I have also decided to expand the scope of the project to also cover fancasts, because the fancast category could also use a boost. And besides, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous anyway.
So today, I’m pleased to feature the first fancast, namely The Journey Show. The Journey Show is a new fancast, which only started up last year as an outgrowth of the three-time Best Fanzine Hugo finalist Galactic Journey and just started its second season yesterday. Like I said, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous.
Therefore, I’m pleased to welcome Gideon Marcus of The Journey Show.
Tell us about your broadcast.
The Journey Show is an outgrowth of Galactic Journey, our time machine to 55 years ago in fact and fiction. That site has been around since 1958…er…2013, and the conceit is that we are all fans living in the past, day by day, reviewing all the works of the time in the context of their time.
While Galactic Journey is a primarily text-based experience, we’ve frequently gone to conventions and other physical venues to do our Come Time Travel with Me show, in which we dress up in our vintage duds and talk about various SFnal topics. They’re always popular and a lot of fun.
The Journey Show is our way of bringing that experience to people all over the world through the magic of broadcast technology!
Topics have ranged far and wide, from discussing the Hugo Ballot of 1965 to the modern trends in art and architecture. The state of the art of wargames to the growing corps of classic women science fiction writers; Gemini in space to the new genre of Japanese animation. Plus fun musical guests and a pair of back to back doodling episodes featuring some really great illustrators.
Each show was an exciting new experience, and that’s why I couldn’t wait to bring back The Journey Show for a second season!
Who are the people behind your broadcast?
The only constant in the Journey Show is its host, Gideon Marcus. We try to have a different set of guests every time, though we have our repeat favorites, of course!
We’ve had so many wonderful celebrity guests, it’s kind of incredible. They include:
Dr. Lisa Yaszek, Georgia Tech Science Fiction professor and editor of The Future is Female Anthology
Alyssa Winans, Hugo Finalist cover artist
Tom Purdom, Hugo Finalist author
Lew Pulsipher, famed wargame designer
Gabriela Hernandez, CEO of Besamé Cosmetics
Erica Friedman, Founder of Yuricon, ALC Publishing and Yurikon LLC
Marie Vibbert, laureled SFF author
And then, of course, there are the folks associated with the Journey in one way or another, many of whom are Big Names in their own right:
Kerrie Dougherty, OAM, Space Historian
Gwyn Conaway, Design Guild Member
Jason Sacks, comic books historian
Cora Buhlert, Hugo Finalist fan writer
Kris Vyas-Myall, UK correspondent
Lorelei Marcus, singer-songwriter/illustrator
Acacia Weber, professional flautist
Jimmy Purcell, comic strip artist
Erica Frank, historian of the obscure
And many many more. You’ll see all of these faces plus a lot of new ones in Season Two.
Why did you decide to start your broadcast?
When the lockdowns started in March of last year, since we couldn’t do in-person events, we thought we might try doing a live broadcast in the style of the variety shows of the mid-60s. The first show was such a success that we kept it up every two weeks through October with a special charity fundraising episode in December. I like to think it helped keep spirits up — ours and that of the viewers! With so many of us stuck at home, this was a way to connect, and also to travel to a complete other time, forgetting the troubles of our current time for a moment.
What format do you use for your broadcast and why did you choose this format?
I use a software called WebinarJam, which seats up to six panelists and broadcasts to an infinite audience. I like it better than Zoom because it doesn’t require the viewer to download anything, and it’s got a lot of built-in features like automatic reminders, the ability to easily drop in video or polls or slideshows, etc.
We do our best to make it feel like an classic TV show, something like a cross between That Was The Week That Was and Jack Benny. So lots of musical bits, a news segment, and themed episodes. Since I “live” in the past, it’s pretty easy for me to stay in character the whole time.
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?
Fancasts offer a chance for fans to get together and share their love of things SFnal without regard for geography or demography. At every Journey Show, our chat room is jumping, and after each show, we repair to Galactic Journey’s “Portal 55” Discord server, where we continue the fun. It’s the same experience on YT and Twitch channels, too.
Fannish interaction has always been important. It’s never been just about the professional creations but the genre as a whole and all of its contributors: the occasional costumer, the prodigious fanfic writer, the earnest reviewer, the folks who just want other folks who want to interact with those who share their passions.
Without fanzines, fancasts, conventions, and other fannish endeavors, art becomes a one-way, commercial endeavor. That way likes sterility and death.
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines and fancasts looks like?
In the old days, if you wanted to reach your fellow fen, you had to meet them in person at conventions or other gatherings. Maybe you exchanged letters (some of us still do!) The recent developments in broadcast software make it so easy to produce your own show, and it’s great. There’s now tons of content on a variety of channels — one doesn’t need cable anymore! 🙂
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?
Cora Buhlert, James Nicoll and Alasdair Stuart are great Fan Writers. I’ve always enjoyed Nerds of a Feather and Journey Planet. Of course, File 770 is a titan. There are so many great fan artists out there. If you watch the Doodle episodes of The Journey Show, you’ll see some of them. 🙂
Where can people find you?
Thanks, Gideon, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out The Journey Show, cause it’s a great fancast.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.