Tag Archives: Ned Brooks

Ghost SFPAns in The Sky

15 Feb

I’m posting audio below of a filk song Toni Weisskopf wrote to be sung to the tune of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” The lyrics are below the audio icon, and below them a glossary to the various jargon from sci-fi fandom contained in the song.

I told Toni that I’d have it recorded by last May. The good news is that I’m not quite a year behind schedule.

Ghost SFPAns in the Sky

By T.K.F. Weisskopf Reinhardt

(after Stan Jones, 1948)


At DSC a fine young fan got on
the waitlist today
Upon a couch he rested as
He went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd
Of old SFPAns he saw
Plowing through the lobby
And some of them could draw.

[Verse 2]
Their hands were still on fire and
Their stencils made of steel
Their glasses black and shiny and
Their hot breath he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him as
Their comments made him sigh
For he saw the SFPAns drinking hard
And he heard their mournful cry

Minac I owe! Minac aiee!
Ghost SFPAns in the sky

[Verse 3]
Their eyes were blurred, their faces gaunt
Their shirts all soaked with sweat
They’re writing hard to match page count
But they ain’t caught Lon yet
Cause they’ve got to write forever at
That con up in the sky
Al’s typer snorting fire
As they write on, hear their cry

Minac I owe! Minac aiee!
Ghost SFPAns in the sky

[Verse 4]
As the SFPAns rumbled by him
He heard Ned call his name
If you want to save your soul from hell
From page counts in our range
Then Jophan change your ways today
Or with us you will write
Trying to match Hank’s golden wit!
And with Dolbear an Ignite!

Minac I owe! Don’t make me OE!
Ghost SFPAns in the sky
Ghost SFPAns in the sky




DSC – Deep South Con. One of the oldest science fiction conventions that happens in the southern U.S. Been going fifty-four years now.

SFPA – Southern Fandom Press Alliance. SFPA is a science-fiction apa (amateur press alliance) founded circa 1962. Members all send fanzines into the Official Editor (OE), who assembles them into packages called “mailings” containing one copy of every zine and sends them out to each member. Apas used to be the heart of much of the most exciting activity in sci-fi fandom. Mailings could run close to a thousand pages. Membership rosters were limited, and fans often spent years and years on a waitlist before gaining entrance into to the more respected apas. With the advent of the internet, apas have generally experienced dwindling memberships. And though most of the great apas continue, few if any have a full roster these days. In its day SFPA was one of the great ones, and many sci-fi professionals and well-known fans got their start in SFPA.

SFPAn – A member of SFPA. Pronounced Seffpan.

stencils– Mimeograph stencils. Before photocopiers and home computers, most fanzines were printed on mimeographs. The text would be cut into a stencil using a typewriter with the ribbon removed. The stencils would them be attached to a large curved ink pad, which could be turned by hand to print the individual letter sized pages that were fed one by one into an open ended tray that the ink pad would run over.

Minac – Minimum activity. In order to stay in good standing, apa members have to contribute a certain amount of pages. (Often six pages every other time a mailing is sent out.)

page count– the number of pages in an entire mailing or the number of pages contributed by a member to a mailing or over a period of time.

Lon – Lon Atkins, a long time member and OE of SFPA, who contributed prolifically, perhaps more so than any other member in SFPA’s history.

Con – Convention, in particular a sci-fi convention.

Al  – Al Andrews, a founding member of SFPA, good guy, and co-editor of a respected fanzine called Iscariot. Late in life he was gifted an electric typewriter by some of his fellow SFPAns.

Ned–  Ned Brooks, a SFPA member for over forty years, who was also SFPA’s official archivist. Over the course of his fannish life, Ned assemble a collection of tens of thousands of fanzines, which included a complete run of SFPA’s mailings. The collection is now housed at the University of Georgia.

Hank – Legendary sci-fi Fan Hank Reinhardt, a collector, editor, writer, active member of SFPA and The Society for Creative Anachronisms, and all around wild man.

Dolbear –  Dennis Dolbear, a fan whom I never knew, but who I know was loved throughout sci-fi fandom.

OE – Official Editor. See SFPA, above.