Not Tonight, Spock! Interview with Kathy Resch

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Not Tonight, Spock! Interview with Kathy Resch
Interviewer: Meg Fine
Interviewee: Kathy Resch
Date(s): 1984
Medium: print
Fandom(s): Star Trek TOS, slash
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Contents

In 1984, Kathy Resch was interviewed for the zine Not Tonight, Spock! #4.

Excerpts

I haven't gotten involved in any other 'slash' fandoms, though they look like a lot of fun. I seem to need some element of fantasy in order to really get interested in participating in a fandom. I do a lot of Dark Shadows material as well as Trek. I love the quirky feel of this show with its bizarre characters and its constant trips through time, as if going back into the past were no more difficult than catching the bus to work.
In 1975, I actually discovered Dark Shadows fandom first, and it was through a DS fan that I attended my first ST convention…. I'd actually discovered zines a little bit before this convention when STAR TREK LIVES was published. The idea of original fan fiction excited me; I wrote right away to the Welcommittee and haunted the mailbox until the answer came back. There I was, faced with this twelve page brochure detailing all these incredibly appealing zines where should I start? I picked out a couple, sent off my money, and was very shortly engrossed in my first zines. I devoured each one as it came in, and they always left me hungry for more.
The first K/S piece I ever saw was a perfectly dreadful satire which really turned me off. (Probably I'd consider the piece 'mild' now; I've never reread it.) I didn't care for the concept; I thought it was completely 'ridiculous' and out of character. About this time a friend of mine in Alaska, who ran a small literary magazine that I was contributing poetry to, introduced me to her friend Gerry Downes by mail. I bought the first STARDATE:UNKNOWN, and, later on, contributed poetry to future issues. A few months later, Gerry sent me a flyer on her proposed new project ALTERNATIVE: THE EPILOGUE TO ORION. ("Nebula of Orion" had been one of the stories in the first S:U.) The flyer was very charmingly worded, full of assurances that if you did not care for the premise of her new zine, please do not order, and if you did get it and didn't like it, to send it right back for a full refund.

Naturally, I ordered It right away. I very much enjoy her writing, and I was certain she could do a good job with any theme she tackled. I don't remember feeling any hesitation at the idea of K/S...my first negative impression had had more to do with bad writing than with a prejudice against the theme, I still held onto the 'out of character' idea, only now I approached the subject with a 'prove it to me' attitude.

I enjoyed the zine, but my attitude was "well, it was a good experiment, but will probably be a 'one of a kind' thing". I really didn't think it would catch on. It wasn't until I read Leslie Fish's "Poses" that I really became converted. I enjoyed "Shelter", but something in "Poses" really struck a cord. Reading the very good fiction in THRUST, particularly the pieces by [Gayle F]] and Jane Aumerle, made me anxious to read much, much more.
I do see [K/S] as logical...but only as far as my universes are concerned. We each have our own ideas of what is 'in' and 'out' of character; this is someone else's fictional universe, after all. Our individual interpretations of it are as valid as our skills in presenting them.

Each time I read a story, I want to be convinced by the author of the reality of the situation. I have thoroughly enjoyed stories that other fen (who see an exclusively K/S relationship as the only valid interpretation of the characters) have despised. (Though I admit 'exclusive' K/S stories are among my favorites to read.) I still read a lot of genzines. I'm quite willing to accept stories in which the characters are paired with other people...so long as the writer convinces me of the validity of her work. (One of the most exciting things going on in zines these days, I feel, is the Valjiir Series in IN A DIFFERENT REALITY.)-

I don't, by the way, expect 'professional' talent from fan writers. Enthusiasm and sincerity go a long way toward making up any gaps.

There weren't enough K/S zines out at the time I came up with the idea of doing T'HY'LA. Seems hard to believe now… with the pages of UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR & DATAZINE filled with them...but at that time there seemed to be a lull in the publishing of K/S fiction. I was in a mood to read some more, and the best possible way seemed to be doing my own zine.

First, I'd like to define my view of fandom. There are a couple of phrases that came from SF fandom that represent two opposing views FIAWOL (Fandom Is A Way Of Life), and FIJAGDH (Fandom Is Just A God-damn Hobby). I'm all for the latter opinion. This Is something done for fun. It's like Sunday painting, macrame, crocheting, what-have-you. It's a means of sharing, friendship, communion. It's not professional, and it isn't intended to be.

This said, my responsibilities as an editor (as I see it) are not to impose my own views of the Trek universe on another writer. I will, in fact, lean backwards in the other direction. No one's ideas of the characters are any more valid than anyone else's. You may not agree with another person's point of view - you may violently disagree -but inside that person's head is a world as real as the one inside yours. There have been zines in which the editor has obviously imposed her views of the ST universe on her contributors (or found a group of writers whose ideas are in synch with her own). This results in a 'homogenized' zine where all the stories seem to be written by one person. I like variety, diversity, and I strongly feel that suppressing another person's voice in favor of your own is a misuse of editing. Editing should be for consistency..* for making sure all points are properly developed. For adding another pair of eyes... because so often writers leave part of their story in their heads. They know their plot, but they don't realize it isn't all down on paper yet.

My ideal...stories set in this universe that go beyond the 'first time', that explore Kirk and Spock's continuing relationship. I prefer this universe to A.U., because I feel it requires more creativity andimagination to work with the characters within this particular framework. There have been some very good alternate universe stories, The best, like K.S. T'lan's "Dealers In Kevas and Trillium", have explored what might have happened if Kirk and Spock had been confronted with different choices. Her characters are recognizably the same men that we are all familiar with, which adds even more depth to her story.

I do not feel there any forbidden themes - be they sexual, violent, whatever. But the further out you get, the greater the need for skill in writing to carry it off.

I've been reading zines since 1975, and I've noticed some very definite cycles. New writers and artists start out, and, like all newcomers, the work is wildly varied. Time goes by. Everyone gets better. Some improve a little. Some improve a hell of a lot. More time goes by. A lot of these people drop out of fandom, and a whole new crop takes their place. The cycle begins again. It seems to me that a lot of the criticism directed against newcomers originates 
from people who had all the advantages of being in ST fandom when It was very young. People were growing together then. Participating in fandom was an adventure with companions along the same road...a road where everyone was at the same place at the same time. Now these people have reached their goal, but when they look back at the people still on the road, they forget their own journey. They forget the nurturing they received We all have to start somewhere, and just because some newcomers are doing what the original Trek fan writers did making their mistakes in print is no reason to make pre
dictions of doom or to take a superior attitude.

There was a lot of really bad writing in the early days. There's a lot of bad writing now. Most of the present mediocre writing is still more sophisticated than what was being published in the early and mid-70's. Given just a little time, encouragement, and support, these new writers and artists will be every bit as good as the people leveling criticisms against them now.