Dilithium Crystals

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Title: Dilithium Crystals
Publisher: Media Press
Editor(s): Jacqueline Edwards
Date(s): 1979-1986
Series?: yes
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS (first two issues), multiple fandoms (last issue)
External Links:
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Dilithium Crystals is a gen anthology of fiction.

The first two issues contain only Star Trek: TOS material, and the last is Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica.

ad from Interstat #12

Issue 1

cover issue #1, M.S. Murbock

Dilithium Crystals 1 was published in Spring 1979 and contains 161 pages.

It has cover art and interior art by M.S. Murbock.

A copy of the zine was sent to Gene Roddenberry.

This issue is well-known for the controversy caused by a fan's review.

  • Pearl of Great Price by Jacqueline Edwards (1)
  • The Rikki by M.A. Marrs (27)
  • My Own True Love by M.S. Murdock (75)
  • Majel! by Jacqueline Edwards (107) (RPF)
  • United We Stand by Jacqueline Edwards (109)
  • A Classic Case by M.S. Murdock (133)
  • The Healing by Jacqueline Edwards & M.S. Murdock (reprinted in McCoy #5) (151)

The Original Controversial Review in "Datazine"

Stories in include: 'Pearl of Great Price': Good -- occasional imaginative phrase or idea. Bad -- strange ideas of behavioral motivations. One could almost believe an alien who had 'read a lot' about human beings wrote this.

'The Rikki': Good -- one of Scotty's lines relative to the question of the maiden status of their female crewpersons, and the danger he might encounter inquiring after the same. Bad -- if one single character in this story is behaving as a normal adult representative of its species, much less the person they are supposed to be, Trigriffin will declare itself to be a parakeet.

'My Own True Love': Good - a nice sense of lyrical prose, and mostly well-handled pivotal scenes. Bad -- too long, and the author never decided whether the story was to be serious or humorous.

'Majel': Good -- it was only two pages long. Bad -- this story is trite, heavy-handed, malicious and character defaming, what is known in some circles as trashing. Majel Roddenberry deserves better than this.

'United We Stand': Good -- nobody dies. Bad -- this ridiculous plot reads like a bad twenties detective farce.

'A Classic Case': Good-- moderate restraint shown on this otherwise straight forward romance-novelish idea. If you like unrequited love stories, you'll love this. Bad -- the main character's only reason for being is her unexplained and unexplainable love for Captain Kirk, and it was quite enough to base a story on.

'The Healing': Good -- relatively unused idea, Christine at last discovering she has been in love with the idea of Spock all these years and not Spock himself. Bad -- the authors do not rise to the occasion, but instead bog themselves down in farcical runarounds.

Overall contents: Poor with occasional gusts to fair. Art: Mostly good but some was obviously used as a filler. Heaven knows why in a 167-page zine. Repro: Two color cover, very nice. The rest of the printing is of good quality. Typos were very few, which is an indication of laudible [sic... and an amusing typo in itself] efforts by somebody. Value: No price listed. We all know printers must be paid, but I feel it would be overpriced at $5.00. [1]

Reactions and Reviews: Regarding the Controversial Review of Issue 1 in Datazine

There was heated protest in the November 1980 issue of Forum and in an issue of Interstat published around the same time, one that was a culmination that concerned this zine:

From Boldly Writing:

The regular reviewer for Forum at this time signed as Tigriffin. This reviewer was more acerbic and less professional than H.O. Petard of Spectrum. I still have no idea who Tigriffin was. But Tigriffin wrote many reviews, and initially had theirritating habit of referring to himself or herself in the third person: 'Tigriffin also believes that reviewers who hide behind pseudonyms to give their nastiness free rein aren't playing fair. So let it be shown on the record that Tigriffin only wishes to remain anonymous so that it can review impartially, and remain unaccused of favoritism to friends or undue harshness to non-friends.' Despite this disclaimer, by November there was a heated protest, both in Interstat and in Forum, of Tigriffin's review of Dilithium Crystals, a Star Trek fanzine from Jacqueline Edwards... Critics took Tigriffin to task for having little good to say about the fanzine.[2]
From Interstat #33, comments by Karen B:

I would like to make a few comments concerning the "review" of Dilithium Crystals by Tigriffin in Forum #4.

