TrekStar Award

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Award
Name: TrekStar Award
Date(s): 1981
Frequency: annual
Format:
Type:
Associated Community:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
URL:
Syn Ferguson's award; she reproduced an image of this "fantastic brass plaque" on the front of Straight Trek.
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
announcement for the first year, printed in Interstat #43

The TrekStar Awards were awards given to fanzine fan fiction writers and artists in Star Trek fandom. They were selected by the readers of the letterzine Interstat.

Like the Fan Q, the award is given to a work created the previous year -- example, the 1981 award was for work created in 1980.

The idea came from Dixie Owen who noted that the FanQ Awards nominations ballot was showing fewer Star Trek entries. [1]

The Original Proposal

Many die-hard Trek fen have watched sadly and with much dismay year after year as the highly regarded ST Fan Quality Awards (known as Fan Q's, and associated with the big Kalamazoo/Lansing, Michigan fandon) have been diluted to include fringe and comix fandoms. Presently they cover every area—SW, Man From Atlantis, Flash Gordon, Dracula, Superman, Alien, etc., and Trek has pretty well been lost in the shuffle; the awards went to fandoms other than ST the last couple of years. It's high time we got back to basics with Trek-only choices, perhaps the Trek Star Award for Best Zine, Best Editor, Best Writer, Best Artist, Best Humor, etc.? It would be even nicer if a regularly appearing zine like INTERSTAT would sponsor these, dedicated as it is to Trekdom— set up rules, deadlines, and ask for nominations/votes on postcards, maybe. Not necessarily limited to subscriber participation, of course, since the widest possible spectrum of fen would be in the best interests of the cause. [The editor interjects Interstat would print rules and such, but that Dixie would have to coordinate these awards.] [2]

Its Place in History

The TrekStar Awards were created when tensions were high regarding the new existence of media fandoms for things other than Star Trek.

Star Wars was the second big media to hit the ground, and fandoms for Starsky & Hutch, Blake's Seven, and many other shows were attracting attention from Trek fans, as well as fans who weren't Trek fans at all. Many Trek fans felt these new fandoms were dangerous competition in terms of attention and focus; there was much discussion of these fannish loyalties in letterzines.

Another off-shoot of the shifting face of media fandom was the Media Fan Fund, something that was first created as the "Star Trek Fan Fund" a few years earlier. Much of the controversy and discussion about what it meant to be a fan at this time centered around the TrekStar Awards, the Media Fan Fund, and MediaWest*Con.

For much more discussion regarding these topics, see Interstat during this time.

Created in 1980, Awarded in 1981

ballot for first awards, printed in Interstat, click to read

Created in 1981, Awarded in 1982

From the awards organizer:
ACCOMPANING NOTES FOR TrekStar '81 AWARDS: Thanks to all the participants in the TrekStar '81 Awards, both voters 
and nominees. We did a bigger business this year than last, and nearly 
everyone observed the rules. One final ballot had to be disqualified for 
being late, and one voter signed only her first name (but fortunately, she 
had sent a nomination also which was an exact handwriting match). As usual,
 not all voters voted in all categories, the Poet being the one most shunned,
either from lack of interest or unfamiliarity with the ballot listings. One
honest fan refused to vote for a first place poet at all (but did for 2nd 
and 3rd), saying, "Any poems not about Spock and/or Kirk would place first
 in my heart." Voting totals were weighted, as last year, by giving a first
 place nominee the top number of entries in that class: for instance, each
 #1 vote Diana King got gave her a 4, with each #2 a 3 and so on. So every
one got some credit for each choice. I added and re-added several ways,
 since some of these were very close, and am satisfied that the totals re
flect the choices of the voters. It was indeed easier to do this year, and
 I owe this to your cooperation in rule-following. Congratulations to the 
five winners, who have been notified by phone, and your award plaques will
 forthcoming. [3]

