Helen McCarthy

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Name: Helen McCarthy
Type: fan writer fan artist editor convention organiser Fan Club organiser costume-maker cosplayer
Fandoms: Star Trek, Supermarionation UFO, anime, manga, slash, costuming, masquerade, cosplay
Communities: Star Trek Correspondence Club, Star Trek Action Group, Empathy Star Trek Club
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Helen McCarthy has been active in fandom since 1969. Professionally, she is a writer, designer and poet.

Fannish History

Helen joined the first British Star Trek fanclub, set up by Audrey Baker, a few months after the show began airing in July 1969. She joined the Star Trek Action Group, set up by Jenny & Terry Elson, in 1973 and was at the first British Star Trek convention organised by STAG in 1974. She was art secretary for the club newsletter until 1976. At the preceding Trek minicon in March 1974 she met Barbara Kitson and collaborated with her on many costuming and writing projects, including Random Factors, a novel based on Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's U.F.O..

Helen was active in London science fiction fandom from 1974, after joining the science fiction evening class run by scholar Philip Strick and novelist Chris Priest at the City Literary Institute. She worked on a number of SF conventions and was active in SF fan costuming. She managed the art show at the 1990 Eastercon and was a Masquerade judge and programme speaker at the 2014 Worldcon LONCON 3.

In 1976 she and Barbara Kitson helped to found a medieval recreation society. Beginning as an offshoot of the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Far Isles seceded from the SCA within a few years and still continues as an independent organisation.

In 1981 Helen was a founder committee member of Fanderson, the Gerry Anderson Appreciation Society. She later edited its newsletter and fan fiction collections, ran several conventions including the two very popular UFOria events, and chaired the club for two years.

She was instrumental in starting British anime fandom, running the first formal anime programme at the 1990 Eastercon, and starting the first UK anime newsletter ANIME UK that summer, along with her partner Steve Kyte. A year later the newsletter became Britain's first professional anime magazine. This led to a new career researching, writing and speaking about anime, manga and Japanese pop culture. By this time Helen was hosting monthly screenings in her local area alternately with neighbour Jay Felton, an old friend from Trek fandom. She continued the newsletter and her fan screenings alongside her developing career for several years.

Her fannish activities include art, fiction (including slash and adult fiction), costume making and wearing, many roles in conrunning, club-running, zine and newsletter production and editing, acting, and getting drunk in good company.

In her professional capacity she founded and edited one magazine, edited another, and has so far written more than a dozen books which have been sold in eight languages. She has spoken at international venues including the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution and universities in the UK, Europe, America and Japan.


Helen herself isn't sure how much Trek art she produced for early UK zines and newsletters. Most of her originals were lost when her zine archive disappeared during a house move. This is a partial list.

Cover & art for Angry Sunset

Covers & art for Alnitah issues 1, 2, 3, 6, 11

Art for Deep Grope Shipmate of the Month & Creation of Vulcan

Art for one of the Grope series The Rokeby Spock

Cover & art for Beta Niobe issue 3

Art for Enterprise Incidents issue 1

Art for Enterprise Log Entries issues 1, 5 and 6

Art for The Dragon Banner - a Star Trek story

Art & cover for Spock In Manacles

Costume designs for Galactic Fashion Show

Fan fiction

Helen doesn't recall much of her early fan fiction, and most of her originals and copies were lost when her zine archive disappeared during a house move. This is a partial list.

The Word Merchant in Enterprise Log Entries issue 1

A Kind of Caring in Alnitah issue 2

Alien in Alnitah issue 3

And Peace on the Haven, and Peace on the Sea in Alnitah issue 6

The Party in Emanon issue 1

The Genesis Equation in Beta Niobe issue 3

This Side of the Mirror in Grope

The Clean Zine Star Trek TOS zine with Barbara Kitson

Voyages Star Trek TOS zine published 1977 with Barbara Kitson and the London Plus Group

The Dragon Banner - a Star Trek story

Random Factors - a UFO novel with Barbara Kitson

The Doctor Fixation - Star Trek comic poem

But Would You Let Your Sister Marry One? - Star Trek poem

Costuming highlights

Designer and maker for the first British Star Trek Galactic Fashion Show

Cast member and skit-planner for "The Battle of the Superheroes and Superheroines" (at SEACON 75?)

Making & wearing Atlanta Shore and Troy Tempest costumes at Fanderson 82

Cast member of Spock In Manacles: The Rock Opera at Beccon in 1985

Member of the Triple Goddess group at the Worldcon masquerade, Den Haag, 1990

Helen's blog features some early cosplay photos at [1]