K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits)/Issues 19-20
|K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) Issues|
|Issues 001-002||Issues 003-004||Issues 005-006||Issues 007-008||Issues 009-010||Issues 011-012||Issues 013-014||Issues 015-016||Issues 017-018||Issues 019-020||Issues 021-054|
|Title:||K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits)|
|Editor(s):||Central Mailers: BH (#1-#12), NS (#13-), DM (1988), LB (1993), BA (1997-1998)|
|Date(s):||1982 until at least 1998 (as print), however, it also moved online in 1996 to become K/S Circle|
|Frequency:||supposedly every two months but was more erratic than that|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
There were 54 issues published between 1982 and 1998.
K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) 19 was published in April 1986 (a few days before IDICon) and contains 60 pages. The deadline for next issue was May 25, 1985.
The central mailer was NS.
There were 16 tribs by 24 members.
Tribs: SBS (Intermission), PD (Furin #5), LB (Out Standing in a Field), DM (Zute's Twin Sister), SS (Starsailing with Sandy), JG (Unity of Opposites), EB (Milwaukee Mafia Missive), TGK (The Dragon's Lair #19), RKL (Ruth's Riteings), DCL (Perpetually Amazed), C (Seacat Trace's), JKW (Walker's Wisdom), CW (Gentlebeings), MLC (Greetings & Felicitations), M (The Other Side), LF (Lavender Critique #3- zine reviews)
- several con reports by MLC for the Creation Con that was held at the Oakland Hyatt Hotel March 9-10, 1986
- The Other Side of Paradise, fiction by MLC
- reviews by LF for The Voice #2, #3, #4, Dreams of the Sleepers, Daring Attempt #4, and Nome #8, see those pages
- a fan campaign: Star Trek Fans and the Gulf and Western Stock Proposal
From DCL:You bring up an interesting topic in your comment about how slash fiction seems to present a strong message that the only valuable relationships must be sexual ones. You question what that says about our platonic friendships with women. In reading K/S and other slash fiction, I sometimes get the feeling that for some writers (and readers), LOVE and SEX compute as one word. But we all know that love can take many forms--brotherly, parental, romantic, spiritual, to name only a few --and only a minority of those has sex as an appropriate outcome. The whole point of K/S (to my way of thinking) is that it is a love relationship of equals who have decided to share their lives. It is an idealized "one and only" relationship. Great sex within a committed relationship is of course the ideal situation. But that does not mean that all of one's other friendships are worthless because they don't include great sex. In the past, and to a large degree even now, males and females were reared with stereotypic views of expected behavior, experience, and appearance for each sex. It is almost a cliche that men and women can never expect to truly understand one another because of those differences. However, as women have known for ages, and scholars are just beginning to study, our strongest, deepest friendships have mostly been with other women. Only in another of the same sex can one find true psychological intimacy. Historically, there's a wealth of letters, diaries, even poems that attest to the friendship, affection and love (usually platonic) of one woman for another. So, I feel that our platonic friendships with one another are of vital importance. The transitional periods in my life when female friends were hard to find were the times I truly felt bereft. Sex is only one form of sharing. The kinds of sharing we do with our closest female friends are as meaningful and enriching as any purely sexual relationship. It may be the closest thing any of us will have to the "bond."
From EB:in my case, K/S has not started a progression to S/H, H/J; B/D, etc. I've done some reading in other slash pairings, but they did not move me to the degree that K/S does. I realize that there are a large number of fans who enjoy most male/male material. I find that I am not one of them. For me, this is neither positive or negative; it's just one of our many human differences.
From JG:I am very pleased to be able to tell you that the original illos which Suzan Lovett did for That Book (and which did not appear in That Book) will be published. Indeed, the artist graciously agreed to do additional illos to take the sequence out to the end of the book's plot. Unfortunately the illos will be cluttered up with a lot of poems by some excessively voluble person named F. Poste  --but you can always ignore those, and the illos are definitely worth it. I'm so glad that they will not be lost to fandom.
From JG:Two fan panels at ClipperCon dealt with the relationship between reality and fantasy, and I was interested to see how many fans explicitly opted for "escapism." (Edi was on one of the panels, and I hope she can be persuaded to give an account from her perspective.) Panelists and audience spoke eloquently of the fan activities they engage in purely for love, but when asked whether they were able to pour that same energy and joy and passion into their lives outside fandom (and everyone there did seem, for better or worse, to have a life outside fandom), some replied, "No, I have an unsatisfying job that doesn't look as though it's ever going to get any better, but there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm not even trying." I came away wondering, does fandom drain energy away from our "real" lives, making it progressively harder and harder to make constructive changes? Though fandom is a terrific outlet for untapped creative energies, I see a serious problem in keeping all that energy within fandom, rather than directing it outward, into our jobs and our lives in society. Do we really expect STAR TREK to sustain us for the rest of our lives?
At another fan panel at ClipperCon on "who can play Kirk and Spock," everyone in the room agreed that no one but Shatner and Nimoy can play Kirk and Spock, and most of us (me included) agreed that STAR TREK without Kirk and Spock is STAR TREK without its essential magic. If that's true, then what will those who find STAR TREK fandom the only thing of value in our lives with the rest of our existence after the STAR TREK cast has gone to its great reward? When we're 90-odd, will we still gather around the TV set (in our nursing homes) to watch old STAR TREK videos; will we still be writing explicit "first time" stories and slavery stories and pre-reform bonded warrior stories? Will we have happy memories to look back on besides our involvement in fandom?
We profess to admire Kirk and Spock, and our love for them shines forth in every line of our stories and art and poetry. Yet, ironically, many of us have chosen to live in a way that is the very antithesis of Kirk's and Spock's iives. Kirk and Spock are not "escapists." They are wholeheartedly and passionately committed to their work and are satisfied with nothing less than the best possible performance at their jobs. They don't come home at 5 PM and plunge into a world of fantasy in which they spend the rest of their time. (Er, I agree that Kirk and Spock very well may come home at 5 PM and plunge right into their current bedroom fantasy with each other, at least on occasion. I just don't think they'd spend their free time that way.) They are dedicated to exploration and discovery and building a better world. They don't say "why bother? There's nothing I can do to change things." They approach a tough problem as a challenge, and tackle it with courage and guts and skill. And isn't that what we admire about them? How can we admire them so much yet refuse to be like them? Is it because we're satisfied to live through them vicariously? Or because admiring imaginary characters has robbed us of the energy to live our own lives to the fullest?These are not new questions in fandom. Six years ago, a fan who had just gafiated from STAR TREK fandom wrote to me wondering "if the show inspired us or drained us, hence leaving us void of emotion or drama or energy to give to our real Iives." I don't think this issue can be reduced to which of the two classic fannish slogans we adhere to, FIAWOL (Fandom Is A Way Of Life) or FIJAGDH (Fandom Is Just A God-Damned Hobby). Those more knowledgeable than I should correct me, but I don't think that FIAWOL literally is understood, by those who embrace it, to mean "my entire like is spent being a fan." Most FIAWOL adherents do not, in fact, make their living being fans; rather, they typically spend at least eight hours a day interacting with "mundanes." Rather, FIAWOL means,"fandom is the only important thing in my life; I endure, but do not enjoy, that part of my life spent in non-fannish activities." FIJAGDH, on the other hand, means "fandom is just one of many (not especially meaningful) activities I engage in to pass the time." Both slogans are premised on that alienation and compartmentalization that characterizes the culture of traditional, male-dominated SF fandom. Why do I emphasize "male-dominated"? Well, because, as folklore has it, we women are supposed to be more holistic, more determined to integrate the various aspects of our lives. Our own mythology says that we refuse to separate our values and emotions and feelings from anything we do. We pride ourselves on being "whole persons"; we reject compartmentalization. Our interest in "character-based" SF such as STAR TREK as opposed to blueprints and technology is supposed to be part of that or ientation to the "whole person." So it's very strange indeed to see women embracing -- indeed, advocating -- that very compartmentalization that we rejected back in the early days of the movement. If we took FIAWOL literally, wouldn't it mean, "I approach every thing in life with the same values I practice in fandom"? Wouldn't it mean being open to alternatives, to the future, being unwilling blindly to accept "things as they are"? Wouldn't it mean applying imagination, creativity, critical awareness and a a healthy sense of wonder to everything we do?
From JG:STAR TREK and the Feminine Mystique. On the other hand, maybe our own "escapism" and "alienation" is uniquely feminine after all. Perhaps we have structured so much of our lives around Kirk and Spock that our own capacity for self-determination is compromised. By putting the rest of our lives on "hold" while we concentrate on Kirk and Spook, aren't we behaving much like dependent, barefoot-and-pregnant-in-the-kitchen women whose lives are built around men? Most of us would emphatically reject the traditional notion that a woman should "give up on" the rest of her life once she's "found a man." But isn't that just exactly what some of us have done upon "finding" Kirk and Spock? Or S+H, B+D, etc, etc, etc. The women's community of STAR TREK fandom has enormous capacity to provide support and strength to its members. But because we came together as we did -- out of love for a couple of (imaginary!!!!) men, I think it's all the more dangerous for us to become so involved in fandom that we neglect everything else. Now that fandom has nourished our creative energies, it's up to us — individually or in concert -- to turn those energies back into our own lives. Some fans have suggested to me that they can't change their lives because women simply don't have sufficient opportunities in the "mundane"world. I'd be the last to deny that women still suffer from prejudice and stereotype; but you don't have to be a civil rights lawyer to know that you can't claim you've been discriminated against when you've never even tried. Unfortunately, in my eight years in fandom, I've known all too many fen who simply haven't tried, I'm comparing fans to women I know outside fandom. I can list dozens and dozens of women I know outside fandom who, faced with an unsatisfying job or life situation, simply went out and changed it. Sometimes that meant getting a new job or moving to another part of the country. Sometimes it meant going back to school or retraining. And some times it meant leaving a prestigious but unsatisfying "professional" job for a blue collar craft.
From JG:I love STAR TREK fan fiction; and I have found that the more fan fiction expresses exclusively the concerns of women who are bored, alienated, frustrated and passive in mundane life, the more it is removed from STAR TREK, and the less satisfying it is to read. STAR TREK is not "Emotional Cripples in Space," yet that's increasingly what we read in fan fiction nowadays. And it's a shame to reduce STAR TREK to "Emotional Cripples in Space" when it has so much to say to us about ourselves and our world. Gene Roddenberry intended STAR TREK as commentary on contemporary society, and I believe his vision still has great validity today. I can't tell you how often I've found in STAR TREK a beacon shedding light on today's issues, providing ethical perspective and clarity.
From JG:I have the first edition of KILLING TIME and it suggests K/S far less than any of Marshak & Culbreath's Trek fiction and nonfiction. I've heard many accounts of this edition's "censorship," including one from Della herself, and have yet to make sense of it. I'd like to read a concrete account of who substituted what for what and why.
From JG:Joanna Russ certainly didn't try to set herself up as the feminist voice of K/S. If others have done that with her views, it's not her fault.
From JG:What protects us [from TPTB and legal action] isn't that Paramount saw a copy of Thrust back in 1978 or 1979 and declined to do anything about it; in itself, that would protect only Thrust. What protects us, rather, is Paramount's acquiescence in an entire industry of zine publishing. Paramount knows very well that Thrust is not unique, that many K/S zines have been published. Paramount can undo the estoppel it's created by announcing a definitive change in policy; I doubt it ever will, for the dangers of "crying wolf" are obvious. I agree that fans have been much too paranoid about K/S fandom, and I hope too that David Gerrold's comments bring new fen into the K/S fold.
From PD:Many of you know that Robin Hood has started a project to encourage fans to buy voting shares in Gulf & Western (the corporation that owns Paramount). The immediate goal is to get fans together to attend the annual shareholders' meeting in March, 1987, which will be held either in New York or Los Angeles. Robin is the central clearing house for information about how to buy shares, how much they cost, how to get the best deal in brokers' fees, and the location of the annual meeting. A questionnaire that Robin and I put together is enclosed. Please fill it out and return it to Robin if you're interested in the project. Let's buy a piece of STAR TREK and with it, the power to put our views before the folks who control it.
From LB:I don't believe I said previously that thematic intellectual analysis was not entertaining. Nor did I say that stories which are intellectually stimulating are not entertaining. My comments were directed at the technique of good critical analysis. What I said was that to take pot shots at stories, (or at a genre), for not fulfilling a function for which they were not intended is poor and unfair criticism. I still think so. There are other arenas for social change. Though a well done story with "redeeming social value" is great, I still think most of us go to K/S for fun.
From SS:Just read a Starsky and Hutch zine which was really weird. Most of it was straight but some was slash. The naughty bits were printed with blue type on red and white paper. It was annoying, illegible, and ultimately unread (at least by me) but it was safe from illicit xeroxing.
Am reading lots of Bodie and Doyle, most of the stories are first timers (a personal favorite) and refreshingly one or both are frequently either gay or bi. Am a little tired of 2 straight men overwhelmed by an uncontrollable passion for each other. The only drawback is they usually vow eternal, faithful love for each other immediately following the first kiss. Couldn't we have a little more reality in our fantasies?
Also reading lots of Harry and Johnny, which I love. All stories are in one universe. One first time story. One death story. Lots of good plot, interesting characters, fun illos, an evolving relationship with ups and downs. Nice stuff. Heartily reccommend it. To you skeptics who say it can't be, watch Sudden Impact( a Dirty Harry movie), except for the murderer being female and Harry being heterosexual, there are a hell of a lot of parallels between it and H/J.
Have been renting lots of Clint Eastwood movies. Never used to like him, but after seeing all those lovely nude illoes of him, he's getting to be a real favorite. Surprisingly, he's not a bad actor and he is a pretty good director.Just read a lovely pre K/S novel , CAPTIVES . Good stuff. It was a la slave story which I don't ordinarily like, but it was well done.
From SS:Don't see why the Russ essay should become 'gospel'—there's too much other opinion and discussion on the subject around. Every issue of this APA and of NTS, for example. I enjoyed Russ' comments but didn't agree with all of them. Also appreciated your five reasons. "Four" is a definite concern, and that aspect often makes me uncomfortable too. Can't K & S just be close friends and co-officers? Yes, of course! But I love the slash stuff anyway.
From LB:Does anyone really know what's going on with Helena Seabright and her problems with her zine ALIEN BROTHERS? She had a letter in INTERSTAT 100 and I've heard some other gossip as well. Does anyone care? (And I'm just nosey really.) I don't think any of us in K/S should publish an author's real name along with her pseudonym, like she did for Vivian Gates — those of us who feel the need for a pseudonym usually have reasons.
From LB:I hate THE BOND. I've read too many stories in which it's used instead of plot. You know what I mean, how many times have you read stories in which Kirk and Spock have gone through one mind meld too many and have accidentally been bonded together and brought on pon farr. Give me a break. It's a shame that such fascinating and unique plot device has been so abused. Oh well.
From NS:I was not taken by the latest pro book (Crisis on Centaur ll, I think). I really dislike it when the authors start creating characters' backgrounds that are central to the plot but really don't fit In with the series's base line facts at all. (Also, remember the David Gerrold novel where he had Kirk swearing "Tiberius" when he meant to say"shit"? Come on!l Would you use your own name as a swear word?)
From SBS:I would like to ask you folks that DON'T put together your APA'S to do so. I can't be collating your zine for you, I have enough things to do by putting the APA together without doing YOUR work for you. So PLEASE next issue help out by doing your own work. If I get anyones zines that have not already been collating I will send them back. I hate to so mean but I don't get paid to do this and I feel it's only fair to me. Also at this time I would like to talk about zines coming in late. I put together the APA on the first, after the deadline. I would like all zines in by no later than that, those of you who use 4th class mail to get your zine out to me, well they aren't getting to me in time. If you know that you are going to be late PLEASE drop me a line or call and lets see if we can work something out.
From SBS:Without fairly consistent contributions from the majority of the members discussion, give and take, real conversation is impossible. I realize that over the last year my record of submission has been horrible: just one zine in the last five issues. The usual excuses (lack of time due to personal crises or bouts of illness or family emergencies) could be trotted out, all with at least some degree of truth, but it really comes down to 'I didn't write a zine because I didn't want to (badly enough)".
This was strange, for me. The newer readers may find this hard to believe but I used to be one of the most faithful contributes. In fact the only reason my "attendance" record for the first 12 issues wasn't perfect is that the PO ate one of my contributions. And this wasn't out of any sense of duty or desire to keep the APA in good health. Each issue was eagerly awaited, read immediately upon arrival, and had its margins filled with scribbled notes to remind me contest this point and question that conclusion and raise this other related issue. Writing my zines was a pleasure, not a chore I had to (lately unsuccessfully) force myself to tackle.
What caused this change? Mainly the things that others have already pointed out. Some very thought-provoking members dropped out. Others stopped contributing regularly. There was an influx of new members (which was a very desirable thing in itself but it takes lost people a few issues to become comfortable with writing zines and "get up to speed" on the current topics.) The 'debates' often turned into personalities and sniping. Issues got obscured by people misinterpreting or accusing others of misinterpreting what was said. Zines became filled some with friendly exchanges of persanal news and greetings than considerations of Trek subjects. (I think this is what Judith meant by saying the discussion didn't seem as "meaty' as in the past.) These changes have weakened this APA. Please understand: this isn't an attack on any leaber in particular or the membership as a whole, my hands are as bloody as anyone's. None of us set out to deliberately lessen the value of the APA but many of us have (I suspect) failed to give it our best.
I have abandoned my old line title. Next issue I will start a new one as a symbol of a fresh beginning, one I hope will not be marred by the mistakes I've made in the past. This zine, as the title "Intermission" implies, is a pause while I admit past failings, air some gripes and explain what I intend to do.
The most obvious change will be in format; in the past I always consented on every zine in each issue as a bow to "APS etiquette". The intention was to be polite (a way of saying "Thank You" to the writer for the pleasure I got from her zine) but the effect, when coupled with the fact that I can only afford to xerox a mail number of pages, was that I had to abbreviate ay involvement in some discussions and sit out others entirely. From now on I intend to concentrate on just a couple of topics each issue so I can get into them more fully. Please understand that my failing to answer a particular zine doesn't mean I didn't read or enjoy or agree with it — just that my interest was already caught up in something else.Another change is that I will no longer respond to complaints or accusations that I think are unfounded. In the past I have rather subscribed to the theory that "silence signifies assent" but on the whole I don't think the endless explanations of "that isn't what I said" or "you're twisting my words" add anything to the discussion and I've seen no evidence that the complainer/accuser is ever swayed by further restating the original views. (Naturally this doesn't mean that I won't answer requests for clarification or statements of opposing arguments or true differences over ideas: the idea is to avoid personal attacks not debates!
From SBS:Interesting point about fans' high rate of childlessness. Does fanactivity prevent pregnancy? (Maybe Xerox fumes are contraceptive!) Or does a lack of children drive women into fandom to fulfill some need or another? A third possibility, of course, is that the same set of traits cause women to reject motherhood and embrace fandom independently of each other. I'll leave that to the psychologists among us to debate that one. I wonder, though, if the answer is something a little more mundane: Women with children have less time/energy/money to devote to ANY hobby. The latest figures I've seen say that more than half of all mothers are also working full time. If the "typical working mother" is putting in a 40 hour week, running her household, trying to spend as much time with her children, shoehorning in a few hours for her husband, etc, I don't think it's too surprising that few are able to find time to read (let alone write) zines. Perhaps we should be wondering at the fact that some DO pull off the trick!
Thanks for including the messages from your BBS! Wish I could call up your board and join in, but my phone bills look dreadful enough sticking with New England ones. (Did you know that those boards are addictive? I had to stop calling for a couple of weeks while the modem was undergoing surgery and I literally had withdrawal symptoms. Each night around the time I generally called, my fingers would get all tappy and restless.) I suspect that those forums may become an important factor in fandom, especially in the rapid spread of news. You can post a question one evening and sign back on again two days later to find answers from half a dozen established or soon- to-be fan friends. Of course you are just substituting the tyranny of Ma Bell for that of the P.O.
K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) 20 was published in June 1986 (deadline for next issue was July 25, 1985) and contains 75 pages.
There are 17 tribs from 25 members. Vel Jaeger gave Fanlore blanket permission to quote her on this wiki, and her name is used in full here.
This issue contains a full-page flyer for a conference in Philadelphia called "Third Annual Conference : Real Jobs in the Community" that was held May 17, 1986 at the Adams Mark Hotel. There is also a 4-page flyer for Octocon V: Creating the Future (a production of The Spellbinders, INC and Star Klique: "After four years of no Octocon, 1986 sees the presentation of Octocon V.")
Tribs: NS (Ramblings, LF (Lavender Diversity #12, #13), JO (Notes from a Neofan), MB and GO (San Francisco is a Beautiful City), EB ( Milwaukee Mafia Missve), PD (Redford Rot), SBS (My Zine and Welcome to It), DCL (Perpetually Amazed), AB (Tail Recursives #5) Vel Jaeger (Introduction), T'P (Outstanding in the Field), PD (Furin #6), JG (Unity of Opposites), DM (Zute's Identical Twin Sister)
- Secrets and Scandals, part 3 by LF (the first two parts were not published in this apa, and the author provides this summary: "WHAT HAS COME BEFORE; Spock has arranged, as a cover for K/S, to marry a lesbian, half-Vulcan Starfleet officer whose Vulcan name is T'Lenike and whose Terran name is Margaret Button. Her father. Admiral Patrick Button, has discovered that she was sexually involved with Yeoman (There is an emirate in Yeoman) Liu Tzu-shu, which is contrary to Starfleet regs. against fraternization. Margaret Button's Captain, Peter Langstrorn, was aware of this violation and did nothing. This has infuriated Admiral Dutton and he vowed to establish a commission to investigate and eradicate fraternization throughout the service. Captain Langstrorn believes that fraternization is pretty common and that all he did wrong was "get caught between two Duttons". Meanwhile, Sarek has found out about K/S through hiring a private investigator, and has moved to separate Kirk and Spock."
- detailed account by MB and GO of watching some of the filming of the third Star Trek movie in San Francisco
- an IDICon con report by PD
- a MediaWest*Con report by NS
- full-page illo by DCL
- small illo by Vel Jaeger
- an untitled story by DM and L (a round robin)
- Vel Jaeger's introduction to fandom, see Vel's Fannish Memories
From JG:Sometimes when I read your zines, [JG], I think you can't possible be a fellow fan because so much of what you say about fandom and our reasons for being in it are really condescending. For instance, your definitions of FIAWOL and FIJAGDH were really amazingly negative. "FIAWOL means, fandom is the only important thing in my life; I endure, but do not enjoy, that part of my life spent in non-fannish activities.' "FIJAGDH, on the other hand, means 'fandom is just one of many (not especially meaningful) activities I engage in to pass the time.'
Now wait just a minute. What is this "not especially meaningful" shit?
The way you phrased it, we can't win for losing. Either fans are totally obsessed with fandom and only endure the rest of their lives where they must exist in order to make money for fannish interests, or if they have many other interests then those interests aren't "especially meaningful". Where do you fit in? Do you endure being a lawyer or is it just not especially meaningful to you? Sounds pretty awful doesn't it? If that isn't what you meant, I apologize, but I was very angry when I read parts of your zine.
Your ideas about fandom draining energy away from our real lives is certainly worth considering. I wonder though, if that isn't something that can happen with any enjoyable activity or hobby, that it can take precedence over other more practical activities.
Certainly if you place the "real" world versus the fannish, the fannish is lacking something. It is a fantasy world of course. But maybe that's part of the problem. Fandom is an alternative way of spending free time and is just as valid as sports, stamp collecting, flying, whatever. Fandom is not and ought not to be an alternate to reality. You said that, didn't you?This did not make as much sense as I hoped it would. You make valid points about some of the flaws in fandom but sometimes when I read your writing I see you in opposition to fandom and appearing superior to fellow fans and that bothers me. I think one of the great things about fandom is the equality that can be between fans.
From JG:I agree that it's statistically more common for Spock to be the dominant partner in K/S sex scenes. It's an interesting phenomenon in the development of K/S, for back in the early days. Kirk was more often the dominant partner.
In early 1979, when I was just discovering K/S, out of curiosity I wrote an analysis of all the K/S stories I could find (I gave it to a zine that never came out), and found that Spock not only took the "subordinate" position in sex scenes, but he played a stereotypically "feminine" role in other ways (e.g. being the emotionally supportive person in the relationship, although Kirk more often played that role in the series — "Journey to Babel," "Amok Time," etc.). Only in pon farr stories did Spock play the role of the "dominant" partner. In the first "Companion" volume it was established explicitly that Kirk was the "dominant" partner and that only rarely did he receive penetration.Over the years, there's been an enormous change. I wonder why? I also wonder whether authors portrayals of Spock's and Kirk's respective positions in sex scenes varies according to to whether the author is a Kirk or a Spock fan. As a Kirk fan, I tend to picture my hero enjoying sex more or less as I enjoy it (well, it really isn't quite the same, but you get the picture). It's hard for me to imagine being the "penetrator" as, obviously, I have no experience with that role. One thought that's occurred to me is that the women who wrote the early K/S stories were interested in exploring, through Kirk, what it's like to experience sex as a man. Then perhaps we became more comfortable putting ourselves in these stories, and began portraying Kirk's sexual experience more in terms of what's pleasurable to us. On the surface, that explanation would seem to apply only to Kirk fans, and according to Dot's questionnaire we're a minority in fandom. However, the questionnaire also indicated that the largest group of K/S fans like both characters equally so perhaps it may have some validity.
From JG:I too hate THE BOND. It's misused to avoid having to write a real story. I'm tired of long, technical discursi on hitherto-undiscovered aspects of Vulcan physiology-cum-telepathy, unique to each story and utterly necessary if the author has any hope of moving the plot from point A to Point B. I'm also tired of stories in which McCoy vainly searches all known medical literature for information about the Vulcan-sexual-syndrome-of-the-month affecting the principals, though said condition is an everday affair on Vulcan. However, I have to admit I've been guilty of these expedients myself, in the few pieces of fan fiction I've written. Even Syn Ferguson, in COURTS OF HONOR (see below for gushing superlatives) was not completely innocent. I guess the reason we keep writing these stories in which THE BOND serves as a deus machina is partly inexperience and partly because THE BOND serves as a symbol of the extraordinary tie between the two men, their being destined for one another.
From LRB:I agree with all your superlatives about COURTS OF HONOR. It's definitely the best piece of Treklit ever written. Syn's prose is magnificent by any standard. Also agree about the many nits that can be picked. I found the plot rather gerry-built in places, while at other times, the drama in the novel suffered from over-determination (too many causes for a given effect).
From LMS:Has the computer made you more productive? I've been considering one for a year now but can't bring myself to plop down that kind of money... But I hate typewriters and love word processors, so it seems inevitable. Usually I write things longhand and then cut the paragraphs and sentences apart and push them around and tape them together...it's silly, really. But it makes a good excuse for not writing much, huh?
From EB:I attended Norwescon in March. There was no Trek-relateded programming that I was aware of or could recall, but it was still worthwhile because of the guest of honor, Anne McCaffrey. Her dragons are among my favorite fictional creations. I especially enjoyed hearing about her childhood (she claims she was a brat and had no friends except for animals) and her move to Ireland where she now lives in a home called Dragonhold. I find I have less and less interest in the bulk of the programming at these general sf cons. Most of the new movies being promoted at them seem either offensive or excessively stupid. Makes you positively nostalgic for the old Trek cons before the movies came out and everyone could start their own rumor about, how ST was going to be revived. Guess I'd better try a specialty con next time.
From LF:Clippercon, in Baltimore. I agree with Dorothy and Judith that Jimmy Doohan was definitely not at his best at that con. The problem—as usual—was alcohol. I've seen a lot of jimmy (including private, small-group parties with him)... Alcohol makes him lose his sense of discretion -- and then he tends to make what Judith describes as "snide remarks about other members of the ST cast." Now, at a private party with a few people who can be trusted to keep their mouths shut, this may be toler able; but at a large con with several hundred present, many of whom are young and new to fandom, it is definitely ill-advised.
But in defense of Jimmy, though this does not constitute an ex cuse, I really ought to say that he's not the only one--he's just the one who has been most outspoken. I have the distinct impres sion that Shatner (especially) is not universally beloved by the rest of the cast. It's not only Jimmy who clearly feels some re sentment toward him. Maybe this kind of competitiveness and hostility toward the "star" by supporting actors is an occupational hazard of the industry. It seems fairly typical.I have seen all the actors in person, except for Shatner and Michelle Nichols, and the only one of them whom I have never heard to make anything remotely resembling a snide remark--about anybody--is Nimoy. (Nimoy is also the only member of the bridge crew about whom I have never heard anybody else in the cast make a snide re mark, either. Maybe there's a lesson in that for all of us.)
From LF:James Doohan may or may not be likeable. Maybe he was off his feed at Clippercon. Maybe he was going through a bad time in his life that made him feel nasty at that particular time. Regardless, he is a very talented actor who deserves respect. Perhaps he is resentful because his talents have been so under-utilized. This would make him feel pessimistic about his career, and angry at himself and everyone else. This is just speculation based on how I might feel in his place. He probably has ambitions for himself that haven't been, and now probably won't be , fulfilled. This could make anyone cantankerous.
From LF:Regarding watching re-runs at age 90 and escapism. There's nothing wrong with that. Lots of people watch old movies because they consider them better that what is currently being produced. It is also not as if STAR TREK were the first example of a literary phenomenon that became a life long obsession for some people. Have you ever heard of the Baker Street Irregulars? Do you know that there are people who have lived, breathed and thought nothing but Sherlock Holmes for almost an entire lifetime? Do you know that there are other people doing the same as we are with K/S, only it's with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover]? I don't understand how anyone can be obsessed with one thing forever, but it seems perfectly harmless. It's their lives, and if that's what they want to do with it, I won't gainsay them. Besides, they are elaborating on what may be considered an important cultural myth in the future. How do you know that K/S will never have any significance? So very few fans are heroes like Kirk and Spock. Neither was Edgar Rice Burroughs like Tarzan. He invented Tarzan to escape from being an invalid. Tarzan has became archetypical and the world would be poorer if he had never been invented. Tolkien (who's got a whole obsessive fandom for his universe) said that the only people who are opposed to escape are those who have the mentality of jailers. I tend to agree with him. I do think, however, that forever writing and reading formula stories such as standard first times, slavery stories and pre-Reform bonded warrior stories could get dull. At least, for me it would. If one is going to escape, it should be more interesting than what you escaped from.
From AB:I must admit that I do have a life outside of fandom. I may not have an exciting job, but I am active in various political organizations and I am quite active in networking with my co-religionists. I am definitely trying to change the world. As to whether I will have any degree of success, who knows? Nevertheless, I never criticize anyone for failing to be heroic in their lives. Should we rebuke soldiers for failing to receive the Medal of Honor? The reason why heroism is so valued is because it's a comparitively rare quality. If everyone had that strength, then Kirk and Spock would be taken as a matter of course. Don't you know that most men live unsatisfying lives in frustrating jobs that they don't feel they can change? I believe Marx wrote about it. It's not just women. It's most people in this or any society. Most people tend to inertia and lack of courage. I know alot of people doing brave and unusual things with their lives, and so do you, but we know some pretty extraordinary individuals. How can you expect everyone to be like that?
From SBS:When I was a new fan, I was blown away by my first slave story (alright, so it was the Prize). I now know that slave stories are not uncommon and not as revolutionary an idea as I first thought. If you are about to comment on a story's uniqueness, you need a background of information that lets you know that the same plot has not been used 55 times in the past year. I call such standard plots set pieces. There is nothing wrong with set pieces if they are done well. There are set pieces because people enjoy them/find value in them. In K/S, set pieces I have identified include: (1) stranded on a planet/cave/etc. Spock in pon farr stories; (2) pre-reform Vulcan slave stories; (3) Prime universe Kirk or Spock captured by slavers (usually Orions) and saved by the other; and (4) developing trust in the Mirror universe, as well as others. The point is that a certain knowledge of the genre makes for a more informed critique.
From SBS:There's a saying that goes like this: there are two type of people: those who divide people into two types and those who don't. Let me establish which I fall into by pointing out a couple of divisions that seem to exist in fandom.
Active Star Trek fans seem to fall into two categories: those who are in fandom because their love of Star Trek makes them want to devote time to writing stories, attending cons, reading zines, organizing clubs, joining APA's, etc.; and, those who enjoy the interactions and activities that active fandom entails, who are in this particular fandom because they like ST more than other TV shows or merely by default — maybe the person who introduced them to fandom was herself a ST fan.
I don't know what proportion of fans fall into each category, but the second is certainly more than a token. Consider: how many of us have written about other fans (or ourselves) shifting allegiance to another fandom? This writer is only working in Starsky and Hutch these days. That publisher is now putting out a Remington Steele fanzine. Personally, I find it hard to understand this ability to switch fandoms so easily — it seems to imply that the shows themselves are basically interchangeable — as if Trek were not different in kind from The Prisoner. (But then, I'm a diehard Type A.)
A quick way to tell which you are: if you got sick of ST Fandom for some reason (loss of interest in ST, overdose of fanactivity, disgust from dealing with a particular fan or group of fans) would you A) drop out of fandom entirely? or B) become active in another (say, Starsky and Hutch) fandom?
The other split is very similar, but applies to K/S fans in particular: Are you "into" K/S because you're attracted by the whole idea of male/male bonding or find it enjoyable to read about homosexual lovemaking? Or are you "into" K/S because your attraction to Kirk and Spock, and the bond they share, leads you to extrapolate or strengthen it by including sex? If you're not sure a test similar to the first: if you became tired of K/S would you C) switch to another slash fandom? or D) go back to being a general ST fan?
My saying that this split exists is based on statements fans have made, here and in NTS, about their attraction to and involvement in multiple slash-fandoms. Once again (this time I'm a D) I admit I don't understand the other type. Is reading a S/H or H/J zine really just as satisfying to you as a K/S one? If it's the bond itself, or the sex itself, that pleases you — then aren't the two men involved just a pair of attractive bodies to be tagged with appropriate physical characteristics and whichever set of names catches your fancy?
I'm sure everyone has heard the hoary joke about the woman seeing a psychiatrist for the first time, who says her family made her come because she likes pancakes. When he says there's nothing abnormal about that, he likes them himself, she cheerily invites him over to see her six roomfuls of them. (Patience, this does have something to do with K/S!) When I first learned of K/S I was immediately drawn to the idea but had quite a bit of trouble fitting it into my "map" of How Star Trek Really Is. Watching the episodes after that I picked up on glances, expressions, touches that hadn't registered on me before that I could point to as "proof" that K/S was, at least, no more outrageous than dozens of other extrapolations fandom has given birth to. Even more heartening, I read stories and letters from other fans who saw the same things: "Look! I'm not crazy! I'm not imagining it!" Other fans' belief in K/S seemed to bolster the validity of my own.
And then. And then, like that psychiatrist, I discover that "liking pancakes" can mean very different things to different people. Mary Sue, whose views on K/S seemed to mesh nicely with my own, is now discussing the existence of S/H and H/J and B/D with the exact same degree of conviction. To me, someone's belief in the "reality" of K/S is much less persuasive it that person also "sees" a slash relationship in just about every movie and TV show with a pair of attractive men in it. Instead of thinking she's picking up on hints embedded in the shows I begin to wonder if her "eye of the beholder" is being misled by slashes painted on her glasses.And, since we share the same belief in K/S, doubting her means I must doubt myself. Does the evidence for K/S really exist or are we creating it? Is it what we see — or just what we're looking for?
From SBS:For me, a significant portion of the attraction of K/S lies in its uniqueness — that these two men share something deeper, more meaningful, more eternal that just the bond between any two work partners and drinking buddies — and so considering a similar bond/relationship to exist between Han and Luke, and Napoleon and Ilya, and Batman and Robin, and (Who knows? Maybe the incest barrier has fallen) Simon and Simon would weaken its pull. How is the bond between Kirk and Spock rare and special if a basically identical relationship exists in every other TV show that happens to have two attractive male stars? I don't know if I'm expressing this at all clearly — it's similar to the distinction many of us draw when we insist that Kirk and Spock are not homosexuals who have fallen in love with each other but rather two men who have become homosexually involved because they love each other.
From JO:It's 80 degrees and so beautiful outside that for the first time I've made my "transportable" live up to its name: my Kaypro 2 and I are perched on a somewhat rickety picnic table in the almost shade of a maple tree full of baby leaves. Kindred Spirits #19 on the left, a pitcher of lime rickeys on the right — THIS is how woman was meant to apa!
From JO:I do find that I prefer the novels as they permit more time for character and plot development. I thought CAPTIVES was excellent pre-K/S along with TO INVITE THE NIGHT. Of course BI and NIGHTVISIONS are at the top of the list. I thoroughly enjoyed DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS but found myself while reading the sequel wishing for some flesh and blood encounters again. Hope Della gets bodies and souls back together again soon.
Some of the British zines were atrocious - I won't mention any titles - while those I thought quite good (CLASS ASS, LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY, THE VOICE), were excellent but lacked the emotional intensity of the American zines. There is a definite "British" reserve in the better zines. I am anxiously awaiting COH and COMMAND DECISION. I hope the former sees the light of day soon.I find myself drawn to the stories that emphasize the more realistic aspects of a relationship such as conflict and confrontation. Let's face it, life can't be a paradise all of the time for our two heroes. LESSONS, SECOND LESSON and A FEW LAUREL LEAVES come to mind as outstanding in this respect. SECOND LESSON I thought was a powerful episode and I wish there would be a sequel. The logical, painful progression of Spook's thought processes as he defines his sexuality was very gripping. I don't care for undue violence or rape for the sake of providing a context for K and S to get together. I also find myself very annoyed at stories which have our heroes performing sexually for the pleasure of others. However, the situation of rape in TO INVITE THE NIGHT was handled well and plausibly.
From LF:I prefer "erotica" to "pornography" as the former word just flows and sounds delicate while the latter just sits there and conjures nasty visions of sleaze. I know, it's not the word but the meaning that is applied to it that matters but erotica still is pleasanter to the ear.
From LF:re Vulcan mating customs - Of course the childhood bondings are practiced for the survival of the race. Fear that the race won't survive has been a powerful motivation for homophobia throughout Terran history, as well. Even today, I wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard "Well, if everyone were like that, the r^ace would die out." This is false logic. It will never happen that everyone will become exclusively homosexual. Yet humans are scarcely logical about such matters. I'm not convinced that Vulcans are either. Your proposal that gay Vulcans could marry for procreation and maintain male bondings for love entails having more than one bond simultaneously. I am in favor of multiple bondings, but it doesn't look to me that the majority of Vulcans would favor them. It seems to me that they are monogamous by custom, and custom can be quite inflexible — even for supposedly logical Vulcans when you're dealing with things like mating. Remember that Vulcans don't discuss it. This is a sign that everything associated with mating is highly illogical — cloaked in ritual and tradition, as Spock said. They don't discuss it, because it can't be placed in a logical, rational perspective for them. The cyclical madness shames Vulcans as they have become since Surak. So in these matters, they toss out the Reforms and continue practices from "the beginning" before Vulcans were logical. Therefore, given the premise that monogamy is an unquestioned institution, and every Vulcan child is bonded to someone of the opposite sex from age seven, the only way a gay or lesbian Vulcan could exercise the option of being other than heterosexual is if that childhood bonding is disrupted for one reason or another. This is a difficult situation. I am not saying that it would stop Spock from bonding with Kirk, however. Fortunately for him, his childhood bonding was disrupted. Yet even if it hadn't been I doubt that would stop Spock from bonding with Kirk. As you rightly point out, he joined Starfleet against Sarek's wishes. However, I think it's going too far to say that Sarek's opposition to his becoming a Starfleet officer didn't bother Spock. It most certainly did. That's why he and Sarek didn't speak to one another for so many years. It would have been too painful for both of them. The fact that Spock was willing to bear this internal anguish is a measure of how important a career in Starfleet is to Spock. Bonding with Kirk would be at least that important, but like joining Starfleet it would have its cost for Spock.
From LF:re the nature of "/" fiction- I don't think that "/" presents the message that only sexual relationships are important. I think that this is a sex-negative society, and the high incidence of sexual violence is an indication of that negativity. I see "/" as partly countering this, by saying that it is possible for sexual partners to be friends. The division between sex and friendship makes for bad sexual relationships. It also cripples friendships when the sexual element is present, but unacknowledged. In such cases, it is far better for the friendship to bring it out in the open, and then decide whether or not it should be acted on rather than refusing to even consider it as a subject for discussion because friendship and sex supposedly don't mix.
From LF:A token character is one that isn't developed but is just there to represent a certain group. Spock isn't a token alien. Roddenberry developed a full background for him. He put more thought into Spock than any other character. He fought the network to keep Spock too. He didn't fight for Number One, because she really was only a token.
From LF:Re Joanna Russ and myself re the opinions of K/S fans - Joanna Russ and I have judged K/S fans on the basis of the opinions that we have seen in writing. For example, when I was talking about the attitudes of K/S fans toward the way men behave in relationships, I was largely basing it on what was said in a discussion of why K/S fans have more friendships with women than men that took place in this apa. Joanna Russ mentions some of the people who she talked to in her NOME 8 article. Joanna is quite willing to be told she is wrong, or that there are exceptions to what she has theorized, however, and so am I.
ON RESPECTING PSEUDONYMSI have gone on record saying that I think publicity about the existence of K/S is totally fine, but I didn't say that we should name names in the mundane press and violate the privacy of our fellow fans. I also think that even in fannish forums, its important to respect pseudonyms and not reveal the identities of pseudonymous authors in print unless they say it's OK. For example, Edi has revealed in this apa that she's Flora Poste, therefore she has given permission for us to talk about her as Flora Poste in this forum. But no one else has given such permission, so far as I can see. Yet I've seen several cases of revealing pseudonyms here. I won't point fingers or get down to specific incidents, but I will say that I wish people would think before they write. There are always reasons for pseudonyms and if you publish who these people are, you have no idea what the consequences might be. One fan specifically requested in NTS, that her legal name never be used in a K/S context. Now her identity may be the most open secret in fandom, but I still think, her request should be respected. Yet since that request, I have seen use of her legal name in print as the author of K/S stories in both this apa and NTS itself. I will probably be writing another version of this plea for the next NTS. Let's be more considerate in the future. OK?
Re explicit covers- I appreciate the fact that you and others enjoy them, but I've been informed that some zines have been stopped and confiscated by the English Customs authorities. It seems to me that explictly sexy covers don't help matters on that front. It would be sad for fans not to have the explicit art that they enjoy, but it's also sad when overseas fans don't get their zines. What is the solution? It might be possible, with some zines, to add on the cover before mailing each copy and have one cover for U.S. consumption and one for overseas.
- This self-deferential comment is by Flora Poste herself, using the initials EB.