Accelerator Accidents

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Zine
Title: Accelerator Accidents
Publisher: Monte Cristo - Amethyst Press
Editor(s): Catherine Woldow/Kitty Woldow
Date(s): 1991
Series?: no
Medium: print
Size: 172 pages
Genre:
Fandom: Quantum Leap
Language: English
External Links:
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Accelerator Accidents is a gen 172-page Quantum Leap anthology. (1992 Fan Q nominee - Best QL Zine). Color cover, illos by Sheila Paulson and Ann Larimer.

A 1993 Ad

From July 1993 ad in GAZ: "In production, expected to be in print by the end of 7/91. SASE for info. An all-QL, mostly smarm and varieties of hurt/comfort. Will be printed on quality paper and perfect bound, and run dost to 150 pp. Stories by Sheila Paulson, Rebecca Reeves, Gary Lemieux, Cinda Gillilan, and L A Carr, C V Woldow, and S Smith. Art by Sheila Paulson, Ann Larimer, cover by J R Dunster."

Contents

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Four of of five stars. Accelerator Accidents #1 (1992 Fan Q nominee - Best QL Zine) Edited by Kitty Woldow - inventor of the fannish term smarm, so there is a *lot* of it in this zine. Even, as a guide for neos, an analysis of it - large quantities can be harmful!

Color cover, illos by Sheila Paulson and Ann Larimer. Our own LB is a co-author on one of these. Two of Elliott Buchholz's cross universe parodies, one of which was posted to rec.arts.startrek, are included. Some special stand-out stories here that remain vivid long after reading them plus lots of leaps into Al's past.

  • "Home" - Sheila Paulson. Sam has leaped home ... but it's not a happy ending.
  • "To Do Or Die" - Rebecca Reeves. Sam's a nun, assistant to a medical researcher. The cure they're working on will have far reaching consequences for Project Quantum Leap. Wonderfully involved time paradox.
  • "P.R.N." - Cheryl Sulls. Sam sees Shock Theater form the other side - working in a maximum security state psychiatric hospital. An episode-like story, Sam is there to help a fellow worker.
  • "Spilled Ink" - Greg Lemieux. A different take on time travel - Al fills Sam in on the future of someone he helped during a leap. Most of the story is Sam remembering the leap, into a private detective solving a murder case. The framing story is about the future of the model accused of the crime. Straightforward action episode.
  • "Bar None" - Louann Qualls. Sam finds a place where he can be himself - Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. Wonderful cross-universe story, also looking into a turning point in Al's past. One of my very favorites.
  • "To Erase a Name - August 13, 1971" - Cinda Gillilan. Another story set in Al's past. Sam's back in Vietnam, as a POW this time. Lots of angst, and a surprise cross-universe, as they meet fellow prisoner Paul Ironhorse.
  • "Double Indemnity - August 15, 1954" - Kitty Woldow, L. A. Carr, with Sally Smith. Sam is a doctor once again, with an inner city practice. My one problem with this is having Al in the Navy early enough to have been in Korea in 1953.
  • "A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing" - Cindy Rancourt. More cross universe, another Ghostbusters tale. Sam leaps into a criminal so that his medical knowledge can save someone seriously injured in a plane crash. But the demon the Ghostbusters were transporting on the plane wants them all to die.
  • "Reunion" - Sheila Paulson. My favorite in the zine and one of my favorite QL stories anywhere. Sam leaps into a nightclub singer in the project's present. Al gets to help in person for a change.[1]

Serious smarm fans just need to know this zine is edited by Kitty Woldow and they'll plunk their money down. The rest of us, who feel a desperate need for air after one or two killer smarm stories, may actually be able to make it through the whole zine without taking a breather. Which is to say, this one has a nice balance of smarm to non-smarm. Actually, it has a nice balance over all. Crossovers, mysteries, smarm, short humorous bits, some good art, some explanations of 'how the show works', digging into the guys' past, playing with their future—only thing missing is poetry. Which I don't much mind. The cover has a small, full color painting, and there are five interior illustrations, most of them full page, all good although none of them knocked me out. A couple of the stories were real stunners, most of the rest weren't bad, and it's almost all well written.

I hesitate to say too much about the first story, Home, because I don't want to give anything away. It opens with Sam back at the Project, and Al not wanting to tell him something. The situation Al doesn't want to reveal is unexpected but perfectly logical, and packed with angst for both of them. A tight little story, full of good characterization and little revelations about Sam and Al.

In To Do or Die, Sam's a nun, working as a medical research assistant, and if the Doctor he's working with doesn't find the cure to a deadly disease, someone important to the Project will die. I found it all too diffuse somehow. The connections all made sense, but it wasn't tightly enough woven for me. The subplot with the Doctor's other assistant irritated me instead of adding to the suspense as it should have.

Three's Quantumy is an obnoxious little two-pager crossing QL with Three'sCompany. It's pretty painful, but then, it's supposed to be. I got a few chuckles out of it.

I didn't much like P.R.N., mostly I suspect because the guy Sam's sent to help is so unappealing. Sam's working in a psychiatric ward caring for the criminally insane, he's supposed to keep a co-worker from getting killed. The co worker has begun to lose it from the stress of the job and has started using drugs to cope—has driven his wife away and is doing his best to keep Sam at a distance as well, angry that Sam isn't embracing the party hearty routine with him. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for him but I just thought he was a jerk. The story isn't badly written, but it is the weakest in the zine in that department and sometimes I felt like the author was so determined to get the jargon right that characterization was secondary.

Spilled Ink is a well done and (for a zine) fairly intricate mystery. The focus is on plot rather than on Sam and Al's relationship and like most of its kind, the characters are more 'types' than deeply explored personalities, but it moved along briskly enough and it worked for me.

Sam is quite frustrated in Bar None, and so was I. He leaps into Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (from the Spider Robinson stories) just as Al arrives ~ an Al from the past, just back from Nam, just having discovered Beth's gone. Sam's Al, from the future, doesn't show up until nearly the end of the story ~ Sam figures Al decided watching his past self would be too stressful. Sam does his best to help Al, but it turns out he's outclassed by the bar regulars ~ he ends up being a fifth wheel, and doesn't deal with this particularly well. When Al finally shows up and tells him what he's there to do I was annoyed. Seems to me the story has little bearing on what Sam's there to do, and further, that Sam showed up at exactly the wrong time, since what had gone before had sent Sam in the exact opposite direction to his assignment's goal. I also would have liked more Sam and Al interaction ~ the author's goal seems to be to keep them separated! Still, this story has some nice bits, and the author has picked up much of the flavor of Robinson's stories. If you're a Callahan's fan, give it a try.

To Erase a Name begins with Sam and Al standing beside the Viet Nam Memorial Wall, where Sam's latest leap is reaching its resolution. Al ends up telling Sam some about his time as a POW in Viet Nam, then almost immediately Sam leaps back into one of Al's fellow prisoners. Ziggy refuses to send Al back to Sam or to tell him anything about what's going on, so Sam's pretty much on his own for a while there. One of the other POWs is Colonel Ironhorse from War of the Worlds, although at this point he's a mere captain. Ironhorse has a good part, and as a WOW fan it was nice to see him, but the focus here is definitely on Sam and Al. The author covers bits of three leaps, follows both Sam in the leaps and Al back at the Project, enables Sam to interact with a physical Al (since Sam has replaced a friend of Al's he can sort of pick up the relationship almost as if it were their own), forces Al to examine some of his feelings about Nam and reveals more about what happened ~ just generally covers a lot of ground, in terms of story and emotion and the guys' relationship. This is one of those killer stories I know I'm going to end up reading again and again. Great stuff for all you smarm and emotion and 'deep characterization' fans out there.

Where No Man Has Leaped Before is parody crossing QL with ST:THE NEXT GENERATION. Yup, it's got every cliche in the book, along with all those from both shows, all crammed into four pages. A masterpiece of its type ~ which, when you get right down to it, isn't saying much.... What, me, snide? Okay, okay, I admit I laughed here and there.

MSDS: Smarm may or may not enlighten people who wonder 'So what the heck is smarm?' It isn't really a definition, it's a humorous bit, and succeeds as such, at least if you have some vague idea what it's talking about going in. Otherwise it's a page of weirdness you can ignore.

In Double Indemnity, Sam leaps into a doctor in the 50's and ends up rescuing a young Al, who is suffering from alcoholism, a good dose of bitterness, and some bad experiences in Korea. Since young Al spends a lot of time unconscious or hiding out in the back room, when he finally does talk about what happened in Korea, it's almost as if he had to talk to someone, and Sam was close at hand and tolerably trustworthy. I would have liked to see the conversation built more naturally on their growing friendship and trust. Which is not to say the story doesn't work and isn't smarmy, but I thought it was kind of rough.

A Sheep in Wolf s Clothing is the other one that keeps me up nights. It guest stars THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, the characters from the cartoon series, not the movie, which I hadn't seen before but have checked out since. The best smarm is between the RGB characters, but the focus of the plot is on Sam. The characterization is great stuff, there's lots of action, the RGB guys indulge in a fair bit of hurt/comfort, there's a major bad guy plus lots of grief he's not directly responsible for, everybody's life is in danger from practically page one, Sam and Al have good reason for tearing their hair out through the whole story but persevere regardless, and there's some pseudo- scientific explanations of 'how things work' thrown in just for kicks. I think it's all glorious. On the other hand, maybe it's just my weakness for well-done crossovers. Except I'm not nearly as crazy about the cartoon as I am about this story, so maybe it really is as good as I think.

The last story, Reunion, starts out a bit slow but quickly picks up and includes a couple of real kickers. Sam's the male half of a brother/sister nightclub act, and soon decides he's there to unite the siblings with their mother. Turns out he's only partially right. It's 1996, and Al ends up flying out to where Sam is, the two of them decide getting together is more important than Al having immediate access to Ziggy. He doesn't stay long, since they decide he needs to do some investigating as a hologram, but it's nice while it lasts. He needs all the emotional support he can get, since this story slams him up against his past, makes him examine his feelings about his mother deserting him and how he initially dealt with it. For some reason I didn't find this story as intense as it seems to me the subject matter warranted. I'm not sure what more I want, though, since I didn't feel the author left anything out or shortchanged any of the scenes, and it doesn't leave me frustrated exactly. I just would have liked a touch more angst and deep inner revelations somehow. Maybe I'm more of a smarm fiend than I realized ~ that or some of the other stories in this zine make this one look mild by comparison!

This is a long review, but I still feel like I gave some of the stories short shrift. It's a long zine, 172 pages, laser printed so the pages are packed but still clear. It's always nice to get a hefty zine for your money. But if you get right down to it, I'd buy it Just for the two stories that knocked me out.[2]

References

  1. from rec.arts.sf.tv.quantum-leap (1994), publicly accessible in 2009
  2. from The Imaging Chamber #10 (1992)