The LOC Connection/Issues 41-50
The LOC Connection 41 was published in May 1992 and contains 13 pages.
This issue has a autobio by Elizabeth Scott.
Some random comments from the survey answers included in this issue:
I have noticed a trend to other fandoms, with previously exclusive K/S editors diversifying. This leads to K/S zines suffering in quality and regularity.
[I] would love to buy more K/S, but in terms of expendable income, I just can't do it, like I did 2-3 years ago. And also, of course, what income there is to spend, gets spread around too thin, because I'm involved in so many other areas. I imagine that that is happening to quite a lot of us now, and that this comment won't be unique.
While I enjoy rereading older K/S zines, high prices and story quality from the last few years bothers me -- too much white space, too little text.... At Zebra Con 10, I looked at a new K/S zine with 240 pages for $30. Across the aisle was a S/H zine with 340 pages for $22. I see similar page count/low price ratios in zines from Blakes 7 fandom.
I'm disappointed in the apathy of late. I wish people would get excited again. Or maybe it's because I live in the Midwest.
One [fandom] is enough for a grown adult. One must have a life.
Please don't tell me I will 'grow up' and inevitably move on to other fandoms. Someone recently did that, and I'm still steaming about it!
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
In the survey, I was hoping with questions 4-17 to try to get an idea of how many fans borrowed zines, that try to determine now many active K/S fans there are. But I don't feel the numbers revealed much. While I don't believe tnere are anywhere near the 2,000 fan figure that I've seen printed in the past. I'm sure there's quite a bit more than the 100 or so who have subscribed to TLC in the past year. Anyone else is welcome to draw their own conclusions.
I am really nuts about art. I appreciate it almost as much as the writing... Well, I ordered an old zine, one with a "mixed rating." It's hard to say if it's an Adult zine or a Genzine (either one with some K/S! or a K/S zine with other material in it. Anyway, it's an old zine. I read in issue #1 which I bought, that issue would have a Dragon portfolio in it. That really grabbed me. I love Dragon. And I was anxious to see her early art... Then another oldish zine advertised this work, again emphasizing the Dragon portfolio. Well, I got the zine... original and not cheap. Yep, it did have a Dragon portfolio... about five or six pictures of dragons in various dress and positions. I was stunned... then I laughed. What else could I do?
I read THRUST when it was first released. It was the first K/S anthology. It contained a bunch of routine first times and pon-farr stories which felt routine to me even then, and "Nightjourney", the story on which NIGHTVISIONS was based. "Nightjourney" stood out because it was different from the others. Now NIGHTVISIONS seems much more routine than it did when I first read it. I had complaints about "Nightjourney" at the time, however. I wrote a LoC asking the editor why it was so full of romantic cliches. Didn't she realize that made the story predictable? The concept of the K/S relationship presented in many stories has become more sophisticated over the years. There is far less reliance on cliches. The K/S writers are thinking about relationships and/or basing stories on their own experiences. I tend to prefer the more thoughtful and original K/S that is being written now over what I found during the "Classics" period. I feel that K/S has matured. This is not to say that newer K/S writers are necessarily better than tne ones who wrote the "Classics." We have some very good new writers, but there are also a few writers from the "classic" period who nave stayed in K/S, grown with it and are among the best we have. I am convinced that K/S can only continue to improve over time, provided that the writers and editors continue to grow and change. I can take or leave the "Classics". I'm looking forward to the zines of tomorrow.
Ideally, your first readers should have different perspectives. If they all usually have the same attitudes, no matter how valuable their views might be, you really only have one opinion, and you should have several. None of my first readers are in fandom. I like that attitude. In Trekdom we have always boasted that our best work made the pro Trek fiction look like dogmeat because we care about what we're doing.
The LOC Connection 42 was published in June 1992 and contains 11 pages.
There are autobios for Joyce Bowen and Tina Carter.
There are LoCs for First Time #25, #31, #32, Counterpoint #5, #6, Way of the Warrior #4, #5, T'hy'la #11, Naked Times #28, Charisma #4, #7, #14, Within the Mirror #6, Fever #2, As I Do Thee #18, Thief.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
I have a huge collection, and I have done it in two years. I have gotten lots of money secretly from my mom to spend on the kids. Instead I've used credit cards for the kids and spent the cash on K/S. Since my mom and husband hate each other, this arrangement works.
I, too, get the impression that an "old guard is passing and a new one is taking its place" in tens of the core group of K/S authors. And it's not the first time it's happened. When I first got into K/S in early 1986, one of my most valuable contacts was the K/S humorist, Devery Helm. She was selling her zine collection because her interest had waned and she was no longer writing. She said the main reason she had lost interest was because all the good writers she'd enjoyed (Darien Duck, Sharon F, Pamela Rose, to name a few) had gaffiated from K/S to B/D (THE PROFESSIONALS) fandom. Also, there was a big surge in a/u and slave theme stories in K/S, which she didn't care for. Her feelings left me concerned that K/S didn't have such of a future. As it turns out, the late 1980's, in my opinion, was when K/S was the most popular. In the past year, it does seen that a lot of good writers who were around when I was being prolific have now reduced their output, as I have. But that's okay, because I agree with your observation that there's a lot of fresh, new talent ready to take up the slack. I think such changes are healthy for fandom.
I appreciate the concern expressed in the survey about writers abandoning K/S and causing a decline in zine quality. I never thought that I would be one of those writers, but my response to this other fandom is so strong. There are subjects that I've always wanted to write about, and stories on these particular themes seem to grow naturally out of the context of this other fandom. of course, I could write K/S stories on these themes. One of the beauties of STAR TREK is that it's an infinite canvas with no limitations. Yet finding a universe and characters that mesh so well with my concerns is a miracle to me. I would be untrue to my aspirations as a writer if I turned my back on this miracle. I am still reading K/S. So long as I'a doing that, there's always a chance that something in a zine will spark a poem or even a story. Maybe I'll go back to writing K/S soon. Hey, life is an unending process of change. While some writers exit for other fandoms, new writers bring fresh themes and approaches to K/S zines. Who's to say that the result won't be an overall improvement in zine quality? 
I've been reading a number of what I call "one night stand" stories, where Kirk and Spock are total strangers who meet for the first time, interact briefly, end up in bed, part the next morning sure they will never meet again, only to find themselves posted together on the Enterprise. No matter how beautifully written or cleverly plotted, I have yet to read one that causes me to "suspend ay disbelief where Spock is concerned. Unless he's an A/U Spock, drugged, possessed by an alien entity, or in pon farr, I can't believe that the Spock of aired TREK, that master of repression and denial, could hop into bed with a stranger for a brief moment of sexual intimacy. His very reluctance to indulge in casual contacts, whether sexual or otherwise, seems to me to be one of the cornerstones of Spock's personality.
Mostly I write very messy letters to K/Sers or have very vague conversations on the phone. In our home there is zilch privacy if anyone is home. I have only been lucky enough to be alone once.
The LOC Connection 43 was published in July 1992 and contains 14 pages.
It has an autobio for Ruth Kwitko Lym.
It has LoCs from First Time #29, #31, #32, Scattered Stars #3, Way of the Warrior #5, Charisma #9, #13, T'hy'la #4, #11, Hearts of Fire, Within the Mirror #4, #6, Sharing the Sunlight, Thief, Twilight Trek #1,
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
Star Trek has been a part of my life since about 1975, and I was introduced to K/S almost the same time I got into ST. I have been a member of the K/S and K.S. APA since issue #3 and they are on issue #54 now. I can't remeaber if the first K/S I read was "Shelter" by Leslie Fish, or ALTERNATIVE by Gerry Downes, but I think that before I read either of these, [A F] had told me about Gayle F's Cosmic Fuck Series at a convention that we were both attending. But the CFS had not yet been published— [A] had read Gayle's copy. Desperate to read it, I called Gayle (whom I didn't know at all) in Oregon (where she was living at the time), and I told her that I wanted to read it. She was really nice (especially considering the fact that she didn't know me from Adam) and she told me that a friend of hers in San Jose (which is 50 miles from San Francisco) had a copy for proofreading and she was sure that [M] would let me read it. I called [M], and she said "Sure" and invited me to dinner. So it came to be that I was sitting in the living room of a total stranger, reading the most erotic story that I had ever read and getting incredibly turned on, while this total stranger was making me dinner! These are the strange places that K/S takes you!
I strongly agree with your questioning of what is and isn't "authentic" knowledge in fanzine stories. I would even question that the famed double ridges are "gospel". I've seen a few stories that have treated Spock's genitalia differently, and I find it refreshing when authors are willing to tap into their own imaginations, and not simply re-write what other authors have written. As far as I'm concerned, only the things that happened on the screen, whether in the series or in the movies, is gospel in the STAR TREK universe. The word "bonding" was never used. No one ever said that Vulcans are silent during meals. No one knows what it's like to experience a Vulcan mind meld. The list of facts-that-aren't-really-facts is seemingly endless. I encourage authors to not be intimidated by details that have been reiterated a hundred times in previous stories. If anyone wants to do research, they should review the actual episodes and movies for a refresher course in what is and isn't ST -- not prior stories.
Before I was writing, I was under the impression that authors were somehow always aware of how wonderful their stories were; after I started churning out my own stories, I quickly learned how few and far between feedback is. The truth is we're lucky to get one LoC for any story, and an author is rich indeed if she gets as many as three different comments in a year's time on a single piece of work.
The [scenario] that bothers me the most is the commonplace first time scenario in which Spock presumably an individual of limited sexual experience readily assumes the dominant role in sexual intercourse with Kirk (presumably an individual of wide-ranging, exclusively or primarily heterosexual experience who is used to penetrating his partner and is not, accustomed to being penetrated. Usually this happens with absolutely no reason offered for why the less experienced partner is taking the lead, and with his superior officer no less! The first time I saw this kind of story (in the very first zine I ever bought), I assumed it was an A/U story. It took me a long time to figure out that writers don't intend this as an A/U role reversal.
I have nothing against a reader saying this Spock was too violent for my taste, or I didn't enjoy that story because MY Kirk wouldn't act like that. However, I think it should be presented as a matter of personal preference, not as canon, as if there were only one way for Kirk and Spock to act. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are as many views of what the characters "are" as there are K/S fans. The Spock I write about this week may not bear any but a superficial resemblance to the Spock I write about next week, and isn't that after all why we write endlessly about these characters? They are not one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs, but have unlimited facets for us to explore.
I've been reading K/S since college in 1981 and authors have come and gone, and come back again. I would find it extremely interesting if someone could compile a K/S zine anthology listing. You know, authors, zines and what they wrote and when. Take for instance, 1981. What zines were out then? Who was writing something completely daring, etc., etc. It's been on the back of my mind for months now. Call this nebulous "thing" a K/S zine (I don't know how else to say it) K/S Collectibles. Would be intriguing. I mean in the middle, late seventies who was the first person/first zine to stick our boys in the sack? Who took the plunge from hurt/comfort to K/S? What's the value of a first ed. Spock Enslaved? It's like putting value on something we all enjoy. Does something like this exist? If not, I wouldn't mind tackling parts of it, or all of it, if you all from the "Old Guard" help me out with the information. My collection starts around 1979. Where does your start? Is anyone else interested in this — I am, just because it's human nature NOT to be completely forgotten.
My husband has been a fan of the group "The Grateful Dead" for over 22 years -- a "Deadhead", but he constantly teases me about my attraction to K/S. If he sees me reading a K/S zine, he'll snuggle up to me and say in a breathy high voice "Oh Spock, put it in me! Oh Jim!" (or some such thing) while humping my leg. I try to tease him about the "Deadhead' zines he gets, but it's not the same.
When I was young (a teenager), I was made to feel guilty about being interested in sex. Being a K/S fan has helped me have fun with sex and find other people who share my interest. It seems we are all looking for a totally equal relationship with passion and tenderness, where both people understand each other perfectly. We'll never find that in real life (Humans can't mindmeld with each other). I think that is a lot of the appeal of K/S — the perfection of that relationship.
The LOC Connection 44 was published in August 1992 and contains 18 pages.
This issue has autobios by Shelley Butler, Wanda E., and Anne McClean.
It contains LoCs for Charisma #15, Before the Glory, Mirror Reflections, Duet #3, #5, Within the Mirror #6, Naked Times #2, #3, #4/5, #5, #18, Counterpoint #6, Scattered Stars #4, T'hy'la #9, #11, The Price and the Prize, Sharing the Sunlight, Vagabonds.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
[When I was writing my first K/S novel] and thoughts poured out of me onto paper, I began to really need some feedback. So, I took the plunge and loaned the first part to some girl friends. I was so nervous about then reading this stuff, that I must have spent half an hour explaining what they were going to read, what it meant, how I saw it, who they were...! But these friends were staunch Michael Crawford/Phantom fans, and we had already shared some pretty erotic stuff with that! They read it. They loved it! I have always felt that one of the acid tests for K/S stories is that if you get turned on when reading it, it's good. Well, I guess it was good! They were on the phone, calling up boyfriends and husbands! And going home.
[Hearing from fans who] don't have the cash to buy all the zines they want: It was really good to hear that you have this shortness of money, too! Being a K/S fan is a very expensive hobby! And just think: When you in the States buy a zine for $20, then I have to pay $26! Or look at this newsletter -- you pay $18; for me it's $32! That's because the postage for overseas is very high. The cause is the mail, not the editors, but I have to pay it anyway. But I think when someone is addicted to a drug (K/S), she will do anything to get it.
I agree with [name redacted] that a history of K/S would be fascinating. I guess everybody knows some of it, but does anyone know all of it? Putting it together would be a pain in the royal ass, though, and would have to include some of the history of general Trek fandom as well. A good point is Uhura's first name. I don't know when the COMPENDIUM came out, but "Nyota" is not how I think of Uhura. Penda was used in a story in the 70's (does anyone know which one?) and fandom took it up. It was one of those things which seemed right and was used by so many that it became part of the fannish lexicon even though it wasn't in the aired Trek. When an author uses Penda. it says she has either read a lot of the old zines or she is an old-time fan.
Some of the "givens" which fans made up and which were picked up and continued in fandom were not logical, but they continued to be beloved and used and they drove me crazy. Those double ridges on Spock, for exanple, while they look good in an illo, didn't seem to be the thing for a species who goes in for a rutting season. Illos tended to show the American circumcised penis, too, and one would hope that in 200 years that sort of mutilation would have been given up... The USA is the only country in the world which does this for non-religious reasons and the bias shows up in lots of fannish fiction.
The idea of buying fanzines through credit cards is an interesting one... There is also the IRS connection. If you take credit cards, is it a business? I have always deplored that there are folks out there actually taking money off their fanzines. That belief goes back to the beginning of fandom when zines were lovingly run off on mimeographs, done for love and sold at cost. Now, prices are soaring and it is partly because folks insist on making a few bucks on each one. Or more! Anyway, credit card implies business which implies profit, which is what the IRS looks for when checking credit card records. Who wants the hassle?
On the matter of white space, if margins are wider than one inch, if there is double space between paragraphs, if there are illos which don't seem to have anything to do with the story or poem, write to the editor and complain. These things drive up the cost of the zine. There's a zine out there in slash (not K/S) which, if typed straight, in moderately reduced print (12 pt.. a standard size) with 1 inch margins, would take up exactly one half the pages it uses. You'd think, with the price of paper, the editors would want to save space and offer more for the dollar, but this is not a universal goal.
I believe I have the answer as to why K/Sers write about Spock as being the dominate partner and Kirk as being the "penetrated'. As I wrote about them, I came to perceive Spock more and more as the 'masculine" and Kirk as the "feminine". This does not mean one is a woman and one is a nan. It represents the characteristics that compose a human psyche. Cari Jung called it the "animus" and the "anima": the two sides of a personality. The "masculine" Spock is strong and quiet, withholding and non-emotional. Also, his extreme physical strength adds to the 'masculine" character- The "feminine" Kirk is emotional and outgoing, filled with doubts and guilt, yet vain and self-centered. This is not to imply that these are characteristics that apply one to males or females, but to the aspects of personality. So it becomes quite natural to have Spock be the "penetrator" or the "male" and Kirk to be the "penetrated' or the "female", It has absolutely nothing to do with sexual experience or knowledge, or whether Kirk is the superior officer, or not.
My one major complaint about some stories is that Kirk and Spock never do their job! I mean Kirk is captain of a massive starship, commanding hundreds of people and he is supposed to be exploring vast reaches of space. Spock is the first officer and science officer of a very complex and highly technical starship. But these guys are so busy ruminating about their relationship and f..king that they do nothing else. I suspect it might be due to the writer not knowing what to write, but there should be at least a modicum of starship business. In defense, K/S stories are about Kirk and Spock, so the primary focus is their relationship. But, it really does help add to the reality and to the quality of writing when they are put in the milieu to which they belong.
I, too. have shaken my head in disbelief at stories in which a hitherto exclusively-heterosexual Kirk is penetrated by Spock in their first sexual encounter. I remember a K/S story that happened to be written by an illustrious science fiction writer. In it, Kirk is exclusively heterosexual and has serious problems with the idea of any kind of sexual activity with a man. Yet the moment he and Spock do get together, Kirk literally begs Spock to penetrate hin. At least, this example shows that this seeming inconsistency has nothing to do with the quality of the writing! In more and more fan fiction that I read, Kirk is presented as having a modest anount of homosexual experience under his belt (so to speak, so the situation is different.) Speaking of *blush* penetration... but only as a matter of scientific interest, of course... does anyone have a theory to account for the fact that Spock is more often "on top" in contemporary K/S stories, while in early K/S (COMPANION, THRUST, OBSC'ZINE etc.) it was more often the other way "round? About 12 years ago. I surveyed all the K/S stories that were then in print and found that in the great majority of stories, Kirk was the penetrator, and Spock the penetratee. When pon farr stories were subtracted, the pattern became even more pronounced. Some time in the mid-eighties, the pattern reversed itself. But why? Any explanations?
[My interest in K/S] started a nunber of years ago, as I attended another of my frequent conventions. I happened upon a dealer's table of fanzines. Casually flipping through them, I was astonished at what I was reading! KIRK AND SPOCK? Together in a sexual liaison? Graphically written? Well! How could they write this? I immediately bought a bunch... Something about these characters, so heroic, so masculine, so drop dead sexy, and the two of them together was so exciting to write about. I never thought or fantasized about gay sex, so it surprised me at first. But, now I understand the fascination a little better. It's not homosexuality for me, it's THESE characters together, expressing their love, their feelings and, of course, having glorious sex, And, not just glorious sex, but PASSION!
As an avid reader I know what I like and don't like in a story but cannot always say exactly why. I have made only two forays into K/S writing (for my own pleasure) -- one long story never really got off the ground, though I was pleased enough with my short one... Though K/S is still my favorite "/" fandom, I am interested in others like The Professionals, Blake's 7 (Avon/Villa), Starsky/Hutch (where I've seen it called "stroke" fandom -- very appropriate and nicer than slash), Man from UNCLE, The A Team (Hannibal/Face), etc. I have written several Pros stories under a pseudonym which are now on the British library circuit. But back to K/S There are virtually no zines produced now in the U.K. with PAVANE and DUET having folded and Rosemary Wild's being few and far between. So the U.S. is the only real K/S market...
... no, the house is not floor to ceiling zines as I have sold to friends and other fans over the years. I shudder to think of the money I've spent so far, but I suppose I've been really lucky in having only four/five zines confiscated by customs in two incidents. Others have been opened but forwarded on to me, so either they only looked in to see it was a book, or the covers were innocuous enough. I know random searches are impossible to protect against, but I think it also helps if the packaging is strong enough so the zine with the naked Kirk and Spock cover isn't hanging out for all to oogle at.
My problem -- and it is all my problem -- is that not many modern K/S writers seem to see the characters the way I do, and more and more K/S writing is... well, for want of a better word... sweet. Which is lovely in small doses, but I guess I... just have a savoury tooth. As a result, I've got to confess that ultimate sin-- I've been tempted into another fandom as a counterpoint to K/S -- namely "The Professionals". I never thought it would happen to me -- but I was getting increasingly depressed by my inability to find new K/S that touched or excited me, so I dabbled in B/D -- just one story, honest -- and -- I was hooked, doctor... all the realism and challenge I could want and characters that make me care as well. As I said-- totally unexpected.
The LOC Connection 45 was published in September 1992 and contains 22 pages.
There is an autobio by Ellen O'Neil.
It has LoCs for First Time #1, #2, #4, #21, #6, #29, #31, Way of the Warrior #2, #3, Beyond the Veil, Naked Times #8, Fantasies, Consort #3, Charisma #9, #14, #15, Scattered Stars #4, The Extremists, The Fifth Hour of Night, Hearts of Fire, In the Wilderness #1, #2, Within the Mirror #1, Matter/Antimatter #8, KSX #2, Sharing the Sunlight, Daring Attempt #1, Thief, The Voice #5, Nome #12, Counterpoint #6.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
If you read CONSORT 3 and notice GODxxx in my story "Dying Embers," please be advised that I did not put it there. The editor inadvertently inserted it in ay writing without my approval. I have NEVER and will never purposely use that word in my stories or in my zines.
Concerning "white space", I understand the need to save paper and costs, but there are some good reasons to utilize "white space". They are: 1. It is easier to read. Have you ever tried to get through a book that is printed with tiny type and so smashed together that the words scramble when you read it. so you have to read the same sentence about 5 times? 2. It looks more professional. There is something about the quality of design that enhances one's reading pleasure. 3. Most importantly, the set up of the type on the page adds to the writing quality. The first being emphasis, as when a dramatic moment or thought has happened in the story and it is set apart by a physical space, it causes the reader to pay more attention. Which leads me to the second item, that of emotional impact. A word or phrase set apart creates a stronger feeling. And thirdly, it is effective for time passing, as in the next day, or the end or beginning of a scene. 4. The entire page creates a picture. A reader is not only reading each sentence, but is seeing the entire page, so the visual set up is very important. I didn't use examples here because I know this newsletter has limited space. But isn't it worth a little extra to have a beautifully constructed, well planned zine?
I do disagree with [name redacted] on her idea that Kirk, being the avowed heterosexual that he is, would not immediately engage with Spock without some angst first. One must assume that sex is much more open in the 23rd century. The problems and Victorian attitudes don't exist anymore. So even if Kirk hadn't yet experienced a man, it wouldn't be difficult for him to try it. We shouldn't put our 20th century views into these 23rd century characters. Besides, it's not that Kirk is or isn't homosexual. It happens to be SPOCK whom he has sex with. Not the whole fleet! (Although that might not be such a bad idea... just kidding.)
Since 1975. the three of us who run ScoTpress/IDIC are, between us, out of pocket by at least 7000 pounds, possibly more, though I grant you much of that has been spent on computers and software to make the job easier and the final product better - - computers that at least two of us wouldn't have bought if it hadn't been for putting out zines. In order to make zines cheaper, editors could go back to pounding out stencils on a second-hand typewriter and churning out blotchy duplicated zines where you have to guess at up to 25% of the words... but would you really want to buy them, now that you know what a clearly-printed zine looks like? I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the days of eyestrain trying to proofread stencils, swearing over the fiddly business of fitting a stencil back into a typewriter to make a correction, sitting for hours while the duplicator churned out the printed pages, then spending back-breaking hours collating pages and pages.... ?
...cats, as many of you can observe, have no ridges at all on their penises. They are not circumcised. As descendants of felines, Vulcans, logically, should have no ridge at all, unless one wants to assume that the ridges are created through some rite or other. (I think Vuicans have two ridges because K/S is written by women who would appreciate the trait.).
I'm interested in the observation that pre-1980 K/S had K as dominant and post-1980 K/S prefers Spock. Oddly enough I think it is the greater acceptance of homosexuality in our current culture which accounts for this, Kirk, as the more experienced would, naturally, have the guiding position, but if one assumes that homosexuality is accepted galaxy wide and is not substantially different from heterosexual sex, except in technique, it doesn't matter who's on top. Also, many of those zines cited had British authors, who, I think, take a more realistic view of homosexual sex. Of course, that's just an opinion.
Re [name redacted's] complaint about white space, I'm sure she knows why editors do this. They haven't gotten enough contributions to fill a zine. and don't want to postpone publication. I believe this is a poor judgement. Sales are down, so editors should put out fewer zines. If they insist on putting out a great number of more expensive zines with less value per page, then their sales will decline further. Who wants to get less for their dollar? A fan once commented to me that she liked story borders because it enabled her to distinguish between stories. Well, I think Chained to the Typewriter Press has a better idea that other editors should adopt. In LOVERS #1 stories could be distinguished from one another by paper color. This method has the advantage of not wasting space with borders.
[Name redacted's] reason for being tempted to the "Professionals" was - and I quote: "...all the realism and challenge I could want." End quote! For goodness sake! How much challenge do you require? The "Professionals", "Starsky and Hutch" etc. are tied to this planet, this timeline. For us Trek fans, the Universe is our oyster, the canvas is completely blank. What is the matter with us? Have we grown so old and set in our ways that we cannot see beyond our own humanity?
Were roles [regarding "penetrator" and "penetratee"] perhaps somewhat more clear-cut some years back? Such that Kirk with his more obvious machismo would have been seen as needing to be the more assertive one, having had to "win" Spock over in some way? (Was the romantic or courtship element in earlier stories also more predominantly Kirk-as-initiator?) Or is this another case where somewhere along the line it became gospel or canon that Spock-as-Vulcan must be the predominant penetrator because of his "biology"?
Let's look at this weeping business. Now. I'm not saying that crying is bad, or that people who do so are weak. I'm just saying that it's not Kirk's way. When did we ever, ever see him cry? One time, my friends, one time, and I think we all know when that was. And it was just him and his boy. Why then do writers insist on having him get all sappy and pitiful. "Oh. Spock," he'll sob. ?'???? I don't think so.
I agree with statement that writers' interpretations of the characters should not be regarded as 'sacrosanct and exempt from criticism.' As someone who's been a K/S fan almost from 'the Time of the Beginning,' I would define the basic problematic of K/S as how to present the characters believably as lovers: 'If they had a sexual relationship, how would it be?' Thus, to disallow criticism of authors' interpretations of the characters would cut the very heart out of critical discussion of K/S fan fiction.
So that's what happened. I sent [name redacted] the sample, she liked it, I got admitted to graduate school in creative writing, and I began driving to Murray once a month to sit in her living room for four to six hours and listened to her dissect my writing and tell me that Pocket would never buy it if I didn't learn to keep it "vanilla." as in: "Vanilla. Pocket isn't Howard Johnson's. They don't sell thirty-one flavors. They only sell one! Vanilla." She also told me to stop using the word t'hy'la, and when I asked her why, she told me. That was how I first heard about K/S. Well, apparently, my novel wasn't vanilla. But by October, 1991. when my agent contacted me and told me that Pocket had turned it down, I wasn't nearly as disappointed as I might have been, because by then I had long since located my first K/S through DATAZINE and my writing had taken a new and steamy direction.
The LOC Connection 46 was published in October 1992 and contains 16 pages.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
Some of the early Trek stories had a good deal of cruelty between K and S and excessive violence. There was almost a sadistic streak as if certain writers hated the characters they wrote about instead of liking them. I find today's K/S. on the whole, more genteel.
On the 'who's on top' issue. I'm going to have to plead guilty as one of those who have put Spock on top. Why? A good question which I really can't answer. Maybe subconsciously I want to give Spock a break. All his life he's been dumped on by his race, his father, and strangers. Kirk has always been the golden boy, the more sexually experienced, easily accepted, the man in power. Maybe Kirk's turning over the reins in bed is just his way of expressing his love, of sharing and showing he's secure enough in that love to not have to be the initiator to prove he, a man. That sounds absurdly simplistic, but to each their own.
On criticism: As much as it can hurt a touchy ego, writers should always allow room for constructive criticism. Some of those Iocs have made me go back and re-evaluate and often they bring up flaws that can be avoided in the future. While I have not always taken the advice offered in those locs (to my loss) they made me THINK. And that is the purpose of such responses. When one no longer receives feedback, then the message becomes clear that no one gives a rip about your writing and it's time to pack up and pull out. Censoring Iocs should never be practiced, self-censorship should. Someone pointed out something of the following in a previous issue. An author does not want to know that K and S were out of character in a story based solely on how the reviewer thinks K and S should act. The reviewer's version might be more out in left field than the author's. In that respect I don't take subjective criticism seriously, in fact I find it a waste of space. But if the reviewer backs up their claim with facts and can cite where K and S are out of character referencing aired Trek and the movies objectively then that is worth listening to.
My own conclusion, considering everything I can think of about both men, is that, just as Kirk is the leader outside the bedroom, he is also going to be the leader inside the bedroom. I don't mean by this that I think Kirk will never be penetrated; only that I can't see him acceding to a relationship in which Spock assumes the dominant role as a constant. Nor can I see Spock assuming that role. I think Spock would be far too eager to please for that to happen. I also think that Spock has far less of himself invested in a conventional male identity than Kirk does, and will therefore find it easier to accept a passive role. Over time, I think that the sexual relationship may evolve toward equality, but I can't see it ever evolving in to a relationship in which Spock could be called the "dominant partner."
If, for one night, you could be one, and only one, of the following, which would you choose to be:
- a) Kirk, and get to penetrate Spock
- b) Kirk, and be penetrated by Spock
- c) Spock. and get to penetrate Kirk
- d) Spock. and be penetrated by Kirk 
Where in the 'canon' are we told that Vuicans are descended from felines? I always thought that was a fan fiction convention, and I have to admit it's one I tend to reject, if only because we can't assume that Vulcan has a native feline race. Indeed, it's virtually certain it hasn't. If it's originally from one of the novels, I count the novels as a variety of fan fiction.
My early enthusiasm for the K/S concept back in the late '70s turned to disillusionment when I read some of the K/S being produced at that time. Most of it seemed to me superficial, predictable and overly sentimental. I decided that if I wanted to see K/S that I'd enjoy, I'd have to write it myself. I stopped reading K/S for five years. Almost all the concepts for the few pieces of K/S fiction that I've produced has their genesis during this period. When I rediscovered K/S zines in 1985. I thought that great progress had been made. I also decided that I shouldn't have higher standards for K/S than I do for any other kind of fiction. Most of the professionally published books I read disappoint me, but that doesn't cause me to stop reading books altogether. It just makes me more selective. So I went back to reading K/S. I caught up on many of the zines I'd missed from 1980-85, and widely sampled the new zines. Because I was reading K/S, I had much less need to write it. After all, I could always pick up a K/S sine if I wanted to experience those characters and their relationship, By last year, I was feeling over-saturated and didn't even feel inclined to write very much K/S poetry. I now read very few K/S zines. If I hadn't discovered ROS (Robin of Sherwood), the consequence of reading less K/S would probably have been that I'd have written more of it in order to fill my need for involvement with those characters. Unfortunately, I've fallen in love with an entirely different set of characters, so that reading about K/S only now and then is enough for me. I think that it's obsession with the characters that causes us to write. Since I'm no longer obsessed with Kirk and Spock, I'm unlikely to write about them -- whether or not I read K/S zines.
I tend to just dismiss the pro novels: I get the feeling most of these authors don't understand Trek at all, or at least what has made it so enduringly popular. I can't get too worked up because they get Amanda's height wrong. But it sure is an indication of how carefully edited those books are, and how much Pocket really cares. Not much. Also... I don't even accept the movies as 'canon.' As far as I'm concerned, they're an alternative, possible universe. It's always bothered me that Kirk was jumped over the Commodore position I which we know is there, remember Bob Wesley in "The Ultimate Computer?") to be made an Admiral. Doesn't make any kind of military sense to me. For me, the series is it. the only thing we can depend upon for wnat 'really' happened.
... characteristics of masculine and feminine are shared by BOTH SEXES and do not indicate one's gender. Each of us has qualities associated with male and female, a predominance of one or the other wouid then help define our personalities. [Fan A] called them "sexist concepts". This implies that "masculine" is only for men and "feminine" is only for women, which I tried to explain is not the case, and also something else that I sensed from a number of the responses. I wonder if we subconsciously feel that "feminine" is lesser and not as desirable as "masculine". Do we (I'm including myself) think, for instance, that as [Fan B] wrote, that "athletic and strong" is better than "modest and shy"? Or that "independent and ambitious" is better than 'responsive and patient"? Or that being the "penetrator" and the "aggressor" is better than being the "penetrated" and the "submissive one"? I think our society, as a whole, has elevated and glorified masculine characteristics and downplayed and dismissed feminine characteristics, ignorant of the truth of the strength and power of true femininity, besides ignoring the truth of balance...
The LOC Connection 47 was published in November 1992 and contains 18 pages.
It contains LoCs for Command Decision, First Time #22, #31, #32, #33, Beyond the Veil, Way of the Warrior #5, As I Do Thee #18, Counterpoint #8, The Extremists, Counterpoint #7, #8, T'hy'la #11, #12, Naked Times #27, Candlelight and Flames, Otherwhere/Otherwhen #2, Matter/Antimatter #8.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
I'm puzzled by many of the letters in the last two issues' Arena addressing the issue of penetrator and penetratee in the K/S relationship in terms of the partners' assumed proclivity for dominating or being dominated. It seems that penetration is being linked, illogically in my opinion, not only with dominance but with other unrelated phenomena— e.g., leadership ability, sexual experience, and personality traits such as confidence, decisiveness and adventurousness. Equally illogically, being penetrated is linked with passivity, introversion, inexperience, love of the arts, and a craving to be loved. For all that some of the commentators disavow any connection between these traits on the one hand and concepts of masculinity and femininity on the other, in fact the grounding of this discussion in socially constructed stereotypes about men and woaen is inescapable. You can't divide the world into dominant penetrators and submissive penetratees and then claim with a straight face that the division has nothing to do with gender.... The qualities TLC readers are using to decide who they think would receive penetration in a K/S encounter are simply the standard social stereotypes about women: The partner receiving penetration must be the one who is less dominant, more intuitive, less sexually experienced and more eager to be loved. Some of us apparently think that Kirk would be penetrated because he is more feminine; others, that Spock would be penetrated because he is more feminine! (At least we're an equal opportunity fandom.) Still others think that Kirk would want to be penetrated to satisfy a craving for submission that arises from his being in command the rest of the time. For all three, the common denominator is the same: the myth that dominance equals penetration. I am mystified by TLC readers' unquestioning acceptance of that myth. Do we really think the person doing the penetrating in a sexual encounter "dominates" the other partner? Cannot the person receiving penetration be "active" during sex? Is she or he doomed to play a "passive" role?
When I started reading K/S back in the 1970's, I accepted the then-current convention that Kirk would typically be the penetrator. Frankly, although it's painful now to admit it, I think I subscribed somewhat uncritically to certain social stereotypes about strong, macho leader-types. Gradually, however, as both my identification with Kirk and my feminism deepened, I began to imagine him as the one being penetrated. (Intellectually, I like to think the two men would "take turns," but we're talking heavy-duty fantasy here.)
On dominance/submission in relationships: The comments equating dominance with the act of penetration surprised me. I know this is a common equation in our society, but I don't entirely buy it. I do not feel dominated in sexual interaction when a man penetrates me. Is that just because I'm a woman? Would a male mind be more likely to equate dominance with penetration? Probably. Would a 23rd-century man — Kirk, for instance -- think the same way? That's open to interpretation... Our society could as easily have decided to equate dominance with the act of encompassing someone else, rather than penetrating him/her.
... concerning pro novels. I completely agree with Jenna and Karla on the quality, or rather the lack thereof, in these mainstream published novels. For a few years, now, I have been becoming increasingly disappointed in them. The writing is poor, the understanding of Trek is little, at best, and for the most part, if the novel even focuses on our people (which many times they bring in a whole host of other characters to the almost complete exclusion of the main characters), then they are unrecognizable, with only the NAMES to tell who they are! This dissatisfaction has been one of the reasons I turned to K/S. WE know what to write and WE know what we like!
Before the movies, I didn't really appreciate Kirk, I'm not even sure I liked him. I hated the way he treated women, and I'm afraid that I heaped all of my budding feminist scorn for the series' ill-treatment of women on him. But the movies revealed a new, more mature Kirk, and suddenly I realized that he really mustn't have been as shallow before as I assumed he had been. I began to appreciate him more and more, and looked forward eagerly to the unfolding of his character with each feature film. Then I discovered K/S, and suddenly there was a whole new aspect to Kirk! He loves the same person I do! I've discovered that the best way to indulge myself in my fascination with Spock is through Kirk, and you know the maxim "Love thyself?" If I am looking at Spock through Kirk's eyes, then I can't maintain distance from him. In my writing, I'm finding myself utterly captivated with the way the man thinks. Kirk is marvelous, unique character, with layers upon layers of depths. And in plumbing those depths through writing, I am in a sense charting the recesses of my own psyche.
I've been continually musing on the whole issue of 'who's on top and why' that we've been discussing in these pages recently, and I've got an off-the-wall idea. Do you think it might be possible that many writers put Kirk on the bottom for revenge? Sex from the passive perspective can be viewed as an act of aggression, no doubt about it, and I wonder if writers are subconsciously acting out their frustrations as women on Kirk because 1) he is an authority figure and 2) especially in the series, he's never treated women with the respect that we deserve. I don't know how many K/S fans think from a feminist perspective, but even for those who don't consciously do so, might not this revenge be so sweet? Stripping his mantle of authority from him and placing him in the sexual position traditionally assigned to women?
My input to the question: Who is on top is, naturally, another question: Why write about a same- sex relationship? The reason I do it is because in a "normal" relationship, who is on top is decided by, to put it bluntly, which party has the penis. Nothing, to me, could be more boring than to have this power curve as a predetermined fact. In this scenario, the only conflicts left are based upon misunderstandings between the two characters which are usually solved by "cute" endings.
I had been reading and writing ST fan stories for years, but staying far away from K/S, because I just didn't believe Kirk and Spock could have sex and stay in character. One day it occurred to me that a believable K/S story would be a hell of a challenge for a writer, so I took myself up on it. Some challenge! It was so much easier than I'd expected that I became a K/Ser then and there. Now it seems so obvious!
The LOC Connection 48 was published in December 1992 and contains 10 pages. The editor says there is now a 750 word limit for discussion letters in the "Arena" section as letters have been getting longer and longer, something that is making the postage go up and is making too much work to type.
Anna Parrish is the fan in "The Booth."
There is an autobio for Mary Lou R.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
I maintain that "submission" and "passivity" seem to be dirty words to women. Can anyone imagine a world where EVERYBODY ran around being dominant and aggressive? "Submission" doesn't necessarily imply weakness, as was clearly pointed out by some of you.
I liked your feelings about Spock, you expressed it very thoughtfully, but... when speaking of Kirk: "I hated the way he treated women,"?! and "he's never treated women with the respect that we deserve."?!! Just because a man finds women sexy and flirts and maybe sleeps with them, why is that ill-treatment?? Does being a feminist mean that men can't appreciate a woman sexually? Does "respect" for women mean you don't get to have sex with them?! You know, Kirk never raped anyone (except his evil twin tried), he had willing partners, he didn't do all this sex without some help! And you wonder if "writers are subconsciously acting out their frustrations as women on Kirk"?
I recently went to a ST Con and was impressed by the fact that everybody was dressed as Klingons, not Vulcans. In fact, it was as if Vulcans, IDIC, and Spock were not a part of the Federation. This 'new generation' of watchers does not share the values of the 60's series. "Kick butt" was a frequently repeated phrase, always said with admiration. That shift in values may explain a lot of things, from the decline in K/S to the increase in action-adventure novels.
Although I respect the fact that Gene Roddenberry created STAR TREK, his idealistic statements were often at odds with what we saw in series episodes. TNG retains many prejudices about sexuality. This is most evident in "The Host". Beverly Crusher had no problem with a lover who was really an alien parasite, but couldn't handle the being she loved in the form of a huaan woman. Do you call that progress?
The LOC Connection 49 was published in January 1993 and contains 9 pages.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
Thanks for your information on 20th century gay men and the dominance/penetration issue, and also for your insightful comments on K and S's sexuality/sex roles. Do you think K and S might be different from 20th century gay men in that respect? As 23rd century men who don't identify as 'gay,' they might not see the necessity of establishing dominance. You say that Kirk has 'rigid and conventional definitions of sex roles' and Spock is unlikely 'to have very enlightened ideas about sex roles.' Do you mean that they would therefore perceive sex in terms of doninance/submission and would therefore believe that one or the other of them should establish dominance? If so, which one?
Sometimes I'm very good and dutifully LOC as I read each zine. However, most times I just read a zine and am thankful I've found the time to read it. Doing even short LOCs takes time and thinking. I hope editors realize lack of LOCs doesn't mean the zine is bad. It just means the readers are too busy to write LOCs. I always LOC just after reading the zine. If I read ten zines in two months' time and only write LOCS on two, that means I had the time to do it on those two and not the other eight.
The LOC Connection 50 was published in February 1993 and contains 12 pages.
Some excerpts from "Arena," the fan discussion section:
[Kirk's] chosen method of handling a potentially hostile woman was to seduce her. No logical discussion, no attempt at verbal persuasion of any kind - just seduction. That, to me, definitely argues a cynical attitude towards women, one that falls a long way short of respecting them. Re his various romances with women who weren't hostile - I can't respect a man who can't seem to find anything to do with a woman except take her to bed! (Edith Keeler was a rare exception.) Let's just say, though, that to have him flirting with/bedding so many women over so short a period surely argues either a cynical attitude towards them or a lack of discrimination in what he is looking for in a woman. Yes, his partners must have been willing - which I'm afraid leaves me with little respect for their self-respect. Were they so desperate for a bit of male attention that they were willing to hop straight into bed with a virtual stranger? I apologise in advance to all Kirk fans, but I'm afraid I never found his 'chat-up' procedure that convincing! And I really don't think women are that sex-hungry.
Yes, I agree that Kirk and Spock's love for each other doesn't justify writers' mistreatment of women. It's sloppy thinking to write that Kirk can't like or care for a woman just because he's in love with a man. And, yes, Kirk has seduced women to achieve his goals, but, I maintain that that is NOT because he doesn't respect or admire women. If you were captain of a starship and you had to overcome an alien, wouldn't you use everything at your disposal to do so? If that included seducing him or her, wouldn't you do it? I think people confuse this issue of Kirk's sexual nature. I'm saying that his having sexual contact with women doesn't mean he doesn't LIKE women, or that he's mistreating them! Why is making love with a woman (or 10 or 100) considered disrespectful or mistreatment? Whose judgement is it that sleeping with many women is UNHEALTHY? How many can he sleep with until it's considered unhealthy? What reasons are needed for it to be thought of as unhealthy? Does he have to love every women and man that he beds for it to be healthy? How much feeling should he have?
When I look at Classic Trek episodes, the mores regarding sexuality and gender seem a little more conservative that they are currently. So no, I don't think the attitudes of 23rd century gay men would be much more enlightened than what we find today — not if we judge on the basis of the series. Everyone's ideas and expectations about sex and relationships in the series seem to conform to what is now regarded as extremely conventional.
Does anybody out there know if there are K/S filk songs in existence? I wrote one recently and sang it at a (mainstream SF) con. I was mildly terrified to do it, but it was received well. A man (!) near me said he'd always wondered if there were any K/S filks. Well, I've wondered, too. I've heard a couple that mention K/S in a negative manner, but no positive ones. Are there any K/Sers who are also filkers and who would like to correspond?
- She doesn't name this miracle fandom.
- From the approximently ten responses in the next issue: almost everyone said they wanted to be Kirk and be penetrated by Spock, one person picked the other way around, and one person said, neither, "I'd like to watch."