The Development of the Kirk/Spock Relationship: Its Foundation in Fan-Fiction
|Title:||The Development of the Kirk/Spock Relationship: Its Foundation in Fan-Fiction|
|Creator:||April Valentine and Shanon Schildknecht|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Development of the Kirk/Spock Relationship: Its Foundation in Fan-Fiction is an 8-page essay by April Valentine and Shanon Schildknecht.
It was printed in The Turbolift Review #1 in January 1978, meaning it was written in 1977.
The topic was the close relationship between Kirk and Spock. Keep in mind that the use of the term K/S did not necessarily mean a sexual one, but rather a very, very close intimate one. Also note that the term "slash" is not a word used by fans.
The authors often refer to their own fiction, and that of what appears in Contact, as well as some well-known stories (both sexual and non-sexual).
The essay also references a survey that the authors had distributed (likely through the mail); that survey was embedded in the essay.
This Essays Place in History
For more on early K/S (of the sexual variety), see The Foresmutter's Bibliography of Early, Early K/S.
Also, see Timeline of Slash Meta.
Some Topics Discussed
- the shift, and reasons for this shift, from intense non-sexual K/S to sexual K/S
- the article never uses the word slash: see History of K/S Fandom for more on terminology and meaning
- the evolution of written fanworks, and fans' constant demand for "more"
- feels and id vortex (though the essay does not use these terms) that some fans were trying to replicate in fanworks
- Mary Sues, hurt/comfort and other sorts of fiction as gateways to same-sex fanworks
- mention of the book Star Trek Lives!
- "The main reason these stories have been published is the parallel acceptance and discussion of homosexuality in our Twentieth Century world. Homosexuals have been in the news with the gay-rights movement, the counter movements of anti-gays such as Anita Bryant, and television and popular literature have explored the theme a great deal."
- fans have made Kirk and Spock into "real people"
- many females' interest in male homosexuality
- the role of Pon Farr in fanfic
- Mind-Sifter by Shirley Maiewski
- First Contact by Claire Gabriel
- Against the Fall of Darkness by M.L. "Steve" Barnes
- World Well Lost by Diane Steiner
- My Life Closed Twice by April Valentine
- Dying Inside by Shirley Maiewski
- One Last Time by Gerry Downes
- Tower of Terror by Jennifer Guttridge
- De Profundis by Connie Faddis
- Born of Ashes by April Valentine
- Nebula of Orion by Gerry Downes
- Alternative: Epilogue to Orion by Gerry Downes
- Without the Gardener's Craft by Kathy Penland
- Shelter by Leslie Fish
- I Need You, Baby by M.L. "Steve" Barnes
- Kraith by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
- Summer's End by Diane Steiner
"What if...?" How many times has this expression launched an enlightening conversation between fans? And when these two words are followed by "Kirk and Spock", the discussions take even more scintillating turns. A fan writer is blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with a fertile imagination, and many an interesting story has resulted from a seemingly far-fetched beginning. Think back to the way the question ended in the past: "What if Kirk and Spock got separated?" "What if Kirk and Spock were tortured?" Sound familiar? Now move forward in time. "What if Pon Farr...?" Ahh. Almost up to the present. Here it is. "What if Kirk and Spock.. .without Pon Farr?"
Anyone who has read the fan-produced fiction of the last seven years has had to have noticed the changing styles of writing and the changing concepts and approaches to the Kirk/Spock relationship. As relationship fans ourselves, we were prompted by the growing controversy over current K/S stories to examine the relationship through the course it has taken in fan-fiction, to see if the reasons for the recent change could be found in fan-fiction itself.
From the earliest action-adventure tales to heart-rending tear-jerkers, the relationship is there, sometimes only a part of the story, in others, the main focus. It was our original theory that writers never really set out to "change" the K/S relationship; the characters and the direction and style of the writing almost did it automatically. In an effort to verify our ideas, we ambitiously set out to read and analyze every relationship story ever printed (and some closet ones, too.) Heedless to say, the task proved a little too ambitious, but still.... fascinating. We were forced to limit ourselves to reading what we considered to be a representative cross-section of landmark or important stories....We also sought out the opinions and ideas of other writers in the form of a survey. We designed the questionnaire (see page 76) specifically to allow the writer to begin thinking along the lines of progression in K/S stories, as we had been doing.
We had noticed that the earliest stories that "played up" the relationship had a stronger emotional appeal, that these were followed closely by more extreme "get" stories, and finally stories were published with more intimate permutations of the theme. We asked, therefore, what story first moved the respondent emotionally, then questioned the writer about the importance of physical and emotional suffering; finally, in a question that evoked every exclamation from "Ahem" to "God only knows", we asked why there has been a transition from the platonic to the sexual in the writing of K/S stories.Some of the answers showed that most fan fiction writers followed our thinking closely, while others shed new light on our theories. The phenomena of voluminous communication in Trek-dom proved true, and we received many enthusiastic and thoughtful replies to the survey. Without the aid of fellow writers, we might have become too bogged down in our own ideas and not gained the added perspective of other opinions.
The genre of fan-fiction is a special, unique breed. It doesn't wholly follow trends in pro or mainstream literature, as those who write and publish it are usually amateurs, learning skills and practicing their craft for fun. It also does not echo the styles of science fiction, pro or amateur. Therein lies one of the first reasons for the fixation on K/S and, in fact, the whole concept of character development that has superseded action-adventure and gadgetry in fan-fiction. STAR TREK was a very human show. It used psychological drama, portraying humans and humanoids dealing with personal problems and focused less on the science fiction frame of reference. As we already knew all about the ENTERPRISE and the Federation, there was less of a necessity to define those items in a particular story.
In any analysis of the trends in fan-literature, it is impossible to ignore the impact of the aired episodes. In relationship, however, it is an even more important factor. Not only did the televised series give us the necessary background of Vulcan/human characteristics, the interaction of the characters was fairly well defined. The subtle by-play between Kirk and Spock, the life-death situations they shared, the portrayals by Shatner and Nimoy, gave fan writers the jumping off point for their own fantasies and descriptions of the relationship.
Yet this 'jumping off' did not occur immediately. The first zines contained detailed analysis of plot lines, articles which attempted to delve into the characters and to fill in the gaps in what had been presented. The number of actual stories was relatively low and relationship per se did not immediately become visible in the early zines. Instead, we saw mostly action-adventure or science fiction-oriented tales in which Kirk and Spock had a new adventure, but did not upset the status quo enough to stop them from going back to the way they were by the end of the story. There was little internalization on the parts of the characters as the situation in which they had been placed occurred, and the writers seldom attempted to add anything to the development of the individual characters or the relationship.
Reading these stories is very much like watching the happy-ending tag to the aired episodes where the heroes were tossed about and traumatized during the program, but all was well and back to normal again, once they returned to the bridge.This phase of fan fiction was relatively short-lived. In the action-adventure stories, the writers had proved to themselves that they could handle the characters and concepts that had been presented on the series, but stories which do not have an effect on the person written about tend to seem rather pointless after a while. To have drama and conflict, something must happen, not just an external adventure, but something that makes the character learn something about himself or his way of life.
Gradually the type of story changed as fans began exploring the various elements of STAR TREK in depth, each focusing on their own area of special interest. Jacqueline Lichtenberg began the KRAITH series, zines dedicated to one particular ST character (such as FUHURA) came into existence, and writers began to deal primarily with character development in their stories.
The most popular vehicle used by the writers of this period as they attempted to delve into the characters of Kirk or Spock was the 'get' story. The element of pain and agony seemed necessary to the writer, especially in Spock's case. It proved to be the easiest and most effective means of exploring and exposing the characters' inner selves. As the stories unfolded, we had an opportunity to see how Kirk or Spock would deal with stressful situations, how each would react to pain and humiliation, what needs each had, and the 'whys' behind their actions and reactions.
Although the emphasis in these stories was on just one of the characters, the element of relationship was not totally ignored. Few writers could deny that at least something existed between these two men. In many cases, this something was not explored. Their friendship was included more or less as an accepted fact and played only a minor role. However, some writers recognized that the relationship between Kirk and Spock was in some way special and felt that the feelings between them would surface if one was in danger or placed in a position of suffering. The exploration of these feelings appeared as a secondary theme and the reader was offered various insights into the relationship.
In "Mind Sifter," Shirley Maiewski explores the way Spock would be affected by his Captain's absence. The depth of the relationship is defined as the reader sees how far Spock would go to find Kirk and discovers that a mind link exists between the two men. Diane Steiner in "Spock Enslaved" touches on the way each would react to the other's suffering and demonstrates in a few scenes what they would be willing to sacrifice for each other.
Yet in most of these stories an outside character Jan Hamlin, Deeja, had been created, through which Kirk or Spock could express their feelings and have most of their needs met. As fans interested in the relationship read or wrote these stories, they began to question the validity of allowing these extraneous characters to develop such close ties with Kirk and Spock. Why couldn't Kirk alone have met Spock's needs on Atlantis? Could Spock have helped Kirk as much as Jan under the same circumstances? Other ideas that had been presented in the stories also raised questions. Did a mind link exist between them? If the two shared a close friendship, wouldn't Kirk have made some effort to help Spock over the death of Deeja? The relationship elements of these stories were analyzed and discussed and fans began to realize just how little they knew about the relationship and how little had been written.The effect of this thinking promptly showed up in the zines. Writers began submitting stories that dealt solely with the relationship. Illos started appearing in INTERPHASE's portfolio section that seemed desi]]gned to evoke relationship interpretations. STAR TREK LIVES! set aside several chapters to discuss the friendship between Kirk and Spock. Prompted by these events, Beverly Volker and Nancy Kippax decided to publish CONTACT, not only as a vehicle for their own stories, but as a forum in which K/S stories could be grouped under one cover.
Surprisingly, it soon became apparent that most writers held basically the same view of the relationship. Readers were presented with a deep, almost spiritual friendship between two very strong men. Kirk and Spock complimented each other, added to each others' lives. The relationship between them filled a void that they had not necessarily been aware of previously. The friendship was one capable of withstanding stress and the passage of time. Neither man would be unaffected by separation or death. Each writer, through Kirk and Spock, tried to express her vision of the ideal friendship. Omission of, or addition, to the elements mentioned above occurred as each writer decided what factors make up such a friendship. Thus, variations within this framework did exist, primarily in the intensity which the writers ascribed to Kirk and Spock's feelings toward each other. Some stories reflected the attitude that one would not or could not live without the other. In "World Well Lost," by Diane Steiner, and in Gerry Downes' "One Last Time" Spock chooses death over a life without Kirk. Yet, in Martha's "My Life Closed Twice," Spock, though he feels a void after Jim's death, does go on. However, in all of these stories, regardless of the intensity, the friendship remained a platonic one.After having defined the relationship in their own minds, the writers had to express these ideas dramatically. They wanted not only to define the relationship for the readers, but to have Kirk and Spock realize and express what their friendship meant to them. Expression was particularly important. Possibly the most overwhelming reason for this was simply that Kirk and Spock had for so long not expressed their feelings that the prospect of a word or a touch was just too inviting to ignore. Writers and readers wanted to see some obvious manifestations of the feelings that they knew were there and they felt that a story would be incomplete if the characters went through a crisis and still returned to the old roles of pretending there were no feelings between them.
Authors realized that the death of one of the characters could be an extremely effective means to evoke a response. Kirk's anguished cry at the end of "Dying Inside" by Shirley Maiewski would satisfy any reader. Yet, few authors wanted to kill off Kirk and Spock just to satisfy their own desire to see some manifestation of their caring. The answer was found in the earlier 'character' stories. In them, writers had used get stories and hurt/comfort as the means of exploring an individual. It was also an ideal way to explore the relationship. Here was a way to get past the restraint, force some expression, and still have the characters around to suffer through it again. In responding to our survey, most writers were hard put to come up with a story that included not hurt/comfort, especially if the definition is "broadened to include psychological suffering. Pain and agony, "both internal and external, became the simplest and most justifiable way to keep (Kirk and Spock") in character while acting uncharacteristically.The reaction of the reader also came to play an important part in the popularity of these stories. "Hurt/comfort has intrinsic values of wish-fulfillment, with ever present sexual underlyings and other vaguely known connections with the world of the subconscious.
Often leaving plotting and action to longer stories, vignettes were composed in which life and death situations or pain of disease or injury forced some expression from the characters. Because for so long Kirk and Spock had said nothing, the expressions at first were of a restrained nature. A brief look or touch or even just saying the other's name sufficed. For example, in "Tower of Terror", Jennifer Gutteridge paints a compelling picture of Spock's ordeal nothing she or the enemy can throw at him will stop him from searching for Kirk. His actions show that he cares, yet Spock does not consciously think about his affection for or loyalty to Kirk. The only though in the Vulcan's mind is that he must find Kirk, with no verbal reason given. The only overt expression is at the end, when Kirk gathers Spock into his arms and Spock calls Jim's name just before losing consciousness.
An awful lot of pain just for a "Jim", wasn't it? Many writers thought so, too. They began searching for other techniques through which Kirk and Spock could show their caring. Since too much verbal expression was viewed as being out of character, the methods employed had to be of a less direct nature. Touching became one of the most frequently used means of demonstrating their love. As with verbal expression, it was at first limited and fairly restrained, usually a supportive hand on the shoulder or taking the unconscious friend's hand. Writers soon began to increase the intensity of the pain to justify more touching. Pain-racked bodies could be held closely; wounds examined and cared for. Inner, or psychological pain was found to be just as effective. The death of a friend or the psychological impact of torture, especially on Spock, could create a situation where the need for comfort was even greater than if the character had it also, became more intimate, characterized by an implied sensuality.
- With exquisite gentleness, Spock reached over to Kirk and unsealed the Captain's tunic at the neckline.... He finished stripping Jim and walked him into the [shower] stall and scrubbed him down, cleaning the lingering sweat of horror away, trying to ease the tension out of the cramped muscles...Spock tenderly combed the tangles out of Jim's hair, then led him back into the main room...The catharsis had left a tremendous latitude of mind and body...Spock rose long enough to pull the covers up over Jim's shoulders, then crawled in beside him, too spent to bother with undressing, he let sleep take him, he permitted himself the venial luxury of throwing one protective arm across Jim's chest.
"De Profundis" was possibly the first story to take the hurt/comfort syndrome this far and it paved the way for other writers to continue the trend. In "Summer's End," the description of Kirk's comforting of Spock during his final breakdown is just as evocative, while in "Born of Ashes" the mutual relief in the closing clutch scene was felt not only by the characters, but by the reader as well as writers found that such intimacy could not believably appear as the sole means of expression in their stories. Many combined the scenes of physical comfort with passages in which one or both of the characters admitted to himself just what the other meant to him. In most cases, these admissions were not at all restrained and were at times quite poetic. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that this technique had already been experimented with in fan poetry, so when it was transferred to a fiction format, the basic style remained. The use of Spock's ability to mind-meld was also used in a few stories. In "I Need You, Baby", M.L. (Steve) Barnes weaves the thought technique through the story, leading up to a final meld scene. In it, Spock at last 'tells' Jim how he feels; he admits his love. "Nebula of Orion", by Gerry Downes, represented one of the most strenuous melds. Not only was McCoy's presence required in order to strengthen Spock's mind, it was the emotion of love Itself that they showed to Kirk which saved him.
Eventually, the continued appearance of these three techniques touching, thoughts, and melds altered the writers' concepts of what could be considered 'in character.' Over the years, Kirk and Spock had admitted to themselves how important their friendship was. They had held each other, cried into each other's arms and, more than once, had died for each other. Wouldn't two men who had shared so much be able to admit, even to discuss, their feelings? Wouldn't the inability to express be more out of character? Many writers began to allow the characters to speak out. Admissions were at first awkward and somewhat embarrassing for both of them, but eventually, some did attain the unrestrained nature of the earlier thought passages. Kathy Penland's "Without the Gardener's Craft" is a lovely example of Spock's turning to poetry to express his feelings.
- "His fingers still at Kirk's temple, he quoted softly, his voice a gentle caress in the still room: 'So long as we love we serve/So long as we are loved by others... we are indispensable./ And no man is useless while he has a friend."
It now appeared that writers had taken the relationship as far as they could. We had seen the gradual progression from a very aired-Trek approach to writing, through get-stories that included extreme pain and resulted in more and more intimate forms of hurt/comfort between the characters. The topic, a platonic friendship, had remained the same. During this time, however, the subject of a sexual involvement for Kirk and Spock began to to discussed in fannish circles. We could say that is was only logical that these discussions might finally be put down in the form of stories. Regardless of the possibility, probability, or believability of this theme, there are several reasons why the stories are now being published and why they are finding increased acceptance.
The main reason these stories have been published is the parallel acceptance and discussion of homosexuality in our Twentieth Century world. Homosexuals have been in the news with the gay-rights movement, the counter movements of anti-gays such as Anita Bryant, and television and popular literature have explored the theme a great deal. Trek-fen have always been a very vocal and open-minded group if we can accept a pointy-eared alien First Officer, women in command positions, all races having gained total equality, we surely should be able to accept homosexuality. Indeed, the philosophy of IDIC and the Federation's Prime Directive guarantee all beings the right to live as they choose. Many fans also state that since morality has not remained constant throughout history, perhaps the ideas of right and wrong would have changed again by ST's time.Also, fan writing has gradually matured in its exploration of more adult and more universal themes over the years. We've grown from merely writing out our own fantasies to trying to say something to others. STAR TREK itself has been called a morality play, for it showed the evils of war, the need for religious freedom, and man's need to struggle to live. Fan writers have followed this trend, and with the homosexual issue gaining in impetus, they used ST as a vehicle. "Every writer had an opinion about (homosexuality) and what better way to express it than through Kirk and Spock, who were already established as honorable, moral, masculine examples." (Beverly Volker)
As to why fans began writing these stories in the first place, the reasoning is more complex. First, so very many stories had been written which included intense hurt/comfort that the fans began to reach a saturation point. Not only did there seem to be a dearth of new ways to then injure and comfort the characters, there was also the ever-present guilt syndrome caused by what seemed a sadistic pleasure in hurting Kirk and Spock. As Laurie Huff put it, "...the writer no longer need make the characters suffer to get them close. How much nicer for the characters! They can have fun for a change! Saves the writer's conscience!"
Although the possibly morbid fascination with pain and agony has always been with us, we have also pointed out that hurt/comfort has been an element of reader enjoyment. The reader was moved by the moments of tender solicitude between the characters and as this type of story proliferated, she began to read with an eye to searching for such a moment. If it did not come, or if the scene was too similar to others already experienced, the reader was disappointed in the story. If the moment was extended or added something new to the relationship, if the characters were fulfilled and soothed by it, then the reader in turn was satisfied. However, it did become more and more difficult to find this satisfaction. Certain techniques, whose sole function it was to get the characters in close physical proximity, became over-used.
Remember the first time you read a story in which Spock pushed that lock of hair off Kirk's forehead? It is a lovely gesture, but how many times can reading it elicit the same reaction? Taken collectively, it seems a cliched way of showing Spock's solicitude and one wonders if Kirk might not eventually have "a groove worn in his forehead" by its repetition. (Teri White)In other words, the more hurt/comfort stories that were written, the more intensity was required to initiate the 'gut-grab' response. And if the writers had apparently gone as far as they could go with causing physical pain, then another area had to be explored.
For another of the reasons for the published K/S sex stories, we'll have to examine what was going on in the rest of fan-fiction. The Mary Sue stories had been around since the early days and are a somewhat more obvious form of wish-fulfillment than the male-male hurt/comfort. In the Mary Sue story, a female character invented by the author, often her alter ego, was the person selected to comfort the writer's favorite character. Whether or not the Mary Sue 'gets' her character at the end of the story, we have still seen her interacting with and caring about him, as well as seeing some of his responses. Usually, of course, the Mary Sue set her cap for the Vulcan half of the K/S duo and certain types of pain, physical and/or psychological, were inflicted on him in order to break down his defenses. Readers, in turn, grew accustomed to seeing some of the Vulcan's tense aloofness relax. However, Mary Sue stories have been condemned for their fantasy image and because, in any incarnation, they have never quite lived up to the type of woman Spock, or Kirk for that matter, would love forever.
If a Mary Sue wasn't sufficient, then perhaps the true love of Kirk or Spock could be found in the established crew. Stories which paired Uhura with Kirk, Spock with Christine, or with guest females were tried and found some degree of acceptance with the critics of the Mary Sue stories. However, due to the fact that the females aboard the Big E had less well-developed characterizations, widespread agreement with the choice of partners could not be achieved.Thus, for 'relationship' fans at least, no satisfactory female character has ever been found who can fulfill all the needs of either Kirk or Spock. Whatever virtues any of them have had, none has quite measured up, and these females have been permitted to die or leave the scene in some way. As Gerry Downes so aptly phrased it, "...we all empathize with Kirk and Spock, we all love then, and we are getting darn tired of the broad of the week dying/leaving at the end. of the story. And the Mary Sue's of fanfic are satisfying only to the author... These men are just so terrific, so perfect even with their imperfections, that it is hard for us raised within a male-dominated culture to find/create a believable female who can fill the bill." Yet both Kirk and Spock are lonely men, they need someone who understands and cares. If they have achieved psychological visibility on so many other levels, why should the depths of their caring not extend into the physical?
As mentioned earlier, when looking at the entire body of fan-fiction, the cumulative effect is that Kirk and Spock have been through quite a lot together even more than we saw on television. They have given so much, riskedso much so many times and in so many stories, that the reader begins to see an even more intense relationship. Any close friends who have suffered and loved through so much must surely be more dependent upon each other than they would normally be. "Many fans see (the relationship) as extremely intense, much more so than we saw on aired-Trek, due to the influence of fan-fiction which highlighted it. (These) fans say that a sexual liaison is 'inevitable' for the pair, and given the intensity which they believe exists, I'd probably have to concur." (Nancy Kippax) The effect is compounded by their personalities. Kirk, in the lonely role of command, requires someone to rely on, but Spock's Vulcan make-up has given more fuel to the writers. Spock needs someone he can relate to, and finding that Kirk has filled this need, we have seen in some stories a Spock who is much more dependent upon Kirk than a very aired-style Spock. Also, his telepathic powers as a Vulcan automatically allow a deepening of the relationship.
Thus, these two factors a very intense view of the relationship and the idea of bonding have played their part in the speculation of a sexual lovebetween Kirk and Spock. Many stories and poems have been written in which a 'bonded death' occurs have been written. If they have become bonded, what happens what Spock experiences his next Pon Farr? If they are in such close mental contact would not a sexual liaison be inevitable outside of Pon Farr? If they love each other in every other way why not this? These questions, of course, are taken from the viewpoint that Kirk and Spock are real people. Viewed as fictional characters, however, the same kinds of questions arise. "The fans wish to preserve the K/S relationship after the five-year mission, and they wish to see it grow progressively more intense. The sexual issue offers a plausible reason to keep the characters together." (Laurie Huff) At any rate, the spiritual oneness of Kirk and Spock has been carried a step further in stories in which bonding an-Dears. and this has helped to persuade many fans of the possibility of sex between Kirk and Spock.
So far we have discussed four reasons for the writing of K/S love stories the immediacy of the topic, the dissatisfaction with Mary Sue or other female characters, the saturation with other forms of hurt/comfort, and the idea of an intense or bonded relationship. One more factor, the role played by sensuality in writing has resulted in these stories.
We have mentioned that as the characters were allowed more and more touching, the writing of these scenes became more intimate, more richly descriptive, in order to evoke reader response. Readers became accustomed to seeing Kirk and Spock hold each other, and each time it was a little easier to accept more and more intimacy. Yet imagine reading the final scenes of "Summer's End" or "Born of Ashes" before seeing any of the more restrained expressions on the part of the characters. Now, if a story in which Kirk and Spock make love is the first fan-fic you've ever seen...? Guaranteed heart attack!
Kirk and Spock would never have dreamed of going to bed together if they hadn't 'gotten used' to touching each other in all the fan stories published over the years. They really seem to have let us talk (or write) them into it! Seriously, though, the seeds of a deepening relationship must have been around since aired-Trek, but it has taken the increasing degrees of intensity in fan-fiction to bring it out.Nevertheless, readers have wanted to see them being close and intimate. We have seen that there are sexual connotations to hurt/comfort which result in satisfying reader wish-fulfillment, and love stories go one step further. Many women admit that sex scenes "between two men are a turn-on, and even outside of Trek, many women are fascinated by male homosexuality.
Thus, even though not all writers made the changeover from writing platonic stories to sexual love stories and even though not all 'relationship' fans see K/S in exactly the same way, the time seemed right for these new forms to find an audience. In 1976, Gerry Downes published "Alternative, the Epilogue to Orion" one of the first widely read sexual relationship stories. Just as we have said that the seeds for the further development of the relationship lay in intense hurt/comfort and stories in which mind-melds play an important role, it is interesting to note that "Alternative" was based on another of Gerry's stories already cited in this article, "Nebula of Orion." Kirk and Spock achieved a greater rapport due to the mental strain they were under in "Nebula" and, due to Pon Parr, the relationship deepened to a complete bonded love affair. However, the story concludes with a dissolution of the bond.
Other stories followed, exploring the theme along other lines. In Leslie Fish's "Shelter", hurt/comfort alone was the cause of the first sexual experience between the two men. Reasons for continuing the sexual relationship have been discussed and written into stories. We have now seen Pon Farr stories, hurt/comfort situations in which they enter the sexual affair somewhat rashly, as well as stories in which they decide to continue it. At this date, with the projected appearance of several zines based entirely on this new view of the relationship, the topic, the Kirk/Spock friendship has been changed to the K/S sexual relationship. The changing styles of writing about it, as much as the inherent personalities of the characters for they are not real individuals and are thus incapable of actually changing in their own right have been sufficient to render the change in the overall topic.In fandom, these stories have met with varying degrees of acceptance. Just as Mary Sue stories and get-ems have received both pro and con reviews, so have the sexual stories. Because of the nature of fan-fiction, anyone may publish her own zine and thus air her own opinions. It seems that these stories are here and will be with us for at least a little while longer until the trends of fan-fiction change once again. We cannot predict the direction next year's zines will take, any more than anyone could have predicted that STAR TREK would live as long as it has. There may be stories published next year which make the current 'forms of entertainment look like a folk dance.' (Kirk, BREAD AND CIRCUS).
If fandom is the living, growing body we believe it to be, it will survive these changes. One conclusion remains. It was stated above that Kirk and Spock are now living people. Whether they are simply fictional characters, or some perfect future dream, we have helped them to live. Kirk and Spock do have something very special between them, something that many of us, in our mundane lives. Twentieth Century, Earth-bound existence, have searched for. Be it a close friendship, spiritual love, or sexual bond, it has been given one all-encompassing name: the Kirk/Spock relationship.