Alien Brothers

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Zine
Title: Alien Brothers
Publisher: Seabright Publishing
Editor:
Author(s): Helena Seabright
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1987
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
The cover of Alien Brothers

Alien Brothers is a Kirk/Spock slash story offset 275-page anthology, published in 1987 by Helena Seabright. It is beautifully designed, with a lot of artwork, including full-color pages. Artwork by Gayle F, Connie Faddis, Chris Soto, and Marilyn Cole. In total, it had 23 artists and 36 writers.

This zine was nominated for a Fan Q as Best Star Trek Fanzine.

It contains a reprint of The Ring of Soshern, one of the first K/S stories, which had only been circuited privately in the early days of K/S.

Quotes from a few of these stories were included in an article about K/S fanfiction called Going boldly with Kirk and Spock by Chris DeVito, published in the Vancouver Sun in 1994.

Many fans believe that "Helena Seabright" is a pseud for Barbara Gordon.

Controversy

This zine was controversial for a number of reasons.

See Controversy Regarding Cash Paid for Fan Material.

See Controversy Regarding Stories Printed Without Permission.

See Controversy Regarding Content: Subject Matter.

See Controversy Regarding Content: Art and Threats.

See Controversy Regarding How Long the Zine Took to be Published.

See Controversy Regarding the Reveal of a Legal Name.

See Controversy Regarding the Zine Editor's Pseud.

Also see Open Letter by Helena Seabright Regarding "Alien Brothers".

Submission Request

From Datazine #32:

Sophisticated, imaginative, unusual stories stressing the adventurous, the colorful, the weird, wild, wonderful, the erotic, the loving, in K/S literature. Well-written poetry, prose-poems, vignettes, and mood-pieces are particularly welcome. Any kind of submission will be considered and treated with respect. Artwork will be plentiful, with cash prizes for the most imaginative illo of Kirk and Spock in an unusual scene, setting, costume, or personae. We hope to feature some experimental writing and artwork, and print 'Ring of Soshern' for the first time.

The Proposed Sequel

There never was a second issue of "Alien Brothers."

In 1987, the editor writes of a second issue:
Yes, there will be an ALIEN BROTHERS, Vol. II... I will offer a $100 prize for the best short novel. Please do not send inquiries at this time. I am only accepting submissions. Please note! SASE's must be included with submissions if you want them returned. No submissions will be released after the deadline of ALIEN BROTHERS, Vol. II. There was some confusion about this in Volume I. You will be asked to sign an agreement not to release your story/poem to another zine for publication until after it appears in AB II (this is standard practice for professional publishers). Also, I want a statement from each contributor concerning what name they want used, and whether they want their real name released. I have had problems with this, and some artists will not illo a story unless they know the "real" author. Please understand my policies: I will accept contributions from anyone in fandom or outside it, as long as they are high quality, action-adventure K/S with lots of "color" and heavy on plot, and I can work with the contributor to obtain a superior result, without conflict. I will accept work from anyone who qualifies, and I won't play fannish politics. SASE for more details, deadlines, etc. A final word: I am only interested in turning out a superior product: a softcover book, carefully edited, proofread numerous times, and reproduced by high quality offset. I do all the work myself, except for typing. This takes time, lots of it. Therefore, please don't push or threaten me. AB II may well take two years to produce, or even longer. I know all of you are eager, but really. Give me a break! [1]

From a submission request in May 1991 for a second issue:

ALIEN BROTHERS II -- Still need a few more stories and art. Novelets by S. Pillsbury, T'Here, D.R. Vanderlaan, D. Campion, other work by Cassandra, Harper, Hood, Kale, Mailander, Perry, Sides, Webster, and others. Featured are several articles on writing K/S -- with some fascinating observations. AWARDS OFFERED FOR SUPERIOR SUBMISSIONS, INCLUDING NEW AWARD: $100 FOR BEST ART IN THE ZINE AND $100 FOR BEST SHORT STORY. BEST NOVBL GETS $200. SASE FOR COMPLETE INFO AND GUIDELINES. [2]
From an announcement in 1992:
Closed for submissions, zine in production. Features the prize-winning stories and art, and several articles on writing K/S -- with some fascinating observations. Stories and art by Pillsbury, T'Hera, Vanderlaan, Campion, Cairns, Duvetyn, Mailander, Sides and may other. Now accepting deposit and SASE to order, flyer will be sent. [3]

The Editor's Foreword

In these pages you will find a wide variety of material, all of it concerning the passionate love between Kirk and Spock, sometimes directly, occasionally indirectly. The contents are arranged chronologically: the beginning of this book is devoted to series-related material, the middle to prequels and sequels to the various Star Trek movies, and the last part includes more fantasy-related material and alternate universes.

There are both humorous and serious stories and poems; there are gentle stories and some with violence, but never unnecessary violence. There are no death stories, or "downers", with one possible exception, nor are there any "tear-jerkers" — overly sentimental, unrealistic stories — nor any "relationship"-only stories, again, with one short exception.

Human nature being what it is, it's certain that not every reader will love everything in ALIEN BROTHERS, but I'm confident that you will find many things to amuse, delight, and enthrall you.

Comments, both positive and negative, are always welcome, and will be cherished.

