Fancyclopedia I: S - SFL

S - A sibilant, chiefly noted for its absence from phrases that characters in stories are alleged to "hiss".

saint - A title given to numerous ghughuists, but when used alone it refers to harry dockweiler.

SaL - Pet name for Sweetness and Light, the Moonrakers' fanzine.

Sally - Pet name for Satellite, British Fanzine.

SaM - Nickname for Sam Moskowitz, shortened form of the scientificombination SaMoskowitz.

satire - There be two types. One, the Coblentz sort, consists of exaggeration of present excesses to absurd degrees. The Jonathan Swiftype, much more artful, has our ordinary absurd customs acted out by creatures rather different from us so that their silliness is apparent: if it is foolish for the six-inch king of Lilliput to put on grand airs, is it any the less silly for us, simply because we're scaled in feet instead of inches? Most fan satire has been of the Coblentz, burlesque variety, consisting of fictitious fan gatherings or conversations with outstanding personalities, notably by Pong. Satire of fans as a species is most often in the character of Joe Fann.

Satyricus - Pename of Lowndes.

Schenectacon - A quote convention unquote in mid-1943. Suddsy Schwartz descended upon Schenectady, whence, after a meeting with another scientifictionist there they sailed to New York and visited various persons; then joined by Degler, invaded New England, hitting West Haven and Boston. The establishment of Little Jarnevon was a result of this trip.

Scienceers - A prehistoric fan organization which appeared in New York, and when some of the members moved to the South-West, had branches in Texas and Oklahoma for a while.

science-fiction - The branch of fantasy which deals with "the results of the occurrence of some scientific phenomenon or invention that has never been known to occur, but is possible in the sense that it cannot be proved impossible." (IPO). The usual definition is along the Lowndes formula, "an extrapolation on some scientific fact". For the Wollheim distinction, see the quote under "fantasy".

It is important to exclude from "science-fiction", stories like "The Geometrics of Johnny Day" and many of the "Hick's Inventions with a Kick" series which are demonstrably possible (they rest on a misunderstanding of the term "science-fiction", as tho it were any fiction that involved science); it is also required that the story be scientifically plausible, that it not disregard accepted contemporary scientific knowledge. However, when further advance of science may show a story impossible, as with C B Brown's story (c.1800) based on ventriloquism, the tale should remain in the classification of "science-fiction".

As authors have explored more fields of fantasy, and commentators have continued to divide the field into only three parts, s-f, weird, and pure fantasy, "science-fiction" has come to include other fiction besides that based upon extrapolation of scientific fact: virtually all tales of the future, the prehistoric past, or of alternate presents or pasts, even tho no connection with our present via time-machine is indicated (example, HGWells's "The Brothers"). Marconette suggested the class "political fantasy".

Other names for science-fiction are scientifiction, scientific romances, and pseudo-science stories.

Science Fictioneers - An organization sponsored by the pro mag Super Science Stories, which got some locals calling themselves branches of the Science Fictioneers, some of which had not been in existence before.

science-fiction house - An ancient dream of fans (well, dating back to 1938 at least). The idea is to have a place where fans live together, sharing expenses and bumming off one another, and where they can decorate the walls and halls appropriately and scatter their collections all around. The first realization of this dream was the Flat in London. It was soon followed by Futurian House and a long line of successors. In 1943 appeared Slan Shack and such two-man units as Little Jarnevon and the last dribbles of Futurian House. A modification of the idea is simply to have a club room, where a local organization can have its meetings and keep the club library, duplicators, ktp. The ne plus ultra of science-fiction houses is Slan Center. These establishments are more or less natural developments from the fraternity and nationalism of fandom, coupled with the rise of the average fan's age to self-supporting and home-leaving time.

Science Fiction Poets' Guild - An organization launched by Pohl in the latter part of 1938, which got about a dozen members and dissolved.

Science Fiction Special - (Pohl) - "Upon a base of sliced bananas are placed three scoops of whatever flavor of ice cream is desired, arranged to form the vertices of an equilateral triangle. Syrup of the same flavor is poured thereupon, and the whole smothered with whipped cream. Crushed strawberries, complete with their liquor are next added, and choc.sprinklestrewn over all. The final touch is to surmount the concoction with a large, red cherry, and lo and behold, you have your SCIENCE FICTION SPECIAL! .... The standard price of the SCIENCE FICTION SPECIAL is TWENTY CENTS. # PAY NO MORE!" -- IO, Jan 37. The thing was invented and eaten by Pohl, Michel, and Sykora; its later career your historian knows not. Weren't looking for the Super Science Fiction Special, were you?

scienti - A prefix which should indicate only "scientific" (as in "scientifiction") but in use may mean "science-fictional" (as in scientifilm", meaning a fantastic movie), or even stfandomal. In careless hands the rules of scientificombination are often disregarded, as in "Scientiradio".

scientific fiction - A form preferred by some to "science fiction", in the mistaken belief that a modifier ("scientific") must be in adjectival form. Length of the expression is what has prevented its general adoption.

scientificombination - (Ackerman) - The archetype scientificombination was Gernsback's "scientifiction", a running into ea/oth of "scientific" and "fiction". Under the influence of Ackerman, many other combinations are in common use, eg, pename, stfunnyarn, whathell, actifan; and in colloquial writing nonce-combinations are made whenever the writer notices the same letter/s is/are going to occur on both sides of a space, and it won't be too confusing: the majority ofans, Don't blame, in thend, &c. It was formerly the practice to underline the letters which served double duty, but this is now done only where it is necessary to keep the meaning clear.

scientificomics - Panel strips or pages, the ill-called "funny papers", which use fantastic material. The 100% fantastics include Buck Rogers Sunday and daily, Flash Gordon, Brick Bradford Sunday and daily, Alley Oop daily and Sunday, Mandrake the Magician Sunday and daily, Sappo, and Superman daily and Sunday. Daw once reminded Speer also of a not long-lived comic by Dr Seuss, entitled Hejji, which took place in an imaginary country with very imaginary beasts. In addition to these comics regularly fantasiac, there have been many dabblers, and stfc have appeared thru the mediums of reprint comic magazines, original comic magazines, Big Little Books and their like, magazines like Thrilling Adventures, fanzines, toys, children's clubs, etc. Fans on the whole dislike the comics for the same reason they disliked the flood of new and inferior pro magazines, but dutifully note each new dabbler, even as they will note the stinkiest fantafilm, for completism's sweet sake.

scientific romances - The name given Wells's pioneering science-fiction stories, and the term by which scholars most often recognize s-f as literature, when they do. "romances" refers to imaginative novels such as grew up in the romantic revolt, and has no necessary connexion with love; "scientific" indicates that they were all extrapolations on contemporary science.

scientifiction - (Gernsback) - A scientificombination of "scientific fiction", coined before Amazing Stories appeared, back when the Electrical Experimenter was publishing the stuff. It was not replaced by "science-fiction" (with or without hyphen) until around 1930, and is still in use, especially by non-fans; fans often use "stf". One reason for its falling into disuse is the difficulty of pronouncing it so as to show its elements: "scienti-fiction" is more natural than "scien-TIF-FIC-tion". It should designate only such s-f as is extrapolation upon science.

Scientifiction Association for Boys - A project of Henry Ackermann's in the old days, which included a circulating library at considerable expense. Never reached second base.

scientifictionists - Persons who read fantasy, perhaps collect it and even write letters to the pro editors and try their hand at writing stories, but may have little or no contact with the fan world. Likewise there may be local clubs of scientifictionists, like the Outsiders, which are practically never heard of in fandom. All fans are scientifictionists; only certain scientifictionists or fantasts are fans.

Scientifilmakers - An organization of Sykora, Taurasi, and others, who hoped to carry out the science-fiction movie project of the ISA which the SFCC had not accomplished.

scientiforums - Confabulations of the fen of New York around 1943 after both QSFL and FSNY had virtually passed out of existence. They and certain pros met at various persons' homes to visit and discuss.

scrapbooks - The best are specially made to be scrapbooks, with extra interleaving at the bound edge to offset the bulge that will come as they fill.

The contents include clippings from papers, magazines, et al; and small flat items which could not easily be filed with magazines, such as convention name tags, file copies of stickers, and (when the collector has no album) fotografs.

Some fans have very specialized scrapbooks, as one for movie programs, one for clippings on the Wellescare, asf. Others have simply a stf scrapbook, and some have general scrapbooks in which fan stuff is mixed with other personal mementos.

Second Fandom - (Speer) - October 1937 to October 1938, when the Quadrumvirate resigned. Out of the Third Convention came Michelism, and political discussions were most notable in this period, but many other things not directly related to fantasy were also booted about. Fan feuds reached the proportion of fan wars, mainly between the Wollheimist faction and their enemies, climaxing in May-June 1938 with the Newark Convention and the FAPA campaign. Douglas Webster uses the term to name his own type of British fans, including Youd, Burke, and others, who are interested in many other things, such as good literature, swearing, copulation, atheism, and phonetics, more than in science fiction. They came into dominance about 1939 in partial reaction to the sociological emphasis of the original British fans.

Second Transition - (Speer) - From the 1938 Philadelphia Conference to the Chicon. It was marked by the barbarian invasion, the ascendancy of New Fandom, and the consequent switch of emphasis heavily back toward professional science fiction. There was however still lots of discussion of other things in the second-line fanzines of the day, and in correspondence etc.

secretary - The hardest working official, with the exception sometimes of the official editor, and often combined with the treasurership. In the FAPA, a card file indexing members several different ways was set up by Rothman and passed on to his successors; other organizations keep records in ledgers or loose-leaf notebooks. Managing Secretary is a title in several organizations, notably New Fandom, when it is virtually the only office, and roughly equivalent in power over the organization to Stalin's former General Secretaryship of the Communist Party.

semantics - The study of the meaning of words and sentences. Semantics was popularized in fandom largely through the stories of Heinlein, and now every good fan goes around inquiring, "How did his insulting you really hurt you?", "What do you mean by snobbishness?", "How does a coordinator coordinate, how does a local affiliate, and what difference does it make after it's affiliated?", "If you don't mean government control by 'public control', what do you mean -- control by industrial associations?", "How much does the pledge that the Newarkon won't conflict with the Denvention mean in the planning and execution of it?", usw. According to the philosophy behind semantics, if a proposition makes no conceivable difference in the way things may be expected to act, it is meaningless to ask whether it's true or not. So fans have been made wary of such words as "free will", "significance", "essence", &c. Another angle of attack is to watch the emotional connotations of words. "Treason" was a bad word to brand a man with in Patrick Henry's day, but when the burgesses cried "Treason! treason!" at him, he defied the customary connotations of the word in his well-known reply. Because fans are expected to do likewise, it is not unusual to see more advanced ones calmly making such statements as "Certainly I'm puritanical", "You've been stupid in this case", and "Fans are egoists who need to be taken down a notch".

It is not possible to discuss the entire field of semantics here, but the above indicates the chief ways in which the study has been employed in fandom. It is a useful tool, but can be misused or abused.

sex - The great majority of fans are males. It has been asserted that a female cannot be the psychological type of the s-f fan, but there are several dyed-in-the-wool fannes to refute this. In addition, there are a lot of sweethearts, wives, daughters, sisters, etc. of the he-fans, who tag along at fan gatherings, make some appearance in the fanzines, and assist in dirty work such as mimeoing.

It is generally believed that Joe Fann is considerably later than average in associating with girls; at any rate, it was some two years after 1938 (when the average fan was 18) before love affairs received any great notice in fan discussions, tho there had been some isolated eroticism earlier, especially among the Futurians and the Moonrakers. Since 1940 both generalizations and particulars on fan-meets-femme have appeared frequently in conversation and writing, and among the more "mature" Britishers have sometimes reached shocking depths. In America, a minority has been vociferously lewd, and some shoddy events have resulted from infidelity of married scientifictionists.

SFA - The Science-Fiction Association, an organization with headquarters in Great Britain, which arose in 1937, held three annual meetings or conventions each more successful than the last, and went dormant with the outbreak of the 2d World War. Unlike the BFS, it could not carry on its official business without the members of the Council meeting in person. The founders and leaders of the SFA were those whom Webster calls the First Fandom. Some Amerifans were members.

SFAA - Science Fiction Advancement Association, one of the organizationsthat blossomed at the beginning of the First Transition. Its founder was C Hamilton Bloomer; the later president, Raymond van Houten, signed it over in a dormant state to New Fandom, of which it provided the basic membership, except that certain Wollheimists were not accepted by New Fandom.

SFCC - Science Fantasy Correspondence Club, one of those organizations that sprang up (like funguses) in the First Transition. sfcc has been used to mean Science Fiction Comic Club (or Cartoon Club, as he named it) which was suggested to Speer by Wollheim in 1934, but not organized. SFCC also means Science Fiction Cinema Club. Sykora, Goudket, and others wanted to carry out the project of the defunct ISA for a science-fiction movie; and old fantafilms were shown at club meetings. The organization was penetrated by the Wollheimists, and ceased to exist in the early part of 1938, to be replaced by the Scientifilmakers.

S F Cynic - Pename for a column of opinions, mainly Futurians', put together by Lowndes.

SFL - The Science Fiction League, launched in 1934 by Gernsback and Hornig, sponsored by Wonder Stories. An imposing Board of Directors included Ackerman and Darrow, but they had no power. The SFL department of Wonder Stories reported activities of locals and of fandom in general, announced proposed new locals, listed new members and addresses, and carried the B Stf test and results. Under TWS the League was continued, but more commercialized, the department often being used to blurb future issues.

In course of time the League enrolled several thousand members, tho most of these never did anything more than send in their names, and some of the memberships are duplicate enrollments or things like Peggy Gillespie. It was hoped that the SFL could become the general fan organization, but this was dashed when non-payment of young authors (it should be added that this was up to a department of the company not under Hornig's control) and natural rivalry brot on the ISA-SFL war and the expulsion of Wollheim, Sykora, and Michel.

The chief importance of the SFL in fandom is the chapters that have been set up, of which the most important are the LASFL, QSFLs, GNYSFL, Leeds SFL, and other locals with different names, like the PSFS. In those cases, "SFL means "chapter of the SFL". Only one chapter can be established in the same city, except in cities over 1,000,000. Three members are required for setting up a chapter; most such three-man organizations are quite short-lived. There is an old rule, no longer observed, that the member with the lowest serial number shall be director.

Of other rules there were few; one was that members promise to answer with reasonable promptness all (non-commercial) correspondence addressed to them as members. The emblem was reproduced on lapel buttons and stationery which were for sale.

Data entry by Judy Bemis