Friday, July 11, 2008

Alt.startrek.Creative - Eighteen years old!

[This is the first of what I hope will be a monthly spotlight on the many and varied venues for sharing Star Trek fan fiction which are currently available to fanfictioneers - K]

alt.startrek.Creative, or ASC, is a newsgroup - news:alt.startrek.creative - is a place for
posting, reading and commenting on creative Star Trek fan fiction, poems, documentation, and other such works. Started in 1990 it's archive, The Trekiverse, which was started in 1991, has two mirrors, here and here. It also contains reference material in the FAQ's that explains how to create posts with the specific formatting that they require.

Over the years, the main newsgroup has spawned various daughter groups ...
  • alt.startrek.creative.erotica (ASCE) - Star Trek erotica fiction, was not available in all areas, Defunct.
  • alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated (ASCEM) - Moderated replacement of ASCE due to spam. Star Trek erotica stories and discussion.
  • alt.startrek.creative.all-ages (ASCA) - A family friendly, moderated version of ASC. Stories limited to PG-13 and no slash. All stories posted to ASCA are allowed on ASC
  • alt.startrek.uss-amagosa - TNG-DS9 time frame stories on the USS Amagosa or associated Universe.
  • (AFQ) - for discussion and creative stories on Q from either Trek or Bond.
A Yahoo Group, ASCL, was created in June 2000 as "an experimental, stories-only mailing list version of ASC, alt.startrek.creative, to provide an interim solution for people with poor newsfeeds in the absence of an up-to-date ASC archive..." Although it is still open (with 541 members!) it was last posted to in Dec 2006.

Newsgroups are a bit before my time, so I access ASC through it's Google Group, whose home page is at, and it's posts are delivered by email. I often wish that I could get my PDA linked up to my personal email account so that I could read the stories on the go but unfortunately my boss is unreasonable enough to expect me to just use it for work! The average story is generally short, what I would call a drabble or flash fiction, and there are links to fiction on other sites and fanzines.

The newsgroup runs an annual competition, the archive page shows the results between 1995 - 2004, and as it stands all stories, poems and filks posted to the newsgroup between Feb 1 and Jan 31 the following year are in the running unless an author specifically opts out. "The ASC awards are feedback-based," according to the organisers, "which means in order to "vote" for a particular story, you write a comment. It can be as simple as 'I really loved this story because it showed Picard in a whole new light' or a lengthy, detailed analysis." In order to comment on a story, you must first register and this year registrations opened on Feb 25 although you can register at any time during the awards season, which ran from Mar 2-23, with the results being announced on Mar 31.

Sadly the reduction in numbers of fan fiction posted on ASC means that the 2007 awards could be the last. The coordinators, Rocky and Stephen, posted, "Serious consideration was given to not having Awards this year. Some series, in fact, barely had enough stories to warrant even one category. If this trend is not reversed, this could be the last year for Awards."

I really like the idea of voting by comments! Although you could say it is forcing comments out of people who would not normally do so, I prefer to think of it as more of an encouragement for people to comment. Feedback is the lifeblood of writing and anything that creates more interaction between writers and readers - or writers and writers - is well worth encouraging!

- For a snapshot of mailing lists, newsgroups, ftp sites, telnet (MUDS), gopher and websites from 1998 see

Kirok of L'Stok
Fan Production Curmudgeon