Dreadnought Explorations

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Title: Dreadnought Explorations
Publisher: originally Avelron Press and Canadian Contingent Press, collected edition from Orion Press
Editor(s): Linda Maclaren & Gina Martin
Date(s): 1976-1977
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: Orion Press
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Dreadnought Explorations is a Star Trek fanzine, a TOS 396-page novella by Linda S. Maclaren & Gina Martin.

It was first published in five issues in 1976 and 1977 from Avelron Press, with each issue mostly consisting of a part of the novella, though there also were some other short stories and articles.

It was reprinted in two collected editions called Dreadnought Explorations Collected by Canadian Contingent Press in 1981 and 1982. These two issues simply have "Dreadnought" on the covers, which can be confusing.

It was reprinted as a single volume, Dreadnought Explorations by Orion Press, in 1992.


Regarding the novella by Orion Press: from Media Monitor: "A novelization of the popular Classic Star Trek fanzine series first published by Linda S. Maclaren and Gina Martin. Set at the end of the original five year mission, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew come to take a new mission aboard a new starship: U.S.S. Federation, the only dreadnaught constructed by Starfleet. Together, they must face a menace as it advances through Romulan and Klingon territories toward Federation space."

The Cease and Desist Letters

an ad in the second and third Space-Con program guides (1976, 1977); this relatively high profile was likely one reason Dreadnought Explorations came to the attention of TPTB
The only zine that Paramount ever threatened to sue for copyright infringement was the genzine Dreadnought Explorations, which Paramount went after because of its similarity to commercially-licensed professional fiction. When I was a law student, I interviewed Bruce Hosmer, the attorney handling Star Trek products for Gulf & Western, about this issue and he told me that DE was ordered to cease and desist because the photograph of the Enterprise on the cover suggested to the reader that this was an "official" Star Trek product.[1]

For more, see Dreadnought Explorations and the Cease and Desist Letters.

