Scoundrel (Star Wars letterzine)/Issues 04-06

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Issue 4

Scoundrel 4 (v.1 n.4) was published in spring 1984 and contains 64 pages. The editor says that in order to continue the quality of this zine, she is going to publishe it not quarterly, but four times a year instead, with the next issue coming out in September.

first page of issue #4
  • Linda Deneroff writes an essay called "When Did Luke Become a Jedi?"
  • Jean L. Stevenson writes an essay called "A New Hero (on being in a love story)." It is about how Leia Organa was portrayed in all three movies, and then in subsequent fanfiction:
    It is interesting how much attention we female fans have not given to Leia Organa, Princess and Senator of Alderaan.... A look at fanlit of the first period will show some fascinating and strong females—Cori Beckett, all the various Solo and Skywalker relatives—but in those tales the princess is often relegated to the position of distant leader/bitch. Of course, there may have been dual causes for this. Fans of Han Solo sensed from the beginning that Leia was asking for a commitment. ("I wonder if [your friend] cares for anything or anybody," she says to Luke in ANH.) But no one wanted to commit the free spirit of Solo to anything; most of his relationships with the strong women were predicated on "Hey, either of us can walk whenever/ifever we want. Not that we will—but we can." The post TESB material which dealt with Han and Leia showed her a little more broadly. Pat Nussman's "Lady of the Rebellion" kept her head, remembered her love and sought to win personal as well as galactic battles. In some other works she was still seen as too frozen in commitment to the rebellion and self-denial to keep from going crazy doing her duty when she really wanted to go knock Jabba's block off. Fans who had already brought to life strong women—as mentioned before—in some cases tried to stretch their worlds to be kind to/tolerant/accepting of the woman who had, in fact, so affected Han Solo that he would allow himself to be caught. On the other hand, from the beginning, Luke was eager to commit himself to both woman and cause. He figured strongly in other fan stories through the period of both films and either "got" her relatively quickly (as in the ThousandWorlds Cycle) or, after TESB, had to struggle with the knowledge that Han (cynic and mercenary) was more attractive to her—in attitude, at least, the very antithesis of Luke Skywalker. There were even stories in which Han had to accept the fact she preferred Luke. Again, Leia figured as a secondary character, sometimes lovering/mothering with Luke, sometimes a betrayer of the one who really loved her ("I know" not being everybody's favorite or most binding answer to a declaration of love). So Leia was stuck coming and going in fandom.
  • more from Jean L. Stevenson's essay, "A New Hero":
    Do I claim too much for George Lucas? Is it perhaps my desire for a strong female and role model that makes me read import into what are, probably, just coincidences? I'd say yes, except for Marion Ravenwood of Raiders and Laurie Henderson and Carol of American Graffiti. These three women demonstrate many strengths which are both a part of and in spite of their femaleness, and what it may mean within their cultures. There are others—Debby in More American Graffiti, the hints of Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Luh in THX-1138, Luke's Aunt Beru—who also shows us a woman's positive presence. Of course, nobody stands up and says, "Hurry! Hurry! Get your female heroes here!" Leia very simply and quietly develops physically from girl to woman. At the same time, she loses the pretentious language and rhetoric of the princess-senator, and her vision of her own importance in the scheme of things gains a galaxy-worth of perspective. (When told she could be the only hope for the Alliance, she responds, "Luke, don't talk that way. You have a power I don't understand and could never have.") And in classic fairy tale sense, she is shown to have contacted and befriended her "beast" counterpart in the cunning, charming and enthusiastic Wicket and all his tribe. On a more analytical note, she remains the only major female character and is many things to many men. As siren and sister to Luke, she calls him from the farm, opening him to the paths of becoming a Jedi. As attainable goddess and confident peer, she first resists Han and then freely offers her love, the luck talisman which will enable him to survive his trial. As both child and greatest enemy to Darth Vader, her strength in each of their encounters no doubt imparts blow after blow to his armor—joining all the others affecting him in the trilogy—until Anakin can be reached. She is the hero's hero—a partner for the long haul as well as the short. She asks commitment, and gives in equal measure. Virgin, huntress, goddess, wife and nurturing mother, even as she is all the darker sides of the female god (dealer of death; devouring mother), she is a human woman and a powerful image—and one well-designed for the emulation of those we'd like to set free of the lie that a woman, by definition, is a flawed creation. I salute her.
  • Melody Corbett writes an essay called "Andy Rooney Meets Star Wars" in which she asks a lot of questions:
    Why is Chewie wounded in the skiff scene in Jedi? There certainly is no reason for it as the film stands now. For that matter, why is Han blind? How does Luke fit Threepio into his X-wing to get to Tatooine? (That model ship is only built to accommodate one pilot and an R2 unit.) Or does Threepio fly in his own ship? (I think I remember reading, in the making of Jedi that in the sandstorm sequence there was a setting that involved the Falcon, an X-wing and a Y-wing.) Just what were the logistics of this rescue anyway? Why do they make Han a general? Why does Vader let the shuttle pass through to Endor? The rebel plan depended on using a code which Admiral Piett was prepared to accept. Yet Vader, who sensed who was on that shuttle and could have stopped them, let them go. TTien he immediately proceeded to report their presence to the Emperor. What is accomplished by this sequence? What does it show us? Why is it that, when Luke perceives Yoda, Ben and Anakin (in the end shot at the Ewok celebration), Han looks in that direction? Why isn't it Leia—Luke's sister and the supposed other Force sensitive—who sees the ghostly trio? Speaking of looking, when does Han get his sight back?
  • a fan is worried:
    what happens if George Lucas decides not to do the other six films—not to farm them out to someone else—not to release them in book form? What do we do then? You said you think we can trust George. I hope we can. Now that the money's rolling in, well, you never know ...
  • a fan, and zine ed, writes:
    [Nancy S] brought up a VERY sore point with me, about the cost of fanzines, and the position of artists in them. And she had some valid things to say. BUT- I speak from both sides of the fence; I have been publishing GRIP for five years and I've always made it a point to keep the price DOWN. This has led to a few people telling me to my face that anything that costs less than $5.00 can't possibly be any good! I got embroiled with another editor who escalated what had been a modestly-priced 60-page 'zine into a 90+ monster that cost over $800 to print and there are people who have taken out bank loans to finance some of these suckers—and that is just too much! I used to be able to buy all the 'zines that I had to index in the TREXINDEX. Now, I either borrow them, write to the editors to do the indexing, or have to skip them—and I only buy what I will like. I no longer buy certain fanzines because they are too doggone expensive, and that included a lot of "hurt-comfort" and "K/S" stuff that won a lot of critical acclaim. What it boils down to is that the fan MUST know what she is getting for that $10 - $20—and that brings us to Nancy's other point about the artwork. I find it almost impossible to critique artwork. Either it is accurate, and the people look like who they are supposed to look like, or the artists don't know their business. And if someone is going to spend a LOT of money on a zine, they deseve a lot of art for that money. The art is what sells the 'zine. But it is nearly impossible to critique it, because you are trying to describe a visual experience in words—and if that were possible, why need artists in the first place?... My own pet peeve is the "posed portrait" type of illustration, when what I want is an action scene. Of course, the artist can SELL the portrait at an auction at the next Con, whereas the "scene" is often so specialized that unless you know the story it makes no real sense, and is therefore, unsaleable. This is nice for the artist, but makes an editor like me grind her teeth in rage. I am not out to make money for artists (sorry, but it's true!); I want my stories illustrated. If the artist can then sell the original—fine—but what I, as editor, am after is a scene in the story, shown as best the artist can do.... art in fanzines: yes, it adds to the value of the 'zine to have good art. But there comes a point where you yell—"Where's the beef?" The beef in a 'zine is the words—the stories—and the art is, much as we hate to admit it, the ketchup. There have been perfectly good books without a single illustration.
  • a fan writes:
    If I were a creator, be it a writer, painter, filmmaker, etc., and I had made something that readers, audiences, viewers valued beyond anything that I had imagined, finding more depth and feeling and dimension in my work than I ever intended, I would be pleased and honored and I would try to achieve at least the same level in my next work, aiming to expand and grow, not retrogress. Some fans would argue that this wasn't George's intention in the first place, that he only meant SW as a fable for young children. But even then, he should have given the kids more, not less. Maybe they wouldn't have understood it now, but when they are older, with more repeated viewings, they would. It leaves me with the feeling that George behaved exactly like all those Hollywood people he criticizes, with a contempt for his audience.
  • this fan is looking for something in fiction she didn't get in the movies:
    I do hope that the fans who believe Luke is a likely or irreversible user of the Dark Side, who include some excellent writers (such as you), will choose to write their conclusions into fiction. I can see, with the help of the many arguments on the subject lately, that Luke is no saint. He's made some crucial decisions, fast, under less-than-ideal circumstances, and some of them might have been the wrong choices. If it's possible his character or soul has suffered changes for the worse, I'd like to read a story that convinces me (at least for the duration of the story) of that. The movie, as I say, didn't convince me—but it didn't end Luke's story, either. What happens after ROTJ? What happened inside Luke, that couldn't be shown on screen? Tell us about it in a way we'll believe!
  • about Leia's role:
    Seeing Leia, even momentarily, succumbing to the stereotypical heroine role bothers me, since she has been one of the few female characters who make their own ways in screen SF—on screen, period, for that matter. She is doing so in ROTJ also, I hasten to note: she carried off the role of bounty hunter at Jabba's palace successfully until she abandoned it; she killed Jabba herself very handily when the time came; she is accepted readily as a guerilla commando (she may have volunteered for it to be with Han, but no one hints, in any way, that she can't do the job); she establishes Human-Ewok relations without being eaten and without overt use of the Force; she can, as always, handle a blaster well enough for the touchy Han Solo to trust her to guard his back at the bunker. Leia's role as the "other" may have been slighted (which is a weakness in the script), but her role in the action of the plot is still as strong as anyone's. Yet most of what I've heard about Leia lately asks either what she might do as the "other" or whether her children with Han (or with Luke, from the daring souls who can stomach incest, in a good cause) will have the Force.
  • more on "the twig" and what it represented to fans, mainly that Han Solo was made into a dope and buffoon in the third movie:
    You're right about people coming down on Han. I haven't been vociferous in my defense of Han, but geez, he snapped one goddamn twig! To hear some people talk, you'd think he accidentally touched the button to set off a nuclear warhead. Let's lighten up, guys! No more bickering over whether it was Han or Luke who committed the greatest number of stupid acts.
  • about zines as a community effort:
    There was some truth to [Nancy S's] comments about zines not being fun anymore, either for the readers or the editors. The key is that the participation must be shared equally, instead of the situation nowadays where the editor breaks her back and her sanity to put out a massive zine, and the readers sit back and passively consume the fruits of her labors. Scoundrel, at least, comes closer to maintaining a balance. After all, if it weren't for the LoC's from us readers, Scoundrel wouldn't exist, right? As for the lack of commentary on zine artwork, I'll have to agree with Joan—it's not that we don't care about the art (in fact, the art is the first thing we notice about a zine, and many fans will buy a collection of so-so stories in order to get the fabulous art), but we're just not sure exactly what to say about it. Maybe we should all take an art appreciation course from a community college or something.
  • this issue has much escalation in pointed, angry letters accusing other fans of not understanding what was previously said, of twisting others' words for gain, of sucking up to George Lucas' vision, of trashing one character over another and character assignation, and of generally being wrong, wrong, wrong -- one example:
    You are DEAD WRONG about the ending.... your article made me think of my mother: you can't talk to her before her morning coffee, either. Talk about letting it all hang out...I won't go into the merits—or rather, lack of them—the article was so replete with absurdities... What is even more remarkable is that you do not merely limit yourself to the right—and, yes, you do have the right to see this film anyway you choose—to do this to the film; no, you also insist we must see it in the same way. Those of us attempting to make sense of the film, to save the internal logic and morality (and there are major moral issues in this story), are nasty beasties. Your position is that we deny the logic of the film. Well, it's interesting that Lucas has so carefully designed this film that you can either save Luke or you can save the internal logic, the morality, the rules of the universe and the validity of all of the other characters, but you cannot do both. I prefer to save the Saga; it's been too important to me. If that puts me in your doghouse, well, I can live with that.
  • just one example of a fan's defense of a character:
    Your note about people not looking at Han's "questionable behavior" as they are Luke's is nothing short of mind-boggling. First, I don't know of a single Han fan who does not acknowledge his seeming clumsiness, his messing up the wires, etc.—it is on the screen and therefore notdismissable, which already runs counter to your position. However, since people who have been graceful and who have kept their ship flyingwith nothing more than glue and skill, don't suddenly lose their abilities, they, the fans, have also been examining the story for the reasons (something which, by the way, nothing stops you from doing for Luke, except that you've rejected the story (Catch-22). Second, and even more importanly, are you equating clumsiness with evil? How does tripping on twigs and messing up hot-wiring equal betraying a companion into slavery, going AWOL, attempted patricide—and for "revenge" the novel states? Sorry, I don't agree. And if I am an apologist for Han, as you claim, then I'd rather be an apologist for clumsy—or even dumb, if it comes to that—than an apologist for evil!
  • more on character defense:
    No one I know of in any letterzine has been indignant over critical analyses of individual characters, but plenty of people have been indignant over character assassinations without basis in any kind of logical fact. These character assassinations have been going on for years—first Leia after ANH, then Han after TESB, now Luke after ROTJ. It is nothing new to science fiction fandom, and has existed in Star Trek fandom since the series was first televised with the anti-Kirk or anti-Spock faction. So, why not say Church of Ford or Cathedral of Luke or Temple of the Bitch Goddess Leia when such groups of people exist only to tear down, never to build up? I'm not saying that these people shouldn't be allowed to voice their 'opinions' or beliefs—that would be censorship, which I am totally against—but I am not going to back down from my own opinion that these people are troublemakers who will twist and misquote any dissenting opinion to suit their own purposes. This is truly a shame and the ones I feel the sorriest for are the new fans entering SW fandom and reading letterzines who will be starting out seeing the vicious nonsense that is now going on.
  • some more on character defense:
    As to the charges that Luke fans defend the character with such zeal, think again. This "Cathedral of Luke" business has no basis in reality. My favorite character in the entire series is Leia. I'm probably alone in that too. I like everyone else a lot, but she's a really terrific creation, though I didn't care for her in Jedi. Many Han fans who may have disinterest or passing indifference to Luke disagree with this anti-Luke controversy. It is only a small number of Han fans who have argued this way, who somehow gave themselves a "vested interest" in tearing down Luke. If you're so keen on criticism, I would like to hear the same of Han. The problem here is not criticism of Luke, it's the level of it. I am totally open to criticisms of Luke and speculations of Han's greater role but not the kind of stuff that's been passing for criticism lately. Read all their arguments and it's clear that EVERYTHING Luke does and says is wrong. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING good about him, NOTHING. Their arguments are so extreme that you have to stretch your brain to understand them. Some of their observations are valid, but the whole of it is not at all constructive. It is not meant positively as all criticism should be. They simply despise the character in toto. If the rest of us began to criticize Han to the extreme that they are doing Luke, you can bet they, too, would come out with pages of defense as we have.
  • more on character defense and the stress on this fandom:
    ... there is going to be an all-out war in SW fandom. For one reason, and one reason only, I wish I were able to attend MediaWest this year and that is to witness either the final break or a new spirit of friendship between the camps. Maybe the atmosphere of UATTOD will help temper somewhat the passions. Yes, the battlelines are drawn and the armies have taken sides. Unfortunately, I have a feeling this conflict will surpass the Hundred Years' War! I am astounded by the controversy and my vociferous part in it. Why has this particular movie divided fandom—and divide it it has! No mistake about that! Each letterzine I subscribe to almost drips with blood. Why are fans so passionate and certain their opinion/side/character is in the right? After a while, it's hard to keep track of the issues. It's sort of a "damned if you do" and "damned if you don't" type of thing. If you have any problems with Luke and if you express them negatively, you are not a true Han fan. If you have anything positive to say about Han, you're accused of belonging to the Church of Ford.
  • choosing your religion:
    And whoever named the adoring Luke fans (and belonging to such a group of horny, turned-on admirers), the Cathedral of Luke fans...RIGHT ON! Heck, we're not fundamentalists like the Church of Ford; we're into peace and love. Han Solo is even one of our saints! Any Han Solo 'God' worshiper is welcomed at any time into our church. Amen, brothers and sisters and all entities throughout the galaxy!
  • about the role of fanfiction and a comment on Sandra Necchi's article in a previous issue:
    Your in-depth article centering around the fact that SW is a 'fairy tale' and you can't "flesh out" a fairy tale, is a contradiction. If fans didn't flesh out this particular fairy tale, there would be no SW fandom for us to enjoy—no fanzines, no fanart, no nothing! Further, there would be nothing for you to write about and criticize at such length. I, for one, am grateful that fans, especially the writers, poets and artists, saw something more than "bubble gum for the mind" Granted, most authors don't expect readers to analyze their creations to such a fine point, but we are confronted with a phenomena. We have been taken out of the realm of ordinary science fiction movies/literature. The record-breaking attendance for ANH (and later, the other two movies) proves that it was a phenomena. I think that perhaps, SW fanfiction has passed TVekfiction at its highest point...that's okay by me! Tell the zinebuyers at MEDIAWEST*CON that they shouldn't be cluttering up their homes with the efforts of the fan authors/artists, etc. One of the main reasons fans attend MW is to buy zines! No, the "rules" may say you can't "flesh" out a fairy tale, but thank the Maker some folks had the vision to try!
  • a fan writes about the lack of comment about fanart:
    Artists need feedback, but some of us don't feel qualified to comment on art beyond "I liked the art", or "I didn't like the art". I can't draw even a straight line (as an artist friend of mine once said to me, "It's not the straight lines, but the curved ones that are hard.") and know nothing about the technical aspects of drawing, so I don't really comment on the art. When I write a story, I suggest which scenes I'd like to see illoed, but I don't mention the composition—I'm not qualified. I carry that over into my opinion on the art in any given story—I may like it, or not, and I'll say so, but beyond that I'm not qualified to comment.
  • more on fanart and its lack of recognition:
    I agree with you totally about the lack of comments on fanzine artwork or appreciation of its worth. I've even gotten into arguments with other editors who have told me that I shouldn't list the artist's name on the title page of a story with the author's! This attitude has always bothered me and struck me as completely unfair. A good artist puts as much feeling and effort into a drawing as a good writer does into a story, and deserves some kind of criticism beyond a simple "I like so and so's illo on page 42".
  • more on fanart:
    Re fan art criticism. There certainly isn't enough of it and it's about time someone opened all of fandom's eyes to the fact. When my artwork appears in a zine, I do not anticipate reading one critical word about it in the LoC section of the next issue.... And this isn't necessarily because I lack confidence as an artist, but because I have come to believe that fandom does not view art as worthy of discussion. Sad, isn't it? But, I can see where you're coming from, Joan, when you say that some fen (writers, in particular) do not feel qualified to judge artwork and, thus fear saying something foolish when critiquing art. But, as Nancy pointed out, everyone can see when a hand is bigger than a head in a drawing. Your eyes aren't tricking you and there is no particular 'art vocabulary' one must master. If something about the drawings isn't right, say it. Nothing is too trivial to an artist—we're desperate! At this point, though, it seems as if the day fan art will finally come to be openly appreciated will be the day there is no fan art.
  • more on fan art:
    I loved [Nancy S's] letter about art and LoC's on it. I, too, feel that artists are cheated by not enough attention from fans and editors alike. I know there are some editors that consider art secondary, the 'icing on the cake', and I think an artist is downgrading herself when she contributes to those editors. I'm not talking about no-frill zines like this letterzine or zines that have no art to cut down space (and money!). I approve of zines produced just with art, too. I'm discussing here the downgrading of art by favoritism. Maybe it's because of a lack of visual perception or because they are used to books with just a cover, but I know that sometimes the cover art can make the difference between a purchase or no purchase. Art is just as important as literature and certainly deserves our critiques.
  • a fan, somewhat bravely, considering the climate of the time, writes:
    Oh dear, another one of those (sniff) slash fans. Where are these people coming from, and when can we all get together to discuss this fascinating subject? By the way, Bev didn't just convert me to / fandom. The conversion took place about six years ago. I've even written an H/L/L story of my own. (How's the G/H/S/J story coming along? Can't wait to read the end!)
  • this fan mourns the loss of "the little fanzine":
    The more people putting things out—regardless of the "slick"-ness or lack thereof—the more likely we are to find good new writers, artists and ideas. The more the merrier, to put it quaintly.
  • perhaps, yeah...:
    I admit I tend to be dubious of letterzines because many LoCers have a habit of analyzing some aspect of the Saga to the point of absurdity, never knowing when to quit.

Issue 5

Scoundrel 5 (v.1 n.5) was published in September 1984 and contains 94 pages.

first page of issue #5
  • there are many fan reviews of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • there are a number of photos of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as they get their "stars" at Mann's Chinese Theatre in May 1984
  • two fans, Diane P and Peggy D, write a con report for MediaWest, see that page
  • a review of the filktapes "Candle in the Shadows," "Spacer's Blues," "VHF Addendum," all parts of VHF see that page
  • a review of Lightspeed, see that page
  • a review of Combining Forces, see that page
  • a fan, "Dutchess Leah," writes a humorous essay called "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night," in which she does battle with a spider while washing dishes
  • many fans respond to the questions "When does the Emperor become a sorcerer", "What really killed Darth Vader," "What is a Jedi", "Was the creature scene in Jabba's palace more effective than the cantina scene in SW: ANH"
  • a fan, Nora Porben, writes an essay called "Of What are Fantasy Heroes Made"? -- she postulates that a hero must be "brave," "good," "intelligent," exhibit humor," "be romantic," and she compares these traits against Han Solo and Luke Skywalker
  • from the editorial:
    ... letters containing personal attacks and highly inflammatory content are still being sent in and in line with the policy ! stated In the last issue, I have sent these back to the authors to rethink. In most cases, the letters have been toned down. Further, starting with the next issue, I will not print any references to Cathedral of Luke or Church of Ford as I see this type of remark as nothing more than a personal attack on fans' views. So, guys, you're going to have to make your points some other way. There are many other things regarding the Saga to discuss without resorting to this type of disparagement. I'll say it again; I enjoy a good argument. If you disagree with a person, there's nothing wrong in telling that person so. However, when you do disagree, put forth your own arguments. Don't just tell the other person he or she is wrong and/or stupid because you don't go along with the premise, if you state your own views in a calm and logical fashion, perhaps you'll get others to see your point. Some fans have complained of "condescending" remarks by other fans. Well, gang, there is a wide gulf between condescension and attacking someone personally for their views. So, again, I'm asking you all to 'lighten up' and have fun with this.
  • a fan, Nancy E. Baker, writes an essay called "SASE Wars" about the definition and important of SASEs, and focuses on SASEs that are not returned:
    ... have you'ever wondered what happens to those SASE's that don't return which, while relatively few in number, nevertheless assume an importance of great proportions? Does anybody really know? I've fantacized five possible fates, leaving out the Post Office: (1) It is tossed into the wastebasket, probably along with the inquiry. No, no, no! As a penny-pincher who has worked somehow uncancelled stamps from letters received and used them again, I would hope this is never the fate of any SASE. A horrible waste! (2) The person to whom I have sent the inquiry (hereinafter called the inquiree) works the stamp off the SASE, tosses the inquiry and bare envelope away and uses the stamp again (with a little help from Elmer's), maybe even on her own SASE. A little better, not a complete waste. Okay, "her" means either gender here. (3) The inquiree crosses off my name and address, substitutes another, and uses both the envelope and stamp—probably to pay bills—since she wouldn't want to send such a tacky-looking envelope as an SASE or to her friends (who may be BNF's). Relatives, however, might get them, especially Mom and Dad. This possible use isn't too bad, both envelope and stamp are used, and there is a sense of resourcefulness here. The inquiry has probably been tossed, however. (4) The inquiree thinks she intends to answer, but she really doesn't have it together (just maybe she's in over her head in what she undertook), so she loses everything or files it where she doesn't have to think about it. Or else, she has no intentions of answering, but she can't bring herself to admit it, so she files it somewhere, later gafiates and sometime in the far future, her heirs sorting through her files are astounded by how cheaply letters could be sent 'way back when'. One heir wants to check with a philatelist for the" stamp's value—the other wants to add one dollar and use the stamp and envelope. (5) The inquiree is experiencing problems—illness, money, family, job, marital—one or more. She genuinely intends to answer—when things get better. As the time span stretches she feels embarrassed, starts to feel somewhat harrassed, though perhaps iIlogically. In some ways this possibility is the saddest of all. I would understand if I just knew what the problem was. When it comes to nonreturning SASE's—ignorance is not bliss!
  • a fan, Barbara A. Izzo, writes an article called "Twig? What Twig? Do You See a Twig?" which was originally sent to Southern Enclave as a LoC and revised here:
    When I watched ROTJ, I was puzzled at Han Solo's clumsiness and seeming incompetence at things at; which he should have been an expert, such as hot-wiring the door. After all, this is the man who "specially modified the Falcon and kept her flying with little more than glue. Some people have suggested jealousy on George Lucas' part as the reason. [The fan suggests some reasons for Han's clumsiness]: ... Han is simply clumsy, incompetent and a bit dim.... we are not given a time reference in ROTJ, very little time has passed since Han was released from carbonfreeze and he is still suffering from the effects of hibernation sickness.... The books indicate that once someone has successfully passed through the alchemic process and has been thusly changed, the effect is as if he (or she, of course, but since we are dealing with Han, let's stick to the male pronoun) had been newly born. And like a newborn, the individual is clumsy and must relearn things he once knew.... ROTJ is from Luke's P.O.V. (or, at least, those parts he is in). This would suggest that Han's seeming maladroit behavior results from Luke's having a low opinion of him... Han is blind. He never does regain his sight and he is attempting to substitute Force-sight for it. However, as he is unfamiliar with using this talent, he is still making mistakes.... Han is doing it on purpose. It's all an act.
  • fan, Pam Kowalski, writes a long article called "Some Words on Judging Fanart" - some excerpts:
    Floating heads bore me in stories; I expect the art in a tale to expand on what's being said, to at least compliment the action. I want to learn something about the story from the art, even if it is nothing more than how to be even more excited about the plot and characters.... Does the art indicate that the artist actually read the story? Don't laugh. I know of a story in which a character was described as wearing a flight suit, with helmet tucked under arm, but who was drawn wearing flowing robes, a definite incongruity considering the action being described.... Does the art add to the story? Illustration is supposed to do just that: give a picture of the story, in action, in atmosphere, in character revelation.... A pet peeve: illos of Han that use pictures of Ford as Tommy, Kenny, Deckard, etc., as source material. Ford looks different for each of those characters and it shows. If anyone should notice that, it's an artist.... Are you sure just who the characters are in the illo? I don't insist on 100%, or even 60%, fidelity of appearance because illustrative energy is usually channelled elsewhere but it is nice to be able to tell Han from Luke (or Luke from Leia, for that matter)... Of course, the main thing to keep in mind when reviewing art is the same courtesy accorded the rest of the fannish community. New artists are as fragile as new writers; more experienced artists still have tender feelings even if every once in a while we need to be reminded when we are indulging ourselves, or resting on our laurels. Speaking of indulging oneself, I'll close with a personal opinion: I firmly believe that illustrative art is a cooperative venture. When an artistic urge conflicts with a writer's intent, I believe the writer's intent must take precedence. Just as a writer should not expect miracles of an artist, or bitch unmercifully because the artist couldn't read the writer's mind, the artist who grandstands in an illustrative piece and expects the writer to take it, who hides behind "artistic license" to the detriment of the story, is breaking the unspoken agreement of mutual respect between writer and illustrator.
  • Marcia Brin has a long essay called "Supreme Intellect, Supreme Intellect, Who's Got the Supreme Intellect?" [Brin concludes it is Han Solo] in which she introduces with "What I had wanted to do with this article was take a concept raised by Lucasfilm which has only been mentioned briefly in one or two letters, examine its implications and mix in ideas both new (hopefully!) and old, i.e., which have appeared scattered across various letters and articles, in an effort to get as much information as possible into one place. There have been some articles, such as "The Other Chemistry" in SOUTHERN ENCLAVE and "Button, Button" in JUNDLAND WASTES, that covered some of these points in great depth, so those are touched on only briefly at the end." From an interview with Richard Marquand in "Mediascene Prevue":
    Q: Did George tell you the complete SW Saga, including the elements that can't be violated? Link lines? A: Yes, all nine parts. For me, the early days of Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi were the most intriguing. It didn't matter where the Jedi charac ters were going afterwards, but I had to know where they came from— that's the first trilogy. Q: When you heard the storyline of the entire nine episodes—especially details of this one—were you surprised? A: I was knocked out! If you follow the directions, and project into the final trilogy, you realize you're going to meet the supreme intellect, and you think, how is it possible to create a man who has such profound cunning that he can not only control Darth Vader, but the fate of Luke Sky walker. Control the destiny of the whole galaxy? You'll be amazed!
  • Juanita Salicrup writes a long review of Martie Benedict's filk music career:
    Back in the pages of Jundland Wastes #12 (December 1982), I was privileged to share with fans the joy of listening to Martie Benedict, Songmaster, Writer and Colorado's Special Gift to Fandom, when I reviewed her first seven VHF tapes (that's for "Very Harrison Ford" for the unitiated among you out there). At the time the task of giving adequate coverage to the 103 songs on those tapes nearly defeated me. Well, just in case anybody thought those were the last words on the subject-Martie has produced three more music tapes and a lyric 'zine since that not-so-long-ago review, thus confounding any who may have thought she was resting on the substantial accomplishment of those first tapes. Another 41 songs have been added to the potential collector's lists, and word has it there will soon be even more. This summer, Martie expects to produce her eleventh tape; this one will be dedicated to Indiana Jones and will be entitled, appropriately, Doomsday Book.
  • a fan writes of Leia:
    I've been a fan of hers from the beginning. I have little trouble reading stories with other women as Han's lover/mate/etc, but I haven't read any that equal Leia's strength and three-dimensionality. I do disagree with you on many points, however. My position is quite firm on Leia. I truly believe that fandom's N/, assumptions/attitudes about her are sexist, and that there is very little wrong with her from the beginning of the Saga. I fail to see the cold bitch in ANH, or even in ESB (where she is more confrontational, more annoyed, mainly with Han). She is passionate, warm, sensitive to what's important (Luke's grief over Ben, Han's need to choose his own way). People don't like her because she's blunt and sarcastic. She calls a spade a spade. But women aren't supposed to do that. Han is just as sarcastic, yet no one accuses him of being cold and insensitive. And why must Leia give up her responsibilities and commitments to the rebellion to have a relationship with Han?
  • about zine prices, and art:
    Zine prices have made me very frustrated. I've never lived on anything more than a few thousand dollars a year but try and explain that to an editor who's going crazy over a dozen or more little frills for her zine that raise the price to a ridiculous sum. I know variations in printers costs often force editors into a really awful dilemma, and I commend those who care enough to try their best to keep down costs. But I really believe some editors are very insensitive to their readers' pockets. And yes, while I do prefer a zine with art (and truly admire the artists for their work), I can live with a zine that has no art and a lot of fiction. But still, zines with art make the stories/poems in them live in a way a nonilloed zine can't. I remember buying a copy of Glazer's Tales of Feldman. Reading it, I felt very frustrated that there were no illos.
  • a fan writes of threesomes:
    Your responses to my article concerning mate-sharing for the Big 3 was wonderful, and I wholly agree with your perspective. No, not every male-female pairing need be a sexual one. As a matter of fact, I think the Luke-Leia relationship will turn out to be a deeply complex, stronger one than anyone realizes (and that's from someone who didn't like GL's choice of making them siblings. I thought it was too easy a cop-out for the triangle, and I don't believe Luke is suddenly over Leia because she's his sister). I also think it will be more interesting than the Han/Leia relationship. I only meant that I like the L/L pairing (as lovers) as much as the H/Leia. In some ways, I even feel it's better, as it seems less demanding, less pressured, more equal, more understanding of each other. But that's true if they're siblings, too. And I also meant to say that Han and Leia shouldn't be sexually tied to each other alone.
  • a fan addresses another:
    Your condescension is noted. If, by being a Luke-defender, I am a Vader-apologist (an incredible oversimplification and a case of the "slippery slope" logical fallacy) you, by attacking Luke have injected only negativism into the Saga and into fannish discussion.... Who's the one who's been characterizing herself as GL's messenger, as delivering GL's gospel to us poor, misguided innocents? At least I question GL's choices. You use him as an authority for your own gospel. Your attempts to "save the Saga" (I've never heard such high-handed rhetoricl) are a failure with me. Your either/or interpretation of the morals in the Saga doesn't correspond with GL's apparent message that there is good in all of us, if we only search for it.
  • a fan addresses another:
    I guess you didn't get the point. (I am verbose, but I'm not obscure.) Of course the basis of my article is a contridiction! That's the entire point! That's what SW fandom is founded on, and so the article describing it must therefore be based on a contradiction. Where do you see in my article a condemnation of fanfic? My point is that SW fandom cannot exist without this fleshing out! But the contradiction remains. What is on screen is a fairy tale. What we write is not.
  • a fan says that it's fans who are what keeps it all going:
    If George Lucas does decide not to do anymore SW movies and the rumors we've all been hearing turn out not to be true, it will be up to us to continue writing stories and doing artwork to keep the fandom alive. ST fandom continued for 15 years with nothing but the old TV episodes to work from. We have three full-length movies to work from plus whatever happened before, during, between and after them.
  • Roberta Rogow writes:
    I know exactly what you mean about monster-sized zines that cost a fortune. The last and final issue of Kessel Run was over 300 pages long! It's gotten me to the point where I have to give up the zine for reasons of both time and finance. I'm currently in debt to my printer to the tune of $2,000 and have had no time for my own writing for over two years (when's the last time anyone saw a new full-length story of mine printed?). I'm not saying all this to make anyone feel sorry for me, but I just want all the people who are considering going into zine publishing to beware of what can happen. Publishing a zine is lots of fun - meet plenty of people and make new friends among the writers and artists you work with - but it is also a lot of hard, time-consuming work. If you do plan to do a zine, take especial care that you don't get in over your head.
  • a fan writes:
    I'm hoping at this point to avoid as much of the Church of Ford hysteria as possible. They're starting to get repititious and the whole thing is getting boring. Time to go on to something interesting.... ENOUGH ALREADY of the Han-as-stupid debate. I say the same thing about the Luke-is-evil debate. We've all made up our minds as far as both are concerned, so ENOUGH!
  • regarding MediaWest and opposing camps:
    I'm sorry that you weren't able to make it to MediaWest*Con, too. If you had been there you would have seen that there was no final break or new spirit of friendship between the 'camps'. What there was was a bunch of people who have had a lot of disagreements in letterzines but who put all this aside in the spirit of the convention itself. We even joked about the subject a bit (I in my Han, Luke and Leia Fan shirt and Marcia Brin in her Synagogue of Ford shirt)... That kind of thing just isn't worth fighting over. I'm sure that we'll continue to have disagreements in letterzines and may even occasionally agree on some topic or other. One thing I'm sure of is that no matter how much any of us disagree on anything and despite unfortunately-ended friendships, it all blows over in time. I just hope that when everybody realizes how silly all this virulence is (and I admit my own part and guilt in it) that some of those friendships will be able to be patched back together.
  • a fan writes:
    Why are fans so vociferous in defending 'their' character? Because we aren't talking about what we saw on the screen, we're talking about our reactions to it, which may have nothing to do with what was actually there. As they say in Rome (back to that again!) 'De Gustibus Non Disputandum"—there is no disputing taste. And if I like Han, because he's dark and mysterious and cynical, and you like Luke because he's sweet and serious and virginal, that's you and me! It doesn't really matter in the long run—it's certainly nothing to fight laser duels over.
  • a fan writes of power balance and relationships -- she may be referring to slash, but probably not and is instead using that punctuation/symbol in the older "relationship" way:
    As for the Kirk/Spock thing—Trek fans seem to take that with several shakers of salt. Of course, there is a totally different relationship between Han and Luke compared with Kirk and Spock. For one thing, Kirk is definitely in command. He has the authority of Star Fleet behind him—no matter what he may feel about Spock, Spock is Second-in-Command, because Star Fleet says so! And that fact colors their relationship. Han is older, wiser, more experienced than Luke—yet Luke is named as leader by the Authorities. Han isn't going to take that lying down! He's been his own boss too long! (See numberless fanzine stories about it!) Han and Luke are social equals—Kirk and Spock are not, on several levels (Spock, for instance, is socially upscale on Vulcan, down-scale in Star Fleet. Think about it!).
  • regarding the more casual use of "/" of the time, an 18-year old male fan writes:
    You mentioned to [Dee W] that you were a Han/Ford fan. Well did you ever think when you wrote that, that what you said could turn out a whole new line of / fiction with crossover universes? With your slash mind, you've probably already written a full-length novel, but if not, wait until October and we'll work out the details!!
  • a fan thanks the editor and refers to Interstat:
    Thanx for the policy on "Personal Criticism". A letterzine which shall remain nameless is foundering on this particular rock. When passions are high it's easy to say things which are personally insulting to the intelligence and wounding to the pride of other correspondents. It's the editor's job to set a policy and stick to it—and there's no reason for the editor to lay herself or her contributors open to libel or slander charges! Literary criticism is one thing—personal attacks are quite another. And I'm glad this editor is willing to fight for her contributors.
  • about art, bad art, no art, and profit:
    I have heard of zines with no art, but have not so far seen any. I have some zines (granted, just a few) where I wish there had been no illustrations. Why do editors feel the need to use illustrations if there are no good artists available? I don't mean not to try a new artist, but to stick in rushed, tentative drawings by someone who did the drawings as a last resort (sometimes an editor) does nothing for the zine. One more thing. I think there was a question a year or so back in a letterzine about the fact that writers are not supposed to sell stories with copyrighted characters for profit, but artists do sell and I presume they make profits. ARe there two different laws here? Is it the forum in which media arts and crafts are sold that makes the difference between such sales and the confiscated ET imports? Characters have more protection than real people when it comes to having words put into their mouths.
  • regarding a fan's suspected pseudocide:
    This whole [J H] thing is terrible. It sounds as if she is afraid to say anything and is letting other people take care of her affairs. Taking money is thievery. And I don't believe it for a minute that [Miss H] is dead. In fact, I've heard she is married and for all we know, this person could be her husband (or a good friend) trying scare tactics. And if she has, indeed, died, then he or she is only making matters worse and insulting her memory. Whoever this sicko is who wrote to you, ought to take a hike.
  • this fan is fairly satisfied with things:
    I never really thought that Han would be the "other" and never really cared if he were or not. I wanted two things from ROTJ for Han: (1) that he not be killed, and (2 that he and Leia choose each other. I got my wishes, but I'm sorry he became a little silly in the process. It certainly wasn't necessasry. Love and lack of the Force should not rob Han of his interesting characteristics for fan writing. I have greatly enjoy stones wherein Han has the Force, but it's not needed, and I hope my favorite Han writers don t think so.
  • regarding a fan-written movie outline:
    First -- the "outline" of the first SW trilogy was in fact written by a fan and is not the real thing. The fan, John Flynn, is a long-time fan from the Baltimore area, especially in costuming. According to him, he wrote the outline and submitted it to Lucasfilm; the reaction was "This is nice, why don't you make a fanzine of it?" He was not to make a profit. However, a dealer picked up a copy, saw a chance to make money, and is marketing the outline as genuine. According to Maureen Garrett of Lucasfilm, the story was never submitted as an outline and the gentleman himself is trying to pass it off as genuine. (Information in this paragraph is from Linda Deneroff, who talked to both John Flynn and Maureen Garrett.)
  • regarding the treatment of droids:
    Something has been bothering me through quite a few issues about the question of slavery in the SW Saga. There have been any number of excuses offered for something that is essentially inexcusable: Luke's treatment of 3PO. In fact, one person even tells us that Luke is the only one who treated the droids well. I assume this means he treated them well when he was not betraying them, selling them into slavery or making them stand out in the rain.
  • on George Lucas' fan cred:
    George Lucas is not a fan, at least not as we understand the term. He never was interested in his characters as characters, as most of us are. This is one of the reasons that I'm looking forward to Steven Spielberg directing one or more of the next films. George trusts Steve, and they seem to compliment each other nicely. Spielberg will be able to take the fairy tale edge off without Lucas flinching. At least I hope so.
  • a male fan has this complaint:
    I have a gripe or two about the art auction at MediaWest. About the only thing there, and apparently the only thing that sells, are unicorn/pegasi, elfs and beefcake. I think I can speak for most of us fans with the XY chromosome, that there was an appalling lack of cheesecake; hunks were everywhere, but nothing to appeal to the men. Most of it was portrait work, obviously taken from a photo. This is the stuff that fans pay two-three hundred dollars for?l? I remember a painting I saw at MediaWest *Con 3; Han and Leia seen between the stout legs of a bounty hunter. Han seemed to be wounded, and they both had an "Oh, Shit!!" look on their faces. Now this is art!
  • big dreams for this fan:
    I have had this elaborate daydream for a couple of years now, about what I would do if I could get my hands on a state-of-the-art Tardis, a functionally infinite supply of money, a score of psychically-linked clones/androids, and the ability to play fast and loose with various laws (is an actor "trademarked"?). The goal? To become a pan-temporal SF&F movie/television mogul! One of my primary goals would be to produce more SW movies than there were Trek episodes. Keeping all those parallel time-lines in order and maintaining continuity would be a major undertaking, but I'd go for it! Now, just how would I market 80-plus SW movies....?
  • one difference between Star Wars and Star Trek:
    As to why there is such a bitter division between Han fans and Luke fans: The SW Saga does not, as [Pat M] suggests, operate on a true ensemble principle, because the three major characters are always going their separate ways. Even in ANH, the percentage of time when all three are actually on screen together is relatively small, and in the other two movies, it's almost as if we are watching two unconnected storylines. Contrast this with Star Trek, which immediately conjures up an image of Kirk, Spock and McCoy beaming down to a planet as a team. Also, the three characters of Star Trek's triangle are male, and female fans are free to like any or all of them. In Star Wars, we have two very strong male leads competing for the affection of both the only female character and the female audience in general. We pit Han and Luke against each other because they do not seem to have much of a relationship. The reason the Trek dispute never went beyond "friendly rivalry" is because you can't like one character and pretend the other doesn't exist. Kirk and Spock are two sides of the same coin, two parts of a whole. No one can question this fact after viewing The Search for Spock. On the other hand, if either Han or Luke were to die tomorrow, the surviving man would not be traumatically affected.
  • more on Star Trek and Star Wars:
    Long time ago, there was IDIC. And the Prime Directive. And the late 60s days of reaching for a gentler world view. Star Trek, for all the contrary action that slipped into scripts, at least tried to tackle the idea that a world government on Earth could arise, that people of all colors, creeds and sexes could mingle happily while on their ways to the stars. Fans embraced these notions enthusiastically and eventually, one of the traits of a ST fan became a belief system she/he shared with other fans, a philosophy that was different, geared to the future. Borrowing a sense of solidarity from SF fandom, a feeling of "we're all in this together, we're different and gloriously so", ST fans also embraced one another, recognizing the petty quarrels that always arise in large groups of humans as just that, human nature, not something to disturb the moral system erected and nurtured over the years. The first challenge to those beliefs, the ST moral system, was K/S. If you were against it, you were labeled homophobid [sic]. If you argued for the morality of adhering to a creator's right of definition, you were stared at, or ignored. The crisis lasted a number of years, but seems to have faded away as a cause celebre.... SW is not ST. The implications of SW for a person are far more primative, more personal. Where Trek spoke of Community, people with people and the moral responsibilities they shared, SW speaks to the Individual, and the single person's choice of moral behavior. ST could embrace a great many personal beliefs within agreed-upon group behavior. SW forces each of us to ponder our private behavior and concentrate on our private beliefs.
  • a fan tries to sum it up:
    That is what it really comes down to, isn't it? There seems to be a concerted effort by a small coterie of fans to stop us at all costs from asking questions, or analyzing and examining this film. They declaim, disparage, dismiss, denounce without putting in a counterargument supported by objective facts, such as events or statements in the film, statements from GL, Marquand and others. As Joe Friday has been known to say, "Just the facts, ma'am." Nothing works like facts and reasoned arguments in the long run; people get tired of harangues.
  • for this fan, no blue elephants, please:
    I felt that the cantina scene in SW was far more effective [than the scene in Jabba's palace]: #1 because it was unique and #2, that Blue Elephant [1] destroyed any credibility that that scene could have had for me. A Blue Elephant, for God's sakes? I had the same reaction the first time Yoda said "boo" to Luke in TESB. OH, my lord. It's Miss Piggy! While I did recover in subsequent viewings of TESB to hear Yoda and not Miss Piggy or Fozzy Bear, I have never been able to get over the Blue Elephant...

Issue 6

Scoundrel 6 (v.1 n.6) was published in early 1985 and contains 64 pages. There are illos by Barbara J. Kreuz and Suzy Sansom.

first page of issue #6
  • there is a review of Time Warp #6/7, see that page
  • the editor apologizes for the issue being late and writes:
    Being late may have its compensations. I have noted that some fans who subscribe to Southern Enclave voiced their opinions that our two zines are published too closely together. By Scoundrel being about two month's late, perhaps it will give fans more time to write their LoC's. In addition, I would like to offer my special thanks to Cheree for the excellent cooperation, suggestions and ironing-out-of-details she has afforded me in connection with the publishing of Scoundrel. I think we have proven that there is room for more than one letterzine in SW fandom.
  • the editor also adds a hopeful note:
    Finally, a plea to George Lucas. Please continue the Saga because I am a firm believer in the old adage, "The best is yet to come"!
  • a fan writes this personal statement and several fans include similar letters:
    Hi, there! Remember me? I contributed to your zine, REBEL AND THE ROGUE. I understand that the zine has already been published and has been available for some time. I'm writing you this letter to find out why I have not yet received my contributor's copy. Is there any problem? I would hate to have to blast you in the letterzines, but that is what you are forcing me to do. First of all, you've had my story since February 8, 1983, and the last time I spoke to you was the day you were "moving" to Texas, I find that you are now residing in Indiana. Then, out of nowhere, I re ceive a price flyer. For a zine I CONTRIBUTED TO! Trying to get you on the phone hasn't helped either- your phone's been disconnected. As well, a short note to you a month ago, asking if there was any problem in getting my contributor's copy to me, SASE enclosed, has gone unanswered. I'm sorry to hear that you have been sick, but that is still no excuse for not trying to communicate. I know that you have not lost my address. My receipt of your price flyer proved that. If I do not receive my contributor's copy of REBEL AND ROGUE in another month's time, I will be sending out a copy of this letter to DATAZINE, UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR, SOUTHERN ENCLAVE and SCOUNDREL for its inclusion in their next issues.... As an addendum, I would like to say that about a month ago, I found out, and not from Rena, that I am not in the zine after all! It's been almost two years now with absolutely no attempt at any kind of personal communication from her end. Whatever happened to the art of trust in fandom? It used to be that an oral acceptance was enough. Now, you'd better get it in writing, too!
  • a fan, Jean L. Stevenson, writes a rebuttal article in response to another fan's comment in the previous issue: "I have a question. . . .Why don't any of you have the ability to analyze a film as as film? Haven't you ever heard of continuity breaks? Have you ever been involved in making a film?" -- this article is called "Cosmos and Chaos" and it is a long, long academic explanation of story-telling and closes with
    There is no mistake in Star Wars. There are only a few continuity breaks. It tells precisely the story it wants to, reaches the audience it intends. And at last we've reached the ultimate critics, the audience. We give the applause—and the money to create more of the same. We like that one line or that one character or even that one player of a part, and so we carry from the theater a tiny bit of the message that began so long ago in the mind of one person. The Star Wars films have a large audience in the general public-those who may not recognize the exquisitely formal syntax of Han's "Tell that slimy, worm-ridden piece of filth he'll get no such pleasure from us!", but who from the beginning of history have learned to like a good story, well told. Fandom is a microcosm of that larger audience, a ghetto of tunnel-vision in the midst of world seers. As we watch the films over and over again, drinking in every image and sound, trying consciously to apply the thoughts engendered, we do more than play a game. The films stand in for a life-question, and we seek order in our lives. We seek a long-hidden truth, and we want to know it before others do. We want to know what happens when they close the coffin on us-the one thing we cannot know, can only contemplate according to the religious or philosphical training we have been given or have sought on our own. Ms. Necchi and I have always come from seemingly direct opposites. In this regard-specifically Return of the Jedi—it is quite true. She looks at the film and speaks of stupid characterizations, of continuity breaks, of sloppy filmmaking. I look at the same film and see streaks of clarity in the deliberately muddied glass which allow me to look on pieces of a very large and very beautiful picture. I look at the other films made by George Lucas-and his imprimatur is on every one-and say that he creates cosmos from chaos.
  • this issue has a con report for the 42nd WorldCon in Anaheim, CA which begins with:
    Labor Day weekend of 1984 will long be remembered in Anaheim, California as the lost weekend—at least to those folks who were in attendance at the 42nd World Science Fiction Convention held there! The feeling of having been swept up in a time warp hit you the minute you entered the doorway of the Anaheim Hilton and were confronted by hordes of barbarians, Star Fleet personnel, various and sundry aliens and a Dark Lord or two. The feeling intensified as you made your way through the throng and realized you were bumping into Nicholas Meyers or Marion Zimmer Bradley or *gasp* could that extremely tall, muscular man in the Vader suit REALLY be Dave Prowse? Well, it could have been. Anything seemed possible that particular, magical weekend. One con attendee even claims to have spied George Lucas himself, dressed appropriately in a Luke Skywalker-type cape, sneaking a peak at his own LucasFilm exhibit and chatting with a security guard. Anything's possible, I suppose.
  • a fan writes an essay called "In Defense of Ewoks" -- it is about the "Ewok special that premiered on network television late last year":
    I have maintained that the Ewoks are not "cute". However, there would have been nothing wrong if they were. I have emphasized their warrior personalities. There would also have been nothing wrong with having them soft, cuddly, mild-mannered and defenseless. But it would not have served the reason for their creation—to beat the Imperials. I feel the Ewoks are a great concept introduced into the Saga. They aren't perfect, and sometimes one's disbelief has to be suspended rather strongly, but let us not blame the Ewoks for any shortcomings (sorry) of Return of the Jedi.
  • a fan comments, one of many from fans answering the question of why wasn't Leia trained as a Jedi:
    ...one of the great criticisms of the SW Saga is that females are slighted as far as Force training goes. This may be an oversight, or it might be a hangup on the part of George Lucas, but it's one of the things STrek-fen hit SWars-fen with.
  • regarding the "unauthorized outline" being sold as a fanzine:
    New information on the purported outline for the first three SW movies: since writing earlier, I have learned that Maureen Garrett now agrees with John Flynn that an unscrupulous dealer, not he, was selling the outline as the real thing (at inflated prices).
  • fan, Bev C, writes about the reputation Han has in fanon and of what constitutes canon:
    As someone who has been in SW fandom almost literally form Day 1, I think I am in a position to correct what seems to be a misapprehension by Kathy Vergano about all the fan fiction in which Han is portrayed as a barhopping ladies' man. Those stories were not written to attack Han; they were written by the Han fans and represented a fairly general consensus about his character—which was admired (she says euphemistically) as enthusiastically then as it is now. The source for this characterization was probably the novelization of SW, which refers to drunkenness and similar things on Han's part; the novel bore GL's name, so it was taken as "true". It was still some time before the rumors began that the novel had been ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster (and 1983 before they were confirmed), and even before Gary Kurtz's explanation at Noreascon in 1980 that all sources except what was on screen were alternates. The other possible source (aside from active imaginations and libidos) was a still of Han in the cantina with a woman perched on each knee and a drink in front of him. That never made it into the movie, but it was seen and established a certain type of character that seemed to fit a smuggler and adventurer.... The other reason Han attracted so large a following so immediately is that he is, basically, the romantic hero of SW. The rakish hellion who is tamed by the love of the right woman is a standard character in romantic literature. A romantic hero has different qualities than a mythic hero, and he is not necessarily the same character: that is, romantic and mythic heroes can coexist in the same work. A good example: Arthur and Lancelot. Arthur is the mythic hero and the focus of the legends, but Lancelot is clearly the romantic hero. (It's interesting that the Lancelot subplot was only added to the Arthurian legends when they became the "property" of the court ladies.) I think some of the antagonism between "Han fans" and "Luke fans" stems from different definitions of hero, and a tendency, on both sides, to assume that the mythic and romantic heroes must be the same person. The antagonism didn't exist, certainly not at its current level of intensity, until TESB. I submit that part of the reason it arose, and has gone on so long, is the awakening of romantic/sexual interest in Luke in TESB, at the same time that Han overtly became a romantic hero. He'd been taken as one earlier, because his character fit the "type", but that became overt in TESB with the introduction of the Han/Leia romantic subplot. Meanwhile, Luke, who was intended, apparently, as the mythic or fairy tale hero, was arousing these other feelings in some people, so that his role was muddied—in the minds of fans, not of the filmmakers, I might add. Romantic and mythic heroes can coexist, I said, but it's very difficult to have two romantic heroes, especially when there is only one heroine. One is going to lose, and he will no longer be a romantic hero, but a secondary character. It's even more difficult when one of these two is already the mythic hero, because the duality of function that allows the two heroes to coexist as equals is disturbed. In either case, there's a disturbance of balance that effectively puts one of the characters in an inferior position, the natural reaction is to try to restore the balance, especially when you happen to be a partisan of or identify with the one who ends up in second place... Having said that some differences we see in the strong letters in zines of late are probably not reconcilable—neither side is going to convince the other—what next? I don't know, frankly. All I have is a plea for recognition of what the arguments are really about in many cases, and an especial plea for extra civility and courtesy because we are talking of deeply cherished beliefs that are at the core of our personhood.
  • a fan comments on another's complaint in the previous issue about a lack of "cheesecake" (female subjects) at the MediaWest art show:
    Tim Blaes notes the preponderance of male portraits in media art shows. He makes a good point—that art is more than iconization of (male) stars. However, after centuries of traditional art which institutionalized the female nude, painted by almost exclusively male artists, a corresponding interest by the female-dominated mediafandom in male portraits is hardly to be wondered at. This reversal is hardly an eradication of sexism, but it is a drop in the bucket, historically speaking, to what women have been seeing of themselves in traditional art.
  • regarding Leia and sexism:
    Sandra brings up the question of Leia and sexism, also. I tend to disagree with both ends of the argument: those who see Leia solely through Solo's perspective, as well as those who see her as either the salvation of the Alliance or nothing. Both views are sexist since both views demand action from Leia based on her sex rather than on her human spirit. Leia is not Han's shadow, nor is she hopeless if not grand mucky-muck of all. We were, after all, never told she ran the rebellion. She was a senator; she was influential on Yavin; she was one of Command on Hoth. Now her planet is gone, Yavin is discovered, and Hoth base is destroyed. One of many experienced Alliance operatives who have gathered at Mon Mothma's call, Leia is a woman of ability and action, and by circumstances is free of many old demands on her life. She has a galaxy to choose from; and apparently, within the Alliance, she can choose her missions. I submit that were she male, this would be interpreted as a measure of the Alliance's faith in her judgement rather than a sign of her demotion. I submit that hesitantly, but I grew up under the onus of "you must be all or nothing to be of value" and I do not wish it for Leia. Leia doesn't have to prove her worth as a female in either direction. Neither does Leia have to prove her power or resourcefulness to the Alliance as Han does; she has more freedom as a consequence. If anything, I believe Jedi's presentation of Leia celebrates the true liberation of spirit Leia has achieved. Not only does she have her history now, she also has what such a history can often deny both women and men: friendship, a happy sense of love and a casual ease among the ordinary of life. Jedi emphasizes both Leia and Han's personhood. It is not, after all, her sexy costume on Jabba's yacht that elicites "I love you" from Han; it is rather Leia's action outside the bunker on Endor, behavior that is a reflection of who she is, not what sex she is, that demands Han's declaration. In the same way, it is not the romantic interlude on the darkened Falcon, or the cozy room on Bespin that solicits Leia's affectionate admission. It is Han's actions as a brave person, as someone who acts with honor and dignity in what may well be the end of his life, that demands Leia's acknowledgement.
  • regarding Steven Spielberg and female heroes:
    someone expressed the hope that Spielberg might direct SW 4. I for one hope not. SS does little boys wonderfully; he handles smart-aleck sisters fine, and he's dynamite with strong Moms. But I wouldn't trust him with the kind of involved person L&L's mother is bound to be. Lucas may begin with stereotypes, but he puts twists on them that free the characters in unexpected ways. Spielberg loves to work with women, but on screen his females don't do anything not well within accepted roles for women. I long, for once, for SS to give us a young girl with an ET on her bike. I doubt that will happen.
  • a fan comments about an article in the previous issue:
    I enjoyed all the articles in this issue, especially Marcia Brin's in which she tries to convince us that Han is the Supreme Intellect who has been guiding everything and everyone along since after the first trilogy. She has some mighty convincing arguments in this article. All I can say is that I hope she is completely wrong. I like the human Han Solo that I saw in the movies. As I've said in earlier letters, if Han turns out to be something other than what he appears to be, he is not Han Solo. He is a sham and a phoney who has been tricking us and everyone in the Saga all along. For Ben Kenobi to have skirted around the truth concerning Luke's father was bad enough. For Han to be a complete lie would be inexcusable.
  • an 18-year old male fan actually admits to reading slash, something this letterzine stays far, far away from:
    Me a Han/Ford fan?! Nah, smacks too much of incest. Besides, there are already people writing Simon/Simon stories. (The funniest—unintentionally, I swear—slash story I ever read has to be the Dano/McGarrett one. I thought I'd die, I laughed so hard.) As for me, I'll stick to Han/Luke, Han/Luke/Leia, Kirk/Spock, Starsky/Hutch and Bodie/Doyle. Hey, I have to draw the line somewhere. After all, I have to read and write straight stuff, too.
  • a fan writes:
    I have and will collate some of my day-dreams into fanzine stories, and even a few original works. But I don't think you understand the reason for my silly little Tardis fantasy; I'd like to be told a story, more exactly, to see it in a theatre, just as much as I'd like to create it for other fans. We have less than six hours of information on Lucas' creation, as opposed to over 70 of Trek. I also have a mischievous element in the Tardis fantasy; imagine if you will-somebody shows up at MediaWest with two or three hours of preview trailers for 30 or 40 SW movies that no one knew existed! Titles like "Journey Through the Mind's Eye", "The Dolphins of Assisi" and "Wedge Antillies Conquers the Universe". Fandom would turn cartwheels! Lucasfilm would get strange letters! And watching everybody freak-out would bring me no end of delight.
  • a fan writes of the fandom schisms regarding characters:
    Interesting that you assume that the only people who criticize Han are the Luke fans. By my remembrance, Luke started taking lumps after Empire, and until then none of the characters came off well; Luke was the hick, Leia was the bitch and Darth was simply a thug. I don't remember any assault on Han in Alderaan or Jundland Wastes, and Against the Sith was too busy slandering Leia and printing bad fiction to subject Han to any special treatment.
  • about fanart:
    By and large, fandom has marvelous artists and it is seldom I find fault with zine art. And, it is true, fan artists don't get the recognition they deserve. We all can't attend the cons where art auctions are held, hoping to come away with at least a small Barbara Fister-Liltz, a Karen River, or a Wanda Lybarger. It's a shame no one has put out a zine featuring fan artists. It would be a wonderful tribute to them.
  • a fan, Juanita S, offers her kudos:
    This latest issue of Scoundrel, like all its predecessor issues, is not only handsome and packed with information, inspiration, aggravation and enlightenment, it is also a tour de force performance! As one who worked on the production of the late and admirable Jundland Wastes, I can say from experience that your work is truly remarkable: a tribute to characterological strength, editorial capability, good taste and sheer physical stamina. My hat's off to you!
  • more of the same, says this fan:
    Last ish, several people touched old, familiar, tiresome chords of cacaphony by plucking on a few atonal strings. The melodies have always jarred...
  • regarding canon:
    ... a final thought on the acceptability of ancillary materials in analyzing the saga: Wherever anyone derived the notion that because something had been revealed in a source other than any of the three films it could safely be considered as "unapproved" material, I don't know, but I suggest the he or she knows little of either the nature of the copyright law or the righteously possessive make-up of George Lucas. If you take the trouble to examine these "ancillary" sources, you will find the Lucasfilm imprimatur on each and every published work/film/TV program/tape/or record. In the words of Lawrence Kasdan, twice screenwriter for Lucas' story material: "When you work for George Lucas, you march to his drummer". In other words, nothing receives his stamp of approval that he does not wish to see disseminated to the public at large.
  • tone it down, says this fan:
    I'm glad to see you won't be printing any more "Cathedral" or "Church" letters. Personal attacks are damaging to both the writer of the letter and to its subject. Cheree Cargill is so disturbed by the tone of letters she's been receiving for Southern Enclave that she's considering stopping SE's publication. That would be a loss to fandom. So try to cool it—O.K., guys?
  • Maggie Nowakowska wants some feedback:
    my address is at the top of this letter. There's a lot of my stuff (stories, filks, poems) floating around out there. While I've received a couple of nice surprises in the way of letters praising my work, I'd love to hear what anybody else out there who has read my work thinks of it. LoC's to the zines are nice, but I may not get to read them for a year or longer. So, if anybody has read any of my "Starbird's Children" stories, or any of the filks or poems and has an opinion (good or bad—I'm thick skinned and who knows? The criticism might help.), would you drop me a line? Thanks muchly.
  • a fan is unhappy with a certain theme:
    I was more than a little unhappy with some of the stories I've read since the MW deluge of fanzines. I was disappointed to see some writers using the "incest" theme for their stories. I can't buy their reasoning and use of the all-time great excuse copout of "How do we know this is not accepted in their galaxy?" Well, I can only hope that this theme is dropped quickly! Do you mean to tell me that there aren't enough story ideas out there that you have to resort to this type of thing? It's true what a friend, said. They're going to get Luke and Leia together in spite of what happened in the movies. It's sad to think this has happened and the editors(s) in this case should have used a firmer hand!
  • more on this theme:
    I am also confused about Sandra's statements about the Luke/Leia and Han/Leia relationships. Incest is less stressful? Violations of taboos rarely are, and George Lucas was making this film for American audiences who will hardly accept this casually. It is amazing how some people are suddenly accepting incest, in order to get around the fact that Leia did not choose Luke (originally) and that Luke believes Leia to be his sister. If Luke had been an ax-murderer, would that become acceptable, too? Leia chose Han when it still was a choice, and she hardly seems unhappy with it. And, as Sandra and a few other fen are fond of saying, "Nice alternate universe story."
  • this fan is weighs in on droid rights:
    I really can't grok all this fuss [Dee W] makes about droid rights. As I understand it, droids are man-made mechanicals. Should a mechanical be given the right of free choice or the right to vote? What equipment does it possess to make that "choice ? Would not that "choice" be reckoned by their man-crated program?
  • on being a fanatic:
    Those of us who have this great interest in studying and analyzing Wars or Trek are called fans-short for fanatics. If we had the same interest in, and put the same effort into studying Shakespeare or Donne, we would be called scholars.

References

  1. see Google Images: Blue Elephant