Mimeo Killed the Radio Star

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Mimeo Killed the Radio Star is a story written and illustrated by Iron Eater. It ran in Issue 59 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/330329.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/mimeo-killed-the-radio-star/.


Technical difficulties push a determined zine editor to call every number he's got in his old directory for help, and the least likely result is the only one who's available.

Ring. This was a bad idea.

Ring. They barely even knew each other, it wasn't like they were friends.

Ring. Tyler probably didn't even remember him.

Ring. Maybe he wasn't home?

Ring. This was pointless, he might as well— "Yeah, this is Ty."

"Tyler Wolff?" said Donny, even though he recognized the voice. If he was going to be asking favors of almost-strangers he could at least make sure he was bothering the right almost-stranger.

"That's me. Who's this?" Was he eating? It sounded like he was eating. Donny hadn't known that people like Tyler still answered the phone around a mouthful of food. That brief twinkle of everyday-Joeness was enough to get him over the first stressful hill of cold-calling old classmates.

"Donovan Tweed. From high school? We had a few subjects together."

Tyler made another food noise and swallowed loudly. "Oh yeah, I remember you. Black hair, glasses, did that one biology project about sharks? The one with the puppet?"

Donny still had that shark puppet and the thrift-store Barbie doll he'd used as a demonstration. It had been very important to him to talk about the factual inaccuracies in Jaws that year. He'd gotten an A and a trip to the principal's office for that one. "Right."

"Long time no see, I guess. What's up?"

"I know this is out of nowhere, but I kind of have a favor to ask."


This story is somewhat inspired by Kirk/Spock fandom of the early-to-mid 1980s, though not any particular artist or zine.

Related Links[edit]

This story has no related links.

Author's Notes[edit]

This story is a direct result of reading far, far too much about the K/S fandom of yore; while I have no horse in the race when it comes to that pairing, the sheer amount of stuff made for it is fascinating in its own way. Donny's favorite show is fabricated but every other program or movie mentioned exists.

My goal with Donny was to have him be a genuine Eighties Nerd, but not one with much computer experience: instead he's skilled with audio/video stuff, among other dorky habits. He needed to have some social graces, because the idea was that he's awkward around Tyler because they're from two very different worlds, not because Donny isn't used to talking to people at all, so I made sure to mention him socializing with friends (to say nothing of "socializing" with "friends") and getting invested in community events like the local convention. He probably still rides his bike occasionally, though presumably not as much as when he was a kid and would pretend to be a spaceship for his toys.

Tyler was harder to get a bead on, since his purpose in the story changed a few times, but "guy secure in his homosexuality who's tolerant of Donny's nerd crap and open to new things, esp. when bored" seems to have worked out great.

Betamax and Laserdisc are both deprecated storage formats, but even decades later Donny seems like the kind of guy to take care of his. Good thing he's an electronics repair guy by trade!

A mimeograph does not necessarily have to use purple ink (unlike, say, a "ditto" machine), but slightly off-kilter production quirks are a hallmark of the print zine experience, so I ran with it. The process described here is more or less historically accurate and makes me very glad for this age of word processing software and easily-accessible copy shops. Donny's model was one of the higher-tier mimeo machines at the time, thus why his is secondhand.

For those not familiar with UHF stations (or the movie by the same name, which is close enough), back in the day they were something like public-access cable stations that'd play whatever weird shows or movies they could get the broadcasting rights to. Donny's local channel presumably also airs weird DIY shows, local interest footage, and weird things made by friends of the broadcasters, and almost certainly has a guy who puts on bad vampire makeup to introduce filmatic effluvium from the drive-in era every weekend.

Fire and Ice is an absolutely terrible movie, for the record, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and Donny's is apparently thirsty for both exotic lava princesses and hunky barbarians who don't bother wearing shirts. You do you, little guy.

Part of my challenge for myself for this story was to not use any profanity at all, given how colorful my characters' language can be, and unless one counts words like "dick" then I think I managed it.

I'm also still proud of the implants/nanomachines thing and may have to steal it for later.

External Reviews[edit]

  • http://harmless-one.livejournal.com/43694.html: "about a boy rushing to get his fanzine ready for a convention. Help is called, sex happens. I think this one is nostalgic and charming for people who participated in fan culture like this waaay back in the 80s and 90s."
  • fairyninjas.wordpress.com: "A young man commits himself to publishing a zine on mimeograph in the 80s (pretty sure it was the 80s), but finds the deadline looming too closely, and ends up calling on an unlikely volunteer. It’s a good non-romance story. There’s smut, and there’s dynamic between them, but it sets out not to be a romance, and it ends without being a romance (perhaps they become friends-with-benefits? or just booty-call-buddies? does that spoil too much?)"