Time Space Visualiser, the fanzine of the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club, won the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Fanzine at the national science fiction convention held in Wellington last weekend. This is only the second time in nearly a decade that these awards have been run that TSV has picked up a Vogel, so this is cause for celebration.
As former editor and founder of TSV I am of course delighted at this news. All credit - and the actual award - should go to Adam McGechan, who took over from me as editor several years back. Adam was responsible for producing the issue (TSV 76) under consideration for this year's awards.
Several months ago I predicted here that the nomination was the most recognition TSV could hope to receive from these awards. I was wrong.
The fanzine category this year has been awarded jointly to both TSV and Phoenixine, the fanzine of the Wellington science fiction society. I presume this means that both publications received equal numbers of votes. This is remarkable given that voting took place at a convention held in Wellington and was likely attended by most if not all readers of Phoenixine. Furthermore, judging by the lack of comments on the Doctor Who club message board, it would appear that very few TSV readers were in attendance.
So how did TSV manage to do so well?
Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that for the first time in the history of these awards, TSV was available for anyone to download and read as a PDF during the voting period. This was born out of necessity. The usual procedure is for physical copies of each of the nominated publications to be displayed at the convention, but this particular issue of TSV sold out many months ago and with a small-run reprint proving too costly, Adam and I elected to re-release it online. I did not have a spare physical copy available to supply to the convention, but I did provide the PDF download link, which was added to the ballot listing on the Vogel Awards website.
I'm assuming therefore that a number of voters clicked the link, downloaded the issue and had a read of it before casting their votes. Perhaps these readers were impressed at the standard of the writing, the range of articles and reviews, the great cover artwork and the well-ordered stylish layout. TSV 76 is, I think, one of the best of the half-dozen issues produced by Adam so the zine was shown off to its best advantage.
In my earlier post I stated, "The awards are not about quality but popularity." I don't mind conceding that I may have been wrong in that view. Either that or TSV is far more popular in the general New Zealand science fiction community than I had realised.
Adam has posted about winning the award on his blog here. Note: 'Adam Christopher' is his literary pseudonym.