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 the SFF180 Booktube channel.
Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Thomas Wagner of SFF180 to my blog today:
Tell us about your podcast or channel.
SFF180 is a YouTube channel that is part of what’s called the booktube community, consisting of all the YouTube creators who talk about books and reading. Much of booktube focuses on Young Adult titles, but you can find channels that cover nearly every reading niche you can imagine. My channel covers predominately original fantasy and science fiction for adult audiences, and it had its origins in a book review website I ran from 2001-2015 called SFReviews.net (which I am continuing under the new domain sff180.com).
Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?
Just myself. I have a channel artist, Matt Olson, who creates the thumbnail art for my videos. Thumbnails are how a YouTubers lures potential viewers to their content, quite like a well-designed book cover, and my thumbnails are fairly unique in that they’re original art, as opposed to simply a screenshot of myself holding up a book and making a face!
Why did you decide to start your podcast or channel?
I was running out of creative steam at the website and looking for a new platform and new medium through which to talk about SFF books. I was actually inspired by friends of mine who run YouTube gaming channels. At the time I started my channel, I had no idea that there was any such thing as booktube.
What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?
Since I’m not sure what you mean by format exactly, I’ll just describe my approach to the content I make. I have a weekly (when it’s possible to be weekly) flagship series called Mailbag Monday, in which I showcase all of the review copies publishers have seen me that week. I decided early on that having at least one reliable, regular upload on the channel would give viewers something they could look forward to viewing habitually, and bring them back each week. Beyond these, I do book reviews, editorial reviews when I want to comment on some current issue in the SFF community, convention vlogs, and other content as I see fit.
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?
Fan activity has always been central to the SFF community, from the days of the earliest conventions in the 1920s and 1930s. SFF fans realized that they had a specialized, nerdy hobby, and immediately sought ways to reach out and connect with other fans. From this, convention culture was born. The era of the internet and social media has made such connections much easier than they were in the 20th century, and fans now have so many more creative ways to express their fandom and reach out to fellow fans — blogs, YouTube, Instagram, online fanfic, and so on. Anything that builds community is vitally necessary for the health of the genre.
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?
Utterly unpredictable, except to say that wherever communication technology goes, fandom will follow. The current rise of TikTok, for example, has seen many communities moving onto that platform — there is now BookTok. When a new, popular platform arises, whatever it may be, fan media will make it work for them.
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?
Naturally, I would like to recommend so many of my friends and fellow creators on booktube: Kalanadi, Kitty G Books, The Shades of Orange, Thoughts on Tomes, ONYX Pages, Triumphal Reads are all very good channels. I would like to listen to more podcasts than I do; it is mostly a question of time.
Where can people find you?
Thank you, Thomas, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out SFF180, cause it’s a great YouTube channel.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.