Probe

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Zine
Title: Probe
Publisher: Mpingo Press
Editor(s): Winston A. Howlett, some with Fern Marder & Carol Walske
Date(s): 1974-1988
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Contents

Probe is a gen Star Trek: TOS anthology.

It was published by Mpingo Press, "Mpingo" is Swahili for "ebony." Winston A. Howlett, the editor, writes in an issue of "Probe" that he thought of calling his press a name that included "ebony prince" in Swahili, but that "the name would have been too long."

There were twelve issues. In the last issue, the editor wrote of plans for issue #13 to be published in August 1978: "The contents of PROBE 13 are still being debated and speculated upon at this time. Submissions, particularly good (and clean) Trekfiction, are needed."

The Swahili Series

There are three Probe Special Issues:

A Fan Comments

An unpretentious, comfortable zine, PROBE continues to improve with each issue. Fiction, articles, and poetry are highlighted, along with rather chatty editorials reminiscent of those appearing in general sf zines. PROBE's editor is not afraid to experiment. He has had a sword-and-sorcery edition, has introduced several new KRAITH tales, has run a 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.-ish series about the Welcommitee vs. agents of T.R.E.K.K.I.E., and has written a STAR TREK Fandom murder mystery. [1]

The Zine's Origins

From the editorial in the Revised Edition of issue #5:

I guess it began somewhere in the early summer of '74 when I got tired of waiting for the editors of a certain well-known fanzine to give me an answer as to whether or not they were going to use two poems that I'd sent them... Also, I'd started collecting and sampling ST fanzines from all over the country, via the Welcommittee Directory and a not-too-healthy savings account. In most cases, I liked what I saw. In others, I contemplated trying to get my money back. And, more often than not, I found myself saying, 'I could do better than that.' And finally a little light bulb went off in my head, the Red Sea parted, the earth shook... a host of heavenly angels (not Charlie's) began singing the Star Trek theme, and a voice boomed down from the sky, 'Wy not?!' And thus 'Probe' was born.... Finding a name for the stupid thing, that was the hardest part of all, because all of the names I liked were already taken: Babel, Masiform D, Gamma Trianguli, Triskellion... Then, re-reading James Blish's version of 'The Immunity Syndrome' one night, I noticed how many times probes were used in the fight against the giant amoeba. Something about that unseen piece of hardware intrigued me... I rolled the word around on my tongue for a while and said, 'Not bad...
Howlett writes that the material was pretty dodgy in the first three issues, particularly the artwork in the first two:
The first three issues had only fifty copies a piece printed, and editorial decision not regretted then because our readership was very, small and so was our storage space.
From the transcript of a writers' panel printed in Wulfstone (1989):
Now, I started off with one story: ‘Last Skimmer to Jericho.’ I wanted to do a TREK story for my own zine, because my first issue of PROBE had no Trekfiction in it. It had TREK articles, it had crossword puzzles, it had all kinds of nice things, but no Trekfiction. So I decided for my second issue to cook up a quick Uhura story. It started out as an adventure piece, it turned into a drama piece, and by the time I was through with it, I was very proud of it. I’d wanted to do a throw-away, but the characters turned on me and said, ‘You’re going to write a good story, or else!’ So, I did. “And then I decided to write a sequel to this story when somebody asked me to, so I wrote ‘A Plague of Dreams.’ But in going through the course of that, I got rid of Uhura saying (high voice) ‘Captain, I’m frightened!’ (Laughter) which I could not stand. I killed that off and made her psychologically independent of Captain Kirk, so she’d never run to him any more whenever she needed help. And when I ended that story, I said, ‘All right, where do I go from here?’ The whole thing was published as GODDESS UHURA, PROBE Special Number One. That’s all it was. [2]

A Song Written About Probe

In The Goddess Uhura, the editor writes that Fern Marder created the lyrics for a tune he'd written:

"There is a fanzine that calls itself PROBE, "
"With a bright color cover that shines like a strobe,"
"And the ebony prince wears the editor's robe,"
"Types constantly, constantly now."
"He dreams of a zine with all of the tales,"
"That people will read and will increase his sales,"
"As the ebony prince wades through all of his mail,"
"Types constantly , constantly now."
"So type until your fingers are blue,"
"The Xerox machine will be waiting for you."
"Dawn bares a world in a scrap paper sea,"
"Rejected copy and other debris,"
"That the ebony prince tears up minisculey,"
"Types constantly, constantly now."

Issue 1

Probe 1 (v.1 n.1) was published in February 1974. Fifty issues were printed.

front cover of issue #1, "Probe Zero Fifteen," Winston A. Howlett
back cover of issue #1, "The Star Hunters," Winston A. Howlett

The editor notes in an editorial of a later issue that this zine was to have originally to have had a 15-page story by Paul Kirby, but that it was lost in the mail. The zine was reconfigured at the last moment and out in time for a New York Federation Club meeting: "The people liked the stories, but the artwork? YUCCH! And we heartily agreed. At the time, we hadn't known any good artists, so the two of us [possibly Joseph Reed Hayes] signed, sharpened our pencils, and did all of the illustrations (if you can call them that) ourselves."

[The editor explains the name of the zine in the editorial]: All the good names were taken; BabelMasiform-DGamma TrianguliTriskelion ... What to do? Then one night while I was re-re-re-reading "The Immunity Syndrome" (One of the few stories that Blish adapted decently), my thoughts fastened on that enigmatic piece of hardware that had helped the Enterprise several times during the fight with the giant amoeba: the probe. One type told the crew how large their foe was. Another carried the anti-matter 'bomb' that destroyed it. A probe... Why not? Something that will 'dive in' and relay information about the universe, The Star Trek universe. Hence, a title and a theme idea were born.

Contents:

  • Starline: Probe Launched: a few kind words from our editor-in-chief and head whip-cracker (3)
  • Apologia: excuses! excuses! (7) ("As you read through this first issue of Probe, a few production errors will be achingly and embarressingly outstanding. A prime example is the "Starline" head, which loses its left side to the seam. There is also some problem with the reproduction quality of some the pages, and almost all of the pictures. The first problem can be traced to crdjninal negligence. PK knew better (he's still moaning about it), but there wasn't enough time to re-do the page (and, subsequently, the other side) before the deadline. The second problem can be attributed to our reproduction process, which is a Xerox job. Dark areas come out somewhat less than dark, and some of the lettering gets washed into oblivion. In short, we were too poor to afford photo offset. How we plan to 'repro' our next issue is still under discussion. But you have our word that the final product will be of much better quality.")
  • Death in the City, a story of a surrealistic assassination by Paul Kirby (8)
  • Nebula, science fiction review (Alan Dean Foster's "Star Trek: Log One") by Winston A. Howlett (11)
  • "Shuttletruck" and "Tribble Power!" (#1) by Winston A. Howlett(14)
  • Star Trek is a Racist Program, a bold, controversial expose that no other 'zine would dare to print! by Winston A. Howlett (15) (satire, also reprinted in issue #5) (This is also in the audio zine Fanzine)
  • Scenes We'd Like To See by Winston A. Howlett (15)
  • Potpourri, Diane Saunders points out things in Star Trek episodes we generally miss… even with repeated viewings (21)
  • Three Vignettes: Space War, Absent-Minded, and Quadrant Three, all by Winston A. Howlett (also in Tetrumbriant #4) (29)
  • cartoon by Winston A. Howlett, Star Trek Trivia: Subject "Planets" (39)
  • Tribble Power! (#2) by Winston A. Howlett (40)
  • First Prize, you think television is violent now? -- wait until tomorrow by Winston A. Howlett (41) (fiction: "Note: This is, by far, the most 'racially abrasive ' thing that the editor has written to date. 'It's a melodrama, but, in some ways, a drama,' he says. 'It is meaningless, yet it has several important things to say.' Judge for yourself.")

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Thanks for PROBE #1. I enjoyed it very much, especially "Potpourri"... Diane Saunders looks at STAR TREK much the same way as I do. No matter how many times I have seen an episode, there are always tjungs that I have not seen before. I wonder if anyone just "listens" to STAR TREK? Most of us know the action by heart, and do not have to watch, but listen, and you will hear a lot more than listening and watching! [3]
I nearly got thrown off a bus yesterday, and I believe you had some thing to do with it. I was reading "STAR TREK Is Racist Program!" in PROBE 1 when suddenly I began chortling and soon found myself, much to the distress of my fellow passengers, laughing hysterically. That story of yours is fantastic! [4]
You mentioned that PROBE would be on the look-out for quality, not quantity. Also stated is that no "X-rated" or "questionable" material would be accepted. So how come the story "STAR TREK Is a Racist Programl"? This theme has absolutely no relevance in the STAR TREK universe. You might also consider not accepting "objectionable" material. As an ex-civil rights freedom fighter (l'm 27 years old), this was very offensive, and as editor, you should have known better. STAR TREK represents a dream of the future, a dream of many things, including equality on social, economic and racial (and alien) levels. [5]
[Winston A. Howlett responds to the above letter]: After hysterically laughing and charing this letter with a couule of staff members, the following answer was sent to Mrs. M.: (Forgive my informality, but I have a feeling that you and I are about to become very good friends! About "STAR TREK Is a Racist Program!" I think there are several things that you do not know. 1)The article-story was not submitted to me…it was written by me. (My name is at the bottom of the fourth page.) 2) 1 am black, (Small 'b'... my politics — race-wise — are far from the norm.) 3) It is a satire, meant to be read, laughed at, and forgotten about (unless you want to nominate me for a Hugo for Best Fan Writer). I know what STAR TREK is all about... I am now a member of the Welcommittee. But I wrote it because I wanted to take a poke at racism — Black racism. As an ex-civil rights freedom fighter, I have no doubt that you have run into a lot of White bigotry. Well, I have run into a lot of Black bigotry that is just as disheartening and just as stupid. If we are ever going to see the Brotherhood of the STAR TREK universe come about, then there are going to have to be some large changes in the attitudes of a lot of races, not just the Whites.) Yours Truly, Winston. (The two of us met two weeks later, in the closing hours of the STAR TREK Con in New York City this past February. She, some friends of hers and I went out to dinner and rapped about everything under — and beyond — the sun. And we have indeed become good friends... I love Fandom!) [6]

Issue 2

Probe 2 (v.1 n.2) was published in August 1974 and contains 100 pages. Fifty issues were printed. It has a front cover by Winston A. Howlett, a back cover by Anji Valenza, and interior illos by Paul Kirby and J. Silverstein.

front cover of issue #2, Winston A. Howlett
back cover issue #2, Anji Valenza

The editor notes that "The David Gerrold interview, scheduled to be in this issue, has been left out, due to space considerations."

The editor also writes:
All rights reserved. No reprints or copies made without written permission from the editor. (lt has come to our attention that some members of the STAR TREK community make it a hobby of 'ripping off articles and stories from fanzines for their own enjoyment and/or profit. WARNING:The material in this fanzine is under legal copyright, not just technical. Anyone who 'lifts' material from this publication — fellow Trekker or no fellow Trekker, minor or adult — will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law! WE MEAN IT!
From the editorial, Paul Kirby:
Our second issue. Remarkable. Well, perhaps that is the wrong attitude. Some publications, despite the highest hopes and strongest intentions, do not get out of the starting gate. Others make it to their second issues, but no further. Still others 'fly high' for a while, then come to a 'crashing end' very abruptly. This fact of life holds true in the STAR TREK universe as well as in any other. One-shot fanzines are not uncommon, and some of the most famous ST 'zines seem to be publishing on the most haphazard of schedules, the 'gaps' between issues becoming incredibly longer and longer.(This might be a sign of death coming in slow stages…) Our dear Editor-in-Chief, however, has committed us to a more disciplined system. PROBE will be published quarterly, since he believes that three months is a sufficient period of time for putting together a high-quality fanzine, ranging in length anywhere from fifty to one hundred pages.
  • Starline, a few words from our cynical story editor, by Paul Kirby (3)
  • Behind the Curtains, a commentary on the people of the STAR TREK movement by Winston A. Howlett (5)
  • Short Bursts, Tribble Power! #3, wisecracks and weirdness…. by Winston A. Howlett (7)
  • Wordfinder, first season (8)
  • Cycle, in the beginning by R. Vogel (9)
  • Nebula, science fiction review (Alan Dean Foster's Star Trek Log Two, "The Night Stalker," "Planet of the Apes," and "The Circus of Dr. Lao") by Winston A. Howlett (22)
  • Last Skimmer to Jericho by Winston A. Howlett, a STAR TREK novelette, featuring Lt. Uhrua (30)
  • How I Spent My Summer Vacation, an unusual look at Discon 2 by Linda Deneroff (61)
  • Nitpicking, the little things that went wrong on STAR TREK… by Winston A. Howlett (67)
  • Star Trek Trivia, subject: The Women" (70)
  • Scenes We'd Like To See by Winston A. Howlett (75)
  • Wordfinder, third season (76)


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for Last Skimmer to Jericho.
[zine]: Finally received PROBE 2. Quit a good ish (fictionalize -- art needs a facelift, however.) [7]

Issue 3

Probe 3 (v.1 n.3) was published in November 1975 and contains 80 pages. It was an all Star Trek Convention issue, and all the content was by Howlett as no one else sent him anything. He was a one-man collating party the issue a the International Star Trek Con' 75 at 1:00 in the morning in his hotel room. Fifty issues were printed.

The front and back covers are by Anji Valenza, and the interior illos are by Winston A. Howlett, J. Silverstein, and Paul Kirby.

  • Scenes We'd Like To See by W. Howlett (article)
  • Star Trek Con, a poem byWinston A. Howlett
  • Nebula by W. Howlett
  • FIAWOL , fiction by W. Howlett, inspired by a line in David Gerrold's The World of Star Trek
  • Helpers by Winston A. Howlett, fiction that was derived from Howlett's experiences and fantasies while a go-fer at the New York conventions
  • Starline by Winston A. Howlett (article)
  • other unknown content


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

I have just received PROBE 3. CRITICISM: Reader, not having read other periodicals of similar type has no means of comparison. However, Reader does keep in mind original premise of fanzine was to present fact and SF pertaining to STAR TREK, in which PROBE deals admirably. (However) Piece of personal criticism that I hope you will take in spirit it is given: pure spite. Reader feels that, frankly, Editor needs an editor. Winston as Editor allows Winston as Writer too much leeway and not enough argument as to content ("Thwee Thwee Thwee" indeed;) Am sure this is enough to make you yell "What?!!" indignantly. If there are any questions, please feel free to write or phone or move in next door and ruin the neighborhood. [editor interjects: You should have seen the fun I had cutting up the story he submitted to PROBE 4 ("Point of Reference"). -- WAH] [8]

Issue 4

Probe 4 (v.2 n.1) was published in May 1975. One hundred issues were printed, double the number of previous issues, due to the Kraith story in it.

front cover of issue #4, Winston A. Howlett -- "Silhouette Museum"
back cover of issue #4, Gee Moaven -- "Kirk"

The front cover is by Winston A. Howlett ("Silhouette Museum"), back cover is by Gee Moaven ("Kirk"), the interior art is by Winston A. Howlett, Anji Valenza, Joel Silverstein, and Paul Kirby.

"This issue is dedicated to Germaine Best, for being delightfully right and beautifully wrong, both at the same time."

From the editorial:
This, of course, is our fourth issue. We are back to our regular format after the brief departure as a perzine in PROBE 3. And during the return we have managed to pick up some new and enormously talented staff members.

[much snipped]

And last --- but certainly not lease --- a serious article that is designed to clarify the views about STAR TREK Fandom that were expressed in "Behind the Curtains" in PROBE 3. It is also a rebuttal of Germaine Best's rebuttals of the original article, and (hopefully) the last words [9] on the subject that will be stated in print…
  • Starline (3)
  • Fandom Is… (A clarified commentary on STAR TREK fandom) by Winston A. Howlett ("TO ALL CONCERNED: The "you's" in the previous section are not leveled at any particular person, but t:o all persons to whom they apply. I did not give Germaine 'carte blanche' to publish tte 'Hacking Block' review as a set-up, so that I could write this one as a knock-down. It was just that I real ized when she read her comments to me that if she could so thoroughly misunderstand what I said and what I meant, so could a lot of other people. I have stated my opinion, and the facts that I use to support it. This article is just about all I wish to say on the subject. There will be some who agree with what I have said, and others who will disagree. If you are of the latter"category, then I hoDe that you and I can agree to disagree and move on to other things. That is a sign of STAR TREK maturity.") (5)
  • A House Divided by Linda Deneroff and Frances Zawacky ("a new Kraith story") (12)
  • Night Orbit, poem by Fern Marder (43)
  • Wordfinder by Laberynth ("So you think you know Fandom…") (44)
  • When Star Trek Returns by Shuttlecraft ("Somebody let the nuts out of their padded cells…") (45)
  • Tribble Power #4 (48)
  • Point of Reference by Joseph Reed Hayes ("Reality is, uh, that is, uh….) (49)
  • Nebula by Winston A. Howlett (review of "Young Frankenstien") (53)
  • Images and Dreams by Diane Saunders ("He had taken her picture. All he would have was a memory.") (55)
  • What's a Glitznik? by Wayne Tytell ("You're going to be sorry you asked…") (65)
  • O'Tool and the Crystals by Wayne Tytell and Fern Marder ("Red Alert! Activate shields! Fire phasers! Break out a new deck of cards!") (67)
  • Feedback, Letters of Comment from readers (83)


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

...PROBE 4 is an entirely welcome surprise for me — it's different… [10]
...PROBE 4- was good. D. Saunders is always a pleasure… [11]
I just got PROBE 4, today, and, of course, sat down to read it immediately. I enjoyed it very much, particularly the KRAITH story, since I am an ardent KRAITH fan. I like the idea of Spock having human relatives — there could certainly be some more stories about Sharon's visit to Vulcan. (One neat thing about KRAITH stories is that virtually every one — even the spin-offs — have half-a—dozen possible spin-offs from them!) "Images and Dreams" is nice. Odd, but nice. "O'Tool and the Crystals": har har hee hee *snort*chuckle*snicker* [12]

Issue 4, Revised Edition

Probe 4, the Revised Edition was published in June 1976. Art by Anji Valenza, Gee Moaven, Joel Silverstein, Signe Landon, Amy Falkowitz, Wayne Tytell, Mary Beth Santarelli, Paul Kirby, Rodney Plummer, Dan Haskett, Mary Ann Emerson, and Winston A. Howlett.

front cover of issue #4, revised edition, Gee Moaven is the artist
back cover of issue #4, revised edition, Gee Moaven is the artist

"This issue is dedicated to David Kesztenbauni, who saved the project by lending us his typewriter after ours broke down."

From the editorial:
Can you believe this? A revised issue of PROBE Fanzine!

Not so incredible, actually, when you consider that this was the issue that launched us into the Fandom limelight, back in May of 1975. The main reason is because of the first publishing of a new KRAITH, which has yet to appear in KRATTH Collected. For those of our readers who are unfamiliar with KRAITH: it is an alternate STAR TREK universe, exploring Vulcan culture and history through a brilliant series of stories and quasi-fact articles. Most of the stories are told from the viewpoint of Captain Kirk, who has been adopted into Mr. Spock's family and is dramatically learning about the true depth of this fascinating alien culture. "A House Divided," by LINDA DENEROFF and FRANCES ZAWACKY, is a subtle, multi-faceted story about the confrontations that occur when Spock meets the human members of his family. This issue's retelling is the official KRAITH Collected version. Most of the illustrations were done by GEE MOAVEN, who updated her illustrations that accompanied the version in the original PROBE 4. There is only one word for a Glitznic: silliness. But FERN MARDER and WAYNE TYTELL deal in it deftly, without going overboard. Thus, the results are a good satire rather than a third season episode... Fellow science fiction writer JOSEPH REED HAYES examines the traditional structures of sf-writing, asking, "What is 'Reality"? And who does it belong to?" STAR TREK analyst DIANE SAUNDERS ('Potpourri' and 'Potpourri 2') spins an eerie tale of love and the supernatural in "Images and Dreams". Like the KRAITH story, this has also been revised, but it still contains its basic essence, mostly derived from the genuine Indian legend upon which it is based. Our most famous — and infamous -- commentary on STAR TREK Fandom is also back, with an updated post script. (It will be interesting to see what the reactions will be this time from a whole new set of readers...) New front and back covers, also by Gee, round out the package, with full photo-offset making everything look better the second time around.

Enjoy.
  • Starline (3)
  • Fandom Is… (Or, Who is Germaine Best and Why is She saying Those Terrible Things About Me?) by Winston A. Howlett ("In the first issue of THE MONKEY OF THE INKPOT, in a fanzine reviev column called 'The Hacking Block' (The most accurate column title I have ever heardl), Germaine Best — to put it mildly — rakes me over hot coals for my views on STAR TREK Fandom ('Behind the Curtains1: PROBE Fanzine; November, 1974). Now, let me preface what I am going to say with an explanation that Germaine and I are very close associates. I contributed several stories to the fourth issue of her 'zine TETRUMBRIANT, and hope to do some more contributing to future issues. When we meet at rap sessions and cons, we throw more barbed remarks and quips at each other than David Gerrold and Isaac Asimov could ever hope to think up, all in fun and usually ending in fits of laughter. After she wrote her 'Hacking Block' review, she telephoned me and read it to me. Then she said if I objected to what she had written, she would not let it be published. Though still smarting, I said,"If you remove one word, I will never speak to you again."(More about this later). But while I was licking my wounds, it came to me that the situa ion called for some clarification of just what I said in 'Behind the Curtains' and what it was that I meant. Hence, this article.") (5)
  • Tribble Power #4 (13)
  • A House Divided by Linda Deneroff and Francess Zawacky (14)
  • Point of Reference by Joseph Reed Hayes (46)
  • Art Credits (49)
  • Night Orbit, poem by Fern Marder (51)
  • Wordfinder by Laberynth (52)
  • Images and Dreams by Diane Saunders (53)
  • What's a Glitznic by Wayne Tytell (65)
  • O'Tool and the Crystals, a Glitznic by Wayne Tytell and Fern Marder (67)

Issue 5

"Uhura and Eventide" by Anji Valenza
"Star Hunters #2" by Anji Valenza

Probe 5 (v.2 n.2) was published in August 1975 and contains 80 pages, off-set. The covers are by Anji Valenza, and the interior illos are by James Beery, Michael Greene, Paul Kirby, Signe Landon, Gee Moaven, Mary Beth Santarelli, W. Tytell, and Joel Silverstein.

From the editorial:
Would you believe our first anniversary issue?! "All right, already, we believe! So what?"

Well, nothing much...except when you consider that there are very, very few ST/sci-fi fanzines that are published on a quarterly schedule, and even fewer who manage to stick to it.

And during this long and somewhat harried year, PROBE has greatly increased in quality, hugely increased in staff size, and marvelously increased in readership. The reason for the latter must be credited to the staff members, who have been turning out some of the best conventional fanzine material, and a lot of unconventional as well. The talents of about half of them are showcased in this issue.

Helping to continue the madness of an alternate-universe created in "Helpers" in PROBE 3, PAUL KIRBY introduces us to Joe Denim, special . agent extraodinary and 14 karat male chauvinist pig (a hero every liberated woman will love to hate!). "Gambit" is a parody of both spy movies and ST Fandom, sliding from action melodrama,through science fiction, around tongue-in-cheek humor and into outrageous satire with deceptively smooth style.

SARA PAUL (SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM) brings us PROBE's first major reprint: her fascinating short story from the STAR TREK universe, featuring Lt. Uhura. And, with Ms Paul's very kind permission, "Music Has Charms" also serves as a prelude to an upcoming ST novelette that will be appearing in PROBE very soon ("A Plague of Dreams").

ESP and espionage are nicely wedded in DIANE SAUNDERS' tale of subtle terror, told with a British accent. And, like her contribution to PROBE 4- ("Images and Dreams"), it is an unusual kind of love story…

There is a large amount of poetry in this issue, ranging from STAR TREK and fantasy to horror and philosophy. One third is contributed by Glitznic writer FERN MARDER, showing the serious and lyrical sides of her talents. Fern also joins LINDA DENEROFF in presenting us a STAR TREK Kriss Kross, which will soon have you kriss kross-eyed, and which also proves that anybody can misspell 'DeForest'.

The artwork department becomes more densely populated this issue with the arrival of some new and enormously talented people: JAMES BEERY illustrates the poem "Werewoman" with a pencil art masterpiece that, unfortunately, no reproduction process could recreate with total accuracy, but the intensity cf the work still comes through. And MARY BETH SANTARELLI delights the eye with her illo for "Nightingale Woman", STAR TREK's most famous poem title.

And among our old and enormously talented people: ANJI VALENZA' provides PROBE's first front cover that was not done by Ye Editor ("Oh, so that's why it looks so good!"--PK) 9 and a back cover that is a sequel to the back cover of PROBE 1. GEE MOAVEN is also represented here by her beautiful title illustration for "Music Has Charms".

We also have a plethora (look up the word) of reviews in "Nebula", covering everything from movies to books.

A strange-looking Spock-2 by SIGNE LANDON peers out at you from our subscriptions page, and a piece of sci-fi humor by MICHAEL GREENE announce these two other additions to PROBE's staff.
  • Starline, editorial (3)
  • Matter-Anti-Matter ("Some notes on the evolution" -- Howlett writes of this zine's beginnings, and rants on a bit about all sorts of things...) (5)
  • Star Trek is a Racist Program by Winston A. Howlett ("A bold, controversial expose that rips the cover off STAR TREK!") (reprinted from issue #1) (This is also in the audio zine Fanzine)
  • Star Trek Kriss Kross by Linda Linda Deneroff and Fern Marder (15)
  • Scenes We'd Like To See by Winston A. Howlett ("Oh, would we ever!") (16)
  • Potpourri by Diane Saunders ("An examination of STAR TREK's use of literary devices.") (reprinted from issues #1 and #7) (17)
  • Music has Charms by Sara Paul ("First Contact is a space explorer's dream… or occupational hazard.") (25) ("I haven’t even let in one outside writer [to my fan-created universe]. Sara Paul had a short story in SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM #8 that coincided with an aspect of what I was writing for GODDESS UHURA. And I asked her permission to put a rewritten version of ‘Music Has Charms’ in GODDESS UHURA. That is the only outside contribution that I have ‘accepted’ for the Swahili Series, except for some poetry by some friends of mine." [13])
  • Nightingale Woman by Fern Marder (33)
  • "I am God!" the Madman Said by Winston A. Howlett (34)
  • an ad for a zine called Spirit, "science fiction and fantasy for those who believe in Jesus Christ")
  • Waterfall by Winston A. Howlett (35)
  • The Hand of Peter Brenner by Diane Saunders ("The best solution to his problem could be a fatal one…") (36)
  • Gambit by Paul Kirby ("Probe's first and most outrageous satire, the first Stunrod story to feature male chauvinist, Joe Denim." ("I created the Stunrod Series, which is a satire on STAR TREK Fandom." [14] ) (50)
  • cartoon by Michael Green, "A Scene We'd Like to See" (73)
  • Microverse Experiment by Winston A. Howlett (74)
  • In Courts of Sleep by Winston A. Howlett (76)
  • Starfight by Fern Marder (77)
  • Werewoman by Winston A. Howlett(78)
  • Next Launching (80)
  • Nebula by Winston A. Howlett ("Sci-fi" reviews: Jaws, Warp Nine, Race with the Devil, Strange New Worlds and Star Trek Lives!) (81)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

Winston starts out nicely by giving an overview/intro to the material that appears in this issue. Followed by a rather engaging six page account of how PROBE started and its history. This is a largish issue, and has reason to feel proud of this work.

"Potpourri" is a far too short article by Diane Saunders noting some of the subtle psychology and almost invisibly blended attention to detail that many of the Star Trek episodes contained. She makes some interesting observations about body language, but could have taken more time to dwell on them and give many more examples. She makes some insightful comments, but should have not been so brief. Diane also has a very sensitively written SF/occult story later on called "The Hand of Peter Brenner." Paul Kirby has a good, fast opening to "Gambit," a fannish action/adventure story set in a near and amusing future. The hero's name is Joe Denim, and his snide remarks make a lovely counterpoint to an excellent story. I was swept along by the fast pacing, coherent writing, and excellent to ngue-in-cheek satire. The 21 pages of the story ended too soon. This piece goes a long way towards justifying the price of the zine,

PROBE finishes out with a preview of next issue—which is good, since the next one turned out to be a Sword-and-Sorcery issue. Plus there are some dandy reviews of some movies and "Star Trek Lives!" Winston also sent me a flier announcing a fanzine called THE GODDESS UHURA. I haven't seen a copy of it yet, but I can tell you that Nichelle Nichols was carrying a copy of it around with her at our latest ST con, and she was in love with it. It's a sizeable zine totally devoted to Uhura, and Nichelle was very pleased with it. -$3.00 plus $1 postage, while they last. [15]
PROBE is a very, very neat fanzine with some very interesting items in it, August '75 ish [PROBE 5] is particularly interesting. I liked the spoof you did on ST as a racist program - you have a gorgeous sense of humor. Unfortunately, there's altogether too much truth in the thesis - especially where the 'female race' is involved. Potpourri by Diane Saunders is one of these deeply perceptive items worth rereading. She writes of that scene in BREAD AND CIRCUSES where McCoy takes Spock's psyche apart in the cell. It has been said that this was the only scene in the episode worthwhile. Imagine a full hour packed with scenes as interesting as that one? That would be SF! GAMBIT is one of the most hysterically funny SPY stories I ever read, and you know, Paul Kirby managed to capture the essence of the situation quite accurately. [16] All in all, your first anniversary issue is worth congratulating… [17]

Issue 5, Revised Edition

front cover of the revised #5, Anji Valenza
back cover of the revised #5, Anji Valenza

Probe 5, the Revised Edition was published in April 1977 and contains 80 pages. It has art by Amy Harlib, Wayne Tytell, Rodney Plummer, Dan Haskett, Mary Ann Emerson, Joel Silverstein, David Kesztenbaum, Winston A. Howlett, Paul Kirby, Signe Landon, Mei-Moi Lee, Fern Marder, Gee Moaven, Mary Beth Santarelli, and Anji Valenza (front and back covers).

From the editorial:
Revising and reprinting a fanzine issue is an interesting experience. It enables the staff to see just how far they have come (see "Matter-Antimatter") and helps to define the path they are taking. Where PROBE 5 has come from is—

--DIANE SAUNDERS' two previous examinations of STAR TREK!s production values in Potpourri I and II (printed in PROBES 1 and 7 respectively) and a new one. She also revised her eerie tale of ESP and espionage with a British accent, and finally agreed with Ye Editor that yes, it is a love story.

--A previous publishing of "STAR TREK Is A Racist Program!", which drove a lot of Trekkers up the wall...until they found out that the author is black. The same goes for PAUL KIRBY's Stunrod story (which has its origins explained in PROBE 10), except some people still believe that he is a male chauvinist.

—FERN MARDER's excellent completion of Fandom's most famous poem title and fragment, complimented by MARY BETH SANTARELLI's beautiful illustration.

—another poem by Fern; a STAR TREK vignette; and our flakey review of "STAR TREK Lives!"

Foremost of the new items Is "Busher and Callahan", a STAR TREK story from the universe of our "Uhura Trilogy" The original PROBE 5 featured "Music Has Charms", a reprinted Uhura story by Sara Paul that helped to point the way to THE GODDESS UHURA (even before the idea of PROBE Special Issues had come into being). Since "Music" is now a part of GODDESS, it made little sense to reprint it here, so we decided to look ahead to CAPTAIN UHURA (see page 31).). "Busher and Callahan" fits into a certain spot in the forthcoming novel, yet also stands by itself as it profiles the title characters. Its illustrations herald the arrival of Ms. MEI-MOI LEE to the halls of PROBE, in what we hope will be the first of many such projects.

On the economics front: Probe 5 Revised, with its black and white cover and 80 pages, costs as much as Probe 10 with its color cover and 130 pages. This issue is a 'demand item.' It came out because so many of our readers had discovered Probe long after many of our back issues were no longer available. Bringing a dead issue back to life presents special problems and a lot of extra costs, which explains why this will probably be the last Revised Edition of Probe you will see.
  • Starline, editorial (3)
  • Trio by Diane Saunders (4)
  • Star Trek is a Racist Program! by Winston A. Howlett (21) (Winston A. Howlett commented later: "[It] drove a lot of Trekkers up the wall... until they found out that the author is black.") (This is also in the audio zine Fanzine)
  • Busher & Callahan by Winston A. Howlett (26)
  • a review of Star Trek Lives! (35)
  • a review of Fuhura #4, see that page (36)
  • Starflight by Fern Marder (49)
  • River by Anji Valenza (50)
  • Microverse Experiment by Winston A. Howlett (51)
  • Nightingale Woman by Fern Marder
  • Gambit by Paul Kirby (54)
  • Matter/Antimatter, another edtiorial, "Some notes on the evolution" (77)

Issue 6

Probe 6 (v.2 n.3) was published in November or December 1975. It was an all-[sword and sorcery]] issue.

front cover of issue #6, "Shandra and the Menace of N'Ganth" by Anji Valenza
back cover of issue #6, "The Dragon Slayers" by Anji Valenza

The front cover is by Anji Valenza, the back cover by Amy Falkowitz, and the interior illos are by Dan Haskett, Winston A. Howlett, Paul Kirby, Signe Landon (listed in the art credits for "Death of a Castle" on page 88, but there is no art on that page), Gee Moaven, Rodney Plummer, Mary Beth Santareli, Joel Silverstein, and Wayne Tytell.

From the editorial:
A lot of things are special about this issue of PROBE, as you have no doubt already noticed by looking at our first full color cover (something that will not be an ongoing policy — too expensive). This was supposed to be an all-Sword and Sorcery issue, but some contributors— both old and new— wanted to explore the subject of fantasy, but not exactly stay in the genre.

FERN MARDER, PROBE's first lady of poetry, sets the tone of the issue with her poetic examinations of savage anti-heroes, both serious and satirical (the latter was written as a lampoon of Ye Editor's own Klingon poem before he even finished it!). Artist/animator DAN HASKETT enhances one of these works with his Disney-esque artwork, while RODNEY PLUMMER (originator of the amateur comic 'zine "Black-Man") embellishes the other.

And, speaking of superb artists, ANJI VALENZA supplies a nice little chiller of a vignette that is derived from her "Klysadel" series in her own fanzine, MONKEY OF THE INKPOT. GEE MOAVEN teams up with PAUL KIRBY for an unusual explanation about the mind of Maria McGivers, and also illustrates what has got to be JOSEPH REED HAYES' strangest work to date! JOEL SILVERSTSIN, after a year's absence, returns with an impressive illustration for newcomer DAVID KESZTEN BAUM's story of savage tribal life, and coming of age in a world in need of heroes.

One of the new features in this issue of PROBE is "Visual Image", an exposition of relevant photographs. Ye Editor provides the sample this first time out, but it's MARY BETH SANTARELLI who gives it the remarkable frame.

Sword and Sorcery fan MARK FOLEY examines the genre for us, and gives his views of its conventions, cliches, and what-have-you. Sword and Sorcery fanatic JAMES JAMESON spans a highly imaginative tale about swordsmen, wizards, amazons and dragons that would do Robert E. Howard proud (Carter and DeCamp, take notice).

LINDA DENEROFF takes some time off from her KRAITH-writing chores to look at fantasy's most famous annual outing from a very strange angle…

And, last but certainly not least, SIGNE LANDON and AMY FALKOWITZ seek to take our breath away with their artwork for "Koor of the Darkling Plain" and our back cover.

But, after all is said and done, it is ANJI VALENZA who should get the art award of the year for our front cover, despite some rough handling by the color Xerox machine. And with more pages than ever before being done in photo offset, all our artists have very little to worry about.

Look out. INTERPHASE! Here comes the PROBE!
flyer printed in issue #5
  • Starline, editorial (3)
  • The Legend of Raugk by Anji Valenza (5)
  • Ronestab by Winston A. Howlett ( "a berserker poem") (6)
  • Xoran by Fern Marder ("a melodramatic swashbuckler") (8)
  • Firelord by Paul Kirby ("She had a need for a certain kind of man. Here is why…") (12)
  • art credits (27)
  • Karplunck's Last Stand by Fern Marder ("a satirical Klingon fairy tale") (30)
  • Scenes We'd Like to See by Winston A. Howlett ("And speaking of swords") (36)
  • Bull the Barbarian by David Kesztenbaum ("coming of age is a wonderful thing… it can help insure that you die faster") (37)
  • Outrageous Monster Contest (45)
  • Tribble Power! (46)
  • Visual Image (47)
  • Blades and Wands by Mark Foley ("a tongue-in-cheek examination of the genre") (48)
  • Trading Post (48b)
  • Dragonsword by James W. Jameson ("which was more dangerous: the dragon, or the wizard who hired him to kill it?") (49)
  • We Shall Meet Along the River, Then by Joseph Reed Hayes ("he traveled… not to make a living, but to end one) (69)
  • Allyson's Cat by Winston A. Howeltt ("a fantasy retelling of a true story" (77a)
  • All Hallow's Eve by Linda Deneroff ("Halloween," of course… but not for us …") (77d)
  • Koor of the Darkling Plain by Winston A. Howlett ("perhaps the last Klingon to know freedom") (78)
  • subscriptions/apologia (91)
  • next launching (92)
  • Nebula by Winston A. Howlett ("Sci-Fi reviews": Invisible Man, Rollerball, Space:1999, and Laserium) (93)
  • Feedback ("Yes, even we get letters…") (98)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

Too bad it bombed. It was our first -- and last -- Sword & Sorcery issue, which looked very pretty with its full color cover and 40% photo-offset reproduction, but which received enough complimentary letters of comment to count on one hand and still be able to scratch one's self in two places. [18]
In plain simple language: the all-Sword and Sorcery issue was a bomb. There were a few regular PROBE readers who liked the stories in the issue, and were kind enough to write and tell us. However, the overwhelming majority's opinion could be best summed up by Janice Scott's very brief L.O.C.: "Anji's cover - beautiful beautiful. Interior artwork for the most part very good, but Gee's is exceptional, as always… I do not like sword and sorcery, or fantasy, or horror…" And that was one of the more moderate put-downs. One of the verbal ones was "It's too violent! Too violent! Too— Excuse me, it's time for S.W.A.T....". And the weirdest one was from a staff member: "The issue was nothing but a glorification of violence and killing." My answer to that one was "If that is so, then putting a sex scene in a story is nothing but a glorification of adultery, illegitimate children and v.d."

Irony: in one year, PROBE had gone from an issue that every body liked to read but nobody liked to look at (PROBE 2), to an issue that everybody liked to look at, but nobody liked to read. All the pretty pictures were an instant hit (I mean, how many 'zines are doing full color covers these days?), but all the literature seemed to get lumped into one large circular file of opinion... even though there were pieces of light, non-violent comedy, some very thoughtful fantasy, and even some STAR TREK Sword and Sorcery. But the number of itemized, discriminating L.O.C.s was apallingly small.

Thank goodness that issue is now totally and permanently out of print.

But several beneficial lessons were learned from PROBE 6 For one thing, we are now more keenly aware of what our readers like and especially what they don't like. And for another, the issue helped greatly in pointing the way to a better individual style for future issuest better layouts, better illo-to-word relationships, etc. A lot of people who bought copies of "The Goddess Uhura" at STAR TREK Con '76 fell in love with the issue just by leafing through it at the huckster table — a reaction that PROBE 2 never could have stirred up. [19]

Issue 7

Probe 7 (v.3 n.1) was published in February 1976. The front cover and back covers are by Gee Moaven, the interior illos are by Anji Valenza, Mary Ann Emerson, Amy Falkowitz, Dan Haskett, Winston A. Howlett, Paul Kirby, Signe Landon, Rodney Plummer, Mary Beth Santarellii, Joel Silverstein, Wayne Tytell, and Anji Valenza.

Gee Moaven
back cover of issue #7, Gee Moaven

"This issue ia lovingly dedicated to Gee Moaven, who is always right...some of the time…"

  • Starline, edtiorial (3)
  • Star Trek: A Religious Experience? by Ingrid Cross ("a satirical mini-article") (This is also in the audio zine Fanzine) (5)
  • cartoon by Jerry (Geraldine) Franz (8)
  • art credits (8)
  • Winston's Lie by Jamie Whitfield ("the family that needles editors together, stays together?" -- a humorous poem written in response to "Allyson's Cat" in the previous issue)
  • For the Love of Money by W. Howlett ("in the tradition of "Behind the Curtains" and "Fandom Is", another hard-hitting commentary," "a commentary on STAR TREK cons… and their organizers…") (12)
  • Pueblo by Diane Saunders (non-ST poem) (17)
  • And Zarabeth Killed a Snowbear by Winston A. Howlett ("for the best of all possible reasons.") (This is also in the audio zine Fanzine) (19)
  • First Impressions, poem by Frances Zawacky (23)
  • Moppit by Fern Marder (24)
  • Potpourri #2 by Diane Saunders ("and not at all like the original 'Potpourri'") (26)
  • The Command Image by Frances Zawacky (32)
  • The Cheater W. Howlett ("part two of the Laurie Dewitt trilogy, as the Helpers try to keep the lid on at a STAR TREK Con Costume Call... and capture an honest-to-God vampire!" and "the costume call to end all costume calls") (33)
  • newspaper clipping (53) (from The Standard-Star, New Rochelle, NY January 21, 1976, "Sci-fi fan big on 'Trek' by Mark Mooney, highlights Winston A. Howlett, includes photo)
  • Outrageous Monster Contest Winner by Jeraldine Franz (54)
  • Tribble Power! #6 (56)
  • Alpha Ralpha Virus by Wayne Tytell ("another insane STAR TREK Glitznic!" -- "those Klingons will never learn…") (57)
  • cartoon by Michael Green (73)
  • next launching (74)
  • Nebula (ST Con '76 Costume Call by Winston A. Howlett, Gene Roddenberry speech at St. John's University by Frances Zawacky, "Ten Years Later" by Fern Marder)
  • Matter-Antimatter ("some notes on Probe's present and future")

Issue 8

front cover of issue #8, Winston A. Howlett
back cover of issue #8, Craig Morton
flyer for issue #8

Probe 8 (v.3 n.2) was published in May 1976 and contains 80 pages. It has art by Gee Moaven, Linda Cappel, Anji Valenza, Signe Landon, Amy Falkowitz, Wayne Tytell, Mary Beth Santarelli, Paul Kirby, Rodney Plummer, Dan Haskett, Mary Ann Emerson, Winston A. Howlett and Joel Silverstein.

The editor notes in issue #9 that this zine came out in time for BiCentennial-Ten Con "and copies sold faster than we could staple them together... We actually sold some copies unstapled."

  • Starline (editorial) (3)
  • While Still We Feel by Johanna Cantor (a sequel to "The Empath" by the same author, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are called upon to help Gem and her people. They have been relocated by the Vians, but their culture is not thriving.) (5) (reprinted in Archives #2)
  • Lyre by Fern Marder (20)
  • October Revel by Virginia Brennan (21)
  • Card Game by Virginia Brennan (23)
  • Visions at the End of Time by Virginia Brennan (24)
  • Scenes We'd Like To See by W. Howlett (25)
  • Whose Godchild, Space? by Anji Valenza (Kirk vs Raugk of "the Klysadel" and "Tai Daminen") (27)
  • Retrospect by Fern Marder (43)
  • Terminal Case by Winston A. Howlett ("a Stunrod story featuring two views of women's liberation, both of them Black.") (45)
  • Nebula by Frances Zawacky, reviews of SekWester*Con, Night of the Twin Moons, Star Trek: The New Voyages and the movie Logan's Run

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

...I have enjoyed PROBE very much, especially the adventures of Laurie Dewitt against the forces of T.R.E.K.K.I.E. A very clever blending of fiction, TREK, science fiction and action. It even (wonder of wonders) has something to say. That is good, considering some of the drivel being printed in Trekfic today. Perhaps I should nay 'masquerading as' Trekfic… [20]
First off, PROBE 3's cover: what can I say other than, "Cute, Winston, real cute..."

When's the next installment of the Stunrod series? "Terminal Case" is a classic. Whoever originated the concept of a Man From U.N.C.L.E.-ST parody should be congratulated... The humor is perfect — chapter titles, McCoy dialogue... — and being female, I especially appreciated the comments on Women's Lib. Couldn't really decide whether you're pro or con but, never the less, it provided food for thought. If I feel oppressed, a second-class citizen and victim of 'slavery', how much more intense must be the emotions of black Americans, particularly those that are women. Maybe you're for, yet wanted to give the readers something to ponder. Whatever, bravo. "Whose Godchild, Space ?" was — interesting. I had difficulty following the storyline; this is my first Tai Daminen-Klysadel episode, so that might be it. The observations put forth on the Prime Directive, i.e., where it applies, its rationality as opposed to irresponsibility, are noteworthy; also, forcing people to conform to the 'norms' instead of vice versa. Who's right and who's wrong? Or are there shades of gray rather than black or white? Hmmm. "While Still We Feel" was a disappointment of sorts. It was absorbing, well-structured, and maintained a constant pace — until the end. Then it fell flat; semed too contrived. I understand Johanna's point but, at the same time, believe she used a pallid extrapolation to get it across... PROBE 9 wasn't perused in its entirety — for the simple reason KRAITH leaves me cold. I suspect the initial problem was caused by reading Jacqueline Lichtenberg's editorial at the beginning of KRAITH COLLECTED, and taking exception to it. I rather resent being told the ideas and interpretations are far beyond the average person's intelligence and that she, the author, is brilliant and above us mere mortals. I'm not the only one, either. Boo, hiss. …Regarding the review of "Alternative: The Epilog to Orion", I agree with you — in a way. To clarify that statement, can we really judge the 23rd century by the morals and ideals of the 20th? And I read Leslie Fish's "Shelter" in WARPED SPACE #20. The theme is identical, yet the treatment, is quite dissimilar. It's beautiful, enjoyable, lyrical, and all sorts of descriptive phrases. I loved it!

As usual, Fern's poetry and music are lovely. She probably stood in line twice (thrice?) when brains and ability were passed out… [21]

Issue 9

front cover of issue #9, Carol Walske
back cover of issue issue #9, Anji Valenza -- "The Starhunters #3"
flyer for issue #9

Probe 9 (v.3 n.3) has August 1976 listed as the published date, though they were collated and mailed out in November 1976. It contains 104 pages. Art by Carol Walske, Anji Valenza, Gee Moaven, Mary Ann Emerson, Winston A. Howlett, Mary Beth Santarelli, Signe Landon, and Paul Kirby.

From the editorial:
As fanzines go, this issue of PROBE is 'over everything': over sized, over budget, and looooong overdue. (As to why it is coming out in the middle of November instead of the middle of August- as planned and announced— read "Matter-Antimatter" in the back of the issue.)

But now that it is here, we are confident that you will find it all worth waiting for…

An official and previously-unpublished KRAITH story is not too easy to come by these days. LINDA DENEROFF and FRANCES ZAWACKY increased PROBE's popularity tremendously with "A House Divided" in our fourth issue, and now return with JACQUELINE BIELOWICZ (of SOL PLUS) to give the details behind the dramatic breakup between Spock and Sarek. Vulcanesque poetry by FERN MARDER and DAVID KESZTENBAUM are on hand to mark the occasion, not to mention our color cover by CAROL WALSKE.

When we started PROBE over two years ago, we said that we would explore a lot more universes than the ones set up by Mr. Roddenberry. "Mutant Mingle" would seem to be our furthest movement away from TREK's 'brotherhood themes' in a long time. In the process of getting that story within these pages, Ye Editor became more of an editor than ever before, fighting tooth and nail with the author for about five months on how to beat the thing into a likeable shape that both could agree upon. At least we could agree that the artwork by MARY ANN EMERSON is excellent.

We had intended to present all of "Death Of A Vulcan" in this issue, but time, space, and budget would not permit it. So, all you mystery buffs will just have to settle for having your appetites whetted by this first of two parts. (Think you can guess the solution?) The story itself is in a far more serious vein than previous Fandom stories: no tongue-in-cheek, no satire. Preliminary reactions shall prove to be interesting…

And speaking of Fandom, we even got our hands on a couple of fan items, including some of the Enterprise crew at the unveiling of the real thing. Fern presents some more Trekmusic for all you frustrated musicians (thanks for helping with the Prestype, Carol), and PROBE presents its first fanzine review. [22]
  • Starline, editorial (3)
  • One Human, One Vulcan by David Kesztenbaum (4)
  • Vulcanscape by Fern Marder (5)
  • Sundered Duties by Jacqueline Bielowicz, Linda Deneroff and Frances Zawacky (a Kraith story, the break up between Spock and Sarek) (6)
  • an Associated Press story (36)
  • cartoon by Anji Valenza (37)
  • untitled poem by Winston A. Howlett (38)
  • Mutant Mingle by D. Kesztenbaum (an Atomic Age war between humans and mutants) (39)
  • Visual Images NASA (article) (60)
  • Night Terror by Virginia Brennan (62)
  • Death of a Vulcan by W. Howlett ("a grim, no-nonsense murder mystery that can only be solved by a Star Trekker" part one) (63)
  • a review of Alternative: The Epilog to Orion, see that page (97)
  • Matter-Antimatter by W. Howlett (article) (98)
  • White Bird-Jim's Song by Fern Marder (music) (100)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

The songs that appeared in each issue really drove me just about crazy, especially as I can't read music...I got a piano-playing friend to play "Quietly Now" and "Keep On Trekkin'" for me. (Now I can't forget them!) By any chance, would you consider recording some of your music? You can't imagine what it would do for my sanity! The songs are really neat — I especially liked "Keep On Trekkin'" — but a person like me, who can't read music, is sort of 'up the creek without a paddle'. [23]
I was impressed with "Mutant Mingle" in PROBE (9). David Kesztenbaum has a lot to say about bigotry and gets his point across. It shows a great deal of concern for those who are different from ourselves. Hatred can only lead to the destruction of both sides.

"Death of a Vulcan", though a bit melodramatic, has a black man as the main character. Of course racism is on its way out. Sexism in all its worse forms is not, at least "friend, not in this part of the galaxy." It seems that mutants are OK, fags belong in Hefty Garbage Bags. Don't ever print "Gay Mingle", let the. Gay Killers cut them down. Don't beat up the blacks, get the fags. Now, you can pass me the Bromo. I may not be homosexual or even bisexual, but at least I have guts enough to own my feelings and not turn them into bigotry aimed at the fairies. Not too long ago about five high school foot ball players beat a man to death because he was a queer. They were given a short time on probation for murder. That is bigotry, hate, injustice, and discrimination all rolled into one. But I don't suppose that happens where you come from. One more .group of human beings is asking to be given the right to exist without persecution just as the mutants and blacks and Jews and Christians. The list is long and it is not ended. Yes, some fanzines have published sex stories and homosexual stories. I for one hope they are never censored. You, and any one else who objects to the content, are not forced to read it. It was not written for you in the first place. You can go on having love scenes that almost happen.

If you have guts enough to face the issue try Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, published by Daughters, Inc., Plainfield, Vermont. Read all of it. And when you get finished if you don't feel moved, you can turn in your humanity and forget the word compassion. [24]
Despite the much improved printing, layout and artwork of PROBE 9, I am uncertain whether or not to renew my subscription to PROBE when the current one runs out. The reason for this problem is the sheer irony of following an anfci-bogotry story, "Mutant Mingle", with such an incredibly bigoted re view you gave to Gerry Downe's ALTERNATIVE. Never before have I seen such blatant bigotry, ignorance and hysteria paraded in what purports to be a STAR TREK fanzine.

Whatever your own attitudes toward homosexuals and bisexuals may be — and from your tone I take it that you think they should be shot on sight — you have no right to claim that a serious discussion of the subject "belongs in a Times Square smut shop". The Supreme Court made the topic legitimate several years ago, for any work of 'redeeming social, political or artistic importance' — which ALTERNATIVE certainly has. You admit, yourself, that "the artwork...is competent" and that the poetry "would be some of the best writing in fanfic today" — but only "if it were written from a man to woman, or vice versa"! You admittedly condemn good art because of its subject — and if that isn't bigotry, what the hell do you think it is? Nowhere in the review do you offer one shred of excuse for your position; you claim that ALTERNATIVE is bad because it discusses a same-sex affair, and homosexual activity is bad because you say it is. Do you mind explaining, for the benefit of your apparently-ignorant audience, just why homosexuality is so terrible? After all, it doesn't add to the population problem, doesn't kill or rob anyone, is not (as even the A.M.A. agrees) evidence of any mental disorder, does not spread diseases or lend itself to neurotic relationships anymore than heterosexuality does. What — besides' a hysterical fear that some man might make a pass at you someday — makes you react to the subject with such senseless outrage?

Let me point out that nearly everyone, sometime in his/her life, has some sort of homosexual experience. According to the first Kinsey report, published in 1931, 51% of all males reported having had at least one homosexual experience to the point of orgasm before 21 years of age — and that's just the ones who would admit it, 1931! What do you think the real figure is, today? In a more advanced, less-restrictive society, such as shown in STAR TREK, there's no good reason why Kirk and Spock shouldn't be lovers... after all, they do love each other. If, as you say, "'gay is good'...not in this part of the galaxy" then "this part of the galaxy" can only refer to the 5 1/2%. cubic feet of air in which you stand. [25]
[Winston A. Howlett's very lengthy response begins with]: These two letters were printed because they were the most vehement ones on the subject. And they were printed in this order because they get First Prize and 5econd Prize for Most Hysterical respectively. Now, I will take off my asbestos gloves and give my response… [See Open Letter by Winston A. Howlett Regarding His Review of "Alternative: Epilog to Orion"] [26]

Issue 10

front cover of issue #10, Carol Walske, "The Death of Alargor"
back cover of issue #10, "Kawara Tarakarin," (fan: C. W.), photo by Winston A. Howlett

Probe 10 (v.4 n.1) was published in February 1977 and contains 120 pages. The first edition had a printing of 300 copies.

It is known for the long letter by the editor, one that states his views on homosexuality as a reason for his review of Alternative: Epilog to Orion. See Open Letter by Winston A. Howlett Regarding His Review of "Alternative: Epilog to Orion".

From the editorial:
We call this issue of PROBE "The War Issue" because that is the theme of each novella and a couple of the regular features:

CAROL WALSKE spends most of her free time — besides posing dramatically for back covers of PROBE — exploring her own concepts of how the Klingon Empire functions. The 'Nu Ormenel, Series' rivals Frank Herbert's "Dune" Trilogy in the creation of a fully-detailed alien civilization, complete with language, alphabet, culture, psychology, sociology, history and fascinating personal drama. And her artistic talents — including our color cover-- speak for themselves. FERN MARDER helped in many ways, including an accompanying poem, and once again asked Carol for help in doing the graphics on the lyrics and arrangement of some new Trekmusic.

Without a doubt, Ye Editor's favorite creation in fanfiction is ANJI VALENZA's monster, Raugk. We see a different side of this creature from what Captain Kirk saw in PROBE 8 ("Whose Godchild, Space?"). Besides having a distinctive style in prose and artwork, Anji also has the distinction of being the only staff member who can outmaneuver and terrify our printer if he goofs on her work.

And Carl Morgan continues his no-nonsense war against crooks in Fandom in the conclusion of "Death Of A Vulcan". The original layout plans for this issue called for this story to have the lead spot, so that the voracious mystery buffs would not tear their copies apart, trying to get to the ending (Don't peek!)

Feedback concludes the war against mistaken ideas (like the Winston-Howlett-hates-gay-people lie), while Matter-Antimatter looks at our future plans for publishing, and questions readers' outlooks and rules-of-thumb. This did not start out to be an in side-the-mind-of-Winston-Howlett issue for the Features Dept., but reader response and questions dictated otherwise.

DAVID LUBKIN brings us something we have not seen since our third issue: Fandom poetry. His wry wit and accurate eye should bring us some interesting reactions. GEE MOAVEN and P.S.NIM sent us remarkable illos for FRANCES ZAWACKY'S re-exploration of the soul of Spock's mother, and her look (with LINDA DENEROFF) at Sarek. CONNIE FADDIS lent us an ELIZABETH MARSHALL illo for Fern's double-eulogy poem, and we used a small one by AMY HARLIB in our article that answers a lot of fans' questions about "The Goddess Uhura". And JOSEPH REED HAYES announces more TREK in TV's future.

Another aspect of war is its ugliness in the real-life fighting. This goes for wars waged with words, as well as with weapons. "Red Alert" was first used in PROBE 7, just to call attention to that issue's Matter-Antimatter announcements. However, it has a much more serious meaning this time around, thanks to a printed letter received from MANDI SCHULTZ. (Please send all comments and reactions directly to her, friends; we're just the reporters).
  • The Fan Who Walked Home by Winston A. Howlett (4)
  • The Celebration of Alkarin by Carol Walske (from the Nu Ormenel series, "The renaissance of the Klingon Empire" (7) (also in Nu Ormenel Collected)
  • The Judgement of Alkarin by Fern Marder (37)
  • Echoes by David Lubkin (39)
  • Amanda by Frances Zwacky (40) (reprinted from issue #2)
  • I-Chaya by Fern Marder (44)
  • Death of a Vulcan by Winston A. Howlett (the conclusion to the story, excerpt: "I had to get out of there. Even though three people had been needlessly and senselessly killed, I still felt for her very deeply. I could under stand at least a small part of how she felt. I had jumped into this case full of righteous anger about crooked people in Fandom, dead sure that it was Al Boyajian's crooked activities that had led to his death. I'd been wrong about that, and a few other things. But at least Fandom was off the hook. The clues had to do with STAR TREK, but the murders did not. Jeremy Vance would have to look elsewhere for his Scoop of the Year. And I began to feel a little differently about Fandom. Who knows? Maybe Roddenberry's dream just might come true. With our help...or in spite of it.") (46)
  • Red Alert! (73) (a fraud alert to warn other fans of a man pretending to be a close personal friend of Isaac Asimov)
  • Matter/Antimatter, opinion by Winston A. Howlett (76)
  • On the Horizon (79)
  • Sarek by Frances Zawacky and Linda Deneroff (80)
  • The Day Surrounding Meldnight' by Valenza, a Klysadel story (83)
  • LoCs (112) (Winston A. Howlett responds to two letters he has received calling him a bigot and anti-gay for the review he did of Alternative: The Epilog to Orion in issue #9. See: Open Letter by Winston A. Howlett Regarding His Review of "Alternative: Epilog to Orion".)
  • Keep on Trekkin', song & music by Winston A. Howlett by Fern Marder (118)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 10

Re Leslie Fish's letter in PROBE 10: I, for one, consider her position on the Kirk/Spock relationship totally indefensible. "In a more advanced, less-restrictive society...there's no good reason why Kirk and Spock shouldn't be lovers...after all, they do love each other." Why, I might ask, does she find it necessary in "Shelter" to explain Spock's childhood dilemmas — Amanda as the tempting, forbidden human woman? Why does she find it necessary to provide psychological 'justification' for a homosexual Kirk/Spock relationship? If there's nothing 'wrong' with such a relationship, except our current social mores, why does Fish see the need to demonstrate Spock's psychological illness? I think that self-contradictory testimony would be inadmissable in a court of law. Besides, the implications of her statement are obvious: normal, heterosexual men cannot truly love each other because they cannot share a sexual experience. Aside from the fact that this is utter nonsense, it's far from the implication Roddenberry intended for the Kirk/Spock relationship. And tell it to Starsky and Hutch! (Not to mention all men who are mutual friends.)

Re [Jerry C's] letter: unless the "Nebula" column in his PROBE 9 is a totally different column than the one in my copy, his vehement accusations about your position on homosexuality ("let the Gay Killers cut them down", he claims you practically said) are absolutely and completely unjustified. I didn't see where you said — or implied — any such thing! I could spit tacks! And I think the fact that you didn't do the same in print was (very) mature of you.

...I am so glad I got PROBEs 9 and 10 at once and didn't have to wait for the end of "Death of a Vulcan". I got so thoroughly caught up in Part One, I practically tore the cover off PROBE 10 in my haste to get to Part Two. ...PROBE 10's "Celebration of Alkarin" turned out to be an intriguing story, but the beginning was a little plodding and awfully hard to get into. I had visions of a 15-page roll call… [27]
This is Probe's "War Issue," as the front cover, by Carol Walske, demonstrates. It is a superb drawing, published in full color. Besides Carol's artwork, the zine also boasts works by Elissa Lynn Alkoff, Harlib, Howlett, Elizabeth Marshall, Moaven, Nim, Valenza and David Kesztenbaum. What makes this zine live and breathe is the layout: extensive (but not overpowering) use was made of calligraphy and special lettering and bordering. Particularly alluring is Ms. Walske's story, 'The Celebration of of Alkarin,' in which she presents her concept of how the Klingon Empire works. The laborious layout and planning for this story enhances the writing quality. The accompanying poem by Fern Marder is, quite simply, beautiful. Other fiction includes 'The Day Surrounding Meldnight' by Valenza (another prime example of what layout can do for a story), part two of 'Death of a Vulcan' by Winston Howlett, and bits and pieces by Lubkin, Zawacky, Deneroff and Hayes. Three words suffice in summation: buy this fanzine! [28]
First of all, I didn't think the artwork was all that great. Good, yes, but I've seen better. As to the layout -- that is the only thing that saves the zine from being a total bore. I really did not like the fiction in it. Ms. Walske's story was so loaded with unfamiliar characters having names that looked very much alike and special terminology that I couldn't get past page 3. (I'm not much of a Klingon fan, anyway.) As to Howlett's 'Death of a Vulcan' -- yuk. I gave up after the second paragraph. Valenza's story was the only piece in the zine I needed. Nice SciFi story. If you want to read about the Enterprise and her crew, this zine is NOT for you. [29]
I guess this is a rebuttal-rebuttal. I have see comments like [name redacted's] popping up everywhere lately, but since her is the most obvious offense, I am responding to it. First of all, let me say that I have not seen a copy of 'Probe' 10 -- but that is beside the point because that is not what bothers me. Just who the hell does this lady think she is? What I am sure [name redacted] is so ignorantly overlooked was Mr. Howlett's feelings. There is a huge misconception in fandom that zine publication is a week-end affair. That just isn't so. Most zine eds (or at least the ones I know) put in work every day on their zines -- and some days I put in as much as three hours a day plus week-ends on Fesarius. Zine editors put in as much time as possible on their zines and DO THE VERY BEST THAT THEY CAN. and even if their efforts aren't as good as Interphase or The Other Side of Paradise, it is no fault of their own... at least they tried. And I feel that for no other reason than that, they deserve much more than to be publicly put down by someone who hasn't tried. Do not misinterpret me; I am not referring to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. I am referring to the type of 'reviewing,' if you can call it that, that [name redacted] uses. The type that uses such phrases as 'yuk' and 'that is the only thing that saves this zine from being a total bore.' I just can't fathom a person being so thoughtless (not to mention tacky). Please before you 'review' another zine in that matter, [name redacted], why don't you try to put out a zine and then see how it feels to receive a review with a phrase like 'yuk. [30]
PROBE 10 was well worth the wait! The front cover was even more beautiful than I expected!

"Fan Who Walked Home": an interesting look (again) at how an author labors to produce a masterpiece. I was also delighted to learn of a sequel to the CAPTAIN UHURA sequel. I wonder if it could be AMBASSADOR UHURA, or ADMIRAL UHURA? Well, one novel at a time. I see that Frances Zawacky and Linda Deneroff are still alive and well and writing -- with short, yet beautiful vignettes on Amanda and Sarek. I was especially impressed with the picture of Sarek, after the painful attack -- finally realizing the seperation could not go on, in the face of impending death. Somehow, it seems a more logical conclusion. After reading the finale to "Death of a Vulcan", I felt like screaming "YOU FINK!" Here I was trying to figure out the four letters that only a STAR TREK fan could solve -- and it turned out that the clue wasn't even complete]

I must plead guilty to thinking that you were Carl Morgan, for one big reason: he worked at exposing ST ripoffs, and yours is the only fanzine I've seen so far which has devoted more than one article to telling neo-fans "Welcome to Fandom -- But Beware!" [31]
Love that color cover and love that color work. How cheaply do you get (color) Xeroxing in those quantities?

I started to say that Anji scarcely showed her talents in the illos for "Death of a Vulcan", when I looked at "Days Surrounding Meldnight". She does put a bit more into her own stories. But then she can visualize the characters better. Even there, though, she goes a bit overboard, a la page 97, and you start wishing she would do something that...striking more often. Gee Moaven and Amy Harlib were their typical selves-- Amy coming along quite rapidly and Gee already there. Carol Walske I hadn't seen very much of previously. I should have. Her males do seem to be a bit thick-headed -- literally-speaking. The issue seemed to be a bit overpowered by the various series. Anji's never caught my fancy and I don't know enough of the background to especially enjoy Carol's. Someone picking up a copy at a con, whether 'into' fandom or not, would get little out of such an issue. "Death of a Vulcan" was not only part of a series, but the conclusion of a story. Synopses of What Has Gone Before are no fun in murder mysteries. Any at tempt to solve the mystery on the basis of the summary is doomed. You can't give all the clues and you certainly can't give only the important ones.

I like PROBE. It has had a lot of good fic, articles and art, and has an interesting flavor of its own... I've seen what you can do and I like where you're going (I think). But without anything to appeal to new readers, you won't capture any. Now I don't know. You might want to limit PROBE readership so that you don't have to invest an ever-increasing sum into printing costs. Or alternatively, you might be seeking a 500-copy first-run sell-out, like THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE or INTERPHASE...
[response by the editor to the above letter]: You know more than you realize, David. I would very much like to see a PROBE regular issue have a 500-copy first-run, with orders coming in thick and fast. But not even a first-run KRAITH story (PROBE 9) attracted new readers as fast as I'd hoped; that issue is now out of print, but it took 8 1/2 months (plus being 3 months behind schedule) for that to happen. And that was only a 300-copy printing, 60 of which went to retail outlets. With PROBE becoming a press and expanding to four zines, we can not afford that kind of long-term storage space any more. So, we're back to a 200-copy run. What kind of material would appeal to new readers? I wish I knew, David. No one will tell me. I keep appealing for detailed letters of comment, and get fewer and fewer with each passing issue. Since PROBE began in August '74, all I've been able to discern from reader response is that (1) If we want to publish TREK Sword & Sorcery, it will have to be outside of PROBE (Hence SAVAGE STAR); (2) Everybody likes color covers and good art; and (3) A lot of people pay lip service to God and don't like his name mentioned outside of church, except as part of a swear-phrase. All I can say is that there will be a lot more TREK stories than Fandom stories in PROBE 12. Let's see what happens then. -- WAH

Issue 11

front cover of #11, "Willy and the Starship" by Cecilia Cosentini and Amy Harlib-- from the editorial: "Our cover story presents an interesting study in contrasting art styles. Working from a copy of "Willy and the Starship", CECILIA COSENTINI conjured up our color cover (which speaks for itself), while AMY HARLIB played it for laughs in her interpretation of the 'androids'. (And any resemblance between her portrait of Willy and my brother Weldon is purely intentional.)"
back cover of #11, photos from SeKWester Con Too -- from the editorial: "Our verrry strange back cover heralds the arrival of mucho photography to PROBE's pages (Be sure to see the Photo Credits page), thanks to a lot of friendly people at SekWester*ConToo."

Probe 11 (v.4 n.2) was published in August 1977 and contains 156 pages. The art is by Cecilia Cosentini, John Ellis, Amy Falkowitz, Amy Harlib, Winston A. Howlett, Alice Jones, Mei-Moi Lee, Diane McClaugherty, Gee Moaven, Anji Valenza and Carol Walske.

From the editorial:
Would you believe this is our fourteenth publication? Ten regular issues, two Revised Editions, and one Special predate what you are reading here. And all in three- years, thanks to a lot of people in a lot of places.

SANDY HALL and Ye Editor met at Bicentennial Ten last year (N.Y.C., Sep tember) , during a hotel room rap session about screwy goings-on in Fandom. I don't know if that half-a-night party was what inspired her story printed here, but I did hear that there was supposed to be a "Winston Howlett-type character" in it somewhere. (?) The character was dropped/changed before the final draft (I wonder why!), but we still find "STINC" to have an interesting set of characters; and a copy sent to one Jacqueline Lichtenberg evoked a one-word appraisal: "Pithy." (Look it up.)

When JOEL DAVIS and I first met at FebCon '76 (N.Y.C.), it was love at first sight — love of each other's writings, that is. I'd hungrily consumed his Fandom vignettes, while he proceeded to practically memorize every word in the Stunrod Series. Thus, it was inevitable that we would eventually collaborate on a Fandom story. I wanted to do one about a Klingon ship running amok through a con hotel; Joel had two plots: tracking down a traitor in the alternate-universe ST Welcomittee, and "Don Pearson vs. Laurie Dewitt". Finally, we decided to combine all three. About seven months and four drafts later, "It Took First Prize in Houston" is the result.

In a more serious vein, DANIELA KENDALL presents a penetrating examination of Fandom's most famous fiction and semi-fiction series, KRAITH. The article deals with how the KRAITH creation/writing system functions and malfunctions, using facts that are completely documented.

From the editor: from "Matter-Antimatter":

Have you heard of the Underground? The one in ST fandom... They Xerox things. Lots of things. Like parts of fanzines, or whole fanzines, or even whole sets of fanzines. All without permission of any kind from anyone who had anything to do with the fanzine's production. And I'm not talking about just a copy for 'personal entertainment,' but five, ten, forty copies... whatever number fits their 'small circle of friends.' Sometimes they sell them, sometimes they trade them for other fanzines (copies or originals), sometimes they give them away...to someone else who also has free access to a duplicating machine and another circle of friends. I first heard about the Underground when a fellow zine editor stumbled across a Xerox of her visual series (elaborate comic book if you will) in the hands of a neo-fan at a con. Said neo praised the artist/editor for her work and casually mentioned that 'XYZ in California' had Xeroxed about forty copies and spread them all over the country... People with free access to Xerox machines make me very nervous, if just for the built-in temptation that the devices [will be] be used irresponsibly. What good is all the extra effort and expense an editor goes through to acquire a special story or article for an issue, when somebody with the 'Start Print' Syndrome can wreck the whole process? In case you hadn't thought about it, zine editors don't just give their works that extra effort just for the sake of the art, but to acquire new readers. In short, friends, when you fellow Trekfan starts drooling over your latest zine purchase, try gently imploring them to buy their own copy, instead of running to Daddy's office. Xerox doesn't need the business, but we do.

Also from the editor: "Matter-Antimatter":

Strange things are going on in the sub-world of 'Adult Trekfic.' It seems that one of the stories in the Diamonds and Rust series has a rather unusual plot device: Dr. McCoy goes to bed with an aggressive young woman who (surprise!) turns out to be his daughter, Joanna. Through a series of credibility-stretching writing tricks, no one knows who the other one is until the fun is over. (No, I don't know the name of the story, or where it was published.) The results are what you might expect: Joanna kills herself, and Dr. M is 'shattered' (not necessarily in that order.) But what really makes this interesting is from where the heaviest negative comments are coming from: some of the well-known fen who applaud the Kirk-and-Spock-go-gay trash. Frankly, I'm surprised at the reactions I've been hearing about this stuff. After all, the rushing about to jump on the Homosexuality-in-Trekfic bandwagon, I thought it would take nothing less than Captain Kirk going to bed with a Great Dane to get a rise out of people. And, disturbingly, they are not just going after the story, but doing a hatchet job on the author as well. I heard she is being called things in print that aren't even used on crooked convention organizers. Bad scene. The who thing reminds me of a short story called 'The Red Rats of Plum Creek.' One farm in a large farming community was plagued by all the rats in the county, until the farmer's son managed to catch one rat, paint it red and let it go. When the red rat returned to its burrow, all the other rats practically killed themselves running away from it. They didn't recognize one of their own. Like the farmer's son, I think I'll just sit in a tree and watch all the other rats chase each other into the sunset. With a little luck, they may take all this so-called 'adult' crap with them.
  • Starline, editorial (3)
  • The Story of STINC by Sandy Hall (a parody story about a Star Trek fan and her fan club, their adventures in running a con, writing zine reviews, her long-running but never published series of fanfics, and her dealings with fanzines.) (4)
  • The Challenge, poem by Fern Marder (32)
  • Challenge, story by Fern Marder and Carol Walske (34)
  • Star Bores, film outline by Leonard Lipton (45) (a proposal for an amateur parody film of Star Wars)
  • Willy and the Starship by Winston A. Howlett (46)
  • Ode to the Rising Sun by Devra Langsam (53)
  • Phaser Fire by Fern Marder (54)
  • Sekwester*Con Too con report with photos by Frances Zawacky, Winston A. Howlett, and Joel Davis (56)
a fan's review of Star Wars, which had just been released, art by Gee Moaven
a parody of a Star Wars film
as early as 1977, fans duplicating copies of fanzines was an issue, as per this article, click to read
  • The Man Who Invented the Transporter by Anji Valenza (84)
  • Inside Kraith by Daniela Kendall (87) (This is an article written with a pseud by one of "Kraith Creators." It discusses at great length the Kraith Round Robin.)
  • Supercon Blues by David Lubkin (94)
  • My Fears by Diane McClaugherty (96)
  • He Who Trades Last by Diane McClaugherty (97)
  • The Choice by R.M. Schutter (98)
  • Poems to the Beautiful One by Caroline Nixon (100)
  • Interlude by Diane McClaugherty (102)
  • Con Committee's Lament by Rich Kolker (108)
  • It Took First Prize in Houston by Joel Davis and Winston A. Howlett (109)
  • LoCs (155)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 11

A pretty good zine. It starts off with a parody of fandom I found absolutely hilarious. A little uncomfortable, too-obviously true to life. There is a science fiction robot story involving Winston's little brother that is cliched to the teeth but mildly interesting nonetheless. Winston has a con report of Kalamazoo, much like everyone else's con report of Kalamazoo [SeKWester*Con, Too, 1977] -- I went, I met people, I talked to people, I had a lot of fun, I dressed up as Uhura in drag, so forth. -- Included is a copy of the sketch they performed -- yes, that sketch. The infamous one. ["Where No Man Has Gone Lately"] Ver-r-r-r-y interesting. The zine also includes an article about writing Kraith stories by a Kraith creator who used a pseudonym was a large segment of the issue. I found myself mildly antagonistic to its tone, although I can't quite pin down why. It appeared to regard itself as an expose of Kraith, the perils and pitfalls thereof. I liked the rebuttal, which I read in the first draft and is to appear in the next issue of 'Probe,' much better. [32]
I realize it is somewhat unusual for a fanzine editor to supply a second opinion on a review of his own fanzine -- particularly a review that is supposedly favorable -- but I think this case warrants it... [He goes on to disagree with four points the original reviewer made, including what he felt was a dig at the Kraith article] Might the fact that the article did an extensive examination of the Kraith Round Robin -- of which you are a member -- have something to do with it? Hmmmm?... I have done some generally-inaccurate reviews in my time, but that was usually because the zine was so bad I had to try reading it through a glass of Bromo-Seltzer. But Eileen implied she liked the issue, so what's her excuse? When I take a shot at somebody (cheap or otherwise), I'm at least a lot more clever about it, Eileen. Or forthright. Whey don't you try it sometime? I don't know who you were fooling, but if the feedback I've been getting is any indication, the answer is, 'No one but yourself. [33]
I have learned recently that I have an 'image problem in fandom,' that people think I've 'been cutting up everybody.' Please believe that was never my intention and certainly not my desire. I really don't want to be in a position where saying that I like a zine or story is somehow a personal attack on the editor or author, so the reviews in this issue of 'Scuttlebutt' will be my last. My apologies to anyone who has been hurt. [34]
I have resigned from the staff of Probe as you read this. Normally, such a statement is not necessary, but since Winston A. Howlett lists me as a staff person, I feel compelled to announce this resignation. I find myself in editorial disagreement with Winston on several issues, but since he makes no disclaimer in his zine to the effect that the editorial opinions are solely his own and not that of his staff, one could easily get the impression that we all agree. Winston and I will continue to be friends, but I will henceforth not be associated with 'Probe' fanzine or M'Pingo Press. [35]
[comments about the Kraith article]: Even when you open up your universe to other people, when you let them in, you still say, ‘Okay, but this has got to be twisted to fit right, because I’m still saying something, over all.’ And you’ve got to keep firm control over it. If you let it get out of hand, you wind up looking on it and saying, ‘What happened?!’ For a while, I had a fantasy where my universe would become like KRAITH, where I would have lots of other contributing writers. It didn’t happen, and now I look back on it and say, ‘Thank goodness it didn’t happen!’ because I know some of the problems Jacqueline Lichtenberg went through. I was close friends with several members of the KRAITH round robin. It got to be sticky. And so I had an article in PROBE 11 — which a lot of people did not like — about how the nuts-and-bolts of the KRAITH round robin writing system wasn’t doing the job it was supposed to be doing. Some of the KRAITH creators said, ‘How dare you say that?’ but it was all true, because it was written by a KRAITH creator. So sometimes your universe can get out of hand if you let too many people in with you and you don’t keep firm control. [36]
PROBE 11 starts off nicely--I like the cover very much. And it keeps up.

"The Story of STINC" is very interesting; methinks I catch a subtle dig at certain fannish writers, perhaps. (After all, how many fan writers have what amounts to their own fan club?) The convention antics sounded realistically frustrating, Murphyesque, etc.—a con is a con, obviously. I also enjoyed the more serious story in the same vein, "It Took First Prize in Houston." I do think in the latter story, however, that you might have introduced the 'traitor' a little earlier in the story...I enjoyed the semi-infighting among the fan groups, too, which also seemed to be realistic (unfortunately; I don't enjoy the same thing in real fandom). Now all you need is a story about the Dorsai. (The Dorsai vs. STW?)

Now the Klingon story — "Challenge"—is a good story; it doesn't suffer from the one malady that sometimes overwhelms the Nu Ormenel stories, that is, a surfeit of foreign words and names that sometimes make it difficult to under stand what's going on. This one was nice and simple, gave the reader some good —and to me, unexpected—insights into what Klingon culture might be like, and handled the characters of the two protagonists well. It is a little disconcerting to see Kirk coming off as an uncultured boor, but that element of his character was certainly present on occasion in aired ST, and in a way it's a good counter to all the "Kirk and the Federation can do no wrong" stories around. The Feds did very often come off as cultural chauvinists. Fern and Carol have constructed the most sympathetic and believable Klingon universe I've seen yet, I think—and it takes a lot to make me see the Klingons as sympathetic, since I tend to favor the Romulans, as seeming—in the aired version—more noble then the Klingons. I am still curious about the origins of the pro-Klingon sentiment in fandom; in the case of the Nu Ormenel universe, I'm curious about specifically what facets of Klingon life Carol and Fern drew their ideas from (Klingon life as viewed on ST, of course). I also have to applaud their ability to make the reader sort of turn his cultural head around and look at things from the other side, seeing what make a seemingly vicious culture like the Klingon's work the way it does. Makes me wonder if either of them is an anthropologist. (Carol has nice illos, too.)

"Willy and the Starship" was lovely and gentle, and gave a beautiful picture by indirection of what it might be like to be a genius incredibly far removed from the normal run of humanity, yet more human than a lot of the people around him.

...You ask what to publish to attract new readers. The first question is, which new readers do you want to attract? Seemingly you want to attract new readers who are also possibly new fans, and for them I would suggest sticking to your genzine policy, and publishing a little bit of everything, but leaning more heavily toward actual Enterprise stories. When I first started reading Trekfic, that's what I looked for: more adventures of the Big E and the characters, possibly with a little more emphasis on the characters than the show was able to give. Stories that keep the characters as close to their "originals" as possible in personality and action. Stories that combine humor with serious ideas and plots— that was one of the most striking features about ST, and one of the most lacking in fanfic; very few people seem to be able to combine the two elements the way the show did (the incongruous comment at a serious moment, Spock's sudden literalisms, etc.) Upbeat stories, and preferably stories that manage to say something as well as tell a story. Occasional parodies would probably be appreciated. Con reports, fanzine reports, occasional articles about fandom to introduce the reader to fandom. In short, general stuff.

Now if you want to attract people who have already heen fans for a while ...Well, I like the "fannish" stories, the ones about fandom and fannish types that we all know and love. Good example:"Death of a Vulcan." I have a particular fondness for the stories that make out fandom to be the real world, so to speak— the STW/Helpers stories, because they tell a story that sounds like it could be true (sometimes I wonder, in fact...) No other fanzine regularly publishes that sort of thing as far as I know, and it sets you off.

I want to comment on your graphics—they're excellent in this issue--nice borders and lettering, especially. The only slightly jarring note is the diversity of typewriter-typefaces; that may be only a personal prejudice, since I tend to go for the unified look in typefaces, but I know a lot of people like diversity. [37]

Issue 12

front cover of issue #12 by Carol Walske
back cover of issue #12, Cecilia Cosentini

Probe 12 (v.4 n.3) was published in February 1978 and contains 114 pages. Cover: Carol Walske; back cover: Cecilia Cosentini. Art & illustrations: Cecilia Cosentini, Mary Ann Emerson, Amy Falkowitz, Allan Asherman, Amy Harlib, Dan Haskett, Winston A. Howlett, David Kesztenbum, Paul Kirby, Signe Landon, Mei-Moi Lee, Fern Marder, Gee Moaven, Rodney Plummer, Mary Beth Santarelli, Joel Silverstein, Wayne Tytell, Anji Valenza, Carol Walske.

"This issue is lovingly dedicated to Joyce Yasner, who shows no mercy."

The editor writes that Captain Uhura has been substantially delayed, citing a lack of SASEs and "personal upheaval." The latter may be reference to reactions to Open Letter by Winston A. Howlett Regarding His Review of "Alternative: Epilog to Orion".

