By John Pomeranz
Additional Lyrics by Mary Bentley

With apologies to Sir W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan

The show will be performed at LoneStarCon 2, this year's World Science Fiction Convention to be held in San Antonio, Texas. What follows is a synopsis of the plot and lyrics to several of the songs. We'll post the entire script, including the other songs after the performance.

Those of you with computers and software capable of playing MIDI files can also listen to the music and sing along -- on-line fannish karaoke! Please note that the MIDI files were originally designed to fit the lyrics of the original Gilbert & Sullivan opera. Some may therefore play the verse and chorus too many or too few times to fit this filk.

Question, comments and virtual tomatoes can be e-mailed to John Pomeranz the show's director and primary creator.

And now, without further adieu...


As the first day of the Baltimore Worldcon arrives, our hero, Frederic, comes of age and is to be freed from his indentures andmade a full-fledged member of the Pirates of Fenzance. The Pirates are a group of energetic fen that is the terror of hotel managers everywhere for their all-night parties and inability to pay their bills. The group plans to take over the upcoming Baltimore Worldcon. However, Frederic announces that now that he is no longer bound as an apprentice, he is leaving their band of hard partying conrunners and is becoming a SMOF and will henceforth devote himself to running serious conventions dedicated to literary criticism and the value of scientifiction as a tool for teaching science.

Frederic explains that he was mistakenly apprenticed because Ruth's employer ordered her to apprentice him to a huckster, and she (quite naturally) thought he meant pirate.

Song: When Frederic was a Little Fan
(to the tune of When Frederic was a Little Lad)
MIDI file>

When Frederic was a little fan,
He so adored his reading.
He'd sit inside, despite our chides,
And read though we were pleading.
Resigned that Fred would never be
A normal working feller,
His father vowed that he'd be proud
If Fred were a book seller.
The huckster's life, where greed is rife,
Was not what he'd been dreaming,
But Fred'ric's dad, knew that Fred had,
An soul too pure for scheming.

I was a stupid nursery maid,
An easily confused one.
I did not fully understand
His vision for his dear son.
For when I heard, the father's words
Of mere greed and corruption,
I truly thought that what he sought
Was a more criminal option.
So I bound you to this rowdy crew,
And this was your bad luck, sir.
And thus were you apprenticed to
A pirate, not a huckster

Before leaving his friends and devoting his life to running sercons, Frederic does them one last service. He explains that they would stop losing money running their conventions if they stopped taking pity on and offering free memberships to all those claiming to be Baltimore fen. He urges his former comrades to give up their life of frivolity and join him running Sercons. The leader of the merry band swears they'll never give up their life of all night partying.

Song: Oh, Better to Stay up All Night
(to the tune of Oh, Better Far to Live and Die (The Pirate King's Song))

Departing the band, Frederic encounters a local sf club planning its trip to the Worldcon in Baltimore. Frederic reveals himself to be a member of the dreaded Pirates of Fenzance. All run in fear, swearing they'd never support such a group to run the Worldcon. However, Mabel finds herself strangely attracted to young Frederic (not to mention low on cash) and offers to share a room with him at the Baltimore convention.

Song: Poor Wandring Fan
(to the tune of Poor Wandring Fan)

Suddenly the Pirates appear and threaten to take the young fen away and keep them up all night filking. Just a the fen cry out in terror at their fate, the club's leader arrives and sings:

Song: I am the very Model of a Fannish Individual
(to the tune of I am the very Model of a Modern Major-General)
MIDI file>

I am the very model of a fannish individual.
I've knowledge literary, cinematic and political.
I know the names of all who've won the Hugo and the Nebula,
And I've attended every con they've held in Philadelphia.

I love Arthur C. Clarke, Terry Prachett, C.J. Cherryh, Frederik Pohl,
J.R.R. Tolkien, Andre Norton, Barbara Hambley, read 'em all.
Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov,
Of reading science fiction I can never ever get enough.

(Of reading science fiction he can never ever get enough.
Of reading science fiction he can never ever get enough.
Of reading science fiction he can never ever ever get enough.)

I 've read Niven, Foster, Silverberg, Zelazny, Card and Donaldson.
McCaffrey, Herbert, Chalker, Eddings, Dickson and Poul Anderson.
In matters literary, cinematic and political,
I am the very model of a fannish individual.

