OK, I’ve been getting an education since I posted my “Ich bin ein Trekker” piece. I knew there was fan fiction out there, and that there was a lot based on Star Trek, although I’ve never read any of the Trek zines where this kind of thing has been typically published. I’ve certainly read professionally published stories by folks who began their writing lives as Trekkers and I’ve always known some of their story lines came from their own fan fiction.
I also knew that other TV shows had their own fan fic, including Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1, and I found out a few years ago about the beginnings of fan fic in the Harry Potter universe. I was also aware that certain characters, most notably in my experience, Conan the Cimmerian, Tarzan, and Sherlock Holmes had been the subject of many pastiche stories in small fanzines.
There were a number of things I did not know. First, I had no idea of the “extent” of the fan fiction that has been and is being published for all kinds of shows and characters. By Crom, but it is huge! Second, I had no idea that the “vast” majority of fan fic written for TV shows is written by women. It seems to be different where pastiche stories about characters in books are concerned; many of those writers, perhaps most, appear to be men. Third, I had never heard of “Kraith,” which is a whole subgenre of Star Trek Fan fiction set in a related but not quite canonical Trek Universe. It focuses on the Vulcans, and at least one story has Spock administering a sound spanking to Kirk. Fourth, until two days ago I had “never” heard the word slash associated with fan fiction and had no idea what it meant. I had heard, many years ago, that a story or two had been written about Kirk and Spock as gay lovers. It is apparently a LOT more than a couple of stories. (The name “slash” comes from the way in which “Kirk/Spock” is often written when referring to these stories.)
When I first heard about the Kirk/Spock stories I assumed they were written by gay men who were Star Trek or SF fans. Turns out the vast majority of these stories are also written by women, primarily heterosexual women. I have to say that confuses me a bit, although I’ve become aware in the last few years that there is a pretty big market for male on male erotica and that most of it is written by women for women. As a psychologist, I find that rather fascinating, although I can’t quite come up with a theory as to why it occurs. I would welcome input.
As for fan fic, I’d also be interested in hearing from folks who write it as to why they enjoy it. I can certainly understand the enjoyment of taking part in a kind of imaginative game using established characters in an established universe. I’ve imagined myself in the universe of Star Trek myself, although I never had much urge to write those stories down.
I’ve never written fan fic myself, although I once rough drafted a Conan pastiche for the REHupa group that I’m in. I think, in my case, it has most to do with the fact that I really like to have complete control over the creative aspects of writing myself. I don’t want to be constrained by someone else’s imagination, although I’m not above borrowing the good stuff.
Anyway, thanks to those who have helped educate me on fan fic over the last few days, and thanks to Wikipedia for the help in discovering more about Kraith and Slash fiction. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all, and I’m desperately trying not to imagine Kirk over Spock’s knee with his pants down for a spanking.