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Southern Fandom Confederation Web Site

Introduction to the Southern Fandom Confederation

By Deborah Hussey

Some of you visiting here may know what the Southern Fandom Confederation is. Others probably not. And then there are those who do know what it is. And they want to get into the "real stuff". If you do know then feel free to browse the site.

So what is the SFC?

The dry version is that the Southern Fandom Confederation (SFC) is a not-for-profit literary organization and information clearinghouse dedicated to the service of Southern science fiction and fantasy fandom.

For a couple of more lively versions I will quote from the Southern Fandom Confederation Handbook edited by Toni Weisskopf, including this from her intro to the handbook.

"Southern fandom is something special. Of course, just plain old science fiction fandom is an incredibly neat thing, a cultural phenomenon unique to the twentieth century, an amorphous bundle of splendid contradictions. But Southern fandom is a particularly nice part of that amorphous bundle."

A little digression here. Yep, you may recognize the name. Baen book editor and well known Southern fan. The only triple crown winner of Southern Fandom: the Phoenix, Rebel, and the Rubble. What are they? Well check out the section of the Handbook: "Rebels, Rubbles and Phoenixes". Toni won her Rebel for the work she put into the handbook.

The Handbook contains a wealth of information about SFC. For example:

The Birth Of The Southern Fandom Confederation

By Meade Frierson, III

I was volunteered to write about the birth because people [i.e. Toni] seem to forget that I was no midwife to the SFC. That honor belongs to Janie Lamb, Irvin Koch, Joe Celko, Rick Norwood and others in attendance at the Knoxville Deep South Con in 1969. Something procedurally ridiculous and now lost in the mists of time brought on a vote on an incomplete SFC constitution and by-laws at the Atlanta DSC, which a broad spectrum of southern fandom attended in lieu of the Heidelberg Worldcon in 1970. A virtual unknown, I was nominated as a compromise between two who desired the office.

I wrote the balance of the partial constitution and by-laws for ratification in New Orleans in 1971. The end product made it so difficult to qualify for office that I succeeded myself by default until my resignation in 1983.

There was usually an active race for the second slot (Secretary), but I enjoyed all the functions so much that I usurped them--typing, reproducing, addressing, stamping and mailing the newsletters (called Bulletins), rosters (called Rosters), and even preparing (at my own expense since they were not mandated) larger introductions to the SFC called Handbooks.

The mailing list grew as conventions in the South proliferated throughout the 1970s. It was Janie and Irvin's vision to generate interest in a Worldcon in a region neglected by "national fandom" since the 1951 New Orleans Worldcon, largely due to the cessation by the late 1960s of the activities of fanzine editors living in the South who had been widely known in the 1950s.

SFC managed to publicize regional conventions and local clubs, which led to more names on the Roster and, despite the defeat of the bid for a New Orleans Worldcon in 1976--which still polled better than Columbus--Midwestern fans and apafans from all over helped to recognize and promote the Southern cons and ultimately ConFederation in Atlanta in 1986, [Nolacon II in New Orleans in 1988, and Magicon in Orlando in 1992.]

Also from the Handbook:

Just Where Is the South in Southern Fandom?

By former SFC president P. L. Caruthers-Montgomery

From "An Introduction to the Southern Fandom Confederation" first published in Bulletin #6, January 1990.

The states first served by the SFC when it was created in 1970 include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas, & Virginia. But... The South is not so much a geographical location as it is a state of mind. Like-minded individuals are always welcome, no matter what their location.

These states were chosen more as a limiting factor than as a statement of agreement with the historical Confederacy. The SFC abhors many of the tenets of the Confederacy, but feels there's much of value to be redeemed from the concept, such as its sense of regional cohesiveness & the now-legendary Southern Hospitality....

As the South is a state of mind, we welcome all like-minded thinkers, no matter what their geographical location. To paraphrase Maurine Dorris: "We're like one big city here in the South, it's just that some of our suburbs are a bit farther out." We encourage you to join our happy family.

