Anthro (magazine) and Quention Long Interview

To tell the complete truth I only found out about Anthro magazine through an article on Dogpatch Press. I did this because I was doing some research on the different furry publications back in the day for a future article, besides I am a fan of this older furry work.

I then went to Wikifur first, which stated the following: Anthro was a bimonthly furry online fanzine which started with its September/October 2005 issue. The work carried a number of regular features, and a complement of stories, poems, interviews, and factual articles.

Anthro’s editor/webmaster was Quentin ‘Cubist’ Long, who performed similar duties for his other (now dead) fanzine TSAT. Michael W. Bard — Long’s partner-in-crime — initially performed associate-editorial duties as he’d previously fulfilled for TSAT, but stepped down after Anthro #6 (July/August 2006). Neither Long nor Bard considered themselves to be furries when they started Anthro; Bard later came out of the closet, but Long still maintains his distance.

The inspiration for Anthro was a conversation between Quentin and Phil Geusz at the 2005 TSA-Bash about the lack of online furry publications focussing on quality written work. Long’s primary goal for Anthro was to make it a known source of high-quality furry material, including stories, art, columns, fact articles, poetry, webcomics and reviews. The intent was for it to turn into a reader-supported paying market.

Anthro went on “unplanned hiatus” in October 2010. A comeback was announced in August 2011, and the magazine produced two more issues at the end of that year. While no formal notice of the magazine’s end has been published, no issues have been produced since December 2011.

The page also listed a link to their website, which can be found HERE

Wanting to know more I then contacted Quention Long through his website.

Which began simply when I asked why did Anthro magazine ended…

Greets! Why (you ask) has ANTHRO not been updated for five years? Well… a few reasons.

Lack of feedback. Yes, ANTHRO had a lot of readers—the website traffic figures demonstrated that—but said readers never did anything *but* read the netzine, as best I can tell. ANTHRO’s readers may have liked the netzine a great deal, but the number of said readers who ever sent us emails to let us know what they thought? Bloody near *zero*. It was a good month when we got even *one* response from readers. So, nigh-absolute lack of feedback. Not helpful.

Lack of money. I’d been unemployed for an extended period of time, and I was kinda hoping to get some money coming in from ANTHRO. For the most part, this did not happen.

Subscriptions: I offered them. Very few readers ever chose to buy one.

So-called “affinity links” with online retailers, that would send a bit of cash my way when a reader clicked thru and bought something: I made a point of providing affinity links for *everything* I possibly could, that was mentioned in ANTHRO. As best I can tell, *nobody* *EVER* clicked thru, hence no income from this.

Ink-on-paper books: Using the print-on-demand outfit Lulu.con, I produced and sold physical “dead tree” collections of ANTHRO material, and of a couple furry novels. Very few sales.
Posters, t-shirts, other miscellaneous items: These, from Zazzle,com, another print-on-demand outfit. Again, very few sales.

All in all, ANTHRO never generated an income stream anywhere near large enough that I could actually hope to live on it. Exactly why the netzine failed to generate an income stream is a question I don’t know the answer to; maybe it was the economy, maybe I had an unrealistically optimistic concept of how well the readers would like the netzine, maybe my pitiful efforts at advertising were just *that* ineffectual, maybe something else, maybe a combination of factors… I dunno. What I *do* know, is that the money just wasn’t there.

Another factor which didn’t help, and was probably closer to “straw that broke the camel’s back” than a major issue in and of itself: ANTHRO’s founding co-editor Michael Bard died unexpectedly. If the readers had been letting us know what they liked or disliked… if the netzine had been an income stream I could live on… I might have continued even after Bard’s death. But in the absence of either feedback or income?

The bottom line is, I put a *lot* of work into ANTHRO. Never got much of anything back from it, beyond personal satisfaction at a job well-done. And eventually, that just wasn’t enough.

“Bewitched” + “Charlie’s Angels” – Charlie = “At Arm’s Length”

Read the webcomic at At Arm’s Length. net!

If you like “At Arm’s Length”, support it at click here.

I then followed up with a series of questions.

1: What is your background?
I’ve been a science-fiction fan pretty much all my life; I actually saw the original Star Trek series during its first run! To be sure, I was so very young at the time that the only bit of it I remember from back then was the glittery sparkle of the transporter effect. In elementary school, I recall reading Time of the Great Freeze (Robert Silverberg) and The Runaway Robot (Lester del Rey).

Later on, I got into tabletop roleplaying games. The first, when I was in high school in the late 1970s, was Dungeons & Dragons. Back then, D&D existed solely in an edition of three saddle-stitched main booklets, plus a couple of saddle-stitched supplements. I bought a first-edition copy of Champions (superhero RPG, precursor to the current Hero System rule-set) in 1981, and I’ve been playing RPGs more-or-less continually ever since.

I’ve been part of the filking community—the musical branch of SF fandom—for some time, even going so far as to self-publish a cassette of filksongs, King of Filk, in the early 1990s.

Late 1990s, I discovered TSA-Talk, a mailing list for TF (transformation) fandom; in addition to the mailing list, there was a netzine called TSAT, whose exact relationship to TSA-Talk I’ve never been clear on. Back then, there were a fair number of stories posted to TSA-talk, and I often posted comments on what I felt was good or bad about these stories.

A couple years after I joined TSA-talk, TSAT’s founding editor, Jeff Mahr, decided to move on to other things (primarily ebook publishing under the name Infinite Imagination, if memory serves). TSAT would have died if nobody took over the editorial reins, so TSA-Talk member Michael Bard got in touch with me, asking if I wanted to help him keep TSAT alive (me, because my comments on posted stories had impressed Bard).

Mahr’s last issue of TSAT was #18; Bard and I took over as of #19, and we kept it going for five years of bi-monthly issues, ending with #48. TSAT was still running when I started ANTHRO.

2. What drew you too the furry fandom? I know wikifur says you came at it from a distance, but really there had to be something there.

I’m really much more of a TF fan than a furry fan; I consider myself to be, at absolute best, no more than a casual fur. Of course, a Venn diagram of the furry and TF communities would display a *heck* of a lot of overlap, and I’ll cop to falling squarely within said region of overlap. The closest thing I have to a fursona is my cheetahmorph character Jubatus, in the Tales of the Blind Pig shared-world—and however much I enjoy *writing* about him, Jube is so messed-up a person that I flatly *do not ever* want to *be* him.

I’m not sure why I’m into TF, nor yet why I skew towards the furry end of TF…

3. What was the fandom like back in those days?
Dunno. Again, I’ve always been more a TF fan than a fur. As far as Keeping My Finger On The Pulse Of Furdom is concerned, pretty much all I ever did when I was editing ANTHRO was try to keep on top of upcoming furcons.

4. What lead you to the creation of Anthro magazine?
Back in 2005, I attended an event known as the “TSA Bash”, an informal annual gathering of TSA-talk members which started out as a sort of sleepover party in the home of (TSA-talk member) Phil Geusz, and quickly grew to the point where it had to be held in a hotel. Phil is very much a fur; like me, he falls into the overlap region of a TF-and-furdom Venn diagram, but Phil is a fur who skews towards TF.

Phil was (still is, if I’m not mistaken) concerned that the furry community is *plentifully oversupplied* with furporn. He’s also one of the authors I worked with for TSAT, and he talked to me about the possibility of my doing a spooge-free furry netzine that had actual *standards of quality*. Thus, ANTHRO.

5. What problems if any you had from the very start?
Lack of time and resources. I did pretty much *everything* on the netzine, with little-to-no assistance from anyone else. Bard was officially co-editor for #1, but he kinda pulled back from editorialness until explicitly resigning those duties around #6, and from that point on, you can remove the “pretty much” from the 2nd sentence of this paragraph. The whole zine was, and is, hand-hacked HTML, and my grubby fingerprints are all over the tags on every page. Okay, the collection of ‘recommended books’ pages were created by software—but *I* wrote that software *myself*.

6. Was the magazine online at first, or was it printed?
Online, with the annual ink-on-paper collections coming later on.

7a. Why is the last issue is the only one on the site.
In truth, *all* the issues are on the site. The wide, shallow ‘pane’ at the top center of the ANTHRO window has a number of clickable links, from “SITE MAP” on the left to “MALL” on the right; the “ARCHIVES” link will take you to a page with links to all 32 issues, and the “INDEX” link takes you to a page which has clickable links to *everything* that ever appeared in ANTHRO.

(Okay I admit I missed that one)

7b. Was the magazine only available online at some point.
I’d always intended to have ANTHRO be available *both* online *and* as ink-on-paper physical artifacts. The plan was that at the end of every 6-issue year, I’d pour the contents of said six issues into appropriate InDesign templates (which I made myself), save it all as a PDF file, and send said PDF to print-on-demand outfit Lulu.com so people could buy it as a physical book. These books were published under the umbrella title “ANTHROlogy”, and I never did get the 4th ANTHROlogy done, let alone the 5th.

8. What problems (if any) did you have during it’s run?
The problems were self-inflicted, for the most part, as I’m not a well-organized person. For instance, I hardly ever uploaded any issues when they were ‘officially’ scheduled to go live…

Manuscripts—submissions—were a continuing concern, growing more so towards the end.

9. I am not focusing all on the bad, what are you most proud of what appeared in Anthro? Anything that is truly memorable?
Proud? Memorable? Hmmm…

New York vs. Great Ape: This was written by Richard K. Lyon, an honest-to-Ghu *professional author* whose other works include a number of collaborations with Andrew J. Offut.

A heck of a lot of Fred Patten’s scholarly reviews.

Predation: The Boardgame. Yes, an actual boardgame, which I designed for ANTHRO’s 25th issue.

The Bastard Assassins From Hell stories (Cleared for Departure; Don’t Forget to Tip Your Assassins; Fish, Barrel, Dynamite; You Say ‘Paranoid’, I Say ‘Adequately Aware’), dripping with over-the-top ultraviolence and black humor, by Corvus and ShadowWolf.

I wrote a number of poems for ANTHRO using a wide variety of verse forms, at least one or two of them being original to me.

Within the Wheel of Wickedness, a delightfully twisted Lovecraft parody by Sean M. Foster.

10. During it’s run, do you any special memories?
Not really. Producing a netzine is a lot of hard work, and that’s pretty much all she wrote.

11.You mentioned to me earlier about your partner passing away. Is there anything you like to say about your time together? I fully understand if you want to keep that private.
Bard and I were partners of the ‘professional’ type, not of the ‘lovers’ type. Since he lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and I’ve always been in the San Francisco Bay Area, the straight-line distance between us was on the close order of 2700 miles, which would have been rather an impediment if either of us *had* harbored romantic inclinations towards the other guy!

Bard had a great sense of humor, he was damn smart, and he died for no good reason. We only met in the flesh once, damnit.

12. Since the last issue of Anthro came out in 2011 what have you been up to, and do you believe the furry fandom has changed since you came out.

Given that I’ve never been ‘in the loop’, I really couldn’t say how the furry community has changed.

Since 2011, the most furry thing I’ve done is serve as ‘janitor’ to the webcomic At Arm’s Length. I clean up minor glitches in the art; polish up the dialogue so that the various characters have distinctive speech patterns; and put captions, word balloons, & the occasional sound effect on the strips. Lately I’ve also been working on a tabletop RPG set in the AAL universe.

I sing a lot. I’m in the baritone section of Schola Cantorum, a SF Bay Area chorus which has been going strong for 50+ years, and I also sing in the choir of St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, which is literally across the street from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

13. From this point on you can say anything you want.
Why (you ask) has ANTHRO not been updated for five years? Well… a few reasons.

Lack of feedback. Yes, ANTHRO had a lot of readers—the website traffic figures demonstrated that—but said readers never did anything *but* read the netzine, as best I can tell. ANTHRO’s readers may have liked the netzine a great deal, but the number of said readers who ever sent us emails to let us know what they thought? Bloody near *zero*. It was a good month when we got even *one* response from readers. So, nigh-absolute lack of feedback. Not helpful.

Lack of money. I’d been unemployed for an extended period of time, and I was kinda hoping to get some money coming in from ANTHRO. For the most part, this did not happen.

Subscriptions: I offered them. Very few readers ever chose to buy one.

So-called “affinity links” with online retailers, that would send a bit of cash my way when a reader clicked thru and bought something: I made a point of providing affinity links for *everything* I possibly could, that was mentioned in ANTHRO. As best I can tell, *nobody* *EVER* clicked thru, hence no income from this.

Ink-on-paper books: Using the print-on-demand outfit Lulu.con, I produced and sold physical “dead tree” collections of ANTHRO material, and of a couple furry novels. Very few sales.
Posters, t-shirts, other miscellaneous items: These, from Zazzle,com, another print-on-demand outfit. Again, very few sales.

All in all, ANTHRO never generated an income stream anywhere near large enough that I could actually hope to live on it. Exactly why the netzine failed to generate an income stream is a question I don’t know the answer to; maybe it was the economy, maybe I had an unrealistically optimistic concept of how well the readers would like the netzine, maybe my pitiful efforts at advertising were just *that* ineffectual, maybe something else, maybe a combination of factors… I dunno. What I *do* know, is that the money just wasn’t there.

Another factor which didn’t help, and was probably closer to “straw that broke the camel’s back” than a major issue in and of itself: ANTHRO’s founding co-editor Michael Bard died unexpectedly. If the readers had been letting us know what they liked or disliked… if the netzine had been an income stream I could live on… I might have continued even after Bard’s death. But in the absence of either feedback or income?

The bottom line is, I put a *lot* of work into ANTHRO, and I never got much of anything back from it, beyond personal satisfaction at a job well-done. And eventually, that just wasn’t enough.

Editor’s Note
I plan on contacting more once furry publishers and get their stories.

For the Love of Popcorn

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