Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April A to Z - E is for Excellent Zines - an interview with Alexander ballingall, editor at Fighting Fantazine

 Hello gamebookers and April A to Zers! Today, we have a treat for you. Here is Alexander Ballingall, editor of Fighting Fantazine, the high quality and free! fanzine of Fighting Fantasy and other gamebooks. If you haven't read it at all, before you read the interview, hop over to the website and indulge yourself on the 14 issues currentl out. We'll still be here when you get back...
For those of us who don't know, tell us about yourself.
I’m a primary school teacher in New Zealand. If I was to define myself by what I like, it would be (in no particular order) Doctor Who, films (I have an out-of-control blu-ray collection), trance & 80s pop music, reading, and beer.

You are the editor of Fighting Fantazine. What does that involve?
Mainly it is about trying to source material for the magazine, reminding contributors of promised material if things have gone quiet, trying to organise the material into something balanced each issue and laying out the final product. I have help from my small team of sub-editors (hi team!) who do copy-editing, play-testing and provide a bunch of brains to seek feedback on ideas from.

For those of us who haven't had the delights of the free fanzine, what does each issue give us?
An illustrated 200+ reference mini gamebook adventure (usually Fighting Fantasy), interviews with the people who have edited/written gamebooks or illustrated them, articles looking at gamebooks from many angles (straight, funny, subversive etc.), reviews, mini Advanced Fighting Fantasy adventures, opinion columns, playthroughs, optimum pathway guides.

Do you have any favourites from Fighting Fantazine?
Currently I’m chuffed that we squeezed as much as we did from Fighting Fantasy editor Marc Gascoigne in the interview with him in issue #14. It turned out to be an informative and interesting interview.

Is there any way people can help with the fanzine?
The main problem is a huge lack of material. I know that it can be frustrating you submit something to the magazine that then has to be approved by an editor, copy-edited, illustrated and laid out (which can take several months) when the internet means people can just blog or post on a forum and get instant feedback. So I’m on the hunt for fresh material. If you have an idea for something to contribute, get in touch!

What can we expect to see in future issues?
Issue #15 (due soon, I hope) has interviews with the US Steve Jackson and Michael J. Ward, a mini Fighting Fantasy adventure from Brett Schofield, two mini Advanced Fighting Fantasy scenarios, a “Fact of Fiction” on Masks of Mayhem along wiht a few other items and the regular features.

Sadly, apart from a promised “Fact of Fiction” article and completed mini Fighting Fantasy adventure, issue #16 is looking quite empty at the moment.

1 comment:

  1. Nice!
    I loved Zines back in the day and eZines now.
    I love the enthusiasm they bring to the hobby.

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Adventure!