copyright 2001, D. Glenn Arthur Jr.
[What's new at this site] Last updated 1998-07-02 (site layout tweaked 2001-11-05).

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What is "Filk"?

The short answer

Filk is the music of science fiction fandom, fantasy, medievalism, and hackerdom. For discussion, and examples, of filk, check out the newsgroup (which replaced a few years ago).

A longer answer

There are filk songs about science fiction and fantasy stories. There are filk songs about characters from those stories. There are filk songs that are their own science fiction or fantasy stories. There are filk songs about NASA. There are filk songs about science fiction fans. There are filk songs about the Society for Creative Anachronism. There are filk songs about computers. And, of course, there are filk songs about other filksongs, or about filkers, or about the overall phenomenon of filk.

Filk songs can be silly or serious or in between. Some of them are downright morose, others positively giddy. They can be clever executions of cute ideas, or serious literary/poetic works.

While many people think first of parodies when they think of filk, much filk is actually written with original tunes rather than as parodies.

Filk is what science fiction fans and medievalists have written to sing to each other.

A more formal answer

FILK (n) 1) a genre of songs mainly written and performed by science fiction fans ("fen") and medievalists, mostly on science fiction, fantasy, or computer related topics but also encompassing science fact, politics, or the fannish subculture. 2a) a filk song -- i.e. a song in the filk genre. 2b) "a filk of ___": a parody of, or simply a borrowing the tune of, another song. 3) a gathering for the purpose of performing and enjoying filk.

FILK (vi) to write or perform filk songs.

FILK (vt) 1) to write new, filk lyrics to the tune of. 2) to write a filk parody of.

For more information

To find out about filk conventions (yes, in addition to filking at science fiction conventions and informal housefilks, there are entire conventions devoted to filking), check out the list of conventions on Interfilk's web site.

(I usually attend the East-Coast convention, which changes name and city each year: ConCerto, ConCertino, Contata, Conterpoint. -- Glenn)

There are several other explanations of filk on the web, and several collections of links to them. One such collection is also on the Interfilk site.

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