(1.) (n.) Someone who is not a fan. ("He is a mundane; they are mundanes"')
(2) (adj.) Pertaining to the world outside fandom. The dictionary definition is "common, ordinary".
(3). (n.) Mundane is also the name of the country Jophan lives in until he is inspired by the Spirit of Fandom to seek Trufandom on the other side of the Mountains of Inertia in The Enchanted Duplicator.


The Neffer Amateur Press Alliance. Not to be confused with NAPA, which see. An apa that was formed for members of the National Fantasy Fan Federation (a.k.a. NFFF or N3F) to help introduce those who were wannabe fanzine publishers to the ways of fanzine fandom. Several prominent fans joined the N3F for the first time just to participate, which was the source of some amusement until the knowledgeable NFFF President warned off members of the N3F's welcoming committee who through naiveté were “welcoming” to fandom people who'd been active in the greater microcosm longer than the N3F had been in existence.



Seattle area fan club of the 1950s and 1960s. Its meeting notice, Cry of the Nameless, evolved into a full-fledged monthly fanzine that continued to print the club’s minutes, dropped “of the Nameless” from its name and eventually won the Hugo as the best fanzine of the year. It was essentially taken over during this period by a handful of active Seattle fanzine fans beginning in the late 1950s – specifically F.M. and Elinor Busby, Burnett R. Toskey, Wally Weber and “Blotto Otto” Pfeifer.


The National Amateur Press Association (NAPA) is one of the largest and oldest mundane apas. However, many fans have been members of the National (as it is called informally), and some prominent fans have come into our microcosm through this association (Bill Danner, Helen Wesson, e.g.). NAPA is primarily a club for hobby printers with, naturally, some appeal to amateur writers. The mundane apas predated fandom’s, going back to the 1880s, but were the inspiration for fandom’s, probably largely through the participation of H.P. Lovecraft as an amateur journalist and a member of both NAPA and UAPA.


Acronym for the North American Science Fiction Convention. Whenever the Worldcon leaves the North American continent, there is a NASFiC in North America that year as a national convention, which for some purposes serves as a kind of substitute for US fans who can't make it to the overseas Worldcon. See also 'Noncon'; the major difference being that the location of the NASFiC is determined by members of the Worldcon.


See "The Cult".


The need for a national organization of fans was perceived in the earliest days of fandom, but one did not actually get off to a successful start until damon knight wrote “Unite – Or Die!” for the October 1940 issue of Art Widner’s fanzine Fanfare, in which he said in part: “I sincerely believe that a successful national fantasy association is possible, that it could offer a needed service to every fan, and that it could be established today.” Reader response soon led to the formation of the National Fantasy Fan Federation (abbreviated NFFF or N3F) with 64 charter members, and while knight’s interest soon waned, Widner, Louis Russell Chauvenet (who coined the term “fanzine“) and other prominent fans of the day guided the initial development of the club. The organization had several early successes, including but not limited to publication of a book by Dr. David H. Keller and sponsoring (with Forry Ackerman and the LASFS) the first Fancyclopedia. For much of its existence, however, the N3F was not held in high regard; it became something of an ignorant backwater in the hands of those whose only activity was in the N3F and who behaved as if the N3F was synonymous with fandom rather than just a part of it. Accordingly, the club was the subject of much satire and derision and it languished for many years. But the organization endures while others have come and gone, and it has been on an upswing in more recent times, with the publication of a new club Handbook and current activities including its quarterly fanzine, The National Fantasy Fan, an annual amateur short story contest (among other writing projects), the annual Neffy Awards presented in a variety of categories, and 25 bureaus/activities (including its own apa, N’APA), all of which are participated in by the membership.


(1) The 'Best of' awards given out at the annual meetings of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

(2) Scottish prozine (41 issues, Aug'52 - Aug'59) which regularly featured ATom art and 'Fanorama', a fannish column by Walt Willis. Also published first pro stories of Bob Shaw, Robert Silverberg and Brian Aldiss.


Negative egoboo; criticism. This is to egoboo what 'Die soon and wither' is to 'Live long and prosper.'


A new, inexperienced or unknowledgeable fan. Not necessarily a pejorative in fanzine fandom, although some people appear to think so or act as if they did. The neofan, however, is the only source of future potential BNFs. In Bjo Trimble's classic 'The Littlest Neofan,' the Littlest Neo cannot compete with the writing/drawing prowess of older, more experienced fanzine fans, nor can he equal their abilities in the mechanics of publishing, but the gift he brings to anything he does is ultimately shown to be one which fandom cannot long survive without–the sense of wonder.


Anyone who has sold very few stories and/or hasn't been at it long.




Internet equivalent of 'neofan.'


A fanzine with news of interest to the community of sf fandom. Sercon newszines have news primarily of the professional community with fannish news sometimes thrown in for good measure; fannish newszines have news primarily of fandom with professional news sometimes thrown in for good measure.


A gathering of fans, either at someone's home or in regular hotel convention space, during all or part of the Labor Day weekend, for those who cannot go to the Worldcon or NASFIC (for financial or other reasons) but who nonetheless feel restless about not meeting with other fans on Roscoe's birthday. The Noncon is simply declared and has no official recognition from the Worldcon or the NASFIC. Noncons are most likely to be held on the 'opposite' coast when a Worldcon or NASFIC is being held on either the Left or Right Coast, thus appealing to fans who cannot afford the cross-country trip. A second variety of Noncon exists on a fairly regular basis–a July 4 weekend affair in LA when the Westercon is being held in some more exotic location, such as San Francisco, Seattle, Denver or even Boise.


Once popular in fanzines, now seldom seen; instead of indenting five spaces for each paragraph, the first paragraph begins flush left, the following paragraph begins one line down and two spaces past the last character in the last line of the preceding paragraph.


Jack Speer gave us an unparalleled fanhistorical tool when he articulated his essential theory of Numbered Fandoms in "Up to Now" at the end of the 1930s, which he revised for the first Fancyclopedia (1944). This gave us an outline of eofandom, the first three numbered fandoms and their interregnums or "transitions".

Bob Silverberg was next to sign in, updating the theory as far as Sixth Fandom in his column in Quandry in 1952. Silverberg, however, left out the "transitions" notion of interregnums, perhaps only having read the original essay.

Dick Eney, in FanCy II, updated the notions to 1959 sensibilities, including "transitions" accommodating Agberg's update.

There have been, further, quite a number of articles and commentary over the years by Ted White, rich brown and Arnie Katz, among others, attempting to update and/or refine upon these originals. Despite the lack of resolution of many of its finer points, or perhaps because of it, even those who've likened it to medieval disputes over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin have nonetheless hauled it out from time to time, dusted it off and discussed it all yet again.

This, consequently, its length to the contrary notwithstanding, is but the briefest kind of thumbnail sketch.

A numbered fandom is essentially a fannish era with distinct characteristics and a strong identifiable focus. In most early expositions of the theory, this would usually be exemplified by a particular fanzine – and, as a result, sometime in the 1960s, the notion took hold that each numbered fandom had its own "focal point" fanzine which exemplified that mini-era to such an extent that being on the fringes was in part defined by not being a recipient of the zine in question. Speer identified specific fanzines with Eofandom, First and Third Fandoms, while Silverbob did the same for Fifth and Sixth Fandoms. Eney did not identify any specific fanzine title in tacking on what he identified as the "false" Seventh (the Sixth Interregnum) and a later period as the real Seventh Fandom. However, as the focal-point idea has taken hold, the gaps have usually been filled in – although in some cases, as you will see, it remains quite speculative.

A transition or interregnum is the time period when a given numbered fandom begins to come apart for one reason or another and is in a state of flux as it finds itself looking around for a new focus or focal point.

Eofandom: 1930-33. In his first exposition of the notion, Speer apparently started First Fandom a bit on the late side. Rather than back up and start all over with new numbering, he named the preceding period (in which fandom was in the process of coalescing into a planet around the new star known as magazine scientifiction anyway) Eofandom. Keep in mind that the first issue of the first all-stf prozine, Amazing Stories, had been published only four years prior to this and that it took a while for protofans to take advantage of the fact that it printed complete addresses in its lettercolumns to begin contacting other enthusiasts, corresponding with those who lived far away and meeting those who lived nearby. The first fanzine, The Comet, was published during this period (its first issue was May 1930); letterhacking was a major activity. Strange new air-breathing lifeforms were said to have crawled off the bottom of the sea and up onto the land where they immediately began to suck life from the varied plants abounding there; we who were not there can only imagine.