To Tigriffin: What gives you the privilege of playing God that you can perform merciless butchery on this or any other zine? Your initial paragraph, meant to be humorous I suspect, is a masterful example of hypocrisy. The actual "review" is disgusting in its inane attempt to make "good and bad" comments with which to salve your inflated and egotistic conscience. No zine or person(s) deserves to be treated in the manner in which you did Dilithium Crystals. A great deal of time, energy, money and especially a large piece of one's self goes into putting out a zine. When this kind of ambition is made into reality, who are you to cry shame?—especially when it is a first zine. What I do see is someone hiding—yes, hiding—behind a pseudonym pointing fingers and being childishly and viciously nasty. Such remarks as "good—nobody dies" or "good—it was only two pages long, bad—this story is trite, heavy-handed, malicious and character defaming." have no place in an impartial review. The last paragraph "overall contents" was unintelligible and implied the proofreader was the only person making a "laudable effort". Oh, yes, the printing shop seems to have passed your inspection also; how nice of you to actually make a kind judgment on something. Since you feel it's such a good approach, I believe I shall utilize your good/bad idea. Tigriffin's review: Good—I now have an extra sheet of paper to paper-train my new pet goldfish. Bad—the entire review.[3]
Another fan complains about the review, saying that it was:
... the most careless hatchet-job I have ever read in fandom.[4]
Patricia B addressed Karen B's letter complaining about the harsh review of Dilithium Crystals:
If you intend to try and deny the press its right to print reviews, you're going to find yourself up against big guns, the Constitution of the United States, for one. Good or bad, brimming with praise or extremely scathing, it is an editor's/publisher's right to print reviews! My mother once said, if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.... Just as a zine editor has the right to publish,a reviewer has the right to tear that publication to ribbons! [5]
Comment by Karen B:
To [Carol W] (I#35): If you would like to step down from your soapbox for a moment and read my letter in I#33, you will find my remarks addressed to Tigriffin—not to Forum. The mentioning of Forum was strictly for the purpose of reference to the review's location. There was never a question of whether Forum as publisher and/or editor had the "right" to print the review. My objection was to the lack of courtesy, decency and good taste in Tigriffin's "review". Please spare me the berations and citing of the U.S. Constitution, I have been in fan-dom long enough to understand the prerogatives of publishers and editors. This reply to you is not meant to be derogatory in any manner, I simply object to being chastised for something I didn't do.[6]
From Vel Jaeger:
[Karen B's] letter in I#33 disturbed me greatly, and continues to do so even now, months later. The prospect of a vicious critic reviewing fan publications, who would offer criticism that is less than constructive, is most distressing. Having read neither DILITHIUM CRYSTALS nor Tigriffin's review of it I feel I can react objectively to Karen's letter. I must agree that it is grossly unfair to hide behind a pseudonym, and I don't like flippant reviews on principal, especially not of amateur works. If the purpose of a review is to enable a reader to decide whether or not to purchase the publication, fine - but there's no reason to be cruel about it. I feel like biting my tongue when pressed to comment on a work that is less than noteworthy. If I can offer no encouragement whatever, I remain silent. I'd rather be considered rude in not replying than to be heartless. Karen's letter has haunted me, and prompted me to purchase a copy of FORUM. I have #6 in hand, which contains another review by Tigriffin. I now see what angered Karen so: Tigriffin writes with a style that can only be described as "smart-ass". Sorry if the word offends anybody, but that's the attitude of superiority I perceive. I can't tell exactly what she's saying without constantly rereading, and the compliments are mostly backhanded. None of the other reviewers use this manner, and it's simply not necessary! An aspect of fandom that I've enjoyed is the willingness of creative people to help each other develop their talents. Sorry, KathE, as much as I enjoyed the rest of FORUM my sympathies lie with Karen - and I don't even know her.[7]
From D. Booker:
On the subject of Tigriffin and reviews in general, may I be permitted to take what seems to be very much a minority view? I like Tigriffin's reviews in FORUM. I think she is witty, amusing, and refreshingly cynical about fan-fiction. All too many reviewers seem to think that if they say anything negative they will have destroyed some fragile little egos, or else will have laid themselves open for similar treatment when they in turn publish something. Concerning "Dilithium Crystals", I read the zine twice, both before and after the review appeared, and I think Tigriffin was if anything, too lenient in her treatment of some of the material, especially that piece about Majel Roddenberry. The purpose of a review is to provide an opinion as to whether or not something is worth spending money on. It is not intended to provide breathless praise (Mother is the proper source of that) or free lessons in creative writing. As an occasional reviewer myself (of professionally published books)I can tell you one thing—more people will read a sarcastic or ironic review that states a definite position than will read a kind, sweet, "say something nice or nothing at all" whitewash. Anyway, let's face it, writing stories and poetry for publication, whether for profit or ego-boo, is nothing but a socially acceptable form of exhibitionism. If you can't stand being stared at, don't dance on the tables.[8]
