The K/S Press/Issues 031-040

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The K/S Press 31 (March 1999)

  • a fan writes:
    I applaud the difficult decision Jenna and Shelley had to make...and although a purposeful civility could be criticized as somehow censorial, it's sure fine with me if we tend toward being a kinder, gentler KSP. I don't want to engage in society's arguments that can never be "won."
  • a new fan writes that while she doesn't necessarily see a sexual relationship in the series, she still enjoys the fiction:
    The only thing I tend to hesitate about is the actual sexual relationship between Kirk and Spock. In fact, the stories I prefer are those without the normal timeline for the very reason that it is easier for me personally, to accept that relationship in those scenarios. In the Mirror Universe, for example, where love and trust are rare commodities, the fact of finding a being, whether it be male, female, gaseous or liquid, who can assure both, is not to be taken lightly. Thus the Kirk/Spock relationship in this reality, is completely believable and acceptable—I would even say necessary. I can easily understand the mechanism by which K/S has come into being as it’s true that in the TV series, and more so in the films, there are many moments which could fuel the idea of a sexual relationship between the two— glances, touches, concern for one another—but it is also true that Kirk behaves in much the same way towards McCoy and towards his crew in general. It’s in his nature to touch, smile, encourage, defend, be concerned for, and show compassion towards others, especially those under his command for whom he feels great responsibility. As far as Spock is concerned, it’s not difficult to see him becoming more than attached to Kirk who shows him such understanding and respect for his feelings. My doubts, however, do not dull my enjoyment of the stories, some of which are excellent, far out-classing many short stories and novels on sale in bookshops and written by best-selling authors (and I’m referring to literature in general).
  • a fan writes:
    I don‘t know my first zine, but I do know that one of my first ones must have been Nightvisions—if this and similar ones are responsible for my still very romantic outlook, I don’t know. As far as I know I never changed my favorites, my basic vision of the two guys. While I agree that conflict inside the relationship makes good drama, I like the romantic stories better, where they are equals, where there are no reasons for power games and words like submission and dominance. Real life is so filled with stupidity, homophobia and violence and I’m really allergic against people who want me to submit to them, to be the little, weak woman who is the one who is acted upon and not the one who acts. I get angry over most of the slavery and rape stories. I really don’t need that in my world of refuge, too. For that is K/S is for me, my refuge, the place I run to when I’m hurt by the world outside.
  • a fan looks back on some of the early zines in her collection and attempts to define K/S:
    the term "Kirk/Spock relationship" originally referred to the deep friendship between the two. Stories based on that theme (with or without the element of hurt/comfort) seemed to grow ever more intense until they developed into what I like to think of as pre-K/S: tales in which, after pages of anguished soul-searching and hints of feelings "beyond friendship," one or the other of the characters (usually Kirk) would think something along the lines of, "...a word that's never been said between us, my friend. Love...." And that would be it! That kind of writing was undeniably suggestive; at the time it was controversial because it took Star Trek fan fiction in a direction some folks did not care to see it go. But did it qualify as genuine K/S? I don't think so, for the simple reason that it had no sexual content—and by content I don't necessarily mean explicit depictions of sex acts. I do mean the acknowledgment by Kirk and Spock that they either desire such physical intimacy or that it already exists between them. Beyond that are lots of possible scenarios, from one-time physical encounters to committed relationships to conflicts that prevent one or both partners from acting on his desire or that cause the relationship to fail, not to mention the possibilities presented by the mirror universe and various alternate universes. Not all of these may be to everyone's liking, but I submit that they're all K/S. A genzine editor would certainly think that they are!
  • regarding a same-sex kiss on an episode of Star Trek: DS9:
    I was thinking how they didn't really need to show that kiss, that it was rather gratuitous...and I was surprised at myself for thinking this—me who thinks we need to keep seeing images such as this until they no longer become shocking to those who would disapprove. If they had stopped just short of the kiss itself, but kept in all the thick and overt innuendo, it would have been good enough for me, and wouldn't have stirred up the ire that I'm sure the moralists were stirring up about it. I think because they don't have many heterosexual kisses on DS9, I felt, why show a same-sex one?
  • a fan writes of zines:
    I’ve also been enjoying one of my most favorite pastimes: sitting on the floor with K/S friends in the middle of stacks of zines, pouring over them—looking at the artwork, discussing the authors and the stories. The hours just fly by and it really stimulates the K/S juices! And it stirs up memories of when I first got the zine and how I felt about the stories when I was first into K/S. And just a thought—it’s amazing how the publishers created some of those gorgeous zines. All without a computer, scanner or clip art! Probably just a typewriter and long hours of work. If you haven’t seen some of the early zines, you should. They’re really wonderful.
  • a fan attempts to define K/S:
    It will vary with every different reader, I think, and with different editors as well. The editors probably have more to say about defining it because of the stories they choose to print, don’t you think? I’m one of those who believes that affection between the fellows isn’t enough to make a story K/S, even the deepest, most abiding type of affection. For me, the sexual interest has to be present to put a story into my own personal category of K/S, but I don’t demand that a sex scene has to be part of each and every story. I have written a story that has no sex scene in it, so I can’t exactly argue the other way! I’m not exactly sure I totally agree with Greywolf when he writes: “any story where the two of them admit their love for one another, and acknowledge that they belong together, no matter what, is a K/S story.” For me, that’s true only when their love is a sexual love, and when they belong together because they are a sexually mated couple. That’s K/S, for me. I have read gen stories where they have lived together in an apartment on Earth in platonic friendship, have expressed their friendship in terms of “love” and that would fall under the definition as expressed above, but I don’t personally think that makes a story K/S. These stories appear in zines such as Vault of Tomorrow, Galactic Discourse, Mind Meld and other similar hurt/comfort gen zines.
  • a fan doesn't consider the Star Trek movies canon:
    I also have found it hard to reconcile the “You should have trusted me” speech from The Undiscovered Country. But I haven’t tried very hard, as I consider all the movies to be alternate universe, and I don’t feel any compulsion at all to think of them as part of the canon that definitely happened. I have seen a few stories that attempted to explain the state of their relationship at that time, and I suppose if you just think they were going through a temporary rough spot, it can make sense. After all, even the best of marriages have some stormy seas at times, and they are worth working through because the basic foundation of the relationship is so strong, and the rewards of being together so great. If I had to write a story explaining Kirk’s comment, that’s how I would approach it.

The K/S Press 32 (April 1999)

  • a fan writes of K/S Day:
    Here it is K/S Day and I've actually celebrated it. Thanks to the work of our wonderful librarian... I received a 'shipment' today containing the Chris Soto music video. I thought my three-year old would never take a nap, but I finally got him to sleep. Then, diet coke in hand, I sat down to relax and watch. The video beautifully expresses the love between my two favorite characters and even gave me a couple of laughs in a few places. After watching that, I decided to really be decadent, put on some relaxing music and pulled out some of my old favorites, including Companion. I browsed through them, rereading some of my favorite stories and thinking about the many, many years I've been a Star Trek fan in general and a K/S fan in particular. It was a most enjoyable afternoon and I hope everyone else enjoyed theirs as much as I enjoyed mine!
  • a fan addresses another fan's earlier comment about liking K/S but being unsure about how she felt about the sex part:
    There are probably a lot of devoted K/Sers around (I’m one of them) who felt as you do at one time or another. After all, the K/S relationship as portrayed in TOS was platonic. I began watching the episodes way back when they first came out, and at that time (both because I was pretty young and because our culture was much less open about homosexuality than it is now) it never even occurred to me that the characters might be experiencing sexual love for one another. So, years later, when I first heard the suggestion that K & S were lovers, my initial reaction was negative, not because I had any objections to homosexual relationships, but because I just wasn’t used to thinking of those particular characters as being sexually intimate. But the more I thought about it, the more reasonable the sexual aspect of the relationship became... Maybe as you read more K/S you will come to think of Kirk and Spock as lovers. Maybe not. Either way, I think it’s great that you’re remaining open to the possibility and enjoying the stories set in other universes and the romance and beauty of K/S literature.
  • a fan learns to savor:
    During the long (zine) dry spell, I learned something quite enlightening. Those stories I sucked up through the double straw that was my mind in those early “there’s no end to zines” days—those same stories can now be read more slowly and thoughtfully and they are hardly recognizable.
  • a fan who's never met another one in person asks:
    Without the advantage of speaking to anyone about K/S, I’ve never really known how to pronounce T’hy’La. Can someone show me? Two syllables or three? “Thigh-La” or “Ta-high-la”? Help!

The K/S Press 33 (May 1999)

  • on the pronunciation of T'hy'la:
    I don ́t think anybody knows for sure how "T ́hy ́la" is pronounced. Shatner had once a very creative approach to it, if I remember correctly (but I wonder where he got the idea from? Gene himself?). As far as I know most of the English tend to pronounce it Tee-high-la. But there is a wonderful song by Julia Ecklar and she pronounces it Tee-hee- la. This is corresponding more with the classical Latin pronunciation of the letters, as we have it with rather all the Vulcan words as heard in Star Trek. So it sounds more correct to me and I prefer it by far.
  • a fan has this to say about scanning old fiction to the internet:
    Some of us very stupidly used our ownnames on early stories and could get into serious trouble with family, jobs, and other important areas of our lives if our stories should be found on the net. So, if you can't get theauthor's permission, just don't do it!
  • a fan writes:
    I found it much easier to gafiate than to buck the current trends in K/S. (Believe me, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has a profoundly happy end compared to the stuff I really want to write.) There are lots of fandoms that have no LOC zines so you don't have to worry about what the fans think as long as you can get an editor to buy into your view of the characters. There are also fandoms where the LOCs reflect much broader views than the K/S zines seem to. Also different characters affect you differently, and what you might not be comfortable doing in K/S, you might find quite easy and natural in another fandom.
  • a fan addresses another:
    Thank you for your review of Killashandra's "Turning Point" and "Full Circle." While I appreciate the impact these stories have had on web fandom, you also need to realize that K/S encompasses 23 years of material, literally thousands of stories from hundreds of authors. There are many seminal stories and authors in this group, many of which set some of the conventions and style types we work with today. In fact the range is so large that there literally schools of conventions (such as the bond-mates-die-at-the-same-time school, the Spock-as-introvert school, the bond-as- guaranteed-monogamy school) and styles (hurt/comfort, comedic, PWP, action-adventure- romance, etc.) So, while Killa's vision and style are welcome in the mix, she's not likely to have as profound an impact on those of us who have read more widely and have had other conversion experiences.
  • Judith Gran writes about The Foresmutter's Project:
    In the April 99 KSP, Robin Hood referred to rumors that fans "are volunteering to scan the old stories onto the net", and stated her objections. We know of no project to scan in zines whole for posting online. Among other things, current scanning and character-reading technology can't cope with the print quality of most zines. There *are* people working to type in old zine stories for posting online. Insofar as this is organized (which it isn't), we call it The Foresmutters Project. We have been using our resources and influence to ensure: a) that no story will appear online without the explicit permission of the author or hir heirs. If the author cannot be identified and located, the story won't go up. b) that existing copyrights in works of fan fiction remain valid and that older works do not, through inadvertent omission of the proper copyright notice, pass into the public domain. In fan fiction, the copyright is almost always the author's, except in those rare instances in which the author has assigned hir copyright to the editor. c) that no story will appear online except under a name of the author's choosing. If the author wishes to remain anonymous online, we will encourage people who recognize the story not to "out" hir. Most of the interest in the Foresmutters Project so far has been directed toward material from the earliest days of slash -- stories in zines that are physically deteriorating. Our interest is not in posting stories from zines that are still in print. Because nothing is going up that someone isn't willing to type in, you can expect things to show up that are of historical or literary importance, but not the whole content of run-of-the-mill zines or zines that are still in print. The Foresmutters Project is by no means (theoretically) limited to K/S, but that's what people have been most interested in, so far. If there's an old zine story or poem that you love and want to save for the world, and that you're willing to do the work of typing up, contact Mary Ellen Curtin [email redacted] or Judith Gran [email redacted] Our function is to help people contact authors and to prevent duplication of effort. We will state that, at least for 1999, [Gayle F] does not wish her fanfiction or art to appear online, and we will do everything possible to see that her wish is respected. [1]
  • another fan writes of older fanfic and the internet:
    And now last but not at all least. I note in the previous issue acomment by Robin Hood referring to one person's offer to distribute out-of-print fanfic on the Net. A good start, but she missed the most important part of the story, namely that immediately following the posting of that offer, Judygran, myself, and about a dozen other Netfen hastened to tell this person that she must get each author's permission specifically before posting anything which had not previously been published online. And in fact, she has quite cheerfully agreed to this restriction, and has just advised us that one author, Leslie Fish, has in fact granted permission for one of her old stories to be posted online. So you see it never hurts to ask. Nothing was ever actually posted without permission, nor are there any plans afoot to do so, now or in the future. Folks, there are enough tensions and misunderstandings between the various branches of our K/S community; I cannot stress enough the vital importance of this: if you are reporting on something please get the whole story before jumping the gun and sounding the panic alarm. The last thing we need is a bunch of authors all freaked out over something that is not going to happen. To this day I do not understand the great fear of the Net that some of us profess. I believe that it is real, but I do not understand it. Where I live, if not for the Net I would still be alone and despondent, unaware that any of you even existed. If K/S is to survive, and I for one intend that it shall, we must learn to understand one another and work together. IDIC in action.
  • about reading and looking for slash:
    K/S has spoilt me for gen or even h/c stories in any genre or format or twosome. I’m an avid reader—my favorite reading for the last couple of years has been crime/thriller/mystery, both UK and US. I like it if there is a hint of a close friendship betwen males, tho’ this is rare. It only crops up in pairing that have a lot of stories written about them so that a relationship develops over time e.g. Holmes and Watson. And then then it’s written as respect, friendship, and definitely not slash. Not finding the relationships in straight books, I’ve tried gay novels but it doesn’t work for me. I gave up on them long ago because I couldn’t care about the characters, and most of the books dealt in sex, not love. Probably that’s realistic in the gay world, unlike our romanticized view... to return to the subject of male/male in stories, it seems we have to turn to fandom for that. And thank heavens for those kindred spirits who see what you see when others don’t. Some people would tell fandom generally, not just K/S or slash readers, and quite seriously too, to “Get a Life,” as if we live outside of reality in some strange limbo. My answer is that we have a life, and it doesn’t consist solely of fandom or K/S or whatever, nor have we replaced it with those things, but what we have done is enrich the life we have with the pleasure we get from our chosen subject. And we have also, all of us, in some way enriched the lives, even unintentionally, of others. How? Well, we write stories for others to enjoy, or simply for our own enjoyment and then find others feel the same; we read storeis and appreciate them, even if we don’t always say, and even if we don’t personally like the story we appreciate the author’s efforts; we lead others to the fandom/zines; we lend zines or tapes; we run cons; we attend cons; we draw pictures; we write reports, LOCs, letters; we meet and dicuss; we sing filks; we create music videos to touch the hearts and minds of others; and overall, we simply reach and touch, so that someone you’re never likely to meet is considered a friend, or the death of someone you know only by name and can’t even put a face to can make you sad. So, to any doubters or mockers, I say: I have a life, thanks, and what a life!
  • a fan writes:
    ... about posting old stories on the net? I would not want any of my stories on the net. It’s too exposed and too public. So I hope the idea is dropped. [2]

The K/S Press 34 (June 1999)

  • a fan writes this letter:
    PLEASE NOTE I DO NOT WISH ANY STORY IN ANY OF MY ZINES THE VOICE, LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY AND THE IN THE WILDERNESS SERIES TO APPEAR ON THE INTERNET AT ANY TIME. This is not a matter of the future of K/S but a matter of editorial control, and control of pen names. The zines were designed to be read from paper and held in the hand and I wish them to remain that way. Any attempt to publish is zine piracy and will be treated as such.
  • a fan writes about K/S stories on the Internet:
    Well, due to a recent job change, I was required to purchase a personal computer. I’m not on the net and of course the first thing I did was to go to the Star Trek sites. I was very amazed and shocked to find out how easy it was to locate “slash” and K/S pages on the web. I did not realize how easy it was for anyone, and I mean anyone, to find out about K/S by simply typing in Star Trek on the search page and going to all the sites. And while I admit that it was a benefit to me, since I downloaded many of the stories to my PC, I was more than a bit dismayed that it was on the web so openly. It left a rather bad taste in my mouth. It cannot be argued by anyone involved in this wonderful fandom that we are a unique group. And while everyone reading this newsletter finds nothing wrong with the idea of K/S, there are many, many people, including Star Trek fans, who do and they can be quite radical and vocal in their opinions on the subject. The fact that it is now so openly displayed on the web, for anyone to see, will only add fuel to their fire and perhaps threaten our special fandom. As someone who has been involved in K/S right from the very beginning, I have to say that the one thing that meant a lot to me about being involved in this fandom was the privacy I had when I ordered my zines. Except for the occasional lost zine, there was no chance that anyone else except the editor and myself would read the zine I ordered....And while there is a certain advantage to just screening up a web page and downloading a story instantly and for free, I think it is negated by the fact that it’s displayed so openly. When I was going through those web pages, I noticed that none of the main K/S editors and authors had contributed any stories or pictures on those pages. I think it’s bad enough that both Bill and Leonard have been questioned in public about the subject of K/S (certainly something that has to be uncomfortable for them, no matter how graciously they may handle such questions), but to give people who object strongly to our special fandom a chance to see it openly displayed with “no holds barred” on the net I think is just asking for trouble. K/S is a big part of my life (albeit a private one) and I would hate to see it end or have people involved in it feel ashamed because now due to new technology, it is literally available to anyone with a PC (just think of the number). I am sure that there is going to be a number of people who are going to disagree with me on this subject, but it is something that I feel very strongly about. I think that if K/S is to survive, it must remain underground. ...Can you imagine what Paramount might do if and when they find out about K/S being so openly displayed on the web? Especially since then they are already trying to shut down some Star Trek sites, because they feel it is a violation of their property rights to the series. I shudder to think what they might do if and when they find out about the “slash” sites. We don’t need any more nails in the coffin. K/S is not for everyone, so it shouldn’t be available to everyone. But it is and I think that is cause for worry.
  • a fan writes:
    For K/S Day I grabbed a notebook, a pen, a large cup of coffee... and started listing all the slash fandoms I’ve been active in, and then all the slash pairs I’ve read, thought about, discussed, etc. (and quite a list that is—I think I fall into the category of “slash slut”) and saluted James T. and Spock because if fandom had not had the courage and sense of freedom to write about and publish these writings about this first wonderful, had-to-be couple, none of the others that followed would have been written either. What a loss of love, compassion and companionship in the world that would be! A lot of philosophy says that we are what we think about—well, most of my slash-fan friends seem to spend a lot of their time thinking about love, sex, the difficulties of communication, friendship, the courage needed to start and continue a relationship, the pressures of the outside world impinging on a couple’s private world, work vs. love, etc., (all things that we face in our own lives) and since we are writing the stories, we can imagine happy, satisfactory endings even if “real life” isn’t as neat or happy. And what a wealth of friendships, hope and joy shared would not have occurred—I literally cannot imagine what life would be like if I had not discovered slash fandom. I came to slash from gen fandom and am very grateful that I did. I’m not saying, by the way, that all stories must have a happy ending—I’m saying that compared to the unrelenting grimness in the newspapers, the nightly news (and an awful lot of the main-stream literature), most fans tend to write stories in which the main characters are sensible adults who have the courage to reach out and to love. The fact that there are still stories, poems, artwork, zines being created around K/S, after nearly 30 years, is a delight, and a reminder that whatever slash pair I might currently fine sitting at the back of my mind saying “you KNOW there’s a story here and we want you to tell it!” I have the time to do it well. Fandom will still be there, whenever the story is done and the chances are excellent that there will be people to read it and to share (if only for the time needed to read it) this relationship that mattered enough to write. I love the idea that there are people discovering some of the earlier fandoms for the first time, as well as those who are re-discovering past obsessions, on-line as well as through zines, newsletters, etc. So, a salute to Spock and Kirk for their generous gift of a courageous, lovely past, a joyous present, and a vigorous future! Here’s to them, and to all the K/Sers who made and make it possible.
  • a fan offers her perspective:
    Sure I watch the other shows, just like I watch X-Files or Xena. Watching them doesn't change my appreciation for the original series. I have nothing invested in whether or not any of the subsequent incarnations of ST measure up to the original. Anyway, you can compare apples with pears--subjectively, as far as if you like one more than the other. As far as Voyager portraying a "Gol" type place on Vulcan, I liked seeing that, imagining the setting for Spock with a Vulcan master; I liked hearing new Vulcan words we can use. And as you said, with our own vivid imagination, we can take whatever we want out of what's presented to us.
  • a fan is a bit ambivalent about K/S:
    I don’t know if in the future I will come to unconditionally accept K/S but I do know that I love reading about the TOS characters (especially Kirk!) and I will happily devour any good stories about them (him)! I do feel, however, that all fans of TOS literature should pull together regardless of their reading preferences. In the past months I have read some wonderful K/S tales but I have also read some wonderful non-K/S stories and I believe there is ample space for both genres. I am especially pleased when I see an author writing stories for both. Michele Arvizu comes to mind in this moment as I have just recently read her “non-K/S” novella “Conduct Unbecoming” which I thought was terrific.
  • a fan addresses another:
    So glad to hear that K/S specifically has been helpful to you in dealing with gender ambiguities. I like what you said about not having to be one thing and that Spock has shown you can find a middle way. I’ve always thought that Spock is neither Vulcan nor human, he is his own special self, and he doesn’t decide to tap in to either one “half” of himself or the other. He is an integrated whole being, whether society has made that easy for him or not!

The K/S Press 35 (July 1999)

  • there is much chat, including extensive transcript excerpts, about the film Trekkies: whether it was respectful, whether the mentions of K/S, slash, and fiction were a good thing or not, whether it was smart to have the K/S fan keep her identity concealed, and who the heck Debbie Warner (writer of Voyager fiction) was... One comment:
    I am disturbed that the K/S fan was disguised, but admit that I wouldn’t have had the courage to go on air as openly as this Debbie Warner did. I really don’t object to anything she said, though, how could I, there was so little?
  • about how T'hy'la is pronounced:
    I think I can provide the definitive answer. Just after the novelization of ST:TMP appeared, Gene Roddenberry was on holiday in Scotland, visiting Janet Quarton, who for many years ran Star Trek clubs in Britain. There had been quite a bit of discussion in K/S circles about this very useful word, so I took the chance to ask him how it was pronounced. He replied "TUH-HIGH-LA," as best I can render it, the first syllable very short, the second stressed. Since several Scottish fans were present, we have always used that form. I suppose the man who made up the word should have the final say.
  • many fans discuss whether or not Spock is a "virgin" before he has sex with Kirk -- one writes:
    I think the answer one gives depends, as with so many questions, on how seriously you take canon as having the last and complete word to say on the lives and proclivities of the characters. Personally I'm all for filling in gaps where necessary, provided it's a reasonable conjecture and believably consistent with what we see on screen. For example, I find very hard to believe (though I can still enjoy) stories where Kirk and Spock have an established relationship during the original series. I can see it as a long courtship with them finally coming together (sorry!) after the end of Season Three, or perhaps after Gol... I really like to think of Jim as being Spock's first and only on that score, and vice versa. Call me an old romantic: not to mention the opportunities for long and slow first time foreplay."
  • a fan in England writes of a con that didn't happen:
    Avalon convention in Burton on Trent has been postponed a week before it was due to take place and if anyone was booked and having trouble they can try to phone [Lee P] [phone number redacted] but I ended up phoning the police, and refunds look like not being possible at time of this writing. So best of luck. They plan a con later this year instead, but it will be a brave soul who trusts them again. A lot of Trekkers had booked rail tickets that were non-refundable and so have lost more than just the registration money.
  • one fan contemplates why Spock is "so sexy":
    I am sure but there is another aspect of his appeal that seems to me is hardly ever discussed. This comes directly from Roddenberry himself who said "There is also another little side to Spock, just a hint or suggestion that pulls towards evil. I therefore thought his slightly satanic appearance would have a great female attraction". If I am totally honest, this is what it really is about Spock that attracted me to him in the first place as a fifteen year old teenager. In fact as an adult, I've recently asked myself the question "Would I have found him sexy if he didn't have pointed ears"? And the answer came back "No, probably not". This is dark stuff I know, but I have not yet come across it in K/S as a reason for his appeal. Perhaps the reason for this is because I have only been involved in K/Sforayearorso.It also seems to me that a lot of the appeal of Vulcans is the knowledge of all that repressed emotion and its (scary) potential for release. Leonard himself said that after "Amok Time" had been aired for the first time, his fan mail jumped from 400 to 10,000 letters a week! Are there any other K/Sers out there who also, like me, acknowledge this "dark" aspect of Spock's appeal, i.e. we are attracted to him because of his evil appearance?
  • a fan responds to another fan about the possibility of a sexual relationship between Kirk and Spock:
    I have the brave theory that by nature each human (and each Vulcan?) is bisexual but due to education, example, bad or nice experience, society and whatever is sexual attracted to one gender (or thinks he/she is). So Jim's female relationships don't exclude his love for Spock (although I can understand if Spock is jealous or, even worse, suffering). You wrote that in the episodes one can or cannot see that Jim and Spock have a sexual relationship. When I see the way Jim looks at Spock and vice versa I don't want to ask why they may not only share friendship but also sex, but want to ask "Why not?" Why should a perfect friendship/love (there is no clear dividing line) not only include soul and mind but body as well? Then it is said that their relationship would minimize their freedom and that it is strange that both of them had great success without the other before even knowing the other. In some stories it is told that they were searching for the Other Half without knowing. Sounds very right to me. And finally having found my Other Half I'd happily give up the tiny parts of my freedom which I may have been able to hold if I would be still alone.
  • is Spock a virgin:
    Is Spock a virgin? Well in my opinion the answer to this rests on when a story is set, I feel that it is quite possible in the original series, but less and less believable as the movies continue.
  • a fan in Germany addresses online fandom:
    I know the pros and cons of online K/S. And I understand the opponents very well. BUT, I would not be here with you if not for the Net and if K/S could not to be found in the Net. It may be different in the States but please consider the K/Sers in other countries! You wrote that K/S is not everybody's cup of tea and therefore it should not be available for everybody. Who wants to decide who will be allowed to have access and who not? Like you I feel very strongly about it too, but for another reason. I feel like to be kept away from K/S. The possibility of just being told about the existence of K/S is just one factor. Financial limits are another. You fear that the knowledge of K/S may be fuel to the opponents of K/S. So what? They may express their opinion. It is a pity if they do it not in a polite and reasonable way but they may do it, it won't change our opinion, will it not? By what means can our fandom be threatened? Opposite opinions to K/S cannot hurt me. You are a K/Ser right from the beginning. Wonderful! I wished I would be too. But it took a long time to discover even if K/S is what I searched instinctively. Being a longtime K/Ser please don't forget the people to discover K/S recently or in the future! I just don't understand your conclusion that K/S must remain underground to survive. It is easy to find K/S in the Net. Don't you think that the people of Paramount didn't find out long before too? I think they can handle a PC at least like we. I cannot imagine what they would be able to do against our fandom.
  • a fan in England writes about K/S on the net:
    I myself feel very grateful to the Internet, as it was through the Internet that I discovered K/S and finally found out how to buy my own zines. Actually I did not find it very easy to find K/S and although I knew of the premise It still took some searching to make my computer yield the information I sought. Then again I’m a dunce when it comes to surfing the information highway! Whilst I agree that obviously some people coming across K/S on the net are going to be offended, the Internet is full of offensive material, much more shocking things than K/S, that is one of the ‘risks’ of using it and only a small minority try to do anything about this, most just hit the back key when they encounter something not to their taste. Also if someone does not want it known that they like K/S, the Internet does not really pose a threat to those people. The only people ‘implicated’ are those with web pages or who post stories etc., but these people know that risk and accept that and there is still privacy for those who wish it. Look at it this way, I ask all of you… How did you get involved in K/S? Perhaps you knew someone, who knew someone or perhaps you discovered it at a convention in a zine ‘accidentally’ found in a box complete with the editors address, whatever. But what about those who don’t have useful connections or travel to cons? Should these ‘isolated’ people be excluded from our fandom? Isn’t ‘new blood’ what keeps a community alive? Who knows what talented authors/artists and potential friends may be just about to discover K/S on the net? Let’s face it Paramount knows about K/S on the net and I feel it would be very difficult for them to stop it. Every Star Trek series has its slash fandom (Picard/Q, Garak/Basher and Paris/Kim etc.) with all those web sights Paramount would have a huge job of removing it from the Internet. And even if they try to stop you selling stories about K/S no one can stop you from talking about it, discussing it etc. etc. Also K/S has been on the web for years, long before I discovered it, and I feel that since Paramount haven’t made much of a effort to remove it yet they probably aren’t going to. I feel that in this day and age when we are striving for an accepting society, it is a good thing that those who want to can discuss K/S openly on the net and any responsible person can make the decision themselves whether they want to explore the K/S they find on the net or whether to think ‘yeaugh’ and hit the back key. Keeping K/S underground is tantamount to saying it is something to be ashamed of. I fully appreciate that not everyone is in a position to be open about their K/S interests and I do not mean that those who want to keep it a private thing should be ‘outed’, but that those who want to be open about it on the net should be proud not to feel ashamed of their interests. There will always be a few people who think K/S is wrong and who will complain loudly about it, but this has always been the case. Surely most Star Trek fans know of the issue of K/S, after all long before the Internet it was mentioned in books about Star Trek and Fan fiction…. I would just like to add that I think it’s sad that anyone should feel their privacy is threatened by the Internet, but unless you actually put something on the net, your K/S secret remains just that—a secret known only to you, your zine collection and perhaps your PC.
  • a fan explains to others:
    If you've done more surfing for slash since the last KSP, you now know that K/S is far from a "unique group." On the contrary, there are more slash pairings out there than you can shake a lirpa at, and K/S is far from the most popular. Mulder/Skinner, Xena/Gabrielle, Chakotay/Paris, Ellison/Sandburg are all present on the 'net in staggering volume, and there are probably a dozen other pairings in various fandoms with more writers and stories than K/S. The only claim to special importance K/S might have is historical: we (or our Foresmutters) were first. But given that on the 'net anything from before 1995 is antique, I can't see how this makes K/S at particular risk for the Wrath of Viacom. Surely if TPTB are going to get in a swivet they will target slash from shows that are currently in production, such as Xena, Voyager, or the X-Files. The evidence is that TPTB in general know about slash and just don't care.
  • from another fan about online K/S:
    When I first heard of K/S being on the Net, I was horrified! Then I tried to understand how it allowed others much like you and I to experience the K/S phenomenon—people who may never have seen it otherwise. But I deeply share all your concerns for privacy and the fear that somehow this new medium sounds the death knell for our beloved K/S. If Paramount decides to squelch it, I expect they have the guns to do so. Maybe hard copy K/S could go deep enough to continue, but who knows? With few exceptions, we K/S Fen have lives very separate from our love of K/S. We have jobs that demand we present a public image that doesn’t tarnish the reputation of our place of employment (my employer’s mission statement says something to that effect and it hangs directly in front of my desk where I see it every day). K/S fans need their jobs. We need to protect our loved ones from possible embarrassment for what we do. We could put on the bravado and say “take it or leave it”, but how fair is that? It’s a delicate balance we keep between our obsession and our obligations. Obviously we are obsessed or we wouldn’t risk so much. When I allow myself to dwell on it, the topic of the Net still worries me a lot. I notice there are no small number of publishers who have been somewhat outspoken of late in expressing their wish to be kept off the net. Is it very naive to think perhaps we can keep the two entities (net & print) separate and thereby protect written K/S from exposure. Yeah, I guess I’m saying let the net users take the heat if it comes. What I’m suggesting is don’t use the same pen names, the K/S Press name, etc., on the net. Would that help protect K/S zines from coming under the scrutiny of Paramount?
  • a fan comments on K/S net presence:
    I agree with you that because of K/S being so openly on the net, anti-K/S ST fans (and others) can now so much more easily have a field day with K/S. Especially on the net, which allows them to safely be more vitriolic than they would be if faced with a group of warm-blooded K/S'ers in the flesh. Before, people with anti-K/S-type sentiment might have known K/S existed, but how and where to vent their stuff wasn't so easy. However, being out is a necessary step toward tolerance and inclusiveness and all that. I don't like the ugly-minded slobs intruding on such a special, private thing as my sex-and-love preferences and fantasies…but maybe they'll finally just give up and go away and play with themselves, because we're collectively too many in number for them to beat. Besides, no one can never stop us from doing K/S, ever. I mean, the worst-case scenario would be a "1984" type society, and that can't happen now. If it did, we would just gather in secret groups or talk on the phone and have a K/S oral tradition—what fun.
  • a fan writes that K/S is not pornography:
    Pornography uses nameless, faceless bodies to satisfy bodily needs of the readers. Nothing more. K/S are erotic stories which satisfy emotional needs. K & S are no "bodies" but people we know and love. We live and love with them. They are kind of friends and we share their lives in our stories. They are part of us. This can't be pornography.
  • another fan on online K/S:
    I'm online, too, and think the net is a great invention for communication. But we should remember that not only K/S fans have access. I, too, think we should rather remain underground. Hey, and you are right, that sweet anticipation of waiting for the zine is nearly as good as reading it!!!
  • the editor writes:
    A friend sent me an article that appeared in The Los Angeles Times Magazine on June 20, 1999. It's about the making of the movie Trekkies, and it's in the form of a diary by the show's director, Roger Nygard. And the article specifically mentions us! Here's what the entry for March 22, 1997, Pasadena says: "Today we interviewed two writers of underground, homoerotic Kirk/Spock stories at the Pasadena Convention Center. These stories are typically written by and for heterosexual women—women who want to read sexual stories about Kirk and Spock but don't want to imagine them with other women." That is the complete entry. Friends, whether we like it or not, we are in the media.

The K/S Press 36 (August 1999)

  • contains 38 pages
  • has LoCs for And We Fall in Love, “Best Laid Plans”, Ask and You Shall Receive, Blood Sport, But the Memories Remain, Clueless, Command Seminar, Cover of Night, The Edge of the World, Echoes of Forever, Enemy Mine, Escape Artist, Ever Warm, The Expert Neighbor, Fire on the Mountain, Forged in Fire, Intermission, The Gateway of the King, Just Another Cave Scenario, Lion Heart, Give Him Some Rope, Odyssey, No Price Too High, One Damn Lucky Bastard, One Man, Pacing the Cage, Reality Check, The Perfect Gift, Secrets in Stone, Splendor, To Face the Truth, Spirit Wind, Sweet Talk, Winter Rose, Virus, Waiting for the Sun from the zines Beyond Dreams #1, Counterpoint #5, Another K/S Zine, Amazing Grace (Best of the Net), Scattered Stars #12, Courts of Honor, First Time #38, #49, Within the Mirror #3, KaleidoScope #3, #6, The Voice #3, As I Do Thee #9, Morpheus Rising, Daring Attempt #6, The Prince, The KiScon Zine, Romulan Exchange, Naked Times #12, Those Who Believe, Within the Mirror #12, see those pages
  • there are seven con reports for Shore Leave #21
  • fannish comment is focused on con reports, whether Spock is a virgin, Spock's sometimes wimpyness in fanfiction, the effect of the internet on K/S regarding privacy concerns and keeping fandom underground
  • the internet and accessibility, and an early mention of some sort of e-reader:
    When I first discovered K/S on the internet a few years ago, my thought was—Wow! It's still out there! I read and surfed and read.... Yet I prefer real, solid, paper zines for the same reason I'll never buy one of those gadgets that you can download novels from the internet: they don't feel right. I guess I am just a book person.
  • the internet as a source of freedom:
    ...the privacy and protectiveness we fen feel for K/S comes into play. As a person living outside of the US, I find it difficult and expensive to acquire zines. As an educator, I am even a bit nervous that someone might accidentally intercept my "special packages". For these reasons I am extremely grateful that these stories are available FREE and at ANY TIME, with some measure of privacy—to me, the reader. Initially I felt a little guilty downloading people's stories, as if this were something shady. But they were there, presumably with the author's permission, and I could save them for another time to read, then keep for re-reading or discard as I chose. As someone whose first ever written K/S went into cyberspace for all to see, it scared and thrilled me at the same time. The instantaneous feedback was astonishing, and ego boosting, but the risk that someone could take those stories for their own—or find out my identity—was also something to deal with. Like a lot of things in this arena, we count on the good nature of our readers that stories won't be exploited or inappropriately distributed. That's the "code" of posting. Clearly asking permission from the author is the best way to deal with internet stories, but that can't be controlled, anymore than you can really control photocopying zines or novels or magazine articles, regardless of the warning's small print from the publisher.
  • at least one fan is distressed by some fans who are dividing into two camps regarding the internet and print-based fandom:
    Just re-read my latest issue of KSP and found my heart sinking something awful. How did we come to this place? Month after month I await this newsletter with eagerness, only to find yet more diatribes against the Net and the netizens, more disinformation, more fear. [Name redacted], I among many have enjoyed your stories, but stop and think, lass—why would anyone want to post yer stuff if yer so set against it? No one has proposed posting anything against the author's wishes. No one has posted anything in that way. Leslie Fish has allowed us, most graciously, to post "This Deadly Innocence" recently; for this we are all extremely grateful as none of us had ever had the chance to see this author's K/S work before. And a lovely story it is, too, and a thousand blessings to her for so kindly sharing it with us. But no-one wants to take away from an author's rights, least of all me who is an author myself. So please, all of you, stand down from battle stations, would you? To date there has been exactly ONE mess-up with online privacy issues—and the culprit there was a longstanding member of this print community who simply did not understand the conventions of online etiquette. And no I'm not going to say who—this person also has privacy rights, has already been apprised of their error, and the issue has been dealt with.
  • slash, specifically K/S, and the underground:
    [Regarding those] who think K/S must stay underground to be safe. If it were not online I and many others would lose all access but for the Library. I can't afford new zines unless they're contributor's copies — and I don't write all that fast, and do not wish to restrict myself to zine publication only, since I've never got much feedback here. I want to see both communities survive and prosper, but if it came to one or the other I would have to stay loyal to the Net. Without the Net I wouldn't even know there were any K/S fans in the universe except for myself, and that was no fun at all. And guys, think about it. The Net is HUGE. I mean, really huge. Amongst the white-power sites, the s-and-m websites, the myriad of pornsites, the fascist christian right-wing sites, the pedophilia and bestiality sites, the various nihilist/punk/hate sites, K/S is not even a drop in the bucket. K/S, wtth its portrayal of loving and caring relationships, isn't even significant compared to what else is out there. There are also enormous amounts of helpful, informative and entirely proper web sites. Paramount does not care a tinker's damn about fanfic. They only go after sites that post unauthorized images or sound clips, and they are well within their rights to do that. Fan fie is fair use; as long as no copyrighted material (i.e. images or sounds) is used, they do not pursue us. They have no intention of changing that. On line we have freedom and I for one will not have it be otherwise. If all of you are nice straight housewives then bless your hearts and may good fortune always be yours—but not all of us can say that. Not all of us have anywhere else to go. And there is no need for this obsessive fear and paranoia. Surely there are enough enemies out there without us looking at one another in that way? Must there always be fear and distrust where there should be brotherhood and welcome? This is breaking my heart.
  • regarding fandom on the internet:
    I don't have a computer and I can't be open about my K/S interest or any slash interest, so I originally was against the outing of K/S on the Net. I still wouldn't want my name or picture on it—at a recent Pros con I was one of several who ducked out of the group photo when a US fan was using her digital camera so as to put the pic on the Pros site. However, generally speaking, I am now far less worried by it. It would be different if K/S were the only slash fandom but as [name redacted] said, there are many slash pairings on the Net. At a friend's house, she took us in to several slash sites and there are loads of stories available from all kinds of shows, quite a few of which I'd never even heard of. As I don't watch much TV that's not totally surprising and I don't have cable or satellite but even my friend, an avid media fan, didn't recognise them. Another friend is overjoyed at the amount of "Sentinel" stories available; she doesn't print any out in case others in the house would find them, but rather stores them on disk and reads from the screen. While I couldn't do that she finds it easy and, more importantly to her, secure. She never used to have zines in the house for any length of time, and any she bought she posted to another friend and retained in her house after they've read. So stories on the Net are a real boon to her. In summary; the Net provides stories and a certain security; I doubt Paramount or anyone would take action against it; K/S is but one pebble on the slash beach of the Net, and as long as no one is outed unwillingly, there is no real harm to it. So I'm a lot less worried than I was.
  • about slash and the underground:
    Just one comment on the never-ending K/S-on-the-net subject. Being "underground" absolutely does not mean one is ashamed of being involved in K/S. The more out we are, the more reactionary the opposition. Being tear-gassed at the gay parade the other day, for instance. Not that GLBT should be underground, not at all, not at all. But there is value in a certain amount of discretion. And I think I like things better before they become so "common."
  • more on the underground:
    I feel I must respond to something [name redacted] said last month; "Keeping K/S underground is tantamount to saying it is something to be ashamed of." I think I know what you really meant, but that comment is so far off base, it's out of the ballpark entirely. I would always like to have K/S kept "underground"—but NOT inaccessible to those who would search it out. Underground to me means not for public consumption—no articles in magazines and newspapers; no stories on TV about it; no common knowledge of it at all. But still available to people who are into fandom. And actually this is how it's been for many, many years—until now. I believe that "outing" K/S completely will prove to be a big mistake. And here's the most important point I would like to make; I am NOT, and I repeat, NOT inferring or referring or implying or saying or meaning or even thinking about wanting K/S off the Net. I hear and understand those who have absolutely no access to K/S or zines except via the Net. I am very glad (and I know you are too) to have found this divine obsession. And I completely understand and accept the role that the Net has had in bringing in more K/S fans—I applaud it for doing so. What I am saying is that full exposure leads to all kinds of trouble, I believe, because it brings in unwanted elements, prying eyes, and people for whom K/S is dirty, disgusting and must be squashed. For those of you who have never encountered difficulties or prejudice of K/S—that's wonderful, but it's out there in force. Even I, who live in Los Angeles, an extremely progressive city, have experienced fear and loathing of K/S...Pre-Net days, one of the biggest worries was if the zine covers were too explicit to display on your zine table. Even though TPTB were lurking everywhere, K/S was firmly underground.
  • regarding K/S and visibility:
    One of the major problems with K/S as compared to other fandoms that has not been addressed fully, is that K/S is firmly attached to Star Trek. Star Trek—one of the biggest, if not the biggest money-making entertainment franchises around. I know of no other TV show with that kind of power. And that aspect often cause difficulties—I know most of you have said it's only photographs, and that very well may be now—but only a few years ago, I personally had an ugly encounter with Paramount lawyers concerning my artwork—and I was forced to back down. Heck—even in these pages we have to be careful about copyright, etc.
  • where does the wimpy Spock come from?:
    I think he comes from our experience of the confining mores and double standards for women in our society. He is all the things a good woman is supposed to be; modest, virginal, holding out for Mr. Right and a life-long monogamous relationship. Different authors do different things with him. Some give him the perfect mate. Some break him out of this pattern and give him permission to be bolder, more masculine by the end of the story. I find him extremely annoying myself, but it's obviously a set of characteristics many women feel the need to work with or work themselves out of.
  • a fan loves the songtapes:
    Do you all derive the same uncommon pleasure, the same invigorating experience as I from "our" wondrous songtapes? Every now and then I play at least a few selections and never cease to be awed and overcome by the beauty of the love captured in song and stolen scene. Two very special ones come to mind. There's "One Hand, One Heart" with the gripping scenes accompanying "...and even death won't part us now". Nothing tops my other favorite. "I Dreamed A Dream" is haunting and powerful and so uncannily accurate. The words "He slept a summer at my side " so excitingly captures the love as Kirk, towel across his bare shoulders, smiles that special smile at Spock and we see the smile returned ever so slightly. "He filled my days with endless wonder...." So appropriate. Just as our hearts are warmed to the core, the scene abruptly switches to Spock's empty chair on the bridge and the singer jars us to the soul as she declares, "but he was gone when Autumn came." Chills me to the bone every time I hear it. Thanks to all who made it possible for each of us to share in this experience.
  • don't lend your zine to this fan!
    I know I approach K/S zines differently now from how it was years ago. It s not just K/S but any fandom. I read the zines with correction fluid and pen in hand to correct spelling, punctuation, etc. I must admit this is a particular bugbear of mine and my friends are quite used to reading zines with my corrections. I really have to restrain myself from doing it when the zine is only on loan. I've been described as a born editor.
  • this fan has become pickier as time has gone on:
    I find now that I demand a lot more from a zine than I used to and it's not just plot but appearance and the presentation as well. Re-reading a lot of older zines I find errors that I never noticed at the time. I think that I was so eager for any K/s that I immersed myself in the story totally, unconsciously or even consciously ignoring the mistakes. I must admit that the early First Times were perfect usually, whereas the cheaper-produced British ones like Duet were notorious for their bad grammar, etc. But I was less choosy then, whereas now, after years of reading hundreds of zines, I am aware of how high the standards can be and am therefore impatient of any zines that don't measure up. I think I've generally become harder to please because it's a fact that most zines or stories from zines that I've retained are not recent ones. Most of my purchases now get sold on and most without even one story copied from them. I still enjoy K/S—of all the fandoms I've read it's by far my favorite pairing and I usually read some before bed each night—and I still look forward to new zines as Robin and others can attest to, but my favourites and the ones I reread are usually from the past. I wonder does anyone else find that is true for them?
  • Is Spock a virgin?
    I would say from the series that he isn't, that he had sex with Zarabeth and probably Leila. However, that is of little concern to me as I'm only interested in the question of his virginity with regards to sex with men. I have read stories where he is and where he isn't and both can work. Personally, I prefer them both to be virgins with men. That's my favorite scenario, tho' I'm happy for both to be experienced in that way—tho' not as being totally homosexual, rather bisexual. I am not keen on stories where one is experienced with male sex and one isn't, as it seems to put one of them at a disadvantage and I prefer equality.
  • a fan describes sitting at her zine table in the dealer's room at Shore Leave:
    It was really funny to watch the people walk by who didnt know what was on the table already. I'd say 60-70% seemed to be already familiar with K/S and knew it wasn't their cup of tea, and that was fine as they simply walked by. What was great was watching the widened eyes of those who realized what they were looking at for the first time. A few times I actually witnessed the proverbial "bug-eyes," and it was so funny! Actually, at the beginning of the con I was braced for nastiness, for confrontations, for folks to challenge me, especially since the cover of Beyond Dreams I is pretty inescapably intimate. (Hey, I like pictures of Kirk and Spock naked, embracing! Don't you?) But as the hours and days wore on, I realized that wasn't going to happen, and I became really comfortable. Oh, there were a few twentyish-men who held BD in their hands and said, "I just don't get it" with a hint of challenge in their voices. But I just said, "If you don't get it, you wouldn't be interested, so you shouldn't buy the zine." At the suggestion that they might actually buy the zine, they uniformly dropped it like a hot potato and moved on. Then there was the fellow who kept circling, coming back to the tables and to talk with Robin time after time, while disavowing all interest in what we were selling. That was really quite hilarious, as was the dutiful husband who had been given a list by his wife, who couldn't make the con. Despite his discomfort, he really loved his wife, and was going to get her as many K/S zines as he could. Bless him! Maybe he realized there is usually a fringe benefit in having one's spouse involved in such a sexually explicit enterprise as K/S....

