Featured Fen -- Brooklyn Fanfare: Devra Langsam
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|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Featured Fen -- Brooklyn Fanfare: Devra Langsam|
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Featured Fen -- Brooklyn Fanfare: Devra Langsam is an interview printed in Menagerie #14.
In it, Devra talks about her interest in science fiction literature, her zine Spockanalia, and in Star Trek.
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I've been reading sf since I stumbled over Andre Norton's The Stars Are Ours in sixth grade, but my first contact with fandom came from Dick Plotz's Tolkien Society. But I resisted. Somehow, I managed to remain unaffected by fans until my friend Sherna Comerford accidentally went to an Open ESFA. ESFA (Easter Science Fiction Association) used to meet — maybe it still does — in Newark, where Sherna was taking her Master's, and we went to their annual open meeting-convention. There we met Brian Burley, who lent us our first fanzine; it had a letter discussing Star Trek, from Juanita Coulson. Sherna and I wrote long, long, long joint letters to Juanita, and gradually the idea of doing a fanzine devoted to Trek developed. This was in early 1967, and there had been articles on ST in various zines, but no single zine devoted ONLY, to ST. Juanita, a long-time fan, encouraged and helped us. Without her, our efforts would never have gotten beyond the "hot air" stage. Somewhere during this period, I joined the Lunarians (of which slightly weird group I am still a member), the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Heyer Almack's Appreciation Society, and a few other equally strange bodies.
Anyway, Sherna and I published the first ST zine, eventually printing five issues of SPOCKANALIA. Around 1971, when ST was off the air, and Sherna moved to the depths of New Jersey, she and I dismantled Garlic Press. My cousin (the mythical Debbie Langsam) and I began co-editing MASIFORM D. When Debbie went to North Carolina to study, I continued as sole editor of Poison Pen Press. (I had thought of calling myself Pudenda Publications: "We specialize in fine reproduction" — but I chickened out.) My siamese-cousin Debbie had gone to Brooklyn College with Elyse Pines (now Rosenstein). This led — I'm not quite clear just how; perhaps there was a case of Vulcan Mind Meld involved — to our running five years worth of LARGE ST conventions in New York City. In 1976, we ended our five-year mission of Trek cons, and since then, I have lived a dull, blameless life, with nothing more stimulating than publishing my zine and chairing the 1977 Lunacon to break the monotony.
I wish that I could convey the excitement of the first days in Trek random, when each week's episode was a treasure of new information and ideas, of new jokes and thoughts about the people, our people. Somehow it's all confused with summer nights in Newark on Sherna's porch, talking about Vulcan puberty rites, and making vulgar jokes about dehydrated Vulcans reconstituted in a bathtub full of beer, and "if we had to split Spock, which half would you want?" (The functional half, of course.) I'm now 33, with two mimeos, a father, a cat, and a fanzine. And maybe a new Selectric typewriter. That's the life. A long way from the neofan of ten years ago — and a pretty nice trip, all in all.