|Editor(s):||KathE Donnelly (who later became KathE Walker) and Joyce Thompson edited the first of them, with occasional help from Nancy Brown. Stephen H. Walker joined in at around issue #22. Karolyn Jobin was also on board for later issues.|
|Date(s):||Jan/Feb 1980 to March/April 1991|
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When Scuttlebutt announced they were going to quit publishing in '79, KathE Donnelly and Joyce Thompson decided to start Datazine (first published under the name Forum). Although it was less-than-pretty -- mostly because it was printed on an early dot-matrix printer for the first six or seven years -- it became the zine-buyer's bible, the Sears Catalog Wishbook of zine fandom. It came out reliably (rare for any zine), and gradually added more helpers: Debi Barbich, Susan Crites, Caro Hedge and others. Stephen H. Walker joined as co-editor around issue #22. Around 1984, two of the editors married each other and their computers co-mingled. It was in that year, as well, that part of "Datazine" was available on CompuServe (a Denver computer bulletin board), and the year the editors first got an electronic email address through the same.
Universal Translator started at the same time (for the same reason), and was much prettier. Though Datazine was more reliable, it never got quite the kudos UT did.
From an ad in Southern Enclave: "Datazine contains the most up-to-date information you need to know: fanzine listings, reviews, news, features, LoCs and more. Datazine is a great value. Even with the rising printing and postal charges, Datzine is still only $1.67 per issue. You deserve to know what is happening in the world of fanzines and you can trust Datazine to let you know. What are you waiting for?"'
Listings in "Datazine" were free, and fans subscribed to the zine. In 1983, rates were 3 issues for $6.00 and 9 issue for $15.00 (U.S).
Each issue included the "Anatomy of a Listing" -- an example that explained the somewhat terse ad for each zine. In the beginning, fans handwrote or typed up their submissions on whatever paper they had handy. Later, the editors included a submission form, and required it to be filled out with a typewriter, saying that as all of the mistakes in zine listings were due to being unable to translate handwriting.
Several features and columns came and went. Early issues had a column by Susan Crites called "They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Typewriter," a series about the nuts and bolts of fanzine writing and publishing. For about fifteen issues, Sharon Macy wrote a serial, a Mary Sue spoof called "Marisoo Tudewesque." Reviews were plentiful; an early reviewer, Tigriffin was a controversial regular in early issues. Some issues contained no reviews, others many. There was two all-review issues. Later issues began to include images, fairly crude by today's standards, of zine covers in ads. These listings were free as long as the fan did all the layout. Later issues also included paid ads for zines, though this didn't really take off; most of these ads ended up being for Ankh Press and for the zines issued by 'Datazine' itself. Intergalactic Trading Company often bought ads. In 1983, a cartoon called The Moppies began to appear on the back page, something that ran for a number of years. 1983 also was the year each issue had a crossword puzzle. In 1984, Don Harden included a Star Trek trivia column called "Beta Five Snobbery" that had been a regular in APOTA. The cover art for "Datazine" was, at first, all done by Debi Barbich. Many other artists did covers for the later issues, though their contributions were often credited in a haphazard manner.
All issues included sections on "Zines in Print", "Zines in the Planning Stages", "Bits and Pieces," a feature that had ads and miscellaneous personals from fans, and "Personal Statements" which was a section that was filled with fans asking other fans in public about where their ordered zines were, of zine eds apologizing for late issues due to technical difficulties, family issues, and illness, of zine eds disassociating from other zine eds, and many, many fans blaming the Post Awful for communication problems. There were personal statements in issues 16-54.
Reactions and Reviews
I've been a a reader since before the large, size, back when DATAZINE used typewriters and (apparently) printed offset, which resulted in some dim copy at times. Had it not filled a need, DATAZINE'S looks would've been a killer, but there you are. DATAZINE has grown and changed with its readers, sometimes a bit wonkily, but ish 36 proves people who care are at the helm. DATAZINE is coming into its own, finally. For many months the typestyle was dot matrix -- still is, technically-- but number 36 is nearly letter quality, as well as larger and easier to read, though this will waste some space. I'm sure the editors will learn to tighten up space to accommodate this, however. The latest cover is halftone, which is fine for a change, but I hope the editors don't plan to totally abandon the fannish cartoons. I've gotten many a chuckle from them. The offer of your zine's cover art cheaply reproduced by your zine's listing is a step in the pro direction, and zine-eds should not pass up this opportunity for recognition! The layout of each listing has been streamlined, as well, and is as logical as a Vulcan. No mention of DATAZINE would be complete without a nod in 'Marisoo Tudewesque's' direction and it is difficult to remember what DATAZINE was like pre-MT. Like the nudge-nudge-wink-wink, say-no-more title of this spoof of our fave heroine of Fandom (that's capital F fandom), the yarns she finds herself immeshed in are pure art-imitating-life-imitating art, and it's a relief to see that fans can laugh at themselves. This is especially a relief in the case of media fen, in particular Trekfen, since we are so often accused of the unintelligent opposite! Still, this hit-and- miss series (will it ever end?), I can't help but occasionally begrudge it the space it uses, since zines have so few places to be aired. For the same reason, I feel the pro-zine reviews should go. They already have forums (fora?) aplenty. Still, on behalf of the principle of IDIC... let it go, I guess. DATAZINE is more than just a list of zines; it's fans "touching" fans, for better or worse. "Personal Statements" and "Bits and Pieces" plug a hole no other infozine corks, and the "In The Planning Stage" is the perfect "twilight zone" for fledgling zine-eds or those with high hopes. For what you get, the price is more than reasonable. The typos are getting less pesty, and if you have a problem, don't be shy; speak right up! I speak from experience when I say that while DATAZINE may be computer-printed, it's people-run. And that covers a multitute of sins. 
FORUM is an information fanzine devoted to the world of fanzines. It is updated and published every six weeks. I have FORUM #11 (April 5 - May 15) on hand as a representative copy. The bulk of FORUM #11 is devoted to fanzine listings," which are divided into 3 groups, fanzines now in print (150 entries) , 'zines about to go to press (17 entries), and 'zines in the planning stages (78 entries), No attempt is made to segregate domestic from foreign fanzines. While most zines listed are Star Trek 'zines, you can also find zines which contain material from other universes such as SW/TESB, The Prisoner, Dr. Who, Dracula, Starsky & Hutch, Wild Wild West, Bonanza, Alias Smith and Jones, Laredo, Man from Atlantis, Muppet Show, M*A*S*H, Sime/Gen, Questor Tapes, Klysadel universe, Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Incredible Hulk, Dark Shadows, Sherlock Holmes, the Beatles, Battlestar Galactica, and Space 1999. Fanzines are listed in alphabetical order by fanzine (or sometimes press) name. A typical issue may (or may not) include any of the following information about the 'zine, fictional universe, author(s), illustrator(s), title(s) of story, plot synopsis, page count, price, publication date, method of reproduction, and whether or not an age statement is required. All entries include an address for inquiries. The ordering information on available 'zines could be more complete. The layout is readable, but the print is occasionally faint. FORUM also includes personal statements ("my "zine is late because..."), reviews, and other odds and ends. 
The End of the Run
Issue #63 appears to have been the last issue. The Monthly notes in its September 1991 issue that it heard that Datazine had ceased publication, and in the October 1991 issue, confirmed Datazine's demise.
"Datazine" also issued a series of calendars: see below.
This zine's name was changed from Forum to Datazine with issue #22, though both names were listed on the cover until #26. Issue #27 is the first issue with only Datazine on the cover.
About the title change: Stephen H. Walker, editor, explained that when they went to register the title of their fanzine as a trade name, they found that "Forum" was already taken, so they took the name "Datazine" instead.
In issue #22, the editors mentioned the idea of making a separate section for "adult zines." This wasn't mentioned again, and nothing came of it.
Examples from a few early issues in 1980:
- Naked Times #3: "Naked Times is a K/S zine. Do not order if you are offended by same-sex relationships."
- Menagerie #16: is "a trekzine"
- Mirrors of Mind and Flesh: simply says "age statement required"
- Nightvisions: called a "K/S love story"
- Nome #2: "a trek genzine... this zine will contain K/S and other adult material -- therefore an age statement must accompany all orders"
- R&R: "adult material, read at your own discretion"
- Forever Autumn: "an 'adult' Starsky and Hutch novel. It deals with the possible development of the relationship between Dave and Ken after the aired episode 'Starsky vs. Hutch.' This listing did not require an age statement.
