Comlink/Issues 41-50

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

Issue 41

Comlink 41 was published in October 1989 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "Pleistocene on the Last Crusade for the Temple of Doom" by Bob Miller.

cover of issue #41
  • the editor publishes the results of "The 1989 Readership and Star Trek: The Next Generation Survey Results": she sent out 114 and got back 38%, a much lower percentage than last year -- she blames the lower result on the fact that maybe fans aren't that interested in expressing their opinions of ST:TNG (which aren't included here). The Questions:
    • gender: male: 17.5%, female: 82.5%
    • age: under 17: 0%, 18-24: 5%, 25-34: 50%, 35-44: 40%, 45-54: 2.5%, 55+: 0%
    • marital status: single: 57.4%, married: 37.5%, divorced/sep/widowed: 2.5%
    • if you are married, is your spouse a fan: yes: 20%, no: 12.5%
    • hours spent on fanac per week: 0-7: 35%, 8-15: 32.5%, 16-23: 17.5%, 24-31: 7.5%, 32-39: 5%
    • current annual income: $0-5,999: 17.5%, $6,000-9,999: 12.5%, $10,000-14,999: 7.5%, $20,000-29,999: 27.5%, $30,000+: 20%
    • are you making videotapes of the ST:TNG to keep? : yes: 77.5%, no: 22.%
  • a fan writes about fanzine's prices: "As to what constitutes a fair price, that varies so greatly, it's hard to know. New fanzines can cost between $5 and $20. Old zines I've seen priced from $10 to $40 depending on how rare or old they are."
  • a fan asks: "Does anyone know what happened to the Star Wars Lending Library?"
  • another fan is : "absolutely delighted that my assertion of the last 15 years that Spock's birth was unassisted by modern medical technology was made official."
  • fan says that while he admires Gene Roddenberry for many things but "Some Trekkers have come to consider Gene a father figure of sorts... I believe that some folks expect too much from their media icons, and Gene is as mortal as the rest of us."
  • a fan writes of ST:TFF:
    I'm very upset that Star Trek fans are not supporting this movie. The movie was not perfect by a long way, and it had some things I didn't like but there was mostly good in it. I was mostly looking for the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. I was waiting 23 years for these men to finally admit that they need eachother... I would not put the blame on ST:TFF and William Shatner directing, but I blame Paramount. They are the culprits for not supporting Star Trek and their fans. And it is a shame to see that happen as ST has been a large part of my life for a very long time... I will support it when it is released on video tape and keep buying the merchandise as I am a true-blue Trekkie and I will always be in the future.
  • another fan weighs in on the new ST movie:
What is the reason for Spock holding a conversation with Kirk while he is climbing a mountain with no protective equipment and is distracting him so that Kirk will fall. The only reason is for the joke: Spock can play Superman and catches him before he crashed to his death. Well, boy howdy. And Kirk isn't doing better in the smarts department. What is a middle-aged starship captain on shore leaved doing climbing a mountain [without weeks of practice and planning and using safety equipment]... I can ignore Uhura's fan dance. I can ignore the sing-a-long at the end. I can ignore that fact that David Warner and the Romulan women are wasted for half the movie. I can ignore the terrible make-up jobs. What I can't ignore is the lack of sensitivity on the part of the writers for the characters and the universe they're playing in... Spock's birth is the scene that bothered me the most. Is it logical that Spock should be born in a cave with just a high priestess in attendance... for the first Vulcan-hybrid birth?... But more than that, if Sarek is so disgusted at having a half-breed son... why did he marry Amanda in the first place? ... I was absolutely shocked to witness such an insensitive characterization of Sarek, betraying an utter disregard not only for Spock but for Amanda as well.

  • a fan responds to an earlier letter in a previous issue:
    I'll try to respond to your letter even though I have difficulty employing ten words in a sentence. Yes, we are everywhere! Media Fen, Costume Fen, all of us, we're everywhere you go! Lucacons, Westercons, World Cons! We like to be entertained. We enjoy seeing artists and authors do magic tricks and juggle hoops while balancing on a large rubber ball. For too long, we have been judged by the color of our fannish activities and not by the content of our interests. I have a dream where media fen will no longer have to sit at the back of the ballroom during the panels, go through separate doors to con suites, or get soda from separate bathtubs. We will costume you in the halls, we will filk you around the jacuzzi, we will meet the tru-fen where ever they may be until victory is ours. We shall overcome, we shall overcome.

