Contes di Cottman IV

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Title: Contes di Cottman IV
Publisher: Lightning Press
Editor(s): Lynne Holdom, Roberta Rogow (issue #1-5), and Lynne and Ingrid Maack (issue #6), Lynne alone (issue #7, onwards)
Date(s): 1981-1991
Medium: print
Fandom: Darkover
Language: English
External Links:
covers of issues #1-#15
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contes di Cottman IV is a Darkover fanzine edited by Lynne Holdom. She had other co-editors: Roberta Rogow (#1-5) and Ingrid Maack (#6).

The editor describes "Contes de Cottman IV" as "a Darkover fanzine with the Terran accent."

Permission from Bradley

From the title page of the first issue: "This is an amateur publication produced with the written permission of Marion Zimmer Bradley."

In the editorial, it is noted that this zine series had a "blanket go-ahead" from Bradley.

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Bob Eggleton
back cover of issue #1, Rob Miller, III

Contes di Cottman IV 1 was published in November 1981 and contains 75 pages.

The art is by Lynne Eldridge, Amy Harlib, Michelle Petersson, Melody Rondeau, Fa Shimbo, Michael B. Smith, Rob Miller III, and Bob Eggleton.

From the editorial: Lynne:

I really hadn't intended to edit another zine after I'd arranged to step down as the editor of Tightbeam which I'd edited since July of 1976. I hadn't even intended to write another Darkover story after finishing 'A Time to Heal' which, under the name, 'The Way of the Wolf,' will appear in the anthology 'The Sword of Chaos and Other Stories' due out sometime next year from DAW. So why am I co-editing this and whey did I write two Darkover stories after I had promised myself that I would branch out into my own universe? I wish I knew. Part of the answer is that I love to edit and I'm getting fairly good at it. Another part of the answer is that I met Roberta Rogow at an ESFA (Eastern SF Assc) meeting. Now I have a number of friends who encourage me to write fiction. Mainly, they threaten to lynch me if I don't produce. However they all live far enough away that they are limited to making threats by mail. Roberta, though, lives only a short distance away and can, at the drop of a hat, drive over and make sure I'm writing or editing or whatever I should be doing. It's great incentive and one I need. Also she gives me feedback on my works in progress which I also need, at least at times.

For example: about four years ago I had this vague idea of a starship crewman who kept getting dreams about a strange planet with four moons, high mountains, medieval people and strange aliens. You guessed it. He was dreaming about Darkover because he was a latent psi. I pictured this crewman as a Scot and he somehow got the ship to come to Darkover thus opening up Empire contact with Darkover. (The "how" was something I had never explained or even thought about.) Roberta mentioned that we needed a story about the Recontact of Darkover and Terra. I foolishly said that I'd had an idea along that line. "Fine," she said. "Write it up." The result is "Recontact" and it shows how my ideas have changed. As one example, I am tired of North American, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic types so my red-headed Scot became Cristovao da Silva of Brazil who knew he had psi powers but who was not a telepath. "Recontact" was also the first story I have written that had a Terran in it in any role. Most of my stories have been set in the Ages of Chaos and include only Darkovans.

The editorial: Roberta:

This is the third fanzine I've been associated with as Editor or Co-Editor (the fourth if you count the TREXINDEX). You'd really think I'd know better than to get involved with the assorted hassles of putting together a fanzine, selling it at conventions, etc -- and a Darkover fanzine at that!

I was dragged into Darkover kicking and screaming last November, because I'd been done out of a Trek-Con and I had 200 copies of GRIP #8 to peddle -- and the fact that I'd been deploring Darkover fandom for years didn't stop me from attending the Grand Council Meeting in Wilmington during Thanksgiving weekend. Having sneered loudly at Darkover, I realized that I hadn't actually read any of the more recent Darkover books; the first version of THE BLOODY SUN had turned me off utterly, and the antics of some Darkover fans didn't help any. If I was going to be negative about something, I'd better have my facts straight -- and so, I read the NEW edition of THE BLOODY SUN -- and I was thoroughly hooked, especially after I read HERITAGE OF HASTUR. I proceeded to write some Darkover filksongs, and then a story on the oft-repeated theme of "How-Dyan-did-it" (which is being printed in the collection "Bitter Honeymoon and Other Stories" by Thendara House).

At this point, Lynne Holdom came into my life via a group called the Eastern Science-Fiction Association which meets once a month at the Wayne Public Library. Lynne had been urged by our mutual friend, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, to get in touch with me, since we live only a few miles away from each other. However, things being what they are, we only met this past Spring. It was Instant Recognition on both sides. She had characters, but no plots. I write plots, but my characters tend to be sketchy. Obviously, we HAD to collaborate. The result is called "Ole!"

At the same time, I'd developed the story which emerged (after much travail) as "Judas", which got gestated at about the same time as I was involved in preparing my daughter Louise for her Bat Mitzva, a major milestone in Jewish life. So now we had two stories, and a viewpoint that we both shared, and what could we do about it?

As a veteran of the Trekkie scene, my impulse was to publish a fanzine -- provided we could get the okay from Ms Bradley. Lynne got a blanket go-ahead and we went ahead, soliciting material from anyone we could think of who shared our viewpoint: the Terrannan are not monsters, but human beings, with flaws and virtues, even as Darkover is not Paradise on Earth (or in Space), but a society where there is a lot of injustice and some very unpleasant (if fascinating) people.

So --- here it is. Our very first issue of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV (translated, it's "Tales of Darkover", in what we think is going to be Terran Standard about two thousand years from now.) Besides "Judas" and "Ole", we've got a couple of stories by Pat Mathews, one by Lynne Holdom, art by both familiar and unfamiliar hands, and a brief over-view of what Lynne and I think is going to happen to Earth.

I've been editor of GRIP four four years; I co-edited WIDE OPEN SPACES with Leah Rosenthal for two. Lynne's been editing JUMEAUX for five years and TIGHTBEAM for six. Between us we hope we can present a fanzine worthy of the Terran Trade City and Darkover.


  • Editorial (1)
  • Communique by Roberta Rogow (2)
  • Recontact by Lynne Holdom ("A young man of Aldaran meets strangers from farther than he could know.") (also in Kierestelli #2) (3)
  • N'ha Ysabet by Pat Mathews ("Magda Lorne's parents come to Cottman IV.") (19)
  • Ole by Roberta Rogow and Lynne Holdom ("Cultural exchange takes on a whole new meaning.") (28)
  • Judas by Roberta Rogow ("A City Guardsman has a mid-life crisis with surprising results.") (40)
  • Thendara Mailbag by Pat Mathews (73)

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Fa Shimbo
back cover of issue #2, Rikk

Contes di Cottman IV 2 was published in May 1982 and contains 88 pages.

The art is by Nancy Gervais, Fa Shimbo, Rikk, Linda Leach, Michelle Petersson, Melody Rondeau, Mike Smith, Hannah Shapero, and Rob Miller III.

From the editorial by Lynne:

Welcome to the second issue of CONTFS DI COTTMAN IV. I wasn't sure He'd make it since I'm never sure just how a sine of mine is going to be received. We also have managed to get some writers doing stories for us besides Patricia Mathews who will most likely he calling herself Patricia Shaw after this issue. It seems there is another Patricia Mathews who writes Gothics (and must he rich judging by the number of her books adorning the shelves of bookstores and libraries) and Patricia doesn't want to be confused with her.

Mary Frey has returned to writing after a brief absence. Among other things she was working at two jobs but Reagonomics has solved that problem. She has written of the meeting of Wade Montray and Hariel of Aldaran. Her story was quite long and could he divided quite naturally into two parts. Each is complete in itself so we are publishing them both as complete stories.

Bill West showed me and Roberta Rogow a story he was working on when we attended Boskone. We both agreed that it needed work but was fairly good. It certainly shows a different picture of Dyan Ardais than most of the fiction concerning him. Perhaps Bill shows us how a man sees Dyan rather than how a woman does.

For a long time I wasn't sure whether or not we were going to be publishing "Rule Nineteen" or not. There was a slight mix up and we were not sure whether it would be published by Thendara House or us or both. However, a bit of communication cleared that problem up. Linda Leach did the illos. She remarked that "Rule Nineteen" was one of the better stories she's illustrated. Patricia's story isn't really science-fiction or even fantasy. It's an all too real problem faced by many people today.

