The Ermine Violin (Star Trek: TOS zine)

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Title: The Ermine Violin
Publisher: Permanent Press
Editor(s): Eileen Dougherty
Date(s): 1978-1980
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS & Science Fiction
Language: English
External Links:
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The Ermine Violin is a gen Star Trek: TOS and Science Fiction anthology.

The title comes from a part in the Star Trek: TOS episode, "The Trouble with Tribbles." It that episode, Spock notes an ermine violin would be a furry and pleasant-sounding alternative to tribbles. It presumably would have combined the sound qualities of a traditional violin with the soft fur of an ermine, an earth mammal related to a weasel. Spock noted that he could not see an advantage to having such an instrument.

Sister Zine

It is a sister zine to The Jedi Journal.

From an editorial in The Jedi Journal:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... Newark, Delaware to exact, five students at the University of Delaware decided to start a Star Trek fanzine, "The Ermine Violin." Despite the stated Star Trek orientation, we were flooded with Star Wars material. It seemed logical to the staff (now seven) to plan for a Special Issue that was mostly Star Wars. This stared a deluge. So... bowing to the inevitable, The Ermine Violin Press presents a new Star Wars fanzine, The Jedi Journal [which] will be published irregularly, and hopefully alternate with 'The Ermine Violin'.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1 by Colleen Winters

The Ermine Violin 1 was published in February 1978 and contains 42 pages. It has a front cover by Colleen Winters.

  • A Brief History of the Origin of the Ermine Violin (4)
  • An Editorial by Eileen Dougherty (5)
  • Things to Come by Eileen Dougherty (5)
  • The Ermine Violin by Lena Beatrice Marie and Eileen Dougherty (6)
  • The Continuing Saga of the Great Tribble Invasion by Colleen Winters
  • Starships: You've Seen One, You've Seen Them All? by Tom Ep (7)
  • Science Fiction Game Review Series #1: Ogre by Dan Farrow (9)
  • Crossword Puzzle by Gaylen Reiss (10) (reprinted from Finagle's Folly)
  • And All I Ask is a Tall Ship and a Star to Steer Her By" by D.A. Lewis (12)
  • The Strange Circumstances Surrounding the Case of the Once and Future Manuscript by Lena Beatrice Marie (15)
  • Crossword Puzzle Solution by Gaylen Reiss (23)
  • Roll Call by Tom Epp (24)
  • Fourth Season by Eileen Dougherty (26)
  • Meanwhile, Back at the Cantina by Gaylen Reiss (29) (reprinted from Finagle's Folly)
  • Roll Call Solution by Tom Epp (31)
  • Lines We'd Like to Hear by Michelle Waterloo (32)
  • It's Purring! by Michelle Waterloo (33)
  • The Phantom In: The Cleaning of Central Park by Colleen Winters (34)
  • More Lines We'd Like to Hear by Michelle Waterloo (40)
  • Untitled by D.A. Lewis (41)
  • Even More Lines We'd Like to Hear by Michelle Waterloo (41)
  • Cartoons by Colleen Winters, Eileen Dougherty, D.A. Lewis, Dan Farrow and Tom Epp (back cover)

Issue 2

The Ermine Violin 2 was published in July 1978 and contains 60 pages. The art is by Colleen Winters and Michele Waterloo. and the lettering is by Tom Epp.

100 copies were printed.

front cover of issue #2, Colleen Winters
back cover of issue #2, Michelle Waterloo

From the editorial: "We received quite a few comments about our first issue. As a result, we're introducing a couple of innovations in this issue. First: a really unique idea - page numbers. There were a few in the last issue. It went over so well that we've decided to add more. Second: we've used presstype transfer lettering for most of the titles. This is a direct result of the number of negative comments received on the hand-lettered titles of the first issue. Also, in this issue, we've tried to have a larger proportion of STAR TREK material. After all, this is a STAR TREK fanzine, theoretically. Another difference is that we have expanded from a 30-page 'zine to 60 pages. We'll try to keep it that length as long as we can manage the printing costs, in the future."

  • Another Continuing Saga by Colleen Winters (3, 17, 18, 21, 29, 31, 57, 58)
  • This is an Editorial? by Eileen Dougherty (4)
  • Still to Come by Eileen Dougherty (5)
  • The Mouse and the Lion by D.A. Lewis (Star Trek) (6)
  • I Wish I Had Not Written this Story by Dan Farrow (original) (15)
  • Funny Song by Mud Puddles (Star Trek) (18)
  • Crossword Puzzle by Tom Epp (19)
  • Duath: The Passage of the Story by Therem Estraven (Star Wars) (22)
  • Traveller: Science Fiction Game Review Series #2 by Tom Mitchell (30)
  • A Public Disservice Message by Colleen Winters (32)
  • What's Next by Gaylen Reiss (33)
  • Trivia Teasers by Tom Epp (34)
  • Graffiti (35)
  • Rock Trek by Michelle Waterloo (38)
  • Solution to the Crossword Puzzle by Tom Epp (44)
  • A Military Review of "Arena" by D.A. Lewis (Star Trek) (45)
  • The Adventures of the Super-Horta by Michelle Waterloo (Star Trek) (47)
  • Answers to Trivia Teasers by Tom Epp (48)
  • The Phantom In: The Cleaning of Central Park, Conclusion? by Colleen Winters (Star Wars) (49)
  • You are Receiving this Zine Because (59)

Issue 3

The Ermine Violin 3 was published in February 1979 (100 copies) and contains 62 pages. The art is by Colleen Winters, Mary Mabrey, Gaylen Reiss.

front cover of issue #3, Colleen Winters
back cover of issue #3, Colleen Winters
cover of issue #3, perhaps a second printing that has 102 pages?
  • A Continuing Cartoon Saga by Colleen Winters (3)
  • The Etruscan Leotard, a responsefic by Gaylen Reiss to the tie-in novel The Procrustean Petard (4)
  • Trivia Teasers by Tom Epp (13)
  • Judas, fiction by Jo Horvath (Battlestar Galactica (1978)) (14)
  • Overheard, a pun (22)
  • The Classified Ads (pithy parodies) by Jo Horvath, Eileen Dougherty, and Bill Dougherty (23)
  • A Continuing Cartoon Saga by Colleen Winters (24)
  • R & R, fiction by Jo Horvath (Star Trek) (25)
  • Filksong by Jo Horvath (Battlestar Galactica, to the tune of the Monty Python song, "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm O.K.") (30)
  • Why There is No Editorial by Eileen Dougherty (30)
  • Dragonslayer, fiction by Colleen Winters (31)
  • A Continuing Cartoon Saga by Colleen Winters (37)
  • Save the Extras! by Jo Horvath (38)
  • Trial by Sword by D.A.Lewis (Star Trek) (Kirk and Spock adopt a 14-year old human/alien girl named Heather who in two years can speak multiple languages, has out-skilled McCoy in surgery techniques, and is smarter than almost everyone, and is preparing to go to the Academy when she is kidnapped by aliens. She escapes and all is well.) (39)
  • A Continuing Cartoon Saga by Colleen Winters (58)
  • Answers to the Trivia by Tom Epp (59)
  • A Continuing Cartoon Saga by Colleen Winters (60)
  • You Are Receiving This Zine Because (61)
[the preface to The Procrustean Petard responsefic]:

The following story [The Etruscan Leotard] was written in desperate response to "The Procrustean Petard," by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath printed in Star Trek: The New Voyages 2.

The authors' idea of switching the sex of the Star Trek characters intrigued me, and that is what kept me reading, in hopes that they would do interesting things with it. I was, to say the least, deeply disappointed. Despite some of the negative implications we saw in "Turnabout Intruder," I don't think Kirk would be overwhelmed with despair to find himself in a woman's body, especially if a good portion of the crew were going through the same experience. (And," in today's button-pushing society, let alone in one 200 years from now — the Star Trek century — one's success does not depend on male muscular strength.)

Being throughly irritated with "The Procrustean Petard," I set out to write a humorous parody/satire to point out the story's faults. However, my version rapidly turned into a light-hearted/seriousness which, if nothing else, is closer to the attitude I believe the Enterprise crew would take, in place of the almost-simpering primitive fear of the original story.

I also refuse to copy their use of little-known parables and quotes to make a cute point at the risk of alienating most readers. Instead, I took one of the theories rejected by those authors and turned it into a plausible reason for the existence of that strange sex-change capability. I think you'll agree with my reasoning. If not, you'll at least understand it, which is a giant step in the right direction.

I even came up with a ST-oriented explanation of how the thing works -- which also happens to take care of some of the unmentloned but deficient aspects of the original story, such as hairstyle changes. I won't, however, try to explain why everyone looks "ravishing" in their new bodies. That is a bit much.

I leave the Klingons out of this story also. Suffice it to say that when the Enterprise crew finds the solution, they'd probably offer it to the Klingons who have been changed, as well. Now, whether the Klingons would trust members of the Federation to control a machine that messes around wth Klingon's bodies is another question, and probably another story, as well.

My story ends up regaining the status quo. This is not imperative in Treklit, but, in my opinion, it is preferable to the alternative given by those authors. If the purpose of their story was to incite objectionist counter-literature, they were successful. (And why else would they have written it that way?)

If they are serious (and boy, do they write it like they were serious) about this story, I offer my version as soothing medication for other wounded Trekfen.

Live Long and Prosper.

Issue 4/5

The Ermine Violin 4/5 was Summer 1980 and is 102 pages.

According to an ad in Universal Translator #4, it is a "Trekzine which also includes some B:G poetry and a Dr. Who story, 'Dr. Who and the Planet of the Crorrdi' by Gaylen Reiss, as well as a humorous article on the genesis of the Doctor (Who) by J. Holly Horsman. Art by Greg Smith, Stefanie Hawks, Colleen Winters, and others. Off-set."

  • And Then There's the Mouse Story
  • A Different Kind of Courage
  • Who?
  • First Turn of the Hourglass
  • Dr. Who and the Crorridi (Doctor Who)
  • Doctor Who and the Pawns of Darth Vader, response to a fiction challenge (see Dimensionally Transcendental)
  • other unknown content