Ah, yes ... Volume 4 ... not only does it vaguely echo another Vol.4 which was significant in my youth, but it's probably the most "themey" of any of the 7 Terminal Journal volumes. While the first of these was pretty much like those before it, each of the next three had some unifying element. The Spring 1997 issue (V4N2) had the unfortunate honor of featuring an "in memoriam" section for Adam Walks-Between-Worlds, a regular contributor, whose untimely death (see HERE for more info) came just before this issue. This featured both pieces that Adam had sent in, plus memorials written by others. The Summer 1997 issue (V4N3) was a somewhat playful look at UFOs, Cthulhu, and other creepy things ... featuring some fun art we'd been given permission to use from Chaosium. Finally, the Fall 1997 issue (V4N3) was the "artless" issue, featuring no graphics except on the "marketplace" ad page and the book catalog. Frankly, I don't recall why this was text-only ... I may have found pieces filling up the pages without gaps and just opted to make that a "thing", or I may have been doing some passive-aggressive pout about not getting promised art in ... I seriously don't recall, but those would seem to be plausible explanations.
One other feature that premiered in Volume Four was the "Blatant Plug Pages" which allowed me to shill for other folks' projects outside of the actual "content" of the mag. Back then I did most of the distribution in the "free literature" racks of stores around town and the T.J. must have gotten on some lists as I started seeing the occasional press release. Unfortunately, most of these were for theatrical productions, which, being a quarterly, were very hard to fit in (as the release would not go out until just before the show started, and unless that hit my desk very close to when we were going to press, their run would be over before we had the issue out). I did, however, see the potential for getting free stuff, so started putting in album reviews to sort of "prime the pump" (and I did from time-to-time get review CDs sent in, like the Karma To Burn album in V4N3), but that never became the great fountain of freebies that I had sort of hoped it would be.
In some ways '97-'98 was "the best of times" for Eschaton. We were still growing, still getting out new books, and the stark realities that would later come to bear were only shadows along the horizon. On many levels, especially given my current financial states due to being now within weeks of having been out of work for three years, it's very hard for me to go back through the later volumes, as the track the demise of the company that I spent fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, building, and that I pumped in nearly every dollar I ever made in my PR career. It really got ugly ... yes it did.
Anyway, staying with the "poem" theme of this month's NaBloPoMo, there you have another full year of The Terminal Journal (and some of the later volumes are very thin on poetry and very heavy on essays, political rants, and assorted polemics ... something I'm sure you'll be looking forward to).