lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

In a week, I'll be on my way to New Zealand and Australia on my GUFF trip, so it's time for another update.

I've been busy setting up a website to blog the trip. It's at http://guff.lostcarpark.com, in case you're reading one of the cross-postings.

I've been trying to get it to automatically post to LiveJournal, Twitter and Facebook. This seems to be working quite well for the first two, but Facebook doesn't make things quit so easy, so it requires some manual intervention.

The rest behind the cut... )
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
It's been a while since I've posted anything under this topic, but I've been busy. I guess part of the reason for this is that I've reached the point where there's not a lot to say about GUFF in general terms, and it's getting into the specifics of my trip. It's also hard to comment on the plans I'm making when it could all turn pear shaped when the trip actually starts. However, I feel for that very reason, now is a good time to talk about my intentions. Then I can see how they compare to what actually happens.

Part 8 - Planning

More or less the first thing I did after finding out I was the GUFF delegate was to check out the visa situation, since if there was likely to be any problem getting into the country. Fortunately, providing you're an EU citizen, it's pretty straightforward these days. For Australia, you must apply for a "eVisitor" online. This is free, and is normally granted in about 24 hours. For New Zealand it's even easier, as EU citizens can travel for holidays without a visa.

The next thing was to check I could get the time off work. There were raised eyebrows at me taking my entire year's holidays in a single block, but in the end it was no problem. I wanted to go to Au Contraire before Aussiecon, so a week an New Zealand followed by 3 weeks in Australia seemed a logical breakdown.

I also started talking to as many previous fan fund winners as I could, and got lots of helpful advice. Ang, Sue Ann and James Bacon in particular have been hugely helpful. I also got a number of offers of places to stay during the trip, which was also fantastic.

I felt it would be a good idea to get my main flights booked as soon as I could, so I at least had the main part of the trip nailed down. I looked at lots of options from various airlines. I did toy with the idea of trying to do a round the world trip, but that didn't seem to be practical, and these days it's best not to travel through the US unless necessary, as I really don't want to end up on the wrong side of Homeland Security.

There were some fairly cheap options for flights to Australia, but the tricky part seemed to be the New Zealand leg. In the end, the best deal seemed to be to book with Quantas as a multi-stop trip. While they were a little more expensive for an Australia only journey, they were a lot cheaper than any combination of flights I managed to find. It should also mean that if anything goes wrong with my flight connection, it's the Airline's fault and they have to look after me.

The next step was planning what to do when I get there. I'll go into my plans for the conventions later. For now I'll talk about what I'm doing around them.

Norman Cates, a former DUFF delegate, was very generous in offering to put me up when I arrive in Wellington. Hopefully I'll get to meet some of New Zealand fans in the run up to Au Contraire,

I would have liked to go to lots of places in Australia. Sydney is the obvious choice, though only really for touristy reasons. However, I was advised that the biggest fan community outside Melbourne was Perth, so a stop-over there seemed a must. I also felt it would be nice to catch up with old friends Damien and Juliette as their 2005 trip was one of the things that sparked my interest in GUFF. After that there really wasn't time for any more stop-offs.

Sue Ann suggest I come to the monthly meeting of MUGS, the Melbourne LEGO Users Group, so keen to forge more links between LEGO and SF fans, I readily agreed.

Booking internal flights in Australia was pretty easy, and reasonably cheap. I hope that JetStar are nicer than Ryanair (I think I've flown with Ryanair enough that I doubt anything will surprise me).

One thing I'm quite pleased about is that my flight on the way out is on a 747 (operated by BA - I hope they don't go on strike), while on the way back I'm on a A380 super-jumbo. I haven't been on either before, so getting to experience the two largest passenger planes on the same trip should be interesting.

I've outlined my itinerary below.

Sat 21 Aug: Arrive in Heathrow, depart for Wellington
I've a few hours in Heathrow. Anyone fancy meeting for a pint there?

