Star Trek Lives! (book)

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Title: Star Trek Lives!
Commentator: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, Joan Winston
Date(s): 1975
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
External Links:
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Star Trek Lives! (subtitled "Personal Notes and Anecdotes") is a 276-page book by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston, documenting Star Trek's popularity and the rise of Star Trek fandom--the letter writing campaign, the early conventions, fan activities like cosplay, filk, zines and fanfiction--up until 1975.

The long-term impact of the book seems to have been that many devotees of the show had been unaware of the existence of fanzines and especially fan fiction, and that the chapter covering these subjects opened a life-changing door for them:

... it was the book's final chapter, "Do-It-Yourself Star Trek -- The Fan Fiction", that influenced not only the extant Star Trek fandom but also the developing media fandom, with its celebration of Star Trek fan fiction as a literature written mainly by women... This attention to detail and the tantalizing excerpts of individually named stories in particular fanzines was responsible for an explosive interest in fan fiction in the years after Star Trek Lives! was published. The book ended up publicizing the very phenomena it was celebrating.[1]

another cover

Shortly before the book was published, Sharon Ferraro, a major Trek BNF talked this book up to other fans:

TREK FANDOM IMMORTALIZED -- Bantam Books. Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston have sold their joint chronicle of ST fandom to Bantam books where it is scheduled for an April release.(But the way book publishers work, count on at least May or June!) The group has been working on the book for a long time -- at least three years and it ought to be a well researched effort. [2]

Originally, the middle part of the book was to have included full-length fanfic. That material became Star Trek: The New Voyages #1. [3]

According to the program book for the 1974 Star Trek Lives! con, the title of this book was to be "Star Trek Fan Phenomenon." An excerpt was read at that con, see Star Trek Lives!.

For a similar book, see The World of Star Trek.

The Book's Origins

The original inspiration and information for this book came from a number of sources: one was a newspaper article (mentioned below), a chain letter (mentioned below), and the Strekfan Roster Questionnaire.

From a March 2003 interview with Jacqueline Lichtenberg: (reposted August 2004):

Star Trek Lives! was originally conceived as a newspaper article. When I found myself (already a professional sf author) writing and gleefully letting fanzines publish for free my ST fanfic, I knew I had a news story here. Before Trek, sf fanzines on paper did not publish fiction. Only articles and letters but never real fiction.[4] Star Trek fans changed not only the world, but fandom too. And the existence of fanfic was news. I knew that because I grew up in a news family. So I decided I'd write a little newspaper article for our local paper. So I needed to know the basics -- who what when where and how many -- that's the formula for a news article. So I started a chain letter asking people who published fanzines to tell me all the fanzines they were reading and how many subscribers they had. It got bigger and bigger... So eventually, I put out a questionnaire to all the names and addresses of readers, writers, editors, and publishers of fanzines -- trying to find out why they like Star Trek.

In the midst of this the first ST con happened in nyc. So I took my idea to Gene Roddenberry and he said sure make it a book, and when you sell it call me and I'll do an intro. That took a few years, and how we sold that book to Bantam (it ended up with a 2 publisher auction) is a long story -- but once sold, I called him and he did the introduction. [5] [6]

From a 2016 interview with Lichtenberg:

I set out to write a short article [about fannish interest in Star Trek] and tried to peddle it to my local newspaper and put out a few letters. There were more zines and subscribers and readers and contributors than I thought, and the number kept growing as I tried to count them. There were people I actually didn't know personally. Wow. That's news!

So I put out a questionnaire and asked all the zine publishers to publish it. That's how fandom worked before Twitter and Facebook. That's when I realized that this was a book, not a newspaper article. To get all the zines, I put out a round-robin letter and asked each zine publisher to sign it with name and address and to pass it on to another zine publisher. Eventually, there were hundreds of zine publishers on my list when it got back to me. Trying to be sure that everyone knew everyone, I published the Directory of Fanzines. But I still needed the same information for a nonfiction book. In the end I got back enough questionnaires to fill a thirty gallon garbage can, where I stored them for years until I had to throw them away.

It took five years to write that book. It took taking on two coauthors to get the job done. Once I had the contract, I went sort of white-faced as I realized the sheer volume of incoming mail, all wanting that Directory of Fanzines. So at a Trek con in New York, I called a meeting in my room and appointed one of the volunteers to head a Star Trek Welcommittee to introduce people to each other the way that the National Fantasy Fan Federation Welcommittee had welcomed me to science-fiction fandom when I was in seventh grade. I put a POB number in the back of Star Trek Lives! as the direct contact to the Star Trek Welcommittee, and the hundreds of volunteers answering thousands of pieces of mail kept the Directory of Fanzines current for decades. The Welcommittee grew as Star Trek Lives! went through eight printings and attracted new people into what was the prototype organized structure. [7]

Some Author Comments

Jacqueline Lichtenberg responded to a negative review of "Star Trek Lives" in 1975:

In general, I agree rather wholeheartedly with Carol [the fan]. Star Trek Lives! is NOT the book I started out to write. Furthermore, by the time the project had been written and rewritten and redrafted and retyped and re-everythinged, seven times... we could no longer find a title to encompass what we were saying. So, the title, 'Star Trek Lives', was chosen by Bantam, as was the subtitle... How can I explain why the book I started out to write didn't get into print? I can't. I can only tell you that we have four years or more worth of rejections [most ending with 'It just ain't commercial.'] As we corrected and re-corrected our aim to what the publishers though was commercial, we quickly realized they were not entirely correct about what would be commercial, but that we had to do it their way or not at all, at least until we could prove our contentions about what the fans want most to read... [Someday] we will able to have the book I think Carol wants. So I hope everyone who agrees with Carol will write me exactly what they think should be in such a book, and what the 'tone' of the book should be... so the next book WILL be the 'fandom book'. [8]

From 1976, in an interview: Jacqueline Lichtenberg commented:

Q. (Randy) How well has Star Trek Lives! done in terms of sales and critical response (referring in part to Sharon Ferraro's sharp criticisms)?

A. On STL!, I believe I answered Sharon's attitude toward the book when I answered Carol Lynn's review in Halkan Council. Basically, it is that STL! suffers from a bias of my own (and Sondra's, I believe too). Carol Lynn mentioned having seen a first chapter draft for the book in which I discussed FANDOM IS A WAY OF LIFE as opposed to FANDOM IS JUST A GODDAMNED HOBBY - the two major attitudes in s-f fandom which also appear the major dichotomy in ST fandom. There was a reason for that discussion, and it was to point out to the reader that I am a FIAWOL person.

Sharon and Carol and many other fans who have been every thing from shocked to disgusted from STL! are basically Hobby people. (Not all Hobby people react this way, not all WOL people react the other way.; My feeling is that David Gerrold spoke up very well and very eloquently for the Hobby people[9] and it was time for the Way Of Life people to have their say in print. STL! is only half as long as David's two books, so that hardly seems unfair.

STL! does not set out to criticize ST, to tell what's wrong with it. We say quite plainly that we recognize that ST has many faults, shortcomings, etc., but that we feel it would be a loss of proportion to emphasize the faults that ST shares in common with all other tv shows and ignore the virtues it has which no other tv show has. So we focused on ST's virtues to the exclusion of almost all else, trying to pin down and define that element which makes ST unique.

My personal opinion is that it would be impossible to write a book of criticism of ST. Every single thing you pick on to call 'rotten' will be called ST's only redeeming feature' by some substantial segment of the viewership. This was the major discovery from my questionnaires and gave rise to the concept of the Tailored Effect. Everybody sees their very own ST and every one else's ST is totally invisible to them.

That is why some people not many really, but enough to be worth counting — seem to feel that STL! doesn't say anything true about ST. However, by my best estimate, I believe we have spoken truly for about 80 to 85% of all ST viewers, at least in some part. Everything we have said is true for SOMEBODY.

The book has garnered some very, very favorable reviews in newspapers around the country, and we have many, many heartwarming letters of ecstatic praise for the book from those who had these things in their heart but were unable to verbalize them. Some even say that they feel STL! is as or more important to them that the show itself, which is just an example of what I mean by ecstatic praise. [10]

From 1978 comments by Lichtenberg:

[Roddenberry knew what he was doing]. That was the major discovery of STAR TREK LIVES. It changed the shape of the whole book. STAR TREK LIVES was very badly received within fandom, because people expected something they didn't get. They expected a history of fandom. There's no commercial market for that. What they wanted was ego-boo. Hell, they got that with Joannie's book. You know the flap copy of HOUSE OF ZEOR hard cover said that I was working on three Star Trek books. Number 1 was STAR TREK LIVES; Number 2, NEW VOYAGES #1, which was supposed to be the middle section of STAR TREK LIVES. If you notice, STAR TREK LIVES is a bit heavy philosophically. If you read the first, I think, five chapters of STAR TREK LIVES and then read NEW VOYAGES #1 and then read the second five chapters you'll get the effect of the first book that we wanted to publish, a much lighter and more realistic, in-depth treatment with the stories. Picture an outsider, reading the stories and then reading the reason for the stories. You see, without those concrete examples of the stories you're talking about it all gets rather theoretical and hard to grasp, difficult to read. But with those stories as examples of the things we are talking about, philosophically it begins to make better sense. So Number 2 was NEW VOYAGES #1, an anthology, a 50,000 word anthology, a 65,000 word anthology of Star Trek fan fiction.[11] Number 3 is Joannie Winston's book on the conventions, which delves into the psychology of operative fandom.... [Roddenberry] was trying to prove what I have dedicated my life to proving: that science fiction has a much wider mass appeal than anyone ever suspected before; and he did that by using tailored effects rather than formula. It's very clearly described in STAR TREK LIVES, and I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating - Gene Roddenberry assigned STAR TREK LIVES as required reading to the people who were to produce and direct the Star Trek movie. Roddenberry, himself, really feels that we have expressed something.

Maybe not word for word or concept for concept, but we have expressed something in the total thrust of the book: an optimism that is not expressed in any of the other books about Star Trek. ...and that is very true to the essence of Star Trek. And it's difficult.

I agree that STAR TREK LIVES is not perfect. The things that we were trying to say are things that had never been said before. We're talking about concepts and ideas and techniques which had never existed before, never been used before, never been defined before, never been taught before. Something unique. A unique happening because Star Trek itself is unique. [12]

In 2006: Jacqueline Lichtenberg commented:

Star Trek Lives exposed the content of Star Trek fanfiction which explained exactly why people really loved that show so much they wouldn't let it die. That exposure ignited a fire by bringing together many more creative people -- people in what Spockanalia dubbed 'Spock Shock' -- and what we today call Alien Romance -- that stunning realization of the pure sexiness of a non-human. Today, TV Guide has admitted it in print, various books of criticism have admitted it in print, at least one TV Producer who worked on Star Trek, Ronald D. Moore, has admitted it, -- it's the RELATIONSHIPS driving the plot that make the action interesting. At the time we wrote Star Trek Lives that was a patently absurd notion when applied to science fiction. Today it's accepted. [13][14]

Contents of the Book

The book attempts to explain Star Trek's appeal by naming and explaining a number of 'Effects":

  • The Discovery Effect: Discovering the show's existence, and the existence of others who enjoy it as you do.
  • The Tailored Effect: Many aspects of the show's characters, environments and situations were supposedly "tailored" to appeal to different audiences, in contrast to most television shows which simply seek not to offend.
  • The Spock Charisma Effect: Spock is said to have a number of sub-effects on viewers. He is a sexy ("The Sex Effect"), ethical ("The Admiration Effect"), appealing ("The Psychological Visibility Effect") character. He shows us that the future, while daunting, is not as intimidating as it might be and that we'll find ways to cope ("The Future Shock Effect"). And while he is different ("The Half-Breed Effect"), he is not as lonely and isolated as he might appear, because of his friendship ("The Friend Effect") with Kirk.
  • The Optimism Effect: A kind of anti-nihilism. The idea that the future will not involve mindless 1984 lockstep or nuclear disaster, but that we will "find the wisdom not to destroy ourselves". There's a good deal of Ayn Rand in this chapter.
  • The Goal Effect: Reinforcing the validity of ideals and goals that we set for ourselves rather than accepting the voices of cynical adults who put a damper on altruistic dreams. There's a good deal of Ayn Rand in this chapter as well.

Its most famous chapter is Chapter 9: "Do-It-Yourself Star Trek--The Fan Fiction". This chapter celebrating fan fiction had the possibly unintentional effect of introducing fanfic to the mass market audience of the paperback. Many people have said that this was their first introduction to the idea of Star Trek fan fiction. The blurb for this chapter on the table of contents asks questions and explores ideas still discussed in fandom today, to wit:

The Fiction Discussed in the Book

Discussions of Sex

Slash is not mentioned in Star Trek Lives. In 1974, what we now think of as slash had just begun to be published in fanzines, with Diane Marchant's extremely vague "A Fragment Out of Time" appearing in Grup #3. The authors discuss Grup, including another story out of that same issue, so they must have seen Marchant's story and decided to ignore it, perhaps thinking of it as an anomaly. One thing they do say, however, is that most fanzine editors would not print the material that appears in Grup.

When Joan Winston visits the Star Trek set during the filming of "Turnabout Intruder," there are many moments of burlesque humor around Shatner's portrayal of a female character. He showed up for a medical exam with falsies on, and Kelley played along, finally saying "Captain, you're pregnant!" At one point Shatner is supposed to say "Spock, Spock, give it up! Return to the Enterprise family. All charges will be dropped and the madness that temporarily overcame all of us on Camus Two will fade and be forgotten." Instead, Shatner said "Spock, it's always been you, you know it's always been you. Say you love me too." These things are not usually cited as canon rationales for slash, but the set crew's name for this episode was "Captain Kirk, Space Queen."

The book includes plenty of discussion of heterosexual stories and themes. However, no explicit scenes are quoted. If the book were mistaken for pornography or "Sexual Revolution" literature, it might not have been accepted by some newsstands, bookstores and libraries, or placed in the adults-only section, depriving children and teens of an opportunity to read it.

There is, however, a very strong focus on sex in the fanfiction chapter, with M.L. "Steve" Barnes providing salty comments, talking about her "Dirty Old Broad" attitude and writing Star Trek porn. Her article "The Vulcan Love Myth" (Eridani Triad 3) is quoted at length. This article explicitly defines the experience of pon farr as rape, dismissing the idea that the telepathic matrimonial bond could make a difference, and failing to distinguish between rape and ravishment of a willing partner. Barnes concludes that women who are fascinated by pon farr feel a "secret and deeply buried thrill" at the notion of rape. This could raise questions for children and teens, especially girls, reading the book in the 70s and today.

Its Debut Caused a Problem with the STW

The Star Trek Welcommittee, always strapped for cash anyway, found itself in a financial bind when the first three editions of the book printed an old address and neglected to include the fannish imperative, the self-addressed, stamped envelope:

a flyer printed in Archives' Log v.2 n.7
Star Trek Lives lists an 8-month-old price and address for our STW Directory, and neglects to say that we need a "self-addressed-STAMPED-envelope" in order to reply to questions. Our Houston address had been absolutely bombed with over 600 letters in just the first week of the book's sale, and that is 600 directory orders, and letters with questions that Houston is not equipped to handle. Filling directory orders coming in and, paying less than it costs us to print the directory, not to mention forwarding all those orders to the DDC in New Rochelle, NY, to be filled... is costing us a bundle in Postage -- a bundle that we do not have and cannot afford. PLEASE! EVERYONE! Visit every bookstore you know of that is carryingStar Trek Lives! with an armful of STW flyers, and beg them to let you stuff flyers in the books, put a pile of flyers on the counter near them, or post them prominently near the books. Please help us! Flyers can be obtained from any STW person, or the publisher of APOTA. [15]

In November 1975, M.J. Fisher wrote in Spectrum #21: "Jacqueline Lichtenberg has told me that STLives! has gone into its fourth printing and the Star Trek Welcommittee corrections went through at last!"

A 1975 Review in "Publisher's Weekly"

If you didn't know that this valentine to STAR TREK (although that in itself should be a tip-off.) was written by adults, you'd swear the authors were three ga-ga kids going through a phase. It's a very tripped out book. The authors titter about sex, talk about the TV series as if it encompasses the sum of human knowledge; they analyze the scripts, interview the stars, publicize the fan club cult, the conventions, the committees, the newsletters. True believers, the authors explain it this way; it's not very often that something comes along that transports people "totally into a fictional world, to which they become more devoted than most people are to reality." Basically an insignificant, silly book, but one can't help wondering what all that misdirected energy really represents. [16]

Fan Reactions and Reviews


If "The Making of STAR TREK" is the Old Testament ("On the third day, Roddenberry created Spock."), and The World of STAR TREK" is the New Testament ("The Gospel According to David Gerrold"), then "STAR TREK Lives!" aptly serves as the first professional hymn book of Fandom.

Its three very talented writers -- Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston (all of whom no avid fanzine reader should need any introductions to) — have taken on the task of delving deeply into the nature of ST Fandom, and the results are well worth the effort.

This is not some treatise on "Look how great Fandom is!", but a serious, intellectual examination of what has made and continues to make STAR TREK so appealing to its fans, and what it is that makes the fans who they are and what they are.

The style of the book is conversational, open, and 'friendly', with the trio talking to the reader, instead of at him. Also, "STAR TREK Lives!" is written for everybody, providing food for thought for all trufans, and presenting a good, solid case to antagonistic outsiders who stare at Fandom with a skeptical eye, but who are open-minded enough to read this book as they ask, "What's Fandom all about?".

This reviewer's favorite chapters are the ones that belong solely to Joan Winston. "I Never Should Have Answered The Telephone" serves as an excellent 'memory book' of those almost-innocent days of the very first STAR TREK Con[17], both behind the curtains and in front of them. In another chapter, she gives a fan's-eye-view of the last days on the Paramount sets, as "Turnabout Intruder" was being filmed. Joan tells it all a lot better than your fellow Trekker who pops up with "Hey, I heard a story about the time...". We get it all: the personal impressions, the personality sketches of the cast and crew members as people, the bloopers that never made The Reel, the ironic sadness and mirth of the last party…

The only two negative things I have to say about this book both deal with the quantity of each individual chapter: there's too much of it. Each one was about five to seven pages longer than my patience could stand. The examinations into STAR TREK's appeal, fanzines, the great friendships that have come out of Fandom, etc. are not just covered, they're smothered in canvas bags and beaten to death. And I'm not saying that Joan goes overboard in expressing her 'love' for William Shatner, but I suspect that on the night of each full moon, she locks herself in her apartment, lights incense candles, dons green priestess robes, and sacrifices one Trekkie and a plate of chopped liver[18] to a graven image of Captain Kirk (or at least a poster of him)!

But do not let any of this deter you from picking up and reading this very well-written and very entertaining book. It definitely belongs on the bookshelf of every Trekker and Trekkie, for it makes up a large, healthy chunk of the STAR TREK saga, telling where we've been, where we are now, and where we hope to be going. [19]

Oh golly, Star Trek. Hey, neat, terrific Leonard Nimoy!! Hey oh wow Gene Roddenberry!!! Golly gee whiz gosh oh!

Now that I've discussed the general tone of [Star Trek Lives!], I can get down to specifics. Rarely have I run across a collection of drivel expounded with such pretentious enthusiasm and at such length. Although I commend the authors for holding the book's length to under 200 pages, I think that, nine-tenths of it could, have been cut without losing sight of the purported theme; that is, to quote the title, "personal notes and anecdotes,", The only two chapters that could be said to follow the program set out by the title are the two by Joan Winston, but even those give very little insight into the way Star Trek fandom in general is run.

What what happened to the book on fandom that was supposed to come out under that title? It was very nice to hear Leonard Nimoy's opinions on fandom, but were they really relevant to the discussion? Considering how little Leonard Nimoy has seen of fandom (unless of course you consider half hour walk-ons to be involvement), What could he possibly say that was relevant to a discussion of fandom-as-it-is? The same goes for Roddenberry's comments to a lesser extent. Roddenberry has been both more involved, in fandom and his (comments were gloated over to a lesser extent. I'm sure it must have been very nice for Sondra to have so much time with the Big Name Pros (to borrow a phrase from SF fandom), but did the authors have to spend several chapters quoting tape transcriptions?

I'm also not at all sure that the discussion of Star Trek's literary merit and the long, involved explanations of such jargon as "The Optimism Effect", etc. ad nauseum, had any place being in a book supposedly on fandom. If Sondra had wanted to writer her Doctoral dissertation (so rudely interrupted by the discovery of Star Trek) in Popular Culture rather than in History the discussion would have been valid; not only valid, it would have been obligatory. But, I repeat, in a book on fandom?

If the book had been titled 'Star Trek: A Critical Analysis of a Phenomenon' I could have accepted all the involved analysis, all the quotes (assuming of course the distinction between actor's, producer's and fan's viewpoints could have been more clearly differentiated) and the officious tone that the authors adopted with many fewer qualms. But in a book that had been touted in ST circles for well over two years as a "Star Trek fandom book," I can't consider such discourses as valid.

If Jacqueline, et al, had meant from the beginning to write a treatise with great social import, why title it "personal notes and anecdotes"? Why discuss it as a fandom book? Why, indeed, talk Bantam into publishing it at all? Surely the 50,000 Spock Shocked Trekkies who will see Star Trek in the title and buy it solely because' of that don't care about "Optimism Effects," "Alienation Effects," "Spock Effects," etc.? For that matter, I don't much care about all that pseudo-Eng. Lit. 0300 either. For someone who once said, "All literary criticism is crap" (during one of the Kraith discussions at International New York Star Trek Con 1973, maybe?), Jacqueline certainly wallowed in it enough. I've said nothing so far about whether or not the critical notions advanced by the book - are valid, and I don't intend to. In the first place I don't have the background in TV criticism to know whether or not' what they "discovered" was really original, and also, frankly, my interests lean to the anthropological and I would much rather have seen an analysis of the fans of Star Trek rather than of the show itself. The show is available in reruns to anyone who wants to watch it, but an insiders view of fandom is rare and invaluable. I feel cheated by Star Trek Lives. I want the fan book that was promised to me in Jacqueline's living room back in July 1972 when I read the first draft of the first chapter. Oh well, I suppose things could have been worse. Then she started off the book with a discussion of gafiating. [20]

The subject of Star Trek Lives! is the response of the fans to the series. The discussion of this response includes much which is of interest only to the hard-core Star Tre fan (the process of organizing a convention, amateur fiction about the show's characters, etc.); but what is of greater importance is the analysis of the various "Tailored Effects" which contribute to the program's unique appeal. Each of these effects, according to the authors, excites a strong degree of interest within a particular group of viewers, providing in combination an enthusiastic audience large enough to support a television show. The "Tailored Effect" technique is the opposite of the usual approach to television programming, which seeks not to generate enthusiasm but merely to avoid hostility. The result is that while Star Trek did not have an overwhelmingly large audience, it had an audience whose enthusiasm has outlived the show. [21]

... Today [June 26th], I finally managed to track down a copy of STLives. According to the woman at the bookstore, they are unable to keep it in stock. I bought the only copy they had left. I haven't read it all yet, but I did finish the chapter on Trekfic called, 'Do-It-Yourself Star Trek.' I'm sure that as long as there is that much GOOD material being written -- literally for love -- that it will continue to grow. [22]

Have you read ST Lives! yet? I think it's on a level that's going to be too much for most Trekfen. Too much philosophy. Also, J. Lichtenberg & co. made too much reference to Ayn Rand's philosophy. Problem here is that ST presents, or tried to present, a liberal viewpoint, while A. Rand is a dyed in the woods [sic] conservative. At many points, the book is overly wordy. The best chapters were the ones J. Winston did on the '72 N.Y. Con and her week on the ST set. Most of chapter 9, on fan fiction was pretty good, but the Goal Effect, the Tailor Effect, and so on was a lot of bull... [23]

Overall, I thought ST Lives! was tremendous. However... the authors spent a great deal of time talking about the Kirk/Spock [24] relationship. They were usually 100% right. But, once they said that the bond between Kirk and Spock was stronger than the one between Spock and McCoy. No Way! In 'Miri,' "The Empath,' and 'For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky' there is (and perhaps this IS projection) and something very special in the way the way Spock touches McCoy... And don't forget the Kirk/McCoy [again, the "/" does not mean slash] bit, too. [25]

Gosh-wow, golly, gloriosky! [26] Isn't Star Trek just the niftiest show on teevee! Doesn't Mr. Spock just turn you on? U know that I could melt his cold Vulcan heart!)

Lt. Mary Sue lives, gang. Today- in fact the three of her wrote a book. And guess what? It's all about Star Trek. You know that crazy TV show with all those people flying around in space meeting monsters and Klingons and furry things. The one that's always on around dinner times on weekends now. Yeah, that's the one. Well, anyway, three ladies wrote this book and they figure out why the show is so popular, About 14 times. And half of the reasons contradicting the other half. And they have these interviews with the fellow who created the show explaining where his ideas came from. Which was pretty neat.


Th[e] last chapter is the worst of all. Sex was not the main emphasis in the televised Star Trek episodes and is not the main emphasis in 50% of fan fiction as is implied in this chapter. Bedding one of the main characters is not the appeal that drew me into ST fandom or into interest in the universe it created. It is not the obsession of the majority of fans. This last chapter gives the non-fan the impression that Star Trek fandom is the haven for sex-starved people bent on laying Spock in fantasy or reality. (It has already elicited negative response from the mothers of adolescent boys asking the question- "Is it safe to let my son go to a convention of sex-starved women?" I kid you not. You and I know otherwise, but the thousands upon thousands of non-fans don't know of the wonderful variety of fan fiction that exists. All they have seen is in that last chapter.)

All the material that was included in ST Lives! was at best average in writing quality. It would have been very special material published in fanzine form. Published professionally it exposed our most vulnerable side to the harshness of ridicule of the reading public. The massive impression I have gotten from those who have read the book and are not involved in fandom is a sad pity- that we are wasting our time idolizing a defunct TV show. They may not see the magic in the fascination, but this book did little to show the Trekfan to the public in a realistic manner- as the intelligent, curious, imaginative individual; not the starry-eyed groupie. [27]

[It] is an incredible mixture of overblown philosophy, pretentiousness, hero-worship, and just plain 'whoopee-gosh-wow.'... For 202 pages (I'm excluding Joan Winston's delightful chapter on the first New York Con and the last chapter), the authors babble on and on and on unendingly about the joys and wonders and depths and complexities of Star Trek. I know that we all feel this same fascination or we wouldn't even be in fandom. But to display this obsession in such blind adoration, in such painfully explored detail in a professional publication is offensive. [28] I have no objection to sex, to participating in it or writing about it. But when three people sit down to write about fandom... and end up giving thousands and thousands of readers a warped view of what we are and where our interests lie, that I can and do object to. [29]


"Dear Fandom Annie: Why did Jacqueline Lichtenberg put so many "EFFECTS" in Star Trek Lives!? I was effected to death! And how come it wasn't about F*A*N*D*O*M like it was supposed to be? -- Let Down" -- "Dear Let Down - The object of JL's effect-ion is very likely the answer to your second question as well. It's what the U.S. Mint does. [30]

. . . these women have their libidinal thermostats turned up pretty high... [Fans’] stories . . . are sexually charged up. . . .the return of the runaway boys on the biggest damn raft you can imagine. . . . ‘Star Trek’ also hooks the women by the sexual tension beneath that buddy-buddiness... Spock becomes a parody of the unreachable woman. He’s practically an extraterrestrial Garbo. [31]

Does anyone REALLY know of an adolescent boy who's been raped by a sex-starved housewife at a ST con, as a few people fear after reading STL!? [32]

In the past, there have been three non-fiction books written about the phenomenon known as Star Trek.[33] Now, a fourth has entered the scene. Written by two fan writers, well-known in Star Trek fan circles, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Sondra Marshak and one of the original committee members for the first New York Star Trek Convention, Joan Winston. STAR TREK LIVES! is an analysis of the show and its impact on its legions of fans.

"Why has Star Trek so successful that it lives on many years after its cancellation and "'certain death"? According to the authors, it is primarily due to the make-up of the show. They delve into what they have identified as five, special, tailored effects, which worked together to strike many people in different ways, so that there was no such thing as limited appeal.

The authors have constructed a well-thought-out thesis and detailing these effects takes up five interesting chapters, "The Discovery Effect" centers on the electrifying effects as fans discover Star Trek and each other. "The Tailored Effect" dissects the various elements of the show which were each aimed at capturing a different segment of the audience. "The Spock Charisma Effect" obviously discussed the Vulcan First Officer and goes into the reasons why he is such a popular character, as well as the great appeal his relationship with Kirk has for fans. Then there is "The Optimism Effect" and the impact of the show's philosophy which said, 'There will be a tomorrow and it will be better than today because man will learn and strive to make tomorrow better". Finally, the authors discuss "The Goal Effect" and the officiousness of infusing goals within a show and trying, with the viewers to surpass these goals.

Do these tailored effects really work? You bet they do. Jacqueline Lichtenberg began to unconsciously use such a system when she set about writing her Kraith stories; a Star Trek fanzine series set in an alternate universe. Granted, it is on a much smaller scale than a TV show, but it worked all the same, by getting the readers so emotionally involved in the series that they argued, debated and wrote, and finally began inciting their own stories within the Kraith context. A sub-species of Star Trek fan literature? Granted. The point is, the multi-effects-concept works. Now, if there were only some way to teach the system, perhaps we'd get a lot better viewing on TV, and not just in science fiction programs. The authors draw the same conclusions.

One thing particularly stressed is the fact that no one thing in Star Trek has the deciding factor, and no one person was the sole hero. Everything and every character was "orchestrated" as Leonard Nimoy put it, with enough "open texture" to allow each viewer the opportunity to read into the episode and the character what he felt. Ergo, more involvement. That's the key word in explaining why Star Trek worked - because the fans were allowed to become involved. Joan Winston became involved, right up to her eyebrows when she helped to head that first Star Trek convention in New York. She got involved and she loved it. One chapter deals with the biography of that con, Then, there's a chapter in which Joan reminisces about the week she spent on the Star Trek set - the final week of production.

The authors also deal with the stars and the creators of the show, what they are doing now and what they hope to do in the future. Throughout the book are scattered excerpts from interviews with Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and other members of the cast and crew. Their opinions and feelings make interesting readings and give an in-depth, inside view of the show.

Finally there is a chapter on the fans themselves and Fandom. This is the book Jacqueline Lichtenberg really wanted to write - a book on and about Star Trek fandom. I was a bit disappointed when it didn't materialise. Though I enjoyed the previous eight chapters of the book, being firmly plugged into fandom, that is what I wanted to read about. Though this is not commented on in STAR TREK LIVES!, I have since learned from Jacqueline that the reason the book was not on fandom was because Bantam didn't think there's be any interest. Judging from the amount of letters Jacqueline has been receiving, I think the fans are going to change Bantam' s collective mind - and on the eve of the new Star Trek movie and possibly a resurgence of the show itself in mini-series form.

In conclusion, I have to say that one reason for Star Trek's popularity was its cancellation. The third season was so bad - and the whys and wherefores of that are dealt with in the book - that had it gone on for a fourth [season] and possibly worse season without Gene Roddenberry's guidance, the badly disappointed fans would have dropped it faster than the proverbial hot potato. Instead, they took up where the show left off and because of their interests, a number of books have emerged, including a soon-to-be-released book by Leonard Nimoy called I AM NOT SPOCK, and a series of books by Sondra Marshak which will be anthologies of fan fiction. Yes, even that barrier is breaking, though for now Star Trek fiction will have to be published through Sondra Marshak. But eventually, that will change.

Star Trek fans are optimistic by nature, as STAR TREK LIVES! points out, and we've got a lot to look forward to. Gene Roddenberry's dream isn't dead; it's just taking a nap. Yes, indeed. STAR TREK LIVES! [34]

Thanks heaven for Bjo's sane reaction to STAR TREK LIVES! I wondered if was the only person who didn't enjoy a lot of it. Certainly some of the book was informative. But I think the authors gave a foolish impression of Star Trek fans by announcing a whole book on the Spock Mystique and at least books of ST fan fiction. Most readers are going to think all the stories will be by teenage girls who imagine themselves in bed with Spock. [35]

And it came to pass that the Triumvirate known as Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston didst attempt to convince Trekkers that that in which they believeth, existeth also... and made right silicon nodules of it!

Sorry, but not even Sam Cogley could successfully defend this as a Star Trek book. It can be counted as an attempt at a microscopic study of Spock and Kirk, bu tit is not S.T.

This article cannot be called a review as such -- a 'review" is of something living. This should be called a post mortem. There is no-one quite as cruel as an S.T. fan when it comes to judging S.T. books.

Nevertheless, this book had its good points. It includes quotes from the actors, Gene Roddenberry and others -- in fact, the best part of the book was chapter 7, entitled "Beauty May Be Only Skin Deep, But Chopped Chicken Liver Can Get You Anywhere OR Six Glorious Days on The Star Trek Set." This chapter is good for the primary reason that most of it is made up of quotes and descriptions of what actually occurred. It reads marvellously the first time -- but if you re-read then you see what would been left out if it hadn't been for the descriptions of the not-exactly-orthodox occurrences on the set. I would amounted to very little.

Anyone wanting an entire chapter (35 pages) solely burbling about the 'Spock Charisma' should wade through this book. However, a word of warning before you shell out 60p for the privilege -- one of the most ardent Spockites I know agreed that the poor Vulcan had been reduced to a number of slides and studied under an electron-microscope. It is a long, drawn-out, boring, and in many cases, inconsistent examination.

Put it this way: in the contents page we find the chapter number, together with the sub-divisions within that chapter. This is how the list ran for chapter 4:

The Spock Charisma Effect The most startling Tailored Effect of all... Spock's Charisma, and Kirk's... Spock's Psychological Visibility Effect, Sex Effect, Admiration Effect, Spock Premise Effect[36]Future Shock Effect, Half Breed Effect, Kirk/Spock Relationship Effect... Leonard Nimoy's Exclusive Analysis... Gene Roddenberry's.

See what I mean?

They took 35 pages to say "Spock is Attractive," which we all know anyway!

Poor James T. Kirk doesn't escape unscathed either, but for him the indignity of being dissected was scattered throughout the book rather than lumped together in one simple screaming mass.

In my opinion -- which I do not ask you to share, but simply consider when you form your own views -- this is not a S.T. book; writers have taken Spock and Kirk away from the Enterprise, away from everything to which they relate, and put them through a series of tests of their own design.

The third principle character, McCoy, has co-star status in the series -- but not in this book -- his is almost totally ignored. He had something like five pages in the entire book! They didn't even go into the brilliant Spock/McCoy relationship for more than half a paragraph!

Uhura, Scott, Sulu, all had something like 3 pages each. Checkov [sic] only had 2 pages -- and Gene Roddenberry little more. However, they went into the Kraith series (written, surprise, surprise, by two of the authors) for as long as the above 5 characters all together, and also "mentioned" that the Kraith series is to be published...

Star Trek Lives? Yes, but in spite of, not because of this book. However, I have no doubt that this will be a big seller -- as will all S.T. books -- there is a hungry public to sell to. It will be bought to add to collections -- and from loyalty. [37]

One it the newest menbers of a growing group of STAR TREK books is STAR TREK LIVES by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston, published this June by Bantam Books. It is a unique book about a unique phenomenon: the only television show in the history of the medium which has become a legend with millions of people worldwide dedicated to its rebirth and millions touched and changed by its ideals and its reality. The authors have undertaken a vast job, dealing with and explaining a subset with as many ramifications as there are fans. In nearly every respect, they have written a superior book. Perhaps the sign of quality in a STAR TREK non-fiction book or article is to explain an aspect of the aeries in a new way, to help the fans better understand what they have always accepted a truth. STAR TREK LIVES does that excellently. Although the book has its tangents, such as the excellently, hysterically funny chapters by Joan Winston about the cons and her visit to the STAR TREK set which would fare batter in a separate book. (Joan Winston is currently writing that book). STAR TREK LIVES basically deals with the philosophy of STAR TREK, a ... pardon the expression...fascinating subject.


As one person can never fully be understood by another, STAR TREK can never fully be understood by any of us. It is too real, too alive, always unstereotypical and changing. There is always another facet, or "texture," as Leonard Nimoy calls it, to the series. And as long as there is, hopefully there will be other books exploring this. For as Lichtenberg, Marshak, and Winston, and the rest of us know, STAR TREK really does live! [38]


Some time in the late 1970s, I went with my family to the airport to wait for my aunt to arrive. It was going to be a long wait and I went for a browse in the airport shop. There, I saw a book called Star Trek Lives! which had been written by some women who’d been heavily involved in Star Trek fandom, right back when it first started in the 1960s. I’d sort of known other people liked the series and had a vague memory of a campaign to keep it on the air, but that was all. After reading the book, I went off to find fellow fans and the local club and fanzines. . . Hey, I’d never dreamed that people wrote fan fiction to keep themselves going when there was no Star Trek to watch, or to answer questions for themselves and others – like, what happened in the Mirror Universe after Kirk and his friends went home? What kind of people are Vulcans in a universe where everyone is violent and nasty? What kind of society do the Klingons have? Star Trek Lives let me know that this sort of thing was going on, and what kind of activities fans got up to. For many years, I wrote fan fiction, went to conventions and hung out with fellow Trek fans, some of whom are still my friends. [39]


The first time I realized that there were Star Trek fans who were unaware of fanzine history was during a conversation in an autograph line at a 1982 Star Trek convention in St. Louis. While waiting, I casually mentioned Star Trek Lives! to the fans nearby. 'What's Star Trek Lives?' asked one of the fans. What's Star Trek Lives? The first mass-marketed paperback book (published 1975) to describe Star Trek fanzines.[40] For thousands upon thousands of fans, this was when they became aware that such activity existed, and that they could join in. Almost overnight, Star Trek fanzine readers grew from a small intimate group of individuals who knew each other by reputation, at least, into a large, diversified network of enthusiasts. [41]


Who would ever think buying a paperback book would be a life-altering experience? But that's exactly what happened in 1975 when I found the book "Star Trek Lives". This book, by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston, was an examination of "Star Trek" fandom. When I read the chapters about Trek conventions, I sighed in envy, convinced that I'd never be able to go to one of those wonderful events. Never say never!

This book included a chapter on fan fiction — what a revelation! You mean there were people other than me who fantasized Star Trek stories? And actually wrote them down? I had to read these stories - now! The authors helpfully provided the address for the Star Trek Welcommittee, an organization dedicated to introducing new fans to Star Trek fandom.

I sent them a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope—does anyone still use these???) and pretty soon I received a 12 page newsletter listing various fanzines, fan clubs, and newsletters. I immediately ordered several fanzines, and within two weeks of my first order, a zine arrived, along with a lovely personal note from its editor welcoming me to fandom. [42]


  1. ^ Francesca Coppa, "A Brief History of Media Fandom." In Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays, ed. by Karen Hellekson and Kristine Busse. McFarland, 2006. Coppa also cites Cynthia Walker's observation (in "A Dialogic Approach to Creativity in Mass Communication", Rutgers, 2001) that media fandom didn't originate with Star Trek but with The Man from UNCLE, which had garnered numerous devotees from the science fiction pro and fan communities.
  2. ^ comments by Sharon Ferraro in Menagerie #9 (March 1975)
  3. ^ from An Interview with Jacqueline Lichtenberg (1978)
  4. ^ True. They were devoted primarily to criticism and discussion. SF writers didn't give their work away; they were out to earn money selling their work to prozines like Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, etc. See Science fiction fanzines on Wikipedia.
  5. ^ StarTrekFans.Net from a chat with Jacqueline Lichtenberg, 8 March 2003, accessed 9 May 2012
  6. ^ August 2004 repost: STARTREKFANS.NET -> Jacqueline Lichtenberg Chat Transcript, Archived version
  7. ^ from "The Fifty Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History" by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, published in 2016 by St. Martin's Press
  8. ^ The comments she responds to are in The Halkan Council #9, Lichtenberg's response is in The Halkan Council' #10.
  9. ^ in his books The World of Star Trek and The Trouble with Tribbles
  10. ^ from Sehlat's Roar Interview with Jacqueline Lichtenberg
  11. ^ Note that this suggests Jacqueline Lichtenberg worked with Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath on the editing of New Voyages.
  12. ^ from An Interview with Jacqueline Lichtenberg (1978)
  13. ^ Star Trek, WorldCon, & Alien Romance, dated August 15, 2006
  14. ^ Not quite true. Relationships between characters had been used as a fundamental force for driving an SF plot for decades, notably by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner, Judith Merril, L. Sprague deCamp, Zenna Henderson and Ray Bradbury.
  15. ^ from A Piece of the Action #29
  16. ^ Publisher's Weekly (May 26, 1975).
  17. ^ Again, actually it wasn't; the very first was the 1969 New Jersey Star Trek Con, with 300 attendees, organized by Devra Langsam and Sherna Burley of Spockanalia.
  18. ^ Winston talks in the book at some length about how she earned the good graces of both Shatner and Nimoy by offering them homemade chopped chicken liver.
  19. ^ by Winston Howlett in Probe #5 (August 1975)
  20. ^ by Carol Lynn from The Halkan Council #9 (August 1975)
  21. ^ Reviw of Star Trek Lives! by Gary McGrath in Erg (an Objectivist-Libertarian weekly published at MIT) in 1975
  22. ^ from The Halkan Council #9 (August 1975)
  23. ^ from The Halkan Council #9 (August 1975)
  24. ^ Note: the "/" does not refer to slash at this point in time, but instead to a close friendship.
  25. ^ from The Halkan Council #9 (August 1975)
  26. ^ "Gosh-wow, golly, gloriosky!" is the first sentence of Paula Smith's A Trekkie's Tale, the vignette that was the original source of the term Mary Sue.
  27. ^ from "The Nausea Effect": Star Trek Lives! by Sharon Ferraro (November 1975)
  28. ^ The writer is also horrified by the chapter on fan fiction, complaining that all the stories emphasized sex. Not all of them did, but the analysis led off with The Daneswoman, next up was Spock Enslaved!, followed by a detailed analysis of the then-controversial idea that women enjoyed sex and might even pursue it, in a "devious" sort of way... not to mention Ms. Barnes' antediluvian comment about women secretly being "thrilled" by the idea of rape.
  29. ^ by Sharon Ferraro, from The Halkan Council #12 (November 1975)
  30. ^ from Spectrum #24
  31. ^ from “Big Brother is Trekking You" by James Wolcott (Village Voice, 2/2/76, online here) Makes a pretty strong case for Star Trek as a fantasy of male power, attracting women fans who strive to connect with or tap into it. WebCite here.
  32. ^ from Spectrum #23
  33. ^ Stephen Whitfield, The Making of Star Trek(1968), David Gerrold, The Trouble with Tribbles and The World of Star Trek (both 1973).
  34. ^ by Rebecca Ross from Southern Star #2, February 1976
  35. ^ Written by a fan in response to a letter by Bjo Trimble in Stardate #7 (1976)
  36. ^ This didn't refer to "The Premise" of Kirk and Spock having sex, but to Myrna Culbreath's essay "The Spock Premise" (The Fire Bringer January 1974); Spock portrays the common but perhaps mistaken notion that reason and emotion are incompatible. The authors examine this notion as a flaw in both Vulcan culture and Spock himself, the show's creators and American society in general assuming it is so. Because Spock portrays the conflict between logic and emotion, he draws attention to the belief and calls it into question.
  37. ^ from C. Owens in "City" #2 (1976)
  38. ^ from Star Trek Prospers #12
  39. ^ Sue Bursztynski Blogspot, posted 1.9.2010, accessed 9.19.2011
  40. ^ As a matter of fact, it wasn't. David Gerrold's The World of Star Trek (Ballantine, 1973), with its detailed descriptions of fan fiction and the typical fan writer, including the names of a couple of dozen zines (and the words "No, I do not know where you can get any of these"), preceded it by almost two years.
  41. ^ Joan Verba says this book is what made her write Boldly Writing: from from the Boldly Writing introduction (1996)
  42. ^ by Kathy Resch from The Celebration Zine