The Valjiir Universe

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Name: The Valjiir Universe
Members: Cheryl Petterson and Susan Sizemore (original authors), Mylochka (recently)
Date(s): 1976-present
Focus:
Fandoms: Star Trek: TOS
External Links: current website[1]
front page, from the online continuation universe. Art by Mylochka
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

"Valjiir was originally a fan-fic universe based on Original Star Trek, created/contacted by Cher and Susan. Susan dropped out of this universe over 20 years ago, and it is now maintained by Cher and Dave and as of 2012, Mylochka. Many of the stories seen here were first published in the fanzines In a Different Reality, Alternaties, and The Valjiir Continuum." [2]

The series is still active with the most recent contributions in the form of CGI artwork by mylochka which can be seen here. A series of videos using mylochka's CGI art have been created and can be found on Youtube here.

While the series was positively received by some readers, others expressed bemusement at the Mary Sue aspects of the universe. In issue 9 of In a Different Reality the editor responded to some of the critics by pointing out that "All in all, from the comments I've recieved, IADR has a mature readership, and you'll all enjoy the Valjiir stories immensely... I have pounds and pounds of Valjiir stories to print in the next couple of years..."

The series ran in print until issue 28 of In a Different Reality where the editor announced: ""As much as I have been dreading this moment, it is time to officially announce that 'In a Different Reality' will no longer be printing stories from the Valjiir Universe, long written for these pages by Cheryl Petterson and Susan Sizemore. I felt very privileged to have stories from that universe appear in IADR during issues 8 thru 25, and I know many of you readers got as involved in the plots and characters as I was! Some of you have sent letters asking was was happening with the series and/or its authors, and mentioning that you'd heard rumors that the writing team had broken up, or other words to that effect. All I can say is that Cheryl and Susan are, indeed, no longer writing together. All other details are, in my frank opinion, only relevant to these women and their personal friends, so there's nothing more I feel I can say..."

