Strange Bedfellows (APA)/Issue 003

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search

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

Strange Bedfellows 3 was published in November 1993 and contains about 202 pages.

This issue contains some fiction, a 3966-word story by Jane Carnall called "The Tragedy of Romeo and Tybalt."

cover of issue #3: It is a reprint of a Maxfield Parrish painting called "Contentment."

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

Contents

Some Topics Discussed in "Notes from Tomorrow"

  • males in slash fandom spaces
  • some zine comments/reviews

Excerpts from "Notes from Tomorrow"

Men in female fandom spaces:

I'd like to thank the men in SBF for teaching me that men can be slash fans too! As some of you are aware, there's been a bit of trouble in paradise on the e-mail slash list, resulting from some members' discomfort with the addition of Lynn (Mr. Nancy), and I realized that I too might have been uncomfortable about it had I not experienced the value of male participants here (have to keep fighting the urge to refer to you as male members—and of course, there's that too, but that's not all we love you for!). Some interesting issues have come up as a result—I'm not sure if it's kosher to transplant from one to the other, but it's so tempting! Well, one comment which really disturbed me was an analogy drawn by one member—the image she was looking for was the alteration of a homogeneous group by the addition of a different element, but the analogy she used was of children playing together, and how the addition of an adult to the group would change the nature of the play, regardless of how well-meaning the adult might be. I was very uncomfortable about analogizing a women's discussion to children playing, and the addition of a man, to the addition of an adult--and it seemed alarmingly similar to M. Fae's neologism about softening male characters by 'infantacizing' them, equating female with childish. I guess what bothers me the most is the implication of internalized devaluation, in women whom I would have thought would be above all that...but that seems to have been an undercurrent in many of the objections to Lynn's participation—the fear that he would be Daddy, tolerantly amused by our silly antics—or condescending—just shows that feminism still has a ways to go. if the mere presence of a man in a women's space' can trigger so much latent insecurity. Or maybe I was missing the point entirely...

Zine and fic recs:

There were lots of zines at ZCon — very impressive! I bought far too many. ..The best of the lot, of course, were Paean to Priapus 5 and Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink 3 — congrats to Nancy and M. Fae, Jenn and Christine. I could easily go on, and on, and on about these zines — lots to say-right now, let me just comment on "Facets 2" (Maggie Hall). This is essentially the same 'plot' as "Facets" from McPikus Interruptus 2. but the characters have changed the effect dramatically. This is an idea which was discussed in these pages — that changing the characters would have to influence the way a story worked, if the characterization was at all well written: that merely changing the names would not work. This story clearly bears this out—it was a wonderful Vinnie/Frank story, it is a wonderful Bodie/Doyle story—and even though the plot is essentially the same, it's a totally different story! Anyone who hasn't had the chance to read both--I recommend them highly. Now I was to see the same treatment given to Blake/Avon! (Could this plot work for Dorian/Klaus? I'm not sure...)
More on zines and fic, ones to avoid:
Re: Zines to avoid: I'm sorry to say, London by Night was pretty thoroughly dreadful — full of malapropisms, misspellings, bad grammar (consistently using 'its' instead of 'it's' and vice versa--never using an apostrophe unless it should not be there...), and historical bloopers (in the turn-of-the-century streets of London, looking for Jack the Ripper (not just one J-t-R story, either!} and dodging Handsome cabs...shuttering in fear...). There were a couple of stories in it which would have been forgivable as the weaker stories of a good zine, but as the best (by far) of a really weak zine, they were not enough. And--to make it worse—it was dot-matrix printed, poorly at that—some pages were almost illegible. (Perhaps I shouldn't complain about that, on second thought...) Also, Southern Comfort 7.5—apparently Annie unloaded everything she had around which was remotely B7 adultish, regardless of quality--there's the occasional gem (by S. G.!) amidst rivers of shit—this is the zine which attempts to prove that Sturgeon's Law is optimistic! It culminates with a 1-o-n-g story in which characters called Tarrant and Avon go through a sexual blender and come through thoroughly chopped, diced and whipped...my impression of this one was that perhaps someone had found a commercial s/m porn novel, and recast it with Our Heroes—is definitely doesn't have the 'slash sensibility'... This zine also takes the Grand Prize for the Worst Fan Art in Any Category --one picture in particular had four of us in stitches the last night of ZCon!

Some Michael J. Fox:

And, for the zine which surprised me the most -- Homo Sapiens Trois. I was expecting it to be good, and it was--the unexpected part came from two sources — a slash story about a Michael J. Fox character which was actually hot! (Michael J. Fox? Who'd have thought it?) — and a wonderful Eroica piece from [B] in which the song references were from "The Three-Penny Opera" — at last, song references I could recognize! (Do you know how frustrating it is to constantly read stories with tags of songs assumed to be common knowledge, which I've never heard of?!!)

Some Topics Discussed in "But, T-shirt Slogans ARE Intellectual Discourse"

Sandy made a button!

Excerpts from ""But, T-shirt Slogans ARE Intellectual Discourse""

Songtapes:

I've been doing a lot of thinking about songtapes recently, and chatting with people who make them. Some big categories: People whose view is fixed on the big story of the song, to the point of not using the 'best' clip to go with certain phrases of the song because they would go against the story. People who are fixated on getting the perfect clip for each phrase of the song, and trust the narrative of the song to tell the story. (I am more the second type, and so seek out collaborators who are more the first type.) People who will chose a song because the chorus is perfect, and then just put almost anything to the verses. People who want a song to pull in every deep feeling they've ever had about a specific fandom (these people tend to be new songtape makers).

Henry used shorthand in his book distinguishing between 'living room videos' and 'con videos.' I've been thinking about all the levels of audiences you can appeal to. People who have never seen the show, people who know who the characters arc. but don't have every scene memorized... (I only recently realized it is possible to make vids that are liked better by people who don't know the show well than by people who do. There is a brilliant Tarrant/Vila vid (done, unfortunately to the dreadfully gooey theme song to Kevin Costner's Robin Hood movie "Everything I do, I do it for you") where every significant glance, every thoughtful action is. of course, shown out of context. (I showed this to a non-B7 fan, who not only loved it, but assumed that these two guys must be the major pairing in the fandom.)) Even at the other end of the scale, where you are making vids that are strictly for informed fans of the universe, there are living room vids, and then there are...I don't know, phone booth vids'. A friend showed me an amazing draft of a vid recently: 11 minutes long, it tries to tell how, metaphysically, when Avon killed Travis, he became fated to become Travis, and therefore kill Blake...

DeeJay was at a Battlestar Galactica convention recently, and showed some vids to the BG film showed some vids to the BG film editor, who was amazed that fans could rum out the quality of work they' do on consumer equipment in their living rooms. (And, talked with one of the producers who said that they had always seen Apollo and Starbuck as, get this, Spartan Warriors! He went on to say, without prompting, (or any mention of slash) that had the show been renewed, that they intended to do an episode showing just how close the two characters were and see "how far the network would let them go." Entertaining to hear, but it still was a silly show...

Thwarted by technology:

Some thoughts: Too many vid makers are using machines that don't allow non-sequential editing.

Therefore, even if they got editing feedback on their vids (and boy, some vids cry out for editing — not the terrible ones, but the ones that were almost great...) the only thing they could do would be to make their vid all over again. Also, the distribution network for vids sucks. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing an incredibly good vid (Say "In the Eyes" -- Wiseguy) and realizing that you can only barely see which characters are which, much less be able to see nuances of expression and movement, and realizing even further, that you have no idea who made it. or worse, that you know who made it, and they A) have been out of fandom for years B) don't answer mail, e-mail or phone calls; C) they make their vids for themselves and distribution is not their interest. (Something I already sympathize with — I don't want to make copies of these things and mail them to people, but of course, I do want them seen...) I have a short wish list of vids I'd love to see in better quality; In the Eyes, Forever in Blue Jeans, Behind Blue Eyes (the Illya version, not the Bodie or Travis2 ones), and The Stripper (the Doyle version).

The other (obvious) problem with vid quality is that most vid makers don't have great copies to start off with. I have high hopes for new Pros vids now that better quality eps are coming out. Some of the newest B7 vids made from the newly released professional quality NTSC tapes are such good quality you almost expect commercials. ((Totally off the subject, a number of people have hypothesized that Pros fandom may be about to enter another big growth period as good quality tapes start to spread, and people find it easier to push the fandom on people who wouldn't have been tempted by 7th generation versions of the boys...))

Why virgins?

I mentioned last ish how much I loved turning friends on to something I think they'll love: a new fandom, a good book, a great restaurant. I am wondering how much that feeling has in common with the attachment to sex-with-virgins that we have in this culture. What does this have to do with slash? I was noticing what a large percentage of new stories in Pros have one of them experienced, and one of them a virgin (well, virginal...) and wondering: are we, at least covertly (since it is rarely mentioned in the stories) giving one of our characters this joy, this ability/chance to give someone we love some new experience that we're sure they'll love (even if we turn out to be wrong) or do we just experience it ourselves, watching some character that we're attached to get to experience something new, that we're sure he's going to love? (And is I here a distinction to be made there at all?). Or, does the fascination with virgins in our and other cultures have nothing to do with that. In the virtual apa, we've discussed (at length!) how some (most?) Pros fans have a preference for who is to be the virgin, and who is the seducer, and who is the bottom in any given story. Is it at least partially because they want to five this experience to their favorite partner of the pair?
Being polyfannish:
Monogamous vs. slut - Did everyone read Maggie Hall's Facets II in Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink. I love stones that could only happen in one universe, and just as much love looking at a the same plot set in two different universes, so I can clearly see what the differences between them is. Being able to compare stories like that is one of the many reasons I'm a fan of more than one universe.

Fannish monogamy, plus an early use of the term slash slut and My Fandom's OK, Your Fandom's OK:

I admit that I am a slash slut, and I don't think any universe holds the monopoly of cool stories I could love. I am very interested in Pros, Wiseguy, B7, Eroica & Tris/Alex. I've only 'left' one fandom (K/S) and even that, I reread my old stuff occasionally. Some of my old fandoms I don't think as much about, but it would only take one new good zine to come out in that fandom (say U.N.C.L.E. or Simon/Simon), to get me interested again. I do admit that I have irrational distastes for some fandoms (sight unseen - I said they were irrational), and sometimes around other sluts with a different assortment of fandoms. I have to repeal the fan mantra. "My Fandom's OK, Your Fandom's OK..."

And like most of us, I tend to think that everyone is like me. But, the last two people I turned on to Pros dropped their old fandoms completely, startling me enormously. Then last ish, [J] mentioned that that has happened to her more than once, that when she gains a fandom, she loses/divorces the one she held/loved previously. So how about the rest of you? Fan Sluts, Monogamously Married, or perhaps trendy in your poly-fidelity?

The Terranova Situation:

I find Terranova Situation interesting, and good one-handed reading, but I treat it like an a/u that just happens to be set in the same apparent universe as the actual show. The characters act and talk in ways that I can't see the aired characters doing (without brainwashing, AND drugs!) such as Frank being willing to be seen, in public, with a man wearing full leather slave attire (to say nothing of the hankies covering the scanties in the chaps...) But [D] does have a flare for both action and sex — it is definitely a page turner.

Some Foxes and Wolf

I love the Fox and the Wolf trilogy (even though I wish the totally appropriate name weren't quite so close to the Fox and Wolf universe stories (a lovely strange set of stories by Fannie Adams where Bodie spent the years 14-19 as the lover of a Japanese hit man in Japan. Though nominally B/D most of the stories focus on Doyle's ex-lover Eddie and the modern dancer he falls in love with). I got a copy of the last third from [B], and promptly made copies for other friends. I don't know how many steps it had gone through to get to [B], but my copy is already fairly fuzzy. Any chance that you'd be willing to give an electronic copy to me so that I could make it available on e-mail? (I just realized that this presupposes that you did type it on a computer, and looking at the type face in my mind, it looks a lot like it was type written.

The origin of the term "Sci Fi":

Sci Fi; It was not coined by 'the establishment' but by Forry Ackerman, a member of First Fandom and the foremost fan librarian in Science Fiction. He is in his late 60's, very proud of having coined the usage, and still annoyed that most of the SF 'establishment' hates the name.
If you like/resonate to the Wrath of Khan scene. I highly recommend a TOS songtape by Caren Parnes that beautifully incorporates that scene. It is to a song that is totally over-wrought pop, and (probably because of that) already totally overused in fan songtapes, and yet, she did such an incredible job. The song is Total Eclipse of the Heart and it is available on the Virgule tape from Kandy Fong, and probably directly from Caren Parnes if you know her.

Some Topics Discussed in "Works Well Under Pressure But Only Works Under Pressure"

Excerpts from "Works Well Under Pressure But Only Works Under Pressure"

I am new to fandom. In fact, I really didn't know the extent of this underworld until I read Henry's and Camille's books [1] a little over a year ago, at the same time I started falling into Blake's 7. Now I have known about fan-produced fiction in StarDreck [2], and about slash in Dreck, for at least a decade, because I've known Sandy that long. The odd fanfic that I read was interesting, but somehow 1 remained uninterested and ignorant. Ten years ago the idea of Dreck slash dismayed me, mostly because it is so obvious and I'd missed it. Blake's 7 has completely replaced any residual interest I had in Dreck (especially the two 'nice' spinoffs, except for when a naked Picard is being tortured). B7 has conflict, consequences, characters, and continuity, and cries out for the holes to be filled (pun intended). No happy endings! Or at least let 'em be ambiguous. It's also science fiction (whatever that means), an automatic plus. (As Sandy says, there's more space in science fiction.)

Likes a lot, but not Starsky & Hutch:

... I read anything, upside down, someone else's newspaper, and especially the fan stuff Sandy leaves lying around: I learned about Pros from Chalk and Cheese and Short Circuit, about Wiseguy from McPickus Interruptus, this group from TNU. And yes, I have seen about half of Pros, and half of Wiseguy, and really can't tolerate Starsky and Hutch.

It was the songvids:

But it wasn't fanfic or episodes that really got me hooked. It was songvids. Songvids can condense a story, distill a character, or define a relationship very efficiently. For me they are audio-visual poetry. I was initially reeled in with MVD's B7 songvids, and became mesmerized by Avon's final smile at the end of 'Tell Me How', and Blake's story as told in one I call 'The Wheel'.

Character preferences:

One of the oddest things about fandom is fen's dislikes. I'm always surprised at the vehemence with which fen attack certain characters ("I hate Blake!" "I have no use for Doyle"). I'm still in love with the universe the characters find themselves in; in B7, they are trapped and have to choose to cooperate to survive. In Wiseguy, the moral ambiguities that Vinnie, Frank, and Roger provide a lot of tension. One of our friends has a long list of the kind of stories she won't read in Pros, and she verifies that the story meets her criteria before starting. ("No death stories. No Bodie/Cowley. No Murphy/anyone. No etc.")

Cultural jamming:

The definition of slash seems to be an extremely varied and highly individual one. Consider this quote that appeared this week on the slash e-mail list, about 'cultural jamming': An elastic category, cultural jamming is easily stretched to accommodate a multitude of subcultural practices..."Slashing", or textual poaching, in which tales told for mass consumption are perversely reworked. — Mark Dery (ADBUSTERS QUARTERLY) Does this mean that Henry's book is about slash exclusively? ;-) I would have once said that it was about men fucking, except that I've read stories set in the selected universe where this happens, but it didn't feel like slash (Mindfire); must have some connection with preexisting fictional characters, preferably from a TV show, but that has been blown by (among others) Tris/Alex and the mainstream sf/fantasy novel Teot's War, by Heather Gladney (which is a good read, with original characters involved in a very familiar relationship). Emotional commitment or angst? Yep, like that. I am only at that stage where I can usually say, I know it when I read it.

Stage personas, actor slash/real person slash, fourth wall violations:

Thank you, [H], for clarifying for me how the stage personas of actors can be just as constructed as any other, and can be extrapolated into more stories, [B] tried to explain this to me at Zcon (I have been Tris/Alex resistant), but I tend to work better with visual input, like printed words on a page, I guess I'd started to figure it out for myself as well; within B7 fandom it is difficult not to run across the actors in con reports, letterzines, and the Great Controversy; on the contapes, the actors answer the same questions over and over, with the same stories, but telling them as though they were new each time. Identifiable public personas. Same with Shaw or Collins on interview shows. Actor slash (or person slash) doesn't interest me, because I'm still caught up in the characters and the universe. Does that change over time? I am going to Visions (I'm insane) but I know I'm going to be entertained by one of Gareth Thomas' personas. I'm also going especially to be with people who not only like B7, the ones I'm staying with like Blake! (Odd, but I never got into Shatner or Nimoy - for me, Kwirk and Spook were not fictional characters, they were real in some other dimension that 1 couldn't get to. Very disillusioning to see the Captain's chair at the Dreck exhibit at the Smithsonian last year - small, made of plywood, tacky.)

Wants to know more about The Blake's 7 Wars:

While I'm on the subject of actors, I'm going to boldly ask for information on the afore-mentioned B7 controversy from you who were around at the time. I've been able to find some commentary in Horizon, and a couple of people on the e-mail list who would answer my queries (but who came into the fandom after), odd references in various editorials in B7 zines, and a collection of statements and letters from the time of the explosion. The repercussions in the fandom were extreme and painful; from this vantage point it is difficult to ascertain 'what really happened'. And I am curious. If any of you are willing to discuss it, I'd love to discuss/read about it either here or privately. Thank you.

Fandom and community:

I belong to a mediaeval recreation group (SCA), and the storytelling within that setting is a constant. So I also see that some people are hungry for new stories, others are hungry for old ones, but many folk have lost how to tell a story, or how to listen to one. Within fandom, I believe this is what happens: we are telling stories, creating, reliving, relearning, and making new myths to live by, whether on paper or electrons or in person at cons. This storytelling becomes a major part of our lives because it is participatory; we encourage each other to create new stories based on old ones, and tap into a wellspring of energy and desire thereby that seems self renewing.

Some Topics Discussed in "Strange Tongues"

  • camp and the questions of gender and sexuality raised by Nazi imagery, the books "Goodbye to Berlin" (Isherwood), "Divine Decadence" (Mizejewski), what are fictional characters, where does the desire for slash come from?
  • some brief comments about a panel at Worldcon on "women writing about gay men," AIDS as a derailing topic
  • cyberpunk and slash
  • hurt/comfort
  • tone of a show and the fanworks it inspires
  • "Yes, fans analyze because they're fans. Or are we fans because we analyze?"
  • comments on the Open Letter to Fandom by Alexis Fegan Black Regarding Zine Pirating

Excerpts from "Strange Tongues"

Slash, writing as an active process:

OBLIGATORY LECTURE ON HIGHFALUTIN' TOPIC

Have been reading an analysis of dramatic adaptations of Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin (the analysis book is Divine Decadence by Linda Mizejewski). The discussion often mentions camp and the questions of gender and sexuality raised by Nazi imagery; and beyond that, the Berlin Stories have a goodly amount of homoerotic subtext in themselves. The author emphasizes how the characters in the different movies and plays, based on the same story text, are constructed to suit the social climate at the time of each adaptation.

It thus emphasizes that fictional characters are not persons in truth, but collections of signifiers deliberately assembled for effect. It reminded me that slash writing too, and the characters in it, are deliberately put together for a desired effect. No writing is so naive as to "just happen," no matter how naturalistic an effect it strives for. We make it up; it doesn't happen to us. Writing is an active process.

One pleasure of slash is that it seems less artificial and forced than many of the social and dramatic conventions that shape TV-show narratives and characters. (No doubt anti-slash fans will say the opposite, but I'm speaking here of the readers and writers of slash — not a trivial subgroup of fandom.) However, the ready creative force that inspires slash isn't random; it satisfies a need and is intended to create an effect, however clumsily some examples work at the creation. The intensity of the need can be as startling to the fans themselves as the male/male subject matter is to outsiders.

Cyberpunk and slash:

I'm thinking about a story in which cyberpunk goes slash, which seems meaningless to me unless the cyber is part of the sex — brain-to-brain interfaces are more exciting than anything else, potentially, and if an individual started reading them as sex, what would be the effect of plugging in to pay your grocery bill? What would a "sexline" be? And why would gender mean anything at all, at all? Maybe it wouldn't. Part of slash is about having little or no gender difference between the partners, even if there's a noticeable readership that sees the only possible slash gender as male. Is this reactionary (as in: only men are real people), or just indicative that those readers' orientation is to be excited by male bodies? The former is a reprehensible habit of thought, the latter just one of those things about being human. (Not even a right, just something that is.)

Men and emotion:

As far as I can tell, the traditional masculine personality is supposed to suppress a lot of emotion, including some about sexuality. This may be why the traditional Western authority (which is masculine) takes the attitude that women, gays, etc., are seething hotbeds of emotion and sexuality. Men, overtly, are not — are not supposed to be, rather. [...] They're blaming women, essentially, for what they feel. What women feel, on average or individually, doesn't enter into this argument at all, you note.

Regarding the recent open letters regarding zine piracy, specifically Open Letter to Fandom by Alexis Fegan Black Regarding Zine Pirating:

You seem to have seen a letter sent out by the editors of Dyad (and some other zines) about zine- copying... I, also, wonder why, if copying is so cheap, do the zines cost so much? I do ask this as an accusation (even though you didn't), since I'm aware that Pon Farr Press, and related publishers, have their own copy machine, and pay costs far below even those at a public copy shop. (Kinko's is a well-known chain of copy shops, but

it is not the only one and not always the cheapest.) They are charging, however, far more than their zines cost to produce and pocketing the difference. There's nothing criminal about this, although it wasn't traditional in fandom in the past. I do point out, however, that they are effectively claiming a professional publisher's privilege, so it would be appropriate to hold them to professional publishers' standards — which in my opinion they fail to meet by a large margin. If, by complaining about the (also traditional) fannish practice of sharing zines and stories by the simplest means possible, they put themselves outside fandom — fine, they're outsiders, and open to the use and exploitation that fans make of non-fannish resources.

