Short Circuit

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Zine
Title: Short Circuit
Publisher: L.H. in England, followed by Linda Terrell in the USA, then Joanne Keating in Australia
Editor(s):
Type: fanfic, letterzine
Date(s): April 1990-early 1996
Frequency:
Medium: print
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
flyer in the back of Backtrack #4, click to read

Short Circuit is a Professionals slash and gen letterzine published by L.H. in England (one issue), followed by Linda Terrell in the USA (several issues), then Joanne Keating in Australia.

The editorial page of issue #1 states: "This is intended for slash fans, but in the spirit of IDIC straight contributions will also be welcomed."

From a 1992 ad in Zine Scene: "A letter zine for discussion/review/debate/analysis of all that's naughty and nice about the British detective/adventure series THE PROFESSIONALS. Started in April 1990, we're a wide-open forum for all aspects of B/D -— the show, characters, and fan fiction. We're boisterous, rambunctious and, hopefully, rollicking. All letters are printed AS IS. I do not edit except to ask that something outside the parameters of opinion be reworded."

Awards

Issue #12 won d a1994 Fan Q.

In 1997, "Short Circuit" tied with Cold Fish and Stale Chips for a Huggy Award for best Pros letterzine.

Ending Date Clues

"Short Circuit" was listed as "currently available" in December 1995 by Sandy Hereld on Virgule-L.

In January 1996, a fan wrote:
Short Circuit is our only problem child this year. Joanne is finally sick of bullying people into contributing their letters. She's happy to do the dog work in producing the zine, but she's sick of asking for the letters of comment on the topics each issue --- sometimes they came in in a flood, other times, they only trickled in and she had to ring round to get enough letters to put out the issues. It seems that people were happy to pay money to subscribe to the magazine to read everyone else's conversation -- like voyeurs. But ask them to write a few lines, send a postcard - even saying, this topic didn't interest me - was beyond them! She's asked me to consider taking it on rather than see it die, and I would be willing to set up an email subscription to it, but would I face the same problem? For those who don't know it, Short Circuit is a fairly long-running letterzine on slash fandom --- and a lot of the people who write to it, don't have access to computers or email accounts. etc. It's a place for them to discuss slash fandom. It would be a shame to see it go. [1]

Other Pros Letterzines

For a list of similar fanworks, see List of Letterzines.

Pros letterzines:

Discussion Topics and Controversies

The letterzine's first issue was very benign.

When it got passed to Linda Terrell (issues 2-10), things got hotter.

Some probable reasons:

  • Terrell stated right away that the publication would not be actor-focused and did not welcome comments about the actors, yet she made some disparaging remarks about Lewis Collins right off the bat, something other fans called her on a few issues later. Terrell did not apologize, nor see the point of their arguments.
  • While all fans had to wait an issue to read comments and add their own responses, Terrell had the opportunity to read and respond right away. When a fan asked her to wait along with the rest of the fans as her often strident comments altered the nature of continuing discussion, Terrell said she would not, citing this privilege as a perk of having to do most of the work, and that other letterzine publisher's had done the same thing.
  • While this letterzine was a bit like an APA at first (in that fans' letters were not retyped but instead copied and pasted as is), Terrell was a accused by at least one fan of editing and/or censoring letters. She vehemently denied doing this, and as of issue #5, referred to herself as a collator/compiler, rather than editor.
  • There was apparently a lot of angry letters and phone calls among fans regarding Terrell's tactics, motives, and this letterzine, something Terrell alludes to in issue #5's "editorial." In this editorial, Terrell reveals one of the complainer's legal name. It is unclear if this person's name is one of the readers who did not contribute, or if the name revealed is embedded in one of the zine's tribbers using a pseud. It is likely the latter.
  • Terrell also revealed the legal name (first only, though fans would have made the connection immediately), in a casual reply to one of the letterzine's most prolific tribbers. While no one commented in the letterzine itself, this would have been considered an overstep.
  • Some of the letters, as of issue #4, became quite strident and combative, something Terrell comments on in the fifth issue, saying she liked it like that.
  • Terrell herself was a continuous figure in fandom in the first place, due to her communication style, and for her role in The Blake's 7 War, the latter something many fans would have been quite aware of.

Issue 1

Short Circuit 1 was published in April 1990 and contains 34 pages. It was published by L.H. in England.

cover of issue #1

The TOTMs were "How did you get hooked on The Professionals?" and "What are your favorite episodes?" and "Did you see the slash in the show first and then in the fic, or the other way around?" and "What are your favorite five sexiest scenes for Bodie and for Doyle?"

Reviews of fanworks; this is the only issue that contains a stated "review section." -

  • "Adiago in Blue" by Kathy Keegan, Cross My Heart #2
  • "Luck of the Irish" by Lily Fulford. -- "A threesome story with lots and lots of sex - Bodie and Murph conspire to seduce Doyle, and the plot backfires when people start falling in love. If you like Murphy stories, this is for you! Not quite in Lewtan's class (what is?) but a jolly good romp."
  • "Playing Possum" by Tigwinkle (5 pages). "For cat lovers everywhere! An unusual idea that's extremely well written. The best 'Pros become feline' since Cat Tales. Not slash, but read it anyway. The lady knows her subject."
  • Starlight, Starbright by Fanny Adams, see that page
  • "Breaking Point", author unknown. -- "The start of a love affair. Delicious stuff. Bodie's impossible dreams come true - and Ray isn't complaining either! Good balance between the guys, partnership nicely sketched before they get to grips with the notion of becoming lovers, and get on with the job is luscious detail. No slush, just loads of caring and concern becoming commitment."

This issue contains fiction: Interim 1 (Post Hunter/Hunted) by K. Morgan, Five Little Words by Cat Shannon.

This issue contains poetry: Before and After by [author unknown], Even the Losers Win by Cat Shannon, Bodie by Jude, Doyle by Jude.

There is one interior drawing of Doyle by KE.

Submission guidelines and ads: submission guidelines for Other Times and Places, ad for Professional Insight, ad for As Smooth as a Waltz.

Issue 1: Excerpts from Comments

[from the editor]:

THE 'AINT LIFE A BITCH SPEECH

You hold in your hands ay first effort at publishing a letterzine. Possibly also my last. They told me that xeroxing contributions without any retyping had been tried before. They told me it had failed. They didn't tell me why. It wasn't until I found myself cutting off addresses and trying to get grey print to come out black that I found out WHY it doesn't work. Lots of little details, like American paper is a slightly different size. The photocopier doesn't pick up edge to edge top to bottom type - it likes a huge border around the print.

MY photocopier doesn't like anything except frequent overhauls that I can't afford. The effects of which seen to wear off overnight. Hence the messy state of the copy - for which I hereby apologise. Luckily most of you receiving this er, object, contributed, so at least you'll get it for free. I figured that a free first issue would bring people in. I forgot that the costs would have to be paid by somebody - me. So I guess I don't eat next month.

I'm not in the habit of giving names to mechanical objects, but the photocopier was christened Jinx in the process of trying to get it to produce readable copy. I hope you can make some sense of the letterzine. If there is an issue two, if enough of you still want to contribute, I will beg steal or borrow a different machine on which to run the copy. In the meantime, I hope you manage to have some fun with issue one.
[D B]:

[The quality of the episode tapes were so bad that] I couldn't sit through them. I'd also read some PROS fanlit back in 1986 and I was appalled. Much of it was dreadful, as in B*A*D. Either I changed or the writing did.

When I did, however, glean enough even in mid-1988 to know that when SCORPIO Con announced they had gotten Lewis Collins topper there, it was "Significant". I did not know enough about PROS by then to know whether he was Bodie or Doyle... in fact, at one point, I (jokingly) told him that I wasn't sure he was Starsky or Hutch... well, I thought it was funny. He groaned and told me not to be cruel.

I was Staff Photographer at that Con and I had enough of Mr. Lewis Collins to strangle a Rottweiler. It's a l-o-n-g tale and someday maybe I'll hang it all on you. Suffice it that I do not relate at all well being sworn at, in front of hundreds of fans, for doing my JOB. I was underwhelmed by him.

But, when a local TV station here in Tampa Bay began airing PROS (at last! Clear copy! Clear SOUND!) and I simultaneously began receiving a LOT of PROS fanlit from a good friend, imagine my surprise when I found myself drawn more and more to... Bodie!? I don't think Lewis what he wants to be when he grows up....

I'd say that it was the fan fiction that really grabbed me. For some time, I really couldn't "see" any slash aspects in the show (unlike "Starsky & Hutch," which could have invented slash fiction if it hadn't already existed.) The more I read PROS fanfic, the more I could "see" it in the show. Of course, slash isn't there or it wouldn't have been on the air (maybe). But if I can get Blake/Avon from B7, by gum and by golly and bicarbonate of soda, I can sure get slash out of PROS. It's simply a matter of starting from the assumption that these two guys are incredibly discreet.

Than I started writing slash PROS fiction. Uh oh -- totally addiction. It was - oh no! - The Attack Of Yet ANOTHER Fandom! Oh well, I'd explored just about every B/A combination there could be, and maybe a few that should never have been. I also explored B/V, A/V, Blake and everybody; what's left after you've pioneered Avon/Tarrant!?
[Susan Douglass]:

People: Hello! I'm "Susan Douglass" who has made a few attempts to write PROS fiction in various zines. Anyone who has seen any of my stories is welcome to comment on them, even if you thought they were pure dreck.

I write original fantasy and science fiction professionally (with a small "p") under my own name. I almost decided to dispense with the pen-name for my slash writings, but there are a few snobs in the F/SF field who turn up their noses at (yech!) MEDIA; one of them might be some book-editor who is about to purchase a short story or novel of mine (I've sold 3 short stories to mainstream F/SF publishers, plus several others to the small press). So, just in case, I decided on a pen-name. As for the fannish community, I don't really care who knows who "Susan Douglass" really is. As for fannish "slash bashers," my attitude is that if someone doesn't like slash, they don't have to read it. In fact, I have so little concern for fannish "slash bashers" that I'll give them even more "dirt" on Susan Douglass. Susan Douglass is not only a slash writer, she is a Gay and Proud slash writer. I know that there are other members of the Lavender Sisterhood out there somewhere (and members of the Brotherhood, too, as well?) One of the topics I'd like to raise is the differing perspectives that Gay or bisexual slash writers (I use "Gay" to mean both men and women) and primarily heterosexual slash writers bring to the genre.

One of the differences I've found is that Gay and bisexual writers are more likely to see Bodie and Doyle as entering into a Gay relationship, as opposed to the viewpoint that "they're really heterosexual men who just happen to fall for each other." This type of viewpoint is easier to hold within Trek (Kirk/Spock) or perhaps in BLAKES 7. In these futuristic genres, one can postulate that Gay culture as such will be a relic from the past. I, too, would like to think that by the 22nd or 23rd century, homophobia will be outdated. But I find it difficult in contemporary slash settings, such as THE PROFESSIONALS to see the partners as straight men who just happen to go for each other. Sooner or later, the two would have to confront the issue of being in a same-sex relationship in a society which has such phenomena as Clause 28 and "pansy-bashing." Now Bodie and Doyle don't have to live in the Gay Ghetto or be active members of ACT-UP or anything. And they could very well have THOUGHT of themselves as men who, in the past, had been primarily heterosexual. In a homophobic society, people try as much as possible to act out a hetero lifestyle. People with bisexual potential learn to suppress the homoerotic facet of their sexuality. It is quite reasonable for Bodie and/or Doyle to have lived as heterosexual men until their own meeting has taken place. What I find unrealistic is for the writer to continue to take the stand that they "really aren't Gay, they're really "MEN." These writers tend to have the partners "do it" with various women to prove that they aren't (gasp!) "faggots" or "pansies." Somehow, the writer's own homophobia is creeping into the scenario.
[Susan Douglass]: Why would a self-professed lesbian get involved with writing about two MEN??!? The reasons are varied. One, I like reading some Gay literature, even if most of it is about men rather than women. I get tired of the same old hetero sex roles presented by the media. Two, I find some of the most intense and compelling writings within the male slash genre, particularly within Bodie/Doyle. Three, much of the writing concerns itself with issues that relate to me — such issues as rape and incest. It assures me that these are not issues confined solely to women. I know several male rape and incest survivors. Reading and writing about male survivors puts a little safe "distance" between me and these topics. An aside: I DESPISE rape fantasies or stories where one partner rapes the other, yet they fall in love and live happily ever after. Rape can never lead to True Love. I read "Consequences" and the various sequels, and got so disturbed by them that I wrote my own sequel, which is slated for THE HATSTAND EXPRESS #21 (should be out pretty soon). Now for those who have read my story ("Reparations"), the Bodie I wrote about was a distorted "mirror" version of Bodie. I don't see my "real" Bodie as a rapist, certainly not a man who would rape his own partner. Rape is a violent crime, not a titillating sex act.
[Susan Douglass]: One of the biggest attractions of slash for me is the androgyny of the characters. My tolerance for Macho Men is about zero. Now this doesn't mean that I like any of the characters to be mincing wimps. Androgynous and even "feminine" characters can be strong, courageous and resourceful. I LOVE it when glittering tears glisten from those jade green eyes. But eventually, I want to see them from those long-lashed sapphire eyes as well. Yes, I know, I have perverse tastes!
[Susan Douglass]: What dragged me into PROS? I remember a few years ago when I was dabbling into Trek, I went to a large Media convention and saw these portraits of these two characters — one had straight black hair and the other had tousled curls. I couldn't figure out WHAT was going on with this. But then I moved from Chicago to Baltimore and met some local fans. They showed me some typed up "circuit" stories. I read Kathy Keegan's "Coming Home" and I was HOOKED!!!

I see the whole slash scenario as an "alternate universe." I don't see the Bodie and the Doyle of the series as being lovers, even "behind the scenes." But with my wicked, perverse mind, I LIKE seeing such TV personages as Kirk, Spock, Starsky, Hutch etc. etc. as being Gay. I would like to see more women being Gay (Lesbians are one of the most invisible minorities around). So I like seeing a slightly-alternate version of THE PROFESSIONALS, where the two partners are devoted lovers as well as mates. I prefer faithful monogamy as the culmination of their relationship, although they might play around at first (with other men or with women, depending on the story and characterization). Because I see the whole scenario as alternate in itself, and because I like good fantasy/SF, I like the various A/U's that various authors have created. I've created my own A/U with my own "Raimond/Guillaume" series (in CHALK AND CHEESE and a few other zines). I like to speculate "what if..." In this exploration, I like to see a little more in the A/U portrayals than just the names and/or the appearances. I don't particularly go for the "Zax" stories because I just don't see Doyle as Zax — the only resemblance is that Martin Shaw plays both

parts. But to each her/his own tastes.

[BADVOC]:

How did I first get hooked on THE PROFESSIONALS? Well, by a miracle totally unprecedented in human experience I actually saw the first episode! I'm usually the last to catch on to anything new, but whilst muttering loudly about 'cheap British attempts to cash in on the popularity of Starsky and Hutch and also being thoroughly sick of the sight of Gordon Jackson ('Upstairs, Downstairs' having only recently finished) I decided to give it a try, mainly because Martin Shaw was so scrumptious. I was glad I had, because I soon discovered that the quality of the scripts (at least at first) was very high and that the characters had depth. I was expecting a baby at the time, and rather foolishly when I went into hospital to have it the only book I took with me was my great favourite, THREE MEN IN A BOAT. I hadn't realised that when you have a large number of stitches in the bit you sit on and are perching precariously on a rubber ring, the last, positively last thing you want to be doing is laughing uproariously. Therefore I had to beg my sister to bring me something to read that was light but not humorous, and she rather nobly handed over the book she herself had been reading at the time, the first PROFESSIONALS tie-in novel. From then on I was seriously hooked. The quality of the writing in the tie-ins (yes, I know there were a lot of continuity error, but the overall style was excellent) fired my imagination and henceforth I was a fan.

I wasn't at the time a member of fandom, but that followed in the next few months. In due course I found myself connected with a group of STARSKY AND HUTCH slash fans and for a short while I had a bit of a split personality, watching STARSKY AND HUTCH and THE PROFESSIONALS alternate weeks as we then didn't have a video. However when it came to the fan-fiction there was no contest - I've never been satisfied with my efforts to write American series, so whilst all around me were busy with Dave and Ken I made the first forays into Doyle and Bodie slash-fiction. As far as I'm aware these were the first PROFESSIONALS slash stories ever written - I certainly haven't heard of any that pre-dated them.

Gradually my STARSKY AND HUTCH buddies began to realise that the British series was pretty good, too, and one by one they came over to writing Doyle and Bodie slash. The network grew - as these things do, people telling their friends, sharing stories - until in the early Eighties we must have had well over fifty people reading and writing what became known as 'Hatstand' stories. I think the explanation of that term has become quite well known by now, but just in case anyone missed it - a friend of mine made it known that she was writing a 'Bodie-is-as-bent-as-a-hatstand' story. I used to write back frequently and ask her progress on 'the hatstand story' and gradually the expression gained currency as meaning any Doyle and Bodie slash tale.

[BADVOC]:

By the way, 'hatstand' is a verb as well as a noun. One can 'hatstand' somebody, or 'de-hatstand' a story. The ultimate extension of the word was arrived at when someone described a story as being 'un-dehatstandisable'. The badge of the hatstanders used to be a little enamel frog bought from a stall in Covent Garden Craft Market. You still see them at cons occasionally. I had four (all with names) but they're all broken or lost long ago!

[BADVOC]:

At one time 'Blue Jay Press' more or less had the monopoly on printing hatstand fiction. While the series was still being made no-one else wanted to risk the wrath of the TV company or the actors,and BJP had the facilities, the market and the ability to provide the fiction that was suddenly so sought after. I'm not sure how many stories were produced in this way - I think 'hundreds' would be a fair guess, as some were only single-page vignettes. Some, however, like 'Rediscovered in a Graveyard', ran into hundreds of pages. Personally I'm full of admiration for the strength of the imagination that sustains a story over that period of time. Doyle and Bodie were lifted out of their modern-day personae in a lot of stories and dropped into historical context - it was an idea that spread like wildfire, and the two have been seen in every period of history from Ancient Rome to the American Civil War, still, I'm pleased to say, bonking like rabbits!

[BADVOC]:

By the time [I withdrew from writing hatstands], we'd managed to run a couple of hatstand conventions which drew a lot of interest and from which we donated money to charity (SSAFA) , and a heck of a lot of good fan fiction had been generated.

[3.8.2.4.3.6.]:

A new B/D l/zine, I love it. It's about time there wasn't a monopoly in this field, if you know what I mean. Hope we can get some really democratic response this time, and not have our letters governed by a self-appointed "in-group" who won't allow equal time to anybody except personal friends! [2]

[3.8.2.4.3.6.]:

Yes, I did read B/D stories before I ever saw the series, but I honestly don't think that had much to do with me seeing the guys as lovers as quickly as I did. I'd only read about two stories or so before I'd first seen the show,and I didn't even know what B&D looked like,or how they really "related" to each other...had never seen their body language in response to one another,or anything like that. So I'd say my feelings for them as being lovers came entirely from the series itself. I can't remember exactly which episode first "did" it for me, either. I only know it was one of the first four or five episodes I'd ever seen (and the station showing the series at the time Was NOT showing them in order at all). It might have been WHEN THE HEAT COOLS OFF that I first started noticing little things... like the way Bodie was looking at Doyle when Doyle took his jacket off in his flat, after the aborted "night cut."
[3.8.2.4.3.6.]: One of the things that always used to amuse me years ago was when some people used to insist that B&D "didn't even like each other very much", just because they weren't always falling all over each other like Starsky & Hutch used to! In fact, before I ever saw PROFESSIONALS, I almost wasn't even going to bother, because I actually listened to the wrong people and was sure the guys were going to be a couple of cold fish with each other! For once,I'm glad I didn't listen to those nay-sayers.
[3.8.2.4.3.6.]: I m glad we re all using code numbers or names for this l/zine, or I'd never feel safe saying I'm not a Collins fan!. To most folks in this fandom, that's heresy.

[ALYX]: I first heard of Bodie & Doyle in the wonderful old K/S letterzine Not Tonight, Spock. [Sharon F] had a monthly column and she was just getting active in Pros fandom at the time and tended to compare K/S to B/D a lot. It must have been 1984-85. Not Tonight folded and I didn't hear of B/D for a long time. There was never any mention of it in Datazine, and that was my sole source for zines.

Late 1988, I bought an Australian multi-media zine called Magnetism. The lead story was an alternative universe with Bodie & Doyle as mercenaries. I was totally confused about how this fitting in which what little I knew about the fandom, but it immediately won me over. Soon after, I lucked into the US PROS library, and it is now (a little over a year later) my favorite fandom.
[ALYS]: On a totally different subject - Quantum Leap (yes, I am a fan of this series). To the strict slasher, it might seem l little disconcerting that Al is a hologram, but think of all the built-up angst that's involved! Add into that, the fact that Sam could show up in a gay person (male or female) at some point, and Al having to deal with it.... Plus the cross-over possibilities! Since every slash series in the world (except K/S really) occurs within Sam's lifetime, he could pop into anyone at anytime. (heh-heh) I think there's a lot of potential. Imagine him trying to function as Cowley! Or someone on the squad, or even one of the boys themselves. Maybe they are supposed to get together but never did for some reason and Sam has to set it right. I think there's a lot of potential if you look at it right.

[Tennyson]:

Glad to hear of a new source for B/D discussion, since the one letterzine I've seen before was lively, but ran down last year as a discussion zine. [3]
[Tennyson]: While there's lots of argument about slash in general, I have always found that the controversy in Professionals fandom was not over whether the characters could be lovers — this was assumed in the majority of fanfiction on the show — but over whether they might not have to be lovers. There are some perfectly good stories which show them as straight friends, but the more enthusiastic slash fans often prefer not to think about the possibility. Even so, the argument remained open-minded, since there is, after all, no solid evidence on the screen for the slash premise. As with most shows, slash rests on an interpretation which extrapolates the characters in a direction they probably were not intended to go originally, but which is not (despite a great deal of propaganda to the contrary) impossible. Another way of seeing it is to say that one alters or adds a selected element in the show, and then writes fiction based on this thought-experiment to see how the changed universe works. Either of these theories seems an adequate excuse to me, if one needs an excuse to write B/D.

[Tennyson]: The one factor in the show which endures, through car chases, gunfights, and frequent dates and broken dates with women, is the close, automatic cooperation between Bodie and Doyle as a team. That, seen in unspoken communication and perfectly-meshed action between them, is one thing that draws me to the show. Although they are very much individuals with differences, they know each other to the point that they can act together as one — and Cowley knows them to the point that he can send them out and know how they will act, as well...

My own thought is that sex without some psychological characterization is very dull. B/D is exciting because it's about people who work, and think, and act with intense precision. If they sleep together, that too should be intense and precise and thoughtful (and no doubt other things ...). But if they're nothing but bodies, there's no way to tell them from the Man in the Moon or the third spear-carrier on the left. The show's background is what makes the characters exciting; sex can make the show and characters more exciting, but not if everything else is taken away.

[Jay]:

I saw a flyer for the Pros zine WALKING IN THE MOONLIGHT at CaliCon last June, and I was curious enough about them to send in a deposit. I enjoyed all the stories, especially [Sharon F's] "Circles" and the raunchy blue jean fantasy that takes place in an Oxfam store and then a posh men's clothing store's dressing room. I wondered where I could find more. Then I saw a flyer for Revelcon, in March,m90, which would have a reading room with Pros stories.

[Jay]:

I just finished reading Meg Lewtan's CAMERA SHY, a slightly alternate universe. I know all the episodes her story's photos come from except one: the very first photo of Doyle in the story. It's a close up with Doyle wearing a white woolly jacket, bare-chested, and neck chain with a cigarette in the left comer or his mouth. Where did she get this very erotic photo?

[Felicity M. P]:

You wondered how people became involved in B/D fandom. Well... I became a B/D fan many months before I saw an episode. I knew about The Professionals from when the programme started but it sounded like a British Starsky and Hutch and anyway, the viewing times originally clashed. About three years later friends gave me Consequences to read, along with several of its sequels. I didn't like the stories and found the characters unpleasant. So I went back to reading my K/S zines. A little while later I was lent a story called Masquerade and I couldn't put it down. It was well written, had a clever story line and the characters fascinated me. I wanted to know more about them. When The Professionals returned to the tv screen, same friends urged me to watch and I eventually got round to doing so. Emm, I thought. I watched a second episode. Then another. I read Cause For Concern. I was hooked and have been ever since. I didn't deliberately look for slash in the episodes, I just took it for granted that the relationship existed — it's the way I thought of them.

[Stew]:

How I discovered the Profs? Being a slash nut, I'll read anything slashy I can lay by grubby mitts on. The multimedia slash zine Magnetism was therefore a godsend (all 190 pages of it). Thanks to editors Sharon Carter and Karen Irving. And Meg Lewtan's a/u Profs story in it. "Out of the Jungle, really got me intrigued. I read a few more slash Profs stories here and there after that, which kept me interested. But then they started screening the show itself here in January 1990...

[Stew]:

Do I see the slash angle...? To be honest, I don't see untying in the show itself to support the slash angle, by which I mean people without a fannish (or gay) imagination wouldn't jump to any conclusions here. But Bodie and Doyle do have a very close and caring relationship and... there's reasons why a sexual/loving relationship between them would work so well. All the little bits like Bodie rarely bothering to keep his hands off Doyle are an added bonus.

[Stew]: ... Bodie and Doyle can be the most difficult sods to actually get together [in my fanfic]. Working them through the prejudices (varied) and the British emotional defence (don't take offence, I'm a Pom too) is tough going. I haven't been able to do it in less than thirteen pages yet! Not like my Buckaroo Banzai stories -- Buckaroo and Rawhide can fall into each other's arms very emotionally and open-mindedly in one page max.

[unknown fan who did the REVIEW COLUMN]:

I subscribe to the view that once a story is in circulation, comment on it is justified. I also don't enjoy hacking someone's hard work to pieces - negative comment will be printed uncensored, just remember how you'd feel if you wrote the story in question. Follow-ups are welcome - ie, if you disagreed with a particular review, lets hear from you. If you comment on a zine that's still in print, please note source, price, etc, if you can. A note on whether the editor is likely to answer her mail sometime before the next ice age would also be helpful!

Issue 1: Reactions and Reviews

[Interim 1]: "Interim 1 (post "Hunter/Hunted") by K. Morgan. I have a bit of trouble with stories, which focus on jealousies and the games one or both of the two play over this. Plus I don't like the idea of one of the characters using a woman, as Doyle apparently did with Kathy in this story, simply to get his partner jealous. One reason I see the whole slash angle as existing in an alternate universe is I cringe at the occasional scenes where one or both of the pair seem to be using various women for their own selfish needs.

It's as if the women were simply bodies to be put to use, sort of put there to show that Our Heroes are Real Men. To be fair, I don't like it when

women use them, either. So when the two are portrayed as bisexual or gay in fan lit, I get a bit bothered to still see them using women in the same way. However, the ending of this story had the warm, sweet feeling I like in good Bodie/Doyle lit. [4]

[Five Little Words]:

FIVE LITTLE WORDS by Cat Shannon. I had a bit more trouble with this one. In the first place, both Bodie and Doyle acted like insensitive berks. Again, what about the woman Doyle was (not really) sleeping with to play his practical joke? But I had a worse problem with Bodie's response, that he intended to "fuck [Doyle] through the floor." I see "my" Bodie as a sometimes "dark" character with a perhaps rather shady past in the jungles of Africa. But I don't see him as a rapist. To me, when he mentioned "fucking through the floor," it sounded like threatened rape to me. I've seen other stories where Bodie is shown committing near-rape or actual rape on his partner (I mentioned "Consequences" last time). This just isn't the Bodie that Doyle knows, trusts with his life, and learns to love. Sure, Doyle acted like a clod. But he doesn't deserve rape. If a lover of mine ever mentioned doing an act such as Bodie suggests in this story, I would walk out of the relationship right there; that would absolutely be the end of It. The fact that at the end of the story, Bodie relented on his threat and decided to call it "April Fool" didn't really wipe It out for me. Sorry. [5]

[Metamorphisis]:

"Metamorphisis" by Cat Shannon" Well now that I have hacked and hewed critiqued Cat's story in this issue, I want to praise her for this poem. This is the Bodie and Doyle I know and love! Bodie: "...loyalty to his own kind, tempered by a distance taught by little wars...Ignoring the sadness of casual liasons and the empty darkness of many nights alone." And Ray Doyle: "Flawed angel with a laugh straight out of the sewer, a mass of tangled curls and tattered clothes..." And the final two lines: "Safe harbour in the dead of night, Doyle sleepwarm and safe in his arms." What can I say? Lovely! [6]

Issue 2

Short Circuit 2 was published in July 1990 and contains 28 pages.

A new editor is at the helm: Linda Terrell.

cover of issue #2: "Love the cover! Great look on Bodie's face, and Doyle doesn't come off looking 10 sizes smaller then him. Small caveat; I don't think anyone has arms that long..." -- Alyx's comment from issue #3

The TOTMs were "In personal correspondence someone mentioned that they found the level of violence in the show to be almost unacceptable. Does anyone else feel this way?" and "Given a choice, which episode would you most like to see a follow-up to? And why? Confronting Cowley after Operation Susie, or a scene between our boys after Fall Girl? If they had brought the show back five years later, instead of giving us Saracen, who would things have changed?"

"Formal" reviews of fanworks:

Stories:

Poetry:

  • Reflective Response by Jude
  • Three Small Words by Jude

Art:

  • front cover illo of Bodie and Doyle by Caryl Sibbett
  • interior illo of Bodie and Doyle by Kate Neurnberg (this is actually a photocopy of the front cover of Chalk and Cheese #5)

Issue 2: Excerpts from Comments

[Linda Terrell]: (Obligatory Editorial and General Greetings (Gawd - How Utterly Yank!)

Once upon a Recent Time, there was a pretty-good-idea-Pros-letterzine out of the U.K. Gosh, a l/z all for we lovers of B&D&C (&M). Gee, I said, after all the hassle I've had in B7 fandom [7], I just wanna sit back and trib locs to this l/z. Let some other editor take the flack.

At last, a kinder, gentler, fandom. No "Church Of" [8] factions. So when various woes ambushed Lyn Harrild, I said I'd take over 'cause I didn't want to see what little base she'd established have to be sidelined. Especially since T.H.E. 1. hasn't been a letterzine for some time and may be ending its run. And 2. I was in a new fandom (for me) and looking for something that was FUN and would coordinate other like fans.

So here are we, koo koo ka ju. And I hope Lyn will be tribbing from time to time.

As I write this, I'm not sure of the final form SHORT CIRCUIT/USA will take. I had hoped to reduce the actual LOCS, paste them up on legal size paper to reduce bulk and xerox the lot - on the sly. But presently, our sly is not doing legal size copies, so this issue may come to you in regular 8x11 copy. Eventually, when the Treasury builds up, I will be able to take it to my regular Printer and have it done up double sided and all. But right now, I've got to trim the expenses, so bear with it please.

[Linda Terrell]: Try to keep your LOC to 4-5 pages. Hand written LOCS I will re-type, as is. I do not edit.

Reviews of Fan Fiction in circulation encouraged - as is any disagreement with a review.

If you have views or reviews of Lewis Collins or Martin Shaw's work, fine - but I'd like to keep this zine clear of any L.G. vs M.S. factions.

This is a Wide Open Forum - all views welcome. Since I will be using actual letters and not retyping, just about anything goes (within reasonably good taste). But let's concentrate on the show, characters, motivations and fan fiction.

Choose a pseud, any pseud - but not any from the show. If you wish to use your real name, please say so! Otherwise, I will assign a pseud until I hear differently from you.

If someone wishes to contact a writer privately, please write to me with TWO stamps. I will contact writer and ask if it is okay for me to give name and address.

Yearly subscription to S.C. is $12 for 4 issues. Overseas: $12. American currency if possible, or 5 IRCs per issue (which just covers air postage).

As of this issue, there or 2-3 Brits and one Australian.

Many thanks to Lyn for sending along the cover she had commissioned especially for S.C. I'll use it until any artists among you get inspired. The last page - if I remember - is a xerox of the best B&D photo I've yet seen. What makes it even more remarkable is that it is obviously between takes and the two men are relaxing which makes it LC and MS. But why is it so B&D!? Yum.

Okay, let's put this boat into the water and see if it salutes.

[Linda Terrell]: So, issue #1 of S.C. wasn't 'slick' and fancy; it's all ours. A new 'Pros' l/z that is fresh, unsullied, free of 'cliques' and is devoted to the show and characters [9].

After the mess in B7 fandom, I don't even want to smell 'Cult of Actor'. I've had enough fawning Pet Fans to last me until The Second Coming. Unfortunately, it seems to be a recessive trait in Media Fandom - especially if The Actor gets involved (i.e. accessible). Little danger of that, it appears, with Martin Shaw. Mr. Collins, is only relatively accessible; he's sometimes in California. And I'm not, most of the time.

[Linda Terrell]:

If you're tired of Doyle-as-an-elf stories, I wrote a Bodie-centaur tale for C&C #4 and 5

[Linda Terrell]: I do like Doyle -- he's one hot number, all right. But, Martin Shaw does nothing for me. I've seen Shaw in enough other vehicles to know that I only enjoy him as Doyle.

...

Gawd knows, I've tried to watch Face Lift, but I can't find one saving grace in it to save my soul -- bad acting, bad dialogue, bad plot (when I can find it), bad directing, bad cinematography, bad effects. I flat don't like like Zax and never will. And I loathe any a/u fanfiction based on Zax. I think my aversion to Shaw is that a lot of it is his acting style. Strictly personal preference here. He just usually strikes me as "wrong" somehow.

[Linda Terrell]: Seems to be a bit of a double standard here - a lot of fans - via fanllt and some locs - seem to be really indignant when Ann Holly walks away from Doyle. Yeah, that's rough and oh, the angst, that's generated in some fanlike. Bodie, on the other hand, admits to have "really loved" one woman -- and Marikka seems to have been more than a fling -- and both of them have been murdered while he watched. But, oh dear, Doyle was dumped by Ann Holly. And I get irritated as hell by fan writers who dismiss her as a "cold bitch." Oh gosh -- Doyle spied on her, didn't take her word, broke his promise, and arrested her Daddy. Hell, I'd've given Doyle his walking papers sooner than she did! (and, really, how many women has he dumped?)

[Linda Terrell]: I beg to differ with the rather pat generalization that straights tend to see slash couples as gay and gay-oriented writers see them as hets how happen to get in on with each other. I beg your pardon? I don't think I appreciate the dismissal. Give the group intellect some credit. As Jane Carnall told me years ago when I first tried my hands at B7 slash -- you are or you aren't. Anything else is indecision or cowardice. Which is, I guess, why I prefer established relationship stories (though I will not pass up a good First Time). The on-going development of a couple, after that rush of limerice [10]. It's what love and commitment are: living with he other and dealing with the day to day habits.

[Linda Terrell]: I find "suicide pact" death stories revolting. Having one of the guys off himself for love/want/need of the other is not only tedious and insulting, but naive. Suicide is NOT romantic. It's 1. stupid and 2. a cop-out. B&D are -- if you grant me a coined phrase -- "pros." They know what they face, and will go after the death of a loved one. The most loving thing anyone can do for a departed loved one is to carry on in their name, not off yourself.

[Linda Terrell]: Another gripe: the very cavalier and/or bitter way women are treated in PROS fanfic - written by women! Women seem to be presented as so meat and bed fodder, or they are 'frigid bitches' because they don't fall into our heroes' arms. Never a suggestion of choice - maybe she doesn't want to; maybe she has a measure of self-esteem and isn't about to be anyone's One Night Stand. I'm not saying all stories do this, but there is a decided prevalence in PROS fanfic. I'd like to explore that.

[Linda Terrell]: Recently read Meg Lewtan's Luck of the Draw and -- surprise -- I liked it. That's because it was presented as a Bodice Ripper and didn't pretend to be anything else. And, as such, held up. Which also helped me decipher why I generally do not like most of Lewtan's writing; she always writes Bodice Rippers. Her great saving grace is she writes a terrific Bodie. And I enjoy what she does with Murphy, provide he's a supporting character and doesn't intrude ('cause I also read a B/D/M tale that actually managed to offend me with its animal rutting.) But "Luck of the Draw" has everyone you could wan tin a Bodice Ripper -- purple prose, overwrought writing, plot holes in which you could run Le Mans. On that level, I could actually enjoy it all.

Generally, I don't like the "historical" and/or D&D-W&W-Elfin/Demon Fantasies. Not just because it's a waste of the characters of B&D as we know them, but because I don't like that genre -- in zines or at Dalton's. It's also doesn't help any that so many of them are e-n-d-l-e-s-s. Oh., I'll read 'em eventually, after I've read everything else, but I usually don't like them.

To wit, I love Lewtan's Up Jumped a Swagman. Doyle's jealousy over Bodie's former commander/lover is very realistically dealt with. Doyle is the possessive one, for all Bodie's protective posturing. Doyle is the hot jealous lover. And "Swagman" actually has a main plot other than B&D getting into bed (which they do frequently, but it seems to blend with the story). What a concept! It's fairly convoluted and -- for Meg -- well thought out (but that no one seems to be able to recognized the tune to "Waltzing Matilda" is straining it a bit.)

Another favorite of mine is Doctor on the Squad. Doyle's cousin Hugh (Huw?) -- based on a character Shaw portrayed in the series "Doctor in the House." -- joins CI5 Medical and his advice to a frustrated Bodie is to "court" Doyle." Bodie does and it works! I can see Bodie leaving a rose tied to the steering wheel of Ray's car, slipping love poetry to Doyle, taking him out to fancy restaurants for wining and dining and seducing. As for Bodie writing poetry... possibly. Some of history's great soldiers have also written poems and sonnets... If anything, I can see Bodie indulging in Haiku for its discipline.

[Linda Terrell]:

What is it with these endless stories that depict Doyle as "pretty? Make him out to be some wispy, wraith-like virgin? He's about as virginal as Catherine the Great and about as wraith-like. But I keep coming across these stories in which he's the gentle creature being set up on and raped (most often always rescued and comforted by big, bold, burly, dependable Bodie.) Frankly, folks, if B&D walked into a gay men's bar, it's NOT Doyle who would be fending them off! At least, not until he purposely turned on his charms. Bodie's got the "pretty" face, set on a solid bod -- he'd have 5 propositions before he got to the bar! Doyle's not pretty - he's exotic, and that usually makes 'em stand back for a while. Observin'. That slightly "sour" look he always has on his face is a bit off-putting. Bodie appears more open (when he's not smoldering, which isn't often). I was just idly wondering how some of these things become "Fan Canon, so firmly ingrained in fan fiction yet never seen in the show, but taken as gospel. Wanna talk about it?

[Falcon - USA]: How did I first get into B&D? With great reluctance, kicking and screaming the whole

way. I had been an avid K/S fan for all of seven months, and to a lesser extent a S&H one for two. The last thing I wanted or needed was another fandom on which to spend money. However a good friend of mine persuaded me to watch one show. I will have to admit I wasn't all that impressed. For one thing, many US PROs fans don't have very good copies of the shows. When you're watching an 18th generation tape, something gets lost from Doyle's exotic face, Bodie's blue eyes, and both of those lovely backsides. Also, having just come from watching a number of S&H episodes where the characters are literally all over each other, B&D's more restrained partnership and friendship just didn't make an impact. This despite the fact that the show I first saw was STAKEOUT, and it does a better job than most of highlighting the banter and feelings these two men have for one another.

[Falcon - US]:

So not having won me over with STAKEOUT, Judy decided to send me a couple of O Yardley's stories, namely "Bear Necessity" and "A Necessary Evil". I barely looked at them, and from August until mid-October they languished in a closet. Then I went to my first Zebra Con. I'll have to admit that my focus in attending the con that year was on S&H and the new friends I had met through correspondence and telephone conversations. Still Judy didn't give up (what are good friends for but to persevere and corrupt you in any way that they can?). In the Dealer's Room I came across a copy of TEO TORRIATE. Judy hissed at me: "Buy it!" Buy it I did and then much to my surprise I was up that night till 3 am, crying over a couple of fellas whom I didn't know, and up to this point, didn't care a fig about, as one lamented the death of the other in [Sharon F's] "Loving Can Be A Heavy Cross". I know some consider this story to be a major disappointment with it's 'Dallas-esque' ending, but it made me euphoric that the lovers at least had their chance. And so it goes... I went home and devoured both of O Yardley's works (well, there were a few calls to Judy to ask definitions of words my dictionary refused to cough up); called Judy and demanded she fork over her entire collection of wonderful stories and lousy videos; AND more importantly, I persuaded my husband that investing in a copy machine would be THE thing to do. Fortunately for me in both cases (Judy is easy-going enough she didn't mind, and Ron was agreeable as we did have the money just then), I was able to slake my thirst for as much B&D as I could stand to read and copy. It is now some 56,000 copies later and I still love this fandom (No, I'll have admit not all those copies are for me, I do copy for friends as well as for the US library circuit.
[Falcon - US]: I do have a couple questions for the question corner with regards to unfinished stories or series. First, does anyone know if there is any more to the EL'ENDU'IL series? I have up through the chapter entitled, 'The Kingdom' but it's obvious that more was intended. Also, does anyone have finished copies of two stories which are driving me crazy, "Just Another Jungle" and "A Beach to Walk On"? If there are finished copies, I'd I be more than happy to pay for copying.costs and postage. My thanks to anyone who would undertake the time and trouble to copy and send any of the above.

[3.8.2.4.3.6.]:

I was watching KICKBACK a little while ago( not really sure why either. It's not one of my favorite episodes since Doyle's not in it all that much That could've been a great episode if Doyle had been involved a lot more if Bodie had had to "save" Doyle from Keller, in some way. Having to choose his new partner over his old one, one who'd taken a bullet for him

so many years ago? Yeah,it's cliche, I know,but it still would've given us a better story than what we got! (Actually, there've been circuit stories along this line, haven't there? I know I've written several stories with this "Keller" theme,in which I twisted around events of the episode to include Doyle in the conflict, too...naturally, they're all "/") Anyway — sorry I got off the track! [snipped] I haven't read nearly all the circuit stories out there,so maybe this theme has been done to death all ready. But there's a wealth of potential B/D material in that episode alone.
[Felicity M. P]: In Short Circuit 1, Susan Douglass suggested that one of the differences between gay/bisexual writers and 'straight' writers is that the former are more likely to see Bodie and Doyle as having a gay relationship as opposed to being 'heterosexual men who just happen to fall for each other'. I'm interested to know how she can identify the sexual orientation of the writer in such a manner. Of course there are the 'I fancy you but I'm not really gay' stories but I consider such notions to be the result of poor quality writing rather than homophobia. The writer has not really thought out the characters and their situation. Can Susan Douglass tell me the sexual orientation of such writers as Lainie Stone, H.G. and Sebastian just by reading their stories? I doubt it. The fact that they are first rate writers stems from their ability to tell a good story in an interesting way, not whether they are gay or 'straight' or anything on the sexual sliding scale in between.
[Susan Douglass]:

Dear People,

Yes, I definitely want to support SHORT CIRCUIT. It's a great international forum for Bodie/Doyle writing. Good news on OTHER TIMES AND PLACES. I have a bunch of really good (in my humble opinion) stories in it. I have a new Raven/Bodie adventure from Jane, based on THE HUNTING. I also was fortunate to have received one of Stew's fine efforts, based on PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. In addition, I have a new "Looking Glass World" novella from Ellis Ward, a CI5 fantasy story from Sue-Anne Hartwick and a Robin Hood story from Cat Shannon. Susan Douglass (yours truly) is working hard on two other chapters of the Raimond/Guillaune saga, one for CHALK AND CHEESE 6, and the other for OTHER TIMES AND PLACES. There will be a half-toned pencil cover by TACS. Please send SASE to the address listed in SHORT CIRCUIT #1 for final price (Cat and Stew, of course you'll get your copies free).

[Susan Douglass]: I'm including some circuit story reviews with this LOC, including reviews of the stories printed last time. If anyone disagrees with my reviews, they get to have their revenge on me for the 3rd issue, as I am also including a story of my own for this issue. It is part of the circuit and so may freely be copied. It includes the unpleasant subject AIDS (no, neither Bodie nor Doyle get it) because I wrote it soon after a dear friend of nine died of the disease.

Sorry, I don't have tine to answer individual letters, as I'm writing a story and I've got Guillaune (my A/U version of Bodie) in a rather unpleasant situation. I've got to get the poor boy out of it!

[Jude]:

Can't say it ever occurred to me that L.C. and M.S. might not have got on. But it doesn't necessarily mean that because you work with a person. That you actually like or get on with them. If that were the case it just goes to show how good their acting was. One thing that drew me to Pros fandom was the fact that the actors didn't seem to have much to do with the fans. Unlike Doctor Who, Blake's 7 etc. After the recent who-ha in B7 fandom, I'm beginning to feel this way might be best. After all it is the characters that matter when all is said and done. Actors can often tend to show they have feet of clay when they can't cope with fans.

The fan lit I came across last year started my interest in the programme again. I first discovered B7 slash, then at a convention B/D caught my beady little eye and I was hooked.

I like both Bodie and Doyle, but if I'm pushed I'll admit that Doyle has the edge for me.

[snipped]

I enjoyed both the stories in issue one, also Cat Shannon's poems. I especially liked the line, "Flawed angelfish on rumpled sheets" (Before And After.) It conjured up such a picture for me.

Can I show my ignorance and ask what IDIC means, stands for!

[Floria Tosca]:

So, I was curious and curiosity is a dangerous thing and it happened that I asked the right question of the right person (bless her helpful little heart) and I got tapes to watch. Not good ones, mind you. Copies of copies of copies, ad nauseum. You probably all know that story. So, I watched and liked what I saw and became a, dare I say it?, FAN. I didn't see the episodes in any particular order and so I don't have a good grasp on the various episodes and their place in the scheme of things. I keep promising myself that I will watch them in order so that I can get a sense of progression and character development, should there be any. But I like the show very much and, for the moment, that is enough.

[Floria Tosca]:

In the first flyer I saw for Short Circuit permission was granted to be as lewd as one wished in writing and I guess that sort of leads to the whole issue of slash. I have seen virtually no Pros fanfic so I don't quite feel qualified to discuss it, but I do have some feelings about the issue of slash on a sort of general basis. I approach the topic from the viewpoint of an outsider, more or less. I have read some slash, purchased a bit out of curiosity (the slash rumpus of recent months was largely responsible for that. Until that time, I had never even heard the word) and had some shared with me by a fan who does write the stuff and isn't afraid to say so, but almost all of what I have seen has been devoted to Blake's 7. Much of it is downright bad writing, some of it has been mildly diverting and only one or two pieces have been worth the effort it probably took to write them. For me, most of what I have seen (again I must stress it has been very little) lacks the one thing I demand in a story and that is - a story. These slash stories have been nothing more than a series of sexual misadventures between/among characters I, personally, have difficulty seeing as having had or wanting to have a relationship, and there is nothing else going on. There's no place to hang one's hat, so to speak. (Even Lady Chatterly's Lover had a plot, although I personally think that the plot was boring and the sex sequences are the only reason I would recommend the book to anyone.)

[Floria Tosca]:

I do find several things fascinating about slash. The first is that slash fans and writers will often argue that they just know there had to be a relation ship intended between the two principal, same-sex characters of whatever series, and that the only reason it was never developed more explicitly was that the creators/writers/producers/censors/various Tom, Dick and Harry powers that be wouldn't allow it. Well, I happen to think that if the creators/writers/producers, etc. intended to posit a relationship between two same-sex characters, they would have found a way to do so and would not have wasted so much time pairing these characters with various opposite sex characters. These fans then proceed to point to this, that, or the other scene where the characters exchanged coy or arch looks, cutesy verbal banter which can be interpreted and re—interpreted unto death and the occasional touch here and there, some of which might be construed as indicating, among other things, a deeper intimacy. I suppose that is one way of looking at it, but it might just be, and is probably more likely, that what us being conveyed in shows like Starsky and Hutch, and The Professionals is the working relationship of two men who also happen to be friends, or have developed an intuitive understanding of and with each other. I would think that such friends would feel quite comfortable expressing themselves in 'intimate' ways that stop short of an actual intimate relationship. We, in America, already live in a society which is touch phobic and I should hate to think that every time two friends touch each other in an affectionate manner that someone is making wild assumptions about the depth of their relationship. I do not think that such occurrences in a series should be taken to mean that the characters would or could or can get it on together. In most of these series anyway the sexual side of human nature is left strictly alone, or the characters are shown with various

and sundry members of the opposite sex in casual, temporary encounters which have no depth and no real meaning in the development of the series, although, in some instances, serious relationships are hinted at and, even more rarely, explored. But she always dies or leaves or is spirited away by her husband long thought dead. I have never seen any evidence of same sex behavior in any of the series which seem to have attracted that sort of treatment from fan writers. That said, I don't have any objections to the writing of stories exploring the sexual natures of fictional characters, nor do I object to same sex stories. Someone may say something revealing, I don't know. But I also think that the canon of any given series should be respected for what it is, used faithfully (well, where it is consistent. Lord knows writers do tend to shoot themselves in the foot where continuity is concerned) and paid court to and not distorted. Anything else should be recognized for what it is, the personal flights of fancy of the author. As to Pros, I don't see the characters as bi or gay or even potentially so as far as the series is concerned, but I also feel, for some reason unclear to me, that a relationship between Bodie and Doyle could be made to make sense.

[Floria Tosca]: Another thing which fascinates me about the writing of slash is the why of it? Why is slash? It seems to me that part of the attraction of slash, or sexually explicit writing about-fictional TV characters comes from the fact that there is very little, if any exploration of the sexual or possible sexual sides of the characters throughout the course of their respective series. There is, in fact, very little time given over to the personal lives of the characters on any level. I know that there are programs which have deliberately fleshed out their characters, St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, and Cagney and Lacey come to mind, and I suppose one could argue that the night time soaps did so, although I consider their attempts to be superficial at best, but action/adventure and sci-fi have always seemed less capable or less willing to deal with character development in terms of interpersonal relationships due to the emphasis on adventure, action and special effects. Interpersonal relationships have all too often been left at the buddy stage. So it seems to me that in the majority of series where slash has become a staple or even the dominant form of sexually explicit writing, there are also no strong and/or well—developed female characters (the above mentioned series are all exceptions to this) and, perhaps more importantly, it is difficult for fan writers, no matter how good they are and some of them are very good, to interject a plausible and acceptable female or male, for that matter) character into the existing framework of the program being written about. Such characters are always outsiders, not part of the canon, not real. Take the character of Stephanie White as an example. (Will someone please take her.) She has been very carefully drawn by the writers of the Hellhound (B7) series and yet she is resented, reviled and rejected by a goodly portion of fanfic readers. Why? She isn't part of the original series. She doesn't belong. Collateral characters created within the framework of the program itself are, most often, discarded, but fans seem to find these characters, resurrected, easier to accept than a completely new character created by a fan. If the program provided no initial balance male/female in the first place, fans cannot step in and create it and, of course, some would rather not. They work with what they have - the core of characters created within the canon of the series itself. And I, for one, want to read and write about Blake's 7 characters, or Pros characters or Star Trek characters. Whatever. Collateral characters, no matter how well drawn, introduced into the structure of a series by fan-writers are of very little interest to me. And I don't think I am alone in this. And since, for the majority of series where.fan writing has devolved into slash, the strongest characters are male, ie. Blake/Avon, Avon/Vila, Bodie/Doyle, Starsky/Hutch, Kirk/Spock, Solo/Kuryakin, I think this leads many fan writers, inevitably, to explore sexual, or interpersonal relationships validated by sex, with the strongest characters available, or the only characters available. (It does strike me that Blake's 7 does not quite fit the profile and there is quite a bit of straight fanfic using Cally, Jenna or Dayna paired off with one of the men. Yet Cally and Jenna, as good as they were, were not as well drawn as they could have been and didn't receive the attention from the series writers that they should have gotten and Servalan, who did, is, quite frankly, flat impossible because of who and what she is. Dayna and Soolin were never more than ciphers, part of the scenery. I do suppose too that same—sex fanfic must exist for these characters, but I have never seen any.

... As to Star Trek, as a final aside: Nurse Chapel was notorious for her one-sided pursuit of Spock and there was the frail blonde Yeoman Rand and the much more competent Uhura, but I could never take any of them seriously. There was never enough to go on with them. If they had been killed off, no one would have been the wiser. For Starsky and Hutch. The Professionals. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. there simply aren't any female characters.) Fanfic writers gravitate towards the canon's established characters. They have to. Adding characters is too damn difficult and, given the passion fans feel towards the 'real' characters, it is probably a waste of time to try. What slash, at its best, is really all about, or seems to want to be about, is interpersonal relationships carried to their logical end, intimacy and love. The why of slash is just the fans' hunger for these characters to become fully realized human beings. To be honest though, I don't evaluate the characters in terms of their sexual or possible sexual preferences. Since the issue is ignored more often than not by the creators and writers or handled in a casual manner, I ignore it as well. That comes from my own preference. I just don't care to know about that private aspect of other peoples' lives, even fictional people. I do like to read stories dealing with the situations established by the series (CI5 in action against —terrorists, Blake's crusade to overthrow the Federation, Kirk's five-year mission to seek out new civilizations, U.N.C.L.E.'s clashes with Thrush, etc.) If the writers of slash can do these things while incorporating their speculations/interpretations of the characters' sexual lives, fine. If not, I can't read for the sex scenes alone.

The main problem for me with regard to slash remains the fact that whereas sex realistically portrayed is almost totally absent from action/adventure and sci-fi series, slash stories are often nothing more than a continuous exploration of such things. It seems to me that in compensating for the obvious over sight, slash writers go overboard in the opposite direction. There seems to be a determination that characters existing in the same space just have to be having sex. Well, maybe, and then maybe not. Slash at its most offensive is little better than pornography and, when it is melded to sadistic, masochistic or plain cruel treatment for the sheer sake of cruel treatment of characters the fan professes to love, it is intolerable. When the characters are treated as so much flesh to be pressed, the more often the better, rendered as objects rather than as people who have sexual needs and might maybe meet those needs through each other, I cannot maintain any interest.

I would like to see more balance, developed plots and storylines, and I would like the characters to always react in ways commensurate with the canon of their respective series. Slash is a subject which fascinates me. The above was an at tempt to put some of my feelings into perspective, to give my view as it is at this stage where I am not well-read in the area, and if I have been unclear or confused, I do apologize.

I am, pseudonymously, Floria Tosca.

[Stew]:

To The Editor — First off, please don't apologise for Short Circuit. It's all of readable quality, and the content would survive far worse presentation! A Profs letterzine is a necessary part of life, and don't you forget it (as long as you don't bankrupt yourself in the meantime, of course). Long live Short Circuit!

[Stew]:

One thing that struck me as odd was the number of contributors who liked one of The Boys, and disliked the other. I'd never thought of them as anything but a team, an inseparable pair, and I assumed people would like them as a whole or not at all. OK, I admit I'm nuttily, blissfully in love with Bodie (much to my continuing surprise) but I still adore Doyle (and the old man, for that matter) and think they're all absolutely gorgeous. Can't have one without the other — your favourite wouldn't be the same with out the other (or the old man), surely?

Issue 3

Short Circuit 3 was published in October 1990 and contains 45 pages. The editor was Linda Terrell (USA), and she notes that the letterzine now has 25 members.

cover of issue #3, "Couldn't resist using Suzy Lovett's "Hellhound" Bodie and Doyle for a cover. If Bodie had ever dressed like that, he would have left a trail of molten female libidos." -- from the editor, Linda Terrell. "Hellhound" is a Blake's 7 fan universe.

It includes the stories: One Too Many Questions by Cat Shannon, CI5 Agent of Gor by Susan Douglass (a parody of the Gor stories), it was a dark and stormy night, vignette by Linda Terrell.

There are two illos, one of Bodie and one of Doyle, by KE.

Issue 3: Excerpts from Comments

[Sydney]:

Its nice to see a predominantly letters, letter zine again. I had been a subscriber to T.H.E. from the time it began (when it was out of Australia) up through 1986, and always enjoyed it, but even then it was getting to be more of a fiction digest than anything else. Which is fine, but while I love the Pros fiction, I also love reading actual locs. I admit, I did" semi-retire"from Pros fandom in 1986 and kept up with it only through reading whatever stories were sent my way by friends who were still active, over the next few years. (My real life got very pressing for a while and needed all my time and energy.) In 1989 I started buying zines and going to cons again, but I still feel as though I'm basically playing "catch-up", which is another reason why I was delighted to discover the "Short Circuit" flyer while at this year's Media West Con. (By the by, while I am thinking of it, can anyone direct me to a good Pros circulating library?, or don't those exist any longer?

I was fascinated to read the locs people sent in regarding favorite fan fiction. There are so many stories now--when I got into Pros in November of 1980, there was very little to read (though most of what was in existence was good, fortunately), so its amazing to see the way the stories have proliferated since then. My roommate ran what I think was probably the first Pros story "circuit" in the early days, from 1981 through 1985. When she began there were 20 stories going out to 5 people; when she stopped—because it had become a full-time job and was just getting too time consuming — there were upwards of 500 stories on the list and being sent out to about 100+ people. The number of fanfic available is probably impossible to count now.

[Sydney]:

I don't know where the idea came from that Doyle is some little fragile flower wafting around until big strong Bodie comes to the rescue. He certainly couldn't be a CI5 agent if he was as ethereal as I read him portrayed in a lot of the fanfic canon. As a good friend of mine keeps pointing out, Cowley's lot in general, and Bodie and Doyle in particular, are, essentially, hired guns. True they are generally fighting for the "good" side and they may not enjoy having to kill people, but when it comes down to it they are quite capable of shooting to kill. If they weren't, they wouldn't have their jobs very long. Maybe the "fragile" idea comes from the fact that Doyle is not conventionally big and handsome (as Bodie is); he's not terribly tall or muscle-bound (though he has them where it counts) and he's exotic looking. Though, when it comes to sheer looks, sometimes he doesn't even really rate a second glance until he turns on the charm, or animal magnetism or sex appeal, or whatever you want to call it. At any rate, he never comes on as either fragile or fluffy minded in the aired series, and I hardly recognize the Doyle I see on the TV in some of the mushy, frail, unable to cope, little flowery Doyles that appear in a goodly number of stories. Sometimes it seems to me that the authors who write him that way are trying to "feminize" Doyle by giving him all the worst and most stereotypical of (so-called) female characteristics. Well, that's just a shot in the dark—I've never been much for the "Doyle-is-a-Wimp" school of characterization.
[Susan Douglass]: Concerning "A Time To Grieve:" Don't worry. I am working on what will probably be a novel-length epic concerning the Bodie and Ray of this story. You'll get to meet Tim Anderson and see how Ray relates to him and helps him out. And you'll see how Ray is dragged out of the closet and off of C15. I've promised it to Nuthatch Creative Workshop (Jane, Kathy Keegan, etc) when I'm through. Oh, and Nuthatch now has a U.S. distributor, so we won't have to pay that ghod-awful Australian postage. "Time To Grieve" was merely a little vignette that I felt I had to get out of my system when my friend George died. [Note: this story became the zine Shadows Over the Land.]

[Susan Douglass]:

THE "ARE THEY REALLY GAY" DEPARTMENT: I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone with my question. Perhaps I did generalize, I should have said "some" or even "a few " heterosexual writers. And perhaps it shouldn't always be automatically assumed that an individual writer is straight; maybe she's gay, herself. There's a popular button which says: "How dare you assume I'm heterosexual." With a lot of writers, it really is irrelevant. I'm really a neo in this fandom. I came to it through Kirk/Spock fandom. In that fandom, many fans DO stridently insist that Kirk and Spock are NOT Gay; they're heterosexual men who just happen to fall for each other. I'm going to quote from a fan who wrote in a now-defunct K/S newsletter; she was responding to a self-identified gay woman's column from a previous issue. Now I hope I don't bend anyone out of shape by not identifying the person I'm quoting here. The person wrote her opinion many years ago, and I have reason to believe that she has significantly changed her views since then. I'm quoting it just to let people know where an extremely neo slash fan (myself) got her idea about gay-identity or lack thereof in slash characters. I want to get into IDEAS, not personalities here. If anyone wants to know who I'm quoting, write me privately and I'll give out the information:

"I think you [the Gay woman column writer from the previous issue] must accept the fact that we really aren't writing about gay men. As the discussion here in [the letterzine] pointed out, most of us see Kirk & Spock as bisexual or basically heterosexual men who fall in love with one another. [11]

As a neo fan, I noted the writer's generally authoritative tone, her use of "you" (toward one she regarded as a homosexual outsider) and "we" and "most of us" (referring to those she presumed to be a heterosexual majority among newsletter subscribers). So I saw myself, as a gay person, to also be among the outsiders. The letter writer was refuting those who saw slash as an opportunity for writers, both gay and straight, to deal with gay issues. The letter writer said in plain language that no, we are NOT dealing with gayness and gay people — we are dealing with straight men for straight women readers and participants. Now this isn't the only person in K/S fandom who has expressed this view; I've seen it quite often.

My possible mistake may have been in translating what is a common view in one fandom, and assuming it existed in another. It's a bit more difficult to postulate that two contemporary male agents, raised in a society which eventually spawned such homophobic measures as Clause 28, could fall in love with each other — all the while being completely and blissfully ignorant of the significance of such an act. I've seen it done in some stories. Bodie, who has never before fallen for a man, falls in love with an equally inexperienced Doyle. Now this certainly CAN happen, and has many times. Many gay people reach their 30s or 40s or even older ages before they find each other. In real life, such same-sex couples are forced by our society to confront the prejudice, discrimination and condemnation with which our society greets these realizations of love. But a few slash writers completely pass over these societal consequences. Bodie and Doyle happily whisper to each other that they're NOT gay, that they don't love men, they only love each other. A few stories carry this even further by asserting that the two will not have a monogamous relationship (would it make them too "gay" to have them be exclusive?) They'll continue having sex with their "birds" (but not other men, heaven forbid) while they continue their relationship.

Fortunately, I have found many Bodie/Doyle stories which DO deal with the significance of their commitment as a same-sex couple. I don't know the sexual orientation of the writers involved, nor is it really important. To name a few well-known examples of gay-positive stories, I'll name the more recent works of Kathy Keegan and Jane, many of Meg Lewtan's works, and Jane Carnell's works. The "page 32, 33" and subsequent stories face the men's homosexuality squarely. These are just a few of a vast number of stories, so I'm sure I've left significant examples out. And no, the two do NOT have to move into the "gay ghetto" nor do they have to become out of the-closet activists to be gay in this society. They can actually be bisexual in orientation (I see Doyle from the episodes as being bisexual; I may discuss this more in depth later on). The "gay lifestyle" doesn't only mean cruise bars, baths and promiscuity. It can simply mean two men (or two women) who commit themselves to a primary relationship.

A story I just read illustrates this: "Body Language" which is a Bodie/Doyle and Harry/Johnny cross-over. In this story, Bodie and Doyle see themselves forced by their job and society to immerse themselves deeply in the closet. This brings adverse results; Doyle gets drunk periodically and Bodie keeps his emotions closely under wraps. Bodie finds it necessary to assert to himself and also to Harry Callahan that he "isn't gay." This isn't the author engaging in an unrealistic fantasy; the author is portraying the reality of a deeply closeted man. Doyle asks Bodie to kiss him. Bodie hesitates, even in the private company of another same-sex couple (H & J). When he overcomes his fear (yes, big brave Bodie can be terrified of such an act), the ensuing scene is one of the most loving I have ever read in B/D literature. No fireworks, no long, drawn-out sexual gymnastics -- merely a kiss. But the story is "dark" in tone. Bodie and Doyle are isolated, they don't have the safe company of other gays. Their too-brief encounter with the American couple is an oasis in a desert. This is sad reality for many gay couples in our society. I must admit, however, that I would go batty if EVERY story I read ONLY the pair dealt ONLY with prejudice and homophobia. I certainly like stories with other plots, which deal with other issues and happenings. Once in a while I like to fantasize that homophobia doesn't exist, that the gender of your love partner is no important than the color of hair. My "Silent Lily" universe has many grim issues to deal with. But I didn't: make homophobia, per se, one of them. Same-sex liaisons are legally recognized, and only arranged, political marriages can supersede them in importance.

At any rate, I don't know if any of these ramblings make sense, but I hope they at least lead to discussion.
[Susan Douglass]: My other problem with explicit violence is that it feeds the sadistic fantasies of some of our readers. Now I have no power to stop someone from feeling sadistic fantasies (although I would hope that the reader would choose only to read and write about them and not actually act them out. Now I m not really talking here about consensual S/M sex scenes with a fully participating adult partner). The stories where (usually) Ray Doyle is tortured, humiliated, sexually assaulted in graphic detail exist in a few numbers in the circuit and in zines. People write letters denouncing these stories. Yet someone is writing them (more than one somebody) and someone is reading them, and they are getting copied and circulated and/or included in zines. It might be more honest if someone were to write, "Gee, I like to see Ray Doyle get beaten and raped in full glorious detailed color. I get off on it, so keep writing these stories." This IS certainly not my taste, but at least such a letter-writer would be honest. Now I m NOT saying that every writer who portrays rape and violence, or who even uses a "rougher" technique in describing it is deliberately feeding into sadistic fantasies. But I think these fantasies exist in the fandom (as in all fandoms and of course in the mundane reading public --look at all the books and movies where (usually) women get sliced, diced and raped, etc. ad nauseum). I also think that some fans go opposite extreme. They want ALL stories to be sweet, happily ever after tales. They protest if ANY violence at all is portrayed. People, we live in a violent world, and Our Heroes are on the front lines of this violence. Oh well, I strongly believe in the right of any writer or reader to write and read as they wish. If a story displeases someone, there is always the next story on the pile (or in the table of contents). But I know for a fact that what might be one person's slush is another person's masterpiece.
[Susan Douglass]: As for various pairs (speaking of Blake's 7, which I know very little of), what about Soolin/Dayna or Cally/Jenna? I've read these in a B7 fanzine. The B7 people are willing to experiment at least. I'm a little wierd, but "slash" to me means same-sex, including female/female as well as male/male.

[Susan Douglass]:

I really could care less about the actors and their personalities. I have a mild interest in their careers, but beyond that, no. I saw a ghod-awful Shaw/Collins circuit story (yes, I kid you not...)

[Susan Douglass]:

Ghods! Doyle as virgin stories... Puleeze! Then of course there are the Doyle as whore stories. I must admit, one of my A/Us has my alternate character Raimond as an ex-whore (I always have said that Raimond is Ray Doyle's 13th cousin, however). Some of the prostitute stories are compelling, but it is interesting that Doyle is cast in this role so often. How many of you have read the fanzine RAINBOW CHASERS by H.G.? I recommend it highly.

[ Alyx ]:

I just got a couple of episodes from [Sharon F] (advertised in The Hatstand Express). For those of you wondering; I ordered two listed as in very good condition, and they are. In fact, they probably are better than any other copies I've received over the last year. (I first SAW the boys in song videos at Koon-ut-Kali-Con last year. I saw my first ep right after, and how have copies, mostly terrible ones, of just over half of the eps.

Now that I have a representative set, I've started watching them over in order. What a change in perspective. A lot of our first ones were series 4 and 5, so we assumed continuing zine characters like Betty and Jax were fan inventions. Sometimes it is actually a disappointment to watch an ep and realize, "so that's where that came from" because It had seemed such a clever fan idea. I especially felt that way about Where the Jungle Ends, since many fan writers have done it better than Brian Clemmens did. (what a terrible ep - one of my least fav. Collins is so unconvincing on the stairs talking about Krivas killing his girl that I was wrenched but of the show (Bodie) and forced to see the actor!))

[Stew]:

To Floria Tosca — I agree with you that it's unrealistic for fans to know there was a slash relationship intended between, for instance, Bodie and Doyle that simply wasn't allowed to be developed explicitly. But I dp think you're a little hard on those same fans. I can only speak for myself, of course, but when I'm in slash mode (pretty constantly, I admit, and virtually always when watching The Profs) then it's damn difficult to remain objective about all those looks and touches and words. Some people will think that this means the subtley drawn friendships between Bodie. Doyle and Cowley in the show, or that a lot of the other issues dealt with by the show, are lost on me — but I like to think not. It's just my way of appreciating the show fully. But my first impressions are, as a result, usually subjective rather than objective. I've a prime example — I read the B/C story Lest These Dark Days before seeing any of the episodes that it was based on. Consequently, when I first saw Need To Know. I was amazed at Cowley's actions when helping Bodie and Doyle to recover from the stun gas. He was very business-like with Doyle, all but ignoring him for Bodie — and he did actually caress Bodie's face with the back of his fingers, and not just once. On a realistic level I view this as one more example of Cowley's friendly affection for Bodie, though rather more overt than the examples that the show usually gives us (the impression of Bodie being Cowley's favourite is something they subtley built up over a number of episodes), and it's nice to see Cowley actually sorry in a small way for the inevitable results of him yet again setting The Lads up. But in slash mode, the scene is simply more fuel for the flames. All of which may only prove what a convincing slash story based solidly in an episode can do to your perspective.
[Stew]: Speaking of Hellhound, Floria — if you think Stephanie White doesn't belong in the B7 universe and is therefore of little or no interest, what do you think of Lew Brody and the mutoid? Personally. I adore Lew Brody (but I'm biased, of course) and think he's a fair enough translation of Bodie to the Hellhound universe. And I'm growing convinced about 'Doyle' being Blake's nephew I think it's the morals and the guilt complexes that did it. Humble apologies for bringing another universe into discussion, but I'm mainly interested in the two Profs characters. I suppose that, as a lot of B/D is a/u. Hellhound is par for the course. In the meantime, are we all hanging out for Brody to be forced to re-think his prejudice against mutiods??? I know I am.
[Stew]: Susan Douglass mentioned that a lot of a/u fanfic has Doyle working as a whore. I was surprised by this at first, but the idea is growing on me (partly due to Rainbow Chasers], and mostly to [the book] The Female Factor). The series and novelisation say he grew up on the London streets (easy enough to translate that to whoring), and that through the streets and his police work he's very familiar with hookers and pimps. Also, he sees whores as people with the same feelings and dignity as anyone else, as deserving of the same respect — and he sees pimps as the lowest form of life (along with liars and lawyers — boom boom). And it seems to me that he has the cussed-independence and street-wise know-how to actually come through such a career as unscathed as anyone's ever likely to. (Granted, my knowledge of whores as people is based on media ranging from The Profs through to Night Shift and all the sundry movies in between.) My sister protested that it was hardly a nice career to write him into — but I reckon he'd view it as somewhat better than being a killer. Any comments, anyone?

[Jude]:

In my opinion in some scene's Doyle does have an aura of prettiness about him. But in other scene's I've thought he looked down right unattractive. I do agree that Doyle is about as virginal as Madonna and he can sometimes be a bad tempered ratbag. But I think there are some deceptive moments when all that seems to drop away from him. Also Doyle is slight of stature when compared to Bodie. This doesn't ma.ke him

any less male than his partner, just different (and variety is the spice of life.) Romantic slush bucket novels tend to make me cringe, but whore B/D (or slash in in general) are concerned I actually enjoy the romantic bits. I'm not very good at summing up why I like or dislike certain fan stories. I usually like or dislike stories without really analysing the why's. But I'm going to have a go - "I Won't Send Roses'", was the very first story I read One of the many hurt comfort love follow up's to Involvement. Enjoyed it and wanted more. So I joined a B/D library and started on my voyage of discovery. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of the writing and soon had my favourite authors (including O. Yardley, Jane, and Meg Lewtan.)

[Cat Shannon]:

Do you all know that Kathy Keegan's "Ice, Wind & Fire" has been published as a professional novel, under the name Mel Keegan. The names of the characters have been changed. I haven't seen the book yet, but I have seen a picture of the cover in a catalogue, and the two men are nothing at all like B/D. Whether this is because their appearances have also changed, or the pix doesn't properly illustrate the book, I don't know yet.

[Cat Shannon]:

I know you're new, Floria, but I'm tired of [[Why Slash?]WHY slash]]. I've read a lot of theories recently and some hold true for me, things like seeing the warmth of it as an antidote to miserable childhoods, and the atmosphere one is raised in. Or just a quest for the perfect relationship in which the couple are equals. I think you answered your own question with the doubts you raise over the validity of slash claims -- all the wishful thinking, of course. If I can't have him, neither can Ann Holly, but Bodie can because he's a bloke, and therefore, not competition. There are as many theories as there are fen to pose them. Half the actors are reputedly gay or bi, but of course the actors aren't the characters. And I beg to differ that the mainstream tv would have made the characters gay if they wanted them to be. You've got to be kidding! Gay men on tv are NOT the law and order enforcer/hero figures of an on-going series More basically, I read and write slash because I only it the same way I like Marlboro cigarettes, smarmy tv, sci fi novels, milk chocolate, and vodka. I get a kick out of it. I'll grant that why 'slash' is a fascinating topic, but is this the place for it????

[Cat Shannon]:

Interesting theory about gay/bi writers vs straight, Susan Douglass. For a straight gal, who's very much into men, the lure is plain. The lust, the erotic descriptions of men in heat, the lovely detailed images of passion at full throttle. Two for the price of one and all that. I've always understood why men want each other in preference to females, all that strength and raw animal beauty.

[Cat Shannon]:

Tainted Love. These are exactly the type of stories I don't like. Unbalanced. I cannot bear fragile weepy Doyles -- and even though its an au character. The Doyle as a male whose been raped on stage and rescued by Bodie was just about the worst fan story I've ever read. The only other one that I remember with loathing was a lengthy Doyle with with the mind of a child one -- that's NOT my Ray either. I question the entire concept of a child's mind in a man's body involved in a heavy sexual relationship, but above that I HATE the idea of this happening to Doyle. Yuck. These men are equals. Anything else isn't MY B/D. Good fanfic can be au (though I'm getting a bit tired of all the elves and magicians and fey talents, too), or it can be set in the series, or Ancient Rome, but they must be EQUALS. Not big strong Bodie saving and protecting poor little Doyle. Arg. Someone, somewhere said Ray Doyle has all the ethereal fragility of a swamp alligator, and she was right.

[Cat Shannon]:

I understand why you [Susan Douglass] needed to write an AIDS story, but I can't see Doyle becoming a buddy. Make friends with a dying man? Our elusive, look but don't touch (not you, Bodie), prickly, abrasive Doyle? He'd know he was going to get hurt, and I don't see him volunteering for that. I also don't see him visiting a gay bar, getting caught and being forced out of Ci5 while Bodie stayed, but all of that was just the basic set up for the real "meat" which was his grief and anger at Tim's death. I also find your duo strangely uneven. Doyle working at a florist, waiting at home, cooking the dinner while Bodie goes out to work.

[Felicity M. P]:

I'm writing the fourth (and final) part to El'endu'il at the moment. The basic plot outline was though up by the original writer and myself some six years ago. She's never going to get round to writing the story and so has given me permission to do so. It won't be finished for some considerable time, but it will eventually end up on the circuit.

Just Another Jungle and A Beach to Walk On, my copies are unfinished too, and I'm fairly certain that's because neither story was ever finished by the writers. "Just Another Jungle" will almost certainly never be completed, writer having moved on to other things, but I did hear recently that the other of "A Beach to Walk On" was thinking of trying to complete some of her stories. Let's hope she does and that this is one of them.

[...]

I was fascinated to read that a Looking Glass World novella has been written. That's the second Looking Glass World story I've come across from the U.S. in the past few months. As the author of the original story I'm intrigued to see that after many years (the story was written circa 1982) there's suddenly been an upsurge of interest in the idea. I've also had various people suggesting I write a sequel, perhaps I'll do that yet.

[Felicity M. P]:

I'm not about to list my favourite stories as per your suggestion, since the list changes according to my mood. However, I must say that I do not enjoy death stories. However well written they are, I find them upsetting and depressing. There's enough death and misery in real life without it happening to my favourite characters. As far as I'm concerned, they'll survive CI5 and live happily to a ripe old age - with each other.

[Felicity M. P]:

Floria Tosca: I read your letter with some misgiving. I kept wondering why you read slash fiction when you obviously didn't enjoy it. Certainly a proportion of slash fiction is little more than 'let's get them into bed with each other'. So what"? It's a good starting point for new writers especially since it gives them a ready-made 'plot' and they have a definite goal to work towards. And a lot of the stories are splendidly erotic. (I've yet to read a Professionals story I regarded as pornographic.) Some writers do go on to examine more conventional plot outlines and relationships. I note you say that at the time of writing you had read virtually no Professionals fan fiction. I suggest you read stories such as Masquerade, The Janus, Adagio (and its sequels) and Rainbow Chasers to see what really good writers can do with slash fiction.

To suggest that if writers, etc. of programmes such as The Professionals wanted to indicate a same-sex relationship between the characters they would have found a way of doing so, is, I think, being just a little naive. First of all, this is action/adventure tv and characterisation tends to be kept to a minimum. Secondly, no writer would bother trying to make one of the main characters homosexual/lesbian because no tv company would accept it on the grounds that the general public would object and thus not watch the series.
[Felicity M. P]: My gripes about fan fiction are those stories that have Doyle as a fragile flower constantly weeping down Bodie's shirt front. Doyle is as tough as old boots and would happily take your arm off at the elbow. Nor is he so short that he can stand with his head tucked under Bodie's chin. Neither man is tall, not even as tall as the heights given in the Professionals annuals, but Doyle is only about two inches shorter in height than Bodie. Then we have the stories where Bodie picks Doyle up in his arms and carries him. Do the writers want to give Bodie a hernia?

[Felicity M. P]:

I must say something about Meg Lewtan's writing because you say she writes a terrific Bodie. This is not to 'get at' Meg Lewtan because I think she has a lot going for her in terms of writing ability. However, I find her view of the characters becoming more and more unacceptable. B & D seem to fly into a temper at the least provocation, Bodie is constantly having hurt feelings or apologising to Doyle in case he's hurt his tender feelings. Doyle is little more than a doormat. As for Murphy, he is so noble and understanding I feel I'm drowning in syrup. A number of her stories also sound either as if they've been rushed through or that she's lost interest halfway. I wouldn't have believed that anyone could make the Scarlet Pimpernel boring but Traitor's Fate did just that. In An Affair to Remember, the story suddenly tailed off after a promising beginning, Bodie regaining almost full health within a very short space of time. Its sequel, Heir Apparent, had a number of good plot lines, all of which were virtually thrown away. Please, Meg, think again about the characters and take a bit more time over the stories.

[Susan Douglass]:

I went to Shore Leave. Got to meet and see some of my PROS fan friends there. I'm planning to be at Darkover Grand Council in Timonium, Maryland, over Thanksgiving. Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series is my other great love. At any rate, there are several Darkover fans who are also PROS fans, so we are planning a PROS party either during or right after Darkover Grand Council. So any of you PROS fans who are also Darkover fans, please come if you can. Shore Leave was interesting, to say the least. I went to a K/S slash party and ran into rank homophobia there. A well-known K/S zine editor spewed out some of her bigotry there (no names here. Anyone who wants this person s name, write me privately). At any rate, she went off on this tirade about Lesbians, "butch women" and "Darkover Free Amazon" fans. She said that two women doing it was "disgusting" and she didn't want to see any TREK stories with two female partners. My mouth dropped open —- I was speechless. Everyone else in the room was silent as well. Hy main question was why is she in a slash fandom? Slash fandom involves same-sex contact. My guess is that this person simply gets off on two men doing it, and has no solidarity, or feeling with the Gay community (yes, the Gay community DOES include Lesbians).

Sometime earlier, a K/S editor told me that she had been criticized for making Kirk and Spock bisexual. "They're not bisexual," the critics said. "They're straight men who love each other; they don't love other men." Then I was harangued by a man at my dealers' table because I was selling Kathy Resch's zines, T'HY'LA, and the cover featured two men in an embrace — plus a female fan harangued me because she had read THE SILENT LILY and was offended by it. Criticism of my stories, I welcome; I'm sure they have many faults. And I'm sure they are not to everyone's tastes. But haranguing and personal attacks, I can do without. On positive notes, I had a lovely dinner with some far more open-minded K/S fans, who let me cry on their shoulders (so to speak) after the bouts of homophobia I had witnessed at the party. Yes, IDIC is still alive, thank the ghods. And the next day, a different PROS fan complimented me on THE SILENT LILY. So it all evened out.

[Susan Douglass]:

Then I went to Gaylaxicon, where I was an invited guest. This is a con for Gay people and their friends." I was on several panels. One of the most interesting was one on "why Lesbian women like to see men make it." I found out that even some of the most "feminist" and "politically correct" Lesbians have the same desire to read stories about Gay male relationships Several reasons were given: 1) Lesbians like to read and write stories about any sort of Gay relationship, whether it involves men or women 2) Writing about Gay men puts just a bit of "distance" for a Lesbian writer writing writing about Gay women can get just a bit too personal. 3) Many women like
 to write about men, perhaps to make them more "romantic." I've heard the 
criticism of slash that "real Gay men don't act this way." This assumes,
 stereotypically, that all Gay men are obsessed with sex and physical 
appearance, that no Gay man can bear monogamy or romantic relationships. I
 know plenty of Gay men, and know this stereotype to be FALSE. Anyway, yet 
another reason for wanting to read and write about Gay men is to deal with 
such "women's" topics as rape and incest. A split occurred in the panel, 
between those who were into rape fantasy and those who felt they needed to
 deal with rape and incest as real and personal issues in their lives. The 
tension got a bit high at this point. I am one of those people who simply
 can NOT fantasize about rape. I got the distinct impression that some women 
like to fantasize about male rape because they can then take the role of
 the rapist; they can turn the whole scene around and make a man into a 
sniveling, humiliated victim. I can't relate to this, either.


One rumor to lay at rest: Ellen Kushner was at this con, and she made it
 clear that SWORDSPOINT is based on her original characters, NOT on any
 media characters (a popular rumor has it that SWORDSPOINT started as a
 Bodie/Doyle novel. Not true).

Other interesting panels included
 world-building, Lesbian characters, and a slash workshop. I met more slash
 fans, including a few Gay male fans. There is an organization called the 
Gaylactic Network, and they are preparing a special issue of their 
bulletin, based on slash. I just sent in an article concerning Bodie/Doyle
 fandom.

[Saba]:

I think it was the British idiom and humour that first attracted me to B/D -- I was already a slash fan. Coupled with the high quality of the majority of the writing [also made me a fan]. It seems that most writers honed their skills in other fandoms and B/D was heir to all that talent.

[Saba]:

I feel that had I watched the show before I became fond of the characters in fan fic, I would not have watched enough episodes to become a fan. The reason is the violence. I realise, and agree, that violence is what CI5 is fighting, but it is just not the type of show I would normally watch. I much prefer something like The Sandbaggers, even if they did manage to wipe out anyone to whom you became attached!

[3.8.2.4.3.6]:

[I love] ANYTHING by JANE: here's an Aussie author who's just recently gone "pro" in the "real world", and it shows. I've never read anything of hers that I haven't liked, but my favorites are her epic, THE HUNTING. (here comes one of those "side-comments": anybody who by-passes this because it's fantasy, and "not really" B&D, that's their loss. I get so sick of hearing this referred to as an "alternate universe B/D," where the author herself has made it very clear from page one that THE ONLY THING THESE CHARACTERS SHARE IN COMMON WITH B&D ARE THE NAMES OF "BODIE" AND "RAY" [short for Raven]. There! Everybody got that now? I suppose if you wanted to stretch a point, you could see some similarities: the Bodie of THE HUNTING was a warrior/mercenary type, unused to showing deep emotions, until he fell in love with Raven... warrior. Raven has some "Ray Doyle" qualities,too,such as his being a warrior, too, along with the softer aspects...he cries easily... he's got a create their Doyle-like set of ethics and honor,etc. Most writers who create their own characters take bits and pieces of character aspects from other "characters", or even people they know, so I don't see why some "fans" have such a gripe about accepting fantasy "clones" who "aren't really B&D." As far as I'm concerned, it takes a lot more creativity and brains to come up with a whole set of original characters [loosely "inspired" by your fandom favorites] than it does to re-hash TV characters that anybody could portray reasonably well after studying the aired series for awhile. I don't think it's going too over the top to compare this epic with Tolkien ... with the added aspect of gay love, of course!)

[3.8.2.4.3.6]:

Anybody who's so unimaginative that they can't get into fantasies or historicals should at least try to check out these "real-world" B/D adventures [lists many stories by Jane of Australia. I love this B&D in the RAINY DAYS stories because they're so mature, which is a rare thing for most B/D fanfic. They don't rape each other or torture or abuse or humiliate each other, or even beat each other up -- Gods! Instead,these stories are about how they deal with day-to-day problems of living and loving... two men in love with each other in a prejudicial, mostly straight and repressive world. Even when they do have fights, they fight fairly. Their work in CI5 is always spot-lighted, too, but what attracts me most to these stories is their loving, mature, settled relationship. S&M freaks, don't bother reading these. They're about a real relationship.

[I love] ANYTHING by KATHY KEEGAN: another Aussie (are all the really good B/D writers these days in Australia? [12] And, before anyone asks, I'm an American)... COMING HOME is the only story inspired by the godawful CONSEQUENCES that I've ever liked, and that I've actually been able to read all the way through! It's an excellent resolution of that disgusting situation that was set-up in CONSEQUENCES, and Ray comes off with his pride and dignity intact. Five stars for this one.

ICE, WIND & FIRE is one of the best mystery/action-adventure/love stories I've ever read...

FANCY DANCING, a novel, is possibly the best alternate-universe contemporary B/D I've ever read. Bodie's in CI5, here, but Ray's a dancer... it's a "how they met and fell in love" story, along with an excellent action plot and skillful characterizations of not just "our lads", but also the secondary characters.

AFFAIRS OF THE HEART, another novel (and its sequel, the novella, LITTLE WHITE LIES) deals with an unfortunate situation that could've happened to either of the guys, but happened to Ray. Ray is forced to quit CI5 and eventually becomes a successful model, but his loving relationship with Bodie remains intact. Even though his his relationship with Cowley may never be the same.

And my favorite of all her stories, her GENTLE ON MY MIND novels. This, too, is something that could've happened to either of them, and is an all-too-plausible tragedy, but it happened to Ray. It's a lovely, touching, and really uplifting tale of how love really does "conquer all," even though Ray and Bodie's relationship had to change, of necessity. The only thing that never changed, and only seemed to grow stronger, was their love (side-comment #2: I'm sick of people who disparage these stories as being "slushy" or "mushy" or whatever. I'm tired of having to apologize for reading and writing B/D stories that are "gentle," as this series is. I'll tell you what. Those of those who do read and write these "softer" B/D tales will publicly apologize for it, when all the S&M freaks out there who L-O-V-E reading and writing that crap tell us the REAL reason they love it so much. Why don't they be honest with themselves, and with the rest of us,and just admit that THEY PSYCHICALLY GET OFF ON READING AND WRITING ABOUT BEING RAPED AND TORTURED AND DEGRADED, SOMETIMES BY EACH OTHER! I've read a lot of B.S. from the writers of these "torture epics",and their standard defense seems to be this: "how can you understand the ramifications of violence unless you read about it in all its details?" That argument might have some merit if these writer didn't go to such ridiculous extremes with their "details." There is such a thing as imagination on the part of the reader, yon know! When a torture sequence goes on for 20 to 50 pages, and we get into such details as tit-clamps and butt-plugs, and bastinado, I get sort of suspicious of the author's intention to "enlighten" and "educate" us all as to the evil aspects of violence... that's usually the point at which I picture what the author was probably doing when she wrote the piece of garbage. Probably typing it with one hand, and doing herself with the other...c'mon, people! If you really do get off fantasizing people torturing each other,go work it out in private with a good shrink. But don't inflict your sick scribblings on an unsuspecting readership, okay?)

[3.8.2.4.3.6]:

I don't like all of [Pam Rose's] stuff unconditionally (the gratuitous violence and excessive cruelty in A PARDON AFTER EXECUTION and DESPITE CONSEQUENCES made those stories almost unreadable for me), but she's also written what I consider to be some of the "classics" of B/D fanfic: WHERE THE WORMS ARE... MERCS... and POISONED APPLES. Each of these is an excellent action-adventure romp, with compelling plots, spot-on characterizations, and a moving "first time" for our lads, falling in love, and realizing that love under very unusual circumstances. And her DOUBLE VISION is probably one of the best "B&D meet Peter Skellen" stories I've ever read. Talk about intriguing triangles.

[snipped]

ANNE CARR: WINE DARK NEXUS has got to be one of the "classics" of B/D fanfic! This is the story that probably got most of us who do love the fantasies hooked hopelessly on the. I'll always hopelessly loved Damon and Brianhet. I'm just sorry she never continued the epic!

[snipped]

PAT D'ORAZIO: I don't think I remember reading anything of hers prior to HEART OF THE LION, but that's my loss! I consider this one of the best "straight" stories in PRO'S fandom...actually, maybe that's not really fair to split the stories into "straight" vs. "/" categories. I don't mean to imply that one genre is "superior" to another, or anything like that. It's just that, I do admit that most of the PRO'S stuff I read is "/", and that's because when I first got into this fandom, 99% of the straight" stuff I read was either MARY SUE, or dry-as-dust "action" plots in which there wasn't even any friendship between B&D. Luckily, though, with zines like the BRITISH TAKEAWAY series, and the new Australian BACKTRACK zines, it's now proven that there are many worthwhile "straight" stories being written by excellent writers. And HEART OF THE LION has it all...fantastic plot, involving characters (the secondary characters are just as fascinating), and a "leading lady" who is definitely not a "Mary Sue" -- she's a real woman you care about! The action never stops, but B&D's relationship, which is actually the core of the story, is never ignored, even for Doyle's serious romance. I can't wait for the sequel to this one! I want Ray to be able to have it all: his lady, his career, and his partner, whom he very clearly does love, here--as a "brother" and best friend.

KAREN MILLER. She wrote a story I read about five or six years ago, and I still remember it as if I read it yesterday. SEVEN NIGHTS IN BANGKOK. This is probably the first "straight" PROS's story I read that convinced me that, yes, there is more to straight PROs than "Mary Sue"! Ray is put through the wringer in this one (psychological as well as physical torture), and yet.... NEARLY ALL OF IT IS LEFT TO OUR IMAGINATIONS! And the effect is none the less powerful for it. There's also probably more love and "hurt/comfort" here than in most "physical trauma" stories, but again, all of it is emotional and understated... it's a small masterpiece. It's one of the best B&D relationship stories I've ever read. Ray has to learn to accept his perceived weaknesses, and live and function within CI5 again, and in the process of helping his friend, Bodie learns a lot about himself, too. This is another author that has gone "pro," and again, it shows.

[3.8.2.4.3.6]:

It'd be interesting if people would indicate how their reading tastes have changed over the years. I know mine have changed greatly. I used to think Meg Lewtan's stories were the greatest thing since sliced bread, until I read too many of them (overkill, maybe? Overexposure?). But what really began to turn me off is that I finally realized all her stories have basically the same tired plot, and all of them extol the virtues of Saint Bodie, which becomes so very tedious after awhile. And what really grates most of all is after reading a number of her stories is her style of story-telling. She tells far too much, rather than showing. Lengthy paragraphs of narration, as opposed to action and dialogue, become very wearing after awhile. It's very annoying to read the account from one character's p.o.v.,only to find the same situation recounted from the other guy's p.o.v....there's way too much "internalizing" for both Bodie and Doyle, it's totally unnecessary (the readers really don't need every little thing spelled out for them!), and she's been writing for long enough now that you'd think she'd know better. The most recent of her stories I've read was AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, and I could barely get through it because of the stylistic problems (also her same, tired old plot devices). This is one author I feel has been vastly over-rated for years now.

Another author I really can't get into at all, some of whose stories I used to like, is Jean C]. Technically, her writing is very good, but most of her characterizations and situations leave me cold. She also apparently suffers from Collins-Bodie worship, and unfortunately lets it color all her writing. Pity. I personally know some excellent B/D writers who love Shaw-Doyle and can't bear Collins-Bodie, but you'd never know it by their stories. That's because they to out of their way to present a balanced, unbiased view of both characters, as a really good writer should. I can't get into her Emma or Samurai series or characters at all. She draws her people so carefully, and yet, I can't put my finger on it -- it's as if their "souls" are missing. I just can't feel anything for them, or care about what happens to them. And her B&D are very wearing after a while, too...these are supposed to be two guys who "love" each other, and yet, I can't even find any evidence in her stories that they even like each other! When I first read the CAT TALES zine,I thought it was "fantastic"... that was four years ago. At the time I thought, "oh,wow! These guys have so much love to give, it doesn't matter if they share it around physically with other people or not, because they really only love each other!" WELL...NOW, I can't bear to read those stories anymore at all! Maybe because now we all know better about AIDS, and the suicidal stupidity of sleeping around... or, maybe it's because I myself have matured. Now I see it as very immature for two people to claim they "love" each other, then sleep with everyone else in sight...now I see that, B&D as being horribly insecure and cowardly, afraid to commit each other! Where is the "love" in that?!

[Floria Tosca]:

The editor asks: "What is it with these endless stories that depict Doyle as "pretty"? Made out to be some whispy, wraith-like virgin?" The fact that, as I have been informed, the majority of Pros fanfic dealing with hurt/comfort and other like themes has Doyle the victim and Bodie taking on the role of rescuer, healer, comforter does indeed suggest that there is on overwhelming tendency on the part of fanfic writers to "feminize" Doyle. I do not know if this is because Doyle is what some might term pretty (I agree with Madame Editor that Doyle's appearance is more exotic than pretty, but exotic is a term which is also used, more often than not, to describe women), nor do I think that this has much to do with who would/would not attract gays or which of them is "better" looking - subjective assessment at best. But I do feel that this tendency does have everything to do with looks. I think, and I do recognize the sexist stereo typing here, that Bodie/Collins "looks" very male, by which I mean he looks male in a very macho, self-assured, rugged way. I do not know how the two actors compare, one with the other, height and weight-wise, but Collins appears to be the more solidly built of the two. He seems more muscular simply by virtue of the fact that he is broader in the chest and shoulders, lie seems to be built heavier and, with his hair cut so short, he looks meaner and more capable of taking care of himself than Doyle is. Doyle/Shaw, on the other hand, has a very cat-like, lithe, feminine look about him.

[snipped]

Doyle is plain hot-headed, a seasoned ex-copper and all that history specific to him, very volatile, but physically he appears vulnerable,fragile, that face of his, broken and battered, only serves to reinforce his vulnerability. He looks hurtable precisely because he so obviously has been. (That this is Shaw rather than Doyle is beside the point, since Shaw's looks arc Doyle's.).

[snipped]

I try very hard not to ever judge books by their covers and I do not intend to suggest that physical appearance is necessarily a valid jumping-off point for an interpretation of the two characters, yet I feel that there is something decidedly female about Doyle. (Elves and magicians and wizards also have a distinct female aspect to them. Merlin and Gandalf.) [snipped] And Doyle looked less feminine in the earlier episodes when had shorter, tighter curls. It is only later when the curls lengthen to frame and soften his face that ho appears feline. He might have been Shirley Temple or Mary Pickford with a gun. So I must wonder if it is this later Doyle that fanfic writers visualize when they see Doyle as pretty? Perhaps women especially might identify with Doyle solely on the basis of his more feminine looks and therefore it might be easy for those of them who write slash (I am assuming here that it is the same in Pros fandom as it is in others; the majority of slash is written by women) to cast Doyle in the 'female' role of victim, the sweet, helpless, young thing needing male protection and rescue, and Bodie in the role of said male protector. In fact, I do myself find it easier to visualize Doyle being comforted in Bodie's arms rather than the other way round despite a good story sent to me wherein Doyle does hold Bodie to comfort him and to protect him.

[snipped]

In the series, at any rate, Doyle seems to be knocked about more often and more brutally than is Bodie. Masculine violence happens to Bodie, if I might be allowed to divide violence along male/female lines. Violence directed against men is quick, showy, heroic in dimension. The violence directed against women, in society as well as in film and TV, is slow, torturous, taunting, humiliating. (The Black Dahlia sort of thing.) In Pros, Doyle is usually the partner made helpless, made to suffer. The scene in Man without a Past where Arthur Pendle pushes the gun barrel against Doyle's bad cheek is very chilling. And that comes at the end of a whole series of sequences depicting Doyle being run down, tied up, kicked In the ribs, thrown to the floor. The feminization of Doyle, the casting of Doyle as perfect victim, begins in the series itself. At least it seems that way to me. Whereas Bodie is knifed and wired to explosives (just a mere step away from throwing oneself on a live grenade to save one's "mates' - Bodie flees and Doyle has to chase after him and drag him to the ground in order to save him), Doyle is beaten up, knocked out, tied up, dragged about here and there like a sack of potatoes. So Pros fanfic might be taking its lead from the series itself, at least in part.

I would like to point out though that Pros is hardly the only example of this sort of thing. Illya in U.N.C.L.E., Starsky in Starsky and Hutch (a truly sadistic program). Heath in The Big Valley all take the majority of abuse and lumps written into their respective series. [snipped] Another side to this deals with those characters who are portrayed as having strong and stoic personalities but with hidden vulnerabilities; Avon in Blake's 7 and Spock in Star Trek are two of the best examples. Here what is done is the breaking down of their, walls of defense so that they might be comforted and have it all made right by a significant other. (This is the worst sort of romanticism and a staple, I fear, in fanfic.)

[Floria Tosca]:

Frankly, I was surprised that the issue even arose as I have been led to believe that the worst and most sadistic violence occurs in fanfic.

[snipped]

Yet violence is part of the world of the Professionals. It is part of what they do. Bodie and Doyle live in a world where violence and pain and death are their constant companions. To slip up (as Doyle does in Discovered in a Graveyard) is to die. I do not think that it should have been toned down or pretended not to exist because someone's sensibilities are offended. Reality is very often offensive. And we can change our reality if we truly desire to. Violence won't go away by pretending that it is not there, although we do not need it so graphically or gratuitously portrayed that it makes us sick.

[Riley Cannon]:

The first issue of SC was a little disappointing, with the accent on hot bods and raging hormones. I have no objection to well done slash, and Collins and Shaw did certainly provide some enjoyable scenery for us to appreciate, but there's much more to PROS than that. What keeps me watching the episode is a combination of the three leads, their relationships, and what goes on in CI5. The moral/ethical angle of it all, and what, and what that does to a person over time: how far do you compromise your principles in order to get the bad guys? I try not to favor one of the fellas over the other—and was also put off by a certain amount of Bodie-bashing in issue #1. I could find a few things to dislike about Doyle -- trigger temper, wearing his angst on his sleeve and whenever CI5 need to set up some woman and use her, it's little Raymond Doyle who gets the job -- but I don't demand that fictional characters be any more perfect than real people. My main fandom is B7, and it's not noted for revolving around characters who personify saintly virtues. Doesn't bother me there, doesn't bother me in PROS (or STAR COPS, my latest favorite).

[Riley Cannon]:

The only problem I have with PROS slash is that there's so much of it, and quantity doesn't necessarily equate to quality. I've read enough "/" by now, and mostly of the B7 variety, to know what I like, and what I can definitely do without. Brutality, of a physical or emotional variety, is not my cup of tea, and it was surprising to find quite a lot of that in PROS slash. Why should Bodie turn into a rapist when he beds Doyle, when that is not part of his normal character? Why should Doyle turn into a vitriolic shrew when that's not his character? Alternate universes, in PROS, are very iffy, since I can't see the point (mind you, I consider all "/" alternative universe, but in a much narrower sense). If one is going to write about Bodie and Doyle, what's wrong with having them in their proper late 20th century London setting? That's what I want read, at least, not about Romans and Celtic warriors, and lord please, no more elves. (Although that's less to do with Doyle than my general antipathy to elves due to LORD OF THE RINGS) which isn't to say that story, with the real Bodie and Doyle encountering some outre situation in the 20th century would be out of line. What I like are stories recognizable as being PROS, with all the elements that went into the series, but maybe going that little bit further with the relationship between Bodie and Doyle. Or not; a story can be quite good without the heroes hopping into bed with each other, or anyone else.

And why is it so horrific to suppose the guys might be precisely what was shown in the episodes, raging heterosexuals? Double standards again: most of us who perpetrate fanfic are women, yet we loathe female characters. If they turn up at all it's as victims, bimbos, expendable and disposable. It seems a bit dim to assume that Bodie and Doyle couldn't be friends any more, if women "got in the way." That doesn't happen in real life, why should fiction be different? And why should anyone be jealous of her hero becoming involved with a woman? Oh well, I just can't take it all quite that seriously. I've done a little bit of B7 slash, but on the whole still prefer to have the guys end up in the sack with (horrors!) women. Should I ever give PROS fanfic a real try, I'll probably continue that brand of fannish heresy, just for the hell of it. (And because it gets under my skin that there's this sense that PROS fanfic has to be slash. Sorry, but there was a good deal of upheaval in B7 fandom over what was permissible, and it cuts both ways: a fandom cannot be exclusively anything.)

[Linda Terrell]:

You gotta admit, Bodie really gets a working over in FUGITIVES. But Doyle gets bad or worse, more often. You'd just think it's be a natural to try to "control" the aggressive, push, controlling partner in PROS. Yet 90% of PROS fan lit is bashing Doyle. Which why I like to write against the trend -- do stories that pull Bodie to that brink, stories that feature Doyle comforting Bodie (who often needs it but doesn't know how to ask). I know parts of B/D stories that stop my heart are the small, "awww" scenes is which Bodie is driven to clinging to Doyle -- emotional or physically, and both, thinks he's lost Doyle and desperately reaches out to him.

[Linda Terrell]:

[I can't stand] any stories based on FACELIFT. It not only A/U, It's A/A/U! I can't stand the movie, Zax hasn't a saving social grace to stand on. I find stories based on this universe a total turn-of. Zax and Bodie are not B&D and I don't want them to be! Geez, people, at leave give me B&D as I know and lust after them. Zax sends me out of a room.

[Linda Terrell]:

I also, oddly, rather enjoy some of 'Rhianna' (sp?). Her stories are totally A/U but have this comfortable domesticity that's easy to read. My only complaint is that nothing ever really happens in her stories and you do have to push yourself along. The stories aren't particularly compelling as a result but I find myself enjoying then anyway. Rather as a respite, I think. Has she done something anchored in the canon?

Generally, I'll trade through a lot of drek, but please give me solid writing. I'm out of school and I don't tolerate gracefully writing which isn't.

And I'll put up with B&D being elves, necromancers, swashbucklers, and whores but, puh-lease, give me those characteristics which make me love B&D. The rapid-fire verbal barbs, the acid wit, the ex-copper and ex-merc backgrounds. Anything else is 'original' fiction. And I usually don't much appreciate finding a time taken up with 50 or more pages of that. I buy B&D zines to read B&D - PROS!

My other gripe is the endless NOVELS in PROS lit. Most of them are stupefying by page 80 then go on for 200, 300 and more, pages! And I refuse to read the rest of THE HUNTING when I am in a mood for B&D fiction. (I read the first part of THE HUNTING - I was not impressed].

And when can I read a story of a Doyle who has quit CI5 and ends up living in clover? How about a Bodie-down-and-out tale. I'm tired of stories of poor, destitute Doyle, etc. So Doyle goes on guilt trips. He's gonna starve himself if he's dumped [or quits) CI5? Give him some credit for intelligence and creativity. Why not an internationally acclaimed artist? Show me a pre or post CI5 Doyle rolling in money (and no, I won't write it, 'cause that's not the type of story I like to write. But I'll read it, sure).

[Linda Terrell]:

The critique of Lewtan brings up a point I would like to ponder in this l/z; why is it -- in just about any fandom -- the NOVELS that see to garner all the fan awe, respect, reviews, and energy? Good is not necessarily long, and long doesn't mean it's good. Kind of leaves us short story specialists wondering why we bother. Especially since I have found damn few fan novels that are really good enough to even BE a novel. Is it that fans are awed by sheer length, quality taking a back seat? A fan fiction novel has be be bloody good to hold my attention. Too often -- and Lewtan is guilty of this -- the author relies on the fannishness of the reader to compel them.

[Linda Terrell]:

Never met Shaw so can't say how I feel about his as a person, and, who cares? I have met Collins and it was not among my life's highlights. It was, however, lost enlightening. ...

The "silly" photo of Collins at the end of my last LOC was from SCORPIO 6 in 1988 - I took it while he wasn't looking or else I night have been turned to stone (that's a l-o-n-g story). I spent a lot of time ignoring him and his attitude - damned if we can figure where he copped it from. ...

Collins takes a very good photo portrait. The camera loves that man (gawd knows, someone has to). Even at SCORPIO 6, I couldn't take a "bad" picture of that man, even when he was being such a grinch.

[Linda Terrell]:

Kate Nurenberg DOES accept slash. But it has to be a good story and not explicit - no slash for slash sake. There is a very good story in British Takeaway #5 by Robin Goodfellow - just the right length, the right amount of h/c and angst, plausible motivations and it builds slowly to an acceptable realization - none of this rutting by page 2, wot? Not often you read a fan story that's "just right".... By the way, Kate is putting BRITISH TAKEAWAY on hiatus for awhile - she's a bit burnt out, I think, and just wants to catch her breath and do some of her own writing. You try to carry on a project when you're tired and it shows in the quality. That's why I've retired THE FEDERATION ARCHIVES.

[Linda Terrell]:

At last! Someone who puts it as plain as dirt why we like/read/write slash - yeh...lust. The erotic descriptions of men in heat...passion at full throttle...strength and animal beauty. Pant, pant (or, is that woof! woof!). Ironic, 'cause when I wrote B/A that way in B7, people were shocked. But, by gosh and by golly they still read London Bates!

[Linda Terrell]:

The next SHORT CIRCUIT just might sport a different look, as in typed out of my computer. I know I said I prefer the ambiance of actual locs reduced, but as you can see from this issue, it's getting pretty unwieldy already and that's with 25 members. Add to that,that my Mom & Pop Printer changed hands AGAIN and I can't guarantee I'll keep getting the good prices I've been. The new owners will do this issue for reasonable, but charge collating which the Mom & Pop people didn't. So - keep your LOCS coming in Letter Quality or typed whenever possible. There's a chance I maybe able to get the use of a scanner and feed LOCs into my computer that way. Then I just format the lot and print it all out in 15 or 17 pitch. That could cut an issue of S.C. by a third or more. Of course, if I can't get to a scanner, then the S.C. will continue as is but will TRY to keep costs down and it will have to be mailed Third Class (but in a 9x12 envelope).

Issue 3: Reactions and Reviews

[One Too Many Questions]: I normally shy away from Bodie jealousy stories. But in this case, the whole thing was clearly a game and the story didn't revolve on Bodie's jealousy. I found the story romantically satisfying — a nice "awwww" story. [13]

Issue 4

Short Circuit 4 was published in January 1991 and contains 43 pages. It was published by Linda Terrell (USA).

cover of issue #4
printed in issue #4, a ballot for a vote taken by Sara S

It includes three poems. One by Jude: Before I Forget, and two by Linda Terrell: Of Unrefined Mercenaries, Rumpled Apollos. Both of Terrell's poems were reprinted in Backtrack #4.

Issue 4: Excerpts from Comments

[Debbie]:

Who cares? Why do some slash writers feel their way is the only way and they have to justify [their creation of slash fanworks] somehow with what they see on the screen? If you want to justify it for yourself, and I usually try to in my stories, that's fine. But don't try to force non-slash readers into buying the Idea based on something that only slash fans arc seeing. Now, to completely contradict what I just said, the best slash has everyone m character and there Is a 'hook' to the series. A hook can be something as small as a line of dialog or as complex as a characters cultural background. Finding that hook is one of the challanges of first time stories; trying to find a hook convincing enough and making jt well written enough to give even non-slash readers at least a moments pause.

[Debbie]:

On your comments about why we 'get' certain characters. You're right when you say that every fandom seems to pick on one character - and this is just as true in straight as in slash. It seems to me that the fans 'go' for the more "emotional" character - Doyle, Kirk, Starsky, Harrison - to 'break' or get an emotional response out of the more "stoic" half of the team - Bodie, Spock, Hutch, Ironhorse. This is the basis of most hurt/comfort. A story like this can either extend our understanding of a character or it can be a cheap trick to write a cliched scene. I don't think most h/c writers are thinking of one character as being weaker or more helpless as they are thinking of the other character as being more remote. Of course, who as the more stoic or the more emotional is a matter of perspective.

[Debbie]: Can someone explain to me why no character In fan fiction ever has a happy childhood? This seems to be especially true in Pros. Doyle says he was a tearaway and everyone assumes that he had a rotten childhood - why? Bodie leaves home at 15 and everyone assumes he had a rotten childhood - why? Is it just easier to explain some of their nastier characteristics by saying that they had rotten childhoods then to really research a little and come up with a more complicated explanation for their story?

[Debbie]:

There's one "fan canon" that I'd like someone to explain: the strange idea about Doyle being a gourmet cook and a health food nut. We see him cooking spaghetti in "Involvement." Even I can cook spaghetti. And while he complains about Bodie's overeating, no where do I remember him eating or mentioning health food. Did I miss something? Or is this a hold over from Starsky and Hutch fandom?

[Debbie]:

I considered getting into the discussion of why women write slash but like Cat Shannon, I've gotten bored with the whole thing, though the theory about unhappy childhoods was new to me. I just tell people that I like it and let them think what they will. I will say that at a meeting of the science fiction club I belong to someone did a interview with myself and two other non-slash fan writers. By the end of the interview, two hours later, seven men and the three of us were no closer to figuring it out or changing anyone's mind about it. I will admit that some of the theories brought up by the straight males in the group had never occurred to me - that by making them gay we were trying to make them less dominate, less frightening; that we were trying to make them less manly somehow. If the editor is interested I will try to get a copy of the interview for the next issue.

[Sydney]:

Fantasy/AU/ vs. a CI5 Backdrop Universe: I have to admit, I like the A/U and/or fantasy stories. For the most part. There have been times where I've thought that If one more person turned up with elf ears, I would've barfed....but basically, the fantasy stories have been a great deal of fun. I

also like non-fantasy AU stories and the historlcals that've come out--Bodie and Doyle are archetypes and they fit well in a wide variety of backgrounds and plots. As long as their physical appearance Is recognizably the same, and, to a certain extent, the core of the characters personalities remains Intact, I find Its fun to see them play out a story against different backgrounds. I would not like to have to read only CI5 background Pros stories any more than I would like a steady diet of ONLY A/Us or ONLY fantasy. Too much of any one thing is too much.

[Sydney]:

Riley Cannon raises an Interesting point--why should Pros be all "/" stories? Actually, In the very early days. It wasn't, and there were and are good straight stories in existence where the females In question are not boring, bad, or bimbettes with IQ's smaller than their bra sizes. Anyone who thinks "if It Isn't slash it's not good", should sit down and read KATRIN'S JIGSAW (Anne Carr); EMMA (E.J. Pelham-Stewart; a nice little romance for Bodie with a rather unique heroine), the complete unexpurgated ANGLO-AMERICAN CONNECTION series (the very together female agents In this series are a formidable combo In and of themselves and stand alone quite nicely, thank you); or DIVIDED HIGHWAY (Page Stuart; setting is some years post-CI5, Bodle has just died at the start of the story (car accident) and a grieving Doyle has to come to terms with it--and Bodie's widow. It's a good but serious read and is rather grim at times; come to think of it, I don't know If this one is in general circulation, though its not that old). Again, a steady diet of only one thing Is pretty dull after a while; I like to see and read as wide a variety of stories as possible, ones that explore a little bit of everything. (Except rape. I have to admit, that's one genre I cannot bring myself to read.)

[Jude]:

About violence [in the show], can anyone tell me if "The Game", was ever mentioned or alluded to in any of the episodes? Or did it come about through fan writers fevered imaginations?

[Jude]:

I've only really been reading slash for the past two years. But early on I began to feel that slash universes be they B/D or whatever. Are a form of female chauvinism as they seem to be almost totally women orientated writing and reading wise. I was wondering what the rest of you think?

[Susan Douglass]:

I want to ask one general question, which has been bugging me to no end. Why has it always been written "Bodie/Doyle" or "B/D?" Why not "Doyle/Bodie?" I noticed that in BLAKES 7 that it's written "Blake/Avon" most of the time, yet it's "Avon/Vila" I also have seen "Napoleon/Illya" rather than the other way around. I know that many people might think it a bit nit-picky to note the order of the characters' names — but it seems that the "butch" or "masculine" character's name usually comes before the "feminine" character's name. This may be one of many factors involved in the whole discussion on how "feminine" Doyle is.

[Susan Douglass]:

I get uneasy when women write about how men would much prefer each other to women. It feeds into the whole misogynous Japanese/Greek thing' about how women are such inferior, weak creatures that men must turn to each otlier. It s bad enough when men say such things, but when women say it, I find it a bit sad. Are we so inferior to men? I like reading about gay men for various reasons, but in my personal life, I am a lover of women. I find women beautiful and strong, not weak or inferior. Well, then, why would a lesbian woman find male/male relationships erotic? I'm not the only lesbian by a long shot who feels this way. I have met a lot of gay women in slash fandoms. I won't speak for them, only myself. In the first place, I relish the gayness, the same-sex aspects, whether it be about men or wonen. Same-sexness goes against our society's grain, there a sonething outlaw and rebellious about it — about the affirmation of that love, against a social establishment which seeks to destroy it. Same-sex love also goes against the idea of biological sex roles. I believe that 99% of so-called "masculine" and "feminine" behavioral traits are socialized, not "hard-wired." A woman is not born with feminine" behavior nor is a man born with "masculine" behavior. Same-sex love, at its idealistic best, calls for a blending of "feminine" and masculine characteristics in each of the partners. How this blending occurs in different degrees and parts. Our sex-role doninated society affects those raised in it. Stories where same-sex partners struggle against societal conditioning can be powerful and compelling. ... as a lover of women, I can reach an "androgynous" part of myself by reading about gay men. Of course, I enjoy reading about gay women as well. Oh, and I've talked to gay men who get turned on in reading about woman/woman relationships, just as some straight men do.

[Susan Douglass]:

I'm a Jane fan, too. She wrote a couple of early clunkers. One of them, TWO-UP goes into the whole "they're not really gay" thing. But Jane's work has turned around 100 degrees on this issue. Her last two RAINY DAYS stories confront gay issues squarely. And I L-O-O-V-E the whole HUNTING series. Can't wait for CLAN OF THE WHITE FOX. I'm also a Kathy Keegan fan as well.

I L-I-K-E most of Meg Lewtan. LUCK OF THE DRAW was one of the few of her stories I didn't like. I liked CAMERA SHY and AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. Anyone sick of Doyle getting bashed? Read BODY HEAT. Here, Bodie is victim to a drug and becomes totally disabled to the point of being almost a vegetable. Doyle has to work hard to affect even a minimum of recovery. The story is grim and sort of gives me the creeps, yet it draws me in as well. Another interesting story is COMMAND PERFORMANCE. This is another Doyle going undercover as a whore story. But Doyle is the strong one in this story. Bodie is a rape survivor who emotionally collapses in the middle of the op. Doyle has to pull him but of it. One of her more disturbing stories is PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT. This is a story where Doyle is placed in a "feminine" position. He is pursuing Bodie, who has left CI5 for the jungles. Bodie and another butch mere end up fighting over a handcuffed and helpless Ray, who lies quivering on the ground. Bodie wins the fight and drags Doyle into the bedroom, where he has to stage a "conquest" (i.e. rape). Bodie manages not to go "all the way," but in ay opinion, goes far enough to constitute a sexual violation. Later on, after Doyle has been 
rescued from the whole scene and the two are back in London, they "talk it 
out." Doyle is quite leery of Bodie (who can blane him?) The two eventually 
end up together. Another disturbing story which keeps popping up in my mind...

An aside: another of my "pet peeves" are stories where (usually Doyle) gets sexually molested or even forced into fellatio. But because anal penetration didn't occur IT ISN'T RAPE!!! So therefore NOTHING HAPPENED and so Doyle can live happily ever after with no trauma. Sorry, don't believe it.

[8.8.2.4.3.6.]:

At tlie risk of sounding like a broken record, I fail to see your logic [Linda Terrell] in feeling "cheated" by A/U when it is so easy for you to avoid all together. The zines that specialize in these stories are very well-known (FANTAZINE, OTHER TIMES & PLACES, THE HUNTING zines)...if you hate the stuff so much, nobody's forcing you to buy it. Fantasies and historicals and A/U's are very clearly indicated on the Lending Library lists...don't request those stories. Or do you mean you feel cheated by the very fact that these stories are being written at all? Tough! Why did you write the FOUR LEFT FEET stories if you hate that kind of thing so much? That situation you set up isn't exactly too likely to happen to the "real" B&D, either... At the same time, those of us who can't stomach all the S&M crap out there have every right to feel "cheated" by it, in a very financial way! You can spend upwards of $20 on a zine, to maybe find that the "rough sex" stuff predominates... what do you do then? Demand your money back? Not in this lifetime! Zine flyers never indicate these little gems, so you have no forewarning, and no choice. Stories like that aren't ever indicated on the Library either .. . what happens when you get a package of stories, and maybe 70% of them are rape and abuse? Those packages cost money too, you know! Membership dues... postage.. the only way to avoid the S&M stuff completely is to drop out of PRO'S fandom all together. You'd better believe I feel "cheated" by that, and justifiably so!

[8.8.2.4.3.6.]:

I can't believe anyone could come up with that hackneyed, uninformed complaint that the stories "HAVE TO BE /" in PRO's fandom! Who the hell ever said that? Didn't it ever occur to you that if there's more "/" stuff than straight stuff, it's only because the straight stuff just isn't written as often, and not because there's no market for it? Because there certainly is a market for it! BRITISH TAKEAWAY is very predominately straight; CHALK & CHEESE always accepts straight stories and why were there so few straight stories in the last couple issues? Why aren't the writers of straight stories sending them in?); THE SMALL PRINT is a series of straight zines from England; BACKTRACK is a straight Australian zine. In the past we've had PROFESSIONAL JUNKIES...STRAIGHT SHOOTING...MIXED DOUBLES and DEAD RECKONING and LONGSHOT, all from Australia, and all straight. There were quite a few straight stories (long ones, too) in DISCOVERED ON A ROOFTOP, IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST #1, FOXHOLE IN A GRAVEYARD...and, more recently, the zine CLOSE DOUBLES was totally

straight. Add to that the very numerous media zines that cheerfully take straight PRO's... could it be that you really didn't know this large market for straight stuff does exist? So now you do! Why do proposed straight zines so often get cancelled, due to lack of submissions? If the writers won't submit the stuff, they've got nobody to blame but them selves.

[8.8.2.4.3.6.]:

As far as B&D being shown on the series as "raging heteros".. . that's open to interpretation. Based on their extreme lack of any emotional committment to women on the series at all, I'd suspect their sexual preferences even if I didn't want to see them as lovers! The very excellent PROFESSIONAL INSIGHT tells us that, in 30 of the 57 episodes, BODIE AND DOYLE HAD NO WOMEN AT ALL! Of the women they did have, how many times were each of them "seriously involved?" ONCE APIECE! Whether you want to admit it or not, nearly all of B&D's serious emotional involvement on the series was with each other. Aside from the one time each that they were "in love" (and,in Bodie's case with Marikka, that didn't even seem to be "love" so much as a serious case of overactive glands), all the women B&D were with served the purpose of being sex objects on the series,so the viewers could always be, reassured that "Our Heroes" were, indeed, red-blooded macho men. And that's the kind of story you want to read...and write... in fandom? (Sigh) . . .

[8.8.2.4.3.6.]: This segues nicely into my last topic for this time! As a public service to all "/" fans, I present here a list of the TEN WORST MARY SUE STORIES IN PRO'S FANDOM, AND HOW YOU CAN AVOID THEM. I'm not listing the author's names, though... in most case they've all ready done that themselves, and I can't see compounding the guilt. So, without further ado:

1) "Relentless" (in the zine, STRAIGHT SHOOTING) — this is so badly-written, and with such a dippy "heroine", I'm at a loss for words. One point of interest is that the virginal lady is described as practically being Ray's twin (she goes to bed with Bodie). Hmmm- mmm...

2) "Games We Played in the Dark" (also from STRAIGHT SHOOTING) — I almost feel guilty listing this one, because it's actually well-written. But again, the heroine is so unbelievable it's laughable. She even has superhuman powers that enable her to do B&D's job much better than they can, making them look like fools in the process.

3) "The Unexpected Choice" (ADULT SITUATIONS #1) — two "American birds" get involved with B&D. The women are cartoon cut-out stereotypes. You can't care what happens to either of them.

4) "The Morning After the Night Before" (CIRCUIT STORY) — the only thing worse than Mary Sue is first-person Mary Sue (this device was also used in "Relentless"). The heroine here has a nauseating tendency to describe herself as being perfect and beautiful, etc. Have a barf-bag or a commode close by for this one.

5) "The Peanut Butter Connection" (CIRCUIT) — the heroine's name here is Nancy Loser. This says it all.

6) "Soullift" (FOXHOLE IN A GRAVEYARD) — she's a 37-year-old semi-virgin ( don't even ask). The most infuriating thing about this story is that it appears in what was advertised as a B/D zine...and the story up nearly half the zine...and there wasn't even a "Bodle-clone" in sight! It was all about Zax and the boring female. I won't even talk about how badly it was written. This was false advertising at its worst. It had no place in the zine.

7) "Wolf Pack" (Backtrack #2) — another oh — so-perfect — and beautiful heroine, this time a KGB agent. Naturally,she does B&D's job so well, Cowley dismisses his men as bumbling idiots. Naturally, both guys are interested in Ms. Perfection...

8) "American Tourister" (CIRCUIT) — probably the longest — and worst — of the "Sammi" stories. Where do these women come from?! And why are all of them perfect? And why are they all virgins? And why should anyone care?

9) "Till Death" (CLOSE DOUBLES) — this story could've been good, if it wasn't so abominably written, for starters ... and if the woman, again, wasn't so unbelievably perfect. She was a dancer (l think). By the end of the story, she evolves from fearless vampire slayer, to CI5 agent-in-training. Uh-huh...

10) "Tyger, Tyger" (BRITISH TAKEAWAY #5) — another first-person Mary Sue. Another total lack of credibility.. Another waste of zine-space.

[Floria Tosca]: Here I sit:, trying to decide whether to retype any or all of my intended LOC for Short Circuit. I do not know how seriously to take any of the criticism leveled at poor dumb, naive Floria, or if I should make an effort to respond to any of it. That seems to be to be a waste of time and I do not wish to engage in interminable argument over small points. And yet again. . .

Firstly, I am told in SC III that "you obviously don't enjoy slash" so why read it? Well, now, that isone hell of an assumption, but, to be honest, I really don't know that I do. What I do know is that I do not dislike it and am not inclined to dismiss it out of hand solely because I don't quite understand it or the attraction it has for so many fans. I had thought I had made myself clear on that point, but perhaps not. Wouldn't be the first time and I doubt if it will be the last. In a sense then I found the question of why I read slash since I "obviously don't enjoy it" offensive. Geeze, I didn't know that enjoyment was a sine qua non of reading slash, or of anything else for that matter. I read slash solely from curiosity. There are any number of things in my life that I find it interesting to learn about or am just plain nosey about that I do not enjoy in the same sense that I enjoy other things of greater importance or interest in my life. Christ, I enjoy the occasional football game, but were I never to see an other one it surely would not break my heart. Slash is the same sort of thing to me. I am simple curious about it in a (hopefully non-threatening, intellectual way. It fascinates me. Period! Nothing more. Nothing less.

[snipped]

Much of the Pros fanfic I have read is badly written, badly plotted if plotted at all, and the characters are more often than not woefully out of character. And I will never concede that plot and character can go by the boards. Moreover, much of the Pros slash is, quite unintentionally I am sure, very, very funny. Most of this stuff seems to be nothing more than endless sexual gynastics fleshed out with very little or no story. Once onff has read a 'dirty' story of this type, one has read a 'dirty' story and anything more of the sort is nothing more than variations on a single theme. Granted there might very often be attempts to explore the emotional and intellectual sides of the relationship, but these efforts are all too often sacrificed to the graphic description of sexual encounters, or take far too long to make their point. I personally find that boring. To be blunt (and quite possibly crude) about it, I would rather do it than read about it - according to my own inclinations of course. As to my 'theory' of why slash, I only wrote as I did not so much to offer a theory, but to speculate about a possibility, and at the time I Iiad seen exactly one theory with respect to the whys and wherefores of slash.

[Floria Tosca]:

I absolutely agree with our editor on her view of A/U. I do not care to see characters taken out of their respective canons/frameworks and moved backwards, forwards and sideways in time and space. I absolutely cannot understand why any one would waste their time writing A/U. Such creations are not Bodie and Doyle, or Blake and Avon, or Spock and Kirk, although perhaps they might be Sam Beckett. They cannot be since they have been divorced from the situations and worlds that made them them. A/U is, in my opinion, nothing more than the bastard stepchild of fanfic which is itself, a not quite legitimate undertaking since fanfic is the merry making away with someone else's hardwork, taking the characters and situations created by someone else and making free with them to explore relationships, situations, issues left untouched or unresolved by the creators, writers, et.al. involved in the original work. Fanfic, as much fun as it is and I do want to make it clear that I write fanfic myself and have even had a handful of stories published as well as enjoy reading it (well, some of it), is a creative deadend for the most part. It is a very limited format for writers, many of whom are very talented. But I digress.

To return to the issue of A/U, the problem for me is that A/U promises to be creative and original since the setting and most every thing else is 'new', but it is basically nothing more than a really dumb idea. It is peopled with characters who are sorta similar to but not really Bodie and Doyle, Blake and Avon, whoever and whoever. As far as I am concerned, all we have in A/U is a lot of characters who are nothing more than wannabees. They wannabe real thing in a different place, time, situation, but they aren't. They pretend to a valid existence, but they don't really have one. They are pale and ineffectual imitations of what was an original character. I would think that if a writer really wanted to write about wizards and warriors, caliphs and vizers, fifteenth century France, Renaissance Italy, they would go to the trouble of creating new everything, including the characters, instead of borrowing the characters created by someone else and transposing those characters to other times and places. A/U is sheer laziness. And it also suggests that the writers are not confident enough in their own abilities to run the risk of attempting something more original, like doing their own work. Fanfic within the aired canon or even post-aired canon (I adore Hellhound),I can enjoy. I even like the occasional cross-universe effort (I like Debra Hicks' U.N.C.L.E./Pros offerings), but A/U? The blessed saints preserve us from such nonsense.... A/U is a fraud and a pretense. A/U slash is downright stupid. I really hate this stuff and anything remotely approaching it. I don t even waste my time anymore. Sorry. (Not really.)

[Floria Tosca]:

To answer a question not yet asked. Why do I write fanfic feeling about it as I do? It amuses me, folks. I like to take favorite characters and create my own stories and situations for them. I just do not have any illusions that I am being terrible creative or original when I do this. I know that I am not. I do thing that there are some few fanfic writers who are creative and original and some of them have written things I wish had been a part of the series (generic use) when it aired. And I envy their talent, even as I can't help but wonder why they aren't (many of them) making up their own characters and worlds to write about (Sheila Paulson, Debra Hicks among others). Or are they and I just don't know it? But then I really am glad so many use their time to write fanfic. My world would be poorer if it did not exist, even though there are types of fan writing that do not enchant me.

[Floria Tosca]:

To Felicity M. P: So you have never read a Pros story that you consider pornographic. Well, o.k., but in that case I sure would be interested in knowing just what your definition of pornography is since Pros fanflc and virtually everything else of fanflc that is slash and adult erotica fits quite easily into every definition of pornography I have ever seen, even the broadest. It certainly fits the definition of pornography in my Webster's: "The depiction of erotic behavior in pictures or writing intended to cause sexual excitement." And It certainly qualifies according to John Q. Public's most Ignorant understanding of the term. Certainly, by any stretch of the imagination or even, perhaps, without an imagination, slash fanflc and adult erotics are meant to appeal to the prurient interests of the reader. Pros slash is often very graphic and explicit in the depiction of sexual encounters and is therefore pornographic within the definition of pornography stated above. Sexual excitement must be an integral part of fanflc of an erotic/slash etc. nature else why get so, er, 'blow by blow' about the (purely fan-imagined - well, why not? They aren't real people anyway) sex lives of Bodie and Doyle or whoever and whoever. Still, I didn't say Pros fanflc was pornographic , but that it bordered on the pornographic. I did say pornographic and not obscene and, upon reflection, I think I misspoke myself. The first, word is a description of type and it fits. The second is more properly descriptive of moral value or judgment attached to a given thing. I suppose that what I meant to say was that slash or so it seemed to me, at its most offensive, borders on the obscene when it is on the obscene when it is melded to sadistic, masochistic treatment of the characters for the sheer sake of cruelty. Some of what I have seen wallows in cruelty. So where I am at on this now is that Pros slash fanfic is pornographic and may, in certain circumstances, even be obscene, I apologize for not being clearer.

[Alyx]:

I feel that everyone should read what they want to read, and write what they want to write. I would appreciate more editors using symbols on the table of contents to warn people. In Uncle fandom there is a zine called Paladin's Affair that lists, whether it is slash, whether it is a death story, explicit violence and 'silly story'. Don't you wish otiter's would too. You can always just read the zine without looking at the table if that bothers you. I also wish the list to be continued on the contents page.

[Alyx]:

I found it hard to read 3.0.2.4.3.5.'s comments. Here we we are in this fandom (slash, not pros), reviled by other fandoms, misunderstood by our non-fannish friends, and she wants to set us at each other's throats? With very few changes, her rant was very like those in straight fandom against us ("/" fandom) in the first few years of K/S....

I think people not using their own names should lean over backwards not to appear to abuse that confidentiality. Back to 3.8... I think some of your comments were a little personal. (I know, I just said people should write what they want to write, but I meant stories, not personal attacks.) By the way, I don't feel I'm betraying a confidence by telling you Kathy Keegan and Jane are the same person. No wonder you got them confused on Gentle on My Mind.

I consider myself more on the realism side of the realism vs romantic debate — but I agree with many of your top stories, esp regarding Debra Hicks. It sounds like you've been attacked one too many times for liking mushy stuff and you just snapped.

[Alyx]:

When I said, about Kate Nuerenburg "If only we could brainwash lier into accepting "/" she'd be perfect." I didn't mean she doesn't accept it. She reads it, publishes it, and has even written one story of it. But, she doesn't see it in them, and doesn't accept the possible likelihood of it happening. I meant I wish she bought the concept. I would love to see Doyle's Neighborhood end that way, and dream about brainwashing her into wanting to do it, I want her to write it was what I meant.

[Alyx]:

I know this ia a B/D zine, but I must say Doyle isn't treated nearly as brutally as Illya in Uncle fic. NO ONE IS RAPED AS MUCH AS ILLYA. I agree Doyle may be 2nd. I don't like it, and, I think you made some good guesses as to why, but realize that other slash fandoms have similiar problems.

[Alyx]:

Linda, again I have to say, it bothers me that you get to comment directly about things a full issue before we do. That controls other peoples opinions. Say general things "whoa, great issue guys" or whatever, and then comment on last issue only. Please?

[Stew]:

The other institution of fanfic that was discussed at lengtli — Doyle as an elf or wizard or alien or whatever — I think also has its roots firmly in the show. I have great difficulty knowing Doyle's character. I could tell you what he isn't — but as for defining what he is, I run aground. He's a bundle of contradictions — I hasten to add that most human beings are — but it makes Bodie and Cowley far easier characters to work with. As Doyle in the present day is such a mystery, it's easy to make him the mystical or non-human one in a/u fiction... One of the two times I've come across Bodie in a mystical role is in If Looks Could Kill by Helen B in Backtrack 2 (an Australian general Profs zine that's highly recommended). In it, Bodie had become an adept at voodoo-style sorcery during his time in Africa. It was a very strong and convincing story.

There is one other time, actually, but it proves the premise rather than disproves it — a story called Bondage in Silver by Harmony. In it. Bodie and Doyle are each visited in their dreams by a fantastical image of the other who (sometimes forcibly!) makes them each come to terms with their need for each other but the story is all told from Bodie's point of view, so you only get to meet the fantastical Doyle. I'm going to have to do a Bodie-as-elf story. I can just see. I love a challenge! Anyway, my overall philosophy is that fans can write whatever fanfic they want — such freedom! And if the resultant violence or Doyle-as-elf or Doyle-as-wimp stories botlier you, t»o one's making you read them. Live and let write! Personally, I'll read anything slash once (especially when it comes to the Profs) — whether I re-read it is another matter. But you have to give things a go (in my humble opinion).

[Stew]:

Linda, I think it's a little unfair of you to (and quite rightly) demand that there be no Shaw vs Collins langing matches, but then to say things like 'I don't think Lewis Collins knows what he wants to be when he grows up'. Your assessment of him may be the truth, but to a Bodle fan like me, it's a pretty provocative statement. My immediate reaction is to wildly leap to his defence or at least call on you for some sympathy, even though I know less about him than you do, and even though it's Bodie I'm nuts about. Which might sound silly, but I think isn't out of the ordinary when it comes to a fan's feelings. I didn't comment previously because I do want to avoid a slanging match, as I hope we all do a slanging match which would in any case involve mostly conjecture on everybody's part, and wouldn't get anyone anywhere. I guess what annoys me is people being judgemental about things — and I know I'm as prey to that human weakness as the next person. You've met Collins, and were obviously unimpressed, but you seem to present your subjective views and not what really happened, and you make snide little asides throughout your contribution (at least the comment I quoted above was prefaced with 'I think' rather than presentedas a statement of fact). I'm not asking for a run-down here of what you based your opinions on — I'm just trying to explain why I (and presumably Felicity) felt a little miffed.

[Stew]:

But then there was plenty to miff me in SC2... Some of 3.8.2.4.3.6's comments, for instance. People get their kicks from some pretty weird things, as you know. But can't you be a little more tolerant of human foibles? My belief is that anything goes, except making other people suffer. So you re horrified that some fans enjoy torture stories? Other people are horrified that we enjoy slash stories, as I'm sure you're well aware. What gives you the right to verbally abuse the torture fans? I assume you would claim the right not to be verbally abused about being a slash fan.

Is this what you all see as healthy discussion, or do you see it all already descending into a slanging match? I know it's not half as serious as problems e xperienced in other fandoms, but I for one would like to see a little more toleration of fellow fans and their feelings and their likes and dislikes. We're one hell of a diverse bunch, after all — our only common taste is the Profs — we don't even all like B/D! But tell me if you think I'm being needlessly squeamish — I'm happy to continue either way. There are so few forums like this.

[Linda Terrell]:

Alyx, I'm the editor of this rag. I do most of the work putting this thing together, keeping records, getting it printed and posted, etc. One of my perks is comment on current LOCs. I did in the FA. Pat Nussman did in her short-lived letterzine. In fact, nost of the editors of most of the newsletters/letterzines I have read, comment on current LOCs.

Issue 5

Short Circuit 5 was published April 1991 and contains 28 pages. It was published by Linda Terrell (USA).

cover of issue #5

It includes three poems by Jude: Overture, Thoughts on Doyle, Thoughts on Bodie.

There is a random single sentence in this issue, not attributed to anyone's LOC, so assumably added by the editor: "NUT HATCH PRESS has made a formal request that it be noted that "Jane" is NOT "Keegan." So Noted."

Issue 5: Excerpts from Comments

[Linda Terrell]:

We've managed to come up on our First Anniversary. Locs are of a more mellow and thoughtful tone. And we again have some poems from Jude. I don't know if I could put S.C. out without a Jude poem - we gotta tradition! Since I took over last year, the membership has doubled. Now that it is the start of another year of S.C., I think it's time for me to clear up some misperceptions and redefine goals. I really neglected to define the zine, only ever requesting the physical requirements. As a result, some people seem to have gotten some tumed-around idea about the l/z and my stewardship. It is now time for a DECLARATION OF S.C. FORMAT REVISITED - THE SEQUEL.

1. S.C. has a primarily American audience. I don't "aim" it that way, it's just that S.C. is based in the USA and most of the membership is American.

2. Americans tend to be a rowdy lot. We are contrary and opinionated.

3. I like it that way.

4. S.C. is a wide-open, free-wheeling Forum letterzine (within good taste). As such, many will find us to be boisterous, rambunctious and rollicking. Best of all, we have strong opinions.

5. I like it that way.

6. If you have a fragile ego or are pale of pen, this is probably not the letterzine for you.

7. Reviews are not "attacks". Anything coming under a Review is an OPINION.

8. Definition of an attack shall be: "I don't like so-and-so's stories because so-and- so is a yoick", or "I disagree with so-and-so because she's stupid." I consider that to constitute a personal attack. If I get something like that in any Loc, I will return the Loc to the writer and ask them to please' reword it. That's as much "editing" as I ever do. However, if you do not like a story because it was boring or poorly written or had plot holes through which you could drive the Indy 500, that's an opinion.

9. Please keep your fanlit reviews listed under a heading which SAYS - in large letters - "Review" somewhere in the title. An opinion expressed in a review is NOT an attack. My Locs are NOT "editorials". When I do write an editorial, it'll say so. But I am NOT an "editor". Using that title was a mistake. I am the Compiler/Collator. Now, I know we all know that. But I am saying it in print so that somebody merely gleaning this l/z will readily understand its format and content. I don't wish for anyone to join S.C. then some months down the line complain about the "attacks" or "aggressive" nature of the Locs. Therefore, the Official Policy of S. C. will be as follows (to be printed in each issue): S.C. is a discussion/review/debate letterzine devoted to all aspects of "The Professionals". As such, S.C. is a wide-open, free-vdieeling Fortun for all theories, reviews and dialogue. We will probably be boisterous, rambunctious, rollicking and opinionated. We engage in reviews - good and bad - of PROS fan fiction. THESE ARE OPINIONS of the letter-writers and not any reflection of the "policy" of ME, the compiler/collator.

[snipped]

What brought some of that about is that I have learned, from the most astonishing source, that there are some fans going about totally misrepresenting S.C. I have even been accused of "editing by deletion"! How I manage to do this when I reproduce actual Locs AS IS is beyond me. Anyone who says I "delete" lines is lying. Imagine my dismay when, in trying to set the record straight, I sent the offended party issues 1-4 of S.C. and asked them to read the evidence - AND THEY REFUSED. Not only that, they continued with their 3rd hand accusations. And, when I questioned the fairness of that, I was informed by a self-appointed "mediator" that she was from now on going to intercept my post to them and dump it. That way, no one will get angry. Well, by gum and by golly and by carbonate of soda, if THAT isn't editing by deletion, what is?

What kind of fool makes accusations of perfidy then refuses to read evidence to the contrary? What is wrong with this Fandom? In 11 years and three fandoms, I have never gone on whisper/innuendo campaigns. I have never written spurious accusations and "warnings" against someone behind their back. I've never blacklisted anyone nor impeded their course through fandom. AND I'VE NEVER EDITED ARBITRARILY!

Which is why I'm going to be Up Front with the following. Several of the Locs here contained comments on the Hartwick letter that went out separately. However, I decided not to print anything on that in the pages of S.C. Therefore, I have removed only those portions of their Locs and PUT THEM INTO A SEPARATE PACKET which any of you may have a copy of by requesting it.

Writers whose comments have been set aside are Debbie Hicks, Jude, Felicity and Alys. Several other commented in private letters under their own name. I gave them a pseud in the packet. One writer retracted her reply for fear of misperception. Still several others replied in "Not for Publication" Locs which will not be included.

Otherwise, I DO NOT EDIT. I especially do not edit arbitrarily or by "deletion". I WILL ask the Loc writer to reword a Loc IF I find one to be a personal attack. That decision has to remain with me, I'm afraid and I will not be capricious. But I certainly can't edit after the fact when you're all offended. Which is why the guidelines are pretty broad.

[Linda Terrell]:

NOT NECESSARILY THE EDITORIAL EDITORIAL

There has been a flurry of consternation about the "sudden" and "pervasive" influx of S&M/Rape stories in PROS fan lit. Some fans have made blanket accusations as to who writes this and why. Some have written to me, assuring me to assure you that they do not now nor have they ever partook, wrote, read, approved of and otherwise mutilated in fan lit. Number 1 - just where is this deluge of S&H/Rape? I've not seen much S&M/Rape in PROS lit. I have seen a lot of h/c - which IS a type of S&M, by the way. Of genuine "S&M/Rape", I can't recall reading more than maybe 10 and a few of them were tenuous. "Consequences" is the one most people point out. Well, it was here before I was and when I read it, I found it pretty damn tame compared to some.

Number 2 - Just what IS "S&M"? S with M infers at least two satisfied parties. I think we're bogged down in semantics here. What most of us are not "approving" of is without M and/or Sex and Bondage. But we must remember, what is one reader's idea of "S&M/Rape" maybe merely the writer's idea of "hard h/c". MY idea of S&M/Rape/Bondage is pretty hard-core. I find "Consequences" - so often pointed to as a culprit - to be merely moderate hurt/hurt.

Number 3 - So what if there is some S&M/Bondage/Rape in fan writing? Any writer worth their pulp should investigate all aspects of what they write. Just because someone may write an S&M doesn't mean they believe it. I don't think Robert Bloch ever hacked up anyone in a shower and I doubt Stephen King mixes up witches, vampires and bats in his attic.

Number 4 - who are *we* to be pointing a finger at what is "acceptable", weird, sick or perverted? Most of Mainstream Fandom thinks we ARE weird, sick and perverted. We take known TV visages and put them into homo-erotic situations. Therefore, who are we - who habituate and perpetuate what is seen by Mainstream Fandom as being "outlaw" - to point our finger at yet another sub-fandom and claim that *we* are a kinder, gentler, cleaner fandom than that outlaw fandom? That "we're not like that"?

Have you considered that many of the Mainstream Fans lump slash and S&M together and consider it all the same thing?

There are over 1000 stories and novels, etc. in the Circuit Library. How much of that is "S&M"? Frankly, before I ever got into PROS seriously, I'd read a bunch of PROS stories and found a lot of them to be "hard core" as far as I was concerned then. They certainly surpassed anything I'd read (or written) in BLAKES 7.

So, I'd like to madce "An Editorial Observation" that I think the Pot is calling the Kettle Black here. If there wasn't an audience for S&M/Rape", it wouldn't get written. And, as I'm so often told, if you don't like it, don't read it - and it'll die of attrition.

[Debra Hicks]:

One subject you brought up was the tendency to humiliate the characters, I think this ties in with the S&M question- I'm not sure the writers are thinking in terms of humiliation or S&M- It seems that a lot of the really rough stories are from the newer writers who are trying to do a hurt/comfort story and quiet simply get carried away. They haven't learned that sometimes 'off-screen' violence is more frightening than what you see in vivid detail.

This may sound like too simple an answer, and maybe it is. Does going over-board show an unconscious need to humiliate a character? Maybe. On the other hand, I'm firmly convinced that people try to read too many, way too many, unconscious, psychological motives into everything someone writes or reads.

[Debra Hicks]:

Where are all these rape and S&M stories everyone is aruging over? I've been a member of the Library for five years now and haven't read that many rape or S&M stories, escpecially not violence between the two partners. Have I just been lucky or are we just talking about a few that have gotten a lot of press?

I would like to say that as far as straight stories go, I haven't read that many that existed only to get our heroes into a bad straight relationship. The only zine that I can think of that really excelled at this was "Straight Shooting." Most of the other straight zines and stories that I've enjoyed have been mostly action/adventure with a lot of h/c and bonding. These would be BT, C&C, Small Print and Backtrack, to mention the zines anyway. Not enough room to mention the library stories.

[Debra Hicks]:

Thanks very much for the comments on my UNCLE stories and about writing original stuff. I use my name because I am happy with what I write and have no problem with people knowing what I write. As for writing original stuff, I must confess that I have considered it. The problem is - I am lazy. This is going to get me in a lot of trouble but I think most fan writers are lazy. If they weren't they would be writing their own stuff. At MediaWest I had someone tell me they didn't write original stuff because they cared more about the shows characters. This is a cop out. If you take the time and energy necessary to create your own world and characters you are going to care about them - a lot. But beyond being lazy most writers are probably like me, working a full time job and/or attending school. And if you have any other hobbies, forget it. You don't have the time it would take to develop, write, and market an original story. I also don't have the patience. I share a house with a full-time horror writer so I've seen what it takes to get a story sold; the waiting, the rejection, the time. No thanks. I'll keep writing part-time and enjoying it.

[Debra Hicks]:

Since you asked I'm going to give my answer on why I write slash. The last time I tried this the conversation took two and a half hours. This is going to be the condensed version. There are three main reasons but they are all very closely related, so they come in no particular order. I like the idea of two characters I care about loving each other enough to have sex. Since I don't believe there is anything abnormal or sinful in same-sex relationship, I have no problem writing them into this situation. For most of my writing though, as I mentioned in the last issue, I do want a reasonable place to start. Which brings us to my second reason - I like the challenge of getting two characters romantically involved. Having what I consider a valid reason means that there are some series I can't justify, Alien Nation, Lethal Weapon, and Quantum Leap being a few. But valid reasons can be gestures, innuendos, hugs, looks, lines, or cultural background. And finally, I like to write sex scenes! I admit it! And since there are very few female characters out there that mean as much to our heroes as each other the solution is obvious. I'm sure there are other slash writers out there who will be more than happy to give their reasons. As you said there are probably as many reasons for writing slash as there are writers.

[Cat Shannon]:

Okay, Florla, you wanna know what deep-seated psychological reason drives me to read and write slash? I honestly don't know, and I got real tired of trying to figure It out. I Just DO. I used to be as curious as anybody about the reasons for this, but nobody seems to have any solid answers and there are as many theories as there are fen. As far as I'm concerned slash Is far more than just a dirty story. Okay, Its often explicit sex. Its also the lure nf the forbidden and the risk they take to be together (forsaking all others?) and the price they'll have to pay In the end to stay together. Its heavy male bonding taken to extreme, its agony and ecstasy, comfort without the hurt, kissing and holding and hugging and fiercely passionate friendships. It's dying for each other, dying without each other, it's taking it all to the limit and risking the loss of everything but each other. Blood and brotherhood and bonding and hunger and need and the spice of danger. Mutual respect and trust and animal lust and LOVE, I suppose.... And before anyone says I can have most of that without sex, smarm drives me crazy. Its a tease. It dances around the edge of slash and never quite allows them to get right down to brass tacks. It twists the characters in other directions and claims feasibility on the grounds that there's no sex. ... Smarm lacks more than just sex, there Isn't that frisson of knowing that the pair are everything to each other, comrade, partner AND forbidden lover (or the eggs all In one basket syndrone. If you like). I freely admit I enjoy a good explicit romp on occasion, though as Stew pointed out, too much of any one thing leads to overload. Slash Isn't 'one thing' to me. It comes In many colours, from 300 page discussion of morals and motivations to short sweet 'rocks off porn....I like slash because the best of it is beautiful imagery, word pictures that stir the soul and luscious art to boot. It's not just a dirty story, Its a heavy commlttinent, a passionately bonded relationship between two equals, an ideal, or a struggle to attain that ideal by men with a myriad of faults and hang ups who love each other regardless. Excuse me If I wax lyrical, but you did ask.

By the by, I think pornography is a term generally acccepted to mean something offensive, rather than anything explicitly erotic.

[Cat Shannon]:

So, why fanflc? A story based on characters I already care about gives It more depth and moves me on a greater level than the cast of an original novel. I've read a bunch of gay male/male novels, looking for something that comprises all of the slash elements listed above, and while some of them have charm and/or good plots, I've yet to find many that are comparable with the best of slash fan fic. Very few of them, in my admittedly limited experience, have any explicit sex. Most even lack intensive smarm, and a lot are crowded with sweet boys and swish queens, neither of which interests me in the least. Maybe wanting characters I already know makes me a lazy reader/wrIter. But expanding on a familiar cast is what fandom is about. This is a part time hobby and I do it for fun. I'm not aspiring to write a thesis or compete in the professional writing field.

[Felicity M. P]:

"The Game" was first mentioned in the story 'Consequences', one of the earliest pieces of Professionals slash fiction written. Many writers have used the idea since. It certainly wasn't mentioned in any episode.

[Felicity M. P]:

You also say you do not dislike slash fiction, Floria Tosca. Yet your letter indicates that you regard much of Professionals fan fiction you have read as 'dirty stories', 'pornographic', 'obscene'. If you feel that this is so, then why continue to read it, because those descriptions suggest to me nothing other than the fact that you do not like what you are reading. Please don't give me the argiiment about 'intellectual curiosity'. In view of everything you have said, I find that very suspect.

On your point about fan fiction being not quite a legitimate undertaking since it is using someone else's hard work, by that analogy no one should ever use someone else's idea and build on it. To step out side the realm of writing for a moment, Wagner should never have written his Ring cycle. After all, he was taking existing mythology and altering events and characters to suit his own purpose. To return to fiction, what business does John Gardner have in writing. James Bond stories, since the character was Ian Fleming's creation. Coming right back to The Professionals, what were the writers of the episodes doing in adding bits of information about the characters? By your argument they should have adhered rigidly to Clemens's original guidelines. Nothing more, nothing less. (As a matter of interest, even Clemens didn't stick to the facts in his original guidelines.)

As for A/U, there's plenty of room in this world for a 'bastard stepchild' as you choose to call it. What is A/U anyway? The whole of slash fandom can be called A/U since the series never tells us that Bodie and Doyle are lovers. What about those stories where only one of the characters is in CI5, or events do not follow the order they do in the aired episodes? That's just as much A/U as far as I'm concerned as any historical/fantasy story. I notice that you say you enjoy read ing the Blakes 7 'Hellhound' series and that the characters are acceptable to you because 'Hellhound' is not A/U but 'non-canonical' . Pull the other one, it's got bells on. The bottom line of all fan fiction is enjoyment in the writing and reading. Whether or not it's 'Literature' or what reasons the writer had for writing the story are immaterial.

[Felicity M. P]:

Alyx, I have no idea whether you were in anyone's confidence or not, but I am in no one's confidence, and am perfectly aware that Jane and Kathy Keegan (and a variety of other pseudonyms) are the same person. A study of their language, phraseology, and writing styles told me that anyway. I don't understand why anyone should get het up about identifying two pseudonyms as being the same writer. Using more than one pen-name is common enough in the realm of published fiction.

[Felicity M. P]:

Like you, I would love Kate Nuernberg to write Mr. Doyle's Neighborhood as slash. I know perfectly well she won't, but it doesn't stop me from wanting it to be that way.

[Felicity M. P]:

Instead of people getting so hot under the collar about 'Consequences' , they should place it in its correct perspective. It was one of the very first B/D stories written, by two people who at the time knew little to nothing about the series and the characters and one of the writers certainly didn't like the series. That was about ten or eleven years ago. It was only natural that other people who read it should write sequels to it - quite a normal reaction to fan fiction and a starting place for many writers. But B/D fiction has moved on since then and I find it pointless to continue to get upset over a story that is interesting in the development of B/D fan fiction but bears no relation at all to the characters as most people see them.

[Jude]:

"Consequences", I don't see why the author actually bothered writing this story. If she didn't like The Professionals, I mean what was the point. Surely if you write fanfic its because you like the programme and characters.

[Susan Douglass]:

My view is that if it doesn't directly appear in one of the episodes, then it is "A/U." So just about 100% of fan writing is in some sort of A/U. I sometimes define stories which don't directly contradict the episodes as "alternate canon" to differentiate from those which do contain contradictory elenents i.e. anything from one of them being in CI5 and the other being an artist, a spy, etc to full-blown historical, hard SF or fantasy universes. But this is hair-splitting on my part. Essentially, all fan writing is A/U, in my opinion. This isn't to say that there is anything wrong with it. Instead this concept allows for a variation of views, depictions of characters, etc. When I take this view, I don't have to worry about whether a story fits into a strict, literal interpretation of "canon" or not. I will say "once more: if certain types of A/U's really bother you, DON'T READ THEM. But do realize that what may be drek to one person may be another person's masterpiece....

[snipped]

I also must say that I do not understand how a character's humiliation or degradation could ever be considered erotic. I am NOT saying that anyone here in SHORT CIRCUIT has ever stated a preference for this. But these types of stories are getting written, particularly in recent times. Soneone is getting off on these sorts of stories. Again, I believe in the First Amendment. But I also will use my own First Amendment rights to express my dismay with this.

[Floria Tosca]:

It was observed in the last issue of SC with respect to Bodie and Doyle that: "Based on their extreme lack of emotional commitment to women in the series, I'd suspect their sexual preferences even if I didn't want to see them as lovers." The author of the above statement then proceeds to quote from a work by some British fans the number of episodes of The Professionals which totally lack female involvement and pointing out the lack of depth in the female relationships that do exist. This annoyed me a great deal. I find it more than interesting that some slash fans point to the lack of intimate, well-developed relationships with women on the part of various action/adventure heroes as proof positive or suggestive that the guys in question are gay or bi and must needs be having a relation ship with each other. And why, pray tell, is the relationship always with each other? Most people don't sleep with their co-workers. Why not, I ask, with someone else? See earlier guesstimate about that. Leaving aside for the moment the fac*" that these are fictional characters from a non-stop action/adventure program wherein it is hardly possi ble to find time to draw breath let alone develop intimate relationships, I found the real-life assumption contained in the author's remark to be nonsensical. Does the writer mean to suggest that every man who lives his life without an Intimate relationship with a women is gay, repressed or otherwise, and that every man who has a relationship with a women is heterosexual? From my own admittedly not so vast experience I can tell you that you would be dead wrong, and I suspect that you know this already. It is offensive to me to speculate about the sexual preferences of someone, anyone, based on. such flimsy 'e- vidence'. It smacks of blatant stereotyping of the sort that is rampant in the real world and can be very hurtful to people. But really the structure of such action/adventure se ries as The Professionals more often than not dictates that family and personal relation ships outside of 'work' be left on the sidelines or off-stafe, or dealt with only in the most superficial fashion which is to me a sort of backhanded recognition that the structure is flawed and the characters could have and should have more depth. Bodie and Doyle don't have family or friends outside of work and those few 'haunts' from their past that do turn up are related to other jobs pre-CI5. They are other work colleagues. Moreover they are invariably male. Female relationships are left vague and undefined or are re solved in a way which leaves the 'boys' alone once more to do their real work in the world. The fact is that this series and others of its type are not putting forth anything re motely resembling the real world. At best, it is bits and pieces only. By this I mean that the situations/characters/storylines are not well-rounded, concentrating as they do on only one aspect of the characters' lives to the almost exclusive exclusion (for empha sis) of everything else. I realize, of course, that the subject matter of the Pros plots (without the extravagance of effort) have similarities to real-life circumstances and may, in fact, have been culled from the front pages of the news. There are special squads and groups set up which combat terrorism and organized crime of this or that ilk, but TV programs which center themselves on such things concentrate on the fantastic elements of situation which occur, leaving the mundane on the, sidelines. And the mundane includes, more often than not, family, friends, hobbies, sexual relationships which are explored in anything more than a perfunctory manner. The world of the Pros, like that of U.N.C.L.E., or Starsky and Hutch, are purely imaginary constructs in so far as the setting has been made as spare as it can be and, as being created for the most part by men, are, in my opinion, reflective of certain cherished male fantasies. This particular male fantasy world, as it appears to me, is peopled (I really should say manned) by macho he-men sorts engaged in various feats of daring-do. Women, where they exist at all, are mere cyphers...

[snipped]

The Pros is no different in this respect from dozens of similar series: Starsky and Hutch, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., etc. etc. These are male worlds: no women need apply. Even the old American staple, the western, is the same. The mythologizing of the west has made it a place filled only with white men and murderous women, although that is changing. It is a world bereft of women and blacks and Hispanics, not to mention children. From John Wayne to Lash LaRue, from film to T.V. to print media, women in the western are nothing more than secondary characters at best. But in almost all instances they aren't even that. Ben Cartwright and his three manly sons lived purely male lives on their ranch. Women, where they dared intrude into this wholly male world, had the great good sense to die or get on the first coach out of town. Victoria and Audra Barkley spent a good chunck of their time playing the damsel in distress. And in the Saturday matinee cowboy serial, the hero did his job, manfully, and then rode out of town on his horse. It wasn't that he never got the girl. It was that he didn't want the girl. I don't think it was because he was gay. The girl would cramp his style, put a serious crimp in his freedom, demand that he grow up and put away his childish toys (i.e. his lethal weapon of choice) and be a man. Women represent an unwelcome reality; they are the purveyors of the mundane in such a fantasy world as they are in real life. After all, [in Cagney and Lacey] Mary Beth Lacey went home and made the dinner and helped the kids with their homework after an exciting day spent chasing the bad guys who were, by the way, rarely the flamboyant types found in most action/adventure programs. Women don't like violence. They don't go to war (well, most of them didn't and don't) and they'd like to keep their men safe and sound at their side - where they can keep an eye on them. Women make, or would if they were allowed to rearrange things to'their own satisfaction, a safe world. Safe but not terribly excitting. Women are a drag on the male dream of danger and adventure. So this all too real aspect of life is excluded from the action/adventure series which has as its central theme adventure, action, danger. All the real relationships are therefore worked out between and among the men. Even a program such as Daniel Boone which was based, after all. on a real historical person, was fashioned in this way. Daniel's best friend was an Oxford- educated Indian and even old Cincinnatus, the shop-keeper, was a better developed character than Rebecca Boone who had been a real woman and one who adventured right alongside her famous husband and buried two sons killed by Indians as the family moved west. A woman's function in these fictional(ized) constructs Is to be background only or a casual sexual partner of the love 'em and leave'em variety. They are not to interfere with the male bonding pattern however it works itself out.

[much, much much snipped]

[Floria Tosca]:

And lastly. Last issue I roundly abused A/U. I think I was unnecessarily harsh in the way I worded my objections to it. I do not like what I understand to be A/U. That is the tranformation of whatever character into someone who is similar to the original, who has a name similar but not quite identical to the original in some different time period. I can see no purpose to the original, who lives and operates in some different time period. I can see no purpose in writing this sort of fan fiction. It is no original by any stretch of the imagination. That is how I feel, but in saying so I have the same sort of problem someone wrote about last i and who enjoy the same. I have the same sort of problem someone wrote about in the last issue with respect to S/M. I don't like purchasing a zine and seeing a good chunk o issue with respect to S/M if it taken up with A/U (or S/M for that matter), yet everyone in fandom has something he/she doesn't particularly care for and were the zines to be chopped up into little specialty publications, they'd hardly be worth the effort to put out.

[Gena Fisher]:

I like A/U stories but then again I guess slash is A/U. I would like to see Debra Hicks do a Pros/WOW/DM. That would be great, Ray, DM, and Harrison all tend to be on the same wavelength. And her Pros/WOW in...C&C (?) was wonderful. That's one of the main reasons I like Bodie so much - he reminds me of Ironhorse. Hey Debra, how 'bout a story where B&D have to accompany a British scientist to the Cottage. Harrison and Ironhorse would be very impressed with the two British agents and then are startled by their insistence that they share a bedroom. Ironhorse would be shocked but Blackwood would probably take it all in stride, I see him as free thinking also.

[Linda Terrell]:

Most (maybe even all) women have "rape fantasies" but I doubt they're about being beaten into submission then being sexually brutalized. Most "rape fantasies" really come under "seduction"; the eternal hjodice ripper where the [devastatingly handsome] hero throws the [terminally pretty virgin] heroine onto a velvet and satin covered bed with silk canopy in a gold and ivory bedroom in a mansion/palace/castle (fill in the space) and "takes her", to her breathless surprise, and delight. I've had a few of those fantasies myself.

[Linda Terrell]:

When I first dabbled at PROS fan lit, I couldn't "see" the slash aspect. But between the fan lit and the show itself, "it" just kind of agared. There are some delightful nuances of expression those two exchange. (Has anyone figured out the "why* of the exchange in SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS when Doyle leaves the car and Bodie goes on following Cowley, Bodie rolls down the window to say "I'll miss you" then as he turns and drives off, shouts back "Don't talk to any strange men!" All slash aspects aside, what the heck motivated that?). And I can ignore the "blatantly heterosexual" aspect because it's not uncommon for some gay men to hide behind a facade of womanizing; some of them marry and have children in order to remain "safe". In fact, a case could be made, using the aired canon, for Bodie, at least, being Bi.

[Alys]:

Floria, this is a '/' arena. Quit beating your head against a wall; it's painful to watch. I write fanfic because I have fun playing with other people's ideas, working on them, changing them and makinging them a bit different. I write slash because I cannot imagine a strong emotional supportive relationship that did not have a smidgen of physical attraction. I just don't see how it could exist.

[Alys]:

3.8.2.4.3.6 was being inflamatory as usual, I see. Actually, I thought she had a good point on the 'story warning labels', although I was initially adamantly against the idea. After all, it's only going to inform people about the possible contents of a story, not give away a plot ~ unless it's a death story of course. Still, you can't put on a warning like "Poorly fleshed-out story" or "Author incapable of forming coherent sentences". And that's the type of item that makes me want to toss a zine after the first few pages. I mean, can you see a flyer with "Two adequate first-time stories, three to-be-continueds, one poorly-written romance, one utterly vicious A/U, and a novella that falls apart at the climax. Plus lots and lots of barely decipherable art and repetative poetry." Besides, that's what reviews are for, right?

Issue 6

Short Circuit 6 was published in July 1991. It was published by Linda Terrell (USA).

Issue 7

Short Circuit 7 was published in October 1991. It was published by Linda Terrell (USA).

Issue 8

Short Circuit 8 was published in January 1992. It was published by Linda Terrell (USA).

Issue 9

Short Circuit 9 was published in April 1992. It was published by Linda Terrell (USA).

Issue 10

Short Circuit 10 was published in July 1992. It was published by Linda Terrell (USA).

Issue 11

Short Circuit 11 was published in December 1992 and contains 28 pages. It was published by Joanne Keating (Australia).

cover of issue #11, illo of Bodie and Doyle by SMC

It contains the story: Alley Cat by Stew.

Issue 11: Excerpts from Comments

[from the editor: Joanne Keating]:

Welcome to the first Australian issue of Short Circuit Because of time constraints this issue has been put out in a rather scrambling manner. Bear with me as I iron out the wrinkles over the next few issues. I have a wealth of editing experience, all with media fanzines, which will stand me in good stead, though this is my first go at producing a letter zine. I am probably crazy doing this - I certainly know Linda thinks I am probably crazy doing this -- I certainly know Linda thinks I am. But neither of us now has much choice in the matter. She can't have me committed to an asylum, since I was the only offer she had to take over this zine. Why she thinks I'm crazy is because Susan Clarke, my fannish partner, and I already produce about 10 media fanzines a year, and have been doing so for the past six or so years. Some of you will be aquamted with our general, adult, and slash zines, covering such fandoms as Blake's Seven, Star Trek, Simon and Simon (gen only), and fantasy, which are all agented in the United States by Bill Hupe. I have been producing BACKTRACK, a general Proffs zine for the past four years, and have just started (2 issues) producing DOWN UNDER EXPRESS, a slash Proffs zine, both agented by Gale Good in the United States. While Susan and I don't have much (any) spare time, we had both reached the stage where we needed a change from what we were doing (though without giving up any of the zines we currently produce). Susan is finally getting to produce a multi-media fanzine, a long-suppressed desire, and I have grabbed at Linda's timely offer to hand over Short Circuit.

I have made a long list of things I want to mention in this first editorial. They are in no strict order, so again bear with this. Some of this information will appear in every issue, so you won't be expected to memorise it. Firstly, and most importantly, because I do all my editing on an IBM mainframe computer (at work) I cannot accept letters or other submissions on PC disk. Sorry if this causes inconvenience but there is no getting around this hurdle. I would prefer all letters to be typed, especially if you know your hand-writing is impossible to read. I will definitely still accept hand-written letters, but I'll make no apologies for mis-interpretation if your writing is bad. If you can help me out by formatting your letters in the following way too, I may not even have to re-type them...

[snipped]

Proofread your letters for spelling, grammer, and generally just making sense. I will not return letters for corrections of spelling or grammer; I will also put in commas, apostrophes, etc, where they are needed to make sentences more readable. And make sure your letters make sense: if you've make a mistake (left words out or such), if I know what you are trying to say, I win type that in for you, but if I can't decipher what you mean, I will print it 'as is' and follow it with a '(sic)'. I sound harsh I know, but if you can't take the time to proof you letter for me, then I will not waste time or postage money trying to follow it up.

I would prefer letters to be kept to a reasonable length; say, four or five typed pages. I am not restricting letter sizes by any means, but I am thinking of my prospective RSI. I am also thinking of the other readers. Before you write a ten-page discourse on Doyle's buns, or Bodie's eyebrow, or Cowley's attitude to gay agents, consider whether the other subscribers have already read this same discourse in twenty other zines, in a hundred other letters and conversations, over the past ten years. Ask yourself if you are giving them something really new, or something really stimulating to read and comment on. Would you be bored by reading this same long letter if it had not been written by yourself? I am not trying to restrict your writing in any way but I am asking you to consider whether you need ten pages for what you want to say, and whether you are giving the other readers real value for those ten pages.

[snipped]

This is a wide-open forum for anything you wish to discuss about Proffs, straight or slash, fan fiction, or the fandom in general, or even fandom in general. It's our letterzine; we're all big kids and the resposibility for entertaining ourselves remains with ourselves. As long as I get letters and fiction, I will print them. Even if I only get one, Ill print it. If the number of letters starts to slack-off, I will ask you to please write some more, but I will not beg or threaten or cajole for them. There shouldn't be any need to. Most of the fans I know are only too happy to tell you their opinions on anything fannish (myself included) and it doesn't take much more effort to put it on paper and send it to me. If you are bored by what you're reading don't toss it into a corner and whinge. Get some paper and have a whinge in print... then suggest another topic ... if you know what bores you then you must know what doesn't bore you as well. To help you get going, I am introducing with this issue a TOTNI - Topic Of The Next Issue. A specific question or topic you can discuss in the following issue. This was an idea I first saw used in the old HATSTAND EXPRESS, and it was used to great effect for getting people thinking and writing. Feel free not only to discuss the topics, but also to send me suggestions for future ones. I already have several interesting ones lined up from correspondence over the past few yean, and I look forward to hearing yours as well I will not edit letters for anything more than the occasional spelling or grammer, as I have said before, so you will get letters just as they are submitted in 99% of cases. As with most letter zines, I will not knowingly publish letters or parts of letters that are unwarranted personal attacks or unnecessarily inflamatory. I have the final say on what is or what isn't, and beyond listening to reasonable arguments on why you want to print this, I make the final choice. If you send me such a letter, I will return it to you with suggested edits if there is time. If there is not time, I will make the choice of either not printing the whole letter, or of printing the letter minus the relevent section. If I take this second option I will print a short note with the letter to that effect.

[Sadie]:

I'm just a reader. I'm not a writer, nor an artist, though I appreciate both. I love well-written stories and decent art, but with beginners who are mediocre, I realise it's not an easy job to get it right. I give them an A+ for trying, and I hope readers encourage them, rather than criticize their efforts.

My personal fave type of stories are long ones, stories with sequels, and series. When I like the author's universe, I want more. - Light fluff, heavy schmulz, plenty of hot sex (whether the romantic sort or some bondage/discipline is line), or just heavy duty relationship oriented... I love it. Fave themes are unrequited love, jealousy, and how they handle their relationship on the job, or IF it can exist while on the job.

All types of interpretations and variations on the relationship are great by me. I view each author's story as a different expression of how she views the characters, so I don't have any requirements on basic characterisation, other than it be as realistic as possible according to the water's skill. What bothers me is when the author makes the characters too soppy. But then, when this happens, I tend to think the writer doesn't know the characters well, or hasn't watched much of the series. By soppy, I mean that Bodie or Doyle cries too often. The romance aspect can be overdone too, but I don't mind that It's the too much tears that bothers me.

The only theme I don't like is h/c. The comments about it in the last issue were interesting. But since 1973, when I started out in Trek fandom with the K & S relationship, what constituted a h/c story, was'the type I read in the fanzine Contact. They were one-track-minded, one-themed, or rather, one way directed, towards purposefully sacrificing characterization, plot, or storyline, and realism, to display physical hurt. Physical pain that would induce the duo to express their true feelings, that otherwise would remain unsaid or physically unexpressed.

In my opinion, butt and comfort is fine if it is in relation to a scene, or in context to the relationship explored in a story. But to base it on manipulating plot, theme, and characterization, is poor writing. The worst of it is when it is ultra soppy... the boo hoos. When I come across this type of story, I just hope the writer will grow out of it and develop into a better writer.

As far as favorite stories go, my list constantly changes. But to give a fair shake, there are hardly any I dislike intensely, except for mutliation stories. Can't seem to get past that. (Such as the series where Doyle is missing his tongue.)

[Sadie]:

Wecome, Barbara, to Pro's fandom. It's such a relaxed fandom. People do not hassle each other over opinions or argue much like in other fandoms. Anyone starts anything, and they are bound to be ignored. In Trek fandom, I remember the fight between straight vs slash; in Star Wars, it was the Ford admirers hating Luke Skywalker. And in B7, it was actor worship. I admire the actors, but they have little to do with liking the show. Nope. Actors don't matter one bit in this fandom. And there is so much fiction! So much relationship — slash fiction! And we have the circuit too. It's just the best.

[Sadie]: Just got done reading the new additional book to The Hunting (It's the 5th installment I can't remember its name.) Excellent background and characterization. I find this elfland and its inhabitants charming and fascinating. Jane could actually change the characters to be her own and have it all published in a professional fantasy series. I also read Whisper Of A Kill, which disappointed me no end. Too short and abrupt an ending, and a lot of loose ends left hanging. I wonder what others thought? It was so well written that it was probably more disappointing than if it had been written poorly.

I really LOVE the circuit I hope more people write for it — not just for zines. It's really faster and a lot of fun. I also think, more writers and their publishers should use it to circulate their stories that are unavailable in sold-out zines. And I hope after a period of time, the authors who have stories published in multi-zines put their stories on the circuit. Sharing is what fandom is all about. I don't collect multi-zines, I strictly collect Pro and some Jap Anime zines. (And circuit - passed around stories on Pro, Han/Luke, and an occasional S/H, B7 - B/A, WOW, I/N, or other slash fandom story.) The only multi-zines I own are due to B/D art or a great Eroica story, and maybe a Tris/Alex story. They are few and far between.

[Sadie]:

In issue 8 there was someone who mentioned sequels ... that one should obtain permission from the original author. I agree when discussing fanzines because fanzines are amateur writing productions and should observe some of the same guidelines as book publications. It's only proper etiquette. (Legalities are another matter altogether.) But I disagree totally concerning the circuit. The circuit is an informal type of setting with no basis in formal publication. There are no copyrights involved. (The only exceptions are previously published stories that are no longer available because the fanzines they were in are sold out. They still maintain their copyright.)

The circuit's main purpose is for original writing, free expression without any hindrance or censorship. Shared but not critiqued. It is pure imagined continuance of someone else's theme or storyline or plot. Everyone can try someone else's story to build, change and develop into their own version ... their own expressed fantasy. That's why the circuit's so special. It is an exciting place for exploration. And I think our particular fandom on the Professionals is VERY lucky.

How do you writers feel about it? Do you support it occasionally?

[Sadie]:

I like to see that front stripped down to reveal the real person 'under the skin'. The top man is the more direct and honest type, even though he hides well his true feelings behind a mask of indifference. The bottom may do this as well, but the top never bides the truth from himself. His physical touch is the communication factor ... and the giving rather than the receiving is most important. The bottom needs to let go of the self restraints he keeps himself under. Perhaps an internal conflict of some sort (due to a betrayal in trust, insecure self image, etc) keeps his true feelings masked. But whatever the cause of his self-control, he is able to totally relax, while being made love to, and feels protected enough by the top to trust The top enables him to express his true emotions.

In the end they both get what theu truly desire. And what is that? Liberating sex, trust and affection ... and the feeling of belonging. Of obtaining the the kind of love in a relationship they both truly desire. Commitment in sharing everything that life has to offer. Or just a good night in bed? Depends on where the story is going. This works for me, whether in a romantic sensual or hot sexy situation, or in a heated spicy scene of Bondage & Discipline, or light S/M.

Now I want to discuss how I view the differences between fantasy rape and S/M. For me, there is a strong difference between rape and S/M, because, although both have to do with power structures or roles being broken down or tamed, rape is not a consensual act. Worst of all, the fear of brutality towards the victim makes me feel extremely uncomfortable — especially in the case of partner rape, because trust between them is broken, and the physical violation leaves the protection instinct behind.

S/M is controlled violence, where and when it is truly desired. There has to be mutual trust and protection involved or it is not a true S/M relationship. But I must add, that occasionally, a rape satory can be really .well done, with great psychological insight.

'Snowbound', with the three or four parts (not the alternate, but the rape chapters) was excellent, in that it showed the raped and the rapist can both be victims of their own emotions to the end. It was a realistic portrait of two men emotionally dysfunctional. But both are happy in the end so who's to judge if it's a detrimental relationship or not?

Well, let me get on with it.

I agree with Debra Hicks and the panel at MediaWest*Con - I prefer reading slash in a new fandom rather than straight. Slash is directly involved with the characters, their emotions and personalities. It's about having a 'turn on' with sex. Hard core, light core ... but good raunchy sex. And of course, romance! But straight... I have to like the premise, the storyline, etc. Or at least the characters! Slash doesn't have to be read for the story itself. That's the difference for me.

I love those raunchy bodice-rippers! (Well, some are just plain mushy and sentimental.) But I don't read slash Pro's for the show itself, but for the characters. I watch the show for plot and theme. But slash I read primarily for the emotional payoff. I love psychological insight, I love the romance, I love the 'live wire' tension in their relationship, I love the hot sex.

[Sadie]: My favorite stories usually are CI5 ones because it's so interesting to read how they interact with the job and side characters (and the boss). But it doesn't have to be CI5 for me to enjoy it.

Each to their own opinion, not only to what is enjoyable or not, but what is considered good writing. But I must agree with you on what constitutes a Professionals story. I consider most of what I read as Bodie and Doyle... not as the Professionals. And about those alternates, I simply view the SF and Historicals as future and past incarnations. Fanatasy of course is completely out of realm. But I have no problem with Doyle being an elf or Bodie as a centaur. If something's well written... I'll like it. And even if not well-written I may like the emotions expressed, or simply the idea. I read everything once. If it bores me, I put it aside. Truly, only a few subjects offend me.

I happen to adore Master Of The Revels, although I agree it could have used some editing. But hey, I DONT want it to be too professional-like ... this is fan writing. What a mundane reader may like or thinks makes a good piece of lit., isn't what I want to read.

[Sadie]: Stew: Bodie's Luck sounds great! I hope to get it soon from the circuit. I WANT to read this story! I don't collect mixed media zines (can't afford any more than the Pro's zines), but I read a friend's copy of Homosapien. Very enjoyable. Your writing is WONDERFUL, I really like your different writing styles. Enjoyed the stories written from a first person viewpoint. The humour, storylines, and characterization are terrific. Plus, you seem to capture their teasing and humour somewhat realistically. Keep up the great work.

I found Exit to Eden a cop-out. The female character started out as a strong female, then got wishy washy. Felt wrong somehow. But I loved the trilogy of Sleeping Beauty. I would love someone to do a takeoff of it with The Claiming of Ray Doyle. I like kinky. After all, sexual fantasy is sexual fantasy! I thought Glasgow's S/M trilogy was terrific (In 3 Pound Note II), but it's not my type of fiction for pure lust. Too much of the hard stuff. Anyway I prefer Bodie as top and Doyle as bottom. Just preference! Anyhow, your Aids story was interesting. I'm not very keen on Aids being included in my 'fantasy' B/D, But once in a while I don't mind, I haven't liked any with death of B or D though. Where else are your stories? Where can I look for them? Any others on the circuit?

[Debbie Hicks]:

I have to disagree that you cant have angst without slash. This theory is too similar to the one that is "one good fuck can make it all beter." Neither one is right and a good story of either persuasion doesnt fall into that trap. The stories where you see this trap most often fallen into is the rape story where all Bodie has to do to make it all better is take Doyle to bed. No way. Emotional/physical trauma takes a long time to get over, and sometimes hugs and long talks are the answer. Or at least a good start. Also, even though we write it that way, not all great friendships lead to sex.

[Debbie Hicks]:

As much as I love Kate, don't you think "blew Suzie Lovett out of the water" [at MediaWest*Con to be a bit strong? Suzi was nominated and won for best artist in B7, UNCLE and Pros. Nominated for three, won three. Doesn't that make for a perfect score? If this is getting blown out of the water, I want to meet her swimming coach.

[Debbie Hicks]: Ah, now, I really must speak up, being an old "American partner team" fan. First of all, Pros was not the first show to use the ploy of showing the bullets hitting the dish, S&H used it, hell, Alias Smith and Jones used it. A lot of shows have shown some kind of first aid being given, S&H again (Shooting) and even Hawaii 5-0. Where the shows tend to differ is the waiting period, what happens after the first aid and before the ambulance, helicopter, doctor's buggy gets there? We never see what Bodie did while waiting for the ambulance. Did he just sit in the car? That doesn't seem likely. If the partner's done all he can, why not hand hold? And if you ask any paramedic, they will tell you that talking to an injured person, letting them know someone is there, can make a big difference. As for Bodie leaving the ER and bringing Mayli in, big deal, Hutch did the same thing in the episode "Sweet Revenge."

As much as I love Pros, and as much as I consider "Discovered" one of my favourite episodes, I don't see that there is that much new ground being plowed. Pros is a tough gritty series, and more bloody but it really did not venture far away from previously established plotlines. Also, consider the difference in TV in general between say 1970 and 1980. The increased violence in most series may surprise you. To prove this point I offer the following example: my significant other, who loathes cop shows, sat down with me one night as I was first watching Pros on satellite off Canadian TV. The episode was "Jungle." After five minutes he proceeded to tell me the plot and ending. He was right on every count. He then made a rude comment about my taste and I kicked him out. But he was right, it is just another cop show.

[Debbie Hicks]: To Jane and Linda on "Loving." This story appeared in the zine "Teo Torriate" published in 1986. It was edited by [Sharon F]. This was one of the first Pros zines I bought and it is very good, even with "Loving." There were several excellent stories and some very good poetry. That year at Z Con, it was voted best zine and contained the story that won best story. Like both of you though, I was outraged over "Loving." Unlike you, Jane, I didn't think it was that good a story even without the ending. It is MUCH too long, even for a death story. The beginning is a real grabber, with Bodie's death but then Doyle just goes on and on and on and on, to the point where I was skipping huge sections of the story. It could have made its point in about half the pages. "Dorothy, Dorothy, honey, wake up."

[April P]: I know what media-fandom is. It is a free exchange of ideas, presented without bias, by people united by their love of the show. It is not a private-preserve, in which a few self-appointed "authorities" impose their "wisdom" on anyone with the temerity to question or disagree.

Fanhood is predicated solely on the love of the source. As for the variety and clash of opinions, it's simply a matter of agreeing to disagree. There's the old joke: "Ask any three fans for an opinion, and you'll get twelve different answers". There's no such thing as a single "correct" interpretation.. Fandom isn't that small. Is it?

For instance, the seemingly-endless debate over Straight vs. Slash: "Only Straight is valid, and you should only read or write that"; "Only Slash is valid, and you should only read or write that". I propose a simple solution. If you like Straight, or Slash, or whatever category you've thrown a story into, read it. If you don't; don't. Though such forms of personal censorship, as in "I don't read this"; "I don't print that", would seem to reduce one's chances of coming across a good story; and they're rare enough. My only criteria for a story are that it be well-written, (which means it's obviously been through a few "drafts"), and that it support its premise. And I've found that some of the strangest- sounding premises sometimes make for the best stories. It's all in the handling. No reader can "predict" whether or not she'll like a story. Making it good, and true to itself, is the writer's job; and it is. a job, it's work, not a fit of first-draft self- indulgence. Labeling a story Straight, Slash, AU, Historical, etc., does not guarantee that it will be a good story. Lord knows, I've read some truly horrifying examples of each "type".

[April P]: Since I've brought up that nasty word "censorship", allow me to regale you with my first "experience" of this fandom. I'd finished two stories to my satisfaction, (I don't write to deadlines - don't know how anyone familiar with the creative process can expect it), and submitted them to the "editor" of a zine that's published on a regular basis. It was ego, pure and simple; I'd slaved over these things through several drafts, making them the best I knew how, and I wanted to see them in print. I also suffered from the quaint, old-fashioned notion that editors read their submissions, and were capable of offering critiques.

Mistake. Major mistake.

After a four-month wait, an extremely brief letter came back, via my second SASE. (Wonder what she did with my first?) In it, this "editor" admitted that she'd (quote) "love to" publish the Straight piece, provided I changed the title. She didn't feel it appropriate that a humorous piece have a humorous title, even though she didn't get the joke. And, she'd had so much trouble with the punctuation (punctuation 1) of the Slash piece, she admitted in a second letter, she couldn't even bring herself to read it! She said, (I have the confession in black and white), that she'd read only the first ten of what was then a forty-eight page story before throwing it away!

Lucky for me I wasn't "neo" enough to send her my only copy, huh?

Have to admit, that kind of treatment was certainly "different" frcm any I'd encountered In other fandoms. I mean, most zines cry for submissions* but this woman was so busy with the "ten to twelve flooding her mailbox each week" (another quote) to bother with actually reading, much less writing letters.

I'd learned back in college that it was part of an editor's job to read the submissions! how else does one determine if a story is worth "re-working"? It's called "reading for content".

End of association, as far as I was concerned. No writer who's labored over a work likes to learn it was "dismissed" unread. There were a few more exchanges, each more removed from the point, in which this "editor" cited many "sources", but never answered a question.

Finally she sent me a post-card, on which she accused me of being a pre-pubescent fraud, and warning that any mail bearing my return-address would be sent back unopened.

That's right, folks; she threatened me.

So, I sent her a post-card, to which was taped a photocopy of my driver's lisence, which shows my date of birth; and washed my hands of her. I will not deal with her again. Her loss. And, judging from the way the zine's rapidly going down-hill, everyone's loss.

[April P]: In Slash stories. Doyle is the femme to Bodie's butch. And they never work, having lots of free time on their hands; nor is any consideration given to the demands and dangers of their jobs. They just fuck and in some of the strangest places. (Elevators? Closets? Have these writers no conception of the idea of "comfortable", or "hygienic"?) And saliva is a sufficient lubricant for anal-intercourse, and a man's finger - perhaps three-and-a-half inches long - can stroke a can's prostate, which lies eight inches from his anus. Yeah. Right.

[snipped]

Second, the concept of "butch-and-femme" is a trite, out-dated, and disgustingly sexist stereotype; which renders the characters utterly flat. The Bodie and Doyle of the series are intelligent, imaginative, passionate, and totally disparate individuals; and any "relationship" between them would be at least as interesting as they are! And, where did this need to "feminize" Doyle come from? Is it the curls?

[April P]: I have a theory guaranteed to offend/ that the worst Slash is vritten by virgins: people who don't have a clue, and obviously don't want one as to how a man's mind and body actually workl How else is one to account for the number of physical impossibilities described, or the loving attention given to excessive and pointless violence?

[April P]:

Does making The Lads gay, and more "likeable", somehow neutralize them, make them less of a threat? I personally, enjoy the threat, the tang of danger. And is putting them through unspeakable tortures some sort of vengeance-thing?

If these people were attracted to the characters in the series, why do they then go out of their way to change them so radically from the source? Messers Collins and Shaw crafted Bodie and Doyle to be who they are, who they have to be, in order to follow their line-of-work. They are not "nice" people; they do not do "nice" things. Why turn them into mush-brained adolescents, if you can't "relate" to them as given?

Fan-writing is a lot like playing stud-poker. You play what you're dealt; you don't change the rules because you don't like your hand.

[April P]:

Which brings me to a major gripe I have with the fen who insist that the Slash-element of The Lad's "relationship" is somehow hinted at in, or proven by, the episodes. No, it's not. IT'S NOT THERE! I've seen the episodes, including the much-touted "Hunter, Hunted", and any hint of Slash is NOT THERE. Trust me, as someone who's real fast on picking up on any sign of that "sort of thing". (A self-defense mechanism, bred of twenty-five years in community theater, which contains a high percentage of gays, some of whom are still in-the-closet, and on the look-out for an eligible female to use as a front.) On the show. The Lads are absolutely straight-arrow! The Slash interpretation might be an interesting premise to write to, provided it results in a story with a plot; but it is in NO WAY supported by the episodes!

I wonder at the reality-quotient of people who believe that the only way two human beings can be friends or work well together, is if they are also loversl Such a simplistic interpretation indicates an extremely strange understanding of the nature of human sexuality. I've been lucky enough to work "closely" with a number of excellent men; and I'd be grossly insulted to learn that anyone interpreted our working-relationship as an indication that I was also bedding him! Such an observation is more insulting to the man, by the way; implying he's too weak-minded to relate to anyone except sexually.

[Stew]:

BOY did Mel and Danny Glover ham it up together [in Lethal Weapon]. I adored every minute of it, though I suspect I shouldn't. I guess it's ideologically sound because the message was that it's OK for these tough action men to have a very deep-felt love for each other, to have a sentimental friendship, and to camp it up together - though the later point is devalued by the fact that it's accepted (wthin the movie) that they would NEVER actualy have sex together. From this slash fen's point of view, however, they were just cut out for a slash story. Pity the only ones I've read have been very mushy PWPs - and the mushiness, while I agree they have a sentimental friendship, doesn't seem right for a sexual relationship between them. Does anyone know of where I can get a hold of any particularly good Lethal Weapon slash? I'm hungry for it. In fact, there were plenty of other plotlines in the movie that would support a good slash relationship. I might have to write one myself.

[Lori B]: Re [h/c]; does it lead to /? - I would say that it necessarily leads to emotional involvement, but doesn't need to become physical. But a good emotional story is better than a superficial physical one any day, in my books.

A flaw in h/c stories that ruins the story for me is when the plot's time-line is too rapid. When someone is truly hurting, he's folded in on himself. Sex, which requires a basic level of interest in someone else, is probably not on his mind at that time. The comforter, by either pulling him out of hurting or getting there in (sic) with him, attracts his attention bv helping lessen the hurt or solve the problem. This frees him to feel gratitude and/or interest The contribution is important, and should take some time and effort I always feel cheated by stories in which the comfortee is more distracted by the comforter's wandering by being available than comforted in any way. The hurt is ignored without being acknowledged or dealt with.

I guess this is a long-winded whine that just repeats my initial comment; the emotional story is more important to me than the physical one. (But when the physical takes place in spite of broken bones or pools of blood, I am truly unable to suspend disbelief.)

[Anonymous2]:

Got Textual Poachers — and you're right, he got everything right. I read it and say, "Yeah. Yeah! YEAH!" What a change from David Gerrold and Richard Pini paternally explaining why the "K/S ladies" write such perverted trash (Pini used the term "inappropriate fan fiction"; there's a correct way to be a fan writer??) about their heroes ... And as a filker, I found the chapter on Filk right on target — it postulated stuff I'd never thought of, and it felt right! Wonderful book to read — even if there are times when he lays on the scholarly jargon and buzz words a bit too thickly for comprehension ("Recontextualization"? Gimme a break ...)

[Anonymous2]:

Got my hands on a copy of the Jenkins book, Textual Poachers. (Hot off the presses - one of the advantages to having academic connections!) I found it much better (more accurate and intelligent) than the Bacon-Smith book, though a bit drier. As you might expect from a man, there's more information and less blatant emotionalism. (And he actually mentions in the book that Tarrant's popularity has increased of late! Gee, we Tarrant fen have really hit the big time!) His treatment of slash is reasonable and different. Rather than obsess on why it turns women on, he merely analyzes it as literature. He actually appreciates it as well-written fiction — even though he apparently doesn't find it sexually titillating. (Rather like his conjecture that B7 slash is the dystopian side of the fan romance coin, with K/S, S/H, B/D, etc., as the Utopian side.) There's also a chapter on music videos that's pretty cooL It was interesting to read his analyses of familiar, well-loved videos. (Though I don't agree with his premise that MTV videos have nothing to do with fannish ones.)

Issue 11: Reactions and Reviews

In SO #11 Stew had a wry short story "Alley Cat," which takes place after "Look After Annie." Bodie invites Cowley for a Scotch after work. After Cowley remarks on how little romance there's been in his life, Bodie says "Now what I used to like is back when it was all men.... furtive grabs in the dark when they got desperate - that was exciting - then afterwards pretending that it never happened was hilarious." B unexpectedly follows C home for a hall way encounter. [14]

Issue 12

Short Circuit 12 was published in April 1993. It was published by Joanne Keating (Australia).

The TOTNI is "Do you have a favourite and least favourite episode, and why? What are some of your favourite scenes? And going on from there, which episodes do you think best indicates a slash relationship."

Issue 13

Short Circuit 13 was published July 1993 and contains 28 pages. It was published by Joanne Keating (Australia).

cover of issue #13, illo by SMC

The TOTNI: Who in your family knows about your interest in slash? What was the first hatstand you read?

It contains the story: Foiled Again by HG (also in HG Collected #1).

Issue 13: Excerpts from Comments

[the editor]: Short Circuit is an amateur production, non-profit in nature, and is not intended to infringe on copyrights held by London Weekend Television, Mark 1 Productions, Brian Clemens, or other holders of 'Professionals' copyrights. This letterzine may be copied for wider distribution but, only letters and submissions from subscribers will be printed in it. Once-off guest letters will also be printed; after that, if you want your letters printed in it you must take out a subscription. This letterzine contains slash and general material.
[the editor]:

The con was a lot of fun despite the hard work, all the fans were friendly (well, those we met were), the hotel excelled themselves (except for a couple of strange little quirks like our lipsticks being stolen from our bathbags - one each day for three days. Hey guys, thanks for leaving us with one between both of us. Luckily it was one we could both wear). But they made up for it with their service. Those extremely cheap and beautiful buffets they rolled out for breakfast and lunch were to kill for!

There are many other things about the con that I just have to talk about. The most frightening thing was being one of the front tables when they opened the doors at noon on Friday. Seeing the wave of fans rushing at you was like a religious experience ("Oh God, don't let me be killed!" with ALL due respect to the Lord). It was like a feeding frenzy for the next hour at least. We had a hard time trying to keep up. This leads me to the biggest shock I got for the whole convention. Days later, when we finally had time to balance our figures, not one zine was stolen from the table in the whole four days. People grabbed what they wanted then went and lined up to pay us! I couldn't get over this! If the same feeding frenzy had taken place at ANY Australian or New Zealand convention, more than half the merchandise would have been stolen from the table in the process. I AM speaking from personal experience - every single time we had a table at an Aussie convention things got stolen. The worst time was at a really slow con... we had more zines stolen than we actually sold there.

Another daunting aspect of the con was when people bought your zines on the Friday (or the Saturday) and came back the next day and told you what they thought of them!! This has never happened to me before! - luckily all the comments were good — but it still left me with this strange, almost trapped feeling! That's putting it very badly but the experience was unnerving! Talking about unnerving, that description definitely fitted the size of the dealers' room! At most Aussie cons you're lucky to have 10 tables (the cost of tables is very high, $40 - $50 each for 2 days, and Aussie fans don't kill you in the rush to buy, so you may not even make the cost of the table and rego back at a slow con); here there were about 70 tables (not to mention a waiting list as long as your arm) as well as all the people who dealt only out of their rooms. It took me 2 days to work up the courage to explore the dealers room with my purse in my hand.

I want to say a very big thank you to Bill Hupe and Gale Good before I go any further. Both of them gave us so much friendly help, guidance and moral support while we stayed in America, and their friendly faces and loads of help at the convention made it such a great experience that we are rushing to do it again next year. Thank you, very, very, much.
[editor]: Since correspondence is already starting to build up in my filing cabinet, I have decided to not keep any letters and such for longer than 6 months from the date I receive it. Theoretically, that should give anyone with any queries or complaints two issues' worth of time to follow it up. If it takes longer than 6 months to get around to following something up then it must not have been very important. Otherwise I'm going to be buried under all the paperwork.

[Shayne M]:

Your topics of discussion are good memory stirrers. I sat at the kitchen table over a cup of tea for about ten minutes trying to remember the first slash story I ever read. I do know I was a very late starter, and awful naive because it was while I was working at the original Galaxy Bookshop that I saw my first slash zine. A friend brought in a US Trek slash zine to show me and I was so embarrassed! I mean, Spock was so—large...umm, well built.

Anyhow, you know what I mean. So, I must have been in my late 20s before I even realised slash existed. I suppose the first slash I read must have been something Trek. And as for the first Proffs, well that would have been courtesy of [Brenda]. Brenda had a considerable collection (still does have) and she gave me a couple to read, including the wonderful MASQUERADE and TETHERED GOATS AND TIGERS, the stories I tend to yardstick with. The story I remember most clearly was the first piece of fan fiction to ever bring tears to my eyes, the beautiful ENDGAME. To me, this is the clearest example of how it is possible to write fan fiction that is also a completely adequate and elegant piece of literature.

[Shayne M]:

My family are aware of fan fiction and peripherally aware of slash fiction, but their concern with it is virtually non-existant. If I bothered to tell any of them I read homosexual fiction based around characters from a TV series they would think it a bit odd, but that's about all. I have always had unusual interests and they're all used to my being different, so it wouldn't bother most of them. My mother, who is amazingly liberal, would probably think it was something sexual, possibly an outlet for active hormones. And maybe it is.

I have met amazingly few people who actively hate slash fiction - a very well known US Trek fan is one woman who sees it to be some sort of sick interest, but this sort of reaction seems in the minority. I'm a firm believer in the old adage of it's okay as long as you don't do it in the street and scare the horses. And yes, let's keep the kids out of slash fiction. That rolls very close to the edge of tastelessness.

[H G]:

As for the one-sided women in fandom, look to the series. It's usually bimbo-of-the-week time, with echoes of the 'Captain, I'm frightened' syndrome. Also, as a writer of mainly slash fiction I have to admit my interest in those ladies is minimal. That said, I've read some great fiction with strong, believable female characters, like 'Heart Of The Lion'; but am I the only one who gets depressed by how competent these ladies are, whatever their traumas? You can't imagine any of them running out of Tampex.

[H G]:

I know sequels were written to 'Lest These Dark Days' etc, which appeared in a circuit zine for contributors and which was, I believe, to be shared around. But quite how far it's got I don't know yet - I'll try and find out.

[H G]:

On a general note, I'm glad to hear letters are now going to be edited to avoid personal attacks. My view is that anyone is entitled to write what fiction they like, think what they like about the characters in a series and the actors who portray them, and take fandom as seriously or as flippantly as they like. I don't understand the mentality that makes a personal attack on another fan in print for any reason. OK, there are plenty of naff stories around, on topics we don't all like, and it's a bummer if you paid good money for the stories or the zine. Stop reading it; give it away or sell it and warn friends in private; then get on with enjoying the good stuff. And if you can't find any you like, have a go at writing some.
[Agent 6.4]:

TOTNl (a): All my family, and all my long-time friends know I am into science fiction in a big way, but for many years only my younger sister knew there was such a thing as slash and that I was into it. More recently my mother got to help out with collating one of our fanzines and it happened to be an adult and slash B7 zine so I broke that to her gently (not hesitantly, I'm too old to apologise for my choices any more) just in case she started reading a page in an interesting spot. I wasn't worried about getting a lecture, and because I treated it in an casual way so did she. Since then she has taken a very slightly higher interest in the adult zines — only because we occasionally have to leave half-collated piles of them around the lounge/dining room — she definitely needed to know so she could head off any of her visitors who may have gotten curious and gone to pick one up. Apart from that necessary information her interest in zines and science fiction is non-existant My long-time boyfriend came from fandom so he knows all about it Since it doesn't interfere with our personal relationship, and he enjoys helping out with ALL aspects of the zines, including story suggestions (sometimes his detachment to the subject matter leaves us in fits of horrified laughter), it's a very amicable arrangement If be wasn't from fandom then I wouldn't let him know about my interest in slash. Having been there and done that already, I know the discomfort and disorder that causes to people who not only aren't into science fiction but would baulk at their girlfriend having an interest in something that was nothing short of pornography. It really IS cruel to do that to someone if you don't have to.

[Agent 6.4]: TOTNI(b): The first B/D hatstand I read was in the old Australian slash zine, MAGNETISM. There was a story in it about UFO, which I just loved (despite the sad ending). I liked it so much I decided to read the only other story in the zine by the same author, even though I was not a Proffs fan at all. I really liked this story too, and I liked the characters despite not knowing them from Adam before I started the story. I then read the other Proffs story in the zine ... then I rang [Brenda] (a lovely lady, with a very very large video and hatstand collection) and said I was now ready to be taken into Proffs fandom (she had been trying to interest me in it for at least 6 months but I didn't want to collect yet another fandom on top of those I already had). Those two stories do hold a good place in my heart obviously. They got me into this fandom, which has since been at the top of my list, and they were well-written stories into the bargain.

[Sadie]:

Slash: My mom learned of my interest in it early on when I was into K/S. She never expressed what she thought about it, except to say she used to work vnth a few lesbians in her workplace; she felt it was unnatural. I let her know that I disagreed with her opinion, that I had friends who are gay, and that we're all bisexual potentially anyway. We only choose heterosexuality due to society's pressures. I'll probably never know if my opinion influenced hers or not, but it was worth a try. I'm not married so I don't have a problem of explaining it to a life partner. Then again, I would most likely be open about it since I consider myself a feminist, and pro gay rights.

[Sadie]:

I think I mentioned in a previous letter, the first short stories I read. My first long novel was INJURED INNOCENTS. Loved it. And still do to this day. My favourite part is the boat trip. Every time I glance at the photograph of Martin and Lewis that was taken on a boat, it reminds me of that trip; it's their honeymoon of course! Anyway, it's won derful witii the relationship... all that angst, romance, action, and humour. Lot's of C15 situations, family backgound, fliture expectations... and more!

[Ellis W]:

Thought your remarks concerning the negative portrayal of women was right on the mark. Most of us—in the reading or writing of don't want to acknowledge women as sexual competition. Women can, however, make very interesting characters without threatening the relationship -- budding relationship — of our heroes. Dr. Ross is often dismissed because of Cowley's attitude toward her; he didn't much like her presumptuous attitude, nor her know-it-all air. Understandable. Also understandable was that he would listen when she had a point to make, though his inclination was clearly to ignore her out of hand. She was one of the most enjoyable characters for me because of her intelligence, outspokenness, and strength of will. Another is the wonderful Elizabeth Walsh (SPY PROBE). HG has suggested elsewhere that Miss Walsh could have run CI5far more efficiently: Very likely!

[Ellis W]:

TOTNI: My Immediate family (husband and grown, at-home son) are fully cognizant of my fannlsh Interests. At first both were more than a trifle bemused; In fact, at one point, my son (then 19) wondered if slash were a way of "getting back at" men. I have no real answer for them regarding the appeal of slash—not surprising, given that most of us IN fandom haven't got a lucid answer as to why we enjoy it..

My interest in slash has never caused a serious problem, though my husband was a bit wary when I started asking questions about how men perceive other men. I suspect he is much more tolerant of my hobby than I might be if he were consumed with an equal and opposite preoccupation (female slash, say), to the extent of forming a whole new (and extensive!) ring of friends and even traveling great distances to visit with them!

[Ellis W]: My first hatstand ever was FAMILY MATTERS by Jane (Lord help me, I THINK that's the name of it), which appeared in ADULT SITUATIONS 2. Though I'd had some exposure to PROS by way of commercial magazines (even owned an original copy at one time of the PRIME TIME that featured the series), I was not at all interested — especially as I'd heard them compared to Starsky & Hutch — a likable pair of no-brainers, in my opinion. Jane's story turned all that around. I remember clearly finding it immensely readable, full of affection and devotion — and a plotl Wowl Being then in the death throes of my involvement with B7, it was a great relief to read about two friendly, sane people who really LIKED each other. It was because of that story I changed fandoms, and because of the excellent stories it led me to that I have remained in PROS fandom for more years than I ever would have imagined. Since then I've found other stories I hold more dear, but there will always be a well-lit corner in my heart for that first one.

[Maree C]:

I must agree with Barbara's comments re: children in stories of a sexual nature. I recently, and reluctantly , gave permission for a story of mine to be printed. It had a child/children that has to be rescued from that sort of perverted scene and I found that section particularly difficult to write as you can't stop the story's character taking on the face of some child that is close to you. I hope zineds take note of the use of children in a story and warn people in the editorial first.

[Maree C]:

Agent 6.4. makes a lot of sense re: her last paragraph about sex scenes. Renting a video is a help and reading appropriate material and just walking around with your eyes open. Writers are ever observers. And of course, there is having a good imagination. I've gotten to the stage where I find water gliding over a body erotic; the touching of lips to die underside of the jaw, beneath the ear, a tongue caressing the inside of the elbow. I know the mechanics of sex. I want to be stimulated by the erotica. The plunging and sucking is only rucking unless it is told in such a way to heighten the vision of the love act There's sex and then there's love-making and I prefer to read and write the latter.

[Anja G]:

As for the TOTNI: Hmm... hard question. I'm single, so no partner to deal with. My mother knows about my, well, positive attitude towards homosexuality. She does not agree and avoids things with that topic if she has a choice (I'm still surprised she likes MISTS OF AVALON). We do not discuss it. I accept her position and she mine. My best friend knows and accepts it though she doesn't share it. She reads the occasional slash story, mostly K/S, but it must be very romantic for her to like it.

In general, people who have closer dealings wth me have to accept my liking of slash as part of me. They don't have to like it or share it, just let me be.

As for the second question, I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean with 'hatstand'. Just B/D, like in HATSTAND EXPRESS or so, or general slash? (Different slangs I guess). My first was in ST, the first fandom I discovered. I don't remember details, I was so surprised to come across it (I'd just discovered ZINES at a friend's place and was bonowing everything she would part with). But I do remember that the first ones weren't realy that explicit. The first B/D was a lot later, in MOBILE GHETTOS. I still like that one and re-read it occasionally.

[Mirna C]: TOTNI: I have been in three long-term relationships, two with men, and one with a woman. Although I have only come across slash fandom 18 months ago, I have always had an emotional interest in moments of tenderness between male friends. In the 1970s I called these moments 'the good bits in action shows', and in the 1980s (more pretentiously) 'the homoerotic subtext". My two male partners regarded my interest at first with amused tolerance, and later on (as the relationships began to deteriorate) with boredom and annoyance. My female partner simply could NOT see what I was getting excited about. She kept asking me why, if I really had to fantasize about same-sex pair-bonds, I didn't fantasize about Cagney & Lacey instead of Smith & Jones or Starsky & Hutch. (This was in the early 1980s.. I did fantasize about Cagney & Lacey, and later on I also fantasized madly about Pearl & Finn in the wonderful British series SOUTH OF THE BORDER, but male pair-bonds were easier). My Australian Lesbian friends on the whole (there are 2 exceptions) just don't want to hear about slash, because it focuses on men and male bodies, and on the whole it ignores women.

[Mirna C]: All this, I think, demonstrates that slash is a fantasy written by and for heterosexual women (and as such it appeals to my heterosexual rather than my Lesbian side). It is about what women would like from men in terms of tenderness, physical and emotional, and above all in terms of nurturance. This, I think now with hindsight, may have been why my two male partners eventually felt uneasy at my interest. This begs other questions, not very comfortable ones, I'm afraid. Can those of us who identify as feminists (as opposed to individually 'strong', 'emancipated', 'independent' or whatever) attempt to give feminist interpretations of why we read, write and enjoy slash? Is it a fantasy about nurturance and equality that makes it possible for us to put up with not-so-nurturant and not-so-equal relationships in real life? Or does slash clarify our needs and desires to ourselves as we read/write it? Please advise. I have written the first draft of an article where I attempt to tackle these questions. The gist of the article is that slash is A GOOD THING, and I am very respectful of writers' anonimity - I only refer to stories by title and to letterzine contributions by title and number of the zine. Madam Editor can vouch for this, having read, and commented on, the afore-mentioned first draft."

[Lori B]:

I've been involved in / fandom for over 10 years now. My major significant other during this time
(we have since parted company) was aware of my fan activities but I don't know that he knew or 
cared that much about /. Since then, I've mostly not talked about it to guys I've dated. One got ahold
 of a zine with Feyrer pictures and was mildly shocked but didn't pursue it. My friends don't know
the details. I've told my brother and given him some stories, and he thinks they're funny. I keep
it quiet because it's not worth trying to explain, I wouldn't like it to get around at work, and besides,
I like having secrets!

The first hat-stands I can't really remember. It takes awhile to break into a new fandom, there's a lot of assumed background which if you don't know about you miss major points of the story. I do remember putting some stories aside the first time around (because I didn't understand them) which I have since become very fond of. 'No Unicorns' comes to mind as a perfect example.

[Lori B]:

CON AFTERMATH: Went to Revelcon in Houston and spent most of the time grazing in Candy's lending library. Bought lots of stuff (B7, Pros, K/S) which kept me reading for months afterwards. Got ahold of some strange concept zines, which I'm still deciding on. One was a round-robin effort, C/B, based on the premise that Cowley had been kidnapped and brainwashed by the Russians, then traded back. Bodie was caring for him and ends up smuggling him out of the gov't hospital because he had some hint that some people in the British govt (Willis, etc) were going to *TWEP* him. Doyle helps, of course. I'm not sure I liked this plot (too melodramatic, basic concept wasn't believable to me), and to get it again and again in a round robin zine was too much. I like to see people experimenting with writing, however. I think it encourages good writing.

I've all of a sudden been coming across lots of Bodie/Cowley. An interesting effort was 'Measure for Measure' in one of the Manacles Press publications (they blend together in my mind...) In this one Bodie is 'keeping Cowley sweet', but still with Doyle. In the epilogue Doyle ominously lets Bodie know he knows, but doesn't go into the resultant discussions. This ending is KILLING me! Anyone read mis one and have an opinion?

Issue 14

Short Circuit 14 was published in September 1993. It was published by Joanne Keating (Australia).

"(1) Why is there such a trend towards a/u stories, historicals, stories where not even the names are the same; witchcraft, etc ... Do you like them or not, and why. (2) Is it still generally agreed that Endgame is the best Proffs story written. If not, what do you suggest. (For those of you who haven't read it, you are really missing out on something.)"

Issue 15

Short Circuit 15 was published December 1993 and contains 32 pages. It was published by Joanne Keating (Australia).

cover of issue #15, illo by SMC

It contains the story: Wag-Weed by April Pentland.

Issue 15: Excerpts from Comments

[Mirna C]:

TOTNl - Personal response first, general hypotheses later. Why do I most like slash? The notion (totally impossible in real life) of one relationship whieh fulfils the most basic human needs - someone you ean like as a friend, work well with, give priority to over other relationships. Someone who knows you at your worst, gets intensely annoyed with you at times, yet never reneges on his commitment to you. Someone who looks after you, nurtures you, and occasionaly gets furious at you out of protectiveness. Someone you complement and'learn from, and who at the same time complements and learns from you.

Sex doesn't come into my personal response much. This is probably because I am the gay side of bisexual; and on the whole male bodies and their physical reactions do not turn me on all that much. I am not altogether unaware of the fact that, for a story to be slash, the partners need to have sex with one another, but for me the sex aspect works more as a metaphor for the establishment of a priority commitment than as actual erotica.

Now to the general hypotheses about why women love slash. Is it possible to generalise? I somehow doubt it. Some women may draw emotional comfort from the nurturanee aspect of the fantasies. (In a previous issue of S.C. I suggested that this was some sort of compensation for less-than-satisfying real-life relationships, or possibly for the - temporary or permanent - lack of significant real-life relationships, but I had no response from other fans, possibly because the question was potentially rather uncomfortable).

Some women may find the fantasy of a relationship that fulfils almost all of one's needs a lovely safety valve from stressful aspects of their lives (overwork? health problems? family troubles?) Some women may (editor: actually DO!) love reading and writing about male bodies being turned on; reacting passionately to other bodies; coming; enjoying the aftermath of physical intimacy. Question: when reading or writing sex scenes, do we prefer scenes where one partner is to some extent dominant? I am NOT being judgemental here. Speaking as a committed and active feminist, I believe that fantasies are to be explored, not ranked on a scale of idealogical soundness. If we fantasise about (some degree of) dominance/submission, there must be reasons for it, and as fans we can discuss these reasons; not label them Unsound or Unacceptable or Unwhatever.

[Maree C]: I'm glad you've picked a subject you like to discuss - not one of mine because I don't normally analyse why I like reading or writing slash fiction. I also like reading and writing heterosexual erotica. I enjoy erotica and why do I like slash? Just because.

I don't know whether I can agree totally with Sadie's comments that we, as women are attracted to men as they are opposites in a male-orientated society. Maybe true - but I think we'd be attracted to men because we're women and it wouldn't matter if it was a male or female dominated society. Physically they are different and we're curious about these strange creatures. We'd like to crawl into their skins and imagine what they're feeling in love-making; to indulge in some hot-blooded role reversals. I like to extrapolate what feels good to me, add in what my lover says feels good to him, some times imagine what it would be like to be a man and... Well, it works for me.

But you are right as well, men are a mystery to us.

Of course, there's nothing wrong in being like our male counterparts who love to watch pom of two women doing IT (and according to my fellow it's not a case of crawling into their skin imaginatively, but enjoying the sight and sound of the love act between two women, and incidentally, most of these men would react strongly like Victorian maiden aunts if you pointed out that these women were indulging in a lesbian act — bad word that obviously —).

I must admit that the guys in the Professionals are damned good to look at and just watching, like a voyuer, would be pleasurable. However, for me, I get a possibly bigger thrill from reading about it.

[Maree C]:

The historical settings for Bodie and Doyle stories are by no means unique to The Professionals. A/U stories have popped up for many years in Trek fandom, MUNCLE, etc. With Trek, it was harder to do as invariably Spock would maintain his "alien-ness" either as an alien or a devil, etc. In fact, in some ways, there was more character integrity in Trek A/U stories. Nearly all historicals of Bodie & Doyle that I've read, the characters looked like the ones we know out of the series, but certainly didn't act like them. One exception to this had Doyle as a local squire & magistrate and Bodie as a King's agent and they ended up partners. No sex, but a damned good story.

Anyway, THE PRICE & THE PRIZE for me, as a A/U story collection of any genre, is still one of my favourites.

[Agent 6.4]: TOTNI (only 1 this time?): I know there are going to be lots of in-depth and philosophical answers to this one, but I wonder if anyone is going to be as honest as I am." I like it for the sex! I know this for a fact because I like reading hetero sex in stories as well. There arc lots of other necessary addendums to this main reason in order for me to really enjoy reading the stories so I'll list them - in no particular order - as well.

I have to know the characters beforehand (I can't be too bad if I'm not just reading bonking for bonking's sake). I have to like or feel attracted to BOTH the characters. I have to believe the characters COULD form a slash relationship even if there's no strict evidence of that kind of close affection in the aired show (that's why I recoil from Simon & Simon slash - that's tasteless incest, not slash, while on the other hand I could thrive on Hardcastle & McCormick slash - yeah, I know, probably still tasteless but at least it's 'acceptable').

I have to have 'reality' still intact (B & D are NOT going to bonk while on duty), and following along those lines, I have to have the romantic and/or sex scenes physically accurate. Keeping the reality intact also includes sparing us the drek and mush. These guys aren't mushy and are only ever rarely cute. Spare me the teddy bears, flowers, goo-goo eyes, and MUSH in general. IT'S NOT ACCURATE.

And it must be for the sex, because I usually feel there's something lacking in a straight story, no matter how well-writen, and I know that it is because the possibility of them getting together is just not there.

There ARE philosophical reasons why I like good slash. I like the idea of a relationship of 'equals', which hopefully removes at least some of the need for gender role-playing whether we like it or not - or admit it or not. A slash relationship is obviously a special relationship, and most of us DO long for a special relationship - it requires special effort, and we get the impression from a lot of the good stories that BOTH partners put the special effort required into it, and a lot of us women feel that it is only us that try and put that special effort into our own relationships (that's convoluted but I hope it says what I mean). And it certainly IS wish-fulfilment. Who wouldn't want a partner that we can enjoy great sex with AND share the housework with AND talk work or any other serious subject with AND share the same humour with AND do the finances with AND be completely open and honest with and expect the same back again. What a package!! Of COURSE slash is fantasy no matter how real you can make it, but it can be very satisfying — in more ways than one — on a temporary basis.

[Lori B]:

Good point about having few likable women in our slash stories...sad, but good. A few shining examples are 'Heart of the Lion' by Patricia D'Orazio, in British Takeaway 3, and 'Games We Played in the Dark' by Deborah Laymon, in Straight Shooting. Note that both of these stories are adult but not slash. Sigh... Have any others to recommend?

Sometimes I lament the lack of female slash characters, or good female characters at all, and I blame this on discrimination. From the few stories available (like Last Post & Chorus, a slightly melodramatic story with a strong and interesting gay female character) I think I would like to read stories in which the main characters are paired women. There just isn't any good source fandoms.

I remember seeing an ad looking for contributions to a female slash zine. I never saw the zine advertised as being in print. I theorize that a / story with women characters would emphasize their physical strength, independence, and combat abilities.

[snipped]

Why do women love /? There was a panel at world con on this, and it was PACKED! (It was somewhat disconcerting to see Jacqueline Lichtenberg in the audience, scholarly attending the discussion.) The general consensus was that two men can have a relationship that is truly equal, escaping all culturally imposed role stereotypes and physically imposed inequality. I don't know if I totally agree. There is something attractive about having very self-sufficient and free characters, which men usually are, indulging in a very emotional physical relationship, which men usually do do, in my experience, but that women usually like. I don't know. Maybe it's just... GASP... penis envy!!!!

Incidentally, I accidentally met Roberta Rogow at worldcon, a rabid anti-slash person, and very vocal about it She claims that she can't see any evidence of homosexual behavior in any media, and can't understand women who andamently insist that its there (She MUST be convieniently overlooking Starsky and Hutch). I kindly refrained from pointing out that she is adamently insisting that its NOT there. I didn't argue with her at all, which for me is unusual, but just said words to the effect that everyone has a different perspective, and it doesn't hurt her that slash exists. She's kinda pushy, but when I wouldn't argue OR buy her book on fannish terms (who needs it?), she lost interest and buttonholed someone else. (Also, in 'The Little Merman', Mailander names the ship that wrecks the Rogow!)

[Jude]: TOTNI - I never know what to say when the question of why I enjoy reading slash comes up. I discovered slash while I was involved with B7 fandom, and slash once tasted became a craving that after a while settled down to become just a part of my life. I don't read a lot of general or straight fanfic now. My preference is towards slash relationship based stories - also with a plot hopefully. All I can think is that slash fulfils something in me. A need for happy endings, love against all odds.

[H.G.]: I like letterzines because I enjoy hearing what other people think about issues, episodes and stories, even if I don't share their views. Amicable debate's fun. But letterzines are a pain in the bum when you're actually expected to participate. Couldn't we the readers take it in turns to write in — alternate months or something. It would ensure we had something to read and keep Joanne off our backs! It would be great if some of the newer fans would participate because they always have a fresh perspective.

[H.G.]: While I adore stories that manage to combine action/adventure with relationship, I can't write the former to save my life — 'in one bound Jack was free' is my speciality. There are only so many stories I can - or want - to write in the CI5 universe without the vestige of a plot. What drew me to Pros fandom was less the CI5 universe than the characters inhabiting it.

I agree with Sadie when she says that Bodie and Doyle seem to fit comfortably into any setting. That doesn't mean all A/Us work, any more than stories in the CI5 universe work. Whether that happens is down to the author. (Incidentally, I love the Kung Fu series. Is there any fan fiction out there, she says hopefully?)

Another stumbling block to me in writing solely in the CI5 universe is that CI5 as it's protrayed on screen gives me hives because if examined too closely nothing holds together. The problem of writing CI5-centred stories is that you have to take the organisation seriously, which isn't always easy. After Barry Martin's death, Cowley has no deputy. There is no chain of command; what happens when Cowley is injured? Virtually all the extras are overweight and in their late forties and fifties. I'm expected to believe Martin, an aging swinger if ever I saw one, can wipe the floor with Bodie and Doyle. Macklin wouldn't recognise a muscle if he fell over one and is a self-confessed crack-up case; hardly the ideal trainer. Given that he was undercover in Hong Kong, what physical skills has he to impart? Towser now ... I could have believed in him. All the women, be they secretaries or agents, are attractive and seem to love what today is known as sexual harrassment. Female agents get their man while wearing high heels and tight-fitting skirts. Given that it can be tricky running for a bus in that outfit, I'd like to know how they do it. CI5 changes HQ virtually with each episode; not very practical or efficient. Their internal security is worse than some places I've worked in. I could go on. While it can be a challenge to write a story explaining some of the inconsistancies and inaccuracies, usually I try to ignore them and pretend that CI5 is an organisation run by adults for adults in the 'real' world rather than that of TV ratings.

[H.G.]: I don't think there is one 'best' story: twenty, possibly. ENDGAME is an incredibly powerful piece of writing, but I've only read it twice in eleven years; the memory lingers on. However, that's because it's a death story, not that it's one of the most convincing stories around. I'd be more inclined to pick OF TETHERED GOATS AND TIGERS, which has plot, character development and interaction, action/adventure and a developing slash relationship. There again I should admit a bias against death stories. I've only read three that haven't been pathetic. Some have certainly reduced me to tears — but of laughter at the unintentional humour. I regard it as grossly insulting to both the characters, and as one who has ever lost someone they love, that the bereaved other half so often kills themself in a flurry of purple prose.


[H.G.]:

When writing RAINBOW CHASERS I categorically excluded AIDS from their universe - it would be nice if it was true in this one. In HUNTED BY DEVILS, which is set in the 90's, I had to acknowledge its existence - and condoms. Talk about taking the edge off. Fortunately the characters seemed as frustrated by the necessity as I was, and for non-penetrative (is there such a word?) sex sometimes forgot or deliberately didn't bother. But then that's my fault for writing an A/U set in that time frame.

[H.G.]:

Yes, I think the fascination with men, mentally aa well as physically, is one of the reasons slash is so popular with women. Two for the price of one. Also, as someone mentioned at the recent Writeshop over here, slash is the idealised romance, two against the world, forsaking all others: the ultimate Mills and Boon. I've never felt the urge to create a strong female character in my Pros writing, whether I'm writing a slash story or a straight one, because Bodie and Doyle's blatant sexism doesn't encourage belief that's what they'd find attractive. While I've read some wonderful straight fiction - Mr Doyle's Neighbourhood, Seven Minutes In Bangkok, and Seventh Sunday Of The Year are just examples of what I've enjoyed - none of it has even produced an ongoing sexual partner for Bodie or Doyle. When those do appear in fan fiction they're so bloody perfect it'd depressing, and they out-hero Bodie and Doyle. I find perfection dull. But then I prefer my heroes - of whatever sex - to be flawed.

[H.G.]: Seriously, I think that whatever setting they're placed in, it's by their speech and interaction that Bodie and Doyle keep true to themselves. One of the main strengths of the show is the snappy dialogue, often abbreviated verbal shorthand they used, allied to the odd look which would fill at least a page. The stories that work best for me as a reader manage to capture this at least some of the time. Also, Bodie, Doyle, and Cowley are never ever cute. Cute is hideous. Too much sentiment is nauseating. Less is definitely best, and much more effective. As to whether the characterisation is well-done in fan fiction, looking at eighty-five per cent of the new fiction that's come my way in the last couple of years, I'd say no. In many cases you could change the obvious physical characteristics and names and never know the differesnee. Too often the author sticks in a series of hackneyed descriptions and obviously thinks that's characterisation. We know what the guys look like - and it's a hell of a bonus - but there is more to them than blue/green eyes, a well-filled crotch and a nice buns (and that's only Cowley!)

I sometimes think the quality of fiction was better in the days of the circuit when people weren't churning out stories for contributor's copies, or in the case of some zine producers, churning out 'x' number of zines a year because they increase their profits that way. That's not an attack on zine producers in general, just a fact of life. There's always a few.

[Ellis W]: Regarding a/u's -- This is definitely a "to each her own" area. I avoided a/u's like the plague (although I loved REDISCOVERED IN A GRAVEYARD and quite resented being thrust into the present storyline once happily immersed in the past) until I read MASTER OF THE REVELS. I copied it for a friend and was sitting on the floor collating the pages (having run the double-sided monster first one side then the other—that's a LOT of paper!),tand just let my eyes barely SKIM the surface of a page or two--and the damn thing caught me. I spent the next three days devouring it, as I was set to fly out to England, and had promised to pop it in the mail-before I left. Come to think of it, it was not long after that that I purchased my first set of reading glasses.

Not all a/u's succeed—any more than all CI5-rooted stories do. A/U's do often show a spark of originality I find quite enjoyable, and so long as the characterizations are reasonably in synch, I will tolerate much. Of course a/u's extend to "revisionist" B/D as well (e.g., JIGSAW PUZZLE, WAITING TO FALL) and can be equally as much fun (and equally as devastating: Bodie's nervous breakdown in JIGSAW PUZZLE was chillingly well written). For me, ultimately, it's the caliber of writing that lures me into reading a given story, far more so than its "type."

[Ellis W]: TOTNI -- In truth, I don't see slash relationships all that readily (unless I encounter them for the first time in fan fiction, as I did with PROFESSIONALS). An exception to that was B7, wherein Avon's obsession with Blake seemed most easily explained by his unwanted attraction to him. Another, which struck me out of the blue, was the film THE FUGITIVE. Came out of the theater saying "Now there's a slash story waiting to be written!"

Agent 6.4 -- My goodness, your description of your gut reaction to ENDGAME sounded very familiar, especially the bit about going "cold" when you come across it. It's written by one of my most beloved writers, but I've only read it--word for word--once. It's a killer, in more ways than one.

[Mandy]: Welt ifs nice to know that there are so much people who like to read slash stories too. I more or less stumbled into it through Star Trek Fandom. One of my friends had bought a copy of a zine with lots of Gayle F art in it those of you who've read ST slash as weU, ought to know what I mean. As I said she'd bought this zine and was leafing through it when she came to one of Those Pictures, I looked at it turned away, looked again and went red up to my eyebrows. I recall that she nearly laughed herself silly about my reaction and then she gave me some of her zines to read. You see, I'm nearly as curious as my assorted cats and just couldn't resist temptation. I read the first one (twice), then I started to think whaf s wrong with you? Why do you want to read stuff like that you could as easily read some of those romances where the hero and the heroine don't like each other at the beginning, or have to fight for their love to win through. But as you all know it just isn't the same. Our 'heroes' are much more interesting and have more going for them than just a' manly bosom' or some such stuff. That doesn't mean I don't like romance, quite the contrary. It just depends on the way it's presented.

I decided to investigate the matter further and stumbled over some B\D zines, read them and was hooked for good. I think in my case, it's got something to do with the equality that most of the writers project in their stories. Of course sometimes one is suffering and his partner helps him to come to terms with whatever is bothering him, but it's almost always a two way street. These are the stories I like the most with K/S it was mostly very one sided, at least in the stories I have read. Another point is, that they fit in quite nicely in almost every scenario you can think of, as long as the balance between the characters is right. I like to think, that it's possible for two people with very strong personalities to make a relationship work if they try hard enough. And as for friendship growing into love, why not? It works in heterosexual relationships so why not here?

Referring to a discussion from witch I didn't catch the beginning as this, as before mentioned is my first issue of this zine. Some of you seemed to have had some trouble with assorted husbands and or boyfriends. I guess I'm lucky that my boyfriend isnt annoyed about my fascination with slash, (I even get to use his printer because my money didn't cover for PC and printer) but some of our friends tend to regard my growing collection of zines with a raised eyebrow and ask why I don't read 'proper' books. And since I redecorated my room with some color copies of Susan Lovett covers (Whisper of a Kill and What If..., all very tasteful with nothing much to see), they think I'm finally going' round the bend. Oh well, they don't know what they are missing!

[Mandy]:

I'm looking forward to the next issue of DUE, because I really enjoyed reading the first two. My favourites were New Year, New Discoveries...., History Repeated, When Needs Must and Next Of Kin. Silent Night was just a little to sad for my liking, but that depends very much on how I feel, when I'm reading a sad story. Maybe it had something to do with a movie I saw two or three months ago, featuring Mel Gibson. A friend of mine, who watched the film with me, was very glad about the happy end'. I just can't understand how someone could find such a conclusion happy. Of course they were together in the end, but what a waste of live! To age forty or fifty years in one week without the chance to really live them is something I find rather sad.

If I'm lucky, I'll have time tomorrow to start reading #3 and find out, why some of you liked Change of Mind so much. The weather over here would be just right for it. Nothing better on a cold wet winters day, than to curl up before the heater with a new zine and something hot to drink!

[Anja G]:

This next TOTNI is hard. Why do I like slash? Haven't really thought about it, I just do. I'll try to put down some thoughts, in no particular order or connection. If two men acknowledge their love for each other, it must be pretty strong since they will probably have most of the people around them against the idea. Yes, I like the stories with a romantic angle (not mushy though). I'm not hot on "sex for sex's sake". Maybe I'm just hoping for a change in male attitudes, that they will acknowledge and deal with emotions more openly. Maybe it's just the slightly forbidden and amoralic air of this relationship. I don't think I identify with one of the men (I'm also sure I don't identify with the heroine of heterosexual stories. I seldom even like them). Or there is still, deeply buried, the thought if there is no female competition, the one I like most could be coaxed to 'see the light' (that would be me in daydreams). Or they are just safe. If they are interested in each other, they won't bother me. I don't have to figure out messages about "is the invitation to dinner an invitation for a meal or am I supposed to be dessert?" (I didn't say I would make sense, did I?)

[April P]: On to other things. Feel it's only fair to warn readers that I retain a copy of everything that leaves my typewriter, so I know exactly what I did - and did not - say. Lucky for me that I don't have to rely on some people's "interpretations" of it, huh? One writer acused me of relegating "virgins" to the same status as Neo-Nazis, lepers, and politicians. Well no, I didn't, as a matter of fact. I used the eye-catching sentence, (Which I warned was guaranteed to push someone's buttons!) to lead into a complaint about how "alleged" writers deal with "theory", the "Let's pretend ... " impulse taking over from any considerarion of "reality". As the writer went on to point-out, it's not even difficult - or particularly embarrassing - to gain access to correct "information".

As to the "suggestion" that I "submit" my slash stories to "gay" friends to see if the sex is accurate", since none of my "gay" friends have the slightest idea of who Bodie & Doyle are, they'd be in no position to judge if it'd be a believable story, would they? And asking them to judge if sex is "accurate" would be as rude, to my mind, as asking any individual what they "get up to" in bed!

[April P]: Sex. It' s a lot like art - no-one's an expert; but everyone knows what they like. Which can be a problem with getting too "explicit"; what gets one person all hot-and-bothered may leave another one cold. "Explicit" can also fall into the trap of making "it" sound too "clinical", and therefore rather dull. I find that sticking to the five senses and the emotional-content steams things up nicely; and "hot" is more exciting than "graphic", anyday! Don't get me wrong, I despise "euphemisms"; if a hot, dirty sex-scene is integral to the plot, it should be there! It's just that I find "One thing led to another; and soon they were on the floor, rolling around, loosening clothing and doing wonderful things to each other." more "stimulating" than a description of what an intersting panel at Mediawest called "Physical Impossibilities" or "He Put His What Where?"

Issue 16

Short Circuit 16 was published in March 1994. It was published by Joanne Keating (Australia).

The TOTM: "Why do some writers think that rape is romantic, either as a means of starting a relationship, or as a component of an on-going relationship between Bodie and Doyle; or in fact any partnership. Do you enjoy reading or writing rape in B/D stories, or how do you feel when you read such a story."

Issue 17

Short Circuit 17 was published in June 1994. It was published by Joanne Keating (Australia).

  • Publisher: Joanne Keating (Australia)

References

  1. quoted anonymously from Virgule-L (January 21, 1996)
  2. This fan is referring to The Hatstand Express.
  3. This fan may be referring to The Hatstand Express.
  4. comments by Susan Douglass in "Short Circuit" #2
  5. comments by Susan Douglass in "Short Circuit" #2
  6. comments by Susan Douglass in "Short Circuit" #2
  7. Almost certainly comments related to this fan's large involvement in The Blake's 7 War.
  8. "Church of" refers to an older Star Wars One True Character term: Church of Han and Cathedral of Luke.
  9. A backhanded comment regarding The Hatstand Express
  10. unsure what "limerace" is
  11. The whole quote can be read here in Not Tonight, Spock! #10 (1985)
  12. They are when they are all the same person!
  13. from "Short Circuit" #4
  14. from Strange Bedfellows #1