No Easy Answers

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Zine
Title: No Easy Answers
Publisher: 10-13 Enterprises & Cat and Dragon Press
Editor:
Author(s): Terri Beckett and Chris Power
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): frontispiece by Dargelos, other art by Suzan Lovett
Date(s): May 1988
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links: online here
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

No Easy Answers is a slash Starsky and Hutch 177-page novel by Terri Beckett and Chris Powers.

Frontispiece by Dargelos, other art by Suzan Lovett.

It was edited by Paula Smith.

front cover

It was planned to debut at ZebraCon but did not.

The Trilogy

The following three S/H novels, written by Terri Beckett and Chris Power, form a series known collectively as "The Red Light Trilogy" (beginning as gen with the first zine and developing into slash in the second), constructing a tale that is tender, sexy, romantic and, to use the modern fannish parlance, "angsty" as all heck. [1]

The Slash Element

One More Mountain is not S/H. It is, however, the first part of our Red Light Universe. The second part will be published this summer, and it is S/H. That is provisionally titled One More River. The third part (don't ask when!) will be No Easy Answers. Have we got that (forgive the word) straight? I'll state here and now that anyone who feels strongly about / in a relationship, or who may be offended by explicit scenes, should NOT order either OMR or NEA. [2]
The first story in the trilogy was gen, but the second two were slash, something that was stated up front. A fan comments on this in 1993:
Pseudonyms and anonymity featured more in those first SH publications whose producers felt vulnerable, faced with hostile disapproval - and the threats - from some of those who didn't agree with what they were writing and publishing. I recall issue 27 of that first ' S&H L/Z' (November, 1981) in which Terri made a special announcement of her intention to publish S/H slash fiction in her 'Red Light universe' — and how, at that time, there were people who wished they might share the same freedom to follow that course, but for whom job-security and other practicalities were real obstacles. Those threats weren't make-believe. But, happily, those old S&H vs. S/H confrontations are hardly relevant now. Many readers enjoy both genres; good zines are never short of readers. [3]

As Much About Starsky & Hutch As It Was About the End of a Writing Partnership

A fan in 2001 commented on the last part of the trilogy: "I adore the work of these two writers, but they had gotten blocked and/or burned out on this story somewhere along the line. When it was finally available and I had read my copy, I felt like I could pinpoint *exactly* the spot in the story where they had stopped *writing* and just decided to "get it finished."

Another fan, Flamingo, replied:
Actually, I've been told by someone who was involved with the project that what had happened was that one of them had gotten out of the fandom and gone into Pros while the other one had no interest in Pros, and was still primarily interested in SH. So the novel ended up being more about the dissolution of their writing partnership than the final chapters of SH. [4]

From the Writer: Terri Beckett

1987

[apologizing for "kvetching"] ... I'm struggling with a particularly unpleasant sequence of NEA. It is not all sweetness and light. In fact you could say that sweetness and light are very thin on the ground. [5]
"We may get lynched after NEA anyway. Ah me. Such is life. Ars longa, vita brevis, and like that. [6]

1988

The good news is that we finally got our fingers out (this may not be an American expression, in which case...) or quit procrastinating and started getting to grips with NO EASY ANSWERS. I know it's taken us four years. I know there are few other novels that have been promised and then lain fallow for so long. I just hope that you lot out there agree that it was worth waiting for. If you, like us, want to know how S&H react to being gay in a straight world — how they resolve the trauma of Starsky's rape — how revenge is a dish best served cold — then you'll want to read NO EASY ANSWERS. I'm not guaranteeing that you'll like it. But, to ease your minds, o ye of little faith — there is NO S&H deathscene. And they are together, and just as much in love if not more so, at the end of the story. I'd tell you more, but I don't want to give too much of the plot away, Those who know us will not be disappointed — it's every bit as convoluted as anything else we've written. I can't give a definite date for availability, but anyone who is interested can either write to me, or send SASE to [redacted. NEA will be a limited edition, and presubscribed. You have been warned! [7]
Jody tells me that we have had quite a few inquiries about NO EASY ANSWERS. And -- guess what? The first typed draft is complete and winging its way across the Pond for a deBrit and edit. This is a load off my mind, let me tell you. The thing has been like an albatross, of the deceased variety. Never again do I take on a trilogy! Or not for a good long while, anyway. It's probably a combination of adverse circumstances, but I'm really glad this one is finally off the starting blocks... I should perhaps mention that Jody, having read the first ten chapters, suggest we give a free Kleenex with each copy. Traumatic? Somewhat (she's says with typical British understatement....) [8]
The psychology research for NEA was fascinating, if scary. Both my 'advisors' approved the final scenario, which was reassuring. Different schools of thought, y'see. But I enjoy doing research...have to watch out that I don't get so involved in it that I lose track of why I'm researching. [9]
NO EASY ANSWERS. Yes, we are still hoping to premier at ZebraCon, but since I haven't been able to get drafts to the typist, or our editor, or anyone else, we are three weeks behind with our plans. NOT OUR FAULT. 'Fingers', our faithful typist, will be working flat out on the final draft as soon as we get the last rewrites to her, but I warn you all, she may not get done in time for us to wing it to U.S. for the printing, and it may be a few weeks after Zebra that you finally see it. I only hope you'll find it worth the wait. We've shed blood over this one, people. Not to mention the sweat and tears. [10]
I did spend some time thinking about Paula's edit of NEA, and the rewrites, and wondering if fandom was ever likely to forgive me... [11]

1989

Let's get the depressing news out of the way before anything else. NEA is finished, in final draft, and ready to go -- just as soon as our typist can get the floppy disc to the printout. And that, due to a number of unhappy circumstances, isn't on line yet. So we wait. Who knows, by the time you read this... *sigh* Perhaps we should add this cautionary tale to the Collected Perils of Zining. Every editor seems to have their own personal horror story — beats me why we keep doing it. But we do, we do.... I think that essence (in OMR) of 'the caring that hurt brings out' is continued in NEA ... Maybe in a slightly different form, but still continued. [12]
An apology. No, not for the content of NEA — lawdie, you know our writing by now. Nor for the ending — the clues are all there in the text, after all. My apology is for taking such a hello of a long time to write the damn thing. It's not the longest wait fandom has had (does ANYONE know where BIRD OF PARADISE got to?)... but it's been more than long enough, and we are sorry to have kept you waiting! Aren't you glad the waiting is over? Believe me, we are! [13]
I too am hoping for LoCs on NEA — the few I've had so far have been interesting reading. 5 to 2 in favour, which is gratifying... Speaking of sequels — to those of you who want to know where the sequel to NEA is — ARE YOU KIDDING? The RED LIGHT trilogy is now complete and that universe is closed. Any other SH we write will be set in an alternate time-frame. This is one of the reasons I love fanfic — it's possible to do this kind of thing. Every story can start afresh, which we can't do with our real lives. There's always another 'what if...' around the corner in fanfic! [14]
I'm hoping that some of you take time to LoC on NEA — without resorting to obscene language or threats, if you please! -- because I think it's probably the most difficult thing we ever wrote. Paula quite rightly trashed the first draft because we'd glossed over the unpleasant bits, trying to let you (and us) down lightly. The rewrite was a bitch. Also we had to axe a whole chunk of euphoric sentimentality because — I'll admit it -- it was frankly superfluous. Maybe someday I'll consider it for a zine. The Expurgated Bits of NEA...? NO, I'd have to think of a better title than that... [15]

1990

There are at least fifty people out there who should be feeling guilty about not LoCing NEA — but what else is new? Editors have been crying for LoCs since fandom started. [16]
No happy love scenes in NEA? Shoot, and I thought that was what I was writing on p89, 97, 111, 117, et al... Okay, the ones before p89 etc. were not happy, but it did get better! [17]

Fan Casted

The author fan casts this novel in Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #14 and in Frienz #4:
The Cast List. We won't bother with the protagonists or those we already saw on screen — you all know who they are. But the ones we invented/introduced — Dave Duplessis — Parker Stevenson; Jaqi — Priscilla Beaulieu Presley; Kathy — Cybill Shepherd; Mac — Mike Farrell; Jerry — Antony Sher; Sheriff LeSoto — Sean Connery; Dennis Almiro — Robert Vaughn; Robert Praetor — Michael Douglas. Small cameos and walk-on parts — Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Cary Elwes, Dennis Quaide, Brian Blessed, Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, all three of the Golden Girls, and Tom Selleck.

A Lighthearted Spoof

A fan transformed a Matt Groening cartoon, "Life in Hell" to be a condensed version of "No Easy Answers -- the creator is MRK, and she included it in the con zine Wanna Share? #2

cartoon adapted in Wanna Share? #2

Gallery

Reactions/Reviews

Reader reactions to the end of the series have varied from denial to shell-shock to surprising satisfaction with what some have called "a realistic conclusion."

1989

Can't wait for NEA. I promise to write a NEA as soon as I've read it 10 or 20 times. [19]
I enjoyed NO EASY ANSWERS very much, though it was slow tuning into the action and the cliffhanger ending made me cry out in pain. (I'm sure they're okay. Right?) [20]
..having now read 'No Easy Answers' (once only), it's very satisfying to see how the MM phenomenon [Moral Majority] is handled there - makes some salutary points very effectively. [21]

1995

I rediscovered Starsky and Hutch only last March at my first multi-media"/" convention. (Devacons 3 and 4 in Chester were very enjoyable weekends). On the journey to the con I found myself hoping I would find S/H zines, although I don't know why; K/S was my reason for attending, and I hadn't thought about David or Paul since my schooldays. Fortunately, the zine trilogy "One More Mountain", "One More River" and "No Easy Answers" was on sale in the dealer's room. Although I had never seen "Sweet Revenge" and thought the shooting was "fan-fictional", I thought the story was wonderful and couldn't put down the zines until I had devoured every word. [22]

1996

It's got a really hokey quasi-Butch and Sundance kinda ending that just doesn't work if you actually think about it. It also doesn't have much of anything to do with what happened in the previous two zines. [23]

2003

I a feel that the most obvious candidate for a *needed* sequel is Teri Beckett and Chris Power's third novel in the Red Light Trilogy, No Easy Answers. The events of the ending are too vague and really don't make much sense (to me). I think it was Mer that pointed out that if you count all the bad guys, by the time our guys come out of the shed guns blazing, there are only 2 bad guys left. I personally can't believe Hutch would do *anything* to jeopardize the life of his sister, and if the boys, as is implied, go down in a blaze of glory, his sister will surely be killed to avoid leaving any witnesses. This novel screams for a sequel to resolve this conflicted, unfinished ending. [snipped] Okay, I mentioned that I think sequels can actually "harm" the original story, so I should explain that. A very strong story evokes emotions and feelings in the reader because of the course of events and how they're handled. After you finish reading a story you *feel* a certain way about it. A sequel that over-explains the original story, or is unnecessary, or weak, or negates the original chain of events, can *change* your feelings about the original story, as they add a different layer to the events in that story which are no longer independent. Many people have never reread One More Mountain and One More River because they were so unhappy with No Easy Answers. A better example of this is the third Alien movie. The first two movies were two of the most popular movies ever made. The third movie broke people's hearts and it's almost impossible to watch the first two without viewing it through the disastrous events of the third movie. Very, very few sequels can live up to the original material. Weak and unnecessary sequels can alter the reader's opinion of the original story. So, think very carefully about whether your favorite stories really do need sequels or not.[24]
I've re-written [the ending] in my head. It may "appear" to be a Butch and Sundance ending, but not im "my" mind. LOL I have a whole other quite happy ending. [25]

2005

No Easy Answers ends the Red Light Trilogy and it's also got really nice Lovett illos. Everyone's life is in shambles. Hutch's temporary partner is concerned, Jaqi is concerned, and the boys are just trying to make it through. Except, this time, Me and Thee can't overcome the odds...Starsky's bitter, ticked off, depressed, and blackmailing Hutch to make him stay on the force. He's hurt and he needs time to heal. Hutch needs time, too, and he's not staying on the force without Starsky. There's many issues that need to be resolved, namely stemming from their relationship and the fact that Hutch will go to the ends of the earth for Starsky. But they're eventually back on track, if only they could be working the same track. Hutch is gone up the coast, Starsky's in his apartment living like a ghost, and everyone around them are trying to make sure they don't do something stupid. The roller coaster continues. Life is gonna be okay, if they can just survive day to day. Please be aware that the ending is left open and it's done so for a reason. [26]

References

  1. comment by kslangley at What was your first fandom?, August 28, 2016
  2. S and H #29
  3. from a Frienz supplement, one meant to clear the air
  4. June 4, 2001, comment by Flamingo on VenicePlace, quoted on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
  5. 1987, from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #3
  6. 1987, from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #4
  7. 1988, from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #8
  8. from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #9
  9. from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #9
  10. 1988, from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #10
  11. 1988, from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #11
  12. from Frienz #3
  13. from Frienz #4
  14. from Frienz #5
  15. 1989, from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #14
  16. from Frienz #11
  17. 1990, from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #21
  18. Charlotte Hill's post Virgule-L mailing list in May 1994, quoted with permission.
  19. from Frienz #3
  20. from Frienz #5
  21. from Frienz #5
  22. from Frienz #29
  23. comment by Michelle Christian, on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (March 21, 1996)
  24. comments by Flamingo at Venice Place Mailing List (Jan 2, 2003)
  25. comment on ThePits, quoted anonymously (September 21, 2003)
  26. a 2005 comment at Crack Van