Interstat/Issues 011-020

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Issue 11

Interstat 11 was published in September 1978 and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #11, Heather Firth
art from issue #11, John Price
art from issue #11, Cathy Strand
  • art by: Heather Firth, Mike Brown, John Price and Cathy Strand
  • WAHF = 14 LoCers
  • Bonnie Mac is a convert and explains why:
    For years I was an ardent disliker of Christine Chapel until I tried to analyze why. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't reacting so much to her character or personality as I was to the way she was treated by the other characters. It was usually "Nurse Chapel, leave us" or "If you can't assist me, Nurse, I'll call someone else," Does anyone remember the "Changling" when Kirk and Spock rushed into Sickbay after Nomad had broken into Kirk's files? McCoy plunked the unconscious nurse into a chair where she stayed until the end of the scene. She deserved better than that. She had, after all, been injured while trying to stop Nomad. Other shows (and I can cite quite a few) depicted her as a very admirable lady. She had a lot of emotional sensitivity along with her obvious efficiency. She was, after all, usually McCoy's extra right hand even if he didn't always appreciate it. I found very little to fault and much to like about her character. As a result I have revised my early opinion of her and am now a fan.
  • Winston H addresses Guinn B's letter, and weighs in on copyright and fanfiction:
    One possible— and, I believe, plausible—interpretation of her words might be "We are all thieves, so let there be no honor among us!" It is not my intention to put words in her mouth, so let me re-state that this is my interpretation of her statement, and say that my response has that for its basis. To wit: 1. Star Trek fanzines exist with the sanction of at least one of the parties who holds original copyrights: Gene Roddenberry. I do not possess documents to back up this statement, but I do know that it is relatively easy to verify the fact that when all these Kirk-and-Spock-go-gay stories began to gain the notoriety of wet garbage in August, there were some very official rumblings from the Creator about said sanction being removed. One can only take away what one has previously given. 2. Copyrights are designed to cover and protect one's own original material, even if it is based upon someone else's concepts and works. Once the initial permission is given and the legal limits are set, the secondary or 'fan' creator can do almost anything he or she wants. For instance, the original ideas and manifestations of my Uhura/Swahili series are solely mine, and I have the legal right to protect them. Indeed, some recent occurances and 'coincidences' in other STrek-zines have shown me that it may become very necessary for one to protect one's own original ideas and works, for there are those who seem to believe that uncredited and surreptitious imitation is a sincere form of flattery. I do not agree with this time-worn cliche. If legal action must be taken to protect one's own original works, then it can and should be taken. The Law gives holders of STrekzine copyrights a very firm leg to stand on...and kick with.
  • Guinn B addresses two fans regarding copyrights and shared universes:
    [Cheryl R]I haven't personally consulted a lawyer about this, mind, but I suspect that you and Mandi Schultz will find you wasted your money on those copyright fees if it ever comes down to a real court case. Establishing a copyright is a little like buying land: if there are previous claims or unexercised rights in the history of the title, your deed isn't worth a plugged nickel regardless of what you paid for it or how hard you worked to improve the property; unless you've got a mighty sharp lawyer. Why am I so fired up about the question of copyrights? I just hate to hear or read a high-handed ultimatum being given out by people with no more right to a property than I have—even if the ultimatum isn't aimed at me personally. And [Fern M]: Please don't think I'm down on you. I'd be the last person to deny you your rights to what you have created, and the first to defend you if I honestly thought you were being taken advantage of. But you did not create the Klingons, and neither did Carol WalskeGene Roddenberry (or one of them pro writer-fellers) did. I never heard of GR giving more than tacit approval of fanzines, but just suppose he did say it was all right to produce Star Trek zines. With Paramount's verbal approval. If you don't have a written okay, done up in legalese, Paramount still could sue you for the fillings in your eyeteeth. Or they could sue me. None of us is on firm legal ground, and if you go around knocking other fan writers we might one day all end up in the soup.
  • Carol F comments on the three letters in the previous issue about the Atlanta Star Trek con:
    It was with amazement that I read the three (nearly book-length) letters regarding the incident at the Atlanta con and myself. I was at first extremely surprised, then confused, then dismayed. A friend tried to console me by cryptically suggesting that I "consider the source—" [Sharon E], [Rebecca H] and Sharon's daughter, Myra. I have little to say about these letters—there are some things one shouldn't give possible credence to by acknowledging. But, better judgement aside, I do want to say this: I fail to understand (and this is the source of my greatest concern) why a zine like INTERSTAT, which is set up to deal with issues, debates, etc. in fandom, has reduced Itself to pandering to personal feuds and attacks against individuals in fandom. What happened to the "dignity of persons" statement at the fore of your zine? I have never written such a letter—vicious, defaming, oftimes personally cruel—as those written by Emily et al. I would be deeply ashamed to do so. Why did INTERSTAT print three such hostile 'get 'em letters? (Wasn't one enough?—the three were so obviously jointly written—even many of the insults were the same...) And why wasn't the 'other side' contacted to check the allegations—at least to let us know what we were about to be hit with?… The incidents reported in the letters were only marginally correct; the venomous, overemotional and obviously defensive reporting and attempts at character assassination relayed a totally different event than what actually occured. Hardly recognizable. INTERSTAT could have asked— almost anybody there, and there were quite a few witnesses. I have never raised my voice in public—my friends can confirm that with me 'low is deadly.' I have never indulged in "an outpouring of hatred, hostility and verbal acid." It Is simply not my style at all— disagreeing with someone and saying so is my style—anything short of stating one's honest opinion on any given subject is a betrayal of the intellect. I disagreed with what Rebecca Hoffman did on television—I still do. It took 55 other people at that con to try and partially undo the damage she wreaked in Atlanta with her unthinking, erroneous and snide remarks on television….And Sharon and Rebecca self-righteously—even hypocritically— call on 'the right to speak one's mind freely' and the need to deal with private matters privately. Why are those first to scream foul also the quickest to abuse their own self-stated rules? I didn't write INTERSTAT about Rebecca—neither did any other of the 55 fans (that I heard of) that took violent exception to what she did...We handled the problem in Atlanta—with the TV station— and the incident was forgotten. Did you foolishly think, Rebecca and Sharon, that we would come home to start a "hate campaign?" Is your philosophy "get before you're got?" Or maybe there's another hidden reason for the venom directed at "Frisbie and Company"—but, quite frankly, I don't want to think that you're that cowardly. Shame on you, Sharon and Rebecca...! forgive you. INTERSTAT--I'm not so sure...
  • Susan K. J also comments on the three letters:
    I could start this letter repeating [Sharon E's] question (I #10), "What has happened to courtesy, con sideration for one's fellow being, etc.?" But, more to the point in this case, my question is: What has happened to truth? The facts are few and simple: Mr. Shatner autographed record albums purchased in Atlanta. This arrangement was initially not his idea —he reluctantly agreed to do these sessions only as a percentage of the monies went to charity. [Rebecca H], who apparently was not in possession of these facts, nevertheless saw it appropriate to air her disapproval of the mercenary nature of ST conventions in general, and Mr. Shatner in particular, using the forum of the six o'clock newscast of a major TV station. (That much for dirty laundry, public washings and other faux pas...) [Rebecca H] was told by several dark haired females, by [Carol F] and by assorted others, of their displeasure with her biased conduct, detrimental to the already problematic public image of ST and its fandom. The "females" (by the way, is that the latest derogatory term in ST, or have I missed something?) were giving her their opinion not as Shatner fans, or as [Carol F] fans (even though both groups are quite sizeable), but as ST fans. [Sharon E and Rebecca H], what did happen to courtesy and good taste? The language you ladies use in the letters, the insinuations, lies and insults could land you in the middle of a libel suit. No doubt they prove an extensive command of a rather abusive vocabulary and even more questionable taste.... As for [Carol F] —a dear friend, great ST fan, writer, editor, "female", and yes, Shatner fan too—all those who know her know that she does not have to raise her voice to be heard or use obscene language to make a point, and that not too many people are likely to say "Shut up!" to her. And as for Carol being "inarticulate"...? C'mon, ladies, for writing fiction you need a bit more imagination! (By the way, as for fictional dialogue—I have never said "asshole, etc." Maybe someone else?) I do not subscribe to INTERSTAT, and after the biased, one-sided view presented about AtlantaCon in the previous issue, frankly, I do not care to either. But I do wonder about the editorial policy (or lack thereof), for the inclusion of three letters (2 of them by mother and daughter), describing in such verbose, coordinated manner the same version, without giving "equal time" to the other side. Besides, is not INTERSTAT dedicated to serving as a forum for ideas, rather than as a mouthpiece for vitriolic personal attacks?
  • Pam I addresses the three letters and the Atlanta con incidents:
    I was terribly upset by I#10 of INTERSTAT and feel that I must write you. I am referring to the letters you printed from [Sharon E], [Rebecca H], and [Myra E]. I attended the convention in Atlanta to see Bill and to visit with my friends. We had a wonderful time and Bill was everything that we have come to expect from him. After his talk on Saturday he signed autographs for an hour, albums, books, pictures, etc. When the autograph session was over, we went to our rooms to watch the news coverage of the convention. We were shocked to hear [Ms. H's] remarks to the reporter and outraged that she would attack Bill in such a manner. We immediately called the station to set the record straight and to impress upon them that most of the fans attending the convention did not feel this way at all. Apparently we succeeded as the news at 11 p.m. omitted [Ms. H's statement and other unfavorable comments on the convention. If that is not a retraction than it was close to it. When Bill appeared on Sunday he had heard about the news report and was very upset... [Rebecca H] and [Sharon E] certainly have a right to their opinion, no matter how much others might disagree, and if their letters had dealt with that alone it would have been fine, instead, they proceeded to launch vicious attacks on other fans such as [Carol F], showing the complete lack of consideration that they felt they were denied in Atlanta. I was in the dealer's room when the so-called confrontations occurred and not once did [Carol F] act in the manner that they described. I have known [Carol F] for almost two years and I have found her to be a kind, witty, giving person. She certainly had the right to voice her displeasure and she had the decency to do it to her face. In her letter, [Sharon E] stated "Under no circumstances was it correct to attack said individuals in public and display the entire matter for all and sundry to see and hear; if having those three letters printed in your zine is not attacking individuals in public and displaying the entire matter for all and sundry to hear and see, then 1 don't know what is. I am very disappointed that you printed the letters without some attempt at editing. I think you, the editors of INTERSTAT, [Sharon E]. and [Rebecca H] owe [Carol F] a public and private apology for such vicious slander. Personal attacks like these do not belong In a zine nor should fandom tolerate it. If there is no apology, no presentation of the other aide, then I will have to cancel my subscription and my friends have said they will do the same.
  • Karen F addresses the three letters:
    It was very bad form of INTERSTAT to print 3 very long, repetitious (almost to the point of parroting each other!) letters attacking [Carol F]. In their invective (using such terms as "disgusting", "ugly", "vulgar", and "infantile idiocy") they throw "verbal acid" upon Carol just as they claim she did to [Rebecca H]. One letter would have been more than sufficient, as they all say the same thing. So why did you print 3! Doing that and not giving Carol a chance to reply in the same issue makes it look as if you are taking part in a deliberate attack on Carol. Granted, maybe you tried and just hadn't found her; in that case you should have held the letters until you did find her and gave her a chance to defend herself. Especially since the letters state that Carol wasn't the only one who complained about Rebecca's TV interview. She was just the only one the writers knew, so she gets all the shit dumped onto her. I'm reluctant to form an opinion of this event until I hear from the other side. At any rate, it's been my experience in violent arguments like this that usually the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. None of us is perfect; we all make mistakes. I would bet that there is sufficient cause for anger on both sides of this unfortunate affair.... A primary thing that impressed me is the fact that all 3 letters indicate that Rebecca did the same thing they accuse Carol F] of— in fact, Rebecca started the whole mess. She "roasted her beef", as Myra so colorfully puts it, in public. How much more public can you get than onTV?! When you comment in public—as Rebecca did—you must expect a public reaction. Or to put it colloquially: if you spit into the wind you're going to get it back in your face. It may not be pleasant, but it's just a fact of life. Sort of a social "natural law". The kind of reaction she got depended upon the anger her comments stirred up in her listeners, who felt a need to express themselves—and probably felt frustrated by a lack of outlet for well-reasoned expression.
  • Roberta R addresses the three letters and the con incident:
    In my opinion, the fanzine editor was right to think what she did, and she was angry enough to open up about it to someone who put the worst possible interpretation on it. Had the editor let fly in an editorial in her zine or in one of the letterzines the incident would have remained in Trekdom, and been thoroughly wrung out there, but, alas, the remarks were part of an extremely biased spot on the 6 p.m. news in Atlanta and the result was probably not what the editor had intended at all! My opinion of the whole incident is that in this case—EVERYONE was right and EVERYONE was wrong! The people who caused the abuse THOUGHT they were making some money for charity—only it didn't LOOK that way, it looked like a rip-off, because they did not SAY what they were doing and why they were doing it, clearly, BEFORE they did it! The fanzine editor who was upset by it was quite right, under the circumstances, to speak up—but NOT to someone who was out to give Trek and its fans a black eye anyway. As for the people who are now taking sides—they are only making the situation worse than it was before.
  • Sandy H comments on K/S:
    I've just about had my fill of K/S and censorship. It's beginning to get boring. And dull. And ridiculous. All the good arguments, on both sides, have been used up and fans are reduced to repeating themselves or insulting each other. Even the insults are getting boring.... Interesting subject provided by someone whose letter I can't find now; Shatner and Nimoy and Roddenberry reactions to K/S stories. When I read Trekfic I do not visualize Shatner, Nimoy, etc. I think of Kirk, Spock, etc. I rarely think of the actors at all. Maybe I'm strange but I don't see anything at all when I read (besides the words). I don't see aliens, or planets, or characters. I hear them. However, that's my little peculiarity and has nothing to do with the subject, which is, What do we owe Gene Roddenberry? What do we owe the actors? Our respect, certainly. Admiration, devotion, esteem, courtesy, homage, sacrificial lambs at the Spring Equinox... Do we owe them shackles on our imaginations? Do we curb our creativity and ideas because they might be offended? Do they have the right to tell us what to write and what not to write? Are good manners more important than exploration of a universe? Even if the universe is only fiction? Does Gene Roddenberry own the ST characters? Or have we made them ours by virtue of homesteading? (Remember how the pioneers could claim land by settling on it and working and improving the property?) We've all staked our claim to a ST universe, with our own versions of the characters; inventing new voyages and problems, killing off an actor here, marrying one off there. Does Gene Roddenberry own these characters, too? I'm all for respect and consideration, in moderation, Roddenberry invented the ST universe and the actors brought it to life; ten years ago. We have enlarged that universe, added insights and issues, speculated on questions that would never have made it to television; we have worked and argued and fought and- given a part of our lives and minds to that universe. We have given just as much to Star Trek as the actors did. Don't we have some rights to write what we want? Has our efforts given us any rights at all? Have we earned anything? Yes, I respect Gene Roddenberry and the actors. No, I don't owe them enough to put a strait-jacket on my imagination. I've paid them back in the ten years I've been watching the show. I do not associate the actors with the characters. I don't know what Shatner and Nimoy think of the K/S stories and frankly, I don't care. Shatner is an actor, not a starship captain. The fanartist's drawing of Kirk might look like a guy named Shatner looked like ten years ago but that doesn't mean the drawing is of Shatner. Do the characters have a separate existence from the actors? Can they exist on their own? It's rather late to start saying, "Look at the pretty characters but don't touch cause you might break them." We've been experimenting for years. Roddenberry invented them but we've helped raise them. (And speaking of abusing the original characters, what about third season Trek?) Do foster parents have any rights?
  • Charlene T addresses K/S:
    Another point that bothers me has been brought up on many occasions by a number of people and I would like to express my opinions on this. On the K/S controversy ("Oh, no, not again," groans the reader), why is it that some of the anti-K/S contingent calls those of us who enjoy and support the K/S "woman haters"? Is it because we derive pleasure from the physical expression of love between two male beings? Is it because we have "decided" no woman is" good enough" for Kirk or Spock? Quite frankly, I'm puzzled. I fully enjoy the sexual expression of the love I see between Kirk and Spock, and the fact that they are both male makes it all the more precious in my sight. Measuring their relationship against our current societal value system, I realize the tremendous amount of love that must exist between them for such a relationship to hold together. If they have found the qualities they need in a partner in each other, it seems totally senseless to me for them to seek out women partners and try to build that rapport again-with these women. To what end? It might satisfy those to whom heterosexuality is the absolute, but I don't think Kirk and Spock are particularly concerned about anyone else's "absolute". They've broken many cut-and-dried rules before and I doubt that society's opinion would stop them from doing what they feel is right for them. And as for K/S fen being "women haters" — I've seen no evidence of it. I associate with many gay women, most of whom are ardent K/S supporters—and a gay woman could hardly be called a "woman hater".
  • Patricia L writes of K/S:
    Kirk/Spock relationship being gay, horse-feathers! I can't see it; did Spock run to Kirk's room and climb in his bed when his blood began to boil? No, he went home to a female! You write what you want, just tell me in your flyers if it's K/S, and if I want, I will buy it or not. I can't tell another writer what to write, because if they told me, I would tell them to take a short walk off a mountain.
  • Deborah L. B responds to Susan Sackett's letter in the last issue:
    First of all, kudos to Susan Sackett for her timely comments. I also feel its time we dropped the topic and went on to others.
  • Mike B also addresses Susan Sackett and her views of K/S:
    Perhaps aired Star Trek did not portray Kirk and Spock as homosexuals. But then again, neither did it say they were not. The outcropping of homosexual stories regarding Kirk and Spock are merely extrapolations of aired programs. As are many stories. These pieces are not intended to offend anyone. They're simply some authors interpretation of Kirk and Spock's characters. Mostly, the stories are a current trend or fad. Harmless. For enjoyment and entertainment. It's not a question of having enough courage to send a copy of a fanzine containing homosexual material to the studio. It's not wanting to offend. I may not believe or like the idea of Kirk and Spock as lovers (I'm not quite sure how I like the idea of the two as homosexuals), but I do know it is not my right to deny or make it difficult for those who do believe the premise. Isn't that what IDIC truly means? Good Star Trek literature does not have to be good solely because it has been based on aired Trek. I've read many, many stories which deviate drastically from aired shows which were excellent and true art. No—Kirk and Spock were not created as being gay. But in some minds of some writers, it is a possibility and a logical progression of the bond the two feel for each other. We're learning to live with the gay population of our own century. Why not tolerate that of future ones?
  • Bonnie Mac writes of K/S and censorship:
    I'd like to add my voice to those protesting the censorship of homosexual (or any other kinds of) stories in regards to K/S. I personally do not agree with the premise that they would have this kind of relationship. I am not against homosexuality but I can't swallow it for them. I believe their love is that of one brother for another. I do however believe that no one should attack another's right to write and print that kind of story. If you don't like it, don't read it. It isn't hard to find out the contents of a story before you buy it. Many editors will come right out and state someplace in their zine that they don't wish to print those stories. The argument/discussion of this particular subject should stick to the validity of the premise and not go into whether or not a person has the right to print his/her side. The first kind of argument is healthy and should help to cement a decision one way or another in each person's mind. The latter argument is only censorship and suppression of all that does not support your own opinions.

Issue 12

Interstat 12 was published in October 1978 and contains 22 pages.

cover of issue #12, Mike Brown
art from issue #12, M.S. Murdock, portrait of Gene Roddenberry
  • art by: Mike Brown, Teri Myer, M.S. Murdock, Wilhelmina, Ann Crouch, and Gerry Downes
  • WAHF = 5 (This is the last time Interstat lists the names and addresses of those whose letters, due to space constraints, were received but not printed.)
  • Linda Maclaren writes and explains that Paramount had sent her a cease and desist letter about the zine Dreadnaught Explorations despite a statement the company issued, saying: "Paramount is familiar with several fanzines, and as such find them to be of 'fair use' of Star Trek, which we can only hope to encourage." Boldly Writing says: "From this exchange came a rumor that Paramount was about to shut down all Star Trek fanzine production, and the anti-K/S faction interpreted Paramount's alleged threat as an indication of the company's disapproval of K/S. Of course, Paramount never shut down the fanzine; it remained in print for years. Later, fans discovered that Paramount had mistaken the fanzine for a commercial publication." For the full text of the letter that was also published in Scuttlebutt #8, see Dreadnought Explorations.
  • Three fans, Barbara L. S, Victoria C, and M.V.M. V write a joint letter:
    Having read a recent issue of INTERSTAT, we were deeply concerned with what appears to be an irresponsible editorial policy on your part. I am referring to three very lengthly letters in edition #10 zine, from [Sharon E] [Rebecca H], and [Myra E]. The letters, which commented on a series of incidents occurring during the Atlanta Convention, were both inflammatory and personally insulting to two well known members of Star Trek fandom. It seems to us that if several letters with a similar viewpoint are published in a single issue, responsible editors should be aware of their duty to simultaneously print the opposite position. As Star Trek fandom is a union of individuals who supposedly subscribe to a philosophy of harmony and mutual respect, misunderstandings such as these are doubly disturbing. We are saddened that your zine, by showcasing one side of this misunderstanding exclusively, has done little to enhance the oneness which Star Trek is about.
  • Sue K writes:
    It was very bad form of INTERSTAT to print '4' very long, repetitious...letters"(#11) (...so obviously jointly written...) that disagree with my point of view. In the future I will expect you to take [Karen F's] suggestion and edit all comments I do not agree with or I'll hold my breath till I turn blue. Silly, isn't it? It seems that our target for this month is INTERSTAT itself, or, more specifically, its editorial policy. Carol, Susan, Pam and Karen have a perfect right to defend what they consider an attack and well they should but to blame INTERSTAT for the contents of those letters would be like trying to arrest the telephone company for an obscene phone call. Do we really want INTERSTAT to edit(censor)our letters? To cut out what they might consider rude, offensive, argumentative or contradictive to their own views? Don't get me wrong, I hate all this in-fighting but the place to stop it is at the source, not in an open forum zine. If you write it, INTERSTAT will publish it even if it's over a page long, attacks the zine itself and means that 14 other letters do not get published. A great many letters are written in the heat of the moment (this one is) so tend to be a little biting and in some cases down right vicious but that's our fault not the editors. Susan asks "what has happened to truth?" Truth is how we interpret facts so what may be true for you may not be true for me. I am not trying to get involved in the Atlanta Con debate because I wasn't there so I have no facts to base my "truth" upon. Those of you who attended the Con have facts, some more than others, but who of you has all the facts. Everyone seems to have A truth but no one has THE truth. To ask INTERSTAT to edit our letters would be asking them to impose THEIR truth on our minds. That is not their right or their function and I think we had better realize that. One more item, if INTERSTAT prints an apology for doing their job I'll cancel my subscription. Excuse me while I run out to buy a flack jacket.
  • Leslie Fish writes:
    I was disappointed in INTERSTAT #10. I'd been led to believe that INTERSTAT was the new Halkan Council, full of serious discussions about Trek-related subjects such as art, literature, sociology, speculations on future technology, and so on. Instead, what do I see? Most of the letters dealt with only two subjects: 1.)being rude to [Carol F] because she was rude to [Rebecca H] because she was rude to the AtlantaCon committee on TV; 2.)furiously denying that Kirk and Spock could be lovers because 'Our Heroes Are Not-Not-NOT Dirty-Disgusting-Taboo 'Ho-Mo-Seck-Shuls'. My immediate reaction was to laugh myself silly. Thank Whatever Gods There Be that at least a few of your correspondents are more mature than that!... As for the second topic, I'd still be laughing if it weren't so subtly ominous. The anti-K/S comments range from the merely ignorant—as if that weren't bad enough—to the downright bigoted.... [examples of ignorance snipped]... The rest of the comments, as typified by Susan Sackett's letter, show something worse than ignorance. First off, Ms. Sackett complains that nobody has ever sent a K/S story to Gene Roddenberry's office— as if that were something that she had a right to expect. What marvelous arrogance! Does she expect to get copies of every Trek-zine printed? For free? Everybody else in Trek-dom has to pay for their zines (or at least make a direct contribution to each issue). If S.S. and G.R. want to read zines with K/S stories—or any zines, for that matter—they can damn-well afford to send for them and pay for them, just like everybody else. This blithe arrogance turns to something worse when Ms. Sackett claims that "Gay Liberation...has no application to characters in Star Trek" because Kirk and Spock are "straight-appearing". This comment shows that Ms. Sackett, like all the rest of you who oppose the K/S theory on the grounds that it's "out of character", ASSUMES THAT NOBODY EXCEPT A STEREOTYPE "FAIRY" EVER INDULGES IN SAME-SEX AFFAIRS. That, good people, is bullshit. It is also bigoted.... No, you do not have to be a "screaming faggot", a "mincing fairy" or anything like that to have a same-sex affair. Is that clear? Have we all got that now, kiddies? You'd better—because claiming otherwise flies in the face of the facts, and is nothing more or less than bigotry. All of you—from Susan Sackett on down—who have insisted that Our Heroes Aren't 'Gay', are displaying bigotry. You're all bigots. Sorry, but you are. You are bigots because you assume that people are all heterosexual or all homosexual. You are bigots because you assume that there is nothing in between these two artificial positions. You are bigots because you assume that what one does in bed dominates one's personality, instead of the other way around. You are bigots because you assume that anyone who gets into bed with a male (Human or Vulcan) necessarily must be hysterical, sex-obsessed, pouty, pettish, silly, romantic, jealous, possessive, soft, seductive, fluttery, manipulative, maternal, weepy, weak, artificial, cutesy, conservative, timorous, dependent, vain, pliable and cuddly—in short, totally "out of character for Kirk and Spock", totally unfit for command, and totally like a stereotype unliberated woman! You bigots! If this is what you think of any same-sex affair, then what must you think of yourselves?
  • Frances F writes:
    To the Copyright or No Copyright feud: Here's a hypothetical question. What if GR and Paramount suddenly withdrew their permission for fanzines based on "Trek"? What would you do? Stop writing them instantly? Sneak around and write them anyway? Suppose GR and P refused to allow K/S or other controversial kinds of stories. What then? Why, of course, we're all law abiding citizens...therefore, all fanzine publication would cease. Or would we rebel against the copyright holders and refuse to lend our support to Trek unless we could create a little Trek ourselves.
  • Rob M is confused:
    After reading about the Atlanta incident in #10, my main reaction is confusion. Is this the same [Carol F] who merited the author's dedication in New Voyages II? Who edited a zine deal ing with, and I quote, "love—love in general and love in specific; love in friendship, love in the traditional romantic sense; love in adversity, and love as the highest value ultimately defeating adversity."? And is the same [Carol F] I have come in contact with at two cons, finding her as friendly as could be? Judging only on the basis of the letters in INTERSTAT, I certainly do not condone her behaviour; far from it. But there must be many people out there in fandom who have only these letters by which to form their opinion of the individuals involved. How many of these have therefore decided to ignore the two Carols at future cons, following the lead of [Rebecca H]? That would be grossly unfair to both ladies, and leads me to question the ethics of printing such a character assassination within the pages of Interstat.
  • George W writes:
    Bitch, Bitch, Bitch. From the contents of #11 and #10 the preceeding appears applicable to both authors and contents of the most violent issues of INTERSTAT I have yet read.... I am not usually in the habit of defending other people, particularly not when they show questionable intelligence in living in two of the places God would choose were he to insert an enema into the planet earth. However, my chivalrous soul prompts me to say a few words for the editors of INTERSTAT, defenseless females that they are. Reread the editors statements of policy in previous issues. They set out their rules and as far as I can perceive, have followed them. "Atlantagate" has presented a new topic for discussion and therefore new writers to print. However much we may dislike certain topics they receive a representation concurrent with the amount of words written.
  • Devra Langsam writes of unauthorized sequels:
    Obviously, Guinn is correct in saying that all ST fan writing depends upon Roddenberry's original concepts, and the writings of the scriptwriters. That goes without saying. However, there are two ways of working from this original material. One way, which is the way most ST fans write, is to use the show's background, culture, and characters. This way, you only have to make up the plot. Most of us, who have never with what was given to us. Some people go beyond this, and make up great gobs of their own... culture, language, aliens, art. One such writer is Jacqueline Lichtenberg. So far, I have not heard anybody say that she doesn't have the right to control what is published under the name of "Kraith". (Some people may argue with the way that she controls it, but that's another story.) done any writing before, feel insecure and inadequate making up all new information,and just work. Another pair of authors who have done this are Fern Marder and Carol Walske. There are several factors which make their writing different from that of the average trekwriter. 1.)Their stories are set 25 years into the future of ST. In fact, Kirk and Spock only appear in ONE of their stories. 2.)Fern and Carol have done their homework and created an entire Klingon culture, completely separate and different from the regular ST material—including history, law, folktales, three languages (plus archaic forms of these), and different alphabets for these scripts. 3.)This material has been amassed for the past ten years—ever since Carol first saw "Errand of Mercy". It is in no way to be considered a theft from Roddenberry. It is ALL original material. 4.) If the characters had not been called Klingons, and described as looking like Klingons, and shown so in the pictures, you would have had NO way of knowing that they had any relationship to ST at all. Regular sf is chock-full of evil Empires, virtuous Federations, Confederations, Galactic Unions—You can't say Roddenberry made up the idea of a Federation, any more than you can say that Lucas made up the idea of an evil Empire. I do NOT find it unreasonable that they should want to prevent the appearance of unauthorized, unapproved stories using their characters, their culture, their language, their ideas. They just plain donft want anybody writing about THEIR Klingons. Mind you, they never said they owned all Klingons, just the ones they made up. This sounds reasonable to me. I speak as someone who one day received a story which another writer had written about one of MY characters. This story completely screwed up all the ideas I'd been making, and absolutely destroyed the character I had created. (But she said it was a sequel to my story...) The other person thought it was a wonderful sequel, despite the fact that HER story totally reversed the major idea that I was putting forth in my story. I was furious. You may think that you know where an author's going, but ten to one you don't. Someone once read one of my stories and said, "I know! Janet's going to marry Master Kinet!"—an idea which gives me cold shudders. No one has the right to say, "Only I can write about Vulcans (Andorians, Tholians, Orions...)'1 The problem comes when someone writes so bloody well that others want to borrow the ideas. It may be flattering, but if the author doesn't want it, then it should be no dice. Some authors are flattered by others' wanting to participate in their universes; others don't want it. It shouldn't be necessary for an author to do anything more than say "No". Let's not have any of this nonsense about "GR made it all up in the beginning, and I can use anything that anyone else did SINCE then, because it's all part of the same thing". You have a right to what you've created, and other people ought to respect and recognize it.
  • Sharon E offers this up:
    Well, I do believe that the readers have found something to talk about—other than the K/S debate that's dragged on for over a year. Have subsequently learned, however, that I did have one thing wrong. [Rebecca H] was taking a break at the same time I was, which meant she was no place near the table. Thus, when the Channel 11 people came into the Dealer's Room at Atlanta Con, Rebecca was at the far end of that room, looking at the movie posters and stills someone was offering for sale. In other words, Rebecca was interviewed as a convention attendee, not as a dealer. A minor point, of course, but one that should be made perfectly clear. The response to my letter describing my experiences at the Atlanta Con (#10) came as no surprise. Unfortunately, some of those who wrote to protest against what I had said focused upon inconsequentlals while either missing or ignoring the whole point. If one wishes to interpret eye-witness accounts of events and defenses of a friend as personal attacks, that's their problem. Perhaps it would be to [Carol F's] and [Susan K. J's] best interests if they got busy and conducted an investigation to find exactly who it was that were wearing their names and their faces at the convention. [Pam I] insists that I owe [Carol F] an apology. For saying "Unfortunately, there were a few individuals attending that convention who seemed determined to prove that they are as ugly inwardly as they are outwardly—and succeeded," I apologize. To shovel back the same stuff that's been piled upon me from various sources these past few years was unkind and uncalled-for.
  • Doris J. F has some comments on spray-on clothes and K/S:
    I attended the Star Trek Festival in Omaha, in August. It was a sellout. The show was great, especially George Takei's speech about the new movie. He told about four newly designed uniforms, one a one-piece jumpsuit, that he was not too fond of, and another big change, sprayed-on fiber like underwear for all hands. This would be dissolved in the sonar shower at night and resprayed on the next day after re cycling. Nice thought, but wouldn't it get in the way at Bones' medical emergencies, and Kirk's private encounters? Food for thought there. Lt. Sulu said the film may premier in Omaha in July, next year. What a first for us! The K/S relationships, while not aired on TV, is something I can understand, too. Star Trek is way in the future. Affairs then maybe with either sex, without offending anyone. Author Arthur Clarke, in Imperial Earth, proposes, "that aggressive normalcy of people in 2275 was not polarized towards one sex". Surely, there are adherents to that belief, among the 430 people on board the Enterprise. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, recognizes individual conscience, tastes, desires, feelings, social and sexual mores. Let's remember that and get on to other topics.
  • Cheryl D. R clarifies something:
    I am shocked, yes, shocked and distressed that anyone could have so misread my comments concerning Miss Dodge as to find them offensive. I did not say I pitied her opinions, I said I thought the correct attitude to take concerning what she had herself done to whatever reputation she had in fandom was pity. There is a definite distinction there. I have always respected everyone's right to their opinion however much I may disagree with it, which is more than a lot of people can truth fully say. As for "forgiving" Miss Dodge—I cannot speak for her intentions but since her "opinions" caused me no harm, it would be both "patronizing and offensive" to consider forgiving her at all. After all— only He can judge a conscience truly.
  • Joy L agrees on the love, but not the explicit sex:
    [Gayle F] says "The K/S relationship is the richest and most complex love relationship...in Trek". I agree 100%, BUT I am sorry to see the majority of people equate l-o-v-e only with s-e-x and b-e-d. Indeed Trek was a sexy show, and sex drive a basic to human nature, but if it was the only thing would man have walked on the moon?? Surely there are budding authors out there who can tackle stories of true human relationships, without always having the characters end up in someone's bed. What a fine study of human nature and emotions we saw in the episode "Enemy Within". Sex was there yes, but it was a side point, not the crux of the show. Maybe by the 23rd century.
  • Bev V just wants to know why:
    Although I have been actively involved in fandom for a number of years, I have never participated in debates, discussions or viewpoints in lettercol zines. Indeed, with the volume of correspondence and other activities I enjoy, I simply do not have the time. However, the very lengthly and obviously pre-planned letters from [Sharon E], [Rebecca H] and [Myra E] printed in your last issue, prompted me to respond. The first question that comes to my mind concerning INTERSTAT is WHY? How could you print such vicious attacks on someone's character without at least verifying their validity or giving the persons involved a chance to reply in the same issue? Did you not have second thoughts as you addressed Carol Friable's copy about how unsuspecting, seeing this in print for the first time might affect her? Second, I wonder what Sharon, Rebecca and Myra hoped to accomplish by those open letters directed not to the individuals involved personally, but to the general readers of this zine. Will reading these letters encourage new fen, present a positive picture of all the good things in fandom? Is this kind of thing in keeping with the ideals of Star Trek, which hopefully we are all striving to achieve? Rather it sounds like sour grapes, to put it mildly, an effort to get even for what the writer feels was an injustice to her personally. Rebecca stated that she seemed to have "inadvertently stirred up a hornet's nest", referring to her appearance on TV in Atlanta. I suggest that she knows full well what she is doing. The incident in Atlanta could and should have died there, if it were not for the apparent get-em-before-they-get-me attitude in those letters. It was NOT "Carol & Co." nor any of the other people who called the TV station protesting the biased reporting of the convention, who wrote to INTERSTAT. The whole affair was handled at the time it occurred, then put behind. A few however, were not satisfied by that. Third, I'd like to offer a few statements in defense of Carol's character. I have known her since my first days in fandom and am proud to call her friend. Carol is one of the most honest and completely dedicated fans I know. Her devotion to keeping the dream of TREK alive and her direct way of dealing with those who pose a threat to that dream is an admirable quality from which we can all take an example. She uses no subterfuge or underhanded methods but deals personally with the source.... Star Trek is standing on the threshold of a new beginning. It should be a time of joy, pride and unity to all who have labored so long to accomplish this goal. The petty mud-slinging public attacks on individuals has no place in a fandom dedicated to the appreciation of all beings. Those who would indulge in such actions would do well to take another look at their motives and goals and INTERSTAT should re-evaluate their editorial policy for allowing their zine to be used for such purposes.
  • Susan S writes of what she sees as Interstat's editorial fair game:
    Since when is INTERSTAT obliged to apologize for continuing a policy the zine has used and stuck to from its very first issue? INTERSTAT is a letterzine, not a newspaper folks. How or even why should Teri and Mary G. be expected to track down all sides of any given issue and still maintain a monthly publication schedule with some semblence of a budget and only 17 pages of letterspace? I get the feeling that people haven't taken a good look at the manner in which INTERSTAT carries out its "forum of views" policy. It's about time they did. When a fan writes a letter to INTERSTAT there is an excellent chance it will be published REGARDLESS of subject matter and REGARDLESS of the opinions of the editors on the points being made. (One of the biggest complaints about Halkan Council was that fans whose opinions tended to be conservative on various issues had very little chance of being published—and I've been told this by quite a few fans.... To me this sudden criticism of INTERSTAT by a swarm of fans who also had the opportunity to have their say (It was called Issue #11, folks.)
  • Rebecca H writes:
    C*H*U*C*K*L*E! Received INTERSTAT #11 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Quite delightful, really. I must say that I found some portions most amusing— especially the fact that certain people are not sure if they can forgive INTERSTAT for doing its job as an open forum. CUTE! Also amusing were the gripes about your printing only one side of the controversy. INTERSTAT 11 proved those statements totally erroneous, and you owe no one an apology for airing the truth. I'm sure many people are now eating their words regarding the one-sidedness, and I trust they are enjoying their alphabet soup.
  • Rebecca H alerts fans to a mean story:
    There is currently being disseminated within Fandom a raunchy attempt at parody entitled, 'When Universes Collide,' written by someone with no talent and even less imagination. It makes no effort to be literature, but is an out-and-out slam... The humor is extremely low level (one needs a Retch Bag handy when reading) and panders to an extremely jaded sense of humor. What makes this so bad is the author doesn't even have the courage to claim it, but uses the name 'Louisa M. Alcott.' I do not know who the gutless wonder is who perpetrated this, but I do know that the editors of the zines this story slams are courageous enough o attach their names to any derogatory statements or criticism they make. They do not anonymously circulate such a piece of garbage. The story is nothing but a cheap shot by a very jealous person, and I think it's a real shame that a fan could sink so low. Perhaps it is intended as a joke, but it isn't funny. It's sick. It's pathetic, and so is the author. If any of you would like to judge this piece of smut for yourselves, send me an SASE with two stamps, and I'll be happy to send you a Xerox copy.
  • Rebecca H addresses Carol F, an excerpt in a long, long, long, detailed, outraged letter about power, sf fandom, William Shatner, money....:
    Your letter was quite predictable, therefore, no surprise. My only rejoinder can be this: You can sit back, pull on your shroud of injured innocence and call me a liar. I can turn around and call you a liar, and we can play that game until eternity ends. Somehow, I don't think that either one of us will get anywhere. I shall only remind you that there were a lot of people, both in the restaurant and in the dealer's room who saw and heard all that passed between us, (and a number of them heard you say things which I don't believe you wanted me to hear). They know what happened. Furthurmore, you know what was said and done; I know what was said and done; and we both know the truth of the situation.... For the benefit of all fans, let us unite and end the sort of vindictive harrassment which I encountered in Atlanta— right now!
  • Sally J. K writes of Atlanta:
    I would like to comment on the letters regarding the "Atlanta Incident" in both #10 and #11. I was in Atlanta and, other than hearing a brief critique on the 6 o'clock news program—which I had missed—I did not notice any other ripples. I'm sure the persons involved had very deep feelings regarding the incident, but after having read both sides, I think it was a monumental misunder standing which expanded as time passed.
  • Jani F writes of the two current controversies:
    I have followed with interest the latest debate in the K/S controversy and feel both sides have presented their opinions quite adequately and most articulately So I have nothing to add to it. All I can say is "to each his own". (However, I must be honest in admitting I was glad to see a letter from Susan Sackett.) With regard to the problem that arose at ST Atlanta, I would like to offer my comments as I was in attendance at that con. To begin with, I fleetingly did consider the aspect of having to "pay" for Mr. Shatner's autograph, but immediately dismissed the thought. I think Shirley Maiewski described the situation quite well last February in New York when she said that had Mr. Shatner or Mr. Nimoy granted autograph sessions at earlier cons, they would probably still be sitting there even now signing,
and signing, and signing Some restrictions had to be imposed.
Mary Lou D's list: "A comparison of the lists to the themes found in opposing fan'zines is most revealing."
  • Mary Lou D ties the rift in fandom to some other things, and includes a list [see image]:
    Recently I ran across a most interesting editorial in Harpers which provides an arresting theory that explains the rift in fandom as an outgrowth of a corresponding split in U.S. society. The article discussed foreign policy and why they believed America will eventually abandon Israel to support the Arab sheikdoms— not because of a crassly commercial concern with oil, but because an increasing segment of the population lends its sympathies to barbarism, rather than civilized standards. In proof, the editorial printed the following lists of characteristics that differentiate the civilized and uncivilized individual: A comparison of the lists to the themes found in opposing fan'zines is most revealing. Since therefore the root of their quarrel rises from a serious and deeply felt desire to overturn or to protect our 700 year old culture, no armistice is possible. I don't think anyone doubts that I mean to defend the walls and if they get burned by the cauldrons of hot lead they'd better make sure that what they are battering down will make the risks worthwhile! Those who read only fan'zines might be surprised to know that I am not the only voice saying these things; most intellectual journals and an increasing number of writers have taken up the fight. Archibald McLeish and John Gardiner have both recent books exorciating pornography and viciousness in modern literature. Saul Bellow warned fiction writers in his Nobel Prize address that they were not fulfilling their responsibilities to society and their craft.

Issue 13

Interstat 13 was published in November 1978 and contains 22 pages. The front cover is silk-screened.

both covers of issue #13, stencil and design by Jude Huntsberger, silk-screened by Mary G. Buser
art from issue #13, Mike Brown
art from issue #13, Melinda Shreve
  • art by: Jude Huntsberger and Mary G. Buser, Heather Firth, Melinda Shreve, Mike Brown, and Cathy Strand
  • there are 10 names listed in Thanks for Writing
  • there is an open letter to Gene Roddenberry regarding Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander; she asks that Roddenberry make a film series of it
  • Bev Z is unhappy with her art and some context in which it has been used:
    Recently I've had a few illustrations published in such a way as to imply my agreement with the K/S relationship premise. I'm sure this stemmed from misunderstandings on everyones' part, but I felt I should say something to make my views clear. I do not now, nor have I ever agreed to the homosexual premise. Please understand, I'm not condemning the K/S stories one way or the other; but I (and I think other artists will agree with what I say) should like my work interpreted in the context that was intended. And so I am asking editors to have the courtesy and kindness to question their artist contributors if there is any doubt as to that person's views on a touchy subject. It will save a lot of hassle and bad feelings all around.
  • Jenny F comments on the recent letters to Interstat:
    Kudos to [Sue K] (I#12) -- 'to ask Interstat to edit our letters would be asking them to impose THEIR truths on our minds. That is not their right or function and I think we had better realize that.' I think Sue has touched on one of the more important points of the Atlanta/letterfracas. Lord knows I have my own opinion about Atlanta (don't we all) but that's no longer the point. I don't like to see fights-in-fandom, but we are all thinking individuals (among other things, that means opinionated) so there will inevitably be disagreements. I don't want to worry that Teri or Mary G. will disagree with, or disapprove of my letters, and so "edit" them...do you? They prints 'em as they gets 'em! So—if you don't like the Atlanta infighting (and I don't either)—why, stop fighting about it!
  • Diane T is canceling her subscription:
    It is with some sadness that I have decided not to resubscribe to INTERSTAT after ish 12. To [Rebecca H] and [Sharon E]: I remember the special joy of seeing my friends and William Shatner in Atlanta and I am dismayed at the ugliness you sought to find there. Seek and ye shall find. Look into your own innerspace, women...INTERSTAT does not fit into my STAR TREK universe anymore; I groan to find it in my mailbox. Malicious, gossipy stuff has always bored me ...and beyond that, I simply can't take it anymore..... to [Sue K]: Where in the heavens is your analogy? Were the personal attacks like an obscene phone call?...Is INTERSTAT like the phone company? Certainly not as that is a huge public communication network utilizing verbal (thus spontaneous) interchanges, so it is impossible for the phone company to read through them first such as comparatively tiny INTERSTAT can. Suffice to say, obscene phone calls are not allowed, they are a legal offense. The phone company does try to protect its subscribers! Your lack of logic leaves me baffled.
  • Amy T. Dickson writes about a bigger picture:
    Leslie Fish's letter (I#12) served to clarify a thought I've been tossing around in my mind for a few months now: that our divergent opinions on the K/S issue have more to do with our attitudes regarding homosexuality in our world today than they do with the characters Kirk and Spock in some fictional world two hundred years in the future. It's no secret In fandom that we write our fantasies, and they, In turn, reflect our beliefs and biases. Perhaps it is time to examine some of those beliefs more closely. I suspect that a great deal of the antagonism toward K/S stories stems from the premise that "no hero of mine would do such a thing," implying, of course, that "such a thing" is unnatural, immoral and perverted. Agreed, many figures of authority have told us just that about homosexuality, but then, a generation ago other authority figures were telling us, no less adamantly, that certain individuals were inherently inferior because their skin was black and certain others were utterly incapable of competent leadership because they were women. Society has been known, on occasion, to be wrong... It would be interesting to hear how those who oppose a homosexual K/S relationship feel about non-sexual K/S stories. I'm thinking of all those stories where one friend risks life and limb for the other; all of those tender Sickbay scenes where one lies dying and the other weeps; all of the complex plots constructed for the explicit purpose of making the two admit affection, even love, for each other. As I see it, the sexual stories are just the next step beyond these in a logical (forgive me!) progression. Love has no gender and the physical expression of love need not be limited to any one form.
  • Karen F comments on Leslie Fish's letter and for tolerance:
    I sympathize with Leslie Fish's fury at some of the fanatical comments against Kirk/Spock-sex. Stereotyping people as "screaming faggots" and "mincing fairies" is irresponsible. However, it saddens me to see Leslie lump everyone who disagrees with her into one bag and label us all bigots". That's just as unreasonable as the fanatics on the other side. There are just as logical reasons for believing Kirk and Spock would not be lovers as there are for thinking that they would. I don't see how Leslie's apparent insistence that everyone see things as she does can do anything but hurt her side of the K/Sp argument. For myself, I don' t ask that K/Sp-sex fans Rive up their theories. And I will not give up my own views. I suggest we all just agree to disagree. Neither side will ever convince the other to give up its opinions. Indeed, why should they? If fandom can't allow each individual to have his/her own convictions, how in hell can we expect the world to? It makes IDIC look like a crock, and Marshak and Culbreath's statements that ST is changing the world a farce.
  • Myra E tries to explain:
    After reading I#12, I feel stung into speaking out. People, you're missing the whole point of the EE&H [1] letters! They weren't written with the intention of verbally abusing [Carol F] and [Susan K. J]. The intent was to inform Trekfen of a very unfortunate and distasteful incident that occurred in a public establishment occupied by Trekkers and non-Trekkers alike. The main objective was to express shock —and on my part—combined with disappointment in the behavior of a few so-called "adults". So far, in I#11 and #12, Becky, Mother, and I have been accused of lying, of using foul language, and have been told that our "heads should be shoved up where the sun doesn't shine." Nice responses, aren't they? Almost every letter I've read in INTERSTAT responding to the "Atlantagate" (a very apt term, [George W]), has fussed about the three, long, lengthy, repetitious, co-written letters sent by EE&H. Okay, stop for a second. Look for your copy of I#10, and re-read my letter. Is six paragraphs a long letter? Becky and Mother wrote long letters because they felt that trying to condense what had happened would cause a misunderstanding. Yet, because they didn't condense their letters, misunderstandings happened anyway!... I invite anybody in Trekdom to find one, just one dirty word in Becky's, Mother's or my own letters, that wasn't a direct quote of what was said to Becky in our hearing at that convention. Yet, in letters printed in I#12, I read the word "bitch" (three times), "crap", (one time), and "Damn" (at least once).
  • Connie D addresses Leslie Fish's letter:
    To Leslie Fish (I//12): I always thought that a "bigot" was someone who was intolerant of other people's beliefs. Am I right? Then it would seem to me that you were talking about yourself. And if you can't see through your own bigotry, then you're a hypocrite besides. But then there seems to be a lot of that (hypocrisy) going around lately, doesn't there? Now I don't know what you hoped to prove by your hysterical tirade and name-calling, but if anything, you've probably succeeded in revolting not only those who might (tsk, tsk) oppose your views, but even those who might have agreed with you. I found it slightly amusing by the way (for obvious reasons) that you should speak of someone else's "arrogance". Now as for those "medieval superstitions": well, why don't you just come out and admit that "religion" (and some people's adherence to their faith, which they have every right to) is the real thorn in your side and what's bugging you. (Since you obviously cannot tolerate anyone dumb enough to believe in the Bible) And apparently you believe the world will be well rid of such beliefs (pardon me, medieval superstitions) one day. Are you implying then that Christianity, Judiasm, etc., have no place in society 200 years from now?!
  • Lori Chapek-Carlton mentions a letter she has received from Lucasfilm regarding her zine Warped Space:
    [Linda M's] letter (I#12) concerning DREADNOUGHT EXPLORATIONS vs. Paramount Pictures was succinct and interesting. I'm sorry I haven't seen any issues of her 'zine. It was particularly timely in my case, because I just received a letter from Lucas-film Limited, wanting to buy any past, present and future issues of WARPED SPACE dealing with STAR WARS. The contrast between the friendly letter I received, and the threatening letter(s) Linda received is striking.
  • Lori Chapek-Carlton also addresses Mary Lou D's letter in issue #12:
    In a somewhat related vein, that of anthropocentricism, [Mary Lou D's] letter is the main reason I wrote. I wanted to write in and refute her, but found her letter so totally incomprehensible that I cannot. What is her complaint? Is she honestly likening the Arabs (and by implication, other nomadic and/or semi-nomadic cultures) with barbarism? I am an Anthropology major (Social Comparative Anthropology), and find her listings of nomad and citizen totally ludicrous, as well as completely extraneous. I don't read "only fanzines", either.
  • Johanna C writes of copyright and transformative works:
    On the copyright business, it is possible that fan lit, under the new copyright law, is "derivative work." According to the General Guide to that law, such material can be copyrighted, that copyright has no effect on previous copyrights, and the consent of previous copyright holders is not required. Unfortunately, the possibility that we are legal has nothing to do with the facts of the matter, which are that I doubt any of us can afford to be the test case. When it comes to paying lawyers, winning is prohibitively expensive.
  • Donna C addresses Leslie Fish's letter and K/S:
    As one of the people who said I felt Kirk and Spock as lovers was out of character, I feel I must reply to Leslie Fish (I#12). I know perfectly well that it is not necessary for a man to be simpering and effeminate to have a same-sex affair, or even to be a full time homosexual. I also know perfectly well that many people are bisexual. I have never assumed that only a "stereotyped unliberated female" would get into bed with a man. I know very few such women and I certainly am not one. I think rather well of myself, thank you. I have no assumptions about this matter; rather, I have a belief: that love between two persons does not lead to sex if a sexual relationship would be against their basic physical nature. I saw nothing in the Kirk/Spock relationship as portrayed in the aired episodes to lead to the conclusion that they are lovers. You may call me naive or ignorant, but do not call me a bigot. You are the one making unfair generalizations about a group of people—something a bigot often does.
  • Cindy S also addresses Fish's letter:
    You spent an awful lot of paper justifying homosexuality as a whole. So what? We know it exists, but that does not prove anything about these particular characters. As for stereotypes, most of them I've found were in the K/S stories. (There have, of course, been notable exceptions like your "Shelter".) For the most part, though, the adjectives in your last paragraph describe quite well the characterization in 99% of those stories. The characters are "hysterical, sex-obsessed, pouty, pettish, silly..." Do I need to go on? The K/S people are the ones keeping those stereotypes alive, not us. Maybe the Kirk and Spock of your universe are gay, but you cer tainly can't expect all of us to think the same way. And don't expect to bring anyone to your point of view by collectively labeling us as bigots. We've been very tolerant of your opinions. Can't you give us the same courtesy?
  • Mary Lou D writes of being harmed:
    ... ….[Mike B's] letter (I#11) produced a much more serious reaction: harmless? Not to me! Until May 28, 1977, STAR TREK was a joy to my life I found it stimulating to my mind, full of meanings,
depths, intelligence, nobility and optimism...then I went into the dealer's room at SeKwestercon Too and ran into a full display of garbage! Now I find trying to watch episodes only revives a sense of distaste and revulsion; and after fifteen months I can still get none of the old enjoyment—I can't watch it anymore. It's harmed me! Therefore, it's harmed the merchants who paid for advertising on the show I can't watch. I've bought no zines since SeKwestercon, that's injured the editors and writers of decent zines, who have been deprived of an audience, nor have I purchased any commercial ST material, that's harmed Roddenberry, Paramount and the publishers. One person may not have made a great difference in sales, but multiply me by the number of people who have abruptly turned away from fandom in the last two years, and continue to desert in the face of barrages of material that pile degradation upon degradation in what seems deliberate efforts to fill all fans of the original STAR TREK with revulsion while any protest results in reams of hate mail, both in print and in private; and not a single offender has been moved to say, "I'm sorry, I never realized I was going hurt anyone." Every writer is responsible for what he writes and the lower the level he aims for, the greater his responsibility. There is a point where "doing my thing" has to give way to being "my brother's keeper". It's not the twelve year old who will be influenced by the present denigration of women, or the portrayal of the ENTERPRISE as an intergalactic brothel, whose crew is occupied solely with joyless, irresponsible sex, but the sixteen to twenty-five year olds, who have cut loose of past standards and now flounder in the morass of popular culture, trying to form a new philosophy. No harm? To ask toleration is like standing between a rapist and his victim, say ingunctuously,"I want you to kiss and make up. You forgive him for raping you, and he'll forgive you for resenting the rape." Harm? They turned something good and noble into something corrupt and depressing. If the contents of INTERSTAT sound increasingly hysterical, vicious and ignoble—do you suppose what they've been reading has influenced fandom? No harm?
  • Carol M is discontinuing her subscription to Interstat:
    I want you to know that I realize you and Mary G. can't help what you must print, but I would still rather not read those kind of letters...and, unfortunately, the INTERSTAT LOCs accurately reflect the way STAR TREK fandom, in general, is becoming (at least from my point of view). I've come very close to gafiating completely in the last few months, I'm certainly less active in fandom than I was, and am concentrating more on STAR WARS fandom now since it has the vigor, enthusiasm and sense of wonder that STAR TREK fandom has lost in its pursuit of perversion and backbiting. I appreciate your comments on being sorry to lose my sub, it's nice to know I'll be missed. I would indeed like to resubscribe to INTERSTAT if the tone of the LOCs ever takes an upswing from the chasm into which it has fallen....
  • regarding all this controversy and of the beauty of an open mind, Shirley Maiewski writes:
    I am going to tell you a story, which HAS a point. When I was a child, long years ago, I lived in New Jersey. My Aunt and Uncle lived in Massachusetts and every summer, during my father's two precious weeks of vacation, we went to visit them. It happened that Aunt Vi and Uncle Charlie ran a wonderful seafood market. My parents loved seafood, and while we visited, my Aunt Vi would load the table with wonderful fresh fish — cooked just right. There were great mixing bowls full of shrimp, others filled with lobster meat. On the stove there would be a wash-boiler of steamed clams. There were platters of flakey white fish, bowls of quahogs (little necks to some) on the half-shell plus bowls of vegetables and fresh bread. (I hope I have your mouth watering now, as mine is). We would all gather around the table, my parents. Aunt Vi, Uncle Charlie, at least two cousins and usually a couple of other relatives. Everyone would start passing things and then I would pipe up, "There's nothing here I like! I want a hamburger!" Why I wasn't throttled at a tender age, I'll never really know, except I had patient, loving relatives. My point is this — here we are with the whole, wonderful world of STAR TREK and all it has to offer, the show itself, which each of us has our own reason for enjoying; Fandom in all its parts and most of all, wonderful friends. Think who you would NOT know if not for STAR TREK... (shudder!) And what do we do with all this? Sit back and pout and say, "There is nothing I like" — or — "I only like hamburger". To others I'm sure we sound like a bunch of spoiled brats! To return to my 'story', today of course, I would give anything to be sitting at that laden table, with my loved ones around me — all have gone now — and to be able to sample even a bit of that wonderful spread. Think about it, dear friends, think about it...

Issue 14

Interstat 14 was published in December 1978 and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #14, Cathy Strand
inside art from issue #14, Ken Gooch
inside art from issue #14, Melinda Shreve
  • art by: Cathy Strand, Carmen Dexter, Melinda Shreve, M.S. Murdock, Ken Gooch
  • Carmen D is wondering about Star Trek and husbands:
    In an earlier letter to INTERSTAT a question was raised just in regard to all the married women involved with the ST universe and how their husbands felt about this involvement. This is a relevant question to me personally since I fit into that category. How do our husbands feel about it? For years ST has been a clarity in a sometime obscure future for me, with honorable men carrying out their noble aspirations despite their own weaknesses. Apparently somewhere along the line of development I became a perpetual optimist believing in the benevolent universe and all the trappings, also believing that all the nobility I saw in ST could be mine in part. The men of ST are an honorable lot and I have come to love them and respect them but never to the degree that it impairs me from relating realistically to my own mate. I have seen repeated instances where married women have become so wrapped up in the characters or actors that the husbands do intensely and in some instances, justifiably hate ST because it poses a threat to their life. Men with qualities such as Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty et. al, are hard to find in any age. There's always a lot of milk, but just a little cream. Still I cannot help but wonder if all the attention given these characters were directed to our mates, what would the result be? I'd be interested in reading some comments on this.
  • Roberta R is upset about female trashing other females:
    I'm writing because I'm very disturbed at what's been happening in INTERSTAT in re "Atlantagate" or L'Affair Atlanta....I think I'm starting to see a thing happening that pops up in womens' groups from time to time, and when it does, it drives the male members right off whatever is going on. In Feminist circles it's called "Trashing", and I think that's what is at work in Trek fandom, and I DON'T like it one bit. For those who aren't aware of it, "Trashing" amounts to ostracizing a member of the group whose opinions differ significantly from the accepted norm, i.e., the Party Line, usually with a lot of backbiting and in-fighting along the way. It can be done for lots of reasons— the person in question has been too successful, or has run afoul of the Party Boss, or has expressed an opinion of her own too emphatically—but the results are always the same. The person is forced to leave the group, and winds up alone, wondering "Where did I go wrong?" This sort of thing tends to be a female activity— when men want to oust someone, they tend to go about it more directly, and the one who is ousted doesn't feel all that GUILTY about it. And when men run into it, they tend to put it down to female bitchery at its worst. Since few males want to stand around and listen to a bunch of women cutting each other to ribbons verbally... they run very fast in the opposite direction. To see it happening right now, on the pages of INTERSTAT, where the male writers/readers are asking "What's going ON here?" and feeling vaguely unhappy about it. Well, LADIES — if we want to, we can stop it — NOW! We can realize exactly what it is we're doing, and we can just keep our mouths and our typewriters OFF the subject in print. What we say in private is our own affair, but Atlanta has been burned to the ground, so far as I'm concerned, and I, for one, would feel very sorry and ashamed if Trekdom lost good people because we women couldn't resist the temptation to be catty. People GAFIATE for a lot of reasons — family committments, new hobbies, business — but the sorriest reason I can think of is, I couldn't stand all the nastiness and In-group-infighting. At least one male Trekker has informed me that he is going into SF-fandom for that very reason. [2] Two female Trekkers have been Trashed in the last couple of years and they left fandom the poorer for it. So far, I've been lucky, but I'm just waiting for the axe to fall, now that I've expressed my self in print.
  • Eileen R comments on Leslie Fish's letter from a few issues ago:
    About five of the reactions to Leslie Fish's letter (I#12) could be boiled down to "Don't call me a bigot. I'm not a bigot. You're a bigot." After awhile this gets a little silly
  • Eileen R also comments on quality and quantity:
    I thought [Cindy S's] letter (I#13) was interesting in that she appears to judge all K/S stories by the worst ones. To quote Ted Sturgeon: "99% of science fiction (and K/S) is junk. But then 99% of everything is junk. To judge an entire grouping by the worst examples is to lump all anti-K/S people with or below Anita Bryant & California's Senator Briggs.
  • Verna Mae L pleads for tolerance:
    I love fanlit, had one of my own published with the promise of more accepted and to see my stories in print, to know others with the same interests are reading them has given me a high no drug could ever produce but my story and the others I've purchased and enjoyed so much have lost some of their charm, their "shinning brightness" is tarnished and I feel sad and deeply disappointed. And angry. What's happening? How could people believe in STAR TREK and IDIC and still be so shallow? And the question of homosexual or not is ridiculous. I've written both kinds. I don't believe the homo part in the least but whatever K/S do, in whatever time line, is just fine with me. I just want them ANY way I can get them. If I don't like a story I don't read it a second time or I don't send for it in the first place. Please, fans, get back to what STAR TREK means. Faith-love-understanding. Hate and distrust have no place in it. I am one --still--always-- forever. We can reach.
  • Della V. H. addresses Mary Lou D and suggest that if her love for Star Trek has been ruined by the existence of K/S and explicit het material, then her love was perhaps just a "infatuation.":
    Also, I don't think people are turning away from fandom in droves as you described. A rather gross exaggeration, wouldn't you say? While there are many fans opposed to K/S/adult, (and many who enjoy it, too, don't forget) from what I've witnessed, there seems to be a willingness within most fans to look beyond what does not interest them and seek what they're truly interested in. Are you proposing censorship now? Are you saying we have no right to our views and opinions? But...there's bound to be a bleeding heart in any crowd, and I must say, you do bleed quite profusely from your own self-inflicted wounds. Yes, YOURS. No one has forcefully shoved a K/S or adult zine your way, nor will they ever. All adult zines are advertised as such, so you know in advance what you're getting. If you've been irreparably "harmed" by the K/S concept or even the "adult" zines, then you've got no one to blame but yourself for allowing that to happen. If you don't have the ability to understand infinite diversity, then at least turn your head and look at something which does please you.
  • Della V. H. also comments on the story, The Second Gift:
    When I read THE SECOND GIFT in DELTA TRIAD #2, I was hard-pressed not to choke at several points. I found the entire concept not only ridiculous at best, but also degrading to man AND beast. But, I didn't run out and sell my Trek collection or refuse to buy any more Trekfic because it had been "spoiled" for me. Nor did I sell my 2 horses (or even refuse to give them din-din) because they had been "spoiled" for me, too. I try to look beyond what I don't personally care for and move on to other things. I would urge you to do the same, and stop crying to fandom because of your own inability to understand that no one is at all interested in "being your keeper." As I said, if something's been "spoiled" for you, it's due to your own attitudes, and not the fault of the writers.. Speaking of which— have you bothered to READ any of the material you so freely condemn? Have you taken the time to find out what you're whining about? Or...doesn't it even matter? Are you condemning on content or merely on CONCEPT? I'm not saying you should buy a zine of this nature, but certainly someone would be willing to send you a xerox of SHELTER [3] or any of the other "uplifting" K/S stories. If you want a copy, let me know. I'd be quite honored to introduce to you the joys which I've known from that story. I do find it difficult to believe you've read any of the K/S or adult stories due to your reference of "turning something good and noble into something corrupt and depressing." Since when is love (in ANY form) depressing or corrupt? At any rate, the whole K/S and/or adult argument has been hashed over and over and over in fandom, and it is strictly up to the individual to decide what he/she wants to explore more fully. (In other words, don't condemn us for writing of love, brotherhood, and yes, even sex, and we won't condemn you for writing about horses on board the ENTERPRISE.)
  • Sandra N is angry at Leslie Fish:
    I am SICK, SICK, SICK, SICK, SICK, SICK, SICK of being told that I hate gays, that I'm a bigot, that I'm intolerant and that I think homosexuals are perverts! I know that tirades rarely deserve any respect but the frustration and hurt feelings I've been experiencing have finally culminated to anger. I'm tired. Damn tired, of hearing about how terrible I and others like me are just because we don't like a certain segment of TREK fan fiction. I don't need to specify.... Leslie Fish's remarks were a perfect display of her bigotry, arrogance and hypocrisy. I don't have to talk about her letter since it merits very little discussion. It speaks for itself.
  • Sandra N also responds to Ann T. D's letter in an earlier issue:
    I understand your point, [Miss D]. Your letter was highly concise (as mine aren't) and sensitive. But you and so many people like you refuse to believe that it is not, repeat NOT, because of bigotry or intoleration that so many disagree with The Premise (a nice short term I just invented.) Agreed, there are some who think of homosexuality as an act of perversion and a "sin." However, these people are in the minority. I have written to people. I have read letters in several lettercols as well as INTERSTAT and the now defunct HALKAN COUNCIL. I have listened to opinions expressed in my presence. And the majority (a substantial majority) feel as I do: their image of Kirk and Spock do not coincide with the immature, incredibly childish portrayals of Kirk and Spock as homosexuals (if you're going to write about them as gays, people, do it so it has at least a semblance of believability—if that's all you can achieve) or as homosexuals at all. Throughout this entire discussion/fight of The Premise in fandom— ever since it started a year or two ago—no one, NO ONE, has ever answered this objection: why does love between two individuals have to lead to sex? Don't you see that that argument of a "logical progression" is a prejudice? Why can't two very close men, or women, love each other deeply without others thinking "OF COURSE there's something else going on"? Damnit, why doesn't anyone think a platonic relationship is possible? WHY?! It is you and not the people who disagree who are guilty of bigotry.
  • Vicki K responds to Leslie F's original letter:
    It is unfortunate that Leslie Fish has fallen into the same broken grove that all of the proponents of the Kirk/Spock gay stories parrot at one time or another. I have many close and far friends who read the K/S gay stories, and I do not condemn them because their views differ from mine. And although I do not care for the same material, they do not regard me as a "bigot". Instead, we have spent many enjoyable hours dissecting the reasons for the way we feel about STAR TREK and how the sexual morals of the future will change. Just because one person does not care to read about Kirk/Spock being lovers, does not automatically make one a "bigot". Yet, Ms. Fish, along with most of the pro-K/S people, seem almost tyrannical in their faith of IDIC, yet fling labels around without regards to the people involved.... I don't care how much you rant, rave, and toss facts and figures—you, I, or any other mortal authority cannot say whether homosexuality or heterosexuality is normal or right. And as to what I think myself, I happen to like me and feel I have my head on straight. Can you say the same about yourself?
  • Susan M. S is concerned about K/S coming to the attention of mainstream media:
    Rebecca gave her opinion to a TV crew without stopping to think how it might be used. That's ALL she did. It was the TV people who took statements out of context and arranged things to appear in the worst possible light. Think for a moment what Little Ms. Creative Editing of Channel 11 Atlanta could have done with a copy of THRUST or COMPANION. Suppose a copy of some zine containing a sexual K/S story goes astray in our wonderful U.S. Postal Service? Imagine what California State Senator John Briggs, whose holy mission (self-appointed) is "to keep the queers from perverting our children," could do with a selection of sexual K/S zines as "evidence." Would you tell him and his followers across the nation (and the press who know a sensational story when they find one) about the "logic" of friendship becoming a sexual relationship? Or do you think "exploring all facets possible for the 2 characters' relationship" is an argument that will pull more weight? Don't forget "Art for Art's Sake." Sure I think Briggs is an idiot, but while you're engaged in proving it one more time, what will be happening to Trek in the minds of all those people ex posed to the flap and nothing more? How quickly some folks forget their concern for Trek's image when it conflicts with some pet indulgence.
  • Susan M. S also thinks K/S is a mistake for other reasons:
    Sexual K/S shows about as much concern for gays as fellow human beings as the Steppin' Fetchit movies showed for black civil rights. When Gene Roddenberry was out to make a point on race relations he did it by making Star Fleet a multi-racial organization. The helmsman didn't have to be an oriental or Stoner a black because of some crucial point in the story. Crewmenbers in the background carried the theme without words. But what do we have in the sexual K/S stories? A bunch of women writers wallowing in male gay sex. If someone matched Uhura and M'Benga in a tale of passion while suggesting the level of that passion to be a function of their race, the hoots of outrage would echo coast to coast. Write sexual K/S and not only can you do exactly that type of representation but you get to pat your self on the back for your social awareness.
  • Mary A. S suggests that murder is worse than the "wrong" kind of sex, comments on alternative universe possibilities, and addresses Mary Lou D's comparison of K/S to rape:
    I've found it interesting that while there is so much opposition to K/S themes no one seems to mind the fact that Kirk and Spock were murderous tyrants in "Mirror, Mirror". No one has objected to Spock torturing people (via the agonizer) or the fact that Kirk attained the captaincy of the ENTERPRISE by assassinating Captain Pike. It seems strange that we view the "Mirror, Mirror" universe as being perfectly acceptable with all its violence and horror yet find the K/S theme so repulsive. I, for one, would rather see Kirk and Spock as lovers than going around killing people. So if the K/S theme really offends you, why not think of it as another crazy universe, an alternate dimension. If your Kirk and Spock couldn't do that, then it HAS to be an alternative universe, right?... [Mary Lou D's] letter in I#13 made me feel very sad. I don't know everything she is referring to but I guess that at least part of her objection is to K/S material. She refers to rape in her letter and my interpretation of her meaning was that K/S is "raping" the STAR TREK fans. However, rape is a very involuntary act (for the victim, at least) and one who reads K/S material does not do so involuntarily. Be sides, who is to say what our sexual mores will be like in 200 years? If STAR TREK is supposed to be a vision of the future, who are we to impose our own morality on our decendents 200 years hence? We've inherited a great deal of sexual taboos and foibles from our ancestors, let's be kind enough to spare our children the burdens we have had to carry.
  • Leslie Fish has this comment:
    I'm not surprised to see that those who complained most about my letter in INTERSTAT #12 are those who read it with the least care — and who also give the least evidence for their claim. Re: consider what I really said. First: I never claimed that Kirk and Spock must be lovers, but only that they could be. There are numerous reasons (not like that "Out of Character" crap) why they might not: a precipitating incident may never have happened, they just might be too busy or preoccupied, or they might simply never have thought of it. Reality is like that—"you can "does not mean "you must" or "you will". Second: I've never said that anyone who dislikes K/S stories is bigoted; I said that anyone who claims the premise is 'impossible because it's out of character' is bigoted.... If a same-sex affair would be Out of Character for Our Heroes, then whom would it be in character for? Just which people on the Big E can you imagine having a same-sex affair? What are their personalities like? Are any of them main characters? Are they Good Guys or Bad Guys? Can you really imagine any of the Good Guys doing Something Like That? I'll wager you can't.... [regarding two fans' "claims that in 99% of the K/S stories, the characters are stereotypically effeminate"]... What stories have you two been reading? I'm grateful that my "Shelter" was excepted, but that tale hardly compares with the stark eroticism of [Gayle F's] "Setarcos" series, or the somber allegory of Jane Aumerle's work, or the gritty drama of Diane Steiner, or the spare journalism of Ellen Kobrin, or the psychological insight of Connie Faddis, or the subtle realism of Gerry Downes. If you've read nothing of these, your experience is lopsided and suffering from biased sample. Certainly there are some romantically- silly K/S stories (usually the result of the authors' personal inexperience—and an overdose of Harlequin Romances). However, in total numbers, there is a much smaller percentage of bad K/S stories than bad Mary-Sue stories or bad "Get" stories. No one has tried to put down all Mary-Sues or "gets" for the quality of some; why treat K/S differently?
  • Leslie Fish also addresses the letter of a fan regarding religion, ignorance, and intolerance:
    Sex, nothing: this is the most obscene proposition I've heard all year! "Religion", "faith" or "belief" is a private matter, concerning the individual's relationship to the meaning of reality. As such, it is rightly protected by the Bill of Rights. You may believe in Jesus, Krishna, the Cosmic Muffin or the Tooth Fairy — in private. However, when you try to make other people act according to your beliefs, that is no longer a private matter but a public problem. For proof of this, note how many pious bible-wavers have campaigned noisily against civil rights for Blacks, women and gays. This is bigotry in action, and yes, it damn-well offends me.' It should offend anyone who believes in democracy, let alone IDIC. And you call me "bigoted" for my anger? Madam, I may be harsh and outspoken on this subject—but you have shown yourself to be a fanatic, a hysteric, a hypocrite, and a bigot three times over. Put that in your Bible and beat it!

Issue 15

Interstat 15 was published in January 1979 and contains 18 pages. It was issued late for the first time in its published history.

front cover of issue #15, M.S. Murdock
inside art from issue #15, Melinda Shreve
inside art from issue #15, Cathy Strand
  • art by: M.S. Murdock, Melinda Shreve, Cathy Strand, Cheryl Newsome, and Ann Crouch
  • the author of The Human Time comments on her story, see that page
  • Barbara G wonders how the upcoming movie will affect fanfic:
    It is "fascinating" to consider the effect the new movie will have on amateur Treklit. Many of the new concepts, characters and gadgetry will be gobbled up right away by eager writers, throwing the door wide open for new what-if's, new auxiliary characters, new alternate universes and new long serials. I, for one, can hardly wait. But, a question remains...how will old, pre-movie treklit be viewed? Will it seem pale in comparison? Or will it be venerated as traditional, stalwart, and historically sound? And another question... how will zine eds handle the changeover? Will stories based solely on pre-movie data be considered dead space? When the new lit comes flowing in, will they regret the commitments made to old lit? And what will we see in the new struggle for epic serial? Since we all start from ground-zero, will BNW like Fish and Lichtenberg spin new epic yarns, or will the newly-dazzled neofen take over the phenomenal effort tasks like 36-installment serials? And, as consolation to those who missed the 1969 thru 1975 "beginnings" of treklit—will we start all over again and plod through the "growing pains" (i.e. the trite and the over-used themes) once more? There is no doubt that the movie will add new blood to fanlit, but I wonder—will it be a transfusion, a melding of kin, or a radical revolution?
  • Cam C is optimistic:
    Hurray for Interstat! I'm a new subscriber, but armed with a bunch of back issues, I feel nearly caught up on all topics of discussion. The LOCs are interesting, thought-provoking, some times amusing when they try to be, frequently amusing when they do not, always stimulating, occasionally disquieting, but the exchange of personal views is never alienating for me... I agree more than I can express with those who question the stereo type that love between beings must lead them into sex. True, it can and often does. True, it can be beautiful, uplifting, and necessary. The stereotype is that sex is the only physical expression of love available to us. What can we do about changing this, and the stereotypes Leslie Fish has mentioned, and all the others? First step is to recognize them as knee jerk reactions instead of individually thought out and arrived at opinions. INTERSTAT is a proving ground for the first step in bettering our present.
  • Karen F is not optimistic:
    From the beginning of INTERSTAT I've commented that you've done a good job on this letterzine. Unfortunately, my opinion of what you've been doing a good job of has changed- INTERSTAT used to offer comments on a variety of subjects; then you were doing a good job of offering a forum for discussion. Now all I find in the pages of INTERSTAT are people screaming at each other; now you're just doing a good job of alienating fans—from each other and from INTERSTAT. Halkan Council in its final months was accused of censorship, but I'm beginning to think that their policy of not printing inflammatory comment was good. Since no inflammatory rhetoric got into print, discussion remained level-headed, intelligent. INTERSTAT, on the other hand, has degenerated to a cat fight—everyone seeing who can scream the loudest and longest—and I see little if any real discussion. I can't even think of a single constructive discussion INTERSTAT has fostered. Kirk/Spock/sex as handled in INTERSTAT is destructive to fandom (as has been the [Carol F/Rebecca H] debacle). It's ripping fandom apart; it's dividing fandom into violently opposed factions. If this is what you intended, you are doing a good job of it. But I'm sick of all the screaming in INTERSTAT. And I'm not the only one.
  • Karen F would like to talk about Spock:
    I like Spock (though that might be hard to tell when I get a mad on about Spock's Flock sometimes? Oh, by the way, since I coined the phrase Spock's Flock, let me define it: Spock's Flock is that segment of ST fandom that sees nothing of value in ST but Spock—or if they see anything else in ST, they automatically consider it inferior to their favorite.) But unfortunately, ST gave us a 1-dimensional, incomplete character in Spock (the only thing that made him seem realistic was Nimoy's acting.) Logic and a neck pinch and touch telepathy don't make a whole creature. Where are the other aspects of Vulcan philosophy; where is their alien sociology and psychology? What drives me right up the wall is that most ST fans who call themselves "Spock fans" aren't even concerned with these questions! All they want to do is wipe out the only vestiges of his alieness, his uniqueness, and make him human! To my mind, if they want a human character to play with, it would be more honest if they would choose one of the humans on the ship to be interested in.
  • Meredith M has doubts about Leslie Fish's use of the Kinsey Report as proof of K/S:
    Don't jump off your soapbox to read me a repeat of Fish's Epistle to All Those Bigots. Just send me a Xerox of your proof that Kinsey people got an adequate sample of VULCAN males. (And remember, data on apples is invalid when applied to tennis balls.) Spock is, after all, Vulcan. There may be some slight shadow of truth to your belief that Kirk is gay — yes, he could be. I don't think he is. BUT UNLESS AND UNTIL YOU CAN FIND A VULCAN VERSION OF KINSEY ...[a G.K. Chesterson quote] ... And talk about YOUR immortal cause as much as you like, too. Fine with me, as long as you keep it on Earth. But the mores of the Vulcans? I remember an episode called "Amok Time." Chuck it, Fish!
  • Michele A comments on why fans write fanzines:
    Basically, fanzines are experiments. People who read fanzines already know the 79 episodes like the back of their hands. They hunger continuously—not only to meet the ST characters again, but to understand more about them. There is never just one truth to be discovered about Captain Kirk or Spock or McCoy, etc., but there are truths to be uncovered. And the only way a writer can "discover" these truths is to push the characters a little, to fine-tune them as though they were precise machines—if you will, to cause them to respond. There is a vast difference between a Kirk or a Spock who acts out-of-character because his basic personality has been ignored AND a Kirk or Spock who reacts naturally to a unique situation unlike any encountered in the aired series. While the 79 episodes are certainly the beginnings, they are not the end in Star Trek. The fact that fanzines continue to exist prove that.
  • Catherine C has this to say about the possibility of K/S:
    I can't help wondering if Vulcans would accept homosexuality from a logical viewpoint (no children, remember?). Since Spock is determined to out-Vulcan Vulcans, and to be super-Vulcan, the chances of his ever becoming a homosexual are remote, in my opinion. Kirk can drool all he wants; I can't see Spock agreeing. By the way, don't let this mislead you into thinking I love Spock and want him for females only. He's too immature, has too many hangups and leaves me cold. Ditto for Kirk.
  • Sandy H suggests that a little civility will go a long way:
    After reading the last four INTERSTATS one thing has struck me. We all seem to have for gotten why letterzines started in the first place: communication.... I don't know about others but when someone calls me names or talks down to me I stop listening. They could be right—but I still wouldn't listen. What's the use of talking if no one is going to listen? Naturally there will be people who won't listen because they disagree with you and can't keep their mind open long enough to see someone else's point of view. You can't do anything about them. That's their problem. I'm not advocating conformity or non-controversy but I do think we all can have a lot more people listening to our opinions and ideas if we all became a bit more civilized and intelligent in our letter writing. When you know people are going to disagree with your opinion, state it politely. It will force them to argue the opinion and not you personally. The whole point of communicating is to get as many people as possible to listen to you.
  • Susan C writes:
    If you want to express an editorial opinion, do it, but honestly, please. And if Paula Smith could give [Mary Lou D] the chance to reply to letters about her in Menagerie, you COULD have done the same for Carol. It's called common courtesy.
  • David M has a strong rebuke:
    Leslie Fish (is that her real name?) strikes again (I#14) with all the charm of a slithering cobra. Once more the self-appointed High Priestess of Sexual Speculation raises her voice to preach the great gospel of sexual freedom and tolerance to the poor ignorant bigots in fandom. With the histrionic fanaticism of a cult leader, her one-track mind focused unwaveringly on homosexual (oh, pardon me, Ms Fish) "same-sex" relationships, Ms. Fish gives tongue to her holy cause: i.e. Everyone can have gay sex (and the unspoken corollary that everyone should try it before knocking it), she quotes the Kinsey reports and other similar studies as evidence to support the proposed K/S homosexual (whoops, did it again—sorry) "same-sex" relationship which so enthralls her. I find it difficult to accept the validity of 20th century studies as evidence for the hypothesis that 50% of the crew of the 'Big E' (a ghastly contraction of the beautiful and inspiring name U.S.S. Enterprise!) have engaged in, are presently engaging in, or will engage in homosexual (sorry again, Ms. Fish!) "same-sex" activities. I do not accept this because I thought Star Trek was supposed to take place 200 years in the future. How omniscient of Ms. Fish to know for certain that 20th century behavioral trends will so long endure... Of course, being stodgy, dull, square as a cube and so straight I squeak and not of the "50% of all Americans" who have had "at least one same-sex experience to the point of orgasm, usually before the age of 25" and suffering from cataclysmic inexperience in the area of gay sex (having never had the occasion nor the desire to indulge in it) I do not conceive of any "right circumstances" in which I would "do it" as "anyone can". But then again, what do I know? I'm just an ignorant happily-married man, who finds it odd, amusing and a little ridiculous that a bevy of women venture into literary excursions about male homosexual (sorry, Ms. Fish) "same-sex" relationships. If Ms. Fish and her little coterie of literary compatriots wish to see homosexual (did it again! Sorry, Ms. Fish) "same-sex" conduct on the part of Kirk and Spock, that is their right. I don't say that Ms. Fish and her friends are wrong. My right is to present a dissenting point of view without being called a bigot.
  • G.M. C suggest a bit of editing, something that proves to go down like a rock:
    As we start a new year with I#15, couldn't we please start a new set of topics for discussion? Leave the vituperous letters on the back page in the "...Also Heard From" column, or publish only the non-controversial comments for this one time. After all, this is a place where a bit of judicious 'editing' might prove welcome.
  • Johanna C comments on Shirley Maiewski's letter:
    I'd like to take Shirley's banquet parable one step further. The Trek banquet offers both hamburger and seafood. Diners can choose what they like. Why should the fact that seafood is available outrage those whose choice is hamburger?
  • Jan M M writes:
    I just managed to catch my mailman before leaving for work—and I was pleased to discover that my last 4 INTERSTATs had caught up with me. (Between my marrying and moving 2,500 miles I understand that they had quite a run.) So I took them to work and sat down and read with glee! (My job is not the most intellectually taxing.) About three hours later (give or take a few interruptions—it is after all, a job.) I finished the last copy and came away feeling somehow let down, puzzled, and concerned. It's not difficult to analyze why, but difficult to express in a way that I feel will be taken seriously. Reading all four issues at one sitting gave me a perspective that I hadn't had read in previous issues individually. I have no objections against anyone expressing any view (at least not in fandom—I do object to Collins marching in Marquette Park or Skokie and a few other things.) But the manner of expression through the format of this letterzine is very depressing. [she lists many harsh, inflammatory quotes from these issues] ... I chose these comments at random—some of the letters I agree with and some I do not. But they (the comments) all have in common the fact that they are aimed at a particular and identified fan or group of fans. Granted fandom may be just one big family—complete with attendant disputes—but my mother always regarded harshly any attempts I made to change my brother's opinion with a tire iron. Particularly in a family one must show a degree of patience, respect and sensitivity. "He hit me first" is never a good excuse. I do not advocate censorship—I find that cure to be worse than the problem. But I wonder if it is at all possible for us to remember that we are attacking the viewpoint and not its spokesperson. Human beings are fragile, they get hurt and they strike out with not all that much provocation.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 15

[One issue of Interstat] doesn't seem to be any different from any other issue. The general trend among the Interstat contributors seems to be who can holler and scream the loudest and most offensively over topics that can never allow for any black and white resolutions. Interstat has become a battleground in print, with many of the letters being directed not at fandom in general, but toward specific individuals concerning purely personal matters. That may be fine once in a while, but if Interstat is indeed a FAN FORUM as the editors state, then the topics inside should be applicable to fans in general, and not just a convenient street corner to scream profanities from. Even a lot of the people writing to the zine have expressed the same opinion, but it just hasn't stopped...If you don't mind searching between the caustic and vituperous letters for those of merit, then Interstat may still contain something of interest for you. Can you honestly send a LoC to Interstat any more without some cause to worry? I don't know about anyone else, but I'm scared to death at the idea of the editors standing by while a pack of blood-thirsty fen rip me verbally limb from limb. Some of the fans in the zine will tear your throat out if you but touch the wrong subject, and the editors won't lift a finger to help or hinder anyone. I used to recommend the zine, but in all good conscience, I can't now. It frightens and depresses me. I hope that I'm in the minority, but I have a sinking feeling I'm not. [4]

Issue 16

cover of issue #16, Heather Firth
inside art from issue #16, John Price
inside art from issue #16, Sony

Interstat 16 was published in February 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Heather Firth, Mike Brown, John Price, Sony, and Cathy Strand
  • there is an announcement that Ann Crouch has joined Interstat as an Associate Publisher, and Ann writes an introduction about her introduction to fannish life
  • Susan M. S writes of being an extra on a Star Trek set for the movie, her description includes much detail on how the clothes felt and fit, and then:
    The cast and crew were very delightful. When Bill Shatner came on set he certainly was nervous. (Wish someone would tell the man Trekfen aren't going to bite! Nobody can guess the behavior of trekkies, but this scene was a thank you to the fen and the fen don't act like groupies.) Somebody handed him a bullhorn, and he made a rather baffled welcome-to-the-Enterprise speech. I honestly think he didn't know what to make of us at all.
  • Cheryl R has this reply to a previous letter:
    David Marr's letter (I#15) was quite interesting. He must have used up Omaha's supply of parentheses for a month - not a pair to be found for love or money after his letter was finished. I do think it ill-advised for someone named Mars (oh, pardon me, Mr. Marrs) to make fun of Leslie Fish's name. After all, we are all human beings, even if not fortunate enough to be a 20th century, hetero sexual male such as Mr. Mars (drat, I'll never get it right!), and we all have names. Leslie has a well deserved reputation as one of fandom's premiere writers and artists. If Mr. Mars (did it again! My feminine sensibilities are making me all giddy) dislikes being called names such as "bigot", he would be well advised not to throw derogatory terms around himself. 'Course being part of a "bevy of women", I realize that so much of what passes for thought processes in the male of the species must of neccessity escape me. Perhaps Mr. Mars (oh golly gee—am I ever blushing now. In a moment I'm going to fall apart in a flood of girlish tears) though finds slithering cobras to have the charm that those of us who "blat" on about the Bill of Rights appear to lack for him.
  • Cheryl R adds:
    It's interesting to see how other married women's mates deal with their interest in Trek. Mine mostly ignores it, tho he sort of wishes I could find an interest more socially respectable - such as gun running.
  • Karen R has a request:
    I'd just like to make one small comment to the STAR TREK fanzines that publish stories of the homosexual relationship between Kirk and Spock. Could ya make sure Leonard and Bill do not get a hold of them? I'm afraid they would both have a heart attack on the spot, and then we would never get to see the new movie. Thanks.
  • Connie D addresses Leslie Fish:
    Couldn't you at least be honest (I#14)? Although I was expecting some mocking re-rebuttal from you in response to my letter, what I did not expect was for you to twist, distort, take out of context and exaggerate everything I said. Even "misquote" me! I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say it was an accident or oversight on your part. (And YOU speak of THOSE who read your letter with the "least care"?! Sheesh!... When you speak of me as one of those who "oppose" you, bear in mind, my opposition to you has nothing whatsoever to do with K/S. It is your attitude, and your attitude alone that I oppose. I am not so naive as to believe that you speak for all of those in the K/S faction of fandom. All I was really trying to say to you was this: there are people (in fandom) who for personal, moral, and yes, even religious reasons, simply cannot accept or approve of the K/S premise. I'm not saying they have the right to judge or condemn it. But neither do you have the right to judge or condemn them. You speak of your "anger", but lady I couldn't care less about your anger, for I saw no reason for it to begin with. I saw no reason to your letter other than to hurt, insult and ridicule those who oppose your views. I'm sorry if I sound harsh now, but I don't know how to soften it. I'll admit there were things I said in my letter that may have been best left unsaid, but It would take me too long to go into all of it now. It was never my intention to inflict my "personal" views on anyone, and I apologize to anyone who took it that way. As for those words you want me to "beat in my Bible". I really don't have to since most of them are already in there. But if you insist — which one do you want me to put them in. I have 5 versions.)
  • Sharon E questions the validity of "The Kinsey Report":
    May I relate a personal experience? Back in the Dark Ages, whilst I was attending a Psychology course at Indiana University to pick up some graduate credits — lo, we were astounded to learn that our instructor had been one of those questioned for that Kinsey report. We asked him why he had become part of that investigation — and if he had really answered the questions honestly. "I did it for the fun—and as for being honest...no. was his answer. "A bunch of us that were to take part in that research as subjects found out about each other — you know how word travels on a campus — so we got together and decided we'd give the old boy the type of answers we figured he'd want to hear." Somehow, after hearing him, none of us who attended that particular class could really take the Kinsey report very seriously from then on. But, I am sure Ms. Fish knows more than I about Kinsey and IU—after all I only live in the state and attended the school.
  • Roberta R comments on Leslie Fish:
    Leslie Fish (and that is her name) is a person with a strong streak of independence. She's also a semi-genius — she writes great stories (one with me), she illos them, she plays and sings her own music and words. She can also be a personal pain in the butt. But she learned dialectical arguing in a good school and she has some interesting points. However, the K/S arguement is leaving the "do they or don't they" area and getting into the "should they or shouldn't they" which is a matter of morality rather than personal preference. In MY opinion, they don't (Kirk because it would jeopardize his command, Spock because he's Vulcan and homosexual sex is illogical because it is sterile). That is not to say that SOME people do — and it does not condemn those people who have decided that "same-sex contacts" are what works for them.
  • Roberta R also writes of possible confusion with fanon and canon, and of OMCs:
    A fan-written character need not be a Mary Sue or a cardboard villain. Of course, some of us have been writing Trek for nearly 10 years. Naturally, we want to go further afield than the Big E. Case in point— Miss Fish and her Andorians. However, there's still a lot of meat in the original episodes. Part of the trouble may be that it is almost impossible to see the original uncut—and there are people around who are not too sure whether or not something that has become part of the fannish lore was or wasn't in a piece of film that was snipped to make room for a dog-food commercial.
  • Roberta R comments on adult content:
    ...since when has Adult been synonymous with Porn? I think that we are getting a little out of hand with the sex-and-sadism angle. And I agree in principle with Miriam's complaint that by exposing all these weird fantasies to the world, the Porn Princesses are shutting out one of the most vital elements In the STAR TREK fannish universe — the Young, the Neos, the ones for whom there is still a world of wonder in STAR TREK fanlit, just waiting to be explored.
  • Gene S. D wants to know why one has to pick sides:
    I have been subscribing to INTERSTAT for several issues now and for the most part have enjoyed it. I am not too fond of the present friction among various factions of fandom, however- I am probably very dense, but I do not understand why a person has to be for one type of fan fiction and against another. Cannot a person read, and enjoy, all types of stories? Or am I the only one that likes and collects both K/S and the more traditional types of fan fiction? My basic criteria for a story, regardless of the theme, is that it be well-written and that the author believe in what he or she has written. Then the story will be an honest statement of that person's feelings, and that is what is important about fan fiction; it allows us to express our inner selves, however we may choose to do it.
  • Jeff J writes at length about some ways to keep fanzine production costs down, and how paid advertising in fanzines doesn't make any sense; he also adds:
    I have been chastised by various people before about letting the fannish cat out of the bag on certain subjects, but since I am leaving fandom soon anyway, it won't hurt to do it once more when I tell you that there is a certain amount of megalomania attached to publishing a successful fanzine. Some editors have felt that because they have a loyal following of buyers that it gives them carte blanche to become extravagant with expenses and add just any ol' thing into the total bill (e.g. three-hour phone calls to Alaska, last months rent, the electric bill, etc.). Well— may be not anything, but you get the idea.

Issue 17

Interstat 17 was published in March 1979 and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #17, Mike Brown
inside art from issue #17, Dona
  • art by: Wilhelmina, Dona, Sony, Mike Brown, and Teri Meyer
  • Paula Smith explains the term Mary Sue:
    I suppose I am as qualified as anyone to explain: "Mary Sue," a.k.a. "Lt. Mary Sue, the youngest (15 1/2) officer in Star Fleet," is a term I created in "A Trekkie's Tale" (Menagerie #2, 1974), to comment on a story type prevalent at the time (and still common afterwards), the story of the youngest, smartest, pertest, most adorable ever female teenaged (generally) lieutenant on the Enterprise, who is lusted after—chastely—by any or all of the senior officers, is often half-Vulcan/half-God-knows-what, saves the ship in some improbable way, sometimes has the grace to die-beautifully by the end of the story, and is impossible to accept as a real being by anyone save the author. If later became a term of disapprobation and was slung around, sometimes undeservedly, at any woman character of more personal presence than Christine Chapel at her most vapid. These days, of course, no-one would be caught dead writing a Mary- Sue. They write "old fashioned romance/action/adventure tales" instead.
  • Michele A comments on the movie "Superman":
    Yes, "lyrical" is precisely the right word to use when describing many of the flying sequences. It is also the precise word to use regarding most other elements of the film including John Williams' beautiful score. But to say that the flying scenes do not represent "optimum proficiency in both bearing and ability" is to fail to understand that this movie simply does not wish to deal with the logic of "optimum proficiency", but with emotion, beauty and the logic of love. Superman has guts enough to defy his father over this logic. (When will Spock?) Those of us who are Spock fans should love this one, for like Spock, Superman has a dual nature—only this time it's a simple case of Man of Steel vs nebbish. Superman retains the best of Spock with all the attributes that make Spock admirable and none of the hangups that make Spock pathetic.
  • Carol A reminds fans, as they complain about Battlestar Galactica, that Star Trek wasn't first:
    And as far as BG rehashing old plots, well, even our sacred Star Trek borrowed storylines and ideas. We tend to forget that ST was not the beginning of science fiction, nor will it be the end.
  • Susan H comments on the current media science fiction offerings:
    I enjoyed "Star Wars" but would have rather seen more StarTrek. I liked the format of "Space 1999" but think the episodes ill-written. "Battlestar"...also has its good and bad points. I do enjoy it but DONT see it as a substitute for Trek. I wonder if the networks think we're all children that if you take away one toy (our favorite) you can just replace it with another!
  • Carol A also has this question:
    If "Dreadnought Explorations" has been having all that legal trouble because it's "too good", why doesn't Bantam publish it? After all, a lot of people are missing a really fantastic story because in the first place it cost a lot more than many fans could afford and now, I gather, the pressure has taken it out of circulation. BUT if Bantam published it, it would be to every one's advantage! Paramount would get their "piece of the action," some very deserving and talented authors would get some royalty money, and the price would go down and the number of copies increase, benefiting fandom in general.
  • Shirley Maiewski writes a long description of her visit to the Star Trek movie set and also comments:
    I am glad to note that INTERSTAT is finally becoming the LOC zine it was intended to be and not just a battleground for hurt feelings. With one or two exceptions, #16 was an interesting combination of information and questioning letters. I am sure that everyone has had their fill of backbiting and namecalling, as I have.
  • Bev C notices a fannish trend:
    I'm glad to see that the general tone of INTERSTAT has muted after the stridency of the last few issues. Still, there are lingering remnants of an attitude that disturbs me just a little—and surprise, it has very little to do with the K/S controversy- There seems to be an unconscious feeling among fans that a person can only be a fan of one thing at a time, and that therefore any new SF movie or television show poses a threat to existing fandom or the supremacy of the old programs. I don't understand why it is necessary to set up such an adversary relationship: the shows do not have mutually exclusive constituencies— in fact the constituency for most SF shows and movies is virtually identical, and the fandoms also demonstrate a good deal of overlap. I see many of the same names cropping up in several of the sub-fandoms in which I am active; most people, I think, merely add an interest when something new catches their fancy. And as far as the supremacy of ST is concerned: eventually it must end. In the nature of things, some day something will come along that is better or captures interest the way ST did. Science fiction fans have been trying to set up a mutually, exclusive relationship between SF and ST; let's not follow their example.
  • Elaine H describes her unhappiness with the pro novels and the letter she wrote to Bantam:
    I concluded my letter by asking three questions: How does Bantam select which ST novels to publish? Once a particular story is selected for publication, what type of editing process does it go through? Does anyone at Paramount knowledgeable about Star Trek get a chance to review the story? I received a reply 2.5 weeks later from a Ms. Sydny Weinberg, Senior Editor. The following is her one-paragraph letter verbatim: "Dear [Ms. H]: Gene Roddenberry's office is indeed involved with the Bantam publication of Star Trek novels. They are involved from the very inception of the story idea and approval of the basic outline through final manuscript and even cover approval. I am sure Mr. Roddenberry's office would not allow us to publish anything they did not feel met with their own high standards regarding the Star Trek tradition. Sincerely, (Ms.) Sydny Weinberg, Senior Editor." Not only did the lady editor fail to answer my questions, but, frankly, I think her reply is a crock. In the first place, Gene Roddenberry is obviously too busy to be bothered with reviewing Bantam books, as are undoubtedly all the people in his organization with enough savvy about ST to recognize a poor story when they read one. Perhaps Paramount does have someone reviewing the Bantam manuscripts, but I have difficulty believing it is anyone in Roddenberry's organization. More likely, it is someone in Paramount's public relations office. Paramount is out to make as much money off The Movie as they can, and having Bantam release a paperback novel every month is an obvious gimmick to keep ST in the public eye. Comments? Does anyone actually know who at Paramount (or in GR's office) may be reviewing this junk?
  • G.M. C hates the new uniforms:
    I have seen pictures of the new ST uniforms and I wish I hadn't...it would possibly have been better to be kept guessing until the actual picture itself, when maybe they wouldn't look so bad in the excitement of the action. But just from the releases I've seen so far, it looks to me like they are very unbecoming—not to say dowdy to the point of ugliness! Whatever happened to GR to have allowed such mediocrity? McCoy's upswept neckline was the only decent-looking one in the bunch and I have my private suspicion that when he saw his scrawny neck sticking out of the other neckline, he screamed to high heaven about it and DEMANDED something to keep him from looking like a plucked rooster—or ELSE! Too bad the others didn't do like wise. I think they look AWFUL— especially the women. How come? Do they hate us so much at Paramount for demanding more ST that they must belittle our heros and heroines this way? They look like a bunch of bellhops with over stuffed cowboy belt buckles! But I'm glad the gals aren't wearing tights anymore. Hurraw forWomen's Lib.
  • Leslie Fish writes of the benefits of aggression and controversy:
    I appreciate your concern for the welfare of fandom, but I don't think there's any danger that we'll disintegrate by faction-fighting; we agree too much on basic purpose. On the contrary, a good noisy literary fight is healthy for fandom; what makes people gafiate is primarily apathy, while an interesting fight always draws an eager crowd.
  • Karen F has a question, and a theory:
    Why do some women enjoy fantasies of male homosexual activity? It's been said that this is a fairly common female fantasy (don't ask me to quote figures, please! I don't know the statistics on it and I don't care.) I think that women who like K/S-sex like to fantasize about being their favorite male character. But it is difficult for a woman to imagine what a man feels like in love-making. So they compensate by making the favorite the subject of homosexual love, and in this way they can project upon him their own female reactions and enjoy the fantasy as him. (I don't see anything wrong with these fantasies. All our fan stories are fantasies of one kind or another. Our scribblings are mere illusions built upon the primary illusion of ST.)
  • Karen F comments on high zine prices:
    It's not going to happen, though, until readers demand it. It is possible to lower zine prices. For example, a mimeo zine can cost half what a comparable offset zine costs. This is because the editor doesn't pay for someone else's labor; she prints the zine herself. And a mimeo can do almost anything offset printing does. It's just a matter of caring enough to do the job well (and haven't we all seen lousy offset printing, too!?) I'm not saying every editor has to go to mimeo! But every editor has an obligation to give the reader as much as she can for the money, I believe. And if readers don't demand that, they'll just have to live with what they get—and keep paying higher and higher prices.
  • Karen F also comments on media science fiction offerings:
    Why do most fans support simple-minded junk like "Galactica" and other so-called TV sf with the comment, "Well, it's not good, but at least it's something sf." It's nothing! Only a few years ago GR offered the networks "Genesis II/Planet Earth" and "Questor", which had the potential of putting some adult level sf on the tube. Harlan Ellison tried to put together a sf series for TV and gave up because of all the hassles from the TV bureaucrats. Any number of fine sf writers could develop intelligent TV shows. Why aren't they on? Because the networks don't have the foggiest idea what sf is. They throw us a few crumbs and we gobble them down like starving mongrels. What we should do is get out our typewriters and pens and tell the networks that we know they are handing us a bunch of garbage and we won't stand for it. And tell them in simple, straightforward terms (but polite!) what we really want. Maybe then we'd get something worth watching. Maybe it wouldn't last long, because if it were too "far out" most TV viewers wouldn't like it, but it would be worth the effort.
  • Barb G writes of characterization:
    Has anyone read Susan Matthews' LOC in R & R VI/VII? She wonders why fan/writers have, for the most part, ignored the most fertile topic of "women in command", especially within the Federation. She says, "The strong women on the series were either bitches, Romulans, Klingons, or other peoples' wives- In 1967, I can understand that. In 1977, I cannot." Johanna Cantor agrees. "We have met the enemy, and she is us." I too agree. I would appreciate it if some better-read fan would point me in the direction of some feminist or even equalitarian lit, because I am tired of "the swoon". I also encourage everyone to read Johanna's full editorial in R & R VI/VII, and then, sadly, read some of the fiction in the same magazine. It proves her point. Secondly, could it be that some K/S opponents object more to the wimpery, dominance/subjection, self-centered, "purple" images utilized by many K/S writers? I find that I must pick and choose among K/S stories, and am outrageously embarrassed by some—they seem to be adolescent frustrated fantasies gone wild! I think Jerry Downes' approach is most to my liking—her editorial in S:U 4 is really nice, as are her fictional treatments of the theme.

Issue 18

cover of issue #18, Mike Brown
inside art from issue #18, Ken Gooch

Interstat 18 was published in April 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Mike Brown, Ken Gooch, M.S. Murdock, Ann Crouch, Heather Firth
  • Carmen D has noticed two dearths:
    As far as mental malnutrition — perhaps it is just the area I live in that has a dearth of ST or sf fans, movies, conventions and the like. In all of Des Moines, I found one person that read fanzines and I believe that she probably is the only one, since she and I have searched and found no one else. I use every opportunity to meet with people from my area to exchange vital thoughts and ideas. Are there only a few people in the Midwest (in comparison to other areas of the country) that are involved in ST or sf? I'd be interested in opinions. Most of the published sf writers of today are men, (with noted exceptions of Lee, Norton, Russ, McCaffrey and others). Why is it then that almost all of the fanzine writers are women, which is the opposite trend for the genre? Is fanzine writing and writers an indication that more women will be writing in sf?
  • Lisa W finds fun:
    When I first started reading I#15, I was getting ready to put in my word pro-editing to restrict the inflamatory comments. Such as the last paragraph of [Mr. M's] letter, which generated no light, but considerable heat. Then I went and laughed myself silly over [Cheryl R's] letter. Inflamatory letters can be fun to read. Of course I'm anti-censorship. I don't think a letter should be ignored just because the opinion is unpopular. But I don't see why letters couldn't be cleaned up a bit. But I don't think that need be INTERSTAT's responsibility. Why can't the fans who write to INTERSTAT show a little restraint?
  • Lisa W also has a question and a theory:
    ... why are women so fascinated by male homosexuality? Which brings me to another thing I wanted to ask: has anyone been watching"Turnabout"? Yes, I really am sticking to ST, in a way. There were two stories in New Voyages 2 involving body changes, weren't there? Basically, I made the prediction that women would tend to like the show, men dislike it, and I want to know if that's true. Anyone? I saw my first episode last night and quite enjoyed it. And I don't think it's because I want to vicariously experience being a woman in a man's body nearly so much as I enjoy seeing a man stuck in a woman's body. But back to the original—I think women are a lot more curious about what it would be like to be male, especially sexually than vice-versa, and that's why so many women are into K/S.
  • Mindy G responds to Barb G's letter in #17 about the lack of strong female characters in Star Trek:
    But I suppose it's only to be expected. Look at aired Trek. There's Mr. Spock, struggling to be a non-sexual being. But we all know what he's like down deep, don't we ladies? So here's to two trillion pon farr stories where the control finally breaks and he rapes us all brutally and we all beg for more. Maybe if we're real good we'll be beaten. To live is to hope. All I can say about McCoy and women is that after he botches it the first time, Earth isn't big enough for the two of them. But then the fool has to go and try again. Surprise! Yonada isn't big enough for the two of them either. And Kirk, ah, James T. - James T. is the prize. All right, Kirk uses women when his 'beautiful lady' is in danger. He uses them well and he knows he uses them well. Unfortunately we have seen James T. fall in love and, after that, how anyone could ever expect to create a glimmer of feminism with the ungodly trio from outer space around becomes the impossible dream. There are some that say with Miramanee it wasn't The Real Thing; after all, Kirk had amnesia. Selective amnesia, apparently. He still remembered how to react to a woman who literally worshiped the ground he walked on. That woman was worthy of love. That woman coincidentally knew her place. Then there was Rayna, the perfect woman. She was lovely, she was charming, she had more doctorates than Kirk had invitations to the senior prom; but there was one thing she didn't have — James T. That was what it took to complete Rayna and, all things considered, it's probably a good thing the woman decided to drop dead. And let's not forget Edith Keeler. Now everyone will agree that that was The Real Thing. The Mary Poppins of Lower Manhattan meets the golden boy of the Neutronium Age — there's a match between equals if I ever saw one. If Kirk is 23rd Century Man then it's time to give up, ladies. Enroll all your daughters in the nearest Total Woman course and pray. Forget learning, forget writing, forget everything but the bake-off. Our hero doesn't want you, doesn't even approve of you, unless of course he can feel superior to you. If this sounds familiar, it should, You've seen it on every episode, and in almost every male-female zine story. That's evidently what people want to write. Maybe they like the notion of paternalistic protection better than the idea of personhood. We have met the enemy and she is us, them, and everybody else. You couldn't see the women for the damsels in distress on STAR TREK, and we appear to have taken on The Glorious Cause. Unfortunately, in case no one told you, it's not our cause. Knights don't come cheap these days, and guess who gets to keep that armor shiny? Wouldn't want him to have ring around the breastplate, now would we?
  • Susan M. S writes of arguments:
    Wonder of wonders, the Fish and I are actually on the same side of an argument! A battle of words is one of the most civilized delights of human society. If some bubble-head twit wants to go the "if-you're-a-friend-of-Leslie-you-can't-be-a-friend-of-mine" routine that's his or her problem. I can't be bothered with that nonsense. Why do I get the impression from some folks' INTERSTAT letters that, should Leslie and I meet, I'd hit her with my Gucci purse while she clobbered me with her 12-string guitar? Aside from the minor detail that I don't own a Gucci purse at the moment, I really can't see Leslie ruining a perfectly good guitar by bashing someone with it. Especially me! I think we're having too much fun arguing. I still think Leslie's stand on The Premise reveals a great deal of selfishness, not to mention her double standards. It's all right for Leslie to proselytize her viewpoint in the terms of her personal philosophy, but when [Connie D] uses Christain terms for her philosophical point of view Leslie squawks. Horsepucky.
  • Mary Lou D thinks the upcoming movie will be the end of ST fandom:
    I rather think, if it is the success it promises to be, that the movie will be the end of "Fandorm" — with the movie to satisfy them, and the stepped up issuance of STAR TREK paperbacks, which are cheaper, and usually as good as, if not better then the general run of fan stories, fans of the original will be satisfied and leave "fan activity" to the hard-core fans, who are fans of themselves not STAR TREK ... it will be a solution mutually satisfying.
  • Rebecca H comments on Mary Sue and elitism:
    Yes, I guess Paula Smith (I#17) is the perfect person to explain "Lt. Mary Sue." After all, she did coin the phrase as a put-down of a certain type of story she considers "inferior". Is she now trying to put down "old-fashioned romance/action/adventure tales" too? Let's face it - there is a word which accurately describes this sort of attitude. It is "elitist". I fail to see that it has any place in fandom. For instance; I can tell you I don't like K/S stories and give you my reasons. I have every right to do that. I do not feel that I -or anyone - has the right to take the elitist approach and condemn the genre as a whole, putting it down as being the lowest level of garbage on the heap just because I personally don't like it. Elitism has been with us for a long time, but I seem to feel it's unnecessary. One person's standards does not set the standards for all of us - thank God. Otherwise, (in the case of Paula Smith), we'd be reading nothing but " Menagerie", and the zines they give top reviews to. Don't get me wrong - "Menagerie" is an interesting zine, and I'm not knocking it. But I like a varied fare, and I like things they don't - including good romance. What it boils down to is - I'll read and enjoy what I like and Paula (and others) can read and enjoy what she likes. But don't make the mistake of believing your tastes are superior to someone else's. This superiority complex is not only a load of it, but it's also false. If the elitists are right, "Mary Sue" stories, romances, and other such "inferior" types of literature shouldn't still be in existence. To set the record straight, "Mary Sue" stories are still being written, published, and enjoyed. So are romances. Not only are these stories still around, they're pretty popular. I guess it only goes to show that fans read what they like and pay absolutely no attention to elitists. Hurray for all those individualists who make their own decisions!
  • Rebecca H also comments on zine costs:
    Yes, zine prices are high, but mimeo isn't necessarily the answer. If you have access to mimeo, you have to consider the expense of using it. That's right: expense. You have to pay for paper - and that's expensive. Price may go down with quantity, but a large quantity takes a big chunk out of a bank account. Then there's tubes of ink - $7.00 a tube here. There's also pads for the mimeo; not to mention stencils. They don't come cheap, and it takes 200 of them to do "Southern Star" full size - that's 9 quoir. Let's not forget cor-flu. Then there's postage to consider. Care to guess what it costs to send a 200 page fanzine first class? And, each and every expense must be passed on to the reader or the fanzine can't afford to continue printing. Some zines have certain expenses in common like typewriter ribbons, postage, mailing labels, manila envelopes, etc. But there's a new wrinkle out now - how'd you like to pay for a zine being typeset? Back to the mimeo, though: we used to mimeo and our operating costs were rising so fast we found it was just about the same to go offset with 30£ reduction. And with less paper, mailing costs are less, yet the reader gets the same amount of material. And if I - or any other editor - were to go out and buy an electric mimeo (as you once suggested) you can bet your bippy that cost would be passed on to the reader. Even the cost of a new typewriter could legitimately be passed along - but I don't know of any editors who would do that, simply because a typer is used for too many other things. Not so a mimeo. The point I wish to make is this: just because a zine ed doesn't use mimeo does not mean she is lazy or doesn't care.
  • Leslie Fish comments on zine ratings, something that illustrates how quickly it became expected that zines be labeled:
    As to where "adult" leaves off and "porn" begins, the border is so subjective that there's no way to draw the line. About all an editor can do is to X-rate any story (or zine-full of stories) containing any reference to explicit sex. If anything, fan editors in my experience are more likely to put an "X" than an "R" rating on a doubtful story — just in case. Yes, this does shut out the young and a lot of the neos, but it's a sensible method of protection. I can't think of any other effective method at the present.
  • Sandra H addressed Leslie Fish:
    A vast majority of what we believe comes to us second hand. You believe the astronomers that Alpha Centauri exists, yet you will not believe in the spirit with equally circumstantial evidence. This is truly unfortunate, for it is the spirit that makes Man unique among the animals, and you obviously fail to see this in your frequent comparisons of Man to animals. It is this same spirit that is leading Man out of bondage to self-gratification and into a future where the body will be de-emphasized, and this must happen if we are ever to achieve unity. I thought I saw this in ST with such highly evolved races as the Organians. I thought I saw a hint of something pure and noble and free, the natural outgrowth of the love of God and Man. Notice LOVE, not sex, where Love commitment, service, brotherhood, fellowship, not the fleeting love based on physical attraction, feeling, desire, or even affection. But again, how naive of me: Perhaps people like [Connie D], [Mary Lou D] and I don't belong in ST anymore with what it is becoming. I realize, of course, that ST Is timely and is a comment on society now, but what a sad comment, indeed! Surely, if God permits the present trend to continue, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. It is impossible to be tolerant of everything. So you may now call me a bigot or fanatic if you wish. If that is the term for a person who is uncompromising on the word of God, then I fit. At least I know whom I serve.
  • Susan Sackett, commenting on a letter by Elaine H in an earlier issue, describes the process of creating a Trek pro book, an excerpt:
    It is because of that reaction that I have been prompted to write this letter. I have no wish to become involved with anyone on a penpal level regarding this, and all such letters sent to my office will unfortunately, have to go unanswered due to our hectic schedules. But I feel that there is a need for a reply to some of the questions raised. Anyone may submit an idea for a STAR TREK novel to Paramount's licensees — for future reference, this license is now held by Pocket Books, Inc. In the past, when Bantam held the license, all ideas were screened at the publisher's office first. If they were found to be of novel quality and potential, (and 90% of them were not), they were then sent to Paramount in triplicate — a copy to the Vice President in Charge of Licensing and Merchandising (Richard Weston); a copy to the Paramount attorney of that division (Judith Throne), and a copy to me for my comments. At this point, there is a further screening process. Story outlines which appear to be lacking in style or content are automatically rejected. This would eliminate 90% of that 10Z which does reach our office; or in other words, only 1% of all material submitted actually becomes a STAR TREK novel. [much snipped]... One further comment — if you don't like the novels, then why do you buy and read them? As with anything else in our free enterprise system, you have the option of ignoring these books. No one insists you or anyone else must read them. And there is still that other alternative which I pointed out earlier in this letter — you are welcome to submit to the licensed STAR TREK publishers your own ideas for a novel if you feel you've got a better one.

Issue 19

cover of issue #19, Heather Firth
inside art from issue #19, Heather Firth

Interstat 19 was published in May 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Heather Firth, Dona, and Ann Crouch
  • fans discuss the term "lytherette," and whether it's a fan creation and its relation to a lyre; one fan writes "the term "lytherette" was first used in Spockanalia,I think. But don't hold me to it."
  • Roberta R talks of Timelines, organization, and series:
    I've noticed a lot of zine stories are being written in series. This happens, sometimes by chance and sometimes by choice. "Sahaj" started as a couple of stories and has practically become a sub-genre, like "Kraith". The "Landing Party Six" stories in Warped Space began as a sort of joke, and have become a lot more than that, to the point where a few other people are incorporating the characters into their "Enterprise Crew" stories. My own "Dirty Nellie" stuff started three years ago, and it "jest growed" into a huge collection, with off shoots yet! If these stories are all in one or at the most two zines, that's not too bad. What gripes the fans, and incidentally, one reason for Trexindex, is when the stories appear in several fanzines, which may have to print them out of sequence. Of course, one doesn't always WRITE the stories in sequence either! "Nu Ormenel" is an example of that little problem, not to mention "Kraith". What is needed then is a Timeline, and here's where things really get interesting. A series gets started because someone has written about some characters who have become real, at least to the writer. For characters to "live", they have to exist in Time and Space—they have to be in a PLACE, and they have to have things happen to them that will affect them in some significant way, that will influence the way they behave in future conflicts. In other words, characters, like people, are not static—they have to GROW... Which brings us back to the Series characters (Sahaj, Karn/Linda, the Kershu fighters, the "Nu Ormenel" people, et al). They are interesting because they change over the course of the stories, which form what is in essence a novel in parts. Most of them wind up in "collected" volumes, which saves the fans a lot of time and money. But for the people who are just coming into fandom, a Timeline for some of these characters and series is helpful. It is even more helpful for the writers to know just where their creations are heading—assuming they want to know! There are some people who prefer to keep their characters in a sort of limbo, a timeless land where no one grows old. As you may suspect, I'm not too fond of this, simply because it makes for stagnant characters who don't learn or change, who are not affected by the events of their lives and who do not affect the world around them.
  • Carmen D addresses Leslie Fish with a letter that goes into detail about man's likeness to animals, Victorian's preoccupation with sex, and how Interstat was not meant to be a "fandom fight zine":
    I see no value in drawing a crowd over a noisy literary fight, beyond aligning people on one side or another. In fandom, unfortunately, there hasn't been a noisy literary fight but raucous personal diatribes that serve no function beyond inflation and deflation of egos.... INTERSTAT was never intended to become a "fandom's 'fight' zine", but perhaps you would be interested in starting one if you feel the need. I do not think that many in fandom ascribe to the belief in the harmless- ness of "literary squabbling" of the content INTERSTAT has received. Many of us are working on the Trekkers' Mutual Arts; the ones involving kindness, tolerance, understanding, compassion, and love; there are no exceptions or very strict interpretations, because we too, believe in the broadest application of the First Amendment and the ultimate Commandment.
  • Elaine H comments on Susan Sackett's explanation of how the pro books are chosen and written, and both backs down from her criticisms and gingerly re-states her dissatisfaction, probably due to deference to a TPTB's interest in responding publicly in Interstat and the fine line many fans may have felt they had to walk there:
    I was somewhat surprised (and chastened) by Susan Sackett's long response to my letter and the questions it raised. I'm delighted that Ms. Sackett took the time to write such an involved reply; yet another example, I think, of the concern and respect that Mr. Roddenberry's office has shown for the fans' questions/problems/concerns. I was very interested in Ms. Sackett's explanation of the clearing process that manuscripts go through, and how few of them actually make it. As stated in my earlier letter (I#17) I did not know that anyone in Mr. Roddenberry's office actually reviewed these manuscripts, and I am sincerely glad to learn that they are read by someone with Ms. Sackett's knowledge of and interest in ST. Although I still feel that the paperback books are not very good trek, I concede that perhaps what has been published is the best of what ever has been submitted. I apologize to Ms. Sackett for the statement in my letter, "All of us who take our ST seriously have complained for a long time about the poor quality of the Bantam ST novels." Of course, I was only expressing my own personal opinion and those of my very small circle of ST friends. I have, however, from time to time, read less than complimentary reviews of various ST paperbacks in Scuttlebutt and other review sources, so I don't think my friends and I are the only ones who are disappointed in these novels.... Some of the novels are better than others, of course; and each book does have some redeeming qualities. I just think they could be a lot better than they are, especially the characterizations. [Deborah L. B's]letter (I#18) raises an interesting point. She says, in effect, that we fans expect the paperback books to read like fan-written zines, and they simply can't do that and also appeal to a broad audience of non-trekkers. So we are disappointed. Perhaps that is... In conclusion, my apologies to Ms. Sackett if I have given offense. I look forward to hearing her speak (and possibly meeting her) at Houston's SuperCon in November.
  • Kay B also responds to Susan Sackett's letter but doesn't hold back nearly so:
    I share [Elaine H's] disappointment in the pro written ST novels, particularly in regard to quality of characterization. While I don't expect extensive character development from a work seeking mass appeal, I do at least hope for characterization consistent with that of aired TREK, and that, I believe, is sadly lacking in the Bantam novels. For example, in "Trek to Madworld" we find Kirk risking the Enterprise for "petty symbolism" (p. 46). Now, Kirk might very well risk his ship, and he might even risk it in error, but not for a motive like that—at least not the Kirk I know, and it's disheartening that you, with your "careful scrutiny" of the manuscripts, apparently find such characterization acceptable.
  • Michele M, on the other hand, doesn't pull any punches regarding the quality of the pro books:
    My last comment is directed at all the people who wrote in to defend what most ST fen consider to be the very poor quality of the professionally published ST fiction. It is extremely poor, as far as I'm concerned. And, to defend it by saying that it has to be that way to make it acceptable for general consumption is no defense at all. It is pure nonsense. If someone who hasn't read fan fiction has only the softbacks to go by, they will buy only the softbacks. They'll praise them, too, because, not knowing better, they'll take whatever they can get. But, you can bet that, once a new fan starts to read ST fan fiction, he/she will feel like throwing most of the pro-books across the room.
  • Steve B writes of the pro books as well:
    With the exception of the adaptation of both live and animated series, the pro books in general are not very well written. I think most of the authors don't know/understand/care for the characters. I agree with [Carol A] that the amateur writers know how to write better ST stories than the pros. Sure, we have two books of New Voyages, but they are edited so much from the original they are hardly the same. I doubt Pocket Books will be any better than Bantam for they have one thing in common: to make fast bucks.
  • Cheryl N quips:
    I was glad to learn that the Bantam novels are under a screening process, I was gaining the impression that Bantam was just picking stories at random.
  • Dixie O writes of porn, women, and K/S:
    I nominate [Mindy G's] letter in I#18 as fan letter of the month, may be even of the year. She ever more than answers [Dave M's] I# 15 plaint about why women are so fascinated with K/S: it's because we women are not in the original Trek at all, that's why. We get the message from the episodes, over and over, that only males can be leaders and have any fun, and unless we identify with males we are shut out. And once a heterosexual woman identifies with Kirk or Spock, where does she go from there? Certainly not to the arms of another woman in the standard m/f relationship. Since Kirk and Spock are the beaux ideal of Trekworld, and the absolute zenith as far as detailed characterization is concerned a female Kirk or Spock is naturally going to gravitate towards the other strong male in romantic stories. I find any man's supposed bewilderment at female fascination with homosexuality somewhat hypocritical, anyway, since virtually all male porn features steamy scenes between two women—does Dave think there is something peculiar about men who respond to such? If so, he indicts practically the whole non-gay male population. Since I got my VTR and have been deluged with an incredible amount of advertising by porn producers, I have discovered to my surprise that there is apparently no such thing as porn made for and aimed at—females. Only one brochure mentioned, in one item, that it might be considered suitable "for emancipated women". And the remainder of the description made me doubt that, somehow. So with the possible exception of the pro-zine Playgirl, ST fanfic is the only porn I know written by women, for women. For what that's worth; just an observation on the changing social roles and our perception of ourselves.
  • Kay B disagrees that Kirk "used" women, and that in fact, it was often the other way around:
    I'm not sure I understand your reservations(?) about Kirk, but I don't see the women of ST as poor victims of any male chauvinism on his part. Quite the contrary. There were many women who used him as were used by him. Deela wanted him for breeding; Odona, for population control; Sylvia, for new experiences; and Janice Lester, for his captaincy. Helen Noel and Elaan both used underhanded means to secure the affection he had not given them; and his former girl friend, Areel Shaw, did her best to get him convicted at his court-martial and very nearly succeeded. What poor, repressed females! He used them?!?
  • David J. B is discouraged:
    Well, it looks as though the publishers of INTERSTAT are content to have their publication be nothing but a trashy forum for immature name-callers. For a while there, it appeared that the publishers had wised up and stopped printing that kind of junk. But alas, when reading I#17, we see a letter that actually advocates the ignorant squabbling that we had thought was finally over. Why don't the publishers exercise their editorial right and refuse to print garbage like that? That is not censorship folks, that is simply an attempt to make INTERSTAT a quality publication.
  • Leslie Fish is glad to see the improvement in Interstat and would like to take some credit:
    ... let me comment on INTERSTAT's noticeably improving quality: I#18 is the best issue I've seen yet. Production values are up: clean print, no typos, nice crisp graphics, good concise articles. Best of all, though, is the quality of the letters; the news, literary criticism and analysis are 'way up, and the personal backbiting is way down. 90% of the letters this time show real, logical, analytical thought—not just parades of ungrounded opinions. Congratulations: INTERSTAT has come of age. If I can venture to claim a small part of the credit, perhaps some of the more hysterical contributors have learned to clean up their act and base their arguments on fact more than prejudices for fear of being pounced on by the Fearsome Fish. Heh! Ah well, onward!

Issue 20

cover of issue #20, Mike Brown
inside art from issue #20, Teri Meyer
inside art from issue #20, Melinda Reynolds-Shreve

Interstat 20 was published in June 1979 and contains 22 pages.

  • art by: Mike Brown, Melinda Shreve-Reynolds, Teri Meyer, Mike Brown, Heather Firth, Dona, Ken Brian Gooch, and Cathy Strand
  • there is a long letter by Lisa W about the science of Star Trek and of media science fiction offerings
  • there is a long letter by Leslie Fish about free will and religion
  • Heather F writes of strife and tolerance:
    As an artist within fandom, I very seldom concern myself with the various debates and arguments flying between the ranks. It is with a certain amount of indifference and amusement that I read the onslaught of words and accusations flying within the pages of INTERSTAT each month... First off, let me note that fandom (in general) and ST fandom in particular, has offered me a great deal of joy in past years. It has given me the opportunity to work with some people whom I admire greatly and meet others whom I have grown to admire, to gain new skills while bettering existing ones and to expand my field of interests through fannish involvements. Of late, this has come to a peak with the formation of my own (non-ST) club and publication...FIAWOL being quite applicable to my existence....However, my devotion is much belittled by the grave severity with which some persons view their position in fandom. I'm all for debate on any given topic if there are differing views, but in some cases there can be too much of a good thing- It is my opinion that fandom is for the enjoyment of those involved and, although fan-activities may take up a good portion of our lives, it is, after all, only a hobby. The feeling that I get upon reading some INTERSTAT LOCs and from talking with assorted ST fans is that people are taking themselves and fandom much too seriously. This is especially magnified by events as those which occurred at, and after, the Atlanta convention and other similar gatherings. It is a fact of life that disagreements will spring up whenever you bring together people with such a variety of ideas on a given subject. This is evident everywhere...from the House of Parliment to a kindergarten class at playtime. In most cases, as with ST fandom, debates will continue for some time and it will be rare that both sides are completely satisfied with the resolve. Realizing this, I am not surprised at any of the topics broached nor at the arguments which are fed by the multitudes taking sides. What does surprise me, and ultimately causes a great sadness, is the vehemence and anger with which some people present said arguments. This leads back to the opinion that fan topics are the subject of much more concern than they warrant. In some cases there are stories of these disagreements going beyond slinging fire within the pages of letterzines to becoming personal threats, obscene letters/phone calls and actions taken to inflict harm on the bodies, possessions or friendships of a person with a differing point of view. And to what end? For the sake of establishing someone's opinion as the true, correct and only one?... We have accomplished a great deal as a team and can undoubtedly accomplish even more. It would be a great pity if this winning combination were defiled for the sake of personal gain or scramble for recognition and attention'. Let's try to temper our arguments and misunderstandings with that universal tolerance inherent to STAR TREK.
  • G.M. C writes about fiction in series, of permissions, and how some fans may only have experience of a fan-created universe though someone else's work:
    [Roberta R] has a damn good point and I sure wish somebody could figure out a way of keeping track of Trek...However, Treklit isn't the only fiction to suffer. Haven't you noticed the trend toward 'series' books throughout general fiction as well? I first noticed it with that historical series starting with "The Bastard", and then suddenly whole sets of paperbacks began being offered for sale... However, in this case the series offered are all by the same author not, as in Treklit, by any author who takes a notion to write about someone else's characters whether they ask permission or not. I noticed that Kraith asked to be informed if someone wrote stories about it, but I suspect there are authors whose stories are built on that learn about it only from reading the spin-off in someone's fanzine— if at all. This is chaotic, to say the least. I should think some kind of clearing house would be welcome.
  • Jean Lorrah also comments on timelines in fan fiction:
    Re, [Roberta R's] letter (I#19): It is virtually impossible to create a timeline for a series when one does not yet know all the main events! In the NTM universe, which began as a single novel and also "jest growed," I try to make each story independent of the others, just as one must do when writing professionally. My characters do change and grow, and where in the time of the NTM universe we are is indicated within each story—five years after this, or Spock is so many years old, or something to guide the reader who is familiar with the whole series to when we are, but not something to interfere with the enjoyment of the reader who has never seen an NTM story before. New readers start anywhere—I just had a letter this past week from someone whose first exposure to the NTM universe was "Amanda of Vulcan" in Stardate: Unknown. I know that a timeline for the NTM universe would have to include a trip back to Penthesilea—the problem is, I don't know when that will happen! Also, there are two events in the projected future of NTM—beyond anything yet written in the series—that I do not want to put on a timeline until stories leading up to them are filled in. Otherwise, half the readers would be screaming at me to write those stories without the necessary intervening buildup and the other half would be shouting that those events could never happen under any circumstances whatsoever! Therefore, it seems to me that the approach of assuming that every story in a series is being read by readers who have read none of the others is the safest approach. Even in fandom, there are often long waits between reprints of the first volumes of a series (not in my case, as I'm fortunate to be solvent enough to keep everything in print), so that many readers inevitably come in in the middle... Oddly, I have an opposite problem. Because I wrote NTM and EPILOGUE, as well as a large number of other ST stories, many readers assume that they all must fit into a single timeline. No way! NTM and EPILOGUE are completely independent of one another. Only stories labeled "An NTM-universe Story" fit the timeline of the NTM universe. Please don't try to fit both series into the same timeline.
  • Ruth B comments on the pro Trek books:
    Maybe I too have been spoiled by the quality of fan fiction. However, books such as WORLD WITHOUT END, THE STARLESS WORLD, VULCAN, etc., just don't match up. Books such as these just seem to be written with the names of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc., given to the characters who happen to be involved in the story. The characterization just isn't there. But, I keep on buying them all, hoping that one day something good will come along.
  • Ruth B also comments on K/S and what's in a man's mind:
    [Dixie O's] letter about the fascination with K/S stories brought to mind a conversation I had with a friend (male) about the characterization in fan fiction (most especially that of Kirk). He said that the characterizations in these stories are of how a woman thinks a man feels, not how a man really thinks/feels. This comment was made after reading what I consider to be some of the best fan fiction - stories such as "A Lesson in Perspective," "Shelter," etc. It's an intriguing thought.
  • Mindy G is not reassured by Leslie Fish's comment in an earlier issue:
    I wasn't previously aware that we all sleep sounder knowing the Fearsome Fish is watching over us. It strikes me as funny, if not down right ludicrous, that such a vocal non-believer has become our self-proclaimed guardian angel. Well, someone said the Lord moves in mysterious ways.
  • Mindy G also comments on egos and conflict:
    I am new to fandom. In the past several months I have met people who believe in what you called 'The Trekkers' Mutual Arts. I have also met people who believe in inflating egos—theirs—and deflating egos— other's. There's no money in all this... for some people there may be glory. Some of us do things for love, and others for personal aggrandizement. In this we are no different from any other group. I personally do not understand how 'glory' is to be gained by stepping on the toes or psyches of others. I don't mind shouting and screaming. I don't even mind name-calling. But I do mind unnecessary emotional and intellectual mayhem. The perpetrators never call it that—it goes under a banner of lofty principle or helpful hints. But call it what you will, it remains the same. And I don't understand the need for it.
  • Mindy wants to know what is with Trek, both aired and in fan fiction, regarding female characters, and expresses her weariness with the 'female man':
    My reservations about Kirk, and Spock and McCoy are a theory as to why Barb has been able to find so little of what she's looking for. I don't believe that ST presented a very positive view of women, and that's putting it mildly. This view seems to be perpetuated in zines, or Barb would not have had cause to write her letter in the first place. The question is, why are so many zine writers writing awful women? Anyone have any ideas? Another question: what's the worst piece of character assassination, or perhaps gender assassination, that can be perpetrated on/has been perpetrated on a female character in a zine story? Is it making her weak and sniveling, or strong and castrating? Is it killing her off or putting breast on a man and thereinafter referring to her as 'she'? Maybe it's just not writing her at all—creating a womanless universe which is none the worse for her absence, thereby saying she has no effect: she is nothing, null, non, zip... To Dixie, again: not only aired Trek, but the world tells us that 'to be a leader and have any fun' we must be what many of us were not born. There is, however, an option some people appear to have considered: no one says you have to listen! And I hate to be the one to point it out to you, Dixie, but identifying with a man to the extent to becoming 'a female Kirk or Spock' is becoming nothing because there is no such animal, not on terra anyway. My letter was far from a defense of K/S, but perhaps an explanation of the ubiquitous man/man stories in fan fiction. Kirk, Spock and McCoy don't like women, and we all know how clever they are. Maybe no one's supposed to like women (except maybe your mother, but now that 'mother' ranks up there with the choicest of obscenities, I am not so sure.) And what I said to [Barb G], that if she wants to read feminist or egalitarian Trek she should write it, goes for anyone else. Write it. Please write it. I want to read it too. Because I'm tired of the notion that a hero is an alien being with genitalia markedly different from my own. And I'm also tired of the notion that there is such a thing as a female man. You're only dealt one hand in this game, and the way to play it is to play it, and not waste your time wishing you were holding someone else's cards.
  • Susan Sackett is both encouraging, and NOT, in a rather backhanded way:
    In my letter to INTERSTAT #18 I pointed out that anyone with what they thought was a better idea for a STAR TREK publication was welcome to submit their ideas to the licensed STAR TREK publishers. I inadvertently made an assumption that anyone who is a skilled writer would know that this means to have your agent submit your ideas, the situation being that no publisher will look at unsolicited works. I assumed that most of INTERSTAT readers would be aware of this rule of thumb of the publishing world. For those of you who aren't familiar with these established procedures, I feel that in all fairness I must elaborate on that earlier statement I made, and I'm sorry if I've inconvenienced anyone. If you do not have a literary agent, then you probably should make an effort to secure one. If your work is good, you will have no problem— no legitimate, knowledgeable agent is going to ignore good writing. You need not live in New York or California either — check the yellow pages in the nearest large city and you'll probably find several agencies. These are usually acceptable to publishers as readily as the larger agencies. Best of luck to you all.
  • Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath write a very lengthy, detailed letter about "The Price of the Phoenix" -- some excerpts:
    Our best and our thanks for the thousands of fine and moving letters we receive. Please know that we are very often moved to answer, and literally cannot. We have had another reason over the years for never answering in print anyone who writes for publication rumors or worse about us or our work, without making certain of the facts or having the courtesy to check with us....
    Because we have always been fans ourselves and felt a special closeness to the fan movement, it is possible that we will be the only writers of professionally published STAR TREK fiction who will write to confirm what both Sydny Weinberg as editor at Bantam and Susan Sackett have said: STAR TREK books are screened and approved at every stage, from outline to final manuscript, both by Bantam and by Paramount, through Gene's office and by Susan....
    It was SPOCK: MESSIAH, not PRICE OF THE PHOENIX which Gene saw only in galleys, too late, and which caused him to demand future approval through his office of all STAR TREK books. PRICE was next after that and was the first novel approved personally by Gene. In his letter of approval, of which we have a copy, he says among other nice things how well we know and understand STAR TREK. He did not ask for any change of so much as a word. PRICE was published as written....
    What Susan Sackett is saying in her letter, and what needs to be emphasized again is that, while taste in STAR TREK fiction are obviously going to vary, that is everyone's right and privilege. As Susan points out about a recent novel, "Many, many letters of high praise have been received on this and all the other STAR TREK books which have appeared, a volume far in excess of the negative mail." That "all" includes PRICE OF THE PHOENIX. And that goes double for our own mail, where responses are more than 99 to 1 favorable, very often in terms which we find extremely perceptive and deeply moving. Occasionally we also get perceptive and thought-provoking criticism. We deeply appreciate that, too. The most common single comment we get is that PRICE is the best of the published STAR TREK novels. Some say simply, the best STAR TREK. Some use wider categories: best science fiction, the book which has moved them most profoundly. We have been extremely interested in all of the reviews of PRICE in the fan literature. We especially want to thank Jean Lorrah for her fine review. Among others which we particularly liked, T'Leina deserves special mention. To the reviewers, to Leslie Fish and to all who have written us their thoughtful comments, we express our appreciation. Thanks. It was for you that we wrote THE FATE OF THE PHOENIX... not only for ourselves but for people like Susan, and indeed for anyone who might be hurt, it is best to be very certain. With us it is the best policy to check directly. We have not cared to answer anything else, even to say what some fans may not know: the breakthrough which made possible the publication of new professional STAR TREK fiction, after seven years, was made by us through our fight for STAR TREK: THE NEW VOYAGES I. For the first time in history, we published the fan fiction of a phenomenon. We put it on the professional basis which made publication professional basis which made publication possible. We have kept in close touch with our roots in the fan movement, appearing at conventions without charging a fee, sharing our platform with fan writers, editors, artists, photographers, singers, etc.—whose appearances we organized at our own long distance expense in order to encourage fan creativity. Nor have we spoken of any of those things until now. If to do that or to do any of the other things we have done out of our own love of STAR TREK, or to write PRICE, is "an insult"—so be it. But the feedback we get through the mail and at conventions says not. Thanks for that, too.

References

  1. the three letters by Rebecca H, Sharon E and Myra E
  2. Well, good luck there! It's just as thick on the ground...
  3. Ironically, sending a photocopy of this story is in direct conflict of Della's anger in later years regarding fans who photocopy stories for other fans.
  4. a review of issue #15, from Spectrum #39