Engage! (Star Trek TNG and TOS letterzine)

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Title: Engage!
Editor(s): Kimberly Pederson
Type: letterzine
Date(s): April 1991- September/October 1992
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Engage! is a gen Star Trek: TNG letterzine. It was one of the successors to Interstat, alongside Diachron and STARLink.

Engage primarily featured letters of comment, along with columns related to both Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation topics. Staff artist for all issues (front covers and interior illustrations) was Zaquia Tarhuntassa.

There were nineteen issues.


From a flyer:
Do you like ENGAGE! others in conversations about the world of Star Trek? Do you like to be involved in ENGAGE!ing debates about Star Trek with others of differing opinions? Are you simply interesting in hearing what other fans are saying about Star Trek?

I you have answered "Yes" to any of the above questions, then ENGAGE! would be a publication that would fill those needs. Published monthly by Kimberly Pederson of [redacted], ENGAGE! offers lively discussion and debate among Star Trek fen. ENGAGE! is a letterzine which publishes letters, book and zine reviews, Star Trek and space related items and it offers a monthly news update on the Star Trek Universe. The editor tries to cover as many things as space permits that would be of interest to her subscribers.

If you would like to see a copy of ENGAGE! or simply would like more information about it, please send $1.50/copy or a SASE or further information to [address redacted].

Issue 1

the list of possible names for this zine, published in the first issue
cover of issue #1, art by Zaquia Tarhuntassa

Engage! 1 (was not yet titled) was published in April 1991 and contains 16 pages.

  • From the Bridge - Editorial/Introduction by Kimberly Pederson
  • Letters of Comment from: Joan Marie Verba, Jan Driggs, Gerrie Benzing, Sally Scheef, Douglas C. Harris, Steve Barnes, Jeffrey K. Wagner, Paula Parker, Melissa Middleswart, Dixie Owen, Ruth Susmarski,
  • Columns: Trekbeat (by Jeff Pendleton), Torn From the Trades (by Dixie Owen), Ship's Library (by Kimberly Pederson), plus an untitled column offering future discussion topics, and reprints of cartoons and news articles from various other sources
  • Special Note: For this first issue, the zine did not actually have a name. Editor Pederson ran a reader poll asking for title preference and selected Engage! from among 20 possibilities in future issues.
  • fans commented on what they thought of the episodes they'd viewed, on whether Saavik was more a daughter than lover, complaints about Creation Con's "preferred seating" at cons, pleasure that "Dixie's Clippings" from Interstat would continue in this letterzine and many more topics

Issue 2

Engage! 2 was published in May 1991 and contains 16 pages. It is still unamed.

cover of issue #2
  • fans write in about how they like the format (much like Interstat), how much the show is improving ("less wooden"), whether Spock and Saavik should be lovers, that the zine can't be called "Voyages" as the name was already a zine in the 1970s, there is more discussion on the episodes, that the fifth season of the show should have the ship go into deeper space where there would be many limitations on communications (and become more interesting), there is much discussion regarding Bronze Age medicine, whether McCoy or Crusher was a better doctor
  • a fan who has written a pro book writes in and complains about a loose translation and manipulation regarding her work in the finished product ("Probe") -- this is a long, long and detailed piece that takes on the world of pro books, rewrites, contracts, and reputation

Issue 3

Engage! 3 was published in June 1991 and contains 16 pages.

cover of issue #3
  • this issue contains many comments about what to call the yet-unnamed zine, about the demise of Interstat, horrified reactions to the treatment the write of the pro book (Probe) received by Pocket books, general comments about the show, and fans' hopes that this letterzine would have a long and happy life

Issue 4/5

Engage! 4/5 was published in July/August 1991 and contains 28 pages.

