Atavachron (Star Trek: TOS letterzine)

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Title: Atavachron
Publisher: Arcade Press, out of Baltimore, Maryland
Editor(s): Darlene Oreschnick
Type: letterzine
Date(s): 1978-1979
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Atavachron is a Star Trek: TOS letterzine that was published in 1978 and 1979.


It is a contemporary to Interstat in that "Atavachron" began about four months after Interstat. However, unlike the long-running "Interstat," there were only three issues of "Atavachron."

Another contemporary letterzine, one that was just as short-lived, was Right of Statement.

A fan in July 1978 wrote:

As far as I can figure out, this zine only has two issues out. The last issue, according to to its postmark on my copy went out in July [1978], so like Spectrum, there has been a six month delay in issues. This can be deadly to a zine that deals in letters where an exchange of information is part of the zine's function. Putting the time lag between issues aside, Atavachron is generally like other letterzines that have appeared in fandom, or at least in basic format. The content of the letters was a bit different. Atavachron looks as though it may take a more heavy-handed approach to fannish subjects. For what it's worth, Atavachron will have to find some way to distinguish it from other letterzines like Interstat, and a more involved set of discussions will help create a different 'tone' for the zine.

To help with this, the editor Darlene Oreschnick, has a page set aside for her own comments, which is something I approve of since it allows the editor to change the course of discussion from time to time so that no one topic becomes stagnant, just as long as she keeps it to a page or two. For the time being, it looks like Atavachron has a long way to go. The editor is new to publishing, and it is instantly clear just by looking at the graphics. The visual appearance of the entire zine is stiff and clumsy, using awkward spacing, badly suited lettering, weak illustrations, and type copy that fails to fill the entire page. This is fine, and expected, for the first few issues. The important part of the zine, however -- the text -- is thoughtful and provoking for a new zine. I can't recommend a subscription on the basis of the iffy mailing schedule, but get a sample copy if you can. [1]

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Darlene Oreschnick: "Spock's Fantasy"

Atavachron 1 was published in March 1978 and contains 20 pages. This issue contains twelve letters, two of which are con reports for Schuster Con: Star Trek World Expo.

Also in this issue: The inherent injustice in the current practice which allows Trek artists to sell their work at the cons while Trek writers receive no monetary remuneration for their efforts. by Pat Stall.

The topics of these letters: too much sex in fanworks ("Let's get out of the very sexy bag we've gotten into"), leave Leonard Nimoy and his decisions about being in the future film along, be nicer to David Gerrold and other Master of Ceremonies at cons, stop being so childish at cons, the STW's decision not to blacklist zines, Jean Lorrah's extensive advice about mailing zines and the postal service, a long letter by Pat Stall about fan art sold at cons, pep talks to fans about hanging on and keeping sane despite Paramount and other TPTB's conflicting information, an ominous letter about Star Wars zines and the heavy hand of George Lucas (a warning shot that that later explodes), several con reports for Star Trek Expo, and a scolding about mean zine reviews (and statement about zines that contain content that is "homosexual").

Issue 1: Excerpts from Letters

From Darlene Oreschnick:

The purpose of Atavachron is communication. No matter how many stories and poems are written, and no matter how many fanzines are published, the most important part of fandom is communication. There is nothing more important than getting to know one another and sharing our feelings on Star Trek.

The best way to get to know others is to let them know you. Atavachron is a chance to say how you feel. Tell us what you love and what you hate. Let us hear your ideas and opinions. Be heard and be known. Don't be afraid to say what you want to say, because there are people who are willing to listen.

The most important part of a letterzine is the letter. When I began working on Atavachron, I did a lot of letter writing. I asked many fans to write about their thoughts, ideas, and opinions on Star Trek and fandom. I received immediate re-sponses from some people (Thank You, George P., Shirley M., Jean L., Sharon E., Roberta R. and Rebecca H.), but many fans replied, "I really wouldn't know what to write about." Everyone has something to say, good or bad. For starters, how about telling us why you enjoy Star Trek and fandom? The contributors to the first issue of Atavachron (note: not all contributors are subscribers) have given us their feelings and ideas about the goings-on inside of fandom. Hopefully, these letters will inspire and evoke a response from you. Atavachron is YOUR letterzine, and it needs YOUR contribution. Fandom is made up of people, all of whom are important.

From Shirley Maiewski:

You may be interested to know that STW has no intention of blacklisting any ]]fanzines]] at this time. We have no intention of setting ourselves up as censors - after all, who are we to say what others should write? While we may not agree with some of the material being written, what might be offensive to one is not to another, and this goes all down the line, from Mary-Sue to K/S relationships, also including K/U relationships and violent Get 'Ums. So, the STW will continue to list all zines, unless, as is clearly stated on each directory, "We reserve the right not to list any individual or group that we feel is dishonest, grossly inefficient or of questionable purpose."

At this point, I'd like to suggest that maybe if more of us stopped to thank someone else once in awhile, instead of finding fault, we'd all get along better!

From Rebecca Hoffman:

Regarding pettiness within fandom. I'm sick and tired of slashing, mud-slinging reviews! Thank God editors are getting smart and not publishing so many of them. But I still don't like the ones I do occasionally see. Nobody has the right to hurt others by slashing at them with cutthroat tactics. I want to see fair reviews, reviews which tell me what a fanzine is like. I want to know what's right with a zine, I want to know what's wrong with a zine, and I want to know why. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out flaws, as long as it 1s done constructively, and as long as the reviewer gives his reasons. Admittedly, personal opinion can cloud issues. I seriously doubt I could give a fair review to e zine which specializes in (homosexual) stories because I can't abide them. If I did such a review, I would try to let the readers know that I didn't like the zine because of the content, not necessarily because of the writing. A good reviewer is specific and constructive.

In short, a review should be straightforward, and informative, telling the reader who and what the story is about, the type of story (action/adventure, romance, etc.) and giving enough of the storyline to interest the reader without telling the entire story. Reviews should reflect the reviewer's opinions, but only if they are clearly the reviewer's opinion.

From Shirley Maiewski:

In early December, we had heard that the TV series had been cancelled, and that said they were going back to the movie idea. So far, I haven't heard have changed their minds again, but as usual, "I'll believe it when I we have been promised so many times, it is no wonder that some fans have given up and turned to other things, like Star Wars. However, I still feel that even if we have no more than the original 79 episodes, Star Trek will continue to live. Every day there are new fans discovering the fun of fandom, even while the older fen are getting bored, which is really what it is. Bored with being promised the movie, then the series, then the movie again - only time will tell if they ever do anything! Meanwhile, every day the Welcommittee receives letters from new fans who have either just started watching the reruns because they are quite young, or even if older, are just getting around to it due to the junk that is filling most of the TV space these days. Also, there are the fans who have been attached it for years, read the books, and have only just discovered "there is someone else out there!". One does wonder a bit why they haven't realized that there are other fans out there buying all the books as well, but it is greet fun to help introduce these fans to the excitement of Fandom! This is what makes all the time, effort and expense of being a member of STW worth while - "Let me help," ans Edith Keeler said.

From Bev Volker:

With the on-again-off-again situation at Paramount, it seems that fandom needs to take a good long look at itself and direct its focus back to what is really important - Star Trek. It appears lately that the main concern of fans is the movie-turned-series-turned-movie-turned ... ??, and whether we will or will not get back, whether or not Star Trek II will be so vastly changed that we won't be able to relate to it, whether or not "we can ever go home again. Hey, c'mon!! We've never left.

Whatever happens in the future can't change what we already have. We've existed for eleven years on seventy-nine episodes. The love for Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et al, the loyalty and devotion to the big "E", is what made it all happen - what drew us together in the first place. We've matured it and kept it alive through the zines, the conventions, the sharing with others who see and believe in the same things. NOBODY can take that away from us. What more do we need?


Nobody has the power to destroy Star Trek but the fans themselves, just as no one else could have kept it alive. Will we allow broken promises, false rumors, end almost daily changes in progress reports turn our enthusiasm into empathy? What- ever occurs in a movie studio in Hollywood, Cal., doesn't have to affect a certain starship warping through the galaxy of our fantasies unless we let it.

The Star Trek universe is still alive. Grand adventures and new ideas are ours for the price of our imagination. If we are going to set our sights on the future or inspiration, let's not limit it to 1978 or 1979. Let's go all the way to the 23rd century. The crew of the Enterprise is more reliable.

From George Perkins:

I'm writing this in November to be printed in March, but I'm going to talk about the (new) Star Trek series.

Some fans are moaning and groaning that Spock won't be there, and that the new characters are going to be unreal (a bald alien woman) and that the big three won't have their character inter-relationship anymore (not to mention the new vulcan and Doctor Chapel). I say, stop your moaning until you have seen a few episodes!

As for me, I can hardly wait to see some beautifully rendered special effects of the big "E" streaking across space, the camera zooming in on the primary hull, then cutting to the bridge. Ah, the bridge! That's what I'm waiting for! With all its old intricacies plus so much, much more. Kirk will be there; Uhura, Sulu, and McCoy, too, at Kirk's side. Lt. Xon will be studying the sensors, Ilyia at navigation Scotty, fully bearded, manning station.

The dialog will begin, and I'll freak out in front of the TV... Just what will I be jumping and yelling about? That's hard to answer. I guess the believably. Star Trek works so well it is just incredible. I can't get over that. The (new) series will be even more believable. The sets alone are sure to send me into cart-wheels. But special effects, the military efficiency of the crew and ship, costuming, and so on -- all these things will be improved upon from the old series.

I can't wait to see Engineering. A three-story set -- that really can set the imagination going! The shuttlecraft and hanger deck, the special effects of a launching of a shuttle craft, will be breath-taking. Sickbay alone will be triple the terrificness! Maybe we'll see a bathroom!

From Rebecca Hoffman:

As you know, there is a good possibility that Leonard Nimoy may not be in the new Star Trek movie. Right now, he is filming a remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". If he gets through before ST goes into production, maybe. However, I've heard a lot of bitching, and I've heard a lot of fans say, "If Nimoy isn't in it and if it isn't the some as before, I won't watch." I think this is a lousy attitude. we cannot expect things to be the same as they were ten years ago. As to Nimoy, I want to see him play Spock again, you betcha, but if he won't do it, he won't do it. The new Vulcan Character cannot replace Spock, true. out he could make a very interesting personality. Before fans say that they won't watch, I ask that they do watch. Give Roddenberry a chance! He might make it even better (even if Spock isn't back). We've worked long and hard for a revival of Star Trek, that it would be a shame to let such attitudes prevent us from enjoying what should be a good show. Star Trek fans have long been known for open-mindedness, and this attitude is not that; it is petty, and totally unnecessary. If you can't hack the changes, then say so, but unless they ruin Star Trek, the changes should provide a11 of us with a lot of new ideas, and I for one will accept the changes if they're good. Again, at least view the show with an open mind before you condemn it.

