Alderaan/Issues 01-05

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Issues 01-05 · Issues 06-10 · Issues 11-15

Issue 1

cover of issue #1, Jeff Johnston, also in Warped Space #37

Alderaan 1 was published in February 1978 and is six pages long. It had nine letters.

  • the first thing, after the editorial, is a review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a movie the editor enjoyed very much
  • another fan compares Close Encounters and Star Wars: "... Star Wars was good but Close Encounters makes it look childish and insignificant."
  • a fan writes: "What can be written about Star Wars besides sequel after sequel? Why don't you just spend you time and money on a Close Encounters zine?" [1]
  • the editor talks about cost and art:
    Anyone who is familiar with the other publications of Kzinti Press will know that this is the first offset zine that I have ever done. It is also the most expensive, page for page, to print. The cost of Alderaan will be 65 cents per issue or $1.80 for a three-issue subscription. Please do not send me subscriptions for more than 3 issues! A great majority of the cost for Alderaan goes for the covers. I would like to include nothing but the very best artwork on the covers of Alderaan. Artists, please consider Alderaan as a place to showcase your work. I will treat all originals with loving care and return them to you. I am looking for any black & white artwork of almost any size to use as cover material. Reduction or half-toning will be done where necessary. I would also like to feature full color artwork for the covers, however, for full-color covers the original art must be on 8 x 11 paper and cannot be reduced. The rest of the cost for the zine is mostly postage and printing. If I can get a sufficiently large subscription list I will lower the price of Alderaan in the future. It is cheaper to print large quantities of things than it is to print smaller quantities, so if my price per copy goes down enough, I'll pass along the savings to you. The only reason that I'm doing the zine offset to begin with is because I don't have the time to print another mimeozine by myself. Although I will have to collate and mail Alderaan, I won't have to print it. To compensate you for the rather high price I will try to include the best possible use of graphics and artwork that I can. This particular issue of Alderaan is also undersize. I expect that it will contain more pages as the subscriber list grows. [The editor goes on to say he will give a free copy of the letterzine to any fan who contributes to more than four issues.]
  • while the letterzine wasn't published until February 1978, the first letter in it is dated September 1977:
    I had to chanqe my thinking on how deliberate those elements [of heroic fantasy] were on Lucas' part; originally I had seen quotes from him to the effect that he was doing a science fantasy, or a comic book on film, and I thought that the resemblances to heroic fantasy were purely serendipitous, the result of his unconsciously picking the right elements out of the genre in which he was working. I have since seen a Rolling Stone interview which implies that some of the similarities to Tolkien, for example, are not accidental, and that Lucas was aware of the heroic things he was doing. Of course, so was Tolkien. It's good that both things turned out as well as they did, because a lot of stuff written deliberately to capture some of the heroic "feel" fails; it succeeds in being silly, archaic, space operish, but not heroic. I am beginning to think that what Lucas did right was to include the Force, which immediately adds another dimension to the story, and places it firmly within the heroic tradition as well, allowing it to collect echoes from everything else within that tradition. Bringing in the Force adds an element of inevitability.
  • one fan is not impressed with most of the movie:
    Star Wars is the antithesis of ST —-- a reversion to the sf of the 30's and 40's that is designed to appeal to adolescent boys. In George Lucas' SH book, he gives Luke's age as only 15, just like Heinlein's and Asimov's (and many others) old boys' books, wherein a young kid says casually, "Dad, I think I'll be a spaceship pilot and go to the moon," and his pa says, "All right, got enough credits to get to the spaceport, son?" And on Monday, the boy takes off, uneducated, untrained, immature. No judgement, no experience. Just like Luke Skywalker—pure young male fantasy. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed SW, but the admirable part: were the incredible special effects, not the acting, not the story, not the character relationships. People kept embarrassing me asking me what I thought of the music ... and I had to admit that not a line of it stuck in my ears. [The music] is as derivative as hell. Phrases from the Lawrence of Arabia theme, bits of Exodus, scraps of Stravinsky—they were successful before, why not again? Of course it's selling well as a record, like everything else connected with the movie, being merchandised to the limit, and enough publicity can sell anything in the world. And don't anyone bring up the fact that Princess Leia fought along with the boy and men—she still occupies the old-time place for women in 30's sf—as a prize for the hero, after he has all the adventures and returns home. Lucas more than gave this away on the ABC program when he said they didn't know yet who they were going to award her to, in SW 2, the callow youth or the adventurer Han. So ah there, feminists—is this really better than ST? And your assertion about all the junk that's being pushed for big $$$ by Twentieth-Century Fox, the books, the calendars, portfolios, t-shirts, buttons, etc. Sure, ready-made fandom, force-fed. ... Just bear in mind that ST's memorabilia grew out of fandom's demands, philosophies of ST. What philosophy does SW promote except militarism? Are we ready for that again? The whole story is the strikes of revolutionary terrorists against the established order. So okay, Darth Vader and Company are badies and need to be overthrown—does it have to be done with violence? What does the story have to contribute to our understanding of the world today? All right, alien acceptance, tolerance, there's that, and also it is not supposed to be in the logical and progressive future, but "long ago and far away," but not even tolerance is demonstrated—droids are excepted from the social life. Ah well—perhaps from now on all fan movements will spring full-blown from the producer's forehead, so to speak, with tons of junk to be pushed for profit stacked up behind the popcorn machine at the preview. Maybe no other fandom will ever grow gradually in response to the participants' needs, now that we know the joys of bumper stickers, key rings, models, dolls and fanzines made along with the movie—but be aware of how much this shark-feeding frenzy for SW connected stuff is professionally marketed and pushed. By people who learned as they observed the ST phenomenon.
  • the character of Ben Kenobi is discussed:
    A friend of mine and I have a running argument going over the character of Ben Kenobi. She said that Ben is deified in the movie, and in the minds of those who watch it, and is no longer a human being; a development which she deplores. My stand is that Ben is not so much deified as just plain respected, for being a man— a great man—who could admit to a mistake, and made the ultimate sacrifice to try to rectify that mistake—perhaps in vain. I idea, I think, fits with what George Lucas tried to do in the movie—to show the "good" guys as being responsible for their lives and what they do. TANSTAAFL,[2] and all that.
  • a comment about Star Trek and Star Wars, the first long one of many to come in this letterzine:
    On the Star Trek/Star Wars controversy: I think that fans are worrying themselves needlessly about which one is "better." I feel there is no comparison. Star Wars is a film made solely for the purposes of entertainment and pleasure. [The editor interjects: "For Lucas, perhaps, but I believe that 20th Century-Fox wanted something more back on their investment in the film than just gratitude."] No ideals (radical or otherwise) were introduced or pursued. The film is excellent and I have enjoyed it each of the ten times I have seen it, more and more. Its special effects far outstripped those of Star Trek, but only because Gene Roddenberry did not have the modern optical printers and obvious advantages of wide-screen filming techniques. Star Wars was [is] a show you can become more than just involved in. You can look into the characters and find crannies and nooks of personality no one has explored before... While Star Wars entertained me more than Star Trek does, and while Star Trek brings me more involved pleasure, neither is "better."
  • about Star Wars' future as a fandom?:
    I don't think that Star Wars will ever build a true Fandom. You can't become involved with it enough. Yes. fans can write (and write WELL) stories and articles and draw illos and diagrams, but I don't think Warsdom [The editor interjects: "Gak, how about just using 'Swdom'??"] will grow to what Trekdom is or last as long because there isn't that involvement as with Trek.

