Five Hundred Eyes

issue four - summer 1989

Five Hundred Eyes 4 - artwork by Stephen O'Brien

A shorter-than-usual issue that was knocked off in a few hours one May afternoon. I'm surprisingly fond of issue four ...

Some of the articles are still languishing on an old Mac floppy, but four have escaped ...

Still to come, some Next Gen stuff, a con report and some other stuff that temporarily escapes me.

One Last Time ...

I must be mad. Yes, that would explain a lot.

Allow me to elucidate. In two and a half hours I leave for Yorkshire. In those two and a half hours, I have to compose a zine. I may also have to write a large part of it - several articles are currently languishing on an Amstrad PCW disc, and unless one of the technicians that are meant to haunt this computer lab turn up and give me the cable I need to transfer them to the Mac ...

It all started last night. I had just decided to go home, in order to do some local research for a seminar paper on an East Yorkshire village, and it occured to me that here was an ideal opportunity to get FHE 4 printed, courtesy of my Dad.

Behind that simple story is a much longer one. Those of you who read FHE 3 may remember that I declared that issue to be my last - from now on Five Hundred Eyes was to be Richard's baby. That, at least, was the theory. He claims he's overworked (I'm the one twelve months away from finals, but he's overworked). Okay, so I agree to edit another one, on the understanding that he actually produces the damn thing (and that includes finance). This looks fine, this looks super, this looks like nothing could go wrong.

And then the darling sibling decides to bugger off to America for two months.

Look, I can handle this. So I don't have any money - a minor problem, I've handled worse in the past. (Issue 3 was funded entirely by cashing cheques before printing - unethical, yes, but damn necessary.) I can get round these minor obstacles, and produce the best goddamn fanzine you've ever seen.

And then I get a letter from Ian. Terribly apologetic, but basically reminding me that he has these frightfully inconvenient things called 'Finals' in two weeks, and could I delay the issue a month or so? "Where does this leave FHE 4?" he asks. "Chin-deep, I guess." Don't worry Ian, a minor set-back, that is all. I quite understand (God knows I should). But ...

But I have this thing about quality (you may not have noticed this, but I have). For some perverse reason I want FHE to look as nice as possible. Which means the University's Apple Macs rather than my Amstrad and its grotty dot-matrix. (This is silly and illogical, but that's the way my mind works and I'm sorry.) The catch is, Ian doesn't finish his finals until June 11th. I leave St Andrews for the Summer vacation on June 10th. And it doesn't take a genius to realise that those two dates are somewhat incompatible, as far as zine production is concerned.

So, what I'm doing (and what you're holding in your grubby paw) is a sort of mini-Five Hundred Eyes, a stop-gap if you like, to placate my hundreds of fans currently pleading for more. I realise it's not much. I realise it's unbalanced and visually dull. I realise it could be much better. And, I assure you, issue five will be much better.

Already I have half a dozen articles ready and waiting (and typed in, that's the important bit), and Ian is promising several epics, including 'Appearance and Reality in the Graham Williams Stories', 'Why Terrance Dicks is the Best Target Writer Ever', a nostalgic (and alcoholic) look at 'The Sea Devils', and conclusive proof that the early UNIT stories were set in a crypto-fascist dictatorship. So ... issue five should be good, it should be much bigger than this one, and it should be out by October. (Ah - remember the first rule of fan publishing: never, ever, give the readers a date for the next issue. It only gets their hopes up.)

If you want to be informed about this fabled next issue (and you don't read CT, DWB or DWM) send me an SAE and I'll drop you a line when it comes out.

Once again, I apologise for the slightly diminished size, and worse, I apologise for not apologising more entertainingly. Damn you Feetenby - us mortals have enough to live up to without you showing us all up.

- David.

Five Hundred Eyes issue four (although more accurately described as issue three-and-a-half) © 1989 David Gibbs, the one with the mad stare, bleeding fingertips and caffeine-overdose treatment. Edited, typeset and just about everything elsed by Yours Truly, 2.17pm Friday 19th May 1989, which gives me ... ooh, a whole 65 minutes until I have to run for my train. Enough time to (1) waffle on and one in the copyright notice, a pointless task if ever there was one as no one reads it, let alone pays any attention to it; (2) print out pages 2 to 23 inclusive; (3) knock up a logo for the front cover; and (4) see if I can't do something with the back page. God, when you put it like that ... PANIC! But it'll all be all right on the night. This has been a hastily-knocked-together publication, rushed out by David Gibbs to satisfy his ego and several dozen persistent Doctor Who fans. Don't take the Fan Generator too seriously, chaps (you know it applies to all the others, but not you), and besides, there's far worse to come next issue. Issue five will be along in the not-too-distant future, and, as I keep promising, will be somewhat more substantial. Letters of Comment or submissions welcome, at this address: 38 The Meadows, Cherry Burton, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 7SD. Look, I really have to go now. Take the usual guff about not intending to supersede any existing copyrights &c. as read - I never mean any of it anyway.