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Mistress Marilyn's POV
No shit, Tempus Fugit!
S is for Subtext! 
19th-Jul-2005 10:02 pm
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!
20th-Jul-2005 05:51 am (UTC) - Wow. What Else Can I Say???
It's hard to even know what to say when I read something as informative and interesting as this, MM.

Obviously I already knew that you and Charlie charliemc were around at the beginning of slash fandom/fanfic, because we've discussed it previously. Still, I guess I don't give it nearly as much thought as I should when you're writing something as incredible as this entry! LOL.

OK, I have to mention that I love your fanfic "Alecto." It's an amazing piece of work that really SHOWS the research behind it -- without SHOWING OFF (if that make sense). And I felt "Howie D., Meet Mary Sue" was also very well-written and interesting. (I've never been all that into boy band fanfic, except for knowing that you and Charlie are. And Becky beckyo, too, who also writes it... I've only ever read a little. I guess I need to read MORE of it. LOL.) I really appreciate fanfic recs from people I know and respect in slash fandom.

Reading all those pairings you've mentioned makes me want to immediately start dashing around to READ fanfic for each one! (I really don't mind the incest ones, either. I think brothers and male cousins are probably 'fooling around' a lot more than anybody realizes -- and I'm talking for REAL here.)

This entry also reminds me of all the wonderful slash fandoms out there! So many fanfics, so little time. Man.

OMG, have I mentioned today that I love fanfic!

Man. Me, too! I really, really do love fanfic. I think it's one of the reasons I like being alive...

Thanks for this fascinating and delightful read! (Now I'll have to rec this entry to my friends! LOL.)


23rd-Jul-2005 08:54 am (UTC) - Re: Wow. What Else Can I Say???
I love that you love fanfic, Brian. And thanks for rec-ing this post. You and Jim are two of my favorite people, and I'm so glad we've gotten to know each other on line!
20th-Jul-2005 06:46 am (UTC) - !!!
Fabulous work, Marilyn.

Of course, this takes us back to our old 'debate' (if you will) about what slash is, as opposed to gay fiction. (Which we've discussed with so many people during these online years, it seems!)

You got so many of the major pairings we've seen and been interested in since first finding others in slash fandom. It's fun to see them listed here!

And, of course, it reminds me that we've both been seeing slashy subtext in just about everything since we were kids! (Batman/Robin was back when you were 11 and I was 13/14! Do you believe that? And "The Great Escape" was when you were 8 and I was 11!)

A life time of slashy goodness... How I love it! (grin)

"Thanks for that walk down memory lane." (As Mr. Keating would say. And the slash just keeps on coming...)

Takes me back to the days when we were 'underground' with all our slash -- especially the reference to the Harry/Johnny series! Who knew back then that slash would be so public and readily available?

This is a list I think we could add to over time...
23rd-Jul-2005 08:53 am (UTC) - Re: !!!
We were born pervy. Or did you corrupt me?

More likely I corrupted you.
20th-Jul-2005 07:38 am (UTC)
Many fandoms I'd like to read. (Test the waters.)

Mark Greene/Doug Ross from 'E.R.' (they put the rrrrr in the E.R.)

Can you rec any fic featuring them?
23rd-Jul-2005 08:52 am (UTC)
Wish I had a rec. I checked the Shippers Manifesto community ship_manifesto, but it doesn't seem anyone has done the pairing yet. Charlie and I haven't written it specifically, although we've certainly discussed it a lot.

I'll certainly let you know if I come across any good stuff.
20th-Jul-2005 12:02 pm (UTC) - *terminal giggles*
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)

*giggles some more and points at my icon*

But seriously, fabulous post!
23rd-Jul-2005 08:46 am (UTC) - Re: *terminal giggles*
Thanks, Becky!

Time for a specific BSB list:

1. The Cousins (love 'em as a pair, although it's harder to see now)
2. A.J./Brian (this one became more real recently)
3. Nick/Howie (this one grew recently, too)
4. Kevin/Howie (the ultimate unrequited boyband love, love Leo's take on it in 'Smile and Nod,' one of the first boyband fanfics I ever read)
5. A.J./Howie (one of my earliest pairings, I don't see it so much now)
6. Brian/Nick (one of the early classics, Frick n/Frack!)
7. Kevin/Nick (which has grown on me, especially recently)

Pairings I cannot see: Brian/Howie, Kevin/A.J.

Can you believe I've never written even one BSB slash story?!!!!!
20th-Jul-2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
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).
Yes. But people don't seem to use that standard now, do they? (Too bad.)

S is for Subtext!
I love that. Slash is all about subtext.

My fave slash fiction is also another 's,' which is subtle. People don't always have to beat you over the head with slash, in other words. You're the queen of subtle, by the way! Your work is superior to everything else I read when it comes to that and Alecto's a perfect example.

Good thoughts.
23rd-Jul-2005 08:39 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the comment about subtlety. Occasionally I receive a feedback or loc that calls my fanfic "subtle," and I consider that high praise. Some fanfic is so damn over-the-top, I think most people can't even appreciate subtlety. They want to be told each and every thing the character is thinking and feeling, and that maddens me. Let the reader do some of the work, I say.

Jimbo on my flist is also a subtle writer. You should check out his drabbles.

Thanks for commenting!
(Deleted comment)
23rd-Jul-2005 08:37 am (UTC)
I've heard about Bodie and Doyle many times, but I'm still unfamiliar with them. Great addition!

When you get into RPS, you're really rocking the boat for some folks. That's a whole 'nother topic!
21st-Jul-2005 06:54 am (UTC)
Some of these pairings crack me up! And some I don't really know. But I just love that this stuff has been around for so long. (And I'd love to read some James Bond/Alec Trevelyan!)

I actually read the Magnum story. (Very hot sex, byw!) Unexpected. Great dialogue!

Overall, you fascinate me.

Where's Hector/Paris (incest)?
Where's your favorite mpreg list?

Keep it up.
21st-Jul-2005 08:06 am (UTC) - Agreed!
Where's Hector/Paris (incest)?
Where's your favorite mpreg list?

Where are they???

21st-Jul-2005 08:08 am (UTC) - Really?
When is slash not really slash?

To me, it's not slash when it's canon.

But I happen to like canon slash!

Aside from that, I bloody well loved what you said here. And enjoyed the lists!

I'd love some recs, too, by the by.

23rd-Jul-2005 08:28 am (UTC) - Re: Really?
"Canon Slash"

I like that definition.

I agree I like it, and I sure as hell write it! But it's kind of bastardizing the terminology for slash when we use it for gay fanfic. (Just like it *totally* bugs me when I see a slash pairing called "homosexual"!)

Good to see you here, Peter!
23rd-Jul-2005 03:27 am (UTC) - I write vampire fic......
and writing slash vampire fic to me doesn't seem slash per se. Sorry but I don't know if I can explain it any better.
23rd-Jul-2005 08:16 am (UTC) - Re: I write vampire fic......
Anne Rice seemed to start a whole vamp-slash genre when she wrote 'Interview,' even though her slashy vamps weren't really sexual in the truest sense of the word. I think this is one of the fandom fetishes for Rice's works. The same people who love the vampire thing tend to go for slash.

I grew up as a huge vampire fan. 'Dracula' was one of my favorite books (and is still a fantastic read). I have a friend who writes amazing boyband vampire fanfic (sounds weird, but it's actually good), and I've been trying to get him to collaborate on an 'Alexander' fanfic where Bagoas is/was a vampire.

I think vamp-slash is a whole 'nother genre, and it *is* fascinating!

Thanks for commenting. (Nice iconage!)
23rd-Jul-2005 06:20 am (UTC)
(wandered over from metafandom)

I completely agree with you, but I also wonder how to label certain things. For example: I had always believed that slash was taking characters who in canon were either straight or not assigned an orientation and putting those characters into a homosexual relationship. Now, what if one character is canonically gay? Is it still slash if he shags a straight guy? What if it's Real Person fic and there is a rumor that the straight guy shagged a different gay man? Is this slash? Is this homofic? Is this way too complicated for anyone, including the fan, to comprehend?

Maybe there needs to be a homo genre to encompass canonical homosexual pairings. But then het would need to be split between canonical and wishful thinking. Hmm.
23rd-Jul-2005 08:26 am (UTC)
Really good point. We could have many different catagories, if we got *really* technical about it! One of my favorite slash setups is the gay guy/straight guy thing (and in fact, in some fanfics I've argued that in one of my fave ships, Gamble/Street from 'S.W.A.T.', Gamble is a latent homosexual . . . which is still subtext, not canon).

If the actor is rumored to be gay (Jeremy Renner), can we transfer a little of that to the character? (Which leads me to one of my favorite Colin Farrell character questions, since I write a little bit of Colin fic, can we assume some or most of Colin's characters to be uncircumcised, since we know the actor is?)

Sorry, I digressed . . .

I've found most people don't care if the characters are gay, straight, bi or what. They tend to lump it all into "slash," and I just wanted to make the point that this wasn't how it all started. My answer to your question, both for character fanfic and RPF would probably be if at least one of the pair is straight, it could technically be called slash (since you'd have to be using subtext and imagination to get to the pairing in the first place). (Semi-Slash?)

Thanks for commenting!
24th-Jul-2005 05:01 am (UTC)
Subtext is a good thing. And a lot of people seem to have difficulty grasping the concept. I have no idea why.

I liked the post, especially the incest pairs *g*

Hope you don't mind if I add you to my flist.
24th-Jul-2005 05:31 am (UTC)
Thanks for commenting and adding me to your flist. I added you back! (What is that wonderful icon, if I might ask?)
23rd-Oct-2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Hey Marilyn! Woah, after four years, I'll give you a response to this post because I just learned something. I didn't know that homosexual canon pairings aren't slash! I thought they all are, imaginative or not. Looks like you haven't been a Christian fan back then, since I don't see anything about him in your list. *VBG*

How about my favourite incest pairing: Alfred Borden ;)

Then I'd say Quinn/Creedy, Preston/Partridge, Connor/Wright, Batman/Gordon, Javid, Thomas/Peter, Dan/Ben

And I'd love to go on with some of my favourite pairings for Gary Oldman: a very naughty one, and that's an almost seventeen year old Harry Potter and his godfather.

Plus Jackie Flannery and the cop Terry. I was so faszinated from "State of Grace". I still have an unfinished story about that laying somewhere.

As for Aragorn/Legolas, you get a big YES! And I am also all for Dom/Brian.

I still have to watch Miami Vice (LOVED the serial) and SWAT.

24th-Oct-2009 09:39 am (UTC)
OMG, yes. I'd have a whole different list now (or sorta different, at least). And you're right, Christian wasn't on the radar back then . . .

Yes, the two Alfreds would be high on the incest list now! And Dan and Ben is one of my favorite pairings to write at the moment. And, of course, Melvin and Johnnie (even though I haven't written it, I still read it and fantasize about it all the time). I wrote quite a bit Bruce/Harvey last year, and I do love Batman/Gordon, although I don't write it. And I love American Psycho's Patrick Bateman slashed with Aaron Eckhart's psychiatrist from Neverland as a crossover, although the stories are all oral, shared between Charlie and me. And last year I ended up immersed in the Gotham Newsies thing, slashing Bruce Wayne with Jack.

Oh my. I could go on and on. (But I better get to bed, because I have to be at work in five hours, and tomorrow's going to be a long, hard packing day!)

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