Star Trek Action Group (newsletter)/Issues 041-060

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Issue 41

Star Trek Action Group 41 was published in June 1980 and contains 38 pages. The number of issues printed was 1040.

front page of issue #41 shows the staff collating and wrapping issue #38
  • the first few pages of this issue are photocopied photos
  • the editors warn: "On the subject of advertising, some members have been advertising videos for sale. Adverts are of course printed at members' own risk, but we're not sure of the copyright situation here and we would advise you to be careful."
  • results of the recent survey were printed, see 1980 Star Trek: The Motion Picture STAG Survey
  • regarding fans commenting on seeing cut versions of the movie:
    [Name redacted] recently contacted CIC about the movie, asking about the different prints of it that appeared to be in circulation. A Mr. Higgins assured her that all prints ought to be the same; that they imported one print then made their own copies, and that CIC had not cut anything from the movie. He would therefore like to know if anyone saw a version of the movie that was significantly different from that shown at the Empire, giving details of when and where they saw the film in that different version, and what about it was different. This includes straight cuts.
  • an important meeting is described:
    At Coventry UFP Con certain well-known fans held an unofficial meeting to discuss possible co-ordination of future conventions to avoid duplication of convention dates. [The meeting] was completely unofficial, therefore any apparent decisions reached were unofficial. However it is felt by a number of leading fans that it is necessary that something be done to limit main STAR TREK conventions to two a year, preferably one held in the Spring and one in the Autumn, if only to prevent a proliferation of smaller STAR TREK conventions which could lead to the fragmentation of ST fandom in Britain. A meeting is being planned for Terracon '80 in September to put forward initial suggestions as to how this might be done. The meeting will be limited to ST club committees, ST con organisers and to anyone else who has been actively involved in ST fandom for a reasonable length of time. If you feel you are an active ST fan and would like to contribute to the meeting please contact Dot Owens. The meeting at Terracon is only to feel out the situation. There will be a business meeting at STAG CON in April 1981, open to everyone attending the convention, to discuss the future of STAR TREK oonventions in Britain. If this meeting is a success it is probable that it will be decided to hold a meeting at all main STAR TREK conventions.
  • there are two excerpts of announcements that a new Star Trek movie, a sequel, is already being planned
  • this issue has a bio of Walter Koenig
  • a fan comments on a fan-written technical speculative article from an earlier issue about the transporter:
    The author also remarked that he thought it was bad dramatically -- all those malfunctions. As I recall there weren't all that many malfunctions and the only two major ones that I remember led to two of my favourite episodes - the already mentioned Enemy Within and Mirror Mirror. The transporter is very much an integral part of ST and its universe. What would have happened to the survivors of the Galileo 7 if the Enterprise hadn't had both transporter and shuttlecraft and what about the immortal "Beam me up, Scotty" - instantly recognisable to non-Trek fans. Anyway, from a purely personal point of view - any machine which will give you two of the gorgeous Mr. Shatner should be actively encouraged.
  • there is a poem ("with apologies to W.H. Auden") about the recent UFP Con, see that page
  • there is a humorous description of some fans at UFP Con, one that describes some fans' "kidnapping" a Klingon and some various hijinks
  • there is a con report for Albacon -- one excerpt:
    Throughout the con, I was conscious of something missing, the warm, close-knit feeling that one gets at a Star Trek con. It could just be that I am more at ease with Star Trek people but I don't think so. And there was one incident that Janet hopes devoutly will not become customary at Star Trek cons - the chairman of the committee, Bob Shaw (no, not the writer, the other one) was unceremoniously dragged from the hotel and tied to a lamppost, escaped and was recaptured (under the jaundiced eye of the police who cruised by several times) and was then sprayed with vegetable colouring and had a hosepipe turned on him. The air around was distinctly blue! Not quite the behaviour one has come to expect from the sophisticated Star Trek fan!
  • a fan writes an article called "On the Subjects of U.F.O.s"
  • there is a review of Vice Versa #2, see that page
  • fiction and poetry: "Message from the Past" by Paula Greener, "Escape Route" by Kelly Mitchell, "Variations on a Theme" by Ceri Murphy, "To Them" by Catherine Moorhouse

Issue 42

Star Trek Action Group 42 was published in August 1980 and contains 30 pages. 1040 copies were printed.

front page of issue #42
  • regarding some fans' ads: "Due to recent programme on TV [1], we will not accept small ads of audio or video cassettes for sale by title. If anyone wants to advertise these, SAE for lists, that is acceptable."
  • information about the second movie is now gearing up
  • con idea:
    Rog Peyton has suggested an innovation for the auction at Terracon. He asks that everyone attending the con brings with them a paperback book - not necessarily ST or even SF - a paperback, any paperback (even "Pyramid Power" [2]) - as a donation to the charity... The books would be collected... and he would auction them during the con for whatever they would fetch, all the proceeds to go to the charity. If this idea proved successful, he would repeat it at Stag Con and Aucon.
  • regarding the fiction competition for Stag Con:
    We have decided that it would be fairest to the winners of the fiction competition if their stories/poems could be made available to the con attendees at the con, instead of perhaps being printed somewhere at some future date, (For example, I don't think anybody knows what happened to the winning entry at the Slough con). It has been the practice in past years to open the envelope with the winner's name at the award ceremony - however, this year, the winning and running up entries, together with all the 'near misses' will be sent by the coordinator, [name redacted], along with their envelopes to Sylvia Billings. Sylvia will open the envelopes and only she will know the names of the winners. She will then compile these stories and poems into a zine which will be available from the STAG table immediately after the opening ceremony, at which the winners will have been announced. We feel that this is a more satisfactory arrangement than any other we could think of. (It had been suggested that competition entries should be made available for people to read at the con, but this has been tried in the past, and proved to be an unsatisfactory arrangement.)
  • regarding video programming at the upcoming Stag Con:
    We hope to run a video progamme as well as showing ST films in the main hall. The video programme will consist mainly of 3rd season episodes (since these haven't been shown for some time, most of you who have video machines probably do not have these episodes) and also some SF films and films starring Bill Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, We've decided to stick with ST films for the main programme since several people commented to us how much they missed seeing ST on the big screen at the last con. (Add to that, some of our members who attended Albacon in Glasgow said they had thoroughly enjoyed it because they had seen more ST there than they'd ever done at an ST con - we had a secondary programme of ST episodes running.) Our conclusion, therefore, is that most of you want to see more and more ST at a con, not less.
  • "STAG's Beginnings," an article about the history of the club, by Jenny Elson; she writes of the first British Star Trek convention:
    ... I went to visit the local vicar and asked it we could hire his church hall. Certainly. £10 for the day and a tip for the caretaker. The use of the kitchen, clean up with you're through, and not more than 60 people. 60 people? It was only a local get-together...20 at the most! As I said before - ha, ha. We could have filled that hall twice over. Everyone from everywhere wanted to be there, and in the end we had to do a first come first served basis.
  • a fan writes in the regular column, "The Friendship Corner," that she is looking for Star Trek and Doctor Who fans to correspond with by tape
  • there are three con reports for UFP Con, see that page
  • a fan writes a speculative technical article about warp drives and such; a fan complains about his "qualifications" in the next issue
  • a fan writes a long letter defending Harlan Ellison's honest, though often too blunt, remarks in an article about the movie; the fan calls for other fans to be both honest and frank and not be clouded by loyalty in their opinions about the film; the editors reply that they agree with some of Ellison's remarks and disagree with others, but feel that the way they were expressed were very poor and more than hinted at personal attacks on people which reflected his history with said people
  • a fan writes a long letter and complains that his story was rejected because it had Spock and Kirk "die" and reborn in new bodies; the reason STAG editors gave him for the rejection was that 'Our policy precludes our printing any story in which the main characters die and/or leave the Enterprise.' The fan points out that in the spirit of IDIC, not allowing fans to read of this topic "clearly limits innovation. I was under the impression that fans were intelligent, broad-minded people who were able to read things in the spirit (pun sort of intentional) they were written in. But this is obviously not the case as otherwise a 'no death' policy would not be needed." The editors respond:
We have never made any secret of our policy regarding stories - we've listed our guidelines more than once. We believe - and many other fans believe - that ST is the Enterprise and her crew stories about other ships, other people, are science fiction, not Star Trek. As science fiction we may enjoy them - although we have found many fans saying that they only scan 'Star Trek' stories that involve other ships and crews. With particular reference to death stories, we printed Legacy, in LE 8, against our better judgement; one reader read about halfway, realised that Kirk really was dead, and tore out the entire story and destroyed it with the remainder unread because she couldn't bear to read anything so upsetting. Granted that was the most extreme reaction. We don't, ourselves, enjoy death stories. Death happens; death is unavoidable, I do not however consider it a subject about which I want to read - under any circumstances. Janet cannot understand how anyone who loves the Star Trek characters could want to write stories in which any of them die (or read such stories). Many fans agree with us. Jonathan's story was good; it deserves to be printed somewhere. I don't deny that. It has been suggested to me that we could bend our policy with regard to excellent stories on any of the themes we don't usually touch - if we had accepted that suggestion, I would have accepted this story. But so far the only people who have suggested that we should print death stories are people who have written such a story.
  • fiction and poetry: "Impractical" by Meg Wright and "Captain's Log" by Jay Felton

Issue 43

Star Trek Action Group 43 was published in October 1980 and contains 32 pages.

1979-80 financial report
front page of issue #43
  • this issue has a letter from the BBC telling the newsletter that they cannot advertise fan-made audio or video tapes of televisions shows, both in the "for sale" or the "wanted" section; the editors had previously told members that tapes could be sold but not mentioned by name; the editors respond: "We just wish that Paramount would make audio and video tapes of STAR TREK officially available and then there would be no problem."
  • there is a progress report on the upcoming STAG Con; one point:
    We have heard that the rumour is going round that STAG CON will be purely STAR TREK with no SF and media SF being included. This is not so, although the con will be mainly STAR TREK. We know that many members are interested in SF and media SF and we welcome entries in these categories for everything except the Fiction/Poetry competition. The reason for this competition being limited to Star Trek is that we plan to put out a zine at the con which contains the best of the competion entries and as a ST club we only print ST stories. In addition we can promise you that BLAKE'S SEVEN fans will be catered for as [name redacted] has already booked a table in the salesroom.
  • a fan wants to require fans who write technical articles for the newsletter to provide their qualifications: "I think it would be a good idea for everybody who writes a technical article for the N/L to include his relevant qualifications (if any). This would then enable the reader to determine if the whole is somebody's ideas of what sounds nice or whether it contains and is based on scientific verity"; the editors respond that since the articles are speculative and based on the distant future, they feel no qualifications are required
  • there are a number of fan reactions regarding the controversial review that Harlan Ellison gave the recent movie in Starlog; fans were pretty much split -- the male fans tended to agree with Ellison, the female fans found Ellison's comments too personal
  • there is a con report for Terracon, see that page
  • this episode has an essay by a fan called "Gene Roddenberry and Communism"
  • another fan writes an essay called "Star Trek: An Ideal" about being being a "Trekker and a Communist"
  • there are some pro book reviews
  • a fan compiles all the military ships with the names "Enterprise" and investigates the origins of all the uses of "Constitution Class" in Star Trek
  • fiction and poetry: "While the Cat's Away" by Margaret Richardson, "Gentle Persuasion?" by Kelly Mitchell, "Feelings" by Helen Baldwin, "A Part of Me" by Ann Flegg

Issue 44

Star Trek Action Group 44 was published in December 1980 and contains 42 pages.

front page of issue #44
  • there is an extract of the Roddenberry Phone Call at Augustrek (August 8, 1980), reprinted from A Piece of the Action #86
  • there is an announcement that Paramount is formally issuing ST episodes on video through Fotomat; they are grouped two to a cassette, ten episodes are listed, six of them already available on 8mm film. "Note -- this is the American system, which is not compatible with the U.K. system..."
  • the STAG editors write of diversifying:
    We still feel that there is a place in fandom for a very general zine, and we intend to put out a very general zine; we also, however, plan another zine that will consider stories of a more diverse type, though still within the realms of what we consider Star Trek. We will not print K/S - that is a subject that we feel is best left to the zines that specialise in K/S, so that the readers know what they are getting. We are not interested in luridly explicit heterosexual stories either, but we will consider inferred or implied sex within the context of a relationship that the participants at least believe to be permanent, or that is necessary to the development of the story. We are not interested in stories that wallow in the grief of the survivors in a 'death' situation; however, we will consider certain kinds of story involving death or at least an open-ended conclusion where the reader is left to decide for him/herself what has happened. We are not interested in stories involving other SF series (quite apart from anything else, I'm not sure what the copyright situation is regarding other series, and I'd rather not find out the legal way. What other editors choose to do is their own affair.) or in stories that we feel to be original SF; we are, and will remain, a Star Trek group putting out stories either within what we feel to be Gene Roddenberry's universe, or within an alternate universe setting that sets out to explore a 'what if...' on some topic precluded by the facts as given in aired Trek.
  • there is an announcement regarding The Teal-Vandor Convention
  • this issue has a long non-fiction fanwork called "A Tale of Two Cities" comparing the original script of "City on the Edge of Forever" by Harlan Ellison to what was filmed for Star Trek; an excerpt:
    Harlan Ellison has complained - loudly and bitterly - of the treatment his original script for 'City' received. He claims that '...unnamed parties leeched the humanity from the story ...turned it into just another melodramatic, implausible action-adventure hour.' I beg to differ. What emerged after rewrites was a STAR TREK script - a story which remained true to the literary guidelines set down for all Trek scriptwriters, true to the basic principles of the lead characters and to the laws and limitations of their environment. I would contest that it is Ellison's script which is melodramatic, implausible and - with regard to one character in particular - lacking in humanity. In the hands of Mr. Ellison, the Trek universe and its characters underwent a drastic change in perspective, resulting in a piece of literature which bears little resemblance to what the fen recognise as 'Star Trek', as established by earlier episodes and evidenced in later ones. I'm not quite sure who or what Ellison is writing about, but it sure as hell isn't the Enterprise, Kirk ard Spock.... [much omitted]... I am aware that this review has been severely critical of Harlan Ellison's work, but I offer no apology for I believe the criticism to be justified. In truth, there is little about his script that I can tolerate or find acceptable if it is to be regarded as a serious attempt a writing 'Star Trek' material. It is unrealistic to set out to write a script for a TV show with well-established characteristics, choose to ignore these entirely, and then to complain that one's original efforts have been altered to 'fit the mould'. It is a successful and popular mould, and of course divergent concepts will be adapted. If every writer for Trek had been given a free rein, we would have had a different character interpretation each week, a new technology - and no continuity or growth whatsoever. There would be little point in continuing the series under those conditions. Whatever one's opinion of Ellison's writing ability, it is obvious that he is too individualistic to be suited to series writing.
  • fans debate the editors' decision to not print death stories or stories in STAG zines that stray too far from the main characters of Star Trek -- one response:
    Now Star Trek is lots of things; to some it is the Enterprise herself , to some it is the actors, to some the characters, to others (and this is the category I personally come under) it is ANYTHING in Gene Roddenberry's universe... Whilst I am the first to agree that it is the prerogative of the editorial staff of STAG to print what material they choose, I do challenge their views and tend to agree with Jonathan. To run a continuous series, obviously you cannot 'kill off' the central characters, but we amateur zine writers are writing about the ST universe, and in this universe, death, as unpleasant as it may be, happens! And is it logical to kill off half the Security Section of the Enterprise and not have a situation in the future where a major character is killed? The same applies to the ST universe - surely ST fans are not so narrow-minded as to deny the existence of all the remainder of Starfleet, of Klingons, Romulans, Organians, Deltans, Vulcans etc.... I feel ST fandom is almost in two separate parts, but whilst I will concede people who think as I do may he in the minority, there nevertheless are people whose vision of ST is not restricted to the Enterprise and her crew. We like the Enterprise, we like K/S/M stories, out we also like getting away from 'the big three' and to explore other ships, other characters. Myself, and more people than you may believe, agree with Jonathan, have enough vision to 'see' the whole wonder of the ST universe and not be blinkered into accepting 'official' policy. Whilst we are happy enough to accept that some ST fans are only interested in Enterprise stories and don't want their heroes killed, please don't deny those of us with broader visions to still love ST as we see it.
  • the editors respond:
    There is room in fandom for a zine that is SF - based on the UFP universe if you like - but as soon as you write stories that have as characters only characters of your own invention, and ships that are of your own invention, you are writing original science fiction, even if you have used Gene's UFP universe as a starting point. Zines and fan fiction have been around for over ten years now, it's not by chance that almost all devote themselves to tho Enterprise and her crew, and the ones that have diversified have done so by means of other media SF, rather than by exploring other aspects of the UFP universe. We appreciate the views of those who want to explore the Klingons (there are one or two zines devoted to them), the Romulans, or whatever! We don't deny you the right to consider them part of the ST universe that is worth developing in fiction. Please grant us the right of thinking those to be Trek-based science fiction. And if you don't agree with us, why not put out your own zine? There's room for all of us.
  • another fan responds:
    While I know the frustration of trying to get something in print that runs counter to accepted viewpoints and you can almost feel a hidden censorship in that frustration, there are a lot of zines that publish so much stuff that is either peripheral to my interests or totally outside them that I find myself paying more and more for less and less. I'm glad that I can pick up LE and know it's about the Enterprise and there are no death stories. I used to read everything, all universes, about Vulcans, Andorians etc, everything - even an SF story thrown in. But I don't have that kind of time now. If a story doesn't have a familiar name in it, I barely scan it, if at all.... Death stories are a whole different bag. For one, I'm tired of them. They've been done and done, pull the heartstrings etc. It's an easy way to move people. Everyone is sad when a hero dies. I've never understood the sense of printing death stories for entertainment. Oh, I know all about the catharsis of tears and I know it's a part of life, but I guess I don't need the tears and it's a part of life I don't care to dwell on. I'd rather read about our heroes overcoming things, even being caught in tragedy - as long as they can survive it. I don't read ST to cry, but to be uplifted. And death stories are depressing. And if the story is really written well, the devastation could last for a long time.
  • more:
    If you want to set limits on what you print, you're perfectly entitled to do so. However I do agree with Jonathan that ST fans should be willing to read any stories set in the ST universe, not just ones about the Enterprise. Fan fiction is supposed to explore the creations of people like Gene Roddenberry. I would suggest that zines full of action/ adventure, get-'em, relationship, Mary Sue stories just about the Enterprise and her crew are about as exploratory as catching the bus to work every morning. While such stories may be well-written and enjoyable to read, surely fans would appreciate some more original fiction? I think it's past time we had more fan stories about different aspects of the ST universe
  • more:
    It's not death itself that is the taboo here, but wallowing in death. Those people who are upset by the fictionalised death of a character (and lands sakes, people, Kirk, Spock etc don't really exist, you know!) are just as likely to be upset by serious injury to one or another, even when they know he'll recover in the last few pages. This is hedging your bets, guys. It makes for unexciting fiction when you know your characters can't actually buy it.
  • more:
    To me, Star Trek is not just the Enterprise and her crew. Because of our love for the ship and the crew they do, however, form the major part and that will be reflected in an overwhelming majority of fanzine stories - but an occasional foray outside would surely be of benefit.
  • more:
    In the Star Trek zines that I put out, whether general or otherwise, I will not as a matter of principle and editorial policy print a 'death of main character' story. The basic reason for this is quite simple. I feel that death, because it is part of our lives, is not something most fans want to read about in fiction. Our heroes are above mortal death, they will always live to fight another day... besides which I feel there are enough zines catering for this rather morbid topic without another.
  • more:
    I can see the sense of having some sort of policy on general issues as this makes for a coherent whole. However, your 'no death' clause has always puzzled me. Surely, every fan story is in a sense an Alternate Universe story, and nothing that happens to the characters therein affects in any way the 'real' characters of the Roddenberry universe. It's just a fan writer saying 'What if...' and proceeding to resolve the question. Occasionally that resolution involves the death of a major character; but that isn't the death of Star Trek. One of the beauties of fan writing is that the characters are endlessly recyclable. A more serious point is your own position as editor. At the moment, when I read a story in LE in which Kirk or Spock or whoever is supposedly dead, I just sigh wistfully and say to myself, 'Oh well, he isn't really'. Now presumably the author's intention in writing such a story is to have us breathless on the edge of our seats wondering is he or isn't he? But if we are reading a zine in which No Major Characters May Die, then we know from the outset that he isn't and it rather takes away the point of the story - and incidentally diminishes the zine in the process. As editor, the final decision is yours.
  • more:
    I was very interested in the comments about 'death' stories in the N/L. I noticed you said that it wasn't a subject you want to read about under any circumstances, but surely it depends on the quality and nature of the story? For example, I can think of one excellent story - 'A Brief Moment of Light' by Tracey Alexander, which was in Enterprise Incidents (U.S. - editor James Van Hise), in which both Kirk and Spock die, but which I'm sure couldn't offend anyone. I hope not anyway! Do you not feel that because of your restrictions you might lose out on a lot of good stories?
  • more:
    I disagree with the rule that allows no main character to die. I have read a great many stories in which the main character dies which left a sad ending but a hopeful one. Often, the fact that the other characters get along without the deceased, coping with their grief, is a 'happy' ending in itself.
  • there were many, many more responses regarding material printed in Log Entries; one of the editors wraps it up with this excerpt:
    Surely, with all the misery and suffering there is in the real world, there is room for one zine that is trying to concentrate on the good and the happy? One writer commented that if we didn't change our policy, other zines would appear which would handle the topics we won't touch. For myself, I'd welcome such an event — the more people involved in producing zines, the richer fandom will be... One final point. Every fanzine is to some extent a reflection of the tastes and preferences of its editors. Janet, Sheila - and I in a lesser way - put out Log Entries as a hobby, may heaven help us, and there is no fun in putting out something that conflicts with our views. The sales of Log Entries would seem to indicate that large numbers of you share our tastes. We do appreciate, however, that some of you do not, and that is only to be expected; everyone sees Star Trek through different eyes. Instead of trying to change an existing zine, why not take up the challenge? Produce your own zine, as we do - and be welcome.
  • one result of this debate, as well as the fact that the club's zines were making too much money, was a amicable split in zine publishers:
    We do feel however that it is possibly time to hand over the editorship of STAG zines to someone else who may be able to come up with zines which may be more acceptable to you all. Sylvia [Billings] and Beth [Hallam] have agreed to take over the editorship of STAG zines. We, Janet, Sheila & Valerie, have decided to go into partnership and put out zines independently under the name of ScoTpress... When we closed the club books at the end of September we did not realise that we had only just got in under the VAT level (since this is £13500 turnover, not £1.5000 as we thought.) With the convention this year and rising postage, etc, the only way we can keep under the VAT level is to cut back severely on the amount of zines STAG puts out and also cut the number of photos we offer. We have looked into getting registered for VAT but feel there is far too much work involved and we are pretty well worked to our limit as it is. It seems best to put out new zines rather than reprints so STAG will not be reprinting any zines this year and we will have to limit the new ones to one zine per N/L or two at the most. This is a pity, but there is no way round this turnover problem. We're afraid STAG is just too successful at the moment. Things should ease off after September as we aron't planning a con for 1982.
  • there are some fan-written technical articles
  • fiction and poetry: "McCoy's Misfortune" by Sue Simon, "Reception Committee" by S. Meek, "Moon?" by Gladys Oliver, "The Secret" by David Coote, "The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name" by David Coote,
  • excerpt (four of the seven stanzas) from "The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name" -- a poem by David Coote about K/S and Trek fans' tolerance of the premise:
The Trekkies all scream, "They can't be queer!"
But is this reaction produced by fear?
Fear of our heroes having strange desires
That unnatural actions light their fires...
[three stanzas ommitted]
Yet Star Trek is of a different time
Where prejudice merely disrupts the rhyme!
Where there is tolerance of all,
Not ugly names that we might call.
And we Trekkers so progressive, so caring
Must in our own time not condemn such pairing
For love is the sign, the only way.
Whether that love be 'straight" or 'gay'.
We must learn and very quick
That we should live by IDIC
End the prejudice, the hate, the blame;
Make it the love that dares to speak its name.

Issue 45

Star Trek Action Group 45 was published in February 1981 and contains 18 pages. There were 960 copies printed.

front page of issue #45
  • a fan offers a 1/2 hour long cassette tape of an interview with D.C. Fontana done at TerraCon -- cost is £2.75
  • a fan offers both Star Trek blooper tapes on Super 8 colour sound film for sale -- the first one is £10.50, the second one is £15.50.
  • "The New Enterprise Model" by Barry Maxwell, a detailed article about how he painted his model
  • "An Alternative on the Edge of Forever" by Pam Baddeley, a long article written in response to another earlier article in STAG about Harlan Ellison's script -- the opening paragraph:
    This article has been written in an attempt to make a more fair analysis of Harlan Elllison's notorious version of 'City on the Edge of Forever', in particular, in reference to the article by Lee Owers that appeared in N/L 44. A substantial proportion of that article is devoted to berating Ellison for factual inaccuracies and faulty character delineation in relation to aired ST prior to the 'City' episode. Although it is my intention to show Ellison's version to be a bad script, I assert that it is so on the grounds of poor writing and inferior plotting. It is not fair to criticise on the grounds that Lee Owers chooses, because when Ellison was asked to write the script, he could not possibly have known all the facts that he has been castigated for not knowing.
  • "Roylance vs Melodramatic Titles, Vietnam, and other tribbial matters," an essay by David Roylance, which among other things, addresses communism
  • there are a number of fans writing in regarding to the topic of death stories in STAG zines:
    Finally, with regard to the death theme, I would like to point out a fact that none of your correspondents mentioned. Many ST fans are children under the age of 12 years; bearing this in mind I think that any stories produced by a major club like STAG should be general zines for all the family. Therefore stories glorying in death and suffering for its sake only should be put in special zines of this type and not included in general zines. I am happy to know that I could buy Log Entries and give it to my young cousin without having to censor it first. It does not need death to generate suspense, as this can be achieved by situations in which we say, "How how on earth will they get out of that?" Suspense is, after all, the sense of not knowing and does not only apply to 'life or death' situations.
  • the editors respond to an anonymous letter as well as the topic of STAG zines and the topic of death:
    We had one letter disagreeing with our story policy since the last N/L - a letter which seemed to be more a personal attack than a comment on policy. The writer admitted writing the previous anomymous letter; although signed, this one gave no address and a check of our records showed that the name was not that of a member. We therofore suspected that this was another anonymous letter; our suspicions have since been confirmed. We think we know who wrote those letters but have not named her to anyone outside the committee - anyone therefore who thinks she is being accused can look to her own conscience. If this person sincerely and deeply believes, as she says, in the validity of her views, she should have the courage and honesty to say so openly by signing her own name to her letters - as many of our members have done. I also ask her to remember that much of our policy was formulated as a result of reader comment and was not forced upon our readers by any of the current editorial group of STAG. Every time we have tried to print something a little different it has been criticised by 50% or more of the people commenting on the zines on the grounds of theme, even when it has been an excellent story, well written and well developed. I am not, in any zine I put out, going to change a policy that the majority have indicated they prefer, to suit the wishes of a minority whose views of ST differ.

Issue 46

Star Trek Action Group 46 was published in April 1981 and contains 28 pages.

front page of issue #46
  • "Quality Products" in the UK is selling the "200 foot" super-8 3rd blooper reel for £l9.95
  • some of the editors and club leaders announce they are resigning:
    We have quite a lot to tell you this time. The three of us, Janet, Sheila & Valerie, wish to announce that we will be resigning from the STAG committee on September 30th. After six years of running STAG, during which membership has grown considerably, we are finding ourselves tired and becoming a little stale. We want more time to pursue our own interests in STAR TREK rather than having all our time taken up with the administrative side of running a large club. With the majority of the committee resigning, we felt the best thing to do was to disband the committee and pass the club on to someone who would have full powers to form their own committee. When Jenny Elson decided to resign as President in 1973 the committee was disbanded and she asked Janet if she would take over the club and form a new committee. Having the club president form a committee of people she can work best with does seem the most efficient way to run a club the size of STAG. The most obvious choice of who to take over the club was one of the two remaining committee members - Sylvia or Beth. In this case we felt the obvious choice was Sylvia because of the amount of work she has been doing for the club. As well as answering renewals she has done most of the administrative work for the convention and has shown she can handle the workload efficiently. On the other hand, Beth has said repeatedly lately that she doesn't have as much free time as she would like to spend on the club. We have asked Sylvia if she is willing to take on the club and she has said she is. We hope you will agree with our decision that she is the best person to hand the club over to. Under the circumstances, Beth has decided to resign from the committee as of March 1st, 1981, and she has handed all the auction paperwork, the adverts for the friendship Corner, etc. over to Sylvia.
  • there is a description of the Business Meeting held at Terracon:
    A meeting was held at Terracon '80 in Leeds which was attended by convention organisers, past and present; club organisers; prominent STAR TREK. fans, etc. It was the feeling of the meeting that STAR TREK conventions required some form of continuity and overall organisation to a) ensure that there were STAR TREK conventions each year, and b) ensure that there were not too many STAR TREK conventions being organised, resulting in convention committees suffering heavy financial losses. It was agreed that the present 2 conventions per year was the ideal number and that this would be the number aimed for in future years - one in the spring and one in the autumn. It was decided to adopt a bidding system to decide the venue of future conventions. Bids to be put forward at a Business Meeting held at each 'official' convention; the first such Meeting to be held is at STAG CON '81.
  • the Business Meeting rules are printed in full
  • there is a list of all the UK Star Trek cons
  • the editors write about a zine being stopped by customs:
    We've had more word on The Price and The Prize (see zine ads page). More people have now received seizure notices from Customs. This is the first time that any explicit zine has been seized (although we know that some 'adult' zines have been opened in the past) so.... One Scottish buyer of the zine went to Glasgow Customs after receiving her seizure notice to ask what was wrong with the zine, wearing her most innocent expression, and everyone she spoke to went scarlet... the chief official she spoke to trying to tell her without saying anything compromising just why he had condemned it. He did manage to explain that it was about... er... Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock... er... having an affair, and that the pictures left nothing to the imagination. That must be one Customs man who has a whole new outlook on ST. He refused to let her see the zine to decide whether she felt it was worth appealing against the seizure, and after she said that she accepted that, he ended up giving her a long tale about the trials and tribulations of a Customs officer's life. It was from her that we received the first notification that this zine had been stopped.
  • the editors add: I
    It should be noted however that Customs have stopped copies of this [The Price and The Prize] coming into the country and have confiscated several. A lot of othor people are still waiting for word of the zine either arriving or being seized by Customs - there has been silence for about a fortnight since the first seizure notices went out and we know Gayle sent out all the pre-orders at the same time. The possibility exists that othor explicit K/S zines might also be seized by Customs in the future. All such zines are therefore ordered at your own risk. ANYONE wanting to put out a zine - Gene Roddenberry and Paramount have never apparently objected to zines. It is too late now for Paramount to object to series-based zines, at least, since several of the episodes have been issued, apparently completely legally, on video and film, so it seems safe enough to go ahead and put out a zine without asking anyone's permission first. There is nothing to stop anyone putting out their own zine - however it is advisable to put in a copyright disclaimer similar to the one we put in Log Entries.
  • there is a review of "Errand of Mercy"
  • another fan, James Pauley, writes an essay addressing the Harlan Ellison script, and the two fan essays that criticized in, both printed in earlier issues of this letterzine
  • this issue has a review of Star Cluster, see that page
  • a fan, David Roylance, reviews the ST music
  • a fan writes regarding death stories and says that just because some fans like to read them and write them doesn't mean they aren't real fans of Star Trek, and that death stories are written for all sorts of reasons, not just to be mean
  • a fan writes a poem in response to the poem in issue #44, one that called for tolerance regarding homosexual relationships:
It just does not follow
That, in the future, the freedom to choose
Whom to love - same sex, or whatever -
Is a freedom our heroes will use.
Jim's always a hit with the ladies;
Spock loved Leila and poor Zarabeth.
Does Kirk ever give rise to suspicion
That he prefers the Vulcan's caress?
Let's go back to the truth of the series!
To some fen it may come as a shock -
But in seventy-nine episodes
(And one awful film)
Kirk never goes to bed with Spock!

Issue 47

Star Trek Action Group 47 was published in June 1981 and contains 34 pages.

front page of issue #47
  • the club is doing fine: this newsletter came out a week early, and funds are healthy:
    Thank you for the letters you sent us saying that you enjoyed the convention. We had a few snarls up (as usual at a con) but most seemed to work themselves out okay in the end... We did say when we advertised the convention that we were going to use any profit to pay for the photocopier that we bought for the club, but since the club funds are quite healthy at the moment and since quite a number of people attending the con were not club members, we have decided to give all convention profits to the GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND ASSOCIATION. We haven't quite closed the convention books yet as there are still some advert payments to come in, but we've been able to send a cheque for £1000 to the GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND. There will probably be about another £100 to send them, but we won't know for sure until we close the con books.
  • there is a detailed plan for the upcoming Galileo Con in Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • there is a transcript of the talk Susan Sackett gave at STAG Con
  • there is a transcript of a phone call made by Gene Roddenberry to the STAG Con attendees
  • there is a long con report of STAG Con "written" by Janet's dog, Shona
  • there is a description of "The Star Trek Archives," the depository of all the Star Trek scripts and canon what-not stored in Los Angeles:
    I would like to tell STAG members about the ST archives in Los Angeles. As the more dedicated fans will know, much information on the series is stored at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). In fact, this constitutes all surviving paperwork on the series not in private hands, and includes memos, letters to and from writers and NBC, call sheets, budgets, drafts and various script versions. With the appropriate pass card (which I just happen to have), one can look at these files (they fill 47 large box files) in the library. There are no copying facilities available. [3]
  • a fan writes to say he disagrees that the Scottish Shore Leave wasn't recognized as an "official" British Star Trek convention; the editors respond that STAG supports both Shore Leave and UFP Con, and this was all hashed out at the business meeting at Terracon
  • a number of fans comment on a review of One Last Wish Fulfilled & A Promise Kept, see that zine page for more
  • a fan asks if it was true that a STAG member was kicked out of the club and banned from future cons; the editors reply:
    That's the first we've heard of it. A German girl who was highly discourteous to William Shatner was expelled from the Shatner Fan Fellowship, and we would have considered expelling her from STAG for the same reason, but her renewal was due and she did not renew. Details of that incident were in a past N/L. However, at the last Terracon, two scurrilous leaflets, purporting to be 'funny' but in fact being nothing but offensively insulting to two attending members of the convention, were left lying around. Had the person(s) responsible for those been discovered, and had they been STAG members, we would have seriously considered expelling them, and we would certainly have blacklisted them as far as STAG Con was concerned. If the situation had arisen that we had intended expelling someone, members would certainly have been informed.
  • a fan writes of his displeasure regarding the recent con business meeting and how the decision to go with Newcastle rather than Aucon was based on some favoritism and not democracy, as well as one that would hurt Bill Shatner's feelings as negotiations had already been in place to have him as a guest (Shatner was apparently going to be on holiday in England during the same time as the proposed Aucon) -- Rog Peyton, chairman of STAG Con responds:
    Sorry to disagree with one of your basic points but it would seem that you have missed the point of the bidding system completely. We want the bidding system so that British STAR TREK fandom can afford to bring the big stars over. In the early days there was just one convention a year then a few years ago there were two STAR TREK cons a year. It was discovered that UK fandom could afford two conventions a year without one convention or the other risking a financial loss. But could it afford three? Most fans are stretched to the limit attending two, and at Leeds last year it was agreed by many club organisers, con organisers, etc that it was necessary to limit the number of conventions and find some way of directing the attention of STAR TREK fans to 2 major conventions per year. A problem had arisen whereby the Elsons were planning AUCON 81 and Mike Wild was planning STARCON - both intending to be the 'official' Autumn STAR TREK convention - and only two weeks separating the two events. It was obvious to everyone that this wouldn't work - if both went ahead one or both would lose financially. So in the good old spirit of fannish friendship Mike Wild stood down as a STAR TREK convention and changed the accent to general media in order to attract a different set of attendees thereby ensuring that AUCON 81 would have no competition as a STAR TREK convention. In a similar situation it was discovered that the UFP committee were planning another convention to be in Spring 1982 while another committee were planning a STAR TREK convention in Glasgow in approximately the same period. The UFP committee offered to stand down because the Scottish convention (SHORE LEAVE) appeared to have gone further in their negotiations but then the SHORE LEAVE committee announced that theirs was to be a small convention and they had no objection to UFP CON 82 going ahead as the main STAR TREK convention for spring 1982. Everything was sorted out amicably and to the satisfaction of the whole meeting. But it was a unanimous feeling that we needed something more substantial to hold the whole thing together in future years. With over 20 conventions per year in the UK - (all being part of the overall Science Fiction field) we needed something to tell the fans out there which conventions were the official and approved cons to attend. Also floating around were rumours of businessmen intending to run conventions (STAR TREK and otherwise) for their own personal gain. It doesn't take any giant leap in logic to see where all this could lead. We needed something. The voting system was suggested and approved in principle. It was put to you, the fans at the Business Meeting at STAG CON and you voted for it - unanimously! We now have a system that protects us from outsiders attempting to put on STAR TREK cons for personal gain...

Issue 48

Star Trek Action Group 48 was published in August 1981 and contains 27 pages.

front page of issue #48
  • regarding the time and energy it takes to print some zines:
    Carol Davies had a short letter from Louise Stange saying she is mimeographing the yearbook now. It is taking so long because her machines are getting old and they are slow - 1 page can take up to 16 hours to do and she has 4500 copies of each page to put out. Louise has run off and is collating at the moment an 18-page bulletin "'which should be out with the year book (should be over 200 pages).
  • regarding the Star Trek bloopers that appear on a weird soft porn video that has been listed for sale to the general public:
    ... the International Red Tape 2 video. It's a mixture of sick humour and - for women - boring sex interludes; strippers, 'Red Riding Hood' (two girls and Bugs Bunny!), a 'Roman Orgy' with loads of blood spurting everywhere, a mildly amusing cartoon, a send-up of a strip-tease that could have been funny if it had been done with a lighter touch, a documentary on powered hang-gliding, and the bloopers. The bloopers last about six minutes and are taken from the second season reel. The quality is dark but watchable - it may well have been taken from the 8mm home movie reel. Unfortunately the bloopers come in the middle of the tape. Both the documentary and the bloopers seem out of place on a video tape of this type. Unless you're desperate to get at least some of the bloopers, we don't think it's worth buying.
  • a fan announces a project:
    Keith Walker is soliciting submissions of already printed material (articles and fiction) for a Star Trek anthology he is planning. Please, nothing hand written. He would also like to borrow zines from editors.
  • a fan plans for the future, and makes do:
    [Regarding the possibility]... that the BBC might not run the original Star Trek series again if the new show materialises: Well, this thought had occurred to me, too... I envy those fans lucky enough to have the series on video, but as I don't have a video recorder myself, I've been busy taping my favourite episodes on cassettes, so that I'll at least be able to listen to them in the future, even if the beeb don't show them again.
  • a fan writes:
    I have always enjoyed the STAG newsletter, which covers a lot of ground one way and another. I particularly like the impartiality with which opposing points of view are reported. I agree with your policy on no death of main characters in the stories. If you read once of the death of a main character, it is possible to believe it, but not when he is killed off for the third or fourth time. I regret not being able to accept what are euphemistically called K/S relationship stories, having only just recently realised exactly what is meant by them. Close friendships I admire, where each respects the other, but not a same sex sexual relationship. Surely in a ship of 430 people it is possible to find a normal relationship. Also I doubt whether Starfleet Command would have promoted to the rarified heights of Captain and First Officer two men who could not be respected by everyone, even allowing for the advanced thinking of the future.
  • a fan is unhappy with the tone and wording of other fans' opinions from previous issues regarding the zine, One Last Wish Fulfilled & A Promise Kept:
    I think it is a great pity that something which obviously began as a chance to air our views has turned into an unpleasant free-for-all; we are all entitled to our own opinions but we should know the difference between honesty and rudeness. [4] All the clubs do us fans a great service; without the committee members there would be no clubs or cons - I'm afraid I would be very tempted to answer unpleasant and cruel criticisms with the comment 'If you can do better then start a club yourself.' There is no need for unpleasantness from members of any club. I find all the arguments depressing and unworthy of a Trek lover, and I do mean the nasty arguments and not just friendly disagreements. I have never commented on the story policy before, but surely the protests and arguments are not logical - it all boils down to 'if you don't like it, then don't read it'. If you don't like a club's policy then leave the club and join one you do like, there is plenty of choice. I personally enjoy all fiction; death stories do not upset me at all, neither does any other explicit material, but I agree most definitely that each club should print only that which it agrees with. It is after all your right to do as you wish with your own hard work.
  • the writer of the original review of "Last Wish Fulfilled & A Promise Kept," the one in which she said it made her cry, comments:
    Have you ever had the feeling that you wished the ground would open up and swallow you? Having just read other people's reaction to my letter concerning Karen Hayden's zine ONE LAST WISH FULFILLED/A PROMISE KEPT, I'm beginning to feel just that. On reading my letter again, as printed in the N/L, I can quite see how it would give most people the impression that I am a soppy, sentimental idiot. Really, I'm not. The letter was written on the spur of the moment, after reading the zine for the first time. The thought that it might be printed in the newsletter didn't even cross my mind, and I was extremely taken aback to find that it had been. Not that I retract anything from it. Having read the zine again, I must confess that it still made me cry. Perhaps I am being sentimental, after all, and I don't apologise for that, but I will admit that I went a little overboard.in my letter. By the way, to answer [name redacted's] question as to 'why on earth did [she] buy it in the first place' - at the time I ordered the zine from Jenny Elson's sales list, there was absolutely no mention of it being 'controversial.' I think it originally appeared on sales list 8, although I can't actually find that one now. But the word 'controversial' didn't appear until No. 9, by which time I'd already read the zine. Also to quote [name redacted's] statement - 'We all know zines from that particular stable are going to be controversial,' I'm afraid that observation leaves me completely blank. Perhaps someone would enlighten me. [5]
  • another fan comments on the current controversy and brings up the relatively new topic of warnings, something many fans take for granted today:
    With reference to the comment in N/L 47 regarding 'One Last Wish Fulfilled', I agree with Jenny Elson that Karen Hayden has 'the democratic right to put her ideas forward' in her stories. BUT when Jenny Elson gave a reason for not advertising it as a death story as 'we had we advertised it as such, some people would not have bought it' - good grief - do we fans have no RIGHTS!!! Are certain zine editors only concerned with selling the zines and don't really care whether the stories (such as death stories) upset the fan who unsuspectingly buys one? O.K., so death is a fact of life, but some of us do not wish to dwell on it, especially if it concerns people (or characters) we love. We do have the right to enjoy the zines we buy and if editors of fanzines cannot be TRUSTED to advertise truthfully the zines they publish, then I will be very wary about the ones I buy and who advertises them. At least I know I will not be buying 'a death story' zine from STAG and if they ever change their policy regarding this then I am sure I can TRUST them to inform the fans before they sell the zines. Where is IDIC - in which Jenny Elson says she is a firm believer - when there is no trust?
  • many fans write in and comment on the rumor that Spock will die in the next movie -- one comment:
    I have no doubt that everyone is writing to the N/L with their views on the 'killing off of Spock', but it has dawned on me recently just how much it all smacks of a publicity gimmick by Paramount... Paramount knows that if they kill Spock off, not only will fans want to see it, but also non-fans who will only want to see it for that reason. Whereas obviously if Spock is only in it for a short space of time and then written out and presumed to be on another 'planet, space station of whatever', then a lot of would-be viewers are just not going to be interested enough to watch it. And - this particularly applies to foreign countries, for instance ourselves - it looks as though we shall have to pay to go to a cinema to see it rather than having it on our TV screens. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that if Paramount sticks to the idea of killing Spock off, it will be from a publicity idea and not because they care what we fans think.
  • more on Spock's death:
    Star Trek without Spock? Impossible, and I don't need to tell you, fellow fans, why. But there is an alternative to killing him off or 'losing' him somewhere - get someone else to play him, Nimoy may have built him up, but what Spock is now is an entity in his own right, powerful enough to withstand change, just as any other major character in the series is, and quite capable of going on and developing without Nimoy's assistance. Look at James Bond - Connery and Moore don't even look vaguely alike, but the character is so strong it hasn't mattered one bit. I don't understand Paramount (or whoever made this mad decision) at all, for surely another Spock is better than no Spock as far as the good of the series is concerned, and thereby their eventual profits. A strong character can always take the change, and what character has ever been stronger?
  • more on Spock's death:
    My reaction to the news that they might 'kill off Mr. Spock' was not a flood of tears - for the simple reason that I don't believe they will. We went through all of this last time, when Leonard Nimoy claimed he wouldn't return to the role, etc. And I'll be surprised if Gene R. will agree to such action; if he does, he might as well write our good Captain out as well - it's not easy to imagine one without the other.
  • this issue has a long letter by Jenny Elson in which she refutes a letter in the previous issue regarding two cons and their scheduling; the letter corrects much math and says, in part,
    Perhaps it would be advisable for Rog Peyton to get facts and figures correct in future before putting pen to paper. Firstly, Mike Wild, organiser of Starcon, did not, as far as AUCON committee are aware, "'Stand down as a Star Trek convention in" - quote - "the good old spirit of fannish friendship." No clash of dates was ever mentioned to us, and no 'standing down' ever discussed. As far as we are aware, Mike has continued as before and we assume the timing is quite suitable to him. We have heard that Mike's con is in fact doing well, for which we are pleased, and can only conclude that everything is satisfactory. Originally we intended to hold our convention in May '81. This was when we understood that STAG Con would be held in Autumn '80. We therefore postponed ours to August at Janet's request for us to alter the dates to the autumn of '81. This was agreed quite amicably, and nothing was ever mentioned about another con in September.
  • there are also letters regarding the con conflict: one letter is by The Galileo Con Committee, three other letters by fans were all took a stance of support or criticism of the process and/or decision
  • this issue has a survey called Star Trek - The Fans: A Study of the Legend and Its Followers
  • there is a short piece of fiction by M.J. Timmins called "No Thorns - No Roses"
  • this issue has a response poem written by the original author in issue #44 to the response poem written in issue #46:
I feel I should be clear
So that you and others can truly hear
I did not say Kirk and Spock are gay -
- Not in the series, there's no way
I have not joined the 'K/S' lot
Nor do I believe, not one jot.
My poem was prompted by another thought
Which worried me, so an answer I sought.
K/S was attacked in many views
So many, in fact, it had to lose
But being gay itself came under fire
The results of which could be most dire
Tolerance was the subject of my plea
Respect and love has to be the key
But if Kirk and Spock were gay
It shouldn't matter to us anyway.
So, condemn 'K/S' - by all means do
But don't condemn the principle too.
Into the future, we turn the pages
Of tolerance, we learn by stages.

Issue 49

Star Trek Action Group 49 was published in October 1981 and contains 30 pages. It is the first issue done by the committee: Sylvia Billings, Cilla Futcher, Wendy Downes.

front page of issue #49
financial report for 1980-81
  • the new leaders of STAG comment on fiction material:
    All submissions will be given serious consideration and we don't really feel that there is any particular subject which is taboo (within the bounds of good taste). We won't be printing any K/S stories in FEDERATION OUTPOST because STAG covers all age groups and the Committee doesn't feel that this particular type of story is appropriate for a genzine. Personally, I don't care for this type of story, though I have read some well written ones. But again it is for you the Members to decide. If you wish STAG to print K/S zines then let us know.
  • the financial statement for STAG Con and the club's yearly financial statement (plus assets) are printed
  • there is a report of the Hosato meeting at Aucon, a gathering that included George Takei himself
  • there is a long, long con report for The William Shatner Weekend held in Los Angeles on July 10-12, 1981
  • there are a number of short fan comments regarding Aucon, all positive, as well as one long con report, see that page
  • there is a short con report for Faircon, see that page
  • fiction and poems: "Foresight or Fate" by Karen Humphries, and three poems
  • there is further discussion regarding the acceptability of gay relationships in the Star Trek universe; a fan responds to another fan's comment in an earlier issue:
    Isn't she imposing twentieth century prejudices upon the future when she says homosexuals would be barred from command? After all, in ancient Greece it was regarded as normal for men to have such relationships. Women were regarded as existing to bear children, and for 'animal' pleasure. Intense, emotional bonds - real love - were thought possible only between men. Obviously, that was a great imbalance towards the other extreme. It shows, however, that human beings are very malleable in their views. Secondly, I don't see why [name redacted] assumes it's a matter of choice? Perhaps I'm reading her letter incorrectly, but, when she says, 'Surely in a ship of 430 people it is possible to find a normal relationship', it brings the following to mind. It sounds as if gays only have to take a cold shower and do a few press-ups and then they'll be 'cured' of their inclinations. I don't think anyone who's gay has become so because they couldn't find a partner of the opposite sex. They were simply attracted to individuals of their own sex. To go against one's nature causes a lot of unhappiness. No-one can help how they're made and probably the emotional insecurities of a lot of gays are caused by the hostility of society, not because homosexuality in itself is an unstable state. I think it is a state as valid as heterosexuality, since in human beings emotional drives have to a great extent become separated from the simple urge to reproduce the species. We've become very complex creatures and judging from Master's and Johnston's studies, our sexuality has developed a wide variety of responses. Thirdly, the use of 'normal' - in this context, heterosexuality. As defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary, it means 'conforming to standard, regular, usual, typical'. It also says 'free from mental or emotional disorder' which is the sense in which it is used by a lot of people. In a society of the mad, however, a sane person would be 'abnormal'. Just because a person does not conform does not mean they are intrinsically evil or wrong...after all, a lot of the great people in history failed to conform - by insisting the Earth was not the centre of the universe, for instance. The above does not mean that I think Kirk and Spock are gay or bisexual - they were never intended to be such by their creators, and Kirk's unceasing pursuit of women would seem to point the other way. But if it's possible for them to die or marry or anything else in alternate universe stories, it's possible for them to be gay, too. So I don't deny the right of anyone to write or read such stories - that's up to them. I don't think that a same-sex relationship precludes the partners from respecting each other, and I think we should respect the rights of all adults to carry on their lives in privacy without intolerance. We should bear in mind the principles of IDIC.
  • another fan addresses this topic:
    I do not wish to enter into any controversy with anyone over K/S, we are all free to read or not as we choose, but [name redacted's] comments contained so many hurtful - and uninformed - statements that I feel I have to make some answer to her. I would ask her to define a 'normal' relationship for one thing. We are all individuals; no two pairings can work in the same way. Other questions that sprang immediately to my mind were 1) what is 'normal' for aliens? 2) As many homosexuals do not want, or find it impossible to, form relationships with the opposite sex, would she condemn them to a life of loneliness? 3) Why does she seem to assume that there are no single-sex relationships among Starfleet Command? 4) Why cannot 'everyone' respect a homosexual? Do we accord Plato or Shakespeare less respect on that account? 5) Since homosexual love was greatly admired in ancient Greece is it logical to consider acceptance of it as advanced thinking? Those of us that find our perfect partners within the 'accepted' areas of the time in which we live have no right to consider others in any way our inferiors. How are we going to learn to accept alien views and concepts if we cannot even accept Human ones if they differ from ours?
  • fans have a number of opinions regarding the loss of Spock in future films:
    After reading [name redacted's] comment in N/L 48 about getting another actor to play Spock, my first reaction, I must admit, was that I would personally rather have Star Trek without Spock than have another actor play him. Why? Because while I agree with [name redacted] that Spock is a strong character and could (possibly) withstand such a change, I wonder would we, the fans, be able to withstand it? By this I mean that Leonard's voice is Spock's, and Leonard Nimoy and Spock are, in many people's eyes (not just fans) synonymous. While I'm not saying that another actor couldn't possibly portray Spock as well as Leonard, the question is, would it work? One example I can think of where another actor took over a role of a popular character unsuccessfully is that of Hannibal Hayes in 'Alias Smith and Jones'. When Roger Smith took over the role from the late Pete Duel, the character just wasn't the same - I don't know if that was the reason no more series were made after that, but the point I'm trying to make is that I don't think we, the fans, would accept 'another' Spock, no matter how well-portrayed. And would Leonard want someone else to take over the role?
  • regarding Spock:
    What does annoy me is this constant bickering and criticising - this idea that Mr. Nimoy 'owes it' to the Star Trek fans to play Spock. This idea that they made him and that he should be ever grateful. Well, I suppose he has Star Trek to thank for bringing him to the fore, but does that mean he has to be 'grateful' all his life? Surely not - Mr. Nimoy owes nothing, except to himself, to do what he thinks is right. I cannot see why the man should come in for so much criticism merely because he wishes to follow his own career. After all, one only gets one chance in life and it's up to the individual to fulfil his own ambitions: to do what he wants with his own life. I had no idea that people could be so vehement and callous as to try to interfere so much in another individual's life. Please, let's accept any decision by Mr. Nimoy whether or not to play Spock with grace and understanding. For the people who feel that it is a 'betrayal' - Spock will never die in the eyes of thousands of fans; the clubs, zines, etc, will still continue, but for people like myself, who stand only on the periphery of this phenomenon - I don't wish to see the character and the man belittled by any more petty arguments. Can't we remember that Star Trek and Spock are after all only fiction, while the actors are real people with real feelings, hopes and ambitions?
  • fans have many comments about the recent Business Meeting and the decision made there regarding the next official con:
    For the first time in ages, I feel I really have to say something in response to comments in the N/L. It's about this AUCON v Galileo thing. I wasn't at this business meeting (I couldn't afford STAG Con and Fanderson) but this business of guests has come up in discussions many times. Five years ago, when I came into ST fandom, I would have gladly gone to Scotland (let alone Newcastle) to meet one of the ST cast (any one, not just Bill or Leonard), But five years have changed me. Through ST I've found other fandoms and made many new friends, and I'll always be grateful to it for that, but ST isn't my main interest any more. It's merely one of many interests. I know a lot of people who've been around since the mid-70s and feel the same way. We still go to the cons, although they've not the only cons we attend, but we go for the atmosphere, the people, the book rooms. Many of us register without the faintest idea of what programme the Committee have planned, and we may attend only two scheduled events over the weekend.

Issue 50

Star Trek Action Group 50

  • unknown content

Issue 51

Star Trek Action Group 51

  • unknown content

Issue 52

Star Trek Action Group 52

  • unknown content

Issue 53

Star Trek Action Group 53

  • unknown content

Issue 54

Star Trek Action Group 54

  • unknown content

Issue 55

Star Trek Action Group 55

  • unknown content

Issue 56

Star Trek Action Group 56

  • unknown content

Issue 57

Star Trek Action Group 57

  • unknown content

Issue 58

Star Trek Action Group 58

  • unknown content

Issue 59

Star Trek Action Group 59

  • unknown content

Issue 60

Star Trek Action Group 60

  • unknown content

References

  1. perhaps about copyright?
  2. a reference to the pro book that was read in excerpts as a Turkey Read at previous cons
  3. Not to be confused with the fan-run Star Trek Archives
  4. Actually, the comments she is referring to are quite polite and reasoned; for unpleasantness, rudeness, and a free-for-all, see many issues of Interstat and S and H
  5. The editors comment: "We're sorry [name redacted] was taken aback to find that we'd printed her letter on this subject. We have always said that anything, comments etc, sent to us would be considered for the N/L unless the writer positively stated otherwise. We felt that in spite of her own distaste for the subject, [name redacted] gave Karen's zine a very fair review, and as such, it should be printed. Indeed, because of the way the letter was worded, we really did think it was sent in as a N/L submission, not just as a comment to us that was worth passing on to a wider audience.