The Holmesian Federation
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|Title:||The Holmesian Federation|
|Date(s):||1978 to 1991|
|Fandom:||Sherlock Holmes/Star Trek|
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The Holmesian Federation is a gen crossover digest-sized anthology of Sherlock Holmes crossed with Star Trek: TOS and other science fiction and fantasy characters, including Doctor Who, H.P. Lovecraft, the Invisible Man, and Dracula. One of these crossovers turned out to be particularly controversial.
Works appearing in The Holmesian Federation were generally credited under the real names of their authors. Among the authors contributing works to the zine were Dana Martin Batory, Ruth Berman, John C. Bunnell, Tina Rhea, and several other writers who were/are known for other fannish interests or who subsequently became professionally published authors.
Twelve short stories by Dana Martin Batory that first appeared in various issues of The Holmesian Federation were later republished as the commercial title The Federation Holmes: Casebook Number One: A Baker's Dozen of Sherlock Holmes – Star Trek Parodies.
General Reactions and Reviews
Mix Spock and the rest of the ST universe with Sherlock Holmes, and you get a very entertaining little zine...It has a refreshingly humorous feel to it. The stories are, in general, light-hearted, and SW fans will find their obsession tacitly represented. Fans of cross-universes will rejoice upon reading this and they, like me, will want more! 
Here's a very lovely little production, a definite one-of-a-kind journal that was nothing but fun for its readership. As the name implies, this journal featured Sherlock Holmes/Star Trek crossover fan fiction. Beautiful covers, a nice variety of stories that took some imagination to come up with, the occasional non-Trek Holmes crossover (Dr. Who, H.P. Lovecraft, the Invisible Man, Dracula . . .). The Holmesian Federation was one of those publications that was definitely taken from us too early -- a sort of James Dean of fanzines -- as Holmes and Star Trek hadn't even begun to cross over. I'd have loved to have seen where it would have gone once Mr. Data and Spock's Star Trek VI well-known quote, "An ancestor of mine . . ." had entered the mix. 
The Holmesian Federation" certainly was a whole lot of fun! Sometimes the stories worked very well, in other cases the combination of genres was simply awful, but the fanzine itself was always a pleasure to receive! And yes, I fondly remember the Dr. Who/Holmes story titled "The Adventure of the Crack in Eternity" that appeared in issue 6. Some charming illustrations accompanied the story too. Another fondly remembered piece was Ralph E. Vaughan's "The Adventure of the Ancient Gods" that combined Holmes with Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos back in issue 4. Extraordinarily fun stuff!"
One of the great dismays of my Sherlockian life was the demise of a great little fanzine called The Holmesian Federation that centered on crossing over Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek, but wandered into many another fandom as well (the apparent source of its demise due to a copyright infringement case). With Star Trek proving to have seemingly as much long-term viability as Sherlock Holmes these days, it's a real shame that tradition couldn't have continued. Of course, with the wide open world of the internet, who's to say it won't or hasn't."
The Holmesian Federation 1 (64 pages) was published in 1978, consisting of 7 stories as well as several poems, song lyrics, puzzles, and an essay. The cover is by Gayle F and appears in a slightly different form on the first Interphase calendar in 1976.
The art is by Gayle F, Signe Landon, Clare Bell, and Vicki Wyman.From the editorial:
Well, It's over a year late, and considerably smaller than I had planned, but here, at last, is THE HOLMESIAN FEDERATION #1. My most abject apologies to all of you patient people for the delay. It was caused by a number of problems, mostly unexpected. Some of you are familiar with the trials and tribulations of THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE #3, co-edited by Amy Falkowltz and myself; that was one of the problems. Others were my getting a full-time job earlier this year, general laziness, and the fact that the authors of what were to have been my main stories were considerably behind schedule. One story, by [Melanle R], was a superbly Intricate Holmes story, which is and has for over a year been only a few pages short of completion. Mel, for various reasons, was simply unable to finish It, and probably never will, for which I am truly sorry. The other story was a collaboration between myself and Frankle Jemison, and it almost made it. But then we took a good look at it, and realized that to be a really good story, it would need another several months of re-writing, so we abandoned It.
