The Landing Party 6

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Fanwork
Title: The Landing Party 6
Creator: Gordon Carleton
Date(s): July 1975 as described in Warped Space #8
Medium:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
External Links:
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The Landing Party 6 was created by Gordon Carleton for the zine Warped Space and Menagerie. It was a series of stories/shared universe featuring OMC members of the Enterprise.

There is a "Landing Party 6 Writers' Guide" in Warped Space #8.

The stories were later collected in the zine The Compleat Faulwell/Landing Party 6.

Gallery

About

In 2010, Paula Smith said:
[The series] was very loose roman à clef about Paula Block and her friends. They were really self-portrait characters, but for whatever reason, they had more of a sense of proportion about them. She had McCoy fall in love with Sadie, but it did not necessarily change McCoy's characterization, and it didn't change anyone's characterization, and the stories were intriguing on their own. Was this a Mary Sue or not a Mary Sue?" [interviewer interjects "It helped that Paula Block was a good writer."] "Yes. As a writer, she gave a lot more than she demanded from the reader. She gave us a character that we could recognize to a certain degree, but did not demand that we fall in love with the character. We could like Sadie or not on our own terms. [1]
Its creator writes in Warped Space #8:
Landing Party 6 has five permanently assigned personnel with one rotating member. This position varies with each specific assignment and also allows the insertion of a character of your creation into the landing party.
From The Halkan Council #11:
The Landing Party Series is aimed at presenting a new set of characters for fan writers to work with -- six people in different departments that are Landing Party 6. The 'stars' are mentioned only infrequently and the stories tend strongly toward the humorous or ludicrous situations.
From Boldly Writing:
Landing Party 6 stories were the adventures of an Enterprise team that were the role-play alter-egos of Warped Space writers & club members.

The Characters

  • Sadie Faulwell, works in Field Linguistics, created by Paula Block
  • Girc'N, Lieutenant Commander in charge of the ship's Schematics Department, created by Gordon Carleton
  • Kimeya Maya, Lieutenant Commander, cultural anthropologist, created by Lori Chapek and Paula Block
  • Yeoman Fred Shippe, recording secretary and communications officer, created by Gordon Carleton
  • Ensign Mita Razumov, the landing party's medical officer, created by Nancy Svenson
  • the insertion character, see above

Sadie Faulwell

Sadie is by far the most written character and generated much fan comment in regards to her appeal whether or not she was a Mary Sue, echoing fans' conflict regarding strong OFCs.

Gordon Carleton's description of this creation from his writer's guide:
Lt. Sadie Faulwell is responsible for field research in linguistics. She works in the ship's language labs. In addition to being a regular member of the landing party, she is currently having a 'thing' with Dr. McCoy... Faulwell's personality is complex. On the surface, she appears to be a cheerful, flaky type, second only to Girc'N in her unpredictability. She makes Kirk nervous, tells Scotty dirty jokes, and is generally liked by the crew. Underneath, though, she is basically insecure and it is obvious from her behavior in [the story] 'A Private Little Naked Time' that much of her flakiness is a front for that insecurity and also a means of attaining the attention she craves.

Some Words from Sadie's Creator

The 'Faulwellian Epic's' genre was... well, I can't exactly say it was action-adventure, can I? I always considered it a Mary-Sue (how could I honestly consider it anything else, when the drawings of Sadie were patterned after me?), in that Mary-Sue incorporates portions of the author's personality within the main character. And Sadie certainly reflected a lot of my thoughts and yearnings. Though 'she got her man in the end,' I always tried to keep her as humanly imperfect as possible. She didn't win by beauty, gile or feats or heroism. It was her personality that pulled her through -- a sense of fatalism blended with a sense of humor, vulnerability balanced by stamina. A lot of people could identify with her, which helped transform the meaning of 'Mary Sue' in this case from Wonder Woman to Everywoman. [2]

Fans Talk About Sadie Faulwell

I adore Paula Block's Sadie Faulwell series. Some may call her Mary Sue, but I beg to differ; she is a real person, and a fine match for Paula's very realistic McCoy. Paula's writing is always wonderfully evocative, whether the tale is tender, serious, slapstick, or all three. [3]

Some random comments from fans' LoCs in two issues of Warped Space in 1976:

