The LOC Connection
|Title:||The LOC Connection|
|Date(s):||January 1989 to December 1993|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
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This editor probably gets the gold star for putting out the most issues of a zine in a consistent manner; she never missed a monthly deadline and published sixty issues over five years.
"LOC" stands for Letters of Comment.
Sections of the letterzine have been included on Fanlore with the publisher's permission.
Other K/S Letterzines
- Not Tonight Spock! (June 1984-Winter 1987)
- On the Double (November 1986-January 1996)
- The LOC Connection (January 1989-December 1993)
- Come Together (January 1994-August 1996)
- The K/S Press (September 1996-present day)
For other letterzines, see List of Letterzines.
Detailed Descriptions of the Issues Themselves
This Letterzine Had Varying Subtitles
- "(A monthly service providing K/S authors with comments on their stories.") (issues #1-#19)
- no subtitle (issues #20-#27)
- "The Letterzine of K/S Fandom" (issues #28-#60)
One Fan's Description
In 1999, a fan wrote:
The LOC Connection” was my first introduction to the world of K/S fandom. I absolutely ate up every issue as fast as I could — I poured over every nuance of opinion, names of authors, people who wrote in and zines. I remember being so impressed with the way people talked about stories and the insights they had. However, in my extreme naiveté, I thought I had more insight into K/S than most others and I was going to tell everyone about it. So I launched this discussion about masculine and feminine concerning Kirk and Spock that makes me want to hide under the covers. Oh well, I’ve learned! Anyway, I loved “The LOC Connection” — it was my lifeline to K/S. 
From the Creator
In 2005, Moore, using the pseud she used for writing fiction, posted about the letterzine in her Livejournal. An edited version was also reprinted in The Celebration Zine, the 100th issue of the The K/S Press:
I got quite a chuckle out of a post that appeared on a list a couple of years ago. I don't remember which list or even which fandom. But the poster said, with great frustration, "If I have to hear one more fanzine editor talk about what a hardship it was publishing fanzines in the pre-computer days...."
I could understand the complaint. In addition to the usual cyclical turnover of generations of fans within various fandoms, in the past four or fives years there has been the additional difficulty of a technology gap. I am rather amazed at the number of modern fans who have no concept of what a "letterzine" is. The idea that it was similar to a list — but where it was months (if not many months) between submitting a comment and seeing your comment appear in print — is astounding to fans who came along during the computer age.
Yep, we thought we lived high tech back then, but it's pretty pitiful compared to the way things are now. Hence, the temptation of the old timers to ooh and aah anyone who will listen, with stories of the incredible amount of work involved in producing a fanzine or other fandom publication.
I edited and published a letterzine in K/S fandom for five years. I was quite proud of the fact that it came out every month for 60 consecutive months and was never late. That was unusual back then. The normal routine for a letterzine was for it to be at least twice as long between issues as its announced schedule — i.e., a monthly publication was lucky to come out every couple of months, a bi-monthly publication came out a few times a year, and a quarterly publication often struggled to come out more than once a year.
Usually, the editor's page for each issue was filled with excuses — "real life" traumas and hardships and inconveniences — that kept the publication from being on time. Usually, they promised to do better in the future. Usually, they didn't and most fan periodicals had a short life.
I think I charged $1.50/issue for my monthly letterzine. Unlike most periodicals, it didn't have any artwork or even a cover. It was usually 8-15 double-columned pages stapled together, and photocopied onto colored paper. I kept it simple. But still, those pages were packed with submissions from fans. I had to type in every submission (mailed to me via snail mail), from the fan's handwritten or typewritten pages, into the computer to create each monthly publication. (And the snow was up to my neck....) It was hours of work, but since there was no easier way, I don't recall thinking much of it. As the publication approached the end of its five-year run in 1993, personal computers had become more common, and a few submissions were being sent to me on floppy disks. That sure made things easier!
Once the deadline for submissions was past, I had to layout the issue, and then print it out. Next came reading the hard copy word-for-word to catch any typos. Then, after running off 100 or so copies (that was my subscriber base) at the local photocopier, I had to fold each issue, put it into an envelope and seal it. I had printed labels for my subscribers (I remember that seemed like a luxury), so I had to slap a label on each envelope, and then a return address label. And then a stamp. (It was a Big Deal if that month's issue was thick enough to require three stamps instead of two.)
All told, each monthly issue cost me around 10-12 hours to produce. It surely would have taken much longer had I not been such a fast typist. And that's not counting the hours involved in corresponding (via snail mail, of course) with various subscribers about various things, and in general managing the subscriber base. Every once in a while I'd talk with someone on the phone. But I never was one much for verbal conversation. (And it seemed that the cost of a long distance call was a Big Deal back then.)
My letterzine eventually became the sole periodical devoted exclusively to K/S fandom. Once I was ready to get out of K/S, I turned the subscriber base — with their permission — over to someone else to produce a similar letterzine with a different name. They published it for maybe a year and half. Eventually, it got turned over — and renamed yet again — to a pair of ladies who still publish it to this day, some ten years later. It's now available on email as well as via snail mail. They seem to have the same enthusiasm for the fandom today as they did back then. They've done a terrific job. The publication doesn't look all that different from when I produced it 12-16 years ago. (Any differences have only been improvements.)
Despite all the hard work—or maybe because of it — back in the "olden days" when I produced that letterzine, I feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment for having provided a vehicle of communication for the fandom. It's one of those things I can look back on and think, "I did good."Even though the snow was up to my neck... 
Why The LOC Connection Was Published
Moore, in the 2007 interview in The Legacy of K/S in Letterzines: The LOC Connection: 1989 to 1993 answers the question of why she decided to publish this zine:
Because I was a K/S author and, like most authors, I wish there was more feedback on stories. Many of the editors who regularly published K/S fanzines said they passed along comments to the readers, but I found out for a fact that it wasn't true in the majority of cases. (Robin Hood of Merry Men Press was a rare exception. Duh! She ended up getting most of my stories.) Many letterzines contained fanzine reviews, where each story in a fanzine might get a sentence or two of comment and that was all. Plus, reviews were aimed at prospective readers, not authors. So, I had the idea of doing a letterzine that contained nothing but commentary on individual stories (not full zine reviews), aimed at the authors. That way, readers could pick out the one or two favorite stories in a zine and just comment on those, rather than feeling obligated to comment on the entire zine.
A Change in Content
The first twenty-one issues were just simply LoCs, comments on the stories themselves.
... for the first year and half or so, The LOC Connection, contained only feedback. Then, when the one other K/S letterzine of the time folded, I expanded LOC to include non-story comments, ads, author biographies, etc; ie, be a full-fledged letterzine that was a voice for the fandom. But I never allowed anyone to comment on story comments, because I didn't want to inhibit readers from giving feedback, since they were so inhibited to begin with.
From the editorial from issue #19:
"With the demise of Treklink, and On the Double having turned into little more than an adzine, I have been considering expanding TLC to include a 'discussion' or 'mailbox' column. This would be a place where subscribers could debate topics concerning K/S, where authors (if they desired) could answer questions asked in a LoC on their story, where tips on writing LoCs could be presented, etc. The LoCs would still be the most important part of TLC, and I would want the new column to support the LoC section, not overwhelm it. I would also like to include a section giving information on K/S zines that are currently available, as well as those seeking submissions---not ads, per se, but a brief listing. No matter what changes take place, TLC will remain a monthly publication, and it will also maintain its 'plain Jane' appearance (i.e., no graphics, borders, double columns, etc.).
Number of Subscribers
At its peak, the number of subscribers was 100. When the editor did a survey, she discovered that each issue was read by an average of 2.5 people. This statistic was typical of zines; fans often lent out their zines to many others.
Starting in issue #33, the zine had a feature, a section called "The Booth." Authors/artists volunteer to be "in the booth," and fans comment on their entire body of work regarding trends, improvements, styles, and such.
Only Positive Comments Regarding Poems and Art
In issue #21, the editor wrote that she would only print comments on poetry and art that were primarily positive in nature. She addresses this policy later:
I made a rule way back in the early days that I would only print positive comments on poetry and art, as both those mediums seemed more 'personal' to me than writing (which shows how intimidated I am about the fact that I'm neither an artist nor poet). In any event, I always felt I would change the rule if I received protests from poets and artists. But only one poet complained. 
In the Legacy interview, Moore responded to the question of whether she edited submissions:
Never for length, but sometimes minor tweaks for content. What very few people ever realized is that The LOC Connection was breaking new ground. There had never before been a fan publication that focused on feedback; and, in particular, not one that focused on giving feedback for individual stories (as opposed to entire fanzines). Therefore, I was adamant about making sure the content reflected my vision of what I wanted the letterzine to be. If a comment started to go off on a tangent regarding fandom in general, or the Star Trek series in general, or the commentator mentioning in passing that she'd been laid up with a broken arm in recent months and that's why she hadn't commented in a while, etc., then I edited that part out. Story comments were supposed to stick to commenting on the stories. I was afraid that the minute I let other types of comments creep into the story comments, then the floodgates would open with such and the letterzine would no longer be what I wanted it to be. Because I was open about the fact that I edited comments for content appropriate to the letterzine's purpose, I eventually got the impression that some fans were thinking that I had been editing comments left and right. That just wasn't the case. Any editing I did rarely went beyond removing, say, half a sentence that was an off-hand comment that had nothing to do with the story being commented on. The fact is, I could go for a few issues in a row without doing a single bit of editing; and then, again, when I did need to edit, I might remove just half a sentence. Nevertheless, I heard in later years that some had mentioned that ruled TLC with "an iron fist." In a sense, that might be true-I was adamant that TLC stick to its original purpose regarding story comments. It was all that most authors had for feedback. But hearing such was also frustrating in that I don't think others realized what a new concept TLC was for its time. I felt I needed to train the readership, so to speak, so the letterzine wouldn't stray from giving the feedback that the authors so eagerly sought.
End of the Run
In the Legacy interview, Moore explains her decision to end TLC:
In June of 1993, I announced that the subsequent December issue would be the final one, making for a nice even five years of TLC's existence. I admit, though, I was getting rather grumpy for those final issues. Typing in the comments from paper submissions (only a few fans had personal computers where they could submit a floppy disk) was feeling like a chore, rather than a labor of love. I was ready to be done with all the responsibility.
Reactions Regarding Anonymity
I have heard a rumor of a new letterzine that will specialize in letters of comment, but I have heard that these letters will be "anonymous". If the person writing the letter doesn't have the chutzpah to put their name to the thing, how valid can it really be? I also can't help feeling that "anonymous" letters that appear in print will eventually hurt somebody somewhere, and my plea to whomever is doing the zine is to consider your options very carefully. I think you'll find that most Trekfans are brave enough to say what they think without having to duck behind a veil of anonymity. 
Essentially, I have a hard time believing that anonymity is anything more than protection for people who want to stir up the dust and possibly cause hurt feelings along the way. And while I do fully understand [C F's] reasons for having the anonymity policy, I can't seem to agree with it. I don't like the idea of LOCs being used as a weapon, and even though the majority of fans wouldn't even consider doing something of that nature, there are a few who, unfortunately, will I know from experience that people will occasionally attempt to attack a writer's work through what I would consider a more personal attack... Admittedly, anonymous letters of comment are a sore point with me, whether they appear in print, or arrive in the mail box with some podunk postmark (obviously mailed by a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend...). And while I hope THE LOC CONNECTION motivates readers to send in their LOCs, I also see a need for a person to stand behind what she/he is saying and to say it to the writer/editor who was responsible for the work in question. 
As for the question of anonymous personal attacks, the ethical issue isn't that they are anonymous, but that they are personal attacks. Any editor who pubs personal attacks is irresponsible, and I don't care if the darn things are signed. I have contributed to every issue of TLC, and I have never seen an editor who is more careful about the feelings of writers than [C F]. She has edited out a number of my remarks because someone might construe them as a personal attack. I feel that she bends over backwards to be sensitive on this issue, and that she has the interests of K/S at heart. You either trust someone to edit with integrity or you don't, and if you don't, then it doesn't matter whether the locs are anonymous or have bylines. 
There are people out there who are easily offended, and I've no wish to make enemies. Cowardice? Or prudence? I'm not sure. I know that in Trek fandom, as in other groups, some people are looking for a grievance, and I don't want to give them one. The people who subscribe to TLC are in effect "asking for it", but it's sometimes astonishing what people will take exception to. Also, I don't see a big difference between using a pseudonym and writing anonymously. A difference, granted, but not a huge one. Having said that, I would add that it's not the anonymity, but the list of writers who subscribe, that makes TLC unique. I know people are looking for feedback makes it worth taking trouble with comments. And, of course, the insight on your own work is, invaluable.