The loss of those two stories is why this Issue is so short. Fortunately, I got unexpected submissions from several people, or there wouldn't have been a zine at all. As it is, due to the decrease In planned size and, hence, printing costs, I will be refunding $1 to everyone who ordered 1st class, and mailing out all 4th class copies via 1st class. You should find the $1 enclosed In your zine. The reason I am not simply crediting the extra money towards HF#2 Is that, at this point. I have no idea If there will ever be a #2. When I first started this project, over 18 months ago, it was because people were practically leaping out of the woodwork with fascinating ideas for stories combining two of my favorite universes, ST and Holmes. But, one by one, the writers discovered that, if Holmes himself is difficult to write convincingly, writing Holmes and the ST characters convincingly in the same story, is well-nigh~impossible. The stories which do appear here are those that, in one way or another, were successful, and I applaud the authors for prevailing at such a difficult task.So—the existence of a HF#2 will depend solely on the number of acceptable submissions I receive within the next year or so. Submissions should either combine Holmes and ST (n some way, or be about Holmes alone, and can be stories, poetry, articles, or artwork, humorous or serious. In the meantime, anyone who Is Interested please send me a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) and I will notify you when I know one way or the other.
- poem by Frankie Jemison
- Editorial (2)
- It's Elementary by Melanie R (4)
- poem by Frankie Jemison (8)
- New Scotland Yard by Frankie Jemison (9)
- A Nostalgic Country of the Mind by Dana Martin Batory (10)
- Notes on the Persistence of Evil by Edgar B. Smith, M.D. (16)
- A Study in Harlots by Frankie Jemison (17)
- Puzzles by Catalina Mellon (21)
- Holmes Was a Vulcan by Priscilla Pollner (24)
- Role Model by Ruth Berman (29)
- Spock's Halloween by Frankie Jemison (30)
- At Waterloo by Frankie Jemison (55)
- Songs by Melanie R and Signe Landon (59)
- Two Old Friends by Eileen Roy (60)
- art by Gayle F, Signe Landon, Clare Bell, and V.M. Wyman.
The Holmesian Federation 2 (88 pages) was published in 1980 and contains 8 stories. Art is by Signe Landon, Gloria-Ann Rovelstad, Melody Rondeau, and Gordon Carleton.
- The Mysterious Lodger by R. Merril Bollerud (1)
- Every Comes in Circles by Dana Martin Batory (18)
- Aphorism by Anonymous (29)
- Quadrumvirate by Dana Martin Batory (30)
- Of Course by Anonymous (45)
- Xenolith by Dana Martin Batory (46)
- Elementary, My Dear Gollum by John H. Watson, M.D., edited by Cathy Siemann (55) (reprinted from Palantir #1, a Sherlock Holmes/Tolkien crossover)
- The Adventure of the Missing Monolith by Eileen Roy (63)
interior art from issue #2, Gordon Carleton (reprinted from an unknown issue of Warped Space)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2
The Mysterious Lodger" [is] an intriguing story, in the best Doyle tradition, and the solution is fascinating. The story offers a though-provoking reason for Holmes' eventual renunciation of the cocaine habit, and the illos by Gloria Ann Rovelstand are appropriate. "Every Comes in Circles," "Quadrumvirate," and "Xenolith," by Dana Martin Batory... are all stories in an alternate universe which was established in Issue #1 in which Holmes and Watson, recreated via the Shore Leave planet, have settled into residency in the Federation. They find a home on Memory Alpha and recreate, as much as they can, their Baker Street digs. These stories, unlike the rest in this issue, are third person, and not from Watson's point of view, but I suppose Watson could not have described Holmes as 'taking on the attitude of a slumbering sehlat.' Overall, these stories are fascinating, and Holmes is just as at home solving intergalactic crime as he was back in foggy London. "The Adventure of the Missing Monolith" by Eileen Roy... shares with 'The Mysterious Lodger' an aura of authenticity about it -- it seems as though this is a long lost manuscript of Dr. Watson, and the style and characters ring absolutely true. Second, Holmes' and Watson's reactions to the Enterprise and our crew is wonderfully done -- though I do wonder how Holmes takes it so calmly. The winning point is Watson's descriptions of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.)... This zine is an absolute delight... The artwork throughout by Rovelstad, Landon, and Melody Rondeau is marvelous, as is the illo by Gordon Carleton. This zine also contains two absolutely horrendous puns in the form of two very short vignettes. The zine is absolutely must for Sherlockinans, it is also a must for any Trek fen who enjoy a deliciously told tale, even though it has a larger percentage of Holmes and Watson than Federation tales. 
