Recently, there has been some excitement in the science fiction community. I thought it was the anticipation of the Hugos. Then John DeNardo, one of our favorite editors at the Signal won best fanzine for 2012.
Then I heard a rumor about an old fanzine being revived. I had heard of Perihelon, and I remembered one of my geeky cousins talking about it back in the day. But I had never seen it myself. So I looked it up.
The fanzine Seldon Seen (a tip of the hat to Asimov’s Harry Seldon of the Foundation series), began publishing in the Spring of 1967 at Long Island University. The name changed to Perihelion with the third issue. "We transformed the ugly duckling fanzine into a real semi-pro magazine," said Sam Bellotto Jr. (co-founder) in Gateways to Forever: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazine, 1970-1980, authored by Mike Ashley.
Fortunately, I had joined a Science Fiction discussion group and stumbled upon a post by Bellotto and was able to secure an interview.
Perihelion 2.0 is indeed in the works and the website will be up and running in November. It sounds like there’s quite a lineup. Following is the interview with Sam Bellotto, who was generous in time and patience with my questions.
CRH: Is Perihelion new wave speculative?
SB: The New Wave movement in science fiction sort of melded with the mainstream in the late ’70s. "Perihelion" embraced the New Wave back then; it certainly maintains that sort of style, but it would no longer be considered New Wave.
CRH: What kind of response are you getting to your announcement of reviving Perihelion?
SB: Very positive and encouraging. There appears to be a definite need for
a "hard" science fiction market. I hope that Perihelion 2.0 can fill
the need and do it well.
SB: I’m retired now. I don’t have to work like the devil anymore (not that I had to for a long time). I’ve always wanted to bring back Perihelion. It seemed like the perfect "retirement" occupation.
CRH: In what kind of capacity is Eric Jones functioning? I mean, I know he’s listed on the site as consulting editor, but is he actually consulting?
SB: Oh, yes. I consult with him on a number of things. His input is invaluable. He also contributes articles and other features to the magazine.
CRH: Are there aspirations to the Hugos? You know they made an amendment to the rules in 2009 and now include individual websites.
SB: Of course. It would be kind of silly not to give "Perihelion" one hundred percent, which means Hugos and everything else. I certainly wouldn’t expect even a nomination for a few years, but give me time.
CRH: Does the new Perihelion have a staff?
SB: I’m the Editor. Eric is the Consulting Editor. There is an opening for Publicist, if you know anyone who may be interested. No pay, I’m afraid, at least not right away. But the job gets a name on the masthead and free business cards.
CRH: what kind of line up do you have for November?
SB: Six or seven stories. Two articles. Reviews. Departments. Comic strips. Yep. Perihelion always had comic strips and always will. And some other surprises. I think it is going to be a helluva re-launch.
By the way, we’re trying something new afforded by the nature of the Internet. NO individual issues. As new content becomes available, it will be either added or replace older content. This way Perihelion will almost always have something fresh to offer and readers are encouraged to check the site frequently, or subscribe to the Perihelion news feed, or follow us on Twitter.
So there you have it. It’s no longer a rumor. Perihelion is back. Check out the website and remember to bookmark it for November.