Spinerisms

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Zine
Title: Spinerisms
Publisher: Mindset Press
Editor(s): edited by Joyce McDonald and Christina Mavroudis
Date(s): 1990, second edition February 1991
Medium: print, non-fiction resource
Fandom: Star Trek: TNG
External Links:
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Spinerisms: An Annotated Bibliography of Actor Brent Spiner, is a 56-page fanzine-style manual published by Mindset Press, publishers of the Star Trek: The Next Generation fanzines Galaxy Class and X-Gen.

One Zine Leads to Another

On December 30, 1989, the editor (Joyce McDonald) wrote:
Six months ago, I started work on a publication which was to be both my debut and my swan song in the area of authorship. Having satisfied my urge to write and publish at least one work, I planned to disappear back into the world of computers and programming with scarcely a look back. One factor, however, that I did not anticipate was the tremendous response Spinerisms would receive even before it was submitted to our publisher. Because of the attention we have received from all over the world, I have come to the conclusion that we are filling a void with our network and that members are hungry for an organ that will express and respond to their interests and concerns. We have designed our Electronic Male newsletter for that purpose. [1]

An Update: 1989

On December 30, 1989, Christopher Simmons of Mindset Press wrote:
Thank you for pre-ordering a copy of Joyce McDonald's book "Spinerisms". Of course, pre-ordering means just that — you get it first, but you also get to wait (and wait... and wait... and ...). As of late November, the art editor (Christina Mavroudis) had not yet delivered certain "necessary" pieces of artwork to Joyce. Then, Joyce's computer disks were in an odd format that my system was having trouble "reading". We finally got the art, correct disk format and so forth together by the end of December — which is when I take my traditional two week vacation. So, here it is the first week of January and I have about ten pages together and another thirty coming out of the laser printer while I type this. It's coming, it's coming!!! As a benefit of the delays, we have added a wonderful convention report from Mr. Spiner's Thanksgiving New York appearance. Thank you for your patience, and all of us little elves are speedily hammering the thing into shape so that you can enjoy reading it. Late January is the target. See_you_real soon.

An Update: 1990

From December 1990:
We have had questions about our advertising of SPINERISMS, the price, and the size. Our original advertisement and flyer indicated that it would be 100 pages. Now it is only 60. That was Chris' estimate when I sent him the original manuscript. At the last moment, he changed the print size, allowing him to fit it onto 60 pages. Nothing has ever been deleted from it. The only things that change are the advertisements for Mindset Press. Our price of $13.95 reflects the amount we pay Chris for the consignment plus postage, plus a charge for our special bindings that are done here in San Antonio, plus postage to you. We make a small profit on the zine, which helps to keep Electronic Male afloat. We do admit that Chris sells them for a much lower price ($9.95 for a comb-bound edition), and it makes no difference to us whether you get them from Chris, a con dealer, or us. I usually sign the issues that come through us, since many collectors like signatures. We should soon have some to sell that have been all the way to New Zealand and back, so if you want a real collectors item, this may be it. [2]

Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

Although it is not an authorised-by-the-actor publication, for the dedicated Brent Spiner fan, this 57-page zine is a must. It includes resumes of plays and films Mr. Spiner has appeared in, critics' comments on these, letters, a convention report, and more. It gives a lot of information, and at £5 (for an American zine) is, I think, good value. [3]
The front cover proclaims that this is "An Annotated Bibliography of Actor Brent Spiner." Also emblazoned thereon are "EDITED BY K. JOYCE MCDONALD" and "ART EDITOR CHRISTINA MAVROUDIS," in enormous, boldface letters that would be easier to live with if they were on a marquee spelling out "STEPHEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS" or "A FILM BY ROB REINER." The choice of such a thyroidal font for their names, and on the front of the zine, makes me wonder if it was something the editors settled on when it was discovered how very poorly purple neon reproduces, even when you pay extra for metal plates. Who did Miss McDonald's coiffure, picked out Miss Mavroudis' clothes, or is responsible for the lighting design isn't mentioned. My beef with Spinerisms is not so much with what it is as with what it pretends to be. What it is is close to sixty ultra-slick, well laid out and typo-free pages containing quite a number of articles about Brent reprinted from The Houston Chronicle, USA Today, The Houston Post and other prozines and newspapers. Along with Diana Collins' painstaking recreation of his appearance at the New York Creation Con, there are tons of reviews of plays he appeared in, some of which do mention his performance specifically. However, the zine is padded like crazy with reprints from Data Entries, which Christina used to edit, and with stuff from Star Log and Paramount's Star Trek: The Official Fan Club's newsletter, material that's not exactly hard to come by. Yes, lots of fans with money to burn would like to have all this neat info in one place, but I have a huge problem with the fact that so many of the play reviews either never mention Brent— not at all — or allot him a mere sentence or two. Joyce and Christina have also included two articles that are solely about one of his acting teachers, Cecil Pickett...articles I would have been keener to read if I hadn't had to wade through so much Spinerless text beforehand. And..."annotated?" Well, yeah, by the strict dictionary definition, Spinerisms is annotated. So are Comlink, Interstat and most other letter and information zines where the editor breaks into the text with comments or corrections of her own. When Joyce reminisces about watching "The Last Outpost" with her 11-year-old and wondering "...who was that goofy guy that played the android?", does that make the zine annotated? I thought annotations were those historical notes you find in the margins of Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll. Is my refrigerator annotated because I stuck on a post-it note telling my roomie I saved him some chow mein? Artwise, the zine's a mixed bag, but there's a lot more good than bad. Highlights are Jean Kluge's delicate and detailed "Insatiable Curiosity," reprinted for the second or third time, Lisa White's lovely rendering of our biomechanical friend as Carlos, which first appeared on the cover of Data Entries, another extremely nice portrait, also of Data in gangster mode, from Anastasi Tarazi and some really-and-truly clever android cartoons from little Melody Rondeau. The textured blue-gray cardstock covers are beautiful and again, Spinerisms as a whole has a professional look to it—refreshing in a fandom where "high production values" means the zine was spell-checked, but in this case, its very slickness means that the reader is getting a whole helluva lot less than meets the eye. My personal jury is still out on how big a deal it is when fans tap previously published professional sources for their own zine-pubbing ventures, but my checkbook has an unnerving tendency to squeal when I have to shell out $12.95 for material that's been Where Every Fan Has Gone Before. [4]
This A4 fan publication, illustrated with good artwork and cartoons, covers Brent Spiner's career up to Dec 1989. Reviews of his stage plays date from 1975, giving a fascinating insight into his early work. His films and TV appearances are listed, with credits, and there are rare newspaper interviews from 1987. There is an amusing round up of initial, doom-laden reactions to the 'new' Star Trek, interspersed with other 'famous predictions', eg "Everything that can be invented has already been invented" -CH Duell, Director of US Patent Office, 1899. Also included is a long report of Mr Spiner's Creation Con '89 appearance before what sounds like an enthusiastic and rather excitable audience! Comprehensive and well researched, this is indispensable for all Dataholics. [5]

References

  1. from the first issue of Electronic Male
  2. from Electronic Male News #4
  3. from IDIC #24
  4. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #2. The reviewer, Berkeley Hunt, gives it "3 trees." The reviewers in "Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?" rated zines on a 1-5 tree/star scale.
  5. from IDIC #31