Created in 1982, Awarded in 1983

ballot for the third awards, printed in Interstat #70, click to read

Also nominated:

  • Rick Endres for story, "No Place Like Home," first published in Stardate 14 in 1982
  • Rick Endres for artwork, Stardate 15 in 1982

Reactions and Reviews Regarding Its Proposal and First Incarnation

Bev C cautions others:
[Dixie O's] call for a new set of awards for ST zines/fans only brought to mind a similar brouhaha in SF fandom a few years ago. Some disgruntled fans, upset because Hugos no longer went to real fanzines but to semi-prozines and even fringe-zines, decided to set up their own awards, the Faans. At the time, they seemed full of sour grapes and rather childish, announcing that the Hugos no longer had any meaning, these fans were the last bastion of Tru-fandom, and other similarly apocalyptic decrees. The irony: the immediate cause of their upset was the nomination of two ST writers for the Best Writer Hugo. Her Hugo had no meaning, said the winner later, because she had won it against Trekkies, not against real fan writers. Let's not start that sort of silliness in media fandom. True, the Fan Q awards started as Trek awards, but at the time there was no other media fandom. As Trek fandom expanded to embrace the other media, so should these awards; like it or not. Trek has metamorphosed into media. Most of the media fans are also Trek fans, and a good many people I have known for years in Trek fandom are also participants in wider media fandom. It makes sense to have one set of awards to cover all these fandoms, and it makes sense for these awards to be separate from the SF Hugos or Faans. All media fandoms have similar standards of quality and similar conventions in writing, art, and zines... When fans vote for the Fan Q awards, they are not judging ST against SW, but judging both against standards that apply to both; there may be bloc voting (ST fans voting for ST material, SW fans voting for SW material, and so on), but that happens in any case — it was widely believed in SF fandom that bloc voting was the reason that two ST fans were nominated for Best Fan Writer in 1974, and it's probably true. Besides, the more awards there are, the less validity any award has, and the more the newer awards appear self-serving. [4]
  • Vel Jaeger likes the idea of separate Trek zine awards:
    To [Dixie O] - I think your idea of a series of awards for Trek fandom is superb. I hadn't really thought about it before, but we really are excluded from the general SF field entirely in this matter. I think it's safe to assume that no all-Trek zine was ever nominated for a HUGO, despite the fact that the original ST was nominated 5 times, and that ST zines can hold their own in quality in comparison to general SF zines. Being fairly familiar with general SF art, I know for certain that Trek art is equal, if not superior in many ways (eg. Trek artists have the additional burden of making their subjects true-to-life)- Let the other "Media SF" specialities have their own awards, too. [5]
  • Lori Chapek-Carleton is supportive of a separate Trek fan award:
    Paula Smith and I have been saying for quite some time that if anyone in any fandom feels like setting up fandom-specific awards, they are certainly welcome to, and if a STAR TREK Award is set up, I at least think that Dixie would be the perfect coordinator! This wouldn't hurt the Fan Q's at all, and I can visualize someone ('zine, author, or whatever) quite possibly being nominated for multiple awards, as now happens with the Academy, L.A. Critics, Foreign Correspondents, etc.... To reiterate my personal opinion on awards, if anyone most involved in any single fandom wishes to establish awards in that fandom (whether in connection with a 'zine or ' a con), I'm all for it, and would participate wholeheartedly in those fandoms in which I am active. [6]
  • Barbara P. G complains about the Fan Q awards, proposing that "The time has come to disassociate Trek fandom from media fandom":