Art Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

  • "It achieved some popularity and notoriety as a long series of stories in a fanzine, "In a Different Reality", back in the 70's and 80's. It's back, with dozens of new stories, re-writes of all the old stories, and an enormous amount of really impressive CGI artwork."[3]
  • "I have read quite a few good gen trek zines.....There is also the "Valjiir" series which was being published in the zine "In a Different Reality". It was a wonderful series...One of [authors] is continuing to write although she hasn't updated it in a while..."[4]
  • "The first of a series of connected... Mary Sue stories in this issue of In a Different Reality. Ruth Valley, an Antari with empathic healing powers, a computer rating equal to Spock’s, a daddy high up in the Fleet, astonishing work efficiency, and a complete disregard for authority, is assigned to the Enterprise after doing her cadet stint there. This plotless story pretty much just sets the scene. She becomes Sulu’s lover, calls Kirk ‘Bwana,’ beats Spock at chess, and establishes a hostile relationship with McCoy.")"[5] and "The inevitable Mary Sue/pon farr combo, but cleverly told." [6]
  • "One of my favorite fanfic lines (from a Valjiir story) is one character asking about Rand: "Why is she wearing a basket on her head?" [7]
  • "Nearly all of the Valjiir stories from IADR are [now up online], though they have been extensively re-written (and greatly improved, IMO). There are also a TON of new stories - more new ones than there were in the original batch. And there's absolutely scads of incredibly good CGI artwork."[8]
  • "Yes, the story was written by a female. Yes, I am aware of the "Mary Sue" concept. However, don't judge this on my brief description of just ONE story in the series. The relationship between Spock and Ruth had been building for at least half a dozen issues -- that's about 10 to 15 stories. And Ruth Valley is a Human/Antari hybrid, telepathic, an empathic healer, and a competent "jack of all trades" scientist. She's a musician, and her Jewish faith is very important to her. However, this is not a "Mary Sue" situation; the Valjiir stories were written by a collaborative effort of three people -- one of them a man."[9]
  • "It's profoundly Mary Sue. Matter of fact, it's the dreaded, multi-part, marriage and eventual offspring with major characters double-Mary Sue. Yes-hold onto your lunch — I do mean two Mary Sues for the price of one. Yes, two incredibly brilliant, incredibly sexy empathics save the Enterprise every few weeks, everybody on the ship loves them no matter how bratty they act, half-alien, extremely well-connected with the upper echelons of the Federation, and multi-talented women are the heroines of this series. Valjiir is very strongly-rooted in the time from which it sprang - the 1970's, a decade that will surely always be remembered for its taste and refinement. The titles of individual stories are often taken from the titles of songs that you can now hear on "golden oldies" channels. The characters occasionally sing Stevie Nicks or Eagles tunes to each other. There are also many allusions to genre TV and movies dear to the fannish heart from that period. The plots are strangely predictable. No matter what the setup, Jilla and/or Ruth (occasionally accompanied by one of the other four hundred twenty-eight crewpeople who never seem to do anything but sit around talking about Jilla and/or Ruth) will typically end up as sacrificial bait in a trap set by one or several of the male characters. They either heroically rescue themselves or are rescued. There is much strum und drang [sic] as the male character realizes the error of his ways, then a passionate reconciliation. The authors seem to be developing a theme about martyrdom, but I have yet to fully fathom it. Now that my taste and judgment are completely in question, let me explain what I do see in this series. The first characteristic that keeps me from consigning it to the circular file is its sense of humor. Some stories, like "The Percentage," (a trip back to the planet Iotia from "A Piece of the Action"), are played strictly for laughs. In general, Valjiir is not stiff, or sanctimonious-two characteristics I cannot abide in this genre. Despite its use of the hoary conventions of Mary Sue, its characters are multi-sided. None of them are goody two-shoes and despite the fact that Ruth and Jilla are the darlings of the ship, no one (except Spock, who is usually very tactful) is slow to tell Ruth when she's being a bitch. There are even quite a few characters who don't always feel sorry for Jilla of-the-eternal-angst Majiir. Speaking of angst, no one, not even Chris Claremont of his halcyon Byrne/Claremont X-Men days, does suffering and self-doubt like Valjiir's authors. Thank goodness one of the supporting characters is the ship's psychiatrist. Then again, she's got problems too... And then there's the sex. As one of the minor characters writes home in a letter, "Yes, the rumor is true-all we ever do on the Enterprise is screw." All the characters are paired off with at least one boyfriend or girlfriend, or one of each in some cases. Maybe it's all those Harlequin romances I didn't read, but I seem to find VaJjiir's many passionately steamy, PG to R-rated love scenes compelling. I like the way the writers give you a fuller sense of the Federation outside Starfleet man the original series allowed. I also like the glimpses of Starflect's internal politics. Another strength of the series is the extensive cast of supporting players. Although they too often share the same opinions, they do give a sense of a Starship populated by more than just a bridge crew. Finally, although I complained about it, I like the flavor of the 1970's the series invokes for me. Admittedly, America in the 'seventies was not Paris in the 'twenties or Vienna at the turn of the century, but it was a time and place that was a part of my life. In the Valjiir universe, the sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll still flow freely in a way that for better or for worse we'll never again see in our lifetimes." [10]

References

  1. wayback link/WebCite
  2. Valjiir
  3. September 9, 2009 post in Trek BBS FanFic Recommendations discussing the online version of the series.
  4. Review posted to the Virgule-L mailing list dated June 16, 1994 (name withheld on request).
  5. Star Trek Zinedex review of "Montage."
  6. Star Trek Zinedex review of "It’s Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature"
  7. June 11, 2011 post in Trek BBS FanFic Recommendations .
  8. Aug 9, 2009 post in Trek BBS FanFic Recommendations .
  9. January 11, 2009 post in Trek BBS 'Legality Issues in Amok Time', disagreeing with the concept that the series is based on Mary Sue characters.
  10. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #4, a zine that prided itself on honest and entertaining reviews -- this review was written in 1993 and may not reflect the fan's current opinion