A RHODRI'S EYE VIEW OF INTERSECTION PUBLICATIONS

by Rhodri James

In general, Intersection's publications suffered from being a remote-control operation. Kees and Johan set up a very good "look and feel" for the Progress Reports, and a different but equally good look for the Programme Book. They then had to bully copy out of people in different countries to them, edit it when the copy is not in their first language and have their deadlines foreshortened because of the need to print in the U5.

This lead to two distinct types of typo creeping in. The first was the not-quite-correct English that can come from it not being your first language. This was of course compounded by the inability of those whose first language is English to write a coherent sentence, a rather common failing in fans (myself included). The second problem was a bizarre collection of mis-spacing and mis-punctuation that infuriated and baffled me completely until I realised recently what must have caused it.

When you have been Emailed copy, it usually comes in the form of "Plain text" that has been word-wrapped by an Email package to keep the length of the lines of text down. You then have to import this into your DTP package, and the import routines will often insert extra spaces at the end of lines before joining them back together, because they "know" that yqu need to do this or the wor6 at the end of the line will. get joined to the word at the start of the next: line. The net result is lots of spaces in unexpected places (in the middle of words if you are very unlucky).

Enough technical theorising, what lessons are there to be learned from all this?

First: and foremost, in my book, you must not change the text in any way after your proof reader has finally approved it! Even sticking in a minor correction that has been emailed to you can lead to deep strangeness, as above. The copy that: your proof reader approves *must* be the copy that goes to the printers. (This, incidentally, would have caught the banner in the Programme Book that reads "INTERSECTION - 53TH WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION" had anyone actually seen it before publication).

Second, you must: get your proof-reader's approval It seems rather redundant to say this, but the number of times in the course of all of the PRs that "I'll just make the changes and print it off" turned into "I'll just make some of the changes and print it off" was really quite amazing.

Third, you must set your deadlines ridiculously early, because you can guarantee that no one will respond until a fortnight after the deadline has expired. In one extreme case, I ended up inventing some important copy that was six weeks late (if' it hadn't been important, I would have carried through on my threat to print: a page containing only the words "reserved for article by XXX" (where XXX was the name of the person concerned)).

I think that seven PRs was the right number for Intersection However many you produce, you should aim for your last PR to be with the. membership slightly more than a 'month before the convention (to catch the people taking a long holiday prior to the con), and it should contain *only* the information necessary to find the place and check in It is probably inevitable that some "unnecessary" articles will be bumped out from the previous PR (remembering the enormously bloated size that PR6 grew to), since everyone wants to inform the membership as late as possible about events and requirements :-(

Despite received wisdom, it does seem to be worth while chasing up adverts for PRs. They can be obtained (see PR6), they help your budget a bit and they give you a chance to get at people for Programme Book advertising. (I will now clear the floor while Dave Power and Stu Hellinger debate the truth of this assertion :)

We discussed PR schedules to death and beyond on Intercom, coming to the conclusion that you couldn't fit the Site Selection and both Hugo forms into the mailing schedule because of time constraints, As it happened, we managed this because people were prepared to ignore the WSFS constitutional requirements over this (I think -- no doubt I will be corrected over this and my memory of the argument is definitely hazy.)