Cheap Thrills

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Title: Cheap Thrills
Publisher: Relationship Press
Editor(s): Ellen Kobrin & Carol Hunterton
Date(s): 1981-1982
Medium: print
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Cheap Thrills is a slash Star Trek: TOS letter-sized anthology of fiction and poetry. It is a no-frills zine, and except for a single exception, contains no art.

From the first issue:

"Cheap Thrills is a zine economical,
With stories both serious and comical.
While Spock's screwing Kirk,
The eds. do the work
And create a chef d'oeuvre anatomical."


The 'no frills' K/S zine is looking for contributions. As the title implies, there will be no artwork, no fancy bindings, none of the furbelows that make a zine expensive. 'Cheap Thrills' can be that place for your poor orphaned story or poem or one-liner that has no where else to go. This zine is not a part of the Companion series. Hard and soft core stories welcom. If it's K/S, we're interested. [1]
Carol H. and Ellen K., the people who published Companion 1-3, launched Cheap Thrills in January of 1981. This series of four zines printed with no art was in response to the escalating cost of zines, both publishing and buying them. Cutting out the cost of reproducing artwork lowered the price considerably. Even the cover illo was the same for each of the zines: a simple line drawing of a pair of men’s jeans with an open zipper out of which emerged...well, the title Cheap Thrills. In a rampant state. [2]
We think it is time to restate the raison d'etre of Cheap Thrills. It was originally conceived because many of our writer-friends told us that they had written K/S

stories, but had nowhere to send them. There were no K/S zines being published on a regular basis, and we felt that we could remedy the situation. After publishing three issues of Companion, we had become painfully aware that most K/S artists were and are badly overworked, yet too nice to say "no." We thought we would ease their burden, and at the same time cut printing costs, by publishing a "no-frills" zine. The essence of a zine, after all, is words; artwork can be a beautiful adjunct to these words, but artwork is not essential. In addition to relieving the strain on the artist, we hoped to aid the writer by giving her a reputable, reliable, and punctual forum with editors/ publishers who cared about her work as much as she did. We also wanted to provide the reader with a steady flow of the type of stories, poems, vignettes, and miscellany that she so ardently sought - and at a reasonable price. (The publishers of more eclectic zines have the luxury of being able to "shop around" for printers; those of us who publish sexually explicit material do not have this option.)

Reliable indicators show that we are succeeding in our aims. Responses from readers and contributors have been and continue to be overwhelmingly positive. We enjoy what we do; our audience enjoys the results. [3]

Controversy and a Reviewer

In 1982, there was quite a bit of discussion about this zine after a fan wrote to Interstat and complained that a review in Universal Translator had been too harsh, as well as inaccurate.

Some sample comments, see Interstat for more discussion.

From Celia B:
I do not dislike the editors; I don't even know the editors....I also resent the comparison to Tigriffin. I do not make a practice of writing "hatchet jobs" to destroy fanzines and their editors. Read my reviews of DUET and THE PRIZE AND THE PRICE, in FORUM, for example. As far as my review doing any harm to CHEAP THRILLS or its editors, I quote you from a note sent to me, signed by [its editor]: "You'd be surprised how sales surge after such a review!" In view of that statement, I suggest that you check your facts before making anymore statements of that kind. Your statement that I lack perspective is completely false. My perspective is firmly rooted in having read several times every K/S zine ever published, and most ST genzines, old and new. I have considerable knowledge of the problems involved in amateur publishing. What makes you think, [Sharon F], that other K/S zine editors do not have the same problems of low print runs and overly moralistic printers? In most parts of the country, it is far worse. A little intelligent planning can usually lessen, if not completely circumvent, the problem in areas of high population density, and consequent liberality— like New Jersey and New York. I do not regard a zine as a static entity unless, of course, it is a "one-off". My criticisms were of a positive nature in that they could easily be used to improve the quality of the zine. I withdraw none of them. In fact, my actual feelings about CHEAP THRILLS are considerably more negative than I indicated in my review. Judged solely on the basis of the other zines by these same editors, it is an inferior effort. Furthermore, it was my understanding that the purpose of this K/S zine was to minimize costs. This may be so, but the saving is not being passed on to the zine-buying fan. Not at 7 [cents] a page (per side). Why are we being asked, for just one example, to pay for the same tasteless covers that issue #1 sported, when plain card covers would have been much cheaper and more attractive? I firmly believe that K/S zines have a special responsibility to their readers, to be as far above reproach as possible. There should be absolutely no hint of a situation where an editor might be taking advantage of the K/S fan's desperate thirst for more zines, and profiting by it, to the fan's detriment—even if this was not the editor's intention. We K/S fans are already derided and persecuted quite enough within media fandom because of our choice of reading material, and we are completely beneath contempt to a great many people. Don't fool yourself; it i£ true. A friend and myself happened to be very near the stage when Toni Cardinal-Price won the Fan Fund at Mos' Eastly Con, and we heard some of the resentment and nasty comments made at that time. It made my friend, [Jo T], quite ill and angry, it was then that we became convinced that that was the last time a Trek fan would ever win the fund again, especially anyone who happened to be K/S-creative. [4]
Laura L addressed Celia B's comments:
I am appalled by your attempt to compare zines on a cost-per-page basis. You seem to imply the more pages per dollar, the better the value. I, on the other hand, look for quality and its relation to the zine price. Obviously, my decision process (I assume you have one) differs from yours. Why stop at cost per page - why not cost per word (since one could have more pages by using ten pitch, wide-margin, etc.) or even cost per letter (since one could use lots of little words). Costs depend on print runs, the use of metal plates ($15 to $20 each), part of the US where the zine is printed (prices are higher in the New York Metro area! as my rent, etc. can attest to) as well as many other factors. The cost of Cheap Thrills is less than the average price (by more than one standard deviation) of the zines I have purchased in 1981. Consequently, Cheap Thrills has met the objective of providing a lower cost type zine. Your protests that no harm was done to Cheap Thrills or its editors assumes that harm is limited to financial aspects or number of copies sold. In my opinion that is a narrow, unrealistic view. Harm also can relate to slurs cast on the editors' integrity and intelligence. I suggest that you have caused harm in the latter. You state "the savings is not being passed on to the zine-buying fan" when
describing Cheap Thrills. In the next paragraph you state, "profiting by it, to
the fan's detriment." Since you did not specify which K/S zines you were re
ferring to, was it Cheap Thrills (a logical deduction), and if not, what zines
were you referring to? More important, what are you basing your allegations on?
I assume you have audited their books or have specific financial facts to sub
stantiate your claim. Do share this information with us. If you do not have
those financial facts, you owe an apology to whatever editors you were referring
to (if Cheap Thrills, Carol Hunterton and Helen Kobrin [sic]), and also to the readers of Interstat. [5]
Carol Hunterton and Ellen Kobrin addressed Celia B's comments regarding their zine:
We had no intention of airing our differences with you in the pages of either Universal Translator or Interstat. But it seems that this decision was taken out of our hands by you when you so blithely quoted from a personal note of Carol's to you. Actually, the quote was the entire note, and was written on a postcard. I (Carol) wanted you to know that your unwarranted diatribe had little effect on all our readers, who have always been most discerning. These same readers sent us many notes of encouragement, indicating that they, as well as we, are asking, "What did these editors ever do to her?" They also are continuing to show their support by purchasing Cheap Thrills 3. If you persist in your condemnation of Cheap Thrills (and Out of Bounds), then you must condemn these loyal readers also. Such extreme negativism, smacking of overkill, tends to make the reader believe that there must be a personal element involved. Could this fanaticism concern only "no-frills" zines? Since you stated at the beginning of your review of Out of Bounds and Cheap Thrills 2, "I can only hope that they do not start a trend," you cannot possibly claim to have been an unprejudiced reviewer. Your statement that "the purpose of this K/S zine was to minimize costs... but the savings is not being passed on to the zine-buying fan" is ill conceived, specious, and bordering on calumny. You have no way of knowing, unless you are clairvoyant and have seen our checkbooks, how much it cost us to publish the zine. Your implication that we are cheating our readers is unworthy of a Trek fan. As to the comparison you made between Cheap Thrills and "the other zines by these same editors," you are trying to draw a parallel between an Almaden burgundy and a Taylor champagne: They are both domestic wines, but there the similarity ends, Cheap Thrills and Companion are both carefully and lovingly wrought K/S zines; there is no other basis for comparison, nor did we ever intend that there should be. There are many other points we could make. For instance, we could take umbrage at the criticism of our editing technique, but we noted the particulars that came before this criticism. We considered the source, and decided that any further discussion would be an exercise in futility. We don't want to get involved in a long-running imbroglio, and we don't have the time to be paranoid about K/S "witch hunts." To the readers of Interstat: After we had finished writing the above, we learned that another letter concerning Cheap Thrills can be found in a recent British publication. That article, written by another Chicago resident, [Barbara G], excoriates Cheap Thrills as completely as does [Celia B's], which it closely parallels. Recalling Homer's "God always pairs off like with like," we begin to believe that [Barbara G] and [Celia B] are in collusion with each other to defame, traduce, vilify us as editors, publishers. Trek fans and human beings. They may deny this accusation; but we are firm in our belief, as we and many of you have observed [Barbara G] in action on numerous occasions. To paraphrase a popular apothegm: "Just because we're not paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get us." [6]


Many summaries below are by Gilda F.

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, by Little Boots
back cover of issue #1, by Little Boots

Cheap Thrills 1 was published in January 1981 and contains 96 pages.

The editorial:
We would like to thank all our contributors (companions in poverty) who responded to our request for material. Companion, is taking a well-deserved vacation, and since nature (and the masochistic zine editor) abhors a vacuum, we wouldn't have known what to do with ourselves (Not that! You people have one-track minds.) without a zine to edit.

As everyone knows, the price of zines has become so prohibitive that there are many poor souls (literally and figuratively) who can no longer afford to indulge in their favorite pastime. These inflated prices are due largely to the escalating costs of paper and labor. Contributing factors are the materials necessary for borders, lettering, etc. In addition, there is a relative (don't ask "Relative to what?") paucity of available artists. And, of course, it costs a great deal to reproduce artwork properly.

