Fesarius

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Zine
Title: Fesarius
Publisher: Imperial Press/Ghome Enterprise
Editor(s): the first five issues: T.J. Burnside & Richard Robinson, the last by just Burnside
Date(s): 1976 - 1984
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS (mostly) and multimedia
Language: English
External Links:
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Fesarius is a gen Star Trek: TOS and Star Wars fanzine. This zine grew out of an extremely talented group of (then) young fans at the University of Maryland, who put out this zine & a number of others, and for many years, a fondly remembered media convention, August Party.

Robinson wrote a personal statement that he would be stepping down as editor after issue #6: "Rest assured 'Fesarius' will continue through T.J. Burnside -- and that T.J. and I parted the best of friends. I simply wanted to pursue another zine venture and could no longer handle 'Fesarius,' too." [1]

The Editors

The editors of this zine were very young. Robinson was 13 years old, and Burnside 15 years old, at the time of the first issue.

A Little History

Robinson, one of the editors, wrote in the fourth issue:
I knew that I wanted to do something like this sometime in mid-1976. I soon saw that I needed some help, so I wrote T.J., a friend from a previous not-so-successful project, and asked if she would be interested. Luckily, she was. We got to work and collected a bunch of material that was a little less than Pulitzer calibre. I typed it up, and took it to be mimeographed. The printing wasn't really terrific (it included an upside-down page), but it was a nice first issue. We were off to seek fame and fortune through fanzine sales by December, 1976.

With the first issue a moderate success, we started to work on #2, a special issue devoted to the women of Star Trek. We recruited some big names (Landon, Fish, Miller, Cross, etc.) went offset, and got the zine out by March. Sales were great; we were established.

With big heads, we ventured into #3 and got it out by November, 1977. For some reason, at this point, Camelot began to crumble — at least for me. Sales were poor (I still have copies), reviews were kind but not stupendous (I still think it was a good issue that never got the attention it deserved), and I was growing discontented. I gafiated for a short period, told T.J. I was leaving after #5 (a special issue featuring Theresa Holmes and Leslie Fish that I didn't want to be published without my name on it, too — otherwise I would have left after #3), and turned toward other things.

I have since put out a few Dark Shadows projects and a zine of my own, PHLEGETHON (a nice SF/ST zine — SASE for info), and worked a little on FESARIUS #4 and #5. I have a few more zines to put out, and, after that, I don't know what the future holds.

... I'm 16 now, and I'm sure I will remember what all of you have given me even when I'm 60 (I still have every letter written to me while in fandom -- even the nasty ones.)

As we say down here: Love y'all, drop by when you can.

Issue 1

cover of issue #2

Fesarius 1 was published in November 1976. It contains stories by N. Spinks, S. Necchi, Ruth Berman, A. Andres, L. Tutihasi, Adria, and S. Kirwan along with articles & con reports by T.J. Burnside.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

This is not an overpoweringly impressive zine. However, it seems to be representative of a new generation of Trekzines and deserves attention for that very reason. The 'classic ' Trekzines are very narrow in scope. I believe many Trekfen have broadened their scope of interest to include other science fiction books and films. Fesarius resembles the standard SF zine more than other Trekzine I have seen. It has variety, and it has an indescribable SF feel to it. Whether this is good or not is up to each individual taste. As I said before, it is not spectacular; but it is interesting. The contents include poetry, articles, fiction, a trivia game, a comic strip (terribly fannish), convention reports, zine reviews, TV reviews, and movie reviews. If consequent issues include a letter column and ads, it would be a complete genzine. The fiction focuses on peripheral and new characters. It is nice for those who are a bit tired of reading about Kirk, Spock, Kirk, McCoy, Spock, ad infinitum. Unfortunately, the printing is very bad. Some of it is so faint that the reader can barely read the text or see the illos. The artwork ranges from poor to very good. Both sides of the bacover, by Suzanne Kirwan, are especially impressive. I will not go so far as to recommend buying this, but it might be a good idea to look for #2. It will be printed using a better method. [2]


Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Signe Landon
back cover of issue #2, T.J. Burnside
inside page from issue #2

Fesarius 2 was published in April 1977 and has 70 pages. It is a special issue featuring the women of Star Trek. Contains material by Adria, Pam Beckett, Malcolm Burnside, T.J. Burnside, Ingrid Cross, Leslie Fish, Melody Frame, Suzanne Kirwin, Signe Landon, Jean Lorrah, Elizabeth Marshall, Martynn, Pat McCormick, Monica Miller, Sandra Necchi, Joseph Partlow, Jeanne Powers, Richard Robinson, Nancy Spinks and R. Laurraine Tutihasil.

  • Table of Contents (1)
  • Editorial Transmissions (2)
  • Uhura by Ingrid Cross (6)
  • A Test of Womanhood by Nancy Spinks (7) The first story about Samantha-Ti'Ree Slade Stewart-King, cited as a Mary Sue type by Sharon Ferraro in a review in Menagerie 12[3], and by Pat Pflieger in her essay 150 Years of Mary Sue. "Human, Samantha was reared on Vulcan, where she was bonded with a Vulcan man; she was the first to tame a Hypno Beast, the most dangerous animal on the planet. She is telepathic and multi-talented: she sings and plays a Vulcan lyre, was awarded the golden IDIC by the Vulcan Science Academy, and whips up Vulcan delicacies in the galley of the Enterprise."[4][5]
  • Trivia Time by Burnside (23)
  • untitled poem by Jeanne Powers (24)
  • The Huntress by Joseph Partlow3 (25)
  • Christine by Pat McCormack (27)
  • Yesterday's Memories by Sandra Necchi (28)
  • Neutral Zone, the Romulan View by Leslie Fish (34)
  • Dora, The Singing Andorian by Banana and Marshmelly (35)
  • The Mermaid by Melody Frame (38)
  • A Time of New Beginning by Jean Lorrah (40) (reprinted from unknown zine)
  • Song of the Lady Lawyer by Ingrid Cross (50)
  • Convention Reports (52)
  • untitled poem by Jeanne Powers (58)
  • The Library Files (59)
  • T.V. Newsbits (63)
  • Movie Reviews (65)
  • Upenda by Pat McCormack (68)
  • The Corner Mailbox (69)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

Despite one of the major stories (A Time of New Beginning) being a reprint and the abundance of poem-accompanied page-size illos of women's heads, 'Fesarius' is extremely enjoyable, what might be called a funzine. 'A Test of Womanhood,' however, is not a primary contributer to this era of good feeling, because it is as pure a Mary Sue as we seldom see in these revisionist, apologetic days. Spinks will be fine writer when she gets these things out of her system, so in the meantime we must bear with [her]... What is very good about this zine, setting the light tone, is Marshmelly Framizam and her magic pen, particularly in her continuing feature, 'Dora the Singing Andorian.' It is a pip. There are also three Zarabeth pieces, two very nice poems by Powers, and 'Yesterday's Memories' by Necchi, which has the best, most sympathetic and least sloppy characterizations of the exile I have seen. Leslie Fish has a poem, 'Neutral Zine, the Romulan View,' from the rhyme and beat patterns one suspects it was or is actually a song. Finally, there's 'The Women of Star Trek.' a short gloss on how women were portrayed in the show. In all, not a heavyweight zine, but a pleasant one. [6]


Issue 3

cover of issue #3, Monica Miller

Fesarius 3 was published in December 1977 and has 79 pages. Editors were Richard Robinson (AS) & T.J. Burnside (MD). Front cover by Monica Miller , Back cover by Gee Moaven. Many interiors by T.J. Burnside. More interiors by Connie Faddis, Marty Siegrist, Monica Miller, Amy Harlib, R.H.C. Chmielefield, Suzanne Kirwan. Authors include: T.J. Burnside, M G Mears, Nancy Spinks, Jeanne Powers, Shelby R. Salzberg, L.V. Fargtas, Sandra Necchi , Michael Heyes, Laura Scarsdale, R Robinson.

  • The Mush Monster of Mira Ceti by M.G. Mears (broad spoof)
  • All That Time Left by Sandra Necchi (non-ST)
  • And the Dark Things in Our Minds Can Kill Us by Nancy Spinks (Mary Sue story is a sequel to "A Test of Womanhood" in Fesarius 2).
  • The End Shall Come by Michael Heyes (Space: 1999)
  • Art, con reports, a few articles, poetry

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[And the Dark Things in Our Minds]: Human, Samantha was reared on Vulcan, where she was bonded with a Vulcan man; she was the first to tame a Hypno Beast, the most dangerous animal on the planet. She is telepathic and multi-talented: she sings and plays a Vulcan lyre, was awarded the golden IDIC by the Vulcan Science Academy, and whips up Vulcan delicacies in the galley of the Enterprise. When the ship meets a race of aliens who feed on psychic energy, Samantha learns that she is descended from an alien explorer who crashed on Earth. Before the story is finished, the aliens have made her relive her most agonizing moment in the presence of Spock, Kirk, and McCoy; she leaves the Enterprise in order to recover mentally, and Spock and McCoy lose their "referee." [7]

[zine]:

Though primarily a Star Trek zine, "Fesarius 3" also offers within its pages a variety of other types of sf and fantasy stories. Noteweoth among these, Michael Heyes' superb "Loner" supplement, "The End Shall Come." Based upon the alternate 99 history originated and written about in Michael's novel "The Loner>, "The End Shall Come" shows us a Moonbase Alpha in a life and death confrontation with those one-time invaders of Earth, the Jarons. Filled with vivid battle maneuvers as Eagles and Jaron battleships clash above a beleagued [sic] Alpha, "The End Shall Come" is a definitive "how Year One became Year Two" story and required reading for all Space fen. In fact, "Fesarius 3" is almost worth getting for that one story alone. However, besides "The End Shall Come," "Fesarius 3" features a hilarious ST parody, "The Mush Monsters of Mira Ceti" by M.G> Mears; the continuing misadventures of "Dora, The Singing Andorian" -- a comic strip -- and very well done "Mary Sue story" by Nancy Spinks about a Vulcan tained human telepath named Samantha King assigned aboard the Enterprise entitled, "And The Dark Things in Our Minds Can Kill Us." All in all, an excellent variety of sf. [8]

