Hailing Frequencies (Star Trek: TNG anthology edited by Doug Giffen)

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Zine
Title: Hailing Frequencies
Publisher: Plasma Press
Editor(s): Doug Giffin
Date(s):
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TNG
Language: English
External Links:
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Hailing Frequencies is a gen Star Trek: TNG anthology edited by Doug Giffin. It features fiction and non-fiction, plus art from Lana Brown and others. There are four issues.

Issue 1

Hailing Frequencies 1 contains 40 pages.

  • The Bonding by Douglas M. Giffin (a Worf story)
  • more

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Hailing Frequencies 2 was published in July 1990 and contains 54 pages.

  • Brothers/loDni by Douglas M. Giffin III (a Worf story, sequel to "The Bonding")
  • Friendly Persuasion by Lori Scott (Jean Luc Picard narrates the circumstances leading up to Jack and Beverly Crusher's meeting each other.)
  • Wild Q (adventure on the holodeck)
  • The Good, The Bad and the Q by William O'Donnell. (Everyone decides to go amuse themselves with a Western on the holodeck. Unfortunately, Q is also bored, and takes the opportunity to kidnap them all into a real Western.)
  • Time and the Hour (Part 1) by William O'Donnell

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

And now, in a painful, death-defying leap from the sublime to the ridiculous: yet another Star Trek zine that one wishes had been left in its primordial state, rather than evolving into paper best used for...well, for something else.

Actually, perhaps I 'm being a bit too harsh— nah.

Nope, I just looked it over again. You've all seen them—the zines with front cover art that shows the artist in his or her painful beginnings, layout that accurately shows what the publisher reads most (apparently Starlog, in this editor's case, which in some ways is better than the most common answer-nothing), interior art that reflects the cover (with the inevitable one or two decent or really good pieces that only stand apart, bewildered, one suspects, by their surroundings, and which always unwittingly serve to show up the shabbiness of their compatriots), and writing that fits the term by only the loosest of definitions (yes, it is indeed print on a page). The cover is a combination of art by P. Whitt and graphics and lettering by either the artist or one of the other contributors (there is only a small listing of the contributors on the flip side of the cover—no legend of artists paired with their works, no table of contents—a serious omission). The artwork itself is painful—what looks to be a graph paper sort of Zip-a-tone whose black background with white intersecting lines may have been intended to represent the holodeck grid, on top of which are slapped two ineptly-stippled head and shoulder portraits—one of Picard, one of Kirk—in a composition that lacks cohesion or visual interest... His editorial and LoC columns are visually impressive, and clearly time and thought were put into them. Time and thought were also clearly used in choosing the remainder of the typefaces and title lettering. The typefaces worked nicely throughout. The titles were another matter, giving the zine a hodgepodge, scattered look—everything from Old Western-style lettering to a loose, artistic sort of script ... Besides, with fiction of Hailing Frequencies' unwavering tedium, breaking the concentration of one slogging through it is not recommended. The bulk of the fiction was your typical TNG fare, with embryonic writing skill doing nothing to enhance story ideas that may or may not have been good to start with was the best of an average to below average lot, being Part One of what appears to be a fantasy/action tale involving Number One (the Majel Barrett version, not the Frakes version) in some mysterious circumstances, and which bridges time to apparently draw in both the latter-day Classic Trek characters, and some from TNG. There was nothing outstanding in the tale (thus far) in the way of style or depth of character, but Giffin at least possesses a knowledge of the English language—or of the pulp fantasy version, at any rate—allowing him to put sentences together that don't require an accompanying airsick bag, and to unfold his tale in a comprehensible (if superficial) fashion. The story at least had enough substance to briefly -rouse my curiosity as to its outcome, and I think that, with time, Giffin's style might mature into something that could actually convey the dark, murky sense of mystery I suspect this story was meant to deliver... The artwork in the zine was, after the cover, certainly not as bad as it could be, but the most prolific artist, Barbara Spence, while achieving recognizable likenesses, and some very nice backgrounds, still needs a good deal of polishing in both rendering and composition. Right now, her artwork is very rough—I'd like to see it three years from now, when I think practice will have taken care of the problems. There is a Riker by Tom Clementi that shows the beginnings of skill with cross-hatching, but which missed the mark in composition and likeness... Hailing Frequencies' best art was in the form of two portraits by Lana Brown. The medium is unclear, but the resultant printing seems to have been a bit unkind—it looks as though some of the shading was lost in the process, making the pieces look harsh, which is a pity, because Lana is very talented. Her Guinan portrait is nicely composed, and fits the story it accompanies, and the later Data portrait is also well done. With Lana's talent, I would love to see her branch out from stock photo portraits to some illustrative work. I suspect that photo references are hard to come by in New Zealand, and her portraits are awfully pretty, but one can dream, can't one? Overall, this zine is a typical example of TNG zines, where the writing is simply not up to a standard where one can even comment without addressing the most rudimentary rules of composition and style, something for which the review format is ill-equipped, and for which the consumer has little time—a case of an editor being as inexperienced as his contributors, and therefore clearly unable to give them the gargantuan editing they require. [1]

Issue 3

cover of issue #3

Hailing Frequencies 3 was published in August 1991 and contains 84 pages. It has fiction by Wokanovicz, Sibeal, Murphy, Giffin, Brinson, O'Donnell. Art by Brown, Spence, Clementi, Flores and Giffin. This zine was a Fan Q nominee.

  • Retreat from Maxia by Anne Wokanovicz (Picard has suffered one of the greatest losses imaginable. Can he overcome the destruction of the Stargazer?
  • But for the Grace of God by Doug Giffin (Wesley faces his greatest fear: finding out how his father died.)
  • ...He Heard the Snow by Patience Sibeal (A happy occasion turns into a time of bitter memories for Deanna.)
  • Heading Home by Diane Gritz Murphy
  • Disappointment by Doug Giffin, an episode review of Season Four
  • Time and the Hour by William O'Donnell (part two)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

Unlike other zines where the editor's influence is more subtly felt, Hailing Frequencies strongly reflects Giffin's vision and attitudes. He favors a hands-on approach that includes a cover portrait (drawn, he says, because no one else contributed one), an editorial, review column, LOC response, artwork, and an original story. Other contributors to the zine include fiction by Wokanovicz, Murphy, Sibeal, Brinson, and O'Donnell. The artwork features drawings by Brown, Spence, Flores, and three drawings by Clementi that originally appeared in Hailing Frequencies I. This zine drew a mixed response from me. There is much to like but equally as much to dislike. The cover portrait is a bit unusual. My first reaction was negative - "Picard crying?". But the portrait is explained within the context of the story, "Retreat From Maxima" and shows a nice creative touch. (Picard's eyes are watering because of the poisonous smoke and gas released by the destruction of the Stargazer). However, the majority of the portraits, while strongly detailed, tend to be dark and a little harsh. I did enjoy the variety of pictures, especially a suitably forbidding Picard as Borg by Barbara Spence and a thoughtful Geordi by Lana Brown. The title page is a collage that includes dark, blurry pictures of Giffin with Roddenberry and Wheaton and the table of contents, credits and copyright information. This casual representation is emphasized by zeroxed paper clips scattered around. I liked the laid-back approach but the pictures are fuzzy and the credits are difficult to read. A more professional layout would probably have worked better. The opening story, "Retreat From Maxima", by Anne Wokanovicz, is well written and includes several strong emotional scenes. The story opens dramatically as the charred, crippled Stargazer emerges from a mysterious battle with an unknown attacker on the edge of the charter galaxy. The opponent is destroyed but the battle has also mortally wounded the Stargazer, causing countless deaths. Forced to abandon ship and flee in the shuttlecrafts, Picard suffers a shattering loss of confidence in his leadership abilities. His Vulcan CMO, T'Sura, is tested to the limits of her abilities as she is forced to make life and death medical decisions. Commander Nguyen Li Weng also plays a prominent role as he takes control of the rag-tag shuttlecraft fleet while Picard mourns the loss of his ship and crew. I enjoyed this story. The action was good and the characterization superb. Wokanovicz delves deeply into the thoughts and emotions of Picard and T'Sura and draws the reader into their loss and eventual triumph over their pain. This story is the anchor and highlight of the zine. "Heading Home" by Diane Gritz Murphy, follows the rescue of the USS Tsaitruhkar found orbiting a black hole after barely surviving an attack by Klingons. The story focuses on Ishti, an unusual woman gifted with precognition. This was a frustrating story. There were tantalizing glimpses of interesting characters, especially Ishti and her first officer, but they are never fully developed. The Enterprise officers are static and wooden. I loved some of the Classic references - slang and a nod of the head to Kirk as Ishti muses over having always been in his shadow. This was a terrific premise, full of promise, but simply needed more character exposition and development. "But for the Grace of God" is by Giffin and reflects his fondness for Wesley Crusher. The story revolves around Jack Crusher's death as the Enterprise revisits the planet Vesta to deliver vaccines for a plague. Vesta is a planet "contaminated" by missionaries prior to the implement of the Prime Directive. The Church has twisted the missionaries' original teaching and instituted an evil religious war against the adherents of the benign All-Mother. "But for the Grace of God" follows Wesley as he goes on an unofficial odyssey to find out the truth about his father's death. The ending is nicely interwoven with the T.V. episode, "Family", and the action, while slightly predictable, is enjoyable. I did dislike the background theme of "all Christianity is bad and every other religion is good" but this doesn't detract from a well-written story. "He Heard the Snow Falling Faintly Through the Universe" by Patience Sibeal is an evocative short story of Deanna's remembrance of an old love. "The Lady and the Klingon" by Rosalind Brinson is a humorous tale of Worf and his interactions with an unusual lady. "Disappointment" by Doug Giffin, is an episode review of Season Four which is highly entertaining. The zine closes with a strange Classic/Next Generation cross-over story. This is the second half of a story begun in HF 2. Two-part stories are extremely frustrating for zine purchasers who have no idea what happened in the first part. "Time and the Hour" by William O'Donnell, contains no synopsis and simply plunges into a time travel tale involving Kirk, Uhura, Scotty, Beverly, Worf, Data and the original Number One. I liked the characters chosen - what an interesting combination - and there is a terrific scene where Picard looks up to see numerous Wesleys, a pterodactyl, and a tribe of tribbles on the bridge. But the whole story was so confusing with constant scene shifts, that it was a struggle to finish. It was a big disappointment for fans of time travel and crossover stories. Hailing Frequencies is a Fan Q Award nominee and, judging from the LoCs printed, extremely popular with its readers. Although I was disappointed and frustrated with a few stories, the overall presentation is promising and I look forward to the production of HF 4 in the near future. My final rating of HF 3 is 70 points: 25 for the writing, with top grades to Wokanovicz, 10 for the artwork, 20 for the overall presentation and 15 for the ultimate value of the zine. Hailing Frequencies reflects editor Giffin's love for Star Trek and is an enjoyable zine for fans interested in action seasoned with character insight. [2]
Hailing Frequencies 3 is devoted entirely to Next Generation and although it's short (84 pages), this is generally a fine collection of work gathered by a young editor who knows how to pick 'em.

"Retreat from Maxia" by Ann Wokanovicz gets things started with a bang. In my humble opinion, this author (previously unknown to me) has written an exceptional story, worth the price of the zine in and of itself. Ann has a remarkable grasp of TNG technology and an impeccable sense of logic which never overburdens the story with scientific malapropisms, but rather enhances it, and the opening paragraphs of this piece blossom with exotic descriptions of the nature of space coupled with the destruction of the USS Stargazer.

The urgency and outright danger of the deaththroes of the Stargazer are realized with precision, believability and elegance. It is indeed rare to find an author whose prose smacks of a true moment-to-moment reality, and as I read, I found myself completely absorbed in Picard's struggle to get off his vessel before it self destructs, whilst wresding with his feelings of guilt and remorse at losing such large numbers of his crew in the process. As the ship is evacuated, Chief Medical Officer T'Sura remains in Sickbay, performing what might be called acts of euthanasia for those injured beyond hope of rescue. Her ministering to the needs of the sick and critically wounded is at once touching and chilling and the author's characterization of this Vulcan provides a rare and appreciable insight into the race's subtextual behavior, often lacking in most fan fiction. The author's description of the ravaged T'Sura working against time in Sickbay ("Her torn, filthy uniform, streaked with three colors of blood, belied her calm features.") is rich and visceral and plays in perfect concert with the urgency with which die crew is faced, driving the story relentlessly and realistically...

As Picard endeavors to abandon the wounded ship, his surreal, warped, dreamlike inner thoughts are set in perfect juxtaposition with his steely calm exterior, which we are all too often exclusively faced with. Jean-Luc is portrayed as a rounded human being by the author and I'm sure Patrick Stewart himself would find some interesting and valuable traits, were he to read this story.

Ultimately, the remaining crew of the Stargazer is evacuated to several shuttlecraft and once again, Wokanovicz excels in creating the horror of being set adrift in deep space aboard a tiny vessel which can't attain warp speed. T'Sura's examination and care of the wounded Picard is finely wrought: lush in well-contemplated and descriptive detail; evocative and frightening. The Vulcan doctor enters into a mind meld with Picard in order to facilitate his healing process—a perfectly composed scene with never a maudlin moment. This author is one to watch. In fact, I wish she'd send in a manuscript to Pocket Books. Their line of TNG publications desperately needs her skills. Folks, if you run across the name Ann Wokanovicz in a zine, buy it.

In "Heading Home" by Diane Gritz Murphy, the Enterprise, en route to Osrallen III, discovers the severely crippled USS Tsaitruhkar which is trapped in a decaying orbit around a black hole. The ship has been logged MIA for 72 years, yet her crew has not aged in this time and, from their perspective, only a matter of months has passed since their last contact with the Federation, presumably due to time/space distortion caused by the black hole. As it turns out, the Tsaitruhkar was lured to this outer rim of Federation space by the Klingons and, upon encountering the hole, lost all communications and engineering systems and became trapped. I find it hard to believe that any starship would allow itself to be duped in this way, much less come within 5,000 kilometers of a black hole which would obviously strip the vessel of many of its higher functions. Be that as it may, after Picard has engaged a tractor beam and towed the Tsaitruhkar out of reach of the hole, he, Geordi and Data beam aboard to confront the shipwrecked crew. Greeted by Captain Mnexhmongixlu, a diminutive Indian woman with powerful psi abilities, Picard is informed in a vague and poorly executed fashion that one of his men will be injured in an upcoming accident—the particulars of which Mnexhmonnixlu cannot elucidate. Picard, with next to no deliberation, dismisses her esper annelucidateouncement and allows Geordi and Data to tour respective areas of the damaged ship (which have been freely decorated by the crew in an attempt to counteract any anxiety at being lost in space at the edge of a black hole). Naturally, an accident occurs in Engineering wherein LaForge and one of Mnexhmonnixlu's men are injured. Unfortunately, the entire situation is scantily written and hastily contrived, is the piece as a whole. Uninspired technology, fallacious scientific theory and a plodding narrative style further impair this piece of fiction.

Hailing Frequencies' next entry is "But for the Grace of God" by Doug Giffin. As the story opens, Wesley Crusher is seated in Ten Forward, morosely staring out at space, when Guinan wanders over (as she always does) to find out what's troubling the young ensign. She discovers that the Enterprise is presently on a mission delivering medicine to the planet Vesta, the very place Wesley's father Jack lost his life thirteen years before. Guinan's character, as written by Doug, is inconsistent with what we have come to expect from this mysterious hosteiss. To wit, after her talk with* Wesley, she berates herself for not having known more of the circumstances surrounding Jack Crusher's death and Doug undercuts one of Guinan's best features: her own sense of self-worth.

In the meantime, Wesley doesn't even know himself how his father died, which I found difficult to believe, but what's worse is that we are told that he has full access to the records of this incidence, and has "never been able to find the strength to look at them." This isn't at all in keeping with the adventurous character of Wesley Crusher. As it turns out, religious zealots traveled to Vesta III from Earth some 200 yean ago and completely violated the Prime Directive by attempting colonization of the planet's indigenous culture, thereby the Vestan belief system (involving the AllMother, a sort of "Gaia" substitute). Naturally, years later, the USS Stargazer is assigned to investigate this mess and so, led by Jack Crusher, an Away Team is assembled. Jack is killed on Vesta during the mission and now, thirteen years later, Picard and companay returned to deliver vital vaccines for a plague which is decimating die population. As they approach Vesta, both Wesley and his mother become highly distraught and Wes is driven to desperate measures. The young ensign beams down to the planet incognito to see the actual site of his father's death and winds up setting off a chain of events which places the planet in turmoil (not to mention violates the Prime Directive yet again).

This story is constructed passably well but lacks dynamics, intent and a coherent, believable plot. It tended to come across as a tribute to Wesley Crusher by a devoted fan, which is fine, but the author needs to sharpen his pencils and practice his narrative skills a little more in order to avoid the pitfalls of being maudlin.

Like a soft and gende lullaby, young Patience Sibeal's "...he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe..." is a touching vignette which wraps itself aroagd the stalled relationship between Deanna Troi and Will Riker. "Douce" [sweet] perhaps sums up the tenderness of this piece and this author already seems to have a way with her words, not to mention the gentle fall of snow. Indeed, Marina Sirtis might do well to incorporate this piece into her preparation.

Next in line is a review of TNG's fourth season by Doug Giffin and I'm honesdy not sure how qualified I am to discuss this article as my background in the show is spotty in some respects, and I know few of the episodes by name. Even so, it was my feeling that the author might have helped things along by legging his writing a somewhat fuller description of of the episodes he chose to look at. Little background information is related for each show and the criticisms are not backed up or supported. A recurring critique is "a well-acted show but poorrynlftilfen"—okay, but in what ways was the acting convincing and the writing so poor? What about the actor's portrayals worked in a given circumstance?

Rosalind Brinson's "The Lady and the Klingon" is a real treat— the author has an impeccable way with both characterization and dialogue...

The Lady Roxanne Taylor (a title preferred by the Ferengi, for whom she has just completed some work) comes aboard the Enterprise to investigate "Federation defense systems.grid the "shut down" of an abandoned starbase. Unfortunately (but with smashing strokes of humor for the reader), Roxanne and Worf do not hit it off, which is a setback considering they'll be working closely together in the pages to come... Brinson's Roxanne has the irreverence of Roberta Rogow's Dirty Nellie and has the potential, should the author be so inclined (hint hint) to spawn her own TNG sagas. In fact, an interesting spin on Taylor's parentage adds even more delight to this well-plotted, engaging story and Rosalind deserves kudos for her originality and excellent characterization skills. My only complaint is that this piece is too short. I sincerely hope a sequel or two or three are intended so fandom does not lose track of this charming character.

The final entry in HF is the second part of 'Time and the Hour Run Through the Roughest Day," entitled "A Time of Dreams and Visions," by William O'Donnell. It would have been nice to have had a synopsis of Part One rather than being thrown into the middle of events without assistance, but be that as it may, this piece is also very well written, intriguing and wholly original. Like a rollercoaster out of control, the story frolics and jumps and swerves and holds tight to the reader's attention. As can best be ascertained without prior knowledge of Part One, time lines throughout the galaxy are going haywire, thanks to the malevolent ministrations of one Councillor K'hiva, a member of a race called the Kih'sahri, who are able to manipulate time, and it is up to Number One (the original Majel Barrett creation) to set things right. To this end, Number One enlists the help of a group of very special children, whose identities I won't reveal but who, nevertheless, will be familiar to the reader. Through a series of events, the timeline is restored and you can rest assured that the ping pong plotting is deftly arranged so as to preserve the integrity of the piece. Wry humor and suspense eat up the pages, leaving the reader with an appetite for more. Another gem of an author whose work we can look forward to.

The art in this zine is generally quite good. Barbara Spence is a good artist for the most part and has contributed many illos to the pages of Hailing Frequencies 3. In particular, her rendering of Locutus/Picard which graces the inside back cover is at once chilling and precise, compelling and stark. Lana Brown's portrait of Geordi is appealing in its simplicity of line. Tom Clementi's Worf breathes a mix of this Klingon's warrior spirit and humor and the artist's drawing of Picard is like a panavision close-up preparing to step off the page.

The overall layout of the zine is concise and clean and the fonts employed in most of the text are very appealing and generally easy to read. I just wish the LOCs had not been done in Courier when the rest of the text seemed to be laserset.

I enjoyed Doug's own cover art more than his internal illos, but his scrapbook style TOC was a nice touch and includes photos of the editor with Gene Roddenberry and Wil Wheaton.

All in all, I think HF 3 is definitely worth its price and when the fourth issue comes out next Fall, I look forward to seeing what this young editor has come up with. [3]

Issue 4

cover of issue #4

Hailing Frequencies 4 was published in spring 1993 and contains 108 pages. Contributors include Wokanowicz, Junius, Kirk, Murphy, Benoit, Docksey, Hall, Smith, Giffin, Brown, Desmarais, Flores, Spence, Teegar, Whitelark, and others.

It includes a story of love, old and new, starring Beverly and Wesley; a lighthearted romp with Worf definitely out of his element; a romantic interpretation of the relationship between Riker and Troi set against a backdrop of intrigue; a grim coming-of-age chronicle starring Wesley; dreams and reality are inseparably intertwined in a story featuring Beverly and Data; a resolution to 'Contagion,' and more.

  • The Vision by Wokanovicz
  • a Wesley romance by Junius
  • With Apologies to Gulliver, a Troi-Riker Story by Murphy
  • The Price of Mutiny (a Wesley story) by Benoit
  • a Beverly story by Dicksey
  • other unknown content

References

  1. from a much longer review in Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #2. The reviewer, Jean Kluge, gives it "2 trees." The reviewers in "Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?" rated zines on a 1-5 tree/star scale.
  2. from STARLink #14/15
  3. from The Trekzine Times v.1 n.4