Amazing Grace

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Zine
Title: Amazing Grace
Publisher:
Editor(s): Dorothy Laoang
Date(s): 1984-2000
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
Language: English
External Links:
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Amazing Grace is a slash K/S Star Trek: TOS anthology of fiction, poetry and art edited by Dorothy Laoang.

The zine Amazing Grace came out after the movie The Wrath of Khan:

Yes, the first Amazing Grace was all about creative ways of bringing Spock back because the wait between movies seemed so painful. (The operative word being, creative.) Though I was pretty well plugged into fandom at the time, or so I thought, I was unaware of any opposition to bringing him back pre-canon. In fact, I was at great pains to get AG out before STIII debuted so no one could say we copied anything from it. The feedback I got at the time was all positive. I remember being mobbed by feeding frenzied fen at Shore Leave that year.[1]

The first issue sold out of its initial print run of 300 in six months.

About the Title

The title of the zine comes from the tune played in the movie at Spock's funeral. This choice of song in the movie was hotly debated in the letterzine Interstat. See: Interstat/Issues 051-060.

At least one fan wrote to The K/S Press of her dislike of this title:
I’m sure I’ll be missing some excellent stories, and no harm to Dorothy Laoang, but I flatly refuse to buy anything called Amazing Grace. Why? Ever have a cinema full of people burst out laughing when it’s played? On bagpipes no less, without the bag having been filled with air first. At a funeral while you’re trying to slide under the seat in sheer embarrassment at the inappropriateness of it? A Christian hymn played at a Vulcan funeral is about as appropriate as Onward Christian Soldiers at the funeral of the chief rabbi in Jerusalem or the Ayatollah Khomenei. Even if it was supposed to be Scotty’s personal tribute! [2]
A fan in Interstat wrote:
That send-off was something, too, with Scotty paying a final farewell and salute, playing Amazing Grace on his bagpipes. The song was originally written for the bagpipes and sounds awful on any other instrument. But the pipes lent a haunting quality to the entire tableau.[3]

Story Summaries

Many summaries below are from Gilda F.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1, Dorothy Laonag

Amazing Grace 1 was published in 1984 and has 116 pages. It has a cover and was published by Dorothy Laonag. Art by Dorothy C. Laoang, Vel Jaeger, and Suzan Lovett among others. Includes a 2-page fold-out by The Southern Cross.

  • Editorial
  • Homecoming by Dorothy C. Laoang (ST:TMP)
  • Friend, Brother... Lover by Wendy Rathbone (Kirk feels that Spock is slipping away from him after VʼGer,but at the same time is picking up Spockʼs mental calls to him as tʼhyʼla.)
  • A Personal Moment of Truth by Sharon F (ST:TMP)
  • The Singer and the Song by Dorothy C. Laoang (art by Al Laoang) (When Kirk discovers Spock playing his lyre in the OD, Spock is reluctant to tell him the name of the piece he is playing.)
  • Etude and Code by Mikki Reynard (Kirk talks Spock into taking their rented vehicle off the beaten path.) (gen)
  • An Inner Journey by Vel Jaeger (art by Vel Jaeger)
inside art from issue #1, The Southern Cross, part of a fold-out

Reactions and Reviews

See reactions and reviews for To Face the Future.
See reactions and reviews for And Always Shall Be Yours.
See reactions and reviews for Divertimento.
See reactions and reviews for Friend, Brother... Lover.
See reactions and reviews for The Singer and the Song.
See reactions and reviews for Walking on Thin Ice.
See reactions and reviews for Etude and Code.

Issue 2

Amazing Grace 2, published in 1992 and has 116 pages.

From a submission request:
AMAZING GRACE 2 -- a new adult zine, in the spirit of K/Star nominee, AMAZING GRACE 1, is gathering steam! Come join new writers and artists as well as established ones to work with an experienced editor who will help you to bring out your best. I am looking for fresh viewpoints, plot twists, first time as well as continuing relationship fiction (though not necessarily all in the same work!) As always, ideas, plotting and characterization are top priority in the kind of work I am hoping to see. The zine is filling up, so send you submission as soon as possible! Artists, if you would like to try something innovative in zine art, I am looking forward to your ideas. Scratchboard, woodcuts, linocuts, silkscreen prints, and monoprints would all be wonderful. Think graphic! Please send photocopied samples of your artwork. Everyone piease enclose sufficient postage if you wish to have your material returned. Deadline: March, 1991.[4]
From the editorial:
As before, I have many people to thank for the existence of this zine. Nearly all of the contributors were contacted personally by me because few unsolicited manuscripts crowded my mailbox after several months of trying. Perhaps this was because I had asked for established relationship stories, and fans were not producing them to any degree. Each person who answered my call came through above and beyond my fondest expectations. Thank you, contributors! I thoroughly enjoyed the give and take of the editing process, and I am very well aware that without you, there would be no zine. In this issue, I have made an effort to encourage the use of a variety of artistic mediums and styles for the illustrations. Also, a major difference from the first issue was the way in which the artwork was submitted. Most of the artists first submitted preliminary sketches (at my request) before doing the finished illustration. This has worked out extremely well, I feel, because it allowed us to discuss and try out alternate ways of achieving the most effective illustration.
  • Daybreak, poem by Emily Ross (4)
  • Blanket by Charlotte Frost (While waiting to be released by the rebels using him as leverage in their planetʼs negotiations with the Federation, Spock thinks about the blanket Kirk brought him, and finally realizes his loverʼs true motivations.) (5)
  • Night Winds, poem by Robin Hood (17)
  • First, Do No Harm (Star Trek: TOS story by Judith Gran)|First, Do No Harm]] by Judith Gran (Knowing that he could save her if they take her with them, McCoy struggles over Miramaneeʼs fate as it comes up against the Prime Directive and Kirk and Spockʼs relationship: Sequel: After The Tahiti Syndrome.) (18)
  • Wind on Water, poem by Robin Hood (36)
  • The Weaver by Ann Guise (37)
  • A Shimmer of Mist, poem by Robin Hood (77)
  • Transposed Images by Emily Ross (Kirk is willing to let Spock go to Vulcan in hopes of finding a bondmate, until the mirror Spock makes him realize how it is between him and his captain, and how it could be for Kirk and his Spock.) (78)
  • Temptations Renewed by Flora Poste (Kirk wonders at Spockʼs withdrawal since their last night of lovemaking, and hopes to pull him back while on shoreleave, afraid his lover is having seconds thoughts about bonding with him.) (84)
  • a recipe for "Temptation Mousse" (chocolate mousse) by Flora Poste that embellished by much K/S meta and fantasy—an excerpt: "Indulge in some mildly sadistic fantasies at this point, as you beat the egg whites and whip the cream until all are fully engorged and stiff with eagerness. (Use the chilled bowl and beaters for the cream; use another bowl and beaters or whisk for the egg whites.)

Think about joining things, amalgamating, mingling... coming together. Fold a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Then fold all of the egg whites into the rest of the chocolate mixture. (Didn't they come together nicely ? Just like a certain Vulcan and—I don't need to elaborate, do I?) Now repeat the procedure with the cream. Fold a little of the chocolate/egg white mixture into the whipped cream, and then fold all of the whipped cream into the chocolate/egg white mixture. Do not over-fold it streakiness is acceptable. (A little streaking may even enhance your pleasure.)") (Author's notes say that this was inspired after reading Sharon F's story Temptations in Final Frontier #2.) (101)

  • Duoshade Magic, an art tutorial by Dorothy Laoang, includes example illos ("Remember those so-called "magic" coloring books we sometimes got as kids? The pages were blank, but all you had to do was dip your brush in plain water, swipe it across the page, and a picture appeared as if by magic. What we didn't know then was that the pictures were already there, only they were printed in a special ink that was activated by water.

Well, DuoShade by Grafix works on somewhat the same principle.") (103)

  • After the Tahiti Syndrome by Judith Gran (Back on the ship, Kirk and Spock reaffirm their bond and their commitment to each other: Prequel:First, Do No Harm.) (107)
  • Continuum, poem by Dorothy Laoang (116)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for The Weaver.
See reactions and reviews for First, Do No Harm.
See reactions and reviews for After the Tahiti Syndrome.
See reactions and reviews for Temptations Renewed.
See reactions and reviews for Transposed Images.
See reactions and reviews for Blanket.

Issue 3

Amazing Grace 3 was published in January 1996 by Dorothy Laoang. It has 172 pages. Art by Dorothy Laoang, Al Laoang, Deeb, Shelley Butler, and W. Charles.

cover of issue #3, Dorothy Laoang
  • Unto Which Holy Estate by Judith Gran (Is an ideal Vulcan/Human ceremony ever feasible? Back together after VʼGer, Kirk and Spock plans for marriage meet with opposition concerning the type of ceremony they want.)
  • "Brothers in Time" by Michelle Arvizu (A Star Trek II and beyond story, McCoy must console first Kirk, and then Spock, through the death of the other.)
  • "A Shot in the Dark" by Kyla Luba (New discoveries and revelations, while hiding in a cave from the animals that chased them there during a landing party, Kirk confesses his love to Spock by talking to him about imagining.)
  • Misplaced in Purgatory by Judith Gran (An unusual alien contact/captivity story, unable to “speak”, Kirk and Spock are institutionalized as intelligently substandard by the telepathic populace on the planet they crashed landed on.)
  • "Jagged Edges" by Jenna Sinclair (A "Sharing the Sunlight" story, Kirk and the landing party are held by Klingons, reminding both again of what they have lost when their bond was destroyed along with Spockʼs telepathic abilities: Prequel: Promises To Keep Sequel: "Manna".)
  • "Finally" by Kathy Stanis (In the Nexus, with a difference, Spock follows Kirk into the Nexus and they become lovers before returning together to their own time and place.)
  • Poetry and Filks: J.S. Cavalcante
  • Artwork: Shelley Butler, Deeb, Laoang & others

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for Unto Which Holy Estate.
See reactions and reviews for Brothers in Time.
See reactions and reviews for A Shot in the Dark.
See reactions and reviews for Finally.
See reactions and reviews for Jagged Edges.
See reactions and reviews for Misplaced in Purgatory.
[poems and filks by JS Cavalcante]: It's special seeing in print these beautiful, poetic filks we've heard performed by J.S. and Jenna. The poems are so fine also. The two art pieces with them (Deeb, Shelley Butler) also enhance the experience, as does the perfect choice of typeface— strong and rhythmic.

Lots of these have the classic "unrequited love" theme as in many folk songs. Which is beautiful, because we happen to know it won't be unrequited for long.

Sweet, sexy or sad; many beautiful moments I loved, little private looks into their minds and hearts.

I love all of them in this collection, but here are just a few things I particularly loved: In "What Happened," Spock's "I'm-not-smiling look." This is a moment when Kirk simply cannot resist kissing Spock. I could visualize it so well from this expressive word-picture.

In "Last Ship Out of Paradise," Kirk to Spock after the refusion: "If someday you remember me/Bring back my heart." Mine, too, sob. And "The Starship's Secret" is just so wonderful— the ship knows their love.[5]
[art opposite page 154 by Al Laoang]: This portrait of Spock looks like it bears the date of '81. If I'm correct in reading that, it's been in somebody's desk for a long time! But I'm glad if s been resurrected, I love it This is a delicately done portrait of our intense, somber first officer. I wish I knew more about art so I could comment intelligently, but the method used is a sort of ink cross-hatching that isn't often seen in fandom, and I think it was an excellent approach. The picture manages to capture Spock's strengths through the expression on his face, the determined set to his mouth, but there's also a great deal of vulnerability here, and I think this might be because of the lines that open up his face from shadow to light. Anyway, one of the best "head-shots" of the Vulcan that I've seen in a while. And an excellent choice to illustrate the story that I wrote (I didn't have anything to do with picking it, folks, Dot did that), as it accurately conveys Spock's emotional state at this point in Jagged Edges. He's stubborn, self-contained, but so, so brittle. Great job, Al! [6]
[art]: The artwork in this zine is varied and powerful: from the understated cover of Spock and Kirk and portrait of Kirk, Spock, and Dr. Hawkesworth in “Unto Which Holy Estate” by Dorothy Laoang to the striking portrait of Spock alone and Spock and McCoy in “Brother in Time” by Al Laoang. This zine is full of artistic surprises like artwork that folds out or pieces printed on colored paper. Deeb’s drawing of a dead Kirk and a distraught Spock from “Amok Time” printed on red paper is very effective, nearly searing. As usual, Shelley’s piece is stunning; especially fine is Kirk’s face. There is a fine charcoal drawing of a nude Spock mirrored by the hazy image of Kirk (I’m assuming it’s not a reflection) with their arms lifted by W. Charles that is quite impressive; they are depicted as erotic yet almost stone-like in their strength.[7]
[zine]: Looking in my dictionary, the translation for Amazing Grace seems to be a very apt characterization for this wonderful zine. One hundred and seventy-two pages full of demanding stories, beautiful poetry and art. It took the editor four years to complete this zine (#2 is from 1992), and she did it well, indeed very well.

The first story is Unto Which Holy Estate by Judith Gran. It's a very interesting look at the future Catholic Church. I hope this is a vision, not only a story. It's about time that some things change!

Brothers in Time by Michele Arvizu is a post-STII/VII story, showing McCoy's deep feelings and his deep grief after Spock's and later after Kirk's death. It touched my heart and my soul and left me with tears in my eyes.

The next story, A Shot in the Dark by Kyla Luba, insures a change of mood. We witness a really fascinating talk in the dark....

Misplaced in Purgatory by Judith Gran keeps us in suspense. This is a long, very gripping story with a lot of good plot and good sex. But this story tells us even more. It tells us about the worth of human beings, about prejudices and injustice. I think this author writes very demanding stories. I will never forget her First, Do No Harm in Amazing Grace 2!

With JS Cavalcante, we can now a bit relax and enjoy her beautiful poetry. And while we read we find a captivating picture: Kirk "dead" in Spock's arms at koon-ut-kalifee. On bright red paper! This is past all description! You have to see it for yourselves, just breathtaking, wonderful. The artist of this is Deeb. Other artists in this zine are, by the way, Dorothy Laoang, Al Laoang, Shelley Butler and W. Charles. And all their art is great! I love each picture!

Now a story we have all waited for is Jagged Edges by Jenna Sinclair. Three months after Promises to Keep, Kirk and Spock have severe problems to adjust to their new situation. But after a painful incident with the

Klingons, they are at least able to talk about it. They find their truth. As always by this author, beautifully written and very moving.

And Finally a story by Kathy Stanis. A nice story about Kirk and Spock in the Nexus and a nice ending for a wonderful zine. I hope we don't have to wait another four years for #4. But even if it takes that long, I'll gladly wait.[8]
[zine]: In general, an elegant and thoughtful zine, both from its classy appearance and the quality and diversity of the stories and poetry inside. Every element seems both fresh and familiar with this zine. Each story is unique from the rest and the artwork is always apropos to the piece it accompanies. The zine’s binding is professional grade. I have practically manhandled this thing to death (talk about your mixed metaphor!) and it’s as together as the day I got it. This is a really fine zine, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves K/S and enjoys a good read. All of the stories capture the essence of the love between the two men, and the authors’ love for them in return. A real labor of love. Thanks to all involved.[9]

Issue 4

Amazing Grace 4, published in 1998 by Dorothy Loanng. It has 108 pages.

  • Rain by Michele Arvizu (While at a conference planet-side, Kirk and Spock draw closer together while sitting before a fire in their room watching the rain. "I'm flirting with him. I know I do that a lot. I wonder right now what that means. Does he recognize this moment for what it is? The fire makes a series of quick popping noises, sending my eyes to refocus on the dancing orange flames. I don't want this moment to shift in time, to never end. It feels good. Right. Yet even now, the momentum is slipping away. Flustered, I completely fail to respond with this moment. Or within the next. The silence is everywhere.)
  • Home Again by Bersahki (Kirk has problems dealing with his fame after saving the Earth a second time. "It seemed the most natural thing in the universe when Spock's lips dipped to the human neck and pressed close there. He inhaled deeply once, twice. Kirk was absolutely still, incapable of moving. When Spock lifted his head, Kirk felt a moment's relief, as if releasing a breath held too long. Kirk tilted his head up and found Spock's face very, very close, could feel the alien heat in the small space between them. He could not remember being closer, not even when he held on to him for dear life as they beamed off the Genesis planet.")
  • Save Water by Dana Austin Marsh (Kirk and Spock visit Vulcan during a drought and have to share showers, a situation that strains both of their control over their concealed feelings. "The soft pad of footsteps approached. That was Spock's naked body getting closer and closer with each step. That long, lightly green body, with its luxuriant chest hair, and hard tight buns. With his groin throbbing a red alert, Kirk braced himself to give his innocent Vulcan the shock of his life.")
  • They are Immortal, All Those Stars by J.S. Cavalcante (Spock is in pon farr when he feels Kirkʼs presence after almost 80 years and decides to leave Romulus in order to find him. "Spock's mind reached out reflexively, seeking the familiar touch of that other mind, meeting silence as it always did. As always, his heart rejected that blank answer. Not gone, yet not here. Jim, where are you? It had been seventy-four years, nine months, four days, and an odd number of hours which Spock declined to calculate. Illogical to waste any energy whatsoever on an exercise which brought only pain. Logic insisted that Spock's former captain and dearest friend could not have survived the time, if indeed he had survived the explosion in the hull of the Enterprise-B, and then the hard vacuum of space. He himself would not have believed it, except that he had never felt James Kirk die. And the human heart, if not the Vulcan, will cling to hope when it has lost everything else.")
  • poetry by J.S. Cavalcante
  • art by Shelley Butler, Deeb, Alison Fiddler, clm, and Dorothy Laonag

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

See reactions and reviews for Save Water.
See reactions and reviews for They are Immortal, All Those Stars.
See reactions and reviews for Home Again.
See reactions and reviews for Rain.
[art, Mystery by Shelley Butler, for the story: They are Immortal, All Those Stars]: . Amazing Shelley. Of course, ifs Kirk sitting behind Spock, but what if it is someone else and Spock is thinking of Kirk? Beautiful, just plain beautiful. (note from Shelley: It is someone else, Gratienne! In the story, it's the Vulcan Adept Setaykh. In the original, it's a mystery man—hence, the title. I think itcaused a mild controversy, back then. Uh, oh!) [10]
[art]: "Mystery" by Shelley Butler: Shelley Butler has a very lovely pencil of a Spock sitting between powerful thighs in the bottom half of the picture and a pensive Kirk face in the upper half of the picture. I knew I had seen this one before, and in the introduction you discover that its a reprint from CHARISMA 18. I'm glad the editor credited the picture; otherwise, I would have worried for weeks about where I had seen this before. The art reproduction quality of this is very nice. It's printed on one side, so you could even tear It out and frame it if you wanted to.[11]
[art]: "Interior art on page 8 by Deeb: Deeb has done a pencil sketch of Spock and Kirk which is basically their faces and shoulders/tops of uniforms. It looks as if Spock is seriously talking about something, and Kirk is intently listening. The subject is probably something technical, but Kirk's look suggests more than just interest in the facts and nothing but the facts. I like this. I'lladmit that when I first saw it, I wasn't too impressed, for some reason. But then it grew on me. I think the faces look exactly like Spock and Kirk.[12]
[art]: Interior art on page 8 by Deeb: Deeb's art always strikes a chord in me because we (end to see the characters, especially Spock, in the same way. This is a lovely, large representation of Kirk and Spock from Plato's Stepchildren in that moment where Spock is trying to control his anger at the Parmen's use of his body to endanger Kirk. Kirk is close by, concern evident on his face, wanting so to offer his comfort and understanding. Deeb has portrayed their faces perfectly. Expert shading. This artist expresses emotion with every stroke of her penal. Long may she draw! [13]

Special Edition

front cover of Special Edition, by Dorothy Laoang
back cover of Special Edition, by Alison Fiddler

Amazing Grace Special Edition Best of the 'Net K/S Sampler published in 1998 by Dorothy L. reprinted stories previously posted online. It has 119 pages. Art by Shelley Butler, Alison Fiddler, Al Laoang, Meg Kelly, Deeb, and Dorothy Laoang.

This issue won a STIFfie Award.

From the zine's editorial:
Welcome to what may be the first all 'Net K/S zine! Each of the stories in this zine was originally published on the Internet. The authors have given me permission to publish them for the first time in zine format. I call this a "sampler" because this is only a sampling of the many excellent K/S stories that have been posted online.

Each story in this zine was chosen for its distinctive narrative and intriguing approach. Some of the authors represented here have already had their work published in zines and are well known to print as well as online fandom. Others are making their zine debuts in AG, Best of Net KJS and have only been writing fiction for a few months. Arachnethe2 is not a native speaker of English, though it would be difficult to tell that from reading "But the Memories Remain." Some of the marvelous artists here have graced K/S zines, including past issues of Amazing Grace, with their gorgeous illos. For the first time, we have work by artists who found their way to zine fandom through the Internet. K/S fiction in the online newsgroups is not accompanied by art, so I sent out a request for artists. You can judge the results for yourselves.

Because some folks prefer to be told in advance, I need to let you know that "But the Memories Remain" and "Golden Boy" may be considered "darker" than the average K/S story. I hope you will agree that these are quite unusual and engaging yarns.
  • Fire on the Mountain by Greywolf the Wanderer (Kirk and Spock go camping together and find love after Spock is almost hurt in a fall. - It started out as just another shore leave, but the deeper into the redwood Big Basin Reserve the campers hiked, the greater the changes when they emerged.) (5)
  • Cover of Night by Killashandra (A/U: After the fal tor pan, Kirk relives memories of his destructive and secret love affair with Spock as he waits for the Vulcan to remember him, hoping for redemption and a second chance to make things right. "During their Vulcan sojourn, while waiting for The USS Bounty to be made spaceworthy, Kirk as a night visitor who is merely a shadow of his former self.") (winner of a 1998 Philon Award) (23)
  • But the Memories Remain by Arachnethe2 (A mysterious 80-year old letter, delivered by an unexpected visitor on a hostile world, brings turmoil and finally, a semblance of peace of mind to the recipient.) (48)
  • Your Name is Jim by Wildcat ("After the fal tor pan, Kirk must deal with Spockʼs inability to remember their bond while trying to retrieve whales from Earthʼs past. Prequel: Compulsion." "Spock's memory of his and Kirk's intimate relationship is all but gone, but a painful fact which both Kirk and Spock must confront on the long journey back to Earth.") (62)
  • Golden Boy by Jungle Kitty ("A/U: Kirk is being forced to give up Spock after he discovers that his loverʼs father was a client of his when he worked as a paid companion during his cadet days." "Kirk's sordid youthful past comes back to haunt him in a unimaginably painful way.") (81)
  • The Captain's Log by Judith Gran (Spock questions regarding their last mission, and how they will enter it in their logs, gives Kirk the opening he needs to make them lovers. "Following a nearly disastrous confrontation with aliens, Kirk's mind wanders while attempting to write a log of the recent events. Who should show up at his door, but the very subject of his musings?") (111)

Reactions and Reviews: Best of the Net Issue

See reactions and reviews of Cover of Night.
See reactions and reviews of Golden Boy.
See reactions and reviews of But the Memories Remain.
See reactions and reviews of Fire on the Mountain.
See reactions and reviews of Your Name is Jim.
See reactions and reviews of The Captain's Log.
[art -- back cover by Alison Fiddler]: Forgive my ignorance, I don’t know what this medium is, but it’s very effective and I am just captivated by this scene of Kirk and Spock against a cityscape with twin moons watching knowingly from above. They are stealing a kiss, maybe on a walk back to the hotel after a nice dinner. One very demonstrative kiss, full of passion and quite certainly promises. The only thing on their minds is each other. I love this more each time I see it.[14]

References

  1. Recollection posted in 'The Pages Two and Three K/S-zine heaven (My trip to the University of Iowa Fanzine Archives)', dated March 3, 2011, quoted with permission.
  2. from The K/S Press #2
  3. from Interstat #57
  4. from The LOC Connection #22
  5. The K/S Press #1
  6. from The K/S Press #1
  7. from The K/S Press #2
  8. from The K/S Press #1
  9. from The K/S Press #2
  10. from The K/S Press #50
  11. from The K/S Press #49
  12. from The K/S Press #49
  13. from The K/S Press #49
  14. from The K/S Press #39