Cover of the fanzine is a very well reproduced ink drawing of one of the savage lords, probably Wulfston, on a thick white sheet of paper.
2. ‘Savage Laff’ by John Hazard (from an idea by Winston Howlett)
3. FROM THE CASTLE (Editorial)
4. NO SUCH THING AS A WEREWOLF
Wulfston to Lenardo: “Ruling agrees with you… I won’t frighten you with all the mistakes you could have made.”
—from Dragon Lord of the Savage Empire
12-14. TWO SONGS
Wulfston said, “When you visit (my lands), you’ll find that I defeated Drakonius single-handed, to hear my bards tell of it…”
—from Dragon Lord of the Savage Empire
Wulfston laughed: “…The one time I remember Nerius actually paddling (Aradia and me) with his own hand — when anything at a distance was unsatisfactory — was the time we set fire to the woods just west of here. We almost burned up with them.”
—from Savage Empire
50. FINAL NOTES/NEXT ISSUE
JOHN HAZARD: Front Cover, 2, 10, 15-24
DOUG HERRING: 39
DAVE KNIGHT: 13
KEVIN SPENCER: 4, 34, Back Cover
CAROL WALSKE: 28
This issue is lovingly dedicated to Jean Lorrah, for creating the Savage Empire universe, and letting the rest of us conquer kingdoms in it.
copyright © 1989 by Mpingo Press
Thin soldier rushes into tent where a lord is writing by the light of an oil lamp.
MY LORD DRACONIUS! AN EMISSARY FROM THE EMPIRE - AND I THINK HE’S AN ADEPT! HE’S GOT THESE FANTASTIC POWERS, SEE -
Thin soldier grabs throat and Drakonius’ hat raises off of his head while ominous eyes and funny mouth look through the tent.
MARTIUS! WHAT — —HRK! = CHOKE =
Darth Vader points at Drakonius
GREETINGS,DRACONIUS. THE EMPEROR IS VERY DISPLEASED WITH YOU. . .
Some things are inevitable. Take fan-produced magazines, for instance. Spend eight or nine years in an interesting place like Jean Lorrah’s Savage Empire universe, co-author two books in the series, re-read each book five or six times and what’s the result?
You’re holding it in your hands.
This is the premier issue of what will be (we hope) a three-issue fanzine run; three excursions along the backroads of the Savage Empire in fiction, poetry and artwork, plus articles about the creative process.
ROBERTA ROGOW, whose many talents include some of fandom’s best songwriting, contributed one version of the inaccurate song mentioned in Dragon Lord of the Savage Empire, the one that started Wulfston’s troubles in Wulfston’s Odyssey. Roberta was also the host of AugusTrek, the 1979 science fiction convention where the panel discussion “Creating Universes” was held.
Artists JOHN HAZARD, DAVE KNIGHT and KEVIN SPENCER each gave his own unique interpretation of the Savage Empire. For our back cover, Kevin did his version of Wulfston and Torio escaping from the Aventines (from Captives of the Savage Empire). Dave beautifully handled the tricky task of illustrating two very different song-poems with one picture. And besides giving us our first front cover, John was asked to merely do one or two illustrations for “Dare and Double Dare”; his ten-page ‘comic book’ rendering of the story was quite a delightful surprise!
DOUG HERRING and CAROL WALSKE very kindly rounded out things in the artwork department, and friends too numerous to mention provided help and inspiration when this project threatened to get bogged down in one production delay too many (My thanks to you all!).
— Winston A. Howlett,
Winston A. Howlett
“Brellen, calm down,” Wulfston said.
“But, Lord Wulfston, you didn’t see it!” the little shepherd cried. “It was a huge, black monster in the shape of a wolf, with flaming-red eyes — ”
“Where did all this happen?” Jareth quietly asked.
“In the pastures north o’ Zegra, ‘bout a day’s ride from here,” Brellen replied, giving Wulfston’s advisor a cutting look for interrupting him. “My lord, for the last month or so, we had been losing a lamb every few days. We’d had trouble with wolves before, and had set traps for ‘em. But when this one kept eludin’ the snares, we went huntin’ for it.
“Last night, we found a lamb it’d just killed, and followed the tracks into the foothills. Then the paw prints began to change — into the footprints of a man!” Jareth snorted. Brellen gave him another cutting look. “It’s true! Footprints! They led up into a cave with a narrow mouth. We was too scared to go in, so we filled the cave mouth with dry brush and put a torch to it. Then we waited for whatever was inside to try to escape by leapin’ through the flames. We didn’t have much in the way o’ weapons. Just some farmin’ an’ stoneworkin’ tools an’ one rusty ol’ sword.”
“And the wolf broke out of the cave and attacked?” Wulfston asked.
The thin, middle-aged man shivered, his eyes apparently staring at a horrible memory. “What came through them flames was no wolf, my lord! Was bigger than any wolf — big as a man, and black as night! It ripped out Marn’s throat before he could even scream! Then it broke through the circle and ran off into the forest. We lost the trail in the rock quarry — not that we really wanted to keep chasin’ it, after what it did to Marn. . .”
The young Lord Adept put a reassuring hand on Brellen’s shoulder. “I understand. You and your comrades were very brave, but it is obvious that I am needed. Tomorrow we will deal with this problem, and deal with it quickly.”
Wulfston ordered one of his guards to take Brellen to the kitchen for a meal, then to find a place for the shepherd to sleep. Jareth waited until he and Wulfston were alone before stating, “Lord Wulfston, there’s no such thing as a werewolf.”
“Oh?” the black man gave him a mildly surprised look. “You’re very sure of that?”
“Very sure. Wolves are not uncommon in the hills, my lord, as you well know. But his story of a man who can change into one — surely, you don’t believe such a tale. There must be some other explanation for whatever happened.”
“I — prefer to hold my opinion until we’ve visited the area,” Wulfston said. “As the new Lord of the Land, it’s my duty to see to the safety of my people. Besides, I have yet to see this quarry, and a lot of building stones for Castle Blackwolf will soon start coming from there. We’ll start out early tomorrow morning — just you, me and Brellen.”
“No guards, Lord Wulfston?” Jareth tried to hold his astonishment in check. “Are you sure that is wise? You don’t have — that is, after such a tyrant as Drakonius, many of the people are very wary of their new lord. There are most certainly hill bandits somewhere in that area. Some might be ambitious enough to try to assassinate you, then try to plunder part of the territory before your allies could arrive.”
The Lord Adept smiled. “My powers can deal with any problem we might face, Jareth. See you in the morning.”
“As you wish, my lord. . .”
* * * * *
“Black wolf. . . black cub.” The murmured words came to Jareth’s lips unbidden as he lay down on his pallet.
But there was truth in them. This new Lord of the Land was less than half Drakonius’ age — and Jareth’s — and seemed to have not even half as much common sense.
Like most people in these lands north of the Aventine Empire, Jareth did not believe in gods. Most believed in the ways of nature, especially the Adepts, who claimed that nature determined how their powers were to be used. But there were those among his merchant peers who believed more in luck than in nature. “It waxes and wanes,” some said, “like the phases of the moon.” Perhaps they’re right, he thought sleepily. But apparently not with such regularity as the moon . . . His luck in business had waxed for many years, despite Drakonius’ harsh demands of tithes and tribute. And luck had waxed in his personal life as well: his beautiful and loving wife Sarla, his two fine sons, Maro and Zel.
But the last year had seen the waning times. Sarla had suddenly died in her sleep. The Adept-made landslide that was supposed to have aided Drakonius’ attack on the Aventines at Adigia had gone wrong, killing hundreds of the Black Dragon’s troops. Including Maro.
And then, last month, the fall of the tyrant — was that luck waxing or waning? Zel had survived that terrible battle despite being among the troops that spearheaded Drakonius’ attack on the lands of the White Wolf. But when the battle was lost and Drakonius killed, everything changed. The old White Wolf, Nerius, had also died in the battle. His daughter Aradia now ruled his lands. As leader of the victors, she had divided the spoils, giving the western part of Drakonius’ territory to Wulfston, her adopted brother. Fearing that this newly-named Lord of the Black Wolf might be worse tyrant than Drakonius, Zel and many other soldiers had fled east to the Red Hills. Better to become bandits, Zel had said, than be forced to swear loyalty to a Lord Adept they did not know.
And instant loyalty seemed to be what this wolf cub had expected. He rode into the territory under a hastily-made wolf’s-head banner, leading troops borrowed from his sister’s army. And brooking little argument. One of his first decrees was to take over Jareth’s house; it was the only large home in the area that had somehow been spared major damage by the Adept firestorms in that far-ranging battle.
Granted, Lord Wulfston had been somewhat polite about the takeover; he had assured Jareth that it was only a temporary measure, until Castle Blackwolf was built. And the Lord Adept’s troops seemed to be treating the local people a lot better than Drakonius’ soldiers ever had. But some of his other decrees — such as his announcement that any Readers that were found were to be brought to Wulfston unharmed? Since before Jareth’s father’s time, any person — adult or child — discovered having mind-reading powers was instantly declared an enemy of the Lord’s people and immediately executed. Jareth had heard rumors about an Aventine Reader helping Wulfston’s allies defeat Drakonius — Ha! Ridiculous! Readers only sought to kill Adepts! Everyone knew that!
Just what was this wolf cub planning?
During those first few days, Jareth had not volunteered information about the territory, but had politely and truthfully answered every question Wulfston had put to him. The Adept had not seemed to notice Jareth’s ambivalence, had even given the merchant the title of chief advisor — which caused even Jareth’s oldest and closest friends to now look at him with the same expression they had for Wulfston: a pleasant smile with questions lurking behind the eyes.
And now, little more than two weeks into his reign, the Lord of the Black Wolf wanted to go chasing after mythical creatures. “With no guards,” Jareth muttered. “Hmph . . . Perhaps he wants me along . . . to be . . . meat . . . for the werewolf . . . ”
* * * * *
All along their journey, the new Lord of the Land was immediately recognized, of course. What other well-dressed Nubian was there within a hundred miles? Many openly stared, but all quickly bowed, curtsied or — dropped to one knee as he rode past. They probably feared that he might be like the late Drakonius, who had often used his powers to kill or injure people for not showing him enough respect. Or fear.
It was mid-afternoon when they reached Zegra, which was little more than a handful of wooden buildings strewn around a dusty crossroad in the northern lowlands. “But because this territory has so little land that is suitable for growing crops,” Jareth reflected as they dismounted before the inn, “this area is considered to be the center of a major farming community. How ironic.”
“Indeed,” Wulfston nodded as he handed his stallion’s reigns to a bowing young stablehand, “but that will soon change. This area’s stone quarry will be one of many, and iron mines will be opening in the hills.”
Jareth swallowed hard. “Mining in the hills, my lord? Are you sure that will be safe, with so many hill bandits about?”
“As I said, many things will be changing,” the Lord Adept stated. “The hill bandits will be given a choice: honest work — of which there will be plenty — or leave these lands and the lands of my allies.”
Brellen piped up, “But what if they don’t like either choice, m’lord?”
Wulfston said nothing, but gave both men a solemn look as he turned to enter the inn.
Zel . . .
* * * * *
After an adequate time of food and rest, the men and their mounts were back on the road again. The sun was sliding behind the horizon as the journey finally ended in the hills at the north end of the grazing land, where a large flock of sheep was being tended.
A dozen men — shepards (sic RBW shepherds) and farmers — were lighting torches from a campfire as the trio approached. Their welcome to their new lord was much like that of the passersby on the road: a kind of wary stiffness that made Jareth feel uneasy, even though he agreed with it. Two of the farmers tended to the horses while Brellen led the way up the rocky slope.
“The cave is just up there, m’lord,” he said as he took a proffered torch. “It’s where the werewolf attacked us.”
“Yes, I want to see that.” Wulfston turned to Jareth. “There’s no need for you to tax yourself. You can wait here.”
The uneasiness in Jareth’s mind sharply increased, though he did not know why. He merely nodded to Wulfston as the Adept started after Brellen, followed by some of the men —
Some of the men. Jareth was suddenly aware that four of Brellen’s friends were clustered around him, watching him very intently. A shout of warning for Lord Wulfston leaped into his throat — and died there as the
sharp tip of a large kinfe (corrected in original with swap character symbol to read knife) lightly touched his voice box. Other hands firmly grabbed his arms. “Not a word,” was whispered in his ear.
But he barely heard the command because the sheep were bleating very loudly. And running away. His captors turned to look at the flock, but Jareth’s eyes leaped past Wulfston’s receding back to a gray shape crouched on the crest next to the cave.
A wolf with flaming eyes. Growling.
The world seemed to stand still for a moment. Everyone stared at the creature, including Wulfston. The wolf looked directly at Brellen as it bared its fangs. Shaking, the little man let out a strangled cry as he thrust his free hand at the wolf — and collapsed in a heap, his torch rolling off to one side.
Someone yelled, “NOW!” and the half dozen men behind Wulfston drew concealed blades and rushed up the slope at him. Without so much as a backward glance, the Lord Adept thrust his right hand straight up and unleashed a flash of lightning. Shouted oaths erupted around Jareth as he shut his eyes against the brightness.
When he opened them again, all four of his captors were lying at his feet.
By now, Wulfston was up the slope, next to the wolf and facing his attackers. Torches were flung at him and the beast as the men desperately tried to get up within striking range. The Lord of the Land merely gestured and the torches were scattered. And then, one by one, the men fell backwards off the hillside.
Shouts. Hoofbeats. From several directions, horsemen — most of them wearing Wulfston’s livery — rode into the clearing. They were herding frightened and sullen men and women before them, and bunched them together near the campfire.
“Is your son among them?”
The question caused Jareth’s head to snap around as Wulfston approached, softly asking again, “Is Zel among them?”
Embarrassment burned in Jareth’s cheeks as he scanned the faces around the campfire. One or two were vaguely familiar to him, but — “No . . . Lord Wulfston,” he added. “How did you . . . I mean . . . ”
“In the past two weeks,” the Adept said kindly, “the only actual advice you’ve given me has been about the hill bandits. You very firmly stated that it would be unwise to hunt them down because of their close relatives among the people, whom I’m still trying to get to trust me. I got your son’s name from one of his acquaintances, who recently swore loyalty to me after I used my powers to help his ailing wife.”
“I see,” Jareth said, head bowed. “My lord, I — ”
“No.” Wulfston put a hand on Jareth’s shoulder. “I think I owe you the apology. In a way, I used you. I didn’t know if Brellen was a Reader, or had a Reader working with him. Since I can’t be Read, I wanted someone along who genuinely did not know what I was planning. If I’d had a Reader of my own, I
wouldn’t have had to resort to all this trickery.”
“But - But, Lord Wulfston,” Jareth stammered, “when did you realize that this was all an elaborate ruse? They had me fooled until almost the last moment!”
He smiled patiently. “Almost as soon as Brellen came to us with that wild tale. He spoke the local ‘untutored worker’ dialect fairly well, but inconsistently, especially when he pretended to be excited. He was probably considered a rather poor actor back in the Aventine Empire, if he’d ever worked in the theatre.”
Jareth glanced over at the corpse. “He was an Aventine?!”
“Definitely. My adopted family tutored me in my birth language, so that I would not forget my heritage as the son of freed Aventine slaves. There was just enough Aventine flavoring in Brellen’s diction for me to realize the truth about him.”
“Then he must have been an Aventine spy,” the merchant concluded, “sent here to assassinate you.”
“No. More probably, he was a minor Adept, forced to flee the Aventine Empire to avoid being killed by a mob if his latent powers were discovered,” Wulfston said. “That’s why I killed him in front of his followers. If he could have proved himself to them by killing me, he might have gotten other minor Adepts and enough hill bandits to join him to make an impressive army.”
“To seize your lands and stand against your allies?”
“Or loot what they could and flee north before my sister and my friends could gather their forces, which might have taken a while,” he reminded him. “They are still getting themselves established in their new lands, just as I am.” The Lord Adept looked toward the campfire and shouted, “Mik!”
One of the horsemen not wearing Wulfston’s livery rode over to them. Jareth recognized him as the ‘stablehand’ at Zegra. “This is Mik,” Wulfston introduced, “whom I assigned to watch over you after we left Zegra. He’s very strong in the Adept talent of putting people to sleep. Well done, Mik.”
“Thank you, my lord,” Mik said. “Though I almost failed you at the crucial moment. That white wolf of yours startled me . . . ”
The wolf! Astounded that he could have forgotten about such a creature, even with all this going on, Jareth looked back at the cave area. Nothing.
“He’s gone,” Wulfston shrugged. “Comes and goes as he pleases. In truth, he’s no one’s property. I didn’t expect to see him here, either.”
“Incredible!” Jareth breathed. “When I saw those flaming eyes —”
The Lord of the Black Wolf laughed. “That was just a trick of the light. The setting sun and the torches.
“After all, Jareth, we all know there’s no such thing as a werewolf . . . ”
(Can be sung to the tune of “Greenland Fishery”)
Lord Wulfston bore a Wolf as Sign,
His skin was dark as night;
His voice was low, and his powers were so
That all might feel his might, Brave boy,
All might feel his might.
A Reader came into his lands,
To spy for Aventines —
Lord Wulfston held the spy in thrall
And brought him to his knees.
Draconius, he held the town
And he held it tight in his hand.
Lord Wulfston came and brought him down,
And bade the Rebel stand, Brave boy,
Made the Rebel stand.
The Army fought the Rebel foes,
And made Draconius flee;
Then lightning flared and trumpets blared!
Lord Wulfston set the people free, Brave boy,
Wulfston set them free!
We praise the ones who rule this land,
The Black Wolf and his kin —
We sing of his fame and tell his name
To all who stand within.
— ROBERTA ROGOW
Dark were the days of the dragon,
Cruel and evil his soul.
Ruler of lands that stretched to the sea,
Conquest ever his goal.
Black is the skin of the hero,
Wulfston is his name.
Seeker of peace and justice,
Lord of stormwind and flame.
Drakonius sought to conquer
Lands where the wolf had his cave.
Wulfston rose as defender,
His father’s crown to save.
Fierce and long was the battle,
Many brave warriors slain.
But black wolf vanquished the dragon,
Ending his terrible reign.
Wide is the Mouth of the Dragon,
Gateway to the sea.
All that is left of the monster,
For his captives now are free!
— WINSTON A. HOWLETT
© MPINGO PRESS and HAZARDUS VENTURES
Savage Empire (Medieval/Feudal looking compound.)
WULFSTON CONCENTRATED FOR A MOMENT, AND A SMALL FLAME SPRANG UP OUT OF THE KINDLING. HIS ADEPT POWERS GENTLY NURTURED IT, AND SOON THERE WAS A BRIGHT, WARMING BLAZE IN THE HEARTH
DISHA: YOU ALWAYS DO THAT SO WELL . . .
DISHA SMILED AS HE RE-SEATED HIMSELF NEXT TO HER ON THE FLOOR PILLOWS “. . . THERE IS SOMETHING I’VE BEEN WANTING TO ASK YOU . . . ABOUT FIRESTARTING . . .”
HER HESITANCE SIGNALED A DESIRE TO ENTER WHAT COULD BE PRIVATE TERRITORY. BUT WITH A NOD AND A SLOW FLICKER OF HIS EYELIDS, PERMISSION WAS GRANTED.
“I’VE SEEN YOU LIGHT CANDLES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM WITH HARDLY A GLANCE,” SHE SAID CAREFULLY, “BUT WITH A HEARTH OR A CAMPFIRE . . . WELL, YOU START THEM SO CAREFULLY, WITH SUCH PERSONAL ATTENTION, ALMOST LIKE . . . LIKE . . .”
“A RITUAL?” HIS SMILE BECAME WAN. “YES, PERHAPS, IN A WAY, IT IS. THOUGH, MOST TIMES, I DO IT UNCONSCIOUSLY.”
CURIOSITY FED HER BOLDNESS. “WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT, AS EACH FIRE GROWS?” SHE GENTLY PRESSED. “YOUR . . . YOUR PARENTS?”
A SADNESS BRIEFLY CROSSED HIS DARK FEATURES, REFLECTED FLAMES BURNING IN HIS EYES AS HE GLANCED AWAY FROM HER FOR A MOMENT.
WHEN HE LOOKED AT HER AGAIN, ALMOST ALL OF HIS PLEASANT SMILE CAME BACK. “NOT EXACTLY,” HE SAID, “BUT IT IS A CHILDHOOD MEMORY. I WAS ABOUT FIVE YEARS OLD AT THE TIME . . .”
WULFSTON: . . . GROOOANN . . .
MARCUS CRINGED AT THE SOUND OF ARADIA’S VOICE, WISHING SHE WOULD LEAVE HIM ALONE AND SEEK OUT ANOTHER PLAYMATE . . . OR, RATHER, SOMEONE ELSE TO BE BOSSY WITH. IN HIS TWO YEARS OF LIVING IN LORD NERIUS’ CASTLE, HE COULD HARDLY REMEMBER A MINUTE WHEN ARADIA WAS NOT MAKING HIM COME WITH HER TO THIS PLACE, OR GO WITH HER TO THAT PLACE, OR HELPING HER WITH SOME PRANK . . .
THE PRANKS. LATELY, THEY DID NOT SEEM TO BE SO MUCH FUN. NO, THAT WASN’T IT . . . THE PRANKS SEEMED FUNNY, AND MADE HIM LAUGH WHEN THEY DID THEM. BUT NOW ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE CASTLE WERE NOT LOOKING AT HIM SO NICE ALL THE TIME . . .
THEY DIDN’T LOOK MEAN, OR YELL AT HIM MUCH . . . BUT THEY HAD THAT LOOK IN THEIR EYES . . . THE SAME LOOK THAT HIS SISTER SALENA HAD HAD WHEN THEIR PARENTS MADE HER WATCH HIM WHILE THEY WORKED. IT WAS LIKE THEY WANTED TO GET REAL MAD AT HIM—OR DO SOMETHING REAL BAD TO HIM—BUT THEY COULDN’T BECAUSE HE BELONGED TO LORD NERIUS—
AND ARADIA. ALWAYS ARADIA . . .
ARADIA: WULFSTON! WULFSTON!
THE LITTLE BLACK BOY LEANED AGAINST THE BIG, FRIENDLY TREE AND WAITED, KNOWING THAT SHE WOULD FIND HIM VERY SHORTLY. THEN HE CLOSED HIS EYES, IN SOME VAGUE HOPE THAT NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE ANYTHING WOULD SOMEHOW MAKE HIM INVISIBLE—
ARADIA: OH, THERE YOU ARE! DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME CALLING YOU? YOU HAD ME WORRIED HALF TO DEATH!
HE LOOKED AT ARADIA SOURLY, WISHING THAT SHE WOULD AT LEAST NOT SAY THE SAME THING THAT VINGA SAID ALL THE TIME— “WORRIED HALF TO DEATH!”—WHEN SHE HAD TO WATCH BOTH HIM AND ARADIA.
ARADIA: “WULFSTON, WHY DIDN’T YOU ANSWER ME WHEN I CALLED YOU?”
WULFSTON: “BECAUSE MY NAME ISN’T ‘WULFSTON’! MY NAME IS MARCUS!”
ARADIA: “OH, DON’T BE SILLY”
NOW SHE WAS TRYING TO BE VINGA: SAME STUCK-OUT LIP, SAME HANDS ON HIPS AND STAMPING FOOT.
ARADIA: THAT WAS YOUR NAME IN THE AVENTINE EMPIRE, BUT YOU’RE NOT AN AVENTINE ANY MORE! MY FATHER’S MADE YOU ONE OF US—
WULFSTON: I’M NOT ONE OF YOU!
ARADIA: YES, YOU ARE! YOU BELONG HERE NOW!
WULFSTON: NO! I DON’T! I-
“I DON’T BELONG ANYWHERE,” HE CHOKED, LOOKING AWAY. HE COULD NOT TELL HER ABOUT THE DREAM LAST NIGHT, THE AWFUL MEMORY OF HOW HE HAD SHOWN OFF HIS ADEPT POWER TO LORD NERIUS IN FRONT OF HIS OWN FAMILY . . . AND THE STRANGERS — JUST PEOPLE WHO HAD COME TO PURCHASE POTTERY AT HIS PARENT’S STAND BY AN AVENTINE ROAD, BUT PEOPLE WHO SAW HIM YANK LORD NERIUS’ WOLF PENDANT OFF ITS CHAIN WITHOUT TOUCHING IT, AND YELLED, “HE’S AN ADEPT! KILL HIM! KILL HIM!” AND THEN EVERYBODY HAD STARTED GRABBING AT HIM, SOME TO TRY TO KILL HIM . . . LORD NERIUS MUST HAVE USED HIS OWN ADEPT POWERS TO WIN BUT, YANKING MARCUS AWAY FROM ALL THOSE OTHER HANDS AND GETTING THEM AWAY FROM THERE ON HIS HORSE.
BUT HE COULDN’T STOP THE FIRE. THEY HAD SNEAKED BACK ACROSS THE BORDER IN THE DARK TO GET MAMA, PAPA, AND SELENA AWAY FROM ALL THOSE BAD PEOPLE, BUT THEY WERE TOO LATE. THE STRANGERS HAD BURNED DOWN THE WAGON . . . WITH HIS FAMILY INSIDE. IN THE DREAM, HE COULD STILL SEE THE FLAMES, AND HE WAS SHOUTING, “I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY!” OVER AND OVER AGAIN . . .
HE WANTED TO LET HIMSELF CRY, TO LET OUT THE HURT OF HIS TWO-YEAR-OLD MEMORY, BUT IF HE DID THAT HERE AND NOW, ARADIA WOULD NEVER STOP TRYING TO BE HIS MOTHER.
ARADIA: WULFSTON . . .
NOW, HER VOICE WAS GENTLE, AS THOUGH SHE UNDERSTOOD WHAT HE WAS FEELING. BUT HE WOULD HAVE NONE OF HER SYMPATHY. HE SNATCHED UP A LONG BLADE OF GRASS AND CHEWED ON THE TIP END. J UST LIKE HE HAD SEEN CARAVO DO SO MANY TIMES. HE LIKED CARAVO, AND CARAVO WAS NOT AFRAID OF VINGA, HE KNEW. YES, THAT WAS IT; IF ARADIA COULD BE VINGA, HE WOULD BE CARAVO —
THE BLADE OF GRASS GOES “POOF!”
THE OTHER END OF THE GRASS BLADE WAS SUDDENLY BURNING WITH A TINY FLAME, AND ARADIA WAS GIGGLING, MARCUS MATCHED HER SMIRK WITH HIS BEST ANGRY SCOWL AS HE TOSSED AWAY THE GRASS BLADE, TO LET IT BURN ITSELF OUT. HE ROSE UP TO HIS FULL HEIGHT - STILL A HEAD SHORTER THAN ARADIA - AND GLARED AT HER. “SO WHAT? THAT TRICK IS EASY. ALMOST ANYBODY CAN DO IT.” OUT CAME THE GIRL’S LIP AGAIN. “OH, NO IT ISN’T! FATHER SAYS IT NOT SO EASY TO MAKE THINGS LIKE LEAVES AND GRASS BURN WHILE THEYRE (sic RBW THEY’RE) STILL GREEN!”
WULFSTON: YES IT IS!
ARADIA: NO IT ISN’T!
WULFSTON: YES, IT IS!
ARADIA: THEN LET’S SEE YOU DO IT!
MARCUS FELT LIKE HE WANTED TO BITE HIS TONGUE. NOW HE HAD TO DO WHAT SHE WANTED, AGAIN.
ARADIA: GO ON! . . .
ARADIA: I DARE YOU!
MARCUS LOOKED DESPERATELY AROUND FOR - THERE, A PATCH OF GRASS THAT WAS HALF BROWN IN THE TREE’S SHADE. MAYBE HE COULD GET IT GOING ENOUGH TO BURN THE GREEN GRASS AROUND IT, ALL WITHOUT ARADIA NOTICING THAT HE WAS CHEATING.
HE SQUINTED, SET HIS JAW, AND THREW ALL HIS ANGER AT THE LITTLE PATCH. AFTER A MOMENT THERE WAS A KIND OF POPPING SOUND . . .
. . . AND THEN FLAMES, RIGHT WHERE HE WANTED THEM TO BE! HE WANTED TO SHOUT FOR JOY, BUT INSTEAD PUT THAT ENERGY INTO MORE CONCENTRATION. THE FLAMES SPREAD TO THE SURROUNDING GREEN GRASS . . . AND GREW EVEN HIGHER!
ARADIA: YOU CHEATED, WULFSTON! THAT GRASS WAS DEAD!
WULFSTON: NO, IT WASN’T
ARADIA: YES, IT WAS!
WULFSTON: NO, IT WASN’T.
ARADIA: YES, IT WAS!
WULFSTON: WELL, THEN LET’S SEE YOU DO BETTER!
WULFSTON: I DARE YOU! I DOUBLE DARE YOU!
HE WAS NOW FEELING VERY GOOD, BETTER THAN HE HAD FELT IN A LONG TIME. POWERFUL. POWERFUL AND FREE.
ARADIA ANGRILY TURNED AWAY FROM HIS GAZE AND FIXED HER OWN UPON A SMALL TREE, JUST A FEW YARDS AWAY. SHE GRITTED HER TEETH AND SWUNG HER FIST IN THAT DIRECTION.
ALL ALONG THE EDGES THEY COULD SEE, SMALL FLAMES QUICKLY TOOK THE OUTERMOST LEAVES. WITHIN MOMENTS, THE ENTIRE TREE WAS A TORCH.
SHE LET OUT A BIG LAUGH OF TRIUMPH, BUT MARCUS COULD SOMEHOW TELL THAT THE EFFORT HAD GREATLY WEAKENED HER.
SUDDENLY, ALL THIS FIGHTING HAD BECOME MEANINGLESS TO HIM. HE HAD WON—
NO, THEY BOTH HAD WON, IF THAT WAS POSSIBLE. AND ARADIA’S EYES SEEMED TO SAY ALL THIS TOO AS SHE LOOKED WEARILY AT HIM, AND . . .
ARADIA: WULFSTON, LOOK!!
HIS PATCH-FIRE HAD QUICKLY SPREAD, LEAPING INTO SEVERAL TREES AND MAKING A WALL OF FLAMES.
WULFSTON: PUT IT OUT!
ARADIA: I CAN’T —
ARADIA: — I DON’T KNOW HOW!!
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS YOUNG LIFE, MARCUS DID A DOUBLE-TAKE, NOT JUST BECAUSE ARADIA ADMITTED THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING SHE COULD NOT DO, BUT BECAUSE IT MEANT THEY WERE IN DEEP, DEEP TROUBLE. LORD NERIUS WOULD—
ARADIA GRABBED HIS ARM AND STARTED RUNNING AWAY FROM THE FIRE, AWAY FROM THE HEAT AND THE CRACKLING DEATH - -
- - RIGHT INTO MORE FLAMES. THE TREE-TORCH HAD LET OFF SPARKS, WHICH ATE THE SURROUNDING GRASS AND FLOWERS, AND BECAME SPREADING ARMS THAT WANTED THEM.
ARADIA: IT’S ALL AROUND US!
MARCUS FRANTICALLY LOOKED FOR A WAY OUT, BUT NOW SMOKE WAS OBSCURING EVERYTHING AND MAKING IT HARD TO BREATHE. ARADIA HAD BEGUN TO CRY, AND NOW SO WAS HE.
PERHAPS THIS WAS RIGHT FOR HIM, TO DIE IN A FIRE LIKE MAMA, PAPA AND SELENA HAD -
. . . . . BUT NOT ARADIA . . . .
NOW HE WAS COUGHING, AND COULDN’T STOP COUGHING. AND SO WAS SHE. HIS LEGS BUCKLED, HIS GRIP ON HER WEAKENED . . .
PULLED. HE WAS BEING PULLED. FIRST TO HIS FEET. AND THEN TO THE FIRE . . .
. . . NO, THROUGH THE FIRE, WITHOUT IT TOUCHING HIM!
THERE WAS STILL A LITTLE SMOKE, BUT NOW IT WAS EASIER TO BREATHE, AND ARADIA WAS SMILING.
ARADIA: I FIGURED IT OUT!
ARADIA: HOW TO STOP A FIRE . . . WELL, JUST A LITTLE . . .
ARADIA: . . . JUST ENOUGH FOR US . . .
BEHIND THEM, THE FLAMES ROARED ON. BEFORE THEM, THE GROWNUPS RAN IN THEIR DIRECTION ALL SHOUTING LIKE VINGA DID WHEN - WHEN THEY WORRIED HER TO DEATH. WULFSTON FOUND HIMSELF LAUGHING, LAUGHING AT SOME JOKE THAT EVEN HE DID NOT UNDERSTAND . . .
“AFTER WE WERE TAKEN HOME AND CLEANED UP, WE WERE BROUGHT BEFORE NERIUS IN HIS PRIVATE CHAMBERS. WITH VERY LITTLE CEREMONY, HE SPANKED US. FIRST ARADIA, THEN ME. AND AFTER WE’D SQUEEZED OUT OUR LAST TEARS-FOR-SYMPATHY, HE GENTLY GAVE US A SHORT LECTURE ABOUT HOW ABUSING ADEPT POWERS COULD CAUSE DISASTERS EVEN WORSE THAN BURNING DOWN SOME WOODS.”
“AFTER THAT NIGHT, I FELT A WHOLE LOT BETTER ABOUT MYSELF . . . AND ABOUT BEING A MEMBER OF NERIUS’ FAMILY, WITH A NEW NAME . . .”
“BECAUSE YOU AND ARADIA NEARLY DIED TOGETHER IN THE FIRE?”
WULFSTON: PARTLY. BUT MOSTLY BECAUSE OF SOMETHING ELSE, SOMETHING THAT DID NOT FULLY OCCUR TO ME FOR SEVERAL MORE YEARS . . . IT WAS THE SPANKING.
DISHA: THE SPANKING?
WULFSTON: YOU SEE, MY FATHER - - MY NATURAL FATHER - - HAD NO ADEPT POWERS. WHEN I WAS NAUGHTY, HE COULD NOT PUNISH ME FROM A DISTANCE, THE WAY NERIUS WOULD. MY FATHER WOULD USE HIS HAND TO PADDLE MY BOTTOM. AND ON THIS OCCASION, NERIUS THOUGHT A HANDS-ON SPANKING WAS THE MOST APPROPRIATE PUNISHMENT. SOMEHOW, EVEN AT THE AGE OF THREE, I HAD KNOWN PAPA SPANKED ME BECAUSE HE LOVED ME. AND THEN NERIUS HAD DONE THE SAME. IT HAD GONE A LONG WAY TOWARD BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN MY OLD LIFE AND NEW ONE, AND IN MAKING MARCUS AND WULFSTON . . .”
WULFSTON: . . . ONE AND THE SAME . . .
DISHA: AND DO YOU PLAN TO DO THAT WITH OUR SWEET, INNOCENT YOUNG SON WHEN HE STARTS WALKING AND TALKING?
SHE SAID IN MOCK HORROR.
NOW FIRMLY PULLED OUT OF HIS REVERIE, WULFSTON GAVE HER A SLY GRIN.
WULFSTON: INDEED. AND I MAY DECREE THE SAME THING FOR HIS MOTHER, STARTING NOW!
DISHA: OH, MY LORD! YOU WOULDN’T!
WULFSTON: I WOULD!
DISHA: YOU COULDN’T!
WULFSTON: I COULD.
DISHA: YOU WON’T!
WULFSTON: I WILL!!
THEIR LAUGHTER FILLED UP THAT PART OF THE WORLD AS THEY ROLLED AROUND ON THE FURS AND PILLOWS TOGETHER. THE HEARTH FIRE FLARED SEVERAL TIMES THAT NIGHT AND EVENTUALLY DIED, AS ALL NATURAL FIRES MUST, AND LIKE CERTAIN FIRES WITHIN THE MIND WHICH SLOWLY, GRATEFULLY DIE AS WELL.
WINSTON HOWLETT (to Pat): “Stop now, while you can!”
PAT PAUL: “Too late. I’ve got thirteen of the stories down, so far . . .”
ROBERTA: “Pat is working on a universe . . . roughly, that starts out TREK and goes off—”
PAT: “Way off!”
ROBERTA: “—into interesting connotations and permutations.”
JEAN LORRAH (to PAT): “Drop the TREK and go pro!”
PAT: “Well, actually, I’m doing that, too . . .”
JEAN: “I’ve done that with a story just recently. I sold a rewritten version of a TREK story.”
ROBERTA: “Okay, let me just tell who everybody is, and then we’re going to go on right from there — This panel is called ‘Creating Universes’, about how to go about the building blocks of making a universe or a body of works. Let me just tell who everybody is: (Left to right) Pat Paul . . . Winston Howlett . . . Jean Lorrah . . . Take it from there . . .” (Roberta makes her exit)
WINSTON: “The Jean Lorrah?”
PAT: “May I have your autograph?”
JEAN: “The one and only, I am the only one in the U.S.A., and maybe the world.”
WINSTON: “I doubt that. Now . . . (To audience) ‘Creating a Universe’ . . . I have one piece of advice for you: DON’T DO IT!” (Laughter) “You start out with something small, and it gets to become very large . . . All right, which one should we talk about? NIGHT OF THE TWIN MOONS?”
JEAN: “I think Winston and I created our universes the same way: by falling in love with a character. He fell in love with Uhura and I fell in love with Sarek . . .”
WINSTON: “Perfectly logical. Nothing wrong with either one of us.”
PAT: “It would’ve been harder the other way around. . .” (Laughter)
WINSTON: “Shoot that man . . . Now, I started off with one story:
WINSTON (cont.): “. . . ‘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!’ (Laughter) 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.’ (Jean chuckles) 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*: Uhura
* “A Cold Day in August”; FURAHA 6
WINSTON (cont.): “. . . 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.”
JEAN: “I have two STAR TREK universes, and then I’m involved in other things. Some of you may be familiar with EPILOGUE, which is one of my TREK universes, which is a closed universe. That is, it is a complete novel in two volumes — eight chapters — and the eight chapters tell independent stories, with beginnings, middles and ends. But they are not really independent of one another, even though the first three appeared in TRISKELLION, way back in the early 1970’s. They don’t leave you satisfied, they leave you wanting the rest of the story, but it’s closed. There’s no more EPILOGUE. I will not write any more and no one else will write any more that in official EPILOGUE. You cannot prevent someone else from writing a story, but I will not recognize it—no matter how brilliant it is — as part of that universe because that one is complete.
JEAN (cont.) “Now, that particular universe came out of a tragic period in my life. I was very far from family for the first time, on my own. I left home when I was seventeen to go to college, and never went back home to live. But there is a difference between being sixty miles from home and having the capability to run home for the weekend when you want to, and being eight hundred miles away from the family. And as I was growing up there were six people very, very close to me. My grandparents, my parents, and an aunt and uncle who happened to be my father’s brother married to my mother’s sister, and they had no children, so I was like a daughter to them, too. So I was a chick with six hens when I grew up. These people were very close to me. And over a period of two years my aunt died slowly and horribly, my grandfather died slowly and horribly, and my grandmother was sinking into death. She died after I had completed the first part of EPILOGUE, but it was obvious that she was dying, and my father had a stroke in the middle of all of this. And I was, for the first time in my life, facing up to losing people, to major change that one cannot control.
“And that is what EPILOGUE is all about. If you’ve read it, then you know it’s about a war, in that case. You see, when you write fiction you translate your experience into something else. There was no war involved in my experience. But, you remember, EPILOGUE begins with Kirk as a very, very old man . . . facing senility . . . losing his memory . . . having lost the people who were like family to him . . . having lost his position. He’s been retired, not kicked out. He’s just grown old and been retired. It’s facing up to loss . . . and I was working off my own frustrations writing the first part of EPILOGUE. And then I came back and wrote part two after I had lived through and come to terms with that period of my life, and I had a book to complete. And then the artist goes on and finishes the story that was begun out of the emotion of a particular period. But it’s probably because it is so close to my own life that I don’t want anybody else fiddling around with it. It’s complete in itself. Now, that’s one kind of universe, where you as sole author, or perhaps with a collaborator write a particular thing, you finish it and that’s it. You don’t do any more.
“Then there’s the NTM universe, which is wide open. That one is much more of a conventional TREK universe, in that it came purely out of questions that I had about the series . . . questions I had had about ‘Journey to Babel’ in particular . . . explanations of the way Sarek treated Amanda, which bugged me for years before I came up with my solutions . . .”
WINSTON (to Jean): “Some of which were brilliant, I might add. (to audience) ‘Journey to Babel’ is my favorite episode, and some of the things that she picked apart were facets of the story I had never looked into. I heavily identified with that particular episode, and could never understand why people were saying, ‘Why did Amanda act that way?’ . . . My mother is a school teacher — more properly, a vice-principal — and very much resembled Amanda. And my father put me through a great deal of pain when I told him I was not going to be a lawyer, much as what Sarek did to Spock when Spock said he was not going to join the Vulcan Science Academy. In many ways, I saw that Sarek was my father and Amanda was my mother, and people’s objections to the characterizations I couldn’t see at all, because I was living them, day in and day out for several years. So Jean’s insight as to why characters did what they did and what we didn’t see — like why Sarek and Amanda didn’t show up for Spock’s wedding in ‘Amok Time’, and other things — made me say, ‘Egads, that’s . . . very logical!”
JEAN: “We all know why they didn’t show up. We all really know the reason: they hadn’t been created yet. (Laughter and several remarks among the audience members.) But if you are writing in a universe that makes the assumption that TREK must be taken as a whole, and whatever happened in Third Year has to be implicit in First Year, which leaves you with sooooome contradictions . . .” (Laughter)
WINSTON: “Problems! Problems! Holes you drive starships through!”
JEAN: “Right. Then you have to create explanations for these things, and that is how a universe grows. Now, if you have read THE NIGHT OF THE TWIN MOONS, FULL MOON RISING, NTM COLLECTED VOLUME ONE and NTM COLLECTED VOLUME TWO, you are heartily invited to write in that universe. There are plenty of other stories to be told that I don’t have enough time to tell. All I ask is if you want to write in the universe, please send me an outline before you start to write, so that if there is an inconsistency — which will probably be because I knew of something planned that hasn’t shown up in a story yet — then usually very minor tinkering can take care of that when the story is in outline form.”
WINSTON: “Well, Pat, are you planning to open up yours?”
PAT: “Well, anyone who would want these characters is more or less welcome to them. Probably nobody has ever heard of the stories I have written, the few there are. One was in a fanzine that deserves to go unmentioned. Another one is on sale upstairs — GRIP 7 — if anybody wants to pick it up . . .”
WINSTON: “I’ll run out and get mine now . . .”
JEAN (to Pat): “Don’t laugh. You will be signing autographs.”
WINSTON: “Oh, yes, and that’s the weirdest part. You never know what to write . . . other than ‘You have good taste!’”
PAT (to Winston): “Yes, I remember. I asked you to sign my copies of PROBE. You were the first author I’d met. And you were psyched out, like ‘What am I going to do with this fool who wants a signature?’”
WINSTON: “I didn’t say that . . .”
PAT: “No, but you were thinking it. And my viewpoint is ‘I’m starting this mess. Why am I doing it?’ You started out with a short story, I can beat that — I started out with a gag.”
PAT: “My first universe . . . actually, I’m writing two universes, one of which I told you about many years ago, about Uhura and Scotty.”
WINSTON: “Oh, yes, that one! The punchline story . . .”
PAT (to audience): “It was all one buildup to one hideous gag—”
WINSTON: “It was a pun. An outrageous pun.”
PAT: “—which I have dropped. And now I’m actually writing the story, in which I get to play with experimental theology.”
WINSTON: “Yeah. He was doing a good story about what the nature of a clone is: a soul-less creature. And the ending of the story — since he’s not putting it in now — had a situation where you don’t know what happened to the original person that the clone is based on. And there are two characters in the story, both Starfleet officers, nicknamed Big Adam and Little Adam. And so Little Adam asks Big Adam, ‘What happened to the original person?’ And the answer was, ‘That, Little Adam, is another story!’ . . . Anybody here remember that old science series on television, ‘The Big World of Little Adam’? (Groans of recognition from some audience members) Every episode would end with the line ‘That, Little Adam, is another story!’ So Pat goes through this big, long dramatic story and the final line is ‘That, Little Adam, is another story!’ whereupon I beat him into the floor!”
PAT: “Well, actually, I’ve revised it, and everything in the story is all put together and answered, and I think I might actually have it finished in a couple of months.”
WINSTON: “That’s a shame. If the last issue of PROBE wasn’t already tight, I would ask to print it.”
PAT: “Well, I’ve had a number of people ask for that story if I tell them about it.”
WINSTON: “Yes, it was a very good story, and based on a gag. You can start off with anything. Either you’re angry about something, you’re in love with a character . . . but it always starts out small. Tolkein (sic RBW Tolkien) didn’t plan to start out as his life’s work doing ‘Lord of the Rings’. You can tell by reading ‘The Tolkien Reader’ that he was just interested in doing those types of fantasies. And he started out doing one little piece, and it got larger, and larger, and larger.”
PAT: “Actually, it started out with him telling his little kids bedtime stories. That was ‘The Hobbit.’”
JEAN: “Well, that’s what happened with THE NIGHT OF THE TWIN MOONS I thought I had a brilliant—”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “You weren’t telling any of that as bedtime stories!” (Laughter)
WINSTON: “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no . . . .”
JEAN: “I started what I thought was going to be another TREK short story. I’d only written four or five short stories . . . I’d started writing TREK as a non-fiction writer. I wrote articles at first. And then I wrote a few stories, and some of the early ones are in that little pamphlet, ‘Parted From Me and Other Stories.’ And when I started writing THE NIGHT OF THE TWIN MOONS, I didn’t know the title of the book or anything. I didn’t even know that it was a novel. I thought I had a brilliant line with which to start a short story. ‘My husband, attend.’, which is the first line of NTM. I didn’t know what the situation was, I didn’t know what—”
WINSTON: “You’re kidding!”
JEAN, “No, I wrote that . . .”
WINSTON: “You started out with a line?!”
JEAN: “Yes . . .”
WINSTON (points to Pat): “That beats his joke!”
PAT: “The winner!”
JEAN (to Winston): “Well, you remember how you ended up in a pro novel — I started with a title.”
PAT: “A title?”
WINSTON (laughing with Jean): “Yeah, I’m winding up as a character in one of her novels . . . More than that, the novel became a series!* It started off as one novel, and I’m reading the outline to this thing, so she would let me approve the character . . . that was about a year and a half ago, at a FebCon. And then at Mos Eastly Con** she let me read the final draft of the book, and I said, ‘Wait a minute! This is not the way the outline went! Hold it!’” (Laughter)
JEAN (laughing): “I had to cut the book in half . . .”
WINSTON: “Ah hah!”
JEAN (to audience): “You are going to hear this story from all authors! You have to cut your book in half because it’s too large.”
WINSTON: “You didn’t start out with a series, and neither did I. (to audience) I started researching African culture, because I wanted to put some Swahili into the stories, I mean, Nichelle Nichols spoke a little Swahili in episodes like ‘Man Trap’ and ‘The Changeling’, though they always cut that part out of the syndicated version of the ‘Changling’ episode in New York. So I started trying to figure out what she was saying, to begin with, and then I started going into what happens to the language and the culture. And then I started falling in love with African poetry, not just Swahili, but all different types. And little things began to inspire larger things, like justification for using the poetry.
“And when you start getting involved with a universe, just in dealing with your one central character, there are a number of questions you have to start asking yourself . . . What’s the size of his family? . . . What’s his religion? . . . What is his overall philosophy about life? . . . What is the most traumatic thing that ever happened to him as a child? . . . What is the happiest thing that happened to him? . . .
* The Savage Empire Series
** May, 1980 at the LaGuardia Sheraton Hotel in New York City
WINSTON (cont.): . . . When this character becomes a living, breathing person, you’ve got ten thousand anecdotes to tell. It’s just a question of which ones you want to bother to tell. I learned how to characterization from reading a great deal of Theodore Sturgeon, science fiction and non-science fiction. And when he gets through with a character, he has really delved into the personality, even to the point where he’s telling a story in the first person and he’s not always the omniscient I’m-a-great-person storyteller. Sometimes the person telling the story is an egotist, or a fool, or a crook, or somebody who is more humane than he himself even realizes. So characterization covers all kinds of different facets . . .
“And sometimes you get so wrapped up in a universe that it becomes too much of real life. I stopped writing CAPTAIN UHURA when ‘Roots’ came on for the first time, because at the end of the second episode when they whipped Kunta Kinte to make him accept his slave name Toby, that affected me very deeply; and on the paper, Uhura started becoming a black racist. And I had to decide whether to write or watch ‘Roots.’ I didn’t watch “Roots.’ And then I got it out of my system, went on and completed my story, and I watched the series when it was repeated. But that’s when your universe becomes a living, breathing thing. Your universe begins to surround you. Everything you look at begins to take on a new aspect. Things that you’ve gone through in your own life, you say ‘How can I translate this into a story to say something?’ Because it’s not just that you’re telling a story, but that you’re living pieces of yourself.
“Even when you open up your universe to other people, when you let them in, you still say, ‘Okay, but this has got to be twisted to fit right, because I’m still saying something, over all.’ And you’ve got to keep firm control over it. If you let it get out of hand, you wind up looking on it and saying, ‘What happened?!’ For a while, I had a fantasy where my universe would become like KRAITH, where I would have lots of other contributing writers. It didn’t happen, and now I look back on it and say, ‘Thank goodness it didn’t happen!’ because I know some of the problems Jacqueline Lichtenberg went through. I was close friends with several members of the KRAITH round robin. It got to be sticky. And so I had an article in PROBE 11 — which a lot of people did not like — about how the nuts-and-bolts of the KRAITH round robin writing system wasn’t doing the job it was supposed to be doing. Some of the KRAITH creators said, ‘How dare you say that?’ but it was all true, because it was written by a KRAITH creator. So sometimes your universe can get out of hand if you let too many people in with you and you don’t keep firm control . . .”
WINSTON (cont.): “. . . Of myself, I haven’t even let in one outside writer. Sara Paul had a short story in SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM #8 that coincided with an aspect of what I was writing for GODDESS UHURA. And I asked her permission to put a rewritten version of ‘Music Has Charms’ in GODDESS UHURA. That is the only outside contribution that I have ‘accepted’ for the Swahili Series, except for some poetry by some friends of mine. I’ve stopped writing poetry, so Fern Marder does a lot of poetry for me, poetry that mirrors what I’m writing in the Swahili Series. But the stories are all mine. In the end, it makes it better that way, I think . . . Somebody has a question?”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Right now, of course, you’re talking about your own experiences in your TREK universes, but I’ve been sort of been playing around in my mind about non-TREK universes, I guess that’s the next step, and I think one of my big problems is not having the complete scientific knowledge required I don’t think anybody has. The only person I can think of is Ann Popplestone . . . and Isaac Asimov, possibly. Everybody else is a ‘specialist’. The other day I was doing illustrations, and was saying, ‘Here’s a being that comes from a heavy-gravity planet.’ And I assumed he would look ‘pulled down’ and ‘weighted.’ And we started talking about pressure and atmosphere, and I just didn’t know enough. As soon as you start creating something that is non-Earth-like, that is not a desert, and not a jungle, and not an ice planet — all of which we have wherever I go — and then we get into real science fiction. Where do we go for this information?”
WINSTON: “We research. I needed to find out what would happen on a world where the rain that fell was nitric acid, and yet the beings still had to have water to live on. ‘How do you convert nitric acid into water?’ And yet chemistry was one of my worst subjects in school. But when I got out of school, I kept a couple of my chemistry books, I looked through them and found what I was looking for.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#2: “When I went to school, girls didn’t take chemistry.”
WINSTON: “My condolences . . . I bugged the life out of some people in order to find some of the things I was looking for. And sometimes I just guessed, because sometimes you don’t want to get into heavy sciences to write a science fiction story. You move around the edges.
“One of the greatest things I ever got away with was creating the Ballenites in GODDESS UHURA. Nobody has shot me down yet. I expected three or four physics students to go ‘KILL! KILL! KILL!’ because I’d created these tear-drop-shaped creatures that manufactured small amounts of matter- anti- matter in their bodies and shot them out the rear end in order to go traveling through space at warp speeds. They lived off radiation. And I got away with it!
WINSTON (cont.): “. . . So don’t let yourself get tripped up by the mechanics of it, I mean, shall we go into Anne McCaffrey’s dragons? We know full well dragons are too heavy to fly . . . don’t we? The only really good story I have ever seen on a viable flying dragon was in an issue of OMNI, which said that they create helium inside their bodies, take off, and when they’re through with it, they excrete it and land. Other than that, these big, huge things would have to have a wingspan two miles wide to take off. We know that! Yet Anne McCaffrey has readership around the world, just on the Pern series alone. You don’t get too wrapped up on the technical end of it.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#3: “I read somewhere a theory that the dragons are actually telekinetic. They just think they’re flying . . .”
PAT: “I’ll buy that . . .”
WINSTON: “See? Why not?”
JEAN: “And besides, we just might be able to explain it all yet, since up until three or four years ago it was a quote fact unquote that bumblebees could not fly because they did not have the proper wingspan. And finally, with some new kind of mathematics, it was proved that yes, they can.” (Laughter)
WINSTON: “And the bumblebees were very happy, and they all got their licenses again . . .”
PAT: “Well, one problem I had with that is with these KISHI & BRADSHAW stories — that’s the universe I’m technically here for, published in GRIP 7 . . . One of the two characters is Bradshaw, who’s a human and a screwball. He’s psychotic in the first episode, he’s a little on the binge in the second one, and somewhere around the eighth you learn some interesting facts about him — that’s he’s never been sane throughout the entire thing . . . He’s based on me. That tells you something. (Laughter)
“The other one known as Kishi . . . Well, it all started out as a gag. We said ‘Let’s put two screwballs in Security . . .’ and it kind of grew from there. And we figured, ‘Okay, let’s make one of them an alien . . . Let’s make him about two meters tall . . . He’ll be furry . . . He’ll look like a cat . . . have silver blood . . . And then we kept coming up with all these great descriptions of him.
“And then my friend turns to me — I’m the big-chemist of the group — and says, ‘Okay, now how does it work?’ And over five hours and a pot of coffee we worked out the planetology, the social structure, the biochemistry of this . . . and went through five textbooks, because everything has to interlock. I came up with the most . . .
PAT (cont.): “. . . screwball planet, but it all fits. The atmosphere is composed — by and large — of nitric oxide—”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Talk to Ann Popplestone. She’ll tell you why it won’t work.”
PAT: “Oh, I have a degree in biochemistry. I can back it up. I can bulls**t better than anybody!”
WINSTON: “The thing I had to worry about was when I started getting away from Uhura . . . one of the things I was doing was the ‘Ebony Prince’ novel*, based on a character I used to do at costume calls. And in the story, I started getting involved in politics and economics in the Federation. I set it up to mirror what goes on in our real world, in the various strata of the Free World, the Communist World, and the Third World . . . the various economic things, with each side pulling and tugging against the others, even though they are a Federation. And it became more and more ‘human’ as I looked into it, as to how all these worlds interact with each other . . . Why they went through that problem with the Coridan Question in ‘Journey to Babel’ . . . why the Tellarites didn’t want these people who were being constantly ripped off to be given protection — because the Tellarites were going to rip them off some more. It’s sad and it takes some of the shine off our nice shiny twenty-third century STAR TREK universe, but it’s real life. It shows that for money, people will do anything. And that’s one of the main things I’m dealing with in the story: that everyone is struggling for power; everyone wants —”
PAT: “A piece of the action?” (Laughter)
WINSTON: “Not just a piece of the action, but also they want to be on top . . . Yes?
AUDIENCE MEMBER#4: “. . . In STAR TREK we are sort of fixed in a specific time period, but I’m sure that even in the twenty-third century that there are external forces and internal forces trying to pull the Federation apart . . . all this back-and-forth-back-and-forth, and there’s hardly anything to band together about, other than the Klingons. And episodes like ‘Babel’ just give hints at the internal problems, but Wow! There must be some real internal problems! And look at ‘Amok Time,’ how T’Pau turned down a seat on the Federation Council. You have to ask yourself ‘Why did she turn it down?’ ”
*The EBONY PRINCE is now scheduled to be the fourth volume of the Swahili Series, to be published after THE STARWITCH.
WINSTON: “More than that, I think the thing that influenced me the most about ‘Amok Time’ was how T’Pau would’ve made an excellent black female racist, and what she did to Spock, even when he was going through the blood-fever, to get him to do what she wanted him to do. ‘Are you human or are you Vulcan’ (sic RBW Vulcan?’) is a line which, for me, would come right out of the ghetto: ‘Are you black or are you white?’ When you look at a person and you know full well what color his skin is, but you’re trying to get him to do something that he may or may not want to do . . . Vulcans were not supposed to have emotions, but she was a woman with definite prejudices . . .”
JEAN: “Right, and this is where I got the Vulcans for the NTM universe, because what did we see?! We saw Spock trying to live up to some sort of ideal. You realize, we never saw a Vulcan living that ideal.”
WINSTON: “Right. No other Vulcan was doing what Spock was doing. (to Jean) The only thing I didn’t like about yours was your over-use of contractions. (Jean laughs) One of my favorite scenes was when Amanda said, ‘Oh, my! I should have told him to come back in an hour!’ And Sarek should have said, ‘That is not funny, Amanda . . .’ not ‘That’s not funny, Amanda!’ The line ran too fast . . . (to audience) But the Vulcans in hers are a lot more believable than what they would have you believe was going on on Vulcan.”
JEAN: “I am still trying to get Jacqueline Lichtenberg to write the story she has promised to write about Sarek’s brother. You know that he has a brother . . . he’s mentioned . . .”
PAT & WINSTON: “Where? Where? Where? Where? Where?”
JEAN: “He is mentioned in NTM and he’s mentioned in FULL MOON RISING.”
WINSTON: “Oh! I thought you meant in the series . . .”
JEAN: “No, in my series . . .”
WINSTON: “I’m sorry.”
JEAN: “Sarek has a younger brother. And I envision that younger brother as a pure KRAITH Vulcan who got accidentally born in the NTM universe. And he really lives that Vulcan ideal. And there is a time in Spock’s adolescence when Spock turns very much to his uncle instead of his father . . . And I can’t really write that character. I know Jacqueline can, if I can get her to do it . . .
(All eyes turn to Jacqueline Lichtenberg in the audience, who is emphatically shaking her head in the negative.)
JEAN (laughing): “I wrote KRAITH stories, Jacqueline. Come on!”
WINSTON: “After she’s published her one hundredth book (Laughter) . . . and her house is surrounded by water and she can’t get out for a couple of months, then maybe . . . I mean, it’s like the article Jean did for ZEOR FORUM #2, ‘The Case of the One-Armed Donor.’ It starts off with the question people are always asking writers: ‘Where do you come up with your ideas?’ It’s not a question of coming up with ideas, it’s how to develop them. When it comes to the ideas, we’re beating them off with a stick!”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “And coming up with the plot!”
WINSTON: “Right. And 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 . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#4: “And then we’ll say ‘Nyah, nyah, nih, nyah, nyah’ . . .” (Laughter)
WINSTON: “Right. 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 . . .
WINSTON (cont.): “. . . who are still calling us Trekkies —’ (Thumbs his nose and wiggles his fingers) (Laughter) and walk off with my award.”
PAT: “But TREK has won Hugos — for Best Television Presentation.”
WINSTON: “But television they still consider to be an ‘unwanted child.’ I’m talking about victories in literature. (to audience) So it’s question of how ‘pro’ we’re really going to get. Some of us have already become dedicated. For myself, I’ve had a few problems in the past couple of years, so I’ve had a little trouble getting off the mark. I haven’t made my second sale, when I think I could have quite easily.”
JEAN: “Oh, you’ll make it.”
WINSTON: “I know I will eventually, but I should have a long time ago. (to audience) I think our universes are really proving grounds for insight. They allow us to make a character or a group of characters or a situation or a political viewpoint or something grow. It’s not just enough to write a series of stories, but you’ve got to be saying something. I think it’s why Harlan Ellison used to love Tolkien and now hates Tolkien, when you get into Tolkien and the greatest thing he seems to say is ‘Good must triumph over Evil because it’s nicer,’ which is something Al Capp said in ‘Li’l Abner’ once every four weeks. Big Deal . . . even though ‘Lord of the Rings’ is a marvelous universe of creation, with all its interweaving of everything to make an exciting story, the greatest controversies fans have over it is in nitpicking little things, rather than Tolkien having something big to say. For myself, I have big things to say and controversial things to say . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Where do you draw the line between writing an enjoyable story — a story that people enjoy, with nice characters . . . and action, if that’s what they’re into — and being preachy to get your point across? I’ve had a terrible time drawing that line. I’ve had stories that I just call ‘My Preachy Story’ . . .”
JEAN: “That comes with maturity. You simply learn how to show instead of tell. Instead of having a character say it or you as author-omniscient say it — ”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “I know you’re supposed to leave it to the situation, but how do you sum it up to say, ‘Here’s the moral, folks!’?”
WINSTON: “It is better to create controversy and be subtle about it.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “In other words, show two sides, and let that controversy — then you’ve really get a problem . . .”
WINSTON: “Well, one time I overdid it in trying to be subtle. In GODDESS UHURA, I had a scene where Uhura psychologically ‘divorces’ herself from Kirk by symbolically castrating him. In the scene, she was tossing the supernatural powers she gained through psionics on this huge, phallic-shaped rock. She fired at it and cut it in half, then psionically lifted herself in the air and stood on the blackened stump. And, seemingly, nobody caught that. I don’t think anybody saw that, but they could see by the end of the story that Uhura could say to Kirk, ‘Bye . . .’ and not feel any great regret about it. The subtlety worked, I think, but—”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Do you sometimes feel like saying, ‘Do you get the point?’ to people? I sometimes feel like I’ve hit them with a sledge hammer . . .”
JEAN: “Did you notice that in many — not all — but many of the reviews of ‘STAR TREK: The Motion Picture’, how many reviewers — who claimed to have seen the television series — complained that the movie did not have a villain, and they all said they wanted a Darth Vader. They wanted an evil force (groans from audience), and one of the messages of STAR TREK — that, apparently, plenty of people were able to miss entirely — is ‘There are no villains’!
“Every time we saw a so-called villain, he turned out to be some helpless, harmless — now — old man, or a mother protecting her young, or something of this sort . . .”
WINSTON: “The only one I saw was in Newsweek, which did an article some months before the film came out, pointing out that TREK consistently did stories with monsters that wanted to be understood . . . strange creatures that needed to be understood, demanded to be understood. The only problem with the movie was that we got a rehash of old episodes. But we got the same message, that everyone needs to be understood and needs some kind of firm ground they can stand on . . . Yes?”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#3: “I think it was all summed up in the movie with Dr. McCoy saying, ‘Why is it that whatever we don’t understand is called a ‘thing’?’ When I saw the movie for the first time, I almost felt like applauding that line . . .”
PAT: “Yes, it was a good line.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “That’s what I’m saying . . . it was too subtle for all these people, making fantastic salaries as reviewers, to get it.”
JEAN: “I don’t think there’s a reviewer anywhere making a ‘fantastic salary’ . . .”
WINSTON: “I didn’t go into the theatre caring what any reviewer had said, because most of them are mundanes anyway. Most of them wouldn’t even be able to tell you what STAR TREK episodes the film came from.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “. . . They knew that no matter what they said, everybody was going to go see it, we would continue to watch the episodes, we were going to buy some of the books — even the awful ones — and we were going to write our own reviews, and they wouldn’t do anything about it . . .”
WINSTON: “Also, they did not get a press preview, correct? They had to go on opening night and pour their way through the crowds of little kids in order to sit in a theatre and do their review . . .”
PAT: “Oh, they were mad about that . . .”
WINSTON. “Yeah, they were really angry about that . . . The reason was that time was against the producers. I still have this fantasy about myself running Paramount, looking at the film and saying, ‘No, that’s wrong! Go back and do that over!’”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#5: “But they did get a press preview of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, and that reviewer for New York Magazine called it a lot of bad names . . .”
WINSTON: “That was probably John Simon, who was the only one who gave a truly negative review of ‘Star Wars’, for which Harlan Ellison will love him for the rest of his life . . . But I think we’re getting off the track when we start talking about reviews. We’re supposed to be talking about universes . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER. “What we need is a universe all made up reviewers who attack each other!” (Laughter and applause)
WINSTON: “Let’s get into the realm of reality and the mundane. I created the Stunrod Series, which is a satire on STAR TREK Fandom. It got started because I was a Helper at the first convention, in New York in ‘72. I was one of Gene Roddenberry’s bodyguards, and had the horrible moment of trying to get Gene through . . .”
WINSTON (cont.): “. . . this crowd of five hundred people. My friend Dominic Corrado — about six foot nine and weighing two hundred eighty pounds — and I were supposed to hold back five hundred people to get Gene across the distance of ten feet, from one door to another. Forget it! They could’ve killed us if they’d wanted to! (Laughter) So I said, ‘What we needed was about twenty Helpers, all armed with a device I thought up, called a ‘stunrod’, which would shoot down unruly Trekkies with an invisible beam . . . all the Helpers trained in martial arts, give them code names, communicators, backup systems . . . all the things we needed.’ So I wrote these into a story,* and I started putting in all the experiences I had over the years in being a Helper into the series, all the crazy things I ran into . . . Like the time it was supposed to be top secret as to what Bill Shatner’s room number was, and every Trekkie downstairs had it, but Security didn’t! (Laughter!) And that happened! It really happened!
“So I used the series to do commentaries on the ‘real world,’ because I think the fans are the most interesting thing. We can create the most interesting strange planet or environment . . . I liked ‘Star Wars,’ but they cut out the characterizations of the movie, in order to reduce it to two hours. I think the best parts were the parts they left out. And they didn’t leave them out of ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ That’s what makes it such a great film. I was expecting ‘hamburger,’ but we got ‘steak’ — good characterization.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#5: “Maybe even ‘filet mignon’ . . .”
WINSTON: “No, next time we’ll get ‘filet mignon.’ My point is that people are what a universe is all about. No matter what setting you put a story in, it’s the people that make it work.
AUDIENCE MEMBER#5: “Another thing is that George Lucas kept a tight hand on it.”
WINSTON: “Yeah. No matter what Leigh Brackett wrote or what Lawrence Kasdan wrote, Lucas still had final say over ‘This works . . . this does not . . . this follows my story line . . .’ By the way, anybody know what the first movie is going to be re-titled?”
SEVERAL PEOPLE: “‘A New Hope.’”
WINSTON: “Right . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#6: “But who is ‘the other’?”
*HELPERS, published in PROBE 3
JEAN: “It’s Han Solo.”
WINSTON: “No, it’s Leia . . .”
JEAN: “No, it’s Han Solo, because he used the—”
WINSTON: “—used the lightsabre on the tauntaun? Yeah, I’ve heard of that theory, but — (A rowdy mock argument breaks out among the audience members) All right! All right! Order in the court! (Bangs a paper cup on the table) . . . Now . . . Question from the back . . .”
AUDIENCE Member#3: “A while back, I read a review of a certain S.F. novel, and the reviewer took potshots at the book and potshots at S.F. in general: ‘. . . a joyless, harmless exercise of words for dull minds . . .’ Heck, that’s my description of mainstream fiction!” (Laughter)
AUDIENCE MEMBER#4: “Yeah ever read any Barbara Cartland?
PAT : “Barbara Cartland?! Oh, please!”
WINSTON: “Are you ready for the Barbara Cartland story of the year? True story. I was in a bookstore in Baltimore . . . this was right after August Party last year . . . My friend Christine Lubs took me to this bookstore because she had seen this, and wanted me to see it for myself: In the Romance section, in between two Barbara Cartland novels side by side, and two others top to bottom, sat . . . ‘Strange Wine’ by Harlan Ellison. (Uproarious laughter and applause) We marched into the store with a Polaroid SX-70, took a shot of the whole section . . . took a shot of ‘Strange Wine’ and the four surrounding books . . . then took a shot of just the three books side by side. The store manager walked over to us and said, ‘What are you doing?!’ We said, ‘That book is not a romance novel. That book is a fantasy by Harlan Ellison. When we tell him and show him the pictures of what you have done, he’s going to order a B-52 air strike on your store!’” (Laughter)
AUDIENCE MEMBER#4: “Knowing Harlan, he can do it!”
PAT (to Winston): “Did she mail them to him?”
WINSTON: “No, she hasn’t sent them yet. She wants to make copies for herself before mailing them to him.* It’s very hard to get SX-70 copies made. (To audience) We went back there about three months later . . . That book was still sitting there. This store has a deathwish like you wouldn’t believe!!” (Laughter)
*For the outcome of this story, see Final Notes.
AUDIENCE MEMBER#3: “But what would be the reaction if someone picked up ‘Strange Wine’ from the Romance section and took it home to read?”
JEAN (laughing): “A Barbara Cartland fan?!”
WINSTON: “From between two Barbara Cartland novels, well . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#3: “I would like to have been a fly on that wall!”
PAT: “Self advancement!” (Laughter)
WINSTON (to Pat): “Either that or brain destruction! Harlan when he lets loose?!”
PAT: “Lord, what a frightening thought . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#2: “I need you to enlighten me . . . Who is Barbara Cartland?”
WINSTON: “Barbara Cartland is one of the foremost writers of the syrupy ‘Love Conquers All’ novels. She turns them out at the rate—”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “How do you know about these things?!”
WINSTON: “I read ‘Writer’s Digest.’ She turns them out at the rate of about one every eight weeks. She has a staff of about fifteen researchers and secretaries. She’ll do some research on a particular place and era, get into what the wines tasted like, what the people dressed like, what the social mores were, then say, ‘Okay, I’ve got it . . .’ and churn out another book. But they all fit some kind of basic formula . . .”
JEAN: “They’re all the same story . . . The heroines . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#3: “. . . They have no individuality. They’re all blonde or redheads, have very white skin . . .”
WINSTON: “She’s one of the few women who’s tops in the field. Most of them are written by men, under female pseudonyms. One of the best writers is Michael Avallone, who wrote several of the ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ paperbacks and the ‘Ed Noon’ detective series, and several other series under various pseudonyms. He’s been writing gothics and romance novels under female pseudonyms for years. I met an author at Roberta Rogow’s last convention — in New Jersey, last December — and he said, ‘My book was on the Top Ten Bestseller List, under my female pseudonym, and I couldn’t tell anybody!’ (Laughter)
WINSTON (cont.): “. . . So, the people who are really making the top money are men, ‘Jennifer Wilde’, the author of ‘Sweet Savage Love’, is really a guy named ‘Elmer Huff’, who lives out in the boondocks somewhere and writes steamy romance novels . . .”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#4: “The problems with bookstores is that they keep putting books in the wrong places. To give you an example: A recent paperback, ‘The Talent’ by Josephine Yarborough, has a very flowery cover, so it’s over in the Romance section, when it should be over in Fantasy. And what do you think will happen when somebody picks that one up?”
WINSTON: “They’ll be slightly surprised. It has happened to a couple of fantasy books I know of. They wound up in the Gothics section because they had the same type of cover: the woman running down the hill, with the big castle in the background with the light on in one window.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER#3: “That’s like Marion Zimmer Bradley’s new novel, ‘The Catch Trap,’ which is over in the Science Fiction section, but it’s a romance about circus flyers. And anybody who picks that up will think they’re getting a new Darkover novel because the cover says ‘by the author of Darkover’ . . .”
WINSTON: “No, no. The Darkover novels all say ‘A Darkover Novel.’ They may think they’re getting a new science fiction story, but they won’t assume it’s a Darkover book because all the Darkover books now say ‘A Darkover novel’ on the covers.
AUDIENCE MEMBER#2: “They won’t assume that it’s science fiction . . . they’ll assume that it’s ‘sci-fi’ . . .”
WINSTON: “Blecch . . .”
PAT: “Oh, please!”
WINSTON: “Yes, as Harlan Ellison says, ‘That’s pronounced ‘skiffy’ . . . If you like peanuts, you’ll love ‘skiffy’!’” (Laughter)
(Just about then, Roberta Rogow made her appearance, signifying that time was up for this panel.)
1) Jean Lorrah’s STAR TREK fanzines and novels are available through her company, Empire Books. For price information, send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to:
P.O. Box 625
Murray, KY 42071
2) Winston Howlett’s Swahili Series of Uhura stories is presently up to three installments: Goddess Uhura, Captain Uhura and The Starwitch. All are available from Mpingo Press; for price information, send a SASE to:
c/o Winston Howlett
5120 S. Harper #C-17
Chicago, IL 60615
3) The photographs of Harlan Ellison’s book being displayed in that Baltimore book store’s Romance section were shown to him at NOREASCON II, the 1980 World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. Surprisingly, Harlan’s reaction was a good laugh, and the observation, “If my books made as much money as Barbara Cartland’s, I’d be a very happy man!”
Hopefully, WULFSTONE 2 will be available by May, 1990. It will contain stories (about other Savage Empire characters as well as Wulfston), cartoons and other features, including an interview with Jean Lorrah.
For availability information about WULFSTONE 2, send a SASE to Mpingo Press.
Your comments about WULFSTONE 1 would also be appreciated.
The back cover is also on premium paper to let the back cover illustration stand out better.