Ode to File 770 (and a note on our changing culture)

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    I first made Mike Glyer’s acquaintance through the pages of a fanzine.

    file 770It was a copy of File 770.  It billed itself as a “newszine” and it came across as a bit more “inside baseball” than Locus did at the time (Locus was increasingly focusing on the professional side of the field and at the time my bias was more fan than pro).

    Science Fiction Review (Geis) also carried news, but the Alien Critic and other essays by Geis ended up stealing the creative thunder in that zine every single issue.  Andrew Porter’s Algol (and then Algol/Starship) also had “news of the field”, but Porter was doing what I wanted to be doing with my Contact:SF effort (a semi-prozine heading for pro status with fiction and non-fiction), so I tended to pay more attention to what Andy was doing on the layout and acquisition side of things.

    Suffice to say that while several leading fanzines of the daylocus were all doing news, File 770 (despite its other content) became the default “newszine” in my mind.

    I then met Mike in person for the first (and last) time at Iguanacon in 1978.  Where I had the disappointing task of having to inform him that the only part of Contact:SF (which by then had gone semi-pro) that I could show him was a tear sheet of the cover.  (American Airlines lost every single copy I was shipping to the con, which ended up financially killing it.)  Mike had offered to spread the news within the pages of his own (eventual Hugo Award winning) zine (after having a look of course) and I had been looking forward to a rapid climb within the world of fanzine fandom.  A Hugo award was not that far away in my mind at the time.  (Still isn’t, but I’ve got a warped sense of time.)

    sfr14But Murphy seems to have reserved a special place (a very special place) for me.  (It’s got rocks, hard places and all kinds of wonderful things just out of reach….)

    A few short years later I Gafiated (I went off to run around in the woods and shoot people:  talk about tempting Murphy!) and the world of science fiction, fandom, fanzines and conventions was reduced to little more than the shelves in my library.

    In the meantime, File 770 went on to get nominated and/or win a Hugo award.  In fact:

    1980 Nominee
    1981 Nominee
    1982 Nominee
    1983 Nominee
    Algol - 19771984 Winner
    1985 Winner
    1987 Nominee
    1988 Nominee
    1989 Winner
    1990 Nominee
    1991 Nominee
    1992 Nominee
    1993 Nominee
    1994 Nominee
    1995 Nominee
    1997 Nominee
    1998 Nominee
    1999 Nominee
    2000 Winner
    2001 Winner
    2002 Nominee
    2003 Nominee
    2004 Nominee
    contact-cover-page-112005 Nominee
    2006 Nominee
    2008 Winner
    2009 Nominee
    2010 Nominee
    2011 Nominee
    2012 Nominee

    Most of which I missed until returning to the fold around 2006, when I started up my The Crotchety Old Fan blog.  Mike was one of my first interlocutors there and we talked about all manner of things related to zines, blogs, the web and fandom, like I’d never left.
     
     
     

    Then, a few short years later and –

    “Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!” (Louis Tully, Ghostbusters, 1984)

    otherwise known as the Kerpupple,

    and File 770 jumped in with both feet and a whole carton of propeller beanies.

    Mike chose to do a daily news round up of the whole affair in the form of a link post.  Despite claims to the contrary, it was very nicely balanced and comments were moderated with a light hand.

    That has since evolved past its original puppy focus and has become the daily Pixel Scroll, a link post news round up of items Mike believes will be of interest to fans.  He’s batting about 1,000.  Comments on various links often stretch into the hundreds (and are frequently filled with an eclectic assortment of info, not to mention statements of such staggering idiocy that I’ve begun to rate them by how many times I have to slam my forehead into the desk in order to forget them.  Some won’t leave even after I’ve knocked myself unconscious.)

    The one thing that has impressed me though through it all is how much Mike and File 770 embody the fannish ideal.  I have the strong sense that Mike and I don’t align too well when it comes to personal politics (I could be wrong but that’s the impression) – but it doesn’t matter.  Instead of brow-beating each other over mundane BS in a vain attempt to prove which ideology is most idiotic, we stick to discussing fannish things.  Likewise, I’ve seen him comment on the discussion on his site – but only to correct facts or provide additional sources.

    One “side” has chosen to label File 770 as “…that wretched hive of scum and villainy” an epithet the website proudly displays on its front page (guess which “side”….) – but we know they read it, because not only do they show up in the comments, they frequently quote the site in their own rants, polemics and screeds.  Despite their protests, their involvement illustrates File770’s fair and balanced handling of the news.  (I’d throw in that “and unafraid” catchphrase, but that implies that there’s something to be afraid of, and there isn’t.  At least so far as rational, well-informed individuals are concerned.)

    So I for one would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike and File 770 for the work he’s been doing, for his even-handedness and his obvious dedication to the fannish way of life.  Which includes focusing on the things that are important and calling out the things that aren’t.

    ***

    The other day, my wife forwarded me a fan pic of Norman Reedus as Daryl from The Walking Dead that can only be described as erotic wish fulfillment.  Lest I be accused of seeing things that aren’t really there, here’s the pic:

    reedus

    Note the complete absence of a crossbow.  No zombies either.

    The wife sent it along because she knows I like The Walking Dead.  She and I need to have a talk about the differences between the actual show and fanfic.  Or slash/fic as the case may be.  There is a difference. (Can you imagine that show if it had been written by Robert Maplethorpe? I shudder.)

    4 COMMENTS

    1. I would certainly have been interested in Mapplethorpe’s interpretation of Walking Dead. He was a gifted photographer.

      • yes, he was. I was thinking more along the lines of the controversy one of his installation created and the subsequent attack on the arts. (MY tax dollars paid for THAT!!!)

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