by Andy Hooper
The last few times we've published an issue of Apparatchik, I have turned to carl at the moment when we felt most exhausted, and said, "Remember, this is Apparatchik -- the fanzine with a heart of iron!" And in every production session, there are long moments when I feel the euphoria of a miler nearing the finish line, and I really do think that we could go on doing this forever.
Unfortunately, those moments have become less common over time. The strain of putting out issues on time and on target has been just as great as you've all assumed in your letters and comments. Even with all of the generous subscription checks you've sent, and spreading the financial burden among three editors, I'm going broke putting out this fanzine.
Add to this personality conflicts which are probably inevitable when three people with very strong ideas have to work together under deadline in a small living room, and what's really surprising is that we've stuck it out for this long. Victor doesn't want to work with carl anymore; carl's not too enthused about working with Victor; and I don't much want to work with anyone at the moment. Publishing this fanzine is nowhere near as much fun as it used to be. Rather than trying to subtract any of the three of us from the mix, as I thought I was prepared to do a few weeks ago, it just seems far more appropriate to let Apparatchik come to a natural close, and to that end you hold in your hands our last issue.
It's been a remarkable experience. With the aid and vision of Victor, Apak changed from a perzine to an snappy, ensmalled genzine. With the ideas and expertise of carl, we went from a smudgy, shabby, eye-straining layout to what I think is a very appealing and impressive eye-straining layout. And if I took the time to list all of the things they've taught me, there would be room for nothing else in the issue. I'm a better writer, a better editor, and a better fan than I was two years ago, and there's no way for me to thank these two guys adequately for all the things they've done for me.
I think the most important thing I've learned through our work with Apparatchik is the importance of periodicity in fanzine publication. No matter how lovely an individual issue of a fanzine may be, without the promise of subsequent issues, there's little hope that it will foster useful dialogue and help define our community of fans. I want to go on publishing a frequent fanzine, something which will contribute to that process and help people feel like they are connected to fanzine fandom, and indeed, fandom as a whole. I just need to take a break, and to find a level of production more within my financial means. (This will entail trimming more than a few names off the mailing list. Those of you who have recently bought lifetime subscriptions certainly have nothing to worry about in that regard, and if you'd like to get some back issues of Apak that you may have missed, please ask!) And I'll admit that it's sometimes been a strain finding compromise between my vision of the fanzine and that of my co-editors; it will be both a relief and slightly terrifying to have no one but myself to please in my subsequent projects. You can look for something from me before the end of July, and I have every hope that the first issue of Victor's new fanzine will be out before the end of the summer. Don't be surprised if you see carl's name in other fanzines from time to time, too.
While I am thanking the people who made this fanzine possible, I should be sure to include our columnists and correspondents, without whom there would have been many more installments of "Air Kombat Korner." It's been a real privilege to publish work from such a variety of fans, and the unstinting praise and positive reinforcement which so many letter-hacks have sent us was a real inspiration. Especially back in the bi-weekly days, it was very impressive to see the number of writers who worked to meet our ridiculous deadlines. Randy Byers and Lesley Reece were great friends as well as remarkably dependable contributors.
I don't know if Apparatchik is the best fanzine of its time, the tenth-best, or the worst, and quite honestly I don't care. I do know that it was a gas to produce, and when we were all working well together, it gave me a unique feeling of communal and personal achievement. If another fanzine ever feels this hot, this satisfying to me, I'll be very grateful and surprised.
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