Art, Literature, Secular Culture Wars, Uncategorized

Vulcan Love Slave and the Origins of Fan Fiction

I am a fan of Star Trek Deep Space Nine or DS9 as many people call it. It’s the first place I encountered a reference to a mysterious text from the Star Trek universe known as Vulcan Love Slave. The novel is said to be popular with Ferengi, an Alpha quadrant species known for their lust for profit, and presumably, features a Vulcan female but the sex of the Vulcan is never actually disclosed, so it could be a man in theory, which could be another twist to this sordid tale but I digress.

I was watching an episode from season five, The Ascent, where Quark tells Odo that Vulcan Love Slave is a ‘hell of a read’  and I decided to go look and see if any enterprising authors had attempted to capitalize on this novel in waiting. It seems that the task is so daunting or so sordid in the Star Trek Universe, that none have touched it. Well, almost none. I did find some fan fiction on the topic, most of which was poorly edited but one or two were tolerable short stories. And some were just wrong, crass and ultimately horrific on many levels, grammar being only one! They say discretion is the better part of valour, so it didn’t surprise me that no novel has been published under that title. Mystery after all is part of desire and the mystique of Star Trek could in theory be damaged by a poorly written bit of erotica. Not to mention that good erotica writers are hard to come by.

Vulcan Love Slave is also a holonovel which means it’s had at least three followup books. Vulcan Love Slave II – The Revenge, Vulcan Love Slave III and Vulcan Love Slave IV T’Ris in Orion Bondage. Personally, I think Anne Rice could write Vulcan Love Slave given her work in the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, but I highly doubt that would ever happen. Too many Star Trek purists would line up in a sheep circle and freak out.

The sheep circle is an amazing phenomena and says a great deal about these creatures. Sheeple, or people as they are sometimes called, have an inborn herd tendency and I don’t doubt that any attempt to debase the Trek franchise with S&M erotica would result in a circling of the wagons in the name of purity control and given some of the crass fan fiction I found on the topic I can see why. But what I didn’t know was that fan fiction began in the Star Trek Universe according to Wikipedia. Spockanalia, which contained early fan fiction was originally published in 1967 and provided an outlet for amateur science fiction writers. Before about 1965, the term “fan fiction” was used in science fiction fandom to designate original, though amateur, works of science fiction published in science fiction fanzines, as differentiated from fiction that was professionally published by professional writers.

I can’t help but think it would be enlightening to find out more about the Vulcan mentality given their steely emotional control and given that Spockanalia was published in 1967, it seems that Vulcans have been sneaking around in the minds of humans for at almost fifty years. What is new it seems is the fascination with the Ferengi.

Quark, a Ferengi in DS9
Image via Wikipedia

And it seems that despite empirical evidence to the contrary, a Marxist reading of capitalism in the literary sense still has some kind of postmodern hold on the collective psyche of science fiction fans. Vulcan Love Slave is popular in Ferengi culture or at least in the S & M fantasies of Star Trek authors, so given the Ferengi’s regressive views of women it seems that the mere idea of Vulcan Love Slave has become a pandora’s box for hiding the all too human stereotypes about the lust for profit, capitalism and the roles of women in society. Fan Fiction has already been upgraded to transmedia storytelling now that it has become so popular on the web, so it seems to me that in another twenty years if we aren’t watchful, we may see post modernism conflated with queer theory in the name of Marxism to an even greater extent.

Personally, I want a real writer to make the time to write Vulcan Love Slave. I don’t have anything against fan fiction per se. And considering just how detrimental SOPA and PIPA would have been had they been passed in the unedited form, I know that writers of fan fiction are breathing a sigh of relief. But I don’t want to read fan fiction. I want a real writer to tackle Vulcan Love Slave! I want to read the novel. And for what it’s worth, I would rather read erotica, not S & M where Vulcan Love Slave is concerned.

When I say that I don’t do fan fiction let me be clear, I don’t write it or read it for the most part and to some, that may smack of narrow-mindedness given that I also blog. When I was taking Professional Writing classes fan fiction was praised as an exercise but lampooned when published for any purpose other than to have it critiqued by a ‘jury’ of your peers. As an exercise in Direct Democracy, fan fiction is allowed in academia as a teaching tool for aspiring writers because it teaches you to deal with criticism but also to jealously guard your ideas. Fan fiction is derivative of someone else’s labors ultimately and professional writers want a pay check. “At least they tried” I said to myself, but I couldn’t get past the mockery leveled at the authors of fan fiction and I still can’t. I tend to think of it as exercises in style now and that is being kind really, so I suppose that this is why there are not more fan fiction stories about Vulcan Love Slave that are floating around the web. Considering how bad some of the ones I found were, perhaps I should be grateful.

Anyway, here are two of my ideas for a real author to consider if they tackle Vulcan Love Slave.

I know that the extended title of Vulcan Love Slave is The Arduous Journey of T’lana on the Road to Enlightenment and that T’lana is supposed to be a females name but consider that this could be a man. Quark’s mother Ishka engineered a feminist revolution on Ferenginar so if you choose to include the Ferengi as a direct player in the drama, it could be a woman who sexually trains a man.

and finally,

If the author chose instead to say that such sexual training occurs on Vulcan, there are all kinds of esoterica that could be included such as the Pon Farr and the Kolinahr that would make for great subversive politics and machinations behind the scenes that could also be expanded to include the Romulans and the break between civilizations.

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