Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, May 24, 2021

Slingshot 336

The other day I received the May/June issue of Slingshot, the journal of the Society of Ancients. I joined the Society in about 2007, if I recall correctly, and am glad to say that Slingshot is still in excellent health. 

It has survived the challenges of online culture, the rise (and fall, if recent pronouncements are to be believed!) of blogging, various changings of the guard, the odd ruction amongst the membership, and the sad toll that time inevitably takes on everyone, no matter how unpainted the lead mountain remains.

The current editor, Justin Swanton, has done a wonderful job of bringing a genuinely professional look to the graphics, layout, and typesetting. Justin is a published author himself, having written a historical novel and a book on ancient battle formations, and has a day job within the print industry, so he knows what he is about. 

Funnily enough, I actually disagree with a lot of Justin's ideas on such things as battle formations (I haven't read his book, but do follow conversations on these sorts of topics on the Society forum), and that is part of the charm of a society such as the SoA. People can have different views but still get along. All credit to Justin though: the quality of Slingshot under his stewardship has been extremely high, and he is indefatigable in promoting interest in ancient warfare. As an example, he also runs, and produces the content for, a youtube channel here.

Anyway, to return to topic, the thing I like most about Slingshot is that it is put together from the writings of the membership. That means you get a whole range of themes, interests, topics, and a wide variety of articles. Inevitably, some of these will appeal and some of these won't, but the idiosyncracies of Slingshot are the idiosyncracies of the membership, not those of an editor in a capricious publishing landscape desperately trying to hold on to dwindling market share.

The low level grumbling that occasionally attends the efforts of the wargame glossies is undercut in Slingshot. It is written by members for members: if you don't like the content, write something yourself! 

I guess what I really want to say with this post is that - despite its current professional appearance - Slingshot still holds true to its original amateur, collective ideals. Now into its 336th edition, long may that continue!





9 comments:

  1. Still haven’t received my copy of 336 yet over here but you comments are spot on Aaron.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mike. That S/shot is still going strong after 50 plus years is something worth celebrating, I think.

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  2. My copy arrived last week. It is always a pleasure to see the variety of topics within each issue. Some articles I find more interesting than others but still a great value produced by enthusiastic hobbyists.

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  3. I never signed up for this publication; but am pleasantly surprised to hear it is still going strong - and keeping up with the times.

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  4. It became quite academic in the '80s is that still the case? Fear of judgement and ridicule is a great deterrent for the amateur/wargamer

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    1. I find it a pretty reasonable mix. There are occasional quite academic articles, that frankly I find less useful, but sometimes interesting. Ultimately, it's what the readers supply.

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  5. I’ve never subscribed but have owned an odd copy here and there. I’ve liked them. One of my friends used to subscribe, and that’s probably how I got a few in my hands.

    Your occasional mentioning of this publication does bring up the good ole days of way back when. It’s amazing it’s still going, that’s quite a run.

    Cheers
    Kevin

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  6. I agree that slingshot has gone from strength to strength. Although perhaps only 50% appeals to me each issue that simply reflects the wide range of members interests. I also like the fact that I feel part of a wider body of like minded enthusiasts. As a very occasional contributor it is also nice to see my efforts in print!

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