Stardate (Star Trek: TOS zine edited by Randall Landers)

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Zine
Title: Stardate (with #22 in 1985 it became Orion)
Publisher: Stardate Press (until 1985), then Orion Press
Editor(s): Randall Landers, with occasional guest editors
Date(s): 1979 - 1984
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: Orion Press
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Stardate is a gen Star Trek: TOS fanzine published by Orion Press.

Issue #14 is adult and contains a nude drawing.

It was first published in 1979 and ran for 21 issues under this title and then was renamed Orion due to a 1985 legal dispute with FASA.[1]

This 1985 legal dispute was also likely the reason "Stardate Press" became "Orion Press." [2]

From the Orion Press website:
In 1979, there were more K/S zines than genzines (non-adult general content) [3], and in June of that year I decided to start my own fanzine: Stardate. The first issue sold over 800 copies over the years, and while it's crap by today's zine standards, it was the start of Stardate Press. [4]

Science Fiction, Stardate, and Males

From Boldly Writing:
Many editors of the time were not science fiction fans and did not care whether the story happened on the Enterprise or even in the Federation as long as Kirk and Spock were featured. In contrast, Randall made sure that all of the stories he published fit into the Star Trek universe, and that the stories would have few, if any, departures from the facts established on the screen. Because of this, Randall's Star Trek publications have enjoyed a wide readership. In particular, Randall attracted more male fanzine writers and artists than most other publications. Regulars of his early issues included Rick Endres, Richard G. Pollet, Don Harden (who presented a story in issue 5 in comic strip form), and Tim Farley.

Many LoCs

Issues of Stardate featured a prominent LoC section. So many were received that Landers wrote in his editorial that he would reduce the type size in issue #8 so he could print more of them.

A Dispute, and a Title Change

This zine underwent a title change in 1985. There is a letter from the editor in Datazine #35 that says that Stardate under Stardate Press, will no longer be published because FSA Gaming Corporation (a Paramount company that makes a Star Trek role-playing game) has used their title and format for a magazine of their own. Landers has contacted his lawyer but was advised he really could do nothing. He expresses his extreme regret at having to give up a zine he's worked on for six years and hopes that fans will support his new zine Orion.

From Sensor Readings:
As of May 15, 1985, Stardate Press is no longer in existence thanks to the callousness of the FASA Gaming Corporation. This company, which is licensed by Paramount Pictures Corporation to produce to a Star Trek role playing game, came out with a magazine for their customers Their magazine was given the title, Stardate, and the same cover format devised for 'Stardate' #21 by Tim Farley (which was to be used on all future issues of our publication) was employed by FASA on their first issue. After discovering this, I made an enquiry into the matter with FASA and issue. After discovering this, I made an enquiry into the matter with FASA and politely asked them to change the name of their publication. They failed to respond for a number of months. Then, I was contacted by their attorney who threatened legal action if 'Stardate Press' continued to produce 'Stardate,' claiming that they had exclusive rights to the title and format under a license from Paramount and under a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I am simply floored. I had been producing 'Stardate' since June 1979. I produced 21 issues in the six years of operation. 'Stardate' received several favorable reviews for various issues in Universal Translator and Datazine.... It was printed under what fans refer to Common Law Copyright, as most fan magazines. 'Stardate' has over three thousand satisfied readers. And because I can't afford to sue this corporation (and they apparently can afford to sue me), I am no longer able to produce 'Stardate.' To quote an ancestor, 'I will fight no more.' As of May 15, 1985, Orion Press will be born from the ashes of Stardate Press Our first issue, 'Orion' #22, will be legally copyrighted, trademarked, and given an ISSN number, as will all our other publications. [5]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1, R. Landers

Stardate 1 was published in June 1979. Randall Landers, editor. It has 28 pages. On the cover: "A NEW ZINE FROM GEORGIA." The publisher describes in in 1988: "[The first issue of] 'Stardate' was a piece of crap. I know it, and so does everyone else who has read it." [6]

  • Plague by Randall Landers ("The Enterprise crew is dying of a strange disease after shore-leave on a peaceful planet. And even though McCoy knows the cause, he's helpless to stop it. But why?") (16 pages)
  • The Salos Sellout by Thomas Harden ("The crew of the Enterprise has been ordered to Axanar to collect a status report from the mining colony there. But instead, they unearth a secret which could lead to war.") (9 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Randy Landers' "Plague!" has a bit of excitement, but less than I expected. The pressure chamber was nice. This, as well as many other stories, has too many adjectives--not enough to make the story bad, but enough over the expected amount to be noticeable. Women, for instance, rarely have "faces"; instead, they nearly always have "pretty faces." [7]
....Randy Landers' "Plague!" tended to drift a little, but I really like the plot solution of the decompression factor....[8]
Randy Landers' "Plague!" was a little too long. Also, there was no specific mention of shore-leave being canceled once the crew had come down with the plague....[9]
Randy Landers' "Plague!" was an average Star Trek fanfic story; the mystery was handled well, but there was little else in the story. Perhaps this was intended. Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" was not much different; there was more of a recognizable tone in the piece, but the writing was uneven. [10]

Randy Landers' "Plague!" I liked. It had a good idea, and followed progression. I liked the bit about the bends and McCoy's medical log made for a different approach and angle. I liked the line "Bones, are you forgetting we're in the biggest pressure chamber devised by man?" Pretty good, but it could've been better with another rewrite and a little more characterization. Usually, Kirk saves the ship, and having McCoy do it is a good switch. A bit abrupt.

Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" was a bit abrupt again. Instead of playing scenes to the hilt, Tom jumped from scene to scene. The story was fine, but more characterization was needed. More explanation was also needed on what Spock was doing in the archives. Really abrupt ending had too simple a solution. [11]
Randy Landers' story, "Plague!" was good, but I don't understand how the captain could recover so quickly when you had him dying in the beginning of the story. {Oxypyrilene works wonders. - Randy}[12]
Randy Landers' "Plague!" and Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" weren't bad, but ended a bit abruptly.[13]
Randy Landers' "Plague!" was an interesting story, but it was way too long... [14]
Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" -- Predictable. Too much dialogue with very little description. This seems as though it may have been a script at one time. {The story was recently reworked prior to posting to the website and being reprinted in the new Orion Archives 2266-2270 First Mission1 collection. - Randy}[15]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Don Harden
inside page of issue #2

Stardate 2 was published in November 1979. Randall Landers, editor. It has 38 pages. On the cover: "A NEW ZINE FROM GEORGIA." Artwork by Don Harden, Randall Landers, and Richard Pollet.

  • From the Editor by Randall Landers (2)
  • The Captain is Always Right #2, cartoon by Randall Landers (2)
  • Next Issue "Assassin" and "Star Trip" (2)
  • Stardate Unknown, poem by Richard G. Pollet (3)
  • Writing Contest Rules (3)
  • Of All the LoC (4)
  • The War Mongers, story by Thomas C. Harden and Randell Landers ("Once again the Enterprise is serving as a diplomatic courier as it transports the ambassador of a warring planet to a station for peace talks. But once again, someone is out to prevent the truce, and it's not the Klingons or Orions.") (5)
  • Star Trek Trivia, The Man Trap (20)
  • To Die Or Not To Die, story by Richard G. Pollet ("One by one the members of Spook's landing party are killing themselves, and soon, only Spock is left. Can Kirk keep his friend from committing suicide?") (21)
  • Star Trek Trivia, The Naked Time and Charlie X (28)
  • Attack From The Beyond, story by Randall Landers ("An amusing tale of a mad scientist's attempt to solve the 20th century energy crisis by tapping energy from another universe. Problem: The Enterprise is in that other universe.") (29)
  • Mirror, Mirror, a poem by Richard G. Pollet (37)
  • art by Don Harden (both covers), Randall Landers, Richard G. Pollet


Issue 3

cover of issue #3

Stardate 3 was published in March 1980. Randall Landers, editor. It has 42 pages. Artwork by Mitchell B. Craig, Amy Crews, Rick Endres, Don Harden, Randall Landers and Richard G. Pollet. Poem by Pollet, and cartoons by Craig, Harden and Landers.

  • Assassin by Randall Landers (Someone is out to kill Kirk and Spock takes it upon himself to keep his captain alive. But who's taking care of the Vulcan?) (7 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia: The Cage, The Doomsday Machine and Obsession) (3 pages)
  • A Time To Cry by Thomas Harden (Parody. Captain Kirk finds himself aboard the Seaview with Admiral Nelson, Captain Crane and Mr. Pem. Can he escape the horrors of that universe before he finds himself totally insane like them?) (9 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia: Spock's Brain (1 page)
  • Meeting at Xanadu by Alex Rosen (The crew of the Enterprise encounter a former Starfleet Academy history teacher whose love for the past may endanger the peace of the present.) (21 pages)
  • Three Strikes, Yer Out by Richard G. Pollet (Once again, Scotty is forced into action during a shore-leave on Disneymoon. The hilarious winning entry in the writing contest.) (9 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia: Devil In The Dark (2 pages)
  • The Last Survivor by Rick Endres (A post V-ger story set on the planet Neural. Can the precarious balance of power be maintained there? A Federation observation team has disappeared while seeking the answer. A sequel to "A Private Little War.") (17 pages)
  • A Review Of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (2 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

I enjoyed Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu".... Nomad's "The Last Survivor" is excellent, though a bit bloody. A touch of this is acceptable on occasion, though.... Nomad's Kh'myr Klingons are awesomely menacing.[16]
Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu" was very good, and....Nomad's "The Last Survivor" was well-written, but I dislike stories with sad endings that inspire only horror, not sympathy from me.[17]
Nomad's "The Last Survivor" I liked really well. It might've ended a bit abruptly, but perhaps there was nothing else that could be done. I would like to see Kirk's landing party to the planet with him as a lieutenant, but I don't think anyone has written one like that. [18]
...Nomad's "The Last Survivor" gives an excellent reason for the new Klingons, and a bit more of a glimpse of the 'new' Spock as well...[19]

...Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu" was pretty well done. I'd like to meet a character in a story that's interested in a time period other than our own, though, like the 21st or 22nd century. But then, I guess it's just too big a temptation to pass up, and it really doesn't hurt the story.

Nomad's "The Last Survivor" is among the post powerful of all the stories on the website, and it actually had a moral, something you don't see in many fan written stories.[20]
Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu" was a meat-and-potatoes story; not fancy, but it has all the basics right....Nomad's "The Last Survivor" was a pretty good story, and fit in with the established facts.[21]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, Rick Endres

Stardate 4 was published in August 1980. Randall Landers, editor. It has 38 pages. The front cover is by Rick Endres. On the cover: "THE HUMAN ADVENTURES CONTINUE." Other artwork by Mitchell B. Craig, Don Harden, Tim Farley, Randall Landers, Rick Pollet.

  • End of the Line by Mitchell B. Craig ("On a planet slated for terraforming, the crew of the Enterprise encounter a life-form. But will the Masada mining company representative stop this sole inhabitant of the planet from interfering with his mission by killing the intelligent being?") (15 pages)
  • The Starfleet Manual: Navigation Coordinates In Star Trek by Tim Farley (3 pages)
  • A Question of Sanity by Randall Landers ("Kirk and the captain of the U.S.S. Mediator are en route to a distant star. But has Jonathan Spencer gone mad? - Some mature scenes.") (7 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia (1 page)
  • poetry by Mitchell Craig


Issue 5

coverof issue #5

Stardate 5 was published in October 1980. Randall Landers, editor. It has 62 pages.

  • The Captain is Always Right (Cartoon) (1 page)
  • The Wages of Vengeance (first of a trilogy: "The Wages of Vengeance," "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom") On the planet Serenadid, Captain Kirk murders the ruler during a ceremony for the signing of a treaty between the planet and the Federation) (25 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia: Bread and Circuses (1 page)
  • An Analysis Of: (The Corbomite Maneuver and The Man Trap) (1 page)
  • Star Trek Trivia: The Enemy Within (1 page)
  • First Mission by Richard Pollet (As the new captain, Jim Kirk has his hands full with his science officer, Spock, who has left the ship to join up with a telepathic killer and has taken all the ship's dilithium with him. A tale of revenge and more.) (7 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia: Specter Of The Gun (1 page)
  • Star Trek Myths by Don Harden (Article) (2 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia: The Slaver Weapon (1 page)
  • A Funny Thing Happened… (A group of practical jokers aboard the Enterprise) (9 pages)
  • A Review of Star Trek Maps (1 page)
  • Star Trek Trivia: The Motion Picture (1 page)
  • First Impressions by Randall Landers (article)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

Stardate #5 is the beginning of Rick Endres' 'Serenidad' series... This is a well-written storyline with many virtues. The very first story is the weakest of all, notably for its overuse of adjectives, a typical mistake for a first-time writer. In later issues, the quality of writing improves dramatically. The characterization is very strong. Each individual stands out as a unique entity. The Klingon culture is very well defined. The author is very good at contrasting the joy of lovemaking (in one scene) to the horror of rape (in an unrelated scene).

With a few exceptions, the plotting and situations are believable. The premise of the story is that an Earth colony, Serenidad, is wanted by both the Federation and the Klingons. The Federation is looked upon with favor by many government officials, but this does not stop the Klingons from trying to install a puppet government. The ENTERPRISE is heavily involved in this conflict.

This has many elements of a good Star Trek episode: action, romance, political conflict, narrow escapes. A minor weakness is that, in tying up the loose ends, anyone who might present a lingering problem once the conflict is resolved dies (a heroic death, to be sure, but nonetheless, such characters do tend to get killed off). Even so, this is a story that should appeal to quite a few Star Trek fans (particularly Klingon fans, and I should point out I'm not a Klingon fan).

The story continues in STARDATE 8 (1981). The only minor complaint I have here is that I wonder if the entire crew of a starship would beam down for a ceremony. Further, the ethics of erasing someone's memory are dubious, in my opinion. Otherwise, the story is greatly improved here from the first installment.

In this issue was a story about McCoy's divorce called "The Anniversary Gift" by Donna C. Clark. This is the way I imagined that it happened; that is, both parties were well-intentioned, but had different expectations: he put priority on his work; she put priority on family life. As such, I found the story quite believable. [22]
I thought Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance" was well-written. It works very well. The only thing that didn't work was where Kyr kills the Kirk-double and leaves the body. You would think he would've gotten rid of the evidence. [23]
...for individual stories, let's discuss "The Wages of Vengeance." The best way I can sum up my feelings about it is, "Nomad, where were you when Star Trek: The Motion Picture needed a writer?" It would make a very good Star Trek movie. The Klingon warrior Kyr was the penultimate embodiment of evil; he makes Darth Vader look like a fairy. And Princess Teresa is one of the strongest female characters I've seen. Very good all around.[24]
"The Wages of Vengeance" was very good. I like the vicious Klingon... [Nomad] has the characterizations right, and it's quite well-done, and I like it. And I really liked the ending...[25]

"The Wages of Vengeance" is the beginning of the series. This is a well-written story with many virtues. The very first story in the saga is the weakest of all, notably for the over-use of adjectives, a typical mistake for a first-time writer. In later stories, the quality of the writing improves dramatically. The characterization is very strong. Each individual stands out as a unique entity. The Klingon culture is very well defined. The author is very good at contrasting the joy of lovemaking in one scene to the horror of rape in an unrelated scene.

With few exceptions, the plotting and situations are believable. The premise of the story is that an Earth colony, Serenidad, is wanted by both the Federation and the Klingons. The Federation is looked upon with favor by many government officials, but this does not stop the Klingons from trying to install a puppet government. The Enterprise is heavily involved with this conflict.

This has many elements of a good Star Trek episode; action, romance, political conflict, narrow escapes. A minor weakness is that, in typing up the loose ends, anyone who might present a lingering problem once the conflict is resolved dies (a heroic death, to be sure, but nonetheless such characters do tend to get killed off). Even so, this is a story that should appeal to quite a few Star Trek fans (particularly Klingon fans, and I should point out that I'm not a Klingon fan).[26]
Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance" was an excellent story. Its plot didn't strain credibility (well, I was surprised that Teresa survived, but not that much) and everything fit in well. The characterization, of both regular characters and guest characters, was great.[27]
One of my favorite stories has to be Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance." Nomad must have read some of those "adult" Westerns (you know, the ones with at least one half-clothed woman on the cover) or a similar type book as love scenes seem read like the best (or worst?) of one of those. Excellent story, and the sex was well handled. [28]
"The Wages of Vengeance," by Nomad -- Though he has improved a lot since this one was written, this is still a very good story. It's exciting, well-plotted, and also ells us more about those hideous Star Trek: The Motion Picture Klingons. The surprise ending and tantalizing epilogue left me looking forward to "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom."[29]

Issue 6

cover of issue #6, Rick Endres

Stardate 6 was published in November 1980. Randall Landers, editor. The cover of is by Rick Endres. It is a 68-page novel called "Resurrection" (about Gary Mitchell).

The art is by Donna C. Clark and Rick Endres.

  • Resurrection by Randall Landers (On a barren, little world at the edge of the galaxy, Kirk finds what is apparently a ghost. The horror unfolds as Kirk's old friend has now become a threat to the galaxy. A post-ST:TMP sequel to "Where No Man Has Gone Before.")
  • trivia from the episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion"
  • poem by Donna C. Clark

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

Nomad is coming right along. He's developed the new breed of villain in the Kh'myr Klingons -- getting good mileage out of the changes in the movie. I really did like Resurrection...I for one really enjoy getting into the characters' heads to see what makes them tick -- it gives me additional insight into myself I guess. Nomad tackled a few things I had wondered about myself and supplied plausible explanations (i.e. why crewmen weren't affected on the Enterprise's subsequent crossings of the energy barrier, and whether or not the rockslide would be sufficient enough to kill Gary Mitchell). Uhura and Gary's romance developed in record time, however, and that did seem to stretch things a bit.[30]
Nomad seems to be your best writer. He's bit lurid and over-dramatic at times, but his character and plot development show an awful lot of promise....the ending of Resurrection was a cop-out. However, I wasn't too happy with the original "Where No Man Has Gone Before" story either. That 'energy barrier' business just plain rubs me the wrong way..."[31]
Nomad's novella, Resurrection: Frankly, I am floored! This is the best I've read in a Star Trek zine in a looooooonnnnnnggggg time! And Uhura is intelligently written! (I don't know if I can handle the output of talent this man, Nomad, has.) I have never been a Gary Mitchell fan, but I was hooked from the first few paragraphs--this is a major part of the struggle for any writer: to grab that audience and make them want to read on. The dialogue and characterizations are brilliant. He shows us just enough to titillate us, but holds back just enough to keep us coming on. By the end of this novelette, I actually cared about Mitchell! You have succeeded, Nomad, and done brilliantly. More! More![32]
I've just finished reading Nomad's Resurrection, and I enjoyed it very much. One of the things I like most about your press is that many of the stories are in the post:TMP setting. It serves to set up a continuity between the movie and whatever is to happen next. Keep up the good work. [33]
....As far as Resurrection goes, I like how Nomad explains the new Klingons. I also liked the twist with the Ph'ecdalyns, especially since it was quite obvious that Mitchell had two personalities. The rest of it wasn't impressive, but all in all, it was decent. I guess I'm partial to action-adventure stories, rather than love stories. That's why I liked parts of it, and disliked others. [34]
I think Nomad also really did a good job with Resurrection. I think with possibly a few exceptions, I'd be hard put to find fault with it. I think Nomad got the characterizations pretty fairly pegged and in a story like this, that's 3/4th the battle. I especially liked the last couple of scenes: 1) where Kirk stuck to the bridge despite everything. 2) Uhura firing the final missile. And 3) all of them trooping off for what I think will amount to a final tribute to Gary even though it is going to result in several pretty severe hangovers. All in all, I liked the story really well. [35]
I enjoyed Nomad's Resurrection immensely. A very well written story.... The plot did advance a bit too quickly near the end; it was like SLAM! BANG! BOOM! "Let's go home." However, I had no qualms about any of the plot elements. Really liked the idea of the energy barrier as a lifeform -- explains both the bizarre character changes in Mitchell (in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as well as Nomad's story) when he gets the power, and the unexplainable "barrier," which always seemed hokey to me. [36]

Wow! I printed out and read the Nomad novella, Resurrection, while waiting for my brakes to be repaired at an auto shop. It was fantastic.

Anyone with the slightest interest in Gary Mitchell, the Galactic Barrier and Uhura need to read this thing ASAP. I would swear it was written by an actual Trek novelist. It had great continuity with past episodes that answered such questions as why the ESP transformation didn't take place in the Kelvan and Medusa episodes as well as a plausible explanation as to the Klingons change of appearance.

Well done -- congrats to the author.[37]
Resurrection by Nomad -- A compelling Second Mission sequel to the First Mission episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Vividly disturbing "dreams" and an old guilt lead Kirk back to the planet Delta-Vega and to a strange reunion with the "ghost" of his old friend, Gary Mitchell. Well-written, this story adheres to the gives established in the episode, as well as reflecting accurately the character growth of the crew since Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Nomad's explanations regarding the energy barrier are fascinating. Also, Uhura's part in this story was well done.[38]

Issue 7

cover of issue #7, Donna Clark

Stardate 7 was published in December 1980. Randall Landers, editor. It has 87 pages. The cover is by Donna Clark.

  • Until Judgment by Rick Endres/Nomad, Randall Landers and Tom Harden (On a prehistoric planet, Kirk and his landing party are sentenced to death for breaking a local taboo. A post:ST:TMP story.) (35 pages)
  • A Close Encounter Of The Worst Kind by Randall Landers, a Star Trek/Space: 1999 parody (Space 1999 and Star Trek), illustrated by Melody Rondeau ("A sequel to Thomas Harden's "A Time to Cry" has Trelayne encountering a runaway natural satellite with a cimpliraent of Humans and an alien living there. What he does fot them could cost them their lives. Will they escape their curse?") (4 pages)
  • The Star Trek Myths: The Outer Limits Connection (Article) (3 pages)
  • To Catch a Unicorn (" Kirk and a landing party beam down with Ambassador Kitt to establish diplomatic relations with the inhabitants of a planet. But they have an unusual condition that must be met first.") (12 pages)
  • The Starfleet Manual—The Warp Drive and Other Hyperlight Technologies In Star Trek Part I: “Warp Factor Cubed” by Tim Farley (Article) (3 pages)
  • Completion ("Kirk's wife is pregnant, and he's only seventeen! And his mother and the rest of the city are totally exuberant at the prospect with one exception. But you might just be surprised at just what's going on in this short story.") (3 pages)
  • The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective by Terry Endres ("While on shore-leave, Spock and Scotty are sequestered by the police to help solve a crime. Can the Scot stand the strain?") (8 pages)
  • The Sound of Death by Randall Landers ("The Enterprise is on a first contact mission to a newly discovered planet. But the crew had never been prepared for the kind of reception they received.") (4 pages)
  • The Outer Limits Connection by Don Harden (article)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

Nomad, Harden and Landers' "Until Judgment" was another great story...I thought the "let's spill our guts scene" between Rand and Chapel was a bit forced, though. Those little touches are what makes a great story, but that one seemed a bit far out. The ending seemed a bit rushed, as in Resurrection; you would think that the bridge crew would have had more of a reaction to their well-loved colleagues appearing before them from the brink of death. Of course, it was a very tight command situation...

Really enjoyed "Completion" immensely. What has Linda McInnis been doing all these years -- letting Star Trek fandom suffer without her great talents? Hope she will do more things for Orion Press, perhaps some longer stories. [39]

Nomad et al's "Until Judgment" was a very excellent story, but I do have one small complaint. Are you going to bring back everyone who served aboard the Enterprise? If you are, you're going to have to get some god-being to resurrect all those crewmen killed in the line of duty: Darnel, Green, Kelso, Tormolen, Matthews, Rayburn, Tomlinson, Jackson, Galloway, Rizzo, Lieutenant Tracey, Thompson, Harper, Watkins and D'Amato, just to name a few. Seriously, I didn't mind seeing Riley and Palamas again, although some new crewmembers could be interesting.

So Nomad has a talented brother/sister? {Terry is Nomad's brother, in fact. - Randy} "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" was a nice little detective piece.... However, did Linda McInnis' "Completion" have some sort of cosmically meaningful significance? Even if it did, it's a dud. Sorry about that, Linda. {It's actually a clever sequel to "Wink of an Eye." Read it from that perspective, and I think you'll see it's actually a well-written piece. - Randy} And Randall Landers' Bible lesson, "The Sound of Death" was very apt.[40]
"Until Judgment," by Nomad, Harden and Landers -- all in all, it's a pretty good story, but I didn't like the Palamas rape scenes. I don't go for stuff like that anyway. [41]
Nomad, Tom Harden and Randy Landers' "Until Judgment" was nicely handled with some good dialogue. It had qualities reminiscent of "BEM," but it seemed to rise above that Gerrold story. I thought it was very gripping.[42]

My only gripe with Nomad, Harden and Landers' "Until Judgment" is that the landing party was captured a tad too easily for my tastes. And Aleph's switch over was a little too abrupt.

Linda McInnis' short story, "Completion," was an excellent little after-the-fact story based on Scalos. Brief, to the point, and not unnecessarily cluttered with useless prose in an attempt to lengthen it.

My only gripe with Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" is that some mention should have been made that the three "drunken" Klingons were Kh'myr.

Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death" -- What can I say? I liked it; I was impressed (and this is not just because I agree with it). How can man be so vain as to believe that an all powerful God would confine himself to creating only intelligent beings on Earth? Good grief, the Lord created the entire universe; it's just plain foolish to assume that we're the only intelligence out there. [43]

"Until Judgment" is a classic situation; the so-called Superior race versus the Inferior. I think Nomad, Harden and Landers carried it off very well; although I question the use of the Enterprise crew to do the actual digging. Usually a team of trained experts would do that part of it, and the Enterprise people would be there only as a precautionary measure.

Linda McInnis' "Completion" is probably one of the best stories you've published; it's just beautiful, and it makes sense in terms of the episode. I'm glad that the Scalosians made it.

Finally, Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" gives Scotty a new role: Watson to Mister Spock's Sherlock! [44]

I liked Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death." It's different. This takes the 'parallel development' concept off on a new tangent. Until now, every other parallel story has had the inhabitants surviving the contamination. In this one, they didn't.

Nomad, Harden and Landers' "Until Judgment" was pretty good and even interesting at that. I thought the story could've been better. I think the usage of the spheres was too much like the Sargon episode.

Linda McInnis' "Completion": I loved it!

Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective": It's a good and funny, hilarious story. I liked it; it was unusual.[45]

"Until Judgment" [by Nomad, Thomas Harden and Randall Landers] has an interesting premise. There was some good tension as the star began to get more and more unstable. Bringing Palamas back was a twist....One segment in the story I had a little trouble with was the conversation between Rand and Chapel just after Rand was zapped. I think that if I had just taken a mega-volt charge, I probably wouldn't remember who Captain Kirk was, much less remember how I felt about him. Also, I think Aleph's complete turnabout is not quite believable. A bit more convincing by someone else (perhaps Spock?) was needed. Altogether, though, a well-paced story.

I truly enjoyed Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective," although I think the author might have challenged Mister Spock a bit more. 20cc's of strawberry soda with 2 cc's of dry vermouth? Hmmm. {It amused me to no end that many of our readers (as you will see if you read on) enjoyed this story, and yet it is derided on "God-awful Star Trek Fan Fic" website. - Randy}

Randy Landers' story, "The Sound of Death" rang so true to me! Scary. I've often wondered how many people I know would react to a coherent signal from outer space. I hope it won't be that way. Good work![46]

...And now we come to Linda McInnis. What can I say? Randy, I don't know where you found her, but hang on to her! "Completion" was a great story. It displayed a lot of depth and understanding of emotional texture in characterization. The story was very appeal on several levels that might not be apparent at first. Excellent effort, and I hope she keeps writing.

Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death" was well-done. It almost had the ring of a parable....

My little brother, Terry, has always had a sense of the ironic. His "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" story was a bit of wry fun. I'll try to convince him to write more.[47]
Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death" is a sobering story. "And tragic that a race could actually think they were the sole masters of creation." That says it all. Thanks for a good read.[48]

Issue 8

cover of issue #8, Rick Endres

Stardate 8 was published in February 1981. Randall Landers, editor. It contains 117 pages. In the editorial, Randall writes that he was reducing the type size in the LoC section so more letters could be printed.

The art is by Donna C. Clark, Rick Endres, Don Harden, Vel Jaeger (back cover), Randall Landers, and Blake Sims.

  • From the Editor (2)
  • Of all the LOC (3)
  • The Captain is Always Right, cartoon strip by Randall Landers (9)
  • Story Contest Announcement (10)
  • Oath of Vengeance (second of a trilogy: "The Wages of Vengeance," "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom") by Rick Endres, sequel to The Wages of Vengeance in issue #5 ("On peaceful Serenidad, the Klingons have returned. Will the crew of the Enterprise save Princess Teresa and Carlos from a horrible fate? Some mature and violent scenes.") (11)
  • Star Trek Trivia: The Motion Picture (2 pages)
  • Star Trip (cartoon serial) by Don Harden (73)
  • The Anniversary Gift by Donna C. Clark ("Leonard McCoy was one of Atlanta's best surgeons, but he wasn't the world's best husband. Find out how McCoy joined the service in the prequel to Star Trek.") (75)
  • The Trek Trivia: The Conscience of the King (84)
  • Variable Velocities in Subspace by Tim Farley (85)
  • The Balance of Nature by Jeffrey Woytach ("While on a mission to investigate the loss of two research vessels, James Kirk comes across a cloud creature which is a threat to the safety of the galaxy.") (89)
  • Mainviewer, review of Enter-comm #3 (115)
  • Zine Listings (115)
  • The Last Word (117)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

"Turnabout Vengeance" by Nomad -- I'm told that this was his first attempt at Star Trek fiction. Even so, it is very good, well-done and intriguing. Janice Lester returns, obviously insane and deliciously diabolical, seeking revenge on Captain James T Kirk. I also appreciated the fact that Ambassador Sarek was actively involved with this story.

"The Price of Peace" by Randall Landers -- In view of our own 20th century Mid-East complications, the idea of a religious war being waged over a strategically located, iridium-rich planet is quite plausible. I only hope that my the 23rd century, a peace-keeping body like the Federation Council will indeed be able to convene and act that swiftly and efficiently. Another example of Star Trek optimism. I was pleased to see the return of the Romulan Commander and that she is still endeavoring to seduce Spock into joining her in the Romulan Star Empire. Nice touch. Sarek's inclusion, as always, was appreciated. Also enjoyable was the detailed description of everyday, early morning chit-chat and routine aboard a Federation starship.

Resurrection by Nomad -- A compelling Second Mission sequel to the First Mission episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Vividly disturbing "dreams" and an old guilt lead Kirk back to the planet Delta-Vega and to a strange reunion with the "ghost" of his old friend, Gary Mitchell. Well-written, this story adheres to the gives established in the episode, as well as reflecting accurately the character growth of the crew since Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Nomad's explanations regarding the energy barrier are fascinating. Also, Uhura's part in this story was well done.

"Oath of Vengeance" by Nomad -- This second story in the Serenidad trilogy was even better than the first, "The Wages of Vengeance." I thoroughly enjoyed the prologue and its glimpse into the Klingon Empire. The parallels in the careers of Kirk and Kang were intriguing. I almost felt sorry for Admiral Kang...almost. (Poor Mara!) I hope this infighting between the original Klingons and the Kh'myr Klingons will carry over into the next story. Nomad's Princess Teresa character is fascinating, and has developed a lot since the first story. She is as courageous as she is lovely. Though I would rather not have seen quite so much detailed violence, I appreciate the fact that Nomad's female characters are always portrayed as intelligent, competent and brave. Great story. I'm looking forward to "The Cost of Freedom."

"The Anniversary Gift" by Donna C. Clark -- I enjoyed this story and its description of the demise of McCoy's marriage and his ultimate decision to join Starfleet. It probably would have happened pretty much like that. However, I do not believe it would have been an impulsive decision. Nothing quite so rash.

"The Balance of Nature" by Jeffrey Woytach -- Though the plot of this story was similar to that of "The Immunity Syndrome," it was interesting, well-written, and very descriptive. Also, I thought the characterizations were correct, especially Scotty's. Nice. [49]

Jeffrey Woytach's "The Balance of Nature" -- I have to be honest and say that while the plot was acceptable, the actual writing needed some heavy-handed polishing. For instance, it was filled with things like "Kirk's command instinct gave him a little jolt." I don't know whether or not this is Jeffrey's first story, but he shows a lot of promise. {It indeed is his first and only story submitted to us for publication. - Randy}

Donna C. Clark's "The Anniversary Gift" -- I find it hard to accept that McCoy would join Starfleet on the spur of the moment. His feelings for Heather must have been non-existent if he let her go so easily.

Nomad's "Oath of Vengeance" -- This is one of the better stories you've published. The Klingons were suitably fiendish. However, telling in detail how the Klingons tortured their victims seemed to be the only reason for the story. Yes, I realize that the Klingons aren't your basic good ol' boys, and I understand that Nomad was graphically getting that point across. I liked the confrontation between Kang and Kral.... [50]

Nomad's "Oath of Vengeance" -- Overall, I believed this one more than "The Wages of Vengeance." A good job on the Klingon characterization. For once, I really believed these were the bad guys, instead of just cardboard cutouts with black hats. There was some interesting interplay between the characters of Kull and Klyn that made them breathe for me, and the development of Kang and the history of the Kh'myr and their takeover of the Empire are completely believable to me.

I do have several complaints, though. First of all, when Kang warned Kral about Kirk early on, I expected a great confrontation later. There was none. When Kirk and his men break into the Klingon bunker, nothing happens! What a lost opportunity.

I also take great exception to the ending. Contrived to say the least. In the first place, Spock would never just go and meld with those two without consulting anyone. At the least, he should have volunteered it to McCoy or spoken with Teresa's uncle. And then if he had gone ahead, he would never have erased those memories. Aided the bruised minds, soothed, healed, maybe even blurred, yes, but never erase. Good or bad, whatever happens to a person in his or her life is what makes up that total person, and Spock, with his famous Vulcan reverence for life, would never take it upon himself to change even the worst part of someone else's life.

Now a word about the characterization of Teresa. Once I get past the combination of Wonder Woman and Barbarella, I see a good strong woman, no-nonsense and capable. I like her in spite of her physical attributes, which is a compliment to Nomad's characterization talents. If he can get me past the physical, and he does, I have no problem with Serenidad's little princess. I do think a little less dwelling on description of her endowments and a little more on her ability to run her planet might have made a strong story and character even stronger. How much stronger she could have been (and her husband, too) had she been allowed to deal with what happened to her, I suppose we'll never know, as she has been magically returned to innocence, completely untouched by all that's happened. Life ain't like that, Nomad.

Ah well, enough about that. Really enjoyed Donna C. Clark's "The Anniversary Gift." I do have a softness for the McCoy stories anyway, but Donna's had a good catch at the end, too. Jeffrey Woytach's "The Balance of Nature" was a fine first story, though it had strong overtones of both "Obsession" and "The Alternative Factor." I think it could have been a bit shorter, quicker to the point. I do hope to see more of Jeffrey's work. [51]
Donna C. Clark wrote a story about McCoy's divorce called "The Anniversary Gift." This is the way I imagined that it happened; that is, both parties were well-intentioned, but had different expectations: he put priority on his work; she put priority on family life. As such, I found the story quite believable.[52]

Issue 9

cover of issue #9

Stardate 9 was published in March 1981. Randall Landers, editor. It contains 95 pages.

  • Mark of the Beast by Rick Endres (An inhuman killer stalks the corridors of the Enterprise in search of human prey; can Uhura escape this werewolf?) (43 pages)
  • Star Trivia (1 page)
  • The Star Trek Myths (Article) (1 page)
  • Star Trek Trivia: Errand Of Mercy (1 page)
  • A Matter of Trust by Tom Harden, Randall Landers, and Kevin Morgan (While investigating the loss of a science expedition, the landing party is marooned on the surface of a planet with a contingent of Romulans nearby) (13 pages)
  • Star Trek Trivia: Operation—Annihilate (1 page)
  • To Say Goodbye by Linda McInnis (After the loss of Spock and McCoy, Kirk takes a long vacation) (26 pages)
  • First Season Production Staff by Don Harden (article)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

Nomad's "Mark of the Beast" contains excessive violence. I've read his other works and have noted his 'fascination' for bashing in or ripping out throats. He does it with such relish! I got the impression he wrote some of the story tongue-in-cheek. For instance, he was discussing the werewolf's preference for Human females as "simply a matter of taste." The werewolf was suitably beastly....[With the new uniforms of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the perscan units, ] Luka would have been quickly detected. {The new perscans devices are not present on every uniform, certainly not the shore-party duty uniform Riggins was wearing when he was killed. - Randy} There's one scene that still puzzles me. Luka has just killed ten security men. Kirk and Spock come racing around the corner and stop. The werewolf starts to lunge at Spock, but stops when Spock doesn't move. Luka then picks up his original prey and drags it away. Not one word of discussion from Kirk and Spock as to why the werewolf didn't tear them to shreds. It was unquestionably in a killing frenzy.

Harden, Landers and Morgan's "A Matter of Trust" -- I think I've read a similar story somewhere. Good idea! I found myself wishing it were longer. It would have been nice to have both groups thrown together for a longer period of time to see how they would interact....[53]

"Mark of the Beast" by Nomad -- a very well done werewolf adventure story. I especially enjoyed the description and dialogue of Ensign Scott Riggins and Lieutenant Taryn Spring, the unfortunate young lovers. The plot was compelling, the description vivid -- a good story! However, that description was a bit too vivid for my tastes. Those some explicit scenes were necessary, with all that blood and gore, I believe even a real werewolf might've gotten a little queasy!

"A Matter of Trust" by Tom Harden, Randy Landers and Kevin Morgan -- a good science fiction Star Trek story. I liked the character, Chief Security Officer McMahan. The dialogue between Kirk and McMahan regarding her competency was good. I don't totally agree with her resentful attitude or her need to overcompensate, but I understand it. Kirk handled the situation well, of course.[54]
Nomad's "Mark of the Beast" just didn't appeal to me. I find so much graphic violence to be very repulsive, and most of the story seemed to consist of flying viscera. [55]

Let me begin with Nomad's story "The Mark of the Beast," which is as good a place as any, I suppose. The overall premise intrigued me, since I am an avid fan of vampire and werewolf stories. My major complaint with this story was its gruesome attention to visceral detail. My opinion is, in a story of this nature, that less is more. One well-crafted sentence can cause more goosebumps than pages and pages of blood-soaked description. Frankly, there were times when I didn't really want to finish the story because I was getting nauseous. A couple of other problems: the way that the werewolf curse got back to its home planet from Earth. If Earth's moon triggered the glad, wouldn't leaving the influence of that moon reduce the gland's function? How then could they infect the inhabitants of their own planet when they returned? Was it a disease or a genetic mutation or what? {Actually, it was my decision not to try to delve into a technobabble explanation for their condition. I figured it was be boring to the readers. - Randy} I did like the explanation of the diren. Might be interested to write a story about one of those people who joins Starfleet -- an interesting foil for M'ress, no? Another problem I had was dealing with Kirk's reaction when they finally cornered Luka. True, the thing had killed nineteen of his crew, but...Trevlek had just explained that this thing was incorrigible; Kirk himself had seen just what Luka could do; it was either get rid of it or blow up the Enterprise. I really don't think James T. would be in a particularly compassionate mood right then.

Now, on to Harden, Landers and Morgan's "A Matter of Trust." The idea of an electrical energy being who is so sensitive to our own mental impulses that our presence kills them was a good one. I didn't think of the Organians until you mentioned them; I think because these beings never actually appear in Human form (except in the corpses). Also, having to deal with the Romulans on a one-to-one, sticks and stones level presents excellent opportunities. And here's where I have a big problem. These two groups are stranded, right? No modern equipment, right? They gotta work together to fight these risen corpses who are attacking both sides, right? Where is the conflict? True, Rosenberg got a spear through the chest, but that's expected. Where was the mistrust, the verbal sparring, the desperation that each leader should have shown when finally forced to make a truce with the enemy? And for God's sake, Randy, where is the reaction when Kirk thinks he sees the Enterprise blow up in the sky above him??? It's like someone had broken his shuttlecraft, or something equally inane. And then there's this line: "He knew he shouldn't think about it, but he felt he had to." Come on. That's like telling someone who came home from a movie one night to find their house in smoldering ruins, and their whole family inside those ruins, that they really shouldn't think about it. Kirk would be knocked flat. True, he might pour himself into the problem at hand to try and forget, but he would not be as rational and calm as you portrayed him. In fact, he might make his fatal mistake her because he could not think straight due to grief. I saw no grief at all. {I'm afraid the writers drew upon the events of "That Which Survives" for Kirk's reaction, which was admittedly subdued. - Randy} And the scene between McMahan and Kirk, just after they escaped the Romulans -- I seethed. :Why not try to be more of a woman than a man?" Indeed!!! And just before that -- "He chose to make his point." Just what point was he trying to make? I never figured it out. Then after that endearing little conversation, Kirk hopes that little McMahan will be a better officer for it. Good grief, they're stranded on a planet. They had no way of contacting Starfleet. The best they can hope for is that the Enterprise will be missed, and a search team will be sent out. But with the unstable situation of the planet, they probably won't be alive to be found. That whole section seemed unrealistic to me. {I was of the opinion that even if Kirk and his landing party were stranded that they would continue with the command structure. - Randy} I guess I've come down a little hard this time, but "A Matter of Trust" just wasn't up to your usual literary standards. I know that you are action-adventure oriented, but there's no rule that says you have to sacrifice believable character relationships for shoot-'em-ups with the Romulans. [56]
..."Mark of the Beast," written by Nomad, was a little tacky, but I liked the explanation of Earth's werewolves....[57]
Thomas Harden, Randy Landers and Kevin Morgan's "A Matter of Trust" -- Very bizarre with Spock as deus ex machina at the end. The alien glowbugs that were dying due to interaction with the Humans and Romulans was a neat idea. It was good to see a story about the two races acting together towards a common goal. I've always liked Romulans. I was hoping at the end that this was an alternate universe Star Trek story and that the Enterprise had really been destroyed but such was not the case.[58]

Issue 10

cover of issue #10

Stardate 10 was published in May 1981 and is 52 pages long. Randall Landers, editor

  • Homecoming by Rick Endres ("Spock is in pon farr after the V'ger encounter. And there is no T'Pring. Who will he mate with or will he die?" Another summary: ". After his mind-meld with V'ger, and after re-examining his own philosophies, Spock finds himself carried up in the mating drive, pon farr. And this time, he faces death without T'pring to bond with. How can he say goodbye to Kirk, McCoy and his parents?") (19 pages)
  • The Starfleet Manual—The Warp Drive and Other Hyperlight Technologies In Star Trek Part III: Some Possible Velocity Formulae (Article) (2 pages)
  • The Once and Future Kirk by Rick Endres ("James Kirk has reached the maximum retirement age of 80. Can he bear to retire? Or will he even live long enough with the alien marauder attacking his ship?") (16 pages)
  • The Original Episode titles by Randall Landers with Don Harden and Dave Eversole
  • some poems, including 'Edith' and 'Something That Happened Long Ago' by Donna C. Clark
  • A View from the Helmsman Position by Pamela Rose (a very short story, an AU of sorts, where Sulu speaks out on a variety of topics)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 10

Read "Homecoming" today and enjoyed it thoroughly. Nomad reads easily and his characterizations seem good from a quick reading. A question: "Vulcans do not perspire?" What then do they do? Dogs, cats, and other lower animals perspire only through their noses, if at all, but exhale excess moisture through the breath. Vulcans neither pant nor do they have wet noses -- do they pass more water than Humans then? I find this point interesting to speculate. Why would Nomad state arbitrarily that Vulcans do not perspire, other than to add another difference between Humans and Vulcans? I've not encountered this 'fact' anywhere else. Perhaps it has to do with their internal temperature regulation -- Vulcan is a particularly hot world -- I should their there would be a need for the ability to perspire. Just speculation, no criticism....I could also go on, particularly about pon farr, but I won't this time, as I fear it would run into pages. It does seem at first reading that the vase of the Vulcan navigator shouldn't be the norm by any means. Vulcans should be very well informed as to the onset (warning signals) of pon farr in order to avoid his mistake. But I'll let it rest there. Again, this isn't meant as a criticism of Nomad's story. It was an element which served to strength the logic of Spock's decision to isolate himself on Vulcan...

Nomad's story, "The Once and Future Kirk" is also quite good in my humble opinion. I find it interesting, also, to speculate on the Klingons becoming allies of the Federation in Kirk's lifetime, even if it was in a dream. I rather prefer them to remain the chief enemies of the Federation, but their integration into Federation forces would present some interesting situations due to the usual callous nature of Klingons, at least of those we encountered in the aired version of Star Trek. Of course, the Andorians are a violent race, and have been successfully integrated with Humans in Starfleet. [59]

Nomad's "Homecoming" -- At last, a Spock-in-pon-farr story that makes sense! The Romulan Commander is the perfect answer to Spock's sex drive. The Sarek and Amanda sections were well-handled, too. Now, if the Romulan really wanted detente--but that's another story!

"The Once and Future Kirk" by Nomad -- I'm not enthusiastic about time-travel stories (even though I've written a few), and I'm even less enthusiastic about the "It was all a dream/illusion/drug experience" ending. Nomad's gotten better since he wrote this one... [60]

Nomad's "Homecoming" -- Overall, this one is excellent. The building of tension as Spock goes further and further into pon farr is gripping. I kept waiting for him to finally snap. I really think if Spock were "caught" in that situation, he would react as Nomad wrote him. Always the strong, silent, long suffering type. And he accuses McCoy of a martyr complex! Also, his revelation of his love for Amanda was a touching scene. Wish we'd seen what happened when he came back! And I must mention...the return of the Romulan Commander was worked in so well. What could have been contrived and awkward, or both, Nomad has handled very smoothly. All together, this is one of Nomad's best stories.

Which brings me to "The Once and Future Kirk." Wow! That first scene is a real tear-jerker! Of course, I'm a sucker for Kirk anyway, but Nomad really pegged the captain this time! A question: how about a sequel where Kirk begins to remember, flash by flash, what he saw in his future. How would it affect his decisions in a life threatening crisis? Nomad? [61]
Nomad's "The Once and Future Kirk" -- This story was confusing at first! I was reading it and saying to myself, "Well, this does not give with what we know now about the Trek universe today. Maybe it was because the story was written some time ago." Then I find out that the entire beginning of the story is a dream created for Kirk by the Lotus Stone. Cool! What a great idea! I'm glad you didn't spoil it in the editorial up front. It's too bad that the Lotus stone was destroyed because there could have been many of these future type stories. Maybe there's another one. Of course, we know that Kirk's dream future was only that -- a dream. Or was it...[62]

"Homecoming" -- I like Nomad's inclusion of the captain's log. I wish more people would use it in their stories. The story was well-thought out until the part where Spock left for the desert. When I first started reading the story, my initial reaction was "ho-hum, another dull pon farr story." Then Nomad changed the direction of the story by having Spock decide to go to Vulcan and i.e. I really couldn't believe he was going to die, but I couldn't figure out what fortunate accident was going to save him. That's why the last half of the story was so disappointing to me. Having the Romulan, Di'on, suddenly appear was just too convenient. From this point on, the story seems hurried, as if Nomad was tired of it and wanted to get it finished. {You might try reading Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra. Chris builds on the situation created by Nomad and ends up giving Spock a bond-mate in the process. - Randy}

"The Once and Future Kirk" -- Sentimental, I thought. That is until I got to the part about the Lotus Stone, which is too much like those stories where they wake up at the end and discover it was all a bad dream. I'm glad the Klingons were there. Now, I can see them doing this to Kirk. If someone is going to do a story having Kirk, Spock, etc. having "bad dreams," there should be a good reason for it explained at the end of the story. Nomad did a good job on this one. His writing is getting better all the time....[63]
This is a comparatively short zine with a basic action/adventure format. The two major pieces of fiction are short stories by Rick Endres… In the first story, ‘Homecoming,’ the run-in with V’ger has caused Spock’s biochemistry to go awry, prematurely bringing on pon farr. Knowing that there will be now one awaiting him this time, he returns home to die. He does not tell Kirk or McCoy, of course. After visiting his family one last time, he makes his way to a cave in the desert that had been something of a sanctuary to him as a child. There, just as madness is about to claim him, he receives an unexpected visitor. The only thing I find questionable in this story is the visitor’s motives in seeking Spock out. In my opinion, this character would not have reacted in such a way… The story is nicely put together, cohesive, and written in a concise, straightforward style that makes for smooth reading… The same can be said for the other short story, ‘The Once and Future Kirk.’ This one opens up on Kirk’s seventy-fifth birthday, it is also his last day as commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise. But before he can get to his own retirement ceremony, he comes upon trouble in the form of a Priority One distress call from the U.S.S. Procyon…. This story will surprise you. There are a couple of twists … as is characteristic of Endres’ writing, the story moves along quickly and is tightly constructed…. On the whole, quite readable and highly enjoyable. The artwork in this zine is quite satisfactory to not quite adequate. The poems are not too bad… I conclude by saying that Stardate is one neat little zine which elicited from me something akin to nostalgia. The format, embracing anything from serious short story to trivia to poetry to cartoons with an emphasis on action/adventure is reminiscent of the type of fanzine being produced when fanfic was still young. The same enthusiasm is still there but whereas the early zines were sometimes faltering and awkward, Stardate is polished and confidant, the culmination of this particular genre. [64]
Stardate is a zine of new and burgeoning writers, and it shows. But that, in itself, is not necessarily bad. In this zine's LoCs I found an overwhelming sense of comraderie and support, of nurturing and reproof. It was refreshing to see in a fandom that all too often shows its remoulding tendencies by first severing the head. The main part of Stardate 10 is composed of two stories by Rick Endres. "Homecoming," in which Spock comes home to die in Pon Farr having no one to mate with, becomes interesting when the lady Romulan Commander, unknowing of his condition, but having heard of Spock's experiences with V'ger, decides to track him down to re-state her case for defection to the Romulan Empire. "The Once and Future Kirk" has Kirk affected by an alien stone and forced to relive, or maybe a better word would be pre-live, his mandatory retirement. Aside from a literary ploy of sequence that is attempted and does not work, it is by far the better of the two pieces. Mr. Endres knows how to do all of it right — unfortunately, he does not use this knowledge all of the time, nor all in one story. There is a fine line of know-how between falling short and being good. Some authors never make it to the far side of that line; Mr. Endres is teetering on the edge. Whether he will continue to teeter, dipping in and out of some very good and some very mediocre writing, or will reach the other side, remains to be seen. Because there is a Stardate, we will have the opportunity to watch, and maybe the opportunity to see something special. There is also in the zine some pleasant but unspectacular poetry, Trek trivia, complementary zine listings, ads for previous issues of Stardate and an editorial by Linda Mclnnis. An article by Tim Farley on Warp Drive from Star-fleet's Technical Manual looked properly menacing, complete with mathematical formulae in equations. So menacing did it look, that I have to admit, I did not tackle it. Several things that were very good in Stardate 10 were the review of Nome 4 by Debbie Bryant, a very funny Trek cartoon feature by Don Harden and a short, first person ditty by Pamela Rose called "A View from the Helmsman Position." The latter was a ribtickler, and very much in the character of Sulu. All in all, Stardate fills a needed position. It is basically a labor of love — labor in the sense of new birth, to be looked on, encouraged, and perhaps, in the course of time and maturity of talent to be recognized as the beginnings of real quality. [65]

Issue 11

cover of #11

Stardate 11 was published in 1981 and contains 60 pages. Randall Landers, editor. It contains 57 pages and is a novel called "Shattered Mirror."

  • Shattered Mirror (STTMP story of first getting the Enterprise back, but with a twist—the mirror crew) (50 pages)
  • LoC's
  • movie trivia
  • complimentary zine listings
  • a zine auction
  • an Episode Poll
  • Analysis by Randy Landers and Don Harden
  • a review of Saurian Brandy Digest #27 by Debbie Bryant

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 11

Issue #11 of Stardate is mainly comprised of a novella by Rick Endres entitled Shattered Mirror. It is not his best work. A talented but very inconsistent young writer, this effort reveals a story heavy in marred dialogue, incomplete characterizations, and violence and sex at the expense of character relationships.

The story line was a good one: In a mirror universe that has some parallels to the events of the movie, Kirk gets back an Enterprise that was almost tricked away from him and asks for Spock as his First Officer. (Spock, having seen the value of "our" Kirk's words, is in a prison for treason to the Empire) Spock is released at Kirk's request and to Kirk's responsibility, having supposedly been "re-habilitated" to Empire standards. The rest of the story involves Spock's secret workings to lead the ISS ENTERPRISE into the hands of the Klingon Confederacy as a means to weaken the Empire and quicken its fall.

Rick's assumption that in a mirror universe the Klingons would be the good guys was intriguing as was the scene between a supposedly reformed Spock and his releasing warden. Also of interest was the interaction between Spock and Xon, a young Vulcan officer who wisely sees the value of Spock's goal.

Unfortunately, the storyline is buried beneath the attempt to show us how mean and nasty the Empire really is. The possibilities of showing us a Spock that was neither "our" Spock nor the Spock seen on "Mirror, Mirror", but an emerging individual, the chances to see in depth, what each of the characters really were, fell by the wayside in favor of lurid descriptiveness. This novella is not worthy of Mr. Endres talents.

The author's own art illoed the novella showing much improvement from the last issue. There were several good Kirks as well as a fine Sulu illo.

Also in this zine is a cover by Tim Farley, LoC's, movie trivia, complimentary zine listings, a zine auction, an Episode Poll and Analysis by Randy Landers and Don Harden, and a review of Saurian Brandy Digest #27 by Debbie Bryant. [66]

Issue 12

cover of issue #12 by Vel Jaeger.
Vel comments on this art: "You have to blow it up to close to the 8 1/2" X 11" size to make it out, but the phrase 'Get Well Scotty' [referring to the actor's recent surgery] is on the right side sleeve of the arm (image's left side) hidden in the folds of the uniform. I don't have Hirchenfeld's talent, but I don't have a problem with borrowing his ideas. Also, the lettering is from a class project I did, for which I had to create an alphabet. I named this one "Costa Mesa," for a ritzy, exclusive neighborhood south of us, where Gene Roddenberry was building a house. Amazing, isn't it, how much detail one can squeeze into a small drawing. All part of the fun!" [67]

Stardate 12 was published in August 1981. Randall Landers, editor. It contains 56 pages.

  • To Weather A Storm, a story by Jody Crouse (16 pages) ("Kirk and McCoy must locate Spock who has been taken from the bridge by an alien transporter. But why has the Vulcan been kidnapped?" Another summary: "While en route to a starbase, Spock has disappeared from the bridge. Kirk and McCoy must trace the alien transporter beam, but the ship is literally falling apart under them. Can they find him before the ship must return to Starbase, or will everyone be marooned on an alien planet?")
  • Star Trek: The Fandom (an article defining exactly what ST fandom is.) (2 pages)
  • Only The Sound Remains, a story by Linda McInnis (27 pages) ("Spock apparently has been beguiled into leaving the Enterprise to join a race of true telepaths. But can he give up James T. Kirk?" Another summary: ". Will Spock's curiosity and esper capabilities lead him to abandon his life aboard the Enterprise? What IS the secret of the strange, underwater civilization of telepaths? What will Kirk do to keep his first officer and friend?")
  • The Captain Is Always Right (Cartoon) (1 page)
  • LoCs

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 12

Jody Crouse's "To Weather a Storm" -- This story never got me. From the beginning, it was just an exercise in turning pages. It read like a video game: Kirk and Spock are at point A and traveling to point B. On their way, things will assail them. Upon reaching point B, Spock will assess the situation and save the day. There was never any kind of dramatic tension necessary in these kinds of stories. the denouement, to put it plainly, sucked. It was trite and cliched. McCoy's pun at the end was truly awful.

Linda McInnis' "Only the Sound Remains" -- I don't like "Spock in Love" stories. It seems to much like wish-fulfillment to me. It was VERY well written. I just couldn't buy the premise. I also found the use of lower case italics with very little punctuation to indicate the underwater speech slightly confusing. I had to read some passages twice to see who was talking.[68]
Jody Crouse's "To Weather a Storm" was a good, solid adventure. Linda McInnis' "Only the Sound Remains" was marvelous! Spock as a merman? Lord![69]

"To Weather a Storm" by Jody Crouse -- An omnipotent computer runs amok and using severe weather conditions as its weapon. Interesting premise, good action.

"Only the Sound Remains" by Linda McInnis -- After reading some of her other stories, I was eager to read this one. I was not disappointed! Good science fiction. The story was intriguing, the description vivid. Because of McInnis' talent for imagery, I can see why Spock was tempted by and drawn to Ryllen and her lovely underwater world. I'm looking forward to more McInnis stories.[70]
"To Weather a Storm" was well thought out, and the ending was terrific. Mother Nature would be proud of Jody Crouse. "Only the Sound Remains," by Linda McInnis, was also well written, and her characters interacted well with each other. The storyline was unusual enough to grab my interest. I have enjoyed reading all the stories. Keep it up.[71]
Jody Crouse's "To Weather a Storm" was full of action and adventure. And it must have been 'fascinating' to Spock to find he had a fish tail in Linda McInnis story, "Only the Sound Remains." It certainly was a very interesting situation.[72]

Jody Crouse's "To Weather a Storm" -- This story never got me. From the beginning, it was just an exercise in turning pages. It read like a video game: Kirk and Spock are at point A and traveling to point B. On their way, things will assail them. Upon reaching point B, Spock will assess the situation and save the day. There was never any kind of dramatic tension necessary in these kinds of stories. the denouement, to put it plainly, sucked. It was trite and cliched. McCoy's pun at the end was truly awful.

Linda McInnis' "Only the Sound Remains" -- I don't like "Spock in Love" stories. It seems to much like wish-fulfillment to me. It was VERY well written. I just couldn't buy the premise. I also found the use of lower case italics with very little punctuation to indicate the underwater speech slightly confusing. I had to read some passages twice to see who was talking.[73]

Issue 13

cover of issue #13
Star Trip by Don Harden from issue #13
inside art from issue #13, Rick Endres

Stardate 13 was published in December 1981 and contains 88 pages. Rick Endres, editor.

  • From the Editor (2)
  • Of All the LoC (3)
  • ad (6)
  • A Collection Of Lines, a story by Linda McInnis (An alternate communications officer must deal with her husband's promotion to security under Lt. Chekov. With his new job, how can she bear the nights alone?) (7)
  • an ad (18)
  • Star Trek: The Animateds (Part One) An Indepth Analysis Of The Series by Randall Landers (19)
  • Chess Partners, a story by Donna Clark (Lt. Joanna McCoy has been transfered to the Enterprise. But can she bear to be subjected to her father's continual scrutiny?) (25)
  • The Star Trek Myths—Reflections On The Second Season Production Staff by Don Harden (Article) (47)
  • an ad (49)
  • Star Trip by Don Harden (Cartoon) (51)
  • The Star Fleet Manual—The Warp Drive and Other Hyperlight Technologies In Star Trek Part IV by Tim Farley (53)
  • The Human Equation, a story by Rick Endres, illos by Rick Endres (Lt. Xon learns about what makes human beings live and die, and learns about how he will adapt to the Enterprise mainly human crew.) (nominated for a TrekStar Award) (55)
  • an ad (84)
  • Mainviewer, a review by Debbie Bryant (85)
  • zine listings (86)
  • an ad (87)
  • The Last Word, an editorial by Rick Endres (88)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 13

"A Collection of Lines" is a nice look at the Enterprise crew -- I guess there are a couple of people like that on every spaceship....[74]
And I like Xon as seen in Nomad's "The Human Equation." It took Spock nearly twenty years to learn with Humans, and he was half-Human himself! I don't know why women of Terran extraction crawl all over Vulcans either, unless it's the challenge of the hunt? [75]
Another winner: Nomad's "The Human Equation" -- very nicely executed story. Xon provides a "fascinating" new perspective, I think.[76]

Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines" -- What a sad and emotional story. It reminded me of "Balance of Terror" where the guy dies on his wedding day. This was a more in-depth treatment. A really nice piece done from the viewpoint of the bereaved and not one of the standard characters.

Nomad's "The Human Equation" -- I liked this story because it had Ensign Antonio Perez... this was a good story that shows even Vulcans are Human, too. It was good to see Xon (one of my favorites from Star Trek Phase II) in a story of his own. Xon begins the story a little naive and ends learning a great lesson, that having emotions may not necessarily be such a bad thing. It would be interesting to see another story with Xon after this. I was disappointed that Lisa Templar didn't live to see the end of this story, but I guess that would have made it a different story. I would have liked to have seen how Xon and hear dealt with the fact of her feelings towards him along with his burgeoning emotions.[77]

I thought the characters in Nomad's "The Human Equation" wooden and unconvincing, and the plots terribly predictable. The young Vulcan who should have been the focus in the story came across as a confused adolescent with so-called Vulcan characteristics grafted unconvincingly onto a vapid framework, and I'm afraid I'm tired of the character "Lisa" and all her counterparts unless they are awfully well-conceived.

I did enjoy Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines," and think it's one of the best you've published. The characters were convincing and fun. I think Linda has some real insights; she showed us something about the captain, and she created believable new characters in that familiar setting. I'd like to read more of her work.[78]
Full marks to Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines." She handles grief well and achieves a sense of awkwardness between Kirk and Kemper, two people trying to share, which is quite effective. I thought Nomad's "The Human Equation" was quite admirable. Both these authors are to be commended for thoughtful writing. May they continue to work and improve. We'll all benefit.[79]

"A Collection of Lines" by Linda McInnis -- All in all, its a well put-together story. The characters don't get mangled (except for Kirk's eyes). Well thought out. I don't like gore, and this story doesn't have much at all.

Nomad's "The Human Equation" -- I liked it, I really did. It was fascinating; I like the way Xon confides in Doctor McCoy. He's kinda befuddled at the female attraction to Xon.[80]
Since, I cannot take credit for editing these stories -- Nomad and Linda McInnis edited the fanzines in which they originally appeared, I thought I should express my opinions on them as a reader.... Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines" is a beautiful story, tragic and sympathy-provoking... Nomad's "The Human Equation" introduced a new crewmember, namely Lieutenant Xon. It's nice to see he finally made it... My favorite scenes are the accidental "overhearing" of the woman's sexual fantasy, and all the confrontations Xon has with McCoy.[81]
Nomad's "The Human Equation" is a fine character study of Lieutenant Xon. Nomad has taken a character sketch by Gene Roddenberry and made him live, with excellent results.[82]

Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines" was a good change of pace story. It's nice to read something that hasn't been rehashed dozens of times. I did get the impression it was written in a detached manner. What I mean is that is seems like Linda wrote it like it wasn't from personal experience or anything. It seems to be what she imagined or maybe what someone told her the experience should be. I don't know; I really can't explain. I just couldn't get involved in the story.

Nomad's "The Human Equation" is another one of the best you've published. I think Nomad did the right thing by just bringing Xon aboard the ship instead of trying to explain how he avoided the transporter accident. {Actually, that was Commander Sonak who died in the movie's transporter scene, not Xon. Xon was created for Star Trek Phase II and we've used him rather extensively in the Orion Universe. - Randy} My favorite part was where he picked up other people's daydreams. That's an intriguing possibility that should be used in more stories containing Vulcans.[83]

"A Collection of Lines" by Linda McInnis -- A sensitive examination of the pressures of starship duty have exerted on the lives and marriage of a young Starfleet couple. The first person narrative, from the point of view of the young wife, was handled well, and served to intensify the feeling of loss and sadness. Thanks again, Linda!

"The Human Equation" by Nomad -- I had been looking forward to reading Nomad's Xon story, and as expected, it was terrific! In my opinion, Xon's character was handled sensitively and accurately -- just as it should have been had Xon ever made it to the TV/movie screen. The Xon fantasy scenes, of course, could not have gotten a PG rating. However, in the context of the story, I found it amusing and within limits. I also found Doctor McCoy's advice to Xon very much in character, and his explanations of Vulcan sex-appeal insightful. Great story! Thanks, from an Nomad fan! [84]

Issue 14

cover of issue #14, Bonnie Reitz

Stardate 14 was published in March 1982. Linda McInnis, editor. It contains 72 pages. It was guest edited by Linda McInnis.

  • No Place Like Home by Rick Endres (Gap-bridging story, set between the end of the five year mission and the start of the new one, explains what was happening during that time with Kirk and Lori Ciani and more. Nudity, mature language and scenes) (26 pages) (Nude illustration of Lori)
  • Easier Said Than Done by Jane Wesenberg (Spock readjusting to emotions after his mind-meld with V’ger. Who can he turn to for help, and who can he turn to for love?) (11 pages)
  • Star Trip (Cartoon) (2 pages)
  • The Star Trek Myths: A Look At The Third Season Production Staff by Don Harden (Article) (7 pages)
  • No Beach To Walk On by Linda McInnis (The walls are closing in on Janice Rand and James Kirk, but how can this be happening aboard their own starship?) (4 pages)
  • The Decision by Donna Clark (Young Spock has to make a choice of career. But how will the decision affect Sarek and Amanda and himself?) (6 pages)
  • The Starfleet Manual: The Warp Drive and Other Hyperlight Technologies In Star Trek Part V: The Impulse Drive and Time Warps (Article) (2 pages)
  • And The Children Shall Sue by Kiel Stuart (A parody of the worst episode of Star Trek. Can Captain Jerk defend himself against charges of child molestation? Can Schmuck?) (8 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 14

Stardate is definitely an up and coming ST zine with a strong emphasis on action-adventure. Well… usually. This issue seems to be a departure from the regular format, probably due to the editor. In the editorial, Ms. McInnis tells us that the regular editor, Mr. Landers, called her up and basically suckered her into editing the zine. Poor way to run a zine if you ask me…

The lead-off story is by Stardate’s usually fantastic assistant editor, Rick Endres, and it is entitled, ‘No Place Like Home.’ This story is one of the best pieces I’ve read to explain what was Kirk up to between the television series and ST:TMP. I really enjoyed the interplay between the characters, and instead of boring us with a lot of details, Endres used several scenes of dialogue to provide the information we needed to know, rather than boring narrative. Well done, Mr. Endres!

Unfortunately, the next story ‘Easier Said than Done’ is not up to this level of quality. Characterization rape should be made a felony in my opinion, and this author should get the maximum sentence for her portrayal of Mr. Spock. Why is he such a cry-baby in this story? Maudlin and definitely not a good story. I know that this was her first effort, but I hope she realizes she has a long way to go before she can achieve the kind of quality that fans deserve.

‘No Beach to Walk On’ is a little nightmare by the editor. Actually, it’s quite nice, and Kirk is nicely dealt with. A little short, but I wouldn’t have wanted it to be much longer. ‘The Decision’ is the old story we’ve seen before, and this author tell it in a rather boring way. She seems to have the same ideas as several other writers who have treated the concept much better, but one can tell she hasn’t read much fan fiction herself.

‘And the Children Shall Sue’ is a delightful parody of what I think has to be one of the most wretched stories ever filmed for television. The author did an excellent job here… Priceless.

Artwork for this issue is a mix of mediocre to fantastic. There is a fantastic art portfolio by Bobbie Hawkins, and the xerox printing method employed did a decent job copying a lot of black tones. Rick Endres has one nude, a little out of proportion, but she’s not as well-endowed as some of his nude females have been. Not particularly offensive, but not particularly necessary either… his Kirks are great, though. I wish he’d do more of them and less of the bare-chested females. Bonnie Reitz has an excellent front cover of Sulu. The poetry is mediocre with the exception of McInnis’ untitled piece which captures the Arthurian tradition as ST embodies it. Very nice. Articles are there for those of you who read them as well. A modest buy, not high on a list of priority. It’d give this issue a 77-78 for its quality. [85]
Nomad's "No Place Like Home" -- I really liked this one. I think it should have been longer. The whole time that I was reading this I had a sense of deja vu. Did I read this somewhere before? Yep, I checked -- Jeanne Dillard's The Lost Years. I'm really interested to know which was written first and if there is any connection between the two other than the subject matter. {"No Place Like Home" was first published in 1982, eight years before J.M. Dillard's novel, Star Trek: The Lost Years was published. It's not the only such coincidence. For example, in 1994 we reprinted "Just What the Doctor Ordered," by Autumn Lee (which had originally been published in 1990 in Laura Guyer's fanzine Encounters). It's a story about a bar and cafe located where various universes meet. Sounds strikingly similar to "The Captain's Table" series published by PocketBooks in 1998, doesn't it? - Randy} [86]
Nomad's "No Place Like Home" -- I really got into this one; I liked it a whole lot. The love interest is tastefully done. [87]
Nomad's "No Place Like Home" perfectly fills the gap between the series and the first movie. Nomad can be one of the best writers in Trekdom, in my opinion. Linda's "No Beach to Walk on" didn't really appear to me; I've read similar stories all too often.[88]

Nomad's "No Place Like Home" -- I enjoyed quite a bit. It filled in an empty area in the chronology of the Star Trek universe that I'm sure bothered a lot of people....There is one scene in the story that was a bit racy -- I don't think it would have hurt the story to leave a little bit of the descriptive passages out.

....As for Linda McInnis' "No Beach to Walk on" -- tremendous! I've always been partial to the Kirk and Spock scenes in "The Naked Time," and while I usually don't enjoy stories which rely heavily on an episode (except where they fill in a gap), this one was touching and believable. It really is too bad that Linda isn't writing any more.[89]
Nomad's "No Place Like Home" (one of my favorites!) is one of the best characterizations of Kirk I have ever read. Such depth of feeling! He really gets inside the head of our beloved starship captain.[90]
Linda McInnis' "No Beach to Walk on," while short, was very, very well done. Now that's the way to handle characterization! [91]

Issue 15

cover of issue #15, Evallou "ERIC" Richardson
interior page from issue #15, Don Harden

Stardate 15 was published in April 1982 and is 118 pages long. Randall Landers, editor. Art is by Rick Endres, SKD, Don Harden, Bonnie Reitz, Gennie Summers, Bobbie Hawkins, Donna C. Clark, and Evallou "ERIC" Richardson.

  • Masks by Bonnie Reitz (26 pages) (A post ST:TMP action-packed mystery. A group of aliens, a religious artifact, a Romulan peace envoy, and a murderous entity are all present.)
  • Star Trip by Don Harden (6 pages)
  • Dream for Help by Sgt. Stephen W. Clark and Donna C. Clark (siblings) (11 pages) (This story has Kirk haunted by dreams of a young woman. Post St:TMP and very much like 'One Step Beyond.")
  • Spectres Within The Shadows by Randall Landers (8 pages) (Kirk and company encounter Orions on a mission of destruction. Unfortunately, Mr. Spock and McCoy are found dead in a turbolift. Or are they?)
  • Incident On Xantharus by Rick Endres (Captain Pike and his crew deliver a new secret weapon (known as a 'phaser') to Starfleet, but unfortunately those nasty Orions pop up again.)


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 15

STARDATE #15, like all other STARDATEs, is a joy to read. Each issue in the past is filled with high quality action-adventure stories and this issue was certainly no exception. The star of STARDATE is generally its assistant editor, Rick Endres, but this issue had several contributors which were deserved of high praise.

The first and best story to be considered is Bonnie Reitz's "Masks." Ms. Reitz's works are always high quality, and so is this one! It's an action-filled mystery, perplexing and confusing to Kirk. And there are several red herrings thrown in to keep the reader (and Kirk) guessing as to the identity of the mystery killer aboard the Enterprise during one of those ever-so-popular diplomatic missions. Top notch science fiction in a Star Trek setting is always a pleasant surprise.

The next story is by Sgt. Stephen W. Clark and his sister, Donna, and is their first joint effort. The story is not bad, but definitely forgettable. The following story by the editor, "Spectres Within the Shadows," is another such piece. Humorous, but somewhat forgettable. Still, the clarity of Mr. Landers' zine makes up for his fair-to-middlin' fiction.

The poetry is definitely not spectacular. Good to mediocre at best. The artwork is fair to fantastic, the best pieces being done by Bonnie Reitz, Rick Endres, and Bobbie Hawkins.

The last issue in the story is extremely good. "Incident on Xantharus" is by Rick Endres. It is a totally engrossing tale of Captain Pike's Enterprise. The plot is very complex, spellbinding, and very enjoyable to read. The only reason that Ms. Reitz's piece is better is because of the descriptiveness of Mr. Endres' work. Mr. Endres is very good at writing, and often the luridness of the story makes one queasy. Readers who wade through the graphic violence and scenes of humiliation will be entertained by the many twists and surprises Mr. Enders has in store for the readers. The ending of the story is quite unexpected, and is one that evokes sheer horror in the readers while reminding one that the Federation isn't always right. 'Definitely a good buy, this STARDATE gets a 89-90 for its quality. Very recommended. [92]
Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus" -- Interesting story centering on Ensign Julie Chastain. I liked that this story involved the Enterprise and crew during the Christopher Pike era. There was a lot of violence and masochism in this one which was sometimes a little heavy. Otherwise, a well written story about the rescue of Chastain and the plans for the phasers. I thought that the semi-unhappy ending was a nice touch. It seems that phasers weren't created without bloodshed. I love irony. I really like the bits with the crew of the Enterprise. Too bad there couldn't have been more like that. Captain John Raintree was a likable character. There should be more stories with him. [93]
Among my favorite stories are "Masks," by Bonnie Reitz, and "Incident on Xantharus" by Nomad, even though I think the raping of Julie Chastain served no purpose than to titillate the readers or shock them. {Would you believe both? - Nomad} The Dance of the Sun was a nice, if gruesome touch, though wasn't something like it used in A Man Called Horse? {Yes, it was. - Nomad} [94]

"Masks" by Bonnie Reitz -- A Star Trek mystery of high intrigue and deception. Well-written and rather imaginative. The Thrith, Beruntian and Pakari characterizations were especially well-done. Hope to see more of Bonnie's work.

"Incident on Xantharus" by Nomad -- A Captain Christopher Pike story. This, in my opinion, is one of Nomad's best -- a clever plot with several intriguing twists and turns. The lovely opening dialogue between a youthful Spock and the forever mysterious Number One was a nice touch. I found it to be touching and rather thought-provoking. By far, the most interesting and surprising character of this tale was "Malana," a young Orion female. In just a few pages, I was repulsed by her, admired her, and even pitied her. Good characterization. Though the violence in Nomad's story was a bit too detailed for my tastes, still, as always, even that was very well-written[95]
Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus" was a damn good story! It's the only Captain Pike story I have read so far that I really loved. A bit too graphic in some places, but that only helped me to more easily visualize what happened to the characters.[96]

Bonnie Reitz's "Masks" was outstanding. Bonnie has the mechanical skill to get the reader from Point A to Point B (or in her case, Point Q) smoothly, and she has the story-telling skill to make the trip vastly enjoyable. The Thrithians are excellently conceived. Alien-ness must go beyond the physical realm (a pitfall for many fan writers), and these do. The mask entity is a truly frightening idea, and the way it killed was well-drawn and believable within the framework. Her Romulans are equally believable. They are arrogant, yet possessed of their own very unique and very unbreachable code of honor to create "hero-villains." Too often, both Romulans and Klingons are used merely as "Bad Injuns" to present a peril and then be blown out of space by Kirk and company until next time. Bonnie's Romulans are worthy enemies, not just straw men, and one can conceive of a future in which they may become equally worthy allies. The Pakari concept is one I've seen her use before, always to good advantage. Not having a chronology of her work, I don't know which cam first in "Masks" -- the Pakari or the plot -- but in either case, the character was well-used. All in all, it was a rousing good piece of work.

"Incident on Xantharus" wasn't particularly my cup of tea, principally because of Nomad's apparent fascination with torturing naked ladies. It was also flawed by a near total lack of characterization of the lading lady. We saw all her outside -- and I DO mean ALL! -- but none of her "inside." The constant reminders that she was "lithe," "lovely," "golden-haired," "firm," "young," etc. and the descriptions of her "writhing in bondage" got a little tedious after a while. The best parts of the story were the first and last sections. The opening scene, with Spock and Number One mind-linking, really had nothing to do with the rest of the story, though. I kept waiting for that to become important, and it never did! He made up for it in the ending, with the ironic twist. Having Pike discover that the Hood had been used as a decoy and purposely sacrificed was a stunningly effective touch.[97]

Bonnie Reitz's story, "Masks," was very good. It showed a lot of thought had gone into composing such a complex plot. It was different, which is always a nice surprise, from the usual Star Trek story of the Enterprise fighting with the Klingons. The story-line was imaginative concerning the impressionistic part of the plot using the character Triann. It was a very skillful bit of writing.

I could not finish Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus." It was such a disgusting story...[98]

Bonnie Reitz's "Masks" was good. I liked the Thrithians, from their name and description to their depiction in the story. The Mask was a different kind of villain. The threat, and the mystery, the wolf/shapeshifter, with Romulans mixed in for good measure, made for an attention-holding narrative. It was also set in the Second Mission; I like that. The alien names were very interesting. I dislike borrowing too much from history, mythology, or other Earth sources for names in science fiction; I prefer originality....

Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus" -- "Incident"? more like "Horror"! -- was powerful, gripping and highly readable. I felt that some of the indignities heaped upon Julie Chastain would have been better left to the imagination, however. The characters were very well presented, and developed within the story so that I really cared for them. I like Amerinds. The ending was especially pathetic as it seemed that all they had been through and had lost was almost for nothing. Spock would've understood Captain Raintree's being torn between two cultures; I like to think they would have a talk later. It seems to me that Nomad dwelt on and lingered over Julie's humiliation and degradation, much more than the torture of John Raintree. Okay, so he chose to make her the central character, but I'm just wondering. I'm no feminist, but I'm wondering if this kind of material doesn't tend to exploit and cheapen women. {Actually, my girlfriend at the time who helped type and proofread our fanzines was very fond of this story except for the ending. We discussed whether or not the story was exploitative, and agreed it -- and most of Nomad's other writings while lurid, dark and violent, in fact -- just aren't exploitative. - Randy}[99]
Nomad gives us a rip-roaring, slam-bang adventure story in "Incident on Xantharus" -- and gives us a tale about Captain Pike and the original crew to boot! I've always wanted to see a story like this one. Thanks, Nomad! His Julie Chastain character is well handled. That poor girl! After all she went though, to find out that the Hood's mission was just a decoy, well, the irony is really heart-rending. Nomad's writing goes beyond run-of-the-mill fan fiction; it's Star Trek with guts. He's not afraid to be a little dangerous or daring, and that's very refreshing. It might surprise you, but we ladies enjoy some sexiness in our reading material from time to time... [100]
Randy Landers' "Return to Xantharus" -- A well done, fast-paced adventure that was right up my alley. Randy and I have a lot in common when it comes to writing. Which explains why I liked this story so much. It also gave us a reason why Admiral Cartwright got involved with the conspiracy revealed in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.[101]

Issue 16

cover of issue #16

Stardate 16 was published in October 1982. Art by Bev Clark, Ann Crouch, Rick Endres, Don Harden, Bonnie Reitz, and Sherry Veltkamp. Poetry by Demetri and Sarick.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 16

Stardate 16 is the largest issue the editor has ever put out. I have always enjoyed reading Stardate from its beginning. This issue, like those which have preceded it, is the best yet. The entire zine is one of the best produced I have ever seen. There are a few typos, but excellent typing in general, fantastic art, and it is strip-bound. The only production flaw was the mis-numbering of a few pages…

The first piece of fiction, a ‘novel,’ is simply a trilogy of stories with a ‘prologue’ and an ‘epilogue’ attached to it to confuse the reader. These additions, though, are extremely well-written. Both Endres and Landers did nice jobs on them. The first story of the three was by Randall Landers, and it was a little choppy. However, several scenes are very memorable. One in particular involves McCoy and Chapel. For once, the former nurse now a doctor, is handled very intelligently; she is not a wimp!

The second story, ‘Assassin in Our Midsts’ is much more polished. It’s a mystery about a Klingon about the Enterprise, and it’s up to Chekov to solve the problem. The surprise is the mature way that the young Russian is handled. Landers has allowed the characters to grow.

The third story is quite nice. It is this story in which the Klingon’s point-of-view is explored in detail, and explored well, I might add…

To Deny All Truths,’ the Klingons have half of the pages donated to them. The soon-to-be-relieved-of-his-command Kor goes on a rampage, setting a course for Earth, and destroying everything in his way. But the ugly ST:TMP Kh’myr Klingons have other ideas. The solution was quite a twist, and I’m glad to see that things worked out the best for everyone. The artwork for the novel is simply incredible. Rick Endres, Bonnie Reitz and Don Harden all did excellent work. As with Endres’ usual penchant for over-developed nude females, the only ‘nudie’ is well-proportion. Excellent!...

‘Star Trip- The Wrath of Dhon’ is an excellent parody of ST:TWOK. Don Harden did an excellent job with the art, and the dialogue provided by a number of people is simply priceless. The claim that it was based solely on rumors can’t quite be true, I’m sorry to say, because there are indications the authors (or, at least the artist) saw a few publicity trailers. I suppose that does count as ‘rumors’ though since half of the publicity clips I saw were never seen in the film. The humor, though, makes up for it. DELIGHTFUL!

‘Through Time and Tears’ was a first effort story by Terry Shank. An excellent story to say the least, it introduced one of the few non-Mary Sue characters I’ve ever seen in fan fiction. Gaea Stark does have a few Mary Sue tendencies, but overcomes them. She is Amanda’s niece, but is a human who acts Vulcan. Kirk is a little out of character at the end, but the rest of the story does make up for it. I’m looking forward to more of this new talent’s work in future issues of Stardate. The artwork by Endres for this piece was superb. Stark looks a little like Wilma Deering from the television show Buck Rogers, but there are some excellent Kirk and Spock illos here.

The rest of the issue contains a review of the Trek novels, poems by Patricia Demetri, a technology article by Tim Farley that makes sense to a non-techno person like myself, a ‘Star Trek Myths’ article by Don Harden in which he talks about the fourth season that could have been, a review of TREKisM at Length #2 by Bryant. All in all, this is a well-rounded, balanced issue, quite well-written, produced, and illustrated, and I’d give it an ‘87’ on a scale o f100. A very good buy, don’t miss it for the Star Trip! [102]
I just finished reading Randy Landers' Klingons!...a worthy effort, I must say. I was disappointed in the ease with which the Klingons were defeated -- it was almost as though you and Nomad both got tired of the effort after a while. The first portion -- Spock the Stargod -- seemed to have either been cobbled up to make the novella longer, or to have some Klingon footage tacked on to connect an unrelated short story to the novel. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the effort. {Regarding the evolution of Klingons!, "To Capture God" (Spock the Stargod) was the original story, and the Klingons were essential to the story. There were no extra scenes added to make it lengthier. "Assassin in Our Midsts" (Chekov's tragedy) was written about a year later. "To Deny All Truths" was half-way finished when I ran out of steam and shipped it off to Nomad for completion. I then added the Prologue, and he tagged on the Epilogue to make it a novella. To be honest, I was never one hundred percent satisfied with the first story. I'm still not. *shrug* But if I was ever going to wait until I was perfectly satisfied with the story, it never would've been published, and that would've been a shame. - Randy}[103]

Issue 17

cover of issue #17

Stardate 17 was published in October 1982 and contains 124 pages. Randall Landers, editor, some art by Mel White.

  • A Crystal Clear Problem by Rowena G. Warner (A tale of the adventures of a landing party on an ice-bound world) (14 pages)
  • Brain, Brain, Who's Got Spock's Brain, by Randall Landers, Alex Rosen, Tom Harden, & Don Harden (a parody and spoof of one of Trek’s most infamous episodes) (22 pages)
  • First Best Destinies by Rowena G. Warner (How Kirk and Spock met at the academy) (8 pages)
  • The Black and White Cookie Episode, a poof by Kiel Stuart (spoof) (9 pages)
  • ”Wrath” Reviewed by Kiel Stuart(2 pages)
  • Letter From Home by William Kropfhauser (a letter Scotty wrote home and the response he gets) (2 pages)
  • Star Trek the Motion Picture Satire by Kiel Stuart (spoof) (18 pages)
  • The Presence by Randall Landers (A sequel to “Spectres Within The Shadows”) (12 pages)
  • An Evening With... by Rowena G. Warner (Setting Kirk and Spock on a talk show) (16 pages)
  • The Changes in the Technology of Star Trek by Tim Farley (article) (4 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 17

This issue seems to be a departure from the regular 100% action-adventure format of Stardate in its fiction department. The zine has 50% humor and 50% drama. The production is excellent; pages stapled, clearly typed and reproduced. The front cover is printed on parchment for what I suspect is effect. It really enhances the art work of Don Harden (namely a Cet Eel).

‘A Crystal Clear Problem’ is a nice little Big Three Story, with emphasis on Kirk and Spock. There’s no threat to the Big E or its crew, but, in fact their presence poses a threat for a beautiful ice-bound world. The planet will be terraformed unless they find some sort of life. Apparently, the only animal life constitutes a life-form since these are in abundance. Other than that, Kirk is taught to ice skate by Spock and McCoy. Nice, but not spectacular.

‘The Black and White Cookie Episode’ is a spoof of ‘Let that Be Your Last Battlefield.’ This author also spoofed ST:TMP in this issue. Both are quite funny and thoroughly enjoyable. Ms. Stuart also reviewed ST:TWOK. I note that she mentioned everyone but except Leonard Nimoy. Was this an oversight or an accidental omission by the editor, or an intentional oversight by both?

‘Letter from Home’ is an exchange between Scott and Mary about Peter’s death in ST:TWOK. Nice.

The poems for this issue range from decent to fair. Another technology article by Tim Farley is an easy read.

‘First Best Destinies’ is a tale of Kirk and Spock’s first meeting while at the Academy. It is a very enjoyable story, not too long, not too short. This author also wrote

‘An Evening With…’ which is a very funny well-written tale of Kirk and Spock’s visit to a talk show. Quite funny, quite serious. The characters were a little stilted, but I would expect them to be if they were ever on a TV show.

‘The Presence’ is a sequel to a story in issue #15. The first story was amusing, the second one isn’t. It’s an average story at best, and I hope there are no further sequels.

The editorial is just an introduction to the staff of Stardate which I had been wanting to see. If you aren’t interested in that sort of thing, then you’ll find it incredibly boring.

‘Brain, Brain, Who’s Got Spock’s Brain?’ is by a plethora of writers, and is one of the funniest spoofs I’ve seen in a long time. Mel White did the artwork for it, and it’s priceless. Mel also did the artwork for ‘An Evening With…’

All in all, I would give this issue an 82 for its overall quality. Worth the price for fiction by Warner and the spoofs, but not up to par set by the last issue. [104]
Rowena G. Warner's "A Crystal Clear Problem" left me unsatisfied. The ending seemed rushed, and she had this marvelous setting and nothing happened![105]
Rowena G. Warner's "A Crystal Clear Problem" was enjoyable and makes you think of now and the beautiful wilderness areas we have and how threatened they are... [106]
Rowena Warner's stories were nice. Well off the beaten path for what was originally an action-adventure fanzine, but a nice change of pace, for once. "A Crystal Clear Problem" -- "Neuron, peredon and alisitate" are not real gasses. There I go, being over-picky again. Then again, "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." The story was fun, but the crew conspiring to keep the U.F.P. from developing the planet was a bit much. I would've thought there would have been at least one James Watt-type around to make trouble.... [107]
And what a find you have with Rowena G. Warner: perceptive, gentle (a rare quality in fan fiction), her story "A Crystal Clear Problem" was refreshing and pleasant....[108]
Rowena G. Warner's "A Crystal Clear Problem" -- This is beautiful. It gave me a feeling I remember from my childhood on a Nebraska farm when all the world was shrouded in ice and snow. The descriptions are powerful. The characters are perfectly depicted, and the moral of the story timely. [109]
One of my favorite stories has to be "A Crystal Clear Problem," by Rowena G. Warner. She is a very talented writer with a rather poetic style. I believe that this particular story captures the unspoken understanding between Kirk and Spock.[110]

Issue 18

Stardate 18 was published in March 1983 and contains 98 pages. Randall Landers, editor. It contains a 13-page art portfolio.

cover of issue #18

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 18

"The Fire Bringer," by Jane Yambe, was an interesting character piece.... [111]
Jane Yambe's "The Fire Bringer" was nice at times, but so lifelessly written that I never felt engaged either by Sulu or "Prometheus" and his people.[112]

Issue 19

cover of issue #19

Stardate 19 was published in September 1983 and contains about 150 pages. Randall Landers, editor

  • fiction by Marracino, Bonnie Reitz, Warner
  • satire by Stuart
  • poetry by Demetri, Oakes, Warner
  • artwork by Farley, Nancy Gervais, Don Harden and others


Issue 20

cover of issue #20

Stardate 20 was published in January 1984 and is 110 pages long. Randall Landers, editor

Reactions and Reviews:Issue 20

There's a certain attractively streamlined look and feel to STARDATE, and also a definite sense that its creators took extreme care with everything, or at least with the technical aspects, tho I'd recommend a new team of proofreaders. This zine is that rare animal of a ST zine produced by MALE fans, and has a strong emphasis on action/adventure, scientific integrity, and humor. It is eminently successful with the first two. Its success with the latter is only partial.

The first thing you notice About thish is the exquisite cover by Pat Kilner of the Romulan Commander from "Balance of Terror. Admittedly, I am very partial to this character and Kilner's brooding, detailed style exudes strong depth and emotion. Then, too, there is the attractive parchment-like paper used for the covers which enhances the cover's beauty.

After an unevenly interesting lettercol], there is the first of the zine's four major offerings,'Victory' by Mark C. Henrie, an effectively engrossing story set during Kirk and Spock's academy days. Both are apparently cadets in the same class, About to embark on a grueling race called the Antares Two Million, wherein six cadet-built ships pass through "12 'gates' on the way to the finish line of standard orbit around Antares Nine." Each ship has two crewmembers and Spock and Kirk are each in command of their own vessels, along with their co-commanders, an Andorian male (for Kirk) and a human female (for Spock). Written in a clear, precise style, the story immediately involves you in the dangers of the race, focusing on the two lost likely winners, Kirk and Spock. The presentation of the scientific aspects is remarkably clear and not at all distracting, but an integral part of the story. The characterizations are quite good and Spock's dialogue is excellent. This is a very well-developed and plotted story, tho a few character scenes seem to be a bit forced and hurried, as when Kirk's Andorian partner discusses the differences of his culture to him in a quick, textbook-like manner. Generally, tho, the story succeeds well on action. The only real doubt I have is whether Starfleet would need to put these cadets through such a dangerous race, exposing them to burn up by a star or by a possible entry into a gas giant's atmosphere. Does West Point or Annapolis put its cadets through similar tests?

"Interlude" by Rowena Warner has a fine message about friendship and a refreshing rare argument between Kirk and Spock. It's one long scene between the two (who are later joined by McCoy), set between TMP and WOK, in Spock's quarters. Both are trying to persuade each other to take command of a new ship, Theodus, convinced that the other is unhappy with his job (Kirk is back at his desk and Spock is teaching at Fleet Academy), yet both lash out at each other, shouting they are indeed happy with their position, at least for now. The argument goes round in circles, delving perceptively into their thoughts, and foreshadows Starfleet's use of the Enterprise as a training vessel in WOK (and, not incidentally, its concept for the Big E, as shown in the newly released SFS) Finally, McCoy enters and straightens the misunderstanding out, intelligently explaining what transpired psychologically with the Enterprise crew after the 5 year mission. The problem in this piece is that there aren't enough breaks between the dialogue and Kirk is too wild and emotional, which tends to lessen the impact of the deeply complex feelings present in the scene. Still, the story is definitely worth reading because it serves to bridge the strange and wide emotional/psychological gap between the series and the filIm. It also helps a more cynical fan of the film like myself put the critical character developments that must have occurred between the series and the films (and between TMP and WOK) into perspective, something the films and their novelizatins failed to explain coherently. [113]
Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" was extremely well written, but I question the concept of Starfleet risking top-of-the-line cadets in such a fashion. Rowena G. Warner's "Interlude" was a slight let-down from her past works. The Gol discussion seemed out of place--maybe I'm expecting too much. Mark's "Scotty's Vacation" was good, except that it seemed very similar to a story I once read in Delta Triad... [114]

Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" is a fun story, although I wonder what the judges would say when the Victory's hatch opens and four cadets step out. "Uh, sorry, guys--you're disqualified. Rules specify only two beings per vessel. Too bad--better luck next time!" In all seriousness, one would think the judges would take circumstances into account. But would Spock get the promotion, too, considering he only rode the last leg in the winning ship? Mark's other story, "Scotty's Vacation," was light-hearted fun, though I doubt whether Starfleet would misassign its personnel like that.

Rowena G. Warner's "Interlude" was an interesting character piece--a nice counterpoint to the other, more action-oriented stories. I thought Spock and Kirk went a bit overboard, verbally abusing one another, though -- it turned into a shouting match at one point....[115]
Rowena Warner's "Interlude" was interesting. Trust Bones to have the solution. I am a little uncomfortable with Spock, even in private, calling McCoy anything but "Doctor" or "Doctor McCoy."[116]
Rowena G. Warner's "Interlude" was a very well done story, setting up in just a bit of a time, the whole birthday, birth/death/rebirth motif of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. I especially liked seeing McCoy as a mediator between Kirk and Spock since he is so often the instigator or aggressor. All in all, a fine character study of our three as they grow and truly mature.[117]
I thought Rowena Warner's "Interlude" was above average, though for my own tastes, I generally don't like to see speculative deep stories. Let me explain this; my own stories might be thought of as rather speculative in nature, but "Scotty's Vacation" was open-ended, as it took place years before the First Mission. "Scotty's Vacation" was, by its very nature, speculative, but it was not deep. "Interlude," however, was speculative, deep and locked into the structure of the Star Trek universe. This somehow tends to unnerve me. Still, that's just one small caveat. The story was very well written, thoroughly enjoyable, and it presented a logical "interlude" between the first and second movies. [118]
Rowena Warner's "Interlude" was delightful and amusing. Good ol' Bones! It does take three! [119]
Enjoyed Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" from word one, but found his story, "Scotty's Vacation," slow to start, though the excitement of the story was worth wading through The Berlitz Guide to Tellar. If Star Trek is Wagon Train to the Stars, then "Scotty's Vacation" is The Hardy Boys on Tellar.[120]
Just finished "Victory," by Mark C. Henrie. Love it! It was so enjoyable that I didn't want to put it down until I finished it so I didn't...put it down, that is! Hope you get more stories by him. His "Scotty's Vacation" was most enjoyable, too.[121]

Issue 21

cover of issue #21
inside page from issue #21

Stardate 21 was published in June 1984 and contains 101 pages. Randall Landers, editor.

From Boldly Writing: "There was a letters section in the front of the fanzine. This is notable because the tradition of having a letters column in a fiction fanzine was nearly extinct by this time, and Stardate was one of the few fanzines that still had one. The most notable entry of the issue was the story "Salt" by Linda McInnis Goodman. This story dealt with the events leading up to Kirk meeting Carol Marcus, and continuing through the birth of their son David and their eventual separation."

  • From the Editor (2)
  • Of All the LoC (4)
  • Cost of Freedom (third of a trilogy: "The Wages of Vengeance," "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom") story by Rick Endres (8)
  • Seventy Percent Discount, vignette by Adela Peterson (25)
  • To Coin a Phrase, a vignette by Randall Landers (27)
  • No Margin for Error, story by Linda Goodman (29)
  • Klingonese, poem by loan sloane delerius (32)
  • Reflections of Two Romulans , poem by Mikki Reynard (33)
  • Peregrine, poem by Gloria DeLeon (34)
  • Remembrances, poem by Cathy Palmer (34)
  • Encounter, a vignette by Esther Lemay (35)
  • Child of the Enterprise, story by Regenia Marracino (39)
  • His Was the Most Human, a vignette by Rick Endres (67)
  • Salt, story by Linda Goodman (71)
  • Star Trip: Improvise a la Carte, written by Becky Franklin, Randy Landers, Kevin Morgan and David Newton (89)
  • Mainviewer, reviews of "Sapreidon 1" and "From Hell's Heart" (95)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 21

I just completed Nomad's Serenidad series ("The Wages of Vengeance," "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom"), and I was thoroughly impressed by its originality. It certainly helped to fill in some blanks in the Star Trek universe that I've always felt Paramount completely missed the boat on. Also, the storyline was superior to many of the so-called "professional books" being churned out by PocketBooks--where do they find all those hack writers?[122]
I particularly liked Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom"...especially the scene with L'yan tormenting Princess Teresa.... Only one quibble: did L'yan really have to get killed off? It seemed an abrupt ending for such a vibrant character....Another thing I like about Orion Press is that the Klingons are finally portrayed as warriors and formidable opponents. The pro-novels, with very few exceptions make them more like a comic book menace, just something to make Kirk and crew look good... I've noticed objections to scenes of nudity and violence. It seems there's a simple solution to their dilemma: don't read the stuff. Neither should be used all the time, but there is a place for it....Has anyone noticed that the best stories and the stories with the most action had the Klingons in them?[123]
"The Cost of Freedom" is another good installment of the Serenidad series.[124]

My thoughts on Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom"...

The downside: This story was really violent; unnecessarily so, I thought. Even so, it might have been all right--justifiable, at least--if the Klingons had been made to pay for their many horrible crimes. But at the end, even though they are ultimately overcome and destroyed, they are allowed to die dignified (and relatively quick) warriors' deaths. In that respect, the story just didn't deliver; I think you need to have more of a payoff in order to justify so many graphically depicted scenes of torture and violence. But then, I was assuming that the violence was intended to invoke a revenge response; I may have been mistaken. I also didn't but the fact that Captain Garrovick would have allowed the Klingons to destroy themselves -- he even goes so far as to give Korak the means for self-destruction -- a dignified and honorable death -- when there are no more Klingons left but him. I don't think that the Federation, with its emphasis on research, exploration, contacts with other lifeforms, and above all, a very high regard for life in general, would allow such a massacre, especially when given such a ready-made opportunity for study as the capture of two hundred-fifty Klingons. And all Garrovick can say after these events is, "Well, I hope the Federation will be pleased not having to spend tax money on prisoners." This seems like a rather crass remark to me, and not at all in keeping with what you might expect from a representative of the United Federation of Planets. As long as we're picking nits, the only other thing I didn't like about the story was the heavy-handedness of scenes such as is exemplified by the Tom-Isobel episode; new-found love that waited so long to express itself and then is blown out of existence by the Klingons, and all that's left is a moonblossom he had given to her that floats so symbolically in the water until it sinks beneath the surface. Just a little bit too much to swallow, I thought.

The upside: Nomad and Linda McInnis who co-authored the last segment of this story are thoroughly competent writers. The story unfolds quickly and smoothly (translation: I could hardly bear to put the thing down and make myself turn the lights off even though it was 2:00AM). Although action-oriented, "The Cost of Freedom" was much more than a bare-bones series of action-adventure scenes strung together, as sometimes happens when dealing with fan fiction. The story was nicely fleshed out; expository scenes and descriptions of the settings, although brief, were skillfully handled in that all twists and complications of plot were clear at all times, and there was just enough of the scenery to facilitate reception of a vivid, clearly-etched image in the mind's eye without detracting from the main thrust of the action (translation: I like your style). I also thought the Klingonese interspersed throughout the piece really enhanced the portrayal of the Kh'myr as a species truly alien to our own, and I applaud the handling of the English translations of non-English phrases that were used. Nicely done.

...I know I'm repeating myself, but I can't help it -- you guys write good. Your writers are probably sick of hearing that, right? {Nope. - Randy} In my opinion, this action-adventure type of writing that focuses more on action and direct dialogue than elaborate description and characters that introspect aloud for pages and pages makes for a form of Star Trek that reminds me of the series itself (although the other style of writing can be equally entertaining, in a different way, as well). [125]
Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom" is finally finished? Oh my God! I can't believe it! {The story was originally published over four issues of our fanzine, ORION, and many people were stunned by the length and coherency of the series. - Randy} What an outstanding finish to the story! All the Klingons taking their lives so quickly that the Feds simply stood there, unable to stop them. And Garrovick, he'll get into a lot of trouble to be sure, but what a sense of honor the man has! To allow the Kh'myr to take his own life! I really liked that part; the Feds have enough respect for the Klingons at last! .... A few points of criticism, though. Some sections were especially melodramatic to the point of disbelief: 'The moonblossom sank beneath the waters' and all that tripe. Come on, Nomad, tell a story about people. Don't get so wrapped up in poetic imagery that you lose track of the focus of the story, namely the characters....Also, more of the Enterprise cast and crew in the next adventure, please! Finally, please continue the usage of the Klingonese; it adds so much to the appeal of the story.[126]
Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom" raised some issues regarding medical ethics and competence. I believe that Doctor McCoy could have assumed that Teresa was already impregnated by Carlos prior to the rape, however, he should have determined the pregnancy and the paternity in his post-rape examination. As I have learned through Life's Hard Lessons, you can never assume anything. What I'm curious about is how Teresa is going to explain a half-Klingon child. I thought the Serenidad Council was trying to hide the fact that she had been gang-raped. I did predict that Teresa would keep her child...but what a bizarre mother-child bonding! I did wish I could have seen a little more action on Kirk's end. The final battle seemed to go by too quickly. There were some very nice touches to the story: L'yan's enmity towards the Klingon baby for having to be his baby-sitter and Korak's surrender.[127]
...I thoroughly enjoyed Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom." There is a lot of action and adventure packed into the story, and the characters are all very real. L'yan was such a delightfully evil villainess that I almost hated to see her get wiped out. At least so quickly... All the Klingons are wonderfully nasty, just the way I like them. I'd like to see how Teresa's baby turns out as he grows up. He is potentially a good character, I think. I'm looking forward to reading Nomad's story "Aftermath."[128]
"The Cost of Freedom" -- Nomad and Linda McInnis have teamed up to deliver us an exceptional work. The Kh'myr Klingons are a logical extension of what we saw in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Nomad uses them fully to his advantage. I especially enjoyed the Teresa dream-sequence. The Klingon attack on the starship was typical of these savage Kh'myr that Nomad seems to have taken to his heart....I enjoy the usage of the Kh'myr language, and I hope to see more of it incorporated into future Kh'myr stories. [129]

External Links

References

  1. ^ note on the Orion Press zine list page explaining the name change.
  2. ^ Issue #13 of the zine "Stardate" in 1982 was listed in an ad in Riders to the Stars #1 as being published by "Stardate Press."
  3. ^ this is very debatable
  4. ^ Orion Press, accessed 12.7.2010
  5. ^ from Sensor Readings #1
  6. ^ from his LoC in Comlink #37
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  66. ^ review by Beth Carlson in The Clipper Trade Ship #33/34
  67. ^ from personal correspondence with Mrs. Potato Head in December 2011
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