The Weight Collected

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Zine
Title: The Weight Collected
Publisher: T'Kuhtian Press
Editor(s):
Date(s): 1988 (collecting chapters from 1976-1988)
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: online here (archived version)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
The Weight Collected is a gen 520-page perfect bound Star Trek: TOS anthology. It has the subtitle, "And Other Stories." It consists of three novels written and illustrated by Leslie Fish. The zine is a collection of the "The Weight" which was serialized in eleven issues of Warped Space which also contains much art from this series.
front cover by Leslie Fish
back cover by Leslie Fish

Fish was awarded the first FanQ award in 1977, one for best author in regards to the first part of this story.

The story first appeared in serial form in Warped Space between 1976 and 1979. It was then collected and published as a standalone in 1988.

Some fans referred to "The Weight" series as "The Wait" in reference to eleven years it took for this story to be finished, and later to be published in one piece. [1]

In 1977, "The Weight" was parodied in the fanwork by Paula Smith in Wasted Space.

Summaries

A journey back into time thrusts Kirk and the Enterprise into an alternate universe where the Federation never formed, and space is ruled by Romulans. Somehow, Kirk and Spock must repair the damage to the space time continuum, with the aid of their alternate universe counterparts. A seminal work. [2]
Kirk and Spock through time to an alternate universe in which there is no Federation and the Romulans rule space. With the help of their AU selves, they must repair a rupture in the time-space continuum in order to save both worlds. [3]
[from a 1987 catalog]:

This is a message for the world calling itself Earth! We wish to contact you for the purpose of verifying historical research. If you have a civilization capable of it, we request that you send a starship to the city of Chicago located at the point of origin of this signal." The sub-space signal had originated 6,259.71 light years beyond the periphery of the galaxy. Rear Admiral Neuman of Starfleet Command authorizes the Enterprise to go back in time prior to the year 2000 to the city of Chicago to find out why it is so important to beings from another galaxy. While Kirk, Spock, and McCoy team down to Chicago, a mutiny involving recent Starfleet Academy graduates just transferred to the Enterprise occurs on board the ship. The mutineers are members of People for Temporal Control, anarchists who want to change time so that the human race will be returned to the simple state of the 21st Century on Earth. Would they succeed?

The paragraph you just read describes "The Sixth Year," by Ed Zdrojewski. This short story, and Leslie Fish's legendary and massive reply, "The Weight," as well as two stories inspired by "The Weight" are now available in THE WEIGHT COLLECTED. "The Weight" is the story of Kirk's struggle to regain not only his crew, but their respect as wel, after a time-displacement accident which left Spock and McCoy dead, and the entire crew of the Enterprise stranded in an alternate time line, unable to get back to their own universe. In brief, the crew deserts Kirk and sets up camp on the Earth of 200 years from now-the Earth which should have been the Earth of the Federation, but which... isn't. Kirk feels that if he could somehow get back to his own time line, there would be at least a possibility of setting things straight again ... For any newcomer to fan fiction, "The Weight" is recommended reading, as it is not only an action/adventure story, but it also has all the elements of a psychological thriler, not to mention being probably the best character study of Kirk ever to be done. Leslie's accompanying artwork is also to be highly complimented on its mood-setting qualities as well as fine technique. About ten years in production, THE WEIGHT COLLECTED weighs in at about three pounds and 520 pages! Other contributors include James Van Hise, Joanne Agostino, Michael Verina, and Martin Cannon, collecting stories and artwork which originally appeared in WARPED SPACE and ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS, revised for this collection, with new artwork by Leslie Fish.

Purposely Published As a Serial

In August 1977, Fish thanked a fan who enjoyed the story's structure:

Well, I'm happy that you like the way "The Weight" is structured; really, that was deliberate. I knew, when I started writing it, that "The Weight" would have to be serialized. A few conferences with Ye Editor gave me some idea of how long each segment would probably be, and I aligned the incidents and development accordingly. It really helps to have the kind of editor who can work with like this! [4]

Origins of The Weight

the first page of a 41-page manuscript (written in 1978) for one of the stories in "The Weight"; the 12-page epilogue for this was written by Jim Van Hise and was printed in Enterprise Incidents #7
"The Weight" is based on "The 6th Year," a story by Ed Zdrojewski in Warped Space #3:
[one fan's description]: Kirk & co. get a weird message, originating well outside the galaxy, asking them to send a starship to "Chicago" at the signal's point of origin to verify historical data. For untidy reasons, they embark into the past to find out what it's all about. (In this universe, the Earth was set back into an agrarian, anarchic society by biological war and the melting of the ice caps; industrialization survived only on the Moon, from whence conquerors later took back the Earth and the Federation was born.) Now a new crop of Enterprise cadets turn out to be plotting to change history and keep Earth agrarian. One gets a phaser to an engineer, resulting in Earth defeating the Lunar invasion and remaining agrarian. Spock and McCoy, meantime, are stranded in dead Chicago - but get inadvertently scooped with up with the city by extra-galactic archaeologists who put them in hibernation until their own time. They disappear before they get there. Enterprise returns to her own time, where: there is no Federation; they find McCoy a true country doctor. All but Kirk beam down to live out their lives; he resolves to stay aboard and single-handedly fend off the Klingons when they come. [5]

