If you’ve been with DargonZine for a while, you’ll know that every so often I take a few moments to note as we pass one milestone or another. I had planned this Editorial with the intention of noting the publication of our 300th Dargon story; however, in looking up the numbers I was diverted by the fanciful idea of measuring DargonZine’s output in terms of a bookshelf, rather than simple numbers. How many paperbacks would it take to contain all our stories? The answer surprised me.
I started with DargonZine’s output: our stories, not including editorials of course, amount to a tidy 1.5 million words. Then I consulted the FAQ for the Usenet newsgroup misc.writing, which indicated that the average word count for a standard novel is about 80,000 words. Dividing one into the other gave me a total of 18 trade paperbacks. That’s an awful lot of shelf space!
It also averages out to a little more than one novel per year over our sixteen-year history; however, lately our output has been higher than that. For the past couple years we’ve actually been printing stories at twice that rate, with no signs of slowing.
Eighteen paperbacks, and a another new novel every six months, is a whole lot of fiction. I can’t think of any other site with such a huge collection of reading material; and I certainly don’t know of another site where you can download all those novels absolutely free and completely ad-free.
This issue continues some of the traditions that have made us so successful. We begin with the conclusion of Dafydd’s two-part “Talisman Six”, itself a part of a huge serial that has spanned every DargonZine issue for the past two years. Already a novel and a half in length, the Talisman epic illustrates one of the more ambitious possibilities of the serial format.
Our other two stories both demonstrate how storylines in a shared anthology can overlap and intertwine. Rena Deutsch’s “Past, Present, and Presage” links her own storyline with Mark Murray’s longstanding series about Raphael and Megan. Also, although Max Khaytsus’ “Loren Armare” deals with the troops of his duchy of Arvalia, his third and last part in the series focuses mostly on Dalton, a completely unrelated character who was introduced by Michael Schustereit five years ago. These kinds of linkages between storylines are what makes collaborative writing exciting.
So enjoy these works as we celebrate publishing our 300th Dargon story. And be on the lookout for our next issue, DargonZine 13-11, which promises to be an absolute blockbuster, with five more new stories!