A bit about GUFF

Depending on which way it's going, GUFF is either the Gone Under Fan Fund, or the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund.

Let me explain...

What is a Fan Fund?

Fan funds started way back at the dawn of science fiction fandom, when international travel was beyond the reach of most fans, and the idea of travelling to a convention on another continent was almost unthinkable.

A group of fans decided to send Walt Willis, a popular fan from Belfast to the 1952 Worldcon in Chicago. This was generally agreed to be a good thing, and led to the creation of TAFF, the Trans Atlantic Fan Fund, which alternately sends fans between Europe and America.

It isn't just a free holiday. The fan fund delegate is democratically elected by other fans to represent them at the convention. In return they are expected to help with the convention as much as possible, and to travel and meet up with local fans on the trip. This has established a long tradition of strong links between fan groups around the world.

After the trip, the fund winner is expected to write a report to let other fans know what they did on the trip. They also become the administrator of the fund until the next round of voting and a new fund winner takes over.

What is GUFF?

GUFF is the most recent of the "big three" fan funds, having been established by Chris Priest and Dave Langford in 1977, and operates between Europe and Australia/New Zealand (the other two being TAFF and DUFF, the Down Under Fan Fund, which operates between the US and Australia).

It alternates between northbound and southbound trips, so that if one election is between European fans, the next one will be between Australians and New Zealanders.

This year's GUFF race was to help a European to get to the Australian worldcon in Melbourne, but conveniently, the New Zealanders are having their national convention the week before, making it easy to get to both.

What is this site about?

This site was set up to keep a record of my GUFF trip to Au Contraire and Aussiecon 4. I intend to post blog entries and photos, and I hope that some of the people I meet there will post comments.

When I get home, hopefully this will make it a lot easier when it comes to writing the trip report.

That's the theory, anyway.