My 30 Years in Trek Fandom
|Title:||My 30 Years in Trek Fandom|
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In the 100th issue of the K/S Press zine The Celebration Zine, Kathy Resch wrote "My 30 Years In Fandom" in which she discusses, among other things, the struggles (and joys) or publishing her first slash fanzine in the 1980s. Excerpts from the article are reposted here with permission.
"In 1980, there were no ongoing K/S zines in the United States...There was only one thing to do about the dearth of K/S—I needed to do a zine of my own. Clearly, if I was going to be able to read K/S on a regular basis, the best possible thing to do would be to provide a home for it. I announced that I was looking for submissions for a new K/S zine, "T'hy'la". I wrote to everyone I could think of asking for stories, art and poetry, and published my first issue in 1981. (Many thanks to Gail Paradis for her help with "T'hy'la" # 1.) I was already publishing gen zines, so I had the "nuts and bolts" of fan publishing already down. I'd already gone through the mimeograph and hand-collating phases with these early zines; thankfully I didn't have to repeat those time-consuming experiences with T'hy'la. I typed the masters on an IBM Selectric II typewriter for issues 1- 6, and put the art in place with rubber cement. I switched to a PC with issue # 7 in 1988. What a difference the computer made!
Once I finished "T'hy'la" # 1, I needed to get the zine in print and that would require finding a new printer. If I took "T'hy'la" to the printer I'd been using for my genzine, he'd have a heart attack. Fortunately, I had moved in 1977 from rural Arizona to San Jose, California. The greater San Francisco Bay Area was doubtless the best possible place for a slash editor to look for a printer who wouldn't have problems with the subject matter.
Two local Trek fen were publishing a zine called "The Other Side of Paradise", and one of their issues was X-rated. I asked their advice, called their printer for a quote, and then took the finished zine in to be printed. The print shop was a wonderfully funky little hole-in-the-wall place in Oakland. They had a "mascot" named Phred, a brindle-colored Great Dane who had the run of the place. Their primary business was to publish limited run books and study materials for the University of California at Berkeley. They were set up strictly for book publication—no business cards or wedding invitations. They had the specialized machinery necessary to do that sort of work.
It was, I admit, a bit difficult to go in there for the first time. I was a bit...embarrassed. After all, I was asking them to print explicit art of naked men doing sexual things with each other. Explicit art of culturally-recognizable naked men doing sexual things with each other. Never mind the fact that they had already printed that adult issue of "The Other Side of Paradise"—and that zine had featured a gorgeous Gayle F. cover with a menage of Kirk, Spock and Uhura. The printer was obviously used to the idea of culturally-recognizable naked people doing sexual things with each other. And, I had made it absolutely clear in my initial phone conversation what I would be publishing. Still... I was a bit embarrassed to actually show up with a project including this sort of explicit art.
The people who owned the print shop were as cool as they could be. I had my zines printed there for the next 14 years, even after I moved to Los Angeles.... I used their services up until the point they sold the shop and got out of the printing business. The last zine I had printed there was "Promises To Keep" in 1995. (I still exchange Christmas cards with my former printer.) Back then, it took about two weeks for a printer to print a zine. An odd thing happened during the two weeks "T'hy'la" # 1 was being printed. I got several phone calls and letters from people asking me if I knew what was being said about that Horrible Nasty Zine that was being published. (People think the internet is fast, but the telephoning abilities of fans in early fandom cannot be underestimated.)
Person A, a Big Name Fan who ran a fan club for Unnamed Trek Actor, was pitching a fit about this Horrible Nasty Zine and was asking fan club members to basically swear a "loyalty oath" that under no circumstances would they ever have anything to do with said Horrible Nasty Zine or K/S at all. (Almost all my tribbers were members of said fan club.)
I finally filled in the details of this mystery when I went to pick up the finished copies of T'hy'la # 1. Person A was doing a club zine, and had gone to various Bay Area printers for quotes. When she got to my printer, he told her—with a great amount of glee—"We're doing one of those right now!" He brought out the back cover for her perusal. Not the front cover, with its nice tame drawing of K&S [Kirk and Spock] side by side. No, the back cover, with K&S in a liplock.
Person A nearly had an attack, and then began spluttering all sorts of threats and imprecations. I take it the end of Western civilization was involved. My printer, being the ex-flower-child and complete iconoclast that he was, got a huge amount of entertainment out of this. (He didn't get her business. But he got all of mine in the future.).... All that happened was, my tribbers who were members of her club, went ahead and swore her loyalty oath, then made sure I was using their correct pseudonyms. I never heard directly from her, and since I wasn't a member of the fan club in question, she couldn't expel me.My printer really enjoyed printing my zines. By the time I'd done my 3rd or 4th issue, he told me the women in the bindery always looked forward to my zines. They'd post prints of the artwork on the bindery walls to keep them entertained while they worked."