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.
So today, I’m pleased to feature the speculative fiction review and news site SFFWorld.
Therefore, I’m happy to welcome the team behind SFFWorld to my blog:
Tell us about your site or zine.
We are SFFWorld, a website and forum that has been running for over 20 years. We are interested in all aspects of science fiction fantasy and horror, review material that takes our interest and create discussion around such material. Over those 20+ years, SFFWorld has published over 2,000 “official reviews,” hundreds of interviews, as well as several author features like our “Authors of the Roundtable.”
Who are the people behind your site or zine?
The site is run by volunteers. Dag Rambraut is the owner and is from Norway, who deals with all of the technical stuff. Rob Bedford (@RobHBedford on Twitter) is our longest-serving Staff member and is the Lead US Reviewer, living in the USA, as does KatG who deals with the Forums and in particular is involved in the Writing Forums. Mark Yon covers reviews from the UK end and is also involved in the Administration of the Forums. Mark Chitty, also in the UK, is a regular reviewer who joined us from his website Walker of Worlds a few years ago. Shellie Horst is a reviewer who tends to pick up the small press books for us. Randy Money is our ‘expert’ on all things Horror and each year gives us a plethora of material old and new to look at throughout October. Andrew Leon Hudson is our current Staff Member involved in the editing and publishing of our Anthologies, which is something we’ve taken on in the last decade. We have also had a number of other wonderful people help us out over the years when they can.
Why did you decide to start your site or zine?
The website started with Dag back in 1997. It was a hobby, created initially to share good books, films and TV and comment on the bad, current ideas and thoughts about the genre, which Dag loves. Shortly thereafter, our discussion forums opened up which grew into a thriving community of fans, many of whom have become friends over the years. Many, many people have found some of their favourite “next books to read” in our forums and had the chance to meet some of their favourite authors, too. The discussion forum is still active, though much of the focus has been on the content we’ve been providing. We are mainly a book review site, though we dabble in film, TV, webcasts and the like if something takes our fancy.
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 guess it’s partly because we’ve been going longer than many of the formats that have come along after, such as blogs and Social Media. The book reviews and the Forum came first for us, as it was what was available. We like the website as it is an immediately accessible format and allows us to communicate with others around the world at all times of the day and night. Perhaps most of all the Forums allow us the space to be as brief or as lengthy as we want. We have an active Writers area which uses the space well to create new material, which they then discuss and critique in a nice way every month. It’s usually all good-natured and supportive.
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?
It is odd that an award that started all those years ago as a fan award at the Worldcons now gets the lowest number of votes and nominations – especially when the genre has broadened out so much in recent years. But we think that the growth of the genre and its global popularity would not be there without the fans all rooting and parading their particular interests. It is not possible to cover everything these days, but the fact that a group of people with common enthusiasms can discuss those interests together is very important. I guess the other element is that what fanzines and sites do is allow those not directly part of the industry to talk about their passions to others with similar ideas. They allow an individual or indeed a collective voice to speak its mind that might not be otherwise heard. In other words, these things are a great tool for building a community.
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?
Well, I guess we benefited from this as we began on dial-up just as people were getting the Internet in their homes. Now with mobile phones and tablets, we have the ability to be more easily available and immediate than ever before. The future is clearly digital, although the growth is audio material – podcasts and the like – suggests that it may not be entirely through text.
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?
You’re right – we try to keep up with the changes, as we’re fans as well as website coordinators. Rob Bedford has contributed to articles at Tor.com and SFSignal.com, as well as having run his own blog over the years. For fun Mark Yon has been writing of British magazines New Worlds and Science Fantasy from the 1960s at Galactic Journey (www.galacticjourney.com), which you know as well, Cora!
Where can people find you?
The website is at www.sffworld.com, from where you can access the reviews, the Discussion Forums and take part in the Writing section. We’re also available on Twitter (@SFFWorld) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sffworldcom/ ).
Thanks, everybody, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out SFFWorld, cause it’s a great site.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.