The Halkan Council
|Title:||The Halkan Council|
|Publisher:||Shirley Huang & Sandy Yingling (two high school students) -- issues #22-onward state that it was published by "War Su-Op Press"|
|Date(s):||December 1, 1974-September 1, 1977|
|Size:||The size of the letterzine was 8.5 x 11 until issue #15, when it became digest-size.|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Published by two high school students, it is considered the first letterzine in Star Trek fandom, and by default, possibly the first in all media fandom. It sponsored the first Star Trek Fan Fund, started the Fan Q Awards, and was the first zine in which the term slash (referenced as "/") appeared.
"The Halkan Council" was the gathering place for much of the early discussion of the show, and there were many letters by the movers and shakers of the time. Some of the topics enthusiastically debated: Vulcan biology and genetics, Kraith, the tensions between Star Trek and science fiction fans, the state of fandom in general, specific fanworks and tropes, and much more.
Succeeded by Other Star Trek Letterzines
- The Halkan Council (December 1974-September 1977)
- Interstat (November 1977-March 1991)
- Not Tonight Spock (June 1984-July 1986)
- The LOC Connection (January 1989-December 1993)
- Come Together (January 1994-August 1996)
- The K/S Press (September 1996-present day)
For other fandom letterzines; see List of Letterzines.
The Issues: Summaries
From the First Editorial
Well, we got the first edition out on time!. The Halkan Council is meant to be a forum for ST fan discussion and fan opinions. Hopefully, many fans will contribute letters of comment (hint, hint!) on a variety of topics; the live ST episodes, the animation, new ST books, Kraith, and other fan fiction, story ideas you have, cons -- almost anything related to ST! Short fiction and artwork are also welcome. Please write... A little about ourselves: Both high school students, we run a local science fiction club called ACIET (uh-sy'et). When our club's mimeograph machine landed in Shirley's basement, we had our chance to start printing a ST newsletter --The Halkan Council!. 
The Term K/S
Although the term K/S had previously been used to represent friendship without a sexual element, the / was first used to refer to a sexual relationship in this letterzine, and it was in The Halkan Council where some of the early discussions about K/S and slash took place. Excerpts from a few issues can be found in the fanzine Legacy and are posted online here. 
Birthplace of the Fan Quality Awards
There was much discussion, especially in the earliest issues, of Star Trek fandom having a separate awards program/system from the Hugo Awards. Some fans felt separate awards would be good idea, as they would be more useful and a way to step back from having to compete with literary science fiction fans (see Science Fiction Fandom vs. Media Fandom). Other fans thought separate awards would be a bad idea, that Star Trek would never be taken seriously as a fandom if they retreated and accepted a "consolation prize," that Star Trek had to compete on the same field as sf fans.
- From issue #4: "Rather than physical awards handed out at a con, I'd like to see Halkan Council stay in print -- frequent issues, coming out over several years -- and HC running a yearly poll (with other Trekzines helping to distribute the poll.) That way the winners would get get glory, without so much hassle about when and where and not so much worry about cost."
- From issue #4: "If ST fandom were to have awards similar to the Hugo, it should be stated 'favorite fanzine,' favorite editor, etc I don't think it's wise to make awards for excellence a popularity contest, as Hugo-like voting would."
- From issue #6: " ... Why not combine the two ideas discussed (ST awards, a collection of different stories) and consider several awards for fan stories and the publication of the winners each year? I don't know enough about the mechanics of publishing to know how well this would work, but it sounds interesting..."
- From issue #7: Regarding the zine Quartet Plus One: "Wasn't that a beautiful experience? I adore that little pumpkin-headed alien, and the final story ("Ni-Var") dealing with Spock split into his two natures was a masterpiece. It's a toss-up as to which of those will appear in that 'Best Writing' [award] that's being planned, but I'm sure part of it will appear."'
- From issue #7: "As for the naming an award, I'd like to suggest that these publications be dedicated to the memory of the late Gene L. Coon, and the artwork to the late Tim Courtney."
General Fan Comments About "The Halkan Council"
What is HC anyway? It isn't a zine, at least how I define the term. It's not really a newsletter, though that's closer than a zine. It could be called a 'Lettercol' if 'col' were short for 'collection'. It's UNIQUE. It's NEEDED. It's PEOPLE, ST fans getting together to discuss topics of interest, to set up theories and shoot them down, to stimulate and challenge other fans. The fact that it's published imposes a discipline quite absent from club meetings and con rap sessions. 
Rating 2 (graphics) 4 (content). The print is readable in HC, despite the fact that it is an all-mimeo zine, but the content is great. HC is is a letter-zine and fascinating to read. Recommended. ((Illos aren't the best, but in this case the content more than makes up for it.)) 
This is a letterzine where fans can carry on discussions, carry on, bring up ideas, speculate and rap on Star Trek every month. It is the last word in Trek correspondence, with some discussions going over a period of months and becoming more convoluted and fascinating with each month's issue. Some favorite topics have been Vulcan... uh... biology, the ST movie and its ramifications, Jane Wyatt's portrayal of Amanda, Star Trek Lives!, children on starships, what-happened-after-a-certain-episode, pros and cons on Kraith and Spock Enslaved, and other fan-written fiction, the relationships between various Star Trek characters, and comments on fans and fandom in general. Halkan Council is the next best thing to being at a con party rap session. Somethings opinions and hair fly, providing entertainment as well as information... There are also current fanzine reviews, which are useful for everyone, but especially for new fans who are not familiar with the quality of various zines. In fact, Halkan Council is probably the best 'starter' zine for neo-fans, giving the low-down one what is going on in fandom... In it's first year, Halkan has gotten considerable response nationwide and abroad, and has encouraged many new fans to write out their opinions and share them Ahhh, new blood... As many fans have said to the editors, Halkan Council is one of the most needed and welcomed additions to Star Trek fandom. It is a must for any active fan. 
"Halkan Council" is is the zine for people who like fanzines, produce one, write or draw for zines or who want to know what's fandom doing now? The entire zine is a letter column. Recent topics for discussion include Vulcan er, uh, anatomy, Kirk's possibly misspent youth (where'd he learn to pick pockets like we saw in Patterns of Force?) and speculations on the Kirk/Spock relationship. Also reviews new zines and generally helps people stay in touch. 
Perhaps the only fanzine that provides the same service for the upward-bound fan to the same extent that the reference zines do is Halkan Council. It is a unique case since it is the only letterzine in fandom. Halkan Council does of course have its obvious appeal of being a casual, friendly, forum for discussion among fans, but it also serves the dual purpose of parading the actifans before the rest of fandom. Most likely, most of the people in Star Trek fandom who are active fans have been in Halkan Council several times, if not frequently. With a little luck, a fan can pass from obscurity to being quite well known in fandom with nothing more than a few letters appearing consecutively in Halkan Council. It does of course, depend upon how many letters the fan writes, how badly the fan wants to write something that will likely make it into print, and the random discretion of the editors in choosing that fan's letters for publication. People with paranoid inklings may realize that it's possible for HC to turn a neofan into a BNF overnight, but its all very random and like reference zines, that feature of Halkan is inherent. I'm certain that it isn't the intention of Shirley Huang and Sandy Yingling to use their zine as a tool; but if only because of the format they choose for their zine, it does have that potential. 
- They named the mimeo machine: Merlin the B.
- Science Fiction Citations for OED, accessed December 26, 2010
- from a fan in "The Halkan Council" #4 (March 1975
- comments by Sharon Ferraro in Menagerie #9 (March 1975)
- from Interphase #2 (November 1975)
- from Gerry Downes in Stardate Unknown #1
- from M.J. Fisher in Getting Ahead in Fandom