cover of issue #4/5
  • more fan write in about their unhappiness regarding the editing and decisions made by Pocket Books and cite the dust-up regarding "Probe"
  • a pro writer continues to air her concerns and complaints with Pocket Books in the pages of "Engage!" regarding her treatment over her published works [1]
  • this issue has an article by Jeff Pendleton called "What's Happened to All Those Wonderful Aliens?"
  • this issue reviews two pro books
  • this issue contains a review of Eridani #11, see that page
  • a fan wonders if Star Trek fandom is big enough to support three letterzines at the same time and wonders if, instead of shutting down Interstat, the editor should have asked for someone to take over editing it
  • a fan comments that:
    ...my heart primarily belongs to 'classic' Trek, although I do enjoy TNG... There's just something about the 'comfortableness' of the characters... I do not believe you can compare the two -- they're produced in two different time periods 20+ years apart (in attitude, thinking AND technology) so I don't even think it's FAIR to try to compare them.
  • a fan responds to another fan's letter in an earlier issue:
    If Spock was your creation and someone tampered with it to the point that you could no longer recognize it as yours, I could understand your indignation. But Spock is Roddenberry's baby and it was brought to life I by Nlmoy. It is their creative perogative to develop the character as they see fit. If you don't like what they've done with Spock, that's fine. You have every right to boycott Paramount. I appreciate and admire your strength to stand up for your convictions. On the other hand, I wonder what right you have to question Nimoy's integrity. My impression from what I've heard and read in the general media and in the fan press is that Nimoy returned to Trek out of respect for Roddenberry, for the character, and because of the loyalty of fans like you, Eunice. As far as I know, he wasn't under contractual obligations to do 6 films, nor do I have any Information to suggest that he did it just for the bucks.
  • a fan is unhappy with the Spock in the movie:
    Should Spock marry Saavik in STVI? As things stand, I'd say: only if they gave him back his integrity—or at least, his brain... IMHO, Spock's been dead for years—they just forgot to bury him! Today's "Spock" can shack up with one of those cross-eyed, lump-faced monstrosities TNG has been passing off as Romulans, for all I care—and the way things are going, he very likely will!
  • a fan's religious beliefs color his expectations for TNG:
    As a born-again Christian who enjoys good shows on TV, I would like to see episodes of ST:TNG without any sexual innuendos or profanity.

Issue 6

Engage! 6 was published September 1991 and contains 20 pages.

letter from Richard Arnold "Star Trek Research Consultant" in which he tells fans, among other things, that "No one but Gene has the right to say what is good Star Trek and what is not... neither the authors nor the fans. Not even me."
cover of issue #6
  • this issue has an essay by Jeff Pendleton called "Captain Kirk's Loss"
  • this issue reviews two pro novels
  • this a short review of NTM Collected that is complimentary but also more of a summarization; the reviewer notes they are "much more original than some pro novels."
  • the pro writer who has been the subject of much controversy, writes a letter burning more professional bridges—one comment is that Sparky the dog has tastes in fiction and a higher ability to edit
  • a fan writes an unfriendly letter encouraging others to be friendly:
    Would the snippy, self-righteous fen out there [he names one, using both first and last name] get a life and keep their neuroses to themselves? Holier-than-thou-attitudes are best left at home or at the therapist's office.
  • the fan who has just been called snippy and neurotic responds to the finer topic of letterzine etiquette:
    As for generally not addressing letter writers by their names, I explained my reasons for this in INTERSTAT #92 (June 1985), p. 14. It seemed then that readers thought my reasons were sensible and understandable, even if they normally addressed others by name. To repeat: I believe in discussing issues, not personalities. By not addressing other contributors by name, I make the point that when I respond to them, it is nothing "personal." I would not have responded to the comment made to me in issue #2 if my name had not been attached to it. Since my name was mentioned, I felt it essential that I say something about it. I much prefer that those who comment on what I say not use my name when doing so, and I extend the same courtesy to others. I realize others may not agree with this reasoning, but this is my style of discussion. I have used it successfully ever since I started writing to letterzines in 1976, and I believe I am entitled to my opinion on the subject.
  • a fan comments on the recent development/rumor that Gene Roddenberry is becoming more of a stronger force with the pro books in making sure they follow his "vision" and canon:
    I am delighted, of course, to find fans defending Gene Roddenberry's right to set guidelines for the pro novels. I cannot understand why some ST pro novelists so strongly assert that they ought to be able to write anything they want in the ST pro novels, when in any other "shared universe" in science fiction, it is taken for granted that the originator of the "shared universe" has the right to set the rules and that the writers must follow them. I am also a little puzzled as to why this support did not surface earlier. Where were these supporters lack in 1988-1989, when I wrote letters to INTERSTAT defending Gene Roddenberry's right to set his own rules for his own universe? (My strongest letter on this subject appeared in INTERSTAT #133, November 1988, p. 10.) I was the only one defending GR's rights at the time, and I was getting pounded into the groud with a sledgehammer by one particular pro novelist. Why weren't those of you who agree with me now, supporting me back then? When they begin to have some respect for the originator of the ST universe, without whom there would BE no contract, "work-for-hire" or otherwise. Maybe I'll weep for them when they stop telling everyone that their novel is the OFFICIAL word on this STAR TREK subject, or that STAR TREK subject. Maybe I'll weep for them when they are ready to recognize fanzines as legitimate STAR TREK ficiton, and stop looking down on STAR TREK fanzine writers such as Connie Faddis, Paula Smith, and Anna Mary Hall as "lesser" talents, when any of these fan authors could write rings around any ST pro novelist ever published. (By the way, STAR TREK fanzine writers are Trek writers. Therefore, the phrase "All Trek writers" necessarily includes them as "work-for-hire" contracts when these excellent fan writers, who got paid nothing for their first-rate Trek writing, get international recognition equal to that of the paid pro writers. Maybe.) When Pocket Books hires Devra Langsam or Ruth Berman as its STAR TREK pro novel editor, and when Pocket Books begins to require all STAR TREK pro novelists to do an internship in the STAR TREK fanzines, and when Pocket Books actively recruits the best of the STAR TREK fanzine authors to write their pro novels, then I will consider protesting the "work-for-hire" contracts. But not one moment before.
  • this issue contains a letter from Richard Arnold "Star Trek Research Consultant" in which he tells fans that a certain pro writer is making a "fuss," that she isn't even a real employee, and finally that:
    No one but Gene has the right to say what is good Star Trek and what is not... neither the authors nor the fans. Not even me.
  • a fan complains that the character of Spock has been distorted in the movies, and that she as a fan, has a right for this not to happen:
    Spock is not my creation, but -- albeit in a small way -- I've helped finance him! There are lemon laws to protect buyers of cars and appliances, but the entertainment industry seems to function by the law of caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. 'Does (my) 25-year involvement. . .mean so little to (me) that (I) would end it on such a sour note?' On the contrary: it means a lot to me; therefore I refuse to buy what I feel is trash, simply for a ST label or an actor's name. And when I've taken considerable care to write these people sincere, decent letters of comment, and got recognizably belittling replies on company stationery (it's happened more than once!), just how should I feel? Please think about that. Foolishly, perhaps, I still want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but for me, the old charm is dead, and I see little hope of better. No loss without some gain, however. Maybe money not spent on ST can help me complete my library of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The late Professor T. took pride in his work—that's why he refused to sell movie rights. Smart man! If Tolkien were alive today, and Trek were his baby, would I be writing this? I think not. He treated his characters with respect, and refused to prostitute them.
  • a fan wants to know why everyone thinks Saavik got pregnant:
    Surely a safe, reliable form of birth control will be available by the 23rd century!! No, I don't think Saavik carried condoms in her communicator, but such and intelligent and attractive woman would likely be on the Pill or Norplant (or something we've yet to imagine.) At the very least, she could've gotten some 'morning after pills.' A form of RU-486 will probably be available... I don't want to restart the infamous Interstat abortion debate. I just find the theme grating -- the female as passive and pregnant and conveniently abandoned while the male carries on with his life. It may have a place in high melodrama, but surely not in Star Trek.
  • there is a long, long letter by a pro author complaining that the book he wrote, "A Flag Full of Stars," has nothing to with the version published by Pocket Books:
    It is poorly handled, and in the final analysis, it is not about very much at all. I am stuck with this two-headed mutant child who bears my name, and I do not like it. Not at all.

Issue 7

Engage! 7 was published October 1991 and contains 20 pages.

cover of issue #7
  • there is much more chat about pro writers and rights and canon
  • a fan takes issue with past comments about sex and the discussion and portrayal of it in the letterzine and on the show—he says that defining what is casual, loving, caring, and promiscuous is impossible due to different attitudes, and that sex, in any case, is a part of life
  • a fan discusses why another fan's comments comparing Roddenberry and Tolkein are illogical due to medium, money, intent...
  • a fan admits that his "devotion to Kirk, Spock, et al. has suffered serious diminishment with the last two films..."
  • there are two long pro book reviews
  • there is a review of Epilogue, see that page
  • there is a transcript of an interview of Richard Arnold. It appeared on the Usenet computer network 9/10/91 and was contributed by one of our readers. In this interview, Arnold says that Star Trek fans don't influence much in the grand scheme of things. They may write letters, and have cons, and make requests, and complain in letterzines, but:
    ... other than one letter-writing campaign in 1968, no, the fans have had NO involvement in the actual shaping of Star Trek. George Lucas and Star Wars had more to do with Star Trek's existence today than anything fans have done... And, aside from that, step out of the who Star Trek picture, and go over to the accounting offices at Paramount Pictures, and look at the decisions that are made based on "can we make money on this?", and you'll also see why Star Trek exists. It's because it's a profit-making venture.
  • a fan writes a long letter that explains how Wesley Crusher didn't "save" the ship as often as fans think he did, and that the character was picked on and despised because of his age:
    For all the diversity of the characters in Star Trek, why do some people see no room for a younger person?
  • a fan responds to the letter by Richard Arnold in the previous issue:
    Very insulting is how I would term the remarks made... YES, YES, I do believe that Gene Roddenberry has the final way on what is official Trek, but to say that he is the ONLY one who know what is "good Trek" is a slap in the face and an insult to every fan. Only Mr. Roddenberry knows what's good? Good as in 'Spock's Brain' or 'The Way to Eden?' Or perhaps as good as in 'Vulcan's Glory'? Don't get me wrong, I admire Gene Roddenberry and his talent and will forever be grateful to him for creating Trek, but he is not infallible.
  • a fan warns that Donald Wildmon:
    ...head of the 'American Family Association' and the best-known national leader of fundamentalist Christian censorship and boycott efforts has attacked Star Trek: The Next Generation for allegedly "getting behind the homosexual movement" and other sins.... Wildmon and his son... quoted a newspaper report that ST:TNG plans to introduce gay characters during the current fifth season, "as ordinary people, not as outcasts or deviates."" The fan who reports this says that fan should be ready for trouble and various boycotts and should be prepared to take counteraction by contacting those sponsors and local TV stations in support of TNG.

Issue 8/9

Engage! 8/9 was published November/December 1991 and contains 20 pages.

cover of issue #8/9
  • fans comment and mourn the death of Gene Roddenberry
  • a fan complains that the name "Engage" is more TNG-centric rather than TOS-centric, and that a name that was more neutral should have been chosen
  • a fan comments on the controversial letter written by Kristen Brady that was published in two letterzines, one of which was Power of Speech. In the letter he speculates on loyalty, on fan politics, on the fragility of letterzines, on how BNFs can flavor understanding and fannish flow... -- it turns out this letter to Engage! was published by mistake, that it was written to be read personally by the editor and was not a public LoC, for more about Brady's letter, see Anatomy of a Letterzine
  • this issue has a review of Vonegran's Veil, see that page
  • a fan complains that while sex is a basic human experience, it has been talked and done to death on television :
    It used to be you could go to a movie, and sex would never be hinted at once... and the sex was never missed. And TV is just as bad as the movies have gotten. I don't mind sex being alluded to ONCE IN A WHILE, but today's television and movie industry seem to have nothing else on their minds. Frankly, I'm sick of it... Whatever happened to commitment in marriage? As far as I see it, Star Trek commits its own 'Moral Bigotry' in ignoring the institute of marriage for the most part... For you to say that those of us who prefer not to see sexual innuendo or its display on TV are moral bigots, indicates little of the IDIC ideology in yourself... monogamous sex does not spread venereal disease or AIDS. Monogamous sex is loving, caring and respectful... Ask Riker. I believe he got the entire Enterprise in trouble because of his 'fling' with a Risa whore." This fan also comments on the fan's letter of warning about the man who was going to cause trouble for ST:TNG for perhaps portraying two "normal" characters. "Donald Wildmon may seem to go a little overboard at times, but he stands up for what used to be considered normal and right in this country. Seems that things have turned quite topsy-turvy the past twenty years. What was once wrong is now being taught as normal and right... Homosexuality used to be wrong. Now it is 'normal.' If homosexuality is so normal, why are there two sexes on this Earth? seems to be a waste of space. With the exception of some very simple life forms, all animal species have two sexes, male and female. The male is attracted to the female, the female to the male in order for reproduction to take place... If Star Trek goes so far as to portray gays and lesbians as accepted and normal, I will be very offended... Homosexuality is NOT normal. It is usually a habit -- older gays teaching the lust of same-sex relationships to young boys.

Issue 10

Engage! 10 was published in January 1992 and contains 28 pages.

cover of issue #10
  • the editor starts off with an apology for printing a letter in the zine, one that was meant to be a personal letter for her eyes only; she encourages readers to make sure they label their letters in clear terms about whether it is a personal letter or one to be published as a LoC
  • there is an article by Jeff Pendleton called "The Big Three"
  • there are two pro book review and no zine reviews
  • a fan describes a round robin, which is a smaller version and sort of apazine
  • one fan thinks more children should be involved in Star Trek and proposes a zine for them called "The Onlies News"
  • there is a long, long, long letter by a fan who condemns, and quite eloquently, the letter in the previous issue that condemned homosexuality
  • the editor reiterates that she is all for printing letters with differing viewpoints but to keep out the profanity, the backbiting, the vendettas...:
    You never know just who else you are insulting when they read your LoCs. EVERYONE is entitled to an opinion -- express them!... If we keep our arguments above board and civilized, then we won't find this zine slipping slowing into a mud wallow of slinging insults back and forth to each other. We're all Trekkers here. We're all from different backgrounds and different walks of life. Perhaps in real life, some of us wouldn't spend two minutes with each other. But we come together in this zine because of our common interest in Star Trek and its issues. It's easy to become angry with a faceless name. Harder still to be polite when we vehemently disagree. But let's give it a whirl, okay? There are many wonderful words in the English language we can used to disagree with someone. Let's use those instead of the easy language of profanity and insult hurling.
  • a fan sends in a short congratulatory letter to the fan who condemned homosexuals in the last issue:
    Yea to [J R]! You said it all, reflecting the view of many.
  • another fan objects to the anti-gay letter, and spends a great deal pointing out why; she also objects to his use of "Risa whore":
    I find your use of the term rather offensive. Make no mistake, Riker behaved like a trainee and it was his lack of good judgement that got his ship in so much trouble. Not that he had sex! I am curious as to what part of the Trek ideals and philosophy you embrace if the word 'whore' flows from your pen so easily.
  • another fan loves the anti-gay letter:
    Congratulations. It is is unusual to find someone taking a stand in favor of monogamy... It's no longer just a question of morality. We're talking LIFE AND DEATH NOW (referring to AIDS). Now it's time for people to use their heads instead of their hormones. Promiscuity spreads disease.
  • another fan condemns the anti-gay letter:
    His letter was positively reactionary and exaction what one might expect from someone who 'holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed.' I have not, and never will, condemn [J R's] right to believe in what is 'right and normal.' so long as he is willing to accept that his is but one interpretation of normalcy...
  • Bjo Trimble writes that
    Gay people are, of course, in the TNG future, but should not be highlighted as as script theme. Gene objected to this setting apart, something odd to be pointed out. He felt TNG people will accept, tolerate, and live as they please without harming others. Therefore, nobody will have to wear 'I am Gay,' or 'I am Heterosexual' buttons to explain themselves. That's why a gay theme on ST:TNG would not be appropriate: it should not be necessary.

Issue 11

Engage! 11 was published in February 1992 and contains 28 pages.

cover of issue #11
  • the editor says that after this issue, the topic of sexual preference will be put to rest as it is too volatile and no one's going to change anyone's mind anyway
  • a fan comments that television shows, TNG one of them, have never really "talked" about sex, they simply use it to titillate; he also disagrees with the anti-gay letter in issue #9
  • several other fans recount negative experiences they'd had with Richard Arnold, who was Gene Roddenberry's spokesperson/fan liaison
  • some fans condemn the anti-gay letter, others support it, one fan says he personally doesn't mind homosexuality but hopes there is a cure for it by the 23rd century
  • there is a transcript of an interview with Richard Arnold conducted by "Engage!'s" editor
  • this issue has an essay by Jeff Pendleton called "Is this Really the End" which discusses whether the last movie was the last movie
  • there are two pro book reviews
  • there is a review of The Displaced, see that page

Issue 12

front cover of issue #12

Engage! 12 published in March 1992 and contains 28 pages.

  • everybody seems to hate Kim Catrell's hair
  • some fans start to discuss the rumors of Deep Space Nine
  • this issue has a TNG parody by Felix Ling that was reprinted from an unknown source, possibly USENET
  • there is a review of one pro book
  • it contains a review of Transition, see that page
  • the editor is not happy with International Reply Coupons:
    To those of you in Canada and Overseas who have been providing me with International Reply Coupons in place of the SASE, thank you. However, I have discovered that they are not all they're cracked up to be. The kindly folks at the post office here in Lacey [Washington state] generally view them as Public Enemy Number One, or they don't have a clue as to what they are or what to do with then. Also, if the foreign post office has mistakenly stamped the IRC on the wrong side, the U.S. post office will refuse them. In that case, the person paying for their reply has paid for nothing and the person sending the reply has to pay to send it anyway. IRCs are actually more trouble than they're worth. If anyone from Canada or Overseas needs a reply via SASE, why don't you just tuck an extra dollar or so In your envelope and allow me to do the addressing and stamping. It will be much much' easier for both of us that way.
  • a fan is crabby that her pseud has been revealed:
    I just automatically spell my name that way. Didn't know it was unlawful.
  • a fan had become impatient with a pro writer's multiple letters complaining of her treatment by Pocket Books:
    I sympathized with your situation... when I read your first letter on the subject. But please! Enough is enough. Perhaps behaving in a more professional manner would do more to further your cause.

Issue 13

cover of issue #13, art by Zaquia Tarhuntassa

Engage! 13 was published in April 1992 and contains 36 pages.

  • From the Bridge - Editorial by Kimberly Pederson
  • Letters of Comment from: Bjo Trimble, Jacob R., Stephanie Ann B., Trudi D., Theresa M., Jerry K. G., Valerie La R., Melissa M., Eunice R., Paula P., Margaret Wander B., Sandy Z. Jimmie W., Steve B., Mary Louise Dodge, Jane C., Jan D. Richard Arnold, Pat K., Tim Blaes, Shirley Maiewski
  • Special Report on the Star Trek exhibit at the Smithsonian, from Peter Wolter
  • there is a review of Edge of Forever #3, see that page
  • Columns: Book Review (by Paula Parker) - this issue "Q-in-Law" by Peter David; Dixie's Torn From the Trades (by Dixie Owen), plus reprints of cartoons and news articles from various other sources
  • a fan is unhappy and feels that his conservative social views are not represented by IDIC:
    IDIC, as it stands today, is strictly defined by the one doing the IDICing. We're all guilty of that. Depressing.
  • the editor reports that she sent out 135 ballots recently, ones meant for fans' votes on the "best" recent pro novels; only 21 ballots were returned:
    Obviously, we didn't pique the interest of a lot of folks, -- some didn't read enough of them, some didn't like any, some just did want to participate... Since there was not much participation, I think we'll... just leave it as something interesting to us personally.
  • the editor reiterates her policy regarding pseuds:
    Please sign your letters. No pseudonyms permitted... because I want everyone to take personal responsibility for what they say.
  • the editor writes that she is no longer printing letters between two fans as it has turned into a mess/vendetta/slander/misunderstanding; she also tells another fan that his accusations that she is slanting the letterzine a certain way incorrect and offensive and suggests:
    I am sure there are plenty of other zines that will be happy to publish any and all types of remarks. You may wish to check into those if you find "Engage!" unsatisfactory in that regard.
  • a fan comments on fan writers' desire to write professionally:
    ... how many fanzine editors actually want to write pro Trek novels? There is nothing to stop them from undergoing the winnowing just as we who have been published have done... As to the nature of zines, no editor would sacrifice the freedom inherent in the medium for mere dollars. To the best of my knowledge, Jean Lorrah is the only zine editor who has made the transition, and she was slapped down hard by the Powers That Be for attempting to push the envelope in "Metamorphosis.
  • Bjo Trimble encourages fans to start a letter campaign to save SFAN:
    Cynics will say it's only to assure the Trimble's' jobs. Well, of course! We've given 25 years of free service to fandom, so I don't feel bad about working toward a good job that ALSO gives fandom a much-desired service of its own Science Fiction network. If SFAN succeeds, we'll move to Reno. I'm so tired of Houston humidity and thunderstorms throwing me off the computer.
  • Shirley Maiewski writes:
    I do find one thing that is prevalent in many LoC zines - the guys want action and the military in their STAR TREK - women are more interested in the way people get along with each other - not as enemies, but friends. True, I too, would like to see a bit more friction between the crew of the Enterprise D, now and then - but certainly not outright hostility. One reason I cannot enjoy BLAKE'S 7 is because everyone seems to hate each other - very depressing! Still, even without reading the name of the writer, I can almost always tell when it is a male, when the letter goes on about battles between Romulans and the Federation. STAR TREK is not STAR WARS, guys! Personally, I would like to see them doing more exploring on NexGen, and less carrying supplies and ambassadors around to places they have already discovered! However, I am pleased that so many men are interested enough to write letters. I may not agree with them, but it is a good trend. For so many years, STAR TREK fans were almost all female, at least the ones who wrote fan stories and letters. The guys still are the majority of letter writers to the comics, however. I have noticed that there are hardly no women writing to comment on them - am I the only one who enjoys the ST comics? Actually, I enjoy these more then some of the novels being produced these days.

