USS Atlantis NX-63546 presents...
Click on the above banners to go to Imaginations Unlimited download site and the Acrux download site...
Christmas should be a time when you can sit back and enjoy some light holiday reading. Fanzines, literally fan-made magazines, have been around since the 1930's and for the most part have survived the leap from paper to the Internet age. Today I feature two fanzines, Imaginations Unlimited, a member's project of Starfleet International, and Acrux, a new Blogzine that this month focuses on the Twelve Trek Days of Christmas.
I have used the following criteria to search for two fanzines to offer for your entertainment and edification: They had to be about Star Trek, they had to be free and family friendly and they had to be a fanzine as opposed to a newsletter.
Imaginations Unlimited is a Trekzine that follows the formula of providing a regular dose of fan fiction for it's readers. Edited as a members project by Jeff Davis, the chapter president, or CO, of the USS Indiana, which is a chapter of the largest science fiction fan association in the world (according to the Guiness Book of Records) Starfleet International (SFI).
There's an expectation in SFI that a chapter or 'ship' will have its own newsletter, like the ScuttleButt that I edit for the USS Southern Cross. There are often newsletters for the regions, such as the award winning Subspace Communicator. SFI has an excellent, long-running, tabloid-sized, hardcopy newsletter sent by mail to all members, Communique and has in the past produced their own fanzine, the last being Stellar Visions V which was released at the 2003 International conference at Greensboro, NC.
Jeff's fanzine follows the accepted Trekzine formula of a fan fiction anthology covering short stories, serials, artwork, poetry, filk, etc. He draws his material from a core of contributors in SFI's Region 1, covering Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North & South Carolina and Virginia & West Virginia although submissions from outside this area are welcome. Especially for the Twelve Trek days of Christmas he has released a 37 page Christmas special with a Christmas themed story from his long-running "Captain Ryan Chronicles" entitled "Not Quite A Dickens Classic". The Imaginations Unlimited website sometimes has issues with different browsers, so if you can't get the download links to work, use these direct links:
The term Trekzine has, to a certain extent become synonymous with the semi-professional fanzines that are for sale by mail order or from dealers tables at conventions. They still retain the flavour of their roots in the early Star Trek 'zines of the 1967 - 1987 era which is described in J.M. Verba's definitive "Boldly Writing". If you are interested in the phenomena you will want to get a copy of Jacqueline Lichtenberg's seminal "Star Trek Lives" as well which covers the whole fan experience of the time, not just fanzines.
The other fanzine for Day 2 is slightly more experimental and yet at the same time more traditional. Acrux is a fanzine that I publish as a personal project. Acrux is what you might call a blogzine, a fanzine created using Blogging software - very simple to set up and maintain and yet it has enough flexibility to have it's own individual look.
In my case, I've set up the front page using a four column template developed by Mauriya The Ripper and detailed by myself. This front page (set up to emulate the look of a four column newspaper) is the navigation and credits page, with everything linked to more standard formula Blog pages.
Drop by daily to see the inside scoop on how we have created the Twelve Trek days of Christmas. Plus - if I get time - my normal columns on fan films, audio dramas and paper-modelling. My philosophy is to try to get closer to the format of yesterday whilst still using cutting edge technology so, if you see something that you think requires a response, feel free to leave me an electronic 'Letter of Comment".
What does the future hold for fanzines? Well they're certainly not going to disappear altogether. Perhaps they will be relegated in the not-so-distant future to a historical curiosity? Who know? If we take as given that "content is king" then how much should the fanzine need to change? I think the challenge is to utilise changing technology to improve the mechanics of production, delivery and feedback so that the writer's content can shine through in a stylish, stimulating and entertaining fanzine.
All that's needed is to work out just the right combination of good fiction partnered with intelligent comment and feedback. Planet fanzine and Sci Fi Studios Magazine are examples of what I see as a step in the right direction to creating an easy & consistent 'zine using blogging style software.
What is for sure is that there will be a
steady and possibly growing audience for everyman publishing and for
those interesting in fanzines I'd say, be bold! Go for it!
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