‘Zine Post-Mortem

And with very little fanfare – at this point, I believe that under ten copies of the last issue were made, and some of those were freebies for the folks who contributed articles – theLogBook ‘Zine ended in late ’95. I was concentrating more and more of my time on work (and on a search for a different job, a search which would be in progress through the summer of 1997), and since that work now included a bona fide UPN station as well as the Fox station, all of a sudden… Star Trek was work. And it was my hobby. I was getting a little trekked out.

This new medium of the World Wide Web intrigued me, and the cost of popping articles up on a sliver of web space provided by a friend of mine at the University of Arkansas was minimal next to the ridiculous costs of printing and paper and postage. As little business sense as it made, I liked the distribution model where the ‘zine was handed out for free around town. The web would make that possible on a grand scale.

The site proved popular, and it eventually migrated to web space provided by Mark Holtz at his similarly sci-fi-oriented site, Deep Space Franchise. Eventually the BBS distribution of ZIP files fell by the wayside and theLogBook lived on the web only. In 1998, after moving to Wisconsin for the aforementioned new job, I started paying for my own web storage and took charge of coding my own site. I attached it to Amazon.com’s then-young affiliate program and it started paying for itself and then some. A year later, it was a no-brainer to buy the thing its own domain name: theLogBook.com. (The first choice had been logbook.com, but it was being “squatted” on by someone who wanted five figures for it.)

theLogBook.com has been running ever since. There have been drastic changes in appearance, as well as a gradual realization that using something database-driven might serve better than a few thousand clumsily hand-coded (and, as time and web standards wore on, increasingly non-compliant) HTML pages. Adding a new article to any given section is a breeze now – and in any case, somewhere within a month’s worth of reviews, articles and forum posts, there’s probably enough material to fill at least two six-to-eight-page issues of the old ‘zine. Just for giggles, let’s try it.

Theoretical Issue PDF (1mb)

You see, the demise of the ‘zine is the best thing that could’ve happened. The web was, and is, a worry-free platform for publishing stuff, even if there’s no guarantee of a wide audience. It enabled me to stop worrying about the cost of getting the stuff out there and freed me up to just write – hopefully I turned out some stuff worth reading in the process.

It’s also fair to say that the transition from dead trees to the web also enabled theLogBook to blossom and branch out into other areas, not the least of which was Phosphor Dot Fossils. If I had tried to stick with a print ‘zine that was locked into one area of interest any longer, I might have been too burned out to continue with the site. I don’t know how anyone else would feel about that, but my life would’ve turned out to be a lot less fun. Phosphor Dot Fossils could’ve probably been its own publication at some point – and it will be, too, because that’s the next book I’m working on, to be released sometime after VWORP!1. It, too, will be a mixture of stuff from the site and – by a vast majority – original material that hasn’t appeared on the site.

It all comes back to print eventually. Because I love print. I always have. But it wasn’t worth coming back to that medium until the time was right and the right material was at hand.