Welcome to what I hope will be a letter column. The former fanzine editor in me was quite pleased to get a loc on this project within a day of putting it up on the WWW.
Letters are welcome - yes, we have gotten mail in the last two years on Timebinders, but much of it has been incorporated into the projects pages, or has been exchanged via the mailing list.
Editorial comments will appear in italics. Letters will be stored "last in, first out," so the most recent mail is always at the top of the file.
From: Shelby Vick, email@example.com
Date: Dec 1998
Subject: Corflu Sunsplash
Fan History (specifically, Sixth Fandom) will be celebrated April 30-May 2, 1999 at Panama City Beach, Florida. Original Lee Hoffman Lil Peepul, puffins, and -- most important -- a commemorative issue of Hyphen, thanks to Joe Siclari digging into his files and supplying us with voluminous material to choose from. There will be an original cover in the Hyphen format, plus reproductions of the first cover and one other yet to be chosen. There will even be an original con report by James White -- the completion of one he had started in Hyphen Way Back When. Now, we need money. Cash. Big Bucks. Moolah. The con motel is demanding a deposit to hold the rooms for us. Membership is $45, supporting $15, and advance copies (yesterday would not be too soon) to Shelby Vick, 627 Barton Avenue, Springfield, FL 32404.
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From: Wolfgang Both, 11/30/98, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998
Subject: East German Fandom
We just finished a short history about the East German Fandom between 1945 and 1989. But we still search for contacts of East German fans to world fandom. A special point is an a German fan from the thrirties, Mr. Herbert Häussler, who published in L.A fanzines of Ackerman and others: Imagination, Dez. 1937, Febr. 1938 till March 1939 in VOM. The early correspondence ended with the beginnig of the war. Can you help us with detaild information?
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From: Richard Newsome, 11/17/94, email@example.com
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 23:05:20
Subject: Up to Now by Jack Speer Available
If anyone would like a copy of Jack Speer's Up To Now, I've run off a little reprint edition, with Jack Speer's permission. Copies are $5 from me. If you live outside North America add $2 for postage ($5 if you want it sent air mail). If sending payment in US dollars is difficult send me e-mail and we'll work out a trade. My address is: Richard Newsome, 281 Flatbush Ave., #1-B, Brooklyn, NY 11217.
Up To Now was the first fan history, covering events up to the eve of the 1939 Worldcon. It's a fannish classic and has been out of print since Dick Eney reprinted it in A Sense Of FAPA in 1962. It's about 20,000 words long. Topics included:
Peggy Rae sent me two (count 'em, two) copies of her notes on Fanhistoricon--which I had to miss at the last minute, alas--and still I failed to notice that Joe Sanders' forthcoming (soon or Soon, as we used to say in SAPS) book of fanhistory, SF Fandom, from Greenwood Press isn't listed as a current resource. (Since I wrote the section on "Post-Sputnik Fandom," I really should have noticed that.)
I want to toss out a notion for your consideration. I wonder if the Timebinders might think about setting up a volunteer committee of "vetters" of fanhistory. In writing the section for SF FANDOM mentioned above, I relied partially on memory and partially on research; since I've often (half jokingly, half seriously) commented on my "cast iron sieve of a memory", it seemed reasonable to submit that chapter to a few other people for verification before it was published. My memory held up well; but a few of the things I had "researched" in fanzines were in error. They're a great prime source but hey, guess what, what's "in print" in a fanzine, even in a newszine, is not necessarilly gospel. This fact was underscored when Ted White and I (and possibly others I don't know about) "vetted" Warner's A Wealth of Fable. Warner had relied heavily on things which had been said in fanzines, some of which were simply wrong; in some cases the fanzines were in error and in others it was Warner's interpretation of what had been said.
Let me give you an example, not from me or from Warner but just something I stumbled across recently. It is a fairly common notion that Wollheim's purpose in starting FAPA was so that all the fanzines being published could be distributed through it, but that this purpose had been thwarted when FAPA members elected to publish separate zines for FAPA while continuing to send their "subscription" fanzines only to their normal mailing lists. I believe the notion is apocryphal. The FAPA Constitution, which was written up and "adopted" by Wollheim and Michel several months before FAPA got underway and which ruled FAPA in its formative years, stated quite plainly that memberscould publish special fanzines for FAPA and continue to distribute their other fanzines as they wished.
I'm only speculating, of course, but I can imagine how this error might have gotten started. Arguably, someone may have stated that the only way to get "all" of the fanzines being published was to join the FAPA. What they meant by that was that they presumed you were already getting all the other fanzines, but in order to get "all" the fanzines you had to join FAPA to get the FAPAzines as well. It's not at all hard, however, to see how it might easily be misinterpreted to support the myth.
Anyway, having seen first hand how easily errors creep into our efforts to document fan history--and how vetting can help eliminate them--perhaps the Timebinders should see if it could establish a volunteer committee to read and vet fanhistorical research before it gets into print? I'd volunteer to be on the committee, but since I'm incapable of acccessing the WWW at the moment--I gather I have an electric-powered, motorized, slipsheeting hectograph here--perhaps someone else should be the contact point. At the very least, this committee could "check out" the material going into publications associated with the Timebinders, such as Fancyclopedia III.
Regards, rich brown a.k.a. DrGafia@aol.com