With Malice Aforethought

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Title: With Malice Aforethought
Creator: unknown
Date(s): early to mid 1980s
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Wars
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flyer, click to enlarge

With Malice Aforethought is a letterzine/review zine that was proposed by an anonymous fan in the early to mid 1980s. The proposed fanwork was in response to what the editor felt was a inability/fear/desire to be nice in fandom in relation to reviewing and commenting on fanfic. The flyer was available, at MediaWest*Con, and probably by other means.

The letterzine appears to have never made it off the ground, but the flyer indicates a certain dissatisfaction, at least among some fans about their ability or venue for saying what they really think. This attitude was not limited to Star Wars and was a topic that came up over and over again in other fandoms, usually larger ones that had enough fannish material to squabble over.

From the flyer:

"Have you ever:
" read fanfic that was SO bad, you wanted to barf -- but your best friend wrote it?
" read fanfic that everyone else acclaimed as 'great' -- but you thought it stunk?
" seen art that was SO poor you wanted to suggest that the artist burn her pens and take up gerbil farming on Tatooine -- but said artist might put your name on Darth Vader's promotion list?
" listened to some fen's philosophies of the SWARS universe and wondered if they'd been accidentally dropped on their head at birth -- but unfortunately they belong to the vocal majority?
" wanted to let someone know what a JERK they are -- but you can't because they're a BNF?"
"Welcome to 'With Malice Aforethought'!!! The Editor, having recently retired from an active life as Emperor (through the courtesy of a former henchman -- now deceased) wishes to ascertain whether there is sufficient interest among SWARS fandom to publish a 'popular' (i.e. cheap, quick, easy) letterzine wherein peeved fen can vent their spleens on favorite gripes anonymously. The entire purpose of this zine is to allow fen to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth -- no out-right libel or slander, please -- concerning the quality of fiction or art without fear of losing your friends, your reputation, or your life. The zine is especially for all you cowards (you scum, I know you're out there) who would love to say right out that you consider the latest interminable story by Ms. BNF writer dull, pointless, and boring -- or that MS. BNF artist really could benefit from having a few art lessons.. or that you seriously doubt that Luke/Han/Vader/Leia/Chewie are related to Jesus Christ/The Other and/or gay... but were afraid to say so under your own name!"
"Letters may be submitted anonymously or they may be signed. All names will be kept in strictest confidence, and all files will be fed to my pet sarlaac so that there will be no blackmail at a later date. All letters will go into the zine ANONYMOUSLY, unless you wish to commit an unusual form of suicide, in which case your name will be included at your written request."