Command Center

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Zine
Title: Command Center
Publisher: newsletter of the Main Mission Alpha
Editor(s): Gail Paradis, then Mary Bloemker
Type:
Date(s):
Frequency: every two months, at the end of the second month
Medium: print
Fandom: Space: 1999
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Command Center is a gen Space: 1999 newsletter and letterzine for Main Mission Alpha, a fan club.

Topics included: con reports, feuding between Star Trek and Space:1999 fans, how Space:1999 fit in with other science fiction being offered at the time, conflicts between fan clubs, some reviews of fan works, what it meant to be a fan, and various letter campaigns.

This newsletter appears to be a successor to Main Mission Alpha.

Once a year, members also received Alpha Log along with their newsletter.

Many issues of "Command Center" have been scanned in here.

Alphan Biographies

One unique feature of these newsletters were the self-insertion, round-robin role-playing letters called "Alphan Biographies" which morphed into their own activity, a shared, metaphysical universe. While not early as robust and organized as ITOWverse, there are many similarities. Another sort-of related activity is Forever Knight Wars.

See Alphan Biographies for more.

Oct/Nov 1976 Issue

Dec 1976 Issue

  • contains a short story called "Christmas Spirit"
  • contains the Moonbase Alpha version of "The Night Before Christmas"
  • other unknown content

Jan/Feb 1977 Issue

Mar/April 1977 Issue

  • news of the Fantastic Journey cancellation

May/June 1977 Issue

  • a special Nick Tate birthday issue
  • Space:1999 character bios
  • Star Wars salute
  • first letter column

July/Aug 1977 Issue

front page of July/August 1977

Command Center (v.2 n.8) was published in July/Aug 1977 and contains 10 pages.

  • contains an update about a zine, Avatar #5:
    For those of you wondering whatever happened to Avatar #5, there is some bad news. On its way to the printers, it was stolen, along with Mary H's briefcase and other items of value. It's been some weeks now, and the hopes for recovery have dimmed considerably. Avatar #5 is in the process of being reconstructed from scratch. Mary is willing to refund money to anyone who does feel they want to wait any longer. There may be some added surprises in this issue to add to what has already been done, and #5 promises to be the best issue yet. Command Center will keep you up to date.
  • it is a Barbara Bain special
  • August Party con report, see that page
  • the TOTM was "what would you change about the show?"

Sept/Oct 1977 Issue

  • Zienia Merton issue
  • Star Trek America con reports
  • book and episode reviews

Nov/Dec 1977 Issue

  • Space:1999 con news
  • episode review of "Collision Course"

Jan/Feb 1978 Issue

Command Center was published in Jan/Feb 1978 and contains 8 pages. It was edited by Gail Paradis.

cover of the Jan/Feb 1978 issue
front page of the Jan/Feb 1978 issue
  • this issue is dedicated to Martin Landau and contains a biography of him
  • the new editor explains why some things are late in arrival: lack of her own typewriter, mail lost by the postal service, and a big blizzard
  • Mary Bloemker gives an update on the club's typewriter fund -- they are half-way there and are planning a raffle, she thanks several fans for their donations
  • there is a quiz compiled by fans
  • there are several letters from fans talking about their favorite episodes and characters
  • several fans write letters about how Space:1999 should be judged on its own merit, and should not be compared to Star Trek
  • includes a fan's review of an episode
  • "How Not to Get to New York City for a Star Trek Convention" by Mary Bloemker
  • a fan writes of her lack of interest in some of the science in the show at the expense of what's interesting, citing a nitpick that the moon is always brightly lit no matter where it is is and what time it is:
    Well, who would find it exciting or entertaining to listen to John Koenig's feet racing over the lunar surface while staring at a pitch-black TV screen? A lot of this sort of criticism of Space:1999 ignores that fact that it is a drama about human beings facing the unknown,not Astrophysics 201. The integrity of Space:1999 should be, and is, found in its characters, and should not be judged by demanding that the show conform strictly to what little of reality in space we know today.
  • there is a personal statement from Mary Hartery:
    Two years ago, Main Mission Alpha was formed to join together fans in Space:1999. It was noble idea, and though some backlash came into our club after some time, my time spent in this club was good, and I enjoyed making friends with those whose ideals matched my own. Now, two years have passed. I look back, for the most part, with good memories to gaze upon, and there is nothing that can take some of those memories away from me. But I've outgrown my club, outgrown the ideals I set for myself two years ago. New ideas, new meanings in life have emerged for me. I may sound melodramatic, but don't be mistaken -- I am sad that I can no longer share this common interest with you, the club members. I've taken on a new responsibility and I forsake all other responsibilities to make this new venture work out as it should. You can read more about that later on is this issue. [1] It is my life -- my new future. And there is no one who can say that I am not the best person in the world to take on its responsibility. So, sadly, I am leaving Moon Mission Alpha. Your new commander, Mary B., who has taken on the club for the past few months and is doing a good job of running the club. I will probably have honorary member status from now on, and that will be more than enough to suit me. I wish you all well, and hope for everyone, the best life has to offer.

