M.L. "Steve" Barnes

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Fan
Name: M.L. "Steve" Barnes
Alias(es):
Type: fanwriter, zine publisher
Fandoms: Star Trek: TOS
Communities:
Other:
URL: stories online at Trektales
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M.L. "Steve" Barnes was a Star Trek: TOS fanwriter and zine publisher (as Pandora Press).

In 1975, Barnes wrote:

Somehow my life does not seem destined to run down the usual paths. Starting with a long-term marriage, and encompassing activities that included archery, competitive pistol shooting, skiing and breeding and showing purebred dogs, my life more resembles something that would interest our Mr. Sulu with it's variety... I overcame a rather strict, almost Victorian upbringing to acquire the dubious honor of being known among my friends as The Original Dirty Old Broad. This came about as a result of a very pornographic Star Trek story that I wrote for a friend's birthday and wound up reading aloud at a mildly inebriated New Year's Eve party. Star Trek seems to have taken possession of my senses, and although that is not unusual, stressing the sexual side of the show is. [1]

The First Explicit Audiofic

Barnes is noted for creating what is possibly the first Star Trek sound collage audiofic, a satirical X-rated comedy, perhaps similar to Star Trek's Lost Gay Episode. From Judith Brownlee shortly after Barnes' passing:

Stevie and Carrie and I thought of ourselves as the original DOB's (Dirty Old Broads). Stevie was always a little self-concious about her age, and the fact that she was a little older than a lot of the women involved in the Trek phenomenon. I didn't think of her as old, if [ did, then I would have to think of my age, too, and it was irrelevant. All I knew was that she enjoyed a good joke and had one of the most wonderful laughs, one that made you feel good to be alive. It was just another one of those dirty jokes that we all laughed about when she put together an x-rated " tape using recorded bits of voices from all the tapes she had made of Star Trek episodes. It was so funny you laughed until your side hurt and it was hard to breathe. She was very self-conscious about people hearing it, but when Maureen Wilson, the president of Gene Roddenberry's fan club told the Great Bird about it, he wanted to hear the tape. When Maureen asked Stevie if she would send the tape to her to pass on the GR, Stevie was torn between wanting him to hear the tape and being afraid that he might disapprove. She had stars in her eyes when she showed us the personal letter he wrote to her expressing his enjoyment of the tape and his appreciation of the fact that she did it only with her tape recorder, having no access to any kind of sound equipment.[2]
Joanie Winston wrote about this tape:
... we were down in the bar with Dorothy Fontana and a batch of committee types. GR stopped over to say hello and bought our drinks. At about 1 am, we smuggled Dorothy into the art show, which she hadn't gotten a chance to see. Then we lured [Dorothy Fontana] up to a party in the infamous 411, where we drank PON FARRs (warm tomato juice, cayenne pepper, vodka, a green cherry, and a slice of cucumber -- symbolic of some thing or other) and listened to an obscene ST tape." -- Star Trek Convention, or, how I spent my vacation, or What would I have done for aggravation if I hadn't been helping run a convention? </ref>

Fanfiction

  • Grup
  • More Trek Tales (1977)
  • A Handful of Snowflakes (1979)
  • the proposed zine called: "Deck 5" (If plans for my first novel don't interfere. I plan on doing the long-delayed 'Deck 5' zine that I've been promising.I sincerely hope to take up where 'Grup' left off and that the readers where no (wo)man has gone before in at least sexual areas that deal in ST. It will be a quality project in all particulars since I've decided that if I'm going to be an editor, I'm going to edit. So far, I have three pro writers lined up for material. But please, discourage the younger fans from asking me about it. There are hundreds of Trekzines for them, dealing with areas that they will feel comfortable with. 'Deck 5' will not be that kind of publication." ) [3]

Remembrances

She passed away June 15, 1985.

Carrie Brennan and Judith Brownlee both wrote memorials to her in Datazine #37. Brownlee's is Steve Barnes - a remembrance by Judith Brownlee: an excerpt:
Stevie and Carrie and I all flew to New York City for the first Star Trek convention in 1972. It was a grand adventure. We met so many people that we had only known by name. Devra Langsam was our mentor. I found some original artwork in a raffle and picked up an Alicia Austin portrait of Spock for a song. We had infamous parties in our hotel room which included D.C. Fontana and Hal Clement. We served our cocktail invention, the "Pon Farr." Sunday morning, Stevie got up early to go the the Statue of Liberty. Carrie [was sleeping], but I opened an exhausted eye as she got ready to leave. 'Want to go with me?' she asked. 'Not on your life!' I answered as I turned over and went back to sleep. She came back later with a paperweight in the shape of the building. When we asked her about the view, she replied that visibility was about 12 inches. But she seemed happy to have done the tourist number just the same. That night on the Sunday evening news in New York City, the coverage of the convention began with a long establishing shot of the oil painting of Spock that Stevie had entered in the art show. We were screaming, and Stevie was almost swooning. 'If I died now, I'd be happy,' she exclaimed. I learned after her death by her own hand last month, that she considered those days with us and Trekdom the happiest days of her life, days that were gone for good, never to return. Her hair had turned all gray since then and her personal life had turned into a turmoil that never seemed to resolve itself. I loved her, although I had not seen her for several years. Many of us loved her, but she reached the point where she couldn't feel it. So she went home, away from the pain and turmoil.[4]
From Carrie Brennan:
She did not feel that others could love her, but gave her love without stint. Intellectually Steve know she deserved to be loved as she needed, but that knowledge never really connected with her on a gut level. In her fear and self depreciation, she had invested all her emotion in one relationship. When it died, she felt for sure that she was un- lovable. Her emotional pain became more than her intellect could rationalize away. I accepted what she felt she must do. I love her.

References

  1. Quoted in Star Trek Lives!
  2. from Steve Barnes - a remembrance by Judith Brownlee
  3. from a Grup editorial
  4. from Datazine #37