Winston Howlett

From Fanlore
(Redirected from Winston A. Howlett)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Winston Howlett
Alias(es): Warren James, Barbra Wheadon
Type: fan writer, fanzine editor
Fandoms: Star Trek: TOS
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
four fans: unknown, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Gee Moaven, Winston A. Howlett

Winston Howlett is most famous within the Star Trek community for the fanzines he edited in the '70s and '80s.

Howlett was editor of Mpingo Press. His words: "Actually, I wanted to call it 'Ebony Prince Press,' but 'Ebony Prince' in Swahili is 'Mpingo Mwanawa Mfalme,' I figured we'd better keep things short and sweet." [1]

He may have also been involved with Tigress Press. In Universal Translator #7, Howlett announced he and one of the editors had married and their publishing efforts had 'merged.'

Active on many fronts, media as well as science fiction fandoms, Howlett created a tape-album of music and poetry for blind Star Trek fans called Fanzine in 1978, with his studio group "Shuttlecraft."

He produced the Galactic League, a professionally-published "round robin" set of novels." [2]

Meta, Open Letters, Panels

From the 2008 Lunacon Program Book


[...] In the early 1970’s he [was one of] Gene Roddenberry’s bodyguards at the first-ever STAR TREK Conven­tion, held in New York City, and the two have been heavily involved in Fandom ever since.

In the mid-1970’s, Winston discovered science fiction fan magazines (“fanzines”) and created his own literary ‘zine “PROBE” in 1975 for STAR TREK Fandom. The second issue contained his first piece of TREK Fiction, “Last Skimmer to Jericho”, an Uhura story that was very well-received, reprinted in several other magazines, and eventually expanded into “The Goddess Uhura”, a PROBE Special Issue that became a bestseller in Trekdom. PROBE eventually grew to a readership in forty-eight states and seven foreign countries, including Australia, Holland and South Africa. He was also a staff writer on three other fanzines, and the creator/producer of the studio group Shuttlecraft, which recorded an album of music and poetry for blind STAR TREK fans. All this drew the attention of Jean Lorrah (well known for her own fanzine novels and stories), who offered Winston a chance to collaborate with her on a novel in her Savage Empire series of paperback novels. Two published novels came out of this partnership, plus WOLFSTONE, a oneshot fanzine for Savage Empire readers.

He moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1980. In 1989, he joined The Galactic League, a science fiction roleplaying club that offered him a new direction in fanzine and professional writing; the novels Honor’s Endgame and Allegiance are set in the Galactic League universe, and at least three more GL novels are planned.

Winston Howlett: An Appreciation: by Juanita Nesbitt

I first met Winston Howlett at MediaWestCon in Lansing, Michigan in the 1980s, at a Dungeons & Dragons game. I would call myself an ardent roleplayer; I would call Winston a passionate actor. Every year, he would be called on to perform in at least one of the one-shot plays at that convention, and would almost always have a costume in their masquerade competition, usually with a very bizarre presentation.

Winston likes to combine his love of science fiction writing with costuming. For Chicon IV (World Science Fiction Con in Chicago, 1991), he asked me to portray an African Life Goddess character that he had created for Wulfston’s Oddysey, his second professional novel. We did not win a prize that day, but that did not deter him from his dream of becoming a Worldcon Master Costumer. He ‘infected’ me with the same dream, and we have been costuming partners ever since.

Along this Creativity Road, he had founded the Hall Costume Competition at Capricon [sic] in Chicago, and co-founded and named The Chicago MOB, the Chicagoland Chapter of the International Costumers’ Guild.

I found myself in an awkward position when he handed me copies of his first two novels, both set in Jean Lorrah’s Savage Empire universe. “What if I don’t like these?” I asked myself. “How will I tell him?” I soon found that I had nothing to worry about - both books were not only readable, but also enjoyable. His passion for fiction writing soon excited me as well, and I eventually found myself looking forward to seeing my name next to his on the cover of the novel Allegiance.

In the late 1980’s, he had joined a fledgling science fiction club in Chicago called The Galactic League. The League has a literary magazine called Alternations, and he had been its first and only art editor until early 2007, when he gave up the position to become the founder and editor of Mulimi, the club’s second fanzine.

What else can I say about an artist whose creative juices have him exploding in many directions at the same time? Besides writing short stories and novels, creating costumes and competitions, we are now producing music albums and podcasts as well.

Costuming and Cosplay

Winston was also active in conventions and masquerade. Some photos are:

Howlett on His Writing (1989)

From a transcript of a writers' panel, published in Wulfstone:

Now, I started off with one story: ‘Last Skimmer to Jericho.’ I wanted to do a TREK story for my own zine, because my first issue of PROBE had no Trekfiction in it. It had TREK articles, it had crossword puzzles, it had all kinds of nice things, but no Trekfiction. So I decided for my second issue to cook up a quick Uhura story. It started out as an adventure piece, it turned into a drama piece, and by the time I was through with it, I was very proud of it. I’d wanted to do a throw-away, but the characters turned on me and said, ‘You’re going to write a good story, or else!’ So, I did.

And then I decided to write a sequel to this story when somebody asked me to, so I wrote ‘A Plague of Dreams.’ But in going through the course of that, I got rid of Uhura saying (high voice) ‘Captain, I’m frightened!’ ... which I could not stand. I killed that off and made her psychologically independent of Captain Kirk, so she’d never run to him any more whenever she needed help. And when I ended that story, I said, ‘All right, where do I go from here?’ The whole thing was published as GODDESS UHURA, PROBE Special Number One. That’s all it was.

Then I started looking at some Paul Rivoche artwork at a convention, and I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got some great ideas for stories!’ just from looking at this artwork. I said, ‘How about if I make Uhura the captain of her own ship?’ Because she was now independent of Kirk; she didn’t have to hang around and trail around behind him. She could do anything she wanted now. So I put together five stories for an episodic novel to make CAPTAIN UHURA. And when I was through with that layout, I thought I was through with Uhura stories. But two thirds of the way through the novel, I was informed that the book was way too long. My editors — Fern Marder and Carol Walske — said, ‘You’ve got too much here. You’re going to have to make two books out of this.’... I said, ‘Okay, fine. So now I’ve got three.’ But then I said, ‘No, wait a minute — I’ve got to go deal with that monster I created in GODDESS UHURA, so I’d better make it four.’

And then, in amongst laying out parts of the novels, I started writing the short stories that filled in all the little gaps. I said, ‘I’ve got a cute little one here . . . a funny one here . . . a serious one here . . . a dramatic one there . . .’ Ideas just started coming from all kinds of places. I was in a pizza parlor in Manhattan. The kid working there — the owner’s brother — was from Florida, and told me a story about a baby who was swallowed by a great white shark. They managed to kill the shark, drag it ashore, cut it open and pull the baby out alive. I said, ‘Wow’ That’s a great idea for a story!’ So I wrote it as an Uhura story [3]: Uhura as a baby. Then I started creating Africa in the twenty-third century, and it got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER. Present plan now is five major Uhura pieces, twenty-two short stories — which will be a collection called ‘The Death-Song of Uhura and Other Tales’ — plus three other characters that have nothing to do with Starfleet, but all come out of the United States of Africa. So, all together, I have about nine novels and twenty-two short stories mapped out. This all started because I sat down and wrote ‘Last Skimmer to Jericho’, and liked to do Uhura stories, they were well-received. I think the audience response is one of the greater creative-generators. People say, ‘I want more of this,’ so you tell a little more of this, and then you start getting involved in it. And in order to justify something you did here, you fill in a hole there, and it all begins to pull together.

At one point, I needed it because I didn’t know where I was going with my fanzine. I thought PROBE was going to end after issue number eight. Now, it’s going to end after issue number thirteen, but because I want it to end. I’ve said all I want to say as a general fanzine editor, and now there are specific stories I want to write, and specific points that I want to make. What I’ve been talking about is sexism that we saw on STAR TREK when it was still a T.V. series, and why we saw what we saw. The meaning of the term ‘Your world of starship captains does not admit women!’ from ‘Turnabout Intruder.’ What does that mean? That can be taken any one of three or four different ways. So there are statements I have to make, and things that I want to say. Just being in Fandom and seeing how many women there are in Fandom and what types of women they are has fascinated me. It’s a reflection of what I’ve seen in the world around me. It’s not just telling stories, but making statements. [4]

... that’s what fanzines are for. It’s a testing ground. We all have to get started somewhere. I got into fanzines only because I wanted a place to be able to grow as a writer. I was already writing. The story I sold to Galaxy Magazine I wrote two years before I even started getting into fanzines. I don’t think I’d even heard of fanzines before I wrote ‘Two of a Kind.’ I was just writing stories, and figured that there had to be some kind of medium for doing the kinds of stories that no one will publish professionally. Nobody will publish your amateur TREK stories . . . nobody will publish your stories with comic book plots, like cheap space operas. But I couldn’t draw, so I couldn’t do them as amateur comic books, so how would you publish them? And then I heard about fanzines, not just Trekzines, but ones for science fiction, ones for comic book fans, and all kinds of stuff. So I said, ‘This is a place where I can grow.’ ...And a lot of us start out there, but not very many of us make it. Nowadays, it’s not very unusual for a lot of us to have made our first professional story sales. But it’s not really the first sale that counts . . . it’s the second one, it’s the third — it’s the third that SFWA will give you voting rights — and where you go on from there. Now it’s not a question of who’s going to sell their second, third or fourth novel, but which one of us is going to be the first one to get the Hugo for something other than Fan of the Year. That’s what the next race really is. Which one of us ‘funny old Trekkies’ as they still call us — which still makes me seethe — is going to walk off with the Hugo Award for Best Novel or Best Novella or something....It is my fervent wish to stand up in front of the WorldCon at the Hugo Award Ceremony, give a very nice speech and at the very end say, ‘For those of you who are still calling us Trekkies —’ (Thumbs his nose and wiggles his fingers) (Laughter) and walk off with my award. [5]

Zines with Content by Howlett

Alkarin Warlord | Against the Sith | AlterNations | Beta Niobe Revisited | Captain Uhura | The Conning of a Con (OR THE "OH MY GOD THE MUGATU WANTS TO PLAY GAMES!" Syndrome) | Dagger of the Mind | Fanzine (audio) | Fire and Gold | Furaha | The Goddess Uhura | IDIC | Interphase | Millennium | Mindsifter | Monkey of the Inkpot | The Ninth Quadrant | Nu Ormenel Collected | Orion Quadrant | Personal Log | Probe Droid | Probe | Protocols |Scuttlebutt | Spirit Showcase Presents the Alternate Universes of Star Wars | Soft Among the Stars | Spirit | Tetrumbriant | The Hooded Man | The Ninth Quadrant | Showcase Presents the Alternate Universes of Star Wars | The Starwitch | Tales from the Cantina | Tetrumbriant | The Trekzine Times | Time Warp | Universes in Science Fiction | Whalesong | Woman, Warrior, Wife | Wulfstone


  1. ^ from Probe #10
  2. ^ from [1]
  3. ^ "A Cold Day in August" in Fuhura #6
  4. ^ see complete transcript here, accessed March 6, 2013
  5. ^ see complete transcript here, accessed March 6, 2013