"It is a rather pleasant experience to be alone in a bank at
ST SOFTWARE REVIEW: INTERLEAVE DISK MAGAZINE BY TOM ZUNDER
by Richard Karsmakers
Rise and fall of a Cult Mag
In 1991, a disk magazine arose in England that died a premature
death after its second issue. It was called "Interleave" and its
editor was Tom Zunder, at the time 25 years old. Its aim was
simple; "Interleave" aimed at being the disk magazine for those
who think that their ST is for more then just keeping the
neighbours jealous; it tried to be a disk magazine unlike any
other, based around the ST as a tool as well as a toy and
covering role-playing, fantasy, films, books, and any bits of
politics, sex and rock'n'roll that could be fitted in.
A worthy goal if ever there was one, of course, and pretty damn
close to the unwritten goal of ST NEWS with the possible
exception of role-playing which is a field that we have yet to
embark on (if indeed ever we will).
When I read about "Interleave" and its aim in a disk magazine
roundup in the "ST Enthusiasts Newsletter" my curiosity was
triggered instantly. If ever there would be a disk magazine that
I could identify more with, this was it. At the time I did not
know whether or not it had died, or whether or not Tom had
switched to some machine other than the ST in the mean time. I
hadn't even actually seen anything of the mag or its editorial
contents. I just felt it could be nothing other than a truly cult
magazine, written by and for intelligent ST users with a wide
variety of interests and talents.
I wrote Tom a long letter (thanks for the address, John!), going
through great length to convince him that he should contact me
and start writing for ST NEWS if he turned out to have folded
"Interleave". A sixth sense told me that Tom would be the ideal
addition to our bunch of writers. That same sense also told me
that Tom might just conceivably be of the same opinion.
By the end of February I had received a package from Tom
containing, among other things, both issues of "Interleave" that
he had done as well as a contribution to ST NEWS which you will
see published elsewhere in this issue. John and Dave of "STEN"
had in the mean time already sent me "Interleave" issue 2 as
well. The start of what will hopefully be a long cooperation had
As mentioned above, "Interleave" tries to be different from
other magazines in that it heavily concentrates on role playing
and the non-computer side of things. As a matter of fact, apart
from the odd software review the entire magazine seems to be
filled with topics covering books, films, music and assorted
human interest. All this is more or less derived from a
regular(ish) paper magazine that Tom does. This is called
"Between the Sheets" and does just about the same as "Interleave"
with the exception that "Interleave" is obviously somewhat more
aimed at ST users.
As Tom seems to be no programmer (hence no programming tricks
anywhere in "Interleave" either) he used the "Still Another
NewsDisk Program" (or "SANDP" in short), a shareware disk
magazine shell by Joe Andrews. This can be easily configured to
load in specific articles and a title picture, and it also has
such nifty things such as a built-in slideshow program that's
compatible with "Spectrum", "Tiny" and "Degas" (including color
to monochrome conversion) and the possibility to load and run
other programs from that very same shell. It works nicely, even
though the medium res page up/down seems to be buggy.
In his reply, Tom told me not to expect too much from
"Interleave". Well, he was right about this first issue. Although
OK for a first trial, it was hardly the kind of thing that leaves
you aghast. It contained 11 articles that amounted to a total of
40 Kb of reading material. These articles were only of moderate
interest, with the exception of a "GURPS" role playing character
defined on text file and a summary of Canadian and US Bulletin
Boards. The disk was further filled up with some desk accessories
(among which was "Minos") and 10 pics that took up over 200 Kb of
the single sided disk's space. Apart from this, it also had a
little STOS Basic game on it called "Seabed" (by R. Lee).
All in all, "Interleave" issue 1 is about worth getting as much
as our own Volume 1 ST NEWS issues - i.e. not much. A very
impressive thing was the picture of a unicorn that was included
in the slideshow picture collection.
The second issue is up to the standard that I had expected. It
contains a proper editorial and a wide variety of articles -
varying from literary ramblings to adventures solutions and
from software reviews to role play stuff. This time, the issue
boasted 42 (!) articles that amounted to 170 Kb. It featured the
issue 1 accessories again, now with a RAMdisk accessory added.
Further, it also offered over 300 Kb of programs ("Defender II"
demo, "Elvert" file conversion utility, a packer, "Headstart",
"DC Format" v3.0 and a neat little "Twist #1" demo by The Necro-
Mancers among others) and the usual collection of pictures (of
which some, I have to admit, were not as good as some others).
Tom's interest in role playing is evident - an entire pull-down
menu was dedicated to it. Some of the literary bits were very
funny (one of them, "Love Bytes", you can find elsewhere in this
ST NEWS ish), and there was a proper load of adventure solutions
in another pull-down as well.
Issue 2, as I said, was like it should be. It's got bits of
enthusiasm flying off properly at the edges. Its writers are
interesting folk. Reviews do not limit themselves to software,
but they also do various things such as films (in this case "The
War of the Roses" and "Witches", for example). Thus, this second
issue created the cult image of human interest, books, films,
bits of computers and literary ramblings in one fell blow. An
excellent disk magazine that could have become loads better if
only issue 3 would have been released...
It is still quite uncertain whether or not "Interleave" issue 3
will ever happen. If it will, and if it will progress as much
from issue 2 to 3 as it did from issue 1 to 2, it will become
truly legendary. If it does not, then we'll just have to pray
that Tom will continue doing bits for other disk magazines so
that the world may get to know what this guy has to tell - for it
is obvious that he is an interesting person with many interesting
thing to tell.
"Interleave" is licenceware of the South West Software Library
run by Martin Dryden. I believe that you have to shell out £3.95
for issue 2, and I suggest you do so for it is very much worth
while - and Tom ends up with a little bit of dosh on the side of
things as well.
The address to write to or order at is: P.O. BOX 562, Wimborne,
Dorset, BH21 2YD, United Kingdom.
Please refer to Tom's column "Interleavings 3", elsewhere in
this issue of ST NEWS, in case you care to know what he has to
say about politics, music, books, car racing, theatre and family
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.