Amanita & New Church
edited by
Cyril Simsa

All files are in PDF format except as noted


Amanita #1

As Rob Hansen has noted elsewhere, Amanita was one of several UK zines launched in the wake of Seacon 79, and possibly the first off the block.

      I had been reading (and contributing to) fanzines since 1975, and I had attended a couple of cons before, but Seacon was the one that clicked and the reason I decided to do my own fanzine.  I rushed out my first issue in October 1979, in the gap between Seacon and university, with contents that were largely improvised, and it shows.  It wasn't till issue 2 (January 1980) that I started to plan ahead, and not till issue 3 (July 1980) did I arrive at the kind of zine I had been hoping for.  Which is ironic, given that it was my final issue.

      At the time, I had every intention of carrying on, and indeed, issue 4 was fully drafted (and partly typed) for January 1981 publication, but I didn't quite manage to finish it in my winter break, and then a combination of illness and final exams forced me to set it aside.  So I farmed out the two main articles (to Phil Palmer's The Chocolates of Lust and the Big Dummy group's Overblown), and that was that.

      Still, it was fun while it lasted, and I hope, even now, someone may find it diverting.

      Cyril Simsa, February 2018

Amanita 1 Amanita 2 Amanita 3


New Church

New Church was a one-shot, single-topic broadside I published in the summer of 1980 as a kind of sidebar to Amanita

      As someone who wrote short fiction, alongside his fanzines, I had been thinking a lot about what would today be called the small press, and in particular, the huge cultural taboo in UK fandom at the time against publishing fiction in fanzines.  There was a general assumption that any worthwhile fiction would find its validation through professional publication, and that non-professional publication was axiomatically a reflection of quality, rather than the size of the market or other practical considerations.  "Crud" was a term that was often bandied around.

      In view of what happened later with the explosion of small press zines, online publication and e-books, the refusal to contemplate fiction publishing as a legitimate fan endeavour seems quite old-fashioned now.  (It was also ahistorical, in view of what had gone before in the 1930s and 1940s.)  But back then, the attitude was real and it bugged me, hence this little zine.

      Of course, my own response also looks old-fashioned now: I didn't foresee any of the new technologies that would change the playing field, but for what it’s worth, here is what I wrote.

      Cyril Simsa, February 2018

New Church

Last revised: 16 February, 2018

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