COCO CHANNEL Interview with Skazinetilsky

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Interviews by Fans
Title: COCO CHANNEL Interview with Skazinetilsky
Interviewer: Karmen Ghia
Interviewee: Skazinetilsky
Date(s): August 1999
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Star Trek, slash, Chekov
External Links: An Interview with Skazinetilsky; reference link
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

COCO CHANNEL Interview with Skazinetilsky is archived at The Society for Slash Diversity and The Committee of Chekov Obsessives Comparing Historical and New Narratives in Ensign Literature.

See List of Star Trek Fan Interviews.

Excerpts

Karmen Ghia: What was your earliest story?

Skazinetilsky: Earliest fan story or just story in general? I wrote my first story when I was in the third grade. (It was a story about third graders.)

I wrote my first fan story when I was in the sixth grade. I had decided that I liked Chekov at this point and wrote a Mary Sue type story. If you've ever read the pro novel, "Mutiny on the Enterprise", it was a lot like that -- quiet mysterious girl with unexplained powers aids the Enterprise crew -- only written by a sixth grader. Of course, there were no pro novels at the time. I had no idea I was writing Mary Sue until I read one of David Gerrold's book. After reading his snide and catty description of this familiar fan genre, I became so embarrassed with myself that I took my hand-written manuscript out and burned it. That was the only time I have ever intentionally destroyed something I wrote.
S: My first slash story came to me in one chunk. I was in graduate school, insanely busy with teaching and writing my dissertation, and had been working on some collaborations with Jane Seaton. All of these projects required a lot of effort, a lot of brain work. One night, out of the blue, the basic idea for "The Taming" came to me. I sat down and wrote the entire thing the next day. It was the first time a story ever formed completely in my mind in one solid piece instead of as a series of individual scenes. At the time I thought, "Other people get visions of the Virgin Mary. Why do I get visions of Klingons going down on Chekov?"
KG: Why isn't there more Chekov slash?

S: Because everyone hates Chekov.

KG: Oh, come now.

S: Well, that's not exactly true, but the character is somewhat unpopular. Chekov was a second season addition to Star Trek designed to appeal to the perennially uncool "Tigerbeat" crowd. I think the character still carries some of this onus for old timers. It's similar to the way some Voyager fans resent 7 of 9 because of the overt way the show's production team thrust her on the viewing public as a piece of cheesecake for growing boys of all ages. Chekov also carries some Wesley Crusherish qualities of naive enthusiasm. And as most will agree, naive enthusiasm is not a characteristic that individuals tend to seek in a lover.

Also, many of us who like Che originally started liking him when we were the sort of 10 to 14 year old teenyboppers the network was aiming him at. We tended to obediently have "Tigerbeat"-ish heterosexual fantasies about the character and a mysterious Marysue version of ourselves rather than consider him as a prime candidate for a little hot 2 boy action....Oh, he's definitely made for hot 2 boy action. Although Chekov's portrayed on the show as being adamantly heterosexual, he has passionate attachments to strong men in his life -- like Kirk and Spock. He also has a very easy and comfortable relationship with Sulu. It's not hard to imagine any of these relationships taking on sexual overtones -- given the right circumstance. And since he's young and impulsive, it's much easier to figure out plausible situations to put him in than for Kirk or Spock -- no burden of command, no waiting around for pon farr, etc.

He is a sensual and hot-blooded character. This makes him fun to write -- particularly in slashy situations. Chekov also has the advantage of having the demonstrated potential to be either a comic or tragic figure. Because the writing on the show was inconsistent and sloppy for the minor characters, we saw Chekov being everything from cocky and easygoing, to being a complete anal retentive puritan. This gives the fan writer a wide range. Walter Koenig has recently been going on in interviews about how much more "well-rounded" the character of Bester is. That's lovely for him, I'm sure, but as a fan fiction writer, I don't necessarily want to work with a character that's already been completely figured out for me.
KG: Me, I'm just a webizen so I know nothing of the printzine community, except for a brush or two with certain members. What is with those people? Are they really as uptight, narrow minded, hyper critical/sensitive and condescending as they seem or am I really just too fucked up to see their good points?

S: Well, some of us oldtimers are absolute angels, of course, but there is a vocal minority whose behavior is leaves something to be desired. In the olden days -- about five years ago -- getting into print was more of an ordeal. Individuals who wished to put out a 'zine had to have the money, time, and chuztpah it takes to walk into the local Kinko's and say, "I'd like five hundred copies of this fully illustrated novel about Kirk doing unspeakable things to a sexually ambiguous alien." Not all of us were up to the challenge -- I know I wasn't. Thus a power elite was formed. Writers, readers and illustrators had to court the favor of the few who edited and published. Some of those who were so courted began to have an inflated opinion of themselves.

Now, of course, anyone with a modem can put a story on the web without giving a good expletive deleted about what the Randy Landers type thinks. I think a good amount of the current nastiness from certain quarters is the old power elite trying to find a way to re-establish the authority they once held.
KG: You've had experience in the printzine community and the webslash community. In what ways do their inherent strengths cause them to be inherently antagonistic? Or do I think that because I'm an asshole? (Okay, it's an awkward question, rephrase at will.)

S: The two venues are different, but not *inherently* antagonistic. I feel that my work, for example, has flowed very nicely from print to web. Lessons I learned as an illustrator have helped me in web design. Not getting published because of the lack of demand for Chekov stories made me work harder and produce more polished results.

I think there is an inherent difference, however, in the power structure behind each venue. With printzines, only a few people had the resources to put stories out to be read by a fairly small audience. Since 'zine were expensive, readers tended to be conservative consumers -- purchasing only what they knew had made them happy in the past. On the web, anyone with e-mail access can post material that has the potential to be read by millions. I know that I, personally, read a lot of things online that I would never have paid to see in print. Webslash has fewer gatekeepers between writer and reader.

Reactions and Reviews

For some fan reaction, see here.