Equal Space

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Zine
Title: Equal Space
Publisher: Essay One Productions, out of California
Editor(s): Sheryl Adsit
Date(s): 1980
Series?:
Medium: print
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Wars
Language: English
External Links:
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Equalspace.jpg
a 1980 flyer

Equal Space is a Star Wars 100-page gen anthology edited by Sheryl Adsit. It is a a light-hearted zine produced by American fans stationed with the U.S. Army in West Germany.

It has art by Martynn, Steve Gallacci, Delores McAllister, and Pam Kowalski, and others.

A 1980 flyer in The Clipper Trade Ship #27 said the zine had a "projected availability of March-April 1980" and that the "first 100 orders [would] receive an original silk screen print" with their order.

Contents

  • A Life or Death Decision by Sheryl Adsit (Luke groaned inwardly. The moment of truth had arrived. He felt as though all eyes were on him. Whatever had possessed him, a farmboy from the frontier world of Tatooine and still dusty behind the ears, to pose as a member of the Imperial elite?)
  • When the Battle's Lost and Won by Rose Wolf, art by Pam Kowalski
  • Beliefs by Ann Wilson
  • Eight is More than Enough" by Sheryl Adsit and Like Father by Susan Matthews (Eight half brothers are looking for their father. They find him aboard the Millennium Falcon, and it isn't Chewie. Two writers take the same idea, and nothing else is the same from there on out.)
  • Hidden Treasure by Sheryl Adsit, art by Steve Gallacci (We know that C3PO and R2D2 did not come from the factory as a prepackaged set, but just how did they meet, and how did they come to work for the Alliance? Is it really true that Artoo's former employer made him show "blue" holotapes?)
  • Star Wars: Eine Andere Version, a translation from a German's fan's alternative universe (von Han L. May und Tasheena El Assad, translated and illustrated by Dolores McAllister, lead illo by Martynn). "Close the blast doors!" What might have happened if our daring Corellian had not made it through in time and was left facing a squad of oncoming stormtroopers. How would the familiar story have been changed, and how much would remain the same?)
  • Letters from the Emperor's Mail Bag (contributed by various individuals -- Did you ever stop to wonder about all the mail that was never delivered to the Death Star after its destruction? What kind of insight could it give us about the crew? (What was that mumbling about the Dead Letter Office?) The editor just happened to get her hands on some choice examples and couldn't resist passing them along.)
  • Excerpts from the ""Galactic Gourmet" by Cam Greer. (This issue we bring you Beruberry milkshakes and Bantha Burgers. All recipes kitchen-tested by the editor, taste-tested by her pet scrod.)

Reactions and Reviews

The editor bills this zine as 'fun, adventuresome, and just a little strange,' and in general the contents live up to this description. As far as mechanics go, this zine has a nice, professional feel; no micro-reduced print, glaring typos, smudgy repro, or wayward staples. The editor is a word processor in mundane life, and it shows. Each major piece is introducted by a chatty page or so, telling something about the author and the editor's reaction to the story. This gives an informal, friendly atmosphere, like a group of frinds passing around each other's work to read... All of the stories are of good literary quality and move along in entertaining fashion, although with the possible exception of Ann Wilson's 'Beliefs,' none of them is likely to send cold chills up your spine or introduce you to new characters who will remain eternally in your mercy. 'A Life or Death Decision': a beautifully done Ferdinand Feghoot with a horrendous final pun. 'When the Battle's Lost and Won': a funny and unusual tale of fannish activity, full of more-or-less esoteric in-jokes... 'Beliefs": this is the most serious story in the issue, and the one I found most interesting, although it is not the best written. It deals with the method used by Darth Vader to 'turn' a Jedi to the Dark Side. It would have been improved if the young Jedi had been more effectively characterized and the Dark Lord's method had reminded me a little less of a replay of 'The Manchurian Candidate.' but the idea is intriguing. 'Like Father' and 'Eight is More than Enough' are two short pieces based on a bit of Thousandworlds apocrypha involving eight bastard half-brothers fathered by Han Solo and their search for their father. Mildly amusing, especially 'Like Father' with Matthews' usual smooth writing and competent characterization. Her Han is believable as always, and the des Mondes boys certainly sound like his kids all right. 'Hidden Treasure' is the best piece of pure storytelling in the zine. It is a C3PO-meets-R2D2 story, wherein the two 'droids get a rare chance to star as major characters and come through it quite well. The plot is predictable and the main human character is a fairly standard Artful Dodger type, but the story moves along briskly and holds your attention. There are a number of excellent touches, such as R2's reaction to being programmed to show porno holos. The last story is 'Star Wars: Eine Andere Version' which is a translation from a German fan's alternative universe. There are several less-than-convincing scenes, for example Moff Tarkin explains the personal relationships among the rebel characters on the Millennium Falccon to Vader at one point, although there is no explanation of where he got the information. On the other hand, the author has done a remarkable job of getting all the regular Star Wars characters right at once. In contrast to the consistent level of the stories, the artwork varies from excellent to distinctly amateurish. One illo by Martynn and Kowalski's illos for 'When the Battle's Lost and Won' live up to these artists' reputations, and in particular, Pam's frontispiece for the story is striking, with the stylized quality of a woodblock print. Steve Gallacci's work is good, but seems to have suffered in translation from the original. The rest of the art may perhaps be charitably passed over in silence.

In general, Equal Space is a consistently entertaining zine and a very good first effort, but not outstanding. Grade. B plus.[1]
According to the editor: Equal Space is to be a unique zine, a place to print stories that are "fun, adventuresome, and a little strange." The goal has been attained; this zine is something of a mixed bag in quality as a result. In general, though, it is enjoyable and a notable first effort for editor Adsit. Another unique quality of Equal Space is that it is typeset — my eyes definitely enjoyed that! The first story is "A Life or Death Decision" by the editor. It is a vignette that can mislead a reader (for instance, yours truly) into thinking it is serious. As a result, one is floored at the punchline. I see we have another punster in fandom! Rose Wolf's "When the Battle's Lost and Won" is the epitome of "strange" for this zine. I regret to say that I disliked it — not because of the off-the-wall quality of the story, but because it seemed so permeated with in-jokes that I ended up floundering in bewilderment. It seemed intended as a parody but failed because this reader, at least, had no points of reference to hang onto. "Beliefs" by Ann Wilson is, as the editor comments, frightening. It's an excellent study of Darth Vader's evil, in this case used to turn another Jedi to the Dark Side. "Like Father" by Susan Matthews, and "Eight Is More Than Enough" by Sheryl Adsit, are sister stories, both based on the same premise. They examine Han's reaction to suddenly finding he's the father of a vertiable tribe of young men. (Reverence for things sacred prevents me from drawing parallels between Han and Jacob/Israel.) These stories also constitute the take-off point for a writing contest. Sheryl's "Hidden Treasure" was inspired by Skywalker 02's "Write a story about this planet" contest. It was pleasant to find Threepio and Artoo the main characters of this story, which describes the circumstances of their meeting and becoming Alliance droids. It amused me, also, to note the use Sheryl made of her word processor's capabilities to come up with some very interesting "conversation" for Artoo. "Star Wars: Eine Andere Version" was written by two German fans, Han L. May and Tasheena El Assad, and translated by Dolores McAllister. It is based on "what if Han hadn't gotten through the blast door on the 'Death Star'?" The story reads a bit strangely, and the characters don't feel quite right in some of their reactions to circumstances in the story. I hesitate to accuse the authors of plot or characterization flaws, however, since this may be due to the distractions of the use of literal translation from the original German. Editor Adsit has chosen to write prologues to each story, giving some backgrounding on the authors and how or why the story came to be written. I don't object to this practice, since it does indicate editorial control and interest, but perhaps it would be good to be careful so as not to give away the plot or too much detail. Equal Space, in summary, has nothing really memorable in its pages (except, in my opinion, "Beliefs") but the zine shows the potential of joining the burgeoning crop of excellent SW fan publications. It will be interesting to see how future issues develop.[2]

References

  1. from Jundland Wastes #1
  2. from Alderaan #10