If you read the HTML version of DargonZine, you should already know about our Online Glossary, which lists every character, place, and thing in the Dargon world. So for example, if you were to follow a link in one of our stories to the Glossary entry for the shadow boys, you’d be presented with an encyclopedia-like description of that group, and a list of every story that they appear in. You will also get a description of the role they play or what happens to them in each of those stories.
If you’ve been using the Glossary recently, that might not be news to you; all our new stories have provided this information for more than a year. However, it’s only now that I can say that the job of filling in reference data for all our back issues is finally done. There are now reference details for every single appearance of every Dargon element in every story we’ve ever published!
One reason why that’s worth noting is how useful that information is. For our readers, having reference details allows you to more easily follow your favorite characters and things through all their appearances in the magazine. By knowing whether the shadow boys play a major role in a story or are just a passing reference, you can more easily decide which previous stories you might want to go back and read. For our writers, that same information makes it much easier for them to research what’s already been written about Dargon elements that they might want to use in the stories they’re presently writing or outlining. In both cases, knowing not just what stories something appeared in, but also a summary of its role in the story, is valuable and useful, and we’re pleased to be able to make that information available to everyone.
The other reason why the completion of our “Reference Update” is noteworthy is because it was an immense job that required lots of effort and time from a large number of people. To create this information, we had to re-read more than 300 Dargon stories and write over 8,000 reference descriptions. That effort began more than four years ago, and its completion has been a top priority of ours since 1999. Our writers don’t join the Dargon Project to become researchers, but many of them voluntarily put a lot of their spare time and energy into pushing this goal forward, in the interest of helping both our readers and future writers.
You might not think of it at first, but the Reference Update is perhaps the single biggest project we’ve undertaken as a group, and after years of pushing, it’s immensely gratifying to be able to say that it’s 100 percent complete. I hope it helps our writers create more interestingly interwoven stories, and makes reading DargonZine a better experience for you. I want to publicly thank and recognize the many writers who donated their time to this effort. And having this finally behind us should free up resources that we can use on additional projects to make DargonZine even better!
In this issue we begin with two stories, each which has two authors. We begin with the first of the three-part “Triskele”, which was written by P. Atchley and Rhonda Gomez. The second story is “Flingers”, a cooperative effort between two people who live 8500 kilometers (and eight time zones) away from one another: Rena Deutsch and Cheryl Spooner. Co-authoring has once again gained popularity amongst our writers, with six stories among seven writers being published jointly in the past 18 months, and there are more on the way. Co-authoring will also be a major theme at our upcoming writers’ Summit. The the first half of Nick Wansbutter’s “Death Has a Pale Face” rounds out the issue. I hope you enjoy them all!
Our next issue will continue both “Triskele” and “Death Has a Pale Face”. It should appear in late June, and also feature a debrief from the 2001 DargonZine Writers’ Summit, which is being held this year in sunny California!