Implosion

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Zine
Title: Implosion
Publisher: "a Leonidas Press production, a subsidiary of Critical Mass Press"
Editor(s): Mandi Schulz
Type:
Date(s): December 1976-May 1977
Frequency:
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Implosion is a Star Trek: TOS gen personalzine/letterzine that lasted one year.

The editor sent it out free to whom she chose, and asked that it not be advertised in other zines. "Implosion" featured critical fanzine reviews by H.O. Petard, and was a zine of hotly-contested opinions, both with those who had letters published in it, and for those who heard about it but didn't receive copies.

The Editor's Description

From an ad in The Halkan Council #23 (January 1977):
Mandi Schultz's personalzine, encompassing all manner of whatever its ed has on her mind. Available for "a kind word, a pat on the back, an expression of perplexity, or what-have-you... anything except money."
The editor writes in The Halkan Council #26/27 (September 1977) that "Implosion" is:
...a private venture, there has never been any charge for it. I cover all the costs myself, tho some IMPers have been kind enough to contribute stamps, mailing labels, things like that, to the common cause. Becoz it IS a private venture, it has been within my rights to restrict readership in any way I desire – and that has been primarily on an economic basis – I can’t afford to send it to everyone, so I don’t.

[snipped]

... IMP is a soap box, a forum for those involved to express their opinions. One can only assume that [name of fan]'s cheap shot about schizophrenia was prompted by the fact that the comments within IMP often diverge with other comments therein. This is obviously because the various comments come not only from myself but also from the various readers and they are not always properly credited, something else someone who reads the issues would be aware of... Such a thing is often seen within the confines of HC and evidently she has either ignored that fact or overlooked it... [the fans's name] is probably referring primarily to an article by Paula Smith talking about zine quality [in "Implosion" #5] ... Whether or not I back Paula's ideas is not the issue -- what IS important is that she has the right to express them...
From the editorial in issue "Implosion" #2:

IMPLOSION (otherwise known as the minizine with totally irrelevant covers and a total disregard for the niceties of things like proper word division, correction of typos, et al) As stated in the last issue this is my personalzine, encompassing all manner of whatever I have currently on my mind. As before, the "editorializing" is mine, anything with a byline can be blamed on whatever name is connected with it. Comment is always invited.

IMPLOSION #2 is available from Mandi Schultz [address redacted] for virtually anything that won't explode in my mailbox. Anything except money becoz I'd feel very strange about it - sort of being tantamount to charging someone for a letter.

If you're wondering why this bit of vanity press is invading your sanctum sanctorum it's becoz I wanted you to have it for anyone of a variety of reasons. If you don't want to receive it, let me know and I'll remove the burden from you. (13¢ saved is still 13¢, after all.) I have tried to make a point of sending a copy to everyone mentioned in more than passing if for no other reason than to let said persona know I'm not talking about them behind their proverbial back.
From the editorial in "Implosion" #6 (July 1977) :
IMP is a personalzine, or more aptly, one of those horrendous mimeo'ed letters you get now and then, only when we're having Christmas on a monthly basis... IMP is a forum, a soapbox, whatever it is you need. The foundation of said soapbox is built on is very simple and basic -- that everyone has the right to both have and express an opinion. Send me yours and we'll try to fit it in here somehow. Believe it or not, opinions do not have to agree with my own to get printed... As usual, what's mine is mine, and what's bylined has come from elsewhere, so kindly direct your nasty comments and hate mail to the appropriately deserving parties. If I print something that ticks you off, I'm sure I have a reason, but kindly remember that I am not the source of every single line of this rag. Which all means that if [fan's name] says something to offend thee, by all means tell me so I can print what you think, but send the bricks to her . Get it?

Subjects Discussed, No Holds Barred

  • complaints about zines and fannish material ordered but never received
  • writers and artists wrote of the zines where their material had been rejected
  • complaints against other fans' behaviors, actions, and opinions
  • whether HOP's reviews are valid, appropriate, destructive, cruel ...
  • the price of zines
  • whether Interphase was worth the cost
  • whether zine publishing is elitist
  • the trend of copyrighting filks and fanzines and how that was not fannish
  • many, many, many comments, pro and con, about Diamonds and Rust
  • the amount of fannish crap for sales at pro cons
  • how to educate the neofans
  • the letters had plenty of complaints about of all sorts of things, who-said-what-to-whom-and when, lots of name calling, and put downs
  • there was much ranting by the editor about various things

Issue 1

Implosion 1 was published in December 1976.

  • the editor writes of The Premise:
    “Now I’m not saying that people shouldn’t write about all of the things they have no experience with...but homosexuality does exist. For real. And ALT [Alternative: The Epilog to Orion] is as far off base with its outlook on homosexuality as...well, as saying the rear-entry position for hetero intercourse is the most common. I had heard that a forthcoming zine is going to feature an article by a practicing homosexual giving his comments on ALT, which should settle the question of its validity once and for all.
  • a review of Alternative: The Epilog to Orion by H.O. Petard
  • other unknown content

Issue 2

Implosion 2 was published in January 1977 and contains 16 pages.

cover of issue #2
Downes has refunded the price of ALT to those who wrote and said they were dissatisfied... Again, apologies for my tactless expression of opinion, Gerry. If you're pissed off at me, I deserve it, but still I think only for the way I said what I did not for not liking the zine. For whatever it’s worth, there have been a couple of ‘lay Kirk and Spock with each other’ stories I did like, in case anyone is wondering where my head is at. The first one that comes to mind is SHELTER, Fish’s tantilizer [sic] in WS20. I've had to read it about six times to finally figure out that I did like it, but I do. Being an unashamedly devoted Fish-fan, tho, I suppose it was inevitable. And that could easily be becoz of the blatant realism that tromps thru her writing. Her characterizations are so pulsatingly real.

Believe it or not, it has occurred to me that I came down a little hard on Gerry Downes in the last IMP. What can I say in defense? Well, nothing beyond the fact that the last time I checked we were still all entitled to not only have our own opinions but also to voice them if the urge presents itself. Basically, I apologize more for the manner in which I said what I did, rather than for what I said. I still think ALTERNATIVE is horrendous, but obviously that is my opinion, and one,that a lot of people do not share. Oh, well, that's life. There are, however, some souls who did not like it any more than I did but who are extremely reluctant to stir things up by expressing that fact. I think one thing that has to happen in fandom is that the fen have got to feel that they can express their opinions; whatever they are, that it isn't vital that they share the popular opinion just so that they will be accepted. What is fandom, really, besides a lot of talking to each other about the goings on? And how can we ever get done anything at all worthwhile, constructive, Whatever, if we're afraid to speak up or afraid to disagree?

I do however apologize for the lack of what I realize was just plain simple courtesy to Gerry (yes, she did get a copy) with what I said about ALT (HO Petard is not me and that being can speak quite well for itself). For penance I'll proofread all these hideous blue stencils without the aid of my high intensity lamp. A hairshirt would make me more cheerful.
Sincerest thanks to PAULA SMITH for her very generous donation of $10 for Leader Dogs for the Blind. Yes, folks, it's that same old song. Surely to God, there are some of you out there who can spare a buck or two for these people. Believe me, they need the bread, and they put it to good use. The school is virtually across the street so we ("we" being the Mariette Hartley Fan Network) will gladly take your contribution to them. Kindly make checks payable to Leader Dogs for the Blind. Again, thanks, Paula. Maybe you'll start a trend.

I would like to set the record as well as the grapevine straight at this time about one thing in particular; my resignation of my VW post with Welcommittee. Contrary to whatever you might have heard, I have given up the job becoz God has simply refused my request for 48 hour days. I just do not have the time to answer all the mail that comes in, do the WSA-STD work, write D&R, take care of the house, cook the meals, keep up with the laundry, amuse two other fen, do my share of raising a hyperkinetic four year old son, help with the MHFN, read a book now and then, carry on my non-Trek madnesses, - and answer letters for STW. Now that we have an editor/publisher, D&R is into very serious production and will be until sometime in 1978 (if the goddess smiles on it and we manage to keep even remotely close to the planned schedule). It's taking up a lot of concentrated energy; Something had to go, and STW Won ... or lost or whatever - by default.

[snipped]

I really did enjoy the work, even all those cute little pencil scribbled letters asking for Shatner's phone number, altho my favorite has to be from the little girl who wanted a picture "of all of Captain Kirk". I really think she was much too young for that.

I should be so lucky The feedback has been nothing if not interesting, somewhat perplexing as well as irritating in a few instances. While the majority seemed to concur that it was necessary to inform the fen so they wouldn't get caught like Ingrid did, there were a few people whose comments thoroughly nonplussed me. What a terrible thing to do to Jim Hoover (anyone want to consider the terrible thing he did to Ingrid? You must remember that the issue was not so much that he lied to her - and in agonizing detail - but that he also lied about her to other people when she caught him.) One said that this was a matter that should have been kept among' the BNFs and not spread thru fandom (of course, only tell the people he couldn't possibly hurt or bullshit - let the rest sink or swim on their own). After all, the neos might get scared (right, let them find out for themselves that fandom is not Shangri-La, just like Ingrid did.

One thing that has struck in my mind a peculiar note is that none of the people who defended him "in principle" wanted to see the "evidence" - his letters to Ingrid altho I offered many times. It is after all, in these that you can see that this wasn't the case where just one little remark here and there was mistook by a giddy young girl - it's literally pages and pages of extremely detailed lies. But no one, no one, requested seeing them. After all, let's not confuse the issue with the facts.
Word has filtered down (via ML Dodge, from the DELTA TRIAD duo) from GR, speaking Louisville, that he was very upset over SPOCK MESSIAH. He urges the fans to write critical letters to Bantam to complain about it in the hopes that they won't publish anything as awful under the ST banner again. All right, group, the Great Bird is asking you to honk. Do it! You want better Trekfic in ppbk, don't you? There are only two ways you're going to get it: either stop buying the junk, or complain about it after you buy it and tell the publisher you won't make the same mistake twice. Obviously, it pays to be somewhat more decorous in your phrasing, but let them know how you feel.
You probably heard all about the exceptionally untimely demise of the EquiCon. Yet I wonder how many of us realize that we did in fact contribute to it. Yes, the pro cons put EquiCon out of business. But who kept the pro cons in business? Many, many fans did. I think I can anticipate the argument: the pro cons were inundated with hordes of Trekkies, nonfans, people off the street. The problem was still that we were there with them. People who would not travel across country to EquiCon did so to go to the pro cons. And what for? To be packed into a ballroom with a few thousand other people to breathe the same air the cast breathed? To make the pro dealers rich? Ah, to see your friends ... couldn't that have been done at a con like EquiCon? We showed the big-time entrepreneurs that we, the serious fans, would support them dollar for dollar the way the Trekkies we disdain being named in the same breath with supported them. Even while we gave lip service about how terrible it was. So now what? No more EquiCon, and everyone can sit around and shake their heads over what a sorry loss it is. Hindsight is not tremendously productive, is it? The time to have done something was when all of this started. But that apparently did not occur to people - after all, what just happened couldn't really happen in our perfect little universe called fandom. I think we all deserve a good hard kick in the butt for ever letting this come to pass. And I am as guilty as the rest for not honking even louder than I did at all you people to make you see reason. Let's hope we can straighten out the rest of our problems before we do fandom irreparable damage with our terminal apathy. And we certainly owe Bjo and her people an apology for not supporting her/them more solidly over the years.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day, during which she politely suggested that I ought to be careful how I go about filling IMP's pages in the future. When I asked her why she tactfully suggested that we could find the fate of DIAMONDS AND RUST severely effected by the fact that I am both opinionated and vocal (verbal? well, whatever). I thought about that, thought she must be kidding, considered some of the things going on in fandom, then decided I probably ought to think about it again.

Hmmm.

I know there are people who don't like the alternate Trekworld Cheryl and I have created. One, in fact, even called Chantal yet another Lt. Mary Sue. It does make me shudder... I mean, really.... if nothing else, she certainly does not have a surfeit of virtue, an apparent requisite for marysue types.

On the other hand, tho, I can't say as we expect everyone to like it. So far, neither Cheryl nor I have gargled Draino because of the negative comments. The one thing someone who tries something like this has to be prepared for is criticism. Anything that "goes public" is automatically subject to scrutiny and it would be ludicrous to assume that all of it will some up roses. We don't expect everyone to be deliriously excited over it. And I'm sure that from whatever negative commentary it elicits we are even likely to find suggestions for changes that are valid and that we most likely will use. Very few thinks in life are without need of improvement.

And there are bound to be people who will simply not find it to their taste. This is ok, too. One is not obligated to like everything in fandom, and since I seem to be saying that all the time it would be grossly hypocritical of me to not be able to apply it here as well.

But the thought that some one or ones could pan the entire project out of a personal dislike for me had simply not occurred to me until this person mentioned it.

[...]

I've seen entire zines badly reviewed becoz of personal disagreements. It is at least an interesting dilemma. Do I have my teeth welded shut until we're finished so I can't voice any unpopular opinion. Or do I trust that the average fan has more integrity than to hold some- thing I've said against the entire group working on the project.

Issue 3

Implosion 3 was published in February 1977 and contains 12 pages.

cover of issue #3, Marty Siegrist
  • a letter from Leslie Fish taking a detractor of Alternative: Epilog to Orion, H.O. Petard, to ferocious task for bad review -- an excerpt:
    If you really want to know, the relationship portrayed in ALT is, according to homosexuals and bisexuals of my acquaintance, not to mention several careful and unbiased surveys, a quite accurate representation of a mature, same-sex affair. Yes, Virginia, it often is like that. Of course homosexual affairs can be exploitive, neurotic, and sordid—and so can heterosexual affairs. Big deal. I certainly hope that you have your eyes open when a homosexual friend of mine publishes his review of ALT.
  • a rebuttal from H.O. Petard that takes Leslie Fish to ferocious task in retaliation -- an excerpt:
    “Whether or not our dashing twosome are lovers may or may not be worthy of consideration, but everyone is considering it—some much better than others. It certainly is as 75 valid to have the two in love with each other as it is to have Kirk panting after the Enterprise and Spock enamored of Vulcan—but I would like to see it handled better.
  • the editor of Implosion scolds fans for continuously buying what she considers "over-priced shit" from dealer and various hucksters
  • a review of Off the Beaten Trek #2, see that page
  • a review of Alnitah #1, see that page
  • a bit from a letter by Paula Block saying that Diamonds and Rust was indeed a Mary Sue, something that the editor discusses some more

Issue 4

Implosion 4 was published in March 1977 and contains 14 pages.

cover of issue #4, Shel Dorf
"Emma Peel" by Rene Inkald
  • the editor writes:
    If you don't know by now, IMP is my personalzine wherein I honk and mutter and carry on at great length... IMP is free to those who receive it as long as I can manage it, altho there are some certainly Celestial beings who'll receive it whether I start charging the rest of you lowly mortals or not. Distribution is my fiat, after all... [But] for the sake of my virtually non-existant budget, I'm forcing myself to implement a new rule. Now, there are some of you out there who have recieved three issues -- this will be 4 -- and haven't said Word One about any of it. Which by and large is ok, but come on people, give me a break, at least make a noise. I frankly cannot afford to send this to anyone who doesn't like it or is indifferent to it. You needn't send me a volume of pithy comments. What you DO need to do is send me a postcard telling me you want to continue to receive it, if I haven't heard from you in one form or another already. Otherwise, I'm forced to remove you from the mailing list. I'm sorry but that's the breaks.
  • there is much detailed content on the editor's trials and adventures at the post office
  • the editor says she gave a copy of Alternative: Epilog to Orion to a gay friend to review and this is the report back:
    ....ALT has graced my coffee table since it arrived, collecting fingerprints as well as comments. John (who has never seen Trek) thought that, although not at all real, it was, at times ‘very human.’...There’s a certain separateness in male to male relationships due to (in part) the nature of the physicality involved that seems to be ignored here, making me think that the person who wrote ALT is either (1) very young, or (2) a closet queer, or (3) a man who’s just come out and hasn’t come to realize [the] nature of homosexual relationships, or (4) a woman. But, as you even said, no relationships are like that, even hetero ones.
  • the editor is "deliriously happy" that she has received no further comments on Alternative, a zine she can't stand; she also says she sent it to her first boyfriend, a gay man, who thought it had some "human moments" in it, but for the most part thought it was badly written, poorly illustrated, and silly. "And that...definitely, is MY last word on ALT."
  • the editor apologizes for not sending much mail out to friends lately and lists a variety of personal reasons. One of them is her "wretched typewriter".
  • a fan writes in at great length about not getting the 28 pieces of art she'd sent to a zine publisher almost a year and a half after the zine had been published:
    I'll never see those illos again except in print, and I've callously resigned myself to that fact. I'm not going to name names, and lower myself to their lack of ethics, but for most it's not a far throw to guess just of whom I'm speaking." She lists five editors she will trust with her art, suggest that fanartists come up with a release form of sorts (a contract with some carbon paper) as a way to protect artists. "Don't misunderstand me... if there were no editors, the artists would probably never be published. On the other hand, if there were no fan artists, the zineds would be paying CASH for their art if they couldn't draw it themselves. For that we should be thankful. But how can one be thankful for blatant misuse again and again? It's not fair to put so much time into art and then be openly ripped off.
  • a fan writes in the role of a zined and says that many fans are too impatient, that zine editors put out zines in their time, as a hobby:
    This zine problem [zines not sent in a timely matter, or not at all] really is a double-edged sword. The problem, basically, is that when money has exchanged hands, there is room for a lot of problems. Having paid money even in a fannish situation, one is entitled to expect something back...
  • Rusty Hancock writes a lengthy essay entitled, "In Defense of Diamonds which argues that while the main character has some elements of a Mary Sue, she isn't one. She writes extensively on what is, and is not, a Mary Sue.
  • the editor writes:
    "there may be a very small reprint of the back issues if there is enough interest to warrant it -- right now, I'm not going to dig through all those cruddy, inky stencils just to reprint three copies here and there. Sorry, but take pity on me; it's obvious I'm not well to be doing this to begin with. Who in their right mind would do a monthly zine for free, after all?
  • it contains a review of Beta Niobe Revisited, see that page

Issue 5

cover of issue #5

Implosion 5 was published in April 1977 and contains 12 pages.

  • the editor writes about Delta Triad #3
  • a review of The Castaways, see that page
  • a review of R&R #2, see that page
  • a review of The Other Side of Paradise #2, see that page
  • a sort-of review, mostly justifying, sort-of, the price for the Interphase zines
  • a pointed essay by Paula Smith about the evils of sloppiness, poor editing, laziness of writers and zineds, and specifically which zines are worth the price they charge; it is an essay that ruffles many feathers and ignites conversations of both of readers of "Implosion" and with other fans who heard of its content
  • a denial that H.O. Petard is Paula Smith
  • the editor refuses to print anything more about Alternative: The Epilog to Orion, saying she is sick of the whole thing
  • a long, long essay that explores and explains that the author of Diamonds and Rust has "peopled the stories with favorite performers," that the characters, at least physically, resemble a real life actors of the time. Chantal is based, physically on the actress Cornelia Sharpe. "I willingly admit [the author comments on the essay later] that Cornelia Sharpe couldn't act her way out of a paper sack but all I need is her exterior."

Issue 6

cover of issue #6

Implosion 6 was published in July 1977 (though appears to have started being typed in May 1977) and was 16 tightly-packed, legal-sized (long) pages.

It has remarks from Linda Cappel, Joanna Cantor, Melissa Bayard, Cheree Cargill, Jackie Bielowicz, Joan Verba, Melinda Shreve, Ron Frantz (as a representative of WSA), L.A. Gailand, Bev Clark, Sue Nierenberg, Connie Faddis, Jan Rigby, and Beth Nugteren.

There was MUCH discussion about the power and responsibility of reviews, about Diamonds and Rust, a kerfuffle over Delta Triad regarding opinions and art, and zine production choices.

This issue contains a reprint of "As Seen Through Terran Eyes: The Serpent in Fandom's Eden" by Rich Knobloch that was previously printed in "Jinna Clan Journal" (March 1977). The topic of this essay how fandom used to be very open and sharing and now, fans are beginning to copyright their fanworks and control who can print them, panelists at cons are not allowing people to make audio tapes of their presentations, "Gordon Dickson and Andrew Offut become very circumspect about their actions as SFWA presidents in a panel at a con," and there is the rise of for-profit science fiction cons.

This issue contains a long essay by Rusty Hancock called "There is No James Kirk." The topic is fans' various opinions and creations regarding many different character studies of Kirk.

This issue contains a long essay by Schultz titled: Who Are Rice and Schultz and Why Are They Writing All These Nasty Things, or, We Never Promised You a Rose Garden.

The editor says that the zine is taking a personal toll on her health and that it will be taking hiatus:
[Mandi Schultz]: IMP will be back -- in a few months, or a couple of months, I don't know.... Besides, now that the first collected volume of D&R is complete, I have a lot of sick, warped, tasteless, marysue stories to get working on for the next volume. And you don't think that's hard work, believe me, it is.
[Mandi Schultz]: This is the May 1977 edition of "open mouth - insert foot" (which is not a new perversion, Vulcan or otherwise) also known as IMPLOSION #6, coming to you from the Schultz' Home for Tired Fans (or possibly the Hancock Retread Service) otherwise known to some and sundry as Mandi Schultz, at [address redacted]. There seems to be a small collection of newcomers who are not entirely familiar with the IMPolicy. IMP is a personal zine - or more aptly, one of those horrendous mimeo'ed letters you get now and then only we're having Christmas on a monthly basis. But even more IMPortantly (sorry, I couldn't resist), IMP is a forum, a soapbox, whatever it is you. The foundation said soapbox is built on is very simple and basic - that everyone has the right to both have and express an opinion. Send me yours and we'll try to fit it in here somehow. Believe it or not, opinions do not have to agree with my own to get printed, IMP6 is a Leonidas Press Production, a subsidiary of Critical Mass Press, As usual, what's mine is mine, and what's by-lined has come from elsewhere, so kindly direct your nasty comments and hate mail to the appropriately deserving parties. If I print something that ticks you off, I'm sure I have a reason, but kindly remember that I ant not the source of every single line of this rag, which all means that if Paula Smith says something to offend thee, by all means tell me so I can print what you think, but send the bricks to her. Got it?
[Mandi Schultz]:

Well, there seems to be occurring another outbreak of the "how dare you's" out there, but it seems to be a fairly mild case compared to the last epidemic. And sitting over my salad in Big Boy's (yes, we spend a lot of time there - especially drinking enough coffee to warrant paying 35 cents per cup) I think I figured out why.

It's you guys out there, which made me decide to say something very sentimental to you all. From the deepest part of my heart, sincerest thanks for being there. You're an audience par excellence, Oh, I grant the majority of you were hand-picked by me but that hasn't precluded the possibility that you could've said "quit sending me this garbage" any time after you started receiving it. You didn't, you hung on, with the exception of exactly one person (I honestly did expect about half of you to depart immediately) and some of you told your friends, people you thought were in tune with this. Even the that Halkan Council ad was a pain in the ass, even that brought about some of you good people who are presently reading this. You've read and you've listened, and much to my delight you responded with commentary.... What I really want to say is how goddamn glad I am to have found you. Obviously, to have found people who agree with me, but the fact can't be dispelled that we are agreeing on are important issues, important becoz they're what guides the subculture we have taken a notion to join and allow to be come a large part of our lives, Fandom is important to me, you've been hearing that for 6 issues now, Fandom's survival is important. To me, to all of us who are serious about it.

