Octopus's Garden

Issue Fifty-Seven

2nd November 2005

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HELLO, good evening and welcome to Octopus’s Garden, the subzeen with its very own tedious hobby history article. It’s a subzeen to Jim Burgess’ The Abbysinian Prince. Produced by Peter Sullivan, peter@burdonvale.co.uk. It's available on the web at http://www.burdonvale.co.uk/octopus/index.html.

A Startling Press Production

One of the many ideas that postal games fandom borrowed (OK, stole) from science fiction fandom is the idea of a fannish press. So all of the zeens from a particular editor, even (or especially) where they have different titles, will be declared to be "A FooBar Press Production" or similar.

Richard Walkerdine published all of his various hobby publications as "Astral Press," for reasons possibly explained in a very early issue of Mad Policy, but which I’m not aware of. Whilst Conrad von Metzke’s various publications, including Costaguana, were from the "Grendel Press," with a Grendel/Kilroy/Chad man-looking-over-a-wall doodle next to it. Iain Bowen’s was "Revolutionary Penguin Press (1985)," reflecting his early enthusiasm for cartoonist Steve Bell.

Meanwhile, my own fannish press is Startling Press. The name comes from, needless to say, the Beatles. Most of the Beatles’ songs were written by Lennon and McCartney, and were published in sheet music form by Northern Songs, a company in which they owned (considering their contribution to its output) a fairly miserly percentage. But when George Harrison started writing songs as well, all but the first few were published by his own company, Harrisongs. And Ringo Starr’s contributions, such as "Don’t Pass Me By" and "Octopus’s Garden" (see, there is a link) were published by a company called Startling Music.

So Startling Press it was, and the first publication to be officially identified as a Startling Press Production was CMag 77, although I’ve always regarded all previous issues as having been "grandfathered-in."

The more interesting question is exactly how many zeens and other publications I’ve produced for Startling Press. I used to have a fairly accurate figure, but time and memory make things less certain these days. The final issue of C’est Magnifique claims to be Startling Press Production number 169. I can (sort of) work back to this figure as follows:

Which leaves a discrepancy of 9 issues. I think that the missing numbers are in fact Manorcon Progress Reports and/or Results Booklets, although the authorship of these was always a bit obscure, even to the committee. Anyway, for the purposes of this listing, that’s what I’m going to claim. It’s possible that there’s another mini-zeen or something I’ve forgotten about, but that’ll do for the moment.

So if CMag 142 was Startling Press Publication 169, then this is Startling Press Publication 231. Reckoned as all of the above, plus:

I could add in something for the number of Manorcon publications I did after 1994 (mainly, being Treasurer, Progress Reports), but (a) I have no idea how many there were and (b) these were paid for out of convention funds rather than subsidised by me. So 231 will do it for the moment.

Startling Press production 231.

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