The Princess Tapes
|Title:||The Princess Tapes|
|Editor(s):||Judith A. Low & J.R. Stayton (prologue), Judith A. Low and J.R. Stuart (#1)|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
This zine inspired Snowfire. See that zine's first editorial.
The Princess Tapes Quoted
The Princess Tapes is the unfolding story of a certain Royal Princess of the house Organa. Her friends and family, her enemies and antagonists, all have parts to play in the SW saga, and in making Leia the way we see her in SW and beyond... The Princess Tapes are based on the original Princess Tapes, as soon they were called, discovered by a certain Galactic Citizen known as Kivarine. No one knew where they originally came from, not even Kivarine, nor a lowly (excuse pun) earthling SW fan. But they did bear a striking resemblance to an extraordinary media phenomenon known as Star Wars.
An Example of Its Cover Preceding Its ContentIn 1991, a fan writes of the cover art and how one shouldn't judge a zine by its cover:
There was a zine some years back that sold a lot of copies on the basis of its cover. (This is what the editor told me -- she was not happy about it.) The cover, one of Faddis' acrylic paintings, was beautifully produced, protected by a plastic topsheet, first-class treatment all the way ... but the zine itself was a series of Mary Sue stories featuring Princess Leia. Not a bad zine, but it didn't live up to its cover. This is an example of form over content. The problem with form over content -- and we do have some of it in WOW, too --is that people will buy a zine that looks good and maybe pass on a more expensive zine, like Flotsam, that doesn't have the same surface flash. 
The first issue was titled The Princess Tapes: the Prologue. It was published in May 1981 and contains 46 pages. The art is mostly by J.A. Low, one piece is by J.A. Slayton.From the "Editor's Prerogative":
...this is not the main zine. This is the prologue. It is intended to give ya'll out there a foretaste of what's coming. It's an introduction and nothing more elaborate than that.... nothing you see here will be repeated in the main zine.
The concept we used is not a new one - a one-shot specialty issue. But we hope the way it is presented will be something of a novelty. Leia as she is portrayed as a character in SW has always interested me, even more so then the "sigh" boys. Perhaps the fact that I too can wrap my hair once around my head and still have some left over influenced my focusing somewhat, but the interest turned out to be genuine even after all the wisecracks about "the buns". I wanted to know what made her tick, what her background was, what kind of a person she was when she wasn't "on", etc.. I didn't get very many satisfactory answers from fanfic, and Lucas himself seemed to have too many other things to do than to pursue this point any more than to say Leia does and says things the way she does because she's Leia, and that's all there is to it.
My mind kept asking questions about The Princess, and my imagination kept trying to answer them. Then along came Kivarine. Let me tell you about Kivarine.
She is a member of the Galactic Translators Guild, the oldest organization in the galaxy, since its charter is 7,500 years old. Although Aldebaran in heritage, Kivarine's citizenship is listed on hir passport ( the spelling is correct) and records as Translators Guild, since all translators are required by the Guild Charter to forsake all planetary and racial loyalties. The same is true of hir family and ancestors for more generations than hie can remember off-hand.
Kivarine is a trisexual being, like all Aldebaranis, which causes some f referring to hir by pronoun, since neither he nor she is correct, and is insulting to anyone. Most of hir human friends refer to hir with the feminine, because Kivarine more closely resembles a Terran female than male. I can put up with it," she says, "but when you learn starflight you learn new pronouns." Kivarine is the Terran equivalent of 45 years old (with a life expectancy of 95-100), married, with 2 daughters, 2 sons, and one child of hir own gender. Forgive me if I lapse now and then into our pronouns. It's easy to do.I first met Kivarine at STELLARCON III in 1978, through a mutual friend, Joyce Allen. Both are enthusiastic con-goers, so someday you may meet one or both at a gathering of fen. If you see a cerulean-skinned being vaguely resembling a heavy-set woman, strike up a conversation. It might be Kivarine.
