Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Shirley Maiewski, R.I.P.

Just read on the official Star Trek website that Shirley Maiewski died recently. I suppose the majority of Star Trek fans these days don't recognize the name. But in the 1970s, if you were interested in Star Trek fandom at all, you'd have come across her name. She was a fanzine writer, whose Alternate Universe #4 was discussed in the chapter on fan fiction in the 1975 book Star Trek Lives! That was the first place I can remember reading any detailed information on fan fiction. One of her stories appeared in the fan fiction anthology Star Trek: the New Voyages, published by Bantam in 1976.

But Maiewski was best known for the Star Trek Welcommittee.

Fans didn't have the Internet back in the 1970s. If you wanted to know where to find fanzines, conventions, or even just a list of Star Trek books, you could have a hard time finding it. So the Star Trek Welcommittee came into existence. James Blish provided their address in some of his Star Trek books; you could also find their address in some SF magazines. Volunteers took on the job of gathering information, answering questions, and producing their directory. (When I did my little Stardate 7600 minisite I reproduced the first page of a 1976 edition of the directory.)

The Welcommittee wasn't really necessary in the Internet age, and it disbanded some time ago. But for several years it was the place to go. Shirley Maiewski and the other founders of the group did a lot for Star Trek fandom. It's a shame she's gone.


I forgot to mention the classic example of fan lit yesterday: Nick Hornby. Fever Pitch and High Fidelity prove that you can tell affecting stories about people while also examining what it means to be a fan.

(Now playing: The Who, "Naked Eye," Who's Next (remastered version with extra tracks.))


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