looking for songs (vaguely on topic, really)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Aug 31 06:07:46 EDT 2004

Judith asked:

>And what on earth is filk? I thought it was a typo until two people
>mentioned it!

Filk *was* a typo, or so the legend has it, in a programme book for a
science fiction convention some time in the early fifties.  Nobody was able
to tell me which or exactly when, at a time when I was researching the
subject; or rather, lots of people could but they each said different dates
and cons, and none could produce the actual document.

It's the music associated with science fiction.  It's what happened when
people got together in the bar at SF conventions and started to put words
related to their favourite books or to the subject of science, to tunes
everyone knew.  Poul Anderson was an early filker.

obDWJ, she *doesn't* filk, because she claims top be completely unable to
sing in tune.  But she has been known to attend filk conventions sometimes.

Nowadays filk's got a lot of people who write original songs with science
fictional themes (or fantasy.  Mostly fantasy.  Or cats, for some reason.)

Much of it is very funny, and some of it is rather good.

I did write a draft entry on it for the Encyclopedia of Fantasy, but it was
on the disk Clute mislaid, and by the time he realised it had been put
somewhere unlikely there wasn't room for the entry (the book doubled in
size whilst we were working on it, and Orbit were beginning to panic).  It
was a rather bad entry, so little is lost thereby; I would have had to edit
it quite severely and find out a lot more about the American and the German
sides of filk before it was fit to include.  If you want to see it I could
email it; it's 1200 words, which is too long for a post here, I think.


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