Starwings

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Zine
Title: Starwings
Publisher: OtherWhen Press
Editor(s): Beth Bowles
Date(s): 1982-1984
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: multimedia
Language: English
External Links:
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front cover issue 1, "Genesis on the Solar Wind" by Lisa Mason Agostinelli
back cover of issue #1, "Time in a Bottle" by Paulie Gilmore

Starwings is a gen multimedia anthology.

Art has been included on Fanlore with the publisher's permission.

Issue 1

Starwings 1 was published in 1982 and is 90 pages long. It has at least one Star Wars story. The front cover is by Lisa Mason Agostinelli, the back cover ("Time in a Bottle") by Paulie Gilmore, inside back cover by Rima St. Cyril MacGallifrey, other art not listed below by Anne Davenport, Linda Stoops, and eluki bes shahar.

The editorial is mostly about thanking people for typing and for the use of their typewriters.

  • Who Dare to Name the Stars by Ronni Sacksteder, art by Wanda Lybarger (3)
  • Patience, Hell by Pat Stanley, art by Martynn (4)
  • Ranger by Jani Hicks, art by Martynn (11)
  • Midnight Sonata: Leia, a Vendetta prelude by Barbara Wenk, art by MRO Ludwig (12)
  • Compunction by Jani Hicks, art by Lin Stack (16)
  • The Road Taken by Marica Brin, art by June Grandey (19)
  • Sarah's Dream by Rina St. Cyril MacGallifrey, art by Daphne Hamilton (20)
  • Dr. Who and the Invasion of a Dalek by Linda Stoops, art by Rina St. Cyril MacGallifrey (23)
  • J'Han by Ronni Sacksteder, art by Daphne Hamilton (24)
  • Prophecy by Phillip Textor, art by June Grandey (26)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Some Critical Musings by Jani Hicks, art by Angela-marie Varesano (30)
  • The Visitor by Angela-marie Varesano (30)
  • The Catherine Wheel by Anne Elizabeth Zeek, art by MRO Ludwig (32)
  • Zines 'N Things, flyers and ads (86)
  • TailFeathers, editorial (94)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Starwings is a new zine from one of the folks who brought you the now-defunct ReVisions. It is a mix of Star Wars and Dr. Who in about equal proportions, with a little straight SF, straight fantasy, and criticism mixed in for variety. And remarkably good for a relatively, new editor with little or no offset, experience. Physically, presents an impressive image. The cover, by Lisa Mason Agostinelli, is printed white-on-black, with the zine logo superimposed on the image of a winged woman on a starfield. It is, we are told, titled "Genesis on the Solar Wind", and it is an imposing piece of art. It was, no doubt, a printer's nightmare. Perhaps its only drawback is that art with this much black space tends to come off on one's fingers as the zine is read. The bacover is equally interesting, a Paulie drawing of Dr. Who inside an egg timer. And the inside bacover is, unfortunately, terminally cute, offering us an Avon perfume ad for a TARDIS decanter called "Time in a Bottle". This same is, it says the ToC, the name of Ms. Gilmore's piece as well. I'm confused. Overall, the zine looks beautiful, with graphics well above the run of Star Wars zines. A minor cringe goes with the too-thick ChartPak lines on the pages, which run just a bit disturbingly close to the text, but that is easily corrected next time around. And I dearly hope there will be a next time for it is an extremely promising effort, and holds hope of greatness in future. Some of the contents, however, do not live to the editorial excellence of the graphics and layout. Low points of the zine included "The Road Taken", another of Marcia Brin's bait and switch pieces which gives itself away 'by the second paragraph and "The Visitor", a poem by Angela-marie Varesano, distractingly calligraphed in a heavy, unreadable hand by Allyson Whitfield-Dyar and illustrated by the author in a manner reminiscent of rigor mortis. A Vendetta vignette by Barbara Wenk, "Midnight Sonata: Leia" was included in the zine, although I found it difficult to understand, perhaps because I'm not acquainted with much of that universe, having read only the one piece which has seen print ("Queen's Gambit", from Pegasus #5). And I disagree with Jennara's premise that Leia should get married because "No one would dare touch the 'Duchess of Eckinroth." Perhaps that is true in the Regency romances which were partial inspiration for this piece, but it certainly is not true in the Star Wars/Empire universe. Lando's title didn't save him, and neither did Leia's royal blood; no matter who the Duke of Eckinroth is--which is nowhere clarified in the story--he would, it seems not be immune. One should not confuse George Lucas with Georgette Heyer. I also had some major problems with the cornerstone of the zine, a novel-length Circle of Fire story by Anne Elizabeth Zeek called "The Catherine Wheel". Aside from the fact that the characters would not ever have heard of the mechanism referred to in the title--a problem shared with Anne Elizabeth's other story, "Chinese Fire Drill" (in Twin Suns #2)--there are other quibbles which I will share here. Obi-Wan Kenobi is used in the story as a sort of celestial first-grade teacher, continually muttering "Run, Luke, run!" into Skywalker's head, at times when he should have had the good sense to run anyway, or otherwise to justify (?) Luke's foreknowledge of events, which would require no justification within the situations as they were described. I kept waiting for him to add, "Jump, Luke, jump! See Luke jump!" The denouement of one of the plotlines was weakened, in my opinion, by a throwaway acquisition of antigravity belts, which were the hinge upon which the escape from Llangerol Prison turned. It seemed a bit too convenient to me that these belts were picked up by the escape party with no idea whether they could be useful or not, and be the way to get away safely. To me, it smacked a bit of simply because the belts were not sufficiently emphasized when they were procured; in fact, I missed their 'liberation' completely on first reading of the story. Also, the characters have a propensity for coming out with lines from Episode 4 and Episode 5 at odd moments, almost as if the author couldn't think of anything original for the characters to say. The first half a dozen times were cute, then it became annoying. But my biggest problem with "The Catherine Wheel" is that it is not a single story. It has often been said that a good story can have its plot reduced to a single sentence and this would be impossible here. The tone and effect of the prose is impressive (most impressive!), but the stories never quite mesh together enough to merit its being a single story. Perhaps if the stories had been split in two the temptations to use mechanisms such as the belts, and Obi-Wan's idiot narrative, would not have been so strong. I also began to wonder if Ms. Zeek's intent here is to entertain or to educate, after fighting for the second story in a row With her vocabulary, Which to me seemed to distract from the flow of the story. I resented having to stop every ten pages and look up a word in the dictionary, and I think the editor should have perhaps insisted that a less patrician lexicon be used. The zine also contains some good Dr. Who material, short fiction by Pat Stanley and Linda Stoops, and some SW fen may find this a plus. The art is mostly good to excellent, although there were a few jarring moments: the two illustrations by Daphne Hamilton for two separate poems in two separate universes (one Who and one SW) had exactly the same faces on the females, one of whom was supposed to look like Elizabeth Sladen. And the illustrations for "The Catherine Wheel" by MRO Ludwig were excellent, as usual for her work, except that the remarkable likeness of Princess Leia's brother to Luke Skywalker was neither noted nor explained. One last comment--$6.50 is a bit steep for a zine. I hope this doesn't become the rule in fandom, what with charging $6.25 for their last, similarly-sized issue. We're supposed to be nonprofit, I think, and perhaps some editors needibly reminded of that. [1]
Despite what I am going to say about Starwings in the first half of this review, I recommend that you buy this zine. Starwings is a mixed-media zine by Beth Bowles; Dr. Who with a smattering of Tolkien mainstream SF, and of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is a very promising first effort. While there is room for improvement, and one does hope that with the (projected) second issue, Starwings will cease to resemble a hybrid clone of and Warped Space and Twin Suns in layout, it is, overall, a satisfying fanzine. The offerings for this issue include: "Midnight Sonata: Leia", a story by Barbara Wenk, "The Road Taken" by Marcia Brin, and "The Catherine Wheel", a Circle of Fire story by Anne Elizabeth Zeek. The major weakness of Starwings is its layout. This is amply illustrated by the production on the Marcia Brin piece, ,which about two-thirds of a page. The facing page illo, which may-or-may-not go with the story (it is difficult to tell without reference to the Table of Contents), is not credited with the story, and the author's name is confusingly at the bottom of the page, leaving the reader uncertain as to whether he is reading the first page of a longer work, or whether the author credit marks 'finis'. The bottom third of the page is taken up with a cute though misplaced cartoon, that distracts from Brin's piece. A more elegant solution might have been to have the title and author credit fill up the remaining third of a page, rather than cramming in a discordant cartoon as 'filler'. The layout in general suffers from Warped Space-itis, more commonly known as: Put a Border Around Everything. This is needless on page after page of text. It crowds the reader's eye, and puts the editor out-of-pocket for money that could have more profitably been spent elsewhere--on better reproduction for the cover, for example. The cover logo reproduces well, as does the artist's Signature, but everything in between is a vague greyness. The art looks as thought it have been stunning--it is really too badly reproduced to judge--but as it appears here, it is not a good piece of art, due either to inability on the part of the artist or the printer. In fact, with the exception of MRO Ludwig, who illustrated Wenk's and Zeek's entries (fortunately the bulk of the SW in this issue), the SW artists of Starwings are appallingly bad. Lin Stack, whose work varies wildly in quality, turns out an awful photo-swipe to illustrate a poem by Jani Hicks, Daphne Hamilton and June Grandey turn out extremely crude illustrations for (respectively) a poem by Ronni Sacksteder and Marcia Grin's short 'zinger', and the 'name' artists--Martynn, Lybarger --are not illoing SW pieces. I would have appreciated Anne Davenport's cartoons more if they had been better placed, and the bes Shahar cartoon did warrant a full page. Now. On to the two reasons you should buy this zine, even if you do not like Dr. Who, rampant borders, bad art. First there is "Midnight Sonata: Leia, a Vendetta prelude" (the title letters on this story contain no less than three different fonts, and it is impossible to tell which is the title and which is the cut-line), by Barbara Wenk, with an illustration by MRO Ludwig. "Midnight Sonata" is a prequel to "Queen's Gambit", by Anne Elizabeth Zeek (published in Pegasus 5) and enlarges somewhat on Leia's relationship with the Lady Jennara. But "Midnight Sonata" is primarily a Leia mood-piece; an exploration of a moment in her life in the aftermath of the destruction of Alderaan. This Leia is full-fleshed human woman, and it is her blood and iron that saves this story from being a maudlin wallow in egregious cheap-shot sentimentality. (It's amazing what two Fan-Q's can do for one's writing ability, isn't it?) The Ludwig illo is, of course, all that fan illustration should be and rarely is, but it is very awkwardly placed, coming after the second page of a two and a half page story. In addition, it was'designed as a "facing left' illo, Which means it should placed on a right hand. Instead, it is on a left- hand page, so even thought it is opposite that moment in the text it is meant to portray, it looks 'wrong'. And now on to the last two thirds of "The Catherine Wheel" by Anne Elizabeth Zeek, illustrated by MRO Ludwig. The only immediate problem with Zeek's story is that it is Starwings. Like its predecessor,"Chinese Fire Drill" (Twin Suns #2), the Zeek story is the majority of the zine-- if one does not like the story, there is not enough other material in the zine to compensate, and if one does like the story, it does not matter what examples of fanhacking the editor chooses to fill her remaining pages with. (I do not mean to imply that the other material in Starwings is bad; several of the pieces I did enjoy were Dr. Who and outside the scope of this review). Wheel" is actually three interlocking stories: Han's war ,with Jabba, Leia's quest to rescue her missinq brother Chalil, and Luke's mission to Kasulur as a rebel courier. The stories dovetail and interlock and the essential motif is illustrated and elaborated as it passes from story to story: that in War there are always sacrificial victims,and that the first victims are gentleness and caring. Luke's love for his partner's sister Mila, Han's love for Leia, Leia's love for Chalil, are all offered up on the altar of the Good Of The Alliance. material or bend it too far out of shape. The dialog is snappy, believable, and interesting, and the backgrounding--the political structure of the Alliance, the design of It would be essentially pointless to rehash the plots of the stories here: suffice to say that Han first goes looking for Jabba and then unwillingly joins Leia in her rescue of Chalil, while Luke's story forms an independent counterpoint before binding back to the main tale at the end. Each of the three stories has a strong enough plot to stand on its own as a separate story, but by combining the three of them, and intercutting between them in her own adept fashion, Zeek makes the stories illuminate each other and take on a meaning beyond themselves, while not losing their essential action-adventure charm. "The Catherine Wheel" does seem to get away from her at one point, Just after the last main section of the Luke tale, but she brings it back under control by the end. The characterizations are satisfyingly close to the on-screen ones, and where Zeek elaborates she does not contradict the canonical Llangerol Prison--is well thought out and plausible; there is nothing here to grate on the mind's eye. Set between the movies, "The Catherine Wheel" is a logical bridge between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back and a rousing good read as well. It is unfortunately true for a reviewer that she can never find as much to say about a good story as a bad--so I will just mention that the accompanying illustrations by MRO Ludwig, though consistently misplaced, disfigured with haphazard borders, and unnecessarily reduced, are truly lovely--an artful middle ground between those who insist on portraiture and those who wish to see the illustrated. The piece on page 62 is a stunning technical tour-de force and really brings home the feel of the scene being illustrated. Floating head artists please note. Starwings is not the very best zine it could have been, it is at least on a par with Twin Suns or Warped Space. It has two excellent stories in it, an interesting one, and if you are a Dr. Who fan, you may find the rest of the zine of interest as well. [2]

Issue 2

cover of issue 2, Peter Zale

Starwings 2 was published in 1984 and is 82 pages long. Front cover by Peter Zale, back cover by Pat O'Neill, inside back cover by Wanda Lybarger.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

This is a very cleanly reproduced media zine, with almost no typos. Reading this zine is a comfortable experience because of the extremely neat, readable typeface and margins. I have to commend the editor and staff on just the typing job alone. The first story in this issue, "Neverland," is by Julia Ecklar. It is a very touching and mature post-ST:WK story concerning Kirk's desire to bring Spock back to life and the miraculous opportunity afforded him to do just that on a planet with strange life-renewal properties. There are some particularly striking scenes here, such as a dream sequence in which Khan taunts Kirk about his victory in Spock's death, and some truly sensitive exchanges between Kirk and Chekov, the Enterprise's new First Officer. There's also an especially gruesome part in which McCoy vivisects forty rats because Kirk wants so badly to discover the meebanjism that, bwiigs the dead back to life on this world. It was disturbingTo read, anjUKcklar should be complimented for confronting the depths to which despair brings human beings. However, I'm still unsure about its, believability, and whether in the enlightened ST universe, someone like McCoy, or' even Kirk, would consider such a thing "wthout protest. There is also a scene which hearkens back to the one in ST:WK in which Kirk kills the Ceti eel, with which I , (and apparently Roddenberry, since he complained about that scene) disagree. Upon returning to Ceta Alpha V to try to find out if there is anyone left of the Reliant crew, Kirk and his security personnel destroy the remaining eel on the Botany Bay in a very ignorant fashion, in horror and disgust. Bennett and Meyer can't be expected to be as enlightened as GR, but I hope fans can be. Generally, however, it's a story with a serious, thoughtful theme, and Ecklar's writing is lucid, tight, and clean. "Past Reckoning," by Sharon Giacomo, is a SW story set before ROTJ in which a Jedi called Larris Tanaka turns up, as "the other," to train Luke. The seeds of an interesting character can be seen here, but he's still quite sketchy. There are a couple of good, economical battle scenes, and the ending is rather powerful and tantalizing since it's open to a sequel or two or more (is this part of a series?). Giacomo should take care to delineate Larris more fully. She's got me interested, but I want more to sustain that interest. The real problem that seriously mars the story is Giacomo's portrayal of Leia. Leia is somewhat bloodthirsty, insensitive, and cold. And I will say it right here to all of fandom: I am sick to death of these characterizations of JLeia. They reduce "a committed, warm, determined, complex woman to a monster, and I think fans should examine their own biases before creating this stereotype which has no basis in the films. If you don't like a character, I suggest you not include him or her in your fiction. Nevertheless, don't let my complaint keep you away from Giacomo's story because her character Larris is a good one. Although I'm not a devoted BG fan, I did like some of the later episodes. Even so, I wasn't looking forward to reading a BG story, but Ann Cecil's "Daggitt Trouble" was quite enjoyable. It concerns a mysterious thief who keeps pilfering drugs from the medical supplies, and Cecil's solution is in keeping with the story's genuinely funny tinge. Cecil's dialogue is very good. Each character sounds right and the characterizations coincide quite well with those on the series. The only problem I had with this story is a bit of condescension in the narrative toward the woman botanist. At one point Apollo wonders how she can be so lovely and such a competent scientist at the same time. Gee. I wonder how he can be so handsome and yet "the best pilot in the Fleet?" Starbuck's attitude is in keeping with the character, so there's no problem with him. One question: Why are daggitts (real ones) illegal? Still, the story is an easy, fast read, with some hilarious moments. Cecil invents a fascinating alien creature and the accompanying illo by Gordon Carleton will melt anyone. There are four poems, one of which isn't really a poem. "I Can See the Stars," by Kay Crist, which concerns Han's imprisonment, would make a pretty good story, but as a "poem", it's really just a bunch of lines of prose strung together. The accompanying illo by Carol McPherson is an attractive rendition of Han. "Soul of Steel," by Pat Nussman, is technically and stylistically quite good, but the premise is questionable. The "soul of steel" in the title is Leia's. The poem is sympathetic to Leia but the characterization just doesn't jibe. Why must Leia be considered abnormal and unfeeling because she's a determined rebel? In the films, Leia was quite passionate and sensitive. Nussman also characterizes the drive for revolutions as a cold thing. But revolutions are actually based on profound, emotional commitments. Still, Nussman is a good poet and this poem should be read by aspiring poets. Marj Ihssen's illo is quite lovely and impressive, if only for the number of people and things in it. "Barriers," by Ronni Sacksteder, is a simple and sensitive poem about the one positive thing Kirk finds in Spock's death. Lucy Synk's illo of Kirk and Spock is equally affecting. "Sunstar," a PX poem by Diane Hardison, is quite good in its tautness of language, and the illo of Bennu by Mary Soderstrom is beautiful. You don't need to have seen an episode of the show (I haven't) to like it. Some of the art seems to have suffered from bad reproduction and some of it is quite mediocre. Yhe better ones include a bizzarre, almost surreal illo for Ecklar's post-ST:WK story by Peter Zale that should be sold at auction (I'd buy it); a lovely illo by Martynn of Saavik over a silhouette of Spock; and Pat O'Neill's bacover of all five Dr. Whos that should be on every Who fan's wall. The editor explains that the zine's steep price is due to the expensive reproduction that she had to do for some of the pencil illos and darker pieces. It's a pity that no one's come up with a cheaper way to reproduce art competently. STARWINGS is a good zine, and I do recommend it but only if you can find a spare $10 lying around. [3]

References

  1. from Jundland Wastes #10
  2. from Jundland Wastes #10
  3. from Universal Translator #25