Entry updated 3 October 2019. Tagged: Fan, Theme.
One of the more enduring coinages of Fan Language, this is the short form of "filksong", which in turn originated from the obvious typo in an early-1950s Fanzine article, "The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Filk Music" by Lee Jacobs (intended for the APA SAPS, the Spectator Amateur Press Society, but not actually published there owing to bawdy content). The first recorded intentional use of "filk" was by Karen Anderson in Die Zeitschrift für vollständigen Unsinn ["The Journal for Utter Nonsense"] (June 1953). The term was adopted for songs composed by members of the sf community, usually for performance at Conventions, where a group filking session is known as a "filksing". Originally these songs added sf- or Fandom-slanted Parody lyrics to well-known tunes – an example being the generic calypso of Randall Garrett's "Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions" (in Takeoff!, coll 1980), one of several lyrical sf plot summaries in the same collection – or added music to songs from sf and fantasy novels (such as the works of J R R Tolkien); but wholly new compositions soon became frequent, and the category has been extended to songs about real-world science, traditional ballads, neopagan hymns, the poems and ballads of Rudyard Kipling set to music – in short, anything appealing to the eclectic tastes of Fandom. A number of established conventions now regularly invite filk guests of honour, there are conventions explicitly centred on filk, and the Pegasus filk Awards have been regularly presented since 1984 [see links below]. [DRL]
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