Bird of Paradise (Starsky & Hutch zine)

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Zine
Title: Bird of Paradise
Publisher: Leviathon Press, though these other presses are cited: The Athanor Press & Mahko Root Press
Editor: Penny Warren
Author(s): Gloria Galasso
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): Cynthia Mellon
Date(s): 1985, 1990
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links:
front cover of the 1985 edition
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Bird of Paradise is an explicit slash Starsky and Hutch 254-page novel by Gloria Galasso. It is a coded crossover with OCs who most fans believed were based on Led Zeppelin. According to the author, however, the OCs (Derek Quinn and Allyn Sterling) were instead based on real people in a lesser known band.[1]

It was available in some form (probably much smaller, and very different) as a pass-around story.[2]

It was proposed as a zine in 1980 and was published in that form ten years later.

Bird of Paradise was later rewritten as original fiction and published in 2013 under a pen name.[3]

a 1981 flyer from S and H #28
a 1984 flyer

Notable for Being Long in the Making

This zine is well known for a number of reasons, one of which how long it took to be published.

In 1985, a fan wrote a tongue-in-cheek history of Starsky and Hutch fandom for The Paul Muni Special convention program book. In it, she poked fun at two zines that stood out in her mind:
Probably, though, fandom began in Somebody's mind as an answer to the questions: what'll I do with my time? my money? my postage stamps? Soon afterwards, Somebody Else got the idea to publish S&H stories as written by unknown authors in things called fanzines. Fanzines are not run by electricity nor do they cool the air. They are entertaining, however, usually, anyway, with the possible exception of JUDGE & JURY, on which the verdict is Death by Mimeograph, and BIRD OF PARADISE, which has flown the coop (as has my deposit.) [4]

The Road To Publication, Some "Postcards" from the Trip

From Datazine #1 (January 1980): "An S/H novel by Gloria Galasso, due in maybe late spring. Age statement required."

From S and H #6 (January 1980): "We were dead lucky in finding an 'outside' illustrator willing to work for pleasure and challenge, and are very proud of her participation in the project. In case there's anyone out there who hasn't heard, Cynthia's just been nominated for the Best Fan Artist Hugo."

From S and H #27 (November 1981): "FORTHCOMING: 'Bird of Paradise," the novella by Gloria Galasso, will be printed and available in early '82. This zine deals with adult themes."

From S and H #30 (February 1982): "BoP is a section out of another, much larger, corpus of work called The Leviathor which is already over fifteen hundred pages long and spans the working history of a major rock band over fifteen years... BoP originally ran right at 400 pages at a line and a half. Even allowing for the use of double space on the re-write (the 'zine will be single spaced. Indentation will have to suffice to separate paragraphs) the story in already one third longer than the original."

From a letter by the author to fans who had sent SASEs and/or deposits (March 11, 1984): "We are enormously pleased by the anticipation of all who have inquired about and/or purchased Bird of Paradise. And we are very grateful for your patience! Hopefully, you will bear with us a little bit longer. Gloria swears she will have the bird flying by this summer or die trying. And we hope to include some really fantastic artwork by Freda Hyatt."

From Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #4 (July 1987): "I'd just recently run across the flyer for it in my files, and was also planning to make an inquiry. Last I heard from them, which was back in '85, they were still planning to publish. And I only extracted that bit of info after about 6 months' worth of SASE's. I'm betting my $10.00 is long gone."

From Frienz #5 (August 1989): "'Bird of Paradise'... who know? Every fandom has one like this? More of fandom's rich tapestry? I heard that it is still being edited/re-written, under new management. It can't have been a mirage; I have my receipt for the dollars paid for a copy ten years ago."

From Snitch #18 (August 1990), an ad: "In 1982 (or thereabouts), the publication of BIRD OF PARADISE was announced. The author and publisher were immediately plunged into a life-changing whirlpool that resulted in an unprecedented nine-year wait for those faithful S/H readers who subscribed. Well, your wait is over. BIRD OF PARADISE will be released at the S&H Convention in Los Angeles in October, 1990. We still have our list of names of subscribers, but we are certain that over the past decade many of you have moved. Therefore, if you are one of our original subscribers, PLEASE WRITE TO US RIGHT AWAY! Let us know your address, phone number, whether you want to pick your copy up at the convention or if you want to receive it via UPS, and—especially important—how you would like your name to appear on the frontispiece of the book. The cost of BIRD OF PARADISE for original subscribers and depositors will remain the same: $15.00 plus postage. We feel that you will be pleased with the end result in spite of the long wait!"

From Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #21 (September 1990): "Good news that 'Bird of Paradise' is finally on the wing. That new editorship has achieved an effective launching. (Is that a mixed metaphor?) I have my original order/receipt for a copy -- almost a historical document -- dated 1981. Will be good to read again in actual zine form."

Summary from a 1984 Flyer

When rock star Allyn Sterling's seven year old daughter is kidnapped, Starsky and Hutch find themselves thrust into the bizarre and Perilous nightworld of rock and roll. Money and glamour are only a facade that crumbles away, revealing a life of desperation and old hatreds. Is the kidnapper simply after the million-dollar ransom? Or is there something more? Everyone says the singer for Leviathon has no enemies, but the coldly ambitious guitarist, Derek Quinn, has plenty. Is someone trying to destroy Derek through Allyn? Starsky and Hutch must try to protect both men, from others and from themselves, while trying to salvage the remnants of their own disintegrating friendship.

Image Sample Gallery

Comments By the Author 28 Years After the 1990 Zine Was Published

The author comments on the pro book this zine became:

When I started Bird of Paradise it was a contemporary story and right on the burning edge. The idea that two lovers of the same sex could have, let alone deserved to have, a story in which neither died and were relatively happy at the end, was startling and avant-garde. There were other people that I knew were writing m/m fiction, mostly fan-fiction, and mostly Kirk/Spock. It was almost as if it was okay for them – because Spock was an alien, who knew what he might do, or want, or need?

In fact, at first, BoP was meant to be fan-fic, too. The plot wasn’t, but I added them in to appeal to that readership. The main characters in my novel are fictional musicians, not characters from a television show or a movie, drawn from friends and acquaintances. Oh yeah, Starsky and Hutch were in there, mostly to lure readers from fandom into taking a look at it. In those benighted years, long before personal computers – not to mention the internet, I didn’t know who else would read it.

Now, all these years later, it is at least a “retro” story, if not all the way to “historical.” The two cops in the book don’t resemble Starsky or Hutch in the slightest. They are just two guys who have had an experience and are trying to figure out if it was just the alcohol after a party or if it is something more. The musicians have changed and grown and flourished as they have gotten farther and farther from their original inspiration. And now I think I am producing a much more nuanced and taut, maybe even more mature, story.

Today there are loads of gay light fiction books being written, published, and extensively read by a vast readership. Instead of being a front runner, Bird of Paradise will just be one more among many. But the message will still be the same: love has no gender, everyone is worthy of love, and everyone deserves to find love in their lives in whatever way it manifests for them.

Do I wish that Bird of Paradise was all behind me, published back then as fan-fic so that I could have gone on and written so much more, so much that I might really be an “author” by now? Yes, sometimes I do. It was written and re-written during a huge transition period in my own life. Maybe if I had done it that way the door on that past could have been closed long ago.

But honestly, no. No, I am glad it has taken this long. I think both of us have benefited from the years between.

It is being finished now, during another big transition in my life. So it comes full circle, and there is something almost fated in that. No, it really is better now. It’s a better book, and I am a better writer because of it. And its message, that love is for everyone, has not gotten old and will not. No matter how much time passes.[5]

Fan Comments

1994

My favorite part of the novel, is the comparison of the two couple's relationship. Derek and Allyn have great sex, which they are relatively open about; they both know that the other is bi-sexual. Unfortunately, neither of them is willing to talk about their feelings for each other; after 10 years of deliberate emotional guarding, each one believes he is the only one who loves the other... Starsky and Hutch have no doubt that they each are loved by each other. However, they have recently had sex together for the first time, were both enormously freaked out by it, and have been unable to talk about it ever since, calling in to question everything they thought they knew about each other, including their ability to work together.

The comparison between the two couple's problems is what makes the novel.[6]

2000

If you use several points of view, and especially if you use *both* Starsky's and Hutch's in a story where each is wondering about the other's

feelings, it has to be done very carefully or you'll lose all the narrative tension. There are ways of giving several different points of view without giving away too much - Gloria G. did it very well in Bird of Paradise. I think the way she did it was to make each person's pov so *intensely* personal, full of references that meant something only to that individual and not to the reader, that the reader still had to figure out the very complex picture from slightly obscure, disjointed references.

I don't mean obscure in a negative way here. It was like being allowed right into somebody's mind, right down to individual thought patterns. I don't, for example, think to myself 'What's happening here reminds me of that New Year's Eve in 1977 when the bottle of champagne exploded and we had to redecorate the entire living room' --- instead, I would think something like 'just like 77, what a mess!' And of course that still leaves a lot for the reader to figure out.

I enjoyed that kind of style very much, but it must be very difficult to do. [7]

2002

I don't believe the net invented "immediate gratification" -- I think television did that long before the net existed. As fan readers and writers we do have a tendency to want more fiction *right away* -- but I think we always did. However, the reality of zine culture, where it took a lot of time and expense to collect stories, edit them, type them up, produce them into a zine and then *hand collate* them, meant that fans accepted that they had to wait. Sometimes years. Ask any veteran fan about Bird of Paradise. ;-) However, I don't believe that if pre-net print zines had been easy to produce that fans wouldn't have been impatient for more of them and to have them produced quicker -- they just didn't have that choice. [8]

2005

Starsky and Hutch is my first, and was for years my only, fandom. Although I had watched the first season during it's original airing, I didn't know TV shows other than Star Trek had "fans." I found S&H by accident, when I went on the Internet trying to find out if Teri White had any new books coming out, and happened upon her stories in the S&H Gen Archive. I added Tris and Alex a year ago (it was BIRD OF PARADISE'S fault, an S&H crossover which might as well be Tris & Alex as far as I'm concerned), which I found out about at last year's SHareCon when Rosemary mentioned it during a discussion of Real People slash. The only Tris & Alex story I could find online was a crossover with "From Eroica With Love," which is now my third fandom. The author of that story was kind enough to make me copies of all her collected Tris and Alex stories... [9]

2011

About all I remember of the zine is that after waiting ten years for it, I was terribly disappointed to discover it wasn't an SH story, but a story about a couple of rock stars in which Starsky and Hutch merely appeared. [10]
It definitely wasn't focused on SH, and at that time, that's what we were expecting. If you liked the other characters (tropes of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page), it was pretty good. IF I recall correctly! 8-/ I haven't reread it, though it's around here somewhere. [11]

References

  1. Gloria Galasso. Email to gardeners list. April 13, 2010.
  2. "Good news that 'Bird of Paradise' is finally on the wing. That new editorship has achieved an effective launching... I have my original order/receipt for a copy -- almost a historical document -- dated 1981. Will be good to read again in actual zine form." -- from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #21 (September 1990)
  3. Gloria Galasso. Email to gardeners list. November 5, 2013.
  4. by Ima Fool, 1985
  5. A Duck in the Hen Yard, Archived version, February 13, 2013
  6. In 1994, Sandy Herrold posted this review of the zine to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  7. comment on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (January 17, 2000)
  8. comments by Flamingo, quoted with permission from Venice Place Mailing List, (March 29, 2002)
  9. comments from The Pits Mailing List, quoted anonymously (December 13, 2005)
  10. comments to Zinelist, quoted anonymously (November 3, 2011)
  11. comments to Zinelist, quoted anonymously (November 14, 2011)