...A Handful of Snowflakes and Other Trek Tales

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Zine
Title: ...A Handful of Snowflakes and Other Trek Tales
Publisher: Pandora Press and printed by "DON-o-SAUR Press" (and later Chained-to-the-Typewriter Press)
Editor(s): M. L. "Steve" Barnes
Date(s): 1976, reprinted again in 1976, reprinted in 1979
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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front cover (1976)
back cover (1976)

...A Handful of Snowflakes and Other Trek Tales is a het 82-page anthology of Star Trek: TOS fiction. The art is by M.L. Steve Barnes. It is a Spock/Chapel zine.

It was originally published in 1976, and reprinted at least once in that year.

Some of this edition's interior artwork also appeared in Grup #1-#4.

In the 1979 edition, there was art by Gayle F (frontispiece), Caro Hedge, and Michael Goodwin.

In the 1980s, the author gave Susan Crites permission to continue publishing the zine.[1]

In a 1995 issue of Media Monitor, it was noted that this zine had been in almost continuous print for nearly 20 years.

This story was discussed in To Slay or Not to Slay: Why We Write 'Get-em' Stories -- & Love 'em!.

Author's comments from the original edition: "'There are as many kinds of love as there are people, some selfish, some unselfish, some good, some evil...' Herein, four tales of love...."

The Eridani Triad Connection

The title story almost made its premiere in a different zine. Judith Brownlee remembers:
I was working on Eridani Triad with Gail Barton and Dee Beetem, and she was there with artwork, and with a story she hoped we would print. I read the story; it was a Nurse Chapel story. I was never very sympathetic towards Nurse Chapel stories, and this was a regular horror story. I put my teeth on edge... but the writing was good. Very good. Gail and Dee were not enthusiastic to print it either, for the same personal reasons. We worried about telling her because she was our friend, and we didn't want to hurt her. All three of us talked to her and told her that it was well-written but grated on our personal sensibilities. She took it well. We helped her find another zine to print it in. And that's the story of how Eridani Triad turned own A Handful of Snowflakes, one of the most popular and controversial Trek stories ever written. I don't regret it, though; it was just not my cup of tea.[2]

A 1976 Reprint: The Author's Foreword

The Snowflakes story was one of my earliest efforts and even though I had not mastered the mechanics of writing, I cannot condemn it for it presented the Christine/Spock relationship in an entire different way -- one that I feel might be more realistic than most. I can distinctly remember the first time I showed this story to a fanzine editor. I can also recall her look of puzzlement as she handed it back to me; she had no idea of what I was attempting to convey. Fortunately for me there were more astute editors and fans, and then along came STAR TREK LIVES and suddenly this simple little vignette was in demand. Apparently there are fans other than myself who are not afraid to turn over rocks and examine what dwells on the darker side. To them I dedicate this re-print.

Editorial: Original Issue

Who would have thought a few snowflakes could turn into an avalanche!

But that's Trekdom. It is that special world where 'different' does not mean bad, where dreams are encouraged, and where enthusiasm knows no boundaries -- in this galaxy or the next. Those are the things that came to mind as letters began to pour in after [[Star Trek Lives! (book) Star Trek Lives]] was published. Letters that wanted to know more about "The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes," and incidentally, all of my work.

I have a marvelous bunch of friends. They know me. They know I'm too critical of myself, that I have large self-doubts, that I tend to 'put things off until tomorrow.' Thank goodness for friends.

Because of these same friends, you are now holding a publication in your hands that, left to me, would never have born. They pushed me, they encouraged me, they worked on the zine with ego-flattering zeal. What can I say to people like them except "THANKS."

To Don Barnes, for patience, and encouragement, and tolerance over cold suppers. To Don C. Thompson who printed the zine with no payment except heartfelt gratitude. To Josi Williams who did a yeo-person's job of helping with the typing (and put up with my critical comments besides). To Ardie Haydon who burned the stencils and lent her own special brand of humor to an otherwise too-serious soul. To Sondra Marshak and Dynie Marchant for believing in "Snowflakes"... and me. To Claire Gabriel and Marnie Ellington for gentle critiques and steadfast friendship. To Liz Slocombe who volunteered financial aid even though she's not sure what all the madness is about. To everyone who wrote asking about the story and my writing. And of course, to "the Beautiful One" -- because you are!

Editorial: 1979 Reprint

Barnes wrote: "I wish to express my gratitude to Susan and Caro for having the faith to carry 'Snowflakes' into yet another reprint. People like them keep the spirit of the ST universe alive."

The editorial:
... A Word from the Sponsor Editors" -- In October of 1976, Gene Roddenberry came to Denver on a speaking tour. My thoughtful family had given me tickets as a birthday present. (Caro was there, too, but we didn't know each other yet. More portents.) Little did we all know the far reaching effects that evening was to have on my life. Among the dozens of artifacts, gimcracks and genuine plastic souvenirs regaling the eyes of the faithful at Big Mac's huxter-room-in-the-round, one modest table sat laden with free flyers for things of fannish interest, like—to name an example at random—a zine called "A Handful of of Snowflakes", by Steve Barnes.

Most of these flyers later became participants in the paper airplane contest invented to pass the three hours between the door opening and the actual start of events. But I took mine home. I had read Star Trek Lives!, where Steve is featured in several chapters, and had paused for a moment to bask in the warmth of reflected glory—the pride you feel when you are from the same locale as a Famous Person. The book contained tantalizing excerpts from her writing, but no information on obtaining same. (Or any of the other zines mentioned. Johanna Cantor, of Yeoman Press [address redacted] is at work correcting this oversight. She will no doubt be happy to share the information for a SASE.) Now I had here, in my own two hands, the means for getting my very own copy of the complete set of stories! My very first fanzine! Obviously it was not the last. I became hooked on fandom—the zining aspects of it in particular. Caro and I tried our hand at our own zine eventually, and Steve was more than generous with kind criticism and advice. It's been a lot of fun getting to know her as a person rather than a name in black ink on white paper. Now (November, 1979) as I look back at myself as a wide-eyed neo, I find it hard to believe Caro and I have the privilege of reprinting the same zine I cut my teeth on. The original printing of 'Snowflakes* was, of course, a beginning for Steve, too. She has continued to practice her writing skills and it recently paid off in the sale of her first pro novel. The first of many, we hope! (Congratulations, Steve! Go for it!)

So, we're fond of this zine for more than its literary value. It's been a good starting place—'lucky', if you don't mind a slightly superstitious choice of words, for Steve, Caro and I. We wish the same enjoyment and inspiration to all of you! -- Susan

Contents

  • The Price of a Handful Of Snowflakes, vignette, reprinted from Impulse #5 (1971). This story was mentioned in Star Trek Lives! (5)
  • Vulcan Bride (poem) (reprinted from Grup #3) (12)
  • I Need You, Baby, novelette (Author's introduction: "This story has been labeled 'too esoteric' for general enjoyment. By definition, I guess that means that it deals with truths that are revealed by the episodes in their proper order. I'll admit that there are several references to televised incidents, but too esoteric for Trek fans? Never!") (14)
  • Spock Joined (poem) (49)
  • Crucible (poem) (51)
  • Almost a Legend, novelette (53)
  • Against the Fall of Darkness ("This is the first Star Trek story I ever wrote. At the time I put it down on paper I had not yet read a single fanzine story so if there is any similarity between it and any other writer's theme, I can honestly dismiss it as 'creative coincidence.' The story was accepted by a small zine on the Eastern Coast that promptly folded so I don't believe it has ever been in print. My husband has a soft spot in his heart for this particular work, he says it's my best—so, Don, this is for you. S.B.") (82)
  • Remorse (poem) (reprinted from Grup #4) (80)

Excerpt

"Spock had once said that we all make our own purgatories. And I find that once again his sensibilities have served him truly. For I live in one of my own making and the bitterness of it will last me all my days... He sits across the room now, that still face frozen perhaps forever in its stillest mask of all. Once or twice lately I have been aware of something, a look, a depth to those eyes. It has its antecedents in the eyes of an animal caught and held in a trap."

Covers: Different Editions

There are three editions of this zine, possibly more. The art in at least two is radically different.

