Terry Nation

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Name: Terry Nation
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Terry Nation is best known for being the creator of Blake's 7 and for working on Doctor Who.

He interacted with fans at many cons where he was a guest of honor, and in Horizon Newsletter. There are many fan comments about Nation in Horizon Letterzine.

Nation was supportive of fanworks, and gave his specific approval to some zines in the form of introductions; Reflections in a Shattered Glass is one example. Nation supported fanworks in 1988 when he wrote a letter of support in the 1988 Blake's 7 Bootlegged Zines Discussion.

Nation passed away in 1997.

Cons

The Blake's 7 Wars

In 1989 and onwards, he embroiled himself in The Blake's 7 Wars when he and Paul Darrow (the actor who portrayed Avon Kerr] saw the potential of profit in conventions and cooked up a plan to take over the not-for-profit fancons by controlling fanart displayed and sold at them and by requiring that guests of honor only commit to his own for-profit cons. One of the flashpoints in this controversy, was slash fanworks, a subject that was utilized as a strawman for the real topic: money.

Attitudes Toward Slash Fanworks

Fan Comments

[1993]: " I asked Terry Nation(creator of B7) what his opinion of slash. He thought it funny, because he couldn't picture Avon or any of the others doing anything like that. But he did agree that we were dealing with the characters, NOT THE ACTORS. [1]}}

[1995] "To my knowledge, Terry Nation has never voiced any viewpoint on the issue of slash, pro or con." [2]

[1995]: "I had several discussions with Terry Nation (the creator of the show) about the controversy and was Terry was in his cups (which he was usually every night at a con) he laid most of the problem at Janet's doorstep.His almost exact words were, "Imagine your working hard all day and you come home to a wife that has been receiving letters and writing to people all day and she is screaming at you to do something about all this *nasty* material out there. After a while you will do anything just to get some peace and quiet." Terry knew about slash, he didn't understand it, but he certainly was appalled by it and I gathered that Paul know about it as well and wasn't particularly concerned about it. [3]

Nation's Comments, August 1987

Nation and the creator of Robin of Sherwood (Richard "Kip" Carpenter) were on a writing panel at Scorpio. Excerpts from that panel:

Richard: I think [slash] a very sincere form of flattery, because it's imitation, which is a sincere form of flattery. [Mild laughter] I'm not too happy with what they call slash fiction [Oohs, aahs, and knowing moans mixed in with laughter and applause].

audience member: I'm new to this and I don't know what "slash" means. [Someone yells, "You don't want to know!"]

Richard: Will somebody stand up...?

panel moderator, David Smith: Okay, slash fantasy is the concept that the two male leads may be... more than just friends.

audience member: Is that all? [Laughter]

Dave: No, it could mean that they have an emotional or sexual relationship.

Richard: Okay, I don't mind slash fiction, but it seems to me to place a very false emphasis on somebody's work. Okay, so it's fun to have maybe one piece of slash fiction, but when everybody starts doing it and it becomes the norm, then I think that it does affect the way people view the show, in a subconscious way. If they're reading lots of slash fiction about two male characters that are supposed to be lovers, when in fact in the series they're not, but are friends, what it is doing is somehow altering the concept of a friendship, making it a physical relationship, which I think is a little bit unfair to the original writers. That's all I feel about fan fiction, is that there is a little bit too much slash fiction. I don't know what you people feel about that

Terry: Are you people for it? Who's for it? [Not one hand is raised]

Richard: But there is a lot of it about! [One person says, "When there's a second year a show is on the air, there is slash fiction about it."] I mean, if there's two characters that you want to fall in love in a series that haven't actually consummated a relationship that was budding in the series, then I don't see why fiction can't take it to that limit if that happens to be your fantasy; that's fine. But at least all you're doing is building on a true relationship in the material that you're viewing and, as it were, not pervert it but twist it into something that isn't, then I think that's an unhappy thing to do. I don't mind stuff being sent up, you know. There's a wonderful fan magazine about Robin in Bunnyland [High-pitched laugh in the audience]. It's a wonderful mag because they're all rabbits! Marion's a rabbit and Robin's a rabbit... That's fine because it's quite clearly and unequivocally O.T.T (over the top) [laughter], and that's fun! But this other thing, I don't like it, I really don't. [Someone says, "You should be glad to hear that some of us don't, either."]

Richard: Yes, I am. I am personally very glad to hear that. The interesting thing is you don't get too much slash fiction in Britain for some unknown reason [mild laughter], it seems to me to be an American thing. [4]

Nation's Comments, January 1989: RevelCon

From RevelCon:
One panel was a slash panel: "At Revelcon in San Diego, we had a slash panel, and Terry Nation presided. He discussed the issue maturely and rationally. We didn't seek his approval and he didn't seek excuses. The panel broke up with UNDERSTANDING on all sides. Most all problems can be cleared up in a rational, mature DISCUSSION." [5]

From the list of requests from the committee in the "RevelCon" program book: "Fanzines. What you publish or read is your business. What you offer for public viewing is ours. Terry Nation states, 'I don't believe in any form of censorship, but please be discreet.' We ask that fanzines containing "slash" fiction please not be in view of the public areas of the hotel. Flyers may be placed on the flyer tables or on dealers' tables."

Further Reading

References

  1. comments at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (March 24, 1993)
  2. Leah Rosenthal: The Generic Slash Defense Letter
  3. comments on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (April 10, 1995)
  4. printed in Freedom City Gazette #4
  5. from Federation Archives, second addendum, March 1989, comment by [L A]