Horizon Letterzine

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Zine
Title: Horizon Letterzine
Publisher: Horizon
Editor(s): Jackie Ophir (1-12), Neil Faulkner (13,14), Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin (15-21)
Type: letterzine
Date(s): 1992-1998
Frequency:
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
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The Horizon Letterzine was published by the fan club of the same name, Horizon

It ran twenty-three issues, the last one was published nearly four years after its predecessor.

Sister Zines

The letterzine was created in response to demand for more space than the Horizon Newsletter allowed in which to discuss the series.

Increasingly long gaps between appearances of the society's official newsletter, together with the need to edit letters of comment (LOCs) for reasons of space, fuelled demand for a forum in which fans could discuss Blake's 7 at length without fear of being cut. This was at a time when interest in Blake's 7 was undergoing a resurgence, with all the episodes being released on VHS by the BBC.

Other Blake's 7 Discussion Zines

Also see: List of Letterzines.

About

The Letterzine was published on a roughly quarterly basis, with the first appearing in January 1992. Content consisted entirely of LOCs, with no internal art.

In its first 15 issues, the Letterzine ran almost 280 LOCs from 54 contributors. Issues typically contained about 20 LOCs and ran for about 60 pages. LZ 6 contained 23 LOCs, whilst LZ 7 ran to 66 pages plus cover page. LOCs ranged in length from a few short paragraphs to ten or more pages. Regular contributors included Pam Baddely, Brad Black, Neil Faulkner, Russ Massey, Lois Pierce, Judith Proctor, Caroline Robertson, Louise Rutter, Andy Smith, Kathy Swadling, Sondra Sweigman and Ros Williams. Discussion ranged across the whole spectrum of Blake's 7 fandom, including character and episode analysis, technical speculations, and the nature of fannishness. Humour was an important component, with many aspects of the series being gently (or not so gently) ridiculed.

Fan fiction was, however, the single most discussed subject, with many of the contributors being Blake's 7 fanfic writers themselves and others becoming so after subscribing to the Letterzine. Many story ideas were debated in the pages of the Letterzine, some of them subsequently being developed into works that appeared in fiction zines. The Letterzine's enduring contribution to Blake's 7 fandom might thus be assessed as the inspiration it injected into Blake's 7 fanfic and the encouragement it gave to a new wave of B7 fan writers and editors.

A fan in 1992 wrote:
In general, I find the overall quality of the discussion in the Horizon letterzine to be vastly superior in both substance and prose structure to anything I've seen on the USENET newsgroups or in this mailing list. Part of that's probably the relative inexperience of the list members. There's been a lot of reinventing of the wheel going on, and sometimes it has square corners. [1]

Editors and Production

Production standards of the Letterzine were deliberately kept low to minimise cost and ease of production.

The first twelve issues were edited by Jackie Ophir using an Amstrad PCW and printed out on a dot matrix printer. Print quality was variable though never so poor as to become unreadable. LZ 11 and 12 were produced on a Sharp Fontwriter, with much improved clarity and readability.

Increasing work commitments forced Ophir to stand down as editor after LZ 12, the editorial reins being passed to Neil Faulkner. LZ 13 (April 1995) and 14 saw a reversion to dot matrix print, with LZ 14 being particularly faint and photocopying poorly in places. Disagreements with Horizon over editorial policy prompted Faulkner to stand down after editing two issues, with Lucy and Dennis Collin taking over the editorship for LZ 15 (November 1995). The letterzine continued to #23.

Declining Readership: Change in Management

The size of the Letterzine, together with the number of contributors and subscribers, declined by about 30-40% after LZ 11. This might be in part due to the apparent forthcoming demise of the Letterzine after Jackie Ophir announced that she could no longer continue as editor.

Declining Readership: No Slash Please

Increasing discussion of slash fiction in the Letterzine may also have contributed to the decline. LZ 14 included a lengthy editorial statement from Diane Gies (co-ordinator of Horizon) discouraging - though not banning - future discussion of slash. This and other editorial restrictions prompted Neil Faulkner and Judith Proctor to consider publishing their own independent Blake's 7 letterzine, which subsequently appeared as AltaZine and ran for seven issues.

The issue in question was that hoary old chestnut called slash. I had allowed discussion of slash to enter the pages of the HLZ, and several people - I think it was four in all - cancelled their subscriptions as a result.....Anyway, from now on - said she - no mention of slash was to be made in the HLZ. This directive was coupled with the way Judith Proctor had used her LOC in HLZ #14 to advertise - quite legitimately, IMO - a number of zines she had acquired from the States. Unfortunately, some of these were Ashton Press publications. There is an unwritten rule in Horizon that you do not advertise Ashton zines. You do not even acknowledge their existence. Even though Ashton produce some highly regarded publications - including the marvellous Hellhound series - Horizon is not the place to find about them. That part of Judith's letter had to be replaced by an editorial paragraph of mine, which was naturally not allowed to mention Diane's belief that Judith was deliberately shit-stirring by discussing slash and advertising proscribed zines. If you have a copy of HLZ #14, you will notice that some pages are barely legible. This is because my printer ribbon was worn out with reprinting the 'offending' passages, not once but twice, since most failed to meet with Diane's approval first time around. ...[2]

See The Blake's 7 Wars. See AltaZine.

Issue 1

Horizon Letterzine 1 was published in January 1992 and contains 46 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

It is stapled in the top left corner. Aside from the Horizon logo, there is no cover art.

Issue 2

Horizon Letterzine 2 contains 54 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

It features a rather crude picture of the Liberator (Blake's ship) with the power unit of the ship rendered as an overspilling mail bag, coupled with the emblem of the Terran Federation. This cover design was by Daniel Dresner. The zine was titled as the Horizon Letter 'Zine (no issue number). The pages are held together by two staples down the margin, and this binding method subsequently became the norm for future issues.

Issue 3

Horizon Letterzine 3 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

The cover for issue #3 features Dresner's reworking of his earlier design. The Liberator is more detailed, with a cascade of envelopes spiralling out from the rear of the ship. An open face font (in upper case) is used to identify this issue as Letterzine 3.

Issue 4

Horizon Letterzine 4 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

The only significant change for the cover ofissue 4 is the adoption of lower case for the title. The title page format is thus established and remained unchanged thereafter.

Issue 5

Horizon Letterzine 5 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

This issue saw the first appearance of a contents listing.

Issue 6

Horizon Letterzine 6 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Issue 7

Horizon Letterzine 7 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Issue 8

Horizon Letterzine 8 was published in January 1994. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Issue 9

Horizon Letterzine 9 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Issue 10

Horizon Letterzine 10 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Issue 11

Horizon Letterzine 11 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Issue 12

Horizon Letterzine 12 was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Issue 13

Horizon Letterzine 13 was edited by Neil Faulkner.

This issue is when slightly stiffer card covers are introduced.

Issue 14

Horizon Letterzine 14 was edited by Neil Faulkner.

Issue 15

Horizon Letterzine 15 was bound in stiff blue cardstock. It was edited by Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin.

Issue 16

Horizon Letterzine 16 was edited by Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin.

Issue 17

Horizon Letterzine 17 was edited by Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin.

Issue 18

Horizon Letterzine 18 was edited by Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin.

Issue 19

Horizon Letterzine 19 was edited by Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin.

Issue 20

Horizon Letterzine 20 was edited by Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin.

Issue 21

Horizon Letterzine 21 was edited by Lucy Collin & Dennis Collin.

Issue 22

Horizon Letterzine 22 was to have originally been published in roughly July or August 1998.

In September 1998, several fans on Lysator asked where the final issue was -- one waiting a month before her query:
I was wondering if anyone out there (particularly anyone in the UK) knows when the next -- and final -- issue of the Horizon Letterzine will be coming out. It was supposed to be sometime last month, so I figure a decent enough interval has gone by to allow me to ask the > question :-) [3]
There was talk of continuing it under new management.
I gather Diane has already been told that Sondra was enquiring about the LZ so contacted her direct with the answer... which (for anyone else's info) was that Debbie's computer had died, and it was either just photo copy everyone's handwriting or send it all off to a typist. This is what Diane did but alas the typist then had some major problems too, but it's now finished and was posted to Debbie for mailing out a couple of days ago. Hopefully Debbie will have it out early next week. However, it MAY not be the last LZ after all, because Carol, the lady who typed it up, has volunteered to be the new editor if there's sufficient interest. Accordingly, anyone who is currently a subscriber should let Diane or Debbie know they want to continue, and anyone interested in joining should email diane@horizon.org.uk to let her know. If it is to be resurrected, it will start in January 1999 (so that the possible resurrection can be advertised in Horizon NL 39 - hopefully out in November). However, it MAY not be the last LZ after all, because Carol, the lady who typed it up, has volunteered to be the new editor if there's sufficient interest. Accordingly, anyone who is currently a subscriber should let Diane or Debbie know they want to continue, and anyone interested in joining should email diane@horizon.org.uk to let her know. If it is to be resurrected, it will start in January 1999 (so that the possible resurrection can be advertised in Horizon NL 39 - hopefully out in November). [4]

References

  1. Subject: digest format, a post to the Lysator mailing list on Nov 18, 1992 by chevron (Lysator mailing list files are publicly accessible).
  2. Subject: Re: [B7L] Horizon 2.0/*Wild* accusations! post by Neil F. dated March 29, 2000.
  3. Lysator , September 1998
  4. [Lysator, October 1998