Interstat/Issues 131-140

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Issue 131/132

Interstat 131/132 was published in September/October 1988 and contains 30 pages.

cover of issue #131/132, Nan Lewis
letter from Harve Bennett
photo of Harve Bennett taken by fan Harriet S at K.C. Con
  • Karen R responds to a comment about her open letter regarding Anatomy of a Letterzine, see that page
  • there are a number of letters discussing whether English will be the predominant language of the future
  • there are, of course, many letters discussing the quality and content of TNG
  • there is a long fan-written review of the TNG pro book, "Ghost Ship"
  • Jean Lorrah writes a plug for her new TNG novels, one of which has been proposed:
    So what's this book about? As you might guess, it features Data, in the definitive story even the fanzines don't seem to have attempted yet. Let me put it this way: Data knows a very large number of human proverbs, but it seems he somehow has missed the one that goes, "Be careful what you wish for, because that is exactly what you'll get"! Oh, yes, I'm afraid I did. At this point in my career I sell to editors who know my work on the basis of detailed outlines; I no longer have to write the book first to prove I can do it. But then, this will be my fifteenth professionally-published novel. Now all I have to do is write the book! The tentative deadline for my manuscript is next June, with the book appearing at the beginning of ST:TNG's third season.
  • Chris D writes of Trek and tolerance for new things:
    I'd like to make a comment about the prejudice I've seen in fandom about ST:TNG. I attended Space Trek in St. Louis this summer and was appalled at the downright nasty remarks made during the Next Generation panel. Richard Arnold, bless his heart, handled the venomous attacks with grace and charm. Making sound points. Unfortunately a few vocal fans continued to blast the new series, degrading all the characters and plots, comparing Kirk and Picard, calling Picard a wimp! Now that made me downright mad. Mon Capitain is unique, an individual and I respect Mr. Roddenberry for daring to create a new persona instead of rehashing what has "Gone Before". Picard is no more like Kirk than Data is like Spock. (Yes, I've heard that one too.) IDIC is the heart and soul of Star Trek and as Richard Arnold said so well, A fan who embraces that belief will find room in their hearts for old and new, movies and novels. The quality may vary, as do individual tastes and we are all entitled to an opin ion, but I can't imagine a true trek fan rejecting anything because it is different or new. I thought we learned that lesson 20 years ago when the horta carved "NO KILL I" in stone.
  • Chris D comments on pro novels:
    I'd like to add that I was delighted to read letters in this last issue from two of my favorite pro authors, Ann Crispin and Jean Lorrah. I for one take the pro novels seriously.
  • Matthew C. W comments on pro books:
    On Ann Crispin's open question about should the ST novel's exist? I personally have grown tired of them, but since I don't consider them canon, they pose no threat. Heck, occasionally even I like one.
  • Becky M addresses A.C. Crispin:
    I have read Yesterday's Son and loved it, and I am looking forward to reading Time For Yesterday. It doesn't matter to me one iota if the novel goes along with the "official" Star Trek or not. The novels are for entertainment, and pleasure, and only a picky person would gripe about the fact that the storylines don't go along with the "official" Trek timeline.
  • Debbie G addresses Jean Lorrah:
    I enjoyed your participation in the WorldCon panels I attended. Both you and Jacqueline Lichtenberg tried to be fair and objective, and you didn't regard the panel as merely free advertising space in which to plug your own books, as did a certain other Trek writer. You were honest enough to admit that you didn't much care for Wesley personally, but that didn't prevent you from discussing the subject rationally.
  • Linda S is attempting to do a questionnaire of fans' opinions regarding the content of current zines. She explains her methodology:
    37% OF ZINE READERS FEEL THAT ... There are too many Big 3 stories/too many K/S stories/not enough K/S stories/cornflakes are better with sugar? If you too are curious about these and other questions, here is your chance to answer them. I am doing an attitudinal and demographic survey of zine readers....The methodological problems of reaching the 'fan in the street' are darn near insuperable. To obtain something resembling a balanced sample, I am drawing my sample from readers of The Clipper Trade Ship, Interstat, and Treklink. I chose these zines because they have large and varied readerships, helping to insure that the sample is not biased in favor of or against a particular sub-group, K/Sers or People With Good Taste, i.e. Klingonophiles, or whatever, and also because they come out frequently and (usually) regularly, so we won't have to wait till Kingdom Come for word to get out. We will not get perfect data from this method, but we won't get a 'Hite Report on Female Sexuality' either; with the caveat that my sample will be limited to those willing to spend 2 stamps and 15 minutes on the survey, we should get a representative view of zinedom. If you would like to participate, please send SASE or a SAE plus 2 IRCs for the questionnaire, complete it, and mail it back to me. You may remain anonymous when responding. The more the merrier, and the better the data. To answer a question that the first respondents have all brought up, I will publish my results in any zine whose editor shows an inter est. Editors, just holler. If your zine also has a large and varied reader ship and comes out regularly, please don't be hurt; I neglected you because I didn't know those things, not because I didn't think you were as good as the three zines in which I am seeking respondents. Thanks! I hope to sendo out 100 questionnaires, but don't live in fear that you will be the 101st respondent; I can always do an oversample.
  • Alicia G comments on canon and character names:
    I just don't know about this movement to make "Penda" Uhura's first name. I'm usually not one to pick at details but a name is pretty important. It seems like every Star Trek book I've ever read (and that number is close to 100) that mentions Uhura's first name says it's Nyota. I remember reading an article somewhere, sometime in the distant past (maybe a Best of Trek?) that said her name was Penda. But, I'm much more inclined to take the general consensus of a lot of books rather than someone who simply says what her name is. If Penda was "officially" recognized, all those books would be rendered untrue.
  • Debbie G writes a comment, one which Susan Sackett jumps all over in the next issue:
    I heard that Diana Muldaur has been cast as the new doctor, and I was very pleased at the news. She is an excellent actress, and is already well- known and loved in Trek fandom. But then I heard that instead of replacing Crusher, she is going to be Crusher. This would be a grave mistake. As has been proved with Saavik, you can't just substitute a different actress for the one who originated the character. It doesn't work, and it's not fair to the actress.

Issue 133

Interstat 133 was published in November 1988 and contains 14 pages.

letter to Interstat by Susan Sackett
cover of issue #133, Vel Jaeger
  • Proof that The Powers That Be kept a sharp eye on this letterzine is Susan Sackett's startling personal reply to an innocuous and fairly-common statement a fan made in the previous issue. Interstat prints in full Sackett's letter on the official letterhead of Paramount:
    Dear Teri: I think you know by now that it is our policy not to get involved with fanzines and fan forums such as yours, although from time to time I have felt it is necessary to set the record straight. Such is the case now. I was deeply disturbed by the letter from Debbie Gilbert in the Sept./Oct. '88 issue of INTERSTAT. Naturally, I am not blaming you as editor for printing it. I do, however, find fault with Debbie for what amounts to nearly a printed page of rumors, which she herself admits are just that, and her reactions to these rumors, rather than questioning the validity of these hearsays. Firstly, Diana Muldaur was never considered for a replacement in the role of Crusher. Where do such ideas originate? For several months now we have been disseminating responses to queries on this subject. One had only to call or write our office for the truth. But more distressing than that is her statement: "I heard that Gene Roddenberry refuses to hire established science fiction writers to do scripts because he says that they are 'too old to write for Star Trek' ". She then takes this statement for a truth and goes on to lambaste Mr. Roddenberry as old, intolerant, closed-minded, having forgotten IDIC, and so on. This is merely GUILT BY RUMOR and she should be ashamed .for falling into such a trap, obviously set by someone with an axe to grind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Roddenberry would welcome with open arms any good script from any established writer. (Of the four she mentioned in her letter, Mr. Sturgeon is deceased, Mssrs. Block and Spinrad haven't approached us, and Mr. Ellison & Mr. Roddenberry have always been colleagues and we would be happy to entertain his ideas.) Suggestion: Anyone hearing "disturbing rumors" is welcome to write to our office for clarification, or spend a buck and call the STAR TREK office at (213) 468-4747. But don't ask that your personal diatribes be printed as if they were the truth. People have a tendency to believe anything they read in print. Use your intelligence, Debbie. (I know you, like myself, are a member of MENSA.) The perpetuation of falsehoods can only serve to hurt people, and I can't imagine you would wish to do that.
  • Karen B is happy to have the inclusion of TPTB in Interstat:
    What a privilege the readers of INTERSTAT have. Despite the open criticism evinced in letters over the years toward Mr. Bennett's work, he is still gracious and caring enough toward the readers of INTERSTAT to write letters. His personal update on the production of Star Trek V is a rare glimpse afforded us into the mind of the major creative force. Thank you, Mr. Bennett.
  • Lynda C comments on sex and Data and issues of consent:
    Am I the only person in fandom who finds the concept of a "fully functional" Commander Data just a little sick-o? [Eunice R], in I//131/132, says infertility prevents one from being "fully functional" but does provide "The Ultimate Safe Sex." Excuse me, folks, but "The Ultimate Safe Sex" is masturbation — which is precisely the use to which Tasha put Data. There was no seduction. There was no loveinaking. What there was was a sexually-aroused female and a very sophisticated vibrator. Oh — you don't want to buy the onanism theory? Then how about this: Data is an android. If we assume him to be subject to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, he had no choice in the matter, and what happened was rape. If we assume him to be a being in search of a soul, blindly copying human behavior in order to become human, then what happened was statutory rape. Somehow, I find none of these scenarios titillating.
  • Jean Lorrah writes about her TNG pro book and canon:
    Updateon SURVIVORS: Paramount had numerous nitpicks, but no changes vital to the story. Classic Trek is a closed book: so long as I do not violate established events, there are no problems. In my Classic Trek novels, I have never had Paramount question a matter of Trek fact. With TNG, Paramount keeps worrying that an author might establish something and then they'd be stuck with it. (I don't know why they think the books, read by fewer than 1% of the viewers, should have such power.) But there was not a thing in SURVIVORS that could not be satisfied with minor rewording; the real book as I wrote it, characterization and all, is being published. It should appear on schedule in January. I'll be interested to hear what you folks think of it.
  • Douglas Van N writes of pro books:
    As to the ST novels, however enjoyable some of them may be, they are not official chapters of the STAR TREK cannon [sic].
  • D.M. I writes of pro books:
    On the subject of the pro novels, I enjoy the majority of them, yet, as [Joan Marie V] has stated, I don't count them as 'official Trek' (unless it is by Mr. Roddenberry). In no way am I being derogatory with the pro authors' work. It's just a matter of personal belief.
  • Kelly C writes of sex and things:
    I just finished reading the ST Interview book, and in it Harve Bennett said that in ST III, Spock and Saavik He even said that they were thinking about having Saavik pregnant in ST IV! What is this!!??? Soap Opera to the Stars!?!?!? I may be old fashioned, but I think the characters should have some DECENCY! I know, McCoy had Spock's marbles, but Saavik should have used hers! It was obvious from "Amok Time" that Pon Farr didn't need to end in it! Also, if Pon Farr lasted only a few months at most, then with Spock's rapid aging Pon Farr should have lasted just a few seconds! If they have Saavik pregnant in ST V, I don't know WHAT I'll do! That brings me to another thing, "Justice"! What kind of a planet were the Edo living on!??!? BRING BACK THE CENSORS! And I still can't get over the fact that some "fen" actually are so irreverent that they actually believe in the K/S movement! I know, I know, IDIC. Just don't blame me if I act like a Tellarite if I see one of those Regulan Bloodworms. On another note, I am pleased to know that Whoopi Goldberg is only doing six episodes. I can see adding Diana Muldaur, but Whoopi Goldberg??
  • Joan V compares writing in the Darkover universe to what she has seen of those writing in the pro book Trek world:
    In the Darkover universe, Marion's word is final. She sends out guidelines as to what she does and does not want to see in a professional Darkover story. She rejects stories for a wide range of reasons — but it normally seems to come down to that she feels the characters she invented are misrepresented or that the story docs not, in her opinion, have a "Darkover" flavor. Although she has not edited any of my professional stories thus far, she did heavily rewrite one of my stories for her fanzine, to bring it "in line" with what has been established for Darkover. I, as with all other Darkover writers I know, appreciate these touches. No Darkover writer I know resents Marion re-editing their material, issuing guidelines, saying what does or does not represent the Darkover universe, and, most importantly, no writer I know accepts anything as official Darkover except what Marion herself says is official. When I write Darkover, I do what Jean Lorrah has reported doing for her Trek novels: research. I go over Marion's familiar stories again, re-reading or dissecting a Darkover novel or two, so I get the right "flavor." I check sources such as THE DARKOVER CONCORDANCE to be sure my facts are straight. Far from seeing Marion's guidelines as a "restriction," I see them as a challenge to my writing ability. And I never resent Marion deleting or changing material she does not think fits her universe, or adding material that she thinks is better. It's her universe, after all. I consider it an honor and a privilege that she allows me to not only write in her universe, but get paid for writing stories in her universe (and Marion's royalties are very generous). This is in marked contrast to the complaints of some ST pro writers. (None of the following applies to Jean Lorrah, who, in my opinion, has exactly the right approach to writing in another universe, and her very enjoyable novels show this.) I have heard that ST pro writers at various cons complain about Roddenberry's influence, as if he should have no control of what gets written in his universe. I have heard ST pro writers imply that their version of Star Trek in their novels is official, something no Darkover writer would dream of saying, out of respect for Marion and her works (if a Darkover writer were to claim--without Marion's permission, that is; Marion has designated certain works written by others as official—that his or her writing was official Darkover, Darkover fans would laugh at him or her from here to Thendara). I have heard ST pro novelists complain of the "restrictive" guidelines given to them, which to me is the same as admitting that they are too unimaginative to write a story in Roddenberry's universe, as opposed to their version of Roddenberry's universe. In my opinion, if a writer cannot discipline a story to be in line with the established universe, and if a writer cannot show respect to the originator of the universe, then that writer should stick to writing in his or her own created universe, and not try to write in another's. If a Darkover writer showed the arrogance of some of the Star Trek pro writers, Marion probably would never accept another story from that writer, and I, along with most Darkover fans, would cheer Marion on. I find it curious that the attitudes of some (not all) ST pro novelists and Darkover pro writers arc so different.

