Sigh-Fi

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Press Commentary
Title: Sigh-Fi
Commentator: Ann Thompson
Date(s): during the week of August 22-28, 1986
Venue: print
Fandom: slash, focusing on K/S
External Links:
article as it was reprinted in On the Double #1
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

Sigh-Fi was a one-page article in the "L.A. Weekly" in 1986 by Ann Thompson that sought to explain this thing called slash and people's interest in it.

The late 1990s, and the rise of the internet, saw a great number of articles published on the subject of fanfiction. Sigh-Fi predated this wave of mundane curiosity and was probably the first article of its kind.

Many fans reacted negatively to the article because it brought attention to slash, was predictably simplistic/inacurrate, and because the article used a piece of art by Gayle F[1] without her permission as well as quoting an excerpt from Obsc'zine that "featured a compliant Kirk succumbing to Spock's brutal attentions."

At least one fan, the editor of Pon Farr Press, said the resulting article said her sales increased, and that the article brought more fans into the fold.

The article was reprinted in whole in at least two zines, On the Double and Naked Times #11.

Excerpts

A fascinating aspect of this cult phenomenon is that the writers and most of the readers of these sexual fantasies are women. "In the 14 years of KS novelizaitons, I've never heard of a man writing one," says Star Trek expert Richard Arnold. "It's a real minority. It's not these people alone who have made Star Trek the incredible phenomenon that it is." "It's a libidinal outlet," says one freelance S-F writer. Observers speculate that these fans, like many adolescent girls, fantasize about men they find attractive. But these women tend to be between 30 and 50, S-F conventioneers report, and seem to prefer male homosexual bondings over heterosexual couplings because they don't like to compete with other women for their hero's affection.
And:
The lawyers at Paramount and Lucasfilm are familiar with the erotic publications and, while they don't approve of them, don't take them very seriously. "It's of no special consequence," says Paramount marketing chief Sidney Ganis, who used to head Lucasfilm's marketing operation. "At Lucasfilm, we cracked down on copyright infringements. The KS novels are just a way the fans have of creatively expressing their elation with the whole issue of sci-fi."

Reactions and Reviews

A fan comments:
It's interesting to note that a lot of newspaper & periodical articles have been appearing lately, articles which purport to "inform the public" about K/S. The "Sigh-Fi" article... is a prime example. No one asked [Gayle F] she wanted her illustration to appear in a publication which is easily available to children. This was done without Gayle's permission, in the name of "journalistic freedom". Well... in my opinion, that "journalistic freedom" could also be made to extend to printing "excerpts" from stories and naming the author — such as what happened on a radio talk show in Australia. [[The Great Australian Radio Show Fiasco|A portion of a K/S story was read over the air]], and the interviewer named the author — who, at the time, was using her real name. After that, she quickly adopted a pseudonym for obvious reasons. [2]
The editor of Pon Farr Press writes that the Sigh-Fi article has actually had a positive influence on sales and reactions:
As to how the L.A. WEEKLY article has affected PON FARR PRESS, I can only say at this point that zine sales and inquiries have increased dramatically. Since several of us here in Southern California do sci-fi conventions in the L.A. area, we have been asked, "Is this that stuff we read about in the paper?" Mostly, the reaction from the public is one of curiosity without hostility. Of course, there are the exceptions to that rule when one encounters an overly-zealous, morally self-righteous s.o.b. (for details, see the editorial, BANNED IN ANAHEIM, which appeared in NT#6;. Additionally, when we attended a convention in Denver (STAR CON) back in March of this year [1987], we were exposed to several people who had read a similar- — though less "critical" — article which appeared in a Denver newspaper. Again, the reaction was one of curiosity mingled with a little disbelief. It's interesting to note that several of these newcomers are now ordering regularly — and some of them are men (yes, that is a rarity in K/S writers and readers alike). So, as to the reaction, it's been more positive than negative. It seems that the article merely "confirmed" what a lot of people had already thought of on their own. While I don't agree with the less than discretionary manner in which the L.A. WEEKLY article was done, it's primary impact seems to be that it's led a lot of new folks into K/S fandom."[3]
A fan reviews an issue of Naked Times and writes:
This ish leads off with a startling re-print of an article which appeared in an L.A. newspaper "revealing" K/S to the public eye, complete with a full-nude by Gayle F. (reprinted, I believe, from an early issue of Obsc'zine). A must-read for those K/S fans who like to stay abreast of how their "hobby" is rapidly becoming more and more "public". [4]

See Also

References

  1. The art was from the back cover of Obsc'zine #4 (November 1980)
  2. from On the Double #3 (1987)
  3. from On the Double #3 (1987)
  4. from On the Double #1
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