When I launched this site, I told fellow editors that we needed to focus on our strengths and accomplishments to make our case. In a page right out of Horton Hears a Who, we’ve stood up and screamed “We’re here! We’re here! We’re here!” and I think people have heard us. Now we count on them to do what they believe is right.
Several times over the last few months, the discussion has turned to “we know the category is defined poorly, but first we must save it.” My mistake has never been addressing what comes next. Next we fix the definition.
I’ve been told that far greater minds have tried to address the problem, but sitting here hip-deep in semiprozineland (and speaking entirely on my own behalf), I’d like to offer you what I see as the defining characteristic of a 21st century semiprozine: their editors don’t make a living at this. Seeing Mike’s discussion at File 770, I feel for him. The definition of Fanzine is changing under their feet as well, but at its heart, it seems that a lot of people believe that a defining characteristic of Fanzines is that they don’t pay anyone. So how is this for a crazy and overly simplistic model for the future (should we survive):
Fanzine: A publication primarily devoted to science fiction and / or fantasy in which contributors and editors are unpaid.
Semiprozine: A publication primarily devoted to science fiction and / or fantasy in which contributors are paid and from which none of the staff receive their primary income.
Professional Editor (short form): An editor, not covered by the above categories, of at least four (4) anthologies, collections or magazine issues primarily devoted to science fiction and / or fantasy, at least one of which was published in the previous calendar year.
So that’s my little pitch for the future. First we save the Semiprozine Hugo and then we make it more meaningful. In the last few months, I’ve come to know a lot more about my colleagues in the semiprozine category. Representing them as a nominee and through this site has been an honor that cannot be taken away, win or lose. It is my sincere hope that the Best Semiprozine Hugo is around for years to come. I hope that you feel the same and will join me in the discussion that follows after we win.