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Zines and How They Got There
A Long Strange Trip
with a little help from...

It's also a long strange page, and far from complete, but let's see if we can't unpack the basic premise here, which goes something like this...

The same enthusiasms that motivate the authors of Internet webzines have driven authors in other media for at least a couple thousand years. The artifacts -- and in many cases, detritus -- of this process are called "literature." Why does anybody write? To tell a story, to explore a subject, to pass along a little hard-won experience to the next wave of mystified humanity. Though they surely use different language, are Cervantes and Suck all that far removed? While you may not agree, and the very idea may make you crazy, do try it on for a minute with an open mind.

Yeah, but zines have that all-important irreverent attitude! Right. Ever read any Chaucer or Boccaccio or Rabelais? Jesse Helms would have a heart attack. Of course, these dudes didn't have to worry about the Communications Decency Act. Just being burned at the stake. If they were living now, you can bet they'd be writing e-zines.

As you browse the categories and titles below, you may protest that you've never seen anything this good on the net. Well, as AT&T was once fond of saying: you will. The barriers to publishing are falling rapidly and stuff this good is online already. You just have to hunt for it.


Table of Contents

"By and large the literature of a democracy will never exhibit the order, regularity, skill, and art characteristic of aristocratic literature; formal qualities will be neglected or actually despised. The style will often be strange, incorrect, overburdened, and loose, and almost always strong and bold. Writers will be more anxious to work quickly than to perfect details. Short works will be commoner than long books, wit than erudition, imagination than depth. There will be a rude and untutored vigor of thought with great variety and singular fecundity. Authors will strive to astonish more than to please, and to stir passions rather than to charm taste."

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 1840.

The Essay
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The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate
More than seventy-five personal essays by writers representing cultures from ancient Greece to the present. This anthology includes works by Plutarch, Thoreau, Dillard, Vidal, and Orwell.
The Anchor Essay Annual: The Best of 1997
by Phillip Lopate
These are collected by the author of The Art of the Personal Essay, above.
The Best American Essays 1997
Kirkus Reviews calls this "The latest sampling of choice nonfiction from America's literary journals and magazines, in a series that is a perennial success."
The Act of Seeing: Essays and Conversations
by Wim Wenders
Director Wim Wenders takes readers beyond his films into a broader world of architecture, cities, video technology and fashion.
Great Essays in Science edited by Martin Gardner
Essays by 32 scientists and science writers including Albert Einstein on "E=mc2," G. K. Chesterton on "The Logic of Elfland," Sigmund Freud on dreams, and Rachel Carson on the sea.
A Fully Accredited Ocean: Essays on the Great Lakes by Victoria Brehm
This is included to demonstrate the range of the essay genre. The Great Lakes: who woulda guessed? Yet an AltaVista search on that phrase yields 7730 matches. And in all likelihood, at least one of those is a webzine.

The Memoir
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Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art
by Judith Barrington
Booklist: "The current renaissance in literary memoirs pleases readers and inspires writers, while raising a number of questions about this most fluid and open-ended of genres."
My Years With General Motors by Alfred P. Sloan
A classic business memoir. Sloan was elected President of General Motors in 1923 and retired as Chairman in 1956. My Years With General Motors relates what he did in between.
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
"Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood," writes Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes. "Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende
Spiced with litanies of lust and longing from Anais Nin, W.B. Yeats, Pablo Neruda, and Lady Onogoro, this bawdy memoir-cum-cookbook, presents an apothecary of aphrodisiacs including snake's blood and rhinoceros horn.
Colored People: A Memoir by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In this touching and magical memoir, the country's most celebrated black scholar tells of growing up in a West Virginia hill town where racial boundaries were constantly changing.
A Drinking Life: A Memoir by Pete Hamill
A celebrated journalist, whose career has included writing for both The New York Post and New York Newsday, provides an unforgettable memoir of what it means to grow up Irish in New York.
Combat Swimmer: Memoirs of a Navy Seal
by Robert Gormly
This is included to demonstrate the range of the memoir genre. If nothing else, Combat Swimmer proves you don't have to be black, Irish or an alcoholic to write one.

