Universal Translator/Issues 21-32

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Issues 1-10 · Issues 11-20 · Issues 21-32

Issue 21 (1984)

Universal Translator 21 was published in January/February/March 1984.

front page of issue #21
  • it had 700 subscribers
  • a fan writes a personal statement that says even though she and another fan have the same address (and are, in fact, sisters), she is not responsible for her actions.
  • a fan writes in with another of the ever-increasing complaints about zines paid for but not received, a different fan ed writes in and explains why her zines have been delayed, another fan writes that even though she was told she could take over the editorship of The Mos Eisley Tribune, she has received neither communication or materials from the previous editor to do so, and another fan ed writes in to thank others for their patience after she lost her mailing list for The Princess Tapes. Two more fans write in to warn others about ordering from two different semi-pro outfits
  • two fans write in and announce their marriages to other fans
  • a review of Broken Images, see that page
  • a review of Alnitah #12, see that page
  • a review of Syndizine #2, see that page
  • a review of Masiform D #13, see that page
  • a review of Zottly's Zine, see that page

Issue 22 (1984)

Universal Translator 22 was published in April/May 1984. It contains no zine reviews.

front page of issue #22
  • a zine publisher writes a personal statement explaining and dissolving the relationship of Phoenix Press and Sarpeidon Press with a fan named [M C], also known as [B B]: "Should Ms. [C] create her own publication, we want everyone to know that Sarpeidon Publicatins and Phoenix Press will not be affiliated with her or her publication."
  • a zine ed takes issue with a letter in a previous issue of UT, saying that the transfer of the zine, The Mos Eisley Tribune was not completed through fault of her own but through fault of the letter writer, and therefore the "arrangement has been scratched." She is returning all money owed. She also complained that "I had not been told MET would be incorporated into another zine until I heard it from third parties." She adds "No other zine or individual has permission to publish MET -- or MET material-- without permission from the author or artist."
  • one zine ed writes her apology on the lateness of her publication, and adds, somewhat jokingly, somewhat not: "Who's the joker who sent the post card asking about funeral arrangements? Cute, real cute... Will you guys call off the hit man?"
  • a fan has a long, long personal statement scolding zine editors for poor communication: "In the past several issues of UT, I've read a number of letters from people dealing with the problem of ordering zines with their hard-earned money and receiving nothing. I find such letters enlightening that other share the same problem with that zine as I do, but I find those letters boring. Each issue, it's the same old crap. Although others may find them boring also, this month, you're going to hear the same old crap from me..."
  • there is a long, long personal statement section from a zine ed (also in Datazine 329) in which she responds to multiple complaints in "Datazine" and numerous letterzines regarding to zines fans have paid for but have not received. She cites poor health, problems with the originals for at least one zine (Naked Times #4/5) being lost at the printer, and says she just plain:
    ... fucked up. I can't make it any clearer than that. My mistake was in accepting money and orders for zines which were not yet in print...I hope this can be resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible for all involved. As I stated before, I DO intend to fulfill all commitments for back orders and current orders. We all make mistakes; unfortunately, mine have been more apparent than many... There really isn't much I can do other than apologize and reassure you that 'time will tell.' At this point, threatening letters aren't doing any of us any good. I honestly couldn't do anything more right now if I was under full-scale attack by Klingons, Romulans, Gorns, and Tholians. But as soon as the attack is over, I hope to prove to you that I'm not some dishonest evil alien.

Issue 23 (1984)

Universal Translator 23 was published in June/July/August 1984.

  • the editors say they have received many LONG letters from fans regarding zines for which they have paid and haven't received:
    It is important for UT to announce such problems and provide a public forum for asking editor what is going on. However, this can be done in a more abbreviated form. I know that it is easy to become fulsome when angry, but it is not necessary to give every detail of inquiry... Please try to keep you letters on the shorter side. We have also been receiving letters that Linda and I feel are more suitable for letterzines. We can sympathize with the problems and frustrations that arise from the shortage of letterzines or from letterzines that you may feel have questionable editorial policies. However, UT is not a letterzine, and we don't want to become one.
front page of issue #23
  • a fan writes an open letter to zine editors and fan writers, one which is also printed in Interstat #80, requesting some thoughts and feedback on the subject of tape recording stories from fanzines:
    I've recently become involved in a tape correspondence with an ST fan who is visually handicapped, and have been taping an occasional story from one of my fanzines to sent to her. In all honesty, I don't feel this is abusing anyone's rights or violating anyone's copyright, any more than the very common practice of lending out or trading zines. The basic question I'm posing here is: At what point does the practice stop being friendly sharing and become zine piracy? Suppose the tape is passed to a third party and beyond? Or suppose someone should decide to produce multiple copies of tapes for general distribution? Obviously, at some point, permission to sued the material is necessary. At what point? And who is authorized to give it -- the author, the zine editor, or both? There is also the question of reimbursement. If multiple copies are made, is a contributor's copy in order? If the tapes are sold at a profit, are royalties to be expected? And in either case, who is entitled to that reimbursement -- again, the author or editor?
  • there is a personal statement from the editor of Universal Translator, also printed in Interstat #80 and Southern Enclave #4, which takes another editor/fan to task regarding D'Alliance Open Letter:
    I have been reading zines for eight years and publishing UT for four of those eight. In that time, I have ordered a lot of zines through the mail and I've waited years for some. [She tells of some horror stories]... There have been others. but for all the unmitigated gall, I think that [R S] takes the cake. This woman has been taking deposits for several years for a zine called 'D'Alliance" [see proposed zines]. During that time, she sent reassuring messages that, despite the delay, 'It was coming.' Now, in April of 1984, I find that it was cancelled in July of 1983. It was not cancelled with a timely public message in any news or letterzine that I subscribe to. It was cancelled in an open letter published in another zine. Furthermore, it was cancelled with NO REFUNDS. Specifically, 'pre-publication costs have taken all moneys received to date, and I am, very regretfully, unable to return the reservation fees... It was never my intention to attempt to cover the costs for printing this zine out of my own income...' As a reader, and as an editor, I object, adamantly and vociferously, to Ms. [R's] behavior. It is NOT acceptable, much less STANDARD, practice to refuse to refund money for a cancelled zine. I don't understand how a few flyers could cost $80 ($2.50 deposit X 32 reservations), and I don't accept the validity of any other type of 'pre-publication cost.' Publishing a zine is a risky business. It takes time to break even, and during that time, the editor is at risk financially. If you don't intend to absorb the initial costs out of your own pocket, then DON'T START a zine. According to her letter, Ms [R] does not intend 'to gafiate, or retire, or otherwise disappear from fandom,' and offers her writing and poetry to anyone who is interested in publishing her work. I, for one, would like it clearly understood that I resent her belief that her behavior is acceptable. I do not find it to be so. Theft and fraud are damaging to all societies; they are especially destructive in a society where so many members participate at a distance from each other... trust is an, if not THE, essential social glue. Editors who betray the trust that readers place in them as blatantly as Ms. [R] has done should have no reasonable expectation of continued welcome in fandom.
  • one fan writes of the response she received from requesting her monies returned from fan, [J H], and the letter she wrote in the previous issue of Universal Translator regarding the zines Twin Suns: {{Quotation2|On May 3, 1984, I reveived a very rude letter from one M.J. Barrowman-Harper accusing me, in effect, of contributing to the demise of [J H]. ... Although I'm sorry to hear that she is gone, I hardly think my letters requesting the return of my money or the delivery of my zines could have caused her death... I make no accusations but leave you to draw your own conclusions... [The editors include this: "We have reason to believe Jani Hicks is alive and well and living in California." This letter was later reprinted in Southern Enclave #4, see that page
  • a fan writes of her anger over David Gerrold's actions at the U.F.P. Convention in Manchester, England, a convention he had volunteered to attend:
    The event took place on both Saturday and Sunday of the con. On Saturday, Mr. Gerrold picked up a copy of Thrust and said he found such literature 'annoying to say the least.' He then flourished the cover -- there were small children in the audience and, despite being asked to refrain, he continued to do so -- and gave 'mock readings' in a derisory tone, accompanied by jeers from one sector of the audience. Later, he apologized for having given 'offence' (his word). However, on Sunday, the same behaviour prevailed. Mr. Gerrold used words like 'filth' and 'perversion' with regard to zines, in particular K/S Relay. Readings were given from Sun and Shadow, and it was implied this was a K/S zine. The same suggestion was made of Precessional. The atmosphere of the whole auction was not pleasant... Perhaps readers of UT have encountered such a phenomenon before, but I was considerably saddened by it, as it seems so contrary to the spirit of Star Trek [but came] from one who is regarded as a creator.
  • illustrating the often volatile and messy world of zine publishing, several zine eds write in and explain the delays in their zine's publication. Some zines that have been postponed are The Steele Files, Naked Singularity, Parallax Ring, Command Decision, Sublight Reading, No Peaceful Roads Lead Home, Academy, The Adama Journal, to name a few; several fans have written in to complain of zines not delivered to them. Some of them are Enterprise Incidents, Obsession, To Invite the Night, Black Star, Before the Glory, Courts of Honor...; several zine eds write in to declare their separation from other zine eds. Some include the creators of Contes di Cottman IV, Organia, "Liberated Libido," materials regarding STMA publications, zines from [D W]...
  • a review of Jumeaux #6, see that page
  • a review of Contes di Cottman IV #5, see that page
  • a review of Vault of Tomorrow #5, see that page
  • a review of It Takes Time on Impulse #2, see that page
  • a review of Fear No Evil, see that page
  • ad for Pen and Pencil

Issue 24 (1984)

Universal Translator 24 was published in October/December 1984.

  • a fan writes in and complains of a chain letter she has received from someone who subscribes to UT. This chain letter is denounced. The editors also stress that UT never uses fans' addresses for anything other than sending out the adzine.
front page of issue #24
  • the editors do a bit of scolding and explaining about subscription rates, telling subbers they can't send too much money in ahead of time:
    I appreciate the desire to extend a sub a far as possible, but the economics of the thing really get out of hand... [Our tactics] may seem harsh. However, there are, unfortunately, too many people who either don't keep track of the fact that they've renewed three times in as many months and end up with three years' worth of subscription or quite explicitly tell me that they are trying to beat any price increase. Either way, they raise the cost of a subscription for everyone else.
  • a fan writes a personal statement regarding Organia and her former co-editor:
    As she announced in UT 23, [B L] resigned as co-editor of Organia and "The Liberated Libido" in spring 1984 leaving me as sole editor of both zines. However, in the three months between her resignation and the time her announcement appeared in UT, I learned that Bev told many persons, in letters and in conversations, that I had 'dropped out' of, or was 'no longer involved' in publishing 'Organia' and 'LL;' that she was publishing 'LL' herself, and that 'Organia' had 'become' or had been 'renamed' 'Perfect Fusion.' Alternately, she represented that 'Organia' had been 'disbanded' or was now 'defunct.' and that all material scheduled for publication in it was now appear in her own zine instead. I am still publishing 'Organia' and 'The Liberated Libido.' Even before Bev's resignation, I had primary responsibility for editing, producing, and financing both zines, and thus Bev's departure has not affected any publication plans in any significant respect. Neither of Bev's accounts concerning my zines was correct, and she should not have purported to speak for me. I understand that Bev intends to use SASEs, which readers have sent for information on 'Organia' and 'The Liberated Libido' to her address, to publicize her new zine. Although I had no part in this decision, I will try to ensure that everyone who sent in an SASE for 'Organia' and LL receives the information she originally wrote for without having to pay additional postage.
  • a zine ed writes:
    For those who want to know where their money goes when they order Phoenix Rising: It immediately goes into an escrow account where it will accumulate until I have enough orders (I need a minimum of 300) to justify the cost of printing and mailing them. I have picked up all other production expenses, but $1200 to print and mail a high quality offset magazine is too much for one average-type person to stand without help. The zine is ready now, and will go to the printer in mid-September. Be assured, you will get what you order or your money back on request.
  • a zine ed writes in and says that it:
    ...is painful to read so many bad accounts that people have had with various zine editors. It is unfortunate, but it is not fair to those editors that do a super job of getting their zine out on time and within the meager budget of most fans. Hence, I would like to nominate Elaine Batterby for the honor of one of the best zine editors around. I have had no prior contact with Elaine, but I have found it a pleasure to work with her and I am truly pleased to have been a part of her zine... She and her sister, Anne, turned out a truly beautiful and classy first zine.
  • a zine ed writes in and says that the characters in her zines, Firebird: The Phoenix and Song of Caprica contain:
    ...specialized universes with characters created especially for those universes... permission for use of these characters elsewhere must be sought from both their individual creators as well as from me, as editor and creator of the fanzines. For the record, I do not give that permission at this time. It grieves me to have to announce that Gemini Press, in the form of [J R J] is continuing to violate fanzine protocol by using these characters, situations and visuals in other zines she had created -- including usage in a Convention program minizine, as well copying the format of one of my zines entirely... If editors think that they can just rip off other editors, it clearly jeopardizes the unique ideas of fanzines, shows no respect what whatsoever for the artists and writers who crated these characters, story-lines, and universes, and this hurts all of us. I left Gemini Press because of these and similar underhanded practices and feel very strongly that [J R J] should not be allowed to continue on in fandom in this fashion.
  • several fans respond to an anonymous flyer that was distributed at the last Shore Leave. This publication listed what was supposed to be a bunch of dead-beat zine eds, and it was full of inaccuracies and personal vendettas, and complaints about the flyer's creator's fiction being turned down in zines. One of the fans who complained about the distribution of this anonymous flyer wrote:
    Well, dear author of the flyer, you did not meet your objective, as no bad feelings and distrust were generated among those in the flyer and their friends. Instead, it created a feeling of pity one has for a mad dog, and a resolve not to let unacceptable behavior be ignored.
  • a zine ed has this personal statement:
    To all who ordered 'To Invite the Night': it is finally in print, and all pre-orders were either picked up at Shore Leave or mailed in July/August... Now to the apologies: yes, I was over a year and four months late. Although there were a lot of reasons, there are no real excuses. I know a lot of you were unhappy, and I don't blame you... I can only hope the zine was good enough to make it worth your wait. I started this project with a lot of unrealistic expectations of my capabilities. Be assured that now I know better. I like to write stories. But I write slower, much slower, than I could have dreamed possible. And then, everything else takes time, too, which I hadn't much taken into account at all... The responsibility was and is only mine; please throw all brickbats at me. Lezlie Shell, and then Barb Lewis, only took on editing, not production, not record-keeping, not letter-writing, not getting the thing finished. Furthermore, when all orders for TITN are filled, and all other copies are sold, Atavachron Publications will be going out of business. There will be no reprints, no xeroxes, other projects, or sequels... Again, I apologize for my lateness, and have the absolute gall to request your reactions to the story.
  • [R S], a fan who was pretty much burned at the stake for writing a fairly cheery letter announcing that she would not be refunding deposits (her debt was 32 deposits, each for $2.50 for a total of $80) for her defunct zine, writes a letter and says she is slowly paying folks back their deposits for the zine, "D'Alliance' which never got off the ground. She explains some of the circumstances, mainly that of complete unemployment and desperation, and says:
    have been told recently that zine fandom understands the money problems incurred in planning and/or editing fanzines. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen in this case. I will initiate no further fannish contacts after these funds are fully repaid. I have also been informed of late that zine fandom is based on trust. Well, be that as it may, the fandom I joined eight years ago was based on shared enthusiasm and the friendships they created. Those friendships which matter most to me have not been damaged by the demise of a small genzine which 36 creative minds wanted to be and only 32 readers wanted to see. I was delighted to make the friends I did while planning 'D'Alliance' and very grateful for the understanding those contributors have shown since the zine died. Fare thee well, and blessed be, this is all I have to say on this subject. Finis. [This letter is also at Southern Enclave/reference link (on page 57)]
  • a zine ed, Leslye Lubkin (formally Lilker) writes this personal statement:
    As a zine editor and fan writer who took a much needed hiatus to recharge her batteries, I was rather astounded to discover that some disturbing new trends have taken place within fandom during my 'semi-gafiation.' Apparently, we editors are causing our readers acute distress by our lack of communication when promised issues are delayed. Some of us are bordering on thievery and mail fraud. Fellow editors, this is a 'no-no' with a capital 'N-O!' To editors who are legitimately delayed: our subscribers are anxious to read our zines. They pay us money in good faith, and nearly ten years of publishing a fanzine has taught me that they will wait as long as it takes to get the product if you communicate openly and honestly with them... If the reader seems a little hot under the collar, remember that they've been burned by the Diane Steiners in fandom, and they just want reassurance that they won't get burned by you. Offer them a refund, then provide it if the reader wants it. I've had only two requests in ten years. Note: my husband is still waiting for his contributor copy of The Sensuous Vulcan -- as well as the copy he paid for. To the editors who are... er... illegitimately delayed. Stop! You're giving the rest of us a black eye. 'Fess up! Admit you lost the deposit money on a bad bet at the race track and start making restitution... even if you have to take a second job to do so... Now that I've come across like an ogre, let me take this opportunity to thank, in public, the thousands of Sahaj fans who have waited and are waiting so patiently for both reprints and the continuance of the series. Your inquires are courteous and you have put up with my [a series of personal events].. Each one of you is a gem. I am doing my best not to disappoint... However, should some strange quirk of the gods ever make me fall into the latter category of editors, I demand that you insist that justice be done.
  • a fan, Sandra Necchi, writes to complain that her letter to Interstat has been censored: ...
    ...solely on the basis of the LoC's ideas. The editor's rejection letter was quite nasty and personal, and was quite clear on the reasons for the censorship... Censorship does not belong anywhere in a letterzine, which is based on the discussion of all ideas, no matter how unpopular. I submit that the subscribers of 'Interstat' are being cheated in their contract with the zine's editor, especially since this is not the first time such an incident has occurred.
  • a review of Grip #17 ,see that page
  • a review of Mind Meld #1, see that page

Issue 25 (1985)

Universal Translator 25 was published in January/March 1985.

front page of issue #25
  • there is an announcement that fan Beth Nugteren and several other people on the way to a SCA function had been killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver
  • there are numerous personal statements from zine eds explaining why their zines are late (some reasons: vandals breaking into cars, very personal medical problems, financial difficulties, children doing badly in school, moves to different states, starting school and new jobs, a born-again Christian printer with a vendetta against slash, poorly behaved typewriters...)
  • one fan writes a detailed letter about zines from a very well-known and active press she's been waiting six years for despite dozens of requests and SASEs she has sent
  • the feud between J.R. Janoski of Gemini Press and I Joan Kokalus continues in letterform
  • Barbara P. Gordon writes a personal statement that takes another editor to task for accepting a story and some art for a zine, then holding onto it for two years, then telling her it wasn't going to be used. The material was also never returned to Barbara. She writes: "...It has been nearly half a year since Cynthia last wrote, and it seems obvious that she has no intention of returning the manuscript, SASEs, or the money she owes me... To other potential Final Frontier contributors, I therefore counsel extreme caution..."
  • one of the co-editors of Organia, [B L], writes a letter in response to the one in the previous issue of UT. In part: "I refuse to make a spectacle of myself and carry on needless discussion."
  • the editor of Jundland, Too writes that due to the pressures of school and a new job, she will be unable to continue publishing the letterzine and will be returning the remaining subscription monies
  • a zine ed writes that the zine, Diverse Dimensions, was no longer available from Dobie Cat Press: "Due to personal differences and professional commitments, Mary Jo Blythe, Karen S. Eaton, and I are no longer associated with 'Diverse Dimensions'/Dobie Cat Press. DD can be ordered from Jeannie Deem [address redacted]. Tongue in Cheek is now under my sole ownership."
  • a fan writes in complaint of another fan's letter about her in the previous issue, and says that she indeed mailed the zines the other purchased. This fan lodges her own complaint against other fans for not sending her the zines she, in turn, purchased. She also writes: "The thing is there are few rip-offs among fandom. It's the constant bickering and what-not that makes it seem like more. The rip-offs have been relatively minor, but the complaints have given fandom a bad name, and many have fled ST fandom because of it. Not just complaints over zine issues though; the single-minded fear of change has been the contributing factor." She does not elaborate on this last bit.
  • Susan Garrett gives her permission for fans to make tape recordings of her fiction under certain circumstances, one of the earliest examples of a form of blanket permission to podfic:
    ... I hereby give permission to audio tape any amateur story written under my name, or a pseudonym, for the purposes of making the material available to handicapped fans. Also, as an editor, I am willing to contact contributors to my zines, should there be an interest in having one of their stories verbally transcribed.
  • Vel Jaeger comments on the ugly anonymous flyer that was distributed at Shore Leave:
    To those who fear for my utter devastation as a result of the infamous Naked Doubles Flyer... not to worry! Not only have I taken it in stride (I've been slimed by far bigger fish and survived to tell the tale!), but I'm actually quite flattered to be included among many I consider the creme de la creme of hard-working zine editors and artists. If one must suffer slander, it's nice to be in good company. Besides, several of us slimes have already wreaked vengeance at WorldCon in L.A. -- any who crave the vicious details are cordially invited to correspond! It was completely unconscionable, but oh! what fun. Our thanks to the author for providing us with the motive for such childish behavior.
  • Randall Landers writes a personal statement that says he knows some professional dealers are selling (though apparently not making copies) issues of his zine, Stardate, at cons for outlandish amounts:
    What saddens me more is that I know there is nothing I, or anyone else can do about this except to avoid purchasing fanzines from pro dealers who are charging such prices. [He also states that the editors of Sarpeidon Press have] ... waged an unwarranted 'smear' campaign against Stardate Press and myself... Lies have been circulated about 'zine piracy' and the like. I am sick and tired of this, and I would like to state for the record that I have never 'pirated' any zine. The individuals are so uncouth as to make calls to my fellow colleagues at work and level these allegations while demanding that I be fired for misusing my position as a manager of a print shop. Nothing could be further from the truth. I do not take this matter lightly, and if these individuals continue to spread such malicious lies about me, I will take them to court.
  • Della Van Hise writes further of her attempts to get back on a publishing schedule. She cites one problem with the second part of Naked Times #4/5:
    As most of you know, [it] was destroyed by the printer (no, not lost, but destroyed by the born-agin pressman) after it had been paid in full. It seems that he overlooked the commandment about coveting and/or destroying his neighbor's property. At any rate, I am recreating part 2 basically from scratch (since he also had the bad taste to torch the originals and 'dummy-printing' copy as well)...

Issue 26 (1985)

Universal Translator 26 was published in Spring 1985.

front page of issue #26
  • there are a large number of short, but humble letters from zine eds begging forgiveness for late zines
  • there fewer letters than usual from disgruntled fans looking for the zines they have paid for
  • a fan has the first mention, in Universal Translator, of computer communication. "I am interested in contacting ST fans who are computer users and subscribe to CompuServe. Contact me through EMAIL to set up a mutual time on a conference channel. My ID number is 74506.2574."
  • Caren Parnes announces she wants to make:
    ...an updated, comprehensive ST zine anthology along the order of Trexindex, but also cross-referenced by author, artist, story/poem, title as well as by zine title. This is a VERY big project, and my first step is to compile zine titles. I am looking for a loan of the full Trexindex to begin this project. Also, any of you collectors out there who have what you think are comprehensive zine lists, I would appreciate having copies of them.
  • a review of Vault of Tomorrow #7, see that page
  • a review of The Sourdani Journal, see that page
  • a review of Knightales, see that page

Issue 27 (1985)

Universal Translator 27 was published in July-September 1985.

front page of issue #27
  • a fan has parted ways with another fan and is no longer associated with "Rebel Spies Press" and a zine called "Tyderium." "I wish her luck in the future."
  • a fan says she figures six months is about an average wait time for zines ordered through the mail to arrive, and writes that she has waited far, far longer for The Kidnapping, The Human Adventure, and Courts of Honor
  • a zine ed apologizes, saying the the last page of In Triplicate is missing from the first 200 copies of the zine. "If you send me an SASE, I'll send you the page."; she gives her deepest apologies
  • there is a letter from Randall Landers explaining that his zine, Stardate under Stardate Press, will no longer be published because FSA Gaming Corporation (a Paramount company that makes a Star Trek role-playing game) has used their title and format for a magazine of their own. Landers has contacted his lawyer but was advised he really could do nothing. He expresses his extreme regret at having to give up a zine he's worked on for six years and hopes that fans will support his new zine Orion
  • a zine ed is trying to return deposits to the seventeen people who are still owed; her trailer burnt to the ground and she lost everything including. "Oh, God! the freshly printed and compiled issue [of 'Blurbzine' #3]"
  • a zine ed offers to be a go-between for fans wishing to communicate with some other fans who only write under pen names. "Due to the sensitive nature of their jobs, it is impossible for these contributors to receive mail directly." She lists the pseuds: Cassandra Smythe, Megan Carter, Lynlee Brice, Crissandra Scott, and Anton Ferrar. "If you wish to write to any of these authors, please send the sealed letter to Empyrean Publications, and I will forward it."
  • there is an announcement in personal statements about a fan who has recently passed away. "She was involved in many fan projects at the time of her death, but her parents were unaware of her fannish activities. As a result, much mail that was sent to Cheryl since her death was returned to senders. However, her parents are now aware of the situation and would like to request anyone who had Cheryl working on projects for them to please contact them. Things are being sorted out, and hopefully everything will be sent to the proper owners."
  • the editors write that they received a letter "...that serious disturbed Linda and me, and more we think about it, the angrier we get. The gist of the letter was two-fold. First, that we censored ads by either failing to print as as received from editors or by failing to carry ads for particular subjects/people. Second, that as a result of these failings, we would soon be of no use to fandom. The question of whether or not UT is of any use to fandom is one that each editor and subscriber must answer for her/himself. I would like to address the accusations of censorship." She explains that UT does not carry ads for professional materials as there is plenty of other outlets for those products. Of the accusation that UT declines to print fannish ads of any sort, they write this is not the case. "If you feel that we are discriminating against your ad/s, please check to see if you remembered to renew your ads according to our ad-renewal policy. If you still believe you have followed this policy and your ads are not being published, please check with us to see if the Post Awful has been at it again."
  • there is a long letter regarding The Great Australian Radio Show Fiasco from a fan who has asked to remain anonymous -- This letter writer goes on to warn other fans against submitting work to an Australian slash zine as the interviewee was the co-editor of a zine published there. The letter was also printed in Datazine #36 and Not Tonight Spock #9, and the text of the entire letter is here: Open Letter to the Editors of All K/S Zines & All Other "/" Media Zines:
    Please be advised that a recent program on the Sydney radio station 2FC, openly discussed the topic of K/S publications. An excerpt, taken from an American zine was read by the reporters. The author of the story, the zine, the publishers, and their addresses were supplied on the air and the tone of the reading was NOT sympathetic. A fan of K/S, and I use the word advisedly, then discussed the topic with the reporter, John Baxter. The interview was taped, due to some quick thinking of another fan... and it has been ascertained that John Baxter was in possession of other zines at the time the program went to air... Bearing in mid the details of recent events in the USA and Britain, due to media publicity about other zines, I must warn you to double check your orders... because, at the moment you run the risk of having your work exposed... The repercussions of this kind of publicity are well known to all of us...

Issue 28 (1985)

Universal Translator 28 was published in October/December 1985.

front page of issue #28
  • a fan, feeling "uncomfortable, embarrassed, and morally compromised by the association of my name with a project which is being run with so little regard for the common decencies of fandom", says a zine ed is taking too long to distribute her zine to those fans who have pre-paid; the writer says she will make xerox copies of her novel for those who have not received their issues of Saurian Brandy Digest #36; this same letter is printed in Datazine #37
  • a zine ed says she has discovered that pro dealers are selling pirated copies of her zine, The Klingon Joke Book; "If all the people at Shore Leave who told me they already had my zine had bought legit copies, I'd be reprinting."
  • a fan makes a push to get Universal Translator on the Hugo Award ballot
  • a zine ed, using a rare fannish opt-out procedure, writes a personal statement to Leslie Fish: "All attempts to contact you for reprint permission on one of your stories have failed. If we do not hear from you by November 1, 1985, we must assume that you don't care, and we will proceed."
  • as usual, several zine eds apologize for delays, and several fans write in complaining of zines they've paid for and not received
  • Jacqueline Lichtenberg writes in and says that two small bits of text were left out of her story in Quastar ("Dushau") from pages 191 and 194; she proceeds to add those missing thirty-five words in a personal statement
  • a fan writes a personal statement about another fan -- in part: "You were once a friend of mine. At least I thought you were. Or supposed friendship lasted what, eight months, back in 1982. During that time you borrowed zines from me." These zines, as well as a video tape "of the first four space shuttle flights" have not been returned, and the fan wants them back...
  • several fans have written in and complained about how long it's taking for them to receive Courts of Honor; Syn Ferguson also has a letter explaining that "Courts of Honor" has gone to the printer, that the final price is considerably higher but that those who pre-ordered "are asked, but not required to make up the difference; she also says that Gayle F has "generously offered to bring out a limited second printing with new cover art. The cost is $25.00, is in line with the zine's classic stature, and any profits will go toward COH's deficit."
  • a fan writes about the death of Toni Cardinal-Price and adds some fond memories of how they met and how much Toni meant to her
  • the editors announce the death of Sara Campbell
  • a review of Moon Phases #6, see that page

Issue 29 (1986)

Universal Translator 29 was published in January/February 1986 and contains 42 pages.

  • a fan gafiates due to pregnancy
  • there are the usual number of complaints about late zines, both by editors and by buyers
  • a zine ed writes that her former zine partner has absconded with all the money and continues to do so by continuing to accept money for a zine she doesn't have; the current editor is continuing to fill the orders because "You paid for them, and have a right to receive them, no matter who got the money." And she adds this message for her former friend: "Congratulations, [J D], on the slickest hijack since D.B. Cooper It's a pity you don't care enough about the people who ordered Impact to mail their zines before you spent the money. You've got a great cover, though. Who would suspect that underneath that charming exterior is a thief and a liar? Of course, ripping me off wasn't much of a challenge, since I trusted you completely -- kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, wasn't it? You really should wear a bell around your neck, dear -- it's only fair to the rest of us."
  • it was in this issue that Universal Translator, like Datazine had done earlier, started separating Star Trek zines into gen and K/S; "I'd appreciate it if the editors of all 'slash' zines, of whatever fandom, would help out by letting me know if I've missed an identification. Also, I am looking for a short 'slash' ID for The Professionals
front page of issue #29
  • two fans are holding an auction of fannish goods to raise money for Toni Cardinal-Price's family
  • the compiler of Annual Zine Fan Survey writes:
    A rough report of the 1985 Zine Fan Survey is complete. It is VERY rough, and while I feel much of the information is indicative, I would hardly call it conclusive owing to compilation problems... I hope to do another survey this year both by mail and at MediaWest*Con 6. I have a new programmer and a new program. I also have new questions, including whether zine buyers like mixed media zines and whether they prefer large, mixed media zines or very small single fandom zines.
  • a well-known fan artist, Barbara P. Gordon, writes:
    Some weeks ago, I discovered that quite a bit of mail was not reaching me, nor was some of the mail I sent being delivered. This includes a number of checks and money orders, as well as various replies concerning artwork, and at least one parcel. Then I discovered a giant heap of ripped-open mail belonging to me and quite a few neighbors, lying abandoned near some elevated train tracks near here... The Post Office didn't seem to be concerned, but I am! As always, nasty, threatening, and insulting letters will be forwarded directly to my lawyer for possible legal action and will only delay or prevent my reply.

Issue 30 (1986)

Universal Translator 30 was published in April/June 1986.

front page of issue #30
  • the personal statement section is fairly short, represented mostly by a handful of zines demanding their paid-for zines from publishers
  • a fan reviews the pro book, Killing Time and concludes with:
    Killing Time', as a pro novel, is a failure. The thing would have been much better had it been written as straight action-adventure, without the K/S element; it also would have been better had it been written as 'straight K/S', which of course would have made it an entirely different story. Whatever the author's reason for doing it the way she did (and I believe it was a conscious decision), it just doesn't work. It doesn't work as straight Trek, and it doesn't work as K/S. Killing Time is not the work of a K/S writer whose basic K/S instincts sometimes cause her to be carried away when attempting to write straight Trek — Ms. Van Hise is a much more skillful writer than that. The inclusion of the K/S aspect in the novel was a deliberate choice, and one which remains unfeth-omable to me. But I do know this: the disappointment I experienced with Killing Time was all the more intense because I realized that with one whole hell of a lot of editing, this novel could have been one whole hell of a lot better.
  • a fan complains about receiving flyers for a group called "Star Trek Fans for Peace":
    Today I received yet another flyer asking for a donation to ST Fans for Peace and wish to protest, on behalf of myself and however few others share my sentiments, the apparent assumption that no one can respond to the ideals of ST without also supporting this project. evaluate. The notion that all ST fans 'ought" to offer support just because some have elected to associate ST with this march reveals incomprehension of IDIC, and the implication that fans as a group are more enlightened, unified, or pacific than the rest of the population encourages an 'Us-and-them" mentality that is contrary to the purpose of any peace movement. First, I resent all of the 'Unsolicited solicitations" I've received since beginning to buy zines. If I haven't sent someone an inquiry or prior order, my privacy is invaded by such mailings, and I only wish I knew where certain parties obtained my address. Second, since free ads are available in UT, repeated requests from STFFP seem coercive attempts to nag people into contributing to something they've already had opportunity to Third, I'm all for promoting global peace through education, mediation, interaction, and example, but fail to see any substance behind the vaunted symbolism the march supposedly represents. So, a crowd gathers beneath a flag; what practical effect will this have? Will it alter the basic duality of human nature? Every person/state exhibits creative and destructive behaviors. Leaders have always possessed the power to massacre, and whether a hundred or a billion die, is there a qualitative difference in the consequent agony endured by individuals? Did I have at my disposal all the thousands of dollars and man-hours, plus the admitted enthusiasm, that STFFP hopes to generate, I'd think it better spent to establish more open commerce and communication among nations, interdependence being the best deterrent to warfare.
  • a fan warns other fans about [D D]:
    To everyone in fandom, if you see [D D] some time, some place, don't loan her fanzines, videotapes or money. And if she advertises fanzines for sale, be wary! If anyone out there in fandom knows where she is now or thinks they might be able to help me recover my property from her, the help would be greatly appreciated. I'm at my wit's end and desperate -- and angry as hell!

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 30

48pp, folded, offset. This magazine provides information on all the latest fanzine publications, worldwide. It has a precise & practical format listing full prices and addresses for all. Each magazine has a summary of contents, so you knew exactly what to expect. There is also letters from fans. For the writer, artist and poet amongst us, full information on zines yet to be printed. Book reviews are also included and much more. So if you're like me and wonder what magazines your're missing out on, U.T. is a must. [1]

Issue 31 (1986)

Universal Translator 31 was published in July-September 1986.

front page of issue #31
  • the editors explain that "all things considered (given the usual state of the Post Offal), I'm amazed that UT has never before had a snafu like we had with the last issue; those subscribers with last names beginning with A, B, and early Cs never received their copies, replacements were sent
  • the fan who had spent at least a year, perhaps more, typing up The Weight has had to resign her duties due to health problems; she adds: "My best wishes go to whomever Lori finds to complete the typing. It's a zine that deserves to be made available again..."
  • six fans write a personal statement: "Re: COURTS OF HONOR: Although it is very premature to announce ways, means, prices, and printing dates, we would like to assure all who have ordered COURTS OF HONOR that we are determined to see it in print and generally available as soon as possible. To that end, we ask anyone who ordered COH and did not receive it, and is still interested in obtaining it, to send a SASE (no money yet, please) to [address redacted]. If you send a SASE for a new order, please indicate same in your correspondence. New orders include the following situation 1) You never ordered COH from Syn Ferguson 2) you asked for and received a refund 3) you received the copy you ordered and want another one. What we are doing is a rescue effort. We cannot be responsible for Syn's debts. We cannot give you a refund of money you paid her. However, if enough people still want to order, we hope that we will be able to take into account those who ordered originally and how much they've paid to date. We understand we can't be fair to everyone, but we're going to try to be fair to the majority. As soon as we know precise details, all SASEs will be mailed out. Print run will be based on the number of orders we receive, and it will be necessary, no matter how we actually handle the pricing, to have a significant number of pre-orders to go to press. We're each chipping in what we can afford. In spite of that, it won't be enough unless we have order money up front. We know you've been burned; we're asking for your trust."
  • most of the letters are from fans demanding they get the zines they paid for, one calls anyone who takes pre orders a "crook," and one last letter at the end asking if "anyone knows where Syn Ferguson is?"
  • there is a long, long, very angry letter from a fan who feels she has been "kicked in the teeth" by Courts of Honor:
    We seem to have a severe problem in fandom today. I realize that I have been in the fanzine portion of fandom for a relatively short time, about five years, and I realize that there have been instances (relatively few) in the past, when someone left fandom, taking with them hundreds of dollars without giving anything to the fans who sent the money in. It appears that these infrequent occurrences are becoming almost daily happenings. Unless you are in a group or clique, it is very hard to know whom to trust in fandom nowadays. That is a sad commentary for a group of people who profess to understand the meaning of IDIC. Nevertheless, for some reason, I was deeply shocked by the fact that it has, apparently, happened again. News is that Syn Ferguson has left, leaving others "holding the bag." Despite her promise, the people who have waited for years for COURTS OF HONOR will not be getting it from her. Syn sent out notes to a select few, as only a select few received their zines, that she is "emotionally and financially bankrupt ..." I received a copy of a copy of the note; it was not sent directly to me. I thank [the person who did send it], because if she hadn't sent it to me, I would have been waiting around for several more months... We all have problems. But someone who commits himself to doing something like putting out a zine and who takes money for it has a responsibility to at least communicate with the readers and/or the people he has taken money from. If the problems are insurmountable, then return the money. Part of Syn Ferguson's problem was her lack of communication with people. If you make people wait three-four years for some kind of word, then, obviously, it is natural for those people to be anxious to receive their merchandise. If, however, she had periodically written in a public forum that she was working on the zine, or to ask for help, I am sure that there would have been some help for her... it is going to take me a long time — if ever — to trust anyone in fandom again.
  • Syn Ferguson herself has this personal statement:
    COURTS OF HONOR is completed and a few copies have been mailed — few in comparison to the many copies ordered. It has taken me four and a half years to reach this point, and now that I have, I am emotionally and financially bankrupt. I can't fill the remainder of my orders, and I can't handle the volume of correspondence COURTS OF HONOR has generated. For some reason I can't fathom, there still are fans who are willing to donate their time, money, and labor to this project. I have turned over the paste-up and all other physical assets of COH to them. They will issue their own statement about the disposition of COH in this and other information zines. They do not, of course, inherit my debts. I alone am responsible for those, and I am the only one who has received income from the zine. I am gafiating, and after the end of March, no one in fandom will know where I am. This isn't what I intended or expected as a result of my work, and I very much regret both the financial loss to those who ordered COURTS OF HONOR and my betrayal of their trust.

Issue 32 (1986)

Universal Translator 32 was published in October/December 1986. It was the last issue.

  • in this zine, there were 42 K/S and 160 non-K/S zines advertised.
front page of issue #32
  • a review of Kista, see that page
  • a review of Command Decision, see that page
  • there is a letter from Bill Hupe regarding a survey that Intergalactic Trading Post had done about the reliability of buying fanzines through the mail; he says that most buyers are usually satisfied and that it appears that there are just a few bad apples spoiling the bunch
  • and yes, there are the usual amounts of letters from fans complaining about these bad apples...
  • a fan writes a suggestion to other fans regarding "Courts of Honor" -- she suggests contacting their local postal inspector and suing Syn Ferguson for mail fraud
  • another fan writes in that "...from what little I've heard, 'Courts of Honor' sounds good, and it shouldn't be lost to the anger and disappointment which others, understandably, have expressed"; she offers "her support to those who are trying to salvage what I feel is a worthwhile project."
  • a zine publisher, Entropy Express, says she is closing up shop and blames zine piracy:
    It's very sad when fans start to prey off one another: It's true that we all prey on the licenced copyright holders, but producers and fans have come to a sort of understanding, and we thought the understanding between fans themselves was very clear: when piracy raises its head, fandom comes unglued, and if we don't have ethics, we've got nothing ... The photocopier and the SLR camera are the fan producer's worse enemies. We at Entropy are trying to market a range of high quality zines and telepix, and it's recently been brought to our notice that the main reason why our sales have been so poor is that our potential customers in the USA are obtaining copies of both our zines and our photos from ... somewhere. It must be understood that any zine's 'next issue' depends on the financial returns of its past and current issues. When the editor has boxes of unsold copies but the customers have all got pirated copies — there isn't going to be_ a next issue. This the state of affairs with SYNDICATED IMAGES. It gets rave review, but we literally can't give it away. We're not even asking who it is who's responsible for sticking our zines on the copier for friends [and] releasing the stories onto the circuit . . . but we'd like to say this to them: Congratulations. SI just closed up shop at #8, and unless we sell the mountain of copies we've got in the boxes (which is to say, if they can be kept off the circuit and interested parties purchase the zines instead of bags full of loose copies from Blackbeard Productions), SI9 will never happen. It was going to be a beauty, like #10 after it, but we know when we're licked. You pirates have killed the zine stone dead; when SI8 is available, in about ten days' time, and you've pirated that, there won't be anything else for you to pirate. To the people who own our zines in their pirated form, we'd like to add the following: we're not blaming you. How were you to know that the stories were not cleared for circulation, and that the publishers have heaps of unsold stock? But if you come across the works of the following authors in circuit-story form from this point on, you know that they are the wares of rip-off merchants: Adam Jenson, Jack Heston, Jane Sterling, Peta Brock, G.W. Conrad, Mike Adamson. These writers appear only in SI, and since all our issues are still in print, none of them are cleared for the circuit. To the people who are copying/selling our telepix: do you really think a photographer can't recognise his/her own work? Imagine the shock when you open a zine and find it illustrated with a Xeroxed enlargement of a photo for which the supposedly unique negative is in your own file! There's nothing we or any other photographer could do about this: copyright is a laughing matter when someone has a 35mm camera and a set of CU filtres...
  • from The Gang of Six regarding Courts of Honor:
    In March, we learned that Syn Ferguson was bankrupt and unable to continue distribution of COURTS OF HONOR. Many who ordered this zine have not received it. Several of us who have read COURTS OF HONOR believe it is an outstanding work, and we want it to be available to fandom. To that end, we have formed a committee to publish COH. Since March, we have been working toward the most equitable means of accomplishing that goal. It has become clear that fund-raising efforts will not pay for the printing bill, let alone for collating, binding, and shipping. In addition, after contact with many who have already ordered the zine or are interested in ordering it, we have become aware that the majority of you simply wish to see the novel in print as soon as possible. We have therefore concluded that the only viable way to make COH available is to charge everyone the same set price of $20.00, no matter what the status of any previous orders. This price includes postage. The price will be the same by mail or by hand, thus there is no incentive to wait to buy the zine at a con for a lower price. To put it plainly, we must have pre-orders to go to press at all. If there are not enough of them, COH will not be printed and we will refund all monies promptly. Once expenses are met and the zines distributed, we intend to use leftover money (if any) for proportional rebates to people who ordered previously from Syn Ferguson, and whose orders were not filled by her. This is not a promise of reimbursement; we have at no time assumed any responsibility for Syn Ferguson's debts. We do not know if there will be any money left over, but if there is, these rebates will be made. None of us will make a personal profit from this zine, nor will any payments be made to Syn Ferguson. COURTS OF HONOR will be printed (assuming that we can issue it) from the original typed matrix, with the graphic-bordered pages many of you have seen. The format will be 5 1/2" by 8 1/2", spiral bound, and will include the same Sat Nam Kaur color covers as in the original. Unlike the original, each of these copies will be designated as the second edition of COURTS OF HONOR on the copyright page. To order COH, send a check for $20.00 made out to Walking Carpet Press, to: Walking Carpet Press; PO Box 485; Temple, ME 04984. AN AGE STATEMENT IS REQUIRED with your pre-order an age statement, as well as a SASE. The deadline for receipt of pre-orders is Feb. 1, 1987. If by that date we do not have enough money to go to press, COH will not be published, and the SASEs will be used to refund payments. Our primary concern is to deliver what we consider a fine piece of ST writing to fandom; with your cooperation and understanding, COURTS OF HONOR will finally see print, as it deserves to.
The editors write:
This issue brings to a close our seventh year of publication. It also brings an end to the zine. After much serious thought, we have decided that we can no longer continue publishing UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR. In the last eighteen months, Susan's priorities have changed significantly, and Linda feels she cannot carry on by herself. And both of us are beginning to resent the time that it takes to produce UT. We have tried just about everything we can think of to save time without sacrificing quality, but in all honesty, we don't think that we succeeded. Almost every issue in the last two years has been late, and many had significant typos. With all the pressure, it's just not fun anymore. And we always said that we would quit when we reached that stage. I would appreciate not being inundated with offers to continue UT for me. I have no objection to anyone beginning their own zine using UT's format, but I don't plan to let anyone use UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR'S name or mailing list. Please don't ask. Those of you who have subscriptions that extend beyond this issue will find refunds for your remaining issues in the mailing envelope.


  1. from Beyond Antares #28