Science fiction fanzine

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A science fiction fanzine is an amateur or semi-professional magazine published by members of science fiction fandom, from the 1930s to the present day. They were one of the earliest forms of fanzine, and at one time constituted the primary type of science-fictional fannish activity ("fanac").


Origins and history

The first science fiction fanzine, The Comet, was published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago. The term "fanzine" was coined in October 1940 by Russ Chauvenet. "Fanzines" were distinguished from "prozines", that is, all professional magazines. Prior to that, the fan publications were known as "fanmags" or "letterzines." (See fanspeak.)

Traditionally, science fiction fanzines were (and many still are) available for "the usual," meaning that a sample issue will be mailed on request; to receive further issues, a reader sends a "letter of comment" (LoC) about the fanzine to the editor. The LoC might be published in the next issue: some fanzines consisted almost exclusively of letter columns, where discussions were conducted in much the same way as they are in internet newsgroups and mailing lists nowadays, though at a relatively slow pace.

Since 1955, the annual Worldcon has awarded Hugo Awards for Best Fanzine; awards for Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Artist were added in 1967 and have continued since then.


During the 1970s and 1980s, some fanzines - especially sercon (serious and constructive) zines devoted to sf and fantasy criticism, and newszines such as Locus - became more professional journals, produced by desktop publishing programs and offset printing. These new magazines were labeled "semiprozines", and were eventually sold rather than traded, and paid their contributors. Some semiprozines publish original fiction. The Hugo Awards recognized semiprozines as a separate category from fanzines in 1984 after Locus won the award for best fanzine several years running. (See Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine). Well-known semiprozines include Locus, Ansible, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and Interzone.


Amateur press associations (APAs) publish fanzines made up of the contributions of the individual members collected into an assemblage or bundle called an apazine.

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