FAPA-Fantasy Amateur Press Association

FAPA Memory Book

Memory Book made for FAPA's 20th anniversary (1957).

FAPA Newsletter

Newsletter sent out on behalf of FAPA (1954).

The Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA) was organized by the SF fandom in 1937 in order to distribute publications by its members, for its members. There are a number of Amateur Press Associations, but FAPA was decidedly for SF fans. The use of an APA allowed fans to create an institution that would efficiently link them to each other in order to circulate their fanzines, newsletters, or other materials that would be relevant to fandom.[1] Contributors would often use the hectograph process, and sometimes other printing methods, to print copies of their fanzine by their own dollar. They would mail out their copies to FAPA members in exchange for copies of other member’s fanzines.

FAPA ran on a reciprocal basis and was originally limited to 50 members because using the hectograph only allowed for 50 copies, but other printing methods were used later on. This limit was raised to 65 in 1944, although only 23 members have been active since May 2016.[2] It became a tool for the SF fandom to network, and without FAPA it would be rather hard to connect with other fans and share fanzines. Even without mass circulation there is still a need for structure and organization to make sure fanzines are reaching the people who want to receive and distribute them because communities need institutions.[3]

FAPA was founded by SF fans Donald A. Wollheim and John B. Michel who were extremely influential in their work for the community.[4] Their involvement with APAs and H.P. Lovecraft inspired them to start an APA of their own. FAPA became home to various well-respected people in the fandom; most notably Forrest J. Ackerman, a writer, editor, and literary agent.[5] There were a number of nicknames for FAPA zines such as fapazine, individ fanzine, apazine, or perzine. No matter the nickname, it was understood that starting FAPA was necessary to build upon the already growing interest in SF fanzines.

The Coslet-Sapienza fantasy and science fiction fanzine collection holds an extensive number of FAPA mailings. They include the fanzines that were made and circulated by members. Some notable fanzines in FAPA were Skyhook, Glom, Light, Astra’s Tower, Helen’s Fantasia, and Shadowland. This list also includes specific FAPA related titles such as the FAPA Book, Fapulous, Faparade, FAPA Fan, FAPA Newsletter, and FAPA Snooze. If you’re interested in seeing a detailed list of all FAPA related material as part of this collection please visit: Coslet-Sapienza Fantasy and Science Fiction Fanzine Titles.

[1] Duncombe, Stephen, “Community,” in Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (London: Verso, 1997), 50.

[2] “Fantasy Amateur Press Association.” Fanlore, 23 May, 2017, https://fanlore.org/wiki/Fantasy_Amateur_Press_Association.

[3] Duncombe, Stephen, “Community,” in Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (London: Verso, 1997), 47.

[4] “FAPA.” Fancyclopedia, 30 May, 2018, http://fancyclopedia.org/fapa.

[5] Ibid.