And that depends only on what the fans do, I feel that IMP's readership comprises a pretty fair cross-section of fandom, some BNFs, some WKFs, some neos, some total Trekkers, some specialists, a couple of SMOFs, some Trekosaurs, actifans and passifans (and a partridge in a pear tree), That you can be such a diverse sampling and still be in agreement in some very essential areas really must be the image of IDIC.

In the past five issues of IMP I've honked, raved, snorted, brow beat and periodically stumbled along. The landmark/milestone #6, I admit, does not mean there's going to be much of a change in policy. As long as you people are out there and want to listen, hopefully IMP will continue, IMP doesn't pretend to be perfect, and I sure as hell don't, and so on occasion I've eaten my share of humble pie - mistakes are human, and so is this horta. But the important, and endearing point to me is that you've listened, and you've cared; in one form or another you've supported IMP, and what IMP stands for, that we all have the right to both have and express an opinion. My hat is off to all of you.
[Bev Clark]: HOP's comments about PHASE also led me to a (perhaps) unworthy speculation about elitism in fandom; I admit that PHASE is an excellent fanzine but somehow HOP’S comments had overtones of "she’s one of us, she's OK even if she does charge a lot for her zine." I'm sure that wasn't intended but sometimes it does seem that one can get away with more if one is well-known and accepted in fandom.
[Mandi Schultz]: I cannot pretend to speak of HOP’s motivation tho I do think perhaps HOP was struck by a very small attack of conscience in taking a shot at a zine that has not been produced as yet. There’s no telling what HOP will think when it's out, but I’ll try to have it here. As for myself, I still think $7 is a terrible price for a zine. As I said to you in a letter, all I can do is vouch for Connie's integrity. She isn't paying $3 for PHASE and then pocketing the difference as a down payment on a cruise to Haiti - she still owes the printer $2000+ and cannot pay it off without selling every copy she has. Altho I am firmly convinced that for half that price she could have bought a mimeo and produced the zine just as nicely and readable, that does not seem to be the point, but whether or not one thinks that PHASE is worth the money at all. Basically, no zine is worth $7 to me but, honestly, I resell most of the zines I buy so ultimately they wind up costing me less. Should I resell my PHASE for $5, it’ll only cost me a little over $2 - and I do tend to do things like that...
[Bev Clark]: Which brings me to P. Smith's article on the value in fanzine, which I have to admit annoyed me with some of its rather arrogant assumptions, For instance, from what appears to be poor editing of a zine (to her, I might add, and some of her judgements I think are based on preference in type of zine and subject matter), she infers that the editors don't care. That's just not fair. She has done 10 zines and a lot more; how good was she as an editor when she was just beginning? The Eds of CONTACT have done what - 2 or 3? One of the Eds of TOSOP is a graphics major, and the other is also an artist. That gives them a distinct advantage in terms of lay-out and use of art; lay-out is really something that must be learned by experience. Connie can get the best from her contributors; she can also get the best contributors, which, of course, is why PHASE is head and shoulders above other zines when it comes to overall quality. We're not all multi-talented people. Paula says that Eds should experiment; I agree. But where else are they going to experiment except in print, so that they can get feedback from people who may know more about how to edit a zine? Do we all wait until we can produce a professional zine before we try? If I were to edit a zine, I would be starting with the disadvantage of probably not being able to get the "best" writers and artists to contribute! they'll save the efforts for more prestigious zines, and if they send anything to newer or "poorer" zines, it will be their less successful efforts, Paula is operating under the assumption that the editors of zines she considers poor do not read their submissions, or edit stories badly just becoz they thing they should edit; perhaps they are not get ting any other submissions; perhaps they are editing to the best of their abilities. Goddamn it, Paula, we are not all Connie Faddis, or even Paula Smith. We are not all equally talented. Would you restrict zine publishing to only those who you consider of acceptable quality, assuming that most of us are operating ar our current limits — and I think most of us are doing the best we can, most of the time.
[snipped]
As for mimeo being cheaper becoz one does it oneself - yes, one does, if one has access to a mimeo. Otherwise one must depend on offset printing, or not publish at all, and it hardly seems fair to restrict publishing only to those who have a mimeo or are "good" enough to utilize the possibilities of offset.
Not that Paula doesn't have a couple of good points. For instance, it's simple kindness to try to keep costs down as much as possible when one is using a basically expensive process; double-spacing, for instance, amounts to padding to stretch the size of a zine. There is no reason for a zine to be huge; the only explanation I have for people who double space their zines, aside from trying to make them look larger, is that they are still under the influence of the educational dictum which says that one must double space all reports, papers, etc. And it certainly is nice to explore the alternatives - if one knows that alternatives exist, A lot of publishing in fan circles, I imagine, begins with enthusiasm and very little else, and it may not be until after the zine is in print that one begins to learn what one is doing. People entering ST fan publishing are faced with a plethora of offset zines; all the best zines are, and to the neo editor, it must seem that she will have to use off set to compete - only the lesser zines, it seems, use mimeo, Paula's article does nothing to help that assumption, because she does imply that mimeo should be used by people who really don't know how to use offset —. i.e., who aren't very good and hence don't produce very good zines. Maybe that's not the impression she intended to give, but that's the one I got. I think you're right about why people buy zines, Sometimes a list of authors is sufficient incentive, too, or a new story in a series. And there are the more or less omnivorous ones, like me, who like different things in different moods.
[Mandi Schultz]: PLUG OF THE MONTH goes to PROBE and Winston Howlett, and I get the "better late than never" award, I finally discovered PROBE, alas with #9 and 10, and virtually all the back issues are out of print, I devoured them, they're terrific. I had heard things about it - the worst being that PROBE had a closed sub so you couldn't order, which made me put it completely out of my thoughts until recently. PROBE is one goddamn good zine, Hewlett knows his stuff. Menfen are rare to us but boy, when they get to producing, everyone stand aside, He's erudite, witty, clever, he can write, he can edit. I think we'll run him for President in the next election. All this babbling like a total loon is somewhat foreign to me. I don't usually get this excited over zines, and never at 6 am when I had my first attack of PROBE fever. DEATH OF A VULCAN was one of the best stories I've read in just ages. I think I get a little lightheaded when something in fandom strikes me as totally wonderful. Whatever the cause is, I can't urge you enough to check out PROBE for yourself. It's worth every cent of the cost.
[Connie Faddis]: I do want to tell you why reviewing is so important a subject to me. Fandom is full of old dinosaur writers now, but most of them came into Trek fandom in what I'd call our "era of innocence" (maybe 1969-74 or so) Then, there weren’t many zines, and fen were into a broader spectrum of themes, and editors and readers were delighted to read any but the most inept or simpleminded stories. Criticism, when it was given, was minimal, and praise was given a little more freely, I think. Now, in our "age of discontent" ('75-date) we are hyper-critical. We are also in to some highly specialized themes, which have crowded out most of the less controversial themes. A writer entering the fanfic field now must contend with pressures to deal with the specialized themes [1], and the impatience of current readers, who demand considerable writing expertise from inexperienced writers. Experience is what comes after writing and publishing stories and getting feedback, and starting to gain a less personal and more literary perspective on your writing, (para) When I came into Trekdom, it was enormously important to me to have my writing recognized. It was pretty bad when I started out, but editors like Ruth Berman took the time and care to offer advice and encouragement.

And as importantly, the reviews I got were mostly positive, gentle, encouraging. If I were a new, inexperienced writer starting out now, I'd be terrified of reviews instead of looking forward to them. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to a just-hatched writer to get public recognition, or how sensitive a new writer is to harsh or unsubstantiated criticism. Yes, if I were starting out now with the writing capabilities I had five years ago, I'd probably shrivel with intimidation and shortly give up writing for publication, (para) And the tragedy is that this is happening to new writers. Some are driven out by criticism before they really have a chance to develop the good skills demanded, and others won't even try, for fear of a public flaying. But fandom desperately NEEDS new writers!! The old dinosaurs are tending to wear out the same old themes; and some are going - or about to go - profession which will probably mean a drastic decrease in their fan writing; and some have or are considering gafia, etc. And here we have a handful of fen who routinely write reviews, and who, whether they're smart enough to be aware of it or not, have the potential to share opinions of some (many?) in fandom. The new writers need their encouragements (some have strong enough egos or support from close friends to weather criticism, but many don't, but the damned reviewers don't know what the fuck they're doing. I am, I guess, a crusader in my own right, I want better fan writing, too. But standing on a soapbox and screaming ”you turkeys don't know from shit about writing!” isn't going to do anything but scare our new blood away. And the old dinosaurs — well, they have had time to develop a thick skin, so they really tend to ignore all the hoopla, I still contend you draw more flies with honey than with vinegar.

[Mandi Schultz]: I agree with quite a lot of this but only to a point. One thing about the old dinosaurs is that a lot of them are riding on their reps right now and producing a considerable amount of garbage. The other thing that seems oven more important is in wondering how we establish just who the reviews are going to help, and how do we handle it. Some people seem to think reviews should help the fans, particularly neos; where zine buying is concerned. So what do you do, if that is true; When you find a truly lousy story by a new writer or a crudzine by a lot of new rotten writers? What do you say in print? Do you say it’s lousy thus saving a lot of people who buy according to reviews from wasting their money on it -or do you gloss over it to spare the ego of the budding artiste? I don’t think there’s any way of glossing over that will not make a rotten product sound better than it is, and that is just not honest. Ok, so you’re going to write a review of something for the sake of the writer — so where do you put it so the people who are going to base their spending on it don’t see it? Or where do you go with it to that the buyers have a chance and the writers are spared? I don’t think you can write an honest, objective review and serve both purpose in some of these cases.
I’m sorry, but my vote goes with the honesty. If someone wants to see their product in print, they’re just going to have to pull up the old bootstraps and anticipate as many put-downs as build-ups. That’s just how the world works, even in fandom. That’s the price one pays for any of the recognition. When you go public, even to a select public such as fandom, you’ve just got to expect that kind of thing. Even if you’re a good writer. Perhaps even if you’re an old dinosaur. I mean no personal offense but I would seriously doubt the motivation of any person, the reason why they are writing at all, if one. bad review, or even several, would make them give up writing completely. But then I guess I am more tenacious than some. This is all assuming that reviews mean much of anything at all.
I still tend to disagree with a lot of that notion, which is why I don’t write any reviews for this rag. I print them to get people talking about the zines and stories, but I don’t seriously believe than anyone is basing their spending on what they see here. Personally, I never write reviews for anyone. If I have something to say about a story I’ll say it to the author...if I think it would make any difference at all to them, but even those times are very few and extremely far between.
[Mandi Schultz]: There seems to be missing what is the most important... we all have the right to try to produce, to create, Altho there are several people I may personally wish would never take up space in zines again, it is their right to do so. Even ALTERNATIVE has the right to exist - as much a right as I have to dislike it. And whether or not these various people wore good writers or not, I thinly it's a goddamn shame they didn't have the guts to face down the criticism and continue to produce - simply bocoz they enjoyed it so much. And there was probably someone out there somewhere who liked it. What fandom really needs is a more broadened understanding of very basic rights. The right to do something and the right to comment on it are equal, I just don't know where freedom of expression has vanished to over the years.
[Mandi Schultz]: WHO IS H.O. PETARD AND WHY IS HE SAYING THESE TERRIBLE THINGS ABOUT EVERYTHING ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. I feel like I'm repeating myself when I say this, but #1, I am not HOP, and #2, I print his reviews to got you people, talking - primarily to display the plain simple truth that all that glitters is not gold to everyone end that you don't have to be afraid to say so - at least not here in IMP. One thing I want to correct or adjust or whatever is that in that DELTA TRIAD review I was by no means casting aspersions on the intelligence quotient of either person quoted For that matter, neither was HOP - in one point he was merely taking exception with one person’s taste, which is certainly his right, and in the other instance he was pointing out that the grammar error was not his; altho one would assume that in such a circumstance, things do get mangled during typings in places beyond IMP so he was merely making sure, IMP was certainly not trying to put down either of these people. I don't know who the one is, but Dixie Owen is someone I think quite highly of and would certainly not take such a sneaky way to insult, assuming I would want to insult her at all. If this is what some people thought, then I apologize for the misconception or for hurting anyone's feelings, I should have known better. HOP can sink or swim on his own merit which I think is certainly mammoth since he manages to get so many people going. In a fandom where the lack of honest exchange was causing me to despair. I'm gratified to see you people talking openly about your feelings on these matters, I am not gratified to be the one to take the blame in everything for IMP as who produces what is all clearly labeled. [2]

If you will, please inform Mr (or Ms, as I strongly suspect) H.O. Petard that he/she is violating our Copyright by printing sections from our letter column without requesting permission to do so from the editors or the people who wrote the letter. As this is a borderline offense, I'll not press the matter; but I strongly suggest that he/she refrain from doing so again without proper notification. I would not bother to mention this, had not he/she made derogatory comments about the letter writers — i.e., that the person from Lansing was not qualified to judge stories due to her location and ability to travel; and that Dixie Owen's use of the English language was improper and unacceptable; she is a reader and may write to us any way she pleases.

[...]

You may do what you wish with [this] letter I sent. I haven't the time to write another. By the way, I found the two stories printed in ALPHA CONTINUUM #2 by you and Cheryl very revolting and violating all standards of good taste. I cannot understand what possessed the two of you to write such trash.

[Mandi Schultz]: As to what you said about TO EACH HIS OWN and IDOLS I HAVE LOVED... well, dear, that's quite all right, you're a reader and may write to us any way you wish, D&R stands or falls on its literary merit - anything else, as everyone reminds me, is purely subjective taste.

References

  1. ^ Two of the themes Faddis is referring to are hurt/comfort and slash.
  2. ^ Actually, the comments in "Implosion," at least in #6 are far, far from being "clearly labeled." Schultz' punctuation and editing choices make it extremely difficult to determine whose words are whose.