With Unknown Sagas, there are now at least six ‘zines in the OSR (Fight On!, Knockspell, NOD, Oubliette, Encounter being the others I am aware of – if I’m wrong, let me know!) Is this a bad thing, fragmenting the industry too much? Not in the slightest. If anything, there are probably too few ‘zines out there at the moment, not too many! The fanzine / semiprozine is a wonderful part of the hobby that I think the internet did quite a bit of damage to over the last couple of decades, not only for the reader, but also for the participant. The plethora of fanzines in the early years of the hobby were a wonderful resources of ideas and inspirations, as well as providing a training ground for many of the best authors in the industry in their formative years.
If anything, the Internet should have made fanzines available to a wider audience than ever before, but somehow, it didn’t seem to happen. Though I am quite sure that there are still a selection of fanzines out there, they rarely seem to attract a widespread amount of attention. If you are running one, publicise it! Put up a PDF, and shove it on the internet, let people see it!
There is room out there for as many fanzines as there are people who are willing to put them together. On the one hand, you have some zines where every article is written by a different contributor, magazines such as Fight On!; on the other extreme, you have some such as NOD that are the work of a single person. And both of them are equally as good in their own special way. A ‘zine can quite easily be done as the work of an individual group of friends, or even an individual, and I believe still remains an excellent way of spreading ideas and inspiration, even in a world of blogs, websites and wikis. Self-publishing tools have made it easier than ever before to launch such publications.
So let’s make 2011 the year of the Fanzine!