Issue 14

cover of issue #14

Engage! 14 was published in May 1992 and contains 20 pages.

  • the editor writes that she is proud that "Engage!" and STARLink have both been nominated for a Fan Q
  • there is a review of one pro novel, but no zine review
  • a fan addresses Richard Arnold:
    Boy, it seems that you sure have a lot of people angry with you in this zine.
  • the editor writes that she has received a number of personal letters that say the letterzine's recent letters have fans "not being particularly pleasant to one another." She also says she:
    ...has gotten herself into a bit of hot water over my editorial policy for 'Engage!'. Let me reiterate by saying that my policies are in place in the attempt to keep this zine friendly. I do not wish it to become the battering grounds in an ongoing discussion against certain people or persons. Please feel free to disagree with me on that policy... but in keeping with consistency, I will edit unkind personal statements from LoCs. The reasons for this are many, but most importantly, I wish to keep 'Engage!' above board and enjoyable for everyone.
  • one fan is furious and addresses the editor:
    I cannot forgive what you have censored from my last LoC. Those comments were not off the record, as you seem to have implied. My comments to you, were in no way separate from the rest of my LoC. I did not say that you were slanting ENGAGE!, I said that I was shocked that you even considered slanting/editing LoCs In favor of Richard Arnold, a man who has earned his reputation. Most of what you censored dealt directly and indirectly with your editorial policy. If you disallow your own actions as a topic of discussion, then this letterzine has no integrity. Letterzines are a tool of discussion, and discussion will result in disagreement and argument. It is not a bad thing to disagree and argue, as you seem to think. Censoring a LoC should be an editor's last response to conflict. With you, it seems to be your first response. As you snidely pointed out, my last remaining method of protest is to simply walk away. Perhaps you would be so kind as to print the address of all those other ST letterzines you mentioned. Lest there be any confusion, nothing in this LoC is off the record. Hasta la vista, Trekkie.
  • the editor responds in length to the angry letter above and, and sums it up with: "You don't have to agree with the policies I have set forth in this zine, merely abide by them." This disgruntled fan goes on to start his own letterzine, one that lasted only two issues.
  • an 18-year old fan writes and scolds other fans for turning the letterzine into a bickering session. He says he is sick of it and quotes Rodney King and asks: "Why can't we all just get along?"
  • some fans write and continue the current feud, others write and beg them to stop, one asks: "Whatever became of IDIC? Does it really exist except as a catch acronym?"

Issue 15

Engage! 15 was published in June 1992 and contains 20 pages.

cover of issue #15
  • fans alternately bemoan the tenor of the arguments among fans and applaud the fact that letterzines are the place to have such debates
  • the editor explains the balancing act she has to do in order to keep order, keep libelous statements to a minimum, and yet keep the letterzine interesting
  • a fan is unhappy with the letterzine: "Issue #14 was a downer. After waiting with bated breath all week of it to come in the mail, I had never seen such bickering!"
  • there is a review of Outpost 50, the reviewer says it is a collection of news clippings and such, that while sometimes interesting, are badly reproduced; the zine itself does not even mention the editor's name or address
  • there is a review of IDIC #22, see that page
  • a fan admittedly restarts a feud with another fan that was started in Interstat: "(Four bars of 'Jaws' music, here, Do-do-do-do-do... Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the letterzine... I'm ba-ack!) I've quietly watching for the past year as, at the earliest opportunity, you renewed your vendetta against the pro novels and those who write them..." This pro writer, Ann Crispin, goes on to write:
    ... most fan writers have little to no desire to have their material published professionally, because then they would no longer be free to write what they please, and they know that full well. (By the way, my first publication was in a fanzine—though it wasn't a Star Trek story) When I first wrote YESTERDAY'S SON, all those years ago, I showed it to several well-known fan editors, and two of them asked to publish it (the third specialized in K/S hurt-comfort). When I said that I was going to submit the novel to Pocket Books, they were openly astonished. "You must be crazy," they said. "They'll wreck your story, and it's a good story, it deserves more. Who cares about money?" The universal attitude among fanzine writers and editors at that time was that they rejected the idea of pro publication because of its strictures. I've never heard Devra Langsam or Susan K. James or Carol Frisbee or Bev Volker complain that they wished they could sell their Trek stories professionally—instead they've all said that they're happy writing what they want to write, the way they want to write it, and not having to worry about Paramount or Pocket rules. So I don't think they want or need all those copious tears you've been shedding for them.

Issue 16

Engage! 16 was published in July 1992 and contains 20 pages.

cover of issue #16
  • there is much chat about whether the character of Wesley was maligned by fans fairly or unjustly
  • there is a review of No High Ground, see that page
  • there is a review of Eridani #16, see that page

Issue 17

Engage! 17 was published in August 1992 and contains 20 pages.

cover of issue #17
  • this issue has a bit of fan fiction
  • fans discuss the TOS episode "The Paradise Syndrome" in relation to the Bonanza Syndrome
  • a fan has decided that the Irish people are most discriminated against in TNG, but other fans disagree and say it is females that face the most stereotypes and obstacles
  • there is much more discussion about "whether Transwarp existed," which has been a hot topic
  • a couple of fans mention Enterprising Women and Textual Poachers and the remarks are neutral to positive
  • this issue has an ad for "Blind Spinner," the third issue of Hellguard Social Register #3

Issue 18/19

cover of issue #18/19, art by Zaquia Tarhuntassa

Engage! 18/19 was published in September/October 1992 and contains 36 pages. It is the last issue.

  • From the Bridge - Editorial/Goodbye by Kimberly Pederson—she thanks all for their support and says she will probably write some LoCs for STARLink.
  • Letters of Comment from: Lisa G., Ruth S., Shirley Maiewski, Jeff W., Judie C. D., Kelli C., Stephanie B., Daniel H. A. Deb K. Trudi D., Audrey K. A., James D'E., Valerie Lynn P., Alison W., Jerry K. G. Richard Arnold, Jimmie W., Meg L., Margaret Wander B., J.F. D.Jr., Jan D., Eunice Raymond, Melissa M., Jeff M., Val La R., Paula P., Commodore Jeanny D. Peter W., Ron T., Verna S., Paul A., Jacob R., Michael B., Debbie L.
  • Columns: Pro Novel Reviews (by Paula Parker) - this issue "Imzadi" by Peter David
  • Ship's Library, Dixie's Torn From the Trades (by Dixie Owen), plus reprints of cartoons and news articles from various other sources
  • Original Fiction: "Strictly for the Birds" (or In Space, No One Can Hear You Cackle) by Eunice Raymond
  • Ads for STARLink and other newsletters and letterzines
  • Special article on Japanese episode titles for classic Star Trek episodes
  • there is a review of The Legacy of Kirk, see that page


  1. ^ the author published her account, as well as the original novel, in this pdf: www.margaretwanderbonanno.com/files/Probed.doc