The Holmesian Federation 3 (80 pages) was published in 1982 and contains one story by Marguerite Krause. Art is by Signe Landon. On the cover: The Holmesian Federation Presents: The Adventure of the Vanishing Corpse.
The Holmesian Federation 4 was published in 1983 (second printing 1987) and contains 68 pages. The art is by Laura Virgil, Melody Rondeau, David Ackerman, and Merle Decker.
Welcome to the Holmnsian Federation #4 - an issue which seems to mark a turning point for this little ' zine. The first three issues were published at 2-plus year intervals, because that's how long it took to accumulate enough material for an issue. This one is coming out only a few months after #3, and could have been published earlier if I'd had the time and money to do so. Better still, I already have the stories for #5, as well as a couple in the works for #6! While I'm not going to aim for anything as regular as a bi-yearly schedule, if stories keep coming in at their current rate that may very well be what will occur. I think The Holmesian Federation has finally hit it's stride.... This issue goes back to the usual, multi-story format which I temporarily abandoned in #3. An unusual and eerie tale by Ralph Vaughan of an elderly Holmes' encounter with H.P. Lovecraft's "Ancient Gods" is the only non-ST story. It's illustrated most effectively by newcomer David Ackerman. Brad Keerauver's two satires provide comic relief - "Scott Must Die!" is straight Trek, but it's short enough and funny enough that I included it anyway - and the story by Debra Doyle is a touching speculation on what might have happened to Holmes "After the Fall" from the Relchenbaoh. Two more stories in Dana Martin Batory's remarkable canon round out the issue - which, by the way, is the first issue for which I've had enough illustrators available that I haven't needed to illustrate anything myself. (Which is not to say that I won't be illustrating things for future issues!)
- The Color of Death by Dana Martin Batory (1)
- The Adventure of the Ancient Gods by Ralph E. Vaughan (10)
- The Case of the Scandalous Starship by Brad Keefauver (30)
- One Pipe Problem by Dana Martin Batory (46)
- Scott Must Die! by Brad Keefauver (53)
- After the Fall by Debra Doyle (55)
- art by Merle Decker, Signe Landon, Melody Rondeau, David Ackerman, and Laura Virgil (cover)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4
The story, "The Adventure of the Ancient Gods", appeared in issue 4 of The Holmesian Federation. The little fanzine was not much different than hundreds of others being published at the time, and the only thing that really set it apart from other Star Trek 'zines (of which there were so many that it constituted almost a sub-genre of its own) was that it mixed the two literary universes -- Star Trek and Conan Doyle. The editor like the story, but I never really was sure how it went over with the 'zines readership, but at least it stood out from the other stories in issue 4 simply because of the odd mix. To me, it seemed an obvious joining, mainly because both Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes were higher interests to me than Star Trek -- after all, it had been a long time since it had appeared on television, and, really, I don't know that there was anyone around who thought, even in their wildest dreams, that Star Trek, in any form, would ever return to the small screen, though there were rumors of a theatrical film. So, it was published, there it was, and there the story died...or so I thought. Several years after "The Adventure of the Ancient Gods" had first seen print, an editor who published one of my other stories happened to mention that Gary Lovisi, a writer living in Brooklyn, was something of a fan of mine and would I contact him about that odd little story which had appeared long ago in The Holmesian Federation #4. I did write him, we exchanged several letters, and the story was published as a chapbook under the title Sherlock Holmes in the Adventure of the Ancient Gods. One curiosity about this first edition was the misspelling of my surname on the cover by the artist who designed title and byline as calligraphy. Gary was very apologetic about the mistake, but I took it in stride, since anyone with a surname like mine is just asking for trouble. 
