E-Selyn - Words from the Web
'Slash' Fiction - In Search of a Definition
from [simegen-L] - June 2005
On Wed, 01 Jun 2005 17:35:59 -0400, Leigh wrote:
>On 31 May 2005 at 10:06, Kaires Tevesu wrote:
>> (I guess the awards people decided it [CZ#21] was a slash
>>zine because it had a slash story in it.)
>I kind of figured that would happen. It caused considerable confusion. There is some disagreement on this in fandom, but in general, one slash story does make the whole zine slash. (The "contagion" theory of categorization. Kinda like those southern states that considered people black if they had even 1% African-American ancestry.)
No, it's not really contagion theory--there are simply different rules for slash than for gen stories, so they should not be judged against one another. And some fans would rather not read slash, or have it in the house, which is their right--hence zines must be labeled. The neat thing about having our zines on the web, though, is that someone who wants to read the great preponderance of gen S~G stories can simply not read the single slash story, whereas a zine buyer has to forego the rest of the stories in a zine with one slash story if she doesn't want a slash story in the house.
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 21:34:44 -0400
On 3 Jun 2005 at 11:25, Jean Lorrah wrote:
>> No, it's not really contagion theory--there are simply different rules for slash than for gen stories, so they should not be judged against one another. <<
I think it's arguable. MediaWest lumps hetsmut with gen, no matter how sexually explicit or extreme it is. Others may lump in all adult stuff together, and gen is strictly G or PG rated.
And not everyone thinks that one slash story makes the whole zine slash. I remember some of the old Trek classic "genzines" had the occasional slash story (though non-explicit). Some editors believed that "gen" meant "general," as in "anything goes," not "suitable for general audiences."
I suspect there's also some variation by fandom. I think Pros fans routinely mix slash and gen, and it's not a big deal. I remember when one Pros editor did a Blake's 7 zine. She didn't think to tell her contributors that she was accepting any B7 stories, including explicit slash. A couple of them were outraged when they saw the zine, even ripping the offending stories out, but she honestly didn't see the problem, because her Pros tribbers never cared.- Leigh
Commentary specifically about 'Pros' fandom was
moved to: Slash and 'The Professionals' Fandom
> From: Leigh
> I suspect there's also some variation by fandom. I think Pros fans
> routinely mix slash and gen, and it's not a big deal...
There was one odd thing about Pros fandom, though, that made it different from pretty well all others; it's still being claimed that it started as a slash fandom. All the early fanfic that I know of was slash to some degree...
So yes, of all fandoms, I think Pros fans are least likely to care if a zine is mixed slash and gen.
But it's interesting; I enjoy reading slash in some fandoms, but there are some where I prefer gen, and one where I find slash a total squick...
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2005 06:28:25 -0400
>> But it's interesting; I enjoy reading slash in some fandoms, but there are some where I prefer gen, and one where I find slash a total squick... <<
Incest kind of squicks me. Not into Simon/Simon, even if they try to claim one of them was adopted. And one of the zines we were selling at MediaWest was a Kung Fu zine. Peter/Pop. A lot of people were squicked by that one. But a lot of people bought it, too.
I am amazed at how...er...playful fans have become, now that they are online. I suspect many of these stories would never have seen the light of day in the era of dead-tree fandom. (There's at least three Due South stories where Benny is romantically involved with his dog.) I remember how controversial it was when fans started exploring pairings other than K/S. People acted like you were breaking up a marriage if you paired Spock with, say, McCoy instead of (or in addition to) Kirk. Now, anything goes.-- Leigh
End of 'snips' moved to:
Slash and 'The Professionals' Fandom
"A Companion's Duty" lies in a gray area between gay literature and slash. Let me explain:
"Slash" is a fannish term derived from the "/," in America called a "slash mark," placed between the names of characters who are "slashed" (portrayed in homoerotic relationships). In traditional slash fan fiction, characters who are not gay in the original universe (Kirk and Spock, Harry and Draco, Clark and Lex) are portrayed as gay in the fiction. A Hugh/Klyd story would be, without question, Sime~Gen slash, as in canon the characters are not gay. Technically, a story with all original gay characters, using none of the established characters from any canon, is not slash; it is gay erotica.
Gay literature, of course, is about characters who are gay. A Will/Jack or Brian/Justin story is not slash because the characters are gay in canon--such stories would be simply erotic fanfic, like my Sarek/Amanda stories. No change is made from canon in the characters' apparent sexual orientation.
Fan writers frequently take a character portrayed as straight in canon, and introduce their own original gay character to interact with the canon character. Such stories are still considered slash because the apparent sexual orientation of one of the established characters is changed.
Finally, we come to the situation in "A Companion's Duty." At first glance, as the two main characters are original, and have never appeared in canon, it seems to be a gay fan story, but not slash because the apparent sexual orientation of an established character is not changed. The problem with this definition is that one of the characters is a channel, and by definition, in canon there are no gay channels. So, even though the character is original, the story COULD be called slash because it changes the sexual orientation of a channel.
Hence, gray area. Still, considering that the story is alternate universe, and in that alternate universe there obviously ARE gay channels, it's probably best to call the story gay literature rather than slash.
However, the story has one thing very much in common with the best slash literature that is frequently missing from gay erotica (or straight erotica, for that matter): it is intimate adventure through and through. The story is about the relationship, not the sex. While many slash fandoms include PWP (Plot? What plot?) stories that are nothing but sex scenes, you generally don't see such vignettes occurring until a number of longer relationship-development stories have already come out in that fandom, so readers have the feeling that there is already a relationship going on.
Clearly, "A Companion's Duty" was labeled slash in the Fan Q's because it is a long intimate adventure between two male characters. Thus it provides readers with the kind of satisfaction they are accustomed to deriving from slash.
A Companion's Duty is easily good enough to generate a fandom of its own with derivative stories that eventually might come to be "slashed" -- which would by this definition require them to be turned straight. ????
Date: Mon, 06 Jun 2005 18:47:46 -0400
On 6 Jun 2005 at 15:22, Karen wrote:
>> In traditional slash fan fiction, characters who are not gay in the original universe (Kirk and Spock, Harry and Draco, Clark and Lex) are portrayed as gay in the fiction. <<
I disagree with this. I know in the old days, this was one definition of slash. Supposedly, part of the appeal of slash was the sheer subversiveness of it: you were interpreting "straight" characters as gay.
Well, in the old days, there weren't many appealing gay characters to write about. Now that we do have some, we can test the definition.
Is it the subversiveness of "corrupting" straight characters that's at the heart of slash, or is it just the male/male relationship? I would say it's pretty clearly the male/male relationship.
Beecher/Keller is slash, no one calls it anything else, even though their relationship was explicit on-screen (boy, was it ever explicit!).
Similarly, there used to be a theory that slash was a romance between two equal characters. Supposedly, the reason why it was all male/male was because there were no female characters equal to the males on TV. We've had a chance to test that, too, and again...nope.
Male/female isn't slash, no matter how equal the gender roles.
I do think there's a difference between gay lit and slash, however.
The difference is not whether the "canonical" characters are gay.
The difference is that gay lit is usually written to appeal to men, while slash is usually written to appeal to women.
As for MediaWest...even if it was Beecher/Keller, or a PWP between Ernie and Bert, it would be in the slash category. Because that's just the way MW is.
Date: Mon, 06 Jun 2005 19:06:35 -0700
From: R-Laurraine Tutihasi
> Some editors believed that "gen" meant "general," as in
>"anything goes," not "suitable for general audiences."
The first meaning is the original meaning and the only one as far as I'm concerned. A genzine contains a variety of things -- reviews, articles, fiction, etc. on a variety of topics.--
At 03:47 PM 6/6/2005, Leigh wrote:
>I do think there's a difference between gay lit and slash, however.
>The difference is not whether the "canonical" characters are gay.
>The difference is that gay lit is usually written to appeal to men,
>while slash is usually written to appeal to women.
I think this is an elegant distinction. And it helps explain/justify:
>As for MediaWest...even if it was Beecher/Keller, or a PWP *
>between Ernie and Bert, it would be in the slash category.
>Because that's just the way MW is.
Yes, the definition in the Fan-Q nomination criteria is simply: "Slash (same-sex physical relationships, not necessarily explicit)"
* PWP - Plot? What Plot?
I am collecting this discussion for use in CZ.
And I found another couth definition on-line that should be referenced:
(This, believe it or not, is part of a formal 'Dictionary of Literature' terms.)
Even better, I found a timeline of 'Fanthropology":
(This is a magnificent timeline chart of fannish stuff, starting in 1960.
The trouble is, the image isn't always there, shen it all!)
In Service to Unity,
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