Stardate: Unknown

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Title: Stardate: Unknown
Publisher: Gerry Downes, later published by Nut Hatch Press
Date(s): 1976-1979
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Stardate: Unknown is a gen Star Trek: TOS fanzine with five issues and was published in the UK. All fiction and art in the first issue is by Gerry Downes.

In Universal Translator #1 (Jan/Feb 1980), Downes announces she will no longer publish Stardate: Unknown so that she could devote her time to writing novels.

At one point, a zine called "Crossroads" was to have been published that would have contained all of Juanita Salicrup's Spock/Christine stories. See: Stardate: Unknown #6.


In 2001, this series was republished by the Nut Hatch Press and Jane of Australia (Downes' daughter-in-law) as a tribute to Gerry Downes who had recently passed away.

On the Subject of K/S

While the premise was touched on in these zines, they remained, by the editor's definition, gen. She comments on this topic in issue #4:

If there seems to be a preponderance of K/S material, well it seems thoughtful creative talented people are attracted to this friendship, and at least if you don't like the relationship you can now make a list of zines to avoid. Some people feel that all this attention focused on our heroes will be the ruin of fanfic, but I've found that people who are at least sympathetic to explorations of the relationship tend to be people who look beneath the surface levels of things, and such people turn out fine work on whatever subjects they choose to devote their talents and energy to. Explorations of this friendship have always been an important part of S:U but I have kept the more controversial aspects of the theme separate, because this is a general interest fanzine, and K/S will always be a special interest topic.

Gerry Downes' daughter-in-law, Jane of Australia, republished these zines after Downes' death in 2001. Jane of Australia addressed the K/S:

Here is where it all began, the genesis of what became known as slash, and would become an art form in itself. If any single work stands as a tribute to the vision and courage of Gerry Downes, this is it. It begins with the gen novella, NEBULA OF ORION, which in fact appeared in STARDATE UNKNOWN #1. Love is clearly stated in that gen story, but is it deeper than friendship, brotherhood? At the end of the gen story the "sub-plot," or "sub-text," as we would call it today, has been broadly hinted at but not yet stated outright.

That statement is made in the EPILOG TO ORION, which was published separately as a "thin [missing word/words], and slash could be said to have begun! In the interests if coherence, and especially for those readers who desure [sic] to collect only the slash part of this collection, we made the decision to combine NEBULA and EPILOG into one still-slender volume, and present the two together as a kind of prolog to ALTERNATIVE. IT's just 80pp at A4, beautifully illustrated, a collection of prose, poetry and art, combined with Gerry's magic touch.

The foundations for ALTERNATIVE are laid right here, and even if slash was not to your taste, the treatment given the relationship between ship's captain and alien commander is so delicate, no reader could fail to be touched. [1]

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Gerry Downes
back cover of issue #1, Gerry Downes

Stardate: Unknown 1 was published in March 1976 and is 97 pages long. All stories and art by Gerry Downes. A second printing was published in July 1976, and a third printing in March 1977.


From a Nut Hatch poorly spelled flyer (by Gerry Downes' daughter-in-law Jane of Australia) in 2001, so many years later: "This issue features full-size type, but no "double spaced" paragraphs, and if there's "white space" in there, we can't find it! Beautiful writing, rich characterization, where each of the three stories pivots upon one of the three major characters. AMONG THE STARS is a McCoy piece ... romatic [sic] and joyous; THE COMING FLAME is very much a Spock piece; and NEBULA OF ORION focuses on Jim Kirk. NEBULA is a "gen" piece, there is no "slash" in this zine, but the fooundations [sic] are laid here for what is to come." [2]

From the zine:

Stardate: Unknown is fondly dedicated to Gene Roddenberry, who had the dream, to all the actors and others who brought the dream to life, and to the fans, who refused to let it die.

[From the editorial]:

Nothing is created in a vacuum, and that includes STARDATE: UNKNOWN. It exists because I've enjoyed ST fanzines and I wanted to give a little something back to all the people who've given me so much.

A letter about 16 months ago started this — Shirley Maiewski (AU 4) asked how come you're not writing? Why didn't some kind soul warn me that once a project like this starts it expands geometrically, filling every nook and cranny of the house and the mind? And it empties out the space in the allet too. Good thing I like space. Shirley — this is all your fault. Thanks.

The secondary purpose of this zine is to help Anchorage trekfen find each other. I can't be the only one in town who likes ST— KENI [3] isn't selling all those calendars to Klingons. And I hope the list of fanzines that follows will help people up here make contact with the vast underground that is ST fandom outside. (If you don't live in Alaska, you live "outside". That doesn't mean we don't love you, it means that it's a long walk from our house to yours.)

So — if you live in our fair city, and you have the urge to write ST fiction or poetry or contribute some artwork (Please contribute artwork) or if you want to help with the work involved with this (any typists out there?) or help sort out pages, get in touch. Matter-of-fact, even if you don't live in Alaska and want to contribute, write to me. Stories do not have to be typed, as long as they're readable, and you may want to send a xerox of any art of a sketch before trusting the post awful. And please include return postage and/or an SASE — postage is a big expense item for a zine.

And speaking of expense, for those of you who fainted at the price tag on S:U, rest assured, this zine is strictly non-profit. If it ever gets in the black, we'll add more pages or art or maybe color? Ah, dreams.

The print job is by K & R Printing up on Whitney Rd. Lanny Edgeman, the salesman, is a trekfan also, and he helped nudge the price downwards. If you like the looks of this zine and want some printing done, give him a call. (They bought out Printing, Inc.)

And is anyone out there into astrophotography? Would you like to have your photos published? The kind folks at the Lick Observatory have provided S:U with enough for 1 or 2 more issues, but after that we'll need more. And, gentle readers, do you like to see photos like these in a fanzine?

There will be a ST Con in Seattle the 9, 10, & 11th of July [4] run by Al Shuster and that is absolutely all I know about it. But sometime in April I may have found out more.

To my knowledge, there is no SF or ST club in Alaska. Would anyone be interested in starting one, perhaps some small informal arrangement whereby fans could get together and talk each other's ears off?

In Anchorage, if you're in the market for SF or Fantasy, try Waldo's Science Fiction and Fantasy Bookstore, 3204 scenic Spenard Road. Ed is open from 2pm to 9pm Tues thru Sat, and he has given S:l lots of encouragement. This is a real Alaska-type store, which means it's a little hole-in-the-wall sharing a building with a bar. Not much parking space, but you can always pull in at the Pizza Hut and then walk across the street.

Please send in letters-of-comment on S:U, perhaps we can add a lettercol for issue 2. When issue 2, you ask? That depends. If we get lots of good contributions, around 3 months — but if your editor is the sole author again, plan on September. Send a SASE to reserve a copy — there are no reprints planned. Accepted stories, poetry, art, and printed LoC's will get a free copy of course; also a copy to the slaves helpers who help collate copies (bless their worn-out fingers.)

  • From the Editor and Fanzine Listing (2)
  • Among the Stars--The Enterprise discovers the Trrwylans, a gentle, cultured race of winged humanoids who are being hunted to extinction by a neanderthal-Iike species that share their planet. The men of the Enterprise try to find a way to help them survive and McCoy finds a special closeness with the female, Llaria. (4)
  • The Coming Flame--While doing survey work for a new Federation member, Spock is drawn into that planetʼs past, while his body slowly dies in this time. (36)
  • Nebula of Orion by Gerry Downes--Kirkʼs mind is drawn to the entity that inhabits the nebula and his only chance of survival is in the meld instigated by Spock to draw him back. It is this story that Gerry bases her slash zine Alternative: The Epilog to Orion, the first K/S standalone ever published. It is reprinted in The Compleat Alternative. (64)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for Nebula of Orion.

See reactions and reviews for The Coming Flame.

See reactions and reviews for Among the Stars.


Contains astronomical photographs from the Lick Observatory. Contains three stories: one for McCoy, one for Spock, and one for Kirk.

Definitely worth every penny.... It's the best first effort I've seen lately. [5]

[zine]: Stardate: Unknown' is a damn fine zine. Put down this page and go address a check for $2.75 to Gerry. You won't be sorry. Kroyka. This is a one-man zine; the art and writing are all done by the editor, all are very good indeed. There are three stories here (plus one poem) one for each of the Triad. They are all well-done, imaginative, captivating, showing emotion without getting sloppy, being controlled without being anal-retentive. Downes is pro-quality. The art is only slightly less so; the likenesses are generally acceptable, tho the anatomy is rather off. However, the composition and movement of the figures demonstrates very clearly Downes' innate talent. And the layout is good, too. Offset, full-size (elite) print, readable. Grab dis one, guys. Do remember, tho, that 3rd class from Alaska can take about eight years to wend its way down here via Canadian pack mule. However, S:U is more'n worth either the price or the wait. [6]

[zine]: This is a very nice zine in appearance and in writing quality... The first story, 'Among the Stars,' is a pleasant, very easy-going Prime Directive/lay-McCoy tale. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy discover a race of winged humanoids while exploring a planet whose culture has died. 'The Coming Flame' is next and is written with a very different tone; it's a sword and sorcery story in which Spock's consciousness (or whatever) is stolen from his body in mid-transport. His body lies drifting towards death in sickbay while Kirk, McCoy, and Chapel worry over him and some part of him is off on a planet waging war with a bewitched sword. 'Nebula of Orion,' the last story in this issue, is by and large a far out get-Kirk story in which some strange force tries to woo Kirk away from his ship and his crew. The first story is quite different in style from the other two; it's very placid and almost delicate in its treatment of the subject matter. The last two stories have a much stronger feel to them, though none of the stories use an excess of sex or violence. All the stories are enjoyable. Gerry has a very good use of imagery, which is a strong component of her stories... especially the last two. And she seems to lean toward fantasy in her stories. The zine is well-illustrated with abundant drawings. And an added attraction are several lovely astronomy photographs by the Lick Observatory. It does my nit-picking heart good to be able to recommend Stardate: Unknown whole-heartedly. It is a fine zine -- the first of many by Gerry Downes, I hope. [7]

[zine]: This zine is the first to be seen from this Alaskan author. Gerry is certainly starting out on a good foot... I can't say this is an excellent zine in all aspects. There are still a few little things that make the flow of action or plot uneven in spots, yet Gerry's characters are beautifully constructed. There is an originality about this zine... probably the best to come out this year. ... Get this one if you can and watch out for any other issues of Stardate or other stories by Gerry. [8]


For those who want to, horror of horrors, put together a fanzine: take heart and be forewarned! This entire 97 page whopper is the work of one person, Gerry Downes. She did the whole thing almost by her itty bitty self 'cuz she wanted to find if any living being in that icebox state was a Star Trek fan. So all you people who call yourself trekkies, trekkers, trekites, or whatever, drop a line or two to her: it's awfully lonely to be the only ST fan in the largest state of the US! Better yet, order her zine; but I better tell you what's in it.

This zine consists of three stories, one for everybody of the Triad — Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. It seems that rank may not "hath its privilege," as the first story is "Among the Stars," a "get McCoy" story, or rather, a love story for McCoy. "Among the Stars" is a wistful story. The entire story has a sad overtone to it. It starts out with McCoy seeing a female humanoid with wings bathing in a pool. She immediately takes off, and the Enterprise crew gets to know the Trrwylans, winged humanoids who live peacefully & unchanged for 10,000 years, now doomed to die because of the changing environment.

The second story is "The Coming Flame," a sword & sorcery bit for Spock. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam up from a planet that is mysteriously devoid of life, and Spock finds himself mentally in another time & place, His body stays on the Enterprise, but the rest of him? Well, would you believe he is supposed to he a demon conjured by a sorcerer to lead an army into battle?

The 3rd & last story is "Nebula of Orion," an exorcist sort of story about an alien, the Nebula of Orion of all things, who takes over Kirk's body & mind and sends the Big E hurtling through space. A general "feel" of the story can be found in McCoy's words to Spock:

"So now you're 'dead,' I'm an accomplice, some monster's in charge of the captain, and everything is just fine!"

The stories are rather good, though some moments seem to be a little contrived, it least they are semi-flesh & blood, instead of paper & ink. Overall layout is quite good. Stories are separated by a portrait of a main character of the following story and a photograph of a Messier object. The editor's page & reviews are located at the head and tail of the zine, where they do not disrupt any stories & are easy to find. Art is rather good, even if the shading technique drives me up the wall. Unfortunately, there is not enough; only a mere 17 pages. The cover is on a heavier stock paper, being a portrait of Kirk, a welcome relief from the drawings within, since it is drawn boldly & in a different style.

Content: 4 Layout & printing: 5 Overall rating: 9 [9]


Truly a one-person operation. Gerry wrote the whole thing and illustrated it herself. S:U consists of three long stories; "Among the Stars", a McCoy love story highlighted by exceptional imagery and poetic idealism. "The Coming Flame", a confusing tale of double identities and questionable motives; and "Nebula of Orion", the story that spawned the controversial ALTERNATIVE, also by Gerry Dovmes.

S:U is Gerry's first attempt at zine publishing, but from the quality exhibited, you'd think she's been at it for years. Very nice artwork as well as reproductions of actual photographs taken from the Lick Observatory of various star clusters and nebulae. Well worth having for your collection. [10]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Gerry Downes
back cover of issue #2, Will Peterson
flyer for issue #2

Stardate: Unknown 2 was published in November 1976 and is 103 pages long. Artwork by Scott Jeffrey, Tracy Scheinkman, Amy Falkowotz, Pat Stall, Marty Siegrist, Gee Moaven, Bill Peterson (3 black and white interiors), Michael Anderson, and Gerry Downes.

Regarding the Nut Hatch Press reprint: " Production challenges, including A3 copies and special "pro-rating" for a large "toner overblow" on some art pages, originally designed for an offset ink system and wreaking such havoc in photocopier toner that they must be budgeted at a greater per-copy cost..." [11]

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for Nessie.

See reactions and reviews for Crossroads.

See reactions and reviews for Mate.

See reactions and reviews for Full Circle.

See reactions and reviews for One Last Time.

[zine]: A fan said: "A general Star Trek zine. Some humor, mostly serious. This issue gives equal time to most of the crew. The photos from Lick Observatory add a nice touch. Downes' has kept up the quality of the first issue, has included other art, authors, etc., than herself. It can only get better." Another fan said: "Actually, I liked issue #1 best, but still consider S:U one of the better zines around. A little high-priced, but paper costs a lot in Alaska." [12]

[zine]: This is a very nice zine, somewhat different than the first issue, but as good. It starts off with an informative editorial. Most of us fen don't get up to Alaska very often, so this is a good way to become aquatinted with Downes. She includes some zine reviews and addresses of fan clubs -- a nice service. In the body of the zine, she demonstrates her versatile talent. Four of the stories and most of the art is by her, and for the most part, excellent. The other artwork is also up to her standards. There is also poetry and astronomical photographs... The first story is about Nessie. But after that the reading becomes very serious. Some of the stories are outright tear wringers. If you're like me and judge the number of stories by the number of tissues you soak, read the stories at separate sittings. 'Full Circle' is a short vignette about McCoy's struggles with the realities of abortion. It's very effectively done. However, it is not really a story, so don't expect too much. 'Mate' is similar. This ones' touching, again short, piece about Spock, after a near-fatal injury. 'Crossroads' is the major novella in this zine. As Gerry says in her editorial, it is 'probably the best treatment of Christine Chapel inside or outside of fanfic.' It takes place at the end of the five-year mission when the Enterprise crew are all thinking about the next stage in their lives. The Chapel-Spock relationship is resolved in this story... [The author's] handling of Vulcan and its customs is also very good. The zine ends, really ends, just about crumbles around the readers' feet with 'One Last Time.' This is a real tear-jerker about Kirk in his old age. However, the Nazi stuff on the planet where Kirk crashes has been doen just one too many times. Or perhaps was this just his last dream?! Can this be a tongue-in-cheek story about such a serious topic? There are spots where it doesn't' seem quite on the level; did Downes know what she was writing? Well, accept for the last story, I recommend the zine wholeheartedly... [13]

[zine]: Everyone remembers the premier fanzine put out by this previously-unknown author/faned, and the rave reviews that it recieved in almost every fanzine that reviewed it... well, as we know the third time is the charm, or in other words, this volume of S:U regretable doesn't live up to the levels we all enjoyed in the first volume, with a few notable exceptions... maybe she'll do better next time. Leading this volume off is a reprint of 'Nessie' and is perhaps one of the finest fantasies involving any single character yet printed, and is all the more delightful the second time around. Following this [story] is a section of poetry/art which contains one of the best stylized pieces of art with Spock and Leila that I have seen, drawn by Pat Stall. This section also contains one of the fuzziest B&W photos I've ever seen of M-51 (NGC 5194)... good illos are hard to come by, but fuzzy pictures from a leading observatory -- that's a switch... 'Full Circle' is scarcely a vignette. The whole plot revolves around the morality of an abortion McCoy performs as a matter of routine and the subsequent discussion/argument/mindmeld (some people can't resist throwing in a mindmeld in to the plot when Spock is in the story). In the back of my mind, I had this lurking suspicion that the story was written more to convey Ms. Downes sentiments toward abortion than it was to detail the little play between Spock and the good doctor. "Mate' has a touching, yet particularly morbid parting scene between Kirk and Spock. The 'biggie' of this issue is a novelette... called 'Crossroads.' This is a Spock/Christine story. Personally I'm waiting for a story to come along where Christine gets fed up with Spock's rejections and disintegrates him with a surgical laser, bit by bit... In the meantime, we're stuck with the standard model with out white sidewalls, factory air or other extras... It is very competently told and an excellent character study of Chapel, but it's been done an innumerable number of times.... Follow all of this is yet another set of poems, some of where were very good... Finally, there is a piece called 'One Last Time, which is a rather sad and perhaps rather grim tale of Kirk's later years. The beginning is a somewhat terribly-paced flashback which brings the reader up to the 'present' wherein McCoy gets killed, Kirk and Spock leave the service, Scott dies, and Kirk and Spock retire together on Earth... quite a bit of background to swallow in less than one page. Anyhoo -- Kirk decided to go out with a blaze of glory -- literally and heads a ship toward the galactic barrier only to be bounced off and find his way to an isolated planet where remarkably good English is spoken... There, Kirk gets his last chance to take part in one final battle, to go out with a bang...I read this story out of sequence having read the story and 'Mate' back to back. I was forced to antidote myself with a Winnie the Pooh book following that pair, so that I would not slash my wrists. Really a morbid duet. The whole zine is readable and you will spend a few hours in a fair manner, but it's not up to the quality of the first volume, and hopefully the artwork will improve with the next ish, too. [14]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Gerry Downes
flyer for issue #3
back cover of issue #3, Gerry Downes

Stardate: Unknown 3 was published in July 1977 and is 130 pages long. Art by Gerry Downes, Bill Peterson, Leslie Fish, Kathy Carlson, Connie DiFonso, Pat Stall, Signe Landon, Gee Moaven, Amy Falkowitz, and Marty Siegrist.

From a later publisher: "134pp at Letter/A4 size, with A3/11x17 foldout art ... lavishly and beautifully illustrated as always.... This issue features full-size type, but no "double spaced" paragraphs, and if there's "white space" in there, we can't find it!" [15]

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for A Grief Well Ended.

See reactions and reviews for Winged Joy Soaring, Gloriously Uprising.

See reactions and reviews for Paved with Good Intentions.

See reactions and reviews for Sword at the Gate.

See reactions and reviews for Tea Time.

[zine]: Although for me #3 wasn't quite up to #2, this issue of SU is not too bad. There is a bit of Bicentennial action in Jon Aiken's competently done 'Tea Time,' which purports to tell da troof about the Boston Harbor Tea Party. 'Winged Joy Soaring, Gloriously Free' is Down's somewhat unfortunate sequel to her own 'Among the Stars' in issue #1 - unfortunate in its slightly too climatic plot and rather too large cast of characters. Six fewer characters and two fewer plot twists would have made a world of difference. 'A Grief Well Ended' was just that, part two in her Chapel/Spock series. 'Paved with Good Intentions' puts Kirk in a Hell of a fix; the treatment is a bit silly, but at least intentionally so. 'Sword at the Gate' was the only Good Story in the zine -- a well-balanced, well-paced plot, believable and consistent characterization. It is an anti-Paradise Syndrome story, part of which was dramatized by Gerry and Dorothy Martin at SeKWester*Con, Too. Contents - 3 Graphics - 4 $ Worth - 3 [16]

[zine]:This third edition of Stardate: Unknown is a very nicely rounded fanzine, and is probably one of only a handful of zines left that cater to a general format. Other zines around have started out that way but drifted off on a tangent somewhere or another. But, on with the contents: Tea Time, by Jon Aiken (unless that's a pen name this story may be unusual if only because it's written by a male fan ... but hold judgement for just a bit ... details what happens when the Enterprise follows a data probe into a black hole and is snapped backward in time ... and just guess what planet they're circling when they pop out? Go on, take a wild guess. Earth, you say? Aw, shticks, you guys are getting too good at this. Too bad Jon couldn't've done better than to steal the first 5 minutes out of Tomorrow is Yesterday. So much for oriinal fanfic, ah, but a glimmer of hope exists in the plot when instead of plunking down in the mid-60's, the Big E is thrown back to colonial days, wherein they find themselves in a variety of dilemmas. Suspiciously, they manage to be in all the right places at all the wrong times, and eventually end up on a British ship in Boston harbor throwing crates of tea overboard (thus the reason for the title. See what I mean about creative fanfic?) The whole story might have been saved if the visit to the past could have contained a slightly more normal "feel" to it, as it is the events and plot follow courses that could only be shaped by pure dumb luck or divine providence. Either way it's just a bit too neatly served on an ever too shiny silvery p1atter. A little more realistic history next time Jon, please. "Winged Joy Soaring, Gloriously free," by Gerry Downes is a continuation of her story "Among the Stars," which appeared ih S:U #1. Winged Joy!is about McCoy's return trip to the planet where the Enterprise had previously found a dying race of winged humanoids whom they had tried to save from extinction. and one of whom McCoy had fallen in love with. On return they find the Trrwylansas well as McCoy's son, but they are sickly and ailing (well, except for the youngsters) and the Enterprise embarks on a mission to take them to a new planet that the Federation Council has selected. The story isn't heavily plotted and at times it seems more like a character study than a straight story. But it's well told, and the people inside react like people and not cardboard cut-outs. "A Grief Well Ended,"" by Juanita Salicrup is a continuation of the story that Juanita stated in' S:U #2's called Crossroads. Crossroads, it is explained in front of the zine, is series of stories about Spock & Christine, which makes, this story a bit easier to understand because it is only a vignette that basically covers the bonding of Spock 'and Chapel which is a kind of marriage between them. The actual ceremony, we are led to believe, will be in a later story. No plotting here, no real story, just a lot of character study and personal thoughts and emotions put down in words. It's not at all badly portrayed but it does lose out a little because it reads like a single chapter out of story which makes it feel slightly disjointed. "Paved With Good Intentions" by Gerry Downes is a dream story that Kirk has of dying and going to hell. There is an excellent mixture, of satire, and seriousness blended together and Gerry's portrayal of the devil is both different and entertaining. Perhaps the most outstanding piece in the zine if only because of its uniqueness. "The Sword at the Gate" is an excellent "after" story dealing with Kirk following Miramanee's death. It's passionate, and insightful. Immediately following is the story of "Paradise Syndrome" as it would be told as an Indian story or fable. It is charmingly told, although anyone who missed seeing it acted out in Indian sign language at SeKWester*Con Too won't appreciate it as much to see it here in just simple print. As far as artwork goes, S:U could use better visuals. Most of the illos are about average, a few could have been left, and maybe a handful could' class as good, but nothing exquisite.... well, maybe with time that could improve. Generally the quality of the stories is very good... a nice, rounded selection, nice size, easily readable type. Unless you know of a better zine out, get this one to add to your collection. [17]

[zine]: A beautifully done zine from cover to cover. The art is outstanding and the poetry is some of the best being published. I especially liked 'From Nebula of Orion.' All of the fiction was enjoyable, and chosen to give a change of pace, avoiding the 'all-the-same-type-stories' that plague some zines. There's a well-done McCoy love story by Downes, marked by top-notch characterizations, 'Tea Time' which has the Enterprise crew attending The Boston Tea Party, and one of the best Spock/Christine stories yet by Juanita Salicrup. Aumerle explores what might have happened after Miramanee's death, and Downes offers a delightfully ironic trip to Hell for Captain Kirk. Well worth every penny! [18]

[zine, note: see the individual stories for this reviewer's comments]:"Reflections", poetry/prose by Frankie Jemison, Gerry, Jeanne Powers, Pete Kaup, Connie DiFonso, Susan Burr, Juanita Salicrup, Dorothy B. Martin, art by Gerry, Leslie Fish, Kathy Carlson, Connie DiFonso, Pat Stall, Signe Langon, Gee Moaven; one color photo of the Lagoon Nebula and one B&W photo of Earthrise, both from NASA, the latter supplied by Luba Kmetyk, this is a nice portfolio with the art being more outstanding than the poetry/prose accompaniment. Salicrup's "Conundrum" & Gerry's "Your Turn, Doctor" are the two best pieces in this section, with Signe Landon's and Gee Moaven's artistic interpretations matching perfectly. Pat Stall's illo is also very, very good....

"The Enemy Within", "Mirror, Mirror", "The Enterprise Incident", "Spectre of the Gun", and "Requiem For Methuselah", are interpreted in poetry by Gerry, with accompanying art by Gerry and William Peterson, As always, Gerry's illos are subtle mood pieces, but I did not think the fold-out art was good enough or involved enough to justify a fold-out....

Stardates Unknown 3 is better than 2 was, but Volume 1 was still the best. This issue, In retrospect, is a sequel issue, but offers enough variety to please almost any reader. The price is reasonable, the zine looks good, and is enjoyable reading. Nothing earth-shaking or terribly thought-provoking, but good art, prose, and poetry for the money spent. [19]

[zine]: Thish gets off to a good-humored start with Jon Aiken's "Tea Time," a Star Trek/Bicentennial story. It consists of a series of unlikely coincidences that would be disastrous in any tale that insisted on taking itself seriously; since this one doesn't, there's no problem. "Reflections", a regular poetry-and-art feature, includes some particularly fine pieces this time, the most memorable being Jean- nie Powers' "On Going Home" and Pat Stall's illo for "Revolution." The color pho- to of the Lagoon Nebula is in a class by i tsel f. Gorgeous. Gerry's "Winged Joy, Soaring, Gloriously Free," is the promised sequel to "Among the Stars" in S:U I. Having secured the Federation's reluctant consent to moving the Trrwylans to a new and safer planet, the Enterprise crew finds that the bird-folk are suffering from a form of greatly accelerated aging, and that the intervening two years have produced some personal difficulties for McCoy as well. The story is tightly plotted and plausible, the characterizations convincing. Gerry possesses a rare de- gree of sensitivity for both the ST regulars and her own characters; something that also shows clearly in her poetic glosses on five aired episodes. "A Grief Well Ended" is Juanita Salicrup's second Crossroads story, a well-written piece that defines the essentials of the Spock/Christine relationship and not incidentally forces Spock to act on his resolves in the previous installment. "Paved with Good Intentions" is a tongue-in-cheek account of Kirk's sojourn in Hell that nevertheless provides a keen insight not only into James Kirk but into the way a good many of Gerry's stories work. Her drawings for this one are in a new style, very fluid and very effective. Thish closes with Jane Aumerle's "The Sword at the Gate" a post-Paradise Syndrome tale, beautifully illoed by Virginia Jacobsen. If for some incomprehensible reason you haven't bought this zine-- it's been out since July, for heaven's sake! Do so immediately. You won't be sorry. [20]

Issue 4

back cover of issue #4, Gerry Downes
front cover of issue #4, Gerry Downes

Stardate: Unknown 4 was published in 1978 and is 102 pages long. Pre-production, Downes showed the original cover to Takei at a con and he signed it, which means ALL covers have the autograph across the front.

From Nut Hatch Press regarding the reprint: 'This is the first issue to feature reduced type and twin columns, and as is the rule, there are no "double spaced" paragraphs, and again, if there's "white space" in there, we can't find it!" [21]

From the editorial:

I'm dying for a good fanzine.' That's what somebody told me recently, hoping could steer them in the right direction. I know the feeling. It is difficult to find what you're looking for in a zine without wasting a lot of money on the way. I was strongly tempted to skip the fanzine mentions thisish, for several reasons. Lack of space. And there are several zines out now that while they are nicely produced, I don't like very much. If r have to make negative comments, I'd rather not mention a zine at all -- it's so easy to be devastatingly clever at someone else's expense. (that's another one of the things I don't like in zine.) And I hate to see people use Trek to push a narrow point of view. I've always felt there was enough depth and range in both the format and characters to permit many possible developments. And l'm very tired of people trying to make themselves important via Trek. (It's easy to be important in fandom -- just start making noises like you are, and a goodly percentage of fen will believe you. It's a case of big fish/small pond.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

See reactions and reviews for A Bridge of Crystal and Light.

[zine]: Sounds like a well-rounded issue this time, folks. More of Juanita Salicrup's "Crossroads" series (Spock/Chapel-- and possibly the best treatment of that theme I've ever seen). a post-"Operation: Annihilate" story by Gerry and other assorted poetry and fiction. [22]

[zine]: Gerry's 'zine needs no introduction - she's had consistently high quality, good artwork, and excellent reproduction, and this issue is no exception. My favorite story so far is "He's Your Brother George, Only You Call Him 'Sam'". It's a beautiful study of a young boy starting on the road to manhood, and neatly ties in many of the "loose" threads in the series. Gerry has an absolutely depressing vignette, and the rest of the material I haven't read yet, so I can't comment on it. [23]

[zine]: This issue is superb all the way and is a must for Gerry Downes fen. In this ish, there is something to please everybody. First, there is a very good ST/1999 story with a strong element of science-fiction. Then, a third story in the Spock/Christine series entitled 'A Bridge of Crystal and Light.' It deals with the depth of the love between Spock and Christine. The story is very well-written and the illos by Alice Jones (sigh) just beautiful. Lucky Christine! 'He's Your Brother George, Only You Call Him Sam' is an excellent characterization of the Kirk/Sam [relationship] when they were young and not young. There are a lot of beautiful poems, but 'I, Enterprise' by Dotty Barry surpasses all of them in its power and intensity. The illo that goes with the poem is breathtaking. Gerry Downes' editorial is one of the best written so far. It is mature, thought-provoking, and gives an insight on Gerry Downes' opinions on various aspects of ST and fandom. Her zine review is one of a kind; I hope there are more like it in #5. In all, this zine just keeps getting better, and issue #5 will have a lot of surprises. [24]

[zine]: This issue's fiction gets off to a good start with Jon Aiken's "Almost Home", a light-hearted adventure involving a meeting between the Enterprise and Moonbase Alpha, a near-collision between Earth and the perigrinating sattelite [25], and a suave and skeptical Commander Kor. It's a terrific elephant story. "Enterprise Incident", by Isabel Real, purports to be a series of memoranda exchanged by Starfleet Command and the E's senior officers. To anyone who's ever had to hassle with a bureaucracy, they may seem a bit realistic for genuine amusement--I laugh that I may not weep. "Reflections", a regular poetry-and-art feature, is up to Gerry's usual high standards; Sandra Gent's haunting "Waiting" and Alice Jones' casually sensual Uhura are particularly noteworthy. "He's Your Brother George--Only You Call Him 'Sam'" is a well-turned post-"Operation: Annihilate" tale by Gerry; it fills in some of Kirk's early history and not incidentally explains how he came to be so adept at picking pockets in "Patterns of Force". "Two Tickets, Please," also by Gerry, is reprinted here from WS; it remains as chilling, and as moving as it was the first time. The spare, supple language fits the subject matter perfectly: Downes, like Faddis, understands that while compassion is appropriate to tragedy, pity is utterly out of place. This sense also pervades "A Wilderness of Arctic Characteristics", a stark account of the Federation's first contact with the inhabitants of a glaciated world; the alien is well-realized and sympathetic, the price of survival all too clear. The longest story in the zine is Juanita Salicrup's "A Bridge of Crystal and Light", the third installment in her Crossroads series. At least, that's what it's supposed to be--it gave me a severe case of deja ju. The plot is lifted wholesale from Downes' own "Nebula of Orion" (S:U I), only this time the possessee is Spock, and it is Christine's strength and love which save him. The writer's intense admiration of the Vulcan Marvel is made painfully apparent by the author-omniscient viewpoint, the prose is purpuric, the characterization, weak. Worst by far is the disembodied Lybythosian, who retains nothing of Orion's pathos or maimed grandeur. The entity is merely another of the power-mad aliens so distressingly common in our galaxy, afflicted witt the unfortunate exclamatory speech habits typical of the breed. If Salicrup weren't a damned fine writer, none of this would matter; but she is, and it does. Juanita owes her readers--and herself--something better. "The Crew of the Enterprise", another art-and-poetry combo, and Frankie Jemison's "The Last Battle", round out the zine; they are well-executed, as are Gerry's astute editorial and reviews. The art ranges from very fine to stunning throughout. Highly Recommended. [26]


The first thing I gotta say is that I love the thematic cartoons that have opened each issue of S:U... Gerry has such a talented pencil and the captions are hysterical. Hmm, now on to the serious stuff, the reader/reviewer said while rising from the floor and clutching her aching sides.

Gerry Downes, like Lori Chapek-Carleton, writes a long editorial and it’s good. Chatty zine reviews, the editor’s opinions, general info, etc. are all very clear and in the place where they are most effective. I like.

Following the pattern established with the previous (SV), let’s talk about ick: Where is it? Can it be? Yes! There’s no ick! Well, maybe some of the poems didn’t strike me like a beam of light or an i1lo was that much off — but with a single exception, I liked all of this zine.

The exception?...the last piece In the zine, appropriately titled "The Last Battle." It’s a poem by Frankie Jemison and, I’m sorry folks, but quartets with a rhyme scheme A-B-A-B, C-D-C-D, ad infinitum, are a deterrent to what is (I think It’s supposed to be, anyway) a tragic tale. ”Nuff said.


"Enterprise Incident" is a series of memoranda from some officious red-tape dispenser at Starfleet to Kirk. Isabel Real, the perpetrator, is from the seat of our glorious government and apparently she knows the current brand of civil service governtmentese very well. I do, too, and this was purely amusing. The tragedy is that this thing could very well happen.

"Almost Home" by Bill Peterson is fun. It's nice to see some character given to the inhabitants of our poor wandering moon; and a meeting with the Enterprise crew is perfect. Nice sf work here. (I wonder, though... when will Kirk encounter Klaattu, or the Lord of the Sith, or even Beowulf Shaffer? After all, Beowulf knows the Kzinti!)

Downes has three stories here — two short, one medium (lengthwise). "Two Tickets, Please" grips me every single time I read It. But where have I seen it before? Is it my imagination, or Iis this a reprint? No matter, the story is worth it. "A Wilderness of Artie Characteristics” is absolutely chilling (and no, I am not making a pun — there is no other word). Must read. "He’s Your Brother George — Only You Call Him ’Sam”’ is an exploration of why Kirk loved his brother so much, told against the background of "Operation: Annihilate." It’s interesting but it began to drag toward the end.

Gerry is one of the more prolific writers of Treklit and most of the time (see the first two stories I mentioned) she’s dynamite. Well, we can’t be perfect all the time... It would be too boring. C'est la vie..

Once again, I’ve saved my favorites for last. "Bridge of Crystal and Light" Is in the Crossroads universe; Juanita Salicrup — Spock — Christine Chapel as a Human Being! Am I prejudiced? Yes, but anybody who can transform the most unfortunately stereo-typed character of the past two decades into a warm, breathing woman — and do it so smoothly that you can’t see where the pen leaves off and the mind begins — deserves a great deal of respect. From me, she’s got it.

Artists and Illustrators: (remember, there’s a difference!)

Gerry Downes does a lot for her own zine as well as many others. How does she find time? Here, you'll find her clear pen and ink sketches, portraits, and illos scattered throughout. Jon Aiken's illos for the Bill Peterson story are good — I especially liked his Kor. Virginia Jacobsen's iIIos for "He's Your Brother, etc." take some getting used to — but I think it's worth it.

The last two items are jockeying for top notch in my mind. If I say "Alice Jones," you know what I'm talking about. (It's got to be the way those eyelids crinkle!) However, what I really applaud are those magnificent photos of the genuine thing — the stars — that Gerry gets from the observatory. In the words of Leslie Fish — "I am called to go.”

Thank you, Gerry.[27]

Issue 5

front cover of issue #5, Gerry Downes
back cover of issue #5, Gerry Downes

Stardate: Unknown 5 is 162 pages long and was published in 1979.

  • One Final Truth by Shirley Passman, art: Bill Peterson--Kirk is chained in an alien dungeon, and Spock does NOT have rescue in mind. (9)
  • Reflections (poetry and art; various contributors) (24)
  • The Visiting, by Elizabeth Dulac, Art: Shona Jackson (40)
  • The Third Way by Frankie Jemison, art by deVera and Gerry Downes. A different way to cope with Vulcan biology. (43)
  • Presenting the Enterprise (45)
  • Amanda of Vulcan by Jean Lorrah, art by Beverly Zuk (56) (reprinted in NTM Collected #2)
  • Not For Heroes Only by Jon Aiken (69)
  • The Human Tear by Ginna LaCroix, art by Gerry Downes (69) (also in Trek Encore #2)
  • A Port in Every Storm by Dotty Barry (74)
  • A Time of Parting by Kate Hindes,art by deVera and Gerry Downes (99)
  • Star Trek Episodes in poetry and art, various contributors (106)
  • Sometimes It Takes A Walk Through Hell... by Gerry Downes, art by Gerry Downes (131)
  • What if the 'T' in JTK Really did Stand for 'Tomcat' by Gerry Downes--The Captain is missing and as Spock and McCoy hunt for him, they are constantly pestered by an unusually friendly cat. (150)
  • Cats by Elizabeth Marshall

Issue 6, The Issue that Never Was

In a 1978 personal statement, Gerry explains she has had massive quality control issues with a printing company, one of four of which she dealt with. She also comments on the sixth issue of the zine: "As things stand now, number 6 will be the last. Putting out the zine has become a hassle, the volume of correspondence is enough to make strong men weep, and assembly of the material has turned into an endless round of inquires, commitments, no-shows, illness, restructuring... I've even let myself down a few times. There is enough good material in some stage of preparation to give me confidence that the remaining issues will have a variety of high quality offerings. Beyond that, I shudder to think of starting over." [28]

In a 1979 personal statement in Scuttlebutt, Gerry cites real life challenges have caused her to cancel the sixth issue. The material that was to appear in it would be published in Star Canticle #3, Galactic Discourse #3, and Nome. Also, "If Juanita Salicrup receives enough SASEs to warrant the cost of the project, she will publish the new stories in the 'Crossroads' series, along with the ones that appeared in 'Stardate: Unknown.'"

From the zine news section of the September 1979 issue of Warped Space: "Due to a horrendous physical workload and financial risks involved in doing a fan zine, STARDATE: UNKNOWN #6 has been cancelled. Readers with s.a.s.e.s on file will receive an editorial/explanation, info on where the S:U6 material will appear and as many 'zine listings/reviews as Gerry can fit in just as soon as she gets it all together."

According to Universal Translator #3, "Crossroads" was to have had illos by Alice Jones, was to have been issued in two or three volumes in late 1980.

External Links


  1. ^ FROM ALASKA WITH LOVE, Archived version
  2. ^ flyer
  3. ^ KENI-TV, was an Anchorage television channel
  4. ^ This con was cancelled. See Schuster Star Trek Conventions].
  5. ^ from Fanzine Review 'Zine #2 (1977)
  6. ^ Paula Smith, from The Halkan Council #19
  7. ^ from The Halkan Council #20/21
  8. ^ from Spectrum #26
  9. ^ from The Clipper Trade Ship #13
  10. ^ from Metamorphosis #2 (1976)
  11. ^ flyer
  12. ^ from Fanzine Review 'Zine #2 (1977)
  13. ^ from Interphase #4
  14. ^ from Spectrum #31
  15. ^ flyer
  16. ^ from Paula Smith in Menagerie #12
  17. ^ from Spectrum #34
  18. ^ from Scuttlebutt #3
  19. ^ from Delta Triad #4
  20. ^ from Mahko Root #1
  21. ^ flyer
  22. ^ from Fantasia #2
  23. ^ in 1978, the fourth issue was reviewed by the editor of Paradise
  24. ^ from Scuttlebutt #8
  25. ^ This is probably a typo and was meant to be "peregrinating satellite."
  26. ^ from Mahko Root #2
  27. ^ from Right of Statement #1 (1978)
  28. ^ from Scuttlebutt #5 in January/February 1978