Today’s featured fanzine is Salon Futura, edited by four-time Hugo winner Cheryl Morgan.
And now I’d like to welcome Cheryl Morgan of Salon Futura.
Salon Futura is a web-based magazine that mostly publishes reviews of books, TV, films and conventions. I aim to publish 10 issues a year, taking a break in February (for the UK’s LGBT History Month) and August (for Worldcon) when I tend to be very busy.
Who are the people behind your site or zine?
It is mostly just me at the moment, though Kevin Standlee occasionally contributes an essay on WSFS issues.
Why did you decide to start your site or zine?
When I set up Wizard’s Tower Press, one of the things I wanted to do was create a semiprozine for non-fiction. It turned out that there wasn’t a market for such a thing at the time, and it closed after 9 issues. Then last year I saw Nicholas Whyte bemoaning the lack of interest in the Fanzine category of the Hugos. I’d already come to the conclusion that I needed some form of discipline to ensure I made time to read and review books, so I decided to relaunch Salon Futura as a fanzine. Thus far it has worked in that I have read a lot more books. I figure that if I ever get on the Hugo ballot again there will be a flood of new people voting in that category to stop me winning, and that will be the other objective achieved.
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?
It is essentially a blog format, but the entries for a particular issues are posted at the same time so it has the feel of an issue-based magazine. That’s what I did for Emerald City, so it is what I am used to. Obviously people can subscribe to it via the RSS feed. Amazingly the Feedburner list still works, so anyone who signed up for it back in the semiprozine days will still get an email when new content is posted, but officially Feedburner is deprecated so I can’t do new signups, which is a shame.
I grew up on fanzines. I started out in role-playing fandom, where fanzines were just as common as in SF fandom. And of course I ran Emerald City for 11 years, winning a Hugo for it along the way. I have always seen fanzines as an important means of communication in fan communities. But equally I’m not purist about form. If people prefer to create zines by vlogging, or podcasting or on paper, or just tweet, that’s fine by me. In fact I think having categories divided by form is silly, and I make a point of including audio and video in Salon Futura occasionally to mess with people’s heads.
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?
I think that increasingly people feel the need to do video, or at least audio, because fannish communication will ape what happens in real media, and the means of production and distribution of these media have become increasingly democratised of late. But I hope that there will still be room for the printed word. There’s much more space for nuance in an essay than you normally get in video or audio. And words can be beautiful. I mean, we are fans of reading books; why would we not want to write?
What I really want to see, however, is fanzines from outside of the anglophone world. The pandemic has forced conventions to go online, and we have seen the creation of new events such as FIYAHCON and FutureCon. This is helping us forge communities across national boundaries. I’d love to see more fanzines that support that process.
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. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?
Well you, Cora. I’d also like to put in a good word for Rachel Cordasco’s SF in Translation blog: https://www.sfintranslation.com/. While I’m not a big short fiction reader, I’m very grateful for what Charles Payseur does to promote fiction about and by queer people.
These days I tend to be way too busy to follow much in the way of fan media, but I am hoping that this excellent new project of yours will help me find people to read, watch and listen to.
Where can people find you?
And @CherylMorgan on Twitter
Thanks, Cheryl, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out Salon Futura, cause it’s a great zine.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine or site and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.