Why slash?:

You asked why women who want slash-style fiction write fanfic instead of original fiction: I dunno. Maybe they do, and always did, but there hasn't been a good channel of distribution, as there is for fanfic.

Mixing the tone of fandoms, cross-pollination:

One pitfall of the generally enjoyable mix of fandoms available now is that tastes formed or expressed by one show can be imposed on another, sometimes with ludicrous results. Blake and Avon avowing love like Kirk and Spock are ridiculous, and so are Bodie and Doyle playing with teddy bears like refugees from Romper Room. At the same time, some additions to given shows can add unexpected depth. UNCLE was essentially farcical about spying, but adding CI5-like paranoia and realism has generally produced stories that improve markedly on the average UNCLE fanfic. Perhaps it feels like an improvement instead of a detraction because it works to change UNCLE from pretend spies to real-seeming spies — makes the show background more of what it claimed it was in the first place. A few B7 stories try to give the background with scientifically-plausible SF, which generally makes them better; even the scientifically-implausible SF helps a bit! This is not to denigrate stories of B7 character drama and politics, as per the show, nor even UNCLE stories that are good farces. (I have read a lot of bad farces, however...) I suppose one reason MarySue stories are often bad is that they're inspired by something other than the show's content; other fanwriting based more on the author's interests outside the show than those mirrored in it can also be awkward in the same way.

The "tone" of shows and the fanworks they attract:

If I read you right, you're pointing out that a relatively upbeat show (such as Trek) will attract fans and, therefore, fanwriters of a cheerful, happy-ending sort of persuasion, who then proceed to write happy endings all over the place for their favorite characters, sometimes whether or not that particular character pair needs one. And a gritty, foul-mouthed show like WG will find harder-minded fans with less propensity to mush up the characters just for the sake of mush. Yeah, that makes sense. (Why didn't I think of it? Don't answer that.) And exceptions, especially in the madly crossed-about universe of slash nowadays, are rampant. Er, frequent.

Regarding hurt/comfort:

I find I like h/c stories only as far as the h/c is a way of getting the characters together — resolving their emotional difficulties, I mean, although sex is always nice too. Unless, it seems, I'm writing the story, in which case I reserve the right to h/c those poor characters right into next week and then turn the screw again. It's nice to know somebody else will read those and enjoy them.
More on hurt/comfort:
Hurt/comfort is about changing dynamics. Sometimes the change enables the characters to have sex, sometimes it doesn't need to, sometimes that's not what the characters were looking for, but it is a Story Event that A hurts and B cares for him, no question. It creates potential human drama.

Gender, assumptions, and please explain Illya and Napoleon:

When I look at Bodie and Doyle on the screen, I see two men, both quite similar in height and strength if not in all aspects of appearance. Feminizing one of them on the basis of details which could be read as either masculine or feminine has always seemed pretty silly to me — an exaggeration of a barely-apparently dichotomy. However, people do it. Now explain why Illya, who has glacial blue eyes, studies martial arts, maintains a cold demeanor, exudes intellectual rationality, and moves neatly and economically is feminized instead of Napoleon, who sports warm brown eyes, cleft chin, clothes-sense, emotional flexibility and intuitive game-playing.

Mary Sue:

I've been hearing how awful MarySues are for years, and more often than not wailing (silently or aloud), that (a) a smart, funny, original character is NOT a "MarySue," or (b) if that's your definition, what's wrong with the MarySue and (c) while the trite predictability of some characters that inspired the labelling in the first place is tiresome, it's one of those things fandom does, and why worry about it? Read the good ones, laugh at the rest. Fandom writes a lot of meaningless one-page character vignettes, too (and a few meaningful ones), a lot of sloppily-constructed slash, et cetera.

Looking for the good:

While the "this is just for fun" excuse covers too many sloppy sins, it can mean sometimes that an amateur's idea or character sketch is good even if it doesn't support a whole story. There is some value in the piece, which fandom can acknowledge in this way, as the commercial marketplace would not. That doesn't mean the flawed piece is a good story, even within fandom, but that it is not worthless, and the "fun" is finding the good bits, much as we extract our notion of the good bits from the show and develop them in the directions we like.

Being studied by academics:

I haven't yet objected to being studied as a fan. I've found the conclusions enlightening, sometimes about fandom and sometimes because they're so meaningless about fandom.

St. Seiya:

Dear me, everything I'd heard about St. Seiya suggested that all the characters were teenagers not necessarily over the age of consent, let alone rationality. I wasn't interested in their minds (or even, in some stories, their consent). I like their hair. [A P's] picture section last distie helped with some visual references. Yep, lotsa hair.

Prior, first-hand knowledge of canon:

I think there are two workable approaches to fanwriting: either watch the show, all of it, closely several times and then write what you know about those characters. By that time you may know that Starsky and Hutch are madly in love and sleep together every Saturday night, Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon. Good, write about it. But no fair then assuming that Bodie and Doyle are madly in love and sleep together every Monday forenoon and Friday night — no, go watch every episode you can lay your hands on and decide for yourself. The other approach is to get some vague idea of which character has the blond hair or curls or whatever descriptive signifiers are really important, and take off from some thematic description of the show. It helps to have seen one or two episodes, to nail down the dark-haired one's full name and perhaps inspire a bit of atmosphere. Then write whatever you feel like saying about British security agencies, or star-smashing galaxy rangers. If it's a good story, few readers may actually care that you got the name of the agency (or ship) wrong. They will wonder who those characters are, but they'll read the story. Lacking more than the most basic information, as I understand it, American fans of anime generally go for the second approach. Oddly enough, it produces some readable and perceptibly fannish stories.

Seeing slash:

[C] adores the two novels Teot's War and Bloodstorm by Heather Gladney. So do I. She sees them as proto-slash, and so do I. She sees them so strongly as proto-slash, however, that she will tell you (truthfully for her) that sex is obvious between every other line and paragraph. This requires a particular kind of dirty mind and vivid imagination. What the novels do have is a pair of terrific male leads, who participate in all the bonding symbols common to many traditional slash scenarios, who at no time are overtly allowed to be seen as having actual sex. In the text, that is. An innocent reader (any of those around?) will see no sex. A particularly fair-minded reader (that's me) will see potential sex that is not confirmed. A particularly cynical paperback consumer will see an editor who made Gladney take out the overt sex to make them "marketable." Little did that editor know what a dirty mind and a vivid imagination can do — or maybe s/he did? This, in fact, turns out to be the case, for [C] has obtained some overtly (and extremely) explicit fanfic, written in appropriate style, to fill in the blanks Turn to [C's] zine for further explanation of what the books can and will do for a slash-minded fan, complete with drooling, dripping, buttock-clenching details.

On fanzine production:

Producing the Eroica translations is set up very much as a way of making them accessible to fandom, and as such we price the volumes to cover most (not quite all) costs, notably printing and binding. Anyone who wants to compare the price of the Eroica zine volumes with other zines of comparable size may take that as a rock-bottom price for a zine with few incidental expenses, no contributors' copies, and an urban competitive-price printer. I don't know if I'd feel the same about pricing something with my own writing in it instead of material gleaned from someone else. On that, I might be more willing to go with a price that covers (say) convention expenses or some profit.

Comments on The Weight:

Yes, The Weight is good enough writing to carry its anarchist politics — in part because it devotes a good deal of space to developing non-Enterprise characters whose beliefs demonstrate Fish's points. She shows the Federation as perhaps too villainous in contrast, with the familiar Enterprise characters caught in the middle trying to do their best, which accords with ST's ideals. Note that what Fish does not do is convert Kirk into a committed anarchist (though she shows his a/u analogue as one).

Misogyny and slash:

I agree that some slash seems to have a subtle anti-woman bias, which is irritating; although the writers often don't seem to see this consciously at all. Evidently a thorough grounding in feminist theory is not necessary to make some women need and embrace the liberation slash represents. I'd hope they learn to include themselves, as well as do it themselves, in time.

Slash, writing, and control:

Surely slash is, indeed, an elaborate way of playing with dolls — isn't all writing? Don't writers do it because they want to set the scene, create the players, and mastermind their actions? They want to be the goddess. And playing with dolls is childhood's enactment of this lingering divine potential which is washed out of some children, who become adults; but in others it lives on and we become fans. Well, I think it's a good theory.

Some Topics Discussed in Cat's Darkling Zine"

  • female writing/women's writing
  • a bit about Wiseguy
  • a Miguel Ferrer filmography
  • why some epithets work and others don't work

Excerpts from "Cat's Darkling Zine"

Female and women's writing:
Female Writing: Defining a genre removes all criticisms that can be directed at a piece of work for limiting itself for the genre. It also gives the grid through which the work can be evaluated. If a Men's club wants to have a newsletter about fly-fishing and lace lingerie, a non-member reader can't point an accusing finger at them ans say "this is tasteless and immature." The contents have to be analysed in terms for fly-fishing and lace lingerie. "Woman Writing": It removes the right of anyone not a woman to have to have a valid judgement on the work. It is not meant for them, so even if they have free access, their opinion is irrevelant.

Watching "Wiseguy" in France:

I have been watching the first non-Vinnle WIseguy episode. Well? What is the point of that? Especially since French TV dropped us in the middle of the showbusiness Arc? Well then, I thought Santana was nothing of interest until he appeared as a fallen detritus rescued by McPike. Except he was only fallen for the past two days, and was never actually shown drunk, a pity. A bit beefy looking. Very nice McPike

holding a knife to Santana's throat, kneeling In front of him. The tough little mongrel's charm comes through every time. Liked Santana's singing girlfriend manhandling McPike.

Regarding people who criticize other people's reading choices:

People who feel they have nothing going for themselves, seem endlessly creative for finding reasons to look down on others.

Regarding The Terranova Situation;

"The Terranova situation" sounds nice. Vinnie/Roger/Franck? Another Tryad. I'm fond of them. If you don't see them setting up house, do you see Lococco as a vacationnal treat, a second wife having visiting rights? (ie, Is he tolerated, or part of the structure) Would both Vinnie and Frank share him? Or not? The fine difference.

William Bodie as a rent boy?

I can remember two Bodie prostitute stories: one In a B7 crossover story, another one, where I think that he forswears his former profession to Join CI5, but except for that, it Is usually Doyle's province.

Regarding epithets:

Of course, Bodie wouldn't think of Cowley as "the Scotsman" while he's being bungholed by him, but I find some seemingly irrelevant function names or descriptions heighten my enjoyment of the situation "Special Agent Cooper took off his crisp white shirt and hung it neatly on a coathanger while Albert watched him intensely. The forensics expert felt his throat constrict, but nothing showed outwardly...". Reference to their function, I find here endearing, as they are so much a part of them it becomes moving. However, referring to Avon as 'the computer technician' while he's reaming Tarrant seems somewhat bizarre. To refer to Illya as "the blond" in the same situation seems right, but to refer to Magnum and Higgings [sic] as the mustachioed men in the same circumstances is weird. Whereas to call Blake "The rebel leader" even in the most intimate circumstances seems appropriate, since the thing will always stand between him and his bedpartner.

hurt/comfort and sex:

I gave your trib to read to [A] who is a h/c fan. She's now chuckling to herself, because your trib is funny, and because she never was self-conscious about being a h/c fan, nor felt puzzlement that I'm not (rather into mental torture and humiliation). She views it as just another flavor to the slash ice cream. On the other hand, we are a quite isolated group, here in France, and since we witnessed h/c leanings and sex - crazedness co-existing In the same people, the idea of "instead of sex" seemed a bit. well, outlandish (out-of-Francish?).

Some Topics Discussed in "Cat's Spawn"

This trib is a sub-trib of "Cat's Darkling Zine" and is not listed in the list of tribs at the beginning. It consists of a long response to [[ ]], and was a letter that the fan intended to send to The LOC Connection but did not.

Excerpts from "Cat's Spawn"

"[This is a] long letter to THE ZINE CONNECTION, an ad zine that some of you must know (and a good one at that). I had been baited by a letter published in that zine, signed by (amongst others) Alexis Fegan Black. The following is a slightly rewritten version of this letter."

Amongst the zine editor being concerned with the problem caused by pirating zines, two names sound VERY distasteful to me: Alexis Fegan Black and Ann Wortham.

Alexis is well-known in fandom for never sending zines ordered, in the States or abroad, without a considerable amount of letters and inquiries being sent to her. She always pretends the post office lost the parcels, etc. My first order, unfortunately accompanied by a bank check which she could not cash (I was badly informed by my bank) was answered promptly by a lengthy letter explaining how and why she could not cash the money. I answered immediately, sending an IMO to replace the check. Then, no more news, and after a lot of letters, I finally got, more than a year and a half later, part of my order, with no word at all, and REPLACEMENT handwritten on the envelope. I do not believe the parcel was lost, as I wrote to her that, if it was the case, I was willing to pay again for my zines! The last of my order arrived a few months later, and I got twice the same zine. I sent back one of the copies to her. This was not acknowledged either.

A reliable American friend told me that everybody was informed of Alexis' laxness in sending the zines ordered, and that the only way to be sure to have zines was to pick them up at conventions.

[...]

Besides, I'm a zine editor myself (I publish zines in French, K/S and soon a multi-media slash zine. Anyone interested? Ask away!), and I wonder what this is all about when people in fandom talk about "copyrights"? We're all pirates, right? We filch characters in existing series or movies, and we twist them to suit our tastes. What about the rights of the creators of the series filched, or the rights of the actors, which, after all, are often pictured in homosexual situations that they may not be totally pleased with. I've heard that Lewis Collins, at least, was subjected to a campaign about his supposed homosexuality by some tabloids, and that may well have taken root in some fannish drawings.

As for the editors needing to sell copies to be able to produce more zines, yes, I can sympathize with that. Only, I wonder, how many copies do zine editors REALLY need to sell to break even? I produce a zine which I sell around 140 FF. ($25) without postage, depending on the number of pages. I have 2 laser prints in it (black and white) and one color laser print (this one is expensive), and I bind it with a thermal machine. I have about a dozen contributors, who get free copies. I need to sell about 20 to 25 zines to break even. I could sell the zine cheaper if I had more orders.

It would be interesting to know the reality lying under all the complaints about pirating. It may be useful to ask figures to the editors concerned of how many zines they really need to sell, and how many they actually sell. In your contribution, [C], you seem to confirm that I thought about zine publishing being sometimes a business.

I confess, I have xeroxed zines, although I order quite a lot from editors.(Well, no longer from Pon Farr Press, that's right. I'd rather get filched copies from some friend... At least I know I'll receive my copy). I think this filching is inevitable: the only way to stop it would be to render the zines as cheap as the xerox. One never copies a Pocket Book, for it's cheaper to buy it than to xerox it. People being what they are, and a lot of people having money problems in this period, you can't expect them to stop reading and to stop buying filched zines, or to stop copying a friend's zine. Passion being what it is, that's impossible. Maybe the solution would be to come to an agreement with zine pirates, and to ask them to give back a small sum for each zine pirated and sold. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I'd be willing to do it for my humble share when I copy a zine for a friend (don't forget that, added to the cost of the zine, we French people have a tremendous postage fee to pay as well - a $20 or $22 zine costs us $28 to 30 or more with the mailing cost.)

Last, but not least: quality speaks for itself. It happened quite a few times that I ordered a zine of which I already had a copy, because the zine was so good or so beautifully made that I wanted an original.

Besides, why not suggest to editors to sell directly xerox copies of their zines, at cost or with a very small profit? Some editors do it anyway, and I once got an 'excellent quality xerox copy'(so her ad said) from an editor, which was barely legible... Some filched copies are better! This would enable the editors to control the filching, even if the quality of the copies would actually be reduced (regarding the half-toned art, for instance). As long as the consumer is given the choice between the original zine (more expensive) and a much cheaper xerox copy (and if the zine ed is SERIOUS in the sending of the ordered copies) why would she or he buy from zine pirates? (consider that one of the quality of those pirates, for the 'consumer', is their usual swiftness in sending the ordered copies). I know that I don't care If people xerox my zines, as long as I break even. I don't need a lot of zines to break even. Maybe this solution could be applied, for a small profit on a lot of zines could cover the cost of printing a zine as well, or better, than a huge profit on very few zines.

I hope I have not shocked anyone by admitting to copying zines for friends. The question of the pirating is not as simple as it appears, that's what I wanted to point out. What is important is that fandom can continue to produce zines for people to read. The Circuit is doing quite nicely, in The Professionals fandom, and it consists only of stories circulating and being copied freely. Of course, the quality of the copies is sometimes poor, and there are no illos. I bought quite a few Professionals zines also, and I enjoy the better layout, the more polished stories, the illos, and the work of the editors regarding grammar, syntax, and general improvement of the stories. But the Circuit has one major quality; it's cheap! The other fandoms do not have an equivalent to the Circuit, and that's a pity. It could be useful, too.

Some Topics Discussed in "Menage a Deux (by C J)"

  • honesty and consistency in sex surveys
  • acafans, acafandom, and effect on fans and fandom
  • discovering meta about fandom: "Reading about was suddenly more fun than reading fiction."
  • the terribleness offered to Star Trek fans in the pro books and Blish adaptations
  • there is MUCH discussion about the differences between porn and erotica
  • is slash porn when removed out of context
  • judging people's porn
  • hurt/comfort: roles and appeal
  • Nancy Friday's books and observations
  • academics, acafans, and views on
  • copying fanfic out of zines for friends

Excerpts from "Menage a Deux (by C J)"

Regarding acafandom:

Concern about academic writing about fandom exists for a variety of reasons. I recognize some of what I have to say does not directly address some of the concerns expressed by members of this apa. The question I want to ask here is not really concerned with impact of outside examination on fandom, but on how fans understand that examination in relation to their reading habits. I know fans have different experiences. I know fans have different beliefs. What I am wondering is whether people who have a stronger sense of concern over this issue than I do have a substantially similar or different relationship to writings about their interests than I have.
The enjoyment of reading about fandoms:
I was about 12 when The Making of Star Trek came out. I damn near memorized the thing. Reading about was suddenly more fun than reading fiction. (Remember, at that time all that was out as pro-novels were several of the Blish novelizations with which I was not overwhelmingly impressed, and Spock Must Die, a book I considered truly regrettable and certainly not Star Trek. I continued to read "about," with the publication of The World of Star Trek and The Trouble with Tribbles. etc. By the time I got to college I had discovered reading about could extend beyond Trek. I stumbled upon Arthurian myths In their glorious multitude and the surrounding body of historical and critical work. I discovered the wealth of material around the figure of Sherlock Holmes including the sorts of academic pastiches to be found in The Baker Street Journal, and the more serious academic analysis put out by "serious" publishers (not to mention, of course, the countless contributions to the canon written since Conan Doyle's death.) And it was through tracking down material on Tolkien that I first encountered academic journals. I spent a substantial part of my time as an undergraduate in the library reading things not directly relevant to my classes, a large part of It somehow tied to my fannish Interests.

Finding the fans:

Admittedly, lots of this reading, when it related directly to a universe I followed, was focused on the text, and not on the readers. And admittedly, some of the non-fiction was a far cry from the types of analysis under discussion. But my reading habits still built patterns within which I understood my interests. Fannish interests were never isolated either from other interests or from critical examination. And I read anything I found on fans as well. It didn't take me too long to figure out that Sherlock Holmes fans were not written about the same way science fiction fans were, and science fiction fans were not written about the same way that Trek or Star Wars fans were, and most of what was written, particularly about the latter groups left my blood boiling. But I read it.

Aligning characters in your head as you read:

Your feeling that you are "reading in stereo" when trying to salvage an AS&J story written with the wrong Heyes by mentally replacing the character with the "right" Heyes. . . I think this is an experience not dissimilar to that I have every time I pick up a classic Trek story and have to cope with trying to read Kirk as a sensitive, intelligent, competent chap. My memory of his portrayal on the series is in competition with the fictional narrative. (And to balance a bash aimed at one media character, let me say a kind word about another. I have always thought Ann Holly was being unjustly maligned. It's always delightful to find one's self not entirely alone.)

Regarding Nancy Friday's book "Women on Top":

- Many women today are alone, but "do not share the destructive feminist 'to hell with men' attitude of twenty years ago. These women believe if they are going to live in a world with men, the opposite sex should be better understood. . . in no type of fantasy do women investigate men's sexuality more blatantly and look at men more closely than in fantasies of watching men have sex together."

- This is a different pleasure than that gained by men enjoying watching two women together. Women want not just an orgasmic high (what she sees as the male goal?) but want to understand "what makes men tick. Here are women practicing their famed talent for trying to hold people together, heal emotional wounds, and yes, have a good time too." They look for clues as to what is missing in their own heterosexual relationships.

- They learn how men please men.

- They like the notion of a more vulnerable, tender kind of masculinity.

- A fantasy of another woman adoring a man would arouse feelings of competition. With two men she can just sit back and enjoy the show.

- "Not all the excitement. . . comes simply from voyeurism." Some women find fantasies of "giving their husbands the opportunity to excite another man in fantasy exciting to them as well."

This set of observations obviously reflects some of the same thoughts that have floated around "why slash" debates. But there seem to me to be differences in her analysis and that I run into in the slash community. Her analysis is completely centered on voyeuristic pleasures and does not seem to recognize the different kind of involvement one might find in personality (as opposed to body) centered stories.
More on Nancy Friday's books:

Another assumption of Friday's seems to be that sex still revolves around actually bedding men. Thank you very much, but I know any number of slash fans for whom this is not the case. Enjoying the stories as eroticism for their own sake, not as a prelude to better "real sex" also seems valid to me.

I have always hated and fundamentally disagreed with the argument that we write about two men because we'd be jealous if one of the men was another woman. If anyone really doesn't understand why, I will explain in another ish.

I think her conclusions as to the types of pleasure men can draw from watching two women together are unduly narrow. I always assumed, for example, that seeing how one woman pleased another figured into the experience somehow.

In a nod to fans who are not happy about academic analysis and are uncomfortable with the notion of outing this genre of fanfic, I will confess, I hope, hope, hope that Friday does not ever decide to focus on slash as a body of work. I am more afraid of misrepresentation than representation.

Regarding art, fiction and profit:

Just to add a bit more fat to the fire in the artist/writer debate, it seems to me that most stories I read are specific enough in setting and situation, and setting and situation are integral enough to the tale, that identifiable elements of a story can often not be easily edited out. I thus feel that, contrary to your claims, competence in characterization will not be the only bar to selling program universe stories. Besides, the way you frame this evaluation, a recognizable character is implicitly a sign of bad writing (lacking marginal originality). On the other hand, I have seen recognizable faces turn up the strangest places (I have a Harlequin of some flavor with what looks suspiciously like Pierce Brosnan on the cover, for example). Take off the costumes and your actors become a lot more generic. Is it really going to be any harder to modify an eyebrow or a nose than it would be to render CI5 unidentifiable in a story. And the awful truth is that often even the best artists miss on a likeness. I usually hold several "who do you suppose that's supposed to be?" conversations at any given art show. I'm not really familiar with artists markets, but I would suppose the problem with non-fannish markets is more likely to be that it is difficult to sell portraiture (the most common fan art genre) professionally than that actor likenesses threaten to create legal problems. (?)
About a fan's previous comments on acafadom:
You say you will "be happier when academia gets off the 'look at the weirdos and faggots' aspect and really get into a true analysis of the phenomena."

Perhaps we should exchange reading lists. I haven't run into those articles. Those I have read by academics. that have been written in recent years (unlike some of those written by academics ten or twenty years ago or some of those written by non-academics more recently) have treated fandom with respect. Even Camille, who seems to see fans as a bit dysfunctional, has never stooped to the kind of derogatory characterization you imply. ALL the recent work I have read attempts to examine "the phenomena," if I understand what you mean by that phrase, as opposed to ogling the freaks, and some of it, Henry's work, for example, I believe does so without ever falling back on negative stereotypes. If you have read Henry's work (as I must assume you have given that you are making sweeping generalizations about the work in this area and there isn't really that much of it, and because Henry is the only one of the three principal academics who have published on slash recently who really acknowledges the existence of gays within fandom instead of considering slash as a genre by and for straight women), I would be interested in knowing specifically where you feel Textual Poachers gets into the "weirdos and faggots" bit. If you have not read Henry, or Connie or Camille or any of the academics that have published in the last five years or so, you should either acquaint yourself with what's out there or refrain from condemning whole bodies of writing with which you are unfamiliar.

Which is to say, I disagree with your conclusions. I suspect what you are doing is confusing journalistic and academic accounts of fandom. If not, we have drawn remarkably dissimilar conclusions from the same material. If that is the case, I would really be interested to hear specific reactions to specific ideas or specific passages in academic writing that you find objectionable. It's hard to respond in a meaningful way to arguments as broad as 'all academic writing is crap.' The discussion is so apt to turn into "no it isn't," "yes it is," "no it isn't," yes it is."

Labels, porn, and erotica:

If I reject "eroticism" in favor of "porn" as a label it is because the connotations of the two words are so value laden. Somehow, insisting that anything I like must be erotic, not pornographic, always feels like an attempt to define my sexuality for me, to impose restrictions on what it is OK for me to feel. Nice girls make love, they don't fuck. They may be aroused but generally don't get horny. Nice girls read erotica, not pornography. The terms, to me, are tied very directly into sexual double standards for men and woman. Why do most men and women want to restrict not only what I read (another topic on which I have plenty of opinions) but how I understand that material and how I react to it? I really do feel like there is a denial both that I am competent to judge my own reactions and that it is appropriate for me to do so. There may be pressure against men if they read or admit to liking certain types of material, but nobody denies that they can react to it. Indeed, those that concern themselves about such matters tend rather to worry that they will react too much.

Some self-appointed watchdogs of feminist consciousness will make explicit statements about what women are capable of responding to erotically and any woman who points out that she feels otherwise is viewed as corrupted, either as victim to be pitied, but not taken seriously, or more commonly as a "traitor to other women." Her ability or right to enjoy sexual response never enters the discussion.

Men aren't any better. About three years ago, in the middle of law school, I wound up at an otherwise all male lunch table discussion when the subject of porn surfaced. Suddenly people were looking uncomfortable and glancing at me sideways. That was a bit irritating. (I had fantasies of being treated as a professional equal. How the hell can women discuss first amendment law if our colleagues are more concerned with wounding our sensibilities than exchanging ideas?) I tried to ease the sense of discomfort I felt suddenly gripping the table by admitting I read porn. I liked porn. Boy, that derailed the conversation. I never did succeed in convincing the group I had no sensibilities to wound. The table was torn between an urge to flee the subject and an apparent morbid fascination. Did I really...? I wound up so annoyed I commented that I had (thinking of all that lovely slash) thousands of stories in my apartment.

The next day, one of the men came up to me, still looking a bit worried. He mentioned the stories and queried, "I couldn't tell if you were joking or not? I assured him I wasn't, but he still looked uncertain. I realized if I had said, "of course I was joking" he would have taken my disclaimer at face value. How do you suppose he would have reacted if I had said I collected erotica, not porn? My guess is, somewhat differently.

So, when I embrace "porn," I reject being cribbed, caged, and confined. I reject limiting myself to intellectual and emotional experiences that have been deemed gender-appropriate. If this threatens the order of the world as we know it, so be it.

Re copying zines:

You you write about two extremes, you say you consider it accepted fan practice to copy a single story out of a zine but not acceptable to mass copy and resell someone else's zine. I suspect you are not too far out of line with majority fannish practice on these positions. But what about copying in between these two situations? You acknowledge that there is a markup on zines. (Anyone who can do third grade math is fully competent to multiply the number of pages in a zine by local copying rates.) And you cite as part of your example the fan who is broke. The awful truth is that being broke is an all too common problem in fandom. How would you feel about that fan deciding that she couldn't afford to pay twice copying costs for a legitimate copy on the zine but wanting it, so borrowing and copying the whole thing? How would you feel if the fan wasn't broke, but was just cheap? If instead of mass copying and selling it, she just made one extra copy for a friend, or several copies for several close friends?

May I have some more please?

If you are considering writing Vila/Avon stories again and a word of encouragement would help, consider yourself encouraged. "Avon/Vila alas," like hell! I love A/V stories. (At least the A/V stories in which Vila gives as good as he gets. Whining, cringing, stupid Vilas have no appeal. The A/V relationship has always struck me as having more potential for real friendship than A/B. Class is not, or should not, at any rate, be the most important factor in a relationship. Yes, I think that Avon has a few other things in common with Blake he won't admit, but I don't think that is a point of difference between him and Vila.) Given the way people look at me when I say I like this pairing, I often feel like I ought to apologize for, or justify, or explain the preference. (see above) A/B has rather dominated what has come out recently. (Yes, I like A/B too, but these things are relative. When I pick up a zine I always read all the A/V stories FIRST.)

Academics, what is slash, context:

One question I might pose to academics is whether slash removed from the social context of fandom is still slash. Consider analogizing to filk. I have heard filk defined as the folk music of the science fiction community. It includes parodies, original work, and sometimes works by artists outside fandom who just happen to strike a responsive chord within fans. When the songs of Tom Lehrer are sung at a filksing they become filk. When played in another context, outside fandom, they lose that identity. If two fans share a story one has written about two cute guys gleefully bonking their brains out, or angsting over whether "To bonk or not to bonk," it is slash. But if the same story is read in a context removed from fandom, is it still slash? I realize there are structural problems with the analogy. But hey, consider its implications. Could a non-fan story, shared between fans because they find it aesthetically pleasing, ever be considered slash? Is what defines slash intrinsic to the text or is it linked in part to the context of its production?

Which draws in your reference to [M], I suppose. You asked if mundane readers might absorb slash as mere porn without making an emotional connection. Given that you have just argued that emotional content is an integral part of what defines slash why would you assume that a non-fan would be illiterate enough not to read that content along with the plot and the sex? Because emotional connection also works on different levels?: a) within the story, b) between the reader and the source, c) between multiple stories, d) between fans?

To address those points more or less in order: a) If a story is competently written it will probably contain intrinsic emotional content. b) Chances are that the non-fan reader will first pick up/ be handed a story in a universe with which they already have an emotional connection. (That is, I presume, why so many people are incapable of grasping that media fandom goes beyond Star Trek. They care about Trek. The rest washes over them.) One does not have to be in fandom to have an emotional relationship with a show. Fandom merely elaborates the ways that relationship can function. It is also unclear how strong this emotional involvement must be. I loosely consider myself a fan of a number of the universes you mention in your rant about trying to maintain sanity in the face of your over extension. (You have all my sympathy.) My "emotional connection" to these universes, although always present, is by no means present to equal degrees. Yet, I am considered a fan of these shows, etc. Is this just a recruiting strategy for small fandoms or does it say something about what we consider a fan to be? c) The first fan or slash story will always be out of context, for the neo-fan or the never to be fan. But if this hypothetical non-fan reads several stories, the notion of developing multiple perspectives on a single text becomes pretty readily apparent. Does the emotional commitment have to be to the body of fan stories? d) see comments above.

Re "not getting it", in the worst case scenario, maybe they won't. But it seems to me that they have to get into fandom to corrupt it, and most academic analysis doesn't make that an easy task. I suspect most mundanes (potential fans or not) are more apt to read academic work, go to the local creation con because its advertised in the paper, and wonder what the hell the academics are talking about. And (not that I intend to take your concerns flippantly) I have always bumped into people in fandom I really feel don't "get it."

Anyhow, in regard to corruption, my initial response is to wonder (barring legal conflicts, another topic) how they will corrupt it. If they consume, they can vote with their dollars (or the monetary unit of their choice) just like the rest of us. But it is the people who produce that ultimately shape zine fandom. And once other folks start producing I get really uncomfortable drawing lines that say she is a fan and she isn't. If they produce Science Friction I'll read and laugh, and treasure the Glaswegian's discussion of the literary merits of the zine, and not buy issue number two. If their stories are good, I'll welcome them with open arms.
  • slash, erotica, porn, and hurt/comfort: {{Quotation|

In many ways slash can be seen as the ideal "feminine erotica." It is relationship oriented as hell, oh so caring and tender, and all about love. The hiccup comes in with some of the harder edged slash that has started to surface more recently. There is a temptation to see romantic slash as good porn, which is to say as reflecting a feminine sensibility, as erotica v. harder edged slash as bad porn, which is to say reflecting a more masculine sensibility, to see it as pornography in the negative-value-laden sense of the word. [...] When slash develops s&m or b&d it usually does so in the context of the same relationship that structures more vanilla stories about sex and love. The relationship is consensual and the sex is the expression of a very mutual, caring and usually permanent bond. Part of what is curious is that the anti-porn argument suggesting that inherent power inequalities make it impossible for women to give real consent to participate in sexual games involving power (like s&m scenes) falls to pieces if both characters are acknowledged as masculine. [...] But slash stories assume that games can be just that: games. Or they assume that roleplaying can serve some therapeutic purpose. But they virtually always see the people as controlling the games, not the other way around. They actively construct an argument against anti-porn fears that power differential is fixed, that it is invariably harmful, and that pain- or power-centered imagination and bedroom practice will corrupt the way we interact outside the bedroom. The point of the stories is to situate these practices in the context of a relationship and examine how they function as a part of that relationship. [...] Rape stories, though they may start out with male porn cliches about desire overwhelming control, or some such, usually go on to deal with the ramifications of the act. The point of the story isn't the rape; it's how the characters deal with the rape. Can they salvage anything from the wreckage created by the violence? Do they want to? Alternatively, if the rape is rewritten (either within the course of the narrative, or within sequels) so that it isn't really a rape (he really liked it) the narratives still focus on the dynamics of the relationship. [...] Hurt/comfort stories often contain enough gore to send shivers down the back of activists concerned with the conflation of sex and violence. [...] How can anyone get off on seeing a character suffer from gunshot wounds or auto accidents? Why does this so often lead to sex, and so often to highly improbable sex, at that, while the wounded partner is still suffering to a degree that renders erotic response improbable? It is as if the vulnerability of the physical body is being used symbolically to illustrate the vulnerability of the emotional makeup of men. The breakdown of the physical body leads to a breakdown of personal barriers, of emotional defenses. And this (in slash) leads to a breakdown of physical barriers and to sex. Yes, there is lots of pain and suffering, sometimes very precise descriptions of which bones are broken or which internal organs are bruised, or how bloody the wound is, or how labored the breathing patterns are. But once again, unlike the material I suspect h/c is implicitly being analogized to, the hurt is not so much directly erotic as it is the means by which a sufficient degree of vulnerability and openness is achieved that an intimate relationship can develop. So the sub-genres of slash that all too often provoke wondering looks, or less polite queries as to how the fan could like that, strike me as curious hybrids of romantic feminine-style sex and elements of masculine porn that are central to debates concerning the availability and impact of sexually explicit material. Those elements of the pornographic imagination that are least accessible to many women are co-opted and explored within the context of the familiar romantic relationship. True, romantic stories are seen as acceptably feminine, but I would argue that slash stories about beating your partner until his backside glows in the dark are also "feminine" by the same criteria.

Some Topics Discussed in ""Menage a Deux (by H J)""

  • very detailed analysis of letters by readers to the magazine "Penthouse, focus on the possible queerness of them, focus on f/f scenarios and imagery (Penthouse does not call them "lesbian"), the magazine is marketed "the straight male who uses the woman's body as a site for his heterosexual erotic fantasies"
  • male friendship and gay panic
  • comments on the Tailhook scandal
  • comments on Noam Chomsky and Neil Postman "I am not tiov anyone who is a television fan can simultaneously embrace Chomsky or Postman. Neither of them provide much space for resistance or creative reworking of media content."
  • comments about dolls (marketed for girls) and action figures (marketed for boys)
  • commentary on The Left Hand of Darkness and influence on slash
  • the care and feeding of the male sex organ: slash tips for writers, complete with explicit, detailed hints and descriptions
  • the differences in definition and description among the terms sex, sexuality, and gender
  • comments on the book “Iron John”
  • comments on the movie “The Crying Game”
  • comments about a professor named Mulvey at UEA

Excerpts from ""Menage a Deux (by H J)""

Some of the many comments about the "Penthouse Letters":

Yet, at the same time, this repetition of scenarios involving straight women having lesbian sex suggests a casual acceptance, which has been more and more widespread over the past two decades, of women's "natural" bisexuality. I would go even further in suggesting that these photographs and narratives often work in a more "perverse" way by inviting a kind of transgender identification among men.

[...]

...the crossgender identification of female-narrated stories in male-oriented pornography pose questions even if the stories stick to traditional heterosexual practices. What exactly is going on when straight-men read stories in which women describe what it feels like to be penetrated or to suck a man's cock. One can argue that this is simply the old human curiosity about what it would be like to experience sex from the other side of the gender divide, to know and understand feminine erotic pleasure, but that still translates into a desire to know what it would be like to make love with a man.

[...]

Doesn't this convention, whose absence would be sorely missed by hardcore affectionados, speak to a male desire for a sanctioned look at other men's cocks, to get off by watching men ejaculate? And, no matter how we package it, that seems to me to be a fundamentally queer pleasure which lies at the heart of straight male culture.

[...]

I have scarcely scratched the surface here. I am sure we all can make interesting comparisons between these stories and slash, points I will have to wait for future issues to develop. What interests me, however, is the tentative but no less persistent way which Penthouse Letters has broadened the range of acceptable heterosexual male fantasy and has allowed a space for the queer or bisexual imagination. I hope this account will make it a little harder for female fans to assume automatically that males could have no real personal interest in reading slash. These male fantasies differ from female slash fantasies but I don't see the divide between them as unsurmountable and I think it would be fascinating to see a greater communication about sexual fantasies across gender and sexual differences.

An Afterward: I discussed some of this material above with my Science Fiction Students. It slipped into conversation when we were discussing Left Hand of Darkness. All of the men were adamant about denying any homoeroticism to the above images. As one explained, "It's not queer. It's just kinky!"
Male friendship and gay panic:
Butch Cassidy and the other Redford-Newman films came to typify within Hollywood a particular version of male bonding or male buddy films, which producers, writers, and critics all recognize as a distinct and commercially successful genre. What they would deny is that this homosocial imagery (sometimes called "romantic friendship") has ANYTHING to do with sexuality. My concern at the time these films was released was the potential backlash against even these Utopian images of male friendship if they were going to be labeled as gay or homoerotic. Masculine culture is highly resistent to self-examination; it has a lot invested in protecting softer feelings from outside observation and in re establishing one's credentials as a "real man." If we were going to get these people to rethink what it meant to be male or what forms of friendship and romantic ties might be appropriate for men, we were going to face an uphill battle as it was with being labeled "sissy" and therefore totally unacceptable for these "real men."
About Science Friction:
A number of the bedfellows mentioned Science Friction. As I understand it, the zine is written and edited by a group of mostly queer grad students at a Canadian university who had read Poachers and Constance Penley and thought it would be fun to write slash. They seem to have ties to the Gaylaxians (and to endorse their campaign to get a queer character on the series) but not to have much interest in entering media fandom. All I can say is that they didn't read my chapter very closely. I suspect if they had followed my formula for the first time story and mimicked the quotes I offered, they would come up with something that looked a lot more like slash than this does. I think they are simply using the idea of slash for their own pleasures and purposes -- poaching it, as it were -- rather than trying to engage in a dialog with slash fandom. Is this Lezlie's fifth wave -- slash without fandom? Maybe, provided that we agree that this is slash at all. Maybe we should follow M. Fae's suggestion of offering some summaries and excerpts from these stories for discussion. They may be good limit cases in discussing how we would define slash as distinct from all gay porn or from the gay scenarios for straight men I describe above. Can there be homoerotic stories about media characters, even about ST characters which is not slash, because it does not follow the same genre conventions, adopt the same thematics, embrace the same tone, etc.?
Favorite slash pairings:

Hmmm. My favorite slash pairings. In truth, in doing research for the book, I read across as many different fan universes as I could get my hands on and found enjoyable stories in most of them. I tend to focus my reading around certain writers or editors (most of whom are in this APA -- Oblique, Shoshanna, Barbara, Jane, Manacles, Cynthia) who consistently explore the issues and situations which interest me. We have slash from some of the other APA members which I haven't read yet, but Cynthia tells me I will also like it. I tend to prefer Blake/Avon to Avon/Vila, even though I don't much like Blake on the series. I have enjoyed quite a lot of the Pros writing and the Eroica stories. I particularly like stories which get into the psychological and social dimensions of male culture, which spell out male fears of intimacy and the barriers that prevent them from coming together, and that spend a lot of time with the emotions surrounding their mutual revelations and sexual satisfaction. I like some of the newer, darker stuff, and I have gotten interested in power questions and sexual role playing, but I get the most emotional satisfaction out of stories where the characters do achieve trust, intimacy, and openness. I also enjoy some heterosexual stories and would be interested in reading more lesbian or overtly bisexual stories.

The difference between porn and erotica:

Fascinating comments on slash and pornography. I showed my seminar some of the pornographic films made by the Femme Collective, a group of female porn stars (led by Candidia Royale) which decided to make porn with a feminine and feminist sensibility. The films are strikingly different from male-produced and marketed porn in style and content. One of my female students told the story of trying to describe what she had seen to various friends of hers and they all said, "If you liked it, it couldn't have been pornography." For a lot of people, that's all the definition they need. If I like it, it's erotica. If I don't like it, it s porn.
Comments on the zines Outrider and The Weight:
I bought OUTRIDER at Media but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Leslie Fish's name was sufficient to sell it to me but, while I enjoyed the MAD MAX Films, at least the second and third in the series, when I saw them, I don't remember them that well and am not a "fan" of them per se. I keep putting off reading it until I have a chance to watch the films again. I suspect other fans may be in the same situation which may be why it is such a hard sell. I would try putting a lot of emphasis on Fish and her contributions to fandom, the long awaited novel from the author of The Weight, one of the earliest voices in K/S, etc."
Some Trek f/f possibilities:
I think Kirk/Dax has real possibilities. At last, Trek has given us two women characters who are potentially strong enough to be interesting in bed together. The only previous possibility I might consider would be Yar/Crusher, though I don't think Bev's character, after 7 (?) seasons, is well enough defined to be very compelling in a story by anyone other than a brilliant writer. I rather enjoyed the bantering interplay between Kira and Dax on the recent episode where they had to pilot a rather archaic shuttlecraft. It was fun watching Kira tease Dax for her dependence on modern technology and display some of the bravada that makes her an interesting character. Funny that it's the woman who doesn't have a former man inside her that comes across as more macho in that scene! Think of the possibilities for butch-femme play in this couple.
The Left Hand of Darkness and its influence on slash:
I have a question for a longtime K/S fan. I was re-reading Left Hand of Darkness for my SF class and was suddenly intrigued to consider its influence on the early slash writers. Here was a story about a man from Earth sent down to an alien planet which seeks to maintain its public dignity at the expense of ambiguous emotional expression and whose population suffers from regular rutting urges. His task is to use indirect intervention to pull them into a federation of planets. He forms a strange friendship with a "man" (I know Estrovan is gender-neutral but he is always described in male terms here) from this alien people and they are forced to go on a long trip together across the ice flows. There, we get this passage where Estrovan goes into "pon farr, er, Kemmer.": 'I must not touch you,' he said, with extreme constraint; saying that he looked away. I said, 'I understand. I agree completely.' For it seemed to me, and I think to him, that it was the sexual tension between us, admitted now and understood, but not assuaged, that the great and sudden friendship between us rose; a friendship so much needed by us both in our exile, in our bitter journey, that it might as well be called now as later, love. But it was from the difference between us, not from the affinities and likenesses , but from the difference, that that love came; and it was itself the bridge, the only bridge, across what divided us. For us to meet sexually would be for us to meet once more as aliens. We had touched in the only way we could touch. We left it at that. I do not know if we were right." I suddenly pictured Leslie Fish and [Gayle F] and the others reading this passage in 1969, the comparisons to Star Trek all too apparent, and thinking through other ways of resolving the erotic friendship between these two men. [Gayle F] in particular picks up on the yin-yang imagery Chat one associates with LeGuin's writing. Do you have any insights to share on this point?
Textual Poachers and fans' appreciation:
Your questions about responses to academic study of slash assumes that your reader objects to these studies. More than a year after Textual Poachers first appeared, I still get one or two letters a week from fans, thanking me for writing the book, telling me how much it has meant to them. I say this not in the spirit of self-congratulation, but just to say, I hear very few objections to the book, its methodology, its conclusions, etc. I would be happy to respond to anyone in the APA who wants to level specific criticisms, even though I am in this apa to participate as a fan and not to defend my academic work on fans. I may even agree with you, but until I can find someone who will tell me specifically how fandom has been harmed by the book or how I got things all wrong, I will continue to believe it has done more good than harm.

Depends on what you borrow from:

…[on] Renaissance painters borrowing their characters from Biblical sources, I like to say that religions are generally based on books, while fandoms are based on television programs. I suppose that makes it all a question of cultural hierarchies. It's okay to steal your ideas from books but not from television.

…let me acknowledge the obvious: male sexuality is at least as diverse as female sexuality, we don't always like the same things or respond the same way to the same stimulus. One of the things I admired about Shoshanna s novel was her construction of different forms of male sexual experience for the two lovers Doyle encounters as he begins to explore what it might mean to be "bent." I also respect this diversity in M. Fae's or [B T.s] work, where the social and emotional context and the personality of the protagonists shapes the sexual acts represented. The absence of such characterization in mainstream porn, except for the assignment of "kinks" in specially categorized stories, means that we often get a "one-size fits all" sexuality. Bad slash writers, often, offer a similar paint-by-numbers approach to sex which is not very interesting to read about and would probably be even more frustrating to experience. Another problem is that men don't talk to each other about sex very much. Sure, who got laid and by whom is an old locker room topic, but what it felt like, or what you like to do while masturbating, etc. are not big topics when men get together and so most men have no idea whether their tastes are at all common with other men. All I know is what I read in Penthouse and Heaven help us, if we took that as representative of actual male sexual experience.

let me point to some pet peeves and hidden secrets. One of the first slash stories I ever read was one a friend wrote: a dark, twisted, and utterly pointless tale about Vila's youth as a male prostitute and his encounter with an over-sized John whose sexual passions not only stretched but ripped asunder poor Villa's anal passage. Yep, being ripped open by a really big man turns me on about as much as a story about an episiotomy turns on the average female reader. It took a long time after I read that story for [C J] to get me to read any more slash. Maybe, perhaps likely, the writer was working through her own fears about penetration (a little of Camille's risk-management) but this was not an experience I needed to share with her, thank you.
Thanks, [N B], for sharing your Short Circuit selection on masculine and feminine. It certainly helps to clarify your position. You do a good job identifying traits that have been traditionally associated with masculinity and femininity. A question I've often pondered, however, is whether we simply reinforce these stereotypes when we ascribe specific behaviors as masculine and feminine regardless of the sex of the person displaying those behaviors. In other words, we suggest there is no way for a person to be "logical, assertive, challenging, protective, brave, stoic," etc. and be "feminine." Given the strong attachment our culture places on these gender identities, such terminology makes it very difficult for us to redefine what it means to be feminine or masculine. This is not a problem I find unique to your argument. Indeed, you do a better job than many academic feminists in complicating these terms and acknowledging the problems that arise from their use. But, I do question the implications of their continued use in this fashion.
More on Science Friction:
While I agree with [N] and others that what they are writing is not slash in any meaningful sense of the word, I don't see what harm is caused by them writing what they are writing. Different fantasies, different rules, different contexts, different conventions, different tastes. So what? Why do you have a problem with that, exactly? As far as I can tell, apart from peddling it at Gaylaxicon, not a major slash mecca, they aren't really selling it within the slash community. In any case, I can point to stories in Frisky Business for example which also seem to be putting convenient series names on their own fantasy figures.
About Fourth Wave slashers:
I am frankly confused by your comments about fourth wavers wanting to politicize slash. You acknowledge that there is no form of fiction or recreation that is ideology free. Later, you acknowledge that the libido is anything but apolitical and express your own political discomfort with portrayals of violence against women in slash stories as well as in the commercial media. So, what is it that the fourth wavers are proposing that you object to? Is it that they are consciously interested in thinking about the ideological content of their stories? That they want to explore what sexuality means and what its implications are rather than simply writing sex scenes? That they find certain actions or attitudes as objectionable as you find violence against women? 1 don^t see very much pc agit-prop creeping into slash stories. All I see are some writers being more interested in exploring and vocalizing the political implications of what they are writing and I see that as all for the good. That doesn't mean you, me or anyone else can't or shouldn't get off on it. It just means that good slash stories can be meaningful on more than one level at once. For me, they are meaningful because of their critique of traditional masculinity. For some one else, they may be meaningful because they offer supportive images of gay lifestyles. For you, they may be meaningful because Blake and Avon can make sparks fly by rubbing two sticks together.
Why do men fear gays:

Why do men fear gays? Hmmm. I sometimes think of masculinity as a mutually-reinforced hallucination. It doesn't exist. None of us can live up to its expectations. We are all doing a pathetically bad imitation of acting out someone else's idea of what it means to be masculine. We all know it and we are afraid that someone else will find out they were aren't quite as big and powerful and tough and... as we pretend to be. Advances from gays are scary because our culture reads gays as effeminate, as not masculine, and so, if someone thinks we are like that and finds us attractive in "that way." then, boy, that must mean that we aren't doing a very good job of holding up the mask at all. Add to that the fact that most of us, if we are being honest, can and do feel attraction to members of the same sex and yet our social conventions require us to publicly deny those feelings, so again, a gay advance suggests that we are showing more than we want to be showing. Given the masculine desire for stoicism, that s a pretty frightening prospect. So, the fear of gays, like the hatred of women, becomes a key way of re-enforcing conventional masculinity, insuring that we conform pretty closely to its norms or risk being called queer or sissy or something else equally bad.

What makes a story slash?
"Eye of the Beholder" seems to be slash because you have a male media character making love with a male media character, though they happen, in this case, to be the same person. As Woody Allen once said, "masturbation is sex with someone I love." Let's try a thought experience: Would it be more or less slash if Avon made love with a clone? With a double of himself in a dream? With a "mirror, mirror" version of himself? With Paul Darrow? With himself having come back in time from another period in his life? The narcissistic possibilities are limitless, yet in each case, we have Avon essentially making love with some variation of himself. Speaking of which, I have always wanted to do a slash story where Diana from Beauty and the Beast makes love with Cecily from Northern Exposures i.e. two very different characters who happen to be played by the same rather strikingly beautiful actress. A good writer could describe them as different characters who possess remarkably similar physical features and who get turned on to each other for highly narcissistic reasons. Yum!

Some Topics Discussed in "Ghost Speaker"

  • the Blake's 7 War
  • different apas and their "flavours"
  • disappointment in a fan's turn of fictional allegiance
  • real person's slash
  • death stories
  • a substantial story by this fan is included: title "The Tragedy of Romeo and Tybalt”

Excerpts from "Ghost Speaker"

Different apas and their flavours:

This is certainly the flirtiest apa I've ever been in. (With regard to Cat's comments on [S's] bare legs and our collective libido, the image is impressed on mine and I wasn't even there - but my French kitten described it very vividly... mmmm.) Besides SB, I am in three; The Women's Periodical resembles a dinner party, sometimes a little dull and conventional, but nearly always nourishing, tasty, and often convivial. The Sodality of the Holy St Bride and Companions of St Aelred is usually called Sodall (or Sodit); it's a pretended-family apa, small and cosy and we all know each other even if we've never met, even at Gay Pride. Acnestis is a literary criticism apa, and way over my head; it's rather like a con, or an event at a con; a lengthy, enjoyable, intellectually stretching conversation. I was once in The Organisation; that resembled a dogfight, and I got out. Strange Bedfellows is an orgy, and very nice too.
Disappointment in a fan's turn of fictional allegiance

Sebastian turning into an Avon/Blake and then a Bodie/Doyle writer is one of the major disappointments of my life. When she first contacted me, about eight years ago, she was full of enthusiasm at having found a fellow A/V fanwriter. She sent me over a hundred pages of her unfinished A/V novel, still, as far as I know, unfinished). Then — oh, tragic day! -- she read a bryn lantry poem and wrote me an Avon/Blake story for "touched". It was good, of course. All her stories are good. But I wish she'd stayed with A/V.... the few stories she's written in that pairing are shivery-brilliant. The problem with writing good A/V (as I define good A/V) is writing the unequal relationship, staying in canon, but not denigrating either Vila or Avon in the process. This is difficult because in real life, either or both people in such a relationship would be in need of counselling. What a Californian way of putting it. I mean one of them would be stupid and the other exploitative.

A dislike of death stories... but:
But I don't like death stories. I think they're a cheap way to sucker the reader into emotion. Instead of really dealing with the problem (whatever it is) by living with it. Even when M. Fae Glasgow writes death stories I don't like them. "Triptych" got written, all three of it, because it seemed like a neat idea - and it is very symmetrical; three S/C death stories each set in a different universe, each with a different death, (I wrote the one where Cowley dies first; it took me the longest time to think up a story where Doyle dies and it matters all that much.... <grin>) But I don't like death stories. Even when I write them.

About the The Blake's 7 War and some about actor slash:

In the Great Fannish Controversy in Blake's 7 fandom, a few years ago, which coincidentally happened at about the same time as Paul Darrow's dreadful book Avon: A Terrible Prospect, one of the sillier things the anti-slash faction came up with was that slash was wrong because it was portraying the actors in sexual activities. Horizon the B7 Appreciation Society announced that from now on they would as a matter of principle never print any such stories in their zines. (They hadn't printed any slash before, either, but that was, so I was told, because no one had ever submitted a slash story of sufficiently high quality.) This all got mixed up with Paul Darrow objecting to people who were on the opposite side to him in the controversy continuing to profit by stories/artwork about/of him, out in the original point of principle the logic chain was; slash uses the actors as if they were gay; the actors are not gay; implying that someone who is not gay is gay is an offensive and shameful allegation; slash is therefore wrong. It wasn't purely a matter of sex. This was proved by Horizon continuing to produce their heteroerotica zine, Alternative Seven, and by no one objecting to Avon's torrid affair with Anna Grant in A:ATP. The reaction against it was more like the reaction I got when I casually mentioned in a round robin a few years ago that I rather thought Andre Norton was a lesbian, and got my head bitten off by someone who knew a friend of Norton's and knew how upset Norton had been by these allegations. I am not in favour of 'outing' closet gays. Not unless they are actively and dangerously homophobic, that is, in which case I think it's justifiable self-defence, my feelings about the actors, as opposed to the characters, are expressed in a poem I wrote when Gordon Jackson died, "An Actor's Dead" — I never knew him, never saw him except on screen, but I was profoundly sorry for his death, and felt that I had known a loss - not in the least like losing a friend, but certainly not someone I was as indifferent to as I was to Gene Roddenbury (who I had met, once.) I don't particularly want to write or read stories the actors' - whether or not the actors engage in sexual activity. If the stories are even as firmly rooted in reality as, say, a story in a tabloid newspaper headlined "SEX LIVES OF TV STARS" then I think it's discourteous to publish. But I also think that the strong objection to 'actor slash' is very largely a form of homophobia, related to these people I mentioned in the Controversy who objected to any form of slash because they believed that suggesting someone is gay is an insult.

Blake's 7 as a tragic universe and the appeal and power of Make It Better Stories:

Yes; one interesting aspect of writing in the B7 universe was that all the stories tended towards a tragic conclusion, whether or not this was acknowledged in the story. (Unless, as you say, the writer decided to Make It Better.) Any serious Avon/Vila story has to take into account the events of "Orbit" as well as of "Gambit". And so many A/V writers have felt compelled, at one time or another (I myself am not innocent, in fact I'm not innocent several times over) to write the A/V story that happens after "Orbit". The most interesting aspect of Make It Better is the fifth-season stories — I've written two and am in the middle of writing a third, out some writers write them compulsively, and all different. (As far as I'm concerned, and I don't know anyone who agrees with me, "Hellhound" isn't part of the Make It Better school, because it makes it worse.) It's more interesting than Make It Better by stopping the show before Gan dies, or at the end of the second season, or the third, or anyway before Blake says "I set all this up!", because 5th-season is not necessarily uncanonical, and canonical fiction is by nature more interesting, if written well, than uncanonical.

Some Topics Discussed in "Vice Files"

  • zine piracy and photocopying zines
  • does pornography induce violence
  • the anti-slash, anti-gay stance of the majority of the Robin of Sherwood fandom
  • popular pairings in Miami Vice: racial?

Excerpts from "Vice Files"

[That] pornography causing sexual violence, similar situation with TV violence — I grew up watching TV violence, but I I’m not one of the people doing drive-by shootings in DC. Those people grew up on Smurfs .

Comments on zine piracy and photocopying zines:

What exactly is the "Kinko's Crowd"? Is it supposedly people who bootleg zines using Kinkos, or is it people who produce their zines at Kinkos? Anyone can go into a Kinkos & use their production facility that's what they're there for. If that’s the complaint, I have to laugh at the complainers...Please define "Kinko's Crowd.” As a consumer (who is trying to become a producer - dumb move, I know…), I agree with you on what constitutes a zine pirate. I will admit I have photocopied a part of or even an entire zine here & there. One recently had ONE WOW story, 6 pgs worth. And the entire other 120 or so pages didn't interest me in the least. I was NOT going to pay $12 for the entire zine for l/20th of it! Either way, whether I’d copied the story or not, the publisher would not have gotten the $ from me, so where s the harm? I also don't see what the problem is in copying an out-of-print zine. If there are no more copies available, and no one's going to reprint it and you want your own copy (at least in my case, because you want to be able to read it more than once), WHO is it hurting? I'm not selling the damned thing, I'm NOT getting any money from it -- all I'm getting is the happiness of having my own copy & being able to read it when I want to, instead of having to wait for a friend who has it to be able to lend it...Hmmm...I didn't realize I felt so strongly about this...

Regarding the Robin of Sherwood zine Longbow 5:
The attitudes of these folks is really weird. Tami and Paulle's I understand - they don't publish RoS slash as a favour to Carpenter who is a friend of theirs a asked them not to. They don't tell others not to, it's just that they won't. This other stuff is just odd, and very insulting in the case of Longbow...! almost feel like writing this person a asking if they truly feel homosexuality "exceeds the bounds of decency", or if they're just too DUMB to realize what they said!
Miami Vice and pairings:

MV slash, no, [popularity of pairing does not represent] not racial prejudice, after all, Marty is also a member of a non-white group. It's just the 'prejudice' against less interesting characters...(And lack of 'proof from the show - Sonny trusts Rico completely, even in an episode where all evidence points to Rico being a leak (he wasn't), but after the amnesia arc, Rico never really trusts Sonny again. Marty, on the other hand, trusts Sonny far more than a secretive man who keeps himself apart from others would. He lets Sonny get away with behaviour none of the others can, and when Sonny returned to the office after the amnesia, Marty was one of the 2 people who didn't draw his pistol on him. The other one was Sonny's sometimes-girlfriend, Gina - now what does this say...(grin).)

Some Topics Discussed in "Yamibutoh"

  • some comments about two gay Japanese films that recently premiered: "Kiri, Kiri" and "Okoge"
  • Alias Smith and Jones
  • much about Japanese manga and slash
  • comments regarding hurt/comfort
  • "feminization," gay porn, S/M, and characterization

Excerpts from "Yamibutoh"

Too many APAs, so little time!
Well, I hadn't figured to be tribbing this time. All my APAs arrived at the same time and this one was the only one that I even had time to open. Life is never just a little busy --- it all always hits at once.
Alias Smith and Jones:
On Alias Smith and Jones, if i remember right, the original actor that played Heyes died in the middle of the show by suicide (either on purpose or accidentally--I think that the promoters claimed he was cleaning a gun, but really do not remem ber). Because of this, I think it was hard for many fans to accept the second Heyes no matter how good be was which may very well affect who gets written about in slash.
Japanese slash:

I have written a couple of articles on Japanese slash, but the market and style keep changing and I keep finding out more, so I am not yet satisfied with anything I have written and plan to write it all again eventually.

Eroica: Hardly any in Japanese. What is available is silly rather than sexy. The main popularity of the manga predated the current slash bonanza.
Regarding "zines" in Japan:

Circulation: partly the same. Biggest sales are probably at scheduled fanzine sales, however. In Tokyo, there are small sales (2000-4000 tables) about every other weekend at various locations and 2 big big big sales each year (100,000 people attending each day). The 2 big sales use the entire of the Harumi Trade Center, Tokyo area's 2nd biggest convention complex, Besides that though, zines are sold through mail order and flyers advertising new zines are circulated at zine sales and cons. One professional magazine, Puff, is devoted to advertising zine sales and reviewing new zines. Slash zines (usually refered to as June Cafter the magazine)) are advertised in the regular anime zines, but a better listing is in June or in Puff where zines are actually rated on how "hot" they are.

Japanese zines tend to be manga (comic) format. Stories sre thus often more simple. There is a current trend towards novels. Mixed media zines are few. Some author/artists do write stories. All "generations" of zines are represented.

Slash/nonslash: These are pretty well separated, at least at the sales where June zines and girlie zines (for the boys) are in different areas. However, soft slash (not graphic) can be found in all the special interest areas as well. There is some homophobia indicated but as slash is very accepted here, it is not so strident.

Fiction-non: Mostly fiction. but some fandoms have information zines come out. This is especially true of zines for bands, singers, and western programs that not many people know (i.e. Twin Peaks) .

Gender split: The same. Difference is mainly that the males write lots and lots of porn as well.

Mix: more short stories, fewer novels. Less character development reflecting both, I think, a younger fandom and limitations imposed by a pictoral style. There are many PWP stories, but the best are not. As primary fandoms are for animation SF and fantasy shows there is very little dealing with current social issues. This is seen very occasionally in original June zines, but is very rare.

Production: Not all zines have high production quality. There are still more than a few mimeographed zines with painful artwork. However, about 10-20% at any sale are stunning, I do not like, however, a popular current trend towards "minimalism" in zines big beautifully produced pages of very simple artwork and little story (sort of like the over spaced and margined zines Bedfellow members complain about.
Man/boy fiction and power:
I think what I do not like about man/boy relations is the inequality of the relationship. In manga, it rarely bothers me, as the boys are, as you mentioned, sexually aware and interested, Unfortunately, I get the impression from what I have heard, that what the people who like man/boy stuff get off on is the helplessness of the victim and that much of the attraction for the "top" is that the child is not interested. I like mutual participation and victimization of someone that does not wish to be victimized is something I cannot read. Manga and anime teens are always pretty old for their age.
Slash, women, and Japan:
I rather liked your comment about more women not being into slash because they do not know about it, Here [in Japan] where it is reasonably accepted, the fandom is much much bigger. There are still many people who hate it, but the magazines sell out at the stores.
zine piracy discussion:
I sort of agree with your Kinko's crowd idea when it is exercised with restraint, It is an awful big investment to buy a zine for one story, However, when it is done too often, it does hurt the publisher I think the problem is that you cannot lump the 1-story copiers in the same group as the professional pirates who xerox entire zines and sell them to make a profit. The same problem occurred in animation fandom where the problem was real anime pirates selling bootleg tapes for big bucks vs. private people requesting a few dollars recompense for time and machine wear. The arguments helped tear apart fandom.
Regarding hurt/comfort:
I was unaware that H/C was under attack, I am not a fan, I would also rather put them in bed together, However, I have always rather looked at H/C rather differently than I have at slash. Following the Dorothy Dunnett school of "break 'em down", I have figured that H/C main purpose was to open up the hardboiled characters we like so we can see what they are like inside, something that the canon charac ters would never dream of letting anyone do. Thus H/C, at least the H part has a purpose. This is different than a "get'um" story, such as the Avon fucked to death by Servalan's female troops story I think someone refered to in this issue. The point is you want the character to believably show an inner self or progress in a relationship that he would never dream of doing if in full self-command, I suppose the point is to enjoy the revelations more than the hurt (for the reader)
Genderfuck:
Genderfuck. Where do "new halves" fit, I believe the Japanese pretty much accept them as women--I figure they deserve it. Anyone who wants to be a woman in this country must be desperate.
Comments on "feminization," gay porn, S/M, and characterization:
I actually found a gay porn book in English in Tokyo last week. This is an extremely rare thing to run into at an ordinary bookstore, so I bought it. It was an S/M thing and I noticed a few tendenciies in the novel which I wonder are common to the genre. One particularly seemed to relate to your zine rant. In both novelettes, the perfectly normal-sized well-built young (but not child) M characters had extremely small penises. The implication seemed to be that anyone with a normal amount of cock wants to put it in something. I didn't count the number of times the words "little weenie" were used (too disgusted), but it was enough to make me wince every time I read it. Is there something about a childsize penis that the S/M crowd finds attractive? It read to me like those Illya descriptions. It also bothered me. Between the "TW" (one character is trained to keep it hidden), the silicone inflated tits, and the ton of refe rences to the dominated charcter as "girl" or "boy cunt", it seemed that what attracted the dominant character (and presumably the reader) was one of the things we write slash to avoid; the traditional male/female roles. Members have been discussing how softening the character does not turn them into a female, but rather a wimp, but is any of this attitude in real gay porn? This is the only novel I've run into here does most gay S/M stuff think a real woman is a doormat?

Some Topics Discussed in "Mardi Gras Favors"

Excerpts from "Mardi Gras Favors"

Paula Smith's article, Dream On:

I bought WANNA BUY A FANZINE, which has letters and reviews of zines, from Marty Siegrist at MediaWest. Reading through it I came to Paula Smith's column "Dream On" which begins with "I read ENTERPRISING WOMEN, half of BACKLASH [3], and a slash novel all In the same week. I also was sick one night, but I dont t think that s connected."

She continues speculating why we write slash and what changes we want to see. She ends with "We are all collaborating, we artists and writers and readers and reviewers here in this loose think tank we call fandom. We are constructing and alpha-testing alternative modes of lives. We HAVE brought some of these modes of thought and being into actuality in fandom. In this network, mostly of women, we are closer to each other than neighbors or relatives, in many ways."
A fan suspects a bit of fancasting:
I've discovered Doyle & Bodie in another alternate universe. This time it's three science fiction novels by Diane Duane in her Space Cops series: MINDBLAST, KILL STATION & HIGH MOON. The personalities and physical descriptions are almost identical for Evan Glyndower (Bodie) who is Welsh and from Earth and Joss O'Bannion (Doyle) who is Irish & Asian from the Moon.
Still thinking about an illo:
Even a month after ZebraCon 11, Suzan Lovett's drawing "Liasons Dangerouse" keeping flickering in my mind. It's a pencil drawing of Doyle & Bodie as 18th century gentlemen in trousers and ruffled silk shirts which are open to the waist. Bodie is in the forefront of the drawing looking out at the viewer holding a lighted candle in his right hand while his left hand is covered with a leather gauntlet. Doyle is seated in back and slightly above him leaning back staring at the ceiling with a riding crop in both hands. Looks as though action will be starting in a few minutes. Gale Good (I think) bought it at Auction. Perhaps she'll use it as a point of inspiration for another zine as she did with Lovett's "Leather and Blue Jeans."
Fandom and visibility:
Henry Jenkins, about fanzines being sold in college bookstores and being read for class discussions. Universities and their bookstores are public places: this is not a good idea. Recall George Lucas' & Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's reaction to their characters appearing-in fanzines. How easy it would be for TV companies that own the media characters that fanwriters use so imaginatively, to sue college bookstores & supena their buying records to get zine editors' addresses for lawsuits.

Some Topics Discussed in "Paradoxical Ramblings"

tribbed and printed in "Paradoxical Ramblings," a photo of Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin
  • much about attending some Led Zeppelin concerts
  • assimilating another new slash fan named Heather
  • slash, h/c
  • fucking and love
  • making some buttons at ZebraCon that referenced The Wave Theory of Slash: "For the fun of it, we had made up several buttons that said"X wave, and proud of it!" (for X=1-4, of course.) We had several requests for all four, Agnes wanted "Permanent Wave" and someone requested "Tsunami". In the end, we were left with only one third wave button, and one first wave. Who wants to make up some scientific explanation for that?"

Excerpts from "Paradoxical Ramblings"

About zine awards:
Minor Rant Alert: Zines we considered drivel won Huggy awards, and Christine and I resolved once again to never do contests at Escapade. And then, if we ever were to knuckle under and do one, to be sure to have people voting for "most popular" or "favorite", it is our arrogant opinion that the reading public is not a good judge of "best". End Rant.
What is slash, and the fannish tradition of over-analysis:
"What is Slash?! I don't think that fans don't wanna [define it]. I think we just can't seem to do it. There seems to be quite a desire for some sort of definition. Who said it last time that part of being a fan is analyzing things to death. I really liked this, as it fit with my experience that my fan-friends and I will sit around hashing over any subject for hours at a time, trying to gain some unifying insight. Could be sex, politics, the significance of family members who have been overheard discussing floor-wax... What is slash, you ask, as opposed to what is not slash? Slash is: emotional, male (usually), assumes strong relationship (at least headed toward sexuality), ummm... I'm running out of things here... Oh well.
Men and slash and men at cons:

This has been up on the slash e-mail list lately, of which I am currently not a member (due to financial considerations). I was really POed tho' to hear otherwise sane and reasonable women freak at a man joining the group.

I basically agree with you about cons being semi-public space. It's the "semi-" part that could cause problems though. We've had men at Escapade, and I like having them there. But at the same time, I do understand that it's a safety issue for some fane. (I don't like it. but I do understand it.) They perceive loss of security when the group is mixed, it's not. As a con organizer, my job to provide complete safety to my membership (no, that doesn't mean we're inviting the Franco brothers back), but Christine & I do what we can to make sure as many people have as much fun as possible.

people charging a lot for duping:

I guess that I have a sort of cynical attitude about this one. I'd love to have someone who would tape everything for me for trade, but it is not always an even trade, and there is more demand than there are people willing to fill it. (Kandy (was she the person in question? I've forgotten) doesn't force anyone to get tapes from her and doesn't in any way control the market. She spends a lot of money on her machines, which do wear out after a certain number of hours of taping, as well as a lot of time. In a situation where the people who want stuff from her don't have trade to offer, I think it's totally reasonable for her to charge money. Yes. fandom is nice when we all share (and Kandy has graciously lent me stuff in the past), but there reaches a volume when it becomes more of a hassle than the gratitude is a payback.

Alias Smith and Jones and slash fic:
You're probably the only person in the world who prefers the blond Hannibal Heyes. Not because he's not a good guy, but because they were deeply attracted to the dark guy who originated the role (and committed suicide, I think.) I've never seen the blond one, so I can't judge between them. AS&J is an odd show not to have generated much slash, tho'.
The Kinko's Crowd:

Yes, I'm one. I have copied zines. and I have given people permission to copy our zines. It is my firm belief that as long as we produce a quality zine at a reasonable price, people would rather buy an original from us than a photocopy, even if the copy is somewhat cheaper. tt's when the copy becomes vastly cheaper, or the perceived quality of the zine goes down that I consider copying rather than buying original (Obviously, this is all based on my own zine-buying and copying habits. I'm open to conflicting opinions.)

Some Wave Theory of Slash comments:
I think I agree with you about the 4W writers being less focused on mapping their own sexuality onto the characters.
Comments about real-person slash:

re Actor (or as I prefer to call it "real-person") Slash. Gimme a break. I don't think that my personal fantasies about Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in any way violate those men. Period. I'll continue to repeat unreliable stories (that is, sworn to in blood by people who did way too many drugs to be reliable) about Jimmy & Robert fucking on the plane, about Robert being physically abusive of Jimmy, about Jimmy taking it out on the rest of the band & road crew... It entertains me. It titillates me to think it could be true, even when I'm pretty darn sure it's not. etc....

I think that fans who want to "protect" the actors feel closer to those actors, as if considering their feelings make the fan friends with the actor.
[[Hurt/Comfort]:

YESYESYESYES!! I have been called both sadist and chicken, not to mention "sicko" by some respected members of this apa. I like changing dynamics. I like seeing my characters pushed to their limits, and I like them put in a situation where strong emotions get expressed. For me. that's the appeal of H/C. Your point about H/C as a tool is interesting. I have seen it used beautifully, and also horribly mis-used. Yes, there's a writer in Star Wars whose graphic get-Han stories are so gross, even I have trouble reading them. I have a distinction for stories that are poorly done, but fit my H/C kink, which I really like. Um, I'm trying to think of a title right now... The Book of Strife (well, the last third of it) comes to mind. ...

reyrcts Shoshanna re H/C: I was very confused. I had a very hard time understanding your conclusion that we enjoy H/C stories because we "experience the destruction of the abusive relationship pattern." Have you been reading the same H/C that I have? For instance, I consider the scene where Bodie gets shot near the end of Where the worms Are to be H/C, I but don't think it fits this pattern. Other H/C scenes that come to mind, Bodie gets shot in "Adagio," or, on screen, Bodie gets knifed in (what was that episode, anyway?) and Doyle freaks, talks to him in the hospital corridor, cries, etc.

I think there needs to be a distinction (oh god, not another one!) between H/C where the partner does the hurting, and H/C where the hurter is an outside influence. I can enjoy it either way, but am much more inclined to outside influences doing the hurting.

Imagining canon further, slash, S/M, and homophobia:

reyrct Cynthia "anti-slash sentiment is...basically homophobic." I wanted to say "hell no" to this, because I don't like quick labels. I think they're "too easy." if that makes any sense. So then I tried to work through the scenario: I just don't like slash (says the imaginary friend in my mind), but why? (I ask), because it's non-canon, it never happened on screen, but what about straight-sex stories, they never happened on screen, but they could have (she argues). So my final analysis is that slash doesn't fit my friend's picture of the character, and straight sex doesn't fit the aired character, but she's willing to stretch her picture of the aired character that far. I mean, I have a picture of the aired character, then my picture, which is stretched to include gay sensibilities and sex and often mental instability, but not as far as authors who assume S/M preferences. I am sort of scared of S/M -- that is, I'm not interested in participating. I Is this a parallel case? Am I S/M-phobic? Am I making any sense at all?

Does quality = enjoyment?

Does a story have to be well-written for me to like it. My answer is "No." It's a lot easier if it's well-written, but hey, if it hits my kink, it can be garbage and I'll still enjoy reading it. I think I've said this before, so if it looks familiar, skip it. I have a distinction between stories I "like" and stories I "respect." I can recognize and respect a story as "good" without particularly enjoying it (M.Fae's stuff often falls into this category). I can enjoy a story (usually because it fits my kink) that I know is really bad (I mentioned The Book of Strife above), or, best of all, I can like and respect something (M. Fae's "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" falls into this category.)

Fucking = Love? Love without fucking?
Wow, you sure do manage to set me off. You used the phrase again. You know the one: "men fucking". You're right, it's simplistic. I also think it's wrong. You said yourself "the reason I read slash is because I know that sex is part of the relationship..." (my emphasis) Part! Not all, not even necessarily the biggest part. Go back to Henry's "removing the wall" definition. There's no "fucking" Okay, I'll back off a little bit. I'm noticing that I have a big charge on the word "fucking". People if love can "fuck" IMO. but to say that people are "fucking" is not to imply any relationship to me. just the act. Do you see why this is a problem for me?

Some Topics Discussed in "Lunatic Fringe"

  • some quotes from, and comments on, the slashiness of "Teot's War" and "Blood Storm" by Heather Gladney
  • comments on gender, portrayals of such, and the movie Terminator
  • many comments on hurt/comfort, domestic abuse, rape, and the fic Snowbound
  • a weariness of being personally analyzed
  • fandom, specifically slash, and visibility and some of the possible benefits
  • sexual objectification and a desire
  • safe words and power
  • liking the We're not gay we just love each other trope
  • a retraction on comments regarding actor slash
  • the pro books by Heather Gladney (the Teot's War books), and the slash therein

Excerpts from "Lunatic Fringe"

Acknowledgements of this apa's size:
Hello Everyone! It has been a truly wonderful summer, and I'm happy! I can't think of a better state of mind in which to beat tackle this telephone-book-of-an-APA-zine. [S] requested that we shrink our point size to help keep the APA smaller...don't think this means I'm any less verbose....
Liking a trope and not being ashamed:

WE'RE NOT GAY: Re: an oblique comment [A] made about "We're not gay we just love each other" — I guess that's a dead horse I'm flogging, but I still like the concept. It doesn't really matter how I define the characters. It doesn't matter if my current politico-social definition of "gay" (or at least bi) is a guy who has sex with another guy. Sure, under that definition they're all as queer as a three dollar bill. But those aren't the definitions the characters use, so it doesn't really matter. If Bodie has never had sex with a man and, further, has never been willing to consider it (because of typical social indoctrination that tells him it's emasculating, bad, wrong, etcetera), then he mightn't think of himself as gay no matter how great his first time is with Doyle. Thinking of himself as gay, or rewriting his own identity for himself, is easily something he'd avoid doing. Certainly he could believe that it's very Doyle-specific. Sorry to disagree with you on this, but I don't see anything wrong with the theme, from the characters' pov's.

Actor slash:

GENERAL RETRACTION: Whatever I said last issue about actor slash, I take it back catagoncally. I must've been eating chicken food that day, because I can't reconcile saying actor slash was morally wrong (I said something stupid about it being indirect 'assault' on the real-person, and while that might be true (libel, slander), it ain't my business to determine that for others!)

Regretting some prior generosity:

I was taking a writing break, giving myself a little
 reward, one Sunday afternoon recently, so I called our 
esteemed OE, [S]. She had no time for me 
because she was in the middle of watching the Profit 
arc, with friends. So I called Alyx in Seattle. She had 
no time for me because she was watching the last 
episodes of the Steelgrave arc. I got a lot more
attention before these people got copies of the
 episodes I didn't even try to call anyone else, terrified as I 
was that the whole country was watching Wiseguy and
 no one had mentioned it to me.

The pro books beginning with "Teot's War":

Naga Teot's universe is created in three fantasy novels, two of which were published by ACE Books. These novels, set in a post-technological universe, tell a slash story about a soldier and a king. The writing is strong, the world in which the characters live vivid and well-rounded. There's an earthy quality to the narrative and to the writing that's delightful to read—the books stand on their own merits regardless of any slash relationship. That said and understood...

From the first, there is caretaking, understanding and emotional intimacy. By the second book, their relationship is stable and concrete; they share a bed, suffer through gossip about their private lives, and there are several scenes that seem pointedly "just before" or "just after" lovemaking. Caladrunan's struggles to make decisions based on what's good for the country, rather than what's good for Naga, rise to the forefront and create wonderful tension between these men.

Gladney's books are currently out of print; look for them in your used bookstores, or contact MP for help finding them.

They are absolutely positively worth the read for any slash fan; additionally, there's a small pile of side stories written by a woman named Erica St. Jeanne, in exact replica of Heather Gladney's style. Just superb.

Sexual objectification and desire:

Incidentally, I've always known that I get a rush out of the sexual objectification of people, women or men (frequently women, I think since I am one). While I don't think of moving pictures as always being portrayed through male eyes (and yeh, I know you don't either), I do frequently see women—and men— (think James Bond, Han Solo—think Wesley Snipes, Tom Cruise, think poor Jeff Goldblum who will never again appear in a film without exposing his chest, much to my great joy) objectified, and I like it. So, I knew I was that kind of a pervert, and I think that plenty of people are, or visual media wouldn't have the following it does.

Some gender equality and desire comments, includes flats with rubber soles:

The issue as I see it with Sarah Connor, with Mother and Protector, with Woman, is that people keep making the mistake of basing it on gender. I have a friend who goes to work every day, she's successful and well-liked in her job. Her husband takes care of the kids and house until she's home to interact with them, he handles cooking and housework and everyone is mind-blowingly happy. The husband happens to also play the "mother" role; she, in playing "breadwinner", is playing the "provider" role that was once—and yeah, still is—considered "male". "Mother" isn't a state of gender, it's a state of being, and if they suggest that Sarah Connor abdicated her mother role by going nutso and stuff, well, in part they're right. But who cares?—only the people trying to hold onto the gender paradigms, the status quo, I suppose.

I've occasionally joked that I'm a raving heterosexual who gets a touch confused... I loved Sarah Connor in T2; I was sexually attracted to her ("I want her, but I wouldn't know what to do with her if I got her"). The things that made her attractive to me were those male-paradigm "tough guy" things; I'm the first to admit that it is the behavior, not the gender, that can do it for me emotionally. Sarah does reverse chin-ups, it's a turn on. Sarah has a messed up arm, and she cocks the pump rifle one handed, making those tough, masculine grunts when she does it, blowing the liquid metal terminator to shreds and protecting her kid,I drool all over myself for it. I love it. Her gender is incidental to her behavior,and her style. (Whew! That was a pleasant tangent! Now, back to Earth...

[snipped]

Clint Eastwood cried, in '"In the Line of Fire". This is tantamount to early James Bond giving a shit about the women he fucked. Clint stood there on the big screen, and he remembered the day when he was walking along the road, and Kennedy was killed. He relived it, and he expressed grief and remorse, he cried in front of this woman who did the samejobhedid— did it better, in fact, because she was level headed enough to be diplomatic—and she held his hand.

It was a great day in Movie and Gender Role History, for me, let me tell you. Clint Eastwood cried, and it's a national hit. Clint Eastwood, one of a very few much-respected American Symbols of being a "Real Man", cried. I love the movies. Rene Russo, the woman agent, incidentally, wore flats with rubber soles—no spectator pumps for this woman, pal. She was great—and twenty years ago, her position wouldn't have existed, not in reality and not in the movies. So the times are changing, more quickly for women as a "minority" than for any other visually-different group (i.e. black skin, asian features, whatever). I think that the feminist movement is, was and will for some time to come be the most empowering of the minority movements, because it crosses every national and racial boundary... ahem... IMHO.

Anyway, while new stereotypes are being offered of women "relinquishing their status as women", or whatever dumbshit argument these people made against Linda in T2, those are still stereotypes that challenge (he status quo. And while somewhat extreme samples like Linda are being offered, what's also being offered is characters by groundbreaking actresses like Rene Russo. Kathleen Turner. Cher. Sharon Stone, and Michelle Pfeiffer (I still love her for knocking Batman down so much, and I thought I was gonna die when she straddled his chest and licked his face... and then he licked his own lips, where she had. Oh, god, that was sexy.)
Fucking and emotional fulfillment:

"This is primarily in response to slash being about men fucking" — sorry, but I frequently agree with [J], here-—I can get fucking in pornography, and I rarely, if ever, look for it there. Characters fucking in fandom is usually a function of their emotional relationship, for me. Independent of that relationship, it's just push and shove (sometimes erotic push and shove, sometimes not).

Thank you for your easy confidence and competency:

If I haven't said it recently, [S], I'm really, sincerely glad that you're handling our art show at Escapade. I don't know of anyone who would do it better, because you not only handle all of the details in a truly proficient anal-retentive way (!), but you do it without needing emotional caretaking or guidance. It makes the show and auction something we don't even need to think about, anymore, and I love that. Thanks in advance (and now that I've said all those wonderful things, you gotta live up to them again!).

Does a fic have to be good?

Re: yrct [A] about "did a (story) have to be well-written for us to like it", unfortunately for me the answer is often 'no'. If it accurately pushes my particular kink buttons, then I can forgive a mountain of literary sins. Sometimes, regardless of my kink, I'll be so attracted to the idea presented, or some method of dialogue or intimacy, that that lets me forgive a lot, too. I think this is just because I'm already so familiar with the characters that their appeal is greater than the story's shortcomings (I never forgive bad writing in the professional market, about characters I don't already know and care about).

Safe words and Wiseguy:

Re: yrct [S] about "I'm a wimp; if I have a safe word, I'll use it", that seems to be a theme going around right now. Lainie Stone just finished a lovely Wiseguy sex romp in which Frank asked Vinnie quite seriously, basically, "make me crazy for it. Make me lose my head completely, I don't care how." Vinnie said, "let's figure an out for you" and Frank replied, "No. If I have an out, I'll use it. I trust you." Which was really cool! Just thought I'd share, and give you something to look forward to in McPikus iii (I'm planning on begging Lainie at length, if need be, for it).

Comments on Snowbound, and the essay by Shoshanna: Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace":

Re: yrcts to Shoshanna, from which I inferred that you think Glasgow's "Snowbound" is a hurt/comfort story? If that's what you meant, well...it isn't. It's a rape story. Domestic violence. A "domination for real" fantasy story. Your whole essay, in which you think you're addressing h/c, really seems to be addressing rape fantasy, domestic violence, etcera. And while I don't want to burst your bubble or anything, I loved "Snowbound". Viscerally. It (particularly "The Worst of Times" [4], to which I'm most pointedly referring in my comments here) pushed the overwhelming majority of my kink buttons, and there was nothing intellectual about it. It was overpowering domination, complete objectification, unlimited power from Bodie's point of view; it was deserved punishment, from Doyle's, for being the "spoiled rotten brat that he was." Whatever happened, he felt that he somehow deserved it. He didn't want it, but he was compelled to suffer through it for other psychological reasons. Very sexy. Fantasy-wise, I get a rush off the concept that the 'object' or 'victim' has no choice whatsoever. I wrote a longish comment on the sexual appeal of rape fantasy and the kind of personality to whom it might appeal in response to some questions/comments of [N], in TNU # 11, or 12. I'd like to suggest that you go back and read it, if the subject might interest you. Additionally, I'd be glad to share with you my own theories about why I like this stuff.

Based on [L's] and M. Fae's tribs, I'm wondering if I'm confused. It's my understanding that there are rape stories, and there are h/c stories. Rape stories can be h/c stories, but they aren't h/c by definition. The only condition in which a rape story is also h/c is when, for example, Doyle gets gang-banged by L's camping bikers [5], and Bodie has to comfort him—when the rape is the "hurt". It's never a function of hurt/comfort stories, in my understanding, that the "hurt" portion come from one partner to the other. That's domestic violence, or rape, etc

With respect to your hypotheses about the enjoyment value of "Snowbound"...weli, since your premise is, I think, wrong, it's sort of pointless. I also noticed a level of real discomfort in reading your essay-like analysis, for a couple of reasons. One, it read like a class paper instead of your opinion. Two (and much more importantly in my eyes) I felt like you misrepresented my kink (and, by extension, me). You were analyzing a style of story like "Snowbound" and calling it h/c. First and foremost, I am nor a hurt-comfort pig and I think I resent being classified as one! I'm more twisted than h/c readers, and am the first to admit it. I like humiliation, domination, objectification, powerlessness, choicelessness, struggle. H/c doesn't really cover that stuff.

Additionally, you're making hypotheses about my character, my emotional-psychological make-up; I'm your "people who did enjoy 'Snowbound'," subject group, and I didn't like it. Sorry. I'd have much prefered hearing what you personally think (about rape fantasy, domestic violence, h/c, whatever), rather than what you imagined others think—or that you polled people who do like it and assessed their answers rather than thinking for them wrongly.

I've never seriously asked myself if I "have no trouble being sadistic". Nor have I seriously asked myself if I'm a masochist. I think part of why I'm offended is that you're implying I must be either or both to like rape or violent stories. Maybe a big part of my problem with your assumptions is how emotionally loaded words like "sadism" and "masochism" are. They bring "SM", and leather and whips and little cozy societal sex games, to mind. Decadence. Everybody getting what they want. I mean, in their broadest sense (the taking of sexual pleasure from being humiliated or hurt—yep, that's me; the taking of sexual pleasure from hurting someone else somehow—yep, that's me too, the archetypal sadomasochist then, I guess—a "real" sadomasochist—and only in fantasy) I guess the definition applies to me. Maybe I just don't like its connotations, I dunno. Am I completely off base to think that when the words "s&m", or "sadist" or "masochist" are used today, they tend to refer to leather scenes, consentual sex games and people doing what they want to do?

Consider for a moment another hypothesis, that the devaluing experience of objectification is a potentially "true" statement about the object's view of itself. In "Snowbound", Doyle really did feel he deserved what he got, that there was some intrinsic "badness" in him. I think there's a psychological difference (and probably it's only a shade of grey) between the masochist who wants to feel the pain, who's proud of what he can take (many of M. Fae's stories, & Shoshanna's), vs. the masochist who hates the pain but has an emotional experience of deserving the punishment, or being compelled to accept undeserved punishment for psychological reason. I don't know the answer to that one, so I'd love any information you have. Are both of those states of being just different sorts of masochism? How about the guy who doesn't give a damn about whether he's inflicting pain? I'm recalling Bodie in "Snowbound". His behavior is an appropriate response based on his world-view. Bodie doesn't even care; Doyle's problems are inconsequential to his demands that he be pleasured in whatever way is best. Doyle gagging makes Bodie's cock feel good, and that's all the value Doyle gagging has to Bodie. Total power. Is that the same as the guy (or girl) who sees the leather-clad masochist begging to be whipped and says 'sure, okay, I'll whip you because you want it'? I'm oversimplifying this, aren't I?

I don't know; I don't even know how to further address this. I'd love feedback on what I've confusedly written herein. Let's definitely talk about it more later.

Regarding your confusion of h/c and rape, violence, etc., at least one practical distinction I can make for you between stories like "Snowbound" and stories like "Mojave Crossing" (an archetypal SH h/c) is that the characters in h/c stories don't hurt each other. Accidents happen. Catastrophes. They get hurt by outside forces. Tests of their commitment to each other come from places considered beyond their own personal controls. It's an entirely different cup of tea, in my understanding. Fantasy rape stories aren't cathartic nearly as much as they are a statement about the establishment of absolute power, absolute objectification and absolute animal satisfaction from that domination (wouldn't be much point in having absolute power if you weren't sure you deserved it, and if you didn't enjoy it). Lezlie's trib last issue addressed this very well.
Mary Sue?

Illya of the Valley? Oh [L]. I thought your argument for h/c was precious, profound, witty and accurate. I mentioned above that I wrote a MarySue (quite without thinking. It's this tough agent woman, Bodie's equal. They have sex. She ties him up. Does everything (well, a lot of things) to him. Makes him do stuff to her. He respects her skill, her intelligence, her general equality on the job and her sexual appetites. Jenn said, "Oh. Your MarySue." I said "No." Then, 'Wo." Then I realized she was right and got really depressed....).

Yes, there's a point. Even though this isn't your mother's Marysue, it still makes me feel self-conscious realizing I've written one at all. You're right, they're the bane of fandom. And it depresses me to consider that "politically correct" pressures can ruin perfectly good genres of fanfic (well, MarySues stank, actually—but there's principle involved). I mean, geez, think how long it was before people could say they liked rape and humiliation without having the guys in the white coats called. Now that's progress. I'd hate to think we'll have that taken away again by pointed fingers and suggestions of victimization. I mean, they say it as if it were a bad thing....

"I'm getting tired of being analyzed":

PSYCHOLOGICAL BENCHMARKS: That's it! The concept that "well, if you were just emotionally healthy, then you wouldn't like all that nasty (fill-in-the-kink)." I prefer a different barometer: Ami happy? Do I enjoy what I'm doing? Am I reconciled to it, content with it? Do I feel relatively in control of my life? Do I have adequate coping mechanisms for major events, for emotional state changes, flat tires, PMS? If so, then more power to me! I recall in a very early Oblaque, someone (I think it was M. Fae, but it might've been Brendan & Adrianne) wrote a story where Blake caught A/V together playing sex games. Blake had a few small difficulties with his knowledge, and Cally or Avon basically said, "whatever you think of the society that produced this behavior, it does exist. They are adults, they're what they are, and there's nothing you can do to change that if they don't want to be changed. And they don't." I think I'm getting tired of being analyzed....

Fandom and visibility:

Re: yrcts about slash losing its anonymity, I wonder if there isn't something in the reverse waiting for us out there? Maybe there's a whole society of "slash" fans out there who never had the material to read, or never understood what it was they were looking for. Maybe slash extends beyond a response to film and print media. In my opening comments I included a rave from Concup iii's review about two books, Teot's War and Blood Storm, by Heather Gladney. I won't repeat myself (except to say that they're really great, and that you must read them), but the important part of all this is that those books are slash and they don't know it. Heather Gladney wrote them in a vacuum, she'd never heard of slash before, but from the very first meeting between the two main characters, the relationship is obvious and blinding and slash.

I read these books, and books like them that have been professionally published, and I think, somebody's buying them. There are more of us out there who crave this kind of stuff. So, in that light, I imagine this generation of fans as the one that shoulders the responsibility of bringing fandom into the public light. The first generation of slash fans were responsible for legitimizing it within their own groups, for establishing a base of readers, a loose connection with other slash fans, etcetera. They got to live in fear of a Paramount lawsuit (thanks, guys).

Now we have iminent domain. We have a twenty-year history of companies not suing slash publishers. We have e-mail. We have a growing awareness among women that if it's okay for men to get off on watching two women, the reverse just might be true. It's a great thing we can do, bringing slash out into the light, graciously accepting the influx of people who, like us, know what they want from their erotica and help us with their sheer numbers, to continue legitimizing slash and literature like it. (Are you hearing the snare drums, the marching trumpets? Do you see the light shining down upon you, the Chosen One, and hear the choir singing Hosannas yet? If not, I apologize; it's late and this is my very best effort at religious zealotism.)

Seriously, I really do think that only only by, standing hard in the face of public scrutiny does something become legitimized (said the woman who won't print her last name). I'm not excited about being the one to do it, but on the other hand I'm very excited about it getting done.

[snipped]

About potential slashers being everywhere, I commented earlier to [K] in fun, but I actually really meant it—I think they are. I think they're out there and they just don't know how to find the door into slash or slash-like literature, which is why I think fandom's expansion is such a good thing. I fantasize that potential slash readers comprise maybe ten or fifteen percent of women today, and I think, with that kind of power bloc, slash (and slash-like stories like Teot's War wouId become a "safe", "appropriate" and mainstream form of erotic literature.

Some Topics Discussed in "Sukebei"

  • Star Trek: TOS way sexier than Star Trek: TNG
  • a long reprinted clipping from an unknown publication: "Working the Kinks Out: Fetish-film mogul Bob Jones and leading man Rick Bolton tickle the porn buff's fancy"
  • underage characters in slash fic
  • hurt/comfort
  • copying zine fic for others
  • comments about Heat-Trace, see that page

Excerpts from "Sukebei"

Star Trek: TNG needed to have sexier uniforms:
"Sex grabs the audience's attention"—never a truer word! That is one of the reasons classic STAR TREK still snares my imagination; it was a very sexy show. The costumes v/ere almost always flattering to the human figure (male and female!) and I liked the morality within the "mortality" as demonstrated by the humanness of the characters—regardless of alien birth. Sex appeal was something I found initially lacking in STNG. In the original TREK, the players showed skin AND IT WAS MEANT TO TITILLATE! I was titillated! I liked that feeling...and so I never really made the total transition to Next Gen as I felt cheated out of the free-sex in the far flung future aspect.
Jim Kirk: "a pale pink blob of unappetizing":

I am going to seemingly contradict my earlier comments in regards to Classic TREK, but I too find Jim Kirk to be a pale pink blob of unappetizing...well, I think you get the picture. Classic TREK was so sexy; Kirk was the only icky person who failed to light my fire. HELL! I even thought Scotty looked great with slicked back hair! Chekhov was cute. McCoy was fatherly and therefore tanlalizingly taboo. Uhura was so fucking beautiful! Sulu was exotic and alluring. Spock could put his Pon Farr under my bed anytime. Kirk...hummmm....yawn. I've read lots of K/S (and thought it a shame that Spock's first, best destiny was ol' Tiberius) and I like the Pre-Reform Vulcan stuff that makes Kirk secondary to the orifice he provides.

Need some reasons to fuck, or to talk about fucking, especially underwater:
As for VttBofS and the individual reasons for humping their buddies at the bottom of the sea—I've never seen an episode, but am always enamored of slash fanfic that explains WHY men want to express themselves sexually to their fellows. I'm not interested in a story so generic it could be a mainstream gay porn fuckbook; I want loving details and characterizations that tear off the page and grab me, pulling me beneath the sea and into their reality...! don't want much—do I?
Napoleon Solo, blamed for looking for love in all the wrong places:

THANK YOU! Thank you! Thank you! Thanks so much for admitting you are a Napoleon Solo convert! I find fans few and far between that admit to having some liking for Mr. Solo. Yes, the man is a slut...that's because he's looking for love in all the wrong places (has everyone seen this wonderful MUNCLE video that goes with this song? [6]). I enjoy reading about Napoleon and the tremendous process he must go through to become the lover of Illya. This is one of the most difficult fandoms to write—not because the slash possibility isn't there, but due to the immense amount of TV and movie footage that must be absorbed. I SEE the relationship between Napoleon and lllya...I just can't seem to write anything half as beautiful as the image in my mind of two intelligent, driven spies, one a sharp and bitter product of the cold north and the other a bright flame of desire, fighting every stricture of their day to become intimate. Sigh...

Fandom, slash, and mundanes, plus acafandom:

Reyrct to H J and CJ of the books (Enterprising Women and Textual Poachers) as a kind of damage control ...

While I have perused both works, that is because I'm a fan and as such, do not feel that I am representative of the general buying public. Unless one were to provide these books free-of-charge to the skeptical and adversarial, I'm unable to see how they can have a major impact on the folks who think "trekkies" are weird, loser, nerds—like some of the folks I've unfortunately had to work with in the past. I truly shudder to think of explaining slash fandom and my involvement in slash fandom (should it ever become common knowledge) if it were sprung on my place of employ in a negative, propaganda-ish manner. Do you think that the average person is interested in reading a scholarly work on fandom, or do you think they would merely take in a reactionary newspaper headline proclaiming the existence of SPOCK PORN?

Also, if you have a plan as concerns raising the consciousness of the general public in regards to media fandom—please! Deal me in! I would be happy to participate...it's just that I've always felt discretion was the better part of reality and I'm at a loss as to how anyone can convince Joe Public that guy/guy sex books written (mostly) by women are Okey-dokey.

Slash and underage characters:

Reyrct of character age/youth: how young is too young? Well, I must admit to feelings of squeamishness when referring to underage characters in slash stories...yeah, yeah...they're just ink on paper, but kids aren't my kink. I understand the nature of your question, as I am in the process of writing a lengthy A/U work that is set in ancient Rome. I'm well aware that adulthood and life-expectancy were measured differently in those days, but I just don't feel comfortable making my heroes younger than 14 and 17. So there's my answer—if research dictates a younger age, use it! Just beware that there will always be folks who are too rigid to accept the mores of a bygone era.

"Support the press, or not, as you think best":

Your article is fascinating and I've given it much thought. With all due respect, do you think it was entirely wise to grant carte blanc photocopying of stories from your in-print fanzines? While I completely agree with you concerning the current adversarial relationship between the fannish consumer and certain publishers (which can and does generally spill over into all publishers eventually), the only comprehensive "credo" I've been able to come up with is as follows:

NO ISSUE IS AN ISLAND

[C], you brought up a valid point concerning blanket statements and exceptions to blanket statements. Honestly, I don't want to piss anyone off, but my views are bound to offend someone. Know that I've no desire to convert anyone to my way of thinking; I leave that area to organized religion. And before I'm bombarded with dozens of hypothetical situations, I freely acknowledge that many people have serious convictions, personal motivations and mitigating circumstances that support their desire not to purchase a given fanzine, but to copy it.

I buy fanzines. Period. It's been obliquely implied by many folks (once they learn this little quirk of mine) that I have a "holier-than-thou" attitude, but I buy fanzines for very selfish reasons. I don't want some second-generation piece of crap, I want the real thing!

It is my intention to support fan publishers. It is my hope, that by purchasing their products and giving feedback, fan publishers will continue to create more fanzines—my favorite obsession—and the circle will continue.

My third and final reason is resell value: if I have a bootleg copy of something I don't care for. my options are very limited, Very few of you would disagree that selling unauthorized copies of fanzines is a major fannish faux pas. If I own an original, I am totally empowered; the 'zine can easily be sold as used.

Please, believe me if I say I don't give a damn what other people do...if the time would ever come as a fan publisher, after making an educated decision, I couldn't sell all of a print run, I would quickly decrease the size of future runs or decide to stop publishing.

Certainly, I hope never to have this problem...I am very judicious about this hobby of mine. My print runs are realistic and conservative and I don't invest more money in it than I can afford to lose...once. Support the press, or not, as you think best. The pleasure I derive from being involved with the writers, artists and readers of fandom, far outweigh the financial risk I take publishing a fanzine.

Please, more H/C:

Yup! I'm a hurt/comfort fan...l think of new ways to hurt and heal the media characters that I love and often come to love the characters I can hurt. H/C is not the warped creation of crazed fan writers—does the phrase, "Chekhov screams, again" sound familiar? How about that warm beautiful feeling I would experience watching S&H bleeding in each others arms? Or even further back to when I'd watch EMERGENCY hoping John Gage would get hurt during the episode (wasn't it wonderfully satisfying when Gage was dangling from the scaffold consumed with a mysterious fever?) And even older still is good ol' BONANZA; I get a right good dose of H/C almost every time I catch an afternoon airing. We were taught H/C on the knee of old time TV.

Del Tarrant and his brave and gallant liver:

An example of H/C molding my opinion of media characters is as follows: for quite awhile (couple of years) I've been slowly pulled kicking and screaming absorbed into BLAKE'S 7 fandom. As time went by, I've read more and more stories. Very few of these stories had much to say about Tarrant that was positive...in fact, there are several "Anti-Tarrants" who've suggested I avoid him like the plague. Hummmmmmmm—now you must realize that I've seen the episodes in wild disarray, thus the first time I ever actually see Tarrant is in the episode BLAKE. My first impression is quite different from folks who viewed the series in order—he seems like a brave, talented young man who is very skilled as a pilot. The final clincher, for me, was when Tarrant rode down the SCORPIO (selflessly giving the others a chance to teleport to safety) to lay pitiably unconscious in the wreckage. I remember saying to myself, "You know, I bet that boy's liver is hanging by a thread." It was love and warm feelings from then on out!

Comments on Heat-Trace:

Thank you for sharing your comments on HEAT TRACE; reading your opinion helped imbue me with the courage to share mine. I have a real fear of unnecessarily hurting a writer's feelings, but have felt the desire to share some thoughts I've had since the novel came out. I apologize in advance to the readership if this doesn't agree with your view of the novel... [See Heat-Trace for this fan's [K S] comments]

Would rather have entertainment:

I agree with your comment "that every writer has something to say", but concerning the concept that stories with meaning are retentious... hummmmmmmm. It is my opinion that entertaining stories are entertaining! Once a tale has missed the good ship "entertainment", it is open to many other labels. I prefer "boring" over "pretentious" if a slash story has little (or no) entertainment value. Of course, I recognize that entertainment is in the eye of the beholder. Generally, I "just say no" to a tale that reads like a poorly put together pamphlet about a movie of the week topic.

A comment regarding the Observer Effect:

Reyrct academic studies of fandom—the only thought I have to add is the cautionary statement that the process of study changes that which is being studied.

Combining meeting the celebrities with fandom?

Fans who want to rub shoulders with actors have my full support, just don't ask me to participate too heavily. I'm very afraid that hanging out with the actors who've portrayed my (said very possessively) characters will tarnish the internal image I've developed over the years. Plus, one is always hearing about the infamous feuds of the past...and almost always an actor is mixed up in the strange brew.

I would probably feel more comfortable meeting an actor backstage at a play or catching them as they exited the theater...that way I am actively supporting their craft and expressing my admiration in a very current, tangible manner—by purchasing tickets.

Femslash:

Reyrct demeaning to list female/female as generic slash—I don't think it's "demeaning" to refer to F/F stories as slash; I've have always considered them to be slash and so do the fans I've discussed this with. Some, however, define these stories as "slash I'm not interested in".

No thanks to too much therapy, would rather have Magical Healing Cock:

Therapy, therapy, therapy...dear [N]...my gut just isn't interested in reading about therapy. If my hero gets gang raped in prison, I want him to recover in the arms of his lover; I have a hard time imaging any pleasure were I forced to read twenty pages of Ray Doyle with Sigmund (spelling intentional) Fraud! I like Kate Ross, but I still want the maximum amount of written word space devoted to the relationship between the two men I want to see fucking. Nuff said from a fuck fan!

The narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy, and wasted opportunities in Robin of Sherwood fandom:

Dear [S], I couldn't agree with you more concerning your comments of the tiny-minded homophobia that appears to run rampant in RoS fandom. It's hard to credit from a show that hands the fans ready-made admittedly GAY characters! It's enough to give one a stroke—and not the rock hard pulsating kind! FORBIDDEN FOREST is 98% straight, but they still will only print stories with gay relationships if the characters were explicitly presented as gay in the series. For a 'zine with the motto "Nothing is Ever Forbidden" they seem to forbid alot of things!

Some Topics Discussed in "Evolving Zine Title: Slash is Everywhere"

Excerpts from "Evolving Zine Title: Slash is Everywhere"

Unconvincing hurt/comfort:
Completely agree with your comments on characters enjoying sex after just having gone through some traumatic injury... I remember reading one early K/S story which was completely spoiled for me by the author having so convincingly portrayed Spock at death's door, and the next scene he's going at it like a rabbit. Huh? I kept on thinking "get that man to Sickbay!" - the rest of the story was a complete write off.
The Crying Game:

I think I saw THE CRYING GAME before anyone else - within its first week of release - a brief comment in TIME magazine about gender bending was enough to clue me in that there was something definitely of interest to be found in the film - this was way before the media was going on about "the secret" - and so enjoyed hugely the scene with Jody and Fergus going out to pee. When Dil revealed all I gasped "I knew it!" even as the friend I was with gasped in shock and disbelief. I'd also met a black transvestite named Velvet once, who had something of Dil's voice; created a fascinating resonance all the way through the film.

A friend at work went to see the film and came back commenting on all the surprising twists and turns the film took - I agreed completely, though for different reasons - I had fully been expecting someone to die by the end of the film, and was pleasantly surprised when that didn't happen.

Fascinating comment on how all the hets were portrayed as noxious, and how Fergus, "by tapping into his gay potential' becomes a positive character - I hadn't looked at it in that light, but your comment is going to stay with me.
Gritty, darker fics:

... comments on early K/S much if not most of early K/S was not all that sweet, romantic or soppy - see any of Gerry Downes work, Leslie Fish, Carol Frisbie's "Thrust", all of the issues of "Out of Bounds", the first few issues of "Naked Times", and most British K/S published during the late 70's and early 80's. K/S became dominated by hyperromantic Harlequinesque stories in the mid-80's when many of the established writers left for either or both Starsky/Hutch or Pros, and many of the established editors stopped publishing or went on to other fandoms. The majority of the people that remained did seem predominantly interested in romantic stories, and most of the remaining editors focused entirely on those sorts of stories, banning 'death stories', partner-rape stories (there'd been a lot of those, particularly in "Duet"), etc. There's been a turnaround in recent years for a harder edge - admittedly, nowhere near the toughness of the most extreme Pros or B7 stories, but it's not all slush out there right now, I'm very pleased to say.

If Star Trek: TOS had been created today:
I suspect if the original Trek had premiered today, there would be a variety of slash couples to choose from. Shows in the 60's were far more static than they are today, with the characters never experiencing significant change, and episodes rarely referring to events that occurred in the past. (I can think of only a couple of Classic Trek episodes that referred to past events, "Turnabout Intruder" being one, and, I believe, "Whom Gods Destroy".) If Trek had been aired today, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Chapel would have been given a great deal more to do and fanfic would probably have explored each and every combination far more than has actually been done. (Not that every possible combination hasn't been done; there just hasn't been a lot of it in recent years. I always combination hasn't been done; there just hasn't been a lot of it in recent years.
The Wiseguy female characters:

I loved Amber in WISEGUY - found her to be a strong, believable, fully realized character. WISEGUY always did a great job with all their characters, the arc format lending itself to some of the best character development I've seen on TV. They did a fine job with their women - Amber and Carlotta are favorites, of course, and Lila (a conniving slut? not the woman I saw), as well as the fatally flawed Susan Proffitt - when she went crazy I discovered I was crying, and I can't remember the last time I felt so sorry for a villain.

The men's movement and male slash fans:

To Henry: Sure enjoyed your description of your progression through the men's movement (I'd been quite in agreement with the early aims of that movement - rethinking gender roles is necessary for both sexes to progress beyond the straight]acket of the past - and very disappointed in the recent manifestations, a la "Iron John" - though I did laugh when I saw a satire titled "Fire in the John" in the bookstores; don't know if it was any good, or addressed any of the deficiencies I saw in this reactionary trend in the men's movement; but was pleased the movement itself was visible enough to inspire satire.) I've always thought there are probably a lot of men who would enjoy "/"; I've had regular male buyers of my zines for years (not woman using male names); and I know there's a small but significant group of men who borrow "/" zines from their women friends, but who don't buy any themselves.

The use of fancasting in professional writer's books:

Re using "clone" characters in fiction, I think a lot of professional writers do that. Certainly Anne Rice does; she's made no secret of her preferences for who should (or should not) play Lestat in "Interview With The Vampire" (Rutger Hauer was her original inspiration); and I've read interviews with other writers who describe how they tend to "cast" their characters in their heads. Also, a friend of mine was involved with the fan mail for Pierce Brosnan's fan club at one time, and one of the most unusual things she received was a set of three Harlequin romances from the writer of same; they were absolutely "Remington Steele" clones (though the writer had somehow managed to delete all that I found charming in that series and emphasize everything I found annoying.)

