Before we get to the main subject of this post, I want to point you to a new fantasy story I have out. It’s called “Homecoming Gift” and was published as part of Wyngraf Magazine‘s flash fiction series. I’m very fond of this story and am glad that it found a home.
Hugo season is upon us and nominations for the 2023 Hugo Awards have opened, so my Fanzine and Fancast Spotlight project continues as well. 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. And if you need more Hugo nomination inspiration, also check out my series of Non-Fiction Spotlights and Semiprozine Spotlights.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I enjoy reading and discussing vintage SFF, particularly lesser known works. The subject of today’s spotlight does just that, because Remembrance of Things Past and Future is a blog focussed on reviewing and discussing vintage (and current) SFF published in magazines.
Therefore, I’m happy the welcome Brian Collins of Remembrance of Things Past and Future to my blog today.
Remembrance of Things Past and Future is devoted to science fiction, fantasy, and horror as published in the magazines. The history of SF especially is tied to the long history of magazine publishing; some of the old classics of the genre spent years stuck inside brittle magazine pages before getting turned to books. It’s a rather niche criterion for what can be reviewed (a story must have been originally published or reprinted in a zine), but it’s at the same time wide-spanning. I could review a Robert E. Howard serial from 90 years ago and also Elizabeth Bear’s latest (and no doubt good) outing without crossing the streams, so to speak. I review short stories, novellas (because I love those), novel serials, and even occasionally a “complete” novel. I do that last one as a special thing because I’m not a very good reader and I can’t fathom reviewing novels constantly. If it’s SF, fantasy, and/or horror and it was published in a periodical at some point, it’s on my plate. As to when I’ll cover any given thing is a different matter…
Who are the people behind your site or zine?
It’s a one-man show. I’m Brian Collins and I write, edit, and post everything (excluding comments, of course) on Remembrance. I do this for free. I’m a compulsive writer. I have a day job, and while it’s crummy it covers my back enough.
Why did you decide to start your site or zine?
I first started writing SFF fan material as part of Young People Read Old SFF [profiled here], but at some point I realized I needed a better outlet for writing about SFF—preferably one where I call all the shots. I’m very selfish like that. I also realized that a couple of my friends run blogs and, being a literary type, I thought it embarrassing that I didn’t run a blog of my own. After a bit of brainstorming, scheduling, and writing, I had created a new fanzine.
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?
It’s a blog. WordPress isn’t perfect (it can be glitchy at times), but it’s user-friendly enough and it’s more practical than a paper zine, as cool as that sounds. I’m not a printer—not even an amateur one.
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?
History is paramount. A lot of people love SFF but evaluate it in sort of a vacuum. There’s too much forgetfulness in fandom, and the low voter turnout for the fan categories tells me fans aren’t in touch with their own history (which, after all, involves the present) enough. For years I loved SFF but was stuck as a rogue agent, lacking context for so much of the field, until I started getting into other people’s fan projects.
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online. What do you think the future of fanzines looks like?
The era of the small-press fanzine that got mailed to a list of subscribers is basically dead. Well that’s sad. The good news is that the blog reaching maturity (user-friendliness and affordability) means that it’s now easy to start your own fanzine and spread the word through social media. I started using Twitter regularly partly so I could let likeminded folks know that I’ve made this thing and I think it’s good. Ah, but the bad news is that social media is terrible, and really, how do you find these outlets in the first place? A tough question that as a content creator myself I still have not been able to answer.
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?
I was inspired to start my own blog because of Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations, Galactic Journey, and James Nicoll Reviews. Those are the big three for me. The Journey especially is what finally pushed me over the edge. Gideon and Janice Marcus are such lovely people; I sure hope I don’t bug them in DMs too much. Then there’s The Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog, which contrary to its name covers more than just books! Speaking of which, for fancasts my go-tos are Hugos There Podcast and Hugo, Girl!, both of which have such good names that I’m a little jealous. As someone who is a little obsessed (but not terribly) with the Hugos I find them indispensable.
Where can people find you?
Thank you, Brian, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do visit Remembrance of Things Past and Future, because it’s a great blog.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast or a semiprozine and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.