Other Stuff Exists

Don't get too comfortable with the familiar–other stuff exists, so go explore!

Posts Tagged ‘Ruth Berman’

The Dour Scots Engineer by Ruth Berman

Posted by Tracy Poff on February 2, 2018

Examines the character of Scotty as an example of the archetype named in the title. The epigraph is an extract from “McAndrew’s Hymn” by Kipling.

Published in:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Things Are Seldom What They Seem by Ruth Berman

Posted by Tracy Poff on February 2, 2018

A parody of a song from Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.

First line: “Things are seldom what they seem.”

Published in:

Posted in Poem | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Kirk and Spock by Ruth Berman

Posted by Tracy Poff on February 2, 2018

A short poem by Ruth Berman about the titular characters, so different, who “even when they disagree / (And they generally do) / Seek out each other’s company.”

First line: “Two tall and well-matched bookends:”

Published in:

Posted in Poem | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Star Drek by Ruth Berman

Posted by Tracy Poff on February 2, 2018

A story by Ruth Berman which places Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and McCoy in the world of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. It would be republished, the Trek references excised, as “Ptolemaic Hijack” in Worlds of Fantasy #4 in 1971.

To be perfectly frank, I think that ‘drek’ gets it about right.

Published in:

  • Pantopon 16 (1967-02)
  • Spockanalia (1967-09)
  • Worlds of Fantasy #4 (1971)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Spockanalia #2

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 13, 2017

As we continue catching up on fanzines, we come to Spockanalia #2, published in April 1968.

During the interval since the previous issue, the editors engaged in correspondence with several figures in the Trek world, and excerpts from their letters are reprinted. Featured are Gene Roddenberry, Dorothy Fontana, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, and Leonard Nimoy.

Sherna Comerford writes “A Revisit”, which updates articles from the first issue in light of information from the newer episodes and communications.

“The Man in the Hero Suit” by E. A. Oddstad is a very interesting essay on Kirk’s character. An excerpt from the end:

Kirk’s morals are a set of words and actions imposed on him. They are not part of his character. The Kirk in the parallel universe had learned other words and actions. Though the mirror Spock has integrity and the mirror McCoy humanity, the mirror Kirk is (or was; he must be dead by now) a thorough going rat. The only redeeming quality in either Kirk is a deep-hidden humanity that occasionally, unexpectedly, surfaces. When it does, it’s like finding a diamond ring at a beach.

Fortunately, ‘our’ Kirk lives in a less repellent society and obeys its laws. And he has Spock for a logical conscience and McCoy as a humane conscience.

“Stars Over Vulcan” by V. A. H. Nietz tackles Vulcan astrology.

“The Dour Scots Engineer” by Ruth Berman examines the character of Scotty as an example of the archetype named in the title.

Poul Anderson contributes a poem in Kirk’s voice, “Star Date:6721; Condition:Confused”, a parody of “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer: “I think that I shall never grok / A man as logical as Spock.”

In “Terran-Vulcan Genetic Compatibility”, Susan Hereford writes:

The theory, held by some, that the Terran woman involved is a direct descendant of Mr. Sherlock Holmes and therefore carries many of his traits, is unprovable because of the number of bastards in the line. It would easily account for her attractiveness to a Vulcan. Proponents of this theory point out that there is a pronounced physical resemblence between Mr. Holmes and the hybrid.

Leonard Nimoy would go on to play Sherlock Holmes in a short film in 1975 and on stage in 1976, and the Holmes connection would get a nod in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (written by Nicholas Meyer, author of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution), when Spock says, “An ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

In “Message Tape”, Miriam Langsam writes as “Lieutenant Miriam Langsam”, offering advice on what life is like on a starship.

“The Allure of Uhura” by robert toomey is a somewhat aimless essay in praise of Uhura–especially of her beauty. She is competent, too, toomey allows, which she manages “without ever once losing any of her feminine appeal.” It’s a curious thing to see.

In “Communication from Star Fleet Intelligence”, John Mansfield offers up “the Klingon view of Vulcans, and of Vulcan-Terran relations, which is quite faulty.” The Klingon opinion is that Vulcans are deceitful and that Earth is “waiting for the day when it will be liberated from the Vulcan yoke” by the Klingons, whose job it is “to spread enlightenment throughout the stars.” A unique view of Klingons!

In “God and the Vulcan Mind”, Joyce Yasner author argues that Vulcans could be religious, for they “as a people of science and logic, could find a scientific explanation of God which says that He is energy” and that “Vulcans can also believe in reincarnation and immortality.” This issue would eventually be addressed by Star Trek: Enterprise, many years later.

In “A Speculation on Spock’s Family”, Sandra Miesel argues that Sarek might have been wed to a Vulcan woman before Amanda, and thus produced offspring other than Spock, though “leading Vulcan xenologist Dorothy Fontana” maintains otherwise. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier agreed with Miesel on this one.

“Personal Diary Entries” by Deborah Langsam descibes how Ensign Michaelson, a medical trainee who has been placed under Chekov’s command in order to get some interdepartmental experience, gets back at him for sexually harassing her and generally being a jerk.

“To Christine” by Lyn Veryzer is a poem warning Christine (Chapel, presumably) not to waste her time pursuing Spock, who cannot love her.

“On the Origin of Humanoid Life in Our Galaxy” by Jean Lorrah and Willard F. Hunt argues that the striking similarity of the species in the galaxy indicates that the galaxy must have been colonized, long ago, by some earlier humanoid species, which has been lost to memory. TNG’s “The Chase” supports this theory.

Posted in Magazine, Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Spockanalia #1

Posted by Tracy Poff on August 16, 2017

Spockanalia #1, published in September 1967, is the first issue of Spockanalia, a fairly important Star Trek fanzine. You can get some more detail about the series as a whole (and fanzines in general) from my previous post on the subject, written in September of last year. Then, I wrote about the little bit of Spockanalia that I had access to, and noted that I’d revisit it if I could learn more. Good news: I’ve recently gained access to Spockanalia, thanks to the Sandy Hereld Collection at Texas A&M, so here is the promised update. In my previous post, I wrote about “The Territory of Rigel”, “Spock Shock”, “Vulcans and Emotions”, and “Kirk and Spock”. I’ll copy here what I wrote then, with any additions and updates, interleaved with the new material.

Since this is the inaugural issue, I will give a brief summary of every item published in this issue, with notes and quotations when something is of particular interest. I will probably not be quite as thorough in my posts on subsequent issues, unless there is demand for it.


The issue opens with a letter from Leonard Nimoy, wishing the editors luck: “I sincerely hope that your magazine will be a success, and want to thank you very much for your interest in STAR TREK and MR. SPOCK.”.

The Territory of Rigel

Following the lettercol is printed “The Territory of Rigel”, a song written by Dorothy Jones. She introduces it as “a piece supposed to have been written by Spock, many years ago.” She describes it as a “Vulcan form called ni var” which “means literally ‘two form’ . . . a piece comparing and contrasting two different things or two aspects of the same thing.” This term would get a nod 35 years later in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Shadows of P’Jem”, as the name of a Vulcan starship. “The Territory of Rigel” is reprinted in Verba’s Boldly Writing. It’s an interesting exercise, but not to my taste as poetry.

Off the Top

A news and editorial section. First, it speculates on the upcoming episode, “Amok Time”, the second season opener:

In the course of the program, Spock will meet his assigned wife, for the purpose of satisfying the Vulcan septennial mating drive.
Vulcans – or at least Vulcan males (at the moment, we’re not quite sure which) must experience sex every seven years, or die.

We have been told that the story is handled with the same care and skill that made Star Trek our favorite program in its
first season. Look out, September 15th – here we come!

After this, it is reported that certain broadcasters have been cutting material from the episodes in order to make more room for commercials, including a section of about thirty seconds from “Dagger of the Mind”. Readers are encouraged to write to WNBC-TV to protest.

After some trivia about Spock and McCoy, Leonard Nimoy’s album “Leonard Nimoy presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space” is announced, plus the upcoming single “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins/Cotton Candy”, and a movie is mention in which Nimoy starred (and which he co-produced), Deathwatch.

Readers are then exhorted to continue the letter-writing campaign to ensure Trek‘s renewal.

Last, it is hinted that there may be a Spockanalia #2 in the future.

A Most Illogical Song

A song by Shirley Meech, Kathy Bushman, and Sherna Comerford about wishing to be near to Spock. It begins: “I wish I was on board the Enterprise.”

Physiologica Vulcanensis

An article by Sherna Comerford, Juanita Coulson, and Kay Anderson concerning Vulcan physiology–skin pigment, the circulatory system, pon farr, and more. Amusingly, “The interesting theory has arisen that the sentinant species of Vulcan has an ancestry which is far more feline that simian.” It is also opined that Spock is likely to be sterile.

The length–about half a page–devoted to pon farr, given that “Amok Time” was yet to air (and, indeed, the term pon farr was not yet known) prefigures the substantial and sustained interest that this particular aspect of Vulcan physiology would have in the fandom.

A Proprosed Model of the Vulcan Heart

An article by Sandy Deckinger (with a diagram!) speculating on what the Vulcan heart might look like. Two articles in one issue touching on that subject–I wonder if it had been brought up in a letter in another zine, or if there were some other motivating element.

To a Vulcan

A poem by Sherna Comerford on Spock’s emotions, or lack thereof. The ending is poignant: “Is life worth this price? / A man-machine would pay no price. / Would die. What logic bids you live?”

Also to a Vulcan

A poem by Devra Michele Langsam on loving a Vulcan.

The Vulcan Gambit

An article by Shirley Meech offering an explanation to why Spock would lose to Kirk at 3-D chess: he loses on purpose, so the victory will put Kirk :into a frame of mind which is beneficial to his self-image, his efficiency rating, and the well-being of the crew in general.” Logical!

Vulcan Psychology

An article by Juanita Coulson, framed as a report by a psychologist analyzing Spock. Coulson speculates that Spock pushes himself so hard because he was never able to please his father, and that he may see Kirk as a kind of substitute father figure.

Spock Shock

A brief skit by Sherna Comerford, which was later performed at the 1969 Star Trek Con. An absurd bit of interaction between Captain Curt, Mr. Swock, and others on the bridge of the USS Undersize.

Vulcans and Emotions

An essay by Devra Michele Langsam in academic style (with citations in end notes!) considering whether Vulcans experience emotions. It concludes: “It is the firm conviction of the author that Vulcan emotions do exist, however unlike human emotions they may be, and that these cannot be ignored in dealing with that planet’s sentient species.” The essay’s conclusion turned out to be correct, in fact: later Trek indicates that Vulcans do not lack emotions, merely control them. This is the earliest example of serious investigation into the ‘facts’ of the Star Trek universe I’ve seen; many more would follow.

Kirk and Spock

A short poem by Ruth Berman (reprinted from Pantopon #17) about the titular characters, so different, who “even when they disagree / (And they generally do) / Seek out each other’s company.”

Thoughts on Vulcan Culture

An article by Devra Michele Langsam speculating on Vulcan culture. Langsam argues that Vulcan children must be raised in small family units and that they probably have no family names, and wonders how Vulcan children might be trained. She speculates on whether Vulcans, who are immune to the effects of alcohol, might have some other sort of drugs which do have an effect. Amusingly, she echoes some speculation mentioned in “Physiologica Vulcanensis”: “Those who support the theory of feline Vulcan ancestry have suggested that catnip might have an invigorating, not to say intoxicating, effect upon them.”

A recurring theme in fan fiction comes up when Langsam writes about mind melds:

And yet, one wonders. Perhaps, despite its unpleasant aspects, the mind-touch technique offers Vulcans
a possibility of emotional contact within accepted social patterns. Assuming that Vulcans do not repress
their pleasure in the physical, is it possible that in the moment of intercourse, at the height of physical intimacy,
Vulcans permit their precious barriers to slip, in order to enjoy the doubled pleasure of mind and body, of each
other’s delight?

Excerpt from The Young Vulcan’s Handbook of Emotional Control

An article by Shirley Meech. In a nod to Tolkien, Meech claims merely to be the translator: “The following is an excerpt from a Vulcan book-tape, obtained via the Baggins method from the possessions of Commander Spock, on his recent visit to Earth.” I believe that ‘the Baggins method’ is the best euphemism for theft that I’ve ever heard.

Printed following this article is a paragraph from Sandy Deckinger once more connecting Vulcans with cats. In part: “Mr. Spock’s ears meet the requirements set by the Cat Fanciers Society of America for the Abyssinian breed of feline.”

Record Review

A detailed review by Dorothy Jones of “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space”. Jones is not terribly impressed with the instrumental tracks, but finds the vocal tracks enjoyable, and is complimentary of Nimoy’s voice–though admitting he does need vocal training.

Star Drek

A story by Ruth Berman, reprinted from Pantopon #16, which places Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and McCoy in the world of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. It would be republished, the Trek references excised, as “Ptolemaic Hijack” in Worlds of Fantasy #4 in 1971. To be perfectly frank, I think that ‘drek’ gets it about right.

Posted in Magazine, Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »