by Quentin 'Cubist' Long
©2006 Quentin Long -- all rights reserved
This is it: The last issue of TSAT. 9 June 2006 was the date on which Bard and I decided it was time to put the zine out of our misery, and nothing has happened since then to persuade me that we were wrong. In particular: In the nearly four months since I announced the zine's demise, nobody -- and I mean nobody -- has stepped up to volunteer for the august position of 'Editor of TSAT'. Of course, it's not as if anybody was required to do so... and, sure enough, nobody did.
Likewise, it isn't as if anybody was required to let us know what they thought of the zine... and for the most part, nobody ever did that, either. The very few exceptions were, and are, appreciated, I hasten to add. But these exceptions were and are very few; it's a rare month when we get as many as one e-mail of comment. Sure, "as many as one" sounds odd -- but it happens to be true.
And, of course, it's not as if anybody was ever required to click on the "Support TSAT!" link which is constantly visible in the lower-left corner of the zine-window, either... and (wait for it) nobody ever did that, either. Not according to the zine's net traffic stats, at least. Is there anything the least bit wrong with giving away the fruits of your labor? Certainly not! However, there's also nothing the least bit wrong with getting some sort of concrete reward in exchange for what you do -- 'value given for value received', as the saying goes. I'd have loved to be able to actually pay the zine's artists and writers, thus providing them with a very concrete reward indeed! But that was always dependent on whether or not the readers chose to support the zine -- and for the most part, none of TSAT's readers ever did so choose.
As for new stories, well, let's just say that as time passed, the number of submissions approached zero along an asymptotic curve...
I hope I don't sound bitter; the above paragraphs are intended to be simple statements of fact. But I and Bard took over from TSAT's founding editor, Jeffrey Mahr, in 2001 -- and that means we've been on the receiving end of five solid years of nigh-absolute silence and nigh-absolute lack of support from the community TSAT served.
Not exactly a textbook example of positive reinforcement, hm?
Speaking of 'positive': Yes, there are (were?) a number of things I like(d) about doing TSAT, and I'm going to spend the rest of this editorial writing about them.
While I could wish that TSAT got a greater number of submissions, I'm quite pleased with the quality of our stories! By and large, what went into the zine was pretty damned good. Okay, it's only to be expected that I would say so. But it's not just me saying so; it's also all those people who put TSAT, and stories therein, on the Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List every year. Not too shabby -- especially what you consider that that's a strictly furry honor, and 'furry' was not the zine's primary focus!
Another good thing about TSAT: The authors. Kris Schnee, Raven Blackmane, Posti... the list is long, believe you me. These guys and gals are smart, they're well-informed, and they know what to do with constructive criticism. Phil Geusz, Kitnoki, Charles Matthias... Brainstorming with any of them is Fun, and that's all there is to it. Keith Morrison, Equestrian Horse Wrangler... like I said, the list (and, sometimes, the names on the list) is long.
The April Fool hoax-issues. We didn't celebrate the occasion at first; it wasn't until 2004 that we unleashed an online repository of romance novels -- Tempest -- on our credulous public. The authenticity of this hoax was (hopefully) enhanced by the 200 (count 'em, two hundred!) story-fragments it boasted, none of which had been touched by human hands (I tweaked the code of an online 'romance story generator', you see). For 2005, me and Bard got religion: Namely, the First Church of Christ, Theriomorph, for which Transfigurations was the 'house organ', not to mention the high point of TSAT's annual japery. Transfigurations had some real possibilities, and I've always felt it was a pity that nobody ever wrote any stories for the Naked Souls shared-world setting. As for 2006, the year in which we converted the zine to an 'all reprints, all the time' format... well... the less said, the better.
The zine's long-standing #1 rank in Google searches for 'tsat'. Why could I possibly think that's worth caring about? Because of the way Google.com determines what order to show you the 'hits' from your search request. The specifics of Google's methodology aren't public knowledge, but the basic idea is pretty simple: The more pages have links to Page X, the higher Page X is in Google's list of results. So that's why I think TSAT's #1 Google rank is worth caring about: It means that people -- a lot of people -- thought TSAT was worth linking to. I have to admit that the zine's current Google rank is #3, but considering what it took to dethrone TSAT, I'm still happy. You see, the present #2- and #1- links both have to do with a military defense program called 'Transformational Satellite', or 'TSAT' for short...
Back in #19, in my first editorial, I wrote, "It's going to be a long, strange trip"... and a long, stringe trip, it truly was. But it's over now. Thanks for coming along with us, and if you're at all curious to see what I'll do next, why not check out my other zine, Anthro? See you there!