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.
- Official website
- Publications at eFanzines
- FANAC collection of The National Fantasy Fan
- FANAC collection of N3F clubzine Tightbeam
- 1 History
- 2 Directorate
- 3 Other activities
- 4 Bureaus
- 4.1 Anime/Comics Bureau
- 4.2 Artist Bureau
- 4.3 Birthday Card Bureau
- 4.4 Book Review Bureau
- 4.5 Collector's Bureau
- 4.6 Convention Coordinator
- 4.7 Fandom Introductory Bureau
- 4.8 Fan-Pro Activity Coordinating Bureau
- 4.9 Fan Research Bureau
- 4.10 Fische Bureau
- 4.11 Follow-Up Bureau
- 4.12 Franking Bureau
- 4.13 Games Bureau
- 4.14 Gourmet Bureau
- 4.15 Ladies' Auxiliary
- 4.16 Manuscript Bureau
- 4.17 Plancom
- 4.18 Pro Bureau
- 4.19 Round Robins
- 4.20 Welcommittee
- 4.21 Writers' Exchange Bureau
- 5 Life Members
- 6 More Information
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.
|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
|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.
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."
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.
- In May 1963, John & Bjo Trimble hosted what was billed as "The First Annual N3F Swim, Beer, and Good Clean Fun Afternoon" in Los Angeles.
- An annual story contest with cash prizes to the winners. The judges included Fred Pohl (1966).
- A sponsored hospitality room at worldcons, the N3F Welcome Room, was something like a Neffer-focused Fanzine Lounge, with literature aimed at explaining fandom to neofen.
- A Fanzine Clearing House distribution service was handled by Seth Johnson. The service paid for ads in some of the prozines to sell bundles of fanzines to science fiction readers who could be potential neofans. He also took it on himself to locate new recruits directly by scanning prozine letters columns for addresses, then sending them packages of fanzines. The problem was, some of the fanzines he sent out were so poorly produced and written that it often had the opposite effect. This led some fanzine publishers, most notably Ted White, to claim that Johnson had no understanding or appreciation of fannish writing.
- Sponsored an amateur press association, N'APA, which was founded in the ’50s and open to all members of NFFF. The Official Editors during the ’60s included Robert Lichtman and Fred Patten.
- Sponsored a letterzine.
- Fanzines, including Tightbeam.
- Neffy Awards and Laureate Awards
- NFFF Press, a small press/publishing house.
The club, historically, has had many departments, called bureaus, led by BuHeads. Some of them are:
The Anime/Comics Bureau supports discussion of all aspects of this hobby. BuHead is Kevin Trainor.
Birthday Card Bureau
Book Review Bureau
The Book Review Bureau tries to persuade members to write at least short reviews of all new novels.
Fandom Introductory Bureau
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
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
We don’t know who or what they followed up, but Lenny Bailes was one-time head.
The Franking Bureau performs the original purpose of the N3F, redistributing fanzines to membership. Nowadays, their work is purely electronic.
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. Florence S. Anderson founded the group in 1949, and served as president; she apparently quit and the auxiliary became inactive in 1950. The auxiliary’s activities included running the club’s lending library. Betty Sullivan was Librarian.
|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.|
|From Fancyclopedia 1 ca 1944|
|(Evans) - The Long-Range Planning Committee of the NFFF. It was to consider all suggestions for new activities to be undertaken by the Federation and work into shape those that it considered worth while, but after it had finished, they had yet to be approved by the Board, EEEvans was chmn of the Plancom, and sent out carbon-copied sheets to the Committeemen carrying ideas and comments, received comments and ideas, and sent out more sheets. In an active quarter, the ides considered included: establishment of a Welcom, compilation of a history of fandom, recognition of official poll taker, publications of a fannual, reader's bureaus to advise which stories in the current pros were worth reading (disapproved), voting by all fans on time and place of conventions, official stationery, public relations idea, awards, federal subdivision of the country, and others.|
One of the oldest, most active and popular bureaus in the club. A round robin is a packet of chain letters (or emails) written about a subject or author. The letters follow a route headed by a robin master. Most robins have four to six members. Three members are required for each topic to begin "rounding." A few of the N3F’s long-running robins are on SF&F Films, Star Trek, Time Travel, Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey.
|From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959|
|A group of N3F members who contact new members and help them get acquainted with the club and its activities. Embarrassing passages have arisen from such events as the one in which Burbee, after several years of activity and fame, was "welcomed" to fandom. This group originally had a function (no longer exercised) of watching the prozine letter columns for promising letters from non-fans and having committee members in the same section of the country write them letters "welcoming" them into fandom and explaining what it is all about.|
|From Fancyclopedia 1 ca 1944|
|The Welcoming Committee, a recruiting adjunct of the NFFF, which would watch the pro letter sections for promising letters from non-fans, and have committee members in the same section of the country write them letters "welcoming" them to fandom and explaining what it is all about.|
Writers' Exchange Bureau
Members of the Writers’ Exchange Bureau read and critique each other’s manuscripts.
The N3F has granted Life Member status to several fans since its founding.
|Forrest J Ackerman|
|David H. Keller|
|E. E. Smith|
|Jon D. Swartz||2018|
- Art Widner explaining how the N3F was founded and more... time: 12:50. Recorded at Corflu 25 (April 2008), Las Vegas, Nevada. (Audio courtesy of .) Widner describes the founding of the N3F and along the way gives a general personal history including anecdotes regarding his fanzine YHOS, his 34-year gafia, his years as a teacher, the game TSOHG and more! : Hear an mp3 of
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