Beam 07 : Fiftieth Fandom And All That

N I C  F A R E Y

nicHistories have previously been written with the object of exalting their authors”, write the scriveners of a long-forgotten, yet memorable “slim volume” of English History. “The object of this History”, they continue, “is to console the reader”.

With this sound philosophy in mind, we subscribe to the excellent theory that History “is what you can remember”, and accordingly, in light of recent Waves of “Fan History”, we hope the following will give succor to those who might otherwise be left with Glazed Eyes.


Fan History is generally not concerned with Dates, since none of them are at all memorable, since everyone was drunk at the time, or is now, or Preferably Both. The complete ignoring of Dates as a means of defining Fan History is attributed, paradoxically, to the one Date which is occasionally quoted, yet remains under dispute:

1897 Graham Charnock Discovers Vodka

This Date has been variously reported as 1987, 1798 and 8971 in the Mayan calendar, which proves Nothing At All, as it should.


Fan History (and the two-and-a-half known Fan Historians) are much more excited about Numbers, and the order they come in. Very little is agreed upon, to the extent that one-and-a-third of the known Fan Historians completely disagree with the other three-quarters, and also with themselves on the First Thursday of every month, which does not have a specific Date and is therefore memorable.

The ordering of the Numbers is changed regularly, with only the list of First Peoples (Hughie Green, Ted White, Urlo’s Restaurant and Lilian Edwards) achieving any kind of consistency, although Names such as Sheena Easton, Wilfred Pickles and Alfred Crouton appear and disappear with regularity, possibly due to prunes and Vodka (qv).

While it is inevitably tempting to see Fan History in terms of Waves, the theories of Numbers have held sway, as Proven (L) by having been set as the given method of discourse among the two-and-a-half Fan Historians, and those who are forced to listen to them by various combinations of First Thursdays and Vodka (qv).


Despite the prevalence of Numbers, which no-one except the two-and-a-half Fan Historians claim to understand properly, all memorable Fan History is divided into Wars, since at least the time of King Knatz and probably earlier, who thought that he could stop a Wave of Wars by starting new ones, and almost succeeded twice.

The First War was memorable only in that it’s name survives as Meaning Something, since everyone involved is either dead or suffering from Vodka (qv). It’s nomenclature was derived from a scientifictional prediction of Computers, typical of the era, and the color of the suits worn by undesirable elements, and is still referred to in often hushed tones as the “Brown Dongle”, implicitly understood to be a Warning to those who would dress so unfashionably.

This First War established the principle that everyone who was a part of Fan History must Take Sides whenever possible, especially if they wanted to argue about Numbers.

Arguing about Numbers included trying to define which was the Second, Third, Fifth and Ninth War, but since Fan History is what you can remember, and only the two-and-a-half Fan Historians really think any of that is important, the Wars are always known by their Names, as long as they are in fact memorable.


The TAFFWar, or at least the memorable one, is only now recalled by having been mentioned in Parliament, and by the hirsuteness of those involved, hence being called “The War of Hansard’s Beard”.

Very few details remain known, except that a cross-dressing Abe Vigoda was rumored to have broken open the piggy bank to pay the rent, and that Martin Sheen and Steven Seagal were forced into playing roles they didn’t much care for, just for the money. In common with many tales of Fan History, this does not Make Any Sense, primarily due to Vodka (qv).

Since that time, there have been several occurrences of ‘TAFFWar’, some of which have even been slightly memorable, except that no-one can actually remember them in terms of Numbers, and certainly not Dates, not even the two-and-a-half Fan Historians, who in any case are much more interested in the Brown Dongle and Sheena Easton.


More logical thinkers might consider that these should exist, but they don’t, or at least if they did, were not at all memorable, unless they are All About Eve.


This was a rather long-running skirmish in a War between Rats and Cats, the details of which are mostly lost due to Vodka (qv). Even the derivation of the initials are under some dispute, but given the general politeness which prevailed at the time, the phrase “Kindly Take oFfense” is seen as a likely candidate by at least three-fifths of the Fan Historians, due to the gently chiding nature of the writing of the time.

All two-and-a-half of the Fan Historians rather atypically agree that this was not a Real War, although it is considered to be entertaining and memorable.


This is considered by perhaps one-and-a-ninth of the Fan Historians to be the Last War, if not the War to End Wars, since it shows no sign of ever ending.

As best as can be determined, a number of people who were in Fan History numbered Twelfth, Sixth, or Nineteenth, decided to take a holiday in the country of ‘Gafia’, believed to be somewhere in Eastern Europe, possibly the putative location of The Prisoner, and boasting several factories dedicated to the production of superior Vodka (qv).

Upon their eventual return to Fan History, said to have been caused by either Vodka exhaustion or exhaustion of Vodka (qv), they re-established themselves by complaining that Fortieth, Fifteenth or Ninth Fan History wasn’t anywhere near as good as the Twelfth, Sixth or Nineteenth Fan History they remembered, and in any case they couldn’t count that high anymore due to Vodka (qv) and also possibly France, where the Numbers are quite different.


The two-and-a-half Fan Historians have expressed secret gratitude that since the Oldphart Rebellion has essentially ensured that Fan History is now over, they can return to arguing about Numbers, and continue to try to give Wars Names which are memorable, which helps them to be listened to on occasions which do not involve First Thursday or Vodka (qv).


  1. A convention marches on it’s breakfast”. Discuss, but avoid Frank Lunney.

  2. Refrain from Lilian Edwards. If you can.

  3. Diagram the powers of flight of the average banana, with comparisons to other fruits and nuts. (Be creative)

  4. It’s up to you, New York, New York”: verify, with reference to Ted White and any other color.

  5. Christopher J Garcia: faned or organ donor?

  6. Who would you consider to be more alike: Greg Pickersgill or Robert Lichtman or vice versa?

  7. Would you agree that any Worldcon Chair is the moral equivalent of a brown stain on the pavement? (Be precise)

  8. Draw a Venn diagram representing the interactions of John Purcell, “E B Frohvet” and Geri Sullivan. Or not. Preferably not.

  9. Describe your typical relationship with Vodka (qv).

  10. Who, in your opinion, has the Divine Blight? (Be bold)

Author’s note: apologies to W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman for rather bastardizing their original concept, but with equal thanks for the inspiration.

Dedicated to the two-and-a-half Fan Historians, whomever they may be…

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