Sublight Reading

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Zine
Title: Sublight Reading
Publisher: Chained-to-the-Typewriter Press
Editor(s): Carol Hedge, Susan Crites with perhaps the assistance of Nancy Brown
Date(s): 1978-1981
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS, with a small amount of Star Wars & Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Language: English
External Links:
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Sublight Reading is a gen anthology with fiction, commentary and artwork about Star Trek: TOS. It has a small amount of Star Wars, and in issue two, a bit of Battlestar Galactica.

An ad in Datazine #32 spoke of a once-proposed third issue: "We plan on breaking 'Sublight Reading' #3 into three smaller zines so that we can get at least one [of our proposed zines] out fairly soon." It is unknown if this occurred, or what those zines were.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1 by Susan Crites, Spock reads some Star Trek zines, Grup, R & R and what appears to be Obsc'zine.
back cover of issue #1, Susan Crites

Sublight Reading 1 was published in May 1978 and contains 76 pages.

Some of the material was sexually explicit, it wasn't to be sold to anyone under 16 years of age.

The front cover shows Spock reading three zines, Grup, R & R and what appears to be Obsc'zine.

This zine contains an excerpt from the yet-unpublished zine Games of Love and Duty.

  • The Chain Gang (2)
  • Shore Leave at Denny's Pleasure Planet (4)
  • Bad, Bad Nancy Brown, filk (6)
  • Mooncharmed by Susan Crites. (It isn't easy being a woman in the Klingon Empire, but Mara had ambition.) (7)
  • Coming Soon from ChttTP (18B)
  • Fetch by Caroline Hedge. (A fairy tale about the Great Bird of the Galaxy.) (19)
  • The Only Possible Choice by Joyce Thompson (25)
  • Ashes of Yesterday by Susan Crites. (She had been alone for years, but could never forget.) (30)
  • Games of Love and Duty by Susan Crites (32)
  • Poetry (47)
  • The Road to Honor by Nancy Brown (52)
  • Make Me Proud of You by Susan Crites (55)
  • The Lighter Side of the Force (59)
  • All Our Yesterdays by Mary Sue Donym (6)
  • Nursery Rhymes for Babyfen (66)
  • ChttTP's Guide to Fandom by Susan Crites (68)
  • Cartoons by Nancy Brown (70
  • How Farr? by Caro Hedge (71)
  • Cartoons by Crites (74)
  • art by Nancy Brown, Susan Crites (front and back covers), Sonnie DiFonzo, Mary Stacy-MacDonald, Debbie McDaniels and Jacque Marshall

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Welcome to 'Sublight Reading'! And a very impressive debut at that! Volume 1 is the first in a yummy list of upcoming publications proposed by Chained to the Typewriter Press. The three eds present to fandom a volume of songs, poems, stories, cartoons, rhymes, reviews, ads, and con reports which is exciting, richly varied, and downright fun. Highlights of thish are 'Moon Charmed,' a peek at Mara and Khan's first meeting; 'The Only Choice Possible,' a well-written Spock/Romulan Commander after-story which may be hard for some to accept; and a fifteen-page glimpse over Susan Crites' shoulder at a Klingon novel-in-progress. In thish, she provides some appealing and never-known-before insights into Klingon soldiering, romance, and (let's hope there are some fur freaks out there) anatomy. But the highlight of highlights come quite innocently near the end of the zine when two quick stories from the mind of Caro Hedge take aim and fire verbal grapeshot at two major mainstays (deadhorses?) of treklit. In 'All Our Yesterdays,' we meet CaroSue, girl-wonderful and her telepathic dog, Starchaser, who bedazzles the good ship Enterprise, resulting in (Oh Carol!) the bonding of Spock and Starchaser in 'How Farr?' Other features of this issue (the poetry is only so-so) explore subtleties and what ifs of the ST, SW, and other universes, demonstrating the three eds' diverse literary and sf footing. The layouts are orderly and interesting (with only a minimum of the standard mimeo mess), the cartoons are whimsical and the humor manages to be funny without being silly, sarcastic, or exclusive. Although the zine has room for improvement, the talents obviously runneth over and intentions of the eds, artists, and writers are the best. At present, SF will delight fanfic fans, but I gamble that, as issues roll on, SR will capture the hearts of many fans who cherish fandom as well. [1]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Richard Arnold
back cover of issue #2, Hans Dietrich

Sublight Reading 2 was published in January 1981 and contains 138 pages.

A description of issue #2 from an ad in Datazine #15: "The zine that goes from straight action/adventure Trek to kinky droid sex and almost makes it back again! Story topics include Vulcans and/or Vampires, Klingons, Cylons, whipped cream, fannish dating services, Spock/McCoy arguments, command decisions, parodies, running jokes, mucho bizarre humor, and Caro Sue finding True Love."

From the editorial, by Caro:
Susan turned to me the other day and asked "Whatever possessed us to try to get a zine together during Christmas?". Good question. Extra things to do during an already busy season we didn't need. Then again, I've become fond of Susan's (Muppet Christmas album. It's remarkably easy to type to!)

We finally came up with a novel way of solving our increasingly high phone bills and Chained to the Typewriter Press is now under one very small roof in Lamar. A trip up to our marvelous printer, Front Page Copy, in Denver (220 miles) is now an exciting family outing. (Oh, yeah, that's why we planned on getting this done before Christmas— because we were going up anyway...) 5ublight Reading 1 was our first zine, and we've learned huge amounts of things since then. We've tried to keep the same spirit in #2. We once again went for a mostly trek, humor & serious, G to R, easy on the death, disaster & destruction issue. Our mimeo went into semi-retirement, so this issue should have a better quality. Besides finding the best/cheapest printer in the state, we've cut costs by reducing some art... and typing stories without double spaces between paragraphs. (Comments pro and con on this practice appreciated.) Plans are tentative on SR#3. It was three years between #1 and #2, and it will probably be that long before we get to #3. Brave folks with patience are urged to submit.

So here I sit, Christmas Eve, with a glass of Reunite (sorry Jeff), Karma (the cat) at my feet and at-last-it's-done in my heart along with the seasonal goodwill. I hope you enjoy the zine. Thanks to all the contributors and collators! Good night!
From the editorial, by Susan:
Once upon a time, there was a sweet, young, innocent, naive, squeeky-clean neofan.

Oh, all right. It was me, and so only two of the above apply (take your choice). But there I was, stranded in Smallville, Missouri, with nothing but a few battered copies of the early Blish novels and a couple of Gold Key comics to sustain me. I'd heard rumors of large Trekcons in magical, far-away places like New York, but the realities of everyday life for me mere that the local TV stations shouted Trek reruns only on Thanksgiving and New Years (I kid you not). With a heavy heart, I tried to make do by reading mystery-novels and having children (two, and remember this fact — it will figure heavily later in this editorial), but life was never quite the same as it had been back in 1966-1969. One fine day, I chanced upon a copy of Star Trek Lives! in a local bookstore. I broke all land speed records driving home with it, and read it about three times that evening, drooling on the pages in a none-too-appealing manner. My husband mentioned this. I tried to EXPLAIN it to him. It was like being a refugee who had suddenly made contact with family after many years. He didn't understand that, (or several other important things, which we need not go into here because it's boring) which contributed heavily towards my exodus to Colorado in 1976. There I had the great good fortune to meet KathE Donnelly (Hi, KathE!), and acquire a subscription to A Piece of the Action, Welcommittee's newsletter.

[much snipped]

Not long after our first con, Caro and I sort of tossed the idea of having a zine of our own at each other, and neither of us had the good sense to duck. (We really can't remember whose idea it was first, which is just as well, since that way neither of us has to shoulder all the blame!) It seemed like an easy, fun project to while away our spare time with, and so we created Sublight Reading 1. An awful lot has happened since then; more zines, more cons, new fandoms, new residences, new animals, new hobbies. But we're still pretty much the same crazy pair, because all these new things were added to the framework of Trekfandom, in one way or another. (So we've both grown and stayed the same — neat trick, no?) Anyway, it's a constant source of amazement to us how much enjoyment there is in corresponding with fans, and telling Trek jokes, and sharing new aspects of Trekfic with everyone via our zines. We get quite a bit more from it that we give in terms of time and stamps, and we feel pretty doggone lucky.

So I feel like dedicating this zine (with the clone's concurrence)
 to all the Future Fans who aren't old enough to read it yet... Damaris &
S terling & Mike & Steve & Billy & Jenny & Kevin & MandE & Heather (I'm
 starting to feel like the Romper Room Lady!) & Ty & Rikki & David & Eric & 
Katie & all the others whose names I don't have on hand. As the clone 
pointed out on page 2 there, we are finishing this up on Christmas Eve.
 So it's the perfect time to hope these kids, and all the other little ones
 who I don't know, grow up into a peaceful world where it's okay to be
 hooked on fandom, or whatever they find to be equally demanding, educational,
 and fun. H'aagen-dazs, kiddos!
  • The Editorial "We" by Hedge n' Crites (2)
  • ... If You Don't Watch out by Susan Crites (5)
  • Femme Feline by Ruth Kurz (26)
  • Paradise Sickness by Richard Arnold (27)
  • Daggit of the Mind by Caro Hedge (29)
  • Proserpina by Carol Hansen (32)
  • Noli Me Tangere by Kate Birkel (33)
  • Prophecy by Renee Arceneaux (42)
  • Beware of Strange Faces by Susan Crites (43)
  • Iron Maiden by Carol Christensen (51)
  • Sesame Sector by Susan Crites (73)
  • Shawna by Gene S. Delapenia (77)
  • Cream by Caro Hedge (78)
  • Poem by Jo Philagios (80)
  • A Peter Potter People Live Interview #10, transcribed by Sandy Hall (81)
  • A Star is Scorned by Susan Crites (84)
  • Breaking Away is Hard to Do by Mary Sue Donym (85)
  • The Ready for Prime Time Strayers by Susan Crites (91)
  • Surak's Song (If I Were Free) (98)
  • The Ultimate Confusion by Richard Arnold (99)
  • Victim by Caro Hedge (103)
  • My Favorite Klingon by C. deMasoch as told to Guinn Berger (While written as humor, it is actually a biting commentary on domestic abuse and a woman's appalling low self-esteem and the willingness to stand for mistreatment, the latter something later fan reviews did not touch upon.) (113)
  • One Good Turn by Susan Crites (119)
  • Poem by Bonnie Reitz (135)
  • A Touch of the Hand by Renee Arceneaux (137)
  • art by Richard Arnold (front cover), Beverly Clark, Bob Cochran, Susan Crites, Ann Crouch, DawnSinger, Hans Dietrich (back cover), Carol Hansen, Caro Hedge, Vel Jaeger, Ruth Kurz, Mary Stacy-MacDonald, Bonnie Reitz, Melody Rondeau, Carrie Rowles, Dawna Snyder, Chuck Stout, Lowry Thompson and Carol Waterman

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

Second in a series of who knows how many, this zine is quite an improvement over its predecessor. The editors... are boldly planning the next issue in... three years? 'If You Don't Watch Out' and 'One Good Turn': Klingon male-Terran female, hot-n-heavy sex stories are about all I have seen from this particular fan writer. But, as I always say, if you can only do one thing, then do it well. Susan handles sex scenes quite satisfactorily. Although the content of her stories always seem to revolve around 'get laid,' there is a lot of action (and not always in the bedroom), and her female characters are quite strong-willed and domineering. onw, I can't stand wimpy, snivelling, submissinv females; but there are so many of the same qualities in 'Libbi' as there were in her last character (in Games of Love and Duty), that I wouldn't be surprised to meet Susan and discover she is not too different from either one. But there is nothing wrong with that, and I enjoyed both stories quite a bit. 'Noli Me Tangere': The storyline in this was interesting, but I must confess I was not that taken with it. I felt uncomfortable with her characterizations of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and reccommend she work on them. However, I felt there was a great deal of potential here. 'Breaking Away is Hard to Do': by Mary Sue Donym. AAAAUGH! Caro Sue strikes again! I must say I get a certain kick out of reading the Caro Sue series. What's the word for it? Machochism? Which brings me to... 'My Favorite Klingon': sounds like an idea concieved at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday while eating spiked brownies and watching reruns of 'Quark.' 'Cream': I really liked this very short story. Caro can convey a lot of feeling in a few short pages. 'Victim': my choice for best of zine. This story progressed marvellously and I found myself quite caught up in it. I am please with Caro's style of writing; it is easily and comfortable read, and I consider this to be an important asset to writing talent... I really enjoyed the balance of humor in this zine, particularly the wit and talents of Richard Arnold and Melody Rondeau... As for the poetry: I don't wish to make any comments on this because I have, quite frankly, no aesthetic appreciation for any kinds, except maybe limericks. All in all, the artwork was good, the repro was excellent, and if you like Klingons, poetry, comix, and sex (not necessarily in that order), then this zine is for you. [2]
This zine strikes a nice overall balance of humor and serious treatments, primarily Trek. It boasts a clean layout with attention to detail. The reader is spared a plethora of typos and there are frequent grace notes in the form of graphic details. The range of artwork generally is compatible with the story content. We are treated to Richard Arnold's cartoons (Who else imparts such personality to that crazy mixed-up starship?), Bonnie Reitz's fine hand with Klingons, Melody Rondeau's lighthearted style, and Carol Waterman's haunting images among others. Susan Crites' Klingons are well represented. Understandable aliens — cunning, at times brutal — still there is a tangible dimensionality. "...If you don't watch out" spins out fine tension tackling the idea that reality is shaded in degrees of responsibility. Using the theme of violation — territorial and personal — Susan offers a range of possible responses. "One Good Turn" reunites the protagonists two years later in a compassionate resolution of a difficult test of character. "Beware of Strange Faces" takes a humorow look at Klingon xenophobia with a little human seduction livening things up. Carol Christensen's "Iron Maiden" offers a good plot, a strong female protagonist, and some insight into familiar characters. Sakata Kochi is capable, decisive, innovative — exemplifying an unflinching acceptance of reality often more evident in females. To his credit, Kirk acknowledges the male protective-ness which might well have clouded his own judgement. The bittersweet acceptance of personal and career considerations reinforces the honesty. In "Noli Mi Tangere" Kate Birkel examines Spock's reaction to McCoy's painful probing of the barriers he places around his humanity. A rather more acerbic view of the "Big Three" not entirely consistent with my own perceptions, it is nonetheless interesting. Renee Arceneaux's "Prophecy" is a haunting meditation on Vulcan's decision to adopt reforms. Caro Hedge showcases her talent in three very different pieces. "Daggit of the Mind" is better than many Galactica script ideas. "Cream" is a delightful short treatment of forbidden human delights and their appeal to our favorite Vulcan. And "Victim" is a real chiller. Compulsion, death, and death in life all figure in a powerful story that leaves the reader aching. Interspersed are heady dollops of humor ranging from cartoons and running jokes through "Sesame Sector" (Bert and Ernie as Klingon?!) and on to full blown satire as in "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" — the further adventures of Caro Sue. This installment marks our heroine's (?) coming of age as a woman and has the reader wavering between groans and glee. "My Favorite Klingon" by C. deMasoch lets the editors take a bit of ribbing themselves. And harried mothers, frustrated authors, and just plain folks will sympathize with Susan Crites' encounter with a fantasy come alive. Try it; I think you'll like it. [3]
This is a fantastic zine, and I enjoyed it immensely. Very nice appearance: good graphics, good arrangement, good story selection and balance, and beautiful art (plenty of it, too). Art contributors include Reitz, Crouch, Rondeau, and Waterman. There is no sub-standard art in this zine. Richard Arnold's cartconish front cover is nice; Hans Dietrich's back cover rendition of Mark Venture and Derek Wildstar (from the Japanese Spacecruiser Yamato) is too good for words. The best stories in the zine are both from Susan Crites: "...if you don't watch out" and "One Good Turn." The first story is about a Federation research outpost commander's dealing with the Klingons when they capture her station; in the second story, which takes place two years after the first, Libbi Copperas runs into one of the Klingons who captured her and helps him deal with a personal problem. Both stories were exciting, chilling in places and warming in others -all in all, extremely well-written and conceived. Bonnie Reitz1 illustrations fit the stories to a 't' and were simply gorgeous. Her Klingons are just what Klingons should be: dirty, nasty, thoroughly evil, and utterly delicious! Another good offering is Kate Birkel's "Noli Me Tangere." This story takes place directly after the episode "Bread and Circuses." It shows a lot of insight into the Kirk/Spock/ McCoy friendship. Well-handled. Ann Crouch's portrait of Kirk and Spock was very nice. Shorts include pieces by Hedge, Crites, and de Masoch, and run from funny to serious. C. de Masoch's "My Favorite Klingon," illustrated by M. Rondeau, was funny, funny, funny. One of the best things about SR2 was the prevailing sense of hunor throughout the zine. The comedy offerings are "Daggit of the Mind" by Hedge, "Sesame Sector" by Crites, and "Breaking Away is Hard to Do" by one 'Mary Sue Donym'. This last is the funniest piece in the whole zine and tells the tale of how Lt. Caro Sue Austin finds "True Love." This is a gem, charmingly illo'ed by Rondeau and literally had me rolling on the floor. Poetry was contributed by Kurz, Hansen, Arcenaux, and Reitz, among others. Most of it was quite good, though I never did understand just what Carol Hansen's "Proserpina" was supposed to be about. I recommend SR2 very highly. Grab one while you can. Nearly every piece is a gem and you won't walk away from this zine depressed. Most certainly worth your money! [4]
Susan Crites dedicated #2 to "future fans" and listed the names of her friends' offspring. I showed my son his name, he became enchanted with The Empire Strikes Back ' series of cartoons ("I should never have told George...") and I had to virtually pry the zine out of his hands. Marilyn showed her son the Klingon version of Sesame Street in which Klingon tots are taught the values of their society. "Mine!" Leslie declared. No, Leslie, this zine is not for you, nor for my son, nor for any of the other young people listed in the dedication. In between the clever cartoon elements are sandwiched close encounters of the most intimate kind. Five stories deal with relationships between human women and alien men. I have a story in Sublight Reading #2 about a woman who is in command of a starship after a battle kills all her superior officers. In most zines, this would have been a change-of-pace story with a woman in charge for a change [Iron Maiden]. In this zine, it became just another "woman triumphs in adversity" story. All this may lead you to think I didn't care for the zine. Wrong. Actually I enjoyed it very much. I love Susan Crites' sense of humor and her matter-of-fact approach to sex. That is not to say I recommend this zine to all adults. Sublight Reading #2 is strictly for those individuals who have trouble visualizing human males as God's last word in evolution. Normally I don't wax poetic over art, but this zine is especially fine in matching the style of artist with the mood of the story. Dawn Singer and Bonnie Reitz each drew compelling portraits to go with the serious stories; Melody Rondeau's style was perfect for the humorous pieces; and Carol Waterman is ideal for mystical or abstract subjects. The over-all look of the zine is top-notch. [5]

References

  1. from Scuttlebutt #12
  2. from Datazine #11
  3. from Universal Translator #11
  4. from Universal Translator #15
  5. from Spin Dizzie #5