We need a ‘Support our ‘Zines Day’


Last week I put a call out for suggestions of magazines that as an SF fan I should be reading. My subscriptions have lapsed recently (its been a busy year) so this week I wanted to renew some subscriptions and start a few new ones. I wanted to do this because I get a huge amount of joy from reading and listening to good stories, and want to contribute to keeping the publications I like going. I think a lot of people feel the same. So why don’t more of us subscribe and donate to our favourite publications?

More on that idea in a moment. But first, where am I choosing to invest my hard earned £ / $ ?

Over the last few years I have had subscriptions with most of the major print publications. Interzone two years running, Asimov’s and also Fantasy & Science Fiction. For the last year however I’ve been reading the e-edition of Weird Tales, so decided to take this opportunity to take out a subscription to the much prettier dead-tree-edition. I’ll still continue to purchase e-editions of Interzone and the others through Fictionwise, but Ann Vandermeer has made Weird Tales a must read for me.

In the world of the small press ‘zine, I’ll admit to some partisan loyalties. Electric Velocipede is for my money not just the best ‘zine, but the most influential SF publication currently on the market. I might have considered Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Sybil’s Garage or Shimmer, but really EV was always going to win. John Klima consistently spots excellent stories and interesting new writers, which is exactly what I want from a ‘zine.

Online ‘zines have established themselves as some of the most fertile grounds for exciting new SF stories. Alongside the first on the block Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld and Fantasy magazine have also established themselves as first tier publications by any estimation. I’ve also found great reading pleasure in Faragos Wainscott and Serendipity among others. But for this year my donated  $ is going to Clarkesworld, which manages a consistent excellence that none other is quite managing to match.

I listen to an increasing amount of fiction in wonderful audio via my iPod. There are now some truly excellent SF podcasts to choose from, not least the wonderful Drabblecast where Norm Sherman reigns supreme as the worlds top narrator and singer of bardles. I might commision a song somewhere down the line for a special occaision, but for this year I’ve stretched my budget to manage monthly donations to Star Ship Sofa and Escape Artists, producers of Escape Pod, Podcastle and Psedopod. Escape Pod in particular has been a source of massive inspiration to me over the years. It was my real introduction to SF short fiction, as I’m sure it was for many people. With the news that Escape Artists is constituting as a Non-Profit to take its business forward, now seems like the time to give them as much support as possible.

So why didn’t I do this all before today? And why don’t more people subscribe and donate to their favourite publications? I’m going to suggest that its simply because we don’t think about it. We pick up magazines at cons and elsewhere, we read online and we download our podcasts. We are all happy to subscribe and donate where we can (no one expects anyone to pay or give anything more than they can afford). But the actual chore of filling out the form is too easy to overlook in the daily rush of life.

So. I think we need to do something to remind ourselves how much we love our ‘zines of all kinds and want to support them. I think we need a ‘Support our ‘Zines Day’. (SOZD) A day when everyone who has enjoyed reading and listening to them all year puts down cash and subscribes / donates to their favourite publications. I think we should support it through the blog and Twitter-sphere and everywhere else we can. And, unless anyone else has a suggestion, I think it should be on 1st October.


What do you think?


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

3 thoughts on “We need a ‘Support our ‘Zines Day’


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s