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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Belated Happy Star Trek Day

On Twitter this morning I noticed a post by SF author Diane Duane, reminding everyone it was Star Trek’s 52nd anniversary. Well, it still is in the US, but here it’s September 9. Ms Duane wrote Star Trek novels, as well as children’s books. The children’s books, for me, had a flavour of C.S Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle, i.e hints of religious belief. But her Star Trek novels were the only ones I read that got the physics right.

Anyway, happy belated Star Trek Day! I posted this on the 50th anniversary, so I will make this post a little different. For me, Star Trek is more than just a TV series I grew up with and loved, a show that started with three seasons and is now a major thing, with several spinoffs and two film series. It’s about writing.

It’s not just the classic SF writers who wrote for the original series(afterwards, they dispensed with most of the real SF writers). It’s those of us who wrote fan fiction, who went on to become professionals. I’ve posted about this before. Here is one. There are more, which you’ll find if you type Fan Fiction into the search box.

I did write stuff before fan fiction, mostly horrible attempts at historical fiction. No, I have no intention of trying to sell it OR self publish! Don’t ask!

But my Star Trek fan fiction was actually published. It taught me to write short fiction. I learned to do characterisation. I learned to research properly(that came in handy in my career as a librarian!). If you got it wrong, the next issue of that fanzine would contain at least one letter to the editor correcting you and complaining. Oh, and because I did fanzine reviews, I learned to write book reviews, including illustrations, so - children’s picture books. Any review you’ve read on this blog I owe to my time as a Trek fanwtiter.

And it taught me that I can write, giving me the confidence to have a go at submitting to paying markets. And I wasn’t the only one. Plenty of big name writers started in fan fiction. Some, such as Kerry Greenwood, admit to still doing it, though in her case it’s only in her head. Her fanfic was Dr Who. 

I did write in other universes - mostly Robin of Sherwood and Blake’s 7 - but Star Trek TOS got me started. I loved the characters and the universe. I wrote my first Trek fan story in my teens, when our English teacher asked us to write a story “suitable for a half hour TV series.” Most of us took that as permission to write fan fiction and nobody paid attention to the half hour thing. I vaguely recall that mine was about Captain Kirk doing one of his “overturning the matriarchy” things and discovering he had stuffed up. I was about fifteen when I wrote that. Wonder what the teacher thought?

Any Trek fans or fan writers reading this? Tell us about it!

And happy birthday Star Trek


Cathy Kennedy said...


I'm not a novelist or much of reader for that matter but am I correct that a fanfiction is kind like taking established story characters and twisting them into your own writing? If I'm right in my thinking then I think that's a cool concept and oh, how you can write the tales that you always wanted to envision of your beloved characters.

I am not a true Star Trek fan but I do recall watching many of the old TV episodes as a kid. I always loved the opening with the Enterprise approaching the camera with Captain Kirk narrating. I always thought William Shatner was handsome. We even saw the earlier movie series based on the show and original cast in the 80s and while I can't say I was bowled over back then by the movies I can say after rewatching a few of these in recent years I was more impressed by the entertainingly humorous (at times) script the second go around. Maybe, I have come to appreciate older movies because Hollywood can't write their way out of a plastic bag these days. Note, I would've said 'paper bag' but I think that's a politically incorrect thing to say and certain to offend someone. ;) Anyhow, I enjoyed reading your thoughts celebrating the anniversary of a classic show. Thank you for popping over for a visit to take a peek at my not-so-Wordless Wednesday Doe River Covered Bridge pictures. Have a blessed and happy day, my dear!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Cathy! Yes, that’s exactly what fan fiction is. It’s mostly online these days, but when I was writing it, we could get it in print, and take the fanzines home to enjoy in bed. And there were amazing artists who went on to professional status, eg Phil Foglio, who became a book cover artist. We were indeed writing to fill in the gaps, answer questions the episodes hadn’t answered for us and, in the case of the original Star Trek, share new stories because the series had been cancelled.

Of the films, I liked the first four best, especially The Voyage Home, with the whales. I think the fans were commenting at the time that the even numbered films were generally better than the odd numbered ones.

If you think you might enjoy Star Trek fan fiction centred around the original series, you might like to try 1001 Trek Tales, which publishes some of the classic stories written way back when. They are stories the editor happened to have in her fanzine collection, but all of them are published with permission. There are two of my stories on it, though not my best - they’re the ones she happened to have. It’s a great web site. is much broader and has stories from stacks of universes. Only thing is, you don’t know how good they are going to be till you’ve read them.

Maria Behar said...

Oh, Sue!!! I don't know how I could have POSSIBLY missed this ST anniversary!! I am a DIE-HARD Trekkie!! I even had a Star Trek scrapbook at one time. (I'm referring to Star Trek TOS. I never did like the other ST series.)

And I had NO idea you had written Star Trek TOS fan fiction!! AWESOME!! I have some fanzines that I recently bought on eBay, and need to read. Please give me the titles of the 'zines you contributed to. I might be able to get them on eBay!

I have written some fan fiction myself, but not in the ST universe. My fan fiction is based on "The Phantom of the Opera" (which I really don't like that much anymore), and, of course, The Twilight Saga.

You know, there's a website -- -- where fanfic writers can post their stories. You might be interested, unless you're not into writing such stories anymore. It would be GREAT if you were to post your ST stories there! I would certainly love to read them! Especially the one about Kirk that you wrote when you were 15.

I also have a collection of ST TOS novels published professionally. Two of them are by Diane Duane.

Thanks for sharing your love of ST TOS!! Live long and prosper!! <3 :)

Maria Behar said...

P.S. Oops! I just noticed your last comment! I see you already know about I should have read the previous comments....Lol.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Maria! I’m afraid my teen Kirk story was written in an exercise book long gone. Most of my Trek stories were published in a fanzine called SPOCK, in most of the issues between 5 and 65, but email me before you buy something on eBay to make sure. I also had a story in a fanzine called Alnitah, and you’ll find that on 1001 Trek Tales, where you can read it for free. I won’t be sending stuff to, as I’d have to re-type them, not worth the trouble. My stories are heavy on Spock, hope you like him! 😏

Diane Duane wrote some fan fiction - Star WARS rather than Trek. She admits she did write Trek fic, but not published. I do have her SW fan story in a zine somewhere.

Maria Behar said...

OMG!!!! You have written fanfic about Mr. Spock?! I ADORE him!!!! YAAAASSSS!!! <3 <3

I'll go over to 1001 Trek Tales for sure!! Did you use a pen name for your stories? I did, when I used to write on I'll see if eBay has that 'zine titled "Spock", as well as the one titled "Alnitah".

As for the Kirk story you wrote when you were 15, it's too bad it's gone.... It would have been nice to see your development as a writer.

Thanks for all the info!!! May the Vulcan gods bring you luck, love, and prosperity!! <3 :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Maria! No, I didn’t use a pen name. And that story from Alnitah which is on 1001 Trek Tales is about Stonn. It’s a light hearted tale about how he feels about losing face over what T’Pring did.

I only had one story in Alnitah, the one on 1001 Trek Tales, but it was a very good fanzine in general - recommended!

Thanks for your good wishes!