Communications Console (Star Trek newsletter)

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Title: Communication Console (often shortened to "ComCon" -- not to be confused with Con Com)
Publisher: Allies for Star Trek
Editor(s): Debbie Gilbert (1980s), Barbara Adams (1980s), Jean Ann Hodge (1985), Chris B. Roberts (1987)
Type: letterzine
Date(s): 1984-?
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
External Links:
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Communications Console (often referred to as "ComCon") was a newsletter published by a Memphis, Tennessee club called Allies for Star Trek. The fan club began in the 1980s and remained active until the mid-2000s.


"Everything you've ever wanted to know about Star Trek before it happens! Up-to-date ST news and con information hot-off-the-wire... Star Trek is getting bigger and better than ever!... ComCon is published bi-monthly and runs about 25 pages. It's crammed full of ST articles, short stories, poetry, and artwork... ComCon is more like a minizine than a newsletter." [1]

Issue 1 (March/April 1984)

Communications Console March/April 1984 contains 20 pages. It was the first issue under a new editor, Debbie Gilbert.

The cover and interior art is by Annette Taylor and someone named James.

From the editorial:

There is but one universal constant —- change.

You hold in your hands the first issue of ComCon produced under its new editor, who through some quirk of fate happens to be me. As a friend of mine, the editor of TrekisM has told me, "things look a lot different from this aide of the desk". Reactions to the "changing of the guard" have ranged from total support of the "new management" to a wait-and-see attitude which dares us to prove we can do the job as well as did our predecessors. Allies members who live out of town have good cause to be apprehensive; for them, the newsletter is virtually the sole manifestation of their membership. It's very important that they receive a quality product.

Allies, this is your newsletter. It's my job to give you what you want. Everyone, out-of-towners especially, is urged to drop me a line and air their opinion. What do you like best (and least) about ComCon? What features would you like to see more (and less) of?

Your submissions, of course, are always welcome. However, now is a good time to clarify my editorial prerogatives, I reserve the right to make minor grammatical revisions of material. I also have the final say on what ultimately will grace the pages. How do I decide what goes in? In general, the more directly an item relates to Star Trek, the greater its chances of seeing print. Original creative work by members receives very high, priority. Thus, if you send in a review you've written of a recent ST novel, I will almost surely print it, whereas if you submit a TIME magazine article on computer gaming, I probably will not use it.

I'd like to see more illustrations, especially cartoons. I know that many of you possess imagination and creativity -— give me some tangible evidence of it! Unfortunately, many of the pictures I get cannot be used. Here are a few guidelines; no color photos! Make ink drawings dark, and make sure that all details and words can be clearly seen (remember, its size will be reduced at the printer's).

One final note, concerning the use of the editorial "we". It doesn't exist here. "I" refers to my opinion only, not to that of Allies as a whole. "We" refers to the collective opinion of the officers —— Jeannie, Joel, and myself.

  • the editor cracks the whip on 17 subscribers who behind in their dues; she lists them by name, including one who "paid up as this was going to press, and was thus snatched from the abyss of non-membership."
  • an update for the upcoming movie The Search for Spock as reported by Interstat, TrekisM, and Starlog
  • there are plans for "an Easter party"
  • a fan writes of attending a speech by Gene Roddenberry at Texas A & M (Feb 18, 1984) -- she reports he didn't talk much about Star Trek but instead about the future of computers, but that it was still a good chance to get together with other Trek fans to talk
  • another fan writes of his experience seeing Roddenberry's talk at Tacoma Community College (January 20, 1984)
  • there is a list of Roddenberry's college/university appearances
  • there is a newspaper clipping from "The Tacoma News Tribune" by Cheryl Tucker about Gene Roddenberry losing weight in case he has a chance to fly on the space shuttle
  • a clipping about Nichelle Nichols from "The Baltimore Sun"
  • a clipping from the December 27, 1983 issue of "Star" about the future of space exploration
  • poetry by MeLe: "The Plan(e)t Spock"
  • an essay about fans, fandom, cliques, getting along by Susan McCutchen called IDIC, see that page
  • an article about Star Trek comic books
  • ads for fannish goods
  • there are several short notes about what the celebrities are up to, William Shatner gives marriage advice, a psychic talked to William Shatner's dog about health problems ("The dog said to me, 'When they were shipping me back from up north in Washington, the airline dropped the crate. It hurt my neck real bad.'"), and a detailed description of Parker Stevenson and Kirstie Alley's wedding (Neil Sedaka sang, there was snow, everyone cried, Kirstie's wedding dress was lovely, and "Parker looked like a million bucks.")
  • there is a list of upcoming cons, available tie-in and pro Trek books, and a Trek "laserdisc arcade game based on Star Trek: III"

