Bright Center of the Universe

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Title: Bright Center of the Universe
Publisher: Ming Wathne & Soaring Wings Press
Date(s): 1991-2001
Medium: print
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Wars
Language: English
External Links: Many 'Bright Center' stories can be found online here (as of 2013 the website is offline)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Bright Center of the Universe is a gen Star Wars fiction zine.

The zine ran for 11 issues.

A Bit of Same Sex

While the contents of this zine series was gen and het, the first issue contains one Han/Luke slash story and two Han/Luke poems; all three of these fanworks are not explicit. See Stopover for fan reactions to this story.

Zine guidelines printed in the second issue specifically stated that this content would be allowed, but not with any "established characters."

However, after the first issue, there were no other same sex stories, poems, or art.

Corellian Gamble

The zine editor had a contest called the "Corellian Gamble." Fans could have their name entered in a drawing for a free zine if they wrote a substantial Letter of Comment.

Issue 1

Ming Wathne wrote: "In Remembrance of Mary E. Thomas, A Marvelous Craftswoman. The Falcon reproduced on these pages was originally drawn over 20 years ago. The original had a wing spread of 30 inches and was executed in pencil on white cotton sheeting. It was to be the center of a hand-worked quilt that was never completed. She was a talented, wonderful person. My Mother"
back cover of issue #1, Martynn (spelled "Martyne" in the table of contents)

Bright Center of the Universe 1 was published in 1991 and is 168 pages long. It won the 1991 Star aWards for 'Best Star Wars Zine.'

It is dedicated to "George Lucas who gave us a galaxy to play in and to the authors, artists, puzzle makers, and editors who have kept that galaxy alive."

Art by Z.P. Florian, Rick, Ed Schultheis, Martynn, Rebecca Carey, and Wanda Lybarger.

The editorial:
Hay! I I am going to do a zine! — That is what I told my friends. The response was more or less expected, after all you see I have never done one before, I can't spell and my idea of punctuation is to toss cunfeddy up in the air and see where it lands, and most of all you do not try and get a 150 plus page zine out in 3 and a half months, so the "Ming you are crazy!" "Ming you are Nuts" (so what else is new) and the hysterical laughter after the shocked silence was not entirely unexpected. And at this point I want to thank all the artists, authors and the others, and especially my GHOST, the person who so valiantly walked in to handle the assorted technical language difficulties and data entry, for doing an incredible job. And if you find words misspelled in this little notice, even the spell checker had to give up in some cases, and I would not let the GHOST change anything. Please LOC and let us know how you liked this effort. It was a labor and your comments will only help us make it better next time - and yes, there's a next time! (You can bet) Thanks and enjoy.
  • Afternoon by Dylan-Marie Antone (1)
  • Fail Safe by J.A. Berger (4)
  • Puzzle by Linda Van Diver (21)
  • Interiors (Five Cantos) by Rebecca Carrey. Winner of the Star aWards 1991 'Best Star Wars Poem' (22)
  • I Knew a Guy Once by H. Sapiento (30)
  • Trapped by Z.P. Florian (42)
  • Puzzle by Linda Van Diver (45)
  • Preventative Measures by P. Nussman and J. Taero (47)
  • Play It Again, Han, filk by Maggie Nowakowska ("I Always Thought Han's Theme Should Have a Little Sax... (Melody: As Time Goes By, with apologies to Herman Huppfeld)") Won 1991 Star aWards 'Best Misc.' (55)
  • Selskit by Elise Dickensen (56)
  • Limerick by R. Cary (69)
  • Turning Point by Michelle Malkin (70)
  • A Song for Han, poem by F. Granger (Han/Luke, same sex romance, no graphic material) (73)
  • Stopover by Felicity Granger (Han/Luke, same sex romance, no graphic material) (74)
  • By Morning Light by F. Granger (Han/Luke, same sex romance, no graphic material) (80)
  • Gathering Darkness by Carolyn Golledge. Winner of Best Long Story Star aWards (Badly wounded in an attack by an Imperial refugee army, Solo is held hostage. Will Leia agree to their demands—even if it means risking the Alliance personnel in her command?) (81)
  • A New Beginning by Karen Estabrook (129)
  • Some Things Never Change by Carolyn Golledge (Leia's private journal from around the time of Star Wars: A New Hope. Also in Never Say Die in comic book form with illustrations by Zawinudin) (138)
  • The Adventures of Sollo by D. Kittle (147)
  • Odds by Maggie Nowakowska (155)
  • Art Portfolio by Wanda Lybarger (From the editor: "One thing in doing a zine, you learn to expect the unexpected. In this case, the Art arrived, but the story did not. Despite the hopes of the author and editor, the story is still in the hands of the Post Office at printing time. However, there will we another issue of Bright Center, and if we are lucky the PO will have delivered the story, and we will print these beautiful illos a second time. Until then, have as much fun as I did thinking up your own headings.") (157)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for Stopover.

[zine]: Praise to Ming, who shamed the doubters! In a very short time, BCOTU turned out to be a beautifully printed and typed zine, full of splendid stuff to read and to look at. I am trying to be short, but it is hard. This zine is like a verbal picture book of our favorite playground, the SW Universe.

"Afternoon" lets us catch a glimpse of a very young Luke, on a very boring Tatooine.

"Fail Safe" was incredibly exciting! and gave us Han at his absolute best! Han fans should frame this one! Action, adventure and great character, all in one story — a movie in itself.

"Interiors" — excellent SW poetry, great dialogue, flowing rhymes, mapping a relationship, as it grows.

"I Knew A Guy Once" — this story is even more interesting now, that Heir to the Empire is out, and deals with similar problems within the Alliance. The story gave me the shivers.

"Selskit"...she was the perfect pet for Han, and I felt very upset to sec her go. Please give us a sequel with Rita coming back! with at least 9 kittens! and a jealous husband. I wanna see Han's face!

"Limerick" untitled, and unforgettable!

"Turning Point" — a beautiful, and much too short vision of a very dark soul.

"A Song for Han," "Stopover", "By Morning Light" Leia's character in the story was great,and the love between Han and Luke beautifully pictured. But while in Star Trek there is plenty of room for a strongly sexual Kirk/Spock relationship, in SW I cannot see any possibility for Han or Luke to stop wanting Leia. But...I can be convinced. Write another story and show me how and when this relationship started.

"Gathering Darkness" — as we have learned to expect, Golledge is all action, heroism, pride and temper. Han gets his usual dose of torture, this time on television!

"A New Beginning" — another beautiful picture in the BCOTU album: the description of Han and Leia making love is very touching.

"Some Things Never Change" — this is an incredibly intimate and funny account of the chemistry between Han and Leia, and I enjoyed every word of it!

"Adventures of Sollo" — a veritable fireworks of wit. St. Baccachew tops it all!

"Odds" — I am always glad to read about Lando, and I always enjoy Nowakowska's unique style, so the story was a double delight.

The Lybarger portfolio was a story in itself. I didn't miss the words. And I loved the back cover.[1]

[zine]: I loved reading BCotU. It contained all of my favorite people and aside from a few spelling typos (which is, unfortunately, something I cringe at) it was really great.

The first thing I did was look for my story and since I got it at work I passed it around. I saw Wanda's art portfolio. She is so good and my favorite artist. I was drooling over these even if I had seen most of them somewhere else. [ed. If you are referring to the portfolio, you are mistaken! This is the first lime these have ever been printed. There are some somewhat similar in another Jeffords story. And no, the story will not be a reprint.]

The few reprints in the zine were nice. I hadn't read any of them so they were new to me. I loved Homer Sapiento's "I Knew a Guy Once." It was funny and sad and so well written. The author has the children's whining/arguing down nicely. Reminds me of what I was like with my brother and sister.

J.A. Berger's "Fail Safe" was a good adventure story. Using Han to send his "distress signal" was tricky at best since he doesn't believe in it, but then he'd be worried. I liked the end, quite amusing.

"Interiors" by R. Carey was great. Normally, poems are poems and some are cute but this one was really good. How did she find all those words to rhyme?! A really great job.

I laughed myself silly at "Trapped" by Z.P. Florian. It was hysterical! I have a Darth doll only but I can really relate this and the kids reacting to their mother playing with dolls was great.

Pat Nussman's and Jacqueline Taero's "Preventive Measures" brought out a new twist in the SW Universe. Started me thinking about what if the Mon Calamari were in league with the Empire. It would certainly bring about a quick and decisive end to the war with a victory to the Empire. I hope to see more of their slightly alternate/new characters stories in the near future. You two did a good job with this one.

Until I read BCotU, I had never read any same sex stories before. They have always been mentioned or hinted at by others. In regards to Felicity Granger's "Stopover" I tried to keep an open mind about it as I read it It was certainly different I can't picture Han and Luke together no matter how hard I try. I guess what I'm trying to say is, that if there were two other beings in the story, that would sit better with me personally than Han and Luke as a couple.

Now I come to one of my favorite authors: Carolyn Golledge and her story "Gathering Darkness." Just when I thought she couldn't possibly bring that wonderful Corellian to more pain and suffering, she proves me wrong. She must have a wicked imagination. I love it! Just another great story. I hope we see more of Hagren. (she is at least hinting that way) Her continuation " Some Things Never Change" was also an excellent story. He wasn't too badly damaged but it was great for Han to hear Leia's feelings for him changing.

Just a small change in my story. On page 105, the line should read "the look of distaste on his friend's face..." not father's face. Only Feluke knows he's Sollo and no one else.

Aside from that, I loved the whole zine but...yet I'm pretty easy to please. Just let me sit down with a SW zine and I'm a happy person. Although I didn't comment on every one of them, I enjoyed all the stories. You can run out of descriptive words rather quickly.

I loved the Falcon on the cover. It was beautiful. I can't wait for the next issue.[2]

[zine]: Well, I really enjoyed Bright Center #1. I liked the Falcon drawings, and I liked the way you used it on some of the interior pages. The illos were high quality all the way through. I particularly liked the Rebecca Carey illo on page 138. The Wanda Lybarger illos for the missing story were great too. I'v e always liked her work, and they really made me want to read the story.

I thought "Stopover" was a cute idea, and Felicity Granger handled it tastefully.

I liked J.A. Berger's characterization of Han and Leia (and Chewie) in 'Tail Safe" but I didn't like the characterization of Luke. I thought he was a bit too naive. The woman was a good nasty Imperial, though. I wouldn't have minded if they'd dumped her out the airlock.

I liked "Preventive Measures" a lot (even though it didn't have Han in it). Nussman and Taero really have a smooth, well polished style, and their handling of the characters was excellent The ending was perfect.

Carolyn Golledge does Leia very well, and "Some Things Never Change" was a good first person treatment. And "Odds" by Nowakowska was a good portrait of Lando.

I liked most of the stories, and I don't really have any other specific comments. It was a very good zine overall and I'm looking forward to the next one, and I will definitely work to get a story to you. [ed. As you see she did, and what a story.] [3]

[zine]: If Bright Center of the Universe is going to come out on a regular basis, I'll do my bit to get some interaction going here. To the authors: thank you for the inspiration, and I hope my asides don't discombobble you too much.

As for the zine itself, first, it's nice and simple and straightforward, just the way I like them. The comb binding allows a reader to lay the zine flat, or turn it around without bending the pages, which I appreciate since I tend to read while I eat, play cards, etc.

Please don't try and fancy BCU up with 4 colors and such. The stories are what matter to me first; and speaking as an artist, I'm prejudiced toward illustrations that compliment the story, which means content, not complexity of presentation.

I think the use of your Mother's pattern was simply wonderful, especially since you noted the source. That's the kind of continuity that is so wonderful to see.

As for the text format, the single-column presentation had a large enough type-size to compensate for potential loss of attention, but I would have had a bit easier time reading if there had been either paragraph indents, or more space between paragraphs. Still if you are taking votes, I'll go for two columns in future issues.

Back to the art: I was glad to see so many artists actually illustrating the stories. For myself, I don't care if the figures look exactly like Ford, Hamill or Fisher. Just as long as the spirit of Han, Luke and Leia are captured in expression and body language [ed: when Leia screams on film, she seems to me to be more startled then scared, so a clinging, loose-limbed screaming Leia in an illo wouldn't be very convincing to this reader.]

By the by, R. Carey's illos in "I Knew a Guy Once" are great, especially the difficult angle of Leia in the first one.

To the stories:

"Afternoon," Dylan Marie Antone—This is a nice start to the zine, short, sweet and not too much strum und drang for its length. "Fail Safe" J.A. Berger I really liked the interaction between Chewie and Han in this one. Neither one condescended to the other, I had a real sense that Chewie was as much his own being as Han is, with opinions that did not necessarily mesh with the Captain's. I've found this kind of individualization rare in fanlit, especially regarding relationships with Solo, which seems to mostly react to the Corellian rather then interact with him. It's nice to see a straight action piece, too. Although the emphasis on the difference between Han's attitude toward the necessity of a body search and Luke's reaction was definitely legitimate, I do have to admit to being thrown out of the story a bit by the emphasis on the woman's modesty. Even on earth we have such different attitudes toward the same, let alone considering how being in a conflict situation alters necessities, that I have a hard time believing these characters from different worlds across space would fall readily into mid-American set piece; and hey, after my respectable uncle was caught wearing his new watch across the Mexican border rather than declaring it, my respectable aunt was strip-searched without any howdy-do; as were coworkers, working gonzo overtime offsite in California, after they were caught drawing their initials into some wet cement late one evening in Redondo Beach... However I readily admit that a woman of such rank would be a fast thinker and be able to discern that Luke apparently was from a society where female modesty was considered so very important.

'Trapped" by Z.P.Florian. Loved it! and boy, can I identify. My Han was a doll widow, after a doxie/pomie cross chewed the hell out of the lady-friend I had bought for him. Not to mention the condition a couple of neighbor boys left Han, Luke & the lady friend in before that when they invented a steamy scenario of jealousy and murder for the three. After I pointed out to the boys that Luke and Han were supposed to be friends, at least they gave the loser a decent burial. And these days, it's my niece playing havoc with the wooden-crate split level I created for the 12-inch folks. (As for anyone who thinks playing with dolls is silly, consider it left-over energy from a 50s childhood where the available dolls were either gooey babykins or raunchy Barbies...and all girls, no boys. I would have loved to have such interesting dolls as these when I was 6 or 7.)

"Preventive Measures" P. Nussman, J. Taero Goodie,people who write stories that are more depressing then mine. Seriously (hmm, no, that's a pun, too), anywho — Pat and Jackie have always been great writers — Pat's Rieeken has always been a fascinating character—and it's nice to see their SW work in print again, even if the viewpoint is darker then mainstream. I'm glad that the story was by- lined as an alternate; that alerts the reader to be prepared for dramatic differences from the film SW storyline and diminishes the chance of being thrown out of the story when such difference is encountered (butIlikesquid...). Is this part of a greater cycle of stories? (ed: Ask Pat) That's another thing I'd like to know about a story so I can come to the shorter piece with the understanding that it is just one part of a puzzle (and look forward to other stories appearing!).

"Selskit" Elise Dickenson -- I remember enjoying this the first time around, many years ago. Thanks for resurrecting the story! For historical purposes, maybe you could tag such resurrected tales by the original pub date and zine in the future, giving newer fans a sense of how far back some of the ideas and characterizations are in SW fanzine history.

"Turning Point" Michele Malkin -- Great! Michele neatly walks the fine line between sympathy and psychosis. Making Anakin-turned-Vader believable is a challengingtask: it is easier to blame his problems on outside sources then accept that his madness, obsession, criminality, whatever you choose to call the transformation, is real. Readers find a lot of noble Vaders and a lot of cardboard-nasty Vaders, but very few Dark Lords who convince us both of their humanity and their willingness to do harm.

"Stopover" Felicity Grainger -- The story is well-written, but if an author is going to so change the givens in SW, the author is going to have to work a little harder at plotting to convince a reader that the differences are legit Was Han never attracted to Leia? What happened to Luke's confrontation? Perhaps this is another place where an "alternate*' subtitle is handy for the reader, like the Nussman/Taero story. It's funny—of all the stories that have love as their theme, this one with Leia as the odd person out is the one which gives us a Leia who is not alternately bitchy and mushy-dopey. On the other hand, Luke is moony enough here. I used to think that fans wrote women in love as overwhelmed romantics; I am beginning to believe that it is simply the subject of being in love that brings out the heart sand flowers in so many writers. Maybe I've been partnered too long, but does anyone other then newlywed and teenagers go calf as often as fanfic lovers do? The activity that I do see among loving partners, that doesn't show up in fan stories very often, is the crazy, extremely private humor that goes on between people who have lived/loved together.

"Gathering Darkness" -- Carolyn Golledge Carolyn as usual puts Han through his gittum paces. You know, Ming, I'd like to see a nonfiction article by Carolyn on the appeals of "Get Han" stories. She's been writing them a long time, with great success, and I think an analysis on why such stories are so popular, year after year, would be fascinating. Sure, I can remember arguments from long ago, but fandom and the world has changed since then and maybe the reasons for the Gets have as well.

"A New Beginning" Karen Estabrook — I Thought Han's dialogue in this story was quite believable.

"Some Things Never Change" -- Carolyn Golledge -- A good adventure. Although Carolyn waxes a bit enthusiastic for me with Leia's sarcasm, she doesn't slip into the Leia as bitch, as stupid complainer, as mouthy female trap so many like stories do. I've always felt that, on screen, Leia's cracks simply matched Solo's and were contained within a very pragmatic acceptance of the difficulties at hand. Carolyn's Leia is competent, thank heavens, and her Han is vulnerable enough not to turn the exchange into Mr. Macho and Ms. Brassy. And in Carolyn's stories, the action is always important rather then just a frame for the relationship, just like in real life where the world does not stop moving along just because you've had a disagreement with your lover; you still have to deal with the office work, with driving the kids to class, and with bounty hunters and snow storms. Bravo.

"Adventures of Sollo" -- Deborah Kittle. This story was so true to the TV show that I couldn't watch the Family Channel for a week afterwards. The Alcalde makes a great Vader, though has anyone else noticed how our villains have become more blond over the years after having to be dark-haired? I can't help but think that Solo as Zorro would have been a bit more raucous than the FC allows—and I'd like to see a follow-up piece that satirizes the oh-so-clean-and-moral version of the Zorro legend (give it to Carolyn G...snicker) using the SW-ized personae.

That's it for now, Ming. I think your idea of a lottery for those who LOC is a great idea, especially with the prize a copy of the next issue. For me, if you print the story I'll be sending, you can take my LOC out of the running since I'll get a comp copy.[4]

[zine]: Congrats to Ming and all her little elves! Looks like Ming has produced a quality zine in less then 12 parsecs! Amazing! And another issue promised! Way to go! I very much enjoyed this one! Love the cover logo!! I really have a thing for anything that has to do with flying!

J.A. Berger has always been a favorite so I was pleased to find a story by her.

Homer Sapiento writes the best Han/Leia dialogue around. He has created a believable and interesting background for Solo and a happy ending! It's way past time his stories appeared in all Star Wars zines! Ahem! Rebecca Carey's accompanying illos captured the mood nicely.

Z.P. Florian's idea was highly imaginative, and had me's about some more in this series!

Good to see my friend (the Munch!) Karen Estabrook represented too! She weaves a touchingly romantic telling of Han and Leia's finally resolving their feelings and future plans. As for Wanda Lybarger...I'd love to hold her as my prisoner, and force her to illo all my work! really appreciated the art portfolio...especially the trashing! I must compliment E. Schultheis on his wonderful work for "Gathering Darkness." I was pleased with the way he brought the story to life, and would like to see more o f his work. The medical personnel were exactly as I pictured them when I wrote about them, and I liked the sense of movement and background detail

Maggie Nowakowska always adds a touch of quality...wish I could write like this! (ed: don't we all).

All in all, a fine — and very FAST — job, Ming! Bravo! And more please! [5]

[zine]: They may have said you were crazy or nuts to trying to put out a 150+ zine in three and a half months, but you proved that is can be done and VERY well at that Congratulations on a job well done! I like spiral binding because they lay flat on a table and are also easy to fold if you are reading lying down. Some spirals have too may pages for the size of the spiral and make it more difficult, this was just perfect The type was terrific. As I get older, I find that I greatly appreciate type that is easy to read. I found all of the type in Bright Center to be legible and even (it's annoying sometimes to have dark pages and then the next page so light it's almost unreadable.)

I loved the Falcon and the fact that it was repeated throughout the zine tying everything together. It's too bad that the quilt was never completed, I bet it would have been beautiful.

I liked the little blurbs at the top of each story — they really piqued your interest.

The artwork was excellent throughout the zine. Printing Wanda's artwork without the accompanying story was fun. I found myself trying to figure out the story line and of course, new headings for the illos.

I know that you wanted reviews on the stories but I ain't gonna do it, because I loved all of them. That in itself was unusual as there is usually one that I don't care for. I don't mean in terms of writing ability. As a non-writer, I don't feel qualified to comment on someone's writing. I can comment on story content, characterizations, etc. though from my point of view. My point of view says that there isn't a story there that I didn't enjoy and won't read again.

I eagerly await Bright Center of The Universe #2.[6]

[zine]: Congratulations Ming on a very good S.W. zine which was right up my street, meaning plenty of Solo stories. Can't get enough about that guy and I never grow tired of reading fans ideas about his adventurous life.

The art work was generally great, especially Rebecca Carey and Wanda Lybarger was absolutely excellent. Her work tells a picture without words and your headings Ming, seem just about right. Can't wait to read the story connected with those action packed pictures, as I'm sure it will be a winner. Hopefully in your next zine Ming?

Now to the stories, starting with "Stopover". Interesting but sorry can't agree with this one. Maybe Felicity Granger pictured something different in the films but I only saw a brotherly devotion between Luke and Han, and nothing else.

That brotherly devotion shown to its fullest in J.A., Berger's "Fail Safe". I wonder how Han keeps getting those messages that Luke needs his assistance? The Force maybe or a little ghostly intervention? Either way, in this story it's a good thing for Luke that Han happened along when he did. As to the Lady, I knew she was guilty straightaway. An innocent girl wouldn't have made half so much fuss about being searched by a handsome spacer. I know I would have of.

Nice little family story in "I Knew a Guy Once". Could just picture the setting even without Rebecca's pictures. One mystery though? I just couldn't figure out who Han's father was. Maybe someone could enlighten me? (ed: Ah-Ha! Read the last 5 lines of the story.)

Rebecca Carey's "Interiors" was a gem, including her art I love her humorous way of dealing with Han and Leia's feelings using an interplay of words that tell the whole saga.

"Selskit" was the funniest. Poor Han being stuck with that impossible pussy, but she certainly had good sense. And trading her for four lightsabers. Out comes that brotherly devotion to Luke again.

And now for something ridiculous? Not at all. "The Adventures of Sollo" was excellent in a Zorro sort of way.

"Trapped" Well, now I know how my sons SW figures must feel like, having been put through countless battle situations and trashed a thousand times.

"A New Beginning" from Karen Estabrook was right up there among my favorites. A lovely romantic story with Han willing to give up even his Falcon for Leia. That's what I call love. Thank the Force that devoted brotherly love came through again, as Luke took our desperate Wookiee home. But I think Chewie could've stayed long enough for the wedding.

I left the best until last because just seeing her name meant a treat of a story and in this case two. I mean of course Carolyn Golledge or the trash-Han queen. And I wasn't disappointed. Oh poor Han! In "Gathering Darkness", I could just picture him knee deep in mud and blood trying desperately to hide from the murderous Stormtroopers. And later the strength of love between Han and Leia to overcome the cruel Imperial demands. All real good imaginative thinking. Hope to see a sequel (We are considering it, Carolyn and I) with our bad guy Hagren facing Han and Co., again.

And what a great idea Carolyn had in "Some Things Never Change!" A bored Han finding Leia's private journal and reading her amusing accounts of those dreadful misadventures with our intrepid snoop. Great!

More please! Not only from the many talented contributors, but from you Ming, the all important editor (ed: and the Ghost)... Bright Center of the Universe was my cup o f tea and I look forward to the next issue with anticipation.[7]

[zine]: Now at long last I am LOCing your zine. It was very good, including some very intriguing and imaginative stories. As an Editorial suggestion, though, I think you should indent the paragraphs or skip a space between them. Sometimes it was difficult to read. (ed: OK the readers win — Indents it will be).

I really liked "Afternoon." This is one of those stories that's so good but so short! I wanted more. I've read very few, Luke's early years on that dustball can't have been very exciting (like Han's youth), but I nevertheless love the glimpses into that period of his life to catch a for shadowing of the man he would become. I really liked the line "Nothing would ever come from cleaning droids." Oh yeah? The illo was very well done too.

I loved "Interiors." So dramatic! So sweet! And I liked how it was done in the different styles — quite appropriate and descriptive.

"I Knew a Guy Once" what a novel idea having Han tell the story of his past to his family. It made for a good 'day in the life story, very well done. I liked their kids, and I would say Han and Leia have aged quite gracefully in this story. The illos were fabulous — the best in the zine. I'd love to read more by this writer — but wait a minute: Han's dad is the Emperor?!? (ed: not Palpatine.) Egad! Another Universe I know nothing about. We'll have to have more on this.

'Trapped" was absolutely delicious. I'd like to see Luke in that slave boy outfit "Plastic imitation weapons." Han bound with rubberbands — how kinky. I wonder what my Luke action figure sitting atop my desk at work thinks about his surroundings? This story brings back memories of me playing King Kong to my Barbie's Fay Wray.

I roared over the "What Hotel?" picture — but I wanted to get a peep under that towel.

I took a perverse pleasure in the "Selskit" story. How could I not when the principle character bore my name, and with lines like "Rita's always pawing me" and "Maybe if Rita likes Luke she'll attach herself to him." You bet I would. This was fine quality slap-stick humor. And when traded the Selskit for the lightsabers, it was so sweet What a marvelous ending. I'm such a sucker, it actually brought tears to my eyes.

"Turning Point" was excellent Vader stories are always the most powerful ones, because he is the most tragic figure. This story broke my heart But like most Vader stories it was too short. Why is that always the case? I don't know but I loved the story.

"Stopover" and the two poems were some of the highlights of the zine, if only for their shock value (but it was more then that). They certainly put an interesting twist on the old love triangle! It's a very daring idea, but I must say I found it hard to accept If I read the story of how they get together (has such been written?) then I think I would believe it. As it was however, it was too radical a departure in the way all three of their relationships have always seem portrayed to just jump into the middle of it like this. But I would love to read the story of how they get together. I also liked the ethical questions that were raised about whether the cost in lives was a price worth paying for the rebellion. Adventure and romance stories are certainly fine, but my favorite stories are the ones that raise moral issues about war and rebellion, as well as loyalty, duty, conscience, etc. I'd like to see a longer story from Ms. Granger that delves into these issues as well.

As for Carolyn Golledge's stories — I always agonize over her stories. She is one of the most talented fan writers I've ever read, but I have to say I'm getting tired of all these "trash Han" stories It seems Han spends most of the time getting tortured and so forth and is on the brink of death, but still manages to save everybody else several times, while all the time tossing off snappy comments to the bad group. It's too superhuman. Everything is taken to the extreme, with the result that there is very little real drama. On the other hand, when she gets away from his trashing and gets into the characters relationships she is very good. She portrays them and the dynamics in their relationships so well. If she could only move on to subject matter that's more worthy of her incredible talent! However when she's poking fun at the "trash Han" genre, as in "Some Things Never Change" it is very funny.

I think my favorite piece was " The Adventures of Sollo." I loved it! I have always been a Zorro fan. I though this was a very clever mixing of Universes. Ms. Kittle did an excellent job of "translating" the names in to Spanish equivalents. I especially liked St Baccachew, the patron saint of the long-hared people. The story was very creative. There is only one thing it lacked: an illustration. I certainly hope this story has a sequel.

So over all what did I think? It was a great zine! I just wish there was more of it! More art and longer stories. But I can never get enough of SW. So I eagerly await the next production of Bright Center. Congratulate yourself Ming. On a joy well done.[8]

[zine]: Here at long last is my LOC on BC #1 hopefully in time for the contest, too!

I enjoyed "Afternoon" very much. I came from a small farming town originally where dreams of something better were all that kept you going sometimes, so I know how Luke felt in this.

"Fail Safe" just didn't set right with me. At the time it seems to be set in their relationship, I think Luke would have trusted Han more — maybe been taking lessons?

"Interiors" was great This is one of the few poems I've read that seems to sum up the feeling of Han and Leia exactly through the last two movies — from affectionate annoyance through to the loyalty and deep love we all know they share.

"I Knew a Guy Once" although I can't see Han and Leia settling down to a planetside upper class existence and mothballing the Falcon, this is still one of my favorites. It explains a great deal of the emotional baggage that Han brought with him and also where he learned to be such a damn good pilot about how to be such a leader. He had to earn the Corellian blood-stripe somewhere! The characterization of the children was very good, too. Loved the line about wondering how so may Corellian genes could be packed in such a small body!

What can I say about "Play it Again Han" except I agree that a little sax adds a great deal to Han's theme. It scans great!

"Selskit" was terrific! I've always thought everyone should have a pet, and am a confirmed feline lover myself. Seems like poetic justice that Han would finally find a "Female he wanted to get rid of and couldn't — find one who was deeply attached to him too! Getting the sabers for Luke at the end was pure Han — unwilling and unadmitted hero that he is.

Although they are well written, "A Song for Han" "Stopover" and "By the Morning Light" I really couldn't enjoy because I've never been able to see Luke and Han's relationship in this light Luke — maybe, but Han is one of the most masculine males I've ever run across. I don't usually fall hard for characters in movies, but Han got me and got me good from the first.

As to "Gathering Darkness" what can I say except bravo! A story by this lady is an automatic sell of a zine to me. Is there a previous story that I have missed?? This reads like a sequel. The thing that really made the story for me was the character of Doctor Tarrant, also Jerrod. It makes the point the even on the "wrong" side, there are sometimes some very good people in a very bad situation. I didn't particularly care for the illos, though. I can't say exactly why, except that they seemed too linear, too "square"? I ' m not an artist, so I really c a n ' t critique this too much.

"Some Things Never Change" was a delight It captures the mood and characterization between the first two movies perfectly, and seemed like something that could have happened. The dawning realization on Leia's part that she really does care for this Crazy Corellian was nicely done and the epilogue topped it off nicely. Han finally proved to himself what he'd always suspected—that Leia had loved him before she would ever admit it. I would never have thought of there being any similarity between "Star Wars" and "Zorro" before reading 'The Adventures of Sollo". Then the bit about the always bandaged chin of Don Juhan-Diego. And casting Luke as the mute servant!

Last but not least I sincerely hope the post awful comes through with the story to accompany Wanda's lovely illos. She is one of my favorite artists and captures all of Harrison's characters so very well. Rebecca Carey falls in that group, too. Her illos are always a delight.[9]

[zine]: This is a very good first time zine. It was nice to see work by people I know as well as someone new.

"Fail Safe" It's nice to sec J.A. Berger back in print. She's been missing from fanfic for quite a while, and I thought that she may have gone on to other things. She writes really well and makes the characters seem very real. It was a nice touch when Han told Luke to use the Force to decipher the truth about the woman. Obviously a Corellian reputation can be a bit of a handicap at times.

"Interiors" Not only docs Rebecca do great illos but her writing's are not bad either. Is this her first in print? (ed: No) I hope to see more from her. Like the way she's portrayed the innermost feelings and thoughts of Han and Leia and gotten them to admit the real reasons for their former behavior.

"I Knew a Guy Once" a perfect companion piece to Homer's epic "Resolution Solo" This shows how far Solo has come in trusting anyone enough to reveal his innermost feelings particularly the painful reminders of his early life on Correll.

"Preventive Measures" How closely were the Mon Calamari associated with the Emperor? Were Luke and Vader really the only Jedi left? I'd like to see more of this alternative story line.

"Selskit" Obviously Solo and the others have had little experience with anything of a feline persuasion. Some of them have been known to be quite possessive and easily upset, the valuable ones more so. It says something about the Corellian's attitude that he would let he valuable critter go in trade for the lightsabers to aid Luke in training the Jedi. It seems there is hope for the old pirate yet.

"Turning Point" I get the feeling that this is when Vader got the idea to recruit Luke's help in getting rid of the Emperor.

"Stop-over" I've never read any of Granger's work before but she writes very well. I would think that same sex might be difficult for most people to do and do well, but she seems to have a handle on it. Luke and Han as lovers? Why not?

"Gathering Darkness" Just when you think Carolyn can't possibly find any more ways to trash Han Solo she proves you wrong. Once again she brings the poor man to the point of death, only to have him saved to fight another day. Carolyn's stories are always well written, the characters believable in words and actions. Here she's provided a great villain, with Vader's strength but not his control and a grudge against Solo. I'm afraid there's more trashing in the Corellian's future.[10]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Bright Center of the Universe 2 was published in March 1992 and is 159 pages long.

This issue is dedicated to Wanda Lybarger, Martynn, and Rebecca Carey, "artists who, over the years, have made zine stories more enjoyable."

The art is by Z.P. Florian, Wanda Lybarger, D. Thorp, Martynn, Rebecca Carey, Dianne Smith, and C. Churko.

  • Letters of Comment (1)
  • Another of Those Han Stories by Z.P. Florian (1)
  • Basanos by Maggie Nowakowska (2)
  • Trail of the Phantom Starship by Christine Jeffords (15)
  • Grammatical Error by M.A. Dean (85)
  • Don't Freeze Me In, filk by A.G. Steyn (88)
  • Hidden Peril by Carolyn Golledge (Han develops amnesia after an accident. Believing Chewbacca has attacked him, he "escapes" from the Falcon only to meet Darth Vader. First appeared in Perceptions and reprinted in Never Say Die #2) (89)
  • Dreamer by Rebecca Carey (114)
  • An Untitled Story by Rebecca Carry (115)
  • Team Leader's Thoughts, poem by Jennifer Moore (121)
  • Ghost Ships by Martha Wilson [11] (Han and other rebels are captured by Lord Tion's Star Destroyer. Can they escape and at what cost? Fifth story in the Arandu Series.) (also appears in The Renegade and the Rogue and Bloodstripe #2) (122)
  • From the Pages of the Empire Daily News, submitted by A.G. Steyn (160)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

The zine's editor ran a fan contest, one used to generate LoCs; this page was printed in issue #3
If you can judge a zine's success by the number of time it gets read and re-read, Bright Center 2 is a howling success. It's been with me so much, people are beginning to think it's a graft My only quibble is that it needed one more funny story to balance it out. Otherwise, I enjoyed it immensely. The artwork was absolutely wonderful. As a non-artist, I'm in awe of those who can draw and do it so well. Oh, and ending the issue with the Classifieds was a great move; they're very imaginative. I'd hate to be the one who interviews the job applicants.

"Another of those Han Stories..." was absolutely hilarious. It if really was written at 3 AM, it's nothing short of miraculous. I wish I could be that funny at any time; hey, I wish I was even awake at 3 AM. I think Han would enjoy getting involved with a different type of princess. Dwarves might make a nice change from W okiees and Ewoks. "Basanos" It took me several readings to figure this story out. Most intriguing is the idea of Kenobi having such strong Dark potential. The thought of him being more powerful than Vader if he turned raises interesting possibilities. I did find myself having to stop several time to figure out sentence structure, and typos are really distracting in a story like this. This isn't a story you rip through and forget about. I like that. "Trail of the Phantom Starship" After having pondered the illustrations in the first Bright Center, it was a laugh to see how close I'd guessed on some things and how far off my ideas were in most respects. It was nothing short of ingenious to come up with a plot that made Han's friends' suspicions seem logical and reasonable. The suspense resulting from the threat of the mindset being real carried through the whole story. Listing the other Bright Star stories is a great idea. Not having read any of them I'll have to add them to my library list. (Ming, are you listening?) "Grammatical Error" What can I say? I laughed myself sick over this one. It has to be the funniest twist on the old standby of Han and Leia's wedding night that was ever conceived. "Hidden Perils" There are so many plot devices turned inside-out, that it was fascinating just to track them. The scene with Vader outconning the conman was very good. And I like the subtle contrast between Han and Leia's interaction while she was helping Han and their return to the status quo at the end. Luke's Force outbursts were a little hard to take; maybe they just seemed a bit too convenient as a way of disclosing the traps. But that's being picky considering everything else this story does right. "An Untitled Story" This ones breathes tragedy. So many mistakes, so many things that need not have happened, but did. Siri comes across as a very strong person. It is possible to believe that she will find a way to solve everything. For a short story set outside the movies' history, it has a structure that is dramatically complete. "Ghost Ships" I definitely want to find out more about the other characters, especially Arandu. His interaction with Han is very well done. I'm glad there was a list of the other stories with this one, too. (Yes, Ming, more library requests.) Plus you have to like a story that uses the names of Northwestern American Indian tribes as names for Sith Lords. Han and Chewbacca's relationship is done well; Sanders is a bit wooden, but she doesn't get to do much anyway. And there is a whole bunch of throwaway lines and references to other situations that just sneak up on you. I read this one through several times and found new things each time.

I like the fact that the stories were longer, even though it meant there were fewer of them. There's form and coherence to the whole issue that makes it a pleasure to read. I'm already looking forward to #3. Thanks, Ming. Well done.[12]
Bright Center #2 really looked great. The double columns with paragraph indention made it much easier to read for me and it looked very profession throughout. You and anyone else who worked on it should be proud.

Basanos was very good. Interesting and chilling portrayal of the Emperor. In Trail of the Phantom Starship: I really enjoyed the relationship between Han and Zera, and it was a good adventure tale. (It was also nice seeing what those great Lybarger drawings were illustrating, too!) Loved that Dianne Smith illo on page 117. I've been a fan of hers since I saw that collection of her Harrison Ford portraits she published several years ago. I don't think I'd ever seen her work before that, and it just floored me. Hidden Perils was good stuff too. I also enjoyed Rebecca Carey's An Untitled Story (really like her art work too). Interesting situation she's set up there. I'd love to see a sequel where the daughter finds Han. One typo in my Author's Note I wanted to correct: The Artash Gamble was actually in On A Clear Day You Can See Dagobah #4 and not #3. (The layout on my story was great, by the way. I loved seeing it in print) Other stuff: I finally got a publication date on my first pro novel The Element of Fire. It's going to come out between May and August of 93. It's along time to wait, but at least they've given me a time frame now, so I'm not sitting around in limbo. If you want me to do any editing on the scries of four Arandu stories, let me know, because I was rushed when I got them ready to send to you and I wouldn't mind taking another whack at them. One thing I would like to do is a minor rewrite of Ghost Ships, maybe making it a little longer and fixing a couple of problems that I didn't notice until I read it in print. (Like one character has changing eye color. I don't know how many times I read that story without noticing that.) But I promise to make whatever deadline you want to set. (Revising existing work goes much quicker for me than coming up with something brand new.)

Anyway, you've done a great job on the zine, and I really enjoyed it.[13]
I really enjoyed #2, more so for some reason than #1. All the stories appealed to me whereas in the first one I skipped over a couple.

"Another of Those Han Stories" was a classic. I love Z. P. Florian's sense of humor and this was a perfect example of it. Now she needs to take it further 'cause those Han stories always have him being nursed back to health... Maggie Nowakowska's "Basanos" made me shiver! Her great love of language and control over words was evident in phrases like "My pure dark is vital now" and "his lightside litany stubbornly lectures over his pique." She captures these men with strokes of carefully chosen words and brings them to life. And since I'm such a huge Vader fan, this story might have been written for me. Whew! Keep writing, Maggie. It was an unexpected treat to have a Christine Jeffords story and a nice long juicy one at that. "Trail of the Phantom Ship" was exciting and very well- written. Chris writes like she's been to Corell. She took me there with this story. I do wish she'd given Luke a little more spunk. I think he would believe in Han's innocence no matter what. Their friendship is an underlying theme of the Saga and I don't think Luke would hesitate not once but twice in believing his friend. "Grammatical Error" was a fun piece. M. A. Dean has a wicked imagination, doing something like that to poor Han. I especially like the illo for this story of Leia draped in Ewok pelts. Kinda looks like an abbreviated version of "101 Uses for a Dead Ewok." Great to see Carolyn Golledge up to her old tricks. "Hidden Perils" had me howling. I loved the scene where Vader convinces Han they're allies. Leave it to Darthie to take advantage of an opportunity. Martynn's illos for this story were great too. Though the one of Han and Darth looked a little kinky at first glance. R. Carey's "An Untitled Story" was so grim. I liked the character of Siri and hope there's a follow up to this story where she rescues her dad. Don't leave it like this! I like Martha Wilson universe and was glad to see more of it with "Ghost Ships." Lord Arandu is a memorable character. He reminded me of Thrawn in the new Timothy Zahn books but with sense enough to strike out on his own. This was great story. I was totally surprised by the identity of the girl in stasis and would love to see more of these characters. Arandu is too good to waste and his daughter's talent is just begging further exploration. Pretty please? The poems and filks were nice but I always tend to think of them as filler. A. G. Steyn's "Empire Daily News" was cute—hope we see more.

The layout and look of Bright Center was enjoyable. Not as many typos this time which is always welcome. If I have any complaint I would say the zine seems a little Han-heavy. I know you have to print what you get but aren't there some Luke fans out there somewhere? Come on, he has adventures too.[14]
Zine itself, clear, dark printing-no eye strain here. Artfully laid out, like the little Falcons at the start of each story. Love the cover Falcon. For a Star Wars

fan, truly the picture that conveys a thousand words, but in this case, the reverse is more the truth. Mention the Falcon, and a thousand images come to mind. The dedication was a classy touch and Wanda, Rebecca and Martynn certainly deserve the honor. Their pictures have been bringing the stories to life for many years. Asfor the zine stories, the variety reminded me of a marriage tradition—something old/something new/something borrowed/something blue. "Another of Those Han Stories'...First time I read it, I was disappointed at the ending. Have always held the belief that somewhere in the vastness of time and space, the SW universe really exists. I mean, given those limits, anything is possible, right? But the introduction of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves brought the universe crashing back to fairy tale status. It was like.Darth Vader-yes/transmutating witches-no. Then I told myself, "Good grief, Anderson-lighten up," and re-read it. I laughed at the cleverness, the three A.M. silliness of the idea and mentally ran amok with the dam thing. Started having visions (might have been the result of the wine coolers) with all the SW characters in diverse costume, singing "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho," and fitted them with their appropriate dwarf names: Grumpy (Darth Vadcr), Doc (Obi-Wan), Dopey (C3PO), Leia was Snow White, of course. Happy (Artoo-Detoo), Sleepy (Han-by virtue of carbon freezing), Sneezy (Chewbacca-all that fur up his nose) and Bashful (Luke-need I explain?) I ran out of dwarves before I ran out of SW characters but it was a wonderful self-indulgent little image. 1 wished I was an artist as it would make a priceless cartoon. "Basanos" - Have not read "Strings" (an omission I shall have to remedy ASAP, so can't comment on Basanos as a companion piece, but the story stands all by itself very nicely. M. Nowakowska has a unique writing style, a skillful command of the English language and a definite flair for sentence structure. Fascinating concepts in this story/vignette - the Emperor feeding off the emotions of others like a vampirous empath (or would that be an empathic vampire?) unable, as I inferred, to generate feelings of his own. By the end of the story, she had me reeling pity for the Emperor (now, that's good writing!) because he was so empty. Felt pity for Vader also, who essentially had no will of his own, no life or real power - only that which the Emperor deigned to give and allowed Vader to use. Kind of ruins Vader as a villain. though ROTJ did thai rather completely anyway. It was a very thought-provoking debate between Vader and Obi-Wan - analytical and logical, yet emotionally dramatic- Good stuff for SW people lo discuss long into a convention night. "Hidden Perils" - as always, Carolyn writes a good story, plotting is light, and when she isn't doing parody, her characterizations are right on the mark. Have two minor quibbles though. As a nurse, I tend lo raise a vulcan eyebrow at her vision of medieval care in the SW universe. Her thinking is too contemporary. Given the level of industrial technology that is presented in the three SW films, it follows that medical technology would be as equally advanced… All the above, of course, docs not disract from the fine quality of Carolyn's writing. It's merely a professional observation. What does detract and my other story quibble is her penchant for "trashing" Han Solo, feeling sometimes that it's gratuitous, rather than essential to the plot. Perhaps because I am a nurse, her detailed descriptions of Han's injuries and suffering affect me negatively more than most. Yes, I know you can't write hurt/comfort without the hurt and this literary ploy enables one to have wonderful "comfort" scenes, but there are other ways to make this character groan, moan and whimper while getting him out of his clothes and into a bed, than to cause him physical injury. Carolyn has proven she can write love and affection and it would be nice to see her do more of the "comfort" and less of the hurt…

[much snipped due to length]

A fair second effort, Ming - (fair - as in good - not as in average or mediocre) better than your first and I've no doubt, number three will be better than number two...Thank you, from this SW fan, for the effort, the time and the enjoyment.[15]
Another of those Han Stories-Snow White? I love it! A hilarious and sly pegging of a certain kind of formula story.

Basanos--Good to sec Maggie writing SWars again, and I've enjoyed the recent fare, but this one threw me, I confess. The story already deals with metaphysics and subtle nuances of interpersonal relationship--a complex narrative. When the difficult present tense style is used and skips around viewpoints (I've found present tense to work best from a single viewpoint-even stream-of-consciousness) you end up rereading sentences to try to make sure of them. A device meant to give immediacy actually pops you out of the story.

Trail of Phantom Starship — intricately but plausibly plotted in Chris' alternate universe. I'm curious why the one illo was dropped. It was acceptable to run when the set was done last issue as a portfolio so I assume it became a matter of space? Hidden Perils—Carolyn's usual excellent writing style, bogged down in a one note theme that's begun to take over her otherwise inventive and refreshing story ideas. Good to see Martynn's art back, and new work besides! Especially the tricky viewpoint angle in the illo on pg. 95.

Untitled Story—Rebecca writes as well as she draws. While the premise is both heartbreaking and all too plausible and I personally shy from killing off main cast, this is very good with a sympathetically and tenderly drawn Luke that avoids sentimentality or chest-beating angst. The Smith illo is a particularly good one-good likeness, good accurate anatomy and a three-dimensionality that transcends its plot references and reads well in B/W.

Saved favorite for last Ghost Ships. The only thing wrong with this story is it concludes a series that first introduced me to Martha Wilson's authoritatively professional prose, and sent me scurrying for all the rest I could find. I am glad Arandu "dropped the other shoe."

But please, Martha, as with "Trust" and "Festival of the Sun's Return" you show you have more to say than just the one narrative. More, please? Besides giving all the characters a fair shake, she, almost unique among fan writers, shows a Han neither superman nor crude, even dim, red-neck trucker. He's reasonably an intelligent man of experience and insight without straining for the paranormal, and a convincing, informed professional in the "Trade." I've likened her works elsewhere to Cherryh and I think this grounding in the plausible realities of a profession and the nuts and bolts of hardware and alien society are the reason. Altogether a good zine, I much enjoyed everyone.[16]
Thank you Ming, for another great issue of Bright Center. The art was again of a high standard. I especially liked Florian's Han that complemented her short story and Dianne Smith's portrait on page 117. And, of course we got the story that went with Wanda's great illustrations.

As to the stories, starting with Christine Jeffords "Trail of the Phantom Starship." I must admit, I haven't read much of her Bright Star Universe series, so it's a little difficult to comment on something you don't know much about. I don't normally like stories that differ too much from George's main plot, especially regarding the personal relationships between our main heroes. So why would Han encourage Leia to love him in Empire, only to dump her afterwards? Although I must agree with Christine, that some parts of Return of the Jedi were a little disappointing, I still feel that Han and Leia were meant for each other. Having said all that, I did enjoy reading Christine's story after pushing my own personal feelings aside. Interesting idea having Jabba's revenge take the form of getting Han into trouble with the Reb's. Lovely description of Corell and nice to see an old friend of Han's helping him out of true love and friendship. Would like to have seen a little more of an ending though. For example, Han's return to the Alliance and reunion with his family. Of course Wanda's art compliments the story perfectly.

"Another of those Han Stories." Great! I wonder how our Han will cope with Snow White and her seven dwarfs. Snow White, no problem but seven dwarfs? Oh well, short help is better than no help, to quote our intrepid hero.

"Grammatical Error." No! Oh no, you just can't do that to our hero. That's the worst trashing of all, Han minus his hydro-spanner. No way! I don't blame Leia one bit, it's enough to turn any poor girl to the Dark Side.

Carolyn Golledge's "Hidden Perils" was her usual good old trash Han story. Poor Chewie, fancy accidentally causing so much trouble for his beloved Han. Thank the force Luke was able to see through Vader's dastardly plan. Maybe, Vader should have made sure his doctors were a little more hygienic, then his plan would have worked wonderfully.

Loved R. Carey's poem "Dreamer," just hinting that Han isn't entirely happy with his family ties and yearns for his former self. And her "An Untitled Story," oh what a sad, sad story. I think I used up a packet of tissues on that one. Would love to see a sequel about how Siri finds her father. How about it, Rebecca?

Now to "Ghost Ships" by Martha Wilson, probably my favourite in this issue. Although 1 haven't read any of her previous stories, it didn't matter because this story stands out well on its own. It showed a strength of character in Han that we all know he has. His willingness to give his life for those few individuals he loves and his quiet loyalty to Luke, the Princess and her rebellion. Like to see some sequels to this one too.[17]

Issue 3

Bright Center of the Universe 3 was published in April 1993. It is 180 pages long and contains 25 stories and poems.

front cover of issue #3, Rick Logsdon
from Bright Center of the Universe #3: "Dedicated To the Fans of Stars Wars -- Your continued interest in the Star Wars Universe has encouraged Authors, Artists and Editors to continue to work in Star Wars. It is your interest that keeps Star Wars alive. The above picture is the medal given out at the Star Awards presentation that occured [sic] at Media-West in 1992. Presentations were made for best Star Wars Material of 1990-1991"
From the editorial:
When we think of Star Wars, we tend to think of the whole Trilogy as the Star Wars story.

We tend to forget that before the Trilogy there were three individual pictures, all pointing to several possible ways Star Wars would go.

Just as we do today these stories were written to fill out the Universe we all enjoy, but they were written at a time when that Universe had not had extensive explanation, so there will be discrepancies between what did happen, and what the authors thought might happen. Bright Center is printing not only new material, but also some of the early material that has not been printed before, and some reprints of some of my own personal early favorites.

When some of these stories were written, not even Lucas sometimes knew where he was heading, what the characters looked like, and who was related to whom, so there can be variations on what we now accept as canon, and what authors thought might happen. Bright Center of the Universe is committed to celebrating the diversity of creative work inspired by the Star Wars Universe.

Four of the stories by Marcia Brin appear to have been printed in some form much earlier in the zine Carbonite Maneuver with the title: "Four Preludes, and One Short Epilogue on Han Solo or After the Empire Struck Back." In that zine, this was a collection of pieces exploring the possible fate of Han Solo. It is a very, very early example of a sort of Five Things fiction). These stories were discussed in Han and Leia in Fanfiction.

Four of these stories (Hell Hath No Fury, The Journey Back, One Day in the Park, and Recall) appear to have been retitled (revised as well?) and published "Bright Center of the Universe" #3.

  • LoCs (i)
  • Star aWARdS (1991 listing) (viii)
  • The Carnival of Master Lo by Sheila Schneider, art by Z.P. Florian (1)
  • What Child is This? by M. Treleaven (7)
  • Corellian Word Puzzle by Wendy Schwartz (13)
  • The (Not Quite) Complete History of Red Flight by Louise Turner (14)
  • The Journey Back by Marcia Brin (Jabba has finally taken his revenge on Han Solo. Terribly disfigured by the Hutt’s torturers, can Han ever find the courage to return to the woman he loves?) (17)
  • Being There, poem by Yvette Ghilan (23)
  • Call it a Tie by Z.P. Florian, art by Florian (Luke is stranded alone after an explosion. Will Han rescue him in time?) (reprinted in Han Solo) (25)
  • Tercel by Martynn (31)
  • You Love Him, Don't You? by C. Anson, art by Florian (32)
  • Three Stories, poem by Yvette Ghilan, art by Florian (56)
  • Trial Run by Chris Callahan, art by Florian (57)
  • Talisman by Carolyn Golledge, art by Martynn (Sequel to Gathering Darkness. Leia, Luke, and Jake team up to help Solo track down his enemy, Hagren. The Sith Lord has fled to a strange world where powerful sorcerers have learned new ways to control The Force.) (62)
  • The Falconer Series Story List by Carolyn Golledge (120)
  • Art Portfolio by Wanda Lybarger, Martynn, and David Thorp (121)
  • Cave In by Wanda Lybarger (127)
  • Ben's Little Secret by Tammy Olson (130)
  • Hell Hath No Fury by Marcia Brin (Capturing and torturing Han Solo may turn out to be the worst mistake of Jabba’s life—or it will be, if Leia has her way.) (134)
  • Destiny's Knell by Yvette Ghilan (139)
  • Lord Vader Ponders, poem by K.A. Marshall, art by Ed Schulthies (145)
  • Why "Get Solo"? Why Not? by Carolyn Golledge (146)
  • Keeper of the Plan, poem by Tammy Olsen [her last name is spelled two ways in this toc] (148)
  • Stealing a Bull Taun-Taun is a No-No by Deborah Kittle (149)
  • One Day in the Park by Marcia Brin (Unable to find Han after Jabba has frozen him in carbonite, Leia almost gives up hope.) (161)
  • Lord Bless the Trilogy, song by Wendy Schwarz (166)
  • The Departure of the Jedi by Z.P. Florian, art by Florian (Leia and Han are uncertain that Luke should reveal their family history to the New Alliance government. Luke is about to learn the hard way who his true friends really are.) (167) (reprinted in Han Solo)
  • Recall by Marcia Brin (After being tortured by Jabba, Han is released—but he no longer remembers who he is or where he came from.) (176)
  • Falcon, poem by Ming Wathne (181)

Issue 4

cover issue #4

Bright Center of the Universe 4 was published in 1993 and is 175 pages long. It won an Honorable Mention in the 1994 Star aWards for 'Best Star Wars Zine'

  • State Dinner by Z.P. Florian. It won an Honorable Mention in the 1994 Star aWards for 'Best Star Wars Vingette (1-3 pages).
  • Mirrors by Wanda Lybarger. It won the 1994 Star aWards for 'Best Long Star Wars Story (over 30 pages).
  • Out of Sight by Louise Turner
  • other content by Frayser, Treleaven, Crotty, Jardin, and Wathne. Art, poems and filks by Crotty, Z.P. Florian, Martyann and Lybarger.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

[Mirrors]: It has great romance (always an important criteria in my lexicon), thoughtful characterization, an original plot premise, and even raises some extremely interesting philosophical questions on the nature of individuality. (And it even has Rieekan ... not that anyone but myself and someone with the initials IT cares...) Doesn't seem fair to me that Wanda should be both a great writer and a great artist.[18]
[Mirrors]: Most highly recommended from me is Wanda Lybarger's "Mirrors" in Bright" Center #4. Solo clones working for the Empire! Brilliant characterization and plotting! And a real, almost literal, cliff-hanger finish! Nail-biting excitement underlaid with a remarkable depth of feeling and some very moving scenes. I've reread the ending several times, simply because I don't want to leave that feeling behind! And the frosting on the cake are some wonderful illos by the author. I defy anyone to glance at those illos and not immediately have to sit down and start reading.[19]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5

Bright Center of the Universe 5 was published in 1995. It has a color cover and is 296 pages. It won an Honorary Mention in the Star aWards for 'Best Star Wars Zine.'

  • Bring Me the Head of Han Solo by Mary Jo Fox (A warlord's daughter accuses Han of getting her pregnant and a bounty is put on his head.)
  • MPRT by J.A. Berger (Having returned to the Blue Falcon Order, Han and Luke face their greatest test when what should be a routine Mind Probe Restistance Training exposes them to extreme danger. A stand-alone sequel to J.A.'s zine novel Lair of the Blue Falcon.)
  • The Princess and the Nerfherder by Carolyn Golledge. Won Honorary Mention in Star aWards 1995 for 'Best Medium Star Wars Story (11-29 pages) (This story is set shortly after Star Wars: A New Hope. Wounded on a mission with Leia, Han takes refuge at a smuggler’s cove and earns the nickname. Also in Never Say Die)
  • Accidental Hero by Carolyn Golledge (Also in Never Say Die #1)
  • The Things We Do For Love by Susan Matthews. Won Honorary Mention in Star aWards 1995 for 'Best Long Star Wars Story (over 30 pages)
  • Lady Luck Can Be Kind by Z.P. Florian (Desperate for money, Han talks Chewie into selling him as a slave. The plan is to steal him back—but then things go very wrong.) (reprinted in Han Solo)
  • Honeymooners by A.G. Steyn. Won Honorary Mention in Star aWards 1995 for 'Best Long Star Wars Story (over 30 pages)
  • other content by Treleaven, Jeffords..

Issue 6

cover issue #6, A.G. Steyn

Bright Center of the Universe 6 was published in 1996 and is 304 pages long. It won an Honorary Mention in the 1996 Star aWards for 'Best Star Wars Zine.' Art by A. G. Styne, Donna Frayser, Wanda Lybarger, Z. P. Florian, Kelly L. Thorpe, M. J. Mink, and Nicola Pearce. The front cover won an Honorary Mention in the 1996 Star aWards for 'Best Cover Artist'.

  • Camera Obscura by Martie Benedict O'Brien (Han makes a bet....)
  • In Close Proximity by Carolyn Golledge (On a mission a year or so after the Yavin medal ceremony, Han and Leia find themselves captured by Imperials. Handcuffed together, they escape into the wilderness. Will the environment kill them before the personality clash does? Or will they learn more about one another....)
  • The Girl Friend by John Fredericks
  • A Lesson Learned by Jennifer Moore
  • Dark Memories by Kelly L. Thorpe
  • Phynix by Martie Benedict O'Brien
  • Necessary Lies by M. J. Mink
  • A Feeling by Mary Jo Fox
  • I Should Have Been True by Debbie Kittle
  • A Night in Passover by J. A. Berger (From the Blue Falcon Series. Now mind bonded to Luke, Han finds it causes more problems than he expected. Another stand-alone sequel to J.A.'s zine novel Lair of the Blue Falcon.)
  • A New Beginning by Judy Ebberly
  • Errand on UrikkRa by Z. P. Florian (Luke is captured by a strange religious sect and Han must save him.) (reprinted in Han Solo)
  • Happy Glockenmockerspiel by Laura Michaels
  • Full Circle by Jane Callard and Jana Bos
  • A Walk on the Wild Side by A, G, Styne
  • Knights and Dragons by Chris Jeffords
  • Loss and Restoration by Bernadette M. Crumb
  • Short Cargo by Wanda Lybarger. It won an Honorary Mention in the 1996 Star aWards for 'Best Medium Length Star Wars Story (11-29 pages)
  • You're The One I Dream About by Deborah Kittle - Filk. It won an Honorary Mention in the 1996 Star aWards for 'Best Filk'
  • I Am Not Alone by Jane Callard. It won an Honorary Mention in the 1996 Star aWards for 'Best Poem'.
  • Chewie to Leia:A Lesson Learned by Jennifer Moore. It won an Honorary Mention in the 1996 Star aWards for 'Best Poem'
  • a cartoon by A.G. Steyn won an Honorary Mention in the 1996 Star aWards for 'Best Misc'.

Issue 7

Bright Center of the Universe 7 was published in 1997 and is 216 pages long.

flyer for issue #7
  • Trying Again by Martha Wilson. Someone has stolen the Falcon and left han to die. But where was Chewbacca? It won an Honorary Mention in the 1997 Star aWards for 'Best Long Star Wars Story (over 30 pages)'.
  • Joker's Wild by J.A. Berger (From the Blue Falcon Series. Vader had Han in Lair of the Blue Falcon and lost him; this time he uses Han to set a trap for the Jedi he believes Han to be bonded to.)
  • Mindfield by Martie Benedict-O'Brien (An old friend's new flame may be something more than he seems. Can be read as a sequel to "R&R.")
  • Lost by Z.P. Florian. Boba Fett has disappeared. What happened to Han Solo?
  • Eslahaan Two Step by Cat Anson. Betrayed, leia is dying. Only Luke can save her - but does he want to?
  • Blue Falcon J.A. Berger. Vader wants Luke but if you go fishing you need bait.
  • Dark Bonds by J.P. Treleaven. Boba Fett is not the only bounty hunter and Han is not the only prey. Who else wants Luke?
  • Minefield by Martie Bendict ("can be read as a sequel to "R&R" in issue #7)
  • other content by Kittle, Fox and Pfeiffer.

Issue 8

Bright Center of the Universe 8 was published in 1998 and contains 198 pages. Art by is by A.G. Steyn.

front cover of issue #8, A.G. Steyn
flyer for #8
back cover of issue #8 by Betty Wathne, an adaptation of a Celtic stone carving
From the editorial:
Well, what started out as a one shot is now in its 8th issue. One H of a lot o f work and learning experience, but also a lot of fun. You will notice several changes. No Letters to Editor -- we received several notes saying they would write later, but apparently they later never came. This is bad news because the authors and artists depend on your input to tell them what you like or vice-versa Second we are doing an E-mail story again. This, as was the last, is taken directly from the E-mail listing. I choose them simply because they have a different slant on SW, and I think our zine readers might find them interesting. I will never use more then one in each issue and s ome time there will be none. This was done with the authors permission, and the explanation is appended to the story.
Ming's comments in the zine regarding the "email story" reprinted in this issue:
The following story was taken off of the Web. It was removed exactly as printed and only the set-up was changed to fit the Bright Center format.

The last few years has seen quite a debate as to which is the best method, for stories and, which will be the future of zine stories~both side having stanch defenders of their own ideas. As a zine editor some would guess I would be all for the printed form, and they would be wrong.

The Telegraph was a great invention, it was the first electric method of getting word from one place in the country to another, but then the Telephone came along-what happened to the telegraph?-nothing it is still going strong, and is used in many ways where the Telephone is not satisfactory.

This is the type of future I see for both printed zines and the E-mail. They will both eventually find the roll [sic] they fit best. In the meantime Bright Center will, for those who do not have E-mail yet, print the occasional story that I think is unusual and different. Something out o f the ordinary.

I do not classify this as a reprint because actually it has never been printed in a zine. It is available on the net i f you want to look for it. For those who do not - here it is .

I found it great fun to compare the different ways the ideas evolved in the Devil-hype story and Alderaan not been destroyed. It just shows that ideas can come from anywhere.
  • Editor's Note (i)
  • Jabba's Court (art)
  • One Fine Day by J.P. Treleavan (1)
  • A Family Feeling by Carolyn Golledge (Set post Return of the Jedi. Han and Leia take the kids on vacation to an Ocean World with which the Alliance is negotiating a treaty.)(6)
  • Leia's Lament, poem (20)
  • Ghosts and Demons by J.A. Berger (After the Ewok celebration, Han and Leia must help Luke as the Emperor's ghost still lingers.) (21)
  • Memory Lane (editor note) by Ming Wathne (50)
  • Once Upon an Ice Cube by A.G. Steyn (51)
  • Devil Hype (reprint) by Kay Crist (53)
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice by A.G. Steyn (54) (art)
  • What If Alderaan Had Not been Destroyed by Babette/Roni Markowitz (64) (the "email story")
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice by A.G. Steyn (71) (art)
  • Return to the Old Ways by Amy Farmer (73)
  • Circle, poem by K.A. Marshall (75)
  • Winter Stalk (graphic novel) by Wanda Lybarger (76) (reprinted from Facets #9/10]]
  • Family Connections by Judy Ebberley (Han introduces Luke to an old friend and Luke begins to suspect that the connection between Han and the man may be closer than the Corellian imagines.) (115)
  • Lonely is the Hunter by A.G. Steyn (127)

Issue 9

Bright Center of the Universe 9 was published in 1999 and is 126 pages long. Art by Z.P. Florian, Tara Ludmer, and clip art.

cover #9
flyer for issue #9
back cover of issue #9
  • The Boy Who's Worth a Ship by Z.P. Florian (1)
  • Cup, Candle and Life by Martie Benedict (filk) (12)
  • Sun Jumper by Martie Benedict (filk) (13)
  • Chivalry by Kate Birkel (14)
  • Spacer's Blues by Martie Benedict (filk) (24)
  • Bounty on Ord Mantell by Laura Tarzia (Leia learns much more about Han after meeting several of his old acquaintances on Ord Mantell—one of whom has turned spy for the Imperials.) (25)
  • On the Road by Martie Benedict (filk) (81)
  • Remembrance by Carolyn Golledge (82)
  • Goin' Down by Martie Benedict (filk) (102)
  • Starship by Martie Benedict (filk) (103)
  • Hero Unmasked by Siobhan DG (103)
  • Silver Bell by Martie Benedict (filk) (106)
  • The Slavers by Martie Benedict (filk) (107)
  • The Woven Ocean by Selinthia Avenshcesca (108)
  • The Glitter and the Glory by Jason Clarke (109)
  • Sea of Stars by Martie Benedict (filk) (124)
  • The Sun Weaver by Martie Benedict (filk) (125)
  • The Star Wars Market Place, ads (126)

Issue 10

Bright Center of the Universe 10 was published in 2000 and contains 211 pages. It was nominated for the 2000 Star aWards 'Best Star Wars Zine (Over 200 pages).'

front cover of issue #10, Barbara Fister-Liltz
back cover of issue #10
  • Shadows of the Past by J.A. Berger (1)
  • An Open Door, poem by Crysalis (42)
  • Palpatine by Selinthia Avenchesca, art by Z.P. Florian (43)
  • We Touch, poem by Crysalis (46)
  • Some Things Never Change by Judy Ebberly, art by Margaret Westphal (47)
  • Under the Stars by Selinthia Avenchesca (58)
  • One Restless Night by Z.P. Florian, art by Florian (73)
  • All for Alderaan by Z.P. Florian (73)
  • Sweet Revenge by Valerie Vancollie (What if Luke had used the Dark Side as a child?) (79)
  • Starstruck, poem by Crysalis (98)

Solo's Inheritance by Nadja Lee, art by Naomi Stickles (Han Solo is about to discover a secret from his past that will change his life forever.) (99)

  • Of Vader, poem by Crysalis (116)
  • Recognition of the Heart by Catherine Anson, art by Margaret Wesphal (117)
  • That Darned Story! by Ming Wathne (209)
  • Smugglers Cove, items of interest and ads (215)

Issue 11

Bright Center of the Universe 11 was published in 2001 and contains 150 pages.

front cover of issue #11, Mark Fisher
back cover of issue #11
  • Responsibilities by Judy Ebberly, art by Wanda Lybarger (1)
  • Sith Lords Don't Have Friends by Z.P. Florian, art by Florian (13)
  • The Nobel Jedi Order, filk by Marlene (20)
  • Brother, My Brother by Nadja Lee (Alternate Universe story, taking place during and a little after the films. Luke finds out that he and Han are brothers in more ways than one.) (21)
  • Shattered Dream by Ming Wathne, art by Rick Logsdon (26)
  • The Only Way Out by Kay Crist, reprinted from News of the Rebellion #9 in 1981) (32)
  • Wanted by Valerie Vancollie, art by Z.P. Florian(36)
  • Prologue by Rebecca Carey, reprinted from somewhere else (79)
  • Revelations by Ming Wathne and Kaz (81)
  • Call of Duty by Margaret Westphal (An alternative future for Han and Leia. Leia marries a Prince out of duty and Han ends up a slave before fulfilling his destiny.) (87)
  • Smuggler's Cove, "ads & items of interest in the Star Wars Universe") (145)


  1. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  2. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  3. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  4. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  5. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  6. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  7. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  8. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  9. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  10. from an LoC in "Bright Center of the Universe" #2
  11. not the name used on the zine
  12. from the LoC section in issue #3
  13. from the LoC section in issue #3
  14. from the LoC section in issue #3
  15. from the LoC section in issue #3
  16. from the LoC section in issue #3
  17. from the LoC section in issue #3
  18. from Southern Enclave #39
  19. from Southern Enclave #39