Issue 42

Comlink 42 was published in January 1990 and contains 18 pages. The cover "Starsong and Talltree" by Dafydd Neal Dyar.

cover of issue #42
  • in this issue are two reviews by Debbie Gilbert on "Trekwar" and "Strike Zone"
  • a fan comments on the latest Star Trek movie: "I won't go into detail about Star Trek 5 since other writers have pretty much covered the territory. ST5 had some delightful moments, but overall it was a tragic waste of money and talent. What's worse, Shatner's self-indulgence may have irreparable damaged ST's credibility. It's a shame the couldn't have quit while they were ahead with ST4." This is a opinion echoed by many fans.
  • a fan echoes a huge fannish agreement that folks like William Riker far, far better with is beard: "Riker's popularity has increased greatly. He's much more relaxed, more approachable than last year. Could it be the beard?"
  • lots of fans write that they would like to see a sexual affair between Wesley Crusher and Guinan in ST:TNG, something that, for this letterzine, feels quite racy, as its LoCers never, never talk about sex
  • a fan writes: "If William Shatner had really written Trekwar, we'd have heard about it long ago. Shater, Mr. Ego the Size of the Great Outdoors, would have blabbed about it before and during its writing. Shatner loves to toot his own horn. I though Trekwar was a typo. I'll wait for it to come out in paperback than get it at Strands for half price."
  • a fan says: "I can't support the ST movie because there's so little there to support. It's just not a good movie, and I don't support not-good movies. It's just like I don't buy ST merchandise just because its ST merchandise."
  • a fan comments on an earlier letter:
    Very little of what you say about fans and what they write is new I found it surprising when I delved in to media fandom, being a long-time fan, that one must pay money for a media fanzine, and it's mostly fiction. In sf fandom, editors mostly trade fanzines for artwork, articles, letters of comment or money (collectively know as 'the usual'). While I can understand that it takes money for a fanzine, since I publish, I was surprised at the attitude that some media fanzine editors had that 'this zine costs money, you know,' as if this would be news. I go the impression that money was very important to media zine editors, while in sf fandom, it's very rarely talked about.
  • a fan writes about the difference in cost between sf and media zines:
The biggest difference is that most sf pubbers do their publishing as a hobby. That is, they foot the bill pretty much themselves... sf pubbers tend to use the cheapest method possible, that is, I see many more mimeo zines than offset. Media publishers, on the other hand, are much more concerned with how a zine looks and that requires fancy offset printing, metal plates, veloxes, and the works. I can recall a time in media fandom when there were plenty of mimeo zines, but when Connie Faddis published Interphase and showed zine editors what could be done, that spelled the writing on the wall for inexpensive methods of reproduction.

  • Ming Wathne writes:
    To those friends and Editors who know me, and also to those those who don't, if one is stubborn, you can always get yourself into messes, that I have accomplished the project. The George Lucas Fan Zine Library is going to reopened. The Santa Barbara Science Fiction Alliance has taken over custodianship with myself as the curator. It is hoped that the library will be opened in March or April 1990. It has been renamed The Corellian Archives. [Ming includes a list of rules/general outline.]

Issue 43

Comlink 43 was published in April 1990 and contains 22 pages. The cover is an Alien Nation 1995 newspaper mock-up.

