Living Star Trek: How Two Women Breathed New Life into the Franchise

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Living Star Trek: How Two Women Breathed New Life into the Franchise
Interviewer: Anthony Darnell for startrek.com
Interviewee: Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah
Date(s): August 5, 2020
Medium:
Fandom(s): Star Trek
External Links: Star Trek Fandom Heroes: Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah, Archived version
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Living Star Trek: How Two Women Breathed New Life into the Franchise is a 2020 interview with Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah, two pioneers of early Star Trek fandom.

Some Topics Discussed

Some Excerpts

[How do you think Star Trek Lives! shaped modern fandom?]:

Jean Lorrah: It showed people all over the U.S. who loved the show that they were not alone — that there were organized fans, and that they could join them. It was just an interesting read for many people, but for the double-dyed fans it opened a world of connections to like-minded people at a time when such books still were found in libraries, so every copy reached many readers. For the first time [it] showed them how to find one another.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg: I've often said — and I think it's still the most important thing we did—we blew the lid on fanfic.

In doing that, in telling the world that they can't do this to us; they can't take Star Trek away from us; they can't cancel us; they have no power over our imagination; we tore down walls for several generations to come to the gymnasium of the imagination where we share visions, articulate emotional wisdom, and become strong enough to "make it so" in everyday reality.

The "message," or theme, of Star Trek Lives! was simply, "You are not alone."

J. Lorrah: I'm pretty sure my first convention was a SequesterCon [sic], a midwestern convention with no media guests, where creative fans sold their zines and artwork and Trek-themed crafts to one another and held panels about every imaginable aspect of Trek.

J. Lichtenberg: It was at the first con that I accosted Gene Roddenberry in a hallway, told him about Star Trek Lives!, and asked if he'd write a forward to it if I could sell it. He said yes and gave me his home phone number. Eventually, I called and said the publisher bought it and [asked if he] would do the intro. He sent it to me right away.

J. Lorrah: We were such nerds, and primarily female. There have always been men in Trek fandom, but to be in this [part of the] creative fandom they had to understand that women ran the show. That was not a rule—it simply was that way, as in zine fandom women outnumbered men by about ten to one.

I had been purchasing zines individually, [and] seeing ads in the ones I got hold of that let me find another one or two. But I went home from that convention with as many zines as I could fit into my luggage. The next year I came back with a complete draft of The Night of the Twin Moons. It was my kind of con—where fans came to talk to one another, not to crowd into auditoriums and corridors to hear and get autographs from actors.
J. Lorrah: Within Trek fandom, women were the creators they were rarely allowed to be elsewhere. Women created Trek fandom, which eventually morphed into media fandom. It was our little world, with no need to ask permission of men to do what we did there. Heck, we were Amazons on our own little island! And media fandom, to this day, is a female-dominated world.

J. Lichtenberg: “Spock’s Affirmation” is probably novella length and was written because earlier issues of T-Negative had intriguing fiction.

Spockanalia and T-Negative were two of the first Star Trek zines and had opposing editorial policies. Spockanalia was the home for those adhering strictly to facts established on the air—strictly to canon. T-Negative was the home for wild imagination, inspiration, and explanations involving made-up ideas that blended well with aired-Trek episodes.

I contributed an article to Spockanalia, not my first fanzine writing, mostly because I wanted a contributor's copy, but also because I was inspired by the style and quality of the writing in the first issues. Keep in mind, Spockanalia was intended to be a "one-shot"—being the only zine by that name, ever. Issue #2 was a surprise to the whole editorial crew.

[Our advice for new fans]:

J. Lorrah: Meet and befriend other fans with your specific interests, and friend one another online. I would tell a zine fan to see if there is a convention-within-the-convention of like-minded creative types. To find them, go to the dealer's room and see if anyone is selling zines, new or used. Strike up a conversation and see if you get invited to private parties. But hey—we all know you're not going to meet any zine fans. We are a dying breed.

J. Lichtenberg: We are not a dying breed! We have moved to Comic-Con, and to online sites like FanFiction.net.