Carol W revisits the zine review flap and addresses Karen B:
In your letter (I#33) you said that you felt the reviewer, Tigriffin, was "playing God" and performing "merciless butchery" on DILITHIUM CRYSTALS. First understand, I have not read DILITHIUM CRYSTALS and don't know Tigriffin, so I am completely unbiased. Secondly, correct me if I'm wrong, but do not fan publishers/writers/artists strive for the same level of quality as pros? Since discovering fandom, I have seen nothing but quality work from INTERSTAT to the story zines. I don't see the people who produce fan lit as infants who have to be given their criticisms in pablum form, lest their feelings be hurt. If they can produce the kind of excellence I've been seeing, then they ought to be able to take a little—or a lot—of harsh reviewing. All reviewers "play God". Whether they praise or put down, is it not their job to cast judgments and opinions upon the efforts of talented folk who have put their heart and soul into their work? Idealistically, a reviewer should always direct criticism toward the constructive, and should not be unthinking or callous about it. Problem is, it doesn't always happen that way... Granted I'm applying pro references to fans but the fans I know don't want special treatment. Personally, if someone says anything I produce is lousy, I can do several things: take a hard, long look at the work being criticized and decide if the criticism is valid, and if it is, learn from it, and if it isn't, I can ignore it. I can't tell that someone how to voice his or her criticism. As far as a first zine receiving a harsh review is concerned, I have no sympathy. Does an umpire let a batter take a base when he's really just struck out, because it's his first time at bat? Sure it must hurt to hear it for the first time, but it's those who can handle it and gain from it who end up being the Alan Dean Fosters of the world, not those who take offense and feel sorry for themselves. By the way, I have several friends who used pseudonyms. And they aren't hiding from anything.[9]
Rebecca H comments:
I also read Tigriffin's reviews, and I must say that I was dismayed by the tone and snipping in those "reviews". I write reviews, I publish reviews, I read reviews; and reviews seem to fall into one of two major categories. One, of course, is the critique, and I don't honestly think most reviewers are capable of honest critiques. A good reviewer stands aside and critiques from a totally technical point of view, without injecting any personal opinion - or if he does, he is careful to note personal opinion as such. I've seen too many reviews which were nothing but personal opinion disguised as a review. The second major category is that of the informative review; and that is what is needed, especially in zines like FORUM which cater to the fanzine-buying public. In this type of review, one presents a quick synopsis of each story, the idea being to inform the prospective buyer of what that zine contains so the buyer will know if it is of interest to him. Such reviews are not cute, are not funny, and do not take stabs at either the contributors or the editor. They simply present the zine. And yes - in this type of review you can tell the reader that "the mimeo runs", that "the illustrations do not look like the characters", etc., but it should be done in a straightforward manner without any attempt on the part of the reviewer to either sway the reader, or hurt the zine being reviewed. Again, personal opinion has no place in such a review, unless it is obvious that that is what it is. Personal opinion should never be confused with a statement of fact, nor should personal opinion be substituted for objective analysis. In other words, a reviewer's prime function is to inform so that a buyer can make a wise choice. If a review doesn't inform, then it has failed its purpose. Frankly, Tigriffin's reviews tell me nothing about the zines - only that Tigriffin wishes to make a name for her/him/itself in an extremely hurtful manner. The reviews are a poor imitation of Gene Shalit (whom I've never appreciated) and they aren't even entertaining (though they try to be). They seem to be an attempt to entertain at the expense of the zines victimized, and that's a pretty cheap shot. Let's see reviews that help readers make informed choices, not reviews which try (in vain) to bolster the reviewer's ego at someone else's expense... [added by phone]... Have just read the latest issue of FORUM and in it appeared another review by Tigriffin. Was shocked to notice the change in the mythical figure's reviewing style. It was not the usual hatchet-job we have come to expect from Tigriffin. It was far more mellow in tone and far more rational in content. It is to be hoped that Tigriffin will continue in a more responsible manner in her future reviews.[10]

