A Piece of the Action/Issues 51-60

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Issue 51

A Piece of the Action 51 was published in June 1977 and contains 12 pages.

first page of issue #51
  • there is an announcement that the actor who played Cyrano Jones has passed away
  • a fan who had a flyer in a previous issue for "Anshell Miniatures" says he cannot keep up with demand and asks fans to be patient with their orders
  • there is an ad for The Tsytsean Chronicles
  • there is an ad for Diamonds and Rust
  • there is a full-page ad for "The Outer Limits: An Illustrated Review" sold by Ted C. Rypel
  • this issue contains a full-page flyer Phoenix Fan Convention (August 26–28, 1977)

Issue 52

A Piece of the Action 52 was published in July 1977 and contains 12 pages.

first page of issue #52
  • Dear Grace Lee has this nugget of wisdom: a fan writes in and gushes about how pretty Whitney is; her answer: "In my experience, the pretty people are the nice people. It takes a great deal of energy, time, and discipline to be attractive and the people who care about themselves usually care most about other people." She also says she loved Star Wars but turns it around and says fans should write in and plug the new Star Trek movie
  • speaking of Star Trek, there is a very long favorable review of Star Wars
  • this issue has an ad for United Federation of Planets Journal
  • there is a full-page flyer for Trek
  • this issue has insert for Phoenix Con
  • there is a very short con review for Star Con Denver 1977
  • there is an ad from boojums Press that says it is selling its zines for $4.00 a pound (plus twenty-five cents bookrate)
  • this issue has an ad for Diamonds and Rust
  • there is a fannish warning out for someone selling certificates advertised as something called "First Church of the United Federations of Planets," however, you can purchase some Star Trek stationary in "9 different designs in 7 colors" from another fan
  • and on the subject of money where money can be had, a fan notes that some Bonanza restaurants have a trivia question that asks, "Captain James Kirk commanded the starship...?" If you answer correctly, you can win twenty-five cents, a soft drink, or a dessert

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 52

Inside this issue is some of the latest news about the ST movie or lack thereof. There are some interesting book announcements and an account of a real planet named Vulcan. There is an important announcement about a fraud case from Susan Sackett and a comprehensive list of cons. It seems that A Piece of the Action is becoming something of an adzine now... with so little happening on the ST movie scene, there is little to report -- the ads are beginning to overrun a few of the issues. It's possible this may eventually turn some fans off. One interesting article inside is a review of Star Wars ... nice to see APOTA doesn't mind the competition. Finally, a helpful section inside lists all of the people involved who publish and/or handle material bound to go in P/A. This should help allay a lot of confusion. In all, this is still probably one of the most up-to-date news sources around if you can only read around the ads.[1]

Issue 53

A Piece of the Action 53 was published in Aug 1977 and contains 8 pages.

first page of issue #53
  • Dear Grace Lee answers a question from a fan about why a celebrity guest at a con went home a day early; she says that some con promoters cheat the stars, and leaving early is the stars' only way to take a stand. The other question is about how she deals with hypocrisy and she answers: "I deal with hypocrisy by exposing it... and sometimes I lose -- like when Yeoman Rand was written out!"
  • there is a request for any fan who witnessed an incident between Susan Sackett and a Los Angeles Convention Center Guard to call Susan
  • while the STW zine auction was a huge success, it was also a lot of work and full of miscommunication—some interesting facts: "The bids were noting short of fascinating! Pure junk would get fantastically high bids, while true collector's items went for a trifling amount. A used zine went for $4, more than an identical new copy autographed by the author! Bids on some of the better old zines can only be described by "WOW ! Eleven participants bought over $100. worth of items each! That brings us to the bottom line: the STW Mail Auction was a huge success. Bidders paid a total of $2,807.45. Expenses ran about $350, leaving about $2,450 to go to STW's operating expenses."
  • there is a three full pages of flyers for Enterprise Incidents by Jim Van Hise

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 53

This edition of APOTA doesn't have much in the way of revival news, but then no one does these days, but there area few interesting accounts within, such as a report of the STW mail auction, several notices of the stars, book announcements and the other regular columns such as Dear Grace Lee, the Ubiquitous Star Trek and others. The graphics of this issue are sorely lacking, but not the contents. If you want the latest news APOTA is, as always, recommended.[2]

Issue 54

A Piece of the Action 54 was published in September 1977 and contains 8 pages.

first page of issue #54
  • there is a full-page flyer advertising, and introducing, Interstat
  • Dear Grace Lee answers the question of why she writes of female erotica in her music, and of who her male idols are (D.H. Lawrence, Arthur Miller, and Henry Miller)
  • there is an ad which tells fans they can buy the Miller and Landon artwork from The Night of the Twin Moons in "a folio suitable for framing"; the cost is thirty-five cents plus one thirteen cent stamp
  • the show Logan's Run debuts: "Dorothy Fontana stresses that it is a good series, and that Star Trek fans will enjoy it"
  • there is an ad for Sol Plus and for Epilogue
  • this has art by Cheree Cargill, Laura R. Virgil, Earlene S. Benson, Tim Estiloz and Michael Goodwin

Issue 55

A Piece of the Action 55 was published in October 1977 and contains 8 pages.

Star Wars warning, click to read
first page of issue #55
  • This issue has a prominent warning to fans who may be interested in writing Star Wars (which had just been released a few months earlier) fiction. This warning doesn't appear to have any basis in example, something the notice mentions. It may be an attempt to keep fans within the Star Trek fandom and an example of the early tensions between the fandoms. It may be a brag by ST fans, pointing out that Roddenberry had been a benign PTB. Or it may have been much more a friendly warning, one with no hidden motives. The text: "IMPORTANT! Please take note: If you are a zine editor, writer, etc., who is planning to publish/contribute to a fanzine based on STAR WARS... be advised 20th Century Fox may not be quite as understanding as Paramount has been for years about Star Trek. YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF BOTH 20th CENTURY FOX'S & BALLANTINE BOOKS' EXCLUSIVE LITERARY RIGHTS IF YOU ARE PUBLISHING STAR WARS FICTION. BOTH of these prestigious corporations/companies have the legal right to SUE TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW anyone publishing SW-based fan fiction (or spin-off fiction). As APOTA has been informed., there have been no known cases of Ballantine taking such action, but do you want to be their test case?" [3]
  • there is a rare (for this publication) personal statement by Bjo Trimble: "Bjo Trimble would like all doubters to know, once & for all, that Dorothy Jones Heydt does, indeed, get her fair share of royalties collected from The Star Trek Concordance sales."
  • "Dear Grace Lee" says she was a born-again Christian, converted to Judaism at age 14, then to atheism at age 30 and feels that religion on the Enterprise was "nonpartisan." She also addresses using too much logic in life: "Logic is man made and therefore fallible Find your own beat and walk to it! Spock was a figment of an imagination and therefore not what he appears -- plus he was a Vulcan male and therefore desensitized."
  • there is an ad for Menagerie , "the cheapo trekzine"
  • there is an ad for The Human Factor, issues #1, #2, and #3
  • there is an ad for the pro book "The Making of Star Trek Conventions, or How to Hold a Party for 12,000 of Your Most Intimate Friends": "This is the book you have been waiting for! All of the beloved bedlam and cherished chaos in living black & blue. This is the true story of what really went on behind the scenes during the 5 years of the New York STAR TREK Convention (FebCon). A whimsical romp through the merriment and madness as things go from bad to worse to rotten, to the start of the planning for the next year's convention. Contains the Trivia Contest from all 5 years (and answers!), reproductions of the Pocket Program, and 32 pages of never-before-seen photographs, and Phil Foglio satire. Even the filksongs written at and about the Cons are included! A genuinely intimate and funny view of the Conventions from the inside, told in the inimitable Winston style. A deluxe hardbound edition of approximately 300 pages, THE MAKING OF THE TREK CONVENTIONS is scheduled for publication on November 25, and will make the perfect holiday gift."
  • the editors announce that they have set up an "APOTA Guarantee Fund" of $4000. "This money is set aside in a no-activity account to be used only to fulfill APOTA subscriptions if we should project an end to publishing..."
  • there is an announcement of the STW Blind Services Department: "Suppose you were unable to read any of the STAR TREK books or fanzines. Suppose you had no access to news about upcoming conventions, or had a question about STAR TREK that no one could answer in a medium you could understand. You'd be frustrated, right? Well, there are hundreds of frustrated blind STAR TREK fans who would love to attend conventions, read the STAR TREK literature, and participate in other activities sighted fans take for granted. After a year of planning and organization, the STAR TREK WELCOMMITTEE is helping these fans through its newly expanded BLIND SERVICES DEPARTMENT. We now have a circulating library of tape recorded STAR TREK books available on a free loan basis. In addition, visually handicapped patrons may utilize a special recording service at a nominal cost. We can also answer letters from blind fans in large type, braille, or on cassette. In order to maintain this program, we need volunteer readers and donations of tapes and materials. If you can help, or if you know of someone who needs our services, contact STW Blind Services."

Issue 56

first page of issue #56

A Piece of the Action 56 was published in November 1977 and contains 6 pages.

  • there is an announcement that Phil Foglio has won a Hugo
  • the quote of the month, astonishingly, one from Star Wars: "I find you lack of faith disturbing."
  • Bjo Trimble grumbles about why Star Wars robots and Darth Vader get their footprints in the cement in from of Mann's Theater and Star Trek didn't
  • there is a report that a Star Trek fan, and head of a fan club in Houston has been put in prison for "mail fraud and false names statutes"; he offered Star Trek episodes to fans by mail and used the name "Spock"
  • there is a report of a letter by Robert Heinlein that takes on "environmentalists who are trying to put a stop to the space shuttle flights out of Southern California"
  • there is art by C. Lee Healy and A. Nony Mous

Issue 57

first page of issue #57

A Piece of the Action 57 was published in Dec 1977 and contains 6 pages.

  • the big news is an announcement of the on-and-off subject of Star Trek returning to television: this issue notes that the show is happening; while many of the original stars would be returning, it does not mention Leonard Nimoy; it says that the first script has been written by Gene Roddenberry and that the show would air mid-November 1978; this show, of course, did not ever air in this form
  • the Dear Grace Lee column is a complete rerun of the last issue and focuses on where she gets her ideas for songs
  • there is a roster of "Welcomittee Members at ST America" and at Philadelphia Star Trek Con
  • the mail room reports, via Mary Louise Dodge, that there were only 135 letters in October 1977
  • there is an ad for Parted from Me ("a cleanzine -- no age limit")
  • the STW hasn't, nor has it done so for a while, printed a list of zines published, nor of fannish activities
  • there is an ad for a "Trekker" necklace; "By wearing a genuine pewter medallion tastefully stating your identity. It can be worn to conventions or anywhere, and is an excellent way to meet other people who share your interests and attitudes."
  • there is an ad for Gerry Downes' lithographs of Star Trek art

Issue 58

A Piece of the Action 58 was published in Jan 1978 and contains 8 pages.

an ad for "William Shatner Live"
first page of issue #58
  • the big news: the jerking around and inconsistency of information, not a new thing: "Here we go again, fans! It is now official. Paramount has decided (again) to make a Star Trek movie. Yes, instead of the television series." There is some detailed news of which actors will portray new characters, along with some old ones. "Patience is once more the word, and this time, since there is no problem with the script, it seems as though it is really going to happen!"
  • there is the usual short and vapid Dear Grace Lee column
  • there is an ad for Never and Always
  • there is an announcement that Helen Young will only be coming back as, if even that, as "Advisor"
  • there is a short roster of STW fans attending four cons
  • the newsletter prints a hypothetical letter, one that is an example of many they receive and gives advice; the most important advice is to reassure the fan she or he is not alone and to offer up ways for that fan to connect with others
  • there is a long article by Joan Verba entitled "The Neofan's Guide to Purchasing Fanzines" and it offers some very practical advice
  • there is a full-page ad for William Shatner "Live, "a thrilling 2-record album. The story of science fiction from the beginning of man and exclusive never-before-told 'inside' stories of the Star Trek years. Recorded 'live' on a record-breaking cross-country tour."

