Wading the Weird Waters of Fan Fiction with the Women Behind “Slash”

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News Media Commentary
Title: Wading the Weird Waters of Fan Fiction with the Women Behind “Slash”
Commentator: Whitney Mallett for Interview Magazine
Date(s): June 6, 2019
Venue: online
Fandom: slash, with an emphasis on Kirk/Spock (TOS)
External Links: Wading the Weird Waters of Fan Fiction with the Women Behind “Slash”
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Wading the Weird Waters of Fan Fiction with the Women Behind “Slash” is a short 2019 article by Whitney Mallett

Some Topics Discussed

  • woman and the weird and fascinating world of slash fanworks
  • a play by Leah Hennessey and Emily Allan titled "Slash"
  • the "geekiest gem" -- the cover of Naked Times #1
  • the artist Pat Stall


For the uninitiated, the word “slash” is fan fiction parlance for stories that imagine your favorite pop characters as gay lovers. It’s also the title of Leah Hennessey and Emily Allan’s two-woman play, a visceral and rollicking hour-plus ride that weaves together scenes of repressed homoerotic desire bubbling to the surface between everyone from Betty and Veronica to Johnny Marr and Morrissey. Slash evokes the feeling of free-falling down a forum fanfic rabbithole, toggling between 40 tabs of gay fantasy at the same time.

The Kirk/Spock Element

LEAH HENNESSEY: The best thing we discovered while writing our play was the overwhelmingly complex culture of Kirk/Spock fan fiction and fan art, which started in the 1960s and continues to this day.

EMILY ALLAN: It felt like we were discovering the gnostic gospels or something.

HENNESSEY: The Atlantis of gay fan fiction.

ALLAN: Except it’s not hidden. There are pages on pages of fanlore wikis about the history, and real non-poser Trekkies know all about it.

HENNESSEY: But there is and always has been so much drama and infighting in the K/S community—mostly about how to categorize and archive the work, online versus analog etc.—that the world has become very insular and self-referential. It’s endlessly fascinating. So this is the cover of Naked Times, which was a Kirk/Spock story anthology published by Pon Farr Press from 1978-1994. This image is by legendary fan artist Pat Stall.

ALLAN: Who’s basically a saint. Because of a rare eye condition, she would literally cry painful tears as she drew.

HENNESSEY: Pat Stall did some of the best and most iconic Kirk Spock illustrations and she was a star in the fandom and at conventions. Then at the peak of her popularity, she had like an intense religious conversion and she, what’s it called?

ALLAN: Gafiat. She gafiated. Which stands for Getting Away From It All.

HENNESSEY: Right. She “gafiated” and stopped drawing Kirk and Spock as lovers.