I must admit to one positive about the internet and the world-wide web: it was colonized early and often by fans and they’ve never stopped using (and abusing) it for fannish purposes.
The first online community was the SF Lovers mailing list, hosted out of Rutgers University (largely by folks I peripherally hung out with during my college days!); Dr. Jerry Pournelle lays claim to writing the first “blog” online. Fanzines survive and thrive. Online conventions have even been held. If there is any one place in the world (real or electronic) that can be called the true environment for fans, it’s got to be some combination of conventions and online activity.
It seems a quite natural fit, doesn’t it? New, high-tech that only a few could master being colonized and nearly monopolized by people who like to read about new, high tech stuff.
The only real downside to the fannish online resources is the very nature of Fandom itself: insular, fiercely independent, strongly anti-authoritarianism, very anti-commercial. Which means (in the short and long term) that many fine resources come and go, often without the majority being aware of their existence. (Right now I’m aware of several projects being undertaken to preserve the historical content of websites devoted to conventions and authors.)
But some sites these days have established a bit of longevity and seem destined to become well-supported cornerstones of Fandom’s online presence.
Fannish Resources on the web will be an occasional feature here on Amazing Stories. As material accumulates and it makes sense, the links to resources here will be compiled for a separate page.
As always, if you wish to recommend a web resource devoted to fandom (what does that mean? If you’re a fan, it means whatever you think it means!), please feel free to add it to the comments or send it along in an email.
Today, a random selection of resources largely devoted to fan history. (History is the KEY. You’ll blunder into another land war in Asia if you don’t know your history!)
The SF Encyclopedia. (Link is to the entry on Fandom)
FANAC The Fan History Project (Fan HIstory Archive. Fanac is also fannish vocab for FAN ACTivity, which is of course the stuff fans do that makes them fans.) Link is to the Fan History page
Fancyclopedia 3: A specialized encyclopedia that restricts itself to entries on science fiction fandom. Link is to the page devoted to SF Fandom. Each entry also includes the prior entries on the subject from Fancyclopedias 1 and 2 (if there was one of course), which provides a very interesting and unique opportunity to watch evolution in action.
THEN a detailed and on-going history of British Fandom. (Hosted by Ansible, one of the best fanzines ever)
Timebinders: The Scienceers. A history of the first SF club, hosted by Fanac
Jophan: an archive of Mimosa, a fanzine devoted to fan history and the 1960s fan project. Mimosa published numerous articles by David Kyle, one of the first fans (still going strong!). Kyle on the SF League. Kyle on the Great Exclusion Act of 1939
The Way the Future Blogs: Fred Pohl also dabbled in recounting fannish history.
The Los Angeles Science Fiction Society – LASFS – (a one-time SF League Chapter) and the longest continuously operating club in the US, has its own history page.
One should never forget that there is an on-going struggle between US & UK fans for claims of THE FIRST of just about everything in SF; was the first SF magazine a Christmas supplement of a UK mag, or Amazing Stories? (You all know the answer to THAT one, right?). Was the first SF convention held in Leeds in 1937…or a Philadelphia meeting in 1936? Many make a strong case for Leeds, but I’m sticking with Fred Pohl’s assertions (that it was called a convention and organized as such). Regardless, FIAWOL (Fandom Is A Way Of Life) offers background on UK fannish history.
Not sure what all that’s about, or why one should care?
Here’s a link to The Enchanted Duplicator, the tale of JoPhan and his quest for Trufandom.