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October 1992


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 4 Oct 1992 15:31:49 EDT
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Didi J. asked about the New Voyages Paperbacks. These books were one of
the few moments when the commercial sector officially acknowledged the
existence of fan writing and it is significant that it did so at a very
early stage in the development of ST fanzines. Basically, two fan editors
got a contract to commercially publish a series of early fanzine stories
about the series. I honestly don't know whether these stories are still in
print or not. My copies are old and moth-eaten. Didi asked whether I
regarded them as representative of fan writing. Depends on what we mean
by representative, I would think. Yes, they contain some important early
stories by fan writers; they suggest some of the ways fan writing was
emerging shortly after the cancilation of the series, but it is important
to recognize that they underwent an official screening process which means
that there was less room for rewriting and reworking the series and more
pressure to produce "new episodes" which conformed to the old patterns. I
don't think they represent what has happened to fan publishing since then,
however, as writers have developed a more diverse and sophisticated range
of genre formulas, a broader vocabulary of strategies of rewriting, a denser
 sense of the characters, etc. So, we are back where we started. While no
one zine is going to be representive of the whole, I would think about getting
 the class to order a good zine from a cooperative editor. When I taught
my initial ST essay, I contacted Jane Land and used DEMETER, a novel I discuss
 in "STAR TREK Rerun, Reread, Rewritten: Fan Writing as Poaching." and
which reflects many forms of rewriting. I also would think about using
Leslie Fish's THE WEIGHT, a recognized classic in the field, which I discuss at
 some length in TEXTUAL POACHERS. This time around, I am assigning some
slash stories, since I am teaching my work in a course centering on Gender,
Sexuality and Popular Culture. But, I will state it again, Do this with the
cooperation of the editors and writers involved. I value the experience of
having the class order from the writers since it allows money to come back
into the fandom and it gives students a sense of the different dynamics
of financial and cultural exchange that define the community.
  Didi also asks about "institutional collections of fanzines." I have
heard rumors of archives beginning to collect zines, but have not
received confirmation. One rumor centers on Bowling Green, another Austin.
Do people with connections there know if there are indeed zine collections?
The MIT SF Society has a collection of mainstream SF zines but its media
zine holdings are minimal. There are some zine lending libraries emerging
around particular fandoms. I don't have addresses handy but could provide
them on specific request. If you wanted to work on THE PROFESSIONALS,
you could tap into the rather extensive story circuit and get a large collection
 at the cost of postage and xerox. Probably your best bet is to do
what I did to supplament my own rather extensive collection of zines and
what many other fans did: I borrowed from other fans. There is no point
studying or writing about fanlit without an active engagement with the
community. Once you make contact, make friends, and ask about loans. Most
fans are eager to share their collections and are cooperative with you if
you treat them in a fair and ethical fashion. Then, there is the option of
writing stories yourself so that you get contributors' copies of the zines,
which is what most fans I know do to remain current within a particular