Research/Development

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Star Trek TNG Fanfiction
Title: Research/Development
Author(s): Kara Storm and Sharon Taylor
Date(s): January 1988
Length: 4 pages
Genre: uhh, there seems to be a difference of opinion
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
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Research/Development is a Star Trek: TNG story by Kara Storm and Sharon Taylor. The art is by Kara Storm.

Abode10-1.jpg

The story was printed in Abode of Strife #10, which was usually a gen publication. This issue, however, was billed as "our heterosexual X-rated issue," and an age statement was required.

The pairing is Riker and Data. What genre this was considered seemed to be up for grabs. A reviewer calls it slash and declares she felt tricked by semantics. The publisher may not have considered this story slash as Data in the story has both female and male sexual organs. (In canon, Data, an android, describes himself as "fully functional," but doesn't specify with what.)

From Bill Hupe, the editor of Abode of Strife:
Although I am handling X-Rated material now, I will NOT handle homosexual material (and don't start throwing Research/Development at me -- it's hetero -- sort of). It's not that I'm against K/S and the like (or for it for that matter), it's simply that I feel that there are plenty of fanzines around for that genre. So, please feel free to contribute material (hetero) for forthcoming issues and I will publish X-Rated zines as I have enough material to fill an issue.

Reactions and Reviews

I'm not against slash fiction, per se. I am, however, very much against badly written fiction, and this 'un fits the bill. Picture this: a normal day on the new ENTERPRISE. Riker is making out his list of Things To Do. The laundry. Check on Engineering. Seduce Data. Huh?? Actually, to be fair (although certainly nobody warned me in advance, 'sexually explicit' doesn't cut it), that's not quite how it goes. But it's close. In actuality, somebody says some stupid thing to Data on the bridge, hurting his feelings in the process, an incident which prompts Deanna Troi to send Riker off after Data, as through none of these officers have better things to do with their time on duty than worry about Data being insulted. (For that matter, considering the inanity of the insult used by the author, I have to wonder why anybody, including Data, even gave a damn). En route to the holodeck, Riker gets this vague idea that lets the readers know Where This Is Leading, and once there, he plays the role of comforting friend (since when?). Ho, hum. Yep, that?s where it's leading, all right. The comfort turns into, "Hey, let's you-know-what!" whereupon we discover that Data is not only fully-functional as a male, but (surprise!) possesses female genitals as well. They do it, and it is presented to us that getting laid will also enable the android to fully realize his highest aspiration—the art of whistling (where do they come up with this lofty stuff?). To finish off this four page gem, Picard appears for no reason whatsoever, presumably just to inform Riker that he is out of uniform. (Hey, I wonder why they didn't make it a threesome? The authors really passed up a golden opportunity, there.) I repeat: Huh??? Who are these people? Riker and Data? I can't think of an unlikelier combination. To make this one believable, it'd take a lot of doing, and I doubt that fandom's best writers could pull it off. It just isn't in the characters as we know them. (Okay, maybe Data—depends on his programming. But Riker? Uhh-uh.) These authors, however, have taken it upon themselves to present this idea in four sterling pages. My question is, why? And, if the answer to that still means you have to write the silly thing, than for the Maker's sake, do it right. Either make it tongue in cheek (no pun intended), and give me an honest laugh or (the easier of the two, since humor is one of the most difficult styles to master) make me believe it. Write a Good Story. Something I can really hook into. Something with Characters, not silly little morons running around the pages like Smurfs having an orgy. Something with a Plot, not—whatever this was. Actually—I was going to make a snide comment about the dialogue—but, actually, that was the one thing that these writers pulled off. The speech patterns were accurate—it was what the characters said that made the dialogue so ridiculous. Ridiculous situation, ridiculous dialogue. In a believable story, I think that the speech patterns would have been right on the money. As you may have guessed. I do not recommend this story… I will forebear to comment on the illustrations by Kara Storm. [1]

References

  1. a review by a BNF (J K) who went on to write a very prominent Data/Yar zine