Star Trek Action Group (newsletter)/Issues 081-100
Star Trek Action Group 81
- unknown content
Star Trek Action Group 82 is undated and contains 32 pages. It is the first issue to go to a reduced, digest-sized format.
- the K/S debate continues; a fan writes: Firstly, for the record, I have nothing against homosexuality in so far as everyone has a choice in life. My objection is simply the connection with Star Trek - it has no place here. I've seen every TV episode, read every novel and watched every film - and I can't see a shred of evidence to even remotely suggest that Kirk & Spock are homosexuals. If anyone can show me otherwise. I'll gladly drop my objection. [C W] wrote that she found the idea of Kirk & Spock being lovers as no great surprise. Judging by the facts, I can only see a leap in illogic. Would it surprise KS readers if ST stories were written having Scotty as a Frenchman or, as [A F] said, making out Chapel is Chinese? C'mon, where do we draw the Use? How about having Spock an alcoholic? Can't you see it is all out of character? One of the most important factors in ST is the believability factor. K/S stories score zero in this respect...The defence that it was OK for people to imagine and write about a homosexual relationship between Kirk & Spock if they wanted. If Kirk & Spock ware real people, they would sue for libel and win hands down. If you believe in Lesley's argument, then it means you are free to write what ever you want to imagine about Star Trek. Never mind credibility, never mind believability, never mind the true characters created by Gene Roddenberry, never mind any of these things which make Star Trek what it is and what we love. No, just let everything go to the wall. There is an obvious lack of responsibility by K/S writers here. They just ignore the golden rules of writing true Trek so they can produce their own distortions. IDIC is the real defence used by K/S supporters. But this defence is a shambles. IMC does not and cannot apply to this situation. Firstly, IDIC is tolerance of views, not how people express those views. Secondly, and more simply, commaon sense prevails. IDIC means "to be different is not necessarily to be wrong". But if I write a story where Scotty is a Frenchman, I am wrong.
- a fan comments on AIDS and fandom: There are some unfortunate people who do believe that AIDS is God's judgement on homosexuals. To be counted as one of these ignorants is very hurtful. AIDS is a disease, not a judgement. It came from Monkeys, not a deity. It kills all people, not just homosexuals. It is a frightening virus that needs all of mankind's resourses, understanding and awareness to combat. I think it is unfortunate that the AIDS issue has been dragged into the K/S debate as I believe its inclusion is not necessary to either side's case. I suppose, though, that it is only a matter of time before the K/S writers themselves, if they haven't already done so, use the AIDS issue to add some extra "drama" to their stories.
- a fan writes: So the great K/S debate continues. When I was first a Star Trek fan, I'd never heard of K/S zines. I then bought one out of curiousity. It was a very 'mild one.' but I was quite shocked, and I ripped it up and threw it in the dustbin. (Daft, isn't it?). Since then, Since then I have read a lot or K/S, also a lot of genzines etc. I must admit I did like some of the K/S ones, but others went completely 'over the top.' The stories were badly written and I also noticed that some stories were very similar. I have also typed K/S stories, it doesn't bother me, if people want to read it that's their business, as long as they are not corrupting youngsters. If you don't like it, don't buy it; that's what I say! I have now gone right off K/S and only read the ordinary zines, I much prefer the new Pocket Books at the present, some of the stories are very good. Perhaps I will read some K/S in the future, who knows?
Star Trek Action Group 83 is undated, but appears to have been published in June 1988 and contains 32 pages.
- it publishes a list of 11 known TNG episodes and very short synopses
- the editors remind folks that the newsletter will now be printed four times a year in March, June, September, and December
- there is a con report for UFP '88
- there are some pro book reviews
Star Trek Action Group 84 is undated and contains 40 pages.
- the editor says that she has been receiving more information she can use in four issues a year and proposes going back to six
- it contains an episode guide to TNG
- this issue has some blueprint-type diagrams of TNG starships
- there is a con report for UFP Con
- there are two pro book reviews
- there is another installment of a regular feature about news regarding the space shuttle
- a fan complains about the different release dates for TNG in different countries, saying it fragments fandom: It destroys fandom's hitherto cohesiveness by creating pools of 'haves' and 'have not.'... Moreover, fans being what they are, pirate copies of the episodes have been circulating in various places for many, many months, thus creating another group: those fans who have access to these pirate episodes and have seen nearly all the series to date. So much for the greedy sod who thought to milk the fans of their rental money by doling out 2 episodes every 2 months. No fan is going to wait for that and miss out on the interaction with other fans because of being left behind. Fans are going to make copies whether the series is on TV or rented out on video. It's B7 in the States before 1985 all over again, only in reverse.
Star Trek Action Group 85 is undated, but appears to have been published in December 1988 and contains 34 pages.
- the editor says the newsletter is going back to six times a year
- there is a article which examines the BBC's cutting of Star Trek episode reruns and describes some missing scenes
- there is a transcription of a interview with John DeLancie at Confetti Con in August 1988
- this issue contains a very reduced print listing and descriptions of all ST: TOS episodes
- there are some pro book reviews
Star Trek Action Group 86
- unknown content
Star Trek Action Group 87 is undated and contains 32 pages.
- it contains many newspaper reprints, info about the movie...
Star Trek Action Group 88 is undated but appears to be June 1989. It contains 36 pages.
- the editor is one of several that came with raffle tickets (see image): To enter the raffle, just send one half of the enclosed tickets (a strip of five), together with [one pound] entry fee, remembering to print your name and address on the back of each ticket. The prizes this time are video of "The Wrath of Khan," novels "Survivors (Next Gen) and "Time Trap (Original ST), free membership to STAG.
- there is a con report for Sol III 1989
- there is a pro book review
- a fan writes:
Star Trek Action Group 89 was published in August 1989 and contains 34 pages. It has an inside back cover and back cover by Richard McGinlay and a front cover by Greg Halpin.
- there is a pro book review
- this issue has a installment of "Space Column" by Bo Maxwell
- the editor apologizes that there are no LoCs in this issue because there were so many articles in this issue
Star Trek Action Group 90 is was published in October 1989 and contains 34 pages.
- a fan comments on an earlier letter from a fan complaining how Star Trek conventions were getting boring: The reason for the 'umph' going is every con has to be the same, ie. Videos, Art Show, Auctions, etc... But if any committee missed any of the above out, there might be questions asked. The committee is in a 'no win' situation. If they change things, there will be people who like things the way they are. But, conventions must change to survive, or British Star Trek conventions will not reach 300.
- there is part two of a long article by Bo Maxwell about the music in the ST motion pictures (part one appeared in issue #86)
- there is a pro book review
- there is a full-page ad for "Frontiers," the 29th British Star Trek Convention
Star Trek Action Group 91 was published in December 1989 and contains 44 pages.
- the editor hints at big changes coming to the newsletter and says more will be revealed in February
- a fan, David Deakin, writes an article called "A History of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" which details his wait for the movie to be released
- a number of fans write about their reactions to the movie
- there is a review of a pro book, and of a TNG computer game
- there is an installment of "Space Program" by Bo Maxwell
- this issue has some fanfic, a story called "Star Trip -- Where Every Man Has Gone For" by Dhugal Gibbons
Star Trek Action Group 92 was published in February 1990 and contains 32 pages.
- the editor says that after six years of running the zine, she is handing over the reigns of the newsletter to Lynne Collins
- there is a fan's review of the fifth Star Trek movie; she despised the movie
- there is another long review of the movie by a fan who thought it was pretty bad, but not deserving of terrible reviews she'd been reading
- another fan writes a movie review and says it was "not bad but not my favorite" and that she was disappointed
- most fans say of the movie: they thought the bar scene was a Star Wars cantina rip-off, that Kirk telling Spock to shoot Sybok was out of character, that the slapstick humor was dumb, and that it was out of character for Spock to distract Kirk on the mountain climb
- there is a pro book review
- a fan writes of Star Trek merchandising and bemoans the slickness and lack of quality: Walk into the Dealers room in any convention and what do you see? Glossy magazines, posters and grossly overpriced toys and models. All tackily mass produced imports. But ten years ago it was a different story.... Star Trek was still in sindication and rumours abounding about a big movie. Professional merchandise was rare and the main source of S.T. memorabilia was the newsletter, the fanzine and homemade items lovingly crafted by the fans who had spent the 70's working tirelessly to keep Star Trek alive. Star Trek fan clubs in Britain were few, but one built itself up and became the voice of the British fans, it was of course STAG (still the biggest S.T. club in Britain). In those heady days of fandom, fanzines and newsletters were produced on manual typewriters and reproduced on very temperamental Roneo duplicators, resulting in a few zines being totally illegible in parts. But these zines were produced by the fans, for the fans, no one really cared about the quality of reproduction. it was the quality of the written word which took precedence. At the conventions, the dealers room reflected the unique quality of fan produced memorabilia. Fan dealers outnumbered the pro dealers and when wandering around the tables, it was always possible to buy specially struck pencils, pens, diaries, mugs, key rings and of course fanzines. It was not uncommon to see attendees leaving the dealers room with a boxful of zines, some of which were considered collectors items, and their titles were well known to the regular fanzine reader; Log Entries, Federation Outpost, Zenith, Scandals of Shikahr and of course the raunchiest K/S zine of all..Thrust. Back in the 70' s the professionals didn't want to know about Star Trek merchandising, they weren' t interested, so it was up to the fans to produce their own memorabilia. How times have changed!! Now the fan dealers have been kicked to one side, they are packed into small corners of the Dealers room like sardines, whilst the ever growing number of pro-dealers move in with their glossies. Fans no longer buy the zines that have been produced by other fans, they want the hundreds of novels that are now being churned out without any thought to quality of story. They're buying up all the mass-produced material that, in ten years time, will be just as worthless as the the day they bought it. Whatever will happen to the fan dealer and the fanzine?
- this issue has two full-page comics by D. Rhea
Star Trek Action Group 93 was published in April 1990 and contains 30 pages. It is the first issue edited by Lynne Collins.
- the new editor say that while she has been a closet Trekkie as well as active in fandom from many years, this is her first foray into publishing a zine and running a club, referring to Star Trek Action Group
- the editor writes that "due to the inefficiency of the Post Office," she hasn't received everything from the former editor, so some regular features might not be present in this issue
- there is a transcript of a 1990 radio interview between Gloria Hunniford and William Shatner; in it he plugs "Tek War" (his "first novel"), talks of his love for science fiction, and ruminates about the fifth ST movie
- there is a review of A Human Kind of Learning, see that page
- there is a review of "Tek War"
Star Trek Action Group 94 was published in June 1990 and contains 42 pages.
- there is a con report for Frontiers
- the newsletter is sponsoring a story contest that members of STAG can enter: We each have our own ideas for the next Star Trek film. Here is your chance to write a story based on your own vision of what the next movies should be about... For the purpose of this competition we will assume that the next film in the series: therefore your story should have a suitable ending. Although your story need not directly follow on from "The Final Frontier," it should be consistent with previous events.
- a fan, Nikki White, writes a long essay on the decline of zines, of home-grown fandom, and the proliferation of laziness and entitlement: While fan dealers do still occupy about half the dealer space at Cons [in Australia], there seems to be a new breed of fan emerging over the past five years (I've been in fandom nearly 20 years) who has no knowledge of, or interest in, fannish traditions and things fannish like zines, etc. In the 70s, zines flourished because they filled a perceived lack, viz no new adventures about the Good Ship Enterprise and her crew. Newsletters supplied news on the actors and the various moves to revive ST, where as the professional publications totally ignored such areas as un-newsworthy. There was little available from the professional publishers apart from the Blish novelisations and a few original novels not highly regarded by fandom at large ("We could and can do better..."). So we had to fulfill our own needs, make our own fun. This brought out the creativity that was so much a part of fandom. Then came Star Wars and the science fiction movie boom. Not only did publishers realise there's gold in them there fannish hills, but a new generation of fan began to emerge by the mid-80s who had never known the lean days when virtually only the fan publications kept the fandom alive. The new breed are used to having everything handed to them on a plate. If they want to "watch ST, they sit in front of the VCR waiting to be entertained. They consume tape after tape with little digestion, analysis or speculation about what they have seen. That is not their way. They've never had to fight for a programme to be repeated on TV, they don't need to - they have it on tape or know where they can get copies. Similarly with publications. If they want news, there is Starlog (or less commonly, Starburst); if they want to read fiction, there is the plethora of ST or ST:TNG novels. There is no perceived lack that would lead them to seek out fan publications. It is all there at the local newsagents. Material that fans in the 70s had to go to great lengths to get, usually by ordering direct from overseas, can now be bought in any one of a number of specialist bookshops in the larger cities. The focus of their fannish interest has, perforce, shifted. Often the accumulation of tapes (not necessarily ST) and pro books and magazines is an end in itself with them, and takes all their resources. This mass consumption has led, often, to a very superficial type of fan with little knowledge or even real interest in the programme s/he is supposed to be a fan of. They don't have the mindset or the desire for the sort of in-depth exploration of a 'universe' that fan publications specialise in... you make a throwaway allusion to ST, such as 'corbomite' - and you get a blank stare! So much for fannish in-jokes. This is all a great pity. For by concentrating only on the professional material, they are missing out on the exploration of the Trek universe, the exchange of ideas with like-minded people, the general fun that can be had, the sheer creativity. Unfortunately, the new breed are not nuch into participative fandom (except on a superficial level). The sad thing is that as older fans (or veteran fans) move on to other fields or fade away as they do, not many new names are coming forward to replace them, as a glance at the contents pages of the major zines in this country would show. And with one or two egregious exceptions, zine sales are declining, necessitating the bulk of the print run to be shipped overseas for foreign sales to keep the zine financially viable (Though fans still buy zines in person at Cons here, they seem to be incapable of writing a cheque to buy through the mail). The new breed neither contribute nor subscribe to zines as a rule. Or, if they do, they pick but one and never look at any other. So I'd say that the reason the fan dealers are being squeezed out of Cons may well be that that is what the fans want - the professional material, as they have no use or understanding of the fannish.
- a fan makes a prediction: British Star Trek Conventions are in a rut; if it was not for Star Trek: The Next Generation they would have disappeared years ago. I started going to Cons in 1983 when we only had Star Trek and the films; by 1986 I felt British Star Trek Conventions were grinding to a halt. In 1987 ST:TNG gave it a life saving injection. I feel now that British Star Trek Conventions are going to disappear in ten years.
- the con com for Frontiers reported on the business meeting and the complaints they had received: one interesting note -- the number of fans at the business meeting: We were very sad to see that only about two hundred and fifty people attended the business meeting at Frontiers, especially considering there was well over nine hundred people registered at the con." Another fan comments: "Do we want our Conventions to go the way of American Conventions? For a similar price you will get a show put on to entertain you. It will start at 10am and finish at 6pm. It will be conducted in a single room where you will see videos, slides, competitions and guest speakers (although these days the major guests often have a separate evening performance for which you have to buy an additional ticket). There will be a dealer's room (not necessarily any bigger or better than our ones). More importantly, all profits go into the pockets of the organisers, not to charity! Is this what the new generation of Star Trek fans want? British Conventions are unique, friendly, participatory affairs. Let's keep hem that way!
- there are three pro book reviews, a crossword puzzle, two full-page comics
- this issue publishes the results of the STAG reader survey
Star Trek Action Group 95 was published in August 1990 and contains 58 pages.