From Shirley Maiewski:

Star Trek Fandom is friends - period. Friends of all ages, from all walks of life.. Just stop and think of who you would not know if it weren't for Star Trek! Think of the places you would never have seen, the experiences you would not have had, if Gene Roddenberry had not had his dream. Frankly, it scares me! When I think of what a rut my life was in before ST Fandom, and then think of what I am involved in now, I thank his lucky stars! Oh, true, my life was full. I have a wonderful husband and family, a nice home, a good job, but where was all the fun? Also true, some nights after a full day's work, when I come home to stacks of mail and problems for STW, and I'd much rather sit down and read or watch TV, I kinda wish sometimes I'd never heard of it, but then I open a letter from a fan who has been helped by Star Trek or STW, thanking us for something we have done, and it makes it all worthwhile. I would like to state right here, that through my experiences with Star Trek, I have met some of the most fantastic people in the world! I wouldn't exchange a minute of the time I've spent on Star Trek for anything else and would regret not having met everyone I have in the past ??? Star Trek years.

From Roberta Rogow:

The behavior of fen at Star Trek cons is getting pretty crude. I know I sound like a nasty old lady, but elevator races are childish, and Monty Python parties at 5am are worse. Most of all, heckling and booing the MC is not Funny, it's rude. Steve Hirsch and David Gerrold try their damnedest to make things go smoothly, and it's not easy to stand up there in front of the same people for four days, twelve hours a day, and constantly ad lib and be funny. Dave has gone on with the 'flu, and Steve has held an audience for a star who was fifteen minutes late due to traffic and other elements beyond his control. I've been on that stage myself, and believe me, it's not easy being the MC. Considerate fen will groan at putrid puns, but keep the heckling to a minimum, and try to give the MC the same consideration you give the stars - or each other!

From Roberta Rogow:

I've said it a lot lately, so once more won't hurt. Let's get out of the very sexy bag we've gotten into. A lot of Trekfen who were in their teens when they started writing are now in their 20's. They have discovered SEX! A lot of us have made the same discoveries a long time ago, and we don't have to know any more about what really happens in Ponn Farr, or how many times Tomcat Kirk can do it in a night.

I wish more writers would get back to the original episodes and work from them, instead of these erotic fantasies. (For those of you who wonder if I practice what I preach, yes, I do. I've written a couple of raunchy stories, but most of my stuff is rated PG, and a lot of it takes place in the Star Trek universe, not necessarily on the Big E.)

From Mike Bubrick:

One thing that I want to comment on was the incredible, well, I guess the word I'm searching in vain for is something to the tune of the unreal avalanche of commercialism in Trekdom, and the expanding of fandom (to the point that if many more fans enter, I think we'll burst at our seams!). Don't get me wrong - I'm always happy to see new fans making their ways into our "little" family, and the new talents they bring with them are fantastic. But the mail flow is really something. Ever since I had a squib in one letterzine about my Uhura/Nichelle zine, I had over 60 people writing for further info. I'm glad there are 50 many Uhura/Nichelle fans out there (I was beginning to wonder), it's just a wee bit over-whelming. If this is what it's like before we even go to press, I wonder what it will be like when the zine is actually printed? But I'm not complaining -- I enjoy making new contacts. It's just that when you go to one of the large cons and see twenty thousand people congealing and bursting for the entrance doors, you wonder if perhaps things aren't going to go to far and leave everything in a mess. Oh well. It's better to have too many than none at all. (And what other past time, not just TV or films, has generated such love and devotion on such an incredible scale?)

One thing that is definitely a pain is the commercialism of Trek souvenirs. Dealers at cons will try every ploy in the book to get you to buy their wares. [snipped: about dealing with an over-enthusiastic dealer who gofers were talking about later at the "Gofer Hole."]

Things like this are happening more and more. So many fanzines are being printed now just to take financial advantage of fan. Granted, we don't have to buy" but we do in faith and we are disappointed when we find the editor is advertising Jean Lorrah's new universe and printing Joe Blowz "Spock and the Sehlat." False advertising is just one problem in this area. Some editors say they will print offset and then go for mimeo for eighty percent of the zine. Or they double-space after every "Aye, Captain" and triple-space after paragraphs and charge you $10.00 for a 225 page zine. Things like this are what Fandom can do without, and I think we're getting better at being more selective about what we buy. We don't buy anything that comes along with Spock's face on it. We're growing and diversifying. I just wish we could keep Fandom down to fans who are dedicated and serious like Amy Falkowitz and Signe Landon or Winston Howlett. Connie, come back! They turn out top-notch stuff (90% of the time at least.) and are fans, not people out to make a fast buck amid push their names around at the same time.

From April Valentine:

A lot has changed in the past two years. Pro cons, new subjects in fan-fic, will-they-or-won't-they-do-the-movie seem, at least on the surface, to be detracting from the goals and ideals once espoused in fandom. This may be true to a certain degree, but since many of the same people are around today as were two or more years ago, maybe things haven't changed so much after all.

Stop and think about it, though. Science Fiction fandom has been around for over thirty years. Is the only reason for its duration the fact that there is more in-put in SF fandom, more pro and amateur things being done? After all, we only have 79 hours of actual film, plus a few interesting half-hours of animations - hardly the vast number of SF novels, stories, and films. (What's that you say? ST lives! 79 episodes are enough? That's more like it!)

There have been ups and downs in Trekdom all during its ten year childhood. Scan the back issues of Halkan Council and you'll see all sorts of then-Earth shaking arguments. (Was Jane Wyatt the proper person to have portrayed Amanda? Exactly how fast is Warp 6? What is Earth like in ST's time?) Ten years really isn't so long, and for a young body we've accomplished a lot. Writers and artists are learning professional attitudes and skills. We helped get the space shuttle named Enterprise. After all, we all do have one thing in common -- we love Star Trek.

Add to that the common belief in IDIC and a desire to bring the ideals of a positive future into our own lifetime and that should be enough to keep us together.

