Poses

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: Poses
Author(s): Leslie Fish and Joanne Agostino
Date(s): March 1977
Length:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links: on website 7 here

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"Poses" is the K/S sequel to Shelter, and was originally published in the first issue of the Obsc'zines.

Authors' summary: "After events recounted in Shelter, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy return to the Enterprise and try to maintain the poses of normal life."

Poses is part of the Foresmutters Project, and Mary Ellen Curtin has collected responses published in the letter column of Obsc'zine #2.

"Poses," "Shelter," and "Cooling One's Heels" were all republished in K/S Relay #2.

Discussed in Not Tonight, Spock!

See Sexuality in K/S Fiction: Anal Intercourse.

Author's Comments

In A 2007 Interview with Leslie Fish, Fish talks of both "Poses" and its prequel Shelter:
I thought that was the kind of love that women really want: respect growing into love growing into desire—a relationship between equals, which is something hard to find in contemporary culture (even now, all these years later). What K/S fans really wanted was to be one of the characters and have the other. That’s why I made the stories so very subjective and internal, happening mostly inside the minds of the participants. “Shelter,” written with a little help from my then roommate (I was going to school at the time), happens almost entirely from McCoy’s viewpoint and reveals his feelings toward both his friends as they go through an emotional revelation that turns into a physical encounter. Note that, though it’s obvious what’s going on, there’s nothing explicit in the whole scene; it’s all about feelings—emotions, which Spock kept trying (and failing) to bottle up throughout the whole series. Lori Chapek dared to publish “Shelter” in issue #20 (“XX”—in number, therefore in rating) of Warped Space, which made it the third K/S story ever published. Diane Marchant (“A Fragment Out Of Time”) and Gerry Downes (Alternative) had already taken much of the flak aimed at pioneers, and—seeing that K/S was now an established trend—a lot of people were willing to write LOCs saying how much they liked the story. There were also a lot of LOCs breathlessly asking: “What happened when they woke up?” So of course I felt obliged to write the sequel. Note that, again, 90% of “Poses” is about emotional jockeying about, and only the next-to-last scene gets down to anything like explicit sex. Even there, I concentrated on the feelings of the participants more than the action. In fact, one bit of advice I’d give to aspiring writers of any sort of erotica is: first plan the scene in complete detail—every touch and wheeze and thrust and gasp—and then don’t write it; instead, write what the actions make the participants think and feel. This is precisely why I jumped back and forth between deep immersion in Kirk’s viewpoint and Spock’s throughout the story. Again, critical response was overwhelmingly favorable.

Gallery

Inspired Fanworks

Reactions and Reviews

I remember reading "Shelter" in WS20 and going crazy waiting for the sequel to come out. As usual for many stories of this type, it ended with the "mating" and there was no discussion of the "aftermath". And in this case, since Spock was "out of his mind" during the mating, it was logical that we fen were going "bug-fuck nuts!" waiting for the sequel to find out how both Kirk and Spock would feel later, on the Big E, when they were both in their "right minds". When "Poses" finally came out and I read it, I was somewhat disappointed. I felt that one of the characters (I think it was McCoy) was REALLY out of character (the way I conceptualized him). But I WAS relieved to FINALLY read the sequel. [1]
Poses, of course, answers the above question [referring to "Shelter"], and very well. Kirk has to face his image of himself as the legendary fighting-and-fornicating Captain, and Spock has to face the possibility of emotion when, to a Vulcan, emotional expression feels very much like insanity. This is also a very good alien-sex story: some of the details of how Spock's anatomy works were later to become slash clichés, but here they seem--and are--fresh and new. [2]
"Poses" is the sequel to "Shelter" (from WARPED SPACE XX). Included with the story are five darkly moodly illos by Leslie, including a drawing (white ink on black board, as they all are) of her version of Spock's "orchid-anthurium" genitalia (fascinating!). This story is "must" reading for the dedicated K/S fan—or any K/S fan! Very briefly, it concerns what happens when Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are rescued, return to the ship, and try to return to their former lives and their respective "poses" of Galactic Wonderboy Starship Captain and SuperVulcan (and an uninvolved, impartial Doctor, who "saw nothing"). But the tension is far too strong for all of them. Kirk breaks down and tries to confront Spock. Spock retreats—flees!—from Kirk, and desperately tries to resign. McCoy loses his cool pose completely, and curses Spock, admitting he saw every thing that occurred when they were marooned and Spock seduced Kirk.... In agony, Spock returns to Kirk and admits his feelings of love. They make up and make love, of course, and all ends ecstatically. But do read it yourself to experience Leslie's marvelously psycho-analytical description of what goes on in the heads of the protagonists, and how they react, striking sparks off each other. While fans almost always take this story perfectly seriously, and straight-forwardly, at face value, it was actually written somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Leslie claimed she intentionally used the elements, and the emotions, of an adolescent first-love affair. The thoughts and reactions of Kirk and Spock are so intense and seem so true-to-life however. that "Poses" strongly impresses readers with its poignancy and reality, not all with humor. [3]
In this story, Spock seduces Kirk when he (Spock) is out of his mind. When he wakes he believes that he has raped Kirk. He struggles to deal with this and with his need to be with Kirk. Kirk, meanwhile, is questioning his view of himself - is it possible that he cares for, even loves, Spock? McCoy, who witnessed the entire scene, at first keeps quiet about it, then uses his knowledge to try to get Kirk to accept himself as he really is. Spock decides to leave the Enterprise to keep from assaulting Kirk again. In a wrenching scene he convinces Kirk to sign his transfer papers and succeeds in breaking Kirk's heart. Still Spock needs McCoy's signature on medical forms to transfer. McCoy shames Spock into reexamining his actions, among other things he tells him that he didn't rape Kirk, but seduced him (I love the image of Spock the seducer - he just needs to come here). Eventually Spock returns to Kirk. A tender love scene follows showing us Spock's non- human male anatomy and Kirk's frustration in trying to figure out how to please them both. A sweet love story, a good examination of conscience for both men, and fun sex. And the idea of actually assuming Spock is rather different was new to me (I'm new to K/S in practice) and has led to all sort of ideas. So I enjoyed this one - reading it and thinking about it later. [4]
“Poses” picks up where “Shelter” leaves off. Spock awakens with a headache but in his right mind the next morning. At first he is mystified at finding himself in a warm embrace and lying next to a warm and comforting weight. The ship calls and slowly but surely Spock pieces together what has happened during the night. Back aboard, all three men try to return to their former roles of Galactic Hero Starship Captain, Perfect Vulcan First Officer and Doctor who Saw and Heard Nothing, but find that now they are mere “poses.” It takes just one bridge shift before both Kirk and Spock in near blind panic realize that they cannot ignore what has happened nor make their feelings disappear. Kirk finally convinces himself that together they can get through anything, even this. Preparing to face Spock after their disastrous shift he returns to his cabin only to find Spock’s request for transfer. When he confronts the Vulcan, things go from bad to worse. Kirk tries to explain how his feelings have changed, that he finally enjoyed what Spock did. Spock thinks that not only has he himself gone insane but that now he has caused Kirk to go insane as well. He feels he has no recourse but to leave the ship. Kirk calls him a coward and a liar.

Spock brings the requisite paperwork to McCoy for his mandatory exit exam, and McCoy lays into him, accusing Spock of caring more for his Vulcan façade than how he is wounding Kirk. The doctor confesses he was aware of everything that happened that night.

At the very end of his tether, Spock returns to Kirk’s cabin to tell him that a coward he may be, but not a liar. The things he told Kirk in his delirium are truly the way he feels. Kirk convinces him that what he is feeling is not madness but love. They make love together, this time with Kirk as the seducer, and Spock tears up his request for a transfer...

It has been said (Not Tonight Spock! Issue 7 January ‘85) that Leslie Fish actually wrote “Poses” with her tongue firmly in her cheek: “Leslie claimed she intentionally used the elements, and the emotions, of an adolescent first-love affair.” But it doesn’t read like that. It’s a moving piece that strikes the reader with its poignancy, not its humor. [5]
Well, I was really pleased when [K B] lent me these [she refers to Shelter and Poses], as I have suddenly developed an interest in the history of K/S. I have to say that I was not disappointed, both these stories were interesting and thought provoking.... [see Poses page for her comments]... The second story “Poses” deals with what happens after Shelter and how Kirk and Spock deal with their feelings. Spock was horrified when he realised what had happened but he cannot stop thinking over it, and it fills his every waking thought. I think that seen against all the K/S stories we have now they both seem rather emotional and hand wringing in this story. I really liked it, however I think some people might not like that aspect of it. In a similar vein Spock here is VERY innocent, like he’s never looked at the pics in the Vulcan biology text book!! I happen to rather like Spock written this way but again that is something very personal and not always very realistic. (Then again this IS fiction so does it matter?)

Anyhow overall I enjoyed reading these and not just for their ‘historical’ value. I was curious to see some details of Spock’s anatomy in this early story that I wondered if originated here or before, or independently later. Firstly the internal testes located in the small of his back, did these evolve into ‘Chenesy’ (not sure of spelling)?

Secondly, some strange green tentacles he possessed for ‘anchoring the female’, I wondered if these were the beginnings of ‘Fralls’. I recommend these stories to anyone who can beg, borrow or steal a copy.[6]
I think the references to Kirk and/or Spock "weeping on a busy bridge" [a comment in Interstat #30] is an exaggeration of the scene in Leslie Fish's world-famous "Poses," in which Kirk and Spock do not weep, but moon over one another in sophomorish interior monologues for pages on end. That's Leslie being outrageous again—she is constantly stretching that astonishingly convincing style to see just how much she can get away with. In that story, she roused so much controversy over the "seven-page f---scene" (her own term for it) that she got everyone to overlook the structural flaw in the story, that awful bridge scene. Leslie is the unchallenged master of that sort of verbal legerdemain in fandom. [7]
[Fish replies to Lorrah's comment above]: To Jean Lorrah: Thanks much, but in fact that bridge-scene in "Poses' ('world famous'? Awww— shucks) was meant to be a satire on male attitudes; K & S are acting like a couple of fumbling adolescents—precisely because this is a form of "romantic" involvement they've never dealt with before, just like a couple of horny virgin adolescents dealing with a regular heterosexual "first love". I suppose I should have made the parallel a little stronger, since not many people seem to have caught on, even when I later had Kirk come right out ("come out"? Oy!) and accuse Spock of making him "The Girl in a bad romance". Well, y'can't win 'em all. [8]
"Poses" followed on [Shelter] naturally. Having accepted Spock out of love initially, Kirk finds he has been sexually aroused by him. His hesitation at abandoning his image, and Spock's reluctance to drop his Super-Vulcan pose, their mutal misunderstanding of each other's reactions were wholly credible. More sex-based than "Shelter", it nevertheless conveyed the love perfectly. [9]
Now to the worst [in the zine Obsc'zine]: and why I dislike them. You might say I have a case of AC-rophobia. But the one thing I do not like at all are these gay stories, and you seem to have a multiplicity of them in this issue. "Kirk's Decision" completely turned me off, as did "Another Saturday Night" ... "The Perfect Mate" (thoroughly rotten), "Intimacy", "Bedtime Story" (along another subject matter but it still sticks in my craw) and "Poses". (Wasn't "Shelter" enough?) Sorry. Perhaps I'm just too much of a thoroughly heterosexual female, but these gay stories turn me completely off. It's more than just a dislike on my part. It seems to me to be a total mischaracterization. In ST we were clearly shown two well-adjusted, heterosexual males in Kirk and Spock, and these stories seem to be perverting their characters. What is all this interest in homo-stuff, anyway? Some of the stories, I must admit, are well-written, and my comments do not necessarily reflect on the author's writing abilities. Take "Poses" for example. Leslie Fish can write a good story, and make it interesting, but the basic premise of the story is just a bit too much. To paraphrase someone — not only may the Kirk/Spock premise rest in peace, may it also rest in pieces — very tiny pieces. I can only hope you don't have much, if any, of these gay stories next time around. Maybe this fad will soon run its course ... [10]
Oh, yes, "Shelter" and "Poses". I liked the former much more than the latter. In "Poses" there is real sex, but it almost read tongue-in-cheek, and I remember Leslie later saying she was poking fun at the idea of romance in that story (I remember she wrote a commentary once where she said she detested the word "romance". Ah, a kindred spirit.... <g>) [11]
I wasn't going to gush about "Shelter" and "Poses" ... but it seems appropriate, because Fish and Agostino show great psychological insight in these stories and express in fictional form the importance of integration. Spock has repressed a whole chunk of his total personality, but then so has Kirk. In Kirk's case, how ever, what has been repressed is his "feminine" side. To hold to his super-macho "Jim, the Galactic Hero" image he has denied a part of himself that cannot be denied without cost. Human beings are basically androgynous, a fact which Fish/Agostino understand very well, and the humanization of James Kirk is as important an element in the Kirk-Spock re lationship stories as the change in Spock. Basically, each is helping the other along toward that integration of person ality they both need. Even though Leslie Fish and Carol Hunterton have responded beautifully (WS 23) to criticism of Kirk and Spock as lovers, I feel compelled to add my two credits' worth. We hear about all different kinds of love — friendship, sexual love, love of family — between and among people, but I don't think we're talking about different things, only different manifestations of the same thing. And the boundaries which separate those manifestations are amorphous, weak and can easily become nonexistent. I think any kind of love relationship carries sexual potential; whether or not that potential becomes actualized depends on all manner of variables in conditioning, environment, etc. Bev Clark has pointed out (WS 18) that you can't judge 22nd Century people by 20th Century moral standards. As it is, twentieth century moral standards are pretty variable. Plenty of people besides myself have no trouble at all accepting a Kirk-Spock relationship of the kind described in "Poses". Anita Bryant notwithstanding, I find it hard to believe that a 22nd Century person, exposed to the variety of a galaxy-wide culture, won't be many times more liberal In these matters. In fact, one of the criticisms I have of much of Trekflc Is its tendency to give insufficient allowance for the change in mores brought about by 200 years and exposure to many alien civilizations. Granted, there will always be people whose opinions are immune to change; I still find altogether more 20th century prejudices in 22nd century minds than seems likely. I've already told you what I think of "Poses" best thing In the 'zine by far. [12]
"Poses" strikes me as among the funniest bits of erotica I've ever read -- ranking with Salinger, Pynchon and Max Schulman in that area. [13]

References

  1. undated comments by Ruth Kurz at Foresmutters
  2. 2002 rec by Predatrix
  3. from Not Tonight Spock! #7
  4. from The K/S Press #18
  5. from The K/S Zine: The Time of the Beginning 1976-1985
  6. from The K/S Press #32
  7. from Jean Lorrah in Interstat #31
  8. from Leslie Fish in Interstat #33
  9. from Obsc'zine #2
  10. from a LoC in Obsc'zine #2
  11. June 1999 comments at Venice Place
  12. from a LoC in Obsc'zine #2
  13. from Enterprise Incidents #7