Thursday, May 19, 2022

LOC for Captain Flashback #41

The following is a letter of comment sent to Andy Hooper and Carrie Root, editors of Captain Flashback, commenting on #41.

Dear Mx. Hooper and Root:

More than a decade ago, I compiled a directory of then-active apae, first titled Active APAs and then Blue Moon Special. They are available at And while I fall far, far short of any kind of comprehensive expert on current apae, I had never, ever, ever heard about the Turbo-Charged Party-Animal Amateur Press Association. I’m still not sure whether it exists, though Fancyclopedia 3 also suggests that it does.

Perhaps in part influenced by Captain Flashback #41’s “Read and Enjoyed, but No Content” (Chapter Eight of a Serial Play about APAs), reading the issue was a surreal and surprisingly fun experience. Truth be told, I took much of it, even “Comments on Turbo-Apa #429” as fiction. My first experience reading your fanzine felt like reading an old issue of Farm Pulp, almost a glimpse into a parallel universe in which there were also apae and fanzines, just not… the ones with which I was familiar or even aware. It was a fun, fun read.

The opening piece, “Looking for a Good Ship,” was the most familiar and least alien writing: book reviews grouped under a theme. I recently started compiling an sf club news column for the National Fantasy Fan Federation’s newszine, FanActivity Gazette; I would love to learn more about the Science Fiction Without Borders discussion group in Madison. I’ll include the current ish of Fanac Gazette when I send this letter of comment, and if the group is interested in sending some recent and upcoming news, I’d love to include it in the roundup. In your review roundup, you mentioned several recent and older titles that I’ll have to add to my reading list, and I appreciated the focus on spaceflight and ships as settings for storytelling.

“Read and Enjoyed, but No Content” took my breath away. I cannot wait to read the whole thing. The fen in the audience who got to witness the staging at Corflu 22 are lucky ducks. I really got a kick out of the combination of apae elements and dialogue, and look forward to reading the preceding chapters. The character names, apae elements, and content—which I read and enjoyed—put me in a fugue state of sorts. What a wonderful idea.

Influenced by that piece, my first read of “Mailing Comments on Turbo-APA #429” struck me in a similar vein. I read on, presuming that—similar to the play script or transcript preceding it—the names, titles, and content were also fictional, perhaps blending in actual fannish commentary. While I am still not entirely sure what is factual and real in Captain Flashback, I love the idea of doing a fictional apa featuring fictional participants, fictional commentary, a fictional fandom, a fictional genre, and fictional resultant drama. Such a rich idea. Despite that fugue state and surreal intrigue, I’ve since reread your commentary as (f)actual comments. After all, Madison is a real city. A real Mad City, in fact. (I grew up in Wisconsin; my parents still live near Madison.) So kudos to you two. I’m still not sure what is real.

As a member of the N3F since 2008 or 2009, former editor of The National Fantasy Fan (the 2009-2011 issues, the closest I’ve come to a genzine in sf fandom), and the N3F’s current chair, I appreciated and enjoyed Jerry Kaufman’s letter of comment, as well as your response. “[M]any fans thought the N3F was a good idea when it started,” Kaufman wrote. And while I might disagree with your reply—“[T]he N3F continues to be valuable today, as a place where people who need a title can go to find one.”—folks’ mileage might vary. I actually get a kick out of the occasional N3F jabs, japes, and jokes even as a member. It inspires me do more, and to do better.

Since finding sf fandom by way of comic books and punk rock fanzines, most of my fan activity has been through the N3F—my editing The Fan as a borderline prozine, paying cover artists and fiction authors for their submissions, being a highlight. Even though I still actively contribute to the N3F clubzines and chair the Directorate, I’m also a member of LASFS (I just dialed in to the weekly meeting) and contribute to APA-L and LASFAPA. Regardless, I realize I’m no Damon Knight, Forrest J Ackerman, Ray Bradbury, or Bjo Trimble. I still enjoy the straight line to history, as well as the creative outlet, friends (some of whom have drifted off, and some of whom drift back), and fun my involvement has brought. And I quite like the idea of the N3F—or a national club, going back to the original vision—serving to help to bridge other fanac (apae, local clubs, etc.) for those fen who find that interesting and useful.

Again, your mileage might vary.

I look forward to future issues of Captain Flashback, as well as future apa comments, fictional or factual. I love it when I come across new (to me), still active apae. Huzzah to the participants of the Turbo-Charged Party-Animal Amateur Press Association!

No comments: