Nominations for the 2022 Hugo Awards close on March 15, so here is another Fancast Spotlight for your consideration. 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’s featured fancast is Rogues in the House, an excellent podcast dedicated to all things sword and sorcery.
Therefore, I’m pleased to welcome Matt John of Rogues in the House to my blog today.
Tell us about your podcast or channel.
Rogues in the House, as the title may suggest, is a sword-and-sorcery focused podcast. We explore everything from Conan the Cimmerian to Elric of Melnibone, and we aren’t afraid to dive into adjacent genres and topics. Masters of the Universe, Willow, and the Witcher tend to simmer in our soup as well.
We call ourselves half-baked experts and usually place fun in front of fidelity, though we do do our homework.
Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?
Our little show started with myself (Matt), Logan, and Alex. We’ve since added Deane to the roster. What other Rogues may join us in the future? We shall see.
Why did you decide to start your podcast or channel?
Logan, Alex, and I (Matt) met via Conan Gaming Group (a drama-free, low toxicity Facebook group I admin). From there, we began playing’ Conan Exiles together (On Playstation), and we soon realized we had a gift for gab. After a test-run episode, we decided we were entertaining enough to carry on. And here we are, a few years later.
What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?
While we have done live videos in the past, we prefer the audio-only approach. Editing video is an extra layer of complexity, and it may be something we do someday, but we mostly like to talk. You don’t need to see our mugs.
The fan categories at the Hugos were there at the very beginning, but they are also the categories which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines, fancasts and other fan projects are important?
It’s strange, isn’t it? Ultimately, all of these projects are created by imaginative human beings–dreamers, dare I say? Those who create under the banner of large publishers did not always create under such banners. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but every expert begins as an amateur, right? Fortunately, social media has made promotion of indy material more feasible. It also allows for individuals to come together in supportive communities of the like-minded. Conan Gaming Group on Facebook and the Whetstone Discord channel are two highly recommended haunts. We keep them free of scum and villainy. But I’m definitely digressing.
As a writer and game designer, I’ve worked for small and large publishers and in most cases I find scant difference between the quality of the output. My team of freelance designers for the Monolith Conan board game have, for years, created excellent ‘fan’ content, which does not get the same attention as official releases. This is particularly baffling since those who create these ‘fan’ projects are, in fact, the same people who create the official ones. If I had to guess I’d say it comes to stigma. Indy or small projects aren’t always given the benefit of the doubt, but in my experience they damn-well should.
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online and fancasts have sprung up. What do you think the future of fan media looks like?
That’s a great question. My optimistic side says the future is bright for indy/fan content creators. Really, what’s stopping us? It comes down to marketing and stoking the interest of your audience. When I think of the niche genre of sword-and-sorcery, I get a good feeling about these things. It’s a smaller fandom than, say, epic fantasy or steampunk or My Little Pony, but it looks like we’re starting to find each other and coalesce as a community. And that’s without even mentioning all the smaller presses responsible for such great (and surviving) pubs such as Tales From the Magician’s Skull, Weirdbook, and Whetstone.
“It’s an older (redacted) genre, sir, but it checks out.”
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?
Oh, boy. I’m sure there are a lot of names I could conjure. For podcasts, I’m a HUGE fan of Perfect Organism: The Alien Saga Podcast. The Cromcast is also great. For zines I recommend Whetstone. It’s online, it’s free, it’s sword-and-sorcery, and it’s excellent. Logan and I both have stories appearing there [they published Cora as well]. And–OH MY GOD–check out Tales From the Magician’s Skull. Goodman Games and Howard Andrew Jones are killing it. Not sure TFTMS classifies as ‘fan’, but you need to behold the beauty of that magazine.
[Both Tales From the Magician’s Skull and Whetstone are actually semiprozines according to the Hugo rules. They’re still very good and well worth checking out.]
We’ll actually have a Rogues in the House anthology coming out in the near(ish) future. Inside you’ll find both established authors and newcomers [including a story by Cora]. We’re excited about it but need to take the time to do a great job. We already have a tiny little sampler volume 1 out there (Amazon)that includes work from Logan, Alex, and me.
Where can people find you?
Thank you, Matt, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out Rogues in the House, cause it’s an excellent podcast and one of my personal favourites.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast or a semiprozine and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.