Here it is, DargonZine 20-3, right on schedule. Oh, wait, is it September already?
So it would seem. Yes, it’s been four months since our last issue. Frankly, it’s my fault. Ornoth Liscomb, our leader for most of the life of the Dargon Project and on back to the original FSFNet, the true beginning of the zine, decided to turn over the reins of leadership about a year ago. Somehow, I managed to get elected to replace him. Okay, actually, it has taken a team of us to replace him, and I’m the leader of that team. So far, I’ve figured out that means I get to keep the project members organized, which I would liken to herding cats (because sometimes even trite metaphors are apt). It also means that I get to learn the work necessary to publish the zine. At the 2007 Summit Orn and I agreed that I would do that by publishing this issue.
It was challenging to say the least. I always knew a lot of work went into issue production, but I had no idea how much. Apart from the volume of work, I had to learn to use no less than a half-dozen different software applications, not to mention all of Ornoth’s helpful macros and programs that went with them. The zine almost died a few times in the process. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, or at least artistic license, but I was pretty sure at times that I was going to have to find someone far more web- and code-savvy than me to produce the issues.
Through it all, though, I had the Voice of Ornoth to guide me. He actually recorded something like five hours of screen video with voiceover on all of the issue production steps. It was very helpful. Sadly, though, Ornoth tends to talk in great detail about things that are intuitively obvious to me (like how to decide which stories to publish), but he blazes through the stuff that I have no idea about (like the keyboard shortcuts for Unix), but which are intuitively obvious to him. Also, Ornoth’s helpful macros are only helpful if you understand what they are supposed to do.
Orn got to suffer through it a bit, too, like the Sunday afternoon when I called him for help right after he finished his 200 mile bike ride for the Pan-Mass Challenge, through which he raised over $9,000 for the Jimmy Fund this year alone. Instead of resting and basking in the glory of another successful ride and fundraising effort, he had to help me figure out why one of his helpful programs wasn’t helping me.
But we got through it all, and here it is at last, DargonZine 20-3. We won’t have a long delay like that again due to my learning curve. In fact, I am already hard at work on DargonZine 20-4, which will be published in early October. If you listen closely, you will no doubt hear me cursing at my screen.
I do hope you think that the stories in this issue were worth the wait. We have three stories for you: two enjoyable tales by Dafydd Cyhoeddwr, our most productive writer by a huge margin, and the seventh installment of Nick Wansbutters’ fantastic Great Houses War, the second largest single-writer effort in the history of the zine (the largest belongs to the aforementioned Dafydd).