Electronic Male (newsletter)

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Zine
Title: Electronic Male
Publisher: the fan club Electronic Male Network
Editor(s): Joyce McDonald
Type: newsletter
Date(s): January 1990-February 1995
Frequency: "You pay for FOUR ISSUES, not ONE YEAR. If it takes four years to get you four issues, your subscription is good for four years." -- from the editor in issue #11
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TNG
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Electronic Male is a gen Data/Brent Spiner newsletter with at least thirteen issues.

A fan in 1993 wrote: " A periodic updating of "Spinerisms" (which in itself is a must for Data/Brent fans!) by witty commentator Joyce McDonald. Contains con reports, info about the TNG cast, letters of comment, book and fanzine reviews, and even news about Data fans. Especially noteworthy for excellent tape-sharing operation for those wishing to view all of Brent's performances caught on tape. [1]

The Title

Despite the possibility of the newsletter's title having something to do with the then-newfangled thing called "email," the title does not (at least according to a comment in issue #11) seem to be a pun on this new technology.

One Zine Leads to Another

From Joyce McDonald in the first issue:

Six months ago, I started work on a publication which was to be both my debut and my swan song in the area of authorship. Having satisfied my urge to write and publish at least one work, I planned to disappear back into the world of computers and programming with scarcely a look back.

One factor, however, that I did not anticipate was the tremendous response Spinerisms would receive even before it was submitted to our publisher. Because of the attention we have received from all over the world, I have come to the conclusion that we are filling a void with our network and that members are hungry for an organ that will express and respond to their interests and concerns. We have designed our Electronic Male newsletter for that purpose. If Electronic Male is to survive, it must, above all, be a forum. Your interests, your news, your opinions will make up the content of ail future issues of Electronic Male. The fact that I have written most of the articles and offerings in the first issue does not mean that I want this newsletter to serve as a personal ego trip. My primary intention is to spark your imagination and demonstrate the format and focus that we wish to take.

Here, then, is Electronic Male. Send us your opinions, reviews, artwork, and news. We do not at this point take fiction, but might be able to help you find a publisher through our network connections. Above all, LET US HEAR FROM YOU!!!

One Topic: Brent Spiner's Con Appearances, or Lack Thereof

A number of the newsletters record the unhappiness of fans regarding Brent Spiner's no-shows at cons and perhaps less-than-diplomatic comments regarding fans.

Issue #7 is one example: it includes a photos of Spiner and the caption: "Can you believe it?!! It's really HIM... doing a convention!" That issue includes: "BRENT'S CONVENTION SCHEDULE!!! Save your pennies, folks, because here he comes!! Brent is doing SEVEN (count'em) conventions through September 1992, so just about all of you Brent-hungry folks can drink your fill. He's doing this to promote his album, SOOOO BUY SOME MORE!!!" [2]

Issue 1

Electronic Male News 1 was published in January 1990 and contains 7 pages.

front page of issue #1
  • a LoC by Lana Brown
  • a clipping from the December 5, 1989 Washington Post: "TV & Theater News: Tasha Returns to ST:TNG on February 19"
  • some "Naked Now" episode-related limericks
  • a clipping from the January 17, 1990 issue of Wall Street Journal: "New Generation of Trekkies"
  • Starbase Indycon Report Features Sirtis, Barrett, & Vardaman by Diane K. McCarty "sent via subspace communications"
  • Hi-Tech Overview: The Concept of "Downloading" by an uncredited fan
  • review of "Strike Zone" by Peter David
  • Convention News... Creation Con Tries Preferred Seating
  • an update about Spinerisms

Issue 2

Electronic Male News 2 (v.1 n.2) was published in April 1990 and contains 12 pages.

inside page from issue #2
  • "'The Offspring' -- Possibly the Most Beloved Episode Ever" by Joyce McDonald ("April Fool's Day, 1990")
  • many letters to the editor complaining about Creation Con] and by default, Brent Spiner's appearance there -- comments were mostly negative and had to do with money, hypocrisy, greed, access to the celebrity, disappointment in the celebrity's candidness... One sample excerpt:
    I do not hold any animosity towards Brent for his acceptance of Creation's terms. They have the bucks and they are in it solely for the bucks and probably offered Mr. Spiner the sun and the moon and the stars — and he being no fool, took it. I only regret that Creation has made it virtually impossible for any fan-run convention to ever hope of being able to get Brent. And I lay full blame for that at Creation's feet. Let's be frank, Creation would dearly love to be THE only game in town. I am, however, very disturbed by the fan reaction that Brent has somehow sold out by being a Creation guest and suddenly he is a money-grubbing, soulless snob. Hey, people, none of these folks appear for free nor are they under any obligation to do conventions.
  • "Spiner Recevies Two Minute Ovation at New York Convention," compiled by Leah Deyneka, uploaded by Tashana, and sent in by Nancy Jacobs -- "Wearing a black outfit and his gold wire-rim glasses, Brent Spiner made his first convention appearance at the Thanksgiving Creation Trek Con on November 24, 1989." (very, very long con report)
  • "Headliners" by Melody Rondeau (cartoons)
  • "Lana Goes to Hollywood" by Lana Brown ("Guess which artist from New Zealand got to go LA and meet and you-know-who? For the rest of us who will never be so lucky, she chronicled her visit...")
  • an update on Operation Tape Share
  • "Switching Channels? Look for Our Hero on These Shows"
  • "DOES He or Does He NOT Have Emotions?" by Joyce McDonald and Mary Jane Keao (article)
  • a LoC about "The Defector"
  • a review of the tie-innovel by Jean Lorrah ("Survivors")
  • a review of "Ensigns of Command"
  • Michael Dorn at Bash Con (January 27-28)
  • Contest for This Issue: "Who Can Write the Best Data Filksong" (includes a sample filk by B. Perry, to the tune of "Yesterday" by the Beatles "Tasha Yar")

Issue 3

Electronic Male News 3 was published in August 1990 and contains 8 pages.

front page of issue #3
application for the Electronic Male Network
  • this issue is dedicated to Lana Brown and there is a short bio on her
  • a paper copy for the Electronic Male Network
  • letters to the editor
  • Continuum: Spotlight on EM Networkers, tidbits about what fans are creating
  • a con report for the Creation Cons in Los Angeles and Denver
  • the editors of the newsletter are impressed with the variety fan-created stationery and ask for samples to be sent to them for teh contest: "Who Has the Best Designer Stationery?"
  • some episode reviews
  • A Visit to Paramount (and Guess Who's There?), article by Susan Lugiai
  • interview with Eric Stillwell, conducted by Joyce McDonald at the LA Creation Con
  • "Life's What Happens When You Have Other Plans, editorial by Joyce McDonald: from the editor:
    We are definitely aware that most of you read other publications besides EM, and we agree that we don't want to bore you with info that you have already read elsewhere. We do depend on you, the reader to insure that our news is fresh. Therefore we ask that you not send us the same letters that you send other publications. If you have a review or letter commentary that you would like us to print, but don't want to wait forever to find out if we're going to print it, send us a SASE and a deadline (preferably six months or more), and we'll either print your comments within the allotted time or send it back. Regarding news — let us make a disclaimer. The information we print as articles (convention reports, reviews, news, and article citations) will tend to be more factual than the information we print in letters. We will not print an article without a definite byline and a citation of the source, if something is quoted from another publication. We are glad to print your opinions in the "Letters to the Editor" section, but please remember that many letters are opinion and not necessarily the opinion of the editor or the staff.

Issue 4

Electronic Male News 4 was published in December 1990 and contains 14 pages.

cover of issue #4
  • the editor is a bit overwhelmed with RL commitments and two other fans are helping out: two of them are Becky and Mary Jane (Mary Jane is the local president of the new Science Fiction Cable Channel Fan Club)
  • cartoons by Fran Wong
  • there are many letters of comment, one from Eric Stillwell who thanks them for the interview but says his name was spelled wrong, one from Lana Brown who got her newsletter (in New Zealand) two months after it was sent, someone describing her computer set up, and much more
  • an illo of "Desert Island Data" by Fiona Schofield, another illo of Data by Judy Bishop
  • an illo by Brenda Perry that was previously printed in an issue of Grip, other small illos by her portraying Tasha Yar and Data from Grip and In a Different Reality
  • cartoon by Sandra Cosimano, one by Lorna Hunter
  • a con report for Converge #2 ("A fun convention, even without You-Know-Who")
  • some photos of fans at the June 1990 LA Creation Con
  • Diane McCarty announces the Android Owner's Manual and has a detailed submission request
  • a report of Melinda Snodgrass at New Orleans Science Fiction and Fantasy Fair in June in New Orleans
  • a filksong by Monika Feigl and Linda Munn called "When You Choose to Cruise the Stars" to the tune of Pinocchio
  • updates on what the actors are doing, snippets from interviews and other sources
  • an update on Spinerisms regarding size and cost, see that page
  • "Additional Notes on "Yesterday's Enterprise" Episode" by Eric Stillwell includes some clarification of the interview in the previous issue
  • a long interview conducted by Rebecca Zertuche of Nichelle Nichols, exclusive to the this newsletter
  • about names and responsibility:
    A note to contributors: Although we issue disclaimers about letters to the editor being opinion, and that the opinions are not necessarily that of EM, we staff members are still held accountable for their content and are frequently challenged on their accuracy. And to those who insist on using a nom de plume: If you can't put your name on your opinions, what makes you think that we would want to publish them?? Also, if you are not sure you want something published, please let us know when you send it. If you don't, we may not be able to catch it before it is keyed into our files.
  • a fan writes:
    Over the years of being associated with "Star Trek" fandom, I have encountered a trend which to me is extremely disturbing. It is a tendency on the part of many fans to attack the actors associated with the series for one reason or another. This kind of intolerance has happened first with the classic series and now with the new one. When Leonard Nimoy was first thinking of no longer playing the role of Spock, both he and his family received hate mail and threats from so-called "fans." This has been documented. This kind of behavior made me very angry, and I did not want to be associated for a long time with fandom of any kind. Now, I am running across it again. Since Brent Spiner cancelled his appearance at the con in New Zealand, I have heard some extremely negative and unnecessary comments concerning him. Those that made plans to go to this con were warned in advance that it was not a definite appearance. EVERY cast member at one time or another has cancelled an appearance at a convention. The option is in their contracts. This is not a criminal act on the part of Mr. Spiner or anyone else. While everyone's entitled to their opinion, I feel that some of this has gone a little too far. NONE of these people are perfect, and neither are we. Besides, that's show business, folks. Actors cancel things all the time. I would also urge those in Trek fandom to consider something before they judge so harshly: Most other shows' fans do not expect the actors to show up at conventions. This is something extra with "Star Trek" and a few other sci-fi/fantasy shows. I happen to believe in what the show stands for. However, if this trend continues, 1, for one, may not want to continue a close association with fandom. My aim is to have fun and be positive and constructive, not put up with pettiness and negativity.

