K/S Around the World (Wide Web)
|Title:||K/S Around the World (Wide Web)|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|Topic:||Star Trek: TOS and Kirk/Spock fandom in Japan, Russian, and Germany|
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The subject: the effect of the internet and increased communication and visibility to Kirk/Spock fans all over the world.
It focuses on Japan, Germany, and Russia.
The most extensive section is on K/S in Russia and the reception of what was to be believed to be the first and only (as of 2007) Kirk/Spock story in Russian.
The article includes many descriptions and links to websites.
Hogebon ran a Yahoo group for Japanese language K/Sers and other slash fans of Star Trek (groups.yahoo.co.jp/st_slash_fan) started in October 2005. In 2006 she had this to say about K/S in Japan. “In Japan, a big convention of fan works is twice held per year. It is called ‘Comike.’ All kinds of fan works are sold. There is also a slash—called ‘yaoi,’ in Japanese—and adult novels. Star Trek fan works are exhibited in the Comike, however, there were no writers dealing with the slash of Star Trek until very recently. Now there are a few.
“The [Japanese Yahoo group] members knew of Yaoi in other fields; they were searching with whether Star Trek had it. However, before the Internet spread, they had been isolated, so they hadn’t been able to contact each other. They were imagining K/S only in their own hearts.”With the availability of much English language K/S fiction online, the ability to browse and order K/S zines, and the opportunity to network with like-minded souls around the globe, there’s been change, yet original Japanese K/S fiction is still very rare.
Says Sage, one of the founders of the Russian K/S site (never- parted.ruslash.net/), “It is difficult to speak about Russian K/S, because it is practically nonexistent. The main reason is that TOS never made it to Russian TV; Star Trek fandom in Russia is rather small by itself. The [TOS] fandom was formed mainly on the movies and a series of books translated into Russian in the 1990s. Slash as a mass phenomenon also made it to Russia later...with fandoms, such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. “And in a small Star Trek fandom, the number of slashers is even smaller, and those who know English enough to read English K/S stories is even fewer again.” Nonetheless, like all good K/Sers, the Russian fans are fervent about what they know and believe—as fervent as Kirk and Spock are for each other. And it only takes one spark. In 2004, the one spark came from a relatively new Trekker who had never read any K/S. It turned into the first— and at the time of this publication, only—Russian K/S story.
[regarding the Russian K/S story, which is unnamed in this article]: The story is a cycle in five parts starting with “T’hy’la” and ending with “Kadith,” recounting the tale of an unexpected pon farr with an accidental bonding and the aftermath. The author— Morrigan—discusses how it came to be.
“A challenge was given to choose any two characters of one gender, from any fandom, and to describe the circumstances, in which they could become a couple. I chose Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock as I believed the Vulcan mind and soul bonding could, in particular circumstances, make them a couple—lovers, spouses—even if they were not gay. “Before I wrote my first story—‘T’hy’la’—I had read very few slash fan fics and none at all with the K/S pairing, thus writing such story was very difficult for me. For some time I pondered upon putting the story online at all—as slash is actually an alien genre for the Russian Star Trek fandom.” Apparently so. Sage translates the reaction from the general Star Trek discussion board Samara Trek, where history repeated itself, and in 2004 a new generation of Russian K/Sers found itself up against the same walls as countless had decades before:
- “It is repulsive. I don’t know who wrote this ￼ It was either a girl or a pervert ￼ “
- “I believe that Trek and slash are two incompatible things.”
- “I will not tell you what I think about the topic ￼ But I don’t want to hear about it. Hands away from Trek!”
But Morrigan defended her story, and others came out in support. Said Merlin M. on the Russian forum, “I believe the main reason why Trekkers write KS-slash is that Kirk and Spock’s relations are those of completeness—in every aspect except sexual. It is only logical to make those relations totally complete by crossing this one little ‘negative’ out.” Says Morrigan, “Some time after the first story, when the fandom quieted a little, I thought it would be interesting to see how their relations would develop based on what we know from the movies—the reasons Spock left the Enterprise, his attempts at Kolinahr, the consequences of melding with V’ger, death and rebirth of Spock in The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock. Thus, one story became a story-cycle. “I can say that it all started as a game, a challenge, but I myself came to believe that Jim and Spock would be happier if they were more than just friends to each other. Otherwise they never in their lives would have found their mates, remaining unmarried and lonely after they left the Enterprise. And if my fantasy can make my favorite characters a bit happier, then so be it!”Conflict at least piques interest, and if nothing else, this should have grabbed the attention of any Russian readers interested at all in K/S. But what of the issue of so many Russians unable to read the English? In 2005 a labor of love was started— never-parted.ruslash.net/translates.htm —an Internet page for K/S stories written or translated into the Russian language.
Of non-English K/Sers, Germans are probably the luckiest, and English readers—in turn—have gained the most K/S fiction from them.
Unlike most other countries, K/S was well-established in Germany before the spread of Internet culture. Still, for many Star Trek fans and K/Sers-who-didn’t-know-it-yet, the Web opened a gateway to a whole new world to where Kirk and Spock lived and loved. For the already active K/Sers, it provided a transporter beam to speed them across the waters that separated them from the bulk of the K/S out there. Says Michaela H., a long-time K/S fan from Germany, “All German K/S fans I know prefer (and have always preferred) reading K/S stories in English. Internet communication made it a lot easier and faster to talk to overseas friends or to find people who enjoy K/S, too. Thanks to the ‘net the K/S community is easy to find. “Buying zines has become a lot easier, too. In the past this could take months because sometimes letters got lost or arrived far later than they were supposed to. First you wrote a letter to an editor to ask for available zines and prices, and after you got her answer, you had to order USD at the bank which could take about a week, too, and then sent them on. (Of course there were other methods, too, but to my knowledge most fans simply sent the money in cash, because it was the cheapest and easiest way). Today, there is PayPal!” ￼Transporters work both ways, and not only did German K/Sers find access to the English stories they craved, they also found themselves plopped in amongst a multitude of fellow lovers of Kirk and Spock who were eager for new stories, insights and perspectives.
Global electronic communication has brought new dimensions to even English K/S. One of the first and largest K/S sites, kardasi.com, is run by Kira out of Sweden. What is interesting is the continued lack of K/S, new fiction or translations, in the other major world languages even at the time of publication—more than ten years after “Turning Point” and at a time when small scale Web pages are so easy to put up.
Some of the discrepancy may represent the fact that, on average, the English speaking portions of the globe have been far ahead of other areas in regards to having Internet available. As of the end of 2006, approximately 70% of the population of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand—and 62% of the United Kingdom—were considered Internet users, as compared to 16% of the world overall. Still, that doesn’t explain everything about the findings. Nor does the exposure of various countries to Star Trek itself. It will be interesting to see, with the rapid expansion of worldwide communication, where and how we will see K/S appreciated by new devotees.Occasionally there are rumblings in the wind about Web hosting translation projects for fans who read best in other languages, but as of yet the language barrier separates many K/S fans from more fully exploring the love shared by of Kirk and Spock.