A Trekkie's Tale
|Star Trek Fanfiction|
|Title:||A Trekkie's Tale|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||online here and also posted to deviantART (not by the original author)|
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"A Trekkie's Tale"
"Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky," thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. "Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet - only fifteen and a half years old." Captain Kirk came up to her.
"Oh, Lieutenant, I love you madly. Will you come to bed with me?"
"Captain! I am not that kind of girl!"
"You're right, and I respect you for it. Here, take over the ship for a minute while I go get some coffee for us."
Mr. Spock came onto the bridge. "What are you doing in the command seat, Lieutenant?"
"The Captain told me to."
"Flawlessly logical. I admire your mind."
Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott beamed down with Lt. Mary Sue to Rigel XXXVII. They were attacked by green androids and thrown into prison. In a moment of weakness Lt. Mary Sue revealed to Mr. Spock that she too was half Vulcan. Recovering quickly, she sprung the lock with her hairpin and they all got away back to the ship.
But back on board, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Mary Sue found out that the men who had beamed down were seriously stricken by the jumping cold robbies, Mary Sue less so. While the four officers languished in Sick Bay, Lt. Mary Sue ran the ship, and ran it so well she received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Vulcan Order of Gallantry and the Tralfamadorian Order of Good Guyhood.However the disease finally got to her and she fell fatally ill. In the Sick Bay as she breathed her last, she was surrounded by Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott, all weeping unashamedly at the loss of her beautiful youth and youthful beauty, intelligence, capability and all around niceness. Even to this day her birthday is a national holiday of the Enterprise.
The Originator of the Term "Mary Sue"
a main story [in every Trek zine that she read] about this adolescent girl who is the youngest yeoman or lieutenant or captain ever in Starfleet. She makes her way onto the Enterprise and the entire crew falls in love with her. They then have adventures, but the remarkable thing was that all the adventures circled around this character. Everybody else in the universe bowed down in front of her. Also, she usually had some unique physical identifier—odd-colored eyes or hair—or else she was half-Vulcan. The stories read like they were written about half an hour before the zine was printed; they were generally not very good.Then came along this one story. ... This particular one not only had the young teenaged girl who was a lieutenant come on the bridge, where Kirk and Spock immediately fell in love with her—I think Scotty and McCoy did as well—but they all backed off and were very respectful because she only had eyes for Chekov. So during the adventure, everybody beams down to the planet and everybody gets captured by the aliens, and this character manages to spring them because—literally—she has a hairpin. When they get back to the ship, she's sick. She had caught something down there and she dies. And then she resurrected herself…
Smith went on to explain how "Mary Sue" became a shorthand for a particular character trope that she and others had identified in fanfiction:
PS: Anyway, because this was still the early 1970s, there were still a ton of these stories coming out. So, when we wanted a shorthand to refer to them, Sharon and I began to call them "Lieutenant Mary Sue" stories. We explained why the first couple of times we used it, but the term caught on because she's very identifiable: Here it is, that same character, and isn't it a shame because she's just so tiresome.
And then in the letter columns, we started seeing the writers react: "What's so wrong with my story? I'm just telling a story that I think is great." And we would fire back: "Yeah, but the problem is, the presence of the Mary Sue warped all the other characters in the story away from their known characterization." Because in fan fiction, you aren't writing stories about an unknown universe, and readers expect certain characterizations.
Q: So people began to pick up the term?PS: Sharon and I were driving it, of course, by saying this is a Mary Sue story, this is not a Mary Sue story. We did panels at some of the first media conventions, and there would be lively discussion: what does this mean? The concept spread and was taken up by other people. It wasn't always used as a derogatory term. The Mary Sue seemed to almost be a necessary stage for a writer.
Some Transformative Works
Many, many, many fanworks have been created as DIRECT anti-Mary Sues, as parodies of Mary Sues, and as fanworks that celebrate Mary Sue.
A Trekkie's Tale has also inspired a dramatic reading of the fanfic by TheDramaticReadings, as well as a meta essay, Ship's Log, Supplemental: A Trekkie's Tale that deconstructs Smith's intent with the (often misinterpreted) story and sets it in the context of 1970s Star Trek fandom. In 2019, Mr. Jackson created an 'animated film' version of the fic: Mary Sue story. "A Trekkie's Tale".
Mary Sue Meta
Reactions and Reviews
The General Concept
See Mary Sue for general reactions to the concept.
Wow...my favorite thing in the whole universe, Star Trek started the thing I hate the most, Mary sues...thats not logical
After a lot of searching, and then giving up, this little piece of fanzine history popped up in an eBay listing (in a bulk lot of Star Trek fanzines, no less.) Menagerie #2 is famous for one specific story, “A Trekkie’s Tale” by “Anonymous” (Actually editor Paula Smith.) This tiny little parody piece is a fundamental icon of fanfic history: it’s the story that gave the Mary Sue her name. This little poke at all the self-insert fantasy submissions the editor had to read gave all of us a handy label for the character type, one that is still being used over 40 years later. That’s a pretty good legacy for quick little frustration fic! ... #I've wanted to own this for a loooonng time #And now I do #How cool is that? 
Man, I remember that when I first stumbled upon A TREKKIE'S TALE I was kinda disappointed that it was pretty... normal. The original Lieutenant Mary Sue was paradoxically nowhere as Sue-ish as some characters in today's media and Internet.
Ah, the origin of the Mary-Sue herself! What horror!Thank you for sharing this (I do realize it's satire). I got a good laugh!
For a terrible story, it actually has decent spelling and grammar.
Kirk is perfectly in character. Fight me
- Fanfic / A Trekkie's Tale on TVTropes
- A reader's advice to writers: Beware of Mary Sue, a 2010 Salon.com article that referenced the origins of Mary Sue. (Accessed via the Wayback Machine as the original article link 404s).
- A conversation with Paula Smith, Transformative Works and Cultures no. 6, edited by Nancy Reagin and Anne Rubenstein. Published March 15, 2011 (Accessed January 26, 2021).
- Comment on A Trekkie's Tale Dramatic Reading, Peyton T. Kirk, 2014.
- Comment by Jakkubus, r/CharacterRant. Posted May 13, 2017 (Accessed January 30, 2021).
- Comment on The original Mary Sue story, Rookblonkorules. Published May 22, 2019 (Accessed January 26, 2021).
- Comment on A Trekkie's Tale Dramatic Reading, PRGME7, 2020.