ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (ZZ9, for short) is The Official Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy/Douglas Adams Appreciation Society.
The society is 20 years old and caters strangely enough for fans of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and Douglas Adams, it produces a newsletter four times a year, organises meetings (or will help you organise your own meetings), keeps you informed of the latest goings on in all things HitchHikery, and also sells merchandise, T-shirts, stickers, mugs, matchbooks and completely unexpectedly, Towels.
Members range from all ages, shapes and sizes, and come form all sorts of places such as Australia, America and Europe. There are also a number of local groups in England and Wales, as well as groups in Dublin, Germany and the Channel Islands.The ZZ9 Committee
The running of ZZ9 is down to the ZZ9 committee, who do it on a voluntary basis and in their spare time. The committee are hard working bunch, and are generally under appreciated, these are ZZ9 members, who in wanting to be on the committee, are nominated and then, if there lucky, elected by members at the ZZ9 annual general meeting.Honorary Members
Among ZZ9’s honorary members are Douglas Adams, Simon Jones, Mark Wing-Davey, Mike Cule, Neil Gaimen, Kevin Davies, and more recently Peter DavidsonMostly Harmless
Mostly Harmless is the ZZ9 newsletter, (and also, incidentally, was given its name long before Douglas Adams’s book of the same name), it relies upon written contributions from ZZ9’s membership and comes out roughly four times a year.
Every issue has all the latest news of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, and anything that relates to it or things you just might find interesting. It also has interviews, articles, artwork, fiction and the odd competition. There’s a reviews page, both of conventions and meetings and of books, films, events and well, practically anything and everything. Also there’s an ad page for people wanting to get hold of out of print books, records, videos, merchandise or wanting pen pals, small blue fury creatures from alpha centuri, etc.Meetings
The most common type of meeting is the ‘slouch’, the first was held in October 1983. People were merely asked if they felt like slouching about London for a bit, which they did, and thus was the trend started. Also there are pub meetings, Local Groups, the AGM and the annual Beeblebears picnic.A Brief History Of ZZ9
ZZ9 began life in 1980, its name ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha came about of wanting a name not boring like the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Fan Club, but of wanting something related to Hitchhikers and Earth, so the name ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha was Chosen.
The first Newsletter came in January 1981, in an A4 format (but changed to A5 a year later), which mostly consisted of news about the TV series.
At the beginning part of the membership fee included having to send four stamped addressed envelopes to the committee. Also there was rivalry in the way of two other Guide fan clubs, HitchHikers Anonymous, and The Marvin Depreciation Society the later folded, and what happened to the former is uncertain.
By July ‘81, ZZ9 reached 100 members and 500 by December ‘82.
October ‘83, ZZ9 holds its first ‘slouch’
In may ‘85, ZZ9 held its first convention Lazlar Lyricon in Birmingham, the guests included Mark Wing-Davey, Mike Cule, Alan JW Bell and Kevin Davis, it raised £285 for cancer research
March ‘86, red credit card style membership cards were introduced replacing the card ones previously issued
1989 saw debate raging in Mostly Harmless as to weather ZZ9 should change its name to the Douglas Adams Appreciation Society, however it doesn’t
Mid ‘89, saw the first Beeblebears picnic, an event that would be held yearly
October 1990, ZZ9 celebrates 10 years
October ‘91, Mostly Harmless reaches issue 42
March ‘93, The Making Of The HitchHikers Guide To The Galaxy TV series video is released with a mention of ZZ9 on the back cover
In October ‘93, a letter from Douglas Adams printed in Mostly Harmless, said that Douglas was quite happy for ZZ9 to be called The Official HitchHikers Guide To The Galaxy Appreciation society.
January ‘95, Mostly Harmless becomes A4 sized
Later in that year in August 1995, the membership had achieved 1,000 members
September ‘96, ZZ9 the web site appears
May ‘98, ZZ9 holds Lazlar Lyricon II, its second convention, a sequal to the first, and made £460, for Save The Rhino International and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, (charities chosen by Douglas Adams)
January ‘99, In a top twenty chart of the SF fandom web ring, the ZZ9 site comes in at no. 1
October 2000, ZZ9 celebrates 20 years with a party in November ‘00
ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha is a none profit making society; it is run by the members, for the members. Its survival depends on new members who are therefore always welcomed and wanted, and constant renewals of membership. People who want more information or would like to join the society should take a look at the website ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha. There is also a ZZ9 mailing list for members only who wish to recieve E-mails from the group and there is also a ZZ9 webring.