Cygnet

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Zine
Title: Cygnet
Publisher: LOW Enterprises, at some point it was agented/distributed by Bill Hupe
Editor(s): Lisa White & Laura Osgood
Date(s): 1988
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Trek: TNG
Language: English
External Links:
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Cygnet.jpg

Cygnet is a gen Star Trek: TNG 78-page anthology with twelve stories, puzzles and poems. It is subtitled "Data's Zine."

  • Ah, a Riker Joke! by Lisa White (Riker plays practical jokes on the Enterprise members, for the purposes of teaching Data about humor.)
  • Encounter at DQ: The Fast-Food Asteroid by Laura Osgood (A script style parody where the Enterprise visits Dairy Queen. Wesley saves the day, after Q captures them all and begins to defeat the crew by an overwhelming display of silliness.)
  • Gee Q (artwork that parodies a GQ cover)
  • Q Tips (an advice column, written by Q)
  • Four Leaf Clover by Royal White, Jr
  • Lwaxana's New Clothes by Laura Osgood
  • It Never Happened by Lisa White
  • Sunday in the Holodeck with Data by Laura Osgood
a flyer for a proposed second issue that never made it off the ground

Reactions and Reviews

1988

This zine is reasonably priced and is a fairly good read. What I didn't like about it is that, being a Riker (and Jonathan Frakes) fan, many of the stories didn't seem to get his character right. It seems he is thought of as very prejudiced, and uncaring. I don't find this coming across in the episodes, at all, though I guess others feel this way, because I had the same complaint about the pro novel, GHOST SHIP. The zine was full of humorous stories; by far my favorite was "Lwaxana's New Clothes," which is a sort of "Emperor's New Clothes" on the ENTERPRISE. It was very funny, and well-written. It was not a serious tale, but more of a parody, I think the story would have been better if it had been written as a serious humor story, if that makes sense. What I mean is, if it had been written as a humorous story, not as a parody. It is always a little distracting when the characters are not quite "in character" because they are saying things like "Oh, okay Jean-Luc, spoil sport." Anyway, I did enjoy this story. "Four Leaf Clover" by Royal White, Jr. was a good, serious, yet entertaining ST-NG story. I enjoyed the story of Data's "dream girl," and I don't want to say more for fear of spoiling it for prospective readers. I enjoyed most all the stories, and thought "Q-Tips" (sort of an "Ann Landers," with Q doing the answering!) was great. About the only thing I was REALLY disappointed in was "Ah, a Riker Joke!" which had Riker as a very cruel practical joker. I find that totally out of character, and impossible to believe. All in all, it was a good zine, and I do recommend it. [1]
I always enjoy humor in Trek fiction, and the Next Generation zine Cygnet has this in abundance. I found the parodies very funny and enjoyed the bashes at the different characters' and scripts' shortcomings. The writing is all of high caliber. "Encounter at DQ" by Laura Osgood is a meeting with Q parody,and "Lwaxana's New Clothes," also by Laura Osgood, parodies that character. "Ah, a Riker Joke," a joint effort by the editors, who admit they aren't Riker fans, is the only story created out of actual dislike for a character. Here he is cruel as well as pompous as he plays practical jokes on the others to demonstrate "humor" to Data. (Odd how many people don't like Riker, in spite of Paramount's blithe assumption that we will all see him as the resident hunk and hero of the show.) The zine is subtitled "Data's Zine," and stories "It Never Happened" (Lisa White) and "Sunday in the Holodeck with Data" (Laura Osgood) are serious, sensitive stories exploring the Data- Yar relationship. "Four Leaf Clover" (RoyalWhite, Jr.) is also an excellent Data character study, with an excellent observation on how Troi perceives him thrown in. The zine also has a parody poetry page and a parody letters to the editors page. I highly recommend this zine.[2]

1989

For the most part, I found the zine to be almost uniformly poor quality—although the print job was just fine. I found the treatment of Riker to be completely unbelievable—Riker is not a stupid, vain, cruel person. He is a little stiff, a tad pompous. Instead of trying to give the readers a three-dimensional, believable Riker that has been developed using what we've been shown onscreen, the writers instead decided that because Riker snaps at Data a few times (yeah, I noticed it, too) that he is a complete and total jerk. It probably gave the writers a lot of emotional satisfaction to portray him unfavorably, but it wasn't worthy of print. The main problem with the zine was a lack of writing, editing, or drawing skills. The writing was juvenile at best, and although the seeds of some good fiction were present, none of them exactly blossomed. For instance, "Sunday in the Holodeck with Data" presented some interesting concepts, but its reliance on an inside joke (Brent Spiner's roles in "Sunday in the Park with George") and its determination to keep Riker pigeonholed as a cruel prankster ruined the piece. Tasha Yar came across fairly believably, but the writers seem to have little finesse with the English language as yet, so that her reactions seemed stilted. In the story where she is attempting to come to terms with her feelings for Data, the piece ends with him asking her, "Is this lust?", and she responds by grabbing him and kissinghim. Fine. Terrific. Onlyproblem is, she hasn't answered the question to anyone's satisfaction. We are never actually shown just what she feels for Data, apart from her discomfort at his presence. No solution of any kind is actually presented. The artwork in this zine ranged from poor to fair, with the color cover being, to my mind, the worst misuse of publishing funds I've ever seen, hiking the price up to $10.00 for a poor line-drawing of Data against a crayon-yellow and blue starfield with big five-pointed stars. Better to save the bucks until the artwork merits the expense. Actually, it was the tone of the zine which bothered me the most. It was extremely juvenile, and reminiscent of what two giggling seventh-grade girls might produce, not the work of adults which have some thoughtful commentary to share through fiction and illustrations. As to the humor, I disagree with Carol and Valarie (sorry). I found it puerile. Especially the numerous renditions of Disney's Pinocchio. Essentially, reading this zine was a case of something that often seems to occur with new writers/editors. They are so proud of the first baby that they are blind to its faults , whereupon the reader ends up cringing in embarrassment for the editors, because clearly they did not see its shortcomings on their own, and felt more confidence in their objectivity as editors than was warranted. I don't wanna hear about how we re all amateurs, and that we should all be lenient with zine» and their editors for that reason. When I fork over five bucks or more for an amateur publication, I want to see something the reflects some thought, and a love of the subject matter, not primary-school writing skills and crayon-scribble artwork (I'm not referring to CYGENT in particular, but poor quality zines in general). Let's face it—I cut my fannish teeth on fan fiction like THE WEIGHT and KRAITH, and numerous other works that, if nothing else, showed some thought.- .at the very least. A good deal of it was better than the pro novels, and some of it was a lot better than a lot of sf novels-..and it was WRITTEN BY AMATEURS- I'd like to read fiction of that quality in Next Generation zines, as well. [3]
I would like to make a few comments about [Jean K's] letter in issue #15. I feel that her criticism of CYGNET was a little harsh. Granted that the stories made Data look good at the expense of Riker and that the Riker bashing was mean spirited. But to characterize the zine as juvenile was unfair. I have read a large proportion of Trek zines ever published and compared to many zines I have read this zine looks very good. I am not saying that this zine i3 perfect, it isn't. The Riker bashing is unpleasant and some of the stories could have used different handling. If you want truly juvenile writing to be scathing about, have you tried reading Bill Hupe's "X" rated zines, ABODE OF STRIFE 10 and 15. I would rate CYGNET on a scale of 1 to ten, poor to great, as a 7 because I enjoyed the humor, art, and Data emphasis. I also wanted to complain about the worship of the classics of Treklit. I'm sorry but KRAITH was crappy, a weirder alternate universe than K/S. Not to mention, the posturing about literary technique, give me a break. I want to read a story with characters that I can identify with. The KRAITH characters were almost unrecognizable, Super Spock and Suffering Kirk. I have not read THE WEIGHT and have no plans to because I am tired to hearing about Kirk alternates and poor suffering Kirk gets to save the day, again. It's boring and untrue that all the good stories were written by the old-timers. For example, Jane Land's KISTA and DEMETER were excellent zines dealing with mature relationships and I don't mean sex. Linda Baker writing for Linda McInnis in BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR 3 writes excellent erotica with wonderful atmosphere in the story "The Big Diversion." I feel if a story fits its purpose whether humor or erotica than it is a successful story. I share with you the desire to see Next Generation zines of quality but like the Trek zines of yore, the poor will be published but the good ones will follow. Thank you. [4]
I agree with [Jean K's] review of CYGNET. I think she tried to criticize constructively (fully aware, I'm sure, that we all have to start somewhere) and—if anything—she was lenient. CYGNET was juvenile in the true sense of the word. The style simply wasn't that of adults writing for adults. The handling of story ideas was immature, the artwork awkward and simplistic. Now, I, too, as a devoted Dataholic, am eager to read interesting, well-written stories that involve him. CYNGET Just didn't fit the bill; it didn't do justice to a fine character and an excellent show. Reading it left me feeling...well...embarrassed about being a trekfan—I mean, there are people out there in the Real World (including, unfortunately, the cast and crew of the show itself) whose perception of fans and fannish endeavors many well be derived from seeing this publication. (Egad! No wonder Mr. Spiner avoids cons like the plague....) I'm not saying that zines must be perfect and up to professional standards (and I concur with Allyson's statement that pro standards, like the old gray mare, just ain't what they used to be), but they should show evidence of some standards. Fanzines cost big bucks nowadays, especially when graced (or saddled, as in cygnet s case) with color covers, and are frequently bought through the mail, sight unseen. Zineds should consider whether they are giving value for that hard-earned cash. CYGNET is not just imperfect, it's bad. But I hope the folks involved in its production will realistically appraise its virtues and faults, listen to intelligent criticism—like Jean's—and try again, using the information to improve. [5]
I frankly do not understand why [Jean K] and pal [Marty S] are continually harping on the subject of CYGNET. I heard Jean's opinion the first time. Her repetitive and overly harsh criticism sounds more and more like a personal vendetta against the writer than a literary critique. I have not seen criticism as harsh for any other zine listed in TREKLINK. I know for a fact that there are much worse zines out in the zine market. For example, CONTINUUM - not to be confused with Lois Welling's classic of the same name - is a ST:TNG zine that has typos in practically every sentence; pages of story with a block of text centered on a sheet of paper with large xerox black smudges above and below the type; illos that make CYGNET's art look comparable to the Old Masters; computer graphics used to fill pages; use of a typeface that placed the letters too close together to be readable in one story; and forget story ideas - what little existed have been handled by a writer truly juvenile in all senses of the word. Jean, read that zine for a true picture of rotten writing, true carelessness and fannish cynicism. As I said before CYGNET is not a perfect zine. But it doesn't deserve the personal invective that has been heaped upon it by Kluge and friend. [6]

1993

Unfortunately, out of print and difficult to find. Contains hilarious stories reflecting first season themes; includes, among other subjects, a Dairy Queen run by Q, Riker making Data believe he's been sold to the Ferengi, and Data's lame attempts to tell jokes. (Riker fans take note: contains ferocious Riker-bashing.) PG </ref> from Data Base v.2.0 </ref>

References

  1. from Treklink #14
  2. from Treklink #14
  3. from Treklink #15
  4. from Treklink #16
  5. from Treklink #17
  6. from Treklink #19