I want to continue to publish ALIEN BROTHERS, but to do this, I need your contributions. This zine is not a collection of the work of my particular friends and acquaintances. To encourage high-quality contributions, I am offering generous prizes. For further information, see the "Contributor's Guidelines" and Awards. The next volume of ALIEN BROTHERS will be bigger and better, with more variety, more authors and artists, more and longer stories and poetry. There will be more four-color work, also two- and three-color graphics and art. However, I'll do my best to see that the price remains reasonable.

My particular thanks go to my anonymous typist, to all my wonderful contributors, to the Star Trek Welcommittee for their invaluable help, and to everyone who pre-ordered, especially those who didn't complain when ALIEN BROTHERS wasn't finished as fast as they wanted it to be. Special thanks also to those several fans, including Flora, Dale, and (again) my wonderful typist, who tried to help me find a printer in my hour of black despair (Will NO ONE take my money???!")

My apologies to everyone for the length of time it took to get this zine printed. As I re-re-write this, I am preparing to take the layouts to my SIXTH printer! And that doesn't include all the many printers all over the country that I called and wrote.

Table of Contents

Alien Brothers contains the following: Many of the summaries below are by Gilda F.

ad from Datazine #44, click to read
  • Paper Dolls by Kayleen Sybrandt
  • The Ring of Soshern by Jennifer Guttridge 9 - 53 (story) (Stranded after Spock miscalculates the appearance of an ion storm, Kirk soon discovers the reason for the Vulcanʼs abnormal misstep and realizes that he will do anything to make sure Spock lives throught his latest pon farr.) This story was part of the informal K/S circuit and was later published without the author's knowledge who did not learn of the publication until decades later.
  • Epilog: Another Beach to Walk On by Dale Campion 54 (poem)
  • The Lyrist by Jenny Star 55 (poem)
  • Two-Edged Sword by S. Meek 56 (poem)
  • Soliloquy to a Friend by Jo Ann Sides 59-60 (poem)
  • Tickling the Dragon's Tail by Jane Mailander 63-68 (story) (Kirk and Spock play a nightly game of seduction and overwhelming passion.)
interior art by Marilyn Cole, full gallery below
  • The Logic in Loving You by Noelle Harrison 71 - 72 (poem)
  • Threatened by Donna Rose Vanderlaan 75 - 76 (poem)
  • Deadly Fears by B. L. Barr 79 (poem)
  • The Captain's Fantasy by John Elliot Lowell 80 (poem)
  • Odds and Abbs by Jenny Starr 83-93 (story) (Humor: Kirk and Spock devise a plan to divert the crewʼs attention when they learn that bets are being taken on the odds of their being lovers. )
  • By All the Gods by Robin Hood 94 (poem)
  • The Air is the Air by Vivian Gates (p. 95-103) (story) (When Kirk and Spock are captured by Klingons, Spock agrees to sex with them in order to protect Kirk, making Kirk aware of Spockʼs bisexuality and creating problems in their friendship. Sequel:Compensation/What Can Be Done.) (also in As I Do Thee #5 (1986) and as the standalone, The Air is the Air (1986). According to the author, this story was printed in this zine without permission.) [4]
  • Alien Nights by T'Hera Snaider 104 (poem)
  • Homecoming by Sethera Dragon (p. 109-116) (story) (After VʼGer, Spock confesses his reason for leaving, only to discover that his love and desire are returned by Kirk.)
  • Bondlink by S. Meek 117 (poem)
  • I Thought I Saw - A.T. Bush (p. 118-127) (story) (Kirk accuses his bondmate of pushing him into a stream until Spock is able to determine what really happened until Spock is able to determine what really happened.)
  • The Choice by T'Hera Snaider 129 (poem)
  • Lament by John Eliot Lowell 130 (poem)
  • This Sudden Light by Flora Poste 135 (poem)
  • Requiem & Coda by Laurie J. Huff 136 (poem)
  • Limits Exist Only in the Mind by Marcella Belton (p. 139-179) (story) (Non-K/S story)
  • Vigil by Flora Poste 180 (poem)
  • Dreamwatcher by Jenny Starr 185 (poem)
  • To Great Lengths by A.T. Bush (p. 186-198) (story) (M/U: When Kirk is taken by slavers, Spock is forced to perform with his newly bought slave when he finally tracks him down in order to get his lover safely free.)
  • The Contributors by Editor 198 and 208 (list)
  • Masks by John Eliot Lowell 202 (poem)
  • Midnight in Venice by Jenny Starr (p. 205-208) (story) (Kirk and Spock move toward some truths when they mysteriously appear in old Venice wearing interesting...and revealing costumes.)
  • So Let It Be Done by Rhea Gowan 215 (poem)
  • Loveslaves by Dale Campion (p. 216-273) (story) (Having lost his last chance to escape, Spock finds himself drawing ever nearer to Kirk, only to be abruptly forced from his side. Prequel: Love Slaveʼs Song which appeared in Duet #3. This sequel, which featured a sex scene with fisting was rejected by the editor of Duet for being too extreme and dangerous. The story was eventually published unedited in Alien Brothers.)
  • Lovers by Betsy Fisher 274 (poem)
  • The Logic in Loving You by Noelle Harrison

Art Credits

Art Gallery

The zine contains extensive and varied interior art. A representative sampling from some of the artists is included below to illustrate the wide range of styles and themes.

The zine also contained a few pieces of erotic art. Below is an example.

Reactions and Reviews to the Contents of the Zine Itself

See reactions and reviews for The Air is the Air.
See reactions and reviews for Odds and Abbs.
See reactions and reviews for The Ring of Soshern.
See reactions and reviews for Loveslaves.
[zine]: Every run across a K/S zine with everything? Well, now you have. In other works, if Ms. Seabright has left anything out of ALIEN BROTHERS, I am at a loss to discover what it it. Large, thick, perfect bound and printed on heavy stock, I could see it was a quality work even as I drew it out of the envelope. On page three, the editor announces that future volumes of AB will award cash prizes (I kid you not!) for best novel-novelette, best humorous short story, best art work and best poem. A bonus prize will go to the best work describing Kirk as "quintessential devil" (the Klingon Ambassador's phrase from ST:IV, of course). Oh, but that's not all. In about a year or so there will debut a NON- K/S zine with format similar to AB. A free copy of this new zine goes to the person who names it! Same cash prizes will apply there also. Think that's all? Read on! You will find complete guidelines and editorial policies for submissions to AB described on page four. Page five lists the index to stories and poetry. Page six contains an alphabetical list of artists' credits ... and all of this is before you get to the first story. As I continued to turn the pages, I discovered that, like many professional works, a short biographical sketch of the writer is included at the beginnings of most of the stories. Other sketches are scattered appealingly throughout the zine. I can't begin to say how much I, as an avid zine reader, appreciate this. How often I've wondered about a particular writer or artist whose work I've enjoyed. This way I feel I've been given a small slice of the sort of persons they are. I can only hope this practice spreads more and more. Paging further into the text of this unusual work, I discovered that the first story if 'The Ring of Soshern' by J. Guttridge (first name Jennifer if memory serves, best known to me for 'Tower of Terror' many moons ago). 'Ring', of course, is another story written in the 'before time'[7] (circa 1976), but has never been included in a zine. At the time it was written, stories like it were known as 'underground K/S'. It is a K/S hurt-comfort story, and may have been a forerunner many more I've read since. It is very competently illustrated by Juanne Michaud. 'Tickling the Dragon's Tail' by Jane Mailander gave me the giggles. I'm not sure if it was supposed to have that effect or not. But it did. I liked the drawing by Kyla Weston on page 64. My favorite story in the zine was 'The Air is the Air'. It was written by Vivian Gates, who is her own description and reward. I need not say more. 'Limited Exist Only in the Mind' by Marcella Belton brings a disapproving Sarek in the picture, along with a compelling, child-like Spock, a confused McCoy and an embarrassed Kirk. There are also semi-friendly Romulans and some very interesting aliens. Beautifully illustrated by Mary Stacy-MacDonald. The more I see of this artist's work, the better I like it. I have three favorite poems in ALIEN BROTHERS: 'The Choice' by T'Hera Snaider, 'This Sudden Light' by Flora Poste and 'Requiem & Coda' by Laurie Huff. Excellent, in my opinion, although I must admit to being prejudiced: I guess I'm a product of the old school sometimes, 'cause I happen to like a poem that rhymes. I went back through this zine a final time to scan to illos. In doing so, I made a startling discovery. I chose two drawings in particular, one erotic, one not. The one on page 265 by Sethera Dragon is beautifully sensitive with soft, suggestive shading and a hint of diversity ... for it shows Kirk's hand in mind-meld position on Spock's face, rather than the reverse. The second illo on page 275, more hurt-comfort that anything else, depicts a wounded and bloody Kirk kneeling at the bedside of a (probably) dying Spock. All that can be seen of Spock is his shining crown of black hair and one lifeless hand cradled tenderly in Kirk's. This is a bold line drawing, and my attention was drawn first to Spock's black hair, then immediately across to the two joined hands. Compelling. The surprise is the fact that this drawing also, is by Ms. Dragon. But then, there are many surprises in ALIEN BROTHERS, most of them good. In closing, one more surprise: I am not a K/S fan. Never was, probably never will be. To me, K/S is a 'fantasy world' set within the Star Trek framework. However, if I am to believe in the concept of IDIC, I cannot deny that K/S exists, nor can I condemn it. There are many thousands of you out there who love it. NOME, up to now, is the only K/S zine I buy. I have always respected its absolute gentility and consummate intelligence. ALIEN BROTHERS is not NOME. I didn't expect it to be. But I respect it on its own merits. If you are someone who enjoys reading a zine which chases butterflies (forget butterflies! Make that Eagles!) from your stomach all the way to your toes, this is your zine. [8]
[zine]: At 275 pages with reduced type this is a lot of reading material for your money. Although there are no block busters here, all the stories are of decent quality, well-written (or well-edited), with a minimum of typos. The stories are a good mix of romance, angst, and humor; ODDS AND ABBS, and MIDNIGHT IN VENICE, a couple of vignettes by Jenny Starr among the most entertaining pieces; and A.T. Bush's I THOUGHT I SAW.... The most memorable long story is LIMITS EXIST ONLY IN THE MIND by Marcella Belton; she deals with an unusual and touchy K/S subject quite believably. The artwork covers a wide range of quality, from topnotch to ho-hum. The good stuff is really outstanding, and there's a lot of it - the most notable by Kathy Taylor, Mary Stacey and Jackie Zoost - it's good to see that there is still an editor who bothers with half-toning - Jackie's pastels are excellent. I do disagree with the editor's choice of prizes for the artwork, though; Marilyn Cole's Spock on page 240 is clearly the best work in the zine, for my taste. As usual, Flora Poste's poetry stands out from the rest; there are several lovely pieces included here. ALIEN BROTHERS contains several inspired features, not the least of which is the editor's leads to each story with commentary on the author; some of them were amusing and entertaining, and it's nice to know a little about the authors whose work we read. Good idea. The overall appearance of the zine is definitely top-drawer; from the interesting and different cover to the excellent quality of the printing work (having just struggled with putting out a zine of my own, I envy the editor her printer!) to the wealth of beautiful graphics and creative layouts. A lot of loving care went into the creation of this zine, and it shows. The only thing I had some reservations about was the hefty cash prizes for the art and writing contest. Seems to me that a cash prize is a euphemism for paying an author or artist for a submission, and we need to protect our amateur standing or we could be in copyright trouble. Then again, it may just be a matter of opinion. [9]
[zine]: The long-awaited K/S zine is finally out and one leaf-through shows that it was put together with great care, and that becomes even more obvious when one sits down to read it. The zine contains 275 pages of reduced type p is perfect bound, and has very few typos. The cover is unimpressive, but most of the interior art is very good and represents a refreshing variety of artists. There is one four-color [Gayle F] piece, which is probably responsible for the steep $25.00 price. All the poetry and title pages are elaborately decorated. The biggest treat is the brief biographical sketches on each of the contributors. I have never seen this done before in a fanzine, and I hope other editors pick up on the idea.

As for the stories, I found them a little disappointing, mainly because two of the three novellas in the zine were not to my liking. The first of these is Marcella Belton's "Limits Exist Only in the Mind." It is an alternate post-ST:TSFS tale where Sarek gives Kirk and crew the means to leave Vulcan and go to a mysterious area of space on the other side of Vulcan's sun so that they can buy time until they decide what to do. Their biggest problem is Spock, as the Vulcan is still recovering from the fal tor pan and goes into pon farr, to boot. They land on a planet of exiled people of various races, who take them in and with whom they develop a cautious friendship. That all may sound innocent enough, but what troubled me was that Spock seemed vulnerable and weak one moment, then lustful and aggressive the next. Even with pon farr and his recent resurrection, the believability of his actions are questionable. Kirk also seemed 'off to me, as he seems weak at some points amd overly-casual at others. I also wasn't too happy with Sarek's characterization, as he was borderline cruel at times, though he was also helpful. Finally, after Kirk and crew return to Vulcan to face the Federation ship that is there to get them a pregnant Saavik comes into the picture, and she, too, seemed unbelievably distrustful and self-righteous. To top it all off, the ending is overly pat and simplistic, and we never know what the Federation decides to do with Kirk and his crew. The exiles introduced in the story are well-presented and interesting, but as a whole the novella depicts an unlikely situation and has poor characterizations.

The one story I found downright offensive was Dale Campion's 'Loveslaves' In a brief introduction the editor tells us that the story takes place in an alternate universe where the Romulans won the war with Earth, and Vulcan is neutral. She also tells us that the story contains some necessary violence, which does have purpose and meaning, and thus serves to further the plot. . . . ' There is indeed some violence, but even more disturbing are the sex scenes where Kirk treats Spock in a cruel manner that occasionally becomes sadistic. Kirk is the captain of a ship in Starfleet, and Spock, who was found on a Vulcan scientific outpost that Kirk's ship attacked, is blackmailed into being the captain s slave, as Kirk threatens to send Starfleet to attack Vulcan unless Spock agrees to be his servant. Poor Spock, for the sake of Vulcan, agrees, and then is virtually raped by Kirk, right there in sickbay (he had sustained injuries in the attack), even after indicating that he's so innocent and naive he doesn't even understand what Kirk wants from him. The most disgusting part for me was that Spock never seems to hate or resent Kirk, though he is frightened by him and frustrated by his situation at times. Granted, Kirk is gentle with Spock when he chooses to be, but often has moments of inexplicable cruelty. This schizophrenic behavior is never explained. Nor is it ever clear what Spock is thinking, or why he feels affection toward Kirk. The whole situation is pathetic. The story does get better when Spock finally turns the table on the captain and dominates him sexually--which Kirk thoroughly enjoys--and results in a more equal relationship between the two. Though the lengthiest story in the zine, 'Loveslaves' is incomplete and will be continued. I wasn't disappointed, as I have no burning desire to read the remainder of the story.

One short story that leaves the reader with a feeling of incompleteness is Vivian Gates' 'The Air is the Air." The story has been published twice before, and I have also seen sequels to it by other authors. In any case, it is a tightly written tale where Kirk discovers Spock's bisexuality in a situation where they are being held prisoner by two Klingon guards. Spock's sexual experience and cleverness allows them to escape, but Kirk finds this discovery about Spock very disturbing. Once back on the ship, McCoy has a frank discussion with the captain, and the reader is left with Kirk literally crying in his liquor.

Jenny Starr has two stories in the zine, both humorous. The first is "Odds and Ends," where the senior officers try to decipher the graffiti on the men's room wails, in this instance the symbol "K/S." The story doesn't have a great amount of depth, but it is a tender, light-hearted read. "Midnight in Venice" is a short piece of pure dialogue between Kirk and Spock, is amusing, and has an appropriate ending.

Also represented by two stories is A.T. Bush. "I Thought I Saw" depicts the ENTERPRISE crew studying a planet whore animal life is invisible. It is very amusing when Kirk is pushed into a lake by an overly playful Spock--or so he assumed. This story was cute, but I was puzzled as to why it took everyone so long to figure out it was an invisible animal that was guilty of pushing Kirk--not Spock. 'To Great Lengths' is more serious, and is a mirror universe tale where Spock searches frantically for his captain, who has been captured by slavers. He finally finds him in a bar where the slaves have to perform before an audience. It's not the most original story, but does get rather erotic when Spock "buys' Kirk and then performs
 with him.

My favorite story in the zine is Jennifer Guttndgo's "The Rings of Soshern". This novella was written in the early '70's before the existence of K/S zines, and is published for the first time in ALIEN BROTHERS. The story could be categorized as K/S, hurt/comfort, and action/adventure, and is satisfying on all levels. It is smoothly written, interesting, and very sensitively done. It concerns Spock and Kirk being stranded on a primitive planet, whore there is danger from dinosaurs and ape-like natives. (Both suffer their share of illnesses and injuries, and Guttridge graphically depicts acts of vomiting and other symptoms of physical anguish.) Spock goes into pon farr, and Kirk, of course, must 'save' him. The sex scenes are tastefully done, with much left to the reader's imagination. My one complaint is that the ending is rather weak once the two return to the ship.

Rounding out the zine are a couple of short stories. Jane Mailander's "Tickling the Dragon's Tail" is a humorous depiction of the way an amorous Kirk gets a pretending-to-be-all-business Spock to put his work away and give his lover some attention. Sethera Dragon1s "Homecoming' is a post ST;TMP situation where Kirk and Spock talk things out, confess their feelings, then go to bed. Neither story is very original, but both have the tenderness that I enjoy most about K/S.

I recommend ALIEN BROTHERS for anyone who is searching for a zine that simply looks different from the run-of-the-mill K/S zines and is willing to pay the price. The stories don't match the quality of the art or design, but there is a good variety of material. [10]
[zine]: Normally I keep negative comments on zines to myself, but after reading ALIEN BROTHERS I can't keep quiet. While there are some very fine production values, and the editor has shown great imagination in much of the graphic work, the stories simply are not worth the time to read, much less pay good money for. That's not to say that they're all bad. but even the more experienced writers have not presented their best work. There is some excellent poetry amongst the mediocre-to-bad verse, to be specific "Alien Nights' by T'Hera Snaider, "Requiem and Coda" by Laurie Huff, "Vigil" by Flora Poste, and "Lovers" by Betsy Fisher. The art ranges from the very best to the very worst (a prime example of no art having been more preferable), which leads me to question why an editor with such an obviously strong art background would have accepted some of the latter category. Also, by printing much of the art one-sided, the editor has left 45 pages blank, which not only wastes a great deal of space (and postage weight), but is most annoying in layout—especially when two blank pages faoe each other. Taken as a whole, the faults could have been forgiven had the editor not tooted her own horn so loudly at intending to produce a professional level publication. In comparison with such a standard, ALIEN BROTHERS doesn't qualify. And I must agree with [Regina M's] assessment of Dale Campion's "Loveslaves." The level of violence passing for sexual scenes is most disturbing—the plot served only to link together many such scenes. But this is characteristic of many of the stories, which to me flaws the entire collection, another example being Marcella Belton's "Limits Exist Only In the Mind." If a reader wants to get really depressed, then those are ideal stories to accomplish the purpose. Even writing about the zine has depressed me, but I felt the need to warn unsuspecting readers—occasionally there must be a few brickbats among the evaluations of zines. [11]

Controversy Regarding Stories Printed Without Permission

At least two stories in "Alien Brothers" were printed without express permission of their authors.

One was The Air is the Air. The other was The Ring of Soshern.

"The Air is the Air"

In a 1985 personal statement in Not Tonight Spock! #11, Vivian Gates writes: "NOTICE: I have withdrawn my story, "The Air is the Air" from "Alien Brothers" as of October 1, 1985, and submitted it elsewhere."

In 1986, the editor of "Alien Brothers" wrote a personal statement telling fans that one "unscrupulous contributor" had sent one of the works in "Alien Brothers" to another zine. [12] This was an action, wrote Seabright, that that made her decide that all submitters must sign a release from next time. Seabright also wanted a statement from each contributor regarding the use of her or his real name in the zine.

In 1986, with the intent of taking some of the wind out of "Alien Brother's" sales, Vivian Gates printed copies of "The Air is the Air" and offered it to fandom to fandom for free, saying it was the "last Vivian Gates story." From the first page of The Air is the Air:

“The Air is the Air” is a little depressing there towards the end, but it was originally written as that the ending would be a spring-board for a sequel. Sort of a figure-out-how-to-get-Kirk-out-of-this challenge. I submitted to an editor I didn’t not know (never do that) from which I later withdrew the story. There isn’t time to go into the whole convoluted tale, but the upshot is, the editor refuses to release it. I feel I have a right to do what I want with my story. What I want to do with it now is to give it to fandom. This is free. Make any copies you want. Send it to other fans. Reprint it anywhere you want. Write sequels that get Kirk and Spock out of this situation. Pass it on or toss it in the trash. This is the last Vivian Gates story. – Vivian Gates, April 1986

"The Ring of Soshern"

The other story was The Ring of Soshern by Jennifer Guttridge. This story was part of the informal K/S circuit and was, according to some fans, later published without the author's knowledge who did not learn of the publication until decades later.[13]

Controversy Regarding Content: Subject Matter

The story "Loveslaves" by Dale Campion is a sequel to "Love Slaveʼs Song" which appeared in Duet #3. This story featured a sex scene with fisting and was something the editor of Duet did not want to print.

In a letter to fans in Datazine #21, the author of "Loveslaves" says there was to be a sequel in 'Duet' #4. "I would like to make it clear that the information in the editorial in that zine is inaccurate. I'll gladly clarify the situation to anyone who writes directly to me. Cynthia C. Drake of Final Frontier now plans to publish the entire story, complete and uncensored."

"Loveslaves" wasn't published in Final Frontier, either but was instead finally published in "Alien Brothers."

Controversy Regarding Content: Art and Threats

In February 1986, the editor wrote this Open Letter. See Open Letter by Helena Seabright Regarding "Alien Brothers" for fans' reactions.:
In the interests of producing the best possible zine, naturally I have accepted only the best submissions, and those nearest to the focus of my zine, ALIEN BROTHERS. And
 I have rejected inferior work, and also contributors with whom I felt I could not work to obtain a superior result. This, I thought was the function of an editor, even in fandom. And yet, after rejecting the work of a certain California artist (for both reasons), I found that I was under attack by her friends and acquaintances. One of them tried to convince me to accept this artist's work, and all along there was this implied, unspoken threat that I would suffer the consequences if I did not cooperate. The artist herself was considerably more explicit. And then, I discovered that some of my contributors had been contacted to try to convince them to pull their stories from ALIEN BROTHERS, under some pretext that I am closely associated with another fan from this area, one whose reputation they are apparently trying to destroy. Now, I know nothing of this. I am solely responsible for the editing, production, proofreading, policies, etc.— everything connected with ALIEN BROTHERS. NO ONE works with me; no one influences me. I have accepted help and advice via letters from a number of fans, but there were no strings attached. I would not have accepted it if there were. I tried to contact the people involved, to reason with them, and stop this nonsense, but they only replied in insults. I even offered to accept the inadequate work of the artist I had originally rejected, if they would only leave me alone, but they would not. Rather than help, I received threats of lawsuits. Now, I am shocked and dismayed to discover one of these individuals is also attempting to delve into my private life and the running of my zine, in an attempt to discredit me. My postmaster is In receipt of such a letter, which came from Poway, California (I'll leave the sender to your imagination). I am dismayed, hurt, and distressed by these actions, and see no other choice than to make the situation public. This simply cannot go on. I'd like to publicly plead that these people leave me alone, stop prying into my affairs, and interfering with the production of ALIEN BROTHERS. Caro Hedge (Vivian Gates) contacted me regarding withdrawing her story from ALIEN BROTHERS because of the rumors spread by these misguided fans, and I really would be delighted to oblige Ms. Hedge, but I am afraid that it Is far too late. My final flyers are out, publicity is out, and the zine will possibly be printed by the time you see this letter. I am sorry for the inconvenience this causes anyone. But the story will appear as advertised. Dear fans, I sincerely hope that you will support the efforts of this somewhat bewildered editor who only wanted to do something especially nice for the 20th anniversary of Star Trek. And I am sure that you won't be disappointed with my zine, ALIEN BROTHERS. It will be special! [14]

Controversy Regarding How Long the Zine Took to be Published

While it was not uncommon for zines to take years to be published, and Alien Brothers was no exception, fans may have had less patience with the delay due to the other problems the zine had.

In a personal statement in the fall of 1986, the editor wrote that the zine wasn't late as she never set a publication date, that even if it were late it was because her house flooded and even though she saved the zine, she lost everything else. She scolded folks for hassling her about how long it was taking for this zine to be published:
I am only interested in turning out a superior product... I do all the work myself, except for typing. This takes time, lots of it. Therefore, please don't push or threaten me!... I know all of you are eager, but really! Give me a break! [15]
In a letterzine, she wrote:
ALIEN BROTHERS has gone to press. Please understand: it is NOT late. I had never set a publication date, so it could not be "late". The loss of three typists, several artists, my printer (Duplicate Images) made this a wise action-- not to mention the recent floods in the Midwest. I had only recently moved to what I hoped was at least a semi-permanent address, when the floods began. AT the cost of two badly bruised and cut feet and one wrenched shoulder, I managed to rescue all my artwork, typed copy, layouts, records, and the beautiful four-color art prints I had had made from [Gayle F's] "Venetian Carnival" art. There was very little damage to any of the zine material, but it has taken a lot of time to put it all back together and get it to the printer. My other belongings were not so lucky; practically everything was destroyed by the several feet of water in my new home. This means that the money I had saved and borrowed to print ALIEN BROTHERS has had to be used for personal necessities (like moving again). The money sent me for deposits is still safely in a non-interest bearing bank account, but this is not nearly enough to pay for printing the zine. I will, therefore, need as many pre-orders as possible to pay for the printing. Pre-orders will receive their zine first, and also I'll send the first 30-or-so a copy of the gorgeous [Gayle F] fine art print, suitable for framing (non-explicit). If you have any questions about your order, do not forget to enclose a SASE. I have received a number of inquiries without a SASE, and these will probably not get answered from lack of time and money—some, I cannot even read the address. If you have heard any libelous material about me or my not-for-profit "Seabright Publications", please refer it to me. [16]

Controversy Regarding the Reveal of a Legal Name

In the open letter, Open Letter Regarding "Alien Brothers", the editor revealed a fan's legal name/connected pseuds.

