Syndizine

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Zine
Title: Syndizine
Publisher: T'Kuhtian Press and Lori Chapek-Carleton
Editor(s): Paula Block
Date(s): 1979-1981
Series?:
Medium: print
Genre:
Fandom: multimedia
Language: English
External Links:
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Contents

Syndizine is a gen multimedia fanzine. It was the first multimedia zine that contained content that wasn't based on science fiction shows. [1]

flyer printed in Pegasus #3

About

Will contain stories (both serious and 'twitty' a la Monty Python) from various TV shows, past and present, including High Caparral, Man from UNCLE, Starsky and Hutch, etc. Material still being solicited as the zine won't be ready for a while... some Trek will be accepted. [2]
Syndizine is an upcoming fanzine dedicated to the pathetic folks around the country who are addicted to and slaves to their television sets. While the zine is directed at the fen already gathered around Star Trek, Trek material will make up only a small portion of Syndizine.... Any television show qualifies for story material, altho please do not consider this your big chance to get out your dusty, ten year old story about Cornet Blue out of the trunk and see it in print unless you plan to put a lot of effort to rewrite it. Dusty ten year old stories are rarely of interest to anyone but their creator. Believe me, I know. Straight stories should have a believability factor comparable to the original series. Proper characterization, as always in fanfic, is crucial. There will also be a section of the zine dedicated to total absurdity of the Monty Python variety, the Twitzine. This material can be COMPLETELY off the wall when it comes to tastelessness, absurdity, and humor, but dammit, make it funny. Only authentic twit writers need apply, and if you need a definition of 'twit' you're probably not one. Try a straight story instead... [3]

General Reactions and Reviews

Surely the most manic multimedia zines ever made. They're a little sloppy (by 1993 standards they're a lot sloppy). Their subject matter is all over the highway, with Tenspeed and Brownshoe and Time After Time bunking next to James Thurber and the Muppets. But eclecticism is tempered with an overriding sensibility of enthusiasm and good humor, and held together by the solid talent of everyone involved. It also assumes the reader's life experience consists of more than solely watching television. [4]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1

Syndizine 1 was published in May 1979 and has 105 pages.

  • The End by Jan Lindner and Judi Lindner Hendricks (Starsky and Hutch) (Starsky pushes Hutch out of the way of a bullet during a liquor store robbery and dies. Years later, Hutch dies stopping another robbery and they meet before going to Heaven together. Art is by Signe Landon.)
  • Talk Show by Paula Smith (Starsky and Hutch) (the author says "It's not that good, but as I swiped the plot from a comic book, what do you expect?")
  • A Hawk and a Handsaw by Eileen Roy (UNCLE/Prisoner)
  • Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling, a High Chaparral story by Po Block
  • Contagion by Paula Block (MASH)
  • Whatever Happened to the IMF? (Mission Impossible)
  • I Have a Pretty Good Imagination by Alexandra Ramsay (Man from UNCLE) (Illya and a lightsaber)
  • a Man from UNCLE story by Paula Block (a follow-up to "The Final Affair" in The M.U.N.C.L.E. Book)
  • a MASH poem by Po Block
  • P.O.V." by Jackie Paciello (Lou Grant)
  • Summer Storm" by Amanda Ruffin (James at 16)
  • Those Below, a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea story by Carolyn R. Meredith (introduces Seaview to Cthulu)
  • Root Rot Time by Ro Jakubjansky (Quark)
  • Five Ways to Sunday by Kelly Hill (Maverick)
  • Finale by Paula Block (fandom unknown)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

I say it as shouldn't, but this is an excellent zine dedicated to the proposition that all non-Trek TV fandoms are created equal, or at least deserve equal time. 'Syndi' gives it to them... The list of contributors and their subjects is even more impressive: Paula Block writing a High Chaparral (for some reason dear to her heart), story, an UNCLE follow-up to her 'The Final Affair,' and a MASH poem; Eileen Roy merging the Prisoner and Illya Kuryakin; Jackie Paciello offering 'P.O.V.' -- a Lou Grant shortie; Amanda Ruffin pederasting James at 16; Carolyn R. Meredith making Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea worhwhile by inroducing Seaview to Cthulu; Po sending up Richard Benjamin; and Kelly Hill giving us an adequate treatment of Bret Maverick. Damning false modesty, I have to say that my own MASH story, Contagion, is pretty good. 'Talk Show' is not, but as I swiped the plot from a comic book, what did you expect? 'Whatever happened to the IMPF' gets obscure at times as it purports to explain the personnel changes over the years of Mission Impossible. 'I Have a Pretty Good Imagination' hands Illya K a lightsabre. A one liner. 'The End' by the Lindner sisters is pure gratuitous wallowing in blood, death, the male heterosexual pair bond, Starsky, and Hutch. Incidentally, it is superbly done. [5]
... this zine is not pegged to any particular series. It is designed, instead, to provide maintenance therapy to "those addicts of the video persuasion" who would otherwise find it difficult if not im possible to make a connection. If you're a M*A*S*H head or a Lou Grant freak, this rag is a max buy—the goods are mostly smooth, clean, and uncut, with only one or two bad trips in the whole lot. The electronic feast gets off to a light start with Alexandra Ramsay's "I Have a Pretty Good Imagination", in which Illya returns to UNCLE headquarters to discover that someone has picked up on the correspondence between Napoleon's surname and that of a current sf hero— and R&D has reacted accordingly. It's nicely- turned and entirely frivolous. (N. B.: "frivolous" is not the same as "pointless". True pointlessness requires that a story create some degree of literary expectation, however modest.) Next is the editor's own "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling", a High Chaparral epic wherein Manolito almost suffers A Fate Worse Than Death. The author conceals the precise nature of the problem until the last moment, imparting a neat comic twist with serious undertones. While "Darling" isn't Block's best work, it makes the most of its material. At the other end of the spectrum (that of High Seriousness), Eileen Roy's "A Hawk from a Handsaw" suffers from the proverbial oddity too many, relentlessly sustained. Strange people doing strange things for strange reasons tend to leave the reader annoyed, dissatisfied or both. The same comments apply to Block's "Finale". Just as queer in its way is Carolyn Meredith's "Those Below", a hybrid of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and the Cthulu mythos. It holds the attention, but never quite earns the necessary suspension of disbelief or the reader's concern for its people. Part of the difficulty, I think, is a poor choice of viewpoint; as Kelly's story, this might have been compelling. "Talk Show", Smith's Starsky & Hutch shorty, has no plot, no action, no adventure, no clinches, no tearful declarations of undying friendship. It's merely a gritty and loving day in the life of, that respects the characters' right to their own existence, A stone groove for dedicated SHead, and recipient of 1/2 of the Best of Zine Award, (A year-old Super Deluxe Combination pizza, shellacked and handsomely mounted on a Genuine Simulated Walnut hardwood board. Post age and handling extra.) Rose Marie Jakubjansky's "Root Rot Time" reworks "Amok Time" au Quark, getting off some terrific lines in the process. Despite its implied options, Kelly Hill's "Five Ways to Sunday" never makes it past the Friday rush hour. None of the characters— and I use the word advisedly; it should more properly be "caricatures"—learns anything, changes or grows in any way. This tale is pointless, a waste of time and tree. Jackie Paciello's "P.O.V." is therefore something of a relief; a pile-up on the freeway teaches a gung-ho Rossi that there are things more important than getting the story. "Summer Storm" is another man-who-learns-better piece, well-handled by Amanda Ruffin, James-at-16 emerges as a likable adolescent, not always sure of himself but trying hard, and free of the saccharin idealization/sheer spottiness that mars so many fanfictional children. As for Smith's "Contagion", suffice it to say that it's one of the best things she's written. Like "Talk Show", it takes a long, honest look at some of the uglier facts of human nature, allowing no compromise while avoiding the easy outs of self-pity and despair. In case you haven't guessed, this one takes the other half of the prize. The zine concludes with Jan Lindner's and Judi Hendricks' S&H kill-'em-off, which rings true but is weakened by a certain sketchiness. On second thought, its restraint is admirable; this is definitely one of those cases where less is more. Artwork ranges between brilliant—Faddis, for "Contagion" —and indifferent. Highly recommended. [6]

Issue 2

Sonofsyn.jpg

Syndizine 2 has the subtitle "Son of Syndizine" was published in 1981 and has 174 pages. In 1982, it won the MediaWest FanQ award for "Best Other Media 'Zine".

  • A Brother Helped is a Strong City by Roy Smith (Starsky and Hutch) (reprinted from Ten-Thirteen, with new art by Karen River -- "In the holocaust department, Roy Smith' s "A Brother Helped Is a Strong City" was parodied in Sue Doughnym's "He Ain't Heavy, He's My City", and extrapolated into Jill Ripley's Decorated for Death (which Jody Lynn Nye and I parodied in "Demonstrated to--Death" [7]
  • The Sands of Time Affair by Jackie Paciello (12 pages) (Moffitt discovers an archaeological treasure in an area soon to be a battlefield, reprinted later in another zine, perhaps The G-2 Files.)
  • other content from: Incredible Hulk, Rat Patrol, Star Duck, Shogun, Quincy, Altered States, Tenspeed and Brownshoe, Time After Time, ST:TMP/Daffy Duck, American Gigilo, Pigs in Space (Muppets), Quincy, Monty Python, Happy Days, Masada
  • contributors: Jocelyn Feaster, Judi Hendricks, Paula Block, Eileen Roy, Paula Smith, Kathy Penland, Gordon Carleton, Marian Lindner, Nancy Z. Solomon, Jan Lindner, Beckey Aulenbach, Phil Foglio, Todd Hamilton, Signe Landon, Martynn, Dolores McAllister, Cheryl Newsome, Susan Perry-Lewis, Karen River, and Joni Wagner.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

Top writers and artists grace these 174 reduced pages of Rat Patrol, Altered States, SH, Quincy, Masada, Shogun, American Gigolo, Tenspeed & Brownshoe, Happy Days, and Monty Python. This zine never stops surprising me. The first issue had me dreading to read Maverick, High Chapparaal, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea stories. But I loved them all. In thish, I did NOT want to read any Rat Patrol, Tenspeed & Brownshoe, Quincy, or Happy Days stories. But I loved everything in this zine. These stories and the accompanying gorgeous art will touch, impress, and delight you. There is just too much for me to mention, so I'll highlight my personal favorites: the two lovely Time After Time stories - the first, by Paula Block, takes place immediately after H.G. and Amy take off in the time machine; the second, by Nancy Zingrone Solomon, takes place much later and is told from the point of view of one of their sons. There's Gordon Carleton's insane "Star Duck—The Molting Picture," featuring Captain Duck, commander of the U. Eth. Eth. Warnerprize; Ensign P-P-Porkov, Chief Engineer (Yosemite) Sam, and the rest of the Warner characters. Written by "Roy Smith" (Eileen Roy and Paula Smith), "A Brother Helped is a Strong City" (SH) is perhaps the best story in the zine. Excellent writing and a fine plot - concerning the breakdown of L.A. in 1982, with gas at $4 a gallon, and society generally crumbling - make for an engrossing tale. Amidst all this, Starsky and Hutch try to help a few survivors. It is the fine interweaving of this complex plot and the characterization that struck me. This is a very long, extremely impressive story (and I'm not even an SH fan!), and it should win some sort of Fan Q award next year. (UT NOTE: This zine is not eligible for the 1984 Fan Q as it was published in 1981.) But there was one thing in this zine that meant more to me than anything else. It said what I've been trying so futilely to express to others, and on paper, for nearly nine months (at this writing). On page 32, Judi L. Hendricks has a masterpiece of a poem called "December 8, 1980" and on page 33, Sue Perry Lewis has a beautiful pencilled rendering of John Lennon. I can't thank Ms. Hendricks personally, so I'll have to do it here: thank you. The visuals are lovely, what with artists like Carleton, Foglio, Landon, Martynn, Wagner, River, and others. The price is steep, but well worth it. Highly, highly recommended. [8]

Issue 3

cover of issue #3
flyer for issue #3 from Warped Space #48

Syndizine 3 has the subtitle: "Beneath the Revenge of Syndizine" was published in 1982 and is 124 pages long. Authors/Artists: Gordon Carleton, J.R. Dunster, Todd Hamilson, Wanda Lybarger, Martynn, Jackie Paciello, Susan Perry-Lewis, Karen River, Joni Wagner, T.J. Burnside, Paula Block, Sherry Magee, Bev Grant, Sheryl Adsit, and more.

