Strange Bedfellows (APA)/Issue 002

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Strange Bedfellows was a slash apa that ran between 1993 and 1997. See more on this apa zine series at Strange Bedfellows.

Strange Bedfellows 2 was published in August 1993 and contains about 193 pages.

Each section of the apa was written by a different fan/fans and had its own title.

Note: The trib "But T-shirt Slogans ARE Intellectual Discourse" by Sandy Herrold and [N] was submitted too late to be in the issue, and were inserted at the end of issue #2.

the cover of issue #2: "This issue's cover, which is advertising exactly what you think it is, comes to us thanks to [J C] and a gay sex toy and leather shop in Edinburgh, which was displaying it, and which I sweet-talked into giving it to me. Heh heh. [M F G], you can be proud of your city." -- from the OE
"I think perhaps the most memorable moment of our time in Scotland was when [J] took [S] and me to a little gay sex shop telling us that she was going to show us something we couldn't find anywhere else and that it would shock us. We were skeptical, but went willingly, and proved [J] completely right upon entering the store. We were shocked, and what we were looking at was certainly something we'd never have seen anywhere else. There on the wall, nestled between the black leather jackets and the black leather harnesses, was a poster of "our boys" with a gay male club's name and logo blazoned across the bottom. Yep, you guessed it; it's what is now the cover of SBF #2." -- from the trib "Writing in the Margins"

Contents

Some Topics Discussed in "Strange Tongues"

Excerpts from "Strange Tongues"

Slash as its own fandom:
It's true that mediafandom as we know it started primarily with Trekfans, many of whom were SF readers as well, but it's been 25 years since then. I've noticed more and more fans of (for one instance) cop shows, or fans of slash itself, without SF or Trek credentials are part of the reading-writing-media fandom now, adding to the richness and strangeness of it all.

The circuit:

The "circuit" is most commonly used about Bodie/Doyle and other Professionals fan stories, which, for some reason, evolved a tradition of being sent in batches of manuscripts to people through private mail, instead of being collected into zines. Most people asked for flat mailing-and-copy costs for the favor of sending the stuff; artwork was generally minimal and primitive. Eventually some all-Professionals zines were created, but the concept of private circulation as a way of running a whole fandom remains. In the early 80's I didn't have that word to describe the few N/I stories being sent about from one friend to friend-of-friend and so on, but that was how they reached fans. It's simpler, and sometimes cheaper and faster, than zines, but not as neatly packaged.

Regarding epithets and pronouns:

As for pronouns, just use the characters' names and go ahead and repeat them. You can minimize this somewhat by the structure of sentences, and of course sometimes there are reasons to vary who calls who what, or what name a character thinks of himself by, but there's nothing wrong with repeating "Spock" six times on a page, when "Spock" is the shortest, clearest way of telling a reader what you mean to say. In fact, there is positive reason not to refer to Bodie as "the ex-Merc" or Avon as "the computer tech" during sex scenes, when their respective professions have nothing whatever to do with the current action. I do see a fair amount of this (it ran rampant in B7 for some reason) and it drives me up a wall! The reason is that jobs, nationalities, and many kinds of personal description are irrelevant to the sex scene. Even if Bodie does have dark hair, this is no time for Doyle to notice it as if it's new to him. And calling Bodie "the brunet" suggests that his hair is the most important thing about him at the moment — which it had better not be. (If Doyle has a fetish for dark hair, that's different. If he's lost his memory and only knows that he woke up in bed with this guy, that's different, too.) Your example does not overuse names, and I'd replace "Scotsman" with "Cowley," if I were doing it. Otherwise it reads smoothly enough.

Fanwriting as community:

I don't know why fanwriting's easier to contemplate; shared community, perhaps. But it is easier emotionally, if not technically.
Some thoughts on "female writing":
Maybe define "female writing" as writing done by women and for women, which in practical terms means writing done privately without going through any institutionalized process of review — any kind of review or public presentation where it's likely to be seen by men. (I'd say "men whose opinions would affect the writers' expression," but for many women, that's any man, period, and for most women, it's any man with social power, which is most of them in comparison with women. For fans, it may be "any man outside slash fandom," which leaves about three exceptions.) I've heard of groups of letter-writers in the 19th century that would fit this definition, but I'd exclude published novelists from the definition. There is, of course, a related category of what women write for a female audience even when men are the gatekeepers to publication, domestic novels and romances and so on, which are also worth studying but which reflect the roles men expect of women, and the attitudes women see men expecting of them.
Comment about fans who only give feedback for stories they like:
While it's easier to ignore bad or silly writing in zines, sometimes a loc pointing out the flaws (as well as the good points) is in order. You must have noticed that fandom is not entirely a mutual-admiration society, and negative as well as positive feedback is needed in circulation.
Addressing a fan's frustration with fic that has characters that never learn from their mistakes:
I see a scribbled note here that goes back to a comment [M. F G] made, about long, repetitive novels where no one learns anything and the characters go through the same processes over and over. I have a feeling that such novels are written pretty much for the same reason a batch of shorter stories, all with the same basic plot and emotional motivation, would be written, and simply do what those stories would do, within one plot framework instead of several separate ones. Quite a bit of fanwriting isn't meant to be notably original, but it does make the point of a novel rather obscure.
Regarding manga and slash:
Some manga(and a few English-language comics) astound and delight me by presenting something readable as slash on the published page, notably Rosen and Pfirsich and the manga examples I hardly have to reiterate here. These, no doubt like the suggestiveness of Starsky and Hutch, always reassure me that slash fandom isn't a fingernail-minority of interest, but something that some cultures find widely marketable and even our own has markets, not just undergrounds, for.
Regarding the The Wave Theory of Slash:

I liked the "four waves" analysis of slash, although I'll make a few comments. I'm confused about the importance of sex within stories being linked to the wave and how closely a story is tied in with its media source. I read and enjoy many "fourth wave" style stories, yet I have no problem classifying something without overt sex as slash. I've read multimedia crossovers in which the sex is very subtly implied and never shown; I've read some of the early Naked Times in which sex was detailed, and the characterization built around it, although the "real" Trek universe was the background. Probably you'd set these latter in second wave (at least), though they appeared relatively early. Overall I assume you're setting up general categories, and that exceptions and in-between examples will appear. At one time I judged fan stories on a number of criteria, including how closely the story held to the televised (or movie, or whatever) universe. That's still one axis on which to rate stories, but I've shifted to looking more for clear expression of whatever the story is telling me about. Maybe that's fifth wave? I admit to disliking some of what you class as fourth-wave fiction because the characterizations tend to be generic — as you say, the writer is aiming for a general slash audience who may not know squash about the characters in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I say that a good story would tell the reader what those characters are like, their individual reasons for (in a slash story) humping their buddies at the bottom of the sea. It might be a good story even if it made up a fair amount of this data — the point is to make the story, not VttBofS, crystalline to the reader. I suppose if it accurately and convincingly conveyed the VttBofS characters it would be a first wave story anyway? Well, suppose it's a story where VttBofS characters combine with UFO characters — does the point hold that sloppy, general characterization is sloppy and general no matter what show (or how many) the characters come from and how much bonking they get in during the story?

This all may mean that a good fourth-wave story is more demanding of the writer — and indeed I believe it is. Adequate characterization for a well- known character need merely be consistent with the screen behavior, while making a little-known character lively requires establishing his or her personality with more than names and sketchy hints. Hmm, I think you said this; I'm just amplifying a bit for my own amusement.
About terminology and gender:

I have no patience with the "real man" and "real woman" terminology unless we're discussing the minuscule proportion of people who may genuinely be in doubt as to which sex they are. Any woman is a real woman (me, for instance) and anything I do is female behavior, one example of. How can being gay be unmanly? Lots of men do it. Lots of women do it, too. How can it be unnatural

or unhuman? Et cetera.
What is slash:
"What is slash?"? Is this a trick question? At one time it had to be about Kirk and Spock, and then it had to be about either Kirk/Spock or Starsky/Hutch, and then it was about good buddies (as long as they were really good buddies and heroic besides) in an action, preferably SF, screen show. Then B7 came along and slash was any pair of same-sex close friends or real close enemies who made moves toward going to bed, whether they professed love or not. Hetero couples could do the same by then (once in a blue moon) but they didn't call it slash. At one time I tried to promote calling slash-style male/female stories "slash," but nobody would go along. They didn't even lecture me patiently on how that wasn't slash or this other thing was slash, they just never did it, so I'm not going to bother with that issue anymore. Fans intuitively don't wanna. Nowadays slash is anything with a gay relationship in it somewhere, seen from a fannish perspective. Some hint of preexisting media characters is a good clue as to fannish perspective, but not definitive. Patalliro!, itself media rather than fanfic, sure looks like slash to me. The opposite case involves a privately-produced anthology of stories and art using the TNG characters, titled Science Friction. I hope [N] will describe this in lurid detail, as I couldn't bear to examine it closely. It was being sold (out of a room) at Gaylaxicon 4, i.e.,among SF fans, though I can't say whether the producers were familiar with zine—and—writing media fandom. It resembles gay pornography in the ways that that genre is most different from good slash fanfic.
More on "what is slash," and some additional comments on the zine Science Friction:
...if you saw and remembered Science Friction, what would you call it? It's never been a point of definition for me, but I gather some readers see SF-shows' slash as more or less possible than here-and-now-shows' slash, I presume because the future setting alters the social definition of taboo gay behavior. Gay behavior need not be taboo at all, for instance. It's less that the background society in an SF show might be postulated as tolerant of homosexuality, but that the background is, by definition, not defined. Whatever the couple relate as is based on their characters on the screen and not on assumptions we can reasonably make about current characters. Starsky and Hutch know that fucking your LAPD partner is Not Recommended, or maybe they also know it's the cutting edge of civil liberty which they intend to uphold regardless of recommendations, but one way or another, we know what they know about the subject. Kirk and Spock, due to the delightful muteness of 60's American TV on sex of all forms, can make it up as they go along with perfect validity. The author who lays her groundwork can show the relationship in any light or context she can imagine. Nobody objects much when this principle is applied to the science in Trek — why not in social and interspecies relations as well?
Why was "slash" invented:
I recall you saying something a while back on one basis for the internal, intuitive kick of slash as fans invented it because it had to exist, as the strong, unto-death style of friendship shown between same-sex buddies, since that was not, in TV usage, sexualized in the way strong hetero friendship inevitably is. The watching fan sees something extra, developable, in an asexual friendship which cries to be developed into slash; the sexual friendship, however equitable or friendly, somehow lacked that crying potential.

Acafandom chickens and eggs:

I don't know if academic commentary can change fandom much. Changes in fandom seem to come from new shows, prolific fans, and new publishing technology, rather than outside commentary. Personally, I became acquainted with academic analyses at about

the same time I started writing fanfic for the first time for the traditional reasons — I was nuts about the source — and in traditional styles relying heavily on the preexisting characters. (Before that I'd been having fun writing more-or-less original characters as a way of hanging around fandom, because fandom itself is fun.) I doubt there's any connection, however.
Feminizing vs infantilizing men in slash:
feminizing a character does not generally mean turning him (or her) into a woman, but into a child, a helpless and passive person. For that matter, teaching real live women to be "feminine" usually means teaching them to remain childlike instead of grow into responsible mature adults. Equating a grown person with a child or slave (an "un-person") does indeed bother me, as a real-life concept, though of course it may appear in legitimate fiction and fantasy.
Slash and power in writing:

Political lesbian and feminist writing, though done specifically by and for women, is seldom female writing in the sense of being what women want to do; it's a reaction to the male-biased society we live in, usually specifically to that male bias. It's extremely conscious of male political power rather than being positively about women's own tastes.

Slash is already by, for and about human beings, most of whom happen to be women. (Are you saying that separatist women aren't human?) It conveys aspects of human experience and (mostly) Anglo-American culture from female perspective. Some of the perspective is a careful imitation of what men might actually think and do, more of it describes idealized men; all of it is filtered through women's eyes and minds as it is circulated, read and talked about. This is parallel to the pervasive bias toward what male power-holders see or want to see in mundane publishing. But, please note, these two things are not mutually exclusive! I am, in fact, encouraged to see the increasing possibilities of slash-like published fiction, and slash being taken as gay-qua-gay writing.
Guys at slash cons:
All the slash cons I've been to had a man or two somewhere, sometimes a fan's husband who had volunteered to run video, sometimes [A]and/or [B] who were already known as gay men and fans. Men have been a nearly invisible minority, but not categorically excluded from slash-con membership, that I know of.
A mention of mpreg in a Blake's 7 zine:
The story with Vila bearing Avon's child (urk) appeared in E-Man-Uelle #1-3, an early and extremely primitive, in all senses, B7 zine from Britain. I gave my copies away, they were that bad. E-M-U has published issue #9 in recent memory, so it may still be accessible; someone else may have more data.
Commenting on a fan's stated disillusionment with a fandom:
Well, is there a dearth of audience for K/S any more? Has fandom left you behind, or just added some more subdivisions? Sure, nothing's ever the same as it was ten years ago. But is it really worse?

Some Topics Discussed in "Cat's Darkling Zine"

Excerpts from "Cat's Darkling Zine"

Preferring a blonde, sunny Heyes:
The Heyes' have it: Just like with Travis, the actor playing Heyes changed in mid-stride. For lack of material to read, and due to the fact that everybody who ever wrote a story, wrote it with the wrong Heyes, I had nearly given up on the series. I prefer the blond Hannibal Heyes, the one with the octopus hands, the zest, energy, wit... Or at least, he seems to have all that in comparison to the dark haired one, who is looking like he's wondering what he's doing there most of the time. I came recently across two short stories in "It's Greek to Me" and "Liaisons II". Both used the tedious dark haired Heyes. But I found a trick I could use: I mentally replaced his description with that of the blond one. But I never quite managed it and thus experienced reading in stereo. Most peculiar feeling. I believe that what I like so much about the blond one is his bright, sincere smile, especially when he is pulling a fast one. And his voice. I taped bits of episode on audio. He's got a voice that's warm and sunny and sweet. Come to think of he, those are the reasons I like Murphy.
Slash and dolls:
Slash writing objectifying male characters? Yes, yes, I remember what I used to have my Ken-dolls do together when I was younger, is slash an elaborate form of Playing With Dolls?
Rapefic and consent as a metaphor for accepting life itself:
You are right, writing S/M instead of Rape/Comfort would be doing away with the main hook: The victim is not consenting, but is raped (and gets to like it). But that is not necessarily proof that writer or reader identifies with the rapist. As both point of views are usually well described, bets are identification is with both. It could be construed as very unhealthy, but could also be understood in a much broader framework, that is, as standing for something more vast than simple sex-thrills. It could be felt as a symbol for life itself: you are thrust into unpleasant circumstances without your consent (ie, you are born), and you have to accept the utter unpleasantness that goes with it: homework, siblings, taxes, unemployment, chlorine tasting tap water, ie. growing out of childhood to realise that "real life" is a pitiless, cruel place, that asks more of you than you can give. You have to overcome the feeling of bitterness this might bring in order to survive, learn to enjoy the challenge/situation (it is in fact considered healthy and mature to do so), it is a case of learning to love something that is thrust on you against your will. If this situation is eroticised, it could resemble rape fantasies with and unconsenting victim, who learns to love his rapist, (this is not a comment on rape itself; I am talking fiction there, alright?
Why define slash?
What is the point of defining a category? If it is to make it *that* broad (by, for and about human beings)? 'Emotional responsibility, centering on a real or presumably equal relationship' is *not* a characteristic of 'slash'. Some might say it represents the ideal of slash, but certainly not its reality. Thus, it cannot make any type of story containing it "slash". You have to invent a new category to describe that (Adult stories would suit it better than slash. If you must poach an already existing word. (Equal sex stories? The problem is that slash usually portrays sex within the context of a relationship. Do we have one word in English for "sex in context"? "Bijective Adult stories" sounds nice to me; the inverse is still a bijection, so it is a relationship between equals. Or neither objective nor subjective stories (not making someone into an object, or a subject to be dominated). Categorizing is not so much pigeon-holing or nosology [1], as inventing language. Why use the word "hand" when you could, so easily, always use "appendage with four fingers and opposing thumb"?
The phrase in fic, "Birds are ok":
If not for this ritual chant, you'd have to place the beginning of the slash relationship *only* after each character had had his last girlfriend in the series. You can of course assume that Ann Holly, Marrika, Gillian, Donna, etc... all never existed, or were fronts, but that implies major rewriting of the canon, as the episodes clearly show that they were genuine relationships & affairs. 'Men are ok' is not a necessity, since you *never* (need I tell this?) see the characters having affairs with other men. I think, "birds are ok" is an axiom that ensures continuity with canon, and not a deep philosophical point of view.
Men present at slash cons:
Men getting into slash cons because they'd heard there were a lot of sexually frustrated females there, would be an unpleasant proposition. Unlikely because you get at the con through knowing someone, but I remember the screening at the entry to the yearly Gay Parade Lesbian Ball in Paris, for precisely that reason (and lo and behold! There were actually men we had to tell to be obnoxious somewhere else). But the Ball was a more public event than a slash con.
Slash as escapist:
I never considered slash as a proof of broad mindedness. More like a proof of escapism. Certainly it is for me.
Some thoughts on some reading habits:
Tastes evolves. I used to like rape stories per se, now they have to be well written with complex psychology. I caught myself having a great buzz reading non-slash Alias Smith and Jones fanzines. I thought my brains had fried. Of course, the zines were nicely written, with a lot of what felt to me like research (precise descriptions of appendicitis, but also poker, horses etc...). It went also very far in the Heyes/Curry relationship while including rather satisfactory females, I realized I'd rather have that than the sex.
Slash as community:
I get an emotional charge from a slash story also because I know I share something special with all other slash fans. Slash fans are not "lone" readers, they share numerous universes. Including with their unfortunate close friends, who were not *quite* into that fandom, but have been buttonholed into reading it. Either they become instantaneously inflamed and write numerous stories or they remain scornfully aloof and say "Everyone is allowed one serious lapse in taste". But even so, they know what we find in it. I think that one of the main elements of the definition is the sharing.
Converting to see the appeal of Napoleon Solo:
I am a Napoleon Solo convert. I thought him a superficial womanizing, arrogant asshole, ("the chin that walks like a man" [S] said). Suddenly, my perception of him changed. Now I think more of him as a slut than as a womanizer. The point is I started to see him in a different way was one of the movies, but I don't know which one. A girl told him "you move beautifully". That is not something you say to a macho womanizer (nor is it something he would appreciate, yet Solo said 'thank you" I think.) That's something you say to a belly dancer. When I see Solo with a girl, it almost feels like Female slash.
A fan addresses an apa (male) member:
Although you are not the only man I know who reads slash, you are the only one who can talk articulately about the experience of doing so. Even if your experience is personal. It can't be generalized, it can nevertheless be a touchstone. I haven't read [your book] Textual Poachers yet. I have a photocopy of it but I tend to lose things, and I read very slowly. But it is on my list of things I have to read absolutely.

Some Topics Discussed in "Menage a Deux"by [H J]

  • the comments in this section are by two people, denoted by initials
  • a review of the books "Madonnarama: Essays on Sex and Popular Culture" and "The Madonna Connection" and "Making Things Perfectlv Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture"
  • getting past one's opinions on an actor's attractiveness
  • actor slash
  • agenda fic
  • discussion of The Wave Theory of Slash
  • Textual Poachers being taught in classrooms, zines ordered as class materials, visibility
  • the differences between Textual Poachers and Enterprising Women
  • women characters in slash fic
  • views on the movie The Crying Game
  • the myths of Gene Roddenberry and liberalism
  • "elective lesbianism" and the show Picket Fences
  • discussion of how the writer's own needs and desires shapes the finished story, discusses Penthouse letters, slash, "Male readers thus draw on their own personal histories to flesh out the character background just as slash readers draw on program history"

Excerpts from "Menage a Deux" by [H J]

Getting past the unsexiness of William Shatner:
You suggest that you have trouble enjoying K/S because you don't see William Shatner as sexually attractive. I would agree with the last half of that statement in any case. Some perversions aren't worth embracing! However, that's why I find my enjoyment of K/S and other fanfic increases the more time that passes between reading it and seeing a series episode. Many fan writers find ways to make Kirk a fascinating, charming, and yes, erotic fellow. I just try to forget that Shatner once played the part on television and try to imagine some future epoch when the role is recast by some actor I like, or at least some actor who doesn't hold me in contempt.

Regarding actor slash:

...the issue of actor slash, a subject I have been pondering since Escapade. Two points: First, the star system works by substituting a fiction about actors, including their private lives, for the reality. When I read actor slash (which, of course, we all know doesn't exist), I read it as a play with the star images, not as telling me anything about the actual persons involved. Remember, even when we meet these guys at cons, they are getting paid to give a performance, and they the issue of actor slash, a subject I have been pondering since Escapade. Two points: First, the star system works by substituting a fiction about actors, including their private lives, for the reality. When I read actor slash (which, of course, we all know doesn't exist), I read it as a play with the star images, not as telling me anything about the actual persons involved. Remember, even when we meet these guys at cons, they are getting paid to give a performance, and construct an image of themselves that they think we will buy. Historically, studio contracts shaped the star's private lives to conform to those images, including restrictions on who the stars could date and marry and demands that they make political speeches which might go directly counter to their own beliefs. The commercial fan magazines were often owned by the studios and their contents were shaped by the promotional needs of their next picture. When Sam Goldwyn discovered, for example, that audience members didn't like Eddie Cantor's Jewish humor, they reconstructed his bio to make him "Russian" and he did ads endorsing Wonder Bread! The situation has changed somewhat today when actors have a greater control in shaping their own images, but star images are still a kind of promotional fiction and, as such, fair game as long as we understand their fictional status. Second, I would place works which acknowledge their status as fiction in a different category from works which claim to be non-fiction such as Kitty Kelly's biography of Nancy Reagan, the controversial new book on the Kennedy family, or many television docudramas. No one is apt to read a slash story and mistake it for a chapter in the actor's diary. Fictionalizing real people only becomes a problem when we try to pass fiction off as fact.

