Fanlore Live!: 2009 Escapade Panel Notes: Jan Levine

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Fanlore Live!: 2009 Escapade Panel Notes: Jan Levine
Interviewer: Megan Kent
Interviewee: Jan Levine
Date(s): 2009
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Fanlore Live!: 2009 Escapade Panel Notes: Jan Levine are rough panel notes taken by Megan Kent at Escapade.

Copy editing has been done for clarity and spelling.

See Fanlore Live! for more context.

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Notes by Elanor Graves

"I have been reading science fiction ever since I discovered Alexander Key's The Forgotten Door in the school library in the 3rd grade. I knew about SF fandom from reading magazines, but I didn't get involved until college when Poul Anderson came to speak at Carleton [College]. In the discussion afterwards, I discovered that Robert Heinlein was going to be the guest of honor at Worldcon that summer, and I knew I had to go because he was my favorite author.

About then I discovered a TV show called Star Trek, and found out that there were not only SF fanzines, but also Trek zines that had fiction in them, which was a great discovery, because the James Blish novelizations were insufficient. Thanks to Joan Marie Verba who let me read from her voluminous library, I became an avid Star Trek fan, and started reading all the zines I could find on my own. She very carefully asked me if I understood that some of the stories were R rated & even X rated, and I had to convince her that I was willing to read them as well. I think I disappointed her, because she was more interested in gen.

I never got terribly interested in active Trek fandom, I just read the zines when I could find them, but about 10 years later, when I discovered Blake 7 and Usenet, and joined the B7 mailing list at Lysander (the big Blake's 7 list), Sarah Thompson (who was on that list) invited me to join Virgule-L, which was the big slash list at that point. There were all these Pros fans there, as well as Quantum Leap, and soon thereafter X-Files. Politics eventually broke up the Virgule list and fandom splintered, but I found an intimate slash list that had a lot of Pros fans on it.

It was all the fault of Camille Bacon-Smith that I discovered Pros. I'd never heard of it until I read her book Enterprising Women. She had an excerpt from a story "Endgame," one of the classic (death) stories in the fandom. Since then, my main fandom has been Pros.

I started writing. My first story was a B7 novel that I wrote with a friend. We plotted it out one night, and decided that nothing was ever going to happen with it because I hadn't written anything and she was a professional writer. And then things were quiet at work the next day, and I wrote the first 4 pages, and emailed them to her with a header that said "This is a bad idea." She edited them extensively, wrote 4 more pages, and sent them back with a header that said "I am going to kill you." So it went back and forth, and about 3 months later we had a novel which was eventually the gen novel "The Cost of the Cheeseboard." It was a sequel to two other novels (with permission of those authors).

Having ventured into both writing and publishing, I stared publishing Pros zines under the name Allamagoosa Press (it's from a Frank Russel story, and means do-dad or whats-a-majigger). I published 6 Pros (mostly slash) zines (Roses & Lavender 1-6) with one co-written epistolary story of my own, plus a Pros novel: Sandcastle, written by Elizabeth Holden.

With the demise of zines, I've done some beta-ing and a bit of writing, but I'd like to get more active in online writing."