[zine]: I got Fesaruis #3, and it's really a lovely job, the print is clear, the art reproduced very well — I especially liked the inside back cover. Remember -- Fat is Beautiful! ...About the issue — "The Mush Monsters etc." is something I've been missing, a well-written parody of Star Trek as seen in the reruns. Not too many people really get into parodies these days, which is a pity. I also liked the illos that went with the story — hysterical! The SF story by Sandra Necchi — very moving. I'm not too sure if these people are Aliens or Us in the future. And since I am not too familiar with the Silver Surfer, that story was a bit mysterious. I'm not against borrowing from other writers' universes (with or without their permission) but it helps to give a little of the background either in a forward or in the body of the story so that the non-fans can get the drift. I was interested in the confessions of the Second Generation Trekkie, since I am one of the original Closet Trekkers who watched the show back in 1967-70. I didn't get into active fandom until 1971' — hut that's a long story. At any rate, I'm glad the younger generation is hanging in there, despite the inroads of Star Wars, Space 1999 and Close Encounters. I'm glad to see that Nancy Spinks' heroine had become a little human — and humane. Like I said in my last letter, she needed a few flaws. I like her better now, I also liked the way the Aliens were built up — although the idea of an alien living off human dreams is a little old-hat by now. Is there any "Dora, the Singing Andorian" ought to go into competition with "Mary Hartman". The idea of an inter-galactic cathouse fractures me! "And the End Shall Come" — well, I'm not all that crazy about Space 1999 anyway, but at least this story tried to make sense out of something that wasn't very sensible to begin with. Good characterizations, and a logical explanation for the discrepancies between Season 1 and Season 2. I am also pleased with the lettercol — you might consider printing a few of the unfavorable notices — although I doubt that you get any! ((We print every unfavorable LoC we receive — I guess the majority is pretty satisfied with the zine! —tj))

Each issue of Fesarius gets better. There's a nice mix of serious and humorous and fiction and non- fiction; the artwork is consistently good; even the print is easy to read. What can I say but — keep it up! [9]

[zine]: I have read and enjoyed Fesarius #3 very much. Especially "And the Dark Things in our Minds Can Kill Us". I usually don't like Space 1999 stories but this one I did. Keep up the good work. And the poems...they were good. My favorites were "Little Lady Lost" and "Letter to a Boy, Never Read".

Unfortunately all I can do is appreciate good stories. I can't write them. But please, do continue. The stories in this one were original and good. I am not an expert, but I do know what I like. And Fesarius I like. [10]

[zine]: Open Letter to the Critics of Fanzines: As a relative newcomer to the world of 'zines, I have noticed quite frequently that there are more "critics" than "editors", "contributors", etc. I think 'zines are the greatest thing to come along for the exchange of ideas, stories, and anything relative to fandom. Where else, certainly not in the "legitimate" publishing world, has so much been written, published and read by the fans themselves? We all know, who have tried to have our stories, poetry, etc. published by the slicks, how hard it is to bread into print. Fanzines give us this chance. You have all seen the quality of stories in FESARIUS and TWODS, to mention a few. My point is the fact that someone, particularly the editors of such 'zines, who devote so much time and love to this "art", and it has become an art, are constantly criticized because this issue wasn't perfect, or that drawing could have been better, or that story could have been different. Come on, gang. These 'zines aren't the ATLANTIC MONTHLY or the SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE. Of course, they're an amateur effort, but they're ours! We have something unique, and to constantly harp on picayune things is ILLOGICAL! The guys and gals who put out these 'zines often use their own money to do so ([Don't I know it —tj)) and it's a losing proposition which we should all take into consideration. So, if you want it to be perfect, buy ESQUIRE or TIME, but for gosh sake's let's stop this petty criticism. If you think it is so easy to put out a 'zine of the quality of FESARIUS or TWODS, maybe you ought to try it before you write your next critique. Try to he more helpful. Submit your own stories, etc., if you think you can do better. Old George B. Shaw was right when he said, "Those who can do; those who can't, criticize". Ease up, gang, and just enjoy.

As I said before, we have a great thing going for us... try to build it up, instead of constantly tearing it down. I suppose as subscribers, you feel you have a right to criticize. Again, try doing it yourself, then see if you feel this type of criticism is warranted. [11]

[zine]:

I just read Fesarius #3 last week. The whole issue was great, but I loved the Space: 1999 story. I don't think I've heard of Michael Heyes before. Has he done anything else? The story was well done all around. The only thing I had a hard time swallowing was that the new character, Daniel Morgan, seemed more like a comic book hero than anything else. I expected him to get it in the end but I'm glad he didn't. Will Michael have anything else in future issues? [12]

