Jane Land's Star Trek Novels

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The Open Doors committee of the OTW is proud to announce that we are now hosting two early Star Trek novels by Jane Land: Kista (1986) and Demeter (1987). These can be found on our Open Doors special collections page and are available for download as .pdfs.

Kista (1986), a novel about Christine Chapel, was described by the author as, "an attempt to rescue one of Star Trek's female characters from an artificially-imposed case of foolishness." In it, Chapel still loves Spock, but their developing romance is allowed to be complex, with Chapel being more of a rounded person than she was allowed to be onscreen (as well as finally becoming a doctor!)

Demeter (1987; sequel to Kista ). As Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch wrote in Science fiction audiences: watching Doctor Who and Star Trek: "If Kista focuses on the shifting feelings of Spock and Chapel, its sequel Demeter places their relationship within a larger social context, dealing more directly with how women are treated within the Federation." The plot "concerns the threat a group of intergalactic drug-runners pose to Demeter, a feminist space colony, a world where women have lived without any contact with men for several generations." Uhura also plays a large role in this novel, commanding the all female mission to Demeter; Robin Reid has argued for the importance of this novel "within the context of second wave feminism, specifically: the creation of the 1970s feminist utopias (which often featured a lesbian separatist culture, sometimes though not always on a separate planet!)" (Reid, "'A Room of Our Own:' Women Writing Women in Fan and Slash Fiction," ICFA 2009.)

Our thanks to Dr. Robin Reid for organizing the preservation of these works.

Visit the Special Collections page of the Open Doors project today!

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Comments

I am so impressed with the work you're doing, and the inclusive, interested, accepting, enthusiastic, and scholarly approach to preservation efforts like this one.

I'd like to let you know of a preference for downloadable files in a more accessible format than .pdf, if and when that's possible. PDF practically requires printing, an activity that many of us can't or don't want to engage in, and it's not a format that can be read well on most smaller handheld devices, where a lot of us do our fandom reading.

If agreements and policy allow, I'd like to see plain text or HTML. I realize that in the case of Jane Land's novels, you're working from scans of typescript, and that OCR and conversion to text is a large task. But I'd love to know that the format issue is somewhere on OTW's radar. Thanks!

It is 100 percent on our radar; we were given those .pdfs, which we gratefully accepted, but ideally we'd love to host the works in a variety of formats and are exploring various ways to do that. (Ideas or help gratefully accepted.)

Plain text is coming, and probably an array of other formats. I'm working on the OCR correction right now; should have it done by next week some time.

Text & Word formats are first (because that's my output formats), followed by PDF formatted for 6" e-ink readers (because I have one of those); HTML would take longer, and I may hand that off to someone who speaks HTML.

Formatting advice & preferences would be welcome. I usually do conversions for myself, and have very little idea what's most useful for everyone else. I don't know, for example, if there's any demand for a version that matches the original as much as possible--Courier font, extra space between paragraphs, keeping the original page breaks, and all that. Or if I should just skip making one of those, get rid of the original page numbers, and reformat for easy reading on the screen, or easy printing with formatting that wasn't available with typewriters.

Wow, I can see that people are hard at work on this. Personally--and in my experience with other avid e-book readers--preservation of paper-print artifacts like page breaks, numbering, and original fonts is not of key importance. Most of us like e-reading at least in part because we can set our own fonts and font sizes for reading ease.

I think plain text is your best friend, frankly. Most any e-reader will accept plain text, it's very easy to convert to HTML. I use NoteTab for that purpose--it's got a two-click conversion of plain text to simple, fully W3 compliant HTML. Nothing fancy. Alternatively, Google Docs will let you upload a plain text file, then re-download it instantly as HTML. The HTML is much more complex. but I've had no trouble reading the resultant documents in a very simple e-book reader on my phone.

I think the less proprietary the format the better for this type of work, hence my preference for .txt and .htm files. Neither is likely to become obsolete anytime soon, and neither, to the best of my knowledge, is a corporate property.

Just to give a contrary point of view, consistent page numbers and all that sort of thing are essential for quotations with footnotes in scholarly and other works; so far two scholars (Jenkins and Reid) have written about these novels (with page #), and I bet there will be others, not to mention students trying to track down those references. So offering easier to read versions that are consistent might be important so there aren't two different sets of page numbers out there.

I'm considering two kinds of conversions: Archive copies, that keep the page numbers (and I'm trying to decide how much of the formatting to keep as well), and reading copies, that ignore the original page breaks, numbers & formatting and are thrown into different formats.

I may put an editor's note at the beginning of those versions, letting people know that these are formatted so differently from the original that they shouldn't be used as reference copies, and provide links to the archive versions.