Naturally Roberta Rogow and I couldn't resist writing another story about the zany antics of the Cultural Affairs Bureau. If nothing else, we are showing in a humorous way just why the Terrans aren't particularly liked by Darkovans. Darkover gets all the losers and incompetents in the Foreign Service. The one exception is the rising of a new group, about the time of HERITAGE OF HASTUR, composed of half-Darkovans, half-Terrans born on the planet who have some understanding of both sides. Though judging from the experiences of such peoples on comtemporary Terra, I'm not at all sure that they would not be harsher toward "ignorant natives" than ordinary Terrans. Dan Lawton is the exception, not the rule.

Greg Baker's story is also the first of two parts and is finally here having been promised for the first issue. We may or may not have the second part next issue.

While driving to Boston for Boskone, Roberta and I got wondering just who actually did kill Cleindori and her circle. It's all very well to talk of fanatics but we wanted to be a bit for specific. After all, one could say that fanatics killed Lincoln or Anwar Sadat or McKinley or Julius Caesar or.... I'm sure you get the idea. So we started discussing specifics. The result is "The Kerwin File". It's a looking back in retrospect since neither Roberta nor I could stomach writing from the point of view of a fanatical murderer. (I know you are supposed to be able to write from all points of view but, quite frankly, I can't.)

Finally there is the humorous "Great Fire of Shainsa". Something lighthearted was needed after "The Kerwin File."

One note: The Terran Empire uses a different dating system than ours. Their base date is "The time man first escaped his planet to travel to other worlds." But does this mean the date of the first artificial satellite? the first moon landing? The manned Mars landing? Or the first trip to another star? Who knows. The Interregnum during which 95$ °f Terra's population perished (in the year 179) destroyed so many records that no one will ever be entirely sure though all of the above events have their supporters as the year 0.

From the editorial by Roberta:

Greetings, and here we go again! This is our second issue of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV. A number of people didn't think we'd get past our first issue. We are already making plans for #3.

When we started this fanzine, there was some doubt as to the propriety of anyone but Marion Zimmer Bradley herself writing or publishing Darkover fiction. MZB has squashed objections to the former and she's been very kind about CONTES citing one story from the first issue in a Special Issue of STARSTONE. So that should settle that particular argument.

As for the contents of the second issue: There are two stories that are sort of two-parters in that they are parts of series, (and there are some more misadventures of the Cultural Affairs Office). "The Dope From Thendara" was advertised for CONTES #1. Unfortunately, between our page restrictions and Greg Baker's difficulties in getting to his typewriter to do the second draft, it had to be postponed. Greg wants to devote his time to his GREAT NOVEL, so we decided to let him do it. When he's finished with that, we'll have "The Dope's Revenge". Mary Frey was in the same predicament; she had a story that fell into two parts and we're publishing them as separate stories rather than use a "cliffhanger" ending.

William West (also known as Bill) has given us a look at Larry Montray facing Darkovan society at its worst. Pat Mathews returns with a story that shows that bureaucracy doesn't change much no matter where or when. And as for Lynne and me, our contributions to this issue are "The Reluctant Amazon", another rip-roaring fiasco for our friends in the Cultural Affairs Office, and "The Kerwin Pile".

"The Kerwin File" is one of those things that sort of grows on you. Lynne has already published an article on "Who Killed Gleindori" in JUMEAUX. She and I got to talking about it, and the more we talked, the more involved it became. MZB doesn't want to get into the details of the murder, and I can see why. But it still leaves a lot of loose ends, and Lynne and I set to tie them up.

I might as well confess one failing: I am a lazy writer. Once I have gone to all the trouble of inventing a character, finding a background and an inner life for him/her, I hate to just drop the poor thing by the wayside and make up someone else. I tend to use the character again and again....and so it was with Henry Levich, Director of Personnel, who is also head of Civilian Intelligence in Thendara (a sort of CIA as opposed to MI-5). As to who could be his "watson", the obvious choice was Dan Lawton, who would become very important on Darkover in HERITAGE OF HASTUR and SHARRA'S EXILE. If you want to look at it that way, Levich is ME and Lawton is Lynne. And while "The Kerwin File" (like "Judas" in CONTES #l) may not be Marion's version, we think that it's a logical explanation.

Enjoy the zine KEEP YOUR TOWER DRY!

  • Editorial by Lynne Holdom (1)
  • Communique by Roberta Rogow (2)
  • Whither Thou Goest by Mary Frey, art by Nancy Gervais (3)
  • Rule Nineteen by Patricia Mathews, art by Linda Leach (16)
  • Prologue by William West, art by Michelle Petersson (28)
  • The Reluctant Amazon by Lynne Holdom and Roberta Rogow, art by Melody Rondeau (35)
  • Thendara Mailbag, Again by Patricia Mathews (48)
  • The Dope from Thendara by Gregory A. Baker, art by Mike Smith (49)
  • The Kerwin File by Roberta Rogow and Lynne Holdom, art by Hannah Shapero (65)
  • The Great Fire of Shainsa by Patricia Mathews, art by Rob Miller III (88)

Issue 3

front cover issue #3, Hannah Shapero, a wrap-around with the back cover
back cover by Hannah Shapero

Contes di Cottman IV 3 was published in November 1982 and contains 92 pages.

The art is by Michelle Petersson, Jean Ellenbach, Melody Rondeau, Shona Jackson, and Steve Fabian.

The stories include another in the Levich/Lawton series, the exploration of the Montray divorce, and a couple of examples of Terran/Darkovan co-operation.

From Lynne's editorial:

Welcome to the latest issue of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV. It was just about a year ago that I typed up my first editorial. Now that issue is all but out of print, quite an accomplishment. We have also added quite a few other authors besides me, my co-editor, Roberta Rogow, and Pat Mathews who is now writing under the name Patricia Shaw. See "Darkover Landfill" in this issue.

We also had the unpleasant task of having to postpone using one short story, "Summer Frost" which was supposed to be in this issue. However we ran out of room so it will appear next issue. We also have two other stories which arrived just too late to go in this issue which will probably appear next issue. Quite a difference from the first issue when we were begging for material.

On the other hand we do have the rest of Mary Frey's tale of Wade and Mariel Montray, how they met and how they came to part. William West has written a humorous story of one man and one dog's introduction to Darkover in "Woof". "Cabin Fever" is a bit different from most of the usual CONTES DI COTTMAN stories in that it has no Terrans in it. It does take place during the Terran era however, and is yet another of those how-Dyan-did-it stories represented in the Thendara House publication BITTER HONEYMOON AND OTHER STORIES. "Cabin Fever" arrived just to late to be included there, and it isn't likely that there will be another anthology with the same theme so....

Katherine St. John had a story in the anthology BITTER HONEYMOON mentioned above. She wrote under the name Kathy Gorman then in case you want to look up the story. Here, she shows us a Darkovan with a unique problem. For the record, it was the first story we got for this issue.

Pat Shaw's "Darkover Landfill" was the last story we got. Pat is working on a novel that she hopes to have published, so isn't doing much short story writing. We do have a story of hers on hand for next issue. After that, there may be a long drought.

"Vengeance is Mine" came out of a three-sided discussion at Chicon between me, Roberta Rogow and Devra Langsam. Devra, who used to head the Free Amazon Council, posed a what-would-happen-if situation which we all discussed back and forth. The original solution was so grim that it belonged to a medieval ballad or to Greek tragedy. Since we were not quite up to the latter, we settled for writing the former and postulated what happens when a modern person runs up against a situation out of a ballad. Ballads are pleasant to sing and to listen to but....

I suppose I should also say a few words about "And Justice for All" which was listed on the flyer as appearing this issue. Roberta wanted to rethink the story since it seemed to have a number of flaws. Just enter a story in the Darkover story contest and you will discover just how many flaws it has. That, too, will appear next issue.

  • Editorial by Lynne Holdom (1)
  • Communique by Roberta Rogow (2)
  • The Parting of the Ways by Mary Frey, art by Michelle Petersson (2)
  • Woof by William West, art by Melody Rondeau (19)
  • Cabin Fever by Lynne Holdom, art by Jean Ellenbach (30)
  • Darkover Landfill by Patricia Shaw, art by Jean Ellenbach (43)
  • Infinite Diversity by Katherine St. John, art by Steve Fabian (56)
  • Vengeance is Mine by Roberta Rogow and Lynne Holdom, art by Shona Jackson (66)
  • Ylanna's Revenge, a filk by Roberta Rogow, Devra Langsam, and Lynne Holdom (last two pages, not listed in the table of contents)

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, Steve Fabian
back cover of issue #4, Sara Stoel
art for "The Road to Nevarsin" -- artist is Hannah Shapero: "As Marion Zimmer Bradley explained it, the humans and Earth animals and plants on Darkover were brought to the planet in a colonizing expedition. The colonizers were people who wanted to live a "back to the land" or neo-medieval lifestyle, and most of them were of Scottish, Irish, or otherwise Celtic ancestry. There were not very many, no more than a few thousand it seems, as well as the crew of the ship who were not of the same genetic ancestry. Some disaster happened which destroyed their ship and their colonizing resources, forcing the voyagers to live a far more primitive life than they had expected. It took hundreds of years for them to re-invent an effective technology, and this was based not on silicon and metal but on Psi powers, which were a Celtic endowment increased by both inbreeding and secret liaisons with compatible empowered humanoid aliens, the Chieri. Two thousand years later (there is no "canonical" timeline of Darkover) an expedition coming from Earth - a high-technology supermodern space empire Earth - re-discovers Darkover. Despite resistance from the Darkovan humans, the Earthlings re-colonize Darkover and build a spaceport as well as industrial and residential developments. The story I'm illustrating here takes place in the re-colonization era. An arrogant Catholic priest arrives at the spaceport, intending to research how much the old settlers remember of the Faith. Ultimately the priest plans to return them to the true teaching and practice of the religion. In this scene he literally bumps into his assigned acolyte and assistant and goes right by him, not recognizing him as a helper sent for him. Later in the story the priest has to help in a life-threatening crisis which changes his attitude for the better. Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", spring 1983." - pyracanthasketch

Contes di Cottman IV 4 was published in May 1983 and contains 88 pages.

The art is by Steve Fabian, Sara Stoel, Hannah Shapero, Linda Leach, Melody Rondeau, Jean Ellenbach, Jane Fancher, Pat Munson-Siter, and Michelle Petersson.

From the editorial by Lynne Holdom:

Welcome to the fourth volume of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV. Somehow when Roberta Rogow and I first thought up this project, I hadn't envisioned it lasting this long. After all I knew very few writers willing to write about Darkover and at least half of those who were, were more interested in the Ages of Chaos than in Terran/Darkovan interrelationships. Yet each volume of CONTES features new writers — new to us anyway — and this issue is no exception.

Patricia Buard and Michael Rabbitt are a husband wife team. The basic idea for "Matrix" was Michael's but the writing for the most part was Patricia's. It poses the question of just how far automation can go. Can a computer really do everything?

Cynthia McQuillan is also an Andre Norton fan par excellance. Thus it is not strange that her Darkover has a little of the flavor of the Witch World. Upon starting this story, I got the feeling I had wandered through a Gate into a Realm somehow connected with both worlds. I hope she writes more. This was supposed to be in CONTES If3 but got squeezed out.

Jonathan Shipley lives in Texas and says he got the inspiration for "Legends From the Past" in a dream. Other than that I know nothing about him except that he has had a story published in STARSTONE #4.

Valerie Smith lives in upstate New York, is active in the SCA and is interested in the martial arts. These all are evident in "Terranan Steel", in which....ah but that would be telling. But those who complain that there are no strong, competent female protagonists — or not enough of them — should like her story.

And old familiar writers have returned for this issue as well: William West decided that we should give equal time to religions other than the Judaism of Henry Levich and submitted a story to fill the gap. Patricia Shaw has a story difficult to fit into any category while Dan Lawton and Dr. Henry Levich decide to investigate the death of Rafael Hastur and his paxman. "The Choice", which rounds out the issue, happened to be the only story that fitted exactly into the space left over after the other stories were included. (There are advantages to being the editor.) Finally there's a filk by the assistant editor.

There are also three artists appearing in CONTES for the first time. Pat Munson-Siter has, however, has had a lot of artwork in JUMEAUX, another Darkover-related fanzine which I edit. She has also had artwork in STARSTONE. Jane Fancher's art style may look familiar as she also assists at ELFQUEST. I especially want to thank Jane because she was willing to do art for this zine at the last minute, despite her busy schedule, when another artist told me she was unable to do the work. Sara Stoel, the third artist appearing here for the first time, was drawn to my notice by my printer. It seems she had come into his place to xerox artwork and her art reminded him of art printed in JUMEAUX. So... The only problem is that Sara has never read a Darkover novel. Hopefully that will be remedied by the time our next issue comes out. And thanks to all the artists who aren't new to these pages: Jean Ellenbach, Linda Leach, Melody Rondeau, Michelle Petersson, Hannah Shapero, and our cover artist Steve Fabian who is a neighbor of mine. Well, he lives in the same town I do.

One reminder: all dating in this zine is by Terran Empire Standard (TES) which is dated from "the time man first escaped his planet into the greater galaxy." This dating system is used by all Terrans in official records though local planetary time may be used as well in certain cases. Thus it was the merest co-incidence that August 16, happened to correspond with summer on Darkover — what there is of it.

From the editorial by Roberta Rogow:

Here we are again, with another selection of fannish stories about Darkover.

When we started, Lynne and I felt there were enough fans out there with ideas about Terran/Darkovan communication and interaction to make a fanzine. Time seems to have proved us right. Even Marion Zimmer Bradley has commented on our stories... and we have scored a few coups in the art department. This issue's cover is by Steve Fabian who is well-known in the field of science fiction art; we also have illustrations by Hannah Shapiro and Jane Fancher.

Putting the art together with the story is not easy... especially when you are not too sure which stories you are going to use! This issue was a difficult one to illustrate, since at least one story nearly didn't get written....

We have a wide selection for you this time around. We have "The Road to Nevarsin which is a speculation as to the re-union of the cristoforos with the Terran Church. We have "Summer Frost", a love story that got bumped from the last issue, and we have "Matrix", which proves that there are some things that a computer simply cannot do! We have a satirical look at a certain type of swashbuckling adventure story, and we have a look at a possible future for Darkover. And we have another adventure with Dr. Henry Levich and Dan Lawton.

This is the one that took the longest to write...partly because it is very much a "mental" mystery, and partly because Lynne and I couldn't get together on so much of it. My new job in Ridgefield means that my time is limited; we have to sit and bang stories out on the telephone instead of in person. However...we managed to come up with an acceptable solution to the mystery of "Who killed Rafael Hastur"... and "Why?". (When we brought the problem up at the Darkover Grand Council Meeting last November, MZB told us, 'I don't care if you have Kadarin kill him. ' Which made me re-think a few ideas I had about laran...)

People seem to like the "Levich/Lawton" stories...which is gratifying. It means we must be doing something right. One thing the stories are doing is making me think over my own religious beliefs... The situation in my household is confusing, what with one daughter getting "Born Again", the other daughter joining the Neo-Pagans, and my husband chanting Yogi mantras and burning joss. I have had to marshall my forces to maintain my faith in Judaism....

As to what is in store for CONTES...We are already lining out several stories, and have a few in the works, being re-written and re-edited. What we really need is feed-back. Remember, a fanzine is an exercize [sic] in communication, and we'd like to know what you think of our efforts.

  • Editorial by Lynne Holdom (1)
  • Communique by Roberta Rogow (2)
  • Matrix by Patricia Buard and Michael Rabbitt, art by Sara Stoel ("A computer versus a Keeper.") (3)
  • The Road to Nevarsin by William West, art by Hannah Shapero ("The Terran church versus the cristoforos.") (11)
  • In the Drytowns by Patricia Shaw, art by Melody Rondeau (20)
  • Summer Frost by Cynthia McQuillin, art by Jean Ellenbach (27)
  • The Choice by Lynne Holdom, art by Linda Leach (34)
  • The Hastur File by Lynne Holdom and Roberta Rogow, art by Jane Fancher ("another story in the Levich/Lawton series") (40)
  • Terranan Steel by Valerie Smith, art by Pat Munson-Siter (72)
  • Legends from the Past by Jonathan Shipley, art by Michelle Petersson (84)
  • Nedestros by Dom Kyril, filk to the tune of "Three Prominent Bastards, by Roberta Rogow, art by Melody Rondeau (also in Rec Room Rhymes #3) (89)

Issue 5

front cover of issue #5, Sheila Barrera
back cover of issue #5, Bob Eggleton

Contes di Cottman IV 5 was published in November 1983 and contains 92 pages.

The front cover is by Bob Eggleton, the backover by Sheila Barrera. The interior art is by Gennie Summers, Susan Southwick, Jean Ellenbacher, Sara Stole, Jane Fancher, Melody Rondeau, and Hannah Shapero.

The editorial by Lynne:

Welcome to the fifth issue of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV. It was just two years ago that we published our first issue which is now out of print, and, by the time you read this, CONTES #2 may well be also. The zine seems to have taken on a life of its own. I merely follow in its wake.

With the demise of STARSTONE, Roberta and I decided to include some Ages of Chaos stories in CONTES along with those set in the post Terran Recontact period. "To Pay the Piper" by William West is the first of these and there will be two more in CONTES #6 (we have four such stories in our files.) After all a lot of people prefer to write stories set in that period (I'm one of them) and the good ones should be published somewhere.

The major problem we had this issue was in getting artwork. One regular artist moved and left no forwarding address. She left the Northeast to get away from the cold and damp -- to Arizona which promptly had the worst floods on record! Another artist moved to Washington state and another is getting married. (She will be married by the time you read this). All this means confusion and that we have to find some new artists to fill in the gap. On the other hand, the confusion means that we already have a cover for CONTES #6 since two artists sent us covers. We decided to use Bob Eggleton's cover this time and Jane Fancher's next time. (Since Jane has artwork in this issue, postponing using her cover means she gets two issues of CONTES instead of one.)

Also lamenting about art problems can have its good side. Roberta and I were at a local relaxicon doing precisely that and one local artist, hearing about our lack of a back cover offered to do one for us. So Sheila Barrera is appearing for the first time in a fanzine -- I think. She's not widely known however. And another local artist will be doing work for us next issue. She wanted a bit more lead time than we were able to give her this issue.

Two artists new to CONTES -- though not to fan art -- are Mary Bohdanowicz and Gennie Summers. Neither are Darkover fans but did the artwork as a favor. Nevertheless the work seems to have a certain Darkovan flavor. There are also two new authors in these pages -- Paula Crunk and Susan Southwick. Susan's story was originally slated for STARSTONE (as was Patricia Anne Buard's and Jonathan Shipley's) while Paula's was intended for this zine from the very beginning.

Patricia Buard's story "Devil's Advocate" was the first prize winner in the third Darkover story contest. Next issue will feature a third prize winner, "In Her Own Time and Season" by Emily Alward which is not a Free Amazon story. "And Justice For All", our story in this issue, was in the third story contest (written then by Roberta Rogow alone) and was an also ran. Most comments stated that it needed expansion to make the point clearly. I made a LOT of suggestions as to what could be done with it, but it wasn't until I remarked that if Dan Lawton was the age he would have to be, and that if he had been born about the same time as when Cleindori was murdered (a supposition we had used in the Levich stories) then he would have been at Ardais at about the same time as Darryl Longlegs, the lead character in "Judas" first came into Dyan's service and at about the same time as the birth of Lew Alton. (I have a natural habit of cross-indexing dates and events that was very handy when I was studying history.) This led to a whole new slant on the story. That, plus the fact that I wrote the final draft -- everything but the first draft in fact -- makes it a collaboration. I can't plot to save my life, but I'm very good at editing. The original "And Justice For All" was ten pages double- spaced. This one is considerably longer.

We would like to hear from all of you concerning what you would like to see in CONTES. Do you want Ages of Chaos stories? More tech? Less tech? More laran? Would you like an article on where we think the Terran Empire is going?

The editorial by Roberta:

Welcome to another issue of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV. There are a few surprises in this issue, and a few things missing. We've left Dr. Levich out in the cold, looking into "The Sharra File", which will (we hope!) be in the next issue, and the Cultural Affairs Office is also missing, since they are handling labor problems. (Also in the next issue, time and space permitting.)

On the other hand, there is "...And Justice For All", which started out as an entry in one of the Starstone Story contests. Originally it ran ten typewritten pages, one side. The general comments ran along the lines of "this needs to be expanded"... and then Lynne and I realized the time-differentials, and put it into the same time-frame as the first of our efforts, "Judas". And, by adding Darryl Longlegs to the story, we got quite a different look at Dan Lawton, Dyan Ardais and Darkover.

Of the other stories...well, they are an interesting assortment. Two people use the same theme at the beginning and ending of our issue, and there's another variation on the "Nevarsin vs. The Terran Church" theme. And "Catspaw" will give all ailleurophobes ammunition the next time they visit a cat-loving friend.

The one thing that gave this issue a will-we-or-won't-we feeling was the artwork. As of this writing, our cover will either be by Jane Fancher or Bob Eggleton. Bob did the cover of our very first issue. I've also persuaded two people who usually do Star Trek art for my other fanzine, GRIP, to try their hands at something a little different. Mary Bohdanowicz and Gennie Summer came through for me with flying colors!

As for what is going on for the next issues: Lynne and I are batting ideas around for "The Sharra File" and "Three Strikes You're Out." We've got some stories in reserve and some poetry that never got into the 'zine.

And we are desperately looking for artists! Meanwhile, Lynne and' are working out our own "Universe"---but that's another story -- Keep Your Tower Dry

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

"To Pay the Piper," by William West, is a tale about a talented musician whose skill attracts the chieri-right at Midsummer Festival, where one's sexual proclivities are let loose due to a planetary phenomenon. The hapless musician's plight at this very rare honor—to play for and, ultimately, to make love to the chieri—while worrying about his wife's wrath, is just one of the situational gems in this well-developed story. The ending is loving and poignant. The story also has the advantage of being illoed by Gennie Summers, who is not a DK fan. Summers has fast become one of my favorite artists. She knows how to use space in what seems an almost mathematical, and graceful, precision.

"Demon Tower," by Jonathon Shipley, is an enjoyable short-short about a boy from the Domain lands enslaved by the superstitious Drytowners, a weakness he cleverly exploits to effect escape. Effectively written in the first person, the story captures MZB's adult portrayal of children. Mary Bohdanowicz also captures the eeriness of the Tower's effect on the Drytowners in her illos.

"Lonely Threshold," by Susan Southwiek, is an engrossing tale about a high-born child enslaved by bandits. I like Jean Ellenbacher's interpretation of the boy and his master, but her last illo, while nicely composed, seems to have practically the same face on everyone, even though only two of the people in the illo are related.

"And Justice For All," by the editors, is the best and longest piece. Holdom & Rogow have expanded a writing contest entry concerning the young Terran-Darkovan, Dan Law-ton, and his stay with his difficult uncle, Lord Dyan Ardais of the Ardais Domain, whose potential heir he is. A clash of wills and cultures ensues as Dan, raised as a Terran, witnesses Darkovan injustices first-hand, all the while fooling himself into thinking he can one day be satisfied to be a Domain lord. Characterization is strong and Dan's growth is finely developed. I hope the authors write a sequel to this.

Sara Stoel's watery, 'other-worldy', illos are quite good. Her illo of Dyan in front of a blazing hearth not only captures the younger Dyan but also has good perspective.

"Devil's Advocate," by Patricia Anne Buard, is an intriguing story about a Terran Catholic priest sent to Darkover by the Church to investigate the cristoforos' (the DK religious order) saint, Father Valentine, and to determine whether he is worthy of canonization. In just eight pages Buard manages to give us a three-dimensional person, resolve his emotional bankruptcy about people, and make the reader hunger for more, especially about Fattier Valentine. I do wish, though, that Buard had further detailed Father Cerrano's discoveries about Valentine. She tantalizes us with only a few sentences. Cerrano's resolution of his character flaw is also slightly incomplete, as we don't know what effect it's had on his opinion of Fattier Valentine. I suspect that it's had little effect since Cerrano's purpose is to bring back to the Church a "devil's advocate" position against Valentine. Hannah Shapero's illos are beautiful. Again, these are full illos of well-chosen scenes. The editors seem to know how to choose artists that use space to its fullest advantage.

"Cat's Paw," by Paula Crunk, is a long letter by a Terran anthropologist sent to investigate DK'S catfolk, on which mission he is enslaved as a pet. Rescued by Free Amazons, his experiences make him a patient of the Terran Psych Division (from which he has written his letter). He also causes a big stir when, on his advice, eatpeople show up in droves at the Terran Legate demanding their norvhuman rights. It's a hilarious and well-written piece, but although we're really supposed to sympathize with the Terran scientist (Roberta describes the story in her editorial as "ammunition" [for all ailleurophiles] the next time they visit a cat-loving friend"), my sympathies lay with the catfolk'. But that's a prejudiced opinion, as I am one of those cat-loving people. Melody Rondeau's illos have a deceptive quality. They depict rather horrific circumstances in a wryly amusing way. I love her style. She'd make a good animator.

"Soul of the Chieri," by Patricia Shaw, is a very complex six-page story. An acrophobio pilot, stuck near a ledge inside his aircar, gets some help from the chieri. His musings about his half-chieri lover and her painful experiences of racism and sexism form the main counterpoint to the chieri. She struggles to fight and survive in a world that despises her as a whore and worse, while her people accept racial death complacently on a world that reveres them. Powerful message here. I also commend Shaw's inclusion of a non-white, non-middle-class Terran who is strongly aware of his Black heritage as her main character. With all the diverse cultures on Earth, reading much of general sf/f media fanlit makes one think only Americans and Europeans will be around in the future. As a Brazilian with black, Indian, and Hispanic ancestry, I can tell you that we Third Worlders intend to stick around. Jane Fancher's illo for this story is eerie, potently active, and lovely.

All the stories in both zines accurately capture the essence and feel of DK, and the range of subjects covers the full gamut of DK's culture, from the Comyn, to the Towers, the bandits, the Drytowners, the chieri, the cristoforos, the Terran, and the catfolk... Highly recommended.[1]

Issue 6

Contes di Cottman IV 6 was published in June 1984 and contains 92 pages. This is the first issue edited by Lynne Holdom and Ingrid Maack.

front cover of issue #6, Hannah Shapero
back cover of issue #6, Christine Soto

The editorial: Lynne Holdom:

There have been a number of changes since the last issue of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV. For one thing, my old assistant editor, Roberta Rogow, had to leave because of financial problems. Also she is not interested in fantasy and CONTES seemed to be veering toward fantasy. This left a void in the editorship and in my pocketbook until an old friend, Ingrid Maack, the editor of six issues of MOON PHASES offered to take up the slack. Since Ingrid is much more of a fantasy person than I am while Roberta was more hard SF than I am, well.... We'll see how things develop. You may notice that there are three stories set in the Ages of Chaos this issue.

There are also two prizewinners from the STARSTONE story contest in this issue. "The White Oudrakhi", my personal favorite of all the stories in this issue. (I even liked it better than the first prize winner we featured last issue. Sorry, Patricia.) The other is "In Her Own Time and Season" by Emily Alward. Another story which tied with Emily's for third prize, "The Records at Nevarsin" is in the files and should be in CONTES #7. That's by Diann Partridge who also had a story in BITTER HONEYMOON AND OTHER STORIES published by Thendara House Press. There are also three newcomers to CONTES: Jean Lamb (she has been in MOON PHASES, however); Raul Reyes, and Jeffrey Kasten (who has been published in JUMEAUX and MOON PHASES.) Jeff read his Do-It-Yourself story to a group at the last Darkovercon and I knew we had to have it in CONTES. Then there are the old reliables like William West, the former co-editor, Roberta Rogow and me. I can always meet deadlines for CONTES anyway.

A new artist is Christine Soto who lives in the Los Angeles area. She offered to do art and works fast—that's always a blessing. Sophia Kelly does fantasy art at numerous cons. She's interested in Egyptology and hopes to get over there for a dig. So if the characters look like King Tut... Gennie Summers is a repeater from last issue while Mel Rondeau and Linda Leach have been with the zine from the beginning. Hannah Shapero's fine art is always welcome. Notice that she's now trying space art. Sara Stoel is now Sara Stoel Mason as she got married last November.

People have asked just how to get published. Well, first you have to write a story. This sounds basic, but isn't. A lot of people TALK a good story but never get it down on paper. I am often ready to make suggestions on how the story could be improved but refuse to give out basic plots. I have enough trouble coming up with my own plots. Then, as I try to draw stories from varied periods of Darkovan history, I will consider a story set in a period I don't already have one in before one set in a period I'm overstocked on. Thus, please no more post WORLD WRECKERS stories for a while, folks. I've got two in my files now and another one undergoing a rewrite. The same with Ages of Chaos stories. Here, too, I have three stories in my files and another one being rewritten. I can use stories set in the period from the Terran Re-contact up through BLOODY SUN. j have precisely one story set in that period. Help!

It also helps if your story is short. I can find room for a seven page story much more easily than a twenty-four page story which is the reason Mary Frey's excellent story "Sea Fever" got bounced to CONTES #7. "The White Oudrakhi" and "The Records at Nevarsin" were both prize winners and both set in the post WORLD WRECKERS period. But "The Records at Nevarsin" was over twice as long as "The White Oudrakhi" so guess which one got printed.

Hopefully, if Roberta Rogow has some time for collaboration on "The Sharra File" Levich's last case, that'll be in CONTES #7 as well. As for the rest, that's still up in the air. See you in November, hopefully.

The editorial: Ingrid Maack:

Why am I suddenly co-editing CONTES Di COTTMAN IV instead of my own MOON PHASES? It came about quite suddenly. The former co-editor, Roberta Rogow, had to discontinue so I ended up being the new co-editor. I am glad I made the decision to be here.

Some of you may already know me through my own Darkover-related zine MOON PHASES. I have also edited several issues of TIGHTBEAM for the National Fantasy Fan Federation. In my mundane life, I've worked for a publishing company for the past 17 years.

I've been a Darkover fan for many years. My other interests include para psychology, astrology, tarot, mythology, heraldry, classical music (my favorites are Mozart and Haydn), travel and many other things. I love the films of Steven Spielberg and see all his movies. (POLTERGEIST gave me nightmares for a week!

Besides MZB, other authors whose works I enjoy are Katherine Kurtz, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Heinlein and Tolkien. I really enjoy going to cons. On the weekend of June 8th, I'll be attending a DR WHO con in Philadelphia (I've seen some Peter Davidson episodes and can't see why people didn't accept him). The Star Wars trilogy and others. I'm a member of the SCA and play Dungeons and Dragons.

The first Darkover novel I read was DARKOVER LANDFALL, and I've been hooked on the series ever since. My favorite is THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR which made me into an unabashed Lew Alton fan. Besides the Darkover novels, I really liked MZB's THE MISTS OF AVALON.

In this issue of CONTES, I personally liked "In Her Own Time and Season" by Emily Alward which won 3rd prize in the 3rd STARSTONE story contest. Deborah Wheeler's "The White Oudrakhi" was a good change of pace story and Jeff Kasten's "The Do-It-Yourself Darkover Story" was very clever and original. I'd like to see more of Jeff's work get published.

In the art department -- Hannah Shapero's cover is supurb! [sic] I also liked Chris Soto's work. I'm sure her art will soon be seen in a lot of places.

I guess that's it for this time. Enjoy this issue of CONTES Dl COTTMAN IV.

  • Editorial by Lynne Holdom (1)
  • Dispatch by Ingrid Maack (2)
  • A Fox in Shainsa by William West, illos by Sara Stoel Mason ("A tale about a renegade Comyn and members of the Sisterhood of the Sword out to rescue two young boys kidnapped by a Drytowner.") (3)
  • With a Small Step by Jean Lamb, illos by Linda Leach ("A story about a conqueror during the Ages of Chaos and a cristoforo monk who shows him the future he is brutally designing.") (14)
  • Winter Wine by Raul Reyes, illos by Sophia Kelly ("A Free Amazon falsely accused of murdering a young Comyn Lady and the Amazon investigator who seeks out the truth.") (18)
  • Strike Three—You're Out by Lynne Holdom and Roberta Rogow, illos by Melody Rondeau (38)
  • In Her Own Time and Season by Emily Alward, illos by Christine Soto ("The story of a Comyn Lady, Lorela, whose arranged marriage frightens her, even to the point of approaching the Free Amazons.") (winner of a Starstone contest) (57)
  • A Matter of Protocol by Roberta Rogow, illos by Gennie Summers ("The Terran Legate, Dan Lawton, confronting the childish Regis Hastur about his neglect of Lawton in Hastur's Project Telepath.") (70)
  • The White Oudrakhi by Deborah Wheeler, illos by Hannah Shapero ("A simple Drytowner searches for a white Oudrakhi (a horse-like creature), strangely drawn to it as if the beast is part of his soul.") (84)
  • The Do-It-Yourself Darkover Story by Jeffrey Kasten, illos by Melody Rondeau (90)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

There's something so awfully neat and attractive about this zine, something so aesthetically streallined yet not dull that makes one eager to grab it up. This is the second issue I've read and, again, the stories are varied, imaginative and fun. I find it interesting that none of the Darkover zines I've seen (admittedly, only three) have poems or filk or cartoons. Articles, straight and humorous fiction are the main and only course. Personally, I, find it refreshing. (I don't think it's deliberate policy, tho.)

"A Fox in Shainsa" by William West concerns a renegade Comyn and members of the Sisterhood of the Sword out to rescue two young boys kidnapped by a Drytowner. The story is quick, action filled and witty. However, I have a problem with its cliched plot: a tough broad type is forced to accept help from a strong chauvinist type to rescue someone(s). He uses her as a prostitute/slave/etc. to effect rescue (a nice way to humble these 'big mouthed bitches·") Still, the male character is drawn quite well and he's not insufferably arrogant, altho he comes close. Sara Stoel's illos are hard to get used to but I think I've succeeded. Her motive, watery style is weirdly compelling.

'With A Small Step" is a powerful vignette by Jean Lamb about a conqueror during the Ages of Chaos and a cristofaro monk who shows him the future he is brutally designing. Linda Leach's one illo for this is quite beautiful.

"Winter Wine' by Raul Reyes concerns a Free Amazon falsely accused of murdering a young Comyn Lady and the Amazon investigator who seeks out the truth. An error in typing made this story hard to follow. (four pages switched) but generally it is strong in characters altho weak in creating a setting. Also, the actual murderer gives up too easily. Sophia Kelly's illos are illustrative and darkly evocative.

"Strike Three; You're Out" by, Lynne Holdol is... ah... well, it could be subtitled 'Union Busting Comes To Darkover' or 'Class Struggle vs, the Comyn". This is a light, breezy piece meant strictly for laughs and it does succeed, but as a political radical and union sympathizer, I was wholly on the side of the rabble rouser, Paco (the one who tells the Darkovan workers at th Terran Trade City that they're more important than the Comyn aristocrats, thereby urging them to strike) and against the narrator, a supposed labor representative whose main interest is in looking sexy at a bar. I sympathized with Paco despite all the cliches on radicals the authors dredge up ("Paco sneered at the decadence of it all' )' The end is supposedly a positive agreement worked out between the workers and the Terran personnel, but I can't help but feel the workers got the raw end of the deal. But this is just a fun, humorous story with some great harried scene. Plus, I have to compliment the authors for putting in a Brazilian as the second major character. Nice to see my own nationality in a fan story for once (one quarrel tho: no Brazilian, nor any Latin American, would take the following remark made in the story with anythng but cynicism: Like most North Americans, he is determined to be most democratic.) Interestingly enough, all the Terrans are of a distinct nationality: French, Australian, Swiss, Mexican (they all sound and act like Americans, tho) Melody Rondeau's illos for this are, of course, lovely. Clean lines, depth, background and abundant humor.

"In Her Own Time and Season" by Emily Alward is a prizewinner in Starstone's writing contest. It tells the story of a Comyn Lady, Lorela, whose arranged marriage frightens her, even to the point of approaching the Free Amazons. This is a fine character story with excellent plotting and development. Chris Soto's illos are a bit bare, but smooth and well-chosen (as to which emotions and scenes to dipict).

"A Matter of Protocol" by Roberta Rogow is an excellent piece that has the Terran Legate, Dan Lawton, confronting the childish Regis Hastur about his neglect of his (Lawton) in Hastur's Project Telepath. This is a finely dramatic, smoothly developed story that commits your interest from the start. Rogow's writing is fluid and concise, and strongly evocative. This was my favorite in the zine. Gennie Summer's illos are, as usual, fully illustrative, with background and depth. Her faces are slightly uniform, tho.

"The White Oudrakhi" by Deborah Wheeler is another prizewinner and a very strong statement against the pretensions of the Comyn and the Terrans versus the supposedly ignorant Drytowners. A simple Drytowner searches for a white Oudrakhi (a horse-like creature), strangely drawn to it as if the beast is part of his soul. He is sought out by a group of Comyn telepaths, part of the Project Telepath (organized to put Terran and Darkovan telepaths together to work for Darkovan parity and sovereignty with the Empire who are looking for any and all laran talents. The Drytowner's response to them makes the story quite sensitive and refreshing. Hannah Shapero's illos are strong and dark, replete with a sense of Darkovan atmosphere.

"The Do-It-Yourself Darkover Story" by Jeffrey Kasten should be read by every Darkover fan who find MZB to be a bit contrived and predictable. This is a hilarious piece. What makes it even funnier are Melody Rondeau's charming and insane cartoons.

Shapero's front cover and Chrii Soto's backeover are both gorgeous. This is, of course, recommended.[2]

Issue 7

front cover of issue #7
back cover of issue #7

Contes di Cottman IV 7 was published in January 1985 and contains 96 pages.

From the editorial:

For a while I was wondering if I could get this issue of CONTES out. On the one hand there were all the stories I had had to postpone from CONTES #6. On the other hand [personal info snipped] However,in the final analysis, I didn't think it fair to deny the authors whose stories I postponed from last issue, a chance to see their stories in print. Also when I was attending the latest Darkover convention, I heard from various fans that they actually wanted to see the latest Levich story. I had debated whether or not to include it in this issue. In it, Levich doesn't precisely discover anything we don't know after reading THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR, but it does explain why Dan Lawton, as Legate, knew so much about what was going on in SHARRA'S EXILE and why he was prepared to declare martial law even in Darkovan controlled Thendara despite Danvan Hastur's objections. (Luckily he never had to.)

Oddly this issue seems concerned with HERITAGE OF HASTUR. It is my favorite Darkover novel but I hardly expect others to share this preference. Yet Bill West's story is motivated by the events in that novel and in SHARRA'S EXILE. Marion Zimmer Bradley's story depicts an alternate to the standard events of that novel. (Now if she could just find some alternate where Lew lived happily, without Sharra.... Fat chance.) For myself, I find Kadarin the most fascinating character in the first novel though I have been portraying him less than sympathetically. Partly this is the problem of having a co-author whose viewpoint differs from your own, though I get the final say since I do the final drafts no matter what goes before. Personally I think Aldaran had some legitimate grudges against the Hastur rule in Thendara though I certainly don't condone what happened with Sharra. Jean Lamb's story also ties in with HERITAGE OF HASTUR since it stars Danvan Hastur. He doesn't often get such a role and he makes the most of it.

The two Ages of Chaos stories are really pre Ages of Chaos. Patricia Mathews Shaw's story is more in the nature of a myth or a fable than factual history. Mary Frey's has more of a historical feel about it but it too could be regarded, at least partly, as myth. I did feel a bit uncomfortable with her captain's being called Valonde as I have very definite associations for that name but that's my problem. Finally there is Jeff Kasten and Linda Frankel's story. It is set in a historical period on Darkover and tells of something that could, all too easily, have happened to Free Amazons.

There were also two stories that were: postponed from last issue that had to be postponed again. The first was "To Stop a Maddened Beast" by Kathleen Woodbury. This will probably appear in the TWO TO CONQUER issue of JUMEAUX. Kathleen originally submitted it to JUMEAUX so it could be said to be back where it belongs. "The Reconrds at Nevarsin" by Diann Partridge is a different case. I really wanted it to be in this issue. However I had a great deal of trouble with the artist who was supposed to be doing the illustrations. They never appeared. By the time I realized they weren't going to appear, I was sick and then it was too late to have to hassle with another artist to do them, particularly when I had illustrations for enough stories to fill the issue. Note: editors get lazy so an artist that doesn't produce—and worse, doesn't inform anyone that she isn't going to produce - can do in your story. I will have the story in the next issue though it will be illustrated by a different artist than originally planned. Sorry, Diann.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

See reactions and reviews for Ten Minutes or So.

Issue 8

front cover of issue #8, Christine Soto
back cover of issue #8, Hannah Shapero
flyer for issue #8

Contes di Cottman IV 8 was published in January 1986 and is 97 pages long.

The flyer says: "Now containing Ages of Chaos stories as well." Artwork by Christine Soto, Hannah Shapero, Melody Rondeau, Linda Leach, Sara Stoel Mason, Ken Helfrich and Julie Cesari.

From the editorial:

Welcome to the eighth issue of CONTES DI COTTMAN IV. Somehow I never thought I'd get this far with the zine. I knew that people liked Darkover stories, but I never dreamed they were SO popular.

There seem to be more new writers making debuts this issue than is usual. There are Nina Boal whose story arose indirectly from reading "Knives" by MZB in MORE TALES OF THE FREE AMAZONS (it's now also in FREE AMAZONS OF DARKOVER from DAW as well.) In some ways, a man has it harder since there is no male equivalent of the Free Amazons to give refuge to Lewis-Gabriel Ridenow. Nina also has her first professional publication in FREE AMAZONS OF DARKOVER and now edits and publishes MOON PHASES which she took over from Ingrid Maack.


Michelle Hallett is an Australian who hopes to make it as a SF writer. She, like a number of other people is fascinated by Dyan Ardais. She should be encouraged to write more. But she and Phyllis have had material published in JUMEAUX, which I also edit and published. I have to admit that Michelle's portrayal of Kennard Alton and Elaine Montray [Holdom appears to have skipped some words here] since I had just finished a story about the pair, minus Dyan, called "Meeting at Storn." I am also glad that I did not read it until I had finished my own story.

Diann Patridge's story should have appeared last issue. This time, I am still sweating out artwork but it's all my own fault. I got it ages ago and misfiled it some where. Hopefully Diann is getting this issue regardless because this is editorial error. Diann lives in Wyoming near Yellowstone Park and works with stained glass. She has had stories published in STARSTONE edited by MZB and in both issues of KIERESTELLI edited by Jill Curtin of South Australia. (My story "Recontact" which appeared in CONTES #1—now out of print -- also appears in KIERESTELLI #2 in a slightly amended version.)

"Bredin" is a sequel to "Recontact" but is perfectly understandable if you have not read the first story. This allowed me to get information out that I couldn't in the initial story as Cristovao da Silva had no way of knowing it. People keep asking for another Levich story but I haven't been able to come up with something for him to poke his nose into investigate. Any ideas out there?

Jean Lamb and William West are returning this issue. Jean is also working on an epic detailing the life of Danvan Hastur that will appear in MOON PHASES #8. In between, she writes short gems like "Animal Eyes". William West apparently has to hand me stories as the post office has managed to lose all communications he sends to me. As I write this, a story he promised is suspiciously overdue. He is the only person who sends me material to me that has this curse hanging over him.

Mary Frey's story "Journey to Newskye" won the first Darkover story contest. It would have appeared in a DAW anthology had it been closer to MZB's vision of Darkover. It did appear in Starstone #3 which is now out of print. I thought it deserved a wider audience. Mary agreed so here it is.


  • Editorial by Lynne Holdom (1)
  • Journey to New Skye by Mary Frey ("It was fourteen-year old Harryl's first visit to Newskye with Grandfather and he was excited. What was it that made Grandfather so special, so different from other men?") (first appeared in Starstone #3 where it had the title "Journey to Newskye") (2)
  • Animal Eyes by Jean Lamb ("Could a former riyachiya ever be rid of her origins and her past, even under the new king, Allart Hastur?") (15)
  • The Silken Cord by Nina Boal ("Lewis-Gabriel Ridenow had returned home after five years of captivity in the Dry-towns. Would his family and friends ever accept the fact that he had chosen to live rather than suicide?") (19)
  • Bredin by Lynne Holdom ("Rakhal Darriel had always felt like an outsider in Aldaran, the Domains and even at Nevarsin. Could the strangers from the stars help him find his place?") (36)
  • A Black Knight In Thendara by William West ("Armand and his friends had come to Cottman IV to find a genuine Medieval atmosphere. Was it what they had hoped for or were they due for a disappointment?") (56)
  • The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword by Phyllis Fishbein (64)
  • Why Not Me? by Michelle Hallett ("Kennard Alton had brought the Terran Elaine Montray to Darkover to be his wife. Could he count on the support of his bredu Dyan Ardais in gaining her acceptance before the Council?) (74)
  • The Records At Nevarsin by Diann Partridge (Sethany was going to Nevarsin to discover the truth about Darkover's origins. Was Darkover really settled by Terrans, and thus a part of the Empire automatically?") (82)

Issue 9

front cover of issue #9, Hanna Shapero
back cover of issue #9, Chris Soto

Contes di Cottman IV 9 was published in 1986 and is 99 pages long.

The art is by Hannah Shapero, Ken Helfrich, Melody Rondeau, Allan Gillespie, and Chris Soto.

Issue 10

Contes di Cottman IV 10 was published in May 1987 and contains 110 pages.

The front cover is by Leigh Matooka, the back cover is mistakenly attributed in the zine to Chris Soto; it was actually done by Anji Valenza, the frontispieces are by Hannah Shapero. Other art by Mary Frey, Megan MacDonald, Erin McKee, Melody Rondeau, and Linda Leach.

front cover of issue #10, Leigh Matooka
back cover of issue #10, Anji Valenza, also used as with Jumeaux

The editorial:

With this issue of CONTES, I have accomplished a number of firsts.

One: this is the first issue produced entirely in Minneapolis. It is also being produced with a new typewriter. Unfortunately, there is no italics daisy wheel so everything that would normally be in italics is now in script. I don't like that as well but one must adjust.

Two. this issue also contains only stories set before the Terran Recontact. In part this is because I was getting a LOT of these stories and would have had to postpone some of them forever just about had I parcelled them out two or three to an issue. As it is I still have a couple of these early stories for CONTES #11. (Yes, there will be a CONTES #11.)

Three: Nina Boal and I wondered what would happen if our characters met as they live in not too different eras. So in this issue they do. The story is called "Journey". I hope you enjoy it. There are several writers making a debut in this issue: Megan MacDonald, a Michigan native who is very conscious of her Scottish heritage.... Also Patricia Cirone whom I met at Esotericon a couple of years ago. I couldn't use the story she gave me then but am hopefully making up for it now. The other new writer is W. Marshall Kyle whom I met at the Darkovercon last year.

Also there are the more familiar authors: Mary Frey, Jean Lamb (who took time out from her epic about Danavan Hastur to play around in the Ages of Chaos) and produced what I think is her best story to date; and Phyllis Fishbein who has the virtue of writing the only humorous story in the lot. Joan Verba, the final author, is a near neighbor of mine here in Minnesota.

Two artists from here in Minneapolis are making a debut as well: Paul Rucker and Erin McKee. It is strange to have someone knock on your door, hand you a packet saying "Hi, I'm Erin. Here's your artwork." Leigh Matooka, not from Minnesota, but definitely talented, did the cover and "Intrigues and Tablecloths". Hannah Shapero did the frontpieces. In fact, as I write this, Chris Soto is the only person who has not gotten her art in. She seems to be making a habit of pushing deadlines.

One odd thing has been the weather. When I left New Jersey for Minnesota, everyone told me I was asking for frostbite at the very least. Some said I must have been inspired by Darkover, but wasn't moving to Minnesota going a bit far to follow an enthusiasm? Ha! This winter has been a bust. We didn't get any snow. They had to truck in snow for the St Paul Winter Carnival. It was so warm that there were massive changes of events at the New Brighton Midwinter Festival. How can you have a snowman building contest without snow, or a snowshoe workshop or dogsled races or... I wonder if this ever happens on Darkover. At least we don't have to worry about spring floods. Also I keep hearing from people in New Jersey who tell about this white stuff that falls from the sky called snow and how they got buried in it. Pardon me while I have the last laugh.

I would like to hear from folks out there. Is there any special era or topic you would like to see stories on in CONTES? Does anyone miss Levich? There are some ideas peculating around in my head on that subject inspired by Jean Lamb who has threatened all sorts of dire things if I don't produce... It seems she wants Levich to meet Danvan Hastur and... We will thus get a test of seeing whether Lenny Bruce was right when he said that everyone from New York is Jewish, even the Gentiles.

Now enjoy.

Issue 11

front cover of issue #11, Erin McKee
back cover of issue #11, Chris Soto

Contes di Cottman IV 11 was published in 1987 and contains 100 pages.

The art is by Leigh Matooka, Linda Leach, Erin McKee, Melody Rondeau, Catherine Mintz, and Chris Soto.

Issue 12

Contes di Cottman IV 12 was published in 1988 and is 104 pages long.

front cover of issue #12
  • The War Is Over (66 pages)
  • Every Pie In Thendara (Alternate Universe) (30 pages)

Issue 13

Contes di Cottman IV 13 was published in November 1988 and contains 100 pages.

front cover of issue #13, Christine Soto
back cover of issue #13, Mary Frey

The art is by Christine Soto, Catherine Mintz, Mary Frey, Melody Rondeau, Linda Leach, and Leigh Matooka.


Welcome to CONTES DI COTTMAN IV #13 which is finally out. As you will notice there have been a few changes. For one thing this is being done on computer which gives it a neater appearance. There are also firm margins. When typing, I have a tendency to crowd the margins but the computer won't let me do this. Dictatorial, things, aren't they?

Another first lies in having a two-part story. I hadn't planned it that way but unless I ran it this way, you would still be waiting for this zine, not to mention it being unmanageably large. Hopefully, CONTES Dl COTTMAN IV #14 will appear soon after this does (send SASE for details) so you won't be waiting for too long to find out how the story ends. As of right now, CONTES #14 will be out in December, 1989.

Mary Frey again has an excellent story this issue featuring a strong woman. She says she doesn't write Free Amazon stories but she doesn't have to as her women can be strong and heroic in more traditional roles. They manage as best they can in the situations in which they find themselves. Shani is no exception.

This issue also sees the return into print of William West who finally decided he wasn't gafiated any longer. The story features Eduin Ridenow who first appeared in "A Fox In Shainsa" in CONTES #6. He should have a story in CONTES #14 as well if he gets it to me. It's in the hands of the US Postal Service at the moment. Somehow that's not all that reassuring. However, the story tells the further adventures of the group featuring in "A Black Knight in Thendara," in CONTES #7.

I also have stories by two new writers - Elaine Bergstrom and Colleen Farrell. I hope you like them. Both, not surprisingly, deal with the Free Amazons in one way or another. Since I am not overly fond of writing Free Amazon stories (though I do like to read them) I am glad others will supply this lack.

There is also a fun story at the end written by W. Marshall Kyle. I like the end the zine on a up note.

The final story in the issue is "The Alton File" in which Henry Levich and Dan Lawton, goaded on by Dan Lawton's daughter Rayna, newly home from college, decides to look into Marius Alton's death. But there's nothing mysterious there, you say. So did Dr Levich and Dan Lawton. They didn't count on Rayna's perseverance. I only wish we could have fit the whole story in but I do have budgetary limitations and these keep CONTES at about the 100 page mark.

As for the art, most of it was done by Leigh Matooka who in mundane life [personal information redacted]. Chris Soto did the cover but alas she did it some time ago. I don't know when/if I'll ever have art from her again. Mary Frey did her won art for her story which certainly helps an editor out. She can't complain if the artist didn't render her characters the way she pictured them.

I hope you enjoy this zine. See you in December.

Issue 14

Contes di Cottman IV 14 was published in 1989.

front cover of issue #14

Issue 15

Contes di Cottman IV 15 was published in December 1990 and contains 102 pages.

front cover of issue #15, Erin McKee
back cover of issue #15, Kiri Namtvedt

The art is by Leigh Motooka, Mary K. Frey, Kiri Namtvedt, Theresa Buffaloe, Catherine Mintz, Hannah Shapero, and Linda Leach-Hardy.

The editorial:

It's autumn and time for another issue of CONTES di COTTMAN IV. Somehow I didn't get into the mood for actually doing CONTES until October (I had forced myself to work on it earlier) because the weather was so warm quite late into the year. People always tell you about Minnesota's cold winters but neglect to mention the hot summers. The only consolation is that they are comparatively dry.

Oddly enough, I do not have any completely new writers this issue. Roxana Pierson is new to CONTES but has had stories in the DAW Darkover anthologies. In fact, "Secret Sisters" was originally intended for the DAW Free Amazon anthology but was rejected, possibly because it was too grim. However, I thought it was an excellent story and hope you enjoy it as well. I was also planning to include "Computers and Laran Don't Mix" by Jacquie Groom [4], but difficulties of logistics in contacting the Netherlands, forced me to postpone that story until CONTES #16. I'm somewhat ahead of the game in having artwork for it though.

I also have a new artist in this issue, Kiri Namtvedt, a fellow Minnesotan who is new to Darkover fandom. It is nice to be able to contact an artist (or writer) on the telephone without running up an enormous phone bill. You will be seeing more of Kiri's work.

I had also intended to feature some of Melody Rondeau's work but she now has a full time day job and had to cut way back on fan art. Maybe next issue. On the other hand Linda Leach-Hardy is still doing fan art though she mostly does pro work.

As of the time of this editorial, I am chewing my fingernails awaiting Erin McKee's cover. She did say she would probably get it done. She's another over extended artist. If I could only draw.... On the other hand Erin does live here in the Twin Cities which makes it easy to contact her.

On the other hand, if I don't get it in time for Thanksgiving, you may see a cover by Fa Shimbo instead. Nothing like uncertainty to keep one on one's toes. All in all, I just hope I am not a nervous wreck by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. I know I should really plan to get organized earlier, I should....

That's it for this issue. See you in 1991... if I survive.

Issue 16

Contes di Cottman IV 16 was published in December 1991 and contain 104 pages.

front cover of issue #16, Linda Leach-Hardy
back cover of issue #16, Catherine Mintz

The art is by Catherine Mintz, Kiri Namtveldt, Leigh Motooka, Linda Leach-Hardy, and Mary K. Frey.

The editorial:

Here it is: the latest issue of CONTES di COTTMAN IV. It's hard to believe that I've done sixteen issues of this zine already. Somehow it doesn't seem like that many. In some ways this was one of the easier issues to edit as two of the contributors sent in camera ready copy. In another sense, it was quite difficult due to some Darkover-type weather we got blasted with here in Minnesota.

Something also known as the Great Halloween Blizzard which dumped 28 inches of snow on the Twin Cities, the largest amount of snow ever. It was also very early for any major snow. Even in Minnesota, it usually holds off until November to begin such tricks. Anyway, the snow caught everyone flat-footed. Two days earlier they held a parade for the World Series Champion Twins, and then this. Some folks joked that the Braves hired a snow dancer. (Either that or Dorilys moved into the area.) One of the illustrators was planning to move that weekend. Surprise! The blizzard also wrecked havoc with the mail service which hardly needs any excuse to mess up delivery. It's back to normal as I write this but three guesses what's in the weather forecast.

I only have three stories this issue. Partially this is because Mary Frey loves to write long stories which can't be fitted into the Darkover pro anthologies. This time her story only ran 79 pages which is the bulk of the issue. I hope you enjoy it.

Kathleen M. Massie-Ferch is a newcomer to these pages. I met her at Chicon (the World SF con) and she mentioned a story. I told her to send it in. She has had stories published in SWORD AND SORCERESS but not in any of the Darkover anthologies. She has written her version of Aldaran's quarrel with the Domains.

I was planning to run Jacquie Groom's story "Computers and Laran Don't Mix" this issue. However, due to a misunderstanding that is quite complicated to go into at the moment, it was run in another zine. [5] So I am printing "Childhood Dreams" instead. Another story of Jacquie's should appear in the next issue. I think it needs a slight bit of rewriting. I have two other stories that got squeezed out of this issue and these should also appear next time always assuming that we don't get dumped on by blizzards all winter. I've been spoiled as all the winters since I've lived in Minnesota have been relatively snowless.

I also had the pleasure of actually meeting one of my illustrators, Leigh Motooka, at the Chicago Worldcon. It's nice to be able to put a face to people I've only met in print although I have yet to meet anyone who looked remotely like I imagined.

That's it for now. See you next year.


  1. ^ Universal Translator #23
  2. ^ Datazine #33
  3. ^ "The title was a very common one among beginners (My first Darkover fanzine story carried that title, despite Marion Zimmer Bradley's wise advice to me to change it; had I known such a title was a cliché, I would have"). -- from Verba in Boldly Writing
  4. ^ This story ultimately ended up in Moon Phases #13.
  5. ^ This story ultimately ended up in Moon Phases #13.