Tuesday, 31 July 2007


And so the last gasp before the 'hiatus' was upon us. Published in March 2000, a mere two months before I departed NZ for the shores of England (the spiritual home of Doctor Who), issue 10 was another riotous explosion of material, hastily assembled by trained monkeys wrapped in a choice of five different coloured covers (cream, yellow, green, blue, & red). At this stage I guess the cracks may have begun to show with Matt, much of the issue being put together by myself rather than evenly shared as in the past. But I was quietly confident that issue 11 would see print around June/July 2000. More fool me. And the editorials:
Yes, it's me again! I bet you weren't expecting such a quick follow up after the gap between issues 8 and 9! I've just now recovered from RTP!'s 'realizing that we stapled it up wrong' party, and I'm busily preparing for our 'it's only two weeks away till the next issue's finished' party. Considering that next week is also the 'celebrating the three week anniversary of the founding of our evil media empire' party as well, expect drunken reviews and slagging interviews this issue. Oh, and it's our tenth issue anniversary to ...
We've decided to let things go and slip back an issue in our schedule. Due mainly to my immense slackness, and the increasing workload I seem to have put upon my back (I know that final straw is coming!), things have got a bit behind here at Sauceron Towers. But hopefully, fingers crossed, we're back on track for four issues this year, finishing with issues eleven and twelve. We've also got our very first special coming up in the next few months before Joe departs for his small island. It's The TARDIS Tales Collection parts one and two. If there is enough demand, we might even start printing Pulp Who way off down the track!
So, it's been ten issue huh? I remember way back when Wade and I had the idea to attempt this adventure. I was born out of a general science fiction newsletter I wanted to do with some friends in Fourth Form, but we didn't actually get around to doing anything until '97 when Wade and I thought to revive it. It's been three years, sometimes very long ones, but three very long enjoyable ones. it's been fun to write and communicate with everyone, and meet a lot of new friends along the way. I suppose that's one of the best things about having done RTP! That and all the parties we have to celebrate pointless benchmarks in our publishing schedule. Which reminds me, tonight is the 'we may have had to kill Matt to do it, but we've actually finished the issue' party. But I can't talk too soon, we haven't go there yet. I better go and get some supplies. (Returns from fridge). It's OK, we seem to have 49 vessels* left over from last night's party! Anyone fancy a Speights?

- Matt Kamstra

* We would like to remind younger readers that the editors do not condone excessive drunkenness, nor use of illegal substances. We do however, have plenty to spare.

Jonathan Park, esq (I've just finished reading Tom Jones (no, not the singer ..., so sue me) wrote in Telos #15, dated April 1997:

'15 issues isn't that bad. Telos is the longest running non-NZDWFC fanzine in New Zealand and I doubt that record will be passed in the near future.'

Well it's almost three years later and this is that all important issue 10. Only five more to go and we will have caught up with Jonathan! This may seem like a pretty pathetic goal, but they help us (Matt & myself) have something to work towards. Like with issue 16 we will have passed Jonathan (unless you count Telos Unearthed, in which case we pass him with issue 17). See how it enables us to just keep on going?
Onto other matters. From this issue onwards we now have an RTP! design book so that hopefully all the pages in one issue will be formatted the same instead of Matt using one technique and myself another. This also includes another rearrangement of the cover layout (our fifth). This was the cover format issue 9 was supposed to use, but Matt decided to print issue 9 the week I was on holiday, so my instructions on the cover layout were lost in the wash somewhere along the line.*
Hopefully included with this issue is a copy of our newsletter Critical Mass, which is supposed to cover TV science fiction and fantasy as well as filling the gap left by SF On Screen. If however it totally sux arse—tell us and we'll use Chinese bamboo torture to put it out of its' misery!
Other things have come to my attention lately is the new two volume TARDIS Tales Collection. This is slowly coming together (I'm such a slacker!) and should, finger crossed, be ready for publication by the end of the year - if not sooner.
One final note.
Please, pretty please, give us some fu*kkin' feedback so that RTP! can continue to inform and entertain you like it has done for the past ten issues—under the duress of a loaded shotgun.

- Alexander Ballingall

* Along with the idea that the next meeting of the Christchurch chapter was supposed to occur after I got back from holiday, not on the same weekend I flew back into Christchurch! Where did I put my Enya CDs ...
The Madness of King Guff:

Published: March 2000
Volume 4 - Number 2
Editor: Matt Kamstra, Alexander Ballingall
RTP! Logo Design: Peter & Bridget Adamson
Front Cover: Alexander Ballingall
Back Cover: Garry Jackson
Internal Artwork: Peter Adamson, Alexander Ballingall, Brendon Bennetts, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, Jeff Stone
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents ~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: Story Shock Horror!
  • [09] REVIEWS: Unsung Classics of Doctor Who
  • [12] RTP! Retrospective
  • [15] CARTOON: Aquaman—In 'The Blue Peter Pilot Episode'
  • [18] Professor Splegg Strikes Back
  • [19] COMIC: Pulp Who—The Gold Star [part 3 of 4]
  • [27] REVIEWS: The Scope/James' Corner [Reviews of EDAs, PDAs, videos, and TSV]
  • [30] REVIEWS [Revelation of the Daleks and Planet of the Daleks]
  • [34] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 5 of 8]
  • [38] INTERVIEW: The Mars Bar [Peter Adamson]
  • [41] The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who - The early TARDIS crew
  • [42] OPINION: The Good, the Bad, and the Just Bloody Stupid Looking
  • [45] FICTION: Invitation
  • [46] FICTION: Wednesday
  • [47] /full page advert/
  • [48] CARTOON: Cyber Person
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - The Clockwise Cuckoos
  • [52] COVER

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Flashback - The One with the Rubber Chicken on the Cover (RTP! #5)

Issue 5 (September 1998) is where I became Co-Editor with Matt Kamstra after Wade Campbell had left the fanzine. At the time I was in my second year at university (and Matt his first) and had undertaken to develop a website for the fanzine since I was able to intuit HTML quicker than Matt could (plus he wasn't as inclined to pick it up). Like issue 4, much of my memories of this issue are based around a computer lab on campus (although a different lab this time). There we were able to include the first scanned artwork for the fanzine (Garry's pic of the Seventh Doctor and Fifi), something that wouldn't happen again for quite some time.

It was I who introduced the 'Desdemona' font for the article titles in an attempt to provide a uniform style for the fanzine and had argued for Peter Adamson's Ergon illustration to grace the front cover (it just seemed to work so well with the logo we were using at the time).

The issue certainly felt to me then as a huge step up from the first four issues, Matt and myself feeling quietly confident in the growing readership.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


Some very nice comments from Paul Scoones (a long time editor of TSV) have been posted at his blog. Read them here.

Monday, 23 July 2007

A Cat has Nine Lives

Issue 9. What can I say? This issue was the one I'd had the least to do with after coming on board as Assistant Editor with issue 4. So some bits I had a hand in setting out, others I didn't, and the issue was eventually published while I was on holiday. This is possibly why the page numbers were hastily penned in by hand at the last minute and the majority of contributions carried no 'credit' tag to let readers know who wrote what. A very bitsy issue, perhaps a result of the longer than usual gap. Issue 9 had been planned for September 1999, but surfaced in January 2000, and claimed to be issue 8 published in June 1999! This is what happens when I let go of the tiller for a short while! Chaos!:
Please feel free to shoot me if you feel so inclined! No, we haven't died (yet), but it has been a damn long time since the last issue! The reasons are too numerous and personal to go into, and besides, excuses suck donkey balls anyway. But we're here, and Joe's here, to 'Put me back on schedule'. But I don't appreciate that heavy breathing Joe ... STOP IT!
Well, it's January and once again Paul McGann has saved us from melting glass and tacky New Year's celebrations, or enough so that you can sit at home without water or power and still read this FAB mag. But of course, if Y2K wasn't just a hoax to get Bill Gates more money, then you won't be reading this anyway! Enough with the crap!
We here at RTP! Towers are delivering to you, the consumer, a special treat to mark the millennium. That's right we're bringing your three issues within the space of two and a half months! You heard right! No, Joe, it's not because I'm so slack that we need to do it to get 'back on schedule', we're just generous, that's all.
On the news front, we have some. Yep, that's right, we're not just full of hot air, there's some excrement content too. Announcing 'Saucer Smith Enterprises'. Graham Muir doesn't know it yet, but we've thieved his star of the show, Saucer Smith and named our Evil publishing conglomerate after him. Well, that's not entirely true, our pathetic group of small time fanzines are forming into one organization to make a few things a bit easier. And besides, our logo looks really cool, and we didn't have any real legitimate use for it. So, what does this mean for you, the subscriber you ask? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Well no, I tell a small lie. With the addition of some pretty serious rendering hardware to our fleet by April (fingers crossed), the production standard of all the zines will jump. Our printer problem is still hanging over our heads, it seems that no one in Christchurch can offer a decent service for prices we won't laugh at. Unless you want to pay about $6 per issue. I'm sorry, but bear with us for a moment. We'll see it straight, even if it means printing in some small block of Shanghai using slave labor*. If anyone would like to submit to our evil empire, please let us know. We will enslave you promptly and inefficiently. Thank you.

- Matt Kamstra

* RTP! would like to say that we do not, in any way, condone sweat shops in Third World countries or anywhere else for that matter. It was just a joke. In bad taste. Well, kind of ...
Harry Potter and the Guff:

Published: January 2000
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editors: Alexander Ballingall, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Peter & Bridget Adamson
Front Cover: Peter Adamson
Back Cover: Peter Adamson
Internal Artwork: Alexander Ballingall, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra, Jon Preddle, David Ronayne
Letters: James Gould, David Ronayne, Jeff Stone, Tom Box [AKA Wade Campbell]
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: New Movie Confirmed!
  • [09] REVIEW [Review of The Curse of Fatal Death]
  • [10] REVIEW [Review of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy]
  • [12] REVIEW [Review of Revenge of the Cybermen]
  • [14] REVIEW [BBC 2 Doctor Who Night 1999]
  • [14] REVIEW: James' Corner [Pilots of the Deep]
  • [15] INTERVIEW: The Tomorrow People [Graham Muir]
  • [19] COMIC: Pulp Who—The Gold Star [part 2 of 4]
  • [26] OPINION: Soap Box
  • [27] REVIEWS: The Scope [Reviews of EDAs]
  • [30] ARTICLE: The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who: Nyssa
  • [31] FICTION: A Doctor's Tale
  • [32] ARTICLE: Meaningless Statistics
  • [35] OPINION: Grand Speculations and Musings
  • [37] /full page advert/
  • [38] CARTOON: Spliff and Nutmeg's Short Trips
  • [40] ARTICLE: Kaled Nazism
  • [43] Professor Spleg's Fun and Sillines!
  • [44] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 4 of 8]
  • [47] CARTOON: Cyber Guy
  • [48] OPINION: I BBC Book
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - Space Sargasso
  • [52] COVER

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Pieces of Eight

Issue 8 saw the conclusion of the two-part interview with Warwick 'Scott' Gray and the first part of further Pulp Who (spearheaded by Peter Adamson), but much of the issue was taken up with reference to the 1996 US telemovie. In other words (and not planned this time) RTP! was presenting another themed issue. Meanwhile I inflicted another strange editorial on readers:
As I sit here and write this issues editorial I am looking at the cover of the video release for Nightmare of Eden (well actually I'm not, but I could remedy that by going over to my shelf ... hello, I'm back again. Now I am looking at the cover). It's the stuff that dreams are made of. I've been waiting for the release of this title for so long that despite having sung it's praises in the video review this issue I still find myself rabbiting on about it. I promise that I'll stop now and talk about something else, especially considering that you have all contracted drapetomania towards this particular title.
This issue sees the return of Pulp Who, this time by Peter Adamson as I have Potomania and am not in the mood to apply pen to paper. But as I am quite attached to this keyboard I'll keep typing till I've run out of things to say or, more than likely, run out of space. However I'm sure you'll all find Peter's contribution more than satisfactory (but if you find it better than my own I may be forced to kill the poor fellow) and a continuation of New Zealand Doctor Who cartoonists' obsession with the cartoons of fellow New Zealand Doctor Who cartoonists (that was a fun mouthful). I will return to drawing cartoons soon, as I have a big (well I think it's 'big' anyway) Sixth Doctor comic strip that I am drawing up at the moment—the delaying of this strip allows me to work on it more leisurely and therefore I do not have to panic about deadlines, something which Pulp Who was notorious at passing, usually by a couple of weeks. I also promise that they won't be more than eight pages in length each issue!
Also this issue we have an eclectic collection of reviews celebrating the 1996 TV movie which is now three years old. One could summarize all these reviews in one word: Floccinaucinihilipilification. However that could be a little too hard on something that has led to a regeneration (ooh, I like that word) of Doctor Who, as the years leading up to the TV movie saw the Virgin New Adventures beginning to become tired and interest in the show waning. Matt pointed to some of the fruits of this regeneration in his editorial last issue and I feel that the existence of this fanzine itself shows that interest in Doctor Who hasn't gone the way of all flesh (either that or we're all really, really, really diehard fans. I personally prefer option number one). After all the buzz of the Comic Relief sketch things have gone quiet once more, although it was quite nice to learn that the Doctor Who sketch was the highest rating part of the Comic Relief screenings. There is yet again little news that could give any hope for a new series, a new missing episode hasn't turned up for at least five months now, and the BBC are slowing down their video releases. But despite this, interest in the show has really yet to drop to the level of The Prisoner and in fact it has been said that the show's popularity it at its highest since 1989! Why is this?
Well I could spend the rest of the editorial debating this question, but then I have run out of space once again. So I'll leave you hanging, like a good cliffhanger should, till next time ...

- Alexander Ballingall
There is Something About Guff:

Published: June 1999
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editors: Alexander Ballingall, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Jamie Campbell/Alexander Ballingall
Front Cover: Garry Jackson
Back Cover: Alexander Ballingall
Internal Artwork: Peter Adamson, Martin Geraghty, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, Jon Preddle, Jeff Stone
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] FICTION: The Wheel Turns
  • [08] REVIEW [Review of The Ark]
  • [10] REVIEW [Review of The Keys of Marinus]
  • [12] REVIEW [Review of Nightmare of Eden]
  • [14] REVIEW: Comic Relief?! [The Curse of Fatal Death]
  • [16] REVIEW: TV Movie Memories ... [Doctor Who]
  • [21] CARTOON: Cyber Guy
  • [24] INTERVIEW: Shades of Gray [part 2 of 2: Warwick 'Scott' Gray]
  • [27] REVIEWS: Stoatworld [Reviews of EDAs, PDAs]
  • [33] COMIC: Pulp Who—The Gold Star [part 1 of 4]
  • [41] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: DW Movie Confirmed ... Honest!!!!
  • [42] ARTICLE: The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who: Doctor Who
  • [44] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: Missing Episode Conspiracy
  • [46] /full page advert/
  • [47] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 3 of 8]
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - The Enemy Within
  • [51] FICTION: A Tale of Comings and Goings
  • [52] COVER

Monday, 16 July 2007

A Bit of Ego Stroking

Yup, photos. These graced the pages of issue 2 as what Matt Kamstra would later describe in issue 3 as 'filler', and come from a Christchurch Chapter meeting (described here). One of the last at Hayden Edward's place. The top photo is a young me (ten years ago now!), the copy of issue 1 in my hands open to my review of The Five Doctors Special Edition. The photo below it is of Graham Muir (with half of Phillip J Gray off to the left), posing with his cover art for that first issue.

Just though I'd post these so that people could see them in all their colour glory.

Saturday, 14 July 2007


The contents page illustration had begun as a space-filler with issue 3. Matt Kamstra supplied the above for issue 4 (Matt's fascination with Japan can be noted in the way he signed his artwork).

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Seventh Seal

Welcome to issue 7. 1999 started out well with this issue, but, as subscribers from that year will remember, things didn't remain that way for very long with the fanzine stumbling about halfway through the year. The big feature for the issue was the NZ fan interview, this time being with DWM comic editor Warwick 'Scott' Gray. This interview blindsided me as I had had simply no idea that it was coming and all thanks has to go to David Ronayne for seeing the possiblity through to fruition. It was a very welcome addition to the fanzine. Not quite so welcome perhaps was the blatant page filler that was 'The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who', a lame last gasp event that somehow staggered on for several more issues. And below is a typical Matt editorial in which he reaches beyond himself with dreams of a publishing empire:
G'day and welcome to the first issue of 1999—we've got a few gems for you to start the year off with. An interview with DWM comic editor Scott Gray, detailing that infamous 'Threshold' decision, and we also have Birdy gracing our pages again. But unfortunately CyberGuy won't be able to join us this issue, but he'll be back in June! we also catch up on some of the latest and greatest video releases of recent months—kind regards to Carmel Bennett at Roadshow for all your help there! Next issue will be busy with reviews also, with a new title almost monthly recently—that's a lot to catch up on! At this time I'd also like to say congratulations to James Gould who won last issues' "Candid Caption"—your prize is on its way!
Plenty has been happening in Who lately. Well, plenty being a relative term - a lot more than usual has been happening lately. Sustained, yet unfortunately unfounded movie rumors, an announcement on new BBC sanctioned audio dramas, and most recently, only a little of a week ago in fact, the Doctor Who Comic Relief sketch with Rowan Atkinson. We'll be going into more detail next issue with a review and a few other bits and pieces. In other words things are looking up for the Doctor and his companions. Does this mean we will see a return to the small screen? Sadly I doubt it. I think many people share this opinion, but in reality is this dismal view merely because of the lack of BBC commitment in the past? Are we all just imagining that the Beeb couldn't possibly bring back the show? Well maybe. The prospect of Doctor Who audio dramas with original scripts and acted out by real series actors is for certain a very promising one. But what will it mean for us in New Zealand? Will mainstream booksellers and music stores be willing to carry this product, or will we be trapped in the position we are currently in, whereby it is only the few who are diehard fans (ie. you and I) that are willing to order these books through Whitcoulls, the Internet or other overseas book retailers. I seriously hope not. Judging by recent response of some independent bookstores around Christchurch, interest in the BBC novels is picking up. Scorpio regularly stocks new titles for a modest $16.95, and you can even pick up the odd copy at Whitcoulls or Dymocks (presumably nationwide). But does that really mean we are on the verge of these retailers taking notice of their small, yet dedicated market? With more and more new video releases, selling out quicker and quicker or so it seems, and a new range of BBC audio products, I seriously hope they will sit up and take notice. It wouldn't hurt for us to get together either and ask your local retailers to consider purchasing more of these lines. It we all did a little something, we could make a big difference. Sound lame-ass and cliche? Maybe it is. But we'll never find out unless we try.
Speaking of trying, Joe and I have had a crazy idea we want to try. We have been considering adding another string to our fanzine bow for a while now, and the idea of a general sci-fi telefantasy zine s forming in our minds. This will join a Manga/Hong Kong cinema zine, that I have recently undertaken editorship of, in a trio, collectively published. We would really like heaps of response on this. Due to our already extensive demands from university, work, other zines etc, we really need to know it's going to work before we take on anything more. We're hoping at least a few, if not all of you would like to write for us—the zine's focus is basically anything sci-fi/telefantasy, classic or recent, and basically anything about it. There will be huge scope for articles and so perhaps some fierce competition for space also. So hopefully this will up the quality hugely. So if you're at all interested, or know someone who is, give us a bell, we'd love to hear from you. Apart from that though, I can't think of anything much else to say this issue. You're back to Joe's sarcastic humor next time, and I'll see you again in September!"

- Matt Kamstra
Around the Guff in 80 Days:

Published: March 1999
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editors: Alexander Ballingall, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Jamie Campbell/Alexander Ballingall
Front Cover: Matt Kamstra
Back Cover: Garry Jackson
Internal Artwork: Martin Geraghty, Garry Jackson
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, Garry Jackson, Jeff Stone, John Williams [AKA Matt Kamstra]
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: DWB Returns!
  • [09] ARTICLE: Dimensionally Transcendental
  • [10] CARTOON: Birdy - In 'A Slightly Greem Death'
  • [12] REVIEW [Review of Timelash]
  • [14] REVIEW [Review of Horror of Fang Rock]
  • [16] REVIEW [Review of Planet of Fire]
  • [18] A Month in the Life of RTP!
  • [21] ARTICLE: Time Travel (And All that Jazz)
  • [23] FICTION: A Sense of Irony
  • [24] REVIEW [Review of The Ice Warriors Box Set]
  • [27] REVIEWS: The Scope [Reviews of EDAs, PDAs]
  • [30] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 2 of 8]
  • [33] INTERVIEW: Shades of Gray [part 1 of 2: Warwick 'Scott' Gray]
  • [41] ARTICLE: Paul McGann is the Doctor
  • [43] ARTICLE: The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who: Planet of Fire
  • [44] CARTOON: Teletubbies in the Death Zone
  • [46] ARTICLE: A Touch of Class
  • [48] 1998 Survey Results
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - The Killer Cats of Gen-Singh
  • [51] FICTION: A Tale of a Second City
  • [52] COVER

Monday, 9 July 2007

Oh My God! A South Park Crossover!

Remember when South Park was the fresh new thing on the block? Twas a while ago now. Here's the two crossovers that RTP! produced, coming from issue 6 (January 1999) and issue 5 (September 1998) respectively. The first, by David Ronayne, was part of a short series of cartoons that included a crossover with The Fast Show, while the second is a rare artistic contribution from Matt Kamstra. Matt's piece was intended to be the first of a series of crossovers (I'd even thought of one myself involving some Daleks killing the crew of the Enterprise D (Next Generation)), but as with many of Matt's ideas it never came to fruition. Still, these two cartoons stand testament to the impact that South Park had managed at the time.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Questions Must Be Asked

One feature of RTP! since its second year has been that of interviews with noteworthy NZ fans of the show. This is something that was seemingly began out of the blue with Peter Adamson's interview with Alistair Hughes, and not as something planned by either Matt Kamstra or Wade Campbell. Since that first interview, they have been a mainstay of the fanzine alongside serialized fiction and the comic. Here's who has been interviewed so far:
#5 - A Brush with the Doctor ... [Alistair Hughes]
#6 - Fanboy Mastermind [Jon Preddle]

#7 & 8 - Shades of Gray [Warwick 'Scott' Gray]

#9 - The Tomorrow People [Graham Muir]
#10 - The Mars Bar [Peter Adamson]

#11 - Confessions of a Melophile [Alden Bates]

#12 - Modern Art [Jeff Stone]
#13 - The Importance of Being Phillip [Phillip J Gray]

#14 - All Kneel and Praise Her [Jamas Enright]
#15 - The Right of Reply [Jonathan Park]

#17 - Neil, Neil, Jonathan Peel [Neil Lambess]
#18 - The Life and Opinions of Paul Scoones [Paul Scoones]

#19 - But it's not Really Science Fiction ... is It? [Adam McGechan]
#21 & 22 - Hand-operated Paper-type Fanzine [Matt Kamstra & Wade Campbell]

#23 - The Other Dave (?) [David Lawrence]
#24 - NZ Fandom (Original Andy Pulzar Mix) [Andrew Poulsen]
Why not email myself and let me know of a future potential interviewee ...

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - TSV #51

Another flashback to an old review:
TSV #51

TSV changes its fonts and layouts more times than Matt changes his underwear. I still believe that they haven't found the right balance. I noticed a lack of artwork in this issue. Is TSV going towards a text only basis? The comic strip is something that is usually looked ofrward to, but In Bloom didn't strike the right chord. The Karkus seems to have established itself as the cartoon regular of TSV now and should be so for quite some time.
Once again TSV have an interesting interview with a New Adventures author, being Gary Russell. The fiction count has increased and includes a nice wee Star Wars crossover story by Alistair Hughes. A large proportion of this issues pages is taken up by a tribute to Terry Nation, but I feel the overall make-up of issue 51 suffered as a result.
News is so comprehensive in TSV that we here at Reverse the Polarity! don't feel we need to include it, unless something groundbreaking occurs. An alright issue, but still doesn't come anywhere near issues 47 or 49.

- Wade Campbell
Not quite a brutal as the review of issue 50, but not hugely positive either. I am left wondering if, as newbies to the whole fanzine editing thing, Matt Kamstra and Wade Campbell could have possibly written a 'nice' review of TSV. It certainly seems like an extension of their grudge against Telos.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Interview - A Brush with the Doctor ...

Interviewed by Peter Adamson (in 1998)

Alistair Hughes scarcely needs any introduction in Doctor Who fandom; his highly distinctive watercolour and scratch-board compositions have appeared in such mainstream UK Who publications as the In-Vision series of Doctor Who production studies (for which he produced many covers and countless interior illustrations), The Frame, DWB (an imaginative concept illustration for the unmade story The Masters Of Luxor, David Howe's 1993 Thirtieth Anniversary Doctor Who calender (a dynamic interpretation of the summoning of Azal from The Dæmons and the DWM Yearbook from the same year (for Mark Gatiss' story Urrozidnee).

In slightly smaller circles he has contributed to Glasgow's Paisley Pattern and was a founding subscriber to the late Who View. But the publication with which he is now most popularly associated is TSV, for which he supplies commissioned cover art as well as interior illustrations, the odd review, and even some fan fiction.

When he isn't exercising his artistic brilliance in TSV, Alistair works as a designer in Wellington, and his non-Who work can be seen in such magazines as Next and the New Zealand Chartered Accountants Journal.

(Peter) So tell me about your family. Any artists among them?
(Alistair) I'm adopted, so if it were a genetic thing, there's no evidence of it whatsoever in any other member of my family! Perhaps it's because this ability was unusual in my family that they were so encouraging when I showed some early interest in art.

So are you a Scottish Kiwi or a New Zealand Scot? There seems to be some confusion there ...
Yeah it's true there is a bit of confusion. I don't really know how to answer that one. When I returned to Scotland I naively expected to be welcomed with open arms, but soon found that it's the country you grow up in that moulds you rather than the place you were born ... although being born in Scotland is very important to me—in defining my sense of identity.

Were you allowed to watch Doctor Who as a child?
Practically encouraged! It was the classic BBC television programmer's image—Doctor Who was saturday night tea-time family viewing, and for me that meant the whole extended family—as we usually gathered at my grandparents' on the weekends. We'd all be crowded in front of the telly—real textbook British childhood stuff. So I've got very warm memories of being scared to death.

My earliest memory is of the Silurians, but (textbook stuff again!) I'll never forget my first impressions of Terror Of The Autons; that bloody troll doll and faceless policeman—it deserved to be raised in the Houses of Parliament ... terrifying stuff! I always believed it had been the Brigadier's face that was peeled away by the Doctor (of course, it was actually the Auton policeman - must be a uniform thing), and I remember thinking "God, if it can happen to him ..."

Every Who fan seems to have a defining Doctor for their generation. Yours would appear to be Jon Pertwee. Any thoughts on that?
Um ... I knew you were going to ask that question! I think regardless of the fact that it was Doctor Who, he was the earliest character who I wanted to be like and tried to identify with. I felt a connection and only later discovered that there were Doctors before him and others after him - but in this context it didn't matter, Pertwee was the only Doctor around on those scary Saturday tea-times.

Incidentally, I like to think it says at lot about Doctor Who fans that their hero is a cultured gentleman who uses his brains to confront oppression and evil, rather than someone who flies about with his underpants outside his suit, or blows things up with giant guns. I think that's a hopeful sign.

I bet your schoolbooks were covered in doodles ...
Yes, but doodling is one of the few things that I really feel retentive about. To me doodling is a lack of discipline, and you should be using that creative urge for something worthwhile. Even as a child there had to be a definite purpose for me, a brief, if you like. Or maybe I'm just unimaginative!

So what's your favourite monster to draw?
Oh, that would be the Sontarans.

Any more confessions?
First time I saw the Daleks (age 6—Day Of The Daleks) I was hideously disappointed. I couldn't believe it - they were as exciting as a talking fridge. I loved them by episode four, though! And I thought the Ogrons were homicidal old men—must have been the baldness!
Am I the only person who thinks Leela became less attractive when she changed the colour of her eyes? Or am I alone in preferring Romana 1 to Romana 2?

Then there's my belief that Logopolis utilises Christian themes as heavily as Planet Of The Spiders uses Buddhist ones ...

The TARDIS. It's a bugger to draw, as are Daleks. Easy to draw badly, hard to draw well. Agree?
Well, yes, but I'd say with the Daleks less so. The line that nimrod says in Ghost Light about 'a forest of straight lines' describes the appearance of the TARDIS pretty well, beloved as that police box is, but the Daleks have definite character!

Any trade secrets?
Only just get your composition sorted out before your reference material, rather than the other way around, a la Alistair Pearson (although he was under enormous pressure with his deadlines and did extremely well considering this). Good reference photographs should only be raw material to help create an illustration—not the sole reason or purpose for creating one!

Like a lot of artists (including Alistair Pearson) you like to use your vast collection of reference photos. Do you ever worry they'll run out?
Constantly. In fact it's the only reason I buy magazines! In Britain, magazines appear on the shelves the same week they are printed and they're more valid as a news source. But in New Zealand where we receive magazines months later—I buy and use them purely as photographic reference material.

Okay, so tell us about England. How hard is it to get noticed there?
I was living in Scotland of course. Very, very difficult. I had this huge flare of good luck at the start, because I was something new. But it was sustaining publishers' interest and proving myself deserving of it, that was the real challenge.

And of course, when you do land a commission from a client you have been courting for months, it's absolutely guaranteed that three other important jobs will arrive at the same time. I was fortunate to find a good deal of illustration work, not all of it Who-related, of course, and learned a lot about technique, and business in general.

At a Doctor Who convention the actor Julian Glover was speaking about acting, and he said something to the effect that of you have acting in your blood, you have no choice and have to live that life. But he felt sorry for anyone who did because it was such an enormously difficult way to earn a living. I found working as a freelance illustrator to very like that—when it's good (ie. when you have work) it's the most fun and rewarding thing you can ever do, but when it's bad it's truly horrible!

I'm happy to say that I did finally find myself in the equally difficult position of having too much work, but was able to give some of my clients to other illustrators whom I knew—I got a great bottle of whisky out of that!

What was your perception of British fans as opposed to New Zealand fans?
The Brits are far more irreverent. It's a kind of feeling where they hide their true enthusiasm behind a kind of skewed cynicism. At the conventions you'd have somebody dressed as the Doctor, coolly reluctant to talk about the very thing they were dressed up as—it was hilarious in a way. But I met a lot of really great people in UK fandom too. Very clever, very funny people.

Did you pick up any favourite fanzines?
I was involved in the local one called Paisley Pattern. It was incredibly irreverent ... maybe it was naivete, but I thought it was bordering on sacrilegious [against the programme]. I was quite shocked to read some of the things they said (particularly about 'Pertles' which was a 'mock affectionate nickname' for my favourite Doctor; it sounds quite amusing when said with a strong Glaswegian accent) ... but the emphasis was on comedy and fun throughout. Perhaps a backlash against the 'fanboy' image, an expression which was coined about this time.

You certainly did well while you were over there. A calender contribution, several In-Visions, DWM and DWB ...
I was lucky, and I certainly had a great time with it all. David Howe was very challenging and stimulating to work with on the calender—which will always be one of my favourite pieces. In-Vision was always more of a family atmosphere: Jeremy Bentham and especially Justin Richards became friends to me although we only ever spoke by phone (and Justin even mentioned me in his first New Adventure novel [Theatre Of War]—not many people know, or care about, that!) Their regular commissions really helped me develope my skills (and they still send me issues, bless 'em).

The real highlight was probably the Marvel Yearbook illustrations. It's not my best work, but I'd hounded Gary Russell for so long that gettin the commission was enormously satisfying! On the other hand I would have to say that DWB was the least pleasent experience, but that was due to an unrealistic deadline and my own inexperience in not saying so at the beginning.

So who's the guru in terms of Doctor Who artists—Chris Achilleos, Frank Bellamy or Phil Bevan?
Chris Achilleos was possibly the first artist who I learned the name of and looked for his work. But now I would probably say I admire something from them all, rather than any single artist: Phil Bevan for original composition and Alistair Pearson for technique, 'cause Chris Achilleos went on to do that horrible airbrushed stuff!

When Skilleter was good, he was very very good, but my favourite Target artist, and perhaps closest to my guru, was Jeff Cummins. His covers (The Face Of Evil, The Talons Of Weng-Chiang) are beautiful—moody and technically brilliant. I wish he'd done more!

Phil Bevan was of course renowned for going to extraordinary lengths to avoid copying established reference shots and stills, even coercing his friends into posing and taking main character likenesses from programmes outside Doctor Who. Is this sort of thing a concern of yours when so many photos and still are now availiable?
I think as far as likenesses are concerned you're on dangerous ground when you try and fool around with them in any way. You know yourself, if your illustration doesn't instantly resemble the person it's supposed to depict, you've failed as an illustrator in the most complete and basic way. But as far as the figure is concerned, absolutely anything goes - dress your friends and partner up, sketch your own reflection, use figures from completely different sources, take shots of the TV screen. Good figure drawing is important, but have fun!

There's also been a bit of a move into more stylised art, like Adrian Salmon's "Cybermen" strip in DWM ...
I think it's great. It's the backlash to the Alistair Pearson 'the likeness is the illustration' movement, I think. There should be more to Doctor Who art than just copying reference photos. Personally, I try to depict an atmospheric composition first and foremost, then choose the technique and reference material. If the composition suggests a stylised technique—all good and well. I love your line art, by the way ...

I've been asked to put this to you: What do you think the state of NZ Doctor Who fandom artwork is at the moment?
It just gets better and better. Kiwi fan artists are developing their own styles instead of just trying to be Andrew Skilleters or Alistair Pearsons, and the recent new emphasis on strips is great to see because this encourages a whole different way of looking at illustration. I think Paul's policy of encouraging artwork contributions which have a bearing on an upcoming issues articles, rather than just accepting yet another fan drawing of a Dalek or Tom Baker, has helped turn TSV into some more professional, which can give the glossy British magazines a run for their money.

You're a clever sod you know. You get to do video reviews and you've also written fiction ("A New Hope", TSV #51). Why don't we see more of your other talents?
Because I can't write. That fiction piece was something I did years ago and wanted to bring to light simply as an indulgence. I leave the writing to those whose talents obviously lie in that direction. Apart from writing there's really no other way I think I could contribute except for a comic strip, but I would have some very tough acts to follow. I love reviewing. It's basically talking about your favourite programme and forcing your own opinions on other people, but in text instead of speech. What's not to enjoy?

How about "Eckersley and the Badgermen" [Hughes' TSV #52 review of The Monster Of Peladon]?
I still enjoy writing about it! I guess I'm talking about enjoying the action of reviewing instead of the actual subject!

What's Paul Scoones like to work with? Any unreasonable demands? Death threats? Private commissions of Peri and Ace, something like that?
I think if there is anyone in New Zealand most suited to editing fandom, it's Paul Scoones. He's got extreme confidence in himself, but he extends that confidence to his contributors as well. I think that's the balance required. He's devastatingly honest but always in a constructive and positive way (is that a contradiction in terms?) He's also incredibly busy—how do you do it Paul?

We've all got our dream actor to play the Doctor. Who's yours?
Definitely Michael Palin. I think he's so suited to what the next Doctor should be, especially as he's older and crustier these days. As a cross between Phineas Fogg and a mature Indiana Jones he'd be perfect.

We're almost done. Doctor Who—where's it headed?
I'd really like to know if anyone finds this question easy to answer. I believe it should be British made, though not necessarily by the Beeb. Perhaps an independent company, which understand the importance of a solid story and somehow has the necessary budget without having to pander to overseas networks or audiences. I also think that Doctor Who should head backward. By this I mean that I don't think it can be a Nineties entity (I could be very inflammatory and say it wasn't an Eighties entity either).

A friend of mine once said that if he could make a Bond film he would set in the Sixties, because that's where James Bond belongs. To some degree I think Who worked best in the Sixties and Seventies, against that particular social background, and it if were made again it should have that same kind of sensibilty (although in a more enlightened way. Sexism, for example, existed far more blatantly back then, but it can still be depicted as wrong). This Who could be almost a period piece and not even try to be modern or updated (I don't try to write New Adventures, so I can say that), but obviously still make use of state of the art technology where the script required it.

I would like to see historicals (or at least quasi-historicals) and moody, witty drama, not Star Wars or The Terminator. Let's start again with early Sixties London and the junkyard—that's what I'd like to see, even if no-one else does! Having said all that, I thought Paul McGann was great!

If TSV were to end tomorrow ... DWM, RTP! and all that, could we expect you to cope? Would you fill your time finishing renovating the house, or would you just crack up?
TSV is definitely a valuable outlet—the house will always be there, but I'd like to flatter myself by believing that I do keep my leisure activities diverse enough to keep me on just the safe side of Fanboyism!

Could we expect you to draw other characters in Who's absence—perhaps the cast of Babylon 5?
I can't imagine myself sitting down and drawing anything else in the same way I do for TSV. I guess I'd just have to grow up and find some paying freelance work!

Of course you're not the only one to suffer for your art. How does your wife Rose cope with all this Doctor Who nonsense?
As other people apart from myself have said, she's a saint. I've been lucky throughout my life that others have not tried to change me, and Rose is notable in that way. On the other hand, I wouldn't expect her to share my fanaticism either, which makes it all the more satisfying when she does enjoy the odd scene or episode.

One of the hardest things to draw must be a pair of feet, could you draw us some?
Finally, the million dollar question. Alistair Hughes—is there anything you can't do?

Um ... sing? Cook. I thought I could do a Sean Connery impression until someone recorded it, and now I'll never do one again. I still have huge trouble with a roundhouse [karate] kick. And that tounge-curling thing—I can't do that. It's unnerving and absurdly flattering to be interviewed like this, but in the words of Wayne's World: "I'm not worthy!! I genuinely don't think I am any more talented than any other artists who grace the pages of TSV. I've just been fortunate to have professional experience, and I hope that these other artists continue to develop their own talent and find similar opportunities - good luck!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Flashback - Falling Through Space (RTP! #4)

What I remember most about working on issue 4 was a wet day in May 1998, Matt Kamstra and I sitting together in the old, upstairs Apple computer lab that was part of the IT support building, working on the issue. The room was almost entirely glass at one end wall and had a expansive view of part of the campus, one which wasn't entirely unnoticed and provided inspiration as I typed away on my reviews of the E-Space trilogy and my first editorial.

Issue 4 saw the introduction of a new logo for the fanzine, one based on a sketch by myself that I had shown Matt. The change had arisen out of how unreadable the original logo had been. This was in essence the first of the changes that I would bring to the fanzine as, one could argue, I began my silent takeover! Not that a takeover had ever been planned, the position of Assistant Editor sneaking up on me.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

Issue 6 was the first attempt at a 'themed' issue, with much Christmas larking about going on. For that reason it was something of a shame that printer problems led to the issue being delayed until January of the following year. And thus follows the editorial:
It is the December 1998 issue and, for reasons known only to Matt, it has a Christmas theme to it. But enough about me and recurring festive-type themes in cheap, pointless fanzines filled with some of the most spurious, ill thought out material ever. Onto other things of a more entertaining nature ...
By the time this issue is in your grubby little hands (or grubby little protuberances?) the series will have passed the 35th anniversary milestone. What does this mean for Doctor Who? Well firstly it serves to indicate how long it has been since the series was regularly in production (nine years) and secondly that the BBC cannot look a gift horse in the mouth when it provides so much money (The Ice Warriors video release).
But then am I being too cynical towards a company that makes so much money from something no longer in production? No way! Julian Vance may be gone but cynicism is alive and well in fandom!
Ahem! Onto other things ... You might have (or then again you might not have) noticed that things have been changed—again. With the loss of 'Wade's World' and 'Julian Vance Says ...' and coupled with the completion of the monstrous, page-devouring Pulp Who: The Doris Situation, Matt and myself have taken a little time to examine the content of previous issues in order to determine what we want in future issues. This freeing up of page space has allowed us to call upon the cream of New Zealand talent and provide more informative and entertaining stuff like 'James' Corner' and 'Update'.
But enough about me and this fanzine. Hang on, that's what I like talking about the most! Well then - more of me and this fanzine. In this case I am specifically concerned with the web page (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Nebula6431) which people seem to visit but not provide any commentary on. A bit like this fanzine. Feedback is what we crave and what we're lacking at this moment. So to help stimulate some response from our readership (that's you) we've put together a survey which we'd like you to fill out and return.
With that off my chest I can now devote the rest of my editorial to one of my favorite subjects - myself. Why do I like Doctor Who? Well I've often had this question asked of me by various people over the ten or so years I've been a fan of the show and the most comprehensive answer to this that I have come up with is: 'Because I do.' It's simple, direct, and irritates the hell out of Trekkies and other non-fans who can't see past their own obsessions. So ends my editorial adventures of 1998.
And all this without mentioning talking tomatoes and their recurrence in TARDIS Tales! Roll on 1999!

- Alexander Ballingall

Hi there, and my most humble apologies. This issue was intended to be printed and in your hands as a sort of Xmas present, but unfortunately technical glitches and computer equipment failures have prevented this. Despite this I hope that you all had a great Xmas and, by the time you receive this issue, that you have recovered from your New Year's celebrations. With all luck issue seven should be out on time near the end of March, and I think we'll leave the idea of a dated theme well alone from now on! All in all, I hope you've had a good holiday period, and from all of us here at RTP! and especially Alex and myself, have a great 1999. (and if strange things start happening on New Year's Eve look out for plastic snakes and bizarre English fellows dressed in velvet).

- Matt Kamstra
20 000 Leagues Under the Guff:

Published: January 1999
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editors: Alexander Ballingall, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Jamie Campbell/Alexander Ballingall
Front Cover: Graham Muir
Back Cover: Garry Jackson
Internal Artwork: Peter Adamson, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra, Graham Muir
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, Alistair Hughes, Garry Jackson, Jeff Stone
Page Count: 48
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$2.50

~ Contents~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] REVIEW [Review of Battlefield]
  • [08] REVIEW [Review of The Feast of Steven]
  • [09] REVIEWS: James' Corner [The Plotters, The Invasion, and Invasion of the Cat People]
  • [10] CARTOON: Ergon - The Antimatterest Bird in the Universe!
  • [12] INTERVIEW: Fanboy Mastermind [Jon Preddle]
  • [17] ARTICLE: Rule Brittania?
  • [20] REVIEWS: The Scope [Reviews of EDAs, PDAs, TSV]
  • [23] CARTOON: Cyber Guy
  • [27] Candid Caption
  • [28] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: DWB Axed!
  • [29] CARTOON: 8 Doctirios
  • [30] FICTION: The Scorpion's Tale
  • [32] COMIC: Myrrh
  • [42] REVIEW [Review of 'Visions '98' convention]
  • [44] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 1 of 8]
  • [46] CARTOON: South Who
  • [47] ARTICLE: If - The Brain Dead
  • [48] COVER