N3F

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The National Fantasy Fan Federation, also abbreviated as NFFF, a still-extant organization founded in 1941. Its members are called “Neffers.” At one point or another, most old-time actifen belonged to the N3F, but it has long been considered to be almost a separate, parallel fandom.

Non-voting memberships are free.


History[edit]

The need for a general fan organization was perceived in the earliest days of fandom, but one did not actually get off to a successful start until Damon Knight wrote "Unite -- or Fie!" (a play on the Michelist speech "Mutation or Death!") for the October 1940 issue of Art Widner's fanzine Fanfare, in which he said in part: "I sincerely believe that a successful national fantasy association is possible, that it could offer a needed service to every fan, and that it could be established today."

Reader response soon led to the formation of the National Fantasy Fan Federation (abbreviated NFFF or N3F) with 64 charter members, and while knight's interest soon waned, Widner, Louis Russell Chauvenet (who coined the term "fanzine") and other prominent fans of the day guided the initial development of the club.

The organization had several early successes, including but not limited to publication of a book by Dr. David H. Keller and sponsoring (with Forry Ackerman and the LASFS) the first Fancyclopedia. For much of its existence, however, the N3F was not held in high regard; it became something of an ignorant backwater in the hands of those whose only activity was in the N3F and who behaved as if the N3F was synonymous with fandom rather than just a part of it.

Accordingly, the club was the subject of much satire and derision and it languished for many years. But the organization endures while others have come and gone, and it has been on an upswing in more recent times, with the publication of a new club Handbook and current activities including its quarterly fanzine, The National Fantasy Fan, an annual amateur short story contest (among other writing projects), the annual Neffy Awards presented in a variety of categories, and 25 bureaus/activities (including its own apa, N'APA), all of which are participated in by the membership.

Early 1940s[edit]

From Fancyclopedia 1 ca 1944
NFFF - National Fantasy Fan Federation. With the decline of New Fandom, damon knight and Art Widner suggested forming a new general fan organization along certain lines, and fans were asked to lend support and suggestions. In 1941 it began functioning after a preliminary election, and President Chauvenet drew up a rather long constitution, describing minutiae of procedure to be followed. Due to the Fincom report, this was not adopted, and tho approval of a constitution was finally secured, an interregnum began in June 1942. This was broken by Evans' Blitzkrieg, but only temporarily.

America having entered the War in late 1941, more and more active fans were removed from activity by going into the Army and other overtime occupations, so that the government structure envisioned for the NFFF could not be worked. The NFFF was to include all fans, it was hoped, determined by activity tests. The US would be divided into several regions, each of which would have certain functions within itself; there was also some provision for affiliating local groups. The central administration of the Federation, besides the elected officers and the Advisory Board, would include several committees, and a permanent judicial or legal body of certain middle-aged fans. The NFFF was expected to perform such functions as coordination and standardizatin, and undertake such projects as were forwarded by the Plancom and approved by the Directorate.

1940s and '50s[edit]

From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959
The National Fantasy Fan Federation, the chief general fan organization. (Forbye, it's international, despite the name.) It was organized in 1941 by elements of the Stranger Club of Boston, Mass, stimulated by damon knight's article "Unite -- or Fie!" in Art Widner's Fanfare, which had suggested formation of a new general organization with the decline of New Fandom. In 1941 the group began functioning after a preliminary election, and President Chauvenet drew up a rather long constitution. Plans were laid to finance the Federation by a tax on activity by amount, rather than by equal dues; a majority of members had approved this notion when Widner advanced it, but when the Finance Committee offered a concrete plan (omitting calculation of how small the sums would actually be) a great babble went up about "penalizing activity", "paying tribute", usw. This prevented the adoption of the constitution at first; an altered one was finally adopted, but did not prevent the Interregnum in June 1942. And after Evans' Blitzkrieg the removal of active fans by wartime difficulties made it impossible to work the governmental structure envisioned for the N3F. Tho this trouble, as explained under Interregnum, was eventually resolved, the N3F has never since gotten out of a sort of permanent embryonic state. It continues to day by an act of faith among those who Believe in it, but few knowing outsiders would dissent from some such opinion as the one Harry Warner expresses:

"I've heard this assurance that big things were around the corner for the N3F so frequently... it's funny by this time. The N3F invariably has a half-dozen energetic members who can get things done, and several hundred who are either content to let the others work hard, or jealous that the others are active. The organization may be justified by serving as an outlet for fans during a period of six months to a year -- the period when they're just getting acquainted with fandom, with a yen to read long lists of fan addresses, high-sounding words about purposes, and so forth. After that, a verbal arrangement with two or three other people can accomplish more than the N3F has ever done."

