by Michael D. Pederson
The truth is out. I’m a fraud. A sham, fake, and poseur. No, I did not just get a new thesaurus. I’ve just came from a convention where I was scheduled for an open autograph session with all of the other guests. There I was sitting between Darrell Schweitzer and Bud Sparhawk, feeling quite overwhelmed. Also at the table were William Tenn, Alexis Gilliland, John G. Hemry, David Hartwell, and Nancy Jane Moore. All major talents. All very nice people. I could tell that they were nice because not one of them spit in my direction and asked, “Hey, who’s the hack with the ’zine?” Bless them. And thanks to all the fans that stopped to talk while they waited in line for William Tenn’s autograph. The hour wasn’t a total loss though. I did sign a magazine or two and I learned that Darrell Schweitzer has a talent for forging celebrity autographs (his Asimov is fantastic). By the end of the hour he had nearly added mine to his repertoire.
The convention is over now; my dignity is still intact and the hangover has faded. It’s time to move on to other business…
Looking at the calendar I notice two things: 1) I’m WAY behind schedule getting this issue out and 2) Today is almost exactly two years to the day since I started putting this ’zine together. The first item is the result of a rather time-consuming wedding and honeymoon (note that there is a new Pederson in the masthead now) so please forgive my tardiness. The second item is cause for celebration (Cate would argue that the first is also). Two years! It feels like it’s only been 24 months.
What’s changed in two years? We’ve doubled our page count, increased our fandom coverage, and cleaned up our cover design. But I think that the biggest change has been in how we’re greeted at conventions. Last year the first question people would ask was, “So, what’s Nth Degree?” Now it’s, “When’s the next issue coming out?” Name recognition has picked up wonderfully in the last six months or so—the magazines’, not mine. (I’ve added extra facial hair in the last two years to help protect my anonymity. Oops, shouldn’t have said that, now I have to shave.) I suspect that’s the result of our getting to more conventions than I had thought humanly possible.
What hasn’t changed in two years? The fall issue is still late (last year’s was slowed down by the purchase of a new house). People outside of fandom still mistake our title for North Degree or sometimes Ninth Degree. George Lucas is still making really bad movies. And I still have a hard time coming up with good topics for my Rant.
What’s in store for the future? Plans are afoot to expand to 48 pages. When that happens we’ll be bringing in guest columnists and adding a letters page. I’m also planning a major illness for fall 2004 just to keep up the trend of late fall issues. I haven’t decided on the ailment yet though… Perhaps a nice bout of malaria or maybe a good old fashioned case of consumption. Until then… Stay away from me, I may be contagious.