Garth Spencer

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 explained.

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 your discretion.

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 question.

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, chairs, etc.)