Myrna Culbreath

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Fan
Name: Myrna Culbreath
Alias(es):
Type: writer
Fandoms: Star Trek
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Myrna Culbreath (born 1 June 1938) was an early Star Trek fan. Before becoming involved with Sondra Marshak she was the owner and founder of The Culbreath School, a private academy in Colorado. She communicated frequently with Marshak, who then lived in Baton Rouge, concerning Star Trek. As Marshak did not feel comfortable with written correspondence and long-distance telephone charges were astronomical in those days, she persuaded Culbreath to sell her school and move in with her.

She also co-wrote and edited some commercial Star Trek books such as the early collection Star Trek: The New Voyages. With her writing partner, Marshak, she wrote four professionally published Star Trek novels, The Price of the Phoenix and The Fate of the Phoenix (for Bantam Books) and The Prometheus Design and Triangle (for Pocket Books). The pair also had a couple of stories in the New Voyages collections of short stories that many fans felt were the closest fandom ever came to professionally published slash.

In the anthology Star Trek: The New Voyages 2, Culbreath and Marshak announced plans to write a novel with Nichelle Nichols, to be called Uhura!. This book was also referred to as The Uhura Connection. They claim that getting started on this book "set her and us off on a NASA trek which helped to shape not only Uhura! but this New Voyages, with its NASA connection." (One of the stories in New Voyages 2 was written by NASA engineer Jesco von Puttkamer.) According to Ian McLean, of the website Have Phaser, Will Travel, "the book would have been a mix of fact and fiction about Nichols and Uhura, with Uhura exploring the life of her ancestor, Nichols, who had worked with NASA, among other things." (In the 1970s, Nichols worked with NASA to recruit astronauts from minority groups.) Marshak and Culbreath also planned a book called Mr. Spock's Guide to the Planet Vulcan (circa 1979), according to the "About the Authors" note in The Fate of the Phoenix. [1]

Culbreath was also the author of the libertarian/Star Trek zine, The Fire Bringer.

Today, Culbreath has returned to education. She is the developer of PhonicsOpoly and other games designed to teach children to read through phonics.[2]

Frequent Con Guest of Honor

Sondra Marshak, Myrna Culbreath, and Mrs. Anna Tornheim Hassan (Marshak's mother) were frequent con guests of honor.

Some examples:

A 1977 Bio and Description

From the TreKon 1977 program book:

Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath have that rare fortune most STAR TREK fans only dream about; not only are they the authors and editors of several well-known books in the field, they are also personal friends o( many of those who helped make that dream real to twenty million ardent fans across the U.S.A. Sondra and Myrna have been working together for the past three years and their accomplishments stand on their own merits: STAR TREK LIVES!; STAR TREK: THE NEW VOYAGES volumes one and two; a new STAR TREK novel PRICE OF THE PHOENIX; UHURA!,c o-authored with Nichelle Nichols; the long-awaited SHATNER: WHERE NO MAN... "the biography and autobiography of a working actor's encounter with legend". The list goes on and on.

A typical 36 (or is it 37?) hour day for the team might include amending the official Washington, D.C. reception to honor Nichelle and her company's NASA contract, to assist in intergrathg the astronaunt corps; being asked to write the back cover notes for William Shatner's magnificient new double album set SHATNER LIVE; or writing a STAR TREK novel or two-and getting paid for it; or a luncheon interview with Wiliiam Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, "Kirk meets Spock" for SHATNER: WHERE NO MAN...

And in between all of that, squeezing in 10-15 pages of writing a day... every day. In Sondra's own words- "The working conditions are just... not to be believed." Myrna now lives a few blocks from the Marshaks' Baton Rouge home where Sondra and husband Alan live with their son of five, Jerry, and Sondra's mother, Mrs. Anna Tornheim Hassan -"Mama" to the world of STAR TREK. The latest member of the family is a German Shepherd puppy, "Omna" [sic] - named for the villian in their novel, PRICE OF THE PHOENIX [3] . Omna [sic] lives—and prospers—having turned into a horse while no one was looking-on a diet of straight pins, telephone wires, trees, and the seat of Sondra's favorite recliner.

The two have been heard to say, "Maybe we shouldn't have named him for the villain!"

See also

Interview with Myrna Culbreath April 17, 2004 podcast from Zohara Online.

References

  1. Star Trek: The Lost Books.
  2. Apparently the promotional material for her phonics methods is somewhat outrageous. See Susan O'Hanian, Will Myrna Culbreath, author of PhonicsOpoly, take the $1,000,000 Challenge?
  3. The villain's name in that book is "Omne."