Please Captain, Not in Front of the Klingons

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News Media Commentary
Title: Please Captain, Not in Front of the Klingons
Commentator: Gareth Branwyn
Date(s): September 20, 1996
Venue: StiM Magazine
External Links: Please Captain, Not in Front of the Klingons; archive link
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In a special Star Trek issue in 1996, StiM magazine offered an article about K/S and slash. The article tackled slash fiction as a reaction by the fan community to the lack of gay and lesbian characters in the Star Trek franchise. It ended with puzzlement over the slash community's secretiveness:

One would think that the Internet would be a perfect place to take slash. It's a relatively inexpensive publishing medium that can reach an international audience. But the slash community is reluctant to embrace the Net. As one slasher told us via e-mail: "The Web is huge, and somewhat anonymous, and print-media-raised slash fans are something of an insular community. They like the feel of their community, and you can't maintain or have any control of that on the Web." But Star Trek is not the only show in town when it comes to slashing—homoerotic tales are spun about "Babylon 5," "Space: Above and Beyond," "The Professionals," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," and "X-Files"; many aren't wary of the Net like the old ST slash scenesters. There are ST slash mailing lists and "locked" web sites, but they are carefully kept outside the view of the general Net public. It seems unfortunate that if slash is a fictive way of working through issues surrounding technoculture, the future, science, the body, and gender (as some slash critics argue) that the slashers would still feel the need to do so behind closed doors and under a blanket of paranoia. It's not hard to understand that slash writers are secretive because they fear ridicule, but it's a shame that their fascinating take on popular TV and the do-it-yourself universe they've built around it is held just out of the reach of most of us. I want my SlashTV!
and later in the article:
Several of the writer/editors we talked to for this piece did not want their web sites linked or their names mentioned. They were surprised we were able to find them at all (all we did was a simple web search on "slash fiction"). Although we made every effort to assure the slashers we weren't out to write a sensational piece about their brand of fanfic, at some point in the process, they all seemed to disappear into the woodwork. A really nice slash site, the largest and best we found, was taken down after we discovered it. One company that sells slash zines even refused to send us a copy of their catalog—they didn't want to "participate" in our article.

Fan Reactions

In 1997, Morgan Dawn posted about the origins of the article and fans' reactions to the article to the CI5 Mailing List. It is reposted here with permission:
Fan willingness to be "exposed" varies. For example, last year one fan created a web page last and filled it with a whole host of fannish information: zine ads and con progress reports. Unfortunately, she didn't check with everyone listed on each zine ad and con report to make certain it was okay to have their e-mail address and in some case home addresses and phone numbers so widely accessible. Because she only handed out the web page address to a few friends, she didn't think it would be picked up by the search engines. Anyway, an online reporter who wanted to do an article about slash on the internet found her web pages and began contacting the zine authors/publishers/con organizers -- by phone and by e-mail. After word got out, and some fans refused to talk to him, he began pretending to be a fan who just wanted to buy zines. Some fen were completely cool with this and gave interviews. Others were a bit peeved to find a non-fan calling them at home. The upshot is that the fan decided to shut down that portion of her web page.