Interstat/Issues 121-130

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Issue 121/122

Interstat 121/122 was published in November/December 1987 and and contains 30 pages.

cover of issue #121/122, M.S. Murdock
  • contains no interior art
  • the editor lists the names of all of Interstats contributors over the years, and there are 280 names
  • most letters are about fans' opinions about which episodes and characters they like or don't like in Star Trek: TNG... pretty much everyone hates Wesley and everybody likes Data, and the opinions are completely all over the board for everything else
  • a fan writes: "Jacqueline Lichtenberg? Who... or what... is 'Kraith' If it has to do with Vulcans, I would like to hear more."
  • there is a con report for IsisCon
  • there is a short memoriam for Kay Johnson, several short letters from fans and one from Harve Bennet, as as well as a letter from Kay herself which was received at Interstat less than a week before she died
  • the editor writes:
    In a recent 'review' of INTERSTAT, Kristen Brady warned unknowing fans, "Unless you are stout of heart and rodinium-plated, do not remove the staple that holds the pages of INTERSTAT together when it comes in the mail," and insulting the intelligence of INTERSTAT letter-writers, she added, "...for to do otherwise would be to unleash hissing, spitting, growling, barking, and snapping such as no fan has ever encountered before. Were you so bold as to actually thumb through the thing, you would meet with the gnashing of teeth, the raking of claws, and the lashing of tongues—not to mention the-back-biting, mud-slinging—" Hogwash. The majority of INTERSTAT letters have always been parsecs above that, and I don't know of another letterzine which has embraced more diverse, intelligent and thought-provoking comments. And I don't know of an editor who could be more proud than I am to have published them. My thanks to you, the authors of INTERSTAT, for your honest opinions and undeniably beautiful talents when putting pen to paper. Thank you for the privilege of printing your letters for 10 years.
  • Tim F speculates:
    While I'm on the subject of future history, I'd like to offer an explanation for an inconsistency in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." Many fans have been commenting that Kirk and Co. committed unpardonable sins while in the past, including revealing advanced technologies, etc. One reason they may have made so many boo-boos could be because they knew whatever they said or did—didn't matter. Allow me to illustrate. Suppose you went back in time to a major city to retrieve something that had since passed out of existence. In the course of your mission you revealed advanced technology, knowledge of future events, the fact that you were a time traveler—actions that would alter the course of history. Now, suppose the year you went back to was late 1944, and the city was Dresden, Germany, a city which would be all but annihilated the following year. It wouldn't really matter what you said or did, because most of the evidence would have been destroyed, anyway. The point I'm trying to make is that nobody's really written about how much damage was done during the Eugenics Wars in Star Trek's history. It could very well be Kirk and friends knew that whatever time traveler no-no's they committed would be covered up by some near-future catastrophe, possibly the neutron bombing of San Francisco. There's lots of things in the Star Trek universe I'd like to know more about—The Eugenics Wars, the first years of the Federation, the Romulan War... Sometimes people forget science fiction
meanfl social science as well as technological science.
  • Michele A is unhappy with Kirk and Spock's relationship in all the movies:
    I only wish the films would work as well regarding Kirk and Spock. For fans (or scriptwriters) to see the Kirk/Spock relationship as either strictly one of military protocol or openly sexual is both psychologically simplistic and unbelievable. Yet there is certainly a dynamic/electric, intangible "thing" that we all sense between Kirk and Spock in the series, though it cannot be labeled in English with one simple term. What £ see when l_ watch the series is two men whose relationship gives them happiness. When I look at the last three movies, I don't see that. Instead I see two men whose relationship in effect makes them confused or angry or emotionally withdrawn or self-sacrificing in the extreme—with no real (or ,,reel") resolution to these negative responses between them. Since Star Trek has always been about Kirk and Spock together and as film after film portrays them as not happy together (Spock still can't even resolve to call Kirk "Jim"), it's no wonder that many fans feel dissatisfied.
  • Jeffery K. W writes of Interstat:
    Last year we celebrated INTERSTAT's 100th issue. Now an even more important milestone has passed—the tenth anniversary. In the past decade, lots of big-name magazines with megabucks backing them have come and gone, but my favorite source of Star Trek information is still going strong. Let's hope INTERSTAT lasts a long, long time. Several years ago, a presidential candidate campaigned on the theme "Are you better off now than four years ago?" I think in honor of INTERSTAT's anniversary we could ask Trek fans the same thing, changing the "four" to "ten." I can hardly conceive what's happened—a decade ago we had reruns of the old series, fanzines, cons, and a few books. Since 1977, we've had FOUR fantastic movies, which we not only could view in theatres but purchase on tape to view again and again. We can also buy tapes of our favorite series episodes. Fan and pro novels are being published more than ever, and all of the regular actors from the original series are alive, in good health, and in the films. Star Trek is more than a cult phenomenon and has entered the mainstream of American culture—everybody knows who Spock is! Last but not least, we now have NEW Trek shows on television to enjoy and discuss. The last time we had new televised Star Trek episodes, Man had not yet walked on the Moon. I looked forward to each new show and even though I still enjoy the old shows, knowing what's going to happen in advance makes it a little less exciting the umpteenth time around! That thrill is back for me with ST:TNG. I've seen all five shows so far and have enjoyed every one. I love the new ship, the new sets, and especially the new crewmembers and the actors portraying them. It's going to be fun watching the characters develop and learning more about them.

Issue 123

Interstat 123 was published in January 1988 and and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #123, Nan Lewis
  • contains no interior art
  • there is a report by a fan, Patty P, called "William Shatner at the Auto Show" about Shatner at World of Wheels auto show in Omaha in April of 1987
  • Jean Lorrah announces her new pro book, The IDIC Epidemic, see that page
  • the editor addressess Kristen Brady, see Anatomy of a Letterzine
  • a fan tells Kristen Brady off about her recent controversial letter: "To the REALLY huffy puffy Kristen Brady who thinks INTERSTAT writers "rake their claws" and "lash their tongues," or whatever: LIGHTEN UP!"
  • Karen R also addresses Kristen Brady:
    Who is Kristen Brady and why is she saying all those nasty things about INTERSTAT? How can she not enjoy the wonderful sensation of being verbally bashed over the head and coming back for more? How can she not recognize that we're all Trekbrothers and sisters under the skin who love nothing more than sharing the give-and-take of INTERSTAT? What rag, publication...was that so-called review published in? Don't tell me— THE GLOBE! However, there was a compliment for us INTERSTAT LoCers. Nice to know that we are "stout of heart and rhodium-plated."
  • Susan Beth S writes of the new and old series:
    Though I foresee much controversy and possibly even schism, I must admit that I prefer the new series to the classic. ST:C was exciting and innovative for its time, but is now quite dated. (I think, in particular, of the role of women.) When I see an old episode, I have to make excuses for it..."Well, it was the sixties„" Of course one is willing to make excuses for an old friend, but it is nice to have a friend that doesn't need the excuses.
  • Ruthanne D writes of the old, and new, show:
    Considering what has transpired during the last 20 years, it's amazing anyone tried to make Star Trek again! The idealism of the late 60s/early 70s which we recognized and responded to so strongly in the original series has faded under the blanching realities of an agonized war and national trauma; uncertainty about and within government here and abroad; disasters which we are helpless to prevent or too inept to heal. No wonder cynicism has revealed itself in widespread self indulgence, indifference to fact or form and a preference for "quick fix" solutions over those which would be more permanent, but also more painfully arrived at. It's also generated pretty inane entertainments, including some television. What does this have to do with ST:TNG? Everything. Few if any of the social conditions that made ST a cult hit (and one with a comparatively small audience, originally) are at work today. Maybe it's time to go beyond the bond of the K/S/M Triad and in a new direction. It is patently unfair to compare ST:TNG to the original series, the warts of which are obscured by nostalgia. It, too, took several episodes to find its feet and had its share of bad scripts. Nobody seems to recall that many of the stories were direct steals from fables; serial rehashing of "Kirk vs This" and "Kirk vs That," or lifted from stories being told in other genre for years — maybe because forthefirsttime,theywerebeingtoldin_space. Yet,we'rewillingto leap to the most remote associations to prove ST:TNG is "derivative" of the original series.
  • Jimmye P. G isn't ready for TNG fiction:
    There are bound to be zines containing, or consisting of, TNG material. I buy a lot of zines, but I'm not ready to spend the substantial sums zines cost on TNG fiction. Please, zine eds., label your product clearly. I might change my mind at a later date but, for now, I'm just not interested.
  • Susan Beth S writes of predictable aliens and the episode "Encounter at Farpoint":
    This is too thin for its length and boringly reminiscent of the Classic episodes that involve "superior" races putting the Enterprise's crew on trial. I agree... that having the jellyfish "hold hands" at the end is too cutesy to bear. C'mon now: they have radial symmetry. If creatures like that want to touch each other, wouldn't the natural tendency be to approach each other "belly" first and make contact with all tentacles? The way they do it is chosen to pander to a bilaterally symmetrical audience. And did everyone notice the final touch, evidently thrown in to appease the censors or assure the Moral Majority that, why, them aliens are just like us, a boy and a girl, not some other nasty homosexual or hermaphroditic or even asexual setup: one of the aliens is tinted blue, the other pink. Please!

Issue 124

Interstat 124 was published in February 1988 and and contains 14 pages.

cover of issue #124, Pat Horowitz
  • this issue is made mostly up of comments on Star Trek: TNG and comments about characters and episodes fans liked and disliked
  • contains no interior art
  • regarding Tasha Yar and women in general, Kate Mac writes:
    Poor Tasha Yar. If ever a ST character was faced with a no-wi tion, it's the new Security Chief. She's damned whatever she does. I wonder how many of those fans who have labeled her 'impulsive' and 'hot-headed,' 'unfit to be Chief of Security.' would level the same complaints at her character had it been written as a male. It's the old 'a man is aggressive (positive) but a woman is a pushy bitch (negative)' double standard all over again. Given the year—1988, folks, not the days of Queen Victoria—I'm continually surprised and disheartened by the sheer amount of chauvinist animosity from males and anti-feminist witchiness from females this character invokes. We are talking about Star Trek, right? You know, the show with the radical idea that all beings were equal, even something as inhuman and ugly as a Horta? (Excuse me. I forgot. The Horta was a Mother protecting her Children, a nice traditional female activity.) Star Trek has never been particularly kind to women, and the NG is little improvement over its 60's predecessor.
  • more on Anatomy of a Letterzine:
    As expected, "Kristen Brady" did not respond to my invitation to submit her review for print under her real name. Perhaps she will reconsider for next issue and offer additional insight into what makes an INTERSTAT LoCer tick. Likewise, I did not receive for print opposing views to my editorial comment or a submission of the review from those who made its publication a sad reality: editor Sandra Necchi, THE POWER OF SPEECH, published out of Philadelphia; and editor Randy Landers, ORION, published out of Lansing, Michigan. A great injustice was done to the letter-writers of INTERSTAT when the review and the untruths stated therein were published, and those responsible for its circulation obviously prefer not to discuss the matter with INTERSTAT's LoCers. Not surprising. It takes courage to face those you have made to look like fools in print, particularly if it means facing them in their own forum. Ed.
  • Joan V writes of pro novels and canon:
    It never ceases to startle me that there are some fans that take the pro novels seriously.. It seems obvious to me that the only official Trek is the televised episodes (live-action and animated) plus the motion pictures. The one pro publication that I would count as "official" is Gene Roddenberry's novelization of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. Everything else, including items such as THE STAR TREK SPACEFLIGHT CHRONOLOGY, are not official, in my opinion. Therefore, fans should not be surprised if what GR puts in his series contradicts these pro publications. Nor should fans be surprised if GR does not follow what the pro novelists say about Romulans, Klingons, etc. No pro novel, no matter how well written, is "Official Trek," as I see it„ Those who see things differently are inevitably going to find contradictions (true, there are contradictions in "Official Trek," but trying to add the pro novels would increase the confusion to near chaos, as I see it).

Issue 125

Interstat 125 was published in March 1988 and and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #125, Fran Dovener
  • there is a copy of the news release which announces Eddie Egan's promotion at Paramount
  • contains no interior art
  • several fans start to refer to ST: TOS as "STC" (Star Trek Classic)
  • most of the discussion is about ST: TNG: favorite/least popular characters and episodes
  • Martha S ponders Star Trek:
    And so comes ST:TNG. Its production values are both beautiful and beautifully done. And I watch it faithfully every week. Once, I've tried watching it more than once, but it doesn't stand up to repeated viewing. It's thin. It leaves me feeling unsatisfied, wanting some indeterminate something more. I believe that a great deal of the fan comments on ST:TNG are symptomatic of this trend to popularization, and that the "fix" is not to concentrate solely on the details but, additionally, to identify how ST:TNG could regain that "something more." Both ST:TNG and ST V have a unique opportunity. ST:TNG's popularity, and proven commercial feasibility, are no longer unknowns. Similarly, ST V has a virtually guaranteed success given the reception accorded to ST IV. Both vehicles could be the medium for ST's creators to attempt the challenge of combining integrity and commercial value, rather than delivering either one or the other. I believe the acid test of the validity of this line of argument is to ask the following questions. If there had been no Star Trek Classic, Star Trek Animated, ST I, II, III, or IV, but rather ST:TNG had been created from scratch simply in response to the growing popularity of Star Wars-type saga (as have been other TV science fiction series), would Star Trek fandom now be in the process of forming for the first time? Is the character, the "soul" if you will, of ST:TNG strong enough and powerful enough and compelling enough to cause a new fandom to form and break away from general science fiction fandom, as happened in response to STC? To me, the question is not whether ST should be popularized and commercialized. Clearly, it needed to be and, given the commercial forces at work, will be. The issue, rather, is to re-identify ST's original vision, one that is both compelling and dynamic enough that it will allow ST to retain its individuality and uniqueness in the face of the commercial forces at work.
  • fans discuss their satisfaction, or lack of it, with nomenclature now that ST: TNG is in the picture; Jean L has a suggestion for those who don't like "Star Trek Classic":
    This is not original with me. It was my son, the trufan who introduced me to Trek fourteen years ago, who first called it "ST Prime" in a letter just before TNG premiered. I really like it, and I thought maybe others might.
  • Lana B writes of Wesley Crusher, and fans' feeling of ownership and power:
    Though I'm not in the least bit enthused over the character of Wesley Crusher, I'm nevertheless concerned at the 'hate' that is generating towards him. There appears to be a league of rabid fans who advocate pushing the kid into an airlock and spacing him. This to me is tackier than fans I know who are not in the least embarrassed at 'booing' William Shatner when they view him in movie theatres. I kid you not! This stupid bunch consider Trek their personal property to make or break. They don't give a continental for the careers of the people playing the ST characters. It appears that the IDIC of ST is something that is not realized by these so called fans. You couldn't find a more self-righteous and opinionated group anywhere. I went to a con once where I was dressed as a Klingon from the movies; imagine my surprise when another person dressed as a TV series Klingon proceeded to tell me that movie Klingons were not real Klingons, and the only real Klingons were Kor, Koloth and Kang. I didn't even bother to speak. This person's opinion was iron-clad; they weren't joking. So what gives us the right to dictate to other viewers of ST—because basically when people yell out 'Get rid of the kid or I won't watch ST:TNG anymore,' this is what we are doing. And it seems to be the old viewers of Classic ST who are responsible - some of us seem to be behaving just like' Q'. ST is just not ours, it's everyone's.
  • Jayne K writes of originality and of recycling:
    Many of the LoCs in the last few issues have mentioned originality. I want to question the use of originality of plot as a criterion for judging ST:TNG or any other ST. One thing to consider is how ST:C would stand under such a judgement. Look at the similarities-among "Doomsday Machine," "Obsession" and "Immunity Syndrome." Or think of "Charlie X" and "Squire of Gothos." Another example of similar plots being used is "Arena" and "Savage Curtain." Both are about a superior race staging a battle to test humanity. Yet if someone had not allowed the making of "Savage Curtain" due to its lack of originality, we would have missed Kirk's interaction with Lincoln and Spock's with Surak. On the other hand, if "Spock's Brain" hadn't been made because "Return of the Archons," "The Apple," and "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" were also about computer controlled societies, that might have been a good thing... One of the best ST episodes is "The Trouble With Tribbles." David Gerrold tells an interesting story about it in his book of the same name (Ballantine publishers). He discovered the tribbles were so similar to Martian flat cats in a story by Robert Heinlein that he was afraid he would be accused of plagiarism. He wrote to Heinlein who replied that the basic plot had been used before his book too. And, to use a non-Trek example to back my premise, I suggest for consideration William Shakespeare. Offhand, I can't think of any of his plots that were original yet he is considered one of the greatest writers in the English language. Plot and theme elements are going to be used over and over again. They are raw materials. One would not expect an architect to constantly think of new building materials but rather to figure out interesting and useful ways to put them together so that people can live in them. ST writers need to put theme and plot together so that characters can be developed within them. Originality is important in the way that every thing is put together but just because one storyline is like another does not make it bad.
  • Kimberly J writes in favor of non-confrontation, but then immediately pokes another fan:
    ...maybe people can care enough about each other to not fight. It might not make for good drama, but it sure makes a wonderful life. Isn't there enough yelling and screaming in this universe? Frankly, I'd think a lot more of a friend who will back down to keep the peace (even if I'm wrong) than one who'll shout me into the ground because she cares. [Ruth B]: Po' baby. Dey took yo' widdo Star Trek ovuh. If you don't like the show, doooon't waaaaatch it! It's not gonna go away because you cry.
  • Dixie O is unhappy about a beer commercial:
    I am upset about the inclusion of a beer commercial within an episode of ST:TNG, and am wondering how other fans feel about it, I'm a social drinker, myself, and my Episcopal church approves—so there's no reason for my objections other than those I have stated in the following letter... [the letter she sent is printed in Interstat and reads]: "I am writing to protest the inclusion of a Coors Light beer commercial in the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode shown on February 13th. I believe it likely this is a Paramount-sold ad, but want to go on record with you about the selling of alcohol to the young and inexperienced. A longtime fan dating from the original series, it has always been a matter of pride to me that Star Trek—the series, the movies and the conventions—is suitable for all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. This is not true of regular science fiction conventions in my experience, where con-sponsored beer busts are common, and it is customary for the attenders to sit up all night drinking. By contrast, Star Trek conventions attract a much wider age range, and the scheduled entertainment is always suitable. This is the first time I ever remember seeing a beer commercial associated with a Star Trek show, and I am appalled. With the sadly rising figures on the numbers of high school alcoholics, or even grammar school drinkers, we don't need a betrayal by Star Trek, and the necessity for parents to consider whether young children should watch the show. Distillers constantly bombard us with glamorous ads promising mixed drinks that taste like milk shakes and fruit ades, all aimed directly at the youth of America. Please don't imply that Star Trek is promoting the use of alcohol by the millions of youngsters enthralled by the new show."
  • Claire G writes of the Vulcan Hand Sign responses:
    Thank you all for responding with well reasoned theories of the Vulcan Hand Sign. That they ranged from signalling peaceful intentions to revealing meditative practices to mirroring adherence to the IDIC ideals shows once again that diversity and creativity to be found in fandom. Since that request another possibility has occurred to me. Notice the careful, stylized hand position Spock uses to perform the mind meld, especially in the earlier episodes. The pattern, a split between thumb, first two and last two fingers, is identical. It has often been suggested one cannot lie in a mind meld. If so, perhaps the Hand Sign is a pledge to be as open and truthful as one would have to be in a meld.

Issue 126

Interstat 126 was published in April 1988 and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #126, Mike Brown
  • Sharon M has some congratulations:
    I felt moved to write my firstever letter to INTERSTAT...out of my desire to congratulate you on your first ten years. Best wishes for your successful future. Thank you very much for keeping us informed of Eddie Egan's career advancements. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to benefit from his generosity of time and materials (and his infinite patience!) can feel nothing but elation over his most recent promotion. He is a very special person; truly one of a kind.
  • Jayne K makes this observation:
    As I was reading the latest INTERSTAT, which was, as usual, filled with complaints about Wesley Crusher, I was struck by an inspiration. The writers merely have to reveal that Wesley's father was a Vulcan. Star Trek fans have proven in the past to have no qualms about one crew member continually saving the day if that crew member happens to be half Vulcan.
  • One interesting thing to remember is that when Interstat first came out, fans were discussing a television show that had been off the air for years; with the advent of ST: TNG, now on weekly for many fans, the publication schedule of this letterzine, even as regular as it was, made some fans feel a disconnect. Jayne K is frustrated with the speed of communication, as well as some topics.
    Much as I enjoy INTERSTAT, I am finding it frustrating. A monthly publication is not the ideal format for discussing a weekly show. I don't have the patience to wait two months for a response, not to mention I may have changed my mind in that time. With new information being revealed weekly, any statement can easily become quickly outdated. I had resolved not to discuss TNG except in general terms but I didn't have the will power. In spite of myself, I opened this letter with an analysis of my last episode viewed. I need some local fans to talk to, so I can get that sort of thing out of my system. Then my LoCs could be devoted to a higher purpose. INTERSTAT is so well suited to many topics. I keep meaning to write about the pro novels. I've really enjoyed almost all the recent ones. And it would be interesting to speculate about ST V. And it is amusing to relate allusions to ST from various sources. Also I've been meaning to find out more about fan fiction for ages. But when I sit at the computer I lose control. Somehow all I can think about is TNG. Should Picard get a wig? Should Troi get a new uniform? Should Worf get his skull smoothed out? I appeal to you LoCers whose strength is greater than mine. Write about some of the non-TNG topics.
  • Joann S addresses the oft-asked question of why no Vulcans in TNG:
    As to why there are no Vulcans on the bridge, a logical answer is that this is a 25-year mission. If they had to run back to Vulcan every seven years for Pon Farr, they wouldn't get very far with their mission. In order to solve that problem, most Vulcans aboard the new Enterprise would have to be married.
  • Sharon-Emily M (formally Sharon E) writes:
    Is there anyone out there who still remembers me? If so, I'd enjoy hearing from you, for it's been eight years since I was in fandom. Frankly, my box of addresses was stolen in 1985, and I've been able to regain only a very few addresses. Therefore, should any of my fellow fan-friends like to get in touch, please write and I will answer as soon as I can. However, I realize it's true that one can't go back again. SHOWCASE #5 is in limbo, for my doctor won't let me return to writing yet. Also, when the divorce happened, I lost all my printing equipment. Also, it's been so long, I wonder if there is any further interest in developments in the Sarek-Lorna universe now that the movies have firmly established that Amanda is not dead after all.
  • A.C. Crispin addresses Joan V regarding canon and pro books:
    Here I go again, sticking my nose out, knowing in advance it's going to get snipped off, but what the heck? To [Joan V]: In your LoC (I#124), you said that you are startled that some fans take the pro novels "seriously" because they cannot possibly represent "official" Star Trek, and that no pro-published novel except Gene's novelization of ST:TMP can possibly be taken as canon. I'm not arguing that the ST pro novels should be taken as official canon; you're right in saying that they contradict each other, as well as filmed Trek. But I am objecting to your use of the word "seriously." How should the fans who enjoy the novels take them? Frivolously? The words "official" and "serious" don't equate to the same meaning at all! Over the years, every chance you get, you slam the pro novels, as though Pocket and Paramount are offending you personally by publishing them. Why is that? I know the quality of the novels varies tremendously, I'd be the last person to deny that, but Star Trek fans are intelligent people, perfectly capable of choosing their own reading material. If some fans want to read pro novels, why denigrate their choice by telling them they can't take these books"seriously" if they want to? I don't understand why you do this...will you please enlighten me?... Believe me, when I write a Star Trek novel, I take that project as seriously as any of my other books. I don't regard the book as not worthy of my best efforts. I produce the finest book I can, writing and rewriting, despite the fact that I now take a sizeable financial cut when I do Trek. (As I've said before, nobody makes a living writing pro Trek novels; you do it because you love Trek and want to do it, whether the end product you produce is good, bad, or indifferent.... I don't intend for this letter to engender a grudge battle; I'm just honestly puzzled and a bit peeved... What about you other Trek fans out there? Are you offended by the pro novels, simply because they exist? (The fan readers who write to INTERSTAT represent only the iceberg-tip of total consumers who buy and read Trek novels; so let me reassure those of you who like the pro efforts — Pocket will keep publishing them as long as the books make money for them.))
  • Sandr H. Wong Q writes of pro books:
    I sincerely hope that no one will attempt a ST:TNG novel yet. True, we want to get to know the characters better, but like a friendship, this will take a little time. The actors need to establish their characterizations, create a history in their own minds. Let's not muddle things so soon. Just remember all the character assassinations in the ST:C novels, and these with characters that were well established.
  • Amy G wants characterization back:
    The "magic" of Star Trek HAS always been the characters! Whatever storyline or plot was going on at the time—and yes, they were mostly terrific— the best-loved and most memorable scenes from the series were those that showed us the personal sides of these people as they lived, laughed, cried, coped, grew, and—most importantly—LOVED together. I sure don't need to point out specific examples of such scenes—every one of you knows them as well as I do. WHY do the movies - particularly TVH - keep missing this!?! I don't believe for a minute that the warmth and companionship and love we've always known is there can't be recaptured in the movies. It desperately NEEDS to be shown again, and all they've got to do is LET it. LISTEN to what the fans want - we make a lot of sense!

Issue 127/128

Interstat 127/128was published in May/June 1988 and contains 30 pages.

cover of issue #127/128, Lana Brown
  • contains no interior art
  • there are many comments about Anatomy of a Letterzine, see that page
  • this issue has a complete copy of Sandra Necchi's open letter to Interstat, see Anatomy of a Letterzine/Official Rebuttals and Responses
  • this issue has a con report for StarFest '88, see that page
  • the chat is mostly about how fans are mostly sad that the character of Tasha Yar is gone, and how they are becoming fonder of TNG
  • Jean L writes:
    Since the Powers that Be are obviously listening to us, let me put in my two credits' worth about Picard and Crusher. On the new Enterprise there are families—this is supposed to be one of the major differences between Classic Trek and ST:TNG. But not a single continuing character is married! Only Dr. Crusher ever has been. Only one family relationship (mother/son) exists among the continuing characters. There has not even been an episode featuring a family on board as guest stars.
  • Shirley Maiewski writes that she is getting fond of the character of Wesley, and points out that Interstat readers are a minority:
    So let us be more charitable and open minded. Wil is popular, you know. We hear that he receives more fan mail than the rest of the cast combined! Did you know that the Powers That Be at Paramount figure that serious fans of Star Trek make up only a tiny fraction of the viewing audience? I'm sure we would argue the point, wouldn't we? But think about it - how many serious fans are there? One thousand? Ten thousand? Fifty thousand? Paramount and the Nielsons figure in the tens of MILLIONS, you know. Sort of hurts your feelings, doesn't it?
  • Gennie S comments on the character of Troi being someone a fan would have created, and of sex on Trek:
    Deanna Troi seems to me like many of the characters fan writers like to create. That's why I'm surprised to see her 'dumped on' as [Carol P]put it. I like her, too. Better than the other two women, in fact. I don't care for the way sex is being portrayed, either, especially in this day of a deadly disease when restraint is needed, not an attitude of complete abandon. That's why I didn't care for the planet where everyone lays everyone whenever and wherever they want to. We'd all love to have complete freedom in every area of life, but there are good reasons why we can't.
  • Linda S writes of TOS and TNG and the Prime Directive:
    Although I agree that the characters don't display enough humanity, i.e. faults, I don't think this is the cause of their terminal blandness. The cause is endemic to Star Trek. Captain Kirk roamed the galaxy introducing local yokels to Truth, Justice, and The Federation Way, whether or not they wanted the meeting to take place. He reformed darn near everybody he met. 'Ethnocentric!1 we scolded. 'Egotistic! Violation of the Prime Directive!' And we were right. Kirk was being pushy and he was being hypocritical about the Federation's so-called highest ideal. Roddenberry evidently took note of this, and his newbies are the good moral relativists that the Prime Directive requires them to be. HOWEVER...Kirk committed his violations because he felt passionately that the people he was reforming were misguided at best, evil at worst. He had passionate beliefs and he was willing to put his money where his mouth was. That was what made him exciting, that was what made him earn our respect, that was what made us believe the crew would follow him to the gates of hell. The other characters were the same way (to a lesser degree so as not to outshine the star, obviously). Now, suppose the new crew suddenly starts displaying the same fire and passion, suppose we learn what they do hold dearest. Then they run into people whose beliefs are in direct opposition to theirs. Whether they feel such people are merely misguided or downright rotten, there's no doubt they'd consider such people a threat to all that is right and just. Faced with such a threat, are they going to shrug, cite the Prime Directive, and sit on their hands? Not unless the writers want the viewers to see them as hypocritical cowards. It's no wonder starship captains have always had a tendency to go nuts; the rigidly unrealistic Prime Directive puts Federation characters, and writers, in a no-win situation.
  • Carol M writes:
    Interestingly enough, in the same INTERSTAT (#126) which published A.C. Crispin's criticism of [Joan V's] statement that pro novels should not be taken seriously (I#124), there was a letter illustrating [Ms. V's] point. (The Crispin-Verba dispute would seem to be over the definition of the word 'seriously,' and this must be clarified before any meaningful dialogue can proceed.... And in one respect, the Kristen Brady review was accurate; some INTERSTAT writers indulge in personal attacks. Instead, we should discuss ideas, not personalities. One writer in I#26 claims not to be emotional, yet calls those who disagree with him four different insulting names. Name-calling is unproductive and irrelevant.)
  • Joan V addresses the letter by A.C. Crispin about Joan's "dismissal" of the pro novels as a source of canon:
    I risk boring longtime INTERSTAT subscribers by repeating myself, but, since it seems that my previous statement was not sufficient, I'll elaborate. First, it may come as a shock that I endorse the following points made by Ms.Crispin, to wit: (1) the pro novels contradict each other, as well as filmed Trek, (2) the quality of the pro novels varies tremendously, (3) that each pro novel should be judged independently of the others, and (4) that if a fan enjoys a ST pro novel, there's nothing wrong with that. I am sorry if Ms. Crispin does not realize we share areas of agreement, but according to her printed letters, we do. Next, I think that my use of the word "seriously" was greatly misunder stood. I did not use it as an antonym of "frivolously." Instead, I used it as a synonym of "officially," as demonstrated in the second sentence of my letter in If'124 (February, 1988), pg. 8 ("officially" and "seriously" may not equate, but I used them that way—if that's an incorrect usage, I apologize for my error)... Most important, if, in your printed opinion, "the fan readers who write to INTERSTAT represent only the iceberg-tip of total consumers who buy and read Trek novels," and since it then follows that I, one individual, am surely no more than an ice cube on that tip of that iceberg, why, then, do you attach such great importance to my remarks? 1 have no illusions about what I say—I expect that those who disagree with me will take the page my words are printed on and use it to make paper airplanes. Why don't you do the same? It might put my remarks in their proper perspective, it might make you feel better, and then you and I can devote the space alloted to us in INTERSTAT to talking about Star Trek instead of using it to go over the same material again and again and again.

Issue 129/130

Interstat 129/130 was published in July/August 1988 and contains 30 pages.

cover of issue #129/130, Pat Horowitz
  • there is MUCH about Anatomy of a Letterzine, see that page
  • contains no interior art
  • as usual, fan opinion is all over the map; regarding the episode "Conspiracy," one fan wrote: "This week's ST:TNG episode, "Conspiracy," is my favorite of the year so far and in my opinion ranks up there with the best episodes of the original series." And another wrote: "[I hope] we won't be subjected to another disaster like "Conspiracy," which made a mockery of everything Star Trek represents."
  • Jeffrey M. W writes about pro books:
    I stopped buying the pro Trek novels a few years back, because I frankly thought that most of them were not up to par. But I saw Jean Lorrah's and Ann Crispin's books in the store recently and am planning to buy them soon, because I know from reading their other books that they'll undoubtedly be very good.
  • Debbie G writes of two Trek death scenes:
    Strangely enough, "Skin of Evil" was probably my favorite episode of the season, because it was genuinely moving. Like a truly grieving person, I felt compelled to watch the incident again to convince myself that it did happen. Tasha*s funeral moved me to tears, a feat never accomplished by Spock's funeral in ST II. I never believed that Spock was really dead; I just saw Leonard Nimoy's crummy make-up job and indifferent performance. And that scene was staged like something out of "Hamlet"; Spock had to wait for Kirk to arrive so he could struggle up to deliver his dying speech. In Tasha's death there was no melodrama, no false heroics. It was sudden and senseless, exactly the way you'd expect a young security chief to be killed. Her death was for real.
  • Kimberly J writes of future sex and health implications:
    And speaking of sex — can't we dispense with 'deadly diseases' for one hour of one night a week? There is no AIDS in the 24th century (unless that's what they call 'Angeles Fever' ... and there was a cure for that). Personally, I'd love to be on a planet where 'everyone lays everyone else,' and certainly don't mind seeing it portrayed on TV. It's just an escape after all.
  • Jean L addresses another fan's previous letter about too much sex in Trek and the threat of AIDs:
    I'm afraid I disagree with you about sex in ST:TNG. WE have venereal diseases, one of which is currently deadly. But by the time of ST:TNG such diseases have been wiped out, and people are free to choose their pleasures as they wish. In "Justice," note that the Edos may be free in sexual conduct, but they are very adamantly not free to break their own laws. Remember: that is the same society where you can be executed for walking on the grass! It is an extremely effective example of science fiction: because the people there break our sexual taboos without a second thought, we assume that they "have complete freedom in every area of life." Then comes the painful realization that their taboos are merely different from ours. Being made to step back and examine our assumptions in such a way is what science fiction is all about.
  • A.C. Crispin remarks on the Kristen Brady letter and swings into responding to Joan V:
    My goodness, what is going on in INTERSTAT? Truly nasty, vicious (and, far as I can tell) totally unfounded attacks on you personally, on your integrity as an editor, and on your 'zine... Teri, your reply in I#127/128 was excellent — and, frankly, my advice to you is to leave it at that, because people like "Kristen" and Sandra will just drag things out and wear you down with their petty sniping if you respond further to them.... Next, to [Joan V]: I, too, am tired of flogging a dead horse. But I'd like to address a couple of remarks made in your letter, and that will be the end of it as far as I'm concerned.... What offended me in your letter, and prompted me to write, was your statement that: "It never ceases to startle me that there are some fans that take the pro novels seriously." To me, the implied meaning of that statement was extremely patronizing. The way it came over to me was, "It never ceases to startle me that there are actually some fans dumb or naive enough to be moved by, involved in, and truly enjoy reading Star Trek pro novels." If that's not what you really meant, then I humbly apologize for getting sore. As to whether I can truly be called a dedicated Star Trek fan...hmmmmm... depends on your definition. I love Star Trek, and always will. Its ideals have shaped my life, and impacted on my career. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu and Chapel feel like well-known and beloved friends to me. The Enterprise is like another home — I wish I could got aboard her somehow. But I don't write for fanzines (and never have, except one story I did as a stunt at a convention and afterwards presented to Marion McChesney for her 'zine). I don't draw or paint pictures of the characters or ship. I attend conventions mostly to promote my books, and usually when my expenses are covered. I enjoy them, sure, but not in the same way people who aren't there for business reasons do. I don't regard them as vacations, because I work at them. Writers' panels and autograph sessions are work — enjoyable, but still work. I subscribe to INTERSTAT and read it mostly to keep track of what fans are thinking. You've noticed how seldom I venture an opinion on anything Trek- related. Mostly that's because I don't have the time or the energy to devote to commenting on burning issues in fandom. I have my own opinions, sure, but writing is what I do for a living, and I don't dissipate my writing energy anymore than I can help.... Joan, you're right in declaring this a dead issue. Your opening statement got under my skin, but it's best if we just agree to disagree, don't you think?
  • Steve R writes about pro books:
    I agree with [Joan V] that the ST novels, however enjoyable some of them may be, are not official chapters in the canon, any more than the endless Sherlock Holmes pastiches are worthy of the same respect as Conan Doyle's original tales. Frankly, many of the novels have been mind-numbingly bad.
  • a number of fans are distressed about the loss of the actress who plays Dr. Crusher, and many of them bring up the fact that Tasha Yar's death, that leaves only one woman (Troi) left on the show. Carol P writes of women's roles on TNG in general:
    But why put all the blame at the producers' feet? I'm disappointed with the audience, too. It seems that whenever a female character strays sufficiently far from traditional female niceness and passivity, she hits the "butch" wall—the point at which terms like "too masculine," "bitchy," "man in drag" etc. come flying her way, however unjustified. This happened to Yar even in reviews from large circulation magazines. I'm disappointed at how closely traditional roles must be followed lest this response be set off. Yar's short hair alone was enough to set off this knee-jerk reaction. I am afraid that this was a case of a strong woman being offered, but not accepted. I hope that I'm wrong. But I foresee continued problems with the female characters. All of the women at the convention [Shoreleave #10] I talked to agreed that there is room for a traditional woman like Troi. But we would like to see the whole spectrum, right through tough and aggressive at the other end.
  • Natonne Elaine K is starting a fan club called Fans of Penda Uhura and Hikaru Sulu and wants some clarification on those characters' two first names -- she points out that Mary Louise Dodge in her capacity as a spokesperson for the STW has given her some information:
    As mentioned previously, Ms. Dodge was extremely helpful. For example, Ms. Dodge stated that during the mid-1970's, Dorothy Fontana announced at a convention that the first name of Sulu was "Itaka" and the first name of Uhura was the Swahili name for love ("Upenda" or "Penda"). In addition, Ms. Dodge stated, that to the best of her knowledge, "Hikaru" was first used in Vonda N. McIntyre's novel., The Entropy Effect. From our research and inquiry, "Itaka" has never been well received by the fans. In contrast, "Hikaru" seems to be well accepted by the fans. This is why this organization favors this name. In reference to "Penda," besides the information provided by Ms. Dodge, members of this organization have heard about fans selecting "Penda" as Uhura's first name in the mid-1970's. What occurred first: Dorothy Fontana announcing "Penda" as Uhura's first name or the fans selecting this name? Or, was the selection of "Penda" by Star Trek fans an act of approval of the name chosen?... In recent novels published by Pocket Books/Timescape, the name "Nyota" (which means "star" thereby, Nyota Uhura meaning "Star Freedom" [see Uhura's Song]) has surfaced as Uhura's first name. As far as this organization can determine, "Nyota" first appeared in William Rostler's Star Trek II Biographies. Rostler's book contains many errors, such as the existence of a sister for Kirk, "Michele" and the fact that Kirk was not born on Earth. Since there are gross errors surrounding the biography of a major character such as Kirk, the credibility for the other biographies is weakened. Thus, FOPUAHS would like to know, is Rostler's version considered official? Rostler states that "Hikaru" is Sulu's first name. We realize that Rostler's book was published after McIntyre's novel. Hence, Rostler probably derived Sulu's first name from The Entropy Effect. Likewise, Uhura seemed to lack a first name in the novels until after Rostler's book was published. Thereafter, writers of Star Trek novels began to incorporate "Nyota" into their novels.
  • a fan warns others against going on a Trek cruise called SeaTrek '89:
    It was also not a "charter cruise," at least not by my definition. My understanding of "charter" is when a private group hires a public carrier (ship, bus, plane, whatever) and sets up an itinerary tailored specifically for the benefit and particular interests of the members of that group. A "theme cruise" (which is what Cruise West was, despite advertisements to the contrary) is an entirely different critter. It was only while standing in line at embarkation that mutual (and in some cases, horrified) realization dawned. (Mundane: "Who are those people wearing weird clothes?" Trekker: "Why are people staring at my UFP T-shirt?") There were also major problems in organization. Formal presentations by guests were limited to 20 minutes apiece (!), there were no participation panels, no attempt was made to seat Trekfen together at meals, and the "dealers room" was a joke. The costume call overlooked many outstanding Trek-related costumes and chose to award first prize to a pair of scantily-clad tap-dancers from the ship's crew. Insult was added to injury in the costume call when several women were verbally groped or denigrated, depending on whether they met Mr. Motes' standards of feminine pulchritude. Moral of the story is this — if you like "Creation Cons" and/or "Vul-Kons," and if you had several hundred dollars to blow on one, you'd have loved Cruise West. Otherwise, you'd have felt ripped off and imposed upon. I don"t have a gift of foresight, so I can't tell you Seatrek 89 is going to be more of the same. I only know I'm not planning to attend. Can anybody recommend a good Trek convention to attend instead?