The Internet: K/S and Internet Connections
|Title:||Internet: K/S and Internet Connections|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
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The 21 century has been called the Communication Age. As Internet technology burgeoned around the developed world, people with niche interests like K/S have been able to connect almost instantly across the miles. It shouldn’t surprise those who know her that where there’s a possibility of networking with slashers, Kathy Resch has been near the heart.
Says Kathy: “I first went online about May of 1995. A friend told me about the Star Trek message boards on AOL, one of which was ‘Are Kirk and Spock Lovers?’ I went there right away. None of the posts were from anyone who seemed to have any knowledge of K/S fandom. Several people said, yes, they liked the idea. There were, of course, trolls (K/S objectors being intentionally disruptive) going on about how nasty and disgusting we all were. “I posted a short message to the list. As I recall, I said, ‘Of course they are. E-mail me, and I'll tell you more.’ Several people did. I told them about fanzines, the history of K/S fandom, and that there were lots of people who loved this idea so much that entire novels had been written about the premise. “Conversation on this list petered out pretty quickly; a lot of that was due to all the trolls. Also, AOL kept changing the interface of the boards. The look of and access to the interest areas kept changing.”Killa tells about making a connection from the other side: “Around the middle of 1995, I found a thread on the AOL Star Trek message boards that said, ‘Are Kirk and Spock Lovers?’ I clicked on it, and the first message there was posted by Kathy Resch. It said, ‘Of course they are! E-mail me for details.’
John Ordover was then the senior editor of Star Trek novels for Pocket Books. He was also exploring the Internet as a means of communicating with Trek readers. He regularly visited, made announcements on, and held conversations on several of the Trek forums including the Usenet group, alt.startrek.creative (ASC). As well as copious chat, fiction—including both slash and het erotica—was being posted there and had been for years before he appeared in early 1996, pretty much putting an end to the “how much do TPTB know?” issue. While there was a mixed reaction to his presence in the newsgroup including some suspicion, posting was not hampered. If anything, it incited more discussion of fan fic and the appeal over pro fiction. When Ordover announced the establishment of the Strange New Worlds contest anthology for gen Trek fan fiction and encouraged board and group members to enter, a lot of the concern was assuaged. Still, it was becoming clear that you never knew who could be out there reading your posts. Not everyone was as comfortable discussing K/S and all it meant to them in such an open forum.
Fans who connected with each other in public groups could move to e-mail, to private chats, or—later—create private Web based groups. Similarly, K/Sers who already knew each other could take advantage of the speed and (sometimes!) increased convenience of Web communication without going “public.” Dot Laoang describes a group—the K/S Circle—which she co-founded in 1996, as the first exclusively K/S forum online.
Other similar groups—such as the Zinophiles—later formed to discuss K/S and other slash fiction, without the expense of toll calls or the time factor inherent in the postal service, but without any intention of sharing fiction through them.
In 1996 PEJA formed the KirkLovesSpockFic mailing list, ostensibly for the collection of K/S fiction for her Internet holding ground. Yet, by group consensus, in the early years it served almost solely for (sometimes lively) discussion of K/S and K/S writings, and not so much as an entry portal for stories. By long tradition, K/S fiction was still print zine based unlike, ironically, a lot of the newer slash fandoms it had spawned.Nowadays the Yahoo group KirkSpockCentral is the hub for K/S specific networking. Although it welcomes new K/S fiction, for the most part it disseminates information and encourages discussion; few stories appear there. But the Internet is dynamic and always in flux. Fortunately, wherever K/S may appear tomorrow, it’s only a few clicks away.