Communicator (Star Trek UK newsletter)
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Wild bought her own duplicator; issue #6 is the first issue printed with it. She wrote that "all splotches" can now be blamed on her.
Description from an Ad
Britain's only two-monthly review, news and letterzine. Fully comprehensive British zine listing (the only one of its kind) plus U.S. listing. At least 7 in-depth reviews of both US and UK zines in each issue. A thriving LoC section and and special articles by writers, editors, artists and fans. Issues at the end of: Jan, March, May, July, Sept, and Nov. An issue is always in stock. Communicator is in its third year. 
From the Editor
I ran Communicator bi-monthly from 1981—1985. It featured all aspects of fandom, although the zines and much of the discussion was predominantly K/S. There was a “staff” of regular reviewers and we aimed to review six different zines in every issue. People sent in reviews, news, ads and “funnies.” There was no censorship. Everything was printed as sent and we had some very intense discussions. K/Sers and non-K/Sers shared the space, which was unusual in those days. A good time was had by all until I decided to call a halt in ‘85 to concentrate on fiction zines. 
While the letterzine itself did not censor its content, getting the word out about it and the other zines Wild published required clearing some hurdles, specifically those in Great Britain.In issue #23, the editor wrote about these challenges:
Village Press will be forging on... I will send out flyers when they are ready probably the first in the Autumn. The reason for this is the problem with publicity. The US has Universal Translator and less reliably Datazine but some of the clubs in GB practise their own quiet form of censorship i.e. they don't print your ads if they're K/S and don't tell you they don't. I cannot belong to every club and so cannont tell you what is getting through.
Issue 1 (1981)
Communicator 1 was published in late 1981 and contains 20 pages.
- review of The Tribe of Jen-Wae, see that page
- review of Classified Assignments #1, see that page
- two reviews of The Price and the Prize, see that page
- review of Relay #3, see that page
- a review of the tie-in book, Death's Angel by Kathleen Sky
- Nocturne, see that page
- letters of comment
- a short bit of tongue-in-cheek words from a Vulcan Dictionary
- ad for a Star Trek Writers' Workshop (July 2-July 4, 1982, Wigston Stage Hotel in Leicester)
- a con report for Aucon '81, see that page
- British zine ads
- American zine ads
- some fan club descriptions
- some trivia
- forthcoming conventions
Issue 1: Excerpts from Comments
[The review of "Death's Angel"]:
The brief analysis of' Death's Angel' which follows is rather in the nature of a 'health warning' than a review and if it weren't for one serious aspect, I would dismiss the whole thing as laughable. Would you believe in an ambassador who is 'a giant bIue crocodile' wearing 'a flowing red velvet cape lined in sapphire-blue ostrich plume'? And he is only one of a menagerie of planetary representatives gathered on the Enterprise.
The plot is a thinly disguised 'who dunnlt' as ambassadors are eliminated in 'Ten Little Niggers' fashion while the ship is motionless in space. Characters are ruthlessly distorted: Spock (in spirit only, thank goodness!) wanders the Enterprise, 'visiting' a crew woman in her quarters; Kirk is provided with the obligatory females and is thwarted when one of them reveals she is a reptile; Sarek, unable to cope, takes to his bed!I could go on at length and with some heat at the utter unbeIievabiIity of the story but I think it's enough to say that this is not Trek - it's not Sci-Fi and it's so poorly written as to be almost funny. The one serious aspect? That non-Trek readers may think that this is what Trek is all about.
[From a letter of comment]:
"Apathy; that's a good name for a zine."
"Well, that's about the state of fandom at the moment." (Quote overheard at a con. earlier in the year.)
Is apathy the state of fandom at the moment? Do you really believe that fandom is dying? Obviously some people just become 'Trekked Out' after a while, it's a natural event. I'm sure no one expects their tastes not to change over a period of time, and development denotes the beneficial effect of an interest. But don't let us forget that every day new fans 'discover' fandom. Some pass through fandoms as others change their socks, but others go through that 'flowering' and the excitement of discovery which I'm sure we all remember with joy. They go on to produce the ST fandom of the future, their new ideas and energetic enthusiasms will continue the same joyfulness that we know now.
One good thing about fandom is that it is unorganised, inspired, de centralised and above all, SPONTANEOUS, and therein lies its most important characteristic and the only thing that stops it dying. After all, who would have thought ST fandom would still be growing after fifteen years?We all take part in fandom but it is the inheritance of new fans, who will bring their own brand of excitement to it. So, to return to my opening question; are we apathetic? What is being done to welcome new fans, 'bring out' new writers and latent talent in other fields? Without the acceptance that fandom is held in trust for new fans, apathy is bound to grow and that spells the beginning of the end of ST fandom.
[From a letter of comment]:
Comments on zines written by amateur fan writers, which is what most of us are, a e fine, as long as they're not nasty. I think we should all remember that we're writing material because we love Star Trek and want to share our ideas with people who think and have the same interests as we do. No fanzine should ever be pulled or picked to pieces, because it is done out of love and sheer dedication but people should feel free to comment, after all, that will hopefully lead to further creative thought, but they should under no circumstances drag a zine down.
Personally, I think active criticism and real knitpicks should be done only on professional writers of ST! After all, they're getting paid for what they are writing, they are the official people keeping ST going in major bookstores, therefore, their work should be correct and accurate all the way through. However, I think we can agree that many of the professional writers just aren't into ST. Of course, it isn't entirely their fault - Paramount has a BIG say in what gets written - but they should be able to fight for what is right, and we should help by criticising the bad ones by writing to Paramount and telling them that this isn't the type of ST we want.
So remember, when you're commenting on a fanzine, that the person who wrote it just wants to share an idea with you. It could just as easily be you on the receiving end one day, and then you'll know how it feels.
- Ed: Agreed- a totally negativer eview is not creative and completely unhelpful, "Communicator's" aim is to help and encourage dialogue between readers and writers. However, if a writer goes into print he/she and the editor are, in a sense offering themselves for criticism, giving the very best they can and if the critic has ideas for improvement or stimulation then this, too, is an important part of fanfic. Good writing provokes criticism. The better the writing, the greater the desire to take it to pieces to see how it works - it's a form of compliment.
[From a letter of comment]:
There is one personal point I'd like to make (nothing to do with the club ). When you get zine reviews which say a zine is bad, rubbish, etc, I hope you will give the writer/editor/publisher a chance to answer these comments or you end up with a one-sided argument. After all, we all know what one person hates or likes another person might have other ideas,
- Ed: Totally agreed, see previous answer. All replies, rebuttals etc, etc. etc, are very welcome and will be printed!
[From a letter of comment]: Am I in the minority in finding many British zines rather bland and tame? To me so many seem to leave the reader unstimulated. Although they often have promising plots and good style. In fact they don't make you think. Is it because established fandom makes no effort to stimulate new ideas? Is it because there is little communication between writers - do they work in almost complete isolation? I refuse to believe that fan writers have run out of ideas but perhaps readers don't write stimulating letters of comment? I always imagined ST fans to be People Who Thought! However, maybe I'm in the minority and this is what most British readers want.
Issue 2 (1982)
Communicator 2 was published in January 1982 and contains 22 pages.
- a review of Variations on a Theme #5, see that page
- a review of Classified Assignments, see that page
- a review of Obsession #1, see that page
- a review of Final Frontier #1, see that page
- two reviews of If Freedom Fall?, see that page; there is also a discussion of these reviews in "Communicator" #5
- In Defence of V'Ger, meta by Sarah Smith
Issue 2: Excerpts from CommentsFrom the editor:
Also from the editor:On my car, in dayglo and black are two stickers - both say STAR TREK LIVES! (wave if you see me.) Yet from a careful study of the last issue of Universal Translator, it seems this may not be true, at least in America. In U.T. the percentage of 'pure Trek' zines seems to be shrinking, to be replaced by ST/SW/Dracula/SH/you name it - in various combinations. Media cons, too, appear to predominate. I don't think this trend has carried over to G.B. - yet but the U.S. seems to be the home of trends. Will S.T. die in the U.S.? And if so, how do you feel about being the 'last outpost' of S.T.?
A fan's comment:Speaking of rumour, it now seems likely that we shall have a visit from Mr. Shatner in the Spring and I wish the U.F.P. Con Committee good luck in their efforts to make him welcome. At the same time, I hope that all cons will be successful. If any should fail, the loss is surely fandom's as a whole i.e. each one of us, even if we cannot afford to attend that particular con. "No man is an island" is perhaps overquoted these days but it is especially true of us To this end, I hope very much that although we are all short, of cash, no one will cancel one previous con in favour of another - 'nuff said.
A fan's comment:
I've only heen an 'active' fan for about eighteen months so I don't know what fandom was like before that but I've noticed a change even from my first Con (Terracon 1980). At first I was thrilled because ST. fans seemed like one big happy family hut it hurts when you discover that there is bitchiness and rivalry in fandom just like there is anywhere else. Could it he that fandom is over-idealised and that we set our standards too high? After all, ST fans are ordinary people with ordinary human failings. What hurts most of all though, is believing initially that fandom is different and then finding out that it isn't at all.
The introduction of business meetings only appears to exacerbate the situation. The one at STAG-Con '81 (I wasn't at Aucon so I don't know about that one) was in my opinion a mockery of everything S.T. should stand for, I know these matters have to be decided somehow and I have no alternative methods to put forward but the meeting only served to highlight the rivalries, the cliques and-the divisiveness. I would suggest that this trend is one of the main reasons why some fans may choose to remain on the periphery of fandom.
I also feel there's an unpleasant kind of 'caste' system apparent in fandom which discourages some fans. Delineations are made between long-standing and newfans, i.e. between those who are in the know and those who aren't allowed to be, and the gossip that results is neither healthy nor desirable. Is it any wonder some fans opt out of the 'rat race' altogether and choose to enjoy S.T, privately or with a small number of likeminded people who aren't interested in the 'politics' of fandom to the extent that this sometimes seems more important to those involved than S.T itself?
A fan's comment:While I cannot speak for any other writers, I certainly work in isolation...to my great regret I only meet other fans at cons, although I correspond with several and I envy those who share the fun and inspiration of creation with others close at hand. As for 'stimulating letters of comment', no, readers don't write them, and I wish they did. People are very kind; those that comment on my work to my face always speak favourably, obviously those who don't care for it are being tactful and keeping quiet. Please don't misunderstand me any of you; I love being told you've enjoyed a story...I'm as eager as the next woman for an egoboost!... but it must help writers to receive constructive criticism. For this reason I, for one, whole heartedly welcome 'Communicator' to the Trek scene and hope it will provide plenty of stimulation for a long time to come. I do agree that those of us, who put our typewriters where our mouths are and write or produce zines, must be prepared to receive active criticism offered in the spirit of IDIC, It can only help us improve after all.
A fan's comment:
There was such a lovely atmosphere at Aucon '81, which seemed to continue even after the closing ceremony whilst people were saying goodbye and heading for home. The spirit of ST seemed to be genuinely alive and beautiful in those last few hours.
Unfortunately it was marr ed for me at the last moment, when a group of people.,,con organisers like myself...came up to me as they were leaving the hotel. One of them remarked, "See you at U.F.P." to which I replied quite honestly, that we would probably not be going to U.F.P. as Terry and I had decided to go to Shore Leave. (The idea being to see some of Scotland too. We can't afford two cons in a month, and the Scottish one gives an excuse for a holiday, too.)
Immediately the atmosphere changed dramatically. The person to whom I was speaking just turned away without a further word. Two of her companions actually hissed at me, before they, too, took their leave.
Isn't it time some people in fandom grew up? Isn't it about time they realised that such hostile and childish behaviour will eventually do a lot of harm to STAK TREK fandom in this country? And isn't it about time that people started to behave with some sort of sense of responsibility?One thing to be learnt from Star Trek is that individuality is important...and that people's rights and ideas are to.be respected. I consider that it is my right to go to any convention I choose without fear of censure and without losing the loveliness of an atmosphere such, as prevailed at Aucon. Freedom of choice is an ideal I happen to believe in. Obviously, some people do not and not only do I feel sorry for them but also believe that they have no real feeling of what STAR TREK fandom is all about. Friendship is something to be treasured. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to discover that fact now before it is too late.
A fan's comment:Quite a lot of my American readers have told me that they prefer the British zines to the American ones because the British get on with the action and tell a stnry instead of wallowing in gut wrenching trauma. Her comment that readers don't write stimulating LoC's, Whoever is correct? The only person who sends me detailed LoCs is an American. Most other comments can be wrapped up in three sentences; a) 'I thought X was an excellent issue'; b) 'I didn't find Y as good as usual.'; and c) 'Please tell Z how much I liked her story.'. If Ms. Elliot has read some of the zines I have put out and found them bland, etc. She certainly hasn't let me know! We have asked in editorials for LoC's, we want LoC's. We need to know what people enjoy or don't enjoy. But in fact the only time I've had a lot of letters commenting on story content, etc., was the one time that we printed a story where Kirk was killed - and that was an overwhelming 'how could you?'. Therefore we have never accepted any other story in which a major character died.
A fan's comment:Zines, especially from America - pretty well have to be bought sight unseen. Not all of us can get to cons to see what we are buying. After all, you don't need to buy any more from that source if you aren't satisfied and you can always recommend that your friends don't; I've rarely been disappointed in something that I've bought on the grounds of the blurb in the flyers, which, after all, most of us see first. On the other hand, once or twice I've been put off by a flyer, then at a later date, actually read the zine and wished I'd got it earlier! I think it's a chance we just have to take, even with the present price of zines.
A fan's comment:
I booked for Aucon! What a beautiful, fantastic weekend that was! What a marvellous time I had - didn't everybody? But whilst I had one of the best weekends I can remember I also became conscious of IT. That insidious undercurrent ebbing backwards and forwards between various rival groups. Anti K/S, pro K/S; anti sex, pro sex; anti death stories, pro death stories; anti one fan club, pro another fan club; anti this person, pro that person; etc. etc. And then came the business meeting. Only 120 people attended and I'm not surprised. Surely there must be a more amicable way of discussing the why's and wherefore's of Trek without coming down to this level. One could feel the tension and I was only too glad to slip away and join the other 80% who hadn't bothered.
My world was almost shattered and had it not been for the number of ordinary nice fans I met, I'd have given up completely. The one concept of S.T. that for me means so much seemed to mean so little to so many others - IDIC. I'm not sure that the IDIC philosophy can ever work but isn't it up to us to try? If we, who pride ourselves on being deep,right thinking people, cannot agree to differ and appreciate and admire those differences, then who can? If others are to take us seriously, then we must pull our socks up, or they'll carry on laughing as they always have done. So please stop the bickering and let's enjoy Trek as it should be enjoyed: discussion debate, friendly argument, not backbiting, sniping and jealousy. If we want a Star Trek future for mankind we must begin to work for it NOW.
Re. the 'artists are second-rate citizens' comment heard at a con, I think whoever made that remark wants choking! The few artists in fandom want nurturing and encouraging - not putting off with inane remarks like that.' At the same time I do feel that only good illos should he printed in gines. I hate had ones but do realise that art - had or good - is a matter of personal taste. Perhaps editors should learn to say 'No' to some illos as well as to some stories. But they should also encourage new illustrators - and authors - and most important, give them plenty of time to finish and submit their work.
Issue 3 (1982)
Communicator 3 was published in 1982 (February?) and contains 22 pages.
- Vault of Tomorrow #1, see that page
- Epilogue #1 and #2, see that page
- two reviews of Precessional, see that page
- two reviews of T'hy'la #1, see that page
- Out of Bounds, see that page
- Weaver of Dreams, see that page
- a review of the tie-in book, "Covenant of the Crown"
- "The Perils and Pitfalls of Ordering American Zines" by Rosemary W.: ("From the title of this article, you will see that it is by nature a warning. My own experience of American zine ordering is, like my available cash, limited and before 'Communicator' my contacts in fandom were also circumscribed.... I made up my mind to produce an article incorporating all the complaints I have received. I have done this in my own, name, rather than use a pen-name, for sake of truth and so that outraged zine eds. know where to write. I do not wish to detract in any way from the excellent work of many eds. and the fine-quality of the finished zines, but there are problems which it is only fair that British fans (and many of our readers are new fans) should, know about." -- some of these complaints are editors who do not respond to letters, editors who collect cash in advance and don't send zines [[[Naked Times]] #4/5 is specifically called out as fans waited MANY years for this publication], zines still being advertised when in fact they are out of print, inflating prices of zines....)
Issue 3: Excerpts from CommentsA fan comments, taking on the topic of American zines vs. British zines:
A fan comments on no-frills zines and "quality":
I'd like to pick up on a couple of points that were expressed in CI by Caroline, that many British zines are bland and tame.
Many of us would no doubt admit to enjoying the 'get-em'/relationship genre, centering around K/S and K/S/M  both as readers and writers and there are a hell of a lot of zines on the market catering for those tastes. Perhaps it's a case of a 'market' that is ready to absorb a tailored product -- which leads to a tendency for us to get stuck in a rut. I do feel, however, that the readers are just as responsible as the writers/editors and that the reader response could be a lot better. Stimulating letters of comment do help. In each of our zines, we've asked for critical comment but recited little other than from friends who were inevitably going to comment anyway. If you feel a story is good -- or lacking in some way -- write and say why you thought so. Or better still, have a go at writing yourself -- new blood is always welcome.
The S.T. formulae is one of the most flexible ever envisaged. Perhaps we don't make as extensive use of it as we should, to highlight social issues, say, or discuss controversial concepts. However, we have to remember that fanfic is an amateur medium. This is not to say that writers and editors shouldn't strive to produce the best possible product and continue to strive to improve -- but how many of us have the skill of a Fish or a Faddis? Many people's response to Trek is on an emotional or 'gut' level and we are motivated accordingly to write, not because we have any pretensions about being brilliant authors, or for any great financial gain, but because our love of the characters and concepts compels us to write, because we enjoy it and because we want to communicate our ideas to other fans. Sometimes a story will be so lacking in the technical polish of a pro-writer, but the love that the writer has so obviously put into it still makes it an enjoyable experience. When an author comes along who can stimulate both an emotional and intellectual response, it is a powerful and heady combination. I'll be the first one to admit that I've encountered some mediocre fanfic, and some that is appalling, but I've also come across material that has stirred my mind and heart. I'll take fanfic over pro fiction every time because there is more honest-to-God feeling in the former. And despite its weaknesses, that, for me, is what makes the whole thing worthwhile.
- Caroline's reply: I am unrepentant. I still claim that many zines are uninspired and repetitive but perhaps I was unfair to limit this criticism to British zines for it seems to me that the same is increasingly true of American products. I agree that the S.T. formula is 'magic." It is a very great shame that writers are missing a heaven-sent opportunity to discuss concepts, problems, create new worlds against which to view ourselves as human beings and still do what the best of the original series did, combine action/adventure with something to think about.- Agreed, not everyone is a Fish or a Faddis but how many are trying?
- Too many writers are content to fall back on the familiar the themes Pon Farr, slavery, log-cabins, hurt/ comfort, more slavery, A/U, (older Kirk, younger Spock etc.) more slavery.... instead of attempting to think fresh. The result is that many stories are merely repeats of older originals much as third season episodes were re-runs of first and second.
- The possibilities of the formula are, in fact, limitless. The Movie was full of entrancing ideas but where are the stories about Deltans, New Humans, machine planets, and apart from a crop of 'first-time' K/S, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
- My apologies, my pen is running away with me but I do feel very strongly that- unless we consciously attempt a fresh approach, fanfic may stifle itself in its own formulae.
- I am also convinced that a large number of fans are still afraid to bring their efforts into daylight, possibly because they are afraid that their work does not, resemble the standard type of Trek story being published. Thus we strangle ourselves again. Of course good stories and zines are being produced but I still think that too many are printed that should not see the light of day or at best need a firm editorial hand. The love that drives us to write should also drive us to be more (self) critical!
A fan has these opinions:
Beware of the so-called "no frills" zines. The editors maintain that these zines cost less, but do they really? figure it out for yourself: divide the total-number of pages by the cost (allowing for reduced type) to find out the cost per page. In many cases you will find that these zines cost more than a zine with lots of ilios, graphics, and even halftones and two-color work. (True at least in the U.S.)
Two friends of mine independently discovered that the unit cost-per-page of CHEAP THRILLS, a "no frills" zine, was 7 cents (U.S.) which is very expensive. GUARDIAN 3, a beautifully produced and illoed mediazine, for example, was only 4.5 cents a page, and that is not even allowing for the 25$ reduction.As a professional graphic artist, I can assure readers that illos need not cost any more than for the paper on which they are printed, and perhaps for the postage to return them to the artist. Psychologically and aesthetically they are worth much more than just to break up large, dull blocks of type. They can actually enlarge upon, and improve a story, and lend force to its impact. There are many fan writers, myself included, who do not want to contribute to a cheap, shabby-looking zine that costs the reader too much. I hasten to add that, unlike some U.S. fans, I see nothing inferior about zines that are not produced offset; we should be wary of the snobbery of creeping professionalism here. For the fan who enjoys something more than just a "good read", and for the collector who wants something beautiful to cherish (or resell for a good price), the best zine is undoubtedly the one with good, opaque paper, clear type, heavy covers, and decent, imaginative graphics and illos. Halftones and two-color work, on the other hand, do not add enough, generally speaking, to justify their cost, and four-color work is ridiculously expensive - too expensive for zines, unless you, happen to own an offset press!
A fan would like to be warned:
... reviews of the out-off-print 'greats' - 'Spock Enslaved', 'Thrust', 'Nightvisions 'Mirrors', early 'Contacts' etc. so that new fans attending an auction for the first time will have some idea of what they're like. I vividly remember at my first con, hearing these names roll off the tongue with increasing frustration because I hadn't got a clue which was which and bidding for what turned out to be total garbage!
Issue 4 (1982)
Communicator 4 was published in March 1982 and contains 22 pages.
- The Beginner's Guide to Kraith Collected part one by Vivienne Rivers includes a short introduction, and an overview (not a review) of Kraith Collected #1, see that page
- One Way Mirror, see that page
- Nor No Man Ever Loved, see that page
- The Honorable Sacrifice, see that page
- K/S Relay #4, see that page
- Cheap Thrills #3, see that page
- Mirrors of Mind and Flesh, see that page
- "The Lesson," vignette by Janette Burton
Issue 4: Excerpts from CommentsA fan commented on terminology and opinion and pseuds, and a reply by the editor of "Communicator":
A fan is pleased with this publication and has a suggestion:
One small suggestion, instead of calling them 'reviews' in 'Communicator' why not do as they do in the States and call it 'One Fan's Opinion'?  After all, that really is all they are. People have such very different ideas of what they consider' is good or bad in a story, that no one can really give a true review of a fan story or zine. Equally, as far as the characters are concerned too, e.g. the two so-called reviews of 'If Freedom Fall' (C2), one girl said "Spock was not in character" the other said"Spock was in character". See what I mean? One fan's opinion and nothing more. Sit a group of ST or K/S fans down, ask for their opinion of a story/zine/character (as I have done many times) and not any two people will agree with each other.
I personally take no one's opinion, only my own, for that very reason, certainly not of a complete stranger. Also, I can understand (for various personal or family reasons) why K/S writers prefer to use pen names but I can honestly see no necessity or reason for a fan who is giving an opinion of someone's zine or story not to have the courage to at least put her/his own name to her 'opinion' - they certainly do in the States. 
I've felt very strongly about it since I nearly missed 'Nightvisions' through an extremely bad and in my opinion now, prejudiced 'review' i.e. one fan's opinion. I I sincerely feel that especially new fans should be warned not to put too much store by these 'opinions', unless they know the person personally and well or they could (a) miss a good story or zine they might truly enjoy or (b) buy a zine they hate, purely on a stranger's (to them) valuation!
- I am extremely sorry that you disapprove so strongly of editorial policy but I stand by it and I will attempt to deal with the points you make. Perhaps you have not read the policy statement in Cl where I said that staff reviewers could have pen names. None of us is afraid to stand by our convictions but in the sometimes heated atmosphere of Trek correspondence and personal dealings, it may be difficult to achieve any balanced form of judgement under one's own name. In fact, we all have professional/personal reasons for using such names (Perhaps you had not considered that writing about K/S can be as problematical as creating it?) but even if you've had not, I would still wish staff writers to have the freedom that a pen name confers.
- The column 'One Fan's Opinion' is to be found in 'Forum' magazine and I have two thoughts about this; firstly, pen names are used for those articles and the name 'Tigriffin' springs immediately, to mind. I can only say that the bitterly destructive tone of this reviewer is 'One Fan's Opinion' that I should prefer not to be associated with. Those opinions printed under apparently 'own names' sometimes trigger violent, unstudied criticism verging on personal abuse and this leads me to what I consider to be the main difference between 'Communicator' reviews and one fan's opinion. When 'Communicator' was established, each of the staff reviewers received a 'guide to reviews' enjoining them to be as objective as possible. Personal prejudices were to be declared (pro, anti, death stories, K/S etc.). While understanding that no two fans can ever think exactly alike, we try to provide a service that is as unbiased as we can make it (sometimes two articles on the same zine) better we hope than' one fan's opinion. Perhaps, also you are underestimating the intelligence of our readers in discerning the content and meaning of a review.
- With regard to the two reviews of 'If Freedom Fall', I think perhaps you have misread. One said, and I quote exactly "...the Kirk/Spock characterisations are excellent. Spock, in particular is beautifully drawn". The other said, "I like A/U stories as it means that you can alter events and characters to suit the circumstances. The character of Kirk is not changed at all, the character of Spock definitely is". This implied that, the reviewer felt that since the story was A/U, the characters were different to that universe and this was quite acceptable. No criticism was implied, and there is no contradiction between the reviews. This perhaps, reinforces my point that an over hasty opinion, 'one fan's opinion', is not as reliable as a balanced, considered review.
- In the matter of not taking the opinion of complete strangers, I would suggest that my correspondent does not know whether the reviewers are complete strangers and this is precisely my point - only with pen names can unpressured objectivity be preserved.
- I am sorry to have taken up so much space in a limited page zine but I feel as strongly as Doreen about: this and since her argument is embodied in her editorial to 'Orbit 305' I feel justified in a public reply here.
A fan of pen names said:
Comments so far? Well, I have no real complaints except I wish it were larger and encompassed more zine reviews as I find these invaluable. I remember being totally bewildered at my first con when I saw the number of zines available. I'd never read any fan fiction, didn't, know what to pick - and certainly didn't know what K/S meant (though I soon found out). I've often thought that someone ought to write a beginner's guide to fan fiction. I discovered one in 'Enterprise Incidents' but that referred only to American zines - though ho doubt the trends and story types remain the same ...Also what about a 'Best of British' zine? Reprinting the best stories from British writers over the last so-many-years along the lines of Relay|Janet Hunt's excellent reprint series. I know that each club seems to produce their own reprint collection but I'm sure some 'get away' somewhere. I've only been reading, and collecting zines for a couple of years, and I hate to think I've missed something.
Regarding judging first efforts:I must say that I think your decision to use pen names for your reviewers is absolutely right because a lot of people do seem to get rather heated on some issues and there seem more than enough ructions going on in fandom at the moment as it is.
A fan comments on another fan's admonishment of Trek fans and their cliquish behavior at cons and said:A brief comment on one of your talking points, should first-time zines be judged differently from the regulars. No, they shouldn't. Anyone putting out a zine has a positive duty to his/her readers to produce the best possible zine, with a clean readable production, well-chosen stories and as free as is humanly possible from grammatical error. However, we all have to start somewhere and we all have to learn; with that in mind, I'd certainly not be too hard on a first-time zine. If something grated on me, I'd LOC the editor and if (s)he agreed with my comments, I'd wait to see what changes were made in later issues. So I'd judge a new zine by the same standards as any other but - with more understanding. That seems to be the fairest way.
A zine ed and writer comments about recurring themes in Trek fic:For many, Trek is a vital outlet for our problems. We arrive at a con tense and stressed and enjoy a weekend of glorious release. Such strong emotions, I think, make us neglect the needs of newer fans. (Sounds rather Vulcan doesn't it?) A last point; Trek is so important to many of us and we have such high expectations of a con, that we tend to be more touchy than we would usually! Perhaps, at least, we need to welcome new fans more consciously as Aucon did with the Friday evening newcomers' party.
A fan suggests steering away from some practices of other fandoms, specifically Doctor Who:
Yes, there are many themes which ST fan writers don't usually touch, and many themes which long-time fans may well feel are just rehashes of stories previously written by other writers. But please remember, the people writing ST fan fiction change over the years; we are now in a different generation of writers from those who wrote, say 7 ot 8 years ago. Many of the well-known names of early fandom are no longer active, for various reasons. They may have left fandom (or at least active fandom) due to work or personal commitments. The stories they wrote are mostly out of print (and long out of print at that). New writers coming in, who have not had the opportunity to read the stories printed years ago, , might very well come up with similar plots (there is no copyright in ideas), and I feel it would be unfair of editors to reject a story on the grounds that something similar was printed 6 years ago.
There is also a general lack of interest in certain types of story, both among readers and - apparently - among writers. When the movie first came out, I had expected a spate of Decker/Ilia or Kirk/Lori stories; they neither materialised. Nobody, it seemed, was interested in writing these. Very few people, in fact, actually would have liked Decker or Ilia retained. This lack of interest does not necessarily exist among editors. I've printed one or two 'unusual' stories over the years, and almost without exception these have been much less popular than the stories [some fans] feel are uninspired and repetitive. Also, I don't think that the closet is full of writers afraid to bring their work into the open because it does not 'resemble the standard type of Trek story being published'. My experience is that new writers almost always begin with an Enterprise adventure, frequently with the addition of a Kirk (Spock, McCoy) romance - rather than some epic discussing some high moral issue. And there is nothing wrong with doing that.
As for what happened next - since nothing in the movie basically changed anything (at the end of the day), any story written could come either during the five-year mission or post movie. A few stories have thrown in mentions of movie events/characters as background - in much the same way that occasional episodes are thrown in as background in other stories.
When I edited for STAG, I had a blanket 'no sex outside marriage' policy because we were a club zine; now, editing independently, I will not reject a story on the grounds of theme (except death of a main character, and I think there have been plenty of these written - certainly enough to explore the subject very thoroughly) provided the Enterprise and her crew are in there somewhere (these are 'the voyages of the Starship Enterprise'). We don't print K/S either; we feel that's'a subject best left with the zines that specialise in it.And on the subject of getting away from the standard type of plot - the.professional novels don't resemble standard, fanfiction plots in any way - and we all know how 'good' most of us think they are!
I agree that, we should beware a snobbish attitude to the techniques of fanzine production. This is something that has already happened in Dr. Who fandom. Principally due to the lead of the official fanzine of DWAS (which is the Dr. Who fanclub) zines are either lithoed or else photocopied (also an expensive means of production). The official fanzine was progressed further into the world of typesetting and justified margins.... Meanwhile, a number of otherwise successful fanzines have gone to the wall because they cost more to produce than could reasonably be charged as a cover price. I think ST fandom should steer clear of all this; as long as duplicated zines are set out nicely with cleanly cut stencils used, then they're perfectly presentable.
Issue 5 (1982)
Communicator 5 was published in early May 1982 and contains 22 pages.
- The Beginner's Guide to Kraith Collected part two by Vivienne Rivers, see that page
- How We Learned to Stop Guessing and Trust Roget, essay by Sheila Clark and Valerie Piacentini
- New Enterprise Log #2, see that page
- Excalibur #8 , see that page
- Out of Bounds, Too, see that page
- Odyssey #6, see that page
- two reviews of The Child Within Us, see that page
- Variations on a Theme #6, see that page
- Alnitah #13, see that page
- Nightvisions, see that page
- comments and a con report: UFP Con, see that page
- a con report for Shore Leave, see that page
Issue 5: Excerpts from Comments"Author's Song" by Anon:
A fan comments on some misgivings regarding the upcoming Trek movie:
This is purely a, personal and I suspect isolated view, does anyone who saw the clip at UFP share my increasing misgivings about the movie? Fostered by the title 'The Wrath of Khan', my apprehension grew at the apparently endless scenes of mayhem and destruction, reminiscent of many of the poorer third season episodes. Also I have a strong feeling that the sequence of scenes was shown out of order. The magnitude of Kirk's grief in the scene which ended with the words ' I know nothing' seemed appropriate only in the context of Spock's death and yet Kirk and Spock are shown together in a subsequent shot. I am not reassured. If my suspicion is correct, Paramount are using Spock's death as a 'cliffhanger' to lure audiences to the next movie and this seems to me to be a kind of exploitation. The question will be academic by the next issue but in the meantime I should be extremely interested in your views. Peace in IDIC.
An artist, Barbara Gordon, comments about remarks in a previous issue, and the editor of this letterzine responds:
Comments about zine contents:
I suppose I am treading on thin ice by making these comments, since my work has been mentioned, somewhat less than favorably in 'Communicator' No. 2 and No. 3, but there are a few points which I feel must be made about review and reviewers.
First of all, I think it is most important for a reviewer to be honest about how much and why she liked a zine or stories and most manage this pretty well. But the real talent of a good reviewer is in how gracefully she can say it was terrible - without sounding unreasonably snide and cutting, turning it into something that almost sounds like a personal attack.
Secondly, dear reviewers, always distinguish between your own particular taste, and quality. If you can't stand any poetry, it is better to admit this from the outset, in the review itself, and not try to review it at all. Omitting to mention that you wouldn't know chicken scratches from Rembrandt is misleading in itself, and gives the impression that the artwork is beneath notice, whereas trying to review something you don't understand, is positively sinful.
Always keep in mind that even if you and several of your dearest friends cannot stand alternate universe stories, or slavery stories, or any artwork except exactly representational head-and-shoulders portraits, there may be hundreds of fans who absolutely dote on AU, slavery, or whatever.
I find if you are not sure that you can distinguish between style and quality, then I think it is time to educate yourself - before you write any more reviews. There is absolutely no reason why two styles of artwork or writing cannot be as different as night and day, and still be equally good, it is unfair to compare, whether obviously or not, two very different styles, drawing conclusions as to relative quality simply because they ARE very different. By this I simply mean that it is unfair to say that Van Gogh a is superior to Picasso, simply because you don't like Picasso's particular style. This definitely applied to writing as well, particularly poetry.
It is very unsafe to make moral judgements on story content. Obviously, a person who does not like K/S should not review it. One recent review which called a certain type of story "sickening" annoyed me greatly. There is nothing wrong with saying that you don't like this, particular type of story but, please, let each one of us decide whether it is sickening. Most of us do not feel we need our morals protected, and don't want to be treated like children.
One reviewer last issue made a strong indictment against the cover artwork on one zine (not my artwork!) and never even bothered to mention why she thought it was "out of place." I wonder if it was because she obviously completely misunderstood the story upon which it was loosely based?
Reviewers, you don't know how frustrating it is to those of us who are zine contributors, and who eagerly turn to the review of a zine in which our poem, story or artwork appears, only to find that it is not mentioned, or worse, it is dismissed with one short phrase, perhaps two words, like "too strong". What does this mean anyway? We say to ourselves... Can this help me improve? No. Does it tell me anything about my work? No. Does it even tell me anything about what just one fan thought about my work? No.
And, as a non-contributing zine-reader, does it tell me why, or why not, I should buy this zine? No. Perhaps I am expecting too much from reviewers. But think about it, okay?
- Editor: I find Barbara's letter very interesting but equally I find myself in editorial exposition to some of her points. Unless I have misunderstood the sense of the letter, the writer seems to imply that unless one is an art expert, one should not be permitted to criticise artwork. This raises too points in my mind; it seems to suggest that Fred Bloggs (the average man) cannot look at Rembrandt and although we each see something different in it, surely all great art is universal? Also, by extension, only another writer or language specialist can truly appreciate/review literature. This is denying 'Communicator's' right to exist. I am reminded of some words of Mary Renault: "I think the writer has no duty except to address himself to the individual", therefore, only the individual may judge, and all have an equal right to do so.
- With regard to moral judgements, I should like to point out that in fact no moral assessment was made. The exact words of the reviewer were: "If this is a trend from which K/S is going to develop, I am very dubious for the future. The theme could become sickening if continued." - A prediction; not a judgement of existing material.
- The comment on the 'out of place cover' was a 'British shorthand' for a problem with which you may not be familiar, that is, the difficulties caused to 'closet' fans by explicit covers arriving in the post.
- We, the reviewers, apologise for the brevity of references to art work but it is a brutal fact (from the artist's point of view) that, especially when importing from America, art work does not rank as highly as fiction in consideration of purchase. The space in 'Communicator' is limited so that story reviews predominate.
Regarding no-frills zines:
Firstly, the suggestion that British zines are on the whole "bland and tame". Although I contribute to zines, I find myself agreeing with this view. It's one reason why so many US zines seem so superior to ours. Yet I think our writers are every bit as talented as the Americans. Could the answer lie with the editors? More stringent editing, e.g. asking for rewrites when necessary, could make a great difference, I, for one, wouldn't mind being asked to do this, and I'm sure most writers would welcome the opportunity to improve their work. At the moment, it's so easy to feel that writing ST is a doddle, and to let your standards drop because you know that oven if what you produce is second-rate, it's bound to be accepted. I've certainly been guilty of this.
As for the subject matter - I'm afraid that even ST fans would rather see their old favourites endlessly reworked, than stretch their minds with something genuinely original and thought-provoking, and that applies to both readers and writers (including me). One of the great attractions (for me) of writing ST is that half the work has already been done by Gene Roddenberry and the various script-writers. All I have to do is take the established characters and their background, and play around with them. Speaking as both writer and reader, I find this comforting, reassuring, and (most of the time) perfectly satisfying. And speaking just as a reader, I would suggest that any story which introduces a new character in a major role, encounters some resistance, at least at first. (Viz. the dearth of stories about Deltans etc. that [Caroline E] comments on.)
On the third hand, Sheila Clark has often said that Log Entries got its biggest ever mailbag when they printed a death story -and that the mail was overwhelmingly anti. This again seems to me evidence of an innate conservatism in Trek fans. Sadly, it seems thut most people prefer to stick with what is known and familiar through 15 years of exposure, rather than allow even this logical extrapolation and follow-through. (Yes, I like death-stories).
Stimulating LoCs would certainly help, but I can sympathise with those who don't write them. For example, I may feel strongly about something while I'm reading a zine or N/L. But then I put it down, and five minutes later I've forgotten what I was so steamed up about. Another example of the apathy remarked on in CI, I suppose.
Zine snobbery - I admit to being an offender! One reason I'm such a fan of Alnitah is because of its 'professional' appearance. I've always found that a good-looking story makes for a good-reading story - though of course this shouldn't be an excuse for poor writing. And naturally, I'd rather read a no-frills zine than no zine at all, if this is the only way it can stay in production.Finally, Communicator is the best thing to happen to ST fandom in a long time. For one thing, you've stirred me into writing an LoC! Keep it up.
Regarding letters of comment and cost and priorities:I would like to answer Barbara Gordon's comment on "no frill zines", while I that they are often no cheaper than illustrated zines, I would NOT consider that they could be described as "a cheap, shabby-looking zine, that costs the reader too much". Often no illustrations is the only way a particular editor can keep down tho costs, and I would say this applies especially to first time editors. Often illustrations add to a story, but personally I consider poor illustrations only detract from the story as the reader's attention is taken away from the story. Has anyone considered producing an art portfolio? Like Gladys Oliver's poetry zines, it would be an interesting item to add to a collection.
One comment/plea I would like to make to all zine editors/writers/artists; don't think that because people don't write and tell you they like a zine/story/drawing that they are apathetic - to my mind it clearly boils down to cost. I must buy about 150-200 zines a year easily (yes, I know it IS very expensive) and therefore, I can't really afford to write and express my feelings to all the people involved. Certainly if I order from the same person again, I often comment on the previous zine and I know I discuss "good and bad" zines with friends both verbally and by letter, but I just can't afford to say thank-you personally to everyone.
Issue 6 (1982)
Communicator 6 was published in June 1982 and contains 22 pages.
- Nome #5, see that page
- Triad, see that page
- Contact #7, see that page
- Spin Dizzie #6, see that page
- Kraith Collected #2, see that page
- Trilogy, see that page
- Moonwind, see that page
- Beyond Antares #18/19, see that page
- The Tale of Windy Hollow, see that page
- the tie-in book The Prometheus Design, see that page
- the tie-in book, "The Abode of Life"
- there is an artist/author statement from Ann Humphry and Meg Wright
- Where No Actor Has Gone Before?, essay by Sarah Smith
- a fan's review of The Wrath of Khan
Issue 6: Excerpts from CommentsFrom Tina Pole regarding various rumors about Galileo Con:
A fan's comment about a movie:There are certain rumours I'm sure you are just dying to hear, a) The committee are now at each others throats, b) The committee are chucking in the con. c) The actual programme is not being held in the con hotel??? If anybody else would like to add any more please contact me. We're just dying to hear what else we are doing. And now if you'll excuse me, I must go and bash a few of my friends up to make it look good.
A fan comments about fans being teased:"The Wrath of Khan" is the best Trek ever. It's terrific. More than terrific. Better than any episode, better than anything (except a few zines). Ricardo Montalban is superb, SEE IT SEE IT SEE IT.
A fan comments about zine types and material:I've been saying for a while that I reckon Paramount is Having tho fans for suckers over this 'Spock is dead' issue, I think that if fans hadn't created [a fuss] about , it it would have been presented as definite, positive, final - and Paramount (or Harve Bennett?) wasn't prepared to give in completely so, they're leaving things in a serial ending fashion. They even have a precedent of sorts - Han Solo in Empire.
Reader's Song by Lottie Thomas:I do think that the type of story your reviewer complains of in 'Out of Bounds Too' is partly the result of K/S stories being forced into "specialist" zines. As it's the only place the writers can submit erotic K/S perhaps they feel they have to. In effect, zines like "Cheap Thrills" are trapped by their own format. Perhaps the answer is a few more zines like "Nome" or "Matter/Antimatter" which could accept a broader range of stories. A touch more IDIC in fact.
- The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold.
- And the way he came down was quite awful I'm told.
- But it's nothing to the way that they'll come down on me
- If I leave K/S covers for others to see.
Issue 7 (1982)
Communicator 7 was published in late September/early October 1982 and contains 24 pages.
- Barbara P. Gordon has a short personal statement: "The sequel to my story Love Slave's Song which appeared in Duet #3 has been accepted for publication. It will not be censored in any way. Details will be forthcoming." (This is a reference to the story that became Loveslaves that was eventually published by Gordon (with a pseud) in Alien Brothers in 1987. The story which featured a sex scene with fisting was rejected by the editor of "Duet" for being too extreme and dangerous.)
- Offstage Enterprise, see that page
- Gemini: The Flame and the Fire, see that page
- Classified Assignments #2, see that page
- two reviews of Never and Always with Lighter Shades, see that page
- Kraith Collected #3, see that page
- Saurian Brandy Digest #28, see that page
- The Castaways, see that page
- Let Me Count the Ways, a story in Eridani Triad #2, see that page
- Ni Var, see that page
- In Defence of Mary-Sue, meta by Karen Maund, a response to this essay is Lavinia Versus The Creeping Blorch, or A Reaction to the "Defence of Mary Sue" in issue #10
- a con report for Star Trek Writer's Workshop, see that page
- an essay by Sue W called "A Death Scene" about a then-recently aired television programme about Nelson, the relationship between his First Officer (Hardy), and how this compares to Kirk and Spock
Issue 7: Excerpts from CommentsNot a fan of K/S:
Am I really the only fan left who doesn't find K/S compelling? As I sit reading through 'Communicator 5, I begin to wonder...I counted more than 10 adverts for zines I know contain K/S and even more I'm not sure about.
Fortunately for me, I know I'm not alone and there still are a few good gen zines about which seem to be aware of the words 'platonic love' (which means 'purely spiritual love') and hold good story content above sex.
Before anyone says I've probably never read K/S, I have, and once upon a time K/S did give a fresh new look to fan fiction. When it first started filtering through from the States, many of the stories had excellent ideas (by this where the relationship came about because of the plot, not where the plot in at the end as an afterthought). But now the stories seem to have sunk nothing but explicit bed scenes, or wherever there's a convenient place!
Are such explicit scenes really necessary? Surely these stories (and this applies to explicit adult fiction too) would be just as good without going into the type of detail which would be more at home in some porn book.
I tried to read 'Nightvisions'. (Was the final scene originally in 'Thrust'? I'm sure one of the drawings came from there). Believe me, I tried very hard! Having heard several people say they enjoyed it, I wanted to see why. With a totally open mind I started...only to stop quite sadly when I reached the part where Spock finds out that Kirk is blind. Because in that one scene Spock was so out of character (even if you try to read it as an A/U story) that I could no longer read it. The scene runs something like this: After talking to Kirk, Spock leaves but he feels something is wrong with his Captain. He returns unexpectedly and sees that Kirk is blind. Kirk hears someone and starts wandering around the garden calling "Who's there?". Spock, seeing how helpless Kirk is has to leave because he is so upset. Quite touching really... Spock can't stand the sight of his captain handicapped for life so he has to get away, has to have time to think. But in doing so he leaves Kirk wandering in a garden with a swimming pool!!! Never would Spock, if he felt anything for Kirk, leave him in such a potentially dangerous situation no matter how upset he felt. Sorry, but exit one story back to its owner...here's one person who did beg/ steal/borrow a copy and regret it.
One final observation on K/S. Someone said in "Communicator 5" that "Surely the emergence of K/S in recent years is a prime example of zines and writers boldly going'?" and "It proves we're not totally stagnant, anyway." Well, if K/S is the only way we can boldly go then I despair for fan fiction. The whole conceit of K/S is stagnating at a fast pace; a look at the plot lines from the review of 'Out of Bounds, Too' proves that. Perhaps someone could do a zine full of the most contrived reasons possible for getting our two heroes to bed in the fastest possible way...oh, sorry that's probably not an original idea anymore.If anyone has a recent totally original K/S story, I would be interested in seeing it because I don't believe there is one.
A thought on cultural confidence:
Sadly, one fan's original and thought-provoking idea is bound to be the topic some other fan finds objectionable and until all of us learn to rejoice that we have differences, any such theme is bound to create furious response.We all have hang-ups - my own 'non' topics are death stories and stories in which either Kirk or Spock fathers a child on some luckless woman and then disappears back into space leaving her to cope with the trauma of single-handed child raising. Indeed, as you can see, I find it impossible to describe such stories without the use of emotive language - although I do know there are plenty of women who cope admirably and happily in such a situation. I am aware that both these dislikes stem from experiences in my own life that I have never, (as yet), been able to come to terms with. On the other hand, my acquaintance of over 25 years with a pair of gay lovers has shown me that such a relationship can be as happy and 'normal' as my own happy hetero-sexual marriage. Learning about oneself is a painful process and it is never finished but facing one's own pitiful inadequacies is a big step in gaining tolerance for other people's different shortcomings. If we do find a story objectionable, our first act should be to find out why it has evoked such a strong reaction in us...believe me, you can learn a lot about yourself that way.
Regarding art, and Barbara Gordon's comments in a previous issue:
I have a suspicion that the difference in 'feel' between British and American zines stems from the Americans generally greater self-confidence and belief in themselves. This helps them to cope better with criticism. Over here, anything less than fulsome praise is often construed as attack. Reasoned criticism is damned difficult and should be taken as the greatest compliment.Writing is an odd business, you do it because you must, because the damn spot itches so you've just gotta scratch - but it doesn't come alive until someone else has read it and thought about it and told you where you've gone right and where you've gone wrong. And when that happens, you're a 'real' writer, and whether you take your pay in cash or a host of wonderful new friends is immaterial.
Regarding the movie The Wrath of Khan:
Everyone is entitled to say he or she likes or dislikes a certain illo and indeed to express an opinion as to why he/she liked or disliked it. But I personally feel not everyone has the right or the qualifications to give a critical appraisal of artwork, which could be misleading if the reviewer does not really know what he/she's talking about. May I hasten to add that I've never yet seen a 'crit' of artwork (by 'crit', I mean an in depth view of the technical and aesthetic aspects of artwork) so no-one I know of falls into this category, which in itself is a pity. I have missed a couple of issues so perhaps I have missed some longer art reviews hut I would dearly like to see a comprehensive view of artwork in Trek fandom.
I know most people consider illos take second place. Being a newly qualified artist (not illustrator I must emphasise) this saddens me as I feel artwork can help a failing story but 'bad' artwork cannot harm a good story. And to the question of 2nd place, perhaps if people were more enthusiastic of artwork, new talents would be encouraged (I and others I know of have had several discouraging moments). My friends and I considered this issue of 2nd fiddle and therefore decided to produce a zine in which artwork took equal standing with stories and from the encouraging LOC's we've received, for us at least the 2nd fiddle myth has been exploded as in most cases the artwork has been mentioned first. An important aspect of any illo is that it must be part of the story. An illo may stand on its own as does a story, but when in a story it has to be part of the entire composition, and in any zine this does not always work (my own efforts not excluded).
I agree with B. Gordon's remark on personal taste; in a review it can he misleading. Although opinions are justified and valid personally, any personal opinion will not be unbiased, and I feel it is necessary that an amateur reviewer should always point out that any statement for or against is a personal opinion - something always has its better side to someone else's eyes, and tastes differ amazingly.I shall end on this note - whatever a particular illo's shortcomings, enjoy what is there, for it was the spirit of enjoyment that created it.
Regarding the movie:
I for one, cannot believe in the Kirk I know and love being damn fool, enough to make the same mistake twice in giving up his ship, and no more can I believe that he would spend days agonising over his encroaching old age, go through, all that agony and. bloodshed and end up with the death of his nearest friend, and promptly cheer up as though the world had been set to rights. Is this the Kirk who used to beat his breast and claim the whole fault was his whatever happened?
Of course I was ready for the ending, having been prepared by all the news, rumours and 'facts' that were leaked beforehand, and from having read the novelisation two days previously, and so I dealt with it as all the death stories that editors will print have taught me to deal with death stories...I switched off, felt no emotion at all, and managed to look, at it quite coldly and objectively. It's quite an oye opener, I promise you... The dialogue is so banal, I imagine the two actors must have cringed inside...........It would be asking too much for the film to be perfect for everyone and even if one or two fans have found it so, then I am pleased for their sakes.
I find the film so beautiful and moving that l'm just going to have to see it as many times as I can while it's in the area. The first two times I was aching for Spock end seeing it purely as a Spock death/sacrifice thing. The last time I appreciated the Kirk aspect and suddenly the whole thing fell into place. Now I enjoy the whole movie for what it is and not just as a Spock death story. I do have some reservations over STIII - tailor made for another actor to step in (or out of the coffin). If that script isn't handled properly, it could end up as total farce. The Genesis project is pretty far-fetched and now they are offering us resurrection, I know it's only science, fiction but really!
Issue 8 (1982)
Communicator 8 was published in December 1982 and contains 24 pages.
- a review of Enterprise Log Entries #50, see that page
- a review of The Problems of Doctor Penhaligon, see that page
- a review of The Things I Cannot Change, see that page
- a review of Cheap Thrills #4, see that page
- a review of R & R #17, see that page
- a review of New Enterprise Log #2 and #3, see those pages
- a review of The Daneswoman, see that page
- a con report for Galileo Con, see that page
- "Star Trek: The New Arthuriad?", meta by Lyn M
Issue 8: Excerpts from CommentsComments from Wild about zine piracy:
Regarding the movie:
Among recent topics of interest is an ion storm brewing up from the States. For those of you who do not take the list zine, Universal Translator, two letters are featured in the current issue. Carol Frisbie (Pulsar Press - 'Nightvisions', 'Thrust', 'Sun and Shadow' and 'Passages'.) and Ellen Kobrin ('Companion' 1-3? 'Cheap Thrills' 1-4) both write complaining vehemently of the pirating of their zines by the makers of illegal xerox copies. I quote from Carol's letter, "At no time - past, present, or in the future - have I or will I authorize or sanction any form of reproduction and sale of Pulsar Press zines, whole or in part!"
Now whilst deploring piracy in any form, these letters did raise several points in my mind. One: it does seem a shame that impoverished fans cannot read 'Nightvisions' etc. ... it seems there is still a great deal of interest in such zines and that many new fans have not read them.
Two: if some American editors were more efficient in producing and despatching their zines, perhaps the desperate zine-hungry readers of the UK at least, might not be tempted to turn to pirate copies of any zines.
Three:Carol states that a genuine copy of 'Nightvisions' may fetch $200 in an auction and the value will be eroded by xerox copies - I hadn't realised that fans and zine collectors were in it for the money.Carol's letter raised another issue, an old friend for 'Communicator' readers. She says; "The average time I need to publish what I consider to be the best quality zine I can produce is two years plus..." This seems to me to be taking things into the realm of the ridiculous. I suspect that, even in the States most fans first requirement is well-written stories from frequent, reliable sources, and I imagine that even those with a taste for offset art and graphics would be reluctant to wait two years for the end product, no matter how beautiful.
About the movie:You asked me what I thought of the film. Well, I feel so strongly that I'm going to voice my opinion for once. For me the whole film was marred by the horror element. I am not a fan of horror and am very careful not watch anything with the slightest trace of horror in it (which unfortunately means I don't watch some sci-fi films and TV programmes). I was not expecting anything under the name of Star Trek to upset me. I was in tears and trembling at the horrible scene in which Chekov and his Captain were infiltrated by those creatures. After that I felt like walking out as I was so disgusted, I stayed (probably because I'd made a special train journey and I didn't want to waste the money.). And there was more to come; bloody bodies lying around, and the creature coming out of Chekov's ear. Then there was Spock's unnecessary death and the half promise that he would be miraculously brought back to life - this is Star Trek not the Bionic Woman! As far as I am concerned, S.T. is about Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise NOT Admiral Kirk who is not really the same man. I liked Kirk in the film but he was not a part of the Enterprise as he was in the series. Also, what about Spock's repeated comment in the series that he does not desire the Captaincy and prefers his scientific duties? There he is - the Captain, with Jim Kirk an earth-based Admiral. It was all wrong somehow . The things I liked about the film (yes there were some J.) were the character relationships, the uniforms, the humour, Kirk's glasses, Spock with his human half showing...I also liked Saavik.... So, you see, whilst I didn't hate the film, I can't think about it without remembering the horror elements, which ruined it for me.
About the movie:What did I think of the 'Wrath of Khan'? Yes, well, as an undemanding adventure film it was entertaining. As Star Trek, it was written by someone with a minimal understanding of the characters, I like Spock bashers and having read the book, I was looking forward to seeing him streaming blood and collapsing in agony instead of just looking slightly bruised and fainting.
Regarding the comments in the previous issue about art, education, and fan opinion:I suppose the most important talking point for the next few months will be 'The Wrath of Khan'. On first showing I was very impressed - see review in Communicator 6 - but since then I've seen it another 6 or 7 times and have had a lot of second thoughts, I've had discussions about the movie with people who are very enthusiastic and also with others who dislike it, myself - I'm not sure.
Stop dragging sex into it:
I'm confused: Roo's reasoning in Communicator 7 loses me completely It's not that I disagree with Roo.... No, that's wrong, I do....well, not exactly disagree but... Let me explain. I can appreciate Roo's viewpoints on artwork. Perhaps, 'artists' are misunderstood and neglected by our often pragmatic society, and as Trek fandom exists within the reality that constitutes society...it's not surprising to me that artwork tends to be considered second fiddle.
However, Roo's comments on reviews and critical pieces truly puzzles me. As far as I can see, personal taste is necessarily biased and any critic (professional or amateur), whether he has 'studied' a subject or knows next to nothing about it, still possesses personal taste. As all opinion is based on taste, I believe it is the expression of that opinion that varies, I envisage a sliding scale from total, all-encompassing subjectivity down to cold, analytical objectivity. The questions are; a) Can one react badly to a creative piece of work and still give a balanced view neatly situated somewhere along my imaginary scale?- b) If one man's meat is another man's poison, who is justified in criticising another's meal? and c) If 'constructive' criticism is possible, whose conflicting constructive remarks do you pay heed to?Dear me, don't tell me that personal taste determines the observations we accept and those we reject?? For Roo, personal taste in a review can be misleading. For me, personal taste is unavoidable, its expression possibly misleading. Or am I misled?
About that sex in earlier zines, and more:
I am not in favour of mixed K/S and normal zines (i.e. some of each kind of story in the same zine) because I might then miss some good stuff through having to avoid the kind of fiction I know I can't stand reading. Maybe I'm intolerant in not accepting K/S (or any other / for that matter) but I hate to see my favourite relationship misrepresented by people who must drag sex into everything.Could you please sort out your punctuation for relationship. I know what K/S is by now, but is Kirk/Spock the same, or not? (It never used to be, but nobody had heard of the other then!) And if not, how about making it something more obviously different like '&', to avoid all possible confusion?
[Fran B's] comments on K/S - I don't think I agree with her on the content of K/S zines. I think the earlier zines, like 'Thrust', were more a collection of bedroom scenes loosely linked by a contrived plots. Later ones, while still containing a fair amount of explicit detail, seem to me to have more plot, although I must admit that some recent ones, (specifically 'Out of Bounds') are pretty way-out, so alternate universe that the characters are hardly recognisable as anything even loosely linked to Star Trek. There also seems to be more tendency recently to have the K/S situation as part of an established relationship rather than be a 'first time' every time. 'Nightvisions', which Fran so disliked, is one with practically no sexual content even though it was an earlier one. I wouldn't like to say there has been a wholly original K/S idea since the first one was written, but how many wholly original non-K/S stories have there been? There are supposed to be only about five basic plots in all fiction.I agree with K.S. T'Lan - one fan's thought-provoking idea is another fan's turn-off. My personal hang-up is explicit heterosexual scenes, which I find insulting to my integrity as a woman with their implication that women are here only to be used by men, 'since those scenes are usually depicted as 'one night stands'. I also hate the stories about Kirk's - or Spock's - children though I must admit to a fondness for one such story called 'Interstellar Babysitters', where Sarek and Amanda are acting as babysitters for all of Kirk and Spock's fanfiction offspring. However, I do know that some people love 'Kirk gets the girl who has a baby' stories.
Issue 9 (1983)
Communicator 9 was published in January 1983 and contains 24 pages.
- a review of Quartet, see that page
- a review of Debt of Dishonour, see that page
- a review of Contact #8, see that page
- a review of Cheap Thrills #4, see that page
- a review of The Clean Zine, see that page
- a review of Kirk, see that page
- a review of The Morning of the Sixth Day, see that page
- a review of Brave New Worlds, see that page
- a review of Alternative #2/3, see that page
- a review of the pro book "The Making of ST2 - The Wrath of Khan" by Allan Asherman ("This seems to me to be a perfect example of 'cashing in' on Star Trek, although I wouldn't call it a rip-off (like some of the books that followed ST TMP)."
- The Appeal of the Slave Story in Fandom, meta by Jane Jones
- "Alexander Parallels," meta by Sue Williams about parallels between Alexander the Great and James T. Kirk
- a fan's review of the movie The Wrath of Khan
Issue 9: Excerpts from CommentsSheila Clark wrote about zine production, and about differing views of Trek:
Valerie Piacentini wrote about zine reproduction, auctions, and out-of-print zines:
I must say, I don't mind ScoTpress zines being photocopied by someone who's that keen to get them, provided they're out of print and we're not planning to reprint. At the moment the only O/P zines we have that we're planning to reprint in the reasonably near future are 'Something Hidden' and 'With Hoops of Steel', though of course we may reprint any of the other O/P ones at some future date. I don't think it fair to photocopy a zine that is in print, though (though in this country at least the price of photocopying is such that it's cheaper to buy; the zine!).
I never have understood why most U.S. editors need to take so long to produce a zine. All right, in ScoTpress we're not going in for fancy layout or graphics for a duplicated zine, we stick with an unadorned, functional layout, which serves its purpose perfectly adequately no matter how much we might occasionally feel we'd like to try for something slightly more ambitious, layout-wise. It means that we can put out 100+ pages of pretty solid reading every two months and I think that the quality of fiction and poetry that we print stands up well when considered from any sort of literary viewpoint. If we wanted to go in for 200+ page zines, we'd probably have to cut our output to every three-four months instead of every two, but I really don't see any reason why an editor can't produce a 200-page zine in that time even going in for fancy layout etc. - assuming that she has her material there to start with. I can understand a longer period being required if she's starting from scratch and including in that 'two-year period' an initial period of soliciting submissions, getting any necessary rewrites and sending material away for artwork. I think this could be why so many U.S. zines take so long; they're starting from scratch instead of having the material already there and ready to get onto their masters (whether stencil or for offset).
If a story is worth telling in the first place, I don't think it will date (although someone else writing for a zine with a faster output might get a story on a similar theme printed first.). This is especially so with stories based on one or other of the two ST movies. These two movies have to be set in different universes (logically) if only because I for one dan't see Kirk making the same mistake (i.e. giving up the Enterprise) twice; also the change of uniforms makes it unlikely that they're in the same universe. I know uniform designs can change, but surely not that drastically! A swing from lightweight pastel colours to a heavy jacket that looks more designed as a dress uniform is too great a change to happen even inside a ten-year period, surely. Therefore any story based on ST TMP is as valid inside its own universe as any story set in the ST WofK universe is valid to its universe - to say nothing of the many stories still being written that are based on TV Trek...and the many that are A/U in their own right.I've often said that every writer is writing stories that are A/U to those written by other writers; many of these universes are so close to each other as to be near enough the same, but some of them are quite different, depending on how the writer sees Star Trek and the relationships in it. Everyone is writing inside his or her own universe, rejecting trose aspects of ST that don't agree with how (s)he sees Star Trek, accepting and developing those aspects (s)he likes. Some writers project beyond the end of the five-year mission, some remain strictly within the realms of it; and all these views of Star Trek are valid. Readers may like how author A treats her universe, and dislike the way author B does. Editors may feel that Author A handles her universe believably, while author B leaves gaps in her explanation of the background and therefore asks for further development - but that's where good editing comes in. It doesn't mean that everything written around TV Trek or ST TMP has become out of date just because another movie has come out — it just gives writers another universe to play around with if they want to. One where the details have already been worked out and the writer doesn't have to explain the background.
Barbara P. Gordon wrote about reviews:
Yes, I was aware of the problem with selling copies of O/P sines, With auctions, it's the law of supply and demand - if someone wants something badly enough) they'll pay for it, and often there is just no other way of getting a copy. What worries me is the suspicion I've had a couple of times lately at auctions that a very few people - I suppose as some sort of 'joke' - are forcing up the prices when they don't really intend to buy. If they see someone is keen, they'll jack up the bids, then drop out. I. could be wrong, but I've had that impression more than once. Still, I don't see what can be done about it; the only thing that would work is for the real bidder to give up unexpectedly, and catch the 'joker' out a couple of times.
The other problem, the sale of photocopies, is a different matter, and a real problem. People coming into fandom hear about, or read, something like 'Nightvisions', are desperate for a copy, but there's no 'legal' way to get one. The temptation for a friend to say, "You can copy mine", must be irresistible sometimes.
I can understand the editor's point of view - after all, they put a lot of time and effort into a zine. With rising costs, even if they were willing to put in the time - which they could devote to a new zine - on a reprint, they often simply can't afford it. What I'd like to see is some sort of agreement whereby someone with an original could write to the editor and obtain agreement to supply a photocopy - at cost - to a friend? but then that could create problems if the friend laterwants to sell the copy. It's a difficult problem, and I don't see any ideal solution.
This fan has read porn, and ma'am, K/S is no porn:
I didn't answer your editorial addition to my comment about reviewers and reviewing because, frankly, I thought it was oblique to the points I was trying to make, and wrong headed, as well. It would have taken me a lot of time to try and make clear what I meant, and it would have been of dubious worth. As both, a writer and an artist, I certainly may be no super-expert, but I do my best to do a faultless job at writing and art, and I would expect a reviewer, no matter how amateur, to try as hard and to do as well. We can all strive for excellence in what we do, even if we just review, (Hmmm A couplet.)It seems to me that the rules are simple enough. One says; I like this because. And I don't like this - because -. Together with a simple overall description of the kind of zine/story/poem/illo it is, that is all that is really necessary. Comments laden with snide emotion are neither necessary nor desirable. I could give you some examples from 'Communicator', but I'd better not! Ambiguous value-judgements - especially - when they are completely unsubstantiated, only hurt the review and cloud its value to the reader. By this I mean statements like that "too strong", which I mentioned before., If there is not enough room in a review for even one sentence about the illos - and I can't believe that! - perhaps it would be best just to mention the artist's name, and leave it go at that.
Glen David wrote about a review of one of her zines, and of being jossed by stardates:I have read real porn, both softcore and hardcore, straight and gay, and please believe me, K/S is not porn! Most K/S stories are romances, some are mostly character studies, and some, like 'The Ring of Soshern, are even action-adventure tales. Some could be classified as partly erotica. And yes, to many of us the explicit sex scenes are necessary and desirable, We enjoy them a lot. If you don't enjoy them, you probably ought to give up trying to read K/S. I don't think it is very realistic to expect the K/S writer to give up the very thing that distinguishes K/S from hurt/comfort and "relationship" tales. Personally, I'd much rather enjoy Kirk and Spock enjoying each other than experience the rather pallid, attenuated, inhibited pleasures of a platonic relationship, or the pain/release of a hurt/comfort story- which 'Nightvisions' is primarily. Regrettably, hurt/comfort stories all too often seem deficient in logics; I wouldn't recommend one of them to an inexperienced fan. I suspect they are an acquired taste, like anchovies are; I certainly can't agree that K/S is stagnating. Since you don't like K/S, you would tend to think that, of course, Chacon a son gout.
As a newcomer to the ranks of Trek writers I am more dependent than most on 'Communicator' and its like (has it any 'like'?) to tell potential readers what they can expect from me. I'm not sure how far it's proper for an author to respond to a review but if it's not out of place I should like to thank Kathleen Bennett for the very fair way she treated my story 'Offstage Enterprise' in C7. This was my first attempt to distill my love of Trek into a story, which is no doubt why it had to follow the Mary Sue approach, and it was an altogether happy chance for me that C] also carried that perceptive article, In Defence of Mary Sue, which put its finger so deftly on the need we beginners sometimes have to use a Mary Sues the 'pair of self-created eyes' were the only ones I could employ for the oblique, 'offstage' view of the day-to-day trivia on the Enterprise which I wanted to explore. Inevitably I made mistakes, and if I were writing the story now there are several things I might do differently, but I am deeply grateful to Kathleen Bennett's ability to see what I was at least aiming at, however clumsily.
In picking up my concern for 'stardate chronology' she has, however, isolated something which has now come to be very important to me, but she has perhaps given me more credit than I deserve for the way I dealt with it here. At the tine I was writing 'Offstage Enterprise', some two years ago, I was just beginning to be aware of ST not as a collection of episodes which could be viewed in any order, but as a finite and developing sequence of events with a beginning, a middle, and (somewhere) an end. But I also thought, in my innocence, that the order in which the episodes were originally 'aired' could be taken without question as the order in which they actually 'happened'. The aired order is conveniently set out in David Gerrold's 'World of Star Trek, so it was from this that I took the sequence Tribbles/Triskelion/Piece of the Action/By Any Other Name, from which I constructed. my offstage story,, with the period of the Captain's absence on Triskelion forming the main dramatic highlight.
While threading these episodes on to a chain of narrative, I had to confront the often enigmatic problem of how much time they actually took up. I knew the stardates of only some of the episodes I was using, but these suggested that they covered a period of some 150 'star-days'. On the naive assumption, which I now know to be unworkable, that a stardate is exactly equivalent to an Earth day, I therefore allowed the events to cover a period of some 5 months - roughly July to December -with Triskelion, whose stardate I did not know, fitting comfortably into the 75-day gap between Tribbles and Piece of the Action. Since the plot-timing of Triskelion seemed to allow the possibility that the search for the Captain's party could have taken weeks rather than days or hours, I was able to build up a picture of what it might have been like on the Enterprise during such a prolonged absence.I was well into this when I made the demoralizing discovery that the stardate of Triskelion is actually one of several that is out of sequence with the aired order of episodes, and in stardate terms it had happened some time before. But since there were no other episodes competing for this gap, and since I thought what I had written was dramatically sound, I let it stand, attempting to justify my order of events by means of some rather tendentious argument in an Editor's Preface, the cornerstone of which has since been effectively exploded by the Wrath of Khan....
Issue 9: Reactions and Reviews
Reviews/comments, listings and later/discussions. All lively, interesting and worth reading. Perhaps a little bogged down in the discussion of K/S of late, but it could be a passing phase. #9 included an article on "The Appeal of the Slave Story in Fandom." I'm firm in the believe that any fandom fantasizes in this way, not just Trek fandom. A lot of mundanes do it too!! I don't find it unusual and I don't think it applies only to K/S stories. Also Alexander Parallels for K/S quoting, amongst others our own Sharon Carter poem "Together" previously published in B.A.R. #1. [comments about issue #3 snipped]. Worth getting if you're into collecting Trek zines. 
Issue 10 (1983)
Communicator 10 was published in February 1983 and contains 22 pages.
- news that two fans are trying to start a zine library by post
- a letter by Della Van Hise that the editor of "Communicator" says is "regarding the NT situation." The letter, Wild says," "speaks for itself and is very revealing of the financial position of the U.S. eds."
- a review of Obsession #2, see that page
- two reviews of Alnitah #14, see that page
- a review of Naked Times #4/5 part one, see that page
- a review of Mixed Metaphors, see that page
- a review of Fesarius #5, see that page
- two reviews of Black Fire, a tie-in novel by Sonni Cooper, see that page
- a review of A Vulcan Trilogy by Doris Beetem in Eridani Triad #1, see that page
- a LONG open/personal letter from Della Van Hise about the troubles she is having in her personal life and therefore in getting zines out to people who have ordered them, see In regards to the rumors - I'm not surprised that they're circulating...
- One Editor's Views, meta by D. DaBinett
- LAVINIA versus THE CREEPING BLORCH, or, A reaction to the 'Defence of Mary Sue', meta by Pam Baddeley (a response to Karen Maund's In Defence of Mary-Sue)
- Treklit as Eroticism, meta by Helen R. Bookman
Issue 10: Excerpts from Comments
Issue 10: Reactions and Reviews
Reviews/comments, listings and later/discussions. All lively, interesting and worth reading. Perhaps a little bogged down in the discussion of K/S of late, but it could be a passing phase. [comments about issue #9 snipped] In #10, its an article entitled "Treklit as Eroticism" and a litter from Della Van Hise which is illumination for [Wild's] subscribers. Worth getting if you're into collecting Trek zines. 
Issue 11 (1983)
Communicator 11 was published in 1983.
Issue 12 (1983)
Communicator 12 was published in 1983.
Issue 13 (1983)
Communicator 13 was published in 1983.
Issue 14 (1983)
Communicator 14 was published in 1983.
Issue 15 (1984)
Communicator 15 was published in January 1984 and contains 24 pages.
- "Star Trek: The Search for Spock -- Notes taken on slide presentation by Paramount"
- a review of Stern Daughter, see that page
- a review of Duet #6 and #8, see that page
- a review of Kraith Collected #4, see that page
- two reviews of And Another K/S Zine, see that page
- a review of the tie-n novel by Diane Duane: "The Wounded Sky"
- a review of The Turbolift Review #2, see that page
- Is There Anybody Else Out There?... A Defence of THAT Motion Picture, meta about Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Janet Stewart
- a con report for the Leonard Nimoy Convention #3, see that page
Issue 15: Excerpts from CommentsThe editor bemoans the lack of civility she has seen in other zines and comments by fans:
An author says her zines are not gen but instead (while not using the word) pre-slash:From reading the letter coluuns of various newsletters over the past twelve months, and particularly this winter, I have been struck by the amount of intolerance shown. (Not I hasten to add by any correspondents of 'C'.) This seems to me especially noticeable in the use of emotive language and of moral judgements. (And when, oh when will the old tired old question of K/S finally die? Another note to new readers - the simple pro/anti K/S debate is taboo in 'C' owing to lack of space - anything else is acceptable.) These pronouncements are usually linked to the name of IDIC, which is sad, since we have always valued Trek for its forward looking acceptance of differences and the true meaning of an important concept.
Regarding the movies, characterization, and manipulation:I would like, if I may, to make a small, friendly comeback to Kate Daniels and Kathleen Bennet who were kind enough to review my stories 'Time Is Time Was..,' and 'All Loss Restored'. Who says the bond/relationship between my Kirk and Spock is purely platonic, mental and non-physical? I don't. Both stories are, in fact, heavily loaded with sexual overtones. It is a bond which, at the very least is standing right on the brink of a full sexual involvment. And any moment now folks....!
Some comments on uniforms and the transporter:
I cannot believe in either ST:TMP or TWoK as logical or even reasonable sequels to the five year mission, With ST:TMP, I have seen explanations which follow two courses. 1) Kirk accepts promotion because Spock went to Vulcan. 2) Spock goes to Vulcan because Kirk accepts promotion.
The men I learned to know in the TV series are mature adults, not spoiled children, neither explanation convinces me, and I cannot think of one that does. It may be possible to consider ST:TMP as an 'alternate universe, however, this then indicates that TWoK must be yet another alternate. Kirk might just might make the mistake of accepting promotion once, under no circumstances will he do it twice. Yet we are asked to believe that the Kirk who has been miserable as an Admiral, who has fought to get his ship back and won, will tamely trot off to be miserable again. I've never noticed the man had a tendency to masochism - have I been missing something all these years?
As for the death of Spock, I cannot help but feel that the fans have been cynically manipulated, by whom, I leave to each individual's judgement. What the result of Star Trek III will be, I do not care to speculate; but what better hook to lure in the fish (i.e. the paying public) than the controversy over the possible resurrection of a much loved character? For myself, I will wait and see; if I like what is offered, I will enjoy the film, if not, I will file it away as I do any fan fiction I find personally unbelievable.Common sense says that Trek could not have continued for ever as it was, however, I will always maintain that the best, most believable and most likely ending for the five year mission was a period of leave, a refit for the Enterprise - and another five year mission.
Does anyone else agree that the uniforms in TWoK are ideal dress uniforms but a little over-elaborate for everyday wear? I keep visualising the crew trying to scramble into all those complicated buttons and buckles during a red alert in the middle of the night. It seems to be fashionable nowadays to decry the series uniform. I find it simple, practical, informative (you can tell a crewman's rank, section and ship at a glance) and much more comfortable to wear than either of the improved versions. My other 'niggle' is the transporter. In the series it was used as easily and casually as we might use a bus. The films seem to me to say "Gosh, look at that fantastically dangerous way to travel". Perhaps McCoy was right all along?
Issue 16 (1984)
Other unknown content.
Issue 17 (1984)
Communicator 17 was published in May 1984 and contains 24 pages.
- a review of The Conscience of the Governor, see that page
- a review of Locusts.. and wild honey, see that page
- a review of It Takes Time On Impulse #1, see that page
- a review of The Exhibit, see that page
- a review of Naked Singularity, see that page
- a review of Matter/Antimatter #3/4, see that page
- a review of Genesis X, see that page
- a review of the pro book, "The Trellisane Confrontation"
- a long description/analysis/review of "Star Trek III" movie gleaned from the Paramount slide show
- a long description of some personal interchange between "Communicator" and the Australian fan club Astrex focusing on morals and opinions regarding K/S fan material
- No Place to Go?, meta by Rosemary Wild regarding K/S fanworks: cliches, tropes, and trends within; it is a response to an essay by Johanna Cantor in R & R #12 (1980)
- a review by Darien Duck of the movie The Search for Spock
- a review by Pat English of the movie The Search for Spock
Issue 17: Excerpts from CommentsA fan commented to comments by Alayne Gelfand in the previous issue:
The editor writes of the challenges of negotiating with other zines for trade and for ads, mainly due to other zine eds spurning K/S content. One fan club had had a change in leadership, and as a result, would no longer accept ads or deal in zine trading with the editor of "Communicator":
The letter in Communicator from Della, which was published some time ago, was a personal reply to a previous letter of mine to her (which I passed on to Communicator's editor). When I wrote that letter to her, I had also waited 18 months for my zine. As that letter was sent to me in December '82, I had also been waiting 3 years? for my zine from Della. I can assure you that I am not the execution in this country or in Europe.While I am delighted that you have received your zines, you are an American. No one, as far as I am aware, has had part 1 of Naked Times in Britain, and my three year wait pales into the insignificane compared with some people in this country. You say that we should give Della the trust and faith she needs. Trust, Alayne, is a two-way thing -- for people in this country she has done nothing to earn trust. I firmly believe that Della has no intentions of honoring foreign orders for Naked Times 4/5 and her statement that all foreign orders would be posed part 1 & 2 together frankly does not hold water. Rather than trust Della, I hold her to be dishonest and her treatment of British and European fans has soured many people to such an extent that they no longer preorder US zines, believing that they could be defrauded elsewhere also. If Della would care to refute this then I would be interested to hear.
The Alternative Factor (TAF) will not be used as a vehicle for the distribution of indecent literature. Indecent literature being any literature or publication containing sodomy, bestiality, sadism, and/or any other such sexual perversion. Our reasons for this stand that it is contrary to the laws of God and our country -- also customs officials here are quite harsh and there is such a thing as the "Indecent Publications Act' which prohibits the important of such literature.
As for letting our readers decide -- they already have! A while ago, there was an opinion poll within the club and the result, by a favourable majority, was the previous point.
New Zealanders are vastly different in their situation, their morals, and their beliefs and laws, to the Australians.
By past experience, most, if not all K/S zines are in direct conflict with the above. Only a very small minority are not. Those requiring age statements are "Adult" zines and are also in direct conflict with the above. Incidentally, most clubs d not require an age statement for the purchase of their zines. I have yet to come across a zine of the K/S nature and requiring an age statement that does not contain gross deviencies, thus the polite inquiry as to the subject matter of Locusts and Wild Honey should not be taken as an insult or be give as a cause for offense and I can assure you that there was no such intention. In New Zealand, it is advisable for anyone importing literature of any nature to be sure as to its subject content -- the last thing I want would be a customs battle with TAF or any of its members.
- My reply: I was both stunned and saddened by the frightened rigid intolerance shown in your letter. That seems to me to have no place in the world of Star Trek.
- Evidently, your general attitude to minorities extends also to the majority of your own club members whose existence is implicit in your use of the word "majority" in your letter. These members are apparently not to be permitted to choose for themselves.
- Therefore, I must withdraw my requests for advertising space in Hailing Frequencies for both Communicator and Locusts & Wild Honey, since I wish neither publication to be associated with such an attitude.
- I will make no further comment since the correspondence speaks for itself. I have printed it party as a warning to those attempting to bypass N.Z. Customs, and partly as an explanation as to why there are no "C" contacts in New Zealand...One final humorous note -- I may have been accused of a variety of things, but thus far "bestiality" has not been one of them.
Issue 18 (1984)
Issue 19 (1984)
Issue 20 (1984)
Communicator 20 was published in 1984.
Issue 20: Reactions and Reviews 20
The editor of "Communicator" had this to say in issue #22 about the review above from "Constellation":This zine from England is devoted to reviews of stories, zines, and Star Trek III. You get 22 pages devoted to "subspace chatter" on fan stories and zines, mainly of a K/S nature. Ages 2-18 not admitted. It is well-written and the subject matter is... well, fascinating. The book review of "Search for Spock" by Ros Calverley points out a few anomalies which I had not notices. Valkrie, for instance, is a Klingon female, and could not possibly be head of a family. And how did the infant Spock get out of the heavy coffin? 
Now much as I appreciate the kindness, I could not let this pass.
Thank you for the issue of Constellation , which I found very interesting. Thank you also for the review of Communicator. Publicity is always welcome. However, the reviewer may have given the readers a false impression of Communicator, perhaps from reading a single issue of what is a bi-monthly zine. I should be very grateful if you would print this in your nerb to set the record straight.
1) 'C is not 'devoted to reviews of stories, zines and STIII'. 'C' covers all aspects of fandom including the above. We feature anything of interest to the fans, including special articles and all the films.
2) The review carried a misprint - it is in fact SUBSPACE CHATTER, that is our news and gossip column. This section is not 'devoted to fan stories and zines' but to 'news' about the actors, films, anything of current interest.
3) No, the material of 'C' is not mainly of a K/S nature. Of the forty two zines reviewed in the past year, only seventeen were K/S. 'C is a general interest zine. K/S is, of course, discussed, as it obviously interests our readers but all topics are open.
4) "Ages two to eighteen not admitted" said your reviewer. I don't know where she derived this but 'C' (unlike Village Press fiction) has no age statement, (although the editor reserves the right of sale. It is not a zine of interest to children and early teenagers.) Young people are entitled to adult discussion, if they are to be adult.
4) "The book review of 'The Search for Spock' by Ros Calverly..." thus the reviewer. The review itself was in fact by Vivienne Rivers in C10, Ros wrote a letter of comment in C2, and although she did remark on the problem of Valkris as head of the family, the comment about baby Spock emerging from his coffin originates with Janet Stewart in the same issue.I trust, in view of so many factual errors, you will print 1 - 5 in full to set matters straight.
Issue 21 (1985)
Communicator 21 was published in January 1985.
- "Not Essential Trek," an essay by May Nash, the topic is the Trek movies
- other unknown content
Issue 22 (1985)
Communicator 22 was published in March 1985 and contains 20 pages.
- a review of Doomsday Voyager, see that page
- a review of Galileo Shuttle Logs #1, see that page
- a review of Duet #11, see that page
- a review of Emanon #21, see that page
- a review of Parallax Ring, see that page
- a review of It Takes Time on Impulse #2, see that page
- a review of the tie-in book, "My Enemy, My Ally" by Diane Duane
- "Operation Omelette!", meta by Barbara G regarding the episode that took place on the planet Deneva
- Dear Artist: Under-Draw!, an scolding and imperious open letter by Bjo Trimble that was distributed to fans via flyer
Issue 22: Excerpts from Comments
This issue contains just a few letters. One is from a fan who is angry and distraught about zine she has paid for YEARS ago and not revived. Another is from Carol Lynn who gives a short Kraith update, and explains that Kraith Collected #7 is much delayed.The other letter is by an Australian fan:
To begin with, I don't think that any K/S, thoughtful or otherwise, shuuld go into club zines, as this would effectively deny the zine to the club's younger members and even non-explicit material could offend parents. If older members wanted an R-rated special separate from the normal zine, well and good. That depends on the individual club. But there shouldn't be lobbying for it from outside.
As for genzines, I can't see any particular reason for putting in K/S. If K/S was put in it would no longer be a genzine. There are people who prefer their Trek without sexual content and others who don't like K/S. Surely there are plenty of zines catering for K/S without having to 'spread the word' in regular zines? I've seen enough K/S reviews in this zine alone.
I would disagree with the assertion that STIII is a film about Kirk and Spock. To my mind it is a film about the friendship of a group of people, about their sacrifice for a beloved shipmate, just as he had sacrificed himself for them in TWoK. Of all the, films this one best utilises all the characters and to say that: it's about Kirk and Spock is to insult the others, who faced certain court martial - and in the case of Scotty gave up a promotion - to save Spock. Therefore, there's no particular reason, in my opinion why Vonda McIntyre should have concentrated on Kirk and Spock in her novelisation.
I think that, of all the pro—writers, who have handled Trek, she is one of the most sensitive and the best. She develops the characters, fills in gaps in the screenplay and brings in interesting scenes and characters of her own (as did Alan Dean Foster in the delightful Logs). Most film novelisations I've read are bare, shallow things taken directly from the scripts. But Vonda loves her subject and treats it with care. She has been a fan longer than most of us - according to Bjo Trimble's book, she was in that famous letter campaign - and so it's understandable that she should care. Her novel, 'The Entropy Effect' was the best Trek novel I've read.
Before closing, I'd like to state that I think the exultation of Spock and Kirk at the expense of the other characters and of the themes of the show - visiting strange new worlds, exploring sf concepts and respect for other ways of life - is a sad thing. Kirk and Spock are surely not the be-all and end-all of Star Trek? If they're your favourite characters, fine. Spock is my favourite character and I quite like Kirk too - but be aware please, that there are other characters and that, while the show could probably have gone on without one of these, I doubt if it would have gone on only with Kirk and Spock. If this letter leads to a pile of angry replies, I'll be pleased, perhaps, Madame Editor, it will encourage you to keep up your excellent zine.
- Ed: I hope I get a pile of replies, although not angry ones. Anger only seems to serve to confirm the original writer in her/his opinion. Please note, as I mentioned elsewhere in this issue, of the 42 zines reviewed last year, only 17 of them were K/S but these seem to be the ones people remember. I wonder why?
Issue 23 (1985)
The Communicator 23 was published in May 1985 and contains 22 pages.
- a review of Nome #1 and #2, see those pages
- a review of California K/S, see that page
- a review of Naked Times 4/5, part two, see that page
- a review of Tesseract #3, see that page
- a review of Naked Singularity, see that page
- the open letter called To the Editors of All K/S Zines and All Other "/" Media Zines, this letter was printed in other zines and refers to The Great Australian Radio Show Fiasco
- a con report for 1985 Sol III, see that page
- "A Gulp of Armageddon," fiction by Barbara Gill
- many zine ads, including ones for Travel and High Adventure, The Other Sides of Me, The Pledge #2, and Doomsday Voyager
Issue 23: Excerpts from CommentsThe male/male sex is okay, but this fan has had it with the drinking:
Where there's money, there's motivation:My penny's worth in the great K/S debate. I see nothing wrong with two people loving each other. I do see a lot wrong with situations we frequently see in the so-called genzines. I refer to the regular visits to brothels of course. I am also irritated by the abuse of alcohol which turns up in practically every zine. It is, of course, a handy device for getting characters to say things they would not normally say. The handy device is abused as much as the Saurian brandy bottle. Every time we see a character off duty (Spock often included), he has a drink in his hand. How many times has McCoy been portrayed as a lush? How many times more has McCoy been positively engaged in getting Kirk drunk, this being apparently the only way he can forget his great responaibilities for a few hours. And being tipsy is not enough - no, let him throw up a couple of times and then pass out. After all, Spock is always happy to put him to bed afterwards (and this isn't even K/S!) Many writers seem to forget that the Enterprise is a military vessel - perhaps they should ask themselves before writing such situations if it would happen in the Royal Navy.
This letter is by Della Van Hise:With regard to the films, much as I have enjoyed them (with some reservations), I do hope they call a halt soon. I hate to see the actors getting older and more decrepit. The television episodes will always be the 'Bible' for me, but I suppose that as long as there is money to be made Paramount will go.on churning the films out.
As most of you may know by now, Pon Farr Press has recently purchased a xerox machine - which means that the printing will be done entirely by me in the future (with the possible exception of genzines and ultra-major print-jobs). The bad thing about that is that the machine is slower than"I would like. Which means that NT 4/5 Part II, and TIME OUT OF MIND are being sent out in small 'waves'. The machine is high-quality and provides an image barely distinguishable from the original in most cases - but it can only handle about 25 copies of each zine per week. So if you receive this and know of someone who is still waiting, please pass this information along. I hope to have all copies of NT4/5 Part II and TIME OUT OF MIND in the mail prior to March 30th if all goes well - though May 1st may be a more realistic date, depending on how many nervous breakdowns the machine and operator have during the course of production. At any rate, all back orders have now been filled, and I'm working on the final pre-orders of NT4/5 Part II and TIME OUT OF MIND.
Issue 24 (1985)
Communicator 24 was published in July 1985 and contains 16 pages. It was the last issue.
Issue 24: Reactions and Reviews
This is the last issue. [A] news, reviews, views zine which is going to be sadly missed. It will leave a large hole in the communication between here [Australia] and the UK re: new and current zines. Lana Brown is pubbing one for NX/Australia and there is Universal Translator for the US. However, Rosemary will still continue to produce her other zines. Send a s.a.s.e. for a listing. 
- from Not Tonight, Spock! #1 (January 1984)
- from The Legacy of K/S in Letterzines: British Letterzines: STAG, IDIC, and Communicator
- This fan was the secretary of the fan club Beyond Antares
- This fan's use of "K/S and K/S/M" does not refer to sexual relationships and is an excellent example of these terms straddling the lines among sexual, emotional intimacies, and close friendships, even in this letterzine that embraced all forms of fanworks, including sexually explicit.
- This fan is making a broad and incorrect generalization about American zines and practices: the ONLY zine that did that was Datazine.
- This fan is making a broad and incorrect generalization about American zines and practices.
- Interestingly, the fan who wrote this letter (Theresa H) was a adamant anti-K/S fan, at least early on.
- from Beyond Antares #23
- from Beyond Antares #23
- Constellation v.3 n.3 (January 1985)
- from Beyond Antares #29