Anti-slash attitudes, letters, and Textual Poachers:

Anti-slash sentiment is still alive and well. I could show you some of the letters I've gotten complaining about the infamous Chapter Six of Textual Poachers! One woman suggested that the quotes in my chapter made her physically ill, even though, she wasn't, of course, you understand, not, well, er, not a homophobe. I have had several male fans tell me how brave I was to read all that stuff and how they could never do it themselves.
Agenda fic:
On Agenda Stories (i.e. stories which are written to explore a political concern and, as you note, involve redefining the aired characterizations), does Leslie Fish's The Weight fall into this class or is Fish simply a "far better writer than most fans are?" I find many of the early ST stories which have Kirk and Spock doing volunteer work for the fan's favorite charity more of a pain to read than stories like Fish's or Jane Land's Demeter which consciously challenge the ideology of the original series and invite us to rethink it in different terms.
About Gene Roddenberry and one of the myths surrounding his motives and abilities:
If you think the networks didn't know [the episode] "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield" was about race relations, I'd like to try to interest you in some real estate -- perhaps the Brooklyn Bridge or the Grand Canyon. Here, you are digging into basic Roddenberry mythology -- the courageous liberal producer battling the networks to make a serious social statement. In practice, the networks promoted the civil rights dimensions of the series and knew perfectly well what it was about. They also knew that some southern stations refused to carry that episode and I suspect it wasn't because Frank Gorsham over-acts so shamelessly. Roddenberry's willingness to write his own book about the series ("The Making of Star Trek") has meant that he frames how we talk about and think about program history. It's a nice myth, I suppose, until you consider how reactionary his treatment of women continued to be on ST:NG or the series' continued failure to live up to Roddenberry's promise to put a queer character on the show. Hmmm, Roddenberry may bear a striking resemblance to Bill Clinton, at that.

A pointed put-down of a previous trib by another fan in this apa:

Well, this one lived up to its name. As someone who has just joined the discussion, let me say that you did succeed in confusing me to the point that I don't know how to respond to this zine. Next time, could you spell out the issues you want to address a bit more fully, as [S] suggested in her lucid instructions to contributors.

No thanks to a Triple Crown:

You thought of adding Camille Bacon-Smith for an "academic triple crown" at Escapade. Well, someone might, indeed, get crowned in that situation but I am not sure I would like to be in the middle of it. I really enjoyed doing the panel with Constance Penley. We have shared the podium at academic gatherings before but it was fun to do a fan panel together. I appreciated the generous and supportive comments about our work.
Too close to fandom, too far from fandom:
On fan responses to Textual Poachers. I am amused that I am accused of being too closely aligned with the fan community by some academic writers, while most fans have told me they find the book to be "highly objective." This just goes to show you how meaningless terms like subjective and objective are, when we are really talking about competing versions of truth as experienced by different segments of the population.
The issue of publicizing slash:
[This is a subject] is one I've spent a good deal contemplating. My experience has been that it is going to get a certain amount of publicity no matter what anyone does. Much of that publicity is going to look a lot like the television and newspaper coverage of Oktobertrek (i.e. either openly sensationalistic or vaguely patronizing.) The newspaper article you reprinted is about as good as you get, except there is no recognition there of the subcultural community of fandom; zines are commodities, produced by people who are market driven, and purchased by "Trekkies" who will buy any and all memorabilia. If they didn't sell, nobody would write them, a claim that ignores the large number of stories fans write but never share with anyone as well as the fans who write fiction about really obscure series in hopes of building interest within fandom rather than capitalizing on existing market demand. And the article treats commercial and fan dealers as essentially the same. Given this situation, the academic writers serve a useful function (or at least I like to convince myself that we do.) We are respectable "experts" who can explain all of this to the news media and sometimes, at least, they get it right. I have had great luck, by and large, with radio since you can say what you want to say with less interference. I think the books also help to educate the general public about what all of this means. Both TP and EW have been used as textbooks. Now, of course, you have to decide whether the representations these books offer are good or bad, probably a little of both. They were at least both written after much longer consideration of fandom than was given by any of the usual' journalists and written with much greater influence from the fan community. So far, I am discussing the books as a kind of damage control. But I think slash has something more to gain from publicity. I think slash has something to say to the rest of society about the media, about sexuality, etc. and I would love to have those voices heard and taken seriously.

There were extensive comments on The Wave Theory of Slash:

[L S] wins the award for the most discussed APA. Everyone I ran into at Mediawest who had access to SBF, and there were rather a lot of us, wanted to discuss [L's] wave theory. Its terms and concepts are already falling into general usage in at least our comer of fandom and seemed to be useful in explaining the "generation gap" that separates different segments of slash fandom. I have even had someone suggest that Enterprising Women focuses mostly on first and second wavers, while Textual Poachers is a study of third and fourth wavers. (I don't think that's entirely true but it has gotten me thinking.)
More on the wave theory:

The whole thing would read a bit different if we saw it as a theory of slash as a genre rather than a theory of slash authorship. Lezlie frames this discussion as a series of movements away from fidelity to the series; I, being more of a 3rd and 4th waver, would read it as a movement towards an autonomous genre. Genre theory suggests that most genres emerge from previously existing generic traditions, breaking off from the parent works to begin to develop distinctive traits. The first phase of this process is one of imitation and innovation.

[snipped]

[L's] first wave can be seen in these terms, as the emergence of slash from other forms of fan writing (the 'great friendship' stories in ST, hurt-comfort, etc.) and from material explicitly contained within the program text. (We might, of course, consider a series of other shifts within fan fiction which makes the concept of slash thinkable -- from early fan writing which sought to imitate the structure and themes of the episodes to 'keep Star Trek alive' and the related debates about what constitutes "character rape" towards the gradual acceptance of stories which broke more dramatically with the aired material, rethought or reinterpreted the characters, introduced other genres into the series universe, etc.) Writers like Lezlie Fish and perhaps [Gayle F] probably did not have a conception of slash as a genre when they wrote their stories but rather saw them as simply another interpretation of the series characters. All of the first waver's stress on fidelity to the program text reflect the need of this emerging genre to stabilize itself through appeals to more firmly established texts.

[L's] second wave seems to be slash's classical phase as slash stories start to respond to other slash stories rather than simply responding to the aired episodes and the slash premise can start to be taken for granted, no longer demanding such elaborate justification. The third phase in generic evolution comes when the conventions start to feel tired to readers and writers, when new talents emerge who want to innovate within the form and feel progressively frustrated by generic restraints, who want to introduce an air of realism or self-consciousness or otherwise question its basic assumptions.

[snipped]

In slash, this might constitute [L's] third phase, where we see a new realism or a new self- consciousness (genre mixing, AUs, etc.) entering slash.

[snipped]

What's interesting about this genre-based approach is that individual writers can shift within it; they are not stuck within a particular wave or moment, but can choose to grow along with the genre. Most of the writers in later phases are consciously aware of what has come before, may have great respect for it and choose to build upon it, rather than duplicate it, within their own work.

[snipped]

I suspect now that slash has established itself as an autonomous genre and a semi-independent fandom, it will be able to contain all of the waves, provided we learn to listen to and value what is best in each of them. Like many genre critics, [L] adopts a fairly static conception of slash as a genre, treating some moments as golden ages and others as declines. She seems suspicious of certain tendencies in third and fourth wave slash which break too dramatically with the configuration of the genre at the moment of her initial encounter with it. Yet, a more dynamic model of generic evolution recognizes that genres never exist in pure forms, but rather the conventions of a genre at a particular moment represent the shared needs of readers and writers in response to the accumulated traditions of the genre.
Textual Poachers being taught in classrooms, zines ordered as class materials, visibility:
Many academics are teaching my book, some are teaching Camilla's book. A large percentage of those teaching Poachers are contacting me first. I am encouraging them to order zines for the class to read and directing them towards editors who I suspect won't be spooked to get a class-set order. I have gone to speak to some of the classes in my region. I recently connected a UC-Berkeley prof, with [M]. In all of these situations, the students will be getting into fandom via my book, so that even if the prof, is an ass (and I doubt they would be teaching my book if they were totally hostile) there will be other voices heard in this situation. Second, an increasing number of grad students are "coming out" as fans. In most cases, these are fans who happen to be media scholars, not media scholars who decided to become fans to write about it. They have ties to various kinds of fan communities. They are reading our books and trying to apply them to their own particular nooks of fandom, be they soap discussion groups on the net, gay fans of Dark Shadows. or zine publishing in War of the Worlds fandom (all of these are references to specific grad. students I have contact with.) I have been put in the position of mentoring many of these students with their work and giving them advice on how to research fandom. I won't say there will not be some academics you shouldn't trust. There were plenty before Textual Poachers but my sense is that so far, the impact has been largely benign with my book setting the example others are following.
Females in slash fic:
Slash doesn't have to be about female characters; there are other genres of fan writing to deal with those characters. What I object to is the need some slash writers have to write sentences, such as "sex had never been this good with a woman before" or the like, which romanticize male-male sex at the expense of male-female sex. There does seem to be an anti-woman sentiment behind such phrases. I know the argument that the writer is just trying to emphasize the special qualities of this relationship, but if that's the case, why not say "sex had never been this good with anyone else," a phrase common enough in most traditional romances and porn. It is the emphasis on rejecting women's bodies and glorifying men's that feels odd in the context of a female writing community.
Differences between Textual Poachers and Enterprising Women:
I have suggested that one of the key differences between Enterprising Women and Textual Poachers is that Camilla is focusing on individuals, the personal reasons why people write, the personal pains they are managing, etc. and I am focusing on group behaviors, fandom as a social and cultural community, what fan writing means in relation to that community. That does not mean that I am uninterested in individual differences, but theories are, after all, generalizations, which are more or less true, but not the hind of generalizations you locate in mathematics, where an exception disproves a rule. We just don't understand human behavior well enough to make such theories and so it seems unreasonable to apply such a standard against social theories.
Experiences as a male slash fan:
I have had a variety of experiences as a male slash fan. I have had delays in getting my orders for zines filled while the editors wrote to verify that I knew what I was ordering. I have had panelists at Mediawest suddenly point to me in the audience and demand to know what men think about a certain issue, as if there was a unified male viewpoint and I might accurately represent it, (I know women and minorities face similar treatment in other situations.) I have a surprising number of people read TP, gleam from that the fact that I am married to a fan, and somehow read past all of that stuff about being a fan myself. I have had a woman at Mediawest talk past me to [C], asking "I often wonder what men who get dragged to cons think of all of us fans." [C] politely explained that I was not dragged to the con, that I was an active fan, but it didn't sink in to this particular woman, I had also been told that I would not be welcome at a slash con, but my experiences at Escapade last year disproved that rumor. I felt very welcome indeed, something of a novelty I suppose, though I was not the only male to attend and participate in the discussions. I have not gone to any of the other slash cons so I can't speak to their climate. In general, I have found American fandom open to men and eager to hear what we have to say, as long as we mind our manners, avoid obnoxious signs of traditional male privilege and the like.

Some Topics Discussed in "Menage a Deux" by [C J]

  • hurt/comfort and hitting too close to home
  • fanworks emphasizing personality, etc. over mechanics, in contrast to mundane writers
  • Dorothy Sayers' Gaudy Night
  • copyright and fanworks
  • Eroica
  • curiosity about the differences between American and Japanese slash zines
  • many comments, some quite personal regarding two male fans not in this apa, about males and slash writing
  • the image of the fan as a misfit, journalists maligning people who like things too much
  • fans and fandom's new visibility, this fan uses the phrase "coming out" as a fan
  • comments on the essay Four Waves of Fandom
  • fandom as a way of exploring the subjectiveness of experience, writing as argument, interpreting the universe, slash as more true to the original canon universe
  • what is "female writing"?
  • why does there have to be only one definition of slash
  • lack of female characters in slash, problematic queer characters

Excerpts from "Menage a Deux" by [C J]

Sometimes too much hurt/comfort to be comfortable:

I empathize with your problems with h/c read in the light of too much reality for it to be anything other than painful.

[snipped]

But when ever I read h/c stories that, for me, go over the line, I wonder, indeed, suspect, that the author and her friends and relations have led similarly charmed lives.

Regarding a comment that fanworks emphasizing personality, etc. over mechanics, in contrast to mundane writers:

... this is true. But it is not equally true of all mundane writers. I have become increasingly aware over recent years of the differences in books produced by male and female authors. I have been reading more mysteries than SF over the last couple of years, so I am more aware of the differences in emphasis on plot and character in that context. The differences in the mystery genre are marked. Female writers generally do focus on characters and relationships far more extensively than their male counterparts. (Please, everybody, do note I say generally. There are exceptions to this in both directions, I know!) This shift seems to me to be widening with the passage of time. Generally, female writers seem to have been breaking more and more with the classic puzzle plot in recent years.

Regarding copyrights and fanworks:

You're right to point out that fair use as it applies to fan writing (and indeed, all other copyright questions as applied to fan writing) have not yet been settled. You are also right to point out that these questions are usually evoked (both by those within and outside fandom) to control what is produced, and usually because the would-be controller doesn't like the sexual content of the story. As to shady legal areas...I prefer unsettled to shady. For whatever its worth, I am not half so pessimistic as most fans about the legality of fan writing. I think strong arguments can be made for the legality of what we do, and it seems to me that until the issue IS settled, it's stupid to go around conceding guilt. Fans should remember that opinions of the legality of fanwriting that spring from the producer are not unbiased. Producers will inevitably make the strongest arguments they can to retain the most rights they can. They would be stupid to do otherwise. That doesn't mean the courts will agree with them. This shtick about all fan writing being illegal has been repeated so often everyone seems to accept it as incontrovertible. Unless the thrill of doing something illicit is central to a fan's enjoyment of writing, she should, perhaps, consider what she is conceding and on what she is basing her claim when she repeats this assertion. (On the other hand, [I] is also right about the producer's deep pockets. . . . discretion may or may not be the better part of valor. It is probably the better part of wisdom.)

Disappointment...

Chewbacca was MALE?!!! Damn! (I've had fantasies of me own, you know)

Technology:

Computers are a wonderful invention. And it is hard, having gotten used to composing on one to revert. I boxed up my typewriter and won't even try. You're right, composing by hand is, in many ways, closer to the experience. (For me, anyway. I have run into those who disagree.) Our printer is also not working. Fortunately, [H's] department has one that is and I sneak down after hours or on weekends and borrow it, on occasion.

Curiosity about Japanese slash:

Differences in Japanese and American slash would be of great interest to me. Are the same people writing this stuff? Are we writing about any of the same people? (I have, for example, heard rumor of some Eroica fiction, but never from anyone who seemed willing to share what they had, or indeed to even say whether or not they had anything.) Are methods of circulation the same? Can you elaborate on your comment that adverts are run in regular anime zines. How do these zines compare to U.S. media fandom zines? Do slash and non-slash fandoms overlap the same ways? Are zines fiction? Nonfiction? If both, is there a gender split in writing that parallels a tendency over here for males to write more of the technical stuff and females to write most of the fiction? Is there the same mix of novels and short stories? Is the emphasis on character relationships? Are they developed through examining the character's external lives or their internal mental states? Is value placed on emotional realism? What types of plots predominate? Do the stories ever deal with contemporary social issues? Do they develop new episodes/story segments of the original source material or focus on stories that the source can't do? I have heard production values lauded. Is this true for all zines or only a select few? Are the zines texts based on the written word, or do they do their own manga?

Men and slash:

If you just feel uncomfortable with men who share your biases and like the same sorts of fantasies you do, I suggest you mull over the personal implications of this discomfort. If I were to make a list of people writing in slash fandom who might be interested in looking back at you through that window, [B] and [A] would not top the list. They always struck me as very wrapped up in each other and far more exhibitionistic than voyeuristic.

[snipped]

It seems to me that when women are uncomfortable with men and slash it is frequently because they simply don't want to be hassled with somebody passing judgement on them. They are a bit bewildered at the idea that a man could like what they like or think what they think or feel what they feel. This is one issue for which I have had a ringside seat. [B] and [A] had a somewhat easier time in fandom than many men do because they walked into fandom hand in hand with each other, thus providing reason for other fans to think, even if they did wear trousers, that they might understand stories about the relationship between two similarly attired characters. What you are saying sneaks uncomfortably close to saying that men cannot be treated socially as equals and there can be no meaningful exchange between men and women about fantasies.

Don't be embarrassed to like a TV show, and liking things too much:

I'm enough of an elitist to like belonging to a select group, and enough of a rebel to enjoy thumbing my nose at society to a certain point. But there are times when general social attitudes towards fans cease to be fun. I don't believe the stigma attached to anyone who admits to liking a TV show is a positive force either in the life of the stigmatized individual or in society as a whole. I have known a few instances where friends felt truly persecuted for their tastes and a lot more where fear of the inevitable labels shaped interactions with colleagues. I have one friend, for example, who wouldn't even admit she even read science fiction to her office-mates until after she'd been working at the firm for over two years. I don't like thinking that (from a purely professional standpoint) she was probably right in her judgement. Liking TV is in bad repute among those with pretensions to intelligence, education, sophistication, etc. And liking anything with enthusiasm is suspect in some circles. Those who professionally examine media and society generally work overtime to distance themselves from the heretical combination (not only liking something culturally devalued, but active and enthusiastic engagement with it) found in fans. I am sure you are familiar with the general attitude of the media towards fans.

Fandom, and fans, as being both out of step, and in step with mainstream society:

Yes, thumbing noses at society can be fun and social attitudes certainly provide fandom with a sense of unity. I don't think, however, there is any danger of changing social attitudes this deeply ingrained overnight. Nor do I expect the masses to stampede fandom. If it picks up a few new souls, well, if they don't belong around they will probably filter out fairly quickly.

I also think works like Enterprising Women and Textual Poachers serve a function within fandom. Obviously, lots of the informational stuff about fandom won't be news to this group of readers, but I hope fen will find the academic theory interesting, that there are new ideas, perspectives, associations that they hadn't considered. They may provide useful terms within which to consider, discuss or defend our activities. I've certainly enjoyed talking about them, anyway. Discussing and reading and discussing them some more has helped me to articulate much about fandom and my relationship to it that I may have previously known, but not known quite how to explain. That's rather the way I see this APA functioning, too.

Fandom can't escape being visible, but individual fans can remain "in the closet":

I guess my feeling in short is fans do not and cannot exist in total isolation and secrecy, and I'd rather exert some control over how I am seen than have that image shaped by that "stereotypical church lady" to whom you refer. If avoiding the battle was possible, it would be worth considering. I don't think it is. As individuals, fans can stay in the closet. Fandom itself can't.

What is changing is that it is easier to come out. Some fans want to admit to who and what they are as much as some of the guys we write about do. It strikes me as extremely improbable that the analogy between closeted fans and closeted gays has escaped this group. I have "come out" as a fan more and more over recent years,and actually, I have found it a quite wonderful relief after years of shading the truth, if not outright lying. I like being able to say, "Yes, it's a TV show and I love it."

Regarding the essay, The Four Waves of Fandom:

Gee, this has been a thought provoking essay -- the sort of apa entry most of us just dream of -- the essay every one agrees with or disagrees with (usually both) provoking extensive intelligent debate! I guess I fall into the agree and disagree category, too. I agree that there have been shifts. The 4 waves are certainly a productive way of conceptualizing and discussing those shifts. (Witness all the wave theory discussions in living rooms and the hotel halls. But in so far as I see these four waves, I tend to see wave one and two as waves 1 a and b and waves three and four as waves 2 a and b.

This theory seems to postulate that the significant central relationship is that between the story and the characters: character based stories, character based slash, slashing the characters, slash as an end in itself. I think I have tended, in my own thinking, to conceptualize this shift instead as a set of relationships between the story and the writer and the universe. I certainly see the idealism in early slash -- slash as "a means to intensify [a] relationship." Where I differ from this theory is in its assertion that the stories are set "almost exclusively in the 'real' broadcast universe."

On many levels, the shift I see does concern the aired universe. It also concerns the author's assumptions about that universe. The idealism of the early stories is usually an idealism based in the beliefs of the women penning the stories. These early writers show how the two men of their choice can come together and find wholeness. But, as this essay notes, this relationship "is not 'homosexual' in the political sense" . . . " and [the sex is] not relevant or realistic to the lives of homosexual men. . ." What the stories ARE relevant to are the lives of the women who write them. (Where have I heard this before?) They utilize what is, in effect, user centered sexuality. To no small extent the author has written her own sexuality over the character's sexuality. Alienated male characters find the sort of supportive relationships we would all like to find ourselves. This translation is not literal, but generally the authors have a positive feeling towards the sexuality expressed. Problems abound, frequently within the relationship, but those problems are there to be overcome and to bring the characters ultimately even closer together as they learn to accept and cope with both the best and the worst of their partners and themselves.

Later slash writers, focus less on finding an ideal relationship and more on exploring the world the characters inhabit and how they might interact with it and with each other in that particular context. Can we call this universe centered sexuality? Universes, like our world, offer any number of sexual options. The author experiments with stories that are not necessarily a direct reflection of what she would like to find in a relationship, but of the types of relationships that might be appropriate to the character. Yes, the stories are still interesting to her, but as a different type of fantasy -- not so much a daydream of what might be, but perhaps of what might be if she were someone else.

Like all writing, whether slash (first or fourth wave), is seen as good writing depends on whether it is seen as plausible. Whether any flavor of slash is plausible boils down to much the same set of criteria as whether slash in general is seen as plausible. Does it make sense? This (as someone I know has pointed out) boils down to underlying assumptions about human nature. And I do find some scenarios implausible. I gather from the conversations I hold that most fans do.

It is my occasional impression that early wave writers (like many non-fans) are upset or uncomfortable because they see late (esp. fourth) wave writers as writing their own sexuality. While usually being reasonably polite about it, they see some of the passions and practices described in those stories as a bit sick. They developed slash as a way of writing these warm, loving relationships between men and fourth wave writers are romping about in these dystopian universes and screwing all that nice sex up.

My sense is that 4W writers are attracted to a range of interpretations of character and IW writers are more attracted to a "true" character.

What I love about fandom:

What attracts me to it the most (social aspects aside) is the range of interpretations within fandom of each series, each character, each relationship, all of which are grounded in the series and quite defensible ways of making sense of what we have been shown.... To me, seeing different perspectives on these TV shows, understanding how people can reach such very different understandings based on the same sets of source material, makes the whole world make more sense. I always have the sense, but frequently have trouble pinning down support for the feeling that we all live in slightly different universes. I know experience is subjective. Fandom helps me grasp how that subjectivity actually operates. When I read 15 different PGPstories or 20 versions of how Bodie and Doyle relate to each other, it is tremendously exhilarating, tremendously liberating. All these ways of seeing, of understanding, all laid out and supported in ways I understand.

It has been said that all writing is argument. This claim makes perfect sense to me. Each story is an interpretation of the universe, of the characters, and must contain support for that interpretation. Stories that simply assert that (hardened cynic of your choice A) starts sending (hardened cynic of your choice B) nauseatingly sweet (noun of your choice) without any explanation for this apparent shift in character are implausible. To me.

Regarding the wave theory:

None the less, this means, overall, far from seeing 4W slash as straying from the original source material, I see later slash as perhaps more true to the original universe. Re the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea example, apparently intended to demonstrate that 4th wavers slash just for the sake of slashing -- why does there have to be a "self-sustaining Voyage fandom" for the story to meet first wave criteria? As an ardent enthusiast of a rather small fandom (even if it is over- represented in this APA) I rather resent the implication that the size of the fandom has anything to do with its membership's relation to its source. The author may have written the story for one other Voyage fan. She may have written it for herself and sent it out in the hopes that it might find another, or in the hopes that people less obsessed with her universe might enjoy it anyway, or perhaps even hoping to stimulate interest in other fans in her universe.

Why only one definition of slash:

Have you ever gotten a group of fen in a room and asked them to define "science fiction"? To define "gay"? They've been working on defining SF a hell of a lot longer than we have on "slash." I was raised in classrooms that taught the "correct" definitions of words. (Not to mention the correct meaning of stories or symbols, the correct themes to shape my understanding of books, etc.) And the teacher knew all the "right" answers because some authority told her the answers. Well, damn it, I'm the authority here and slash can mean anything I want it to. If I want it to have a fluid definition, it can change from context to context.

Lack of female characters, queer characters:

Queer characters can used in a homophobic manner as easily as they an be treated as other humans. And yes, I have read queer characters by queer authors I still found . . . very problematic.

I have pondered the absence of female characters in slash (and fanfic in general) and it does sometimes bother me. But on the whole, I find I am happier reading stories that exclude female characters altogether than I am reading stories that present female characters in a light I find offensive. That probably suggests all sorts of dreadful things about me. Maybe next ish people will tell me what.

Men and slash cons:

Cons,however, are a semi-public space. I greet barring participants on the basis of sex with the same enthusiasm I would barring people on the basis of race or sexual orientation. I would be delighted if societal attitudes changed so much that slash cons were stampeded by men. It's not going to happen soon. So what is the worst thing that can happen? Most of the men I have seen around slash have been husbands or gay. I have yet to see a man at a slash con wander in and get all offended (and the men I see at slash panels at general media cons are more curious than anything else. A little education never hurt anyone.) So what is the worst case scenario - a man wanders in who disagrees? If he is disruptive in unacceptable ways, the con organizers can ask him to leave. So the real problem arises if he sits there quietly... a man who may or may not agree with us. Is the possibility of sitting next to someone who may not agree with us really something that can be rationally balanced against overt sexual discrimination? And how does keeping men out lessen that risk? I disagree with plenty of women, too.

Some Topics Discussed in "Vice Files"

Excerpts from "Vice Files"

  • MediaWest*Con and hotels
  • fandom and profit
  • fanart, art references, and plagiarism
  • fandom and visibility and self-definition
  • the controversies at the recent OktoberTrek regarding snoopy journalists
  • the story series Wind and Tree Song by Keiko Takemiya
  • figure skating
  • the "For Better or Worse" cartoon strip, and many newspapers banning it when it ran a series that featured a gay character coming out to his family and friends

Regarding MediaWest*Con:

And it seemed to us that this year far too many people were spread all across the various hotels in the area - it cut down a LOT on the late night 'hanging out' because everyone had to go back to another hotel to sleep, or drop off their purchases, etc. I think that was also the reason there were fewer decorated doors this time. Hopefully next year the United Way convention won't have people staying late & holding hotel rooms for the first 2 nights of Media (that's what we heard had done it - by the time the late-stayers left, the folks staying for Media were already settled in in their other hotel rooms & didn't have the time/energy to move to the con one. (or, like us, they paid ahead of time for the whole thing so that they didn't have to worry about accidentally spending their hotel money...) Hope fully next year more folks will be in the con hotel again. The Hojo's wasn't bad, it just seemed a little...worn...) It was a fun con though!

Some War of the Worlds music vids:

Does anyone out there know where I can get some WotW music videos? [M] & [E] said they know someone did a bunch to music from Les Miserables but I've only seen one...

Regarding fanart, profit, and filing the serial numbers off of fanfic:

Okay, I was only going to bring this up in here if the situation arose, but I definitely feel the need to clarify myself. No, I am not doing fannish art for profit, although breaking even would be nice. However, yes, a fan artist has the option of selling his/her product, but also all a fan writer has to do to have the same option is change names and certain details and try to sell it. I have not read any personally, but I know there are some slash stories that are professionally published. Don't tell me a writer has no option to sell his/her work. All I'm saying is that I think fan artists and fan writers should be treated equally - a fan artist should not be less deserving of thanks because they can sell their art at an art auction. Being thanked for our efforts makes fan artists feel good, just as it makes writers feel good. It's depressing to think people believe we don't need the thanks because we can get the money.

About fanart and photo references:

Suzan Lovett and plagiarism, first, it wasn't Paulle who said it. Second, what was said was that the illos from some zine I haven't seen were based on illos from Vallejo's Mirage, which I also haven't seen, and all I said was that I couldn't judge because all the art I had seen by her at that point were portraits. I also asked if my artwork based on Nagel's pictures counted as plagiarism since I was using the style because it fit well with MV. I also raised the question that since Vallejo uses models in costume for paintings, would basing an illo on his illos really be considered plagiarism, since it's just an extra step between photo ref and illo. Of course, if the artist used all the elements of his paintings in the illo, costume, setting, and all, then it could be plagiarism, but if all they used was the pose, I'm back to my original question. Anyway, Paulle did not compare using photo refs to plagiarizing!

[snipped]]

Yes , I get more satisfaction; if people are willing to thank me for my efforts. If the assumption is that because I can sell my art for money, I don't deserve the thanks a writer should get, where do I get satisfaction? Again, it's not impossible for a writer to sell something profession ally - and, if they have the skill to make the characters at least marginally original, they can sell it without worrying about the show copyrights. They can sell it professionally, while we artists, if we draw Illya or Napoleon or Riker or Picard, we are stepping on licensing toes & probably couldn't sell it anywhere other than a fannish setting.

Comments on the Alex/Tris story, Living on Tulsa Time:

Some missing divisions between events made it a little difficult to follow (the one I can think of immediately is a break between returning to the second show, and finishing the second show) without re-reading sections. The story itself is pretty good, but some sections feel like they were dealt with too quickly. There were also some parts where keeping track of who was talking was just a little difficult. I don't mean to pick - I actually enjoyed this a lot, and it's not like any part was impossible to figure out, but on an initial reading it doesn't flow too well.

Journalists at OktoberTrek:

Part of the problem both there and at Shore Leave (& possibly some others, but I'm not certain) is that a membership is not required to enter the dealers room (there's some legal reason for this that I'm not clear on), so technically those areas are not a private party.

Fandom and visibility:

I think that because people are starting to hear more about fandom it needs more good publicity - sort of in self defense. As long as "They" know we exist anyway, if they don't hear anything truthful and informative from inside, they're 'just going to continue to come up with their own speculations...

"Wind and Tree Song":

The specific story they refer to as "the first boy-love comic told of a boy, repeatedly abused by his father, who finds solace in the arms of comrades at a boarding school in 19th century France" is one I know very well - it's Wind and Tree Song by Keiko Takemiya. It's 17 collected volumes long, and is MUCH more complex than they stated. It also sorta has two endings - if you stop at volume 15, it has a happy ending (for the longest time we actually thought that WAS the true ending. Then we found out there were 2 more volumes...) If you like B7 & tragedy, read thru volume 17, 8 it's one of the saddest manga stories I can think of...It was also animated a couple of years ago with storyboarding done by one of the BIG anime names! It's very beautiful, although they did compress the story a little much.

Differing views on fandoms in multi-media zines:

Stories in 'Dyad' about shows I'd never seen before led to my involvement in Wiseguy and War of the Worlds fandom, and I'm very glad I discovered them. A single story in a fandom I'm not interested in doesn't bother me - I consider it a novelty, and if I don't like it, I don't have to read it. What annoys me is the fact that despite the gods know how many Professionals fanzines there are (seems to be becoming almost as numerous as ST), there are almost always 2 or 3 Pros stories in every multi-media zine. I am not a Pros fan. I'm starting to not like Pros because of supersaturation! I liked 'Dyad' (despite the sloppy proofing and stories like 'The Colonial Affair') because of the 'no Pros' policy in the guideline, but now she's had to change that because a lot of people won't buy the zine if there aren't any in it. Even zines which are entirely devoted to another show tend to crop up with Pros crossovers! I realize there are large amounts of other fandoms also in many multi-media zines, and most of my bitching is because I don't like Pros much, but it really does seem that they pop up in multi-media zines more than others...However, I understand the feeling of being an Old Trekker - having been in Anime fandom for 15 (GAWD!) years, I can tell you, it's exactly the same feeling...

Regarding the Wave Theory of Slash essay:

Have to admit that while I like many shows and often slash the characters (4th wave?), I still tend to look for proof in the aired show (1st or 2nd wave?) (That's why I have arguments with K/S, since I don't see it in Spock as he's aired on the shows/movies. Kirk would screw anything that doesn't move fast enough, but it's not in Spock's character...). And, unlike 1st or 2nd wave, I have a real hard time thinking that 2 men who engage in gay sex aren't gay or bi...So, since I seem to have a bit of each, do we average the waves and call me 3rd wave?

Some Topics Discussed in "Shadowy Dream"

Excerpts from "Shadowy Dream"

William Shatner and his lack of attractiveness:

Are you an I the only ones who don't see William Shatner as sexually attractive? Personally, I can't read K/S without gagging over the descriptions of Kirk.

A fandom journey:

I've been in fandoms since'76 when I first attended August Party and met Trinette Kern. I did some stuff for her back then. Then, in'79, I went to Anime fandom where my heart is, for the most part, still is. I came back to media fandom in 1990, and I didn't recognize the landscape. Don't feel overwhelmed by the changes in it. Run with what you like. If it's not" in style "right now, give it a few years. What comes around, goes around...

The Wave Theory of Slash:

Well, for the most part, I guess I fall between the 3rd and 4th waves of slash fandom. My only problem with 1st and 2nd wave is the "I'm not gay, I just love my partner" attitude. The only place I can possibly see that attitude working in the slightest is S/H where they're already extremely emotionally involved and might, very naively believe they're not gay because they don't do the kinds of things the stereotypical faggots do. S/H, for all the supposed sophistication they're credited with, really are very naive about a lot of things...

Not a fan of the initial interest of academics and fandom:

Personally, I'll be happier when academia gets off the "look at the weirdos and faggots" aspect and really get into a true analysis of the phenomena.
Slash and original characters and created universes:
I guess I feel that slash really needs to be a story based on pre-created universe. My opinion is that once you have stepped into the realm of original characters (rather than one of the set being an original character), you've stepped out the realm of slash, though a story like that could be considered "slashy". I, for one, do not Consider Tris and Alex to be slash. The universe is an original one even with its strong basis in Led Zeppelin history. It seems to be very slashy, but I'd call it gay fiction myself.

Is heterotica slash?

IMHO,it isn't slash if it's not homoerotic. Between men and women it falls into the drama category (and if it has sex it's erotica). If you add too many definitions to something then you end up having to make the definition useless. Slash can be erotic and it can be dramatic, but it's a specific type of drama and a specific type of eroticism. In my own definition of it, heterotica is not included. Though, I guess it could be "slashy", but being "slashy" doesn't necessarily make it slash. I knew you may think of splitting hairs here, but if you don't limit the definition somewhat, you might as well not have it.

If I were in charge of a group that produced a "woman—only" space, I would not deny access to a man who felt that he was truly, in spirit, a woman. This person's gender is female, but the box, without a doubt is a man's body. I would put Dil/Fergus slash as male/male. It may seem to be narrow-minded of me to take the body into account here, but I just couldn't completely ignore the

biological fact that my partner was of whatever sex. No matter what people write in slash, the responses to each sex are different (at least to me) and don't really crossover. (Another one of my complaints in slash is the constant "Oh, the sex is the same as being with a woman". NOT!!)

Regarding men and slash and women-only spaces:

The only question about [D, male fan] and slash conversations is does he state from the onset "I read slash and like it"? If he does, then those people are narrow-minded. I certainly would have no problems talking to a man about slash, but I know I assume that men don't read it (because none of the men I regularly hang around with do), so I won't talk about slash in front of them. But I certainly would have no personal reason to keep a man out of "slash space" if he's interested. I don't like segregation.

Some Topics Discussed in "Ghost Speaker"

Excerpts from "Ghost Speaker"

  • a mention of the British apa "The Women's Periodical"
  • a Jesus/Matthew story by Jane Carnall done as a Dorothy Sayers pastiche
  • a film called An Actor's Revenge, made in Japan in 1963, directed by Kon Ichikawa
  • Robin of Sherwood and Robin Hood, slash
  • a mini-essay called "For the 'Little Doyle' School" -- it described the kinds of foppish Ray Doyle stories this fan had seen: The Cinderella, The Spoilt PlayDoyle, The Independent-Minded Free Spirit, The Successful Model/Artist/Actor, The Equally Successful C15 Agent, The Waif, The Doyle-Who-Has-Lost-the-Love-of-his-Life, The Disillusioned Doyle, The Scatterbrain
While I can see what people mean when they say Avon is androgynous, I'd certainly never thought of Servalan as being in any way ambiguous. But perhaps that's simply because when I was fourteen I wanted to be Avon — and when I was sixteen I wanted to have Servalan, Or her to have me. Whichever. Also, anyone who wears high-heeled shoes for a five mile trek over sand dunes is utterly, totally feminine, no question. He or she is also an idiot, no question, but then we knew that about Servalan anyway... why else would anyone have sex with Tarrant?

I suspect that M. Fae Glasgow could write a slash story in which both men break none of the 'Ten Commandments of Masculinity', and it would be a great, if depressing, read. I say M. Fae Glasgow because in "A Summer's Outing" and in

"Rough Trade", and to a certain extent in "Subject to Change" she's written stories where one of the partners is keeping all ten Commandments — and that one is hurt more than the one who breaks them.
True enough, Richard Carpenter owns copyright of the Robin of Sherwood TV series, which puts slash stories written specifically in that series (Nasir/Will Scarlett) in the same grey legal area as any other mediafiction... but when writing about a legend, as Richard Carpenter did, if the writing is any good at all it becomes part of the legend, and therefore as open to re-telling as the legend itself was. That's part of the risk of writing about a legend. That's a very shaky legal position, of course, at least for the next fifty years, but as a writer, it seems the only possible position.
I have read a chunk of Heat Trace in first-draft form two or three years ago, and was - not exactly bored by it, because it was well-written - but it left me really not caring whether or not I found out what happened to Doyle and Bodie in the end. Your criticism of the novel does make me more interested in it, though.
I enjoyed "Living on Tulsa Time", which surprised me, because I have no interest in rock music and would have said I had no interest in stories based on people I didn't know. I don't know Led Zeppelin, but now I know what Tris and Alex look like... hey, they're cute. So's the story.
I shared my short story "Discovered Under The Stairs" with a bunch of mostly- straight, mostly-nonmediafan friends in an all-women apa. (One of them asked me define "slash".) Talking about it with one of them, she enjoyed it; but said it wasn't pornography, because it had literary merit. I said it was pornography, because it was written for and around a sex scene, nothing else. Why do some people so strongly wish to repudiate the word 'pornography' about anything that they find enjoyable or even likeable? Why do I so strongly insist that I do so write pornography - even though many of my slash stories have no explicit sex scenes?
I never wanted Spock or Avon for my lover, I wanted to be Spock or Avon, as I knew they really were, not as the TV showed them.

Some Topics Discussed in "Yamibutoh"

  • St. Seiya: the groups that do gold saint stories, and the groups that do bronze saint stories

Excerpts from "Yamibutoh"

Perhaps a vote for keeping slash underground:

lf slash becomes legit, I imagine some people will look for something more shocking, a lot won't. It depends on why they are reading.

Perhaps why fans dislike the term sci-fi:

Sci-fi was coined by the "establishment" as a derogatory term for SF, hence the dislike.

Some terminology, a mention of Blake's 7 femslash:

I think, perhaps the dearth of "queer" heroic females (Please when did this word become PC? I'm in Japan) may be partly a problem with stereotyping. Since men have a culturally ingrained tendency to see strong females as emasculating and "dikes," any author who makes a character with that orientation is likely to be accused of falling in with male values. Actually there seems to be a lot of female slash in B7 fandom.

Some Topics Discussed in "Lunatic Fringe"

A helpful visual in issue #2, created to assist Wiseguy fans of The Terranova Situation, long-running fictions series that had just begun. See that page for very detailed character stats, including information on these penises. Note: that the penis sizes do not correlate in expected ways to the character's shoe sizes!

Excerpts from "Lunatic Fringe"

Stepping back a bit:

Regarding fanzines and MP's publishing schedule, I think I've made some sort of mistakes and its time to make adjustments. Dealing with the premiers of two fanzines (McPikus & Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink) plus a convention all between year-end and March 5, is ~ well, dumb. I'm not doing that anymore. Fan publishing is essentially a hobby that I love, and letting it get out of hand like this was silly.

Actor slash:

ACTOR SLASH. This seems to be the current 'hot topic', and I don't even slightly see why. "Bodie" in Master of the Revels was "Bodie" transplanted from Pro's, and certainly he wasn't "Lewis Collins" the acting school graduate, bum around the country, play the drums be a hairdresser drink Corona and live in the desert-kind-of-guy.

I had an epiphane when I realized that William Russ went to acting school for years, lived in Maui with his significant other of many years, surfed almost every day and never used guns. That ain't Roger Lococco, pal. And that real human being isn't the personality that turns me on. It so happens that the character's personality Roger, or whoever) is directly related with William Russ' body. and it's here that the confusion seems to some. We've learned to get hot over the visual stimulus of William Russ' (okay, let's go back to Pro's) Lewis Collins' face and body. But that's just the visual stimulus, it isn't the character traits of Lewis Collins that get us. That get me, anyway. He has nothing to do with Bodie. Using his other characters has much more to do with using his physical looks combined with Bodie's personality attributes.

As I understand it, the concern of fan readers/writers is that they're afraid they'll piss off the actors, if the actors learn that their own names and histories are being used in slash fanfic. Certainly, somebody could probably prosecute based on slander or libel (though I don't know if they could win if they did). Certainly, if I were an actor, it would bug me because I'd see it as yet another unauthorized intrusion on my personal life. I wouldn't mind the use of my body (i.e. my physical description coupled with Bodie's character, personality ind history) because Bodie isn't me. and I'd hope like hell I never lost that distinction as an actor. But "Lewis Collins" or whoever is that "me", in my paradigm, would piss me off like no one's business. I'd take it personally.

As a writer, I'd never be so presumptuous as to use ANY real person's name, actor or not, without their permission - and I'd never try to ask an actor to let me use his/hers in what's basically still viewed by the mundane world as "pornography". ((In practical terms, yes. I'd use Reagan's name if I referred to the president in a 1980's setting, but I wouldn't use [fan's entire name redacted] name as a "sample lesbian woman living in Westwood", nor would I use Lewis Collins' name as a "sample actor living in XXX who needs Bodie & Doyle's protection", it simply isn't necessary. And [B] gave me her permission to use her name in this context --I asked! Lewis Collins didn't, but for the sake of the example. I'll let it slide without bothering him.))

I just noticed that using a real person to satisfy my sexual demands feels like rape. Real rape, not fantasy erotic rape. I feel like I'm violating a real human being if, for example, Bodie & Doyle are protecting "Lewis Collins" who falls head over heels for Doyle or Bodie and starts chasing after him, or whatever. This is a very reactionary emotional response, not thought out, so please be gentle with me for expressing it....

Rape and partner rape in fanfiction:

Like some people I know. I like the idea of Doyle getting raped by a biker gang (hiya, Houston!). Likewise, I like even more the idea of Doyle getting raped by Bodie, if only the characters could support that behavior (which they don't without severely tweaking :hem). I think that K/S (on which you based your comments) was a PERFECT environment for partner rape fans, because it was completely in character for Spock to rape Kirk (pon farr, the beatific "extenuating circumstance"). And when a friend rapes a friend, there's that much more emotional turmoil: betrayed trust, greater vulnerability because this person knows you, knows your weaknesses, your secrets, whatever. Kirk rusted him. Kirk never once thought that Spock would be a threat to him; all of that stuff just raises the emotional stakes that turn me on about rape fantasy in the first place.

I'd like to posit that it was Spock's extenuating circumstance (pon fair making partner rape believable) that has made partner rape the subject in other fandoms. Starsky & Hutch would never rape each other; that would be an antithesis of the emotional commitments they have toward each other. Bodie & Doyle would probably never rape each other (because they know that petit morte would become grand morte just as soon as they finished, probably). But they wouldn't, not reasonably. However, the K/S paradigm that was provided to us gave us the idea, the possibility, and rape fantasy readers and writers have been running with it ever since, Yea!

Zine piracy and the recent open letters circulating, specifically Open Letter to Fandom by Alexis Fegan Black Regarding Zine Pirating

FAN PUBLISHERS MAKE MONEY. Yes, I know this is a blanket statement. Yes, I know that there are definitely exceptions. I found myself on the horns of a dilemma regarding this issue, and the following is the result.

I was angry with other publishers who have been implying that publishing zines costs them money from their own pockets, and/or that being a member of "the Kinko's Crowd" is destroying publishers and zine fandom. I was particularly angry that these publishers acted as if they were speaking for publishers as a group, rather than just for themselves.

The reality as I see it is a little different; zine publishing can be viewed as a business or as a pleasure, and is in fact both. As a business, it is one that generates a healthy profit over the actual expenses of creating that fanzine (based on my experience and understanding of my own and several other publishers' practices, zines are marked up by at least 100%). Any business suffers when the relationship between supplier and consumer becomes adversarial. This is what the complaining, finger-pointing publishers have been doing—creating an adversarial relationship between themselves and the people to whom they want to sell. I believe that they're not helping anyone, and that they're hurting the whole fanzine social group.

In my experience, quite a few publishers funnel their profits back into fandom in very legal, legitimate ways: they buy plane tickets to go to conventions at which they sell their zines, they pay for their hotel and their meals, and they can legally, morally and in all ways call that convention a "business trip". Uncle Sam couldn't even frown at this practice. Other publishers take that profit and pocket it, and as far as I'm concerned, that's .heir business (no pun intended). It isn't my concern what a publisher does with her profits, or what additional expenses she generates against those profits (like going to the con on sold-zine money).

My concern, and my frustration over this issue, is that there seems to be a lie being propagated by zine publishers - tacit by those publishers who don't refute it, and overt by those who aggressively promote it. That zine is that zine profits are so minimal as to be threatened by private, "unauthorized" copying (for various reasons--because the reader only likes one story and can't see paying $15-30 for one story: because the reader is broke, and wouldn't have bought the zine anyway: because the reader is trying to make a political/financial statement to the particular publisher, whatever) is a normal, and in my opinion, appropriate part of fandom.

Zine publishing is also supposed to be a pleasure, and the profits made aren't enough, in my opinion, to do . it solely for the money (though a few publishers seem to do just that, i.e. fandom is their only "job"), I really think that, if it isn't a pleasure and the money is the more important goal, to the extent that sellers are willing to start fighting with consumers (which doesn't work in business OR in pleasure, in my experience), then fandom is better off without those publishers anyway.

I notice that I sound like I'm speaking for others, here, and in fact, I sort of am. I certainly haven't been authorized to do so, and I would love some feedback from those publishers who are members of this APA. I believe that my priority is first, a fun, interactive, creative relationship with fandom. I believe that some individual copying my zine for their own use is far less important an issue than the subsidy I get from the zines I do sell, and I believe that I work hard to produce a product that I'm proud of....

Incidentally, I'm a member of the Kinko's crowd. If there's a zine from which I only want one story (multimedia, for example), and I get my shit together enough to get to the copy shop, then I'll copy that story. I think that many fans do this, I think it's traditional fan behavior to do this, and I think there's nothing wrong with doing this. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

MP promotes this policy with its own zines. If there's only one story you want from our multimedia zines, then DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY BUYING IT AND TRYING TO RESELL IT. Borrow it from a friend. Copy the story. We'll make our sale to the person you would have resold your zine to, and the same amount of money will still change hands.

We believe that quality pays off. If you like our work, you'll buy from us. If you don't, you'll ignore our stuff or you'll get the bits of it you like in some other way. Support our press or not, as you think best.

The one thing about which I am in complete agreement with the recent dissenting publishers is mass zine copying and reselling, what people keep terming "the [B V] phenomenon" [2]. You don't have my permission to make the money I'd make by selling my zines when you haven't put the hours of sweat, time, attention and care into them. If you mass copy and resell MP zines and I find out about it, I'll do everything I can to make sure you'll be unhappy with the results.

Being a member of "the Kinko's Crowd" doesn't, in my opinion, make a person a "zine pirate". Mass copying and reselling of a zine that you didn't produce yourself, does. That's the distinction as I see it. and I welcome comments, from editors, publishers and consumers alike. END RANT.

Some Topics Discussed in "Paradoxical Ramblings"

Excerpts from "Paradoxical Ramblings"

In need of panel notes:

I am ashamed to admit that I didn't make it to the "Anti-feminism in slash fandom" panel [at Escapade] [3]. It seems like I hardly made it to any panels at all. Sorry. We really need to hire someone to go to all the panels and give cogent reports so that we can hear everything we missed. Oh well.

Regarding MediaWest*Con, the Kinko's Crowd, and zine piracy:

Con reports: Well, since the last trib, Media has come and gone. For those of you who weren't there, many of who where got together and ran our mouths on a variety of topics (from the size of the APA to why we dislike giving negative criticism face-to-face) for about three and a half hours in two different locations. It was a lot of fun. One of the insights I got from the discussion of zine pirating and the people who are currently coming down hard on the "kinko's crowd" is that I'm in zine publishing, and random in general for the long haul. Therefore, it is worth it to me to have someone make an illegal copy of the current zine, or a story from it, in the hopes that in the future they'll buy stuff from MP. If I alienate them now, forcing them to buy something they're not sure that they want, or taking OTT steps to prevent piracy, I may be endangering the long-term relationship with that person. In that vein, MP has announced a "money back guarantee". From Mediawest onward, anyone who doesn't feel s/he got her/his money's worth from an MP zine can return it to us within a month of buying it (and in salable condition) and receive a refund of the cover price (not postage, sorry). We think this will work for us, because we WANT the feedback if we're doing such a bad job that people are dissatisfied with our zines.
Feedback and crit as inherently selfish:
Another insight is just how selfish my own zine critiques and LOCs are. I had this idea that I was doing good by letting editors and authors know what I thought of their stories. Telling them what I thought was "good" or not. What I got from this conversation was that this criticism is self-motivated. I like reading the zines I determine to be "good". By trying to influence the editor to publish "good" zines, I'm really trying to increase the number of zines I'd like to read. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but it was a new one for me, and I enjoyed it.

Comments on Jane of Australia's fic Game for Two Players: online here:

re Jane and "Game for Two Players", we published it for two reasons. One (and most important in this particular case) I do have a publishing partner who likes this kind of story. Two, I thought it was one of the better things she's written, i was glad to have it in the zine.

Also, I don't dislike all of [Jane of Australia's] stuff. I happen to LOVE "Magikal". I thought this was in part due to the fact that Zax was clearly a son of a bitch character to start out with, and so she couldn't make him as "nice-nice" as she often does. There's a real thrill of fear for me in reading Pros, and when she takes the threatening pieces out of the characters, she takes out a lot of the fun of the story for me. That's all.

Pimping Tris/Alex, an update:

Tris/Alex campaign: Fannishly, I have been happily pimping Tris and Alex to the people on the slash list with very good results. [B R] is half-way through the novel and loves it. [A]s says she's enjoying it (hope to see comments from you in this ish), and a woman named [E] from the Bay Area has also asked me to send stuff to her. Yea!! [C] and I will just be known as the small-fandom missionaries. If she doesn't beat you into Wiseguy, I'll weasel you into Tris/Alex and/or Zep. Sounds like fun to me. My current plan is devious. I just send stuff to people, letting them know if they don't like it, they can send it back. ([K], I have a set I've made for you. If you don't have it by now, nag me mercilessly!!) Of course, I'm confident that by the time they read it, they'll be completely in love with it, so I'm really not taking that big a risk. (Yes! [B] loves it, Sandy loves it, she's passed it to her friend [T], [K] loves/is made uncomfortable by it, [A] loves it, [A] is reading it as we speak!!!)
More on Tris/Alex:
Sandy, one of my new T/A converts, pointed out something interesting, and one reason I may not be spreading this as quickly as I'd like. It is pretty accepted that in fanfic you don't have to introduce the characters, since everyone is working on the same source material and therefore has a pre-existing description of their looks, histories and behaviors. Tris/Alex is like fanfic squared. Because there's only one time line, only one interpretation of the characters, and it's assumed that you've read it all, there is even less to make it accessible to people just getting into it. Jump in at the deep end or not at all. I'd be interested in comments on the story I posted last time,and I hope you all have made them promptly and I'm reading them as you read this.

A fan addresses the author of The Wave Theory of Fandom:

You seem to be coming down pretty hard on the 4th wavers. Besides, where would you put Tris/Alex on this continuum?

Real person slash:

We regularly objectify the characters, what is so different about doing it to real people. I don't really believe it's doing them any harm.

Slash and male intimacy:

Welcome! Thanks for the stuff on the men's movement. It reminded me, too, of what happened when I tried to explain the attraction of slash to my dad. He loved SH, we used to watch it together. When I told him I was into slash (defined it, etc.),he was upset because he felt that it was a betrayal to see buddy relationships turned into sexual ones — as if the addition of sexuality contradicted the friendship, rather than enhanced it.
A fan is thrilled with her new computer:
It's an Epson 486SLC25MHz, 4 meg of RAM, a 120 meg hard drive, and I love it!!

Some Topics Discussed in "But T-shirt Slogans ARE Intellectual Discourse" (#1)

Despite the trib being "owned" by two fans, Sandy and [N], all comments in this section were by Sandy Herrold.

Excerpts from ""But T-shirt Slogans ARE Intellectual Discourse"" (#1)

The Professionals panel at Escapade:
The pros panel was one of the highlights, a full room of crazied give and take. Nice meeting Constance Penley and Henry Jenkins. Too bad we couldn't have gone for the academic Triple Crown and gotten Camille as well.

Regarding the newly-formed slash mailing list (not yet called Virgule-L: Quotation2| The slashfen e-mail list is still going strong - we've added a few new people, and have about the same number as this apa, now. 5 or 6 of us are in both forums, (hi [L], [J], [S], and [A]), and part of at least [L's] and my tribs appeared there first.}}

Feminization of male characters in slash:
We had a conversation on the slash e-mail list about feminiation in slash, and finally decided that the 2 couples least affected by feminication are Blake/Avon and Vinnie/Frank. The next question is why? Frank is as small and weasely as Vila (though of course, much tougher), Blake has Doyle's curly hair, (though he's much bigger). Anyone have any profound thoughts on this?

Some slash fans attraction to B-minus shows:

...our attraction to B-minus shows being because of their "emotionalism." Your quote was "I know I like it, but I also know it's not good television." I have all sorts of 'guilty pleasures' like that so I understand what you mean emotionally, but if we like shows like S&H and Wiseguy for their emotionalism, why are so few of us soap opera fans? I use the term Guilty Pleasures for fanfic that I don't think is well written but that I re-read over and over. One classic one (that I can't find my copy of — damnit) is one where Doyle wakes up with a hangover realizing that once again they have gotten drunk and had sex, and thinks he has seduced Bodie (and is of course feeling incredible guilt) when Bodie confessed how awful it makes him feel that Doyle feels he should (as such a good mate) sleep with Bodie, but has to get himself totally blotto before he can do such a disgusting thing. (Sorry, pronouns are mating all over that last sentence.) The story is waaaaaaaaay over the top, but I love it.

A possible violation of the fourth wall regarding slash fanworks and Quantum Leap?:

The slash e-mail list has been having a long conversation about slash being" outed" in QL. Do you actually know whether Dean Stockwell was handed slash? Basically I'm asking, 'is this a fannish legend,'(like the one that insists that Gareth Thomas wrote grammar corrections in the margins [of a slash story], and then sent it back, saying basically, thanks, but it's not my cup of tea? I'd love to have that one corroborated/blown away as well), or do you know who actually gave it to him?

Some Topics Discussed in "But T-shirt Slogans ARE Intellectual Discourse" (#2)

Despite the trib being "owned" by two fans, Sandy and [N], all comments in this section were by Sandy Herrold.

Excerpts from ""But T-shirt Slogans ARE Intellectual Discourse"" (#2)

Misogyny in slash fic:

There's been a lot of talk about misogyny in slash recently, I realized (while watching the 'Amber and Vinnie arc 'better known as the Mob arc of Wiseguy) that I think that any woman that would get involved with ANY slash hero (over the edge copy, revolutionary, starship captain...) is too stupid for me to respect. I think that the very things I like about them, absolutely invalidate them as possible love objects. (Sex objects, fling objects: that's different...)

Too many friends, too few LOCS:

I used to be a dedicated LOCer, but more recently (perhaps as I have gotten to know more writers and editors, and am more likely to be criticizing someone I have some—even if tenuous—relationship with) I have almost stopped. I would love to hear from the editors/writers in this apa about LOC's. Do you care? Do you ever get negative ones, or are all fans wimps? Do you pass them around to all your friends saying what jerks they are for not loving your stuff (just a little paranoia there...). I would really love to know.

Lots of disappointment in zines lately:

I have been very disappointed in many recent zines, and am trying to decide if there is anything I can do not to be so disappointed,(other than lowering my own standards!). I have read a lot of zines since last ish - Most of them were trash, and some were worse. That's ok; I believe in Sturgeon's Law,so I wasn't even that disappointed.

Thank goodness about [[Ray Newton]:

Thanks for the news on Ray Newton. In a mass rereading of my k/s a couple of weeks ago, I realized that Ray Newton had written a couple of the first, most influential (and best) 'Spock in ancient Vulcan stories,' and I was having a hard time believing that they were written by a man (and for that sexist comment,I will go later, confess, and ask for penance to do...)

Some fic that was hard-going:

I was just talking to some fans who refuse to read anything where Bodie and Doyle intentionally hurt each other. They weren't talking about S/M there — they weren't even thinking of that as hurting since they asked for it — instead, they just meant the little cruelties that lovers and friends can inflict on each other when they are sufficiently hurt or mad themselves. I was thinking they were weenies, until I was reading Ember Days last week (a new zine by O. Yardley). Doyle spends 75,000-words being, well, mean to Bodie in retaliation for something he can't even define, and I found it very hard going. But I don't know whether I don't like them digging at each other, or I was just mad that it was Doyle mad at Bodie - it's possible that I could have dealt with the opposite very easily.

The Wave Theory of Slash:

I love The Wave, and have only [one] real change I would make. I don't see the waves as non-time dependent, nor as personality dependent. Some people are finding Pros right now, and becoming 2nd wavers (and you know who I mean), even though they were say, 3rd wavers in a past fandom (i.e., it is not their personality that made them a 2nd waver), and even though they have found Pros now in 1993 (i.e., they aren't 2nd wavers because they found the fandom a few years after it got started).

A real pimper:

[J], you are a wizard hostess, and a pimp of rare skill. Thanks! Hearing you talk about pimping Tris/Alex reminds me of my happiness whenever I turn someone on to a new fandom, or a story I know someone will like. I love loaning stories to fans and having them tell me which ones they liked and why — it can be almost better than reading them myself.

Regarding Heat-Trace:

I wish I had read your review [of Heat-Trace] before I read the zine. I became so frustrated about the long section towards the end with no Bodie that I could have screamed. I think if I'd known it was there I would have been fine, but as it was, the zine frustrated me so badly, by the time the happy ending finally appeared, I wasn't sure I cared.

Transcripts from Escapade, Camille Bacon-Smith, and an unpublished story:

I loved the two transcripts you sent, [S] and am looking forward to the Escapade one; thanks for the kind words about Alys' and my story in your interview with Camille. It was funny: after we finished the story, we decided that it was fatally flawed, and so we didn't submit it anywhere. The flaw? We couldn't imagine a plausible au where Bodie could keep his job if one of his ways to let off steam was to go and start punch-ups in gay bars. The joke? We had no problem with Doyle letting off steam by going to those same bars to have semi-public sex...Slash has its own reasons.

Quality of fic:

You said that the Quantity of B7 seems to have drastically dropped in recent years; I'd have to say that the Quality has dropped even more drastically. Most recent B7 slash has been terrible. I would have said until recently that the Southern____.5's and .75's were one of the few zines I could confidently buy sight unseen, but the new Southern Lights 7.5 is a piece of trash with little in there worth reading, much less re-reading. (I must say I expect better from Ann and Leah.) I miss Barbara and hJc and Shoshanna (though she does have the best story in 7.5, it's short), and others who seem to have left the fandom. Maybe readers have to leave when writers leave, and some of the movement of fans from one fandom to another is just readers following their fav writers?

Some Topics Discussed in "Another Mad Cult"

  • much about racial, sexual, social injustices, power, and oppression in the UK
  • feminist film theory
  • much about the movie Terminator

Excerpts from "Another Mad Cult"

There weren't any fannish topics discussed in this trib.

Some Topics Discussed in "To Be Announced"

Excerpts from "To Be Announced"

slash, pairings in Miami Vice:

I have managed to read some slash though - mostly B7 but some multi media zines as well. Talking to another fan who had only just read some Miami Vice stuff made me actually think about some aspects of Vice fiction. She wondered whether it was 'prejudice' that favoured the Crockett Castillo pairing as against the Crockett Tubbs one. I could only speak for myself but I find the C/T pairing to be very unbelievable. I think that the body language between the two characters does not even hint at any such relationship - as far as I remember any touching was the result of one of them either being injured or in a highly emotional state, I read C/T before I ever saw C/C but just could not get into it, on the other hand I was hooked on C/C as soon as I read the first story. There seems to be a freshness and unpredictability there. With some fandoms there are patterns of 'first time',' who seduces who' etc., etc., but with C/C I haven't found these patterns. I recently saw a vampire C/C where I didn't know which one was going to be the vampire until the 'vampire' actually turned up. [4]All the C/C Vice stuff seems to be vastly different from the rest (and I admit that I am speaking from reading a small sample - it could quite easily be that all C/C runs in 12 patterns and I have seen one or two from each), the implied pattern of the relationship either does not exist at all or the fandom has not been going long enough for this pattern to be built (or I just haven't seen it yet). What do you all think? - I know the 'prejudice' question was covered briefly in TNU some issues ago but what do you all think about this? - Personally I don't see it as a prejudice question - I didn't particularly like Rico, not because he was black but because I found the character very shallow.

"Control of stories":

I think that I agree with your ideas on using TV shows as a 'take off point.' I've been rewriting (in my head anyway) particular episodes that have struck a nerve. And the point was to control the relationship.
Responding to [H J's] analogy of slash and the seminal scene between Spock and Kirk in The Wrath of Khan:
Slash is what happens when you remove the glass - that paragraph rang so true. As an explanation of slash its so real. Yes, as far as I see it it's society that forces the glass there in the first place.
Slash as a conduit to discussing and thinking about sexuality and gender:
Slash for me let me explore sex and sexuality. I almost hate to say this but as far as sex went I knew nothing before I picked up my first slash story. People like Leslie Fish and MFae have taught me so much about the human body and also about the human mind. The ideas bound up in some of these stories about what constitutes male/female good/bad acceptable/unacceptable sex have opened my eyes to the way society forces its ideas on us. How do you change society though. Maybe how do we define society would be a good start. Do these ideas of what constitutes male/female and all the other stereotypes get handed down from generation to generation, are they genetic or some 'unconscious group mind'. Female liberation has gone through cycles of equality/slavery for aeons - I suspect Male liberation has done the same but the specific aspects are different. It would be nice to get society to the point where the body you wore did not matter compared to the spirit wearing the body. It makes such a difference having someone to talk slash to doesn't it. Vocalising the ideas and characters of the story make you explore all sorts of ideas and subjects that you wouldn't normally come across.
Mainstream media reports of fandom and of cons:
I'm not convinced about TV crews at cons. They always seem to concentrate on what they see as the more outrageous elements. The images I've seen from cons I have attended bare no resemblance to the con I attended. Cons covered by the media seem to be full of people dressed as Captain Kirk or Mr Spock, with the impression given that these people are convinced that they are ST characters. A bit exaggerated I know but that is the image the press have managed to give - over here anyway. A serious article/coverage of a con is a thing of rarity, if not already extinct.
Regarding the Kinko's Crowd and photocopying zines (this fan doesn't live in the United States):
There seems to be some controversy at the moment over printing and pirating, the main argument being against those who take the zine to 'Kinkos' and get it photocopied. Being on this side of the water we have severe problems trying to do this. Going into a photocopying shop and asking for a complete item to be copied will get you - nowhere - these shops are very conscious of copyright laws and almost never copy a complete document (unless you can prove that you hold the copyright), also given the explicit nature of the pictures you could find yourself thrown out. I don't know what our laws say about copying 'pornography' but I haven't the nerve to take a zine into find out. If, in the states copying at Kinko's is so cheep, why don't editors copy zines there and reduce the cost? (question not accusation).
Comments on The Wave Theory of Slash:
I'm probably in the second throes of slash fever because although I found K/S over 9 years ago (God, that long) I only found other slash fandoms about 3 years ago so I am still rapidly trying to catch up on my 'new' interests. I love a lot of B7 stuff thought some of the more dewey-eyed stuff gets wearing after a while. Currently my fav's have to be B7, CC, B/D and K/S. Its been great getting back into K/S after all this time (I stopped buying and reading it several years ago) all these great stories have turned up. Wave theory - I seem to fall into several different categories depending on which fandom I run this list against.
Slash and visibility and "outing":
I enjoy reading academic theories on the 'why slash' and' why people (especially women) read and write slash' but I'm not convinced about a general outing of slash. Given the way society is getting more restrictive (over here anyway) and more conservative I'm not sure that I want slash to be that exposed. It would probably be a nine day wonder and the initial interest from Joe Public would die down but there will always be those willing to push a controversy and keep it in the public's eye. It would also open up whole new avenues of prejudice and slander. Some of you already have very good reasons for keeping quite about reading/writing slash, I cannot see this changing if slash was ever outed.

Some Topics Discussed in "untitled" by [S C]

  • a fannish journey explained
  • this fan's love for email and computer communication: "I won't stop [talking it up] till everyone I know is converted to the Way of the Net."
  • dislike of Avon/Vila stories due to poor power dynamics, style and quality of fiction
  • liking violence in slash, but hating violence towards women
  • irritating characterization of females in slash stories

Excerpts from "untitled" by [S C]

I am addicted to Blake's 7 and e-mail. The first will influence anything I write here and the second will influence how I write it- short choppy paragraphs, habitual use of the abbreviation BTW, excessive use of ellipses and dashes... and how many smilies I use depends on the amount of Diet Pepsi I've ingested before operating my keyboard.

[Blake's 7] wasn't the first time a TV series had become an obsession. From the day my best friend Peggy forced me to watch Man from UNCLE I started on the slippery slope of addiction ~ The Avengers, Dr. Who, The Persuaders, and others too numerous and too embarrassing to relate. I'd even had mad passions for literary and film characters,and for a longtime there was one Quebecois Montreal Canadian I thought was worth buying scalped tickets to see.

But I was sure I was past all that. If only Avon wasn't such a bastard. If only Blake hadn't threatened Kayn's hands. But he was,and he did, and I was doomed. I tried to lure my friends in but they were all too underwhelmed by the BBC FX to delight in the characters and dialogue. If there were fans around me, I never found them.

[snipped]

Time passed, other passions flared and died. During this dormant phase, I read an article about K/S and immediately saw the possibility for B7 [slash] but, having conquered my addiction, put the thought from my mind. This is where e-mail entered the picture. The campus I worked on was wired to Bitnet and they foolishly gave me an account. Suddenly, there were people who shared my interests and it didn't matter that I was in the middle of nowhere. [personal info snipped] I found another Blake's 7 fan, then another, and another, and it was fantastic. At last, other people to talk to about leather and studs.

At the same time, I found out more about fan fiction, remembered what I'd read about slash, and decided that I had to get some, but how? None of my new soulmates had any. A discussion of fanzines popped up on STREK-L. What a coincidence. I got addresses, I got zines, I got deeper in debt. As I was applying for more Visa cards to use for food and other incidentals so all my cash could go for genzines and all the B/A smut I could find, the Blake's 7 mailing list started on Internet.

Oh wait, before that, I quit my job to return to grad school. When [name of university redacted] called and asked if I was interested in the assistantship, my first question was whether they had e-mail. They do, they are wired to the holy trinity: Bitnet, Internet, and Usenet. It makes being in Ohio worthwhile...well, bearable anyway.

For months before I moved, I'd been reading the B7 boom on rec.arts.sf.tv, frustrated out of my mind because [place name snipped] had read-only access. The agony of not being able to set them all straight. It was utter hell, I tell ya. The level of B7 traffic on r.a.s.t. led to the creation of the Internet mailing list. By then, I had Usenet access too, but so what. I swamped the list. Well, I was about to lose my first net friend and needed to pick up the slack. Then Sandy needed to pick up the slack. Then Sandy forced me to join the slash list. Virtually twisted my arm. Uh-huh.

So all of my fan correspondence has been on the nets, and they were my gateway to random and fan fiction. Apas were explained to me as being similar to e-mail lists and Usenet newsgroups but with a longer turn-around time. The people who told me this emphasized that the amount of time between issues allowed for longer, more thoughtful replies. They said this as if it was a good thing. I suspect it will just mean longer to forget what I was going to say...

The Wave Theory of Slash, panels at MediaWest*Con, and being a fan of the show or the fic first?:

When we compared our impressions of the panels [at MediaWest*Con], we agreed that we were seeing [L's] theory in action (they are also on the slash list where the Waves first appeared), but to us it came down to a binary. Yes, I feel a pomo shiver at the B word. It seemed to us that there was a division among the panels and audiences between those who are fans of the series first and those who are fans of slash first. We're all in the former group — two of us read only B7 with a strong preference for B/A, and one of us reads mostly B7 and some Pros. So the series and the relationships between the characters are very important to us. If they weren't, we'd be reading gay porn or slash for series we haven't seen. I dutifully read the ST and Pros stories Sandy and others shared with me and they had very little impact on me. I like ST, but not that much, and I have only seen half an episode of Pros. Because I'm not emotionally involved with either universe, the stories had no emotional kick for me the way B7 stories do, and I inevitably tried to translate the couple into B/A or A/V. I gather from what I've read that a lot of slash fans read stories before they see the series, but it doesn't seem to work for me — if I haven't seen the series, I'm not involved in the characters, so the stories mean very little.

There are also shows I like a great deal but am not really interested in reading fan fiction about - The Sandbaggers, for instance. There are at least two pretty potent slash possibilities (depending on how lenient you are about age), and I love the series, but I'm not really interested in slash, adult, or gen stories.

I'm emphasizing this because when I said the next part on the slash list it was, IMO, misconstrued as saying we were only interested in the sex, regardless of the characters and their relationship with each other.

We were all dismayed at the idea of slash as a political forum. We like it because it's a fantasy for us, and we like reading about these guys fucking each other senseless. There are caveats -- we very much care which men are doing the fucking; the relationship between them is crucial; we enjoy the sex but also like stories that aren't explicit; and none of us were suggesting political and social viewpoints shouldn't be brought in. We want a wide range of story types available, what bothered us was the feeling that the kind we like were being completely edged out by the fourth wave trend.

Dislike of Avon/Vila stories and the power and gender messages and dynamics:

In too many A/V stories I've read, Vila is feminized in the worst possible way. He's assigned all the traditional women-in-love feelings noxiously familiar from popular romances — waiting patiently for Avon to catch on, letting Avon dictate the terms, cajoling him when he's brooding, and so on; a doormat. If it was a woman character being depicted that way, I'd hurl the zine into the trash. I'm not much more tolerant of it when it's poor Vila. It's just the same old shit I come across all the time.

The idea of Avon and Vila doesn't really click with me because as far as I'm concerned all the passion and energy is between Avon and Blake, both of whom fascinate me in a way Vila does not. The difficulty of working out the problems between them is much more compelling to me, partly because it isn't what I see all the time. The clash of two powerful wills makes it that much more exciting if one them does submit, but you can't take for granted which one will be dominant or that one of them will be at ail. It's just as pleasing (if not quite the turn on) to me when they work out an equal partnership.

Maybe that's why A/V is more comfortable for many people — Avon and Vila not only fit the traditional male/female roles more neatly, they also fit the pattern of hero and sidekick more cleanly than Blake and Avon ever can because Blake and Avon are equals.

Occasionally, when A/V with a weak Vila is used to explore the limitations of the traditional roles, the story works for me, but I haven't seen many of those. And yes, I am aware that there are A/V stories that don't fit the pattern. And yes, there are certainly B/A stories where one of them is feminized. But it has a different impact because they are both much stronger characters to begin with than our "weak-willed and easily led" Delta thief.

Loving violence in fanworks, but not all of it:

I also love violence. Not all kinds -- some of it squicks me — and not all the time --sometimes I like a happy ending and romance and all that even if it does violate the series atmosphere — but violation of another sort really pushes my buttons. And it worries the hell out of me.

Oh, I have a list of rationalizations about why it's OK so that I can read it, get off on it, and still respect myself in the morning, but it still bothers me. The rationalizations go something like: this is entirely different from the movie and TV depictions of violence toward women that make me seethe because fan fiction is written by women for other women, the victims are men, I don't have to watch women being hurt in the presence of a large audience of men (on screen and off), and nobody had to act this out for a camera (thanks Sandy).

But it doesn't really stop the feeling that I'm being hypocritical or make it easier to deal with. Sexual violence toward women enrages and frightens me when I see it in mainstream entertainment. That it's considered entertainment outrages me. I almost stopped watching B7 after "Power." But what really troubles me is that violence is eroticized and I respond to it even though it repulses me at the same time.

I do understand the difference between fantasy and reality, but when violence against women in real life is so common it's really hard for me to feel comfortable enjoying fantasy portrayals of it. I am confused. I've read that the libido is not political but that's a load of bullshit; we're all trained what to respond to. Do I fight the conditioning or accept it?

It really pisses me off when women in slash are mistreated, too. I'd rather they be left out altogether than have them characterized as jealous bitches, or only in that in male fantasies about two women having sex, a man always shows up at the crucial moment to provide the 'real sex,' but in slash, when a woman's involved at all, the 'real sex' is between the men and she becomes a third wheel. That's certainly how all the threesomes I've read have felt to me and it annoys me no end.

Some Topics Discussed in "For the World is Hollow and I Fell Off the Edge"

Excerpts from "For the World is Hollow and I Fell Off the Edge"

Comments on the Pros zine Ember Days:

One of the fannish things I've done lately (aside from coming up with all sorts of scandalous ideas for Bodie/Cowley, and it's all Jane's fault-—-well, no, a good bit of it is [S's] fault, actually) is to read O. Yardley's latest B/D novel, Ember Days, which is, sad to say, not good. The emotional motivations of the characters are incoherent and nasty, and the pacing is uneven. Rats -- I was hoping for something much better from the author of Bear Necessities and Party Spirit, two of my early faves in the fandom.

Comments on reading Robin of Sherwood zines, some of the blood-boiling, homophobic submission guidelines:

Most of the art is fair to awful, and the stories are generic — not too good, not too bad, with a few standouts on each extreme. As I would expect. Reading these zines also serves as recreational blood-pressure-raising, when I come across submission guidelines like:

While encouraging a wide range of ideas and story lines, we strive, above all, to create a quality publication in keeping with the characters and situations already so ably developed and realized by Richard Carpenter, Anthony Horowitz, Paul Knight, and the cast. Altering characters beyond established format, and material exceeding the bounds of decency, will NOT be accepted. This is not meant to discourage the development of intimate situations as long as they are heterosexual in content and tastefully executed. [Quoted from Longbow 5, Celtic Heart Press]
Do I really need to detail to the Bedfellows just how offensive, insulting, and homophobic that is? [H], the fan I met, is much more of an actor fan than anyone I've talked with recently — hanging out with slash fans tends to limit the amount of chat that I get exposed to — and it's remarkable watching her talk about meeting the creators, and seeing the level to which she assumes that the creators will be involved with the fandom. I haven't seen its like since my early days in B7 fandom. My feeling these days is that the fandom is none of the creators' business. But judging by the adulatory tone of the Longbow guidelines, and from scanning an issue of the letterzine [H] runs, [H's] attitude is common in the fandom. This probably goes a long way toward explaining why there is so little RoS slash; when Kip Carpenter says don't do it, they obey. Why are RoS fans more obeisant than B7 fans were? (To the extent that Forbidden Forest, an adult RoS zine, opens with a dedication to Carpenter, "who told us at Son of Herne's Con: 'If you're going to do a dirty 'zine, don't mess about...do it all the way!'" and with the epigraph "Nothing's forbidden...nothing is ever forbidden"...and still 100% straight.)

Slash, not soaps!

I don't

like romance novels (although I did read them as a pre- and young teenager) and have never been interested in soap operas. For me, the reason why slash appeals to me and they don't is that slash (and sometimes the B-minus shows we base slash off of) has gritty emotionalism, not the treacly stuff on soaps. Oddly enough, I eat up the emotions in the M. Fae story you described as "waaaaay over the top," although I wish the sex were more emotional.

Regarding a fannish myth about a fan showing Gareth Thomas a slash zine, and that Thomas scribbled something about poor grammar in the margin before handing it back:

The version I heard was that Gareth wrote in the margin, "This is impossible — I've tried it, I should know," which is even more unlikely than the story you report.

Sex and plot:

You say, "I've read stories where the actual story is completely worked out, and then they have sex too — and I don't find them nearly as interesting"; this is the problem I have with the story of M. Fae's mentioned above in ct Alyx. The ultimate example of this is, for me, Meg Lewtan's Up Jumped a Swagman, which seemed to go through the whole emotional progression of the story in the first three pages, the remaining seventy-three being postscript. Somehow, I enjoy it nonetheless. [J] asked me and [S], while we were visiting her, something about did a piece have to be well-written for us to like it; I couldn't think of it then, but Meg Lewtan's work is the only counterexample I can think of. I know it's badly written — I wince at a lot of it — but somehow I do enjoy it, in the same way that I used to get into self-destructive moods in which I would enjoy one of my roommate's Pop-Tarts.

Regarding labels, zines, and sex:

In the usual course of things, however, I suggesting that Stew's proposed zine Espresso (I'm assuming she'll correct her spelling, please God) is designed to embody some of the characteristics of slash while not requiring the specifically homosexual aspects (either the "homo" or the "sexual" aspects, that is). It remains to be seen how much of the appeal of slash depends on those specific aspects. It is just so damned difficult to create or believe in a woman with the combination of macho strength and vulnerability that grabs me in slash; I just read Pat Califia's porno novel Doc and Fluff and even that didn't do it, despite biker dykes from here to Fresno. Besides, part of what grabs me in slash is specifically that they are both men; not just that I usually enjoy reading smut with cocks more than smut with clits (which has nothing to do with what I enjoy in real life, by the way, and I would like to find some lesbian or straight smut as good as the best slash, but have never managed to), but also that the fact that men are violating many more taboos when they get close heightens the excitement. Even if they aren't violating taboos in their world (some future non-heterosexist society, e.g.), I am violating them vicariously as I read.

Explanation of the circuit:

A circuit is just a loose name for an informal system whereby stories circulate in manuscript and people get them from friends, make copies for themselves, let their other friends make copies of their copy, and so on. This is as opposed to zines, a formal system in which only certain people may make copies, and other people buy the copies from them; it is Not Done to make your own copies (although people do, and it is called "bootlegging" in this context) and if you want only some of a collection of stories which have been bound together, you must nonetheless pay for them all. A circuit is uncentralized, allows a story to be circulated as soon as it is written, and is generally cheaper per page. A zine system is centralized (although there may be many zine publishers, each is the center of her own distribution), takes much longer to get a story from author to reader, and generally costs more per page of text. On the other hand, zines often include illustrations, almost always have much higher copy quality (since circuit stories often reach you in nineteenth generation xerox), and at least in theory have stories which have been edited by someone other than the author before being published. (This varies widely, though, and some circuit stories are better than anything ever printed in some zines.) Because zine publishers advertise, it is often easier to know what has been published in a zine than to know what is available on a circuit; to know what's on a circuit, you need to be in touch with a lot of people who are plugged into the various informal circulation routes. Because they're more visible, however, zines ate much more vulnerable to oversight and censorship by the owners of the shows' copyrights. (The only Sime/Gen zine I know of, for instance, requires every story to be personally vetted by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and its copyright assigned to her; Chelsea Quinn Yarbro confiscated the stock of The Holmesian Federation #8 because a story in it used a character of hers; etc.) The Professionals circuit has been formalized into the Library, which is just a centralized circuit; [ Karen B (Starsky & Hutch and Professionals slash fan) ] publishes regular lists of every story she has, and you can borrow stories from her, copy them for yourself, and send the originals back to her, paying a small fee as well as postage costs to cover her time and effort. Plenty of Pros stories circulate for quite a while on the circuit before the Library gets a copy, though. As far as early MUNCLE circuit stories, some of which were hardcore s/m, go, mostly I've read collections owned by other people; someone has bound a huge stack of them together and was selling the whole thing a few years ago. Hmm (you can't see me, but I'm now getting out my miscellaneous MUNCLE binder)... all I've got is something called "The Clandestine Affair," with not even a pseudonym attached, which is nothing but an eight-page vignette in which Illya is sexually tortured (consensually, I hasten to add!), not by Napoleon. Want a copy? That's how circuits work.

Comments on actor slash:

The question of whether or not one would get sued for celebrity slash is a question about its practicality, not its morality. I have read some about real people I had never heard of, which I liked a great deal; they were good stories and I didn't need to know who the people were, because enough was explained in the course of the stories. The stories were, however, tied directly to well-publicized events in the lives of both characters. The life of actors wouldn't seem to lend itself to the kind of high-stress macho-reliance-on-each-other scenarios that slash thrives on, but other celebrities, like athletes or rock stars, may work better. (Yes, [J], we see you. Sit down and wait your turn, there's a good girl... [5]) I don't start with any burning curiosity about, or lust for, Martin Shaw or Robert Plant or whoever, but I'm happy to read good stories no matter what names are attached to the principals. And it's a bit harder to justify alternate-universe real-person slash; some of the stories I've seen are interesting in their attempts to work around inconvenient truths of the characters' lives.

A comment about the newspaper article: Star Trek erotica gets some hot, others bothered:

Actually, I'm rather impressed at the restraint of the newspaper article you reprinted. It gave the clear impression that the smut is being sold only to adults, right down to including an "Adult Purchases Only" sign in the photo, and didn't play the weirdos-with-ears angle at all. And the anti-slash folk it quoted were calm and reasoned, and defended its right to exist even though they themselves didn't like it. Imagine if the reporter had chosen to highlight the man who claimed his kid had begun leafing through a K/S zine. Never mind the question of whether it would have been bad for him if he had; middle America isn't ready to ask questions like that. A kid reading homo porn is a red flag to most of the country, and the reporter barely mentioned it. That was a pretty positive article.

"Creeping heterophobia":

Interesting thought. We talked a bit in TNU about misogyny in slash, but I hadn't thought of the drive to slash any pair of men who stand next to each other for more than thirty seconds as a way of denying the possibility of non-sexual male friendships (which is what I understand you to mean). For me, since non-sexual friendships between men are what I see everywhere I look on TV, I still feel that it's slashing the pair that is the act of defiance, not notslashing them. But I can see how a more monogamous fan (i.e. one attracted to slash in specific couples, not to slash qua slash) could feel differently, in the face of slash-qua-slash fandom. Also, one of the things that brought me into slash was an intense interest in the nature, workings, and possibility of sexual friendships, as opposed to only-you-sweetums romance. This is one of the reasons Cat Talesund other such stories struck me very powerfully; although some fans saw the characters as "promiscuous," as "bonking everyone in sight" as I think someone in TNU said once, what I saw going on in it and similar stories was a reconceptualization of what love, and sexual love, and fidelity are all about. The really radical thing to do, of course, would be to bring this reconceptualization into heterosexual relationships. It has been done here and there, but not much. Perhaps in Straight Blake's, in the story with Vila and the original pilot character; or in the Avon/Soolin story that Henry quotes in Textual Poachers...? For that matter, it was done in Cat Tales. (I'm really really sorry that J has pretty much left mediafandom. Having just loaned out CT, I'm now burning to read it again!)

Comments on the Wave Theory of Slash:

I found your division of slash fandom into waves fascinating and useful, and therefore promptly began tinkering and fine-tuning. The boundaries between "waves" aren't as clear in reality as they are in theory, of course, and each wave persists even after others have appeared on the scene. In your fourth wave (and perhaps in late third) is what I have been calling the emergence of "slash as a fandom in itself," i.e. the development of the possibility of being "a slash fan" in the same way that one can be "a Star Wars fan" or "a Wiseguy fan." Especially important is your point that each wave uses material from previous waves as sources for its own extrapolations. Certainly, when I started writing B7 I was using the fanfic I'd read to supplement the episodes, and when I started writing Pros, I had never seen the show! (I hasten to add, though, that I didn't actually finish a Pros story until I had seen some episodes; but part of the reason "Sule Skerrie" is so completely a/u is because when I began it I had never seen the show. What I had done was to read lots of Doyle-is-an-elf stories and get fed up with them.)

I don't think I know of any non-slash by Sebastian or H.G., although you list them as first-wave writers and you list having previously written non-slash as a characteristic of first-wave writers. Is it just that I don't know about their non-slash, because I came in later and didn't get given copies? Can you pass on info? Also, another tinker I would make is that writers can move from "wave" to "wave" in their work; Sebastian's "Velvet Underground" in Paean to Priapus and "Virtual Reality" in Oblique are fourth wave for sure.

More on wave theory:

I came to slash in third wave, by your divisions, and have ridden the fourth wave along. But, perhaps because I entered by reading huge stacks of everything available at the time, I can enjoy first and second wave stones just as much as third and fourth. I'm sure this is true of many other fans. Although the "waves" may have appeared on the scene in the order you list them in, I think that, because each persists rather than being superseded, and because any one person may read and write in several "waves" more or less simultaneously, what you have created may function better as a division and sorting out of attitudes and themes than as a chronology.

Acafandom, mainstream press, and slash:

Has slash been changed by the people that have come into it through hearing about it in academia or the press?" you ask. Well, since that's how M. Fae found out about it, the answer would have to be a joyous "yes!" Is there anyone else we know who came in that way, and who has had an effect on fandom? I know a couple of women graduate students at Ontario University (I think; I know they're Canadian), who found out about slash through Henry's work and are putting out a porno Trek zine, mostly for their local gay sf group. [B], you met them with me at Gaylaxicon several years ago; they were the ones with the huge zine, 11" by 14" or so, bound in hard covers. I saw their second issue at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, which one of them was delivering a paper at (as was I), and it's more of the same, although normal-sized. They're clearly coming from more of a gay-porn stance than a fanfic stance, and have little interest in interacting with a larger fannish community, or in learning the unwritten motes of fan fiction and media fandom. (Their second issue included an S/M Beverly/Guinan/Ro story which was passably well written, but which made no sense at all for the characters. I told them so, and they agreed that the author was just sticking convenient Trek names on her own fantasy figures, and they had no problem with that. I did.)

Appreciation of a rant, and revenge:

Your rant on "The Colonial Affair" is such a pleasure to read that it almost makes the story's existence worth it. Almost. (Are you sending a LoC to the story's publisher?) I heard that Ember Days was bad after I ordered it but before I actually got it, and I was partially hoping that it would be total trash so that I could send it to you in revenge for your sending me TCA, but it wasn't, quite, bad enough.

Baiting the acafen!

Your analyses of slash fantasies and motivations are brilliant and insightful and ought to be engraved on the inner eyelids of all academic and psychological students of slash and of fandom. Henry, your mission, should you choose to accept it...

Attitudes of characters vs attitudes of readers of slash:

You say, as part of an ongoing discussion on the "birds are okay, but no other men" attitude B&D often take in slash stories, that "my main problem with most of [these stories] is the attitude that the women are convenient bodies, nor 'real people,' whereas sleeping with another man would be having sex with a 'real' person." Well, yes. What's wrong with that? It may well be perfectly in character for B&D to think that way. Whether it is what you yourself think is irrelevant. If you want the characters in your slash stories to have the same philosophies as you do about sexual equality and so on, you shouldn't look to Bodie and Doyle. In fact, I can't think of any slash couple you could look to, with the possible exception of Thelma and Louise.

Getting pleasure at cons:

re explaining slash at general cons — I had great run at MediaWest the last couple of years, sitting the Manacles/Oblique table, and telling fans who came to browse, "Everything here is slash." Half of them would glom onto it at those words, and the other half would, as you say, "furrow their brows in disgust" and walkaway quickly...and I got as much pleasure out of them as out of the others.

Some Topics Discussed in "Writing in the Margins"

Excerpts from "Writing in the Margins"

Regarding the cover of this issue:
I think perhaps the most memorable moment of our time in Scotland was when [J] took [S] and me to a little gay sex shop telling us that she was going to show us something we couldn't find anywhere else and that it would shock us. We were skeptical, but went willingly, and proved [J] completely right upon entering the store. We were shocked, and what we were looking at was certainly something we'd never have seen anywhere else. There on the wall, nestled between the black leather jackets and the black leather harnesses, was a poster of "our boys" with a gay male club's name and logo blazoned across the bottom. Yep, you guessed it; it's what is now the cover of SBF #2.
On discovering slash before watching the show it is based on:
That's how I was introduced to slash, and I loved it immediately. I saw the shows and became informed about the cannon universes afterwards. And I think you're probably right about sex in slash having more characterization than in regular porn. This is why I find it more arousing and satisfying than regular porn.
Regarding Avon without Blake:
You said, "Avon was at his best with Blake, and after Blake vanished, something essential was missing in the show." To which I respond, "Yeah, Avon's sanity." Actually, I think Avon's mental decompensation is what makes third and fourth seasons interesting.
Choosing canon:
If what we want is "sexual tension...[and]... strong emphasis on personalities," why do this in the context of fanfic? Why hasn't this interest come out more in the form of original stories and erotica? Also, you say, "If she's lucky or careful, a fan writer will pick a show, or characters, that suit the story she wants to tell..." The process feels a little more natural to me, that I am attracted to shows which will allow me to tell my stories; it's that which draws me to a given show. Of course this is true for all viewers, that they are drawn to the shows which allow them, in some way, to tell their stories. Fanfic is an embodiment of that process. For whatever reasons, a small percentage of viewers are compelled to fully articulate and write down their stories.
Regarding a fan's earlier analysis of Pon Farr rape stories:
Nice. Yes, I think that's it exactly. In fact, I would go as far as to say that that's what's going on in most rape stories in slash, in which the rape solidifies the relationship between the characters by the end. I think this is part of what I was trying to get at in saying that the typical rape story is a way for the writer to re-envision and have control over rape. She writes rape in her terms by re-creating it as something useful. Instead of being destructive, the rape furthers the relationship, often being the instigator for allowing the relationship to become a committed, sexual, and satisfying one.
The Bullshitters as a fanwork:
Your discussion made me think of "The Bullshitter." It's not slash, but it's a form of fanfic and it uses aspects of Shaw and Lewis in its spoof characters Foyle and Bonehead, rather cuttingly I might add.
What makes slash appealing:
...it's the non-sexual context that slash provides which makes the sex in it arousing for me. The context does not have to be established within each story because slash fandom provides it. This is why I can enjoy a sex-only slash story more than a typical piece of pornography, even though the two pieces may look very similar.
About agenda stories:
The problem is with "agenda" stories that are badly written, in which "our boys," as you've suggested, are doing something totally out of character. Many of the best slash stories have political agendas, but they don't over-shadow the characters or ask them to behave in ludicrously unlikely ways. NLMD is a perfect example. Shoshanna wrote this story wanting to deal realistically with internalized homophobia (and succeeded). I call that a political agenda. It's not having the characters act as revolutionaries (except for B7), but rather, writing politics into the situations we want to put the characters in. Heat_Trace also does this nicely by, among other things, vividly depicting class differences between the characters and showing how those differences effect their relationships.
The anti-slash statements in some Robin of Sherwood zines:

Instead of simply stating that this zine did not accept slash, it spent a paragraph explaining that it would not except stories that veered from the presented T.V. cannon by containing explicit homosexual interactions between the characters, or other morally repugnant and immature characterizations. This is not the exact wording, but damn close. It not only slammed slash as immoral and immature, but implied that homosexuality was as well. Needless to say, the statement really pissed me off.

My take on anti-slash sentiment is that it's basically homophobic. If one were to write a sexually explicit story about say, Avon and Cally, or Susan and Doyle, would anti-slashers claim non-cannon and disapprove? I doubt it. And yet both of those het. pairs are no more "accurate" to the show's presentation of the characters than are Avon/Blake and Bodie/Doyle.
Regarding the analysis of Heat-Trace in the first apa in the essay Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace":

First off, in case I haven't explicitly said this already, your essay is excellent. I've only read the novel once, but it seems to me that the essay captures the story's central dynamic at the same time that it explores a fundamental slash paradigm. I found reading it added to and enhanced the story for me. Really nice work.

The only structural critique I have to offer is that you don't need to discuss Heat_Trace as a "first-time" story in order to make any of your points. You only discuss the "first-time" story in the opening paragraphs, using the idea as a way to introduce your topic. I think it adds a level of unnecessary complication to the essay, since after the introduction, you never return to it again. What you're trying to lay out in the intro., is the boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy dynamic, in which the characters move from a stable position to an unstable one, and onto a new stable position as lovers. That, in addition to other topics such as "relationship-driven" plots, is a point that can be made without explaining what a "first-time" story is. These are simply aspects common to slash, and can be discussed and introduced as such.

[snipped]

To comment on the content, I found myself wondering, as I was reading your discussion of h/c in slash, what it is that we as readers enjoy about h/c? I am unwilling just to accept the idea that we are unconsciously looking for a justification or strengthening of a battering relationship. But as you've pointed out, in a way, that's what h/c stories are, that's what "Snowbound" exposed.

What I came up with is that, in part, we enjoy typical h/c stories because they give us a chance to experience the destruction of the abusive relationship pattern. We enjoy that cathartic moment. But we also enjoy the build up to that moment, this is why the catharsis feels so good. So in other words, we enjoy the h/c itself, and knowing that there will be a catharthis at the end which will change the relationship dynamic, legitimates our enjoyment of the characters' agony— it legitimates our voyeuristic sadism.

This is why, as you noted, h/c stories typically never show us what happens after the catharsis, beyond making it clear that everything's better now. Other than that fact, that the characters are happy and stable together, it doesn't matter what happens to them. The point of the story is the reader's (and writer's) enjoyment of their emotional battering of each other leading up to the moment of crisis.

This also explains why "Snowbound" was so disturbing. In denying the readers the usual positive outcome of the crisis moment, M. Fae exposes our enjoyment for what it is, sadism. We no longer have the happy ending to legitimate it, so we are left disturbed and uncomfortable. For the people who did enjoy "Snowbound," I would guess they liked it intellectually, because it was interesting, a breaking of old patterns, and realistic, not because it was emotionally satisfying. Or if it did satisfy on an emotional level, it was a qualitatively different kind of satisfaction, based on the enjoyment of feeing bad based on, to push this idea even farther, masochism. A third possibility is that readers who continued to enjoy Doyle's pain after the crisis have no trouble being sadistic.

What's fascinating about this is that h/c stories not only portray an s/m emotional dynamic in the characters' relationship to each other, but they involve the writers and readers in a sadomasochistic relationship to the text.

Getting back to my initial discomfort with the idea that h/c expresses readers' unconscious enjoyment, or as I said above, "justification and strengthening" of a battering relationship, I think that h/c actually represents our ambivalence about the battering paradigm. One the one hand, we clearly enjoy it, and on the other, we enjoy seeing it destroyed. In my theorizing above, I talked about the destruction of the pattern largely in terms of its use in allowing readers to justify their sadistic enjoyment of watching the characters hurt each other. I also said, but did not elaborate on the idea that we enjoy the catharsis and happy ending because we can experience the destruction of the abusive relationship. I think that both ideas are true, and that together they are an expression of largely unconscious ambivalence about power and control in the emotional dynamics of intimate relationships. (Didn't somebody like you say something very like this recently?)

A few last comments about Heat_Trace, and then I'll move on to other mailing comments. At the top of page six, when you were discussing the new set up in Bodie and Doyle's relationship, you talk about it as having changed, but still functioning in an s/m dynamic. What I noticed about their relationship by the end of the novel, is that it is a return to the roles they had in "Brother's Keeper" pre-desert illness. They came full circle. And the differences you point out in their relationship by the novel's end, in a way, only function to support their original roles, with Bodie as dominant and Doyle submissive. Shudder. I'd like to think that once Doyle gets back on his feet, they can establish a more equal partnership in which they maybe switch off who plays top and bottom. But then, I'm probably only expressing my ambivalence about these issues.
About Living on Tulsa Time:

It was wonderful to open my copy of SBF and discover a slash story included. It was kind of like finding a toy at the bottom of the cereal box. Thanks.

I loved the story. If I read just a little more Tris/Alex, I think I might just get hooked. (Hint, hint, send me morel) I found the eroticism in the story thoroughly arousing. My favorite line was, "Tris stood there for a moment, banking down his own anger and frustrated lust—a furious Alex was incredibly attractive; he looked like a Norse god." That line, following the previous aborted sex scene, had me completely hot. My one complaint about the story is that they never do get back around to having sex. Tris wasn't the only one with frustrated lust.
Comments on The Wave Theory of Slash:

Interesting theory. I think you're getting at and describing a lot of significant differences among kinds of slash stories. A number of us had been commenting in the TNU on a shift in slash that we'd perceived, but you're actually outlining it. In terms of specific feedback, I tend to think that the differences between waves two and three are more significant than any of the others. I might delineate them as Wave 1, sub-wave A, and Wave E, sub-wave A. It seems like what you're describing is a progression toward and away from one major shift that is comprised of many smaller changes in the genre.

As I understand it, the major shift you're describing is in part a change from slash being an outgrowth of fans of a particular show, to slash as a fandom in itself. In the former, fans are writing about the characters' developing sexual relationship as a way of expanding that relationship because they love the characters and the show, and because they see it as a natural progression for the characters. In the latter, fans are looking for the slash relationship itself. They may or may not be fans of the show; what they are interested in is the kind of relationship slash stories depict. In this scenario, fans are always on the look-out for new shows with characters they can slash.

In outlining this shift, you're describing slash as having moved away from the shows or sources from which they originated. Since the slash relationship is primary, its relationship to the show takes a back seat which gets pushed increasingly further back as slash continues on this direction. The example you provide is M. Fae's writing.

This is where I disagree with your theory. While I agree that slash has developed into a fandom of its own, I do not think the changes that development has created in slash stories is simply an increasing distance from the shows of origin. I think the difference between fanfic-that-is-slash and slash fanfic is the kind of relationship each has to the show, not whether they are connected to the show. It seems to me that early slash often pulled directly from the show using lines or scenes from specific episodes. Most current slash doesn't do that, with Jane Carnall's Bodie/Cowley trilogy a notable exception. What most current slash does do is strive to be realistic. Realistic to what? Realistic to the show.

M. Fae is a perfect example. A number of her Pros, stories have both characters struggling with being gay or bi and closeted, closeted because they work for a government organization which would kick them out if they came out. It just makes sense that this would be the reaction of CI5. Another example of second wave slash, also M. Fae, is a quality of grittiness, a hard edge that is valued in many of her stories. (I think Sebastian is another example of this, and probably would not, therefore, place her in the first wave.) Again, this quality is based on an interest in realism. Men who kill and get shot at for a living, in a country where almost no one carries a gun, would not likely have a hearts and flowers relationship. The grittiness then, goes back to the show.

It may well be that second wave slash is very different from the show, but it still uses the context and parameters the show sets out to build its stories. Second wave slash writers re-think what it would mean for "our boys" to be sexually involved given the context they're in, i.e., CI5, it being the 1970's, and the fact that they're partners. There are many ways that second wave slash doesn't follow the show, but I think the distinction is that it's less concerned with specifics and more concerned with the larger context.

Another example of this is the increase in s/m sex stories. I see these stories as in part coming out of a re-thinking of the kind of sex these characters are likely to have. In grittier universes like Pros, and B7, it makes more sense, is more realistic, that the men have rougher sex. As I write this, I can see holes in my theorizing, but I think that what I'm suggesting needs to be considered seriously for us to reach a more accurate understanding of this shift in slash.
Regarding rape in fic:

Yes, definitely. I think rape in slash often serves the function of breaking past barriers which block intimacy. I think this is what [B] was saying in her mailing comments to you about Pon Farr stories. I also think this is not only common in slash, but in shit romances as well. As to your other theory about rape fantasies, that as we

learn about sex, we learn about sexual violence, it goes deeper than that. From the time we're infants, boys and girls are inundated with messages about sex, violence, and who's in control. Rape is eroticized and kids know that and respond to it. By the time girls reach adolescence, they don't have to be warned about the threat of sexual violence; they've known about it for years. I remember being terrified and yet charged by a story I heard when I was about six or seven in which a teenage girl in my neighborhood was raped in the woods and had to make her way back to her house naked. I think this experience of being terrified and charged is related to the ambivalence around power and control in intimate relationships that I was talking about earlier. As I was saying to [N] in my last zine, it just makes sense to me that these issues would show up in slash, whether it be generic h/c, or an out and out rape story.

The "unified field theory of slash":

I think you're misunderstanding [B] and her theory. She's trying for an inclusive rather than definitive theory of slash. [B] correct me if I'm wrong. The mathematical metaphor you are using to understand these ideas is exactly the problem. I see it as impossible to arrive at theory of slash which is structured like a mathematical theorem, for precisely all the reasons you've described when you've disagreed with [B's] ideas. No one is trying to assert that any one way of perceiving or understanding slash is universal. I don't think there can exist one universal perception.

What I believe [B]and others are trying to do is understand and articulate trends and shifts in slash, which are by definition inexact. And I don't think that these trends necessarily lead to "erotic correctness." (Great phrase.) If, however, we were to take the fear of that slim possibility to heart, we'd never examine slash, which is one of the central purposes of this APA. I see your concern, but I really don't see it coming to fruition.
After some more thought:

After re-eading my comments to [S] on readers' sadomasochistic responses to "Snowbound," I realized a possible mis-step in my logic. If readers who enjoyed "Snowbound" on an emotional level did so because they like to feel bad, i.e., they're masochistic, then either they're shifting from a sadistic perspective on Doyle's pain, to a masochistic one once the unhappy ending is achieved, or they're masochistic in their reading of him from the start. The latter makes more sense. It's not that we're sadistic for enjoying Doyle's pain, it's that we're masochistic because we identify with and enjoy his pain. So we're uncomfortable with stories like "Snowbound" because they reveal us as masochists. It's possible for us to be sadistic too, in our reading of h/c, but this would be made easier if the stories were written from the perspective of the character doing the hurting, rather than the one being hurt. As it is, stories are usually set up such that we identify with the hurting character, a situation which more easily leads to a masochistic response on the reader's part. I can't, off-hand, think of any story that doesn't write from the "victim's" perspective. Maybe "Consequences?"

Actually, this theory might explain why "Consequences" is an upsetting story. By writing the rape from Bodie's perspective, it asks us to be sadistic in our reading of the situation (if we are to identify with the main character). This could be distasteful to a readership which is largely more comfortable with a masochistic stance. In another way, "Consequences," by asking readers to take on a sadistic perspective, also reveals the readers' sadomasochistic relationship to the story. Instead of allowing readers our usual unconscious masochistic reading, which is all made O.K. at finish by the obligatory happy ending, readers are immediately confronted with a kind of knowledge of our relationship to the text, by being asked to take a new perspective. I think the new perspective is also repugnant in itself, but because it may shed some light on our usual pattern, there is a sliver of self-awareness which may act as an additional source of discomfort.

Some Topics Discussed in "Lavender Lilies"

Excerpts from "Lavender Lilies"

Views on masculinity, "feminization" of male characters in fic:

I've had a request for a further discussion of my views on masculine" and "feminine." What I've done is reprinted a rather detailed essay on masculine/feminine which I wrote in an issue of SHORT CIRCUIT, a Bodie/Doyle letterzine I used to subscribe to. I was responding to a writer who discussed the subtle feminisation of Doyle which occurs in THE PROFESSIONALS aired series. The views I hold now are identical to those I expressed in the issue of SHORT CIRCUIT and so it seemed easier to paste up and reprint the article rather than retype it word-for—word for my SBF trib. The article is at the end of this issue's trib.

Proud owner of art:

Had a great time at MediaWest, and it was quite nice to participate in the SBF gathering we had — nice to be able to attach faces to the names I see in the APA! The informal conversations held at various dealer's tables were pleasant as well. Also was able to bring home a pile of new reading material (Yum!) Impulsively, I put a bid at the art show on a Suzan Lovett piece portraying Doyle on the high-flying trapeze (from HARLEQUIN AIRS). I thought that for sure, someone would put a second bid on the drawing and so it would go into the auction, and I could escape the financial consequences of my impulsivity. But no one else bid on it, and so now I am the proud owner of a Suzan Lovett drawing of Doyle on the trapeze. It's already been framed and is hung in my living room. I'm not really sorry I got it...

Comments about Harlequin Airs:

I really enjoyed this novel, and found it exceedingly well-written. I relished the amount of detail and research put into it. But I found the ending a little bit too "pat" — the part where it turns out that Bodie isn't really a trapeze artist, he's actually a member of MI6 - I wanted so much for Bodie to be a true member of the circus. But then, I'm not terribly attached to CI5; my preferences run strongly into A/U and various fantasy settings, which is one of the main reasons I edit a zine dedicated to A/U and fantasy. Did anyone else find this ending "pat," or did you like it the way it was?

Rape fantasy and rape as portrayed in fic:

I also want to pursue what you said about fantasy rape in slash being the "pleasure of abuse, of bending someone completely to our will, the thrill of revenge..." This may be a factor in what I've defined previously as "rapist fantasy," which is a slash fan fantasizing not about being raped, but about committing rape. I know that commercial hetero male pornography is filled with rapist fantasy; they portray women being beaten, tied up, raped, etc. but coming to "really want it." I believe that women can fantasize being rapists just as men can, but it's more sublimated; it's not "nice" to be a rapist, even in fantasy. Sometimes the reality of rape can be blended in with fantasy, and these sorts of stories can be the most exciting. On one level, a real situation is experienced in the writing.

On another level, the excitement of putting your fave characters in jeopardy, perhaps a bit of "playing God" figures into the equation. I was working on what I wanted to be a realistic rape story where Bodie is brutally gang—raped (not by Doyle, however). Then I got a hold of a Bodie/Doyle zine which featured two stories where Bodie rapes Doyle. After throwing the zine across the room, I marched feverishly back to my computer, turned it on, and worked more on my gang-rape Bodie scene - I cackled to myself, "Bodie, you'Il never rape my dear Ray Doyle or anyone else, ever again — after I get through with you!" And I continued with the scene where the group of men splay Bodie on a table and say, "pump it there, bitch!" Yes, I know I'm sick...

The Crying Game and gender:

Was fascinated by your discussion of CRYING GAME. But I am becoming more and more convinced that not only are "masculine" and "feminine" social constructs rather than hard-wired into male and female, but "male" and "female" are as much social constructs as "masculine" and "feminine." In other words, is Dil a "man" or a "woman?" I tend to see Dil as a woman rather than as a man. Yes, she has male genitals, and as far as I know, has no intentions of going through sex-change surgery. But is it sex-change surgery which changes a man into a woman? Or is a male—to—female transexual still a "man" (there are those who believe so). These might seem like really obvious or obtuse questions. But society places such a stake on the distinct categorization of genders and roles. Whereas it is looking more and more as though "male" and "female" exist along a continuum rather than in a strict division. So therefore, is Fergus in love with a "man" or a "woman?" Fergus still perceives Dil to be a "man" because of the penis, but is s/he really? The film doesn't supply easy answers. We discussed this a bit at Mediawest, and you said that the film has many layers of meaning. I absolutely agree with you, and hope this discussion doesn't come off as inadequate, I could easily write a book on THE CRYING GAME and its many layers of meaning.

Not a Kerr Avon fan:

Re my non-attraction to Avon: Don't know really why I can't get into him. He's an arrogant prick but Doyle can be an arrogant prick as well. Avon gets on my nerves, which is the perverse reason why my favorite Avon story features him being raped and plundered by Servalan and her army of ferocious amazons. Yes, I know I'm sick....

Females writing and reading m/m slash:

Male/male slash and writing and reading about what you and I (as women) can't experience! You're probably right; it's like reading about alien beings such as three-legged purple hermaphrodites from Venus or something. On the other hand (oh goddess, here we go again!!?) there is a familiarity, a common humanity in reading about men in slash which I find quite refreshing.
Slash being influenced by academia and visibility in mainstream press, etc:

I personally don't see a threat in slash being studied by "outsiders." However, I can see where individuals' participation in it may have to be guarded. Like gay people, slash fans can face irrational prejudice as far as jobs, etc. Plus, I believe that a societal double standard exists as far as women's

participation in erotica/porn compared to men's participation. I don't like the practice of "outing" gays who want to stay private, and I think that the same respect for privacy should be in effect as far as "outing" slash fans goes,

All fanfic writing is AU:

I also believe that most fan writing deals with archtypes of the original characters rather than the absolute literal characters, themselves; in some ways, alI fanwriting is "A/U," not just that which takes Bodie and Doyle out of their original, aired setting. So the question of how much potential exists for Bodie to commit rape depends on each fan writer's interpretation and depiction of Bodie and the conditions surrounding him — and this depiction can shift from story to story even within a single writer's production.

More on rape in fic:

You said that you wanted to do a "realistic" story where Bodie rapes Doyle. So I will assume that you are not interested in the sort of fantasy where Bodie's rape of Doyle leads to Doyle's realization that he really loves Bodie and wants to be plundered and swept off his feet. In a real situation, it would be extremely difficult to develop a relationship if the rape is the first sexual encounter between the two. It could be done, and it was in ARABIAN NIGHTS and in HEAT TRACE. But both of these are novels which take place over a significant span of time. In both of these, the rape is a significant wedge in the relationship. I personally can't imagine ever developing a romantic relationship with a person who has raped me (unless [the relationship was] highly abusive). Yet these two novels succeeded in suspending my original disbelief and accepting that Doyle is able to eventually go into a relationship with Bodie. Though I see Bodie as a potential rapist, I also see Bodie being appalled at the idea of rape. This is a central conflict in his personality, something he either does or does not work out in himself, depending on a fan writer's characterization and plotting.

Most partner-rape stories (including the two I just read when I mentioned pitching the zine across the room) haven't been able to make me suspend my central disbelief in a rape victim/survivor coming around into a romantic relationship with his/her rapist. Many times, a realistic situation of partner-rape dissolves into a rape fantasy where Doyle ends up deciding that he is essentially masochistic and desires to be forced and dominated — so he forgives Bodie for the original rapes and in effect expresses his gratitude for it. This sort of thing is, I gather, a trap which you want to avoid.

More on rape, comments on Heat-Trace:

Do you see the situation as one where Bodie doesn't want to commit rape, but comes to the realization that he has to do it in order to save Doyle from either death or else from having someone else rape him? I've read a couple of stories like this, and most of them end up as rape fantasies where Bodie doesn't want to commit rape, yet he actually does — and at the same time, Doyle gains ultimate pleasure from the sex act (some of these are similar to the K/S Pon Farr stories). In HEAT TRACE, there is a realistic internal conflict. Bodie has to rape Doyle to prevent a more brutal rape from Doyle's Arab captor; on one hand, Bodie is appalled, yet at the same time, he experiences desire and a certain amount of physical satisfaction. This act of rape creates a tremendous amount of guilt within Bodie, a lot of it stemming from the fact that Bodie has experienced rape himself, at the hands of his father. In HEAT TRACE, Bodie finally goes and gets professional therapy to resolve this conflict (as well as resolve his disassociative and PTSD conditions). In HEAT TRACE, I find that Doyle has not resolved the rape committed on him; instead he continues to deny that he was raped. This causes him some problems which aren't solved by the end of the novel. I liked HEAT TRACE alot, and found the unresolved ending refreshing.

One other point. Though I've praised HEAT TRACE and a few other stories like it, the actual situation of a male undercover agent being forced to rape his male partner in the course of an operation strikes me as being utterly absurd — I've never heard of a case like this in either police or spy work, even in the case of a male agent raping a female partner (has anyone ever heard of a situation like this?) So you do have to work to get the"reader to suspend disbelief. Although doing so in this situation doesn't seem that difficult within the slash community. An aside — can anyone perhaps explain why the plot device of one male partner being forced to rape the other is fairly common within slash, whereas it seems quite rare in other forms of literature?

More on rape and power in fic:

My reaction to this is similar to my reaction to the Servalan-rapes-Avon story I mention in earlier issues (it's called DESCENT INTO HELL and is in the zine, DIFFERENT DESTINIES). I do get some excitement in putting men into jeopardy and seeing how they can get out of it. And I have some "revenge" fantasies about putting men into situations where they get raped (see my earlier comment to M. FAE). At the same time, I adore rape-and-revenge stories; I love it when a rapist gets offed by his/her victim. I don't know if the kick I get from all this could be described as "erotic," but I certainly feel some excitement. And I can get very involved by rape/recovery stories or else somthing like SNOWBOUND where rape and spouse battery are treated within a horror-story framework. I definitely don't get excited by a feminized male character getting raped by his butch partner, then he falls into the plunderer's arms a la Scarlett O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND. Nor do I get turned on by the sort of Alpha-Male competition story where the winner gets to plunder and conquer the loser (who secretly desires it).
Re "heterophobia" in fan writing:

A couple of people reminded me in the old TNU that the relative paucity of lesbian stories is not necessarily a sign of lesbianphobia within fandom; it merely indicates that some people just aren't interested in woman/woman relationships (as well,as the fact that popular media sources depict male "buddies" far more often than they do female "buddies"). So I don't think that the fact that a reader might prefer male homoerotic depictions over

heteroerotic or "gen" (non-sexual) depictions necessarily indicates heterophobia. Within PROFESSIONALS, I much prefer slash stories. I've read very few believable heteroerotic PROS stories. I find the "queering" of Bodie and Doyle (or Bodie and Cowley) to be fascinating, plus I relish the development of relationships. I don't get as much satisfaction out of the "gen" portrayals. Yet I do enjoy heteroerotic stories in other media universes, and have published them in my mixed media zine, ON THE EDGE.

Comments regarding The Wave Theory of Slash:

Your Wave Theory makes a lot of sense! I find myself squarely within the Fourth Wave in my sensibilities, though I have a bit of Third Wave tendencies in my like for Bodie/Doyle A/U stories. More than that, the Wave Theory explains the diversification of slashdom in a way which traces the way the fandoms have developed through the years. I now have a better understanding of the "we're not gay" stories (though they still don't make a lot of sense to me — I want my characters to be queer). Not even sure if a penis is necesary in the newer developments in slash. Lesbian stories have experienced an exponential growth just in the past year. Then there is the question as to whether a penis really makes someone "male" or not (as in THE CRYING GAME, where all of the fan stories I've seen in this universe refer to Dil as "she").

More on feminizing of men in slash:

Re the feminization of Doyle in SIREN: It's the whole combination which does it for me i.e. "pink lips", the way Doyle is posing, etc. Plus there is the fact that the feminine title, "Siren," refers to Doyle.

Femslash:

Dayna/Cally? I've usually seen Jenna/Cally and Dayna/Soolin. But I could accept Dayna/Cally. The word from many Trek fans I know is that Kira/Dax will be the dominant pair of interest for DS9 slash. I've already gotten a Kira/Dax story for the next ON THE EDGE.

Some Topics Discussed in "Two Heads Are Better Than One"

Experts from "Two Heads Are Better Than One" by [M F G]

Why so few females in fic?

Hmmm, not sure if the lack of female characters and straight or female/female sex in early K/S is a result of anything other than normal interest in men bonking, and none of the letterzines etc that I've read have given me any real insight on this subject. [6]

How do you explain slash?

That scene from Wrath of Kahn is perfect to explain slash to non-fans. The one I use to convert non-slash B7 fans is to ask them to envision the last scene of the last episode with either Blake or Avon as one of the female characters, and how they would then interpret that scene. Then I ask them to go back to Avon and Blake, with the words and the body language and the history of their relationship, and to then explain that last scene between them without the slash element.

Feminizing male characters in fic:

re several of your comments, including going back to yrct on Sebastian feminising Doyle and particularly yrctme in SBF1: You know, I really don't think any of us here are closet misogynists or lesbianphobes, so I seriously doubt that any of us are made "uncomfortable" by "equating a man with a woman". First of all, "feminizing" a male character by choosing particular descriptions (as I believe was your point about Sebastian) is rarely that: the language of sensuality and beauty has always been primarily gender-free excepting usage, and the difference in these stories is that such language is used almost exclusively by women about men, which is discombobulating to most mindsets simply because it's odd and/or unexpected, at least in part because slash is such a huge and concentrated area that the effect is so gobsmacking, if the reader is susceptible to certain male-dominated notions. We, as a society, are well used to the language of sex and sensuality: what is still vaguely surprising is to hear such words applied equally to men. All flesh, when it is desired, is lush (straight sex mags refer to the thinnest of women as 'lush' and just listen to the language used to describe emaciated models on the runways, and then look and you'll find the same language used in more than a few gay porn mags), all beloveds are beautiful in the eye of the beholder.

More on feminization and labels:

...despite the characterisations, as per many of the stories that 'feminise' (particularly Doyle, Ilya et al). I personally prefer neither to continue nor promulgate the notion that the following are 'female' characteristics and writing a character defined by the following turns him into a 'woman': physical and/or intellectual weakness, neediness, crippling emotional insecurity, being a rape victim and/or a willingness to be victimised in an essentially abusive relationship or to depend on another person for freedom from victimisation. As far as I'm concerned, those characteristics do not a woman make, nor are they in any way descriptive of what it means to be a woman, nor does having an overabundance of such characteristics equate a man with being a woman. It makes him a snivelling, weak-kneed, swithering little man with being a woman. It makes him a snivelling, weak-kneed, swithering little wimp, not a woman. It is not androgyny: it is demeaning, weakening and dehumanising.

Female writing:

... ambivalence to describing slash as being truly female writing: what the hell does it matter what gender our stories are about? Being 'female', being feminist, does not, as you yourself admit, necessarily depend upon the gender of whom we write: the whole point about slash that makes it truly female writing is that it's women writing about what they want to write without thought of or fear of what other people think, say or do—such as what some would lament as our lack of female sensibilities because we're not all gushing over women characters. Quite frankly, if you have ambivalence about describing slash as truly female writing because it's all about men, then I suggest you have another look to see what it is that makes you feel that anyone has the right to dictate what women choose to do in the forum of their choice. There are those few in some aspects of various women's movements who insist that we 'should' do this, we 'should' read that, we 'should' write that and if we don't, then our feminism is in doubt. My argument remains that oppression is still oppression, no matter how benign the intent, and the thought-police are still the thought-police and anathema regardless of their intentions.

re: the definition of 'un-men'. Use your imagination. Expand your horizons. Think about how tired I am of this endless description of 'feminizing' or 'making into a woman' or 'androgynising' to mask what is nothing more than cutting all the backbone out of a character. It's not just their cocks I like hard...

Posting someone else's fic on the Internet without their permission:

On the subject of putting stories on the net: I just wanted to make absolutely certain that you understood my position on this (at a panel at MediaWest, [N] casually mentioned that she was intending to put some of my stories on the net). I don't know what Emily Post would have to say about this, but I think it is an absolute breach of etiquette and common sense to put someone else's stories into an uncontrolled and accessible-by-any-old-nut forum without so much as a by-your-leave. I find it incomprehensible why you would even consider making so free with someone else's work. I'm screaming neither censorship nor copyright here, I'm simply astonished that you would consider just passing my stories—anyone's stories—out left, right and bloody centre.

Tone and slash fic:

Equally, Wiseguy doesn't exactly spring to mind as a swooning into each others' arms type of Universe, and most of the writers (thank you, thank you, [C]!) don't write wimps—good example is Golden Years (right title?) [7] which could so easily have been a soppy domestic swamp (just try imagining the same story in either S/H or UNCLE), but is actually full of wonderfully masculine and butch characterisation without losing one single milligramme of sensitivity. And could it also be that these are both still relatively small fandoms, and the main writers tend to be the types to go back to the episodes again and again and again, which makes it really difficult to demean and diminish the characters. Of course, I've just read a zine that goes a looong way to being the exception that proves the rule: Avon collapsing on his knees at Blake's feet, weeping, and confessing undying love. Yep. Almost as convincing as the Post-Gauda Prime hearts-and-flowers. But not quite as splendid as the elf story.

Privacy? Nah.:

As far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as a 'private' conversation, and anything anyone says to anyone else is absolutely fair game — makes things much more interesting.

No thanks to manga and anime:

Manga and anime may repulse me, but apart from that, we certainly agree about what makes good slash! Dark, tragic and with a lot of desperate sex — yum! I like Eroica slash (although I still hate the manga), and I'd be very, very interested in reading Makkai Tenshoh slash. Now that sounds like my cup of tea.

Regarding some themes in fic:

A couple of things on your essay on Heat-trace etc (and I may well have already remembered to tell you this, but when has that ever stopped me from repeating myself?): I didn't 'discover' -- I uncovered the spousal abuse [in Snowbound], and it was very, very deliberate. I read Master of the Revels, Murder on the Moor and something else (Waiting to Fall, I think) and got totally scunnered with these endless stories of what to me wasn't romance, but emotional abuse. As a result, I wanted to do a story that postulated who these people would have to be to enter into such an apparently destructive relationship, what that relationship would actually be like (remember all those stories where one of Our Boys is 'raped' by the other or forced to have sex to 'prove' this that or the other?) and what the real outcome of such a relationship would be, the end results and the decisions that would be necessary to get to a 'they lived happily ever after'. And I wouldn't say that I declare that the rollercoaster is stable: what I'm saying is that if two people go into an emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship (as in the majority of slash novels, which are propelled precisely the way you observe), then the characters would end up actually paying the penalty, but despite that, the characters may choose to remain in a relationship the rest of us simply don't understand or empathise with. I'm not entirely sure that that's not what you were saying, but that's my tuppenceworth.

This fan's favorite author:

Sebastian is not only my favourite writer, I think she's the best writer in slashdom. She can do more, tell more, make us feel more by a tiny phrase or a silence than most of us I myself especially] can manage in twenty pages. And talk about an ear for the characters, and her wonderful, unique and skewed vision — brilliant.

One of the many, many comments on The Wave Theory of Slash (there were several pages on this topic by [M F G] in this trib):

Okay, now about these Waves of yours... I agree with quite a bit of it, some of it I disagree with, and some of it I need clarified. But I'm having tremendous fun with all of it.

First Wave: agree with A, but B is not exclusive to First Wave, because I for one (and I get to say this cos you picked me as one of the writers typifying Fourth Wave!) belong very actively to a very active fandom, and there is considerable discussion about stories and ideas, before and after (although LOCs seem to be a lost art — thank god for our big monthly meetings and that bank robber, the phone). There are so many discussions and so many opinions, there is no consensus-type characterisation produced, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Could you define a bit more what you mean by C, because I really don't see a lot of that in, for instance, Sebastian's stories (Siren, Such a Day Tomorrow, On Heat, Army Games, Pleasure Bent and a few others).

Absolutely agree with you about Second Wave A, but did all writers really accept the boys as being strictly, absolutely hetero? I'm not sure of the chronology of stories, but for instance, by On Heat, Sebastian had Doyle quite comfortable with homosexual fantasies, and by The Ball Was Good, she had Doyle already having had homosexual sex. And I haven't the faintest idea what you mean (shows you how thick I can be sometimes, doesn't it?) in C when you say that the sex is still "female oriented". And again in D, I'm curious as to what makes you certain that the writers were inspired to write by having read slash. I always assumed that there were always going to assumed that there were always going to be those who would simply write it and only later discover that there were other people out there just like them.

Third Wave: A. Now, again we run into the problem of chronology. For instance, where would O. Yardley's Injured Innocents be without the slash element? But she's been in Pros slash since the beginning, and does, from the way I read your Wave, belong to First Wave, even though Injured Innocents (and so many of the Christmas stories, for instance) is focussed entirely around slashing the boys, i.e. getting them into bed and declaring their love for each other. And I'm not sure quite what you mean by 'sexless' stories: do you mean the ones where nothing explicitly happens (e.g., Our Heroes gaze into each others' eyes, then the veil is discreetly drawn and the next paragraph begins with "The next morning as they awoke satiated and content, in each others' arms...") or do you mean stories where they are still just buddies, haven't considered sex with each other and are sexually unaware of each other? Because although I might consider the latter pre-slash (e.g. Mr. Doyle's Neighbourhood), I would certainly consider the first slash. Just not necessarily satisfying slash! I agree with you about a/u coming into its own here — so does that make Meg Lewtan a Third Wave writer? And where would you fit H.G.'s Peerless Pair? Apart from on the bookshelf within easy reach, of course.

Fourth Wave: aha, now we get to my bit (only joking, only joking: the megalomania isn't quite that advanced. Yet.) Okay, now you picked me as one of the writers who typifies Fourth Wave, so I'm going to reply from my own experience.

Why is [M F G] in fandom?

I frequently say that I'm not in fandom, simply because I'm not, in the widest sense of the word 'fandom'. I'm in what I call slashdom, because I have limited time and resources, so I'm not going to fritter them away in a forum where I either have to watch what I say or limit the amount of discussion on my passion. I don't like having to skulk around as if slash is something shameful or wrong, I don't like having to 'protect' people from being exposed to slash zines, I don't like having not only slash but slashers trashed. To me, slashdom is a fandom, and what's more, it's the core of fandom for me, because here, nothing is taboo, nothing is undiscussed, whether it be the esoteric sexual practices of pygmies (you get your mind back up out of the gutter, you lot. No, I am not referring to my own sex life!) or what the different interiors of Bodie's flats tell us about the character or why the hell Avon let Vila get away with something or some point of science I would never have heard of anywhere else. Fandom is incredibly important to me: it's where I met my best friend, it's where all my good friendships are based: no matter how wide-ranging and permanent those friendships are, they all started in fandom. Without fandom, I doubt that I'd be writing at all, and I certainly wouldn't be as contented as I am today, nor would I have quite as big a head. Fandom, albiet slash fandom, is far more than a distribution system for me. It's the source for much of my inspiration (see all the above wafflings), and recipient of much of my affections. And it's so much bloody fun!

Is it slash without sex?

As you can see in some of the discussions going on, some of us do still regard the sexless slash story as slash (eek! I've even written some!), but on the whole, we're a bunch of shameless hussies who brazenly go around revelling in gratuitous sex and lots of it. One of my favourite types of slash story are the ones where the sex is what tells the story and is the allegory for the developing relationship or the rosetta stone to unlock the true natures of the characters. I get very frustrated (are you listening, Jane Carnall?) with stories that hint that the relationship might become more than simple friendship or stories that do the "they melted into each others' arms..." New paragraph. "Next morning..." because I'm salacious and libidinous and like all the gory details. Perhaps one of the main differences between, for instance, first and fourth waves, are our (declared?) motives for reading slash. I remember (now you can all do a Bodie and snore at this bit) at my very first convention (thank you, Whips, thank you, thank you, thank you!), being asked what I liked best about K/S and then not quite understanding the looks I was quite understanding the looks I was getting when I blithely answered 'The SEX!". But then, that was back in the old days when it was considered disloyal to have more than one Universe under one's belt (so to speak!).

What is slashy? How is it different than gay fiction?: {{Quotation| I've read a lot of gay fiction that is all about love and romance, and all the other goody-two-shoes stuff slash is supposed to be about (according to some people), and yet, the typical gay novel won't come anywhere near slash for me. It really does boil down to: I know it's slash, entirely due to the effect it has on me. And slash can be far more than the written word, and far more than the visuals on the screen. It can be, and for me often is, music: a lot of Morrissey songs, Jimmy Sommerville, Tom Robinson (now that's going back a decade or two!), Pet Shop Boys, any number of songs, and not because the song (eg Lament by Ultravox which is a perfect description of fourth-season Avon) expresses some aspect of a slash character, but because the story told in the song or the emotions expressed in the song are slash. Slash can be a piece of art (Caravaggio, Michaelangelo, [[C], don't read this bit!] many Pietas), a photograph, sculpture: absolutely anything that is homoerotic and engages me emotionally, intellectually or sexually, that brings in that element of creation and manipulation (in the nicest sense of the word), whether or not it contains love, romance or even sex, then that can be and is slash.

Like beauty, slash is in the eye of the beholder and defies both an absolute delineation and a definitive list of criteria.}}

Slash has to have men:

One thing that I am very narrow-minded about is that for it to be slash for me, it has to involve only men. To me, female/female is a separate aspect of fan-fiction, just as surely as male/female is separate and not "slash", and the more I think about it, the more I feel it is demeaning to insist that female/female should be listed as generic slash, as if female/female doesn't deserve it's own category the way gen, adult and even h/c do.

Comments on a novel by Jane of Australia:

Now, let's take another slash novel, say... Yeah, let's, I'll be a bitch again. Let's look at Jane of Australia's Ice Wind and Fire again. All right, now we all know this is slash, because it's Bodie and Doyle, it was circulated widely in slash circles (unintentional pun, that!), it contains all the elements of so-called 'real' slash stories and yet, in my opinion, it is closer to mainstream gay novels than Shoshanna's less traditional piece is, simply because Jane's novel isn't about people, it isn't about exploring them or following them as their lives and loves unfold, it was all about using the characters as plot devices, things to be moved hither and yon in order to achieve (or rather, in order to attempt) certain effects. That, to me, is one of the critical differences in what does, or does not, work as slash for me. I have to fee] the story is about 'real' people, characters who are convincing and vital, with a 'life' of their own, rather than cardboard cutouts stuck in fetching poses designed to tug my heartstrings.

Experts from "Two Heads Are Better Than One" by [N B]

Art that would be rescued from the bin:

Wasn't that Avon/Blake cover in the last issue wonderful? Generally speaking I have no great interest in slash art(or fan art in general) but this Lovett piece knocked me over. Even were I to throw out SBF #1 (speaking hypothetically of course), I would keep this cover.

The zine Science Friction:

... let me put in my two cents worth about Science Friction... SF is a slim Next Degeneration slash zine that made an appearance at last year's Gaylaxicon. Perhaps "slash" zine would be more appropriate because (to completely misquote but you'll know what the hell I mean) if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it a duck? SF has all the form and none of the substance of slash. Certainly it couples media characters in same sex

situations but when you sit down to read it you find that there are no real relationships developed between the characters (PWPs perhaps?) and all that remains seems to be more closely related to someone's personal J.O. fantasy. The cover art screams "gay porn" — nowhere in any slash that I'm aware of do you find Tom of Finlandesque cover boys with rigid, monster fuckpoles ready to ream, in one case, and spewing jism in the other. And that description should give you a flavor for a lot of the language used by the authors. It is hard, it is harsh, it is grating, and it ain't slash. I would bet my bottom dollar that the male/male stories were written by a man and that his model was " Ploughboy" or "Assfucker Monthly." [Just thought of another cover comparison. If SF's Worf, the plunger, and Riker, the plungee gay porn, then Suzie Lovett's SBF cover of Avon and Blake for issue #1 sweetly sing slash: relationship, relationship, relationship; emotions, emotions, emotions. A picture is worth a thousand words!)

Writing as a reflection of a writer and their wishes:

I don't find anything very controversial in your general theory of (slash) fanwriting and would add in support to the notion that fanwriting reflects the writer's reality that sometimes the writer's stories reflect what the writer wishes the world could be. I think that a lot of fans (and readers of genre fiction) want the fantasy the writer gives them, want the chance to escape into a gentler place even if only for the time it takes to read the story. And at the opposite pole are writers who will darken things and give us a tale which (I suspect) is rather harsher and not necessarily a part of either the writer's or readers' ;;real lives.

Should the tone of aired canon fit the tone of the fic, addresses the need to fix it and desire for happy endings:

I also agree with your statement that some stories work against their sources. B7 immediately comes to mind as a universe that is depicted as pessimistic and dark, and heavens knows, most of the main characters (seemingly) die in the end. The best stories in this random are those which reflect the show's pessimism. But what I find fascinating are all the writers who feel a need to fix things, to give us a happy ending. Avon and Blake really do love each other and it will all work out in the end, they'll settle down on some nice planet and raise a family. I also think B7's darkness makes it inaccessible for a lot of fans; they turn to something 'lighter.' And that's my theory of the popularity of K/S and Doyle|B/D.

It's far easier to do hopeful stories and romance and happy endings. (But—such a lovely word—Pros fans [I can't speak about current K/S] often ignore the real capacity for violence and aggression given to the characters in favor of concentrating on idealized romance between them. Anyone who doubts that Doyle was ever a vicious sod ought to go back and view the first 8 or 9 episodes of the series—in production order, not aired order.)

Some comments on The Wave Theory of Slash and different fandoms:

A few comments on the Four Waves. [L], as hooks go, this one has taken hold. M. Fae and a lot of other people we've talked to find the terminology convenient in the extreme. Not that I'm sure I totally agree with your categories or analysis, but it's very nice to be able to say third wave and immediately have an idea what kind of writing we're referring to. One question, however: did you mean your waves to apply to all slash fandoms? The writers you've given as representative are all known (primarily, exclusively, currently, or unfortunately [in the case of M. Fae!) as Pros writers and you seem to be looking at the development of Pros fandom. Now I admit that after K/S, the mother-of-all-slash. Pros probably has been the most popular slash fandom, but would the four waves framework hold for say B7? I think not.

Slash and visibility:

Reyr comments on the outing of slash to the general public. It doesn't bother me (other than the incredible misinterpretation and non-understanding of what-the-hell-they're-writing-about demonstrated by most journalists and certain 'academics-who-just-don't-get-it'). However, I do perceive a particular fear on my part which stems from the fuzzy area of copyright infringement we zine publishers seem to be guilty of, I read Factsheet Five (a wonderful zine devoted to listing and reviewing zines of all persuasions, but not primarily media zines) and although I covet the 'advertising' a listing of our stuff would bring, I recognize how dangerous it would be to try to expose ourselves to this much broader world. I want to open up slash to women, certain as I am that many would love it, yet this task is impossible with the state of things now.

Experts from "Two Heads Are Better Than One" by [L D M]

[L D M] is [L D's] husband.

About The Crying Game and disagreement that it is genderfuck:

Dil is certainly androgynous (I was suspicious the instant I saw Dil, but that comes from working so extensively with the "gender" crowd) but she's not at all into genderfuck. GF, as everyone I've ever worked with conceptualizes it, is the "in your face" juxtaposition of overt, conflicting gender markers on the same human body. The classic genderfuck is the ballgown and full beard combination and seems to be a variant of the gay drag queen presentation-see, for example the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or the West Hollywood Cheerleaders. Dil may be "gay" in some sense, but she sure doesn't display any aspects of genderfuck! Indeed, to most unsophisticated viewers of the film, she's not even androgynous, she's female/feminine/a woman until the moment of truth.

Slashers are everywhere:

And speaking of slash, this year I've also been lecturing in the Communication Studies Program at UCLA. When I discuss the DTP/small press/zine phenomena, I like to mention slash as a classic example (usually citing Constance's work), starting off with the clandestinely-typed-and-duplicated-on-the-office-Selectric-and-Xerox early zines and progressing to the modern DTPs which the computer revolution has made possible. I usually start with K/S and end up with spinox like Desert Peach (of which I'm a huge fan). What is most fascinating though is, as I lecture, I always see some young woman's eyes light up and after lecture she'll hang about or see me in office hours to ask how she can get some of this stuff to read. I swear, potential slashers are everywhere!!!!

Liked one book way more than the other one:

Closing note to [H J]. I certainly enjoyed your Textual Poachers, esp. in comparison to Enterprising Women. The latter is almost a textbook case of bad pseudo-ethnography, wherein the author, in the face of the data directly from the participants, nonetheless holds tightly to her own preconceptions.

Some Topics Discussed in "Untitled" by [M G]

Excerpts from "Untitled" by [M G]

Actor slash:

Why is it that writing a fictional account involving the sex lives or sexual proclivities of a Real Person is so much more fraught than writing a fictional account of any other activity of said Real Person? Say, a roman a clef with clearly recognisable Real People doing all sorts of nefarious things? (About ten years ago, someone passed around at work a pseudo-Jackie Collins type book that contained a clearly recognisable portrait of one of the employees, and two years ago everyone at Pomona College was buying and reading The Fast Death Factor by Virginia Crosby because almost all the academics portrayed were thinly disguised P.C. folk.) Rhetorical question, rhetoric'! I answer -- because it's sex, of course. And imagining that an actor has had torrid love affairs is just too totally outrageous and unbelievable, of course. Would it. be okay to write such a story about an actor who is out? Or about an actor who was, twenty years ago, arrested, tried and convicted for having sex with a minor in a public lavatory? Their sex lives are no longer truly private in those cases, nicht wahr?

I think fans' feelings of ownership is what is violated by Real Person slash, not the Real Person's privacy. The fans 'own' the actors because they are passionately interested in them, and they are protective of them, not for the actors, but for themselves, for their Interests. The same sort of protectiveness referred to when MUNCLE stopped writing the girlfriend for Illya when his fans disliked that and told them to stop?

Might there be any connection between the fact that two of the largest slash fandoms are those with persistent rumors in and out of fandom about attractions and possible relationships between the actors while their shows were in production, and concurrent news media and talk show attention to the nature of characters' relationships? Would slash fans be happy or upset if an actor in a slashed show wrote a tell-all bio years after the show was gone and revealed a past affair with their co-star? Do we want any hint of reality to tinge the tone of our communal fantasies?
The Slash is What We Want to Write Theory:

This goes a long way toward explaining why fans are fans of many shows for which they never create fanfiction. If a show such as Hill Street Blues or L.A. Law or Moonlighting, a show that foregrounds personal interaction, has a devoted fan following, yet never generates a significant amount of fanfiction, perhaps the show supplies in adequate quantities what we need to create for other shows.

This also helps get around the objections of new-to-fandom women who see fanfiction as women wasting their talents writing for no reward when they ought to be out there writing professionally for money. Obviously, women who want to do that, do — everyone knows the list of Fans Gone Pro. But many of them still write fanfiction; it must fulfill something beyond the pleasure of creation through writing. Subversively messing about with someone else's attractive characters -- ah, the thrill!
"Anti-slash sentiment in general fandom":
Sorry, but it's still there. A friend on a BBS commented on a electronically distributed Bashir and various casual sexual encounters with women he was not acquainted with story, and asked did the author write anything else. Answer: if you mean that awful, disgusting slash stuff, of course not! And any discussion of fanfiction with (especially) younger, predominantly male SF fans (to overgeneralize wildly and deliberately) often garners a oh, yuch! dreadful! response. It's still there, it's just we have our own ghetto now, and can more easily avoid the neighbors.
Regarding Henry Jenkins' statement that "slash is what happens" when on removes the glass between Kirk and Spock in the death scene in The Wrath of Khan:
The Glass Remover: Thanks, Henry, for your classroom explication of the scene in ST:Wrath of Khan. A powerful image both in the film and as an explanation of slash, and I love it. I've already used it on a new slash convert.
Unhappy and feeling cheated with the end of Quantum Leap:
And, no offense to Quantum, and as much as I enjoyed their various thwarted touch scenes, they never did it as well. Of course, making it a death scene does make it more powerful, doesn't it? (And, no, I didn't like Mr. Bellisario selling us out of the big Sam-Al emotional payoff in the last episode. Though the 'that's the way it is' speech came damn close to making up for it. "That's the way it is? One moment he's one of them and the next he's a memory and all you can say is 'That's the way it is?'" Got to admire a writer who can tell you just how ticked he is about the murder of his creation before its course has run so succinctly, so perfectly. Sigh. Damn.)

"Why we analyze":

Why do fans discuss 'why'? Why ask why? Sorry, lie. . . In my experiences in fandom, literary, media, slash, any, fans Just love to analyze. They can no more cease to analyze what they love than they can do without a phone, or the mail, or a computer. Analysis is a primary fannish method of communication. It's part of my mental definition of the species, like not being able to eat breakfast without some version of words-on-paper in front of you.
"Romance and First Time Slashs Are Fantasies, Too":
Of course they are. And you're right, it's just because they are acceptably feminine ones that they get mistaken for real goals and desires where the rape, h/c, etc. ones are not. I never really thought about it because I guess it seemed obvious. No one really expects life to be like that, or sex for that matter, do they? I once saw a case of love at first sight. They met, and by the end of the evening they couldn't keep their eyes off each other. (The rest of us found it a trifle embarrassing.) They got married a month later. And divorced about eight months after that.
Maddie Hayes as a strong female character:
If anyone cares, I could make a case for Maddie Hayes getting stronger as Moonlighting progressed. I know, I know, Glenn Caron made the wrong decision in how to fictionally handle Cybill Shepard's pregnancy, but before that. Maddie starts down and out, so out of touch with her 'own' money and business that she gets rooked by her accountant. She also has, as far as we can tell, no friends. Working with the agency, she gained competence — learns the detective biz, handles the financial and business arrangements — and friends, too. She and Agnes clearly have a familiar-seeming friendship that does not partake of the usual they're women, they must be competing for a man quality.
Problem pronouns:
Ah, the vexing problem that it is. That's what names are for. It is actually no more difficult to write a scene of any kind with two matching pronouns than it is to do so with a sex scene. Authors have been doing it for hundreds of years. /// Cecily poured tea into the cup, and asked, "Do you take sugar?" "No thank you," replied Gwendolyn. /// Tex grabbed the rope and slung it over his shoulder. "I'll rope, you brand." Nodding curtly, Billy Joe rolled up his sleeves. /// See, names! And no, they don't suffer from being overused, instead they tend to become invisible. Simple.

Some Topics Discussed in "W.H.I.P.S. Women of Houston In Pornography"

Excerpts from "W.H.I.P.S. Women of Houston In Pornography" from [L S]

An essay The Mary Sueing of Hurt/Comfort:

My name is [L S], and I am a hurt/comfort fan. Recently I've had the feeling I should be saying this to a roomful of people who chant back, "Hello, Lezlie" and congratulate me for taking the first step. Hurt/comfort seems to be falling victim to the Mary Sue syndrome. Once upon a time, there was a distinct genre of story with the jill-of-all trades and still-looks-smashing-in-an-evening-gown heroines.

[snipped]

In a remarkably short time ANY female character that was smart enough to chew gum and walk across the room at the same time was in danger of being labelled Mary Sue. This produced a fandom of female writers not using female characters because their female readers would accuse them of writing females that were too smart/competent. But that's another rant. Now, the guns of our own derision are turning on a new target -- hurt/comfort.

[snipped]

Yes, it is easy to find a hurt/comfort story to ridicule. Bodie being broiled over an open fire jumps to mind. I have another friend who really loves h/c. Her idea for a story is to think up a hurt. Like a dummy, I always ask how this ties in with the story. But, is the hurt/comfort vignette any different from the fuck vignette? I all depends on which side of the crash cart you're on, doesn't it?

Hurt/comfort is a tool for writers. I'd be happier if we concentrated on reviewing how well the tool is wielded within the story instead of treating the tool like the disease.
Comments on Heat-Trace and the essay Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace":

First, let me say that I enjoyed your analysis of Heat Trace, Shoshanna. I hope this trend, analyzing the stories rather than fandom's relation to society continues. With all the academic treatment slash has gotten, there has been precious little comment on the stories AS stories. However, I do not believe Heat Trace is a paradigmatic slash novel. I see it as the exception that proves the rules.

I am going to follow [M F G's] example and give an honest opinion of a novel within this small community. I didn't enjoy Heat Trace. By the time I finished I felt like sending FJ, the author of Brother's Keeper, a sympathy card over the death of her characters.

I agree that Heat Trace wasn't badly written. It just didn't ring my slash chimes. I was riveted by the riot sections, but the Bodie/Doyle stuff left me cold.

I loved Brother's Keeper. FJ also wrote Starlight/Starbrite; Journey's End and Middle Journey; this really incredible UNCLE/Star Trek/Everybody else crossover that blew me away -- and I HATE crossovers! Although I've never asked her, I've always considered Brother's Keeper a sly send-up of fan novels. She accomplished in relatively few pages what other writers would have taken hundreds to cover. Imagine if Jane had written Brother's Keeper!

My affection for Brother's Keeper made it hard to accept Heat Trace as a sequel. [A H] wrote a "sequel" to Sebastian's Homecoming [8] (as in Adagio, Catharsis, Homecoming). At the end of Homecoming, as the terrorists are about to move in for the final kill Bodie and Doyle share a moment of triumph. They had been worried about doing the job if they were too personally involved. When the time came, they did the job. [A's] "sequel" wiped away that moment of triumph. Leaving a self-pitying Bodie and a truly horrible Doyle to muddle on.

Heat Trace was a similar sequel. The morose, bleak, downright depressed characters that opened the novel bore no resemblance to the fast talking Bodie and the impishly grinning Doyle at the end of Brother's Keeper.

You acknowledge that most stories and novels are first timers, but go on to say that it is "convenient" to consider HT as a first timer because their relationship is unstable at the beginning. Even if the sexual relationship is unstable at the beginning of HT, it does already exist, so erotic tension is out the window.

Neurotic tension is not an equal replacement.

Heat Trace BEGINS at the deadly slash novel phase — post first time. Slash novels often run aground here, as you correctly pointed out in your analysis. Heat Trace just drifts. Usually, I dislike novels that split them up for significant periods of time. In this novel, I was grateful for the respite.

Where the novel differs wildly from most slash novels is how the author utilizes h/c. You are absolutely right, she has turned it into a repetitious, sadomasochistic ritual. My question is, in what other novels do B&D do this? How is this paradigmatic?

[snipped]

I enjoyed the analysis so much I couldn't help but be surprised when a novel I hardly consider slash could be considered representative of all slash novels.
Writing what we know and want:
I agree that we write what we want to write, but all writers do that. Television has just provided us with what most unpublished, amateur writers don't have: a community with which to share our writing. I also think we write what we read outside of fandom. If you read bodice rippers, you write slash bodice rippers. If you read Thomas Harris, you keep trying.
Some Wave Theory comments:
your assertion that you know fans who've been inclined toward slash all their lives. When I first started on slashnet, we did a round of "how I found slash" and I was stunned by how many of them had been fantasizing male/male tv characters before finding out about slash. This contributed to my wave theory because none of the people I consider first and second wave even thought of slash before being told about it via fandom.
Slash is not for gay men:
...I don't think slash is about gay men, either, so what do I know? I can read gay fiction anytime, but slash is ours.

Excerpts from "W.H.I.P.S. Women of Houston In Pornography" from [T]

Note: this fan is called [T] in the table of contents, but signs their name [K] on the trib itself.

What I like to read:
Am open to almost anything so long as it has a good story to it. I loved the flyer for Espresso for One: that expresses for me the essence of slash: Relationships with Oomph.
Self-defines as an "old Trekker":
... although I did have a late start, because I got into slash the 'traditional' way ... First reading SF, then watching Star Trek, reading Star Trek, etc. I'd have to say that my main interest in fandom has always been stories, reading and writing. At the time I thought fan writing was an excellent way to improve my own writing and see a lot of new ideas. (I still think that). [snipped] I watched Star Trek, was fascinated, (so to speak) with the characters, the universe, the possibilities. The details. The situation. Intensely interested in what would happen next. Thus, initially, reading fan stories was simply a way of continuing this fascination.
Why slash?:

So I've always approached slash from the writing angle. And although I've read and heard any number of discussions on the merits, whys and wherefores of slash, amid all the analyses of the sociological, psychological, cultural, political, and sexual elements of this genre I seldom see anything that really addresses slash stories on the front lines of what they are: Stories. Literature. (I know, it's the L-word). Why not write stories because they illuminate the human condition? For me, with no background, no context, the stories are just fuck-stories. And if I just want to read fuck-stories {which has been known to happen), they are all over the place, in any pairing (or tripling or more) that I can imagine, at varying levels of quality (anybody tried the magazine Yellow Silk?), all available much more conveniently and much more cheaply than any zine. So why should I be interested in slash in particular?

Maybe this is a dead horse issue.... The first slash story I ever read was given to me just as "a good story." And a lot of what I think about slash is still influenced on that level: as a story. If it doesn't work there, it doesn't work. I've heard several criticisms of this opinion, two of which I'd like to comment on. One is the 'this is just for fun, don't get so serious'. I find it strange that the concept of amateur, that is, not for profit, is often used to mean careless or lackadaisical. In any case, I do have lots of fun working out story ideas, analyzing characters, etc. Not everyone does, and that's fine. But for me to take my stories seriously is not a burden, but a pleasure. To write about anything, the subject must get my emotions and thoughts stirred and that's worth taking seriously, even if it is 'just' fan stuff.

Some Topics Discussed in "Desert Blooms"

Excerpts from "Desert Blooms"

Immersed in fandom and in slash:

Right now I find I'm being pulled in too many directions. This is something you more experienced fans know about. I've seen you, looking indulgently as I scooped up zine after zine, my plastic bag overflowing and tearing at the handles. You knew. You who have tried it too, grabbing everything out there in a mad orgy of reading, only to find that you had spread yourself too thin, that there wasn't enough time or brain cells to keep up with all the fandoms. You too wanted to taste the forbidden fruits of h/c, sm, au, pwps and all the other acronyms. Oh, I heard vague mumblings of "she'll find out" and "overextended" and "glutton" but I passed it off as the mad ravings of addled fens, fans jaded by years of reading too small print, fans who'd been poked by spiral bindings just once too often, fans hardened by papercuts and toner fumes. I thought I would be different. I thought I would be the one to embrace them all and glibly chatter to one and all about the Murphy/Sarek/Roger crossover in Frisky Naked Interuptus. I hang my head in shame. I CAN'T DO IT! I can't read them all! I can't jump blithely from Vinnie to Illya to Klaus and still keep them all straight (er, poor choice of words). I mix my writhing bodies in the dark. I don't know if it's Doyle's Botticelli's curls or Dorian's, if it's Cowley pushing up his glasses and running a hand through thinning hair or Frank, I started out with 1 or 2 fandoms, reading them thoroughly and passionately. Then I got cocky. I thought, oh yeah, I can do multiple fandoms, no problem. I'm tough, I'm a fast reader, I can switch universes faster than you can say "Running all the way, sir". So I purchased zines and cajoled stories and borrowed reams of printed paper and started to read. B7, PROS, WISEGUY, EROICA, MUNCLE, STARSKY/HUTCH, TRIS/ALEX, SANDBAGGERS, mixed media, comics, even plain old gay porn. You were right. I confess. I can't keep up!! There's too much out there. I never thought I would see the day when I could feel like I had enough slash in hand to keep me going for a long time.
Re-discovering comics:
I've just been re-introduced to a passion that I had thought lost many years ago; comics. Not Calvin and Hobbes or Peanuts. Not even the faithful and predictable heroes of old. It seems the superheroes of our youth have evolved into very adult characters stuck in very adult situations. These are not erotic comics (which I'm sure exist, also) but rather violent, dark and captivating. I remember comics being very black and white. You knew who the good guys were and that they would eventually triumph. These comics don't always have good guys and everything seems to be in shades of grey. Even Batman has crossed that fine line between sane and insane and Superman was killed. After all, the two I've found most intriguing are from Britain. One is about the adventures of a hit man [9] and the other about an insane Scot who burns down the asylum and, believing he's Humphrey Bogart, rampages through Glasgow chasing after innocent bystanders turned into imaginary villains.
The attraction of fandom is the taboo, but also the opportunities to re-imagine:
I think part of what makes slash so alluring is not so much that it's taboo, although that does give it an extra edge, but that we create it, our community, unhindered by all the rules of creative writing professors, of publishers and of marketers, create the fiction we want to read and, more importantly, we allow ourselves to react to it. If a story moves or amuses us, we share it, if it bothers us, we write a sequel, if it disturbs us, we may even re-write it! We also continually re-create the characters to fit our images of them or to explore a new idea. We have the power and that's a very strong siren. If we want to explore an issue or see a particular scenario, all we have to do is sit down and write it. It gets read and instantly reacted upon in a continuing dialogue among fans. You can't do that very often in the "real" world. For me, that's one of the strongest callings of slash in particular and fandom in general.
Comments about some fic:

Let me start by saying I'm a sucker for you B/C pieces. I devoured LEST THESE DARK DAYS and THIS CLASSICAL DILEMMA and the emotional upheaval of THROUGH MY EYES left me so bereft and drained that I didn't read anything for weeks after (not a normal state for any self-respecting fan). In fact, it is the only one of your long B/C stories that I've read only once. You have a special ability to write Cowley and a very different Bodie from what we are used to reading. When you put them in a relationship as in LTDD or TCD, it's utterly believable. Your stories weave a spell with characters that seem ready to implode, characters that are so self-restrained and internalized they are solitary even when with someone.

I recently read your short story trilogy TRIPTYCH and I must comment on how much I liked it. I loved the concept behind it, three gut-wrenching PROFESSIONALS death stories; one for each of them. They are dark, emotional and pulled at me from all sides. While all three were interesting and a good, if quick, read, the first story, IF I FORGET THEE, was the story that stuck with me. It's a wonderful story but it's too damn short! It should have been 40 pages, not 4. I wish you had done more with it. There are so many interesting bits that could could have been turned into a truly stunning story. The idea of Doyle not having looked at Cowley since Bodies' death sent shivers up my spine. What a unique way for Doyle to deal with his grief and his anger. And does he unconsciously know already that Bodie and Cowley were lovers? Is there anger because Cowley shares his grief instead of leaving that one last gesture to Doyle? And the line about twins...What a marvelous connection there. You could really use this to express how Doyle is floundering, absolutely lost without Bodie. What are the things that Bodie always did, besides talk to Cowley (and carry all the equipment)? The line about Doyle resenting Cowley because he "didn't let me die" left me breathless. I guess what I'm getting at is, get depressed, write more stories like this but make them longer!
"I Know It When I Read It":
I don't know exactly what differentiates slash from gay fiction or porn but there is a line. The easy answer would be the emotional content While potentially very explicit, slash tends to involve the reader on more than just the physical level. We stress the relationships between characters and so there's a greater emotional impact. Of course, this impact may be intensified by the tremendous body of existing fiction that we are building upon with our characters. In a way, that makes slash very unique. Where mainstream fiction is predominantly stand-alone stories, ours are each one more thread in an ever-expanding tapestry (and in a different vein than series fiction). Even in M. Fae's darkest and most disturbing stories ("not at all what slash should be" - isn't that what we"re constantly trying to do - redefine what slash is and what the boundaries are, or are not?) there is still more of an emotional connection I think than in the small amount of gay fiction I've seen and without doubt much more than in porn. But perhaps there's more emotional impact in slash stories because we already have a history with the characters and know what drives them and what we want or expect from them. I'm oversimplifying but I also don't think there is a single answer.
Fandom and visibility:

Yes, I'm paranoid about slash being "discovered" by others. Aside from the the potential legal issues of exposure (if Yarbro can intimidate publishers and Lucas can cripple a fandom, others can too) it makes me very nervous. I don't I like the idea of vast numbers of people knowing about us and I'm not clear as to why. I think a large part of it is that I worry that they won't understand it, that they'll view it and absorb it as mere pornography and not make the emotional connection (and commitment) that it requires. I'm afraid they just won't won't get it. And if they don't get it. they'll corrupt it.

I also worry about us losing our anonymity. While everyone says it's too late, we're out. It seems to me there are a lot of risks to speaking openly about it. Slash fandom has always had a strong sense of self-preservation. We guard each other's privacy and anonymity strongly. We may know who's who in the world of fandom, but we are discreet. I don't think slash is a concept most people are going to take to easily and in exposing ourselves I wonder if we might lose our ability to create and enjoy these creations without fear, without someone always looking over our shoulders? I have no objection to straight fandom (or whatever you want to call non-slash fandom) getting talked about. Let the world know what we know: we're not all a bunch of socio-stupid loonies with no concept of reality or restraint. Let them see we're normal, more or less. But let's not tell them all about stash. Am I alone in this? To be honest, I waffle back and forth. Part of me wants to keep it quiet and part of me says why the hell not!

Some Topics Discussed in "Sukebei"

Excerpts from "Sukebei"

"In order to save time and hassle, [K S] and I ([V P]) are going to take turns writing our trib."

Regarding a recent con:

Shore Leave went very well, despite the K/S expose done on the last Trek convention in that hotel. Now that the fuss has died down, neither the hotel nor the con committee had any problems with slash being sold openly at the con. In fact, I passed up a chance to buy Roberta Rogow's Harry/Johnny novella [10]- $10 is just too much for a cheap laugh. [11]

Optimism and pessimism:

Most of you probably caught the DS9 episode where Kira gets possessed and starts coming on to Dax. Yeah! Now this is an excellent possibility for female-female slash. Nina's already got a K/D story for her next zine. Any bets on how long it'll take before Paramount panics and gives Kira a boyfriend? I'm just amazed she made it through half a season without an obligatory romance with a guest star.

Lucky in volume at least:

... [I don't] find William Shatner attractive at all. I will read K/S, though. Only a small percentage of it is very good, but fortunately that still adds up to a lot of stories.

Not a fan:

After reading your list of favorite couples I was going to ask you if you'd seen Zentraedi Connection, a Yellow/Batolar (Lancer/Corg in American) novel from Tanglewebb Press. Then I got to the bit about your least favorite types of slash, and decided you might want to be warned off. Yellow is portrayed as weak, clinging, and emotional,a nd ends up having Corg's children! (OK, they're test tube babies and he doesn't actually carry them, but still...) Just because a guy wears a dress doesn't make him a wimp.
Bodie on top:
Bodie bottoming for a woman: hat do you mean, you can't imagine a strong enough female character in fan fiction? Servalan had to have ancestors, didn't she? Better yet, she could hitch a ride on the TARDIS, and then Doyle and the fourth Doctor could compare scarf lengths. Seriously, I do think Bodie is too much of a sexist pig to submit to a woman.

On women in slash fiction:

I don't really mind reading Bodie/Doyle stories with no female characters, but I get very annoyed when I read a B7 slash story that ignores the female regulars. (This does not apply to short stories involving , say, just Blake and Avon and set entirely in Blake's cabin. Unfortunately, reading a zine full of such stories still leaves me wondering what happened to Cally and Jenna.) I probably wouldn't mind as much if there were other stories out there (gen, f/f, or adult straight) featuring female media characters.

Fandom and visibility:

... it's impossible to measure the effects openness has had or will have on slash - fandom is always evolving and new people are always getting involved. How can you tell the difference between changes caused by new fans who heard about slash from academia from the changes caused by all new fans? It's still easy to get paranoid about all the publicity.

References

  1. "nosology"?
  2. Fan's name redacted as "B V."
  3. "Anti-Feminism in Slash Fandom," led by Christine and Pamela, "Or, how 'it was never this good with a woman' syndrome... where are the women, and why do we care?" at Escapade 1993.
  4. Dyad: The Vampire Stories?
  5. A recognition of [J's] enthusiasm for pimping Tris/Alex fic.
  6. It is interesting that this fan did not mention the vast diatribes in these early letterzines and other places of fan discussion that consistently slammed the inclusion of female characters as being Mary Sue.
  7. Golden Years is a Wiseguy fic in McPikus Interruptus.
  8. This fan may be mistaken here: the name [A H] redacted here on Fanlore is not Anne Higgins, the responsefic title mentioned is "Catharsis, not Homecoming. Both those stories are, however, in the same trilogy.
  9. The Accident Man by Martin Emond and Duke Mighten.
  10. This novella is Face in the Crowd.
  11. Many fans were upset with Rogow's comments in a two-page 1988 article in the New Yorker in which she described slash books as "basically harmless" and "girlish romantic fantasy" substituting James Kirk for the usual romance novel heroine. However, she also said that slash was "threatening the zine universe" because it ignored basic characterization: Spock is sexually active only once every seven years, so that "when you ignore a rule like that, it seems to me you're not writing literature any more." --New Yorker, December 12, 1988, pages 37-38. See The 1988 "New Yorker" Article.