First Fandom: 1933-36. The emphasis was on serious science and serious discussion of science fiction, news of what was forthcoming in the scientific world as well as sf and fantasy prozines (and the rare publication of fantasy or, rarer yet, scientifiction books), interviews with authors and the like. The focal point fanzine was Fantasy Magazine – it had the clear advantage in being a lofty printed journal among a lot of hectographed and a handful of mimeographed publications.

First Interregnum: late 1936-October 1937. Fantasy Magazine began its decline, the Gernbackian "ideal" (that reading stf should lead to an interest, if not actually a career, in one of the sciences) was dumped in favor of considering sf for its own sake or, as in some quarters, a turning away from the professional field to begin a more intense consideration of individual fan personalities. Wollheim's printed fanzine The Phantograph effectively took the place of Fantasy Magazine until Wollheim, along with John Michell, started the Fantasy Amateur Press Association in August 1937.

Second Fandom: October 1937-October 1938. The increasing emphasis on fan personalities and de-emphasis of sf-related talk brought discussions of politics to the fore, and this led to unparalleled feuding until virtually all of fandom was effectively at war as a rather determined group included a bunch of young Communists centering on the New York Futurian Society (including but not limited to John Michel and Donald A. Wollheim, whom their enemies and followers called variously "Michelists," "Wollheimists" and "Futurians") attempted to drag the rest of fandom into their camp. Neither Speer, Silverberg nor Eney named a focal point fanzine for this era but Richard Wilson’s Science Fiction Newsletter has been suggested, although it remains unverified how many of its 78 issues were published in that period. One must also consider the possibility that "focal point fanzine," being a 1960s notion, could simply be a shoe numbered fandom theorists are Trying Too Hard to fit on this 1930s foot.

Second Transition: From the 1938 conference in Philadelphia through the second Worldcon in Chicago in 1940. The “Barbarian Invasion,” which is to say a heavy influx of new fans, led to the emergence of New Fandom and a reemphasis on heavy interest in sf. Feuding continued to manifest itself, taking on such forms as the Exclusion Act at the 1939 New York (first World) convention which barred a number of Michelists from attending.

Third Fandom: September 1940-early 1944. The focal point fanzine of Third Fandom was Harry Warner Jr.'s Spaceways. A bit of irony: You won't discover this from reading his books of fan history – All Our Yesterdays and A Wealth of Fable – or from the collected “All Our Yesterdays” columns he used to write, because Harry did not subscribe to the notion of numbered fandoms or focal point fanzines. (They are, nonetheless, highly recommended.) But Spaceways was both frequent and influential enough, and being one of the relatively few mimeographed fanzines (along with Bob Tucker’s LeZombie) had the advantage over its contemporaries and rivals who were still using hectographs. The hectograph, besides its relatively low limit on legible copies, is a painstaking one-page-at-a-time process, while the practical limit on mimeography, which Warner never had to come near, is in the tens of thousands, producing a copy with every turn of the mimeograph handle. The "core" of fandom had risen to 250 to 300 people, and Warner was in the enviable position of being able to reach most of them with an ease unshared by those working within the limits of hecto. As Tucker was busily introducing the concept of “humor” to fandom, this let Warner set the example by simply not allowing people to feud in the pages of his fanzine. There was much talk of fandom "maturing" as warring factions mended bridges; the FAPA Brain Trust came into being, as did the more intellectual Vanguard Amateur Press Association, and damon knight’s article “Unite – Or Die!“ in a 1940 issue of Art Widner’s fanzine Fanfare was promoting the effort to establish a national fan organization.

Third Interregnum: Early to late 1944. Wartime shortages, older fans entering the war effort, thinning of the blood of the FAPA Brain Trust, power struggles in VAPA, wrangling over the constitution of the proposed National Fantasy Fan Federation and an influx of new blood brought an end to Third Fandom and produced this "little" transition.

Fourth Fandom: Late 1944-Philcon I (1947). Silverberg and Eney agree that Fourth Fandom took place mostly in the long lettercolumns published in minuscule type in the back pages of the pulp sf magazines Thrilling Wonder Stories, Startling Stories and Planet Stories – due in almost equal parts to a substantial influx of new fans and wartime paper shortages that affected fan publishing. For those who need a fanzine focal point, Joe Kennedy's Vampire has been suggested and found agreement among fanhistorians; it was clearly the "place to be" and, although a quarterly, it published yearbooks in 1944 and 1945 that doled out the most meaningful egoboo – plus, of course, Kennedy was a BNF among the more active fans in those lettercolumns. (Kennedy is today better known as X.J. Kennedy, a highly regarded if minor U.S. poet.) There was considerable ill-feeling expressed against the Shaver Mystery by fans of this period, but fandom never got organized or effective enough to Force The Issue; Forry Ackerman urged fans to boycott Amazing Stories but was purchasing three copies of each issue to keep his collection complete, and editor Ray Palmer recognized the expediency of placating fandom to the extent of instituting a column of fan news and fanzine reviews in Amazing called "The Club House" written by Rog Phillips.

Although there's no Fourth Interregnum listed, it's worth noting that by the time of the Pacificon in 1945 – the first world convention since the 1941 Denvention – Francis T. Laney's The Acolyte and the Charles Burbee-edited Shangri-L’Affaires topped the fanzine polls. The Insurgency had not yet come to a boil but everything it would need to do so was already falling into place.

Fifth Fandom: 1947 PhilCon I-mid-1950. Laney stopped publishing The Acolyte, the LASFS relieved Burbee of his editorial duties on Shangri-L’Affaires (they didn't like the way he poked fun at their more sober-sided members or the fact that he would publish "outside" contributions rather than put off deadlines when LASFS members failed to come up with promised material on time). They both "retired" to the Elephant’s Graveyard, FAPA, where they began to refine their insurgency in Wild Hair and numerous one-shots – Laney with his memoirs, Ah! Sweet Idiocy!, Burbee with a series of satires that made his previous editorials seem mild. In the vacuum created in general fanzine fandom, Art Rapp's Spacewarp became the focal point for Fifth Fandom; it had some serious material, namely Redd Boggs' "File 13" column, but it was mixed with Rapp's humorous stories of Morgan Botts, the drunken stf-fan inventor, and Rapp’s creation (with Outlanders Ed Cox and Rick Sneary) of the fannish fun-loving religion revolving around the worship of Roscoe, the mighty beaver. When Rapp reentered the Army at the outset of the Korean War as a bomb went off on his front lawn, he more or less formally aligned himself with the insurgents by having Burbee and Laney publish the last two genzine issues of Spacewarp. Rapp was also instrumental in the formation of FAPA's first successful long-time rival apa, the Spectator Amateur Press Society, or SAPS. (Both FAPA and SAPS are still going concerns.)

If there was an interregnum between Fifth and Sixth, it had to be a brief one, since in early 1951 the Fifth Fandom focal point Spacewarp became a quarterly SAPSzine with limited general circulation while a relative newcomer named Lee Hoffman started publishing the monthly fanzine called Quandry (a misspelling of "quandary"), which in very few issues was destined to become the focal point of Sixth Fandom.

Sixth Fandom: Early 1951 through (at least) May 1953. Lee Hoffman modestly began publishing Quandry; after just a few months, she picked up a column by Fourth Fandom's Joe Kennedy, Redd Boggs' Spacwarp column "File 13" and a brilliant new fan columnist from Belfast, North Ireland, named Walter A. Willis who wrote "The Harp That Once Or Twice" for her fanzine. The rest, as they say in the clichés, is History. Early on, Q inspired or was inspired by other relatively new fanzines like Willis's Slant, Shelby Vick's Confusion, Max Keasler's Fan Variety/Opus; a serious sf "boom" was under way, with dozens of magazine titles on the stands, so while sf was sometimes discussed, for the first time it was no longer a safe foregone conclusion that other active fans all had “most” science fiction in common. The emphasis during Sixth Fandom was on fans, fandom, humor and mutual appreciation of things like Walt Kelley's Pogo, Roger Price's philosophy of Avoidism and Stephen Potter's Oneupsmanship. Willis and Bob Shaw wrote and published the Pilgrim's Progress of trufandom, The Enchanted Duplicator. The humor of Sixth Fandom was gentler and more inclusive than the satires of Burbee and Laney, and so was known as Serious Constructive Insurgentism. The first successful fully fan-supported fund to bring a fan from overseas to attend a U.S. convention brought Willis to Chicon II; he produced two con reports, a fictional one written before the event (Willis Discovers America), published in fanzines that supported the Fund, and a long over-the-shoulder account that was first serialized in his "Harp" column and was eventually published as The Harp Stateside which is still generally regarded as the best ever.

Sixth Interregnum/Seventh Fandom: May 1953-? Here's where things start to get sticky as conflicting theories begin to overlap without developing much in the way of consensus.

In the Halloween 1952 issue of Quandry, Bob Silverberg devoted his column to updating Jack Speer's theory. Bob's piece in some respects was well reasoned but was fundamentally flawed in others. He felt that Sixth Fandom (Quandry et al.) was beginning to collapse – Willis had not published Slant or Hyphen since returning to Belfast, Max Keasler and ShelVy (the editors of Opus and Confusion, respectively) had gafiated, LeeH was talking of cutting back the pace – and so maybe (he said) Sixth Fandom was on the way out. But he also speculated that a group of promising new fans, some of whom he named, would become Seventh Fandom when this happened and he neglected to mention the concept of interregnums or transitions. Together, this led a number of fans who encountered the theory for the first time in his column to assume that, whenever one numbered fandom died, a group of fans whose enthusiasms had not waned was always to be found standing on the sidelines waiting to pick up the fallen banner.

The upshot of it all was that when, several months later, the final issue of Q showed up with black borders around the cover, announcing its own demise, the Silverberg piece became both prophecy and challenge. Harlan Ellison called a group of young actifans together in his apartment in Cleveland, urging them to pick up the gauntlet: They went on to MidWestCon to announce that "7th fandom" had arrived. This subsequently become known as "False Seventh Fandom" or even the Sixth Interregnum, since Harlan and friends were vilified for the hubris of putting themselves forward by fans who were their contemporaries but who may have felt they'd been left out and didn't have enough sense to simply proclaim themselves part of it. Harlan left fandom in high dudgeon after declaring that 7th Fandom had been "kneed in the groin" by mad dogs, which many people found funny because of its anatomic impossibility. Out of spite, no doubt, Harlan then went on to become perhaps the finest writer ever to come out of the microcosm. Adding to the confusion, just as Harlan and friends gave up the ghost, a fan named Peter Vorzimer began publishing a fanzine called Abstract in which he declared the arrival of Eighth Fandom. Vorzimer and his friends engaged in a number of childish antics that drew the microcosm’s disapprobation, and inattentive fans who’d been opposed to Ellison flogged their excesses as if they were Seventh Fandom’s, not realizing it was already a dead horse.

Other speculators have offered up the possibility that the false 7th Fandom was the Sixth Interregnum, and then that the real Seventh Fandom didn't happen until perhaps early 1956, when Fanac got started. A few say that Vorzimer and Abstract, although claiming to be Eight Fandom, were the real Seventh Fandom. Others hold that the true Seventh Fandom's focal point was Joel Nydahl's Vega, and it "handed off" the focalpointhood to the first incarnation of Dick Geis's Psychotic. Somewhat later, Ted White theorized that Sixth Fandom "didn't" end with Q – Q handed off to Vega which handed off to Psy. So the "real" Seventh Fandom could be Harlan & friends, it could be Vorzimer & friends, it could start with Vega, it could start with Psychotic, or it could start with Fanac. Putting it yet another way, Fanac could be the focal point of Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, 10th or even 11th Fandom.

The point is this: Up to Sixth Fandom, the tool works as a kind of fan historical shorthand – mention any of the first six "fandoms" and most fans conversant with the general theory will have a pretty good idea of what you mean. But once Seventh Fandom is brought in, you have to explain which Seventh Fandom you're talking about – at which point it definitely ceases to be shorthand and, for that reason, probably ceases to be useful.

Updated May 13, 2006. If you have a comment or question about the content of these Web pages please send a note to rich brown. Comments or questions about the pages themselves should be sent to the Fanac Webmaster. Thank you.

All of this material is copyright © 2006 by the author and the opinions expressed herein are his and are not necessarily shared by the members of FANAC, Inc.