I got an email from someone who'd read 'Alecto'
somewhere (I never learned where, exactly). She seemed to like the story but had noticed the slashy undertones and wondered what I'd based them on. I wrote back, explained the concept of slash (coming from subtext and imagination), and she wrote again, thanking me for the info, saying it was the first time she had encountered slash and while she was of a completely different "persuasion," she appreciated my opinion.(Hehe. I wonder what persuasion she thought I was! The twisted persuasion, I bet.)
This got me to thinking about that age-old description of slash, what it is and where it comes from. For what's it's worth, I was around when it started, so I know. A better question is:
When is slash not really slash?
To me, it's not slash when it's canon.
For instance, Alexander/Hephaistion is a great pairing, but it's not slash. It's a homosexual or bi-sexual relationship that happens to be an historic fact (according to many historians).
Brian/Justin from QAF is a great gay relationship, but it ain't slash. I'd also mention one of my recent faves in this category, Bobby/Jonathan from "A Home at the End of the World."
And, 'Oz' fans, Beecher/Keller is wonderfully lurid, but it's canon, not slash.
One of the best fanfic explanations of this I ever encountered is Leo D's classic BSB fanfic, Howie D., Meet Mary Sue.
He uses his friend (and now partner) Johnny as a character in a story where Johnny meets and hooks up with Howie Dorough. And one of the plot devices is the two surfing the net and looking at Jericho's former website, PopSlash, which featured a lot of BSB stuff, and Johnny then describing slash fanfic to Howie.
Now this has been done in RPS a lot (and is going to appear in a future Colin Farrell Adventure in Slash), but I've never seen it done better than Leo did it. And what I like is the correct definition of slash.
In Slash fanfic (as it originated), the "S" in slash stands for Subtext. And this was the fun part of the original pairings, like Kirk/Spock and Starsky/Hutch. (OMG, look how close they came to kissing in the heroin episode!) Would we have killed to have seen some actual action on screen between our fave OTPs? Oh, yeah. But we saw it anyway -- we needed very little encouragement.
There are tons of great slash pairings that are crossovers or mere speculations, but when the pairing comes from a specific genre that features plenty of subtext, that's classic slash.
Here are my (current-as-of-this-second) top ten classic slash pairs (in no particular order):
1. Kirk/Spock from 'Star Trek' (the original slash coupling -- we called it "K/S")
2. Starsky/Hutch from the T.V. show (the classic cop partnership pairing)
3. Maverick/Iceman from 'Top Gun' (hotshot hotties in flight suits)
4. James West/Artemus Gordon from the T.V. show 'Wild, Wild West' (when the west was wild and the pants were very tight)
5. Illya/Napoleon from 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' (spy slash!)
6. Mark Greene/Doug Ross from 'E.R.' (they put the rrrrr in the E.R.)
7. Aragorn/Legolas from Jackson's trilogy of Tolkien's 'LOTR' (you don't have to have been around forever to be a classic)
8. Sonny Steelgrave/Vinnie Terranova from 'Wiseguy' (that kiss of death will get you every time!)
9. Arthur/Lancelot from many different sources, most recently 'King Arthur'
10. Thomas Magnum/Rick Wright from 'Magnum P.I.' ("Hi, guys!" Can you believe it? No? Try it!
and my nod to Real People Slash that transcends the list altogether:
11. The Backstreet Boys (see any concert or performance and pick a pairing)
This, of course, leaves out so many favorite pairings (obscure and otherwise) that I need a companion list of others, which I'll obligingly put behind a cut.
James Bond/Alec Trevelyan from 'Goldeneye'
Dom/Brian from 'The Fast and The Furious'
Charlie Dalton/John Keating from 'Dead Poet's Society'
David/Michael from the vampire film 'Lost Boys'
Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin from 'Master and Commander' (books and movie)
Sonny/Rico from 'Miami Vice' (soon to stage a major comeback with my favorite hottie)
Apollo/Starbuck from 'Battlestar Galactica' (can't believe I once thought so, but I did)
Picard/Riker from 'Next Generation'
Erik Greystone/Dirk Blackpool from the short-lived T.V. fantasy 'Wizards & Warriors'
Hannibal Heyes/Kid Curry from T.V. western 'Alias Smith and Jones'
Cody/Nick from T.V. action/adventure show 'Riptide'
Blythe/Hendley from 1963 classic 'The Great Escape'
Luke/Han from 'Star Wars'
Sherlock Holmes/John Watson from many sources, especially the BBC series
Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon from 'Phantom Menace' (almost made the Top Ten)
Hill/Renko from T.V. cop classic 'Hill Street Blues' (although my fave slash pair was Furillo/LaRue)
Harry Callahan/Johnny Davis from the Dirty Harry movie 'Magnum Force' (made popular by a series of slash novellas, not from any on-screen subtext)and my current OTP:
Gamble/Street from the movie 'S.W.A.T.'
And just to be outrageous, I'll add a list of my Top 10 slash incest pairings (as of this minute, that is). If you follow the cut, any possible outrage is in your own hands.
Incest slash pairs:
1. Darth Vadar/Luke Skywalker (even before Hayden entered the picture)
2. Indiana Jones/Henry Jones (father and son -- both young and older versions)
3. Aaron Carter/Nick Carter
4. Brian Littrell/Kevin Richardson of BSB
5. Faramir/Boromir of 'LOTR'
6. Connor/Murphy from 'The Boondock Saints' (twincest!)
7. The Bolt Brothers from the T.V. series 'Here Come the Bridges'
8. Frank/Joe from T.V. series 'Hardy Boys'
9. Rudy/Tom Jordache from miniseries 'Rich Man, Poor Man'
10. Batman/Robin or Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson (not incest, per se, but close enough)
OMG, have I mentioned today that I love fanfic!