In the Belly of the Whale

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Zine
Title: In the Belly of the Whale
Publisher:
Editor(s): Elaine Hauptman & Kendra Hunter
Type:
Date(s): 1996
Frequency:
Medium: print
Fandom: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Language: English
External Links:
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In the Belly of the Whale is a gen (but allowed slash as a topic for discussion) letterzine.

There were at least four issues.

cover of issue #1

Another Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea letterzine was Up Bubble.

From the First Issue

WELCOME to "In the Belly of the Whale". We started this new venture for the sole reason that we wanted to meet more VBS fans and converse about our fa orite show. There will be few editorial "rules", since we believe in the Star Trek philosophy of IDIC (infinite diversity in ininfinite combinations). In other words, we believe that everyone isentitled to her/his own opinion, and each opinion is valid. We present this new forum as a place where fans of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" can discuss all aspects of the show and its actors -- DISCUSS, not argue. No fan has ever changed another fan's mind about anything by calling her/him insulting names in a letterzine.

Issue 1

In the Belly of the Whale was published in February 1996 and contains 23 pages.

  • episode summaries and credit lists for the actors
  • fan letters mostly write of how and why they are fans of the show
  • one of the editors writes:
    Passion is a wonderful thing and fandom depends almost entirely on passion for motivation. It was this passion for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea which motivated me to convince Elaine that we should do a VBS letterzine. I wanted to communicate with other VBS fans and for reasons unknown to me the communication that was rumored to be in existence isn't. I was disappointed in the fan clubs and other fan activities that promised contact with other fans and their ideas. So Elaine and I have taken on the task ourselves. Both of us have published letterzines before, in Starsky and Hutch fandom, and are both aware of the amount of work required to publish such a forum and to stir the fans to participate. The later is required because the letterzine needs to consist of as many opinions and comments as possible. If the only interest we can find is between Elaine and I, we don't need a letterzine to communicate, we can just talk to each other, but we both want more. In a public forum, like a letterzine, there will always be some people who disagree with the comments of others, and over the years many readers of other letterzines have wanted a set of rules and a list of forbidden topics. We can't do that, or the forum loses its purpose. We do ask that each contributor remember common courtesy and good manners. Beyond that the subjects are open for debate. The first subject I expect to be a problem is slash. Having already read the letters in this issue, I know the subject has been introduced. Since the only apparent VBS fanfiction currently in print is slash, I am not surprised that it is a subject in this issue of In the Belly of a Whale. Generally, the slash fanfiction ina fandom only represents a small percentage of the writing. If that is true in VBS, I have been unable to locate the general fiction. Perhaps you, the readers, can help. Currently, as listed in Bill Hupe's catalog, the GAZ, and The Monthly, the only VBS fiction available is slash. If there are listings of VBS fiction elsewhere, I would like to know so that I can read the material. If there is only an interest in slash VBS, then the question of whether to limit such a discussion in In the Belly of the Whale is moot. If there is more interest in other subjects, then I think that interest will dominate the topics. If there is enough interest in both slash and general topics, this publication can handle the general topics, and Elaine and I will do another letterzine on the alternate months limited to slash only…. In the arena of VBS fanfiction, there is room for the discussion of whether or not the fictional characters have formed a relationship that crosses the border into the homosexual element. There is also plenty of room for the exploration of a relationship that does NOT cross that border and reasonable arguments for both cases can be made in the realm of fiction. Fiction is the medium for exploring any and all combinations of possibilities and I hope that all those possibilities will be explored by the writers, editors, publishers, artists, and readers in VBS fandom.
  • a British fan writes:
    As a writer of fan fiction I became extremely interested in the friendship between Crane and Nelson, and all my recent work has been about this couple. In recent years I have written only 'slash' stories, of the kind where their friendship broadens into a sexual relationship. This subject is obviously not to everyone's taste, and will not be mentioned again unless the editors wish the zine to cover that particular aspect of fandom. As a writer it's not only the relationships that interest me, but the unique 1960's blend of adventure and science fiction. Granted, the science is not exactly scientific -- some of the notions make us chew the table ~ and after the wonderful first season, reality took a back seat. But despite that, the series has a charm which cannot be recaptured in any modern programmes. The actors tried so hard to make it all believable. In the first season particularly, they acted their socks off. Remember Crane in 'Mist of Silence', watching his crewman executed? Remember him alone on the sub in 'The Human Computer', giving the best performance of his entire career? Remember the plots in season one which were good enough to make a feature length movie from - and ended up better than half the movies made since? I can even think about the silly monsters and the lobster man with great affection, knowing now that Paul had sometimes as little as four hours to create and make the whole monster suit. The more you know, the more you appreciate what incredible dedication, blood, sweat and tears, went into this lovable (sometimes laughable) series.
  • the same British fan writes of some cultural fandom differences:
    As one of the number of British Voyage writers I find sometimes that our view of Crane and Nelson differs somewhat from the general American view, and that is an interesting topic for discussion. In general you seem to see an age difference between the two of twenty or more years, whereas we use the actors real ages, with a difference of not more than fifteen years. Americans also have a tendency to make their relationship much harder, with more emphasis on domination and S&M, and there is a trend we British find unpleasant of having Lee psychologically damaged by a traumatic youth. In my opinion, the character as displayed on screen shows none of these tendencies, and would not have risen so far in his career or been the personable and selfless man, be loved of his crew, if he was. And the actor's own personality - Hedison is one of the nicest men other showbiz people have ever known, and is universally loved - shines through too strongly to be ignored. Agreed, it's fun to speculate 'what if and write about the characters in different universes, but I don't like to see a character's personality changed completely. If I want to do that, I change his name and write about someone new - because he's not the same person. Slash, to my mind, covers all aspects of the show as seen on screen, including the 'missing bits' which can be extrapolated from what you see - but not changing the show's actual appearance. And what that appearance actually is of course, is a matter of subjective interpretation. We can all look at the same thing and see something completely different.
  • another fan writes:
    ...of course, you have the wonderful friendship between Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane. There are a number of episodes where they themselves tell us what close friends they are, and many episodes which play off the fact of their friendship, such as "Enemies", one of my favorites. I'm a hurt/comfort fan, and I always love to see the agonies that either Nelson or Crane goes through when the other one is off somewhere facing sure death. They clearly care deeply about each other. And I do love the scenes when whichever one is facing sure death is saved by the other one, and they are always so glad to see each other. Their relief that everything is okay again is palpable, and their joy at being together again is exciting to watch.
  • a fan writes of some production values:
    So what if you can see the tape holding some of the monsters together! That just makes them more endearing to me. The special effects, and the aliens in silly costumes, and the monsters don't look any worse than they did in the original Star Trek series, which started two years after VBS, and which has gone on to create all the spin-off series and movies, etc. I think Irwin Allen could have given us a little more plot, and certainly more character development, but as to the special effects and monsters, he probably did the best he could with the technology and money he had to work with.
  • the author addresses her 1979 essay Characterization Rape: An Examination of Fan Fiction:
    As to my personal views, I am on record in the public forum, The Best of Trek #2 with an article entitled "Characterization Rape", in which I state clearly that I do not believe in a sexual relationship tionship between Kirk and Spock. That was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far way, before my religious experience while on the road to Damascus. Actually, I was on a beach in Athens watching the calm waters of the Mediterranean while working on a Starsky and Hutch novel that I had my great revelation regarding the love between two men and how powerful it can be. Since that time, I have been involved in gay rights, worked in the adult entertainment industry, read volumes both fiction and non-fiction regarding the gay lifestyle, and have made many friends in the gay world. My horizons have been expanded and my life enriched by the experiences. [1]

Issue 2

Issue 3

In the Belly of the Whale was published in June 1996 and contains 38 pages. This issue has an extensive credit list for the actor David Hedison.

cover of issue #3
Regarding cultural differences:

... 'we British' don't all necessarily find distasteful the stories suggesting that Lee Crane had a traumatic childhood. It's a point of view - not necessarily one with which I agree, nor for which I see any basis - but which I still find an interesting concept. Though, to be fair, I haven't come across that many stories which made the point that strongly.

On the subject of the British, I'm curious as to what Ima Fan means when she describes the English (could we make that British, please?) style of writing as having no specific point of view. Maybe I've missed something, but that lost me. (Hey, I sense an on-going discussion looming.)
Irwin Allen's "tinkering," Star Trek, and hype:

Voyage was a terrific idea that could have been as Star Trek once. If Irwin Allen had left it alone and given those involved greater power with its production, I think that what you see in First Season would have still been its format in Fourth. But Irwin could not leave the show alone. He was always tinkering with it, and always finding ways of saving money, which resulted in great chunks of previous movies - and worse, earlier episodes - being used to pad out, and the monsters from Lost in Space turning up, thinly disguised, in Voyage.

In a way, I'm glad now that Voyage isn't Star Trek. For one thing, I would be bankrupt several times over buying all those enormous houses just to keep the memorabilia collection! Secondly, I am now seriously tired of the hype, and the cloning, which has resulted in glossy shows like Babylon Five and Seaquest DSV. Thank goodness for The X Files, my current favourite (but still never to top Voyoge!) and so different. Although it is also starting to get a bit over-hyped in this country, and I suppose the same must be true Stateside. I still like the original Star Trek and the movies (except the last one and No. 2), and I like Picard of Next Generation, but I found I got bored with the show and subsequent clones. At least the original was still a little rough around the edges! The later ones are all too, too smooth.
Skip the teeth:
I don't think the Voyage production values were poor. I think they were excellent for the time (you should see first season Episodes of The Avengers, with Honor Blackman in - they are really rough!), but perhaps spoiled by the overdoing of the rock 'n' roll, or the rather silly monsters - such as the nasty sharp pointy teeth on the giant man in "Leviathan" or the werewolves in "Werewolf and "Brand of the Beast". For many years, all I had of the latter was a sound tape, and I listened to it frequently because the scene before Nelson changes, where he is sounding so tortured, was very good. Then, in 1982, I got my first videos of the show, and say the pointy teeth, which make the monster silly rather than scary!
A fan being fannish:

I love live theater, and I would particularly love to be able to see David on stage, since he is such a good actor and definitely a favorite of mine. If he would only get a little closer to Sacramento! Or, if that elusive winning lottery ticket would finally ar rive. When that happens, believe me, I'll be on the first plane to see David perform. A favorite fantasy is to be able to rent a hotel room for the entire run of the play, and be in the first or second row every single night. I know that probably sounds a tad excessive, but I think it would be a fabulous experience. Live theater is never the same twice in a row, and that's one of the things that makes it so much fun and enjoyable.

The closest I've ever come to doing something like that was about 10 years ago when I went to Las Vegas for a week to see two of my favorite singers. The Everly Brothers, and I saw 10 concerts in a row. Fabulous! Each show was slightly different. Even longer ago than that four of us fan friends journeyed to Los Angeles (back when we were all living in Texas) to see Paul Michael Glaser in two consecutive performances of a wonderfully funny play called "The Lady Cries Murder", and we were doubly thrilled when David Soul appeared in the audience for one of the performances (the only time he saw the play).

I spent half my time watching Paul on stage, and the other half watching David Soul watch Paul. Treasured memories!
Thank you for sharing:

Since starting my quest in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea a little over a year ago, I have been reminded a number of times about what fandom means and why it's so important to me. People I've just met have loaned me out of print zines from their libraries and other people have provided hard to locate videos. To each of you, my warmest thanks. Elaine and I have enjoyed many hours of entertainment be cause of your generosity.

Since my encounters with fandom began almost twenty years ago, I have had my life enriched by the many people I have met. To think we started with an Interest in a television show and discovered we had many more things in common. I have entertained people in my home from all over the U.S. and had guests from England, Australia, and Israel. I have had the pleasure of being a guest in many homes, sharing stories and episodes and having fun.
Freedom of speech and choice:

In the spirit of IDIC, I would like to pull my soapbox out for a paragraph or two. There are in this and other fandoms people who are offended by the fiction I write and the stand I take on gay rights. It is not my wish to offend or demand that mv fiction be read. I ask only for freedom of speech and that all humans be accorded the same rights. I am offended by the gross and gratuitous violence present in today's movies and television. I exercise my right not to watch those shows and avoid the products of advertisers who sponsor them. When I think the line has been crossed, I exercise my right to express my views. However, I make it a point never to condemn a movie I haven't seen.

If you wish to discuss gay rights with me, I will be happy to entertain all arguments except quoting the Bible. I may have been raised a Southern Baptist, and studied the scripture in great deal, but I have never been able to accept the writing as anything more than a history of the Hebrew people. Please bear in mind that freedom of religion means freedom to have no religion.

Issue 4

In the Belly of the Whale 4 was published October 1996.

The TOTM is:

(I) Would you go on a Seaview cruise?, (3) Why (or why not)?, (3) What would you most like to do/see?, and (4) What crewman would you most like to be able to spend time with and get to know a little better (platonically, of course)?

So, come on guys! Let's hear what you have to say.

References

  1. ^ from In the Belly of the Whale #1