SAPS

The Spectator Amateur Press Society is one of the oldest fannish APAs. (Only FAPA and VAPA are older, and of them only FAPA survives.) Founded in 1947, its membership limit has varied over the years (occasionally as high as 40) but is currently (2016) restricted to 25. Its activity requirements (6 pages on entry, and 6 every 6 months thereafter) are more stringent than those of FAPA, the oldest fannish APA.

Originally, SAPS was brainstormed at a tendril-session at Joe Kennedy's (who later became noted poet X. J. Kennedy), where many members of the Spectators ("a kind of New Jersey version of the Futurian Society, only without Social Consciousness") were present. Ron Maddox, who was to be the first OE, coined the name Spectator Amateur Press Association, but then Lee Budoff had the inspiration to change the last name to Society so the initials would spell you-know-what. Maddox put out only the first mailing, getting out of the job by moving to Ethiopia. Others present at that meeting were Ron Christensen, Lloyd Alpaugh and George Fox (who went on to write best-selling thrillers [Amok] and screenplays [Earthquake]—and one of his novels and two short stories were edited by Kennedy and published in 2002).

SAPS has no fixed body of rules, the OE being omnicompetent except insofar as custom and the threat of revolution limits him; he is the only functioning officer, taking care of treasury, membership roster, constitutional interpretation, and mailing management. An Emergency Officer is designated to take over in the event of hiser death or disenchantment; in long-ago times, the first place in the annual Pillar Poll award carried the titular presidency with it (with all other members being vice-presidents), but conducting this poll was abandoned in the '90s. In addition to the OE and the EO, SAPS currently has one other designated official position, the KOTT ("Keeper of The Traditions").

It was phenomenally successful — in 1960 it had 33 members and for it its 50th mailing 32 of them produced 817 pages, the largest apa ever at the time. (It would have had all 33, but Ray Schaeffer's contribution arrived a few hours after the issue 50 was mailed. A few years later in 1963, the SAPS treasury was running a surplus, so Bruce Pelz, the OE at the time included a new dollar bill (with consecutive serial numbers) in one issue.

In the early '80s SAPS came close to going out of existence, getting down to 14 members and tiny mailings. Then Art & Nancy Rapp took over the OE position and began recruiting energetically. Many of the "new" members were older fans who'd been active in SAPS during its heydays of the '50s and '60s, and the mailings got large and energetic (although never as large as the mailings in the '60s). In 1988 Seattle area fan Burnett R. Toskey was elected OE and has held the position ever since (although he moved to the Los Angeles area in 2012). Sadly, many of the mainstays of SAPS have passed away over the past decade and the membership roster is currently (2016) down to 9 out of a possible 25. Many of the present membership lives in and around Seattle.

Historically SAPS exhibited a predilection for fan humor of the lighter and broader sort, and during its early years maintained a tradition of sniping at FAPA ("SAPS is the fan club FAPA would be if FAPA dared") which, significantly, was more or less abandoned during periods when SAPSzines' quality begins to approach the FAPA standard in earnest. In these latter days, FAPA is largely ignored.

Contributors: Robert Lichtman, 2013

Contributors and APAzines over the years:

OEs:


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