Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Doctor Beth

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Doctor Beth
Interviewer: Franzeska Dickson
Interviewee: Doctor Beth
Date(s): May 25, 2012
Medium: audio recording
Fandom(s):
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

In 2012, Doctor Beth was interviewed at MediaWest as part of the Media Fandom Oral History Project.

Length is 43:27.

For more information about the origins of this interview, where it is housed, contact information, suggestions regarding future interviewee candidates, and how to become volunteer interviewer, see the Media Fandom Oral History Project page.

Topics Discussed

Excerpts

[Star Trek, the beginning of it all]:
I like to say that I was conceived during the second year of Star Trek, the original Star Trek, right around the time that the episode “Amok Time” was being aired. And science fiction was very important in my family, as well as science. We watched Star Trek all the time, and Star Wars, and, of course in reruns, you know, Star Trek in reruns at the time. When I was a teenager, my mom started bringing home fanzines. She started going to this convention, and I started stealing her fanzines. Only the gen ones, though, because I liked Spock hurt/comfort the best. So that's where I started, and surprisingly, there was not a great deal of Spock hurt/comfort, Star Trek gen fanzines that were really good out there that my mom had at the time. And I helped her, you know, in going through them. And then I started going in to other shows, like Starsky and Hutch, because I'm really a gen hurt/comfort person. And, you know, there's a lot of hurt/comfort in Starsky and Hutch.
[Forever Knight wars]:
Forever Knight, I was on that list. Oh, when I say list, I mean the email list that they used to have. In fact, I was, during the, when Forever Knight was on, there was a Forever Knight fanfiction list, on which there were wars going on. I was a Knightie.... There was a big list about that one. And, I mean, it spawned off a whole bunch of different lists, and every person, people would have different favorite characters, and they would like name themselves after these characters. I really liked the main character, Nick Knight, so we were called Knighties. And there was another character called LaCroix, and everyone called him, everyone who followed him were called Cousins, cousins of him. And there were like wars going on, it was all fanfiction-related... these were all gen. But they were like, you might want to say round-robin, you could almost say they were round-robins. But, like people would send emails to each other on the list, and it would like spark, like, retaliations from each other. The Knighties would gang up on the Cousins. But see the Knighties were like innocent, and the Cousins were always devious. You can see why I was a Knightie, I guess. It was great. It was great while it was going on.
[eBay]:
I personally think eBay is a really good thing, for several reasons. First of all, if you have a store as big as mine is – I've got currently about six hundred, six hundred listings in the store – and what I mainly do is, I come to places like MediaWest and I also go to estates and people are selling their zines. I also buy some zines from zine lists and other places. But my strategy is, unless it's an estate, but if someone has a group of fanzines, that they want, that they're selling, usually there's some that I really, really want, and I want for my own collection. And I buy the whole lot of them, hoping I can make enough from the sale of the others to justify buying and the price that I paid for all of them. And so my collection of fanzines is probably around between about a thousand and fifteen hundred fanzines right now. And I've been, I’ve actually bought out, I think, seven estates so far. One estate was from, oh, what is her name? Anna Mary Hall. Apparently, she had died, and her whole fanzine set went on auction, and somebody bought it, and he was a reseller, but he was a reseller of other things, and he had no idea what it was. And so I bought, and he was listing them and nobody was buying them. And I emailed him and I bought out his collection. And I've been slowly reselling them. That was close to seven hundred fanzines right there.
[not all that is cracked up to be, plus Mary Sue]:
Well, some of [Original Star Trek fiction] was wonderful. Some of it was very high-quality writing. But a lot of it, some of the fanzines, it just seems like, it's just not, the stories were just not very good. They, it seemed like that they, instead of putting time into the writing and understanding characters and plot, they did what is fondly called Mary-Sue. And there's a lot of these Mary-Sue stories out there. It's basically, a woman comes on the starship, and Captain Kirk falls madly in love with her. She's heroic and can do everything and is intelligent and saves the day and, you know, and that's the story. And there were so many of these written that after a while it's, you know, they just don't...they're not very good. I mean, there are just so many of them, you know. And then you don't want to read the same stories over and over again. But a lot of professional writers have come from fandom. Jean Lorrah is one of those. She wrote a lot of original Star Trek series. She focused on the relationship between Sarek and Amanda, and her quality of writing was very, very good. And she's actually here at the convention, today! I don't know if you saw her? She's downstairs, has a table in the dealers' room.
[does the older the fandom get, is more slash for it produced?]:
I think in general there's two factions that people, or two types, in general. There's people who write slash, and there's people who write gen. And the writers tend to go from one fandom to the next fandom, but they don't change how they write. They don't write, they don't change if they write slash or gen. So you'll often see the same authors, and if you follow the authors, you can follow which fandoms are going to be more popular. And I think it turns out that, in general, slash is more popular... For some reason, I think that slash came about because women like to read romance novels a lot, and, you know, I really like Spock and Kirk, and it was kind of their way of, you know, bringing the relationship between Kirk and Spock to another level. And they sort of patterned the, I think, what they saw in romance novels to the relationship in the stories that they wrote. I think that's how it started. But it's blossomed into an immense, you know, field or area. And, like, Sentinel is almost all slash.
[Fan Q]:
...when a story is published in a fanzine, people can nominate it for a, what's called a Fan-Q Award. And they just nominate what they think are the best stories, or the best fanzines. Yeah, and it used to be quite an honor to be nominated, and to win, for these awards. The problem is, there's so little interest in fandom right now that they don't, not as many people are voting, and not as many people are nominating the fans' stories and everything. And I was really, it was really nice to see that this one was nominated, and so. I've only written two stories that have appeared in fanzines. But I've written a couple other stories, but they were online. Also hurt/comfort, and they all have their own twists.
[her private zine collection]:
...my own private collection is getting pretty big, but, you know. But eventually – I like to say that, if anybody ever offers me enough, I'll sell a certain fanzine, but I've only had that happen a couple times. Like they were looking for something specific, and I'm like, I go to my private collection, and I sell it. Like I sold a MacGyverisms – I loved the show MacGyver, and very few fanzines were made of it. And I sold my copy of MacGyverisms recently for a hundred dollars. And, I just got another copy today, so I'm really happy about that.
[Forever Knight]:
Well, I like to say that the third season did not exist.... I watched the third season, and I didn't like it. I just watched it once. What happened was that, in the first two seasons, it was great. You know, the stories were great, you know, the writing was great, great character development. And then in the third season they killed off multiple main characters. And then they brought in new characters, to sort of liven up the Forever Knight, and it was horrible. So, yeah, most people, I think, most people who read fanfiction or write it in Forever Knight don't; there was very little written from the third season. I actually may even have the seasons wrong. But I believe it's only the first two seasons where they did this. Maybe it went on for four seasons; I don't know. But after they did the major character die-offs I couldn't watch it any more. And then they brought in new characters and ugh, it was just awful.