Issue 2

Alderaan 2 was published in June 1978 and contains 10 pages.

front page of issue #2
  • the editor writes that he'd love to have a co-editor and asks for volunteers
  • there is much fannish discussion about Close Encounters of the Third Kind and what the government's "real" response would have been to UFOs landing on Earth
  • a fan writes a long letter on what she felt to be the crappy special effects in Close Encounters and comments: "Close Encounters got so pompous and tied up in itself that it lost out. Explain to me: Why is a major in charge of that operation? When did they move Devil's Tower? Why are they following that French twit? Why are the people in India chanting?"
  • the editor writes an essay called "And which version did you see?" in which he explains the differences in the Star Wars shown in the theater and the scenes that were left out
  • the editor writes:
    As you all know by now, the Post Awful has struck again with another rate increase. Because of the way in which they raised the rates, it means that Alderaan will have to go to reduced offset if it becomes bigger... Obviously while the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, it does not guarantee freedom from economic strangulation because third class is used primarily for printed matter. Why the P.O. chose to put the screws to printed matter in particular I don't know. I only know that it forces me to abandon my mimeograph forever because while it may print cheaply, the paper it is printed on is particular heavy. Similarly, I am forced to give up standard-sized offset for Alderaan because I can't afford to have this zine weigh more than 1 ounce. That means, no more real heavy covers either. I do want to keep the paper size the same however. I don't like digest-sized zines. They are too cramped. At least if I keep Alderaan in an 8h x 11 inch format I'll be able to feature fair-sized cover art. Digest-sized zines never have enough room to give art breathing space.
  • from one enthusiastic fan:
    I was one of those people who thoroughly enjoyed Star Wars because it was a throw-back to the old Space Operas of the past. I enjoyed it so much that I went to see it 15 times when it was at the local theatre. I realize that is nowhere near being a record, and I am miserly enough that if I had been paying S3.00 a shot to go see it, I would not have gone 15 times. But I had a 50 cent off pass and made good use of it. I didn't care then, and I don't care now whether or not it was "revelant" to today's society, and I could care less about whether it says anything about today's need to "escape." When I go to a movie, I want to be entertained, and Star Wars surely did that! I'll leave the social theorizing to others who know more about it than I do.
  • a fan has acquired some Star Wars movies she can watch at home:
    I am contenting myself with buying some of the Super 8 films available on Star Wars. I thought that possibly some film fans, and would-be film fans would like to know something about the long version of Star Wars. It's been unavailable in this country for some time, and I purchased a copy through a friend overseas. The movie runs approximately sixteen minutes, and contains a number of scenes that are not included in the shorter nine minute version available in the U.S. The majority of the scenes added to the 16 min. version are those from the beginning, including the space battle, Darth Vader's entrance, and the death of Leia's captain. The programming of R2D2 and the robots' escape to Tatooine are also included in their entirety, as is Leia's first confrontation with Vader on her wrecked ship. After this scene the segments become short and choppy, including among others, R2D2's encounter with the Jawas, the sale of the robots, and a segment of the hologram scene in Obi-Wan's home. [the editor interjects: "That segment of film with the hologram scene, and the one where Ben presents the light saber to Luke ie included in the 400' U.S. version available from Ken Films."] These scenes cut directly to the prison on the Death Star, where Chewbacca, Han and Luke are blasting out the prison monitors and trying to rescue the princess. A VERY brief part of the garbage room scene is also included, as is a short cut from Obi-Wan's disarming of the tractor beam. There are two relatively complete scenes to finish this version. These are the sword fight between Ben and Vader (not including Obi-Wan's death) and the fight with the four "picket" ships during the escape from the Death Star. Credits follow this last scene. Altogether the color and sound are very good, and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it, only wishing that there was about five times more available. Maybe in the future...? [3]
  • a fan comments about Leia and Uhura:
    Princess Leia's function (if it is that) of "token liberated woman" seems to irritate far more people than Lt. Uhura's token Black woman ever did. Everyone seems to want to squeeze Leia into one mold or another, which I think is impossible, because she is basically a compromise... Leia has a foot in both worlds (and occasionally one in her mouth, not that she cares), and why shouldn't she? Those who don't fancy her as totally independent like to point out that she and Aunt Beru taken together give ample evidence that Lucas' view of women and their place in the world is outdated. The "other side" holds that Leia is quite capable and independent, and Aunt Beru is simply "not well defined." I think perhaps both views are a little off. Leia is far too activist to be anybody's pawn or prize—at least not totally. On the other hand, Aunt Beru is pretty well summed up in the few scenes we see her in—she's a country housewife whose main interests are her small family and their farm. Whether or not you like that as a definition, it is one, and it's about all we see of her. Remember, it's not as though this were a depiction of a documented historical character, where one could say, "That's a distorted presentation." These are Lucas' inventions and he can present them however he likes. A character that isn't around long must generally be drawn in broad strokes, encompassing only the major outlines. I think we saw Aunt B's major outlines just as we were intended to. Leia will probably be better remembered for her feistiness than for her ultra-femininity, although she has a tender side (remember how gently she placed Luke's coat around his shoulders while commiserating with him over his loss and trying to encourage him?); Aunt Beru is largely content to stay in the background, although she speaks up—gently—when she thinks Uncle Owen is being unreasonable and tells him that they can't expect Luke to stay on the farm forever. Both ladies get their point across; they just have different weapons and methods, and one suspects that Leia speaks up far more frequently. Leia is Jane Fonda with overtones of Dale Arden, perhaps, but they're only overtones. Aunt Beru is Andy Griffith's Aunt Bee, with just the barest hint of Maude's opinions, and none of her mouth.
  • a fan comments about the violence and militarism in Star Wars:
    [Name redacted] was wondering at one point if their downfall could not be accomplished without resort to violence. What alternate method would she propose? The Senate had just been arbitrarily dissolved, so the vote was rendered totally useless (as opposed to just mostly useless, as one suspects it probably was up until that time). If the rebel officer whose strangulation begins the film had attempted to cajole Vader with, "Please, sir, put me down now—dead men never yield much information," his end would probably have been just the same. Even if he'd promise to vote for Grand Moff Tarkin in the next election. As for the glorification of militarism as opposed to ST's stance of the universe being ruled by (or at least working toward) the brotherhood of man, a good example of the point I'd like to make came on the TV just as I was reading [name redacted's] letter—a local station was rerunning 'City on the Edge of Forever', and just as I read the line about militarism, in the background Edith Keeler was sacrificed because the active implementation of her ideal of peace would have led to a world governed by Naziism. Edith died, WWII was fought and won, and one facet of the outcome was Star Fleet, JTK, Spock, and the Big E, and their mission as galactic peacekeepers. Being "right" at the wrong time is the same as being wrong, because deducing from insufficient facts yields answers that are slightly askew or incomplete, even if correct as far as they go.
  • Leia continues to invoke discussion:
    Another thing many people seem to be forgetting is the fact that Princess Leia was a major leader in the rebellion long before our two heroes waltzed across the screen. She is a delightful heroine with much more strength of character than anyone seems to be giving her credit for. One of the most delightful scenes in the entire movie is the one where she snatches the blaster from Luke and goes blasting across the detention area corridor to lead the way down the garbage shoot. Her own personal brand of "Alright, I'm in charge" bossiness is unique among most modern heroines. And Princess Leia is more than a reward for one of our two stalwart heroes—she will choose Han or Luke—or possibly neither; although (my personal feelings to the contrary) this is rather unlikely. It is sad, but true, that the writers of future SW scripts must be concerned with such mundane matters as box office receipts.
  • a fan is tired of the SW/ST debate:
    I wish various embittered Trekkies would lay off SW, which, in the first place, is science fantasy rather than science fiction and contains many more elements of the Brothers' Grimm than of Heinlein. And there are some rather gross faults in both scientific credibility, such as Han Solo standing up as the ship goes from supra-to sub-light speed, and the story line, as with Leia's almost certain future marriage to either Luke or Han. As a feminist, though I was delighted with Princess Leia, I was disappointed by the dearth of any other major female part—most especially among the pilots of the rebellion. They could have at least thrown one or two odd females [the editor interjects "sic"] in among all those chummy men in the briefing room. But nothing is perfect, and even the venerated Star Trek had to contend with such things as Nielsons—and certainly there were several flaws in those scripts. "Spock's Brain" in particular, makes me gag. But despite all these flaws, ST remains the greatest TV show of all time and despite its flaws, SW is an incredible movie, though they are so different that they ought to defy comparison. I have enjoyed SW each of the thirty-odd times I have seen it, and I intend to enjoy it the next thirty times.
  • a fan comments:
    I enjoy Star Wars, but I have my doubts about future movies. I have just finished 'Splinter of the Mind's Eye', the SW sequel by Alan Dean Foster, and I'm disappointed. It starts out well enough, with Luke, Leia, and the droids crashing on a forest planet that has a secret Imperial mining operation. However, after 180 pages of one-escape-after-ancther plot, devoid of character development, Darth Vader shows up. For 10 pages he man-anes to sound verbose and patronizing, before he underestimates his opponents and falls into a bottomless pit. With 15 million for special effects, it will be dazzling—but unsatisfying—as a movie.
  • while many fans talk today of the tensions between Star Trek and Star Wars, the tensions between Star Wars and Close Encounters was just as lively:
    I'd like to add my two cents to the SW/CE debate—I find Star Wars the better movie; scientific flaws and gaps of logic in Close Encounters greatly reduce its effectiveness. I had planned to elaborate on those flaws and gaps, but I find that almost all of what I had to say was said by Dr. Asimov in the April 1978 issue of Science Digest.
  • a fan chides another:
    I'm afraid your feminist feelings have destroyed your ability to recognize a joke. He was asked a silly question (it was worded: "Who gets the Princess?" and why should he give away future plot developments anyway?) so he gave a silly answer. I'm convinced it was a joke because I'm sure Lucas has planned from the beginning for the Princess to choose Luke.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

The second issue of an excellent "Star Wars" letter 'zine, this ish features some interesting and informative arguments on the virtues of "Star Wars" vs "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," as well as some clever rebuttals on the subject of the viability of the women featured in SW. There's also a hilarious collection of various lines of dialogue from the movie taken out of context (I'll say!) and a beautiful sketch of Chewbacca done by the editor as the cover. A promising personal comment 'zine.[4]

Issue 3

cover of issue #3, Pat Munson

Alderaan 3 was issued in September 1978 and contains 8 pages. This issue is reduced, as the postal rates have gone up. This issue is also the first with the co-editor, Allyson, who volunteered to work with the LoCs. It also contains the first zine reviews.

  • a fan writes:
    I object to the extreme mercenary atmosphere surrounding SW, but it is not simply a case of "corrupt" SW versus "pure" ST: true, the early ST memorabilia was fan-generated, but as soon as the pros discovered the ready-made market, they were out with their stuff, buttons, bumper-stickers, T-shirts, you-name-it; and perhaps it is better that the SW stuff is at least related to the people who made SW, though I still think that forming your own fan club smacks of something unmentionable in polite company.
  • about Leia:
    Somehow I don't think Leia is going to be anybody's prize; I don't think Lucas was entirely serious when he spoke of who was going to get her. And from what I've seen so far, it's the women who are finding Leia threatening and putting her back Into her "proper" subordinate place; most of the fans writing SW fiction so far are women, and Leia is occupying a distinctly secondary role. It may be the Mary Sue phenomenon—I really think that a lot of ST fans find strong women either threatening or unbelievable, so they create female characters who are either subordinate to men or are Mary Sues who end up subordinate to men in the end too. I hope this attitude does not extend to SW fiction. I also hope that in the script for SW II that Leigh Brackett wrote before she died that Leia gets the treatment she deserves—that is, as a strong, independent, self-willed leader.
  • a fan wants to know what's so bad about being derivative:
    ...people have stated openly, that SW is flawed because it is a derivative movie. My reply to that is that everything is derivative. Somebody- I think Jorge Luis Borges, but I'm not sure—has said that there are 36 different plots, of which three or four are basic plots (e.g. boy-gets-girl, the quest), and that all literature, from worst to best, is made from these plots in various combinations, complexities and permutations.... I imagine that there are also a finite number of possible arrangements which produce certain types of reactions to the listener, so that it is not surprising that a composer who wanted to produce that reaction would write music that might resemble other music that had also tried to induce the same reaction.... It is not necessarily a flaw to be derivative; being derivative in such a way that the new work has no distinctive, unified personality is a flaw. And in certain genres, notably fairy tales and their daughter genre, heroic fantasy, even lack of uniqueness is less serious than it is in other genres.
  • a fan, even this early, has read some SW fan fiction:
    I've read some SW fan fiction in Skywalker and Warped Space and it encouraged me to see all the new names coming up with really good stories, developing "cardboard" characters from the film. They're a positive answer to every critic who says that SW isn't worth developing.
  • this fan doesn't agree that SW was only a male movie:
    Star Wars merely a "pure young male fantasy"? I very much doubt the film would have done so well—understatement—at the box office. I feel that I am as liberated as the next woman, and I am in no way outraged at the way in which women were presented in the film. I hope that I am not so narrow in my views that I must label a movie sexist or not before I can enjoy it. I was given to understand that women's liberation was begun in order that each individual woman could make her own life decisions without any pressures to conform to a certain mold. The much berated Aunt Beru should not be censured or cried over because she does not seem to fit the ultra liberated mold. Her life decision was evidently to be a family woman, a pioneer of sorts in partnership with her husband in managing their homestead. Many of us could choose less worthy goals, her contribution to the world is no less than that of her husband, and no one seems to be complaining over the dreariness of his fate. To call Princess Leia a mere "prize" for the men of the story borders on being ludicrous. I rather think it is going to work the other way around, one of those men is going to be her prize! Leia seemed to me to be the aggressor in those two Luke/Leia kisses—is anyone worried about saving Luke from her? The lady is a tiger, not to mention red-blooded and healthy!
  • more on the ST/SW controversy:
    A final word about Star Trek vs. Star Wars controversy in fandom: PLEASE Trekkers. let's observe the IDIC principle we all hold in such high regard. Star Wars is gaining a fandom, whether Trekdom likes it or not. I have a sneaking suspicion that Star Wars is bringing and will continue to bring, people into its fandom that have never been involved in an organized fandom before, like Trek did. I did know of several such examples. Star Wars has already produced (without help or funding from SW Corp. or 20th Century Fox, [name redacted]) several high quality fanzines such as Skywalker. Some of the contributors to these zines are new to fandom and to zlne writing, although one would never guess it from the quality of the material: I love Trek dearly but I also love Star Wars and I can pick Trek to pieces just as easily as an outraged Trekfan can dissect Star Wars. Instead of wasting our energy, can't we all coexist peacefully, glean what enjoyment we can from both worlds (Galaxies)? We might find that both fandoms will benefit from the experience.
  • a fan writes:
    I'm fascinated with all of the different versions around in fandom of how the Empire came Into being, what the Clone Wars were, what the reaction of the cantina's bar man toward the 'drolds shows about the position of MAN In the Empire's culture, etc. The marvelous thing about SW's open-endedness is that there is room for for a fannlsh writer to extrapolate, to fit their own theories and interests Into the Star Wars universe.
  • more about ST and SW:
    Just what are the Trekkies complaining about now in regards to SW? Frankly I'm so fed up with the immaturity of Trekdom, in general, in regards to science fiction (or, in the case of SW, science fantasy) other than Star Trek. I've found myself drifting away from it and back into general sci-fi fandom. Honestly, what can possibly constitute a threat in SW? As you pointed out so aptly, SW and ST are two different genres of science fiction and are beyond comparison, so why are the Trekkies shooting it down? I just can't fathom it. It certainly doesn't show adherence to the IDIC that's for sure.
  • a fan comments on Leia:
    She's just about the most maligned character of SW that I've ever seen. Frankly, I found her a refreshing change from all of the previous heroines of sci-fi. There was no fainting (nee Dale Arden) or continuous screaming (ala Fay Wray in the original King Kong) on her part, nosirreebob. She was one cool cookie but I feel a lot of her coolness was only a thin veneer for the fear inside.
  • a fan, perhaps, thinks ahead to some stimulating fan fiction:
    I have heard that Lucas did not originally realize that Han would be so popular. I wouldn't like to see future Star Wars movies without him. He's the perfect foil for Luke and sparring partner for Leia. As to who Leia "gets"—why not invoke an old and respected French custom? Menage a trois? Yes, I know this is Lucas' childhood, and things like that just didn't happen. Kind of a pity...
  • there is a review of Hyperspace, see that page
  • there is a review of Star Wars Filksongs, see that page
  • there is a review of Skywalker, see that page
  • there is a review of Against the Sith, see that page

Issue 4

cover of issue #4, Jeff Johnston

Alderaan 4 was issued in February 1979 and contains 8 pages.

  • a fan picks apart the pro novel, "Splinter of the Mind's Eye," and is one of a long line of fans to do so
  • two fans write of her opinions on Close Encounters of the Third Kind; one of them says she has seen over 2000 films, 400 of them "sci-fi" and neither Star Wars (which she has seen 25 times) or CETK were the best—she's optimistically saving that slot for something in the future
  • a fan says while she liked the movie, she noticed that George Lucas "borrowed" imagery and characters from all sort of other science fiction, fantasy, and literature sources: "Mr. Lucas should have listed in the credits those authors from whom he borrowed heavily." [5]
  • another fan writes a letter in which she points out a number of filming bloopers
  • even this early on, Darth Vader is getting some sympathy:
    First off, let me admit that I have a tendency to try to see things from the so-called villain's point of view. It's probably a result of being called "Fishface" when the Creature from the Black Lagoon surfaced, but it's also good mental exercise and sometimes leads to very stimulating discussions. This brings me to the proposition that Darth Vader is getting a raw deal. For one thing, Kenobi says Vader served "the later corrupt Emperors." Taken at face value, this means that there were earlier Emperors Vader did not serve. Yet, he left Kenobi while he was still a student, thus fairly young, which makes the Empire the only government he knew, and so, legitimate. To him, the Old Republic was a failed relic which had collapsed through its own internal corruption (see the book's prologue), kept alive only be Kenobi's stories. Kenobi's attempt to restore the Republic, and with it, the power of the Jedi Knights, could only appear the Vader as treason. What Kenobi saw as betrayal, Vader saw as his duty. To me, it looks like an honest difference of opinion, with both doing what they thought right. Vader will probably continue to serve the Empire until the time is ripe to implement his own plans. What those plans are, apparently only the Dark Lords have the scope to understand. Obviously, though, if he intends to Influence the entire universe, he plans far more than simple rule of an Empire consisting of only a part of one modest-sized galaxy. Meanwhile, on a human scale, he is extremely intelligent, honorable, and quite courageous. I also sense a rather sardonic sense of humor. He kills only when necessary, and has spared Leia's life at least once before (the "mercy mission" Incident). Hardly a monster, though you may disagree with his politics and/or objectives.[6]
  • a fan speculates:
    At this point in time, I don't think Close Encounters will ever make a mark on the public such as Star Wars does. Close Encounters promotional material and books came on the market very quickly, to capitalize on Its present popularity. In a year from now, will the stuff still sell? Star Wars stuff is still selling and more and more is coming onto the market. I believe it will become as large as Star Trek fandom. One thing about Star Wars is that iIt lets the audience participate in all sorts of fan activity...writing,[7] conventions. Star Trek also did that. Close Encounters is a rather closed universe in that sense. In both Trek and Wars, you can write about the characters past, present, and future. Unfortunately in Encounters you're stuck with the everyday world for past, the film for the present, and, a set pattern of some sort for the future. One last thing. Battlestar Galactica will soon be upon us people in the U.S.A. Soon the comparisons will start between it and Trek and Wars. Already, and the film has not even been on TV yet, there are arguments. I was at a recent convention and a dealer was saying that BG makes SW look like "Lost in Space." What next?
  • there is a review of Skywalker #1, see that page
  • there is a review of Elan Vital, see that page
  • there is a review of Pegasus, see that page
  • there is a review of The Mos Eisley Tribune, see that page

Issue 5

cover of issue #5, Mary Bohdanowicz

Alderaan 5 was issued in July 1979 and contains 8 pages.

