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Fanzine was the early term for what we call a zine today (the term zine is generally thought of as a shorter term for the word fanzine).

The term fanzine was created by Louis Russell Chauvenet in 1940 in the pages of his zine Detours to describe small self-published publications by fans of science-fiction to differentiate them from professional magazines about Science Fiction. Fan magazines had been around, in various forms, for more than 50 years before the term was coined. Other terms had included "amzine" (amateur magazine),"fmzine" (fan magazine) and "fanmag".

Most of the earliest Fan Magazines were dedicated to sports figures or teams and were often published by organized Fan Clubs. When movies came about, fan magazines sprung up dedicated to famous movie stars such as John Bunny and Bronco Billy. In the 1920s, with the introduction of inexpensive mimeographs, there were hundreds of fan magazines dedicated to movie stars, as well as hundreds more dedicated to interests as varied as Fly Fishing, Pro Wrestling, Sherlock Holmes, Baseball, well-known politicians and True Murder Stories.

Today many zine publishers and readers use the terms zine and fanzine interchangeably, while other believe fanzine better describes to types of zines that are dedicated to a specific subject matter that the author/publisher is a fan of (like punk fanzines, film fanzines and skateboarding fanzines). Most science fiction fans still refer to their zines as fanzines even if the zines themselves do not directly comment on science fiction.