Power of Speech

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Title: Power of Speech
Editor(s): Sandra Necchi
Type: letterzine
Date(s): 1985-1987
Fandom: multimedia & Star Trek: TOS
External Links:
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Power of Speech is a Star Trek: TOS and multimedia letterzine. There were three issues.

From "Southern Enclave": "Power of Speech, a new ST/media letterzine with absolutely no censorship and devoted to civilized controversy is ready to go to print. Price not yet finalized. First issue includes articles and discussions on the Vulcan katra, the Vulcan wars, the Jedi, Blake's 7, the Professionals, analyses of the ST films vs. the series and lots more. Guaranteed to exercise the brain."

From another ad in Southern Enclave: "POWER OF SPEECH is a ST/media letterzine dedicated to the uninhibited right of free fannish expression. Civilized controversy is not only welcomed but actively sought."

Reactions and Reviews

This is one of the finest letterzines I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Sandra has left the subject matter open, but it is mostly ST with some mention of Blake's 7 and The Professionals. PoS has some interesting contributors and a fascinating array of discussion material. The biggest problem Sandra has to face is that she doesn't have enough contributors; there was almost a year between issue #1 and #2, she had so few LoCs to work with. PoS has my highest recommendation, and you should latch onto a copy and send in a LoC as some as you finish with them. [1]

Issue 1

Power of Speech 1 was published in the fall of 1985 and has 18 pages.

front page of issue #1
  • a fan writes a very detailed letter, complete with a chart, comparing Star Trek and Blake's 7
  • a fan writes that she is now "bonkers" for The Professionals and has a long letter about the show and some of the varied fan fic she has read
  • a fan writes a long, long letter about her views of the Star Trek movies
  • "The Secret of Vulcan Immortality or Would You Buy a Used Katra from This Man?", article by Lynda Carraher
  • "The Vulcan Wars" ("Concerning the War Years, the loss of Vulcan space colonies and the acceptance of Surak's Philosophy of Nome"), article by Michelle Malkin
  • a fan complains about a recent fan survey he'd received that was biased, he also writes that the neo fans he's encountered lately are:
    ... some of the most hostile I've ever encountered. I've had a number of bad experiences with these people lately at cons and in zine mail-orders. At cons, they're pushy, obnoxious, and just plain rude. In mail-orders, their impatience knows no limits. One woman order a few issues of Stardate. One week later, she wrote demanding her zines, or else she would take the matter to Universal Translator and Datazine.
  • a fan writes about his experience at Media*West #5, and he has a very, very early mention of vids:
    I hope the people who make those rock videos are reading this letterzine. I gave them my address, but I haven't heard from them yet. Not only would I like to get a copy of their work, I might like to see an article explaining how they did it.
  • a fan writes:
    Okay, how about a discussion of the Han/Luke relationship? Or the Han/Luke/Leia relationship? I am getting very tired of hearing only about K/S, B/D and S/H. C'mon folks, anyone out there in fanland with similar prurient interests? I personally don't care a fig what George Lucas thinks of this. After all, the movies may be his, but my fantasies are my own.

Issue 2

Power of Speech 2 was published in summer 1986 and contains 25 pages.

art by Steve Blaes
front page of issue #2

From Boldly Writing: "Sandra said in her editorial, 'The delay in getting this out was largely a lack of submissions!' She also said of the previous issue, 'I knew that I had put in too many editorial comments in the middle of the LoCs.' This time, Sandra inserted her editorial comments at the end of her publication."

  • a fan addresses a point another made about the ration of male and female characters in Star Trek
  • a fan writes that others need to be more patient with zine eds and late zines
  • "From Wence They Came," an article reprinted from Pastaklan Vesla #2 by Michelle Malkin
  • a copy of Pocket Book's style sheet for Star Trek novels is reprinted
  • "Fandom's Lost Ideal," article by Sandra H. Necchi, reprinted from Fesarius #6
  • the editor says another fan wrote:
    One of the frustrating things about lz discussions is the length of time between statement and rebuttal. Here it is January 1986 and I'm responding to remarks made six months or more ago. It'll probably be another six months before they reply to my replies... by which time, who cares? So what if you sent those individuals carbons of the responses so they could re-respond in time to put the whole schmeer in the next ish?...
  • there is a single piece of art in the letterzine, one the editor really didn't want to print when she received it from another fan:
    It's a very good cheesecake version of Saavik. If this were any place but fandom, I would automatically throw it out. I am ethically opposed to art that exploits women's bodies. Fans, being mostly women, create, publish and appreciate plenty of art that exhibit our favorite characters' bodies. But there isn't an entire ideology of subjugation, of real power that is part of that appreciation. We do it with love as much as with lust. There is nothing wrong with appreciating male or female beauty, but there's an entire context of power and exploitation, of contempt, that goes on with the male consumption of porn. [This piece] of art is quite good. And certainly media fans like [fan's name redacted] deserve equal time... Yet it was still a hard decision to make, and I have many friends outside of fandom who would never understand my publishing this work. I am, of course, speaking in a heterosexual context. To any gays and lesbians out there, the issues of appreciation are rather different.
  • a fan writes that there is:
    ...an illness that has swept through ST fandom: concept crystallization. Those afflicted with this can think of ST only in terms of the first three seasons of the episodes. Nothing can be added, no deviation accepted. We've had over 15 years for our personal definition of ST to harden into an immutable slab.
  • a fan writes about why she thinks some shows inspire same-sex fiction and others don't. She references Joanna Russ' essay on slash fiction "Pornography by Women, for Women, With Love" in the book "Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans and Perverts." She comments that Starsky and Hutch has both a lot of S/H and S&H, and the Professionals has a lot of slash, but Star Wars doesn't:
    Lucasfilm's action in 1981, no doubt had some effect, but when fandom is really interested in something, stories are written and circulated, one way or another.
  • a writer is aghast at Professionals fiction, especially the slash, and the elf stories:
    With one exception, which the owner would prefer me not to name for those notorious political reasons, every B/D story I have ever seen has been lacking in characterization and plot and any semblance to reality, not mention downright ridiculous. How anyone could want anyone but their closest, most sympathetic friends to read such self-indulgence is beyond me. Normally, I consider X-rated stories of any description a phase most people experiment with at least once, get hooked on for a bit while they're growing up, (regardless of their age), or, if they can actually write (rare!), they may decide to DO IT PROPERLY. The incredible amount of B/D proffies fiction leads me to think unkind suppositions about the quality of the writers' lives, not to mention their readers.

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Bobbie Hawkins, Spock from "Plato's Stepchildren".

Power of Speech 3 contains 44 pages was published in summer 1987. It was the last issue.

  • there is a discussion on Blake's 7, The Professionals, Aliens, slash fiction, the Star Trek films and series and various and sundry items commenting on NASA and the CHALLENGER space shuttle.
  • The editor writes:
    I'm giving up on POS [mostly because of the] slow trickles of contributions for each issue...[It] has become frustrating... Unless something alters drastically, this is the last issue of POS, a very short-lived and troubled letterzine that tried to inject some badly need stimulation and rebellion into a subculture that, for me at least, has grown rather staid. I think you all deeply for your kind words, extreme patience and tolerance, suggestions and criticisms, interest and contributions. It's meant something very special to me.
  • there is an excerpt from a transcript of an interview from DraftTrek '85 done by Randall Landers and Tim Farley in which David Gerrold takes on K/S, saying there are far bigger issues in the world, like AIDS, starvation in Africa and a blood donor shortage and that Gerrold doesn't consider K/S fans "real Star Trek fans":
    ... I think they are fat ladies with a sexual dysfunction.... I can't understand why I'm controversial. I always tell the truth... One of the truths I've been telling lately is that Kirk and Spock are not lovers... they're not even boyfriends. They're just good friends. This has offended a whole subculture that is convinced they are... I was at a convention in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. This lady comes up to me with this stuff, and after a thirty minute discussion, I finally said, 'Stop! We're arguing over whether or not two fictitious characters are getting their hands in each others' pants... Ten or fifteen years ago when fandom was first getting started, I couldn't understand why people were saying such mean things about me. They'd say, 'You're not a a nice person.' And I'd say, 'Yes, I am.' And they'd say, 'No, you're not!' After a few years, it began to sink in. You know, maybe they know something I don'? Maybe I'm not a nice person. And since I've begun telling everyone, 'I'm not a nice person,' my life has been a lot easier.
  • Finally, the editor comments on Interstat and then prints a letter, titled "Anatomy of a Letterzine," by Kristen Brady, a pseud, that had been sent to three letterzines, one of who refused to print it [2]: The editor prefaces the comments with:
    Some of you know that this zine's [Power of Speech] conception originally came out of my frustration with Interstat and later, the SW letterzine, Scoundrel. Not only did I find the zine to be generally boring and caught up with kowtowing to studio VIPS, I personally suffered from censorship. So, you can hardly call me an impartial reader/publisher of this article. I happen to agree with it. I just want to make one thing clear for those who can't distinguish between writing styles, the review is not mine. I am not Kristen Brady.

"Anatomy of a Letterzine" takes a look "at the letterzine know as 'Bennett's Tenets,' also known as 'The Harve Bennett Fan Club Newsletter,' or, as it is more commonly called, Interstat". The review takes Interstat to task for two things: one, its "gnashing of teeth, the raking of claws, and the lashing of tongues -- not to mention the backbiting, mudslinging..." and two, the reviewer's belief that it is nothing but a censored rag dedicated toward TPTB.

Excerpts from "Anatomy of a Letterzine" by Kristen Brady:
Mr. Bennett's continued interest in the goings-on of the fannish community -- as evidenced by his occasional letters to Interstat -- is the proverbial monkey wrench in the works. The knowledge that 'HB' will be watching casts a entirely new light on the subject, and the subscriber's letters, which once might have started out as an attempt to reach out to new fans and perhaps talk a little Trek, suddenly take on a very personal and a very immediate importance as each tries to impart his or her own personal vision of the essence of True Trek to one in a position of power. It then becomes of paramount importance that these personal visions not be marred or sullied in any way, in the eyes of HB. In this context, any opinion contrary to the author's own personal conception of Trek is taken as a personal attack, and by the same token, if an author wants his/her own beliefs to stand, it often becomes necessary to tear down those of others. Gone is the forum type of atmosphere one would assume of something called a letterzine. Gone is any give-and-take if opinions, any exchange of ideas; the atmosphere of Interstat is quite unmistakably that of competition. The goal is, I think, for each participant to try to get his/her particular vision to be the one that HB selects and possibly incorporates into future Trek projects...


  1. from Treklink #7
  2. This letter was printed in Orion and "Power of Speech"; the editors of Datazine refused to run it, as did Interstat -- for the editor's comments about this, see Interstat #123