Friday, June 26, 2015

FFB/M: MIMOSA edited by Nicki and Rich Lynch

wrap-around cover of issue 19 by Debbie Hughes
Mimosa hasn't been the only fanzine published over the decades to be about the history of  science fiction and fantasy fandom, and the offshoots from that diverse grouping, or to take the long view of fannish matters, but it might be one of the most diverse. Most of the earlier fannish publications that have attempted to deal with the history of fandom itself have striven to be reference works (such as the Fancyclopediae) or have been collections of usually one or a few writers' work in the fannish press (such as the giant Walt Willis issue of Warhoon or the various collections of the likes of Terry Carr's or Lee Hoffman's or others' fannish writing, etc.) Even such ambitious efforts since Mimosa folded (and had nearly all its contents posted online as well as cherrypicked for "fanthologies"), such as Earl Kemp's eI, have both taken on other matters as well and haven't exceeded the scope of what the Lynches managed to put together...winning six Hugo Awards for best fanzine while doing so. The magazine emphasized first-person accounts of various sorts of behavior, famous incidents and notable people who have been in the social and often scholarly (if usually informally so) whirl that is the fannish subculture, which has managed to spin off crime-fiction fandom (and, among other things, the Bouchercons), comic-book/graphic storytelling fandom, media fandom and "slash" fiction (so is responsible, indirectly or not so much, for Comic-Con, Grey and other similar fiction, and, of course, Trekkers and their fellow-fans), folk-music and punk-rock fanzines to a great and very
cover for #11 by Steve Stiles
influential degree, and to cross-pollinate with the likes of mail artists and the zine culture and the blogs that are often the heirs to zine culture. Meanwhile, Mimosa wasn't afraid to range a bit beyond the obvious, either, as with Richard Brandt's fine exploration of how Manos, the Hands of Fate was made and why, a piece that would've fit comfortably in any film or sophisticated humor magazine (as was its sequel). But nearly any article one dips into might be an education, and a fun read, about the 60+ years of convention, fanzine and related history or some small or not so small part of might skim the best-of collections online at the link at the top of the article, and it's a pity the earliest issues haven't all been posted, though articles from them are included in the best-ofs. You'll even find a few letters from me of comment in the full issues posted, but despite being graciously asked if I'd contribute an article at one point or another, I (reasonably) modestly declined as too fringy a fan to have too much to contribute beyond perhaps recounting the thwarted attempts to get a 1982 or 1983 HonCon (in Honolulu) up and running since we tried to go through such channels as a University of Hawaii student government liberally sprinkled with evangelical Christians of a certain stripe, and frat/sor folk, neither of which blocs were too much in favor of that attempt (that I ran and won election, as part of the Green Slate, to the Associated Students of UH Senate in 1983 in part to hamper some of the more reactionary activities of the former group didn't make my pet project any more popular--Honolulu conventions eventually happened without me at hand).  It was, however, being reminded of music critic Linda Solomon's minor involvement in an incident between  jazz critic/editor/lots more Ted White and jazz critic/writer/lots more Harlan Ellison, in writing up the June Underappreciated Music post yesterday, that put me in mind of Mimosa, which, of course, published White's account of a jazz-fan's bet between the two men.

For more traditional book selections, please see Patti Abbott's blog (and congratulations to her on her return from her first remote talk and signing of her new novel, in New York at the Mysterious Bookshop!)


John Hegenberger said...

I hadn't heard of this one. You make it sound very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Todd Mason said...

Not every article is as impressive as every other, of course, but it kept to a pretty good standard across the board.

Rick Robinson said...

"Joan Baez vs. Al Capp"? What was that about?

Todd Mason said...

Richard--you might recall that in the mid/latter '60s, something flipped the mildly center-left Al Capp, and his comic strip "Li'l Abner", to a fairly reactionary stance, and one of the new characters was a strident folk musician, Joanie Phoanie (if I have the spelling correct). Baez was not altogether charmed.

I'll reprint these comments under the relevant pos below, the June Music...