A Short History of Early K/S or How the First Slash Fandom Came to Be

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Title: A Short History of Early K/S or How the First Slash Fandom Came to Be
Creator: Jenna Sinclair
Date(s): 2002
Medium: online
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Topic: Kirk/Spock, Zines
External Links: Wayback link; reference link; another link
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A Short History of Early K/S or How the First Slash Fandom Came to Be is an article by Jenna Sinclair, published on her website for Beyond Dreams Press. It has been cited in a number of scholarly books, as well as many fannish discussions.

The article includes a 1974-1979 chronology.

For a related work, see Beyond Dreams Press: K/S Zine Database.

Excerpt

I've accumulated the following details from many sources over the past ten years. Much has come from the oral history that is passed on within any small and closed community. (Before the internet, K/S fandom was very private indeed.) Some information I discovered when visiting Closet Con in England in 1995 and 1997. Some was gleaned by reading the K/S newsletter/letterzine, Not Tonight Spock. Some was written up and passed on to me by a friend, "A", who is also interested in the way this most fascinating celebration of the love between Jim Kirk and Spock has come to be. Much came from a wonderful index of K/S stories that was lovingly compiled on a word processor by another devoted fan, back before computers were commonly used.
It seems that the idea of K/S came from England in the late Sixties--when the show was just being canceled in the United States. The concept of Jim Kirk and Spock loving one another and translating that love into a sexual relationship was passed around in the UK through small groups of interested fans for several quiet years. The story The Ring of Shoshern was published in the K/S zine Alien Brothers in 1987, but the introduction to the story in that zine dates it to 1975. My personal information from contact with the author dates that story several years earlier, to 1968 and possibly slightly before that. (Source: email with the author, who referred to her original dated manuscript.) "Amok Time," the episode that most explicitly deals with Spock's Vulcan sexuality, aired in the US in 1967, so K/S gained life just about as soon as it was possible for it to do so. It's also clear that other stories were being written and privately circulated in the early Seventies. For example, "B" wrote a series of stories that started with a strong friendship between Kirk and Spock; that friendship eventually became sexual in nature. The author confirms that she wrote from the late Sixties until about 1972. Eventually some of these stories were printed in British fanzines in the Seventies. One of them, The Last Decade, is reprinted in one of the K/S fanzines that I co-publish, Encore. (Source: private correspondence with author.)
In various articles written about the beginnings of K/S, some Gen zines are mentioned as presenting early K/S stories. I've read most of these zines, and I've concluded that the only real K/S story is in The Other Side of Paradise #3, Part 2. This zine is a popular gen zine that, for its third issue in 1978, divided into two parts: The Other Side and Paradise. The first part features adult material, and the most significant story is Game of Chance. In it, the sexual attraction between Kirk and Spock is imposed from without by aliens.[1]

The year 1978 also saw the publication of Companion, the first in a trilogy of zines. It's interesting in that the different stories form a consistent chronology that takes Kirk and Spock from friendship to love to sexual union, and each story is written by a different author. Lots of coordination went into that! The zine, and its sequel Companion 2 (1980), are basically novels with multiple authors. The only other K/S zines formed in the same way, to my knowledge, are The Twenty-Fifth Year, Starwyck, Mirror Reflections, and Bigot, Brother, Bondmate.

Thrust, a one-shot K/S anthology with a shockingly explicit cover, and Naked Times 1 also were published in 1978.

What is particularly interesting to me is that both Thrust and Companion are such fully-developed presentations of K/S. It's obvious that the authors share a common vision of Kirk and Spock together sexually, and yet at the time those zines were printed very little other K/S had been published. There must have been a lot of discussion among fans to develop K/S to this point.

The Fragment story from Grup III is amazing to me in its explicit sexual detail. When Gerry Downes came out with the first Alternative zine and Leslie Fish wrote Shelter, they were truly breaking ground. And the editors of Companion and Thrust established standards for K/S that are still resonating in K/S literature today.

References

  1. a reference to the trope, Aliens Made Them Do It