Faulwell bugs me sometimes. She is the realest character I've seen introduced into the ST universe, but sometimes I could just shake her. But she gets Bones into the sack fairly regularly, and if he's happy, who am I to complain?
I can emphasize muchly with Faulwell: I can see in her many of my own characteristics, including the difficulty in saying 'no.'
Thank goodness she's gotten over Athos! That business always bothered me, not so much the affair, but that she could have done it on the ship under McCoy's nose so to speak. I felt she had a little more regard for Bones and wouldn't have done something she knew would wound him when he found out about it.
I'm beginning to suspect that Faulwell is a Lt. Mary Sue in disguise -- or maybe an anti-Lt. Mary Sue. Would you believe a mirror version of Pat Zotti's Amy? I've been trying to figure out what a Faulwell is in positive terms. The conception of Faulwell that I can make out is totally negative. But to be a believable character -- or should I say 'sympathetic character,' especially to be a main character in a continuing series of stories -- I should think Faulwell should have a balance of positive and negative qualities. To be a believable crewmember of a starship she has to have a job on board and be reasonably qualified and stable enough to do the job. But it seems every time we see her she's going off the deep end about silly things...
Re the Faulwell controversy...A lot of her 'flakiness' is probably just shyness. And as far as Athos goes-- she only slept with one person per episode, which is all McCoy can say.
I particularly like the Faulwell-McCoy series even though I don't like Faulwell! I don't think there is ever any excuse for cheating and Faulwell didn't have one at all. It seems Bones is about to take her back in the story in issue #12, I and I hope Paula Block creates another woman to take him away from Faulwell. I think Bones deserves better than a woman who is UNFAITHFUL.
I wish to rebut [another fan's letter] regarding the sexual escapades of Sadie Faulwell. As a woman of mature years who has been married to the same man for thirteen of them, I can assure all of you little innocents out there that the true test of a relationship is whether it can withstand the kind of pressures described in the three Faulwell stories. ... I like the Faulwell stories, and I think that Paula Block is marvelously perceptive writer and a truly liberated and thinking female to have written them.
It is touching and believable that Faulwell is reaccepted by McCoy, but her behavior is just too calculating and thoughtless to keep my sympathy.
The Block-Faulwell stories are NOT soap Trek, and just what the hay does [fan's name] consider to be a 'normal' person?
I might as well begin by throwing in my vote for Faulwell -- I like her, dammit, flakiness and all. She's one of the few really believable characters in fan fiction... Sure she's a little bit odd, but I don't think she's a complete yo-yo, as somebody described her... I think that some of the dislike of Faulwell comes from the fact that she isn't the usual Lt. Mary Sue or the male version thereof. Much as we complain about Mary Sues, I think we've come to expect them to some degree, or else we draw an analogy with the current space program, and assume that anyone who gets into space must be near-godlike in all respects...
The Landing Party stories are now a bore. The very genuine humor and the almost-realism would work better if there was less quantity and less Faulwell. She might be believable as someone's roommate in their sophomore year in college, but on a starship?
That Faulwell is a yo-yo. I can't see McCoy putting up with that bullshit of Faulwell's bouncing back and forth between yes-McCoy and no-McCoy all the time. Don't you think he'd recognize the fact that she has an unstable personality? As the physician responsible for the mental and physical health of the crew, he'd have to recognize it and straiten it out in psychiatric sessions with a strict-doctor patient relationship.
I also enjoyed Faulwell's bit, she's very easy to relate to, and altho' I didn't think she had to justify having Athos again, I can understand where she might have. As my personality prof says -- you don't have to use someone else's reality, just respect it and try to understand where they're coming from.

A Possible Revival?

cover of Spectrum #32, the "Wanted" cover, artist is Joni Wagner, mash-up by M.J. Fisher
In 2007, Gordon Carleton proposed more adventures. From the MediaWest*Con program book:
The Return of Landing Party 6? With the 40th anniversary of Star Trek, ST panels and exhibits at Worldcon, and the "remastered" SFX on TOS episodes, Gordon has been inspired to possibly put out Volume 3 of the Compleat Faulwell/LP6, maybe for MW*C 28. There were a couple things that got left out of Vol. 1&2 and some new stuff is in the works. Does anybody care? Any artists and writers want to contribute? Also looking for some references if anyone happens to have them: Spectrum 32 ("Wanted" cover), and references to T'Kuht and T'Kuhtians in fanfic or pro stuff.

References

  1. from an 2010 interview with Paula Smith in TWC
  2. from an interview of Paula Block in Menagerie #16
  3. Halliday’s Star Trek Zinedex (TOS) - Title Index, Archived version