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Issue 11 (March 1986)

cover of issue #11
fan-created diagram of SW fan types
  • online here
  • contains 68 pages
  • a fan contributes a diagram of the types of SW fans, along with some analysis
  • poems and reprinted articles from newspapers about the Challenger space shuttle accident
  • Clones and the Collapse of the Pre-Imperial State by Liz S., essay
  • The Private Life of a Jedi, part three, by Jeannie Hennig, essay
  • A lengthy interview with Tom Voegeli by Pat Gonzales (Tom Voegeli is Vice President of Minnesota Public Radio Productions, which did the STAR WARS and EMPIRE STRIKES BACK radio productions.)
  • a review of From a Certain Point of View #1, see that page
  • art by Ronda Henderson, Cheree Cargill, Carol Finch, Sandi Finch, Danaline Bryant, Judith Low
  • newspaper clippings
  • a fan writes of the value of Star Wars as its own thing, and of the future:
    I've been wondering about this penchant of comparing the SW trilogy to (and forgive me if I seem to exaggerate) every piece of English literature in existence. It seems to me that all these comparisons are intended to convince the researcher more than the reader that SW is a good thing, a cause, almost. If SW can't stand on its own as a body of work, then it doesn't deserve to. The "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck" syndrome doesn't apply here. If a work—not necessarily SW -- 1s not internally coherent, eminently satisfying, and Inherently integral, it don't mean diddly how much one tries to compare It to another body of work. I don't mean to say that the SW trilogy Isn't coherent or satisfying or integral; I leave that to others to argue. But I get tired of arguments that go nowhere in terms of analyzing the whys and wherefores of the trilogy itself. I once raised the question in JUNDLAND WASTES (one of the later issues) just before RETURN OF THE JEDI premiered, as to the future of SW fandom if JEDI (a) answered all our questions, or (b) proved dissatisfying. Perhaps an Interesting topic now for SE readers would be a discussion of the status of our fandom and where we want to take 1t and ourselves. Let's broaden the discussion, guys. We've argued the movies to death without changing most people's minds, but where do we go from here?
  • a fan wants some info:
    Quick, someone clue me in to the Slow Boat to Bespin incident. I just recently bought a second-hand copy of Guardian with those two stories (which I loved). What was the stink?
  • a fan has these comments about George Lucas and the well-behaved fan in regards to the article Question Authority:
    A tip of the Malkin hat to Jenni, Samia and Mary for having the courage to publish their Question Authority guest editorial. That's exactly what GL says to do, but when we do, he doesn't like it. How else can this be interpreted but as a slap in the faces of his greatest fans? I mean it when I say his greatest fans, too. I personally have nothing but admiration for the man who overcame all kinds of problems to become a famous movie director and producer and creator of SW. But, my admiration ends at the point where he throws that admiration back in our faces and treats us like brainless deviants—unimportant brainless deviants at that! After all. what have we fen ever done but give him tons of free publicity? As I've said before, the man could do with a good lo-o-ong discussion with Gene Roddenberry.
  • another fan comments on Question Authority:
    ...That's how I felt all along. it goes before and beyond the "Flap" of a few years back. The Official Fan Club exists to control the audience. Fandom, as we know it, is a portion of the audience that does not want to be controlled, can't be controlled, in fact, and that worries Lucas.
  • a fan jokes about her rise and fall:
    Most new fen are intimidated by Name Fans when they first join a fandom. I know that I was. When I found myself included in that category simply because I editted [1] a SW zine, I had to stop and think why I still felt like the same person I was before the zine. And then, shock of shocks, to rediscover myself among the simple "fans" when I stopped publishing my zine-I don't know if my heart can take all this! To reach the fannish heights, only to be thrust back down again. Hells, if you can't even be a big fish in a small pond, what's left in life? Sigh.
  • a male fan comments on being a guy in Star Wars fandom:
    [Lin S. W] said something on males in fandom that rings true (at least on a personal level).. We guys do get a lot of ridicule and little to no support for fannish interest. I was at GL's target age for SW in '77 (IS), as were most of my friends. We are entering our mid-twenties now, and a gap exists inside the "old gang." Some of those guys I knew who were just as die-hard SW fans as I have totally forgotten the Saga or at best catch it only on cable or when I drag them to it. Some of the reasons are due to age; SW is looked on as something "kiddish" and they have "matured" since then. This has really created a rift with ore old friend and a small nucleus of die-hards like myself. It is a shame, and I think it is typical of most guys. SW (or Trek or comics or whatever) was fine while they were in their teens, but there are many forms of peer pressure to act "manly'1 and not cling to the forms of entertainment you enjoyed when you were young. Peer pressure can also, I feel, be blamed for discouraging other related interests like writing, drawing, and collecting of memorabilia. The cliches about guys being put off by anything academic (like writing) are more real than not. Just ask any guy how long it has been since he's read a book. My father has read only one since high school - thirty years ago! (And that was on handicapping horse races.) Thank the Maker there are exceptions.
  • a fan has some things to get off his back:
    I find Cheree's explanation on why she censored my LoC in SE#9 both peculiar and unconvincing. For one thing, what she eventually did print was a little more...intense, by my remembrance. When I first typed it, It did look a bit strong, so I changed things around on the paper. Perhaps Cheree paid too much attention to what I marked out and not what I submitted for publication. I received Cheree's letter two days before SE #10. That's not what I call discussing the matter. The tone of her letter seemed to be "I'm the editor and I can do what I please! If you don't like it, do your own letterzine!" If this were a regular fanzine, I would have no problem with this attitude. But this is a letterzine, and its function is communication. If you start filtering what goes in SE then its integrity has been breached. Perhaps SE should be mailed with a ribbon around it saying "sanitized for your protection." There are two reasons I brought this up in SE. First, Joan Shumsky did not talk to me, let alone print those portions of my LoC. Censoring me is bad enough, but ignoring me at the same time is insulting. I would very much rather to have dealt with this issue in SCOUNDREL, but Shumsky doesn't have the courage to deal with her actions face-on. The other reason was that I was fed up with all the sideways comments on the matter. Before Sandra told me exactly who she was talking about. I thought it was another letterzine. I can understand why Sandra didn't mention names, but I think it's best to deal with each other directly and up front, whenever possible. I am beginning to distrust the term "personal attack". It's starting to take on the air of jargon, of an all-purpose catch-phrase. It's used most often when someone doesn't like what is being said, or used clumsily where more exact words could be used. I've used the term before but now I'm swearing it off.
  • a fan has some historical perspective:
    I've been finding it very interesting to wade again in the pool of SW fandom through reading SE #9 and #10, after being "high and dry" for more than a year. I'd pretty much gafiated, partly because of all the Luke vs. Han nonsense after ROTJ came out that resulted in my acute allergy to SW letterzines, but mostly because of a radically altered life situation... However, I did keep up some contact with SW fandom through personal correspondence; and as I've now settled into my new life I've felt the urge to dip in once more, though I'll probably never again plunge in head first. Now I feel strangely like both a neo and a long-time SW fan simultaneously, giving me a rather schizophrenic perspective on the conversations in SE. The neo in me is asking what the devil are you all talking about? The long timer who's taken a vacation is marveling--and excited—at all the new names In SE...SO SW fandom is still growing! Looking at the letters as a group, a few of them remind me of a line from a recent episode of my favorite TV series: "Not only isn't Armstrong playing with a full deck, he can't even find the card!" [2] But most of the letters seem to reflect more balance and common sense than was apparent in the SW fandom immediately post-ROTJ, and than goodness, a wonderful sense of humor.
  • a fan writes about the conflicts between traditional SF fandom and media fandom:
    Yes, I scratch my head about the Media vs. SF fandom rivalry, too. Any type of rivalry puzzles me -it's such a non-growth emotion. However, this one is quite real and one you're like ly to run up against the longer you stay 1n either fandom--or both, for that matter. I was in the N3F's apa for a brief while, and in my first contribution mentioned that I'd written for ST and SW zines since 1976, although I planned to try my hand at writing material original with me from now on. One of the other apa members, a BNF well-known for his dislike of media fandom, congratulated me for "escaping" media fanzine writing, since 1t tends to "stunt a writer's growth". In my next apazine I wrote him a couple narrow-margined, single-spaced pages assuring him that, far from stunting my growth, media fanzines provide a place for new writers to learn their craft and get feedback, even if they're not ready to be professionals, and that I probably never would've known I could be a creative writer if not for media fandom (high school sure didn't do it for me). In the next mailing after that, he didn't answer even one word to all my verbiage, which led me to believe he didn't want to admit that media fandom might not be a vast wasteland after all—but couldn't come up with any valid counterarguments. He's that sort of person. And there are a lot more like him in SF fandom. I'm afraid there's little we can do about it.
  • more on SF and media fans:
I tend to "see" media fandom as more creative-more artistic--than SF fandom. Too, SF fandom seems to be more "organized" to my way of seeing. There are more "clubs" and the cons seem to be more oriented to the making of money than do cons such as MediaWest which is a fan's con. I am fond of both fandoms, but I do consider media fandom to be my first fandom and my primary home. Is not jealousy and insecurity the usual basis of most disputes and animosities? If a fandom is "different", it does not mean it is worse or less worthy, only that it 1s different. I enjoy different fandoms. They help to make a many faceted reflection with prism lights dancing in front of the mind's eye. It would be nice if each would honor the other. Communication between the two is one way to start this process. This way each can learn there are "good" people within each branch of the tree.
  • more on SF and media fans:
The hard-line SF fans do know about written media fan material but they reject it as unoriginal, uncreative, and so on--without reading it, of course. Mostly, I think, they reject it because our fan writing doesn't meet their definitions or their interests. Another problem with their perception of media fans is that there are at least two separate groups of people who might be called "media fans", but they see only one group. There's us, the "active" fans who write, draw, publish fanzines, and attend cons—all the usual things an SF fan might do, only with a slightly differing focus. Then there's a much larger group, generally younger and sometimes obnoxious, who show up at cons, often in costumes from a movie or TV show, but otherwise don't participate in random or care much about it. Because the basis of their Interest in SF is the visual media, they are also "media fans." Because there are more of them and they're more visible than we are, they tend to subsume the entire category of "media fans" In the eyes of some SF fans. It's also my personal belief that many of these kids, 25 years ago, would have been obnoxious young print SF fans-read some of Harlan Ellison's exploits as a teenage fan!--and that part of the dislike directed at them, and us by confusion, comes from fear. That is, the new young fans aren't coming into mainstream SF fandom but Into some sort of media fandom, and SF fans of the older sort are afraid their fandom may lose importance or die out entirely.
  • regarding fannish involvement:
Another reason for the downtrend in zines is probably because the pace of life has become generally more hectic. As I mentioned before, one reason I've gone partially inactive is because my career has taken a major upswing and as a result has consumed much more of my time- the pursuit of tenure, and all that. I don't write anywhere near the number of letters I used to, LoCs or personal. Just call me Burgeoning Mundane. And I'm not the only one--I know of any number of the "Old Guard" who have had no choice but to go from FIAWOL to FIJACH. And a fairly unimportant hobby, at that. But some of us still hang on to the old magic, as much as possible, anyway. Ideas for stories are certainly not the problem-one only has to read SE to see there are more than ever!
  • a fan asks a question:
I ask it sincerely because I really don't know the answer. What do fans want from Lucasfilm? "Fans" I define here narrowly as "people engaged in active, fanzine-oriented SW random." "Respect" is not specific enough. What is an acceptable demonstration of respect, if it isn't being demonstrated now? What do fans want to see in the newsletter? There are lots of complaints about what everyone doesn't like, but seldom any positive suggestions. My own biases, and probably my position as well, are well known. First, I don't think Lucasfilm disrespects fans, though it doesn't always understand media fandom. Second, there are at most 1,000 SW fans in the sense defined above (and that's stretching it), and a combined attendance of less than 25,000 at all the SF cons Lucasfilm sends representatives to during the year, while the SW fan club has 250,000 or so members. It is naive at best and arrogant at worst to expect Lucasfilm to cater to us. STAR WARS does not exist for the benefit of SW fandom; fandom is secondary to SW. To suggest that George Lucas must make more SW movies, whether or not he wants to, just so that SW fandom will continue, is, to be blunt, to attempt to hold him creatively hostage to the desires of a thousand or so people.
Thanks for mentioning the two items In October's WRITER'S DIGEST. Did you also see the letter to the editor In the December issue that A. C. Crispin wrote in response to the article? Seems Crispin took rather a strong exception to being used as an example of fanzine writers turned pro. She took great pains to point out that she only had two stories printed in fanzines, neither of which had been originally written for that purpose. What really bothered me, though, was her cautioning prospective pro writers against writing for zines. Her reason was, to quote: "...writers lose the habit of creating their own characters and settings. I've seen promising writers get "trapped" in genre fanzine writing and forget their original ambitions." Personally, I wonder just how much fan fiction she's read to make such a sweeping generalization. I can't think of any really good fan writers who don't create their own new characters and settings for stories. Even when just using the "given" characters, all writers have slightly different perceptions of the characters, making their characterization different from another author's. Quite frankly, it sounds to me like another variation of the SF/Media flap, looking down on media fans because they don't sell their work. Another thing that strikes me on re-reading her letter is that she differentiates between "prestigious, non-paying semi-pro zines, such as that edited by Jessica Amanda Salmondson, and media fanzines." [The editor interjects: Would it be sour grapes to point out that her first two books were a STAR TREK novel and the novelization of "V? Hrumph...]

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