Fanzine Spotlight: Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein

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.

Today, I’m pleased to feature Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein, a blog which discusses weird fiction and the Cthulhu mythos with a particular focus on the contributions of women, people of colour and LGBTQ+ people.

Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Bobby Derie of Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein. Bobby is also the author of Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos by Bobby DerieTell us about your site or zine.

Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein is primarily a review blog devoted to looking at Lovecraftian and Cthulhu Mythos media by or about women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks. While there is a long history of the folks participating in the Mythos, their contributions tend to get overlooked. This often involves an unflinching look at the contemporary racism of Lovecraft and his colleagues. Other features of the blog include special essays on the women who corresponded with Lovecraft, and spotlights on women and LGBTQ+ editors of Mythos anthologies. The blog updates about weekly on Saturdays, although sometimes there is also a special Wednesday piece.

Who are the people behind your site or zine?

Right now, mostly just myself. I’m Bobby Derie, a pulp scholar who focuses mostly on H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, and my published works have included Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014) and Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others (2019). Deep Cuts also features some original interviews with a couple of women editors of Mythos anthologies, discussing their experiences in their own words.

Why did you decide to start your site or zine?

During my research, I found quite a lot of material related to women, POC, and LGBTQ+ authors which generally didn’t get a lot of notice or recognition among fans or scholars. I thought a weekly blog would provide a good way to explore this “hidden mythos,” to draw attention to some of the more obscure and interesting works, and maybe force me to read a little out of my comfort zone. As it happens, I’ve ended up investing quite a bit of original research into Deep Cuts 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 have done fanzines in the past, when I was briefly a member of REHupa (Robert E. Howard United Press Association), but at the time I got the itch to start up Deep Cuts, I wasn’t currently a member of an AMA, and the blog format allows me access to a broader audience and more immediate feedback. Doesn’t give the tactile satisfaction of a physical product, but I pretty much set my own schedule.

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?

Fanzines in the 1930s were the essential expression of being a part of fan culture; it was the medium of expression and communication. Correspondence and newsletters all played their part in the fan experience, but it was in the ‘zines that fans could get into argument, share original art, fiction, essays, and poetry, come up with acronyms and form theories. A lot of the community aspect of fanzines has since been taken over by internet forums and social media, but as far as curating content fanzines can and do still serve an important purpose today. They help shape the history and narrative of fandom and how it sees itself.

Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Other by Bobby DerieIn the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?

Blogs, digital fanzines, and websites are at once more widely available and a bit more ephemeral than physical fanzines. Same or similar functions, but at some point the site is hacked, or somebody doesn’t pay the hosting bill, or just gets abandoned, and then the content is gone unless it’s been archived. Fans tend to keep circulating old content if it’s of any value or interest, but whole chunks of the early internet have been more or less lost, even if you’re a serious digital archivist. It’s hard to tell what the future is going to be like – while many fanzines from the 1930s still physically exist in 2020, after nearly 100 years, there’s no telling what operating systems and data formats are going to be like in 2120!

I suspect fanzines will survive in some form so long as there are operating fandoms. While there has been a great push the last twenty years for the small-scale commercialization of fan-produced work (“turning the hobby into a hustle”), there are still thousands of people that just want to create and curate, as shown by the folks contributing to fandom wikis. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more fandom wikis be translated into semi-commercial prepackaged ‘zines through crowdfunding.

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?

For fancast, I would recommend the Cromcast Chronicle ( http://thecromcast.blogspot.com/ ), which has been producing solid content on a regular basis, the guys are enthusiastic about their show and put a lot of effort into improving the production quality and staying on-topic while spreading their wings a little; recently, for example, they’ve been reading Karl Edward Wagner and Manly Wade Wellman, two great weird fiction writers who were huge but have sort of fallen out of the limelight today.

Where can people find you?

The blog is at https://deepcuts.blog, I occasionally run polls on twitter (@Ancient0History) to see what folks want as far as what new content is scheduled. Feel free to suggest something, I’m always looking for the next thing to review.

Thank you, Bobby, for stopping by and answering my questions.

Do check out Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein, cause it’s a great blog that illuminates a side of the Cthulhu mythos that’s rarely seen.

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Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.

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