The Cult

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The Cult, aka 13Apa and "The 13 Nastiest Bastards in Fandom," was a "rotational" apa –- a rota of 13 publishing members took turns publishing the Official Organ, which may have an individual title but was always subtitled Fantasy Rotator. The schedule was one issue every three weeks (so the individual publishing member only had to publish one FR every 39 weeks). Postmailings were called Fractional Rotator (f/r).

The Cult was letter-based. Members wrote to the publishing member, who compiled and published the entire FR rather than merely collating individual apazines as is common in most other apae.

It had an "active" waiting list of five members and an "inactive" waiting list of an indeterminate number. An overseeing officer was called the Official Arbiter. A former member is an Exult. Gatherings of Cult members were called Seances.

The Breenmark was a notation next to members’ names in the roster, indicating they were underage.

See also: Clut.


The apa was started August 29, 1954, by Peter Vorzimer. It was so named because it had 13 publishing members.

In the 1960s, the invective and venom flowed with such intensity that it would make a full-scale internet flame war look like a weenie roast, and for that reason the members began, not entirely tongue in cheek but self-deprecatingly, calling themselves the "13 Nastiest Bastards in Fandom." In 1967, Scotty Tapscott published a 35-page history called A Basketful of Bastards.

Fantasy Rotatators were sent out first-class to the members and active Waiting Listers (or WLers for short) – and as many or as few of the inactive WLers as the individual editor wished. The more-frequent-than-monthly schedule was considered high-speed fanac in the days before the internet and the local weekly apas. Members and active WLers were obliged to respond to at least every other issue.

The Cult faded out around the year 2000.

From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
Sort of a combination APA and chainletter, founded by Peter Vorzimer in late 1955. Thirteen members take part through publication of the Official Organ, The Fantasy Rotator, by each member in succession... frequency of publication, every three weeks, making 39 weeks for a "cycle" at the end of which a new Official Arbiter is elected. Copies go to all members and the top five ("active") waitinglisters; all must comment on at least every other FR to the following editor; failure means expulsion. Failure to publish in turn or at least give notice of delay (which cannot exceed 3 weeks) also means expulsion. The active waiting list serves either to prepare the prospective member for the Cult before he gets in or weed out deadwood before it gets tangled in the machinery. Early Cultists were strictly 7th Fandom types, handpicked by Vorzimer, and Little Peter's poorly written constitution combined with their inexperience to produce many official snarls and wrangles. Over 30 Amendments had to be passed; the last one turned out to have the effect of making amendments null and void (this turned out to be a misinterpretation), and the Cultists threw the whole thing out in disgust. Charles Wells wrote up a revised constitution that was accepted and worked for several years with few amendments (e.g. one setting up an Official Arbiter, anarchy having proved impractical) tho in early 1959 another Constitutional hassle began. The average Fantasy Rotator runs from 8 to 70 pages, averaging 20-30; it features members' letters plus, on occasion, editorials, features, and material of all kinds, mostly by Cult members. Each is given an individual title (tho some members repeat their own earlier titles) to which "Fantasy Rotator __" is a subtitle. A respectable amount of quality material has seen print first in the Cult, later appearing in fanzines of larger circulation.
From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
13APA (Vorzimer) The Cult, sometimes, because that's how many members it has.

Fantasy Rotator[edit]

Issues of Fantasy Rotator were edited by members of the Cult in rotation, and are numbered consecutively from Fantasy Rotator #1 published by Peter Vorzimer. In addition to the numbers, issues may have been given a name. Issues were entirely the responsibility of the issue's editor, but consist mostly of material submitted by the other members.

FR # Editor Name Date Pages Notes
1 Peter Vorzimer August 1954
29 Randy Brown Tacky 1956
59 Karen Anderson Calmatema 1958 10
61 David Rike Rabble Rouser April 9, 1959 16
74 Bill Sarill Bucket January 1960 45
74.3333495 Alan J. Lewis The Cult Shall Rise Again #1 February 3, 1960 5
97 Dick Eney Avanc #1 1961 17
106 Robert Lichtman Accukturations February 5, 1962 49
129-B Don Fitch Honneur Soit Qui Mal Y Pense June 1963
137 Fred Patten December 2, 1963
148.4216 Norm Metcalf RPM #8 August 1964 26 Also in FAPA 108
154.1967 John Boardman December 1964 28
156 Walter Breen Kizmaiaz'' #5 January 4, 1965 9
169-2 George Scithers Dusenberg Splendor 1966 33
211 George Scithers Dol Cirith Ungol #2 March 4, 1968 32
224 George Heap Dol Cirith Ungol #3 December 2, 1968 28
237 George Heap Dol Cirith Ungol #4 September 1, 1960 26
250 George Heap Dol Cirith Ungol #5 June 1, 1970 34
267 George Heap Dol Cirith Ungol #6 March 1, 1971 26
296 Frank Denton January 1973
309 Frank Denton Along the Causey Road #5 October 22, 1973 19
572 George Scithers The Old Oaken Windmill #32 September 25, 1989 10
573 Rich Lynch
586 Rich Lynch September 25, 1989 17
591.13 George Scithers January 28, 1990 11
599 Richard Lynch June 25, 1990

Peter J. Vorzimer Award[edit]

The Peter J. Vorzimer Award last presented to Johnny M. Lee at the Cult Seance at Noreascon 3 (it never made it to him). In addition to the bloody doll arms in the bucket, other things from Cult events were often added to the box such as condoms, Nolacon II doubloons, Noreascoins, and plastic ants.
Photo by Kirby Bartlett-Sloan

The Peter J. Vorzimer Award, named for the founder, was given annually by The Cult to the member who, within the apa, most exhibited the characteristics that earned the group the name "The 13 Nastiest Bastards in Fandom" -- in other words, fuggheadedness.

