15 August, 2010

TSV and Time Unincorporated

Time, Unincorporated is a series of books published by US-based Mad Norwegian Press reprinting collections of Doctor Who fanzine articles. Volume 1, issued last year, collected the writings of prolific fanzine contributor and author Lance Parkin. Volume 2, issued earlier this year, is a collection of essays broadly themed around the classic series by a various writers.

I recently purchased a copy of Volume 2 and have been dipping into it over the last week. Some of the material has a ring of familiarity. This is because over a third of the essays originated in the pages of Enlightenment, a rather wonderful long-running Canadian fanzine that I’ve been following for many years. Up until recently, Enlightenment was edited by Graeme Burk, who also, perhaps unsurprisingly, co-edited the second volume of Time, Unincorporated. I’ve corresponded with Graeme online a number of times over the years but we’ve never actually met.

Even though I’ve previously read some of the articles, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this great collection of intelligent and thoughtful writing, which also includes pieces from other fanzines such as Shockeye’s Kitchen, Dark Circus and Shooty Dog Thing. Although it is purportedly a collection of fanzine articles, over a third of the 74 essays have never been printed within the pages of a fanzine. There are a number of pieces from the Doctor Who Ratings Guide website and others were written especially for this book. I have no problem with this, though I do think that the inclusion of two chapters from the recent book Time and Relative Dissertations in Space (published 2007) is unwarranted. I’m sure that like myself, many other readers will have purchased both titles, rendering such duplication redundant.

The Time, Unincorporated series is of interest to me both as an enthusiastic supporter of fanzines and as a fanzine editor. So far the series has not featured anything from my own publication, Time Space Visualiser, but that is not a reflection on the quality of material. The omission is in fact due to future plans for the series. To quote from the foreword to Time, Unincorporated Volume 2:
Outside the UK, one of the most influential zines published over the past twenty years is TSV (Time Space Visualiser), the fanzine of the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club, but it’s hoped that TSV will get a future volume of Time, Unincorporated all to itself.
That's very flattering to have my fanzine described in such glowing terms. It was not until I bought a copy of the book and read the foreword that I realised that plans (however tentative) for this future volume had now been made public.

Publisher Lars Pearson first ran the idea past me of putting out a TSV themed volume of Time, Unincorporated back in 2008. Soon after that Graeme asked if he could publish material from TSV in the volumes he was compiling. These two approaches seemed to me to be at odds with each other. Naturally Graeme would have wanted to pick out the best and most interesting pieces from TSV’s back catalogue, leaving the later TSV specific volume lacking some of its showpieces.

We did not get as far as discussing the individual items under consideration for reprinting, but Lars, Graeme and myself all agreed to hold back all TSV material for its own volume. In retrospect I can see that this decision denied Volume 2 of some of its potential diversity. The reason that there is so much material from Enlightenment in that book I think is at least partly attributable to the withdrawal from consideration of anything from TSV.

There are many more volumes planned in the Time, Unincorporated series, and Lars has indicated that the TSV volume will be some way down the track. So, as yet, I’ve made little progress with this project. I have at least made a start on assembling a list of contents.
It has been interesting to look back through past issues and select pieces that I believe are deserving of a place in the collection.

For copyright reasons, the book will not feature fiction or artwork, so the collection with be comprised of articles and longer story reviews. There are several pieces that have reappeared in other publications which may count against their inclusion. In addition, I will need to seek permission from each and everyone of the writers whose material I want to use. I have kept in contact with many past contributors, but I daresay there will be some individuals who will require a bit of detective work to track down.

I think too, that just as Graeme has done in his volume, I may commission some original pieces for the collection so that, even for someone familiar with all 76 past issues of TSV, there will still be something new and interesting to discover in the book.

No comments: