Relationship Story

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Smarm
Related: Character Study, Curtainfic
See Also: Case Story, Action/Adventure, Smarm
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Contents

A relationship story is fanfiction that focuses on the relationship between or among characters rather than their jobs.

This relationship may, or may not, include physical intimacy.

Origins

In Boldly Writing, Joan Marie Verba writes that the tradition of the relationship story started with Star Trek:
Because the vast majority of editors of Star Trek fanzines in 1975 were science fiction fans, I was unaware of the ever-increasing number of Star Trek fans who had no experience with science fiction, and no interest in science fiction whatsoever. Many of these fans did not view Star Trek as a science fiction program. They saw it as a 'buddy' show, or as a heroic/romantic saga, in which Kirk and Spock were the focus. When these Star Trek fans wrote stories, they wrote about what they thought was most important about Star Trek: Kirk's and Spock's friendship... As a further sign that such fans found science fiction irrelevant, many K&S writers did their best to get Kirk and Spock off the Enterprise and by themselves in order to concentrate exclusively on those two characters (one K&S fan told me that was to avoid the 'distraction' of the ship and the Federation; in contrast, to science fiction fans, the inclusion of the starship Enterprise and the futuristic setting were essential to any Star Trek story.) Within five years, this 'relationship' type of story was to dominate non-K/S Star Trek fanzines. [1]

Relationship stories differ from introspection narratives in that they show one character focusing on another, rather than on him- or herself. Some of the early pieces about Spock found in zines like Tricorder Readings were not stories but brief introspective prose poems, with Spock meditating or reflecting on his dual heritage or his place in the universe. Dr. McCoy also had a number of these prose poems, some focused on himself, some on his view of Spock.

Examples of Relationship Stories

  • "Time Enough" by Lelamarie Kreidler (Spockanalia 3) was the first fanfic relationship story. When Spock goes into pon farr again he seeks out Lian Jaimeson, the head of Alien Research on the ship, who is part Vulcan.
  • "The Alternate" by Laura Harris (also in Spockanalia 3) is a mood piece narrated by an unnamed woman who is having a relationship with the mirror universe Spock or someone very much like him. It takes place during some fairly explicit sex and would get a PG-13 or possibly R rating today.

References

  1. from Boldly Writing
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