1997 Southern Fandom Confederation Handbook & History

Fanzines, Legends, & Misc.

Southern Apas

[IMAGE: The Southerner #21 Cover Art]

The Briefest of Appreciations

Guy H. Lillian III

"If you seek his monument, look about you."

That sentiment is inscribed in a plaque set into the floor of a London cathedral, honoring its architect, who is buried there. It could also apply to a gentleman named Al Andrews, who, more than 35 years ago, set into motion the social process which brought Southern science fiction fandom, as it presently exists, into being. Without him, we wouldn't be here. Let me explain.

Al was a gentleman in his early forties, wheelchair-bound because of debilitating muscular dystrophy. Jazz buff supreme, he was also a dedicated s.f. fan who believed in passing along his madness to young men of similar interest. These guys would gather at Al's Huntsville, Alabama abode to celebrate s.f. and, as s.f.ers have a wont to do, conspire to expand its holy word. There was a national organization in place to bring along national fans, the National Fantasy Fan Federation, or N3F. It was a fine model for what Andrews had in mind.

With Texan L.D. Broyles, through the mail, and acolytes Dick Ambrose, Larry Montgomery and Bill Plott (all of Alabama), in person, Al formed the Southern Fandom Group, the first serious attempt to bring Southern fans into mutual contact and, of course, the precursor to the mighty Southern Fandom Confederation of today.

Projects to spur the SFG were sought, and t'was Bill Plott (known fannishly as "Billyjoeplottof-opelikaalabama") who apparently came up with its most spectacularly successful idea. An apa.

That's amateur press association. You see, in the days before the Internet, there was this stuff called paper, and instead of sending messages electronically, the way you and I and all other modern boys and girls do, people would write on this paper with stuff called ink and communicate that way. At that time, in the earliest days of the sixties, science fiction fans had been using paper to publish things called fanzines for just over 30 years. And what are fanzines? Well, this SFC Handbook is a fanzine...an amateur magazine written, edited, and published by, for, and most-of-the-time about s.f. fans. Back in those olden days fans would laboriously print their fanzines by various archaic means and send them to each other through the mail. And it would take weeks...not the nanoseconds you and I are used to in this, the age of the 'net, when all communication is done via computer, modem, and the expensive information highway.

Anyway, apas were a convenient way of distributing and receiving large numbers of fanzines at once. Basically, an apa is a club. Every member of the club publishes his own fanzine, then sends a number of these fanzines to a central mailer or, as is often the case, an Official Editor. He makes up bundles of these zines (note the accepted abbreviation) and sends them out to the club members. That's an apa.

Bill Plott had heard about apas. The Fantasy Amateur Press Association, or FAPA, had been around since 1937. SAPS, the Spectator Amateur Press Society, had begun some time later. The National Fantasy Fan Federation, or N3F, had an apa for its members, N'APA. So, said Plott, since the SFG was founded along the lines of the N3F, why shouldn't it have an apa of its own?

The idea made sense. As 1961 blossomed, so did the idea of "an SFG apa." Al Andrews began to look around for an able fan to bring the idea to life. Plott was busy graduating (from high school; they built 'em young in those days) and couldn't do so himself. But along came Bob Jennings, of Nashville, Tennessee, an experienced editor of his own fanzine who stepped in to do the deed. He printed up a letter--by hectography, a process roughly akin to carving cuneiform into soft clay--and distributed it throughout the South, announcing the formation of the SFG apa. Three issues of an organizational fanzine went forth and rules were righteously debated. Through various permutations the group gained a name, and when seven intrepid rebel fan editors sent Jennings enough copies of their fanzines, forth it went: the first mailing of the Southern Fandom Press Alliance. SFPA.

That was the beginning.

SFPA came out once every three months. After a year, Dave Hulan took over as Official Editor, rewrote the bulky apa constitution, and began attracting more and more Southern fans onto the apa roster. Here is the crux of the matter; here is the importance of SFPA. SFPA gave Southern fans--scattered, isolated, separated--a place to gather: a common project, a common outlet, a place to be.

And the next thing you know, it gave us the DSC. I refer you to that article.

Hulan was succeeded as SFPA OE by Joe Staton, whose name will be familiar to anyone who's seen his later artwork in DC and other comics. Joe's fierce, funny caricatures of Southern fans would unite and delight the apa in coming years. After another Hulan OEship, Lon Atkins ran the apa for four years...and in the last of those years, kept it going practically alone. Lon had moved to Los Angeles from the South while OE, you see, and from that far distance his ability to inspire new fanzine writers in the South was impaired. But in 1970 Don Markstein took over the OEship, and the apa experienced a boom that has never really subsided. Members joined then that are still part of the group.

My personal favorite moment in the history of the apa came in the early 1980s, when I was Official Editor. All factors seemed to be coalescing into an immense explosion of enthusiasm for SFPA: there was a tremendous influx of new fans with talent and verve, and "oldtimers" like Atkins and Hulan were catching a second wind which moved them to tremendous heights of fanac. Forget the worst of times; that was the best of times. SFPA 100 was collated at Satyricon, held in Knoxville (city of SFPA's birth) in April, 1981. Counting a 200-page Shadow-SFPA (created by SFPA's immense, and immensely talented, waitlist), it topped off at 1,750 pages...believed to be the largest amateur press association mailing of all time. To our knowledge that total has never been surpassed.

Since then we have punched past the 1,000-page mark once (for our 25th anniversary mailing, edited by Stven Carlberg) and approached it several times. The history of SFPA has been, of course, one of growth and decline, like any other entity. But mostly there has been growth. To thank for this has been a sterling roster of members, led by our senior participant, Ned Brooks, and fostered by a raft of dedicated OEs: George Inzer, JoAnn Montalbano, Alan Hutchinson (of the brilliant cartoons), Dennis Dolbear, Gary Brown and our current sucker fearless leader, Liz Copeland. Most of the time, the apa's disties (a "disty" is a "mailing," or was that self-evident?) fall somewhere between 300-400 pages of material...material that is enthusiastic, often impassioned, and involved in the apa itself.

For if Southern fandom is a world unto itself within the engirdling sphere of national and world s.f. fandom, SFPA is a world within that one, with unique traditions and expectations, awareness and pride in its history. As its mailings approach 200 in number, and well over that number of fanzine editors, Southern and otherwise, have ridden its roster. Some were big name fans who made the Hugo ballot (and in a couple of cases won). Some were rank neos who've never done a fanzine in their lives. In the vast majority of cases, all were welcome.

There are other fine apas in the south--Myriad and KAPA for outstanding examples--and many other outlets for fannish communication, and one has to wonder if the apa format will survive in the instantaneous era of the Internet. Nevertheless, SFPA abides. Want to join? If we ask her nicely enough, perhaps Toni will give the address of the current Official Editor, Liz Copeland somewhere in this Handbook. Feel free.

And when you do--or when you attend DSC or any of the other Southern conventions it inspired--think of Al Andrews, who once had a dream of a Southern fandom rich and various and active. We have exceeded his wildest expectations. He's gone now--muscular dystrophy is a cruel mistress. But if you seek his monument....

[If interested in SFPA, write to OE Liz Copeland at 1085 Albion Way, Boulder, CO 80303. E-mail is: liz@rmii.com. Dues are $20/year, sample back mailings are available for $5 each, the roster is stable at 25 and there is currently--for the first time in at least 15 years--no waitlist.]


Lon Atkins

[Actually, this is a reprise of a "Reprise." First published in Melikaphkhaz #33, which appeared in SFPA's Fabulous Fiftieth.]

The fiftieth mailing of SFPA came out in November of 1972, and the wonderful Joe Staton cover on Mel #33 sported a caption reading "Special Nostalgia Issue." In 1972 I wrote about looking back on a SFPA that had passed. Today, a quarter-century later, that era in the mid-Sixties, when I still lived in the South and apas were powered by mimeographs and ditto machines, seems a special mythic age whose fannish magic (for me) has never been equaled.