Other Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

  • Pearl of Great Price / Pike/Number One romance, with her trading herself for him as hostage to Klingon Koloth. Standard.
  • The Rikki / Romp through Arthurian mythological nonsense, entertaining despite demerits for having Engineer Scott actually believe in magic. Kirk gets turned into a toad, McCoy into a rag doll, and Spock into a rock. All have to be saved by kisses. Sulu buys Arthur's sword. Scott manages to turn himself into a rabbit. Meanwhile, threatening Klingons hover around being brutish.
  • My Own True Love / The computer's affection towards Kirk (from "Tomorrow Is Yesterday") becomes deadly as it focuses all attention on him and erases everyone else's records, declaring, "Alone at last!" An okay dilemma that is mushed up with a Romulan threat, which turns out to be an opportunity for peace when they discover that the Romulan Empire is succumbing to a plague.
  • Majel! / Majel & Bill spoil the shooting of the computer's love scenes with Kirk.
  • United We Stand / McCoy overhears a plot to kill Kirk and kidnap Amanda at a peace conference, but the assassins capture him before he can deliver a warning. They pull off the kidnapping but botch the assassination, and Kirk and Amanda end up travelling a desert in fancy-dress. They nearly escaping on the mount of one of the bumbling killers, and Kirk talks the assassins into reforming and taking up new careers just as Spock arrives to the rescue. Meanwhile, McCoy has been taken to the assassins' planet to be doctor to the harem. This story had wonderful farce potential, but the execution is too serious to live up to the promise.
  • A Classic Case / A rather dull Mary Sue. An ensign who has been pining for Kirk since Academy days is assigned to the Enterprise.
  • The Healing / Spock lands in Sickbay, nearly dead, one more time - and Christine realizes she is finally over him. Several crewmembers conspire to get her to look where she always should have... at McCoy. Sweet.[11]

Issue 2

cover issue #2

Dilithium Crystals 2 was published in Winter 1982 and contains 94 pages.

inside back cover from issue #2, a dilithium crystal

The art is not credited; some of the illos are by Marian Kelly, some are signed "Brown" (likely Mike Brown), some are signed by "Beachler."

  • Remember by Sue Keenan (5)
  • The Visitor by Marian Kelly (8)
  • Rockslide! by Jacqueline Edwards (38)
  • Leonard McCoy, Diplomat by S. Keenan (81)
  • Notification by Jacqueline Edwards (91)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

  • Remember / McCoy is being driven nuts trying to think what Spock meant him to "remember" - and it suddenly dawns on him that Spock's body is on Genesis, where life can be created.
  • The Visitor / Enterprise takes Inta, a girl child of planet Etaoin, aboard as an observer to learn the ways of the Feds as they consider joining. They are also a vegetarian race faced with starvation due to a blight on their primary crop. Points for a good alien, and for characterization, despite significant plot holes. Terrified that these flesh-eaters will devour her, she misinterprets a rape attempt. She also has green hair that acts like tendrils. And it turns out that the Etaoins sent her to be safe in case they all died - they starve rapidly - because she is one of the few fertile members of the population and her ova will be used to repopulate. Nice cross-cultural stuff here.
  • Rockslide! / A mishmosh of plots - Chapel is injured in a rockslide on the closed Wrigley's Pleasure Planet, eventually leading to blindness, a sense of uselessness, and a decision to go live with her obnoxious brother-in-law. Meanwhile, a Wriglean image-maker sneaks aboard and wreaks havoc until Spock scolds it. (Is Wrigley's being confused with the Shore Leave planet?) Eventually McCoy rescues Chapel from the evil brother-in-law and tries a new operation on her which is successful. Some cute ideas, some good characterization, but needed editing.
  • Leonard McCoy, Diplomat / First-person McCoy short. Stranded on Beta VI where he has been hospitalized, McCoy confronts a bunch of cadets taunting Vulcans in a bar, and finds himself invited to a diplomatic function at which he encounters Amanda, Sarek, and the dreaded T'Pau. Also Ambassador Fox, whom he diverts from a determined attempt to get both feet in his mouth. T'Pau gives him absolution, asking if he has become proficient in his profession - he used to confuse his medicines. Cute, and excellent characterization for our Doctor. "Did Jim's voice sound a little fat to you?"
  • Notification / McCoy visits Chapel to tell her about Spock's death. Standard H/C with a really nice illo by Brown (no first name given) [12]

Issue 3

Dilithium Crystals 3 was published in July 1986 and contains 126 pages.

cover of issue #3 by Julie B. Jones: Text -- "What a piece of junk!"

The interior illos are by Julie Jones, Bev Chick, Nancy Miller, Sherry Veltkamp, and Sue Keenan.

From the editorial:

This is the last Dilithium Crystals... at least as far as I'm concerned. I've been out of Star Trek for some time, and have too many other zines (ads to be found in this publication, hee hee) that I can't give Dilithium Crystals the care and attention it deserves.

I hope that even though this is not an all-Trek zine, you will enjoy the stories and artwork inside.
  • The Discovery by J.B. Jones (Star Wars) (4)
  • Adama's Lady by Jackie Edwards (Battlestar Galactica) (17)
  • Sleight of Hand by Sue Keenan (The Enterprise captures a belligerent, young, female smuggler who calls herself Tonia. When it is learned that the Klingons have developed a vaccine that will allow them to release a deadly virus on the Federation, Kirk offers Tonia her freedom if she will use her underground connections to infiltrate a Klingon planet and steal the vaccine formula. McCoy is the medical expert assigned to accompany Tonia on this dangerous mission.) ( 51)
  • Beginnings by Lynne Farr (Star Wars) (76)
  • False Witness by Lynne Far (Star Trek) (93)
  • wordsearch puzzles by Lynda Vandiver


  1. from Datazine #4
  2. from Boldly Writing
  3. from Interstat #33
  4. from Datazine #7
  5. In Interstat #35
  6. in Interstat #36
  7. comment by Vel Jaeger in Interstat #36
  8. from Interstat #39
  9. from Interstat #37
  10. from Interstat #37
  11. Halliday’s Star Trek Zinedex (TOS) - Title Index, Archived version
  12. Halliday’s Star Trek Zinedex (TOS) - Title Index, Archived version