November 14, 2009

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My Time Annihilator

Written by Christopher
Self-Published

I don't really read them, so it's not often that I think of the concept of the fan zine, a self-published enterprise of love often about a favorite band or genre of music. Star Trek, during the dark years without the movies and spinoffs, might be the poster child for such an undertaking.

But did you know that there were fanzines for science fiction writing going back to the 1930s? I certainly didn't, but now I do, thanks to My Time Annihilator, which draws its title from one of the fanzine titles Christopher discovered in his research.

What started by accidentally running into a bibliography of fanzines became a little quest for the author, who even managed to snag a fake ID to use a university library to read some of the fanzines from this time period.

The results? A lot of uninteresting meanderings by people obsessed with their particular favorite stories, using jargon and slang that's so far out of style as to make it almost unreadable at times.

You know, like a modern-day message board for Dollhouse.

Christopher notes the similarity to modern fanzines and aptly notes that in fifty years what seems normal to use will be undecipherable to a person of the 2100s. (Just imagine what happens when they hit LOLspeak in their historical research?)

Perhaps most interesting to me was Christopher's discussion of how these zines were made, showing different examples from advanced silly putty to mimeographs. He also includes a few pages from some of the zines he discovered, and man oh man, science fiction readers really haven't changed much in nearly 100 years.

It's kinda neat to think of how the idea of writing a zine goes back into the days of the Depression, and I wonder if there were zines out there decrying Hitler years before the press would take up the task or anyone sharing personal stories about the Depression. Since the nature of zines are so fleeting, even today, we'll never know.

This was a great read, and I highly recommend it for those who are into cultural history. You can grab a copy at Click Clack Distro if you want to read more about a style of writing that literally is disposable but holds value for those who are interested in it. Just like a modern zine, come to think of it.