CFA or CFFA? There be the question…

It began with a pleasant conversation with a fan:

FAN: “Why don’t you take your giant ego and stick it in that trophy of yours?”

ME: “What trophy?”

FAN: “The six foot gilded trophy you plan to award yourself someday.”

ME: “Great idea! Thank you.”

I jumped right on that soonest in typical fannish fashion.

So a few years later (5:40 am, Nov 24th, 2004 to be precise) I was idly thinking as I idly bathed in my non-guilded bathtub, when an idle thought occurred to me: Americans have the ‘Faan Awards’ to celebrate and promote SF fanzine fandom, the British have the ‘Nova Awards’ for the same purpose, why not create the ‘CanFaan Awards (CFA)’ for Canadians?

A quick four years later (2008) I came up with five categories:

– Best Fan Writer.

– Best Fan Artist.

– Best Fan LocHack (Letter of comment writer).

– Best Fanzine.

– Hall of Fame.

I knew I would have to start small, with an organizational committee consisting solely of me, but how to generate publicity, how to generate interest? If I failed to do that the reputation of the awards wouldn’t extend much further than my epidermis.

“Hmm, not such a bad idea,” I thought. “Why not go all the way to the ultimate in simplicity and efficiency? Why don’t I just glad-hand MYSELF each and every CanFaan award? Every year a bigger and better trophy, each more gaudy and elaborate than the one before? Sooner or later Canadian Fen would be so annoyed they’d start pubbing their own ish in droves to compete with me and deny me victory, thus confirming the viability of the awards. I LIKE this concept… no visible flaws… seems perfectly logical…hmm…”

My brain went into overdrive. In a sudden outburst of energy over a 48 hour period in August 2011, I founded:

– ‘The Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards’ or ‘CFFA’ (‘fanac’ is fannish slang for fannish activity),

– the ‘Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards Society’ or ‘CFFAS’ (a non-registered, non-existent Society),

– a CFFA Facebook site (since abandoned),

– a CFFA Yahoo site (since abandoned),

– and a new fanzine titled ‘The Fanactical Fanactivist’ (still being published). Slan I’m good!

3 RG Cameron Faned AwardBy September I had talked Taral Wayne, a Hugo nominated and Rotsler Award winning Canadian fan editor and fan artist into designing the CFFAS certificate to be given to every winner (see example).

By September I had talked Eric Chu, a member of M.A.T.C. (Monster Attack Team Canada) into designing the actual award, the ‘Faned’ (see diagram).

1 RG Cameron Faned AwardBy September I had talked Lawrence Prime of M.A.T.C. into sculpting the actual physical master of the ‘Faned’ based on Eric Chu’s design (see photos).

September 2011 was a very productive month. Slan I’m good!

Then there was the little matter of the awards, to be presented at VCON 36 in October that same year. Obviously not a lot of time to send out nomination forms and ballots and such.

So I didn’t.

4 RG Cameron Faned AwardI declared a few obvious choices the winners by fiat. Saves a lot of fuss and muss that does.


Best Fan Artist: Taral Wayne

Best Fan Writer: Garth Spencer

Best LocHack: Lloyd Penney

5 RG Cameron Faned AwardBest Fanzine: WARP, Cathy Palmer-Lister editor.

Hall of Fame: The Unknown Faned

Taral for his decades of legendary fanac, Garth for his decades, including the winning of the first Fan Achievement Aurora in 1986, Lloyd for his avalanche of locs, Cathy for the club-member interactive clubzine for the Montreal SF Association, and ‘The Unknown Faned’ for publishing Canada’s first SF fanzine in early 1936 under the title ‘The Canadian Science Fiction Fan.’ (Unknown because in his 1936 review Donald Wollheim neglected to mention the editor’s name!)

I didn’t win anything because dozens of fans said it would be gauche of me to award myself a Faned.

“And what’s wrong with that?” I replied. “Seems okay to me. Worth doing. Why not?”

But I gave in. Sigh.

The second year’s awards marked a significant step forward. I asked assorted fen whom they thought should win. It constituted an informal vote with a number of nominees in each category. The awards went to those who received the most recommendations. The result:


Best Fan Artist: Scott Patri

Best Fan Writer: Taral Wayne

Best LocHack: Michael John Bertrand

Best Fanzine: SWILL, Neil Williams editor.

Hall of Fame: Nils Helmer Frome

Scott for his primitive yet feistily fannish illos, Taral for his excellent essays, Michael for his thoughtful locs in BCSFAzine, Neil for his provocative questioning of fandom (at the same VCON presentation he won the WORST FANZINE Elron Award for his use of the Pud-Monkey font), and Nils, the first known Canadian faned for his SUPRAMUNDANE STORIES published in 1937.

I received one more suggestion for Best Fan Writer than Taral, and tied with Neil for Best Fanzine, but once again the ugly demons of humility and humbleness were forced upon me by fellow fen concerned for my reputation. Ghu dang it, I wish they’d stop that!

Sadly, no actual statue of the ‘Faned’ has ever been presented, because I cannot figure out how to duplicate the thing. Every suggestion put forth so far seems to demand far too much money or far too much talent on my part to ever be feasible.

Mind you, I was told about a feminist adult shop in town that crafts dildos to order, and there is a certain superficial resemblance… but I have yet to muster the courage to walk in and inquire… besides, not sure I want the Faneds to vibrate anyway… but if the price is cheap enough… hmm…

Last weekend I presented the third annual CFFAS ‘Faned’ Awards at VCON 38.

And this time it was the product of an honest-to-Ghu nation-wide vote! Huzzah! And genuinely representative of the entire Canadian fannish nation with the votes split evenly between the East (Ontario/Quebec) and the West (Alberta/British Columbia). No less than 90% of those voting were past or present Faneds, fan artists and fan writers, thus making the faneds a true peer approval award. I couldn’t be happier. The CFF Awards have matured!

“How does the voting work?” you ask.

Each category has up to 10 nominees. Each voter gets to vote up to three choices in each category by order of preference; first choice, second, third, with first counting for 3 points, second for 2, third for 1 point. Them as gets the most points in a given category wins.

“Wait a minute,” you say. “What if the winner is everybody’s second choice? What if no-one’s first choice wins?”

My answer: “Tough. I like to keep things simple. Them as gets the most points wins. Period.”

“So… how many people voted?”

“Ah… well… including myself?”


“Ummmm … nineteen.”

Dead silence.

Be fair. Canada’s population is about 10% of the USA, so on a per capita basis the CFFA voting stats are comparable to the American FAAN Awards… I think… maybe even better…

Best of all, the results this year are hilarious.


Best Fan Artist: Taral Wayne

Best Fan Writer: R. Graeme Cameron

Best LocHack: Lloyd Penney

Best Fanzine: SPACE CADET, R. Graeme Cameron editor.

Hall of Fame: Leslie A. Croutch (1940s/50s editor of LIGHT)

I won twice? Don’t blame me! Couldn’t help it. I was voted in!

Quietly pleased and humbly proud I is. (Wrote that with a straight face too.)

Oh, and last weekend my SPACE CADET was up for a BEST FAN PUBLICATION Aurora Award. I lost. Sigh. Oh well…

So the moral of the story is: Never won an award? Start your own!

You get out of fandom what you put in. I got mine…

< — >

And now for something abnormally different:


Mr. NHF of Fraser Mills, B.C., asks:


Mr. GUESS-IT-ALL: No. Scientists forget to mention it is merely a symptom of Newton’s 13th law of the conservation of matter:

As the universe expands, everything within it shrinks.”

Nothing to worry about.

As a point of interest, it’s only about 40 years ago the Earth shrank enough to make Globalization economically feasible, with all the resultant collapse of cultural identity and economic chaos we have come to expect as a matter of course.

Fortunately, the Obama administration has ordered NASA to develop the technology to mine the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn for Nitrogen. It is estimated that a mere 17 trillion tons of the stuff injected into the centre of our planet will be sufficient to swell the Earth back to its pre-globalization diameter and render routine contact between nations impossible, thus allowing every country to become self-sufficient and culturally unique once again.


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