- this issue has some clippings from German newspapers
- there is much news on what the stars are up to
- a fan comments on conventions: I have been a Star Trek fan since 1969. I joined fandom (American) in 1973 and began going to conventions in 1982. I became an active fan and con attendee about 3 years ago. As a result, I feel I am in a reasonable position to respond the letters and comments made. From the letters and comments raised it appears that I don't fall into either of the two categories. As an original fan I am a great follower of The Next Generation; most people know that for the last couple of years, I have been found at all hours of the day and night in the video room watching the new episodes. At the same time, I am an active collector of the professional books, magazines, etc, but also the fanzines put out by the clubs... Having said that I must say that I have seen a very great change in the types of attendees at conventions. Wen I first went to conventions, many people went purely to get drunk. Over the years, these people have dropped out mainly, I presume, because the new younger attendees were not interested in drink, but disco and having a good time to remember. A result of this, of course, is that there are fewer people in the video rooms during the evening... I do agree with the condemnation of non-participatory fans and attendees. It doesn't just affect cons; it also affects clubs. You can see that most club newsletters have a central core of contributors. Cons, especially the main ones, are exactly the same. The convention committees are made up of a small core of active people. When I first went to convention business meetings there were two or three different groups competing for the same spot. What I think is required is a more accessible type of committee and better communications between them and the attendees. It was seen as quite accepted in 1982 but conventions were smaller and, I expect, easier to organise. Now the newer type of attendees want a committee to be answerable to their attendees and also in clear view, not hidden away in a committee room. We also need a central meeting place for people to sit and chat.
- a fan comments on cons: Personally, I go to cons to meet and talk to other fans. I also go as a dealer because it's the only way I can afford to go to as many cons as I want to attend, but dealing has its compensations because most people find their way into the dealers' room at one time or another and I get to meet a lot of people at the table. I've even noticed a difference in the dealers' room of late. At the Trek cons in the 70s the dealers' room was very quiet or even closed completely during guests' talks. This certainly wasn't the case at Frontiers. Whatever was happening in the main hall and the video rooms, there was a constant stream of people coming through the dealers' room, and most of them had the time to stop and chat. This makes me wonder whether I'm now in the majority, whether most people go to cons primarily to meet other like-minded people, and really don't care what is on the programme. This is certainly not the case at some of the American cons I've read about, and I think it would be a real shame it our cons did become like theirs. Richard Arnold commented at SOL III on the fact that American cons just feature a few hours programming a day, while ours go on nonstop from lunchtime Friday until lunchtime Monday. I'd really hate to see that stop. SOL III was my first big Trek con for some time and I was surprised to see so many people there who I didn't know. But it didn't matter. Everyone chatted to everyone else, there was a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed seeing some of those people again at MidCon and Frontiers."
- one fan comments that fans "mutter but do nothing; this is unfortunately a British characteristic.
- there are three pro book reviews
- there is a review of All Loss Restored, see that page
- there is another installment of the comic by Darren Rhea
Star Trek Action Group 96 was published in October 1990 and contains 58 pages.
- there is a con report for Holodeck
- there is a section of short bios, along with photos, of the TNG actors
- this issue has many detailed TNG episode synopses
- there are several pro book reviews
Star Trek Action Group 97 was published in December 1990 and contains 50 pages.
- a fan writes that he "has just discovered the wonderful world of computer mail at Cardiff University"
- the former editor has sold the old typewriter for forty-five pounds; the duplicator is free to anyone who drives up to Newcastle to get it
- the editor reminds fans that anything they write to STAG can be edited and may be printed in the newsletter unless the letter specifically says it is not for public eyes
- fans are still trying to decide if they like TNG
- there are some movie rumors, as well as the usual numerous newspaper article reprints
- there is a con report for MidCon which was held in October 1990 in the Holiday Inn in Leicester
- there is a long article addressing a fan's question about the money paid to cons and where it goes -- most of the money goes to pay the celebrity guests...
- the editor feels the need to answer common questions from new fans -- two of these questions is "What is a zine?" and "What is a convention?"
- there are some pro book reviews, and many TNG episode synopses
Star Trek Action Group 98 was published in February 1991 and contains 62 pages.
- the editor notes she got 200 letters last month
- a fan comments about the negative comments he's been reading in the newsletter about TNG: I would just like to comment on all the people who call themselves Trekkies, Trekkers or whatever, who keep slagging off ST:TNG. Surely this is against the whole philosophy of Trekdom to further the cause and ideology of Trek. To me, all Trek is good, wholesome fun to be enjoyed, whether old or new. One is not taking over from the other but continuing the story and I think the whole thing is excellent viewing. We should be grateful somebody made the effort at all to bring us new sagas in a different form.
