By the way, DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon, has retracted the controversial policy to list only four people per finalist, a policy which would have disproportionately affected the fanzine, fancast and semiprozine categories, where the finalists are often produced by large teams. This is an excellent decision, because the many great people producing fanzines, fancasts and semiprozines for little to no pay deserve the recognition.
Today’s featured fanzine is Galactic Journey, three time Hugo finalist and a site that’s near and dear to my heart, since I’m one of the contributors. However, that’s not the reason why Galactic Journey is the first fanzine/site featured. Instead, they were the first to reply to the call I sent out.
And now I’d like to welcome Gideon Marcus of Galactic Journey.
Tell us about your site or zine.
Galactic Journey is more than a site or a zine. It’s a time machine.
The 20+ writers for the Journey produce an article every other day from the context of SF fans (and professionals) living exactly 55 years ago. Thus, when it turned January 1, 2021 in your world, we rang in the new year of 1966.
When we started eight years ago, in “1958”, we were just covering the three big American SF mags: Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy, and Analog, as well as the space shots — Pioneer 1 had just gone halfway to the moon. Very quickly, as more people became associated with the Journey, we expanded our coverage to all the SF mags, current SF movies and TV shows (we’ve reviewed every episode of Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, and Doctor Who), comics, fashion, art, music, politics, counter-culture…you name it!
A few years ago, we were nominated for the Hugo, and we’ve been on the ballot ever since. We are very grateful and gratified to have made such an impact!
Who are the people behind your site or zine?
The Journey is composed of some of the most varied and accomplished fans ever assembled in one place. Demographically, we range from 16 to pushing 80; roughly balanced gender-wise with a slight edge toward women, but including at least one non-binary writer; ethnically diverse; not a little queer; and geographically widespread, with correspondents from the US, the UK, West Germany, Australia, and even the Soviet Union. Two of us are professional space historians, several of us are professional authors.
The one common element that unites us is that we are all fans.
Why did you decide to start your site or zine?
There are lots of great fanzines out there, from Nerds of a Feather to Journey Planet to File 770. They necessarily cover current stuff. I wanted a site that allowed people to rediscover great works that had been forgotten, marginalized creators who had been eclipsed. Beyond that, I wanted to create an experience such that people could appreciate these works in context.
The Journey uses the past as a mirror to the current world, showing where we came from, what’s changed, and what hasn’t.
It’s also a lot of fun. I don’t think there’s anything else like it in existence.
What format do you use for your site or zine (blog, e-mail newsletter, PDF zine, paper zine) and why did you choose this format?
The Journey has a lot of facets now. We started as a blog, and that’s still the core of our effort. But we also have a Twitter feed that we keep updated with “current” events. Last year, we started The Journey Show, a live broadcast variety show set in the past with a bunch of great guests.
We chose to put our presence online to reach the most people, and because it’s the most versatile format. At the same time, we try to evoke the fanzines of yore, in our format and our writing style. We challenge anyone to catch us in an anachronism! (and a No Prize for the person who does…)
The fanzine category at the Hugos is one of the oldest, but also the category which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines and sites are important?
Back in the day, the line between fanzine and prozine was quite hazy. A lot of pros would contribute content to the fanzines, and the path from fanzine writer to pro author was and is well worn. Over the years, as the fan to pro ratio has increased (we’re no longer a community of hundreds, or thousands, but tens of millions), I think the barrier has been nurtured. Even fan creators are deprecatory of their work (I recall a Hugo-nominated Fancaster a couple of years back reviewing the Hugo nominees of a year and then shrugging their shoulders when they got to Best Fanzine and noting they “didn’t really read those.”)
But fans love discussing their loves. That’s why we’re fans (short for “fanatics”). I’ve been on the TrekBBS for twenty years. AO3 is a second home (and a deserving Hugo winner). I get my news from File 770. I get great commentary from Cora Buhlert. A fan site/zine can cover anything they want; a professional site is limited by financial concerns. So fan-run sites are the best place to get information on a fandom, to meet other fans, and to geek out.
And, as before, fanzines offer a stepping stone for fan authors to break into the pro world. Certainly, it’s where I got my start (in fiction, anyway).
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?
I feel like “fanzine” is a label that doesn’t make much sense anymore. I don’t want it to disappear or be subsumed in Other Work because then a whole bunch of worthy entities will simply not make it onto the ballot anymore. But the age of paper ‘zines, except as a fun affectation, is long gone. And this from the fellow who helped make a TOS zinelet! 🙂
The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Do you have any recommendations for any of the fan categories?
Well, I’m a little biased! The Journey is eligible for three out of four of these, one way or another. Also, I spend a lot of time 55 years ago, so I’ve got a better handle on ‘zines like “Yandro”, “Zenith”, and “Science Fiction Times.”
That said, the sites mentioned above are all worthy, and as for Best Fan Artist, someone I really like is Goss:
Where can people find you?
Thanks, Gideon, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out Galactic Journey, cause it’s a great site. Also check out their eligibility tweet.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine or site and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.