Southern Enclave/Issues 21-30

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Issues 01-10 · Issues 11-20 · Issues 21-30 · Issues 31-40 · Issues 41-54

Issue 21 (March 1989)

front page of issue #21
  • What's Black and White and Read All Over: The Symbolism of Black and White in Star Wars by Terri Black (reprinted from issue #3)
  • Ideas into Words by Ellen Randolph is an article about the creative process of writing and why some fans write fanfic; the article includes quotes from Maggie Nowakowska, Jenni Hennig, Jean L. Stevenson, Marcia Brin and Kate Birkel.
  • the editor is making a tech upgrade:
    I have also decided that it's time to buy that new computer equipment I've shopped around for and I hope to purchase it this weekend. I'll be getting a Fountain PC (an IBM clone) with a 20 megabyte hard drive, a 512K floppy disk drive, and monochrome monitor plus upgrading my DOS to 3.30 and my word processing program to WordPerfect 5.0. I've been working with this equipment in my job for nearly a year now and am very happy with it. This should make the production of SE and the other zines much easier and faster.
  • Ming Wathne comments on lending library and the difficulty in tracking down material and getting permissions from authors:
    Sorry, lady. The Ming Library has a disaster sign on the door and nobody in their right mind lets originals out of their sight, since some are impossible to replace. One of the really difficult problems with fan fiction is the fact that many of the old time items have ended up in garbage heaps, as the fan authors and editors ·lose interest. And many were in short supply to begin with (I have one zine which lists a grand total of 20 copies). And while I agree with Mary Urhausen's outline on copies (in #20), we have to realize fanfiction is somewhat more difficult to deal with. Tracing the editors and/or authors of zines that have been out of print for 6 to 10 years can be a study in detective work and frustration. Uhen the Star Uars Lending Library [from Maggie Nowakowska, et all was open, they never received answers to many requests to release the zines to copy. These were not rejections to copy (which they did receive a few of), but simply no response--no answers at all. What does one do then? Is it fair to prevent new fans (some who were not more than 7 or 8 when the zines were released) from reading the early stories, poems, etc.? For those of us who can get to MediaUest, the situation is somewhat better, but even then the situation is problematical. I have been searching for the Swedish version of "The Dark Lord" issues 1, 2 and 6 for 3-1/2 years, all attempts to reach the editor and authors have been in vain so it would seem my only possibilty would be if someone has a copy and would copy it. This is not a unique situation. Since last year, I have managed to collect only six out of print zines, this despite combing all advertisements and sending SASEs to every zine and auction sale I can lay my hands on. We also have that particular bane of the zine fanfiction world, the editor who accepts money for copies, produces a dozen or so, then disappears into the woodwork with the cash. And there are only a few zines with those great stories. How do you satisfy 100 fans with 12 zines? What is the ethical decision in these situations? At present, we have no realistic standards. By the way, the new count in my zine catalog is over 400. 85% are originals or copies authorized by the editor and/or author. In fact, 2 of the editors were kind enough to make copies for me themselves of their out of print zines (Thank You! Thank You!). About 8% are stories that have never been circulated. The rest are copies--sometimes copies of copies of zines that fall into the 2 outlined categories since, like the Lending Library, even extensive search failed to get any leads. I am sure that at this time, there is no doubt that I am a SW Zine enthusiast, and I think if we as a group can work out a reasonable approach to this sitution, we would find less of the pirating. Making copies is almost always more expensive than buying originals, but for the new fan, getting the older originals can be an impossible proposition.
  • a fan has an open mind:
    I agree with you about the new fans writing fanfic from "a different point of view." Anyone unwilling to accept new ideas can only stagnate, and I'd hate to see that happen to sw fandom. Slash fiction? Haven't read any but I wouldn't be shocked if I came across it. I try to keep an open mind and I think even slash fiction (good, bad or otherwise) has a place in the genre. After all, it's a fact of life today. No doubt it will continue to be so.
  • another fan comments on the new fans and fanfic, and asks for some guidance:
    I hope that at some point you will take the time to educate me and my fellow neos on just what you think the topics are that you feel the newer writers (and general new fan discussions) are tackling either (as you said) from familiar items with a different angle or subjects of a different nature. I'm still careening into individual trees (sorta like pinballing with a shade more organization) so I really haven't clambered up a trunk to get many views of the "forest". Enlightenment please! I know Maggie talks abou recurring cycles (first in ST, then SW), but you sound like you are going beyond the cyclic pattern.
  • a fan comments on SW fandom:
    Since several people brought the subject up, I don't believe that SW fandom has died out, either. It is changing, certainly, and hopefuLLy it's a change for the better. Perhaps SW fandom appears to have died because we don't actively go out of our way to recruit people. It seems to me that the fans have been fairly low key lately.
  • a fan addresses another:
    Leave it to your creative and organized mind to dish up the Fan Public Statement forms. Having not really been caught in or even around one of those, your idea seems pretty solid to me. Mass vitriolic mailings, really? (I suppose things can get out of hand; obviously, the early ishes of SE got heated up past flashpoint.)

Issue 22 (June 1989)

cover issue #22
  • commentary/complaints about the FanQ process by the editor -- she complained of the timing, the organization, the divisions, the vareity... :
    As you can see, I am highly displeased with the whole manner in which the Q's were handled this year. And I'd also like to put before the body of fandom a radical question: Have the Fan Q's outlived their purpose? When they were first given out, and for many years thereafter, fandom was a fairly cohesive group, with only a few divisions — ST, SW, Media, and some other fandoms that flared and then faded practically away—DR. WHO, SIMON & SIMON, REMINGTON STEELE, MIAMI VICE, to name a few. The Fan Q voting was fairly uncomplicated because most voting fans were acquainted with most of the nominees and therefore the voting Displayed a fairly comprehensive overview of fandom's true favorites. This year's ballot was incredibly splintered. There were categories for ST (and ST:TNG), SW, B7, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, STARMAN, SIMON & SIMON, THE MAN FROM UNCLE, ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, MULTIMEDIA, and even Japanese animationl The "Gen/Misc" further contained nominations from LETHAL WEAPON, THE PROFESSIONALS, STINGRAY, MIAMI VICE, SHADOW CHASERS, and ADDERLY, as well as fantasy. How many of you are acquainted with more than two or three of these groups? If you're a SW fan, have you ever heard of Nei Mo Han or V.M. Wyman? I haven't, but they were both nominated for best artist in the Japanese animation section. If you're a B7 fan, have you ever heard of the zines nominated in the STARMAN category? I haven't. In other words, don't you feel that, if the Fan Q'a are the "bright center of the universe", then you're on the "planet that it's farthest from"? I sure did! Is it time the Fan Q's were allowed to gracefully die? Am I the only one to feel this way? Several fandoms have already split off with their own awards.
  • the editor of The Wookiee Commode writes:
    There are a couple of things in your editorial that I wanted to comment on, Cheree. One thing was the problem—growing problem, unfortunately of zine "piracy." It seems more and more common among editors that have some issues behind them, especially issues that now are sold out. I won't name any offenders by name, but we have run into this situation with THE WQOKIEE COMMODE, too. Both our 3rd and 4th issues are sold out (and the 5th nearly is, as I write this), and I know: for a fact that there are unauthorized xeroxed copies out there. {For my solution to this situation, see my LoC in SE2O.) In fandom, as in any human endeavor, there will always be a few bad apples and quick-buck artists; the responsibility lies with the zine-buying public. If no one would buy "black market xeroxes," they wouldn't exist.
  • regarding the Fan Q:
    I would like to remind fans that the 1989 Fan Q Award nominations are open now. I know many zine readers don't bother to nominate; they just figure they'll wait until the Fan Q ballot comes out, and then they'll vote. Well, I just wanted to point out that a lot of great stories, artists and zines never even make it to the ballot, because they didn't have three or more people nominate them. So instead of moaning that your favorites never make it to the voting, so why bother, get out there and nominate them! They can't be on the ballot or win if they're not nominated!
  • regarding Star Wars and Media*West:
    Last year at Media*West*Con, there were no SW panels! In spite of a continued interest in SW art and zines—perhaps even a resurgence of interest in SW art and zines—no one proposed or filled a panel for any SW-related topic. I hope this won't happen again this year, and that some of you will join me in proposing panel ideas on SW topics, and offering to be on those panels. Although I have many other interests in fandom, and my level of interest in SW tends to wax and wane, it has always been there at the bedrock of my grounding in fandom. I think it has the power to endure, but people seem to have forgotten that it takes active participation to keep it visible. There is still a lot of "underground" SW fandom at cons like MWC: room parties, Denny's marathon chats, informal sleaze readings, etc. But I would hate to think that some person new to cons and organized fandom and interest in SW in particular, would go away from MWC thinking that SW fandom must really be dead, just because we didn't bother to have some public display of SW fandom. Fandoms sometimes blaze into prominence, then fall by the wayside ("Willow" art sold very well last year—but I bet there won't be any this year); but SW is one of those rare things, like ST, that is not just a passing fad. Not everyone is able to put out a SW zine, or even write or draw in SW—or any—fandom. But everyone who is interested in SW is capable of telling people that fact and supporting SW functions at cons like MWC.
  • regarding photocopying of fiction:
    I know many people won't agree with me, but it's still my contention that even being unable to contact the publisher of a defunct or out-of-print zine for the permission to make a xerox does not give you the right to make yourself a copy anyway. In my opinion, if you can't reach a publisher, you can't make a xerox. You can always still try to buy an issue from someone (okay, okay—I'll admit that often is a dead end); or borrow an issue to read. But once you xerox it, I feel you've stepped over line and stolen the zine.
  • regrading locating old fiction:
    I think Ming has a good point re out-of-print zines. To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, "I think there should be a little leniency shown in that direction." And I'm not being merely academic here, since I was the editor of now out-of-print letterzines (JUNDLAND WASTES) and a one-shot fiction zine ALDERAANI IMPERATIVE). Personally, I have no objection to anyone copying either of those for friends, if the zines are not available on the new or used zine market. (Doing it in bulk for profit, would be a different matter...since that would be making money off my labor.) But individual copying seems harmless to me and beneficial for people who don't have a chance to get the zines.
  • choosing a side:
    I would never want to step on any editor's toes regarding the reprinting/photocopying of their zine, but if it is a choice between possibly doing that and preventing the loss of a zine, then I would choose the latter.
  • on the usefulness of the "non-fan":
    From one dinosaur to another — GRONK! You're right about the difference in perspective between fans and non-fans who nevertheless like SW. I love to talk to "non-fans" about the films because they bring a refreshingly straight-forward approach to the dilemmas we love to hash over so thoroughly! After ROTJ came out, especially, I needed large doses of non-fan logic to counteract some of the rabid fan frothing that was going on. Non-fans have no problem understanding the premise of the film; they tend to take Lucas pretty much at face value. And none of them had any problem with who the hero of the film was (none of this Luke-sliding-to-the-Darkside crap for them!). Part of the fun of being involved in any fandom, of course, is all of the analyzing and even the extremes of opinion (after all, where in the real world can you hold such bizarre passions and not get into trouble?). Rut occasionally it seems like high passion outruns good sense, and people get a little toooo carried away with stating their case.
  • a technology memory:
    What a godsend PCs are to zine eds! Egads—did 1 really used to turn out zines on a $10 Royal electric (bought from my cousin in a garage sale) with a space bar rigged up with a rubber band?? What a long way we've come since then, huh? And to answer several people who've asked, sure, if you want to send diskettes, that'll be fine. As stated, 1 run Wordperfect 5.0 with DOS 3.3. I can take WP 4.2 and convert if that's what you have. I don't mind retyping stuff though; sending disks back and forth might get expensive and a letter only costs 25 cents. So, whatever you guys want...
  • regarding Han Fans and Church of Ford:
    One thing bathers me in many fan stories: That the Jedi are such supermen that no one else (literally) seems to count for anything. I would think that would cause a revolt among the common people in short order. Besides which...I'm one of those who (with Cheree) went through the Church of Ford/Cathedral of Luke times (those were the dark days, etc.). And sometimes I sort of wonder if other Han fans (I'm a Han fan, but not CoF) saw more clearly than I did: that unless Han turned out to be Jedi...he was no one, zero, useless. And that' s why the fight got so nasty. Dr at least one of the reasons. I don't know, but I do think it's a valid theory.
  • lack of females:
    But seriously, people, where are all the women in those movies? Was it here that I read a suggestion that perhaps human biology simply worked in that universe so that many more men were born than women? That would explain the lack of women in the front lines. I know I've asked this question here before, but I'm still looking for a good explanation. After all, we tend to look at a lot of little details (such as the blood from the alien's arm in the cantina scene), trying to find explanations other than "George screwed up". And this is NOT a little detail. Philosophically, by presenting strong female leaders such as Leia and Mon Mothma, Lucas suggests a fairly egalitarian society. Visually, however, he doesn't show us very many women involved in the daily life of his universe. The entire Imperial army is male, as are most of the rebels; Beru is shown doing stereotypical "women's work" around the farm. Most of us seem to use the philosophical system of gender relation and ignore what is actually shown. Any suggestions? It's an issue I find myself shying away from when I write, although I'm trying to work on it a little more. ({Ed: Although we as (mostly) women in our 20's and 30's have come of age with Women's Liberation as a fact in our lives, remember that it has only been in the last twenty years that this has been so. Our mothers' generation was that of happy housewives and decidedly segregated social roles. Is it possible that such case exists in the SW universe? That Leia and Mon Mothma are exceptions to the rule, just as there were exceptions in previous generations, and that Beru's life is actually the norm for that society?
  • a fan re-reads her old copies of Alderaan, a Star Wars letterzine from ten years ago and gives a brief recap of each issue, beginning with:
    I read through them and was heartily amused to discover that, save the issues that no one could have known about in ROTJ, just about every single blasted topic of discussion that has humored fandom was at least mentioned in the first 3-1/2 years. Since folks have been talking about the "old days" and some are feeling self-conscious about bringing up "old" subjects, maybe it would be good to review just how "old" those topics are and to recognize that accusations of repetition are useless if something was a core issue from the beginning. ALDERAAN was published by Jeff Johnson. First issue, February 1978, was 6 pages (including mailing label, classifieds, editorial and product reviews) and had 9 letters, some only one paragraph long. Included in those first, short letters were the following subjects: 1). The relevance of SW as opposed to the relevance of ST, with side trips into: a) Whether women should be interested in essentially a boy's adventure flick. b) the derivative nature of SW as opposed to more speculative SF. c) The promotion of the military in SW. 2) Leia's status a) as a prize b) as a bossy, unfeminine person 3) who is Kenobi?
  • some thoughts on George Lucas:
    I'm not down on the man, I'd love to be in his position. But he's very well off now and a part of the system he used to complain about. Hell, he is the system now! When people start talking about what we "owe" him...

Issue 23 (September 1989)

cover of issue #23
  • contains 54 pages
  • contains many newspaper clippings
  • "The Corpse Kicks Back" -- a call for discussion and response article to a previous essay is reprinted -- "Last issue, the lead article, "Shaking the Bones" by Pat Nussman and Jacqueline Taero, generated more interest than this old fandom has seen in a long time. Just about every LoC writer dove in head first and gave answers/opinions on most of the issues raised. In order to make things a bit less confusing in reading these answers, I am reprinting the article for reference purposes. Let's see this one continue for a while!" Many, many fans wrote in with their thoughts on these discussion questions.
  • "Solo... Harrison and Me!" by Ketty De Chirico, a report of attending a May 20, 1980 press presentation of The Empire Strikes Back in London
  • the editor has some new technology to use with the letterzine:
    Well, like the looks of this paqe? It should be the wave of the future for SE. I have just purchased a new printer-an NEC: 5300 Pinwriter. With this new printer, I will be able to take full advantaqe of the Word Perfect 's desktop publishing features and include such nice graphics as numerous built in typefaces, lines and boxes. Later, I hope to add an additional desktop publishing program to produce further enhancements to our new look. Hope you like it!
  • a fan comments on the Fan Qs:
    You asked for opinions on how the Fan Q's were handled this year and though I was unable to attend MWC, I did feel that things in general were not operating as smoothly as has been reported to me in the past. I have wondered, along with many of my private correspondents, why Fan Q ballots are not made a part of every zine. Is it too expensive or complicated to insert in the back of each zine the guidelines for submitting nominees, along with instructions on how to vote after the nominations are in? Many non-MWC attendees and/or newcomers to SW fandom are unfamiliar with the awards, I've found. Surely advertising them in such a way could only benefit. Then again, perhaps you are right that Fan Q's have become little more than popularity contests and too broad in scope. It would be truly interesting to see SW fans have their own awards--the Obi, maybe--but who would run it and how would it be set up? Whatever the solution, I honestly feel the first step is wider publicity, either for the MWC Fan Q's or a new SW award.
  • a fan writes of MediaWest and some fans' unhappiness with the lack of Star Wars panels and such:
    I too was disappointed. That was my only attendance to date and I did feel SW was slighted. (In spite of the Imperial influence I saw in the halls.) SW fandom, I feel, is every bit as loyal as that of ST, yet Trekkers survived on TV reruns for a very long time. It saddens me to think that Force-followers are seen as less strong in their allegiance. I will do all I can to attend MWC next year and, believe me, I will support SW fandom in any way possible.
  • another fan comments on MediaWest and Star Wars fandom:
    've never been to a major con before so I'm not sure whether my opinion would be counted, but from your description, it seems that SW and the Fan Q's are not mixing well or at least not enjoying the partnership they've had in the past. I'm sure some people don't know how to vote/nominate. I know I don't. I've never gone to MWC so thought it really didn't matter. There are quite a few SW stories and zines being printed nowadays. I think there is enough material that we could possibly have our own SW awards, separate from the Fan Q's.
  • a fan comments on The Force:
    tend to agree that the Force is intentionally ambiguous. While reading JW the other night, I came across an old LoC contrasting ST and SW in which the writer suggested that fannish opinion of the two divided over how much appetite a particular fandom had for ambiguity; that ST was solid and easily measured while SW was meant to vary with the particular viewer (which is why I've always felt ST to be Newtonian and SW to exist more in the realm of quantum mechanics). Susan, who is a long time B7 fan, suggests that in both universes you are attracted to the survivors. Susan also commented that since the two universes have very little else in common, there's no need to worry comparisons.
  • a fan writes of relief at being late to the party:
    I came to participate in the SW fandom network too late to get involved with the Church of Ford/Cathedral of Luke issues and I think I'm quite glad about that.
  • a fan addresses another one:
    Your art auction comments are not without irony. Most of the MediaWest art show is a violation of some studio's property. Even if a particular studio did not object to the use of their characters, any of the actors could sue over the use of their likeness (especially in slash art). The photographer whose work was lifted from in many examples could, no, would sue i f he ever caught the artist. Aren't we discussing honor among thieves?
  • regarding the roles of females in the future:
    for me, the assumption of current sexual roles in futuristic fiction is just too easy an explanation; as a reader, I prefer more imaginative explanations. Give me an Alderaan where the women agree that fertile females can't be chanced in war and make it believable before presenting a society where the female situation reads suspiciously like last night's newspaper. As one among many different societies, I'll buy it as a replication of our problems, but not as the explanation for both Mon Mothma and Leia. We have no reason to believe they are from the same society, let alone planet.
  • regarding Ethics and Etiquette: A Proposal for the Buying and Selling of Fanzines:
    I enjoyed your article on fanzine ethics and etiquette and agree with nearly everything you said. The one problem I can see is when no one knows how to reach either a publisher who's no longer publishing or an author/artist no longer involved in the fandom to obtain permission. Personally, I have never considered even asking for an zine to be copied for me. It's always "felt" wrong, but there has been the occasional story or art piece that has caught my eye in a zine belonging to a friend. Rarely, that friend has photocopied the story or artwork for me, knowing that I wanted it solely for my own pleasure. If that makes me a thief, I apologize and profess ignorance, but neither myself nor my friend knew how to contact those involved to get "legal" clearance. Still, thanks to your enlightening article, I now feel measurably guilty.
  • more on zine ethics:
    I'm shocked and appalled that there are those who think of some fans as "thieves" for wanting to read and enjoy what other fans meant to be enjoyed! Has it come to this, turning on each other? I never imagined such an attitude existed in SW fandom. While I agree with most of the ethical code proposed, the logic behind the charge of "stealing" OOP zines escapes me. Such a charge would be valid only if the owner of the zine profited from copies or deprived the editor/contributors of profit by reprinting. I agree the selling of OOP zine copies for more than cost is unethical but since, ostensibly, neither editors nor contributors make any money producing a zine, I do not see what is being stolen. How can someone "steal" what I, as a contributor, GAVE away to be enjoyed by others? If I am wrong, please correct me, but I've been under the impression that those of us involved with zine production are motivated by love for the particular fandom and a desire to share our creativity with other fans. Why would anyone who poured so much talent, effort and time into a zine--whether editing, writing or illustrating--rather see their work die than be shared? As an author/artist, I am saddened to think an editor may one day thwart my intention to share my work with other fans by calling their sharing it with one another a crime. I hope, too, that those same editors never copy a passage from a library book, or trade needlework patterns or cookbook recipes. What the attempt to criminalize generosity and sharing between fans really means--in my POV--is that there are two classes of fans, the Haves and the Have Nots. The Have Nots (latecomers, newcomers or the unlucky) can hear about this great zine, or that great story but we can never read it unless someone takes pity on us and lends us a copy. Owning it, of course, if forever Forbidden by the Haves, since they have the Originals and love them too much to part with them but not enough to share them. After all, the editors and contributors forgot to say "If we only wanted one person to read this, we would have kept it in a notebook under our beds." So...the ideas and art and sharing stop here? That's not what I want for something I poured my heart and soul and money (yes! authors and artists spend their own money, too, on supplies and postage) into for over a year. I would be flattered if people were interested in my work after it was out of print. Not only would I give my permission to reprint my story or art, I'd copy my originals if no one else would. These comments may not endear me to my editor but I am entitled to my opinion and would not have offered it on such a controversial subject if Mary hadn't asked for responses. I can't imagine there will be many folks straddling the fence on this one; my conscience wouldn't allow it. If I'm going to err, it's going to be on the side that offers the greatest chance for creative expression of any kind to survive. To lock a book away, to prevent the continued expression and expansion of its contents, kills not only the idea it holds but the love that was put into it. Love of ideas and sharing them is what holds fandoms together. When those things evaporate, or are restricted, fandoms die. This may not change anyone's mind, but I hope it illustrates how the copying issue can be seen validly from another POV.
  • another fan writes:
    If you're taking votes, Cheree, I'll come down on the side that says it's okay to photocopy an oop zine if you unsuccessfully SASE, if you've tried to buy your own copy and simply can't find one. May I go on the record as stating that anyone who wants to photocopy JEDISTARDARKFALCoNKNIGHT, whichever edition, is welcome to? I would add one comment to Mary's observations: Don't automatically assume the editor is out to rip you offI No matter what happens in an exchange between seller and buyer, there is no excuse for viscious letters being exchanged. And if you do receive a nasty note, please don't compound the issue by replying in kind--no need to get down in the gutter with the offender. I know of editors who have received vitriolic letters, accusing them of postal fraud, which were written two weeks after the original order was sent out. For heaven's sake, people, even professional mail order houses have 30 days to fulfill orders!
  • about Ethics and Etiquette: A Proposal for the Buying and Selling of Fanzines:
    I'd like to talk about Mary Urhausen's "Ethics and Etiquette" article. Fascinating and so sensible! I confess I've never had many of the problems she's discussed. I've been lucky enough to buy many of my zines at cons-- mostly because I've heard so many horror stories about ordering through the mail! I'm also not really into xeroxing zines--there are still too many originals to spend money on. But I can see how copying zines can really burn an editor! My question is, if you sell a used zine of one that's still in print, isn't that much the same as sell- ing the xerox? I've bought used zines for half the price even if the zine is still available. The rationale, of course, is that it may not be worth $18-$20 but I'd be willing to try it for half price. Does that violate an editor's rights? Does it take money out of their pocket even though the original purchaser has a legitimate right to sell? I'd like to know how folks feel about this.
  • a fan weighs in on zine copying:
    As for mine own zines -- once I've announced they're out of print, xerox at leisure. But photocopying any zine that's still available is the dirtiest possible pool. Yes, I know zines are expensive; check out printing costs sometime. The days of the 250-page, $7-including-postage zine have been gone these many, many moons. Gestetner mimeo on fibertone paper? Get real. We've been spoiled by computers, photo-offset, color covers, screened illos, and all those nifty bells and whistles that make a zine gorgeous--and expensive. Costs can be brought down by printing in mass quantities--but is it feasible these days to print 800 copies of a SW zine? How many years should a publisher have to wait to recover even a significant fraction of her costs? I know very few people who make a profit from their zines. Everybody else (including your humble and obedient) loses money. If you can't afford a zine by yourself, buy it in partnerhsip with a fellow fan and share. But please don't xerox something still in print. It's Just Not Nice.
  • more on zine ethics, this time from Ming Wathne:
    Though I agree with some of what Mary Urhausen says, we all must realize that fanzines are not the same as general issue magazines. You cannot go down to your local old book or out of print store and ask them to search for a fanzine that is out of print. Let me state that I draw a firm line between those zines that are available on the market and those that are out of print, and once a zine has been announced as out of print, it is in my opinion OOP unless the editor announces reissue or photocopy dates. There are suppositions being made here; they are: If a zine is OOP, the editor has recouped his or her financial investment in the zine (I do not consider time or effort or loss of sleep). The artists, authors, poets, puzzle makers, etc., contributed fan material to be read by fans, not to be locked up in a closet somewhere. Copies are not to be made on a commercial basis for general distribution without the agreement of the editor (you don't sell other people's material). If efforts to contact editors of OOP zines have gotten no response (letters not returned, SASEs not returned), I do not feel guilty about making copies. I was nice and reasonable and polite; if you could not be bothered to at least say "no" when using my stamp, don't complain. With our mobile and changeable society, many of the old addresses are no good. Getting in touch with many of the small presses that were in business 10 years ago is impossible. I know; I try. I search phone books and have friends in the area of last known addresses searching (bless you, bless you). I check fan listings, zine references and bug my fan friends. Still, over half my search-SASEs are never acknowledged or returned. IF YOU HAVE LOST INTEREST, DON'T PLAY FOX IN THE HEN HOUSE AND DEPRIVE OTHERS OF THE CHANCE TO READ THESE OOP ZINES. Most important--making copies is a pain in the nether parts. It takes time and costs money, in many cases more than the cost of the original zines. I make copies under conditions that the zine is OOP (I will copy whole in this case). Example: PHOENIX printed in 1980. I have copy 19 of 100 copies printed. I have never seen another copy and I have had mine for 6 years. This zine is 300 pages long; it would cost about $7.00 new. IF you could find it used, it would probably cost about $15.00. It would cost over $30 to copy the thing, plus postage. You only copy when you get desperate. I make copies of material that is OOP in single stories, or missing segments of continued stories. I do not make money copying; I do not particularly enjoy doing it. It takes time, but we have many new fans in the fanzine world who would never have the chance to read the older material without copies, since chancing a rare zine to the mails would never be considered. I have spent the last months cataloguing my zines and starting to catalogue authors. It is a rough estimate that I have over 1300 SW stories. Almost 300 of these were made from copies sent out when the library was open, but without copies what chance do the new fans have at all these great or sometimes not so great stories? As a group, it might be time that we try to establish some type of standard for copies. Some- thing that would be both fair to the editors, authors and artists, and yet something that would be standard and reasonable, given zine realities, to make copies. Any ideas that would be fair and reasonable would be appreciated. I do not like to feel like I have taken advantage of the great editors who have taken time and energy to put togeth- er these zines. On the other hand, I do not think fans should be deprived of these stories given the limited reality of the zine world. I am wearing my asbestos suit, so any comments? More to the point, any practical ideas?
  • another fan offers his opinion:
    Out of print zines. The editor/publisher should be sought out first, but if all else fails, I see no real crime in xeroxing a friend's zine for personal use. As [Pat N] says, doing it by bulk for profit is a different matter--and entirely wrong. If reprints/xeroxes are offered by the editor, fans should use that route, rather than trying to get around the cost by having easy/free access to a xeroxer.
  • a fan has this tongue-in-cheek reply about zine copying:
    And now, the Clone Wars.... Our opinion, formulated after years of careful research in the Imperial Archives, is that the Clone Wars began during the summer of 1989 on a small planet called Earth, when one Mary Urhausen wrote an article concerning the illegal copying (i.e., cloning) of fanzines. This article began the escalating emotional debate between those who agreed with Dr. Urhausen that xeroxing out of print zines was not allowable without the express permission of zine eds, and those who felt that it could be done if there was no other way of acquiring a certain zine. These so-called "Clone Wars" quickly spread throughout the galaxy. Eventually, the public tired of these disputes and this paved the way for rise of the Emperor Palpatine, who forbade the publishing of zines altogether. Alright, that's enough of that! On to the more serious issue of zine cloning, for real. I'm a zine buyer, not a zine ed, so I tend to sympathize with the people who are looking for OOP zines and simply cannot find copies for sale. I suppose that one should try to borrow a copy, but even that may be difficult. Obviously, if the zine eds say "no, you can't copy the zine", then that's it. It's their zine, after all. But it seems to be that by dropping out of fandom or not responding to inquiries, a zine ed somehow gives up some part of their rights to the zine. It seems as though they don't really care what is done with their zines. But I don't think that anyone except the zine eds should be able to "sell" xeroxes. The person who receives the xerox should pay the costs of copying and shipping, and that's all.
  • a fan writes:
    This is my first LoC and I usually wouldn't write but the zine copying ethics thing really was something I felt I must stick my PoV into. I have been a SW fan since 1977. I have been active in fan fiction since 1986. I am what most of you would call the "new guard." I have been told there are two types of fans, the "old guard" and the "new." I, in my humble POV, think there should only be one "guard". Those of us, who in whatever year--'77, '80 or '83--found a part of ourselves we never knew was missing in the STAR WARS trilogy. Now, Mary Urhausen has said those of us who copy, or receive copies of out of print zines, are THIEVES! I haven't heard such 8antha droppings since American soldiers in Vietnam were being called "baby killers." Last time I looked, SW fandom about trust, but more importantly, I thought the main idea behind it was sharing. If we who pay whatever amount, from $2.00 to $17.50, and up don't own our zines, what is the money for? Rental? I have copied individual stories for friends and, as long as I have money and access to Kinko's Copies stores, I will continue to. By Mary Urhausen's definition of ethics, this makes me a thief. What are your solutions for stopping this, Mary? Are you going to callout the CIA? The FBI? Or maybe even your own per- sonal Gestapo, the Zine Police? Will there be a member of the Zine Police at my Kinko's? When I buy a zine, will I have to sign a statement saying, "I will never be unethical and make a copy"? B.S.!!! This is America, NOT Russia, and if I pay for a zine, then possession is still 9/10's of the law. If helping a SW fan in these dark times means copying a story here or there, then by Mary's standards, I am unethical. I go to cons, too. Who cares if I copy a zine? It is my business, not theirs. If you want to put me on a blacklist for simply helping out a fellow fan, SO BE IT! If copying an out of print zine is thievery, then I am guilty as charged! For everyone of us who admits to copying, there are probably 10 more of us in knowing this, Mary, will you still sell WOOKIEE COMMODES to new people, or will you be like so many others and place your hands around the throat of SW to help choke the life out of it? You're not ethical, Mary Urhausen. You're sad. Long live the Alliance.
  • another fan writes:
    Taken from your perspective, I can find very little flaw in your stand against the photocopying of zines. But I can't help but think: why are we producing zines in the first place? I had always assumed that they were a means of communication and response , and the "business" of zine production was a means to an end. If you could produce a zine at zero cost, would you give your zine away for free? If not, how would you justify making money off of Lucas' creations? If a zine is out of print, then what is to be gained by preventing not-for-profit photocopying?

Issue 24 (December 1989)

front cover of issue #24
  • Z.P. Florian writes of her zines:
    Sure, go ahead. Do not xerox whole issues, do not xerox presently selling zines, but please do xerox OOP's, and do xerox for those who cannot afford 20 pezetas for a zine. Fandom is sharing, period.
  • a fan comments on the zine cloning:
    As to the photocopying issue, it is a touchy one. Indeed, I agree that copies of zines currently being sold should not be made. There is the question of copyright law when it comes to the out-of-print issues, but as long as the copying is not done in any type of massive scale, nor is there any type of profit whatsoever made in the transaction, I am rather ambivalent about it. I can see both sides of the coin. In the case of a zine that has only had a few hundred copies made, there are times when the only way you can have the opportunity to read them is to have a copy made for you. However, at the very least you should try to contact the editor to obtain permission or see if they can photocopy the material for you. If you are not able to reach the editor or the editor does not respond, does this mean that the material is then lost to fandom forever? We are not talking about authors losing royalties because of the copying. I think the situation is a bit different than "regular" books and magazines because of the way the material is produced in the first place. You are taking copyrighted characters and universes and using them as the basis for the zine. A limited run is made of the zine and, if any money shows up on the plus side, it is a miracle of the first magnitude. Therefore, it seems that in these situations, copying a zine or a story for a friend -- with no profit being made and not being done on a mass scale -- is not any greater of a "crime" than is producing the zine in the first place. I would think in this case you could use the accounting principal of materiality. Does the copying make any material difference? You are not obtaining money, nor are you in the business of doing the copying on a large scale. Technically, it may not be legal, but technically zines using copyrighted characters are also in a grey area. If you say that copying is completely wrong, are you also saying that the production of the zine in the first place is also wrong? It seems to me that these two areas go together... If we say (and I DO say) that zine production on a limited not-for-profit basis is fine and dandy, then could it not be deemed hypocritical to say that it is a complete no-no to copy material from a zine, as long as it is done within limits. What are the differences involved? The same arguments of time and money put into a creation could be said of those who originally created STAR WARS and STAR TREK for not allowing the existence of fanzines as are being given as to why individual items may not be copied from those self-same zines. If we say that we are saying one cannot be done, are we not saying that the other cannot be done as well?
  • more on zine cloning:
    Indeed, the "Emperor" exists! He has the power to end the the "ownership" question once and for all, by exercising the Legal Copyright. Just because he hasn't moved legally against a low-profile fanzinedom doesn't mean he won't if the questicn of $$ rears its head. Some people seem to have gotten so complacent re fanzines' technically illegal status that they're going to start debating "ownership" of something we are merely allowed to play with! So far, fandom hasn't invoked the wrath of our particular playground's owner and whatever may irk him occasionally isn't enough to make legal action worthwhile. However... if certain very findable people start talking about money being made, we can all be sure that Emperor George will take notice, and take a very close look at fanzines. We'd best play quietly if we wish to continue playing at all...
  • a fan weighs in:
    This zine pirating business, I think the main thing is common sense. Copying an ilIo or a cover, or a particularly good story isn't what anyone is worried about. In an era where copying is so cheap and accessible there simply isn't any way to prevent this. What zine editors do worry about are people that buy or borrow their zine--either new or out of print- make unlimited copies and sell them via mail order or even wholesale to unsuspecting dealers. That's piracy, and it goes on all the time. Zine editors are doing us a service; these pirates are out to rip us off by printing poor quality zines and insuring that zine eds never recoup their original investments so they are less likely to publish more issues.
  • more on zine cloning:
    ... throwing another 2 cents in, where I feel an editor would be hurt by unauthorized copying is if the editor planned to do a reprint, ran off a few hundred extras, and then had them sit in the garage because fans were copying first run issues, not buying reprints. That's why we should first try the editors. If they don't plan a reprint or can't be reached, I feel we should proceed on the assumption that we are all friends with a common bond--love of fandom.
  • more on cloning:
    As for xerox oopies... Well, personally, I won't buy them. I much prefer the originals but I think that if a zine is OOP, anyone should be able to xerox it. Only once in my life did I ever copy a zine story (not having a xerox machine handy, I laboriously typed it out). The zine was at the tine OOP and I sent the story to a friend who subsequently bought a reprint of the zine.
  • on cloning:
    You should be aware that there are true zine pirates out there that, with malice aforethought, suck the blood right rut of fandom. Not just old zines, but the very latest seem to fall into their clutches.
  • a fan does a bit of transforming:
    I took advantage of the network butchering of JEDI to edit all the Ewok scenes out (except any with the main characters) without feeling guilty. They really aren't missed.
  • regarding the proposed "Obi Awards" for zines:
    I like the idea of awards for SW fandom alone but it seems like it would end up with so few entries that they'd all win something by default alone. Though one advantage would be that there wouldn't have to be nominations really. All the categories could just list everything that came out that year. Include a listing/ballot with every zine that year, or hand them out at conventions. I think we should call it the Darthie though...
  • a fan comments on WorldCon and snobbery:
    WorldCon was great, even if I did not get to meet many other SWers. Seemed whenever I knew there was a gathering of them, there was a panel going on I'd hoped to see or it would be that day's only chance for dinner, or something. There was loads of programming, even if the media-oriented fan did get the short end of the stick. Did anyone else feel the definite snobbery of literary fans against anything media? This was crystallized at the Sunday, 50th Anniversary Brunch when same Big Name lamented for the "days when the number of fans who read SF out-numbered those who didn't." A slap at media fandom, IMO. Excuse me, sir, but I am not illiterate. I may not read the cutting edge of SF, but I do quite nicely, thank you... If you go to a BIG con like this, media fans should have their shields up. Defensive only, though. Fandom's got enough bickering.
  • regarding selling used zines:
    Once you buy anything, as far as I know, you have the right to sell it to another individual. That goes for used cars to used books. There must certainly be laws on volume dealing, etc., but a private collector selling to another sounds fair game to me.
  • a fan addresses another:
    Oh, yeah, so a teenage girl can only be a figurehead? How old was Alexander the Great? Cleopatra? How many senators dared to talk to Vader the same way Leia talked to him in ANH? Leia was raised to rule! Give some credit to the aristocracy. Aside from this, your idea about Luke Lars using the name Skywalker only after the Larses were dead is simply splendid. And I am delighted to see that you view Vader as a tragic character; I used to call him the Space Faust.

Issue 25 (March 1990)

front page of issue #25
  • a volunteer for the zine police:
    I have never imagined people xeroxing whole zines and SELLING them. This is low, my God, this is the dirtiest. I am all for friends xeroxing for each other, for free, but SELLING pirate copies? Just for this, let's make a Zine Police. (Although I'm a little short for a Stormtrooper, I will keep my eyes open at cons for anyone selling pirate issues.)
  • on zine copying:
    I wanted to hasten to react to Mary's article...I am in absolute agreement with what she proposes. My only disagreement previously (and I hope I stated it politely) dealt with OOP zines, where a fan could not get a hold of the editor or buy a copy on the used zine market. Copying zines under any other circumstances is piracy of the worst sort... A lot of that sort of thing happened in Blake's 7 fandom, threatening the system that allows editors to recoup their initial investment. Indeed, a number of fans in B7 seemed to have a quaint idea that editors make money. I found this quite humorous, seeing that my last SWars zine cost me about $500.00 that I could ill afford to use. Aside from personal experience, it would be nearly impossible for a zine ed to make money, for the simple reason that zines are such limited-circulation enterprises. Look at the amount professional publishers charge and they're dealing with hundreds of thousands of copies! Again, for the record, I officially give permission for fans to copy any of my OOP SWars zines (frankly, it's easier on me than doing the photocopying myself): JUNDLAND WASTES (all issues), ALDERAANI IMPERATIVE, COMPLETE CIRCLE OF FIRE 1 and COMPLEAT ZEEK 1. For the record, the last two never had second volumes because of various fiscal problems... SWars has become a fairly small market and the price of printing is way up.
  • on zine copying:
    Most published books and magazines are supposedly illegal to photocopy, yet why do most libraries have photocopiers? I think most of us, at one time or another, have been pirates. I have given and received duped tapes (audio and video). I am in search of a bumpersticker that says "If Take My VCR Away From Me, You'll Have to Pry it From My Cold Dead Fingers" and I know of a few satellite dish owners who feel much the same way. But none of us are in the business of piracy. Anyway, suppose we find some slimeball selling obviously copied zines? What do we do then? Paramount has threatened to ban all ST zines if they get dragged into fannish matters such as this. How can we take legal action against a zine pirate? I have a feeling we may have to call in the Equalizer.
  • more on zine copying:
    ...I personally feel an editor who asks fans not to xerox OOP zines is being selfish. Never copy a still-in-print or to-be-reprinted zine (save just a story or illo to loan, which might encourage another to buy a copy for her/himself) because that will financially hurt the editor. But, if it is truly OOP, who will be harmed by copying? Zine editors are building sand castles in George's sandbox. If you are done and are going to play elsewhere, leaving your castles behind, I don't feel we will hurt you if we mate copies of those castles (for personal use, NOT resale). After all, it was never your sand to begin with, so why should you mind?
  • a fan address's another's earlier comment:
    When the editor is losing an average of $500 (?) per zine run, not counting the time and labor to put a zine together, I feel they've already done their good deed of the day to all of fandom; for both the well off and "those who cannot afford 20 pezetas for a zine." Instead of xeroxing zines for friends who are on a tighter budget, these generous friends could loan their original/buy an extra zine copy for lending purposes. Buying an extra copy would benefit not only those they loan the zines to, but the editor, too. Or, how about several fans short on cash pooling resources and sharing the zine?
  • a fan would like avoid a past issue:
    please, please ...no revival of the Church of Ford/Cathedral of Luke junk. I retired from SWars fandom something like--what was it—two or three years because I find protracted fighting unpleasant. (Of course, I jumped from the frying pan into the fire, as those of you familiar with the really advanced back-stabbing in B7 fandom can testify.) I'm now into a British show (THE SANDBAGGERS) that appears to have only about 10 or 15 active fans ...very restful. But now that the old fights have died down in SWars, I'd like to dip my toe in again.
  • regarding fan awards:
    ...I think doing an individual SW "Fan Q" type competition is quite a good idea and what better forum than the only SW letterzine around?...And the Fan Q's — rather prestigious in past years — have degenerated because of the number of fandoms (not a bad thing in itself) and the resulting, I fear, loading of the ballots in a couple individual fandoms. No, I won't name names. But I'd like to see something more meaningful for this particular fandom. I say this with absolute neutrality, since I haven't written a SW story in several years.
  • regarding original characters:
    ... I'd like to throw out a comment on fanfic and see what other folks think. Most fanfic in SW is about Han, Leia and Luke—apparently that's what people want to read and I can't argue with that. How^ ever, as a writer, I get tired of writing the same characters ... one of the reasons I've switched around tandems. There's some SW fanfic I'd still love to do, but it involves created characters, so I haven't bothered. Questions to readers: Am I wrong or right? Would fans read about other characters, if set in the SW universe. To writers: Do any of you have similar frustrations or am I just weird?
  • WorldCon, a fan says, was a bust:
    WorldCon here was the same. Very clique-ish, very standoffish. Rather like a private party on the road. I'm glad I attended, though, so now I won't think I'm missing anything. Except for a huge (but expensive) dealer's room, it was a waste of time for media, especially SW, fans.
  • a fan who is straddling both fan writing and pro writing has this to say:
    I've got something to say that I've been meaning to say for a long time. It's simply this: Thank you. All of you (even the people to whan I'm not speaking!) taught me how to write. You edited my farmish work, published it, illustrated it, read it. Reacted to it. When I did well, you said so. When I screwed up, you said so (Lordy, how you people do say so!). Without your generosity, I would never have learned what I did right so I could do it again, and especially what I did wrong so I could avoid making the same mistakes. (Now I make different mistakes...) So — thank you. Please go on being generous with your reactions. Without them, writers can't learn from you.
  • a fan comments on another's disappointing experience at WorldCon:
    Ch, dear, didn't anyone prepare you for the snobbery of SP lit fans at cons? It's been going on a loooong time, back to the days when ST fans started showing up at SF cons. I've been with an established SF fan at a con, both of us talking happily about ST or SW, when another established SF fan approaches and my companion suddenly becomes sarcastic and negative about any electronic SF. God forbid he should have betrayed his roots! There's fault and illogic on both sides of the issue. I think the basic tribal reason — they were here first and have the right to define what goes on at their cons and are therefore resentful of having to admit strangers -- still holds truest. As late as 1966, the SF world con had only 600 attendees and everyone could meet and talk with nearly everyone else about the subjects everyone was familiar with and felt clannish about. ST not only brought in great numbers of strangers, but many of them were female and many of both sexes knew/cared diddly-squat about SF. like holding a SW con and being "invaded" by B7 fans whose numbers magnify your costs by a factor of zillion, and who then proceed to insist on panel time and event time that destroy the steeped-in SW ambiance you and your friends have worked so hard to create. This sort of thing has been going on for over 20 years and probably isn't about to change any time soon. Different regions have different levels of intolerance and world cons do reflect the personality of the region putting it on. Try to be charitable. Some of those SF fans who are most pissed off at media fen may be those who have had to put up most with media nerds wearing oversized Spock ears/swinging overcharged fake blasters in everyone's face while playing overly obnoxious Corellians/any other embarrassing behavior—and giving their performance happily for the local TV crews out to show the world that SF fans are true nut cases.

Issue 26 (June 1990)

cover issue #26
  • online here
  • contains 42 pages
  • The Faces of Media*West Con X (many photographs) and a very short con report by the editor
  • art by Judith Low, Z.P. Florian, Cheree Cargill
  • many newspaper clippings
  • submission requests for some zines that never got off the ground ("Heart's Blood" [vampires], " Galactic Castaways" [Lost in Space], "Walkabout" [Mel Gibson-centric], "The Midnight Hour" [Midnight Caller], see Proposed Zines for others
  • a fan writes "Would you believe I even have verbal copies of my own work that I made for overseas friends because tapes are cheaper to mail than bulky paper?"
  • a fan comments on original characters:
    In answer to your question concerning whether fans will read stories that don't center around the main characters, I'd say yes, but with reservations. I always read all "Luke stories" first and then read the rest of the zine. In the case of a multimedia zine, I do sometimes skip stories on subjects I have no firsthand acquaintance with, BLAKE'S 7, for example. (We don't get the show here on the moon.) One of the finest stories I've recently had the pleasure to read was by Catriona Campbell in SHADOWSTAR. It's titled "The Forgotten" and is superb. It doesn't deal with the central characters, though they are skillfully there on the edge of the plot. Her people do ordinary things and still succeed in making the reader care about them. If anyone else has read this story, I'm sure they know what I mean... Basically, though, I think most fans buy zines to read about their favorites. Realistically, the bookstores are full of cheaper purchases about new characters, to be successful, a zine will probably always have to stick to about 90% fan fiction built around the main stars.
  • regarding fan awards:
    I still feel that SW fandom needs its own awards, but since no one seems to be stepping forward to volunteer (see, we're saner than most think), the Fan Q's are all we have. Unfortunately, only a few understand the awards or what they mean to the nominees and winners. I've attended only one MWC and still do not have a clear picture of the nomination process, I knew non-attendees can nominate for a nominal fee, but is that fee per nomination, per category, etc.? I didn't even know the deadline until it was too late this year. Plus, besides nominating, can non-attendees vote on the final nominees? How? If MWC or individual editors would spell out the rules simply and enclose a sample ballot in every zine, I honestly feel the process would be more equal, as well as more fair. I know the year I attended MWC, I was told one of those who won did so due to a sympathy contingent of attending friends. Is this fair? As it stands now, few readers know the rules, deadlines, etc., even if they've heard of the award—and many haven't. I don't mean this to sound like sour grapes. Being nominated once myself, I know the thrill it gave me. I'd like to see more people get the chance to experience that feeling.
  • the editor of Southern Enclave comments on the Fan Q:
    Part of the problem... is that there are no set rules, deadlines, etc. for the Fan Q's. They change nearly every year at the whim, it seems, of the MediaWest*Con committee and whatever is handling the FQ's that year. Deadlines are a joke... and getting less funny every year. This year the ballots didn't even go out with the final progress report—they were available at the con. And don't ask me who won. I don't know if there was even an announcement of the winners and I never heard or saw anyone say anything about them. I assume we'll eventually learn the outcome... whenever Lori gets around to putting out the post-con report. I stand by what I said last year—the Fan Q's have outlived their purpose and should be allowed to die gracefully.
  • a fan asks another:
    What makes you think 'TREK zines are less underground than SW zines? I still meet avid ST fen who have never even imagined such a thing as a zine and others who know about them but have never find the contacts needed to find them.
  • a fan looks into the future:
    The latest word is that Lucas will wait until '97 to release the first trilogy. Seven bloody damn years! If I have to wait that long, he had better do them all at once and release them six months or so apart! At this rate, we will be lucky to see the last trilogy before 2010!
  • more on the movies:
    I'm not going to say that I think George "owes" that fans anything else in the way of more SW movies—it is, after all, a free country. One thing he does owe us is a little honesty, which appears to be in short supply. I am not an innately cynical person, but I am beginning to feel more than a little used and strung along. I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way, either. I'm tired of vague, empty references to "getting around to it one of these days." This new official answer of "I probably will [start thinking about more SW] in the next five or six years" would only seem to confirm my suspicions—Lucas just doesn't want to make anymore SW films. He isn't interested. He is interested in keeping fan interest up, though—so he's stringing us along. I am really beginning to think we won't ever see another SW film.
  • on genre and divisions:
    Is SW science fiction or space opera? I don't mind classifications such as "space opera" or "hard sf" or whatever, as long as it's not done in a negative sense (and that is the most important point). Putting labels on things often helps to understand what they are. SW, ST, and 2001 are all examples of SF, but none are in the same vein nor can they be compared evenly. Apples and oranges. SF is a broad category, with many subgroups. By one's vision of what is good SF, SW will fail Miserably, but it's great space opera. In media vs. book SF, there also do I not really mind a distinction, always on the underlying thought that these classifications are not done to put same-thing down. I don't mind being known as a media fan, as long as people don't exclude the fact that I am also a book fan. Media and book fandoms are not mutually exclusive, and just as media has subgroups, so do books. As an example, ]]Piers Anthony]] and J.R.R. Tolkien are not the same sort of fantasy writing.
  • what is canon?:
    ...after all these years, I have cane to the conclusion that hardly anything at all can be considered SW canon. Fans can't seem to agree on what anything means, save acknowledging that the movies exist. I'm not being entirely facetious here. We can quote exact words all we want, but if we can't agree on their implication, let alone their application to the plot, conversation is reduced to "Well, this is how I believe it goes..."

Issue 27 (October 1990)

cover of issue #27
  • it contains 54 pages
  • it has many newspaper clippings
  • No News Ain't Necessarily Good News, an article by Cheree Cargill with the subject: "Are repetitious and overworked storylines bringing about the death of SW fanfiction, and why aren't people coming up with something fresh?"
  • Ming Wathne writes:
    Well, as you know, we had a wee bit of a scare with the fire here in Santa Barbara. I am now tryinq to diversify the Library and set up as much as possible a duplicate at an alternate address just to be on the safe side.
  • a fan writes of future Star Wars movies:
    George does not owe us anything, but if he is tired of playing in the sand box, why not qive others the chance? There are many other directors who could build on the foundations he created and do a great job.
  • more on future movies:
    I'm always amazed that we actually believe George when he tells us that he's about to make another SW movie. By now, we really ought to know better than to trust him. I will admit that I don't see him ever making them, although I don't understand why he's so against the idea.
  • more on movies:
    Seven years to the next trilogy, eh? Let's see, 1'11 be 48 then. Hey, if he waits until 1999, I can treat myself to a return of SW in my 50th birthday month, since, per past performance, the movie will probably premiere on May 25th.
  • a fan comments on the lack of "Luke stories":
    I never noticed an outstanding lack of them myself, but it's quite possible that I was just never looking for them. What I do notice is a lack of "Leia" stories. Not stories in which she's actually the main character, just stories in which she isn't portrayed as a bitch just because she's in a position of power and doesn't have sex with Han soon after meeting him. Oh, well, we all have our pet peeves. In a female dominated field, the lack of attention paid to the one major female character provided by the movies themselves seems rather bizarre.
  • Vader sexy?:
    I have to admit I haven't quite figured out why Vader has sex appeal for many people, short of equating sex with power, which is the explanation I've heard most often. But then, I've never understood the appeal of other characters with that main aspect, such as Avon in B7. It seems to me that people who are so interested in power are only interested in themselves. And, what good are extreme egoists in relationships? As a one-night good-time-joe for an exquisitely self-confident partner, maybe; but, even then, wouldn't such a scenario simply present a scene of one ego using the other ego to make itself feel good?
  • regarding WorldCon:
    While I felt the '89 Easton con could have had more programming for us media folk, I don't have bad memories of the con. Much the opposite. It was an amazing and quite enjoyable experience. Hopefully, the committee in charge of the '91 Chicago con will open up programming more so that there is a better balance. At Noreascon 3 in '89, I did attend lots of media oriented panels. These were fleshed out by non-media sf stuff, visiting with friends and penpals, and lots of autographs by sf authors and even a few sideline media people (Frank Marshall, George R.R. Martin, some ST novelists). Media programming and guests made up, perhaps, 10% of the con by my ballpark guessing, but WorldCon is so huge that 10% is a large number of guests/events. To me, being a life-long SF fan, WorldCon was my pilgrimage to "Mecca". I had to do it at least once. I'd recommend anyone who prides themselves on being a SF fan to make at least one trip, vote on the awards, and see the spectacle when it comes close by. If you're exclusively a media person, though, don't go to a WorldCon if it means sacrificing (say) an entire year's worth of your con going budget.
  • a fan wonders:
    Zines on tape, huh? Would anybody be interested in editing an audio zine? I think Winston Howlett has done such a thing.
  • regarding the Fan Q:
    Thanks, too, for filling me in on the fiasco of the Fan Q's. I honestly hadn't realized how poorly run that program is. Did anyone ever learn who the 1990 winners are? Perhaps you were right in feeling the awards have outlived their purpose. There are many talented people in fan fiction who would never be nominated. So long as readers continue to write LoCs and provide feedback, I feel most artists, eds and authors will be gratified.
  • many fans had opinions on a recent case regarding rap music and transformative works:
    On another matter ...I'm personally thrilled to hear that 2 Live Crew has been banned from using the name Luke Skywalker (or Skyywalker —did they think that putting in an extra "y" would save them from a lawsuit?). I cannot imagine anything more revolting to a SW fan than seeing that name degraded like that. This is one instance when I'm glad the Lucasfilm legal department is lawsuit-happy. I'm afraid I can't say I'm happy about the album itself being banned here in Florida, though. Instead of banning it for sale to minors, they banned it from everyone, and that was wrong, to adult in the US has the right to decide for him/herself what to see, hear or read. Unhappy as I am to be on 2 Live Crew's side (have any of you actually heard their [so-called] lyrics? They are quite violent and offensive, as well as degrading to women—anyone who says otherwise must not be firing on all thrusters). I find I am. I'm hoping the ruling will be overturned by a higher court.
  • a fan has this offer:
    A last note— Mary Urhausen has given permission for WOOKIEE COMMODE's OOP issue to be xeroxed, and since I have a machine, I'm quite willing to make anyone who'd like a copy of the WC's I have. I do have #1 and #2, but I don't have #3, and I would very much like to find someone willing to copy it for me. I'll pay all costs, of course, or perhaps we could trade...
  • regarding SW fanfiction:
    There was a lot of animated discussion on this topic at the last MediaWest — some of it on panels, but even more of it in hotel room gab-fests and the tables at Denny's. Most of it boiled down to a few basic questions: Is the quantity of SW fanfic decreasing, and why? And is the quality also decreasing, and why? And what does all this mean for the publishers and writers and readers? From my perspective as a fan who did not get in quite on the ground floor of SW fanfic (much of the "classic" stuff was written and published long before I discovered organized SW fandom in 1981), I think that the quality of much of the writing is as good or better than what was being turned out in the early years of SW fandom. There is still a lot of dreck—but then again, there was a lot of dreck back then, too! What seems to have suffered mast over the last ten or twelve years, in my opinion, is the conspicuous absence of fresh ideas or innovative plot lines. I think SW fanfic still has a calibre of writer equal to anything in its heyday; but one can only read just so many Luke ponders over Vader's funeral pyre" stories before one is seized with the manic desire to jump up and throw the zine out the window! Why are so many SW writers—even the very good SW writers—stuck in the same story ruts? I've heard it suggested that SW readers won't accept deviation f rem the canon; that original characters and innovative plot ideas are regarded with suspicion; and that the readers only want the film characters to behave in a certain, familiar way. True? I guess other SW readers will have to enlighten me (and the writers), because I happen to crave some original characters and some really far-out plot lines! How about it? Are SW fans willing to read about other, less-plumbed aspects of the SW universe? I would like to be able to encourage SW writers and would-be writers to strike out on new tangents and blaze new trails. The SW universe is at least as large as our own, and there seems to be no shortage of plot ideas in conventional, non-SW fiction!
  • thank you to Ming:
    I want to extend a big one to you for reopening the Corellian Archives. I have been a big supporter because it is a wonderful place to read zines that I am unable to purchase.

Issue 28 (Spring 1991)

cover issue #28
  • online here
  • contains 64 pages
  • How to Do a Zine by Mary Urhausen and Cheree Cargill, article about the practical aspects of the process, begins with "I'm tempted to be facetious and say: Just take a big roll of hundred dollar bills, stick them up a bodily orifice, and then set them on fire ... this would be cheaper and considerably less stressful to your body than putting out a zine!"
  • Bulletin Board (was looking to contact two zine editors)
  • art by Judith Low, Z.P. Florian, Catherine Churko, Carol Peters
  • commentary about how the fandom is in a slump and idea how to pull it out of its doldrums, some folks thought the stories were getting repetitive, others felt fans were burnt out on all the past conflict regarding The Luke and Han War, some people felt with no new movies on the horizon there was the lack of new canon material
  • a con report for 1991 Revelcon
  • announcement about the first "Lucas sanctioned" SW book:
    To be called HEIR TO THE EMPIRE by Timothy Zahn, it will be in hardback and probably priced at $19.95. It's a big book (350 pp.) and is apparently an official, Lucas film-sanctioned Third Trilory story! Does this mean Lucas isn't doing the last three movies after all? Did he ever really plan to?
  • encouragement to read Melanie R's new book, "Stronghold."
  • fan photos
  • newspaper clippings
  • submission requests for some zines that never got off the ground ("Pig Snouts 'n Antacid" (Taxi, touching and humorous stories about Larry and Balki), and "Tales of the Two Great Ones" (Bill and Ted, "humor, hurt/comfort, crossovers...just about anything goes as far as these two party animals are concerned! No slash (no way!)")
  • a fan wrote about her experiences in submitting to zines, and despite her frustrations was still optimistic:
    ...it takes a few years for the new stories to get into the zines. Zine editors, with a few exceptions, aren't too encouraging to writers. Many of them do not answer queries and do not acknowledge material sent to them. (I am not talking about Cheree or Lisa!) I'd love to get even a rejection slip, or something like "I hated your stuff, besides XY had a better one on the same idea two years ago." Writers desperately need feedback, even harsh criticism! I have sent stuff to almost every zine in SW, and seven of them never even bothered to answer! I wonder if other writers have the same problem. If yes, let's team up and do something with those leftover stories! Let's make a new zine, guys! I can type and do camera-ready pages, if someone is able to handle the printing.
  • a fan writes of Darth Vader:
    Okay, so you think Vader is sexy because he is sooo powerful? Bah! He is sexy because he is a loner, a sensitive soul imprisoned in a black armor; a poor sick baby who needs life support; an intelligent, thinking man among a bunch of military idiots; a farsighted politician, who really wants to get rid of the wicked Emperor and make this Galaxy a kinder, gentler place, and besides, he is such a good father! So there. Seriously, on Anakin's background, what if he were the seventh son of a Lord Skywalker and had to join the military because the wealth went to the firstborn?
  • a fan wants some variety:
    I want to read stories about different characters. For example, one of my favorite stories is Karen Osman's, about a cloned trooper who really likes his nice boss, Darth Vader. [1] Do not hide SW stories in your drawers. Between you and me, we might have enough stuff to fill a whole zine.
  • a fan is thankful:
    Thank you, Ming, for reopening the Corellian Archives! I didn't "discover" fanzines until 1988, so I'll enjoying catching up!
  • a fan asks:
    Where have all the Imperials gone? No, I'm not talking about Vader fans-- I'm talking about Imperials. Believe it or not, kids, SW fandom once had a contingent of fans who genuinely saw nothing wrong with the way the Empire did things. It made for some lively discussions. Real Life is source material. To my mind, if fandom is to survive, a Real Life discussion should serve as a jumping off point. So, why aren't we applying Real Life scenarios to the SW universe? Back in the Age of Dinosaurs... SW fandom used to have a healthy supply of people who would immediately jump onto a given idea and expand it six different ways. And I don't see that happening any longer. As long as I'm on my soapbox . . . back when the brontosaurs roamed the earth, I remember new fans churning out prodigious amounts of fanfic almost as soon as they got back from their first viewing of ANH (or whichever film got them hooked). I see a lot of names in SE that weren't there five or ten years ago, but there has been no corresponding influx of new writing, new viewpoints, new ideas. And zines? In the ancient time (a more civilized age?), it seemed that the second thing a new fan did was start a new zine. Not all were quality products, needless to say, but they existed. Have the newer fans no inclination to take that route-or is it that entry into an established fandom (with "established rules" and so forth, half of which aren't worth the hot air they're spoken with) is simply too intimidating? The cry I always hear is that it costs an arm and a leg to produce a zine these days. True--but, in relative terms, and keeping inflation in mind, it was hardly any less expensive 'way back when. Everything costs more these days than it did ten years ago, not just zine production. And many people are better off financially these days than they were in the ANH days. So, I don't think that's the answer, or at least not the whole answer. I wonder if part of it is the "production values" syndrome... the few surviving zines are high-quality products (arrived at through long practice along with trial and error), and fandom has become intolerant of zines which don't measure up to the existing standard. If that's part of the reason, then we probably have no one to blame but ourselves for the scarcity of the product--the old thing about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. The existing zines deserve the praise they get for appearance, etc.- it 's the visible result of hard work on the part of the editor. But perhaps we've managed to give the impression that nothing less is acceptable, that any editor not capable of such quality work will be tarred and feathered. Fandom is very good at conveying that impression, perhaps without intending to do so. As an example, I'll offer my own experience: When I first got into fandom (circa 1978), I learned very quickly that one either had to write (1) straight action-adventure or (2) the complete, textured universe of a Thousand Worlds saga (which is beyond the reach of most neos, and frankly even beyond some experienced writers). Nothing else seemed to be permitted - at the very least, anything else ran the risk of being chopped into very small pieces of bantha feed in the locs. [2] And that's not what I write. I write human relationships with a dash of politics and a dollop of warfare. Not acceptable at all. I was also taught, very early on, that created characters of the female variety would automatically be dismissed as (1) alter ego, (2) Mary Sue, or (3) both. Well, I use a lot of created characters, some of whom are female. I do not write alter ego characters...my characters are considerably more interesting than I am and the majority of them have personalities which are, by and large, vastly different from my own. And all of them are in some way flawed, because most of them are human beings, and I've never yet seen a perfect one in this life so I don't consider that they fall into the Mary Sue category. But everywhere I looked, I constantly saw female created characters being derided. Now, admittedly, some such may well have deserved the scorn and ridicule but it seemed to be applied with little discrimination. And I never have been willing to expose my characters, my writing, or my tender ego to that sort of abuse....The quibbles that sane expressed on the subject of original characters -- that they'd be willing to read such only if they were "well-written" -- cause me a jaundiced amusement. Should not all fanfic be well written? None of us are Tolstoy or Shakespeare...but why should there be one set of standards for canon characters (anything's good enough) and another (the writing must be superlative) for created characters?
  • regarding the perceived lack of alternate universes in Star Wars fanworks, the same fan who wrote of Mary Sues in the previous excerpt said:
    It seems to me that, once, there was a greater tolerance of and enthusiasm for alternate universes, too, just as there was once a (marginally) greater tolerance for original characters. Something happened after the third film...it was almost as though, the Saga being "complete", anything which deviated from canon became less acceptable. Which I find very odd, since all fanfic is, by its very definition, alternate to one degree or another. Most of our "old names" have gone On to other fandoms, greener pastures, etc. Perhaps they simply ran out of ideas (although that seems unlikely, considering the level of talent), perhaps they fell victim to the "closed circle" mindset of ROTJ, or perhaps they just grew impatient with the increasingly narrow scope of the fannish perception of the SW universe. Whatever the reason(s), they're gone and the new fans don't seem to be picking up the slack. For myself, although I'll dip a toe or two into other waters, SW has been and always will be my emotional home as a writer. I don't want to leave, however tenuous my welcome is. But neither will I expose myself to having my bones picked over by people who don't want to read what I write. So, partially owing to the length of most of my fiction but mainly owing to well-founded trepidation, the bulk of my work is and will undoubtedly remain unpublished. For myself, an audience is necessarily secondary; I write because it's what I do and what I am.
  • another fan says she's sorry:
    I'd also like to offer my apologies for the whiny, self-indulgent nature of my last letter. SE is a forum for discussion of our mutually loved SW saga, a place for sharing our enjoyment and our views. For stepping beyond those bounds, I apologize and forthwith promise to bear in mind why we participate in SE. Thanks for your tolerance.
  • a fan writes, addressing the editorial in the last issue:
    I have to admit that I'd enjoy reading more light-hearted adventure stories in SW fandom myself. However, having found myself in this situation, I know that there are newcomers to the world of fandom all the time. Many are unaware of or unable to afford back issues of older zines or letterzines and are therefore ignorant to the fact that certain storylines have been done ad nauseum. To the neophyte, his or her idea is as fresh as dew because the odds are they've not had the opportunity to explore it with other fans. While I'd like to see more fun and frivolity injected into future stories, I also feel we could deprive ourselves of some unique, interesting concepts if we narrow our focus too much, as editors or readers. It's my opinion that it isn't the repetitions of plots that's causing the passing of SW fan fiction, but the natural turning of a fandom on the edge. I understand other fandoms have experienced similar trials. Sane fans are fickle and will move on to other pursuits once they've sated their own appetites, like wandering homeless vampires. Others are more loyal and stubborn, digging in for the long haul, patiently waiting for their chance to bloom again. As for the doom and gloom of many recent stories, I wonder if they don't reflect our times and attitudes more than that at the SW universe or as precursors to SW fandom's demise. It's hard to feel impotent. At least in the fan world of fiction, an author can exercise sane measure of control while exorcising daily demons. Basically, I guess what I'm saying is that I'11 second your call for more gaiety and relaxed fun, but not to the exclusion of well-written stories, no matter how many times the subject's been tackled before.
  • lack of zines?
    Why aren't the writers writing new stuff? I don't know. I can't even write the repetitive stuff, let alone anything new. Guess that's for the writers to answer. I suspect that die-hard SW fans will read the repetitive stuff if it's the only thing available. Newer fans wouldn't notice the repetitive stuff as much because they haven't been reading it for years. Yes, we need new stuff to waft a breath of fresh air into the fandom. But will it revive fandom to greater heights (as far as newer readers, I doubt it)? That will only happen if Lucas puts out another episode of SW and it would be nice if when that happens, that there are some fresh stories available.
  • a fan wonders on the tone of recent fiction:
    I've wondered why so many post-JEDI fannish stories, especially the Luke ones, are downers. Do you think it could be a "down the road" reflection of all the "Luke is fallen/darkside" brouhaha that immediately followed the movie? Nearly drowning in that controversy, did we miss a wave of victory that once lost cannot be reclaimed? Or, did we finally accept the argument that the focal point hero was not really heroic, and are we, as consequence, unable to celebrate him and his? Or, do the stories reflect anger with the Saga for not being all wonder and brightness, and for not crowning LL&H at the end? Did it fail to communicate a happy feeling to fans, or was the message it did get across not acceptable? The whole Saga certainly acknowledges the darkness in light: its heroes are none of them unapproachable; it's almost impressive villain still glows with the integrity of his lightside; the public glory at the end goes to Lando and Wedge, not Han or Leia as part of the ground team, and certainly not to Luke, whose exploits are unknown to anyone but him. I can remember claims that the lack of a wed-ding in JEDI made the movie a failure, that Luke's demeanor at the cast-call party (was he or wasn't he smiling?) was an omen of dire future events, that Luke's lack of a love interest at the end was a disaster as far as plotting was concerned.
  • a fan questions Lucas' plans:
    Despite George Lucas' and even the Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine's announcements, I'm losing more and more hope of ever seeing another SW movie, someday. I believe all of the recent announcements that were made about Lucas' plans to produce a new movie aren't a "prelude" to a new trilogy; IMO, Lucas is no longer interested in making a new film and I believe [Tasha M] is perfectly right when she says, "He's just interesting in keeping fans interested" — just to exploit to the utmost SW in terms of money, to increase — with false announcements — the number of members of the Lucasfilm Fan Club, thus indirectly drawing SW fans' attention about Lucasfilms' non-SW projects which require support and publicity.... I'm not saying that Lucas owes us another SW movie, either. I'm just trying to say that he owes us a little more honesty.
  • dull, dull, dull:
    SW fanfiction is certainly one area where fandom and reality have rudely collided lately. I honestly don't know what it would take to pass the torch to a new generation of SW writers; I'd settle for just lighting a fire underneath some of 'em! It would be one thing if no one was writing SW fanfiction anymore, but that's not precisely the problem. There may be less SW fanfiction being written, but the biggest problem [as I see it] is more a matter of content than amount. Bluntly put, most of what's being written now is
    booooring</b>!
  • a comparison:
    I hesitate to compare SW fandom with ST fandom, but in some places the analogy holds up. Years ago, before there were ST movies, ST fanfiction had become pretty "rutty", too. Then along came K/S. No matter now you feel about homoerotic literature, I think you have to give K/S two things: One, it blasted ST fan fiction out of the ruts [some would say that now, years later, it's created its own ruts!]; and two, it kept ST fandom alive and kicking —and fighting—until the ST movies came along and revitalized the whole fandom. Now I'm not suggesting that SW fandom needs slash fiction to save it; although I'll admit I've always been puzzled by the lack of good SW slash fiction. I'm just suggesting that SW fanfiction can be saved—if the people responsible for producing it are sufficiently motivated. In the case of SW fanfiction, my personal feeling is that the "revitalizing agent" won't be slash; I think it might be original created characters, not Mary Sues — I mean good, believable created characters, who not only add some zip to the stories but who also complement the Lucas characters. I think the only way we're going to be able to come up with some new plot lines and return to the kind of fresh, romantic, adventurous kind of stories we once had is through the judicious introduction of some "catalytic" [sorry, Jenni!] characters of our own making. Did of sermon!
  • a fan addresses another regarding women in SW fanworks:
    You hit the nail right on the head when you commented on the weird antipathy toward Leia in this female-dominated fandom. I've heard lots of explanations, ranging from "Leia really is a bitch" to "We're only in it for the guys, and we want them all to ourselves." None of the explanations seems satisfactory to me. Personally, I consider a SW fan story with a good characterization of Leia to be a rare jewel indeed; very few SW writers, even the good ones, succeed in pulling it off. On the other side of this coin, and equally irritating, is the dismally puerile nature of most of the created female characters in SW fanfiction. I know I said we need more created characters, but please! Make these women a little more real, please! And don't consider it obligatory to trash Leia to deify your created female characters.
  • a fan writes of her fanac:
    What can the average fan do to help revive SW fandom? I don't write stories or draw. I buy zines when I can afford them or borrow them when I can't. Unlike a lot of other fandoms, there's not a network of fan clubs to keep newsletters circulating. I'm grateful to Lin Ward for introducing me to SE itself and MediaWest, or else I'd be out of touch with this fandom altogether! 'There are a whole lot of us average fans out here. We'll read those stories you've tucked away. We'11 buy those zines you've been thinking of publishing. What else can we do?

Issue 29 (Summer 1991)

cover of issue #29
  • contains 68 pages
  • has several fan-reviews of "Heir to the Empire," a pro novel
  • there is an announcement that this letterzine has won its third Fan Q Award
  • Pat Grant Gruenwald details a letter she, as president of the fan club Forces of the Empire, received from the actor who portrayed Darth Vader; the letter details some of the actor's health problems and says he misses interacting with fans; Gruenwald proposes inviting the actor to next year's MediaWest, not as a celebrity guest as the con did not have those, but as a guest of the fan club who needed only room and board at the con and travel expenses; she asks for fans to write her and pledge their financial support
  • there is a con report for MediaWest that begins with "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Lansing, Michigan, and Hellcon... er...MediaWest*Con 1991. For your enjoyment, we have lost your luggage, double-booked your hotel facilities with not one but two wedding parties of mmdanes, arranged for high heat and humidity, and set the hotel fire alarm so that it will go off repeatedly and without warning all weekend long. We hope you enjoy your stay in Hell!," see that page for more
  • there is an open letter signed by six Italian fans complaining of previous statements made by the president of Alliance:
    We have all read Gian Paolo Gasperi's letter in the last issue of SE and, since we do believe that the portrait of the SW Italian fandom is somewhat altered and partial, we wish to point out that facts are different to the version represented in that letter. The fact that Italian SW fandom is currently filled with new zines, clubs and initiatives is certainly due to the many ideas and initiatives of Alliance; alas, not to its "drawing effect", but to the desperate need to keep them at arm's length and to find a space with a more breathable atmosphere. The club itself is not at all dedicated to the common enjoyment of the Saga and its themes; initiatives like the conventions, the RPG tournament and the meetings are all very elite; some fans were "politely" invited to leave the last convention for the simple fact of being there without the permission of the Committee; the editor of CLOUD CITY himself had to send seven requests in over a year and half simply to have an ad printed, a thing that was never accomplished because of several contradictory and fictitious reasons. We do believe that a fan club should never allow the association itself, the editors and its purposes to become more important than the object of the club itself (in this case, STAR WARS), but since Alliance has recently clearly shown that whenever the personal and fulfillment of its editors are involved, STAR WARS and the love for the Saga come second, it is our duty to point the situation"out and warn foreign fans of the true nature of the people with which they might deal. We do not to condemn any- one, but we will not stand by while others try to offer a totally personal and relative point of view as the Official Voice of our country's fandom. [3]
  • a fan writes:
    As to why there are not more new zines, I think part of the reason might be the expectations of perfection which exist. Too, there are the actual logistics. How do you produce a zine? You have to have an eye for the illustrations and how to fit them within the story. You have to juggle different types of stories so that you have a mix and one does not start to sound just lite the one before it. Then you sit back and wait for those reactions. Maybe you could have gotten away with a ditto, or a mimeo production a decade or so ago, but what would the reaction be to such a thing today? Agreed, fandom should be fun. However, you know that when you create a fanzine, you are putting yourself up for criticism of gigantic degrees. You want to put out the best possible package. The fear of what is going to be said about it does cause people to think twice. Though, I an happy just to have stories to read. It's nice to have them in a professional looking package, but that is not the main point. The central issue should be keeping the flame lit by providing a continuing source of fuel for the imagination via new fanzine offerings....Another reason that new fanzines aren't coming out so much anymore could be a simple financial problem. You quoted the price for the latest TREMOR IN THE FORCE. It takes a lot of faith to go out on a limb for that kind of debt. It also takes seed money to get the thing going. Today's economy is not all that great. I know that I am making only 60% of the salary I made the same time last year. The bills are still there. It just takes a bit of creativity in managing it all.
  • a fan complains about lack of feedback:
    Why are there fewer and fever stories around? One certain reason is because the writers can't believe fandom wants stories anymore, not really, not without the guaranteed proof in the hand that a LoC represents. It's not a coincidence that stories started to get sparse about the same time that LoCs began dwindling. In Gian Paolo's letter, he says he'd like to see stories on Mon Mothma. Okay, I published a story on MM, but whether it was good or bad or indifferent, I don't bloody well know because no one has told me. The artist liked it (thanks, Catherine), but not one LoC appeared. Zilch. Nada. Niente....Our writing is our way of talking about SW. Our ideas are questions thrown out to the readers. Is this the way it could be? How well does this and such and such work with so and so? If no one says anything, a writer assumes the story isn't worth following with another. And she doesn't. And I haven't.
  • regarding a previous suggestion of reviewing older zines:
    Yes, yes, the idea of reviewing old zines-of reviewing any zines- is good. That is at least the third time it has cane up. Hey, guys, we're suppposed to be swfanzine fandom. Why aren't we talking about what we do, done, did? Reviewing doesn't have to mean playing John-Smith-the-nasty-critic. Just talk about the stories and how they affected you; if something seems really weird, all you have to say is, We1l, I never thought of that angle before, and go on to the next subject.
  • Maggie Nowakowska wrote:
    [My] friends and I got to talking, wondering if-once-upon-a-time fandom had really been so very troublesome, or so very much better. Force knows, I've been one to bitterly complain that no one wants to get involved anymore... Still, the more we talked, the more I became convinced that this nostalgia for the "good old days" can be as destructive to fandom as any other more obvious events, such as public personal fights or rampant dogmatism. Both the good and the bad seem to get exaggerated in memory. Even after having many of my old, hot emotions rekindled by reading all the old ALDERAANs and JUNDLAND WASTES very recently, I'm inclined to murmur, no, it really wasn't all that bad. Even at the height of the "anyone who doesn't agree with me on this interpretation/characterization is immoral" accusations that singed the early SE, SW was never as vicious as some of the fandoms that followed. (Or, I don't remember any such in-your-face troubles. Of course, I live on the west coast, away from more casual fannish socializing. Other fans may remember events I never knew about.)
  • Maggie Nowakowska also wrote:
    And as for which kind of fan stories were "acceptable" — at the height of SW fandom in 1983, JUNDLAND WASTES reported more than 60 SW zines in existence; they weren't all filled with action/adventure stories or generational sagas. Anne Elizabeth Zeek was a very popular author, for example. So were Pat Nussman and Marcia Brin. Maybe it's a case of recalling criticism pertinent to myself, but I sure remember an awful lot of tolerance for relationship stories over political or universe stories {along with a lot of "we're more mature than you guys" insinuations thrown in both directions) . Yep, there was a lot of jumping on female characters; but that reflected a real problem in the greater society and, if anything, we were all too timid to tackle the subject seriously in articles instead of just snippy letters. (Maybe that' s another good reason for newer fans to review old zines and stories; maybe we need a fresh perspective on the swamp we were in the middle of back then. Were the stories superficial; or too obviously reflections of wishful lover/adventure/heroic thinking; or too silly for words?) Why can't things be like they used to be? Well, because things aren't the way they used to be. Zines do take a bigger chunk out of a person's budget these days. When I was playing catch-up with Trek zines in the mid-70's, I was mailing out checks for $2 to $5, at most 1/5 of my biweekly food budget. These days it takes $20 to $30 for zine and postage and that's 1/2 of the same food bill. And I don't have kids to clothe and take care of. In many ways, those of us around in the first ten years of Trekdom and at the beginning of SW fandom were pioneers. If we demand those who follow to do the same as we did, we'll be no different than old city-founding pioneers sitting around, complaining that the kids don't haul water and use outhouses or sew their own clothes like in the Good Old Days when Things Were Better. Different, yes; better, who can say? Each of our experiences of time is unique to itself.... Maybe fanzines as known in the 70's and 80's were simply a stage, a period of time to be cherished and valued, but not to be duplicated for a while again. Maybe, instead of wishing for the old days and holding today to their measure, we should look around and see what we can make of what we have now. After all, when GL finally does the first trilogy, we'll be the base to build a new fandom on, we'll be the history people turn to.

Issue 30 (Autumn 1991)

cover of issue #30
  • online here
  • contains 51 pages
  • "Star Wars -- Where R U?" an interview with Timothy Zahn, conducted by Ami Silberman , broadcast over USENET and Prodigy, submitted by Maggie Nowakowska
  • the editorial is about the passing of Gene Roddenberry
  • "A Speculative Fable" (Original Fiction) by Mesarthiln
  • several letters reviewing "Heir to the Empire" the tie in novel by Timothy Zahn
  • many letters with comments about the Media*West disastrous accommodations
  • letters about process of writing fanfic
  • a review of Anakin by Maggie Nowakowska, see that page
  • many newspaper clippings
  • submission request for a zine that never got off the ground ("Bobzine," a zine dedicated to exploring the many characters played by Bob Dowdell)
  • an open letter/personal statement by Alliance in response to an open letter by fans in a previous issue -- an excerpt:
    Although we don't think we should be bothered with this fan group's statements, we do feel we should make known the reason why these folks cannot help but show their pointless animosities. As a matter of fact, this group is — as everyone knows in Italian fannish circles — a group of failed con organizers who approached ALLIANCE and several other media organizations {including the STAR TREK ITALIAN CLUB and the INTERNATIONAL PLASTIC MODELLERS' SOCIETY (IMS-ITALY) during our 1989 STAR WARS convention with the proposal of joining efforts with them in the organization of the very first Italian MediaCon, to be held, we were told, sometime in 1991 in Milan. Even though they stated they had the knowledge and experience necessary to run a convention—and we say this with no exaggeration, as well as handle all of the legal and bureaucratic aspects provided for by Italian law, time and facts proved they were not even capable of running a "fan party", let alone a full-scale convention. They were slothful and unreliable, totally lacking in pragmatic attitudes and coordination, completely ignorant of Italian laws specifically and severely regulating this kind of event, and—last but not least—it was feared by the con organizers, particularly the highly experienced IFMS-Italy members, who had volunteered to serve as legal and organizational advisors in the most troublesome and risky areas of the con enterprise, that their con management was too risky, which finally brought all the organizations involved (including ALLIANCE, IRB-ITALY, and STAR TREK ITALIAN CLUB) to dissociate them formally from the whole con affair, which, by then, looked very shady to all of us.
  • watch your terminology:
    I agree, well-written original characters can be a wonderful addition to a story, but PLEASE don't refer to them as Mary Sues! A Mary Sue is a poorly-done original character, an exercise in self-indulgence for the author. I received a great deal of positive feedback for my own Cara Solo, and the original characters I've created for my Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fiction have been even rare well-received, but they're not Mary Sues. Why? I've made them real people, with real feelings, real motivations, and real flaws. A Mary Sue has none of these.
  • a fan speculates:
    Going to cons, buying zines is quite expensive nowadays, but there are other possibilities, too. PC billboards, for example. There is a pretty lively SW correspondence on Prodigy. Fax is bound to get even cheaper in the future. And how about zines published entirely on floppy disks?
  • regarding the recent personal statements published by Italian fans in this letterzine:
    Our fractious Italian friends seem to be going through their own version of what we went through a few years back. I hope that they survive it, too. Getting along with each other is so much nicer than ripping each other's throats out.

References

  1. She may be referring to Hoth Admiral, though the relationship in that story is not between a cloned trooper and Darth Vader, but Admiral Ozzel and Captain Piett.
  2. See Why Fewer Zines? on the History of Media Fanzines page.
  3. The editor of Southern Enclave comments: "I have no idea what the quarrel is between the various "groups of Italian fans and I will not allow it to spillover into the pages of SE. There will be NO letter wars allowed in this letterzine! As has been stated time and again, I will offer equal space for a rebuttal and there the issue will end."