A word (or several)
from the Dreamtime editor
So here you are ... You heard the hype, and came to check us out. So what are we?
Dreamtime exists to offer the creative talents of members of the PMEB to a larger audience.
So, what's the PMEB? So many questions!
The PMEB -- which for the uninitiated, stands for "Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade" -- came into existence in late May 1996, soon after the U.S. airing of "Doctor Who," the telefilm, on Fox. The telefilm inspired a lot of maidenly, and not so maidenly gushing in rec.arts.drwho, on Usenet. Pretty soon, many of the "manly men" were complaining about all the girl talk, so we started a mailing list.
The first PMEB mailing list was nothing more than a "carbon copy" list for emails we bounced around between ourselves. However, the list got too big to manage that way in short order, and its next incarnation was as a "bounce" list, off my mailbox on YVV, a sadly now defunct Internet Service provider. In September 1996, Stephanie Linz-Gould stepped in and offered a "real" mailing list, that is, a Majordomo list.
More than two years after we started the "carbon copy" list, the PMEB is going strong. We have more than 100 members, we've gotten together off line in places as far flung as Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Stratford, Ontario, and London, England.
But what's all that got to do with Dreamtime? Patience! I'm getting to that.
Soon after we got started, before the "carbon copy" list gave way to the "bounce" list, our members started exchanging stories. Most are Doctor Who related, but we've had a bit of non-Doctor Who writing as well. It became obvious, early on, that the PMEB had attracted a number of very talented people, in a number of artistic fields. To this day, fan fiction is a big part of what we do on the PMEB list, though artwork, filk and other endeavors, including the very popular puppets that showed up at Visions 97 last year, are represented.
And that's what Dreamtime is about: Sharing the fiction, poetry, artwork and filk of our members with people outside our circle.
Zines, in the world after the Internet
Fifteen years ago, when I first started watching Doctor Who, zines -- amateur publications, generally mimeographed or photocopied -- were the main way fans exchanged their creative works. However, though I started watching Doctor Who in 1983, I didn't see my first Doctor Who zine, or talk to another person who was interested in the program until around 1988. That's a long time to go without knowing there's another fan out there. I was living and working in rural Ohio in 1983, and if there was a Doctor Who fan club in the area, I never heard of it.
And that is perhaps the biggest change the Internet has brought to fandom -- connectivity. It was in 1988 that I first logged on to the GEnie online service and found a cell of Doctor Who fans, with whom I started exchanging views and from whom, I recieved my first Doctor Who zines.
However, while the Internet has brought together many fans who otherwise would never have had contact with one another, it's been suggested that the Internet has hurt zine publishing. It's so easy to email your creative work to your friends, that much of the content that would have been photocopied and distributed in the past is never being put into hard copy.
Is this bad? After all, email and usenet forums have made distributing amateur fiction much easier than it was in the past. It could be argued that there's a lot of fan fiction being posted to alt.drwho.creative and to mailing lists like the PMEB that never would have seen the light of day otherwise.
But there's still something to be said for the zine format. Stories printed on paper have a substantial feeling to them. Working with an editor has great advantages over simply writing and shooting it off into the electronic ether. And then there's the artwork ... Usenet and email lists don't offer the same opportunities for fan artwork that zine publishing does. Of course, people do put their artwork on Web sites, but those sites are scattered throughout the vast Worldwide Web.
And that's one of the things Dreamtime is meant to address. The artwork here is everybit as important as the stories. It's our goal, whenever possible, to have an illustration with every story. We also want to display stand alone artwork.
Dreamtime isn't an exclusively Doctor Who webzine. The PMEB has never been known for its exclusivity. We welcome fans of any Doctor, not just the Eighth. So our area of focus may seem a little diffuse, to the casual observer. Dreamtime has fan fiction related to any role played by Paul McGann, any Doctor Who character, or anything else a PMEB member wants to select for a topic.
In this issue, you will find stories related to "The Three Musketeers," (which featured Paul McGann in two roles), "Cariani and the Courtesans," (a British telefilm that starred Paul McGann), "The Hanging Gale," (A four-hour miniseries starring all four McGann brothers), several Eighth Doctor stories, a story about Fifth Doctor companion, Vislor Turlough, and a First Doctor story. In addition we have Mary Ellen Sandahl's fantasy portrait of Paul McGann as "Potemkin," lover of Catherine the Great, a Teletubbies crossover cartoon, and a variety of poetry and filk.
Future issues of Dreamtime
If all goes well, Dreamtime will be published quarterly. The next deadline will be in mid October. If you'd like to submit something to Dreamtime, email me, Elsa Frohman at efrohman(at)yahoo.com..
-- Elsa Frohman, Aug. 1, 1998