  • fans discuss the role of violence in Star Wars
  • a fan says it is unfair to compare SW and CETK as they were entirely two different sort of movies
  • this issue has a long article about Star Wars fandom and eofandom by Jeff Johnston called "Who Comes With Summer, see that page
  • the zine ed of Galactic Flight asks for a submission to her zine that explains Han Solo's chin scar
  • the editors ask for more participation:
    I would like to make a plea to the readership to write in and talk to us about whatever you've got on your minds. We'd like to get some serious discussions going. Alderaan will be able to come out on a regular schedule once the volume of contributions gets up to about double of what it is now. When it falls short, YeD gets to fill to extra space, Allyson and I are both college students, and we both work and I'm even getting close to me degree (at last!). We'll both keep plugging away with Alderaan, but until we're out of the diploma-mill we cannot put the zine out with the frequency we would like. So, sit down at your typer and send us a letter, a classified for your zine, a review, a personal statement, and if you've been through what we're going through then send us your sympathies. It does help to know that other people have done this and lived.
  • there are enough SW zines to warrant this announcement:
    Starting with issue #6 of Alderaan we will be printing free classified ads for anyone who is currently a subscriber to the zine. It has been my policy all along to plug as many of the Star Wars fanzines around as possible.
  • a fan speaks of derivation:
    I've just finished reading writing Popular Fiction, by Dean R. Koontz, a how-to book on writing "catagory" fiction such as SF, fantasy, gothics, etc. He specifies several basic plots for each genre, and claims that every story ever written in those genres can be fitted into at least one of those basic plots. Looking back on all of the SF books I've read and the SF movies and shows I've seen, I realize he's quite right. SW fits, and—don't scream, Trekkers—so does ST. I'm sure my fellow Trekfen have realized this long ago, so why complain that SW is derivative, too? It's not the general outline that counts, it's the details that tum a basic plot into something unique.
  • a fan comments on the new show on the horizon:
    To get into something new—anyone have any comments on "Battlestar Galactica," now that it's made its debut? My personal reaction to it is neutrality bordering on boredom, with an urge to keep watching it in the hopes that it'll develop characterization and more interesting, believable plots. It needs to. I had a rather difficult time getting used to the characters, since they were all thrown at the viewer along with the special effects and what there was of plot. At least in SW the characters were set forth one or two at a time (Artoo & Threepio, then Darth & Leia. then Luke, Ben, Han & Chewie) and the viewer has some chance to get to know them and their ideosyncrasies. I couldn't sort the Galactica characters out as people* Does anyone out there see what I mean, and react the same way?... On the plus side—I like the fact that the Galactica producers didn't forget that black people exist, and the special effects, of course, were top quality. I'll continue to watch the show just for that. Galactica had about four times as many explosions as SW, and I belong to the "Whoopie! See the pretty bright lights!" school of SFX appreciation. I wonder if anyone out there could see anything else in the show that really makes it worth the watching.
  • a fan compliments Alderaan's LoCers on their politeness and civility:
    I've cancelled my subscription to the ST letterzine "Interstat" since I no longer looked forward to getting it. In fact, I dreaded the acrimony (understatement) going on between the fans in its pages. It seems to me that, generally the SF fen are not as gentle as they once were. Maybe it's why I'm more inclined to enjoy SW-related material and fan letters than I am ST. But so far Alderaan's LoCers have managed to disagree without being nasty about it. The prime example is [name redacted's] letter and the reactions to it. Everyone who has disagreed with her has not attacked her personally, but has shown that they respect her position. I'm so glad to see it, and I certainly hope this healthy attitude about debating without heat continues. Alderaan LoC writers, pat yourself on the back!
  • a fan is concerned that Leia is too much of a bitch:
    Re: the controversy involving Princess Leia: may I add my nickel's worth?... I've got good feelings and bad about her. She is a strong female character, and the Maker knows there are few enough around. I rather got the impression that if Luke and Han et. al., had not arrived to rescue her, sooner or later she'd have gotten out alone. She is spirited, strong-willed, commanding and intelligent—Imperial Senator at age 20 is, after all, no mean feat, and neither is surviving Vader's interrogation. However, it is because of these "good points" that the flaws are born. She is strong-willed, and therefore bull-headed to an extreme ('I don't know who you are or where you came from, but from now on you do as I tell you.') The commanding aspects of her personality often takes on the form of bitchiness, especially toward Han. I was of the opinion that the lady shculd have been pasted one a couple of times, and I thought Han showed considerable restraint in not doing so. The spiritedness came off as stubborn and ill-mannered—Luke, Han and Chewie risk their necks to save her and does she even give them a thank-you? Of course not—it was their duty and honor to save her skin! She has to be brassy to get where she is, but I me of two guys cominq out of a theater after seeing SW, and one askinq the other, "Who did you like, Han or Luke?" "I'll take the Princess; she's got more balls than either one of them." Intentional or not, that's the way she sounds to me. Here's hoping that in the sequel they can make her a strong character, but sufficiently feminine, too. Princess Mary Sue, who does everything right, is not what I'm after, mind you. I ask for someone to tone down her sharp edges and give her a streak of softness, gentleness. The way she is now, she'd dominate Luke and destroy Han, if either of them were to be paired with her. As for 'who gets Leia," I think it will be the other round —- it's who will she choose. My vote is being cast here and now for Vader—he's the only one that could possibly get the better of her!
  • as to the SW/ST war:
    I'm also tired of the antagonism between Trekfen and SW fans, but I suppose it's to be expected—after 12 years. SF fans still don't like Trekfans and blare them for ruining SF fandom. Trek fandom isn't the only immature fandom around.
  • a taste of the beginning of the Luke Han Wars and at least one faulty prediction:
    I still think 12 films are a bad idea. While Han Solo could be credibly phased out without much sadness, the only believable way to remove Luke or Leia is to kill them, and that would be too sad. Also, Star Wars is an old-fashioned film, and the hero and/or heroine never dies in an old-fashioned film, unless it's a tragedy... Luke Is the major character and the author's surrogate. If he is removed, the story falls apart on all is levels. I, for one, do not want to see Star Wars without Luke Skywalker. Leia must be in the story as long as Luke is, unless he falls out of love with her, an occurrence which also would not be credible.
  • one fan complains about the art:
    I've just finished reading Alderaan #4 and I enjoyed it immensely. The only problem I can see with the zlne is the art. The covers for both issues three and four were obvious swipes from publicity stills. (I'm not against swipes; they just shouldn't be so obvious).
  • a fan asks about the Star Wars Holiday Special and brings up the subject of the trees and Chewbacca's house, certainly the least of this show's problems:
    Does anyone know if the Star Wars Holiday Special is being considered part of the canon? Has Lucasfilm Limited said whether the version of Chewie's homeworld on that show is the official one, or could it still change? I read elsewhere that Lucas does want to use the giant trees, which could be interesting if properly done- What I don't like is Chewle's house, and the technological level it suggests. It's altogether too mundane and too familiar-looking for what should be a very exotic place.
  • more on BG:
    No doubt a lot of the fen are really getting down on "Galactica." Granted, some of the scripts are weak but I enjoy the show. I gather there are several Galactica zines in the planning—seems like this show suggests lots of open ends and open avenues for the fan writer, artist, etc. to put themselves into the universe. Should be fun to see a few of the stories. It's obvious that Galactica is one of the most expensively-produced series on TV. The sets, costuming and effects are gorgeous! I just wish they'd show female viper pilots more often. To shift Athena from warrior to school teacher seems disgustingly chauvinistic!
  • there is a review of The Mos Eisley Tribune #2, see that page
  • there is a review of Galactic Flight #1, see that page
  • there is a review of Falcon's Flight #2, see that page

References

  1. If he means a fan-created Close Encounters zine, there was only one published.
  2. from Robert Heinlein's 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" meaning you can't get something for nothing. See also the SF Citations entry.
  3. These are not bootleg or fan-made but licensed products, highly condensed versions of popular films. The Star Wars one is 18 minutes long, Before VCRs, and later, other options for watching a movie at home, fans could purchase these products and play them on a Super 8 projector. user:Mrs. Potato Head's brother-in-law confirms this, and said he has a bunch of these films (including Superman starring Christopher Reeve) in his attic that he'd bought when he was 14-years old.
  4. from ComLoC #8 (1978)
  5. Then again, all the examples she listed were authors who'd probably borrowed from someone else...
  6. from Alderaan #4
  7. up until a point: see Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett