In the minutes before I send out a new issue, I always get butterflies. It’s a moment not only of pride, but of anxiety as well. Did I remember to update the circulation and issue numbers? Did I format all the submissions correctly? Is the JCL I send to Listserv correct? And the question that always concerns me most: how will the network react to the 100+ megabytes of traffic I’m about to generate?
Well, for Volume 7 Number 4 the answer to that question was: badly. And if you notice this issue’s circulation as compared to last, you’ll get an idea why.
When I sent out 7-4, I received errors from over 400 invalid recipients, and most of the error reports included full copies of the issue I’d sent. Now, sending an issue out is easy — I send just one copy to Listserv. But neither myself nor my upstream sites were able to effectively deal with the 50+ megabytes of rejected mail that I received. Oops! Hence the new policy of sending out a small “trial balloon” mail file a few days prior to sending the actual issue.
The rejected mail was almost entirely “unknown user” and “unknown site” messages. The latter appears to be a symptom of Bitnet sites switching to being Internet-only sites. Unfortunately, for many of these sites, I have no way to construct an Internet domain based upon their old Bitnet node name. I’ve tried to track down several sites, but the majority remain unknown. Anyone with any bright ideas on how to reach these people, please speak up!
This also highlights the importance of Bitnet users notifying me of their Internet domains. I’d encourage all subscribers who are on Bitnet to find out their Internet address and send mail to me at <email@example.com> to verify that I am sending to their Internet domain, rather than a Bitnet address that may expire.
Weighing in on the other end of the scale was the passage of the rec.mag.dargon voting by a margin of 156 to 37! Our old newsgroup, rec.mag.fsfnet, has been renamed rec.mag.dargon. It will not only be used to distribute issues, but is also open to postings by anyone, for open discussion between DargonZine readers and writers. I’d like to encourage you to post your comments to rec.mag.dargon, and again thank everyone who participated in the vote — it wouldn’t have happened without your help!
We have an interesting problem, however. Lots of wargamers started flooding rec.mag.dargon, thinking it was a forum for TSR’s Dragon Magazine. While we’re still dealing with the chaos that resulted, a number of these fantasy gamers have requested subscriptions! Since 7-4 came out in mid-October, over fifty new subscribers have signed on, and we’ve had the biggest influx of new writers in years!
Another pleasant thing that happened recently is that Christy Phillips has made the back issues of both FSFnet and DargonZine available in a special ezine library of America Online (AOL). She’ll also be making new issues available as they come out. This is a great development, because we’ve historically had problems getting issues distributed to AOL users, due to their flaky mail system and that system’s annoying and arbitrary email file size limitations. Kujos (sic) to Christy!
AOL users should be able to access the back issue collection via:
*Mac* users select “Software Libraries”
*All* users then select “Palmtop Paperbacks”
The path from there is: Ezine Libraries->Science Fiction/Fantasy/DargonZine.
With all that said, I’d like to welcome the readers who have recently joined us, and once again echo the familiar refrain. Spread the word about DargonZine to people you think would be interested, and if you’re a serious aspiring writer who’d like to join the project, we’d love to hear from you!
This issue begins with a short story about Derrio, Bill Erdley’s deaf squire to Luthias Connall. I met Bill on my road trip this spring. You should send him mail congratulating him on his recent marriage — and while you’re at it, congratulate him on getting “A Lesson Learned” printed, after it sat on the back burner for months. Bill will appear again very shortly with “the Evening After” and “the Scent of Balsam”.
Bill’s story is followed by “Grim” Jon Evans’ newest, “Tracks”, in which Goren Winston, the Lord Keeper of Gateway Keep faces an important decision. Grim’s a very gracious and laid back host, but beware his penchant for stealing your shampoo! He’s been one of the movers and shakers in the project of late, and he too will appear again very shortly, with “Storm Dancer”, the first installment in a new storyline that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.
And, of course, the omnipresent Max Khaytsus makes yet another appearrance with the continuation of his story “Kidnapped”.
So, read on! Oh, and write if you find work!