The K/S Press 37 (September 1999)

  • some congratulations are in order:
    Is it really possible that The K/S Press has been our "forum for all things K/S" for three years now? I don’t mean to take away anything from those people who previously published newsletters in our fandom, but I can’t let this opportunity go by without thanking the two extraordinary women who month after month, continue to produce this labor of love we all thrive on so much. Thank you, Jenna. Thank you, Shelley. Thank you for thirty-six glorious issues, for the effort, for the time taken out of your enormously busy lives, for the love you have for Kirk and Spock, for sharing it all with us. On to year number four! Long may you publish!
  • the editor announces:
    Dovya Blacque of Mkashef Enterprises is still in business and has K/S zines for sale. See her ad in Current Delights. Years ago she purchased the rights to publish all the zines from Pon Farr Press and also Wendy Rathbone, so in addition to her own As I Do Thee series, she also has the Naked Times, Charisma, and Daring Attempt series for sale, along with many other anthology zines and novels. We are happy to welcome Dovya to our ranks of advertising K/S publishers. The bad news is that all these zines are naturally in print, so they are no longer eligible to be stocked in our K/S Zine Library. The library carries only out-of-print zines. Don’t panic, there’s still plenty there, plus we’ve added many more zines this month and will have even more next month, especially in the Scottish branch.
  • Dovya Blacque herself expands on Mkashef Enterprise's recent acquisition:
    Four years ago, both Alexis Fegan Black of Pon Farr Press and Wendy Rathbone (with her own extensive list of zine titles) left fandom permanently. I made them both an offer to purchase all, sole print rights to all their zine titles. They accepted. For the past four years, Mkashef Enterprises has been the sole owner of print rights to NAKED TIMES and all other Pon Farr Press titles as well as CHARISMA and all other Wendy Rathbone titles. In 1987, "Ann Carver" (a pen name), publisher/editor of the K/S fanzine "Act Five", "killed" herself off. I made her an offer to purchase all, sole print rights to her three issues of "Act Five", which she accepted. Mkashef Enterprises has been the sole publisher of "Act Five" since 1987. As with "Act Five", some people had out-standing difficulties with the editors/publishers of these zines. As with "Act Five", upon purchase of these zine titles, Mkashef Enterprises bears no responsibility for past orders or past commitments made by the previous owners of these zine titles. In other words, I have paid a monetary sum for the right to publish all Pon Farr Press and Wendy Rathbone zines from new masters with no obligation to anyone for anything that may or may not have happened before I obtained legal responsibility for these titles.
  • "Are we writing porn?" -- this fan writes:
    I definitely think of myself as writing and reading and drawing erotica, not pornography. Pornography is just a definition made up from outside ourselves anyway. I think this is another one of those things that's much too open to perspective and interpretation for my response to be anything but the most subjective. Learned tomes have been and will continue to be written on just defining pornography vs. erotica. I mentioned last month about not liking K/S referred to as "smut." But "porn" is another of those words that we can take back and use it from our own, positive definition. To some of my (non-K/S) friends, when I'm just making a joking remark about what I'm so busy doing, for instance, I might use the word "porn" with regard to K/S. (Like when I had to quickly finish the pair of baby booties I was knitting so I could get back to writing my gay porn.) Someone might object to my calling it "porn," even in jest, just as I object to "smut." But anyway, I don't think it's by any means anything comparable to what real porn is out in this sicko world. Speaking of heterosexual porn right now (just to make it simpler as to this-side vs. that-side), I think that porn is mostly done by men, with women as the objectified victims. From that perspective, sex is something done to women. Erotica is not this; it's a celebration of sexuality with a million ways to express itself. And that's certainly what K/S is.
  • a fan discusses terminology and her preferences, and points out that she doesn't equate K/S with slash:
    I don’t like the term “treksmut”. I am not, and I repeat not relating this opinion to the Net or people who enjoy K/S online, it is a separate issue as far as I’m concerned. But the term really bothers me because I feel so strongly that K/S is anything but smut. I understand “treksmut” is used affectionately, I suppose, but it’s just that terminology can be very influential and relating smut to porn to K/S is not what K/S is about. To me. I also feel much the same way about “slash”. Again, I’m not talking about the people who like slash—I like some slash, too—it’s the relating of slash to K/S; it’s the combining of K/S into the same category as slash. I relate the term “slash” to sex. Whether or not the specific fandom focuses on other aspects isn’t the point.
  • from a fan who comments on pornography, as well as terminology:
    Pornography is X-rated films on video that eternally adolescent men rent or buy from seedy stores; it’s large-type books that describe faceless people performing emotionless sex acts; it’s degrading magazines with page after page of naked women, and sometimes men, wearing nothing but fake passion. K/S isn’t any of that. I’m not sure exactly what it is, I think the definition of what we read and write is very elusive. It’s anything but fake, it seems to seek truth and uncover the real on many different levels. It’s special erotica for women, yes, but more, a special exploration of what sexual relationships might be like, an examination of values, a celebration of the sensual linked with the emotional. Is any of this available to women anywhere else? I don’t think so, or we wouldn’t have had to invent it. If what we wanted were pornography, we would have satisfied ourselves with existing sources. I don’t think K/S fans read K/S to get what porn offers, which is why I also don’t care for the term “Treksmut,” and haven’t from the first time I heard it. Not only does the term deny K/S its unique status by lumping it in with adult and same-sex stories from all four of the Star Trek series, but it also carries a host of unsavory implications with it. Sure, there’s a certain light-hearted and defiant lilt to the term, and I can appreciate that and the smiles that might have initially gone with it, but as a general term for K/S? K/S is much more than that. I’d rather call K/S what it is, and that’s K/S.
  • a fan comments on "Are We Writing Pornography" debate:
    In pornography, the appeal is purely sexual and the characters involved aren’t really characters at all, but faceless, nameless cardboard-cutout Barbie(or Ken)-doll types, whom we can lust after “safely,” without risking the complexities of emotional or intellectual involvement. But we’ve all seen Kirk and Spock, time and time again, in character-defining, life-threatening, thought-provoking situations. We know them very well. We’re invested in them, emotionally and intellectually. This makes it pretty hard to write a K/S story which is just porn. Granted, some come closer than others. But even if a story is one long sex session in which Kirk and Spock hardly say more than “mmmm....that felt great, do it again,” the fact is that we knew Kirk and Spock before we started reading the story and we care about what happens to them. So, whatever goes on between them sexually is, of necessity, set in the larger context of their professional relationship and friendship. As evidence for my position, consider the reaction of Star Trek fans who get outraged by K/S. Certainly, some of these people would also object to pornography in general and to homosexual pornography in particular, but I think a lot of them have special problems with K/S precisely because it involves characters they know and like in a different context. A given K/S story may or may not rise to the level of “art” or “literature,” but it’s pretty hard to reduce even the most plot-free K/S encounter to pure porn. About the only way you can do it is to write unrecognizable (and uninteresting) versions of Kirk and Spock. (This does happen sometimes, but when it does, the story, in my opinion, is no longer really K/S.) Hypothetically, I suppose that if you were to show a K/S story consisting of nothing but sex, sex, sex to someone who has never even heard of Kirk and Spock, that person might be justified in considering the story pure porn; of course, I think you’re going to have to search for quite a while before you find this hypothetical Star Trek virgin.
  • pornography?
    I know for myself, that the emotions between them are so powerful—as powerful as any sexual encounter. This impact is something we, as K/Sers, can all relate to. But for most who are not aficionados, virtually impossible to relate to or even to understand. So the most obvious aspect they see is the sex. And it’s certainly obvious. But not so obvious is the underlying power of the love, the feelings, or the communication. How many times have we read a story where there was absolutely no sex involved whatsoever, and the only thing in it was an intense emotional interaction and we love that story? Of course, plenty of stories have hot, steamy sex—but they’re still not pornography. I have read pornography and like that Supreme Court judge or someone who said “I know pornography when I see it”, these K/S stories are far from pornography. Exciting, yes. Titillating, yes. Carpet thrashing, yes. Porn, no. There’s a huge, vast difference between even the hottest K/S story and, for instance, gay male porno. Pornography excites one organ and K/S excites the senses. Something like that.
  • a fan writes of her "traditional Christian upbringing" and later ponderings:
    My psychology teacher asked me, "How would you feel if a personal friend told you he or she was homosexual? How would you react?" Boy, was that a heavy thought. I kept saying to myself, "It's morally wrong!" But upon reflection I realized that if they were my friends to begin with what difference would their sexual preference have on me. There was some quality about them that I had valued that went beyond sex. And that quality was what I would cherish and would protect. It was this line of reasoning that formed my current outlook on life. So when I first came across K/S it was with mixed emotions. This was exciting! This was partaking of forbidden fruit. I was enjoying something immoral. But though I shied away from it I always returned. Why? What was the quality in it that I thought was worth investing time to read, and enjoyed reading? The stories that I seemed to gravitate towards were those that dealt with the characters' relationship, sometimes h/c. Looking over these stories I realized the keyword was relationship. How many of us would not give our all to have such a relationship, as we perceived Spock and Kirk have? Almost all the authors of K/S have used the words - soulmate, bondmate -at least once. Here was a relationship between two souls in which they could share their innermost thoughts and fears. They knew that no matter what they were bonded. They could depend on each other totally.... Granted I would be remiss to ignore the fanfic of K/S that is just SEX. This statement is added with a big smile and a raised eyebrow!). But I strongly feel that this is what has endeared the universe of Star Trek to its fans, the underlying themes and deeply personal relationships. Call it overacting, but boy, some of those facial expressions that William Shatner gave were to die for! I'm sorry if I have actually rambled on here and changed verb tenses! Actually though, I feel as though I have come full circle. Personally, K/S is NOT pornography. It is a prime example of a true relationship. Be it male to male, female to female, or male to female, the most important element in a commitment is soul to soul.
  • a fan addresses another about Spock's appearance/appeal and touches upon the current topic of whether K/S should be kept underground:
    Thanks for your response to my Roundtable contribution last month that Spock's evil appearance has a Christian connotation. Not something I consciously thought of but you are absolutely right. I guess this 'indoctrination' comes from living in a (so-called) Christian country. And yes, I'm still asking the question. Does his evil appearance have a particular appeal to anyone else out there? Yes we should maintain a certain amount of discretion with K/S since there's no maturity in offending people. And yes, there's certainly a definite 'perverse' appeal when an interest is 'underground': the more taboo it's viewed, the greater the fun!
  • a fan reminds others it's all about money when it comes to copyright:
    When it comes to publishing on the Net, the bottom line is whether the corporations are having their copyright infringed and losing money. Like everything in business it all comes down to money and they are not interested in a tiny minority like K/S.
  • a fan writes of K/S on the internet:
    To paraphrase Greywolf and reply: No, we are certainly not all straight housewives out there, giggling furtively about how naughty we are. Yes, the Net is huge. There’s gay sex, straight sex, S&M and all this mixed up together if you like. Not to mention paedophilia, bestialty, fascist right wing sites etc. In comparison, K/S is tame, innocuous stuff indeed. And when it comes to some of this stuff, and IDIC and tolerance and all that, the world still has a long way to go......
  • regarding K/S on the internet, this fan writes:
    It seems things are too easily misinterpreted because the issues aren't even clear in the first place. We're talking about something very big on the societal scale, underlying our little foray into it. And also, people seem to enjoy taking sides. It's not only about privacy and copyright infringement and the potentially ugly detractors out there, it seems also to be about the experience of K/S written to be published and read on paper vs. the instant-cornucopia mentality of the on-line venue. I think we can just agree to disagree. Not that I have the longest historical K/S perspective, but as an analogy, there was always K/S and a separate group, multi-media slash. Each liked their own thing better, and so what? We can also see a good example of friendly disagreeing from years of K/S preferences shared among ourselves first time vs. established relationship, happy endings vs. sad, etc., etc., with no one trying to convince the other their way is right and the other wrong. "Risk is our business" is indeed part of it, but there's also, "Just because you can do a thing, it does not follow that you must." Etc., etc., etc. There will never be a consensus around the internet; nor is this a bad thing. I'm sure the whole thing will look quite different down the road, from a broader perspective.
  • a male fan from England writes:
    I fully agree with you, that to keep K/S underground is like saying it is something to be ashamed of. I do not want that to happen. But I have noticed a big difference in attitudes in the Star Trek fan in England over the last there years. I have done six conventions this year and last year and found it very had to get K/S zines and I must admit zines in general. I have found that a lot of the "New fans" especially ones in their teens & early twenties do not read much fan fic and as such there is becoming less demand. Couple this with the fact that most of the dealers at UK conventions deal in toys and cards, and it is be coming harder and harder to get zines.Thus making it go underhand. I was invited to a tea party last week, by some people that I had been chatting with on the net K/S ring and they were somewhat surprised when I turned up, they said that although they were expecting a man they thought I would be much older. They too said that they have found that most of the "New Fans" are just not into K/S, when it is brought up at cons it is somewhat looked down on. Are things real that different in the US?
  • a fan wants to know:
    Does anyone know if Shatner wore underwear in the original series? I’d bet money he didn’t.

The K/S Press 38 (October 1999)

  • regarding the announcement in the previous issue by Dovya Blacque about her acquisition of a number of other publishers' permission to publish zines:
    ... welcome back, since it sounds as if you have been gone for some time. I know it pleases me when long-absent online friends return to my newsgroup; I presume much the same applies here, for those as know ye already. However. I find it regrettable that in one fell swoop ye have deprived the Library of something on the order of one-quarter of its contents, in the name of making money. It is all very well to state that those zines have never been out of print; however, effectively they have been, as you were not visible here nor were you advertising nor did most if any here know of the deals you made. And I think the legality of the arrangement you describe is marginal at best, without getting into gory details. But that's your lookout. And in charging new-zine prices for older zines where your time and efforts are negligible, zines on which the aforementioned party has already done the hard work of editing and assembling and all you need do is run another copy on a xerox, zines which in most cases sold for substantially less when new than the prices you mention, you, too, are making a profit. 'Tis a dangerous precedent, methinks, and I say this not to diss you or to scold you but in true caution and warning of a perceived danger to us all. Having been to Friscon and seen that xeroxes were selling last year for anywhere between $5 and $10 depending on size, a few for perhaps $15, $22 seems rather high. In private zine re-sales that I have bought from even like-new printed zines often sell for $10 or so, and these are of higher quality than any xerox. Many are perfect-bound and have grayscale art which no xerox can duplicate, yet they do not cost anywhere near this much. Not only that, but let's face it, many of the zines you're going to be reprinting had tons of white space, cheezy art if they had art at all, and, to put it bluntly, less than wonderful production values. A bit much to swallow at $22 a pop. Especially when compared to some of the zines one can buy right now for no more than that and sometimes less. Now if other folks think that's a good deal, hey, that's their lookout. But I sure don't.
  • another fan addresses Blacque's announcement that she will be reprinting old copies of zines:
    Dovya Blacque is still among us, and to me that’s good news. It’s unfortunate for those who depend on the zine library that all those works will no longer qualify, but it is good fortune for us all -- especially newcomers to K/S -- to have an opportunity to collect these classics....Rather than despairing that these and the other offerings from MKASHEF are no longer available through the library, let’s rejoice that they are available to own and to peruse at your leisure.
  • a fan writes of the original Star Trek fan campaign:
    I'm really proud of the fact that I was one of the ones who wrote in when Bjo Trimble asked all the viewers to send letters asking NBC not to cancel the series after the second season. Maybe my letter made a difference, maybe it didn't, but I like to think that I helped to make the third season happen.
  • a fan writes of her zine beginnings:
    I signed on with the crew of the USS Excalibur 1705 back in 1984 and although we've lost a lot of members and gained some new ones, we still meet once a month That was the first time I knew anything about this thing called fandom. Then one night after I’d belonged for 3 or 4 months they decided to have a 'swap and shop.' I didn’t know what to expect and was really amazed at some of the stuff that was displayed, but then I saw someone with zines. "Zines," I asked, "What are those?." When she told me I bought a copy of everything she had, as she was representing the author Lois Welling plus selling some of her own used zines. I also found a couple of others and took those. Soon after that one young woman in the club asked me if I'd read any K/S zines. I asked her what that was and she explained it as being "romances where Kirk and Spock have become lovers." "Yuck, I wouldn't be interested in that sort of thing," I told her. But over several months she kept telling me how great it was so finally I agreed to read one of them. The next month she brought two in and I borrowed them. I started reading the first one right after I got home that night and by the time I'd finished it I was 'hooked.' I remember, it was, "In Triplicate,” which perhaps explains why I still like a little menage story every once in a while...
  • a fan writes of what Star Trek has meant to her:
    Its hard to believe that one television program could make such a lot of difference in my life, not only because K/S, but because it's opened my eyes and my mind, made me more accepting, and laid to rest a lot of the biases and prejudices I used to have. I don't know whether its because of the principle of IDIC or what but I've come to realize nearly all of my close friends are Star Trekkers, and each and every one of them has been the very best sort of friend, the ones who laugh with you on the good days, and hold you close during the bad times.
  • about K/S and pornography:
    I agree with all the bright folks who share my opinion. K/S is not porn. I think pornography is anonymous as to the person's involved and it's sole purpose is sex. K/S is so much more-- love, honor, commitment, compassion and other emotions, including, but not necessarily, sex.
  • a fan comments on NASA/Trek and naughtiness:
    I have just finished reading Constance Penley’s book NASA/TREK, the second half of which is devoted to the writings we so indulge in. She refers to it so often as “pornography” that I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Her study does not reveal anything new about the genre, just puts it more into the mainstream. One thing that made me react in Penley’s book was her statement, and admission, that some fans get a kick out of simply receiving a plain wrapped package that has passed unknowingly through so many public hands. At first I laughed and scoffed, then I realised that this was in fact the case for me on some occasions, the feeling that I was doing something “naughty” and getting away with it.
  • a fan comments about the similarities between the movie Eyes Wide Shut, K/S fandom, and secrecy:
    I would like to submit was sparked also by Kubrick’s film. I found an interesting correlation between the strange “cult” and our own little group. We too are faceless members of people from all backgrounds, meeting in a common place to indulge in freedom of expression, to take away and respond to a form of sexuality that is otherwise frowned upon by society. We are a “secret society” which uses specially designed codes and terminology, and our identities are concealed. In some cases, revelation of our identities would be seriously detrimental, in much the same way as it would affect any of the upper class or political participants of the secret society that Tom Cruise’s character infiltrated.
  • regarding K/S and the internet:
    About K/S on the net: I have said it before. The Net is very important to me for getting my daily doses of K/S. My first contact with K/S was through the net. I need K/S on the net as I need K/S printed. I love the zines and I try to collect as many as my money allows. But I live in Europe and it is not always easy to get zines. When I first heard about zines and a big K/S culture on the net it took me a year to actually get one, and those were from the Library! I don't want to chose between the net and the printed zines. I like them both and I like their difference.
  • a fan addresses the topic of violence in K/S fiction:
    "Why do we (and we know who we are) like to "see" Kirk and/or Spock enslaved, bound and possibly gagged, raped, etc.?" This was last issue’s question and I scratched my head thinking about it. I question myself do I really like them that way? And I have to confess, yes, sometimes I like that, but a story about this should have a good plausible plot. But why? The only thing I can think about is that I like them to be in a vulnerable position and not in control. They are strong men, independent, and I like to read about situations where they are not in control and at the mercy of others, with or without sexual violence.
  • about porn and terminology:
