Against the Sith

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Title: Against the Sith
Publisher: Nancy Duncan and Tracy Duncan out of Eugene, OR
Date(s): 1978-1980
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Wars
Language: English
External Links:
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flyer printed in Alderaan #7

Against the Sith is one of the first Star Wars zines. It was created and edited by Nancy Duncan and Tracy Duncan, two sisters who lived in Eugene, Oregon.

The zine series contains fanfic, poetry, art, articles, reviews, and letters of comment. It ran for nine issues from April 1978 to October 1980.

From a 1979 ad in The Clipper Trade Ship #24: "A fanzine devoted to STAR WARS: stories, articles, art, serial, and always plenty of surprizes!."

The zine's two editors were adamant supporters of the character Luke Skywalker, and were open in their annoyance with the character Leia Organa, something that was reflected in many of the articles and fiction they contributed. Two of those articles were The AtS Virtue-Chart of Heroic Characters and A Royal Pain which were published in issue #9.

In May 1980, the Duncans also wrote the Open Letter to Star Wars Fans by the Duncans which was distributed very shortly after the sisters saw the much-anticipated movie, The Empire Strikes Back, for the first time. In the letter, they asked fans to boycott the movie, and they demanded that George Lucas destroy all copies of the film. [note 1] They also insisted that issue #7 would be the last issue of ATS, and that anyone who had already ordered #8 would get a refund. They did, however, produce two more issues. The Duncans' dissatisfaction with the movie was also the subject of the October 1980 essay, The Death of Star Wars, published in "Against the Sith" #9.

The two editorials in the last issue of "Against the Sith" give no hint that it was to be the last issue, but the cessation of publication was due to some readers' dissatisfaction with The Empire Strikes Back and to the main editor, Tracy, completing her university degree early and accepting an out-of-town job away from her sister. [note 2]

In the spring of 1980, the editors proposed, via an ad in Pastaklan Vesla #6, a Star Wars information zine called "Alliance Intelligence" which was to be about the actors' activities, news clippings, ads, interview transcripts, and reviews. This zine was never published.

Its Place in Star Wars Zine History

The first Star Wars zines:

  • Hyper Space (fiction and non-fiction) ties with The Force (non-fiction) as the first zines with a focus of Star Wars. Both zines were published in June 1977.
  • Warped Space #26/27, a multimedia zine published in July 1977, had a Star Wars cover, the artist was Gordon Carleton. In August 1977, "Warped Space" #28 had the first Star Wars story in a multimedia zine. Moonbeam #1/2 also contains an early story that was published in November 1977.
  • Come Wars, a 1977 (month unknown) 16-page sexually explicit gay/slash comic by Sean
  • Timespan, a 1977 (month unknown) included "The Saga of Jharal" a story about two Jedi's, pre-ANH
  • Moonbeam #3 (focus of Star Wars fiction and art) [1][note 3] and the letterzine, Alderaan, a letterzine with a Star Wars focus, were both published in February 1978.
  • Against the Sith (Star Wars fiction and non-fiction) and Skywalker (Star Wars fiction) were both published in April 1978. [2]

Description from an Ad

"Against the Sith" -- "A fanzine devoted to Star Wars and focusing on the relationships between the three human characters as derived directly and solely from the evidence presented in the film."[3]


Although most Star Wars fans today know what the Sith are, it was not a common term in 1978 when the zine debuted. Mention of the Sith did not occur in the movie, but in the film's novelization.

Format and Production

"Against the Sith" was professionally printed and bound at a Eugene-area print shop using an offset printer. The original page proofs were typed on an IBM Selectric typewriter. The magazine was saddle-stitched with staples.

A 1981 Interview

The "Eugene Register-Guard," a newspaper in Oregon, ran an article about the Duncans and "Against the Sith."

Some excerpts:

Tracy and Nancy Duncan “… found themselves immersed in the printing, copyrights, postal regulations, and layout…. Neither sister was prepared for the mass of decisions, details, and work. “We didn’t know how much it would cost or how to print it – it was like a shot in the dark,” says Nancy. “But I like to experiment,” adds Tracy, “ and I thought I’d have fun with it.”

The sisters drew $200 from their savings, found a printer, wrote copy, wrestled with reluctant typewriters, and chose a name for their joint effort. In April 1978, “Against the Sith” joined the ranks of existing Star Wars fanzines… One of only three Star Wars fanzines when it was begun, “Against the Sith” is now the longest running of the 10 magazines currently being published. Its 200 subscribers contribute artwork, cartoons, critical commentary, fiction and poetry. Star Wars creator Lucas himself is on the subscription list.

In the past two years, the Duncans have published seven magazines and one special issue –roughly one magazine every three months. “A lot of fanzines are like anthologies,” says Tracy. “I wanted to put out magazines with a variety of material – like a real magazine.” As a consequence, “Against the Sith” contains features carefully selected from the contributions of readers. Although many of their competitors publish everything submitted to them, the Duncans screen material, printing only half the copy sent to them.

Tracy and Nancy believe they have an edge over other fanzine producers because there are two of them working together in the same house. “We work great together, “ says Tracy, “and we depend on each other for help and suggestions. I wouldn’t be able to do it without Nancy.” Production of each issue takes about one month. The sisters share most chores equally, although at first, laughs Tracy, “I made Nancy do most of the typing.” Between issues, they plan, correspond with contributors, keep up with other fanzines, and record subscription requests…

The July issue of “Against the Sith” will deal exclusively with “The Empire Strikes Back.” Since their first elegant viewing, the Duncans have seen Empire seven times, but they don’t like to compare it to its predecessor. “They’re like two parts of a whole,” says Tracy. “Empire is like the second act.”… Like other followers of the Star Wars phenomenon, Nancy and Tracy Duncan are looking forward to further acts in the drama… It’s a saga Tracy and Nancy Duncan have not tired of. As long as others share that interest, they say “Against the Sith” will continue to be an important part of their lives.” [4]

Its End

The zine folded after the release of The Empire Strikes Back and the subsequent displeasure of the Duncans upon seeing the movie.

They wrote a long open letter in May 1980 (see The Duncan Scandal) and published issue #9 of "Against the Sith" in October 1980.

The first fans who hated SW but loved TESB are writing in. The Duncans (Tracy Duncan and her sister Nancy Duncan) of 'Against the Sith' are a major subset of discussion after they circulate a long letter to fanzine editors, demanding a boycott of TESB and the destruction of the film by Lucas.[5]

There is nothing to indicate that issue #9 of Against the Sith was their last issue, and it appears that they fully intended to publish another issue as per a questionnaire they dispersed to fans, one with a note saying the results would be presented in issue #10.

Nearly a year later there were still no more issues of "Against the Sith." At that time, Nancy wrote a letter to Alderaan scolding fans, telling them that they shouldn't be afraid of controversy and of strong opinions, and that she considered her and her sister's zine to be a sort of fandom watchdog.[6]

In January 1981, the Duncans sent another open letter to fans, explaining their decision to cease publication of Against the Sith. The letter noted at the bottom that the P.O. Box address for Against the Sith would no longer be valid after March 31, 1981. See has become increasingly clear to us that we cannot continue publishing a fanzine for a movie in which we find so little to recommend.

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, back cover is blank
an inside page from issue #1

Against the Sith 1 was published in April 1978 and is 24 pages. All of the art was by Tracy and Nancy Duncan.

"This ZINE is dedicated to: FICUS, our favorite vegeton.[note 4]

The editors write that they know of only two other exclusively-Star Wars zines in existence: Hyperspace and Skywalker.

They also mentioned that they were going to "find out about Star Wars copyright policies for fanzines from Twentieth Century Fox and put the info in our next issue."

From one of the editorials:

The hardest thing was the rub-ons, not counting the stupid typewriter that never worked right! I'm getting ahead of myself. This is how it all start started... One day my sister, Tracy, said, "Let's do a Star Wars fanzine." And I said, "What? Do you think we can? Who will contribute?"

"No one, but us. A two person zine." she replied.

"Will anyone buy it?" I asked dubiously.

"Sure," answered the ever confident Tracy, "we'll advertise in Starlog. (tho it costs a mint)" She then whipped out an amtitious story of love, danger, conflict, revenge, romance, and packed with adventure in other words, a STAR WARS story. So, we began and after two months—here it is.

  • Editorials by Tracy & Nancy (2)
  • Parsecs, short comic strip (2)
  • "Beyond 'Wars' Lacks Development" is a review by Tracy Duncan of Splinter of the Mind's Eye (3)
  • Two Fans, an odd, short meta dialogue thing (3)
  • Thee Contest, nominate your favorite lines, scenes (3)
  • Escape from Vestarine by Tracy & Nancy Duncan (The Rebels strike against the Empire in more ways that one.) (4)
  • Many Thanks, George Lucas by Tracy Duncan (14)
  • Man's Best Friend by Nancy Duncan (Han got a lot more than he bargained for on a lawless planet.) (15)
  • How to Purchase a Droid, short essay (20)
  • Bibliography, mentions and interviews and such of Star Wars in mainstream press (21)
  • Star Wars Lexicon (22)
  • Change (poem] by Tracy Duncan (24)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

This is a first effort by Tracy and Nancy Duncan, and everything inside this zine is written, drawn, or perpetrated in one way or another by one of the two sisters. In all there is a lot of room for improvement in a number of small areas, but I probably could not have produced anything as good-looking for my first publishing effort. There are only two major stories inside; "Han's Best Friend," written by Nancy, is a short, but charming story of one way in which Han and Chewbacca meet and become comrades. "Escape from Vestarine," written by both authors, is a longer story that will be continued in subsequent issues of this zine. There are a few different sub-plots going on through this story which interrelate well. I suppose the major action revolves around Luke's mission to the planet Vestarine in order to find dissidents at the Empire's space academy who wish to join the rebel forces. On his way there, however, he is stopped and searched by the commander of an Imperial ship. Princess Leia is discovered as a stowaway and is taken prisoner. Luke continues on his mission to Vestarine, returns the new recruits to the new rebel base and then takes off immediately to find Leia. Of course there are other characters involved in other things. Leia, Han, Darth and a few others all get their chance at a part of the story. The rest of the zine contains a varied selection of small features, editorials, trivia quizzes, and even a Star wars Lexicon which goes up through D in the alphabet, and to be continued in other issues. All in all the zine is a fair effort for a first try. It might have been better with some outside material and better visuals. Gratefully Tracy and Nancy managed to make everything legible, which many first-time zines can't claim. It should be interesting to see how the zine progresses and improves.[7]

Just a note to say how much I enjoyed the first issue of Against the Sith. I can't wait for more! I, myself, am writing may own story regarding STAR WARS which I am calling The Summoning. I'll tell you when it's ready.[8]

I'm especially curious to see your ideas on Leia's past life since I and a couple of friends of mine have also been kicking "prequels" around.

I especially enjoyed your treatment (and inclusion!) of Han and Chewie in the serial. My friends and I agree that Han is sure to be dragged into the Rebellion (protesting every inch of the way!), and that he'll probably start out by running guns. Thanks also for the Bibliography and the charming little article on 'droids. And I agree all the way on that book review! Foster is ordinarily an excellent author—his "independent" work and his animated-STAR TREK novelizations prove that. I think you're right and he was told what he couldn't do.

Also applaud your unselfish inclusion of other fines' addresses [for Hyperspace and Skywalker]. I've sent for both.[9]

It was quite interesting to see what you've accomplished with your first issue of Against the Sith. I was quite impressed seeing as how it was a two-man, oops, I mean two woman job with no help as yet from any other contributors. I was surprised at the quality you managed under those circumatances. . . Any improvements will have to come with time and more material from others. I'm sure that continuing it on your own, just the two of you, would get mighty heavy, and then either you'd fold the magazine or the quality would go down. And, either way, I probably wouldn't be able to find out what happens to Luke et al in your story, Escape.

I can empathize with him with regards to Leia because I'm in love with her, too, and I know what he feels. I hope everything works out alright for them (hint, hint).[10]

I enjoyed Issue #1 very much. It was a very worthwhile effort by you and your sister and I commend your work immensely. I definitely would like to recieve from you all future issues of Against the Sith.[10]

After reading Issue #1, all I can say is you two are doing a great job. Your story wasn't perfect in my eyes, but then neither was Splinter, though I liked them both.[10]

Escape From Vestarine has certainly got an epic sweep with Imperial plotting, the revival of the Jedi by two different and opposing groups, all the familiar characters and some new ones. I must say I found it much more interesting than Marvel's continuations . . . And you've got the character's speech patterns and mannerisms pretty well on the nose, too. Marvel tried to clean Han up a bit and make him more noble which just isn't like him. You at least retain his rascality intact.

Han Is a neutral's neutral with occasional backsliding. I liked that bit about him helping the Rebels by stealing guns for them. That's the way he would help them. The various bits mesh together well so for, and it moves quickly, like the film, with lots of action. . . I also liked the idea of showing more of these awesome powers Vader is supposed to have. After all, we didn't see very much of them in the film. Actually, I kind of had the impression he was after metaphysical rather than political power, that he would rather bend the forces of nature to his will than merely rule humans. This was what I took being 'seduced by the dark side of the Force' to mean: that he realised he could use it to control people and things for his own ends, and not just to uphold Truth, Justice, and the Republican Way, so he could become almost like a god in his power over creation. But this is just a personal interpretation and not a criticism of yours.[11]

Boy, you said it, Chewle—er, uh, Tracy! I for one felt like calling Mr. Roster person to person and saying "If you don't really know who shot Vader down, you don't need to be doing a STAR WARS book! If you don't really know Leia's determination and drive and total desirelessness or need to ever scream for NO REASON, you don't need to be doing a STAR WARS book. If you don't really think Han and Chewbacca are essential to the total harmonious fantasy/adventure in a STAR WARS book, you don't need to do a STAR WARS book." [10]

Foster seemed to have some strange need to torture Leia. She really took a beating [in Splinter of the Mind's Eye]. I'm beginning to wonder if ADF is into sadism and masochism. What was really laughable was Luke's self-professed love for Leia: he stood by and watched her get beat almost emotionlessly.[12]

I must agree that Splinter of the Mind's Eye was less than totally satisfactory. Somebody must have been rushing Foster, as it is not up to his usual standards, and parts of it read like a rough draft. Besides the points you bring up, especially about the Force being concentrated in a stone (!), I find a few things disturbing. Somehow I just can't see Leia Organa, who defied Tarkin aboard the Death Star (and in the book, spat on Lord Vader), collapsing into a trembling heap at the mere mention of the Imperial Governor.[10]

ATS is a very professional looking zine! Believe me! But I am forced to take issue with you on your review of Splinter of the Mind's Eye... You seem to think Luke and Leia should be having a passionate romance. Perhaps you would have them engaged already. Don't rush things!... Some people are taught that showing emotions like love or concern is a sign of weakness. Maybe Leia thought is she seemed too concerned with Luke's well-being it would make her seem too vulnerable, too feminine... you comment that Luke should have overturned the boat and let her sink was uncalled for. Leia has been tortured. I don't like to dwell on this too much but the fact is important. The science of torture today is an unfortunately up-to-date one... That Leia could resist the Empire's most advanced "interrogation" devices is questionable, very questionable. But she did and the mental lacerations must be humungous.... would have forced her into two options. Insanity or to wall off part of herself. Leia Organa is not insane.... If Darth Vader is to die for good someday, I hope he dies at Leia's hand!... The absences of Han and Chewie is no fault at all. Luke, Leia, and Han are not attached to each other by umbilical cords... I think the best choice for a Star Wars author would be Andre Norton... She would treat Leia right, touchy mental state and all... I think it would be nice if people would write to her and ask if she would like to do a sequel of her own. Of course, you must write to STAR WARS Corp. and let them know some of us would like her to.

Enjoyed issue 1 greatly, especially "Man's Best Friend" as I am extremely fond of Wookies in general and Chewie in particular. Am looking forward to issue 2.[10]

I received your copy of Against the Sith Ish #1. It was the best fanzine I've seen. It's fab. I'm glad to see someone cares for Han. I think he's the best character in the whole story. Please keep his past and future active... Please keep up the good work and don't forget Han! [10]

For anyone who is interested, there's a great interview with David Prowse in a mag called "Little Shop of Horrors" #4. In it he speaks of Darth's role in SW II (the present plot). He said: "In the film, Alec Guiness goes to great length to explain to poor Luke how his father had been killed by Darth Vader.... In the next film there is going to be a confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader and they discover that Darth Vader never killed his father, that Darth Vader is his father. So son can't kill father, and father can't kill son -- so Darth Vader lives into the next sequel." [I'd] like George Lucas to explain that one. The editors add: "That last report sure arouses fans to speculation. If anyone would like to support or contest the idea, please write us. Issue #3 will carry a forum of comments, and if the consensus is either extremely negative or positive, perhaps we can let George Lucas know. The whole future of the STAR WARS universe (and the past) depends on how the sequel answers such a possibility." [10]

I never really got into the fanzine "scene." What little I knew about those fan-to-fan publications came from articles in the book Star Trek Lives! and Starlog magazine. However, on an impulse, I packed two bucks into an envelope and ordered the first issue of a Star Wars 'zine called Against the Sith out of the Starlog classifieds back in '78. The first issue is pretty amateurish, if ambitious, with a couple of fan fiction pieces, a poem or two, and some scratchy illustrations. One of the stories purported to tell of Han Solo & Chewbacca's first meeting! The issue also includes a pretty harsh review of Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye - young Nancy Duncan [note 5] was quite put out by the absence of Han Solo, it seems. Looking through it again tonight, I note with some amusement that the issue is dedicated to "Ficus, our favorite vegeton," from Quark! As a kid,though, I thought Against the Sith was rather marvelous, and it did inspire me to "publish" my own short-lived (and essentially uncirculated outside of some supportive relatives) 'zine, Outer Space/Inner Mind, which was more of a general sci-fi mag.[13]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Teanna Lee Byerts

Against the Sith 2 was published in July 1978 and is 36 pages long. The art is by Teanna Lee Byerts, Larie Murphy, Nancy Duncan, and Tracy Duncan.

This issue is dedicated to "PIGS.... IN.... S-P-A-C-E.!.!.!"

The editors exclaim: "Only 17 more months to go until SW II!"

Nancy's editorial touches upon character bashing, something she derides. It is an ironic, and in hindsight, and ultimately hypocritical editorial, considering that this zine series evolved into one that was notoriously extremely Luke-centric, and for bashing Leia:

Some fans have written us lovely letters In which they mistakenly assumed that because ATS #1 contained a Han Solo story, that we are "Han Solo fans". Well, of course we are, hut not to the exclusion of all the other characters. We are not solely for Solo, but we are SW fans. Actually, I consider "Man's Best Friend" more of a Chewie story.

This response, though well-intentioned, has caused me to wonder If SW, like STAR TREK before it, will be plagued by single character fans, in fan writing and elsewhere, they would write about their favorite character and make the rest into not only secondary roles, but degrading ones as well. I don't know what to call it, but could be called: "Playing Favorites Syndrome" . I've read alot of these stories in ST.

This is not to say having favorite characters is wrong. It certainly isn't. But it can be detrimental to fandom, like when the fanatical devotion to one character causes the writer to distort the others.

It's sort of like this. In ST, Spock was such a favorite, that stories about him made Kirk, McCoy, et al look positively stupid, or worse--hateful. McCoy was a frequent victim of this; the writers completely ignoring the fact of Spock and McCoy's friendship. They made McCoy a monster in order to have Spock be the noble sufferer.

Will the equivalent of Spockies exist in SW? Hanies? Lukies? Darthies? (Got any better names? help!) I hope no one thinks I'm knocking ST by using it as an example. It was the victim of some of its fans devotion. Many of us SWers were, are, still? STers. Remember good ole ST, someone? anyone? *sigh* how times chance.

Moving right along. . . Already Vader is so loved and admired, he has several fan clubs, his villlany being justified by those who see him as a hero. (You see, it's the cool looking suit.)

The Han fans, in their over-zealous affection, may make Luke and the others look like nerds; Luke fans, make Han and Leia look like creeps. I even believe Leia, being female, might be considered an "enemy", especially to female writers who don't want her involved with their favorite hero.

Still don't know, what I'm talking about? Well, here is Tracy's interpretation of a Lukie story. Since Luke is the main hero of SW, he can easily be the key character in any SW story. But even so, the Lukies could distort it somehow... [snipped, short parody]

Tracy's editorial looks at the long game:

Can't you see it? Epic proportions is the only way to describe the future of STAR WARS. So many possibilities in ten sequels! Believe it or not, some people, even fans, don't think SW can possibly make it that far. They think it or the characters will wear themselves out.

But STAR WARS is on the same level as Malory's Morte D'Arthur, Homer's Odyssey, and Iliad and more; the STAR WARS epic is not already written. It can live as long as the fans allow it to.

What can be written and filmed for the sequels? What can't! Thousands of planets to chose from, alien races, customs, cities . . . Battles to fight—in space, on other worlds . . . Luke's experiences as he grows into a strong hero and knight, his experiences with the Princess. Han's discovery of the Force, perhaps, or his understanding of true friendship. Leia's vision coming true, the Rebellion growing, until it errupts in a final climactic battle spanning years (and movies?).

The heros' growing "old" won't stop the spirit of STAR WARS. It will be ten to fifteen years before Luke is the age Han is now. And years never stopped James Bond, King Arthur, you name it! An older woman would be a fresh change as Leia already Is an original, she can continue to be one. She will definitely not be matronly.

If SW fans hunger for young faces, twenty years of films can mean generations of heros. Luke was the son of a Knight—will he have a son some day? New characters will enter; the others may leave. But always STAR WARS will grow, a universe unto itself. We have alot to look forward to, alot to see realized on the screen. STAR WARS transcends any petty doubts others have about its potential for growth. The possibilities are endless.

  • Editorials by Nancy & Tracy (2)
  • Documents of the Imperium (3)
  • Parscecs, comic (3)
  • Comlink, Letters of Comment (4)
  • Dark Lord, Price of Evil, article about Darth Vader and his motivations and characterizations (includes a lot of quotes from the Bible and other sources), written by Nancy Duncan, researched by Tracy Duncan (6)
  • The Noble Servant by Tracy Duncan (8)
  • Marvel STAR WARS by Bob Buchtel, a "recap of the comics adaptation" issues #7-14 (12)
  • The Truth About Yavin, fiction by Nikki White (13)
  • Book Review by Tracy, The WARS Storybook (15)
  • Crash on Zanderine, fiction by Nancy & Tracy Duncan (16)
  • Bibliography of Star Wars mentions in pro printed articles and magazines (26)
  • Lexicon (27)
  • Thee Contest (21)
  • Songs for the Exiled, vignette by Candace Wiggins, reprinted from Fanfare #1) (32)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

The layout is find, and most of the art is good. I enjoyed "Documents of the Imperium" and "How to Purchase a Droid." "Man's Best Friend" was good and a plausible explanation of a theme it too me rather a long to time to realize was present in Star Wars.

I have mixed feelings about your serial. The plot moves quickly and held my attention, but I think Han will still need to be persuaded to help the Alliance... I don't think Luke believes his love for the Princess is hopeless. The concept of class differences is totally alien to him.... I am most bothered by the characterization of Leia, though.... Luke has some more growing up to do before she can really love him.[14]

I have received the second issue of ATS and thought it was the same as the first -- terrific. I thought that you rushed Luke and Leia a little bit, but then we all have our own opinion and that makes it all the more enjoyable. And no matter what criticism I many give you, you girls are excellent writers... You two are the next best thing to Star Wars II.[14]

First if all, I would like to applaud your fanzine. I have thoroughly enjoyed issues #1 and #2, and am anxiously awaiting #3. I was particularly impressed by "Man's Best Friend." "Escape from Vestarine," and "Crash on Zanderine." Are you sure you two are not professional writers? Your stories followed a much more logical sequence, and remained much truer to the characters than Alan Dean Foster's novel. I really enjoyed them, and the other features. Especially, since I am a military dependent stationed in Mannheim, Germany. I have felt so cut off from other fans.

One of the basic charms of Star Wars is its good vs. evil, black and white with no shades of grey... Thank you again for your effort and creativity.[14]

It looks like you two have done it again. Another fan job by our women in blue. I thought the high points were the pieces, "The Noble Servant," "The Truth About Yavin," and "Crash on Zanderine" ... it appeals to the romantic in me. There was also some very nice art in this ish, too. The two pieces that really made me look were both by Teanna Byerts. The one of Han on page 22 is just fantastic. Looks very professional, and it's the best of Han I've seen yet. The cover also caught my eye right off. I don't think it really looks a whole lot like dear little Leia, but the lady's very beautiful nonetheless. Very striking. I hope Teanna can manage to get some more of her work in ATS because it's really a joy to look at.[14]

I read Nancy's editorial and sat down and prayed she was wrong. I sincerely hope that Star Wars fandom does not splinter off into little cliques --this very thing drove me out of Star Trek fandom -- I realized one day I'd met one too many Spockies and heard enough disparaging remarks about the other characters, all of whom I found more to admire about. Spock was fine taken where he belonged -- as one of the team. So far, I haven't seen much of it surfacing in Star Wars -- the fanzines thus far (including ATS) seem to be balancing their characters quite well. I have to admit I'm a Han Solo freak -- Harrison Ford sends me into raptures -- but I don't want to see Han Solo pulled out of a very winning team -- a group of beings I've become very fond of -- and put into "Solo saves the world solo" stories. I think that this is a great deal of what Star Wars is -- that while each person must take responsibility for their own life and follow their own destiny, they must learn to trust and care about others.[14]

Congratulations Tracy and Nancy. Against the Sith is terrific! It just keeps improving every issue. I am looking forward to future issues. Great stuff! Also congratulations to fellow-Australian, Nikki White. About time Darth Vader has his say on what really went on!! Very aptly told, too!

Agree with you, Nancy, about "Playing Favorites Syndrome"! How true. Made me reappraise my own stories. Even though I am primarily a Han and Chewbacca fan, I like the other characters as well but tend to keep them in the background.[14]

Issue 3

Against the Sith 3 was published in January 1979 and contains 32 pages.

front cover of issue #3, Angela-Marie Varesano
inside front cover of issue #3 (poor photocopy), Irene Loughlin
back cover of issue #3 (poor photocopy), Irene Loughlin

This "Zine is dedicated to: MORK from ORK -- "nana-nanu" "SHAZBAT."

The art is by L.A. Adolf, Robert Frazier, Angela-Marie Varesano (cover), Irene Loughlin (inside front and back covers), Nancy Duncan, Tracy Duncan and Becky Aulenbach.

This issue has a letter by Craig Miller, "Director of Fan Relations" at Lucasfilm, Ltd. which is an early attempt to control and monitor fan activities.

letter by Craig Miller, published in Against the Sith #3 (January 1979)

"We're trying to get copies of all fanzines dealing with Star Wars to put into our archives. Especially the high quality ones.

Allyson Whitfield recommended Against the Sith as one of the better zines being produced, and one we should get for our files.

If available, we'd like to get four copies of each issue, past, current, and when available, future. If that many are not available, please send however many are, and we'll xerox the rest. The copies will be divided with one copy going to the company's archives, one copy going into George Lucas's archives/collection, one copy going into Gary Kurtz's archives/collection, and one copy into our file on fan activities.

Please send me whatever you have available, at the address given below, along with a bill for the cost. We'll send you a check for the fanzines.

Thank you for your time and trouble, and, especially, for your interest in Star Wars.

May the Force be with you,


Craig Miller

Director of Fan Relations"

The editorial by Tracy Duncan illustrates the anguish of the wait for a new canon fix, as well as how to be a good fan:

With STAR WARS out of the theatre, possibly until the sequel arrives more than a year from now, tbt loyal fans of the galaxy face a terrible anguish. How can we ward off such a nagging hunger? How do we satiate onr need to experience again the galaxy far, far away? Presented here-in are some possible ways to stave off the despair that may face you In the months ahead.

First, you must find a local store that carries STAR WARS related merchandise. Frequent the store frequently, search the stands and racks for any new goodies yon can buy. Save your pennies and purchase the Ralph McQuarrie portfolio. Besides, just looking at the marvelous prints, you may find it fufllling to pin them up on your bedroom walls.

Next, turn off the lights and play your STAR WARS soundtrack album. Sit in a corner with your legs crossed. Surely this will put your photographic memory in to play and you will subsequently relive the the entire film.

You positively must buy the STAR WARS storybook and read every word carefully. Pause when you come to the photos of Biggs to pay your respects. You may also curse the film editors who left him on the cutting room floor and thus kept his cute face frost our multitudinous perusals.

The STAR WARS album, "The Story of", is very good for suffering fans. You can hear the actual voices of your heros. (Golly gosh wow!)

If you are lucky enough to have recorded The Making of STAR WARS or the STAR WARS Holiday Special that appeared on television, these also recall those peachy keen faces that belong to those neeto keeno people we all know and love.

If you've built up your bubble gum card collection, hung up your calendar, and even purchased the quickie STAR WARS film (memorized frame by frame by now) and yet still suffer from STAR WARS withdrawal, there are some drastic measures available to you. But be warned! Unless you are a true fan, and truly in pain, these tactics can be dangerous to those around you.

Find someone to share your anguish [snipped, advice to take up fencing, play with your action figures].

Finally, the most effective way to satiate that hunger for STAR WARS and to stave off withdrawal symptoms is to write and draw all sorts of STAR WARS things! You many even want to send them your local STAR WARS fanzines for publication and enjoyment by other fans as unsatiated as yourself. Surely, you will survive, my fellow fan, for, we're all part of the same team!

  • editorials by Tracy and Nancy Duncan (Nancy's is actually a longish piece of untitled fiction) (2)
  • Parsecs (2)
  • Comlink, includes a letter by Craig Miller requesting four copies of all Star Wars zines to be sent to George Lucas, see image (4)
  • Forum, fans expound on the rumor that in the next film, Darth Vader is revealed to be Luke's father: most fans hate and/or disbelieve the premise (5)
  • The Corellian Factor, article by Nikki White (6)
  • Star Wars Holiday Special - review by Nancy who found it wonderful (8)
  • Wedding March, fiction by Susan Matthews (9)
  • One Morning for E.V.L. 2, fiction by Gail Courtney (11)
  • A Visit with the Cantina Aliens, article speculating on the characters in the cantina scene by Tracy (12)
  • Painful Memories, Future Dreams by Melanie Dickson (14)
  • Two Heroes, One Purpose, atrcile about the Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve, by Tracy (16)
  • Darth Vader's Christmas, poem or filk by Paula Nutter (19)
  • John William's Discography by Bob Buchtel (19)
  • Discovery on Seytan by Tracy (29)
  • zines available (29)
  • Star Wars Lexicon (30)
  • Thee Contest (31)
  • Seduction, vignette by Tracy (31)
  • Kenobi's Calling, poem by Robert Frazier (32)
  • Darth Vader, poem by M.R. Little (32)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

Nancy, the short story you wrote about Han was touching, and quite plausible as it would explain many of the reasons he acts the way he does.

1) His constant maligning of Leia. I am certain he considers her (at times) nothing but a spoiled rich little princess.

2) It could also be the reason he doesn't respond to her appeals to him for aid against the Empire. . .

3) His constant desire for money, for he and his brother had very little.

4) The way he needled Luke abont Obi-Wan, who was essentially Luke's father figure. Since Han's father deserted him and his brother, he sight resent the way Luke looked to, defended, and maybe even loved old Ben, the way Han could never look to his father.

One Morning for E.V.L. 2 was very clever ard imaginative; I loved it. Personally, I would have loved to have been a little fly on the wall that aoraing (and the night before!). By the way, how do androids woo one another? Could C-3P0 bring her a rare, expensive can of lubricant? And while sitting in a foaming oil bath, whisper sweet electronic nothings into her Microwave Sensors? [15]

...the capable Princess of "Discovery on Seytan"—exactly what George Lucas says he had in mind all the time—a lady who can adventure with the best of the men. And the points she makes about the clones: ". . .to be one of so many . . .how would you feel?" We at GF (Galactic Flight), of course, are of the opinion that all Troopers are clones . . . you caught exactly why we think it would be worked that way.[15]

I must tell you that ATS is my farorite fanzine—your serial is superior in its imaginativeness and is the most faithful to the soul of STAR WARS.[15]

Keep up the good vork. Nancy's Editorial/short-short was excellent: just the kind of thing Han would do. And thanks for the advice to the lovelorn, Tracy, Besides all the things you suggest, I'm into some fine zines, like ATS. My husband finds that easier to understand than ny fascination with STAR WARS toys![15]

I love your variety of articles in ATS #3. "Disoovery on Seytan" was good, I particularly enjoyed "A Wedding March" by Susan Matthews. I guess I'm a romantic. The Princess is my favorite character as you can see, Hope to see more of Susan's work, Gail Courtney's "One Morning for E.V.L, 2" was hilarious! Thought you might like to knov. I received ATS #3, and was quite impressed bv the improvement with each issue. Congratulations. Obviously there ia going to be a #4 (Goody!) ...Your serial is going nicely, and I'm glad to see Luke reunited with his mother, I feel vaguely uneasy with the idea of her as a servant, though. I'm looking forward to the next episode.[15]

Parts of "Discovery on Seytan" read like stuff out of a penny dreadful, the dialogue, anyway. Much of it seemed so melodramatic. The story was pretty good but it seems you prefer to use the old cliches of heroic fiction rather than breathe new life in them, as Lucas did. Leia just doesn't seem as firm as she was in the movie. Well, at least you don't keep her back in the diplomatic shadows, as many people do.[15]

I think it's an excellent idea to publish a theme zine rather than a haphazard collection of stories all sort of thrown together just because you have to publish a sixty-page zine or whatever. The thematic approach will give Against the Sith a unity which, as as far as I've seen, hasn't been tried yet in any STAR WARS zine. And to start with an issue about Leia—wow. I'm glad you two are giving her equal time; I think she's been unjustly ignored by most of the fan writers. I mean, like her or hate her, you've got to admit she's an interesting character with great literary possibilities.[15]

ATS keeps getting better and better. The serial is really shaping up. Especially liked the advent

of Luke's ma. You guys are the first I've encountered the have approached the mystery of Mrs. S in such a manner. Good show. Also especially liked "A Wedding March." Sue H. can really pen a cute story! [15]

Issue 4

front cover of #4, Beckey Aulenbach: "Cheo's Fortress on Wooka"
back cover of issue #4, Hope
inside front cover of issue #4, Tracy Duncan. Since the second Star Wars movie had not yet been released, a publicity still must have been employed.
inside back cover of issue #4, Hope
flyer for issue #4, printed in Skywalker #3

Against the Sith 4 was published in April 1979 and is 44 pages. It is offset reduced.

The art is by Beckey Aulenbach, Lisa Adolf, Wendy Banks, Laurel Beckley, Tracy Duncan, Hope, Paula Nutter, Dave Smith, and Nancy Duncan.

A flyer notes that "Copies of Against the Sith were ordered by George Lucas and Gary Kurtz for their collections and the Lucasfilm archives." This is a response to the letter the editors, and other zineds, had received from Craig Miller a few months previously. Their compliance was likely equally fueled by some fear at not behaving as George Lucas wanted them to, but also due to flattery. See this letter in the previous issue above.

From the editorial by Tracy:

This zine we hare dabbed with the label of "theme zine". Most of the material within follows a similar theme, one that deals with the intimate relationships between the three human characters of STAR WARS. We have tried to follow as closely as possible the evidence presented in the film. Hopefully the nature of the contents will rereal what our theme is.

One thing that STAR WARS literature often lacks is a theme. In STAR WARS itself there were many themes, the most important of which dealt with Luke's entrance into adulthood and his changing attitudes about life. Han's attitudes were changed according to his friends and the meaning of loyalty. These are unavoidable basic ingredients in the magic of STAR WARS. Beneath the action, the exotic planets, the adventure, the characters, and even the plot, was expressed a theme that held the universe together and gave it life.

The importance of theme in any artistic endeavor cannot be overstressed. Sure, sometimes it's fun and relaxing to try to avoid messages either in the written or pictorial word. Creations often arise which have no apparent theme or guiding thought. But these also have no purpose. The art that will be remembered months, and even years later, is that which employs a compelling idea, a clear perception, a heartfelt thought that touches the reader and speaks to him, over and above the plot, action, and characters that gave it birth. No really great work was ever born that did not employ a theme, and a worthwhile one. What's worthwhile? The answer to this is in your own heart. What do you want to say to the reader? That heroism is rewarded? Is useless? Is impossible? Is one's destiny? Is, rather, learned? Is it within oneself or must it affect others to be trully heroic?

The editorial by Nancy:

Editorial policies change and fluctuate with the orbit, timeparts, or whatever mood Editors are in, but one policy we'll always live by here at ATS is the diversified universe. We do not believe ATS as a whole need present only one idea or set of ideas for a STAR WARS universe, nor do we believe contributions should be compelled to pattern themselves after anything of ours. We want imaginative stories, the kind that aren't afraid to go 'way out'—experiment a little. Any idea is worth something to us, even if just for a good laugh. But—importantly—feel free to be creative, on characterisation, plot, theme, what-have-you—present them all in a worthwhile way. We are interested in all speculation, extrapolation, imagination.[16] In other words, why take them back to Tatooine—when a whole galaxy of adventure awaits!

  • Editorials by Tracy & Nancy (2)
  • Parsecs by Nancy, comic/cartoon (2)
  • more zine ads (3)
  • Comlink, letters of comment (4)
  • Forum, readers speculate on "who Leia will end up with"—four say Luke, two say Han, one says Chewbacca (5)
  • "Bunkies" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-22. by L.A. Adolf (Luke and Han must share a bed for the night when no double accommodation is available.) (6)
  • Porkburger Flies Again, report on an April 5, 1979 presentation by Robert Blalack (talk, slide show, dailies...) by Tracy (8)
  • More Marvel STAR WARS, a look at issues #15-23 by Bob Buchtel (9)
  • STARNUTS by Dave Smith (9)
  • The Chosen One (poem) by Tracy Duncan ("An epic style poem using the above theme." ["Princess Leia -- Should She Ever Have Been Liberated"]) (10)
  • The Parting, vignette by Roberta Rogow (12)
  • Marisa, Lady of the Sith by Doris Telford (12)
  • Old Ben, fiction by Ross Johnson (13)
  • The Brothers, fiction by Tracy Duncan (15)
  • My Enemy, fiction by Wendy Banks (15)
  • Thee Second Contest Winner, Paula Nutter (16)
  • Warsawards, Star Wars Oscar winners, originally printed in an issue of Grip (17)
  • Thee Contest (17)
  • "Princess Leia: Should She Ever Have Been Liberated," article by Tracy Duncan ("An in-depth look at a less than admirable heroine. Speculates on why she is what she is.") (18)
  • Pirate & Princess, vignette by Lisa Adolf (22)
  • Mission to Ashderaan, fiction by Nancy Duncan (Leia and a female acquaintance of Han's find themselves in the midst of a confusing triangle of emotions on the eve of a great battle for freedom from the Empire's oppression on Chewbacca's home plane, where Luke and Han have been enslaved. Continued in the next issue.) (24)
  • From the Journal of the Whills by Ross Johnson (43)
  • The Seas of Tatooine, poem by M.R. Little (44)
  • The Lady and the Knight, poem by Wendy Banks (44)
  • I, Assassin of Vader, poem by Robert Frazier (44)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

See reactions and reviews for Bunkies.

[zine]: Forum: Leia and Chewie: Good idea! . . .And then, he came, more masculine than Luke and Han together! Self-assured, worldly as Luke was not; Brave, kind, loving, loyal as Han would never be! They embraced, her lithe form clinging to his strong masculine frame. "My love!" she said, "Oh, Chewbacca!"

The Luke's father winner was good, But—why is he wearing Nike running shoes?

The serial!!!! Wonderful writing here! Your serial was long, but incredibly enthralling! Just one question: If Wooka is such a warm, forested planet, why do the natives have all that fur?

"Bunkies"—It's comforting to know that even super-heroes can be annoying in bed. Beferring to sleeping habits, that is. I like your art style, it has a great individuality! Especially like the page 42 work! ATS #4 is A- .[17]

[zine]: The illos on the cover and inside front cover are great. Very well done and professional looking, "Starnuts" is very funny, especially the thought of a Snoopy-snookie. "Bunkies" is just the thing a very short story should be; short and to-the-point. Also Lisa seems to have a very firm grip on her characters. I really have no words for "The Chosen One." It is too good, I first read it late at night and the feeling of the poem hit hard. It took five minutes before I could recover, Tracy, it is great!!!!!! And ihe drawing of Luke at the end is perfect. The boyish grin and the relaxed attitude contrasts beautifully with the end of the poem, "Old Ben" I did not like at all. The idea of a senile old man just doesn't fit with the movie or the book. The article on Princess Leia is very thought out and well done, I have always wondered why the Princess is so childish. Consider the fact that she is so young; she must have been trained for the position of Senator since Day One. Also she just witnessed the destruction of her world. And yet she shows no emotion at all. It could be argued that it was because of the destruction of Alderaan that she wasn't in control of her actions on the Death Star. But even that thought is flakey. Somehow I have always thought of Leia as being a very multi-level person. Trained from birih to be a Senator, she is used to commanding. Since Alderaan is now destroyed, she is the major political figure in the Bebellion, And a leader! That is important, she just doesn't have time for courting Luke or Han, She is already married—to the Rebellion, Perhaps after the war is finished, then she will have time for love, but for right now now she is just too busy.[17]

[zine]: I loved that cartoon "Starnuts", and that article of Leia. The first time I saw the movie I thought she needed a good spanking! I still think she should get one! Maybe the sequel will develop her character a little more.[17]

[zine]: I did not agree with a lot of it (Princess Leia—Should She Ever Have Been Liberated?), You use the book for a lot for comparisons and examples of how Leia could and should have reacted better. In the book, Leia is 16 years old, not long in the Senate and really not too long in diplomatic service. She had not had time to leam the abilities of hiding her emotions behind a royal, unmovable mask. At 19, three years later in her life, she has learned these oh so important facets. If she were to break down and blatantly show her true feelings, she would lose whatever power she had gained over her adversary. We do not know what type of peoples Leia has come in contact with. Obviously, in her career as Senator and Princess, it was a great variety. By Han's reaction to what she says, by his stance, being in the company of an armed Wookiee, all these can add up fast to an observant person, which is what a good diplomat must be. As far as creating enemies, I'm not sure about that. If they were working for Tarkin, wouldn't they have led her safely out? Leia is in a fight for her life and will do what she must to preserve it. If these two are indeed there to help her, they must prove it by doing as she says. For all she knows it is only her life at stake, not theirs. She still isn't sure on whose side they stand. She is not out for conquests, she just wants out, any way she can. As for Luke being the hero, she doesn't know that! No one has set her down and told her there would be a kid named Luke Skywalker coming to rescue her. Who is Luke Skywalker to her anyway? Nobility be hanged!!!! Leia wants off that Death Star, as far away from Tarkin and Darth Vader as possible, and will do that she must to acquire that small thing. Chewie feels her tongue only because she obviously connects him with Han, therefore assuming he will be as obstinate. I thought out all this. Han is the one talking, not Luke. Why should she concern herself with someone who is willing to do her bidding? Yes, she she is the Princess, has demanded obedience and gotten it from at least one of them. Now she must work on the other if she is to get out. Ignore Luke? Perhaps but only until he is needed. Then she sees what he really is and doesn't leave him out quite as often. He had to prove himself. After all, he is unknown to her. If he had been a well known Jedi Knight, it would have been different. As it is, Leia didn't even know he was a budding Jedi. During war, one does not make friends or hand out trust easily. A friend must convince another of his worth. Trust is given only to those deserve it. Leia knows this. She has probably seen many of her friends sent off to die -- she has just seen her entire planet, friends, family, all destroyed. She trusted Tarkin to leave Alderaan alone if she gave him the location of the base. Why should she trust anyone after that? It is only after the Death Star is destroyed that she sees Han is indeed trustworthy and shows it hugging and laughing with him.

The traditional heroic fantasy is a long way from what Star Wars is. The only thing they have in common was good versus evil.

I liked Leia. She didn't have to change.[17]

[zine]: I just got ATS #4 and I thought it was your best yet. Kudos to Nancy for putting Leia in her place in 'Mission to Ashderaan!, she deserved it, but you come down on her a little hard in 'Should She Bver Have Been Liberated?' May I bring to light that Princesses are a somewhat an arrogant bunch, though you're right, the movie did seem to overuse those unfortunate tendencies. Next time George, let's give the little princess a heart, okay? The 'Chosen One' was excellent, I've read few epic type poems I've liked so well. This poem shows us the very Luke and Leia, I believe possible events the future might hold in store for that Luke would do anything for her (including shoot her down, if he found he realized she needed it). And he will never stop loving her. I hope Leia learns to love hm as much as Luke loves her.[17]

[zine]: I recieved Against the Sith and was veiy impressedl I liked the artwork—most of it—particularly the cover by Beckey Aulenbach and the art by Hope, The picture of Luke Skywalker accompanying "Ihe Chosen One" was excellent! It has always seemed to me that no one can draw Luke right—not the Brothers Hildebrandt, not even Ralph McQuarrie—yet here he is! Congrats! Tracy's article on Princess Leia is pro, I knew there was something that bugged me about the Princess, but I wasn't quite sure that, until now. As for characteri zations, however, "Old Ben" was the pits. If Ben Kenobi was ever an old fool, he got over it before he ever rescued Luke from the Sandpeople, I saw no trace of mental incapacity in him in the book or the movie. And to regain his "former" powers in strength in an hour or two after the purported years of disuse is straining credulity.[17]

[zine]: Have recieved (and memorized) much of ATS #4, and am now looking forward to recieving #5. "Bunkies" was cute—poor Han! And I liked the character development in "Ashderaan"; it's struck me from time to time that her Highness has a lot of mouth for a diplomat. Seems to me she needs a severe spanking. (Do Corellians spank people? Han seems more the type to do it than Luke.)[17]

[zine]: A few days ago I recieved ATS #4 in the mail, and you girls have done it again! "Mission to Ashderaan" is one of the best to date. The poem that Tracy wrote brought tears to my eyes. I liked the story about Marisa, the poor chick, to think that she's Vader's wife, her home life must be downright unbearable! My compliments to Doris Telford! I enjoyed the piece on Obi-Wan now I know a lot more about him, not that he was the sharp Jedi Knight all the time. I have a so-so attitude about Boberta Bogow's "The Parting." Tracy, I just loved your piece, "We Brothers." It showed that Princesses are human too! Paula Nutter, con gratulations on winning The Second Contest. The drawing of Luke's father fits Luke's conception of a heroic knight to a tee. About your article on Princess Leia, it was right on target! When I first saw the movie, I didn't dwell on Leia's personality, however when I read the article, I found that it described her right down to her hairdo. Lisa Adolf's "Bunkies" left me in stitches! Funny, funny, funny! Now , as to Ross Johnson's From the Journal of the Whills." It answered a lot of questions about Vader, Skywalker, Luke, and Obi-Wan. And the statement that it was Sir Skywalker's sabre, and not Obi-Wan's that disfigured him is a great idea! Now Vader has a reason to swear a blood-feud against Luke. Not knowing however, that Luke has sworn to put Vader's head in a basket, or die trying. May the Force protect Luke, and send Vader's soul to everlasting hell! Now, about the poems on the last page. I liked the one by M. R. Little, loved the one by Wendy Banks, and was awed by the one Bob Frazier. As to the drawings: Leia, oops, Lisa Adolf, 6, 14, so-so. Beckey Aulenbach, cover, 13. Loved the cover, so-so on Obi-Wan. Wendy Banks, 12. I give a 9. Laurel Beckley, 44. (Bottom) Loved the dragon! Nancy Duncan, 2. Loved the dialogue, I give the drawing a 6. Tracy Duncan, Inside Front Cover, 24, 29, 31, 36, 42. I liked the one on page 42, but I give the rest a 7. Hope, 3, 11, 22-3, 44. I give it an 8. Paula Nutter, 16. I give it a 10! Dave Smith, 9. Drawing, 7, dialogue, 10.[17]

[zine]: "Bunkies" was cute, fun and otherwise I really enjoyed it. "Stamuts" was fantastic! I wish I'd thought of it. I also really liked "Mission to Ashderaan" but you really left me hanging at the end. I disagree with "Princess Leia... ". I thought Leia's bitchy behavior might be accounted for considering the stress she was under; being captured and tortured by Darth Vader and then watching her planet get blown up doesn't happen every day. Her temperament seems to have cooled a bit after she is out of immediate peril (remember her words of encouragemnet to Luke just before the battle over the Death Star?) But Perhaps it's simply too early to judge her, or any of the other characters for that matter. In what direction will all the fan fiction go when the sequel comes out? It will surely revoke all those theories about the characters' pasts and futures. We'll all have to readjust our personal view of the STAR WARS universe and it will be quite interesting indeed to see where George Lucas wants to take his fantasy.[17]

Will we be hearing more about Marisa, Vader's wife? Your article on Leia was good; it occurred to me during reading it that maybe she was trying to hide her true feelings under all that sarcasm? [17]

[zine]: As usual, I loved ATS #4. Mission to Ashderaan was fantastic—as have been the previous chapters. However, I feel that you are allowing your conceptions of Leia (that you expressed in Princess Leia-Should She Ever Have Been Liberated?) to color her personality in all your stories. Please allow one to become council for the Defense, and hopefully put her in a better light for you. The first scene of interaction between the main characters, is of course the rescue. OK, consider what has happened. Leia has been interrogated by Vader—possibly not torture as in the book, but definitely with drugs. She has seen her home world destroyed before her eyes. She must think that the plans in Artoo are lost by now, and that all hope for herself and the rebellion are gone. So in comes Luke, dressed head to toe in Stormtrooper garb. She must think, "Well folks, this is it!" But she gets in one final shot, "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" And when Luke says he's here to rescue her, she has to do a double take. That's totally unexpected and confusing. When she hears of Artoo and Kenobi, hope comes flooding back. But she finds no Kenobi—only Han racing toward them saying that they can't get out. Her hopes are dashed again. She's bitter. And when neither seems to know what to do next, she takes over. If she had come to rescue someone, she would've had a plan for getting out. She's very efficient and thorough. In those first few minutes the guys, especially Han, act without thinking time after time, and ignore her ideas or "female advice" simply be cause she's a woman. Of course, she's angry. Agreed, she should have thanked them (perhaps that line was on the cutting room floor for some reason), but she hasn't been rescued yet. And at this rate she may not be. Han cuts her down, she responds in like kind. But she shows an almost immediate concern for them—over Luke when the Dia Noga grabs him, she hugs Han when the walls stop moving in. Leia does not ignore Luke. Of course she spars with Han. They are both argumentative, and it's a challenge for each to see who can top the other's last insult. She ad mires Han's courage, when he charges the Stormtrooper, but stays with Luke, which seems to say that she trusts his abilities to protect her just as much. Just before the final battle, she again shows her con cern for Luke—"What's wrong?" And her "empty philosophy" about Han was not empty at all, rather she recognized his and everyone's individual rights to do that they have to do. And again she kissed Luke, not the other rebels, just Luke. He special to her. I admire her greatly, and hope that you can begin to admire her, too. The Defense rests.[17]

[zine]: ATS #4 was even better than the issues before. I like the idea of building the zine around a theme. The stories take on more meaning when centered around one idea and the theme approach provides for more continuity. Your chapter "Mission to Ashderaan" was very exciting and I am looking forward to meeting Rydion. He seems to be a very resourceful man. Also, I'm glad to see that Luke and Leia's love is met without problems. I feel that it would be unrealistic for two such independent people not to have some friction between them. (l hope they get back together, though.) You are handling the character relationships very well. Keep up the fine work.[17]

[zine]: Your editorials, as always, were enlightening and lively. It is so nice to see zine editorials with something to say, rather than the usual gushings over contributors, etc. Leia always reminded me of one of Burroughs' heroines from his Mars series-—Liana of Gathol. Seeing as Lucas traced the genre back to Burroughs' John Carter books, might Liana not be one of his inspirations? Liana, as I remember her was just about as temperamental as Leia, and as sarcastic and flippant as Leia was with Han. She also had a male character who doted upon her, and she tended to ignore him until almost the last minute, much as Leia seemed to ignore Luke. ERB wrote about Liana a good thirty years ago, does Leia's character really have much connection with the current libbers? Introducing Han's ex-wife to the serial livened things up somewhat, she is a neat character and and excellent foil. However, Han was enough out of character that I got a little defensive for his sake when one more person appeared on the scene to run him into the ground. . . The last thing he needed was someone, a person he had once been married to even, attacking him verbally as well. Normally I would say that Han could handle all of this, but the Han presented in this story basically seemed not to be able to handle any of this. He~might as well have crawled off in a comer and died, for all the positive reinforcement he got within the story. The only being who treated Han with any kind of respect and kindness was Squirt—a nice likable fellow—and he ended up being killed. No matter how you looked at it, Han simply could not win. My heavens, he even lost his ship! Arghhhh! Perhaps I should have waited to read the second part of this story—the battle on the Wookiee planet—before getting carried away with all of this.[17]

[zine]: "Mission" was interesting. The end: Han has fallen for Leia, Leia has fallen for Luke, and contrary Luke had decided he doesn't care. . . Princess Leia in a fight is actually a good idea. I liked Han's reaction to the fight she got into in MTA, and must admit that Luke somewhat miffed me—made me want to thump him a bit! Maybe that's the effect you're after? In fact, he's turning somewhat crabby altogether. And Leia's a bit shrewish too. You may not believe this, but only your Han is coming up a pet (wronged, jumped all over, battered, beaten could still smiling 'through his tears,' when he can't even have his love... bit soap operaish, but maybe that's life... )[17]

[zine]: I enjoyed the whole thing, of course. Good balance, both in story types and length. The article on Princess Leia was most illuminating—I admit I hadn't considered the significance of her changed attitude between the book and the movie. My first reaction to her treatment of Luke and Han was that she was acting like a spoiled brat. Yet perhaps, with as many sequels as are planned, she will grow up later. If all character development is done in one film, that doesn't leave too much for the others. Also, at this point, her prime concern is the Alliance; even if these people have just rescued her, she doesn't know them. "Bunkies" was grand. I felt so sorry for Han, trying to get some sleep but being pestered so he couldn't— even after Luke went to sleep! Having lived in barracks and had the same problem, I can sympathize whole heartedly. I don't like commenting on serials in progress (or anything incomplete) but I am enjoying yours. It's complicated, but everything hangs together, which is difficult.[17]

[zine]: You have pointed out some important facts. ("Princess Leia . . . ") In fact, I think this is one of the most important statements ever to be made about STAR WARS. But while I think your questions are important, I refuse to accept your conclusions. Your conclusion is that Leia is "less than admirable and not very noble". Me, I see a woman who is complicated, misunderstood, and quite probably insecure. In a Fantastic Films interview Buster Crabbe said "Princess Leia is a smart-ass dame and I'll tell you something else about her—she's certainly not Dale Arden. There's something hard about this girl." When he said this, I was infuriated, and now you go ahead and say practically the same thing. Well I'll say this! At least she isn't fainting or going bananas like Dale Arden always was! One thing I totally agree with is that if they hadn't rearranged and clipped Leia's dialogue to hell and back she would have come off just as sharp and less abrasive.[17]

[zine]: I prefer Leia as she is to a helpless, dependent female, but I don't like her very much. Lucas, like most men, doesn't know how to write a liberated woman wittout making her domineering. In this case, femininity is sacrificed to humor and, I think, the creation of a deliberately against tradition heroine. "Mission to Ashderaan". Luke and Leia's relationship, particularly in the final scene, rings true. Luke will someday realize she is not the perfect creature he imagined that he saw the holograph, but a real woman with faults. When that happens, he will wonder if he loves her as she really is. Luke will want Leia to love him as he is, and not because she this he's a great hero. He would also want to be as important, but not more important, to her than the Rebellion. I don't think Han is seriously in love with Leia, and even if he were, I don't think that would keep him with the Rebels. I'm not sure what the theme is. Perhaps that there are many kinds of love.[17]

Issue 5

front cover of #5, Angela-Marie Varesano
back cover of issue #5

Against the Sith 5 was published in July 1979 and is 48 pages long.

  • editorial by Nancy and Tracy (2)
  • Parsecs by Nancy (2)
  • more zines (3)
  • Comlink (4-6)
  • Forum (7)
  • The Prometheus Pattern by Winston A. Howlett (8) (a new look at an old story)
  • A Review by Bob Buchtel (10)
  • zine businesss (10)
  • Reflections from a Maintenance Workshop by M.H. Loughlin (10)
  • Map of Tatooine by Ross Johnson (11) (graphic)
  • Stars End, Good Solo, Fair Plot by Nancy (12)
  • The Stars in Our Hearts, a Critical Commentary on George Lucas by Denis Wood (14) (article)
  • Thee Contest (18)
  • After the Battle by Anne Davenport (19) (contest winner)
  • Payoff by Curtis Cole (21) (contest winner)
  • Something Nasty This Way Comes by Bob Buchtel (23) (Mork meets Vader.)
  • Han and Chewie Centerspread by Beckey Aulenback (24)
  • Battle on Wooka by Nancy and Tracy (26) (The last installment of the serial, "Mission to Ashderaan." Luke, Leia, Han and company battle the evil foe on the Wookiee's home planet in an effort to liberate the region for the Rebel Alliance and the forces of Good)
  • Many Mourned Moff, Services Held Today by Empire Times (47)
  • The Attack, Twin Suns by Scot Noel (48)
  • art by Beckey Aulenbach (centerfold of Han and Chewie), Anne Davenport (inside back cover), Nancy Duncan, Tracy Duncan, Jon Heilman, Ross Johnson, Dave Smith and Angela-Marie Varesano (front cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

Congratulations on a great zine. I'm exceptionally happy with it. It has a really good mesh. I especially like the character and movie analysis. They are perceptive and intelligent. I'm also happy to see you've found a few males out there. Sometimes I wonder if all of fandom isn't female. I personally know of a hell of a lot of guys who went to STAR WARS more than once. Maybe it's just that the females have bigger mouths and seem to get things done. Really like to see the guys contribute.


About everyone's different emerging variants of the STAR WARS Universe. In reality there is only one universe—Lucas'. Whatever he says, gang, goes. For all those people who condemned Lucas for rehashing the past and (supposedly) not coming up with one original idea, he shares that distinction with another, not cinematic, but literary, genius. He too was not appreciated by the critics in his day. His name was William Shakespeare and he never wrote one original play and created very few original characters. He may have stolen everybody else's stories and characters (today he probably couldn't get a job for being accused of plagiarism) but he imbued them with such tragedy and wit and did it better than anyone before or since, and therein lay his genius, so too with George Lucas.

"Mission to Ashderaan"—Well done as always but I do think Nancy's Leia isn't any better than Lucas' movie Leia Tracy analyzed, and in many ways comes up much worse. It's almost as if you've focused so much on her bad points you can't possibly see her good and none appear in the story.

Thank you for Denis Wood's "The Star's in Our Hearts"; is intelligent and perceptive. He's said what I thought all along only a million times better than I could have said it. It's for all those Message' critics who totally missed the message of STAR WARS because they don't spell it out in words and the audience must infer them for themselves. Denis Wood's analysis is splendid and insightful. Exactly on target. I'd personally love to send copies to all those "serious" critics , who dismissed STAR WARS as nothing more than a bit of fluff because it didn't have a message. Sorry guys (the critics), you missed the boat again. He also deals with the medal ceremony which most of those other critics slighted as fascist or neo-Nazi propaganda, how they came up with that interpretation is beyond me, for if it were true then the stormtroopers (SS) would technically be the good guys and the rebels (the French resistance) the bad guys. I'm glad someone finally has had the intelligence and courage to draw the parallels between the medal scene and that of Riefenstatd's Nazi propaganda film TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, and differentiate so skillfully between them, masterfully pulling the plug on that old argument. Thank you Denis Wood. And thank you Tracy and Nancy for printing it.

"Battle on Wooka"— easily my favorite in your series. Once past the midway point I think everything is working and all the characters are really in character again. For some reason Luke seems to come off badly for me in most fanfic which is terrible because he is our hero, and they are his adventures. Your Luke is as right on target as a targeting computer. Here's the Luke we've come to know and love so well by the end of the film. The Luke who likes people and wants to help them, his basic goodness shining forth in his concern and compassion for others. The Luke capable of taking command in battle and not the whining youth after the robot's purchase or even the one you perhaps unwittingly intoned in the last installment. And a Luke coming into command of his Jedi sensitivities and powers. Bravo, a job well done! But it doesn't end there. You've captured Solo as well. And I was too hard on you before about Leia. You bring Leia through with flying colors. She is at once the Leia of both book and movie and yet your own creation as well. No mean feat.

I thought your Darth suffered a bit, though. For all his evil, and that was masterfully maintained, there is a touch of nobility about him in the book and movie that seems to have evaded you. But then 3 1/2 out of 4 isn't bad. I probably couldn't manage a 1 myself. Also, I think it was a bit too pat that Luke could command at this stage the Force well enough to stray Vader's hand into blowing himself up. I still think he's eventually going to have to find another mentor with knowledge of the Force before he's ready for the final confrontation with Vader. Rather I think you would have been better off ending it as the movie did, for them all to live to fight another day. Although I realize in reality that state can't keep perpetuating itself forever—something's got to give some time. Once again, thank you for a great zine and some absolutely wonderful writing. But I do have one BIG COMPLAINT—it's too damned SHORT! But keep them coming.[18]

I don't feel that a liberated heroine is out of place in STAR WARS. I believe the Princess is difficult for some to accept because we are uncomfortable with assertive women. They remind us of admonitions we've heard all our lives. But that does not mean the actions themselves are inappropriate.

Another part of the reason she is difficult to accept is because she is not a well-drawn character. A person with preconceived ideas as to the heroine's role is bound to be upset by an untraditional character who never develops past the "spirited" stage. It would be easy to interpret Leia as bitchy, ungrateful, and uncaring when neither author, editor or actress presented us with more than one dimension. That problem is caused by lack of character development not because Leia represents the women's lib myth that a strong woman must be an emasculating one.

Women can present strength and compassion, can achieve equality without dominance. More importantly, so can men. If Princess Leia fell short of the goal so did Han Solo. Luke probably came closest to the ideal (after all, he's the hero). But all three characters can be rounded out in film and fan stories.

My hope would be that we will grant to Princess Leia the same benefit of the doubt we readily grant to Han Solo. Isn't it indicative of the double standard that we are more willing to forgive his shortcomings than hers? [18]

ATS #5 was good. The second paragraph in the introduction of "Battle On Wooka" was hilarious! Han loves Leia but he doesn't know . . . Vader loves himself. That was funny. I laughed out loud! Also the illustration by Anne Davenport on the inside of the back cover was perfect. I can just see Leia, nothing but work on her mind, come walking up to Luke, papers in hand, prepared to discuss today's business. When impulsive Luke grabs Leia and kisses her. Great! It's just what you'd expect to happen! [18]

I was very disappointed to note that all the soul-searching which we loved so much in ATS #4 installment of your serial evolved into people wandering around in the dark. I really think that Han's "confession" to Luke would have had a more lasting effect than it did. And it seems to me that Han wasn't as interested in Leia this time around as he was in ATS #4. I know, he told Luke that he just didn't fall in love, but it seemed a rather abrupt change of heart to me.


My hands are shaking — I just saw the clips for the sequel! It really is the Empire's revenge. Luke frozen and beaten up, Han tortured by Vader in front of Chewie (I didn't like that one bit), Leia in white pants, still smarting off, but having a love scene with Luke (it pays to get beaten up), the new Lando character of Billy Dee Williams (I hope he's a good guy—what a hunk!), Luke's saber jumping into his hand, a glimpse of Boba Fett, the rebel encampment on the ice world . . . What fun, but dominated by Vader, more evil than ever. Eeek!

ATS #5 was very good: "The Prometheus Pattern" is getting mailed to my theology department, "After the Battle was carefully thought out—but when did they sleep? They looked awfully clear eyed at the ceremony. "Payoff" was fun" liked the quick change of the Falcon's markings, and the giEt of a blaster to Luke. Trust Han and Chewie for that! And Jabba is sure a sleeze. But Luke using the Force to suggest that his guard kill himself leaves me worried: Luke is too new to the Force, and it's a queer use for something which comes from the living! Biggest scream: "Something Nasty This Way Comes": I read the title aloud and a friend howled. Next in funniness: the Tarkin obituary. You didn't miss a line, even the ungrieving widow, the excuse for the Death Star blowing up, the huge volume number, and the reference to Tarkin's 'dear' friend Lord Vader. Ouch! The map was fun, the artwork—the inside back cover I call: "to hell with paperwork!"

"Battle on Wooka tied up a lot of loose ends. I like the short love scenes with Luke and Leia: you have her thinking a lot. Keli's one nice lady-Han's ex? Hnun—and he might finally admit that he was wrong. Some of the dialogue needed work. Problem: portrayal of Vader's death. How soon did this take place after the movie? DV has been a Force master for 20 years—and Luke talks him into killing himself sort of accidentally? A little too fast, I think. The scene with Leia's sister Rhia was off, too: Darth is an ex-Jedi, an aristocrat of Evil, Lord of the Sith. He is not the type to destroy things of beauty—he probably can appreciate them. He is a very noble villain—and that is why he scares the wits out of me! [18]

"The Prometheus Pattern" puts forth a very interesting idea. Aside from the fact that I cannot accept such an unhappy ending to the story begun in STAR WARS, I do not see the Force as a Christian concept. It seems more eastern to me. It also reminded me of the pantheistic heresy that everything is God. In "May the Force be with you," the Force seems to be taking the place of God, as in the original meaning of "Good-bye."

I liked "After the Battle". It fits very well with what I think happened then but I'd like to think Leia would think more kindly of Luke. I liked "The Payoff" very much. It's my favorite of the "Han goes back to Tatooine to pay off Jabba" stories I've read, probably because it's the only one that included Luke, and in such a great way, too.[18]

I just got done reading ATS #5. I must say that Denis Wood's article was a bit much. Some of the inferences he made were pretty far out. The whole thing was too political for me, with all the references to fascism and capitalists and such. What really got me, though, was the way he came down so hard on Owen Lars. The poor guy was trying to make a go of it in harsh circumstances and Wood calls him "a grasping, covetous, petty capitalist." Really! As for him "exploiting" Luke, well, that's ridiculous. He was simply trying to protect the boy from what he felt was a dangerous world (and wasn't it?). After what happened to the boy's father, I can certainly understand why Owen would want to keep him "down on the farm." He doesn't want Luke to find out about the Jedi, so he makes up excuses for keeping him at home; if he goes to the Academy, who knows what will happen? He is not exploiting Luke, he is not enslaving him, he is simply trying to keep him alive and safe, as best as he knows how. What's wrong with that?

I also didn't like Wood referring to Luke as a "mewling adolescent." Come on! He's approaching twenty-one, he's stuck in a back-water planet and he wants to get out and see the universe. Naturally he will rebel at doing chores, naturally he will be brusque and short-tempered with the droids. Nor do I agree that Luke would have stayed on the farm any^ way—Aunt Beru recognized that they couldn't keep him at home forever. I think Mr. Wood possibly read more into the film than was really there. Taking STAR WARS too seriously is as bad as not taking it seriously enough.[18]

Issue 6

front cover of issue #6, Tracy Duncan
back cover of issue #6
inside front cover of issue#6
inside back cover of issue#6

Against the Sith 6 was published in November 1979 and is 48 pages long.

The art is by Laurel Beckley, Nancy Duncan, Tracy Duncan, Paula Nutter, Jon Heilman, Dave Smith, Sue Surls, Gene Trumbo, Angela-Marie Varesano, Robert G. Yeaman.

"This zine is really dedicated to Mr. Bill - oooooooooooooo!!"

Tracy's editorial:

In the last issue (#5), we came to the end of our AGAINST THE SITH adventure serial. We invite you to read a new multi-part (at least two) serial that begins in this issue. "At the Rebel Base" is the series' title... I'll just say that we took the characters as far (at least) as the sequel film will. Now we prefer to sit back and let THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (TESB) show us the way it really will be done.

I think here's a good opportunity to explain something about our fiction and ATS in general. As most of you guessed, we aren't the creators of a "universe" of STAR wars fiction—we don't have one huge unit of stories that are interconnected in time. Our stories are pretty much independents, except for the serial chapters that were labeled as belonging together.

We feel that it is more exciting to take Lucas' Universe and strike out in different directions, to play with the situations, characters and possibilities Lucas gave us (as "Maybe George Will Kill Us" just may illustrate) . Playing with possibilities is all any fan can do—the true STAR WARS Universe belongs solely to Lucas and to the filmed version of the STAR WARS Saga. We at ATS (who, me?) are only trying to help fans bridge the gap between the films; our aim is to satisfy the hunger for a little space adventure. I say the filmed version of STAR WARS because this alone is the essential STAR WARS universe—Lucas conceived STAR WARS as a motion picture. Not the novelization, or the Marvel comic books, or the pro STAR WARS novels (such as SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE), or the fan fiction are as true as the original film and its sequels, whatever they may be.

We intend to follow the films and take to heart what is presented there for us. We refuse to pick and choose, to reject facets of the Lucas Universe—as some fans have refused to accept that Darth Vader is maimed, or even an evil character as Lucas presents him, or to change his Universe—as some fans have chosen to present Han Solo as the main character. We feel that if the facts for the Lucas Universe aren't simply accepted, the structure of the Universe is ripped apart—what universe does a fan then have?

Nevertheless, we refuse to view the movie saga as perfect. Lucas is as capable of mistakes as the next guy. But in terms of STAR WARS, it is STAR WARS, plain and simple.

So as TESB rises on the horizon, we will follow it. If the day comes when we decide we are unsatisfied with the Lucas STAR WARS Saga {perish the thought!), there will no longer be an ATS. We will never present an alternative universe as opposed to the star wars Universe.

As the worlds of STAR WARS are revealed on film to the next, we will embrace them and continue to expand upon them until the next film takes us along the one real STAR WARS path.

  • Editorials by Nancy & Tracy (2)
  • Parsecs, cartoon (2)
  • Starnuts, cartoon (3)
  • Comlink, letters of comment (4)
  • Maybe George Will Kill Us, an Odyssy into an Impossible World by Nancy and Tracy (6)
  • The Rebel Force Sings, a review by Tracy of the 1977 LP "Living in These Star Wars," a relatively unknown pop album by "The Rebel Force Band" parodying subjects from A New Hope and using certain well-known themes from John Williams' original soundtrack. (8)
  • Del-Ac Model II Freedom Fire (article and illustrations) by SSGT Gene Trumbo (9)
  • Tolerance, poem by Angela-Marie Varesano (10)
  • zine ads (13)
  • We So Love Our Dolls, article about action figure toys, includes photo tableau by Nancy (14)
  • The Empire Strikes Back Special Section
    • Seacon Report by Delores McAllister and Sheryl Adsit (listed in the table of contents, but included as a single page supplement due to it being received too late) (17)
    • Slide Show by Sue Suris, a report of the July 7 slide show (first one for "The Empire Strikes Back") presented at Westercon 32 by Craig Miller, Director of Fan Relations for Black Falcon, LTD. (18)
    • Daniel Speaks, a description of Anthony Daniels' appearance on "Captain Cosmic and Hist Wonder Robot 2T2," a children's show a Oregon's cable channel, by Nancy (18)
    • Preview Trailer, a frame by frame description of the trailer for "The Empire Strikes Back" by Nancy and Tracy (19)
    • Behind the Baron - It's Billy Dee, article by Tracy (20)
    • Bibliography of for-profit "The Empire Strikes Back" articles (20)
    • George Lucas Meets The Force or Not Only The Empire Strikes Back, RPF meta-fic about George Lucas encountering (through mysterious, unexplained means) the characters from the movie, by Paula Nutter (21)
  • Kendo - the Jedi Way, fiction by Tracy (23)
  • Who Shall Stand Against the Sith?, poem by Angela-Marie Varesano (centerfold)
  • At the Rebel Base, The Force of Luke Skywalker or Han Solo Strikes Out, fiction by Tracy & Nancy (26)
  • Rebel Base Bulletin Board by Rebels, related to a graffiti board (48)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

I'm very confident in Lucas" judgement and his crew, sometimes I think old George has taken lessons in a few of the finer points in slow torture from old D.V. himself. The wait for TESB is killing me, almost everyone I know is anxiously awaiting it. I expect TESB will be doing turn away business the first few weeks unless its really a bomb which I really doubt. Everyone thinks I'm joking but I'm ready to take my sleeping bag and bunk out in front of the theatre. My big problem is that I have several friends who just Jove to tell you everything that happens and I don't want to know. I want to go in and have very few preconceived notions and just experience the whole thing.[19]

"We So Love Our Dolls" was contagious. Leia-doll moved in with me and my roommate and, of course, where Leia-doll goes Luke and Hall-doll will eventually follow. Leia-doll gets lonely at night. Actually, I blame my roommate for our added guest-doll. It was her idea, but she got the idea from ATS. Oh well, she never complained about my model X-wing or model Millennium Falcon or my blaster or my TIE fighter or my SW posters or.[19]

ATS is great! Finally there is a 'zine that takes more than 30 minutes to read and at the same time is interesting (most zines I've seen either have 12 pages and hence is over with in about as many minutes or is 160 pages that is rather boring to begin with). I always look forward to Terri (Black) bringing her newest copy of your 'zine to school(because I get next dibs on it. After that the rest of them fight it out.) [19]

I really enjoyed the blurbs on TESB; the poetry was really superb this time too. "At the Rebel Base" had me in hysterics in places (Han's antics and practical jokes), as well as frightfully embarrassed for Luke and feeling sorry for him too at the end. Poor guy! He can't help it if he's so flipping good! How many naturally noble people are there in the galaxy? That's another reason I don't want to miss the next issue. The article on the dolls was great, too. I'm glad I'm not the on1y one! [19]

I liked "At the Rebel Base" very much. I think it's great that you have so many different ideas for STAR WARS stories instead of creating a rigid universe. I loved the chapter titles. I'd been hoping someone would write a story in which another woman is interested in Luke. Thanks for Wende.

I'm also glad to see someone using the idea of the other pilots resenting the attention and promotions Luke gets. I agree with the way you have Han reacting. Since he's not a fighter pilot he wouldn't care that much but he would be bothered by Luke's always being right, especially since he doesn't believe in the Force. I don't see Wedge resenting Luke. I thought Wedge would follow Luke through the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy if asked after the Death Star. He accepted Luke's authority easily during the attack run and having been there has a better idea of just what Luke accomplished than the other pilots.[19]

Issue 7

front cover #7, Paula Nutter
inside front cover of issue #7, Angela-Marie Varesano
back cover of issue #7, Tracy Duncan
inside back cover of issue #7, Nancy Duncn

Against the Sith 7 was published in March 1980 and is 40 pages long.

The art is by Anne Davenport, Paula Nutter (cover), Angela-Marie Varesano (inside front cover), Nancy and Tracy (back cover).

From the editorial by Tracy:

Soon the whole Star Wars phenomenon will be with us again. I can't help but feel a touch nostalgic. But, looking back over the months past, there was one monster -- the ridiculous rumors that plagued fandom (and unfortunately believed by some). There was one particular monster that bugged me so much that I wrote to MEDIASCENE[note 6]: text of Tracy's letter: "Since reading in MEDIASCENE 38 that your West Coast Editor, Don Glut, is writing the novelization ot The Empire Strikes Back, we feel you are in a good position to dispel many of the harmful rumors that have been circulating in Star Wars fandom lately. The mere thought that Luke Skywalker gets maimed in the climactic lightsabre duel (it has been said that he gets his hand cut off) makes many fans cringe. Further rumors have been that Luke is Darth Vader's son, that Han is put into a stasis field, unable to be rescued, that Han is killed, and others. We know these to be completely untrue —Star Wars is intended primarily for children—but many fans from whom we receive letters because of our Star Wars fanzine actually believe these things, and are becoming very angry at George Lucas. Most ot these "truths" are being spouted by Dave Prowse at SF conventions. Force knows why he is so vindictive. If you could debunk these rumors in your magazine, it would be greatly appreciated. You would be revealing none of the plot of the film—only informing a very ignorant f andom of what will not be. Along the same lines, we are anxious about the report in your magazine that Ballantine Books plans to release the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back in mid-April, an entire month prior to the film's release date. What happened to the idea of keeping the plot a secret? Certainly book sales won't be hurt by a month's hold in distribution.

Yes, believe it or not, we as fans are asking you and Lucasfilms not to tell us any more about the plot of Luke's long-awaited next adventure. We have waited 2 1/2 years already—we can ail wait a bit longer. Tracy Duncan Editor. Against the Sith Eugene OR", reply from Mediascene's editor: "Have you ever suspected, Tracy, that the Star Wars people themselves may have generated some of those rumors to keep the fan movement alive and well? We've known the plot of Empire for quite a while, but are in complete accord with you that to reveal too much would ultimately be spoiling the tun of the film—one guaranteed to provide many unexpected surprises. As for the publication of the Empire novelization, we suggest you simply don't read it until afterward. We will tell you this, however: Luke is not a little short-handed at the end of Empire. The Force is with him!"</ref> (whose staff-member is writing the novelization) and asked for confirmation that it was untrue -- a rumor that Luke would get his hand cut off in the final duel in TESB. The publisher, Steranko, assured us it was untrue, so I could reassure you. But the reason I checked this one out was that David Prowse himself said it at a con -- and thinking back I recalled how he also was the one who implied Han would get killed, that Luke was Vader's son, and probably several other little monsters that ran about in fandom in those long months when we waited anxiously for info. So there we have it -- not only is Sir Alec a knight playing a knight, so it seems we have something of a villain playing a villain. But the real lesson to be learned (especially when it comes to waiting for a third film) is not to believe those rumors one hears -- to choose first not to believe.

  • editorials by Nancy and Tracy (2)
  • contributor info (3)
  • Parsecs, comic strip (3)
  • Comlink, letters of comment (4)
  • Forum, will Darth Vader die at the end of "The Empire Strikes Back"? (6)
  • Little Boy Lost by Laura M. Campbell (Luke, at age 8, is quite determined to find adventure.) (7)
  • more zines (10)
  • The Star Wars Official Poster Monthly by Tim Blaes (11)
  • More Marvel Star Was and The Long Hunt - a review by Bob Buchtel (13)
  • A Revelation According to Han, fiction by Lee Kottner, art by Angela-Marie Varesano (Han learns that there is a power beyond the blaster, as he and Luke confront Darth Vader in a terrifying duel.) (14)
  • Revenge, fiction by Gene Trumbo, art by P. Nutter (Vader and his fellow Dark Lords hatch evil plans with Emperor Palpatine to destroy the rebels once and for all.) (18)
  • STOP the Action! by Nancy ("Let's say you're sitting home, it's cold outside, STAR WARS has long left the theatres, EMPIRE won't appear 'til late Spring—star WARS withdrawal sets in— BUT, you just get out your handy-dandy STAR WARS Movie Viewer, pop in a cassette, turn the crank and watch pieces of the actual film you love so much. Silent, of course, but you know the sounds by heart now, and can mentally add them in. The Movie Viewer comes with one movie cassette, with four more available that you can send for. The viewer Nancy sent us came with the cassette "May the Force Be with You," which runs barely a minute long if you're a fast cranker, but goes in general chronological order showing action scenes of STAR WARS. The imperial Cruiser chases the rebel ship, the fight in the corridor of the rebel ship, Luke and Owen buying the droids, the Falcon's escape from Tatooine, Luke pulling off his helmet, etc. All these are but snatches and snippets of the fun—but they are the real thing, and it's worth every penny!") (17)
  • Darth Vader by Paula Nutter (centerspread)
  • At the Rebel Base, part 2 by Tracy, art by Nancy (22) (The continued goings on of Luke, Han, Leia, Wedge, and the rest of the personnel on the snowy planet Hoth before the Empire strikes back.)
  • What Every Woman Should Have by Nancy, art by Tracy (22)
  • Son of Something Nasty or Mr. Bill Meets Darth Vader by Bob Buchtel (38)
  • Thee Contest (38)
  • Alliance Intelligence (39)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

Some of your prose is very bad pulp, purple, immature writing. I just laughed out loud at some of it. I'm sorry, but some of it really is quite pretentious and pompous.

Speaking of the sub-plot involving Wende and the other women the Rebel Base, AtS #6-7), it seems tacked on. Your preaching about the women's cause does not generate sympathy for them, and in fact almost causes resentment.

I hope you don't print anymore Mr. Bill things. I think that that is one of the most perverted, obscene things on TV. I can't understand what anyone sees in it .

I hope that you don't think that "I'm out to get you" or want to do a "hatchet job" on you. I don't. In fact, I have written to other people and intend to do so in the future. After all, fan writing exists to satisfy a lot of purposes, only one of which is learn ing how to write. And I do intend to buy #8. (Just a note to say we weren't preaching about the women's cause—Lt. Wells was, and we resent her, too! -- Thanks, Eds) [20]

I got AtS #7 a few days ago, and needless to say- after reading it through, I found it to be another job extremely well donelU My STORMTROOPER'S helmet is off to you and Nancyl Really, I don't know how you two manage to keep up that high quality rating issue after issuel AtS is always a joy to read, and I liter ally find myself counting the days 'til the next one comes out I The first time I wrote you, I asked you for information about other STAR WARS zines. Well, since then, I've had the opportunity to read several, but I found that none even comes close to the high standards of AtSI I'm being sincere in my opinion when I say, that in my opinion, AtS is the best zine around! I gotta tell you. . . the front cover of #7 is, um, very unusual! (It confused my little niece who wanted to know why there was a bird's head on top of a man's body. How can you explain something like that to a 3-year-old?) The "Mr. Bill Meets Darth Vader" story was hilarious! Imperial Stormtrooper Sluggo was pure gold! And I enjoyed "At the Rebel Base". Oh, and thank you for printing that long-winded letter of mine in Comlink! I never knew my name could look so good in print![20]

Loved "What Every Woman Should Have". However, "At the Rebel Base, part 2" was disappointing. It sort of fizzled out which was disappointing after the excellent build-up in part 1. Luke as a hunter was a good touch as well as the cosmopolitan Han being sqeemish at skin ning the beastie. All the points made were good, it just feels as if you arbitrarily ended where you did cause you couldn't think of anything else to say and anyhow there wasn't anymore room. I don't know, maybe I'm just greedy and want more. Thanks for the info on the SW movie viewer» I went out and bought one. Now, to find extra cartridges![20]

This was a really great issue. I especially liked "Little Boy Lost," by Laura Campbell. Very interesting and professionally done. A SW movie viewer? Wow! I have to get one. "At the Rebel Base" and "What Every Woman Should Have" were in the usual AtS tradition of quality. Believe it or not, I dialed the EMPIRE hot line 67 times in 2 hours and never got through that +^$**"!"/ busy signal.[20]

Looking back over AtS, you two have come a pretty long way. AtS, -from its first issue, looked and read fairly 'pro'—altho the writing in that first serial had some awkward moments—and now your zine is a topnotch puplication, amatedrishly so or otherwise. I am very proud to own all of the AtS issues (I mean copies of all of them). Your zine has a look all its own. Most zines have this unfortunate tendency to look alike, what with having the same artists and authors and graphics and design. Not yours! The type is dark and crisp, the letterheads elegant and with a style their own, and artwork is superbly executed and evenly distributed throughout, even the 'toons. Oh. . .

We so love our cartoons, girls, and you two are definitely bent! Ads and zines, reviews, et al are placed evenly as is the aforementioned art. Articles interspersed with fiction, poetry, and— •l^t's face it—great humor.

The only quibble I have with AtS is that it seems to myself, anyway, that if it is STAR WARS you praise it. When praise is due, fine. But your joy and delight over that trashy STAR WARS Holiday Spe" cial left me confused. If that wasn't crass commercialization, what is? Bea Arthur as a cantina yenta was surpassed only by Harvey Korman's stupe fying boredom, no matter what role he played. I did like that animation. Boba Fett left me quite aghast and I enjoyed the way the friendship between Solo and Chewie was presented sentimentally w/o being mawkish.

But my biggest disappointment was with the way the wookiees were presented—or should I say, 'dis played'. Lumpy was a greedy-gut consumer in a tree-dwelling materialistic consumer-oriented so ciety. The premise of Life Day was good but lost. And I was appalled to see the leering, sneering d.o.m. slobbering over Diahann Carroll's Rima the Bird Girl routine. . . I mean, why not pull out all the stops? I thought we were ripped off. (Oh yeah. Princess Leia can sing—ho hum.)

The poetry all has spark but little style. There seems to be little in the way of continuing threads in a literary fabric. With the exception of Angela- Marie Varesano (who should be worshiped as a diety), most of it doesn't hold my attention after the first skim through. (I woulda paid full zine price for "Who Shall Stand Against the Sith?" alone (AtS #6;. The beauty of the piece stands on its own merit, but coupled with Allyson Whitfield's calligraphy... ooo lala).

Oh boy a new serial....It reads good, makes senses you two learned from the first chapter or two of your first serial obviously. A wonderful sequel to "Something Nasty This Way Comes" by Bob (whose arti cles are a habit with me now) Buchtel.

Poor Mr. Bill. . . And for ghod's sake, get Paula Nutter to write a sequel to "Not Only The Empire Strikes Back". (AtS ^6), Mmmm, she can write, she can draw, but can she do the chacha-cha??? A definite asset to your zine. The covers hold me spellbound on AtS H and #7. (Oh I get it. Hoth as in cold as in pen guin... Paula's crazy, too). And to top it all off: "Alliance Intelligence". Yaaaayyyyyy!!!!

Please pat yourselves and each other on the back. Shake your contributors' hands if only mentally. Kudos to you all for making Against the Sith the backbone of STAR WARS fandom!!! [20]

As usual it was a fantastic issue. I loved the front cover. Is Miss Nutter a Monty Python fan? I seem to recall an episode where famous people (ie. Richard Nixon, the Queen) all had the heads of penguins. Help! Penguins are taking over the world I Ahem. . . Anyway, Paula is a great illustrator. "Little Boy Lost" is one of many stories I have read about Luke's childhood, but in my opinion one of the best. I also enjoyed "A Rev elation According to Han." Always knew there was more to our favorite Corellian than met the eye.

Your conclusion to "At the Rebel Base" was funny and satisfying and "What Every Woman Should Have" was cute. Your new section "Alliance Intelligence" is an excellent idea. I know I'm always getting misinformation, especially about TESB.

Leaving the best 'til last, I simply have no words to describe your centre spread. It is my favorite art amongst all my fan fiction. The way Miss Nutter has managed to convey such emotion with out the use of facial expression on her subject is nothing short of amazing. I am extremely impressed.[20]

I have every single issue of Against the Sith. I also have many other STAR WARS fanzines. Even though your fanzines are the thinnest fanzines (and the least expensive fanzines) I have, in my opinion they are also the best. I also enjoyed "Star J-urneys'.' Against the Sith is the closest I've come to STAR WARS^ I especially enjoyed the five part story you ran in issues #1-5. Parts 4 and 5 were the best. They had a lot of adventure with romance and good morals mixed in—just like STAR WARS.

You also haven't fallen into a trap that I've seen in too many other fanzines. That is, you don't spend too much time on Han Solo. Don't get me wrong. I like Han Solo—alot! But the movie was "From the Ad ventures of Luke Skywalker." I like how you involve all three (Luke, Leia and Han) in your stories. I happen to think Luke is more interesting a character anyway. There are an awful lot of people like Han.

But how many people are like Luke? He met Ben Ken- obi one day and in that day, he came to care for that man more than some of us care for others after know ing them for years. Just by being hi. ielf, he moved a self-centered mercenary into coming back into danger to help him out of danger. He grew up on a farm but look how he led Leia's escape attempt, used his wits to help her get to the Millennium Falcon, and took charge of the battle at the end of the movie—over Biggs and Wedge who were more experienced.

Getting back to Against the Sith, I also enjoy your reviews of books, toys and characters. More times than not, you made me think. I disagree with you and everyone else on "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" Creviewed in AtS §1) , I liked it. But some of your points are valid. And I enjoyed your review of Princess Leia in issue #4, basically because I agree with every word.[20]

I was really pleased with the artwork Angela- Marie Varesano did for "A Revelation..." and I LOVED the centerfold of Vader, too. Nasty! He's definitely not a candidate for a PLAYGIRL center fold, though. Also, thanks for the information on the EMPIRE hotline (I still haven't gotten through though; how did you ever manage?! And how long did it take you to get the message ver batim?!) I LOVED "What Every woman Should Have!" It's got to be one of the best short-shorts I've seen yet. Really cute. This is one of the best issues of AtS you've put out so far (and that's not just because you printed my story this ish, either!) [20]

I'm getting a little tired at all the stories that try to make Han into a genuine, card carry ing, Force swinging Jedi. I like Han just the way he is. But Lee Kottner's "A Revelation Ac cording to Han" seemed to work, somehow. How'cum nobody does any stories about Leia and her rela tion to the Force? I think it would affect her a little different than Luke, or even Han, but I'm sure the Force is with her, in one way or another. "At the Rebel Base" was a scream. The soap opera style sent me into giggles more than once. The scene with Luke and Wende was.... Interesting. And the relationship between Lt. Wells and Major Harley resembled something out of M*A*S*H. Wells smells a little like Hot Lips Hoolihan. Too bad about Treeb. I liked him, and he wasn't really mean. And why did he have to die a drunkard's death? Alas, poor Treeb, I knew him well. . . Has Bob Buchtel ever considered writing for "Saturday Night Live"? THE best thing in the whole issue was "What Every Wbman Should Have." It's just the sort of thing Han would pull. The whole thing was just charming. You're still a little mushy at times. "His heart (which was filled with love for the Princess) now beat heavily within his breast." Oh come now! Keep up that sort of thing and I'll be so busy giggling I won't be able to read.[20]

I read issue #7 of AtS and I loved it. I have never read your zine before a friend loaned me a copy. I thought Laura Campbell's "Little Boy Lost" was one of the nicest "young Luke" stories I'd ever read. I like the characterization of Owen Lars. I thought he had to care for Luke because of the way he wanted to keep Luke from leaving what was a tough but very sheltered life. (Of course hindsight works wonders. At first I thought Owen was a selfish, un caring type of person. Then, later in the movie, when we see what sort of things Luke's father may have had to go through, we can understand Owen's concern). I must find a copy of #6 and read the first part of "At the Rebel Base." I liked the idea that Luke won't have everybody his good-buddy all of the time. I mean even good friends fight some time. I also liked the part about "Luke's Prize". I WANT MORE![20]

Well, now I've seen EMPIRE twice. Would you believe the theatre is charging $5.00? I still can't believe the movie is so fantastic. I really thought Lucas was basically capable of little more than entertaining fluff with just enough depth to ' keep the literary-^ninded of us happy. Now we know that STAR WARS was just to get everybody's attention, intro duce the "galaxy far, far away." Now Lucas can do all the mental torment and emotional anguish he wants and we will all feel every twinge. For three days after the premiere I was depressed for Luke. To go through life idolizing the father he had never known—and to find out who his father really is—it shouldn't happen to an Imperial. In AtS #7 several people wrote letters telling how they turned on to STAR WARS. When I first saw the TV advertisement for SW, I said, "Oh no, another sci-fi flick." The only SF movies I had ever seen were the B-grade monster movies on a local TV station. The sec ond time I saw it, I was intrigued by C-3P0's introduc tion of himself and R2-D2 to Luke. What kind of robot was this—and who was this cute guy? But the clincher was when the local news show ran a story on STAR WARS. I was hooked. It was the laser-cannon scene, and the combination of the effects and music captivated me. The rest is statistic—I became a STAR WARS fan.[20]

Issue 8

front cover of issue #8 by Jon Heilman
back cover of issue #8, Chris Johnson
flyer for issue #8, published in Skywalker #4

Against the Sith 8 was published in July 1980 and is 45 pages long. The content is mostly non-fiction in the form or reviews, bios, and articles.

The art is by Nancy Duncan, Sue Surls, Chris Johnson, Anne Davenport, and Jon Heilman.

Tracy wrote: "Seriously, folks, the new film is out and the STAR WARS SAGA is twice as long as before. Meaning, we'll have twice as much to talk about and ponder until REVENGE OF THE JEDI comes to us. (ROTJ—But isn't "Revenge" part of the dark side? Why a negative title? Anyone for RETURN OF THE JEDI? As in "Return of the King".)"

[editorial by Tracy]: Seriously, folks, the new film is out and the STAR WARS SAGA is twice as long as before. Meaning, we'll have

twice as much to talk about and ponder until REVENGE OF THE JEDI comes to us. {ROTJ—But isn't "Revenge" part of the dark side? Why a negative title? Anyone for RETURN OF THE JEDI? As in "Return of the King".)

[much snipped]

[editorial by Nancy]:

This issue is a premiere TESB issue, and also a kind of introductory issue to SW/TESB fandom and fanzines for new fans. But there's a lot to interest the old timers as well (we hope). And anyway, nobody's an old hand at TESB. It's a whole new movie, folks, and there's alot to assimilate. If you remember, ATS #1 came out a year after SW. We vere experts by then. ATS #8 is out a scant two months after TESB. We had to get to know this sequel very quickly! So, for starters, there's a ton of movie facts and trivia, and speculative articles on TESB and what it's all about. Very little fiction this time, since most fan writers haven't had time to write TESB-based stories. Besides, the characters being different, and the situations being—bizarre, it's difficult.

Special thanks to the people at LUCASFILM for doing something unprecedented in any fandom, sending fan editors a press-kit, which we at ATS made great use of. So, because LUCASFILM is so supportive of its fans and fan endeavors, don't forget to support them. If any one has not joined the OFFICIAL SW FAN CLUB (now run by LUCASFILM itself) do so! The more fans that join, the better service the Club can offer. Besides a sub. to Bantha Tracks, the official club newsletter, you get a goodie pack of TESB stuff this time which includes a poster of the lobby poster painting, six gorgeous 8 X 11 color stills, an EMPIRE pencil, a patch and a sticker of the EMPIRE logo (Vader head w/ flames). All this for only a measly four bucks (if you're re newing) or five bucks if you're joining for the first time. Dirt cheap, I'd say.

Since our flyer, we've had the usual contents adjustments. Now don't cry! ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCE will not be in this time, since there just isn't that much that is newsworthy. The LEXICON is out. We've decided that there is no need for one in ATS since there are a lot of other pro mags doing listings. Paradise Press's EMPIRE Special, for one, the Aug. issue of QUESTAR, for another.

After seven viewings of TESB as of this writing, under the category of 'Scenes I'd like to see', goes: Vader, just after he falls backward off the carbonfreeze platform. We pick up on him lying there sprawled, spread-eagled on his back. No, no, it would've ruined a very serious and artful duel, I know. There are a lot of bun shots in this picture. Even Yoda has one. I'm sorry, but I really can't concentrate on the mystical- spiritual aspect of the Dagobah sequence with Luke run ning around showing all that crude matter (not so crude from here). Gee, Han is quite modest in comparison. No open-necked shirt this time, and so natty! Even his pants are pressed! Is it true love, I wonder? Leia starts out the same old snit. And at last we know the awful truth. She ain't snitty because she wants off a Death Star, or has been tortured recently, she just likes to be snitty. Which suits me fine. TESB corrected the error in SW which gave the impression Leia and all her flaws were pure and blameless and to be placed on a pedestal. Poor Leia, she's only human after all. Too bad she's the only female in the SAGA—so far. She must re present all of the better sex and it's really not fair.

So in TESB, do they do? They add yet another guy— Lando. No wonder Leia's so arrogant—she never has to compete for attention in this galaxy. Actually, Leia mellowed out in the last half of the film, and I liked her much better. It was that kiss that did it. (From Han). Wonder what this'll do to women's lib? But who cares, Leia's improved and Han and Leia complement each other quite nicely. I felt so sorry for them at the end. 'sob'. But compared to what happens to Luke, it's nothing. Poor baby! I must rush home and hug my Luke- doll after each viewing.

Little did we know that in the three year wait for TESB, we really awaited the third movie. TESB is actu ally only half a movie, altho' it's two hours, which keeps it from being really better than SW. Film #3 will be the other half and maybe someday we can see them both together, or even #'s 1, 2 & 3. Six hours of SW} my brain circuits boggle.

Guess what? There are two versions of TESB, a U.S. version and a British/Canadian version. The differences are some scenes that have been cut at the last minute.

For some reason, the Br./Can. print retains the cut scenes. One is the Luke/Leia kiss scene, which I'm happy they axed. I'd have felt bad seeing Han & Leia carry on if Luke was in there trying to tell her how much he loved her. It wouldn't have looked good for either Han or Leia. But the love triangle is still a question. Does Luke still love Leia? Hopefully, he does not. Bye now.

  • Editorials by Nancy and Tracy (2)
  • Forum, letters of comment (6)
  • Reflections On The Empire Strikes Back, article by David L. Gordon (10)
  • The Mythmakers: George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Gary Kurtz and Lawrence Kasdan, short bios (11)
  • Galactic Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels, short bios (13)
  • More Zines, short ads (12)
  • Luke Skywalker Visits The Forbidden Planet, a first hand description of a fan at the SF bookshop ("The Forbidden Planet") in London, Mark Hamill's visit there, and her interview with Hamill, by Doris Telford (14)
  • What The Critics Think: Rona Barrett and Gene Shalit (15)
  • Mark & Harry Visit TODAY, a transcript of the NBC Today Show from May 12, 1980 (16)
  • John Williams, short bio (16)
  • Production of a Saga, article about the production of the movie (may be a reprint of something commercial, but it is not attributed) (17)
  • Meet The Magicians (short professional bios): Norman Reynolds (Production Designer), Peter Suschitzsky (Cinematographer), Paul Hirsch (Film Editor), Brian Johnson (Special Visual Effects), Richard Edlund (Special Visual Effects), Robert Watts (Associate Producer), Ralph McQuarrie (Design Consultant & Conceptual Artist), Stuart Freeborn (Make-Up Supervisor), John Mollo (Costume Designer), Ben Burtt (Sound Effects Editor), Dennis Murren (Effects Director Of Photography) and Harrison Ellenshaw (Matte Painting Supervisor)
  • An Excerpt From "Once Upon a Galaxy"—A Journal On the Making Of The Empire Strikes Back by Alan Arnold (18)
  • Frank Oz on The Today Show (June 16, 1980) (20)
  • An Excerpt from "Once Upon a Galaxy" by Alan Arnold (20)
  • Our Heroes Return: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO and R2-D2 by Tracy Duncan (short recaps and photos) (21)
  • Most Wanted: Dead Or Alive—Luke Skywalker (poster and short blurb) (24)
  • That’s Impossible, essay by Tracy Duncan ("Is Vader Luke's father? Is there anyway we can know? Here's a look at the question everyone is talking about.") (25)
  • Classified Ads (29)
  • A Fannish Adventure or Who Did You Say Was Striking Back?, short humorous parody of the movie WRITTEN BEFORE THE FILM WAS RELEASED by Terri Black (Vader is Luke's father, is a good guy, and is revealed to be Luke's father.) (30)
  • Subject: Giant Space Slug by Gene Trumbo, humorous vignette (31)
  • The 6th Thee Contest Final Nominees ("WAAAAY back in issue #1 of AGAINST THE SITH, we started 'Thee Contest.' The idea was to have as many people as possible nominate their favorites in different categories from STAR WARS. Last issue, we ran the nominees for the same contest for TESB. Here are our reader's responses. From this list, choose your final nominees, and send them to us. The winning entries will get nothing (as usual), but we appreciate your interest!!") (32)
  • Novel Review: Star Wars Lives! (Or Does It?) by Lee Kottner (33)
  • Preview Trailer 2 by Elyse Dickenson (35)
  • Comics: A Review Of The Marvel Super Special Magazine by Bob Buchetl (35)
  • A Shocking Expose, article about Star Wars bubble gum cards, by Nancy Duncan (36)
  • Bibliography (37)
  • Album Notes: Sounds Of The Empires, review of the LP by Tracy Duncan (38)
  • Empire Jazz, review of the LP by Nancy Duncan (41)
  • Secrets of the Force, article by Nancy Duncan (41)
  • The Tao That Can Be Spoken, article by Jani Hicks ("FORWARD: Tracy asked me, in one of her letters, to write an article on Taoism and how its philosophy (and that of its philosophy that crept into later Zen and samurai practices) was expressed in both STAR WARS and EMPIRE.") (43)
  • Whispers in Space, poem by Laurie Campbell (44)
  • The Miraculous Birth Of Luke Skywalker, short fic by Omer Bon (45)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

Issue #8 was great. Everyone really has some interesting speculations. I do have some comments to make on this myself, but first three cheers for Sue Surls 'letter'! I'm glad I'm not the only person crusading for Luke and Leia's future together. Well said . .I'm not sure I could have calmed myself down enough to put it into words. This is my biggest complaint about EMPIRE, aside from the obvious cliff hanger ending - that Luke and Leia still havn't gotten it together. As for Han and Leia -well, I can buy into the fact Han loves Leia a lot easier than the fact Leia loves Han, which I still, despite Carrie Fisher's wonderful performance, cannot believe. I believe she felt something, but not love. Han was right - Leia needed a good kiss, Han was there - he gave it to her. It could have been anyone. The gum cards describe her as being, "too long burdened with her duties", she needed to be reminded there was more to life. The fact that Han was at the right place at the right time seemed to cause the illusion of her loving him. After all, After all, what would Han and Leia possibly have in common to talk about when they came up for air? Not too much. That entire "scoundrel" bit is very similar to a scene in "Gone With the Wind". Rhett is asking [21]

Enjoyed ATS #8, but missed the fiction. Guess I'm anxious to read fan-fiction based on TESB— there's so many exciting possibilities to explore.

Thank you for maintaining a "regular" zine and sticking to the deadlines you've set. Most other zines seem to run "six months behind". Believe me the time lapse between hearing about a zine (and getting excited about its promised contents) and actually receiving it is sheer agony. I doubt if the Empire could invent such torture.

I enjoyed "That's Impossible" the most of all the articles.

I didn't agree with Kottner on TESB novel. I like the novel and I don't think that the minor differences between the novel and the movie detracted in the least from the effectiveness of the book.[21]

Now, your zine is the second STAR WARS zine I've subscribed to (the other is Jani Hicks' Twin Suns) and I really like it. I'm looking forward to future issues. So far I've seen TESB 34 times and intend to continue seeing it as much as possible; I just never seem to get enough of it or enough of Luke for that matter. To quote a friend, "He has a body, I never realized he had a body before!" Boy does he ever. My husband patiently puts up with all this nonsense (he's seen it twice) because it seems to be a good influence on me.[21]

It's possible that I just don't want Leia to be the way so many people think she is, cuz I really don't want to see a nasty woman in such a wonderful movie. To be perfectly honest, after hearing that Geo. Lucas created a liberated heroine for his movie, then seeing the movie, I thought he was unconsciously trying to put Women's Liberation back several decades: showing liberated women as unfeminine, tough, raucous, etc. et al, and so forth.[21]

Issue 9

front cover #9, Steven Fox
back cover of issue #9, Steven Fox
inside front cover of issue#9, Anne Davenport
inside back cover of issue#9, Jon Heilman

Against the Sith 9 was published in October 1980 and is 48 pages long.

The art is by Anne Davenport, Steven Fox, Jon Heilman, Irene Loughlin, Carol McPherson, Kathy Moore, Angela-Marie Varesano, Nancy Duncan, and Tracy Duncan.

While this was the last issue, there is no hint in either editorial of this zine's demise.

Most of Tracy's editorial is all about how much she dislikes Leia, tolerates Han, and adores Luke:

First of, the centerspread. A chart? Well, staying up late one night and pondering the problem of the princess, a light went on in my head, and I listed her virtues and her faults. Then I did the same for Luke and Han. My results were unsettling, but at the same time it suddenly made everything clear for me. I could see in black and white why it is impossible for me to admire the character of Princess Leia, and why I conversely admire Luke so much. People keep saying, "Oh, but Leia's strong and independent." But these qualities are optional. What counts is what's in the heart. Leia's just not someone I can look up to because she's not better than myself, or probably than any of you. Goodness is what counts.

I like Han more in TESB than I did in STAR WARS. I love Luke (always have), and I dislike Leia. I guess I really do like nice men (and women, too, for that matter!) It has nothing to do with her being dedicated, courageous, or tough. It has to do with her being mean.

Nancy and I learned that the writers sure have it in for her. She discusses this in "A Royal Pain". But I just want to make this clear once and for all where I stand in regard to this character. Just because she's in my favorite movie (STAR WARS) and is put up as a heroine doesn't mean I have to like her. I can't. I hope she's given only a cameo role at best in the next STAR WARS film, a scene at the end, perhaps. Thank goodness she can be easily ignored in TESB. (Han often ignores her, too.) As my dad said (he's a lot like Han), she doesn't add a thing to the movie.

Since that night I have refined my list and added opposing faults. The article, "The Chart Explained." will make things clear, I hope, along with the small graph (that was fun to make!).

From Nancy's editorial:

Since Lucas decided it made more sense to give Leia to Han, Luke is now a free agent. Yes, I believe the triangle jazz is resolved. If it wasn't, the whole business between Han and Leia in EMPIRE would be a waste of time. Certainly Lucas can't have Leia trotting over to Luke after her Big Confession to Han. It would be cinematically incorrect (besides, it would be tacky). But is there a romance in our Jedi's future? He definitely deserves one. The one thing STAR WARS doesn't have that would make it completely great is a romance for Luke. Luke doesn't act very interested in the fact Han is after Leia. I get the strongest feeling from TESB (and SW) that Luke isn't in love with Leia—never was. It was more a case of being in love with the idea of loving Leia. Romeo thought he loved Rosaline before he met Juliet. I get the distinct impression Luke is searching for that one true love of his life (as all romantics will), but he probably doesn't know it himself. He might have figured Leia could be the One—but she proved very unresponsive. He was quite captivated by her holo, but what he ultimately thought of the real McCoy is anybody's guess. I'd guess not much.


We could use a little warmth, tenderness and passion to offset the harsh realities of the War. TESB proved that not only fanfiction has a monopoly on the "get 'em" story. Maybe we'll quit hearing all those outcrys over blood and mayhem in the future. After all, what's good enough for Lucas...

Then there's that other staple of fanfic—the lay story. All legitimate myths have sex. For ROTJ a nice tasteful P-G rated love scene for Luke—in bed, perhaps? How 'bout it, George? (I'm serious). How that they've shown us what Luke's got, he should have the opportunity to use it (now cut out that giggling.) I know Mark Hamill would approve.[note 7]

Some fan reactions about "The Empire Strikes Back" in this issue:

The Force? We have the Force! We don't call it that; we call it God. I don't mean for that to sound blasphemous; I believe that God is a man and that his spirit can be with us always if we will but let it.

Now for the greatest controversy since whoever it was shot J.R. Ewing. I'd like to go on record as saying that I don't believe that Darth Vader is Luke's father. Everytime I hear that line, my mind screams, "No, Luke, don't listen to him." To Luke's credit, he doesn't. He would rather throw himself off the ledge and trust his luck to the Force or to fate than to choose the wrong and join the Dark Side. And he does it quite calmly. He knows what he's doing. Luke has the courage of hie convictions. Darth only told him that to get Luke to join the Dark Side, There could never be an alliance between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker; the kid's just too powerful for the Dark Lord. Vader would kill him off for sure. You see, Vader is a Satan figure. He'll show his noble side to entice people; he'll even present them with some of the truth. But, it's the part that's not truth that will ultimately prove to be their undoing. Sure, Darth knows what happened to Luke's father . . but he won't tell Luke the truth. He'll plant that seed of doubt in the boy's head and make him doubt Ben, Yoda, and the Force.

Yes, I'd really like to see the article about you in the paper [22]- That must've been fun. Now you're local celebrities! It's nice seeing people who do the whole thing credit get publicity. We live in an area where there are a lot of cons,[note 8] and the TV crews always turn out - and they never fail to pick the most bizarre people they can find to put before the cameras who then turn around and say even more bizarre things - so all fans come out looking like they're nuts, I'd like to see the rest of us getting equal time, so to speak.

From this corner as to whether TESB was worth the wait? How about a resounding YES, every second of it. The truth is that had you asked me that ques tion upon leaving the theatre for the first time I would have hedged on it. I mean I liked the film immensely but I really didn't fall in love with it until my second viewing later that evening and the next day when I had a chance to sort out my feelings. Not that it was ever a disappointment in any way, if anything it's a film technically superior to SW, but it's lacking slightly in some subtle, undefinr able quality that differentiates a truly great film of the first rank (which I personally consid er SW to be...)... But who could really expect lightning to strike twice...

I had guessed TESB would bring some mixed reactions from SW fans. The movie is flawed. The quantum leap in the Han/Leia relationship is never explained, we're simply presented with some rather adolescent dialogue at the beginning of the film with no background. To be honest, my first suspicion when I saw that scene the first time was, "Oh, they've been sleeping together." (You can see I did not read the book beforehand). Where did Han get the idea the princess cares for him personally as more than a friend? At this point he's never even kissed her.

OK, let me offer my own speculations. Let's look into the future. Luke will no doubt get married someday. If not to Leia then to someone else, I'm sure. In their wedded bliss the Skywalkers will give birth to a male child. Now, if the Force is truly hereditary (as some have speculated) then Luke's offspring will be the new hope. There! You see, Yoda? It pays to "look into the future."

As to who is the other, I hope it is a new character and hopefully female, perhaps someone for Luke. A lot of people feel it is Leia. Well, I don't think so. She may have heard Luke near Cloud City, but through Luke's power, not hers. Many facts do point towards her, however. She resisted the mind probe on the Death Star, something few people are able to do, has great spirit and strength and through the film kept getting "bad feelings about all this." If she is the other, look out Yoda! He said Luke was angry and impatient? He sure wouldn't like Leia, let alone teach her. Luke would have to do it. Poor Luke, he always gets the dirty work. He is not a Jedi yet, and really not capable to teach. Anyway, after what he's been through he wouldn't want to. Leia can't be the other, Lucas wouldn't do that to us, or would he? Granted he's done a lot of unorthodox things, but Leia isn't the right type for a Jedi. Besides, we need a new female character, and if the other isn't a girl other than Leia, Lucas will hear from me (veiled threat).

Luke Skywalker, in as much as the story/plot has yet been developed, is supposedly an only child, whether that father be Darth Vader or another now dead young Jedi knight. But, what if young Skywalker does indeed have a sibling? Could not this individual, boy or girl, be the other hope? Skywalker's own birth and young life up to the age of 20 is a blank, except for the fact that somehow he came to live with Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen. It is entirely possible that he was one of twins or that he had a slightly older or younger sibling. And since, at the time of his birth and toddler years the Republic (turned Empire) was in such a period of upheaval, a separation and complete loss of contact or even knowledge of each other is entirely conceivable.

Who is the other? Han? No, Han would deny there is a Force at every turn, so it seems very unlikely that he is the other. Also, he'd have to do a lot of changing as a character to start Jedi training. Lando? Nope, too similar to Han in character. Leia? Somehow I believe her destiny points in another way. Chewbacca? Why not?? But seriously, I think the other will be an entirely new character who will appear in REVENGE OF THE JEDI. Also, I think this character will be a female Jedi, and that she will become the love that Luke has been looking for. Why do I think this? Well, I'm an incurable romantic for one thing I And for another I just love happy endings.

  • editorials by Nancy and Tracy (2)
  • Parsecs, cartoon comic strip (3)
  • Comlink, letters of comment (4)
  • Forum, who is The Other? (7)
  • The TESB Run-Off by Jon Heilman (8)
  • Thee Sixth and Seventh Contests (9)
  • classified ads (9)
  • The Death of Star Wars by Tracy Duncan (10) (This is an long, impassioned article explains this fan's relative disinterest with George Lucas' plans regarding further movies. It cites her total alliance with Luke Skywalker, and how any other movie or topic is not, in her opinion, what Star Wars is really about.)
  • More Marvel Star Wars by Bob Buchtel (13)
  • He and Another by M.C. Loughlin (15)
  • The Westercon Survey, taken at Westercon, compilation of the answers posed to fans: Is Darth Vader really Luke's father? by Anne Davenport (16)
  • What Price, Friendship?, fiction by Laura M. Campbell (18)
  • I am Jedi by Jacque Fashcing, The Other by M.H. Loughlin (21)
  • The Chart Explained by Tracy (23)
  • The AtS Virtue-Chart of Heroic Characters by Tracy Duncan (24)
  • A Brighter Future, fiction by V.J. Nelson (30)
  • TESB Premium Products (34)
  • A Royal Pain, article by Nancy Duncan about how nasty, petulant, self-centers, unpleasant, selfish, dishonest, immature, and generally terrible Leia Organa is; the article winds up with "Leia just isn't rewarding to watch. Is Leia popular? In the store the other day, I ran across a rack of SW/EMPIRE mimi-action figures. There were two Luke dolls left, four Han dolls, and twenty Leia dolls. I rest my case." (35)
  • A Look at Leia and a Look at Luke by Rhonda Fasching (40)
  • The Dark Path by Tracy (42)
  • TESB Goes Digital by Jon Heilman (44)
  • Book Review by Tim Blaes (45)
  • more zines, including a flyer for the proposed zine "A Ray of Hope" by Tracy Duncan, likely abandoned when she became disillusioned with the fandom after the release of the second movie in the trilogy. (46)
  • The Cosmic Destiny of Luke Skywalker, article, author not credited, likely Tracy Duncan (47)
  • art by Anne Davenport (inside front cover), Steven Fox (front and back covers), Jon Heilman (inside back cover), Irene Loughlin, Carol McPherson, Kathy Moore, Angela-Marie Baresano, Nancy Duncan, Tracy Duncan

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

See reactions and reviews for The AtS Virtue-Chart of Heroic Characters and the accompanying essay "The Chart Explained"


  1. ^ "The Duncans of 'Against the Sith' [were] a major subset of discussion after they circulated a long letter to fanzine editors, demanding a boycott of TESB and the destruction of the film by Lucas." Southern Enclave Issue #22 pdf, page 47
  2. ^ See talk page.
  3. ^ Actually, according to the dates on the zines themselves, "Moonbeam" was first; perhaps there was an understood wiggle-room with the distribution?
  4. ^ A reference to Quark.
  5. ^ Actually, it was Tracy Duncan who reviewed the book.
  6. ^ You can see that letter here [1], also here, click twice to enlarge page
  7. ^ Well, Lucas wouldn't -- fans first tried it in Slow Boat to Bespin and look where that got them -- *wink*
  8. ^ Michigan


  1. ^ The editor of "Moonbeam" says: "I believed for almost 30 years that it was in fact the first primarily Star Wars fiction fanzine, but I recently learned that Skywalker, the exceptional Star Wars zine edited by Bev Clark, was in fact first by a couple of weeks. Ah well. I was still one of the first, and probably the first on the East Coast.."Main Moonbeam Page, Archived version
  2. ^ From Nancy Duncan in "Against the Sith's" editorial: "We know of two other SW zines so far, Hyperspace .... and Skywalker." This statement is contradicted in December 1985 by the editor of "Skywalker," Bev Clark, in comments to Southern Enclave #10: "AGAINST THE SITH came out a few weeks before SKYWALKER, no more than six. Neither was the first SW fanzine, exactly. The very first fanzine was a small, poorly produced effort out of Long Beach, called THE FORCE; it was more like a traditional SF fanzine in that it didn't have much fiction. It was also what is bluntly called in SF fandom, a crudzine. The first fanzine to print all SW fiction, though admittedly as a single issue of a fanzine that was not devoted to SW to the exclusion of all else, was MOONBEAM 3, which came out in the late fall of 1977 or the early spring of 1978 before either AGAINST THE SITH or SKYWALKER, at any rate. SKYWALKER was certainly in preparation by then, however, it began in September, 1977." It appears that either Bev Clark is mis-remembering the date of her own fanzine's publication, or there is a difference of opinion about what constitutes the "beginning" of a zine, and that perhaps Clark is referring to when she first started collecting material, rather to when the zine was available to fans.
  3. ^ from Scuttlebutt #13
  4. ^ from the Eugene Register-Guard, July 16, 1980 issue
  5. ^ "Southern Enclave Issue #22 pdf, page 47" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-06-06.
  6. ^ from Alderaan #11
  7. ^ from Alderaan #3
  8. ^ from an LoC in Against the Sith" #2
  9. ^ from an LoC by Christine Jeffords in Against the Sith" #2
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h from an LoC in Against the Sith" #2
  11. ^ from an LoC by Nikki White in Against the Sith" #2
  12. ^ from an LoC by Laura Virgil in Against the Sith" #2
  13. ^ from Space 1970, posted February 11, 2011, accessed April 1, 2012
  14. ^ a b c d e f from an LoC in "Against the Sith" #3
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h from an LoC in "Against the Sith" #4
  16. ^ Some editors used these phrases as a "coded" way to say they accepted same sex relationships in their zine's content. This is not the case here.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q from an LoC in issue #5
  18. ^ a b c d e f g from an LoC in "Against the Sith" #6
  19. ^ a b c d e from an LoC in "Against the Sith" #7
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k from a LoC in issue #8
  21. ^ a b c d from an LoC in "Against the Sith" #9
  22. ^ a reference to the July 1980 article in the Eugene newspaper article, see Tracy Duncan
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