16 March, 2006

TSV issue 35 now online

TSV 35, the green Sea Devil issue with its very eye-catching front cover by Neil Lambess, is now online.

This issue sees the introduction of a new style of index page that the highly talented Alden Bates is now retrospectively applying to the back catalogue (he's working backwards and at the time of writing has reached TSV 27). The new look has been in development for a few months. Late last year I spent some time delving through the online archive of the New Zealand Listener and inspired by the layout of their index pages for each issue (which sadly only goes back as far as June 2003 - now there's a job I'd like - building an online archive of Listener issues...), mocked up a new index page layout and sent this off to Alden. After a bit of discussion about what did and didn't work, Alden nailed the format you see today.

The big difference with the new index page format, apart from being considerably more pleasing on the eye, is that the issues appear more like online publications in their own right. You still have the option of viewing the old index page (via the 'Print Version' link), but the new format dispenses with the page numbers from the paper edition and is no longer locked down to the sequence in which the items originally appeared in the print issues. The links are now grouped together under subheadings such as 'Features', 'Regulars', 'Fiction', etc, and only the material that actually appears online is listed. It's also pleasing to see the artwork given more prominence in the new look index pages, as this has always been an integral part of TSV.

TSV 35 was published in September 1993. That was the last issue published while I was still living in King Edward Ave in Epsom. A couple of months later I moved to the North Shore, to a street that quite by coincidence, was also called King Edward Ave (though the street has since been renamed Bayswater Ave to avoid confusion and mis-directed mail...)

TSV had few overseas contributors at the time and as such it was thrilling to have Kate Orman write for us about the process of getting her first New Adventures novel commission, for The Left-Handed Hummingbird. The issue also featured a piece of short fiction from Kate, called Dawn. This story had actually been submitted many months earlier, but Kate had mailed it to the old TSV address in Christchurch and the envelope had apparently been forwarded on once or twice before former editor Andrew Poulsen sent it on to me.

This issue saw the return of TARDIS Tales, brought back by popular demand for a second lease of life that, with a few missed issues along the way, would run through to its eventual end in TSV 50.

The Dark Dimension had recently been cancelled, leaving the fans without their promised epic thirtieth anniversary story (the least said about its replacement the better...), and in this atmosphere of doom and gloom its perhaps not surprising that the issue features a couple of opinion pieces (In Memory Alone, The Final Nail) touching on the subject of whether Doctor Who now had a future on television. How times change!

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