The Thousandth Man (Starsky and Hutch zine)

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You may be looking for the K/S story The 1000th Man.

Zine
Title: The Thousandth Man
Publisher: Paula Smith
Editor:
Author(s): Suzan Lovett
Cover Artist(s): Suzan Lovett
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1985
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links: The Thousandth Man
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The Thousandth Man is a 140-page gen (with some het) Starsky and Hutch novel written and illustrated by Suzan Lovett and edited by Paula Smith. It has the subtitle "a.k.a. What's a Starsky?"

From the editorial, "The rotten thing about racism is it's such an awful waste."

This zine won several 1986 Huggy Awards: Best Novel, Best Cover, and Best Dramatic Illo.

The zine was popular and was one of the first Starsky & Hutch stories to be posted online in the mid-1990s. It is also a fairly rare work which portrays the character of Joan Meredith.

The title is a reference to the Rudyard Kipling poem "The Thousandth Man."

Inspired Works

Historically, the fan community has had a shaky understanding of fair use principles.

In 1999, the concept of remix culture and shared universes was still a decade away. As one fan remembers: "In 1999, a fan attempted to to write a story as part of the Thousandth Man same universe called No Bull. She was roundly rebuked by the fan community for committing "copyright infringement" and violating the "author's privilege."

See No Bull.

See additional context at unauthorized sequels.

Covers and Flyer

Interior Art Gallery

The zine has over a dozen black and white illustrations by Suzan Lovett, many of which include an oval motif incorporated in the background (a style also used in Distant Shores). Below are three examples:

Reactions and Reviews

1984

Wow! Where do I start? — with the artwork, which is the first thing that meets the eye. Before even reading them, I was taking Scales of Justice and The Thousandth Man to school to show my classes and art teachers what real fan artwork is like. They've been impressed. Very. What gets to me the most about TM's illustrations is the professionalism of the design—the recurring oval, the contrasting colors as things pass through the ovals, the 'Mondrian' effect of rectangles in several illos, the beautiful likenesses against a background that looks realistic yet conforms exactly to the planned design — and be sides all this design, the pictures express each mood exactly, tearing emotion from the reader. Beautiful to look at, powerful to read. What a gutwrencher. Okay, so I know at the very beginning that the story falls between 'Starsky vs. Hutch' and 'Sweet Revenge,' the very first story I've read that copes with that Kira story in the 'out of place' position in which it was aired. This story makes it fit there. Quite an accomplishment! Paula's commentary at the beginning sets a tone that lets me know I'm in for powerful reading, and Suzan captures each person, letting us see them not only through their own eyes, but through the eyes of other characters whose opinions we value — Dobey, Meredith. The point of view is carefully controlled so we know exactly whose head we're in and what they are thinking. I especially like Meredith's observations, seeing both the child-like Starsky at one point with the pet rock, then the angry - madman Starsky with the drug pusher. I love the way St&H are so aware of each other, yet so carefully underplayed that only a sharp eye like Meredith's or Dobey's really gets the correct analysis. Meredith notices how Starsky starts to talk about Kira, but always ends up talking about Hutch. Then we meet Miller and his gang of anti-semitist bigots. And Hutch has purpose again, he'll get them for Starsky's sake, even if it means facing heroin again. I really like the way Suzan uses some of my favorite characters from S&H — Sweet Alice, Marcellus Cobb, Minnie. I don't want to spoil the ending for new readers, but I was kept scared and on edge right through to the final moments, torn apart by both good and painful emotions. I've never really liked any of Starsky's ladies before, but Meredith is good — if anyone is right for him, she is. She can understand his work as, unlike Kira, she's a good cop who can hold up her end, and unlike other girlfriends, she knows Hutch is #1 in his life. She's his most believable lady, and Suzan makes her even more convincing. I also like Hutch's partner Washington, who has a lot to learn about Hutch, but has plenty of reason to doubt him. Maybe Meredith will accept him as a good second-best to Starsky. I would have enjoyed seeing the poem "The Thousandth Man" reprinted, or at least part of it, just for the pleasure of it. Suzan's story sent us back for a reread. THOUSANDTH MAN is well worth the price and I recommend it to all fans. [1]

1988

... about Suzan Lovett's two great SH novels... 'The Thousandth Man' and 'The Goliath', both so central to the special, fundamental quality of the series....'beautiful'. And Paula's preface makes some absolutely basic SH points. The closeness of 'The Goliath' perfectly captures the essence of the relationship. In 'The Thousandth Man', there are many fewer sequences in which they are 'on stage' together, but there is still the closeness — physical absence yet always acute awareness, each of the other. [2]

1991

...favourite, all-time SH zine? Did everyone have the same problem with this? I look forward to reading other replies. I tried. I tried a process of elimination. Tried short-listing. Just one zine? Is it possible? But you want names. And I can't pick just one. Names ... "The Thousandth Man" and 'The Goliath' by Suzan Lovett. Both. They're a set. Why? - you also wanted to know. Well... the writing ... non-derivative, totally free of cliche, the clear, direct style, never verbose yet never leaving out anything that should be there and gifted with that essential quality of insight into character, the balanced blending of characterization and story-line, the lines of poetry chosen to reflect the themes, and, of course, the superb, complementary artwork. Two SH novels to treasure. [3]

1996

Some people are terrific writers. Some are excellent illustrators. But few have the talent to do both with the finesse of this author/illustrator! Outstanding doesn't even begin to come close. 'The Thousandth Man' finds Starsky and Hutch at odds following their encounter with Kira. Hurt, anger and betrayal send them in separate directions, Starsky partnering up again with Meredith, and Hutch playing a dangerous lone hand, until a case brings them colliding together in an emotional maelstrom. [4]
"A while back someone asked if most of us would be in fandom if there was no slash: i.e., whether gen alone would keep us media fans. Most people answered no... Soon after, [name redacted] loaned me her copy of The Thousandth Man, a gen Starsky and Hutch novel by Suzan Lovett. If all gen were like this--beautifully written, totally concentrating on the depth of the bond between two men, passionate in their concern for each other--then sure, I would be a media fan even if slash went away. This is a beautiful zine, depicting a beautiful relationship. This isn't the only gen S&H novel that Suzan did: she also wrote The Goliath. But The Goliath, to me, always read like pre-slash, like any page now, they'd realize their true feelings for each other, and start the clinch (or to put it another way, one huge tease...). The Thousandth Man is true gen: there is passion, but it isn't that sort: they do care, but not that way...(...thanks to Kathy Resch for reprinting it!) "[5]

1999

I think Suzan Lovett's "The Thousanth Man" is an excellent example of teamwork (on the gen Archive). The guys are working apart from the entire story but the are never really *apart* -- they are constantly in each other's thoughts and intrusive in each others lives because the roots have buried themselves way too deep. I never considered this a separation story because they are so much a part of each other it drives the entire story. [6]

2003

This gen novel is one of the most gut-wrenching, perfect love stories I've ever read. The story takes place immediately after the boys leave the Pits after dumping Kira. When people tell me they won't read gen I want to tie them into a chair and force them to read this one. It's on the net, but I cherish holding the original zine in my hand with the great story and the beautiful art. One of my most cherished possessions is the original cover art which Suzan gifted me with some years ago. This novel in its entirety with its art is on the S&H Gen Archive. [7]

2006

...it’s time to plunge into the hardcore Starsky versus Hutch angst, with the novel that all other S vs. H fanfics are measured against. If there was a Starsky & Hutch Fanfic 101 course, The Thousandth Man would have a place of honour on the required reading list. As Flamingo observed in her introduction, Suzan not only tackled the weaknesses of the episode itself, but also dealt with the problem that Starsky versus Hutch was aired out of order, disrupting the show’s final arc. Instead of ignoring or fudging these canon obstacles, Suzan confronted them, and in the process, created a masterpiece depicting a long term friendship on the rocks, and a cop on the edge of self-destruction. With a nail-biting plot, skillful use of canon characters (including the return of Starsky’s kick ass ex-girlfriend/temporary partner Joan Meredith!), and some chilling original villains, The Thousandth Man transcends its source material. This novel is rightfully acknowledged as one of the seminal works in this fandom, and I am honoured that I'm the one who gets to recommend it here. [8]

2015

Context: Every S&H fan and their dog has written a post-"Starsky vs Hutch" Fix-It Fic. The Fix-It Fic is that panfandom fic genre designed to explain and resolve baffling and outrageous canon events -- in this case, it's Hutch sleeping with Starsky's girlfriend, an act whose seriousness has zilch to do with conflict, and everything to do with a betrayal of trust, the cornerstone of their friendship, and the absence of either motive or onscreen reconciliation. The Thousandth Man is much longer and more complicated than most fix-its. It's one of the earlier ones too, written in 1985. I read this during a kick I'm sure some other S&H fans have had -- consuming every post-SvH fic I could lay my hands on and marveling at the S&H fandom's unparalleled reality-weaving powers as it collectively constructed, out of the resonating patterns of the common denominators of a hundred wildly varying fanfics and observations, a shadow-arc for season 4 that the canon never quite articulated. Out of all those innumerable fix-it fics, no one single story ever satisfied me like this one.

What Stuck With Me and Why: I may be going out on a limb here, but I don't think I'm wrong to say that a lot of fans have experienced that strange fandom phenomenon of nursing a deeply personal, private, long-lived longing -- different from a kink or a fleeting obsession -- to read a specific story premise that they have fully- or partially-formed in their minds before they ever find a story that satisfied it. Some will (consciously or unconsciously) peruse various canons, fandoms, and fanfics one after the other seeking catharsis, looking for those little puzzle pieces missing from their trove of personal formative stories and myths. Some readers know exactly what they're looking for and just can't find it, others never knew they were missing it before it fell into their lap. But there is always that memorable "aha!" moment when it is finally read.

One of my longings was a preoccupation with the premise of a betrayal or other deeply hurtful act between two great friends. Another was a personal need, from my formative childhood experiences, to see a great friendship -- with no confounding variables or goalpost-moving of romantic explanations or life-and-death/hurt-comfort scenarios -- as the center of a story's universe. Explored and acknowledged and discussed at length, as if this friendship in and of itself was worthy of eternal fascination; painted with all the weight, intensity, passion, brutality, sweetness, roughness, psychic exhaustion, honesty, labor, sacrifice, and socially unexpected emotions it deserves. A tale that did not stop spinning out its natural course to skip the bits about how the dark side of loyalty is to be dragged into the gutter when one friend falls, that the dark side of trust and intimacy is to have no protection if one friend ever turns his claws on the other, that the dark side of halving all burdens and sharing all troubles is forcing burdens and troubles on another even when you don't intend to.

To say The Thousandth Man was all this and more to me, is to say too little. It stuck with me because it was, for me, (on a completely personal note), distilled emotional validation. A friendship's simple existence can be a story's only stakes -- the thing that is threatened, lost, regained, without a single sidestepping concession to the arbitrary horseshit about how certain types of relationships are allowed to be written. The outside context and plot is inseparable from the friendship, but the entire shape of the story is of the friendship. The thrill of Hutch's decency and his caring for his friend emerging from beneath his burnout and apathy and callousness to overcome his temptation to piss his life away; the rawness of Starsky raging and cursing at Hutch that he's sick of carrying you around, like a hole blasted in my gut, as anyone who has been jerked around in circles due to their loyalty to someone who seems to give them nothing but grief can relate to; the tenderness of their tired, sweet, long night of hashing things out, the bravery of Hutch's honesty and humility and Starsky's generosity and guilelessness as they go down to the wire -- so jealousy-inducing as friends that I was tempted to scribble down quotes from the story's third part in a notebook, and keep them for future reference in my real life.

Like the M*A*S*H story above [I also reviewed in my post], the story's shape, and the shape it retroactively gives to the show as a whole, more than the sum of its content, is a tangible, visible thing. But to say more would be too much like a review than a personal reaction. So I'll just mention: the summit of this story's personal impact on me is the effect of a single pivotal moment late in the third and final part near the climax. As the friendship teeters on the brink of permanent dissolution, Starsky remembers, in a lightning-flash of revelation, a half-forgotten tucked-away newspaper cartoon, displayed in the story without a single comment or word of explanation, a self-evident melding of narrative and external object. I have been reading stories since I was five years old, and no moment in any story I have ever read in my life lit up my spine with a blinding flood of electricity the way that moment did. [9]

My initial reaction to the story was more one of revelation. Intrigueing was ahead of me, already understanding what the story had to say about SvH, conscious of what she was looking for in a story, and able to appreciate it fully when found.

I came into the story with little fanfic background. I didn't know what "cannon" meant. If I didn't think that Hutch would betray Starsky in quite the way that the show portrayed, I dismissed it and invented my own "betrayal" scenarios in my head. I didn't relate well to the few SvH stories that I had previously read. Perhaps those stories felt to me as if Hutch behaved too much like a teenager, incapable of communicating honestly.

When I read TTM, I enjoyed it immensely. It made me rethink SvH. I loved the maturity of the characters in parts 1 and 2 and I loved the intense communication in part 3. But initially, I was focused on the way that it broadened my understanding of SvH.

After learning more about S&H through fanfic and from the information that intrigeuing shared, I realize that the story was satisfying to me because it dealt with the concept of betrayal in sufficient depth. I could understand the feelings that played out over time. I didn't know that was one of the things that I unconsciously wanted to find in a story. But, I did :) [10]

2016

["The Thousandth Man" and Goliath ] were written and illustrated by Suzan Lovett, writer and artist extraordinaire. Her artwork has become so predominant in so many fandoms in the last several years that many newer fans aren't aware Suzan is a writer. And if you think her artwork is spectacular, her writing is even better. Each of these two S&H gen novels is a tour de force. Take everything I said about Beverly Zuk's ST novels and triple it. [11]

Unknown Date

Probably even more so than The Goliath, The Thousandth Man deals with the bond between Starsky and Hutch, and there are scenes that are so powerful I go back and read over and over. [12]
Starsky & Hutch fic isn't only centered on two hot guys getting it on between the sheets. There are some excellent gen stories out there as well. This is one of the best known. This classic zine, written and illustrated by Suzan Lovett, begins with our heroes estranged in the aftermath of Starsky vs. Hutch. Their partnership is dissolved and each are working with new detectives. Starsky finds a bit of stability with his old friend, Meredith. But, Hutch winds up with a new detective with a chip on his shoulder. By chance, the blond runs into an old friend, who introduces him to a circle of men. Rather than providing him with the support he craves, Hutch discovers the group are Neo-Nazis. Working alone, he struggles to bring them down, while his ex-partner watches from the sidelines, confused and more concerned than he wants to be. This is absorbing story that makes the guys work towards understanding and reconciliation rather than just handing it to them. It's exciting and emotionally very satisfying. [13]

References

  1. from Between Friends #12 (1984)
  2. from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #10 (1988)
  3. from Frienz #13 (1991)
  4. from a 1996 issue of Black Bean Soup
  5. Sandy Herrold's review of the zine posted to the Virgule-L mailing list in Feb 1996, quoted with permission.
  6. Flamingo, a December 1999 comment on ThePits, used on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
  7. Flamingo, August 2002, who rated it among her top ten favorite zines, quoted from VenicePlace on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
  8. a 2006 comment at Crack Van
  9. comment by intrigueing at Meme: 10 Fics That Stayed With You; archive link, intrigueing, May 25, 2015
  10. comment by marionrose at Meme: 10 Fics That Stayed With You; archive link, intrigueing, May 25, 2015
  11. comment by kslangley at What was your first fandom?, August 28, 2016
  12. Recommendations (early 2000s?)
  13. from Ten Starsky & Hutch Stories I'd Suggest Any Newbie Begin With (mid to late 2000s?)