Slan Shack

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Science-fiction house[edit]

The term slan shack, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Deglerism and its “Fans are slans” attitude, came to mean any residence shared by two or more unrelated fans. An earlier name was science-fiction house, which applied to shared apartments of some early London and New York fans, attempting to economize while seeking a pro career.

Slan shack applies not only to roommate situations but also to rooming houses and apartment buildings with a high level of of fan tenancy.

The Original Slan Shack[edit]

The Original Slan Shack

The fanspeak phrase stems from the venue officially dubbed Slan Shack, which came into being in late 1943 at 25 Poplar St., Battle Creek, Michigan. It lasted only two years, breaking up in September 1945 when its occupants moved to California, but forevermore gave its name to the practice.

The best known fanhabitants of the original Slan Shack included E. E. Evans, Walt Liebscher, Jack Wiedenbeck and the homeowners, Al and Abby Lu Ashley. It hosted three Michiconferences.

Pfc. Paul H. Spencer, quoted in Harry Warner’s Horizons 20, wrote:

I’ve spent the past two week-ends at Slan Shack.... Slan Shack’s appearance is worthy of comment. Beautiful originals are omnipresent, the richest cache being Walt’s. Each room has a name over the door — more than one door entitling it to more than one name. Walt dwells in Chanticleering; Jack in Artesian Well; a closet is Stuff; another is Abbatoir {sic} (which I mistook for what turned out to be the Control Room); the dining room is Royal Gorge; a bedroom has the twin titles of Playground and Rosebud Room; the kitchen is Nitrosyncretic Lab; Evans’ room is Temple of the Ol’ Foo; the living room is the Zoo; the front door opens on ‘Civilization’, and one door is disturbingly labeled We Never Found Out. (The attic, come to think of it, is Shottle Bop.)

The residents called themselves the Galactic Roomers (see Fancy 1 article, below), a pun on the Galactic Roamers, an E. E. Smith-oriented club in Michigan.

More reading:

Other slan shacks[edit]

See also Slan Center.

From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959
An ancient dream of fans (well, dating back to 1938, at least). The idea is to have a place where fans live together, sharing expenses and bumming off one another, and where they can decorate the walls and halls appropriately and scatter their collections all around. The first realization of this dream was the Flat, in London. It was soon followed by Futurian House and a long line of successors. In 1943 appeared Slan Shack itself, which gave its name to the idea (previously called by the more formal name of science-fiction house). Here dwelt the Ashleys, Liebscher, and Wiedenbeck, and later E. E. Evans; they moved en masse from the original Slan Shack in Battle Creek to another site on Bixel Street, Los Angeles, cheek by jowl with the LASFS clubroom. (It was the ground floor of a duplex next door. Its upper floor, "Slan Shack Annex", was rented occasionally to struggling fen and pros.) The place didn't break up till the building was torn down in March '48 to make room for an office building. Outgrowth of this was the idea of Slan Center, which Ashley conceived in early '43 as a whole block of slanshacks (to be built on the outskirts of LA) with central clubroom and publishing plant. Nothing came of this last notion.

These establishments are more or less natural developments from the fraternity and nationalism of fandom, coupled with the rise of the average fan's age to self-supporting and home-leaving time. Up to half a dozen of them have existed at one time, such as Tendril Towers (Jacobs & Cox, in LA), The Ivory Birdbath (Youngs & Stark, in Cambridge), Granny's House (Kerkhof and others, in DC) and several others mentioned in other parts of this volume.

From Fancyclopedia 1 ca 1944
A science-fiction house in Battle Creek, charter members being Al & Abby Lu Ashley, Walt Liebscher, and Jack Wiedenbeck. Acquired in the summer of '43, it wasn't occupied by the slans till the eve of the Michiconference. EEEvans joined a little later.
From Fancyclopedia 1 ca 1944
Galactic Roomers (Stanley) - The inhabitants of the Ashley apartment and later of Slan Shack, in Battle Creek.

Venue Reasonator 19431948
This is a venue page, covering buildings from 4-star hotels to slan shacks. Please include only structures of major fannish significance. See Standards for Venues.

If applicable, please include category Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Ireland, NZ, UK, US, ROW or World.