Issue 59

A Piece of the Action 59 was published in Feb 1978 and contains 8 pages.

first page of issue #59
  • this issue has an article called "STW Mailbag: The Letter with 1000 Questions" by Joan Verba. It she describes some letters the STW receives that are filled with many questions, some very trivial (pass them along to the technical books and pro books), some lonely (pass them along to the pen pal department): "None of this, naturally, applies to every one of the thick letters you get. Sometimes the fan is collecting information, or wants his/her own theories of ST confirmed (or denied), or is simply curious. But I hope that some of these hints will cover a majority of those letters that we get where our initial reaction is, "Good grief, how am I going to answer all THAT?"
  • Dear Grace Lee answers these questions: her hair will be different in the new TV series [which never happened], she would like to fly on the space shuttle, she would die if she couldn't create music, she thrives at conventions ("They feed me!"), and in the first script of the new TV series [again, which never happened], Janice Rand is given a promotion to "Chief Rand of the Transporter Room."
  • there is an article about The STW Editors and Writers Exchange: "ATTENTION AUTHORS & EDITORS: 'The STW Editors and Writers Exchange' is back in business! The Exchange maintains two lists: one of Editors seeking material for their publications and one of Writers wishing to have their stories published. Anyone wanting to participate should send a large SASE for the appropriate questionnaire. Please be specific as to whether you are an Author, an Editor, or both. When the questionnaire is returned to the Exchange, Authors and Editors will be included on their respective lists. Authors will be sent the most recent Editors list and Editors the listing of Writers. There is a listing fee of a large SASE plus two first class stamps to keep you on the list a year. Every three months there are updates you can obtain by sending a large SASE. Remember, it is up to the individual Editor or Author to contact directly those persons they wish to follow through with. AUTHORS PLEASE NOTE: Do not send any stories to the Exchange, as the E&WE does not review manuscripts. Star Trek fanzines are great fun, as well as a learning experience for all involved and a source of contact with many dedicated Trek fans."
  • there are five con announcements, two of which are for Star Con Denver and T'Con
  • this issue has two zine ads, one for The Trekker Cookbook and one for Archives
  • there is a long, very positive review, along with some small art by Laura Virgil, of Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Issue 60

A Piece of the Action 60 was published in March 1978 and contains 16 pages.

first page of issue #60
  • this issue starts off with a long, long letter from Gene Roddenberry about the new movie, and how the fans' unrelenting activities and efforts of the last eight years made it happen; he notes that the new television show was canceled as it was "bound to suffer in any comparison with the big-budget Star Wars and Close Encounters; the letter is dated January 6, 1978
  • Shirley Maiewski reports that the old Commodore Hotel, site of many conventions, was being torn down
  • Dear Grace Lee answers two questions: does she like to read science fiction and does she support the space program
  • Bjo Trimble writes a long, long article about Fred Silverman, the new president of NBC
  • there is a review of the magazine, "Future," which is a new companion zine to Starlog
  • there is a notice that Flo Dubowitz, editor of the STW Directory, has resigned and that Allyson Whitfield is taking her place
  • the mail room received 243 letters in January 1978
  • there is a long plea to save Forrest Ackerman's collection: "The international science fiction library is in danger! Forrest Ackerman's life-long attempt to preserve a comprehensive collection of the world's speculative fiction may well fail unless money comes to him shortly. He needs $70,000 to pay off the mortgage one what is truly one of the world's great Special Libraries... The Archives is the only one of its kind in the United States and contains prints of some very old science fiction films, books and other memorabilia dating back to the time of Buck Rogers. It is something that every science fiction fan dreams of seeing, but will not be able to if we allow this magnificent collection to be foreclosed upon. Many science fiction history books and magazines which are published today contain stills from Ackerman Archives..."
  • there is a long article by Laura Virgil called "Symphonic Science Fiction" about how "a new trend in symphony concerts seems to be the philharmonic applications to science fiction/fantasy music. Currently, around the country, many metropolitan philharmonic and symphony orchestras are presenting concerts based on musical scores from... Star Wars and Close Encounters, with added orchestrations of 2001 and The Planets."
  • a fan reports that at a 1977 appearance by Gene Roddenberry in Niagara Falls, a fan asked him if Star Fleet Command would ever bring charges against Kirk for the 742 deaths of Federation people (accidental and otherwise) throughout the 79 episodes of the show
  • reflecting ST fans' interest in the space program, there is report by Stephen E. Clarke called "NASA Notes"
  • all art in this issue is by Laura Virgil and Cheree Cargill


  1. from Spectrum #33
  2. from Spectrum #29
  3. from more on this subject, see Star Wars Open Letter