Legacy Interview with Marnie S.
|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Legacy Interview with Marnie S.|
|Fandom(s):||Star Trek TOS, slash|
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“Star Trek Lives!” alerted me to the existence of fan fiction as well as the Welcommittee, which I contacted after we moved to Texas in ‘76. From there I started writing editors and looking for fanzines. The first one I found was Captain’s Woman, which was local to Austin and sold on consignment at a sci-fi book store I favored.... That taste made me hunger for much more. I tried chasing down specific zines with some success. Many times I wrote to authors and editors searching for copies of a zine. If it was out of print the occasional editor would offer to make me a Xerox copy, or give me permission to copy one if I came across it. And so my meager collection grew.
Various stories hinted at a more or less obvious (to me) subtext of a deeper relationship between Kirk and Spock. My mind picked up on the hints and ran with them. Once I found more explicit references in fanzines, I was totally hooked. However, I continued to hunt out early zines—K/S or not—and read everything I could get my hands on. I relied on a practice that many editors used in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. They often published a list of coming zines, not only by themselves but by other editors as well. And they publicized upcoming cons.
Since pubbing zines was a slow and involved process at that time, they were few and far between. K/S had the added obstacle of being considered very risky, even pornographic given the atmosphere of the time. In the early days, it was pretty hush-hush. People learned about K/S zines by word of mouth and personal referrals. That sort of created something of an “us against the world” feeling among K/S fans. Many K/S editors had problems finding printers who would handle their stuff— especially the artwork. I understand that the San Francisco area was a lot more liberated, but Houston was still very conservative overall... It may be hard for more recent fans to understand that more repressed time given the relaxed attitudes of today. But homoerotic fiction and themes were really considered taboo in most of the USA then. Many English and Canadian fans had their zines confiscated by mail/customs censors when they tried to use the mails to send or receive zines from the USA.
In 1980... we had a second car, and the baby was almost two, I spotted a listing for a small con in Houston. I went and was entranced—people like me!! Despite the heat and non-existent air conditioning in the former supermarket where it was held, I was encouraged—no matter the fact that only very gen materials—and a very few zines were available. But I made a few acquaintances and signed up for information from Starbase Houston—the local Star Trek club. Meanwhile my search for older zines led me to some contacts who put me in touch with others and before you know it, I got a call from Elaine H. in Houston. She and I spoke for hours that first night, and she wound up inviting me to her house to meet a bunch of fans the next weekend. That group was the nucleus of the WHIPS (Women of Houston in Professions), and I joined right in.
Another thing—zines were pretty expensive to produce, at least if you wanted any kind of quality. And it took a lot of time. Word processors were not often available and the day of the PC was just barely dawning. So production was also slow. Everyone waited on pins and needles for a new zine. Since there were problems at times with the mails (censors anyone?) most fans preferred to wait for cons to pick up new zines. If they couldn’t make the trip, friends were entrusted with the money to purchase them. And the average price was about $15 per zine. Remember that which was relatively more expensive than the price would seem today. Nowadays, with so much fiction available in cyberspace for free, perhaps it is not quite as prized and anticipated as those early zines. And cyber zines can hardly compare with the thrill of tearing into that big manila envelope and devouring a new zine—lingering lovingly over the gorgeous artwork.
There was a very collegial atmosphere—sometimes with the added problems of schoolyard rivalries as well. So many of the early writers were really serious about improving their craft. They eagerly sought out comments and editorial/reader input, and were seldom afraid of criticism. More recently many authors seem rather more thin-skinned about any type of criticism of their work. The smaller number of people in K/S fandom, and the likelihood of knowing many of them personally or by letter (Wow—remember letters?!) made for more of an effort by many readers to give feedback too. Nowadays fandoms are often large, and the net bestows a lot of anonymity, so this responsibility to give and take feedback seems diluted.