Where Sime and Gen Meet, Creativity Happens

Where have you heard of Kraith before? 

Kraith became famous within the Star Trek fanzine universe when the main-line stories by Jacqueline Lichtenberg were first published in T-Negative, edited by Ruth Berman.

At that time, circa 1967-8, most Star Trek fanzine readers subscribed to T-Negative.  That was before there were Star Trek conventions where people could buy fanzines in the Dealer's Room.

When other writers began publishing Kraith-Universe stories, and several other fanzines began running Alternate Universe Kraith (which is itself alternate-universe aired-Trek), the fame of Kraith mounted to where there would be long, long lines on Friday of a Star Trek Convention at the table where the next volume of Kraith Collected would be available.  

At several of these Star Trek Conventions, fans held Kraith parties called 'The Affirmation of the Continuity' which was a Kraith Vulcan ceremony.  The Affirmation of the Continuity was sometimes a program item and occasionally a program item at regular sf/f conventions.  Some collectors may have seen that item in program books from the era without knowing what it was about.  

In 1975, when the Bantam paperback, Star Trek Lives! by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston was published, citing Kraith as the research base for the material presented in the book, Kraith became known by many who had not read (and would not want to read) Kraith.  Read what Ronald D. Moore, writer-producer for Star Trek, Roswell, and now the new Battlestar Galactica says about Intimate Adventure and Kraith.  

"Intimate Adventure" is the Hidden Genre, a concept Jacqueline Lichtenberg and later Jean Lorrah, developed from an in-depth study of Star Trek and other fan-fiction and applied to creating the Sime~Gen Universe.  

The influence of Kraith was felt far and wide as other authors borrowed originally coined words, terms and phrases from Kraith.  Discussions raged in 'zines and at cons regarding the origin and "correct" usage of these terms.  Many new fans, brought into fanzines by the Star Trek Welcommittee (which Jacqueline Lichtenberg founded to deal with the Star Trek Lives! fanmail) did not know these terms were coined by Jacqueline Lichtenberg specifically for Kraith.  

To clarify these matters, Judy Segal, head of the Star Trek Welcommittee Directory Listing project (listing zines and cons and other products fans had for sale) published a Kraith Dictionary delineating these terms.    

Judy Segal introduced Camille Bacon-Smith to Jacqueline Lichtenberg at a Lunacon in New York.  Camille was a folklorist researching Star Trek's fan community for her Ph.D. thesis.  Eventually, Camille published an article in the New York Times Book Review titled "Spock Among the Women" (Nov 16, 1986) - and that article may still be available online at the New York Times.  That article also examined Jean Lorrah's NTM universe (which Jean used obliquely as the basis for her first professional Star Trek novel, which was I believe the Idic Epidemic. ) 

Camille went on to write her Ph.D. thesis in Folklore and to publish a book on Star Trek fandom Enterprising Women which used Kraith and its community, as well as NTM and its fan community as examples.  More recently Camille has been publishing professional sf/f and teaching writing.  

All this while, Jacqueline Lichtenberg appeared on a number of television and radio shows and at sf/f and Star Trek conventions discussing Star Trek Lives! and Kraith.  She has more recently become known as a moderator of Star Trek and other media-related panels at World Science Fiction conventions.  If you've attended such events, the word "Kraith" may sound familiar but have no real reference for you because you overheard it at room-party.  

When the Star Trek movies revived the saga of Kirk's Enterprise and the controversy hit the fanzines concerning the destruction of the Enterprise onscreen, many remembered that Kraith, written years before the films, began with the destruction of the Enterprise.   

When the movies suddenly revealed the existence of Spocks half-brother, many remembered that much of Kraith's main plot derives from the existence of Spock's half-sister.  When Kraith first posed that idea it was considered controversial by the fanzine reading fans.  

When Spock came back from the dead because of the near-magical acts of Vulcan Priestesses, fans remembered and discussed Kraith's use of "magic" in the Vulcan culture and the way telepathy is used in Kraith.  

At the time Kraith introduced these concepts, they were vociferously discussed throughout the fanzine reading fandom as anything from brilliant to heretical.  

No, Gene Roddenberry did not "steal" these ideas from Kraith -- though he was conversant with the Kraith fanzines, and wrote a forward to Star Trek Lives!  

These dramatic events and story-development directions which Kraith introduced into the fanzine universe and which later appear in the Star Trek films were the result of applying the tried-and-true writing techniques taught now taught in the WorldCrafters Guild to Star Trek's 3 original broadcast seasons.  Any professional writer would automatically consider taking the saga in the same direction that Kraith went because it is valid drama. 

Many other Star Trek fanzine epics, Jean Lorrah's NTM included, have had notions they pioneered brought to the screen.  It is widely considered Gene Roddenberry's tribute to the fans that he allowed fannish in-jokes to pepper the wide-screen extention of the Classic saga.  

And today you will find Jacqueline Lichtenberg on the DVD of Trekkies Two, the award winning sequel to the legendary film, Trekkies.    

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 Copyright � by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, 2002 or by author of the individual story.  Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means ( electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without permission of the author and the owners of this website.


This page last updated:  07/26/2015