Below the Surface

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Title: Below the Suface
Publisher: Criterion Press
Editor(s): Kathy Agel
Date(s): 1989-1999
Medium: print zine, fanfic
Fandom: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Language: English
External Links:
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Below the Surface is a gen Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea anthology.

a flyer

Related Zines

It has three sister zines that are Special Editions: False Faces is #1, Operation Corporate is #2, and Grenada is #3.


In Southern Enclave #30 (1991), the editor comments on the lack of LoCs:

LoCs are next to impossible to get these days. My Voyage letterzine has a circulation of 85 (about 20 of them are over in the UK), and I'm lucky to get 20 LoCs for an issue. And those 20 are usually from the same people. LoCs for fiction zines are in even shorter supply-I received five on Below the Surface #1 and one on #2. To date, I've received none on #3.[1]

Issue 1

back cover
front cover of issue #1 by Clayton George

Below the Surface 1 is 153 pages long and was published in May 1989. Clayton George is the front cover artist. The back cover is by Kathryn Agel. Other art by Clayton George, Betty Cole, Lee Falcon.

From the editor:

Here I sit, the night before this zine goes off to be printed, blankly staring at the computer monitor and desperately trying to think of something I can say in the obligatory editorial that sounds vaguely coherent, at least, if not exactly erudite. I've always envied those facile zineds who can come up with a page full of witty nonsense for their editorials and wondered how they did it. You know what? I'm still wondering... So I'll go the factual route. You hold in your hands the first issue of BELOW THE SURFACE. The stories between these covers represent a cross-section of VOYAGE visions from several different authors. These authors may not agree with each other on every detail, but that diversity of opinion is part of the appeal of fandom, and should not be discouraged. To borrow a phrase fromi STAR TREK, "there is infinite diversity in infinite combinations'. And part of that diversity is what you'll find here.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

[The Man With No Name]: What happened to the missing scene? You know, the one where Lee regains his sight and memory, the Admiral finds him, and the villain gets his comeuppance! If you haven't already written it, how about it? Please? Pretty please? [2]

[Depth Sonde]: Okay, yes, I'll admit it! I'm a hurt-comfort addict. I never tire of a good Crane or Morton bonk. Right, Cindy? Oh, I just loved 'Depth Sonde', in BELOW THE SURFACE #2. Angst, gimme angst! [3]


Cover: the artwork was excellent but I felt that the title suffered from having too much detail behind it. My own personal thought is that it would have been better if there had been no title, just the picture. After all, the zine title is on the frontispiece and unless you're planning to have the same picture on all the issues, it will still retain simple to keep the issues apart in our minds.

'Aftermath,' a good, controlled story to start the zine. It's always welcome to find fan authors who are willing to extend episodes beyond the pat endings we're given. Brainwashing isn't something you shrug off like some soiled shirt so the portrayal of Crane's instability was 100% on the nose. I would quibble a little over Nelson's non-interference but I realise it was essential for the plot and I right be superimposing my ideas as to how the Admiral would/should behave. Amy was an interesting addition to the equation — if only because I was convinced I knew where she was going to fit in and I was wrong!

'Woman's Watch': this was an unusual offering. I wasn't sure how to take it the first time around but on re-reading it I found myself enjoying the many little touches.

'King Pearl': an unfilled VOYAGE episode turned into a story...curiosity would have got me reading it if nothing else! The writer does a good job and I get the feeling she followed the script faithfully. Being an incurable meddler I don't think it would have hurt the story any to have a little fleshing out done, but then, I'm a great one for descriptive passages and character interaction. The ending, however, was perfect. The mood demanded a spare, taut style of writing.

'Images Painted in Moonlight': I'd seen this poem before, but it had been in a borrowed zine so all I had was a bad photocopy.[4] Now I have an original and a lovely illo to boot!

'Deadly Tomorrows': oh boy, what has this writer got against Chip? I spent most of the story in a state of shock interspersed with bouts of hysterics. My chief gripe is that the story hurtled along at too breakneck a speed. Considering how hard she appeared to work on the background, I felt that it would have been fun if the Admiral and Crane had missed their chance to get back the easy way and had to fit in that universe while they tried to find an alternative way home (I'll admit this is partly because I dearly wanted to see the reaction of a certain XO when a certain Captain turns up missing and he's apparently got a loony Admiral on his hands!). As it stood, however, this was a corker of a tale.

The Cartoon Gallery was very funny. I would single out the 'emergency brake' and 'feeling chip-per' as the ones which raised the biggest sillies.

'The Man With No Name': oooh, an amnesia story. I love amnesia stories! I can read them until they're coming out of my ears, but this particular one drove me up the wall. What happened to the end of it? The story was progressing well, the author had taken the time to flesh out the new characters... and then the entire plotline was wrapped up in under two pages! The change of pace and tense was extremely disconcerting, particularly when the standard of writing was so high. I liked the story, but not the way it ended.

'Requiem': another strong story to end the zine. The outstanding feature of this story (for me) was the way care had been taken to add dozens of little personal details throughout the story, all contributing to make the characters that little bit more real. Anything to do with cetaceans is bound to attract my attention but this story hit especially close to home as dolphins are dying off my home coast at the moment. Unfortunately, there's no Lynn Hurtagh in real life, so this story helped soothe a very real pain. Having had to face a dead dolphin, I can empathise with the character's anguish -- it's not nice to have kindred die on you. An excellent story.

Interior art: used to good effect throughout Layout: clean and crisp. Very easy to read.[5]


Art: best was the front cover. Runner up was the Cartoon Gallery, especially the 'War of the Worlds' toon. Betty Cole gets an honorable mention for her illo of Crane and Nelson on page 63. I'm afraid the rest were hardly worth a mention and a couple were really bad. I do like to recognize the subject.

Poetry: here I must disqualify myself. I don't like most poetry and usually pass right by it. The most like poetry I ever get close to is filksinging.

Printing: fair, some of the pages were crumpled and I'd suggest a different shop. The actual print was dark and legible -- good, some zines aren't.

Stories: varied and interesting and why I want the next zine. Most intriguing was, of course, 'Requiem". I'm a Chip fan so I'm prejudiced, but my sister who wasn't even a VOYAGE fan also found the story interesting since it dealt with the people on board (plus one) and not with a monster out to cremate the world. Also, it was well-written. So I'm not the only one who approves of this story.

The next was 'Aftermath'. It's a pity that VOYAGE was only a 'children's' show or it might have explained the consequences of some of the things that happened to the sub's just 'til the next show.

'King Pearl' was fun and very reminiscent of the series during the second season.

'Deadly Tomorrows': horrors! It's 'Mirror, Mirror' on (sorry, under) the high seas. Still, fun to read.

'The Man With No Name': an interesting thought — "Admiral, this man looks so much like that Captain of yours." Hmm ...well, every zine has one of these, and this one was handled very well.

Finally, the interviews: this person is obviously a Chip Morton fan; and so I take the rest with a grain of salt. But the actual idea was fun and if she writes any more, it should be with Kowalski, Riley and Patterson --'The View From Below".

Well, those are my thoughts on II. Good and bad, but definitely worth a second helping.[6]

Issue 2

Below the Surface 2 was published in January 1990 and contains 168 pages. Clayton George is the cover artist. Interior art is by Betty Cole and Linda MacLaren. The original print run was 100. This issue has five LoCs for the first issue.

back cover of issue #2
front cover of issue #2, Clayton George

From the editorial:

Welcome to BTS II. We have a pretty diverse issue this time out — nine great stories that emphasize action, hunor, characterization — we even have a bedtime story! Two of the stories are very different visions of Lee Crane's first days as Captain of Seaview; two more are different ideas of what Chip Horton's family might be like. Also included is another adaptation of an untelevised episode, as well as the first in a series of reprints of out of print VOYAGE fanfiction. We also have the sequel to 'Requiem', published in BTS II.

Issue 3

back cover of issue #3, Ginger Fits
front cover of issue #3, Clayton George

Below the Surface 3 is 155 pages long and was published in May 1990. Clayton George is the front cover artist and Ginger Fitts is the back cover artist. Interior art by Betty Cole, Sheila Paulson, Clayton George.

From the editorial:

We have a pretty good mix this time out — three short stories, two medium, two long (or one long and one humongous, depending on your point of view). This issue features two dissimilar looks at the episode 'Return of the Phantom'. The first is a novelization of the original script, which was very different from what finally aired. The second is 'Return of the Phantom' the way one particular fan would have liked it to be.... To round out the zine, we have a very short piece on "Return...', a missing scene from 'Death Watch', a long story about intrigue in Central America, and, as promised last issue, 'Lessons Learned', from the Nexus Cycle.

Issue 4

cover of issue #4, Jeanne McClure, her first Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea art

Below the Surface 4 . It was published in 1991 and contains 171 pages. Jeanne McClure is the front cover artist

From the editorial:

Here we are again, along for a fourth set of voyages with Seaview and her intrepid crew. Some of the usual faces are along for the ride, as well as several new additions - new to BTS, but not new to media fandom. Pat Ames is well known in War of the Worlds fandom as both a writer and editor; Wendy Karmell has written several pieces in different universes; Isabell Klein is the author of many Classic Trek and Voyage stories. We'll be seeing more from these three ladies in the future. And this issue's reprint, The Missing Link", originally printed in OUTLANDS, a wonderful media anthology zine published in the eariy-to-late '80s by Barbara Fister-Liltz, is from BTS newcomer but longtime Voyage fan Diane Kachmar. Some of you may be familiar with her stories written under her maiden name of Farnsworth.

  • The Captain by Wendy Karmell (3)
  • The Wrong Place at the Same Time by Patricia Ames (6)
  • Alternative Comedy by Linda Chapple 15)
  • Shore Leave by Cindy Rancourt (21)
  • Traitor's Gate by Isabell Klein (32)
  • Tangled Web by Cris Smithson (44)
  • Artist's Portfolio by Linda Chapple (63)
  • Choke-Chain Blues by Linda Chapple (75)
  • The Weakest Link by Diane Kachmar (81)
  • Reunions by Debi Lee Kays (95)
  • Reason to Believe by Kathryn Agel (146)
  • flyers for Up Bubble, Remote Control #1, The Nexus Chronicles, MacGyverisms, The Dispatch, and the proposed zines: "Firebird Ladybird" and "Bobzine"

Issue 5

cover of issue #5, Linda Chapple

Below the Surface 5 is 142 pages long and was published in 1992. Linda Chapple is the cover artist. Interior art is by Linda Chapple and Deb Walsh.

From the editorial:

Zines tend to take on a life of their own, and often develop a theme all on their lonesome, without any help from the editor. BTS is no exception. The authors who submit to each issue always seem to be working on the same wavelength and send me stories with similar themes. Either that, or they've all been possessed by the same aliens...naaahhh. It is a nice bit of serendipity, though. This issue has its share of stories concerning the Lee Crane/Chip Morton friendship -- and poor Lee spends a lot of time in Sickbay, to boot. Some are funny, others are poignant, and all are guaranteed to give you some measure of enjoyment. We also have several episode-related pieces - Sky All Diamonds (The Mechanical Man), Breakdown (Mutiny), Beyond Cyborg (Cyborg), Command Recriminations (Rescue), and Son of the Indestructible Man (The Indestructible Man). We have some familiar faces back again on this set of voyages -- Linda Chappie, Cris Smithson, Isabell Klein, Pat Ames, Wendy Karmell, yours truly, plus a few new faces making their first appearance in these pages -- Rita Wllcoxon, Linda Hackett, Pauline Owers, and Deb Walsh. I hope we'll be seeing more from these folk is the future, and I think you will, too.

Issue 6

cover of issue #6, Linda Chapple

Below the Surface 6 Linda Chapple is the cover artist. It was published in 1993 and it contains 165 pages. Other art by Ann Humphrey, with an art portfolio by Deb Walsh and some incidental art by Linda Chapple.

From the editorial:

We have what I think is a nicely balanced ish this time -- some short pieces, a couple of stories of medium length, and one that takes up a good third of the zine! The stories are from the old reliables -- Cris Smithson, Pat Ames, Pauline Owers, Wendy Karmell, Linda Hackett, Linda Chappie, and Isabell Klein. We have some lovely story illustrations by Anne Humphrey {a face new to BTS, but not to media fandom -- and you'll be seeing a lot of her work in the future!), some great incidental art by Linda Chapple, and a to-die-for art portfolio by Deb Walsh that -- well, I won't spoil the surprise. You'll have to find out for yourself! You'll notice that there's no Nexus Cycle story in this issue -- and for good reason. I've been working on False Faces lately (it reared its little head, bit me on the hind end, and said WORK ON ME! You can't exactly ignore a summons like that...} which I hope to have ready for an October or November '93 publication date. But that didn't give me any time to write a story for this ish, though I hope to have one ready for #7.

  • Chocolate Chip by Cris Smithson (3)
  • Second Chance Cruise by Patricia Ames (12)
  • Poetry Corner by Pauline Owers (45)
  • The Letter by Wendy Karmell (47)
  • CPU by Linda Hackett (51)
  • Fantasy Portfolio by Deb Walsh (86)
  • Catsitting Blues by Linda Chapple (93)
  • Missing by Isabell Klein (166)

Issue 7

cover of issue #7, Linda Chapple

Below the Surface 7 is 176 pages long and was published in May 1993. Linda Chapple is the front cover artist. Other art by Sharon M. Palmer, Ann Humphrey, and L.C. Wells.

The editorial:

It's that time again -- May, MediaWest, the dreaded editorial. You all know how much I hate composing these (ironic, for someone who loves to talk as much as I do!), so I won't belabor the point. So here's BTS 7, squeaking out of the copier and into your hands barely two months after #6. We have another good mix this time, with pieces from the old reliables and material from a few new faces, as well. Cris Smithson continues her streak - she's had a story in each issue of BTS to date, and her story here is just this side of different. We have an art portfolio, a couple of long stories and several shorts, and a glimpse into the Nelson Institute's mailbag.... BTS will be out in early 1994, and #9 should be published the following May, with a traditional MediaWest release. Both are open for submissions of fiction, art, filks, poetry, and unclassified oddments.

  • Application for Transfer by Cris Smithson (3)
  • Revenge by Wendy Karmell (7)
  • From the Sea to the Stars by Sharane McCurry (18)
  • It's a Fine Line by Linda Hackett (32)
  • From the NIMR Mailbag by Various (61)
  • Cartoon by Sharon M. Palmer (64)
  • Art Portfolio by Ann Humphrey (65)
  • Fragments of Fear by Pauline Owers (73)
  • Morton's Folly by Linda Chapple (84)
  • Picnics by Debra Kays Renner (84)
  • Lazarus by L.C. Wells (133)

Issue 8

cover of issue #8, Linda Chapple

Below the Surface 8 is 171 pages long and was published in 1994. Linda Chapple is the front cover artist. Other artists are SMAP and L.C. Wells. It won a 1995 FanQ for editor.

  • Summer Camp by Isabell Klein (3)
  • The Debriefing by Kathryn Agel (29)
  • Visions from the Past by Wendy Karmell ( 39)
  • A Mistress for You by Donna Goad (39)
  • Girl Talk by L.C. Wells (51)
  • The Crash by Donna Goad (57)
  • The Voyage of Quixote by Linda Chapple (58)
  • The Sum of All Fears by Pauline Owers (89)
  • My Friend by Donna Goad (103)
  • * Self-Preservation by L.C. Wells (104)
  • Risen from the Depths by Kathy Kipper (108)
  • Phase Lock by Linda Hackett (136)

Issue 9

cover of issue #9, Linda Chapple

Below the Surface 9 is 142 pages long and was published in 1996. Linda Chapple is the front cover artist. Other artists are P.J. LaVasseur and L.C. Wells.

  • Evaluation of Priorities by Linda Knights (3)
  • Mercy Mission by Kathryn Agel (23)
  • The Dark Side by Linda Hackett (29)
  • Art Portfolio by Pam LaVasseur (68)
  • The Connection by Kathryn Agel (74)
  • Not the Marrying Kind by Isabell Klein (79)
  • Smoke by L.C. Wells (118)
  • The Happiest Place on Earth by Jackie Edwards (122)
  • Risen from the Depths: The Games by Kathy Kipper, Pat Adrian (128)

Issue 10

cover of issue #10, Warren Oddsson

Below the Surface 10 is 165 pages long and was published in May 1999. Warren Oddsson is the front cover artist. Other artists are Mariann Hornlein, Hindman and L.C. Wells.

  • Dragon by Rachel Howe (3)
  • Always by Scott McIntyre (18)
  • Death of a Dream by Murph (29)
  • The Ring by Lorelei Hawkins (44)
  • Turnng Point by Michele Toohig (49)
  • Catch Me if You Can by Mariann Hornlein (62)
  • Art Portfolio by P.J. LaVasseur (83)
  • Stage Fright by Kathryn Agel (95)
  • Mister Logan's Return by Mariann Hornlein (112)
  • Puppets and Puppeteers by Susan Henderson (112)


  1. ^ from Southern Enclave
  2. ^ from Up Bubble #7 (1990)
  3. ^ from Up Bubble #7 (1990)
  4. ^ This is an example of how fandoms differed in public acceptability of photocopying borrowed zines.
  5. ^ a LoC in Below the Surface #2
  6. ^ a LoC in Below the Surface #2