Linda Deneroff is listed as a staff member/writer in this issue, something that she took issue with in a personal statement in another zine:
I have resigned from the staff of Probe as you read this. Normally, such a statement is not necessary, but since Winston Howlett lists me as a staff person, I feel compelled to announce this resignation. I find myself in editorial disagreement with Winston on several issues, but since he makes no disclaimer in his zine to the effect that the editorial opinions are solely his own and not that of his staff, one could easily get the impression that we all agree. Winston and I will continue to be friends, but I will henceforth not be associated with 'Probe' fanzine or M'Pingo Press. [38]
[From the editorial]: For the first time in a long time, an issue of PROBE has more Trek material than anything else, including Fandom stories. In fact, the Fandom story that was planned and publicized for this issue — "I've Been Aboard the Enterprise" — has been postponed, due to space, budget, and writing problems. (A STAR WARS story was also planned for this issue, and publicized in SCUTTLEBUTT #5. As to why that story does not appear here, see "Matter-Anti-Matter" on page 111.)

But what we do have here is our first Kirk story: "The Darkness In My Soul", by INGRID CROSS. This is the prelude to Ingrid's novel, "A Deeper Shade of Darkness", soon to be published in her own fanzine, ODDYSSEY. In both cases, the art work is ably handled by MEI-MOI LEE, with a special illo for "Soul" by DOUG HERRING. For the ardent followers of the Nu Ormenel Series (and there seem to be a lot of them these days), this issue's story by FERN MARDER and CAROL WALSKE chronologically precedes "The Celebration of Alkarin", published in PROBE 10, and follows "Challenge", published in PROBE 11. (Be sure to see the special note on page 103.) VALERIE AMES' story "Latent Iamge" is unusual on a couple of levels. First of all, it is a sequel to the episode "Mirror, Mirror" that takes place in this universe (Most sequels to that adventure detail the bearded Spock's attempts to overthrow the Empire). Secondly, it is an Uhura story that is told in first person, conversationally and realistically. Looking forward to the upcoming T'Con, DAVID LUBKIN concocted a 'prequal'. satire, lampooning Big Name Fans at Very Small Cons by looking back at last year's SekWester*Con Too (For a report on that convention, see PROBE 11). In a more serious Fandom vein, DANIELA KENDALL presents a follow-up to last issue's highly controversial article about the functions and malfunctions of the KRAITH writing system. After the many explosions and the settling of the dust, it was JACQUELINE LICHTENBERG herself (the creator of KRAITH) who provided the most viable and intelligent response to "Inside KRAITH" (our special thanks to JUDITH SEGAL for permitting the response to appear here). TOM AUDETTE's first submissions to a fanzine appear here because of some very considerate fellow Trekkers. The article and cartoons (one redrawn by PAT O'NEILL) selected were just part of a very thick collection that happily fell into Ye Editor's lap. With talent this prolific, he may one day need his own page in TREXINDEX...And speaking of that publication, the review for this new 'fan fiction encyclopedia' was handled in an unusual way. 'DEBBIE SHIELDS' is a pseudonym for twelve Trekkers (out,of several score) who gave help and support to ROBERTA ROGOW during the project's formative stages. 'Debbie' requested and received a response to the review from Roberta, in order to get another side of what seems to be a complex situation. Judge for yourself.

STAR WARS slips into PROBE, satirically, lyrically, and very artistically. To mention any of the contributors to our Uhura Fantasia would be like name-dropping, and to start describing the other gems in this issue would take another page, which we don't have. So, I will simply say, "Enjoy."
This zine addressees the issue of copyrights, fanzines, and the newly-released Star Wars. (For more on this topic, see: Open Letters to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett):
OF "STAR WARS" AND COPYRIGHTS

Not so long ago, in a galaxy not too far away, Ye Editor's own major contribution to this issue was supposed to be "Four-Sided Game", a "STAR WARS" story about what happened to the farm after Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru were slaughtered and Luke Skywalker left for Alderaan. The only reason the story -- and a sequel -- was even considered was because of unofficial word received last September from Very Official Sources that Twentieth Century Studios and the STAR WARS Corporation were about to give sanction to SW fan fiction and fanzines. This hope was fueled by further written communication from the SW Corp., communications which could not be published, but were permitted to be circulated underground. The main message was, in effect, "Hang on. Sanction should be coming shortly, as soon as we get some legal points ironed out." But now -- as of this writing -- the Corporation is looking for people who have already started publishing SW fan fiction. The Corporation's stated intention is "not to hassle" these persons, but merely to inform them that they are in violation of copyrights. So much for the hinted-at sanction. Said sanction may eventually come. At least one member of the Corporation is trying to convince Twentieth Century's legal depart ment that fanzines are "a good thing". But while all the haggling is going on, we thought it would be better for PROBE to stay out of the mess until the matter is settled, one way or the other. PROBE has said a lot about the sanctity of copyrights, and we try to practice what we preach.

The one SW story that Mpingo Press has published -- "The Prometheus Pattern" in SPIRIT 1 -- went to press long before this new turn of events. So be it. Other than that, our SW efforts have re mained in safe areas, like satire, for which anything is fair game. We are not sure if "Ballad of the New Rebel" is 'legal'; we may soon find out...the hard way…
  • Starline (Editorial) by Winston A. Howlett (3)
  • The Awakening by Roberta Rogow (The Redjac entity encounters Hengist.) (4)
  • Linguistics Report by Mr. Spock, USS Enterprise by Tom Audette ('Oochy-woochy-koochy-koo' explored.) (8)
  • The Darkness in My Soul by Ingrid Cross (In a terrible battle with the Klingons, Spock is killed and Kirk's leg is shattered. He can't qualify for active duty any more, so takes a post as Chief of Exploration. To his surprise, some of his other officers decide to go along.) (The sequel to this story is in Odyssey #2.) (12)
  • Persian Proverb by Dorothy B. Martin (31)
  • Time (poetry) by Fern Marder (32)
  • Assignment by Diane McClaugherty (While taking some young cadets on Survival Training on an earthlike planet, Sulu has an experience familiar to campers everywhere.) (34)
  • R'Con Prequal by Vapid Lubberkin (38)
  • Ode to Sanity (poetry) by Dorothy B. Martin (40)
  • The Making of Star Bores by Leonard Lipton (42)
  • A Shade of Treason by Fern Marder & Carol Walske (A Nu Ormenel Klingon story) (47) (also in Nu Ormenel Collected)
  • The Trial of Kor Kothir by Carol Walske, a Nu Ormenel story, published in Monkey of the Inkpot 3, though this version is markedly different
  • Exile (poetry) by Fern Marder, Nu Ormenel (70)
flyer, click to read
  • Black Goddess: An Uhura Fantasia (poems and art) (73)
  • And Now a Word by Greg Baker and Rich Kolker (83)
  • Inside Kraith" : A Follow-up (Daniela Kendall writes briefly about Understanding Kraith by Judy Segal, which was written partly as a response to Kendall's "Inside Kraith". Kendall notes that "the project, and Ms. Lichtenberg's statement, deal with only a few of the issues raised in "Inside Kraith". The introduction to Understanding Kraith is reprinted in its entirety, and the editor Howlett adds the following: "This ends Probe's involvement with the subject of the Kraith writing system. "Inside Kraith" was published by Probe with the intention of pointing out some important issues about fan fiction writing and publishing, and to get some intelligent reaction to and discussion of a serious subject. Reactions from the general public ranged from favorable to disinterested. With the exception of Ms. Lichtenberg, Ms. Segal and one other person, reactions received from Kraith creators -- in person, by phone, by mail, and in other publications -- were less-than-logical and sometimes bordering on the inane. The subject is closed.") (84)
  • Word Search & Cartoon by Tom Audette (87)
  • Ballad of a New Rebel (poetry/filk?) by Rich Kolker (88)
  • Cartoon by Amy Harlib (90)
  • Latent Image by Valerie Ames (91)
  • Next Launching (103)
  • Nebula: Reviews (105)
  • Cartoon by Tom Audette (110)
  • Matter-Antimatter (111)
  • Feedback (112)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 12

A good readable issue: contents range from 'The Awakening' by Roberta Rogow (remember Redjac? -- Hengist?) to 'Research Report: Scientific Investigation of Unusual Linguistic Phenomena' by Commander Spock (oochie koochie koo) -- be ready to laugh. Also, 'The Darkness in My Soul,' a quiet Ingrid Cross tale that stands alone (but also prepares us for Odyssey #2); some excellent Fern Marder poetry; a neat Diane McClaughterty tale involving Sulu, 'Assignment'; a rather pointless article, 'The Making of Star Bores,' which struck me as mere space-filler; 'A Shade of Treason' from Marder and Walske's excellent Klingon universe (the illos are spectacular and appropriate); an Uhura-fantasia -- good but I wanted more. An Uhura-tale after 'Mirror, Mirror,' reviews, and LoCs round out the ish. Not every piece was first-rate, but most were. A zine worth the money. [39]
If you're looking for a respite from the endless zines obsessed with the sex habits of the Star Trek cast, there's one here that proves that there is life in the universe outside the bedroom. 'Latent Image' is a spunky recital of a sequel to 'Mirror, Mirror' and Uhura's intuitive belief that if the Mirror universe Marlene Moreau was fairly nice, the sweet girl of their universe must be evil. It's well written and good fun! 'The Darkness in My Soul' is in dark contrast indeed, as it details the final battle before the Enterprise crew is broken up at the end of their mission -- a battle that cripples Kirk and kills Spock -- not a happy ending, but the author's characters accept the blows with a strong maturity and presumably are in for worse [she refers to Odyssey #2]. There is a portfolio of very good artists' interpretations of Uhura, particularly one by Alice Jones; several comic sketches, of varying success, and excellent artwork and copy throughout. The sections of a Klingon saga and a Kraith article mean little to someone unfamiliar with either work, but will to their fans. The poetry is standard for zines. So wide a variety of material means that any fan will find something to please his taste -- and it's refreshingly different. [40]

References

  1. from Time Warp #1
  2. see complete transcript here, accessed March 6, 2013
  3. from an LoC in Probe #4 original
  4. from an LoC in Probe #4 original
  5. from an LoC in Probe #4 original
  6. from an LoC in Probe #4 original
  7. from an LoC in Probe #6
  8. from an LoC in issue #6
  9. It isn't, see Probe #4.
  10. from an LoC in Probe #6
  11. from an LoC in Probe #6
  12. from an LoC in Probe #6
  13. From a writers' panel transcript, 1989, accessed March 5, 2013. For more on this topic, see Remix, Shared Universe.
  14. from here, see more on the origins of this story
  15. from Stardate #8
  16. Paul's added editorial comment in parens: "Well, I'm glad somebody liked my story!"
  17. from Jacqueline Lichtenberg in issue #6
  18. from the zine's editor, Winston A. Howlett, in the editorial of Probe #9
  19. from Winston A. Howlett in issue #7, "Matter-Antimatter"
  20. from an LoC in issue #10
  21. from an LoC by Sandra Gent in issue #10
  22. Actually, there was a fanzine review in issue #5.
  23. from a an LoC in issue #12
  24. from an LoC in Probe #10
  25. from an LoC by Leslie Fish in Probe #10
  26. from Probe #10
  27. from an LoC in issue #12 -- The editor responds: "Thank you for your kind comment about The Gay Question, Brenda. I only wish your letter had been about four months earlier, when the argument got to be very heavy and very depressing."
  28. from Scuttlebutt #1
  29. from Scuttlebutt #2, this review sparks rebuttal in the next issue of Scuttlebutt
  30. from Scuttlebutt #3, a rebuttal
  31. from an LoC in issue #10
  32. from Scuttlebutt #4
  33. the editor of Probe's rebuttal, from Scuttlebutt #5
  34. Eileen's personal statement in Scuttlebutt #6
  35. a personal statement by Linda Deneroff in Scuttlebutt #6, a probably reaction to the dust-up in 'Scuttlebutt' #5 and possibly to the inflammatory, anti-gay editorial Winston wrote in 'Probe' #10
  36. comment by Winston A. Howlett from transcript of a panel discussion in 1989, accessed March 6, 2013, also printed in Wulfstone
  37. from an LoC in issue #12
  38. from Scuttlebutt #6 (April/May 1978), a personal statement from Linda Deneroff
  39. from Scuttlebutt #7
  40. a review by Mary Louise Dodge from Scuttlebutt #11
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