On October 29, 2018, my mother Linda A Langworthy Apple died.
On October 31, 2018, I discovered an unpublished science fiction book in my mother’s dresser. The manuscript was buried under high school and nursing school yearbooks and diplomas.
I think it’s time for it to be published.
Star Trek’s First Fan Fiction
To be fair, my mother did tell me about it a few years ago. She claimed she had written a “Star Trek” fan novel when the original series was on NBC in the late 1960s. But it was “adolescent romantic garbage.” And she refused to let me read it.
I don’t know how much fan fiction was around in 1968 (the manuscript is undated but in one version of Chapter 1 the story begins on May 29, 1968, which was the day after her high school graduation). But I wonder if this story may have been one of the very first.
Yet unpublished. Vanity presses of course existed, but my mother didn’t have the money. And, as she stressed twice, at least, she felt she didn’t have the talent for fiction writing. Not to mention that NBC (and later Paramount and now CBS) would no doubt have prevented publication of an unauthorized Star Trek novel.
So she scrubbed all the Trek references, and left it unedited and unpublished in the original typewriter paper package. But she kept it through at least five house moves: Lansingburgh to Troy, two different apartments in Troy, then to Berne, and finally to Warrensburg.
Clearly, she was emotionally attached to this manuscript, despite feeling it was “garbage.”
I knew my father was a professional writer (drivers’ manuals, press releases, tons of reports and newspaper columns) but I always wondered where my desire for fiction writing had come. Now I know.
The Five-Year Mission continues
So I’m retyping the manuscript to Destiny in the Future, with an eye to publish it as a paperback and ebook, in my mother’s name, by her birthday next June.
There’ll be a Preface to explain a few references in the story and give some overall background to the time period in which it was written (yes, the dialogue and descriptions are very ’60s), including some religious details (she was definitely a Believer, and it shows throughout the story). The book will also include a few variations of Chapter 1 (she never seemed to have decided on which version to use, so I’m making a best-guess). Typos will be fixed (she had used an old-fashioned typewriter borrowed from her father, and then handwritten some changes as well). I’ll keep the story, unedited, in my mother’s voice. There are a few rough spots that personally I would have edited had the story been my own. But this is my mother’s story. The way she intended it to be read.
Also included will be an aborted attempt at another novel, which featured a blind English student teacher falling in love with a black African-American neighbor (risqué for even the ’60s) and a brief biography.
Of my mom. Because she was a complicated, intense person, and she deserves a tribute. It’s the least I can do – with any and all proceeds donated directly to her favorite spot in town, Richard’s Library, from which she borrowed literally hundreds of books.
Stubborn. Opinionated. Passionate. Loyal. Demanding. Unyielding. Romantic.
I hope you will find the story to be an apt tribute to her.
(NB. I will resume posting about family history momentarily. This past week – in which I wrote my own mother’s obituary – has been excruciatingly difficult for my family. Tragedy brings family together, but it also breaks the heart and taxes the spirit.)
November 10, 2018 at 12:15 am
I would be very curious to see your mom’s manuscript. As an avid Star Trek fan, I think it would be interesting to see how she may have adapted it without the Trek references. I read one collection of fan fiction, probably the first called The New Voyages, when it first came out, and it wasn’t bad. Every story was written by a woman, too, which suggested to me at the time that they were more interested in extending the ST universe by taking a hand in writing. See the Wikipedia notes here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_New_Voyages
November 10, 2018 at 3:33 am
It’s not surprising that many of the original Star Trek script (and later novel) writers were women. D C Fontana, J M Dillard, and Diane Duane are among the more famous (many used initials or aliases to avoid prejudice). My mother apparently wrote her story in 1968, maybe finishing it that year or the next, which would place it as one of the first. It’s a shame she never sent it to a fan zine. Scanning it, I can see where the writing is unpolished and even a little adolescent. She was obsessed with the character of Spock (this, too, is unsurprising) and modelled the main character after him. (Speaking of which, check out “For the love of Spock,” Adam Nimoy’s tribute movie to his father. The ultimate Spock fan’s fan movie.)
November 12, 2018 at 5:00 am
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