Illustration by Bill Rotsler
by Marty Cantor, Little Tin God, LASFAPA
You have reached the LASFAPA on-line web site. Just what is LASFAPA? To answer that question I shall first have to write a little about APAs.
APA = Amateur Publishing (or Press) Association. APAs were started in the 1800s by fans of printing. Mostly, they were used to show off printing techniques, fonts, and related materials. When fans found out about these things, they used the basic format for a very different purpose.
Science fiction fandom started in the letter columns of the professional magazines in the 1920s. Fans liked to write letters to the magazines, and the magazines liked to publish these letters. The magazines not only published these letters, they also included the addresses of the letter writers. Fans started corresponding back and forth. Eventually, to correspond simultaneously to several people, fanzines were developed. Such fanzines soon developed beyond being simple letter substitutes, some getting quite ornate and beginning to copy magazine format. Eventually, some fans got the idea of bundling these fanzines into one large envelope so as to save on postage costs -- and so, the first fannish APA (FAPA, for Fantasy Amateur Press Association) was born in 1937. It soon became apparent that the FAPA would have to be a membership organisation, for logistical reasons.
The '60s, '70s, and '80s were the heydays of APAs. It was during this period (October 1976) that LASFAPA was born. Initially, it was an attempt to connect Los Angeles fans with the rest of fandom. It soon reached far and wide, attracting members from many parts of the USA -- and also had many members from out of the country. At one time or another, LASFAPA has had members from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Israel, Japan, and Australia. Currently, our membership is strictly domestic; however, as is usual with this APA, the membership does not reside strictly in Los Angeles. Not only are there also members in Northern California, but we currently have members who reside in Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Minnesota, and Nebraska.
SO, WHY SHOULD A NETIZEN
It is not true that all fanac on-line is ephemeral and spur of the moment, but it too often seems as though this is the case. It is also not true that everything committed to paper is deathless prose destined to be cherished through the ages, but APA contributions give more time for thoughtful writing than does on-line fanac. There are some fine netizens who can dash off wonderful postings here and there and everywhere without seeming effort and with great speed. But they are rare. There are also some rather clueless APAns who never seem to have learned the basics of writing the English language or how to make their contributions clear and interesting, but there are not very many of them, also.
As a trade-off for almost instant communication, a paper APA allows time for thought, time to carefully craft one's flame, or time to douse the fire -- all before the words are finalized and sent off for others to see. And, if you are interested in producing not just words that always appear in formless plain text, APAs allow you to experiment with layout tricks, setting off the words you write and making them more effective by making the delivery more interesting. Graphics are a nice touch that is not available in e-mail lists.
However, none of the above is at all necessary. One can still just dash off words and print the paper zine if that is all that you want to do, and do it in a paper format because some of the members interest you and they do not have web access.
Before you ask, I want to make it clear that the various zines prepared for the paper distributions of this APA are not going to be put on-line. As a courtesy to those members without web access, all LASFAPAc will remain on paper.
SO, WHY LASFAPA?
As Little Tin God, I consider the making of the deadlines the most important part of my job. Another part of my job is to input a steady stream of smartassery. Hence, the pseudo-religious (and punnish) tone to Wurlitzer, the Official Organ of the APA wherein can be found the rules, regulations, current table of contents, and other officious stuff. What the members put in their zines is their own business; however, as a comment-oriented APA, any member's business rapidly becomes everybody else's business.
HOW TO JOIN
If you want to get a copy of a recent posting (I cannot guarantee that it is current but it will be as current as I have) just send me $2.00 domestic, US$3.00 out-of-country (which will cover disty, envelope, and postage).
I hope to hear from many of you soon.
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