Barbara P. Gordon
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|Name:||Barbara P. Gordon, B.P. Gordon|
|Alias(es):||Dale Campion, Helena Seabright, Kyla Weston, Jana Desorcy, Winter Jordan|
|Type:||fanartist, fanwriter, fan poet|
|Fandoms:||Star Trek: TOS and others|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Barbara P. Gordon was a fan artist whose Star Trek art appeared in numerous fanzines in the 1980s. She also created fan art, fan poetry, wrote fanfic, and was a prolific (often controversial) writer of letters to various letterzines and apas.
Barbara Gordon was the same person as Helena Seabright, the editor of the influential, and controversial, zine Alien Brothers.
Gordon also proposed at least two zines that did not see publication: "The Next Generation"  and a second issue of "Alien Brothers."
Gordon passed away in January 2018 at the age of 80.
After Gordon's death, her massive fan art and fanzine collection ended up being sold in Chicago area estate sales. One man, Jenson Hillenbrand, rescued 72 pieces of fan art from her collection and tried unsuccessfully to donate them to various LGBTQ groups in the Chicago Area. He eventually put them into a month-long art exhibit  and offered them for sale in 2020. 
Like many fans, Gordon wrote personal letters to other fans. She also was a contributor to at least one apa, K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits), as well as the letterzine, Interstat.
I've been an avid reader of science fiction all my life —for decades— but I've cooled on it since discovering Trek, I am definitely NOT a media fan. In 1968, when a physicist friend of mine told me about Star Trek, I laughed at him, but he wasn't having any; he loved it and didn't mind saying so. I began to think that if he liked it, there must be SOMETHING to it. But I didn't own a TV at that time; I wouldn't have one in the house. So I read the Blish books and was amazed that such an intelligent program could ever be put on TV. But I still didn't believe it. And I really wanted to see it. My chance came some years later when a friend gave me a TV — and the first thing I tuned to was Trek. It only took a couple of episodes to get me thoroughly hooked. It only took eight or ten episodes for me to conceive independently of K/S. Then, of course, I got hooked on zines. When I saw THRUST advertised, I was fascinated. I had had no idea that someone else had thought of a sexual relationship between Kirk and Spock. I dislike heterosex porn and erotica, probably because it is so sexist, but I found that I did indeed love THRUST; I practically wore out my copy.Since then, I've read every K/S zine, become a collector of Trek art (particularly K/S), gone to innumerable cons, illoed about 55 zines, written poems and three stories so far (Oh, if I only had more time!). 
I believe strongly that you are over-intellectualizing in an attempt to explain K/S "bondage/violence tales" and "torture stories". For most fans they are simply sexual turn-ons regardless of what fans say or how they try to disguise this with various obfuscations. Hurt/comfort is the obvious analog to the intense stimulation/release of sex, pain and sex are psychological siblings, so to speak. In hurt/ comfort you can have the deep sensations and emotions of sex without activating the mental discomfort and negative feelings arising from your inhibitions and the puritanical aspects of your upbringing. There is no connection between hurt/comfort and a religious "sin and be saved concept" either. There is, however, a definite connection between religious ecstasy and masochism, and through that, to sex, I'm grossly over-simplifying, of course, but this is a little beyond the scope and off the point of this zine.
[...]Everybody has their little hang ups. Some of the English writers particularly...like Kirk-enslaved stories because they remove responsibility from the sex acts. Put into a situation where Kirk has no choice, where he is forced into various "out-of-character" sexual acts and humiliating experiences, he is, after all, not responsible for his actions, so that, as in so much Victorian porn, he can enjoy himself without guilt. And the author of such a story. Also the reader), projected into the Kirk-character as she is, is then of course also able to enjoy the vicarious sexual experience without experiencing any guilt feelings. The problem with this kind of thing in a "slavery" story is that the authors enjoy the forbidden titillation of breached inhibitions more than anything else, more even than the sensual or loving aspects, and sometimes even the plot suffers. They often tend to write some rather sadomasochistic sex scenes which are closer in feel to standard male-written porn than any other kind of K/S. The masochistic element in the sex scenes is, I suppose, vicarious punishment for daring to enjoy the sex vicariously! There are other kinds of "slavery" and "torture" tales, of course, and other reasons for writing them. But a "slavery" story with sex and relationship scenes that lack the element of force, violence, coercion, and masochism so typical of this genre, and thus has other meanings besides the working out of such an author's sexual hang ups, will meet with considerable incomprehension — I speak from personal experience!! 
Involved in Many Controversies
Gordon was a flashpoint figure in fandom due to her intense dislike of Harve Bennett and his Star Trek film production, her persistent and raging letters to Interstat regarding other fans and fandom, her allegations that it was her stolen mail that was the reason she had not paid some fannish bills, her twisty communications in Kindred Spirits where she often insulted fans and fandom, her suggestions that there was an anti-Barbara cabal in fandom, her statements that fans were intensely cliquish, that certain fan editors had been unfair and careless with her art, that fans were often ignorant about art, and much more.
Gordon also claimed to have brought some of her complaints about other fans to a lawyer.
Gordon was almost certainly the creator of Naked Doubles, an anonymous open letter in the form of a flyer that enraged many fans.
Printed Stories Without Permission
At least two stories in "Alien Brothers" were printed without express permission of their authors.
One was The Air is the Air. The other was The Ring of Soshern.
Letters to "Interstat"
It appears that Interstat either stopped printing Gordon's letters in 1984, or that Gordon gave up trying to get them printed.  
In June 1985, Gordon wrote: "I am becoming convinced that it doesn't matter what or how I say something? It will always be misunderstood in fandom. That is one of the reasons why I stopped writing for INTERSTAT, and why I don't even try to communicate with some fans. And I am not the only one who has this problem; I know of at least two others." 
Letters to "K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits)"
Gordon's letters to K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) were very combative, angry, and accusatory. The topics were similar to those in Interstat: persecution, cabals, misrepresentation, refusal of zine editors to print the controversial Loveslaves, accusations of vicious personal letters sent to her, and much more.
Fans' reactions to these letters were sometimes pointed and aggressive, sometimes bewildered, and occasionally supportive. Many fans simply ignored her and pointedly did not address her tribs. Fans in that zine grappled with how to handle Gordon.
There were at least two major dust-ups in that zine.
One of them was a very angry open letter by the central mailer asking Gordon to resign, saying that she'd continue to include Gordon's tribs but she didn't want anything to do with her. 
Another one was a very crude single page "flyer," clearly written in anger by two fans who'd reached the end of their rope.  The flyer begins with "[BPG], show this to the postal inspector!!" It ranted against Gordon, taking her to task for Naked Doubles, for threatening fans with legal action, for her perceived paranoia and disingenuous threats, and more. One complaint was that Gordon was someone "who rats to the PO about our private world of fandom..."
Hatred of Harve Bennett's Star Trek Films
Gordon's intense dislike of Harve Bennett and his Star Trek productions were evident in her MANY letters and comments to not only Interstat, but also to other publications.
One example was this comment in K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #2 (1982):
If I never read a fan story based on ST:WOK, I will be delighted. As it is, I haven't wanted to see another movie since I saw ST:WOK: I've been turned off of movies; I don't want to get turned off of Trek! And now, you are all going to jump on me, right? Well, please don't! I hurt enough about it already, I hate to see Trek made a travesty. And as far as getting any K/S from that movie, I don't see it. Kirk and Spock are obviously just friends who don't even see each other that often. And do you know what Harve Bennett has planned for the third movie? According to William Shatner, at the WSF meeting at Houstoncon, Harve is planning on giving Kirk a romance for a change (?!) and you can bet it isn't with Spock!Would you like to hear a juicy rumor? Bennett does indeed intend to bring Spock back as a Spockenobi  in the next movie; it's already written into the script outline that way. Of course he may yet change it, but he is riding high on the undeserved crest of his success and ST:WOK's popularity now, and probably won't, despite the negative reaction he has received from fans on this idea. Doubtless, he has every right to think that since we swallowed Spock's death and apparently loved it, we'll swallow anything. And he's probably right, too. It really makes me wonder: just how far would Bennett have to go to make most fans as disgusted as I am?
Gordon's many comments in the letterzine Interstat caused Bennett himself to address them in 1983 in regards to damage from a fire on the set of the current Trek movie:
Thank you for the recent flurry of supportive notes and for your concern about our welfare. We're incredibly lucky to have survived the fire with minimal damage to our principal set. If I were to take it personally, I would say that God had assessed the situation, decided I had suffered enough at the hands of Barbara Gordon, and should at last be given a break to finish my work in peace.
See this letter, printed in Interstat #72.
Support for a Bootlegged Script
In 1983, Gordon was supportive of the leak and sale of a script outline, presumably pirated, for the third Star Trek movie, something that did not endear her to other fans.
The Naked Doubles Flyer
Gordon was almost certainly the author of the controversial open letter that was distributed to fans anonymously at Shore Leave #6 in July 1984. See Naked Doubles.
Revealing a Fan's Pseud
At least one fan, Ann Carver, railed against Gordon's reveal of another fan's pseud:
I must voice my personal objections to her treatment of Vivian Gates in her letter. Evidently Ms. Seabright is unaware that the submission and acceptance of a story, poem, or piece of art for inclusion in a zine does not transfer title to that work to the editor of said zine! Until the very minute the zine is placed in the hands of the printer, title to the piece remains in the hands of the contributor, and its title reverts to the contributor after the zine is in print. Only if a piece of work is commissioned (paid for either in cash or trade), usually done for art, is the title to said piece transferred to the editor. Since Ms. Gates withdrew her story last October, long before the zine was to be printed, Ms. Seabright has no right to use it.
The artists and writers who contribute to our zines, do so for love of ST since a contrib copy of a zine is very little recompense for all the effort put into the story, poem, or piece of art. Artists are luckier than the writers since they have the opportunity to later sell their work. But writers are doing us a big favor by contributing. As both a writer and editor, I can speak from both sides of the fence. Long hours are spent laboring over a piece of fiction or art, sometimes months, with only gratitude as return. Without the generosity of the writers and artists, we editors would end up writing the whole thing ourselves, a thought which brings shudders even to contemplate!
Ms. Gates had the right to withdraw her story and Ms. Seabright has no bitch coming. Now, as to Ms. Seabright's divulgence of Ms. Gates' true name, Ms. Seabright has broken one of the cardinal rules of zine editing and publishing. Fan writers use pen names for a variety of reasons, both personal and professional. Nor is the use of a pen name limited to those who write K/S. Many gen writers do so also. Because editors must deal with the person with regard to editing, corrections, and various letters and phone conversations, means that we must know the person's true name. We are trusted, therefore obligated by that trust, to keep the name a secret unless given permission to reveal it. The unauthorized revelation of a pen name is one of the lowest things an editor can do, regardless of her/his personal dealings with the writer.By the revelation in this letterzine of Ms. Gates' true name, Ms. Seabright has proven herself to be completely untrustworthy. A pen name is never revealed, no matter what the reason! 
Another fan said:
[You have] committed a grave breach of etiquette by linking the pseudonym of a Trek writer with her "real” name. That, far more than any question of who you are or what your intent is or was, tells me and should tell others that they enter into an association with you at their own risk. As long as there have been writers, there have been pseudonyms. And there are as many reasons for creating a pseudonym as there are writers who use one.The reason is not important. Respecting the writer's right to confidentiality is. Unless an individual is penning libelous statements, or attempting to obtain money, goods, services, or information fraudulently, no one but the pseudonym's holder has the right to release information about his or her "real" identity. 
The Story: Loveslaves
There was MUCH controversy regarding the content and characterization in the story Loveslaves, a story that was turned down by at least two zine editors. Gordon ended up printing this story in her own zine (also controversial!), Alien Brothers.
Feuded with Zine Editors
Gordon feuded with many zine editors regarding their acceptance and treatment of her artwork. 
Gordon also had a long-running feud with the editor of Duet regarding the content of her stories Love Slave's Song and Loveslaves. This feud spilled over to the editors of Final Frontier after that zine agreed to print the second story, and then declined.
In late 1985, Gordon reported that her mail was being stolen, and among other things, this meant that some fans were not receiving checks she owed them.  Fans who complained of non-payment were threatened with legal action. 
ALIEN BROTHERS has gone to press. Pleas understand; it is NOT late. I had never set a publication date, so it could not be "late". The loss of three typists, several artists, my printer (Duplicate Images), and continued problems with malicious rumor-mongers made this a wise action -- not to mention the recent floods in the Midwest. I had only recently moved to what I hoped was at least a semi-permanent address, when the floods began. At the cost of two badly bruised and cut feet and one wrenched shoulder, I managed to rescue all my artwork, typed copy, layouts, records, and the beautiful four-color art prints I had made from [Gayle F's] "Venetian Carnival" art. There was very little damage to any of the zine material, but it has taken a lot of time to put it all back together and get it to the printer. My other belongings were not so lucky; practically everything was destroyed by the several feet of water in my new home.This means that the money I had saved and borrowed to print ALIEN BROTHERS has had to be used for personal necessities (like moving, again). The money sent me for deposits is still safely in a non-interest bearing bank account, but this is not nearly enough to pay for printing the zine. I will therefore need as many pre-orders as possible to pay for the printing. Pre-orderers will receive their zine first, and also I'll send the first 30-or-so, copies of the gorgeous Feyrer fine art print, suitable for framing (non-explicit). 
Threatened Fans with Legal Action
Gordon mentioned several times that she had contacted lawyers to take legal action against other fans for their treatment of her.   
Fans Comment on Gordon's Art
This is a little awkward for me to try to explain, but I used to hate your illustrations. Hate is too strong a word but they did evoke a kind of general yuk reaction in me. Then one day I was reading a fanzine -- forget which one right now -- and realized that I liked the illos a lot and they were yours. To satisfy my curiosity I went back to the first ones I had seen to determine if you had improved or if I just hadn't been seeing what I was seeing now. I found that I liked them too. I do occasionally change my mind but it has never snuck up on me so before, in fact, I can't even reconstruct in my mind the reasons I had for not liking your work. That reads like rather a backhanded compliment, and I don't intend it to be. I meant this to be a thank you both for your work and for the unique experience with myself that it afforded me. 
Non-Explicit Art by Barbara Gordon
from The Bond: the front cover, while not credited, is likely by Gordon
from The Bond: "The Birthday Party"
from The Bond: "Outside Help"
from The Bond: "The Separation"
from The Bond: "The Light"
from The Bond: "Time to Wait"
from The Bond: "Together"
from The Bond: the back cover
from Enter-comm #3
from In a Different Reality #8
from In a Different Reality #9
from Maine(ly) Trek #2. A black and white drawing of the character Obelix from the French comic book Asterix. He is walking on a path in a forest, accompanied by his small dog, Dogmatix. Spock, Kirk, and Bones each peak out at him from behind a tree.
from Guardian #3
Guardian #3, "The Gold Against the Fire"
from The Other Side of Paradise #5
from R & R #15, titled "Christine and M'Benga," dated March 1981
from Rec-Room Rhymes #2
front cover of Sahndara #1
from T'hy'la #1, titled "New Beginnings," dated July 1981
from T'hy'la #1, titled "Mirror Image," dated July 1981
from T'hy'la #1, titled "The Joke"
interior art for R & R #13
"Genesis," includes an obnoxious fig leaf employed by someone that was certainly not Barbara!
from If Freedom Fall? (1982), titled "The Kidnapping," (dated June 1981)
from If Freedom Fall? (1982), titled "Transgressing the Bond" (dated June 1981)
from Duet #4 (1982), titled "Friendly Argument" (dated Feburary 1981)
from Grip #13
from Home Is Where the Heart Is, titled "Kirk and Spock Find the Lost Ship," dated January 1982
from Home Is Where the Heart Is, titled "At the Cromlech," dated January 1982
from Home Is Where the Heart Is, titled "Captives of Adan," dated January 1982
from In a Different Reality #15, "Kirk Adrift"
from In a Different Reality #16
"To Run the Gauntlet", from Enterprise Log Entries #50
foldout illo in Obsession #2, reprinted in K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #12, "Garden of Delights"
inside art from Only Trek #1
inside art from Only Trek #1, later incorporated in an illustration by "Kyla Weston" in Alien Brothers
front cover of T'hy'la #2
back cover of T'hy'la #2
from Final Frontier #2
from Grip #16
from Odyssey #7
from The Adult Kirk
from The Adult Kirk, "Kirk and Miramanee," dated May 1984
from Amazing Grace #1
from As I Do Thee #1 (page 7): -- illo for And Our Tomorrows. From a fan: "...my outstanding memory of this story is Barbara P. Gordon's illo on page 7. My first reaction was to burst out laughing - I mean to say, would Kirk really be that gross? Compare this with the beautiful illo on page 14 and it's hard to believe the two came from the same pen." 
from As I Do Thee #1 (page 14)
original art printed in Duet #8
from Grip #17
from Obsession #3, reprinted in K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #10
from Mind Meld #1
front cover of Parallax Ring
from Parallax Ring, back cover
from Vault of Tomorrow #5
from Grip #22, also in K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #17, also in Alien Brothers (as Kyla Weston)
from K/S Tonight
centerfold from Not Tonight, Spock! #8
from Only Trek #2, for "After Amok Time"
Twin Destiny #2
from Twin Destiny #2
from Odyssey #8
from Alien Brothers (as Kyla Weston), originally printed in Grip #22, also in K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #17 as Barbara P. Gordon
from Alien Brothers (as Kyla Weston), this illo of Spock was adapted from a 1982 illustration in Only Trek #1
from Enterprise Log Entries #74
from Kontinuing Saga
the original art on the cover of Kontinuing Saga, titled "T'hy'la," dated 1984
from Grip #33
from Nova Trek, as Jana Desorcy
Explicit Art by Barbara Gordon
foldout from Nocturne
back cover of T'hy'la #1
from T'hy'la #1, "The Willing Slave"
from T'hy'la #1 (1981)
from T'hy'la #3 (1983)
- Alien Brothers
- Amazing Grace
- As I Do Thee
- Brave New Worlds
- By His Side
- Final Frontier
- Golden Oldies & New Delights
- If Freedom Fall?
- K/S Tonight
- Kirk Enslaved
- Kontinuing Saga
- Naked Times
- Not Tonight, Spock!
- Twin Destiny
Gen and Het Zines
- The Adult Kirk
- The Bedside Grope and Queen Grope
- Captain's Log
- Destiny's Children
- Enterprise Log Entries
- Friends & Strangers, Near & Far
- Graveside Grope
- Home Is Where the Heart Is
- In a Different Reality
- Maine(ly) Trek
- Mind Meld
- Nova Trek
- Only Trek
- The Other Side of Paradise
- Parallax Ring
- R & R
- Rec-Room Rhymes
- Riders to the Stars
- Sol Plus
- Spin Dizzie
- Trek Continuum
- Vault of Tomorrow
- Views of Intimation
Letters and Commentary
- ^ From a 1993 submission request in GAZ: "Closed for submissions; zine in production. Features the prize-winning stories and art by Hays, Junius, Duran & Lumbert, Jenkins, Overstreet, Perry, Siegrist, Smith, Chick, and Vanderlaan. A top-quality offset-printed zine with 4-color insert. Now accepting $5 deposit plus SASE to order; flyer will be sent."
- ^ To Boldly Go: Kirk/Spock Slash Fan Art from the Collection of Barbara P. Gordon — Co-Prosperity, Archived version
- ^ Meet the trans man who collected fan art of Kirk and Spock in love, Archived version
- ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #2
- ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #3
- ^ Gordon mentions this in Kindred Spirits.
- ^ A fan in September 1984 in Interstat #83 wrote: "Where's Barbara Gordon's letter by the way? I had expected to read her opinion on [the movie]. Whether positive or negative, they always cause controversy. I've sort of become used to them and was looking forward to debating with her (as long as they stick to the issue)."
- ^ from. K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #17
- ^ A fan in late 1985 wrote: "I certainly don't think fans who have experienced wounding and ostracism in mundane life are justified in taking out their frustrations on other fans. And I agree that the strategy of ignoring such a person risks triggering and escalation of her tactics until she absolutely forces people to pay attention to her. it is indeed a Catch-22. What is needed, perhaps, is a strategy of "selective reinforcement," that is, responding with plenty of "strokes" to positive behavior and ignoring the negative variety, so eventually she learns what will be rewarded with attention." -- from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #17
- ^ "It's very rare that I lose my temper, but since I just can't let this go by till issue #16, I must speak now. I'm sick and tired of the underhanded tones that come from [BPG's] comments. I know of a few people who have dropped out because of her. I feel that I must take some action. As far as keeping [BPG] in the APA, I don't feel its right for me to just kick her out. I'm going to ask [BPG] to leave. If she still sends in her APA, I will put them in, just as long as her postage account is up to date. But I do not want anything to do with her." -- from more, see comments by NLS in K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #15
- ^ Printed in. K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #17
- ^ A reference to the encouraging "ghost" of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.
- ^ from Ann Carver in Interstat #102 (April 1986)
- ^ from Lynda C in Interstat #102 (April 1986)
- ^ JG writes of this regarding Organia.
- ^ "I have been having some serious problems with my mail. After living in the same place for almost 11 years, for the first time I am not receiving things, and my outgoing mail has also been lost. Probably there is a thief in my local P.O. station." -- from Kindred Spirits #17 (December 1985)
- ^ "Some weeks ago, I discovered that quite a bit of mail was not reaching me, nor was some of the mail I sent being delivered. This includes a number of checks and money orders, as well as various replies concerning artwork, and at least one parcel. Then I discovered a giant heap of ripped-open mail belonging to me and quite a few neighbors, lying abandoned near some elevated train tracks near here... The Post Office didn't seem to be concerned, but I am! As always, nasty, threatening, and insulting letters will be forwarded directly to my lawyer for possible legal action and will only delay or prevent my reply." -- from Universal Translator/Issues 21-32 (January/February 1986)
- ^ from Datazine #44 (October/November 1986)
- ^ "I am busy collecting evidence about who started and perpetuated that rumor that I had something to do with that loathesome NAKED DOUBLES flyer. I have discovered that a certain New Jersey fan with a Crusader Complex that amounts to a psychosis, is largely responsible for perpetuating these lies. When I collect enough evidence, I am going to see if something can be done about it legally. I had started to do this regarding a certain libelous editor and decided to drop it, but now I can see that some fans just have to be kicked, or they won't stop. -- from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #14 (June 1985)
- ^ Gordon's "a certain libelous editor " is possibly a reference to Gordon's long-running feud with Doreen Dabinett, a zine ed who refused to print Loveslaves. It would also be a reference to Gordon's feud with the editors of Final Frontier.
- ^ "I have had to hire a lawyer to handle the threats and insults I have received. He cannot understand why I don't drop fandom like an
overripe turd(sorry). -- from Kindred Spirits #17 (December 1985)
- ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #3 (1983)
- ^ from Not Tonight, Spock! #5