It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.
I have 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 If This Goes On (Don’t Panic)!, a newish podcast focussed on the hopepunk movement, which was created by Alan Bailey and Nebula winner Cat Rambo.
Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Alan Bailey of If This Goes On (Don’t Panic)! to my blog.
Tell us about your podcast or YouTube channel.
On our podcast we like to explore how narrative helps people to envision and achieve a better future. In turn, we like to talk to writers, editors, activists, gamers, and anyone else who helps us imagine those worlds. We consider our podcast to be linked thematically with HopePunk. Our interpretation of HopePunk takes a stance of hope through resistance to the current norms. Emphasis on the PUNK. Any given podcast discussion can range from a specific novel or story, to a guest’s career, politics, religion, music, writing tips, and ttrpgs. Guests often include editors, traditionally published writers, and Indie writers.
Some other previous guests have included folks like Bill Campbell, Tobius Buckell, Malka Older, P. Djeli Clark, and James Morrow, Janet Forbes (founder of the world building platform World Anvil), and Graeme Barber (writer and ttrpg critic).
Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?
Alan Bailey (that’s me) – cohost, editor, and creator
Cat Rambo – cohost and creator
Diane Morrison – cohost and webmaster
Rachel Renee – producer and occasional cohost
Why did you decide to start your podcast or channel?
When my last podcast, Alan & Jeremy VS Science Fiction, broke up I started floating ideas to people I knew to test the waters. One of those people happened to be Cat and one of my ideas happened to be a Hopepunk podcast. I wanted a way to mix my belief in progressive political activism with one of my favorite hobbies, reading genre. Cat, being a well known progressive herself, liked the idea. So after meeting up and talking through the idea we agreed that we wanted to encourage writers to imagine a better future. After a few months it became apparent that Cat wouldn’t be able to do interviews as often as we’d like and we brought in Diane and Rachel to help out.
What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?
We use two different formats on our podcast. Initially, we only used a pre-recorded, edited format. But after Coronavirus happened, we decided to do some extra episodes streaming live on Twitch. We then recorded those and put them out nearly unedited. The purpose was to help people fill up their time. It also helped us to add a few extra episodes without the work of editing.
In our pre-recorded format, which I would consider to be our primary format, we decided to go with two interviewers. The reason being that I just didn’t feel prepared to always be the one and only reviewer. I have three children, two of which are very young, and a day job. It’s hard to always be on top of your game with those kinds of time commitments, so having two people there allows some flexibility for us. I also think it adds some unpredictability into the mix. We don’t coordinate with each other before the interview, so no one knows what the other person has in mind.
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, fancasts and other fan projects are important?
This is a great question. I think there are a number of reasons why fan projects are important.
- While there are small communities everywhere, and even large communities in places like Reddit and Facebook, fan projects help to drive those conversations.
- Fan projects amplify fan voices. For example, I think the increased diversification of SFF we’ve seen in the last few years has been driven, in part, by fan projects. So not only do we help drive the small conversations, but we help drive the conversations editors and publishers are having with each other.
- Fan projects add value and validity to the art. There needs to be a place for critique and discussion that doesn’t border on academic. In this way we add value to genre by tying it to the context of everyday people who don’t devote themselves to writing.
- It’s DIY and punk rock – meaning anyone can have a voice. Everyone’s voice is important and everyone should have a say about what they like.
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online and fancasts sprang up. What do you think the future of fan media looks like?
It’s honestly hard to imagine what comes next (one reason I admire SF writers). The number of fancasts will continue to increase. I have little doubt of that. I learn of new podcasts regularly these days. I want to say things will somehow become more interactive, but I have no idea how that would work.
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?
Sadly, I am also guilty of not knowing many fan writers, fanzines, or fan artists. I do look forward to hearing the answers to this. Maybe we’ll have some of them on the podcast. However, I can certainly recommend some of my favorite fancasts:
- Breaking the Glass Slipper – a great podcast focusing on feminism in SFF.
- Imaginary Worlds – Think NPR for SFF. Very professionally done.
- The Skiffy and Fanty Show – Probably the standard for interview podcasts in genre.
- The Coode Street Podcast – A couple of long-time SFF pros (Jonathan Strahan and Gary Wolf) give their opinions about everything genre.
- Aurelia: A Storytelling Podcast – A new podcast focusing on Disabled, Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and other Storytellers of Color. I realize this last one has Storytelling in the title, but they also do interviews and reviews.
Where can people find you?
Websites: https://itgodp.libsyn.com/ This takes you directly to the podcast episodes.
https://itgodp.wordpress.com/ This is our more general website where you can learn more about us.
Thank you, Alan, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out If This Goes On (Don’t Panic)!, 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.