Mar/Apr 1978 Issue

Command Center was published in March/April 1978 and contains 6 pages.

cover of the Mar/April 1978 issue
front page of the Mar/April 1978 issue (v.2 n.6)
  • the editor "introduces" the club's typewriter -- "Maya" is a Smith Coronet Cartridge 12 with the special feature of changeable ribbon cartridges. The club president has been able to pay the deposit -- "Only ten more payments to go and she's all ours!"
  • this issue has an episode review of "Full Circle"
  • this issue has a short quiz
  • this issue has a short update from the Springfield Space:1999 fan club
  • a fan writes:
    ...the differences of opinion about STAR TREK and SPACE:l999: Since when was there ever enough good science fiction available on television to dispute about the merits of either show to the point of arguments or possible fighting? This seems very foolish to me, as both shows certainly have their faults, but nevertheless are very entertaining and the beat science fiction offered on television to date. I have never given a great deal of time for thought about which I liked better, just enjoyed them both and wished for more.
  • a fan writes:
    ...the differences of opinion about STAR TREK and SPACE:l999. Since when was there ever enough good science fiction available on television to dispute about the merits of either show to the point of arguments or possible fighting? This seems very foolish to me, as both shows certainly have their faults, but nevertheless are very entertaining and the beat science fiction offered on television to date. I have never given a great deal of time for thought about which I liked better, just enjoyed them both and wished for more. All the characters are interesting to me, although most were not developed enough, especially in background information, which is so important in establishing a well-rounded character that seems real. I must admit that Nick Tate is my favorite, probably because I am fascinated by Australia and Australians, not to mention the fact that he is an excellent actor, and very appealing. I especially like the Australian accent, which I can never hear enough of. There just aren't enough Australian actors on American television for me.
  • a fan writes:
    I must say that people's opinions on SPACE:l999 in relation to STAR TREK are sometimes harsh, but I say you can't compare. For example -- the shows are made in different countries in different years. STAR TREK is in the 22nd or 23rd century and they live on a ship that can be controlled and has all of their needs on it. The crew are ready to handle these out-in-space problems. The Enterprise has a Headquarters to fall back on in case of trouble. So, generally, they are ready for, should be, for what lies ahead. Good old Moonbase Alpha wasn't ready and had no intention of leaving little old Earth. The crew were not ready to leave, physically or mentally. They had to rely on themselves when danger knocked. Alpha has no conveniences, really, except that they can live day to day (just barely). Since they were made in different countries, they had different ideas and plots behind them. But not only are the producers different, the actors and everthing else is. So you can't really compare and bring one to be the best, they are both good in their own ways. I still love SPACE:l999 over STAR TREK anyday.

May/June 1978 Issue

Command Center was published in May/June 1978 and contains 8 pages. The front cover is by Rosie Badgett, the back cover by Kathi Higley.

cover of the May/June 1978 issue
front page of the May/June 1978 issue, Rosie Badgett
  • here is much about the Space:1999 convention in Columbus, Ohio that is just about to occur
  • a fan reviews the "Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook"
  • a fan reviews the tie-in book "Planets of Peril"
  • this issue has some info on the fan campaign for more Space:1999 commercial merchandise
  • a fan wants to know why there is soil in the hydroponics lab
  • a fan asks others what they think the new Star Trek movie will do to Space:1999 fandom
  • some fans discuss a name change for the letter column of this zine; the current name is "The Forum"
  • a fan reviews the episode "Ring Around the Moon"
  • a fan reviews the music for the first season
  • there is much crabbiness about the postal service


July/Aug 1978 Issue

Command Center was published in July/August 1978 and contains 12 pages.

Sept/Oct 1978 Issue

Command Center was published in Sept/Oct 1978 and contains 12 pages.

cover of Sept/Oct 1978 issue
from the Sept/Oct 1978 issue, artist is Rose Marie Badgett
  • this issue contains five con reports for SpaceCon
  • a con report for Phantasmicon '78
  • part two of a fan's review of season one's music
  • a fan's review of the episode "End of Eternity"
  • the first installment of the column: "Dear Psyche" by Jeff Barber
  • the back cover features an illo of Martin Landau and Kermit the Frog, artist is Alice Newsome


Nov/Dec 1978 Issue

Command Center was published in Nov/Dec 1978 and contains 10 pages.

Jan/Feb 1979 Issue

Command Center was published in Jan/Feb 1979 and contains 10 pages.

cover of the Jan/Feb 1970 issue
front page of the Jan/Feb 1979 issue
  • the editor apologizes for the lateness of this issue; it is printed in an area occupied by Harvard, Radcliffe and M.I.T. and those institutions' print jobs take priority
  • there is a con report (with some focus on the Costume Call) for the Star Trek Expo Convention at the Statler Hilton ("the convention itself was unremarkable and at times downright tedious, but the company was marvelous..."), the August Party people put on "Snowcon" (which started off as a joke to bolster the flagging spirits of fans stranded due to the weather); includes info about the filk written by Roberta Rogow and Greg Baker for this con, and a borrowed projector to view movies, and James Doohan stopped by their room
  • con reports for the Space:1999 con in Columbus, OH, one fan mentioned a dart board there with Fred Frieberger's photo at the center
  • a con reprot for "The Fifth Annual Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Convention," Nov 24-26, 1978 in L.A.
  • an episode review for "A Matter of Life and Death"
  • fiction: "An Alpha Christmas"
  • Deb Walsh says that Moonbeam #5/6 will finally see print in late February as enough pre-orders have been received; she will print 200 copies, 150 copies of which have been spoken for
  • there is a "Dear Psyche," the information and often tongue-in-cheek advice column
  • there is discussion about a proposed Space:1999 movie called "Destination: Moonbase Alpha" in 1979, it was to be a "theatrical and TV version of the two-part episode "Bringers of Wonder," not an original movie."


Mar/April 1979 Issue

Command Center was published in Mar/April 1979 and contains 10 pages.

May/June 1979 Issue

Command Center was published in May/June 1979 and contains 8 pages.

cover of the May/June 1979 issue
first page of the May/June 1979 issue
  • it is last newsletter before the Space:1999 con in Pittsburgh on July 27-29
  • memory book contributions has been low, this issue contains some descriptions of layout and information about submissions
  • "What to Bring to a Con" by Diana Winslow (practical tips)
  • some fans have asked for the letter column to go back to a TOTM: so for next time: "Give a brief biography of yourself as if you were an Alpha living on the Moonbase. What section would you be in? Why did you decide to ask for assignment to Alpha in the first place? How did you get along with the senior officers?"
  • fans bemoan the cancellation of Battlestar Galactica
  • a fan says she thinks the feud between ST and Space:1999 fans is over; she's recently watched an episode of Star Trek and it she thought it wasn't too bad
  • there is a long description of two fans' adventures: they'd gotten together to watch an episode of Space:1999 that hadn't been shown in two years, but the last fifteen minutes were cut to show a warm-up session by The Lakers basketball team. They complained to the television station by phone, and the following Monday, they drove to the station to complain in person. There they were able to talk to the programming director (who made sure they didn't get a ticket on their illegally parked car), and then were able to watch the whole episode together in a private conference room, in color and uncut.
  • episode review for "The Testament of Arkadia"
  • there is a long personal statement by Deb Walsh apologizing for the lateness of her zines, saying she is gafiating for a while:
    It's been a long time since I've felt that I've lived up to my responsibility as a zine editor. Due to [reasons redacted] it's been very difficult for me to keep up with my planned publications schedule, and to keep up with my mail. Moonbeam #4 was late. Moonbeam #5/6 was very late. I've got stacks of mail I may never get to... For those reasons, and because if I'm going to do a zine, I want to do it well and on time, I'm closing down shop entirely until at least January 1980. This means basically, I'm gafiating, but I do hope to keep in touch with what's going on in fandom, and perhaps go to a con or two. I won't be accepting orders, stories, art, and I won't be available for correspondence concerning the zine. All order that I have already will be honored, but it is impossible for me to accept any more. I love doing Moonbeam. I love reading material, and seeing it in print, especially for people who've never been in print before. I really enjoy hearing how readers react to new writers, and I like to see people trying their wings for the first time in fan publication. Working with the zine, and the people who've been connected with it has been a real high for the last two years, and I hope to enjoy it again. But later, when I know I can devote the time to it, to create a really worthwhile zine, and deliver when I say I'm going to. For those who ordered #5/6, its delays were legion. Typing took longer than I'd expected, not just because the zine is so large, but also because my work schedule very rarely left time for me to work on the zine and make the last subway home. At my employer's suggestion, the zine was run off on our new office copier — slightly less expensive than a commercial printer, but much higher in quality. Then the machine broke down (break out the violins ...) and I went to the West Coast for five weeks. As I write this, the zine is just about ready, and the collating party is planned for this weekend, UPS will hate me next week, and the zine will be immediately out of print. I do hope to get back into publishing, especially for the Loner Collected, and the Galactizine I've been planning (if I ever finish those last two stories .. but we'll have to wait and see.

July/Aug 1979 Issue

Command Center was published in July/Aug 1979 and contains 8 pages.

cover of the July/Aug 1979 issue
first page of the July/Aug 1979 issue
  • Gail Paradis returns as the club's vice president
  • the Memory Books had a disappointing turn-out, and presentation
  • there is an open letter from Mare Fitzgerald (chairman of the 1979 Pittsburgh Space:1999 Convention) -- the con was a financial success plus they raised $5200 for charity, but did "the con do any good for fandom?" Other topics discussed: fannish apathy, disappointment over celebrity guests not showing, fans expecting people to do everything for them, the attendance numbers were down from last year, but the con was also lots of fun for some people
  • there is a con report by Deb Walsh who "ranked it up there among my top four: August Party '76... T'Con '78, and Creation Con Feb '79
  • here are some other con reports for SpaceCon
  • some fans wrote in with their "Alphan Biographies"
  • it is noted that, due to lack of submissions, the "Dear Psyche" column has not been in the last few issues
  • "The Mail Bag" is a fictional account of the show's characters receiving and reading (print!) mail addressed to them
  • a Space:1999 fan fund is proposed; Deb Walsh is offering a package of many of her fan publications in hopes of raising at least $30 for the fund

Sept/Oct 1979 Issue

Command Center was published in Sept/Oct 1979 and contains 8 pages.

Nov/Dec 1979 Issue

Command Center was published in Nov/Dec 1979 and contains 8 pages.

back cover of Nov/Dec 1979 issue
first page of the Nov/Dec 1979 issue
  • the editor discusses the high cost of oil and how it affects the zine: ink costs 20% more, SASEs are now obligatory not optional...
  • there is information about the Space:1999 Fan Fund
  • there is a long description of three fans who take Nick Tate to Disneyland
  • six letters in the letter column (which is called "Command Conference"), some taking a fan to task for comments in the last issue about fandom dedication, some letters describing fans' "Alpha Biographies" (which is a bit like role-playing)
  • a short con report for "Dorcon '79" which took place in Pittsburgh
  • a fan proposes "the first M*A*S*H fanzine" -- it was to be called "4077" -- it did not make it off the ground
  • a quote quiz


Jan/Feb 1980 Issue

Command Center was published in Jan/Feb 1980 and contains 10 pages.

first page of the Jan/Feb 1980 issue
cover of the Jan/Feb 1980 issue
  • there is an announcement regarding the newly-created "Space:1999 Fan Award. "Sponsored by the Space:1999 Fan Fund and all participating 1999 fan organizations, the Fan Awards are designed to give recognition to singular achievements in the cause of advancing Space:1999 fandom. The vote will be determined by the memberships of the participating organizations, and the winner of the 1980 Space:1999 Fan Award will announced at the 1980 SPACE Con." Nominees at the time were: Deb Walsh (zine editor and author), Matt Butts (zine editor), Phyl Proctor and Eileen Skidmore (presidents of the British Nick Tate Fan Club), Chuck Raue (zine editor and concom member), Mona Delitsky (zine editor and concom member), Steven Eramo (zine editor, artist and author), Diana Winslow (author), Kathi Lynn Higley (eidtor of a pen-pal listing -- The Lunar Bulletin Board, artist and poet), and Mary Hartery (fan club organizer, editor).
  • this issue has a con report for "Sno-Con '80" (a con in NYC)
  • there are many impassioned letters complaining about lack of fannish participation, blame for lack of enthusiasm, wishing all fans could afford to attend cons, pointing fingers and scolding for those pointed fingers, fans complaining of "doom cries" for Space:1999 fandom, pleas for less "petty accusations"...
  • there are a number of "Alphan Biographies"


Mar/April 1980 Issue

Command Center was published in Mar/April 1980 and contains 9 pages.

cover of the Mar/April 1980 issue
first page of the Mar/April 1980 issue
the current nominees for the fan fund, a who's who of Space:1999 fans
  • there is a report of the editors' trip to London in care of the British Nick Tate Fan Club
  • the editors are disappointed in the lack of response to the quiz from the last issue but wonder if the mistake in the date's deadline threw folks off
  • there is information about the upcoming annual con and the memory books for it
  • letters include one by a fan that repeats an oft-heard complaint/observation: why is it that a tiny minority of fans "do all the work" for the rest of fandom, i.e. concoms, edit/write/draw for zines, run fan clubs...
  • there are a number of "Alphan biographies"
  • some fans complain about the slump in the fandom, but as one points out, she hasn't been able to see an episode on television since 1977 and that makes it hard to keep up her enthusiasm
  • a fan says she is glad to be with the nicest fans (Space:1999) in the world, rather than with Star Trek fans were there is a "screwy element that simply makes being involved a tiresome, nerve-wracking experience, which is the main reason I fled their ranks -- I'm crazy, but not that crazy!."
  • a fan writes that she is thrilled to have been nominated for the Fan Fund, and she apologizes for her "bellicose" and over-wrought, scolding letters of the past
  • there is a con report for SpaceCon


May/June 1980 Issue

Command Center was published in May/June 1980 and contains 12 pages.

cover of the May/June 1980 issue
first page of the May/June 1980 issue
  • the editor wants to make sure fans don't get two cons that year mixed up -- there is one called The Space:1999 Convention: 1980 (August, New York City), the other is SpaceCon (July, Columbus, OH)
  • there was enough money raised by the Fan Fund to send two fans to the Columbus con: Phy Proctor and Eileen Skidmore (from the UK, co-presidents of the British Nick Tate Fan Club)
  • there is a con report for Mos' Eastly Con, see that page
  • there is a continuation of the con report for the 1979 Pittsburgh Space:1999 Convention that was published in the last issue
  • a fan has short story using episode titles
  • a fan reviews Alpha Log #4, see that page
  • fans include some "Alphan biographies"
  • a fan tells of her experience at a con:
    I know I've complained about the feud between SPACE:1999 and STAR TREK fans In the past and I must admit that the complaint seems silly in the face of a larger even more frustrating group of people. The science fiction purists! I am not sure that this happens in all cities or just in Toronto. Toronto has become much disliked by American fans because of their snobbery, but I had never before experienced it. This weekend at Torque (a science fiction con determined to be like the original SF cons — no costume party, no art auction, and nothing related to the media), I experienced my first clash with the SF purist. This happened to my friend and co-editor of TIMEFRAME. About ten people who had not read any media-based zines gathered (I am trying to downplay what actually happened, as I am biased). They told her that there was no place in science fiction fandom for the media fan or zines. There was also a list of things that you had to do to become a fan. Read certain books, know certain things about fandom. She was also told that you have to have a vast knowledge of SF fandom before you could publish a zine. Talking to these people is like talking to a brick wall and it is very frustrating. Has SF fandom become so baroque that the original idea behind it is lost? Has fandom become the theme of a science fiction book? Do they not listen to what they are reading? I believe the original idea behind SF fandom was to be able to do your own thing and still be accepted for what you are, to be able to be different without being laughed at or even be encouraged. Forty years ago an SF fan would have done anything to be able to see STAR WARS, SPACE:1999 and STAR TREK. These same people are putting us down because we have it and appreciate it for what it is. I admit it is commercialized, but a real fan goes beyond that. Some of the best movies are pure SF, for example, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. These people don't realize books are media too. New science fiction fans do not grow on trees. I believe most are, as I was, eased into SF through the media. There are more fans now than there ever were and this is because more people are seeing it. Someone is more likely to see it on television than buy a book. Most of them after seeing SF programs then go on to read novels. It does not take twenty years before a fan can become active in fandom. If it were that way, then all these clubs and zines wouldn't exist. A word in defense of the media-based zine! There is no need to have a vast knowledge of fandom to publish a zine; to intimidate or 'force' a zine not to print something is to deny freedom of the press. A media based fanzine provides a workshop for writers who might not ever see their work in print and it is practice for the future writers who will. They let authors work with character and "set-ups" that already have been created and let these people work on character and plot development. In fact, I find many stories better than the originals because the authors are not interested in the commercial value. I feel in this club I do not have to defend myself and everyone's interests are accepted. The purists are stubborn people who are fighting change, not for the worse. This change has brought on a more general acceptance. Most science fiction themes are based against prejudices and these readers aren't listening. I believe they think they are a special elite group, but they are not.



July/Aug 1980 Issue

Command Center was published in July/Aug 1980 and contains 12 pages.

cover of the July/Aug 1980 issue
first page of the July/Aug 1980 issue
  • the cost of the newsletter has become too expensive: the editor has decided rather than raising the price, that the Alpha Log fiction, art, and poetry zine that used to be included once a year to fan club members would now be a separate purchase; this would mean only fan club members who *really* wanted it would purchase it (no more printing and sending zines to fans who did not feel strongly), and that fans who were not members of the club could purchase the zine; this means that for $5 a year, fan club members would receive two membership photos, one membership card, and six bi-monthly newsletters (this one).
  • again, contributions to the memory books to be given to the show's actors have been "the pits" and these books will be discontinued
  • two short reviews of the movies "Destination Moonbase Alpha" (two stars) and "Alien Attack" (four stars) -- they are each a re-filming of two of the show's original episodes
  • one of the fan letters is about how she wrote some letters to the television complaining about the show's cancellation, subscribed "to all the fan clubs and fan publications and sat back and said, "Well, I'm doing my part." But when I realized that I wasn't..." and says she needs to be a more active fan
  • there are many more fans' "Alphan bios," some of them use elements from other fan bios and become even more of a role-playing activity
  • there is much fannish discussion about what makes a "true fan," a BNF, and what constitutes fan activity and loyalty
  • a fan writes that he thinks the "1999 Fan Award" is "an awful idea" and while not intended to be a popularity contest will be viewed and used as one
  • a fan comments on a letter in a previous issue, one which discussed the tensions between SF and media fans:
    You mean after all the revolutionary advances in media sci-fi that have taken place over the past ten years, the hard-core sci-fi fans are still looking down, their noses at those of us who enjoy viewing as well as reading sci-fi? It makes me ashamed to consider myself a sci-fi fan. And you also mean to tell me these people have never read one of the many popular sci-fi books on the market and never said to themselves, "Wow, what a movie this would make?" They must he blind in one eye and can't see out of the other. I only hope I never run across such bigots in my lifetime or the resulting explosion will make World War III look like a Fourth of July firecracker. I'd almost dare to suggest; that we media-fans leave the dyed-in-the-wool purists to stew in their own juices except that one never knows if, by putting up with the abuse they ladle out and giving good sound arguments to refute it, one might not win some converts from their ranks. Look what happened with the STAR TREK vs '99 feud. When I attended my one and only ST con in February of '76 in NYC, I was appalled to hear '99 booed and hissed and run-into-the-ground by fans and guest speakers alike. Since then I've heard that only a few die-hard ST fans still persist in their prejudice toward '99. If we media fans just hang in there, perhaps we'll affect a similar victory over the sci-fi purists? You never know. And YOU don't need to defend the media-based zines to us, Evelyn. Quite a lot of us are grateful (myself in particular) to the media-based zines for helping us to gain a knowledge of ourselves and the world of publishing through their, (I'm going to become a commercial illustrator myself because I got a taste of story illustrating through the fanzines I contributed to in the past--a career that had never even entertained my mind until I began drawing for fanzines after a lapse from art for almost four years.)

Sept/Oct 1980 Issue

Command Center was published in Sept/Oct 1980 and contains 14 pages.

cover of the Sept/Oct 1980 issue
first page of the Sept/Oct 1980 issue
  • there is more role playing via the "Alphan biography"letters, mixing it up with the show's characters with the fans' personae -- the whole thing has now taken on a life of their own
  • there are comments regarding the "feud" over "who's a true Space:199 fan and who is not"
  • a fan writes that the "heroines and heroes" he most admires are Lucille Ball, Danny Kaye, Ruth Buzzi,.. Melanie Safka, Barry Manilow, Ann Murry, Barbra Streisand, Back, Beethoven, Clementi, Mozart, and Haydn
  • a fan prods others to "do more for fandom":
    One very frequent excuse: "I don't have the time" or "I don't need to worry, the 'others' will do the work and get 1999 back on the air. Less one person won't matter." Sound familiar? What is it to look for time? Is five minutes too vital? It only takes about that much time to write a short letter to a pen pal or do an ink sketch for a club newsletter... Every little bit helps. Three cheers for everyone who is trying! I'm sure many more excuses will turn up but if those people who spend their time making excuses instead of using it wisely, fandom would have much more support. To people out there who haven't done anything at all, get up and do something, anything, to show your support! Support for our favorite show! Don't tell me you forgot!?
  • a Canadian fan writes:
    Yes! Yes! Yes! Toronto is living in the dark ages. There are no clubs, or newsletters for media fans here. Organization of everything from cons to clubs is done by the very few and because there are no massive letter writing campaigns, the TV stations don't know we exist.
  • there is an open letter from The Space:1999 Society announcing its disbandment due to to a drastic falling off of fan support, increasing costs of conventions and other activities:
    ...none of this has been helped by the comments which have appeared in the promotional literature and a few of the newsletters of one of fandom's largest groups relating to disagreements which occurred between the co-originators of the Space: 1999 1978 sponsored by the original Space: 1999 Alliance. Although we will not qualify those attempts to damage our credibility with rebuttal, we will state that we consider those actions to have been both unfair and irresponsible, for the simple reason that we were unable to express our point of view to the same body of Space: 1999 fans. our single attempt to explain our views in Alpha News Service #2 was responded to with sarcasm, false accusations and by having our statements quoted out-of-context... The result has been the development of an undercurrent of hostility in fandom which has manifested itself in the form of rumor-mongering and slander, directed at first against the Society and most recently against groups which only traded newsletters with us. We did what we could to put an end to it, but the hostility is still there. That, perhaps, is the greatest disappointment. We sincerely thank all of our present and former members for their support, and we especially thank those who contributed letters and suggestions. We hope that everyone will keep foremost in mind the messages and ideals of Space:1999 and that hope for its renewal will continue.
  • a fan writes a letter complaining of fandom tensions, statements about what official fannish fandom should be focusing on, what he believed emphasis on egos, his anger over fan clubs' focus, and the shoddy fandom treatment the show UFO is receiving by BNFs in their publications:
    I completely agree with popular opinion that continuous negative discussion of fandom tends to hurt the efforts of fans, but sometimes it's absolutely necessary to point out the fault no matter how much it may hurt, and there's a malfunction in 1999 fandom that needs to be pointed out before it becomes hopeless. I don't know if anyone has thought about what I'm about to say, but I suspect at least a few people have. I've been getting a distinct impression lately that the big-name fans of 1999 are abusing their status in 1999 fandom, monopolizing it, and affecting its directions to further their own personal interests in SF beyond 1999. I'm sure, sans sarcasm, that: it's unintentional, and I don't mean to attack or insult anyone, but the 1999 BNFs, the presidents, the editors, and so on, have a seductively tempting opportunity, in that they decide what does and does not go into their zines, to over-promote the series or movies they especially like, and I have reason to believe they're too often giving in to the sinful temptation of propagandising. Essentially, we are getting too much emphasis in 1999 fandom on certain shows and little or none whatsoever on others. Two of the primary purposes and functions of the IS:1999A and all other 1999 clubs, surely, are 'to support all Gerry Anderson productions' (direct quote from the Alliance Constitution--! I suggest you read it) and "to encourage and support quality science fiction/fantasy for television'. Thus I should think we'd be bound, morally if nothing else, to support any Anderson productions at least as much as non-Anderson ones. (Why is TV mentioned, but not motion pictures?) Support for non-Anderson productions is fine--indeed, is quite admirable--but the amount Of support being expressed in 1999 fandom's public zines for non-Anderson SF, particularly BUCK ROGERS, GALACTICA and especially DOCTOR WHO, is incredibly and unproportionally greater than that expressed for Anderson brainstormed ST. This is very clearly evidenced by the often-enough chokingly thick coverage and incessant editor ravings for these shows, while coverage and even mere mention of Anderson SF like UFO is virtually nonexistent. Speaking of which, UFO is very much a parent of Space:1999, no matter how much you may deny it, and we owe something to it. UFO deserves appreciation, not ignorance. [2]

Nov/Dec 1980 Issue

Command Center was published in Nov/Dec 1980 and contains 14 pages.

cover of the Nov/Dec 1980 issue
first page of the Nov/Dec 1980 issue
  • many fans write letters complaining of a critical letter in the last issue; they take him to task for his comments regarding zine contents and con focus and that BNFs are abusing their powers: one line of many ("Good gravy, Don, who put the electric eel in your B.V.D.'s anyway?" and "You're not the only one who sees great praise delivered to something uninteresting and no praise given to something of vital interest to you. I daresay that's a common feeling amongst SF fans.") The fan who wrote the "offending" letter also includes a long letter apologizing for being over-wrought, for errors, for counting on the postal service to deliver a replacement letter in time
  • a fan writes:
    Does anyone know of any computer games that deal with SPACE? I recently gained access and learned how to program TRS-80. I would like to make up a game dealing with SPACE and I was wondering if anybody had some suggestions. I have few ideas, but I'd like some from someone who has a TRS-80 or can program computers in BASIC.
  • a fan writes:
    Am I alone, or has anyone else notices that most TV has gone from poor to bad? Sure, there are exceptions but there are also a lot of truly rotten programs on TV.



Jan/Feb 1981 Issue

Command Center was published in Jan/Feb 1981 and contains 18 pages. This issue was typed on a brand-new typewriter called "ORAC," which was purchased with a loan from a bank.

cover of the Jan/Feb 1981 issue
first page of the Jan/Feb 1981 issue
  • this year's winner of the Fan Fund is Kathi Lynn Higley; now the club has to raise the money for the plane ticket
  • many fans list their favorite science fiction books
  • there are many Alphan biographies/role-playing/self-insertion letters, and they can be really hard to determine from the "real" letters
  • this issue has an article by Carsten Andresen about the show's special effects
  • regarding organization and identity:
    One more item has landed in the Casualty Hard of the Lost World. This time it is a three page typed (single-spaced) Command Conference submission, written on the back of Nolex Corporation stationary, with no name attached to it anywhere. I know all this smacks of disorganization on my part, but please bear in mind that all contents of letters received are filed immediately in the appropriate places to avoid them getting completely lost in the old filing system, and when ten letters a day come in, I don't always check to see if names are attached when I throw...er, place them in the file. So, If someone would like to come forward and claim this homeless contrlb, we can happily place it in next issue.
  • a fan writes:
    I, too, was appalled to hear of the demise of [[The Space:1999 Society]|the Society]]. I had been informed as to the circumstances which led to the appearence of the Society, and had read material which was printed both by the Society and about the Society (some of which was downright mean and more than often objectionable). I think that I was more appalled by the circumstances of the demise than I was by the demise itself. The real reasons behind the demise were only too apparent. I just hope that this doesn't happen again, and that in the future we realize that we are, or should be, united under the same cause.

Mar/Apr 1981 Issue

Command Center was published in Mar/Apr 1981.


May/June 1981 Issue

Command Center was published in May/June 1981 and contains 10 pages.

cover of the May/June 1981 issue
first page of the May/June 1981 issue
  • the newsletter is having financial troubles, and the editor who has asked for feedback on how to solve it (raising dues, etc) has asked for a sample vote from half of the members and has only heard from fifteen fans -- not enough information; she had to hold back six or seven letters for a later issue because she can't afford the postage to include them in this issue; she also asks fans to edit their letters and make them shorter as this makes it possible to have a bigger variety of fans to have their materials printed. As it stands now "The newsletter will stay monthly, five pages (ten sides) long, and the yearly membership fee will remain $5.00 domestic, $9.50 overseas."
  • a fan has "seen one episode of the British series called Blake's 7, and I am hooked."
  • more financial difficulties:
    SOS! SOS! The Fan Fund is in a lotta trouble, boyoboy. When our overhead (such as printing, postage, etc.) went through the roof, our capital went out the wind. In other words, the money the Fan Fun has raised so far is currently tied up in merchandise that people have not been ordering, and as of this moment, we haven't got enough money to send Kathi Lynn Higley any further south than New Jersey, and that's if she gets a lift from a friendly motorist on the Thruway.
  • the "creative bios" (both the "straight Alpha" bios and the "twisted bios") take up most of the space in this issue, and it is a gradual change that has been happening for a while; a fan in the last issue complained about how this felt "stale" and this fan responded:
    You brought to my attention that in CC we are caught up in the fantasy we've created through the bios. But you seem to think that some of what you've read is—to use your word — crap. I call it poetic license. It's very clever creativity going on. We are creating — and the wars are mostly in the spirit of fun. Sure, some of what goes on is pretty far removed from SPACE:1999, but then you figure that the series just lives in cons, reruns, and a lot of special memories. The bios and remarks flying back and forth help to preserve SPACE:1999. And more importantly, the ideas, the controversy behind the series itself.

July/Aug 1981 Issue

Command Center was published in July/Aug 1981 and contains 10 pages.

cover of the July/Aug 1981 issue
inside cover of the July/Aug 1981 issue
first page of the July/Aug 1981 issue
  • the editor explains that she is "hanging up her typewriter," resigning as president of the fan club, and that the next issue of "Command Center" will be the last newsletter [3]:
    Before you ask/suggest, I will not consider handing over MMA to another person to carry on. This isn't unmitigated conceit on my part, only simple economics. The club treasury has been drained to the dregs by inflation, i.e., postage Increases, skyrocketing printing costs, etc, etc. This, in simple terms, means that I have nothing to hand over to a prospective successor for working capital. The second reason is admittedly conjecture on my part, but it is my firm belief that our old friend inflation has made it difficult to run an effective fan club, at least along the policy lines that MMA was run, and it can only worsen in the future. New policies have to drawn up in order to streamline the club to fit the economic situation (keeping in mind that your public would have to pay more and has less to part with in the first place); therefore, in the long run, it would be much more intelligent for the prospective club president to start their own club afresh, rather than try to streamline a dinosaur like MMA. Now to the niggling details. Many of you joined in recent months, and have only received a few of the newsletters due to you as a paid MMA member. In this regard, I would like to tender a suggestion. In lieu of a refund of the percentage portion of your MMA membership left unused, I propose that the last issue (September/October) be a Blow-Out issue. That is, I will take whatever material I have left in the folder, any new material that comes in (in the form of Command Conference letters, con reports, articles, whatever), and print everything. No matter how many pages it comes out to or how much postage it costs to mail. For these of you who prefer a refund of whatever percentage of their membership was unused, write to me and your check will be mailed out to you cheerfully. (If you do opt for a refund, however, you will not receive the final issue of Command Center unless you choose to pay for it separately). If I do not hear from you, I will then assume that you are amenable to the idea of the Blow-Out final issue in lieu of a refund of your membership fees. In this way, we will not only clean out the newsletter files in grand style, we'll also close out the club treasury at the same time.

Sept/Oct 1981 Issue

Command Center was published in Sept/Oct 1981. It was the last issue.

References

  1. She became president of the official Black Sheep Squadron fan club and a fan campaign to keep it on the air.
  2. The letter is very, very long and full of interesting statements, including ones about how he is sick and tired of hearing about Doctor Who as by the time he is ever going to have a chance to see an episode, he'll hate it simply because of all the hype by other fans. He ends with "I'll admit the main reason why I'm getting as many ants in my underwear as I am is because I see so much incessant raving over areas I have little or no interest in, while there is little or no interest expressed in areas I have great interest in." This, and most of the other content is available to read as PDFs; click on the link at the top of this page.
  3. The Fan Fun and Alpha Log Journal will remain active.