And for those of you wondering what the heck is SF and fantasy fandom:

Required Reading
If You Do Not Know What "Fandom" Means

By Meade Frierson, III

Originally published in the 1980 Southern Fandom Conderation Handbook as modified and updated by Toni Weisskopf in 1997.

A person who reads science fiction and/or fantasy (sf&f) is known as a fan, the plural is fen or fans--and the group name for all such people is fandom (like king/kingdom).

If you merely read the stuff and are considered strange by your friends, you are a fringe fan--if you share your interests with others of like disposition, you are on your way to becoming a fan. If you begin to write letters of comment to the editors of the professional magazines (prozines) of sf&f or to the little publications (in the past mimeographed or dittoed usually, now mostly photocopied or distributed electronically), which some fans produce, called fanzines, or if you write or draw or publish a zine yourself or join an apa (amateur press association) or go to local club meetings, SCA revels, or gatherings known as conventions or conclaves (cons for short)--then you are a fan but perhaps only a neofan since all of this is new to you and you have not been doing it for long. If you keep at it--write, publish, draw, attend cons, make friends, become known, you become an actifan (now an archaic usage) or trufan. If you are good at these pursuits (or fool people into thinking that you are), you might become a BNF, big name fan. Get whatever you do published by the paying sf&f markets and you become a pro (also "filthy pro") and can join Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, SFWA (the extra "F" is ignored for historical reasons), and be invited free to cons, sometimes as a guest to participate in panels along with the BNFs and other pros. Even if you do not lose your amateur standing through professional sales, you can achieve glory as a fan through such devices as having your fanzine nominated for a Hugo, the annual World SF Society award, or your writings in someone else's zine can win you the fan writer awards.

Few of us get this highest kind of recognition or boost to the ego, known to fans as egoboo but there is plenty of deserving egoboo to go around for all kinds of endeavors--club activities, helping out with a convention, hosting parties at cons, filksinging, appearing in costumes at masquerades, winning the trivia contest at a con or club meeting, drawing, writing, etc.

Fandom has its cliques and subdivisions. Some are closed-in--merely friends getting together, with in-jokes, memories of good times past, &c; they could be doing things which are of little interest to you--drinking and playing tapes, playing Hearts (a card game), staying in the video or film room the entire time at a con, wearing funny clothes (pre-1950 AD). Others may spend their time worrying about where they can get a good buy on missing issues of comics, pulps, other collectibles, bidding ridiculous prices (from your viewpoint) for some mouldy pages called Le Zombie or a painting or drawing you could do without. Don't worry about all of this: there are others of the same interests who are open and willing to meet new people who share at least some of the same interests.

Within sf&f fandom, there is an interest (or lack of it) in Star Trek, Star Wars, other media (Dr. Who, Space 1999, &c). In 1980 people with this interest were the largest, newest element of fandom. In 1997, that distinction goes, I think, to gaming fans. Some of the media fans and gamers don't like Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Anderson or other established sf writers, and some do. Within fantasy fandom, there is a division into medievalists [members of the Society for Creative Anachronism], comics fandom, sword & sorcery fandom, and horror fandom. There are some aspects and activities of these subgroups which do not have anything to do with other aspects of sf&f fandom and some which do.

With these generalizations as to the subjects of interest in fandom, we are going to take, in these pages, an overview of the activities of fandom--some of these activities will resemble things that happened or will happen in other areas of the country as well as the South--there are clubs everywhere, cons, fanzines and other publications--and we will probably miss capturing the flavor of these events which are distinctive to Southern Fandom by our reporting of the facts--the names of guests, the dates and places, the names of people in charge...none of these are the essence of Southern Fandom, the family spirit of the core group, the oneupspersonship over the mundanes (everyone who is not a fan), the remarkable, intelligent, zany, charming, talented, etc. etc. people of Southern Fandom. But we've tried! If you can get to know them by or through any activities described in these pages, your life may well be more enjoyable, pleasant, richer, fun &c. (mainly fun).