Reactions and Reviews: General

I bought all five issues together. A mistake. I do not like this zine. The series after which the zine is named (Kirk and all the bridge crew are on a new Dreadnought class starship, serving on a three-way allied mission with the Klingons and Romulans) seems to me to exemplify mediocrity in its finest hour: all plot and no people. The Pegasus Logs, unfortunately a frequent entry, is a limp and totally uninteresting spy epic. But some of the other stuff is not too bad, and I know people who quite like this zine. So, you pays your money, and you takes your choice, and to each her own poison. Incidentally, I find their requirements for contributions, published prominently in each issue, insulting to me as a writer, insulting to any good writer.[2]
Although I consider [name redacted] a very, very dear friend, I must take exception to her review in Scuttlebutt #1 of 'Dreadnought Explorations.' I think you folks will find, if these girls continue to work and learn as Leslye Lilker has [with IDIC], that D.E. will turn out to be another Sahaj phenomenon -- if not it its current form, then in their next ST universe series. I beg you fans not to turn your noses up at the raw, new talent entering our field -- don't jeer -- train... [Name redacted], with all the work you've done on the Kraith's Creator's Robin, surely you can do better by D.E., than this! [3]
Dreadnought Explorations' is not a fanzine prone to defending itself. However when allegations are made in print under the guise of a 'review.' we must offer a reply. The very connotation of a review implies that a certain amount of objectivity was employed to arrive at a fair evaluation. However, [name redacted's] statements appear to be based on her own narrow definition of what constitutes a Star Trek fanzine. While [name redacted] is reputedly a competent writer, we find her flagrant subjectivity an indication of a growing disease in fandom -- the self-righteous attitude of The Few claiming to be The Last Word on Star Trek, the Kirk/Spock relationship, etc. To avoid this conflict, D.E. has never published a fanzine review. It is our belief that if a zine has a following, then it has earned a place in fandom. Our guidelines are published solely to indicate the type of material we are looking for; it in no way involves a pre-judgement of quality. This, we are spared the contributions by good writers whose material would be more suitable in other zines representing other areas of fandom. If such license has upset [name redacted] sensibilities, we offer no apologies.[4]
This set of zines would be a real tour de force for any subject done by fans, and represents a real first for Star Trek. Each is a complete adventure sf story, but all fit together as a whole totally resaonable major tale, which carries the zine title. Also featured from time to time are Gary Seven short stories and three issues carry 'The Pegasus Logs' about a pair of Federation spies. The shorter ones are well-plotted and interesting to read, but the reader's interest is held so firmly by the unfolding of the longer story that everything else feels merely intrusive... Perhaps in response to reader requests, some effort is made in the last few zines to [undecipherable word] more personal relationships, allowing a possible intimate one between Kirk and the top Romulan officer (a lady who efficiently led a mutiny in order to keep her ship from turning tail and abandoning the search), a possibly something more than chess going on between Spock and the Romulan officer we met in 'Enterprise Incident.' To me these slight efforts really impeded the action part of the story rather than fleshing it out, as it remains primarily a splendid adventure, its greatest strength. It is real sf, with pieces of sociology and background of the aliens. Gina and Linda can safely leave turgid romances to other zines that make no effort at real sf, as far as I'm concerned, and continue what they do best. Alas, Maclaren and Martin have now gafiated to try writing pro TV scripts, and ish 6 is in abeyance. They ask for SASEs for their files and will notify us when they resume zine writing.[5]
This is a series of zines which chronicle the story of what happens to the crew of the Enterprise after the five year mission. The writing is some of the best l've encountered since the "Federation and Empire" series that ran in that paragon of Trekzines, BABEL. DE 1 starts off with the crew leaving the Enterprise and to be reassigned. As the title would indicate, they are assigned to one of the prototype Dreadnought ships, in fact the only one in existence, nqrned the Federation. Introduced is the authors' pet character, Danior of the Trader Clan Abrasax and his pantha Altair. Danior is an Orion trader, space vagabond, and general all-round good guy. Confronting the crew is an unknown enemy that has already succeeded in sabatoging the Federation. In addition to this, Kirk's problems are to keep peace in a special alliance between the the Romulans, and the Klingons, who have allied themselves to combat the threat of the unknown enemy. Kirk also must test out the new Dread- nought ship, and yet keep himself from revealing military secrets while he is allied during the first crucual mission. Luckily, most of the familiar crew have been asked on to serve under Kirk and the ball starts rolling. In DE 2 , due to the alliance, we are reintroduced to Lexa, the Romulan female commander from "The Enterprise Incident" and Captain Koloth, among other characters. The plot is mostly concerned with a mind controlling alien presence that has been causing the sabotage. DE 3 deals with the exploration of the planet that is most likely the unknown alien's starting point. The planet is unstable and deserted, except for some "sentinels" which cause some problems for the landing party. DE 4 has the Federation confront one (and later three) of the enemy's spaceships. Kirk undergoes a personal crisis when one of his friends is presumably captured and lost to the aliens. DE 5 continues the story as the aliens invade Federation territory, the Enterprise is found after an alien attack, and Romulans plan to mutiny on their ship. Later issues also contain other stories and poems, and it maintains a fairly high standard. Except for a "Tell us about your many adventures" line or two, the dialogue is crisp and realistic, the characters are true to form and not over-emotional parodies of themselves, and the plot is properly convoluted and interesting. The description is a little weak, but that is improving, and the authors are finally getting around to including some of that underlying philosophy that made STAR TREK a hit, but is missing from so much of fan literature. In addition to entertainment and engaging characters, one needs food for thought. Overall, I am pretty impressed with what DREADNOUGHT EXPLORATIONS has to offer and can recommend it as a good read. RATING 7 (out of 10) [6]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1
another version of the cover of issue #1

Dreadnought Explorations 1 was published in May 1976 and is 33 pages long.

  • The Dreadnought Explorations 1 (24 pages)
  • At The Equicon/Filmcon (1 page)
  • Leonard Nimoy On Stage (1 page)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

DE1 takes Kirk and volunteers from his old crew onto their new ship, the larger, more powerful Dreadnought Class ship, the Federation, and naturally includes our favorites as they undertake a special mission for Starfleet. The beautifully written poignant moment of final departure from the Enterprise, and supposed scattering of the crew which opens the story so engages the emotions of the reader that the hook is set, and Martin and Maclaren can bend us to their will from now on. Not overdone, just good, and we are led quite naturally into the incidents which point to the reassembling of the old crew. Prior to their reporting for duty, however, Kirk and a mysterious Orion trader go on board the new ship, the former officially, the latter sneakily, when suddenly the ship warps out of her docking and takes off on a pre-set and unadjustable computer programming, bound for sure destruction in the planet's sun. How Spock and the Enterprise with hastily reassembled crew prevent this makes a rousing good suspense story, and concludes with the astonishment and chagrin of Kirk and Company when they learn that their special mission is to be in conjunction with both the Klingons and Romulans, the latter to be in command. A menace to the entire galaxy has apparently appeared, and since the Romulans have apparently lost whole planets to it, they and their Klingon allies persuade the Federation of Planets to join their fact-finding mission.[7]
The Enterprise crew return from their 5-year mission to a heroes' welcome and unease about new assignments. Kirk rejects a ground assignment and is given command of the new Dreadnought-class vessel Federation. He recalls his crew and they take off on their first mission, a joint effort with Romulans and Klingons to investigate mysterious disappearances of Romulan people beyond their territory. Kirk goes aboard early, discovers that Orion Trader Danior Abrasax and his "pantha" cat have stowed away, and the ship suddenly takes off on her own uncontrollable pre-programmed course into a star. Spock recalls the crew, pursues in Enterprise, and they manage to use tractor beams to deflect the course and regain control. Back on base, Kirk uses negative psychology to get McCoy to volunteer for the Federation. As they head off, they learn that they will be assigned to a Klingon fleet commanded by Koloth. Danior is a fun character, rebellious and mildly empathic, and delights in getting under Spock's skin. The "Traders" are an interesting race who are not regular Orions, but live out their lives in space.[8]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Dreadnought Explorations 2 was published in July 1976 and is 53 pages long.

  • Dreadnought Explorations (4)
  • The Orion Traders, ads (50)
  • Profile: the Trekker at the Convention" (52)

Reations and Reviews: Issue 2

DE2 finds all three ships invaded by alien energies as they speed through the skies, and search for defenses against these dispruptive killers. Fortunately, Kirk is one of the bodies so possessed, and Spock's efforts to assist with melds yield valuable clues as to the origin of the creatures. The three-ship decision to seek out that planet keeps the over-all story firmly in line, while all along there is marvelously intricate and imaginative detail about the new technology on the super ship as the crew learns to know her.[9]
Danior persuades Kirk to take him along, as he has seen the now-abandoned Romulan colonies and suspects that the phenomenon has something to do with Orion Trader legends of "The Sentinel." The crew begin to develop strange headaches and erratic behavior, and a few people drop inexplicably dead of cerebral hemorrhage. When Kirk becomes critically ill, Danior and Spock do a joint meld on him and find out that the problem stems from sophisticated alien probes sucking information from their brains, evidence of a serious invasion of a new civilization, headed for the Romulan / Klingon / Federation area. Kirk convinces a reluctant Tal to go in search of the source of the energy controlling the probes.[10]

Issue 3

Dreadnought Explorations 3 was published in September 1976 and is 60 pages long. The art is by Leland Long.

  • Over the Bridge to Avelron (poem) (1)
  • From Talos IV (2)
  • Tactical Shuttle—Special Tactical & Reconnaissance (4)
  • Dreadnought Explorations 3 (5)
  • The Pegasus Logs (51)
  • Statement to Contributors (59)
  • View fom Sarpeidon (60)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

DE3 concentrates on the staff and hardward of the new tactical shuttlecraft aboard, called STARs, with their special crews and commander, and the reader can see the story building up to demonstrate the use of them as they hurry on to the mysterious planet. The alien monolith and controller of the incapacitating energies is duly sought out and destroyed in this excellent segment, and the technical marvels now possible with the new ship, are demonstrated.[11]
The crews are outfitted with subcutaneous neutralizers to counter the effects of the probe energy-fields. Kirk bans Danior from the bridge and the insulted Danior decides to leave at the first colony they reach. The uneasy alliance of the three commanders becomes yet more uneasy when Romulan Tal, in charge, refuses to let the others investigate the abandoned colony that was their starting point for the mission. Kirk breaks the alliance; Tal relents. It turns out that the colony was totally annihilated, as were others. The Romulan report of inexplicable migration was merely a decoy story to encourage the Federation to participate in the mission. Kirk begins to romance the Romulan first officer Zada. Zada and the science officer Lexa (formerly the Romulan Commander of "Enterprise Incident") are clearly at odds with Tal. They head for a planet suspected to be the source of the invasion, where a full Romulan fleet vanished. Danior believes the planet houses a Sentinel, of Trader mythology, a boundary guard of a civilization bent on conquering the galaxy. The planet has weird energy fields like the probes that were killing people, and the fancy new shuttles can't function, nor can the transporter. Scott rigs shielding, and landing parties from all three ships go down, not including Tal who begins to show distinct cowardly tendencies. The planet is convulsing, and landing party members are picked off by various rockslides and such. Kirk and Koloth find an alien tower that is the source of the odd energy fields; it allows them inside its field, traps them there and probes their minds. They manage to destroy it with overloaded phasers, and help each other get back to the others and get the wounded to the beam-up point.[12]

Issue 4

cover of issue #4

Dreadnought Explorations 4 was published in November 1976 and is 81 pages long.

  • Dreadnought Explorations (4)
  • The Baldurian Log (A Pegasus Logs series tale) (58)
  • Assignment: L.A. Snow Job (Gary Seven story. Mr. Atoz pops into Gary's office, having inadvertently put some tape he pirated from Enterprise while waiting for Kirk & co. into the Atavichron instead of his own. He insists on accompanying Seven on his mission to prevent an assassination.) (71)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

DE4 sees the Federation go into battle for the first time since commissioning, separated from allies temporarily, and against alien ships which have kidnapped McCoy, Chekov and two STAR personnel. The Federation is damaged, and while she effects repairs, the alien ships are long gone. Chekov and the other officers manage to steal the captured STAR and escape, but at the cost of abandoning McCoy to the enemy. They are picked up by the Federation, and at chapter's end, repairs have been made and preperation are underway to find McCoy and his captors with the idea of rescue.[13]
Kirk resolves to try to talk with the new aliens. McCoy puts himself on report after an ensign under his charge is killed in a lab accident. Zada and Lexa plot mutiny against the cowardly Tal. A shuttle crew is injured investigating an odd asteroid field and Chekov and McCoy go to assist in a medical shuttle. A spacecraft lurking in the asteroids had attacked the shuttle, and now transports the two shuttles aboard; Federation pursues into the field. The aliens examine McCoy, Kazmeric and Chekov; McCoy refuses to play in their intelligence test, but manages to establish communications. The aliens populate a planet until they use it up, then move on to a new one; this is an advance ship seeking a new home while the queen and colonists remain behind. The aliens have no sense of individual identity. The Federation reaches the alien ship; it keeps telling them that they are "controlled" and must surrender. Meanwhile, the three Feds escape and get to their shuttle; McCoy remains behind to operate the hangar door - then bash in the machinery - while the other two take the shuttle and fly home. He is last seen being overpowered by the aliens. Kirk pursues, pointing out to Spock that, "McCoy is an impatient man, and I don't intend to keep him waiting." [14]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5

Dreadnought Explorations 5 was published in January 1977 and is 131 pages long.

  • Dreadnought Explorations (4)
  • Rescue by Patricia Lindl (Altair gets stuck in a jeffries tube and Kirk is the only one who can get near her.) (79)
  • Pilgrimage (Spock reminisces over Kirk's monument.) (85)
  • Human Sacrifice (80)
  • In Passage (Spock & McCoy share a poignant moment contemplating the meaning of life in the observation deck after McCoy runs out on his own birthday party.) (99)
  • Beyond the Mirror ("Mirror, Mirror" story depicting the events of the episode from Mirror Kirk's pov.) (reprinted in Enter-comm #3) (104)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[Human Sacrifice]: This was a Contact story contest entry, and not their best work. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and others are stranded on a planet and under attack by Gorns - who have eaten the husband of one of the scientists in the party. Kirk is injured and there is an emotional scene of Kirk ordering the others to safety while he stays to hold off the Gorn - but it turns out they are shipwrecked themselves and amenable to negotiation.[15]
[zine]: DE5 is the conclusion of the overall story, with bittersweet victory of the allies, a successful rescue of McCoy under hair-raising circumstances, and some of the best space opera battles I have ever read. Several short stories are included in this volume, but the focus, as always, is on the superb story and characterizations of the titled theme.[16]
[zine]: McCoy, Chekov and Kazmeric all suffer guilt over McCoy's predicament. The Federation finds the Enterprise damaged by an attack by the alien and render assistance. Tal turns tail; Lexa and Zada have their mutiny and rejoin Kirk in battle against the alien; new alien ships enter the fray; Danior and Spock retrieve McCoy by transporter, but have to hold him in limbo when the unit is damaged, leaving Danior trapped and injured in the transporter room. The Feds are victorious but with serious damage and injuries, and the knowledge that by destroying all the scout ships they may have condemned an entire people to extinction. Zada looks after the injured Kirk.[17]