All of the above is the reason for the birth of Cheap Thrills. We hope you enjoy the multifaceted stories and poems herein. Letters of comment are, as always, very welcome.
  • The Seasons of My Life by Laurie Church (inside front cover)
  • Life-Line by Pamela Rose and C.J. McNally ("Kirk and Spock are buried alive by the inhabitants of the planet they were scouting when they are overtaken by a strange gas, a situation made worse by Kirkʼs dawning claustrophobia caused by a childhood trauma.") (3)
  • And in this Sleep... by Jean Chabot (21)
  • Love Dreams by Hazel A. Williams (22)
  • Crescendo by Kathy New (23)
  • A Human Luck by Kathy New (23)
  • ... And Ne'er to Be Forgot by Ellen L. Kobrin (24)
  • After All These Years by Judy Darnell (26)
  • Games by Teresa Hewitt ("The jaded ruler of a planet force Kirk and Spock to have sex in front of her after they and the rest of the survey party are captured, which mocks Kirkʼs fantasy of he and Spock making love in front of on audience.") (27)
  • Needs by Jean Chabot (49)
  • Portrait by Jean Chabot (50)
  • Beyond Any Choice by Crystal Ann Taylor ("Marooned on a Vulcanoid planet with an amnesiac Spock, Kirk becomes Spockʼs pleasure slave when he is mistaken as his property by the natives.") (51)
  • Shore Leave by Judy Darnell (60)
  • Night Moves by Kathy New (60)
  • Fantasy #5 by Madelein Lee (Kirk gets covered in a sticky mud while on shore leave with Spock and has to have his pubic area shaved to get it off.) (61)
  • Aberration of Starlight by Jean Chabot (64)
  • Insight by Jean Chabot (64)
  • The Joy of Spock by Billie Phillips (65)
  • Limerick by Gene S. Delapenia (68)
  • The Gift by A.T. Bush ("Spock figures out which is the imposter and which is the real Kirk by asking them what Kirk had given him for his last birthday, something only his lover would ever know.") (69)
  • Breaking Up is Hard to Do by Pamela Begonia (71)
  • A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place by Ellen L. Kobrin (also in Aftermath) ("Kirk and Spock take a slow ride in the turbolift.") (72)
  • The Empty Shell by Judy Darnell (74)
  • Progressions of the Heart by Susan Wyllie (75)
  • Parted... Yet Never Parted by Barbara L. Storey (77)
  • Only a Touch Away by Jimmye Galli (78)
  • Reintegration by Jeanne Cloud (80)
  • Now, Voyager by Ellen L. Kobrin (81)
  • Conclusion by Rosemary C. ("Kirk is afraid to confront Spock as to why he left and broke their bond to go to Gol, even though he now feels unfit to command and plans to resign now that the danger from VʼGer is over.") (82)
  • T'hy'la by Gene S. Delapenia (93)
  • Reflections on a Resumed Life by Jimmye Galli (94)
  • Glorification by Gene S. Delapenia (96)
  • Moderately-Price Thrills-- Ads (inside back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for Games.
See reactions and reviews for Life-Line.
[zine]: This is labelled a 'no-frills' K/S zine, with none of those expense-adding extras like art or quality stories. with the exception of one story and the single humorous piece, bright spots like candles in the smog, this zine's contents are tiresome, banal, and mediocre. It's as if the writers tossed together all the themes ever considered in Companion, Contact, Naked Times, and the 'Joy of Gay Sex,' shook well, and dumped the results out.... ...there are aborted beginnings of a good story... but the authors are side-tracked by the need to write a fuck scene... simply non-class masturbation material... inciting prurience is no fault in a story, inciting boredom is ... it might not be a deliberate satire on the voyeuristic female reader of male gay porn, but it could be... The one reasonably good story is Rosemary C's 'Conclusion' which looks utterly fantastic compared to its companions. There's an honest plot here, and real characters and a real theme... [7]
[zine]: CT is one of the latest offerings to the insatiable lustings of K/S fandom. It has been spawned by the creative house of Hunterton/Kobrin. The zine is affordable ($7.75) and is devoid of the erotic art of greats such as Gayle F. In fact, it is the paucity of art that allows the zine to be so cheap. There are actually several advantages to this, other than price. One is that it allows the imagination to run free rein to picture K/S in many of the bizarre situations they have been thrust into this time around. Secondly, it makes the zine one of your best choices for a traveling companion. I read mine on a flight home from FebCon '81. If you've ever tried to read a Gayle F illoed zine in public, you know what I mean. The zine itself is attractive, nonetheless. Good layout, clear print, and lack of typos characterize the zine from a technical standpoint. The front 'fly' and 'rear' covers are cleverly done. Within, the zine is a delight. All the poetry is excellent, my personal favorite being '... And Ne'er to be Forgot,' 'Love Dreams,' and 'Aberration of Starlight.' The stories run the gamut from the wonderfully ridiculous to the very serious. Both the humorous and the poignant aspects of the lives of K/S come under scrutiny. Our heroes suffer though some hysterical scenes such as Spock's dilemma in a very unusual location ('A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place'), and erotic visit to the planet 'Fallax' ('Games'), or the chaotic moment when Spock pulls Kirk by the hair and hopes the transplant holds ('The Joy of Spock'). There are also pleasant stories which have a plot to frame sexual encounters such as 'Life-Life'. Finally, there is a serious story that shines: 'Conclusion' is well-crafted, logical, full of dignity, suffering, agony, and love. It deals with the real reunion of K/S after V'ger disappears into the Paramount void. In addition to all of the above, the zine contains, sprinkled throughout, many four line ditties of great wit and humor. The only problem with this zine is that the reader wants more. Let's hope the... the editors will adhere to their proposed August publications for issue #2. [8]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Little Boots
back cover of issue #2, Little Boots

Cheap Thrills 2 was published in August 1981 and is 108 pages long. It was edited by Ellen Kobrin. Despite the zine's non-frillsiness, there is a single piece of art by Gayle F..

  • Non-Denial by Ellen Kobrin (inside front cover)
  • Let It Be Remembered by Hillary Tenzing ("Kirk is unwilling to let Spock go, having, after two 5 year missions, finally admitted their love for each other.") (3)
  • Now and Then by Jean Chabot (8)
  • With Only Four Words by Christine Thomson (10)
  • Plagued Ship by A.T. Bush ("McCoy denudes Kirkʼs crotch as punishment for what he believes is Kirkʼs betrayal of Spock when he finds that Kirk has lice.") (12)
  • Incompatible? by Elwyn Conway (29)
  • Go to the Head of the Class by Dixie G. Owen (30)
  • A Gift of IDIC by Sharon F (31)
  • Night Music by Judy Darnell (32)
  • Coda by Billie Phillips (Spock forced Kirk to see the reasons for his departure for Gol, so that Kirk can finally let go of the hurt it caused.) (33)
  • Silence by Judy Darnell (35)
  • Chess by Kathy Resch (Together after VʼGer, Kirk and Spock must give voice to the feelings both have denied.) (36)
  • Coming Home by Jean Chabot (41)
  • Homecoming by Ellen Kobrin (42)
  • The Last Laugh by Lezlie Shell ("After hearing disparaging remarks about Kirk, Spock decides to show his bondmate just how much he means to him.") (44)
  • Reverie by Gene S. Delapenia (50)
  • House of Dreams by Judy Darnell (50)
  • Extra Added Attraction -- unadvertised special by Gayle F (insert, "Dreams Are Meant to Be Shared")
  • Dreams Are Meant to be Shared by Jean Chabot, art interpretation (51)
  • Another Vulcan Fantasy by Pamela Rose (also in Aftermath) (9 pages) ("After Kirkʼs experience of being split by the transporter, Spock dreams of what could have happened if it had been him instead.") (52)
  • Traces by Ellen Kobrin (64)
  • Interlude by Toni Cardinal-Price (65)
  • Tryst by Dayle S. Barker (67)
  • We Do It All For You by Devery Helm ("On shoreleave, Kirk goes with Spock to the menʼs room, happily graffitting on the walls in the stall they share.") (68)
  • I Need You by A. T. Bush (71)
  • Budding Awareness by A. T. Bush (72)
  • A Day of Celebration by Sharon F (Kirk writes a letter to his sleeping bondmate on his and Spockʼs 10th anniversary.) (74)
  • Reunion by Sharon F and Linda Neel (79)
  • A Universe of Thee by Jimmye Galli (80)
  • Once is Never Enough by Jean Chabot (81)
  • More Stately Mansions by Ellen Kobrin (82)
  • A Thin Flame by Cynthia Drake (also in Golden Oldies and New Delights) (23 pages) ("The Kirk of the M/U exchanges Spocks in order to force a bond on this Spock, that will carry over to his own...and this Spockʼs to this Kirk." Sequel: Bonded.) (83)
  • Indeed by T'Rhys (108)
  • If I Had Never Met You by Della Van Hise (inside back cover)
  • assorted nursery rhymes by H.H.K. and proposed zines (satirical, pokes fun at popular zines of the time) by Pamela Rose and Lezlie Shell (various places around zine)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for Chess.
See reactions and reviews for Plagued Ship.
See reactions and reviews for A Thin Flame.
See reactions and reviews for Let It Be Remembered.
[zine]: The absence of artwork in a zine is about as en
thralling as listening to "Amok Time" or "Arena" for 
the first time with the TV picture turned off, pos
sibly because descriptive material in Treklit is
usually so scanty and inadequate. Many scenes are so 
loosely described that they leave me wondering for hours afterward just who was doing what to whom ... and where. Usually K/S zines tend to be particularly attractive, but [this is an example of one that isn't]. I can only hope that they do not start a trend. CHEAP THRILLS 2 is 108 unreduced pages. The unit cost per page is almost 7c, making the zine one of the most expensive zines published, even in that same geographical area, and it compares quite unfavorably in cost with many zines which are well-illustrated, some even including several half-tones. It is difficult to read, since the paper is very light-weight and has considerable show-through. The ink grays out into invisibility in many places. The covers, which are rather tasteless, are the same as the first issue. The addition of one interior illo by Gayle F. improves the zine's appearance considerably. There are no graphics; the titles are typed. There is a great deal of very mediocre, very sentimental poetry. The best of the lot, Sharon F.'s "A Gift of IDIC—Spock" and Jean Chabot's "Once Is Never Enough", show at least some understanding of poetic imagery, and some feel for the language. There are a number of fairly successful humorous pieces; several of the "Proposed Zine" listings, especially "Singing in the Pain," and "Tarzan and Jim," and a few verses, especially "Twinkle, twinkle, little Jim," and parts of several stories, but most fall flat. The only truly memorable story is a wry half-page vignette, "Reunion: Private Thoughts," about Spock's feelings on entering the new Enterprise's bridge for the first time. Eleven more vignettes, short-short, and short stories make up the rest of the zine. Many are plotless and poorly constructed, the language sometimes sloppy improved by more rewrites. I cannot recornmend this zine for purchase. If you are a real K/S addict, borrow a friend's copy. [9]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Little Boots
back cover of issue #3, Little Boots

Cheap Thrills 3 was published in February 1982 and is 100 pages long.

