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The Sandy Hereld Memorial Digitized Media Fanzine Collection

Media fandom is a particularly rich, vibrant, and colorful cultural phenomenon both in the United States and in many other nations. Media fandom is an umbrella term describing the deep interest that fans and fan communities have in particular movies, television shows, and other media productions; it also encompasses the many activities they undertake to express their passion, excitement, love, and other strong feelings about these productions. Fan activities range widely, and can include things like creating fanfiction, art and videos; publishing fanzines; attending media conventions; collecting materials (whether amateur or professionally-produced) relating to a particular fandom; making costumes; gaming; role-playing; or having intense personal, written or online discussions amongst each other about various aspects of the fandom(s) they enjoy.

Since the emergence of media fandom (which may be said to have begun as an organized activity for adults in the mid-1960s with the debut of the television series Star Trek), fanzines have been a primary vehicle for fannish expression. A media fanzine is generally defined as an amateur fan-created publication primarily devoted to fan fiction, poetry and/or art. That is, whereas a media fanzine might also contain letters from and between fans, reports from conventions, interviews, news reports on particular films, shows or actors, it is best known as a medium fans use for writing their own stories about the fandoms in which they are interested. It is also a type of fandom that was, and continues to be, heavily dominated by women, providing for them a safe venue for expressing themselves creatively.

Through fanfiction (or through its sister activities fan art, fan poetry, or fan vidding), fans can continue the adventures of their favorite characters and worlds, express their often intense feelings about particular characters or character relationships, or reinterpret them to suit their own conceptions about what they believe those characters and worlds should be. Fanfiction is an important and dynamic way by which fans may express themselves, and it has thrived as a means of creative imaginings from the all-print days of fandom into our increasingly born-digital age.

The Sandy Hereld Collection consists of thousands of digitized images of media fanzines, letterzines, and club newsletters, dating from the late 1960s through materials published online or in print in 2013. The collection is an unparalleled assembly of media fanworks that document generations of fans’ continued creative engagement with media productions meaningful to them. Among the productions chronicled particularly well in the Hereld Collection are: Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990), Blake’s 7, Doctor Who, The Professionals, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Starsky & Hutch. But the collection also contains fanzines relating to numerous other productions, such as the Harry Potter book/movie series, Due South, Miami Vice, Simon & Simon, and many others. Also in the collection are many anthologies of stories from multiple fandoms.

Some Terminology

Users new to the world of media fandom and its culture will encounter, throughout this collection and the bibliographic description of individual items, some unfamiliar terminology. These words are defined below. Note that among fans these terms can be fluid and what one fan calls something another fan may call something else, with equal accuracy.

“A/U”: Short for “alternative universe”, A/U fanfiction carries on the long tradition of alternate history as a subgenre of science fiction. A/U stories involve a media universe in which a single event causes a significant divergence from the “real” universe: for example, a story set in the Star Wars universe where the Rebels failed to destroy the Death Star, or a Buffy The Vampire Slayer story in which Buffy never came to live in Sunnydale and thus left the town defenseless against the forces of darkness there. Some A/U stories may involve a wholesale transfer of the “real” characters to a different setting: for example, a Star Trek story in which Kirk, Spock, etc. live in a fantasy-style world of dragons and castles and magic.

“Crossover”: The term ‘crossover’ refers to stories that involve different media universes interacting with each other. For example, a story in which Mal Reynolds' ship Serenity passed through a wormhole and encountered Captain James T. Kirk's U.S.S. Enterprise would be a Firefly/Star Trek crossover.

“Fanfiction”: Also called fan fiction or fanfic, this term refers to stories written by fans that use a particular media universe as a point of departure for creating new adventures set within that universe. Some fanfiction continues the adventures, story arcs or plots as previously set forth in the original media production; other stories try to move in new directions and can often subvert the accepted canonical universe.

“Fanzine”: ‘Fanzine’ is an umbrella term that encompasses many written fanworks. However, in the Hereld Collection, ‘fanzine’ also has a more genre-specific meaning. In the metadata for the images, publications that are not items of fanfiction are generally termed ‘fanzines’. A fanzine is a publication relating to a specific media fandom, but which contains material such as interviews, essays, reviews, announcements of upcoming fan events, and so on.

“Gen”: Short for ”general”, the term ‘gen’ refers to fanzines and other fanworks that contain no (or at least very little heterosexual) romantic or sexual content of any kind.

“Het”: Short for “heterosexual”, the term ‘het’ refers to fanworks that focus on (or at least involve in some way) a heterosexual romantic or sexual relationship between characters in the course of the story. Het stories can be explicit in their language or accompanying art.

"Real Person Fic [RPF]": RPF refers to fanfic in which the protagonists are actual, real human beings. Usually RPF involves the actors who play popular characters rather than the characters themselves. For example, a Supernatural RPF would tell a story about Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins as themselves, not the characters they play on the show - Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, and Castiel.

“Slash”: The term ‘slash’ refers to fanworks that focus on (or at least involve in some way) a same-sex relationship between characters in the course of the story. Slash stories can be explicit in their language or accompanying art. Slash is a significant and highly visible subgenre of fanfiction, which explains the relatively high percentage of slash in the materials in the Hereld Collection. ‘Slash’ comes from the term ‘K/S’, referring to stories that dealt with a romantic or sexual relationship between Star Trek characters Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock. (The 'slash is the '/" in American English.) K/S stories were the earliest – and still are extremely popular – examples of this type of fanfiction. A number of specific media fandoms are heavily slash-oriented, including The Professionals, The Sentinel, Stargate SG-1, and Starsky & Hutch.

Most slash is male-male, but there also exists female-female slash, sometimes called femslash.

“Vidding”: Vidding is a popular and dynamic practice among some fans. A vid or fanvid is a fan-made music video that incorporates clips from movies or TV shows and is set to a particular piece of music. Vidding allows fans to make particular creative and emotional statements about a media production’s plot, character, or universe. Some vids weave together images from multiple media universes to make a creative or dramatic point. Some use clips to express their own views about a particular media universe and subvert the accepted canon. (For example, a Supernatural vidder might create a vid that uses judiciously selected and edited clips to suggest that the main characters – brothers Sam and Dean Winchester – are involved in a same-sex relationship, whereas in “real life” no such relationship is implied or promoted.)

Who’s Who

This collection is a living, digital tribute to noted fan Sandy Hereld. Sandy was a popular and prolific fan writer in the 1990s and early 2000s, and one of slash fandom’s most visible fans. Her interests included both fanfiction writing and fan vidding. Sandy’s legacy of work includes the founding of Virgule-L, the first Internet slash mailing list, hosting numerous other mailing lists and fan sites, and helping to create of the annual “Vid Review” panel at the Escapade convention (the longest-running slash fan convention), which became the model for serious conversations about vidding as an art form.

Sandy Hereld was most noted among fans for her cheery, lively, and giving spirit. Her enthusiasm and energy influenced and touched the lives of so many fellow fans, and her death from cancer in July 2011 came as a great tragedy to the media fandom world.

The Hereld Collection donation coordinator, Morgan Dawn, says of Sandy that ‘in my eyes she was a tipping point, a key player among the fans who bridged the paper (analog) and online (digital) fannish worlds. She had a passion for fannish history and a fear that the wonderful wacky world of women in fandom would be erased and forgotten. At the last Escapade she attended she said’ [and here Morgan is paraphrasing]: ‘“The connections we have – the influences we have on each other – the life- long relationships between fans working on projects, stories, art, conventions and zines are part of concentric circles of people forever touching and expanding outwards across the world. And most of this is hidden and invisible but it is worthy of being preserved and remembered.” ‘

The zine scans have been donated by an international group of fans who scanned the print fanzines into digital format from their own private collections. Donation coordination assistance was provided by Morgan Dawn. Morgan is a prolific and skilled fan writer and vidder in her own right, having contributed to numerous fandoms (gen and slash) including Due South, The Professionals, Starsky & Hutch, and Supernatural. She devotes much of her time towards helping to preserve fannish history through such projects as the Hereld Collection. The TAMU Libraries gratefully acknowledge Morgan’s time, generosity, and expert advice.

Both Sandy and Morgan have physical collections of their amassed fannish materials archived at the University of Iowa. Morgan has also helped donate a number of print fanzines to Cushing Library here at Texas A&M University.

Content Warning

Please note that many of the fanworks in this collection contain explicit sexual literary descriptions and/or artistic depictions. These items have been tagged with a warning noting this fact for the ease of users.

Related Web Sites

Cushing Memorial Library

Rights and Restrictions

All rights are reserved to the fanwork creator(s) and publishers. Materials have been included based on creator and/or publisher permission. Some items have also been included from the public domain, the Creative Commons or based on other standards.

Authors, artists, editors and publishers who wish to have their publications or individual creations within a publication removed from the collection may opt out of inclusion. Please contact the collection curator, Jeremy Brett, for more information.

Materials are restricted to users on the Texas A&M campus who are accessing the collection through IP authentication and Texas A&M affiliates who log in to the collection using their NetID and password. If you are outside the TAMU network and wish permission to access or reuse the images in this collection, please contact the collection curator, Jeremy Brett.

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