Sci-Fi Universe, I Knew It WellThe Sci-Fi Channel has purchased the trail-blazing magazine Sci-Fi Universe, and caustic editor Mark Altman is now looking for a new job. Sci-Fi Universe was the first "mainstream" professional fan magazine to decide not to kiss up to their objects of desire. Created by Film Threat's publisher, Chris Gore, Sci-Fi Universe brought Film Threat's sensibilities to science fiction media fandom. Sci-Fi Universe is perhaps most famous for their unpopular stand several years ago that Star Trek was starting to go down in quality. It became so pronounced that one year the writers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine refused to be interviewed by them. However, Sci-Fi Universe, when noting the turn around and addition of new writers to Deep Space Nine, returned to the fold, and yet they did so honestly while preserving their unique editorial independence. I only hope that Sci-Fi Universe's purchase by the Sci-Fi Channel does not obstruct upon this refreshing independence which they have in the past offered to a very appreciative media fandom.
This in itself was quite sobering news to me, but then I heard the news about Film Threat!!! Film Threat recently announced that its publication is on hiatus while Chris Gore, the publisher, finds investments to keep the publication going. Gore recently posted a message on the Film Threat web site (http://www.filmthreat.com) detailing his reasons and the options he is exploring, while also seeking reader feedback which is being posted to the site as well. Film Threat Video and the Film Threat Online weekly e-mail magazine are still in operation and will continue even if Film Threat Magazine never returns.
Film Threat and Sci-Fi Universe have been two of the most significant influences upon me as an on-line publisher and as a consumer of media fandom written works. I am deeply saddened and greatly disturbed about what these things may portend about the current and future state of critical fandom. These publications offered to media fandom vehicles where a pure love of the media was the main driving impetus rather than the commercial aspects of the material. I remember reading these publications and being infused with the love and enjoyment that the correspondents had for their topics. These people did not care about what was making the most money and who was schmoozing with whom. They would analyze the latest pop culture schlock film as intently as they would a Kubrick, a Spielberg, or a Godard film. That is an amazing range. They realized that what makes us appreciate art and media are found in all things, high and low, popular and elite, limited and commercial.
This influence has been deeply felt within the pages of WHOOSH. It has inspired a reverent irreverence which I have tried to permeate and develop within WHOOSH. I am wary that the Sci-Fi Channel will meet the challenge of maintaining Sci-Fi Universe's excellent editorial courage, and I am fearful of a media fandom in print which will allow magazines like Film Threat to fail. Such magazines as Film Threat exist as a constant foil to the established commercial magazines. In their constant battle for truth, justice, and the critical fandom way, they gleefully persist in the battle against the Behemoth of Commercialism and basically keep the profession honest.
Kym Masera Taborn
Chairman of the Board,
International Association of Xena Studies
July 28, 1997
NOTE TO IAXS MEMBERS: The e-mail edition of Whoosh #11 will be released whenever I get around to it!!! Bwahahahhaha.