Warped Space

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Title: Warped Space
Publisher: The Michigan State University Star Trek Club (issues #1-21); T'Kuhtian Press (issues #22-51)
Editor(s): Lori Chapek-Carleton & Gordon Carleton
Date(s): 1974-1985
Medium: print
Fandom: multimedia & Star Wars & Star Trek:TOS
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Warped Space is a multimedia gen and het (with very occasional slash) zine. Its content was purely Star Trek: TOS until issue #18 when it published a Man from UNCLE story, the first of that fandom in a zine, and became a multifandom with an emphasis on Trek after that. The zine has Star Wars content and other multifandom content in issues 28-52.

from a 1974 flyer: Gordon Carleton portrays The Big Three indulging in a bit of literary fun
a flyer, announces the change in publisher

The fanzine was originally sponsored by The Michigan State University Star Trek Club (MSUSTC) and was very much a club zine containing material and article primarily for a local readership; the content had many in-jokes and comments about campus places and activities. By the second year, however, Warped Space had a national readership and drifted away from this provincialism. These first few years were also a time of some legal battles regarding ownership. One example was the disclaimer on early issues that changed from the zine being "an official publication" of the fan club, to being "closely associated." See much more below at A Legal Battle.

a portrait of Lori Chapek-Carleton that appeared at the top of the title page of many issues of Warped Space, artist unknown
Lori Chapek (editor), as drawn by Jane Clinkenbeard, detail from a page in Warped Space #3

Starting with issue #21, it was published independently under Lori (and her husband Gordon's) own imprint, T'Kuhtian Press. Reprint rights to issues #1-21 remained with the University Club.

There were two sexually explicit issues, #10 and #20. After that, the X-rated zines spun off to become Obsc'zine.

There was also a compilation issue that collected material from issues #31-#51.

The publishers had long-planned a 53rd issue, but it was never completed. It was to have included: a Beauty and the Beast cover by Susan W. Perry-Lewis, a Beauty and the Beast story by Rebecca LaFlamm, the story An Ill-Made Jedi by Deborah June Laymon that was to have been illustrated by Kate Nuernberg, and a Ladyhawke story by Anne Elizabeth Zeek.


Information about the contents of individual issues is here:

Some Comments About the Zine's Cost

In 1981, the editor writes a LoC to Alderaan #9 and comments on an earlier letter which was about the cost of zines. Chapek-Carleton writes:

Concerning the question of zine prices, you needn't fear that Alderaan's price increase is unjustified. I think sometimes that fellow zine editors realize much more clearly that the general readership how much boosted printing and supply costs can affect a zine!... Everyone knows the effect of inflation and the increased postage rates! As an example, the last issue of Obsc'zine came out to something over two years ago, and the cover price at the time was $3.50. #4 has just come out, and though I'd said in a flyer between last May and now that the new cover price would be $4.50, I found when time came to actually tally up the total printing bill, that cover price would have to be a minimum of $5.00, which I've set it at. In honorinq all previous orders for the issue, many people paid only $4.45 including postage, so I'm takinq somewhat of a dunking, but I'm fortunately able to print 100 copies over the number of copies reserved, which will hopefully take up the slack. Of course, for subscriptions to #5 onwards, I'll now have to revise the prices upwards slighly to reflect the cover price increase. I think zines like Warped Space, Obsc'zine, Alderaan and Interstat etc., are more hard hit by increases than one-shots or zines which come out infrequently, like Pegasus or Skywalker, and are able to take reservations, with total price due upon receipt of imminent publication date. I feel that most zines are fairly priced.

The Michigan State University Printer: Despised!

The printing quality of many early issues was very poor and erratic, something that fans constantly complained about in their letters of comment in late 1975 and early 1976 (see those issues).

The printer started off on a bad foot, punching holes on the wrong side of the first issue's paper. [1]

One example of the poor reproduction this fan is talking about, and a BIG topic of conversation in the zine during the early years.
In "Warped Space" #15, there is an illo of Paula Smith refusing to write any more letters of comment until the problems with production are fixed.

From the editor in issue #11 (October 1975):

We've had disparaging comments on our printer. None knows better than I how lousy a job they do! However, we are partially funded by MSU and can only afford to get as good a printer as they give us money for. Better printers cost as much as 2/3 more per issue. But there hope - new budget requests will be sent in shortly and with luck (keep your fingers crossed) WS12 just might be done at a good printer! All I can do is apologize and say to keep on hoping. We'll do the best we can to make it easier for this to be read ... [2]

From a fan in issue #13 (December 1976):

I REALLY think you ought to get yourself a better printer. For the money you're spending on offset for the subscription list you probably have, you deserve a break today. Lori, you've got a terrific zine but with poor reproduction. It's a real shame and it doesn't have to be.

I couldn't read much of WS#13's LoCs, 'Commandra's Cruci-Fiction.' the rumor generator, and 'Mind's Eye.' That really hurts. Even that back illo of Joni's... that delightful reindeer pulling the Enterprise. That black background should be black. You've got a lazy printer. Why don't you, Gordon, and a few others go up to this printer, take him by the throat and SHOW HIM what black is. Tell him you want HEAVY BLACK backgrounds. It shouldn't cost extra money, it just means he has to spend more time at the presses overseeing them. You're paying for it. Demand it or get yourself another printer. You owe it to your readers but most of all you owe it to yourself. Lori, I LOVE Warped Space. I REALLY look forward to future issues. You'll have me for a subscriber till one of us declares bankruptcy or both! I want to see your zine become immeasurable popular and most, I want to see errors that are not of your doing cleared up. [3]

From another fan in issue #13 (December 1976):

First of all, and you know it, the printing is back to being shit. Are you sure there is no way you can get better printing out of the University Press? Personally, even if it meant that WS came out less often, I'd like to see the printing improved. Even if it means that you go to a commercial printer and pay more. [4]

From another fan in issue #13 (December 1976):

You blew it! Akk! 13 coulda had class, coulda been yer best ish to date, instead it stinks! Suppress that printer! Pinch his supplies! Off with his trade! You get the message, I'm sure. [5]

Some Comments on Its Circulation Stats

"Warped Space" has a circulation of 800. "I believe Kraith [collected] has a print run of 1000, which I sincerely hope I never reach! We've held steady at 800 for some years now, as readership hasn't really fluctuated all that much, and I hope we stay steady, or even drop slightly. I wouldn't be surprised to find that if one polled the zine editors/readers, one would find that since Carol wrote her article, the average zine price is now $6.00 or $7.00. Postage rates are getting ridiculous, and I urge the use of UPS [United Parcel Service] whenever possible. [6]

Warped Space's Firsts

the first page of a 41-page manuscript (written in 1978) for one of the stories in The Weight Collected

The Cave Story: It was in the second adult issue (#20, 1976) that Shelter by Leslie Fish was published. Shelter was the first true first time slash story in fandom. (It was also the first cave story -- a genre that has receded in importance now, but was once very popular: if nothing else works, strand them on a planet with a nearby cozy cave, and everything will work out fine.)

The first Man from UNCLE story published in a zine was in issue #18.

Very early, though not the first, Star Wars content in a zine was the cover of #26/27 in July 1977 and a story in issue #28.

Leslie Fish's novel The Weight Collected was published in pieces over a period of several years in "Warped Space."

A Legal Battle

"Warped Space" was first published by the Michigan State University STAR TREK Club while its creators were students. The zine's creators probably never imagined the zine would have a run as long as it did.

Between 1975 to 1980, there was a lengthy legal battle over assets, reprints, profits, ownership, and publisher's rights after those students graduated, or during their enrollment.

See more at Michigan State University Star Trek Club vs. Warped Space.

General Reactions and Reviews

a group shot of many issues, clearly a party!


  • "This zine started only last October with a mediocre issue, followed by a terrible one. It's been uphill since then, and the editors are making fine progress. Issues tend to be mixed -- from surprisingly funny and well-written to exasperatingly badly written (but with a good plot). The last two issues have featured the beginning of a new series -- The Landing Party Series. It is aimed at presenting a new set of characters for fan writers to work with -- six people in different departments that are Landing Party #6. The 'stars' are mentioned only infrequently and the stories tend strongly toward the humorous or ludicrous situations. They have the services of two excellent artists. Jane Clinkenbeard produces nice work -- often for the covers, and Gordon Carleton is the best -- make that the BEST caricaturist of the ST cast that I have EVER seen. His parody, 'The Man- Hatchery' is enough to make you get cramps in your side laughing... Final comment -- the last couple issues are worth buying and the upcoming ones ought to be even better. Comes out quickly too, about every six weeks on the dot." [7]


  • "Comes out about every six weeks. Make checks payable to MSUSTC. This zine is put out by some talented people at Michigan State and it is really good(and often wildly funny) ST. Unfortunately they print it in the school's print shop, and it looks it. But if you've got good eyesight, give it a try. The covers are lovely. Around 30 pages, reduced print, offset.very small print, offset." [8]
  • "Love your 'zine! I was about convinced that Menagerie was my one and only; the other 'zines I've seen have too much serious trekfic, which I just can't get into, as a rule. What I crave are parodies, puns, cartoons, mortals' eyes' views of life on the Big E, with a fun slant. You've got it!" [9]
  • "I was delighted and surprised at your 'zine. By surprised, I mean at myself. You see, I tend to take my Trek fiction rather seriously, and have never really enjoyed most of the humor I've seen. But when you people are funny, you're FUNNY! The downright irreverence is shameful, but I LOVE it! A major complaint I've noted is that a lot of your stuff is 'inside jokes' -- but it doesn't take the reader long to figure out what you're getting at, and the shared rib-poking is enjoyable, and I don't really thing it's meant to be closed humor. More in the vein of "Come, share with us!" Cute, gang, cute." [10]
  • "In general, I think you strike a very nice balance between your fiction, reviews, artwork, letters, etc. Nice variety. I don't even mind the small (tiny) print. The 'zine is so all-around interesting as to be worth it.... My only criticism is that I think your parodies and humorous tales are much better than your serious stories ... Your covers are some of the best I've seen anywhere. Would you offer them, minus the 'zines, as a set, by chance? (They'd make a terrific calendar)."[11]
  • "My poor husband is finally resigned to not seeing me for several evenings after W.S. arrives. 'Til I road everything twice, then check back issues with the LoCs: it does take a while! I'm amazed at the quality of your 'zine- and it's even more incredible that you've kept this high standard while putting out an issue every six weeks. I guess quality does attract quality. (And don't ever lose Gordon Carleton — his "Editor's Nook" illos are priceless!)."[12]
  • "This is one of the best, most regular fanzines available. Its fiction is some of the best, and the same can be said for the artwork. Though Lori tends to sacrifice some quality for a regular print schedule, she has a number of very tal­ented regular contributors - the better among them being Anita Nordstrom, Paula Smith, Gordon Carleton, Johanna Cantor, Joni Wagner, Marty Siegrist, and Leslie Fish. Each issue averages two short stories, a couple of short poems, a film re­ view, a couple of pages of letters, and about 6 pages' worth of fairly good art­ work." [13]


  • "WARPED SPACE is a super-mganifico, fantastic zine done by the crazy fans at Michigan State University. It comes out quite frequently, and except for a tendency to ruin one's eyes, is very enjoyable reading. (My favorite is the Landing Party 6 Series. Available from Lori Chapek-Carieton [address redacted] Come to think of it, the legibility has improved greatly over the last couple of issues, which pleases me to no end. Keep it up, guys. Also, thanks muchly, Lori, for the ad for my zine in WS #21. I really appreciate it." [14]
  • "WARPED SPACE has the distinction of being the most regularly printed zine in ST fandom. (As a leading contender in the delayed zine of the year category, I'd give anything - well, almost anything, souls, David and otherwise [15], excluded - for the editor's secret formula'.) WARPED SPACE has shown continuous improvement since the first volume in contents, graphic design, and print quality. WS is known for its light, humorous pieces and its slightly wacky viewpoint of the STAR TREK universe. It has also established itself as a zine with strong, straight dramatic fiction, also. (Is there anyone who has not heard of "The Weight'?)" [16]
  • "WARPED SPACE means never-never land to me. A neutral zone where anything goes (and usually does). I honestly derive as much satisfaction from your LoCs as the rest of the 'zine. Where else can one read Gerry D. commenting, "Leave Kirk's genitals alone for Gawd's sake," and someone else saying, "What genitals?" WARPED SPACE has filled a need in fandom: witty, audacious, thumbing its nose at sacred cows. It's bright, brassy, and like a good prostitute can be had for a reasonable price." [17]


  • "A terrific and very frequent zine...Also very flexible in content--ST, SW, U.N.C.L.E., probably some Man From Atlantis in the near future, etc. Always plenty of variety. WS also includes' "The Weight", Leslie Fish's l-o-o-g, but gripping saga of Kirk and Co. in an alternate, Anarchistic society bound for the stars. Lotsa nice artwork, too. [18]


  • "I was one of the original contributors when Warped Space took off in 1974. I remember hawking the little monster at bake sales to pay off the OurCon debt." [19]


  • "Oh, I'd hazard a guess there are quite a few of us who know the "good old days." Warped Space was the first zine I discovered (issue # 24, which I still have), not too long after I discovered there was a whole lot of other people who loved Star Trek and so I wasn't quite so strange after all. Gordon's and Leah's cartoons were always a hoot. The Sahaj stories were a favorite. And the Star Wars, MUNCLE and other stories opened the door for me to other fandoms. *sigh*...that was quite a few years ago, wasn't it?" [20]


  1. ^ A comment in "Warped Space" #1/2's editorial
  2. ^ from issue #11
  3. ^ from issue #13, Linda Cappel
  4. ^ from issue #13, Sharon Ferraro
  5. ^ from issue #13, Paula Smith
  6. ^ from Alderaan #12
  7. ^ from The Halkan Council #11 (October 1975)
  8. ^ from Gerry Downes in Stardate Unknown #1
  9. ^ from a fan in "Warped Space" #18
  10. ^ from a fan in "Warped Space" #18
  11. ^ from a letter of comment in "Warped Space" #18
  12. ^ from a letter of comment in "Warped Space" #18
  13. ^ from Stardate #10 (August 1976)
  14. ^ from Fantasia #1
  15. ^ "souls, David" is a reference to the actor who plays Kenneth Hutchinson
  16. ^ from Time Warp #1
  17. ^ from a letter by Marian C. Kelly in "Warped Space" #29/20
  18. ^ from Fantasia #2
  19. ^ from an interview with Paula Block, from Menagerie #16
  20. ^ from a fan in 1998 at alt.startrek.creative
  21. ^ from a fan in 1998 at alt.startrek.creative