W Of all the letters in our alphabet has the only cumbrous name, all others being monosyllables. By simplifying the name of w (calling it "wow" for example) our civilization could undoubtlessly be, if not promoted, at least better endured. WACKY (1) A nickname of Ackerman's. (2) The Wacky Logic that Campbell talked about when UNKNOWN WORLDS was in flower is much like the surrealistic joke. An instance from fandom: "He looked back and saw that a Martian was following him. Not a big Martian; that would be fantastic. But a little Martian." WAR On the outbreak of hostilities between Britain & France and Germany in 1939, Gallet's plans for a French stf prozine were abandoned, the SFA and BIS were suspended for the duration and their official records placed in safety, and several members living outside London who would likely still be in the same place after the war were named as members to contact after it was over so that things could be set going again. Tucker and others over here expressed the feeling that British fandom had had it. As a means of keeping Anglofandom in contact with itself, Chris Youd started chain letters circulating. Even at the height of the German bombings, fan activity continued, minor get-togethers were held, several old and new fans continued publishing, and new proz were set on foot. BFS was organized; BREs appeared. Ackerman and, later, Cunningham's British SF War Relief Society [an American organization], were active in sending bundles of proz and fmz to the Anglofans. Amerifans' opinions about the war had fluctuated at such events as the Sitzkrieg, the invasion of Finland, the fall of France, and the invasion of Russia. After the Pearl Harbor incident, however, most of them supported the war; some who had held pacifist ideas before the war registered as conscientious objectors. Altho no study has been made, it seemed that more fans were deferred from conscription than was true of their age group on the average. Defects included: fallen armpits, hypertension, insanity, homosexuality, osteomyelitis, deafness, defective vision, heart murmur, a short foot, asthma, Twonk's disease, and over- and under-agedness. Be that as it may, fans of fandom were found in all branches of the US and British armed services and other places such as merchant service, CO camps, Government war offices, and war industries. One had gone to Iceland before Pearl Harbor and another was in Hawaii; still another was on the way to the Philippines on 7 December, and ended up in Australia. French, British, and American fans took part in Dunkirk, Guadalcanal, North Africa, Normandy, Leyte and other operations. Inside the various countries fen of war were shifted from place to place, trying to contact fellow fen whenever they came near them; many landed near Shangri-LA. Several service fans went into Army Specialized Training Programs and all in all the fans ranked above average in the service, as was natural with their higher intelligence. Those fen who were deferred, and those sweating out the call, kept up activity in fandom and in some cases did work for servifans and supplied them with fanzines gratis. If anything, activity per capita increased, and serious discussion seemed to be stimulated; not only those related to war problems, but on universal principles. The N3F went into its coma and subzines declined in numbers for a while, as FAPA grew in importance. (FAPA members in the armed forces stationed overseas were exempted from activity requirements.) The Korean War produced no particular difficulties for fans to surmount and provoked little discussion once it became evident that it would not precipitate a general war. It was remarkable for the high percentage of fans in uniform who came from Michigan -- about 25-30%. The effects of the pre- and post-Korean Cold War are difficult to distinguish from what might be called "normal", since they affect so many areas of national life. Noteworthy, however, is the shocking expansion of the lunatic fringe in the proz; a certain growth of anarchism in the sense of a belief in the incompetence of all governments; and a deal of debate pro&con whether defeat of the Communist Empire does not involve our adoption of undemocratic repressive techniques like those we're supposed to be fighting against. Some fans even profess to detect a touchiness and acerbity previously little-known in fandom, which they attribute to the tensions of our unshooting hostilities. WAPA Whimsical Amateur Press Association, created about 1956 by Larry Anderson to be an APA of a new type, intended for whimsy and humor. Instead of sending fanzines to an OE members mailed them direct to each other on individual deadlines (one week apart) as in the Cult. Little was ever done; the membership boasted several BNFs but slight enthusiasm. Dues were charged for no discoverable reason. There was no link or continuity between WAPA zines and schedules