Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Remember Fanzines

Today Julie sent me a heads-up email that two blogs - one of them from radio station WFMU - had pictured one or more of the Quantum Leap fanzines/newsletters I edited long ago. It turns out that io9 snagged the picture of The Observer #4 from WFMU's Beware of the Blog, which in turn snagged my photos, more-or-less uncredited, from a 2006 Outpost entry. No big deal; WFMU did include a link to the original article. The other blog did not, and so far has not "approved" my comment to their entry. Apparently a discussion of mild Star Wars fan porn meets their standards of information and amusement value, while my musings on the history of fanzines and the technology of making them did not. Or maybe no human has yet reviewed my application to be a commenter. Yeah, that must be it.

So I'll rant to you folks instead.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, about 1973, I read about the existence of something called Star Trek fanzines in a couple of books by David Gerrold, most notably The World of Star Trek. In November or December of that year I put together my own zine, 2-5YM, which was short for Second Five-Year Mission, something we Trekkies all longed for back then. That five page ditto led to my meeting my friend d, a young English teacher who later became a librarian. Soon we merged with STAR Syracuse, the local Trek club. We continued to publish 2-5YM until 1977, by which time it was published by offset press, if I recall correctly. At least a few issues in between were done by mimeo, typed for us by a little old lady in Fayetteville.

The Observer #1, late 1990

After I met my future husband at the Clarion '77 writers' workshop, and STAR Syracuse morphed into a Dungeons and Dragons group at Syracuse University, I never expected to edit another fanzine. But by March 1990 I found myself writing fan fiction, a crossover serial involving the Doctor (from Doctor Who) and Sam Beckett (from Quantum Leap) and a cast of dozens. That month I found my way into a new local Who club, later called United Whovians of Tucson, and was elected editor of its fanzine, TARDIS Time Lore, between pledge breaks at KUAT when I was out of the room. In August 1990 we asked permission to start a Quantum Leap fan club. The first membership cards for Project Quantum Leap were issued on Thanksgiving of that year, and the first issue of The Observer followed shortly thereafter. It was written in MS Word (3.0 I think) for Mac, and laid out in PageMaker, with pasteup involving photocopied art by Sherlock. It predated AOL and the World Wide Web, but not by much. By the time I turned The Observer over to Sharon Major to edit, Quantum Leap had a lively online community, PhotoShop was de rigeur, and PageMaker was passé.

I could go on about this, pointing out that fanzines existed as far back as the 1950s, which makes it silly to refer to a 1990s zine as "early." I could track the evolution of fandom as it moved online, if I wanted to make the effort of researching it properly, and note the technological changes along the way. But I won't, not tonight anyway. 'Cause as I researched this entry, I happened across a listing of myself at something called, and got sidetracked for two hours. Somehow they cobbled together an old business card of mine (or something) and one of my online bios, and ended up with a listing for Karen Christine Funk, an employee of Worldwide Travel. Two problems with this: I haven't been Karen Funk since 1979, and I haven't worked at Worldwide Travel since 2005.

In trying to correct that info, I found I couldn't "claim" the listing as myself because it required either an email address for me at Worldwide Travel, an email address at Syracuse University, where I was a student long before email existed, or a credit card number issued to Karen Funk. So I emailed through a contact page instead. Along the way I discovered that I've been almost as lax as they were in listing up-to-date info on myself online. My home page, last updated in 2006, implied I was still at First Magnus, although I didn't name the company. They folded in August 2007, of course. And my bio page, last updated in 2004, had me still at Worldwide Travel, and still going to school! No wonder the Zoom folks didn't get it right! So I spent an hour or two updating three of my personal web pages.

See, all those technological enhancements don't help much if we don't use them!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've had quite a Trek yourself. Imagine finding yourself in the Who's Who of Fanzines. chasferrus