The Terra Nostra Underground

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Zine
Title: The Terra Nostra Underground
Publisher:
Editor(s):
Type: apazine
Date(s): 1989-1993
Frequency: quarterly
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake's 7, slash
Language: English
External Links: this apa is quoted extensively in "Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking": Selections from The Terra Nostra Underground and Strange Bedfellows.
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

The Terra Nostra Underground is a slash apazine with about 18 issues.

"The Terra Nostra Underground (TNU) was founded in the fall of 1989 as a quarterly apa for discussion among slash fans; it began with eight members, and its membership had reached twenty-three when it folded three and a half years later." [1]

This apazine was succeeded by Strange Bedfellows.

This apazine was quoted extensively in "Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking": Selections from The Terra Nostra Underground and Strange Bedfellows.

Other Blake's 7 Discussion Zines

Issue 1

The Terra Nostra Underground 1 was published in 1989.

Issue 2

The Terra Nostra Underground 2 was published in May 1990.

  • regarding slash and female characters, homophobia and gay identity:
    I am a lesbian, so some of my approach to slash is political -- I want to see how a gay couple (of any gender) reacts to and is reacted to by their society. The stories that assume society accepts such couples without question are a lovely relief and often fun to read, since they can concentrate on the individuals and their relationship. Stories which try to face a here-and-now reaction to homosexuality are more, well, contemporary and realistic (though I admit they're more fun to write than to read...usually). [...] I firmly agree that much attraction in slash is the concentration on what is common to all humans, since sexual differentiation has been bypassed. The characters have to relate as different individuals, not as members of different sexes. [2]
  • regarding slash and female characters, homophobia and gay identity:
    Most people who are involved in slash fandom are hetero women. Some of these women bring their own homophobic baggage into slash fandom. They thrill at the idea of two men doing it, and they see themselves as INCREDIBLY open-minded. But this sort of fan would be repulsed by the idea of two women doing it. [...] Homophobic slash fans also tend to say things such as '(the partners) aren't Gay, they're heterosexual men who just HAPPEN to fall in love with each other.' I've even read a letter in a Kirk/Spock letterzine where a fan said that K & S aren't 'limp-wristed faggots; they're MEN!' Fortunately, I've met many slash fans who aren't homophobic. They speak out for Gay rights, and sometimes do such things as volunteer for AIDS organizations. And they'll speak out for Lesbian as well as Gay male rights. When I show them my Uhura/Saavik story, they read it with interest and curiosity. [...] I have a feeling that Lesbian slash makes some women uncomfortable because they fear exploring the varied aspects of their own sexuality. [3]
  • regarding slash and female characters, homophobia and gay identity:
    Having recently read a huge stack of Bodie/Doyle and Napoleon/Illya slash, I'm on a slow burn about homophobia in the genre. [...] Many writers generally accept without thought, as something natural and inevitable, the marginalization of gay people, pairings and love which straight society tries to impose, and participate in it, continue it, in their stories. Sometimes it's the 'they're not gay, they just love each other' excuse (which I paraphrase as 'we're not gay, we just fuck each other.') Often the authors seem to think that it wouldn't bother the characters to have to hide (which N/I would have worse than B/D, since they're ten years earlier), that they wouldn't get frustrated and humiliated and angry. Blake's 7 slash is generally not so bad at this, but often only because they haven't got a conveniently handy tawdry gay underculture to denigrate. ("Have you ever -- done this with a man before, Napoleon?' 'Y-yes...but they were only one night stands; it's never been like this before.") The 'it's never been like this before' can be another form of marginalization by putting the love affair on a pedestal-- it's so wonderful nothing else could ever compare, therefore it is entirely different from everything else and has no relation with anything else. (It can also easily slip into really dreadful misogyny -- 'no woman could ever understand/be so good a lover/make him feel so secure.') Without denying the existence of homophobia, both in their settings and quite possibly in the characters themselves [...] it is still possible to create a story in which the men are gay and human both. [4]

Issue 3

The Terra Nostra Underground 3 was published in August 1990.

  • Where does slash come from? Does it originate in the series text or in the fan's reading of it?:
    Why are so many women interested in slash in the context of media related material? TV is a convenient source for fictional material that can be shared with a great number of people and benefits from the structure of general fandom. [...] So you don't want to be [the female character], you don't want to enjoy the emotions she feels. The male hero is easier to 'feel' the adventure with: what he is made to feel you enjoy. And if you are of the daydreaming kind, you will 'borrow' him, to make him feel some more interesting things. If you do not want sex or romance to be absent from your daydreamings and you are identifying with the male hero, seeing the adventure from his viewpoint, who the heck are you going to use as a romantic interest? Not him, because since you are living the adventure through him, the point is to make him feel the feelings of sex and romance, and then identify with it. So he has to have a relationship with someone other than himself, with someone who produces emotional reactions in him that you find interesting. And that person is unlikely to be the screaming ninny (because, if you liked her, you would have identified with her and 'tinkered' with her to start with). Of course, you can daydream a female character you'd enjoy identifying with or fancying, but to create from scratch an original, interesting character is hard work, and she might not feel as real as the faces on the screen. Also, by that time, you could have internalized enough of our society's values to make the prospect unexciting. Or you can daydream yourself into the script. (Hi there, Mary Sue.) [...] This is where the male buddy comes in, since he is the only one (with the screaming ninny and the enemy) who shows a sustained interest in the hero. The woman who has empathy for the hero will enjoy the emotions produced in the hero by the Buddy. (She does not have to find the buddy breathtakingly attractive herself [some are willing to overlook Napoleon's chin for Illya's sake, for instance], but it helps.) And what type of relationship do buddy and hero have? One version could be that on the screen, there is a caring relationship. It is not tainted with sexism, with expectations of a given role, because the one is female and the other male. It is equality. Not in practical terms: the buddy can be less or more strong or skillful than the hero. But his weakness is not perceived as something that makes him in essence inferior or different. It has a different cultural meaning. They are attracted to each other's personalities, not because they're made blind by their gonads or 'devalued' prettiness. [...] That was one version. If that relationship is attractive because it is equal, why is there a non-negligible number of slash-zines where one male partner dominates the other[...]? Why do they often seem to be motivated by raving lust rather than sheer delight in each other's intellect? [...] Seems that even if some fan fiction depicts one partner as dominant and the other as whimperingly submissive (Vila is a prime offender here) the lovers are not different in nature: a woman can safely indulge in S&M and rape fantasies, submissiveness, aggression and a whole load of other non-politically correct behaviors without guilt feelings, without it being gender identified. [...] Identification with the other gender means liberation from one's own gender related taboos. However, we have no personal, direct, experience of the cultural constraints the other gender has to submit to, so these constraints, although known to us, are not felt as being as binding as our own. This I would call the 'Tourist approach.' One feels freer to behave differently in a place that is not directly relevant to everyday life, and where the landmarks, although not very different, have shifted enough to create new perceptions: you are free of the rules of your country of origin, but not bound by the rules of the holiday country because you don't know them, or if you do, they don't mean the same things to you as to the natives." [5]
  • regarding misogyny:
    A thought occurs to me about the unfortunate lack of female slash stories. The majority of slash is based on characters who have a preexisting, strongly emotional relationship in the show where they appear: a lot of slash is expansion on something to be seen in the show (as the slash fan sees it). Female characters, even if you can find more than one in a given show, are unlikely to have an intense, highlighted friendship with each other -- if they have any strong relationship, it's likely to be with a male character. [6]
  • regarding misogyny:
    The writers of the series [Blake's 7] showed much more imagination when pitting the male characters against each other, in complex multi-layered interrelationships which continue to stimulate discussion, while the female characters were primarily pawns and patsies, taking little active part in the working out of their destinies[...]. I think it's commendable that there have been so many fan stories involving the female characters, given the material as presented in the series, and that this demonstrates the determination of writers to expand on potential barely hinted at. [7]
  • regarding slash and female characters, homophobia and gay identity:
    They're Not Really Gay, But...' usually goads me too! Often though, it's a matter of whether that opinion is that of the author or of the characters. Denial is part of coming out, and a couple of old closet cases like Illya and Napoleon really would have a hard time with that. I can believe they'd deny it to themselves even while they were doing it -- but a good writer will make it clear that's a symptom of their times, their agency, their lifestyles and NOT something the reader is expected to agree with. [...] I'm not defending homophobic slash with these comments. They only touch on a couple of borderline cases to try to clearly see that line and fine-tune the definition. There is homophobic slash. It's ugly. Most of the time it's repulsively blatant. Liked your point about 'It's So Wonderful Nothing Else Could Ever Compare.' What I find ironic is that both excuses are things I've heard often from people in the process of coming out. At the point where they haven't come out to themselves and they're scared to death. These ideas can be gut-real and gritty if the writer knows what comes next in the process and makes some progress towards getting there -- or points up the tragedy of it if the characters don't grow. [...] Is it possible that this type of homophobic story is the same process for the writer? That slash writers who aren't gay still have to go through a process of coming out to themselves about their own stories and accepting that they like them? [8]

Issue 4

The Terra Nostra Underground 4 was published in November 1990.

  • regarding female characters and misogyny:
    Actually, I've found it MUCH more of a challenge to write about female/female sexuality. First, I find I have to wean the women from the feeling that they MUST center their lives around men. Then I have to convince these characters that they DON'T have to then 'retreat' to a lesbian separatist commune. It's not rejection of men, it's affirmation of women. Once that is done, men can become human rather than be gods whom women are supposed to worship. It definitely goes against the grain of societal conditioning to make the women the center of the story rather than adjuncts to the male characters. [9]
  • regarding slash:
    Paradoxes surround slash literature. Slash has been confusing everyone including its creators for years. But isn't this because it's an expression of the hopelessly confusing and contradictory world women live in, and the confused and contradictory view society has of sex? [...] Slash is defined and shaped by women, and if it seems contradictory, or seems to tell more than one kind of story at times, maybe there's a reason. The writers aren't following anyone else's guidelines; they're writing, as best they can, what they feel. [10]

Issue 5

The Terra Nostra Underground 5 was published in February 1991.

  • about the subject of homophobia and slash fanworks:
    Nice to know I'm not the only one who gets annoyed with slash fiction where the characters never have to worry about being openly gay, and other unrealistic depictions of gay/lesbian/bi life. Another thing that boggles my mind to no end is the type of slash story where A is desperately in love with B and the fan author decides to solve it by simply having character A blurt out his undying love to B without ever having given a thought to B's reaction to the news that A is gay in addition to his being in love with B. Super-unrealistic happy ending! I'm not against happy endings but such hastily written stories leave out the weeks or months of soul-searching it takes to work up the courage to approach that other person who is of your own gender because you don't know whether or not she is straight. Sometimes, I've had a crush on another woman and I've never told her my true feelings for her because I was so in love that I was afraid of losing a friendship...forever. [11]

Issue 6

The Terra Nostra Underground 6 was published in May 1991.

  • regarding the slash potential of a televisions show:
    One explanation I've heard about why slash seems so natural to fans has to do with how fans perceive TV characters. Instead of taking emotions and speech as directed at the audience, the fan game is to see everything in context of the show itself. If an actor, or a pair of them, are busy projecting rampant sexuality, the fan mindset is to look within the program for the object. In a cop-partner show (for instance), there are typically two men projecting subliminal sex appeal for all they're worth, and nobody else on screen with any regularity. Certainly, no female characters. Strictly within the show framework, there's nobody but the two men themselves to justify the sexual display, so the concept of slash (instead of the fan just thinking what a sexy, appealing show it is to her, herself) arises. [12]
  • regarding misogyny:
    I still think that misogyny plays a significant part in some segments of slash writing and reading. Some stories leave women characters completely out. For instance, even though The Professionals routinely depicts women as full members of CI5, many B/D slash stories posit CI5 as an all-male force. Other stories will 'feminize' a male character (Doyle, Vila, Illya, sometimes Avon) and then pile explicit sexual humiliations on him with the overt or covert implication that he 'really wants it'; this shows a certain amount of homophobia as well, i.e. bash the 'pansy.' Some stories portray strong women characters in a show as jealously shrewish, completely evil bitches; some of the depictions of Ann Holly or Dr. Kate Ross (both from Pros) or T'Pring (Trek) immediately come to mind. A few slash readers, writers and/or editors have expressed overt distaste or disgust at the idea of Lesbian sexuality, all while extolling the glories of male/male relationships. But I'm now sure that misogyny is not the only reason for the vast overabundance of men.[...] As women, reading and writing about men in a mostly women's 'space' may be a way for women to deal with their feelings about men in our male supremacist society. Even Lesbians have to learn about how to deal with men (most of us can't go off into a 'womyn's paradise'). Lesbians don't usually engage in sexual relationships with men, but we see men in their positions of power. Straight and bisexual women usually have to deal with men in a more intimate way. [13]

Issue 7

The Terra Nostra Underground 7 was published in August 1991.

  • gay? slash?
    I have heard the statement a lot that many female writers, particularly the early ones, are not interested in writing about gay men. I have heard and read the rationales behind this many times. I'm still baffled by the whole issue. For me, it is vitally important that slash IS about gay men (and/or lesbians). Slash doesn't work for me unless the characters are clearly gay (even if they are in various stages of denial about it). The vibrant fantasy here for me is that the flaming hets I see on TV come out of the closet and turn out actually to be GAY!!!! [14]

Issue 8

  • some fans reject the idea that interest in slash involves identification with the characters, asserting a pleasure in exerting her own authorial control over sexy male bodies:
    Oh, such delight! Someone else who doesn't think that the slash writer necessarily inserts herself into one of the personae! Isn't manipulation and watching so much fun? That's what I do; I never, ever, insert myself (perhaps because I lack the necessary plumbing? Sorry. Facetiousness is a hobby of mine...) into the character or the story. I may be present in the form of a narrative voice, but that's more because of my heritage of storytelling and the typical Scottish style of writing which almost invariably has a very strong 'voice' or lyricism to it. To be honest, I don't even identify with any of the characters. I'm just fascinated by them. Plus, I'm prurient and salacious and simply adore to watch. [15]
  • what is and isn't homophobic?
    I don't think it is (always? primarily?) homophobia that leads to the I'm not gay, I just want to fuck you. Sometimes it is just a cheap device to up the stakes of their relationship. In romance, the more rivers they have to cross, more mountains they have to climb the better. [...] I don't want to belabor the point, but if neither of them has ever acted on a homosexual thought, it "shows" how special their love for each other must be.[16]
  • what is and isn't homophobic?
    I don't like stories in which the author, usually through Bodie and Doyle's mouths, maintains vehemently that they're 'not gay.' [...] I believe that this vehement protest often indicates an underlying belief on the part of the author as well as the characters that, first, there are two alternatives, gay and straight; second, that being gay is distasteful or unpleasant; third, that B & D's involvement is qualitatively different from that of any two given men, because 'any two given men' would be gay and B & D aren't. Their sexual love is something else, something above, and hence not gay and distasteful. A: Gays are icky. B: Bodie and Doyle are not icky. C: Therefore, Bodie and Doyle are not gay. [...] This is homophobia. It's also a form of biphobia, if only in the absolute invisibility of bisexuality. [...] Of course, it's possible for the characters to think being gay is icky, while the author does not. It's also possible for a story to be good -- well written, well paced, good characterizations -- while still displaying political views which I dislike. [17]
  • facing the reality of AIDs and slash fiction:
    Nina, I've just done a pile of stories that deal with AIDS to some degree or other, simply because of the time in which they were set. I understand why a lot of people don't want to deal with it, and that's fine, but I can't thole sweeping it under the carpet in a setting where to ignore AIDS is both stupid and suicidal. I'm interested that you found my story 'Silence [equals] Death' [18] depressing and had to write a somewhat more upbeat sequel: isn't it a bit of a contradiction to want stories to deal with AIDS yet not be depressing? How can it not be depressing that Bodie has just wasted away and died, leaving an infected Doyle behind to face his own death alone? AIDS is the bane of our existence and before we can get people activated to fight it, we have to show them the horror of what it is, in a way that will touch them personally, eg. having their favorite characters suffer and die from it. I recognize that you want to show that AIDS is not necessarily a complete destruction of personality and living until death finally claims the patient, and that there is still a kind of hope, but 'Silence [equals] Death' wasn't about that. It was about what our society, in its blindness and its deafness and muteness, is condemning so many of our people to. [19]
  • about slash fandom as a place of freedom:
    I certainly do agree with you that fanfic of any type allows for a 'much wider range of use of sexuality.' Well hell -- it's not commercially oriented in the usual sense, and when you have to subscribe to commercial concerns and mores then you immediately restrict and censor yourself. Heaven forfend (as the wee Scot [M. Fae] always says) that fanfic should ever want to go aboveground. Fanfic's greatest strength is that it is underground and alternative. I rejoice in a system of government which tolerates this freedom of expression, this grassroots explosion of communication! Marginal our efforts and our writing may be considered, but an explosion it is and it is vast. [20]

Issue 9

The Terra Nostra Underground 9 was published in Winter/Spring 1992.

