Murder on San Carmelitas

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Zine
Title: Murder on San Carmelitas
Publisher: Amapola Press & In Person Press
Editor:
Author(s): Lynna Bright
Cover Artist(s): Lynna Bright (first edition), Suzan Lovett (second edition)
Illustrator(s): Suzan Lovett of both editions
Date(s): 1986, June 1996
Medium: print
Size:
Genre: slash
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links: available online as an eBook and in other formats
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Murder on San Carmelitas is a slash Starsky and Hutch novella written by Lynna Bright and edited by April Valentine.

The first edition contains 127 pages. It has a cover by the author and twenty black and white interior illos by Suzan Lovett. Art samples are included on Fanlore with the publisher's permission.

It was reprinted ten years later as Murder on San Carmelitas: Special 10th Year Anniversary Edition. The second edition's text is unchanged. This reissue has a color cover by Suzan Lovett, as well as the addition of eighteen of the original color counterparts to the black and white art. This issue contains 145 pages.

In 2013, the zine was posted online at the Starsky & Hutch Archive as an eBook in multiple formats.

This story was discussed and excerpted in Textual Poachers.

Editorial from the First Edition

cover of original issue, Lynna Bright
Just as the television series 'Starsky and Hutch' was described as a love story, so is Murder on San Carmelitas. The tenderness and passion that fills these pages is a representation of that love at its best, the kind of Starsky and Hutch we can all appreciate -- two strong men whose caring and partnership has grown into the most powerful force in their lives. A partnership is a kind of marriage, and within these pages, a true partnership of word and picture has evolved. Artist Suzan Lovett has taken the ambiance and beauty of Lynna's world and presented it in all its lush detail. San Carmelitas is a world apart, and in that way it resembles our world of fandom. Both are microcosms of a larger society with their concepts of loyalty and love, their own ideals of perfection. Starsky and Hutch leave the island changed forever. We shared the time spent there with them and emerge richer for the experience." -- April Valentine

Editorial from the Second Edition

cover of ten year anniversary special, Suzan Lovett: "The Island of San Carmelitas"
It was with the above sentiments that I introduced MURDER ON SAN CARMELITAS ten years ago. I can hardly believe that so much time has passed already. Fandom has changed in many ways and yet it still remains the same. Some still debate the veracity of a sexual relationship between Starsky and Hutch, some still think "plot" means who-dun-it. But thanks to cable television, a whole new legion of fans has emerged who appreciate the very special relationship of these two timeless characters. It is with great joy therefore that I re-introduce this story... It would have been impossible to reproduce the art in color ten years ago, or at least impossibly costly. Other than those most closely associated with the production of the zine, the only people who saw the original color renditions of the art were at ZebraCon in '86, or those who visited those who purchased individual pieces. However, color photographs were taken while the art was all together and it is those photos which were used to print the art here. Any differences or exactness that do not emerge are due to those photos and the limitations of current xerox equipment. I was blessed this time with a careful, professional printer who did everything possible to retain the beauty of Suzan's illos so as to marry them once again with the beautiful words written by Lynna. And Suzan graciously agreed to create an all-new color cover to go with this special edition. Please take note, two of the illos were originally done in black and white and of course remain that way in this new production of the zine. -- April Valentine

Notes from the Online Version

"Murder on San Carmelitas by Lynna Bright was originally published as a stand-alone paper zine in 1986 by April Valentine's Amapola Press. It was one of the most popular and enduring works of fiction available to the fandom in the pre-internet print zine era, and reflects the time in which it was created. Written prior to 1986, the story takes place in 1982, 36 months after Gunther's assassination attempt on Starsky. MoSC creates a fictional island off the coast of California called San Carmelitas owned and populated primarily by gay men. Starsky and Hutch have to go undercover as a gay couple on this island to catch a serial killer. However, the crime plot wasn't what made MoSC such a significant fannish work. What made this story so important to fans of its era was the way the writer portrayed the depth of the emotional conflict between Starsky and Hutch as their assignment forces these two straight men to have to deal with their conflicting feelings about gays, their role in the undercover, and the change in their relationship since Starsky's shooting. -- Flamingo

Chapters

  • Daniel Corliz (1)
  • Tim (6)
  • Vespers (11)
  • Hell Week (22)
  • The Mysteries (30)
  • Entr'acte (65)
  • Une Semaine De Bonte (66)
  • The Minotaur (101)
  • Eleusis (121)
  • Epilogue (127)

Gallery: A Sample of the Extensive Art from the First Edition

Gallery: A Sample of the Extensive Art from the Second Edition

Some Context, Some Comments on Style (2000)

In 2000, Flamingo joined in a discussion on ThePits regarding whether or not Starsky & Hutch authors had had a tendency to "play favorites" with the two main characters of the show. [1] Her comments on the fandom's history included a long review of "Murder on San Carmelitas."

Regarding the "favorite member of a slash pair" who is overly dominant in a story, which is what I think you were trying to represent, there is also a term for that. It is called "author intrusion" when the needs of the story are sacrificed completely so that author can put in her favorite character doing her favorite things regardless of what the story needs. One of the most consistent perpetuators of this writing problem is Lynna Bright, who is considered probably the finest writer in all of SH and whose writing is breathtakingly beautiful. Hutch was her favorite and Starsky was frequently given a lesser status in her stories, his scenes truncated or not represented at all, the plot often sacrificed so that Hutch could do something great. I noticed every single time this happened -- because I've read every story of hers over a dozen times. Even committing this type of writers "sin" this woman's work is so superlative, I'm more than happy to let her do whatever she wants. I only wish I had her command of the language. [2]

It is certainly easy enough to be swept away by Lynna's writing. I certainly have and continue to be every time I pick up one of her splendid works. Her lyricism and use of language may never be matched in fandom.

You might be very interested to know that in the early days of SH fandom, which was pre-net of course, most of the fans had a lot of contact with each other by phone, letters, letterzines, and personal contact (and the occassional con). Zines were few and far between and no one took fanfic for granted because there just wasn't that much of it. So there was always a lot of discussion among fans as they got together to watch eps. I've been told that because there were such strong relationships among the fans, especially among fan writers, it wasn't unusual for them to come to certain "agreements" over character traits. (These days, with the net, most of us work alone in our houses and only find out how others feel about characterization after we've written something and posted it.) Most of the fans perceived Starsky as this loveable child-like teddy bear (a characterization that dismays me) and Hutch as a more aloof, better-educated, blond god of a man. But of course, they encouraged each other in seeing these traits. So the fiction frequently reflects the discussions and agreements they had about these characters. I've been told by several of these original fans that my Starsky is "different" -- because I was never part of these mutual agreements and made my own decisions about Starsky, as most net fans do today.

If some of you have not read Lynna's work, I would discourage you from reading any further so as not spoil the wonder and delight of discovering this fine writer completely on your own. You will not be sorry, I promise you. Her stuff is *wonderful.* Many fans disagree on what is or is not a good story, but I have never heard anyone say they disliked Lynna's work, that it wasn't a wonderful read.

S P O I L E R

S P A C E

By Lynna's own admission, she didn't give a damn about her plots, she only used it to get the guys together, and once they were together, it was everything she could do to sustain enough interest in the plot to conclude it in any acceptable way. In her story Winter, she essentially destroys the world to get the guys together (now, that's what I call ambition!) and once she does, the plot just kind of withers away. Not that any of us cared. In her best known and best loved work, Murder on San Carmelitas, once the guys are together, the plot nearly disappears until she dredges it up in one last gasp, races through it, concludes it abruptly and ends the book. Not that any of us cared. ;-) And in her last work, Place in the Sun, she could not maintain interest in the plot enough to conclude the story, much to our loss. Being able to read Lynna's writing was valuable enough where things like inadequate plotting or pacing or even endings seemed irrelevant. We just wanted to read it. I was bowled over by the quality of her writing when I first discovered it, and I am still captivated by it whenever I reread any of her work, and I do so frequently.

But, Lynna was very guilty of author intrustion in every story she ever wrote. (Just because a writer is really good, doesn't mean they don't have flaws.) While Lynna never portrayed Starsky as a simple character, and gave him plenty of accord in the course of the plot of a story, he was not her favorite and it is blatantly obvious. In Murder on San Carmelitas, which is the most obvious display of this, she portrays Starsky very much as he was on the show -- a man comfortable in his maleness, very hetero, very strong willed, not a dummy, and not a wimp. He is clearly a man who loves women and who is incredibly uncomfortable among gay men and with homosexuality in general. The thought of two men having sexual relationships makes him incredibly uncomfortable, and this is stipulated by Lynna many times in the book. This is *her* portrayal of him, it is consistent, and it jibes with canon.

However, the *minute* he decides he is in love with the great god Hutch (and to Lynna, Hutch was a golden god, and every passage of her work confirms this) he throws ALL his previous apprehensions away and never looks back. Dazzled by love, Starsky, previously repelled by homosexual relationships, blithely suggests to Hutch that Hutch fuck *him*. "You can fuck me if you want." This is completely out of character for the character Lynna had established. It brought me, and many other Starsky fans, to a screeching halt in the middle of a captivating read. This happened way too fast for the character *she* had established. Hutch is hesitant, but Starsky is ready to go, right then! And when they do do it, Hutch is such a magnificent lover that Starsky, a complete virgin at this sex act who was repelled by it just the day before and who is now having this sex act with a very large male, has NO PHYSICAL PROBLEMS WITH THE ACT, loves every second of it, it is the finest experience of his entire life, and he has now found his calling in life. Why does this happen? Because that is how Lynna felt about Hutch. He is a 10 inch golden god, a love machine, how could anyone not crave to have this man in their body? Craving someone, loving someone enough to surrender to them is one thing, being able to easily physically accommodate them is a whole other story.

Also, read over MOSC and you will see that when Hutch is in a dominent position sexually, we are given a beautiful, lyrical sex scene. When *Starsky* is in the dominent sexual position we are only *told* about the scene afterward, we do not see it, we do not experience it. We are in the scene until it is about to occur, and then the door is shut in our face. Starsky doesn't top Hutch until the very last scene and is it a beautiful, lyrical scene -- no, it is difficult, not lyrical at all, and we're fortunate it's successful at all. Hutch is simply too manly to accept this thing easily.

Lynna had no interest in depicting love scenes where Hutch submitted to Starsky, it simply didn't interest her -- which is why her ommission and prediliction to prefer Hutch is author intrusion. Yet she respected the partnership and wanted it to be equal, so she tells us these scenes occur, to keep the relationship on an even keel, but she didn't want to write them. It makes her stories unbalanced and for many Starsky fans unsatisfying in that aspect. In her serialized, excellent AU (which had a lot more plot than some of her other stories), we are never shown a love scene where Starsky is dominent, even though it is critical to the plot. An element of that plot was that the Hutch character has been sexually abused as a child and is terrified of being the recipient of the act, and the Strarsky character lovingly seduces him out of his fear and shows him how beautiful it can be -- but we are never *shown* this important scene, we are just told about it in a few tossed off sentences.

Now, in spite of this, Lynna's wonderful writing is more than worth reading. I recommend her work to anyone who wants to see wonderful use of language, lyricism in writing, and just get swept up in the romance. It is the best of the best of fanfic. But it's not perfect. Not from a purely writing standard, and especially if you're a Starsky fan. [3]

Reactions and Reviews

1986

I've looked forward to this zine for a long time and am totally delighted with the results. Lynna has a gift for showing us a deep, warm relationship; Suzanne's artwork is softly breathtaking as usual; and [April Valentine] has put it all together with near perfection. I spotted no typos and only a couple of recurring grammar glitches, and the layout is done with obvious love and care. The story held my attention all the way. I even cared about the secondary characters although the emphasis was firmly where we want it — with S&H and their love. It's hard to pick favorite illustrations when they're all so loving and beautiful, but the hug on p. 118 is so intense that it electrifies me, and the tenderly erotic love scene on p. 90 is also extra special. What a pleasure to curl up with a brand new S&H story, beautiful both verbally and visually, to warm our hearts all winter.[4]
Lynna, Suzan and [April Valentine]: Congratulations on San Carmelitas. It was a pleasure to read in all aspects. Visually, emotionally, aesthetically — loved the typeface (oh, envy, envy), and the illos. A beautiful zine all the way around. [5]

1987

OK, I'll join the fray on the subject of lack of plot in "/", since I'm in that camp too. Yes, [name redacted], you have a valid point: "It isn't wrong that the plot of the story be whether or not the characters go to bed with each other." Guess we should have been a tad more specific. The thing is, I've already read that particular plot about these particular characters more times and in more variations than I care to contemplate. So when I say I want plot, I mean something besides that. Maybe they could join the police department and become detectives and solve crimes or something ... Seriously, when I read fan fiction it's because I liked the original series and want more of that. And I've often found fan writers do a better job of zeroing in on what was good about a series than the commercial series-related book authors. That was certainly true with S&H! But the series was about two working cops who had a very special partnership, and not an endless series of graphic sexual escapades. I too have read Murder on San Carmelitas and I'm sorry to say I was very disappointed in it. The description of the setting was beautifully done, I felt I could "see" this island. But then I suddenly found myself with the uncanny feeling that I'd somehow blundered into a pornographic, gay Harlequin, and that's what most of the story was a mixture of graphic sex and syrupy romance… How many Harlequins would you say a person has to read before she's entitled to conclude she doesn't care for them? And not at an average cost of $10-15 each, either! Actually I have read quite a few S/H zines, some bought and some borrowed. I liked the first one, No Pants... because it was something new and different to me then, tho even so the stories were developing a noticeable sameness before I finished the zine. I don't say all ‘/’ lacks plot, but too much of it does. I guess my basic rule of thumb would be, if you took out the sex scenes, how much story would you have left? [6]
I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Murder on San Carmelitas – I found it to be a masterful combination of police and personal plotting. The love element is present in all its nuances — achingly tender and joyful, romantic (not syrupy), sexy - as well as painfully apprehensive and full of that uncertainty of discovery. And all of this is intertwined with a believable crime plotline. Starsky and Hutch are in character throughout and beautifully depicted in Suzan's illos. [7]
Murder on San Carmelitas' is a half-good erotic story. The plot and the characters of Starsky and Hutch are superbly realistic and believable throughout, as long as the story deals with their growing love and intimate discovery of each other. When the story turns outward, to the public reason for their being on the island, to Starsky and Hutch as police detectives, and to the murder mystery promised at the beginning, the story falls flat on its face. S&H's neglect of their job is not dealt with realistically or logically, they are little more than spectators at the wrap up of the murder case, and ostensible clues or breaks, like the photography session, go nowhere. That is simply bad writing. In an excellent erotic story, such as "A Place to Hide," by the same author, all the promised plot — including the sex — is delivered well and completely, and no incidents or themes dangle unsupported. [8]
To begin with, there are a couple of misunderstandings I'd like to clear up. You seem to be under the impression that I am totally and adamantly opposed to the whole concept of "/," and that that was why I didn't care for Murder on San Carmelitas. 'T'ain't necessarily so. As I've said in previous letters, I am willing to accept the "/" view on an alternate universe basis, though I regret to see what I consider alternate supplanting the original universe shown in the series. However, my problem with MoSC was not the orientation of the sex in it, but the sheer overwhelming quantity. I assure you I would have been equally disappointed in an "&" story in which they spent that high a percentage of the time EMF (Engaged in Meaningful Fornication, to paraphrase Dani)..."Why did you order this zine?" you asked. Fair question. I'll try to answer it. Early last year, when I first came into this fandom, [April Valentine] and I exchanged a few letters. We were discussing S/H because at that time I hadn't read any, though I had read and enjoyed a few novels with gay love elements. most notably, Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Catch Trap, which is still one of ay all-time favorite books. But there was a heck of a lot else going on in that story besides the love theme. Anyway, [April] said in a letter that MoSC was going to be "...a complete detective story besides a love story." No, no, no, I am not saying that [April] deliberately misled me, merely that we obviously have differing perceptions of what constitutes "a complete detective story." ... I'm afraid I was expecting something more of that nature from MoSC. My mistake, obviously. [9]
And poor Barb F, After I read Pam's letter at the end of the l/z, I kept going back over Barb's letter trying to find where she said that she didn't like Murder because it was "/'. I think she was referring to the "graphic sex" and 'syrupy romance," not the fact that it was "/". I, too, read the zine, and while I have come to expect a lot of graphic sex in most any '/" story, I think that it might have been handled better if it had stuck strictly to the relationship aspect. For example, how about if Starsky and Hutch are becoming aware of this new sexual awareness between then and they take some time off to go to this island and sort themselves out? Why put in this police case as an unnecessary plot device? And several people have written in and raved about the zine, so it certainly can't be all bad, but it's sort of unfair, Pam, to cone down on people who write in with opposing viewpoints. And remenber Barb had praised other "/' stories, specifically "Risk" from Niqhtlight, saying, (to Linda McGee and [April Valentin]), 'Thanks, guys, that, what I was looking for." And just as with any movie, a good, healthy conflict of opinions by critics can do wonders for promoting a product. Oh, please take a look at the ad in the back of #7, too, and see if it states anywhere that Murder is "/". We just assume from the excerpt that it is, but technically, it could just be a story about two heterosexual cops and the problems that they encounter in trying to go undercover on a gay island paradise. Of course, I knew better ...[10]
Having been inspired by Smith's fine essay last issue [11], I've decided to talk about a zine, Murder on San Carmelitas. Murder was a much heralded and long-awaited project dealing with an adult theme. I had high hopes for it. I was, however, somewhat disappointed after reading it. Murder's premise is an "if only" fantasy, with this I have no problem. But, I'm afraid, the 'if only" carried over into aspects of "if only the author had been in less of a hurry to create another rocks off story;" "if only the author had been less afraid to get to the bare bones of characterization;" "if only the editing had been a little tighter." Murder masquerades as a cross between Fantasy Island and The Joy of Gay Sex; it just isn't sure what it is.

Some of the writing is very, very good. The plot itself is quite original. But, the neither/nor expression of the storyline, neither a true mystery nor a realistic rocks off event, ultimately leaves the reader dissatisfied. Some of my favorite parts were the Starskyisms peppered throughout. The knock-knock joke bit really would have made a charming scene. The "greased pole up the kazoo" comment was priceless, and, the dancing with Hutch in chapter 5 was really fun. The sexual tension was interesting, but rather confusing. The Hutch/Don is only useful in terms of contrivance. It just doesn't work for me at all. Some of the worst stuff is the physcial description, Hutch's private part possible being the worst. I just had to laugh at inappropriate tiles at some of these things. "Hutch prickled with excitement, thighs shaking." Prickly heat? "Starsky's body quivered, sought cut and found him..." Magnetic personality? And, my favorite, "Starsky lay awake, face to the ceiling, staring at the bright, watery reflection from the pool." All I can picture from this is Starsky nose flat against the ceiling, staring into the bottom of a swimming pool on the floor above. Picky, picky, picky, I know. But, I actually read these things word for word when I bother at all; I don't thumb through until I get to the "good parts." I felt a reluctance on the author's part throughout most of the zine to actually give us anything. And, this holding back, made for a very controlled story. Even the sex was controlled, in that the letting go is basically anti-climatic (no pun intended), Murder appears to be a heartfelt attempt to create a romantic interlude. And, perhaps it night have worked better as a purely honeymoon Pocono-type story and not as a crime drama in drag. What bothered me the most was that where the story could have really gotten dangerous, steady, torrid, and memorable (the photo session), the author backs off. What if that photo session had gotten really out of hand? What if S/H had had to get it on because their lives were in danger? It would have been a different scene, granted, and probably a different story entirely. But, it would have been extremely hot, sinister, and adult, aspects of tonality that Murder sadly lacks. The art was quite remarkable. Starsky was rather on the slender side, however. I recall him as being a bit more substantial. The overall appearance of the zine was clean, readable and nicely done.

Despite these reservations on my part, I would say that it is a pretty good read. It's just that those "if only" problems kept Murder from being a truly great zine. [12]

1992

The undercover operation bears a particular importance... the characters are asked to shed their normal identities, to assume a mask which not only justifies but actively requires otherwise prohibited forms of intimacy. In Lynna Bright's 'Murder on San Carmelitas,' Starsky and Hutch must pose as gay lovers when they infiltrate an island inhabited primarily wealthy homosexuals; their operation requires them to share a bed, to publicly display their affections, even to pose together for erotic photographs, while any slip would make them vulnerable to discovery by the organized crime boss they are staling. This masquerade awakens feelings both men have repressed and forces a reconsideration of their relationship. 'Pretending to be Starsky's lover these weeks had enabled him to experience his partner in some -- to say the least -- novel ways. He'd rediscovered, by way of some crazy back door, what it means to be someone's lover. Problem was, that somewhere along the line, the feelings he'd been pretending to feel had become... possible, had become pleasures. The farce he and Starsky had to perform daily was becoming the one real thing in his life. [13]

1993

The first zine that jumps to mind is the very first one I ever read, MURDER ON SAN CARMELITAS. Beautiful, with excellent writing, but most fandom writers are very good. lt was such a wonderful intro to the world of fanzines I could scarcely put it down. [14]
If you haven't read Murder on San Carmelitas, you still don't understand the term 'erotic literature' as anything but an oxymoron. If you have read this and didn't feel anything, there may be a variety of reasons... I am not a S&H fan! The series never intrigued me, the plots were lousy, most of the acting did not live up to the plotting, and David Soul and Michael Glaser just didn't do anything for me as cops or buddies. I like Jack Webb and Henry Morgan a lot better than these guys, honest! But as Lou Abbot once said, 'I don't give a damn!' Get out the ScotchGuard (tm) and read the book. KY is optional (maybe). [15]

1994

MURDER ON SAN CAMALITAS is a very good read (my mother's favorite, actually)> [16]

2000

It is certainly easy enough to be swept away by Lynna's writing. I certainly have and continue to be every time I pick up one of her splendid works. Her lyricism and use of language may never be matched in fandom.

You might be very interested to know that in the early days of SH fandom, which was pre-net of course, most of the fans had a lot of contact with each other by phone, letters, letterzines, and personal contact (and the occassional con). Zines were few and far between and no one took fanfic for granted because there just wasn't that much of it. So there was always a lot of discussion among fans as they got together to watch eps. I've been told that because there were such strong relationships among the fans, especially among fan writers, it wasn't unusual for them to come to certain "agreements" over character traits. (These days, with the net, most of us work alone in our houses and only find out how others feel about characterization after we've written something and posted it.) Most of the fans perceived Starsky as this loveable child-like teddy bear (a characterization that dismays me) and Hutch as a more aloof, better-educated, blond god of a man. But of course, they encouraged each other in seeing these traits. So the fiction frequently reflects the discussions and agreements they had about these characters. I've been told by several of these original fans that my Starsky is "different" -- because I was never part of these mutual agreements and made my own decisions about Starsky, as most net fans do today.

If some of you have not read Lynna's work, I would discourage you from reading any further so as not spoil the wonder and delight of discovering this fine writer completely on your own. You will not be sorry, I promise you. Her stuff is *wonderful.* Many fans disagree on what is or is not a good story, but I have never heard anyone say they disliked Lynna's work, that it wasn't a wonderful read.

S P O I L E R

S P A C E

By Lynna's own admission, she didn't give a damn about her plots, she only used it to get the guys together, and once they were together, it was everything she could do to sustain enough interest in the plot to conclude it in any acceptable way. In her story Winter, she essentially destroys the world to get the guys together (now, that's what I call ambition!) and once she does, the plot just kind of withers away. Not that any of us cared. In her best known and best loved work, Murder on San Carmelitas, once the guys are together, the plot nearly disappears until she dredges it up in one last gasp, races through it, concludes it abruptly and ends the book. Not that any of us cared. ;-) And in her last work, Place in the Sun, she could not maintain interest in the plot enough to conclude the story, much to our loss. Being able to read Lynna's writing was valuable enough where things like inadequate plotting or pacing or even endings seemed irrelevant. We just wanted to read it. I was bowled over by the quality of her writing when I first discovered it, and I am still captivated by it whenever I reread any of her work, and I do so frequently.

But, Lynna was very guilty of author intrustion in every story she ever wrote. (Just because a writer is really good, doesn't mean they don't have flaws.) While Lynna never portrayed Starsky as a simple character, and gave him plenty of accord in the course of the plot of a story, he was not her favorite and it is blatantly obvious. In Murder on San Carmelitas, which is the most obvious display of this, she portrays Starsky very much as he was on the show -- a man comfortable in his maleness, very hetero, very strong willed, not a dummy, and not a wimp. He is clearly a man who loves women and who is incredibly uncomfortable among gay men and with homosexuality in general. The thought of two men having sexual relationships makes him incredibly uncomfortable, and this is stipulated by Lynna many times in the book. This is *her* portrayal of him, it is consistent, and it jibes with canon.

However, the *minute* he decides he is in love with the great god Hutch (and to Lynna, Hutch was a golden god, and every passage of her work confirms this) he throws ALL his previous apprehensions away and never looks back. Dazzled by love, Starsky, previously repelled by homosexual relationships, blithely suggests to Hutch that Hutch fuck *him*. "You can fuck me if you want." This is completely out of character for the character Lynna had established. It brought me, and many other Starsky fans, to a screeching halt in the middle of a captivating read. This happened way too fast for the character *she* had established. Hutch is hesitant, but Starsky is ready to go, right then! And when they do do it, Hutch is such a magnificent lover that Starsky, a complete virgin at this sex act who was repelled by it just the day before and who is now having this sex act with a very large male, has NO PHYSICAL PROBLEMS WITH THE ACT, loves every second of it, it is the finest experience of his entire life, and he has now found his calling in life. Why does this happen? Because that is how Lynna felt about Hutch. He is a 10 inch golden god, a love machine, how could anyone not crave to have this man in their body? Craving someone, loving someone enough to surrender to them is one thing, being able to easily physically accommodate them is a whole other story.

