Distant Shores (Starsky and Hutch zine)

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See also Distant Shore (disambiguation).

Title: Distant Shores
Publisher: Amapola Press & In Person Press
Author(s): April Valentine (her preferred online name, used here by request)
Cover Artist(s): Suzan Lovett
Illustrator(s): see below
Date(s): May 1991
Series?: no
Medium: print zine
Genre: slash
Fandom: Starsky & Hutch
Language: English
External Links: available at the Starsky & Hutch Archive
cover by Suzan Lovett
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Distant Shores is a slash Starsky and Hutch 451-page (201415 words) novel by April Valentine.[1] It was edited by Marian Kelly.


Some fans loved the extensive amount of hurt/comfort while others compared the zine, unfavorably to a similar "brain injury recovery story" in Pros fandom, Gentle On My Mind. Some readers felt the pacing of the story was rushed at the end, with the author spending hundreds of pages on the injuries and recovery and only a few pages on the conclusion. And while some fans felt the recovery process was realistically detailed and researched, others found the severity of the injuries and the fact that Hutch never fully recovers depressing.

A fan in Strange Bedfellows wrote that the author used the book by Oliver Sach's, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", as a reference.

The zine was (gently) parodied in the 1991 ZebraCon convention skit titled: "Distant Snores" (referring to both the length of the zine and the subject matter).

The zine frequently appears on the "Top 10 Starsky & Hutch Fanzines" lists and on the "Favorite H/C Fanzines" lists.

The zine has remained so popular that in an a 2009 eBay listing the bidding reached over $350 for a single copy. [2]

The Long Road to Publication

In 1990, the author wrote that she had completed the writing:

I have completed "Distant Shores", the l-o-o-o-ng S/H novel that pretty much everybody has heard me talking about for... oh, let's just say the last 'few' years. This has been the longest project I've ever done, complete with all kinds of research (including the medical kind — yea, there's lots of hurt/comfort in the novel, too) and I thought I might just never reach the end of it. There are actually people in this fandom who never knew me when I wasn't working on this thing, and I'm not talking about people who've met me in the last few months. Anyway, despite the fact that I thought I'd never reach the conclusion, I made it and can't help shouting it from the rooftops. Now, I know you're asking, when will it be out? Well, although I'm presently collecting SASE's for it (check the ad in the latest SNITCH), I don't have a publication date as yet. I would like to get some really nice artwork to go with the story. Suzan Lovett, bless her, has already completed the color cover — it's a beauty in water-color, and I'm consulting with a few other artists to do the interior art. Suzi may have time to do a couple of illos... at the end of the summer, so I may hold on to the story and have it out in the early fall. Hope you all won't mind the wait too much. I promise to let you know about ordering it as soon as I get it all worked out, and not to keep it from the readers out there any longer than need be. [3]

Some 1991 Appreciation

The author expressed her thanks:

I'd like to take time to thank everyone who voted for DISTANT SHORES in the Huggy Awards. It's so hard to express exactly what those awards mean to me... DISTANT SHORES was totally a labor of love and to have it accepted and praised so much was thrilling and so very satisfying. I know I've said it elsewhere, but after working for all those years on a project and then submitting it for public consumption, pulling it out there to be examined and criliqued by the toughest audience in the world... having so many nice compliments reminds me of the reason I began it all in the first place. The reason we all do this. We do this to share our feelings about two very special characters. There isn't enough Starsky and Hutch; there will never be enough. So we have to create our own. And to know that someone else, that a lot of someone elses, saw in my story the same things they love about Starsky and Hutch... that's about the best thing that can happen to an author. The response to DISTANT SHORES has been more wonderful than I ever anticipated. So many LoC's, so many kind comments. It's been very, very gratifying and I thank each and every one who took the time to write and who voted in the Huggy Awards. And I also want to say that I adored Paula Smith's version, "Distant Snores", the musical. I've never been spoofed before. For those of you who didn't get to see the play at ZCon, the script will be published in FIX #11. [4]

2012/13 Notes About Its Online Posting

In June 2012, the zine was posted online. The scanning and proofreading had taken almost a year due to the size and length of the zine.

Distant Shores was published as a stand alone novel in May 1991. The author, April Valentine, worked on it for over six years, doing painstaking hard copy research long before Google was a glimmer on the horizon. The published novel had a color cover and 24 additional pieces of original hand drawn black and white art by some of the best artists working in the fandom at that time. We'd like to thank the author for permitting us to post the novel, and all the artists for allowing their art to be posted.

Bringing this 451 page epic novel to the archive was a significant undertaking. We'd especially like to thank SHaron for massive job of scanning the novel, and cpeterson for her painstaking copyedit. Flamingo scanned the art and uploaded the files to the archive. Special thanks, as always, to Keri T. for keeping us focused on the goal, a job about as much fun as herding cats.

Distant Shores is brought to you complete with all its author's notes and art. [5]

The Zine's Dedication

April dedicated the zine to Lynna Bright and Rosemary C.:

"Their stories, 'A Place to Hide' and 'The Last Charade' which I first read in 1984 catapulted me into the realm of Starsky and Hutch. Without their influence, 'Distant Shores' would never have been written."

From the Editorial

Believe it or not, this is the first Starsky and Hutch story idea I ever had. I'd started watching the series in 1983 and even found a couple of zines, but I hadn't come up with something to write about these two beautiful characters. Then in 1984, I sat up in bed on Sunday morning and turned to my husband with the question, "How long does somebody have to be missing before they're declared legally dead?

This is a love story -- the love of friendship, of partnership, love that translates over time and distance. 'Distant Shores' is a relationship story, one that includes both the themes of hurt/comfort and love in the physical, sexual sense. It's a story of disappointment and loss, disappearance and rescue, love regained and lives rebuilt... I place it in your hands now. 'Distant Shores' has been a constant part of my life for the last six years, and it's going to seem kinda funny not to be working on it. But I wrote it to share, and I'm glad it's finally time for the readers to take it on. New projects await, and my mail box is ready for your comments. Again, this is a love story -- one written to commemorate the love we all feel for two wonderful characters, Starsky and Hutch. I hope you enjoy it.

Publisher's Summary

S/H novel, hurt/comfort saga, a story of disappointment and loss, disappearance and rescue, love regained and lives rebuilt. Set after Sweet Revenge, Starsky and Hutch were about to become lovers, but the day after Starsky was released from the hospital, Hutch disappeared without a trace. For two years, Starsky searched for clues, finally getting some information, he heads for Australia. There he finds Hutch who has suffered an injury resulting in extensive brain damage, but it takes a long time until the rescue is complete.

Table of Contents

  • Preface (i)
  • Acknowledgements (ii)
  • Prologue, art by Chris Soto (3)
  • Book One: Search, art by Chris Soto and SVE (13)
  • Book Two: Vigil, art by Chris Soto and SVE (71)
  • Book Three: Genesis, art by J. Jones and SVE (127)
  • Book Four: Transition, art by Merle Decker and SVE (203)
  • Book Five: Renascence, art by J. Jones, Suzan Lovett and SVE (287)
  • Epilogue, art by Merle Decker (443)


The zine contains extensive interior art by numerous artists. Below is a sampling of the interior art. Art appears on Fanlore with the publisher's permission.

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

A massive h/c fest, epic in its scope. Post-"Sweet Revenge," Hutch goes missing — for years — and Starsky never lets up in his determination to find him. The search is eventually successful, but the hard work is just beginning. It's a lovely long wallow, and thoroughly enjoyable. [7]


I always enjoy [J. Jones'] drawing and it was good to find more of it in 'Distant Shores', together with all those other very talented artists — just one aspect of a terrific zine. I've recently heard arguments in favour of 'sacrificing' artwork in order to reduce zine costs. Obviously a subjective choice and ultimately, of course, a matter for editor/author. I think it would be a most sad and serious loss both to individual readers and to fandom generally. Imagine, for example, if we had never seen that beautiful cover of 'Distant Shores.' SH fandom has been very rich and fortunate in its artists...in my opinion, I'd hate to lose the artwork... [8]

DISTANT SHORES arrived yesterday. It's big, it's beautiful, and it's one heck of an emotional experience. Poor Hutch. Poor Starsky. Martha, it's wonderful. You and all the artists (and everybody else who had a hand in its creation can be proud. I'm more than half through and now I gotta get back to it. [9]


I DO NOT, DO NOT RECOMMEND DISTANT SHORES. That's one with Hutch in a coma for months in Australia, and by the time it's over you wished he'd stayed in a coma in Australia. [10]

I thought Distant Shores was too big, but I thought it was an impressive thing to try. [11]


I wish writers would avoid the major trauma, physical or psychological or, usually, both, which is miraculously cured when the partners are reunited or, in slash, when they make perfect love on the very first try. Situations where anybody else would require months if not years of therapy. What I refer to as the "one good f___ cures everything" syndrome. That's what I loved about [April Valentine's] Distant Shores, my all-time favorite h/c story. Hutch's recovery took a whole lot of time, even after Starsky found him, and was never entirely complete. It was obvious she'd done her homework and I found that story eminently believable, as well as moving. [12]

Don't be intimidated by it's size. It doesn't seem nearly as long as it is. <Please no bad penis jokes!> [13]


This is April's epic, the WAR AND PEACE of S/H fandom, weighing in at 451 pages (and yes, Charlotte and Megan, I know that page count is not an accurate measure of story length :-)). However, do not be intimidated by it's size, it is so well written that it doesn't even feel half as long as it is. I think this is one of her best stories as well, and is certainly typical April with an eventual happy ending, but putting them through the wringer. [14]

You want to talk recovery? I can't believe I haven't seen anyone refer to April Valentine's 600ish page S/H epic "Distant Shores" in this conversation. Depending on who you talk to (or 'to whom you talk' for the grammarians among us), it is either the Great American Fannish Novel or the biggest bore in fandom. Hurrah for differences in taste. Look it up if h/c including recovery is to your taste. [15]


This is [April's] epic, the WAR AND PEACE of S/H fandom, weighing in at 451 pages (and yes, Chris and Jenn, I know that page count is not an accurate measure of story length :-)). However, do not be intimidated by it's size, it is so well written that it doesn't even feel half as long as it is. I think this is one of her best stories as well, and is certainly typical [April] with an eventual happy ending, but putting them through the wringer. [16]


I have tons [of favorite fanfic scenes], but the one that comes to mind immediately because I'm currently reading it again is in [April Valentin's] Distant Shores. I don't want to give away too much plot for those of you who haven't read this excellent story, but it's in the hotel room after the attempt on Hutch's life when Starsky bathes and massages Hutch like he did earlier in the story. I'm not much for graphic slash, preferring more 'implied' slash where the scenes cut before the bedroom, but this scene was so tender and loving. [17]


I'm debating whether I should rec Distant Shores at some point in the future (because I love the zine and I sat down and read it in one day), but considering it's 450 pages, Hutch is never the same again, and they're not really back together for a LONG time...it might be one of those recs that should reamin in the "I know the characters so well, I've been in the fandom so long, give me a story that turns everything on its head." [This fan later comments]: Some people don't like disability stories. Some people don't know me:) This is over 400 pages and took April 10 YEARS to publish, so it's got alot going for it. Hutch and Starsky start a relationship after Gunther's attack, but Hutch disappears the next day. Two years later, Starsky finds him in Australia, but there's alot to be done before they're right again. (Some say that Hutch is never right and I have to agree because the Hutch at the end of this zine is NOT the Hutch we began with) It's got Lovett illos...and it's a good story that was well-researched and was well represented in plot and pacing.[18]

The one disappointment I had with 'Distant Shores' which is otherwise a very well written & researched story. I felt that the by the time the two ended up in bed, the writer had spent so much time on the rest of the story and the conflicts - emotional & physical - that she was in a hurry to finish it up without resolving any of the other issues.