This article excerpts from MEL #33 musings that strike a particular chord with me today. I began: "If the Deacon Andy Griffith were telling this he'd talk about the weird day when this fellow came up to him with a brown envelope and pulled from it a bunch of motley pages. There was ink on the pages, Ya See, and this pale blue and purple stuff on some that just might be ink with anemia. Anyhow, this fellow said these here pages were 'zeens' and grown men had done 'em. He showed me pictures of nekkid girls in the zeens, so I guess these people are a bunch of sex preverts or something. Then this fellow says that if I like science fiction I can join. I tell him I don't read no comic books and I ain't joining no Commie front organization.

"But..., I joined. I signed up for a hitch in the Southern Fandom Press Alliance after seeing exactly one mailing of that august organization. I rushed my own very first publication into the next mailing of SFPA.

"My involvement with SFPA while living in the South spanned an even ten [quarterly] mailings: 14 through 23. Two OElections took place during this period and they were hotly contested. Frequent fan gatherings produced one-shots of varying quality and laid the basis for the Hearts tradition in Southern fandom. The notorious Hank Reinhardt made his debut in SFPA and enriched Southern fanlore with a wealth of hilarious 'Hank' stories. RALLY! was born out of the frenetic activity of SFPA. The DeepSouthCon became an established tradition. The hyperactivity attracted a host of new faces, many of whom are the Southern BNFs and WKFs of today [1972].

In MEL #33 I retrospectively "reviewed" SFPA mailing 15, the first one in which a zine of mine appeared: "Yep, that was my baby, Clarges #1. That was me number two on the waitlist. I had the second largest zine in the mailing. I was now a part of SFPA, member or not. The mailing was dazzling. Dian Pelz' Kabumpo had a hand-crafted cover. A princess is framed by the moon. Dark blue paper with the moon being a cut-out onto white paper. The line work is superb. That cover set a tone of magic for the entire mailing. Also there was Dave Hulan's 'The Fan of Bronze'--not the first SFPA faaan-fiction serial, but the first good one. It highlighted the emerging in-group. No, I didn't appear."

SFPA 15 sharpened my appetite for the microcosm: "I was busy making contact with fans in the area. Len Bailes and I had a correspondence going. In Durham I met my first Elder Ghod. Charles Wells, FAPAn and former co-editor of Quandry, was in grad school at Duke. There were numerous faanish get-togethers at the Wells home of the Chapel Hill-Durham crew. I played my first Diplomacy game there.

"The first weekend of August '65, the third DeepSouthCon was held at the Downtowner Motor Inn in Birmingham. The ConCom consisted of Larry Montgomery, Al Andrews and Billy Pettit. I'd already been on the East Coast con circuit and had made a friend, Ron Bounds, who took the bus to Carolina and the Atkinsmobile from there. We picked up Al Scott and Len Bailes in Charlotte and rolled into B'ham filled with faaanish ideas. The principal effect of DSC III on me was that I suddenly found myself chairman of DSC IV. Len and I did some fancy talking to win the honor for Durham, but DSC IV was destined for another site..."

Because, by SFPA 18... "I began putting my withdrawal plan from academia to the Real World into effect, searching for a job. This meant travel, and I spent much time with fans in Alabama and Georgia. We talked about the Southern fan resurgence." Larry Montgomery, Dick Ambrose and I visited Al Andrews over the Christmas season. Larry wanted SFPA to have a very active role in Southern fandom, to the extent of narrowing its Yankee contingent. The rest of us agreed on SFPA's leadership role, but opposed the building of higher walls. We felt isolated enough as it was.

Driving to Atlanta for a minicon, Larry told me he planned to oppose Dave Hulan for OE again, but was pessimistic about his chances. Then I had an idea. "Timidly, I advanced my name. Larry pounced whole-heartedly. 'My God, you could win!' The idea was well received in Atlanta. Charles Wells, Ned Brooks, Hank Reinhardt, Jerry Page, Jerry Burge, Jeff Jones, Lee Jacobs, Dave Tribble and George Puckett were talking about Southern activism and a bid for an Atlanta Worldcon.

