Hoth Admiral

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Fanfiction
Title: Hoth Admiral
Author(s): Barbara T and Sylvia Stevens
Date(s): 1982
Length:
Genre: gen and m/m
Fandom: Star Wars
External Links:

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Hoth Admiral is a Star Wars story by Barbara T and Sylvia Stevens. It is in the print zine Imperial Entanglements.

This story features a sexual, same-sex relationship, that was given the green light by George Lucas Himself.

Part of a Series

A fan in 1982 commented that this story was the first in a series called "Executor Cycle." It is unknown where the other stories in series were published. [1]

Created in the Midst of George Lucas' Attempt to Control Fanworks

This story was created and printed at a time when Lucasfilm was trying to keep the lid on some themes in fanfiction.

One example was Lucasfilm's request that all fiction and zines be cleared through official channels.

See Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett for more context on this topic.

As per Lucas' request, in the summer of 1981, the editor of the zine "Imperial Entanglements" (Karen Osman) submitted, "Hoth Admiral," a non-explicit slash story to Lucasfilm for their review and consideration.

In September 1981, Maureen Garrett and Lucasfilm's legal counsel rejected the story, saying:
We're terribly sorry, but we cannot authorize homosexual expression of love among the characters created by George Lucas. This controversial subject must remain detached from the world created by Lucasfilm in order to preserve the innocence even Imperial crew members must be imagined to have.

Your story does not need our characters in order to portray homosexuality among certain crew members of an other-worldly vessel in galactic space and time. There are deeper, psychological themes which should be creatively explored here, in fact you are unnecessary restricting yourself by forcing the story into the confines of the characters you have chosen to copy.

If you rework your story using characters of your own imagination, rather than being forced to abandon your ideas, you will find your self with a work entirely your own and increase its value ten-fold.

Thank you for forwarding your story. Please do not publish your story with our characters. [2]

The editor of "Imperial Entanglements," Karen Osman, wrote a letter of protest directly to Lucasfilm. In the letter, she explained that the proposed story contained no physical expressions of any kind of sexual activity and lacked reference to anatomical details. By excluding non-explicit homosexual fan fiction while allowing non-explicit heterosexual fanfiction, Lucasfilm would be adopting a prejudicial and offensive attitude towards gays and lesbians. She also took issue with the concept that "even Imperial crew members" must be allowed to maintain their "innocence" by pointing out that these same Imperial crew members had committed acts of genocide, mutilation and torture. And by setting "homosexual expressions of love" in opposition to "innocence" Lucasfilm would be implying that homosexuality was morally undesirable. The letter ended with the editor somewhat wryly commenting that previously published slash fan fiction in the Star Wars universe had not harmed the Star Wars brand. An official policy of prejudice against an organized minority might, however. The editor then distributed the two letters amongst Star Wars fanzine publishers. [3]

A month passed, and soon second-hand reports began circulating that perhaps Lucasfilm might be reconsidering their stance against slash fan fiction. On October 21, 1981 one of the authors of "Hoth Admiral," (Barbara T) wrote directly to Maureen Garrett seeking confirmation of the rumors:
Thank you very much for the several statements I have heard of that you've made to the effect that you've reconsidered the Executor stories...sent to you in mid-September by [the editor], and that you no longer intend to object to their being published. I hope this also applies to other fan-written stories involving homosexual characters, as long as they, too, remain non-explicit about sex and within the rather nebulous bounds of good taste. May I have your confirmation of these secondhand reports? I have received no reply to my original letter, and as one of the authors of this material, I am naturally rather anxious to know, directly from you, what your intentions are.[4]
The response was brief and to the point:
This is to confirm our conversation that we do not object to fan-written stories involving homosexual characters, as long as they, too, remain non-explicit about sex and within the rather nebulous bounds of good taste. [5]

Admiral Piett in Another Story: One of the Author's Comments

In 1982, Barbara T commented about the story "Shadow on the Dark Side" by Pat Spath and Ann Wilson, published in Antithesis #19 and made a short comment about the characterization of Piett:
Vader is shown as consistently more merciful (and more sensible) than the Empire, a development I can't find the heart to decry, but wound up admiring poor Admiral Piett more than anyone else. (This last is probably personal -- I've been writing Piett-based stories for some time, following approximately the same character traits you have, and Ivar Piett is remarkably similar to the professional side of the one I'm working with.)

Fan's Reactions and Reviews to the Story Itself

For those of you who aren't yet familiar with Admiral Sonel Piett and the Executur Cycle , let me recommend it strongly. The first story in the series is "Hoth Admiral" in Imperial Entanglements, written in collaboration with Sylvia Stevens -- I find it an excellent story." [6]
The other half [of what "makes this zine worthwhile"] is the long story 'Hoth Admiral.' Cycle one of a new series, the 'Executor Universe.' it is an alternate universe to TESB involving Admiral Ozzel [7] and Captain Piett, plus an extremely engaging character named Sersho Alyandi. As in 'Deep Cover,' the love interest is a male-male one, and the characters are very well-drawn... [8]
The two major contributions that I am about to review comprise well over half of the zine's content. They deal with homosexual relationships within the Imperial forces. In absolute fairness, it must be said that none of the material is explicit; and in both cases, the sexual is subordinate to the integral point of the story. However, it is my opinion that if one is offended by such relationships, he/she is warned that buying the zine on the grounds of the other material (those stories dealing with non-homosexual relationships/problems) is not warranted. "Hoth Admiral" by Sylvia Stevens and Barbara T. is the story of a relatively rigid individual going through the process of discovering his own capacity to love. The story is adequately developed but the characters had to labor to catch my interest. Admiral Piett is perhaps the best developed of the three central characters, and consequently the one with whom the reader is best able to identify. But the "hero" and love interest in the story is the little empath, Serzhio. Frankly, he struck me as being far more obnoxious than the supposedly evil and/or warped Ozzel who rejects his feelings for the little guy. Serzhio makes Pollyanna look like a mean-spirited pessimist. He is never revulsed by what any of the humans around him are thinking although they are hardly passing pleasant thoughts on to him. He instead seeks single-mindedly to relieve all the pain and misery about him on the ship. It is my belief that such an activity would drive a normal empath mad with frustration, but I'm not as understanding as Serzhio. Actually, most offensive to me was the "Afterword" by zine editor, Karen Osman. If the editor truly respects the work as she indicates she does, why doesn't she give her readers the pleasure and the freedom to discover whatever depths exist in the work by themselves. I found Karen's comments to be totally superfluous, and I cannot imagine that many others will feel it necessary to ponder the Freudian aspects of "Hoth Admiral" as expounded by the editor. Surely an apologia is not needed if a piece of fiction is capable of standing on its own. [9]
I second the nomination for the "Resurrect Piett" motion. I've read both SITH YEARBOOK and IMPERIAL ENTANGLEMENTS and highly recommend both. In the latter, the story "Hoth Admiral" by [Barbara T] and Sylvia Stevens gives an excellent POV on Ozzel being a rebel sympathizer/double agent. (Pat Nussman, have you read it?). [10]
I enjoyed SITH YEARBOOK and IMPERIAL ENTANGLEMENTS primarily for the Piett/Serzsho stories. I just loved that little guy; the stories are spellbinding. Besides the fascinating alien culture of the telepaths, and heartwarming romance, I enjoyed the detailed portrayal of Life In The Emperor's Service. Those little touches like "clone loaf." [11]

References

  1. see Antithesis #19 (July 1982)
  2. letter to the editor (Karen Osman) of Imperial Entanglements, dated September 16, 1981, submitted by Barbara T, one of the two authors of "Hoth Admiral"
  3. editor's letter to Lucasfilm, undated, submitted by Barbara T.
  4. Barbara T's letter to Maureen Garrett at Lucasfilm dated October 21, 1981, submitted by Barbara T.
  5. Maureen Garrett's October 30, 1981 letter on official letterhead, signed " Director - STAR WARS Fan Club, Lucasfilm Ltd.", submitted by Barbara T.
  6. comments by Ann Wilson in Antithesis #19
  7. seen here at Wookieepedia
  8. from Warped Space #48
  9. from Jundland Wastes #11
  10. from Southern Enclave #13
  11. from Southern Enclave #14