Comlink/Issues 31-40

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Issues 01-20 · Issues 21-30 · Issues 31-40 · Issues 41-50 · Issues 51-57

Issue 31

cover of issue #31

Comlink 31 was published in August 1987 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "Space Ghost and Friend" by Bob Miller.

  • the editor investigated the purchase of a home copier machine: while the Canon PC-20 hardware was reasonably priced, the cartridge's cost was such it would make each page ten cents, twice what she was already paying at a copy shop
  • there is a long article by Bob Miller called "Thirty Years of Hanna-Barbera: My Youth in Cartoonia"
  • there is a long article by Pat Munson-Siter called "Japanese Animation 101"
  • a fan writes of the Adam But Not Hoss rule in American television: every show has at least one character that absolutely, positively will not be killed off, and that British television doesn't follow this rule
  • a fan writes: "I wonder what would happen if the science officer for the new show was a male, GAY Deltan?"
  • a fan writes at great length about the troubles at Boskone regarding alcohol and underage fans, about WorldCon perhaps limiting membership and attendance and about how hotels tend to treat conventions badly in terms of not upholding their end of agreements regarding space and services
  • a fan survey was included in this issue, the results were published in issue #33

Issue 32

Comlink 32 was published in October 1987 and contains 20 pages. The cover is of Spock by Michael Goodwin.

cover of issue #32
  • WAHF is started and in this issue it = 5
  • this issue contains a 2-page fan survey called "Fantasy Film Survey." It was put out by On the Mark and the editor said the results would appear in Starlog and that "Lucasfilm will also see the results."
  • a fan in the military says "the whole reason I extended my tour a year was so that I'd be in the area for [WorldCon] 'Conspiracy."
  • the editor talks of a survey that she'd issued about Star Trek: TNG but there is no evidence of it in the letterzine. In any case, she said she got 36 replies, five of them saying she/he didn't think ST:TNG was a good idea.
  • the editor likes ST:TNG a lot and has these comments: Wesley Crusher "should be canned in season two unless they come up with a damned good reason why he has to stick around" and "Tasha Yar is becoming the Saavik the movies really wanted but got Robin Curtis instead" and "Captain Picard doesn't seem to have a Gallic accent but I love him anyway" and "Councellor [sic] Deanna Troi is an interesting character and I'd like to see more of her, though she does walk around as though she soaked her contacts in ice water and can't close her eyes" and "My favorite character so far is Data who has so much possibility that I find myself watching him most of the time."
  • there is a review of "Strangers from the Sky," a pro novel
  • a fan would like to say:
    Thanks to the First Terran Enclave for preserving the national Star Wars zine collection and making it available for fans. Since it's intended for eventual donation to a scholastic library, I'd recommend the group give it to a library with the stipulation that it must make the zines available through interlibrary loan. That way, individual users won't have to pay postage costs. Of the libraries Maggie Nowakowska listed, I'd recommend Michigan State University since it more or less is in a central location, and it has a good reputation for preserving its comic book collection.
  • a fan explains:
    The Star Trek cons today are nothing like the ST cons of the 70s, in particularly the Al Schuster and the Committee cons. First of all, they were larger, averaging 3000+, and there seemed to be more enthusiasm among the attendees. Even the one-day Mini-Trek cons were fun. Shucks, even the John Townsley ST cons were fun compared to ST cons nowadays. I went to Clippercon in February, and even though I had a nice time, the con didn't have the same electricity, the excitement of the old cons. Maybe I'm just getting old. More importantly, the ST cons of the 70s were fan run cons. With your inexpensive (by today's standards) membership, you got a con shopping bag with lots of goodies: a really nice program book, badge, pocket program, Buttons, etc. .. There were NASA exhibits, guest speakers, and usually at least one member of the cast as Guest of Honor. The dealer's room was good, the art show was decent, and the film program kept you going all night. The con suite was really active, especially after the con. At the 1975 New York ST Con, we had a con suite party that lasted 12 hours! Honest! It started when the con closed at 6:00 pm and I got home at about 8:00 am the next morning. At this party was composed the famous filksong 'Battle Hymn of the Convention'.
  • a fan is disappointed on the racial and gender makeup of ST:TNG and makes a rare less-than-positive statement about the Great Bird of the Galaxy:
    I'm not terribly surprised, however; I think Gene Roddenberry's progressiveness on sexual and racial stereotypes is greatly exaggerated.
  • a fan has read:
    ... an excellent article in the New York Times by Camille Bacon-Smith entitled 'Spock Among the Women.' Ms. Bacon-Smith does the best job I have ever read of explaining what media fans do and why they do it. The points made apply to all fandoms, not just Star Trek. If you're tired of reading about Trekkies in pointed ears who attend huge profession conventions only to be celebrities, read this article.
  • a fan is unhappy with Superman's fashion sense:
    My biggest impression of Superman 4 was how ridiculous and cheap Superman's yellow belt looked on him. The man of tomorrow should have something better than a ten cent piece of plastic to hold in his belly.
  • a fan writes that if:
    Boskone is anything like the West Coast cons, stopping the serving of alcohol in the con suite wouldn't do anything to discourage the underage kids who show up to get drunk, because the con suite is probably the only place at the con that tries to enforce age limits on drinking. The kids get the booze at the open parties, especially the big crowed ones where the beer fills the bathtub and no one is checking ID or even checking to see if people at the part are in fact members of the con.

Issue 33

Comlink 33 was published in December 1987 and contains 20 pages.

cover of issue #33
  • WLHF = 1
  • the editor writes that she is planning a regular publishing schedule: March, June, September, and December
  • Maggie Nowakowska has announced that, as of December 31, 1987, the SW Fanzine Lending Library has closed. The editor notes "[Maggie] thanks everyone who participated and says to check the various fan publications for news on the library's new scholastic home."
  • a long-time fan has "finally forced myself to sit in front of a computer and write a LoC of my own, Funny, when I look back on all the long letters I used to write everyday or so, I realize how lax I've gotten."
  • a fan remembers a cartoon on television called "Winky Dink and You. "For this show, you needed a plastic sheet that went over the televisions screen. Then when Winky got in trouble, you drew an escape route for him, like a ladder or a bridge."
  • fans are starting to watch Beauty and the Beast and are impressed
  • a fan writes: "One of the magazines I bought when I was trying to find out about Doctor Who had quite a bit about B7, including the fact that everyone gets slaughtered in the last act, just like Hamlet."
  • a fan comments on [[ST:TNG: "In the three episodes I've seen so far, the Klingon in the cast hasn't had anything to do. And pesky Wesley has done entirely too much. Starfleet security still hasn't figured out a way to keep one demented person from taking over the engine room."
  • a fan sums up the three Star Wars movies: the first one was a lot of super fun but had no soul, the second one made her really care about the characters, and the third one "was a big cop out. Lucas went overboard in giving the audience sensory thrills, but he no longer gave a damn about whether or not the characters remained true to themselves."
  • there is a long essay by Carol Mularski called "In Defense of Wes." In it, she says fans should give Wesley Crusher a break and don't discriminate against him because of his age
  • The editor announces that "1987 Annual Readership Survey" is over and publishes some of the results. The survey was included in issue #31. Ninety-four were sent out and 47 were returned including 4 readers who shared their copies: "This a 50% return, not bad in the real world, but down considerably from the 58% return for the 1984 survey." The Questions:
    • gender: male: 15%, female: 83% [no change from 1984 survey]
    • age: under 17: 0%, 18-24: 4.3%, 25-34: 55.3%, 35-44: 34%, 45-54: 6.4%, 55+: 0% [the editor notes that as per the 1984 survey, Comliink's readers are getting older]
    • marital status: single: 57.4%, married: 42.6%, divorced/sep/widowed: 0% [the editor notes that 34% were married in the 1984 survey]
    • if you are married, is your spouse a fan: yes: 25.5%, no: 17%
    • do you have kids: yes: 25.5%, no: 72.3%: if yes, are your kids fans: yes: 14.9%, no: 8.5%
    • education: high school: 4.3%, tech school: 4.3%, some college: 23.4%, some grad school: 12.8%, BS/BA: 31.9%, MA: 21.3%, MD/JD/LDD: 0%, PhD: 2.1%
    • employment status: full-time 63.8%, part-time: 6.4%, student: 12.8%, homemaker: 12.8%, self-employed: 17%, unemployed: 2.1%, retired: 0%
    • hours spent on fanac per week: 0-7: 38.3%, 8-15: 25,5%, 16-23: 19%, 24-31: 15%, 32-39: 2%
    • do you consider yourself an acti-fan, passifan: 31.8, In-Between: 8.5% ["some of the folks who who called themselves passifans put in more than 15 hours a week on their fanac."]
    • do you consider yourself: (multiple answers) editor: 40.4%, publisher: 30%, artist: 21.3%, writer: 44.7%, LoCer: 51%, reader: 25.5%, con goer: 8.5%, audience/consumer: 6.5%, collector or zine buyer: 4.3%, apa member, neofan, and dealer: 2% each
    • where do you find out about zines: direct mail: 27.7%, word of mouth: 36.2% Datazine and Communications Console: 55.5%, other zines: 72.3%, flyers: 44.7%, ads: 15%, conventions: 55.3%, ["While in 1987, other zines was still the primary method of finding out about other publications, all the other methods were much more effective in 1987 than in 1984. Were you buying more zines in 1984?"]
    • what aspect of fandom got you into active fandom: convention: 40.5, a Star Trek pro book: 16.7%, Star Wars: 16.7, fanzines: 14.2%, Star Trek: 7.1, comics/local fanac/Doctor Who/friend: all 2%
  • the editor writes that she will miss Kay Johnson, who recently passed away:
    Kay was a dedicated Star Trek fan, best known for running the Kansas City Star Trek Convention during the summer months. When I decided back in the 70s that I could now longer publish the Directory and mail it at the same time, she also became the publisher of the Star Trek Welcommittee's Directory of Star Trek Organizations. She was a friend that I will miss very dearly.
  • a librarian disagrees that the zines "owned" by First Terran Enclave, and now apparently homeless, should be put in a library that allows them to be borrowed through interlibrary loan:
    They have to decide how they want the collection to be regarded. If it's to be considered a collection of publications that document a unique creative response to a popular culture phenomenon, an almost irreplaceable record of Star War's fandom's creative energy, then it needs to be carefully preserved and not allowed out on interlibrary loan... No top-notch special collections librarian I know would agree to allowing the fanzine collection circulate... S/he would, instead, catalog the collection, make its availability known through a nation union catalog, probably OCLC, perhaps have a good bibliography produced, and then either personally supervise the photocopying of material requested or require the scholars to come to the library themselves... they should be treated like gossamer, kept in controlled temperature and humidity and light levels, and only brought out to be used in the Rare Reading Room by people who have a real need to used them.

Issue 34

Comlink 34 was published in March 1988 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "Roy and Claudia" by Pat Munson-Siter.

cover of issue #34
  • the editor decides to NOT institute the regular publishing schedule she had planned in the last issue
  • the editor now requires that letters be shorter and states a page limit of four double-spaced pates of 10 or 12 pitch
  • there is a long, long article by Patricia Munson-Siter called "Japanese Animation 102"
  • there is review by Chuck Meagher of the movie "Licensed to Kill"
  • there is review by Debbie Gilbert of the pro book, "Final Frontier." She titles the review: "My Father, Myself: Jim Kirk Finds His Roots"
  • there is much fannish discussion of Wesley Crusher, children of officers living on the Big E, and of other ST:TNG characters
  • a fan writes of Beauty and the Beast and how much she enjoys it: "It's a fine example of how fantasy can be presented without condescension or a veneer of 'this is really just kid's stuff, folks.'... BB has convinced me that quality is still possible."
  • a fan speculates that Data is a "safe love interest as s/he can't make babies... Data is a safe sex toy, perfect for the young woman, or young man, to experiment on."
  • a fan tries a color photocopier for the first time: "It's miraculous! This machine was made for media fen. The mind boggles at the potential..."
  • a fan was at ChattaCon (Jan. 15-18, 1988, Chattanooga, Tenn.) and was at the ST:TNG panel called "Was it Worth the Wait?" "Almost everyone disliked Wesley, not because he's a kid, but because he makes the adults look incompetent. It was joked that the panel should have been called, 'Wesley Crusher: Threat or Menace?'"
  • a fan is worried that when a zine is donated to a library, that it will just be "filed away or sold at the next book fair"
  • WAHF = 5
  • a fan agrees that interlibrary loan would be bad for the ORIGINALS of the zines:
    But while the SW Fanzine Lending Library was in operation, the issues that circulated through the mail were photocopies, not the originals. With the originals now safely stored in some library somewhere, why could photocopies be circulated through interlibrary loan?
  • Maggie Nowakowska writes an LoC, her first to Comlink in "a couple of years." She says:
    'd like to thank everyone who participated in the Library. We were only able to run the one year originally projectd, but it was a good year; and it was satisfying to be able to help quite a number of new fanzine fans explore the world so many of us have spent so much time, effort, and affection building.

