Today’s featured fanzine is Runalong the Shelves, an SFF book blog from the UK.
And now I’d like to welcome Womble of Runalong the Shelves.
Runalong The Shelves is now in its fourth year and is very much a book blog with a big focus on reviewing science fiction and fantasy but also interested in horror and the occasional thriller. You may find me interviewing authors on recent works; answering the odd book tag and taking part in a small annual blogger jury award named Subjective Chaos Kind of Award which is a lot of fun debating books with different bloggers. I try to be diverse both in the types of books I review but also increasingly promoting the diverse voices creating them which I think is a wonderful move for our genre (and way overdue)
We joke on twitter about Book Tempting but I really really like trying to find a book for the right reader. Knowing someone enjoyed a recommendation is one the best things ever!
Who are the people behind your site or zine?
Its’s just me! Forty something British human who for complex reasons these days is better known as Womble on the internet
Why did you decide to start your site or zine?
I’ve loved reading for a long time and in the old days of forums would often see me in the Books section talking and recommending books. Another forum member Dave Probert invited me to their own website GeekPlanetOnline to join a panel of reviewers and when that went on indefinite hiatus I thought it may be time to start my own and have a bit more choice on what types of stories I could review as well.
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?
I went with blog – I’m most familiar with reading these as I’ve grown up and I like the way the format can change. I can add new features when I wish and these days quite easy to update not just on PCs but also phones and tablets. I also think they’re an easy way to cross the borders plus work well with social media sharing.
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?
Fifty years ago you probably could read all the SF books and short stories published in a year if you had a decent amount of time. Now that number is in the thousands each year and I think blogs help collate what is out there for readers in ways algorithms just cannot. You can find specialist blogs in your favourite sub genre be it horror or crime or 1930’s crime tales. We help show a spotlight on books and sometimes they may not be the ones with the largest marketing budgets. If you find a blogger who you know has similar tastes to yours its a useful way to find new stories that you may not see in your local bookshop’s main pages. The indie publishing system is now very established and contains some excellent material that’s easy to miss if you say just went to your local Waterstones or Barnes & Noble. Blogging can give those stories plus the wider self published market a little nudge to readers
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?
The format will change with the technology. Youtube and podcasts are increasingly easier and more affordable for people to use and I’m sure somewhere someone is creating an unusual TikTok. I do wonder if more collaborative efforts are the way forward as well – taking the strain off individual bloggers but also allowing a wider ethos of what a site/zine is looking for/shouting about. Possibly more like Geek Syndicate that are truly multi-media genre sites working in blog, podcast and youtube.
I also am finding increasingly more contact with authors from all over the world not just the US/UK centric ones we know and love. Over the next decade I think this could make reading experiences even more universal!
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?
Apart from yourself!
Alasdair Stuart is one of my go to writers and their insights are brilliant. Blog wise I recommend The MiddleShelf, There’s Always Room for One More, Journey Planet, Skiffy & Fanty, Nerds of a Feather, Geek Syndicate and on Booktube Claire Rousseau, Kitty G and Kalanadi
Where can people find you?
Thanks, Womble, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out Runalong the Shelves, cause it’s a great blog and also follow Womble on Twitter, so he can match you up with books you’ll love.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine or site and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.