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Title: Tantalus
Publisher: Orion Press
Editor(s): Randall Landers
Date(s): 1990 - 1995, 1999
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS, Star Trek: TNG
Language: English
External Links:
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Tantalus is a gen Star Trek: TOS and Star Trek: TNG anthology fanzine published by Orion Press and edited by Ann Zewen. It was first published in September 1990 and ran for eight issues until 1995.

The odd numbers of Tantalus were TNG zines, the even numbered issues TOS zines.

In June 1999 TOS stories from previous Tantalus issues were reprinted in a Tantalus Revisited anthology.


Features stories concerning death, serious injury, and/or emotional trauma as it affects one or more of the regular characters... The mainstay of this zine is the type of story traditionally known as 'hurt/comfort' or 'get (whomever)' stories. Also the place for alternate universe and alternate ending stories. It is the darker side of Star Trek. [1]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1, Julie Nosal

Tantalus 1 is a TNG zine and was published in September 1990. It contains 174 pages and five stories. Art by Steven Dixon, Christine Myers, and Julie Nosal.

  • editorial by Anne Zewan (2)
  • By the Book by Chris Dickenson. Set in the "second history" of the Yesterday's Enterprise episode, this powerful story explains the obvious antagonism between the Captain Jean-Luc Picard of that timeline and his first officer. It's not quite what you may think. (3)
  • Having Is Not So Pleasing a Thing, poem by Lori Scott (10)
  • The Q is Silent by E. Brooks. Commander Riker must face both life and death as he battles with the same illness that took his mother's life. Will he recover? Or is the price of survival too high? (11)
  • The Mark of a Warrior by Diane K. McCarty (28)
  • Be Not Mad by Janna Stockinger. Madness is perhaps the most terrifying concept faced by an intelligent mind, as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew discover in this unusual story, which explores the unique and creative route Picard must follow in his quest to return to sanity, with a little help from his friends. (37)
  • Final Thoughts, guest editorial by Chris Dickenson (75)

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Julie Nosal
flyer for issue #2

Tantalus 2 is a TOS zine and was published in May 1991 and contains 108 pages.

  • From the Editor, an introduction by Ann Zewen (2)
  • Field of Illusion by Sharon Pillsbury (3)
  • Turn Back Time by Tina Schinella (27)
  • The Vigil by Debbie Cummins (46)
  • Going Home Again by Laurie D. Haynes (57)
  • To Say Goodbye by Linda McInnis (86)
  • Final Thoughts (108)
  • art by Steven Dixon, Don Harden, Christine M. Myers, Julie Nosal and Tina Schinella

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

Tantalus is a hurt/comfort zine that alternates original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation material in each issue. It focuses on the darker side of Trek, featuring themes of loss, pain and death. Its aim, in the words of editor, Ann Zewen, is to "explore the deepest emotional conflicts a human (or Vulcan) can experience". Tantalus 2 features our original heroes, Kirk, Spock and McCoy... Tantalus 2 is a classic "read em and weep" zine. It is necessary to walk a fine line in this genre and two of the stories succeed admirably. "The Vigil" by Debbie Cummins is a powerful tale of Kirk and McCoy's last vigil over a comatose Spock. Each of them share their pain and regrets over things left unsaid. It contains a haunting scene of Spock's childhood, 'the day the cats disappeared', that lingers with you long after the story is over. 'To Say Goodbye" by talented veteran Linda Mclnnis, has Kirk attempting to say a final goodbye to both Spock and McCoy who were killed on landing party duty. The innovative addition of another Starfleet officer confronting a similar loss lifts 'Goodbye' above average. This story rang truest for me. Barbara, the other officer, doesn't have any pat answers, nor does she sail away into the sunset with Kirk at the end of the story. Instead they struggle and suffer together as they eventually reach peace with their memories. The other three stories in Tantalus 2 are readable, although "Field of Illusions" by Sharon Pillsbury is too emotional and choppy. Kirk and Spock are almost unbearably gushy and over-wrought as they fight to survive Kirk's bout with Rigellian fever. It did, however, contain my favorite scene in the zine as Spock impishly makes a Vulcan snowman, complete with pointy ears to surprise Kirk. 'Turn Back Time" by Tina Schiella takes a slightly different twist as it focuses on Security officer Jenna Carter who comes close to death before she can repair a broken friendship. "Going Home Again" by Laurie D. Haynes has a little bit of everything (hurt, danger, mystery, and a dash of the supernatural) as Kirk faces danger home on the farm. Tantalus 2 is a welcome addition to the hurt/comfort genre. I enjoyed the excellent art of Christine M. Myers, especially an intriguing portrait of George and Sam Kirk comforting a stricken James Kirk in "Going Home Again." Julie Nosal renders the front and back cover portraits - a fairly routine rendition of Kirk on the front and a marvelously wicked "Mirror" Sulu on the back. I would like to have seen a little more creativity on some of the other artwork but generally it was well done. The layout is stark and the black-edged border hints of dark deeds to come. Tantalus 2 is available from Orion Press. They have years of experience in producing quality zines. I give Tantalus 2 a slightly above average overall review score of 60 points out of 100. This breaks down to 18 points for writing, most of this for the strong, polished prose of Cummins and McInnis), 12 points for artwork, 15 for the overall presentation of the zine (which included both opening and closing remarks from the editor, which I greatly enjoyed), and 15 points for the ultimate value of the zine, given the reasonable price. Hurt/comfort zines are not for everybody. I am more of an action/adventure fan myself and tended to skim quickly over some of the angst and anguish. But if you are in the mood to curl up with a box of tissues and have a good cry, Tantalus 2 could be the zine for you. [2]
First, let me say I personally do not like death of Kirk or Spock stories. Being in nursing, I have quite enough "reality" without having it forced on me in my fantasy world. So, be prepared if you read Tantalus 2. The stories I liked, however, were "Going Home Again" by Laurie Haynes about Kirk, Spock, and McCoy involved in mysterious occurrences in Kirk's home town, "Field of Illusion" by Sharon Pillsbury, a Kirk sick/Spock comfort story and 'Turn Back Time" about two girls on the Enterprise who are aided by McCoy with their personal problems. [3]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3
back cover of issue #3

Tantalus 3 is a TNG zine and was published in September 1991 and contains 189 pages. Art by Barbara Caldwell, Kimberley Junius, Christine Myers, Steven Dixon, Adrian Morgan, and Julie Nosal.

  • From the Editor (2)
  • Tantalizing Thoughts (4)
  • Lift Not Thy Hand by Janna Stockinger (6)
  • All the Shiny Little Ponies by Kimberley Junius. Continues the popular story, "9.37%," which appears in Idylls #5. But this time, all is not idyllic for Geordi LaForge and Leah Brahms and family. (10)
  • A Small Act of Courage by BEKi. Gives us a unique perspective on death ... and on First Officer William T. Riker. (55)
  • Paths to Cross by Tanya Chang. takes a look at the conflicts between a C.M.O.'s duty to her ship and to her oath as a healer. (58)
  • Voices by Andra Marie Mueller. Has the loss of Deanna Troi caused Will Riker to start "hearing things," or could it be ... ? (89)
  • A Pact With Lucifer by Mindi French. Set on the Imperial Star Ship Enterprise, where women are little more than chattel--and often abused chattel at that. But things might not remain the same for long. (112)
  • The Hollow Sound of Honor by Natasha Mohr. Gives us a glorious death for Tasha Yar, not the disappointing way from "Skin of Evil." (120)
  • Empty is the Shape of Silence by Jordan Trevor. Picard fans, this one's for you. (126)
  • Wishful Dreams by Miriam S. Darnell. Looks back at a very painful time for Deanna Troi and Will Riker, and shows how they might have made it through one of their darkest hours--with a little help from each other ... (157)
  • Too Much Time ... Not Enough Time by Jo-Ann Lassiter. Takes another look at the aftermath of "The Best of Both Worlds," and suggests how Picard might have survived the terrors of life with the Borg, with a little help from his friends. (155)
  • A First Officer's Duty by Brenda Schaffer. What if Picard hadn't survived his sojourn with the Borg? What if Riker had been forced to kill his captain? How would the first officer cope with that decision? This is one possible scenario ... (185)
  • Final Thoughts (189)

Issue 4

cover of issue #4
flyer for issue #4

Tantalus 4 is a TOS zine and was published in April 1992. Art by Steven Dixon, David Lawrence, Christine M. Myers, and Julie Nosal (front and back covers)

  • editorial (2)
  • Tantalizing Thoughts (3)
  • End Game by Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck (5)
  • Rapids by CarolMel Ambassador. Following the events of "The Return," Jim Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise are diverted to Betazed. An investigation into the disappearance of one of Captain Kirk's old friends place both Kirk and Spock in jeopardy. But their escape leads to even more potentially serious consequences and the discovery of a betrayal. (28)
  • Theories by Jill Thomasson (reprinted in 2018 in The McCoy Files #3) (58)
  • Bad Luck Holiday by Carol L. Lance. Captain Kirk, Commander Spock and Doctor McCoy truly understand the meaning of "Be careful what you wish for" as they fall victim to the Amusement Park planet's computer's interpretation of their wishes... (74)
  • Never to Forget, poem by BEKi (89)
  • Mind-Brothers by Alinda Alaine (90)
  • In Memorium (108)

Issue 5

cover of issue #5

Tantalus 5 is a TNG zine and was published in January 1993. It contains 152 pages and seven stories.

  • Bleeding Heart by CarolMel Ambassador and Apryl Showers (Shows one more reason Picard has for despising Q; Q plays a vicious mind game with Picard by impersonating Jack Crusher.)
  • Both Sides of the Mirror by BEKi (a Mirror Universe tale, seen through the eyes of the first officer, Will Riker, in both universes.)
  • Prisoner of Protocol by Cyndi Bayless Overstreet (A look at how Data might cope with some unusual planetary customs.)
  • Power Play by Mindi French
  • A Time to Heal by D J Nicholson
  • Playthings of the Mind by Janna Stockinger
  • art by BEKi, Caldwell, Lawrence, and O'Quinn

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

According to Orion Press, the Tantalus zine series features the darker side or ST with an emphasis on pain, death and grief and some alternate universe fiction. Odd numbered zines are TNG, even numbers are OT. Both Sides of the Mirror bv BEKi is the longest and most complicated story and stars Riker as he crosses over to the parallel universe seen in the CT episode Mirror Mirror. The Commander finds himself surrounded by enemies, Beverly has been systematically poisoning him and although Troi is still his Imzadi she cannot be trusted. Meanwhile, in our universe, Beverly is told how an alternate Picard murdered her husband and arranged tor Riker to kill her son, and Ro is shocked by Rita's ability to release her procreant hormone, a scene which would indicate that this story is set before Conundrum. This story is very well paced and the characterisation is spot on. The Mirror universe bears a striking similarity to that seen in Diane Duane's novel Dark Mirror, which only goes to show that great minds think alike in fandom.

Gifts of Love and Light by Brenda Shaffer is a much shorter story featuring a missing scene from Final Mission. Picard is dying and while Wesley is looking for water, Jack Crusher comes to visit his oldest and dearest friend. Jean-Luc is ready to go with him but Jack convinces him that he must stay alive because there are people who need him. I loved this poignant story, but then I'm a sucker for Jean-Luc.

Prisoners of Protocol by Cyndi Bayless Overstreet is a story of political intrigue and the Prime Directive in which both Riker and Data get ihe chance to prove they are "fully functional'. Overstreet has a nice easy style and her genuine affection and respect tor Data are well illustrated here.

Bleeding Heart by Ambassador & Showers. Q wants to break Picard and pierce his sou! so he disguises himself as a miraculously resurrected Jack Crusher and watches Jean-Luc, Wes and Beverly suffer. Troi has him sussed though.

Power Play by Mindi French is another AU: story which is so skillfully written that the reader is not sure whose side to be on - Riker's or Picard's. Contains some adult scenes.

A Time to Heal by D.J. Nicholson. Jean-Luc is seriously injured and blinded in a shuttle accident. As Beverly struggles to keep him alive he reveals his guilt over the death of his sister.

Playthings of the Mind by Janna Stockinger. This is another long story and I must say it was probably my least favourite. Set in the first season, the Enterprise crew encounters an alien mind which transports most of the bridge crew to a place where thought becomes a very warped reality. Tasha is back on her home planet, Riker and Worf are killed in battle and Troi blames the Captain. Meanwhile Beverly and Jean-Luc stand over Jack's coffin. Data has to figure out a way to get everyone back to reality. This story seemed to draw heavily on themes seen in Where No Man Has Gone Before and I felt the whole thing a bit unsatisfactory.

If you've never read H/C before, Tantalus 5 is a good place to start, especially if you're a fan of Picard and Riker. I give it a 7 out of 10. [4]

Issue 6

cover of issue #6, BEKi, also used as the cover later of "Tantalus Revisited"

Tantalus 6 is a TOS zine and was published in May 1993 and contains 112 pages. The cover is by BEKi. Art & illustrations by Toni Hardeman, Christine M. Myers, Sherry Veltkamp.

  • From the Editor by Ann Zewen (2)
  • Fire in the Lake by Ann Zewen (47)
  • Alone by Laurel Ridener, Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck (48)
  • Mind Net by Alinda Alaine (59)
  • Hands of the Healer by Carole L. Miller (761)
  • Final Thoughts by Ann Zewen (112)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

  • Fire in the Lake / Ann Zewen, The crew don't make it back from the Mirror Universe.
  • Alone / Laurel Ridener, Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck, Nice "what-if" vignette - on Rura Penthe, Kirk & McCoy both experience dream-visions - McCoy of the consequences if he had not gone with Kirk; Kirk of having let McCoy die a better death than this in a previous incident.
  • Mind Net / Alinda Alaine, An Ekon terrorist group is tracking Kirk mentally. Kind of a Mary Sue, with a telepathic protector for Kirk.
  • Hands of the Healer / Carole L. Miller, Kirk is dying from the spreading effects of a grazing disruptor bolt, and McCoy, having exhausted all his tricks, discovers a new one - direct empathic contact - that almost does him in. Spock to the rescue. [5]

Issue 7

Tantalus 7 is a TNG zine and was published in October 1994, contains 172 pages and nine stories and poems.

front cover of issue #7, BEKi
back cover of issue #7
  • From the Editor, an introduction by Ann Zewan (2)
  • Tantalizing Thoughts (3)
  • One to Keep by Jo-Ann Lassiter (6)
  • In the Darkness of the Sun by Cyndi Bayless Oversetreet (12)
  • Reactions by Gail J. Christinson (57)
  • The Shackles of Memory by Mindi French (79)
  • Crossover by Randall T. White, Jr. (88)
  • Watercolors in the Rain by Cyndi Bayless Overstreet (116)
  • Shadows of Heroes Past by Summer Jackson (123)
  • The Fifth Light by Gail J. Christison (128)
  • Final Thoughts (172)
  • art by BEKi (front cover), Leahie Steele, Margaret O'Quinn and Gabi Stone

Issue 8

cover of issue #8, BEKi
flyer for issue #8

Tantalus 8 is a TOS zine and was published in January 1995. It contains 190 pages. The cover is by BEKi. Art & illustrations by Christine Myers, Margaret O'Quinn and Steele.

  • From the Editor by Ann Zewen (2)
  • Tantalizing Thoughts (LoCs) (3)
  • A Minor Irritation by Holly Trueblood. Spock gets an infestation of serious alien chiggers and Kirk and McCoy battle to save him from himself. (5)
  • The Voice of Time by Joanne Seward. At an alien archaeological dig, Jim Kirk learns that opening an ancient tomb can be like opening Pandora’s Box as a voice from the distant past draws him backward in time. Can he resist? (30)
  • Complications by Jill Thomasson. Spock & McCoy both suffer complications from Sarpeidon. (56) (reprinted in The McCoy Files #2)
  • Shattered Fortress by Eileen Curtis. Klingons take revenge on Kirk by torturing Spock. (68)
  • Skin Deep by Holly Trueblood. A laser scalpel malfunctions as McCoy is taking off Kirk's Romulan disguise, leaving Kirk disfigured and McCoy's operating hand unusable. (86)
  • Not Light But Warmth by Lynn Syck and Mary Rottler. Novella - in the aftermath of Babel, Spock reports both McCoy and Kirk for dereliction of duty, constructs a barrier to protect himself completely from letting emotions affect his judgment in future, and resigns. Kirk's health waxes and wanes with the barrier until Kirk's own anguish destroys it. (116)
  • Final Thoughts by Ann Zewen (190)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

  • A Minor Irritation / Holly Trueblood, Spock gets an infestation of serious alien chiggers, and we get a serious hurt/comfort story as Kirk and McCoy battle to save him from himself. Very well executed.
  • The Voice of Time / Joanne Seward, Kirk is almost carried off to be the eternal consort of a mummy.
  • Complications / Jill Thomasson, Spock & McCoy both suffer complications from Sarpeidon. Not up to this author's usual excellence. This one had interesting potential, but is rather schmaltzy with unconvincing plot development. The final technofix is unsatisfying, and the effect of lost love on Spock could have used more exploration.
  • Shattered Fortress / Eileen Curtis, Pretty much a gratuitous torture tale with Klingons taking revenge on Kirk by ripping Spock to shreds body and mind. The Romulan Commander appears from nowhere and with no purpose other than to be the cavalry, and after a lot of treacle from the Three, all is well.
  • Skin Deep / Holly Trueblood, A laser scalpel malfunctions as McCoy is taking off Kirk's Romulan disguise, leaving Kirk disfigured and McCoy's operating hand spastic. And the Romulans are in hot pursuit to retrieve their commander and cloaking device.
  • Not Light But Warmth / Lynn Syck and Mary Rottler, Novella - in the aftermath of Babel, Spock reports both McCoy and Kirk for dereliction of duty, constructs a barrier to protect himself completely from letting emotions affect his judgment in future, and resigns. Kirk's health waxes and wanes with the barrier until Kirk's own anguish destroys it. Pretty heavy H/C here with generally strong writing, though not quite enough plot to carry the emotion. [6]

Tantalus Revisited

cover Tantalus Revisited, cover by BEKi, also used as the cover of issue #6

Tantalus Revisited is a digest-sized TOS anthology that was published in June 1999 and contains reprints from previous issues. It has 196 pages and is spiral bound. The stories from Tantalus Revisited are also available as an online collection.[7]

another version of the cover with the title
  • End Game by Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck. A look at the ramifications -- physical, emotional and political -- of the events in "Amok Time."
  • Alone by Laurel Ridener, Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck. Jim Kirk and Leonard McCoy face the long night on Rura Penthe, each wrestling with his own demons and his worry about his friend.
  • Not Light But Warmth by Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck. A look at the aftermath of the "Journey to Babel" -- McCoy has done his medical magic. Sarek will live, as will Kirk, and all's right with their world. Or is it? Can a Vulcan first officer live with the fact that his captain risked life and his ship just to save the life of his friend's father? And can that captain live without his friend by his side?
  • Fire in the Lake written by Ann Zewen. "Fire in the Lake," a Mirror Universe story I wrote in an attempt to answer the question: What would have happened if Kirk and Company hadn't been able to return to their own universe at the conclusion of the events depicted in the episode "Mirror Mirror"? My thanks to BEKi who edited this story, and who provided so much artwork for TANTALUS.
  • A Minor Irritation written by Holly Trueblood. Mister Spock learns that there are some itches you shouldn't scratch.
  • Skin Deep written by Holly Trueblood. A follow-up to "Enterprise Incident," in which Jim Kirk is forced to consider the possibility of life without his celebrated good looks.

External Links


  1. ^ from Media Monitor #34
  2. ^ from STARLink #13
  3. ^ from Trekzine Times v.1 n.4
  4. ^ from IDIC #38
  5. ^ from Halliday's Zinedex
  6. ^ from Halliday's Zinedex
  7. ^ Ann Zewen presents: Tantalus Revisited (accessed 23 August 2009)