Trojan Angel

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Zine
Title: Trojan Angel
Publisher: Elysian Publications
Editor: Terry Sue Shank
Author(s): Barbara Lenore Snowberger
Cover Artist(s): Mike Brown
Illustrator(s): Ann Crouch, Don Harden, Bobbie Hawkins and Gennie Summers
Date(s): 1986
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
a 1985 ad
cover by Mike Brown

Trojan Angel is a 210-page gen Star Trek: TOS novel written by Barbara Lenore Snowberger and edited by Terry Sue Shank. The cover is by Mike Brown. Interior art by Ann Crouch, Don Harden, Bobbie Hawkins, and Gennie Summers.

Sequel

In a 1987 issue of Treklink, Jacqueline Lichtenberg mentions a sequel called "Proud Bird of Haus". This zine was never published. [1]

Summaries

"Had the ST writers of the 20th century been cosmically inspired by the future? Or had those same novelists and screenwriters somehow created the rality of the 23rd cenury by the sheer force of their own vivid imaginations?" [2]

"A very special, full length Star Trek novel by Hollywood writer, Barbara Lenore Snowberger. Which came first: the fiction or the fact? A tantalizing time travel tale beautifully blending magic, metaphysics, and love. Delightful. Insightful. Totally Trek!" [3]

Reactions and Reviews

I think there can be a large difference between Mary Sues and good female characters, and I began thinking about all this in a rather defensive mood while reading ‘Trojan Angel.’… Certainly I do my best to judge the work on other matters and if the author is very young in age and/or very inexperienced in writing, I have more patience. But sometimes a work is so extreme in its Mary Sue quality, and sometimes it’s so obvious the author is capable of better work that I must work harder at reigning in my own prejudices. Such is the case with ‘Trojan Angel.’ Snowberger is quite mature in her use of language, in her clear, sophisticated, economical descriptions. She still needs to shed sentence redundancy and the use of flowery wording, but she is no means a weak writer – that is, she has a good hold on language… She does not seem to be inexperienced. She also has an interesting, consistent message throughout, something usually too sophisticated for Mary Sue stories. Yet her major character, typically afflicted with a pretentious M.S. name (Sendle Paul) is so completely a M.S. in every respect that I am baffled by the contradiction… Sendle is petite and pretty, loved and admired by everyone on the big E (Kirk wants her in his bed, she and Spock – of course – mind meld whereupon she cures Spock of his denial of his human half, McCoy constantly oohs and ahhs over her, ad nauseum), she saves the ship on a dangerous mission, is bubbly, sweet, kind; sings, and shows the Big 3 the errors of their thinking…. There’s an awful lot of wasted space on trivia. Major conversations revolve around burning issues such as Sendle’s age and hair color. This is a woman who, upon popping in on the bridge (from 1985 California) beside Kirk babbles on about how she couldn’t get her car started that morning and so was late to work and the mechanic couldn’t fix it… etc. The ST characters usually just stand around in awe of her, engaging in trite dialogue and actions (can anyone imagine James Tiberius Kirk blushing over a sex toy?). The entire theme of the story is a statement against disbelief in the ‘mysteries’ ---UFOs, astral projection, Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, etc. It’s a nice enough theme, and it’s the only coherent thing about the story… The zine is also seriously marred by the use of different computer print types. There is a different type for narration, for dialogue, and for extra emphasis or for special voices. This can be hard on the eyes, is very distracting, and makes reading a chore. There are only portraits, no illos, but the chosen artists are good ones: Bobbie Hawkins, Gennie Summers, Tom Howard (whose illo of Sendle makes her look like a Barbie doll, but the guy has talent) and Mike Brown, whose cover has powerful depth and sweep. But for a novel this size, there’s far too little art. And that’s the entire problem. A story this long should have a lot more in it to keep the reader interested. Unfortunately, it reads like one long, merciless paean to a character to whom the reader can only feel indifference. Perhaps younger readers will find ‘Trojan Angel’ entertaining, as well as older neo fans who haven’t read much ST fanfiction. For the rest of us, I cannot recommend this zine, especially for the price. [4]
I am sure you are familiar with what a trash wallow is. Well, TROJAN ANGEL is a "fan" wallow. What if Star Trek is not fiction, but a genuine glimpse into the future? What if you could visit this future under control led circumstances? Would you go? OF COURSE YOU WOULD!!!!!

TROJAN ANGEL is the story of Sendle Paul, Star Trek fan, who inadvertently discovers how to project herself into the world of Star Trek using "self-induced astral projection." After several attempts she actually materializes on the Enterprise where the somewhat credulous crew welcomes her. She has a wonderful time touring the ship, making friends and filling them in on lost history before returning to her time.

Well, if one trip is so good, wouldn't two trips be better? Or three? Or more? And why not save the crew a lot of trouble by bringing along some of the Blish books and a TV GUIDE to give them a possible life-saving glimpse of their future? And the cat comes along by accident.

Things get sticky around here. For example, the cat is accidentally-on-purpose modified and cannot be returned to the past. Then Spock invokes the Prime Directive on Sendle, claiming that revealing the series' plots would disturb their culture. But worst of all, Sendle finds that her presence in the future is the direct result of a work of fiction in which the Enterprise must save Earth's past from the Klingons, who have developed their own version of the Guardian of Forever. Only in Sendle's case, the author died before finishing the novel.

So it ain't Shakespeare. So what! It is a happy, upbeat and occasionally silly fan fantasy that could only be written by someone who is wild about Trek. It is a nostalgia trip back to early fandom when our hearts were gay and Kirk and Spock were not. It made me feel better about my silly little fantasies. So what if the crew is credulous and as friendly as puppies? So what if the Enterprise fights battles at Warp 10 (do you have any idea how really fast that is?) instead of going sublight?

It's fun, and I have seen little fun in the grim stories being turned out by many fan writers. If the premise intrigues you, why not give it a try? If fannish stuff turns you off, forget it.

My copy was mailed book rate in a sturdy but not padded manila envelope. It arrived in good condition. The artwork, both cover and interior,is good and reproduced well. The print job Is good and clean and the layout reasonably attractive.

I saw no necessity in using different type face to differentiate between descriptive and narrative prose. It made reading a bit confusing since many use this to differentiate between narrative and interior monolog instead -- a minor quibble. Despite Kirk's pleasure hoops, I rated TROJAN ANGEL "G." [5]
Its most annoying flaw is the odd graphics layout which has set all the dialogue in italics. That takes practice to ignore. A minor flaw is the occasional misused words. Since this was Shank’s first editing attempt, it’s forgivable. Some readers might not be able to ignore the strong Mary-Sue flavor of the plot, but it’s the plot that carries the flavor, not the character itself. The main character, Sendle, is a mature woman who loves Star Trek but doesn’t have a crush on any of the characters. She’s not even in love. She uses astral-projection to transpose her physical body onto the Enterprise. The theory behind this ability is mystical, yet I found it reasonable enough for a fantasy, provided one believes in God. Through a set of irrelevant circumstances – just such as God often uses to talk to humans – Spock is catapulted into a mindmeld with Sendle, which changes them both, gradually and plausibly. Meanwhile, Kirk has decided to bed Sendle. But the love triangle is the complication to the main plot as it should be in an adventure. Sendle, being from a past where Star Trek exists, knows a lot about the future fo the Enterprise. She wants initially to prevent Spock’s demise, simply because she can’t bear to watch that scene in the movie. But she discovers that the Enterprise has been assigned to a mission which formed the basis of a ST novel that had been contracted for but never completed because the author died. She doesn’t know what will happen on this assignment, but for better or worse, she’s involved. Yes, she does impress everyone, master too many skills too fast, and wins a place on the landing party, however, this Mary-Sue is not typical. She is not overawed by the Enterprise, and she pursues her goals because she believes there’s a higher purpose behind it all, and what she does is for others, not for herself. Without trying, she opens Kirk’s mind to the spiritual. The writing is clean, the plot intricate but well-constructed. The author’s command of the ST characters, the aired ST background and the integration of that background with some of the original novels is firm if peppered with intriguing interpretations. It also contains some original sf/f material. I recommend ‘Trojan Angel,’ and am eagerly looking forward to the sequel. But then I like Mary-Sue. If you really hate her, you’d better skip this one, and try the sequel first. It’s reputed to have the Mary-Sue element in the plotting subdued. [6]

References

  1. from a letter in Treklink #9
  2. from Media Monitor
  3. from Datazine #38
  4. from Treklink #9
  5. from TREKisM #48
  6. review by Jacqueline Lichtenberg from Treklink #9