were little observed, so the club existed only a little over half a year before being formally disbanded. WATER PISTOL Standard sidearm of the Beanie Brigade, and introduced by the Oblique Angles to British fandom. Contributors to the watergun mythos have pointed out its range (Harry Moore remarked that now clowning fans could shoot news photographers if the latter tried to take pictures of them) but low mortality rate among its casualties. Fears for the future were raised at the SuperManCon when John Roles of the Liverpool group introduced the use of soda siphons, but quick action by cooler heads checked this menace. WATERMELON STORY Get Burbee to tell it to you sometime. "It was a story I began telling in 1942 even before I got into fandom", says Burb. "When I got into the Army in '45 I got famous for it and had to tell it several times a day, often by request of the Brass: '...Is there a fellow named -- Burbee -- in this group?' 'Yes, here I am.' 'Fine. I understand you have a story about a watermelon. Would you tell it before we begin our lecture on double-action booby-traps?' I was sort of obsessed by it and told it hundreds of times. I've told it on fannish tape a coupla times, too. And before that, on wire." Don't confuse this with Martin Alger's Watermelon Joke which concerns a fellow he knew in the Army who preferred watermelons to gals. WAW WITH THE CREW IN '52 Slogan coined by Shelby Vick for his successful campaign to bring Walt Willis to the ChiCon II. Walt's column, "The Harp That Once Or Twice..." in QUANDRY had been hailed as top-grade fanstuff, and the idea of bringing him over for the worldcon was one to rally much support from fans in America. Contributions and fundraising gimmicks like the Willishes and the raffling off of the Iron Maiden mimeo brought Walt over successfully, and the campaign itself is remembered fondly as a high point of the amiable Sixth Fandom attitude. A conreport of impressive bulk, The Harp Stateside, recorded Walt's adventures here and the campaign had much to do with development of the present entente cordiale between American and English fandom. WASHINGTON DC Several non-connected groups of stfnists have existed in the US capital. The Outsiders Club (formerly the Washington Necronomicon) began as a Weird Tales club, apparently back when WT was one of the only proz; it included Seabury Quinn and other fans who were more interested in weird than stf writing, and often revived old-time fantasy films to show at meetings. Some issues of an OO, THE OUTSIDER, were published, but the group had no contact with fandom to speak of and its date of dissolution is uncertain. The Washington Worry-Warts (Rothman's name) were the stfans of the District of Columbia; they had no formal organization. Chiefly they were Rothman, Speer and Perdue, joined at times by Lester del Rey, Slate, and others, including (1942) a group of Angelenoes -- reversing the general trend to Shangri-LA of the war years. The group broke up when its members moved elsewhere about the end of the war. The Washington Science-Fiction Association, formed in a coal cellar in 1948, has persisted to the present day. It's noted for its high proportion of actifans, beautiful wimmen, and two-fisted drinkers, including such folk as Bob Pavlat, Bill Evans, Chick Derry, Dick Eney, Nelson Griggs, Ted White, John Magnus, and various others at times. WSFAns have played a prominent part in all four fan APAs, and contributed vast store of fanzines to the contents of various mailings. Of late, such historically valuable projects as the Pavlat- Evans continuation of Swisher's checklist, some APA indexing-work, and this volume have been accomplished by WSFA members. WE An avoidance for I. It gradually infected fans from its use in the general press, and the fans who didn't take it up apurpose found themselves caving in unawares. They are mainly troubled about their inability to keep from indiscriminately mixing "we" and "I". WEAPONS Tho the most stfnal weapon, the death ray, never left the laboratory (refer to any physics text for the explanation), a large number of other devices first "developed" by science-fiction military establishments now are the property of mundane ones; atomic explosives, uranium power plants, radioactive-dust poisons, guided missiles, tank destroyers, radar fire control, and infrared vision instruments of the sniperscope type; some we missed were submarines, bombardment rockets, and poison gas. WEIRD FICTION Fantasy based upon ideas of the universe which science has discredited or disproved. It was originally fiction which aimed to produce an emotional effect of horror or the like -- the Gothic "make 'em shiver" movement -- but in our classification designates all fantasy of the type which is neither stf nor pure fantasy. It does not include scarey stories with a mundane explanation. Weird fiction as separated from fantasy traces back to the Gothic horror tale, beginning 1764, in which fantastic events began to be used simply to horrify as well as to advance the action. It is a field in which treatment and atmosphere is at least as important as the actual subject-matter, and therefore not so easy to define extensionally as stf and fantasy. Fandom centers around science-fiction, so that weird is sort of an off- cousin, but for certain purposes, such as poetry and humor, it is found to be a better field than stfsy. WEIRD TALES Of old was the age when Weird began; Fanzines nor letterhacks there were Ackerman was not, nor Moskowitz But boundless Mundane, and fans nowhere... as the Pros' Edda touchingly puts it. Weird, established in 1923, was the first successful mag to specialize in strictly fantasy stories, contributing such authors as HP Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, CL Moore, Robert E Howard, and Seabury Quinn in its great days during the 30s. It began to slip during World War II, when a puckle of other fantasy mags went under, and went downhill to extinction in the mid-50s. But many of its mythos (Cthulhu, Hyborian Age), heroes (Northwest Smith, Conan, Jules de Grandin), and great stories (Shambleau, The Call of Cthulhu, The Dunwich Horror, Three Marked Pennies) go marching on in fannish lore. WEIRD WILLYS A 1938 Willys which, after a fashion, took FTLaney from Lewiston Washington to take up his residence in Los Angeles -- perhaps the most important single move in modern fan history. WEISS RAK Various Ted White cars. Weiss Rak I was a 1949 Hudson Commodore, which transported the Bulmers and other distinguished fans. II was a gas-hog of a 1949 Buick convertible which took the DC Mob to NYCon II. III, a Jaguar hardtop, gave way to IV, a black '54 Ford, early in 1959. WELCOMMITTEE A group of N3F members who contact new members and help them get acquainted with the club and its activities. Embarrassing passages have arisen from such events as the one in which Burbee, after several years of activity and fame, was "welcomed" to fandom. This group originally had a function (no longer exercised) of watching the prozine letter columns for promising letters from non-fans and having committee members in the same section of the country write them letters "welcoming" them into fandom and explaining what it is all about. WESTERCON An annual conclave for the Western half of the United States -- West of the Rockies, that is -- begun by the LASFS on Labor Day 1948. It has since become an institution for which other clubs bid also, like the Worldcon, and until the past year [i.e., 1958] was always some place in California. WHEELS OF IF (DeCamp:Sixth Fandom) The BNFs of (Northern) Irish Fandom; same personnel as the Oblique Angles. WHERE OLD FANS GO TO DIE (Sneary:Laney) or any parody of this slogan has reference to FAPA, on account of the tenacity with which members clung to the roster toward the end of World War II. ("FAPA members never quit and rarely died.") Laney, struck by Sneary's coinage, stuck this phrase on the masthead of the FA during his OEship (1948). On gaining office, Sneary as VP banned usage of the phrase there or in any FAPAzine. "Why, I wonder?" wonders Burbee. "I suppose he decided that it wasn't as funny or as significant as we claimed." WHIMSY A manner of writing or speaking in which you toss out whatever pops into your mind, especially if it's irrelevant or relevant only in a surrealistic way. Maybe you take some cliche literally, and say "All the luck in the world (no, not all; save some for other people)", or you get, and obey, an impulse to send someone a telegram saying COME HOME COMMA DEAR STOP ALL IS FORGUV LOVE BERTHA; or perhaps you're writing a drama and get the idea that it would be funny if an alligator came crawling on stage, so you put that in. It looks easy, but only a certain type of mind can do it acceptably. Dick Wilson was the great master of this art form, tho other fans have attempted it with some success. WHITCON The gathering (brainstormed by John Newman) that marked the postwar revival of congoing in England. It took place 15-16 May 1948, over Whitsuntide weekend, at the White Horse tavern in London. Nearly 60 fans attended, including Gillings, Carnell, ACC, Bill Temple, and Bertram Chandler. New Worlds was declared folded (ending the last surviving English prozine), and a cooperative company was planned to take it over. WHITHERING (DeCamp) Moskowitz and Speer have been the chief whitherers of fandom, tho others have turned a hand to it -- Silverberg, for instance, and, in a way, Harlan Ellison. Many an article of the pattern "Is Science Fiction in a Rut?" we may note and pass by. Important philosophizing has been done over the question why the history of fandom has followed the pattern it has, and what comes next. The swinging-pendulum model used in Speer's original application of Spenglerian historical principles still has much validity, and by use of it Speer, in a prize-winning prophetic article published by the LASFL, made a generally accurate forecast of the Second Transition and Third Fandom. WIDNERIDE The epic journey of Moneybags Unger, Tree Toad Rothman, Pretty Boy Madle, Sourpuss Bell, and The Thing Widner, in the FooFoo Special, to the DenVention. The Fantasy Boys Out West were seeing a lot of country they'd never seen before, and what with the Special's radiator and consequent fundlessness which left them starving between fanhabited towns, it was an experience unforgettable. WILLISH Any of the special issues of various fanzines (MAD, SOL, OOPSLA, CF, and FANTASIAS) which were dedicated to Walt Willis and published to assist his journey to the ChiCon II. They contained material by WAW, tributes to him, and, usually, other material. Often they had installments of "Willis Discovers America", a serial about WAW's fictional adventures here written before his trip. (The Harp Stateside was written after his return to Ireland.) WILLIS DEATH HOAX On a visit to Terry Carr's home in mid-1952, Pete Graham (then aged 13) suggested a hoax that Willis had died. Carr tried to squelch the notion and thought he had, but Graham circulated a number of postalcards announcing Willis's death. He had done it, according to Carr, because he'd gotten a gift from his parents of a postcard mimeo and two stencils and "he had been dying to try them on something". Since the pcs were mailed from San Francisco few fans believed the news, but Lee Riddle called Lee Hoffman long distance to check -- and she was able to confirm that WAW lived on. Practically everybody blasted Graham for the stunt. (Some blamed Terry Carr, who was not involved.) Many were disturbed because the hoax might affect the campaign adversely. The postal said: "We regret to inform you that the well-known Irish fan, Walter A Willis, is dead. He passed away at his home in Northern Ireland at the hour of 9:50 A.M. on Thursday, May 15. The doctor said he died of diptheria [sic], a disease from which he had been suffering for some time. The Chicago Convention will honor his death by cancelling the banquet, and by limiting the auction to quiet bidding. Most fanzines will have a memorial issue, which will be for sale only to fans who contributed to the 'WAW with the Crew in '52' fund. Fen who contributed to the 'WAW with the Crew in '52' fund, send your name and address to Shelby Vick and he will return your money. All fanzine publishers are asked not to treat this announcement as a hoax, but to give it full consideration and to announce it in his own magazine so that fans may know of this throughout the nation and the world. Yours, An Interested Fan Who Is Willing To Pay Postage For These Cards." Vick knew it was a hoax; he'd received a letter from WAW dated 20 May. The card was postmarked Frisco, May 28, and was poorly mimeoed. Walt, of course, turned up alive, but the rigors of convention and postcon visiting almost caused him to make an honest man of Graham. WIRESPONDING Corresponding by wire recorder. (The magnetic tape people did the cause of scientificombination a bad turn when they chose a name for their product that didn't end in re.) Not very many fen had the wire machines, but they produced the same phenomena as the later tape-users -- even a parallel with FATE in Shelby Vick's Wirez, a wirecording club which was active till the wire got lost in the mail and Shelby gafiated. WOLVERINE INSURGENTS The wolverine is a sort of state mascot of Michigan. "Wolverine Insurgentism rose on the radioactive ruins left by the Blowup", said the Michigan Fantasite. Its membership was amorphous but generally comprised Michifen who were disgusted with the DSFL. For months after the Blowup Art Rapp and the others published a parody of "The Detroit Stfan" one week after that (the DSFL organ) appeared. The DSFL tried to ignore this but at last had to blast back. Ralph Fluette, Ray Nelson, and a few others were associated with Rapp in the movement. WOLLHEIMISTS The Second Fandom name for the Futurians, because Don Wollheim was the leading Quadrumvir. They reached their peak while under this name -- at the time of the June 1938 FAPA elections. At this time the Phillies challenged them for control of the organization, with allegations of irregular and unconstitutional conduct; Wollheim countered by mailing out the ballots (the mailing bundle being delayed) along with a propaganda flier claiming that the PSFS group was trying to sabotage things and he himself was being libelled. (See illustration under "Art".) [not shown] Later the Philly slate was abused on political grounds, that VP-candidate Speer was an avowed Fascist and the Phillies planned to censor Michelist material from the mailings. The Wollheimists made a clean sweep of contested offices and Speer immediately started a Petition of Reprimand circulating and being signed. A little later, as described elsewhere, the Quadrumvirate quit. The designation of the group came from the belief, widespread in Second Fandom, that the other three Quadrumvirs, and certainly the lesser lights of the Futurians-to-be, took their orders from Wollheim. To laugh this idea out of existence, the Loyal and Benevolent Protective Order of Wollheim Stooges was founded by Prize Stooge Michel; it was supposed to be open to anybody who had ever disagreed with Will Sykora. Actually, according to Lowndes, the unanimity of the Wollheimist/Futurian faction was the result of prior conferences on policy, in which they frequently laid down the law to the "Dictator". WOOK (Hoffwoman) A Ghuist spirit, archangel by rank. As Ghu itself cares for hekto and ditto, Wook is in charge of all Ghuist mimeography -- like that done on QUANDRY -- except for certain specimens done by the ultra-pious John Davis in purple mimeo ink. WORLD STATE One point on which almost all socially-conscious fans were agreed of old. They varied greatly, however, in their ideas of how it was to come about. Youd favored Federal Union, tho on the eve of Pearl Harbor he renounced the idea of any connection with these rotten Americans. Speer also favored this idea, but lacking that hoped that consolidation of individual states might take place satisfactorily as a result of the war. The Michelists spoke always of a scientific, socialistic world state; the Esperantists believed that a universal language would be a powerful force for world unification. Early hopes for development of the UN into an international government having been dashed, fans seem at present to adopt the idea of an irreconcilable conflict between the NATO powers and the Communist Empire which cannot be settled by the parliamentary methods we understand by world government, but can only be resolved by some form of force -- propaganda, weaponry, etc -- tho whether it actually will be resolved at all is disputed. Much speculation on the subject of late has dealt with establishment of a world state after one or the other power bloc has been destroyed; but actually the notion has gradually fallen into non-consideration as it became more and more evident how little would be left to organize after World War III. Your Frazer suspects, however, that the present degree of international cooperation within the supranational alliances would have sent most prewar World Statists into ecstacies. WORLDCON The chief annual gathering of fans is usually designated as an "International Convention". WO3W (EESmith:DAG) Wide-open three-way, a title adopted from the Lensman Series (complete telepathic contact among three persons, it means) by Redd Boggs, Dean A Grennell, and Bob Silverberg to describe their habit of sending each to the other a carbon of any letters to the third. WRITING Often used in connection with fanzines to denote art work as well as fiction & nonfiction. Characteristics of the usual colloquial style, as distinguished from the puristic handling of grammar of which fans are capable when necessary, are various practices of the Ackermanese type (varying from fan to fan); considerable use of words and phrases in and from foreign languages (and, anciently, Esperanto) whenever the writer feels like it; and a tone as if the writer were talking to himself, or at least determining how he should say things primarily to suit himself. Some people in the fan world, it must be added, do not share the competence of the typical fan in the matter of writing ability, and may produce gibberish like this: "Now there's understanding. A solid object you can understand. Prior to understanding something, there is the understanding... (My IQ has gone up fifty points while I've been here a year.) Hand in hand with the symbol-substituter effect-people prace toward the world's end. Or did, till a few seconds ago. There's a BUT in here..." Or they are addicted to guff of this sort: "I'll just drool till you get back; it's third door to the left... # Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, came a knocking at my dome, 'Ain't nobody home!' # With all this (and he --, too), mixed well, sprinkle with salt and poppa; take one whiff and I'll send you a few Daisies, pickled fresh from my harem. # Well, you have withstood my desultory comments. I have tried to be candid and affable. I can make one promise: you will find no cursory columns, but they will not be impeccable. I hope I have succeeded. Au 'voir, I'll be dropping in later -- # -- I hope!" And nothing can be done about it. Not, at least, since the Post Office passed that chicken-hearted regulation banning bombs from the mail. WSFA see Washington DC WSFS The World Science Fiction Society, Incorporated. The PhilCon II in 1953 had rumblings of a "permanent convention organization", and at the NYCon II this group was actually voted into authority. It was alleged that incorporation was necessary to prevent local fans being sued for debts in case the convention ran into the red -- a real danger, with the Big Convention movement -- since it could declare itself bankrupt when its funds were exhausted, under the laws governing corporations, while individuals could be sued for their personal funds if debts exhausted the Con-committee's resources. Tho a well-taken point, the fact that the NYCon II and the LonCon following it both ran into debt without rescue from the WSFS casts doubt on the value of this feature. Certain dragooning tactics used in getting the Incorporation adopted as sponsoring organization of the NYCon II (mostly George Nims Raybin's public remark that iff'n the attendees en masse didn't vote for that measure at the business session the society would gather a group of Con-committee members who would put it into effect anyway) were strongly resented at the time and later. The WSFS in addition to other duties was supposed to "help with convention planning and production, acting as a reservoir of experience". It is reported to have given a good deal of valuable assistance to the LonCon. Its bylaws regularized some important fannish convention practices, such as the Rotation Plan. Tho the language of the organization's charter was suspected of concealing crafty legalisms by which the WSFS directors could "take over fandom" (i.e. dictate to convention committees) neither London nor South Gate had any complaints to make about officiousness. After the Plane Trip hooraw, and, some alleged, as a result of the animosities therefrom arising, the New York WSFS officers (Frank Dietz, Recorder-Historian; Belle Dietz, Secretary; George Nims Raybin, Legal Officer) dunned Dave Kyle for about $100 in funds outstanding since the NYCon II, and, receiving no satisfaction, attached his bank account. Kyle brought suit for damages to his reputation in the amount of $25,000, the attachment and a libellous article by one "Edsel McCune" in fanzine Metrofan being important exhibits. (To make things clearer, this "Edsel McCune" was not the original owner of the pen-name.) The other 3 filed counter-suit for the same amount and a series of articles, most of which probably were actionable if the truth were known, were produced by each side. Kyle cited some of these and raised his claim to $35,000, while the Dietzes and Raybin offered to let Kyle designate a lawyer to handle their end of the suit. Dave refused this offer, since taking over would let him end the matter as he pleased but make him liable for all the court charges (several hundred dollars) accumulated to date. Meanwhile, back in fandom, various others had taken an interest in the matter, the Falascas reacting by attacking the legality of the whole WSFS as at that time constituted and alleging irregularities in the Incorporation's operation that would get it in trouble if it ever came under the scrutiny of the courts. Inchmery Fandom and some others rallied to the support of WSFS and the Dietzes, but the majority reaction appeared to be active or barely suppressed nausea at the goings-on in New York. Motivations for the last appear to have been (1) dislike of legal action on the general principle that fandom is too esoteric for a fair judgement to be reached by a mundane court or jury, and (2) horror at the size of the damages claimed, $25,000 being more than sufficient to throw the average fan into debt for a decade. Such feelings easily passed into opposition to the existence of the WSFS. To make it easier for the contenders to back down, Kyle was accused of vindictiveness in maintaining his suit, while the "Unholy Three" were accused of "trying to wiggle out from under a bad case" in not maintaining theirs. Since withdrawal by either side would undoubtlessly be followed by denunciations for having admitted to a bad case, the lawsuiters appear to be in an insoluble dilemma. As mentioned above, disgust at these carryings-on, which were generally linked to the name of WSFS, easily became the source of opposition to the existence of the corporation. The Falascas and the Berkeley Bhoys were generally the spreaders of anti-WSFS and down-with-lawsuits sentiments, tho they had enthusiastic seconding. During 1958 fandom's intent to fight against the WSFS at the SoLACon became so evident that the con committee decided not to associate the convention with the WSFS, a decision which Anna Moffat announced amid tremendous cheers at the business session. A resolution was passed there calling for dissolution of the WSFS by the directors. (Since the SoLACon wasn't WSFS-sponsored a resolution, which was probably set to go, "that the WSFS be dissolved", couldn't be introduced.) The later history of the organization remains in doubt, since no such action was taken, but it is improbable that the WSFS Inc will be important in fandom henceforth.
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