Issue 134

Interstat 134 was published in December 1988 and contains 14 pages.

cover of issue #134, Fanti Dovener
  • not one fan addresses the letter by Susan Sackett that was printed in the last issue
  • Melissa M comments on Harve Bennett, Interstat, and her visit to the ST set:
    And as a big fan of Harve Bennett, I especially liked the last 2 pages—his picture and his letter to INTERSTAT readers regarding ST V. I've just returned home from a visit to Hollywood, and 1 had a wonderful time, thanks largely to Harve. He very kindly allowed me, Dixie Owen, and 4 other ST fan friends to visit the Paramount lot and watch some of the filming, and then he treated us all to lunch at the commissary restaurant. I just can't say enough about what a great guy he is.
  • Pat K comments on TNG:
    Have caught the first two episodes of the new season. Both Diana Muldaur and Whoopi Goldberg are welcome additions to the cast of ST:TNG. Love Riker's beard! The handling of Wes Crusher continues to improve immensely. Marina Sirtis did a superb job in "The Child," the first 2 acts of which were exceptional, especially the council scene dis cussing Deanna's pregnancy. "Silence" was beautiful, thought-provoking, and welldone. And I loved Worf's"...too personal to share." I think ST:TNG is long past proving the flexibility of the ST format, that it is not dependent on one set of characters or one set of relationships, or one time or one style. Good for ST:TNG and may there be another in another 20 years.
  • Nora J is not happy about some casting decisions:
    Mainly, my comments concern the new season of ST:TNG. I have found it a great disappointment, with the episodes shown so far (5 at this writing) being, in my opinion, flat and basically dull. My major "beef" is with the role of the doctor. I have no quarrel about Diana Muldaur's acting ability, and she's a great person, but there's no fire in the character anymore, and even if the scripts do improve her role as far as lines, the chemistry and ensemble to which Gates McFadden so richly contributed last season has been squandered, and it negatively affects the entire show tremendously. It isn't too late, though. Doctor Pulaski, or whoever, is still a "guest appearance" —hope remains alive—I'm really lonely for the excitement I used to feel all day Saturday—waiting—Come on, Mr. Roddenberry—give her back!
  • Jean Lorrah likes the new doctor:
    But let's look at what makes Kate Pulaski a radical departure: her inability to accept Data. This is a character trait that could not be depicted in Classic Trek, because twenty years ago the audience would not have had the perspective to accept it. She is the well-intentioned good person who would never cause harm to a living being; she just has trouble perceiving certain individuals as living beings. In 1966, a futuristic "Miss Anne" could not have been presented as a sympathetic character, and of course Classic Trek did not have a situation into which they could put such a character that would not have her unaccepting of Vulcans or such, too close to people who still could not accept blacks and other minorities. What is so clever here is that Pulaski carries over the Classic Trek attitude toward machine intelligence, a "given" in the original series: you may use it, you may interact with it, but the more intelligent it is, the less you dare allow yourself to rely on it. See "The Changeling," "The Apple," "The Ultimate Computer," and all other variations on the same theme. By giving Pulaski this particular blind spot—she doesn't seem to have any problem with Klingons, for example—TNG can get away with it because it is Trek criticizing Trek!
  • Ruth S writes of a long-standing drama:
    Just wanted to publicly express my gratitude to [Kathy Resch] and The Gang of Six for rescuing BEFORE THE GLORY and COURTS OF HONOR, respectively. Both zines were destined for oblivion when Syn Ferguson deserted them, leaving those who had pre-ordered effectively holding an empty bag. These friends of Syn's put a great deal on the line when they assumed responsibility for these projects...reputations, credibility, etc. Additionally, in the case of Kathy Resch, there was the personal out-of-pocket expense involved in her decision to honor all pre-orders for BTG; in the case of The Gang of Six, there was the risk of ridicule in asking fandom for its trust in the face of much bitterness and resentment...a trust restored when they not only delivered COH in a timely fashion, but issued rebates, after an extensive search, to as many people as they could locate when the final cost of publishing COH proved less than the pre-order funds they had collected. Both of these efforts were made selflessly on behalf of Syn Ferguson so that a minimum of loss would be suffered by fandom...both financially and in terms of trust, the lifeblood necessary for the continued existence of fanzines. Syn, if you have occasion to read this, you are rich, indeed. I hope you count your blessings every day for the quality, integrity and dedication of friends like Kathy Resch and The Gang of Six, who believed in you and in your work enough to invest their time, their funds and their very reputations on your behalf. In fact, all of fandom is richer for it.
  • Jayne K comments on the skit, Get a Life!:
    One thing I've learned from my exposure to a number of fans is that the infamous "get a life" skit from Saturday Night Live haunts us. At the first convention I went to, James Doohan expressed his disapproval of the skit and a large number of the audience loudly agreed. This surprised me because I had thought it was rather funny. Later in the summer, at another con, I gained more insight into the situation. Diane Carey, the author, was quite seriously exhorting her audience to become involved, to adopt a cause (any one would do), in short, to get a life. I have realized that the stereotypical fan is wrapped up in Star Trek to the exclusion of the real world. I resent having such assumptions made about me. I have "got a life." I have a husband and children. I do volunteer work and have opinions on a wide variety of matters, both political and religious. I do shopping, vote in elections, and change diapers. I do live in the real world, with all its tension and stress That is the reason I am a Trekker. A hobby is necessary for mental health. Star Trek helps me to keep from burning out in all the "important" things I do. It helps me relax. It helps me retain my perspective. It is fun. It is not my religion. I already have a perfectly good religion. (Well, I'm Catholic.) And I suspect that the majority of fans are more like me than the stereotype.
  • Larry N comments on canon:
    I hate to pull time-rank on you re: the "first names" controversy, but there wasn't a problem until Pocket Books let Bill Rotsler come up with Nyota and ignore what had been established in fanfic, the major forum before 1980, in his stupid ST II Biographies. That is the so-called "new bible" of backgrounding that Pocket makes all authors adhere to; gee, too bad no one bothered to tell the films' and TNG production teams. (Some writers rebel when they know Pocket's "bible" is wrong; see Jean Lorrah's reply to me, I#129/130.) If Rotsler had really wanted to do a long-lasting work he would have done the kind of continuity research that fan backgrounders of the early era (Franz Joseph, Geoff Mandell, Mike Mcmaster, myself, etc.) at least tried to do. In replying to my 1977 "wide-eyed fan" six-page, single-spaced monster letter to the Star Trek Welcommittee for FACTSFACTSFACTS, its then-Library Computer Chief Jeff Johnston told me that mainstream organized fandom pretty much settled on Penda (and Itaka for Sulu—oh well!). The fact is, "most of the books" have come out since the early 1980's, when so much "official" drek came forth from Pocket Books on everything from ST history to characters; it fooled everybody but the production folks and older fans, or those who didn't care to begin with. Actually, the idea of settling once and for all on film these old "gaps" that fans have had to fill for themselves (usually with two or three camps at each others' throats) is a good one; look what it's done for chunking the well-intended but ill-conceived timeline of the Starfleet Chronology. I say "power to 'em!" for the Penda/Itaka group organizers, If it's not too late; but why stop there? Let's finally get D.C. Fontana's version of Spock's lineal "unpronounceable" name into the "on celluloid" canon, for instance; and let's finally settle on the name of the Klingon homeworld (Kazh? Klinzhai? Kling?).
  • A.C. Crispin writes of canon:
    I'd like to comment on the "Nyota" vs. "Penda" controversy for Commander Uhura's first name. The reason that I used "Nyota" for Commander Uhura's name in TIME FOR YESTERDAY is that a couple of years ago I heard Nichelle Nichols address that question at a Shore Leave (I forget which one; after awhile they start to blur, don't they?). When someone asked Ms. Nichols what Uhura's first name was, she said that she'd recently heard that some fans and several of the novels were using the first name "Nyota," meaning "star" in Swahili. She reminded us that the name "Uhura" was derived from the word for "freedom" in Swahili. Ms. Nichols felt that "star freedom" was a lovely name for her character. It sounded, she said, like music. She repeated "Nyota Uhura" several times in her beautiful voice, then asked the crowd if we didn't agree that the words sounded like music. (Everyone clapped.) She commented that she hoped that we'd get to see more of Uhura in Star Trek V, as we've gotten to see more of Chekov and Scotty in the other films. And, as part of that "more intimate" look into Uhura's character, she said she hoped that she'd be allowed to have an "onscreen" first name. She felt that "Nyota Uhura" was the perfect choice for her name, and didn't we fans agree? The audience, needless to say, cheered in loud approbation of her sentiments. I recall that several of the other Star Trek actors were allowed to choose their character's first name — Mr. Doohan choosing "Montgomery," his own middle name, to be Scotty's first name is the example that springs immediately to mind — so I think Ms. Nichols' wishes should be considered. Mr. Bennett, if you're reading this, I'd love to see Nichelle's hopes for Star Trek V realized, and I'm crossing my fingers that they will be!

Issue 135

Interstat 135 was published in January 1989 and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #135, Mike Brown
  • Karen R comments on the comments by Debbie G which caught Susan Sackett's attention; strangely, this fan is the only one to reply to Sackett's letter, possibly an example of how fans let comments by Sackett slide due to fears of alienating TPTB:
    Well, looks like [Debbie G] got the ears of the "higher-ups" and got her own ears pinned back for it. To be fair, the last few sentences of the LoC Debbie wrote in I#131/132 are stronger than they need to be, and rumors generally should not be used as a basis for such judgments. But certainly harsher things have been said about Mr. Roddenberry in these pages, and certainly the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is still in effect. Of course, it would be nice if everyone were tasteful all the time, but anyone in public life should know that is too much to expect. Heck, I've had worse things said about me to my face, and I'm a nobody! But in chastising Debbie to obtain the truth, Ms. Sackett herself has not been quite correct. There certainly is not in Debbie's letter "...what amounts to nearly a printed page of rumors." There s at most one-third of a printed page of rumors. Let us do endeavor to be accurate. I also did not interpret Debbie's remarks concerning the Diana Muldaur rumor to have been taken by Debbie as gospel. Debbie's words were I heard that Diana Muldaur has been cast as the new doctor and I was very pleased at the news. She is an excellent actress, and is already well-known and loved in Trek fandom. But then I heard that instead of replacing Crusher, she is going to be Crusher. This would be a grave mistake..." The use of the phrase "would be" implies "if this rumor is true." It is merely a comment on the danger inherent in a possibility if that possibility should somehow chance to become reality. As to Ms. Sackett's question of "Where do such ideas originate," one asks "Where does any rumor originate?" They're like Topsy: they just growed. What I would like to know is: Does Ms. Sackett seriously expect us to cease expressing "reactions to these rumors" as we encounter them? Agreed, we can strive to get the most accurate information possible and to be as temperate in our judgments as is consistent with good taste, but rumors should not be suppressed. To stifle rumors would also stifle the process of either proving or disproving them.
  • Berkeley H writes of the character of Riker and of women:
    Part of the problem with Riker? He's an anachronism; a Dawn Horse among thoroughbreds; a Sixties' stereotype on an Enterprise manned by Eighties' icons. The character, and his relationship with Troi, is based on a shaky premise that was popular over two decades ago. I'm talking about the idea that Real Men Don't Need Women, except maybe for sex occasionally; and boy, has Riker ever made it clear that he subscribes to that one wholeheartedly. Remember, this is the officer who found it not at all inappropriate to grill Worf on his physical needs in "Justice." The same guy who bestowed sight on Geordi and adulthood on Wesley, then gifted the lieutenant with a Klingon woman of his very own. To use as he wished, no doubt. Women in general (and Mother in particular, with her "pick up your room," "don't hit your sister, and "bedtime at eight o'clock") have long been a symbol of nagging restraint; the irritating chokehold that civilization imposes on all of us. No wonder Mark Twain's boy hero Tom Sawyer was so overwhelmingly popular; he had no mother, he broke all the rules, and was wonderfully adept at outwitting the one female presence he was afflicted with—his befuddled old Aunt Polly. Riker, we are told, finds the role of husband and father incompatible with that of starship captain. In other words, he's a cheap knockoff of that Sixties' folk hero, James T. Kirk, who was supplied with a steady stream of willing yeomen and chesty, naive aliens to keep him from walking funny as a result of all that pent up frustration. Thing is, there's a good bit of nostalgia wrapped up in our acceptance of Tomcat and his love 'em and leave 'em propensities. As viewers, we're more sophisticated now, and unwilling to cut Riker the same slack. Why the Hell should we? We expect the Star Trek officers to have some understanding of changing attitudes.
  • Ann Crispin addresses Joan V's earlier letter about canon, Star Trek, and Darkover, one that ends with a snippy comment:
    letter in I#133. You said that: (1) Professionally published Star Trek writers should be like pro Darkover
 writers ln their response to official editorial comment and criticism; (2) Pro Star Trek writers (with the exception of Jean Lorrah) don't do proper research; and (3) Pro Star Trek writers should not complain about the restrictions placed on them by writing in the Star Trek universe, because if they were possessed of sufficient imagination, those strictures would not be confining at all. I'd like to address your comments in reverse order. The restrictions placed on Star Trek writers are different from those placed on Darkover writers, and you ought to be able to recognize that fact. I've read several volumes of the Darkover stories you refer to, and found that the writer is free to invent his/her characters and free to do pretty much what she/he wants with them — kill them, marry them off, have them change their life's path, etc. — just as long as the story remains true to the history and traditions of Darkover, as established by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Writers of Darkover also get to choose whether their characters will, or will not interact with established Darkovan characters. That NOT is critical. While I'm sure Ms. Bradley would have something to say if some writer other than herself were to try and kill off Lew Alton or Regis Hastur or another of her recurrent characters, Darkover writers don't have to feature Lew or Regis as the hero in their stories. That makes for a great deal more "looseness" in the universe. (By the way, I read one of your Darkover stories. I found it to be well written, and completely in accordance with the traditions of MZB's universe. [much snipped]... I'd also like to correct a further misapprehension on your part. You say that Star Trek writers should be grateful to the originator of the Star Trek universe for correcting and editing their stories so they fit in with his vision of the universe. You seem to think that Gene Roddenberry personally reads and approves the published Star Trek books. WRONG. Mr. Roddenberry hasn't been the approving authority for Star Trek novels since at least 1979, which is when I became involved with pro Star Trek. Mr. Roddenberry is a busy man, a television producer, writer, professional lecturer — no way does he have time to read and edit multitudes of Star Trek books! For a time, Susan Sackett, Mr. Roddenberry's Executive Assistant, was the Paramount reader (she was the approving authority when YESTERDAY'S SON was submitted, for example), but eventually she also grew too busy with the demands of her job. Until very recently, the person(s) responsible for reading and approving Star Trek books has been someone in the Paramount Licensing department, the same department that approves and handles any other Star Trek licensed merchandise - action figures, coloring books, toy phasers, models, you name it... [much snipped] ... Teri, I apologize for saddling you with this long letter, but allow me a couple more paragraphs. All of you INTERSTAT readers are probably wondering by now why I even care about all this, since my books and audio tapes (by the time you read this, both YESTERDAY'S SON and TIME FOR YESTERDAY will be released on Simon & Schuster Audioworks cassettes — Mr. Nimoy and Mr. Doohan did a terrific job) have already been written, approved by Paramount and released. Well, you guessed it. I recently got another idea for a Star Trek novel, and my editor (finally!) likes this one. I'll be writing up a proposal as soon as I get the story plotted, and if Dave likes it, we'll then be sending it (without complaint) on to Paramount. Sorry 'bout that, Joan.)
  • Joan V is worried is worried that "The Brady Effect" will be a backlash against Interstat in the awards arena:
    It is the end of another calendar year, and time to think of nominations for the Fan Q and Surak awards. I have been recommending (and nominating) INTERSTAT for awards for many years now. It was nominated for the Fan Q two years ago (and lost), and for the Surak award last year (and lost). I want it to win this time. It may be of interest to INTERSTAT readers to know that there is great resistance to nominating and voting for INTERSTAT, because of what might be called the "Brady effect." That is, many fans will vote for ANY publication running against INTERSTAT, because they believe (erroneously) that Teri practices "censorship." That is why I strongly urge INTERSTAT readers to go out of their way to nominate and vote for INTERSTAT.
  • Kimberly J writes of TNG's characters:
    No offense to Ms. Muldaur, but I hate her character. She comes across as an acid spinster with a streak of bigotry a mile wide. And before you all stab me with your pens and pelt me with typewriter keys, walk a mile in another woman's moccasins. Your favorite character has been 'promoted' and (they hope) forgotten; your second favorite character's role has been considerably reduced and his characterization changed; the people who look like you have either been made into a caricature or removed from the bridge altogether, and stuck into unattractive costumes as well. (I know that's the division color. I'm sorry, but mustard is simply not a good color on black people.) The weight of the show has been placed on an occasionally cute but minor character; the writers aren't doing anything with the two remaining characters, who get less interesting as time goes on — and there's a baby on the bridge where an adult should be. Given all that, might you not maybe possibly be just a little, tiny bit upset?
  • Linda S writes of the new doctor:
    With Deanna and Dr. Pulaski aboard, I propose that the name of the show be changed to 'Beauty and the Bitch.' Diana Muldaur does a good job with what she is given to do, but what she is given to do is not something I care towatch. Let's face it, picking on Data is remarkably like kicking a puppy. Jean Lorrah's defense of Pulaski was ingenious, but I think she (Pulaski, not Jean) is just a plain bitch. Or, to be more exact, she's a bully. Like all of her breed, she unerringly zeroes in on the one member of the group incapable of fighting back.
  • Carol M is unhappy about marketing:
    Recent shopping trips leave me with a nostalgic feeling for the "good old days" before everything a fan could want was tastelessly marketed by people who looked at Star Trek and saw only dollar signs. Already ST:TNG is marketing a soundtrack and several pro novels. And it would appear that money rather than logic is being used to justify production decisions.
  • Julie P is pleased to see the effect that TNG is having on fans:
    I have noticed one very positive thing that has come about since The Next Generation started. Trek fandom is growing! The Trek club that I am editor for ran an ad in the Star Trek: The Official Fan Club maga zine and we were overwhelmed by the response! The majority of those writing are young people who have just recently discovered Star Trek. I think this is great! For a while it seemed that most of those in Trek fandom were in their 30's and 40's. Now it looks like we really do have a 'next generation.' always thought that Star Trek would live forever; now I am sure of it.

Issue 136

Interstat 136 was published in February 1989 and contains 14 pages.

cover of issue #136, Vel Jaeger -- Wesley Crusher
  • there are many comments about the second season of TNG; most fans appear to find it an improvement over the pervious season
* Jean Lorrah comments on two TNG episodes, "A Matter of Honor" and "Measure of a Man" and writes:
Both of these episodes have also inspired my Trek writing. The information we found out about Klingon customs last week provides a new angle for the sequel to THE IDIC EPIDEMIC that Dave Stern keeps refusing to send on to Paramount—the fans are screaming for more about Sarek, Amanda, Spock, Sorel, Corrigan, T'Mir, Beau Deaver, T'Pina, and Korsal and his family, but Dave won't believe it. I know what happens to all of them, but if I can't get a contract to write the book, I can't let all of you folks know. (No, I can't go back to fanzine writing at this point.) Maybe by setting Korsal's two sons against one another I can convince Dave that I have enough of an action core against which to set the domestic situations. "The Measure of a Man" showed me the right place to start the giant Data novel I'm working on right now: immediately after that episode. I've been writing it sort of as Stardate: Unknown, just sometime in the second season. Now I can start it immediately after Data has suffered this latest question of his personhood. Yes, he was once again pronounced sentient, but he has to realize that it's not over; the question is going to keep coming up as long as he exists.
  • Jean Lorrah comments about young fans and reactions to her latest book:
    I'd like to tell you something about the fan mail for SURVIVORS. For one thing, there's more of it than for my two Classic Trek novels, but it seems the extra letters are coming from very young fans. I seem to be getting about the same number as usual from adults, ranging from old friends to people who have just discovered that there is Trek beyond television, and in content from "Gosh! Wow! Great!" to carefully reasoned analysis. I love the fan mail. However, it seems this time that every third or fourth letter begins "Hi! My name is Charlie Brown and I am 12 years old," or "I'm fifteen" or "I'm in eighth grade." Either the TNG books are drawing more young readers than the Classic Trek books, or young readers feel more comfortable writing concerning a TNG book—perhaps because they feel the new series is theirs, the original their parents'. There is one response from many of these young readers, though, that surprises me: their shock ac Tasha's death in the last chapter. A few simply think the book should have ended before that chapter, and not reminded them of Tasha's ultimate fate. I think I might have felt the same way at twelve years old. There was one reader who had obviously managed to miss "Skin of Evil" both on the original run and the two reruns, and was absolutely irate that I dared to kill off a continuing character. But the majority who object thought I was headed for an alternate universe! They don't express it in those terms, but they obviously read the first part of the book thinking it was going off in a new direction—that Tasha would not die, but leave the Enterprise to marry Dare! I submit that these letters are evidence that it's not only a few rare fannish weirdos who are open to alternate-universe Trek stories. It may be interesting to see what response some of these young people have if they should happen to reread the book four or five years from now.
  • Joan V addresses Ann Crispin, suggesting that she write her at Joan's home address to avoid boring readers:
    First, and most important, you missed the point of my essay. Your summary of my points was not accurate. The purpose of my I#133 essay was to express my opinion that those who receive fees for writing in the Star Trek universe, and then complain about Mr. Roddenberry in public (i.e. at conventions), by name, are being impolite and ungrateful. I think that if tin author writes in another's universe, the least the author can do is show some respect to the originator of that universe. (I already knew, Ms. Crispin, that Mr. Roddenberry does not edit the ST novels personally. Whether or not he does is not relevant to the above point.) Of equal importance is that you-appear to have failed to notice that I went out of my way (four times) to state specifically that my remarks were directed only to "some" Star Trek pro novel writers, and twice I emphasized that I was not referring to all Star Trek pro writers. Second, I did not state that writers of ST novels do not do research. I said that I do research, and that Jean Lorrah does research. I never said anything about whether or not anyone else does research, since I have no knowledge of what other writers may or may not do. I try not to comment about matters I know nothing about, so your claim that I accused ST novel writers of not doing research is mistaken. Third, as I said, I endorse Marion Zimmer Bradley's policies of issuing guidelines. She issues a two-sided flyer of guidelines when requesting material for each and every volume. These guidelines are cumulative: one should be acquainted with guidelines for the current volume as well as past volumes. Marion also explains these guidelines in further detail in her newsletters. Whether these guidelines, taken together, comprise more guidelines than the Pocket Books editor issues, I do not know. Even if I did, I suspect it would be a matter of opinion as to which guidelines were the most extensive. But my point is not whether a Darkover pro writer has (or has not) more guidelines than Star Trek pro writers; the point is that authors who write in another's universe should stick to the guidelines, whatever they are, however many there are, cheerfully and voluntarily, or find a universe of their own to write in, instead. Last, the "Sorry about that, Joan" is uncalled-for. In I#71 (Sept. 1983), and I#127/128 (May/June 1988), and right here, right now, I have informed you that I wish you well, and that I am aware that you strive to write good fiction. Why, then, do you repeatedly act as if it makes me sad if you write another novel? It doesn't, you know. When you announce another novel, or one of your novels is on the best-seller list, I consider that good news, not bad news. It is true that I found YESTERDAY'S SON unexciting, but that does not mean that I have anything against you personally, nor does my opinion of YESTERDAY'S SON mean I think you are a poor writer (it merely means I did not find YESTERDAY'S SON to my taste). But this, too, is old information, which I have expressed to you repeatedly in these pages and in person.

Issue 137

Interstat 137 was published in March 1989 and contains 14 pages.

cover of issue #137, Vel Jaeger
  • Ann Crispin addresses Joan V:
    No, I am not writing this reply to you privately, at your home address, and I will discuss the subject of "why not?" presently. First, I want to make something perfectly clear (to echo a sore spot in the history of our great nation). THERE ARE NO WRITTEN GUIDELINES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OR WRITING OF STAR TREK PRO NOVELS. There used to be. During Karen Haas' tenure as editor, she produced some. I passed on copies to fans who were seriously interested in writing pro Star Trek fiction. But Karen left in...I don't know...1985? Early 1986? I can't remember. Anyway, since then, the old guidelines became obsolete, and I've never heard of any new written ones, because Pocket Books, at this point, doesn't want to encourage Star Trek fans who are not professional writers to submit books....Joan, I note from the tone of your letter that the "amiable sparring" flavor usually present in our exchanges is markedly missing. I regret making you angry. I accept that you wish me well personally, and will do my best to avoid "uncalled for" sarcasm in the future. I really don't care what you think of my writing, though. Enough Star Trek fans like it (and, what is the bottom line with Pocket, buy it) to make my chances of selling future works feasible, which is what concerns me. But when you complain about the Star Trek pro books, you're always careful to exclude Jean Lorrah and her works, so that leaves me as the only Star Trek pro writer, and regular INTERSTAT correspondent, who responds to your comments. Please note the word responds. To my knowledge, I've never generated any of our exchanges. I've always written to address your comments and complaints, I've offered at least once not to "beat the dead horse'1 again, but then you write another letter...and so it goes. To put it bluntly, the buck will stop with you. Now, as to your demand that I not respond publicly in the future to your comments and complaints, but instead address you privately: Joan, I don't think you thought that demand through, because if you had, you'd realize exactly what you're suggesting, which is (excuse me, Teri, I must utilize an obscenity, for which I apologize) censorship. I have just as much right to express myself in INTERSTAT's pages as you do, and I'm betting, from having read your previous letters on all kinds of subjects, that you will agree. You're too fair-minded a person to maintain that you have the right to complain about pro Star Trek books and their writers in a public forum, while denying me the right to respond.
  • Jan D writes of canon and characterizations:
    It isn't prejudice to resent the changing of two beloved personalities into entirely different people. There was no hint throughout Trek of a slash relationship between our characters. If this is a concept you enjoy, we feel you should have created your own characters, not changed those already established. I agree with Ann Crispin re not debating this issue and only mention it because of the reference to prejudice.
  • Gennie S didn't like the Get a Life! skit:
    I felt slapped down by the "get a life" skit, too. It was funny, yes, but it was like a slap in the face, because it just doesn't apply to the great number of mature fans. It makes us all look like groupies.
  • Steve R interacts with TPTB, and it was unsatisfactory:
    For most of my life I've been a Star Trek fan, though I was usually just enjoying it as a solitary activity or with a few friends. I was aware of fandom but not terribly interested. But a couple years ago, out of boredom, I decided to give fandom a try. I learned that fans often believe they communicate with the powers that be at Paramount, and that fans' opinions can supposedly affect corporate decisions. So, although I like TNG quite a bit, I decided to write Richard Arnold about what I consider an ongoing problem with the show. I wrote that the people at TNG seem to be ignorant of and/or biased against science and technology, and I cited a couple examples. He replied that I was making up problems to justify my dislike of the show. Bullshit... Arnold's reply was disappointing at best, and closer to insulting. He began by reminding me that TNG is SF, which suggests that he completely missed the point of my letter. Of course it's SF, and good SF, as Asimov and Rodden berry once agreed, requires some level of scientific accuracy.... Finally, since I wrote to him to complain about two problems that don't exist (the fact that I presented these episodes as examples of a larger trend was ignored), evidently I have a problem with TNC. Arnold's reasoning is so flawed as to be nonexistent, and his letter reveals a patronizing and condescending attitude towards TNG's subject matter as well as to its fans. I am not so petty as to let Arnold's letter keep me from enjoying TNG, which has had quite a few wonderful shows and none anywhere near as bad as "Spock's Brain." However, I won't bother writing to the Star Trek office again. If my case is unique, then my not writing won't make any difference to anyone. But if this is typical of Arnold's dealings with fans, then it could lead to a sense of alienation between the fans and the Star Trek office, which would gain nothing for anyone.
  • Ann Crispin writes of fans in general:
    At each con, I meet many, many fans. Hundreds...thousands. Since I'm not famous like the Star Trek actors, one of my main functions at these cons, aside from giving readings, panels and autographings, is to shake hands and talk to fans, something the stars can't do, except to a very limited extent.I've found that 99 out of 100 Star Trek fans are people who have families, careers, go to PTA, attend church, pay the rent or mortgage, give yard sales, and shop for groceries on Saturdays, grumbling about the way prices keep going up. In other words, they have a life. They are nice, normal people. With, I must add, rather higher IQ's, as an average, than other Americans. (I can only speak for Americans from personal experience, because I've never done a con anywhere but in the continental U.S. Though I'm willing, please note! I love going new places!) But there's that 1 out of 100... Unfortunately, when the media descends upon a Star Trek con, they're looking for the most sensationalistic coverage they can get — so, more often than not, they seize upon this 1% for interviews and photos. They go for the geekiest, most glassy-eyed, most inarticulate, stammeringly worshipful, physically unattractive fan they can spot. I've watched them do it. And that!s the fan whose coverage makes the evening news. This is what the average "mundane" sees presented as a "typical" Star Trek fan... Let's be frank. These fans do exist. They're pathetic people, for whom Star Trek is their entire life. Just as Pern, Elfquest, Amber or D&D is the whole world to certain fans I've encountered at s.f. cons. People such as this are lacking a sense of self, of raison d'etre, it seems to me. They seize upon some vision that is stronger than they are, so they can have something to hold onto. It's very, very sad. But at least if they find something to hold onto, they're probably better off than totally adrift in a universe they can't handle. Star Trek (or D&D, etc.) represents a coping mechanism. [1]

Issue 138

Interstat 138 was published in April 1989 and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #138, Pat Horowitz
  • Matthew W addresses Steve R about his experience with Richard Arnold:
    The tone of the response you received from Richard Arnold sounds very poor, indeed, and I hope it is not a typical example. (Have you sent a copy of your INTERSTAT letter to him to be sure he knows you feel insulted?) However, I find myself agreeing with the substance of his defense of the TNG episodes you cited for scientific inaccuracies.
  • Amy G addresses a response she had to an earlier letter by Kelly C in #133:
    ... in that letter she called K/S fans "those Regulan Bloodworms." And I definitely consider that remark to be prejudiced. As far as anyone "changing" established characters, the guiltiest of that is whoever dreamed up Spock's brother for the new movie.
  • Mary M writes:
    Did anyone see the May 3rd edition of "Night Court"? A very interesting Star Trek bit. What I didn't like about the piece was the perpetuation of the "Get A Life" attitude by Judge Stone. In an odd way the way the TNG fans got back at him was sweet justice. It was a completely bizarre way to get revenge, but then again the whole episode was that way. I do have one nagging question about it and that is why do TV writers think that all Trek fans are male? I know very few male Star Srek fans, and I have never seen the stereotype of Trek fans that either SNL or "Night Court" use in reality.
  • Like the letter a few issues back by Susan Sackett, another example of TPTB interjecting both personal and professional opinion in Interstat is is this issue. There is a long, long letter written by Richard Arnold on official Paramount stationary addressed to Teri Meyer, but addressing a letter written in issue #137 by Steve R: some excerpts:
    I have bitten my lip and stayed out of the Interstat discussions on TNG for a long time now, hoping that, once the show had been on for a while and the fans had had a chance to see where we were going, things would cool down. And for the most part they have, There are still a few fans upset with us over the Dr. Crusher situation, but for the most part the fans seem to have aceepted Dr. Pulaski. And there are still a few fans who insist that every episode we do is a rip-off from an episode of the original series ... well, you can't please everyone. I do object, however, to the smear tactics used by some fans in their letters, in particular when they go after me because they do not like the answers they get from me in response to their letters. I have been a STAR TREK fan for more than twenty years, and I like to think that, if nothing else, I brought my love for the show with me to this job. I do not 'defend' Gene and our writers on the grounds that I am paid to, but because I believe in what they are doing, and am close enough to it to see what is happening (something I wish I could share with all of the show's fans). When a fan writes in attacking the show (I do not use the word lightly ... some letters are so vile even you wouldn't print them), I try to reason with them. That sometimes works, and then sometimes it doesn't. In one case, one I believe you are familiar with, because I wouldn't agree with her, the fan in question sent out a scathing letter about me and the show to every fan club she could find an address for, around the world.... As for the letter in #137 from another fan who apparently was unhappy because I wouldn't agree with him, it is the same set of circumstances. He wrote in a letter making accusations and giving examples that were pointless. I responded that in both of his examples he had misunderstood the dialogue or point of the story to which he was referring. And because I wouldn't say he was right and our science was @$*C&!, he too felt it necessary to go after me in print (although he wasn't fair enough to at least run my entire response, which would also have, in my opinion, exonorated me with most of your readers, especially if they had read his original letter). There is nothing I or anyone else on this show can do to avoid this ... there will always be people who will decide that their right to be right is more important than your right, and that disagreeing with them is grounds for nothing short of slander. Too bad, because that goes against everything that STAR TREK has ever stood for.
  • Joan V addresses Ann Crispin:
    You have, once more, both misread and
 misinterpreted my remarks. When I said (#136, p.5),
 "Please note the address to the left of this letter. In
 the future, if you have any question about what I stated, you may write me at that address," what I meant was the in-print equivalent of saying (in person), "Look, this is a private quarrel. Let's not argue in public. Why don't you step into my office and we'll discuss the matter privately." How you got from that rather plain, polite, and common request to claiming that I somehow demanded that you stop writing to INTERSTAT—a demand which I never made—is beyond me. You further misinterpret my intentions when you claim that because you and
Jean are the only pro writers currently contributing to INTERSTAT, if I exempt
Jean Lorrah from my remarks, then I MUST be referring to you specifically.
That's nonsense. My remarks in I#33, p.10, were motivated by a couple of
fans who wrote INTERSTAT praising an author who personally criticized Gene
Roddenberry in public (this author is not Jean Lorrah, and this author is not
you). I wanted to let such fans know that while they may consider this author
praiseworthy, I have a different opinion. I think I made my point with those
fans. As for you, I was quite surprised when you responded to those remarks,
since those remarks about criticizing GR were not directed at you. You could
have avoided the entire misunderstanding by writing me to ASK who I had in
mind when I made those remarks, instead of responding as if I had insulted you
by name. In private, I would have even given you the name of the author that
I did have in mind. As for who generated which remarks, when you respond to remarks of mine which are not directed at you personally, who is the one unnecessarily taking up space in INTERSTAT? The above is not the only case in which you have responded to remarks that I have made which were in no way directed at you... There are other cases in which I made statements about pro novels in general, some of which you agreed with (e.g. that pro novels vary in quality) that you nonetheless responded to as if they were personal remarks about you and your books, rather than as nonspecific remarks about the overall state of ST pro novel writing. Unless I am correcting a specific misinterpretation, I rarely address contributors by name in expressing my opinions, to emphasize that I am disagreeing with opinions, not people. I am sorry that this point has not come across to you. As I have stated before, I am weary of such exchanges, and I suspect the INTERSTAT readership is bored to tears. In the future, I will simply respond by saying, "Ms. Crispin: You have again misinterpreted my remarks in INTERSTAT . Please read them carefully one more time, and if you still have questions about them, please write to me personally." That, I hope, will bring this discussion to a close.
  • Kathryn K is one fan who doesn't think the second season is any better than the first; she lists many reasons and closes with:
    As to the good doctor...stand back kiddies, this could get ugly. The character of Dr. Pulaski is a festering boil on the nether regions of Star Trek. I realize that when they replaced Gates McFadden, a most heinous mistake, they had in mind a more assertive, ascerbic character that would add spice to the 24th century equivalent of Up With People. What they got was a woman I affectionately refer to as psycho-bitch from hell. She is pompous, self-righteous, opinionated, bigoted, abrasive, and in the case of Data, downright cruel. It makes me shudder to think that in Gene Roddenberry's oh, so rosy vision of the future, a person so sure that her limited concept of what is and isn't a representative of humanity holds a position of such high authority. At her best, Katharine Pulaski is Dr. McCoy with chronic PMS, at her worst she is the personification of a narrow-minded intolerance that we have been led to believe extinct in the 23rd century, let alone the 24th. If our future is to be polluted with Katharine Pulaskis, it makes you consider a post-nuclear anarchy a viable alternative.
  • Berkeley H did not enjoy her last con:
    I'm afraid that the last con I attended offered all the diverse attractions and heady excitement of a dentist's waiting room, only without any back issues of Readers Digest to help pass the time. This was Creation Las Vegas. I had tickets for both days. I stayed an hour and a half. There was simply nothing to do. The entire convention was crammed into two areas, each the size of a small branch library's multi-purpose room. Each and every dealer seemed to be a pro, offering almost exactly the same mass- produced T-shirts, books, and toys; nothing that couldn't be purchased by strolling down to the local toy shop, book nook, or Sears. No art show and almost no zines. Oh, at least two of the tables displayed copies of Roberta Debono's REVENGE OF THE WIND RIDER, but I get the feeling that you could walk through a marketplace in Mongolia or somewhere and buy one of those from a peasant squatting on a straw mat. (Give the woman this, her stuff is everywhere.) I suppose that if you were fourteen years old and had never, ever been to a convention you might've had fun; but if I'm bored after half an hour of looking over the hucksters' tables and can't be tempted to part with more than fifteen dollars, I think the con's dead, Jim. I did want to see Nichelle Nichols, but she didn't come on until five. I wasn't hungry and didn't want to go play the slots until then, so I went back to my hotel to stretch out by the pool.

Issue 139

Interstat 139 was published in May 1989 and contains 16 pages.

cover of issue #139, Mike Brown --portrait of Harve Bennett
  • there is much chat about the new movie; a few liked it, most did not and said why at great length
  • Anne B writes:
    Well, folks, I just saw ST V, which brought to mind a number of things: (1) Star Wars. (2) Lawrence of Arabia. (3) Dune. (4) Superman. (5) True Grit. (6) ST:TNG. (7) ST:TMP. (8) The Three Musketeers. (9) The Three Stooges. (10) Star Trek (I think). The thing is either a brilliant synthesis, or a total mismash. Give me a couple of weeks, and maybe I'll figure it out. Just now I've go a headache from the soundtrack.
  • Debbie G writes of the movie:
    My God! It's a zine on the screen! ST V seems to have lifted its plot from a hundred fanzine stories, not to mention previous episodes and movies. It's kind of fun to sit there and say, "That reminds me of..." and the scenes with the Big Three are enough to keep me happy, but the film's lack of originality has made it a target of scorn by the critics.... What makes me want to see ST V again and again is that it finally— after four failed attempts—recaptures the triad friendship that endeared us to Star Trek in the first place. It occasionally gets a little too cute and sentimental; I thought they were going to start kissing each other, and I said, "Oh no, not K/S!" But this movie is like a gift from heaven to fans of the trio. The three of them together, exactly the way we've always wanted to see them...it seems that Shatner's version of this relationship is much like our own. The film is nothing more than an expanded TV episode, with all the jokes, the meaningful glances, the warm happy ending. I can't wait for it to come out on video, so I can fast-forward through the distasteful parts and enjoy these old friends again.
  • Linda S comments on Ann Crispin's lack of an address on her letters, as she is the only LoCer to leave one off:
    I must say that Ann Crispin's pious bleatings about the horrors of censorship would be a great deal more convincing if she weren't inclined to censor her own address whenever she writes in. By the way, Teri, why do you let her get away with that? While it's unlikely that anyone else shares Ann's obsessive interest in herself and her doings, still, someone may want to contact her, and the masthead does direct us to include our addresses. Doesn't this instruction include Famous Writers as well as the common ruck? [Editor's note: Obviously, Linda, you have never been a victim of that very extreme 1%, but a good number of people in Star Trek have, and I stand behind my decision to respect Ann Crispin's request that her home address be withheld... Even if you never attain the status of "Famous Writer" and similar circumstances befall you, this editor will take into consideration your request as well, and the implication I might not wasn't appreciated. Nor did I agree with your second paragraph. [2]]

Issue 140

Interstat 140 was published in June 1989 and contains 18 pages.

cover of issue #140
  • this issue starts off with three intense letters by fans who loved the movie... then this review, a letter about the new movie by "Bobbie Hawkins/Kristen Brady" (who, for the first time in Interstat combines the pseud with her real name; she also includes her home address):
    "Factor. Die-hard Trekkers, I'm sure, can mark with pride the good old days when the network deemed Gene Roddenberry's personal vision of serial science fiction as being "too cerebral" for the general viewing audience. However, there's no need to worry about STV:TFF in that regard. . Except perhaps for the very young or the truly credulous, this movie is lame, inane, mundane and at times degenerates into the downright goofy. From the pilfered plot to the corny characterizations and the misdirected direction, ST V, in this fan's opinion, is nothing more than sci-fi flotsam of galactic proportions. The reworked storyline of this film finds Kirk/Herbert once again playing host to some crazed-but-charismatic guy with misshapen ears who's hell-bent for Eden and who will stop at nothing to get there. Guess what? He steals the Enterprise! Even though it is thoroughly predictable and ultimately anticlimatic, the remake runs true to form in that it ends the same way: Eden turns out to have a serpent in residence and the anti-messiah (of his own volition) is forced to pay the price for his vision with his life. One difference between the two is that ST V had a scene with the two Syboks in a clinch amidst swirling effects that reminded me of the two Lazarii in "The Alternative Factor"; another difference is that TFF is really a rather puling Trek attempt in the face of the original. For instance, aside from its unabashed rehashing of a twenty-year old plot line, ST V relies on a decidedly puerile brand of humor that lends a distinct air of cheapness to the film. I'm talking about cheap shots; evoking cheap laughs—at the expense of characterization and continuity—with cheap lines. It's a cheap shot to have Spock jettison himself up the face of the cliff for the express purpose of breaking Kirk's concentration and making him fall off the mountain just so that Kirk can utter a consummately ridiculous thing like, "Hi Bones! Mind if we drop in for dinner?" It's a cheap shot to have Scotty knock himself out on the bulkhead of the Enterprise; it's a cheap shot (and in the same vein) to have the navigator and the helmsman get lost in the woods; and it's a cheap shot—not to mention a bloody crime—to waste a talent like Nichelle Nichols on ludicrous lines like, "I've always wanted to play to a captive audience." [much snipped]... In this fan's humble opinion, TFF is Trek in name only. STAR TREK was original. It was provocative, inspiring, philosophical and moral. Gene Roddenberry's ST had a voice; a voice of thrilling resonance and immeasurable beauty that had the ability to be heard on many different levels, a voice of power and truth that could reach out and actually touch peoples' lives. STV is none of these things. It is like some ghastly, ghostly, unnatural representation of itself. The pseudoTrek of the '80's is insensate and ill- conceived. It is stale, unimaginative, ambiguous, simpy and much to full of it self. TFF is not about peace, love, compassion, good will toward men or other lifeforms, or any of the other themes that my brand of Trek embraced. STV, to put it simply, is all about EGO. For one thing (to be quite blunt), most of the ST V ensemble are plainly too old to be playing the parts they are playing. These people, our heroes, cases of arrested development all (every single one of them is, after all, still in the very same position he or she held some twenty-odd years ago), seem quite out of place gallavanting around the universe with their slurred speech, sunken eyes, sagging jowls, swollen midriffs and joints that can actually be heard creaking on screen. Ego is also apparent in the way the film was assembled...actors who think they are directors, writer/producers who think they are actors, actors who think they are writers, right down to secretaries of consultants and daughters of stars who think they are actors. The biggest count of conceit, though, must necessarily be levelled at fandom itself. A following that once enjoyed a world-wide exchange of ideas and was a unique network for the meeting of minds is now a clique-infested, domineering clamor of demands. Fandom is so selfish in its love, so intent on hanging on, that the very essence of that which it loves is slipping, unnoticed, through its collective fingers, leaving only a soulless hull. It is we, the fans, who have admonished the studio to create the pale, emaciated, sickly thing that ST has become, and it is we, the fans, who must have the courage to end it.
  • Chris M writes of the movie:
    It took three trips to the movie theater before I actually came out liking Star Trek V. My overall feeling was that The Final Frontier was a great movie trying to break free from a quagmire of sloppy writing. Unfortunately, most of the film remained stuck in the sludge of mediocrity.
  • Jan D writes of the movie:
    At first, I was disappointed, but decided to support it.
  • Sally S is afraid another fan's suggestion that fans boycott this movie will have a worse effect:
    The message that the studio has received might be, "Make a better picture" or it might just be, "Scrap the movie."
  • Diana K writes of the movie:
    Star Trek V was an ambitious project and is an enjoyable adventure. I want to thank the people who made it and urge them not to quit now. I hope others will join me in telling them so.
  • Sandy Z writes of the movie:
    Finally, fandom is seeing on the screen what fans have been writing about since the beginning of the fanzine — the relation ships among the characters, especially the "big three." They took a big risk. No, this will not be a popular movie with the general public — but with fandom, it should be.... Since I am an editor of a zine dealing with the friendship of the "triad" (Kirk, Spock and McCoy), this is where my love of the movie has its focus. I believe one of the problems critics have with this movie is that they do not know how to deal with these three men telling each other they love each other throughout the entire film. So, rather than dealing with it, they ignore that important part of this movie and manage to put down the rest of the movie. ...I feel the rest of the movie is merely a framework to show this friendship — much as a typical fanzine story is. This movie is definitely one for the fans!
  • Carol F writes of the movie:
    As an opener and for the record, I love STAR TREK V. It's brought me back to the fold from a few years in the doldrums (after all, 23 years jis a long time!), and I'm in love again. Not blindly—in full knowledge of its flaws. It is not a great motion picture— but it is pure and satisfying STAR TREK. It offers a rich addition to our understanding and enjoyment of the main characters and their relationships. ST V has finally made all five movies into one body of work with emotional continuity and character development, moving Kirk, Spock and McCoy to find their peace and place...
  • Claire G comments on the movie:
    My heart was smiling. I seem to be fated to be in the minority, at least on these last two movies, but I thought THE FINAL FRONTIER was wonderful But overall, I think ST V is a gem. In fact, it's my favorite, although I can see that TWOK is a better piece of filmmaking. Shatner has listened to the fans, and the results are fabulous.

References

  1. Crispin has other things to say about fans; see her comments in Interstat #103.
  2. Other writers who do not want mail directed to their home use a P.O. Box, though that is never mentioned here.