That leads me back to communication. I guess it's just human nature to only discuss the bad things that happen, but there should be some room for positive statements, too. After are there are still new people joining us, and I'd hate for them to be so turned off by in-fighting that they'd leave Star Trek all together. I hope that the pages of "Atavachron" will not only be a sounding board for those who have gripes, but that it will be a place for fans, both new and old, to find something good about what we've got here. Let's not get so wrapped up in current controversies that we don't have time to spread the essential good-will and positive attitudes that have always characterized Star Trek. We're going to lase something precious if we don't. Star Trek fandom is a young ten years old, and it's facing a rather rocky adolescence. I just hope it grows up all right.

From Allyson Whitfield:

I have some information concerning Star Wars zines...I am in direct contact with the Star Wars Corp..."As of February 14,1976, this is the official status of Star Wars fanzines. The SW Corp wants to keep track of what SW zines are coming out. They are not out to hassle, sue etc. anybody, they just want to convince 20th Century Fox legal department that there are more than five SW fans that are interested in publishing zines. Even if you are planning a zine, they would like to know about it. (For those of you who have already published zines, I was told in a telephone call from Craig Miller stating that he was 'certain that nothing would happen'. Craig Miller, c/o The Star Wars Corp, PO Box 8669, Universal City, CA 91608.

Issue 2

Atavachron 2 was published in July 1978 and contains 20 pages. The cover is by Gerry Downes.

front cover of issue #2, Gerry Downes

Other small art by Shona Jackson, Darlene Oreschnick, and Amy Falkowitz.

The topics of the letters: a fan's question of whether The Star Trek Concordance (now a pro published book) should be revered more because it used to be a fan publication, how to attract new fans, fandom and profit, how to treat neo-fans, what will happen to fandom and fanfiction after the movie is finally made, some slams against Star Wars, fandom and profit, and much more.

Issue 2: Excerpts from Letters

From George Perkins:

Upon reading my own letter, I cringed and wanted to find a hole somewhere to hide in. Can I make a formal retraction? Well, I just did. My whole letter was just one big "gosh-gee-whiz" piece of rambling with no worth or reason. Sorry about that.' I'll try to do better from now on. Sorry, but my letter did not have any comparison of quality to the other letters used. You shouldn't have printed it, not because I don't find it complimentary to myself, but because it lacked any real interest to other fans, so far as I can see.

From Darlene Oreschnick:

I'd like to thank everyone for being so patient with me this time around. I'm finding out just how much work a zine really takes. Adding to that is the fact that I'm putting in more hours at work, and I ended up being late with this issue. I am doing my best, so please bear with me.

I find that many of you are very concerned about the number of gafiating fans. It is indeed sad to find out that someone who we love and respect has turned away from us. These are people who have shared a part of themselves with us, yet one day decide to leave.

There are many reasons for gafiations, of course. It has been suggested that if we learn to appreciate each other a little more, this might not have to happen so often. I'm sure that a little understanding and appreciation would certainly help many fans, especially those who have been around for years and have encountered so many of the frustrations that fandom brings.

But what can we do to help the new fan? With the announcement of the Star Trek movie, many of the 'closet' fans are beginning to emerge. Just take a look around you, where you work, at home and at school. There are people out there who have only just discovered that they are not alone. Some of them happen to stumble upon fandom. We all remember what that was like.

What happens to these new fans once they discover fandom? It really takes them a while to understand just who's who and what's what. Unfortunately, not all new fans are welcomed with open arms and open minds. A new fan is labeled a "neo-fan". Thia is usually someone who is described as really "gung-ho" about Trek.

They wear t-shirts, buttons and pointed ears. They worship the stars and the episodes. Sound familiar? It probably describes most of us (including me) when we were first introduced into fandom. There is nothing wrong with this. It's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, most of us laugh when we look back at this phase of our fan life.

Here is the unfortunate note. Many new fans, or "neo-fans", are totally ignored! Experienced fens simply don't take the time to understand and guide these people. The term "neo-fan" has a very derogatory meaning and in no way helps anyone (I wonder just how many of those neo-fen could have been great fan writers, artists, zine editors, and wonderful fans if they hadn't been ignored). Just because a new fan doesn't quite see things or do things "our way", it doesn't make them weird or stupid. Underneath all those buttons and pointed ears are people just like us - people who really care about other people and OUR FUTURE. Let's show a little more understanding towards those new fans!

There is one more issue I'd like to bring up, and that is our image - the way others see us. Most outsiders see us as fanatical weirdos who for some reason are addicted to a stupid TV show. We know why we ere fans, but they don't. How can we let them know what we're all about? How can we let them understand and share our future plans? I think that something should be done about it. After all, our dreams of the future are for everyone, and not just Trek fans.

From George Perkins:

I'm reading a great deal about how ST fandom is "dying". Most of the excuses are that fans are giving up on revival, or that Star Wars has grabbed them away from ST. Maybe this is true. There seems to be an awful lot of gafiations, collection auctions, and lots of Star Wars fanfic, art, etc., creeping into zines. However, as some have already said, it possibly is a good thing. It thins out the fringe groups (a contradiction in terms to e true science fiction fan) from the ST truefan. However, I think I belong in the category of ST truefen. At least I've stuck with ST long end hard. I'm not gafiating, and I'm not becoming very much involved with the Star Wars mania.

I don't think the fact that ST revival has been delayed and delayed, again and again, should mean gafiation from fandom. The revival really shouldn't make that big a difference, as far as I can see. Either you liked the show, and then became interested in writing or reading stories, and became involved in the characters, or you didn't. The fact that Hollywood might make more shows or movies shouldn't enter into it.

Admittedly, there is the fact that having the movie so near, end then over a period of three years having nothing happen is a bit disillusioning and disappointing, but not to the point of giving it all up for good. So revival can't be making that big a difference, can it?

There comes a time in life of changing hobbies, and developing new interests. Maybe the current sad state of the economy has influenced many fans to leave fandom. If it's costing them an arm and a leg, and somehow it hasn't been quite as interesting as before, and they've gotten married two years ago and spouse isn't a fan, well, that's s good reason for quitting. Maybe these factors are entering into it.

As to Star Wars, I find it increasingly immature and rather meaningless. It is just a lot of fun-filled kid stuff. What is SW fandom going to be growing from? There is no scientific technology (at best science fallacy), there is no real characterization (and little acting in the movie, too) and the whole SW universe does not really hold up. I find most SW fan fiction boring, at least the little I've seen so far. Well, let SW start up its own fan cult, that's fine with me, I just won't need to participate in it.

From Amy Falkowitz:

To Pat Stall, who had some good points: Concerning possible profits from zines (she stated,"...writers who also publish their own zines may realize a profit of a few hundred dollars after expenses..."), I'd like to know who she means?

Off hand, I've only heard rumors about one or two who may be making a profit off of zines. From my own experience, as zine ed, unless they have very exact cost estimates, ends up losing money. We barely scraped through on TOSOP #l, and that was with the mostly free offset we were able to do with our artwork, and using the cheapest mimeo paper we had for the rest. On #2, we lost money, and in fact might not have been able to mail the zine out without waiting for several months (until Signe and I could have added at least a hundred dollars to what we had), except that we mailed most of the zone 8 copies out by UPS. Our estimate of postage came up short on the zone 8 copies by about 30 cents per copy, and when you consider that with our being out on the West Coast, something like at least 1/3 of our orders were zone 8, that is a lot of money. Plus, we had slightly underestimated printing costs. We were charging 12.75 in person, final printing cost (after 6% tax added on, plus screens for Alice Jones' work, and some extra hand collection costs for Signe's foldout) was more like 12.90 per copy. So, on the average, we lost at least 10 cents per copy. For 400 copies that's at least $140.00. And actually it was more. We had envelopes to buy, plus address labels, plus paying our typist for supplies, and we bought our own cover stock. Then there are the hassles we are having on TOSOP #2.


However, on what Pat is talking about - writers not being able to get a monetary compensation whereas the fan artists do. Well, there is always the idea since, it is done at conventions with other written forms, such as scripts, that maybe some people might be interested in the original manuscript, or even the first rough draft. (For example, although this is not a fan-written item: I managed to get the complete rough draft of Alan Dean Foster's Log 10 for $22.00 -- $2 over the minimum bid price, and though this isn't the best MS in the world, it is rather valuable. It just wasn't going at the right con for that sort of thing. At some con other than the one at which I bought it, it might well have sold for $50.00 or more.) Thia is merely a suggestion. I have no idea how feasible it might be, because it really depends on what the buyers are interested in. But as a writer myself, I am somewhat interested in it. If you want to see how a particular writer's mind works, a rough draft of a manuscript with corrections can tell you some interesting things. I know part of the reason the art goes. People like visual things, something you can identify by sight alone, and display as well (I understand that well, having four pieces of fan art in proud display on my living room wall).

From Amy Falkowitz:

I have gotten mostly good out of fandom. I have enjoyed most of what I've shared so far in this fascinating realm.

I'd like to share a couple more thoughts on the "goodness" if you will (I know that sounds sappy) of fandom. Where else but in fandom can you find the attitude (although unfortunately it seems to be dying somewhat) that if someone uses the idea someone else created in their own story, it is not a rip off, not a plagiarism (a deadly word in the pro world), but rather the highest compliment one can pay? I am not saying if someone created a character in a new story, and you like that character, go steal it and do as you please — except, aren't we really doing that with all the regular ST characters? Think about it! I'm talking about ideas more than characters or places (and although we generally have this freedom, one point of politeness would be that if you pick up on someone else's ideas, to ask permission and/or acknowledge where your inspiration came from. In some cases it isn't necessary. People will recognize right off where you got it from, but it is still a courtesy to give credit where credit is due).

Goodness. Kindness. Doing nice things that are not asked for or expected.

I can think of several examples on my own. A couple of friends, some of the first I got to know in fandom outside of people I met at college, attended a con in which they ran across someone who was selling out his zine collection. They practically bought him out. And a few weeks later, I started getting surprise packages in the mail from them. Of their own accord, they were xeroxing a good number of the zines for me (the majority have been out of print for years now, and may never see another printing!). In fact, one day I came home from work to a whole box full!

Another example: I ordered Delta Triad 3 and inquired if was still in print. It wasn't. But when I mentioned that I could obtain a xerox for myself from a friend's copy, surprise! Laura and Melinda sent me extra covers from D2 when they sent my copy of D3, so I could have the lovely color covers for my xerox copy.

Another, very recent example: I bid, on and acquired some, of Monica Miller's art which she had put up for auction. Not only did she send me the art as soon as the auction was over (it was by mail) without first asking for a check from me, she also enclosed the illos she had done for a story I had recently written for Sehlat's Roar.

From Gerry Downes:

Since I've been in fandom, I've met (mainly in the mail) a lot of very nice people. Many of them have done very nice things for me and I'd like to say "Thank You". Particularly in the last two years there have been many very gracious gestures. People have sold zines for me, sent me lovely cards and other items, and in general, given me lots of emotional support to help me through life's and Trek's general hassles. One of the moat overwhelming things to happen recently was my call for help when the expected money from bookstores sales of Stardate: Unknown failed to arrive. (It has finally begun arriving, folks, but the checks are bouncing all over the place *sigh*.) You've all responded with nearly 400 advance orders for S:U4. I mean, sight unseen, on the strength of the flyer and past performance. I really don't know quite what to say. Your confidence in S:U is in a large way responsible for the quality of the zine, and there is no way to thank all of you enough.

From Beverly Clark:

As for zines and profits, etc. Well, for the first thing we are operating in a long fannish tradition that goes back to the 1930’s and the beginnings of SF fandom where zines were four pages ditto or hectograph and cost a nickel. How the tradition began that fanzines are not supposed to make a profit, I don't know; but it is definitely there, to the point where in SF fandom, arguments arise at Hugo time every year about whether something is or is not a fanzine because it makes a profit. In fandom, it seems, if something makes a profit it is by definition a prozine. I suppose that producing a zine is supposed to be a labor of love, for one thing.

And for another thing, a zine as it is now is an expression of the editor's personality, even if the editor never does anything but organize and edit; If the zine were making a profit, there might be some call for accountability on the part of the editor — "print stuff we like", "make sure it is all first class", "don't print that garbage", etc. A fan-produced zine, even a horrendously expensive one, owes nobody but itself. The editor can put in anything she pleases, of any quality she likes. A profitless zine paid for by the editor is a hobby; a profit-making zine is a business.

That brings up another good reason for keeping fanzines (especially Trekzines) nonprofits, legalities. A profit zine is a business and operates under different rules than a hobby zine. The rules affect bank accounts, income-tax reporting, and very possibly interstate commerce. There is also the small matter of copyright, which is an extremely hazy area as far as fanzines printing fiction are concerned. Whether or not Trekzines printing fiction are actually strictly legal is probably a matter for a court to decide, but in practice copyright holders are inclined to overlook small circulation (under 500) non-money-making zines. Make a zine produce a profit, though, and you get into murky water: the copyright gives the holder the sole right to make a profit off the copyrighted material or to give permission for the material to be used.

Zines that don’t print fiction are another matter, of course, since commentary and articles are not affected by copyright. In that case, it is probably just fannish tradition that keeps them amateur, and tradition, especially in fandom, is a very powerful thing. This particular fannish tradition, I suspect, carries on the even older tradition of the "gentleman dilettante", the (usually) upper-class gentleman who produced a small magazine or wrote for his own amusement and that of his friends, and never sullied his hands with crass commerce. Fans are the spiritual heirs of those gentlemen; we maintain an intellectual distaste for things commercial.

From Amy Falkowitz:

A few notes on my feelings about fandom. Right now it is sad that we seem to have lost some of the best people around. Hopefully, some of them are only temporary (I second Mike's motion: "Connie, come back soon!"), however, some of what has gone on for years in SF fandom is apparently currently happening in Trek. There is an unfortunate development of cliquishness — there is fighting within the ranks, one might say. Now, I don't think this can be entirely stopped. It is one of the hazards of being human and being individuals.

For myself, I have tried to be open minded on almost anything within fandom with the exception of, as Rebecca Hoffmann says, "slashing, mud-slinging reviews". This also includes opinions of people and their "place" in fandom. I do not care how long any one person has been in fandom, or how well he or she writes, produces a zine or whatever. NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL ANOTHER FAN THAT HE OR SHE SHOULD NOT BE WRITING! I have had this happen to me once or twice, and I know of some other people, whom I will not name, who have been told that they shouldn't be writing, and that they are not a good example of what fandom should be. That is cruel and uncalled for, and not any single one of us has the authority to tell someone that. Fandom should be, above all else, following the famous saying, "I may not agree with what you are saying, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it!! After all, people, isn't one of the greatest things about fandom the freedom to talk about your favorite subject with other folks and express whatever you think about it?

For me, one of the greatest joys of fandom has been the freedom of exchange of ideas. There are a lot of people with whom I do not agree, but that does not mean I'm going to tell them, "Hey, you can't write that! I don't agree with it, it's wrong!"

For example, I personally do not agree with Jean Lorrah's Night of the Twin Moons universe because I think she makes Sarek out to be much too human. But I still enjoy her stories. She's a very good writer.

I was a very intense Kraith fan when I first found that universe. Jacqueline Lichtenberg has a gift for creating aliens and the Kraith Vulcans were that. I'm not so intensely into it now, for various reasons (including some strictly personal ones), but it still fascinates me and Kraith elements creep into my writing (it's sometimes frustrating, too!).

I do not share Sharon Emily's religious standpoint (far from it!) but I still can enjoy her stories, and will defend her right to write and publish them.

I have my own ideas concerning Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, etc. I have my own characters and universes but I love the opportunity to explore other people's versions of the thing we all like - Star Trek. That's what fandom is, you ask. The freedom to explore all those various realms that are in each of our minds. You may not agree with someone else's vision, you may even be upset by it, but NO ONE is telling you to like it, are they? There is more free choice far our explorations than anywhere else. Most zine eds are honest, I think, in presenting the contents of their zine so if you think you may not like it (or might even be highly offended by it), don't buy it! I really think the few rip offs on zine quality (and how quickly we forget the possibly poor quality of our own very first efforts I) are nothing to get upset about in comparison to the constant pro-publication rip offs that are happening (see, for example the review of the Medical Manual [in the previous issue]. And that is mild, too).

The pro-publications are trying to make money as fast as possible (look at what is going on with Star Wars merchandising!). The fan publications, in most instances, are doing it out of love — out of sharing.

From Beverly Clark:

I want to comment on is a really picky point on the review of the Medical Reference Manual and the Concordance being a pro item. [The Concordance] is now, and the current form is probably the only way a lot of fans have encountered it.

But it did begin as a definitely fannish item, compiled, edited, and published by Bjo Trimble and Dorothy Jones Heydt, who were two of the earliest ST fans. Bjo is the woman generally associated with the massive letter-writing campaign that resulted in ST's third season, and she is first and foremost a fan (of everything — every time I discover a new fandom, Bjo's already there).

From Dixie Owen:

Mike Bubrick's letter is the one which generated the moat heated response from me — full of vaguely cynical remarks about fandom and unsubstantiated charges about zines. I buy almost every zine that is published and read them all with greater or lesser enjoyment, writing LoCs, entering into correspondence with some authors/editors, and reviewing the ones which impress me one way or the other, I have yet to see any zine that sells for $10. True, Thrust came to $9.07 counting first class postage, but it is a very specialized zine aimed only at a certain market, and in no way represents an effort by the editor to rip off fandom.

I thought that it was long ago accepted that zines originate with the desire of the editors/writers to share their fantasies with the other parts of fandom, and that they rarely make a break-even point financially, much less a profit. Certainly I know of no amateur zine which is solely profit-motivated. Of course, there are a few from time to time that get carried away with the print reduction and offset delights, and do indeed have great white spaces top and bottom and between paragraphs, but this is generally brought to the publisher's attention by the folks who bought the first one, and corrected in subsequent issues. All in all, fanzines are a wonderful lot, and meet the needs and feed the hunger of the average ST fan for more, more, more.

As for keeping "Fandom down to fans who are dedicated and serious like..." etc., those folks you mentioned would be the first to tell you that fandom, cons and zines run on the great mediocrity that most of us are, willing to place our bods and our boodle on the line to support the Superstars in STdom. Everybody can't write, draw or publish, and without the rest of us to buy and nourish the talent with praise and appreciation, Amy, Signe and Winston would be limited to just passing their products around hand to hand, as was done in the early days of SF fandom.

From Sally Flanagan:

How do I think the Star Trek II movie will effect fan fiction? Only minimally, I believe. After all, a number of stories in Trek fiction today have carried me as a reader far away from what was portrayed on aired-Trek, speculations on relationships like Kirk/Spock and Kirk/Uhura, which may or may not have developed more fully after the period shown on television; fuller developments of characters like Sarek, Amanda, the Klingons and the Romulans; even the introduction of new characters like Sadie Faulwell, and the Anarchists of an alternate-time line. These speculations can and will be pursued, regardless of whether Trek II appears or not.

Most of the emphasis in Trek fiction has been on character development and relationship. I'm not sure that any movie or series will go as deeply into it. Most of the emphasis in Star Trek was on space adventure, with occasional side-lights on relationships. However, Trekfans drew their own inferences from the series and gave a different slant in their tales. This will continue, regardless of Trek II's final appearance.

Issue 3

Atavachron 3 was published in February 1979 and contains 18 pages. The cover is by Shona Jackson, and the interior illos are by Darlene Oreschnick and Shona Jackson.

front cover of issue #3, Shona Jackson

Some topics of discussion: is Star Trek fandom dying (a big topic at the recent August Party, new fans bring new ideas, pro cons and their value, the stages of fandom, producing zines is a business, fandom and profit, fans are tired of being jerked around by TPTB and promises about more filmed Trek canon, a fan references the essay No Easy Answers, and fandom needs fan consumers not just fanwork producers.

Issue 3: Excerpts from Letters

From Diane Tessman:

I have decided that there is a distinct disadvantage to have come into ST fandom as late as '76. The disadvantage is this: I keep reading letters saying "Come back Connie" and generally stating that ST fandom is dead, dying, or is undergoing some kind of mysterious metamorphosis. I know the first two possibilities are not true; perhaps the third one is, but I have no way of knowing as I must be a part of said mysterious metamorphosis (something similar to, "We have met the enemy and he is us"). Not only am I part of it, but most of my beautiful friends are, too, so I can't even rely on them for answers!

A phenomenon like ST fandom exists in the 'now'. It should never attempt to exist in the past, for that is against its basic grain. Fandom taps something in us which most of us have never found anywhere else. If for some reason that need is no longer present, Or is met better by another interest, fine, be gone with you! I love both Connie's art and writing. However, I'm not mourning the loss of Connie. There are positively beautiful zines coming out these days which reflect fandom. There are positively beautiful people in fandom that I count as my friends. To me, they are fandom. Are we all that strange??

I suppose the K/S business accounts for part of the so-called changing face of fandom. We have simply reached out, either onward or in a slightly different direction and found beauty. Whether one accepts this premise or not, it has to be admit- ted that the quality of almost all K/S so far has been excellent, both in writing and art. However, no one is forcing this approach on anyone else. I only know that when I ordered Archives recently, I was disappointed in the quality of the writing, art and story lines. Oh, it was good, but I guess from what I had heard, I was expecting 'excellent'. We are doing very well these days, I concluded.

From Terri Sylvester:

I would like to reply to some remarks made at the August Party 78 panel "Is Fandom Dying?". Some of the participants took the position that only zine authors, editors and artists were important in fandom. The rest of the fans were characterized as sub-fans and neo-fans who take and take, giving nothing in return.

I have to disagree with this position. Granted authors, editors, and artists are important, without the sub and neo-fans who buy, read and appreciate their zines, they would be exchanging copies with each other. These fans return applause and ego nourishment. Without the support of sub and neo-fans, some folks would be holding cons in their backyards. We should not forget that from the ranks of these fans come the writers, editors and artists of tomorrow.

Not all of us can write or edit or draw, but we do attend the cons, buy the zines (and enjoy them) and believe in the idea that in Star Trek there is room for each of us. We need all fans, not just the talented ones, if Star Trek is to continue to live.

From Sally Flanagan:

Why do I take all announcements about the ST movie with a grain of salt? Today's thrilling plan could easily evolve into tomorrow's shelved plan. Also, I want to keep things in perspective, so I won't be writing a letter accusing the actors of being 'turncoats' if and when they should decide to leave Trek for other endeavors.

As for the issue of fandom dying, I say, "The reports of the funeral are premature". Sure, some good people have left, but others have risen to fill the gap with their own talents. Though the Faddis and Moaven art is no longer with us, we're still seeing very good art from Alice Jones, Pat Stall and others. And new writers have risen, too: Lilker, Salicrup, Fish, etc. Even with the rise of Star Wars, ST fandom is still around, and may still be for a few years yet. After all, I never would have expected it to last this long.

From Johanna Cantor:

I'd like to contribute a couple thoughts to the discussion on zines and their financing. First, zine publishing is a business. We don't like to think of it in those terms, but because money is changing hands, all the normal laws of business apply on a small scale. Those (fortunately few) people who take other people's money and then never deliver the promised product or refund the payment are not exempt from their obligations because this was an amateur undertaking.

Second, in my opinion (and I realize it's not universally shared) zine editors should, like business people, plan and price for a small operating profit, even on a one-shot. Given the current economy, an estimate is always low. An editor puts an enormous amount of time, effort, and love into a zine, it's not unfair or any kind of rip-off for said editor to at least not be out of pocket. If the editor does realize "a few hundred dollars" -- and I bet that's rare -- the editor can: print more copies of his next zine, thus keeping the price steady even though coats will have risen; reprint, so new fans can obtain the zine; send the profit to a new zine as seed money; send the profit to a charity.

Obviously, I'm not talking about huge amounts. But making 25 cents per issue (as opposed to losing that amount) could make a big difference in getting the next issue out, etc. And since most zine buyers buy lots of zines, their small extra payment will be going into something most will want.

From Diane Tessman:

I think the point that fen have become disgusted-with professional cons is very well taken. Pro cons are apparently not drawing quite as they used to, but this does not prove that fandom is dying. (Actually, the little people with the ears and phasers populate pro cons to a great degree, and their interest may be down slightly since Star Wars, and until our ST movie appears). Fan cons are popular among fen, probably more than they used to be (from what I can deduce).

Incidentally, AtlantaCon was a great one, combining the best of fan and professional cans. If they ever hold it again, go!

From Alisa Cohen:

Too many BNFs are gafiating, Star Wars, CE3K and sex [2] are threatening our stability, and let's face it folks, the movie has us all a little worried. Then I read in Spectrum Michael Fisher's piece on his generation theory of fandom -- that there were the progenitors: the Bastas, Bjo, Ruth Berman; then there are the middle generation folk: Faddis, Downes, Menagerie, Warped Space; and of late, new talent: Teri White, Susan K. James, the K/S theme. (These are very broad generalizations, and they are not Michael's, they are mine. I don't want anyone claiming I quoted him directly and then holding him responsible for this stuff. The idea of generations is his, the names and opinions are mine.)

At any rate, we have seen fandom evolve, new themes pop up and old authors drop out. And it really scared me. For someone who came of age on T-Negative and Connie Reich (remember her?) [3], it was very disconcerting to realize that the old institutions (old within fandom, of course) were gone or transformed so as to not resemble their previous selves. And all of the sudden, people were calling each other names, accusing each other of Shusterisms. Maybe it's like being seven years old and watching your parents fight, praying they won't split up and abandon you. The sheer threat of it all made me realize just how much I depend on fandom. I already knew how important Star Trek was to me.

Then, reading Michael's piece, I realized we are not dying, we are evolving. We have to, don't we? ST may be a world of its own, but the people in it are of both worlds. Times change, people marry, have children, divorce, die. In short, everything changes. It was the degree of change, and the ferocity of the controversy that startled me.

I guess I'm just not as worried now about fandom dying. I'm just not that afraid of the changes that are taking place in the fen themselves. Because people like Dixie Owen don't believe it's dying. And Johanna Cantor and Jean Lorrah are as prolific as ever. And bless them, we now have a whole zine, Archives, that is dedicated to acclimating the neofen. (Of course, we were all there once, some of us more than once.) And best of all, there are people like Amy Falkowitz, Gerry Downes, Signe, Beverly [4] and others who are just as active or dedicated to ST and fan-fic as ever. In other words, I was so busy worrying about the gafiaters, I forgot we have a wonderfully enthusiastic group still with us.

From Diane Tessman:

Yes, I suppose we didn't scream and jump up and down as much when the movie was announced this time as when original revival plans were announced (whenever that be), but this doesn't mean we love ST less l We have merely grown skeptical and even somewhat hurt over having our precious commodity shoved around so much. However, when I finally know they have film footage, when I finally know it is coming to the theatre, when I finally go and sit there chewing my nails and see the credits and the Enterprise on the big screen, when I hear the music, for all of these beloved moments, I'm going to yell for joy, cry out of sheer happiness, and perhaps turn a quadruple somersault (I shall have to control all of this until the movie is over or I'll miss the whale damn thing)!

Perhaps we of fandom '78 do need to say three words more often (and not "I love you", we are the best group at saying that that I've ever heard of). Perhaps we should say more often --- STAR TREK LIVES! It does, you know!


  1. ^ from Spectrum #39
  2. ^ "Sex" could refer to The SekWester*Con Porn Debate or to the controversies about Kirk/Spock and Kirk and Spock: Do They or Don't They?.
  3. ^ This fan did not know that "Connie Reich" and "Connie Faddis" were the same person.
  4. ^ "Beverly" is likely Beverly Clark, but could also be Bev Zuk.