1997 Southern Fandom Confederation Handbook & History


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. This zine is an attempt to show why, and in so doing keep it flourishing.

As I write this, in mid-1997, there are SF conventions held almost every weekend in the South, attended by thousands of people. There's a list in this zine, but it will be out of date quickly. For new listings check out Science Fiction Chronicle {Tel: 718-643-9011} or Locus, or subscribe to Con-Temporal (Pegasus Publishing, 2501 W. Sublett, #890, Arlington, TX 76017 {Errata}) or just read Mad Dog Madden's list of Southern cons published in the SFC Bulletins. But despite this plethora of entertainments available, the question has arisen, is fandom dying? Specifically, has Southern fandom faded like yesterday's magnolia blossom and been taken over by kudzu?

One of the things that made modern Southern fandom as cohesive as it is--not very, but more so than other regions--was the Southern Fandom Confederation. Some history of the organization is contained below, but for many years the SFC was Meade Frierson's baby. He ran listings of conventions, updates on clubs, fanzines, media events, pros living in the South--contained in his Bulletins was everything that might possibly be of interest to the widely scattered Southern fans of the '70s who became the peripetetic fan organizers of the '80s.

And it was the SFC Bulletin that got me into fandom. So when there was some talk of possibly disbanding the SFC because Southern fandom didn't really seem to require it any more, I reacted viscerally. Aiee, thought I. As there was a surplus in the budget, it seemed to me a distinct possibility that the SFC might go out with a bang--a party at a DeepSouthCon, for instance. Fun, true, but if the SFC was going to die, I wanted to see a more tangible tribute. Out-going SFC president Sue Francis had asked in the SFC Bulletin and at the business meeting in Nashville, "Whither SFC?" Well, I thought it would be hard to say where the SFC should go without knowing where it, and Southern fandom, have been. Hence my proposed project: a summing up of the history of the SFC, DSCs & Southern fandom in general. After making my proposal at the "sex & donuts" meeting at the crack of dawn on a wet Sunday morning in Lebanon, Tennessee, I was overwhelmed by a wonderful surge of volunteers from all over the South.

Since, happily, it looks like the SFC will keep on truckin' under the leadership of Tom Feller, this history will of necessity be incomplete. As for the handbook part of it, I think I've covered most of the larger organizations devoted to SF alive in the South today. But I'm sure that this listing is not comprehensive. I've undoubtedly missed some, and confused the information for others. That's why we need an SFC and regular Bulletins: for updates and further information, join the SFC and be fulfilled.

Taking my cue from the organization of the Atlanta Worldcon in 1986, I've tried to use the talents of as many people as possible. Previous SFC handbooks have been the work of one hand--that this one isn't means that the level of coverage of the topics is not necessarily even. I hope my readers will find a chunky-style soup as interesting in its own way as a more elegant puree.

Also, some bias of my own has undoubtedly crept in. My base of knowledge is centered on convention activity in the early 1980s in Huntsville, Chattanooga, Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta & Birmingham, and zine activity in SFPA in the 1990s. If I've missed anyone or omitted something important, it was inadvertent, not deliberate. I hope that even as we have recounted our history, and made mention of the inevitable feuds that are part of it, we have sparked no new ones. Note that the text of this zine will be available online, thanks to the efforts of Sam Smith. I welcome those who uncover errors of fact or omission to send me corrections via the SFC. And, of course, I also welcome LOCs.

So, the answer to what this zine is, hopefully, is a tribute to the past as well as a beacon for the future. As to why it was me who put it together? Well, I opened my big mouth and volunteered, didn't I?

--T.K.F. Weisskopf, Bronx, NY, May, 1997

What Is The Southern Fandom Confederation: How & Why You Should Join

Meade Frierson III

[Originally published in the 1980 Southern Fandom Confederation Handbook; modified and updated by T.K.F. Weisskopf in 1997.]

The SFC was organized to improve communications between science fiction and fantasy (sf&f) fans here in this region. It is of course non-profit and depends upon fans who believe in its benefits for financing.

Accordingly, dues of Ten Dollars ($10.00{Errata}) are solicited for membership for each fiscal year, which runs from August to August (roughly DeepSouthCon to DeepSouthCon). Members receive, in addition to this Handbook, a Roster of names and addresses of sf&f fans in the area and the period Bulletins. The Roster is kept updated for changes of address, additions and deletions. The Bulletins provide news, reports of activities such as conventions and publications, and so forth. Quite frankly you do not get ten bucks worth of stuff for the simple reason that those who pay dues are subsidizing those who do not...the mailing of material to (1) known, confirmed fans less fortunate (or less considerate) than the paying supporters and (2) to the ever-increasing numbers of new people who come to our attention through clubs, ads, lettercolumns, personal referrals, and conventions. People who do not have to pay dues (although many do, anyway) are club presidents, con chairs, professionals, apa editors and fanzine publishers--this being on the theory that their activities in aid of the cause of Southern Fandom are payment enough.

Our goal (as yet not fully realized) is to provide clearing house for the matching of interests and needs. If you draw or write, there may be publications here which need your art or writings (fiction, reviews, articles, news, chatty letters, whatever).

The Roster [used to] make note of some primary areas of interest but it needs to be improved and kept current. We need to hear from YOU and to learn what you like in sf&f and in fandom. We need a copy of whatever you may publish so we can review it in the pages of the Bulletins and let others know it exists. (Price and quantity available, size and content should always be communicated to us even if you do not send a copy.) If you are a collector and have a trading list, let us know how it can be obtained. If you want to hold a convention, start a local club, or something else, let us know so that we can pass the word along.

Sometimes it gets to be a long time between Bulletins, but this does not mean that we are not trying to help folks learn about stuff through letters in between the Bulletins.

The past and present secretaries of the SFC and the area clubs have been most helpful in obtaining address lists from cons, club meetings and the like (most notably still over the years, officer or not, has been Irvin Koch). Volunteers send news. This support is certainly invaluable to the continued operations and fucntions of the SFC.

The basic information in this Handbook was assembled over the course of two years (June 1995-June 1997) and may be outdated by the time you get it--if fandom is one thing, that is changeable. Send $10 today to Judy Bemis, address in the front of this zine. {Errata} More is welcome.

Also, you will help us if, after reading this and finding it not to be of interest to you, you would pass it along to someone you know who might be interested.

Where Is "The South"?

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, Louisian, 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.

[IMAGE: DeepSouthCon '78 Badge]

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

Meade Frierson, III

[Originally published in the 1980 Southern Fandom Conderation Handbook, and modified and updated by T.K.F. 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 American, 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 anachronists (those belonging to the Society For Creative Anachronism, of which more below), 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 or 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 (every-one 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).

The Birth Of The Southern Fandom Confederation

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 [about whom more in the Tennessee, Knoxville section], Irvin Koch [see Rebel Winners section], Joe Celko, Rick Norwood and others in attendance at the Knoxville DeepSouthCon in 1969 [see Meade quote Rick on that DSC in "An Historical Perspective on Southern Fandom" in Part I below.]. 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. [See "Notes Towards a History of Early Southern Fandom" below.]

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 the ConFederation in Atlanta in 1986, [and Nolacon II in New Orleans in 1988, and Magicon in Orlando in 1992]!

Binker Hughes of Atlanta designed the emblem of the SFC about 1973. It is reproduced below:

[IMAGE: SFC Patch]

[IMAGE: SFC logo]

The SFC Bulletins, Post Meade

T.K.F. Weisskopf

In the long evening of the SFC, Post Meade (PM), the SFC Bulletins, and the needs of Southern fandom, changed. Meade had for twelve and half years and 28 issues produced an invaluable reference source jam-packed with information, complete with educated opinions and an indefatigable attention to detail. During that time he also produced two incredibly useful Handbooks, in 1977 and 1980, and humongous lists of Southern fans in the Rosters. His last Bulletin appeared in April 1983.

Guy Lillian's reign as President/Editor began with a 1-page info zine that came out in the second half of 1983. He started numbering a new volume and, for some reason--possibly just to get Charlie Williams of Knoxville to do the great cartoon logo--he subtitled his Bulletins "Rebel Yells." Issue #2 continued the tradition of short listings and pithy comments on everything under the sun established by Meade. Issue #4 in the first half of 1985 was short, but mimeoed, and carried enthusiastic endorsements of the two Southern worldcon bids extant, those for Atlanta in '86 and New Orleans in '88.

There's not much to be said about Cliff Amos' presidency, so I'll just skip right ahead to Volume 4, when P.L. Caruthers-Montgomery takes the helm in January 1988. P.L. continued the SFC tradition of little-bitty type, but under her hand the Bulletin took on some of the trappings of a traditional genzine, including articles by other folks and a lively letter column. Issue #3 in September 1988 featured a lovely wraparound cover by Teddy Harvia, "Putting Southern Fandom on the Map." This art later appeared on T-shirts as well. P.L.'s Bulletins were the first to publish J.R. Madden's con listings.

Sue Francis' Volume 5 begins in January 1993. Her zines were notable for their clean, clear layout, Sue's own entertaining con reports and J.R.'s continuing column. Sue put out 7 issues, the last in May 1995.

Tom Feller's first Bulletin appeared in August 1995. Volume 6 features Tom's own matter-of-fact reports on his travels and con-going under the title "The Carpetbagger," more con reports by others, and regular columns on SF on the Internet, Southern apas, and J.R.'s everlasting convention listing. By issue 4, a loc column was well established, too. And Tom has been managing to produce three solid issues a year to date, which has been much appreciated by the SFC members.


1970-1983 Meade Frierson III
1983-1986 Guy H. Lillian III
1986-1987 Cliff Amos
1987-1992 P.L. Caruthers-Mongomery
1992-1995 Sue Francis
1995-date Thomas R. "Tom" Feller {Errata}
Secretary & Secretary/Treasurer
1970-1972 Janie Lamb
1972-1973 Irvin Koch
1973-1975 Barbara Greenfield
1975-1978 Binker Hughes
1978-1981 Susan Biggers
1981-1983 Tim Gatewood
1983-1987 Deb Hammer-Johnson
1987-1993 J.R. "Mad Dog" Madden
1993-1996 Susan Stockell
1996-date Judy Bemis {Errata}
Vice President
1979-1980 P.L. Caruthers-Montgomery (pro tem)
1980-1984 P.L. Caruthers-Montgomery
1983-1984 Charlotte Proctor
1985-1986 Vern Clark
1986-1987 P.L. Caruthers-Montgomery
1987-1995 Patrick Molloy
1995-date Bill Francis {Errata}
Other Officers
Official Photographers
Frank Love, Gary Steele
Offical Mixologist & Recruiter
P.L. Caruthers-Montgomery
Ass't. Recruiter
M. Wayne Parker
Sgt.-at-Arms & Executioner
Hank Reinhardt
Official Recruiter
Sue Francis, Naomi Fisher
Official Avian
Kubla Khandor
Official Punster
Robert Teague

{ Below, L-R: } Lon Atkins, Al Andrews, Len Bailes

[IMAGE: DeepSouthCon III Photo #1]

{Color version of above, 86K}

{ Below, L-R: } Larry Montgomery, Jerry Page, Al Andrews

[IMAGE: DeepSouthCon III Photo #2]

{Color version of above, 97K}

DeepSouthCon III, 1965

Questions? Comments? Send e-mail to: ssmith@smithuel.net

Copyright (C) 2005 Samuel A. Smith and T.K.F. Weisskopf All Rights Reserved
Last Revised: Sat Apr 16 10:34:16 CDT 2005

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