Ann C wrote:
Now, as to Ms. Seabright's divulgence of Ms. Gates' true name, Ms. Seabright has broken one of the cardinal rules of zine editing and publishing. Fan writers use pen names for a variety of reasons, both personal and professional. Nor is the use of a pen name limited to those who write K/S. Many gen writers do so also. Because editors must deal with the person with regard to editing, corrections, and various letters and phone conversations, means that we must know the person's true name. We are trusted, therefore obligated by that trust, to keep the name a secret unless given permission to reveal it. The unauthorized revelation of a pen name is one of the lowest things an editor can do, regardless of her/his personal dealings with the writer. By the revelation in this letterzine of Ms. Gates' true name, Ms. Seabright has proven herself to be completely untrustworthy. A pen name is never revealed, no matter what the reason! [17]
Lynda C wrote:
...you committed a grave breach of etiquette by linking the pseudonym of a Trek writer with her "real" name. That, far more than any question of who you are or what your intent is or was, tells me and should tell others that they enter into an association with you at their own risk. As long as there have been writers, there have been pseudonyms. And there are as many reasons for creating a pseudonym as there are writers who use one. The reason is not important. Respecting the writer's right to confidentiality is. Unless an individual is penning libelous statements, or attempting to obtain money, goods, services, or information fraudulently, no one but the pseudonym's holder has the right to release information about his or her "real" identity. [18]
In the Open Letter by Vel Jaeger Regarding "Alien Brothers", Vel wrote:
... since Ms. Seabright is so concerned with moral issues — where is the ethic that allows you to reveal Caro Hedge's pseudonym in a publication for all to see? Where is your respect for her privacy? Look to your own house, Ms. Seabright. [19]

Controversy Regarding the Zine Editor's Pseud

Many fans believed that "Helena Seabright" was a pseud for the editor of the zine, Barbara Gordon.

Some things they felt were clues: letters from both Seabright and Gordon were written on the same typewriter with the same chipped letters, Seabright has no "fannish presence" in letterzines other than that connected to the publishing of this zine (she "came out of nowhere"), she was never seen in person, and all of her signatures were typed and no one ever saw any of her handwriting (not even personal notes added at the end of typewritten letters, something that was a common practice).

Another speculation which fans felt meant the two names were the same person: "Alien Brothers" published the once-rejected story Loveslaves, a sequel written by another pseud of Gordon's.

Controversy Regarding Cash Paid for Fan Material

The standard "payment" for fiction, art, and poetry received by zines was a free copy of the zine itself, a trib copy. "Alien Brothers" was quite unique in that the editor offered cash awards for art, poetry and fiction submitted. This was something that was the topic of quite a bit of fannish discussion regarding legality, fairness, and fannish customs and norms.

from the zine

Another zine, KSX, also proposed cash awards for material, but that zine did not receive the same flak that "Alien Brothers" did.

The proposal: Proposed award prizes for "Alien Brothers" issue #2 were announced as follows: Winners of Novels/Novellas would win $200 First prize, $100 Second and $50 Third prize. Art winners would receive $100 first, $50 second and $25 third prize. Humorous short stories would win $50 first, $25 second and $10 third prize. Poems: $15 each for the best three and $10 each for the three next best, and $5 for the third-best. A special bonus prize was offered for the best poem, story or artwork which "uses the concept of Kirk as "quintessential devil" (the Klingon's phrase from ST:IV, of course). This interpretation can be serous, humorous, loving, fantastical - anything your imagination can supply."

Winners for issue #1 were announced as follows.

  • Artwork: First prize, Gayle F. for her Kirk portrait (see gallery below). The editor commented: "to be fair, the black and white was judged."
  • Second prize went to Mary Stacy-MacDonald for her dramatic portrait of Spock and Kirk in a veiled woman's grasp (see gallery below).
  • Third prize went to Virginia L. Smith for her portrait of a pre-Reform Vulcan Spock on page 272 (not included in gallery).
  • No fiction prizes were listed

Fans respond:

One zine ed disagreed with "Alien Brother's" cash offering for content. She cited a number of reasons for her opinion.:

In order for fandom to remain "amateur publishing", and therefore to remain acceptable in the eyes of Paramount... monetary payment can not be paid for works of STAR TREK fiction. This creates an immediate infringement upon the copyrights... So long as we remain "amateurs", Paramount tends to look the other way. But if we set this dangerous precedent and open ourselves up as "professionals", sooner of later the consequences will be grave... Additionally, writers can become alienated if they aren't paid for a story, and later find out that their b e s t friend was paid. All in all, I don't think fandom needs that type of attitude. If writers want to write for "cash awards" on a steady basis... then perhaps they should seek more traditionally professional realms for their work. Let's keep fandom as fandom. [20]

Another fan:

The only thing I had some reservations about was the hefty cash prizes for the art and writing contest. Seems to me that a cash prize is a euphemism for paying an author or artist for a submission, and we need to protect our amateur standing or we could be in copyright trouble. Then again, it may just be a matter of opinion. [21]

Another fan:

