Horizon Fan Club's 1999 Discussion Regarding Adult Fanworks

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Event: Horizon Fan Club's 1999 Discussion Regarding Adult Fanworks (Lightergate)
Participants:
Date(s): October 7, 1999
Type:
Fandom: Blake's 7
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In 1999, ten years after The Blake's 7 Wars, some fans continued their war on, among other things, the prevalence of adult fanworks in the Blake's 7 fandom.

Horizon Fan Club was one of the largest Blake's 7 fan clubs and was an important hub of the fandom. Diane Gies, the club's president, sent a message to the staff of the club proposing that the advertisers in their fan publications, Horizon Newsletter and Horizon Letterzine, had to sign a statement vowing that they did not produce, or agent for others, any B7 fan fiction containing 'adult' artwork. The editors themselves would decide what was explicit:
We would obviously have to advise them what we considered 'explicit', eg. no nudity, and no portraits that would look out of place in a PG rated zine and cause anyone to think "ey-up... bet they're going to be having a **** any minute now".

The fan club and newsletter would also refuse to advertise any convention with actor guests unless they too they confirmed in writing that there would be a ban on dealers selling adult B7 fiction with explicit art content. Fanzines with no art could not be openly displayed on the sales table and had to be hidden away. Nothing on the table could be marked "adult" because this would "create a knowledge that such things exist in the person passing by."

The proposal also sought to remove any links on the fan club's web page to sites with adult content (even sites with adult content warnings) or who themselves linked to sites with adult content.

This proposed change was likely related to the fandom's particular history, aka The Blake's 7 Wars (an extensive fandom dispute over a number of issues including slash fanworks, RPF and profiting from fandom), as well as the powers that be's close association with the club and the desire for "respectability." It was also very much propelled by Gies' personal and long-running dislike of slash fanworks.

One site Gies specifically discussed was Judith Proctor's hermit.org site.

This email was leaked to the main Blake's 7 mailing list, Lysator, where it caused much discussion. Although most of the mailing list discussions were vigorous,[1] Gies' proposal was not adopted.

The incident became known as "Lightergate" due to the pseudonym used by the individual who leaked it to the Lysator mailing list, "Danni Lighter".

For other discussions and events related to adult material in fandom, see Alt.startrek.creative Slash Wars (1997), AO3 is open source (2016-18), and Tumblr NSFW Content Purge (2018).

Leaked to Lysator

Lysator FTP directions

The proposal was initially circulated privately, but was then sent to the Blake's 7 mailing list Lysator under the pseudonym "Danni Lighter." (See Regarding The Leak for more detail and fan responses to the leak)

One can read the message titles here. To read actual messages, you can access them via FTP by visiting ftp://ftp.lysator.liu.se/pub/blake7 and registering as "Guest."


The Proposal

Date: Fri, 08 Oct 1999 12:23:25 GMT From: "Danni Lighter" <danlite@hotmail.com> To: blakes7@lysator.liu.se Subject: [B7L] Message-ID: <19991008122326.26420.qmail@hotmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed
Thought you should all see this.
Original Message-----
From: Diane Gies (Horizon) Sent: Thursday, October 07, 1999 3:58 PM To: kathy@songbird.nascr.net Cc: tuckers@easynet.co.uk; gillian@mpuddle.freeserve.co.uk; jager@clara.net; paula.robinson@rcn.org.uk; rae@clara.net; sue.cowley@bbc.co.uk; JudithSmith@csl-deloitte.co.uk Subject: Horizon policy decision
[Diane Gies]:

Dear All,

At various times I think I've spoken to you all about my feelings on Fan Porn, particularly relating to 'adult pictures' and accessability [sic] to the uninitiated and recently I've been more and more unhappy about how easy it is to find fan-porn on the internet, & how easy it is to stumble over adult zines at guest-conventions.

B7 was always a PG show and whilst I've no objection to fans wanting to write adult stuff and sell it to other consenting adults in private, I don't think the vast industry in fan-porn is healthy. It is promoted as a mainstream interest and as something new fans should be told about as soon as they are told about 'regular' stuff, which I don't agree with. The idea of our own Ultra 1 was to have adult stories, with non-PG rated sex scenes as part of a proper dramatic story (plus humorous little romps) but some of what's out there is so far removed from anything resembling B7 as we know it that I don't believe it should be so easily accessible.

I can't do anything about what other people sell, and I wouldn't want to try, but I don't see why Horizon should help them. Therefore, I would like to implement a new advertising policy which would broadly encompass the following points:

Advertising of fanzine Dealers in Orac's Oddments [2]. Up till now we've been advertising, for free, stuff sold by any club member, whilst asking them to reciprocally advertise us. We have no way of knowing whether these people DO advertise us and I've discovered for sure that Judith Proctor certainly doesn't in any of her printed literature though she does on her website.

The new policy would be that free for sale ads would only cover 'one off' sales (selling off a collection, or one item) rather than for people who trade as fan or pro dealers. We could then have an advertising fee for any dealers still wanting to advertise up to a maximum of xxxx words (yet to be decided, but enough to give their name, address and extremely brief description of what they sell - eg. B7/ST/DW fanzines or X Files & other Trading Cards, or B7 audio tapes, etc.) We could waive the fee at our discretion if the items were all being sold for charity (requiring proof) or they guaranteed in writing that they were reciprocally advertising us.

Further, they would be required to sign something to confirm that they did not produce, or agent for others, any B7 fan fiction containing 'adult' artwork. If they want to sell adult fiction, that's up to them, but the majority of the cast hate the idea of explicit artwork and so do I, as you all know. We would obviously have to advise them what we considered 'explicit', eg. no nudity, and no portraits that would look out of place in a PG rated zine and cause anyone to think "ey-up... bet they're going to be having a **** any minute now".

Conventions - I don't believe that guests and adult artwork mix. I don't want Horizon to advertise any convention that has a B7 guest unless they confirm in writing that there will be a ban on dealers selling adult B7 fiction with explicit art content and, further, that any adult fiction without such pictures will not be openly displayed on the sales table but will be hidden away behind and anyone wanting to view it will have to ask for it, rather than having it in a box on the table marked 'adult' - thus creating a knowledge that such things exist in the person passing by.

What happens with other fandoms I can't be bothered to worry about, but since the B7 people are our Honorary Members, I want to at least do something in our own 'universe'. If they don't have a B7 guest, fine, let them do what they like. Those of you who were with me at Cult TV 2 weeks ago will know how upset I was to find that Judith Proctor was blatantly selling such stuff, including a quite disgusting zine with graphic sexual artwork, from her table top, whilst sitting selling photos & together again tapes next to Paul at his autograph session (courtesy of Sheelagh Wells arranging this). She was overheard the next day by someone - who doesn't wish her name mentioned - having a conversation that clearly indicated that she was well aware how he would feel if he knew what she was selling (along the lines of "gosh you were so lucky sitting with him all that time..." "yes, lucky he didn't know what I was selling..." ) That wasn't the exact conversation, but that's what was basically happening. I can't stop her selling this stuff, and to all intents and purposes laughing in his face about it, but I don't see why I should make it easy for her. She was also making the point while she was selling the tapes that "Oh, you can't get these from Horizon any more..." which didn't help to endear her to me, but that's another story.

Apart from dealers conditions at a con with a B7 guest, there'd also need to be a condition about the art/model displays at the convention (ie. prohibiting any 'adult' art being displayed, even if it was 'hidden').

Websites - from Horizon's links section, you only effectively need to do 3 quick 'clicks' through Proctor's site to get into reading X-rated excerpts from zines on her own site. In several cases there isn't even any warning and depending on which bits of her site you start off reading, you don't necessarily get an explanation of what slash fiction, for example, means so the non-fan who has done a search for Blake's 7 can come into the Official Fan Club Site (us!), go through to Proctor's site and immediately be told that there's loads of fiction featuring explicit sex scenes between main characters. It's one thing for people to go and buy these zines, where they have to make some effort and conscious decision to buy, but if it's just sitting there on the internet, I think this is awful and there seems to be so much of it.

Proctor's site links to several others which have the most unbelievably disgusting porn stories, without even any warnings in some cases (though others say "Hey, if you're not over 18, go away now" which is really going to deter the average 13/14 year old playing with dad's computer, isn't it?) Again, I can't stop them doing this, but I can refuse to link Horizon's site to any site that has X-rated material anywhere on it, or that links to a site that does. So I'd be wanting to email all the sites we currently link with issuing them with an agreement to sign or we can just remove them and refuse to mention they exist in any shape or form.

Some of you may agree with me 101% (I know some of you do) but others of you may not agree at all, or think I'm taking this 'crusade' too far. I want to know what ALL of you think, please, as soon as possible because I think this is very important, and I don't want to leave things as they are for much longer. Do you think the conditions I wish to implement are reasonable? If not, what - if anything - do you suggest.

I'm sending a non-email copy of this to Margaret, Valerie Guy and to Claire Saunders who I've just co-opted onto the committee to do 'Finding Publicity Photos' . I'll leave Edna out of it as she doesn't have any idea this even exists and at 70+ years I don't think she needs to. Obviously Andy and Alan won't be asked!! I'd appreciate you not discussing this with anyone outside the committee until the issue has been resolved.

Have a nice day!!

xx Diane

Some Responses

Regarding The Leak

Some fans thought that this email may have been sent to Lysator in error as it has an informal, almost confidential tone (suggesting that they keep the policy discussion away from a committee chair member (over 70 years old in age) who did not 'need to know' of the existence of adult and slash material). It was mainly suspected that someone - using the pseudonym "Danni Lighter" - forwarded a private email to Lysator.

[comments by. Neil Faulkner and Carol K]:

[Neil]: Horizon might not be the government, but the principle is the same - the Danni Lighter post is a leak, pure and simple, and we should be thankful to Danni (whoever s/he really is) for leaking it and Calle for forwarding it. It is only through people doing such things that we can be made aware of what is being proposed. Being forewarned allows us to be forearmed, if we wish to be. Any attempt to suppress adult/slash material is of great concern to a lot of people within fandom, and I believe they have the right to be informed, regardless of etiquette.

[Carol K]:

I'm appalled that anyone on this list could think this way. This is equivalent to those of you on Freedom City who (rightfully so) fret over your stories being forwarded without permission. This situation is no different. Some of you will say "but, it's a good thing we know about this, we have a right to know about this." What right?!! We've ALWAYS known Diane's feelings. There is nothing in this message we haven't heard her say and try before. When and if it becomes a public issue, THEN it should be debated. This is obviously a private message sent to a select group. Also obvious is that Diane Gies is asking for advice/opinions of the other Horizon committee members BEFORE she announces these new policies to fandom at large. It's possible that the committee will disagree with Diane, that these new rules will never be initiated...the whole thing would die a slow death and we would never have heard about it. If "Danni" wanted to be "helpful" s/he could have sent this only to Judith P (who certainly DOES have a right to defend herself, Judith doesn't deserve the comments made, but these comments WERE made in private). I don't agree with anything Diane said and I strongly resent her comments about Judith. BUT, sending a private message to an elist is WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! It's in extremely poor taste. [3]
[Neil Faulkner]:

The Lightergate post was a communique addressed to a restricted number of named individuals. It contains information of immediate interest to a large number of people outside of that restricted group, in that it has implications for their future activities. On consideration, I would agree that no one has a 'right' to know the contents of that communique, but by the same token DG has no right to expect it not to be leaked.

Kathryn was spot on, I think, in differentiating between the personal and political aspects of Lightergate. Personally, I don't give a damn about the personal - the political is all that matters, and the only etiquette worthy of consideration is the pragmatism of realpolitik. Lightergate was an act of espionage, and espionage by its very nature legitimises every dirty trick in the book. [4]
[Neil Faulkner]: I think the question we ought to ask is, is it in the fandom public's interest to know? In this case I would say yes. This isn't a saucy titbit of committee gossip, it is a proposal (and we should remember that at this stage it is still nothing more than a proposal) that if implemented will have serious repercussions not only for adult/slash writers and readers, but also many gen writers/readers, since many dealers market both. (For example, although I don't write adult myself, most of best stuff is in Judith P's zines, and this proposal could effectively prevent Judith from advertising through Horizon, and perhaps even from from dealing at some conventions. So I - like anyone else who has written for Judith - stand to lose readers. And as a writer, I want readers.) [5]

Old Grudges

[Neil Faulkner]: I make no secret of the fact that I utterly loathe Diane Gies, but at the same time I have to acknowledge that her services to fandom are considerable.

[snipped]

What I would prefer to see is the Horizon committee accountable to the membership - but it isn't. Policy decisions seem to be formulated and implemented without any consultation at all. When I was Letterzine editor for Horizon, I was instructed to make certain cuts to some LOCs because they mentioned things that Gies didn't want up for discussion. I was also told not to indicate which letters had been cut, or where, or why. My suggestion that the subscribers, if not the club members as a whole, be polled on what they wanted to see was instantly vetoed on the grounds that they would have to be informed of the issues in question in order to make a decision. Not wishing to be an accessory to keeping people in the dark (and quite needlessly, as I still believe), I fled Horizon and started up AltaZine.

Certainly if I'd been on the net in those days, and got an e-mail from Gies explicitly stating the secretive way in which club policy was to be implemented, I'd have leaked it to the Lyst straight off. But I wasn't online then, and now I'm no longer a member of Horizon. Do current Horizon members on the Lyst have any opinion on this? [6]

Regarding Who Gets to Decide Club Rules

[Kathryn Andersen]: I was thinking about this comment, and comparing it with the short period in which I, myself, was running a Blake's 7 club, that short lived thing, Liberator Australis. I would have been appalled if I had had to ask the membership about every single club policy, it would have been ridiculous. But then, something occurred to me. I became President of Liberator Australis because I was voted in. I was the one who'd actually organized the preliminary meeting to form the club, and, well, I was nominated and the vote was unanimous. But with Horizon, there's no vote at all. Absolutely no say whatsoever. Now, with most of the club positions, like "zine editor" or "little fiddly bits person", it does actually make sense that someone is simply appointed, because the problem is actually in getting someone to volunteer to do the job. But with most clubs I know, things like President, Secretary, Treasurer and so on, well, they get voted on. Of course, what usually happens is that there's only one nomination, because there's only one volunteer, and the person gets in unopposed, but people still go through the motions. They have the option. But as far as I can see, Horizon doesn't even have the option. [7]
[Neil Faulkner]:

Gies has apparently cited the Obscene Publications Act, though probably with reference to artwork rather than the written word. It would also seem (though I cannot confirm this) that her understanding of 'obscene' includes the depiction of bare breasts [8]. Perhaps certain tabloid newspapers ought to be informed.

I don't know what the UK law has to say on written material. Virgin's Black Lace line of erotic novels -recommend- that the books be sold only to adults. Many many mainstream novels include graphic sex in their pages with no age statement anywhere on the cover or inside. As I understand it, even paedophile literature is legal.

One problem with the Lightergate post is what exactly Gies is intending to take action against. At times she seems to be singling out explicit artwork, at other times all adult material would seem to be her target, such as X-rated stuff supposedly on Judith's website. (Judith denies it is there. However, it occurs to me that those 'three quick clicks' Gies cites can take you to the debate on slash that Judith and I had in the pages of AltaZine. Since Gies seems to want to suppress wider awareness of slash's very existence, this page would probably fall within the scope of her objections, whether it is this page she is referring to or not.)

[snipped]

Horizon has no obligation to advertise anything. But the proposals would hit some of the biggest dealers in fandom, dealers in gen material - and quality gen at that - as well as adult. This would be detrimental to fandom, or at least the proportion that reads fanfic.

(Query: Just how large a proportion is that? And is it relevant. The way I see it, if a lot of fans read fanfic, then the Gies proposals will have serious impact and should be dropped or at least modified for that reason. If, on the other hand, an insignificant minority of fans are fiction readers, then there is little point in introducing the proposals in the first place.)

[snipped]

I can only speak for the brief time when I was a committee member, when Gies' decisions were handed down from on high with no consultation of the membership. Certainly no voting. Discussions of various issues took place with those committee members living in or near London (which I wasn't) and I'm not aware of any formal procedure or even the need for a quorum.

Since Gies' intent is by her own admission to stifle awareness of certain aspects of fandom, the idea of putting club policy to the vote is probably out of the question. To my mind, this is no way to run a society with a four-figure international membership, and all the more so when it is -the- B7 club, with the widest range of merchandise available and unparalleled levels of liaison with members of the cast/production crew and the BBC. Horizon is powerful. It is the hub around which the rest of fandom revolves. It can brings fans together, but it can also isolate and ostracise factions it chooses to disapprove of.

Even as a committee member (responsible for editing the Letterzine) I was not informed of club policy until I or someone else breached it. ('There are other rules. You'll find out what they are when you break them'...). It wasn't until I was ordered to remove all references to Ashton Press from one of Judith's LOCs that I realised why a review of Hellhound I'd submitted to Horizon never appeared in their Newsletter. (You can gather from that that Horizon never wrote back to say why this review would not be printed.)

An indication of the extent to which Gies appears to control club policy and direct it along the lines of her own prejudices might be gleaned from Horizon's ban on references to smoking in fanfic. Gies herself is a fanatical anti-smoker. Fair enough. Even I, Mr Chimney, will concede she has a point. But does this warrant the deletion of all smoking references from fanfic submitted to Horizon? I've run into this, and I know at least one other person has too. Gies personally told me that smoking was not permitted because it was non-canonical. This is a ridiculous argument on two grounds - (a) it simply isn't true, since the Federation general in Traitor had a cigar, and (b) Horizon themselves have printed plenty of material with non-canonical content (and not just off-the-wall humour either). [9]

Regarding the Proposal Itself

[Neil Faulkner]: I won't pluck figures out of thin air to contribute to the 88 per cent of statistics that get made up on the spot, so I'll stick to the ones I do know. This Lyst - 300 subscribers (according to Calle, and why should he be wrong?). Horizon, when I left, 2000 members and still growing [10] Is there any other fan organisation with anything like that number of people? (I'm not saying there isn't, but if there is I've never heard of it.) Is there any other fan organisation with regular access to many prominent members of the cast? Or with contacts inside the BBC? That can publicise B7 and its fan base on nationwide (British) television, as Horizon have done on Pebble Mill and the Jonathan Ross show?

Horizon is the major entry point into fandom for most -British- fans. The club has been advertised on video sleeves, on teletext, and through flyers distributed at book/video signings (as well as through some commercial merchandise such as the Comet Miniatures Liberator). At this point I'm going to have to start guessing (and hence may well be wrong), but my guess is that British fandom is more concentrated and more highly organised than elsewhere in the world, and perhaps also larger in general. B7 fandom worldwide revolves around British fandom, and British fandom is in turn dominated by Horizon. Not that all Horizon members are Brits by any means - when I first joined I was staggered by the number of Yanks in the lettercol. [11]
[Sarah Thompson]:

I have been thinking over some of the issues that this incident raises, and I think there are a few points that haven't yet been made, or IMO sufficiently emphasized.

The breach of privacy aspect does bother me; but on the other hand, Diane Gies's message contains some outright lies about Judith Proctor, such as the claim that there is X-rated material on her website. If someone were slandering me behind my back, I would certainly appreciate being informed even if the informer violated the slanderer's privacy by doing it. So on balance, I think that Diane forfeited her right to privacy when she abused that privacy by indulging in malicious slander of someone who, if the message had remained private, would not have been able to defend herself.

As to whether anyone other than Judith needed to know about this, that's a stickier question and one I'm still mulling over. But if Diane is gearing up for an ugly fan war like the one ten years ago (and some of her comments sound an awful lot like the same things she said back then), and if "Danni's" leak can head it off, then in my moral calculus it balances out and it's probably a good thing that the message was posted here.

About the proposed Horizon policy-- I would have no problem with a flat ban on all erotic material in Horizon publications and advertisements. Indeed, I think that is the most appropriate policy for an official fan club with strong ties to the actors and other personnel from the original show. But I object STRONGLY to Horizon publishing its own erotic zine, while denouncing all others (many of which are far better written, BTW) as "fan porn." This is at best hypocritical; and if the thinking behind it is that heterosexual erotica is acceptable while homosexual erotica is not, then it is also homophobic and, by the standards of many of us, morally reprehensible.

With regard to the labelling of websites containing erotic fiction or art, I agree with Kathryn's points. I can't recall having seen any B7 websites that do not make the nature of their contents clear; but if there are any such, why not just send a =polite= note to the owner, or to the owner of the site where you found the link to the unlabelled explicit one, and ask that warning labels be added?

I believe there was actually a court case in the U.S. some years ago, involving the attempted closing of a bookstore, in which the judge ruled that it was not reasonable to restrict the reading matter of the adult community to material suitable for children, simply because some parents could not be bothered to monitor their children's reading. Surely the same logic applies to the Internet. Hondo's policy of carefully supervising her children's use of the computer-- and keeping adult reading matter safely stowed away-- is the one that all concerned parents should follow. If you let children play on the computer unsupervised, they will soon discover far more shocking things than fan erotica-- explicit photographs, for example.

As for the paranoid vision of a "vast industry" in fannish smut, this is simply nonsense. Please refer to those comprehensive lists of all known B7 zines of every kind that I've posted here on Lysator on a regular basis; they're also on Judith's web page. Overall, there are about four times as many genzines as erotic ones, and the proportions are fairly consistent across nationalities and across time periods (that is to say, slash zines are neither a recent phenomenon nor an American one, two false claims often made by the anti-slash faction; nor have they ever come at all close to dominating B7 fandom). Proving this point was one of the reasons I compiled the lists in the first place (though the number one reason was, I admit, my personal shopping pleasure).

Finally, I think that IF (and only if) Horizon itself ceases to publish erotica, then the club would be within its moral rights in cutting off all contact with anyone who publishes or agents erotica as well as genzines; but I also think that would be a remarkably foolish thing to do. Pretty much the only all-B7 zines that Horizon could advertise under this policy would be its own publications and those of the Avon club-- a tiny fraction of available genzines. There wouldn't be much effect on net fandom, since anyone who uses a search engine will find plenty of B7 sites whether Horizon lists them or not. The main people who would be hurt by such a policy would be fans without computers, who depend on the Horizon newsletter for information on zines and other merchandise. Does it really make sense to try to keep them from ordering genzines from, for instance, Linda Knights, who is currently the single biggest source for B7 zines of all kinds, including Horizon's own publications? I don't think the rank-and- file members will thank the club leadership for such a policy.

From a Horizon member--

Sarah Thompson [12]
[Neil Faulkner in response to Andrew]:

Andrew wrote: >Horizon is therefore very accountable to its membership. If I like the service Horizon provides, I pay my dues and receive the service. If I didn't like it, I would go elsewhere. You didn't like it and left. Fine.

I think you misunderstand what I mean by accountability. As a member, what influence do you exert on club policy? None. What influence do you have on the composition of the club committee? None. What influence do you have on what is and is not acceptable material for club publications? None. Now, if you do not want any such influence, then fine. But suppose you do? Your voice will only be listened to if the committee agree with what you say. A committee you have had no opportunity to elect or approve.

> I actually think that the Horizon team do a sterling job.

In many ways they do. Their merchandise is generally quality stuff, they negotiate members discounts on commercial merchandise, they organise theatre trips, operate a useful news service. And much of the credit for all this must go to Diane Gies. I'm not trying to deny that she has had any positive impact on fandom - she has. Quite a lot, actually.

> Lets all remember that you can't run something like that with all the members having a say.

Yes you can. Horizon sends you (or used to send you) a questionnaire when your membership is due to expire. It allows you to comment on various aspects of the club. This could easily be expanded to allow members to vote on aspects of club policy (such as the advertising of adult material) or to vote for prospective committee members. I would agree with Kathryn, though, that the latter would largely be the ratification of sole candidates. But at least the principle would be followed.

> If you want to change something, why not join Horizon, pop along to one of the regular meetings, and get involved. Now, of your telling me that they don't let you get involved, thats another thing. I'm new, but I was "allowed" to organise an official Horizon trip to see and meet Michael.

I did get involved. I was offered the post of Letterzine editor, and took it. (Unelected, of course.) I did try to change things, albeit in a minor way. I tried to give the Letterzine a distinct character of its own, believing I was an editor rather than a copy typist. Whether or not I succeeded is not for me to say. And then I got stomped on for breaking rules I didn't even know existed.

Neil [13]
[Russ Massey in reply to Neil Faulkner]:

The leaked message seems to have the main points:

1) DG, while having no objection to fans writing and selling adult material privately, believes that it should not be promoted as if it were a 'mainstream' part of B7 fandom.

I can't say that I disagree here, assuming that DG's assumption that it IS so promoted is correct. Does that mean that Ultra will no longer be advertised in Horizon, or does that zine fall outside the definition?

2) She sees a great difference between a 'proper dramatic (adult) story' as she sees the content of Ultra 1 and 'some of what's out there', implying that some adult fiction is too extreme/non-B7 in form.

Well some of it undoubtedly IS too extreme, and there's something out there to make anyone queasy, no matter how inured one might think oneself to be. But if Ultra is going to be the definition of acceptable smut then there's a lot out there that would be equally acceptable.

3) She wouldn't want to do anything about what people sell, and as part of that aloof, hands-off approach intends that Horizon ban adverts from sellers of B7 adult artwork on the grounds that the majority of the cast hate it.

Sorry - couldn't resist a touch of sarcasm there. I tend to agree with Diane here as well. I believe that using an actor's image in adult art oversteps the bounds of good taste.

4) She would ban the advertising of conventions with B7 guests unless there is a ban on sales of explicit B7 art and on the open display of adult fiction.

Fairly difficult to enforce this I would have thought, but certainly not unreasonable for the Horizon committee to attempt.

5) She would refuse net links to Horizon's site to any site that has X- rated material anywhere on it, 'or that links to a site that does'.

Well that's the entire Internet written off then:) Someone showed that no site is more than a dozen clicks from any other. I'd say that prohibiting direct links to X-rated sites would be perfectly reasonable though.

Overall, I have to say that none of the above intentions seem that unreasonable. It's possible for those favouring freer distribution of such material to organise their own conventions, their own zines and their own links with the actors. It's just extremely inconvenient that they won't be able to use the pre-existing Horizon structure, but it isn't as though they have any particular right to do so. As far as I'm aware membership of Horizon entitles you to a certain number of copies of the magazine and that's all. [14]

[Sarah Berry]:

I've enjoyed this debate. I've come to enjoy debates about (B7) fandom at least as much as those about B7. Not in terms of inflaming or taking a side, but in fairness, the variety of views people express and the process of finding a solution, if that happens or if that's what's intended.

People have brought up some fascinating points (particularly,I feel, Neil, Russell and Ellynne), about slash, running clubs and making the private public: most of which I agree with even if they conflict when all views are applied to this situation. I strongly believe that there are circumstances in which any so-called rule can be broken. Grey, grey, everywhere shades of grey. Grey is interesting. That's why I love B7.

The problem for me is applying each person's personal opinion to the public sphere. Perhaps we should remember what this sphere is and how important the issue and the sphere are in relation to other issues and spheres. The link between personal and public is deciding what compromises to make.

Judith P. my sympathy for the words written against you. I wonder what your legal recourse is given the slander was in a private message made public?

Kathryn Anderson commented on how 'Liberator Australis' ran with votes for the main officer bearers. All Oz societies I've come into contact with have been run on this basis, whereas my UK experience is that people stay in a position until they don't want to or can't any longer (concoms seem to be another example of this). There are pros and cons to both methods, and I see this private policy proposal as an example of a con to the 'stay there' method.

In my experience, both 'stay there' and elected societies have the same problems of not enough volunteer involvement from the membership and (different types of) dominating personalities, but I feel elected societies offer a better forum to getting round these problems.

Horizon issues a questionnaire when memberships are due. I suggest members offer their opinions on these sort of issues there in addition to letters and e-mails to Horizon. My feeling is that Horizon is a big and old enough club that one person should not decide policy and that perhaps elections are in order for main office bearers.

Over the years I've raised various issues with Diane Gies (slash, her editorial policies - particularly her habit of commenting in other people's letters and articles -, the structure of the committee, how complicated it is to buy things - I've gone on and on about having a merchandise list outside the NL and VISA transactions -, the fairness of conventions and various other matters). They always get a personal reply, for which I am grateful, but these views, on balance, don't appear in print. Slash, not surprisingly, gets the strongest reply; the kind of reply that suggests a mind very firmly made up.

Along the lines of Neil's message about whether actors and clubs should influence the creative efforts of artists and writers, and I agree with you that they shouldn't, this is for me the key reason why slash is so contentious. Unlike other fiction containing sex, slash is based in an already created universe in which MANY people, such as fans, actors and copyright holders, feel they have ownership.

You can choose to never buy the books of a particular author if you decide that they contain any sex at all or types, quantities, opinions or descriptions of sex that arouse you negatively. However, some 'owners' of the B7 universe see slash as a contaminant that escapes beyond its paper or electronic boundaries into the 'real' B7 universe. As the 'contaminant's' edges are fuzzy it is harder to remove, thus people protest more strongly and widely in word. [15]

References

  1. index from 1999.
  2. "Orac's Oddments" was the advertising section in the Horizon Newsletter, not to be confused with Orac's Oddities.
  3. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #289, publicly archived
  4. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #289, publicly archived
  5. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #289, publicly archived
  6. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #289, publicly archived
  7. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #289, publicly archived
  8. Twenty years before Female-presenting nipples!
  9. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #289, publicly archived
  10. "This Lyst - 300 subscribers (according to Calle, and why should he be wrong?). Horizon, when I left, 2000 members and still growing." 1,700 and falling, I believe. The print run on the last newsletter (or so I'm told) was 1,700." -- comment by Judith Proctor to Neil Faulkner on the same thread
  11. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #290, publicly archived
  12. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #290, publicly archived
  13. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #290, publicly archived
  14. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #289, publicly archived
  15. From: blakes7-d-request@lysator.liu.se Subject: blakes7-d Digest V99 #290, publicly archived
✪ This article was previously featured on the Fanlore main page in 2019