zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Reluctant Famulus #88 & 89

Zine Review: The Reluctant Famulus #88 & 89

The Reluctant Famulus #88
46 pages / full letter
305 Gill Branch Road
Owenton KY 40359

In the not too distant past, “Liberal Arts” was not a dirty word in education. Students navigated courses in literature, fine arts, civics, history and received degrees in subjects like English. Graduates were expected to be well-rounded, able to think critically, and use language in both precise and creative ways.

The Reluctant Famulus seems perfect reading for just such a demographic and includes a wide range of informative articles. Editor Thomas D. Sadler opens this issue with a brief retrospective on Ray Bradbury which morphs into a retrospective on the alleged UFO crash in Roswell 65 years ago. Gene Stewart narrates his road trip adventures. The earliest British commune (c. 1821) is the subject of an essay by Geoff Lardner-Burke titled “Attempts at Utopia: The Cooperative and Economical Society”. Alfred D. Byrd contributes a wonderful article lifting the veil on the mythology surrounding Daniel Boone. Matt Howard recounts a visit by Maurice Sendak to Indianapolisand discusses the progression of the author’s writing & art. The Reluctant Famulus has a generous letters section from many of the contributors and others.

The variety of writing presented in The Reluctant Famulus reminds me of why I love zines. Contributors share both their knowledge and passion for their chosen subjects. The essays are expansive, unencumbered, the antithesis of work-shopped / focus-grouped publications. There is a science fiction undercurrent but it does not dominate threads and themes explored. Thomas D. Sadler states on the frontispiece “TRF may be obtained for The Usual but especially in return for written material and artwork, postage costs, The Meaning of Life and Editorial Whim.” Indeed.

The Reluctant Famulus 89

Calling all polymaths - I’m happy to report that the quality of this zine continues in Issue 89. Editor Thomas D. Sadler delves further into the realities and fictions of the Roswell UFO incident of 1947. Geoff Lardner-Burke explores more attempts at Utopia from the 1820’s.Eric Barraclough writes about Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers. The letters section is in-depth as the main essays in The Reluctant Famulus. Where have I been for the first 87 issues?!?

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