The Changeling Known
Hello folks, allow me to introduce myself: my name is Victor Cardoso, and I’m DargonZine’s marketing lead. While I’ve been known to write a story here and there, today I’m writing the editorial piece for DargonZine 21-4, the final issue of the year.
The closing days of 2008 bring with them several important milestones, both for the ezine and for the country where most of its current writers live: 1) we are, thankfully, one step closer to the end of the first decade of the new millenium, getting us past the awkward “aught” years and well on the road to defining a solid identity to the 21st century; 2) the United States is receiving a change in leadership which will hopefully allow further healing of this nation following 9/11 and the series of political decisions and actions which, while attempting to help protect the American people, mainly resulted in isolating us from the world community; and 3) the DargonZine publication looks to celebrate 25 years of existence.
Now, out of those three, the zine’s achievement seems somewhat trivial. And yet, for its members, it’s something of a minor miracle. Twenty-five years is a long time for an organization that started out as a college student’s dream to connect with other science fiction and fantasy aficionados, reaching out across a computer network that’s as far removed from today’s Internet as Ford’s Model-T is from the latest Toyota Prius. With boom and bust cycles of readership and membership, this little zine has managed to continue, more or less, with its original purpose intact: to help authors improve their writing skills through collaboration and contact.
And while DargonZine’s continued existence is due as much to one college kid’s stubborn insistence over the years, an important part of its survival is that it focused on its member authors. That’s not an easy thing to do. Writers tend to be stubborn individuals with a burning desire to express themselves. And once they become comfortable, it can be hard to get them to change their ways. If you’ve never gotten the chance, peruse the requirements of some publishing houses or small presses: most still want printed copies of material sent to them. Double-spaced. In envelopes.
In this age of plasma displays and fuel-cell cars, the idea seems as anachronistic as a rock band relying solely on acoustics to deliver their music to the far reaches of a football stadium.
DargonZine began as an experiment that used cutting edge technology to reach out and unite a disparate and underserved group of people. And yet, as time went by, its own members grew comfortable with certain technological aides and refused to move beyond them. Because of that, the zine lost some of its edge — some of the excitement that comes with doing something in a new way that few others do. In 2009, we plan to change that. If you’ve followed us over the last 6 months, you’ve seen changes in our design, changes in our distribution, and behind the scenes, there have been changes to our communication and recruitment of new writers.
Change is coming to DargonZine.
We invite you to become a part of that change. Become a fan of DargonZine’s Facebook page or subscribe to our RSS feed. Perhaps you’d like to help us out (immensely) by donating to our web-hosting fund, knowing that you’re helping to support an institution that carries the title of the longest running fantasy ezine on the internet.
And, by the time you read this, our first Kindle issues will be available for that revolutionary device.
2009 will be an amazing year for DargonZine. As we look to reinvent and reinvigorate ourselves, we invite our readers to help us with the process. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to offer feedback, suggestions, or even birthday wishes.
We look forward to hearing from you.