(In matters literary, cinematic and political,
He is the very model of a fannish individual.)

I 've seen every science fiction story captured by a camera.
Metropolis, 2001, Forbidden Planet, Gamera.
Close Encounters, Things to Come and Bambi Meets Godzi-illa,
Alien III, Superman, The Fly and Barbare-ella.

I've taped every single episode of Twilight Zone and Dr. Who.
My anime collection is the envy of all fandom too.
I'm fluent in Minbari, Bocci, Klingon, Betazoid and Narn.
And I know every detail of the Federation Uniform.

(And he knows every detail of the Federation Uniform.
And he knows every detail of the Federation Uniform.
And he knows every detail of the Star Trek Federation Uniform.)

I 've seen Will Robinson grow up and now I watch him as Lenier.
I've travelled thoughout time and space to galaxies both far and near.
In matters literary, cinematic and political,
I am the very model of a fannish individual.

(In matters literary, cinematic and political,
He is the very model of a fannish individual.)

I vote on every Worldcon site that's ever been or's yet to be.
I've gone to business meetings and had Robert Sacks defer to me.
I know the details of the Worldcon site selection voting zones.
And when I work on any con, I get a beeper and a phone.

I've been to Torcon, Chicon, Discon, Aussiecons both I and II.
Constellation, Confiction, Pacificon and Big MAC too.
Conspiracy, Denvention and the secret one in '42.
I don't know much 'bout how cons run, but I'm sure I know more than you.

(He doesn't know just how cons run, but he's sure he knows more than you.
He doesn't know just how cons run, but he's sure he knows more than you.
He doesn't know just how cons run, but he's sure he knows so much more than you.)

I've worked at every job from lowly gopher to division head.
And I'd have chaired a Worldcon too, but other big name fen all said,
"Your knowledge is impressive, but your business skills are pitiful,
You are the very model of a fannish individual."

(His knowledge is impressive, but his business skills are pitiful,
He is the very model of a fannish individual.)

The Pirates are about to take him away as well, but, knowing their weakness, he tells them that he is from Baltimore. The Pirates, unable to take advantage of a fellow Baltimore fan, release them, and the Act ends with a reprise of the Fannish Individual's song.


At the Worldcon Mabel and the rest of the club invite Frederic to work on registration at the the upcoming Worldcon. They describe some of the things that can happen.

Song: When the Fen All Stand in Line
(to the tune of When the Foeman Bares His Steel)

As the members of the club leave, Ruth and the Pirate King enter and tell Frederic that his apprenticeship is not, as he had believed, over. It seems that his apprenticeship was to end after 21 years. Although this is the 21st Worldcon he has attended since his apprenticeship began, it is still several weeks short of his 21st anniversary as a pirate apprentice, which will not occur until Labor Day Weekend.

Song: When you had left our pirate band
(to the tune of When You had Left Our Pirate Fold (The Paradox Song)) MIDI file>

When you had left our pirate band,
It left us all without a clue.
Our Worldcon taking-over plans
Depended all on you.
We'd thought your 'prenticeship too brief
Which drove us to our filing box
We read your contact and, relieved,
We found a paradox.

Chorus: A paradox
A paradox
A truly fannish paradox
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
A paradox.

'Twas twenty-one Worldcon's ago
When first your nurse apprenticed you.
And with this Worldcon set to go,
We'd though your term was through.
But then we calculated days
And found that all was not as thought
Though usually on Labor Day
This year's Worldcon was not


Trapped by his sense of duty, Frederic agrees to let all the Pirates into the convention for free. But before he goes to rejoin his Pirate comrades, Frederic confesses his dilemma to Mabel. Tearfully, they part.

Meanwhile, the members of the SF club have encountered the pirates. Not recognizing them, they invite them to help work on the convention. They describe the joys of all types of fen in helping to put on the Worldcon.

Song: When a Fan is not Pursuing his Enjoyment
(to the tune of When a Felon's not Pursuing his Employment)

The Pirates all depart in search of the gopher hole.

The club's leader arrives and orders the Pirates removed from the convention for failing to pay their membership fees. However, through a series of amazing occurances (which will be revealed during the performance at LoneStarCon), all is forgiven, and the entire ensemble, now friends, joins together in singing:

Song: We are the very models of fannish individuals (reprise)