Science Fiction Fanzines

Fanzines originated in science fiction fandom. Never commercial enterprises, most science fiction fan magazines 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 today, though at a relatively glacial pace.

For several decades, science fiction fans have formed amateur press associations (APAs)—the members contribute to a collective assemblage or bundle called an apazine which contains contributions from all of them. Some APAs are still active, and some are published as virtual "ezines," distributed on the Internet.

Collection of over 250,000 SF fanzines
goes to U. of Iowa

Martin M. (Mike) Horvat is a printer and collector in Stayton, Oregon. His collecting focused on general circulation science fiction magazines and fan magazines. Horvat founded the American Private Press Association and, during the 1970s and 1980s, published South of the Moon, a catalog of publications of amateur press associations. As a result, the Horvat Collection houses a vast archive of zines—such as NAPA, the long-running zine of the National Fantasy Fan Federation. The correspondence of fan editors Gertrude Carr and Richard Geis are also part of the collection.

Update: For the record, the institutional misattribution was through no fault of Jason Scott, who submitted the original news to Boing Boing.

Jason explains: That [information] came from a phone conversation I had directly with Mike Horvat, where I called him at his home. He quite clearly said University of Oregon. Part of the reason he is giving away the collection is because of failing health, so it's possible he just misremembered the place the professor was calling from. I know from the conversation that he had actually contacted a number of universities to offer his collection and had gotten no response from any of them, so it could be a case of combining details. The most important fact, which is the relevant one, is that the collection is not being broken up and will be treated well in its new home. That's what ultimately matters to me; the reason I had called Mr. Horvat in the first place was to try and broker some sort of deal to contribute the collection (or purchase it) for the MIT Science Fiction Society, of which I'm a lifetime member.

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