Viewing posts tagged Paula Smith

Ship's Log, Supplemental: A Fragment Out of Time

Slash fiction is a thread that's been with us for quite some time already, and it's been with Star Trek arguably since as early as “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. Although certain hardcore fans might not like to admit it, it is unquestionably one of the franchise's most defining and signature motifs: Although slash has existed for pretty much as long as people have been telling stories, the current manifestation of it, the interaction it has with late-20th and early-21st century fan culture, and thus the way it is commonly conceptualized today, can be directly traced back to Star Trek.

There are any number of possible opportunities to discuss slash over the course of the franchise's history, but the one that seems to most appropriate is here, with the first documented piece of Star Trek-inspired slash fiction, Diane Marchant's “A Fragment Out of Time” (Page 1, Page 2), dating to 1974. Marchant submitted it to one of the first (and at the time only) Star Trek zines targeted expressly towards adults, a publication somewhat wonderfully titled Grup. Given the zine's comparatively small audience and interviews she's given after the fact, Marchant never ...

Ship's Log, Supplemental: A Trekkie's Tale

Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky! It's Lieutenant Mary Sue!
Oh boy, here we go. Yes, my friends, the time has finally come.

“A Trekkie's Tale” needs no introduction. A notoriously vicious bit of satire attacking a particular trend within Star Trek fanfiction, the story is infamous for introducing the world to the hated Mary Sue. It took no more than five brief paragraphs to completely tear Star Trek fandom asunder and, as a result, “A Trekkie's Tale” has transcended fan circles to become ubiquitous in the larger pop consciousness such that it's had a truly transformative, profound, and arguably profoundly negative, effect on the way we look at genre fiction even to this day. A case could be (and has been) made that the introduction of the Mary Sue archetype is one of the largest and most sweeping acts of reactionary silencing tactics in the history of genre fandom.

And yet “A Trekkie's Tale” itself is misread and misunderstood by pretty much everyone.

First, some background for those perhaps less familiar with what this is than others. “A Trekkie's Tale” is a piece of satirical fanfiction published in 1973 and featuring a character named Lieutenant ...

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