This is interesting, because I felt exactly the opposite when I read that zine. In DISTANT SHORES, they had only one night together (in the hospital!) before Hutch disappeared, but Starsky had two years to come to the conclusion in his own mind that a fully realized sexual relationship with Hutch would have been great. And Hutch had time to explore his feelings for Starsky over months as he slowly regained his memory of that night. By the end, when each realized the other remembered what had happened, it wasn't a stretch at all to believe that emotionally they were ready to come together again. I agree that it is a well-researched and written story (I'd never heard of the nderground town of Cooper Pedy before, fascinating!). Coincidently, I read DISTANT SHORES at a hospital and convalescent home, sitting with a family member who was recovering from a stroke. The stages of physical and mental recovery in the story were strikingly similar to real life. [19]

Isn't it amazing how different people see different things Lynn?

My personal issue, and I've read the story quite a few times because I love the angst in it, is not with the coming to terms of the homosexual part of their relationship, but with the pat way their emotional issues were written.

There was alot of angst - especially on Starsky's side - that I would've love to seen the writer delve more into, once they embarked on their physical love life. It was like all the bad things they did to each other disappeared over spending one (or two) loving evenings together.

Again, this is a story I absolutely adore, but I tend to skim over the sex part at the end due to the way I view the handling of their emotional relationship. [20]


"Distant Shores" is great, but it's pretty long for an "introductory" piece, and it's dealing with life-altering circumstances for the guys, so I'm not sure I'd use it to lure a brand new fan. I think you have a better appreciation of it when you're familiar with the show and the characters. [21]


"Distant Shores was one of the best loved novels of its time. If you crave a good long read with a strong plot, plenty of angst, hurt/comfort, romance, and a satisfactory conclusion, this is the book for you. I heartily recommend it. [22]


A classic h/c longfic (over 200,000 words), it’s a love story where Hutch goes missing for 2 years shortly after the events of Sweet Revenge and Starsky never gives up trying to find him. Originally published in 1991 in zine form, the author did six years of research. [23]


  1. ^ her preferred online name, used here by request.
  2. ^ Morgan Dawn's personal notes from July 8, 2009 (accessed Augsut 22, 2012).
  3. ^ from Tell Me Something I Don't Know #18, quoted with permission
  4. ^ from Frienz #16
  5. ^ available at the Starsky & Hutch Archive
  6. ^ Morgan Dawn's personal notes from 2003 online discussions (accessed August 22, 2012).
  7. ^ from This is Katya
  8. ^ from Frienz #15 (1991)
  9. ^ from Tell Me Something I Don't Know #22
  10. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (August 15, 1993)
  11. ^ comment by Sandy Hereld at Virgule-L, quoted with permission(January 7, 1993)
  12. ^ from Frienz #24
  13. ^ comment by Michelle Christian on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (July 11, 1994
  14. ^ In 1995, Michelle Christian posted the following review of the zine to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  15. ^ a 1995 comment about the story on Virgule-L
  16. ^ comment at Virgule-L by Michelle Christian posted with permission (November 14, 1996)
  17. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (June 27, 2002)
  18. ^ a 2003 comment at Crack Van
  19. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (May 22, 2003)
  20. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (May 22, 2003)
  21. ^ from The Pits Mailing List, quoted anonymously (Mar 31, 2004)
  22. ^ Review of Distant Shores by April Valentine, reviewed by Flamingo, dated Jan 30, 2013.
  23. ^ Hutch's Greenhouse: Fic Recs (April 10, 2022)