A note from editor Nicholas Whitney on the inspiration for Fanatical and how that effects its direction going forward.
In making Fanatical, many sources of inspiration came together to get it made. I've mentioned before how writing a short Tales from the Loop story for issue 009 of Never Mind the Dice Rolls kickstarted all this off. I began buying up and reading examples of short story magazines, from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Shoreline of Infinity, Interzone and sister magazines Asimov's Science Fiction and Analog: Science Fiction and Fact.
|Sci-Fi and Fantasy literary mags read as "research".
I think it's fair to say that I drew a lot from these titles, some more than others. I settled on a size/format I liked based on the notion that I wanted Fanatical to invoke the feeling of reading a paperback novel, the thing I most closely associate with fantasy and sci-fi.
|Fanatical wears its inspiration on its sleeve.
I've loved fantasy and science-fiction nearly as long as I can remember. I read various books from an early age, then first reading The Hobbit when I was 11, the same year I discovered Warhammer thanks to an errant High Elf Archer miniature and the pages of White Dwarf magazine. Whilst I did collect some miniatures back then, I wasn't really into miniature wargames, yet. What I was really into though, were the worlds of Warhammer and the stories set therein. I pored over the army books and articles in White Dwarf for all the lore I could get my hands on, as the tie-in novels were still years away. Looking back now, it's obvious to see what I really wanted to play wasn't a miniature wargame, but a roleplaying game, with a handful of miniatures representing characters on a shared journey, telling a shared story. But it would be another 20 years before I played my first roleplaying game. Such as White Dwarf was back in the late 90s, I didn't even know that the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game existed as it was a licensed 3rd party product at the time, so received no space in that mag.
But all this reminiscing shook something loose.
I recalled another Games Workshop published title that debuted around that time. A magazine of short stories, set in the worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, that acted as a precursor to the whole Black Library imprint of tie-in fiction that would go on to produce multiple best-sellers. Indeed, whilst this title debuted the same month I got my first issue of White Dwarf, #211 in July 1997, as it was bi-monthly—no doubt inspired by the same classic literary mags that started me down this rabbit hole—I wouldn't get my first copy of it until issue 2 in September of that year. That title was Inferno!, and I've come to realise that was the real inspiration to make Fanatical.
|Not the actual issue I had aged 11, but one I got off eBay.
The first issue of Fanatical felt a little literary to me. This was in part due to how and where I promoted it and sought submissions from. And whilst I am still very proud of the first issue and very grateful to the authors who contributed to it, I wanted to correct the course of this thing before we got too far out the dock. As such, Fanatical will be undergoing a slight re-design, with the cover of issue 2 invoking everything I loved about Inferno! back in 1997 and the worlds of tabletop games I rediscovered as an adult. I may put some of the literary crowd off. It may attract the wrong kind of grognards. Who knows. But the new look Fanatical will make it's debut February 28th, with the cover reveal coming later this week.
And once again, I'm 11 years old again.