Issue 5

Electronic Male News 5 was published in February 1991 and contains 16 pages.

cover of issue #5
  • illos by Lorna Hunter, Fran Wong, Lana Brown, Teresa Sanson
  • many letters of comment, topics vary widely, reads like a modern-day fan forum/bulletin board
  • A Cure for Trekism, by Joyce McDonald "with apologies to Vel Jaeger"
  • Randy Quaid: "Just a Regular Guy" by Joyce McDonald
  • Judy Bishop wins the best fan stationery contest
  • a fan profile of Lynda L. Ciaschini
  • Patrick Stewart: A Man with a Conscience, a con report by Nancy G. Hefka for a LaGrange/Starfleet con -- focus on Amnesty International
  • the editors address the Viacom Crackdown:

ELECTRONIC MALE usually does not address itself to rumors, but since we have heard this rumor more than once, and since the reported action could affect us directly, we feel compelled to mention it: Paramount may be cracking down on unofficial Star Trek organizations. In the event that this is true, and EM is asked to discontinue its activities, we must have a contingency plan. We would like your input. We have several possible courses of action:

First, dissolve the organization completely, and in the unlikely event that funds are left in the EM account — donate them to charity. : Second, dissolve and attempt to refund any remaining subscription money (a massive headache!).
Third, remain in contact and divert our attention to another topic such as: a) a popular and educational view of artificial intelligence, or b) another cult favorite TV show.
Fourth, make the ANDROID OWNER'S MANUAL our swan song,
If you'd like to make some suggestions, please write us. Again, this may be just a rumor, but in any event, any good business should have a dissolution clause, since one cannot effectively predict the future.

Issue 6

Electronic Male News 6 was published in July 1991 and contains 16 pages.

cover of issue #6
  • illos by Teresa Sanson, Fran Wong, G. Wrubel, Christopher Simmons (a "computer illustration"), Sandra Cosimano, and Lorna Hunter
  • lots of chatty LoCs
  • Feelings, a poem by Sandi Almany
  • a big ad for Brent Spiner's cassette tape
  • a review of the tie-in book, "Metamorphosis" (Jean Lorrah's "Metamorphosis" "Falls into Horrendous Cliches")
  • "A Klingon Called 'Sugar Cheeks'," a con report by Diane Collins for "Creation Salutes Star Trek" in Detroit -- focus on Michael Dorn
  • a con report by William McCullars for the "Trek-o-Rama Convention" in Charlotte, NC, featuring Marina Sirtis
  • some very short comments about several zines: Imzadi #5, Eridani #5, Where None Have Gone Before #30, Galaxy Class #8, Swift Currents, Kiron III
  • some photos of fans
  • a fan talks about the phone:
    Speaking of pleasing oneself, I must warn you that I can be rather rude to people who call during my favorite TV shows. ST:TNG is never interrupted because of its time slot (10:30 Saturday evening). "Twin Peaks" (8:00 p.m. Thursday) and "Quantum Leap" (9:00 p.m. Wednesday) are not so protected. If you therefore call and get Mr. Hyde, check your TV listing for a possible explanation. Also, I ask you not to call (if you can help it) after 9:00 p.m. (Central Time). From about 9 to 10:30 p.m., my teenage girls get calls from at least 100 of their most intimate friends; thus you can expect an interruption from call waiting at least once every five minutes. Mary Jane, of course, has been very generous at fielding phone calls from the network, but she does have an atrocious phone bill If you want to be kind to Mary Jane (she has not complained — this is MY idea alone), how about having her return your call collect or send her a stack of postage stamps occasionally to help defray her expenses.

Issue 7

Electronic Male News 7 was published in November 1991 and contains 24 pages.

cover of issue #7
inside page from issue #7, a fan club parody
  • there are some fan memorials to the recently-departed Gene Roddenberry
  • a con report by Nancy G. Hefka for the October 1991 Creation Con, includes photos
  • many cartoons by Fran Wong
  • many very chatty LoCs
  • a parody of a Lore fan club
  • an article about computer viruses
  • a profile of a fan
  • photos of fans
  • a reprint of a 1991 review from the Seattle Times of Spiner's album: "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back"
  • a fan's review of "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back"
  • a full-page ad for "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back"
  • Can you believe it?!! It's really HIM... doing a convention!" That issue includes: "BRENT'S CONVENTION SCHEDULE!!! Save your pennies, folks, because here he comes!! Brent is doing SEVEN (count'em) conventions through September 1992, so just about all of you Brent-hungry folks can drink your fill. He's doing this to promote his album, SOOOO BUY SOME MORE!!!

Issue 8/9

Electronic Male News 8/9 was published in October 1992 and contains 37 pages. It has illos by Fran Wong, Charlotte Graham Clarke.

front page of issue #8/9

The staff roster lists 33 people.

  • it is an issue that reveals, among other things, a lot of internal turmoil
  • Send in the Clones: An almost totally true account of a weekend odyssey with E.M. and Brent Spiner," a con report by Denise Gary for Dallas TrekFest
  • a review of Pulse of the Machine, see that page
  • the first part of an untitled serial novel by Beverly Brock
  • some ads for ST:TNG merchandise
  • an "update" on the virtual Lore fan club (the club is a parody): "Since a secretary has not been appointed yet (Lore doesn't believe in the democratic process), a roll list hasn't been well kept. If you joined, but did not receive dishonorable mention, please let us know so that we can five you the notice you deserve."
  • a report of a play in Orange County at the Don Walsh Auditorium February 15, 1992 that starred a bunch of ST:TNG actors: "A Play for Actors and Orchestra" -- includes two photos and an entire transcript
  • includes a form for members to fill out in order to update the Network
  • the editor writes:
    Abusive letters do not upset me (I get lots of them), but they do upset my staff, so address your complaints to me.... We sincerely apologize for the problems that we had with recent subscribers not receiving their issues. We sincerely hope that the error has been rectified. If you did not receive EM7, please let us know, because we are fairly sure that some patient souls may still be waiting. We plan to keep a firm hand on the mailing list from now on. Thanks for your cooperation.
  • "about our rates:"
    Electronic Male sincerely apologizes for twice raising our rates since our beginning in 1990. We hope that you will understand the factors that were involved in this decision and not conclude that we are motivated by pure greed. Our first problem is our production process, which is tremendously expensive, especially for photos. Our second problem is that our publication started out at six pages and now ranges between twenty-four and thirty-six pages, it has sextupled in size Our third problem is that the paper we use is expensive, since we use heavier stock to prevent bleeding. Our fourth problem is that with the increased size of the publication, printing and postage costs have also increased greatly. Postage alone has quadrupled. Our fifth problem is that, at our readers request, we have begun to send EM in envelopes; an additional expense in supplies and postage. We have looked at ways to cut comers on expenses, but the bottom line is that we will not compromise on the quality of our publication. Our staff has agreed that we will cease to publish if we had no other choice but to lower our quality. We sincerely thank you for your support and your patience, and hope that we can please you with what we do in the future.
  • a staff member, Rebecca Z, writes:
    I have decided to quit EM I realize that my reasons for leaving are unimportant to you, but here they are anyway: a) I never realized that I would be working under a dictatorship, b) I was not informed of EM meetings after the last meeting at Mary Jane's. I found out about them only after the fact and from someone else, c) I do not relish being yelled at or being looked down on, both of which you have a habit of doing, and finally and most importantly, d) Somewhere along the line EM became a one-woman production. At least in the eyes of the world. We both know better. It is now and has always been a group effort: it couldn't exist if it weren't. I was there at the beginning and I remember that fact even if other people have chosen to conveniently forget it. P.S. I will expect EM7 and any other EM's that carry my columns. P.P.S. Take it from me, a lack of motivation isn't that bad: When I leave a job, it's my idea, not someone else's.
  • the editor responds to Rebecca Z:
    I'm a dictator of the worst sort. I demand the best. I expect your columns to be finished in a timely manner. I expect attendance at meetings or a darn good reason why not, and I expect regrets well enough in advance for the rest of us to compensate. Conventions and special events are a privilege, not a right. Members should pay their own way or stay at home. The other EM members will attest to the fact that I have never yelled at you, but I have looked down on you. Why? First, because you have tremendous potential but you flatly refuse to tap that potential. You have missed more deadlines than I care to count, and frankly, I'm tired of writing your columns and putting your byline on them just to keep the peace. No, this is definitely NOT a one-woman publication. I could not live without Lisa, Terri, TJ, Andy, Nancy, Teresa, Fran, and all of the other staff members and networkers that make EM possible. And if Mary Jane left, the whole network would fall apart. But since this is not a one-woman publication, you are not indispensable. I have asked you back in a personal letter that you rejected. It is your choice, and we're sorry to see you go, but we will survive. I regret the loss of a staff member, especially one that departs on less than friendly terms. I also regret that this letter has to see print. However, we have received some letters and calls from other members asking if you had been "dismissed" from EM. We do not dismiss anyone from staff or ranks, although we do discontinue mailings to those "missing in action," if we fail to hear from them (staff) for a year or more, or their (members) subscription expires, or the post office claims "addressee unknown." - JML
  • the editor writes:
    Leave it to Melody Rondeau to bear up my theories. In issue 5 of EM, readers may recall that I mentioned that "Trekkism" has its own cure. In short, a person becomes so involved with Star Trek fandom that he or she no longer has the time to watch Star Trek. I give you OPS CONSOLE from issue 15 of DATA ENTRIES: "If I'd been given the choice between watching TV or working on DE, I'd've chosen DE...but as no one asked me, I worked on DE anyway and I haven't seen an episode of ST:TNG in over two months. Is that dedication or what?" Not only did Melody bear up to my theories, but she got DE out on time in January, in spite of the 84-hour work weeks she's been putting in and she still managed to send me some humdinger headliners and some info on Twin Peaks on top of that. Sorry I didn't make it to the LA con to visit the Rondeaus. Hope you had a good time! We have recently received requests from several readers to publish open letters to Brent in EM, most offering personal or professional advice. We are also beginning to receive Brent's mail for forwarding, members assuming we can get it to Brent quicker than they themselves can. This required me to make some editorial decisions and to establish some more editorial policy, so here goes: With regards to open letters to Brent, here's mine: Dear Brent, please refuse to do anymore episodes where they open up your head, arm, or other body parts to show circuit boards, microprocessors, controllers. Etc. Every time you do this, I get an avalanche of angry mail decrying the fact that you are a machine. Although I think your circuit boards are kinda cute, and I would really like to see what is attached to your motherboard, it appears that I am in the extreme minority, so for my sake, please keep it zipped. Now that is the first and last "open letter to Brent" that I am going to publish. Selfish, I know, but that's an editor's prerogative. As for the rest of Brent's personal and professional life, he must be doing something right or he would still be driving a taxi. And if we had our acts together well enough to give him advice, we'd be lining our mantles with Emmies and lighting our cigars with $100 bills. Second with regards to letters to forward to Brent: We're complimented that you trust us to handle Brent's mail, but you'll get much better service if you will send your letters to Brent at Paramount. The address is 5555 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Believe me, he has a very able administrative assistant who handles his mail very efficiently, and he sees every piece of mail sent to this address. May I also advise you that mail sent to any other address probably gets lost or thrown away. Also under no circumstances send letters to the "home address" that some unscrupulous dealers are selling. In the first place, the address is most likely in error. Second, Hollywood celebrities are advised not to open fan mail sent to their home address, so it goes in the trash with the junk mail.
  • a fan remarks on DS9:
    We in Trek Talk are really concerned about the prospective "Deep Space Nine" -- stupid choice of a name, considering what Deep Throat was about. Most of us are concerned about a "darker and grittier" Trek world — if we wanted Road Warrior, we'd watch Road Warrior. Many of us who watch with children are also concerned about a holodeck brothel. It sounds like they couldn't let Gene get cold in his grave before they were off and running...
  • the editor responds to a fan's remarks on DS9:
    I have received many letters of comment in the same vein. Most of the comments I have seen or received regarding DS9 have been negative... [snipped] I pictured the "darker and grittier" as just that: No spit-and-polish shine a la Enterprise; thus the people have to get out and grunt and sweat to earn their keep. The space station would look more like a warehouse than a luxury liner. Warehouses are not pretty, but they do hold some fascination, and one might be able to put one's feet up and not get yelled at. Also, the uniforms or other clothing that inhabitants wear will look like one could actually do some work in them. As a veteran high school and college teacher as well as a parent of three, I ask you: If you don't want children to leann about sex in the home, where do you think they're going to learn it? I want my own kids to see and hear almost everything before they get out in the big world and start making decisions on their own. I treat sex as I would any other of life's experiences: Teach the child how not to drown before you turn him/her loose in the water. As far as Gene being cold in his grave, as I recall. Gene was delighted with the social climate of the eighties and the prospects of syndication, because the networks had put too many taboos and restraints upon the sexual nature of Star Trek. The fact that Data is a fully functional android is a tribute to the fact that Gene finally got his way.
  • a fan is mad:
    As you can see by my address, I've moved to a new location, although my phone number has remained the same. It's been over a year now since you agreed to print my letter. Since it hasn't seen the light of day yet, I am assuming that it will never do so. Frankly, I think this stinks. Your word obviously means little. From what 1 can see, you only appear to be interested in printing articles and letters that put Brent in a good light. Unfortunately, I see him differently. I wish that you would state clearly that your newsletter will not print anything unflattering, instead of trying to make believe that all we see is the good side. I see the mercenary actor who won't let dealers sell his record at a convention, so that his agent can sell copies so that Brent profits even more directly than getting a cut of the sales to the dealers. This is really lame. I'm the guy who sees a star get paid $15,000 for 2 hours work, and then nickels and dimes people. Frankly, at this point, I give up. I thought your newsletter was different. I thought you were different. I see now that I was wrong, and that yours is just another kiss ass zine, and not an honest newsletter.
  • the editor addresses the mad fan:
    [Question: If you have moved, and you are just now telling us, how did you get EM at all? As I recall our conversation, the letter in question had yet to be written, and I said that I would print the hypothetical letter if I had room. I have a priority rating that I use when selecting which letters actually get printed. First....those that contain new and pertinent information. Second., letters of comment and opinion- In the latter category, I rank in order of precedence: EM subscribers, exchange newsletter subscribers, and freebies. Since you are in the last category, your letter would have sifted to the bottom. Naturally, when letters carry over to the next issue, the event in question becomes old news. Your letter had nothing to do with the sale of Brent's tape. It was a complaint about the fact that his New Zealand cancellation cost you a speculative bundle. Welcome to the club. Unfortunately, there is nothing you, I or Brent can do now to change that situation, so what is the point in complaining about it? Where you see the mercenary side of the actor, I see a man who worked his buns off for 20 years to get where he is today-a man who used not only his phenomenal talent but the keen business sense he likely inherited from his mother to build a secure hedge against an uncertain future. Even if I thought that Brent was a jerk, I have an obligation to my subscribers to print what they would enjoy most. EM is not into muckraking. We want to be fun, upbeat, and hopefully, a little inspirational. If that is what makes us a "kiss ass zine" then let's line up for another smooch. — JML
  • another angry fan:
    In regards to Mary Jane, I sent her a letter asking the whereabouts of the EM issues I had paid for. I admit my letter was a little blunt, but if she is your PR person she should learn to deal with such things with a lot more courtesy...If you are having financial problems with EM you should charge more for a subscription. Producing EM is just a hobby for you and reading it is just a hobby for me. I don't expect you or anyone else to financially float my hobby. I would gladly pay twice what you charge if that is what it would take to keep EM afloat. I want you to know that I am not the only person who has been dissatisfied with EM's service. Like a lot of Trekkers, I have accumulated quite a few pen pals. Most of them are members of EM also. And every one of them is dissatisfied with the service. And every one of them got an issue in the mail shortly after I wrote my first letter to Mary Jane... In closing, I urge you once again to raise the price of EM if you need to do so. And yes, I do wish to remain a subscriber. The issues of EM are excellent. Keep up the good work.
  • the editor addresses the angry fan:
    [To all of those who were unhappy with EM in recent months, our sincerest apologies. And a special apology from me to Mary Jane, who took the brunt of the wrath of our disgruntled subscribers, since she is listed in many publications as the contact person for EM. Getting EM7 out was an unqualified nightmare. Terri and I were working 50-60 hour weeks with five kids between us, and both of us had the flu twice. I developed diverticulitis and arthritis, probably due to stress, and Terri was on her way to a dandy case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Needless to say, we were a mess. Thus, the finishing touches, that usually take a week or two, took three months. The sudden appearance of EM7 after your complaint was due to the fact that we finally got EM7printed and out the door. If you '11 notice, the return-address stamp was from Mary Jane, who, along with Lisa, collated EM and stuffed envelopes. There were a few mishaps with the mailing list, so if any of you subscribed and were supposed to receive EM7 but did not, let us know immediately. We tried to reach all of those who were inadvertently left out, but we can't be sure we reached all of you. The key word in your letter is "hobby". Please remember again, that we all have lives, and as much as we would like to consider EM our priority business, we all have to eat. If anyone ever is dissatisfied with us and sorry they subscribed, a postcard asking for a refund of the remainder of your subscription addressed to me, Joyce, will get swift action. ANY questions about subscriptions should be addressed to me, since I keep the database and control the purse strings. For those of you wondering about the future of EM: We will publish as long as we have the manpower, providing that Brent does not request us to cease publication. We have made a firm promise that work stops the day he asks us to stop. If he does not, we would like to follow his future career with a newly-named newsletter.— JML
  • a fan who works for the National Weather Service in Anchorage, Alaska writes:
    Although this might reduce my stature in your eyes, I thought you might like to know that I hate computers! I refuse to have one in the house and type all my letters on an antique manual Royal portable typewriter. Anything I require of a computer I can get at work, where we have about four dozen of the things. Each work station requires half a dozen or so and I spend most of my time playing the multiple keyboards like some demented musician, calling up satellite pictures, thermodynamic diagrams, climatological records, etc. The system invariably crashes at the most inopportune times, and has yet to produce forecasts of the quality that an experienced human can. Despite that feet, and because of the large investment NWS has made in the hardware, we are increasingly constrained to ensure our forecasts conform to the computer's. How about it, would you stake your life on a flight to Fort Yukon on a computer forecast?...
  • the editor scolds fans regarding those fans who were poorly behaved at a con in which Brent Spiner recently appeared:
    later this issue. Now I 'd like to do some ranting: I sincerely hope that no member of EM was involved in the crowding, autograph seeking, and camera flashing that went on at the EGBDF reception. There is a time and a place for everything, and a theatre reception is NOT the place to act like a Trekkie. Even at an ST con, give him (and any of his guests) some room, and if you do take pictures, use high speed film, and no flash. And for gosh sakes, DON'T get on the front row and then stand up the entire time!! I hear a lot of carping from individuals that "Brent has little consideration for his fans. " / personally disagree, but even if it were so, how do you expect him to express consideration for you if you have no consideration for him or for the rest of his fans? People seem to forget that Brent is a human being, and not a commodity, a god, or a preferred stock.

Issue 10

Electronic Male News 10 was published in August 1993 and contains 12 pages.

cover of issue #10
  • the letters in this issue are fairly placid
  • illos by Fran Wong, Barb McNeese
  • a con report for a con in Houston
  • a con report for a Creation Con in LA
  • the editorial, broken two into two parts, due to lateness:
    November 19,1992: It's been an entire year since I wrote the editorial for EM7 and some patient souls have just written to inform me that they never received it Except for "I'm Sorry!", all I can say is "Bless You!" for waiting patiently for so long. Maybe, just maybe we have solved a few of the problems that have plagued us in the past, and will improve our timing in the future. We have reorganized, and have a larger home staff than ever, so we have reason to be optimistic. By now you have seen EM 8&9, our first offering with Lisa Mendoza as Managing Editor. It goes without saying that it is an unqualified success. I admit being skeptical. Like Leonard Nimoy, I felt that we had caught lightning in a bottle once, and that chances were nil that we could do it again. My sincerest thanks to both Terri Alexander and Lisa Mendoza for their wonderful work. July 25,1993: Sliding into EM 10, we find that we are again late as we still struggle for organization. We have made several positive changes that should help, but we still have a long way to go to get back on a reasonably good publishing schedule. For those of you who are unclear as to our subscription policies, your subscription is for four ISSUES, not necessarily one year. You WILL get your four issues, whether it takes one year or four. We still hope to get our wheels oiled and in smooth running condition sometime in the future. Those of us who have contacted us about subscriptions know now that TJ Arizmendi has taken over the role of operations manager, and not a minute too soon. If I had stayed on, the entire operation would have collapsed. Now I have a reason to believe that we will be able to undertake some of the projects we have dreamed about for so long. One of those dreams is the long promised ANDROIDS OWNERS MANUAL, which I started two years ago, and got sidetracked when I went through about five jobs in rapid succession. Now that TJ has taken over handling orders and the mailing list, I am finding welcome free time to write. You'll find more info about it in this issue.

Issue 11

Electronic Male News 11 was published in February 1994 and contains 14 pages.

cover of issue #11
  • a con report for a con in Toronto
  • some letters of comment
  • the editor writes:
    What happens to EM once TNG is off the air? My decisive answer: "That depends." EM does not have a firm and fast contingency plan. We have moseyed along for the past couple of years, not knowing what next issue will bring. Our continuance depends on the availability of information; it depends on sufficient subscription renewals; it depends on the the availability of staff. Though money has always been scarce, the EM staff has been very resourceful, and TJ has been an entrepreneurial wizard at coming up with funds to keep us going and keeping the costs to a minimum. Staff is more of a problem. We have some very talented members. Maybe too talented. Our staff members tend to be promoted or hired away to paying jobs doing the same thing they were doing for free for EM.... Since we have made it a policy to not to include fiction (a policy to which I am still firmly dedicated), news, letters, and convention reports are our bread-and-butter. Will they be voluminous enough to produce at least a couple issues a year? (If you don't know the policy, you pay for FOUR ISSUES, not ONE YEAR. If it takes four years to get you four issues, your subscription is good for four years.)
  • about communication by computer:
    ... Online services like CompuServe, Prodigy, and America Online (AoL) can be another interesting source of information on the comings and goings within fandom. Publications such as EM's newsletter, Space Time Continuum, Data Entries, Trekism's, Data Matrix, etc...are wonderful forums for learning what your fellow fans think of Star Trek in it's many forms. But thru the magic of Electronic Mail (sorry, no pun intended!) and interactive data exchange. You can carry on an exchange of opinions with several people at the same time, in a matter of minutes. Of course, those minutes will cost you a basic monthly fee of $9.95 to$15.95permonth, not including other online charges you may incur. Those charges are for using specialized areas or air time beyond a given period, usually 5 hours on AOL. The idea of our heroes accessing the files in these forums, and learning what people think of their performances and of the actors themselves is not out of the realm of possibility. At a convention appearance in Houston in 1992, Mr. Spiner stated that he and his co-workers occasionally read the messages left in the Trek forum in one of the online services and found them...interesting...and seemed to be greatly amused by the reactions in the crowd. (Opinion forums are public access, any one can read them, and offer either a supporting or conflicting comment without censure.) I often check out what is being said in the folders in the Star Trek Club area and the Science Fiction and Fantasy area on America OnLine and have found a number of Brent Spiner fans who are on the service and have told them about EMN. If you want to find me on AOL, just look for COOKIE8737. If I am not on line at that time, leave me a message in the folder, or E-Mail me. -- TJ

Issue 12

Electronic Male News 12 was published in May 1994 and contains 17 pages.

cover of issue #12
inside page from #12
  • this issue contains a couple of fairly bland LoCs
  • a con report for Dreamwerks, November 20-21, 1993
  • two con reports for Trekcon in San Antonio, February 1994
  • a con report for a con in Sacramento, CA (Red Lion Hotel, April 1, 1994)
  • a fan writes:
    Thanks for the latest issue of ELECTRONIC MALE. It's always a welcome sight in my mail box. I read with no little concern your editorial comments. Call me selfish, but I don't necessarily want to see EM come to an end. I understand the vagarities of the newsletter biz, and also the availability of time to devote to what is in actuality a hobby, when you could be spending time doing something that makes you money...Personally I would like to see EM come out once or twice a year as information and size warrant. If, however, you decide to disband, you'll have my full support for that decision as well. It looks like DE will mutate a bit and we will still follow Brent's career, but like EM, well have to see about the feasibility of continuing strictly as a newsletter. I imagine well go more toward fiction and hopefully I'll be able to continue to fill the pages and entertain the readers. We may even go so far as to have a format change...Mutate or die seems to be the operative phrase here.
  • the editor responds:
    I didn't mean to sound maudlin about EM's future, but we are being cautious about our forecasting. I feel that EM's fate is out of my hands, since I am no longer the guiding force behind the publication or the network. I do write editorials, but my staff now does 95% of the work. EM's future depends upon them, most particularly TJ, who has become my right hand, and who is taking over the reins as editor-in-chief as of this issue. TJ is a ball of fire, and a good businesswoman to boot (as well as a skilled hacker), so if she's willing, we will still be able to publish. Mary is also a strong influence around here, but she is now publishing herself (see news of the Doctor's Waiting Room elsewhere in this issue), so she may have her hands full. My own dream for EM is to mutate back into a quasi-Spinerisms, giving reports and synopses regarding the theater work that Brent does in the future. I can even picture taking a few trips back to NY to see our fearless leader appear in some plays. Oh, for a chance to see "Leave it to Beaver is Dead"! Whatever our future, I feel that the Electronic Male Network is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I will mourn the day that we disband. But 1 will always treasure the memories, and I will still count all my ST buddies among my friends.
  • the editor includes a long reprint of something from America Online, and prefaces it with this:
    I have shortened letters to the editor this month since TJ has asked me to address an issue brought up by Afran Hirsch of Berkeley, California via America Online, Berkeley is an appropriate place to start since its university is one of the hotbeds of new Artificial Intelligence ideas and experiments.

Issue 13

Electronic Male News 13 was published in February 1995 and contains 12 pages.

cover of issue #13
  • a long letter from the editor about a falling out with another fan
  • Brent Spiner on Prodigy
  • some letters from fans
  • a poem

References

  1. from Data Base v.2.0
  2. The album is the recently released "Ol Yellow Eyes is Back."