Greetings, fellow fannish Elder,
I’d like to invite you to participate in an anthology of collected essays and interviews exploring the co-creative aspects of women in fandom, in their own voices, during the latter half of the twentieth century.
This anthology, Geek Elders Speak: In Our Own Voices (with the subtitle, Women Co-creators and Their Undeniable Place in Fannish History), will be published by Forest Path Books, LLC., an independent press.
My name is Jenni Hennig. I’m a published author (most recently The Books of the Wode, a historical fantasy series), and I administer Forest Path Books. Some of you might remember me from Star Trek, Star Wars, Man From UNCLE, and Robin of Sherwood fandoms, where I wrote fanfic, was an artist, filker, award-winning costumer, and publisher of zines such as Far Realms and Against the Wind.
I have a vital and personal interest in this anthology. I remember our history: Fanzines cranked on mimeo, or typed with carbons and passed out by hand at cons. Art and “illos” hand-drawn and hand-screened. Costumes hand-sewn, constructed with fabric, wire, and bondo, with odds and ends like shaving cream can tops or shiny Leggs® packaging. Filks taped at cons on handheld recorders. Music videos made in the oh-so-lengthy process allowed with Beta and VHS. All of us laid claim to our creative power, over the years and in our own terms.
I was there, too.
We have so many stories to tell. And that’s why I’m reaching to you.
You’re probably wondering how the anthology’s title came about. I’m all over giving credit where it’s due, so kindly let me give you a wee bit of background for this project. The idea was sparked at a Seattle convention called Geek Girl Con, where in 2014 a panel called “Geek Elders Speak” proved one of the most popular events at the con.
(See this article: https://geekgirlcon.com/?s=geek+elders&post_type=post )
Four women who had been active with media fanzines in the 1970s and 1980s were speakers; I was an incognito ‘Elder’ in the audience, listening to comments made by both women and men. The younger fans were visibly astounded by the stories they heard—especially the geek girls who’d never heard about the crucial role of women in creating and defining media fandom. Hungry for a history they’d never imagined to exist, they embraced the panel with pure joy. And the older women in the audience? Well, one was in tears, believing her local Starbase fan group would be—and was—forgotten.
The Elder panellists could have answered questions for the rest of the day!
Fast forward a couple of years, and my own repeated attendance of conventions where a great majority of younger fans haven’t the slightest clue about the history of their own fandoms, much less the women’s shoulders upon which they stand.
It’s time, ladies, that we told our story. Not as some at-arms-length and rarefied curiosity of academia, not as seen through the often-clouded lens of those who weren’t there, but IN OUR OWN VOICES. We need to be heard: all our work, all our experiences. We need to be more than yet another lost or wiped-clean anecdote of women’s history.
And, with the recent announcement that a fanfiction archive has been nominated for a Hugo Award, it’s timely.
Many of us have already been silenced by time and illness. Many of us are grappling with the hard realities of twilight. Our voices are dwindling. We aren’t getting any younger, my friends, and that makes it all the more imperative: we need to record these things now.
To this end, Geek Elders Speak: In Our Own Voices is on the Forest Path Books publishing schedule, with a prospective release in the last quarter of 2020. Contributors will receive standard pro anthology pay rates and contracts. We are planning worldwide distribution in paper, e-book, and audio, with suitable advertising and promotion. As the first contributors come on board, we will be registering and promoting a Kickstarter to help with publication costs.
But we can’t do any of this without YOU. Your singular voice, your personal story, your experiences both good and bad… in short, your creative participation in a phenomenon that meant and continues to mean so much to all of us. These are truly the most vital aspects to make this anthology the success I know it can be.
Please consider contributing, either with an essay or via interview. Check out te attached suggestions. Feel free to share this letter with your fellow female Elders. Pitch us your own, unique story. We would love to hear your voice!
All the best,
Jeanine ‘Jenni’ Hennig
(J Tullos Hennig)
Forest Path Books
Jeanine Tullos Hennig
P.O. Box 847 ~ Stanwood, WA 98292