tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

195: What Is This Thing You Humans Call 'Star Trek'?

Having a fandom that is public knowledge is weird. I mean, no one ever discussed due South in my presence who wasn't also discussing Fraser's cock. I don't think anyone but fans has even heard of The Sentinel. I know lots of people read comic books, but no one is willing to admit to it at the places where I go. I'm not sure anyone over the age of 15 has ever watched Merlin who didn't want to write fan fiction where someone got it on with someone else. A few people had, presumably, heard of Stargate: Atlantis, but it's not like anyone said anything about it. But Star Trek is - well. Let me tell you a story.

Twice a week, I take the earthling to OT. The pediatric therapy section is part of a unit that also provides therapy to adults. Because I spend a lot of time in the waiting area, I know most of the adult therapists at least vaguely, and I know the names of all the women, because they wear their badges. (So do the men, technically, but they usually clip their badges to a pocket and then put the badge inside the pocket. It's on, but it's not like you can see who they are.) So I have to make up nicknames for the guys.

Once, I was waiting for an elevator with one of the adult PTs and he spontaneously shared with me that it was his first day back at work after some surfing championship thing. "Oh?" I said politely. "How was it?"

"Totally awesome," he said very sincerely, and that was the last thing he said that I understood, although he kept talking all the way up in the elevator and then down the hall. Just before we parted ways, I figured out that he was relating the details of his own performance, with helpful side notes about the condition of the ocean.

"Awesome!" I said, confidant that at least I knew that much of his dialect, and he nodded enthusiastically. I went to the waiting area and he went off to teach a stroke patient to walk, and I started to think of him as Surfer Boy.

But then one day I sat in the waiting area next to a woman in her sixties and her forty-ish companion as they watched Surfer Boy demonstrate one of the weight machines and discussed in great detail what they'd like to do to him. (It started with the younger one saying, "I'd like to sink my teeth into those thighs." "Honey," said the older one as she crocheted something pink, "If I got my mouth on him, I wouldn't waste time on his thighs.") They called him Mr. Hotass throughout their very extensive discussion of his features and probable abilities, and the nickname Surfer Boy just couldn't compete. He is Mr. Hotass forever to me now.

And there's another adult PT who I think of as the Professor, because he reminds me of a professor I had in college - he's very tall, and he wears wire rim glasses, and he's fond of slightly frayed Oxford shirts that in no way match his corduroys or chinos. He, like my college professor, speaks very very quietly. I have never understood a word he's said. (With my college professor, if you didn't get to class in time to get a front row seat, you just studied from the book, copied down the board occasionally, and hoped someone up there was taking good notes.)

And, finally, there is Itsuko. (See? She wears her name tag!) If I had to give her a nickname, it would be PT Fangirl. She is very, very interested in American Idol (she was near tears over Adam Lambert's loss - no, really, there was a small group of sad, hugging women in the hall the next day, and I just thank my friends list, because without y'all I would have thought Adam Lambert was a patient who died) and also those dance shows.

So, the other day the Professor was using the work table, and Mr. Hotass was next to him getting a hot towel out of the big scary steamy hot towel machine that you have to use the Tongs of Giantness on. Itsuko was waiting behind Mr. Hotass. And they had the following conversation:

The Professor: *something inaudible, ending in a questioning tone*
Mr. Hotass: Damn it, Jim, I'm a physical therapist, not a doctor!
The Professor: *something inaudible and semi-emphatic sounding*
[Further laughter.]
Itsuko: Fascinating, Captain. Dr. McCoy, if you do not require any additional hot packs, I believe it would be most logical for you to yield your place to me.

And I knew exactly what they were talking about it. I could even make some decent guesses about what the Professor had said, and that has never happened before.

My primary sensation was one of injustice. That was my fandom! They weren't supposed to know about it! I wanted to yank them aside and say, "YOU! Obviously your fandom is surfing. Go back to being incomprehensible about that! Itsuko - okay, you can stay, because really I think you're more than halfway there already. But as for you, Professor, I don't know what your interests are, but I'm betting you're a founding member of the Speak Softly (Stick Optional) Club for Boring Men. STAY AWAY FROM MY FANDOM."

And then I remembered that everyone knows about Star Trek, and in fact basically everyone in the Western hemisphere knows more about Star Trek than I do (because they've seen more than one episode of the series, and probably the movie as well).

Because the thing is, there's so much stuff in Star Trek. It's not just the movie. It's not even the movie and the original series. It's some number of spinoffs, and I don't even know how many. (People, what the hell is Enterprise? Is that the same as TNG? TOS? Is it a whole OTHER series? I would check Wikipedia on this one, but it tends to really enhance my feelings of Star Trek inadequacy.) It's a very large number of novels, many of them, bizarrely, written by people whose names I recognize, some I even know. (And one, apparently, was slash, and no one noticed until after it came out. Oops!) And it's half a fucking century of fans, and fanwank, and people writing long impassioned essays about things like insignia design and the meaning of spaceship numbers. (For the record, I entirely salute this. It's just too much for me to assimilate.)

It's overwhelming, is my point. In a good way! A good way! But I keep turning to Best Beloved and saying things like, "Okay, what is with this t'hy'la thing? It's in every story ever!"

And she says, "I don't know." (Because she hasn't watched all the original Trek. This is a problem, as she is my source of information for all visual media. And she probably won't be seeing the whole series, either. Normally I could buy her a season or two as, like, a subtle hint in the shape of a gift, but have you seen how much those things cost? Too much for a hint, I'll tell you that.)

Or I say to Best Beloved, "Okay. Pon farr. So there was - um, a girl? That Spock didn't marry?"

And Best Beloved, who has in fact seen that episode, says, "Well, yes. She wanted to marry someone else, so she challenged Spock and picked Kirk as her champion - no, I don't know why, so don't ask - and they fought and Spock thought he'd killed Kirk. He was very sad, as I recall. And then she went off and married the other guy."

So I - nimbly avoiding the question she told me not to ask, because I am no fool, say, "What happened with the pon farr, though? Doesn't he have to have sex with someone?"

And she says, "I don't know, but looking back, I'd have to say he and Kirk went somewhere private."

It's also intimidating. I normally eventually get to a place where at least I feel like I can write in a fandom, even if I never actually do, but I don't think that's going to happen here. There's just too much stuff to know. This means, of course, that I will have to sit here and just hope that someone else writes the stories I want to see. Like the story where the reboot universe gets a few more Spocks - like, raised-on-earth Spock, and Captain-of-the-Enterprise Spock, and never-met-Kirk Spock. How many Vulcans can one starship hold? (Oh, like you've never wanted to see a vid to "Part of Your World" for Spock.) LOTS, would be my feeling, and, really. The more Spock, the better.

Which brings me to another embarrassing element of all this. I appear to have developed an OTC. (Yes, I, too, look at those initials and see over the counter. But I refuse to spell it out.) And my OTC is - well, Spock. This is highly distressing! First, I feel like, well, what else have I missed about classic fandom? Will it turn out that my favorite show in the whole entire world is Starsky and Hutch or something? (Just having a favorite TV show would be quite a shock to my system.) But most of all, I feel strangely adrift. I'm usually an OTP kind of girl, and so I know what to read: things with my characters' names on them, and a slash in between. With an OTC, it's different. Because I will happily read Spock paired with basically anyone - Kirk, Uhura, Sulu, his tricorder, the warp cores (although Scotty would kill him if he tried anything), John Sheppard, Jack Sparrow, the Enterprise, a culturally significant and aesthetically pleasing rock, whatever. As well, of course, as any gen in all kinds of quantities

This makes it much harder to read fan fiction. I need to know, in advance, if a story that's gen will contain sufficient Spock, or if it will leave me muttering, "Okay, that was kind of awesome. But, seriously: not enough Vulcans, too many mans." (It's not that I don't like the others. I do. I just - SPOCK. He is everything I ever wanted a character to be! And also telepathic, which I find deeply creepy, but that just adds an edge, you know?) Plus there's ever the danger that I will read a story that ends with a SAD Spock. And I think we all know that a sad Vulcan (grimly repressing all signs of sadness and pretending that it is totally logical to lie on his bed and listen to Fall Out Boy all day) is the very saddest thing of all.

I remain hopeful that I will settle into some kind of stable OTP orbit, though I don't know exactly how that would work. (NO, it is not going to be Spock/Spock. I have limits. Probably.)

And so I am here, overwhelmed (Why isn't there an easy, bullet-point summary? For people who are maybe not up to reading fifty years of, like, Trekian scholarship?) and out of my element (an OTC, seriously; I cannot even cope).

But definitely in the fandom. Eeee! Trek!

The One That Is Everything (Okay, Not Quite, but Still) Wrong with Movies Today. And It's Brilliant. ...On the Dance Floor, by sloanesomething.

This is for that one lone fan out there who didn't know what I was referencing with "not enough Vulcans, too many mans." It's also for anyone who doesn't know Star Trek at all. Or anyone who knows Star Trek but isn't our kind of fan. Because, oh my god, this is so awesome, and I don't care who you are: you will get this. (And if you don't love it, there's just no hope for you.)

Of course, the sad part is that you could use this song for a vid in basically any fandom, except, you know, Xena. But I refuse to think about that! Instead I will think about the joy that this vid brings me. Which is a lot. And it brings it about every ten minutes, because once you start watching this vid, there is no stopping.

(There's also no chance that you'll get through the day without singing this song. It's like heroin for your ears. I just feel I should tell you that now, so you don't blame me later when you sing it in front of your direct supervisor, or your entire family, or, you know, a gathering of Sunday school kids.)

The One That Answers the Question of Who Is Doing All the Unglamorous Work in Starfleet. The First Time, by Afrai, aka [info -]bravecows. It's - OFC/OFC? Kind of? That's not really the point, though.

So, having spent quite some time wibbling about my negative reaction to any story not featuring Spock (which, seriously, in my head I want to make that sparkly text, except I know it would be wrong), I'm going to start off by recommending something that is totally Spock-free. And here's the thing: I don't care. This is that good.

What's it about? Well. Let's just say this is meta as well as fan fiction, and you'll get it as you go along, and I can't tell you in advance.

I can say, though, that I love these characters. And I want them to be canon. I want the concepts to be canon. There's something in here that is SO AWESOME and makes so much intuitive sense and yet I cannot think of any visual SF that does it, although of course my reference set is limited - I mean, I haven't even seen all the Star Trek spinoffs.

So I can't tell you what this is about, really. I can just tell you to read. Oh, and I can say that if this story were canon, well, that'd be a step toward correcting the problem the last rec identified.

The One That Features Courtship Via Phonemes. I Mean, I Guess Almost All Courtship Is, but These Are Explicit Phonemes, and, No, I Don't Mean That the Way You Think I Do. Break, by yahtzee63. S'chn T'gai Spock/Nyota Uhura.

This story, on the other hand, has an entirely acceptable amount of Spock. It also has lots and lots of profoundly awesome Uhura. My only complaint about this story is that, once again, I think everyone in the universe has already read it, but I want to rec it, so I will. I've never worried about that problem before, after all.

This is backstory - although that seems like an insulting term for it, really - for the Spock/Uhura relationship in canon, and I looooooove it. (I think most dedicated slashers will love this one. There's enough emotional distance and longing and requited passion, plus just a touch of angst, to satisfy. Or so it was for me.) This has all the elements I need in a story featuring Spock (great seething cauldron of emotion, sternly repressed, occasionally bubbling to the surface while he pretends that, no, there are no disturbances in the core of Planet Spock, which is of course not at all volcanic, no, really, ignore that eruption you hear). And it has a Nyota who is truly an equal character, truly intelligent, and truly human. I could not ask for more.

In fact, this story has made me kind of afraid to see the movie, because if there's one thing I know about big-budget summer action movies, it's that they don't usually provide rich character development and thoughtful, realistic relationships and depth. I am guessing, if this story were canon, most of the words in it would be replaced by something exploding.

The Vid That Teaches Us That Vulcans Are the Real Rough Trade. Or, Okay, Not, but They Sure Do Give New Meaning to Rough Sex. Poker Face, by talitha78. S'chn T'gai Spock/Jim Kirk.

So, um, this vid is pretty much the closest we'll get to an actual canon Kirk/Spock sex scene, or am I the only one seeing that on that screen? No, I can't be.

And, if that is not enough to compel you - this is Spock. Spock! Who has a POKER FACE! Except not, as it turns out, for Kirk. Kirk: the illogical exception to every aspect of Vulcan control! I could not love this more.

PLUS, we get to see the evolution of Spock, from fierce but wee baby Spock to more-Vulcan-than-Vulcan pre-Starfleet Spock to Kill him? Fuck him? Maybe both! Spock-with-Kirk. They are all my favorite Spocks, let me tell you.

And I love that this fandom has been so prolific, with so many excellent vids set to so many songs I would not normally listen to at all. And yet, you know, there's a decent chance I'll end up loving this song. I mean, I watch the vid enough.

(Spoooooooooock. <3 <3 <3 <3!)

(P.S. Anyone know of a good place to get ST icons? I neeeeeed them. Apparently.)
Tags: star trek
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