The Delay in Publication

synopsis up to part two from Warped Space #22, click to read
After the series was completed in installments, fans had to wait again for the entire story to be published in one piece as the zine The Weight Collected. Joan Verba wrote:
The volume was in high demand because Leslie had won a Fan Q for the series. Would-be readers were asked to send in a deposit plus an SASE for notification of the additional final cost. (This was not an unusual request for fanzine editors who needed to raise funds prior to publishing.) Unfortunately, there were a number of unexpected and unforeseen delays. As a result, The Weight Collected, was not ready for distribution for another seven years. [6]

The zine had at least two different typists, Karolyn through Datazine, and later, Bill Hupe. From Datazine #42 in July 1986: "I am now responsible for the typing of The Weight Collected so there will be a delay in Abode of Strife #6 and #7. I haven't recieved the text, however I hope to get this out with as little weight as possible... Fandom has been waiting too long for this zine."

A Sequel?

In 1980, there was talk of a sequel -- some discussion is in the LoC section and the editorial of Warped Space #43.

From the editorial: "And Leslie Fish has stressed to me that Part 2 of "The Weight" consists of a series of interrelated short stories, complete in themselves, so they will start appearing in future WS issues whenever Leslie gets them going."

See "Reactions and Reviews" below for fans' comments from Warped Space.

Inspired Works

a parody from Wasted Space, printed in both Menagerie #13, also printed in Warped Space #26/27 in 1977

Contents

From the Editorial

Leslie Fish began "The Weight" back in 1976, when it appeared in Warped Space #17. It was her response to Zdrojewski's "The Sixth Year,' which had appeared in WARPED SPACE 3, and was her first piece of Star Trek fiction to be published. Leslie originally intended "The Weight" to end with Part 1, but it grew and grew, and eventually was serialized in WARPED SPACE over a three year period, in WARPED SPACE 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26/27, 29/30, 35/36, 39, 41, and 42. Two related articles were printed in WARPED SPACE 23. And the readers' lettercolumns comprise a fascinating response to this monumental work.

For this collection, I did not include the two articles by Leslie in WARPED SPACE 23, nor have I reproduced the letters that ran in WARPED SPACE that commented on the serial. Although "The Weight" was originally broken down into parts and sections, I have only retained the headers (where they existed), and they can be considered as chapters. Thanks to the interest of and with the perlission of James Van Hise, I have included two reprinted stories and accompanying artwork from his ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS I's 7 and B. As Jil said in his magazine, "The Weight' described noth- ing of the actual ROlulan invasion of Earth beyond the first paragraph in his story, "A Brief Encounter In A Timless War,' Leslie had invited others to write about it while she continued the rest of the story. Thus, the two concluding stories in this collection are the tales of the Romulan invasion of Earth in a timeline that never should have been. With the above information out of the way, I'd like to say, as briefly as possible, that I do lost sincerely apologize for the length of time it took to get this mammoth 'zine printed and distributed. l owe and acknowledge a depth of gratitude to Bill Hupe for finishing the typing, mollifying and reassuring angry subscribers, and for his constant help and encouragement. Still, this volume is not as polished as I had hoped. "The Weight" spans the time when T'Kuhtian Press rented a primitive electric typewriter to the ongoing computer/desktop publishing revolution. and we're still in the throes of familiarizing ourselves with the possibilities. Despite the best efforts of our cadre of typists, I was still finding typos even as the camera-ready copy was left at the printers. And Leslie never did get the chance to go over the final layout and make any desired corrections. I'm sorry, Leslie! Having said all that, I can't wait for this to come back from the printer, who assures me that perfect glue binding will hold this 520 page monster together, because while I was doing the layout, I was scanning the pages, and began hearing the music of Steeleye Span and other quoted musicians running through my head. I can't wait to find the time to sit down and read this from cover to cover, as if for the first time, marvelling again at Leslie's masterful prose and wonderful artwork. I don't think I realized what I had at the time when "The Weight" was being serialized, and Leslie, I thank you for asking WARPED SPACE to publish it! To those of you who have waited with varying degrees of patience, thank you. I think you're going to enjoy this.

And to those of you who haven't read "The Weight" before -- enjoy!

Sample Pages from "The Weight" (printed in the standalone)

Two sample pages from "The Weight" as it appeared as a standalone zine: shows some of the varying font and type used, as well as art placement on page, as well as art reproduction.

Sample Pages from "The Weight" (printed in Warped Space)

Some of the art as it was printed in Warped Space where it was serialized over a period of a number of years. The art reproduction in "Warped Space" had a denser, heavier, more appealing look.

