Spectator Amateur Press Society

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The Spectator Amateur Press Society, or SAPS, is an Amateur Press Association. It was founded in 1947 by members of a local New Jersey science fiction club called the Spectators. The members were all young SF fans who viewed the already existing Fantasy Amateur Press Association as “stuffy, self-centered, self-important and dictatorial.” As founding member Joe Kennedy (later well-known as poet X.J. Kennedy) also wrote, “The concept of a brand new apa which would throw its gates wide open to the new fans is an idea with intriguing possibilities. It might not be literary, it might not be intellectual, two-thirds of its publications might stink to high heaven, but it would probably be a heck of a lot of fun.”

SAPS is the second oldest of the APAs in science fiction fandom. When it was founded in 1947, its membership was limited to 25 and its dues to 25¢ every six months in order to be affordable to the younger fans. At times the membership limit has been raised as high as 40, but with a general falling off in interest in traditional print apas (thanks largely to the internet), it’s once again at 25. Sadly, however, due to the death of many longtime members, the current membership (July 2015) is just 10.

From the outset mailings have been issued quarterly, with deadlines on the 15th of January, April, July and October. The minimum activity requirement (minac) is 6 pages every other mailing, with initial activity to be in the first mailing of membership. SAPS has maintained this requirement since its founding, and it’s led to a more interactive pace than its older cousin, FAPA, where minac is on an annual basis.

The group has only one elected official, the Official Editor (OE), who keeps track that minac is produced, dues paid on time, and mailings are sent out in timely fashion. An “emergency officer” appointed by the OE takes over if for any reason the OE is impeded from performing his or her duties.

The first Official Editor for SAPS was Ron Maddox. Other Official Editors for SAPS have been:

  • Ron Maddox (1947)
  • Lloyd Alpaugh
  • Hank Spelman III
  • Art Rapp
  • Walter Coslet
  • Dick Eney
  • Gordon Black
  • Wrai Ballard
  • Nan Gerding
  • Karen Anderson
  • Howard DeVore
  • Nancy Share Rapp
  • F.M. Busby & Elinor Busby
  • Bruce Pelz
  • Dave Hulan
  • Doreen & Jim Webbert
  • Meade Frierson III
  • Nicki Lynch
  • Otto Pfeifer
  • Burnett R. Toskey (1959-60 & 1988 to present)

Over the years a number of science fiction fans who’ve gone on to achieve some level of fame and/or notoriety have been members of SAPS. The list includes Karen Anderson (Goliard, Vorpal Glass, The Zed), Ruth Berman (Dinky Bird), Vaughn Bodé, Redd Boggs, Marion Zimmer Bradley (who was “Astra Zimmer” when a member), Walter H. Breen, F.M. Busby, Elinor Busby, Terry Carr (Entropy), Jack Chalker, Walt Coslet, Calvin Demmon, Howard DeVore, Bill Donaho, Gordon Eklund, Harlan Ellison, Dick Eney, John Foyster, Ed Gorman, David McDaniel aka “Ted Johnstone" (Mest), Arnie Katz, Lenny Kaye, Joe Kennedy, Robert Lichtman, Sam Moskowitz, Fred Patten, Bruce Pelz, Andy Porter, William Rotsler, Robert Silverberg, Bjo Trimble and her husband John.


Warner, Harry Jr., All Our Yesterdays. Advent:Publishers, Inc. (Chicago, IL), 1969. (pp. 207-210)

List of SAPS Zines

A List of SAPS Zines

External Links