Reality Skimming
28Nov/12Off

Why SF #11: Rich Dana

Why SF? Asking kindred spirits in the SF community the story of why they give back and create forward.

Rich Dana"The theme of OBSOLETE #7 is SciFi/DIY which explores the interconnection between science fiction and the rise of DIY culture."

1. Can you explain what you mean by DIY culture and "maker" culture?

DIY is an abbreviation of "Do It Yourself" of course. This term is applied to everything from home repair to micro-publishing. Scifi fans have been intimately aware of DIY both as a theme and a lifestyle for nearly a century. Fanzines, fan fiction, Con culture, cosplay– Scifi fans have always created their own culture. The new craft movement, open source everything, hacking of all flavors- they too are all part of DIY culture.

“Maker” is a term that has come into popularity as of late because of the recent rebirth of DIY culture. O'Reilly Publications Make Magazine, Cory Doctorow's novel Makers, “Maker Faires” and websites like Instructables have inspired creative endeavors bridging the arts and the sciences. Projects are undertaken by individuals, but refined by crowdsourcing– freely sharing plans and data to tested, be peer-to-peer reviewed and honed in the virtual laboratory of “Citizen Scientists”- non-professional researchers who work more for passion than profit.

There is a distinctly “techie” side to the maker movement, and at times it can devolve into a geek-out– a sort of science fair free-for-all of homebrewing, catapult building computer game designers, IT professionals and frustrated cubicle dwellers. Still, at it's most innocuous level, it is a wonderful excuse for multi-generational bonding and educational quality time-sharing projects. At a higher level, “Making” has occasionally brought about new and exciting innovations. The open source software movement is the most notable example– The Linux operating system has been developed primarily by a vast network of independent volunteers. The rise of desk-top CNC (Computer Numerical Control) fabrication and 3D printing are more recent examples of crowd-sourced, Maker driven technologies. Now we are even seeing basement gene-hacking and wetware development.

2. What role do you play with Obsolete! Magazine? How did you get involved.

I started OBSOLETE! in 2010 with graphic designer Blair Gauntt. I've been a writer, artist and zine maker since I was a kid in the 70's and Blair and I did our first zine together in 1981 in college. We had done some writing and artwork together on a horror comic book project for Silver Phoenix a few years ago, and it just seemed like it was time to have our own thing. I wanted to do a free newsprint tabloid, a sort of throwback to the underground papers of the 60's and 70's, and Blair was into it. I picked the name as an homage to the Twilight Zone Episode "The Obsolete Man", in which Burgess Meredith plays a librarian who is judged to be "obsolete" in an Orwellian totalitarian future state. The Chancellor was played by the great Fritz Weaver. The idea of the printed word being obsolete was one I was struggling with- as we all are as writers and readers. It seemed like launching a meta-paper to explore that theme, and the wider theme of obsolescence was worth a go.

We launched it on a shoestring and have been doing it ever since, thanks to great contributors, fans and our "Guerilla Distro" network- people across the US, Canada and UK who volunteer to drop copies at their local independently-owned coffee shops, books stores, record shops, infoshops, libraries, etc...

3. Why does the mission of Obsolete Magazine inspire you?

Well, it allows me to explore a lot of subjects that I'm intrigued by. To explore the connections between art, politics, tech, media... to reexamine and repurpose media. To compare and contrast where we have been, where we are and speculate on where we are headed. We do that by inviting in essayists, fiction writers and poets, photographers, illustrators and cartoonists- all to come together around a different theme for each issue. I like the paper format, and although we make back issues available electronically (I'm not a Luddite, after all), I love the idea that people all over the world can pick it up for free, explore it, share it...I always say if someone uses it to line the catbox, it's been of more value than 90% of the stuff they looked at online today.

4. Tell us more about the magazine and what sort of involvement you are looking for from others.

The theme of OBSOLETE #7 is SciFi/DIY, and will explore the interconnection between science fiction and the rise of DIY culture.Short fiction, essays, poetry, illustrations, comics and photography will all be considered. People may submit completed work or pitch a story idea. Some story ideas might include: The history of zines and/or fan fiction, the influence of scifi on technology, the rise of “Cons”, “Citizen Science”, Geek and “Maker “Culture. The Deadline is November 30th, but if people have good ideas, get in touch with me at obmag@feral-tech.com, and we might be able to stretch a little. If you have short stories, poems, cartoons or other work already in the can that loosely fit the theme, I'd be happy to take a look. Also, we are always looking for folks to help with the distribution effort. People can find out more about the magazine, about our new micro-press and more at obsolete-press.com

Obsolete! MagazineObsolete! Magazine

Call for Submissions- OBSOLETE! #7

OBSOLETE! Magazine is seeking high quality writing and artwork for the upcoming issue. The theme of OBSOLETE #7 is SciFi/DIY, and will explore the interconnection between science fiction and the rise of DIY culture.

Short fiction, essays, poetry, illustrations, comics and photography will all be considered. You may submit completed work or pitch a story idea. Some story ideas might include: The history of zines and/or fan fiction, the influence of scifi on technology, the rise of “Cons”, “Citizen Science”, Geek and “Maker “Culture.

The deadline for submissions is November 30th. OBSOLETE! offers token payment for original content but we also consider previously published material or excerpts from upcoming books. OBSOLETE! is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

For more information, please email Rich at obmag@feral-tech.com

The url for Obsolete is: http://obsolete-press.com/blog/call-for-submissions-obsolete-7/

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