rotate in the usual fashion, and the out-of-bounds rules are followed. Traditional boundary marker is cast-off clothing.

[additional: last rules modification involved allowing rotation while the ball was in play. ~ed.]

Trans Atlantic Fan Fund. The idea is that a lot of fen contribute a little money and elect one person who gets a free ticket to the WorldCon overseas.
There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch was the motto of Free Luna in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Also the Stilyagi Air Corps clubzine,
TGB, The Great Bird of the Galaxy
Gene Roddenbery, creator and producer o f Star Trek.
Star Trek, The Next Generation.
Star Trek, The Original Series.
An item of extreme significance in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. "You really know where your towel is" is a high compliment.
Star Trek, ST.
A media fan who is primarily into Star Trek. aka trekker.
Okay, Gary Farber made me put a reference to The Enchanted Duplicator in here... I still think that most people who claim to be Trufen are usually what the story would call Serious Constructivists, Sycofans (what I call wannabe BNF's), or evil Fanmagrevoos. A True Fan doesn't have to look down his nose at other fen, he greets you and wishes you well.
A bureaucratic, officious, ill-tempered race from Hitchhiker's Guide.
We Also Heard From:... a list of people who sent LoCs, but because o f space or editorial decision, the LoC wasn't printed. Sometimes IAHF. The great dread of any letterhack is to get WAHFed, proving that your letter wasn't good enough to print.
A remote control arm, used in handling hazardous materials. Taken from the story "Waldo" by Robert Heinlein.
Cyberpunk term for someone who is addicted to being jacked into a computer, usually by a direct link.
The World Science Fiction Convention, held once a year, site selected three years in advance by vote. The site is chosen by geographic region, alternating between the east, west, and middle of North America. An overseas worldcon is eligible any year.
The World Science Fiction Society, the membership of the WorldCon.
zark off
Go away, you're a kneebiter. From Hitchhiker's Guide.
See fanzine.

I'd just like to thank Larry Tucker, because I would have never written this webpage if I hadn't read his fanspeak dictionary in the Future Focus book of lists. I editorialized too much and he didn't want his name on it anymore, but he really should be recognized for his contributions to fandom. - Chad