The editorial:
Welcome to the third issue of Cheap Thrills.

We think it is time to restate our raison d'etre. Cheap Thrills was originally conceived because many of our writer-friends told us that they had written K/S stories, but had nowhere to send them. There were no K/S zines being published on a regular basis, and we felt that we could remedy the situation. After publishing three issues of Companion, we had become painfully aware that most K/S artists were and are badly overworked, yet too nice to say "no." We thought we would ease their burden, and at the same time cut printing costs, by publishing a "[no-frills]]" zine. The essence of a zine, after all, is words', artwork can be a beautiful adjunct to these words, but artwork is not essential. In addition to relieving the strain on the artist, we hoped to aid the writer by giving her a reputable, reliable, and punctual forum, with editors/publishers who cared about her work as much as she did. We also wanted to provide the reader with a steady flow of the type of stories, poems, vignettes, and miscellany that she so ardently sought — and at a reasonable price. (The publishers of more eclectic zines have the luxury of being able to "shop around" for printers; those of us who publish sexually explicit material do not have this option. Reliable indicators show that we are succeeding in our aims. Responses from readers and contributors have been and continue to be overwhelmingly positive. We enjoy what we do; our audience enjoys the results. We intend to keep publishing Cheap Thrills on a semiannual basis, and we are now soliciting contributions for Cheap Thrills 4, scheduled for publication in September 1982. (We are also still soliciting contributions for Companion 4, with a publication date as yet unscheduled.)

Enjoy Cheap Thrills 3. Letters of comment are always welcome.)
  • Captain Kink by Bobbie Hawkins (Kirk and Spock go to the Shoreleave planet where Kirk sets up a pirate fantasy for his lover.) (3)
  • Where are You? by Ann Smith (10)
  • Thou Art by Ann Smith (11)
  • Echoes by Jeanne Cloud (12)
  • The Quiet Hours by Elaine W. (12)
  • It’s Not Nice To Tease by Crystal Ann Taylor ("Spock gets his revenge on Kirkʼs seduction of him in the turbolift by reciprocating on the bridge.") (13)
  • All I Ever Need by Sharon Decker (16)
  • @#$%^&*! Strikes Again by A.T. Bush ("The computer starts to address Kirk in a vulgar manner and he has no idea who the culprit is who programmed it.") (17)
  • Practice Makes Perfect by Liz Ellen Snyder (26)
  • The Gift by Elaine W. (27)
  • Warmth by Dagmar Bodendorf (28)
  • A Point of Law by Ray Newton ("Spock goes into pon farr while he and Kirk are negotiating with a new planet, where, unaware of their status as bondmates, he is arrested for Kirkʼs rape when a native doctor goes to their room instead of McCoy to aid Kirk.") (29)
  • The Wine-Dark Sea Revisited by Sadie Jameson (46)
  • Some Time Beyond Place, or Place Beyond Time by Jeannette Paris (51)
  • Do You? by Jeanne Cloud (61)
  • Someday by Ellen L. Kobrin (61)
  • Up The Tubes by Deverly Helm ("Kirk catches his bondmate working in a jeffries tube and proceed to give Spock something to remember.") (62)
  • Regeneration by Ellen L. Kobrin (65)
  • The Well-Kept Secret by Mary A. Smith (66)
  • Evensong by Jean Chabot (69)
  • Where Will I Be Tomorrow? by Jean Chabot (70)
  • Dawning Recognition by Jean Chabot (71)
  • T’hy’la by Trisha Gallagher ("Back together after VʼGer, Kirk and Spock finally admit to their feelings for one another.") (72)
  • Beside You by Ann Smith (75)
  • Lethe's Waters by Ellen L. Kobrin (76)
  • A Child Shall Lead by Billie Phillips ("Jimʼs mind is damaged during an experiment in brain research and itʼs up to Spock to help the now child-like Kirk regain his memories and mental faculties." Sequel: Call Home The Child.) (77)
  • Reality by Jeanne Cloud (100)
  • Sweet Seduction by Ellen L. Kobrin (inside back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for A Point of Law.
See reactions and reviews for A Child Shall Lead.

'Cheap Thrills' 3 is, of course, a K/S zine. Edited by Carole Hunterton and Ellen Kobrin, it follows the pattern set by the two previous issues. If you liked C.T. 1 and 2, this is for you. Ye Ed, exhorts reviewers to declare their prejudices - so I do; I believe strongly in the validity of the K/S relationship and I am an avid reader. So why did this zine leave me confused and with a sense of disappointment. The stories are well-written and some of the poetry is striking, yet considering the zine as a whole, I am left with the feeling that too many of the plots have been constructed for the sole purpose of featuring K/S activities in new and exotic (!) places - the Jeffries tube, the bridge (all in the mind, of course, but the effect is the same.). Last time it was the turbo lift and next time.,..? Thus 'It's Not Nice to Tease' by Crystal Ann Taylor and 'Up the Tubes' by Devery Helm.

Another story which saddened me slightly was 'Captain Kink' by Bobbie Hawkins. Perhaps my sense of humour is going off, but a real Kirk plus Spock plus an android Kirk (younger and slimmer) did not add up to humour for me, merely another 'what can we get them to do next' story.

'@+f^C&*! Strikes Again' follows A.T. Bush's usual formula of sex and humour, this time in the story of Finnegan's revenge or rather his daughter's, involving a computer with a highly decorative vocabulary. Again, I'm very fond of K/S humour but the character distortion, particularly in conversation is so great that it takes the edge from the joke.

I did, however, enjoy 'The Wine Dark Sea' by Sadie Jameson. Not a story this, but a list of plotlines and expressions overused in Trek: 'virgin Vulcan', 'pulsing', 'throbbing', etc. etc. all very true.'

There are serious stories, too, and 'Some Time Beyond Place or Place Beyond Time'by Jeanette Paris is reprinted from Companion 1, together with a sequel 'On Second Thoughts'. This is a sensitively written account of Kirk and Spock's deliberate decision to continue their relationship and makes a pleasant change from the catharsis type of story where the 'true nature of their feelings' is thrust upon them (child-reversion, snowstorm, landslides, etc.).

Ray Newton's thoughtful plot in 'A Point of Law' demonstrates that the relationship can endanger a mission just by its existence. I found the absence of the 'Woman's Own' approach to K/S refreshing. However, the plot is somewhat contrived, depending partly on a crucial blow, which knocks out McCoy at the wrong moment and on the curious physiology of the Halduran people. I can't help feeling, too, that the Halduran society is a little artificial and that the author's view of sexual/marital infidelity is somewhat intrusive.

There is one death story, 'The Well Kept Secret' by Mary A. Smith. This is a well-written short, but beyond that it would be unfair to comment since I have a very strong aversion to death stories and formally do not read them.

The zine is rounded off with 'A Child Shall Lead' by [Bille Phillips]. This is beautifully written in the author's complex and sophisticated style but, in the U.K. at least, the "reversion to childishness" theme has been well explored and it seems a waste that the author felt compelled to recap, albeit in a mature study.

So where does that leave me? Unhappy. Individually, the stories are well-written and if you take the title as the gauge of the zine, acceptable and apt. However, in the editorial, the eds. describe themselves as "caring" and "thoughtful". If so, I'm not sure I'm happy with the balance of the product. Where are the thoughtful relationship stories that go beyond sex and the first time? Some of the poetry deserves mention, especially 'The Quiet Hours' by Elaine W., a mature poem which considers the problem of old age and proves that free verse and discipline are not incompatible.

At the end, I am acutely conscious of having written a biased review (of the group with whom I read it, I was the most disapproving) but I hope at the same time to have at least given an honest view and provided the reader with some basis for judgement. [10]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4
back cover of issue #4

Cheap Thrills 4 was published in September 1982 and contains 100 pages.

  • Return to Genesis by Ellen L. Kobrin (inside front cover)
  • Goodbye to All That by Patricia Frazer Lamb (3)
  • Call Home the Child by K.S. T'Lan ("Now lovers, Spockʼs care and love help Kirk overcome the brain trauma that left him afraid and child-like Prequel: A Child Shall Lead" in Cheap Thrills #3) (5)
  • Dark Dominion by Judy Darnell (13)
  • Declaration by Susan Meinecke (14)
  • A Promise of Tomorrow by Dagmar Bodendorf Buse (24)
  • Undercurrents by Susan Meinecke (26)
  • Incident One by K.L. Fidelius (27)
  • Three Views on Boredom
    • Interlude by J. Stumbo ("Spock sets up a tryst with his bondmate to help relieve Kirkʼs boredom.") (35)
    • Elasticated Incidents by D. Scott (38)
    • When Your Thoughts Wander by R. McLeod (42)
  • Logic's Counterpart by Sharon F (43)
  • Midnight Dawn by Deverly Helm ("Kirk awakens in Spockʼs embrace after being knocked out and finds they are huddled together for warmth waiting out a storm, giving Kirk the time to decide what he feels for Spock and what he plans to do about it.")
  • Revelations by Susan Meinecke (48)
  • One of Those Days by Dagmar Bodendorf Buse (50)
  • Incidents of Drowning by A.T. Bush ("While on vacation together, Spock pretends heʼs drowning as a prank on McCoy and Jim when McCoy asks for 'bizarre' entertainment from Spock after Kirk hints at his bondmateʼs ability to have fun.") (51)
  • Chiaroscuro by Gene S. Delapenia (63)
  • Together by Sharon A. Carter (64)
  • A Change of Mind by Toni Cardinal-Price (On shoreleave together, Spock is dismayed when Kirk elects to go off with a former girlfriend. Prequel: The Essential Seed Sequel: Some Time Beyond Place, or Place Beyond Time.) (reprinted from Companion #1 and in Nome #12) (66)
  • Two Views of Reality by D. Booker (79)
  • Out of the Closet by Penelope Name ("Kirk and Spock go undercover to spy on Gary Seven and end up hiding in a closet where the beers Spock drank causes an expected problem.") (81)
  • The Endless Gift by D. Booker (89)
  • Aldebaran Roses by Susan Wyllie (90)
  • Nocturnal by Gene S. Delapenia (92)
  • Night Music by Gene S. Delapenia (92)
  • Bare, Ruined Choirs by Ellen L. Kobrin ("As the Enterprise speeds toward Regula 1, Kirk and Spock talk over Kirkʼs mid-life crisis and the child Spock never knew Kirk had.") (93)
  • Twilight by Ellen L. Kobrin (99)
  • Descent by Ellen L. Kobrin (100)
  • The Night Before Grace by Ellen L. Kobrin (inside back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

See reactions and reviews for A Change of Mind.
[zine]: As has been true of all previous issues, this volume contains no artwork except for the front and back cover. This is part of the basic concept of the no-frills K/S zine, and while the absence of artwork is noticible, it is not missed to any great extent. Like many other readers, I'd rather have extra pages of story than extra pages of art. 'Call Home the Child' is a sequel to 'A Child Shall Lead' which appeared in CT3. A re-reading of the original story is certainly in order before tackling the current offering, and while the sequel is not outstanding, it will well presented and stands on its own. My favorite selection from this zine is 'The Birthday Celebration.' It presents a rather drunken Spock who becomes involved in a menage a trois with Kirk and one of his many lady (?) friends. While the concept of Spock becoming drunk as a means of loosening his inhibitions is not new, I liked the way this author handled the scenario. One of my pet peeves in this type of fiction has always been the basic tendency of most authors to make the characters totally homosexual in their affections and affairs, and the idea of a basically bi-sexual Kirk and a possibly bi-sexual Spock fit much better into my way of thinking. The sex is very explicit and well written without being overly lengthy. 'A Change of Mind' is reprinted from Companion #1, which is long out of print. It is a story which is totally engrossing, and the only reason that is was not my favorite story in the entire zine is simply because I had read it before. The editors explain that this story is reprinted here for the benefit of all the newer readers who keep asking about the significance of the ceramic horse. 'Out of the Closet' is by far the most humorous piece in the entire zine. It starts out with Kirk and Spock in blue jeans and T-shirts going back in time to do some research. The fun really starts when they stop off at a gay bar (complete with whips, chains, and lots of leather, of course) for a few beers... which leads to other problems. There are other stories as well as poems which are also well done. I would definitely recommend this zine to anyone who is interested in K/S fiction. The printing is clear, and the text is devoid of typos for the most part. It's definitely the kind of zine a person can sit down with and read through completely in one evening. You probably won't want to put it down. [11]

'Cheap Thrills' has a format you either love or hate and the Editors have never made any bones about the fact that they produce the zine as cheaply as possible, but I've never found that it suffers in any way because of these values. True, it has no artwork, but apart from that the typing and layout is excellent saving space without looking cramped, and the occasional change of type face is very attractive.

'Cheap Thrills 4, the latest 100 page issue, as usual published by Ellen Kobrin and Carol Hunterton, is well up to standard and also shows definite signs of a move away from the original emphasis on more overt K/S humour. The lighthearted material is still very much apparent (and very welcome) but there is definitely more depth to CT4.

One thing that's always puzzled me about 'Cheap Thrills' though, is the contrast 
between much off the poetry and the stories. The poetry is of a high standard and
 often romantic in tone, and it's always seemed strange to me that this kind of poetry 
should be surrounded by what can only be termed as mainly 'raunchy' stories. It
 creates a marked imbalance.

In CT4 the poetry is as good as ever, particularly 'Goodbye to All That' by Patricia Frazer Lamb - a lovely parody on pon farr; 'Together' by Sharon A. Carter, which has a clever and original twist on the Alexander/Hephaestion theme, and all of Susan Meinecke's delightful poems.

One of the best things about CT is the sheer number of different things the 
Editors manage to cram into each issue without making the reader feel 'overfaced'. 
The secret is probably that even the most ambitious pieces are kept to little more
 than vignette length.

There are several good short stories in CT4, notably 'Call Home the Child' by K.S. T'Lan, which opens the zine, and is a lovely piece of writing - but unless you've read CT3 you're more than likely to feel a bit cheated, for it's a sequel to Bille Phillips's 'A Child Shall Lead' in CT3 and makes very little sense unless you've read the original story. I also found the ending rather unsatisfactory due to a determined Kirk who comes across as being more than a little selfish.

The best of the humorous stories are 'Incidents of Drowning' by the inimitable A.T. Bush, whose outrageous style will be familiar to regular CT readers. This latest offering involves fun and games in a swimming pool on shore leave with McCoy joining in for good measure. Despite the lightness of the subject matter though, A.T. Bush is an excellent writer with what could be called an 'unique' style. Also very funny is 'Elasticated Incidents' by Dale Scott which provides a new twist on the famous ... (or infamous?) tights worn by Kirk in Charlie X, and 'Out of the Closet' by Penelope Name (my personal favourite) which is 'a hilarious piece involving Kirk and Spock being transported to a 1970's gay bar disguised as telephone engineers (complete with skin tight jeans and Budweiser T shirts). It also has some of the funniest one-liners I've ever read.

Slightly less hilarious, though still lighthearted are the excellent 'When Your Thoughts Wander' by R.E, McLeod, which has Kirk daydreaming about Spock on the bridge, only to discover later that Spock has read his mind (with predictable results) and 'Midnight Dawn' by Devery Helm which is delightful, as it follows Kirk's thoughts as he lies (supposedly platonically) asleep beside Spock.

The most ambitious and serious story is 'Bare Ruined Choirs' by Ellen Kobrin, the first Wrath of Khan based story I've read. This is one instance where I regretted CT's policy of keeping to short stories. It's so good I wanted it to be at least twice the length it was. It doesn't, thankfully, deal with Spock's death but is a neat psychological study of Kirk's reaction to his son and the aging process. Even if you're not a fan of CT, the zine is worth buying for this story alone.

Ellen Kobrin does in fact deal with Spock's death in two poems right at the end of the zine, but I didn't find them to be among her best work. Both lacked structure and tended to ramble, even though she was attempting to show the anguish involved.

On the debit side, I found many of the stories and poems concentrated very much on Kirk's point of view with poor old Spock hardly getting a mental look-in so to speak, and more balance was needed here. But CT4 is basically well balanced, and certainly benefits from a de-emphasis on the more 'hard hitting' material of earlier issues. As always, it is excellent value. I would recommend it to anyone who is not easily shocked, and who likes 'variety' in their K/S reading. [12]

I like 'Cheap Thrills'. I always have and that is written as one who is a little tired of K/S being used as a vehicle for endless bedroom scenes. There is no shortage of sex or humour in Cheap Thrills but then the editors have never pretended otherwise - in other words if you buy it you know what you're getting - but there is also a lot of affection. What appeals to me is that there seems to be relatively little venturing into the realm of slavery, sadism, rape, etc, that I have come to expect from K/S zines recently; whether this is by accident or design, I wouldn't know but it makes a pleasant change that's more the characters are generally from 'our' universe (allowing for the K/S premise), in itself a pleasure.

Turning from the general to the particular i.e. 'Cheap Thrills IV, this follows the estahlished pattern - in fact there are no Mirror or pre-Reform stories that I can recollect, (Hurray) The question is though, is Cheap Thrills going surreal? There are a, weird stories included in this issue. For instance, why should Kirk find it necessary to leave his red tights on under his trousers? And why on earth should Spock find them a turn-on? From what I remember it wasn't a pretty sight Then there's Kirk getting hot in a cupboard and displaying distinctly exhibitionist tendencies - remember the turbolift? The Jeffries tube? Well now they have to find a suitable cupboard in which to satisfy Kirk's rapidly growing lust. The real cracker in the funny/peculiar section is 'Incidents of Drowning" by A.T-. Bush.;-- Instructed by McCoy to do something bizarre to amuse the doctor Spock plumps for presenting to drown as a good wheeze. There's a logical reason for this, of course, eve if Spock has got his wires crossed. Oh yes, and there is an 'encounter' on a very slippery sunlounger which causes no end of problems. Can't think why two intelligent men like them don't just fall off and do it on the floor.

The story is written in A.T. Bush's own peculiar (and I don't mean funny/peculiar this time) style; while her Kirk and Spock don't coincide with my conception of the characters, they are always very tender and soft with each other, and I like them. I can't, however, imagine what caused her to think up such a plot...

There are three stories on the more serious side and also a K/S/M/S story (Kirk/Spock/Mary-Sue, get it?), Toni Cardinal-Price - this one has been done before in Duet with slight variations. Also by Cardinal-Price is "A Change of Mind" which is one of my favourite stories from 'Companion 1. I, for one, am delighted that the editors are reprinting from this lovely zine as I am one of the unfortunates who came into fandom after it had sold out.

Ellen Kobrin has produced the first ST TWOK story that I have seen which is well written as one might expect - and no, it is not a revive-Spock story. It extends further one of the themes of the film, mainly Kirk's inability to come to terms with being fifty.

Bille Phillips's story from Cheap Thrills III "A Child Shall Lead" was a marvellous piece even though it was a well-used, theme and Spock's distress as he cared for and eventually came to desire Kirk (brain-injured for those who didn't read the original) was beautifully portrayed. "Call Home the Child" by K.S.T'Lan explores their new, sexual relationship and Kirk's continuing recovery. In comparison to the original story this story seems to lack something; I think it is a little too easy and superficial; I prefer a little more agony! Kirk is portrayed as child-like rather than as an adult frustrated by his limitations; it just doesn't have the same impact - but even so the last couple of lines are absolute gems!

The zine contains several vignettes and about twenty poems, I don't claim to be a great expert where poems are concerned - I'm not even sure I know what a poem is anymore, but I do know what I like and my personal favourites were two ST TWOK poems by Ellen Kobrin, "Dark Dominion" by Judy Darnell (all rather lugubrious I'm afraid) and a longish effort by K.L. Fidelius (I assume it's a poem anyway) which chronicles a first timer where Kirk is rather less than whole hearted in his involvement but doesn't want to hurt Spock; I don't necessarily agree with the concept but it is the way I can see Kirk behaving, given the situation.

While I have reservations about some of the stories in CT IV (and who can read a zine without any reservations) and there are possibly too many poems for my personal taste, the overall ambience of the zine suits me fine. Roll on CT V and Companion 4, and will the editors please continue to print Companion 1 piece-meal? [13]


  1. ^ from the submission request in Datazine #7
  2. ^ from The K/S Zine: The Time of the Beginning 1976-1985
  3. ^ from Interstat #53
  4. ^ from Interstat #52
  5. ^ from Interstat #53
  6. ^ from Interstat #53
  7. ^ from Warped Space #46
  8. ^ from Datazine #11
  9. ^ from Universal Translator #12
  10. ^ Communicator #4 (1982)
  11. ^ from Datazine #24
  12. ^ from Communicator #8 (Dec 1982)
  13. ^ from Communicator #9 (1983)