[zine]: First of all, the cover was great, but could have been a better in a different color. I will never get used to a blue Balok. The major part of F3 seemed to be "The End Shall Come". Fine. It was a nice, long story which captured the spirit of the TV series. It bored me with its endless space maneuvers, but the occasional inserts of character interplay broke up the tedium. Also, the ending contained a subtle message, much as the series did. But my opinion of TESC is basically the same as my opinion of Space: 1999: The sudden burst of philosophic thoughtfulness at the end is not worth waiting through all those boring space battles. It takes an experienced writer, however, to put fantastic special effects on paper, which is why space maneuvers should be avoided in written fiction. This doesn't mean the story wasn't good. It was on an equal level with the aired 1999. Take that any way you like. I don't understand why the High Priestess decided to combine ST and the Silver Surfer in one story. To me, it was like Woody Allen looking out his window and saying, "Hey, there goes Donald Duck," but then, maybe that's the point of the story. "And the Dark Things in our Minds Can Kill Us" had Its moments of excellence, but I'm getting tired of fan fiction in which scenes from the aired episodes are relived. Although in this case it was done very well, I think the whole idea of fan fiction is to bring the writer's own personal originality to already existing characters, instead of simply feeding on someone else's ideas. The character of Sam King is coming along nicely, though, and she blends well with the K/S/M relationship, especially in her role as referee. "All That Time Left" had very good ideas and I like the way the story was set up, but Sandi seems to have the same problem that I have. When I write a story, many sentences sound so awkward that I have to reread them a few times to remember what I was trying to say. I've often commented that the hardest part of writing is judging my own work. Reading Sandi's story has made it easier for me to see my own writing faults. I think that both Sandi and myself have great potential as writers, although Sandi will probably be more successful, because I'm not going to try as hard. Any way, it's nice to see that there are other intelligent beings in Fall River. "The Mush Monsters of Mira Ceti" was one of the best satires I've ever read in a STzine. It really balanced out this ish a bit. Most of F3 was depressing. Just reading the story titles caused my plants to droop. Even "Dora, the Singing Andorian" gave me the blues. "Little Lady Lost" was the best thing in the zine. Also, the Kirk/McCoy poem, and "Letter to a Boy, Never Read" were wonderful. I am positive that, in about 2 or 3 years, Shelby Salzberg is going to be cleaning out her zine closet and will come across an old copy of Fesarius 3. Flipping through the pages, she will begin to read "Second Generation Trekkie" and ask herself the writer's question of questions: Did I write that? (I don't usually have these premonitions. It must have something to do with asparagus.) I am a second generation trekker. I also remember the date, time, and details of my first episode (Sunday, August 24, 1975, Errand of Mercy) I also felt it as a turning point, but in the years since I have done more than collect posters and T-shirts. One of the most important messages presented by ST was IDIC, a concept which Shelby seems to be ignoring completely. Those creeps she blasted in her article are part of the human race, as capable of advancement as anyone else. Going off alone into space and letting the other people murder each other is not a very optimistic interpretation of the ST ...In closing, F3 was not quite as good as F2. But I am hopeful that F4 will be better.

To Rich and T.J., thanks for another fine zine. To the contributors to F3, keep trying harder and keep submitting your stuff to Fesarius. Maybe someday we'll come up with the ultimate zine, consisting of about 500 pages of writing, art and Trekness that will be so fantastic as to make Rich forget he ever heard of "Dark Shadows". [13]

[zine]: Fesarius 3 is great. A very classy-looking zine. And the way TESC was presented is beautiful. That

title page...mmmnnnmm. I was in North Dakota with Mike (Heyes) when we got our copies from Rich and we were both thrilled to pieces. TJ's lllos really added to the story. [14]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, V.M. Wyman
back cover of issue #4, Denise Yver
inside front cover from issue #4
inside back cover from issue #4

Fesarius 4 is 90 pages long. It was published in July 1979. Edited by T.J. Burnside and Richard Robinson. It has art by Randy Ash, T.J. Burnside, Gordon Carleton, Melody Frame, Amy Harlib, Nan Lewis, Gee Moaven, P.S. Nim, Jeanne Powers, V.M. Wyman.

From Burnside's editorial:
I can't believe that I am typing this page. You probably can't see anything particularly amazing in it, but I can assure you that to me, the significance is unsurpassed, as it happens to be precisely 4:12 am and I have been typing just about continuously for the last month. You'll never know what a relief it is to be done with this beast...I've been working from 8:30 to 5:30 and going to school from 6:00 to 10:30 and putting this out in my free (?)time. My dad thought the 3 am typing was squirrels in the attic. Well, I made a New Year's resolution this year not to make any more excuses as to why FESARIUS 4 is over a year late, so none of you will ever know... I am hopeful, however, that you will find it worth the wait...I know I do. I have a lot of respect for Richard...he did this for three issues in a row. Somehow the work load of being editor-in-chief far outshines the glory, even if my editorial does come first now.
  • Editorial Transmissions by T.J. Burnside (2)
  • Moonsilver and Stardust by Kelly Hill (4)
  • When in Rome by Gregory A. Baker (5)
  • Dora, the Singing Andorian by T.J. Banana and Marshmelly Framizam (25)
  • Star Trek Talks Back by W.J. Sadler (28)
  • Crossthoughts by Tom Audette (a chance meeting of Spock's) (30)
  • In Search of Ancient Star Wars by Rich Kolker (33)
  • Tomar by Nancy Spinks (40)
  • A Very Short Story by Ed Bernstein (51)
  • Writer's Contest Winners (Jeanne Powers and Sandra Necchi) (53)
  • Looking Glass Enemy by Patricia Spath (the strain of his double heritage finally drives Spock to a nervous breakdown) (56)
  • Lethe by Jocelyn Feaster (66)
  • Backstreet Warriors by Jeanne Powers (67)
  • Sure, Leave! by Howard Weinstein (75)
  • A Tellarite Tale by Roberta Rogow (81)
  • A Day in the Life of a Trekfan: Thursday by Jeanne Powers (84)
  • con reports by Rich Kolker, T.J. Burnside (Boskone -- Feb 16-18, Boston, Star Trek World Expo -- Feb 17-19, NYC, Disclave -- May 25-27, Washington D.C.) (86)
  • The Corner Mailbox, LoCs (88)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

'Fes' has evolved, in just 4 issues, into a very nice genzine. The eds have done a remarkable job with this zine. Repro and layout are as good as any issue of Warped Space, with borders and a very tidy look. Wyman has a very striking cover, and Yver has a delightful has a delightful bacover with a dragon and an owl. Fiction is quite varied. Baker's 'When in Rome....' deals with a 20th century man who has been in the 22nd century as a Star Fleet Ground Forces officer for a while now. (He got there by suspended animation, of course.) This is a fun story, a bit sketchy, but enjoyable. Perhaps the most interesting piece in the zine is Volker's 'In Search of Ancient Star Wars' wherein we are treated to a thesis that combines the Von Daniken hypotheses with SW complete, with ancient drawings. It's got to be read to be believed! Con reports, a lettercol, trivia, poetry, the latest of 'Dora, the Singing Andorian.' and the winners of writer's contest (one of them who is yours truly) plus ads round out the issue. 'Fes' 4 is their best so far and worth the price. [15]
An excellent general zine containing a wide variety of material. Con reviews by Rich Kolker. A historical allegory by Roberta Rogow. A Howard Weinstein (he wrote "Pirates of Orion") parody of "ShoreLeave." An interesting exploration of Spock as a schizophrenic. Further adventures of Dora, the singing Andorian (a comic strip.). Nice art, nice stories. Recommended. [16]

Issue 5

front cover of issue #5, Gayle F, Spock with fire lizards
back cover of issue #5, Theresa Holmes
inside front cover, issue #5
inside back cover, issue #5

Fesarius 5 was published in 1982 and has 213 pages. The art is by T.J. Burnside, Leslie Fish, Chris Gerken, Theresa Holmes, Liz Pietrzak, Melody Rondeau, and V.M. Wyman. The front cover is by Gayle F. Includes three fold-outs of art.

a 1982 flyer for issue #5: "It's A Miracle! FESARIUS V Has Arrived! No kidding this time. The long-awaited special issue of FESARIUS with the writer's battle between Theresa Holmes and Leslie Fish is complete and will be available in July with the following contents: DIFFERENCE: Theresa Holmes has outdone herself with this novella-length tale. Kirk and the Enterprise crew, after passing through the galactic barrier at the Rim between Romulan and Klingon space, find themselves in an alternate universe where Earth is locked in a vicious struggle between warring Celts and Romans -- and Christ never existed. Provocative and spellbinding, Difference is exquisitely illustrated by the author and includes two foldouts. SUNSET AND EVENING STAR by Leslie Fish, could be a novel in its own right. While on a time-travel mission to rescue ancient Roman art treasures, a sudden flare of solar radiation causes Kirk to materialize in a Rome far different from our history's [sic], where technology, social organization, and the quality of life are far beyond anything possible in this time-line... or are they? Kirk must find away home -- and the Enterprise must find a way to keep their universe from being destroyed by a mishap in time. Rich in plot and characterization and undoubtedly controversial in its conclusion, Sunset and Evening Star is the product of four years of work and is one Leslie Fish's finest efforts. Beautiful illustrations by the author include a foldout and several full-page plates.

This issue consists mainly of two novels: one by Leslie Fish and one by Theresa Holmes, on the theme of "What would be the effect of the ST universe if Christ were not an influence?" and "A special writer's challenge between Theresa Holmes and Leslie Fish on the theme, "What would the effect be on the Star Trek universe if Christ had lived and died a poor carpenter?" Both stories are illustrated by their respective authors, and Leslie's is novella-length."

From the editorial, by Burnside:
Number One on the list by anyone's standards has to be Theresa Holmes. I received Theresa's lovely story, complete with illustrations, before I had even set the first deadline. (If you want proof, look at the dates on her illos.) I subsequently held onto to it for the next five years, and the very fact that she did NOT send me a letter bomb at any time during those five years should testify to Theresa's patience and good nature. So, everyone, on the count of three: THANK YOU, THERESA!!!

As you all know, Leslie Fish has been working on her story (novel?) just about continuously since 1977, and all I can say is that the story speaks for itself. Thanks to Leslie for finally coming through with a real masterpiece, and for typing above and beyond the call of duty. You're a peach! Howie Weinstein probably did more rewrites than anyone in the history of fanzines on his article one each time the previous one got out-of-date (which is pretty often in five years). We finally decided that STAR TREK II would be current for awhile - I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that they don't release STAR TREK III before this thing gets out. (I can see it now — "Crazed Writer Strangles Fanzine Editor With Typewriter Ribbon . . . "Too Many Rewrites!" Cited as Cause . . .)

Thanks to Tony Citro and Rich Kolker for writing two terrific con reports; the only problem is the cons took place too long ago now to include them. Sorry! (I'm so embarrassed ...)... Thanks to [Gayle F] for meeting that first deadline so long ago and then darkening the illo to keep my printer happy and fed . . . Thanks to Eddie for "Frost Dancer" and two of the happiest years of my life . . .
From the editorial, by Robinson, who says he is newly married:
TJ: Although we've never even met, in many ways we've grown up together; we started this thing when I was 13 and you were 15. Through the years, we've had plenty of good times and glory and plenty of bad times and headaches — though, overall, it's been a wonderful enterprise. I appreciate your understanding and helpfulness . . . you know I wish you the best for the future and I'll be here if you need me.
  • Editorial Transmissions by T.J. Burnside and Richard Robinson (2)
  • Triumvirate by Kelly Hill (4)
  • Trivia Time by T.J. Burnside and Philip Chien (6)
  • "Difference," by Theresa Holmes (7)
  • Malfunction by Jeanne Powers (38)
  • Dora, the Singing Andorian by T.J. Banana and Marshmelly Framizam (39)
  • Frost Dancer by Ed Bernstien (43)
  • Guest Review: Star Trek II by Howard Weinstein (44)
  • Con Reports: MediaWest*Con, see that page, by Kevin J. Anderson and Sheila Willis (47)
  • "Sunset and Evening Star" by Leslie Fish (50)
  • The Corner Mailbox, LoCs (210)
  • Ads (214)
  • The Last Page by The Management (216)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[Difference]:

[The main character "Elanor MacPhail" is a Mary Sue]:

Telepathic like all Delphians, she becomes the chief navigator on the Enterprise; she is accompanied by her Delphian singjoy, an eight-legged creature resembling a little dragon. Only she can control it. Elanor is descended from engineers and thinks -- and sometimes speaks -- in impenetrable Delphian Common -- which seems very like a thick Scots accent. She also is the ship's expert in several languages. She has many of the good ideas during the story, so many that Spock relies on her advice. [17]
[zine]: I admit I ordered this zine because of the promised "Part 5--The Conclusion" of 'Dora, the Singing Andorian'. In this comic strip, T.J. Banana and Marshmelly Framizam have kept my favorite Andorian singing 'Am I Blue?' at least twice each episode as she outsobs cosmic con men and mercenary madams to join luster-smiling Lance Charger in a glass of milk and cookies. Rightthinkers everywhere will be glad to know that Mr. Glzupt... got 40 years on the neutronium pile. Although 'Dora' should be enough to recommend the zine to anybody, there are other items in the zine, notably the 'rival' stories by Theresa Holmes and Leslie Fish on the general theme of just where did the Roman Empire go wrong, specifically in regard to the impact of Christianity. Their answers are about as opposite as it's possible to be. Holmes, in her 'Difference' claims that without the 'moderating, unifying influences of Christianity, ' the Empire of Rome would have centralized into a totalitarian state that managed to withstand the periodic invasions from the east (Goths, Huns, Turks), developing into a sort of precursor to the German Third Reich, only much longer lived... Holmes gets 10 out of 10 for her sincerity, but minus several million for her Mary Sue character, Elanor MacPhail. Granted, 'Difference' was written five years ago when the syndrome was more prevalent, but here she is again, calling her superior officers, 'Spock' and 'Penda' (while they rather humbly say 'Ms. McPhail'),... dragging around an ill-tempered reptile that only she can control, and telling Kirk, Spock, and Scotty their business. Unnaturally, everyone is thrilled with her performance... Where 'Difference' says everybody should have a god, preferably the same one, Leslie Fish in 'Sunset and Evening Star' is all for celestial-free enterprise. Christianity laid the Empire low. Not only that, it proposes a conspiracy of truly cosmic -- or paranoid -- dimensions. Yeshua ben David, see, is this super-version of Rev. Sun Yung Moon, a Being on the same order as Apollo and Kulkukan, as was Yahweh before Him; they are like these soulsuckers who entrap humans with the Beatific Vision and occasionally instigate religious wars to skim off a load for some theocentric purpose... Her presentation of the early Empire will indeed upset notions some readers may have formed from Sunday School... a must-read for anyone whose personal beliefs, religious, atheist, or agnostic, can withstand probing. [18]

[zine]: FES keeps getting better as each issue progresses. Number 5 is the LOOOONG awaited (five years) issue containing the writers' challenge between Theresa Holmes and Leslie Fish on the following question: What would the Star Trek universe be like if Jesus Christ had lived and died an unknown carpenter (or words to that effect)? The results are incredible.

One complaint about the editorial handling of this event: I don't think there was enough clarity concerning the fact that this was a writers' challenge and that the writers involved represent two differing world views. Since the gap between issues four and five was so long, I'm sure that there were those who did not remember what this issue was going to be about. And neos, or fans who have never read FES until now, were probably a little confused. This is very minor and it doesn't require a great deal of intelligence to figure out what's going on here. Anyway, "Difference," by Holmes, is the first story, and concerns the Big E's encounter with an alternate earth. Our heroes get caught up in the ensuing conflict between ancient Celtic druids and Romans (who are, by the way, supported by the Klingons). The Enterprise people expend a lot of effort to get these Celts on the right track of overthrowing the evil Roman empire — including have Spock appear as a messiah to them (to compensate for the fact that, on this earth, there is no prophet Jesus Christ who founds a philosophy that spreads throughout the known world). The main character is a female Scottish officer, Elanor MacPhail, a native of some Christian colony of the Federation (Delphi). Unfortunately, she comes forth as a blatant MarySue. She knows everything — what's right and what's wrong — does all the things on the ship Spock should be doing, and, of course, saves the ship through her miraculous, god-given mystical powers. She's also rather sanctimonious. The only thing missing from the MarySue stereotype is that none of the principal officers is madly in love with this woman. Holmes writes Elanor's speech in a very wooden, messy, and incomprehensible Scottish accent. Later on, though, Elanor speaks in perfect American English. This lapse of dialogue serves only to confuse. Finally, Holmes does not even answer the BIG question. We never learn, from her point of view, just what the ST universe would be like had Christ died an unknown. The story comes off being very dogmatic and shallow.

Ah, but then we come to the Fish's "Sunset and Evening Star". My only real complaint is the title. It's meaningless, innocuous, unmemorable, and unfit for the masterpiece Leslie has written. There is one complaint I expect many people to make (though it is not one of mine) so I should mention it: there is a lot of conversation in this story. There's some very gripping action and it is plentiful, but there is more conversation and it's a 150 page novel. Don't let that bother you — once you start, you will whiz right through it instantly because you will be caught in the Fish's incredible mind. There is SO MUCH in this story! I don't know where to begin. Leslie uses the old transporter malfunction bit (to her credit, the Big E is on a time travel jaunt to ancient Rome, not using the Guardian but the method used in "Tomorrow is Yesterday". Also, Leslie acknowledges she is using a time-worn gimmick by calling the chapter Transporter Malfunction of the Month") and sends Kirk back into time to ancient Rome. The Enterprise is forced to return to the present before rescuing Kirk and finds the universe drastically changed. Rome never fell and has founded a very advanced, benevolent space confederation. Since there were no Dark Ages, space travel was developed in 1500. Meanwhile, Kirk is encountering — and falling in love with — ancient Rome, which is nothing like we in the present, with our prejudices, believe it to be. Leslie has drawn a basically accurate picture of ancient Rome (which has been emasculated by people of my profession — historians — down through the centuries, who so readily believed ancient propaganda spread by Rome's enemies); a Rome with labor unions, surgery, public service, religion, ethics (yes, ethics! A morality very similar to ours), silk-screened printing, and so much more. To present the atheist-vs.-Christian confrontation, Leslie presents us with two characters: Ellison Hawk (good ol' Harlan) and Agnes Day, a perfectly hateful character. I can see a lot of religionists getting upset with Leslie's portrayal of a devoted Christ-follower. The only thing Leslie could be attacked for in this instance is portraying a Christian in such a stereotypical manner. I can't. Having been brought up in Roman Catholicism, Agnes comes very close to many priests, nuns and lay Christians I have known. The underlying subplot is a beautiful exploration of Spock's love for Kirk. The only problem I have is Leslie's portrayal of Spock. He is much too emotional and much too "evil". I should mention that Leslie's story is meant as a sequel to Sharon Emily's "Proof Positive" in her Showcase zine, wherein Spock meets Christ and becomes a Christian. Leslie's presentation of this is that Spock is "dominated" by a powerful entity and behaves in very unpleasant, intolerant, bigoted ways. His behavior should be looked at with that in mind, but it is still so unSpoekian that I'm still uncomfortable with it. All that aside, the story is magnificent. I haven't even touched half of it. This is a morality tale in the old-fashioned sense, and so some of Leslie's characters do not come off being very well fleshed out. But "Sunset and Evening Star" is such a good story (and impossible to put down) that this can be easily overlooked. Above all, this is a story where one learns and thinks constantly, a phenomenon decidedly lacking in fanfic. Leslie forces you to take a position — agreement or disagreement. And those who disagree must come away very angry. She touches your

The rest of FES contains the last entry of "Dora, the Singing Andorian" (never could get into it, although the art is cute), an excellent review of ST:WK by Howie Weinstein, con reports, a letter column, and some very good illos by Burnside, Chris Gerken, Rondeau, and Wyman. My favorites, though, are Fish's illos for her story, and her illo of the inside bacover is perhaps the best. One more thing: I basically ignore fan poetry because very little of it impresses or moves me, but "Malfunction," by L. Jeanne Powers, is outstanding. Janice Rand gets her say at last — at least partially. It's a powerful poem. Very highly recommended! [19]

[zine]: FESARIUS V is based on an interesting promise -- the editor asked two well-known fan writers to write ST stories about ST in a world where Jesus Christ lived and died a poor carpenter's son. It is an unusual and controversial zine. The zine is clean and good looking. The reduced type is readable, the layout attractive, and the illustrations reproduced well. The [Gayle F] cover portrait of Spock with two dragonets (Delphian singjoys) is very attractive. The two stories from the fan authors comprise 95% of the zine contents. The other 5% is not memorable. The first story is "Difference", a novelette written and illustrated by Theresa Holmes. The Enterprise and a pursuing Klingon ship go into the galactic barrier and come out in an alternate universe in which Christianity never developed. They also go back in time to 24 3 A.D. to Roman occupied Britain. The Klingons back the Romans, and the Enterprise crew backs the local Celts who are trying to drive them out and regain their land. The author introduces several new members of the crew, the most important being El-anor MacPhail, a telepath and a super-Christian from a space colony called Delphi. She is instrumental in effecting the resolution of the plot which saves the Enterprise and brings a Christian-type message to the Celts while violating the Prime Directive in almost every way possible. There is also a major new novel from Leslie Fish called "Sunset and Evening Star." I predict that this novel will cause considerable uproar in fandom. Ms Fish is not one to duck unpopular causes, and in this novel she attacks monotheism, in general, and Christianity, in particular. The brunt of the argument is carried on by two crewpersons. Dr. Agnes Day, the historian, represents the Christian viewpoint; Ellison Hawk, the archeolo-gist, represents the secular humanist viewpoint. Whenever these two meet the debate is carried on. Now on to the plot. About three months before the time of the novel, Spock steps through the Guardian and meets Jesus Christ. He is most impressed. (This takes place in "Proof Positive" by Sharon Emily in SHOWCASE #2). Remember this. The Enterprise goes back in time to an Easter Sunday in Rome before the Tall of the Roman Empire. Their mission: to rescue works of art and records destroyed in the Fall. Hawk and Day are in the landing party to a temple when a post-Easter service pack of Christians sack and burn the temple. The landing party beams up, but Kirk beams back a few minutes later. However, a transporter malfunction occurs, and he materializes nine feet above a Roman fish peddlers pushcart in 7 B.C. Meanwhile, the crew tries to effect rescue. Hawk manages to determine that Kirk was displaced in time, but before they can return to 7 B.C., they must return to their own time to relieve the Knaffbein stress on the engines. When they return to their own time, it is changed. The find the Roman Empire in Space represented by the starship Invictus. They welcome the Enterprise warmly and render all possible assistance. The Imperium is a higher civilization than the Federation, and they give the Enterprise all kinds of information about themselves and their technology. Spock, however, censors all information given in return. What if they learned that rescuing Kirk could bring their universe to an end? The Invictus entertains the main characters at a banquet where Hawk and Day argue at length. Spock sides with Day. Why? Fish makes Day's arguments sound like nonsense. Eventually Hawk deserts. fie also spills the beans, and the Enterprise is forced to depart hastily for the past followed closely by the Invictus. It seems that Kirk is the key to the change in history. As Emperor of the Roman Empire, his inventions, innovations, and policies change the course of Galactic history. Many people will be upset by this novel. Ms Fish depicts all Christians as hysterical, bigoted, rigid, Bible as literal truth, believe as I believe or burn forever, religious fanatics. This is far from the truth. And her Roman civilization is thoroughly sanitized before comparing it to the worst of Christian cultures. Slanting the arguments so obviously do not add to their credibility. Judaism, Buddhism, and other major religious movements are mentioned, too, and they are not treated any better than Christianity- Now, a spoiler warning! I am going to reveal the ending — something I do not normally do. If you object to this, skip the rest of this paragraph. After Kirk is rescued, he mind melds with Spock and uncovers a great secret. When Spock met Christ, Christ placed secret orders in his mind and obscured the fact that in reality Christ was an evil alien being (much like the Apollo of the TV episode, but evil) who was creating a death wish society from which souls could be harvested for some evil scheme. Kirk, of course, deprograms him. This is definitely a controversial ending.

