THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE was Britain's premiere BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fan club, flying the Colonial flag for some two decades. No mean feat for a TV show that only lasted a single season (1978-79).
I don't know the origins of the club but, I assume, it was established sometime in the early 1980s, sometime around the UK premiere of the TV show. It might have been earlier than that, coinciding with the late-seventies faux feature film release.
Its testament to the show's ability to build and retain a fan following despite (or perhaps because of) ITV's erratic regional screenings of the show. The club would have, I'm sure, received a boost after BBC TWO gave the series its first networked airing in the late eighties. That's when I joined, my first membership year covering newsletters 32-35. I think I found the club thanks to a classified advert in STARBURST magazine.
The newsletters were A4 photocopied affairs, initially typeset with a typewriter before the ubiquitous word processor must have made life much easier for the editors. Each issue (page count was dictated by the level of contributions) and stapled by a single staple top-right. I added extra staples to the issues below to ensure the pages remained secure and, eventually, filed them away in a lever arch folder. Hence the hole punch holes.
The cover artwork on each issue was supplied by members. The range of ability speaks for itself.
One thing that was immediately obvious in most issues of the newsletter: there wasn't much actual news. BG was dead and the occasional rumours of a revival always amounted to nothing. News amounted to the occasional convention report, review or article, all submitted by the readership. Each issue also included fiction (the club also published separate fiction fanzines) but this was always something of an acquired taste.
Each issue also featured details of former BG cast members sighted in various other films and TV shows doing the rounds of British TV, actually quite useful in the pre-IMDB era and also a fascinating insight into how much schedules changed from region-to-region across the ITV system.
The club's golden rule was that deservedly unloved sequel GALACTICA 1980 was most definitely NOT part of Battlestar lore. Dirk Benedict's reprise of Starbuck in the final episode was considered a separate appearance by the actor!
Membership of the club ensured four issues of the newsletter (issued, roughly, on a quarterly basis) as well as a membership pack which, if memory served, consisted of a membership card, keyring with club logo and a photo (mine was Apollo, Starbuck and Sheba on the surface of the unnamed planet in War of the Gods).
The club also produced a range of merchandise. Items included more photos and a range of t-shirts (artwork printed on, frankly, not very high-quality t-shirts). As already mentioned, the club also produced fiction fanzines as well as acting as agents for other publishers and running classified adverts in each newsletter for other fanzines and fan clubs.
Latterly, the club found itself in competition with the new-fangled internet. But, ironically, this period also generated the most 'news' in many years. Resurgent interest in the TV show led to a new wave of merchandising for the club to review and report: toys from Trendmaster, trading cards, the controversial Maximum Press comic books and actor Richard Hatch's new novels.
Special 10th anniversary of the TV series issue.
Although thin on behind-the-scenes information, this remains the most comprehensive guide to the Battlestar Galactica universe.
I then allowed my membership to lapse until 1991, returning to the fold with newsletter 43 (December 1991). That time I was more faithful, sticking around until December 1998.
At which point my membership lapsed again and, for whatever reason (money probably) I didn't renew. What happened to the Tribe after that is unknown, presumably the onset of new technology finally killed the allure of a quarterly photocopied newsletter. Or maybe too many people, like me, drifted away.