If Love is Real Series
|Title:||various, see article|
|Fandom:||Starsky & Hutch|
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- If Love is Real: Colby (1997) originally published in The Fix #17
- If Love is Real: Helen; If Love is Real: Helen (1997) originally published in Cross the Line
- If Love is Real:Vanessa (1997) originally published in Indigo Boys #4 and The Indigo Stories of Starsky and Hutch
- If Love is Real: Starsky (May 1998) originally published in The Fix 18
- If Love is Real: Addiction (1999) originally published as a standalone zine, If Love is Real: Addiction
- If Love is Real: Conversations with Colby (October 2009) originally published in VegaSH Convention Fanzine
Chapters That Were Never Written
A 2001 comment by Flamingo:
I have a "Dobey" one in the works, which is also pre-show -- just how did S&H convince Dobey to let them become partners and why is it that he lets them get away with murder and why is he so close to them -- but I haven't made much progress in it lately. Also, I haven't had the time to come up with any new thoughts on what happens after Addiction. I'm open to ideas if anyone has any. 
Author's Notes on Publishing the Series in Different Zines
In 1999, Flamingo responded to a fan writer's question about how to alert fans that a story had prequels or sequels or other parts printed in different zines:
As the writer of a series of stories myself, I have some insight on this situation. I would suggest first off that if at all possible, you have series stories published in SH dedicated zines only, as opposed to mixed-media zines. I now have 5 stories out as part of my series and only 1 of them was published in a mixed media zine -- and it is the least read story in the series. SH fans will often hold out for dedicated zines and often won't purchase mixed media zines that only have 1 SH story in it. Also, there are so many mixed media zines it might be almost impossible for the SH reader to find your lone story in that specific zine. When I gave my story to a mixed media zine I did so because that zine was *published* by an SH zine publisher, so it was much more likely to be found. Also, I knew eventually all the SH stories in this mixed media zine would be collected into one large SH-only collection, and that the story would eventually end up in a dedicated zine.
Ultimately, of course, this is a question that would need to be addressed to the editor of the zine of story #2. However, in SH fandom it's unlikely that one editor would object to the mention of another SH zine since it is a small fandom and we all read each others zines. However, if your 2nd story were published in a zine that isn't closely associated with the fandom, and the publisher of that zine had a personal problem with the editor of your previous story.... These problems are *rare* however you need to think carefully about the placement of your other story. I've kept, and will continue to keep, all my series stories within the very small circle of SH publishers for availability. If I'm interested in branching into other market areas like mixed media zines (which I'm not) I would use other stories outside the series.
In setting up the second story it is important, and only fair to your readers, that you give them enough information about story No. 1 (without being boring or telling them the *whole* story) so that reading story 2 is comprehensible and enjoyable unto itself. However, it is not unusual to place an author's note at the *beginning* of the story before the title that tells readers what's going on. Such as: "Author's note: the following story is the 2nd in a series. The first story, "Bringing In the Sheaves," can be found in the SH zine, "Up The Creek Without A Paddle" Volume 14, from BlowYourNose Press (nerdstrom@...). This second story, while a continuation of the first, can, however be read completely independently from the 1st story." This gives your reader the option to take the plunge with the story or not. More importantly, if the reader already owns the zine with the 1st story in it, they can go back and peruse it and remind themselves of what is going on it. Also some people hate whatever they perceive as "unfinished," and absolutely don't want to see anything like this, so they can skip it. But the note belongs at the *beginning* of the story, not at the end when the information comes too late for the reader to act on it.
Okay, having said all this, why don't I follow my own advice? There are 5 stories in the If Love Is Real Series, scattered among various zines. (Unfortunately, info in the foreword of Addiction is incorrect and one of the stories was left out.) I have never put any Author's Notes in front of any of these stories. That is because I've deliberately set up these stories to be complete and separate units one from the other. If readers find the other stories, great, but I don't want them perceiving the series as something "unfinished" or that has to be read in consecutive order. In fact, consider the contents of this series I do think reading them one after the other would be detrimental to each of them, lending a sameness to theme and outcome that would simply seem repetitious if read in order. So I *want* people to discover them separately, sort of like picking up a history book and reading about 1894, then later going through the part about 1840. It's all relative, but not that much. Also, since I never know what's going to happen next, or even if there is going to be a next, I don't want people waiting for it to be "finished." Who knows if that will ever happen.More confused than before? ;-) 
Author Comments on the "First Time" Appeal of the Series
A 1999 comment:
I hear it from so many people who love established-relationship stories. Hats off to you folks. It would've never occurred to me that once "they're comfortable with each other" they would have a "wider range of interaction in the sack." This was a whole new concept to me when SH fans who were fond of established relationship stories first brought it up to me. Because to me, once "they're comfortable with each other" that's the death knell on interesting sex scenes. Snore city. Honey, not tonight, we have a meeting in the morning. Sunday, okay? And this time I won't fall asleep in the middle, I promise. :-D It is almost impossible for me to see an established relationship story, especially if they are the happy married couple, as having any sexual tension or interest. I almost never come up with plots that deal with this time frame. I think I invented the If Love Is Real series so I could have them have first-time sex scenarios over and over and over and over and put them in a situation where they can *never* get comfortable. I think the turn off for me is that whole "comfortable" thing. I don't want my characters to get comfortable. I want them to have problems. Which, hopefully, I can solve in bed! Then I'm happy! ;-) 
Reactions and Reviews
Flamingo is a fantastic writer, but what really intrigued me about this was the way she spans Starsky and Hutch's history from the Academy to the series by bringing in other characters from show canon. It's a five part series (and many of the parts have multiple chapters) that shows how timing is everything - wanting someone in a particular way at a particular time doesn't add up to a relationship. Nor do one or two sexual encounters based in grief or friendship. And that ever-popular distinction between loving someone and being in love with them just serves to complicate things further. The weakest part of the series is "Helen" as it tends to revisit what's happpened in the earlier sections, but "Addiction" stands on its own as a phenomenal piece dealing with the fall-out from Hutch's brush with heroin in the episode "The Fix". There's a scene where they re-enact what happened to Hutch, but with Starsky playing the role of victim. Hutch tries to show his partner what addiction feels like and Starsky wants to understand, but they get more than they bargained for. It's sexually-charged and utterly compelling. 
This series starts with the guys in the academy. John Colby announces he has had enough and is going to move on. But before he does so, he tells Hutch that Starsky has a thing for him.
Colby might have intended mischief, but he didn't lie. Starsk is in love with his new friend. Yet despite a past that included the occasional m/m encounter, he had no plans to try and seduce his future partner. When Starsky opens up to him, Hutch confesses to a bit of experimentation of his own. The two talk it out. Hutch loves Starsky too, but isn't in love with him. Still, he allows Starsky a night of physical intimacy. This sets in motion a dynamic that continues on through canon. Whenever the two are looking for comfort—after Vanessa leaves, after Helen's death, after Forrest—they turn to each other, and the physical release they can only find there.This series doesn't really end on an upbeat note. I've heard rumors that Flamingo had intended another chapter. I would really welcome that. What's already written however is rich with emotion and longing, and contains some of the blistering sex scenes Flamingo is known for. There's plenty of love here, and plenty of disappointment. The latter makes the former seem all the more precious. 
- January 2001 comments by Flamingo, from VenicePlace, quoted on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
- Flamingo, November 1999 comments at ThePits, a Starsky & Hutch mailing list, quoted on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
- November 26, 1999 comment by Flamingo at VenicePlace, quoted on Fanlore with permission from Flamingo
- a 2005 comment at Crack Van
- from Angst –- Ancasta