Collected Edition 1

cover of Dreadnought Collected, issue #1, cover by P.S. Nim

Dreadnought Explorations Collected 1 was published in May 1981 and contains 158 pages. It is a "special edition revised and expanded by the authors."

  • Dreadnought Explorations, Book 1, illustrated by Nan Lewis (p. 3)
  • Sky Rider by Linda Maclaren (p. 24)
  • Dreadnought Explorations, Book 2, illustrated by P.S. Nim (p. 25)
  • One Brave Fool by Gina Martin (p. 64)
  • Dreadnought Explorations, Book 3, illustrated by Merle Decker (p. 65)
  • Dreadnought Explorations, Book 4, illustrated by Beverly Zuk (p. 109)
  • Futures Past by Gina Martin (p. 158)

Collected Edition 2

cover of Dreadnought Collected, issue #2

Dreadnought Explorations Collected 2 was published in February 1982 and contains 190 pages.

  • Dreadnought Explorations, Book 5, illustrated by Mike Verina (p. 3)
  • Dreadnought Explorations, Book 6 (includes the short story, "Eye of the Eagle"), illustrated by Laurie Huff and P.S. Nim (p. 69)
  • Dreadnought Explorations, Book 7, illustrated by Desire Gonzales (p. 131)
  • City Sounds by Jane McRae Nauman (inside back cover) (also in Enter-comm #7)

Reactions and Reviews: Collected Edition 2

The original zines called DE 1-5 have the dubious distinction of being the only fanzines I know of legally enjoined by Paramount from further publication because they were too pro professional. Written by Linda S. Maclaren and Gina Martin, any one of them had a better plot than ST:TMP, and a great deal more skillful writing. Since the original 5-part story entailed a triumvirate of Klingon-Romulan-Federation ships who set out to stop a mysterious invader from another galaxy that was swallowing up planets, you can understand Paramount's nervousness when these zines came out while ST: TMP was still a-boil. No matter, most of us bought them, eagerly when they came off the presses, accepting the fine adventure story even with the poor printing quality, flimsy binding and no artwork. But we rejoiced when Linda and Gina got together with some Canadian zine publishers and a new edition was announced, complete with brand new chapters. Volume 1 contains DE 1-4 with good artwork, nice heavy covers, offset and a credit to our Trek shelves (May still be available SAE and with an IRC to address above). Then the present volume followed, beginning DE5 from the old series, and adding two new chapters (books, they call them) to wind up the story in the typical Trek fashion of making friends out of enemies and new members for the Federation. Highly satisfying, a gripping reading adventure, and some of the most polished prose ever to be printed in a fanzine.[18]


  1. ^ from Judith Gran, Accessed October 3, 2008.
  2. ^ from Scuttlebutt
  3. ^ from Scuttlebutt #2, by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, a rebuttal/response to the review in the previous issue of Scuttlebutt.
  4. ^ from 'Dreadnought Exploration's' editors in a personal statement to Scuttlebutt #2
  5. ^ from Delta Triad #4
  6. ^ from Enterprise Incidents #6 (1978)
  7. ^ from Delta Triad #4
  8. ^ from Karen Halliday's Zinedex
  9. ^ from Delta Triad #4
  10. ^ from Karen Halliday's Zinedex
  11. ^ from Delta Triad #4
  12. ^ from Karen Halliday's Zinedex
  13. ^ from Delta Triad #4
  14. ^ from Karen Halliday's Zinedex
  15. ^ from Karen Halliday's Zinedex
  16. ^ from Delta Triad #4
  17. ^ from Karen Halliday's Zinedex
  18. ^ from The Clipper Trade Ship #39/40