Space: 1999

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Fandom
Name: Space: 1999
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Gerry and Sylvia Anderson
Date(s): 1975-1977
Medium: Televsion
Country of Origin: UK
External Links: wikipedia, IMDB
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Space: 1999 was a British science-fiction series that ran for two seasons and 48 episodes.

It starred Martin Landau as Commander John Koenig, Barbara Bain as Doctor Helena Russell, and Barry Morse as Professor Victor Bergman.

The first episode took place on September 9, 1999. The premise: nuclear waste stored on the Moon's far side explodes, knocking the Moon out of orbit and sending it, as well as the 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, hurtling uncontrollably into space.

Cover of The Alpha Files (Space:1999 zine), art by Judy Moore

Main Characters

Fandom Challenges

Cover of Blutsauger, a print zine by Rose Marie Badgett

When the show first aired, there was a dearth of science fiction on television, and fans had high hopes that this show would be another Star Trek, something that its advertising supported. [1]

While many fans enjoyed "Space:1999," some others complained of its perceived wooden acting, implausible science, the character of Maya (who many felt to be a Spock-knockoff), the fact that the show was constantly moved to different time slots or pre-empted, the drastic changes between style and form of its two seasons, and many other things.

Many fans desperately wanted to be able to support an SF show; they'd had a template of Star Trek fandom to follow and tried to emulate its zines, conventions, and letter campaigns in order to create a fandom from the ground up. TPTB was not much of a help; fans complained of letters and comments they'd sent being ignored [2], and felt they did not have the support that Gene Roddenberry had provided for Star Trek. Actor Nick Tate's appearance at August Party was a highlight that created some fannish interest, but it wasn't enough.

The show lasted two seasons. For some fans this was a great tragedy, as they'd found enjoyment in the show. For others, it was a relief: "Can you imagine going 
on in a Year 2 vein for another four years or so? We'd never live it
 down. I know that during Year 1 it was at least respectable to talk
 about Space: 1999 to non-science fiction fans, but after Year 2, if you 
mention 1999, all you seem to get is a queer look or the question, "You
 watch that_____?" So maybe it's good it's over. It was hurting us." [3]

A fan says: "…I remember Space: 1999 fandom of the ’70s and early ’80s as being fan fiction challenged. Many fen were interested in the technical aspects… but there wasn’t a great deal of interest in fanzines and fan fiction… There were a larger proportion of technical newsletters – letterzines, articles, blueprints, etc., but little fiction. Like most niche fandoms, the readers we had were passionate, but the fandom never took off in fanzines the way other fandoms of the time did.” [4]

Self-Definition

Fan-drawn "Eagle" blueprints

At the beginning of fandom, fans of Space: 1999 called themselves a variety of terms: "Alphans," "Spacers," and "1999ers (which morphed into ('99ers")."

In 1980, in advance of the aborted The Space:1999 Convention, fans were polled and asked to vote on an "official" name for themselves. This was a rare move for fandom, as labels for fans usually occurred much more organically.[5]

The results of this poll were never made publicly available.

Today, however, the moniker "Alphans" is almost exclusively used by Space: 1999 fans when referring to themselves or other fans.

Fanzines, Newsletters, and Fanfic

Cover of Alpha Log #3, a print zine

The earliest fanzines began to appear within months of the debut of Space: 1999 in September 1975. Fans continued to produce print zines with regularity up to the widespread use of the internet in the late 1990s. In recent years, the majority of stories are published and made available on the web, including such sites as The Florida Universe.

Also see Category:Space:1999, Category:Space:1999 Fanfiction, and Space: 1999 Fanzines.

Notable Cons

External Links

References

  1. "Why does Space: 1999 seem to be always stuck with stupid inaccuracies in its super sets, super character ideas, and super universe?... Okay, Space: 1999 -- you're fantasy, but since Star Trek, you're the only science fiction show worth watching!" -- from ComLoC #1 (December 1976)
  2. "Space: 1999 fandom has not matured to Star Trek levels. Main reason is almost total lack of info about the show: episode titles, episode synopses, cast characters and actors, and order of show/episode release (to name a few subjects). Also ITC (Independent Television Corporation) seems to show little concern for promoting fan contact with the studios directly in England, apparently caring less about fan feedback. In fact, ITC (Newark) ungraciously ripped off my SASE (enclosed with my request for the London studio address) --- not even having the courtesy to answer. And if they don't care, maybe we shouldn't care. If they say to hell with us, maybe we should say to hell with them...." -- from ComLoC #1 (December 1976)
  3. from ComLoC #3 (June 1977)
  4. My Life in Fandom: The future is (was? still is?) fantastic!;[1], accessed 5.4.2011
  5. In the case of Trekkies vs Trekkers: fans called themselves one of these two terms, but some did so in response to intense media attention, often considered disrespectful and condescending.
  6. Space 1999 Metaforms WebCite