- Title Page (1)
- Dedication (2)
- Table of Contents (3)
- Editor's Prerogative by J.A. Low (4)
- Kivarine Speaks, as told to J.A. Low (6)
- Fragments, poetics by J.A. Slayton, visuals by J.A. Low (9)
- Trust Your Feelings, vignette by J.A. Low ("This story was on paper practically word for word as it is now for 2-3 years. Any similarities between parts of it and scenes in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK are purely coincidental.") (13)
- Faces, poem by J.A. Low (22)
- A Family Portfolio, visualizations by J.A. Low (26)
- The Hunt, part one, fiction by J.A. Slayton (34)
- Classified (fictional, multifandom) by Joyce Allen and David Allen (45)
- A Dance for Mother, drawing by J.A. Slayton (46)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1
This zine is a sampler of what is to come in 'The Princess Tapes.' I found the showcasing of this new work intriguing. It is done on the premise that the SW saga may be fact as the Princess Tapes are translated. There are two stories in this prologue. The first takes place just after the Death Star is destroyed and delves into into Luke and Leia's relationship. It is well-written but isn't any surprise for a SW story. The second story is more imaginative. It deals with the intrigue that the House of Organa is involved in before Star Wars with a very sheltered and young Princess Leia. Even with its cliffhanger ending, I found it really caught my interest. Included is the Organa family tree as well as some poetry. The artwork is good and all in all, I enjoyed the whole effort. This is meant to be a sampler and as such costs little. This doesn't mean that any of this will be repeated in the 'Princess Tapes,' so if you are going to get started, start with the Prologue. 
The editors of this zine have a laudable purpose: creating a detailed background for Princess Leia. It seems that, with this ‘prologue,’ a good start has been made; it remains to be seen whether future stories will continue credibly toward that goal. After the editorial, there is a rather unusual piece by ‘Kivarine,’ who claims to be an off-worlder who does research work for the Rigon High First Councilor. In her forays to the Nexus Information Service Library, Kivarine has stumble across tapes which carry the story of a certain planet’s royal family. The history recorded on these tapes bear an amazing resemblance to a certain popular SF/fantasy movie on a backwater planet called Earth… Okay. Next comes ‘Fragments,’ short poems by J.A. Slayton and art by Judith Low. The poems didn’t do much for me but then, what do I know about poetry? However, the art is excellent. This same compliment can be applied to the portraits of Leia’s family, which appear farther along in this zine. Ms. Low should illo more for other zines, because of what I’ve seen of her work so far is very competent indeed. ‘Trust Your Feelings’ by Low is a vignette that doesn’t see to have a purpose other than to introduce the projected Leia series. Luke talks with Leis, following the Death Star battle, and she tells him more about herself and her family. ‘Faces,’ again by Low, is an outstanding poem on Leia’s feelings about the important of the Alliance to her and the sacrifices to her Cause of those individuals she holds dear. The rhymes are unforced, it scans smoothly… in general, I would say that Judith seems much more at home as a poet than as a fiction writer. ‘The Hunt part one’ by J.A. Stayton is a pre-SW story which serves to launch the Leia series. Leia and her uncle, Senator Kyril Organa, run into political intrigue and physical danger at the Imperial capital. The situation is not resolved in this story, as I assume it will be continued in a future issue of ‘The Princess Tapes.’ On the whole, it’s a bit early yet to tell if this Leia-universe will rank with other well-known SW fan universe. I’m cautiously optimistic, though. My major recommendation to the editor is that they get an objective outsider to edit their stories for grammar glitches, minor characterization inconsistencies, and plotting flaws. These are not major problems in this zine, but they could be in longer, more complex stories. It should be interesting to see how future editions of ‘The Princess Tapes’ develop. 
Yesterday I discovered the "Prologue" to PRINCESS TAPES. What a wonderful concept, and how beautifully you carried it out! Congra tulations! Is there more, I hope? J.A. Low*s illos were terrific (although somehow Leia kept looking more like Carrie Fisher...kind of jarring, but not a bad idea...I wish I could nail down the differ ences! ) and "Trust Your Feelings" was very well done—good grammar (unusual in zines), natural style and the first really convin cing Luke I*ve ever seen in a fanzine story, to say nothing of Leia. The coincidence with EMPIRE is amazing—right on! "Faces" is very nice, and avoids being drippy. J.A. Low is quite talented. J.A. Stayton*s "Fragments" are amazing and lovely. Your zine has the first com pletely acceptable, un-shmaltzy poetry I*ve ever seen in a zine—proves it can be done. And you should be especially proud of "Frag ments"—lovely! "The Hunt" is interesting -- Stayton needs some help with grammar, but that doesn't make the story any less good.
All in all, your first issue is something to be proud of—terrific work throughout. But it's the concept that's best of all. I love the idea of going into Leia'a past, of presenting her family, etc. Leia has been terribly neglected by the zines. I think part of the problem is that there's so little to work from. In SW Obi-wan and Han were the only semi-complex characters, and in EMPIRE her main concerns were directing traf fic and worrying about Han. One of the SW series fans' main concerns is who's going to get the Princess; this is unfair. I feel there's more to her than that; she's not just a prize on "Name That Tune". I'm so worked-up on the subject that I'd offer you some story; it's just that I'm try ing to edit two zines (WHILES, about to be released, and TANIS, still in the conception stage) and want to come up with Leia-material for my own.But good luck on your zine, and maybe one of these days I'll drop you a story. 
Hello! I just finished reading THE PRINCESS TAPES last night, and wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed seeing some other folk (anyone at all!) treating Leia Organa with a little respect. Also, treating the zine reader with the same since your magazine is visually pleasing, clean and simple. Congratulations! My compliments to the Low J.A. on the art! How pleasant not to have to cringe every page or so, wondering how good a friend a particular 'artist' is to the editor. Your graphics are well done, also I have always wondered why more eds. don't avail themselves of Dover's fine offerings in that area. The feel of the zine is one entity with each part relating to the others, a fine support to the copy content. As for the stories, I shall look forward to reading the first official PRINCESS TAPES. You treat your characters as individuals and not according to some formula; you are aware of the rest of the SW universe. Thank the force someone is! (I had to chuckle when I got to the reporters, since this makes two Leia-with-reporters out for MediaWest. My story in Guardian 3 shares, in a distant way, many of your premises. I wonder if anyone will comment on the sudden appearance of such?)
One observation: from Kivarine's piece, it's evident you have a solid grasp of the conversational style (um, I believe it's Low, I'm talking to here). Keep it up! Even when it's tempting to let a character go on about something. I was a bit jarred by Leia's sudden decision to tell Luke all mostly because so much of what had gone before flowed smoothly. I find this problem one of the most maddening in writing and usually find that I don't see violations myself no matter how hard I look. It always takes a party totally out of the creation picture to point the rough spots out.That third party, or should I say the need of such, distracted me a bit in "The Hunt" by the other JA. A good story. Hallelujah for a more realistic approach! All the tale need ed was a bit of watchfulness in the writing, such as repeated descriptive words, and sentences that either needed to be chopped up, or combined. I guess what I'm saying is I liked your zine very much and found myself wanting to think of ways to make it perfect. I'm not usually very loquacious in LoCs, particularly to folk I don't know, but when you run across something you like, you hope anything you can say to help, will do so. Is this making any sense? I think I'm apologizing in case I sound too presumptuous in my unsolicited criticism. Comes with the territory, I guess, fandom being as paranoid as it can be. 
It's very obvious that a great deal of care was put into the production of TPT: The Prologue. It arrived in excellent condition (which surprised me since our [Canadian] postal system likes to mangle my mail). I was also impressed by the careful correcting of the very few typos. That must've driven you nuts!
All the artwork was very lovely. I always loved J.A. Stayton's work and I loved your work, Judy,-especially the cover and the Organa Family portraits. Leia certainly comes from a beautiful family. There seems to be something intriguing about each member. I hope to read more about all of them.
I enjoyed the fiction very much also. I liked the fragments by J.A. Stayton-especially Black Enigma. I always found poetry about Vader very interesting and this piece seems to express that certain mystery around Vader. I thought Faces was most effective in expressing Leia's role in the Rebellion. I liked the style in which the poem was written, also. It was a very touching and altogether beautiful piece. In Trust Your Feelings it was good to see Leia out of her shell, at least for a while, sharing her grief rather than keeping so much to herself. Doesn't she have enough burdens already? Too bad she keeps donning her armour again, though. Actually I thought it kind of cruel of Leia to use Luke like that to get at Han, both at the end of the vignette and in TESB.
I found The Hunt-Part One very intriguing. How nasty of you to keep us in suspense like that. I guess you just want to strengthen our appetites for Part Two, right? (Gee,it seems we've been through that before.)
The Classifieds were very funny. I always enjoy them.Thanks to everyone involved in the production of TPT:The Prologue, and especially to Kivarine, without whom there would be no Princess Tapes.
Chris Callahan THE PRINCESS TAPES: THE PROLOGUE starts out very well by looking good. Neat, clean, attractive cover and binding (will it hold for a thicker zine, though, without hidden staples under the strip?) and eye-catching page decorations. I'm very partial to Celtic knots, and I really like p.22-23, and the frames for the family portraits, as well as the trim on the cover. Appearance isn't all, however, but in this case the content generally lives up to the visual promise.
Kivarine's introduction is well thought out and well written. As a federal librarian I found it especially interesting—is anyone connected with the zine a librarian?
"Fragments"—poems can so easily be ruined by overstriving for effect, but these little gems could be used as examples of how to do it. Lovely, all of them. Michelidor's poem is intriguing—I hope you're planning a story or two about his position and problems. The illos for Alderaan and Luke fit their subjects beautifully, the explosion and the confusion. Congratulations to both of you on the collaboration. Judith's "Trust Your Feelings" is very good. The writing is a bit overdone and stiff in places, but the story itself is well handled, and the characterizations are believ able throughout. I especially like the Sercon brandy (for serious drinkers only?),"'Your Royalness'" (at last! something original!), and Leia's grabbing Luke for a theatrical performance. Lovely! I can see Han's face so clearly! (Quibble: you have Red Leader being killed in the Death Star attack; in the film it was Gold Leader, Luke was Red, as opposed to the book with Luke Blue, and Red getting killed; Lucas has said that what's on film is the official version).
"Faces" is good poetry and good characterization. "Family Portfolio"— great! you've obviously worked out Leia's background in detail. It's interesting that you've made Leia's sister the heir rather than Leia herself—that allows for all sorts of different story possibilities, and it's definitely original, since most fan writers seemed to have assumed that Leia would be the heir all along (seems to me the book gives that impression, but there's no thing in the film about it, so that leaves possibilities open). The portraits are fine.
I especially like Michelidor—he looks like a kindly elder statesman! Bail looks properly royal, Sara looks like someone who'd be interesting to know, and Leia has a youthful sparkle that surely hasn't been totally destroyed since the portrait was done. Hmm, in teresting that her uncle seems to have been her immediate predecessor as Senator—I used that myself in my first Leia story (scheduled for STORMS 2).
J.A.'s "The Hunt" is well worked out, full of intriguing detail, and holds the interest right from the beginning. A rather sneaky trick, having the first part of a fascinating story' in the introductory portion of a zine. At least it'll guarantee readers for the first regular issue!
Overall, a fine first issue. The fiction writing needs a bit of work on tendencies to overwriting and stiffness, and a bit more attention to grammar and word usage, but the stories are well thought out and plotted, the characterizations are good, and the attention to background detail is commendable. I'd give the issue an overall B+.
It's good to see a zine devoted to Leia finally. She's a fascinating character who's been too often misunderstood and mistreated by fan writers, possibly because of ingrained sociological/psychological prejudices that women still have to recognize and actively fight (I say women because most fan writers, so far at least, are women). There's been some fanfic about Leia that treats her decently, but not enough—maybe THE PRINCESS TAPES will help change that situation both by actual volume of publication and by example.
Obviously you have a particular universe to work in, but with the background you've provided it's clear you won't run out of material any time soon! I hope you'll be including stories about the Leia of ANH and TESB period and later, as well as her earlier life, family, etc. Will you be accepting stories from other writers that fit into your universe?Good luck with future issues, and thank you for coming up with the idea in the first place. 
The second issue was published in May 1982 (another edition in 1984), printed by offset, stapled, and contains 134 pages.
It was edited by Judith A. Low and Janice Raye Stuart.
The art is by J. A. Low, Rebecca Walker, Pat O'Neill, Wanda Lybarger, Cathye Faraci, Karen River, Teanna Byerts, Amy Falkowitz, Leah Rosenthal, Carrie Rowles, Signe Landon, Angela-Marie Varesano, Connie Faddis, and Gordon Carleton.
Five hundred copies were printed in the first run.
This issue has an EXTENSIVE art portfolio which contains artists autobiographies as well as their interpretations (both written and drawn) of who is The Other.From the editorial by Low:
From the editorial by Stuart:We have decided to do a second issue of TFT. We have enough leftovers from the first to warrant a second time around. So IPX //2 is officially open for submissions. Besides, there is a Part I of a 3 parter started in this zine, so justification is present. THE PROLOGUE did get promising reactions (as you will see on the following pages) and has given us a definite feeling that we may be doing something worth the time and expense involved. Anyway, I hope our typos may be forgiven wherever they are. We tried to catch everything we could find, and in some cases more than three pairs of eyes did the hunting, but alas, the one absolute of zinedom is, never say there are no typos in a zine. That's when one jumps up and thumbs its wretched little nose at you,and it usually happens right after you get the printed pages fresh from the printer. Arrgh. It was so obvious.
The Star Wars epic has opened up a universe of hopes and talents for many sf fan writers. Until now, I have felt but a small part of this talent-hunt,
with only a small amount of contribution of my own. The Star Wars fanzine world has become an outlet of much talent in writing and art—it is a haven for all the creative energy so many of us have. Among the untold published fanzines, we have attempted to produce a collection of art and writing that reflects our ideas about one vital part of this Lucasian universe— Princess Leia.
Leia is a fascinating woman—a female character unknown to literature and film history. Leia's character is one that can be developed with many facets and talents; that development can be reflected not only in her adulthood but also her childhood. We have tried to fill in some of the background of the Leia of the Rebel Alliance; herein lie those things that could be the makeup of such a woman. I want to thank Judy Low for asking me to be a part of this work. Her talents as artist, writer, and poet inspire many of us to work harder at our own creativity.I feel this fanzine is unique and excellently done—I hope those who read it will agree. In trying to capture a small part of Leia, we have also seem parts of ourselves perhaps these are aspects of every human life.
- Dedication (2)
- Table of Contents (3)
- Editor's Prerogative (4)
- Letters of Comment ("We have received a few letters about THE PRINCESS TAPES: THE PROLOGUE, and of course duly thanked the authors thereof for their kind remarks. However, this pretty much was it other than a stray comment here and there in other correspondence. Honest, this is all there were. We have held nothing back. I hope everyone who reads this zine will forgive us for indulging in a few pages of blatant ego-boo. It sure makes the long hours of cross-eyed typing, myopic sketching, and grammatical agonizing worth while. I do want to thank again the people who took the time to express these sentiments. It is greatly appreciated.") (6)
- In Search of a Princess, article by Rebecca M. Meluch (8)
- The Outing by J.A. Low (12)
- Soliloquy, poem by Juleia (35)
- Family Album: The Organa's Informal Scenes by J.A. Low (36)
- The Hunt, Part Two by J.A. Stayton and J.A. Low (42)
- The Phoenix, the Tiger and the Dragon by Mao An-lo (49)
- The Princess's Old Clothes by Maid from Scratch (extensive how-to article about creating a Leia costume, includes many visuals) (50)
- Triptych: Part One - The Audience by J.A. Low (64)
- "There is Another" -- Art Portfolio (includes many extensive fan artist autobiographies) (73)
- A Tainted Memory by Janice R. Stuart (102)
- The Song of the Light Saber by Juleia (112)
- Strong in the Broken Places by J.A. Low (114)
- Appendix to the Alliance Manual on Ground Force Operations by Mark Walton (127)
- Classifieds (128)
- Unclassifieds (131)
- Cartoon by J.A. Low (134)
from the art portfolio, Karen River envisions The Other
from the art portfolio, Wanda Lybarger envisions The Other: "I just.had fun exploring the possibilities. In one illustration, I tossed Han to Yoda (and Yoda thought Luke was stuhhorn...heh, heh.) In the other, Leia gets equal time in a reverse Sleeping Beauty treatment with the torn cables of Fett's (perhaps) crashed ship substituting for the tangled rose briars. Either could be the "Other". I like the idea of Han as the "Other", but I'm not fanatic about it—bring on Boba Fett!"
from the art portfolio, Teanna Byerts envisions The Other: "This is Rescue II or Somebody Has To Save Our Skins, or "Hey Joe, Did You Hear The Latest Bigfoot Sighting..." I think more in terms of illustration (as telling, or enlarging upon a story) rather than Fine Art... This might be How To Do Leia"Without Really Doing Leia (since we only see a back view). It's also Let's Have The Female Hero Doing Something Heroic, rather than hanging around looking ornamental. The only reason Luke is playing damsel in distress here is because otherwise he'd be using the lightsaber,and brandishing a blaster at the "monster" is just too easy. The dimensional door, held in place by the fallen logs, exists (at least the logs do) about five miles north of where I live. Hopefully, for Luke and Leia, and Chewie, there is some way of closing it... by the looks of the Coke can this may yet be farther from the bright center of the Universe than Tatooine."
from the art portfolio, Amy Falkowitz envisions The Other: "Luke's mother, Jaylahna Skywalker, has been in hiding for many loing years. After the triumph and horrendous revelation of Darth Vader to Luke, Yoda summons her out of hiding, to bring about the beginnings of the revival of the Jedi. She is the the unknown Other: Darth had believed her dead, and is not ready for her return. She is the Phoenix Arisen, summoned out of flame and ash and darkness; she comes with other Jedi of many species to challenge the Dark Lord and redeem herself (for she had indeed yielded to Darth cunning seduction: Luke is the son of the Phoenix and the Black Dragon.) The Phoenix Rises, Returns, and the Light is Reborn."
from the art portfolio, Leah Rosenthal envisions The Other: "The Mouse Droid is the most obvious choice for The Other. Deeply impressed by the traumatic sight of the two "stormtroopers" escorting the oppressed and chained Chewbacca in Star Wars, he resolved to single-circuitedly bring down the Empire and it's evil leader. When the Deathstar exploded, the gallant Mouse Droid floated in space for six years, and finally, on the day of the final duel between Skywalker and Vader, as the Emperor Palpatine skulked in a doorway, waiting to throw a Force bolt and disable the gallent Jedi from behind, out of the sky plunged THE MOUSE DROID!!! He clobbered the Emperor, saving the galaxy and sacrificing his noble life for the Rebellion. All of which shows that Yoda wasn't whistling up his sleeve when he gave that broad clue, "Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should NOT!"
from the art portfolio, Gordon Carleton envisions The Other
from the art portfolio, Leah Rosenthal envisions The Other: "Snorty Bakker appeared into the Wars Universe from our own in a story from FURBALL EXPRESS. He is a generic Terran, despite his mutated appearance, and left Earth in the year 1952, so his speech and mannerisms are those of Americans of the era. When stranded in the Wars Universe by a Warping accident, he joins the Rebellion. His one major asset is an immunity to the Force in this Universe...a slight variation between the Force in the Milky Way and the Wars Galaxy makes any Force manifestations thrown at him go wrong. Thus, if Darth Vader were to try and strangle him, his cape would probably burst into flame, or a dent would appear in the wall instead. The only way Vader could deal with Bakker is on a physical level...and with two master Bounty Hunters as parents, considerable strength and a powerful dislike for anybody who sounds like a Hoover upright in overdrive, Bakker bests him in an ultimate confrontation while Skywalker mops up with Palpatine.
from the art portfolio, Signe Landon envisions The Other: "There has been another confrontation between Luke and Vader, and this time Luke is killed; his inexperience and his lack of completed training betrayed him. Leia is with him, also menaced by Vader, and takes Luke's light sabre for defense. To both her and Vader's surprise, she can wield it surprisingly well, perhaps aided by the spirit of Obi-Wan, and she escapes with her life. Her time has come—she is led to or contacted by Yoda, and undergoes the full training of a Jedi, a process requiring several years. She realizes that Luke died, in part, because he had not. The Rebellion struggles on without her suffering loss after loss. She is truly the last hope to defeat Vader and so remove the single most powerful force in the Empire. Finally, her training complete, she faces Vader once again. Older, wiser, a full-fledged Jedi Knight and confident of her power, she is also driven by a very personal hatred for Vader, who destroyed her home, family...and Luke.
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2
It contains 5 stories including 3 pre-SW tales from Leia's background, 3 articles, two poems, two art portfolios, our infamous 'unclassifieds', and much more. ....also features a color cover by Connie Faddis." The cover has been described as: ....Leia as 'The Other' ... Absolutely glorious composition and color. Leia wears a gown of white feathers and holds a yin/yang in one hand, a lightsaber in the other. At the foot of the drawing are a snarling panther writhing in the coils of a snake with a skull's head. A wise Yoda and the crescent of the Alliance are in the moodily verdant green background. 
TPT differs from the average zine in this: Not only does it center around one particular character, that of Leis Organa, but also all the fiction is set in a single universe: one created by J.A. Low and first in TPT: The Prologue. It's a universe with an elaborate Alderaani background and a number of created characters. Most of them, naturally enough, boast the last name of Organa. This structure has its disadvantages. While Stuart and Low allow others to play inside their universe, few have taken them up on the invitation. Most fan writers, with the obvious exception ot those playing in long-established well-known fan universes, prefer to create their own universes within the saga. This limitation gives the zine a very insular feel, and unfortunately, impacts on its quality. Low's and Stuart's fiction, though it shows some promise, simply isn't good enough to carry a whole fanzine on its merits. Here my prejudice against an editor printing a great deal of her own work shows: Most writers just cannot give themselves the good, hard editing a story needs before it sees print. Unless a writer is willing to have several objective outside editors go over her work, I really don't believe she should print her own stories. I don't see any signs of such editing in Low's and Stuart's work. An example is Stuart's "The Tainted Memory", a Han/Leia story showing some of their early relationship. The story shows a lot of promise, and it has an interesting premise, but the plotting is awkward, as is the general flow of the piece. Much of the characterization strikes a false note... to me anyway. I suppose there are some very extreme circumstances under which Leia Organa might hold a blaster on Han Solo. But the whole story gives little hint why the, on the whole, understanding woman in the first movie starts pointing blasters and making threats. The art, by Wanda Lybarger, is the high point of this story. But then, the art is the big saving grace for the whole zine. Low's work is stronger with its motivation, but falls seriously short in pacing. The exposition in, for example, "Strong in Broken Places" is so heavy that it almost weighs it to the sinking point. Which is a shame, because the idea of exploring the effects of Leia's burdens- heavy indeed for such a young woman, is a good one. Indeed, almost all of Stuart's and Low's ideas are good, but the writing often prevents them from getting across to the reader. Almost all the stories are rich in telling rather than "showing", the sign of a beginning writer. And the whole zine is top heavy with back grounding and information about the characters. Unlike some, I have no prejudice against created characters-they're sometimes just as interesting as the main SWars characters, but the writer has to get me interested first, then give me their backgrounds. If Low and Stuart put their information in the context of a fast-moving, interesting then most of my problems with TPT would be erased. As I said before, art is the saving grace of this zine and I would buy TPT again, if only to have my very own copy of the stunning Connie Faddis color cover at Leia as "the other". Only those who've actually seen this can understand how truly beautiful this piece of symbolic art work is... Also outstanding in the art department is the portfolio of various artists' ideas of who "the other" is, from varied brushes and pens of Wanda Lybarger, Cathye Faraci, Gordon Carleton, Leah Rosenthal, Karen River, and others. Plus, scattered through the zine, the art work of editor Low herself, which rates as far more than promising. She's an artist of considerable talent, and most all her pieces are charming, especially those of the Organa children. As is obvious, I do have reservations about the zine story-wise, but overall I think it is well worth having, if only for the outstanding artwork that Stuart and Low have collected. 
It seemed, in the early days of SW fandom, that anybody who admitted he or she was a Leia fan was regarded as a little weird. That scrawny little loud-mouth!!! But others, like me, watched her carefully and wondered about her. Judith Low was one of these people. She decided to do a zine on the Princess from Alderaan. The first thing you notice is the cover by Connie Faddis—a full color portrait of Leia as "The Other". (I've had the pleasure of seeing the original at MediaWest 3, and the displeasure of seeing that the #%<£& Post Awful damaged it in transit!) The portrait seems to be chock-full of symbolism, but I'm not expert on such things, so I prefer to take note of the fact that Connie correctly titled her masterpiece. The zine is also protected with a plastic binder—an added expense, perhaps, but well worth it. "In Search of a Princess" by Rebecca M. Meluch challenges the assumption that Leia is a sterotype. "Shifting through Western myth and legends, trying to match Leia to one of the archetypal heroines, one finds that Leia does not fit the molds." Portions of her character may be recognizable, but there has been no single heroine in literature or myth that can be labeled a solid prototype for our plucky princess. (Ms. Meluch, by the way, is a published author, a fan turned pro. Her three books, Sovereign, Wind Dancers and Wind Child all come highly recommended by the editors.) "The Outing" by J. A. Low is rather long and drawn out. If this had been condensed by 30% or so it would have read much better. The plot is sound enough, however. A seven year-old Leia and her older uncle, Kyril, take a break from royal duties and go on an outing in the Alderaan wilderness. Their flitter, however, is struck by lightening, and they have to crash-land. Leia is unhurt, but Kyril is wounded and pinned in the wreckage. It is some time before they are rescued, and a very young Leia must contend with bad weather, wild animals and her uncle's worsening condition. Next is a "Family Album" of the Organas by J. A. Low in her usual excellent form. "The Hunt: Part Two", by J. A. Low and J. A. Stayton, involves a kidnapping attempt on a young Leia. The events are rather involved, and you can't tell the players without a scorecard. ("Part One" appeared in The Princess Tapes: The Prologue. Judith should still have a few copies of it available.) "Triptych, Part One: The Audience" by J. A. Low, concerns an interview by the Emperor with the then Senator Tarkin. The Emperor and Tarkin make plans to do away with Senator Kyril. Why do I have the very bad feeling that they'll succeed?
Consumers will be interested in the instructions on how to whip up Leia's dress from SW:ANH. Since I have no sewing skills and don't wear dresses, this article holds little interest for me, but the instructions seem clear and complete and I doubt that anybody who really wants to make the outfit won't be able to use them. But the best part of the zine is the portfolio of art that attempted to answer that burning question of years past—"Who is the Other???". Karen River, Wanda Lybarger, Teanna Byerts, Cathye Faraci, Amy Falkowitz, Leah Rosenthal, Carrie Rowles, Signe Landon, Rebecca Walker, Angela-Marie Varesano and Gordon Carleton all out-do themselves with their own answers to the question. If Judith ever gets a chance to do PT2, another portfolio is a requisite! "The Tainted Memory" by Janice R. Stuart stumbles at the starting gate. It's very hard for me to believe that Leia would pull a blaster on Han, at least in the circumstances given; and Han uttering such oaths as "Damn the Empire!" is also hard to swallow. With tighter writing and editing, this story might have worked. The single best story in PT is "Strong in the Broken Places" by J.A. Low. Have any of you wondered why Leia looked a bit gaunt in TESB? Perhaps the author wondered about this also. It seems that prior to TESB, Leia has been holing up in her room most of the time, eating very little and has been generally declining in health. Rieekan notices this and asks Luke, who has also noticed this, to check up on her and try to find out if anything is wrong. The story that results is an excellent probing of what makes Our Princess tick, as well as the Luke/Leia relationship (Han/Leia fans have nothing to object to here, I think).Story-wise, TPT is about average. The primary reason for this seems to be that most of the zine is the work of the editors. It's a bit hard to give one's own work the proper critical gaze. The art of TPT is another matter. The design, layout and art itself are all but flawless! Judith is an artist—a good one—and it is reflected in the quality and attention of the artwork. Everything else withstanding, this is the reason to buy The Princess Tapes. TPT debuted at MediaWest two years ago. It did fairly well at the Con and I expected that it would sell out once Word of Mouth got out. But that never happened. Judith still has quite a few copies to sell before she's in the red. Why? Some characters, actors and themes are strong enough to attract the attention of the zine-buying public; a Ford fan will snap at a Ford-themed fanzine; a fan with Imperial loyalties would certainly buy an Imperial-type fanzine. There are so few Leia fans out there that they alone could not support a Leia-themed zine. Fortunately, the subject matter isn't the only reason to read the zine, even if that is your first impression. Also, you have to see the zine to appreciate how well it looks, and the appearance of a zine isn't something you can tell in an ad at the back of a letterzine. Final analysis: try it—you'll like it! 
- from Datazine #38
- Jan Lindner writes in The Blackwood Project #11
- from Datazine #15
- from Jundland Wastes #7
- from a letter of comment by Sara Campbell in the second issue of "The Princess Tapes"
- from a letter of comment by Maggie Nowakowska in the second issue of "The Princess Tapes"
- from a letter of comment by Yvonne Zan in the second issue of "The Princess Tapes"
- from a letter of comment by Chris Callahan in the second issue of "The Princess Tapes"
- an eBay seller's description
- from Jundland Wastes #15/16
- from Scoundrel #4