The Fantasy Fan

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The Fantasy Fan was a very early fanzine, published in the 1930s by Charles Hornig. He sent a copy to Hugo Gernsback, who happened to be looking for a new editor just then. Gernsback was so impressed with Hornig's fanzine that he sent for him and hired him at age 17.

Issue Date Pages Notes
#1 V1.1 September 1933 12
#2 V1.2 October 1933 20
#3 V1.3 November 1933 16
#4 V1.4 December 1933 16
#5 V1.5 January 1934 16
#6 V1.6 February 1934 16
#7 V1.7 March 1934 16
#8 V1.8 April 1934 14
#9 V1.9 May 1934 16
#10 V1.10 June 1934 16
#11 V1.11 July 1934 16
#12 V1.12 August 1934 15
#13 V2.1 September 1934 16
#14 V2.2 October 1934 16
#15 V2.3 November 1934 17
#16 V2.4 December 1934 16
#17 V2.5 January 1935 16
#18 V2.6 February 1835 16 final issue

The Fantasy Fan (#64/100) by Charles Hornig (5-25-1916 - 10-11-1999), Thingmaker 2010, 192/96/55pp, boxed

The Fantasy Fan was one of the most famous fanzines of the 1930s - long forgotten even by most fans of my aging generation - I'm 73 and got into fandom in the early 1960s. Charles Hornig started much younger than I did, and published these 18 issues of his fanzine from 1933 to 1935. They are collected here in facsimile from the originals. Many of the sf writers and editors later to become famous are represented here - Bob Tucker, Julius Schwartz, Forry Ackerman, Bob Bloch, Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, Virginia Kidd, Eando Binder, Emil Petaja, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft.... 
    The guy that made these actually gives his name as Lance Thingmaker.... The book is about 6x9 and over an inch thick, facsimile on mostly tan paper, with a few sheets of salmon and green mixed in. The pagination is by volume - there were 12 issues in Vol.1 and 6 issues in Vol.2. Then in the back he has also included a copy of HPL's "Supernatural Horror in Literature". But while the sections of that are in the ToC, there is no Contents of the 18 issues or an index - however, the magazine is indexed in the Miller/Contento The Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Weird Fiction Magazine Index. Thingmaker explains how he got the zines, and why he created the book - but does not include any means of contacting him. However I see that there was no need - he gets 67 hits on Google and seems to be on several of the social networks. Or any mention of copyright - but since Hornig never claimed even common-law copyright, it must be all public domain. The collectors that had the original zines are Karen McDonald and Robert E. Lumpkin.

V.1#2 - October 1933 - 20pp (pp13-32 - pagination is continuous through the volume)

    • Whoever designed and typeset these issues never deviated from the letterpress style that might have been seen in the amateur press zines c.1900. And never included artwork.
    • In the colophon, the line "(Managing Editor: Wonder Stories)" has been added
    • The letter column is excerpts of letters, addresses not given. B. K. Goree, Jr. is quoted as saying it isn't worth wasting time on. But Oswald Train and Duane Rimel liked it.
    • Don Moore, Managing Editor of Argosy, has a column on upcoming fiction there by Ray Cummings, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Otis Adelbert Kline.
    • C. A. Smith's "The Kingdom of the Worm", a fantasy suggested by "The Voyages and Travels of Sir John Maundeville"
    • Julius Schwartz' column on collecting SF continues
    • A very detailed Q&A column on what appeared in which pulp and by who
    • Will Sykora wins the cash prize in the contest announced in #1 for the best answer to "Why do you read fantasy fiction". Apparently there were few entries and the contest series is discontinued
    • The reprint from 1927 of "Supernatural Horror in Literature" by H. P. Lovecraft commences, with copyright credit to W. Paul Cook
    • C. A. Smith (and HPL, and R. H. Barlow) offer a counterblast to Ackerman's criticism in #1
    • "Annals of the Jinns" by R. H. Barlow opens with a quote from Beckford, ss fiction
    • Bob Tucker on "Science Fiction in English Magazines" - he does not think much of it. Two British addresses are given
    • Forry Ackerman continues the column on his collection
    • Walt Russjuchi continues a column on sequels
    • The classified ads include an offer of "Unusual Stories", 8 months for $1, "nearly 100 pages" and "NOT MIMEOGRAPHED". There is an address in Everett PA but no name.
  • V.1#3 - November 1933 - 16pp
    • Continues the HPL Supernatural Horror in Literature
    • Part three of the column on sequels - A. Merritt is said to have abandoned a sequel to "Thru the Dragon Glass"
    • "The Other Gods" by HPL reads very much like one of Lord Dunsany's "Gods of Pegana" tales.
    • A column headed "Startling Fact" has the editor asking C. A. Smith about translations of the Necronomicom, the Book of Eibon, etc - and Smith explaining that these books are all fictitious! Hornig claims that he and most other Mythos fans of the time thought there really were such books.
    • "Annals of the Jinns" by R. H. Barlow continues
    • The Ackerman - C. A. Smith squabble over whether eldritch horror can be SF continues
    • "A Dream of the Abyss" by C. A. Smith fills a page
    • The new SF Club is said to be underway, under the name "The Fantasy Fan Fraternity", where the "Scienceers" in NY is a branch of the FFF.
    • A column on "True Ghost Stories" continues
    • Bob Tucker's column on English magazines continues - he says the Argo Weekly lasted just one issue. The address of a UK fan, Miss Molly Upchurch, is given as wanting penpals
    • Bob Tucker (as "Hoy Ping Pong") explains how to write a STF story - it's a spoof on cliches
    • The 2nd column on "Famous Fantasy Fans" explains that Conrad H. Ruppert (publisher of Science Fiction Digest) because of his reading matter while confined to bed with heart disease
    • Mort Weisinger has a column on "Celebrities I Have Met" - Leo Morey is said to be a snappy dresser
    • The classified ad for Unusual Stories takes up an entire column with a list of stories and authors they have or will publish - the publisher in Everett PA still unidentified
    • A typo has it that Science Fiction Digest will become "Fantasy Magazine" with the Jan'54 issue.
    • Ackerman is selling a Seabury Quinn "Jules de Grandin" collection, C. A. Smith is selling his own writing (THE DOUBLE SHADOW and Other Fantasies)
  • V.1#4 - December 1933 - 16pp
    • Ackerman asks to no longer be referred to as "the most active fan"; R. E. Howard and HPL are quoted from letters of comment, and Emil Petaja.
    • Ackerman continues the description of his collection
    • "Birkett's Twelfth Corpse" by August Derleth - this is a Sac Prairie tale about two rivermen on the Wisconsin River competing on the number of corpses they have found in the river - as the story opens, Birkett and Blum are tied at eleven each. There is no happy ending....
    • The "Conglamitorial" column mentions the most peculiar titles - I have a poor memory for time and didn't realize "The Gostak and the Doshes" was this early. Breuer (his first name is omitted) has several curious titles listed here.
    • Virginia Kidd has a short poem
    • A column is taken up with a requested list of the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs
    • R. H. Barlow's "Annals of the Jinn" continues with "The Flagon of Beauty"
    • The Supernatural Horror in Literature serialization continues
    • Natalie H. Wooley appears with "The Spurs of Death", a straight ghost story about a cowboy murderer.
    • The Ackerman - C. A. Smith squabble continues, and Smith is said to be ahead in popularity
  • V.1#5 - January 1934 - 16pp
    • Hornig asks readers to send $1 for a year's subscription if they want the magazine to continue as a monthly, else it might have to drop to quarterly. He speaks of the cost of "having the magazine printed", and indicates that the magazine does not make a profit but is supported out of his "income". He also notes that Weird Tales refuses to accept an ad for The Fantasy Fan. Unfortunately he gives no hard data on circulation or the cost of getting something printed in a small town at the time.
    • Bob Tucker's column on British prozines continues
    • The Ackerman-C. A. Smith squabble rages on. HPL of course supports C. A. Smith and Ackerman "doesn't like HPL's attitude". I cannot read such twaddle.
    • "The Ghoul" by Clark Ashton Smith
    • Weisinger has a "We'll Bet You Didn't Know" column - I in fact did not know these things. Charles Willard Diffin is said to compose his stories on a dictaphone.
    • The "collection" columns by Ackerman and Julius Schwartz continue.
    • Supernatural Horror in Literature continues
    • The 4th of R. H. Barlow's "Annals of the Jinn" is "The Sacred Bird" - a comic satire.
    • Bob Tucker is officially outed as "Hoy Ping Pong" in the lettercol. And a Carl J. Smith is very put out that the books of spells in the Cthulhu Mythos tales are entirely invented, saying this spoils the "illusion of reality". He might have lived to read Manly Wade Wellman's "John stories" - the Book of PowWows mentioned there does exist. Chester Cuthbert suggests that Tucker's column on "English" SF should include mention of Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood - I corresponded for years with Cuthbert, and have a box of his letters.
  • V.1#6 - February 1934 - 16pp
    • "Polaris" by HPL - the Pole Star is "evil and monstrous". Very much in the Dream Quest style, and includes a good poem about "when the stars are right". But he calls the "Esquimaux" of the arctic regions "squat yellow creatures".
    • A "Facts and Prophecy" column quotes a math professor at the Naval Academy as saying that a trip to the Moon is possible, and would cost $100,000,000 (the cost of 2 battleships). W. A. Conrad thought that the oxygen supply required and getting used to weightlessness and dodging meteors would be the biggest problems! In Cleveland at the National Inventors Congress, Arthur Shenderlein exhibited a motor which he claimed variously would carry passengers to Mars and got 100,000 miles without gasoline. That's silly even for a 1934 fanzine.
    • A new column "Howls from the Ether" is credited to "The Spacehound" - very short various comments on pulp SF.
    • Marianne Ferguson reports on a visit to Jules de Grandin - but this turns out to be a pastiche on his fiction.
    • Poems by Richard F. Searight and William Lumley
    • C. A. Smith on the weird works of M. R. James
    • Annals of the Jinn #5 - "The Tomb of the God"
    • A list of stories on hand for future publication - HPL, C. A. Smith, R. H. Barlow, Derleth, R. E. Howard
    • Continued columns - the Ackerman-C. A. Smith squabble; Supernatural Horror in Literature; Ackerman's collection.
    • Emil Petaja on "Famous Fantasy Fiction"; Weisinger on "Fans I've Met"
  • V.1#7 - March 1934 - 16pp
    • R. E. Howard's "Gods of the North" - a Conan tale where he is still called "Amra"
    • SNHiL continues
    • Page and a half poem "Revenant" by C. A. Smith
    • Kenneth B. Pritchard tells as true a ridiculous tale of the stars in the sky rearranging themselves to spell out a message: "The United States of America will run red with blood"
    • Hoy Ping Pong's "How to Write a Weird Tale" is funny.
    • Ackerman has "A Sad Story of the Future" about buying a new robot
    • R. H. Barlow describes the 1st edition of THE TIME MACHINE
    • I had thought FF completely lacked artwork - but here on p.110 is the full-page cover of the renamed Science Fiction Digest, "Fantasy Magazine / The Digest of Imaginative Literature". The art by Clay Ferguson, Jr. is a very futuristic city view. The facing page is the contents of the issue.
  • V.1#8 - April 1934 - 14pp
    • Hornig has to apologize to HPL for three typos in an article in the previous issue. Hornig's comments in the letter column are in a smaller font than the letters themselves
    • A "Prose Pastels" series by C. A. Smith, the first being "Chinoiserie"
    • Short items by F. Lee Baldwin - R. H. Barlow getting out a volume of Henry S. Whitehead letters; Seabury Quinn (said to be "formerly a lawyer") now editing a trade journal
    • "The Ancient Voice" by Eando Binder must be on the cutting edge of technology for the time - the protagonists are operators for the International Radio News Service.
    • Supernatural Horror in LiteratureSHIL continues
  • V.1#9 - May 1934 - 16pp (but page numbers 128/129 apparently not used)
  • V.1#11 - July 1934 - 16pp (p.176 erroneously numbered 162)
  • V.1#12 - August 1934 - 16pp
    • Notes that this is the 12th monthly issue, but 13 will be the "anniversary number" - asks for sub renewals
    • Thanks Farnsworth Wright for finally allowing a paragraph on FF in WT
    • Ralph Milne Farley writes to say that he is not quite Roger Sherman Hoar - the "Ralph Milne Farley" stories of the past few years were collaborations between Hoar and his daughter, Caroline Prescott Hoar
    • Emil Petaja notes that Lord Dunsany's A DREAMER'S TALES and THE BOOK OF WONDER have been reprinted in the Modern Library list, and are a "refreshing change from the dark tales of Lovecraft, Howard, etc."
    • "Annals of the Jinn" 8, "The Fall of the Three Cities" by R. H. Barlow has naming a bit like Dunsany and pronounceable
    • Louis C. Smith in "Gleanings" says that A. Merritt is of French Huguenot ancestry
    • Supernatural Horror in Literature SHIL continues
    • p.187 apparently had to be set in wide line-spacing to avoid an empty space
    • Thomas Ripley's novel Black Moon is reviewed by Bob Tucker - apparently the same story as was released as a movie this year.
    • "Ebony and Ash (A Tale of Three Wishes)" by Robert Ely Morse
    • Ken Pritchard reports seeing a shadow - not cast by anything
    • "Famous Fantasy Fans" biography of Raymond A. Palmer
    • Two more columns in wide line-spacing - it must have been quite a feat to make everything come out even in 16 pages of hand-set type. Or might it have been done by linotype?
  • V.2#2, Whole No.14 - October 1934 - 16pp (not counting the covers, this time of gray paper)
    • Supernatural Horror in LiteratureSHIL part 13
    • Schwartz and Weisinger's "Weird Whisperings" column is credited with boosting circulation of TFF/. They report that Farnsworth Wright wrote stories and poems as "Francis Hard"
    • Two "Fungi from Yuggoth", "The Book" and "Pursuit"
    • "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" by HPL
  • V.2#3, Whole No.15 - November 1934 - 16pp
    • Hornig says he has spent "hundreds of dollars" on TFF and does not regret it - but no longer has the disposable money and that TFF will have to pay for itself if it is to continue. He estimates that some issues have paid about the half the cost. He says the next issue will appear when enough money has come in to pay for the printing
    • C. A. Smith contributes an "autobiograhette" (autobiographette meant?) - mostly philosophy. Says he was born on a Friday the 13 and is not at all superstitious
    • The F. Lee Baldwin column "Within the Circle" says that two young A. Merritt fans burglarized a Carnegie Library for the issues of Science and Invention/ containing The Metal Emperor; and that August Derleth is 24
    • "On Fantasy" by C. A. Smith
    • Supernatural Horror in LiteratureSHIL Part Fourteen
    • "The Demonian Face" is written by C. A. Smith as though it was an actual hallucination seen in the Bohemian Club in San Francisco
    • Schwartz and Weisinger's "Weird Whisperings" column mentions WT authors' pseudonyms
    • "The Primal City" by C. A. Smith
    • Another Ken Pritchard "true experience" - when his grandfather died, all the doors in the house opened and closed by themselves
  • V.2#5, Whole No.17 - January 1935 - 16pp
    • A "Special Weird Poetry" issue. Hornig says he has gotten more contributions of material than he has room to print and will use the best material first
    • Prints a nasty anonymous letter inspired by the casual statement in #15 that "the average intelligence of the general public was that of a moron" - this is indeed an overstatement, as the average intelligence, insofar as it can be quantified, is an IQ of 100 by definition. In the 30s the term "moron" was used to refer to people who scored 51-70 on the Binet scale.
    • Supernatural Horror in LiteratureSHIL Part Sixteen
    • Hoy Ping Pong parodies Pritchard's "true experience" series with "The Monstrosity (A True Expense)"
    • On the same page, Pritchard recounts seeing a moving beam of light over Pittsfield MA
    • Alonzo Leonard is said to have compiled a 48-volume "Encyclopedia Satanic"
    • Two "Fungi from Yuggoth", "The Key" and "Homecoming"
    • Duane W. Rimel's poem "Late Revenge"
    • "Voices of the Night: 2.Babel" by Robert E. Howard
    • P. J. Searles reviews Lost Horizon, the famous Shangri-La novel
    • Bob Tucker notes that with the loss of Scoops there is little magazine SF in England
  • V.2#6, Whole No.18 - February 1935 - 16pp
    • And last - Hornig says there just aren't enough subscriptions to support the magazine, and that unused material will be returned to the authors. He asks subscribers to accept back issues in lieu of refunds
    • Supernatural Horror in Literature Part Seventeen
    • "The Slanting Shadow" by August Derleth - spookery set in Wisconsin
    • "The Legacy" by Kenneth B. Pritchard
    • A long column entry by F. Lee Baldwin on Adolph de Castro (now 74), who interviewed Pancho Villa about the disappearance of Ambrose Bierce. His birth name was Gustav Adolf Danziger. He came to the US in 1886 and worked as a dentist and then was US consul at Madrid. With Bierce he translated from the German The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter by Richard Voss
    • Annals of the Jinns No.9, "The Mirror" by R. H. Barlow
    • "The Little Old Lady" by P. J. Searles
It was reviewed in William Crawford and D. R. Welch's Science Fiction Bibliography, published in 1935:

Attempting to establish a medium for the lovers of fantasy, Charles D. Hornig published The Fantasy Fan for eighteen issues (September 1934 to February 1935). In his own words: “We have learned that there are not enough lovers of weird fiction who are interested enough in the subject to pay for a fan magazine. We may call it an experiment that failed.”

Although he had a high ideal, and although he put as much as two hundred dollars into the venture, Hornig’s magazine was never more than a pale imitation of the Science Fiction Digest. The Fantasy Fan lacked vigor and strength, not through any fault of the editor, but rather because the readers of fantasy are not as enthusiastic as the fans of science fiction. Nevertheless, despite its faults, The Fantasy Fan is of real value to the collector—stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Eando Binder, and others; the reprint in serial form of Lovecraft’s “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” which originally appeared in the RECLUSE, a magazine now long out of print; a wealth of information about book collections of science fiction and fantasy; biographical sketches and odd bits of material about Weird Tales authors. In all, the eighteen issues of The Fantasy Fan are worth owning. It may be that back numbers will become even more expensive than those of the Science Fiction Digest, since the circulation was very small, and few extra copies were printed.

Publication 19331935
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