The Incomparable Jundland Wastes

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Title: The Incomparable Jundland Wastes
Creator: Maggie Nowakowska
Date(s): 1989 (in ALLIANCE), in 1994 ( in Southern Enclave), in 2001 (online as a pdf)
Medium: print, online as a pdf
Fandom: Star Wars
Topic: Jundland Wastes and early Star Wars fandom
External Links: On Fanlore here.
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Incomparable Jundland Wastes is an article by Maggie Nowakowska.

Its topic is Star Wars, early fandom, and the letterzine Jundland Wastes.

The article had been published and revised in a number of places. Maggie writes in the article's introduction: "In 1989, I wrote a history of JUNDLAND WASTES and the early SW letterzines for an Italian fanzine, ALLIANCE. Eventually, I re-edited it for the fanzine, SOUTHERN ENCLAVE [1]. Seven more years and an Internet later, I would like to lay out the history once again. Call it a search for roots in SW fanzine fandom."


These were the days when the written letter was usually typed, but still often hand-written was the backbone of fannish activity, and letterzines were the means by which large numbers of fans from all areas of the country correspond.

The letter columns of science fiction (SF) fanzines had always been filled with gossip, with necessary information about fannish activities, and more important, with lively debate about books, stories, and issues of the day. The letters were called LoCs, letters of comment, and few have ever agreed on how to pronounce the term. Some say "loke," others, "lahk"; and some even speak out the letters, "el-oh- see". (A situation very similar to the current controversy over how to say ".gif". Is it gif as in "gift" or jif after the peanut butter? I've heard both sides claim that the inventor supports their interpretation.) Letterzines were fannish publications dedicated to LoCs. Internet bulletin boards and communities like Yahoo Groups are their descendants. LoCs were the comlink for fannish society. In STAR TREK fandom, the letters column of WARPED SPACE, one of media fandom's crucial early fanzines, was alive with debate over stories and current notions about the ST universe. HALKAN COUNCIL was the first Trek letterzine, morphing eventually into INTERSTAT, which published monthly for over 10 years. When STAR WARS first appeared, comments and stories appeared in the established Trek zines, however conflicts arose over the appearance of Trek and SW material under the same covers. Although many fans enjoyed both universes, it quickly became clear that the two fandoms were destined to live on as separate entities with divergent points of view.

By the end of 1977, the first simple SW genzines (dedicated to articles of comment by the editor or invited fannish authors, letters of comment, and seldom running over 60 pages) had appeared. By early 1978, the first SW fanzines dedicated to SW fan stories were in the mails.

Reactions and Reviews

I want to thank Maggie for the first installment about SW fandom. It was really great to read and I look forward to the rest of it I wasn't involved in fandom at this time so it helps me understand what was going on and hopefully how we can stop history from repeating itself in regards to the unpleasant aspects of early fandom. [2]
Maggie's "In the Beginning ..." report was extremely thorough and quite insightful. There really is nothing new in fandom now, is there? I must say that after reading this, I'm not as sorry I missed SW fandom's birth and growing pains as I once was. Thanks, Maggie, for your obvious care and hard work on this article. [3]
I enjoyed Maggie's history into Jundland W's tales. It just goes to show how much you both forget and remember over the years. It was a great time !o be a fan, and, hey, it still is! [4]
Thank you for providing an overview of SW fandom's formative years/birth pangs. It's given me a new appreciation for those of you who were there in the beginning, speculating on the future of SW before even Lucas had set the story down in concrete, and coming to grips with what the public en masse saw as a revolutionary leap in storytelling, or mind candy for a jaded audience. [5]
I found your "Journey Through the Jundland Wastes-article most interesting, because being relatively new to fandom means that much of this history has been lost to me. One thing intrigued me, though, and that was the suggestion that Han Solo was an ideal Romantic Hero. Do you Americans have a different perception of what a Romantic hero should be like, because IMO, Han is just too nice to have that role! He does questionable things, yes, but his heart is most definitely in the right place... [6]
I was very much impressed by the first installment in Maggie Nowakowska's SW fan history. Very well done! So much detail - most of which I knew little about previously! I've never read any Jundland Wastes but now I feel the urge - I'd especially like to look up all that discussion on "get stories"! It was fascinating to see the changing type of LOCs over the years. All this discussion on the whys and wherefores of plot and character development, etc., in fanlit seems to have gone by the wayside now for the most part. I wonder why. Too many writers with burned fingers/egos? Or less LoCers who are story writers and interested in the subject? At any rate, I feel Pat Nussman deserves some kind of award for her establishment of this early forum and her perseverance as mediator toward the more heated debates. The mention of the controversy over censorship is particularly pertinent to us at the moment with the same matter recurring regarding adult-rated or homoerotic stories. I was interested to see "a strong fannish tradition that Han and Luke were more brothers than anything else and that to pair them sexually was to violate a very specific relationship developed in the movies." Further, mention of Gary Kurtz' response - or lack thereof - to created characters being paired homosexually (but not explicitly), pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject, i.e., to write established characters in non -established relationships is to write about someone else entirely. A gay Han or Luke is not those of the movies. Therefore to me if such a story is labelled SW I feel cheated ~ I'm not reading about the characters Lucas created and with whom I wanted to have more adventures via fanlit. [7]
Loved your article on the Jundland Wastes. It's so important that we don't forget the history of SW fandom, and it's very useful to have an overview of a zine's progression. Was there really a section of fans who supported the Empire? Were they serious or were they just trying to provoke arguments? [8]
Thanks so much for presenting the history of SW fandom! I enjoyed reading it; but on the other hand, it make me kind of sad. Because of all that bickering, how many new writers were turned off by SW? I hate to think of all those ideas that were lost... I know my reaction would've been - had I joined in fandom at that time - forget this! If! want abuse, I'll go to the Division of Motor Vehicles and renew my license for fun! I just hope it never happens again! [9]
Thanks so much for presenting the history of SW fandom! I enjoyed reading it; but on the other hand, it make me kind of sad. Because of all that bickering, how many new writers were turned off by SW? I hate to think of all those ideas that were lost... I know my reaction would've been - had I joined in fandom at that time - forget this! If! want abuse, I'll go to the Division of Motor Vehicles and renew my license for fun! I just hope it never happens again![10]
I especially enjoyed Maggie's second chapter of SW Fandom's growing pains. And pains they were. She mentioned we still "live with a legacy of hesitation." Perhaps that's more of a blessing than a curse. When reading these letters, we can't see the person's facial expression and we can't hear the tone of voice so it can be easy to misconstrue a meaning especially if the reader had a bad day. We don't need another "civil war." [11]
I keep reading your Jundland Wastes history with interest. In some ways, nothing has changed. But that whole Church of Ford thing... talk about idiocy on an epic scale! It's hard to believe this was perpetrated by alleged adults. Judging by some of the comments quoted, there were plenty of folks in need of serious psychological help. I sincerely hope that these fanatics do not get back into this scene. I know, it sounds terrible, but I think that we could all do without such viciousness and venom spewing forth from those in dire need of a life.[12]
...many thanks to Maggie Nowakowska for another installment in SW fan history. That was the first thing I read, and it's as engrossing as any thriller! The "Han/Luke uproar" and the subsequent total misrepresentation of the intent of several fan authors with regard to these characters (notably Maggie's excellent ThousandWorld series) answers my question of the previous SE re why story reviews/analysis have dropped off in letterzines in recent years, i.e.fear'. That's a shame.[13]
I'm grateful for the thoughtful response to the articles on Jundland Wastes as well. It's very difficult to address issues that one was personally involved in — and I'll be curious to see the reaction to Part II, since it includes a more intense level of involvement for me. Even reading it a few years after I wrote it, which was ten years and more after all the controversy happened, the old emotions are still there, waiting to catch fire. I guess all a person can do is try to make clear when she is editorializing; I hope I have done so.[14]
Thanks for the "Golden Age" recollections and excerpts. Fandom would be hard-pressed to find a more capable chronicler. It also provides valuable insight into the current occasional tribal flares, perhaps forcing some to reevaluate their own pristine, righteous motives (moi included — taint none without sin, but equilibrium of a sort is desirable for some cohesiveness — another opinion expressed; hah!).[15]
[It] remains interesting to one who was not in fandom then. Too bad those dated articles are still able to conjure tender nerves, but perhaps it will serve to warn we relative newcomers away from past mistakes. [16]
I found Maggie's reporting to be extremely; according to my own recollections of those turbulent and fascinating times. Terrific job, Maggie; very well done. I hope there will be more to look forward to. Soon! [17]
Three cheers to Maggie Nowakowska for her painstakingly researched and documented history of emerging SW fandom, as seen through the early letterzines. I have enjoyed this opus immensely, and I admire the scholarly integrity Maggie has invested in the project, not to mention her candor in marking places where her own personal involvement in events might, perhaps, color her observations. [18]
I also am amused at myself that one of the major sources of wonder and astonishment to me at MWC was that all over the place I saw Impies and Rebels, Church of Fordies and Luke sites, Leia-lovers and Vader-vamps, sitting together, talking, and even during or after the Great Blaster Battle smiling and joking with each other and not just their "own", as it were. And it wasn't just the new Fen either: I saw several old "enemies" sitting in quiet conversation — together! — over a meal or two at the Hummingbird. Almost more than seeing my own old buddies, seeing these "old" antagonists being friendly and intermingling like the adults they finally are moved me greatly for reasons I have no words to explain, except that it always hurt me to be held at arms' length by several people I wanted very much to get to know better, solely because I was notoriously — and erroneously — relegated to the Imperial Vader camp, when in fact my friends and I were very fond of all the characters — except the Ewoks, I admit. We always wondered whether those involved in the all-too-real hostilities were aware that this was, after all, fiction. Carol Hines-Stroede once remarked that she was always on the brink of telling these parties to get a life. SW was and still is one of the centers of my real (as opposed to Mundane) life, but I am not about to denigrate anyone over their preferences, since there are better things to fight for (and about). Actually, I wonder how much of it started out as pretend teasing, and turned ugly when it got out of hand...? It does happen: people become oversensitive to teasing — especially when it's somewhat rough or repetitive — and the surly or defiant pretend response becomes more and more real? Whatever went before, I'm glad it seems to be over this time around, but not surprised: 18 years of life can tend to mature some of us into sadder but wiser — and more tolerant — individuals. Pity it doesn't work that way for everyone. [19]


  1. ^ Crossing the Jundland Wastes: The Last Trek, a Journey Through Star Wars Fandom's Golden Age
  2. ^ from Southern Enclave #40
  3. ^ from Southern Enclave #40
  4. ^ from Southern Enclave #40
  5. ^ from Southern Enclave #40
  6. ^ from Southern Enclave #40
  7. ^ from Southern Enclave #40
  8. ^ from Southern Enclave #40
  9. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  10. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  11. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  12. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  13. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  14. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  15. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  16. ^ from Southern Enclave #41
  17. ^ from Southern Enclave #42
  18. ^ from Southern Enclave #42
  19. ^ a fan's comment (one who's been away from fandom a long time, and then attending MediaWest*Con) from Southern Enclave #42