by Anna Hepworth
The Rhizome Factor, edited and published by Cathy Cupitt, was a Western Australian fanzine of the late 1990s/early 2000s. One volume, comprising six issues, was released between February 1998 and April 2001. Although these were marked as Volume 1, with the implication that further volumes would be forthcoming, no further volumes were ever published. Purchase price for the first four issues was $3 each, and the last two $4 each.
In 1999, Cathy won a ‘Tin Duck’ (Western Australian Science Fiction Achievement award) for the Best non professional production in any medium for issues 1 & 2. Following this, in 2000 she won a second Tin Duck for Best non professional production in any medium for issues 3 & 4. These issues also received a Tin Duck for Best non professional writing.
All issues were A5, saddle-stapled, on lightweight cream/grey flecked card stock with black printing. Internals were white bond, black printed.
Contents were contributed almost exclusively by Western Australians, and many of the names would be familiar to SwanCon goers of the time. Cathy, as behooves the writer of a fanzine, made a large contribution to the content, and a number of the contributors are recognisable as close friends
Artworks were supplied by a small but select group. The title banner was designed by Jeremy Nelson, who also supplied the cover artwork for issues 1 and 4. The majority of the cover artworks (issues 3, 5 and 6) were provided by Jade Todd, with Alicia Smith providing cover artwork for issue 2.
Contributors were listed on the back of each cover. Contributors for issues 1:6 are as follows (in the order listed):
- Stephen Dedman, Scot Snow, Russell B. Farr, Matt Barron, David Bennett, Cathy Cupitt
- Lois McMaster Bujold, Scot Snow, Stephen Dedman, Gina Goddard, Russell B Farr, David Bennett, Teik Oh, Cathy Cupitt
- Carmel Bird, Scot Snow, Robin Pen, Russell B Farr, David Bennett
- Carmel Bird, Simon Brown, Stephen Dedman, Russell B Farr, Van Ikin, Sarah Locksley, Scot Snow, David Yeates
- Cathy Cupitt, Gina Goddard, Jo Jackson King, Sarah Locksley, Rosaleen Love, Sandra Norman, Tess Williams
- Susan Ackermann, Elizabeth Bowyer, M. Nikolai Chrulew, Russell B Farr, Emma Hawkes, Rosaleen Love, David Medlen, Robin Pen, Darren Ryding, Scot Snow, Grant Watson.
Checking the National Library of Australia finds that they have issues 1-5, available from the Main Reading Room (Australian Collection)
Disturbingly, although the last issue came out in 2001, the Market List, which describes itself as “The Online Resource for Genre Fiction Writers” still has The Rhizome Factor listed as a fiction market, although it should be noted that the site does not appear to have been updated since 2009, so cannot be considered to still be up to date, and the link that they have goes to a squatter site.
Information in this article was sourced from the issues mentioned, the websites linked, and the author’s unreliable memory.