Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Thoughts on zines.

For multiple reasons lately, I've been thinking about online magazines. As many of you have noticed, Inkblots went down a while ago. It hadn't been updated since 2002-2003, aside from the blogs of Ken and I, but a perfect storm of catastrophes first brought the site down and then prevented me from bringing it back online. (Perfect storm = server dying + stolen laptop + corrupted archive + grad school.) Finally tonight I posted a simple "Inkblots is on hiatus" note. This makes me extremely sad, but I'm not sure what else there is to be done. Perhaps next year I'll have the time to resuscitate it, but for now I have things like my thesis to worry about.

That said, I've still been thinking a lot about webzines, in part because I'm looking for places to publish my work. What I've noticed is that the webzine as a format has grown ridiculously stagnant. What has arisen in their place is the blog – weblog empires like those that have flourished around Engadget are one thing, but it seems to me like there's an enormous void left in the world for honest-to-God zines that integrate new tools and tech. Derek's JPG is one of the few examples of new Web 2.0 zines doing it right.

A bunch of the zines to which I'd planned to submit are now dead and gone. Fuzzynet, Haypenny, 28MM, The Black Table, SerialText, Punchline, 3rd Bed, Cutbank, Blaze, Koi, Meomore, Galactica, Dirt, all have dissipated – and weirdly, Iron Circus has, I think, somehow transmogrified into a webcomic I just recently discovered and fell in love with, Templar, Arizona. I am, however, delighted to find a new crop springing up in their place, including the delightful Potion. I'd always known that the literary zine scene was ephemeral, but having edited one of these now-ghostly publications it makes me a little sad.

I need to take a closer look at the scene, that's for sure, but I'm not wholly positive that the game hasn't completely changed since I was an undergrad. What it's changed to I'm not sure, which is both exciting and unsettling, but that's life for you. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Or something like that.

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