  • what is homophobic and what isn't:
    Just as these intimate fantasies of ours (rape, anal sex, romance and happily-ever-afters) need no justification, neither do the stories that merrily ignore the threat of AIDS, syphilis or herpes. [...] Sandy, thank you for wording so clearly the 'I'm not gay, I just want to fuck you' argument. You said,'...if neither of them has ever acted on a homosexual thought, it shows how special their love for each other must be.' There is no malice on the part of the writer of such a scenario; in fact, those people who have come to enjoy slash fan fiction generally tend to become the greatest proponents of gay rights. It serves as a consciousness raising tool for many of us. [21]
  • why would straight women be interested in the intimate relations between two members of the same sex or why lesbians would be interested in the sex lives of men:
    By now it must be obvious that slash readers include women of all gender preferences. A more universal form of your question about why lesbians would want to read about men is, why should anyone want to read about characters who aren't anything they could ever be, and would actively dislike in life? Why do we read (with relish) about space pirates, neurotic rock stars, or melancholy Danish princes? Fiction isn't about reasonable wish-fulfillment or simple identity matches. Why should any of us watch Professionals, starring as it does two macho-prick studs? [22]
  • slash, woman, gay men:
    As long as you ask, I'll be happy to ramble on about how and why slash stories are written about gay men, yet are not 'about' gay men. (This is normally so obscure a point that I see no reason to bore people with my fine gradations of meaning.) Slash stories are, typically, narratives featuring two male characters from a TV show who fall in love. And have sex, usually. This defines them as carrying on a homosexual affair, and characterizes them as gay or bi within the meaning our society understands. [...] At the same time, the writers are (with few exceptions) middle-class British and American women, expressing their concerns to an audience of peers through story-writing. Their reasons for writing are not gay-male reasons, but female-middle-class-sexual-orientation-unspecified reasons. The stories are written to address, not gay men, but the author's own feelings and sometimes those of her friends and fan audience. The male leads become metaphorical representations of the writer and, if she communicates well enough, the story's readers. On the level of writing that creates plot, surface detail, and setting, a slash story about male TV characters is about gay men, and should plausibly include gay male styles of action. (Bodie should wear leather and not lace in public; government employees in Britain fear losing their jobs; Starsky finds that being fucked anally feels good (or bad).) The less immediately-obvious aspects of a story, such as theme and moral stance, are very much governed, in slash, by the female writers' perceptions of the world and their ideas of what is good and bad. Much slash is primarily about love or lust -- which are shown as positive in general, and as the catalysts for a permanent relationship. This is an expectation trained into our culture's women. The emphasis on partnership and cooperation (even in stories that don't postulate the characters as lovers) is also something women are taught is important, while men more often focus on competition. The sexual descriptions often reflect what women know about their own erotic feelings, and omit what they don't know about men's; extensive foreplay, for instance, and extragenital erogenous zones are common in slash sex scenes, but not in men's descriptions of their own sexuality. In good writing, these two sets of meanings work together to reinforce the overall message. Slash is so evocative and important to its fans because the position of gay men in society and the position of women correspond in many ways: excluded from the entrenched power structure, emblematic of sexuality, having an often-clandestine network (or a need for it) with other gays or women, able to communicate nonverbally with other gays or women to a degree, suspected of even greater communication and collaboration with other gays/women than is true, seen by straight men as 'artistic' and 'emotional,' and so on and so on. A story about men in a tight relationship, as a metaphor for how women see love, can illustrate that both sexes need affection and support, that the need is simply human. [...] The cross-gender metaphor carries much of the bite of slash: men and male couples as symbols (not really stand-ins) for women suggest what we feel we are, as opposed to how we're seen, how women are forced to think of themselves, in our culture. [23]
  • dealing with the reality of AIDs in fan works:
    I think that as much as we like our slash fiction set in an ideal world where bigotry and homophobia do not exist or can at least be easily hidden from, we need realistic stories that deal with everyday horrors. From a purely educational point of view a slash story on AIDS may be the only place some readers can see the grim reality of the disease. Even today AIDS education is not exactly top of the list in health education, at least it is not in England -- I don't know about the USA. Yes, we need fantasy and fantasized reality but we also need the true reality and it sounds like your [M. Fae's] AIDS stories provide that. [24]
  • more on AIDs and fan works:
    I've been thinking about my reaction to AIDS stories. I guess basically it's this; all the Professionals AIDS stories I've seen have fallen without exception into two categories. In one, Bodie or Doyle have to go for an AIDS test, suffer a lot during the waiting period, but prove negative and presumably live happily ever after. In two, Bodie or Doyle have either just died or are dying of AIDS, and that is just another death story with AIDS as a minor twist, and for death stories 'I have a loathing of such depth that you could never measure it.' The reality of AIDS for me is walking around for three or four days being hit, every five minutes, with 'So this is it, he's going to die.' The reality is having a friend who tested HIV positive, most of whose friends tested positive, some of his friends have died of AIDS, he is now in second-stage AIDS. The reality is for a week not even knowing if he would get AZT and the other treatments on the NHS (and if he hadn't, basically, he would be dead or dying now.) It lasts a lot longer. It hurts a lot more. I'm not ready to write a story about it now. [25]
  • slash fandom as a place to be free:
    I still find it incredible writing to people and being able to talk about 'slash' and use all those words that polite Catholic girls are not supposed to know (you know the ones -- penis, cock, fucking) -- as a Catholic, I knew Sodom existed as a town, but didn't dare ask what Sodomy was. [...] I think the reason I like slash fiction has more to do with the emotion in the story than the act itself. Our house was emotionally very cold. Any emotion had to be hidden -- I grew up feeling embarrassed if I looked happy in public let alone if I cried in public. I like the emotional romances that just don't seem to exist outside of slash fiction. Mind you, I like the pure sex ones as well. [26]

Issue 10

The Terra Nostra Underground 10 was published in May 1992.

  • regarding "inappropriate fantasies":
    Well, as a NEW fan, people would ask me what I liked most about slash, why I had got involved in it, etc. And then would appear shocked when I said, 'Oh, that's easy. It's the sex!' The standard answer was still the 'love, romance, caring,' etc., and the majority were very taken aback when I said that I was open to any fandom, as long as it was slash and as long as we had at least two men buggering each other into next week. Now, no-one bats an eye at that.[...] By the way, I think there is some room for the argument that I often don't write slash. I don't follow many of the rhythms of slash stories, I frequently approach the same topic from a diametrically opposite point of view from fan canon, I often discount such supposed cornerstones of slash as love, romance, friendship, equality, trust and of course, happily ever after. I rarely write my stories from the traditional skew of 'how do we get them to love each other forever and/or commit to each other?': I almost invariably write them from the point of view of 'what makes people tick? What would motivate a man like this, if we were to focus on this aspect of his personality?' Apart from that, it's usually for the sex itself, or to explore some interesting question that's come up either in the programme/book or in society in general or in slashdom [...] I rarely feel the need to write the nicer stories, simply because there are so many good ones already being done.[...] I'm very well aware of my own world view colouring certain things I do -- but equally, the characters very frequently express things that are purely them, and opposite to me. I really don't write slash as any kind of allegory for women's issues: they are simply allegories for human issues, which I consider transcends the limits of gender. They are also, to get to the core of it for me, stories of sexual and/or emotional satisfaction, attractive fictional men manipulated as much as possible to give as much pleasure as possible. [27]

Issue 11

The Terra Nostra Underground 11 was published in August 1992.

  • regarding misogyny:
    Male buddy-shows are attractive to us because they show something that's rare in men. One point is that it's not rare in women. [...] It's the cold-loner depiction of a woman that stands out in the media; and by their nature, cold loners don't run in pairs. In one sense, slash shows men as honorary women: doing what women-as-we-perceive-them do normally. It's extraordinary and sexy because the men don't (usually) lose the strengths of men-as-we-perceive them; the slash character is a hermaphroditic combination of the best of both types. [28]

Issue 12

The Terra Nostra Underground 12 was published in November 1992.

  • why slash's focus on male protagonists may facilitate identification more easily than stories focusing on female characters would:
    As an experiment last week, I gathered all of the female slash I had into one pile (largely Blake's 7, since it has more strong females than the rest of slash fandom's favorite shows put together...) and read it all one after another. I realized that my distance from the material is different in female slash. I have all of that equipment, I have sex with women -- I wasn't able to go with the flow so much. There was an intermediate level doing the rather stupid job of checking each piece of action and thinking, 'would I like this,' 'have I done this,' 'would I do this with (Jenna (Y), Beverly (Maybe), Gina (Y), Trudy (Y), Cally (Y), Dayna (YES, YES, YES), Servalan (not unless I had someone holding a gun on her at the same time). I don't know what this means, but I'd love to hear from other women about it--queer and straight. [29]
  • slash represents a way of rethinking and rewriting traditional masculinity:
    In a letter I just wrote to Jane Carnall, I talked about it in terms of seeing men take on emotional responsibility for, and interest in, relationships. If the story is between two men, and if it depicts a somewhat satisfying relationship, you're guaranteed at least one man who's actively involved in the emotional realm. I know for me that's extremely sexy [...]. It explains why we already see, or read, sex into TV shows whose male characters have a supposedly platonic, yet intimate relationship on screen. We see that intimacy and experience sexuality. [30]
  • slash? gay?
    I have never seen slash writing as being gay writing. Rather, it has always struck me as being what Joanna Russ called 'the first truly female writing' -- by women for women without any political agenda or being filtered through the censorship of commercial publishing. Sure, there are fannish conventions and taboos, but these have been broken since day one. There's always howls of outrage, but that's the point -- if we aren't free to write what we like in fandom, where are we? This doubtlessly accounts for [another member's] perception of a lot of fannish writing as two heterosexuals transposed on same-sex couples. A lot of the early readers of slash seemed to me (sweeping generalization here!) straight middleclass women from the Midwest/East. But there's always been a much higher gay component of slash writers and readers than what I'd observed in media fandom in general, which has brought in a genuinely gay perspective as well." [31]

Issue 13

The Terra Nostra Underground 13 was published in February 1993.

  • slash represents a way of rethinking and rewriting traditional masculinity:
    I think part of what slash is about is reading intimacy between peers as itself erotic. They don't just happen to have sex, their sexuality is a natural product of their mutual feelings of closeness.[...] We need our pornography to be about people we know and we are interested in exploring as many different scenarios as we can imagine. [...] In a way, just as the characters' sexual relationship is an expression of their intimacy, we as slash readers also need that intimacy with the characters we write about. That's where the sexual excitement for us comes from; or at least that's one source of it. [32]
  • regarding the subject of misogyny:
    My only problem with slash is that I miss women. Sometimes reading about male bodies feels foreign, and I find myself wishing for the familiarity of a woman's body, or even just a significant, three-dimensional, female character. [33]

References

  1. rom "Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking": Selections from The Terra Nostra Underground and Strange Bedfellows
  2. from Barbara T, "Strange Tongues"
  3. from Nina B, "Lavender Lilies"
  4. from Shoshanna, "For the World is Hollow and I Fell Off the Edge"
  5. from Cat A, "Darkling Zine"
  6. from Barbara T, "Strange Tongues"
  7. from Agnes T, "Notes from Tomorrow"
  8. from Adrian Morgan, "Criminal Love"
  9. from Nina B, "Lavender Lilies"
  10. from Barbara T, "Strange Tongues"
  11. from Nola F-G, "Wonderframe"
  12. from Barbara T, "Strange Tongues"
  13. from Nina B, "Lavender Lilies, addendum"
  14. from Nina B, "Lavender Lilies"
  15. from M. Fae Glasgow, "Two Heads Are Better Than One"
  16. from Sandy Hereld, "But T-shirt Slogans Are Intellectual Discourse"
  17. from Shoshanna, "For The World Is Hollow and I Fell Off the Edge"
  18. Actually, "Silence = Death," but it is formatted with [equals] as the "=" screws up the quotation template.
  19. from M. Fae Glasgow, "Two Heads are Better than One"
  20. from Nancy
  21. from L.S. Willard, "Wellington's Womblings"
  22. from Barbara T, "Strange Tongues"
  23. from Barbara T, "Strange Tongues"
  24. from Teresa H, To Be Announced"
  25. from Jane Carnall, "Not Cat's Darkling Zine"
  26. from Teresa H, "To Be Announced"
  27. from M. Fae Glasgow, "Two Heads are Better than One"
  28. from Barbara T, "Strange Tongues"
  29. from Sandy Hereld, "T-shirt Slogans Are Intellectual Discourse"
  30. from Sarah Katherine, "Writing From the Margins, pt.1"
  31. from Kathy Resch, "I Used to be Trek Monogamous, but Now I'm a Media Slut!"
  32. from Sarah Katherine, "Writing From the Margins, pt.2"
  33. from Sarah Katherine, "Writing From the Margins, pt.2"
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