    We are writing erotica here; porn I see as being the stuff ye find on all those dreadful websites (or the dreadful cheezy magazines ye used to find in vending machines, in the more interesting parts of certain cities), where it doesn't matter who the characters are, just what gets shoved where. Porn, thus defined, bores me spitless, even when it is gay porn. Erotica, on the other hand, I see as redeeming sex, which so much of modern culture tries to convince us is icky, evil, to be looked down upon. Erotica celebrates that sex is an essential, to be valued, part of life itself -- and one of the tastier parts at that! On the other hand, I often describe myself as a Treksmuteer. I think this is one of those agree to disagree things. To me, calling it smut is like when I call myself queer -- both are words originally meant as pejoratives, which folks have taken back and made our own. Your mileage may vary, and that's just fine. Likewise slash. Online, to describe oneself as a slasher simply means that one writes, reads, or both, same-sex stories by preference. It carries no other baggage. I get the impression that among printfen this is not so, that the slashfen and the K/S fen in printdom have a certain animosity between them. If so I am sad for ye, but online no such situation exists.
  • a fan comments on slash "versus" K/S:
    I hear a few comments on how K/S ought to be off in its own unique corner away from all the other Trek-related same-sex stories. And here I must respectfully disagree. I grant that much of the other Trek-related same-sex stuff is not that great. Some is flat-out porn, by any definition. However there is much out there that is written with every bit as much care and love for the characters, every bit as much dedication to getting it right, and all the tenderness anyone could ever want. It's just that you have to find out which authors to read, and which to avoid. As with K/S, frankly. There are authors whose stories I rush to devour, and others whose work I know, before I ever open it, is not going to be my cup of tea. Doesn’t mean they're bad stories or authors, just that they don't deliver what I personally like in a K/S story. And so? My needs are mine, yours are bound to be different, it's a big universe and there's room for us all. But don't ever assume that sensitivity and complexity and good writing and characterization are exclusive to K/S alone. Ye would be doing yourselves, and many skilled and caring writers out there, a grave disservice, if you do so. Contrast Morjana's situation viz Emily's KaleidoScope. She has reprint rights, yes -- but she is also donating all income generated to the fund to send Emily's children to college and otherwise to benefit those she left behind. I await further developments. But be advised that I intend to purchase none of those zines to which you have bought the reprint rights. I regret the loss of all the things I was looking forward to reading. But I am not willing to cooperate in something that strikes me as so contrary to the spirit of what we are supposed to be about.
  • more on pornography and K/S:
    The pornography issue was of great interest as it has been a burning question of mine for years. And since it is a question, I purposely remained at a distance from the discussion. Realizing the definition is always a muddy one, I had hoped the answers would clear the waters to me. [Mary S] perhaps said it best when she stated the difference is we have an emotional interest in Kirk and Spock. Boy, do we ever! Yet I am very much in tune with Jenna’s observation that, to those not themselves involved in K/S, it probably is pornography. I find that I didn’t want to hear that definition. What I wanted to hear was that K/S is beautiful, almost transcendent, not ugly and unnatural. I’m afraid porn, like beauty, will always be in the eye of the beholder. In retrospect, I suppose I answered the question several years ago when “caught” with a zine open to an explicit drawing (wish I could remember which one). I tried to explain to my husband that the reason I enjoyed K/S was because these were LOVE STORIES. He was never able to see beyond two naked males and the depravity he felt it represented.
  • regarding K/S and pornography and the appeal of male/male relationships to some women:
    I still think it's so interesting how we find this special exploration of love-relationships in two male characters together. The reason is obvious; it's about equality. But if that were all it's about, we might equally be reading/writing heterosexual erotica written by/for a "woman's" sensibility, with equality between the characters; or else female-same-sex erotica. Wait, this can get too complicated; not a subject for a few words...but I'll plow on anyway. Why not heterosexual erotica for heterosexual women, female-female erotica for women who love women, or any other combination? It has to do with the fascinating happenstance of media fandom. This provides an instant community for us to do this exploration in. Of course, at the time (and still) there wasn't much depiction of really, really equal relationships between men and women, and definitely no depiction of really strong women we could play out our scenarios with, so we took what characters were available, and Kirk and Spock were definitely on top. Anyway, the answer for me (though no one asked) has to do with how I view loving relationships between men so powerful, because men basically are powerful; they're at the top of the food chain, so to speak, and for them to be loving in the best ways (as we see it) is heady stuff indeed.
  • a fan addresses the question: "Are we reading and writing pornography?":
    Even though I’ve enjoyed and basically agreed with what others have said about this topic so far, I decided to turn to the dictionary as a starting point for my own answer. According to Webster, pornography is “material that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement.” This actually seems not an unreasonable description of some K/S I’ve read over the years (at least of the PWP or kinky A/U variety!) but I agree that it falls far short of defining K/S at its best. As so many of you have already pointed out, Kirk and Spock’s relationship is the most important thing, and it’s a rich and complex one whether erotic behavior is involved or not. Their mutual affection is what matters most to me, to the point that stories depicting them engaging in explicit sexual acts having no real basis in friendship or respect tend to strike me as downright uninteresting. Physical excitement in K/S is an outgrowth of emotional involvement, which I believe sets K/S apart from porn writing featuring stock characters whose identities are incidental to their sexual behavior. Also, [Mary S's] point that we know Kirk and Spock even before we start reading a K/S story is well taken. Most of us already love them as well, and seeing them find happiness with each other produces emotional fulfillment as well as the erotic kind. And before anyone points out that not all K/S must be “happy,” let me say that I think darker stories have a similar or even stronger emotional impact. We suffer with Kirk and Spock because we care about what happens to them, and the sexual tension in such tales can be powerful indeed. So…erotic literature, yes, but not porn. And certainly not “smut,” which has an even more negative definition and connotation than pornography. K/S is, as Jenna said, “a love story.” It is at heart a celebration of a multifaceted relationship, and I for one find nothing obscene in that.
  • regarding porn and K/S:
    Am I reading porn? I don’t think so, not that I have anything against it, but I don’t regard K/S as porn, it’s much, much more than its sexual content. The sexual part is only one aspect of their relationship, but it isn’t the dominant one, though a bystander could and probably would contest that view, based solely on the fact that sexual acts feature prominently in K/S. At some point I might even have agreed with that point of view, certainly in the beginning of my K/S craziness, but not after reading hundreds if K/S zines. K/S isn’t sensationalism, it isn’t into a quick satisfaction of the senses, it transcends it all.
  • regarding K/S and violence:
    "Why do we (and we know who we are) like to "see" Kirk and/or Spock enslaved, bound and possibly gagged, raped, etc.?" This question is one I have been pondering for a long time, as soon as I realized that some of the K/S fiction I write is actually quite violent. Sometimes I’ll go back and read something I wrote quite a while ago and actually be taken aback at how nasty it is in that way. Then I’ll think of one of my “sweetness and light” stories and wonder how both could have come from me. I think Margot has a point when she talks about the vulnerability issue, but it seems that Carolyn also is speaking some truth when she reflects on the dark sides of our psyches that are attracted to violence. I don’t have a clue why I like to beat Spock up, but I do. He seems to have the character made for suffering! And Kirk has the character to make the suffering worth while! More serious contemplation on this subject from me will have to wait for next month, I’m at a loss. Except that I know I don’t really like rape stories unless they are very seriously done, very realistically done in terms of dealing with the aftermath, and slave stories don’t do much for me either.

The K/S Press 39 (November 1999)

  • more about the role of violence in K/S fiction:
    Kirk is such an adrenaline addict that it’s easy to imagine him feeling that a little fear would spice up a sexual encounter. Just look at the way he acted in “The Cloud-Minders” when he was wrestling with Vanna on the bed. This is a part of Kirk’s character that I’m not crazy about, but Spock doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. When the transporter splits Kirk into “good” and “evil” halves, Spock seems quite ready to accept his captain’s darker side. One could argue that Kirk’s everyday activities routinely reflect his two halves; he does, after all, go around the Galaxy promoting democracy, individualism, and freedom while at the same time captaining his ship in what is clearly a non-democratic arrangement in which he has, literally, the power of life and death over friends and enemies alike. While Spock might deny it, I suspect the potential for excitement was part of the reason he chose Starfleet over the Vulcan Science Academy; some similar motivation is probably a factor in his fascination with Kirk. Throw pon farr into this mix, along with the fact that danger and distress can be used to provide the kind of conflict which makes a story interesting, and it’s not hard to see why violence is used so frequently in K/S... In K/S, as we’ve all noticed, there are some violent scenarios which occur so often they’ve become sub-genres. Early hurt/comfort stories functioned not only to ease Kirk and Spock into a more intimate relationship, but also to ease writers and readers into an acceptance of that relationship. Hurt/comfort still provides a perfect setting for exploring issues of vulnerability, dependence, selfishness, sacrifice, loss, hope, and trust within a new or established relationship. These are issues that just about everybody faces at some point in life, so it’s really not that surprising that they pop up in all sorts of literature, not just K/S.
  • a fan describes feeling unnerved about bringing some copies of T'hy'la through Customs on a trip from England to Austria, a trip that later included relaxing with a friend in a green alpine meadow and writing "naughty" K/S poetry:
    We boarded the plane, after having gone through customs, poor me, I thought when my metal badge pins set off the security thingy that they had somehow discovered the copy of T'hy'la hidden carefully in amongst my undies!!
  • a male fan writes:
    I have been interested in peoples opinions on the subject for sometime and from many cultures. There are numerous phases from many different cultures and time frames that could be used to refer to K/S. However I do not think any of them would fit quite right, we just have to face it, K/S is unequal and indefinably delicious. However I do think it important to note that the only thing I have ever found to come close is the relationship as depicted in the TV series Beauty and the Beast which has its own fairly unique Fan Fic some of which is done by KS authors.
  • a fan comments on the reprints/prices of older zines:
    In used sales you see anything from someone taking a zine that originally cost $20 and asking $7 for it to people taking zines that used to cost under $10 and asking $75 or more for them. In the past I have even paid $50 for used zines—in fact, I think I did that about 5 or 6 times. Paying $35 wasn't unusual for things like the original DUETS. And yet when I went to sell my original DUETS, I couldn't even get $22 for them and that counted US book rate postage in with them.
  • regarding K/S and pornography:
    I have to laugh that we are debating porn and K/S. My other fandom, Blake's 7, about self-destructed in 1989 (before I got into it) and one of the issues was slash. I have never figured out why anyone objects to it since we are such a small group, and we definitely help fuel the fandom in general. I think anyone on the net surely realizes how tame K/S is compared to what you can see for free—if you know where to look. If you go into a Towers and buy some of the gay magazines, you realize how romantic and feminized we have made K/S. I don't consider slash porn at all. But frankly, I like porn, so I'm probably not a good person to be commenting on the difference between slash, K/S in this instance, and porn. I notice many of you ladies say you wouldn't be reading K/S if it were porn. Well, I would be. I even rent porn movies and watch them. And if they ever found actors to look like Nimoy and Shatner, I'd be buying two copies right now—no matter what the price was. One to watch and wear out. The other to save for later. However, if K/S were porn I wouldn't have bought as much of it as I did.
  • regarding this topic:
    “Why do we like to see Kirk and/or Spock enslaved…raped…etc? I fail to see the attraction. I don’t like it at all. I do have some thoughts on the subject, whether or not they have some validity, that’s something else. Rape and slavery equals Absolute Power. Exceptions notwithstanding, women are the underdog in our male dominated society. Does the attraction possibly have to do with turning the tables? Does it give a kind of emotional satisfaction, consciously or subconsciously? A safe outlet for unrecognized needs? Does it give a channel to safely vent rage, retaliation, grief?
  • a fan comments on about Fandom and Profit, and the recent acquisition by Dovya Blacque
    I share in your dismay over the depletion of the Library. And only rarely will I pay full price for used zines. I have paid top dollar for some very rare zines like First Time #1, KSX and others. But for second editions without the artwork, no thanks. And for older zines that are being reprinted, not necessary. I have almost always been able to find them for reasonable prices at used zine sales. I applaud Morjana for selling Kaleidoscopes for the benefit of Janet’s estate. We all benefit from that! And I’ve got to mention again I don’t think I have ever seen such pristine condition zines as those of Janet’s collection. Those are worth full price! But don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong, at all, with making money by selling zines. It’s just that some are worth more than others.
  • a fan writes about a recent book:
    I have got to get my hands on the Constance Penley book you mentioned, Nasa/Trek. It sounds fascinating and I am somewhat surprised that apparently it hasn’t generated much comment outside these ranks despite its frank treatment of K/S. I don’t know that I can say part of my enjoyment of K/S is the illicit nature of it, getting that brown paper package as you mentioned. My reaction instead has been to shout K/S from the rooftops, to attempt to make others see it as legitimate. That’s why, I think, I’ve told so many people in my life about it, my small attempt to show them that I’m not ashamed of what I’m doing or what I read. But that sort of implies my perception of the other side, doesn’t it?
  • regarding K/S as an origin for other slash fandoms:
    I have often contemplated the origins of our fandom, and our fandom has led to a multitude of other slash pairings, none of which I find as inevitable, as right as Jim Kirk and Spock together both mentally and physically. Why did the concept of media slash erupt from Star Trek? Why not some other show? Why was it born at just that time? My only answers are that the connection we saw on the screen was so obvious, so definite, that for those with eyes to see it was impossible to miss. Impossible not to act upon it by conjuring all sorts of visions, fantasies, stories, novels, poems, art…. Of course, the situation in society, our culture happened to be right too, but considering that unofficial underground K/S actually began in the early 1970s, and it was quite a while before any other male to male pairings emerged, I think a case can be made for the argument that K/S was slightly ahead of its time, but that the rightness of the relationship forced recognition regardless.
  • a fan addresses another regarding other slash fandoms:
    I think you’ve misinterpreted things a little concerning why some folks don’t want their K/S mixed up with “other Trek-related same-sex stories.” You implied that those who think that way don’t acknowledge that “sensitivity and complexity and good writing and characterization” are present in stories from other slash or Trek or media genres. I think that’s a huge, and rather unkind, leap to conclude that folks who hold one opinion therefore hold the other; it would be the height of hubris for anyone from any fandom to think good writing and good stories, etc. are the province of their own fandom only.... I don’t like to mix my apples and oranges, and I don’t care to mix my K/S with anything else, either. Condemn me for my taste, perhaps, but don’t tell me I have no respect for other fandoms and those who love them and write excellent fiction within those universes. I simply have no interest in those universes. For those who are able to find joy in reading stories from multiple fandoms, and I know that many of our subscribers are involved in more than K/S, I stand in awe of their stamina and wish them more joy. But that’s just not where my own personal happiness resides.

The K/S Press 40 (December 1999)

  • from the editorial:
    THE K/S PRESS TURNS 40! This is so amazing to us—your ever-vigilant and faithful editors/publishers of this newsletter. Way back when—a little more than three years ago (seems like yesterday)—Jenna and Shelley discussed doing a K/S newsletter themselves. The idea appeared so huge—pre-Internet and all. How would we get a subscription list? We were taking over from Come Together, but the list was scant. How would we design and format this newsletter? Where would we get it printed? And what in the world would we name it? But the most amazing things happened…more and more K/Sers began to subscribe; we settled on a title—The K/S Press, which was actually just the working title at the time, (we tossed around a number of ideas, one being “Not In Front Of The Klingons”) and Shelley and Jenna got along together like a platonic version of Kirk and Spock. We wax nostalgic now because the K/S Press is 40, it’s a wonderful holiday time, and it’s the end of the millennium. When you receive your next issue of The K/S Press, it will be the year 2000!
  • a fan is not a fan of older boys fiction:
    Tales of the aged and infirm are not for me. Maybe because those prospects loom ever closer to reality with each passing year. I prefer to deny the possibility that someday James T. Kirk will have aches and pains in his joints and legs that are too thin and unsteady to carry him. I want those hands to always be strong and sure, the eyes to always be bright and clear. I’ve seen too many loved ones lose themselves to the ravages of age and fiction is one place where I can hide from that particular harsh reality.
  • a fan writes that she doesn't consider K/S pornographic:
    Others may not find my answer satisfactory, but there you have my view of it, arrived at over 15 years of worrying the subject into the fewest words possible for my guidelines. I seem to be answering this question quite a bit lately. I just finished another survey from someone working on their doctoral thesis, subject: Slash fiction. She had a lot of questions about pornography and whether "slash" does or does not fit into that definition. I'm not sure the question will ever be answered to everyone's satisfaction but I've answered it to mine!
  • a fan comments on the pornography/erotica issue and cites a television show she has been watching (commentators Henry Jenkins and Constance Penley):
    who of the UK subscribers has been following the interesting series being run on this subject by Channel 4 on a Thursday lately? It has been trying to look at the changes that there have been over the last two millennia in the way erotic images have been produced and distributed and the changes in the intended audience. Other interesting little snippets from the series—they contend that the removal of erotica from the public to the private sphere artificially created the genre of pornography, and defined a certain class of educated connoisseurs who were perceived as being able to appreciate it without harm to themselves, whilst denying it to the masses as harmful and corrupting. Are there not echoes of that in the underground existence of K/S and other fandoms; we are the connoisseurs who are in the know and to some the secrecy is some of the fun; however often the people we want to protect are ourselves from the censure of others or the material from the derision of the ignorant. One can see parallels in slash and adult fan fiction too. The writer, of course, exercises control over the characters even further than a director can over actors, and the sci-fi context opens up new possibilities. The readers can enjoy their own influence over their own consumption by selection, rereading, interpretation and review, and to a lesser extent over content as writers respond to them. The fact that a profit and having to make a living is not involved actually frees writers from the "tyranny" of the audience however, so whilst they like to please and get positive feedback, they can have a two-way relationship with the readers that a video pornographer cannot, where the competitive market means the customer is always right.
  • a fan pokes fun at some of her own early fiction:
    ... we started reading an early story [of mine] and we were in hysterics! I had utilized almost every single “bad” writing technique known to K/S! Things such as using as many adjectives as possible and as many different ones as possible—especially synonyms for the word “big”—you can only imagine to what that kept referring! The thing is that I was so new to writing and so innocent in my first flush of K/S wonderment that I hadn’t a clue as to what might be good, or at least not so purple, writing—and I didn’t really care! I thought “towering jade pole of desire” was perfectly appropriate—it spoke to me; I could visualize it!
  • a fan compliments a current fan-made calendar:
    The K/S art calendar done by both Liz and Alison is enough to get your blood flowing every morning if you hang it in your closet. I especially like the January pic of Kirk sleeping in Spock’s arms, although not the standard pose, and April with Spock wearing a sleeveless black t-shirt as he sits in bed next to his one-and-only. Then there is June, with Spock on his back wearing nothing but briefs and Kirk on top straining to kiss him…. I’d better stop here before I overheat the computer. Nice! And thank you, Alison and Liz, for making these available to us.
  • regarding alternate universes:
    On the topic of the month, which is the different genres of K/S. I do find it so interesting how our fandom has fragmented in various ways to approach K/S, and I also find it interesting that the same thing happens in other fandoms, though in different ways. For example, I have friends who were at one time very big in Professionals fandom, and they have told me that there are lots of alternate universe stories there.
  • a fan states a preference:
    It seems that I am in the minority in my preference for established relationship stories over first time, but then I’ve always been a stick in the mud. I also prefer the older fellows to the younger ones; there is something very erotic, in my mind, in devotion and sexual attraction to each other when they are 50, say, instead of 35.
  • a fan encourages others to create some fanworks for KiScon #2:
    I really, really, really want to have a K/S song video contest as part of the convention. Come on, folks, we can do it! There haven’t been new K/S song tapes done for a while, and now is the time. I’m giving you plenty of warning, there are 15 months to go. Ideally we will have many entries to enjoy watching and voting on at the convention. What do you think?

References

  1. Gayle F, like many others, have changed their mind regarding their art and fiction; Gayle, for one, has posted her own fanworks to The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, as well as given Fanlore blanket permission to document much of her work.
  2. some of [S B's] fiction is now at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive