I objected to Jason Sanford’s podcast about the fanzine Hugos because it went straight from lauding Ansible and File 770 as great paper fanzines to claiming that Electric Velocipede was the first Hugo winner to be published primarily online. I was annoyed mainly because I had spent much of the day on Maura McHugh’s complaint about SFX ignoring women horror writers, and Jason’s podcast appeared to do the same sort of thing.
I do not claim (and hopefully never have claimed) that Emerald City was the first fanzine to have any online presence. Indeed, as Colin Hinz rightly pointed out, Ansible was available online long before I started Emerald City. I should also note that Teresa Nielsen Hayden was nominated for Best Fan Writer in 1991, as I understand it on the strength of writing she did in newsgroups.
There was a huge amount of hair-splitting that went on when I was running Emerald City regarding what was an acceptable online presence and what wasn’t, and basically that boiled down to anything Dave did online was OK, and anything I did wasn’t. (Dave, bless him, declined to get involved in this nonsense.) And that tells us something important about “format wars”. When it comes down to it, they are often not about formats at all. They are also about who is considered “part of our community” and who isn’t.
Anyway, I’m pleased to see Mike Glyer lauding Dave Langford as a great Hero of the Online Revolution. After all, Mike was firmly against the changes in the Hugo Award rules that made it explicit (rather than implicit) that ‘zines like Star Ship Sofa were eligible in Best Fanzine. In a post worthy of Faux News, Mike raised the specter of the fanzine Hugo being overrun by hordes of slavering, ignorant web readers who would put io9.com, SyFy.com and Tor.com onto the fanzine ballot. Hopefully, if Star Ship Sofa does make it onto the ballot, Mike will be too relieved to object.