Hugo Awards: Fanzine

I thought a fanzine was a self-published magazine written by fans with narrow subject focus but, like a magazine, containing a wide variety of articles. The Hugo definition is

“[…] anything that is neither professional nor semi-professional and that does not qualify as a Fancast (see below). The publication must also satisfy the rule of a minimum of 4 issues, at least one of which must have appeared in the year of eligibility.”

I had to look up this definition because two of the entrants met my definition of ‘zine but, to my eye, the other two were book blogs.

Of the five nominees, Black Gate withdrew and Elitist Book Reviews didn’t provide any content for the reader packet.

Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie
A Dr. Who-themed ‘zine. Contains Who-vian articles, historic covers, reviews, con reports, humor, and art. Looks professionally put together and edited. The articles are well-written.

The Revenge of Hump Day by Uncle Timmy (Tim Bolgeo)
Techy articles re-published from the interets interspersed with political screeds and tired, off-color, and offensive jokes. While the Whovian jokes were eye-roll-inducing for non-Whovians like me, the Hump Day humor was the kind that makes me edge away from someone at a dinner party to find someone else to talk to. Do you think Scientific American knows their article is being re-printed, verbatim, in a magazine that has off-color humor and political screeds? Does this fall under ‘fair use’?

Tangent Online by Dave Truesdale
Photos, historic covers, and reviews of current and historic SciFi. The reviews are interesting, critical, and well written.

Elitist Book Reviews by Steven Diamond
Feels like a traditional book blog — reviews, give-aways, interviews. Unlike the other entrants, Elitist Book Reviews did not put together a Hugo packet so I skimmed several reviews that were written last year. The range of books reviewed is eclectic: from Butcher to Mayberry to Mieville to Middle Grade SFF. It’s an OK blog, but neither witty nor insightful enough to be bookmarked.

To be honest, nothing really grabbed me in this category. I’m not a Whovian so Journey Planet bored me. Tangent seemed well written, but I would not seek out another copy. Elitist Book Reviews fell below No Award because I can think of a half dozen book blogs that have stronger, more interesting reviews. The Revenge of Hump Day fell below No Award because it was a compilation of stuff other people had sent the editor, and not a particularly interesting compilation at that.

1) Journey Planet
2) Tangent Online
3) No Award
4) Elitist Book Reviews
5) The Revenge of Hump Day

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