Issue 35

Comlink 35 was published in June 1988 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "Starman" by Linda A. Howell.

cover of issue #35
  • this issue has the questionnaire for the 1988 "Annual Readership Survey;" there were 100 of them distributed
  • there is a long article by Deborah C. Leis called "Beating the Odds? The Campaign to Resurrect Starman;" it talks about all the fan efforts and Spotlight Starman, the grassroots group
  • there is discussion of Geordi LaForge's blindness and whether there would be disabilities in the future
  • there is a pro book review for "The Vulcan Academy Murders" by Debbie Gilbert called "Lorrah Misses the Mark on the Second Try"
  • a fan reports on general statistics on population from "The Statistical Abstract of the United States" and compares them, in a very lengthy fashion, to the stats from the last fan survey in Comlink
  • WAHF= 0
  • there is much fannish discussion of ST: TNG
  • the editor is loving the new technology:
    [Name redacted] was kind enough to allow me to download four-page double-spaced LoC to my mahcne for a whopping 43 cents long-distance. Check the colophon for CompuServe info.
  • another fan writes:
    I think the introduction of computers and word processors has had an enormous effect on how much time and work is done on fan activities. Personally, if I didn't have access to an IBM Correcting Selectric II typewriter and a Wang VS word processor at work, I wouldn't be able to write LoCs to Comlink as frequently as I do, and I certainly would never have considered putting out Swatches, my costuming letterzine.
  • a fan writes:
    To say that Gene and company want to make money is a given but they also want to mine the creative potential of their writers. On this end, I feel that Gene sort of didn't consider that 'modern Trek' for today's writers are those formula-ridden professional ST novels that sometimes lack heart and soul.
  • a fan disagrees that the reason there is a lack of young fen is because they are illiterate, a topic that fans in the letterzine had been discussing:
    First of all young fen are reading. We're just not reading what is popular among older fans. Younger fans could care less about the likes of Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clark, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Ray Bradbury, or Ursula LaGuin. They are old people who don't write much science fiction anymore. Sure we read the classics, everyone will, however we young fen prefer authors like William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Lucius Shepard, Orson Scott Card, Lewis Shiner, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Vonda McIntyre, Jack Dann, Howard Waldrop, Rudy Rucker, Clive Barker, John Shirley, Kim Stanley Robinson, Michael Stanwick, and Greg Baer. Do these names mean anything to you? They're hip, they're happening, and they're current; their works have a 1988 copyright on them. Next, the video fan is a good thing for one simple reason: the video medium is a new new wave in audio/visual entertainment that will popularize sf beyond the ghetto world that old fans have created for themselves. As far as computer-generated bulletin boards (BBS as you called them) are concerned, they are already a significant force in fan communication. The electronic network of BB's is quite extensive and continues to grown, potentially worldwide. As the initial cost for investment in computers and modems declines, more fans will link up with their comrades. Fanzines, as well, are expanding into the BBS network. Eventually, they will circulate wider and cheaper than can be don my mail. Fanzines start up and fold every month but they won't disappear altogether. That is because there is no more efficient way to transmit large volumes of the written work, be it printed or electronically created.

Issue 36

Comlink 36 was published in August 1988 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "Outlaws and Rebels" by Theresa Buffaloe.

cover of issue #36
  • a number of fans have backed off of criticizing Wesley Crusher and are now focusing their complaints on William Riker
  • the editor says she has only gotten a only 30 fan surveys back, a 30% return. "Come on, folks, we can do better than that -- I usually get close to 50% back!"
  • it contains an article by Theresa D. Buffaloe called "What Do You Mean I've Done a Zine!? A Personal View and Intro to Blake's 7 Fandom" in which she talks about the fandom and her experiences in publishing Shadow
  • a review by Debbie Gilbert of the first ST: TNG Tie-in novel "Ghost Ship"
  • two different fans say they dislike the pro novels because "nothing permanent ever happens to the regulars. No matter, by the end of the book, every thing's back to normal," and "Even before you open the book, you know that whatever happens, the status quo will be reestablished by the end of the story."
  • a fan is bothered by ST:TNG: "For a man who has said they chose syndication so they could do things the networks wouldn't let them Roddenberry sure has been awfully conservative."
  • a fan tells the fan that wrote the letter in the previous issue about young fans and their reading material that:
    science fiction writers of whatever generation, seek to inform and inspire thought and action in their readers... You see, my friend, yesterday's sf writers laid the foundation upon which today's sf writers developed from. And today's writers help us to develop our vision of tomorrow." Another fan writes: "I'm not really annoyed by [name redacted's] LoC. He is but the latest in a long line of fans. Fandom is still churning out young know-it-alls. Asimov wrote snotty letters to Clifford Simak, telling him exactly what was wrong with his stories... The Futurians in the '30s were as unlikable a group of grubby fen as you'd never want to meet, and now the tradition continues with newer fen. [Name redacted], you'll probably scoff at this old fan's comments, but believe me, you will blush and shake your head and wonder whatever possessed you to write that letter. Don't feel too bad. Almost every young fan goes through the same phase.

Issue 37

Comlink 37 was published in October 1988 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "Day-O" by Phillip N. Tortorici.

cover of issue #37
  • the editor writes a con report for NolaCon, which she pronounced, among other things, "disorganized" and "a mess." --she had a table with Devra Langsam where they sold zines together "If we could have gotten one dollar for each person who asked if we'd be selling a Beauty and the Beast zine, I'd be rich!" Another fan described the con as "fun, but then I didn't have to deal with the con committee. I heard some very disparaging things about them, like they had a collective IQ of 12."
  • this issue has two book reviews by Debbie Gilbert for the pro books, "Time for Yesterday" and "Death Tolls"
  • the results of the 1988 "Readership and Star Trek: The Next Generation Survey" are published. The latter part of the survey rates the TNG episodes. There were 114 forms distributed, and 56 were completed, giving a 48%. The editor writes: "This is really piss-poor. I was expecting to get over 50% a I figured that most of you were chomping at the bit to get your two cents in about TNG." The questions:
    • gender: male 21.4%, female 78.6%
    • age: under 17: 1.8%, 18-24 7.1%, 25-34 53.6, 45-54 32.1%, 54-64 1.8% ,65 and over 0%
    • marital status: single: 44.6%, married 50%, divorced and seperated: 3.6%, widowed: 1.8%
    • how many hours do you spend on fanac: 0-7: 30.4%, 8-15: 26.8 %, 16-23: 25%, 24-31: 10.7, 32-40: 3.6%, 40+: 3.6%
    • are you a Star Trek universe fan: yes: 94.6, no: 5.4%
    • when did you become a ST fan: original series: 69.9%, re-runs: 23.2%, animation: 0%, movies: 1.8%, ST:TNG: 1.8%
  • a fan writes of the successful U.F.O. con, Uforia which was held in England on June 18, 1988. It had many guest stars, 474 attendees, turned away over 200 registrations two weeks before the con and at the door, raised money (almost 2,500 pounds) for the Great Ormand Street Hospital for Sick Children, and that they are planning a second con for September 8-10, 1989 in Manchester, England
  • there is an update about the fan campaign to save Starman
  • the editor of Full Circle says the issues are all now free: "Just drop me a line."
  • Randall Landers writes about fanzines and the rip-offs he's been seeing:
    Let's talk about pro-dealers (95% of them, I'd guess) who charge exorbitant princes for fanzines still in print. Stardate #1 was a piece of crap. I know it, and so does everyone else who has read it. Yet at Dixie Trek, someone was selling it for $15 while it is still available [from me] for $3 or so. I recently received a hateful LoC from a poor fan who bought it, and sent the letter without a return address so I wasn't able to explain the matter to him. Let's talk about the same dealer who is selling The Daystrom Project for $30 because it's won a Fan-Q. It is still available [from me] for about $14). You see, I'm all riled up. Fandom is pretty honest, but it is also pretty timid. These things will continue as long as fans are apathetic enough not to want to get involved, and are willing to pay these unscrupulous dealers though the nose. Three months ago, I discovered someone was selling knock-off copies from Orion #25. How could I tell? The original print run of Orion #25 featured a perfect bound wrap-around cover. (Subsequent print runs will have cardstock, but we haven't printed them yet.).
  • the editor of Comlink responds to Randall Lander's letter:
    This is an interesting problem which is probably not unique to fandom. Whenever anything is profitable, there will be those who will sell anything for any price. While selling fanzine knock-offs was once the domain of the professional dealer, I've heard horror stories from fen where other fan were selling unauthorized copies as official authorized copies. How can this be stopped? Randy hit it on the head when he mentioned printing covers in a unique manner: heavy stock, wrap around or color. We all lose when this happens, but I especially feel bad for the neo fan who spends $25 for a $5 zine and thinks all of fandom is out to rip her off.

Issue 38

Comlink 38 was published in December 1988 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "No Need to Shout!" by Bob Miller.

cover of issue #38
  • the editor is pissed off and frustrated at the number of talk shows and infomercials that run on television, taking up valuable real estate that good shows could be using
  • this issue has a full-page flyer for Eridani #1, the first flyer published in the letterzine
  • the editor apologizes for not knowing another fan's name at a breakfast at NolaCon: "I hope that Noreason's name badges are larger so that I don't have to stick my nose in someone's breast to see who the hell they are!"
  • a fan writes about an earlier letter by another fan: "I was glad to see Shirley Maiewski's letter. Often I wonder what the original ST Big Name Fans think of ST:TNG. It does my heart good to see that the First Lady of Star Trek Fandom likes the new show. Despite its faults, so do I, Shirley!"
  • a fan hates that female characters have to be young and cute: "What would Magnum P.I. do if the damsel-in-distress was 40 years old and 220 pounds?" Another fan writes she'd like to see the actress Roseanne Barr as the head of ST:TNG security
  • a fan writes: '"Born Again Fan? Yes, I'm a born again fan. I used to dwell in the darkness of reality. I was a pawn of the mundane world, but saw the light. Say hallelujah! I believe, sisters and brothers. I believe a starship can travel faster than the speed of light. I believe a man can fly. I believe E.T. will phone home. Say amen!"
  • this issue contains a long essay by Randall Landers called "Censorship and the Ethics of Editors]]. It is a companion piece to an article in an earlier issue by Joan Marie Verba; in it, Landers asks:
    ...what makes fandom so different?... In fandom, one cannot readily find open forums for pubic discussion... We have the problem of too few letterzines in fandom, and I feel that something needs to be done to address this problem before it continues to worsen... There are probably letterzine editors out there who are ethical, but I can't help but feel that there aren't enough, and will never be...
  • a fan writes:
    My enthusiasm for Blake's 7 is much like it was for the old Star Trek series. I judge this by the number of fanzines I buy. I used to buy 5-8 ST zines at a time at the old general sf and ST cons from 1973-1979. Then I stopped buying them and started reading prolit. I 'm still an avid ST fan, and I will always be one, and should ST:TNG zine begin to be sold in abundance, I'll probably start buying them again. But now, I'm buying 3-6 Blake's 7 zines at a time at cons. I'm also writing more B7 stories. I've been born again." The editor of the letterzine responds: "Is this not one of the joys of fandom? As one interest wanes, another one is just around the corner to fill the emptiness. And is such a joy to be on the quest for information and finding new friend in the new interest. It almost makes one feel young again!

Issue 39

Comlink 39 was published in March/April 1989 and contains 20 pages. The cover is of Kerr Avon by Theresa D. Buffaloe.

cover of issue #39
  • this issue contains a review by Christopher Tucker of "The Dragon of the Valkyr," a comics series
  • a fan says she is a fan of The Professionals "not so much for the show itself but for the fandom."
  • this issue contains much discussion about Thunderbirds and other Gerry Anderson works as well as other British television series
  • a fan asks:
    How can someone buying a fanzine know if it is still available and what a fair price is? This is the question I ask myself every time I look over a pile of old fanzines. The prices for old fanzines are outrageous and unfair to the fans.
  • a fan writes about The Prisoner:
    One British series that I loved the first time around, but doesn't hold up to repeated viewings is 'The Prisoner'. Patrick McGoohan is either the weirdest handsome man, or the handsomest weird man in the known universe. But after three reruns, I began to notice that he never talks to anybody. He makes speeches, and he strikes attitudes. The plots aren't that compelling either, once you know the twist.
  • Joan Marie Verba comments on the essay about censorship that was written in the last issue (which in turn commented on her earlier essay): An excerpt:
    ... fans who are quick to cry 'censorship' ignore that editors are constantly (even pressured) to reject certain material. I have had requests from my own subscribers [of Treklink not to accept material that: 1) mentions ST:TNG; 2) mentions K/S; 3) comments on fanzines the contributer appears in; or 4) says anything unfavorable about a particular fanzine (or any fanzine)... The point is, even though a lot of fans claim to be against 'censorship,' there are a large number of fans who urge (even demand) that editors arbitrarily reject material that they don't approve of. I wonder how quickly these same fans would cry 'censorship,' if the editor rejected a letter of which they did approve.
  • the editor of 'Comlink' says that she sometimes edits the letters she prints:
    I'm not too fussy about what people have to say, after all, this is a forum for discussion of ideas -- but what I object to are personal attacks. Those phrases that do not discuss the ideas of the letter writer but attack the letter writer him/herself. In those cases, I will tone the letter down by substituting less inflammatory prose, but never do I alter the meaning of what's being said.
  • representing a different model than today's internet journaling/blogging/tweeting, one fan writes:
    One doesn't have the right to be published. Publication is achieved through cooperative effort -- audiences do not appear by magic; they are courted, and won by fulfillment of needs or desires not always expressed openly. Anyone can express their own view at any time themselves by shouting from the rooftops, but one either publishes their own newsletter or meets the publication requirements of a publisher.
  • a fan envisions the future (right after he described getting a disk drive for his Commodore 64 that could read and write MS-DOS MFM format on 3.5 disks):
    Considering the way things are going, even electronic file transfers of this sort may soon be a thing of the past. If one shops carefully, one can now buy a FAX machine for just a hair under $500. What happens when they hit &200? I know Ill be getting one, and so will some other fans I know. A side effect will be lots of folks having that second phone line installed... and if one has a Mac, there is something called a FAX modem which which will send text-files and graphics... Will we still have fanzines, or will they become FAXzines? When will a fannish consortium generate the first 'zine on a disk for the six major (Commodore, Amiga, Atari ST, Apple, Mac, or MS-DOS) computer? Since most of a zine is text, that's no problem, and if one is doing some form of animated art, utilities exist to convert one computer's graphic format to another. .. While some fans are bemoaning the lack of mimeograph paper, will future fans gripe because the local all-night drugstore ran out of FAX paper or diskettes? I'd be interested to hear other compufan's opinions about this sort of thing.
  • the editor speculates about the future of printed media:
    I suspect that while some fen do take advantage of bulletin board systems rather than letterzines to air their opinions, there'll still be a segment of fandom that will still prefer the off-set word to the FAXed transfer. All these technological enhancements will probably not take over fandom as I once thought but simply add a new dimension to how we communicate with each other.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 39

COMLINK #39's artwork had plenty of black in it and wasn't too badly reproduced, so I thought (stupidly) that the Copy Center's copier could handle the work. WrongI The first batch of covers looked fine, but after that, they looked horrible! I finished collating and considered having the cover re-done when I started to hack and wheeze. It appears that I am allergic to either the paper or ink or a combination of both. I really didn't want to chance working much longerwithCOMLINK#40, so mailed them out as is. Other than throwing myself on the mercy of the readers in my editorial in #41 and having written a grovelling letter to M.A. Smith, I'm not sure what else to do. I did consider wearing a scarlet 'A" on my chest! Seriously, I'm bringing this up because this is germaine to the current discussion of publishers reproducing artwork (and making mince-meat out of some). I used to have COMLINK reproduced via off-set but the price was killing me and I was losing money on each subscription issue I mailed out. Then I found the Copy Center that did a reasonable job for a lot less money. As much as I love editing & publishing COMLINK, I really hated the thought of raising prices and I couldn't continue absorbing the heavy losses. So now the question needs to be asked, do I opt for better repro costing more or do I opt for lesser quality for less money? I chose the lower cost because the only artwork I print is the front cover and bacover, the rest is solid text. I can still live with my decision but. I'm now more aware of the limitations that this printer has; limitations that I'll haveto live with. [1]

Issue 40

Comlink 40 was published in July 1989 and contains 20 pages. The cover is of Riker by M.A. Smith.

cover of issue #40
  • a fan writes a long letter stating his discontent with zine publishing and ST fandom:
    More and more, I'm coming into contact with zine eds who are 'into' ST the way other people are 'into' hang-gliding and health clubs. Perhaps said person or persons had a different perspective on it when they were younger, one that was more a reflection of the idea of the Saga, but now they only seem to relate to ST as a fad. To look at ST as more than just 'camp' or nostalgia seems pointless to them now, but believe this is a reflection of the change in status and income of these folks... While I find that fandom itself is a pretty diverse place... I do also find a lot of yuppies are publishing an awfully large number of these zines... Too many zine eds seem to be into the 'Me' philosophy when anybody questions why they charge so much for zines, but there's a bigger issue to be resolved than just that. Perhaps it's in the change of financial and social status gained but with the change in priorities came (probably) putting ST zine publishing and editing at the bottom of the list... There is a growing rift between an increasingly recognizable group of Trekfans, the zine editors and their readership. Why? Because there's a difference in PERCEPTION as to what both groups think about the show as well as what both groups want to do about it." The editor responds with: "The beauty of fandom is that if you DON'T like what's going on, you are free to edit and publish your own publication -- to present a forum that you feel needs to be presented. All you have to do is convince others to join you.
  • a fan grouses about the Good Old Days and the line of distinction between media fans and 'his' fandom:
    Ever since I returned to fan activity a year ago, I have been carping about the way media fandom has brought about the deterioration of Fandom As I Know It. Certainly, I am not a media fan; the last movie I saw in a theater was ET... the best 'little-boy-and-his-dog' movie I've ever seen, and I may have seen 3 or 4 episodes of Star Trek... No. I am a Fan of the Printed Word. After reading Comlink #37 (and to be perfectly honest, I skipped over quite a bit of it), it has become clear that there is, in fact, no clear line of distinction, in essence, between the 'two fandoms.' I am still unhappy about the number of 'media' fans who come passively to conventions to be entertained, and who are rarely capable of stringing ten words together in a sentence -- much less of combining two ideas and getting a third/better one, and who seem incapable of doing anything beyond the level of superficial sociality. I still think there are too many of them underfoot..." He adds that conventions used to be better, too: "A really good convention committee can help make [the con] a great one. There was a time when we fans had some control over this: 90% of us knew, at least by reputation, 90% of the others -- and we had a pretty good idea of the interests, attitudes, capabilities, and dependability of most of the people... Fandom was a whole lot smaller than. Now, I'm surprised if I even recognized one of the names on a bidding committee...
  • this same fan steps up to educate current fans about how things were done in his day:
    Old fanzines? Most went for 1 cent per printed page, 2 cents for very well-known ones, and maybe a largish lump sum for some particular rarity... This was Fandom, something important to us, something we loved. Fanzines weren't supposed to make money and the rare fanzine editor who had to put a price on his zine high enough to cover all the cost of the paper, ink, and postage felt more than a little apologetic about it; no one even though of getting paid for the time they put into it, much less making a profit. That's still pretty much true of what I think of as 'the Old-Line Fanzines," though there's a growing tendency for even these to be priced to cover the cost of printing and mailing and some of these are in pretty pretentious and expensive formats, but still, non-profit. There are two notable exceptions: Locus and Algol, two unabashedly semi-pro zines.... For the most part, some of that has moved (or has been pushed away) from SF fandom, but some of the attitude seems to have rubbed off on Star Trek fandom, most likely because the latter contains a relatively large number of very enthusiastic upper middle-class people with a comparatively high disposable income. The predators come to feed.

References

  1. comments by the editor of this letterzine, printed in Treklink #19