The organization started out with fine plans for recruiting fans, inspiring activity, setting up regional subordinate organizations (for New England, Dixie, the rest of the East, the Midwest, West [Mississippi-Rockies], and Pacific areas), selecting convention sites, and so on. The central administration of the Federation, besides the elected officers and the Advisory Board, would include several committees and a permanent judicial or legal body of certain middle-aged fans.

It is said to have a membership of about 400, give or take 100 either way, and supposedly publishes a frequent bulletin, The National Fantasy Fan. But the N3F has never managed to be an important force in fandom, tho some of its aims -- organizing, standardizing, and coordinating fan activities, providing a common meeting ground, and publishing informational booklets like this one -- would be worthwhile. It is so large and unwieldy that it never gets off the ground; the normal official lethargy of fan organizations is multiplied by the fact that the N3F officers consult by correspondence; and the "benefit list" of projects whose fruits are going to drop into the N3Fers laps Real Soon Now is a standing joke in fandom.

The chief complaint seems to be inertia among the membership, which require to be treated like the rank-and-file of large mundane organizations. N3F officials have usually included active and competent fans, even some BNFs of legendary status like Speer, Warner, and Rapp, but the routine of administering a flaccid mass of marginally interested stfnists is such as to drive personalities of the sort fans have into gafia, Insurgency, or paper-doll-cutting. The efficient chaser of details who forms the backbone of any administrating organization is not a type plentiful in fandom, and even when found can usually get greater rewards of egoboo through individual fanac. Fans would probably do better at coordination -- which was the original idea, after all -- and the activities which call for it to exercise only this function, like the Round Robins (chain letters) and N3F APA are the most successful in the club; but as a rule activities to coordinate is just what the N3F lacks.

1960s[edit]

The ’60s was mostly a quiet decade for the organization, in contrast to the high-power feuds that racked it during the ’50s. There was a moderate amount of excitement in 1963 when former director Alma Hill started impeachment proceedings against Al Lewis, who was then the chairman of the Directorate of the NFFF. Lewis had written an article in the club's fanzine, The National Fantasy Fan, defending the worth of the newszine Fanac to its readers, which came across as an unfavorable review to the consternation of many readers.

Hardly had that fracas blown over when Lewis was once again the subject of an impeachment proceeding, this time by Clay Hamlin. Lewis had defended Earl Kemp from libelous charges leveled at him by an otherwise little-known fan, D. Bruce Berry, in a fanzine article. Ron Ellik reported, tongue-in-cheek, on the two impeachment attempts: "That Lewis sure is a scoundrel."

Directorate[edit]

The Directorate is the governing body of the N3F. It consists of five members elected each year by the club membership. A Chair, who guides the activities of the Directorate, is chosen each year from among the newly elected members of the Directorate.

In the past, there was also Vice-Chair who took over if the Chair was unable to function.

Other activities[edit]

Bureaus[edit]

The club, historically, has had many departments, called bureaus, led by BuHeads. Some of them are:

Anime/Comics Bureau[edit]

The Anime/Comics Bureau supports discussion of all aspects of this hobby. BuHead is Kevin Trainor.

Artist Bureau[edit]

Artists from this bureau supply artwork for the N3F clubzines. Technique, subject matter, and publication are part of its discussions. BuHead is Cedar Sanderson.

Birthday Card Bureau[edit]

A bureau that sends birthday cards to members. The Bureau Heads are R-Laurraine Tutihasi and Judy Carroll.

Book Review Bureau[edit]

The Book Review Bureau tries to persuade members to write at least short reviews of all new novels.

Collector's Bureau[edit]

In the 1960s, it published a fanzine, The Collector's Bulletin (Ned Brooks, ed.), and bibliographies such as the Science Fiction Collections Index.

