Dan Goodman dsgood at VISI.COM
Tue Jun 22 04:34:01 UTC 1999

>Date:    Mon, 21 Jun 1999 22:36:30 -0500
>From:    Mike Salovesh <t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU>
>Subject: Re: fannish
>Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:
>> Barry is investigating the dialect known as fannish or fanspeak. Concerning
>> "stf", on which he quotes as follows ---
>> >>>
>>      FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, August 1951, pg. 120, col. 1:
>>      Pardon my ignorance, but what does "stf" stand for?  "S-F" is obviously
>> science-fiction; is "stf" a variant?
>>      (...)
>>      _S-F stands for science fiction; while STF is just a variation meaning
>> scientific fiction,  ................Ed._
>> <<<
>> -- it's pretty much obsolete, AFAIK, but was pronounced, or -eable, /stef/, and
>> had the virtue of yielding the adjective "stfnal" /'stef.n at l/ [@=schwa]
>> 'science-fictional'.
>You're dang tootin it's pretty much obsolete.  Hugo Gernsback, editor of
>Amazing Stories, preferred "stf" in his editorial comments circa

More precisely, it's the abbreviation for "scientifiction".

By the way -- Hugo Gernsback started 1) the first science fiction
magazine; 2) the first radio magazine; 3) the magazine called Sexology
(and possibly a few more that I've forgotten).

His first spoken language was probably Letzeburgish; he probably
learned German and French before he learned English.  His first
written language was probably French; with German and possibly Hebrew
learned before English.  I don't know how much this affected the
contents of his magazines.

>One of his successors, Ray
>A. Palmer, continued the custom some 20 years later; that was only one
>of his peculiarities.
>I vaguely recall that Gernsback used stf as and abbreviation for
>"science type fiction". Sfandom's general adoption of the term "sf"
>(and, arguably, the term "science fiction" itself) probably was
>influenced by the title of the leading sfzine from the late 1930s to
>perhaps the early 1950s: _Astounding Science Fiction_, usually called

I believe (though I'm not certain) that Gernsback also coined "science

>P.S.:  No, I wasn't around in 1930, but I was an ardent fan
>in the 1945 to 1955 Golden Age of SF.  (Only an utter barbarian would
>argue that 1945 to 1955 was not a Golden Age for sf.  I wouldn't care to
>debate whether it was the "original" Golden Age, or only the second or
>third of its ilk, since that's partly a matter of taste.)

"The golden age of science fiction is twelve."  Pete Graham.

Dan Goodman
dsgood at
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.

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