Beta-Niobe (Star Trek newsletter)

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Title: Beta-Niobe
Publisher: Beta-Niobe, a fan club out of the UK
Editor(s): varies
Date(s): 1981(?)-May 1985
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
Language: English
External Links:
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Beta-Niobe is a newsletter for the UK Star Trek fan club Beta-Niobe.

Regarding the covers, a 1984 comment from the May issue: "We had a complaint last year that it was difficult to tell which was the last issue, and so on, because they all looked the same. This was why we decided to try a different colour each issue."

August 1983

Beta-Niobe August 1983 contains 17 pages.

cover of August 1983 issue
inside art from August 1983, not credited
  • club officers: chairman—Denise Pennington, secretary—Jennie Gough, membership secretary—Jan Burton, treasurer - Graham Armitage, printing—Graham and Barbara Amritage
  • an untitled poem by Jennie
  • a very short story in scriptform by Geraldine Page called "The Trials of 'Yer Man'"
  • an interview, see Why ST? A 1983 Interview with Mr and Mrs Armitage
  • club members want to raise money in order to create a zine; they are asking for donated items to sell at a table at Empathiccon II in Liverpool next February
  • a quiz, and answers (one question was how much of the Enterprise crew was female: answer is 1/3)
  • Warped Space: short jokes (one is mildly racist)
  • "Cosmic Considerations," a poem by Susan McCutchen, reprinted from W.K.F.S.'s mini journal
  • a con report for Triple C Con, see that page
  • book review of Triangle, see that page
  • con report for Sol III, see that page
  • "A Moment Shared," fiction about Chekov first meeting Captain Kirk by Jennie Gough
  • "To Touch!", poem by Jennie Gough
  • list of UK zines, cons, clubs, and one series of tape shows
  • the editorial is by Jennie Gough—in it, she notes this is the club's third year, was glad to see folks at Sol III (but wished to have seen more people in club shirts), writes of "the zine that's almost ready," welcomes some American members
  • it is mentioned that William Shatner was "enjoying great success over here with T.J. Hooker, and said Leonard Nimoy would "be in the Director's chair on some future episodes and indeed Leonard does appear in an episode shortly where he plays the part of a rapist. March appeared in an episode alongside her husband some weeks back."
  • regarding Sol III and Walter Koenig:
    The British members of the W.K.F.S. had a get together at Sol III. Walter came along and we all chatted together for some time. He told us all about his book 'The Dolmen,' and many other things connected to the Trek scene. He did in no way disappoint his British fans, he was witty, charming and very good at putting us all at ease. He signed a few autographs and posed for photographs. He was pleased to receive his copy of Beta-Niobe's newsletter and thanked us all. I feel Walter made a lot of new fans and friends at this, his first British convention, and I know when he returns again (which he said he would like to) he will be greeted by a great welcome.

  • an open letter by Lynn Campion regarding some actions of fans at cons regarding poor behavior and accidents regarding the smoke alarms—an excerpt:
    Early last year, at a convention in Liverpool, the fire alarm was set off by accident. A few months later, at UFP, the alarm was again raised, this time by the disco using smoke bombs without prior warning to the hotel. Then, at Midcon - a good and friendly convention - "the alarm was set off at 3am Saturday morning, apparently as a joke this time. It was not a joke, far from it, in fact. No-one knew it was a false alarm so many people, their slumber interrupted, left the hotel to walk into the cold Leicester night. The fire alarm was again set off at the Grand Hotel in Birmingham, at Sol III, by the disco's smoke bomb effect... had I not been in the disco at the time I wouldn't have known the reason for the alarm though I understand the hotel had been warned on this occasion. Now, it may seem like something of a lark to set off the fire alarm but have you ever stopped to think of the consequences of such an action? Have you thought what would happen if, God forbid, there should be a real fire? Judging by the number of people outside the hotel in Leicester on that Saturday morning, had there really been a fire, many people possibly wouldn't be here now. Many, if not all of you, will have heard about the terrible tragedies suffered in American hotel fires; we should be more vigilant, complacency is dangerous.

May 1984

cover of the May 1984 issue
inside page from May 1984, artist is not credited, but the art is signed "MSY"

Beta-Niobe May 1984 contains 17 pages.

  • there is an apology:
    Hallo, everyone, and welcome to another newsletter. We have to begin this issue with an apology. Some of you will have sent in articles to be printed in the newsletters, and will be wondering why we seem to have ignored these. Up until last newsletter each issue was compiled by Jennie and so all items for inclusion in the newsletters were sent to her, she then passed them on to us for printing. Unfortunately, despite numerous letters to her, we have not heard anything from Jennie for several months and therefore any items for the newsletters have not been passed to us. We do apologise for this, and would ask that if any of you have articles for future newsletters, to please pass them on to us or Jan.

August 1984

Beta-Niobe August 1984 contains 20 pages.

cover of August 1984 issue
art from the August 1984 issue
Live Long and Prosper
Out there, that-a-way
USS Enterprise, NCC 1701
Beam me up, Scotty
Ahead Warp Factor One
I am and always shall be your friend
  • a con report for Space Trek #3, see that page
  • a vague, positive description of the new Trek movie
  • "ST III and Beyond", a review by Jan Burton of the new movie, includes speculation about what the next movie will be about, ends with "So here begins the long wait till ST 4. The only consolation is the thought of all the lovely new zines that will inevitably spring up after such an open ending."
  • a quote quiz
  • two full pages of photos from Star Trek: The Search for Spock (four photos in total)
  • the Genesis II Star Trek Fan Club (out of Birmingham) is compiling a booklet of available zines
  • word find by Maggie Symon
  • part two of the story by Sharon Lowe, "Kirk's Goddaughter" ("Kirk's Goddaughters" in part one—summary: Andrea (Andy) is Kirk's godchild, she is a historian who knows everything about Tudor England, she has long, dark luxurious hair, she is charming and has a terminal illness which she hides from everyone except McCoy, there is an intense death scene with Chekov kissing her forehead, she survives due to a serum Spock finds, and she and Chekov become engaged. The end.)
  • the editor makes a decision about spoilers:
    Welcome to another newsletter, and first I would like to apologise in advance to those of you who haven't yet seen the new movie and don't want to know a thing about it until you have. We considered keeping out all mention of the movie until the next newsletter, to give everyone a chance to see ST3, but since the newsletters axe quarterly that would have meant all the info and reviews on the movie received by us so far being very outdated by the time we printed them (and we hope to have more reviews and ideas on the movie from members in time for the next newsletter... hint, hint!). So I have headed all references to the new movie with 'ST3' written somewhere in the title (I am nothing if not logical... well, sometimes, anyway) so that any of you who don't want to read about the movie can skip over those bits and then read them later when you've seen it. Hopefully many of you will have seen the movie by the time you receive this issue as it is opening about the second week of August in many places. I expect you are all as delighted as I am to see our beloved TV series back on screen again. I'm certainly enjoying watching all the earlier episodes again, especially as there are some which I still have not managed to see yet. Also Channel 4 will be showing us ST:TMP shortly, and I believe this is to be the longer version (including about 10 minutes missed out in the movie version) which I have not seen myself, but have been told is not to be missed.

  • on diversity, and dread:
    It really does reflect how diverse fans' opinions can be, as for example two of my favourite episodes were named in the Least Favourite Episode list - 'A Piece of the Action* and 'Whom Gods Destroy'. "Right?" "CheckI" I was most relieved that 'Spock's Brain' stayed well out of the Favourite Episode category. That along with 'And the Children Shall Lead' and 'Plato's Stepchildren* send me cowering into the nearest corner with embarrassment. I have a mortal dread of someday being presented with steward duties at a Con to screen these 3 episodes. Actually it would be fascinating to see who turned up to watch them!

  • in "ST 3 and the Triple Bill," by Barbara Armitage, a fan writes of some clearly desperate and disappointed press people; the article is about a private screening of the new movie that was supposed to be some sort of a fan event; the fan goes back to the theater the next day to see all three movies which were shown in succession:
    Out of the blue recently I received a telephone call from a fellow fan -- there was a special press showing of ST3 at the local ABC which she was unable to attend, could I go along in uniform to represent the Trekkers and pose for a photo? At the mention of getting another chance to see ST3, of course I said 'Yes' - only afterwards wondering if I was feeling quite sane at the time promising to go along in costume when 1 didn't know who else would be there. The morning of the press showing dawned and I duly made my way to the cinema, wondering how many other fans would be there (it was too short notice for me to round up any of my friends, the ones who could come hadn't got a uniform and it was admittance by uniform only. The answer was — none! Just me and 3 press people. But by that time it was too late to go home and I did want to see the film, so in I went. In fact I had a lovely morning, we were given coffee beforehand and after the film we had sandwiches and drinks, and there were some handouts of photos and information about the film for attendees of the showing, so I was given one of these too. I had a nice chat about fandom in general with one of the journalists, and of course it was great seeing the movie with just 3 other people in the huge cinema, as I was able to hear all the lines.

November 1984

cover of the November 1984 issue
art from the November 1984 issue
  • the editor writes:
    We begin with an apology from Jennie Watkins, to anyone who is waiting for a letter etc from her. Unfortunately Jennie's family have had some health problems this year and consequently Jennie has been very busy and unable to answer letters as quickly as she would like. Her new address is [redacted] and Jennie assures us that she is still with us and hopes to get up to date with letters etc as soon as she can. Jennie is still in charge of the club zine, so anyone who has material for the zine please send it on to her. We do need more zine material so all donations will be gratefully received: I would also like to apologise if any of the items in this N/L may seem a little dated - the reason for this is that we received a batch of articles which had been sent quite a long time ago but have only just reached us for printing. We didn't feel it fair to those people who had taken the time and trouble to submit articles just to ignore them because they weren't quite 'hot news' and so have included them in the N/L this time. We'd like to say a big THANK YOU to those people who have sent in items for the N/l's - we've even reached the stage where we have a small 'reserve' of articles, mainly stories, artwork and puzzles, which we can keep back for the next issue, but those won't last forever so we still need as much from you out there as possible in the way of N/L items.

  • there are two con reports for Galileo Con, see that page
  • "Look at Me?" poem by Jennie Watkins
  • comments by Jim Nolan about the first DC Star Trek comics
  • an printed extract from The Washington Post, April 21, 1983 in which Leonard Nimoy talks about the first Star Trek movie
  • Why Star Trek? A 1984 Interview with Chris Bignell, see that page
  • An 1984 Interview with Carla Salveta, see that page
  • "Alfo Priol," fiction by Maggie Symon
  • a fan, Sharon Lowe, writes "A Trip to London and ST III"
  • a book review by Jan Burton of "My Enemy, My Ally" by Diane Duane, it begins with: "The biggest compliment I can pay this book is to say that if it were not fro the fact that you are holding a paperback you'd think you were reading a zine." It ends with: " "It has plenty of depth, adventure, humor and imaginative resourcefulness, so read it."
  • "Out & About in Darkest Vulcan," a satiric look at Vulcan phrases, by Jan Burton
  • "What is Fandom?" a poem by Diane Susan Spencer

February 1985

Beta-Niobe February 1985 contains 21 pages.

cover of February 1985 issue
art from the February 1985 issue
  • "Relapse," fiction by Sharon Lowe, another story in the "Kirk's Goddaughter" series, starring Andy the historian (to be continued in the next issue)
  • quote quiz
  • an article by Stephen Bell, see Star Trek: The Banned Episodes
  • a con report for Santacon, see that page
  • "A Letter Home from an Enterprise Crew Member After the Incident with Khan," fiction by Jan Burton
  • "Fate Worse Than Death," fiction by Maggie Symon
  • "Figure in the Darkness," fiction, the author is not credited
  • a word search
  • information/announcement about Gene Roddenberry's Hollywood star
  • an account of a an "Empathy Get-Together," a fan gathering on November 3, 1984
  • Star Trek Diary, by Maggie Symon, a collection of recent Star Trek mentions in popular culture
  • the editor writes:
    Welcome to another newsletter. It seems a long time ago now, but we hope you all enjoyed Christmas. Firstly, we have a temporary Membership Secretary in the shape of Dee Pennington. Jan hasn't left us, but is having a break from her club duties for the moment and Bee has kindly offered to take over until Jan is ready to take up her job again. Thanks, Dee. Secondly, we are looking for a new printer for the newsletters. It is a little doubtful at the moment whether we are going to keep our small printing machine on, and if we do decide to part with it we will have to look elsewhere to get our newsletters done. As it would be a great pity to lose the club altogether for want of a printer, if any of you know of someone who could take over the printing of the H/Ls, we 'd he pleased to hear from you. At present it isn't a big job - 60 copies at the moat, although of course we are always hoping for an expanding membership! We have a caption contest this N/L - if you can think up a good caption for the illustration at the back of this issue (kindly drawn by Maggie Symon -thanks, Maggie) please send us your ideas. The winner will receive a selection of our stickers. Finally, enjoy the N/L.

May 1985

cover of May 1985 issue

Beta-Niobe May 1985 contains 24 pages. This is the last newsletter as the club is shutting down.

  • a quote quiz and a word find
  • a untitled poem by Ann Long and Sharon Lowe (a love poem about Spock)
  • a con report for Sol III, see that page
  • "Albion II," fiction by Maggie Symon, features Gary Mitchell
  • info on the Gene Roddenberry Hollywood star project
  • "Relapse," fiction by Sharon Lowe, part two of the story begun in the last issue, stars Andy the bravely ailing historian
  • there is info about the Midcon Special, created for fans (DeForest Kelly could not attend the October Midcon due to filming commitments, so postponed his visit to the UK to April)
  • from Jan:
    As some of you may already be aware, the club has been going through a few difficulties over the past 12 months. It is with sadness that we now have to announce that this will be Beta Niobe's final newsletter. The club has, since the beginning back in 1981, relied heavily on the support and generosity of both time and effort of Barbara and Graham Armitage, our printers. Wow they are moving on from printing into other areas of business less directly related to the needs of publishing regular Trek N/Ls. I would personally like to take this opportunity to wish them every success in their new venture. I would also like to say that I have taken great personal pleasure in the making of new friends through Beta Niobe. There is no doubting my life has been enriched due to Star Trek and a good deal of that can be attributed to Beta Niobe. There are, of course, always a few people who deserve special note at times like this and on a personal level I would like to mention Sarah and Jennie who, in the early days, devoted a lot of time and energy to the establishing of the club; Geraldine and the Northern Ireland bunch, Sue, Paul and Ann for their remarkable friendship; once again Barbara and Graham for their unfailing energy, patience and friendship; but perhaps above all Dee Pennington who was my introduction into the incredible world of Trek fandom. She got Beta Niobe off the ground in the first place and has picked me up off the ground a good few times since. Thank you Dee, and thank you all of you.

  • from Barbara:
    I would like to add my thanks to Jan's, to all those people who have helped with the club and to all those people who have been our friends (and I hope still will be, despite the club's demise). Especially I'd like to thank Maggie Symon and Sharon Lowe who have "been regular contributors to our N/Ls, and without whom the issues would have been rather thin! The winner of last issue's caption contest is Lesley Atkinson, who sent in 5 different captions - the one we liked best is "I told you, Dr McCoy, I can do anything better than you." Lesley will be receiving a selection of our Trek stickers. We are also sending some stickers to Maggie Symon, who was the only other person to send in a caption - we think she deserves a prize for just bothering to write!