  • Crazy Eddie and The Healing Power Of Love (Review of an article that originally appeared in the second issue of the Midwest PSI Research Institute Newsletter, 3/1/81) (2 pages)
  • Shadows by T.J. Burnside (Hill Street Blues) (6 pages)
  • Halloween Tales by Sherry McGee (Heroes) (19 pages)
  • Ghost Hunt (war story) (8 pages)
  • Eulogy Between Friends (Barreta) (1 page)
  • Better Lairs and Dungeons—Verminthrax Pejorative by Bev Grant (Dragonslayer) (3 pages)
  • The Thurberesque Carnival (Satires and Humorous short stories) (16 pages)
  • After The Fall by Paula Block (Doctor Who) (3 pages)
  • And Never Brought To Mind by Jackie Paciello (The Greatest American Hero) (3 pages)
  • The Gumby Strikes Again (Star Wars/Monty Python) (Play/Parody) (3 pages)
  • Gumbies Of The Lost Ark (Raiders of the Lost Ark/Monty Python) (Play/Parody) 9 pages)
  • Brownian Motion (Q.E.D.) (6 pages)
  • A New Scenario by Irene Schafer (The Greatest American Hero) (5 pages)
  • A Little Change Back (Harry Crystal) (2 pages)
  • Espeth by Bev Grant (Dragonslayer) (3 pages)
  • Television Crossword (1 page)
  • H.M.S. Deathstar (Star Wars Play/Parody) (11 pages)
  • The Hill Street Blues-backed Speller by Paula Smith

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

Syndizine #3 is a spiffy-looking, if teeny-tiny printed, zine of 'orphan' media stories -- stories few other zines will take, not because they are badly done, but because they haven't an active fandom behind them. After all, there hasn't been a Hill Street Blues con nor a Dragonslayer zine to show off those pieces in... yet. The worst one can say about this zine is that most of the entrees are either very short, or else verge on the fluffy, like the 14-page script for the two Gumby plays performed at MediaWest*Con, "Gumby Strikes Again" and "Gumbies of the Lost Ark'... It's pleasant to have these plays in more solid form than memory, and the 'Carnvial' is a clever combination of fandom and James Thurber, but they are likely not to everyone's taste, despite being the second and third longest things in the zine. The longest is "Halloween Tales," a diptych with Kenny Boyd, Harrison Ford's character in the movie Heroes. Both stories are incidentally quite fine, depicting Kenny's coming to manhood in the opposite situations of a junior high school Halloween dance, and a moonlit Vietnam sniper chase... The remaining pieces are vignettes or a little more, but still, they are rather good. Of the two Greatest American Hero stories, 'A New Scenario' beats out 'And Never Brought to Mind' by a whisker. Shafer's plot -- Ralph is to return the supersuit after five commendable years of action, and Bill is depressed because he sees it as the end of their friendship -- stays in focus better than Paciellos': Ralph offers to holovise for the murder of Bill's wife, but Maxwell demurs, not wishing to stir ghosts... Grant's two Dragonslayer pieces are interesting. 'Elspeth' is the better, an intense look at the princess heroine at a heroic moment, as she decides on certain death to force the nobility and her father, the king, to exterminate the dragon, not just placate it with semi-annual virgins... 'Vermithrax Paradox' is a witty turnabout on the film from the dragon's point of view. Grant also has a collection of instant filksongs for Star Wars in the Gilbert and Sullivan mode. My favorite is 'I am the Very Model of a Diplomatic Droid.' Delightful sketches by Todd Hamilton accompanying them. I can't help favoring Burnside's Hill Street Blues-based 'Shadows.' It's the story I had meant to write myself. Even without that motive, a reader will enjoy this piece; it's right in character, it takes off from a point mentioned but not shown in the series, and it's the beginning of another relationship, specifically Bates/Coffey. Now all that remains is to write the sensual resolution. A heterosexual relationship story -- what a concept!... 'After the Fall' is a curious, haunting depiction of the limbo where the good doctors go after shuffling off their mortal coils. It is also similar to Poblocki's 'Finale' (in Syndizine #1) in which Illya Kuryakin also showed the serenity that comes from letting go of one's mind. This calls up Mark Twain's mysterious stranger, who recommended madness as a cure for unhappiness... No blockbuster stories, but many fine works. Recommended. [9]

References

  1. History of Slash by K.S. Boyd, accessed 12.12.2010
  2. from a submission request in Scuttlebutt
  3. from a blurb in Implosion #4
  4. In 1993, a zine ed asked her readers to list their "Five Favorite Fanzines." This was one fan's comment. For more, see Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?/Top Five Fanzines Questionnaire.
  5. review by Paula Smith from Universal Translator, the same review is in an issue of S and H
  6. from Jane Aumerle in Star Canticle #2
  7. from Paula Smith in the program book for The Paul Muni Special
  8. from Universal Translator #21
  9. from Warped Space #48
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