<img src="./images/tobesmap.jpg" width="250" height="140" alt="Map of Tobes' route across America." />
Home Tobes Diary Fan Reportage Articles Dates Photos Email Tobes

Tobes on TAFF

The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund is one of fandom's great traditions. I think that it embodies the spirit of fandom as few other things do. TAFF originated at a time when American and European fandoms only really knew each other through fanzines and transatlantic travel was prohibitively expensive, so it was decided that they would send somebody whose trip would be subsidised by everybody who gave a damn chipping in something out of their own pockets. I regard this as a mind-blowingly great idea.

I have heard it argued that with transatlantic travel being so much easier and (comparatively) cheaper these days, with people travelling to and from the US to attend cons, that TAFF is not really relevant any more. This misses what I consider to be the point of TAFF and the other fan funds, which is that they act as a focal point and let people get involved. To vote it is only necessary to have been "active" in fandom for a couple of years. Furthermore, to be active you only need have gone to cons or pub meets. How hard is that? It is not necessary to have produced or even to have read a fanzine. Vote, even if you have no preference, send in a ballot with a couple of quid. It's a way of being involved and showing you care about fandom (at least to the tune of a stamp and £2).

Yet how many people bother to vote? Not many. An Eastercon has about 800 members, a Novacon 200, and that is one country. What about the rest of Europe, the US, and indeed the rest of the world? There are a hell of a lot of fans out there, but less than 200 people ever bother sending in TAFF ballots. The fan funds are our tradition and fulfil an important rôle. They are here for all of us. Next time send in a ballot form, take an interest, and be proud to be a fan.

Back to Articles

Site designed and maintained by James Shields (with computer-illiterate assistance from James Bacon)