CITYSPEAK Revisited: The story behind the first Blade Runner fanzine.
CITYSPEAK is an integral part of Blade Runner fandom history. It was a fanzine that spearheaded the Blade Runner fandom long before the movie achieved its cult status.
CITYSPEAK represents an early generation of fanfiction writers before the advent of the World Wide Web. They’d meet in person, talk over the telephone, and send letters via the post. It was an underground fannish activity that produced usually no more than a hundred copies of each issue, and was spread primarily by word of mouth or through a friend of a friend.
First released in December of 1982–while the movie was still in theatres–the fanzine would only produce three issues until CITYSPEAK editor Sara Campbell’s untimely death. The last issue–the Special Edition–was published posthumously.
Back in 2007, Andrew Pokon, a Blade Runner fan propmaker and collector, sent me a copy of the first CITYSPEAK issue. And it blew my mind. I then embarked on an investigative journey to learn all that I could about the fanzine and the people behind it.
It is tempting to speculate how far Sara Campbell could have gone with her writing career. At present, she is known best for her articles, stories and poetry on Blade Runner. And I believe that she would have wanted the CITYSPEAK issues to be freely available over the internet.
As she duly noted in the first issue, “CITYSPEAK is an amateur, non-profit publication.” It would be of disservice to the Blade Runner fandom–let alone to the writers–if the stories, poems, and articles in this fanzine were to remain in the storage bins of the privileged few. So, I’d like KippleZone to be the CITYSPEAK athenaeum–a bookshelf containing the fanzine issues, the work of its contributors, and a resource free to all.
The article features an interview with Eric Larson, and some words from Anne Elizabeth Zeek and Rosemary Edghill.
This CITYSPEAK revisit is far from being complete. I’ve only the first issue to share and discuss at this time. So, consider this a work in progress–CITYSPEAK Revisited 1.0. As more is learned, it’ll be added to the website. And all updates will be posted via the OFF-WORLD NEWS.
If anything, this article has raised more questions than answers. Hopefully this will spur those in the know to come forth and share the remaining issues of CITYSPEAK–an integral part of Blade Runner fandom history–with the rest of us.
Have a better one!