"Slash" Has a Secret Life. Who Knew?


Certainly not me. But that’s because I’ve never heard of “Fanfiction,” a literary subgenre in which sci-fi fans transport the plot and characters of their favorite narratives and infuse them with new lives… and new sexual orientations. I heard about this today twice while visiting a NYC high school where I was giving a talk to the graduating class. First, when I mentioned my book’s subject to another guest speaker, who happened to be a publisher of mystery writers (and married to a sci-fi fan) — and then when a student came up to me after my book talk to break the news that I might want to think twice about giving a “slash talk” at a sci-fi convention.

Disinformation provides this quickie backgrounder on the kind of slashing.

‘They’ call it slash. It evolved out of the fandom for the original Star Trek series, when some fans – mostly straight women – thought they saw gay subtext between Kirk and Spock that the show could never actually portray.

Some thirty years later, slash has expanded until there is a slash fandom for almost every science fiction series you can think of, and many non-SF ones as well. There is slash based on the characters in books or movies, or highly obscure shows, often called rareslash. There is slash based on real people, always a controversial topic, such as band members or famous actors. And, of course, the popular television series slashers are still going strong.

The word slash comes from the ‘/’ used between the initials of each character, in what is called the pairing. K/S – Kirk-slash-Spock. Most of the pairings involve two men sexually or romantically involved, but female pairings are also out there. Most of the stories continue to be written by straight women. Slash is, within the generally somewhat homophobic and male-oriented SF community, a major women’s community. Lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men also write it, and you can even find a few straight men.

And I thought I just had to worry about the Brits. (Thanks to blogger Pascal Venier, I know what it means when a “guy” on the other side of the pond, “takes a slash.”)

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Filed under HeyMarci Blog, Slash, The Heymarci Blog

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