26 Feb 2010

This is how the Internet works.

  1. Neil Gaiman tweets cryptically.
  2. I click on @waitwait to see what it is. Discover it's a radio quiz show. I'm a fan of The News Quiz, so this might be my sort of thing.
  3. One more click and I'm streaming the latest episode. One further click and I've subscribed. It'll be on my iPod next time I'm in the car.

When it emerged last week that StarShipSofa could be eligible for a Hugo, in the best fanzine category, some sofa fans got excited. Put up a bunch of posts, tweets, recorded audio. There was some complaining that it was not the done thing to make such a noise about eligibility, especially when many of the people doing the shouting had links to the show. I suspect the people complaining have missed a fundamental nature of the internet.

The Internet? Is a series of tubes. On one end of one tube is you. On the end of most of the other tubes is people talking about last night's episode of Survivor Samoa. Or porn. But on the end of one tube, on the other side of the world, is someone who's enthusiastic about the same stuff you are. Actually, there's probably more than one tube. Which means, if you're into radio news-based quiz shows, or science fiction, or the Apple II, you can connect with other people who feel the same way. Fans. Fans have always made noise about whatever it is they're fanatical about. Only now, they're shouting their enthusiasm into the tubes.

If you've got a fanzine on paper? I'm not going to see it. I don't go to the same cons as you. I'm in a whole other country. Which is a shame, since it might well contain something I'd be interested in. But if you put that fanzine up on a blog, podcast, hell, even a YouTube video, then put the message that you've done it into the tubes?

You might have found a new reader.
And if I can communicate with you over the Internet, you might have found a new contributor too.

StarShipSofa is eligible for best fanzine.
I Should Be Writing is eligible for best related work. So is Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing
Escape Pod, is eligible for best semiprozine.
Clarkesworld, which has an excellent podcast, is eligible for best semiprozine.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, (which not only boasts a podcast but is available in epub format FTW!) is eligible for best semiprozine.

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