Helpers' Network Quality Fanzine Review Online
|Name:||Helpers' Network Quality Fanzine Review Online aka The Qfer|
|Dates:||mid-2001, on the Monday prior to the start of the New York convention|
|Type:||fanzine listing/formerly review zine|
|Fandom:||Beauty and the Beast (TV)|
|URL:||The Qfer; previous version|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Helpers' Network Quality Fanzine Review Online is a comprehensive listing of Beauty & Beast fanzines. It is the successor of a print review zine also called Qfer that was published by Nan Dibble and was transferred online in 2001.
Just the Facts
The information from the print zines was the starting point of the current online listing, however the format was changed from providing reviews to giving just the facts of the zine.
Two reasons were given for this change: the physical time it would have taken to retype all the information and fannish discontent on review content and objectivity.
What happened to the reviews? I don't know where to start reading, and want some guidance: We have made some changes to Nan's original format, and she is in no way to be held responsible for these changes! (Complaints and criticisms should be directed instead to the new keepers of the Qfer.) Most notable at this time is the approach of "just the facts" for each zine. While Nan's reviews have been VERY helpful to many, the thought of typing them all into the computer again sent shudders down our spines. After much thought and debate as to how best to translate the Qfer into an online publication, we decided that a strictly factual approach would be best. 
It was noted... that apparently there were some fans who felt the ratings system was not as objective as it could be. Of course, fans will always disagree on which zines are great and which are merely good (and which are not good at all!). Although Nan had intended the Qfer to be "evaluative" at a time when other "just the facts" zine listings were available, those other listings had all long since ceased publication after the Qfer became the "gold standard" for reviews. Thus, when Jackie and JoAnn began to prepare the consolidated Qfer, there were no other comprehensive zine listings online, and in order to create as objective a list as possible for the one such list that would be kept updated online, Jackie and JoAnn received permission from Nan to remove the ratings, and to shorten the reviews in order to remove some subjective comments. 
The editing of the online, current Qfer included several types of changes, including:
- taking out almost all descriptive words and opinion and leaving bare, dry descriptions: "Strong art borders" became "art borders." "Startling poetry" became "poetry."
- shortening reviews, many of them considerably: the comments regarding Dreams of Thee in the print Qfer read: "C, attacked in her basement, is taken Below by V, where she learns she's been blinded. How V/C cope with C's loss and how it's connected to yet other traumas in C's past is the subject of this well-written novel, which includes intervals of highly graphic V/C sex. V tends C, first Below, then in her apartment, steadfast against all her fears and despairs. Yet their closeness brings out all his latent anxieties and uncertainties...and it's C's turn to reassure and comfort him. In the course of this experience, they become lovers. The emphasis in this novel is more on character than on sex, which gives it substance the R/X rating doesn't necessarily connote. Although, in the copy seen, the proofreading left a bit to be desired, the writing is good, the scene-creation vivid and powerful, and the emotional exchanges-not only between V/C, but between each of them and Father-are strongly imagined and rendered." In the online Qfer, this becomes: "C, attacked in her basement, is taken Below by V, where she learns she's been blinded. Includes intervals of highly explicit V/C sex."
- some reviews in the print Qfer are not included in the online Qfer, perhaps due to a perceived too-frankness of language. One example is for The Crystal Tear. The print Q-fer had this opinion: "Earnest beginner's try to convey her feelings about how the B & B story should have been told. Ideas are better than the execution." The online Qfer has no description of this zine beyond the mention of a title, author, year of publication.
Why was it necessary to create the consolidated online Qfer?:
As Nan herself noted often, the primary utility of the Qfer was for fans to have access to information on in-print zines. As zines went out of print, reference to them was removed from future Qfers. By the time the 1997 Qfer was issued – the one in which Nan changed this practice - many zines had already been dropped from the Qfer.
Jackie N. and JoAnn B. approached Nan with the idea of going through all the Qfers in order to create a comprehensive list of all Beauty and the Beast fanzines that had been published throughout the years and posting it online, as well as adding zines which had been issued since the Qfer ceased publication. Nan was enthusiastic about the project, and lent them a number of Qfers for research purposes, although even Nan no longer had a full set of them. Still, between what Nan sent and what they had collected, Jackie and JoAnn had a large number of issues from which to draw.
It was noted above that apparently there were some fans who felt the ratings system was not as objective as it could be. Of course, fans will always disagree on which zines are great and which are merely good (and which are not good at all!). Although Nan had intended the Qfer to be "evaluative" at a time when other "just the facts" zine listings were available, those other listings had all long since ceased publication after the Qfer became the "gold standard" for reviews. Thus, when Jackie and JoAnn began to prepare the consolidated Qfer, there were no other comprehensive zine listings online, and in order to create as objective a list as possible for the one such list that would be kept updated online, Jackie and JoAnn received permission from Nan to remove the ratings, and to shorten the reviews in order to remove some subjective comments.Jackie and JoAnn worked on the project, on and off, for about two years, debuting the consolidated online Qfer in mid-2001, on the Monday prior to the start of the New York convention. Nan herself announced its appearance in her online Helper’s Network Hotline on July 16, 2001. 
What’s the future of the consolidated online Qfer?:
Nan passed away in March 2006, but her legacy lives on in the consolidated online Qfer. As the years go by, more zines are added – both those published after the Qfer ceased publication and older zines that became available for review.Is the Qfer still relevant now that so much fanfic is posted online? Absolutely! Because the truth is that, no matter how much fanfic is posted online, it’s a mere drop in the bucket compared to the amount of fanfic that’s locked in hardcopy format in hundreds of zines. This is one reason the Crystal Rose Lending Library is so important to fandom – the only way to read much of our wonderful fan fiction and see most of the gorgeous artwork created by fans is to find them in hardcopy zines. 
- Curiously, the original reviews seemed to have been made available at the Songs of the BlueBird (ezine) archive in Word format as early as 1999, so it is unclear why extra typing was raised as an issue.
- FAQ. What is the Qfer? (accessed 20 Dec 2009); WebCite
- from Q-fer, the Catalogue of Dreams, accessed February 8, 2014; WebCite
- Qfer History.
- Qfer History.