Mon 23 Aug: Arrive in Wellington

Fri 27 Aug-Mon 29 Aug
Au Contraire

Tue 31 Aug: Depart Wellington, arrive in Melbourne

Thu 2 Sep-Mon 6 Sep
Aussiecon 4

Tue 7 Sep-Wed 8 Sep

Thu 9 Sep-Sun 12 Sep

Sun 12 Seo-Tue 14 Sep

Wed 15 Sep-Sat 18 Sep

Sun 19 Sep
Depart Melbourne

Mon 20 Sep
Arrive Dublin
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
I'm glad I left this series open-ended, as I now find I have material for several more instalments. However, while the first set of episodes talked about fan funds and GUFF in general terms, it may get a little more personal from here on. I hope the transition will make sense. Without further ado...

Part 7: On the Campaign Trail

If you're thinking of running for GUFF - or any fan fund for that matter - it's probably a good idea to start by seeking advice from friends. If you can talk to some previous delegates better still. They'll hopefully give you an idea of what to expect and how best to proceed. It's a good idea to know what you're letting yourself in for before your name is on the ballot, and you're trying to answer questions you're not quite clear on at a convention.

Once you've decided to run the next step is to find people to nominate you. Getting this right is essential, as people looking at the ballot might not know you, but if they see a name on the ballot they know and respect, they are much more likely to vote for their nominee, as people tend to think "well if they're good enough for so-and-so, they're good enough for me". You need to think "who are the most respected people I know in fandom?" Then you need to write them a nice letter or email, along the lines of "Dear respected-fan, I would like to run for GUFF, and as you are the most respected I know in fandom, I would consider it a great honour if you considered me worthy of your nomination."

You need five nominators, three from your own side of the world, and two from your destination. It's likely the ones from the destination country will be harder to come by, since you may not know many people from there, but hopefully there will be people who can help out.

One final word about nominators - try to strike a balance between different kinds of fans to appeal to a broad cross-section of fandom. You should have a mix of male and female, serious and fun fans, media and book fans, con runners, fanzine writers and previous trip delegates. Obviously that's more than five things, so picking people who score in several areas is a bonus.

Once you have your nominators, you need to write a platform. This is a short blurb about yourself, and is important at it's likely to sway people who aren't solely convinced by your list of nominators. I think it's important to show excitement and enthusiasm for the country you're hoping to go, and fan funds, mention some things you hope to do on the trip, and if there's room left, some of the things you've done. Above all sound enthusiastic.

Once you've got all that, you need a bond (currently £15) to go with them to show you're serious. These need to go to the fund administrator, and you're officially a GUFF candidate.

You now have several months to persuade people to vote for you. It's important to get to as many local conventions (by local, I mean on the same continent) as you can, and get as many people as possible to give you their vote. It's a good idea to carry a wad of voting forms wherever you go, though voters are expected to have been active sci-fi fans for at least a year, so you can't ask your aunt (or at least most of us can't).

But do ask all your friends in fandom to cast their vote for you. This is especially easy now that they can vote online, so it should be as simple as emailing your science fiction friends. Following up with a phone call is a good idea to make sure they actually get around to it.

The most important event is the last convention before the voting closes, so it's vital to be there. There will often be a panel to promote it, which is a great opportunity to put your views and plans forward. Try to have coherent answers to the most obvious questions clear in your head.

Make sure you "work the floor" at the convention. I didn't think of it till afterwards, but a big badge on your lapel saying "Ask me about GUFF!" would really help. I did manage the next best thing - fracturing my arm a few weeks before meant my arm was in a cast, which was a good talking point, especially when I had a permanent marker to get them to sign it. I just had to bring the conversation around to asking for their vote.

While you're trying to win people's votes, you should show respect for the other candidates throughout the campaign. This was especially easy in my case since I've known Doug a long time, and running against him was a real pleasure.

I'm looking forward to future fan fund campaigns, and meeting other wonderful candidates. Maybe you'll be one of them.
lostcarpark: (Lego Draco on Buckbeak)
I really meant to post this before the following Friday, but better late than never...

Was up at 4am on Friday morning, and ready to depart by 4:30 when the phone rings. Problem at work - not a good sign. Ask them to call back in 10 mins so we can get on the road. They do and I'm on the phone for half an hour while my dear sister drives to the airport. Get to the bottom of the problem, which is fortunately caused by someone else doing something stupid. Get to airport in plenty of time, and have uneventful flight to Heathrow.

Arrive in Radisson before 9 and enquire at reception "I know it's way too early, but I wonder what time my room might be ready?" "Let me check. Oh, it's ready now, sir." Head down for a shower, and leave feeling fresh. Only later learn that lots of people are left waiting till late afternoon for their rooms.

After picking up membership pack, head to bar and meet other early arrivers. Bridget wanders by and mentions Ops are looking for volunteers. I express interest and am escorted to control centre where I sign up for several stints.

I wander about the hotel, exploring the non euclidian geometry. I'm sure I take four consecutive right turns, walking approximately distances between them, but end up in a completely different part of the hotel. I end up at the art show, which is still setting up, but already looks amazing.

I pop into a couple of programme items, and before long it's time to go back for my first stint as Ops support. This proves very interesting, mainly involving sitting at the desk dealing with people's problems, usually by asking the Ops manager what I should do. I also learn that one should not volunteer for a block unless someone has already voluntteered for the one immediately after. My two hour stint turns into nearly four. I didn't mind as I was enjoying myself.

We closed Ops for the opening ceremony, which left me with a good feeling for the weekend. I then went on to the 2014 UK Worldcon bid launch, where it was announced that the location was going to be the Excel centre on London's docklands. This was accompanied by free wine, so all was well. Then it was back to the bar to chat with fans until far too late in the night. I did also pop into the caeleigh, but the linking arms and swinging around didn't look like a good idea in a cast.

Saturday morning came around far too early, but I struggled out of bed and made it down to breakfast. Filling myself with enough bacon to last past lunchtime.

I spent a while flitting in and out of programme items, exploring the dealer's room and did a stint on the 2014 Worldcon table. Then it was time for my shift in Ops, which proved a great way to get to know people. Fortunately this time I was safe as there was someone scheduled right after me.

Of course, there's no getting away from the highlight of Saturday night: Doctor Who. My first impression of the new doctor was pretty good, but watching in a room packed with nearly a thousand other fans can cause a loss of objectivity. I have a good feeling about Matt Smith, though.

I caught some of the Cabaret, which looked fantastic, but had to leave as we were setting up the fan fund auction. This started a little slow, but picked up as more people arrived, and items began to fetch better prices. Determined to embarrass me, Alison asked me to model a corset, I couldn't confuse, could I? I'm not sure whether it's more embarrassing to wear it, or that it failed to raise a single bid. Alison told me after that it never does. There were a few impressive sales the highlight being a fanzine produced for Corflu, signed by most of the contributors, which fetched a jaw-dropping £100.

I did pop into the New Romantics disco a few times and even had a bit of a dance, but I was mainly talking toot in the bar. I must have talked a lot of toot, as it was past 4am when I got to sleep.

Sunday morning, and I struggle out to breakfast. I'm just wolfing down the last round of toast when I idly wonder what time I'm supposed to be in Ops. I mention this, and someone says I should check as it would be really bad to be late. I head back to my room, but my key has stopped working, so I hurry up to ops. Fortunately I'm not due till later, but that's about to change. "James, we're stuck for someone to be Ops Manager at 11:30, could you do it?" "Okay," I say, without really thinking about it.

If I'd thought about it, I'd have realised this slot was the bid session for the next two Eastercons, which I might have liked to attend. Oh well, it was a promotion. I discover lots of things I don't know, and Marion on Ops support is new to the role too. Still, we muddle through, with others available whenever we get stuck.

I finish my session with a pile of groats (the convention currency) and a lovely blue shirt (the convention had Star Trek style shirts, yellow for committee, blue for ops, tech and a few others, and red for the poor gophers).

Shortly after I head to the green room to prepare for the GUFF panel with Ang and Doug. We head to room 12, hidden in a dark corner of the hotel. Ang talks a little about her trip, and embarrassing moments in New Zealand. Then Doug and I respond to questions from Ang, the audience and the Twitterverse. It seems to go well. We talked about our thoughts about fan funds in general and GUFF in particular, our trip plans if we win and what we'll do if we don't. But all that deserves a post of its own.

I take a break from the con and nip next door to McDonalds as I can't face another meal in the hotel. Then, back for Mitch Benn, an amazing comedian and sci-fi fan. He strikes up a great rapport with the fans.

Next is the Steampunk ball, featuring a live and very steampunky band. There are lots of great costumes on show, and we are asked to have a cheer-off to select our favourite.

Speaking of costumes, there were dozens of excellent costumes on show over the weekend. My personal favourite was the Doctor and Captain Jack, but there were many others including a transformer and a strange and slightly scary fox creature. There was also a masquerade on Saturday, though personally I find masquerades a little too formal and stuffy.

On Monday I did another stint in Ops, and popped into several more programme items, and hung around the dealers room, twisting people's arms to vote in GUFF, assisted by a couple of very kind and helpful campaigners.

I then joined a group for another excursion to McDonalds, who must have done well out of us over the weekend. We had an interesting discussion about future Eastercons over dinner.

When I got back it was nearly time to head to the airport, so I started my tour of the hotel to say goodbye to everyone. Until the next one, that is.
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
Part 6: Are fan funds still relevant today?

Update: Clarified a few points after Facebook discussion with Alison.

Today's episode might quite possibly be the last in this series (I was going to call it "part several of several" but then I'd be guaranteed to think of something else), and differs slightly from the others in that it's dealing with a slightly more subjective topic.

The main reason fan funds were set up has to do with the cost of international travel. With air fares a fraction of what they were in the 1950s, this argument certainly holds less weight. But if somebody's main reason for standing for a fan fund was because they couldn't afford to get to a worldcon, I'd be inclined to say "let them save up like everyone else." Let's face it, if anyone on even a modest income really wanted to, and planned far enough ahead, they could go to a worldcon.

I'm sure that remark has a lot of people saying, "there's no way I could ever afford a Worldcon." That may be true for . But for a lot of us, if we really wanted to, and we prioritised it over some of the other things we spend our money on, we could find £10 a week to put into a savings account. After a couple of years we'd have a grand that would get you most of the way to a US Worldcon. The trouble is that life gets in the way, and something happens that means we can't save for a few weeks, and then something else happens that causes unavoidable expense, and we find ourselves dipping into our savings just a little. And pretty soon we're having to put off that Worldcon trip just for a year.

So, yes, for someone who has struggled to save to go to Worldcons, the fan fund may be a real boon.

But I don't think that's what fan funds were ever really about. The financial support is certainly important, but being a GUFF representative is about a representing European fandom, about serving the convention, and most importantly, about forging a bond of friendship with fans across the world. And once that's over, it's about passing on the torch, and making sure the fund is in good shape for the next delegate.

I've heard it suggested that we should stop having fan funds now that we're being discouraged from flying to save the planet. In my opinion, this could make the funds more important than they are now, partly because carbon taxes could push the price of travel back up, but more importantly, because it allows fandom to choose a symbolic representative. Fans can say "I would have gone to the worldcon, but I'm choosing to send the fan fund delegate instead." (Mind you, another part of me secretly hopes we're about to discover a new mode of air travel that doesn't pollute the planet and will allow us all to have the personal jet-packs we were promised).

So I believe that fan funds are as relevant as they ever were, and possibly more so.

If you think there's something I haven't covered so far, please let me know and maybe there will be several more parts to this series.
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
Part 5 - So what's this about an election?

In previous instalments I talked about GUFF, the Gone-Under/Get-up-and-Over Fan Fund, hinting that the delegate is chosen by their peers. Now, I feel it time to explain how this works.

To start with, candidates must be nominated to stand for the election by a total of five fans. Three of the nominators must be on the candidates own continent, and two from the destination. The nominators are important, since fans who don't know the candidates will look to see who nominated them.

Once a candidate has agreement from their nominators, they lodge a bond of £15 with the current administrator, and write a short platform about themselves to tell people why they out to vote for them. This appears on the ballot form.

After that, candidates are expected to publicly say what fine upstanding folk their rivals are, while secretly plotting their untimely demise. Of course all candidates hire personal bodyguards to ensure these plans never come to pass.

But back to the election, where fans now have ballot papers. In order to vote, fans must have been active in fandom for a reasonable amount of time. Active in fandom is considered to mean attending conventions or doing other fanish things. Voters may have to give the name of another person known to the administrators who can vouch for them. Although individual votes will not be made public or revealed to the candidates, voters must identify themselves to the administrator, so it's a sort of semi-secret ballot.

The ballot papers will list the names of all candidates who have been properly nominated, plus a couple of extras. The first is "hold over fund", who should be voted for if both candidates make your blood boil, and you don't want either to make the trip. The second is called "no preference", who should be voted for if you think both are lovely, and you don't mind which one goes, or if you just can't decide.

Rather than just ticking the box, you should number votes, with 1 for the person or entity you like best, and so on.

In the old days this was all done on paper, but thanks to the magic of the interweb, you can now do it all online. Of course paper votes are still valid too.

To win the election, a candidate must achieve at least 50% of the total number of votes. If nobody achieves this from first preference votes, the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated, and the second preference from their ballots will be counted and added to the other candidates first preference votes. This continue until a candidate has majority of the valid votes.

These elections have been an important feature of fan funds from the early days, and since votes must be accompanied by a donation, it gives the candidates a good incentive to get their friends to vote for them, boosting the fund. And a little friendly rivalry between candidates makes it interesting.

Once the election is over and the results announced, a candidate becomes the GUFF delegate until their trip is complete when they become the administrator and the cycle starts again.
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
Part 4: So what actually happens on a GUFF trip?

In parts 1, 2 and 3 I talked a bit about what GUFF is and how it's funded, but now I think it's time to get into the details of what actually goes on when you get there.

Of course the details vary, and each GUFF delegate has their own way of doing things, but that's what makes trip reports worth reading. There are, of course, traditions that must be observed.

Every GUFF trip centres around at least one convention, usually the biggest con in the destination country that year. Naturally, when there's a Worldcon on either continent that tends to be the target, which sometimes requires a little juggling of the trip schedule to ensure it's going in the right direction that year. Other years it tends to be Eastercon for northbound trips and Natcon for southbound ones.

Where possible, delegates often try to take in an extra con. For example, last year's delegates hopped over to Ireland for P-Con, which was a couple of weeks before Eastercon. This year the New Zealand national convention conveniently falls just before the Aussie Worldcon, so there's a good chance of it being included.

At the convention, the delegate will have certain duties, as previously. They are also expected to socialise and do everything in their power to help improve relations bet European and Australian fandom. Usually the convention will make an important contribution by offering free membership and sometimes even free accommodation, which amounts to a significant saving for the fund.

GUFF delegates will often team up with delegates from other fan funds, such as TAFF (between Europe and North America) or DUFF (between Australia ans North America), depending on which country they happen to be in. They'll usually be called upon to present some sort of award, and they'll often appear on panels. And, of course they'll help with the fan fund auction.

After the convention, things diverge from trip to trip, but visiting other fans generally features heavily. Often local fans will put up the delegate, again saving on the cost to the fund.

Usually the trip will last several weeks, since there's no point in going so far for just a weekend. Sometimes fans will extend the trip out to a couple of months. Some fans consider that too long for uninterrupted fanish activity, so they interrupt it for some personal sightseeing.

Hopefully they will come back with a better understanding of fandom on the other side of the world, some great memories, and a lot of new friends. And then they'll write a trip report about it all.
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
Part 3: Where does the money come from?

In parts 1 and 2 I talked about GUFF and how it works and what the winner's responsibilities are.

But the question which naturally follows is who pays for it all?

And the short answer is "you do" (you being fans of science fiction).

This, of course, prompts you to ask, "why would I want to do that?"

Perhaps you'll allow me to give the longer answer first.

The fund actually comes from several sources. The first is directly from fans when they vote for their preferred candidate (or vote for one of the alternatives, which I'll cover in a later instalment). Each vote must be accompanied by a donation to the fund, with the current minimum being £5, or the local currency equivalent, though larger donations are not discouraged. This may form a relatively small portion of the fund, but it forms an important principal that by voting you support the candidate to get selected, and the eventual winner to make the trip.

The next source is from the sale of trip reports. Next time you are at a big convention, look for the fan fund table, which will be loaded high with mighty tomes going back to the early days. Pick a few up and feast in the old school production values. And then buy some. For the fund! Again the actual sums of money from trip reports may not be great, but the principal is vital.

After that we get down to actual fund raising, which mainly takes the form of fan auctions. The tradition is that you donate some stuff you don't want to the auction, then go along and bid on a load of other stuff you don' want (and maybe occasionally some that you do), but you don't mind because it's for the fund. Next time around you'll have realised you didn't want the stuff, and you donate it back so the cycle can continue.

Other fund raising ideas come along from time to time, such as Ang's "name the amusingly shaped potato" competition at Novacon.

Finally, as mentioned in the last episode, two bodies known as FANAC and SCIFI pay bounties upon completion of a trip report. This is quite a considerable sum, especially if the report is finished within a reasonable time after the trip (a good idea, while it's still fresh in memory). This is obviously of great benefit to the fund.

I think an important concern when planning a trip is to ensure the fund is not depleted by more than can comfortably be replenished before the next trip, and previous administrators have done a fantastic job of keeping the fund in good shape for their successors.
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
Part 2: So it' a free holiday?

In part 1 I talked a bit about what GUFF is and where it came from, today I move on to the obvious response, "so you'd like me to vote for you so you can go on a free holiday?"

In one sense that is entirely accurate. But it doesn't tell the whole store, for a GUFF trip is not all beaches and lounging around. Oh no, a Guff delegate is expected to work for his for her living.

For starters, at the convention they visit, they will be given various duties. These may include speaking on panels, taking part in award ceremonies, and any number of other duties. This may include fund raising activities for the fan funds. Delegates will often also participate in other areas of the convention, depending on their own expertise and interests.

Around the main convention (or conventions) being attended, delegates will often visit fan groups in the area, playing a sort of ambassadorial role.

The general expectation is that travel and expenses directly relating to the GUFF trip may be claimed from the fund, but that any personal sightseeing would be out of their own pocket. However, most delegates will keep their costs modest to ensure they leave sufficient funds for their successor's trip. We'll get to that bit in a minute.

One very important part of the trip is writing a report afterwards. Apart from being a great way of telling their peers who voted for them what they did, it has important financial impacts for the fund. First, the sale of the report contributes to the fund, but there is also a US university who pay a bounty for each trip report. The value of this is not inconsiderable, but it decreases over time, so it really does pay to get it done quickly. These days many fans supplement this report by blogging as they go, which keeps fans at home in touch while making the trip report easier afterwards.

But even after the trip report is written, the GUFF delegate's responsibilities aren't over. In a sense they are only beginning. Their next responsibility is to administer the fund until the next delegate in the same direction is elected. This means that at any time there are two administrators, one in Europe and one in Australia. The administrator has to organise fund raising activities, mainly fan fund auctions, and run the next two elections (one in each direction) for fans on their side of the world.

Once a new delegate has been elected, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

So yes, it is a free holiday, but there are lots of strings attached.
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
Part 1: So what is a fan fund anyway?

Recently I got chatting with a friend who I meet at conventions because he comes with his wife, but he doesn't consider himself a science fiction fan. I mentioned GUFF, and tried to explain what it is. I could tell by the look on his face that I wasn't doing a very good job. So I hope I can do a better one here.

Let's start with a little history. It all started back in the 1950s when some UK fans decided it would be nice to send their mate Walt Willis to a Worldcon in Chicago.

Back in 1952, transatlantic travel for something as frivolous as a holiday was something that only the very wealthy, so Walt must have been pretty well respected by the fanish community. But to show that respect was well placed, Walt felt he shouldn't just turn up and party (though I'm sure he did plenty of partying while he was there).

Instead, he went out of way to do as much to help with the convention as he could. And when he came back, he filled several fanzines with his report from the convention. Remember, this was long before the internet, so fanzines were the only way people got to hear about far away conventions. It was also before desktop publishing and cheap photocopying, so fanzine production was a slow, mechanical process involving typewriters and Letraset, and nasty chemical processes to produce stencils, and turning the handle on the Gestetner machine yourself. There wasn't just ink on the pages, there was blood (hopefully just metaphorical blood, not actual blood, though paper cuts can be a killer).

Take a look at some of those old fanzines. On one level they look rubbish compared to the professional look you can run off in a couple of hours with a modern DTP package, but when you look deeper and realise the effort that went into them they really are amazing.

But I digress. The Americans really enjoyed having Walt, so it was decided to make it a regular event. But who to send? They decided to have an election. Fans could put themselves forward, and by making a donation to their travel fund, their peers could vote for their preferred candidate.
A couple more Europeans went to America before it settled into a pattern of alternating directions on alternate years that it follows to this day, with Robert Madle the first American to make a fan fund trip to Eurpoe in 1957.

The fan fund was born, and pretty soon it became known as the trans-Atlantic fan fund, or TAFF. It was also widened from UK/America to Europe/America, and other countries to have been represented over the years include Ireland, Sweden and Jersey (which is not actually part of the UK).

The Down Under Fan Fund, or DUFF. alternately sending fans between the US and Australia was the next major fan fund, and this was followed by GUFF, which stands for either Going Under Fan Fund or Get Up-and-over Fan Fund, sending fans between Europe and Australia.

There are other smaller funds, such as CUFF, the Canadian Fan Fund, which sends fans fans from one side of that great country to the other. There have also been one-off funds, such as JET, which sent a UK fan to the Japanese Worldcon in 2007.

So that, in a nutshell, is what fan funds are. In my next instalment I will tackle the thorny question my good friend retorted with.


Nov. 17th, 2009 12:23 am
lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
I think most people who read my journal have at least heard of fan funds.

For those that haven't the idea stems from the 1950s, when air travel was beyond the means of most fans, especially where travelling to another continent was concerned. So fans banded together to elect a delegate to represent them at a far away convention. This has been formalised into a number of fan funds such as TAFF (trans-atlantic fan fund) and GUFF (going under/get up-and-over fan fund, depending on which way it's going).

I have decided to run in the current GUFF race, and hope to attend next year's Worldcon, Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne if I win. My rival, Douglas Spencer, is one of the nicest people in fandom, so if I don't win, I couldn't think of a person I'd be happier to lose to.

But I would also really like to win. I've hosted Damien and Juliette on the Irish leg of their 2005 GUFF trip, and Sue Ann and Trevor when they stopped off during their 2009 trip, and I would love to meet up with more Australian fans. I would be very keen to help out in any way I can with the Australian worldcon. I would also love to stop off in New Zealand, especially as they are having their Natcon the week before Worldcon.

I hope some of you will vote for me. You do have to be active in science fiction fandom, but I know lots of you are. You can find out about voting here.

Or if you don't vote for me, vote for Doug (or if you can't decide, you can vote "no preference"). But if you're eligable to vote, please do so.

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