Legacy Interview with Carol F.
|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Legacy Interview with Carol F.|
|Fandom(s):||Star Trek TOS, slash|
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I read my first “K/S” while at a room party at the Detroit convention in 1973—Diane Marchant’s “Kirk gives Spock a massage” scene, with no names given. I thought it was very intriguing, as my main interest in Star Trek was relationship themes, mainly as expressed in hurt-comfort. At that time, homosexual ideas were pretty much “repressed”—disguised threads running through buddy-type stories/movies/tv. Star Trek was my first real fandom (I’d had no idea so many people thought and felt as I did; I’d been a fandom of one or two since I was four and saw Roy Rogers shot in a movie and his friends—male—taking care of him). I believe that ST was a first fandom for most ST fans, the first chance to share passions and ideas on a truly large scale. And conventions gave us the opportunity to do that. It was mindblowing, and addictive—life altering. Within the esoteric confines of a passionate fandom, we all were drawn out of our isolation by main force, and finally able to share our most intimate fantasies.
We started slowly, carefully, so very carefully. Very few early K/S fans thought of their relationship as inherently homosexual, nor did we want to categorize them that way. Slowly, over time, the hurt/comfort themes—physical and emotional expressions of their care for each other—began to progress into more sensual realms.... How could they not? We were so passionate and so turned on by Kirk and Spock, that the physical expression of their relationship was an inevita- ble progression. But, as I mentioned, in the early days, the theme was han- dled tenderly, carefully, secretly. They were thrown together physically against their will— pon farr! An inevitable way to bring them together without the onus of homosexuality, just sexuality mixed with the hurt- comfort theme. Then, what ifs....so many!
While I wouldn’t say that Thrust posed great problems to publishing, it was a ground-breaker regarding very explicit homosexual treatments pubbed in ST fandom, and it broke some barriers of hesitation re future K/S treatments. I had about 300 mail preorders for the zine (which sold, incredibly, for only $7.00!) and I took age statements for all of those orders. It was chancy, and all of us knew it; Paramount might get up a head of steam for quashing the theme, and certainly such a zine would find its way into their hands (hopefully not their legal department). Thrust, or some zine like it, was inevitable, though, and I thought it might as well be me to produce it. After all, I’d been an editor for years, and knew as much as anyone about the theme. And I loved the complexity of the task. The zine took well over a year to compile. I contacted all my writer friends, and their writer friends, and sent out a Premise Sheet detailing what I was looking for. Slowly, the stories came in. Extensive editing and rewriting was done on almost all the stories; a few gems came in almost ready to print as they were. The artwork posed a bit of a problem—how explicit should it be? I wanted art, not just porn images. I rejected several pieces, and asked for some other artwork to be redone. The artists were wonderful to work with—they understood the sensitivity of the theme very well, while still wanting an honest representation. When I received Gayle F.'s gorgeous cover art, it took my breath away...and gave me a moment of pause. Could I, should I, use it on the front cover? It was beautiful, and incredibly explicit re body parts. My friends and I decided that if you were going to do a zine, why hide from the theme behind innuendo? If the theme was worth doing, if it was a valid premise, throw the door open to quality treatments.
The title, Thrust, seemed to cover the subject rather well, and I liked the double meaning and the blunt, punchy “sound” of it. But in the end, it came about as the result of a dare: The CONTACT group in Baltimore threw a party and we all voted on names for the zine. NO ONE really thought I would actually use it. Maybe even me.
A printer to make the zine a reality was actually rather easy to find. There were several printers in Washington, DC (Virginia is more conservative, to say the least) vying for the job—I chose the one who gave me the best price for offset. My friend and writing partner, Susan K. J., accompanied me for moral support. After all, spreading out Thrust on the counter was diving into very cold water; Susan told me later that my face was beet red, though I thought I’d handled it rather well. The first print run was 700 copies, and costly—little did I know at the time how fast that money would be recouped, and how fast it would go right back into a reprint! Funny aside: The printer was thrilled to get the job. He was gay, and when 20 of my zines went missing from the boxes, I had to have a little talk with the fellow. I found out that they had printed extras of the artwork and that those extras had made the rounds all over the city. Almost immediately the premier gay bookstore in D.C. contacted me to ask if they could sell copies in their Dupont Circle store; needless to say, the answer was no. They called repeatedly over the years, even into the 1990s.
Thrust premiered at the January 1979 big New York convention. My friends and I didn’t have a table; we sold out the remaining zines in just a few hours while standing by a column near the dealer’s room. We took age statements when the buyer seemed underage, and would not sell to anyone who was under 18 years. That was an important stipulation—I couldn’t afford a lawsuit...or worse. Even so, there were those in ST fandom who were outraged by the theme, or pretended to be. One fan (who shall remain nameless) sent a copy to William Shatner. I was very surprised when I received a phone call from WS’ son-in-law, who was acting as his business manager at the time. He asked me why I had published such a magazine; he was obviously somewhat upset about it. I defended Thrust pretty vociferously, and asked him if WS had seen it. He said yes. After a rather long conversation, during which he wouldn’t reveal how Shatner had reacted to the zine, we got off the phone. I was left feeling both protective of Thrust and somewhat worried about what all this could mean legally. But the very next evening, the son-in-law cum business manager called again, this time to apologize profusely. It was immediately clear that WS was not happy that he’d called me the first time, and that it was Shatner’s requirement that he call me to apologize. That was the end of that interesting exchange, and I was much relieved.