An Idiosyncratic Review

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Title: An Idiosyncratic Review
Publisher: Pen's Nest Press and Penny Robinson
Editor(s): Penny Robinson
Date(s): 1996 to at least 1998
Medium: print adzine, newsletter
Fandom: multimedia
Language: English
External Links:
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An Idiosyncratic Review is an adzine and newsletter. It was sometimes referred to as A.I.R.

From a flyer in Beyond Reality: "An intelligent reader's zine from the UK, containing ads, reviews, articles and a witty thought or two concerning any and all fandoms including slash, adult, and gen."

The fifth issue was published around November 1998. In 1998, the editor discussed putting the zine online but it is unclear if this ever took place.[1]

A short introduction appeared in the last issue of IDIC and outlined its planned content: "With the demise of the IDIC newsletter (sob!) I'm not sure where I shall find out what's new in the small-but-select world of fan fiction. And I do enjoy zines. So, I propose to produce An Idiosyncratic Review, at least once - whether it survives longer than that will depend on just how many of you are interested, we shall see."


From IDIC #48:

  • no more than 500 words, please
  • you are writing for The Reader (aka The Purchaser) so be honest
  • be as specific as you can about what you liked/disliked
  • be entertaining if you can, but not at the expense of truth
  • no pseudonyms (if you can't put your name to it, don't write it)
  • no reviews of any zine in which you have an interest in as contributor/editor etc.
  • include a rating of one to five stars
  • let me have details of where to obtain the zine, and its price


Summary from the publisher, ""An Idiosyncratic Review" is a newsletter for zine readers containing ads, reviews, and general articles, covering any and all fandoms. Published twice a year, the first issue appeared in November 1996. Average issue length is approx 20,000 words.

Readers! If you would like to read A.I.R., subscriptions are available in UK/Europe and in the USA. For details, please email me. Reviews, articles etc. are always welcome, and entitle the author to a free copy.

Publishers! If you would like to advertise, please send via email. There is no charge for zine ads. Ads will be repeated in the issue following first publication, after that you will have to renew. The editor recommends that you include some interesting details about your zine, but reserves the right to edit for length if necessary. If you wish to receive a copy of the issue containing your advertising, please make arrangements with the editor.

Authors! Editors! You are welcome to send your zine to be reviewed. Please enclose stamps/IRCs to cover return postage if you want it back."

A sample essay "Writing Tips For New Authors" printed in the last issue can be read here.[2]

Reactions and Reviews

  • "For all keen zine readers out there, I'd like to recommend An Idiosyncratic Review (AIR for short). It has a twice-yearly publication schedule, and its main purpose is to review and advertise zines. The editor is a Star Trek fan so Star Trek features heavily but the latest issue covered fandoms as diverse as Highlander, Man From Uncle and Pros (with a review of The Sorcerer's Web). Besides zine reviews and adverts there is a LOCs page and a section for short essays on subjects of interest to zine editors and readers. If anyone is at all interested in zines, AIR provides an enjoyable read and has led me to some good zines I wouldn't otherwise have known about Each issue is about 18-20 pages long." [3]
  • "Pen's AN IDIOSYNCRATIC REVIEW comes to mind as an excellent review zine. While I have disagreed with a few of the reviews (usually involving criticisms our format -- single column, space between paras rather than content), the zine is one I look forward to receiving."[4]

One Last Revival Attempt

In 2000, the editor posted the following plea for zine reviews to and

"I'm hoping there will be a few people out there in the wide world of fanfic who can help me. My name's Pen Robinson, and for a few years now I have produced a zine readers' newsletter called 'An Idiosyncratic Review'. I started it up because I love reading good fan fiction, particularly in zine

form, and wanted to get some idea of (a) what's available to buy, and (b) what's *good*. AIR has always been intended as a reviewzine, and has always had a decent collection of zine reviews, as well as articles on various aspects of fanfic, LoCs, and of course, zine ads.

I realise that not all of the people who read/write fanfic online are zine readers; nonetheless, I expect there are some out there who still enjoy seeing their fanfic in print form. For those among you, I have a request. A plea, even!

AIR is coming to an end. After seven very healthy issues, I'm now finding it incredibly hard to get hold of reviews, and a reviewzine with no reviews is a waste of everyone's time and money. So enough's enough. But I would dearly love to make the final issue really special - triple-sized, or thereabouts. For this, I need more reviews.

So - have you read any zines lately? Would you be willing to write a review of said zine for the final issue of AIR? You will, of course, receive a copy of it in thanks.

My guidelines are fairly generous, I think. Reviews should be of publications which are currently available - they don't have to be hot off the press, just purchasable. There are no word limits (though I may ask you to trim if I feel you're rambling - yes, I do my best to edit contributions, though most contributors are probably better writers than I am an editor). Reviews must be signed with your real name; I don't accept reviews written by the editor, publisher or sole author of a zine, but if you have a contribution of up to 15% of page count, you can review as long as you make your own 'interest' clear. Incidentally, although the header for this post is 'any good ones', don't let that deter you if you have read something that's very poor value for money, or even simply 'average'. We zine readers all know that not all zines are five-star bargains. Wit, humour and personal style are fine - more than fine, in fact; I just ask that nobody sharpens hir wit on the target without remembering that there is a human being behind that zine.

If you'd like further guidelines, and/or to see samples of previously published reviews before you have a go, please contact me. I'll be more than happy to send you what I can, and to give what help I can if you are not sure how to go about reviewing.

In addition, recommendations for fanfic websites would be welcome - a brief (one or two sentences) review of each website you recommend would be perfect.

Please pass this message along to anyone whom you think would be interested.

Thanks for your time."[5][6]


  1. editor's post to alt.startrek.creative Fanzines - What do readers want? dated November 8, 1998.
  2. WebCite accessed November 14, 2012.
  3. from DIAL #10
  4. Randy Landers's post to alt.startrek.creative Fanzines - What do readers want? dated November 8, 1998.
  5. Read any good (print) ones lately? dated September 27, 2000.
  6. Read any good (print) ones lately? , October 1, 2001