The Gropes of Roth
|Title:||The Gropes of Roth|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
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On the cover: "...One small step for a man, one giant leap for a thing."
From the Editorial
For two years we have groped without benefit of editorial but this issue marks the beginning of a confused period in my life from which GROPE may spring, like the phoenix, eternal. On the other hand, it may not. We shall just have to wait and see.
The reason for the delay of this issue and the uncertainty regarding the future of GROPE is my impending move to Munich ( Munchen to the natives).
Yet another problem; Although this issue is printed in the U.K. anyone ordering after mid-July will get their copies mailed from Germany. So after that date I may have to revise the price to meet higher German postal costs. I have heard that the cheap book-rate doesn't apply to printed matter which is stapled down the edges. Hence the new look, wrap-around cover expressly designed to fooi the post office. Impossible to tell at this stage what the cover will look like. If it's horrible and falls to pieces don't blame me. I can only guarantee that it will be, as usual, in the worst possible taste.
You may be thinking that this is the last of the GROPES (DUNGROPIN', ULTIMAGROPE) but there is at least one more to come before I lose my printing facilities. KING GROPE will cost 95p or 3.50 + possible surcharge if I have to send it from Germany, (reason for the title is that Alan Hunter sent me a cover!
While on zines; I am desperate for a good, artist who can illustrate Peek stories. I know some very good SF artists but it's not the same thing. There's no one in England except the overworked Mick Eason and Robin Hill. Perhaps someone in the States can help out? ALNITAH also suffers from the same prob lem so please spread the word among your artist friends. You too can be a household name in Europe. Think of it! The fame...)
I'd like to thank all the people who voted for me for the Star Trek Fan Fund. I was very surprised to be nominated, let alone to actual ly win. I can now go to August Party with Beth Hallam and Margaret Draper. We hope to have ROTH, KING GROPE, ALNITAH 8 and ZAP! 3 at the con. So come up and see us sometime...
AS usual I've had a lot of help from my friends with this issue. The anonymous Margaret Draper caught most of my
spelling errorstypos, and Margaret Austin came over to make the coffee, rub down the headings and show me some rude pictures of Robert Redford. Without them this zine would have lacked inspiration. Good also to see the Return of Beth Hallam to our pages after an unavoidable absence while she had her throat cut!
NEWS FLASH...NEWS FLASH...DEWS FLASH...NEWS FLASH...NEWS FLASH...NEWS FLASH...Helen McCarthy, regular contributor to GROPE, star of numerous Novacons, Eastercons and Terracons, otherwise known as Lotta Jung, Irena Malova and a host of other aliases, has finally taken the plunge and got herself engaged. Those of you who don't know Helen will prolably mutter "So what?". Those of us who do are still reeling from shock. Well done, Martyn! That's a feat something akin to the storming of the Bastille. Best wishes to you both and happy groping.
Contents of The Gropes of Roth
- includes the booklet by Beth Hallam: "Make Your Own Multh" - a Klingon alcoholic beverage
- Koloth's Revenge by Beth Hallam (3)
- Ode to a Well-known Member, poem by Jean Moss (18)
- A Cautionary Tale by A Lady (19)
- Lustful Logic by Kathleen Glancy (25)
- The Lost Decade by Audrey Baker (K/S. Spock awakens on an unfamiliar ship. Ten years have apparently passed that he has no knowledge of, and Kirk was killed long ago. How can he live a life that must be a dream, but is not? How does he cope with loss and sorrow that sears him to his soul? There’s only one way out…. This was a privately circulated story, printed later in "The Gropes of Roth," and later in Encore.) (28)
- Stairs in His Eyes: a Phonographic Tail of the Spice Age by "Bawdrey Aker and Calory Vollage" (Audrey Baker and Valerie College) (55)
- Grope (June 1976)
- More Grope (November 1976)
- Son of Grope (February 1977)
- Deep Grope (May 1977)
- The Gropes of Roth (May 1978)
- King Grope (September 1978)
- Grope Flashback (May 1980)
- Bedside Grope and Queen Grope (July 1981)
- Graveside Grope (May 1983)
inside back cover. The subject of this piece is reminiscent of professional sf illustrations: female nudity and furry aliens.
Reactions and Reviews
See reactions and reviews for The Lost Decade.
All are long out of print and difficult to obtain. I sincerely hope that #8 won't be the last, since I quite enjoy the sly humor and artwork, and the offbeat but mature writing. You won't find any too serious/dramatic, overwritten, overly sentimental, sophomoric tear-jerkers here. The editor herself said, in the "Editor's Postscript" to SON OF GROPE: "...the zine as a whole is not meant to be taken seriously, though certain individual stories may bring a tear to the eye, a lump to the throat, a wrench to the gut, or up yesterday's dinner! GROPE began as a light-hearted romp and, I hope, will continue in that spirit. The stories and poems...do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor nor are they intended to present a workable Star Trek universe—not even I think that the big E can function with its First Officer permanently on heat!" Some American readers may find some of the British writing hard to get used to. It should be noted, too, that the majority of stories are not K/S. In this case, the ability to appreciate Infinite Diversity certainly pays off! 
... contains all those little Gropish touches of which I am so fond: the cartoon of Uhura in the ripped uniform on the inside front cover ("Nobody gets past this girl's final frontier without a struggle, Captain Kirk!"), tiny tribble cartoons by Robin Hill, an editorial page graced with a marvelously ugly goat-headed demon-creature holding a sign: "The rapist is in",...also, an insert booklet, "Make Your Own Multh" a Do-it-Yourself Guide Translanted from Klingonese by Granny Faddcck" which includes the most marvelous illustration of a still ("the distillation process") that I have ever seen, together with a detailed description of the setup, a history and explanation of multh, its ingredients (including 31 lbs. of "swettisox", 2 rubatires (shredded fine),...etc.). The cover is a hilarious depiction of a little alien, bipedal cock-creature, descending from its spaceship ("...one small step for a man, one giant leap for a thing!"). There is also an interior page of very clevel cartoons of the little penis-creature and its erectile ship, complete with a drop of pre-seminal fluid... speaking in a strange, alien tongue—except for one expletive, when buzzed by a Star Wars ship. According to Ann, he is the male Alien of the Month (a GROPE fixture), and his name is Groth (as in "The Rapes of GRoth"). If you share this particular kind of sense of humor (as I do), you will be in seventh heaven with this issue of GROPE. And all the short stories and vignettes are at least lighthearted—with the exception of Audrey Baker's "Lost Decade". For example, there is "Stairs in His Eyes: a Phonographic Tail of the Spice Age", by "Bawdrey Aker and Calory Vollage", which reads like the most nightmarish collection of typos in the universe, and is hilarious, at least on the first reading. Example: "...she (Sistine Chapel) sighed. 'You are so devoid!'/ 'Naturally,' he said, erupting into a passion of lava again, 'I am a Vulcano.'/ And he thrubbed against her hops./ 'Will you be my bridge?' he ejaculated./'Oh yes,' she whiskered in his painted ear. Her widest dram had come true./He looked at the lootenant who could hardly believe she was engaged—then he kicked her once again." In "Lustful Logic" by Kathleen Glancy, Spock finally manages to rid himself of the unwanted attentions of Chapel, while at the same time insuring that he is now the only one available to rub McCoy's antidote ointment all over Uhura's body. There is one poem, "Ode to a Well-known Member", by Jean Moss, a clever paean to "The Captain's celebrated dong". "Koloth's Revenge", by Beth Hallam is a rather unfocused tale of Kirk's experiences with a con-woman and a revenge-obsessed Klingon while temporarily stranded on a star base. he never quite manages to get the girl, but the Klingons vengeful plans are thwarted. Spock reflects that perhaps not getting the girl was Koloth's revenge. In "A Cautionary Tail", by "a Lady", Spock is ordered by McCoy to accompany Kirk on shore leave, to help him get some R&R—some healthful exercise, a few drinks, and a girl. He does so reluctantly, but almost too well. He eventually helps Kirk locate a very interesting female companion for the evening—an Arcturan with red hair and a prehensile tail. They meet, Spock discretely leaves, and Kirk and the female make their financial arrangements for the night.Kirk finds the sexual thrill of her tail irresistable—and she finds Kirk irresistable, so that when his communicator buzzes in the morning, she tosses it out the window as far as she can. Kirk is late in returning from leave, so Spock beams down to locate him and return his communicator—very discretely in the bedroom doorway, and transmits to Kirk's mind the picture that the bed is on fire, causing him to knock his Arcturan out of bed in his haste to pull his pants on and depart. She is baffled at how the damned communicator managed to show up again at such an inopportune time! When Kirk beams up, Spock tells him to check his uniform fastenings, and replies to Kirk's query that he very much doubts that Kirk will be less interested in exotica in the future. The only K/S item in the zine is Audrey's "The Lost Decade". It is, in a way, more of a hurt/comfort story than anything else, and is one of my personal favorites—but probably not for that reason. Spock awakens, dresses, and breakfasts as usual one morning, then goes to the bridge, where he is shocked to see not Kirk, but someone he has never seen before in the command chair. The bridge crew is also unfamiliar. He asks the Commodore in Kirk's chair when he came aboard—which astonishes the man. Then, he admits to not knowing the stranger, and remarks that Kirk said nothing about him coming aboard—which further dismays the man. When Spock asks where Kirk is, the stranger (Commodore Peter Roberts) calls for McCoy. When McCoy arrives, Commodore Roberts explains the situation to him, referring to "poor Kirk". At that phrase, Spock's heart stops with fear. He insists on being told where Kirk is, and McCoy tactfully spirits him away to Sickbay. Once there, Spock DEMANDS to know where Kirk is. McCoy explains finally that Kirk was killed ten years ago "in a fight with the locals on Matthias 22", and that he died in Spock's arms. Spock insists, woodenly, that he remembers nothing of Kirk's death. The last thing he remembers is that last night he sat with Kirk in his cabin—and Kirk was alive and in command. McCoy tries to explain all this as delayed shock, and that Spock's memory has blotted all the intervening years since Kirk's death out of his memory.... [the review goes on for several pages, in massive detail] ... And Kirk explains how Spock has been lying in Sickbay in a coma ever since he hit his head on Naxos. Spock clings to Kirk fiercely; Kirk urges him to let go and cry. Which he does, for a solid hour, once he is sure McCoy won't interrupt. Afterwards, Kirk makes Spock comfortable, they talk, and eventually Kirk leaves for some rest—for the first time in days—and instructs McCoy to make sure that he is sent for as soon as Spock wakes up, so that Spock doesn't believe that he has returned to that world again. They check on him and see that he is sleeping soundly, and recovering rapidly from his ordeal. I love this story for its insight into Spock's character, and the nature of absolute loneliness. I think that you will, too. It is worthwhile searching out a copy of this out of print zine for "The Lost Decade" alone.