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The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer
Written in roughly 850 B.C., these epic stories represent the dawn of Western literature.
The History by Herodotus
These fifth century B.C. Greek writings about the legends, history, traditions and peoples of the ancient world constitute the earliest examples of narrative history.
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Completed in 1353, these 100 stories are told in a country villa outside Florence by ten men and women seeking to escape the plague. Vivid portraits of people from all stations in life.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Stories told by people from every level of English society in the 14th century, reflecting on life as they travel the road from Southwark to Canterbury.
Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
Published between 1532 and 1564, these novels present the comic and satiric story of the giant Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. Like parts of Chaucer and Boccaccio, they contain some raunchy stuff even by current standards.
Lives of Noble Grecians and Romans by Plutarch
First translated into English in 1579, Plutarch (AD 46?-120) had a strong influence on the plays of William Shakespeare as well as on the essays of Montaigne and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Complete Essays by Michel De Montaigne
Montaigne is widely credited with creating the literary form we know today as the essay. These archetypes of the genre were originally published between 1580 and 1588.
Adventures of Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
This satirical novel published in 1615 had enormous impact on many types of writing that followed and brought new legitimacy to tilting at windmills.
The Essays by Francis Bacon
First published in 1625, these essays deal with subjects such as state policy, personal conduct and the appreciation of nature. Research has revealed that Bacon actually had a website, though there was no technology to support it at the time.
A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works
by Jonathan Swift
Anglo-Irish satirist extraordinaire and inveterate political pamphleteer, Swift was definitely a proto-zinester. In the essay "A Modest Proposal" (1729), he suggested that Irish children be sold to the English as food.

19th Century Essayists
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Essays: First and Second Series
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
This collection by one of America's greatest thinkers features all twenty-one of his essays written between 1841 and 1844, including Nature, Politics, Self-Reliance, Love, and Friendship.
Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau
Includes Thoreau's essays on Civil Disobedience, Life Without Principle, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, and The Maine Woods.
Roughing It
by Mark Twain
In his youth Mark Twain found himself adrift as a tenderfoot in the Wild West, working in a variety of professions. This is a record, in fact and fanciful impression, of those early years.

20th Century Essayists
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The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
by Albert Camus
Novelist, dramatist, and prolific essayist, Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957. Other collections include Lyrical and Critical Essays, and Resistance, Rebellion, and Death.
Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir
Weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology and a host of other disciplines to show women's place in the world and to postulate on the power of sexuality. A powerful piece of writing in a time before "feminism" was even a phrase, much less a movement.
Stories, Essays, Travel Sketches by Henry Miller
In addition to his novels, Miller wrote numerous essays. Other volumes include The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, and The Books in My Life.
The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf
Woolf's first volume of essays consists of 25 selections, including Modern Fiction, and The Modern Essay.
A Collection of Essays by George Orwell
This collection by the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four includes the essay "Politics and the English Language."
Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White
Widely read for his eloquence and wit, widely taught for his superb clarity, White remains one of the greatest essayists of this century. "Some of the finest examples of contemporary, genuinely American prose," says The Washington Post.
Collected Essays by James Baldwin
Includes Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, the Devil Finds Work, and others.
Against Interpretation: And Other Essays
by Susan Sontag
The first collection of essays by the brilliant critic and writer to be published in book form, containing her best writings between 1961 and 1965.
How to Travel With a Salmon & Other Essays
by Umberto Eco
Playful, irreverent but unfailingly accurate takes on militarism, computer jargon, Westerns, librarians, bureaucrats, meals on airplanes, Amtrak trains, bad coffee, express mail, fax machines and pornography.
Red Wolves and Black Bears by Edward Hoagland
"There often seems to be a playfulness to wise people, as if either their equanimity has as its source this playfulness or the playfulness flows from the equanimity; and they can persuade other people who are in a state of agitation to calm down and manage a smile."
Annals of the Former World by John A. McPhee
The New York Times Book Review said of McPhee: "[His] essays are proof that the kind of journalism that can effortlessly put a topic into perspective will never go out of style."
The Uses of Literature: Essays by Italo Calvino
The San Francisco Chronicle says: "In these essays, Calvino is able to make the world alive and comprehensible for us -- and magical."

Hardcopy Zines
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Zines! edited by V. Vale
Amazon review: "One of the most expressive areas of the comics publishing world belongs to minicomics: self-published, usually photocopied, very personal works. Minicomics often get grouped along with zines: small-press, very individualistic, magazines."
Zines Volume 2 edited by V. Vale
Amazon review: "V. Vale, one of the driving visionaries behind RE/Search Publications, brought together this collection of 'incendiary interviews with independent publishers,' which captures the excitement and raw energy of counter-culture zine publishing."
The Book of Zines: Readings from the Fringe
edited by Chip Rowe
A scrapbook of artwork, humorous writing, and articles culled from underground magazines produced by individuals and small publishers.
The Factsheet Five Zine Reader: Dispatches from the Edge of the Zine Revolution
edited by R. Seth Friedman
Friedman is the zine fanatic behind Factsheet Five, the world's leading source of zine information, and the first zine dedicated solely to the subject.
Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture by Stephen Duncombe
Describes zine origins in early 20th-century science fiction cults, their more proximate roots in the sixties' counter-culture and their rapid proliferation in the wake of punk rock.
Zine Scene: The Do It Yourself Guide to Zines
by Francesca Lia Block and Hillary Carlip
To be released in October 1998. Block also wrote Dangerous Angels, Girl Goddess #9, and I Was a Teenage Fairy. Carlip's credits include Girl Power: Young Women Speak Out, and McBroom Tells the Truth.

Online Zines
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Suck: Worst-Case Scenarios in Media, Culture, Advertising, and the Internet
edited by Joey Anuff and Ana Marie Cox
From the Amazon's review: "One of the most entertaining and important e-zines on the Web, Suck dishes out cooler-than-thou commentary and daily unapologetic satire on pretty much any subject that deserves it."
Media Rants: Postpolitics in the Digital Nation
by Jon Katz
From the Amazon's review: "From his column of the same name... a collection of essays on the changing nature of media and government and the birth of the online community."

Online Theory and Practice
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Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate by Steven Johnson
In addition to interface issues, an Amazon reviewer says Johnson "also explores the textual side and how it has changed the way we work with the written word." The author publishes the FEED zine at http://www.feedmag.com.
Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace by Janet Horowitz Murray
Jon Katz of Hotwired says the author "takes on one of the most basic questions facing the digital world: How will this new medium affect creativity itself, especially narrative and storytelling?"
Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace by Pierre Levy
The author predicts that we will use technology to organize ourselves into "Living Cities" where physical location is less important than the interactions between virtual inhabitants.
News Is a Verb: Journalism at the End of the Twentieth Century by Pete Hamill
This critique of traditional newspapers may go a long way toward predicting the evolutionary path of the best online zines.
The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells
The first book in a trilogy known as the Information Age, has earned Manuel Castells comparisons to Max Weber and Karl Marx. He puts forth a systemic analysis of the global informational capitalism that emerged in the last half of the 20th century.
Writers.Net: Every Writer's Essential Guide to Online Resources and Opportunities by Gary Gach
Takes writers on a guided tour to the forums and resource guides available on the Internet and gives the orientation needed to get the most out of online time.

Writing Tools
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On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Justifiably subtitled "The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction," this is an indispensable tool for anyone who writes or aspires to write.
Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White
The New York Times says: "Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility." Reviewers universally tend to high praise, short sentences. www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/strunk
Line by Line: How to Improve Your Own Writing
by Claire Kehrwald Cook
Like having an editor at your elbow, this guide makes clear writing easy to achieve, demonstrating practical techniques for achieving the final, critical step in writing.
The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers (14th Edition)
While the focus is on hardcopy, this handsomely produced book will also be extremely useful to online writers.
Words into Type
by Marjorie E. Skillin and Robert Malcolm Gay
A valuable source for questions of manuscript protocol, copy-editing style grammar and usage, but not as well laid out as the Chicago Manual.
The American Heritage College Dictionary
An excellent dictionary with valuable input from a unique "usage panel" consisting of 173 writers noted for their command of the English language.
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition
America's bestselling dictionary. Includes extensive cross-referencing, guidance on synonyms and usage, extensive definitions, pronunciation, etc.
Webster's New World Dictionary & Thesaurus 1999 CD-ROM Edition
Hundreds of new entries for 1999, updated for Windows 98, Internet Explorer 4.0, etc. Access from any application to over 500,000 entries, definitions, synonyms, and antonyms.
Microsoft Encarta Reference Suite 99 (CD-ROM)
Includes Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 99, Encarta Virtual Globe 99, and Microsoft Bookshelf 99. All are excellent, and the new Bookshelf is superb.
The Oxford English Dictionary
This 20-volume set is the last word in English-language dictionaries. But it comes at a price: $3000.00. There's also a cheaper CD-ROM edition. And a much cheaper CD-ROM edition
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