For example, Dick Smith received the award for publishing an issue of the Official Organ, The Fantasy Rotator, on microfilm.

The trophy was traditionally a miniature bucket full of bloody doll's parts and sometimes included various odds and end from previous "award ceremonies".



Members in order of joining (through the end of the 13th Cycle):













Other members included:

Waitlisters (people who had applied for membership but either dropped out before a slot opened or were still waiting as of the end of the 13th Cycle): Tom Piper, Gary Labowitz, Bill Courval, Thom Perry, George Young, Bob Burleson, John Trenholme, Larry McCombs, Otto Pfeifer, Bob Pavlat, Tom Condit, Andy Reiss, B. Joseph Fekete, Jr., Pat Lupoff, Dick Lupoff, Jon Winter, Rick Marcuse, Ed Clark,Eugenia Clark, Dean Dickensheet, Shirley Dickensheet, Pete Reinhart, Les Nirenberg, Calvin W. Demmon, Craig Cochran, Paul Stanbery, Milo Mason, Bill Martin, Lee Thorin, Ed Meskys, Gary Deindorfer, Tom Armistead, Kevin Langdon, Jon V, Shaw, James Lanctot, Darrell D. Best, Bill Osten, Enid Jacobs Osten, Dick Schultz, Earl E. Evers, Bill Blackbeard, F. M. Busby, Dave Hulan, Alva Rogers, Jack Chalker, Wrai Ballard, Richard Mann, Hank Stine, Jerry Arthur, Gretchen Schwenn, George R. Heap, James Wright, Ron Wilson, Barry D. Gold, Lee Jacobs, Cecile Williamson, and Rick Sneary. Note that some of these people subsequently became members.

Other Contributors and Apazines:[edit]

Official Arbiters:[edit]

Description of The Cult by George Heap[edit]

The Cult is obscene, but not often, and has been since Its Creation in 1954. It can be loosely described as an apa but differs from most of these in that there is only one really Official Cultzine: the Fantasy Rotator or FR, which is published in turn by each of the 13 Members. (The 'normal' apa has simultaneous publication by everyone, the results being mailed in bundles to all members. This system involves dues, which the Cult has managed to avoid.)

The Cult's FR is published every third Monday (nominally), this event ends a Cultish Period of three weeks. The Members and the top five waitlisters are required to write letters, not necessarily of interest', to at least every other FR — letters to arrive by the Saturday proceeding the pubdate. As a substitute for letter-writing, Cultists sometimes elect to issue a sort of private Cultzine called a "fractional" (f/r) from their numbering system. They count for credit to the Period in which they are postmark­ed (up to the FR pubdate), but as they are assumed to precede it in the Cultish scheme of things, they take the number of the last FR with a decimal or fractional increment (as 218.020 or 218 1/3). Would-be-joiners of the Cult are required to have a letter, seemingly half-a-page or more, published in the FR (or a f/r) together with a written application to the OA.

The applicant is then listed at the end of the Inactive Waitlist (iwl) where he waits anywhere from six to twenty Periods, dependant on the length of the iwl and how quickly preceding Cultists drop out. The iwl has no stated obligations to meet, but receives Cultzines only by whim or goodwill. The top five waitlisters are termed the Active Waitlist (awl). They receive all Cult publications and must meet the standard activity requirements of a letter (or f/r) to at least every other FR. Time on the awl seems to last about 13 Periods. The final stage is full Membership, which status gets you the privilege of publishing one FR per Cycle (the 13 periods) in addition to the letter requirement. FR pubbing, however, counts as a letter substitute.

The sole officer presiding over the situation is the Official Arbiter (OA) who is elected at the end of each Cycle, or at any other time that the office becomes vacant. It is his job to bring order out of the confusion (or vice versa, it would seem in some cases). His chief function is to rule on the legality of various types of Cultac. He also accepts applications to the iwl and has the power to ignore all species of Cultish Sin or reinstate persons who have been dropped.

The general subject of who is In and who is Out of the Cult is alleged to take up much of its time. This opinion seems unduly harsh. At any rate, Cultists meeting the letter&c-f/rac requirements and publishing the FR on time (and lateness in this last is allowed, if prior notification is given) have relatively little to worry about. Failure to do these things quite often results in the offender being bounced, when this occurs, the OA may elect to reinstate (basing his decision on the value and volume of past Cultac --- or on whim and goodwill). Failing this, the surviving Members may vote to reinstate. If none of these things happens, the offender remains Out and, if interested, reapply like any other outsider.

Numerous details have been omitted from this short revelation. About the only one worth mentioning here is that, in order to maintain its rather short reaction time, the Cult is limited to residents of North America. Provision is made for those who intend to take up temporary residence elsewhere, but the key word is 'temporary'.

Publication 19542000
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