    It is clear that the Fan Q Awards as they are, are unfair in that they do not even adequately represent so-called media fandom. The only fandoms represented on the awards ballot are ST and SW, with one Dracula exception. What about S&H, BG, MASH, and all the others? The Awards have become a ST/SW media-popularity contest. Why is it necessary to have such a contest, when it causes so much observable hostility? It is time to recognize that there is no such thing as a "media fandom"; there are ST fans, and there are SW fans, and there are MASH fans, and so forth. Some of us are involved in more than one fandom; some are not- There is absolutely nothing wrong with either preference. The problems—and the hostility—arise when some fans begin to behave as if their taste were universal: the only possible acceptable, correct taste. They should understand that some of us definitely may not want to be referred to as media fans and find ourselves lumped together with other fandoms of media we may find boring and even repellent, and may not wish to have ourselves confronted with these media at every turn. The time has come to disassociate Trek fandom from media fandom, as it once disassociated from SF fandom and for the same reasons: our special needs and interests are not being served by the association, and to stifle the growing jealousy and hostility directed toward ST fandom. [7]
  • Joan V comments on awards:
    While I agree with [Bev C] that the idea that the 1973 Hugo fan writer award was somehow "diminished" by the competition of Trek writers was silly (I was there), I disagree that this incident has any relation to the idea of having a Trek award separate from the Fan Qs. No one is saying the Fan Q award has been "diminshed" in value by the presence of non-Trek nominees and winners. No one is saying that non-Trek media fan writers aren't "real" fan writers. We're not trying to slap the other media fan doms in the face—we simply want to recognize Trek writing which was excellent but nonetheless might not have made the Fan Qs. I further do not agree that "the more awards there are, the less validity any award has." In books and in film, multiple awards abound, but I have yet to see any award criticized because it overlaps any other award. So what if a novel wins BOTH a Hugo and a Nebula? Does that make either any less important? So what if a Trek novel wins a Trek award and a Fan Q? [8]
  • Marilyn P speculates:
    I have been wondering if the term "media fandom" isn't just an attempt to categorize separate fandoms of possible like interests, into a more easily defined group. Perhaps the only thing we all have in common is Media*West Con and the Fan Q Awards. But I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. Under the general terms of SF or Fantasy you have a very wide variety of "fandoms", if you will. OK, so maybe it's not quite the same, but someone who likes McCaffrey or Tolkien does not necessarily like Asimov or Herbert. I think the "media fandoms" are fairly separate except for a few zines, and quite a few fans. (I wonder what percentage of ST fandom is into more than one media universe). I like having a "multi-media" fan gathering, and I think the Fan Q Awards have a place along with separate fan doms, gatherings, and awards. Now maybe my viewpoint is distorted by being a ST and SW fan, but I would hate to see ST disassociated from the other media fandoms. (I'd go broke going to Cons!) Maybe INTERSTAT's new Trek awards will cool off the inter-fandom hostility a little. [9]
  • Crystal Ann T also comments on the subject of ST and multi-media fandom:
    The nominations for this year's fan awards brought home to me the need for separate awards for Star Trek cate gories and those for other media. At one time I was able to read most of the major ST and SW literature, so I was familiar with all the nominations, but this year, I discovered that the only entries I was familiar with were those from Star Trek, my main love. It made me realize that all these fandoms are getting so large and prolific in terms of fanzines that many of us have neither the time nor the money available to pursue all of them. Of the fan oriented literature, I read Star Trek first and primarily, and today I can only branch out into the other fandoms when I have both the time and money to indulge in them- It occurs to me that there are probably fans in Star Wars fandom also who have the same complaint of lack of time and funds. It is getting impossible to read everything, no matter what you would like to do.... It has been said that such a division would constitute the same snobbery and prejudice as science fiction fans once showed to Star Trek and that a good story is a good story despite the media. Well, the latter is obviously true of course, but you do have to be able to read it before you can judge its quality- And the honor of an award only means something to those who are familiar with what won and what lost. I don't feel my wrists slapped because I don't vote on science fiction awards, because, considering the number of sf books I have time for in comparison to the ones I have no time for, I wouldn't consider it right to vote on which is the best- The same thing should apply for the fringe fandoms we are discussing here. Thus, fans should keep in mind that concentration of interest in one fandom doesn't necessarily reflect snobbery or prejudice. Sometimes, it is just pure economics. And enforcing competition between entries of diverse interest with no apparent common connection does a disservice to all of them. [10]
  • from Susan R. M:
    The fandoms have gotten rather polarized. I simply don't read much Trek fiction any more. So that I have changed my mind about the media-fiction awards. When the idea first came up I rather snickered at the Trek-fans so insecure about how Trek-lit compared with other media lit that they wanted to have their own little True Value awards. I changed my mind about it at MediaWest, and [Crystal Ann T's] letter said it as well as I could. Meaning no disrespect to anyone involved, it's my conviction that our two major media fandoms have gotten so big that to put them both on one ballot comes down to de facto if not de jure discrimination—and not based on quality. I can either vote just for what I am familiar with—the Star Wars fiction, for me—or not vote at all. [11]
  • Barbara G is upset about the awards and how they tie into the Media Fan Fund:
    There was no public meeting at which the decision was made to change the ST Fan Fund to the Media Fan Fund. The change was presented as a fait accompli, and was announced, without opportunity for discussion, at the Trek Awards meeting at Mos' Eastly Con. As such, the change is indefensible and unjustifiable. I was there; I was interested. There was no discussion. The meeting was not held "to discuss that very question", as Lori states (I#45), but rather to discuss the Trek Awards. The change to Media Awards was also made in spite of several people's objection and attempted discussion, which was carefully discouraged. Why was not the "conversion" of the Fund and the Awards to "media" not brought before a wider audience, such as the readership of INTERSTAT, for example? Lori, if you wanted a "Media" Fan Fund and Awards, or perhaps more accurately, a SWars Fund and Awards, why didn't you start them yourself rather than preempting, and thereby destroying, the ST Fund and Awards? If the Fund and the Awards are going to be regarded as the personal province of a small group of "media" fans, it is a farce to even bother with nominating and voting. No, Shirley Maiewski, I'm afraid that there really isn't room enough in fandom for all of us, as you told me. Not when this kind of thing is allowed to happen... Lori tells us we can buy her Nominations Booklet for a "nominal fee", and read all the "media" material we missed from lack of money or time—or perhaps intentionally—thereby sidestepping the essence of the question: we can not nominate fairly if we don't have the time, money, or desire to read everything. And if we can not nominate, why vote? And could she honestly suggest that a person who does not like SWars fan fiction pay for and read the thing? I'd rather contribute the $1.52 to the Viking Fund, together with all the other money I'm going to save by boycotting the Fan Fund, and by not buying "media" zines. I'd like to suggest that other fans do the same. Believe me, some of us have tried to read SWars any number of times, in hopes that it would at least have more substance than the movie. We have been sorely disappointed. Trying to read through that stuff is a chore which we would rather avoid. The very worst "navel-diving", "soap operas", and "Harlequin romances" I have ever read were SWars fanfic. [12]
  • Roberta R is very unhappy about the direction the newly-formed TrekStar Awards are taking:
    I don't usually use your pages for protest, but this time someone has done something that can't be ignored. I refer to the so-called INTERSTAT TrekStar Fan Awards. Of the fifteen nominees in the writing/editing categories, nine are specifically connected with "Kirk/Spock" fanzines, the rest are in discriminately labeled "multiple work", and much of it is K/S. Of the fifteen categories, only six specific fanzines and one novel are cited, and of those 'zines, one is Interstat and the rest K/S (except Antithesis, which is Klingon, and practically into its own Universe). Are you really convinced that this is the BEST Treklit has to offer? What happened to NuOrmenel, if you want Trek-oriented Klingons? Where are the sensitive stories that are neither gruesome torture both for the characters and the reader, nor slightly disguised adolescent fantasies? I cannot believe that Sun and Shadow, Companion, Galactic Discourse, and Nome represent a true cross-section of Treklit. The editors of these 'zines are doing a fine job, and all of them are things of beauty, but there has got to be something more out there! And, lest you now scream at me, why didn't you SAY something — might I remind you that I didn't even HEAR about this until it was too late for me to do much more than sit back and say, Let's see what they can do? For all the hassle about the Fan Q Awards, the committee that selected the nominees was fair enough to give at least six months for people to send it choices, and another two months for voting. This so-called award is a jerry-rigged hurried attempt to pacify a few infuriated fans and massage a few egos, and I will not vote for ANY of them! If this committee, and the editor of Interstat, really wanted to do the job of rewarding excellence in Treklit, they should have thought the matter through, and made a more thorough effort to reach the readers of Treklit. I got one notice, through Interstat, too late for me to send my own nominations (which were NONE of the above!). There were no notices in Forum and Universal Translator, the two major outlets for such information, which are used extensively by other committees to notify fans of similar events. May I suggest that you start NOW to organize yourselves for the REAL Trek lit awards, and announce that this was a try-out? All that you are doing is promoting six 'zines that don't need any more promoting, in my personal opinion, two of which are VERRRRY expensive, and one of which is out of print! It's almost enough to make me turn my back on Treklit and say, If this is the best Trek can offer — give me Wars! Needless to say, I remain my eclectic self, and I enjoy almost ANY good media fanfic — but what you've got up there is a very small sampling, and not true Trek at that! K/S is not Trek! [13]
  • Teri M, the editor of Interstat, replies to Roberta R's letter in Interstat #47, saying fans were in control of what was nominated, and that it wasn't her fault Roberta had let her subscription to Interstat relapse for a time, plus:
    I must take exception to your statement that our effort was a "jerry-rigged hurried attempt." The first indication of interest for Trek-only awards in INTERSTAT came about when columnist Dixie Own made the suggestion in issue #41. Response to that was so positive and support so strong, Dixie and I set about to organize such an award, but with intentions of honoring those zines printed in 1980, final balloting to take place before the busy holidays. Thus, the October announcement of winners. At no time did we feel the need to 'pacify infuriated fans,' or 'massage ego." It was, without a doubt, a sincere attempt on our part -- one which took a great deal of time and expense -- to give what Star Trek fandom wanted: a Star Trek award -- now... [14]
  • Dixie Owen, TrekStar's organizer, also responds to Roberta R's letter in Interstat #47:
    Rules of INTERSTAT TrekStar Awards were that if nominees had a minimum of three sponsors, the names would go on the final ballot -- not that they had to be K/S or non-K/S material, only that they be Trek. We accepted what the participating voters sent us. Issue #43 gave the basic rules, issue #44 clarified a question raised and reminded readers of the nominations closing date (7/10), #45 carried another reminder, and #46 announced the results and reviewed rules for final voting. In other words, the process took about 2 1/2 months, time enough for word-of-mouth to non-subbers... In no way is INTERSTAT "promoting" any zine; It would not matter if all were out of print. Our Intention is to honor the Trek fan talent of 1980 as chosen by their peers. In all, selections were nominated from 43 different zines, 34 of which were non-K/S. I don't know how Roberta gets fifteen nominees in the writing/editing categories; I count 4 writers, 5 editors, 5 humorists and 4 poets, most of whom contribute widely to zines of every persuasion. Of the 6 specific zines and one novel, only the COMPANIONS are totally K/S, and NOME is mixed; the others are genzines or hurt/comfort. [15]
  • more on fannish loyalties as it relates to the awards, this time from Jan M. M:
    I've been an active fan on and off for the past 7 years, and a passive fan since the first showing of ST. Saw SWs and it didn't click for me. Didn't see TESB and probably won't. And while I enjoy Lou Grant, Hill street Blues, Darkover - I really can't say that I am all that interested in writing or reading about them at this point. I find it distinctly annoying to buy a zine and find that a good part of it is devoted to a universe I don't particularly care for. This happens less and less as more eds become sensitive to the problem and advertise contents, but even recently I subscribed to a new letterzine only to find that it was totally Star Wars. It's also a trifle disquieting to go to a Trek con and find a large percentage of the fans dressed from SWs et al... I like purely Trek zines, but I just have to be a bit more choosy to find them. Barbara says that the worst "navel diving", "soap operas", and "Harlequin romances" can be found in SWs fanfic. Probably true. It's equally or more true of ST fanfic. But ST has produced Kraith, Sahaj, House of Mirrored Faces, and more. I'm sure that SWs has produced zines of the same quality or soon will, and those writers have the right to have their work appreciated. I am not thrilled with the change to a media fan fund, but it does seem to reflect the changing face of fandom. I don't intend to change my reading habits, but I'm sure there will always be enough ST nominees to satisfy those of us who are pure Trek fans. In the long run that's truly up to us, and of course the TrekStar awards exist to satisfy even the most rabidly isolationist, among others. [16]
  • Johanna C addresses Roberta R regarding the TrekStar Awards:
    The League of Women Voters gets it right:"If you don't vote today, don't gripe tomorrow." I'm certainly not on the K/S grapevines, and I too am a busy person. But I saw the announcements of the TrekStar awards in several places, including MediaWest. I didn't get around to nominating anybody, but that's my fault, not the fault of the awards committee. The preponderance of K/S material surprised me, too, I admit, but I doubt very much that that's due to planning the conspiracy your letter seems to indicate. I think it's simply that many K/S fans feel the necessity to make statements, and organize themselves to do so. Next year, I'll get off the mark in time to make nominations. So should you. [17]
  • Roberta R writes that "That loud popping sound you heard was my foot emerging from my mouth!" and that she did receive her Interstats but they were late due to many factors, which is why she felt like the whole topic of the TrekStar Awards snuck up on her:
    The first I heard about the TrekStar awards was when I read about them in an INTERSTAT that I got three months late. The rules of the awards, now that I can see what they were, were fair, to a point — and that point was that K/S fans are vocal and organized, and they are in a position to push their own choices on the awards committee. And, by the way, I include hurt/comfort with the K/S since often the two are inter-related. I am glad that you've decided to extend the deadline, because, although I still can't find it in my stomach to vote for the awards, those who are voting should have that chance.[18]
  • D. Booker writes:
    I thought the voting and rules and the slate of nominees were all well handled. The works nominated were representative of what is going on in Trek today—the writers, artists, and editors who are producing attractive, thought-provoking material. Some work may represent ideas that don't appeal to every fan's concept of Trek, but then these awards were for excellence, which by definition excludes that which is typical, ordinary or middle-of-the-road. I don't think that there was any sort of K/S fan conspiracy—after all, anybody could vote and anybody could nominate. So, if your particular favorite didn't win this year, get out the old typer and start to work on next year's ballot. [19]
  • Roberta R writes:
    My suggestion is that for the next TrekStar Awards, the publicity should begin 2 months before the nominations are closed, that flyers should be sent to 'zine editors listed in the Welcommittee Directory and clubs listed therein, that another 2 months should be given to allow voters to read and select their final choices, and that a wide variety of Trek material should be on the ballot. (In certain circles the TrekStar is now known as the K/S Award, a title that I am sure will annoy its originator very much!) I congratulate all winners of the award -- they are all talented people who deserve the recognition and the honor. [20]

References

  1. from Boldly Writing
  2. from Interstat #41
  3. from Interstat #60
  4. from Interstat #42
  5. from Interstat #42
  6. from Interstat #42
  7. from Interstat #43
  8. from Interstat #43
  9. from Interstat #44
  10. from Interstat #44
  11. from Interstat #45
  12. from Interstat #46
  13. from Interstat #47
  14. from Interstat #47
  15. from Interstat #47
  16. from Interstat #48
  17. from Interstat #48
  18. from Interstat #48
  19. from Interstat #49
  20. from Interstat #50