FURthest North Crew seeks new recruits for 20th anniversary
The FURthest North Crew (FNC), Canada’s oldest Furry amateur press association, celebrates its twentieth anniversary next July. That may seem far in the future, but the FNC has started a recruiting drive to fill its 18 membership openings by then.
If you can write – articles, fiction, Furry con reports, or just social chatter – or draw, and you can print your own fanzine of at least three pages every six months (with neighborhood photocopy shops today, anyone can), send 38 copies to the Official Editor, and pay a small membership fee to help cover expenses, you can join the FNC. Contact Jenora or see the FNC website for more information, and read on for a little history.
What's an 'APA'?
An amateur press association (or apa/APA) is a club whose members exchange fanzines, usually in quarterly group mailings. The oldest apa goes back to 1876, and it was a club of printers showing off what they could do with their presses.
Gradually literary quality and social communication replaced the mindless typography. H. P. Lovecraft was active in an apa around World War I. The first science-fiction fan apa was the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA), started by Donald A. Wollheim (later of DAW Books) in 1937 and still going. Furry fandom was arguably started by the apas Vootie (1976 to 1983) and Rowrbrazzle (1984 to the present).
Apas were more common and more popular in the days before the Internet with its instant communication, but there have always been fans who prefer to exchange their fiction, art, and social chatter through their printed fanzines.
The FURthest North Crew was founded in July 1992 by Paul Groulx (Growl), then of Frankford, Ontario. While intended primarily for Canadian Furry fans, it has always been international, with members from Australia, Britain, Iceland, the USA, and other places – some of those from French-speaking Montréal have made the FNC feel very European.
Two of the FNC’s earliest stories, Todd Sutherland’s “Wings” and Mick Collins’ “A Snapshot from Fayetteville”, were selected for publication in Best in Show (Sofawolf Press, 2003), the first anthology dedicated solely to Furry fiction. The FNC’s 79th quarterly mailing was in December 2011, and the 81st will be at an open party at the What The Fur convention in Montréal in June 2012.
The current Official Editors of the FNC are Bryan Feir (Jenora; production) of Toronto, and Niall MacConaill (Serval; finances) of Ottawa. Members send their fanzines to an Official Editor – currently Jenora – for group mailings in March, June, September, and December.
The OE usually hosts a pizza party to separate fanzines into a pile for each member and prepare them for mailing. There are often larger open parties at the Furry conventions where several members are in attendance, and there have sometimes been been FNC SHOWCASEs published with reprints from the mailings to recruit new members.
Full disclosure: I have been a happy member of the FNC since 1992.
About the authorFred Patten — read stories — contact (login required)
a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics
As with almost all furry APA's, the FURthest North Crew's cover archive is worth a glance. It's good to see some of these associations still alive and kicking, though I can't help thinking it won't last forever.
While I think Best In Show was the first standalone furry anthology, I should note fans had previously published several anthology-style periodicals, including Anthrolations, Morphic Tales and FurNation Magazine. I cannot speak to their selectivity. Arguably furry stories had also been published in closely-related anthologies, e.g. Flights of Fantasy (ed. Mercedes Lackey).
In my opinion, the 1980s-2000s Furry-specialty original-fiction periodicals including FurVersion, Yarf!, Mythagoras, Zoomorphica, PawPrints Fanzine, FurryPhile, Morphic Tales, Anthrolations, FurNation Magazine, Historimorphs, and Fang, Claw, & Steel, were the equivalent of the 20th-century newsstand science-fiction magazines like Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, Imagination, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Planet Stories, Startling Stories, Unknown Worlds, Weird Tales, etc. My Best in Show (Sofawolf Press, 2003) was the first reprint anthology drawn from the Furry periodicals, in the tradition of the s-f reprint anthologies edited by Groff Conklin, August Derleth, Donald A. Wollheim, and many others. The s-f original-fiction anthologies like Catfantastic, Flights of Fantasy, Horse Fantastic, Sword & Sorcery, and the annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future series have included many Furry stories among their general s-f & fantasy, which would be suitable for further Furry-fiction anthologies.
Sounds about right. Most magazine editors were (and are) looking for original material; you were looking to distill.
Perhaps with the growth of story archives, there's an opportunity for further distillation. For all I know, this is one way furry fiction editors find new material, or at least new writers. They'd need stamina to slog through the dross, though.
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