The Holmesian Federation 5 (78 pages) was published in 1984 and contains 4 stories.
- The Captive Bride by Dana Martin Batory (1)
- The Mechanical Pup by Dana Martin Batory (25)
- Return of the Wolf by Brian Garner (31)
- Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Frankie Jemison (76)
- art by Wanda Lybarger (cover), Melody Rondeau, Signe Landon, Theresa Buffaloe, Annette Taylor
flyer for issue #5, printed in issue #4
The Holmesian Federation 6 (88 pages) was published in 1985 and contains 3 stories. The art is by Laurie Huff, Melody Rondeau, Helen Bookman, and Signe Landon.
The stories this time include the long-delayed Dr. Who/Holmes cross over story by Mary Frances Zambreno, "The Adventure of the Crack in Eternity", in which Holmes and Watson join forces with mystifying but worthy allies, to face an equally mystifying foe who could destroy London. For those of you not familiar with Dr. Who, a bit of background. It is a British television series, ostensibly for children but equally beloved by adults, which has been running for some 20 years now. The Doctor is a Time Lord, one of an ancient race of beings who have mastered the secrets of time travel but, because of the great power that gives them, have become a secluded and stagnant race who refuse to involve themselves in the doings of the universe. The Doctor is a renegade. In a stolen time machine - the Tardis - he roams time and space satisfying his own considerable curiosity and "getting involved" - usually to the benefit of the beings he gets involved with - right and left. He is generally accompanied by a companion or two, often from his favorite planet, Earth.
Time Lords have the ability to regenerate themselves into a new body and personality when they age or are mortally injured, which gives them incredibly long life-spans - the Doctor is 750+ Earth years old - and incidentally provides the key to the show's longevity on the BBC. When one actor tires of the role, the Doctor simply regenerates into a new one! The Doctor in this story is the fourth, and in America, the most popular. He is silly, arrogant, brusque and highly charismatic, and, as in all his incarnations, an eccentric but brilliant scientist. His current companion, Leela, is from a wayward planetful of humans who live at a barbaric level and consider being a warrior to be the best of all possible lives. Together they make one of the most dynamic Doctor/companion pairs in the history of the show, and it is a pleasure to be able to present them in a new adventure.Another excellent story by Dana Martin Batory, and a time-travel story (this almost makes it a time-travel issue!) by newcomer Frank Ramirez round out this issue. In light of past experience - every time I set a time to have an issue published by, I am grossly late - I will set no dates for issue #7, but it will probably be in a year or so. It will include more by Dana and Frank, as well as a tale which, in actuality, started this whole endeavor back in '77. It is a straight Holmes adventure - no mixed universes - and began from an idea of mine, was written almost to completion by a friend who then lost interest, and has since languished in several file drawers waiting to be finished. Now Eileen Roy, who has appeared in these pages before, has vowed to complete it, and I look forward to publishing it at last - 7 issues later! - in HF #7.
- The Chalice of Skorr by Dana Martin Batory (1)
- Hyperchronicon by Frank Ramierez (15)
- The Adventure of the Crack in Eternity by Mary Frances Zambreno (27) (crossover with Doctor Who)
The Holmesian Federation 7 (92 pages) was published in 1987 and contains 5 stories. The art is by Signe Landon, Melody Rondeau, Tina Rhea, and Stefanie Hawks (spelled both "Stephanie" and "Stefanie" in this zine).
- Editorial Natter (inside back cover)
- The Adventure of the Unearthly Cat by John C. Bunnell (1) (Star Trek crossover)
- Watson Comes Through by Dana Martin Batory (25) (Star Trek crossover)
- Melissakrator by Frank Ramierz (38)
- Pas de Deux by Tina Rhea (45) ("A romantic look at what might have happened during part of the Great Hiatus, and I hope to be publishing more by her as well.")
- The Adventure of the Russian Faberge by Eileen Roy and Melanie R (67) ("Has a long history which is recounted at the beginning of the story. It has Moriarty, Mycroft, Lestrade, amnesia, Russians, and a diplomatic crisis - what more could one ask?")
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7
I just spent a pleasant afternoon reading THE HOLMESIAN FEDERATION #7, and it was very satisfying indeed. Initially a Sherlock Holmes/Star Trek fanzine, issue #7 is mostly for the Sherlock Holmes fan. Out of five stories, only two deal with Star Trek at all.
The first is "The Adventure of the Unearthly Cat" by John C. Bunnell. It takes place in 1903 London, and features Kirk and Spock in supporting roles. Being able to figure out the mystery did nothing to diminish the enjoyment of this story as the characters figure out the mystery. If I had any complaint at all about this story, it might be that Kirk's character seemed a bit too brusque for the situation, unusual though it may have been.
The second SH/ST story, "Watson Comes Through" by Dana Martin Batory, leaves a little to be desired. One of the fun things about reading detective fiction is that the reader always knows he has an equal chance at solving the mystery ahead of the fictional detective, the solution being totally logical and totally unexpected. Maybe I should have said good detective fiction— Batory waits until the criminal has already been captured before giving half the clues. Batory recreates the murder, but spoils it by going into elaborate, graphic (and unnecessary) detail. The criminal isn't even introduced until after the crime has been solved, and when captured, he doesn't even deny it! Where's the mystery? Where's the suspense? Where's the fun? The story takes place in the Star Trek universe, and perhaps a short note of explanation may have been in order to explain how Holmes and Watson got to the 23rd century; it would have been a small concession indeed for unenlightened readers (like moi) coming in on the middle of an obvious series of stories.On the purely nit-picky note, the last page of the zine and the back cover are blank. I get bothered by this sort of thing, because, to me, it looks unprofessional—white space attracts attention, in this case, away from the stories and artwork. On an unconscious level, it says the editors didn't have the imagination to put something, anything there, even if it was just a bit of filler artwork. Even a simple border around the back cover would have been better than nothing. Otherwise, THF#7 is an attractive, well-edited zine (I only found about three typos), and in these times a real bargain for four bucks. 
The Holmesian Federation 8 (132 pages) was published in 1991 and contains 9 stories.
- cover (Gary Davis ("original art owned and lent by David Haugen")
- Letters from the Holmeses by Jan Lindner, illoed by Signe Danier (1)
- The Adventure of the Traitorous Lieutenant by Eileen Roy (6)
- The Interrupted Game by Dana Martin Batory, illoed by Melody Rondeau (14)
- The Adventure of the Spiritualistic Author by Eileen Roy, illoed by Signe Danler (23)
- Sherlock Holmes and Sees Through 'The Invisible Man' by Robert F. Fleissner (29)
- The Grand Old Game by Brad Keefauver (34)
- The Fairy Thieves by Dana Martin Batory, illoed by Melody Rondeau (37)
- The Adventure of the Man Who Loved Bats by Lucy Westernra (Brad Keefauver) (55)
- The Adventure of the Gentleman in Black by Tina Rhea
Controversy Regarding Issue 8
The eighth (and final) issue of The Holmesian Federation included a novella titled "The Adventure of the Gentleman in Black", written by Tina Rhea about a case in which Holmes & Watson encounter le Comte de Saint-Germain, the protagonist in a series of novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro who based her character on the Count of St. Germain, a historical figure from the 18th century. In the eighth issue of "The Holmesian Federation" editorial, editor Signe Landon stated that "Ms. Yarbro was not supportive of the idea of a story using her character", adding that "I think the story is too good not to be published, if only in this limited forum."
The zine was circulated for a while until Yarbro's agent spotted it at a party:
"Some time later Quinn's agent was at a party and came across a copy of the fanzine, with the story in it, prefaced by an editorial comment....
Thinking quickly, the agent asked her host if she could borrow the fanzine "so I can read it in peace and quiet when the party's over." She brought it to Quinn next day and they held a council of war....An additional perspective: at the time all this happened, a movie studio was negotiating with Quinn and her agent about the possibility of a movie or series of movies about her vampire...."
On learning of the novella's publication, Yarbro contacted legal counsel and sent Cease & Desist letters to the author and editor. A protracted dispute ensued; Yarbro's account of the matter appeared in consecutive issues of the SFWA Bulletin.  The case was eventually resolved when the fans agreed to publish notices acknowledging copyright infringement in industry trade publications, and to forward all remaining copies of the issue in question to Yarbro for destruction. Sources differ as to the specific publications in which the notices ran. Yarbro and others specifically cite Publishers Weekly as one venue; others mentioned (but not confirmed at this writing) include Locus and the SFWA Bulletin. Some fans note that because the legal settlement terms prevented the editor and the author from further discussing the case that this "pretty much left Yarbro's presentation and interpretation of the matter in full possession of the field." A fan writes:
A fan comments:While a movie company may not bother with a mere fanzine, an author has both the time and the will to pursue those who would misuse his or her characters through the law-courts and in and out of the pages of professional publications until everyone is sick of the subject. One particular writer has already done so! I must therefore warn prospective writers for GRIP, or any other Mediazine: if you are going to use a character from a book or series of books (as opposed to one seen only on the screen, be it large or small), get permission from the original author first...and in writing! Otherwise, you may be faced with the prospect of writing humiliating letters to Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, and all of the SF Prozines, abasing yourself and demanding forgiveness from the outraged creator of the original character. (And, I may add, paying full advertising rates for the privilege!) 
My own sense is that the Yarbro case is also not a definitive argument against fanfic. What got the fanwriter and editor into trouble in that one was that they personally and directly drew Yarbro's attention to what they were doing...and went ahead after she explicitly denied permission to publish. In a sense, this was the flip side of MZB's arguable error in judgment; where MZB attempted to get too involved with fanwriting, the Yarbro fanwriters attempted to get too involved with Yarbro. 
The Federation Holmes (the hardcover reprint)
Some of the stories were later republished in 2001 in hardback form under the title "The Federation Holmes." The book was written and edited by Dana Martin Batory, published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box and contains 173 pages.Publisher's blurb:
Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Watson. Captain Kirk. Dr. McCoy. Spock. And Denebian Slime Devils? What's up? It's elementary! Here, gathered together for the first time, are Dana Martin Batory's rare science fiction parodies combining the very dissimilar worlds of Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek. Published between 1978 and 1991, the twelve short stories (plus one written especially for this book), appeared in the small fan magazine The Holmesian Federation, now a much sought after collector's item itself. The strange tales follow the life and adventures of Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson among the alien citizens and worlds of the Federation of Planets from their "robotic" origins in "A Nostalgic Country of the Mind," to the stunning success of their first case in "Everything Comes In Circles", and Watson's own solo investigation in "Watson Comes Through." The game's afoot! 
Table of Contents:
- A Nostalgic Country of the Mind
- Everything Comes in Circles
- The Color of Death
- A One Pipe Problem
- The Captive Bride
- The Mechanical Pup
- The Chalice of Skorr
- Watson Comes Through
- The Interrupted Game
- The Fairy Thieves
- Zindernuff's Treasure
- Publication History
- The Federation Holmes - A Baker's Dozen of Sherlock Holmes Star Trek Parodies. (Accessed 30 December 2009)
- from Scuttlebutt #14
- from Sherlock Peoria
- Christopher Lee and Holmes post to alt.fan.holmes dated Jan 1, 2003.
- Spock and Sherlock 2012 post to the Sherlock Peoria blog dated December 11, 2102.
- Holmesian Federation at Sherlock Peoria. (accessed 15 November 2009)
- from Datazine #13
- Book Scribbles: Random Thoughts, Random Books, Random Minds, posted February20, 2011
- from Treklink #10
- Copyright and filk songs post to rec.arts.sf.written dated March 3, 2001.
- Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, "A Willful Case of Copyright Infringement", SFWA Bulletin (Summer 1992), 11-14.
- Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, "Copyright Infringement Part II", SFWA Bulletin (Fall 1992), 19-20.
- FanWorks Inc. Fan Fiction Policies: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (accessed 13 March 2010)
- comment posted in rivkat's LJ blog entry [nonfictiom and touting] dated June 29, 2011; WebCite.
- by Roberta Rogow in the editorial to Grip #43
- Jim C. Hines, comment by djonn, May 26, 2010
- from Dear Fandom: Could You Please Stop Saying That?, comment by thecert, May 18, 2007 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro wrote a couple of short pieces about the incident that were published in The HWA Newsletter around 1992... What follows is a very condensed version of Yarbro's side of the story.
Someone asked Yarbro's permission to write a fanfic about her character Ragoczy Saint-Germain. Yarbro declined. Author wrote the story anyway, and a fanzine published it. (Naming names: Tina Rhea wrote the story, "The Adventure of the Gentleman in Black"; it appeared in The Holmesian Federation #8, published by Signe Danler.) Yabro deemed this "willful copyright infringement, by both the writer and the publisher" and went on to say, "having said no already, I am legally compelled to make it stick or lose the right to say it to anyone."
Through much correspondence with Yarbro's attorney, Robin Dubner, Danler maintained that she had not infringed copyright and that characters cannot be copyrighted, even though Dubner sent her citations of "those decisions under which the protection of character [w]as defined in the Ninth Circuit." (These were not reproduced in the newsletter.)
Yarbro and her attorney told the author and publisher that they had to "run a notice admitting all wrongdoing and apologizing for acting against my specific refusal in 4 consecutive issues of Publishers Weekly; send all unsold copies to Robin Dubner for disposal and provide a complete accounting of the publication; send specific letters of acknowledgement of wrongdoing and apology to me, to my publishers, my agent, Puopolo Productions, all subscribers to the publication, all distributors of the publication, Locus magazine, HWA, and my attorney with the text approved by Robin Dubner; immediate withdrawal from circulation, sale, or subscription all copies of the issue. For a timely execution of these items we would not go to court and they would have to pay nothing more than the cost of running the notice in the various publications stipulated and the shipment of unsold copies to my attorney."
Yarbro commented, "For those who think that this is a tempest in a teapot, remember: copyright is the only thing standing between every writer and penury. The legal concept of intellectual and creative property is the source of protection of our livelihood, just as patents protect the inventor ... In the event of filing suit, I have a very small chance of breaking even, let along making any significant recovery. But if I do not act I lose the Count, and that would be a financial and psychological disaster..."The required notice did in fact appear in Publishers Weekly as stipulated, and it included the statement that publisher Danler and author Rhea "acknowledge that copyright infringement is contrary to civil and criminal laws, and apologize to Ms. Yarbro for acting against her stated wishes and endangering her copyright, her livelihood, and her literary reputation." Responding to Danler and Rhea's persistent conviction that copyright did not apply to characters "out of context, or in what they persist in calling an amateur publication," Yabro wrote, "current court decisions have held that although work entering the public domain ... may be reprinted in whole or in part without payment to or permission from the heirs or the author, the characters created by the author may not be appropriated for other work and remain the property of the author's estate in perpetuity. In other words, if you intend to write a book about Tarzan, you will need permission from the Burrough's [sic] estate to do it." No court decisions were cited to support this statement. Yarbro did not specify how failing to pursue [alleged] copyright infringement could cause her to lose rights to a character.
- from Steve Roby