Bored of Review

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Title: Bored of Review
Creator: Paula Smith
Date(s): March 1981-late 1983
Medium: print
External Links:
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Bored of Review was a regular feature by Paula Smith in five issues of the print zine Warped Space.

Smith also wrote several related essays in the letterzine S and H. See Why Review, How to Review, and What and Whom to Review in 1982.

"Bored of Review" is a loose continuation of the zine review column by Sharon Ferraro called Notes from Captain Dunsel in Menagerie between 1973 and 1976 [1], something Smith explains up front: In the column's debut in 1981, Smith wrote:

Here you are, folks, a brand-spang new feature exclusively for you readers of WARPED SPACE. (And if this looks suspiciously like an old feature from some other fanzine ... shh.)

At least two of the reviews were reprints from the letterzine S and H, something that is not noted in Warped Space.

Comments by Smith: 1981

We started the first review column (first 'Notes from Cap'n Dunsel,' later 'Bored of Review') because we wanted to publish our reactions to the zines we'd read. Our only positive crusade, good writing, we carried out in part by refusing what we considered poor stories, and critiquing in depth the ones we too on. [2]

Format and Philosophy

From the column's debut:

Most of the 'zines are getting to be non-Trek these days, which presents a special challenge to the reviewer to check her prejudices. But it's still fandom, and still a Way of Life, and a good 'zine is still a joy forever.

After each review there are three numbered ratings, my opinion about the Content (writing quality or originality), Graphics (standard of artwork and lay out), and $ Worth (value for money paid). More precisely:


1) Badly written or totally illiterate
2) Generally poor, nothing outstanding
5) Average, all mediocre or both good and had
4) Generally good, nothing really bad
6) Well-written and intelligent


1) Rotten art or blotched printing, lost pages, etc.
2) Occasionally faded printing
5) Readable thruout; art mostly resembles subjects
4) Competent artwork
5) Superb art and layout

$ Worth

1) Borrow it
2) Caveat emptor; buy it only if you're a completist
3) Up to you
4) Recommended, esp. if you can get it without postage
5) Gold. Buy it

Warped Space 45

Legends of the Lost Weyr #1, Gryffon's Star, Games of Love and Duty, One Way Mirror, Echerni: The Lightfleet Letters, Paladin #1 (reprinted from S and H), Zebra Three #5 (reprinted from S and H)

Warped Space 46

Dagger of the Mind, The Price and the Prize, Sun and Shadow, Cheap Thrills #1, Future Wings Flypast, Sol Plus #8

Warped Space 47

Nome v.2 n.1, Pegasus #5, The Pawn of Leptos

Warped Space 48

Trinary #1 and #2, Skywalker #6, Passage to Arms, Imperial Entanglements, Fesarius #5, Half You, Half Me #1, Strange Justice, Syndizine #3

Warped Space 49

Irish Fool Special, April Fool Special, and The Sentimental Fool Special, Timberlake Sendings, Pegasus #6, Galactic Discourse #4, Vault of Tomorrow #4, Pushin' the Odds, The Faces of Time #3, The U.N.C.L.E. Special #1

Fan Comments

I don't know if I'm looking forward to Paula Smith's 'zine review columns ... she seems to hate everything. I like Jane Aumerle's reviews better ... even when she's criticizing something, she does it in a constructive manner. [3]

A new feature made its debut in WS #45, the 'Bored of Review' column. Paula's reviews are concise, witty, and she does not mince words -- a good guide for the cautious zine buyer. [4]

The best part of the "Bored of Review" this time 'round is the quote from Tom Lehrer. Glad Paula didn't use any of the good professor's riper quotes from his song about "smut!" Seriously, folks, Paula's reviews do seem to offer a valid set of criteria by which to judge a 'zine, for that she's to be commended. She's even willing to say something nice about the most unredeemed scrodfodder. And I am not against Trek erotica of the well-written, heterosexual ilk. Heaven knows I have enough early issues of GRUP in my file as well as Jean Lorrah's TWIN MOONS collections.

I'm just not a K/S fan and miss reading the straight stuff because 'zines like OBSC'ZINE print both genres. That, then, is another valuable service Paula rendered this time around in identifying which adult Trekzines print K/S to save straight fen like myself from unwelcome surprises. Many a writer could benefit, incidentally, by taking Paula's comments on plot and characterization to heart. In any case, regardless of Smith's subject of review and whether or not I agree with it, I like to read her feature just for the gems of wit and wisdom usually contained therein, such as, "Inciting prurience is no fault in a story; inciting boredom, is." [5]

Paula's reviews are not as waspish as they used to be -- the merciless criticisms of "Cassandra's Rebirth" come to mind — I still hope she never gets her claws on anything of mine — call me chicken, call me sane, I don't care. [6]

My venom fangs are simply dripping — unlike Paula Smith's, who has really softened up since WS's early years. Is it maturity or decay?[7]

I always enjoy Paula's review column. Nice to see what one other fan has to say about 'zines, although sometimes she seems a bit harsh[8]

... I'm glad to see a 'zine review column. I always enjoyed "Bored of Review" in MENAGERIE and am happy it's still with us. [9]

Paula Smith's "Bored of Review" looks like a fine idea. I especially like her rating system (and could I provide a couple of candidates for CONTENTS: 1 and 2 if I really felt nasty!)[10]

Paula Smith's criterion are rigid, but fair. If she likes it, she says so, if she doesn't, she says why. I may not agree with all her judgments, but I can't accuse her of honing an axe for anyone, or injecting personal remarks to make a point. Good show, and I hope she never gets her claws into GRIP! [11]

The "Bored of Review" was most informative and, like any good review, made me want to read the material described.[12]

I enjoyed "Bored of Review"—I always find reviews worthwhile, and since I agreed with the opinions on the listings I have read, I feel confident I can take Paula Smith's views as a good indication as to whether to order a 'zine she mentions or not.[13]

"Bored of Review"—nice to see a review column in the 'zine, but why this one? Paula doesn't seem to like anything! One comment on her review of GRYFFON'S STAR, specifically Jane's story (and this bit is from Jane, who will likely write her own letter one of these days on it) — what is this thing you have about "eight foot Amazons", Paula? In case you didn't read it very well, and you obviously didn't. Daemon is 6'5", not 8' as you said. I realize that to a person of 5'4" that's incredibly tall, but to someone of 6', as Jane is, it's not. And I notice you haven't had anything nasty to say about her heroine Sheen's height, who is also better than six feet tall. Tall people write tall characters—we're not all shrimps, kid. If you're bored of review then why are you doing it?

I am now waiting for the lightsaber review I'm sure you're going to give of FACETS in retaliation ...[14]

I liked "Bored of Review". I'd only read one of the 'zines listed and felt her comments fair as far as that one went. And having all the ordering information and prices available is handy. But I hope she'll review some SW 'zines in the next issue; they were noticeably absent in this review.[15]

The main reason I wanted to write is to say how much I enjoyed "Bored of Review," especially Paula's discussion of standards in WS 5O. [16]


  1. ^ While this column ran between 1973 and 1976, formal reviews only appeared in three issues in 1976.
  2. ^ from the editorial in the final issue of Menagerie, by Paula Smith
  3. ^ from an LoC in "Warped Space" #45
  4. ^ from Jundland Wastes #4
  5. ^ from Warped Space Supplement, LOCs for #46-#47 (letters were written in 1981-82, but not printed until 1983)
  6. ^ from Warped Space Supplement, LOCs for #46-#47 (letters were written in 1981-82, but not printed until 1983)
  7. ^ from Warped Space Supplement, LOCs for #46-#47 (letters were written in 1981-82, but not printed until 1983)
  8. ^ from Warped Space Supplement, LOCs for #46-#47 (letters were written in 1981-82, but not printed until 1983)
  9. ^ from "Warped Space" #46
  10. ^ from "Warped Space" #46
  11. ^ from "Warped Space" #46
  12. ^ from "Warped Space" #46
  13. ^ from "Warped Space" #46
  14. ^ from "Warped Space" #46
  15. ^ from "Warped Space" #46
  16. ^ from "Warped Space" #51