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Michigan State University

Science fiction fanzines in Special Collections: Home


The science fiction fanzines collections at MSU document the enthusiasm and creative energy of generations of science fiction fans, with material spanning eight decades and most of the English-speaking world.

Amateur Press Associations

An amateur press association (APA) is a group of typically 25-50 people who share their writing with each other -- sometimes for fun, sometimes to solicit feedback and critiques.The earliest APAs in the U.S. date back to the 1870s. The first APA focused on science fiction was the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA) established in 1937.

APAs generally function by distributing members' writing 3-4 times a year. Each member provides the organizer with multiple copies of their work to share. The organizer collates these and mails the resulting "bundles" back to each member. The organizer often provides a table of contents listing the contributors for that particular mailing. APAs often require a minimum level of participation, such as two pages of writing for at least two mailings a year.

Many of the science fiction zines in MSS 781, the Science Fiction Fanzines collection, were produced for an APA and additional copies distributed to the author's friends and acquaintances outside the APA membership. The collections listed here comprise intact mailings, or bundles.

Collections at MSU:

Links coming soon:

  • APA-50
  • APA-L
  • APA-Q
  • APA-Z
  • ALPS
  • RAPS
  • SAPA
  • Shadow FAPA
  • SFPA

Fanzines, science fiction clubs, and fan conventions

The magazine Amazing Stories (the first pulp to feature science fiction exclusively) first appeared in January 1927. Thanks to the letter columns, which printed readers' names and home addresses, science fiction fans quickly began organizing themselves into fan clubs and amateur press associations and holding conventions. Later, fan clubs devoted to particular media properties began to appear. Collections at MSU:


Fan fiction has roots going back millennia, to oral history and the retellings of Arthurian legend. 20th century fanfiction emerged in the late 1960s from Star Trek fandom, and flourished in printed form for more than 30 years. In the 1990s and early 2000s, fanfiction largely moved online, although a few print zines are still published. Collections at MSU: