With ten days left until our 50th Issue deadline, and with a question about the origins of the e-zine, settle in for a short tale about how different fandom was back in the long past of the mid-200s, when the only social media anyone used for fandom was Livejournal, and, even that, it was used more for fandom role play than for pairings (in Trek fandom - other fandoms varied, of course).
Star Trek fandom is a bit unique in how old it is and how entwined in the history of fandom as we know it. Back in the day, it was large, the way it is now, but more centralized. There were lots of small breakaway groups for different fandoms and interests, as I’ve mentioned before, but we tended to congregate in the same aggregate places online-and sometimes in real life. Every Fest cross-posted their stories to the main Star Trek Fanfiction Yahoo Group, for instance, because we did awards at the end of the year, and we all wanted to have a strong showing for our own works and our favorite pairings.
In particular, S/Mc-Spones was very centralized, because of how much smaller it was as a group of slashers than K/S or the het community at large, or, in other Trek, Bashir/Garak. Ever since we’d started up our main Yahoo Group-Haven, we’d managed to increase the amount of S/Mc online exponentially from the small handful we had before the list to the hundreds and hundreds of stories we had prior to the reboots which further revitalized fandom. We had an archive. We had an all-ages archive because a K/S fan friend of mine had this brilliant idea of making all-ages slash archives to counter the stigma of same-sex relationships as inherently adult and synonymous with pornography. There were so many teen fans back that, young teen fans, that we wanted to reach and didn’t have a better method because of the lack of broader social media.
A lot of this dates back to before the first same-sex wedding was performed in the U.S. as validated by the government, a fair portion dates back to before Lawrence v. Texas, so that sodomy laws were still on the books and enforceable in a frighteningly large minority of states. It was a completely different landscape politically, socially, and with the way the Internet and fandom worked.
One thing we didn’t have a was a zine. We had archives, we had a list, we had two different categories in the awards at the end of the year (one for the list stories since we were classified as a fest, and one for the S/Mc pairing as a whole), we had the promise of a complete collection of the episodes on DVD (did you know that prior to the first season box set, all Star Trek episodes on DVD were sold as two episodes per volume? Box sets were a game changer). There weren’t a huge number of e-zines at the time in our fandom. There was a K/S one, and ten there were so many print zines dating back to the beginning of Trek fandom - gen zines, het zines, slash zines, but none of those were S/Mc-specific. The closest we had was Shades of Grey, which was a K/S/third threezome zine that had some K/S/Mc stories, and then one issue of T’hy’la which despite being a K/S zine had several S/Mc/other stories. Finding zines outside of conventions was difficult and expensive. I liked zines, I wanted to have one; I thought it would be great to have one for our pairing, and I had an absurd amount of time on my hands. So I talked to some fandom friends about it,and to the list, and when nobody talked me out of it, I put out a call and a publication date.
And because I didn’t think it through, I set the publication date for April Fool’s Day (I wanted the first of the month three months from when I floated the idea), which led to some speculation about whether it would actually happen, or if it was all a cruel and elaborate prank. But we did publish, and our debut issue had 14 stories and poems, and 11 pieces of artwork, and it was so much fun! I think I was glowing for a week after publication, I was so proud. So many S/Mc fans came out to support the debut issue, and the next few; the response was overwhelming. The stories were wonderful; the artwork beautiful.
At the time, we didn’t have a plan for how long it would go on; we planned to see how it went. I didn’t have 50 issues in mind. Twelve and a half years later, we’re about to have #50.