I agree, these "clones" have absolutely nothing to do with actor "/".

Fandom and visibility:

Re ENTERPRISING WOMEN and publicity to the mundane world, well, it's never really hurt so far - not that I want to see this become a general trend or any sort of trend at all. When David Gerrold went on a diatribe in his revised version of THE WORLD OF STAR TREK about this filthy "K/S Ladies", dozens if not hundreds of new fans found K/S who otherwise would never have heard of it.

I know several people in the San Francisco Bay Area who learned about it because one anti-slash fan, a fan club president of some sort, was interviewed on a radio show, and took the opportunity, apropos of nothing, to denounce "/" - which made a number of people in the audience determined to hunt it out. Any media attention usually brings in new fans. I still consider it very damaging in that attention brought to fandom is news studios might read. Sure, they know we're here, but as long as we seem small and insignificant (which of course we are; how much are a few hundred or thousand "/" fans compared to the millions needed to make a successful TV show or movie?) they've always reacted by looking the other way. (Well, maybe not George Lucas, but that story has been gone into already.) And, of course, it's crucial that real names are not brought into this.

Comments regarding The Wave Theory of Slash:

I've heard so much about your Wave Theory the past few months it's great to have a chance to read the original. (I was at Closet Con (K/S convention) in England in July, and one of the fans there informed everyone she was "Seventh Wave". Knowing her, I tend to agree.

I'm trying to place myself as which "wave" I am, and find it varies by fandom. For K/S it's about halfway between 2nd and 3rd wave, in that I read tons of gen Trek before "/" was even published; read several K/S stories before I believed in the premise, but now can't imagine how I saw them any other way, and am quite happy to imagine either/or K or S having been gay or bi all along.

For Bodie & Doyle I'm between 3rd and 4th Wave, in that I saw a few episodes before I began reading circuit stories; than watched more episodes while reading yet more stories, so that "canon" versus fannish convention are inextricably linked in my mind.

For "Blake's 7" it's back to 2nd/3rd wave, with the additional observation that this is the one fandom where I'll still read gen, as I'm interested in all the characters, and am perfectly happy to read anything well written, such as the Hellhound series, or Ann Wortham's Southern Comfort zines which happily feature adult hetero, "/" pairings of any or all the male characters, female "/", etc.

For other, smaller fandoms, such as WISEGUY, QUANTUM LEAP, MIAMI VICE, HOLMES/WATSON, etc. I waver - I'm more familiar, to start with, with the source material than I was when I got into Pros, so stories with a good grounding in the actual series will appeal to me more than "/" for the sake of "/" - but I will read just about anything in these fandoms since there is so little. And U.N.C.L.E. - I hadn't seen the show in years when I first started reading the zines - but was amazed to discover how much was still subliminally there, and was able to view the show in an entirely different perspective when I actually had the chance to see the episodes again. Guess I'm 3rd Wave in that one.

Why Slash?:

To M. Fae: Great point that Harlequinesque happy-ever-after stories might be just as much a manifestation of fantasy as rape stories, etc. I do agree that it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to continually analyze why we like "/" - I've heard lots of theories, and none of them have ever completely applied to me - as you say, there is no one answer; there may be, in fact, as many answers as there are "/" fen. And quite agree with attraction for men together has always been a part of me - even though I had to be convinced about K/S, since my first sample was a singularly bad story - but I'd been reading Mary Renault, etc. for quite some time before then.

To tell the truth, it doesn't matter to me where the boundary line falls between "/" and gaylit. A boundary does exist somewhere along that continuum, certainly individual to each individual reader. My feeling is, if you read something and feel it's "/", well, then it is.

The "unified field "/" theory":

I don't feel there's anything as a 'unified field "/" theory' - my usual motivation for writing "/" has always been that I felt I had something different to say which wasn't being addressed anywhere else. I'd read a story, completely disagree with it, and write my own. I've been reading/writing / for over 15 years now and never at any point have seen even a majority of fen able to agree on precisely what attracts them to "/". We all get and give something slightly different.

Men at cons, men buying slash:

Men at "/" cons: IDICon was the first "real" "/" con here (I don't count ZebraCon, which was begun as and still is officially a Starsky & Hutch convention (Bodie and Doyle were added shortly after the beginning) and still includes (a small minority of) fans who are into gen, not "/". There were always men at IDICon; a lot of them long-suffering husbands who were presented with "lei" (pronounced 'lay') awards at the Saturday night get-together each year. I can't think of a "/" con I've ever been to that didn't have at least a few men. There have been one or two private weekend-long parties which were strictly (and explicitly) women only. I've heard of a number of women who object to the presence of men at "/" conventions, and while they're entitled to their opinion, I feel this is shortsighted and prejudicial. I'm glad no con has ever made it official policy here.

"Obligatory orgy-on-the-Enterprise" stories:
I always had a fondness for the "obligatory orgy-on-the-Enterprise" stories that appeared in early adult zines; enjoyed the Spock/Sulu combination developed by the writers of the Valjiir series (a serialized continuous novel a la "Hellhound" in Blake's 7), various Kirk/Spock/McCoy scenarios, and I once wrote a Spock/Kirk/Uhura story as I found that combination particularly hot.

Some Topics Discussed in "Desert Blooms"

  • MUCH about Batman
  • a fan is worried that this apa will lose the interest of two fans who have now joined Virgule-L
  • men's involvement in slash
  • fandom as a safe space to explore difficult topics

Excerpts from "Desert Blooms"

Batman:

And now, while I don't read it regularly, the Batman that appeals to me tremendously is the Batman of the Dark Knight series. Dark, brooding, vengeful, tormented, vulnerable, bloody, all sorts of juicy things which open up all sorts of possible titles.

There was a slash Batman story in HOMOSAPIEN II. Burden of Dark by Stew, that fit right in with this. It was a deeply disturbed image of Batman, one who, it was intimated, had been in love with both of his teenage "Robins" and presumably had sex with them, as he did with the narrator of the story, a teenager himself. This story captivated me, and stayed with me for a long time after I read it, rare in a slash story these days. Does anyone know of any other Batman slash stories?

Men's involvement in slash:

I'm appalled at the narrowness of view some slash fans have toward male slash fans. We purport to be open-minded, enlightened individuals, or we probably wouldn't be reading slash, and yet this tendency to force you to somehow validate yourself simply because you are male and enjoy slash is beyond me. Personally, I would like to see more men involved in slash. I think it takes all kinds of people to round things out and a male perspective is refreshing and informative.

The lure of the "net":
[N] & [M. F]: So you two are never going to succumb to the siren of e-mail and slash lists, eh? Well, NOW THAT YOU HAVE, are we going to continue to get new stories and zines or are we going to have to look elsewhere? Are you going to forsake us all for the quick, electronic buzz and the electric thrill of instantaneous slash conversations? Wiil we ever see you two in the light of day or will you grow wan and pale as you type away into the long night, your faces shadowed and distorted by the glow of the computer screen? E-mail seems to be like one of those cult religions (yeh, like slash fandom isn't?). As [S C] refers to it: The Way of the Net. Rather ominous sounding. You will net. You will net. is heard chanted in the background.
Fandom as a safe space to explore difficult topics:

What a touching tale of love and addiction! That's the insidious thing about fandom, and especially slash, once you taste it you just can't stop.

You express some interesting feelings about violence, ones which I know I've not been able to come to terms with myself. However, especially in terms of rape and SM stories, I always keep in mind that this is fantasy, fantasy, and whatever i choose to think or imagine is not necessarily an extension of how I approach life or of what I would like to see happen in reality. They are a way of working things out-emotions, conflict, sexuality etc.-that can't be done in real life. I view it as a tremendous freedom-the freedom to mentally create (or read) any scenario and see what it's like without having to live it. That certainly doesn't answer everything but it's a jumping off point.

Some Topics Discussed in "Untitled by M G"

Excerpts from "Untitled by M G"

Slash is out; has been since at least 1985, in the sense that if mention of it appears outside of fandom in books and journal articles available in libraries and for sale from commercial non-fan publishers, it's out, i.e., known beyond its practitioners. See attached bibliography [7] (which needs updating, I know.

The fact of slash being out has nothing to do with the voluntary or involuntary outing of an individual as a slash fan, reader, writer, illustrator or publisher, either within fandom to anti-slash contingents, to actors, p'roducers or others associated with the shows slashed, or to the person's relatives, employers, neighbors, civic leaders, etc.)

The reason Heyes switched actors at 1.5 seasons was that Pete Duel (earlier in his career he used Peter Deuel) committed suicide at Christmas. The reasons most ASJ fans prefer dark Heyes ^1 (Duel) to blond Heyes if2 (Roger Davis) is the martyr thing (he's dead, after all), and the fact that Roger Davis played one of the nastiest, slimiest villeins they ever did in one of the early episodes, so he was hard for fans to accept as the replacement hero. At the time the show was on, I was in close association with some heavy duty fans, and they all got a little v/eird about Sacred Pete's memory. All right, a lot weird.

Davis's villain episode was "Smiler With A Gun" where he used that sweet smile to evil effect; he also did the first season voice-overs on the credits.
Regarding the Quantum Leap character, Al Calavicchi and women:

His innocence and enthusiasm, the fact his appreciation of sensual delights applies beyond women to life as a whole (remember hew he reacts to food?), always seems to me to be a reaction to the deprivation of all enjoyment while he was a P0V7 — it makes his lechery acceptable where in another character it would be offensive. Plus, as a hologram he cannot act, only talk — would he actually be that lecherous in person? Is he just annoying Sam?

He always reminds me of "when life gets messy, eat it over the sink."
Men at slash cons:
There have been men at all the slash cons I've attended. I think, overall, I've heard more nasty, vicious, negative mudslinging from women in (non-slash) fandom against slash than from men. I try not to assume any fan is going to have certain opinions or interests until I ask, regardless of their gender. (Try asking any random fan at a con "What did you think of Trek this week?" as a demo of breadth of opinion in fandom!) Could some women assume (following streotypes, of course) that some male fan might be at a slash con to better get to know women fans who are into sex?

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

  • comments about poor ethnography by Camille Bacon-Smith
  • a very, very long negative review of Ember Days, see that page
  • "feminization" of males in fanfic
a fan in "Two Heads Are Better Than One" gets creative in creating some helpful visuals regarding some characters penises

Excerpts from "Two Heads Are Better Than One"

[N] and I went to WorldCon and had the sad experience of watching CB-S display her ignorance of what ethnographic research is all about. In a one person panel on the ethnography of fandom, she started by telling the audience that she was tape recording the session but didn't want the speakers to identify themselves as it would be too difficult for her to keep track of them anyway and then she topped that by saying that anyone who didn't want their statements to be in her next book shouldn't say anything. Finally, after which I left in disgust, she was asked if she'd read a classic book on fandom....and she replied that, not only hadn't she heard of it, but that she didn't want to read it-she calls this doing research?
[N]: I've already expressed my opinion on so-called 'feminising', so I'm sure you understand my position. What I still don't understand is your position. You had already cited (sounds like a parking violation!) Siren as feminising Doyle, and then in SBF 2, you quote Sebastian's description of Doyle's "pink lips" as an example of feminising. So if I describe Bodie's eyes as blue, am I macho-ising him? And if I say Doyle's eyes are green, does that mean I'm making him bi? Come on, Doyle's white—what colour would his lips blood ywell be? Peach? Red? Only if he's wearing flipping lipstick. Anyway, I agree that the term Siren is historically female—but only half-so, one half being either bird or fish, depending on which mythology you go by. But apart from that, the pink lips and the fact that Doyle is stripping off for Bodie, the descriptions are primarily less than feminine: Doyle "lopes', his pose as he sits on the corner of the desk with his glass of whisky, the way he throws his shirt at Bodie, the smell of him—"sweat and musk"—and the way he so deliberately incites Bodie's sexual excitement. So apart from the title which, as you well know, literate readers understand to be harking to various legends, specifically (judging by the sequel titles) to that of Jason, and apart from Doyle's lips being pink, how does Sebastian 'feminise' Doyle? The structure of the story is that Doyle puts on a show for Bodie, arouses him by twisting standard aspects of male behaviour and then backs off before they can overstep into overt sexual expression between two men: I know you can't mean that she feminises Doyle because Doyle essentially does a strip-tease followed by a cock-tease and that such behaviour is categorisably female. So what do you mean?
Sandy: On the subject of LOCs. Ah, yes, well... I've had my share of fawning LOCs and my share of very critical LOCs, and to be honest, if I didn't have such a thick hide, I'd've run screaming from fandom. There are some very narrow-minded slashfans out there (which boggled my little brain) and some of them are truly vicious—especially if one dares to have Their Hero do something less than glisteringly shiney and pure. On the whole, I only care about opinions from people whose opinions I value, and there are quite a few people who, if I should garner anything other than an unfavourable response, I wonder what the hell I'm doing wrong.
And for [L]: You did it! I've been asking and asking for ages for someone to explain the appeal of hurt/comfort to me, because I just didn't get it. It still doesn't appeal to me, but at least now I have an understanding of the whys and wherefores (which is more than I could say after reading Camille Bacon-Smith's book, where I felt I couldn't trust any of her insights because so many of the one's / knew about were inapplicable to me and everyone I knew). Is a preference for h/c linked to the same sort of preference for stories predicated directly from the series (e.g. stories that are a direct outgrowth of the way a looked at b or c hurt d and seek to lay groundwork to prove that these two men could love each other)? other)? = And another question for you: if first wave writers didn't start writing slash until someone else told them about it, then who wrote the first slash? And I'm not being half as smart-alecky as that sounds!

Feminised Heroes and Other Oxymorons:

I know it's been said before, but I think it bears repeating. The 'feminising' of male characters, particularly in novels, is not necessarily the result of deep psychological reasons, such as unvoiced hatred of men, unadmitted desires for women or the need to have a victim rescued order to give the reader hope in her own life, but is mainly nothing more complicated than that fan tradition, plagiarism, striking again. We have always taken what we wanted from whichever medium we choose, whether it be Starsky and Hutch hugging, or Avon and Blake snarling politely at each other, or snatches of episodes to transform into music videos (using plagiarised songs, of course), so why not also use the format of the traditional romance novel for slash as well? Slash with so-called 'feminised' (read: weakened and placed in jeapordy) protagonists is simply following, with the typical slash love of extremes, the well-worn plots of romance novels. This explains why it is the bigger, darker hero who is left unaltered (the tall, dark, handsome stranger from time immemorial, or at least the beginnings of 'domestic' novels) and the smaller character who is turned into this feisty—but needy—persona who not only gets to be swept off his feet at the end of the novel to live happily ever after, but who has to suffer trials, tribulations and hurts (primarily at the hands of the beloved and hero) in order to prove that his love is real and unstinting, and that he himself is worthy of the Knight in Shining Armour who is going to carry him off and give him a life of unending love, devotion and happiness. The endless backing and forthing in slash novels is a direct parallel of mainstream romance novels, and one look at the romance shelves in the local bookshop gives quite a hint as to why there is such a preponderance of historicals, particularly Regency, iin slash, usually with one of them being a Lord, or a Sir, or at the very least, artistic, misunderstood and possibly temporarily misunderstood and possibly temporarily disfigured and/or handicapped in some way, usually with blindness, something to make our dark, proud hero vulnerable enough that the feisty soon-to-be-partner-for-life can prove his love and devotion. For a slash story to fulfill the criteria of a romance novel, thereby giving the reader what she wants, one of the characters lias to be 'unmanned' in a sense, because if he is left as he is on the screen, then he cannot possibly fit into the framework of the romance form. So the so-called 'ferninisation' of one of the male characters is probably no more meaningful than any other choice of slashdom's plagiarism, it simply being what is available, what people like, and what can be manipulated to finally, under our own control, give us precisely what we want. At ZebraCon, we finally came up with a word we think fits the situation better than "feminise". Given that the character is weakened, made dependant, left unprotected and with big eyes filling with tears, lower lip suitably atremble: how about 'infanticise'? Or 'infanticize' for those with Yank tendencies! It would save us from the irritation of referring to very negative characteristics as being female, and infanticise carries with it a lovely echo of 'infanticide', which when you consider that these stories are committing character assassination....

Some Topics Discussed in "Lavender Lilies"

Excerpts from "Lavender Lilies"

An apology:

And now as I promised M. Fae Glasgow: my FOOT IN THE MOUTH department. I'm afraid that my casual comments at the MediaWest panel, where I stated that I would send M. Fae Glasgow's stories to a different APA, were a matter of putting my mouth in motion before engaging my brain. I caused M. Fae Glasgow some moments of anxiety by these comments, and I sincerely apologize to her (I wrote her a private letter of apology as soon as I saw her comments in the last SBF). For the record, I will not ever circulate or print anyone's slash stories in any APA or anywhere else without the author's express permission. I don't offer any excuses, there aren't any. Let's just say that I have learned a lesson....

M. Fae: I hope you received my letter of apology, as well as reading my apology. None of your stories have actually gone to any place as a result of any efforts of mine, I want to assure you.
Figure skating thoughts:
I was able to watch a delayed tape broadcast of the Miko Professional Skating Competition on TV- The skater who completely stole my heart this time was Denise Bielman. She is a Swiss skater whom I've seen in person at the Capital Centre, and she is getting better and better! In the Miko competition, she wore a (Caucasian) flesh-color body suit which held her breasts trimly. Her movements were powerful yet graceful, and I found my own fantasies beginning to build up inside. Wow........ Denise does something called the "Bielman spin" which is her trademark. She curves a thigh, holding ankle and skate high above her head and then spins. It's utterly incredible.
Some baseball thoughts, including Baseball RPF:

My other sports passion is BASEBALL. Talk about "slashiness," just watch a game and see the players hug each other, sometimes kissing if it's a key game or the World Series. Ballplayers used to wear loose-fitting knickers and socks, but no more! Now their pants fit snugly around the buttocks and thighs. I may be mostly lesbian in my sexual preferences and experience, but there are many ballplayers as well as male skaters whom I would not kick out of my bed — not if they do what I want them to do. And speaking of "real person slash," I've had fantasies of various players doing glorious things with each other, right in front of my salacious curious eyes! These are only fantasies and I would never circulate or publish stories using ballplayers' real names. But I must tell you all about an experience I had concerning two left fielders and my supposedly straight—as—arrows neighbors. I go to several bailgames, and at one of them, my brother and I were sitting in left field. The Baltimore Orioles were playing the Texas Rangers. The left fielder for the Orioles is Brady Anderson, and he is the local sex object and heart throb for many female (and gay male) baseball fans. The left fielder for the Rangers is Juan Gonzalez, who is equally good—looking. At any rate, I began getting fantasies of Brady and Juan, having a marvelous relationship. I started calling my fantasy work (which of course I'll never write), "Out In Left Field." Later, I was at home, discussing the game with two of my straight male neighbors. One of them asked me why women consider Brady Anderson to be sexy. Of course, my neighbors assumed that I am straight, but that doesn't matter because I do find Brady attractive.

At any rate, I began talking about Brady Anderson's gorgeous rear end, his beautiful thighs and lovely curly hair and the twinkle in his eyes. Both of my neighbors' eyes and faces began lighting up avidly. "But of course," they sputtered, "we wouldn t know of such things, and have NO interest whatsoever in such things!" Oh really? I truly wondered. They both looked quite engaged in my' descriptions. At any rate, I began discussing Juan Gonzalez's bodily attributes, evoking a similar reaction from my neighbors. One of them asked me what I would do with Brady Anderson if I had him in my apartment. Oh, I" said, I would take him and do luscious things to his behind and... I then told them they would have to use their imaginations for the rest, and they laughed. I also told them that I wanted Juan Gonzalez in my apartment along with Brady, and my neighbors' eyes lit up again. Of course, I didn't tell them that I would much prefer to have Brady and Juan do it together so I can watch them...... Oh well, perhaps I could begin a new fandom, writing stories about two fictional left fielders named Jose and Bradford (oh no no NO, not another fandom....!?

Watching ballgames is like watching a little drama, or perhaps soap opera each time. The players get into it, they cheer each other on. Such as when one of them hits a home run, or if the pitcher gets the opposing team out. Or else console and offer comfort whenever one of their teammates goes through a hard time, such as when a pitcher gets shelled by the opposing hitters and ends up being taken out of the game ("hurt/comfort, hurt/comfort," the slash imagination cries).

The last game of the World Series fit this scenario perfectly. When Joe Carter hit the winning home run, he joyfully leapt and cavorted around the bases. His teammates dashed out and surrounded him, showering him with hugs and kisses Joe was so happy, he was grinning from ear to ear. Later on in the locker room, the winning Toronto Blue Jays were shouting and crying tears flowing unashamedly down gladdened, sweat-moistened faces. Then, there was the unfortunate Mitch Williams, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher who not only blew the lead in the deciding Series game, he blew a big lead in a previous game. Mitch Williams is known as "Wild Thing," partly because of his difficulty in getting the ball over home plate. Also partly due to his devil-may-care nature, his wild curly hair and his pouting, Ray Doylesque face (plus his Ray Doyle-like butt). This poor darling has had death threats in Philadelphia, his home has been pelted with eggs (two of the egg-pelters were arrested). At any rate, after the last Series game, Mitch sat bravely in front of his locker, answering questions, explaining that he had no excuses, he had blown the game and had become the Series goat. One of his teammates, pitcher Terry Muholland, came to Mitch's rescue, reaching a hand out and leading the beleagured Wild Thing far away from the madding crowd. Other teammates also aided in defending their fallen comrade.)
Re "all writing is argument." This is also what I love about fandom. Making the characters plausible is a relative, not an absolute i.e. the 4 Waves. But also on an individual basis. I've said it many times: what is one fan's candidate for Turkey Read Of The Year is another fan's idea of a total masterpiece. Which fans have better taste or views on literary merit? It depends on the various beholders who read the various works made available. Some of the other members of this APA may have seen that I am the truly sick puppy who placed both SNOWBOUND and GENTLE ON MY MIND on my list of "favorite Bodie/Doyle stories" in a couple of the B/D letterzines. I loved them both when I made up the list, and I still do!
Thank you, not...

Thanks for letting me read your copy of COLONIAL AFFAIR. Yes, in my opinion, it is truly awful....

On defining slash and f/f]:
Traditions, whatever they are, are mutable, I agree with you. And traditions and boundaries change, and they change differently for each person. As for whether naming female/female stories as "slash" is demeaning to F/F writing or not, this is for F/F writers to decide. So far, not a single F/F writer I have spoken to has had any desire to call our stories anything other than slash. In my own personal definition of what slash is, F/F stories may not be the type of slash you (or some others) like, but they are most certainly slash.

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"

About an essay this fan has written:
I do also think, as I said in the Heat Truce essay, that the tension is usually intended to mount at each iteration (although, in the hands of a bad writer, it may not actually do so), until the final culminating episode in which everything is (supposed to be) resolved.
Degrees of [[closetation]:
I'm more closeted about being a fan than about being bi. Not that I'm especially closeted about either. I'm not even closeted about being hooked on "Beverly Hills 90120,' which is more shameful than either, as far as I'm concerned.
[Zine bindings]:
oh. ick—I don't like the binding of The Terranova Situation. The zine won't lie flat, as comb bindingswill, and I'm not convinced that the pages will stay in after heavy reading. (Of course,that is emphatically not a problem I expect to encounter with that particular zine. Ptui.) I much prefer comb bindings; you can take them off and put them on again, they don't chew the pages if reasonable care is taken, and the zine can lie flat! Or even bend backward; again, if you're careful about it it doesn't hurt the pages.
Awards:
I was mightily unimpressed with the Stiffies in general. There was no security on the ballot box, and it could have easily been stuffed. I am not saying that it was (and yes, I was nominated but didn't win; I am not speaking out of pique, so I'll say that up front before someone else does), just that the possibility makes the results suspicious. I would also have liked to know know many votes were received in each category, to get a sense of their representativeness. In general, I had little sense that people were voting on quality rather than friendship and reputation. Is this not the case for many (most? all?) fan awards?
Photocopying fic:
I too think that occasional copying is a traditional and mostly accepted part of fandom. I will copy a good short story out of an otherwise crappy zine. but not put it ""on the circuit." If the story is a substantial ponion of the zine. then I will buy the zine and consider that I have bought one story and some ugly marginal scribbling. I also have a number of stories that friends have copied out of ziues for me as a way of introducing me to the zine or the fandotn, without having to loan out the original. (Something to which I'm particularly sensitive at the moment, having lost two in the mail: fortunately, they had been sent insured.) If I like the stones. I buy the zine: if I don't. I throw them out. Sometimes I only son of like them, and then I tend to keep the stories without buying the zine. because I can't be bothered to do anything about them. This goes for an, too: I have a Koz MUNCLE piece that a friend bought at a con where I had admired it and she sent me a high-quality copy of it. Yes, this is pirated: no. 1 don't feel that either of us did anything wrong. Koz isn't out any money, because I never would have bought the piece. I would not, however, sell it; that would be shady.
The fic Surrender:
But Starsky and Hutch did rape each other—or rather. Hutch raped Starsky (and Starsky arguably got his own back), in "Surrender." Paula Smith's infamous brass bed story. I gather that this story is pretty much the "Consequences" or the "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" of S/H fandom.
H/C and slash:
I admit that I have also said the "h/c is just sublimated sex" line, and am even on record as doing so in the interview I did with Camille — oh. the shame. If I had it to say over again I would phrase it, not that h/c is sublimated sex, but that both h/c and sex are ways of getting to emotional intimacy and vulnerability. They're parallel paths; one is not a substitute for the other. (They're often connected in fanfic. too; comfort leads to sex and in pon far, stories may lead to significant hurt . I think it's the fact that comfort tends to lead to sex and not vice versa, both historically in the genres' development and in individual stories, that leads people to think that sex is the real thing and that stopping at comfort constitutes not—-you should pardon the expression—going all the way.)
Comments on Heat-Trace:

I agree that Heat-Trace 'isn't really a direct sequel to "Brother's Keeper"; I think of it as sort of fanfic on BK. What if the characters were a little different, and events weren't quite the same? Helen is, at least, upfront about this. You're right, as is Sarah, that I should throw out the bit of my essay that tries to consider HT as a first-time story. Other B/D novels that do the son of repetitious emotional h/c that I see in HT include Master of the Revels (an absolute perfect example, the paradigm); much of Meg Lewtan's work; possibly Ember Days; and I'm sure I could find others if I kept looking through my shelves. Leaving aside the unrelated questions of whether you liked it or you thought it was good, why do you "hardly consider" Heat Trace slash?

[snipped]

Whether or not the first sex between Bodie and Doyle in "Brother's Keeper" (and, therefore. in Heat Trace) is rape is actually an interesting question; it's another of those "he only does it to save the other's life" scenarios. Like cutting someone's arm open to get a bullet out. it may hurt a lot but in the story's logic it is not a negative or hurtful thing to do to him. In the classic B/D formulation of the scenario, both panners know that the "rapist" has no choice (usually Doyle has been captured either by a biker gang with which Bodie is undercover, or by some of Bodie's old mere buddies). In HT. Doyle may or may not feel that he was raped: he goes back and forth afterward. And I agree that the situation is logically, realistically, absurd—I just don't see that absurdity as too relevant, if the setup is done well. After all, so is being shot in the heart and coming back on the job. right?
Not a fan of "mainstream" literary erotica:
I've read one issue of Yellow Silk but found it so style-conscious and consciously literary that it had no erotica value for me. Slash does give me something I haven't found anywhere else, part of which is sexually explicit stories with characters I care about. (Another part is a community of reader/writer friends, which no commercial genre could give me.)
On studying fans:
I don't object to being studied, as long as it is done well: intelligently, not condescendingly, not with prejudgement, and ending up with conclusions that make sense to me and don't threaten my own ego. I flatter myself that the fourth is not at all in conflict with the first three.
A famous quote:
[M. Fae], the "normal female interest in men bonking." Yeah!
Quoting fic:
I as far as I'm concerned (and I'm speaking here both as Shoshanna, slash fan, and as OE stating apa policy if anyone cares), printing a brief excerpt from a story for purposes of commentary and critique is entirely permissible. It's even normally allowed under copyright law, if you want to do this with something from Science Friction, go ahead.

I've recently read a few really good stories and a few really bad ones. Among the really good were some in Paean to Priapus from Oblique) and Nudge Nudge Wink Wink 3 (from Manacles). M. Fae's Crying Game story is handled with delicacy and insight, succeeding at a project I was very dubious about. (I knew that if anyone could do it, she could; but I've seen a couple really unsuccessful attempts, such as the one in a recent Chalk and Cheese [8] that left me feeling that I'd rather not see it attempted at all than see it done badly. I commonly feel that way about really good things; this is why I don't want there to be any fanfic on Tenko, for instance.) Maggie Hall's reworking of her Wiseguy story "Facets" for B/D is another project that I was skeptical of. but that is handled wonderfully. This is a really brilliant adaptation, retaining the basic storyline and much of the emotional progression but completely recasting the parts that do not fit, reworking them for a emotional universe. The conception of Doyle is utterly riveting

Among the failures, on the other hand, were Kitty Fisher's B/D novel Paper Flowers, which makes an interesting read side by side with Heat Trace. The characters in Paper Flowers are nearly as emotionally unhealthy as those in Heat Trace, but I don't think that Kitty realizes this. She seems to want us to take Doyle's pathological emotional isolation as sweet, as painful but romantic, just another lack in his life that Bodie will fill for him. I couldn't; it gave me the absolute creeps. Also, the novel relies on idiot plotting — that is. having the characters do things that only an idiot would do, in order to propel the plot—which I resent, as it seems to presuppose idiot readers as well. At least I hadn't bought it; I borrowed it from Agnes. Honey, it's all yours.

Some Topics Discussed in "To Be Announced"

  • comments about h/c
  • men and slash and fandom
  • fanfic worlds and acceptance of same sex relationships

Excerpts from "To Be Announced"

Fanfic worlds and acceptance of same sex relationships:
I personally get more out of the slash stories set in a society which does care which sex you sleep with. The tension that the story can develop between the characters themselves and the rest of society makes for e tension that I find missing in the 'tolerant' societies of the future. This is probably due to the fact that although a lot of people write slash stories supposedly in a society which does not care which sex you sleep with they usually slip at one point and show that this uncaring is only on the surface (to my mind anyway). Many writers when writing K/S use the trappings of the future but the society, culture and mores are those of today. These are wide sweeping statements which in no way are to be taken as gospel. I cannot actually think of a K/S story set in a society where which sex you slept with was of so little consequence that it really didn't matter. I would actually like to read one...
Men and women and slash and cons:
Practically every slash fan prides herself on being open minded and not prejudiced. I deliberately said 'herself because it is an attitude that I have not seen in male fans (maybe in the early days of S.F. fandom but even then females were tolerated, I don't think they were actually barred from a convention). Many slash fans are quite happy to correspond with males through the pages of letterzines but clam up when presented with a male slash fan in the flesh so to speak.
Regarding photocopying zines:
Yes as a consumer I agree with everything you said. There are some zines I have had photocopies of that I've found I love so I've bought the original (if its still in print). I have photocopies of some zines that I would give an awful lot to have originals of but no one will sell them, and there are some that I am quite happy with a photocopy of because I would not have bought it anyway, but you cannot play catch up without recourse to the office photocopy machine (at least I can't). I just don't earn enough to buy originals of everything I want. I have to pick and chose. I know fandom seems to think that making a profit out of zine selling is a worse crime than murder but zine publishers put in the work why shouldn't they get something out of it. it's the excessive profit I object too.
Comments on the essay: The Mary Sueing of Hurt/Comfort:

I absolutely agree with you. I love a good hurt/comfort. Yes, there are those that have me wondering why the character is having sex when by all medical laws he should be 2 days dead but some of even these extreme ones work. I am not a 'touchy' person. I find it hard to just walk up to someone and hug them so I need the 'excuse' to touch, why shouldn't slash characters be the same. In the 'traditional' hurt/comfort I don't see the one having been hurt as a victim, in most cases these hurts could and do happen to all of us at one time or another. We have all been ill, a vast percentage of the population have broken bones through accidents - does this make us 'victims' too.

I don't want to be 'cured' of my liking for hurt/comfort. 'Mary Sues' had their place in the great scheme of things, so does hurt/comfort. Some sections of slash, well all fandoms really, seem to be grabbing at the P.C world and trying to squash all fandom into it. I'm afraid I don't belong to the politically correct. If truth be told I am very politically incorrect and I like it. I don't want my fandoms and fantasies forced into conformity with some vision that says we are racist, victimising, horrible nasty people for reading/writing slash stories with 'different' races, injury and recovery.

From any series its the 'hurt/comfort' ones I remember - Starsky being shot in that restaurant, Kirk being stabbed in Babel, Sonny being shot. Not for the violence but because the violence let the writers and actors explore other facets of the characters and relationships.
Violence and realism:
I don't mind glorious explicit details of rape, abuse, torture, bone breaking, blinding or anything else so long as it does have an aftermath - some writers seem to have no idea of what the human body can and cannot take in the way of injury. If our heroes are going to go through the mangle emerging on the other side with pristine unmarked bodies makes the mangling a mockery. I like violent movies/tv shows/stories but I like even more realistic violence with realistic outcomes. I know that there are some around but I'd like to see these stories deal with the real outcomes, our heroes coping with disabilities or bad scarring - in a lot of cases a blithe statement is made that 'Bodie was shot in the shoulder and it had left him with reduced mobility in that arm' but that's all, it is NEVER mentioned again and he seems to have no trouble doing anything with that arm.

Some Topics Discussed in "A Different Eye"

  • This very lengthy trib includes much intensely personal info about sexuality, S/M, abusive relationships, rape, victimization, and slash -- it ends with "P.S. Everythhg above s pubic domain. Feel free to probe/question as you would anything else, separately if you wish!" The excerpts below, however, have been chosen for their fannish, rather than personal, content.

Excerpts from "A Different Eye"

Summing up slash:

Slash makes you think. It presents you with scenarios and situations that confront and transgress our nicely constructed ideas of the 'norm.' It flat refuses to swallow the party line about who has what emotions in what circumstances. It is produced, mainly by women, in an effort to search through questions and answers about ourselves and our constructed sexuality/identity. In slash, we do what is unthinkable, we put the 'wrong' people in bed, in the 'wrong' situations. In a world that creates the individual's identity in terms of sexuality, we respond by challenging, rearranging, that sexuality, that identity.

The amount of metaphorical fantasy rape and masochism to found in slash is no more than the searching of the individual to define their existence in terms of themselves, and their own emotions and experiences: achieving this through the tearing apart and reconstruction of the 'norms. It is an exploration of the human psyche. An exploration that is so threatening to those that oppose it, they cannot see past the 'dirt' and 'perversity' of the medium for to do so might be very dangerous. It might just let the thought in...

My fan life started at 18, with hard core science fiction fandom In 1980, in Britain, there was no real mixing between the media fans, and the 'hardcore' science fctioners. There was a wonderful gender divide at the time. Media fans were 95% female, and considered 'not really fans just loonies' by the science fiction lot. The science fiction lot were 95% male and were deemed 'stuck up snobs' by the media crew. (The meda crew being correct of course.) I started via the Eastercon bash, which was in Glasgow in 1980. As I said, I was 18, just out of a convent boardng school, and went to Albacon with my mum following me down the road to the bus stop, pleading with me not to go. (She had originally forbidden me to go, but I was 18...) It was an eye opener. I discovered that I wasn't the only one, that there were even crazier people than I, and that I belonged.

[snipped]

We regularly attended the Glasgow science fiction group, 95% male, all white, all middle class. Certain distasteful subjects were never discussed, such as loony Star Trek fans, (there was no term "meda fans" in Gasgow, in those days), television in general (Dr Who & Hitchhikers was OK) and other hip things. If SF was ever mentioned at all, it was your Heinlein, Asirrov, Cark, SF. Whch was cool, as I had been reading the stuff since I was twelve.

Anyhows, my first dip into the Great Ocean of Fandomv/as Conrunning. Then there was getting into comics; running a fan club: the usual sort of thing. Whilst I did not write for any APAs, I had editorials in club magazines and a huge and extensive correspondence wrth lots of individuals. You get the picture.

K/S was something I was aware of on the fringes, and a couple of the other woman in the group were undoubtably what we would now term media fans. At the time, it was seen as 'soft' core science fiction. (As I grow older and learn more of linguistics, I find these terms very interesting..) However, I'm dotting. As happens, my fan connections grew, and my horizons opened. (My first 'meda con' was in Birmingham, Sol III, it '83, I think. What a shock. Going from the predominately male SF cons to the overwhelmingly female ST cons. And what women! Married, kids, older, younger, the lot. A cross section of people and lifestyles and attitudes that SF fandom could only dream of. Such was my cufture shock that I switched on a tape recorder and promptly went around interviewing everyone and anyone about why they were there and whatthey saw in Trek. I had been aware of K/S, but had never really read any. During a speech, Water Koenig was asked about his views on it, and laughingly refused to comment as there were "too many people m the room". Later, when I was interviewing him alone, he said that he felt that women involved with slash felt sexually inadequate, and wrote it to sublimate their own feelings and desires for the characters. That too inexperienced and unsure of their own desirability, they transferred their desires to a male character (who would not be in competition with them) to fulfill their fantasies. He was charming, actually, warm and sympathetic: not the least in the "get a life" mode. I kick myself that I never asked Jimmy Doohan the same question. (Or Nimoy, who I had met earlier that year.) ft was a very plausible suggestion/explanation, to the me-who-l-was-then, and I let it all pass without a second thought, K/S being much more underground in this country then, that was easier to do.
Drugs 'n 'Sex 'n 'Rock 'n 'Roll. Or rather, Rape 'n 'SIash 'n 'S/M. I feel a little like Lezlie the Whip when I stand up and say... My name is [M], I am not a slasher." I await the chant of 'Hello [M]" and then introduction to the rest of the steps in kicking (acquiring?) the habit Except I do not have a habit to kick, so I ain't denying anything. Unlike everyone else in this house, and our immediate circle, I don't read/write slash. The slash I have read has been given to me on the basis of "Here, you must read this...it's just." And I read, and comment, and put it down. I do read a fair view of [T's] zines on the "odd" basis. I'll go through a phase and read and read and then not took again for years. I do this with quite a few 'genres'. There's my Mills and Boon stage, my Detective stage etc. ...Slash is one of the things I do occasionally. In this, I do not think I qualify as a / fan. Mostly because there appears to be a mind set in / that I do not have access to. In the heated debates that followed the "What is /" question it turned out that I did not have a clue as to what / was. Stories and 'zines that everyone else could quite emphatically state wasn't / I thought was. Now, there was a certain haziness in minds as to why some things were / and some not but I was the only one to label incorrectly. It was patent that there was a mind set I missed. I mention this to introduce many other things, one of which is why I find the phenomena of / so interesting. I may not qualify in the / stakes in ny own right, but I do rave a very active interest in the genre, not least of which is that the closest members of my family adore / and are actively involved in it.

Some Topics Discussed in "Weirdness on a Swan's Song"

  • "Off the Hook," the story this fan brought to Writeshop, is included in this trib
  • a con report for Writeshop

Excerpts from "Weirdness on a Swan's Song"

My debut into slash fandom has been quite precipitous. This time last year I was not a slash fan, I was a fan who had read some slash. Since then I have done a lot of reading and a lot of writing and have met a lot of lovely people. [J] tells me I have progressed as far in a year as most people do in three or four. Of course, it's all her fault. I blame her for everything, from introducing me to the concepts (which I have to admit to taking to wholeheartedly), to encouraging my writing, to introducing me to her friends to suggesting I go with her to Writeshop.

Ii was worried about Writeshop. Partly because it meant, meeting people I knew by reputation and who all knew each other, but mostly because it meant other people would read and comment on my work. [J] had read most of my stories, and commented on them... had even edited some of them. I had feedback from [N] and [K] as well, but they are friends, and friends who share my love of B/C.

Anyway, [J] and I caught the early train from Edinburgh on the Friday. It takes four and a half hours to get to London from Edinburgh. Milton Keynes. Is closer than London, It took six and a half hours to get there. Thank you British Rail.

That being said it made a change to travel to a convention with someone, I normally go alone. Mind you I'd have been very nervous to' go alone to this one. Not only was I aware that everyone else there would know most of the other people present, (I only knew [J] and had met one other person once) but I wasn't, sure what to expect from the format. I had never been to a writer's workshop before. I didn't know how I'd react to people discussing my story.

Yes, my story. We were all asked to submit a story, a Professionals story, with the title 'Off the Hook'. The line was supposed to come from the episode 'The Rack'. I found it very difficult to write. I don't think I've written a story to a given title like that since school essays. What I found really difficult, though, was the constraint of 1000 words that we were given. I finally submitted a piece, nothing to do with 'The Rack', that was a frivolous piece of froth. It wasn't the first thousand words I wrote to the title... that turned out to be the first two pages of what will eventually be a much, much longer story and will hopefully see light of day elsewhere.

So what happened to these stories? They went to one of the organisers who painstakingly typed them up and produced a booklet containing alt the offerings. Each session, on different aspects of writing slash, took its examples from the stories submitted. We had sessions on Grammar, on collaboration and on different fandoms. Sessions on the author's intentions and on 'Expectations and Surprise'.

The working titles session was fun. Each story had been randomly assigned a number and we spent some time on the Friday evening discussing relevant titles for each story (we couldn't call them 'Off the Hook'!) and I gradually relaxed and got to know a few people. We spent some time just chatting in the bar and then everyone decided it was bed time, Okay, I was tired but I've never been to a convention before where everyone went to bed before eleven; at SF cons I always feel like a wimp for giving up at around one in the morning.

Anyway, fortified by breakfast I went to the first session on Saturday eager to see what happened. It was on 'Expectations and Surprise'. I'm not sure what my expectations were and I was sure surprised. My first encounter with a writer's workshop, my first time at a slash con and guess who's story was the first one discussed? I sat there, trying' to take in what was being said without obviously taking notes. I was also worried that I miqht break down and wimper at anything really awful that was said about it. I was so sure everyone knew it was my story being discussed... I knew [J] did but couldn't even risk a glance across for sympathy. But they liked it. Told me all sorts of things about the clever way I'd flipped the mood of the story... really? I thought that what I'd done was go 'oh, God, this needs to be finished in one thousand words... I'd better finish it off.'

it was fun, though, listening to what other people thought I meant, taking mental notes on what I ought to have done. I learnt from that, and from when my story, was discussed again under 'Detailed Analysis of Author's Intentions' and Grammar. I learnt from and contributed to discussions on other stories. Thinking about, sometimes for the first time, how and why I do things in a particular way.

I had a great time. I would never have gone if [J] hadn't talked me into it. I'd never have made contact with the nice lady who promised me a tape of Murphy in the bath (an old British Gas advert...). I'd never have met people like HG and O. Yardley and Kitty Fisher and all the other lovely people (including one woman who not only knows friends of mine from Dundee but is godmother to their eldest child as I am godmother to their youngest... those poor kids don't have a hope!)

It was helpjfui and it was fun. We laughed and chatted, we did a reading of [J's] dramatisation of 'The Price of the Phoenix' and had a hilarious 'coming out' session on Sunday when we all revealed who had written which story. In spite of all my reservations and misgivings, I had a great time and was sorry when Sunday evening rolled round and we had to go.

References

  1. Textual Poachers and Enterprising Women respectively.
  2. This fan term for Star Trek.
  3. "Backlash" is a book by Susan Faludi.
  4. "Snowbound" has several versions/endings, and "The Worst of Times" is one of them.
  5. Possibly a reference to the fic Rough Ride.
  6. (1986): Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places from URBAN COWBOY (Johnny Lee), vid by JPC
  7. This bibliography appears to be missing in some issues.
  8. The story in Chalk and Cheese is 2,036 Days to Go by Michelle Christian.