Three months of jury duty is a nightmare.
Or it would be for most people. For me, on the other hand, it was something of a sabbatical, increasing my free time and enabling me to put some major time into updating the DargonZine Web site.
I spent this free time reviewing how our Web site was organized and coming up with changes that will make it easier to use, as well as lots of ideas about new services that will benefit both our readers and our writers. Some of those changes have been put in place already, and some (probably the best) are yet to come. As with any Web site, the DargonZine site is never “finished”, but will continue to evolve over time with changes in the information it delivers, the technology which delivers it, and the aesthetics of those to whom it is delivered.
But I can at least announce some of the recent changes. The most notable addition to the Web site at this time is the availability of all of DargonZine Volume 7 (calendar year 1994) in HTML format. It is our goal to convert all our back issues to HTML, but we have a lot of back issues and it’s an arduous and time-consuming process. We now have the past four years online, and will continue to convert more as time permits.
In addition to the back issues, we’ve reorganized certain sections of the Web site and updated many pages. We’ve added several new maps to the “About DargonZine” page, as well as recalculated the results on the “Reader Profile Responses” and “Questionnaire Responses” pages. The “Archives” section has been revised, as has the “Links” page, the “Writers” section, and the “Current Issue” display on the splash page.
Future changes include major revisions of the “Subscriptions” section, as well as reorganization and clarification of the “About DargonZine” and “Dargon Resources” sections. In addition, we’re developing a new format for our stories and issues, as well as introducing a site-wide navigation bar.
So expect continuing changes in the site as it evolves and improves. And let us know if any of the changes work particularly well or particularly poorly. After all, the site has to work for you — the reader — or it hasn’t served its purpose.
The other big news is the upcoming 1997 Dargon Writers’ Summit.
Despite the fact that we’re working together constantly, DargonZine’s writers have very rarely had the opportunity to meet face-to-face. And it wasn’t until 1995 (ten years after FSFnet’s founding) that we tried to organize any kind of formal gathering.
In that year, we held a very small gathering in Boston, and last year we held a slightly larger gathering in Denver. Both were trial runs designed to gauge whether larger organized meetings would be feasible and productive. Both the Boston and Denver meetings were successful, and so this year we’re trying our first larger gathering.
The 1997 DargonZine Writers’ Summit will take place the weekend of May 10th in Washington DC, and will be hosted by Jon Evans. We’ve got a lot planned for our 48 hours together, and it should be both a fun and productive weekend. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it both in our next issue as well as on the Web site.
This issue starts out with another new story from project co-founder Jim Owens, who continues his ongoing depiction of the lives of Levy and Sarah Barel. In this episode, we get to see a little more of their interaction in a story that says a great deal without shouting.
We then continue with “Night Two”, the second story in Max Khaytsus’ new Deep Woods Inn series. We learn a little bit more about what happened in the previous episode, and the travellers are faced with a difficult decision.
Josh Brown joined the project last October, and stayed only long enough to see “The Long Way Home” through to publication. He’s given in to the pressures of real life and left the project, but assures us that he’ll be back shortly.
Finally, DargonZine 10-3 culminates with the climax of Mark Murray’s long-running series about Raphael and Megan, Kell and Loth. But you can bet that it certainly isn’t the end…
Enjoy, and look for us again in June, after the Writers’ Summit!