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Moonbeam

Last updated 14July2012

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About Moonbeam

In 1977, multimedia zines were not common. In fact, in the circles I travelled at that point in time, anything other than Star Trek was considered blasphemous. A few multimedia zines had ventured forth in the past, like Mary Hartery's Avatar and Mary Bloemker's The Vaslovik Archives. The Loner, Michael Heyes's Space:1999 alternate universe novella was also in print, along with a few other hardy adventurists. Warped Space had dipped a toe or two in the multimedia waters with Gordon Carleton's Man from Atlantis and Star Wars cartoons, but there'd been a bit of a backlash from purists.

Star Wars really altered the landscape. With the premiere of the original Star Wars in May 1977 - we wouldn't know it as "A New Hope" for a while to come - fandom went through a significant shift. Where Star Trek had been a splinter of traditional SF fandom, and treated much like a bastard child no one wants to admit to by many, Star Wars was first a splinter (in the Mind's Eye?) and then a distinct fandom of its own. Where folks had dabbled in fan fiction and art for other SF shows for years, but nothing really took, Star Wars quickly planted deep roots and remade the fannish worldview. Not in its likeness, but it opened the floodgates, and new and varied fandoms soon sprang up, like Starsky and Hutch (one of my favorites), Man from U.N.C.L.E. (another favorite), Space:1999 (yet another), and more. It wasn't that these other fandoms hadn't spawned fans and fiction, it was there didn't seem to be an organized locus to the fandoms. With the general acceptance of Star Wars as a bona fide fandom, these other fandoms had an environment in which they could flourish, and not simply exist just under the radar.

So it was into this fannish environment that I first started publishing fanzines. I'd already published my novella Catch the Final Sunrise! under the press name Alpha Designs Limited, but that was kind of unwieldy and pretentious, and didn't really reflect where I wanted to go with the new multimedia zine. So taking part of the novella's name and combining it with part of the multimedia zine's name, I came up with Moonrise Press, and stuck with it for several years. The first publication of Moonrise Press was Moonbeam, what became a themed multimedia zine.

Issue #1/2 was considered a double issue based on the prevailing zine sizes of the day - 50 pages was considered to be normal at that time, and #1/2 came in at twice that. It was also fairly normal to be able to purchase a subscription to a zine, and zine publication was often quarterly. I think this is in part because so many zines at the time grew out of clubs, whether on college campuses or high school quads.

Issue #3 was my Star Wars issue. I believed for almost 30 years that it was in fact the first primarily Star Wars fiction fanzine, but I recently learned that Skywalker, the exceptional Star Wars zine edited by Bev Clark, was in fact first by a couple of weeks. Ah well. I was still one of the first, and probably the first on the East Coast, and the zine ultimately ended up in the Lucasfilm Fanzine Archives.

Issue #4 was my Agents' Special. What fun that issue was to put together. I had some incredible art, some great stories, and I got to meet some folks in fandom that I had admired from afar. All in all, it was a great experience putting that issue together.

Issue #5/6 was my Space:1999 special, a virtual third season to the show. The varied fandoms represented there really shows how fandom in general was diversifying. Again, great fun, lots of fun art, and terrific people. About now, a new show had debuted on the air, and it would capture my heart and my imagination - not to mention my muse - for the next two years. Battlestar Galactica debuted to huge numbers on ABC, and it was not long after that Mary Fall (Wardell) and I christened our Tales of the Purple Squadron in my next multimedia title, Felgercarb.

After 6 issues from 1977 to 1979, Moonbeam ended publication, but there was lots more to come in the pages of Felgercarb.

Of course, there's a new chapter in the tale of Moonbeam. Issue #7 debuted at MediaWest*Con 32 in May 2012. For more information, go to the New Zines page.

See the Notice regarding use of content and images from this web site.


Select the issue number to learn more about it
Issue #1/2
November 1977
Issue #3
The Star Wars Issue - February 1978
Issue #4
The Agent's Special - 1978
Issue #5/6
The Virtual Third Season of Space: 1999 - 1978
Issue #7?

Moonbeam #1/2
The first (and second) issue of my first multi-media zine, Moonbeam was originally intended to be a Star Trek / Space: 1999 zine. But the premiere of Star Wars only a few months earlier was quickly remaking the face of fandom. A chance meeting in the cafeteria at U of MD during August Party, a fascinating conversation later, and I had accepted, sight unseen, a Star Wars tale. It was a good lesson in making sure you get the manuscript first, because the tale was so much better in oral form - the author was a good storyteller, but the story lost something in translation to the page.

I also engaged the help of a good friend from Space: 1999 fandom as my assistant editor. I always enjoyed Lillie's work as a writer, and she made a damned fine editor as well. Lillie made doing this zine a lot of fun, and I'd love to reconnect with her. Hey, Lillie, if you're out there - I still remember the Bionic Chicken!

At the time, most zines I knew ran 20-50 pages, so when I found myself in possession of over 100 pages of zine, Moonbeam 1 became Moonbeam 1/2. At the time, it was common to sell fanzines by subscription, so the cost of the zine was twice what a normal zine would be - just as the printer bill was.

I'd chosen a pretty pretentious press name for my first zine, my self-published Catch the Final Sunrise!. It was kind of unwieldy, so I retired it and came up with a new press name - Moonrise Press, taking part of this zine's title and part of Sunrise's title to come up with a new name. I liked it - it stuck for several years, through the runs of Moonbeam, Felgercarb, and part of B7 Complex.

Because I also was about to graduate from college with a degree in journalism - and because I just like writing articles - the early issues of Moonbeam also included articles about shows or actors. In the case of this issue, I included an article on Man from Atlantis, as well as another article on the character of Maya from Space: 1999. The mixture of fiction and non-fiction was a pretty normal aspect of fanzines of the '70s. Rounding out the zine was a listing of upcoming projects and events from friends around the country, the Consumers' Guide (to Fandom).

I was lucky to have a lot of art in this issue, including work by my mentor and friend Mary Bloemker. I'm still trying to get permission to post some of the other artists' work, but they were Linda R, Alice N, and Kathy S. And yes, the cover art is by yours truly.

The zine was offset printed at Gnomon Copy in Cambridge, MA. I still lived in Pennsylvania at the time. Catering to the Harvard University crowd, Gnomon's prices were so low, it was actually cheaper for me to fly to Boston to pick up the zine and bring it back to Pennsylvania with me, rather than have it printed somewhere local. The downside of printing at Gnomon's was their use of paper plates and copious amounts of some odd green fluid - it wasn't unusual for zine pages to be marked with it. I'd always get my covers printed somewhere else, like CopyCop, to ensure that the covers looked crisp and clean.

The zine also included a questionnaire for readers to fill out and rate the contents and condition of the zine. I really tried to learn and build from those questionnaires - and surprisingly, a lot of people filled them out and returned them. It was a great way to get feedback from readers so I could make the future issues better.

Going back through this zine, I can remember the fun of putting it together, the chaos of the collating party (I never ended up with a full set of zines by the time we were done!), and the excitement of holding the first collated copy in my hands. It was always the best part of doing a zine - finally holding the real, finished book in my hands. For all the wonders of the Internet, there really is nothing quite like holding a zine in your hands, smelling the newness of the printing, and turning the pages to reveal wonder after wonder.

What follows is a list of what was in the print version of Moonbeam #1/2. Where I do not have permission to post their work, I've used abbreviations for the authors' names - if at any time, anyone would like to grant me permission to include their work here, just drop me a line, and I'll be very happy to do so. I can update the credit in the file and here on the page to incorporate a pen name or handle if that's preferred. For the stuff that is here - happy reading!

Fiction, Filk, and Poetry

  • Lost and Found by PDO - a Star Trek/Lost in Space crossover - The Enterprise finds itself lost in space with the Robinsons. Reprinted from Second Age with the permission of the author and artist.
  • A Voice in the Dark by AP - A Star Wars story written only months following the debut of the original Star Wars film in US theatres. Unfortunately, this was Part 1 - the story would not be complete until a later issue of Felgercarb.
  • Requiem for Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell - Star Trek poetry by Deb Walsh. Jim Kirk has survived his encounter with the man who would be a god, but what about the man who's lost his friend?
    Note: Y'know, I'd forgotten I'd actually had a go at writing something Trek. I always loved this particular episode - I always liked Gary Lockwood - and this was one of those rare occasions where I really found myself feeling for Kirk. McCoy was always my boy when it came to the classic series, after all!
  • The Revenge by MH and PCH - A story in The Loner Space: 1999 AU series.
  • By the Beautiful Sea - a Man from Atlantis tale from Deb Walsh. While Dr. Elizabeth Merrill and Mark Harris are on vacation, they learn about an archaeological find that could lead to the discovery of Atlantis - will Mark Harris finally leave the surface world for home?
  • Note: This series remains one of my special favorites, even after 33 years. This story was one of my first fiction pieces, and although I can definitely see things I'd change - and typos I'd fix - it's still a nice little visit to the world of Mark Harris and the crew of the Cetacean.
  • Reflections (Space: 1999 poetry) and '99 Lecherous Limericks by KST
  • Young Leia Organa - Star Wars poetry by Deb Walsh. At this point in my fannish career, I was inspired to write a number of poems, and this was my second Star Wars piece - my first, "Weep for Alderaan," appeared in Warped Space, and was illustrated by Mary Bloemker. The art that accompanies this poem was actually the art I drew to go with "Weep for Alderaan," but Lori Chapek preferred Mary's piece. I ended up buying the original Bloemker art in an art auction, and I've still got it in my collection.
  • Gatcha, Mister Spock! - Star Trek humor by RR
  • Space Chantey - Star Trek humor by PCH
  • At First Sight - Space: 1999 fiction by LD
  • She Wore a Yellow IDIC - Star Trek humor by RR
  • Eve of the Dorcons' Return - Space: 1999 fiction by Deb Walsh. Maya's future looks bleak when another Dorcon ship locates Alpha. But is Tony Verdeschi prepared to let her go?
    Note: In 1977, Space: 1999 was still my primary fandom, and this was my second story in the genre. I had plans for many more stories, but over the next year, a lot would happen - a move to Boston, two more moves due to roommate issues, and finally the discovery of the next love of my life, Battlestar Galactica. But at this moment in time, Space: 1999 was it for me, and it's fun to look back at this story and see how much it meant to me at the time. Nothing beats that first flush of fannish love ...

Non-Fiction:

  • From the Mouths of Alpha - Editorials by Deb Walsh and Lillie D
  • '99 Word Search by CLS - CLS became our Puzzlemeister over the years, providing fun fannish word searches, crosswords, and more. This was her first in the pages of my zines. CLS is another old friend and mentor I would love to reconnect with - if you're in the neighborhood, look me up!
  • Consumer's Guide to Fandom (zine ads and such)
  • This Maya's No Elephant ... (article on Space: 1999 character Maya and actress Catherine Schell)
  • The Atlantean Connection (article on Man from Atlantis)

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Moonbeam #3 cover by Deb Walsh - one of the first Star Wars zines
Moonbeam #3
Moonbeam #3 was my second anthology zine, and my first with a theme - Star Wars. Everyone warned me that I shouldn't try to do a Star Wars zine, because at the time, conventions were frequently the scene to FBI search and seizures of bootlegged Star Wars merchandise. But I was headstrong and crazy for the Force. It proved to be an amazing experience publishing this zine.

  • Corell Also Exports Pirates by Maggie Nowakowska - one of the first Thousandworlds stories published
  • The Jemada by P.A. Munson
  • The Farmer's Sister by RR
  • Nature's Course by Deb Walsh writing as J. David Lubitsch
  • Home by JP
  • And No Time for Sorrow by PCH
  • The Long and Winding Road by Deb Walsh
  • Star Wars Sequels by PAD and Emjay

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Moonbeam #4 cover by Heather Firth - The Agents' Special
Moonbeam #4
Moonbeam #4 was an interesting experience, expanding the multimedia beyond science fiction. There were already some wonderful Man from U.N.C.L.E. zines kicking around, and of course the fabulous Starsky and Hutch zine Zebra Three had already seen print, launching an entire fandom that exists until today. There were clubs for Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Avengers. But there weren't many general readership options for fan fiction in these fandoms, so I was very fortunate to get submissions from some of fandom's most illustrious names. I remember going to T'Con that year, and being so blown away that a very famous Trek author had heard of me, thanks to this issue and the Star Wars issue before it. It was all very exciting!

  • The Duplicate Affair by P.A. Munson
  • A Meeting in an English Pub, or Yes, I Remember It Well by E. Roy
  • Maiden Voyage by Deb Walsh
  • There Has to Be a First Time by E. Roy
  • ASSIGNMENT: Night of the Untimely Trek by G. Martin and L. MacLaren
  • The Name of the Game Affair by P.A. Munson
  • The Collegiate Affair by Deb Walsh

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Moonbeam #5/6 cover by Joni Wagner - the virtual Season 3 of Space: 1999
Moonbeam #5/6
Moonbeam #5/6 was never intended to be the last issue of Moonbeam. The next issue was going to be a Starsky and Hutch special. But ultimately, it was the last issue I did of the zine, the last of my themed one-shots. This was a fun but challenging zine to put together - my largest so far. And because I was using reduced type, there was extensive paste-up to do. But the biggest challenge was sheer effort. Unlike other zines where I had them printed by print shops, I printed this entire zine myself using the office copier and a great deal of help from Mary Fall Wardell. I wasn't doing something wrong - my employer and co-workers had actually encouraged me to do the zine on the copier. It was cheaper than going to a printer, but the zine took a long time to do, there were lots of errors and jams, and the zine was understandably late. The experience also taught me that I never wanted to be my own printer, like many fans did in the '80s and '90s. It was just too much.

But the zine itself isn't bad. Lots of art and lots of stories, from a wide spectrum of fans. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track everyone down, so very little from the zine can be posted, since I don't have permission of the authors or artists. But a few pieces can be shared, including some of my favorite fannish cartoons from The Tunnel Times.

  • A Change of Pace by S. Ginter and J. Moore
  • An Act of Jealousy by Rose Marie Badgett
  • The Tunnel Times by The Georgia Delegation
  • At Any Price by Mary A. Fall Wardell
  • A Step into the Fire by D. Steitz
  • Price of Passage by J.A. Fore
  • The Nomads by J.S. Aiken
  • Guardian of a Ghost Ship by D. Winslow
  • Red Planet Blues by L. Mims
  • No Direction Home by MJH (part of The Loner series)
  • A Moment of Courage by MJH (part of The Loner series)

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Web page copyright © 2010-2012 by Deb Walsh. Stories and art copyright by the individual authors and artists.