Cons have sometimes offered fanzine rooms, and sometimes not. This
seems to depend more on the interest (and awareness) of the con
chair than on anything else.
Objective: Fanzine rooms developed as a way to get at fanzines you
hadn't been able to access otherwise; a fanzine room should contain
at least one table bearing fanzines for sale, at least one table
showing fanzines just there for display, and at least one bearing
fanzines for free distribution. The fanzine room head is
responsible for soliciting fanzines, maintaining an inventory of
them, manning the Fanzine Room while it is open or delegating
control to an informed volunteer, making sales and returning monies
to the faneditors (or sending them where they wish, e.g. the
Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund).
Background: Until the late 70's/mid-80's, most conventions featured
a fanzine room, which often functioned as a second Hospitality
room. Fanzines have become less important to fandom, especially at
conventions, so a few things about these features have to be
Fanzines were and are any publications (produced entirely out of
one's own pocket expenses) by fans. From at least the 1940s to the
1970s, fanzines were the main forum of fandom. I think the heart of
fandom in those days was in the letter columns, opinion/editorial
articles and fannish humour in these micropress zines.
Procedures: On witnessing a fanzine room at Westercon 43 and
another at several Orycons, I gathered that the organizer shops a
form around to editors in advance of the con, and has small forms
set up at the con, slips of paper in donated fanzines matching
entries in a booklet at his/her table, to keep track of what is
where and how much money is for whom. Design is completely up to
Equipment: minimal. That is, chairs and tables, and some signage to
indicate which zines are just for display, which are free, which
are for sale. * Plus * a float box.
Scheduling: to be worked out between fanzine room organizer,
Programming and Volunteering. In practice the fanzine room is open
most of the daytime, manned by the organizer and/or whatever
volunteers become available.
Fees: set by the donating fanzine editors. That is, they usually
designate a value they think is fair for the fanzines in
There are a couple of problems to bring up:
- fanzine rooms get ignored unless they are promoted. Fanzine fans
have in the past been poor at promoting their interest and selling
the idea of fanzines in the first place. Orycon's fanzine room was
sited opposite Hospitality for years, yet fans in the immediate
area remained unaware of the room.
- with effective promotion, fanzine rooms can operate as alternate
consuites. Be prepared to entertain! (Munchies, refreshments,