The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Scientifriction #11, edited by Mike Glyer

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Scientifriction #11, edited by Mike Glyer

Scientifriction #11
Scientifriction #11

The Fan Activity Achievement Awards, or FAAN Awards were founded in 1976 by Moshe Feder and Arnie Katz. Created to highlight writing in fandom, they differed from the Fan Hugos in that they were voted on specifically by fanzine fans. The original awards were presented at various convention. Following the 1980 awards, the awards were on hiatus until 1994 and have been presented each year since, with the exception of 1996. Mike Glyer won the last of the original run of FAAN Awards for Best Fanzine, Single Issue for Scientifriction #11. The first winner was Outworld #21/22, edited by Bill and Joan Bowers. The category was not revived after the hiatus, being replaced by the Best Fanzine category.

While Mike Glyer’s File 770 can be considered a newszine of the science fiction fannish community, his zine Scientifriction could be seen as an opinion related work, although it contained far more than simply opinion pieces. In issue 11, Glyer opened up with an inside-baseball discussion of a proposal to add a Non-North American zone to the then current three zone rotation for Worldcons. At the time the Worldcon would rotate between the Eastern US, the Western US, and the Central US, with foreign worldcons being allowed to bid for any year. The proposal would have added a fourth zone, limiting when foreign worldcons could be held, but ensuring one would be held every fourth year. The proposal raised quite a bit of debate, including the opinion that the change would actually further cement worldcon as a US event.

Glyer also published his own article on the game Hell is High, which he would later rework for the second issue of my own fanzine, Argentus, published 23 years later. Glyer’s description of the game mechanics, camaraderie, and rivalry make the evenings spent playing Hell Is High sound like a wonderful place and time to have been able to experience.

Mike Farkash offers up a humorous comparison of different types of potential pets, looking at the pluses and minuses of owning dogs, cats, hamsters, dolphins, ducks, and stuffed pandas. His one pager is followed by another humor article as Dave Locke describes the difficult process by which he tries to figure out a topic for his column which will pass muster with the editor, In the end of course, as Locke and fictional-Glyer come to an agreement about the parameters of Locke’s article, he reaches the end of his allotted space.

Jon Gustafson’s “Ulterior Designs” is a review of the 1977 British art book The Flights of Icarus, edited by Martyn Dean, Roger Dean, and Donald Lehmkuhl. In this age of internet shopping, it is difficult to remember how much trouble it was to acquire British books and a familiarity with British artists, but this volume allowed Americans to become more familiar with artists like Jim Burns, Steve Fabian, and Angus McKie. While Gustafson is less than impressed with the poem that tries to link the artwork together, he does spotlight some of his favorite images, many of which can now be easily seen by using…the internet.

Although Glyer mentioned in his article about Scientifriction that he would be cutting back on reviews in future issues of the ‘zine, the current issue still contains several pages of short reviews by Stan Burns of books such as Brian Stableford’s Balance of Power, Vonda N. McIntyre’s Dreamsnake, and David Bischoff’s Nightworld. One of the interesting things about reading through old reviews is seeing what works appeared important at the time of their publication that have subsequently disappeared and vice versa.

Jon Sanders’s article “StF in Academe” is essentially another book review column, specifically looking at anthologies that were put together with an eye towards being used by colleges to teach science fiction. He spends a good deal of time discussing the sloppy proofreading for Science Fiction: Contemporary Mythology: The SFWA/SFRA Anthology, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Joseph Olander, and Patricia S. Warrick. Sanders doesn’t really get into the details of the stories, but he does note that it feels as if the editors were trying to shoe-horn stories into categories in which they didn’t necessarily fit.

“Magic Pans” is a section of the ‘zine that contains three more book reviews, each one written by a different reviewer, including Richard Wadholm, Becky Clark, and Jim Meadows.

Many science fiction conventions host artist fast-draw events and one was held at the 1978 Westercon in Los Angeles, which was chaired by Glyer and Ed Finkelstein. Glyer has reprinted several of the cartoons that were drawn at the event by Bill Rotsler, Linda Miller, Scott Shaw, Bjo Trimble, and Marc Schirmeister.

The final several pages of the ‘zine include the Fanivore, Glyer’s letter column, liberally illustrated with additional cartoons from the Westercon fast-draw event.

I would like to thank Mike Glyer for his assistance in locating a copy of Scientifriction #11 and Joe Siclari for his speed in scanning the ‘zine and making it available to me. I would also like to thank Jo Van Ekeren for finding a list of other nominees, which included By British, Deadloss 2, Fanily Relations, and Lan’s Lantern 9.

Steven H Silver-largeSteven H Silver is a sixteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW, NESFA Press, and ZNB. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Webinar: Web Sites” in The Tangled Web. His most recent anthology, Alternate Peace was published in June. Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 6 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7.

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[…] himself of’s online fanzine library to find the subject for his latest column:  “Golden Age of Science Fiction: Scientifriction #11, edited by Mike Glyer” (a 1979 […]

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