Those of you who are not easily offended and like intellectually stimulating fan fiction will find this novel a MUST READ; however, I cannot promise that you will like it. Others will want to read it just to see what all the fuss is about. It is well-written, imaginative, iconoclastic, amusing, well-researched, etc. and the depth, the breadth, and the width of the novel are rarely seen in a work of fan fiction. And in the day of the $20 fanzine this long novel is comparatively cheap, making FESARIUS V a BEST BUY as well as a MUST READ. [20]

[zine]:

Fan writers, by and large, have trouble thinking up interesting and believable alien sociology. The last thing I'm willing to waste my time or money on is "My Jesus is better than yours and I've got a Vulcan Master to prove it" kinds of nonsense. If you want good fan fiction on religious themes, try Fesarius V which finally came out this fall, in my opinion a story can say more of a truly religious nature by how its characters treat each other and do their jobs than any number of religious ceremonies, sermons or pious invocations of this or that god will ever provide. After you've read the stories in Fesarius V, disconnect your prejudices and judge both stories on the basis of plot, characterization, motivation and style and then give an honest judgment on which is the more truly "religious" tale. [21]

Issue 6

front cover issue #6, T.J. Burnside?
back cover of issue #6, Peter Zale and Pat Cash

Fesarius 6 was published in 1984 and is 150 pages long.

  • The Elder (4 pages)
  • Star Trek III (Review) (2 pages)
  • Star Schlep III: Besmirched by Schlock (20 pages)
  • Birth Day/Later Day (2 pages)
  • Fandom’s Lost Idealism (4 pages)
  • At Large In A Dapple-Grey World (4 pages)
  • If This Be Madness (16 pages)
  • Hiatus (2 pages)
  • Warpfactor II (4 pages)
  • Turning Points (STAR WARS) (16 pages)
  • Blessed Are The Pure In Heart (17 pages)
  • Solace (4 pages)
  • Old Spice (4 pages)
  • An Educational Experience (30 pages)

References

  1. from Scuttlebutt #4
  2. from Interphase #4
  3. " 'A Test of Womanhood,' however, is not a primary contributer to this era of good feeling, because it is as pure a Mary Sue as we seldom see in these revisionist, apologetic days. Spinks will be fine writer when she gets these things out of her system, so in the meantime we must bear with [her]."
  4. The Mary Sues, list of stories mentioned in Pflieger's Too Good To Be True: 150 Years of Mary Sue.
  5. And yet we accept Spock and his numerous superlative talents and abilities without question.
  6. from Menagerie #12
  7. from http://www.webcitation.org/68AyZ8nxR THE MARYSUES], addendum to 150 Years of Mary Sue, posted around 1998, accessed 4 June 2012
  8. from ComLoC #7 (1978)
  9. from an LoC in Fesarius #4
  10. from an LoC in Fesarius #4
  11. from an open letter by Joan Shumsky in Fesarius #4, also printed in The World of Dark Shadows #18
  12. from an LoC in Fesarius #4
  13. from an LoC in Fesarius #4
  14. from an LoC in Fesarius #4
  15. from Scuttlebutt #16
  16. from Academy Chronicles #8
  17. from http://www.webcitation.org/68AyZ8nxR THE MARYSUES], addendum to 150 Years of Mary Sue, posted around 1998, accessed 4 June 2012
  18. from Warped Space #48
  19. from Universal Translator #19
  20. from TREKisM #26
  21. from Interstat #63