Guys, it’s July! You know what that means— it’s International Zine Month! We hope you’ll all make it out to our celebration in collaboration with the OCADU Zine Library and the Toronto Zine Library— but in the meantime, we’re going to be posting zine reviews from our print issues everyday. Here’s your first, written by the very same Eric Levitt who will be reading at our event!
All That’s Left: Zero Packet.
Queer and Sci-fi Zine, Maggie Eighteen, Issue 1, metropolarity.storenvy.com , $4.00
When my roommate recommended I pick up All That’s Left, they told me that it combines everything they love: queer and dystopian sci-fi. I was instantly drawn to it. The sci-fi zine genre has a long tradition but a sci-fi zine that was explicitly queer was something that was new to me. In fact, a sci-fi zine alone is usually not something I would pick up, but that was before I knew there was a queer subgenre.
The zine is beautiful and hand bound with an interesting triangle-tinged cover and a line on the back that reads, “Not everyone is good at their body.” I didn’t know what I was in for but I was excited with anticipation.
The zine starts with a personal greeting from the author Maggie Eighteen explaining the use of both gendered pronouns and the non-binary “they” pronoun, as well as a list of characters found in the first issue. There are four chapters in here. The first is a brief description of the dystopian world the characters inhabit; the second — entitled “Ghost Town” — introduces two characters “Suli” and “Braga” on a patrol of an outlying district of the last remaining city known as “the dome.” I like this chapter a lot; it is just two men on patrol making small talk about sex. They are not explicitly gay or straight, and it doesn’t matter. Clearly in this world gender is not a central aspect of their core identity.
The juxtaposition of dystopian setting and such mundane conversation about desire and sex is something this zine does incredibly well — a blending of queerness, human conversation and the dystopian world they occupy. In the end, nothing is really resolved as there is no inherent conflict. It is just a snippet of a day in the life of these characters. If all sci-fi zines were this entertaining, I would be a diehard collector by now. (Eric Levitt)