Recently a 1977 issue of The Diversifier that I’d never seen before passed through my hands. It included a memoir of Edmond Hamilton by E. Hoffmann Price and a two-pager I hadn’t known about, in which Fritz Leiber discussed his tribulations trying to land stories with Weird Tales magazine — and his one meeting with WT editor Farnsworth Wright.
Got me thinking about magazines. . . .
My main theory about magazines is pretty simple, and obvious: if you’re doing a magazine, you have to come out frequently. If you’re Esquire or Playboy or Newsweek back in the day, no problem. You’ve got money, a production and editorial staff — you ought to be as regular as clockwork.
If you’re a fan or semi-pro zine like The Diversifier, though, you’ve got hurdles to leap — no real budget, no staff, just a guy or two with a dream. The fact is that most fan mags in my experience are lucky if they can release an issue a year, but The Diversifier kept them coming, hitting around thirty issues or so before finally folding. I wasn’t there for the long haul, but I got involved in the early days of that mag when I first came to San Francisco in 1974 — did articles, fan art, even helped crank out issues on a mimeograph machine, if you can believe that. Caveman stuff!
I always count the first seven or eight issues of The Diversifier as one of “my” credits, since I was chipping in, doing my bit.
But overall I haven’t done that much with any given magazine — yeah, I am a presence in the eldritch Harry Morris zine Nyctalops, one of my faves. I co-edited that time-lost and delightfully eccentric annual The Romantist, which NEVER came out annually, and I assisted with the great — and frequent — The Cimmerian during its five-year run. And I have appeared in a few regulation mags along the way, such as Firsts or PW or AHMM — at least for awhile.
Which is why I’m happy to note that Matthew Asprey is chugging along and has a second issue of his magazine Contrappasso available right now. Looks like he has a really good shot at getting it going on a regular schedule — in short, a real magazine.
I blurbed the first issue because Matthew has been out on the tour, but more because it included a long piece by Up and Down These Mean Streets favorite Floyd Salas. Floyd shows up again in the second issue with a group of poems and line drawings, including the long poem “Steve Nash, Homosexual Transient” which I’ve heard Floyd do at readings. And in addition to the other contents, I figure people who lurk around this website would be interested in the sixty-plus pages of interview done with Elmore Leonard that appear this time — Elmore isn’t an absolute fave of mine, like Willeford, but he’s close enough.
And if you like what you see there, Matthew has a novella titled Angelique in San Francisco which you can pick up as a free ebook — and Floyd has polished up his personal website, added more stuff, not long ago — check it out if you haven’t surfed into Floydville in awhile.