"Back in Birmingham, I received Al Andrews' endorsement, which about sewed up the core group. Al and I got to rapping and the idea of a Southern newszine emerged. RALLY! was born that day.... Soon I interviewed for a job in Hunspatch. I stayed at Wally Weber's place and we did a real *faaaanish* one-shot." And I got the job and began a series of trips around the South, including visiting Joe Staton in Milan, Tennessee. These trips were irresistible occasions for one-shots at-the-drop-of-a-hat. (I have since burned all copies.)

Then came SFPA 20, when the results of the OElection would become known. "I ripped open the jet-pak and saw my name on the masthead as OElect. Energized, I began plans for a DSC in Huntsville and a super twenty-first mailing ('SFPA comes of age')." Organizational work for the con went quickly. Work on the jiant fanzines I planned for the mailing went more slowly. But Joe Staton did me a terrific cover for SFPA 21, and that inspired me. Then suddenly the con was almost on top of me...

"DSC IV was an event to remember for a young Southern fan." Me. "All the people I knew well were there, as well as some fine new faces. Party was the keynote, with Hearts games following a close second. The formal program was brief but excellent. Yes, Hank talked about edged weapons and how to use them (Jerry Page narrowly escaped becoming part of a demonstration). A panel rapped about the ultimate destination of Southern fandom. To quote RALLY!: 'The destination was agreed upon unanimously, but there was some dispute over the mode of transportation, some favoring a handbasket and others a bucket.'

"The Rebel Award was presented to Dave Hulan for his dynamic role in sparking Southern fandom of the Sixties. Al Andrews had been the first recipient."

All the Myriad Days...

as remembered by
mike weber

Long, long ago, in the dear dead days of 1972, i was attending Georgia Tech. The 1972 DeepSouthCon was going to be held at the Howell House Hotel, about three blocks from the Tech campus. I had attended two WorldCons and one DeepSouthCon (1970, on my way from Viet Nam to Italy...), so i decided to make the scene, as it were.

Early Friday afternoon i arrived at the hotel, where i made my first real acquaintance in Southern Fandom--there was this weird skinny guy with an almost-invisible crewcut; he was wearing a three-piece suit and an automatic, and folding program books so fresh from the printer that the ink was coming off on his fingers. I helped, and, in the friendship that has ensued, i have come to the conclusion that he is at least as weird as he looks. However, i am not writing this to talk about Joe Celko...

I had, at that time, printed two issues of a fanzine whose title (i believe) was The Muthalode Morning Mishap*(*Named for the place of employment of deuce** reporter Philbert Desenex) {**Opposite end of payscale from an ace...}), using the offset press at the Tech News Bureau, where i had a part-time job. I was carrying a box with most of the print run of the second issue around, peddling copies (and tossing George H. Wells double or nothing for the price and winning...).

Then i encountered P.L.Caruthers, who dragged me off to meet Cliff & Susan Biggers, and demanded i give them thirty copies of the zine and a dollar to join something called Myriad.

So i did. From little things large things sometimes grow.

I found myself a member of Myriad (then a hexaweekly, eight mailings a year apa) with its 33rd mailing--thus my first annish was Myriad's fifth annish, number 40--quite a milestone for an apa originally established, as i was given to understand, by a young Stven Carlberg when he realised just how long it was going to be before he could get into SFPA.

Other members of Myriad at that time were the aforementioned C&S Biggers, also Steve & Binker Hughes and, i believe, Meade & Penny Frierson. Singles on the roster included Gary Steele, John Merkel, Norm Masters (who favoured surreal zine titles like Pornographic Onion or French-Kissing the Girl with the Double Dip of Strawberry Ice Cream in Her Mouth...){Merk and Norm were from, i believe, Minnesota} and an Oklahoma contingent including Peter Smurl and the Riddles (Prentiss A.S. and another first name i forget...), Cecil Hutto and Aljo Svoboda. Myriad was mailed as a bundle of loose zines in those days, later changing to a mass-stapled format to be absolutely certain of passing Post Office regulations anent Book Rate.

The Biggers regime as OEs ran a total of five years, i believe, then followed by Larry Mason (who joined after i did), myself and then-wife Susan Phillips (who i met through the pages of Myriad), by Rich Howell, by Deb Hammer Johnson, by Iris Brown and ultimately by Daniel Taylor who has been OE foreveranever and shows no signs of being displaced, last i heard.

In those days, Myriad was, very much, a major center of fannish activity in Atlanta and most of the surrounding states. It was members of Myriad who founded The Fannish Inquisition, which became The Atlanta Science Fiction Club (ASFiC), which, in turn, spawned two DSCs ('80 & '82), two largish regional cons, an Anne McCaffery con, and a nationally-regarded clubzine, Atarantes.

Later members of Myriad included "Ellery Creighton Tul" and "Sam Browne" (two hoax members), Janice Gelb, Ron Zukowski, Ron Butler, Ward O. Batty, Daniel and/or Oreta Taylor, Pat Hoin, Ulrika Anderson, Rick Albertson, J.R. McHone (Tales of the Naked Duck), Lynn Hickman and just whole bunches of other well-regarded and interesting (mostly-)Southern fans. {Before my time was Rob Reiner. No--not that Rob Reiner. His cousin...}

Myriad was the first place (outside of The Butterfly Kid and its sequels) that i encountered "shared-universe" stories--not just round-robins, but a series called "Tales of the Mystical Yeomanry" created by Cecil Hutto (about the "Mystical Yeomanry for the Recovery of Individual Arsenals by December," i think...) which any Myriad member was free to contribute to.

In 1975, i joined SFPA, the other pre-eminent apa in the South (to which i still belong) {assuming i get a zine printed and mailed this week, that is}. For a long time, my interest in both organisations remained strong, but life changes (including separation and divorce in 1990) and an unstable work situation cut back my apa time considerably and, eventually, i looked at the two apas and discovered that i was looking forward to SFPA mailings but regarding Myriad zines almost as an onerous chore. (I was still quite happy with the people in the apa, i hasten to point out, but the apa wasn't getting it for me...) Also, though the people were fine and i liked to hang out with them, the apa as a whole was displaying a very Limbaughish slant.

And so, having no wish to play token liberal, an onerous role for which i am neither politically nor attitudinally suited, i regretfully said goodbye to the apa that had been more-or-less the focus of much of my fannish (and non-fannish, for that matter) life for just over twenty years.

But i still hang out with Myriad people at ChattaCons and such, and i still try to attend AtomiCon, the more-or-less annual Myriad Party/con, and i still regard Myriad in a very special way as a major shaper of my fannish life...

If interested in Myriad, contact Dan Taylor at 550 Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30312.

KAPA: The Kentucky Amateur Press Association

Patrick Molloy

KAPA was started by Jane (Boster) Dennis and a handful of others in late 1982, as a way of increasing communication among Kentucky fans. From the start, however, KAPA has been open to members outside the state. Today, there are more contributors living outside of Kentucky than within. Some are former Kentucky residents, but others are just friends of other members. Originally a monthly apa, there are now six mailings per year. Minac (minimum activity) is a zine in four out of the six bimonthly mailings. There is no set format or topic for contributions. Many KAPAns are active in going to or running SF conventions, so that is a frequently discussed subject. Members also write about such varied topics as vacations, hobbies, work, politics, pulp magazines, movies, and even science fiction!

KAPA has had over 80 mailings, and is still going strong. There is no waitlist, and new members are always welcome. Interested persons may request a sample mailing from the OE (official editor), Patrick Molloy, at P.O. Box 9135, Huntsville, AL, 35812.


This apa has a rotating OEship and with two members residing in North Carolina they figure they're a Southern apa 12% of the time. For more information write: Kevin Welch, P.O. Box 2195, Madison, WI 53701.

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

Copyright (C) 2000 Samuel A. Smith and T.K.F. Weisskopf All Rights Reserved
Last Revised: Sat Jan 22 14:36:02 CST 2000

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