I realise that up to now I have said very little about fanzines here. I adore fanzines; old fanzines that crumble in my hands, paper fanzines that arrive in the post, virtual fanzines that paginate nicely on my iPhone (actually, I’m still waiting for one of them). And instead of heading for Denver this weekend, I’ll be sitting in a field. So I’ll naturally take some fanzines to read.
Three of the Hugos are given for fanac rather than professional writing; the Best Fanzine, Fan Writer and Fan Artist Hugos. Why Best Fanzine, rather than best blog, or fan fiction, or costume? A little quirk of history, I think; when the Hugos were invented, most fannish activity was taking place in fanzines and their letter columns. But anyway, the fact that the Worldcon still gives out these strange and slightly anachronistic awards is a chance to write a little about fanzines and why you might want to read some of them.
The five nominated fanzines this year include Plokta, which I co-edit with Steve Davies and Mike Scott; I won’t say much about it here. The other four nominees are Steven Silver’s Argentus, Guy Lillian’s Challenger, Chris Garcia’s The Drink Tank, and Mike Glyer’s File 770. And you can go and read them all online! I’ll wait.
They’re all nicer on paper, of course.
Only two of the nominees have won Hugos before, Plokta (twice) and File 770 (five times). File 770 is a zine of fannish news and opinion, agreeably regular and interesting, but I rarely look to fanzines as a news source these days. The latest issue has, amongst other things, an article much like this one; like this one, it goes on to consider fanzines not on the ballot.