Who and What We Are

Xerography Debt is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers (and readers). It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine (the ancestor to many blogs). The paper version has been around since 1999. This blog thing is are attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Paper 1.0. Print is not dead, but it is becoming more pixelated.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maynard Reviews some Zines (July 2009)

Allergies: how to deal, February 2009
Ali Thompson
$4.00 US, 16 pgs.
P.O. Box 95
Runnymeade, NJ

Allergy self-care zine for the lay person. Includes effective remedies and allergy prevention tips. Ironically, I have had direct experience with the material discussed and have used all the remedies mentioned. How weird is that?

Note to Ali: have you visited naet.org or read Ellen Cutler's excellent book, “The Food Allergy Cure”? I used both of these resources to resolve very serious allergies. I bet the authors of these resources would welcome your interest if you are going to expand that helpful little zine. This kind of info is very helpful, especially for uninsured folks suffering from allergies, as I was when I had to find alternative therapies.

Underworld Crawl, no. 6
R. Lee
$2.00, 27 pgs.
P.O. Box 1421
Oshkosh, WI, 54903

Wow! R. Lee's slice-of-life zine kicks major narrative ass. This writer has serious character and narrative chops. Anecdotes are tightly written, and show character with brevity and clarity, and as a bonus, are revelatory of the narrator.

Shows all of humanity (well, a gosh darn large swath) in a few, short, well-placed strokes. Leaves the reader wanting and dreading more.

The honest revelation of the ugliness, uselessness and negativity that goes with the human condition is tempered and curves back on itself; and ironically, after reading, one is left with an aftertaste of compassion. Genius.

No Conversation, #1
Free with trade or 3 or 4 US stamps
Likes mail, so send comments and letters
P.O. Box 793
Ruidoso, NM, 88355-0793

Great mini-travelogue that clearly and entertainingly depicts that author's travels in Malaysia. Astute, insightful, politically interesting, Dean takes you through everyday life in Indonesia. The sights, the smells, the effects of the sex trade on ordinary moments in life, all are described so the reader can grasp a sense of the chaotic, busy, frenetic pace of a part of the world that remains a mystery to most of us.

Dean captures souls well in his writing, and one feels one has met those that he describes. The details he puts in and leaves out are magic, poignant and downright shattering. His handling of the wealth gap is well done – not preachy or self-serving or even embarrassed. And most worrying is his relation of corruption in government and society. Imagine if the whole US were run by gangs and the mafia, you get an idea of what taking care of business is like in Malaysia. I hadn't considered the corrosive effects of corruption – how it enables poverty and grinds social progress to a standstill.

One of the Founding Fathers, Franklin, observed that we'd hang on to the Republic until the average citizen became corrupt.

Watch the Closing Doors, #46
Fred Argoff
$10.00, 4 quarterly issues, cash only
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY, 11230

What a joy! Mass transit all over the globe, this time a stop in Dubai, which looks alarmingly like LA. Really cool pictures from subway systems, and amusing, yet informative essays about the 225th Station and the Z Train in New York City.

Opuntia 67.1E, Victoria Day, 2009
Dale Speirs
$3.00 cash, trade for zine or letter of comment, no US stamps.
Box 6830
T2P 2E7

Steampunk! I would not have connected Speirs as a steampunk fan, as the willing suspension of disbelief for someone who is mechanically inclined would be steep (the reason lawyers hate law shows and doctors are allergic to medical dramas). He has reviewed a huge number of short stories from Extraordinary Engines (2008 mass market paperback edited by Nick Gevers). What bliss to steampunk freaks. This is a fascinating genre to me, what a hoot!

Also included is a rare music review, which Speirs likens to “dancing about architecture” because text and notes hardly are equivalents. Anyhoo, he has a million versions of Bolero, which I also found amusing. Issue also includes zine reviews and his eclectic gatherings of articles from various scientific journals.

Always a treat for a free-range intellect.

The Ken Chronicles , number 9, November 2008
Ken Bausert
2140 Erma Drive
East Meadow, NY, 11554-1120

Very sweet and personal zine about a really nice guy, Ken. Includes family anecdotes, vacation description, everyday issues (retirement and insurance) and his musical adventures with his kids.

This zine does a great job of showing the reader about Ken, and he seems to be a loving, interesting, older zinester. I thought I was old in zineland, but this guy is my Dad's age, and to a lot of you young-uns, he's grandpa! Scary thought.

The weird point of personal connection I had to this zine was the Tappan Zee Bridge. I spent a miserable 4 hours on that swaying, frozen thing when the family car died on it one bleak winter. Ken tells his tale of adventure on a road trip with his Garvin (GPS) in attempting to avoid the George Washington Bridge. My grandpappy and father were also fond of avoiding the GW Bridge. That was why we were stuck on the Tappan Zee!

Nothing is more annoying that using a GPS when you sort of know the way you want to go, but don't know enough to get there yourself. I recently drove around the Pentagon 80 times and probably got myself profiled for my troubles.

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