cover of issue #43
  • the editor is moving and assures fans that she will continue editing and publishing the letterzine while she is overseas
  • this issue has a short article by Nancy Merckle called "Save Beauty and the Beast"
  • illustrating how TPTB misread fannish messages, a fan says Paramount Studios believes the fifth Star Trek movie bombed because, 1) the actors were too old, 2) the Batman movie blew it out of the water, and 3) fans get enough Star Trek with ST:TNG on TV -- fans' comments in the letterzine have almost universally stated they didn't like the movie because it was a crappy script, Shatner's direction was awful, and the movie didn't honor the characters in any way
  • a fan compares two letterzines' fan reaction to the fifth Star Trek movie: "One of the things I've noticed in reading letterzines is the 'attitude' toward Star Trek 5. I don't know if you get Interstat, but this letterzine is overall (not completely mind you) pro-Star Trek 5, while Comlink seens to be overall negative about it." The editor of Comlink responds: "In the eighteen years I've been in fandom and the almost nine years I've edited Comlink, I can generalize and say that a letterzine, as with any fan publication, is a reflection of the editor... I imagine that those people who disagree with what is being said in Comlink have packed up and left. This isn't to say Interstat is better than Comlink or vice-verse. We obviously have two different editorial policies, personal beliefs, and perhaps different readerships. All this does is make fandom a better place for all of us by allowing a forum for different sides of an issue."
  • a fan speculates on fan campaigns and her favorite cancelled show: "I feel that the secret to a successful campaign to get a series revived rests on having a core of dedicated fans willing to devote the majority of their time to getting a series revived. In media fandom, that tends to be women. Apparently, while Max Headroom was a favorite among media fans, not enough women thought it worthy enough to save."
  • a fan comments on copyrighting and fanzines and profit:
I especially resent the attitude that it's okay for us to be inspired by the characters and settings of other authors/creators BUT it's now done to share the fruits of that inspiration unless there's money in it! So we get the mediazines which print legalese at the bottom of the title page along the lines of the following: 'This amateur publication does not intend to infringe upon the copyrights held by Paramount, the BBC or any other corporate entity or person. But don't YOU dare copy anything herein without EXPRESS written permission from teh author/artists AND the publisher!' Can you day 'double-standard'? Since the mediazines are on shaky ground to begin with, I really don't think that we have reason, or GOOD reason, to howl if a fan copies that work for purposes not involving money or plagiarism. I personally am just happy to share my work with my fellow fans -- as long as no one is trying to make money off MY small contribution to everyone's enjoyment. Happily, some mediazine publishers have now started explicitly printing 'permission to copy with our blessing' statements, in reaction to the close-minded. I DO know that 'what goes around comes around' and those greedy zine publishers and (and bootleggers!) will get theirs from the fans, if not the copyright lawyers -- but I'll continue to be indignant in the meantime.

Issue 44

cover of issue #44

Comlink 44 was published in August 1990 and contains 20 pages. The cover is "Holy Hanna-Barbera!" by Bob Miller.

  • there is much more discussion about William Shatner's authorship (or more specifically, lack thereof) of the pro book "TrekWar"
  • a fan uses a term: "Roddenbarrier," a word which describes the original creator of a text coming in after the fact and dictating changes, but changes that actually make the show/book/etc. WORSE; sadly, this never became a widely used term: "Yes, the writing [of ST:TNG] is much improved over last season although... I can still scope out the occasional Roddenbarrier. The tampering is usually minor, but it always clashes with a well-written script."
  • there is an early modern fannish use of the word phile as a fannish admiration for a character: "I am not a huge Rikerphile, even I found it hard to see how Troi could get involved with that schumcky part Betazed when she had Riker around for casual sex and companionship."
  • in this issue, the editor writes an essay about her temporary move to Iceland; it is called "Iceland: The Land of Fire and Spite" and it was originally in APA-VCR and updated and included in A Woman's Apa; she pretty much hates living in Iceland
  • the editor is now publishing the letterzine from a U.S. Naval base in Iceland and has some special issues with postage:
... [this] is causing some interesting problems. As with many other fannish efforts, this publication isn't exactly 'legal,' in that I don't have business license, a business chequing account or anything like that. Because we are technically living on foreign soil, the Provost Marshall and Customs keep an eye on what gets mailed or carried off base. While I don't think that Comlink would cause a problem, I do collect dead presidents for it, and I don't want to be in any position of raising any questions. Therefore I've asked [name redacted] if she wouldn't mind mailing the issues out as soon as they are printed n Michigan.

  • a fan comments on one of the current debates: media and science fiction fandom:
    Science fiction is a huge umbrella with lots of spokes. Probably for any fan of the genre, there is a separate but just as valid definition of the term. Back in the late '60s, when Star Trek was still on the air, it won several Hugo Awards. So its roots are clearly in the science fiction community. However, in 1972, when the first of the big Star Trek conventions was held, it seemed to those same science fiction fans who had admired the show in the first place, were dwarfed by all these new people who were starting to come to science fiction conventions. The fact that these new fans were predominately female may have played a role, too... Media fandom, of all the subgenres, seems to cause the hottest debate. And I think part of the reason is because it has continued to take on a meaning completely outside of science fiction. What has Starsky & Hutch and Simon & Simon have to do with science fiction? Nothing, except that people who are/were Star Trek fans liked Star Trek fandom, so they branched out and extended that fandom to other television shows... The circle of media fandom, for some reason, is seen as a threat to the circle of science fiction fandom, as if that entire media circle was going to descend on and swamp all of science fiction fandom... As one of the people who is in that portion where the two circles meet, I hear flack from both sides.
  • a fan comments on the line between using a conglomerate's creation and a fan's creation in a transformational way:
I agree there is a double standard in fandom (science fiction and media) regarding ownership. There's a prevalent attitude 'if something is owned by a huge conglomerate, it's okay to infringe on its copyright and trademark licenses, but I'll sue your pants off if you infringe on my rights.' I've seen this in media fanzines where a fan has created a new character in a fanzine story based on a major studio's copyrighted product. It's okay for that writer to write in that copyrighted universe, but if someone else uses that character in another story in the same universe, the creator of that character starts crying 'copyright infringement.' Who's kidding whom here?

  • a long-time fan writes a letter with a focus of the purpose of LoCs and reviews:
    When you cast your zines upon fannish waters, you want to produce ripples, possibly even waves -- not to sink without a trace. That's where LoCs come in. LoC is an acronym for Letter of Comment but what it really stands for is ego-boo, compliments, feedback, and constructive criticism. Letters of Comment are not necessarily the 'just due' of the zine ed and contributors and the obligation of the readers. The privilege is not all on your side. LoCs are also the RIGHT of the zine readers, and it is YOUR obligation to be open to their comments. Zine readers write LoCs for many reasons. In a perfect universe, you would only receive letters full of glowing praise for your sparkling dialogue, original plots, imaginative layout and high production standards, or wizardry with cross-hatching and composition... However, favorable LoCs are not the only kind that will, can, or should be written... Which brings me to the rumblings that provoked this letter. Some zine eds have a tendency to reject out of hand letters of comment that are not favorable. They won't print them; they label them unnecessarily harsh. They say the letter letter is reacting out of proportion -- after all, 'it's only a hobby.' So what's wrong with this attitude, other than the obvious fact that the zine reader's right to express an opinion... is guaranteed by the Constitution? Well, it may be YOUR 'hobby,' but if you want readers to pay out THEIR hard-earned dollars for it, it entitles them to comment on any aspect of your zine from the staples to the copyright notice... A carefully throughout, constructive critique on your zine, detailing what the reader liked or didn't like and why,... is an invaluable learning tool for you as an editor, writer, or artist... From the reader's viewpoint, when the zine creators learn from their mistakes and produce a better zine, fandom benefits as well. There has been a definite lack of critical LoCs in the last several years, resulting, in my opinion, in declining zine quality in many fandoms. With the ever-increasing costs of purchasing zines, this factor becomes more and more important. For those of you who are just in it for the Vanity Press, who don't want to hear anything but ego-boo and the compliments, you'd be much better off to just hand your material away free to your family and friends. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the fanzine.

Issue 45

cover of issue #45

Comlink 45 was published in November 1990 and contains 20 pages.

  • this issue has a third season episode synopsis for ST:TNG
  • one fan has sent Comlink's editor a survey by a graduate student that she hopes the editor will distribute. The editor writes: "As much as I'd like to run Cinda's survey, it's rather long, and I don't have the resources to do so. However, if you'd like to participate, send her an SASE. I've invited Cinda to write a short LoC about her research, and I hope she'll take me up on it."
  • a fan comments on the recent set of letters from a disgruntled fan who has canceled her subscription to the normally very calm letterzine over what she felt was "Shatner-bashing"; she pleads for civility on the part of all parties, and in retrospect, gives a historical flavor to her comments: "C'mon, kid, we're not tearing down the Berlin Wall, we're not freeing South Africa, we're not even frightening Saddam Hussein."
  • a fan writes in and complains of all the professionally produced Star Trek merchandise for sale: "Just say NO!!! to $90 videotapes, $20 hardbacks, $10 dolls, just say NO!!! to dealers charging $50 for our [own] zines."
  • there are many letters in this issue commenting on the letter in the last issue on the purpose and value of LoCs/feedback/reviews
  • regarding fan fiction reviews, a fan writes that when she wrote her two zines, The Genesis Aftermath and Descent into Darkness, she included in the zine reply forms to get feedback:
    I got about 105 of the forms back. Most were favorable. Some were not. All were welcome. One fan with a highly negative reaction send hers anonymously as if she thought I would come to her house and throw her typewriter against the wall if I knew who she was. I say this so that one one can accuse me of applying standards to others I'm not willing to observe myself. Of course, unfavorable comments should not be stated rudely, but some editors believe ANY unfavorable comment, no how how politely stated, is unacceptable.
  • a fan comments:
Personally, I depend on reviews, as well as the few comprehensive LoCs I receive, to improve my skills... There's little point in doing anything if you're not interested in doing it better next time. Peer review affects us in almost everything we do, and I don't think I'd do zines if I never thought I'd get any feedback at all. I don't think I'd write either. It's not a perfect system. People abuse it, and I admit I can't use every suggestion I get. It's more a matter of doing the best you can. Isn't that what this is all about?

  • a fan writes about the lack of LoCs lately:
    They are rare. Does that have anything to do with whether or not they are appreciated? I'll only spend time on a serious zine LoC for someone I know appreciates it. This year that has been a total of 2 (count 'em), so we have something of a catch-22 here... It may seem like an old topic, but I have noticed a tendency towards better quality zines, and I'd like to know if there's a changing attitude toward reviews.
  • the editor of Comlink ruminates on the quality of recent zines, one she thinks has gotten better, at least production-wise:
One reason for better quality zines these days could be the technology of producing zine has improved. In the early days, it was your IBM Selectric, if you were lucky, and mimeo. Now it's desk-top publishing and high-quality photocopying. All this technology doesn't come cheap. Perhaps the editor/publishers realize that they need to charge more for zine and is therefore doing a better job? Also, there's more competition out there in zine-land.

  • Ming Wathne gives an update:
    The Corellian Library is in great need of contributions or the OK to circulate your out-of-print material. There will be a new listing coming out in January. How does the "National Fan Zine Library" sound? And don't let the name fool you. While Star Wars is my favorite personally, as Librarian, I don't play favorites.

Issue 46

cover of issue #46

Comlink 46 was published in February 1991 and contains 24 pages. The front cover is by Zaquia Tarhuntassa.

  • while the editor has asked for a moritorium on negative William Shatner comments as they're doesn't seem to be much more to say, some readers get in a few more comments; they compare him to a 'purring ham,' hate that he lied about writing 'TrekWars,' feel he used to try to do a good job but is coasting, is egotistical, and despise his Saturday Night Live "Get a Life" skit: "... the actor saying this has traded on Star Trek for most of his career. Get a life, indeed!"
  • an ad in the back of this issue reads: refers to the "CORELLIAN ARCHIVES" as the "The National Fan Zine Library"
  • the editor publishes the results of the "Third Season Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Fifth Comlink Readership Survey" results; she is unhappy that she only had a 39% return rate
  • a fan defends FIAWOL:
I've met more open-minded people, made more long and lasting friendships (some nearing 20 years), and done more traveling, historical research, sewing, and meeting people in all walks of life than have in the first 22 years of my existence.. No, FIAWOL is not an obsession, it's family.

  • a fan writes:
    I was especially interested in the comments on the on-going 'readers versus media fans' discussion. I, too, recall the attitude of science fiction fandom toward Star Trek fandom in its infancy. But, actually it goes back beyond that. A few years before the Trekkies, the same sort of thing was happening with the old-line sf fans and the 'hippie' invasion of the late 60's and early '70's -- between, broadly, the fans who crowded around the bar and the ones who retreated to dark rooms with loud stereos and funny cigarettes. But it's just human nature: the existence of an in-group implies out-groups, those pathetic and often obnoxious people who don't share _____ (fill in the blank). Just as Star Trek fans discovering sf cons were often made to feel like second class citizens, so too, at Star Trek cons after the summer of 1977, were people in Princess Leia outfits and Imperial Stormtrooper outfits often looked upon as somehow inferior. Not to mention smaller out-groups. I can recall a serious conversation among committee members at a Star Trek con in the midwest about whether they should ban Runners from their next con. 'Runners' you say? Well, there was a small, but dedicated group of boisterous, youthful Logan's Run fans who wore quite nicely done uniforms and, in keeping with the nature of their characters, spent a great deal of time chasing each other around the function rooms and corridors, and zapping each other with blasters. Admittedly, they could be a little annoying if you were having a conversation in the vicinity, but it hardly seemed reasonable to ban them from a con. Like I said, it's human nature.
  • a fan remembers the emergence of fans of role-playing games at cons:
I do recall when role-playing was emerging how some convention committees considered barring them because all they did was spend time playing their role-playing games and not actively participating with the rest of the convention-goers. My attitude was, you take their money, give them a room, and you don't see them for the rest of the convention.

  • a fan writes in about acafandom:
    Fandom is actually attracting a lot of academic interest at the moment. I think it's going to emerge as a hot topic of study in Media Arts over the next couple of years, but I'm convinced that's a good thin. I know I couldn't have begun to conceptualize this project [the fan survey she has and what it was to be used for] if I hadn't actually become a fan first. It was only after I'd jumped in and started participating that I thought, hey, this is great. I wonder if anyone in Media or History or whatever's looked at it. The answer was very, very few... Fandom as a network is much more complex than most academic (who aren't fans themselves) are willing to allow for. I've met with resistance from most of my professors and many of my peers.

Issue 47

cover of issue #47

Comlink 47 was published in June 1991 and contains 20 pages. The front cover is by Zaquia Tarhuntassa.

  • a fan thinks there are less fanzines published due to demographics: "... the average age in fandom seems to be creeping up towards the mid-30s... and fanzine publishing is slowing down as more of the people engaged in it devote more time to family and job responsibilities."
  • a fan comments on another question from an earlier issue:
The double standard in fandom' RE: [fan] fiction writing does seem hypocritical, doesn't it? On the surface it is. Fan fi writers help themselves to studios' or other pro's characters and/or universes at will. Many of these pro outfits seem to tolerate this; in fact, for them, it's a form of free advertising. I wonder how much money fan fiction has made for Paramount just by keeping interest in Star Trek encouraged all these years? And not a penny was spent by them for that advertising, because the fans did it themselves. But as for fan writers' original characters and/or universes being pirated; there's an extenuating circumstances there. Media characters-universe are at least common knowledge. We all know the personalities, settings, etc. We know how a given character would react in a certain situation... But when we create our own characters... what we're doing is apart from common knowledge; we're breaking new ground. We KNOW Spock and McCoy. WE don't necessarily have this thorough a knowledge of someone's original fan fiction character or setting, and if we did, we might not have the 'feel' of it to write it properly. The only proper way to write in another's fan fiction universe is: 1) get permission; and 2) consult the originator on everything, planned and written, start to finish.

  • a fan writes:
    ... I went to England and had a chance to sit down and talk with fellow Gerry & Sylvia Anderson fans to talk about fannish stuff. One problem British fans have in Anderson fandom is the fact that ITC which owns most rights won't allow any fan fiction outside of the official Fanderson, the official Gerry Anderson fan club, publications. That is, no fan can do a fiction fanzine on Thunderbirds without serious legal complications. Could you just imagine what would have happened to Star Trek fandom back in the 70s if we weren't allowed to have fanzines? I seriously doubt that Star Trek and by extension media fandom would be anything like it is today, a vast worldwide interconnected network.
  • a fan explains how the VCR can revive a fandom:
When Space: 1999 originally ran, I was lucky enough to live in a market where the show was uncut... Fan interest locally was very strong and supportive, and I found the very negative reactions given the program elsewhere somewhat confusing. Later when I had a chance to see how one episode ('War Games') was shown in three different markets elsewhere in the country, I began to understand some of the reactions a lot better. In all three cases, the episodes were cut down to about 45 minutes of actual story and the parts cut out were character scenes, pivotal story incidents, etc. leaving only the series' highly-touted special effects intact. In all three cases, the episode became a confusing, unwatchable parade of pretty special effect scenes. If you're interested in seeing this show uncut, check out your video stores.

  • a fan writes of the prejudice she has experienced, and how it relates to the tensions between media fans and science fiction fandom:
    Fans are a minority group. We have our own lifestyle, one that outsiders, mundanes, can't really understand. We constantly referred to derisively, even feared by some religious groups. I've been called a devil worshipper, and once at a con, a mundane in the elevator with me saw my con badge and said, 'Oh, you're one of those weirdoes, aren't you?' It really makes me sad that fans, who know first-hand the kind of heartache this can cause, would resort to infighting over what kind of fannish life is better. Isn't there room for everyone?
  • another fan comments:
[There is a link between] the fannish opposition to Trekkies to the hippie invasion. It's likely that both of these were perceived as potential threats to the unique identity of our subculture, just about the time we were beginning to realize that we had one, but before we understood that cultures (like plants or human minds) begin to die when they cease to grow.

  • a fan comments on the recent academic interest in fandom:
    What's all this about 'Comlink' and other fanzines being a source for scholarly research? I shudder to think of some eager PhD candidate might find my ravings of some academic interest in the future or that I might even be somebody's PhD thesis... What's worse is that I won't make any money off of it! Seriously, it is somewhat comforting to know that the ephemeral of our subculture is being preserved for future generations. Pity the poor scholar wading through all the Mary Sue stories, though.
  • another fan isn't as accepting of this academic interest:
I get uneasy when academics start questing for subjects in fandom. Not that I don't think it's an intriguing social phenomenon, because it is. Nor do I believe that most researchers have Evil Designs on fans or fandom. However, I do think that putting fandom under a microscope and scrutinized for the benefit of bored academics would have a chilling effect. Spontaneity and free expression in fandom are already endangered species, thanks to both a society's general shift away from first amendment freedoms -- a shift that fandom seems to be mirroring faithfully and to a certain petty vindictiveness to be found among a few within the fold. According to one publisher, quite a few zine buyers with careers to protect are afraid to deal with zine editors and fellow fen on a one to one basis, opting instead for the relative safety of anonymity. I think that's sad. And knowing you might end up in a psych or sociology journal could put a real damper on your enthusiasm and willingness to participate, taking away fandom's greatest appeal, and leaving paranoia in its place.

Issue 48

cover of issue #48

Comlink 48 was published in September 1991 and contains 20 pages. The front cover is by Zaquia Tarhuntassa.

  • there is a reprint of a public letter that was posted on the GEnie Bulletin Board in February 1991 by Brad Ferguson in which he dismisses his own pro book, "A Flag Full of Stars." He writes about how it was edited into something he doesn't even recognize: "I am stuck with this two-headed yet brainless mutant child who bears my name, and I do not like it at all. Not at all."
  • a fan contemplates vocabulary:
    Are we Trekkies or Trekkers? In my opinion, it's not what you answer to, but how the studio views you that counts in the long run. I don't mind being called a Trekkie... The mundane-on-the-street who views us as weirdoes doesn't seem to care what we call ourselves: it's all one to him or her. And Paramount seems not to care, either. The past few years, the Star Trek people, who used to value every fan (back when they were struggling and needed every fan), now seem to treat Trekkies and Trekkers with equal contempt, and as many of us, including some of the better pro writers, have recently discovered. Will we gain respect of Paramount and the general public through use of a generic word to describe ourselves? We haven't heard yet, have we? As for me, I've been considered a weirdo for over 40 years, so I don't suppose that can be changed. But I feel no qualms about calling myself a Trekkie and proving that Im not a foot or a sucker... It's occurred to me that if we do want the studio's respect... perhaps we shouldn't call ourselves by either name; nor should we call ourselves fans... We should start calling ourselves 'patrons' and 'customers' because that's what we are. Ultimately, as a group, we pay these peoples' wages -- a fact that I think they'd prefer to forget.
  • a fan gives some advice:
For all the successful and aspiring Star Trek novelists out there, I have a foolproof formula for a good novel. Write a story with a good plat about the Star Trek universe, with all the characters we know well. Add two or three of your own original characters and give them a central importance to the story. Rewrite it until you think it is very good. Then, delete all references to Star Trek, the Enterprise, all the characters you created, all hardware and technological developments commonly associated with Star Trek and all round, furry animals that purr. What you're left with, to your joyous surprise, will be the beginning of an original novel that you can proudly proclaim is your own creation and you can do whatever you want with, without having to follow the guidelines set up by someone else, and without using the alternate universe excuse... It's possible that someday, fans will be misusing your characters as we are misusing Gene's.

  • a fan responds to the above statement:
    Writing fanfic based on other's universes is something that many fans simply enjoy. Their goal isn't to create a whole new universe, but to simply 'share' in the one created... Too many times I've read comments from fans, mostly non-media fans who lambaste media fanfic writers -- 'Why don't they write their own universe?' -- The simple answer is: because they don't want to.

Issue 49

cover of issue #49

Comlink 49 was published in December 1991 and contains 26 pages. The front cover is by Zaquia Tarhuntassa.

  • the editor asks fans to submit positive testimonials about fandom for the next issue, the 50th one "Fandom has done so much and means so much to me that it really saddens me when all we talk about are bad things. Sure, there's plenty to gripe and grumble about, but how about for issue #50, we all talk about some of the good things..."
  • the editor publishes the result of "The Comlink and Star Trek: The Next Generation 1991 Survey Results"; she'd sent out about 90 of them and got a 44% return rate on them
  • there is a con report for Fanderson '91
  • there is a long letter from Lori Chapek-Carleton about the foul-ups at the last MediaWest*Con. They are investigating legal action as the hotel was a disaster in not honoring contracts and space: "The hotel's capacity for ineptitude seemed boundless."
  • another fan writes a con report for MediaWest, also commenting on the rotten hotel; she also writes of other more positive things: "The convention itself was a lot of fun. I was on six panels, my favorite being 'Lust in Space: Intimate Relationships on the Enterprise.' I also attended four other panels. MediaWest is a showcase for new fanzines and there were plenty of them... The masquerade was interesting in that there were several historical costumes presented. You'd think no one would do historical at a media con. 'Best in Show' went to a couple dressed as Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenbergen from Back to the Future III. They were wearing the 1890s costumes from the final scene in the movie."
  • there is a con report for Creation Con's 25th Anniversary Star Trek Convention
  • a fan writes that "a friend of mine attended a fanzine panel at this years Westercon. What she found extremely amusing was that panelists were all people for whom Lan's Lantern and File 770 are fanzines, while the audience was made up of people for whom Guardian and T-Negative are fanzines. The panelists wanted to talk about mimeos and the audience wanted to talk about Windows."
  • fans continue to discuss the long-running topic of whether the ST: TNG uniforms had pockets
  • a fan writes a long, long letter complaining about Creation Cons and their various policies and actions
  • a fan comments that she has seen a message on the "Computer Bulletin Board Quantum-Link that both Richard Arnold and Susan Sackett were let go."
  • there is much discussion over the "study of fandom" by academics; one strong belief is that only an academic who is also a fan is going to have any success with any sort of study: "You must have significant contact with fandom to understand its support system and information network... I would hate to imagine conducting research on fandom without having been a participant in some way. There are just too many insights that would be lost among the data and clinical observations, a significant concern for any social researcher."
  • a fan asks:
Why the surprise over the feuds and factions in fandom? Fans is people, too, y'know. Some of them are candidates for sainthood, some deserve to be beaten with a sock full of dead hamsters, and the rest are just guys, y'know? The pity of it is that some fans get so caught up in the fantasy, they lose track of reality, and wind up as little more than fundamentalists defending their little patch of turf and hurling abuse and anathema at anyone who doesn't agree with them. More's the pity.

Issue 50

cover of issue #50

Comlink 50 was published in March 1992 and contains 24 pages. The front cover is by Zaquia Tarhuntassa.

  • beginning with this issue, Allyson has help producing the letterzine from Linda Deneroff
  • many, many fans write about what fandom means to them and the two main topics they talk about are 1) the friends they've made, and 2) it's a place they feel they belong
  • the aca-fan (C G) who has been participating in the letterzine lately says she has received over 200 surveys from fan and hopes for at least 300 in total
  • a fan loves this new trend of having little refrigerators in hotel rooms: "Those little hotel refrigerators ARE nice. We used to stack pizzas in them like compact disks and live off of them for the whole con. There's nothing like cold pizza for breakfast at a con!"
  • a fan comments on a difference between ST: TOS and ST: TNG: "I can see that Kirk/Spock/McCoy are good friends and care about each other. That's not really noticeable on ST: TNG. Heck, when Riker was about to croak in 'Shades of Gray,' only Picard and Troi came by. Geez, couldn't someone else have dropped by, even if only to say, "Hey, if you die, can I have your trombone?""
  • a fan writes that "Richard Arnold and Susan Sackett were fired after Gene Roddenberry died and there are no plans to replace them. We fans are the victim of our own success in that Paramount now feels they don't need a fannish liaison office."
  • a fan complains: "I agree that sports fans get far more acceptance than SF fans. I've had a chance to see sports fanaticism first-hand with the 'Redskins Fever' this year... I'm tired of seeing all these interviews with die-hard football fanatics."
  • a fan talks of Star Trek and computer bulletin boards and makes the first mention of the word "internet" and "email" in this letterzine:
    The discussions on the USENET Star Trek bulletin boards about the new series, and about the firing of Richard Arnold, have been pretty amusing. Incidentally, to those of you whom I was talking through CompuServe and GEnie - I gave up my subscriptions in favor of FREE access to all the Star Trek info I could possibly want. My university makes USENET available, and there are five bulletin boards on Star Trek alone (not to mention one on Anne McCaffrey's Pern universe and five or six on aspect of SF in general, and one for cat owners. I can be addressed through E-Mail (Bitnet or Intenet).
  • a fan looks back on fandom:
When I first became involved in fandom, there were only two major branches of media fandom: Star Trek and Star Wars. There were other smaller fandoms such as for Man from U.N.C.L.E. but the other two were so huge, it seemed fandom was divided into two parts... As the years passed, media fandom changed. Fandom became more fragmented with many Star Wars fans leaving that fandom when George Lucas showed no signs of producing any more Stars Wars, for smaller fandoms such a Robin of Sherwood, The Professionals, and Blake's 7... It's been interesting to watch fandom fragment into smaller fandoms and to see which show produces the 'hot' fandom for that year.