Interstat/Issues 021-030

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Issue 21

inside art from issue #21, Melinda Shreve-Reynolds
inside art from issue #21, Mike Brown
cover of issue #21, M.S. Murdock

Interstat 21 was published in July 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by:M.S. Murdock, Heather Firth, Ann Crouch, Melinda Shreve-Reynolds, and Mike Brown
  • Roberta R has this opinion about the pro book "The Fate of the Phoenix":
    Re Marshak and Culbreath and The Fate of the Phoenix: I am going to go out on a very shaky limb here. The book had excellent parts to it; the Romulan scenes were beautifully done. Alas—the ladies make one HUGE assumption, which brings us back to my original premise—they start their book exactly where the first one leaves off, which is totally bewildering to the novice reader who picks up the thing at the bookstore because it's with the STAR TREK stuff. A simple prologue would have solved a lot of continuity problems for a lot of people. I'm not even going to go into the philosophical arguments put forth by the characters, except to say that I don't agree with them. And the action becomes so furious that after a while you need a scoreboard to tell who is who, who is a clone, who is Omne, and who has been sucked into the Black Hole.
  • Bjo Trimble writes a letter describing her experiences wearing the new ST uniform on the movie set, and she compliments this letterzine:
    Fascinating (to coin a phrase)...an all-letter zine has been tried before in various areas of fandom, but I've never seen a better-looking one! All you need is to put the volume # and date on the front so people who get several copies at once can pick out where to start reading! Very nice artwork: I'm quite impressed with the calibre.
  • Bjo Trimble addresses the "right" of Gene Roddenberry to make money:
    Agreed, GR can't possibly have been in the ST movie biz just for money (but that definitely plays an important part, of course; we all have to live and it's especially nice if one can also make a living off his own creations and dreams!); only a few people know what it has cost him to keep at this thing and finally get it on the Big Screen. How ever, I cannot figure out the mentality of people who worry about others making money and I agree with you that Trekkers should stay active and caring and stop worrying about whether or not anyone is making an honest buck off giving us some top-notch entertainment.
  • Bjo Trimble comments on slash:
    It is probably too late to worry if Nimoy and Shatner have seen any of the K/S relationship writings; tacky thing have a bad habit of getting to the people involved.
  • and finally, Bjo Trimble "speaks for the editors in fandom", at great length and detail, a comment by Jeff J in an earlier issue regarding fanzine costs:
    You are taking the standard cop-out ("I'm leaving fan-dom soon anyway")... to supposedly "reveal" some inner secrets. In actuality, anyone can list what a fanzine really costs, but it would probably not do any real good; the intangibles are what makes publishing cost a lot of money. (You can list the price of paper; can you list the various costs of the meals for collators?) You can certainly save a few dollars by foisting Wyler's imitation lemonade drink off on your helpers (until the Dr. Pepper freak goes into withdrawal, anyway) but can you also list the costs of: gas and bus transportation to get everyone together; the costs of all the little items (wax or glue for pasteup, litho pencils, tape—miles of it!, layout boards, etc, etc, etc..) yet each time you buy those, it adds up something fierce! Buy in bulk? Yes, indeed, if you have the extra bucks to invest and have tied up in all that paper! At $5.50 a ream, paper is expensive; at $60. a carton, it is often impossible for the small publisher to afford (much less store!). Plates cost $58. a box of 100; if we had the $400 plus dollars to buy by the 1000 plates, we could save a lot of money, indeed, and then we could pass the savings on to you, the potential advertiser! But where do you suppose we are going to get $400-plus all at once? So we "waste" money and buy plates by the 100 box, instead of the 1000 box, and our ads cost $75 per full page...and it happens to be any publisher's prerogative to put any price they please on their own pages and ads. Megamart also reaches around 2000 people so we feel the ad is worth it and we don't feel defensive about that: 1 do feel that anyone else, whether they reach 2000 people or only 20 people, can decide what their publication is worth. Since I've been publishing fanzines for probably as long as you've been alive, I think I can speak with some authority on the subject. (My first fanzine was "ditto'd" with friends in 1954... [Jeff J]: You are taking the standard cop-out ("I'm leaving fan-dom soon anyway")... to supposedly "reveal" some inner secrets. In actuality, anyone can list what a fanzine really costs, but it would probably not do any real good; the intangibles are what makes publishing cost a lot of money. (You can list the price of paper; can you list the various costs of the meals for collators?) You can certainly save a few dollars by foisting Wyler's imitation lemonade drink off on your helpers (until the Dr. Pepper freak goes into withdrawal, anyway) but can you also list the costs of: gas and bus transportation to get everyone together; the costs of all the little items (wax or glue for pasteup, litho pencils, tape—miles of it!, layout boards, etc, etc, etc..) yet each time you buy those, it adds up something fierce! Buy in bulk? Yes, indeed, if you have the extra bucks to invest and have tied up in all that paper! At $5.50 a ream, paper is expensive; at $60. a carton, it is often impossible for the small publisher to afford (much less store!). Plates cost $58. a box of 100; if we had the $400 plus dollars to buy by the 1000 plates, we could save a lot of money, indeed, and then we could pass the savings on to you, the potential advertiser! But where do you suppose we are going to get $400-plus all at once? So we "waste" money and buy plates by the 100 box, instead of the 1000 box, and our ads cost $75 per full page...and it happens to be any publisher's prerogative to put any price they please on their own pages and ads. Megamart also reaches around 2000 people so we feel the ad is worth it and we don't feel defensive about that: I do feel that anyone else, whether they reach 2000 people or only 20 people, can decide what their publication is worth. Since I've been publishing fanzines for probably as long as you've been alive, I think I can speak with some authority on the subject. (My first fanzine was "ditto'd" with friends in 1954...
  • Lori C-C addresses Susan Sackett regarding amateurs desire to write pro ST books:
    If you read Locus... or even such SF magazines as 'Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine,' you would know that publishers will often quite happily look at "nonprofessional" works. Whether or not they will look at "unsolicited" works or not, from an amateur or from an agent is another matter—your invitation was surely a solicitation, was it not? It's a shame that the pro ST market is missing out on the best writing— the fan fiction—that has yet been produced concerning STAR TREK.
  • Rebecca H has an issue with feminism and fanfiction:
    "We have met the enemy—and she is us." What goes here? That's the most pessimistic statement I've heard in a long time. I assume this entire discussion has come about because some feminists don't care for some of the female characters in either aired TREK or fan lit. To me, the gripe just isn't logical. I'm sure everybody has sense enough, when criticising the show to take into consideration the status of women when TREK was produced. As for fan lit, I agree with [Mindy G]: if you don't like it, do something; namely write your own stories. As with everything else, no character is going to appeal to everyone, but I see no reason why feminists want all writers to use only characters which meet their so-called liberated standards. It reminds me of new converts trying to proseletyze [sic] every dissenter they come across. We all have different tastes, so why should writers and readers alter their preferences in literature just because story heroines aren't bra-burning, egocentric, placard-carrying Liberationists? To be honest, I wasn't sure quite how to take Mindy's letter; didn't know whether she is serious or making fun of the whole thing.
  • Rebecca H addresses Susan Sackett and the subject of pro novels:
    While Ican't totally agree with [Elaine H's] condemnation of the pro novels, I can understand her disapproval. In a way, it's GR's fault. He's spoiled us regarding quality, so perhaps we expect too much from the pro novels. It is just that there has been so much potential in each novel which has gone to waste that it hurts, and this, I think is the real disappointment. It wasn't that the novels aren't good—it's just that they could have been ever so much better.
  • Judith G comments on the stronger role of women in some fanfiction:
    On the positive side, several fan writers have strengthened the weaker female Trek characters, or have made already Strong women stronger. See Anne Zeek's female Romulan Commander, for example, in "The Cytherean Cycle", Time Warp 1. I've seen several tales which take Christine Chapel through an evolution via which she overcomes her passivity and dependency and emerges as a strong, self-determined human being. One of the most interesting of these stories is Judellen Thornton-Jaringe's "Somebody Else's Home Planet", in In a Different Reality 2 and 3. Then of course there's Jean Lorrah's brilliant characterization of Amanda in the NTM universe, Lorrah has constructed a consistent and believable background for Amanda according to which her relative passivity during "Journey to Babel" turns out to be a temporary aberration. In fact, most of the fan writing I've seen recently on Amanda portrays her as much more self-sufficient, much less a mere appendage of her husband, than she appeared to be on the air. Perhaps it's a shame that fan writers have had to go to much much trouble to create strong women out of the raw material of aired TREK. But such is the creativity of fans that they will go to great lengths, if they so choose, to bring TREK in line with their reality, rather than the other way 'round. (Of course', there are also writers who prefer to write the characters exactly as they saw them on the air, which is their choice.... [And]] yes, I've also heard male comments to the same effect as your friend's comment that female fan writers write what a woman thinks a man feels, not what a man really feels: specifically, that female Trek writers attribute too much emotionality to the male char acters. Perhaps fan writers are writing about men as they would like them to be, not as they are. After all, in writing about the 23rd century, it's perfectly legitimate to write men as we hope they'll eventually be come.
Karen F, a fan of mimeo, has a long comment on zine production choices and costs, an excerpt:
...many readers think mimeo is "sloppy" because they've seen sloppy mimeo print jobs. They forget that offset can produce poor quality copies, too (remember the very early Warped Space issues which had pages or segments of pages that were almost unreadable; those were offset printed.) Mimeo is not sloppy, though an operator who either doesn't know how to work the machine or doesn't care can turn out bad copies.... Yes, buying a mimeo is a big expense, but it doesn't have to be as bad as Rebecca suggests. I did admire the ease of operation of the electric mimeos I saw at Sekwestercon Too. But I didn't suggest that zine-eds run out and buy one. After much wishful thinking about an electric, I finally paid off a used, hand crank model. I just can't afford an electric. And, yes, I will pass on the cost of buying this machine to my readers—at 25c per copy of each zine I print. I figure that after about 3 or 4 zines the mimeo will be paid for without straining my readers' pocket books. Now, let me really get down to specifics. I sell Rising Star for $2.75 ( or $3.00 when postage goes up in July). This pays for 143 pages of text (with 5 electrostenciled half-page illos), plus 3 pages of miscellanea, plus 8 more pages of electrostenciled mimeo art, plus 11 pages of offset art (all but 2 done by the expensive metal plate process), and 2 metal plate offset covers—for a total of 178 pages, if you want to count everything. Can offset beat that? I use offset where it will do the most good, and do the rest by mimeo to hold down the price.
  • Meredith M addresses Leslie Fish:
    Talk about hypocrisy...And you ask how humans are "unique" among animals. Here's one way. To my knowledge, no chimp—I.Q. of 80 or 90 notwithstanding—has ever written a LOC to a zine. Case closed?
* Judith Gran announces she's doing a survey of Star Trek fans for a scholarly article, explains her methodology and reasons in a long, long letter -- an excerpt:
I was beginning to read the scholarly literature on the mass media (my own academic training was in political science—specifically in comparative politics, political sociology, and the Middle East), and found it most unsatisfactory. Most academic analysts of television—somewhat paradoxically—argue that TV fulfills deep-seated psychic needs among viewers yet neglect the study of viewer response to TV shows in favor of "content analysis" of those shows. These analysts tend to be deeply pessimistic about the mesmerizing qualities of the boob tube and the "cultural hegemony" of the TV industry via-a-vis the viewing audience. Thus they tend to present an undifferentiated picture of the TV production process. And they tend to assume that viewers do—indeed, must—"accept" what they see on the screen. The weakness of the "copy" theory of knowledge which this presupposes should be obvious. Even the superficial awareness which 1 had at this point of the creative activities of TREK fans was enough to suggest its inadequacy. Meanwhile, a book appeared by Robert Jewett and John Lawrence, The American Monomyth (Doubleday, 1977), which applied this approach to STAR TREK. The authors regard TREK, to which they devote their first two chapters, as a "pop religion". They argue that STAR TREK (in common with other products of American popular culture) induces "passivity, a rejection of personal accountability, and an unwillingness to cope with everyday problems." They didn't, of course, consult or study STAR TREK fans (beyond quoting a few passages from Star Trek Lives!). I didn't set out specifically to write a refutation of Jewett and Lawrence, but the book does embody most of the questionable assumptions, methodological shortcomings, and total disregard for empirical evidence which I've observed in much of the literature on the media.

Issue 22

inside art from issue #22, Ken Gooch
inside art from issue #22, Cheryl Newsome
cover of issue #22, Heather Firth

Interstat 22 was published in August 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Heather Firth, Mike Cole, Ken Gooch, and Cheryl Newsome
  • Michelle Arvizu notes that some ST artists were getting high prices from the sale of their art for fanfic when sold at conventions. She writes that it seemed:
    unfair and frankly quite discouraging that a good fan artist can make excellent money for his efforts and an equally good fan writer who sweats just as hard and long over a story gets nothing.

Issue 23

front cover of issue #23, Mike Brown
inside art from issue #23, Melinda Shreve

Interstat 23 was published in September 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Mike Brown, Melinda Shreve-Reynolds, Ken Gooch, Ann Crouch
  • one of the editors, Mary G. Buser, steps down:
    With the publication of this issue of INTERSTAT my position as a publisher-jointly is dissolved, Teri and I have irreconcilable views on the nature of this publication, financial management of the zine and personal philosophy. I'm proud of INTERSTAT. We set high standards for ourselves and at times we failed to live up to those standards. But we did try. And we learned. The twenty-three issues of INTERSTAT to date are a history of the range and direction of fandom. They are a chronology of who we were and who we are becoming. They are a mosaic of views, a melange of this phenomenon we call fandom. My best wishes, and a great deal of affection be with you.
  • Ellen M. K does not like what she is seeing in zines:
    I returned from Augustparty with what is becoming my normal post-con depression. This time I tried to analyze it; only part of it is attributable to total exhaustion. The rest—the great preponderance —is due to an overdose of bad zines. The problem is that you can't tell if it is a bad zine until you've read it—and by then, it's too late—you've had your dose. Like radiation, the cumulative effect is lethal, producing a tendency to gafiate. I'm in Trek because I love Trek: Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (though not necessarily in that order), Sulu, Uhura, Chapel, and even Chekov. I know them, have watched them interrelate, and want to hear more about them as I would about any dear old friends. My problem arises when people deviate from these true characters. Perhaps this is what I have against the bulk of K/S: not so much that they are lovers, but that the two lovers are not the Kirk and Spock that I know and love. (More often than not, they are two Barbara Cartland heroines running around in drag!) While I appreciate the idea of IDIC and everyone's right to express herself (it is rarely himself), I'm really getting tired of reading about all those other people who are running around masquerading as my friends. Neither Spock nor Kirk cry, and it would take one hell of a lot to drag tears out of them; McCoy doesn't giggle, and Christine may have her problems, but she is neither mean nor stupid. Come on, guys!
The other problem I'm having with zines is the insistence that some created universes are more valid than others, and are to be regarded as just as "true" as the original created by Gene Roddenberry. (A friend remarked to me the other day that she thought THE MOVIE would be regarded as just another alternate universe!) I've amassed an awful lot of Trek trivia by watching reruns, but why should I have to learn the details of someone else's universe? I do not feel compelled to memorize the names and characteristics of a score of Mary Sues, and I resent any story that presumes that I have done so. There is starting to be (is?) an awful lot of snobbery on fandom by a few self-righteous fans who maintain that their alternate universes are as valid as Roddenberry's original, and that you cannot call yourself a Trek-fan if you do not know the people they have created. Perhaps for those people, their own universes are valid, but I do not want them inflicted on me. To distort the established characters, or to inflict on an innocent reader a barrage of extraneous beings without explaining their origin is enough to cause any fan to gafiate from established fandom back to the safety of reruns, Blish, and the movie.
  • Dixie G. O remains a purist:
    Am I the only ST purist left who wants zines filled with ST stories and Cons built around only ST programming? Maybe I am a case of arrested development that I am unwilling to move along joyfully to SW themes cluttering up otherwise good and respectable ST zines, Men from Atlantis clumping around on the pages in fins, or beserkers bloodily wading through gore. Sometimes I feel like "Man Trap's" salt monster, the last of her kind still grimly holding on for whatever NaCl [1] I can find, just so it comes wrapped in Spock's and Kirk's and Bones' pictures. I like the other shows in their place (on the tube or the silver screen) but I try desperately to boycott the offending zines and Cons in a doubtless futile effort to hold back what may be the next wave of progress in sf, *sob*. Is there ANYBODY else out there?
  • Dixie G. O also addresses Jean Lorrah regarding a Marion Zimmer Bradley book, "Ruins of Isis," and fandom at large about "The Catch Trap":
    At first glance RI infuriated me as a rip-off of NTM, by the way (I still think the conjunction of the twin moons a bit much, and wonder if she consulted you about the use of same). But her complete cultural background was what I always have hoped for with NTM, and what you could give us. As a matter of fact, your rationale about female dominance makes much more sociologically valid sense than hers, since her aggressive intelligent men just would not have waited anything like 70 years to revolt, no matter their spiritual respect for the sex who could hear the gods speak. [Also], if any of the K/S persuasion out there have not discovered MZB's newest The Catch Trap (non-sf, about a circus family) you are missing a real treat. The entire book deals extensively, realistically and beautifully with a subject she only touches on glancingly in the Darkovers.
  • Jeanette E wants to know why women put up with what she thinks of as lesser writing:
    Re: CHAUVINISM, FEMINISM: AWFUL WRITING AND ALL THAT STUFF: After two years of active fandom I have come to the conclusion that the basis behind some of the wretched treklit and the shallow characters being created, female and male, is, well, the preponderance of women in fandom. Women, readers, editors, writers alike, seem to have lower overall standards for treklit, and I don't know why. The male writers I know are far more concerned with technical qualities, the basics that make good writing good writing regardless of subject, than most female writers; and of course this automatically ups them on the literary ladder. Overfleshed sentimentality, cliched characters and wrung emotions should be no compensations for a shoddy frame, yet how often are we accepting them as such? More important, why are we accepting it? Beats me! I do know that it's a problem I see in myself and one which I must guard against zealously. I seem to write on two levels—warm, dumb, soppy stuff that appeals to me, and cooler stand-offish narrative which my smarts tell me is the better work. Why do I feel like this? Is it because I am female? Do the rest of you ladies feel the same? I agree that we have indeed met the enemy. I also like to think that her lesser aspects can be overcome.
  • G.M. C wants a definition of "strong woman":
    Perhaps someone should define the term "strong women" before we start another war over women in treklit. "Strong" in what way? Female weight-lifters? or, the "strong, take-charge woman" Jean Lorrah mentions? or even the "brutally aggressive, insensitive, slovenly, foul mouthed, and promiscuous" imitation man [Mary Lou D] says appears to be chosen for the "Liberated Woman" image...??? I'd say that the Vulcan T'Pau is possibly the 'strongest' female character in ST, though certainly not in physical prowess nor imitation masculinity. Vanna ("Cloud Minders") was no weakling, neither was Eileen ("Friday's Child") nor those insufferable females in "Plato's Stepchildren" whose delicate femininity was all on the surface. What kind of 'strength' are we debating?… So what standards are we judging by? What makes a female character 'strong'? If you want just muscles, how about Tamoon, Checkov's Drill-Thrall on Triskelion? That was one plenty strong woman!
  • in the first recorded attempt of a well-received fan writer trying to sell a Star Trek pro novel is in this issue -- Ingrid Cross writes:
    On behalf of my co-author, David Goodine, and myself, I would like to thank those people who were extremely supportive of our professional STAR TREK novel. It was submitted to Pocket Books in June, and we received a rejection slip from them in early August. We are not certain whether our proposal made it as far as Paramount for consideration; however, we feel it was treated fairly by the editor at Pocket Books. In reply to the many inquiries from fandom friends concerning the plot: the novel was an action-adventure story involving the Romulans. We had designed a storyline which combined intrigue and mystery with the upper echelons of Star Fleet. (And to add to the recent INTERSTAT discussions regarding female characters: one of our major characters was a woman captain with an extremely powerful personality who commanded a starship in a newer version of the familiar starships.) We don't have much of an idea of why the proposal was rejected; the letter only said, "it does not fit into our program at this time." There is a possibility we will finish the novel and print it in Odyssey. We are already busy with new projects, none of which lie in the realm of STAR TREK. This is not a result of bad feelings; we merely feel that mainstream literature is less confining and offers more opportunities.
  • regarding fanart "value" compared to fanfic "value," Leah R writes:
    In reference to [Michele A's] complaint in issue #22...she has a valid point about fan artwork being unfairly valued over fan writers' work. However, this particular problem is not peculiar to fandom. In the general art world as well, visual artwork is more highly valued (and sold) than original manuscripts. This may be because the writer is selling an immaterial concept, where the artist is selling a tangible object, and an original at that. Perhaps some day, 'zine editors may be able to pay for both submitted artwork and writing, but I doubt it seriously. Anyway, it's symptomatic of literature its nature makes it impossible to sell in the same way as art or music. It's too bad, but that's the nature of the word. Secondly, I see nothing wrong with talented individuals being rewarded by the sales of their work. If the buyer wants it, it's his or her business; I frankly think the auctions encourage new artists to further efforts and many eventually go "pro", anyway, or should.
  • Johanna C comments on the prevalence of the English language in Star Trek's worlds:
    Perhaps 20th Century English has become the Esperanto of the Federation. We know it is one of the easiest Terran languages to learn. Perhaps everyone learns his own language, plus English. This makes it possible for every educated person in the Federation to communicate directly.
  • Rebecca H writes of liberation and reality:
    My view of certain types of characters in TREK-fic as placard-carrying liberationists is no more a stereotype than [Bev C's] statement that "There have been very few strong women in fiction, and even some of the ones who have appeared have been weakened in the end by deciding that what they really wanted was to be loved by one of the main, male characters." (As if love weakened anyone! The strongest people I've ever known were also the ones whose capacity to love was the deepest. Love is an attribute of strength, not of weakness.) Come to think of it, if my view of so—called "liberated" characters is a stereotype, then your view of another type of character as a "parody of women", is an even worse stereotype. If, as you say, "A feminist believes in a woman's right to be herself, no matter what others think she should be,", then why be so all-fired upset over the portrayal of women in fiction? After all, while fiction does tend to reflect life—there are many simpering, weak women (and men); there are many women who enjoy being "sex objects"—what we are dealing with here is fiction. In other words—it isn't real! Now you may wish to argue that good fiction maintains threads of reality, and you'd be correct. The trouble is, some of us end up believing the fiction to a rather ridiculous point. We've gotten into some very heated arguments over whether two characters who are figments of imaginations can engage in a homosexual relationship. But we forget sometimes that we are still dealing in fiction. Logically, you may argue that what you call "parodies of women" would never make it into Starfleet. Perhaps in your view they would not. However, other writers see it differently. Since most people can separate private lives from professional lives, anything is possible, and there's nothing wrong with stories about these women. Such women exist in reality—and like themselves as they are. They can make interesting protagonists in fiction, too. To my mind, portrayal of women takes a back seat to the purpose of a character.
  • Judith G comments on making up an alien language obscenity:
    Very simply, I think an expletive needs to sound like an expletive.

Issue 24

cover of issue #24, Sat Nam Kaur Keahey
inside art from issue #24, Melinda Sheve
inside art from issue #24, Sat Nam Kaur Keahey

Interstat 24 was published in October 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Melinda Shreve, Sat Nam Kaur Keahey, Cathy Strand and Charmaine Porter
  • from the editor:
    The next issue will mark the start of INTERSTAT's third year of publication. For the past 24 issues, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to both our staff and subscribers. Without their talented contributions and timely support INTERSTAT would not exist as it does today. Ann Crouch will be coming on as joint publisher, and together we would personally like to welcome Sat Nam Kaur Keahey to INTERSTAT as a staff artist. We were fortunate enough to meet this lovely and most talented lady at the Kansas City Star Trek Convention. Welcome, Sat Nam Kaur, and many thanks for your beautiful cover this issue. Also, we are pleased to announce that Leslie Fish and Mary Lou Dodge are joining the contributing staff of INTERSTAT. These gifted writers will be doing a point/counter point Trek column modeled after the "60 Minutes" feature. Welcome, ladies, we look forward to your lively debates! In closing we would like to say it is our sincere wish that INTERSTAT not only be entertaining and informative, but a solid vehicle for fan opinion. Again, our warmest thanks to you, our subscribers and staff, for having made it so.
  • Jean Lorrah clears something up:
    To [Dixie O] (I#23) and other well-meaning NTM fans: Let me once more try to set the record straight. Marion Zimmer Bradley did not take ideas from The Night of the Twin Moons for Ruins of Isis. It is a case of purest coincidence, two minds on the same wavelength with neither knowing of the other. Four years ago, the winter of 1975-76, I was writing NTM. At the same time, Marion was writing RoI. I self-published, so my book appeared in April, 1976. Marion's book made the rounds of pro publishers for several years before one was daring enough to accept it. It was already in production before she read NTM. So please don't malign a fine writer who has no need to borrow ideas from anyone!
  • Jean Lorrah addresses [Jeanette E]:
    The women I know who write Treklit are constantly striving to learn the techniques of good writing. However, you must understand that every writer has to start somewhere, and fanzines are a marvelous forum in which to learn, because one gets such great feedback. I know what you mean about "warm, dumb, soppy" vs "cooler stand-offish narrative". I think, though, that one can be warm without being dumb or soppy—and that is the ideal we should strive for. And it's not just female—it's that as women we are allowed to express such feelings as men usually are not. To appeal to both sexes, though, we must blend something else with the emotion, such as a good action-packed adventure. That's why MZB's Darkover novels have as many male as female fans.
  • Johanna C addresses Rebecca H regarding a comment in (I#23):
    "Bla-bla-woof-woof" yourself! I don't know of any other way to respond; my goodness, what a way to present an argument! It seems especially strange coming from a fan who has upheld the "rules of courtesy" as eloquently as you have been known to do. Presumably they apply only to your opponents?
  • Cheryl R comments on fanon and on fan-created universes:
    I don't totally agree with [Dixie O's] wish (1#23) that zines & cons remain free of Star Wars and related interests. After 13 years, the pull of Trek is starting to diminish for some of us. As long as people know what the contents of a zine will be before they order it so they can miss spending hard earned $$ on something they are not interested in, I can't see what harm there is in using other fictional universes. After all, no one's giving any awards for ideological purists that I've heard about. On a related note, I can sympathize with [Ellen K's] dislike of some of the fan created universes. A lot of those stories should be translated into English before being foisted off on the unsuspecting reader. As a general rule of thumb, straight SF in a fanzine is usually crummy. The good stuff can be sold for real, live money out there in the real, live world. The trick to this is, that which one person calls a "distortion" of an established character, another calls art. And I can't imagine anyone calling the Blish adaptations "safe." So many times those stories bear only a passing relation to what was aired.
  • Charles M. G comments on strong women:
    It amazes me how so many of my male counterparts are scared of strong women. I consider myself to be the equal of any person; and seeing women in positions of authority does not bother me at all. When I first arrived at the prison where I am presently incarcerated, we had a woman associate warden, and I can honestly say she did a much better job than her male counterpart that followed. So stop griping and do something about your gripes. Take the bull by the horns and get what you desire through affirmative action.
  • Mindy G addresses Rebecca H:
    I find it somewhat intriguing that a human being who becomes defensive about being called a person should cluck over anyone else's reaction to anything. As a feminist, I am appalled by your assumption that a strong female character equals an ego-maniacal underwear arsonist. However, since you claim you were referring to characters who for some reason choose to burn their underwear, and not those people who want to read such characters (are there any out there?), I wonder why you thought this a quality necessary to meet feminist standards. Ms. Hoffman, to be quite frank, you are confusing me. Is this literary lingerie, or are you impugning someone's maidenform bra? You appear to be making assumptions about literary tastes which are not your own, and, as such, they are valueless. Unless you are a feminist— and wouldn't we all be surprised?—don't feel free to speak as one. You do not do it well, and we appear to be in no need of assistance. As you glossed over, fiction does tend to reflect life. I believe that none of us need be reminded that women come in all denominations, and that there is interest in reading about each. I don't object to simpering women, and I don't object to weak women, and I don't object to sex objects. However, I do object, most strenuously, to parodies of women. I want to see three dimensional women, even if they're pathetic. 1 want to see real women, written as painstakingly as are captains, and first officers, and CMOs. A woman's right to be herself does not mean that she must be me, or you, or the girl next door. It means she must be herself, be given that much dignity. What I would like to see more of in fan fiction are women who are real, i.e. if they simper, I want to know why, if they're weak I want to know how, and if they're sex objects I want a little more than drooling and gaping. Many women, as they exist in fanzines, could never exist in life for the very reason they can't exist in fiction—there is nothing there, nothing comes alive from the page.
  • Mary M. S comments on creating an alien language obscenity:
    ...in my Trek book set in the year 1996, I am making use of the word "Freak." It sounds innocent enough, except when spelled with a capital "F" it is in reference to those of selective breeding. They find it so offensive that the use of it can get a normal human beaten to a bloody pulp, if not killed. Yet it is a good explosive one syllable word. It Is easily spray-painted in conspicuous public places. And it starts with "f" and ends with "k".
  • Maggie Nowakowska also comments on alien language created obscenities:
    I think the biggest pitfall in inventing cuss words is to take them too seriously. At least if you want a contemporary reader to assimilate them without hysterics. Few people who say 'goddam' literally mean for God to come down and damn the person/object of their anger„ Many of the 'May Thor Wrinkle Your Knees' curses we read sound so...final. I would advise sticking to curses that evolve from nasty relationships/nasty consequences in your particular universe, or tying your curses to familiar circumstances on Terra. I use 'sithshit' a lot in my Star Wars stories because in my stories, the Sith are the Invaders of my galaxy.
  • Carolyn E. C writes of Trek "ST purist and Alternate Universes":
    I too am less than thrilled with the Trekkier-than-thou attitude of many alternate universe fans. I find many of the alternate universes illogical and tire of having to find someone to explain the cast. (Usually I am appalled when it is explained). I LIKED the original characters, I feel it's unnecessary to change their basic nature. I like new characters but not changing the old. I'm sorry there aren't more "pure" ST zines and
 cons but it's this attitude that has alienated general SF fandom and is fragmenting fandom into little
 "ethnically pure" neighborhoods. This allows us to used by greedy pro dealers. Let's remember the homogeneous nature of the ENTERPRISE.
  • Carolyn E. C also writes of "Awful Writing and All That Stuff":
    Do not be deceived by male Trek lit. Hundreds of men read the Gor, Conan, Louis L'amour series. These are the male equivalent of the "warm, dumb, soppy, stuff". I do not know if it's nature or nurture but I've noticed men seem to read/write heroic fantasy and women are drawn to romance. I don't mind good, logical, well written Trek romance but much is on par with the worst Harlequin. My biggest complaint is the lack of rationality in characters and plots. (Anyone want to see a dissertation on the logical fallacies in Kraith Collected?) Or worse the sudden change in a character with no rhyme or reason except 1) true love or 2) deep hidden aspects of the character's nature (Try the Phoenix books—better yet, don't!) The soppy stuff in Sahaj makes sense. I think the real "enemy" is better quality zine selling.
  • Mary Lou D comments on "poor" female writing:
    I think the poor quality of women's Treklit is due to the poor quality of what they read, or probably don't read (perhaps too much attention to soap operas on TV). You have to read good writing to know what it is. Maybe the men are just more literate. Any comments on that, you fanatical feminists?
  • two fans, Susan C and KathE D write of what they see as problems with this year's Star Trek Fan Fund:
    The 1979 Star Trek Fan Fund has been awarded. The recipient was [Kay J]. There are some disturbing facts concerning this years contest that we feel should be brought out in the open. The Fan Fund nominations closed in December. When we received our ballot, we were slightly disturbed to see Kay's name as one of the nominees. It was our understanding that the purpose of the Fan Fund as outlined in HALKAN COUNCIL was to "enable a Trek fan to travel to a convention. ... .a person who's never been to a con would be ideal. The Fan Fund is not a charity, it's an honor one of the considerations in nominating anyone is if they've EVER been able to attend a con; there are a lot of fans bound to their own states by financial inabilities. We would not attempt to state Kay's financial abilities; however, it is my personal knowledge that she has attended at least 25 conventions, if not more in the past three years. Hardly someone unable to attend conventions who needs financial help from her fellow fans. We also heard about questionable campaign methods used by Kay, such as mass mailings of SASE's (how many SASE's can you send on your postage budget?) along with notes saying, "at a time like this one finds out who one's friends are" requesting they vote for her. Certainly people didn't have to vote for her. It was their own free choice. But no one else on the ballot did this type of campaigning. They trusted their friends and fans, and were willing to stand or fall by the information provided on the ballot. We called [Carol A] to ask if she was aware of Kay's ability to attend conventions and if she had heard of her campaigning activities on her own behalf. She said that she was not, but that she didn't know what could be done about it now. In July we heard from Kay herself that she had in fact received the money. Well, Kay won the Fan Fund and she plans to go to England In October. Nothing can be done, except to use this example to set up better and more definite guidelines for next years Fund. "It is our opinion that Kay campaigned hard enough that she was actually able to affect the outcome ofthisyearsFund. Itwasn'tsupposetobeapopularitycontest! We realize that the Fan Fund is an idealistic concept and it's possible that it won't survive after this. We want individual fans to know some of the facts, the conclusions they form from those facts are entirely up to the individual. Judging from past fan problems, it is inevitable we will be labeled troublemakers. If a sincere desire to prevent a repetition of injustice and honest anger over the besmirching of fandom's integrity makes us troublemakers, so be it.
  • Mary Lou D writes of selling fanart:
    Don't fuss about the prices the artists are getting; just remember, writers are able to sell their work, too, for pro publications, either to Pocket Books for their new Star Trek list, or if it's not authenic Trek, by some minor name and incident changes, as science fiction if the work has quality (if not—well, artwork of inferior quality doesn't bring much either). I don't think you'll have to worry about selling.
  • Michele A complains of zine cost:
    To all Star Trek fan fiction editors: If costs of fanzines continue to rise (recent prices have been as much as $10-$15 a piece), I'm sure in the near future few fans no matter how devoted will be able to either purchase or publish ST fanzines. Therefore, I am amazed at how many of you still continue the practice of spacing between every paragraph. This practice is completely unnecessary (unless the type is reduced) and wastes pages and pages in- a medium to large zine. These same pages could either be devoted to more stories for our money or eliminated altogether to produce a less costly zine. With stories which use a lot of dialogue, this is an especially wasteful use of paper. We all read books, newspapers and magazines with relative ease which do not space between paragraphs. With printing and postal costs skyrocketing out of everyone's reach, we should all be on the look out for any ways possible to save ourselves money. I would like to see this silly and wasteful practice abolished.
  • Cheryl R doesn't like seeing McCoy being portrayed as old and out-of-shape:
    ....why is it that most fan writers dealing with McCoy portray him as over-the-hill and past his prime? Let's face it, McCoy is a doctor, so you know he is aware of the importance of good health! He is also a member of Starfleet-and they don't let physically unfit people head the medical department of a starship! I cringe whenever I read a story that has the landing party slowing down to let McCoy catch up, or has him totally winded after climbing one hill!

Issue 25

inside art from issue #25, Mike Brown
inside art from issue #25, Melinda Shreve
cover of issue #25, Melinda Shreve

Insterstat 25 was published in November 1979 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Mike Brown, Melinda Shreve, and Cathy Strand
  • Roberta R writes of strong women and Mary Sue:
    To Everyone Concerned: Women writers should write "strong women' into their stories. If they don't, it's the fault of the individual writer. All characters whether they are male or female, should be written as Human Beings, capable of great virtues and great faults. Someone once asked what a "Mary sue" was—I described it as a character without flaws, set in an unrealistic situation. The "Mary Sue" heroines are making a come back in the fiction of younger Trek writers because that's how you start—but it's not the Be-all and End-all. A "Mary Sue" can be male or female—if she/he/it is perfect, then do something! Give the character a good solid flaw—arrogance, or a tendency to brood over imaginary imperfections, of a hot temper, or something! Sure, we want to write "strong women"—but character flaws are no sign of weakness. The "strongest" female character [physically as well as in terms of personality, charisma, what-have-you] is Leslie Fish's Jenneth Roantree in the Weight. I find the character overpowering—and very ruthless! Flawed—Yes! Her very strength is a flaw, since she has yet to learn true compassion and tolerance for other ways of life than her own. The Trek characters had flaws worked into their characterizations, either by the writers or by the actors, so that they do come across as fallible humans [or in Spock's case, Vulcans] and not as Demi-Gods.
  • Johanna C writes of the letter in the previous issue regarding the Star Trek Fan Fund:
    No one, as I understand it, is claiming that Kay broke any rules. I think that fact should be highlighted— in fairness. And I hope very much that the unhappiness with the '79 STFF will be channeled into its proper course: an examination of/change of the rules, as opposed to any attack on an indivudual fan.
  • Georgia E writes of the Fan Fund issue:
    I, for one, certainly do not consider [KathE D] and [Susan C] to be "troublemakers" within fandom! Since when does pointing out an injustice make a person a "troublemaker"??? Personally I admire them for being bold and brave enough to bring the issue of the Fan Fund and what happened this year out into the open in fandom. Evidently they knew that there might be some adverse reaction to what they chose to do, yet they felt strongly enough about it that they didn't back down from their convictions- Bravo! All the problems which seem to have surfaced with this year's Fan Fund definitely point up some weaknesses which are inherent in the system itself. Most of all, it appears obvious that some very specific rules need to be set up as to qualifications for nomination and as to definite campaign practices. Although I despise the thought of arbitrary rules, it seems that this is going to be necessary if the Fan Fund is to continue in the future. A system needs to be set up which states something to the effect of "If a fan has attended X number of cons within the last X number of months, then that fan is not a suitable candidate for nomination for the Fan Fund." Possibly this is not the only solution to the problem, but it is one that might be considered. Surely everyone, no matter how they feel about what happened this year, would like to see such confusion and hurt avoided in the future. I would hope that fandom can come out of all of this without lots of little petty jealousies and lingering hurt feelings. I think it is possible that fandom can learn a little from everything which has happened in regard to this year's Fan Fund. I would sure hope so because I would hate to think that KathE and Susan "went out on a limb" for nothing.
  • Carol A writes of the Fan Fund issue:
    When I first saw Carol's accounting of the Fan Fund, several questions immediately came to mind. 1) why Kay? I though the Fan Fund was to aid worthy fans who were financially unable to attend a con on their own resources- I don't know Kay's financial status personally, but I do know she has attended many cons, which by virtue of that factor alone should have made her ineligible. I won't criticize Kay personally—if I could get a Fan Fund to pay my way to Europe, I don't think I'd be noble enough to turn it down either. 2) The statistics concerning the money reveal that there was plenty of cash collected to finance two, three, even four people's con trips if they paid part themselves [quite a difference from footing the entire bill] and settled for crossing a state line or two rather than an ocean. 3) Where are the statistics concerning the voting? What was the vote spread between the candidates? (In other words, who was the runner up? i'd really like to know!
  • Mary Lou D writes of the Fan Fund issue:
    I see no possible criticism in its being awarded to [Kay J] The rules say it is an honor, not a charity, and it is not restricted to those who have never seen a convention. Kay has worked hard for Star Trek and fandom, and certainly deserves to be honored for her efforts. Most of the conventions she has attended as a worker, not merely for her own enjoyment, and if the award made it possible for her to go to England to consult with her opposite numbers there, it was to the benefit of fandom, as well as her pleasure. If you want the award to go to only someone who has never before been to a convention, large or small, then the rules should be changed to create a lottery. The names of those eligible would be submitted with the contribution, and one would be drawn for the award. That way no criticism of the choice would be possible.
  • Kay J, recipient of the Fan Fund, writes:
    English cons are both the same and different. Because of distances STAR TREK guest stars are rare, but Terracon on Oct. 13-14 was fortunate in having four local people: Douglas Adams, script editor of BBC's "Dr. Who" and author of "The Hitchhikers's Guide to the Galaxy", Rupert Evans, movie stuntman and friend of Gene Roddenberry, Lionel Fanthorp, SF and sword & sorcery author, and Phillip Rae, one of Great Britain's top SF model makers. Typically English special events are the Tribble Show (run like a cat and dog show with a resident vet) with pedigreed and vari-colored tribbles, Fashion Show which displays much creativity in their scripts and costumes, and the Auction of rare items (such as U.S. zines). The Auctioneer is a real character, liable to auction an empty box or a poster mailing tube. At this auction he sold himself a remarkable sculpture of "The Life of a Coke Can" in seven stages of decrepitude, then donated it back and re-auctioned it off to someone else! The Fancy Dress on Saturday night is the same as American costume contests and was followed by a Disco. Films and episodes are the same as in the U.S. Although the number of ST episodes are few they are well-attended and greatly appreciated because of their scarcity on TV. I had a marvelous time at the con and meeting English fen. It was tremendously exciting to hear that I had won the Third STAR TREK Fan Fund and I am very grateful to all my friends. Thank you all very much, I shall always feel that this has been a very great honor.
  • Deborah L. B is worried, but optimistic, about the proliferation of media choices:
    Yes Dixie, I#23, it looks as if ST will get lost in the shuffle, what with all of the other shows and cons popping up all over the place. However I prefer not to worry. Eventually, the wheat will be separated from the chaff and whatever is really good will remain and the rest will fade away. I honestly feel that ST will come out on top. Some fans may be distracted for awhile, but I think most of them will return. It's up to us to keep things going in the meantime.
  • Carol N writes of a new organization, one which has some relation to Star Trek and NASA:
    Thank you for printing our Back NASA plans! As you readers may remember, we formed a group
 known as World Space Federation, now incorporated as non-profit, so we can call ourselves World Space Federation, Inc. We are presently in the process of applying for our tax exempt number with the IRS. There is one very important point which I wish to now correct. In our previous communication with you we stated we would be a non-political group. This is not correct. We will be attempting to apply NON PARTISAN political pressure to ensure our space program gets the public support it so desperately needs.... I believe we are within our rights to call ourselves Star Trek fans, fans of the space program, and concerned U. S. citizens- It has been suggested to me that we are not Star Trek oriented. My answer to whether or not we are indeed Star Trek fans forming the backbone of this organization is this: This organization was inspired by Star Trek fans at Star Trekon '79 in Kansas City, a Star Trek Convention. Our ideas were presented on the program of Star Trek America, in New York, a Star Trek Convention. The money we raised to incorporate was contributed by members of Starbase Kansas City, and other Star Trek fans. Starbase Kansas City, a SF and ST club, officially sponsors WSF, as does Star Trekon, and were the first club and convention group to do so. Members of WSF sent out their first mailings to the star Trek groups and fanzine publications [over 600] as their first attempt to activate the Star Trek network of fans, using as their mailing list the Welcommittee Directory.... It IS true we don't want to LIMIT our members to ST fandom. We want all fans of the space program to join us, as we need these numbers to be able to achieve our goals... We of World Space Federation, Inc. love those beautiful dreams of men in space, but now we want to DO something about making those dreams become reality.
  • Shirley Maiewski writes a reminder:
    I am writing to remind readers that the Star Trek Welcommittee does not take part in ANY controversy or political-oriented program. The impression was given in [Carol N's] letter in I#24, that STW was working with the World Space Federation - this is not so. Our sole purpose is to assist fans with questions they might have relating to STAR TREK and STAR TREK only. We have nothing against WSF or NASA, we admire WSF and its members for the task they have set for themselves, but STW must as always, remain neutral. WE are licensed by Paramount for the sole purpose of answering questions on STAR TREK—period.
  • Rebecca R addresses Mindy G's letter in the previous issue:
    I wasn't exactly "clucking" over other people's reactions. I was just surprised that reactions to my comments regarding certain types of characters sounded suspiciously like hysterical hens with a fox raiding the henhouse. I was simply surprised they took it personally. [Now, if any of the readers really want me to take aim at the letters' authors personally - instead of drawing a bead on a general type of character - I reckon I could give them a really good reason to feel personally intimidated. I'd rather not cloud the real issue by sidetracking, however.] I realize that some feminist feathers are going to fluff and ruffle over anything they feel is "non-feminist" [whatever that means], so I will no longer be surprised at any responses. I'm also sorry you're appalled by what you perceive to be my assumptions, but I have the distinct impression you're inferring that which suits your worst expectations - and if you want to play doubletalk, that's your privilege, too. By the way, I never claimed to speak as a "feminist", I certainly do not recall labeling myself as one; and since I don't espouse the littany [sic] of any one particular political and/or social group, I'm not apt to pidgeon-hole [sic] myself into such a category. I speak for myself, as myself, and don't you make the mistake of presuming to tell me how I shall - or shall not - speak.
  • G.M. C describes a visit to her place of business by a young woman who was sent to pick up some heavy boxes and put them in her truck, one which G.M. C "took pity" upon and told some male employees to do the heavy lifting instead:
    I was disgusted at them for sending a girl to do a man's job in the first place! I wonder if she will remember her inadequacy when she cashes her pay check? I wonder if she actually believes she is doing a man's job as well as a man? And I wonder how many of these militant 'liberated women actually DO think they are 'just as good as a man' when it comes to heavy duty masculine jobs like hauling freight, fire-fighting, police- work etc.? The physical truth is that women just haven't got the same kind of muscles that men have. Even when, as in this case, they are just the same height and possibly about the same weight. So who was kidding whom?
  • G.M. C comments on "trashy" writing:
    [Carolyn C] makes a good point in equating trashy Treklit with trashy non-Trek hack writing. I guess most of us never think in terms of pulpzines, but maybe that's the trouble in the stories we find offensive— they are patterned [unconsciously, we hope] on the trashy "True Romances" type of writing rather than on the better quality literature. Maybe the reason for the low opinion of "Lt. Mary Sue" is not the "Mary Sue", but the fact that this type of immature writing belongs in a True Confessions magazine, not among Treklit as such. Likewise the K/S belongs in the "gay" oriented mags, not in circles where we relate the ST characters to the originals as they appeared on TV. There is a kind of innate nastiness to the subject matter of a certain type of pulpzine. Maybe it is that kind of nastiness we object to without actually realizing why when we find it permeating Treklit.
  • Jean Lorrah comments on fan-created Trek alternative universes:
    Now, let me move to another history lesson that all those people complaining about alternate ST universes seem to have forgotten completely. Once upon a time, in the bleak year 1969, a television series called STAR TREK went off the air. For all that its devoted fans knew, that was all there was ever going to be. IF they wanted more, they'd have to create it themselves. And behold - they did! And if they brought forth Kraith, and Alternate Universe Four, and The Misfit [2] , and Epilogue, each author or group of authors starting from aired Trek and diverting from it along a different path. Since there was no longer a program to emulate, there was no reason for authors to confine themselves to stories that copied episodes - it became possible to allow the characters to grow and change! And lo, when the cartoon episodes came along, and rumors of a revival and for a movie began, the traditional had already been established, and new authors emulated those who had created their universes in the days when the "real" Trek universe seemed to be gone forever. NOW, seriously, how can people object to the various ST universes? Each one takes off from the aired scries. I can understand objections to gross distortions of established characters, but how can anyone object to the addition of new characters when every ST episode had a guest star or two? Even slavishly following the pattern of aired live episodes, one must add new characters! As for anyone having to memorize all the details of an alternate universe to read it, what nonsense. Only if someone wants to write a Kraith story, and NTM story, etc., need she make sure it's consistent with the rest of such stories. Oh, and [Mary Lou D] - if the Delta Triad stories with the Kirk/Uhura affair ond other running adventures do not constitute an alternate ST universe, what does?
  • Mary Lou D writes of a current topic:
    Strong Women in Literature: I've had a couple of letters, asking about books which portray strong women characters. Firstly, nothing written since 1960, when the women writers became creators of losers — the whiners, the neurotics — turning all women into unsympathetic copies of themselves, is worth reading.

Issue 26

inside art from issue #26, Mike Brown
inside art from issue #26, Sat Nam Kaur Keahey
front cover of issue #26, Mike Brown

Interstat 26 was published in December 1979 and contains 22 pages.

  • art by: Mike Brown, Sat Nam Kaur Keahey, Joy, and Cathy Strand
  • the newly-formed dual column, a single subject debated by Leslie Fish and Mary Lou Dodge, focuses on the subject of copyright and the rights of fan-created Trek works
  • from the newly formed column, Leslie Fish posits:
    THE COPYRIGHT PANIC: Fellow-fen, don't worry about Paramount "cracking down" on fanzines; even if they were such ungrateful idiots as to try to destroy all that free advertising, they couldn't do it. The Amateur Press Association — largely made up of SF fanzine editors — researched this point thoroughly. It seems that there is a legally defined difference between an amateur publication and a professional publication, and it deals not with profit but with circulation. The cutoff is 10,000 copies per issue. Above that, it's a pro-zine; below that, it's an amateur-zine. Pro-zines must observe the usual copyright laws; amateur-zines don't have to. It's as simple as that. Now, how many Trek-zines do you know of that have a circulation of 10,000 or more? Relax. We're safe. Paramount might make threatening noises, but they can't really do anything to us. Just ask a club called Starfleet Command about their 'zine, FLEET. Or ask Carol Frisbie about THRUST. Yes, Virginia, there is a limit to the harm the Paramount Pinheads can do.
  • from the newly-formed column, Mary Lou Dodge posits:
    With unsubstantiated rumors of a coming clamp-down on zines, there's a lot of semi-hysterical talk about fandom's rights to issue "Star Trek" material in the face of a Paramount/Roddenberry disapproval—of how we've kept "Star Trek" alive for a decade; of how we've written, unforbidden, all this time—all of which gives us the right to do as we please with the characters... As for our claims: Certainly we kept "Star Trek" alive, but that was our choice, because we enjoyed it. No one coaxed us to do so. A self-imposed benefit requires no recompense from the beneficiary; it was a voluntary gift... We don't know what will happen pertaining to Trek fiction, but if it should be "cease and desist" that's what we should accept—without rancor, and with graditude for all the lovely entertainment the owners of the material have let us derive from it in the past.
  • Damon H is looking for some scientific accuracy in Trek:
    I'm the male of the species and this probably reflects a tradi tionally masculine trait in a female-dominated activity. I like an author (pro or fan) or a series or movie that reflects some careful thought on this subject—obviously I am very frustrated. As bad as fandom is with their science I wonder if they didn't flunk all their science courses in school. In fact, it's almost as bad as the non sense being perpetrated all the time in mass media, a subject which causes me considerable discomfort—if not actual pain. I hope Roddenberry and Jesco von Puttkamer get their science and SFX straight in THE MOVIE. I'll be very disappointed if they don't. I realize most people don't know and might not care because they don't have an engineering or technical back ground—but Ido! If I hear another starship go by on the screen or the tube with sound effects in a hard vacuum, I'll...I'll be very unhappy.
  • Susan S comments on a letter in the previous issue regarding women's physical equality with men and women's lib:
    On the subject of women's lib: shame on you [G.M. C]. Not all men are suited, or wish, to be truck drivers, firefighters, or police, so why do you assume all feminist women seek those jobs?... A great many women can and do lift 50 pounds without fainting. Who looks shocked if a woman lifts a 50 pound child?... Your truck did, after all, get loaded. Didn't your truck driver have a hydraulic lift on her vehicle? And a dolly? Are you upset because she managed by looking helpless, the way women have been trained to do over the years? Many's the time I've seen men ask for help on the loading dock. Why couldn't she?
  • Leah R also comments on women's abilities as opposed to men's:
    Agreed on women's physical inequality. I wish feminists wouldn't drone on about that issue, denying it. The scientific fact is that men have a much greater percentage of their bodies given over to muscle than women do (the woman has more insulating fat). That's not my opinion,f olks—that's physiological fact. Which is not to say that there aren't individuals who are exceptions, or that some men don't let the muscle include their heads, sometimes, by assuming a woman also can't do skill, character or intelligence-related jobs as well, and therefore do not hire them or pay less. That's the issue.
  • Leigh W also comments on women's abilities as opposed to men's:
    I am one of those "militant liberated women [who] DO think they are 'just as good as a man.'" I was dismayed to see [G.M. C's] sneering attack against feminism in the pages of INTERSTAT #25. My point is this: people should be free to compete equally for any job, with competition solely on the basis of qualifications and not on sex... Let me address myself to [G.M. C] for a moment and discuss [her] example. A young woman was sent by her company to pick up an order of heavy equipment, which she could not carry. This is a valid basis for condemning the entire women's movement? This is an example of a woman not being "as good as a man?" It seems to me on the basis of this example that we don't have quite enough evidence to make that kind of judgment. How do you know that this young woman's job description specifically stated that she was to lift and carry heavy equipment? How do you know that she was not told to expect assistance on your end? Do you mean to tell me that your shop never offers loading assistance to your customers? If the driver had been a small man, would your reaction have been the same, or would you have seen that he had help without giving it a second thought? And how do you know that her salary and job were exactly the same as the man who followed her? If the woman's company hired her to do heavy manual labor, I'll agree that that was probably foolish. If her employers hired her to pick up equipment without the help of other people or mechanical devices, and without telling her that she was not to have help, then that was unfair of them and hardly her fault. And if her company did make it clear that this was what she was expected to do, and she took the job anyway, knowing that she could not, well, then, that was just plain stupid. There are a lot of circumstances involved here that we simply don't know anything about... For the most part the feminist movement consists of reasonable, intelligent people who deserve better than a generalized and simplistic putdown and patronizing and demeaning name-calling… To refer to me or my feminist colleagues as "bra-burning women's libbers" implies a generalized and misplaced fanaticism and is therefore inappropriate, highly insulting, and patently untrue.
  • Joan V writes that she is tired of the bickering and fighting in Interstat, as well as of a tendency of some fans to make things personal:
    An even more ghastly consequence of this practice are those few people who take it upon themselves to see that anyone who disagrees with them is frozen out of fandom forever- That attitude is ethically reprehensible. I don't expect everyone in fandom to agree with me, and I don't think I have a right to decide who stays and who does not stay in fandom. Even those who have the above attitude have the right to stay in fandom, even though I strongly object to their attitudes. There are many fans, old and new, who occasionally ask why they don't see a certain fan or fans around anymore. I have talked to a few fan dropouts, and they think that fandom has grown too hostile. A few fans are not interested in finding and emphasizing areas of agreement; they're interested in locating areas of disagreement and throwing out anyone who disagrees with them. I've felt it, too, but I stay because, first, I really enjoy Star Trek, and second, I really enjoy making friends with other Star Trek fans (and I know the hostile ones are few in number)... Is it too much to ask that fans state their complaints and disagreements with respect? No one wants to speak their mind when they know that there are a dozen people ready to jump on them for it. I have no intention of jumping on anyone, and when I feel that there won't be people stepping all over me, then I'll probably write something for the next issue. I'm a human being, not a doormat.
  • Ellen M. K explains a previous opinion of Trek Men Crying:
    What I was objecting to, however, was those stories in which Spock or Kirk turn on the waterworks at the first sign of trouble, and weep incessantly thereafter. The drama in any Trek story lies in finding the breaking point at which they will weep. And, in truth, after years of spouting the party line ("It's okay for men to cry"), I find I am fond of neither men nor women who weep at the slightest provocation. Solve your problems first, weep later—there's no time for weeping on a busy bridge.
  • Ellen M. K writes of her impatience with some fanon, specifically the "requirement" that fans be familiar with all the fan-created alternate universes:
    And I seek to be protected from it, as well as from the arrogance of long time fanwriters. Which brings us to my reply to Jean Lorrah: There is great, though subtle, pressures on all fen to learn the details of all the alternative universes, perhaps worse for the affectionate and open way in which that pressure is applied. If you have been in Trek fandom a long time, you may not perceive it as such. A large number of my fan-writer friends constantly make reference to "my X story," or "my Y story," neither of which is ever comprehensible to someone who has not read the rest of the stories in that universe. When asked why the familiar characters are acting so strangely, the usual dismissal is, "Oh, that's a Kraith story," or "That's part of the X universe." That Kraith story, or whatever universe it is located in, is some thing I have just laid out good money for, in hopes of reading about my friends Kirk and Spock. I have two alternatives, it seems: consider the money lost and continue in my perplexed state, or go out and buy the rest of the zines in that universe, which may turn out to be a colossal bore. The mark of good writing is a story that can stand on its own...
  • Vel Jaeger addresses Mary Lou D:
    I resent the implication that, merely by reason of being female, my reading material is necessarily restricted. The worst form of torture for me would be to have to read a Harlequin Romance - and while I do admit to having watched soap operas in the past (mostly while folding diapers and ironing uniforms), I don't think I've watched one for several years now. Most of my reading is limited to science fiction, but I also enjoy a variety of other fiction and non-fiction, ranging from ancient history to astronomy. Men are more literate? Hah! Women are just too conditioned to "not worry their little old heads over such serious stuff."
  • Kay J is ecstatic:
    Received a phone call today from Gene Roddenberry's office inviting me to the STAR TREK movie premiere in Washington, D.C. December 6th. Pinched myself to see if I was awake. OUCH! Yes, I'm awake. Yes, the call is real.
  • Roberta R is more tolerant of fanworks in other fandoms other than Trek than some fans:
    As for [Dixie O's] complaint about extraneous matter in fanzines — wellllll — once one has the habit of inventing stories for TV characters, it's tough to stop. The Star Wars stuff is verrrrry interesting; there seem to be innumerable variations of Mrs. Darth Vader, and How Han Solo Met Chewie, and a lot of rootin'-tootin* adventure stuff. The Galactica 'zines aren't as good. I've already started on a Buck Rogers spin-off of my own and I'm willing to accept anything else that comes along. The best thing I ever read was in Syndezine where MASH met everyone else.
  • Mindy G addresses Rebecca H regarding the lack of strong women in Treklit:
    True, we were given three strong characters. But if there's room for three in one story, there's certainly room for four- Or is it that only males need apply? Not only some but all of the classics have strong characters, of necessity. Scenic descriptions do not a reader's interest hold. There's no reason to be afraid of writing someone who won't melt under first reading. True, doomed security personnel do have their place, but what an impoverished universe it would be if it was only red shirts and the Big Three. What matters, you say, is not how the female is portrayed, but the totality of the story. Maybe. Yet I find it interesting that in so many stories the totality is arranged in just such a way that the female is portrayed lousy, Does anyone have any ideas as to why this happens?… Of course weak characters have their place, if they've been fleshed out as weak characters. Even that doesn't happen all that often in treklit. I wouldn't mind if all women were believably weak in fan fiction (not right away, that is). I just want something believable... I know what I'm tired of. And it's not even Mary Sue. It's a character as three dimensional as a paper doll, whose dialogue is about as wooden as said doll's first origins. I want a little life, and I don't think that's too much to ask. I want to be able to feel when I read, which is only because I want good fiction. Good fiction entails emotional manipulation. And emotional manipulation is impossible when you're dealing with petrified wood. And emotional manipulation wears thin when it's only three characters who populate a feeling universe.
  • Mary Lou D addresses Jean Lorrah's assertion that the Uhura/Kirk relationship in the Delta Triad stories are alternative universes:
    Delta Triad has attempted to stick as close to the original "Star Trek" as possible (if you could have sat in at some of our three-sided shouting matches as we fought out the slightest suspicion of distortion of the characters, you'd realize just how seriously we took our determination to provide the fans with additional authentic episodes). This did entail, however, some additional early background material on the crewmembers (often cleared with the respective actor himself) but nothing we felt that conflicted with the people they were later to become. As for the stories of Kirk and Uhura in love; it was originally in tended to be limited to "Gracious Silence", but over three-quarters of our readers who wrote agreed with the theory and begged for more sto ries. We took our supposition from incidents in the episodes themselves which we and the others strongly suspected were included by the two actors and Mr. Roddenberry for the purpose of teasing the viewers. If you have the new "Star Trek" novel, which Gene Roddenberry has written, please note on page 58, the ambiguous but significant comment on Uhura's part; and later on 108 the thought of Kirk's, which indicates his former, narrow bunk was not always singly occupied—plus the relaxed and almost intimate way the two exchange silent messages. It looks like we're right in the mainstream of "Star Trek"—and any thing but an alternate universe.
  • Rebecca H also uses the recently released Roddenberry movie novel to prop up a point:
    Just got finished reading Gene Roddenberry*s novelization of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. The Great Bird Hath Spoken! In the book, he has the most marvelous, delightfully droll put-down of the Kirk/Spock gay relationship I could ever have wished for! In answer to the question —would Kirk and Spock: not THE Kirk and Spock. If that should happen, it would be in a very alternate universe! Keep on Trekkin!
  • Roberta R is all for fan-created alternate universes:
    About the Alternate Trekworlds — well, why not? For Pete's sake, no one stays still, and nothing lasts forever. Kirk and Spock and the rest of them are moving all the time, even in the episodes, and this process of change isn't going to stop just because the voyage is over. I'm really looking forward to The Movie to see how close we came to what Gene Roddenberry thought the characters would do. If we write additional lives beyond the Big E for a character — and if the stories are GOOD and CONSISTENT with that character — then, hooray for us! I agree totally with Jean Lorrah — so long as the characters are consistent, and the stories hold together, they're just fine.
  • Roberta R has this to say about the Fan Fund flap:
    Wellllll - is the FF a charity or an award? If it's a charity, how about splitting it between two or three people, on a semi-subsidy basis? If it's an award for services rendered, then Kay deserved it — she's certainly been active, and if she used it to represent Star Trek Fandom at the English Con, that's her business.
  • Sonni C writes a long, BNF-name dropping letter, in which she, among other things, writes:
    For the past year and a half, I have been trying to convince Bill Shatner of the need for an official fan club. Finally, after months of talk and in decision. Bill finally gave me a negative response. He doesn't want to be involved in a club at this time. I want to thank all of those people who wrote to Bill asking him to consider a club; the letters were overwhelming and marvelous. I didn't accomplish a club, unfortunately, but I did manage to get Bill to reopen LEMLI... Once the film is released and Bill is deluged with mail, he may reconsider his decision. I'll pass any letters on to him as I have been doing for the past year. He was marvelous about getting autographed photos to me to give to special fans in England, so he hasn't turned off, just too busy. I hope I can be somewhat of a liaison for him, since he needs the fan feedback so badly.

Issue 27

cover of issue #27 Heather Firth
inside art from issue #27 Mike Brown
inside art from issue #27 Mike Brown

Interstat 27 was published in January 1980 and contains 18 pages.

  • art by: Heather Firth and Mike Brown
  • Mindy G writes at length of her novel Tales of Feldman, see that page
  • regarding the movie, Sandra N loves the special effects, thinks it moves too slowly in places, feels it was too much a rehash of the episode "The Changeling," wants to see it 5-10 times, and writes:
    One must realize that ST:TMP is just a $40 million episode. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. Again, the Small Five aren't given enough to do. But this must be expected because Paramount is taking a huge risk and they feel that they must focus on the major characters. Perhaps with subsequent (hopefully) films, the Small Five will get their chance. And they did get a few scenes in which they did more than give technical dialogue. Chekov was on the screen quite a lot, more so than Uhura or Sulu suprisingly. Even Rand got something to do in the transporter malfunction scene. As to the Klingons...hmm... in the series they did change their skin coloration from light to dark and their hair got bushier and bushier. Perhaps the Klingons have three different subraces like we do (Mongoloid, Negroid and Caucasoid)? I'm just trying to come up with some sort of explanation. Wish they hadn't been so drastically changed, though. But we got some examples of their language and Vulcan as well! Weee!! The planet Vulcan, by the way, looked bizarre and beautiful.... This is the first time I've gone nuts over Kirk. I've always been a Spock fan but in this film, it's Kirk I was lusting over. He looked fabulous in his uniforms, particularly the admiral uniform. They all looked quite good in them.... Over all, this is a flawed but beautiful, funny, warm film. if I were to show the best representative of ST to someone completely unfamiliar with the show, I would show them about two of the best in the first season and then the film. I've already heard some totally negative reactions by TREK fans. This mystifies me because in my opinion this IS STAR TREK. It is equivalent to an episode but more beautiful, larger-and in some ways, more challenging. A lot of TREK was terrible, a lot of it was great. A lot of it was better than the film. Rarely was it perfect. But again, this IS TREK. It's almost like going home.
  • Damon H comments on the movie:
    Too much, too little, and not bad at all, considering... Never mind how we're to account for the Klingons' appearance. But what happened to Arex and M'ress?
  • Judith G comments on Gene Roddenberry's movie novelization and the ambiguous comments regarding relationships therein:
    In his novelization of the script, Roddenberry has certainly provided a wealth of fascinating leads for future fan fiction. In response to [Rebecca H's] comment in #26, which I assume referred to the footnote on page 22 of the novel—"droll put-down" of the K/S relationship? I'm not so sure. I suspect that Roddenberry intended that one as a cleverly engineered piece of ambiguity which will keep fans chasing angels around the head of a pin for a good part of the foreseeable future. What does Kirk's comment actually say? Why doesn't he simply tell us, "No, we weren't"? As a matter of fact, he doesn't even commit himself on the subject of the Vulcan seven-year cycle; he merely says that he would rather not appear foolish in the eyes of others who apparently assume that Vulcans are only functional only every seven years; he doesn't tell us whether it would actually be foolish. Of course, if Vulcans are functional outside of pon farr, then it wouldn't be foolish at all; and though popular opinion and stereotype might be a reason for concealing the relationship, they wouldn't account for a decision not to have such a relationship in the first place. In fact, I found so many ambiguities in Kirk's 106-word comment that it took me seven pages to write them all down. Add this to the ambiguous Kirk/Uhura comment which [Mary Louise D] referred to in #26, and there's plenty of fuel to feed a merry debate.
  • Margaret S has many things, pro and con, about the movie, some here:
    STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE is a dream- come-true, the perfect present under the Christmas tree. It is like a sunset, the Grand Canyon, or a rose. The movie has good acting, just the right music, a satisfying philosophical story, and is excellent and beautiful - and sometimes boring. Its drawn-out perfection should have been reduced to one and a half hours and an extra half-hour written to fill the two hours at a brisker pace. Like a blazing sunset, special effects can enthrall for only so long before attention wanders. What is needed is more character inter action. If CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, in spite of its success, can be reworked with new scenes, perhaps STAR TREK could be re-edited and tightened up, adding deleted character scenes and reworking special effects sequences for brisker pacing... I don't know if it's worth the $40 plus million production cost, but, for me, it's worth the ticket and more!
  • regarding the plot of movie, Jean Lorrah writes:
    The plot. Ho-hum. "The Changeling," "The Doomsday Machine," "Return of the Archons," "The Apple," "The Ultimate Computer," etc. Roddenberry's favorite plot, anathema to most fen. But hey, folks—look what happened to it! Why did Gene Roddenberry use that old plot of the evil machine intelligence come back to menace Earth? To show is he has outgrown his mechanophobia! THEY DIDN'T DESTROY VEJUR!!! Instead, two humans (are Deltans supposed to be a different race, like Vulcans, or humans with the custom of shaving their heads?) merge with it—Decker voluntarily — more than voluntarily. That scene is of tremendous importance. Who is Decker? The moviegoer who wanders in off the street doesn't know. Only the fan knows: that he is the son of Commodore Decker who died by merging with the Doomsday machine! And here is his son, saying "I want this—as much as you want the Enterprise!" Only the ST fan can understand the significance of Decker's attitude, as reflecting Roddenberry's total change of attitude. ST is no longer stuck in the 1960's. The computer is no longer a mysterious, dangerous stranger. We now carry them in our pockets, get cash from them at the bank, play games with them, talk to them—in a highly dramatic fashion, ST:TMP brings us up to today, and beyond. And that final script was probably the result of fan complaints about all those episodes in which machine intelligence was the automatic villain and had to be destroyed.
  • regarding the movie's relationship to fan-created universes, Jean Lorrah says:
    Furthermore. ST:TMP manages to have every way for every fan. While plots of many ST fan-written universes are violated, characterization is not! The James Kirk of ST:TMP is right out of ALTERNATE UNIVERSE FOUR. My own EPILOGUE was based on the premise, "To be a whole person, Spock must learn to laugh." So I did it differently—but ST:TMP agrees with me! Look at the scene on Vulcan between Spock and the Elders, and it is highly reminiscent of KRAITH. On the other hand, the existence of a discipline such as Kolinahr supports my contention in the NTM universe that Vulcans vary in their logic and emotionalism; there would be no need for a separate caste of people who have achieved Kolinahr, nor disciplines to achieve that state, were it the normal state of every adult Vulcan. As for the K/S fen, by the Great Bird, are they every going to have a field day with that Sickbay scene!! We are all right, every last one of us! Now tell me that's not a miracle! That's our movie, friends—my guess is that the two long, boring visual sequences came from well intentioned attempts to give fen what it was assumed they wanted, a nostalgic view of the Enterprise and a beautiful living machine.
  • Barbara G comments on the movie:
    Well I guess I'll throw in my opinion of THE MOVIE. I enjoyed watching it with a theatre full of strangers/compatriots. Sort of like a giant living room. I also appreciated the fine characterization and acting. HOWEVER—I was also so sorry to see such a shallow and embarrassingly adolescent plot. Arraughh! At our theatre the movie shared the bill with Sleeping. Beauty. How apt.
  • G.M. C has some comments on the movie:
    i...n the malfunctioning transporter scene, no clue is given as to who is in it until just at the end, nor why Janice Rand turns her head away...and that brings up another point: if you expect to find all your old friends, look fast! Grace Lee Whitney fought long and hard for this brief spot as an extra in this Transporter scene and you'd better look hard because you won't see her again outside of it. Same with Dr. Christine Chapel. She appears first on the Bridge, after that only a couple of times as a pair of hands waving a shiny instrument with a brief glimpse of her face. Sulu and Uhura fare a bit better, but not much. And when they do show, you have to guess what it's all about — are their shorts too tight? Or did they just remember they forgot to pay their Income Tax? Without reading the book, how could you tell?... Of course we realize they couldn't get T'Pau again for the scene on Vulcan with Spock[3], but a plump-faced, yellow-haired Hausfrau in her place??[4] She looked more likely to hand Spock an apple pie than a harsh and austere asceticism symbol.
  • Mike B writes of the movie:
    STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. It's such an impressive title. I got chills as I waited for the lights to go down and the film to roll. The waiting was agony. The special effects were phenomenal. They outstripped all the others. This is StarTrek. This is the real thing. The plotline was impeccable. It contained all the ingredients we came to know so well: suspense, humor, passion, fear, wonder, etc. It was Star Trek: all the elements were there. The only thing lacking (for me) was more extrapolation on the lesser characters. Uhura didn't do much more than sit at her station. I wanted to see her really emerge as a person and show us new things. She had a couple good moments, but I was so hungry for more. I think many people will feel the same way about Chekov, Sulu, Rand and so on. Do the rest of you out there feel you were spared a great deal of characterization, or is it just me? Persis Khambatta was a superb Ilia. I wish we were going to see more of her...yet I think somehow we won't. I think the wait was well worth it. It fired up my own sagging ties with Star Trek. It rekindled a fire that burned strongly for a long time and then fizzled. I'm so glad Trek is back to stay and back in a bigger, more impressive, true-to-the-early episodes way. (And don't you feel that the movie is not a new Trek, but a better illustrated continuation of the earlier stories?) Long Live Star Trek. There's no comparison anywhere.
  • Georgia E is grumpy about name dropping and what she sees as the sliding scale of fan importance:
    It's those fans who don't seem to be able to write a simple letter of comment without patting themselves on the back or telling the reader how prominent they are in fandom or some other area. Is it really necessary for a fan to say "look me up in Who's Who," or "I got to go backstage," and "Gene was holding my hand" and "Joan Winston was in the area," or "Recieved a call today from Gene Roddenberry's office inviting me to the ST movie premiere". I sincerely ask—WHO CARES??????... those are comments that belong in personal letters to those friends, not in a letterzine with circulation to national fandom in general. Is this all some elaborate scheme to cut down on letter writing or to save on stamps by having letters published instead of writing and mailing individual letters? I think not, but so far as I can tell, this simply comes across as name-dropping, and it is most unbecoming in ST fans. I would surely hope that fandom hasn't degenerated to the point that you have to brag about which star you know or how important you are for your opinions to be con sidered worthy. That would seem to leave about 99% of us "average" fans out in the cold. I am a relatively new fan who has been to only one con, yet I happen to think my opinions are worth every bit as much as those of the fans who claim to be friends of the great and near-great! I was under the impression that INTERSTAT was a publication designed for commenting on issues which are of interest to fandom (women's lib and the ST Fan Fund are good recent examples), so come on people, let's cut the bragging and baloney and get on with what INTERSTAT was meant to be!
  • Carolyn C writes of BNFs:
    A friend of mine had the chance to appear on TV and explain why she is a ST fan. She declined because 1) she felt she couldn't explain it in two minutes and 2) if she sounded foolish she would antagonize the big name fans. This was days ago and I'm still disturbed. Why do I like ST? Because it's an enjoyable show with good characterizations and it speaks to my optimistic nature. I like believing mankind can solve its problems, we will go into space, we are basically good and capable of learning, maturing, and living together. ST represented most of the major philosophies at some point and showed how rationality can handle a crisis. This is something that's been lost in a lot of fan fiction and almost all of the pro novels end with a dues ex machina. No, I could understand my friend's difficulty in expressing her reasons for supporting ST but what really upset me was her fear of "big name" fans. The continuing conflicts in INTERSTAT by the same people, the Dodge/Fish battles, and the implication that "true" fans know or care who these people are and what this "big name" fan or that one says on a subject (especially a non- ST subject).... How about an effort to involve others? Fear seems to be growing along with a ST Establishment/Mafia. I've overheard (read?) a friend refrain from expressing her true opinion for fear of angering Ms.Sackett. Another time someone simply gave up involvement because a letter from a big name fan/editor insinuated she wasn't mature because she complained about the language in a story. This is my last letter to INTERSTAT for awhile in hopes that some new people will get a chance to appear and anger us, delight us, or just express a new and different view and frankly, my dears, I don't really care what the big name fans think of this letter!
  • Darlene F comments on the "women's movement":
    Discussions on such subjects as the ratio of muscle to fat in the male and female bodies are red herrings, and one would hope they'd be recognized as such by now. The fact that we can still become embroiled in such discussions just helps to prove how far we still have to go to achieve equality between the sexes.... Equality is really so simple, and yet so difficult to acc omplish! By the way, I've used the term "women's movement" because it's generally accepted, but I don't like it. It implies that only women will benefit from what the movement accomplishes, when in fact both men and women will benefit.
  • Diane T is feeling better about things:
    I am doing something I swore I wouldn't do: I'm re-subscribing to INTERSTAT. My reasons: recent high quality, featuring stimulating "arguments" and opinions, devoid of hysterics and personal attacks. (A friend faithfully sent me copies of INTERSTAT hoping I'd subscribe again.) Second: the movie. It is a time to revel in our accomplishments as a total group, to enjoy the magnificent fruits of our labors, and to write in ONE MORE TIME! to support plans for a sequel ... Third reason for my return: Shatner's biography, WHERE NO MAN... WHERE NO MAN is an in-depth discussion of being open emotionally, of daring to walk the wire. I originally stopped participating in INTERSTAT because I found I was being hurt by it, dreading to see it in my mailbox because of the almost-certain attacks on people and subjects I hold dear. I thought, "Why am I doing this to myself?" I decided to pursue Trek in my own way and not "raise my bloodpressure" over the bickeringandattacks. AsmallvoiceinthebackofmyheadtoldmeI was running away and muttered something about "standing to fight" but I decided not to renew. However, after reading WHERE NO MAN...I thought, if Shatner can put it all on the line emotionally Enclosed, please find my subscription money.

Issue 28

Interstat 28 was published in February 1980 and contains 18 pages.

inside art from issue #28, Ann Crouch
cover by Sat Nam Kaur Keahey
  • art by: Sat Nam Kaur Keahey, Joy, Ken Gooch, Jackie Edwards, and Ann Crouch
  • Ellen Derby joins the staff of Interstat as a production associate
  • Joan V writes of the movie:
    I would have written last month, but I was too busy watching the movie. From December 7 to New Year's Eve, I saw it 11times. I am happy to report that it gets MORE exciting the more I watch it. The first 3 times I was trying to take it all in, but the 4th time I began to get really excited about it. I hope that those who might have been bored with it the first time out, or turned off because the script reminded one of THE CHANGELING will give it another try.... EVERY audience I have seen the movie with has been crazy about it.
  • Mary Lou D writes of the movie:
    After all the caveats in the INTERSTAT I'd received that morning, I went to the Movie with un easy feelings I would be disappointed—but I loved every minute of it! I'd read the novelization, so that I understood the background (though I hope eventually Paramount will re-edit the film and let non-fans in on the facts) and as an opera/ Elizabethan drama freak the slower pacing suited me well. I don't see any more resemblance to "Nomad" than say there is between "Traviata" and "Manon" or "Lulu". What I did see was that Gene Roddenberry, with his customary slyness, got his God-thing into it after all—and the Enterprise literally created a "Deus ex machina" uniting an all powerful mechanism with male/female creative force and the noblest of human characteristics, to tell us the greatest and most necessary achievement of the human race is the creation of a deity, which surpasses our own highest aspirations, and focuses our imaginations beyond what can be known.
  • Cheryl R writes of the movie:
    Stood in line for the better part of an hour inside an unheated shopping center—the theatre was the only thing open that day—under the watchful eye of security guards who seemed to think the several hundred of us chilled! folk were going to start burning old xmas decorations to keep warm. But we finally shuffled inside. And there it was—what we'd been promised for the better part of 10 years. All those promises—all those incredible glimpses of 23rd century Earth, all the aliens, all the plot, and not to mention the characterization... OK, I won't. But seriously...after reading all the horrible reviews I liked it better than I would have supposed. And my husband, who has never been more than neutral about the TV show, simply loved it. (Tho after I show him my tape of "The Changeling" he may see why the plot didn't exactly thrill me.) The deficiencies are all glaringly obvious. But it is so much fun to see the characters back again—even if Uhura is still just a glorified button pusher and Rand manages to be totally use less in an emergency. Even all the blue lightning didn't bother me— and the grand tour of the new Enterprise was one of my favorite parts.
  • Mary Lou D comments on what she sees as hypocrisy:
    And for something completely different! I was considerably amused to see in the final issue of "Scuttlebutt" an indignant denunciation by a set of zine editors, of another zine, which had appropriated a character from one of their stories—used and distorted that character! The complaining zine was one guilty of grossly distorting Mr. Roddenberry's characters, and failed to see the humor of the irony. Look at it as sensitivity training, girls—now you can understand how Gene Roddenberry must feel, and how fans feel when they buy your "Star Trek" zine and find it's nothing of the kind. Sweet revenge—and the bitter bit! [5]
  • Cheryl R writes of the movie, and the fiction that may come after it, and the fiction that has come before:
    When you stop and consider how much info on the characters has been given either in advance publicity or in the novelization, it makes it more apparent how little is given in the movie. Let's all hope there are good sto ries - fan or pro - to explain all these lapses. One review I read wanted to know why Kirk was so surly. I'd like to know rather why Spock was so rude. Speaking of stories. If all this self-congratulatory back-patting continues, someone is going to hurt her or himself. I'm referring to all this "well, my story certainly agrees with what the movie has to say." Who cares? Since we've all been talking about infinite diversity for the last decade maybe we should instead honor the stories most differing from the movie in plot and characterization. The award perhaps could be a small statue of Kirk and Spock in a passionate embrace. Done most tastefully of course. The IDIC of it all...
  • Ann D writes of the movie:
    But wonderful as it was to see the redesigned Enterprise with all her crew reunited, the movie failed to fulfill its promise. The much-publicized special effects, with a few notable exceptions, were spectacularly unremarkable and at times even boring. The plot was disappointing. As several writers noted last issue—haven't I seen this somewhere before? The basic premise is implausible. I do not argue for the existence of a soul, but I simply cannot accept the idea of a machine, however sophisticated, attaining sentience. You can feed a computer data from now to eternity but it's not going to learn to turn itself on and off. Sheer quantity of data does not lead to self-awareness. Comments? Finally, the characterizations were ill-defined and one-dimensional. Kirk was a ruthless tyrant! His proferred handshake to McCoy, supposedly an act of friendship, appeared closer to a challenge. McCoy, funny though his scenes were, was merely a caricature of himself. Spock's "conversion" was too convenient to be believable . And the Klingons have become comic book characters.
  • Dixie O writes of the movie, and of recording it on audio tape:
    It says something lovely about Trekdom that so many fen have already reported in with many of my reactions to The Movie: largely that we were all looking for the same things. I didn't think the circle around the E with Kirk and Scotty too long because it was only at that point with tears streaming down my cheeks that I really and truly knew it had all come together in spite of the time and obstacles; and over the delighted applause of the first-showing crowd when the E went into warp drive the first time—I can hear myself on my tape howling."Take that, STAR WARS!" The end of the first viewing found me angry and disappointed, because of what it might have been; the 2nd time I was more awed and admiring of the sfx, and the 3rd and 4th I was delighted and accepting of the compromises that necessarily had to be made between a cult picture and a commercial one. Gratias tibi, Paramount.
  • Darlene F writes of the movie:
    Well, gee, folks, I hate to be a party pooper but as far as ST-TMP is concerned, I agree with the critics. No fan has yet seemed to share the bitter disappointment I felt after seeing it. Over the years as new special effects have made the ones on the original ST seem well, hokey numerous fans have stated that it was writing and characterization that made ST unique, not special effects. I agree. So why is it that fen are now willing to accept a movie that relies almost exclusively on special effects, with writing and characterization thrown out the window? The script for ST-TMP is terrible. I, too, believe that it's not necessarily bad for the movie to be an expanded episode. But couldn't it at least have been a new episode? This isn't even a good retelling of "Changeling". All that's left of the Small Five are the old shtiks, and the two new characters are given no background whatsoever. (Please don't tell me to read the novelization for background. I shouldn't have to.) Kirk and McCoy fare a little better, but Spock...! We saw him grow considerably over the three years of live ST, and in "Yesteryear" he seemed to have finally come to grips with both his human and Vulcan heritages. Now, though, he's regressed to a state even more arrested than that of the earliest episodes. My reaction to his appearance on the Enterprise was the fervent hope that Kirk would give him a good swift kick and an order to cut the chozzerai. Sorry, but special effects alone do not a movie make. Without writing and characterization, I am just plain BORED. I have another problem with ST-TMP, though, that no one else has mentioned yet. I found it to be the first genuinely obscene movie I've ever attended. I'm referring, of course, to the design of the alien ship. I have not studied Freud, but even I couldn't miss the implications of that design. If I had had any lingering doubts, all that nonsense between Decker and Ilia about "joining" would have dispelled them. And this thing got a G rating? Just shows how far off the Rating Administration is, but naturally, if they had given it the rating it deserved, it couldn't have turned into the biggest moneymaker in history, now could it? I actually felt dirty after leaving the theatre. I'm left with the impression that ST-TMP is someone's idea of a big, filthy joke, frankly.[6]
  • Lillian B writes of the movie:
    In issue #27 are all those letters on the level, or are they all tongue in cheek? I am speechless at all that hokum. I loved the TV series Star Trek- But the movie was a disaster. I am appalled at Roddenberry's betrayal of all the loyal fans who have always had the deepest reverence for him. He has plunged a knife in all our backs. After waiting for the movie all these years and having the upmost faith in the Big Bird, I was thrown into dark despair and while others snored, I wept.
  • Shirley Maiewski writes of increased mail, and of "bragging":
    By the way, the mail coming to the Welcommittee has increased dramatically, and most of it contains enthusiastic raves about the movie. Many of the writers are old fans who never wrote before, and who now want to be part of the excitement of Fandom. Let's welcome them as we were welcomed and hopefully we'll have many new writers for INTERSTAT in months to come. Which brings up [Georgia E's] letter in I#27. She does have a point. Some letters do go on about how someone has met a star, or GR or has gone to the Premiere, but I don't consider this 'bragging1, more like 'sharing good fortune'. I may be wrong, but I for one, often get letters from people who have never gone to a con, begging me to tell all that happened there. I am lucky - I am able to go to a lot of them and it is always fun to 'share' what happened there with others. I felt honored to be invited to attend the Premiere. I had a glorious time. My only regret was that ALL fans couldn't be there. I know for a fact that this was Gene Roddenberry's regret, too - and of course I want to tell people what happened. This is only natural. I'm not trying to 'brag', at least in my opinion, just share my good fortune in the only way I can—through the pages of "a Piece of the Action" and INTERSTAT. Of course I have written to friends, many of whom are reading this, too.
  • Ann D addresses Judith G about The Footnote and K/S:
    Your interpretation of "the footnote" probably would stand up in court, but I doubt Gene Roddenberry was trying to perpetuate the K/S controversy. He could have done that far easier by merely saying nothing. I suspect this comments were intended to convey precisely what their surface message indicated: his Kirk and Spock did not and would not. Which raises some interesting questions. Are the characters any author creates that author's property, subject only to his/her interpretation? Before every anti-K/S fan in typewriter range rushes to confirm this, consider first that if it is true then not only are K/S stories anathema, but so are all Spock "love stories" outside of pon farr and, arguably, any ST story which has not received Mr. Roddenberry's approval. Or does an artist's creation, once unveiled, become part of the public realm subject only to considerations of plagiarism and copyright? A work of art, in any medium, touches each individual in a unique way, sometimes in ways the artist himself would never have imagined. Can and should an artist retain that control over his creation?
  • Rebecca H comments on the sickbay scene and that not every close male friendship has to lead to sex:
    I do not believe GR left any room for doubt that his Kirk and Spock are not lovers. Okay, so he didn't come right out and say "No, they aren't lovers" but I can only assume he thought he had intelligent readers who know how to read a passage in context rather than dissect it sentence-by-sentence in the hope of making it fit their ideas. As to the speculation that K/S fans will make a lot of that sickbay scene, I ask you - what is there to make of it? Absolutely nothing! The moment was one of intense emotional impact and that was all. Reading a sexual content into that is patently ridiculous. By that standard, the reason movie cowboys kissed their horses instead of their leading ladies...Worse yet, K/Sers who insist on applying that meaning to the scene are trying to force their interpretation into GR's universe. K/S is in a separate universe all its own and its proponents have the right to work with it all they want. What they don't have the right to do is force their interpretation into GR's universe. Indeed, none of us have that right, what I ask for is fairness to GR. Play with your universes all you wish; but accept GR's presentation as it was meant to be, not just the way you want it to be.
  • Elaine H is the fan that, according to a letter in the previous issue, declined to be interviewed by a television reporter, and says the situation was more complicated than first explained:
    We would have had no control over how our remarks were edited... If we had done the interview, and if we had looked like "eccentrics" (or worse), we did not want to be criticized by our fellow (sister) fans because we had done something to give fandom "a bad name". We felt our friends in fandom might not be considerate of the fact that we were victims of poor editing. Carolyn, who was not at the con, later extrapolated my remarks to me and that I was afraid I would antagonize big name fans - the truth is that we didn't want to antagonize any fans, not exclusively BNFs.
  • Ellen K wants more information on zines, something that is a precursor to the practice of Warnings and the more intensive labeling of fiction's content:
    [I think] there should be warnings on a zine when you're leaving the world of orthodox Trek. The k/s people warn us, after all—as do the writers of explicit heterosexual sex scenes- Otherwise, fen do come away indignantly shrieking, "Why did I pay good money for this unintelligible garbage?" Of course, nothing is going to protect any of us from bad writing. If the crowds aren't too thick around the fan dealer tables at a con, you can page through the zines before you buy them. But ordering by mail is a risk I've decided not to do it anymore unless I'm already familiar with the writer's work — and like it. Perhaps we should have our own rating system — not G, or PG, or R, but K/S, or h/c, or j (for juvenile), or K (for Kraith), or 0 (for Orthodox). The code on the cover and the flyer might tell us what we were buying.
  • Jean Lorrah comments on BNF, "bragging," and generation gaps:
    Oh, please, let's not start at this late date to have what ST fandom never had: a generation gap! Fandom is and always has been open to anyone who wants to bother. One of the marvelous things it has done is to bring together scientists and humanists, teachers and students, career persons and housepersons, men and women, and—yes, since its inception—young and old!... a great many fans do care what people in fandom are doing, especially if they are exciting things concerning people connected with ST. All of ST is a vicarious adventure. Everybody in fandom who has ever in real life ridden in a starship, chased a tribble, or married a Vulcan, please stand up. But we all think we have, through experiencing the tv series and the movie. Not everybody in fandom can meet the stars, go to the premiere, or be an extra in the movie—why object to vicariously experiencing what happened to those who did? That sounds suspiciously like sour grapes to me.... What goes on in the pages of INTERSTAT and throughout fandom is argument—the expression and defense of alternative opinions. Some people, like Leslie Fish, have carried argument to an art form—I always look forward to what new and outrageous way she will find to express herself! But you want to deny me that, because Leslie is a BNF. You want all new people. There goes that generation gap! New people are welcome in fandom—ask anyone who has entered in the past year. You don't have to throw out the people who have been around for a while to make room for the new folk—fandom won't burst; it'll stretch! Everyone is welcome— and that includes those who have been around forever!

Issue 29

Interstat 29 was published in March 1980 and contains 18 pages.

inside art from issue #29, Vel Jaeger
cover of issue #29, Mike Brown
  • Liz P comments on the movie and hopes it brings more fanfic:
    In France, there is a small town by the name of Lourdes. To some, that name means nothing. To others, it is a place where miracles are preformed. It is the Catholic's ultimate panacea for the sick, where each year hundreds of physically handicapped individuals flock to pray to Our Lady of Lourdes to be healed. Cripples walk, the blind re gain their sight, terminal illnesses are arrested...Miracles occur. And, until very recently, I believed Lourdes had a corner on that market. Now, however, I see that a miracle has occurred elsewhere, and not in some small, obscure hamlet, but in the cynosure of the entertainment industry, Hollywood, CA. I am alluding to the production of the STAR TREK motion picture. After a decade of buck passing and procras tination; of writer's cramp and terminal typing finger from letters begging and cajoling network brass to get something in the works; of blood, sweat, and tears spent by millions to revive a "space opera" that never REALLY died, STAR TREK is back. I'd call THAT nothing short of a miracle!!!... I can't say that in terms of the movie's plot, it was that terrific, but the characterization of the players was there. Their own special demeanor and nuances, the verbal and unspoken messages when interacting, all lent to an easy familiarity with each character, and the long years between 1969 and 1979 dissolved. It was like spending an afternoon with an old friend...even the third time around! And equally exciting should be the new outcropping of fan fiction in response to the movie; there were so many grey areas in the inter action between many of the characters that stir the creative juices of explanations as to the "how's" and "why's" of certain incidents. It was all I could do to sit through the movie a second time without wishing I'd drug along my typewriter and a flashlight to type by!
  • Maria M comments on the movie, hoping it brings more unspecific Trek:
    I am all the way with those who have written positively about the Star Trek Movie, and have done so better than I could ever do.... Let us hope that the movie will bring us what we all hope for: more Star Trek!
  • Vel Jaeger comments on the movie:
    I'm glad to see that so many fans felt as I did about ST:TMP. I am aware of the shortcomings, but enamored nonetheless. I feel as though I'm passing judgment on one of my children when I say anything against the film. Then too, I've learned my lesson about criticizing the movie - out of several times that I've been interviewed on the subject by our local media, negative comments I made have been blown out of proportion and my positive statements neglected. Within the pages of INTERSTAT it seems safe to discuss the film without that fear, for which I am grateful.
  • Bev C comments on the movie:
    I feel compelled to add my voice to the minority side of the discussion of ST:TMP. That is: while I enjoyed the movie while I was watching it — for the most part —I do not think it was a very good movie. In fact I thought that, all told, it was a pretty bad movie. The faults have been chronicled elsewhere, no plot, little characterization ([Darlene F] is right; if you have to read the novelization in order to understand a movie, then the movie has failed), mediocre special effects, poor acting (I still think someone should have told Shatner that this was a Big Time Film, not a college production of "Hamlet," which is what his overacting reminded me of). However, unlike some other people, I was not really disappointed in the movie. If anything, it was not as bad as I expected after having read the script last spring: when every other scene in a script is marked "nifty special effect here" or "special effects people will do some thing spectacular,"you know you're in trouble. I am also not disappointed in Gene Roddenberry: I really didn't expect much better from him. Of all his post-ST projects, only "Questor" has come near matching the quality of ST, and even that doesn't hold up well in places. Roddenberry is essentially a well-meaning man whose talent is unfortunately not equal to his ambition. If I am disappointed in anyone connected with the movie, it is Robert Wise, who is capable of much better.... There seems to be a general lack of the critical judgment that we would apply to any fan story or pro novel, the same sort of thing that a local music critic evidences when she forgives the Grateful Dead any thing "because they're the dead and we love them." I have always believed that it is necessary to be more, not less, objective about something one is particularly fond of, and perhaps I tend to go too far in the opposite direction. Still, if we cannot be fair in one direction—criticizing as well as praising the object of our affection, why do we expect (supposedly) disinterested critics to be fair in the other? And if we all let our critical faculties lapse and act silly with joy because we have a ST movie at long last, no matter how poor it might be, is it any wonder that reporters wonder about our intelligence and write patronizing stories about "trekkies" (which I abhor as much as anyone)?
  • Leah R had more fun standing in line:
    It was actually more fun to share the "event" of the movie than to see the film itself. This includes waiting in line...
  • G.M. C comments on the movie:
    This was an expensive, beautifully produced NOTHING. A disappointment to fans who were expecting something really significant after all these years.
  • Bev C is a rare fan who did not like the movie's the sickbay scene:
    That famous sickbay scene rubbed me the wrong way, I'm afraid. In fact, I and most of the people I went with were cringing in embarrassment. For one thing, parts of the scene were out of character. For another, has it occurred to anyone else that Spock's miraculous con version to the embracing of emotion is reminiscent of another equally abrupt reversal of feeling: that of Katalya Tremain in VULCAN? I'm referring to the abruptness of the reversal. In VULCAN it was generally condemned as being too sudden and unbelievable. The same is true of the movie, but I haven't noticed many people pointing that out.
  • Vel Jaeger comments on transformative works and of fan creations:
    Also, the topic of the fictional characters created by an author is one which seems to be hotly discussed of late. Speaking as both an artist and writer, I am not proposing that copyrights and professional courtesy be ignored, but there is a certain universality in any theme that cannot be limited to one's personal domain. Two considerations must be acknowledged: 1) that once a work of art is presented it has an influence, whether direct or subtle, in all which follows in the same subject. And 2), each interpretation is unique in some manner, and a new creation in itself. To draw an analogy: no one should do another Pieta because Michelangelo did it best, and that he shouldn't have attempted the work in the first place because pietas had been done well before him. How meager this world would be if such limitations in art (and literature) were felt. I do not feel I could claim the right to enforce any such restrictions on my work, or on that of anyone else.
  • Leah R doesn't get the "obscene" part of the movie that another fan commented in the previous issue:
    Sorry, Darlene. It's all in your mind. I've seen the film ten times or more, trying and trying to get the shape of V'Ger's ship so I could draw it. I've got a fairly active imagination in those directions myself, and I can't for the life of me see anything obscene about a six-sided, grooved squid with "control towers", plasma chambers, valves and four spiked spheres...as near as I can tell. Boy, are you gonna feel silly when the model comes out!
  • Crystal Ann T questions the definition of "orthodox," and impossibility of applying labels to fiction:
    Who is to decide what constitutes orthodox interpretation? Everyone sees the characters slightly different, even people who basically interpret the characters in the same way. No one needs to be reminded that how you interpret what you see depends on your own understanding and previous experiences. I doubt that even Gene Roddenberry could decide since the Kirk, Spock, and McCoy we see are based on an amalgamation from writer, director, actors, and producer. After all the Kirk who walks through the pages of Roddenberry's novel is somewhat different that the one Shatner played in the movie. Would anyone care to deny the validity of either interpretation? Furthermore, with only a few exceptions, I consider that everything I write takes place in the real Star Trek universe, unless of course, I'm exploring the mirror universe postulated by aired Trek. Perhaps I should offer myself as the person to set the code of what is orthodox and what is alternate universe since I can say that I know the characters well with as much personal conviction as others have claimed in the pages of INTERSTAT. I'm sure most other writers feel the same way about their interpretations, yet with only a few exceptions, other writers see the characters slightly different than I do. It would certainly be foolish of me to insist that only those who see the characters as I do are working in the real Star Trek universe. And I would be cheating myself out of a wealth of new and different, but possible ideas. Certainly, people do create alternate universes, but most writers and readers are quite aware of what's being presented. In a sense, any time anyone postulates children or marriage for our heroes, promotions, change of environment, old age, etc. the reader is aware that the concept might not fit in with her view of ST. None of these are truly ST, for the only way to be certain what fits is to have seen it on aired Trek (and that is not even considering the inconsistencies in the series itself) . Whenever you set up a new situation and explore how the characters will react in the environment, you are basing their actions on what you see to be the elements of their natures, or as Areel Shaw so aptly pointed out to Spock when he claimed he knew Kirk would react in a given situation: in your opinion. Therefore I think it is quite impossible to set up a coding system as suggested and feel that anyone who is so inflexable in his tastes that he gets upset if people see the characters differently than he does should probably only read what he writes himself. Then perhaps he wouldn't consider he spent his money unwisely.
  • Sonni Cooper has news:
    In my last letter to INTERSTAT I said that I doubted William Shatner would go ahead with the idea of a fan club. I am pleased to announce thatIwaswrong. He reconsidered and we have come to an agreement on the club afterall. The WILLIAM SHATNER FAN FELLOWSHIP is beginning operations now. This is Bill's only officially authorized club and supercedes any he may have had in the past. Bill has not recognized an offical representation for almost three years, which means there has been no way of responding to the letters which have been pouring in during that period. Imagine the boxes of unanswered mail and try to understand the load which has suddenly descended upon me.... In my role as fan liaison to Bill, I will try to give him the fan input which has been lacking for so long. He, in turn, has promised his personal input into the club by providing his schedules, personal information and photos for the newsletter and yearbook.
  • Crystal Ann T is tired of "pop psychology" being used to explain why writers prefer to write about Kirk and Spock instead of women in the Trek universe:
    With very few exceptions, my entire life has been spent believing that I can do whatever a man can do, even though it hasn't always been easy or possible to attain my goals. I don't need anyone trying to analyze why I prefer to write and read about Kirk and Spock (or McCoy or the Enterprise crew for that matter) when I'm enjoying Trek. Frankly, I feel that if I want to write about women and their problems, heroics, and so forth, I don't need Gene Roddenberry's universe to do it in. I can create my own. There are other outlets for creativity besides Star Trek. When I do work in the Star Trek universe, I prefer working with the characters Roddenberry created because they are the reason I enjoy Trek. That doesn't mean that strong women shouldn't be created any more than Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, Tellerites, etc. shouldn't be explored But writers should be able to write about the main three if they wish without being subjected to scrutiny on their attitudes towards their own sex. The whole thing seems to be another example of "the holier than thou" attitude. The same goes for reading Trek: creation of other characters, Vulcan society, Klingon, etc. holds the same fascination for me that McCaffrey's, MZB's, or other science fiction does, but I read them all after I finish my favorite topic in Star Trek. It has nothing to do with my particular attitudes toward sexual equality, politics, and so forth.
  • Vickie C doesn't mind the recent "bragging":
    As for the complaints about fans mentioning hob-nobbing with members of the cast or attending this-or-that convention: I love hearing about their adventures and having the opportunity to turn green-with-envy. I certainly would not ever want to hear of these simply because I could not do them myself. I imagine the sharing of these adventures is part of the appeal of Star Trek—we were given a shipload of people who possessed meaningful friendships and fantastic adventures. envying them? Why not each other?
  • Judith G writes of copyright and fair use:
    To the best of my knowledge, no court has ever ruled on whether fanzines are a "fair use" of someone else's characters or not. That brings us back to moral arguments, I guess.
  • Damon H is a fan of special effects and writes a long letter about many scientific moments in the movie, as well as his optimism for future SF:
    The reader no doubt thinks I'm obsessed with the SFX and technical details. It's true, I am. And I've read enough criticism that the visuals detract from the story, but I have to disagree. The nature of the story-line makes the background unavoidable to the point that it's hard not to get carried away with the visuals. And as much as possible, I'd like for the science to be both accurate and in balance with the story itself. In fact, I'd just as soon have a good, solid story at the expense of the effects with full characterizations, not a budget over blown on zaps and flashes. It's too seldom that we get the best of both worlds.... In recent years, science fiction seems to have come into its own in the visual media and Star Trek seems destined to be a permanent land mark in the literature of science fiction as surely as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon have been. I'll bet they'll be doing new episodes when we're all old and grey.
  • regarding the Fish/Dodge column, Leslie Fish posits in "FEMINISM IN TREK-LIT":
    "The crucial test of feminism in a work is the presence of at least two women who are friendly. Not one, and not two who are rivals . Male works which try (sometimes honestly) to be feminist almost invariable focus of the woman-man couple among male colleagues. The secret of feminism is what happens when women talk to women, advise women, love women. The two may be lovers, friends, friendly strangers, or friendly colleagues, but this is the absolute precondition for (a) feminism or (b) truth." Joanna Russ, quoted in 'MS. Feb. 1980 issue, pg. 36 By Russ's definition, there is precious little feminism in either ST aired episodes or fan-written stories. Lack of feminism in the aired episodes is understandable, but since no Paramount Pinhead sits over fandom, why do fan writers (90% women) still fail the Russ Test? It can hardly be for lack of experience; we've all had female friends, in fandom itself if nowhere else. What keeps us from projecting this crucial element into our ideal future? One reason is that we don't value female friendship because our culture teaches us to devalue everything women have (except physical items depersonalized into icons). Pop culture merely reflects this. There are plenty of idealized male-male friendships on TV, but what female-female friendships do we see? Laverne and Shirley, some ideal! But I think there's also a darker reason: A deliberate policy of Divide and Conquer. Sexist men have good reason to fear female friendship; it can lead to massive unity which could destroy their power.... Fellow-fen, if we truly want to see a future of freedom, equality and justice, — the future that "Star Trek" suggests — we should stop accepting the oppressors' opinion of the oppressed.
  • regarding the Fish/Dodge column, Mary Lou Dodge posits in "FEMINISM IN TREK-LIT":
    It appears Leslie favors the conspiracy-theory of life; wherein all wrongs of the world are the conscious, nefarious plot of some evil individual or group. That makes life very exciting and romantic, but leaves a lot to be desired in realism and rationality... Part of the problem, of course, is merely that Trek-lit is written by many very young and inexperienced writers, who lack knowledge and talent to create fully-dimensional characters by themselves and are sticking to the pre-established ones, who happen to be all male. But a writer's characters come from within, and you can't write convincingly on women if you aren't sure what they are; and you don't especially admire them. For over a decade young women, having been encouraged to reject their mothers as role models, have been subjected to a parade of giggling imbeciles or nasty bitches through the entertainment media which, in the opinion of at least two insiders, Eric Severeid and Paul Schroeder, has been dominated by women-haters of both sexes. Unless in young years you've been in contact with an admirable woman, you can't really become one! Women seem to forget that they have the most tremendous power of all in their hands — the training of the succeeding generations! If we want a Star Trek world, we have the power to help it materialize by shaping the minds of the coming generations to its principles. But lib seems to be doing the opposite — demanding institutional facilities take charge of their children, reneging their parental disciplines....As it now stands, [feminism] is more a vehicle invented by upper-middle class women to justify their complete self-interest and the desertion of their duty to children...peopled by the selfish and neurotic, where Janice Lester would feel perfectly at home.

Issue 30

Interstat 30 was published in April 1980 and contains 18 pages.

art from issue #30, Mike Brown
cover of issue #30, Heather Firth
  • art by: Heather Firth, Alice Greene, Mike Brown
  • Jesco von Puttkamer writes a long letter about the special effects in the movie
  • Leslie Fish has this to say about a fan's suggestion that zines be "labeled" more clearly:
    [Ellen K's] suggestion of a zine rating system looks good on the surface, but think of the problems you'd have implementing it. Even editors of X- and R-rated zines have trouble deciding where to draw the line; imagine compounding the problem with still more subject-ratings. WheredoesKraithleaveoff? HowdoyoudefineHurt/Comfort? Howdo you differentiate Action/Adventure from Juvenile? Exactly what is Orthodox? Who would do the ratings, and where would such ratings appear? What if the reviewer's rating disagrees with the editor/publisher's? I'd advise not even opening this can of worms. It would be more to the point for editors to describe the contents of their zines as thoroughly as possible in the pre-publication ads and flyers, a practice which is already common among zines that usually or even occasionally carry X- and R-rated stories. After all, the original and legitimate purpose of advertising is to describe and announce.
  • Joan V writes that she understands Spock's behavior/mood in the movie:
    The "sudden" change of viewpoint of Spock toward the end is realistic. Spock thinks that Vejur will have the answer to his problems because he thinks that total logic and abundant knowledge will solve his difficulties. He is willing and open to anything Vejur can tell him (whereas he has so far resisted communication from his fellow crewmembers). Only Spock finds, when mindmelding with Vejur, that logic and knowledge alone are insuffi cient—they pose only questions, not answers. This is an extreme shock to him, physically and psychologically. But it makes him realize that his emotional heritage can be an asset. Spock was capable of understanding this all along, but his experience with Vejur allows him to accept his feelings and let them be a part of himself. I find the whole sequence of events quite logical.
  • Jeffrey W writes about the movie and comments that:
    I didn't like the redesigned Klingons. I couldn't even recognize Mark Lenard. Now all Klingons look the same!
  • Lisa W comments on the movie, and on the poll Interstat is running:
    I loved reading the poll! It amazes me, that two people who both rated ST:TMP a 4 gave such different opinions—one "empty", another "orgasmic." My reaction to the movie was well expressed by David Gerrold in Starlog #33. Most of all, with the attitude, "It wasn't what I was hoping for so I can't wait for the next one which I'm sure will be super." Looking at it objectively, that doesn't make much sense, but who wants to be all that objective?
  • Kay B addresses Bev C regarding the movie:
    That so many of us enjoyed STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE does not necessarily mean we lack critical judgment of it (although I must admit it's sometimes difficult for a devoted fan to be objective where ST is concerned). It's more likely that we see the film's weaknesses but make allowances for them, a response on fandom's part that is hardly new. Consider the TV series upon which this whole phenomenon is based. Certainly it was far from perfect: crewmen falling out of their seats; holes in the plots; similarities in the plots; even inconsistent characterization (remember especially the third season). Such shortcomings are recognized by the fans, yet they are forgiven because of the overall intent, intelligence, and quality of the series. The positive simply outweighs the negative. So it is with the film.
  • Bonnie F is angry at another fan's comments (which used the word "obscene") regarding the movie:
    ... to have a so-called fan (I am referring to [Darlene F]) make such outrageous and filthy comments as I read in I#28, well, I find it difficult to express my rage. I have often noted that there are people who seem to delight in tearing apart the enthusiasms of others and I am afraid that Darlene is one of these.
  • Jimmye G also comments on "obscene":
    ST:TMP obscene?! With the unisex uniforms, the scene of Ilia in the shower where she emerges clothed, the obvious encounters of Ilia and Decker left out, where is it obscene? I guess if you really reached (from here to Timbuktu!) you might imagine the power field and V'Ger as the female reproductive system and the Enterprise, a sperm, but it would take a wild imagination. Perhaps you might raise the level of your mind a bit— out of the gutter. How about the inferred sexual encounters in the episodes? Did they disgust you, too?
  • Leslie Fish comments on the movie and future fic:
    I see no problem of fitting the movie into existing fan-lit universes (any, that is, in which Our Heroes didn't get killed off); it picks up two years after the five-year mission, and a lot can happen in two years. As for Rice's proposed K/S-shaped award for "stories most differing from the movie", it would have to go to all those "get" stores in which Kirk and Spock wind up dead — rather than the K/S stories that leave them alive.
  • Leslie Fish comments on The Footnote:
    As an old political propagandist, I can tell you that the famous foot note in the ST-TMP novel is an artful piece of misleading evasion which says nothing definite. A lifted eyebrow does not mean "no". "Best gratification" does not mean "only interest". "Would hate to be thought...foolish" does not mean "I don't" — and we know damn well that Spock is_ sexually capable outside of Pon Farr. Why did GR bring the subject up at all? Perhaps just to stir up some lively controversy. Or perhaps this is GR's way of letting the K/S fans go right on writing while telling the anti-K/S crowd what they think they want to hear. After all, K/S fans have kept their stories and zines entirely within fan-dom; it's the anti-K/S people who have bothered to send copies of K/S zines to GR and the actors — along with noisy complaints, which GR and the actors have coolly ignored. I suspect that this is GR's way of artfully making the anti-K/S'ers shut up and quit calling the genre to the attention of the Paramount Pinheads, who really might do something stupid as a result.
  • Leslie Fish comments, somewhat disingenuously, on BNFs, as well as on fans' desire not to be interviewed:
    If Shirley Maiewski can't tell us what a BNF is, or who does the appointing, then I certainly can't either. I've been called a BNF myself, and damfine how I got there. I have no idea why people should be afraid to express themselves lest BNFs take umbrage; I know that I, at least, have no power or guns or money to make war against any fan whose statements I might not like; absolutely all I can do is write counterarguments and send them off to fanzines, which is hardly fatal. I can well under stand [Elaine H's] unwillingness to talk to a patently hostile interviewer, though; preventing an unethical journalist from slanting your statements is a tricky business, requiring much experience and training, and I wouldn't recommend it to novices.
  • Roberta R writes:
    I just got INTERSTAT #29. What have we here? Yet another re-hash of the "I'm more Feminist than you" argument, only with Trekkish overtones, . Leslie complains that we don't write "feminist" because we're writing Kirk/Spock stories instead of Uhura/Chapel stuff. Aside from the fact that Star Trek was originally a male-oriented show, there's no reason that a writer, male OR female, couldn't use the Chapel/ Uhura stuff in fanlit—except that it's not particularly exciting! (Of course, there are a couple of stories in he Obsc'zine, and Guardian…)... Where does this leave us, in Trek fandom? We are writing about a paramilitary service, which is, of necessity, male-dominated. The Captain Uhura stories of Winston Howlett's are an excellent example of what I'm talking about—the struggle of a woman in the male-oriented society. And Ghu knows, there are enough of the "Mary-Sue" romances to make Barbara Cartland blush for shame. So what do we do about it? We either write K/S, in which one of the partners takes the "female" role—or we write a sort of K/S in which Janice Lester's body has Kirk's mind and he and Spock live happily ever after (with twins, yet!) or we try to write in "strong" female characters to interact with the Big Three. Or—and here's the real point—we start to move away from Trek and into Alternate Worlds or SF or something else. With or without sexism, Trekkers are going to write, and they are going to write out whatever their fantasies are. They aren't going to tailor their fantasies to the popular political or sociological games of the moment. The fun of reading Treklit comes when someone else's fantasy corresponds to one's own—and most of the yelling starts when the fan tasies clash.
  • Cheryl R comments on the Dodge/Fish column from the last issue:
    The feminism "debate" seemed artificially limited by Leslie's quote that she used to define the subject. Ms. Russ is a well known SF writer, with at least one award winning story to her credit—"When It Changed"— that fits her definition. But Trek-lit seemingly always uses at least one of the three main characters. If a person wishes to write about two female friends,perhaps another universe would be more appropriate. On the other hand, a woman (or two or ten or twenty) interacting in a strong positive manner with the obviously male-dominated society of the Federation, would seem a reasonable goal for a writer interested in feminist concerns. Mary Lou seems to believe that feminist by definition means "man-hater." And somehow "woman-hater," though I find it hard to take Eric Severeid as an expert—a man who brought new meaning to the word pompous. I also can't see what women putting their children in day care centers so that they (perhaps) can work outside the home for money to (perhaps) stay off welfare has to do with Trek-lit. No woman of my acquaintance who works full time outside of the home even has a full time maid or housekeeper—much less is able to pay her $20,000… And I don't know where Mary Lou hangs out but I've never met Janice Lester anywhere. She wasn't "selfish" and "neurotic", she was psychotic and a murderer. Calling her a womens' right advocate is like calling Adolph Hitler an expert on population control.
  • D B has this to say about the relationships in the novelization of the movie:
    The argument about what is to be deduced from the novelization concerning the nature of Kirk's relationship with Spock and/or Uhura is rather amusing. Certainly Ms. Dodge's remarks in I#26 are an example of the kind of manipulation in favor of a private conception for which she castigates others. The scene which she quotes to support the "Gracious Silence" premise does indeed support one favorite Delta Triad theme—that women are properly the passive objects of some macho male's predatory attentions. Not an idea that appeals to me, but each to his own as the old lady said when she kissed the cow. Uhura always impressed me as being far too independent and self-confident a woman to accept the kind of "he for God only, she for God in him" characterization that the Delta Triad authors and editors are so fond of.
  • D B also has this to say about The Footnote:
    As for the by now notorious footnote on pg.22, what it shows, in my opinion, is that Roddenberry is presenting his hero as a pompous, arrogant prig, which of course Kirk frequently was. As others have pointed out, the real weakness of the "Anti-K/S interpretation lies in Kirk's statement that a) he was not aware of the 'lovers' rumor, but b) he had been told that Spock had encountered it (the rumor) several times. He can't have it both ways—either he knows about it or he doesn't. And anyway, just because a piece of information is unsubstantiated public knowledge doesn't always mean that it is untrue. What I can believe is that Kirk "found...gratification in the creature woman." Kirk did treat most women as "creatures"—not equals—to be used when desired or needed and ignored otherwise.
  • Ann T. D writes of copyright:
    Yes, I did raise the "who owns the characters" question as a moral rather than a legal issue, but thanks for the copyright information anyway. Most fans who responded centered their comments on competing universes within fandom. I was thinking more specifically of Gene Roddenberry's rights as the original creator of the entire universe on which our fan extrapolations are based. Can he/should he/does he even want to set limits on the directions fan creativity takes? And what are our re sponsibilities in that case?

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 30

INTERSTAT is a small, inexpensive, monthly letterzine devoted,to fan comment, analysis, and reaction. I have INTERSTAT #30, April 1980 on hand as a representative issue. It's small, only 17 pages, but all text is photo-reduced so there is a fair amount of content. The cover art is an excellent illustration of Kirk and Miramanee by Heather Firth, but there is little interior art. The 'zine is well laid out and quite readable despite the photoreduction of the text. Most of this issue is devoted to letters from fans detailing their reactions to ST:TMP. They range from agony to ecstasy. Many letters also refer to what appear to be long-running discussions of feminism in ST and of the K/S premise. Some of the letters are from such intelligent and articulate Big Name Fans as Rosemarie Eierman, Leslie Fish, Roberta Rogow, Mary Lou Dodge, and Cheryl Rice. For this, the 'zine is a Must Read for those fans who are seriously interested in trends in ST fandom. Besides the lettercol, regular features include "There's Something I've Been Wanting to Say...", satire by Michele Arvizu, "Dixie's Clippings", ST news collected by Dixie Owen, and the "Book Barn", new book releases monitored by Cathy Strand. [7]

References

  1. chemical formula of salt
  2. a story by Sharon Emily in Showcase #1
  3. Celia Lovsky died October 12, 1979. She was 82 years old.
  4. The Vulcan Elder was Edna Glover's only film role.
  5. This refers to the authors of the what-if novel The Rack and its followups -- for more on this topic, see Unauthorized Sequel
  6. Darlene is not alone in her assessment of V'ger's design and its Freudian imagery. James H. Devon's essay "Beneath the Surface: The Surrealistic Star Trek" (Best of Trek 8, p. 24) goes into considerable detail about the psychosexual aspects of the show as a whole and the film in particular, linking them to Surrealist art and the importance of the unconscious. "It is, none too subtly, a mind-enlivened imaginary journey to the sexual center of the subconscious of man."
  7. from TREKisM #12