- there is an article by Stephen Kember called "Defending 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture'"
- there are a number of TNG synopses, two book reviews, and one TNG episode review
- this issue has an article by Ian Thompson called "Star Trek in Comics"
- this issue has an article by John Evans called "Physics in Star Trek"
Star Trek Action Group 99 was published in April 1991 and contains 40 pages.
- regarding the story contest that was announced in an earlier issue: the editors received only two entries; there were two judges, and each one picked other other story as a favorite; both judges, however, felt neither story was "sufficiently outstanding to merit the award of the prize"; the stories were by Sandy Catchick and John Mariani and would appear later in the newsletter in serial format
- there is yet more debate about TOS vs TNG
- a fan, Paul Spencer, writes an article called "Epilogue for the Original Crew" in which he speculates on what became of the old crew
- there are three pro book reviews, as well as a review of an audio book
Star Trek Action Group 100 was published in June 1991 and contains 66 pages.
- Jenny and Terry Elson write about the beginning of STAG: It was in 1972 that we discovered the wonderful world of Star Trek fandom when we heard about the Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans. It was in the small-ad pages of their excellent newsletter that we realised for the first time that there were other British fans, and that we were not alone! There was a nucleus of about 50-60 fans in this country, and a few fan clubs, some of which folded quite quickly, some of which lasted to entertain us; I'm sure S.T.E.R.B. will be remembered with great affection by all the 'originals'. In those days there was nothing but our own imaginations on which to feed our fandom; no merchandise as there is today, no books apart from the Blish series, and certainly no videos or even 8mm film of the series. So we made our own, writing stories for fanzines, articles for newsletters and collecting photos and slides supplied by Lincoln Enterprises. Then, from our American friends, we heard about a wonderful thing; something called a Convention, which took place in New York. A lot of the stars attended, along with several thousand Star Trek fans! It all sounded so exciting and oh how we ached to be part of it all! An idea began to form, Terry and I discussed it endlessly; a convention of our own! The first British Star Trek Convention. But how could we ever afford such an expensive venture, when there were still only 50-60 fans in Great Britain? There was only one thing to do; form an action group in order to save up for the required financing. We could produce newsletters and fanzines and promote the idea amongst the skeptical fans. The Star Trek Action Group was born! We bought a second-hand duplicator (which spat ink everywhere), cajoled everyone into writing articles and stories, and charged the princely sum of 50 pence membership fee. Not that it helped much. Our membership still hovered around 50 and £25 a year would hardly get us the Convention we'd planned for! To boost funds we organised a Mini-Con at our local church hall. I suppose that was the first real Convention. People came from the length and breadth of Britain, all for one day of slide shows, talks and friendship. Then came the big break-through! An article in our local paper prompted me to write to the letters page about Star Trek. Two weeks later the paper sent a reporter to our house and wrote an article about us, STAG and the hopes we had for a Convention. Four weeks later, the letters began to arrive; a few at first, then more, then a deluge! Unknown to us, that article had been syndicated to local newspapers all over the country and, believe it or not, Australia too! Star Trek fans from John-o-Groats to Lands-End (and Sydney to Melbourne), all of whom thought they were alone in their devotion, wrote of their delight at 'finding' fandom. In the end there were so many letters we had to draft in helpers to reply to them. At last, The Star Trek Action Group could do what it had set out to do. In 1974, we finally realised our dream with the first British Star Trek Convention. George Takei and James Doohan were our guests.... but the making of Star Trek Conventions is yet another story...
- this issue has lengthy personal recollections of STAG and early British Star Trek fandom written by Sheila Clark, Janet Quarton, Jenny Elson, Terry Elson, Margaret Richardson, Sylvia Billings, Beth Hallam, and Valerie Piacentini
- Lynne Collins publishes two pages of STAG stats regarding fans and their age, gender, and their preference for TOS, TNG, and/or both shows
- there is some fiction written script-style by Nigel Futter called "Trial by Q"
- this issue contains several pro book reviews
- there is a full-listing of all ST pro books that had been written
- there are two long con reports for UFP Con '91
- there is some fiction by Daniel A. Allshouse called "Tribbles"