I have been absent from the pages of INTERSTAT for a while, but I feel I must respond to the letter from
 Helena Seabright in 1#100. Ms. Seabright claims outrage at her treatment by some fan writers and artists regarding her zine 'Alien Brothers.' I do not know the artist of which she speaks personally, only by virtue of her work in various zines. I will not comment on Ms. Seabright's rejection of her work as art is in the eye of the beholder, and an editor has the right to accept or reject any work submitted to her. However, I must voice my personal objections to her treatment of Vivian Gates in her letter. Evidently Ms. Seabright is unaware that the submission and acceptance of a story, poem, or piece of art for inclusion minute the zine is placed in the hands of the printer, title to the piece remains in the hands of the contributor, and its title reverts to the contributor after the zine is in print. Only if a piece of work is commissioned (paid for either in cash or trade), usually done for art, is the title to said piece transferred to the editor. Since Ms. Gates withdrew her story last October, long before the zine was to be printed, Ms. Seabright has no right to use it. The artists and writers who contribute to our zines, do so for love of ST since a contrib copy of a zine is very little recompense for all the effort put into the story, poem, or piece of art. Artists are luckier than the writers since they have the opportunity to later sell their work. But writers are doing us a big favor by contributing. As both a writer and editor, I can speak from both sides of the fence. Long hours are spent laboring over a piece of fiction or art, sometimes months, with only gratitude as return. Without the generosity of the writers and artists, we editors would end up writing the whole thing ourselves, a thought which brings shudders even to contemplate! Ms. Gates had the right to withdraw her story and Ms. Seabright has no bitch coming. [22]

From the Zine: Contributors' Guidelines & Editorial Policies

The editor explained the guidelines for the next issue, one which was never created. In the guidelines, she addressed a number of the controversies regarding the first issue.

thumb

ALIEN BROTHERS is a nonbusiness, nonprofit, amateur fanzine venture, edited and published solely by Helena Seabright. It is not affiliated with or influenced by any other person or persons, clique or group. Contributions were solicited from the best talent fandom has to offer, and were accepted or rejected ONLY on the basis of their quality, appropriateness to the theme, and the feasibility of working with the contributor to obtain a superior result — without strife and acrimony.

This paragraph from my second flyer bears repeating and enlarging upon.

If you are an author or artist, I would very much like to see your work. It doesn't matter to me if you have never been published; I am not just interested in well-known authors and artists. I am interested in high-quality material. ALIEN BROTHERS, Volume I, contains several artists and authors who have never been published, or only published once or twice, usually in obscure places. It also includes several professional writers and artists. Quality is what counts.

Reread this volume; it will tell you what I like better than I can put it into words. I am a perfectionist, and definitely will edit your work. However, I won't alter it so much that you cannot recognize it. I believe that each author's and artist's work is as personal as a fingerprint, and this personal quality should not be removed.

Would-be contributors should note that I am only interested in doing a high-quality offset book, which is time consuming. Also, all decisions concerning the acceptance or rejection of material are my responsibility alone, and they are final. I absolutely refuse to engage in fannish politics, and insist on remaining as fair and impartial as possible. If anyone tries to force me into such a situation, I will refuse to deal with that person in any way. This has already happened once, so be forewarned!

All contributors using pseudonyms MUST inform me in writing of exactly what name they want used, and under what circumstances, if ever, they want their real names revealed.

All contributors will be asked to sign an agreement releasing first publication rights to me. This is standard procedure in professional publications, and has become necessary in ALIEN BROTHERS because of certain unethical behavior of one contributor. Notice the copyright on the title page. Violators of the copyright law endanger not only their own reputations, but also the existence of amateur publishing. It is a serious matter.

Please note that after the deadline for contributions is past, I will not under any circumstances except the demise of ALIEN BROTHERS either accept more material, or release material already accepted and return it to the contributor. The reason is simple: it is very unfair not only to me as editor, but also to my typist, artists, graphic designer, and to would-be purchasers. If I churned AB out on my basement photocopier, then perhaps it would not matter so much. But, I don't!

All contributors will receive a free contributor's copy of AB. Artwork will be carefully packed and returned when the printer is finished with it. AB is not a reprint zine. Normally, I won't run reprints, and unless pre-arranged, such work won't earn a free copy of AB. That also certainly applies to material that was published previously, in violation of the copyright law.

A word of encouragement: remember that, as a contributor, you are expected to make mistakes. Don't let it worry you! It's your job to make 'em, and mine to find and correct 'em.

And a final word: Remember to always send a SASE (Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope) with all inquiries, always I (And ye shall be blessed....! And remember to allow plenty of time for a reply from the overworked editor.

External Comment

References

  1. from Not Tonight, Spock! #15
  2. from The LOC Connection #29
  3. from FYI Adzine #12
  4. From a 1985 personal statement in Not Tonight Spock! #11, Gates writes: "NOTICE: I have withdrawn my story, "The Air is the Air" from Alien Brothers as of October 1, 1985, and submitted it elsewhere."
  5. from Datazine #49
  6. from Datazine #49
  7. "Before time" is probably a reference to the original series episode "Miri".
  8. from Datazine #49
  9. from On the Double #10
  10. from Treklink #12
  11. by Vel Jaeger in Treklink #13
  12. As I Do Thee #5
  13. As reported during outreach for the Foresmutters Project in 2002. Most fannish communication in the 1980s took place via mailed letters, so the prominent ads placed in the letterzine Not Tonight Spock that announced the publication of the story might not have reached the author or even if they did, communication between author and publisher might have become garbled over time and distance.
  14. from Interstat #100
  15. from Datazine #44 (October/November 1986) and Not Tonight, Spock! #15 (Winter 1987), and Datazine #44 (October/November 1986)
  16. from Not Tonight, Spock! #15
  17. from Interstat #102
  18. from Interstat #102
  19. from Interstat #102
  20. from On the Double #6
  21. from On the Double #10
  22. from Ann C in Interstat #102
  23. reference link.