The Editor’s Rant: Issue #5

by Michael D. Pederson


I spend a lot of time at conventions. But that’s to be expected when you publish a magazine that is targeted specifically at con-goers. Travelling from one convention to another every other weekend it’s easy to become jaded and lose your sense of wonder and amazement at the things you get to see over and over again at science fiction conventions. Hordes of stormtroopers parading through the halls, girls in chainmail bikinis, big-name celebrities, toddlers in Starfleet uniforms, Goths, Klingons, and Wookies. Oh my.

Not long ago, a young anime fan cornered me at a convention and asked me why I wanted to publish a con-oriented magazine. I answered him, “How could I not?” It gives me the best possible excuse for spending every other weekend surrounded by fellow SF enthusiasts—gamers, writers, artists, and costumers; friends and peers; intellectual compatriots.

I clearly remember my first con experience, back in the mid-eighties. Sci-Con, Virginia Beach, Virginia. I had been trying to get to a convention for the past few years but I could never find a local one that was being held when I had a free weekend. Finally though, a couple of friends from college insisted that we drive down to the beach for a fun weekend of sci-fi and gaming. So there I was, swathed in brown cloth, trying my best to look like a Jedi warrior. I can still see myself hanging out in the con suite, chatting (and having a drink or two) with Larry Niven (quite the thrill for a teenage fan). And then leaving the con suite and bumping into an old high school friend that I hadn’t seen in three years. He was there trying to sell a comic book that he was developing and showing off his new wife. I met several people that weekend that are still close friends; many of those people help out with this magazine. It was pretty easy to see that I had found the perfect community that weekend.

Other convention thrills: An exclusive viewing of The Crow, hosted by James O’Barr, before it was released to the public. Dragon*Con’s Betty Page look-alike contest (unfortunately they’ve stopped doing that one). Winning Best in Class, Master’s Division, at the Millennium Philcon’s Masquerade. Meeting Roger Zelazny two months before he left us. Having Jack Haldeman show up regularly to several of our room parties in the early nineties. A quiet evening sitting around talking with David A. Kyle and Yoji Kondo in the hospitality suite at I-Con. Wheeling kegs into hotels on skateboards, covered with blankets, and telling everyone that they were R2-D2 models. And so many other great memories.

So, if you’re reading this while you’re at a convention, chances are pretty good that we’re there as well. Stop by our room party and try our Nth Tea. Tell us about your favorite con experience. Meeting new people is one of the biggest reasons we do what we do. I hope to see you all at the next con!


The Editor’s Rant: Issue #4

by Michael D. Pederson


Wow. There’s so much to cover this month. Since our last issue we have been to Con José (the 60th World Science Fiction Convention) and Dragon*Con, moved our offices, and redesigned our cover. For starters, I want to apologize for the slight delay in getting this issue out. I blame the move. Whoever you talk to, wherever you go, the only opinion that everyone everywhere seems to agree on is this: Moving sucks. I’d like to think that one day in the far future this will be different but I know better. The clones you generate to help you move will still track mud all over the house and demand more beer and pizza. All the good anti-grav units will be rented out and you’ll be stuck with one that tips to the left no matter how many times you kick it. And your matter-transporter will strip the labels off of every one of your boxes, forcing you to guess at which box has that file that really needs to be shipped off two days after you move. Yep, moving sucks.

Amidst all the confusion, however, I still found time to travel out to California for Con José. This was my second World Con—I made it to last year’s convention in Philadelphia but was too busy preparing for the Masquerade to really enjoy the con. (Best in Class – Masters Division if you’re curious.) This year I made sure to get in as much elbow-rubbing as possible (see our con coverage on page 4) which included a panel with fellow ’zine publishers. We sat around for an hour and gratuitously complemented each other on the fine publications we were all putting out. There were also some very amusing discussions on how everyone got started, what their goals were, and how they came up with their names. I thought the subject interesting enough to dig through my archives and present the list of names that were considered before we settled on Nth Degree. If you’re looking to start your own ’zine soon, help yourself…

We started with the misapprehension that we should work the word “zine” in to the title somehow: CognoZine, SceneZine, Zeenic, Zeenix, Zined, and ZineOphobe were the original suggestions that we batted around. Then came a round of reasonable science fiction sounding ideas: Stand By…, Chrome Magnon, Prose and Cons, and Probed were all considered briefly. After that we took a detour into attention-grabbing unusual names: Mike’s Magazine, Anything But Goth, The Hotel Lobby Hot Dog Report, 9 NonGoths, and Meatspace all generated some interest as well.

Some were thrown out because they were already taken, some were just too darned silly. In the end though, we’re happy with our choice. Now sit back, pour yourself a drink, and enjoy the latest issue of The Hotel Lobby Hot Dog Report!


The Editor’s Rant: Issue #3

by Michael D. Pederson


Here we are, already at our third issue. If this was a Marvel comic, it would be time for a gratuitous Spider-Man cameo. Instead, you get me. I just love a captive audience. Hey! Don’t walk away from me when I’m ranting at you, come back here! Ok, I apologize and will try to keep the ranting to a minimum. Now, read on Macduff…

If you’ve read one of our earlier issues, or met us at conventions, then you already know how thick we are. Boy, that sure came out wrong. The point I’m trying to make is… Starting with this issue, we are doubling our page count! This will give us enough space to add plenty of new features—including an expanded selection of poetry and fiction, more comics, new columnists, more artwork, and there’s even room for me to ramble on about whatever tedium should spring to mind.

Some less secure editors would worry about suddenly having twice as much space to fill. Not me. [Sweat, sweat, sweat.] I’m sure that our readers would love to have thirty-two pages of my ranting if I should come up short on material. Right folks? Hello… Anyone there?
Actually there are a few reasons that we are able to double our size. The first being the incredible reception we’ve been getting at conventions. It’s because of this strong fan-base that businesses are willing to take a chance on advertising with us. So, a hearty thanks to our readers for taking the time to seek us out at their local SF/Fantasy conventions!

And, as long as I’m handing out thanks, I can’t forget to mention the fantastically creative group of friends that have volunteered their time and talent to this project. The names in the black bar to the right are more than just a staff, collectively they represent 145 years of friendship. As is usually the case though, the new kid on the block is always the first one to get screwed over. Andy World, who just joined us a few months ago, is an amazing artist whose credits got left out of the previous issue. If anyone was curious as to who did the three illustrations that accompanied “Hector the H20” in Issue #2, it was Andy. We’re all grateful to have him on the staff.

I would also like to mention, in great detail, the contributions of the rest of the staff but space grows short here. Instead, I will use my remaining space to get in some quick promotions… Visit our website (; send us your letters, stories, poems, filks, comics, etc.; look for us at your local genre-related conventions; eat all your vegetables; and, most importantly, buy everything that our advertisers are selling. See you next issue!


The Editor’s Rant: Issue #1

by Michael D. Pederson


Hi there.

Welcome to the premiere issue of Nth Degree. You’re probably all wondering what to expect from us. We’ll have fiction from some of the genre’s hotest new writers (just as soon as we find them), hysterical new comics, and artwork from award-winning artists, plus filks, reviews, and constant convention coverage.

In addition to publishing a hot new ’zine, we’ll have one of those new-fangled web thingies at I’ve heard they’re all the rage these days.

And don’t forget the con parties! Nth Degree will be distributed, free-of-charge, at major conventions nationwide. Stop in to your favorite con and join us for the fun!

And let’s not forget the staff. I’m very excited to have so many of my former collaborators working on this magazine with me. Maybe even a few recognizable names… Craig Enslin, my partner-in-crime from Renaissance Comic’s Raven. Brandon and Susan Blackmoor, creators of Black Gate Publishing’s Legacy: War of Ages, gaming system. Phill Ash, formerly of Doctors in the House and Luna-C. Lloyd Montgomery, writer for Escape Venture’s Gatewar gaming system. Plus, lots of new talent that will soon be recognizable names in the world of Fandom.

I hope everyone enjoys our new magazine, and we’ll see you all at the next con!

P.S.—I still like pie.