Hugo Choices 5: Best Fanzine

Previously on Hugo Choices:

Current Hugo State of Play

Hugo Choices 1: Best Novel

Hugo Choices 2: Best Related Work – The Story of Moira Greyland

Hugo Choices 3: Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

Hugo Choices 4: Best Short Story

Best Fanzine

This is an interesting category with examples of the old and new as places that combine the two. Overall it is a competitive category. Castalia house has one and a half self-excluding entries: The Castalia House blog and Superversive SF. The Superversive blog is independent of Castalia but the bloggers also blog under that name on the Castalia House blog as well. Interestingly Superversive didn’t contribute anything to the packet. As either of them go, they are both largely inoffensive and have some worthwhile writing – although nothing remarkable.

The other three contenders are:
Lady Business edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale

Lady Business was a late replacement for Black Gate, which withdrew because they didn’t like being on the ballot because of Rabid shenanigans. File 770 I’ve covered regularly here. Tangent Online leans Sad Puppywards but is well meaning.

Of the three, Lady Business was the one I was least familiar with but it is a good example of modern fan-based blogging. Eclectic, analytical, their Hugo Packet entry includes and article with copious graphs and charts (10 bonus points for stacked column graph, 5 demerits for several 3D oblique pie-charts) as well as reviews and commentary. Very appealing in a why-wasn’t-I-reading-this-already way.

Tangent Online is a fanzine in a classic (if professional looking) mode. Focused on reviews and news of fiction magazines and tracking the history of SF and SF fandom. Many good articles plus a groan-worthy revisionist piece about Sad Puppies 4 are included in the Hugo Packet.

File 770 manages to do both – squaring the circle between a classic fanzine with deep historical roots in fandom and a modern blog living in the modern popular culture of wider fandom.  Cleverly the Hugo Packet contribution includes the collated regular Fanzine version of File 770 and a sample of the blog version. The trad-fanzine version demonstrates why File 770 is both important and has such staying power: good articles and retrospectives, news about fandom but also touching obituaries. The blog sample includes some of Mike Glyer’s key articles on last year’s Puppy Kerfuffle as well general articles by James H Burns and John King Tarpinian.

1. File 770. I’ll confess an obvious bias towards File 770 – compounded that I’ve got a brief cameo in the Hugo Packet. However the sheer range of stuff covered and its capacity to connect fan history with current events is unparalleled.
2. Lady Business. A great discovery. Fun and clever.
3. Tangent Online.
4. No Award.

Next up: Fan Writer!

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13 comments

  1. JJ

    I’m thinking along the same lines, although Tangent may squeak in above No Award depending on the results of some perusal of their site.

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  2. Mark

    Tangent do a good range of short fiction reviews, which is enough to guarantee then a place them over NA for me. I’ve yet to dive into the rest of their submission though, or for ladybusiness, but from what I read of them last year LB will be beating out Tangent.
    (I’m obviously F770 ftw, but my bias is obvious)

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  3. Cat

    File 770 and Lady Business both strike me as strong competitors. I may have a hard time choosing between them. I am well aware that Beale tried to get in front of some parades this year so he could pretend to be in charge–a trait that is cute in little children, but not so much in a grown man–so I don’t necessarily hold it against a work that it was on Beale’s slate.

    However Tangent is a Puppy supporter. As far as I am concerned, Puppy apologism moves it out of the “parade Beale ran out in front of” camp and into the “Beale trying to slate himself a Hugo” camp. And no. Just no. Below No Award it goes.

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