Also, read over MOSC and you will see that when Hutch is in a dominent position sexually, we are given a beautiful, lyrical sex scene. When *Starsky* is in the dominent sexual position we are only *told* about the scene afterward, we do not see it, we do not experience it. We are in the scene until it is about to occur, and then the door is shut in our face. Starsky doesn't top Hutch until the very last scene and is it a beautiful, lyrical scene -- no, it is difficult, not lyrical at all, and we're fortunate it's successful at all. Hutch is simply too manly to accept this thing easily.

Lynna had no interest in depicting love scenes where Hutch submitted to Starsky, it simply didn't interest her -- which is why her ommission and prediliction to prefer Hutch is author intrusion. Yet she respected the partnership and wanted it to be equal, so she tells us these scenes occur, to keep the relationship on an even keel, but she didn't want to write them. It makes her stories unbalanced and for many Starsky fans unsatisfying in that aspect. In her serialized, excellent AU (which had a lot more plot than some of her other stories), we are never shown a love scene where Starsky is dominent, even though it is critical to the plot. An element of that plot was that the Hutch character has been sexually abused as a child and is terrified of being the recipient of the act, and the Strarsky character lovingly seduces him out of his fear and shows him how beautiful it can be -- but we are never *shown* this important scene, we are just told about it in a few tossed off sentences.

Now, in spite of this, Lynna's wonderful writing is more than worth reading. I recommend her work to anyone who wants to see wonderful use of language, lyricism in writing, and just get swept up in the romance. It is the best of the best of fanfic. But it's not perfect. Not from a purely writing standard, and especially if you're a Starsky fan. [17]

2004

I loved the "Slash Library" that the con hosted. What a lovely idea! Share your slash with each other for the duration. Find a bedtime story. And of course, I did. I'd heard of the S/H zine "Murder on San Carmelita." Classic, and all that. Well, I can now affirm that it's well worth the read. The premise is not unfamiliar to me now (I've read a number of "go undercover as gay and discover we're gay" stories), but it worked for me here. The descriptions of their deepening relationship (double entendre intended) are lovely. [18]

2006

Deeply flawed, but wonderful. She sets up this huge premise about going undercover as gay lovers on a resort island to crack a snuff film industry, and then promptly forgets her plot as soon as she gets them to the island. She jumps much too abruptly from "just friends" to sexual attraction (and does include some elements of gayfic), and almost totally fails to capitalize on the set-up of her story, but still.......I love it anyway. I love the location, the heart in the sex scenes, the images of lounging by the pool, etc, the *very* sexy hand-holding. And it's a classic. So. And also I love Suzan Lovett's lavish illos. [19]
I can assure you that the S/H fans ate this story up with a spoon. It's not one of my favorites, mostly because it awkwardly brings one part of the story to a screeching halt (cop plot) to start telling another (slash plot) but that's not a problem for any other S/H fan I've ever known who read it, then or now. And Lynna does have a lovely lyrical writing style. [20]

2013

"MoSC was one of the most popular and enduring works of fiction available to the fandom in the pre-internet print zine era, and reflects the time in which it was created. Written prior to 1986, the story takes place in 1982, 36 months after Gunther's assassination attempt on Starsky. It was also prior to the general public's knowledge of the AIDS epidemic, which would soon become a dominating factor in the gay community. The novel reflects some of the attitudes prevalent in the late 70's and early 80's regarding gay culture, lifestyles, and relationships, as well as common attitudes found in straight male-dominated work environments at that time. (In fact, the first print shop that agreed to produce the novel threatened to destroy all the art once they had it in hand because it was "pornographic".)

The novel uses what was already a stock slash plotline: ostensibly straight detective partners go undercover in a gay bar, and in the course of the case must confront their unresolved feelings toward each other. But MoSC ramps up this story line by drawing on gay gathering places like Fire Island to create a fictional island off the coast of California called San Carmelitas owned and populated primarily by gay men. Starsky and Hutch have to go undercover as a gay couple on this island to catch a serial killer who uses snuff films to murder his victims.

However, the crime plot wasn't what made MoSC such a significant fannish work. What made this story so important to fans of its era was the way the writer portrayed the depth of the emotional conflict between Starsky and Hutch as their assignment forces these two straight men to have to deal with their conflicting feelings about gays, their role in the undercover, and the change in their relationship since Starsky's shooting."[21]
I had heard so much about this story that I thought I was going to be disappointed by actually reading it but I was wrong. I loved it. From start to finish it was a rollercoaster ride and so true to the characters that I fell in love with. I now understand why so much has been said about it in the fandom and thanks to Flamingo and the girls for all their hard work. [22]
I am so glad that this fine piece of fiction has finally made it to the web for everyone's pleasure. Thank you to Lynna Bright for her captivating story and for those who painstakingly reproduced it for the web. I have enjoyed the story very much. [23]

I still have the 1996 version of this novel, and read the first edition in the late 80s, when was probably about 18 years old. I didn't understand it really, but I did understand the love in it, and the artwork is goreous. S/H fandom has been part of all of my adult life. It has helped shape how I think about my relationships and what partnership in life really means.

I feel SH (with or without the slash) can potentially teach us how to respect one another in friendship and lasting relationships. They show us that loyalty, trust and human mistakes are all parts of that package. Standing together. [24]

2018

One of the most well known first time stories -- Murder on San Carmelitas by Lynna Bright was originally published as a stand-alone paper zine in 1986 by April Valentine's Amapola Press. It was one of the most popular and enduring works of fiction available to the fandom in the pre-internet print zine era, and reflects the time in which it was created. Written prior to 1986, the story takes place in 1982, 36 months after Gunther's assassination attempt on Starsky. MoSC creates a fictional island off the coast of California called San Carmelitas owned and populated primarily by gay men. Starsky and Hutch have to go undercover as a gay couple on this island to catch a serial killer. [25]

Unknown Date

The great S/H classic. You know that fanfic cliché in which the boys have to go undercover as a gay couple? This is the zine that started all of that. (But unlike the many that followed, this one was well written, despite the preposterous story line.) Chock full of angst, smut, and great illos, this is what people mean when they talk about "old-school slash." [26]

References

  1. "In my first wave of SH fannishness ten years ago I read a lot of stories with clear author favoritism. Hutch was gorgeous and smart and Starksky was frequently pathetic, or at best, worshipful."-- Flamingo was responding directly to this comment by [K], at ThePits
  2. Flamingo's comments on ThePits, January 2000, quoted on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission.
  3. Flamingo's comments on ThePits, January 2000, quoted on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission.
  4. from Who Do We Trust Times #6
  5. from Who Do We Trust Times #6
  6. from The Who Do We Trust Times #7
  7. from The Who Do We Trust Times #7
  8. from The Who Do We Trust Times #8
  9. from The Who Do We Trust Times #8
  10. from The Who Do We Trust Times #8
  11. a reference to "Smithereens," an essay by Paula Smith called "Plot is What Platitudinists Do Late at Night." It is about some fans' complaints that fan fiction lately lacks plot, what exactly is plot, and if you don't like a story, tell the author. The essay appeared in The Who Do We Trust Times #7
  12. from The Who Do We Trust Times #8
  13. from Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins
  14. from a fan in Frienz #22, answering the question of what Starsky & Hutch zine has made the most impression on her
  15. Psst, Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #4
  16. comment by Michelle Christian on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (July 11, 1994
  17. Flamingo, January 17, 2000, post at ThePits, a mailing list, quoted on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
  18. comments about Escapade by emmastark at Live Journal, posted February 23, 2004
  19. 2006 comment, from a mailing list, quoted on Fanlore anonymously
  20. comment on a zine mailing list, quoted anonymously (September 27, 2006)
  21. commentary during the 2013 release of the zine in ebook format; review at the crack van dated June 27, 2013; reference link.
  22. from Avoca at Starsky and Hutch Archive posted June 4, 2013, accessed August 13, 2013
  23. from Diannes 53 at Starsky and Hutch Archive posted June 10, 2013, accessed August 13, 2013
  24. comment by galadriel13 at the crack van dated June 27, 2013; reference link.
  25. comment by dawnebeth at starsky-hutch.livejournal
  26. from This is Katya