Gallery: Original Issue -- All of the Art is by M.L. "Steve" Barnes

Gallery: A 1979 Edition

Reviews and Reactions

[Almost a Legend]: There has only been one erotic story with Spock as the protagonist that is both true to the character and true to the promise of its erotic theme. It... may be found in A Handful of Snowflakes and Other Trek Tales.[3]
[zine]: Impulse 5 ran 33 pages, but the editors claimed it contained as much material as the previous mimeographed issue, which had 110 pages. Notable authors in this issue included Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Anna Mary Hall (who was becoming a frequent fanzine contributor), and Barbie Marczak. The last story of this issue was "The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes" by M. L. Barnes. This story, featuring Christine Chapel and Spock, became legendary in the annals of fan fiction, chiefly due to its being mentioned in Star Trek Lives! (published 1975). . . . . Star Trek Lives! had recommended a number of fanzine stories, which were in great demand as a result. One of the stories mentioned was M. L. "Steve" Barnes's story, "The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes," which first appeared in Impulse 5. After Impulse went out of print, Steve published this story, along with three others she had written, in ...A Handful of Snowflakes and Other Trek Tales.[4]
[zine]: This mimeoed 'zine has predominately serious TREK fiction with a short introduction by M.L. 'Steve** Barnes preceding each story. More reviews came in for this 'zine than for any others reviewed in this issue. The 'zine emphasizes the Kirk/Spock [the "slash" symbol not intended in its modern sense] relationship and consists totally of works that have appeared in other fanzines before, most of which were formerly out-of-print. Steve is to be congratulated on making them available again. The reviewers gave the fiction in this 'zine a high 9 rating (almost excellent ) but ranked the artwork somewhat lower. The sexual content is hauntingly beautiful and well-handled. This 'zine contains four stories of different kinds of love—nightmare love. Kirk and Spock's caring for each other love, a lay-Spock story, and a retirement story. Beautifully written, plotted and characterized, this is some of the best serious TREKlit around and is a must for collectors. Highly recommended. The price is damn reasonable.[5]
[zine]: $2.75 is a bit high, to pay for a zine, but if you like good helpings of gripping-the-arms-of-your-chair fiction, near-professional art, and passable poetry, "Snowflakes" is a good zine to get.

Remember Star Trek Lives? (Wish we could forget...but that's another story). In the fanfic chapter, Steve's story, "The price is a Handful of Snowflakes," was quoted at some length, and immediately she began to get mail asking for a reprint of the story. Obviously, she did. If you've got a copy of STLI, you can get the general plot of the tale there. If not, I'd rather not spoil it. Anyway, it's a nice short vignette, another in the "Christine-finally-gets-Spock" category, but a fun story to read anyway. Next is a semi-pornographic illo and poem, both leaving plenty to the imagination. (Steve figures we must've had enough, of that sort of thing, she is known as the original Dirty Old Broad, y'know). Next story fits a bit more into this category...called "I Need You Baby", it's a lot better than it sounds. It's basically a combo of get-Kirk and lay-Kirk. JTK and landing party on the planet Vecta is attacked by a cloud-creature type alien (hey, haven't we seen enough of those already?) that feeds on mental energies, and had invaded and eventually destroyed the. minds of the humans there (Memory Alpha?). The landing party eventually killed it, and as it was dying, it took solid form and launched a seed-pod at Cappy Kirk. The young Vecta invade Kirk's nervous system (a la Deneva) and start to stimulate his brain (at first thru his dreams, then while fully awake) thru, the one thing they find easiest for him—that is, uh, sexual fantasies. The good captain finds it, ahem, hard to resist, but if he doesn't, almost everyone within a quadrant is in for a-fate-worse-than-death-and-then-death-eventually, when the young are strong enough to "hatch." The characterization is very good, and I can see this sort of thing happening on TV, if it weren't for the subject matter. A nice suspenseful tale with a good ending. One of my favorites. Then there are a couple more poems (better than the first), illos to match, then another long story, "Almost a Legend." This is a Spock-falls-in-love-with-somebody...anybody type of story, also with a bit of sex (tho not porn,..there is_ a difference, you know) thrown in. These are also known as Lieutenant Mary Sue stories, but this particular girl was an alien Spock met on shoreleave, I usually judge these stories by the female character involved. If she \m a nice, strong believable personality, and maybe a hint of intelligence, and if the story has some kind of plot, I like the story, as far as this type generally goes. Let's just say I liked this story. Last (after yet another poem...she must pop them out like a champaign bottle) is "Against the Fall of Darkness," which was Steve's first effort ...and one of her best. The story takes place long after Kirk's days on the Enterprise—he's now old. senile, alone, and living on a planet which is Starfleet's equivalent of a nursing home. The loyal Mr. Spock still comes to see him every week, A rather touching story. Wish it'd been longer tho.

To sum up, I think this is a very good zine in general. It's friendly, informal, and great reading on the side—$2.75 is a good deal. If you've got the $$$, I'd get this one. If not, maybe you could get a loan off a Harry Mudd...[6]
[zine]: A Handful of Snowflakes' is one of the stories discussed in the chapter on fan fiction in Star Trek Lives!. The author tells us in the introduction that she received so many letters from fans asking about this story and her other works, she was encouraged to publish them; this zine is the result... In addition to the title story, a short piece told from Christine Chapel's point of view, there are two novelettes and another short story, plus four poems and five illustrations. One of the longer works, 'I Need You, Baby', offers a familiar ST theme: Kirk is infected with an alien life-form that is using his body to incubate its young. The aliens prey on his mind, causing excruciatingly real and erotic hallucinations. If the evading spores aren't killed soon, they will hatch, killing Kirk and everyone else aboard the Enterprise, and endangering the safety of the galaxy. Spock has to link minds with Kirk to lend him the strength and mental discipline to fight the invaders, in spite of his extreme reluctance to do so. The other long story, 'Almost a Legend.' is the author's sequel to 'Amok Time.' In plot, it's very similar to The Daneswoman, but in this case the heroine is an artist, not a starship captain. The author's assumption is that Spock's ego was very bruised after T'Pring's rejection and he needed a brief but passionate love affair with a sympathetic human girl to restore his self-esteem (Doesn't Spock ever meet any nice Vulcan girls?) A meeting with a relative of T'Pring helps bury that ghost from his past. Both of these stories are re-workings of familiar plots in fan fiction, but they are nicely handled and quite enjoyable to read. In the last story, 'Against the Fall of Darkness,' Kirk and Spock are old men. Kirk is in a nursing home for retired Starfleet officers, decrepit and senile; Spock is still his faithful friend, visiting him every week. It's a touching character sketch, but I hope their lives don't really end that way. In summary, these are good stories even though they sound suspiciously familiar. Anyone who likes ST fan fiction is almost sure to enjoy them.[7]
[Against the Fall of Darkness]: "Barnes' story deals with an aging Captain Kirk as a bitter and senile old man living in a nursing home. There, Spock visits him and tells him stories about the Enterprise to keep his hopes alive, while it is actuality lost or destroyed. I was reminded of Tennyson's poem about Ulysses. In it, Ulysses is an aging king who has outlived his heroic past. Tennyson suggests that the heroes of yesterday become tyrants of tomorrow, unless, perhaps, we do away with them today. I found the story well-written, but depressing. I don't agree that Captain Kirk would become that useless hero-turned tyrant. For one thing, he would not shut himself off from the world. A man whose life has been spent in the exploration of the strange and bizarre would not be afraid of change, whether it can be sudden tragedy, or the inevitable old age. I envision him a the founder of a new colony, open to alien climates, exulting in life, possibly starting a dynasty (at last). Kirk would watch the young men vying for leadership in this new world. He'd work with and nurture those showing courage and promise; circumventing the destructive ravings of others. A realist, always able to roll with the proverbial punches, Kirk would be in no danger of becoming a senile old fool. He would accept tragedy and turn it around to use in building an exciting and different world for himself and those to come after.[8]
These four tales re personal expressions of the author - she states this openly - so they must be read with this firmly in mind. But for one, I find it difficult to say how I like each.

'I need you Baby' - the Vecta creature has inhabited Kirk's soul, exposing his need for form friendships to counter a demanding mistress. 'Almost a Legend' finds Spock on Areania, being the Vulcan representative to a compute symposium. There he encounters Stephanie Anders, an artist as sensitive as he. •The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes' - Christine's realisation that you cannot, no matter how hard you try, own the soul of another. 'Against the Fall of Darkness' - four older officers each fighting off the advent of death. Two spend their time arguing, the other waits for the weekly visit of the fourth, so he can relieve his dearest memory. This ensuring his survival for another week.

Of the four tales, the last is my personal favourite, it tackles the question of 'old soldiers never die...'. Never mind that it isn't quite correct or original, the telling is important. Each character is spot on, but I do hope they will not come to this end. Steve Barnes created, within these tales, her ideas of how the Trek characters are and as far as I know, no more were written on these themes by her. They provide some answers to early feelings about the way fans felt about situations created in the series. Well done! Recommended for serious zine readers.[9]

References

  1. Email to Morgan Dawn from Susan Crites regarding the signed agreement she had with 'Steve' Barnes to continue publishing, dated December 11, 2013.
  2. source of quote unknown, perhaps in Interstat
  3. Lynn Lango, Media Spotlight, Issue 2, Fall 1976
  4. "Catalenamara". 
  5. from Fanzine Review 'Zine
  6. from The Neutral Zone #5 (July 1976)
  7. from The Halkan Council #19
  8. from Datazine #34
  9. from Beyond Antares #28