Let's Hear It For Cheap Zines!

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Title: Let's Hear It For Cheap Zines!
Creator: Maggie Nowakowska
Date(s): June 1985
Medium: print
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Let's Hear It For Cheap Zines! is an essay by Maggie Nowakowska.

It was printed in Blue Pencil #1.

It is a counterpoint to What Happened to the Cheap Zine?.

The Essay

LET'S HEAR IT FOR CHEAP ZINES! Zines that don't break the buyer's budget. Zines that don't demolish the editor's savings and nerves. Mimeo zlnes. Line-art-only zines. Zines without presstype that costs $7.00 a sheet. Zines that don't tip the Post Office scales into the Twilight Zone and beyond. Zines, in the simplest of old-fashioned fandom, that are for fun, fancy and that story you were always dying to hear.

Every UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR that arrives carries more and angrier complaints. From buyers who worry where their double-digit priced order has gone to. From editors who apologize for not having the time, money, and energy to meet increasingly higher fannish expectations while still feeding family, car, rent, and themselves.

THIS USED TO BE FUN. (Yes, a lot of work, always, but such is what collation parties, flexible deadlines, and low prices are about.)

PEGASUS began as a mimeo zine. DANESWOMAN and other classic ST zines were the same. MASIFORM D still proudly displays the fine old low tech. We DON'T need offset, metal plates, artsy-craftsy design to prepare a reasonable, readable zine.

Is it worth the mental anguish, the broken friendships, the shattered communications that all this macho is costing us? The older fandom that grew fancy is exhausted, slowing down; the newer fandom is too terrified to follow in their footsteps if those footsteps are gilded, glossy, and dripping with four-color extravaganzas.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE DAYS when fancy decor in a zine meant someone who had a cousin who worked for an art supplies store. When two years between issues meant someone was on sabbatical, in the hospital, or just got promoted/had a baby. When the occasional dreamzine was just that: an occasional treat meant to thrill the taste, not rot the teeth.

For we are driving ourselves into the ground. We DON'T have the money, time, or energy to maintain such universal magnificence. We have improved ourselves into a corner. We are not small presses, or art galleries. Let the reviewers go back to judging a zine on ideas, entertainment and intention. Let the artists put together portfolios if they cannot meet the requirements of their printers. Let the editors go back to being fellow fans with a fetish rather than pseudo-professionals with no backing.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR CHEAP ZINES. Lots of zines. Zines that
 connect us to each other with ideas, laughter and comment,

instead of dividing our fandom with checkbook, broken promises,
and flash.