Surrender (Starsky & Hutch story)

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Title: Surrender
Author(s): Paula Smith
Date(s): October 1982
Length: 24 pages
Genre: slash
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
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Surrender is a slash 24-page Starsky & Hutch story by Paula Smith, one that makes up the majority of the zine Strokes.

"Surrender" is the first non-con, and one of the few partner rape stories, in Starsky and Hutch fandom. It is said the author took it on as a challenge, feeling that if done well by a good writer, the subject, a troubling and, many would say, offensive one, could be made to work. In any case, the story was had a very mixed reception, and many fans found it offensive.

Inspiration and Rebuttals

Some Art

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

The main reason to buy this zine was the story 'Surrender', by Paula Smith. Oh my! This was, to me, a perfect example of loving someone *too much*. It was so complex, full of conflicting emotions and misguided impulses! This is a partner rape story that pulls no punches, but makes you see the desperate, imperfect love each man has for the other. This was just too powerful! Brilliant characterization on this one, with in-depth exploration of the contortions of human emotions. A story that makes you feel your heart ripped out! [sigh!] I loved it! [3]
The zine Strokes has one of the most amazing partner-rape stories of all time, called Surrender. I still remember it with awe over 10 years later. [4]


I've done a couple of reviews for this issue. But there is one zine which, after due consideratIon, I felt I could not review, not formally anyway. My remarks about Strokes, and in particular about Paula Smith's story in it, "Surrender," do not constitute a review. They follow here, and are my personal opinion, unclutttered by any attempt at the things I usually try for when writing a review of a zine or story.

'Surrender' is a joke. It must be. The characters (and I use the term loosely) are nobody I've ever met before, writing style is clumsy, which is unlike Paula Smith, who is a competent writer even at her worst. The theme seems to be that Love Forgives All, but comes off as that a sick relationship is better than no relationship· or, more graphically, Rape is Okay if There's No Other Way. This kind of nonsense is unworthy of a writer whose poetry in particular has often been exquisitely evocative and sensitive. Such writing as we find in "Surrender," (amazements like a character's having "unsecured a button" of the inept and obvious imagery of the "unlocked doors" at the end, to name two); such lack of understanding or sympathy or even an interest in the characters; such offensive subject matter as violation of another person's body, dignity and self, are almost unbelievable coming from someone who's been around as long as Paula Smith has. So, I can only conclude that 'Surrender' is a joke.

It is a cruel joke on S/H fandom which, for all its vagaries, believes for the most part in the givingness of the relationship, its tenderness, its caring. It is a nasty joke on characters of depth and constant fascination for reader and writer alike, characters whom the author doesn't even seem to like very much. It is a self-defeating joke in the end, for I personally found this story neither funny nor clever, nor a sharp parody of some of the more outlandish S/H material floating around [5]. I felt soiled after I forced myself to read it through once; offended and angry after I went through it a second time to see if I was overreacting or seeing something that wasn't really there. But it's there all right. The only possible explanation I can find for its having been written in the first place is that Paula was playing a joke on all of us, including the characters. And having reached that conclusion, I wonder indeed why she bothered to write it at all.

Now do you see why I tossed this into a letter rather than do a formal review? Anyone who disagrees with me may now have at me without fear of hitting "I'm a Reviewer And This Is An Objective Review" button. I don't claim any objectivity about this story. The only thing I claim is that I read it, as I read every other story presented in fandom, as a separate entity put forth for my interest, enjoyment, elucidation, or any or all of the same. I'd really like to hear from those of you who liked "Surrender." I'd like to know why I shouldn't consider it a joke. [6]

It's difficult to review a friend's zine, especially when what you have to say is less than wonderful -- but in this case I can't honestly do otherwise. 'Strokes' is neatly produced, the print is clear, one of the two major stories is quite good and the poetry is for the most part aesthetically pleasing. The cover is nIce...

Unfortunately, Strokes has as its major piece a story entitled 'Surrender' which is, I think the most dreadful S\H story I have ever read. The basic story line reads like something out of a cheap porn novel: S wants H and tells him so, H says no thanks, and after a couple years of frustration Starsky decides Hutch does too want him, and rapes him to prove it. Hutch is understandably shocked and outraged, but after Starsky goes catatonic on him, relents and decides that, rapist or not, Starsky is still his partner, and he (Hutch) must have really asked for it after all. In other words, rape is a drastic but acceptable means of communication if the victim wants it with that fine distinction to be left to the judgment of the rapist.

Aside from the fact that I find this attitude appalling (substitute a woman--any woman--for Hutch, and it's back to the Dark Ages, friends), I could not accept this Starsky as anyone remotely related to the character we watched for four years. The incidents critical to the events of the story are entirely the author's invention--not unusual in S\H, but also not very convincing--and we are told that Starsky has 'forgiven but not forgotten' Hutch's subconscious flirtations after Starsky's actions have made it clear that forgiveness is not a word he understands.

I asked the author to explain the point of this exercise; she told me that the them is that love can forgive anything, even rape. That's a valid theme (I don't happen to agree with it) but I saw very little love in this story--only a neurotic dependence that, I think, would eventually destroy both the devourer and his prey. That kind of need is not love.

This is a very personal opinion, but I cannot see any socially redeeming value in this story. It is better-written than The Brass Bed-story, but no more worthwhile. [7]


I think it's definitely one of the finest stories Paula Smith has ever written. Indeed I was frankly amazed at the totally negative reaction the story received in last month's letterzine. Just another example of the ole infinite diversity I guess.

It would appear that one of the major objections to 'Surrender' is to its basic plot of Starsky-rapes-Hutch. This theme is unpleasant and disturbing and has been resisted vehemently, both in general and in connection with Our Guys as being appalling, out-of-character, and generally unacceptable. Granted, but it is also a challenge. To a writer of Smith's caliber, to take this virtually impossible story idea (which, it should be noted, did not originate with her-- lest someone lambaste her for her warped fantasies) and attempt to anchor it in reality, imbue it with credibility, must have been well-nigh irresistible. As a reader, I put aside my own outrage at the concept and accepted the challenge as well. Is it possible to establish any kind of internal framework and chronology (call it 'alternate universe' if you prefer) that would make it conceivable for Starsky to rape Hutch? Until I read Paula's story, I would have refuted the suggestion utterly. Afterwards... well, afterwards my response veered to slightly stunned acceptance of the possibility; because 'Surrender', while controversial, is compellingly written and chillingly plausible.

Although Paula found it necessary to create some background for the story, she did so with very little disturbance to the S&H canon. Indeed, I was impressed at how simply but deftly she established the givens in her story equation. Starsky, although straight, was attracted to Hutch from the beginning (something we can all empathize with, I'm sure). One night he expressed his feelings to Hutch, was turned down and never mentioned it again. From there, Paula extrapolates from aired S&H, in terms of the story's specific antecedents. Familiar episode references, much-analyzed facets of personality and careful placement within the confirmed timeline are all utilized to substantiate the internal motivation and characterization. Indeed, much of the tale's fascination lies in its elegant construction. It blends together with the creative logic of a jigsaw puzzle and is equally as absorbing.

Beyond that, the story is well paced, the dialogue rings true and the response of Starsky and Hutch to their harsh dilemma is both realistic and characteristic. 'Surrender' is a vivid emotional tapestry, alive with feeling and sensation. To read it is to be immersed in thought, action and reaction - to forget that it is a work of fiction and become the characters. Higher praise can no fan give to a story and in this reader's opinion, 'Surrender' deserves the accolade.

I al aware that I have discussed this story in general terms rather than drooling in specific detail. This is because I wish to recommend it to others without giving it away to them. [8]
I didn't care for 'Surrender' either, for many of the same reasons. This just wasn't the Starsky I knew. The opening illo wasn't half bad tho. Paula must have had a reason for writing this, and there maybe fans out there (I know of one) who enjoyed it for reasons that vary. Since Kendra and Diana suggested we discuss fanflc, here's a good place to start. There may be more S/H fans out there than we know about. It may be frightening to find out, particularly when it concerns people we love so well. Brrr. [9]
I suppose that you could argue that certain parts of IN THE GYM could be called "pornographic". By using that reasoning, however, you could say that about almost ANY "/" story, that is, there are going to be incidents (in serious stories) where the lead characters may seem to be, or actually are, cruel or in sensitive to each other. You can't judge an entire story to be "pornographic" based on isolated scenes.... I will say this -- I realize I have to reconsider my statement that I've never seen anything "pornographic" in various S/H literature. I'd have to say that SURRENDER came as close to being out-right porn as I'd ever care to see. [10]
[I like bondage stories as long as] there’s nothing cruel and sadistic… nothing like Surrender. I just couldn’t get into that one… It hurt ME, too! [11]


I realize there are lots of exceptions to my so-called likes/dislikes, for instance... There was a Paula Smith story called I think "The Brass Bed" [12] which was bondage (Starsky ties up Hutch) and has his way with him (so technically it was rape) and then it has a relatively happy ending (Hutch reconciles it in his mind and then screws Starsky). So this blows everything I said about rape stories, right? Whatever, this story got to me, a Hutch person, while alienating lotsa Starsky fans. [13]
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. [14]


Someone said that Starsky and Hutch could have rape scenes, but they don't think they’ve ever come across partner rape. Well, you have missed one of my all time favorite S/H stories! I can never remember the name of the story, but it is 90% of a small zine called Strokes. The story is a partner rape that I ab-so-fucking-lutely believed. All of the actions, even the most painful, are grounded in the characters and their canonical relationship (with some first wave additions). Hmm-good! Starsky becomes convinced that Hutch wants him but will never deal with it, so (big leap of faith here, but it was well done) so he ties Hutch to the bed, and as lovingly as possible (with someone yelling and saying 'stop!') fucks him silly, convinced to the end that Hutch is just saying 'no' because he 'can't face their love'. After he takes off the manacles and realizes that Hutch is still pissed, he gets pissed in return. He *knows* that Hutch wants him, and disagreement on Hutch's part is just seen as posturing and closetedness. I'm summarizing too tightly here, and not showing the power of this story, but anyway, I thought the Doyle of this story, a) knowing Bodie damn well and b) loving Bodie enough not to want to hurt him (much) was trying to make Bodie see something, and willing to step across some lines to do it. [15]

[Addressing another fan]: You have the plot of Paula Smith's "Surrender" backwards: It is Starsky who rapes Hutch. They're at Starsky's apartment; they've just finished assembling S's new brass bed. Hutch is lying on the bed leaning against its headboard. Hutch recalls that Starsky had asked for sex which he had refused. "You know I don't swing that way. And you'd have to admist that neither do you, if you're honest." Then S loosens H's shirt and begins to stroke Hutch's chest. When H tries to push him away, S swiftly handcuffs H's hands to the top of the brass headboard. S pulls H's pants down and slowly, teasing him up and down, sucks him off. "Gonna go down on you." "What?!" "Never ASK you again." S&H continue quarreling. S is still angry about H pretending anmesia last month. "Pretendin' you forgot every thing, then surprise! Just a joke, just a game....This maybe you won't forget." After tussels S. straps H's legs down with belts. Using vasoline "Slowly this way, by inches. Starsky entered him completely. The sense of being impaled was beyond description, but at least the raw pain had died away, though he was still miserably uncomfortable." They continue quarrels, sex, fights that day and all weekend. Hutch leaves, then returns and discovers that "Don't lock yourself away. I can forgive you....I'm sorry-know how you feel now. Let me love you. I want you....Again he felt the power, Starsky in his power. The balance swung either way so frighteningly quickly." Peace of mind is missing.

At the bottom of the zine's title page Paula Smith wrote "Special acknowledgement to Billie Fowler for the inspiration from her story "Brass Bed" which sparked "Surrender."

What inspired BF? Perhaps it was one of the posters which the show distributed: in one Paul Glaser (Starsky) was lying back against the headboard of a brass bed with a pair of handcuffs nearby. "Surrender" was in the zine STROKES which Paula published in 1982. [16]


THE classic partner rape story of SH fandom! (I know, what a thing to say.) [17]


You have missed one of my all time favorite S/H stories! I can never remember the name of the story, but it is 90% of a small zine called Strokes. The story is a partner rape that I ab-so-fucking-lutely believed. All of the actions, even the most painful, are grounded in the characters and their canonical relationship (with some first wave additions). Hmm-good!

(I feel I should state my credentials here. Rape is a fannish kink of mine, but most partner rape stories are also hideous character rape: almost nobody gets it right. I didn't like Consequences, and I hated the DS partner rape in PMS1, but I did like Jigsaw Puzzle... Ok, now (to quote Starsky), you know where I'm coming from.) [18]
I too really liked it a lot -- which is very rare for me. Yes, the author managed the tough job of making it believable. And for me it helped that it was psychologically oriented. I could see Starsky's motivations (Hutch's too). Those stories that do manage to make me suspend my disbelief and/or aversions always make the biggest impact on me, remaining favorites forever. [19]


I was just gifted with an amazing box of zines...and came across this story. WOW. It was written by Paula Smith and I have to admit, if S/H stories came with warnings, this is one I would have skipped. This story is incredible, and won't get out of my mind. Does anyone know if a sequel was written? I used to be in favor of warnings, but now I'm not so sure... [20]


It is a very significant story. It was the very first non-con story in SH & the last for decades. It was written as a writing challenge. Paula was convinced it could be done right by a good writer (she is one). Most felt the story did not succeed, however, among aficionados of this type of fic, it's legendary. [21]

A Poetical Nod

A reference to Paula Smith's story "Surrender" also appears in Flora Poste's poem "Ode to Slash Fandom" in California K/S 4 Play. An excerpt is included below:

"As Hutch said to his partner, (with soul):
My fears have gone out of control.
Now, when we're in bed
And you're giving me head,
You must promise you won't eat me whole.''

Then Starsky replied, (with a grin):
I barely can wait to begin,
But I'm planning instead
To chain you to this bed--
So that you can be out, while I'm in.

(Obviously, he had been reading Paula Smith's justifiably
famous brass bed story.)"


  1. ^ from S and H #38
  2. ^ A 2002 comment at the [[VenicePlace mailing list says this fic "Beloved Sorrow" is by Leslie F.
  3. ^ Raonaid's Zine Recommendations, Archived version
  4. ^ Issues of Consent
  5. ^ perhaps in reference to The Brass Bed
  6. ^ from S and H #37 (1982)
  7. ^ from a review in S and H #37 (1982)
  8. ^ from a review in S and H #38 (1983)
  9. ^ S and H #38 (1983)
  10. ^ from Hanky Panky #8
  11. ^ from Hanky Panky #6 (February 1983)
  12. ^ This fan is using the term "brass bed story" as a type of a partner rape story. The original Brass Bed story was one by a previous fan.
  13. ^ comments on Virgule-L, April 6, 1993, quoted anonymously
  14. ^ comments in Strange Bedfellows APA #3 (November 1993)
  15. ^ in 1994, Sandy Herrold discussed the Brass Bed story on Virgule-L (quoted with permission)
  16. ^ from Strange Bedfellows APA #4 (February 1994)
  17. ^ comments on Virgule-L by Sandy Herrold, quoted with permission (January 18, 1995)
  18. ^ from Virgule-L, comments by Sandy Herrold, quoted with permission (September 19, 1996)
  19. ^ from a fan's comment at Virgule-L, September 19, 1996, quoted anonymously
  20. ^ from a fan's comment to VenicePlace, June 5, 2002, quoted anonymously
  21. ^ personal notes from Flamingo, quoted with permission