catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,

Fan History and Rebuttal Fic

While browsing through the archive today, I ran across a couple of stories which took me right back to my earliest days in fandom.

One of the things that fascinated and intrigued me when I got into fandom (in 1975) was the way fans built upon the work of other fans by adopting certain concepts as fanon, by writing sequels to works written by others, and the way the fannish conversation was often carried out via fiction. Specifically, if an author disagreed with the premise of someone else's story, she might debate the point by writing "rebuttal" fic.

Here's an example of an original, controversial story and a rebuttal fic it inspired.

Both are gen Trek. In both stories, Spock has suffered brain damage and no hope is held out for his recovery. In both stories, Christine Chapel is the only one who believes there's something of Spock's mind left inside what seems to be an empty shell.

In this first story she makes a dark choice:

The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes by M L Steve Barnes

This story was first publised in 1971 in Impulse # 5. Due to the high amount of interest created when this story was discussed in the fanfic chapter of the 1975 pro paperback "Star Trek Lives!" it was reprinted in 1979 in "...A Handful of Snowflakes" and Other Trek Tales.

A Touch Of Love by Jacqueline Bielowicz, published in 1976 in Tal-Shaya # 3 was written explicitly as a rebuttal to M.L.'s story. Christine makes a different choice in this story:

Joan Verba's "Boldy Writing" has this to say regarding "The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes":

"Impulse 5 ran 33 pages, but the editors claimed it contained as much material as the previous mimeographed issue, which had 110 pages. Notable authors in this issue included Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Anna Mary Hall (who was becoming a frequent fanzine contributor), and Barbie Marczak. The last story of this issue was "The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes" by M. L. Barnes. This story, featuring Christine Chapel and Spock, became legendary in the annals of fan fiction, chiefly due to its being mentioned in Star Trek Lives! (published 1975). . . . . Star Trek Lives! had recommended a number of fanzine stories, which were in great demand as a result. One of the stories mentioned was M. L. "Steve" Barnes's story, "The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes," which first appeared in Impulse 5. After Impulse went out of print, Steve published this story, along with three others she had written, in "...A Handful of Snowflakes" and Other Trek

Here's the Fanlore reference (includes a scan of the cover and the Gayle F. Frontispiece for this zine):
Tags: fan history, star trek
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