Sample Pages from "A Brief Encounter in a Timeless War"


Sample Pages from "Invaders Great and Small"

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

[Invaders Great and Small]: "A tale of Roantree's Earth" - a McCoy story from 'The Weight' universe. McCoy is a country doctor on an Earth that has renounced high technology. When the Romulans invade, McCoy is abducted to help them combat a plethora of Earth diseases ravaging their troops. Fine writing, a sensible scenario, and good dilemmas for the doctor called upon to aid the enemy. [7]
[About "They Told Me, ‘Cheer Up, Things Could Be Worse,’ So I Cheered Up, and Sure Enough, Things Got Worse” a section of The Weight by Leslie Fish] The dull saga continues. Well, okay, it's not that dull. Still somehow seems plodding to me - maybe because I know Leslie is touting an Anarchist utopia & I'm having trouble buying it. Or maybe because Spock & McCoy are dead. Anyway, in this installment, a bunch of people have gotten killed trying to get the dilithium from the moon; Kirk has lost an eye and suffered brain damage but gotten some dilithium so now they can go, but not fast enough to do the sun thing, so they have to head for the Guardian instead, and Jenneth is plotting to keep the E's crew from grounding Kirk due to the blindness. Oh, and *all* the Anarchists plan to go thru the Guardian to kill the baddie and restore the timeline. And Kirk's Anarchist lover is pregnant. All in all, this should be fun, but somehow just isn't. [8]

1976

[zine]: The Weight by Leslie Fish is the major feature of this issue. It concerns a mission the Enterprise has had in the past. Somehow, something goes wrong, the past is changed and the ship is left without enough power to return to the present. Kirk is left alone on his ship and after 3 1/2 months, he's ready to go off the deep end from simple isolation. Then he finds evidence of the last vestiges of technology on the planet and helps them in their fight against the barbarism that is now rampant over the planet because of the mistake the Big E has made in the time line. Leslie hasn't mastered the technique of playing temporal parcheesi. There are a few inconsistencies. One major fault is that her own characters far outweigh Kirk. This isn't a Star Trek story, but a temporal science fiction story thinly disguised to fit into a Trekzine. The Kirk she shows is plausible but Leslie hasn't taken the time to develop the situations or character so that he is believable. It ends with a good twist but the weaknesses and construction of the story keep it from becoming a truly great pice of fanfic. [9]

1977

... "The Weight" continues to be excellent reading and one of the best ST series. I've seen. It does raise some questions, though. For one, why haven't the Anarchists figured out, from their study of the computer tapes on the Enter prise, that the universe Kirk is from has governments, and military organizations? It's all there in the ship's library com puter, and they have been studying it ever since they boarded. Leslie never really does explain that. The story also raises some interesting ethical questions. The Enterprise crew is guilty of a gross deception by not warning the Anarchists just what kind of a universe they are taking them to, of course. They obviously recognize this, and it does bother them, as shown by the conversation between Uhura and Chapel concerning Roantree. But what about the ethics of the whole project? They are all assuming they have the right to go back to the Guardian and change history again, even though if they are successful it will mean the end of the universe they now have, and in effect, the death of everyone in it. I can see the Enterprise crew's desire to get back to their own time, but if I were one of the Anarchists, I would have grave misgivings. How will it profit them to arrive in Kirk's uni verse? Even if they can find counter parts to the people they left behind, the counterparts won't be the same, and won't accept them. I think I'd rather have the world I know, with all its faults, than take a chance on a radically different one. And that's certainly a choice I have no right to make for someone else. Another mystery to me in this series is, why are 100 crewmen of the Enterprise so intimidated by 42 anarchists? They act like the odds were the other way around. Somehow, it just doesn't ring true. While I'm not anxious to see the end of this epic, since I'm enjoying it very much, I do hope that it will have an end in the foreseeable future. I can think of at least two other continued series in STrek lit that just abruptly ceased, without ever finishing: Kraith, of course, and Federation and Empire, from the old BABEL 'zine. Then, there are a few others going at the moment which may or may not get neatly wound up. But of the current ones. The Weight and Jean Lorrah's Epilogue are the only ones I really care about finishing. Also Alternate Universe 4, if the authors happen to write another volume. That's one of the perils of 'zine reading — you never can be sure if there is even going to be a conclusion to these major epics.[10]

... I'm hooked on "The Weight." Les lie Fish's story has got to be the "Dune" of Treklit ... A brief sampling of things I like in "The Weight": 1. Putting Capt. Macho through childbirth and the death of those children, 2. Forcing Kirk to experience sexual intercourse from the female view point and hinting strongly that male jealousy of female sexual capacity is the nitty-gritty reason behind the institu tion of marriage, 3. Forcing us to look upon Starfleet as something more than a shining example of goodwill. Also, I've always suspected that Sulu was the man in Uhura's life, not Kirk. Remember the look he gives her when she takes over navigation in "Balance Of Terror", and all that sexy stuff on the bridge in "Mirror, Mirror"? If they can do it in one universe, why not another?

[snipped]

Do you think Leslie can keep her story going long enough to get Kirk through menopause, too? [11]
"The Weight" -- This heavy piece should better be retitled: "The Wait," 'cause that's what you do... wait for the next installment. The continuing saga of a bedraggled James T. Kirk and his counterpart in an alternate universe who just happens to be female. Leslie seems to be loving Kirk to death. So far, he has lost one eye, has a badly scarred face and a bad case of the "Wheezes" which sounds very much like TB. In this installment, we meet Sarek and learn a little about the Vulcans of this universe and the Big E reaches the time planet which seems to be their goal. </ref> comments from a letter of comment in Warped Space #28 </ref>
"The Weight" — my main complaint is that Anarchism doesn't work unless every body is crazy the same way together; one derf, one oddball, one clod who doesn't have the sensitivity to think your way and the whole system falls apart. In their own way the Anarchists are just as ruth lessly totalitarian as any other single- minded group. For all their so-called freedom, it is their way or none. The only reason the Enterprise crew go along with them is to get back into their own time-line. Frankly, I think the crew is being pretty forbearing with these types, and while their self-discipline works only as long as they can argue every point around, there will eventually come a day when someone has to give an order, and everyone has to obey it immediately, no matter what their personal feelings are. Authoritarian? You bet your bippy, luv, but when the Romulans attack you don't argue, you obey orders! The other thing that bugs me about "The Weight", much as I admire it, is the tacit assumption that ALL power is evil and ALL power corrupts . . .[12]
... I am not, appearances to the contrary, a fanatic-McCoy-freak — in fact it is my interest/fanaticism for the character of Kirk in fanfic which led me to this side query. Specifically, where is McCoy in such Treklit epics as "The Weight", for example? I don't mean where physically. I know what happened in the Big E's timeline and in the Anarchists'. Leslie mentions barely a paragraph of nar ration in which one McCoy dies and the other remains "an old country doctor". The whole of Kirk's mourning, his loneliness and his searching is then delegated to Spock, without, it seems, another thought for Bones. I hope no one, including Leslie, mistakes my intent. I am questioning, not criticizing. I think "The Weight" is one of the most articulate, most sensitive and intelligent stories I have read in and out of sf/ST lit. My question is only on the near-absence of one of the central characters of ST — if McCoy is what he has been called — Kirk's closest confidant, his human-conscience, his most reliable, non-competitive friend, why doesn't the Kirk in "The Weight" even mention McCoy to the Anarchists? He lovingly describes Spock ... why not Bones? [13]
One thing I've wondered about "The Weight" (aside from how did Kirk right off know it was Sarek rather than the Romulan Commander from "Balance of Terror"?) ... how come when people get shredded in fanzine stories nobody ever thinks to dump them on Omicron Ceti what ever and let the spores regenerate them? (One thing the on air ST did not lack was the deus ex machina and the easy out ... ) If it can grow back appendixes that have been surgically removed, it should be able to handle a measly eye ... and scarring due to a miscarriage also. [14]

1978

[zine]: While the idea of alternative time-lines is intriguing, the necessity of the sex-changes themselves aren't clear to me. Why couldn't Kirk have ben a man in this universe? And an illo of Quannechota suddenly opened my eyes: Spock in drag. After I'd recovered consciousness, I wept for an hour. It seems to me that we (women) are kicking themselves in the butt, when we have so much trouble producing strong, believable ST females that we resort to appropriation of the best male characters? Did the anarchist leader have to be Kirk's female alter-ego? (I suddenly have this wild urge to call her Mary Sue Kirk.) Did her Indian side-kick have to Spockette? Wouldn't two new females have been much more effective, and much less stomach-upsetting for the readers? Or was this whole story an elaborate excuse for finally getting Kirk to ____ Spock honestly? [15]
[zine]: Leslie's story is highly detailed and often emotionally crushing. She makes these new characters move and breathe and live in a way which many professional writers simply cannot. Her portrayal of Kirk is both characteristically correct and stylistically beautiful. In THE WEIGHT we come to know other characters which soon become as important as Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew. Though we are introduced to many characters in several fan fiction serials, Leslie's portrayal of Jenneth Roantree, Quannechota , Sparks and the rest of the Anarchists is far superior to anything I have yet to encounter.... For any newcomer to fan fiction, THE WEIGHT is re-commended reading, as it is not only an action/adventure story, but it also has all the elements of a psychological thriller not to mention being probably the best character study of Kirk ever to be done. Though I am not personally a Kirk fan, I have thoroughly enjoyed every last word of THE WEIGHT, and am anxiously awaiting the remaining installments. Leslie's accompanying artwork is also to be highly complimented on its mood setting qualities as well as fine technique. [16]

1979

[zine]: As far as Leslie Fish is concerned, I think "The Weight" is the best I've ever seen in ST fiction (except for a few episodes, which are not really comparable). I'll like it even better when I have it all in one piece.... Leslie is a brilliant writer. I happen to love her existential gestures toward political looniness (I've been extremely active in politics for 16 years). She almost tells it like it is -- I mean the sheer madness of organization politics. She's tough; so is the world. [17]
[zine]: "The Sixth Year" sets the stage for Ms Fish's fabulous ST adventure. In this story, Kirk takes the Enterprise back to 1990 to examine the fabled "lost city of Chicago". At that time, Chicago was a dead city wiped out by a biological weapon during the Malthusian Disaster of 1987. While in the past a member of the landing party, Pennington, disappears taking with her the plans for a crude phaser, and Spock and McCoy are apparently killed when a flash flood wipes out Chicago. Being short on dilithium crystals, Kirk is forced to return to the future, where he finds that the theft of the phaser plans has changed history. The Earth he finds has a medieval level of technology and is steeped in anarchy. With no power to go anywhere, the crew deserts and starts a new life on Earth, leaving Kirk alone on the Enterprise to await the Klingons or the Romulans. The Weight begins approximately three months after the disaster. Kirk is alone on the Enterprise and slowly going mad when there is a knock on the door. He comes across the Sunfire, a primitive chemical powered rocket headed for the Moon. He makes contact with it, and it was sent by a pocket of science lovers in High Harbor, Michigan. The crew is the most unbelievable collection of longhaired, bearded, tattoed, free-living, independent, devout practicing anarchists led by Coordinator Jenneth Roantree. Eager for company, Kirk brings them aboard the Enterprise. While visiting, they find out why he is there, and High Harbor is attacked by anti-science neighbors. Kirk is barely able to save the town. The Anarchists are depressed by their losses and start to think about the alternate universe Kirk comes from. It sounds like paradise. (Kirk neglected to mention that there were laws and governments, that Star Fleet was a military organization, and a few other things. Keeping "The Awful Truth" a secret will become a big problem.) Kirk explains that he could restore the universe if only he had enough dilithium crystals to power the ship for a trip to the Guardian of Forever. One of the Anarchists points out that that would be an easy problem to solve. The crystals had been found on the Moon in Kirk's universe, and the Sunfire was going there full of mining equipment. If he could prove that alternate universes exist, they might help him. Proof is soon found when Jenneth Roantree is shown to be Kirk's alternate universe counterpart. Kirk persuades part of the Enterprise crew to beam up:and, together with the Anar- chists, they set off on a mission to restore time. They mine the crystals on the Moor., dnd start on the long journey to the Guardian just as the Romulans attack Earth. Will they be able to cross Romulan dominated space safely to the Guardian? Who will go through the Guardian? Will they be able to stop Fennington? Who will come back through the Guardianf What kind of universe will result? Most authors would be satisfied just to dream up such a splendid action/adventure story, but not Ms Fish. There is much more. Among the goodies are love affair between Kirk and one of the Anarchists, a feminist plot against Star Fleet by Uhura and Chapel, numerous personal identity crises, and all the social and political satire that can be mined from a cultural clash between two such different cultures as the Anarchists and the Federation. How to get: Publication is expected in the next six months. Reserve your copy with a deposit of $10 and a SASE for notification of final cost and postage. [18]

1980

[zine]: Concerning "The Weight": clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap pause clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap yay clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap encore encore clap ... [19]
[zine]: WHAT DO WE SAY!!?? You mean you want to put us through that again? Having got this off my chest, I can turn around and say I wouldn't mind if part 2 of "The Weight" was serialized (only in WARPED SPACE, mind! I don't feel I can start hunting around to find out where Chapter 3 was published, and then manage to get hold of it only to find then that I haven't received Chapters 1 and 2 yet. This may be a bit warbled, but I'm sure you get my drift). So, in clear print, yes, I would like WS to continue publishing "The Weight", even though the end of part 1 really threw me off balance — I won't comment on it be cause it was so different from what I'd expected that I don't know what to say. [20]
[zine]: <nowikik>*sigh*</nowiki> I hate to sound like a sour grape, but I personally feel the conclusion of "The Weight" was rather weak. Somehow the tension ceased to hold and it came off seemingly rushed. Granted the earlier installments are a hard act to follow, but I found myself really disappointed in the way the conclusion was handled. It was the logical conclusion and one the story should have come to to remain true to the characters. Don't ask me what exactly is wrong — I can't tell you. It just "feels" wrong. I suppose lack of solid "evidence" to back up my claim invalidates the statements. And no, I couldn't do better myself. The artwork was some of Leslie's best so far as the series goes and the one scene of Jenneth's hair being shorn will remain a personal favorite for a long time to come. [21]
[zine]: Honestly, I am very relieved to see an end to "Dead Weight". The story was fine and the characters good, but all in all, it was terribly ponderous. You needed a mental plow to get past some of the passages. Much as I like Leslie Fish (contrary to what Roberta believes), I feel her best work is in music, and should stay there. I vote "no" on part 2 of "The Weight". [22]
[zine]: Leslie Fish has, at last, gotten to the main action. I wondered how she'd get Kirk and Roantree's situations reversed ... But I didn't really think that Kirk would be so tongue-tied while Jenneth was quite the opposite. She doesn't seem able to see things from his point of view at all — yet. It'll be easier to tell the strength of Leslie's tale once it's read without months between episodes. But — I'd rather see parts 2 and 3 serialized in WS as part 1 was. Already I'm trying to figure out how Kirk will get Jenneth as much freedom as possible and where and when the Galilei and Co. will show up again. These folks have got a lot to learn. C'mon, Leslie, show us where they're wrong as well as where they're right! [23]
[zine]: Oddly enough, the last segment of "The Weight" is the first one I've read -- and I didn't feel like I'd walked in in the middle of a conversation. The only previous explanation I'd had was that Jenneth was in some way an alternate-Kirk, and the piece did not ramble as I had been warned it might. Leslie's illos are all her own, in an unmistakable style that some folks don't like, but that I find darkly appropriate for the subject matter. I will probably wind up getting a copy of "The Weight, Collected" — and my friends will be surprised, because I have screamed for the last ten months that "I don't read TREK!" The social ethics involved spoke very loudly to a Survivor of the Campus Sixties, and I think I'll probably run home tonight and read the rest of what I've got of the story. [24]
[zine]:"The Weight", finally over?!? I must admit to being shocked by the ending. How ironic! I thought the Anarchists were realists, judging from the past 3 installments. But their ideas about treatment of people who make errors really take the cake! I sincerely hope the Anarchist has a good grip on his or her own self-worth, otherwise the blow will really be crushing if he or she makes a minor error and loses his or her position as a result. Wonder how many people have been displaced in such a way? Evidently they don't believe in second chances! How realistic is it to expect a leader to never lead them wrong? Are the Anarchists so sure that Jenneth would have persisted in her errors if she had stayed at her post?

I also wonder what will happen when they come across a pro-Federation person who isn't a total idiot like Komack, or the weak squeamish ones the orienting Science Team appeared to be. I'm also surprised — well, I will be — if Komack accepts the cock-and-bull tale Mendez fed him. If I were a cautious Admiral, I'd try to run a careful check on the Federation people who had interactions with the Anarchists. People like Kirk, Scott and Chapel may prove to be the real insurrectionists.

It's been quite a series. My vote is in favor of the serial approach for the next parts of the trilogy. I also hope it includes a glimpse at what happens with the roving Anarchists — especially Quanna. Can &he really be totally indifferent to the fact that her lover Jenneth is in exile? On other interesting detail I noticed: Jenneth (on p. 52) condemned Kirk and Federation of living by the lie that "might is right". Yet in the crucial voting scene, (p. 58) Bailey did not alter her decision from death to exile until after Quanna had posted herself beside Jenneth while bran dishing a throwing knife. The threat was clear, and Quanna voiced no arguments or appeal to common sense, just a silent threat of force. [25]
[zine]: "The Weight" — wow! I don't agree with all of Leslie's interpretations of the Enterprise's finest, but she's cruelly consistent. [26]
[zine]: "I can't believe 'The Weight's the whole thing!" At last. And much as I com plain habitually with each LoC about various aspects of said tome, I'll glibly admit that Leslie tied up the loose ends and accomplished the denouement with a flourish. I do, however, have reservations as to the logic or believability, given "The Weight's" previous format, of the Anarchists leaving Roantree behind at the end. As a writer's ploy its genius is unquestionable though, bringing the story full-turn in a sort of "Alternative Factor"/TIME AFTER TIME twist. The artwork was particularly good in this installment, too — especially the lovely Christine on p. 46. Now that the series has come to a momentary halt, after all is said and done, regardless of my personal interest in the piece being only marginal, "The Weight" certainly deserves the title of classic in the annals of fan TREKlit. [27]
[zine]: I've been waiting for what seems like a year to read the conclusion of "The Weight". Hah! If that was a conclusion, I'm bright blue! All Leslie did in that installment was let the Anarchists know just how the deck was stacked. The real fun is just ready to start now! For one thing, when Jenneth wakes up, she's going to have trouble deciding who she wants to kill first, Jim or Spock! Seems to me, Jim would be just a little peeved with Star Fleet Command, too. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn he plans to make life as unpleasant as possible for them. (Like maybe ramming his twin down their collective throats as a starship captain, possibly?) I'd love to see him try it, providing, of course, he can get Jenneth to cooperate. She's likely to be a bit peeved with him! I'd also love to see a scene where Spock tries to explain Jenneth to Sarek! Come to think of it, I'd rather like to see a scene between Sarek and Jenneth! If Jim has any sense, he'll do his damnedest to keep those two as far apart as possible! If he can't manage that, he'd do well to find himself a bomb-shelter! For some reason, I suspect Sarek and Jenneth would suffer a severe personality clash! I most definitely hope to print further sections of "The Weight" in WS. Not only have I become rather attached to it, but it's nice to find something you know you will enjoy for certain! This doesn't necessarily mean I believe the characterizations in "The Weight" any more than I believe them in KRAITH, but like KRAITH, I find the story so well-written that I go along with it. Frankly, I don't see Spock quite as nervy as Leslie portrays him, but I do enjoy her devious mind! I find that I can enjoy a wide variety of STAR TREK universes without necessarily going along with any one of them completely. This is one reason I've enjoyed even the K/S stuff I've read, even though part of me simply refuses to see that pair in such a context. I've noticed the controversy on your letter pages and I'm afraid I don't really understand what the fuss is all about. If the material offends people, why do they read it? It's like television — if you don't like it, turn it off! I don't believe it, but some writers (Leslie Fish, Gerry Downes, and Susan James in particular) write what can only be called love stories. I think it is this element in their tales that I find so enjoyable. I must confess, on occasion I would like to see" a story written by one of these writers which pairs Kirk or Spock up with women who could be considered a true match for them. I admit to a slight curiosity concerning their ability to write as enthralling a tale as the ones they have already produced. I suspect that this may be one reason I find Jenneth and Quanna so interesting. If Spock could keep from shying away from her, his involvement with Jenneth could become quite interesting. (Wonder how Kirk would react; don't you?) [28]
[zine]: I don't care for it, at least as Star Trek. I think Leslie would have been better to have written it as a straight SF story without trying to include ST characters. The thing is, as I'm sure you know, a reviewer judges to some extent on the basis of his/her personal preferences. No matter how hard you try to be objective it isn't always possible. To me, "The Weight" is that much wasted effort as an ST story because Kirk is, to all intents and purposes, on his own, separated from McCoy and Spock; Quanna, as a Spock analogue, is not the same, especially since he thinks she's Miramanee. I gave it a fair try; read my way right through it (although I did have to get photo­copies of some of the earlier episodes from a friend) but found myself more and more inclined to scan as it went on. [29]

1988

[zine]: I have just finished reading -- in its entirety, at one sitting -- THE WEIGHT Collected: & Other Stories, a must for fanzine readers. I had planned to read a story or two on a lazy Saturday (after a late night of sushi and conversation) but ended up reading it all! I couldn't put it down. I was drunk on it, possessed! Written primarily by Leslie Fish (and including "The 6th Year" by Ed Zdrojewski, which inspired "The Weight"), these stories hold together as a continuous novel rather than as the sequential short stories it purports itself to be. The plot uses such devices as time travel, alternate realities, and even "Mary Sue." However, it also postulates daring ideas on gender and identity, on sexual relationships and friendship, and even on politics: the stuff of great fiction, speculations all too often edited out of Pro-Trek fiction. Although I don't agree with some of the ideas espoused in this work, I applaud them when they are so eloquently presented. There is good characterization too, especially for those of us "hurt/comfort" fans for whom Kirk is never so beautiful as when he suffers. In this collection he suffers magnificantly: he becomes gaunt, scarred, emotionally tortured, and half blind. There is one scene in particular which exemplifies this: Kirk desperately needs to cry (he has reason to) but due to his stubborn will and ideas of self, he is unable to. His tortured body trembles and racks with the sobs he cannot, dare not, express. I defy anyone to read this with dry eyes. I should mention the illos (by the author, Leslie Fish): they are powerful and fully integrated into the storyline. In themselves they are strong and vaguely medieval -- relying on heavy, bold lines to reveal the underlying essence of those depicted. They are not "pretty," but have a beauty that will involve the viewer long after closing the pages of The Weight. Some negative aspects include three different typists and typeface; the quality of the zine tended to deteriorate toward the end -- I could see paste-up edges and even editing notes. But these are minor flaws and easily forgiven, given the volunteer nature of fan fiction. Another negative was the use of song in with the narratives -- enjoyable when recognizable, disconcerting when unfamiliar. I discovered in the credits that some songs were unpublished and unrecorded: foul! No Fair! Bloody hell! I wonder if T'Kuhtian Press would release "The Weight: The Album"? [30]
[zine]: As you can see, it is almost all Fish. Her story starts with Kirk alone in the ENTERPRISE, orbiting an Earth that isn't his. Partly because of a goof-up by Kirk, the timeline has been changed. Humanity is now almost entirely planet-bound, and science is suspect. Anarchy—principled anarchy— is now the rule on Earth. Kirk, suffering almost terminal guilt, meets up with a group of space-minded anarchists, among whom is his own analogue in this reality. To get his own reality back, he must have the help of these people. They are willing; they think as science- minded humanity must be an improvement. What they don't know, and what Kirk must keep them from finding out, is that in his reality, governments still exist and have power. I really enjoyed this one. Theanarchists aren't just us in funny clothes; they are truly different. The effects they have on the ENTERPRISE people are well-imagined. The whole thing is convincing, with unexpected twists and turns whenever you think you know what's coming next. The author's illustrations are lively, moody, and strong. The writing is as good as I hoped, but I hoped a lot, after paying out the cost of two or three other zines. But it's the size of three or four other zines. Maybe it depends on whether you like Leslie Fish. I do. Rating—PG-13toR? Age statement not required. Detail fades below the waist. [31]

1990

[zine]: After a time displacement accident which left Spock and McCoy dead, the entire crew of the Enterprise is stranded in an alternate time line, unable to get back to their own universe. In brief, the crew deserts Kirk and sets up camp on Earth 200 years from now -- the Earth which would have been the earth of the Federation, but which isn't anymore. Kirk feels that if he could somehow get back his own time line, there would at least be a possibility of setting things straight once again. Even though the crew (and Kirk) are in their own time, they are not in their own universe. The universe in which they are stranded (due to Kirk's error in judgement) is a society which has shunned science. This is one of the few pieces of fiction admitting that Kirk, Spock or any of the regulars could make a mistake. At any rate, Kirk discovers, quite by accident, a group of Anarchists who befriend him. Essentially, they help him see there is still a chance of getting back to his own time, even though he has all but given up hope. The problem? The Anarchists shun leadership, and Kirk knows they certainly would be out of place in his universe. He must find a way of 'balancing' things so that no one comes out on the bottom in the end. In the parallel universe, all of Kirk's people have doubles in this new time line. Kirk's double just happens to be a woman, Jenneth Roantree, leader of the Anarchists. Jenneth is essentially Kirk, in another time, born into the body of a woman. The way Kirk discovers she is his double is astonishing and humorous as well. [32]
[zine]: Leslie's story is highly detailed and emotionally crushing. She makes these new characters move, breathe and live in a way may professional writers simply cannot do. Her portrayal of Kirk is both charactaeriscatlly correct and stylistically beautiful. In The Weight we come to know the other characters, who soon become as important as Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the crew. Though other fan fiction serials introduce us to many new characters, Leslie's portrayal of Jenneth Roantress, Quannechota, Sparks, and the rest of the Anarchists is far superior to anything else I have encountered. [33]

1992

[zine]:

Fish combines action-adventure sequences, political and theological debates, romantic and sexual encounters, communal rituals, and folk songs, along with a diverse array of other generic materials, into a complex and compelling narrative of Kirk's attempt to regain his ship, his crew, and his dignity following a disastrous time travel experience. Her novel offers insight into the psychology of the major characters and a compelling critique of the program's ideology. The Weight begins with mild grumbling about bureaucratic incompetence and ends with all of the regular characters verging on open revolt against Federation authorities. If official Star Trek novels are required to return the characters to the place where they began, to introduce no dramatic changes to the narrative format, Fish fully exploits the freedom of fan writing to change all the rules of the game; Fish takes obvious pleasure in systematically dismantling the fictional world and gradually remaking it in alternative terms. Fish also manages to introduce a cast of original characters, including several strong and heroic women, whose motivations and actions prove as intriguing as those of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Despite all of these changes, Fish remains faithful to the core of the series, making frequent references to program history as a basis for the characters' histories and motivations. [34]

1993

[zine]:

Yes, The Weight is good enough writing to carry its anarchist politics — in part because it devotes a good deal of space to developing non-Enterprise characters whose beliefs demonstrate Fish's points. She shows the Federation as perhaps too villainous in contrast, with the familiar Enterprise characters caught in the middle trying to do their best, which accords with ST's ideals. Note that what Fish does not do is convert Kirk into a committed anarchist (though she shows his a/u analogue as one). [35]

2007

[zine]: Based on a short story by Ed Zdrojewski, it separates Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise from Spock & McCoy, who are presumed dead by sudden catastrophe in Earth's 20th century. Phaser technology had been introduced far before its time, and the Enterprise returns to a future not its own, this Earth is an agrarian anti-technological society. This is an Earth without a Federation, no contact with Vulcan or any other alien culture. With power levels dangerously low, a decision is almost made to disperse the crew into this different Earth (most of the crew have already left) when sensors discover a jury-rigged rocket taking off for the Moon & about to break up in the atmosphere, the Enterprise manages to rescue part of this crew & find that they are the last survivors of the last scientific community on Earth, who were desperately hoping to make it to the Lunar Colony that they hope against hope still exists. This is a universe where almost nobody is who they appear to be. Many of the characters we know from the original TREK universe aren't even the same sex in this one, and Kirk is one of the last to figure out who is who. This novel was published originally as MANY chapters in MANY issues of the anthology, Warped Space. It took me YEARS to collect all its parts. When the novel version was announced, I was one of the 1st to send a check & preorder it. Very few more than those preorders were printed. [36]

2016

Special mention to The Weight, Collected: This was a story originally serialized in the pages of Warped Space and later reprinted in a stand-alone volume. The story was written and illustrated by Leslie Fish. The formidable talent of Leslie is a force to behold whenever and wherever she brings it to bear. Leslie is known as a writer, artist, and filker. She is one of the earliest K/S writers and in 1977 won the first FanQ Award ever presented for fiction, for "The Weight" (which still was being serialized at the time). That story took Kirk's life and psyche apart and put them back together again. An AU to end AUs. [37]

References

  1. ""The Weight" -- This heavy piece should better be retitled: "The Wait," 'cause that's what you do... wait for the next installment." -- from a fan's letter of comment in Warped Space #28 (August 1977)
  2. from Media Monitor #14 (1997)
  3. from an ebay seller in 2011
  4. comments from a letter of comment in Warped Space #28
  5. The Zinedex
  6. from Boldly Writing
  7. Halliday’s Star Trek Zinedex (TOS) - Title Index, Archived version (2000s)
  8. from The Zinedex (2000s)
  9. from Spectrum #26 (1976)
  10. from a letter of comment by Pat Gildersleeve in "Warped Space" #26/27
  11. from a letter of comment by Amy Tedford in "Warped Space" #26/27
  12. comments from a letter of comment in Warped Space #28
  13. comments from a letter of comment in Warped Space #28
  14. comments from a letter of comment in Warped Space #28
  15. from a fan's LoC in Warped Space #37 (1978)
  16. by Christopher Randolph in Enterprise Incidents #6 (1978) in The Many Faces of Fan Fiction
  17. from Enterprise Incidents #7 (1979)
  18. from a 1979 review in TREKisM #9 (1979)
  19. from an LoC by Paula Smith is in Warped Space #43 (1980), the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  20. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) , the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  21. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  22. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  23. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  24. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  25. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  26. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  27. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  28. from an LoC in Warped Space #43 (1980) -- Warped Space #42 is the zine in which the last chapter was originally published
  29. from Enterprise Incidents #8 (1980)
  30. from TREKisM #59 (1988)
  31. from Treklink #14 (1988)
  32. from Trek Fan's Handbook, chapter by by Christopher Randolph (1990)
  33. from Trek Fan's Handbook by Jim Van Hise, 1990
  34. Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers, page 177-178 (1992)
  35. comments by [B T] in Strange Bedfellows #2 (November 1993)
  36. From an ebay seller in 2007
  37. comment by kslangley at What was your first fandom?, August 28, 2016