Issue 2 (July/August 1984)

Communications Console July/August 1984 contains 28 pages.

issue published in July/August 1984

Issue 3 (Nov/Dec 1984)

Communications Console Nov/Dec 1984 contains 24 pages.

front of Nov/Dec 1984 issue
back of Nov/Dec 1984 issue -- two items of interest: the fantastic sehlat illo, and the fact that this issue was sent to Gene Roddenberry as a courtesy
  • the editor notes that this extra big issue is due to enthusiastic fan effort in the form of a six-page cartoon (and the cost of producing the zine made them go over-budget), that more fans need to submit material, and (on the other hand) it hurts to have to turn away top-notch material if the zine gets too big (so keep those submissions short).
  • a list of members, some new addresses for members who have moved house
  • "Will There Be a Star Trek IV?"—article about the upcoming movie, contains a partial transcript of Roddenberry's presentation given to the Atlanta Star Trek Society, also includes lengthy quotes from Shatner in "Variety" and from the Shatner Weekend (the latter reprinted with permission from The Shatner File)
  • a short report on the positive comments about this newsletter received at the William Shatner Fellowship Weekend
  • there is mention of a con skit: the next club meeting will have a "showing of "Planet Spock," so if you haven't seen it yet, don't pass up this opportunity to see Joel performing with stardust in his eyes!"
  • lengthy report by Jan Driggs on The William Shatner Weekend
  • a review of the pro book The Vulcan Academy Murders, see that page
  • a review of the pro book, "The Tears of the Singers"
  • untitled poem by Jean Ann Hodge
  • "Choices," poem by MeLe
  • three fan letters
  • a Search for Spock crossword puzzle
  • "Trek Tidbits"—various Trek news and promotional bits, including a lengthy comment by Roddenberry made "during a August 24 news conference in Newcastle, England," about the Four Banned Episodes in the UK:
    ... I disagree [with the ban] very much. 'Empath' to me was a beautiful story... If someone is to say to me, 'You can't have hurt and pain', I say, 'Nonsense!' Suffering and pain are a part of life. They should be handled, and handled well. I feel the same way about violence and sex. My objection to violence and sex is on the shows where it goes on for a while and someone says, 'Well, it's going slow now, why don't you have a fist-fight, or a shooting?' Then they put it in to raise the ratings. What I hate about violence are... shows where grown men strike out and hit each other in the face with their fists... and after hitting themselves for thirty minutes with all their strength in the face, they grin and say, 'Wow, wasn't that fun!' That's not how life is! If a grown man hits another man in the face, teeth crack, bones break, knuckles get bruised. I think one of the reasons why people were willing to go into the last war, and into various wars, is that death is such a lovely thing in war, you know --- "giving my all for my country!' That's not how it is! I know! Men lie out there and scream their guts out for hours, in agony. If you're gonna do violence, do it that way. Then people will say, 'Well, yeah, we don't want our boys to do that.' And sex [is] the same way. I see nothing wrong with sex. I think copulation is a lovely thing. I think, however, you just don't bare your tits, or something, just because the film happens to be going slow at that moment... I'll tell you a story about how my feelings go. There was a convention in the United States where, to my total surprise, a young lady came out nude, and she was billed as 'The Costume NBC Wouldn't Let Mr. Roddenberry Use!' I was startled... at the same time... I was more outraged at the people who came out in costumes with zap guns, and weaponry, and those things, than a simple human body. That's how I feel about that.

Issue 4 (May/June 1985)

Communications Console May/June 1985 contains 15 pages.

cover of the issue published in May/June 1985
some art from the May/June 1985 issue, Patti Pasda

From the editor:

Folks, I need your help. We're putting together a special issue of ComCon this summer. Sure, I know every issue has been special in one way or another. But this time we're aiming for something extraordinary.

What's the occasion? In the month of July, Allies for Star Trek is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Given the ephemeral nature of fan organizations, our club's longevity is rather incredible. I think the key to our success has been our ability to ride the tide. In the fever pitch oi enthusiasm surrounding a major Star Trek event such as a new movie, fans get caught up in the excitement and clubs spring up overnight. In the lull between films, however, momentum is lost, and these fledgling clubs are often disbanded. We've survived because we are able to switch gears, to move into a low idle but still maintain a certain level of interest among our readers. The world of Trek fandom is apparently in a doldrums period now, but I'm asking all of you to shake off your inertia and get your creative fires heated up. We'd like as many of you as possible to help us observe our first decade of existence.

I don't want to do merely a straight history of the club, starting with the circumstances of its founding. Ninety-eight percent of our current members (including ye old editor; were not present for that historic occasion.) But just because you are not a member of the "old guard", it doesn't make you any less a part of Allies. What I'd like to see are highlights of the club's history from your, point of view. What is your most cherished memory? Your most unforgettable moment? Think back carefully on all the cons, the trips, the parties, the promotional work we did for the movies. Pick one or several and write about it. (I warn you: if you don't write something, you'll have to listen to me rattle on. Just offhand, I can already think of half a dozen experiences I'd love to reminisce on.) Out-of-town members whom we know only through correspondence: your participation is needed also. You can write about what being a part of Allies—receiving the newsletter and being in on a nationwide network of fans and friends has meant to you. You could even broaden it to explain how Star Trek has influenced your life.

Submissions can take any form you choose —— essay, poem, cartoon or drawing—but we'd like to receive them by the 15th of June. Our goal is for as many of you as possible to participate in assembling our "Allies Ten-Year Scrap-book", So, as our Vulcan friend says, "Remember" —— and send it in!

  • Trek Tidbits—what the celebrities are up to, club activities
  • a review of The Best of Trek #8 by Walter Irwin and G.B. Love
  • reviews of various Trek pro books
  • a fan reviews The Wrath of Khan as it was shown on television, and comments about the extra 15 minutes of footage that was put back in
  • a reprint of Harlan Ellison's negative review of Star Trek: The Search for Spock that was originally printed in Starlog
  • a review of the science fiction con, "Midsouthcon" IV (March 22–24, 1984)
  • seven fan letters
  • a pro review of "The Search for Spock," reprinted from "Video Times" February 1985
  • some newspaper clippings, and reprinted pro cartoons

Issue Sept/Oct 1985

Communications Console Sept/Oct 1985 contains 15 pages.

issue published in Sept/Oct 1985, Terry LaCroix
some art from the Sept/Oct 1985 issue, Patti Pasda

From the editor:

WE ARE SORRY!!! We know that the newsletter has been difficult to read lately, and this is unacceptable. It grieves us that you should spend your hard-earned money for a substandard product. But we are trying to correct the problem: Jeanie is working with the printer to see if we can't get darker reproduction, and I just spent $30 to repair (supposedly), the tension control on my typewriter. So this issue should be more legible. If you still find it unsatisfactory, please let us know at once.

We are also sorry in a different way -- sorry that each and every one of you couldn't make it to the "barbecue bash" on July 20th. It was Allies' biggest party ever! Coordinator Lauren Bauer accomplished a miracle of planning and the party room at the Mall of Memphis was perfect for once we weren't cramped like sardines in somebody's living room! The front half of the room offered visual entertainment ("The Planet Spock" play, the blooper reel, animated episodes, and Terry's film of our Space Trek trips), while the back section held alternative activities. An entire table was filled with members' photo albums depicting ten years of memories, I spent half an hour wallowing in nostalgia. Another table was set aside for games. I engaged trivia maven Emily Ross, along with several other out-of-towners, in a battle-of-the-brains, but the new Star Trek trivia game proved too easy; nobody ever missed a question! (It wasn't designed with people like us in mind!) And of course, there were two tables laden with food. In addition to the barbecue Lauren had ordered, there were the usual drinks, snacks, and several cakes, one of which read: "Allies: A Perfect 10" After new members were initiated with "The Claw", Lauren and Jeanie handed out awards. Though I am nominally a part of the "exec-com", I knew nothing, of this, so I was very surprised and pleased to receive a beautifully scripted certificate for "excellence in writing and editing." (Melissa did the calligraphy, in addition to making the wonderful signs and posters adorning the walls. Jean Ann and Inge were given marble plaques for their past years of service. The only drawback to the party room was that we had to vacate by 10 p.m. But a few of us die-hards continued our fun over at Fred's house, where we watched the movie "Splash" on TV, It was great to renew old friendships (as with the Jacksons —— my, how James T. has grown!), and to make new ones (as with Alisa Schnaars, whom I previously knew only on paper). Allies is a terrific bunch of folks, and I'm lucky to be a part of it!

  • a Star Trek crossword puzzle
  • a note about Susan Sackett's "handsome, gold-lettered invitation" to attend the ceremony in California to attend the dedication of Gene Roddenberry's Hollywood Walk of Fame star -- "A number of members are planning to fly out for the ceremony (and I expect a full report for the next newsletter, guys!) THANK YOU, SUSAN SACKETT, for remembering us! We Trek fans will no doubt give Gen one of the most memorable moments of his entire life."
  • an update from Paramount's spokesperson, Eddie Egan -- "The Killing Time by Della Van Hise had an initial print run of 150,000 and sold out quickly. However, it contained "questionable material," so Pocket Books has reissued it in a revised edition. No indication is given of what is considered "questionable." And since there are now two versions in circulation, does this mean that completists will have to obtain one of each? Also, you may have heard a rumor that Pocket Books is pulling Ishmael off the shelves because of legal difficulties concerning its "rip-off" of Here Comes the Brides. Egan assures us that this rumor is false."
  • "Trek Tidbits," info about the celebrities, lots of professionally-produced things for sale...
  • three Trek pro book reviews by Roberta Rogow, reprinted from "Voice of Youth Advocates," a professional journal for librarians: "Uhura's Song," "Shadow Lord," and "Best of Trek" #8 (Irwin and Love)
  • a reprinting of "Mr. Spock and Gaan: Alien Perspectives on the Future" (part one) by Gene Roddenberry, it originally appeared in Feb 1995 issue of "The Futurist"
  • nine letters from fans

Special Anniversary Issue, August 1986

Published in 1986, edited by Jean Ann Hodge, and 40 pages in length. This issue is undated, but internal text implies it was published during the last week of August 1986.

Contents include:

  • Club Notes, by Inge Bryant (p. 5)
  • Star Trek News, (p. 6)
  • Convention Reports, by Carolyn Barrett, Dianne Durham, Judy Decker, Inge Bryant, and Jean Ann Hodge (p. 16)
  • Star Strokes (fanzine reviews), by Debbie Gilbert (p. 27)
  • Paper Chase (short reviews of books, newspaper articles, comics, and fanzines), by Jeanne Powers (p. 29)
  • What Star Trek Means To Me, by Harold Feldman, Diane Bell, Betty Dain, Steve Barnes, Robyn Dalby, Norma Taylor, Jean Ann Hodge, Patti Pasda, Jeanne Powers, Debbie Gilbert (p. 31)

The "Steve Barnes" listed above is not M.L. "Steve" Barnes, nor the African-American author Steven Barnes.

Issue Sept/Oct 1987

Communications Console Sept/Oct 1987 contains 18 pages. This issue was temporarily edited by James Kacarides.

front cover of the Sept/Oct 1987 issue, Taylor

The editor says this issue is the fifth one, but this doesn't make sense.

  • Trek-Bits by Pat Pate, Trek in the news (4)
  • In Defence of STTNG by David S. Jackson (5)
  • various newspaper clippings from newspapers
  • Tribbles and Bits by David S. Jackson (10)
  • more clippings (12)
  • Star Strokes by Debbie Gilbert, a review of the Tie-in book by Margaret Wander Bonanno's book "Strangers from the Sky" (15)
  • The Paper Chase by Jeanne Powers, article Trek in the news (16)
  • some short fan testimonials by fans about how great "Com Con" is (18)

Issue Nov/Dec 1987

Communications Console Nov/Dec 1987 contains 20 pages. It was edited by Chris B. Roberts. Editorial staff: Jane Dike, Harold Feldman, Amy Fletcher, James T. Kacarides, George Roberts and Pat Pate. Columnists: Debbie Gilbert, David Jackson, and Jeanne Powers.

cover of Nov/Dec 1987, Jane Dike

The cover is by Jane Dike.

  • Trek Bits by Pat Pate (Trek celebrities, information in the news)
  • a flyer for Creation Con (Nov 21-22, 1987)
  • there are five letters of comments from fans
  • clippings about about Star Trek: TNG
  • Star Strokes by Debbie Gilbert (essay about Star Trek: TNG, review of the show)
  • names and addresses of about 100 club members
  • more fan reviews of Star Trek: TNG


  1. ^ from an ad in Datazine #20