Other Hands and Other Minds Fanzines

Stumbling Upon a Fanzine Sparks Memories and Reflections

Earlier I stumbled upon the Other Minds Magazine; a site “dedicated to scholars, gamers, and fans of J.R.R. Tolkien 📖, Middle-earth, and beyond…”

I started downloading the fan-zine issues and reading them. Memories of Dragon magazine flooded my mind.

I delved deeper into the Other Minds site, and started downloading Other Hands issues; the predecessor to Other Minds. The first issue of Other Hands came out in ; right around the time I was making my monthly trek to Waldenbooks to buy a copy of the latest Dragon magazine. I didn’t dare subscribe to Dragon nor Dungeon magazine as my mom was in the throws of the Satanic Panic. All references to Dungeons and Dragons (D&D 📖) was hidden by storing all books in folders. Reading that first issue of Other Hands reminded me of ordering games via a Wargames West mail order catalog; perusing a black and white catalog, carefully stewarding my paper route money, and choosing that one book impossible to find at a local store. I’d order it cash on delivery, as I didn’t have a checkbook nor credit card.

I’m thankful for having pre-Internet memories; remembering the conversations that happened via written and delayed discourse. Of the serendipity of stumbling onto something; or a hint of something and working to track that down. Of taking those written conversations and bringing them to the game table and talking about them.

And finding the folks by overheard conversations, fliers posted at the library or book store. At a time where I felt more connected to time and space, yet disconnected and searching for fellow hobbyists.

I try to follow both Discord and Slack conversations for games, but invariably it’s like being at a noisy pub where lots of folks are talking. Yes, I can slide up close and listen, but perhaps that’s not what I’m after.

Oddly, I could start a game within a day, playing or running the system of my choice. Decades ago starting a game meant gathering the usual suspects. But those games from decades ago had a durability; perhaps because there were fewer demands on attention.

Attention. My most precious commodity. I prefer the written word, because I can read it, write notes along side it, and respond all in my own time. It’s a secret world, one that doesn’t require me to tell others “Hey could you pause this while I go tend to something else?”

I prefer the more intimate conversations; the deliberate treatise of a researched and/or edited article. And that article can be a podcast episode; such as Daydreaming about Dragons 📖, Fear of a Black Dragon 📖, Halbered and Helmets 📖, or The Grognard Files 📖.

What I’m looking for is the fandom; folks who craft things for the love of the thing. To all the bloggers and pod-casters who write and share to, what I assume, capture and/or rekindle that feeling of talking with some friends after you’ve just wrapped up a game session.

These conversations about games, I’m looking to not be “real-time” but instead to have a more deliberate cadence. Whereas at the game table, if ever I find myself there again, I expect full attention and shared story-telling.