Book: Making Book by Teresa Neilsen Hayden

Very good but not everyone will be interested in 'zine articles from the 1980s

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Making Book
The NESFA Press, 1994
ISBN: 0-915368-55-2
158 pages

I bought Making Book after Neil Gaiman mentioned it in his excellent blog. I didn't much know what to expect from the book, but since I like what of Mr Gaiman's writing that I've read, I thought that taking his recommendation was pretty safe. It turns out that Making Book is a very fine but somewhat unusual book. It is mostly articles by Ms Nielsen Hayden that she originally wrote for 'zines in the 1980s. 'Zines (short for fanzines) were a sort of paper-based predecessor to blogs. They were inexpensively-published amateur magazines, commonly with multiple authors and routinely about science fiction and its fans. The best of them were very good indeed.

I never saw any of the 'zines that Ms Nielsen Hayden wrote for but that's my loss, and I'm glad to have made it up in some measure now. There's an article here about being excommunicated from the Mormon church, one about being a university administrator, and another about putting on Science Fiction conventions. And there's a longish piece called "Over Rough Terrain" that has to do with Ms Nielsen Hayden's battle with narcolepsy, which I found it quite moving. If you're interested in science fiction fandom and/or are willing to Google a few unusual words, there's some very fine writing here.

The book ends with a wonderful chapter on copyediting. It began as a sort of cover letter that would go to freelance copyeditors along with the manuscripts they were to work on. It's almost as much fun as Wolcott Gibbs's "Theory and Practice of Editing New Yorker Articles" and it's rather more useful.

Posted: Tue - May 11, 2004 at 09:50   Main   Category: