One of the hats I’ve picked up and worn this year is to have been nominated and won the 2017 Down Under Fan Fund. As a result of that, I am currently the Fan Fund Administrator, and as a result I attended Lexicon and Continuum, the National Science Fiction conventions of New Zealand, and Australia, met fans and writers from the Antipodes, and got to see some of the countryside as well. But I sense you may have questions, and I am here to answer them.
What’s a Fan Fund?
Even in the early days of SF Fandom, fans communicated across the globe. A couple of fans pooled funds in the 1940s for some transatlantic exchanges between England and the US, bringing fans together, sharing our love of SF. These exchanges led to the formalization of the exchange, the Trans Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF), in the 1950s. In alternating years, a fan travels from North America to Europe, and a fan travels from Europe to North America. The goal is to attend conventions, meet fans, and exchange knowledge and love of science fiction. In the days before the internet, where slow postal exchanges of fanzines meant that knowing what was happening on the other side of the Atlantic was a slow process, TAFF helped bring fans face to face.