The Trekzine Times

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Zine
Title: Trekzine Times
Publisher: Forever Productions.
Editor(s): Jordys Miller & Sandy B.
Type:
Date(s): 1991-to at least 1993
Frequency: quarterly
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
External Links:
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Trekzine Times is a Star Trek: TOS letterzine published by Forever Productions featuring reviews and articles and letters of comment about zines.

See List of Letterzines.

Summary

How can you become an informed zine buyer? The Trekzine Times is a letterzine about fanzines featuring articles by familiar names in a fandom concerning publishing, editing, writing, illustration, and reading. Also, challenging contests, and more. Its main focus, though, is readers' letters of comment, their fanzine opinions, critiques, cheers, boos, and hisses, and most importantly, fanzine readers' ideas. [1]

V.1 N.1

Trekzine Times v.1 n.1 was published in March 1991 and contains 11 pages.

front page of v.1 n.1
  • "So You Want to Print a Fanzine, or, Publishing Made Simple (Maybe)" by Bill Hupe and Peg Kennedy
  • other unknown content

V.1 N.2

Trekzine Times v.1 n.2 was published in June 1991 and contains 17 pages.

front page of v.1 n.2
cartoon by Juanne Michaud -- "The Perils of Fan Fiction..."
  • a fan, Joan Verba, comments:
    In your first issue, someone brought up the topic of fanzine quality- Whether famines should strive for professional quality or whether they should be "just for fun," has been an item of discussion among fanzine readers since the 1970s, and it is as relevant today as it ever was. Back in the 1970s, there were not a lot of Star Trek books around (the Star Trek Welcommittee Directory estimated that 40 were published in the entire decade)- There were Star Trek comic books too, but they were as poor as the novels were at the time. Talented writers wishing to write Scar Trek stories simply had little choice but to contribute to famines. Today, with a Star Trek book coming out almost every month, and with the Star Trek comics putting out a quality product, the more talented writers are skipping the famine market altogether and trying to sell directly to pro markets. With this sort of competition, my opinion is that it is more important than ever for fanzines to aspire to professional standards. Now and again I hear from fans who have turned their attention from fanzines to the pro publications, claiming that the pro publications are more interesting. (l do not necessarily agree with this sentiment, but it supports the point that fanzines need to show they can do better than the professional markets. ) The major impediments to getting more quality fanzines, in my opinion, are that many fanzine editors do not care to know anything about editing, and that many fanzine writers do not care to know anything about writing. [much snipped due to length] ... The result of having fanzine editors who do not care about editing, and writers who do not care about writing, is that fanzine readers get material that is unnecessarily poor in quality. And it is very hard to get through to such writers and editors, because they have built around them a sturdy wall of excuses (see above). What they do not understand is that putting out a quality fanzine, while it does require more effort than producing a poor one, can also be "fun." And even if fanzine writers and editors have no professional aspirations, and even if they firmly believe they are doing their best, there is no excuse not to consrandy look for ways to do even better. Considering that fans can get Star Trek stories at less cost by purchasing the pro novels or the pro comics, fanzine editors and writers should be making every effort to put out the best work they possibly can produce.
  • a fan comments:
    I was glad to see you trying to whip up interest in Classic Zines. May I make a suggestion for your next issue? Why don't you define Zine (or all the different versions, like ProZine, NewsZine, FanZine, TechZine, KlinZine, etc.)? I got the impression from your LOC writers that they all believe that a zine is not much more than one or more Classic Trek fictional stories under one cover. This is not my experience in what people call Zines. A Zine can contain all sorts of wonderful stuff and may not have fictional stories at all... You don't have to have cover to cover stories to have a zine is my point. Since the word Zine is derived from Magazine, and since most magazines are a collection of various things with fiction stories just one component, my school of thought sees all story zines as a special class, an aberration as it were. Unnatural. If I want such a thing I buy a novel. I can buy a lot of decent paperbacks for the price of one storyzine.
  • this issue contains the article by Mary Kay called "Ways to Flesh Out Your Cardboard People Into Real Holographic Projections" and it offers may characterization tips
  • The article, "Today is Yesterday Department," is about the a new product, the PenPoint, a precursor of an editable "tablet" that can then be uploaded to a computer, its cost? $3000-5000
  • there is a review of the pro book, "A Flag Full of Stars"
  • contest winner: fiction outline, "The Visit" by Marcia Pecor
  • a reprint from "The Talk of the Town" in the New Yorker, May 20, 1991, "Mysteries"
  • comments about The Price of Freedom, see that page
  • comments about Orion, see that page
  • comments about Nova Trek, see that page
  • comments about Starduster #3, see that page
  • comments about Make It So #4, see that page
  • comments about Antizine see that page

V.1 N.3

Trekzine Times v.1 n.3 was published in September 1991 and contains 17 pages.

front page of v.1 n.3
  • "'F' Words and Writing" by Peggy Arvant (an article about learning how to write, "Frustration, futility, foiled, frenetic, fraught")
  • comments on Orion #29, see that page
  • comments on Nova Trek, see that page
  • comments on Beyond Antares #30/31, see that page
  • comments on IDIC Log #5, see that page
  • comments on Idylls #3, see that page
  • comments on LoneStar Trek, see that page
  • comments on Kista, see that page
  • comments on Demeter, see that page
  • a review of Profiles, see that page
  • a review of Abode of Strife #17, see that page
  • a review of Vulcan's Lyre #26, see that page
  • cartoon by Juanne Michaud
  • an essay reprinted from the New Yorker (August 26, 1991)

V.1 N.4

Trekzine Times v.1 n.4 was published in December 1991 and contains 15 pages.

front page of v.1 n.4
cartoon from v.1. n.4 by Juanne Michaund, "It was 25 years ago today that Roddenberry sent them on the way, they've been goin' in and out of style, but they're guaranteed to raise a smile, so let me introduce to you, the act you've known for all these years, Star Trek the interstellar, good guys band!"
  • "Editing a Letterzine", an article by Regina Moore, is an extremely detailed tutorial. An excerpt from the first and last paragraph:
    So, you think you want to publish a letterzine? If so, you've no doubt already answered the first question: Why do you want to do one? It could be that there's currently no letterzine available that serves a necessary purpose, so you're going to embark on virgin territory. It could be that there are other letterzines that serve the same purpose as your proposed letterzine, but you're willing to compete with them because you think you can do what they're doing, only better... All the above reasons are legitimate ones for wanting to start a letterzine. But the desire to start one doesn't necessarily mean that you should. You must be realistic about what you want to accomplish with your letterzine and how much of a demand there is for those same needs within fandom. In my case, as a K/S author, I was fed up with the fact that most editors never passed along to the authors the letters of comment (LOCs) they received from readers. I wanted a method where I could bypass editors and receive input directly from readers. Grumblings at conventions from other authors revealed that they felt the same way, so I knew there would be an audience for what I wanted to do. On the other hand, many of the writers in K/S fandom are also the same ones who edit the majority of the zines, so I was prepared for a degree of resentment. If my letterzine, The LOC Connection (TLC), was successful, readers would be writing their praise or criticism of stories to the letterzine instead of to the fanzine editors... My experience with editing TLC has been thoroughly positive. I've loved having so much contact with fellow fans, and enjoyed the status of being the editor of a regular publication that fans depend on to let them know what's going on in the world of K/S. If you've ever considered producing a letterzine, my advice is to "just do it." You won't know until you try if your idea is feasible. It may be frightening at first and occasionally frustrating, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
  • a fan suggests three story ideas and writes that "I also have a copy of a submarine adventure story which I would like to rewrite as a Trek story someday."
  • "A Tribute to The Great Bird of the Galaxy" by Phyllis "Tiny" Carter, Captain of the Star Trek Welcommittee, Area #3
  • "Lines to a Lady with a Unsplit Infinitive" reprinted from "The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler," The Ecco Press, New York, 1976
  • a fan has a dream: "Folks, I'm toying with the idea of producing a one-shot Classic zine and would like to offer some work to the following writers/artists: Gee Moaven, Connie Faddis, Leslie Fish, Joni Wagner, Alice Jones, Gerry Downes, Signe Landon, Winston Howlett and Paula Block. Can anybody tell me where to find these talented folks or is anyone willing to forward mail to them for me?"
  • a review of Tekwar
  • comments on Tantalus #2, see that page
  • comments on LoneStar Trek #3, see that page
  • comments on Legend's End #2, see that page
  • comments on Simple Gifts, see that page
  • a review of Hailing Frequencies #3, see that page

V.2 N.1

Trekzine Times v.2 n.1 was published in March 1992 and contains 19 pages.

front page of v.2 n.1
  • there is an article by Margo Kay called "Tree Climbing, Story Structure, and Mice" -- about writing
  • a fan artist writes:
    What kind of a story would I like to see? A K/S story that a) doesn't degrade or downplay the female sex; b) doesn't mangle the characters beyond recognition; c) gets them off each other, out of bed, into their pants, and out running the ship once in a while; and d) has a sense of humor. Send it to me. I'll read it. Hell, I'll even illustrate it. Well!
  • there are comments on Nimbus: The Fanzine of Galactic Peace, see that page
  • there are comments on Nightmare Road, see that page
  • there are comments on Lone Star Trek #4, see that page
  • there are comments on Enterprise Log Entries #86, see that page
  • there are comments on More Missions, More Myths #17, #18, see that page
  • there are comments on Edge of Forever #3, see that page
  • there are comments on Mind Meld #6, see that page
  • there are comments on In Perspective, see that page
  • there are comments on Simple Gifts, see that page
  • a review of Orion Archives #1, see that page
  • reprint from the New Yorker, March 9, 1992, "Cyberprez"

V.2 N.2/3

Trekzine Times v.2 n.2/3 was published in September 1992 and contains 25 pages.

front page of v.2 n.2/3
  • Shirley Maiewski writes:
    No way should you discontinue T3! While I do not buy many zines these days, I still enjoy reading what others have to say. We all get a bit lazy at times, “let others do it,” I'm afraid, but I hope your letter to subscribers will bring in a flood of LOCs! My opinion on fan writers going pro: YES! Look at who writes the best pro novels—people like Howie Weinstein, Jean Lorrah, Peter David—all fans. You can always tell who really knows their Trek—as these examples do! However, a word of caution—know what you're getting into if you decide to go the professional route! Find out how to do it correctly and never sign anything until you know what it says! Take if from someone who found out the hard way. Anyone wanting to know the sad story about my "Mind Sifter," in Star Trek: The New Voyages, can write me. As to artists—I remember when Bob Eggeton [sic]? was just a teenage fan and now he does covers for many famous SF authors. Wins Hugos, too! So it can be done—do it!
  • this issue has a long, long informative article by Teegar Taylor called "Making Faces: A Lesson in Portraiture" on how to illustrate, complete with many examples
  • there are many reactions to the letter sent by the editor to subscribers saying the zine was discontinuing due to lack of responses and contributors; fans wrote lengthy remarks about why they hadn't sent LoCs: some reasons were car accidents, taking care of sick relatives, lack of money to buy zines to comment on, laziness, fear of writing LoCs, time spent on their own letter/review zines...
  • there is an article by Margaret Wander Bonanno called "It Beats Working for a Living"
  • there are a number of letters discussing whether it was appropriate to plug and review zines to which one was a contributor -- general feeling was it was not okay, but if you did, you'd better state up front you had material in that zine [2]
  • a review of The Handy Dandy Adzine Calendar and Address Guide for Fanzine Editors and Other Busy People, see that page
  • a review of Simple Gifts, see that page
  • a review of Tales from Ten-Forward, see that page
  • a review of the seminal acafan book, Textual Poachers, see that page
  • comments on Sharing the Sunlight, see that page
  • comments on Bill and Ted's No Holds Barred, see that page
  • comments on Living in Spite of Logic, see that page
  • comments on Chosen Brother, see that page
  • comments on Integrity, see that page
  • comments on True Vulcan Confessions, see that page
  • comments on Trinary Star #3, see that page
  • comments on Federation Classic, see that page
  • comments on Quest, see that page
  • comments on A Gift Beyond Price, see that page
  • comments on Kindred Spirit, see that page
  • comments on FYI Adzine, see that page
  • comments on Of Songs Unknown, see that page
  • comments on Media Monitor, see that page
  • comments on The Zine Scene, see that page
  • comments on The Zine Connection, see that page
  • comments on Something to Remember, see that page
  • comments on Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?, see that page

V.2 N.4

Trekzine Times v.2 n.4 was published in December 1992.

V.3 N.1

Trekzine Times v.3 n.1 was published in March 1993 and contains 27 pages. It was the last issue.

front page of v.3 n.1
  • "Sweeping Behind the Elephants: Justifying Contradictions and Paradoxes in Star Trek Fiction" is a long, long article by A.C. Crispin
  • "Interview with a Mundane" is a long, long interview with literary agent and writer, Donald Maass, about how to get a Star Trek novel published within the byzantine constraints of Pocket Books
  • "In the Genre" is a bibliography compiled by Michael Burbrick of recommended science fiction and fantasy genre fiction
  • there is a review of Living in Spite of Logic, see that page
  • comments about A Gift Beyond Price, see that page
  • comments about A Kindred Spirit, see that page
  • comments about Chosen Brother, see that page
  • comments about Idylls, #8, see that page
  • comments about Mind Meld, see that page
  • comments about A Gift Beyond Price, see that page
  • comments about Portraits, see that page
  • comments about Edge of Forever, see that page
  • comments about The Monthly, see that page
  • comments about IDIC Log #10, #11, see those pages
  • comments about the pro book Enterprising Women, see that page

Reactions and Reviews

For some time now, I've been lamenting (volubly, and at length) the lack of basic writing skills prevalent in the current crop of ST.TNG writers. I'm referring to fan writers, of course. That the pro ST:TNG writers don't seem very gifted may be attributable to the strictures placed on them by the Powers That Be; strictures which, rumor has it, make writing a novel an exercise comparable to doing Houdini's escapefrom the straight-jacket and water tank without benefit of knowing where the catch is.

But I digress. Obviously, I'm not the only one who's seen the need for emergency remedial measures. Like the answer to an agnostic's prayer comes Trekzine Times, a quarterly publication dedicated to the praiseworthy proposition that anything worth writing is worth writing well.

The issues I've read (June, September, and December, '91, and March, '92) arc excellent examples of desktop publishing techniques. Editors Jordys Miller and Sandy Bookman have done a fine job of using the tools at hand to create a design that is both distinctive and readable. (To be precise, this tyro's tongue hangs out in awe and envy at the quality and style of the production-especially after another frustration-fraught bout with my own computer.) Pull quotes and little Enterprise graphics prevent a simple, mostly art-free layout from becoming boring. Their selection of quotes to pull was a bit random in the first two issues I read, but later issues show that practice has brought improvement in that respect.

I did say mostly art-free. A definite plus in the graphics department is Juanne Michaud's art-one 'toon per issue, and each a gem. They're well-crafted and genuinely funny. The editors would be well advised to keep that artist happy.

Trekzine Times runs about fifteen to twenty pages per issue, and consists primarily of zine reviews, articles on writing, and letters of comment, along with a smattering of other entries, including short articles on new developments in the computer world, desktop publishing tips, and contests. There's also a column entitled "Diversion," which appears to consist solely of reprints of essays from The New Yorker magazine. Questions of permissive use aside, these reprints appear to have no real relevance to fandom or fan publishing, and I would have preferred it if they had saved the paper, oral least put it to better use. After all, if I want to read The New Yorker, I know where to find it. Finally, there's the "Dealer's Table," a short listing of all zines mentioned in the issue. Joan Verba used to do something similar in Trek Link. I liked the idea then, and it's still a good one now.

I was impressed by the lead article in the June, '91 issue. In "Ways to Flesh Out Your Cardboard People into Real Holographic Projections," Margo Kay discusses character creation and development. While some experienced writers may scoff at the rudimentary topic, I found the article entertaining, imaginative, and absolutely right for its target audience. Frankly, some guidance on the art of building believable characters is sorely needed by many in the current crop of neo (and not-so-neo) fan writers. A bibliography is provided for those wishing to explore further.

Much of the rest of this issue consists of a review by Sandy Bookman of the pro novel, A Flag Full of Stars, and LoCs, most of which are commentary about zines; not surprising since that's the primary focus of Trekzine Times. It wouldn't be fair to dissect LoCs, since the editors can't really control LoC form and content (on the other hand, when the bulk of a zine is LoCs, can one avoid taking LoCs into consideration when assessing the overall quality of the writing?). However, many of these LoCs read very much like reviews, and I found myself wishing the editors had polished them up a bit and presented them as such, thus improving the overall quality of the writing.

I was less impressed by the lead article in the September, '91 issue. "'F' Words and Writing," by Peggy Avant, is a primer for beginning writers. Ms. Avant offers practical suggestions about setting aside both time and space for writing, and useful tips on supplies and equipment, but I was dismayed by her advocacy of plagiarism and extensive "borrowing" from one's favorite books, movies, or plays—particularly since some fans' work makes it abundantly clear that they've done just that, and that their favorite books are Harlequin romances. Or worse. And there is more than a hint of irony in the fact that such useful and intelligent ideas about writing are presented in a piece that itself suffers from excess verbiage and poor sentence construction. With one more rewrite, this would've been a truly outstanding essay. Marcia Pecor's review of Profiles in the same issue is interesting; she writes vividly and well. Minimal editing would have smoothed out the few spots where awkward phrasing mars an otherwise competent review.

Michael Bubrick's reviews of Abode of Strife #17 and Vulcan's Lyre #26 are exhaustive-and exhausting. These painfully thorough plot synopses are strongly reminiscent of those book reports we all wrote in elementary school, back when we were very young and didn't know any better. A review is at its best when it offers a discussion of styles, ideas, and techniques, rather than a rehash of events in the story. The best reviews provide insight--and entertainment--in a way no mere chronology can. This is not to say that Mr. Bubrick can't write--on the contrary, he appears to have an excellent grasp of the basics-but his work would be much more interesting if he would abandon this pedestrian approach fora more analytical and personal one.

The December, '91 issue contains Regina Moore's article on editing letterzines (called, appropriately enough, "Editing a Letterzine"), in which she sets forth some cogent ideas and suggestions in a clear and logical fashion. In the reviewing department, Sandy Bookman tackles William Shatner's (or rather, Ron Goulart's; are there any fans left who still don't know about that novel's true origins?) Tekwar, and Michael Bubrick discusses Halting Frequencies #3. At length. For me, the high point of this issue is the "Bad Moments from Zines" Department, which takes some well-aimed (and well-deserved) potshots at Lt. Mary Sue and other Trek story conventions.

The March, '92 issue features Margo Kay, again, with "Tree Climbing, Story Structure and Mice" (does this woman have a way with titles, or what?). This time she's talking about story structure and motivation, and, as before, the article is intelligent, understandable, and entertaining.

On the whole, my reaction to Trekzine Times is positive. I would like to see more effective editing of some of the contributions; I suspect that time constraints and the logistics of putting this puppy out so often are a factor here. Then again, I'd hate to see them go to fewer issues per year, since the frequency of publication means the information and feedback is still timely when it gets into print. That they can produce something this attractive and information-packed, so often, is a tribute to their dedication and organizational abilities. And each issue gets just a bit better-these folks obviously aren't content simply tocoast along on what they can get away with.

The high quality overall of the articles and production (not to mention Juanne Michaud's 'toons) makes this an excellent resource for the fan who's interested in expanding his or her expertise on writing techniques and considerations. I give it three trees (three and a half, actually, but I don't let anyone else award half-trees, so I suspect I'd better not let myself do so, if l want to stay healthy),[3] and wish its publishers the best of luck with it. I hope it stays around for a long time. [4]

References

  1. from an ad in The New Monthly
  2. Ironically, a fan who admonishes fans who write gushing reviews to zines in which they have contributed to later writes an encouraging review of Textual Poachers and doesn't disclose until the next issue that she was a frequent interviewee and source for Henry Jenkin's material.
  3. The reviewers in "Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?" rated zines on a 1-5 tree/star scale. See that page for more explanation.
  4. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #3