To me, a zine has a feeling of completeness to it. It’s not a record of a moment; it’s a record of a period of collaboration. There are zines that are entirely the work of one person, but they’re getting rarer and rarer, it seems. In a way, those are the precursors of blogs, as I see it. Most zines are a mixture of writing and art, laid out in some form. The end result is an artifact; something with cohesion and a sense of togetherness. Many would say that Zines are a form of communication, and I’m not quite sure I agree. There are lots of ways to communicate, and I’d never really use a zine for that. To me, it’s a place for presentation, to show some of what you’re thinking, to show off the work of other folks. I’m lucky in that I’ve got a band of friends who are willing to send stuff to me to include in the zines.
There are challenges that face zines. There’s the general aging of a lot of Fanzine Fandom. While we’ve got a string of youth woven in at the moment, there’s a lot of folks in their 50s and 60s. There’s the ever-increasing number of folks who might have gone in for fanzines back in the day who are now finding themselves blogging or engaged in other kinds of writing. There’s the costs of printing for those who enjoy the feel of their works on paper. There’s the problem of getting folks to notice what you’re doing. There are so many other forms of writing out there, and the view that Fanzines are an old folks’ pastime has helped to keep younger fans from checking out what’s going on in the world of zines.
I appreciate the perspective that Garcia offers, being a younger writer working in the more traditional style of fanzines. He's something of a bridge.
In regards to the Hugo Awards, I'm obviously a strong proponent of greater inclusion of blogs in the fanzine category. But, this is the only time of year I even think about fanzines as fanzines. The rest of the time I play in my small island of the internet, read books, and do whatever else it is that I do that I don't talk about here.
That's why Garcia's post is so cool. He made me think more about fanzines, some of their history, and some of where their relevance may still be. I don't think that I'm necessarily going to seek out a whole host of them since I don't read as many books as I'd like, nor as many blogs as I used to, but I dig the perspective that I was sorely lacking.