Convention Coordinator[edit]

Convention dates, conreports, and passing out flyers at conventions is the purpose of this bureau. BuHead: Heath Row.

Fandom Introductory Bureau[edit]

The Fandom History and Research Bureau, aka Fandom Introductory Bureau, is one of the several current bureaus of the N3F). Its purpose is to inform new fans of the history of SF and SF fandom.

The current Bureau Head is John Thiel. Jon D. Swartz is Associate Bureau Head, and N3F Directorate member Judy Carroll also assists with the Bureau's activities.

Fan-Pro Activity Coordinating Bureau[edit]

The bureau and its zine, Ionisphere, exist to increase interactions between readers and writers, publish interviews with writers and fen, promote contact information and web locations, and support convention activities. Bureau Head is John Thiel.

Fan Research Bureau[edit]

The Fandom History and Research Bureau seeks to document the history of the N3F and “our hobby.” The bureau head is John Thiel. It publishes Origin.

Fische Bureau[edit]

One of the many bureaus of the N3F, created in the 1980s. We have no idea what it did, but Paul Doerr was the Bureau Head. It is no longer active.

Follow-Up Bureau[edit]

We don’t know who or what they followed up, but Lenny Bailes was one-time head.

Franking Bureau[edit]

The Franking Bureau performs the original purpose of the N3F, redistributing fanzines to membership. Nowadays, their work is purely electronic.

Games Bureau[edit]

Supports gaming by N3F Members, including board games, RPG, miniatures, diplomatic games and LARP. Fl. 1968, it had a War Games Division that published a fanzine, Picklehaube.

Gourmet Bureau[edit]

It’s devoted to fans interested in recipes used by SF fans and pros, and is headed by Cedar Sanderson. She publishes Eat This While You Read That, recipes associated with famous authors.

Ladies' Auxiliary[edit]

The N3F Ladies’ Auxiliary was one of the organization’s bureaus in the 1950s. The N3F proper never had any rules about members’ gender, so why they needed a ladies’ auxiliary is unclear, especially since all the women in the auxiliary apparently belonged to the main club as well. The auxiliary’s activities included running the club’s lending library. Florence S. Anderson founded the group in 1949, and served as president.

Manuscript Bureau[edit]

From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959
The N3F has a Manuscript Bureau which is much used by its fanzine-publishing members like Racy Higgs, but of it least said is soonest mended.

Plancom[edit]

The Long-Range Planning Committee.

Pro Bureau[edit]

Works in support of pros, notably by co-publishing Prose Bono.

Round Robins[edit]

One of the oldest, most active and popular bureaus in the club. A round robin is a packet of letters written about a subject or author. The letters follow a route headed by a robin master. Most robins have 4 to 6 members. A few of the N3F’s long-running robins are on SF&F Films, Star Trek, Time Travel, Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey.

Welcommittee[edit]

Welcomes new members to the club, pretty much as described under Welcommittee in previous editions of Fancyclopedia.

Writers' Exchange Bureau[edit]

Members of the Writers’ Exchange Bureau read and critique each other’s manuscripts.

Life Members[edit]

The N3F has granted Life Member status to several fans since its founding.

More Information[edit]



Club Website(IA) Search: Fanac, Fan, Pro, SFE, Wikipedia, Reasonator 1941

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Richardson - Dave Kyle's Chicon 3 Reminiscence - Dave Locke - David Heath - David Hulan - David Speakman - Deedee Lavender - Diane Miller Blackwood - Dick Eney - Dick Kuhn - Dirce S. Archer - Directorate - Discon 1 Guide: Accessory Organizations - Discon 1 Guide: Two More Facets - Discon II Reminiscence (Kyle) - Doc Barrett - Don Anderson - Don Martin - Don Miller - Don Thompson (comics) - Donald B. Thompson - Donald Franson - Donald Susan - Donald Tuck - E. Everett Evans - Ed Connor - Ed Cox - Ed Green - Ed Meskys - Edmund J. Goodwin - Edward Ludwig - Eldritch Science - Elinor Poland - Elsie Janda - Erwin Scudla - F. M. 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