In the July/September 1985 issue of Datazine, the editors began to use two labels for Star Trek fanzines: ST for non-K/S fanzines, and K/S for that genre. It was done without fanfare or explanation; the code simply appeared next to the appropriate listings. It was, however, not done with a lot of consistency, and the savvy fan would still need to count on the zine's summary for more information on the genre.
The Personal Statements section was started in shortly after Datazine began. It was filled with fans calling out other fans for various infractions, of fans complaining of money sent for goods not received, of zine eds breaking off with other zine eds, of zine eds running off with stashes of money, of fans turning in other fans for borrowed zines that hadn't been returned, of zine eds profusely apologizing over and over again for late zines and citing illness, money problems, hyper children, deadbeat spouses, religious conversion, IRS problems, military deployment, eviction, child custody issues, and death and taxes. Some personal statements thanked fans for patience and apologized for previous letters of slander.
A Typical Datazine in 1990
At that time, each issue was 40 full-size pages, with three full pages of reviews, photo-ready ads for zines, three or four pages of offers of used zines, and 30 pages of information for zines Now In Print. It was sold by subscription, three issues for 8 dollars US, and included prices for Canada, Europe and "overseas". Display ads were $5 per vertical inch. Zine listings were free if you used their subscription form (which you had to send away for, with a SASE). They were constantly on the look for Cover Art and Zine Reviews; submissions were paid in free issues or free adspace. (And for zine reviews, there was a copyright notice, "All rights revert to the contributors after the initial publication." Most zines did not have such a clear copyright policy.)
In 1990, they covered 20 different fandoms, as well as K/S (as a separate listing), Media (standing for multimedia), Horror and "F/S" Fantasy and Science Fiction. The fandoms are a listing of what was appearing in (mostly gen) zines of that year: Air Wolf, Blake's 7, Battlestar Galactica (1978), Blade Runner, Beauty and the Beast, Doctor Who, Equalizer, Miami Vice, Star Trek/Star Trek: The Next Generation, Professionals, Robin of Sherwood, Shadow Chasers, Starman, Simon & Simon, Star Trek, Man from UNCLE, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, War of the Worlds, and Wizards and Warriors.
There was heated protest in the November 1980 issue of "Datazine" and in an issue of Interstat published around the same time and concerned a zine reviewer. "The regular reviewer for Forum at this time signed as Tigriffin. This reviewer was more acerbic and less professional than H.O. Petard of Spectrum. I still have no idea who Tigriffin was. But Tigriffin wrote many reviews, and initially had the irritating habit of referring to himself or herself in the third person." 
The reviewer comments: "When Tigriffin was a dear little grifflet, it's mother told it to never say anything [bad], if it couldn't also say something good. Trigriffin had a near-silent fledglinghood. But with maturity comes the realization that others must be allowed their otherness, and that karma will get you if you don't watch out. Trigriffin also believes that reviewers who hide behind their pseudonyms to give their nastiness free rein aren't playing fair. So let it be shown on the record that Trigiffin only wishes to remain anonymous so that it can review impartially and remain unaccussed of favoritism to friends or undue harshness to non-friends." 
"Despite this disclaimer, by November there was a heated protest, both in Interstat and in Forum, of Tigriffin's review of Dilithium Crystals, a Star Trek fanzine from Jacqueline Edwards... Critics took Tigriffin to task for having little good to say about the fanzine." 
Issue #8 has a column titled "Tigriffin Reviews Tigriffin." "In [this column], the anonymous reviewer defended herself (and she did refer to herself as 'she'—third person singular, as usual) against her critics. The defense consisted mostly of, 'I have a right to express my opinion, whether it is favorable or unfavorable.' After this, her reviews were much more restrained." 
Maureen Garrett, director of the Star Wars fan club, sent a letter to issue #14, requesting a halt to what Lucasfilms considered pornography. She sent a follow-up letter to issue #16, saying this move was one of ownership, not censorship.
Read more here: Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers.