caitri: (Default)
All Star Trek stories are Kirk/McCoy unless otherwise stated.
All Avengers stories are Steve/Tony unless otherwise stated.
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caitri: (This is Your Captain)
In the post-Trump world, it is really an incredible political parable that I don't think was adequately appreciated (even by me) when it came out this summer.

But think about it: It's about a reactionary, xenophobic old man that hates the new world he lives in and wants to destroy it, and how he is opposed by a diverse group of young people whose lives were forever changed because of terrorist acts--and who, rather than succumbing to fear, say things like "Unity is our strength" and "It's better to die saving lives than live with taking them."

Oh, and who call Beastie Boys "classical music." :}
caitri: (Screw Subtext)
My essay was just posted at PopMatters as part of their Star Trek issue:

The Continuing Voyages

'Star Trek' Reboot Fandom and 'Prime Universe' Canon


28 September 2016


The 2009 Star Trek film’s introduction of the Kelvin Timeline and its canonical “Alternate Universe” offered a plethora of possibility to fans old and new. While Trek fandom has never gone away, the new film invigorated it with its fresh take on beloved characters, and new fans came to the numerous digital platforms of fandom in droves. Almost immediately various resources were organized and created for the benefit of the new fans, not just to entice them to watch The Original Series (TOS) and its fellows, but so that they would have references useful for their fanfic and fan art.

What was the name of McCoy’s ex-wife? Why was Tarsus IV seminal to Kirk’s development as a leader? Where are all the characters that aren’t white guys or Uhura? Reboot fandom drew strongly on these resources, adding canonical characters that were functionally deleted from the first film (like Kirk’s older brother) or exploring the new ones that were introduced (Gaila, who may well be the first Orion woman in Starfleet). With the newest film just out, a new series in the wings, and the franchise’s golden anniversary at hand, how do we make sense of 50 years of adventures?

Fans of TOS in the ‘70s kept fandom alive through numerous fanzines that collected fan fiction, critical and speculative commentary, the occasional poem, checklists of episodes with summaries and character information—resources that were incredibly useful when the shows was in syndication but there were no VHS recordings, let alone the possibility of binge-watching. (Fun fact: TOS’s popularity in syndication trumped the usual model for re-airings; even today, a television show usually needs 100 episodes to be re-aired. The Original Series consisted of only 79 episodes, plus the unaired pilot “The Cage”.)

In 1975, Bantam Books published Star Trek Lives!, a collection of nonfiction fan writing that included a primer on fan fiction. It was followed in 1976 by Star Trek: The New Voyages, the first of two volumes that collected fan fiction pieces in whole rather than just excerpts. Shortly afterwards, Pocket Books licensed media tie-in novels for the series, which in the early days included work by numerous fan authors who turned pro (like A.C. Crispin) or up-and-coming pro writers (like Joe Haldeman). None of these works were considered canon per se, but they explored the possibilities of life in and outside of the Federation. After the conclusion of the last television series, Enterprise, in 2005, and a change in editorial apparatus, the novels created a more coherent and canonical “world-picture” of the stories of various characters.

Unfortunately, this has led to something of a tamping-down in certain lines, such as the brief Reboot-era Starfleet Academy series that included only four volumes published between 2010 and 2012. The reason put forth for the suspension of this particular line was that certain plot elements in the books hinted too much towards the story of what would become Star Trek Into Darkness, which in retrospect was either wishful thinking or a red herring altogether.

The lead-up to the 2009 Star Trek film (alternatively referred to as XI, NuTrek, AOS for Abrams’ Original Series, or simply as the Reboot) included a four-issue comic entitledCountdown that took place entirely in the “present” of the Prime Universe. Here, Ambassador Spock is still working to reconcile Vulcan with Romulus (as seen in the two-part episode “Unification” in Star Trek: The Next Generation all the way back in 1991) and prevent its star from going nova with red matter; appearances are made by Data, who is now Captain of the Enterprise-E; Picard, now the Federation Ambassador to Vulcan; Geordi LaForge, who designs and builds Spock’s ship, the Jellyfish, that is seen in the film.

Nero is introduced as a Romulan who wants to assist Spock’s efforts to save his planet, but the loss of his homeworld, wife, and unborn child drive him to madness, and to attacking the Federation vessels that arrive to assist refugees. General Worf of the Klingon Empire arrives to render assistance, and in the events that ensue, both Nero and Ambassador Spock inadvertently time-travel—and from there, the new reality is born from the ashes of the Kelvin Disaster, in which George Kirk sacrifices himself to save his family and crew from Nero.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Reboot fandom is how it’s not a “true” reboot—the Prime Universe still exists. All of the events of TOS, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine,Voyager, Enterprise, and all of the films—they still happened. The Kelvin Timeline is distinct, with connections and callbacks to the other universe, and as such, presumably all of the characters we have seen will be seen again in other iterations. As a simple example, most recently in Star Trek Beyond there was a very brief scene with Sulu’s partner and daughter; Demora Sulu was introduced in the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations.

It’s seemingly small “seeds” like this that provide not just fan service to viewers, but more food for thought for the serious fans (and fan writers). The ongoing Star Trek comics, recently retitled as Star Trek: The 5-Year Mission, published by IDW flirt with canon in both universes, introducing alternative takes on classic episodes that are accordingly different from the original. For instance, in the retelling of “Operation—Annihilate!” Kirk’s brother Sam and his family are rescued from Deneva, with a familial reconciliation being reached. In the original episode, a reconciliation between the brothers is not needed, but the colonists all perish except for Sam’s son. Other stories in the series push forwards arcs like the Vulcans’ recovery from the destruction of their homeworld, while special issues take on favorite fan tropes, like a story told in the Mirror!universe, or a peek into yet another universe where the characters are gender-swapped.

The most recent—and concluding—arc of the series this summer was entitled “Connection” and drew together both the TOS and Reboot crews in a lovely rumination. Rather than being a straightforward crossover, the characters only meet mentally, with an interesting use of visual art to render the effect as puzzle-pieces that fit into a whole rather than only a divergence. A final connection brings us full circle, as the Enterprise’s databases now contain information from both universes.

It is this element of connection—pulling together information and stories across generations, that ultimately speaks to how fan writers and readers work: putting pieces together to create new wholes. We see this most clearly in fanon, or fannish canon, which pulls from all of the stories told officially, and unofficially. Fanon runs the gamut from character names or alien biology to the interpretation of events in characters’ lives. Indeed, Uhura’s first name, Nyota, which was first used on screen in the 2009 film, originated from William Rotsler’s 1982 tie-in book Star Trek II Biographies; it was also used in a number of other works, licensed and fannish. Similarly, Sulu’s first name, Hikaru, was first used by Vonda N. McIntyre for her 1981 tie-in novel The Entropy Effect; it was not adopted on screen until the film Star Trek VI.

For another example, in the TOS episode “The Conscience of the King” we find that Kirk is the survivor of a eugenics-related genocide. The colony governor, Kodos, who perpetrated the murder of over four thousand civilians escaped justice and has always been a ghost of Kirk’s past that he must reckon with when it seems that Kodos has resurfaced. The “Tarsus IV Disaster” is meant to recall elements of the Holocaust; it also implies strong psychological links between Kirk’s belief in no-win scenarios and this formative childhood experience. Interestingly, while only a few (comparatively) fan stories examined the event in the period of zines, in the time of digital circulation it’s a well-known trope, with tags and even a community dedicated to sharing stories that expand on this element of fictional history.

What we might take from these volumes and volumes of licensed (there are quite literally hundreds of novels and comics) and fannish works (hundreds of thousands of fanfics online and in print) is fandom’s deep interest in exploring the possibilities of the worlds ofStar Trek in all its iterations. Just as there’s no beginning or ending to works of the imagination, the possibilities of story cannot be exhausted. Whether it’s fannish writing on page or screen, or officially licensed material, there’s always room for expansion and possibility.

Fifty years on we can still see this the most clearly through a vision of diversity: not until this year and the new Sulu has Star Trek had an onscreen gay character (though there have been gay characters in the novels, and they are abundant in fan fiction). There’s been a recent pushback on the “faux progressivism” of slash writing in fandom (which boils down to queer romances, most famously in K/S or Kirk/Spock stories), but I would nonetheless argue that decades of slash writing effectively normalized the ideas of gay relationships for a number of readers whom I have met—and many of whom also recognized and learned to celebrate their own queerness because of it. Roddenberry’s famous Vulcan principle of IDIC, or Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, remains something to aspire to, both onscreen and in the real world. As in fandom, it’s a place we can get to by joining together in celebration of one.

Cait Coker is a genre historian specializing in science fiction fandom and women’s writing. Her essays have appeared in The Journal of Fandom Studies and The Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures, among others.

caitri: (Dorktastic Chris)
Last night I dreamed about Jim Kirk on the Enterprise, except Kirk has most of Chris Pine's characteristics, which meant that often he saved the day through sheer weirdness. In this case the ship was beign attacked by Klingons, but as it turned out, all of the cats and dogs aboard had emergency suits with anti-grav boots, plus tool kits provided by Scotty, so the animals overran the Klingons and freed the humanoid crewmen. Because Kirk felt that the animals were worthy crewmen too. As you do.
caitri: (chris vocabulary)
I saw this beautiful fan art...

...and then had to make lyrics and give myself an earworm. Welp.

Hey there, T'hy'la
What's it like in New Vulcan city?
I'm a million miles away
But, boy, tonight you look so pretty
Yes, you do
Tycho City can't shine as bright as you
I swear, it's true
Hey there, T'hy'la
Don't you worry about the distance
I'm right here if you get lonely
Give this song another listen
Close your eyes
Listen to my voice, it's my disguise
I'm by your side
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
What you do to me
Hey there, T'hy'la
I know times are gettin' hard
But just believe me, boy,
Someday I'll pay the bills, fly to the stars
We'll have it good
We'll have the life we knew we would
My word is good
Hey there, T'hy'la
I've got so much left to say
If every simple song I wrote to you
Would take your breath away
I'd write it all
Even more in love with me you'd fall
We'd have it all
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
A milion miles seems pretty far
But they've got starships and shuttle-cars
I'd walk to you if I had no other way
Our friends would all make fun of us
And we'd just laugh along because we'd know
That none of them have felt this way
T'hy'la, I can promise you
That by the time that we get through
The world will never ever be the same
And you're to blame
Hey there, T'hy'la
You be good, and don't you miss me
Three more years and I'll be done with school
And I'll be makin' history like I do
You know it's all because of you
We can do whatever we want to
Hey there, T'hy'la, here's to you
This one's for you
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
Oh, it's what you do to me
What you do to me, oh oh, woah, woah
Oh woah, oh


If I have to have it stuck in my head, you do too.
caitri: (ample nacelles)
I'm writing an article for PopMatters on Reboot fandom as part of their special issue on Trek's 50th Anniversary, and as a sort of prelude to that (and because of the new movie) I've been reading a bunch of my fav fics. I really, *really* want to have time and energy for fic (I have a couple of paragraphs for a PWP??? But that's it) but...I kind of don't. And what I do have needs to be devoted to the diss and my Literary History of Fanfic projects... But still. I remember being able to mentally checkout and WRITE and it was GREAT....

*sighs wistfully*
caitri: (This is Your Captain Speaking)
Via io9:

The main thrust for those who aren’t keen on our LGBT Sulu, seems to come down to two things. Firstly, why Sulu? It’s a good point, I mean it could have been anybody: Kirk is a pansexual fun seeker; who knows why Bones got divorced? Nobody said Spock and Uhura were exclusive; Chekov is just permanently horny and let’s face it, there’s more to Scotty and Keenser than meets the eye.

The fact is, we chose Sulu because of George, there was something sweet and poetic about it. Introducing a new gay character had its own set of problems, as I mentioned before, the sexuality of that character would have to be addressed immediately and pointedly and the new characters in Star Trek Beyond have enough on their plate, without stopping to give us the intimate details of their personal lives. We were concerned it might seem clumsy, tokenistic or worse, too little too late, raising and exasperated, “finally!” from those who’ve been waiting for representation for the last 50 years.

So why persist when George Takei wasn’t keen? The thinking behind embracing an existing character was that it felt as though it retroactively put right something that had long been wrong. By the time, we mentioned it to GT, the idea had taken shape, it felt good, interesting and worthy of thought and conversation.

We were disappointed that George didn’t see it that way but, truth be told, Sulu Prime seemed to be missing a very important point. With galaxies of respect to the great man, this is not his Sulu. John Cho does not play a young George Takei, nor does he play the same character George Takei played in the original series. He is a different Sulu.
caitri: (Badass)

So I went to DePaul University's Celebration of Star Trek symposium this weekend, which was lovely: It was one day and basically half academic conference and half con. So, you know, there were serious panels about stuff and also cosplay and a vending area.

I spoke on two panels, both about Trek fandom; the first on Trek fan history and the second on Reboot fandom. Anyhow in the fan history one I mentioned slash and then another presenter was focused exclusively on the history of K/S, and during Q&A a student said very seriously, "I don't understand slash. Why do people do it? I find it disturbing. Like, is it meant to be funny or what?" To which my immediate response was "No, it's just that women like to get our rocks off too. ... sorry not sorry."
caitri: (ample nacelles)
So I entered that Strange New Worlds contest for Star Trek stories and didn't get in, so I thought I'd go ahead and share the story I wrote anyway because I'm still proud of it. It's gen, TOS though it could also be read as Reboot. Many thanks to the lovely [ profile] abigail89 who heroically beta'd and encouraged me to finish!! <3

The Drowned and the Saved )
caitri: (ample nacelles)
Some time ago someone wrote a piece about the difference between SW and ST being about narratives of personal power; essentially SW usually hinges on a "chosen one" plot and special abilities vs. ST essentially being competence porn, where it's always about someone working really hard to get where they are. In ST power is essentially shared governance, and a lot of Kirk's (and Picard's and Sisko's) preoccupation with command comes from their desire to do the best for the community ("The needs of the many" etc.) in a way that SW just isn't (even the good guys have a blurry relationship between the Republic and the Resistance, let alone the Empire and--my favorite from the prequels--the elected monarchy and the familial Senatorial rank). TL;DR SW is about special people and ST is about how everyone can be special. >_>
caitri: (Cait Yatta!)
Sharing because I'm reliving the wonder of my eight year old self!!!

caitri: (obvious flirting is obvious)
Title: “We’re On Fire Now” (Love is Parenthetical)
Author: caitri
Prompt: 11--WHATEVER: Jim keeps proposing to Bones and keeps getting rejected. One time, Bones is so busy, he's not really paying attention and replies "whatever". Jim takes it as a positive and starts planning a wedding. How does Bones find out and how does he react! (Bones POV)
Rating: PG (Language)
Warnings: N/A
Word Count: 2294
Summary: This day has been a long one in coming. Too bad Leonard didn’t know about it. For the Sweethearts Challenge at [ profile] jim_and_bones. Many thanks to [ profile] hora_tio for betaing!!!! [ profile] corrie71 has Jim's POV in her story Whatever.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Gene Roddenberry, J.J. Abrams, Paramount or Bad Robot. Just so you know.

Read more... )
caitri: (Dorktastic Chris)
So in trying to get over my block I'm just writing weird snippets of things all over the place, including a Reboot/Sherlock fusion fic that began through a series of texts with [ profile] 100wordspermin. I hope to finish it, but in case I don't, here, have a thousand words of ridiculousness.

17A Riverside Drive )

IDEK, you guys.
caitri: (Is that a Firefly)
So we got the internet today (YAY); we're partially settled into the new apartment, with a lot unpacked and a lot still scattered around all higgeldy-piggeldy. The apartment is small so one of my tasks as I've been unpacking is identifying stuff that can go into our storage unit at the complex, while also trying to bring order to....everything else. Which, considering it's a mixture of my stuff from Texas and Scott's stuff from Atlanta means easy culls (we need one toaster and one iron, not two of each) and more problematic ones (the spice racks: augh).

I'm still studying for my language exam next week and alternate between feeling pretty good about it and freaking out. Because I am a spaz.

Anyway, in a fit of pique I tried writing a little bit and ended up with a scene between Jim Kirk and River Tam, for some unplanned post-STID crossover (no idea if it ties into the previous crossover or not). Anyways, for kicks, here you are:

Read more... )
caitri: (Default)
All of the spoilers, you guys. ALL OF THEM.

Read more... )
caitri: (Don't Go where I Can't Follow)
(To "One Day More" from Les Mis. Obviously.)

One day more
Another day, another destiny
Another role JJ writes for me
That man who claims to know my peeps
Will surely avoid a smoky beast,
One day more!

Read more... )
caitri: (heaven is bloodless)
About Star Trek.

So I was taking a break from translating Beowulf (as happens) to read about seventeenth century radicalism in England (as happens) and ended up developing a theory about the new Star Trek (…as happens). Okay, so we know JJ Abrams likes to reference well-known philosophical and political thinkers in his stuff, e.g. Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau from Lost. Now in my reading I found out about a guy named James Harrington who was a member of the Diggers, a proto-communist group who wanted to reclaim land from the government for use by the poor as a means of socio-economic improvement. During the Revolution, this didn’t go so well, obviously, but there were several attempts to essentially squat on unused lands for farming that led to conflicts—sometimes but not always violent—with the government.

Now consider the terrorist of Star Trek Into Darkness, John Harrison. (Not exact, but close, right?) Now, there’s a lot of theories trying to tie him back to Khan, but Khan never saw himself as a terrorist or a protestor, he was always just the usurped authority. The terrorist group we have seen close to this time period is Terra Prime, during the period of Enterprise—whose continuity is confirmed intact with Reboot, since the alternate timeline would start ~50 years after Archer establishes the Federation, and there’s reference to both Archer and his beagle, with writers’ confirmation that it was the SAME Archer. Now, Terra Prime was initially established in the wake of the Xindi attacks on Earth, and assumed to have been successfully dissolved in the latter episodes of Enterprise. Now, in Reboot there were several devastating attacks—the Kelvin Disaster, followed 25 years later by the Battle of Vulcan and the Battle of Earth, with the cumulative loss of multiple Starfleet vessels, the entirety of Vulcan, and a chunk of San Francisco. Obviously there would be huge socio-economic outfalls from this; we can already extrapolate from Reboot that the Kelvin Disaster not only expedited technological change but also the enhanced militarism we see during the film (I’ve always been struck by Pike’s reference to Starfleet as a “humanitarian and peacekeeping armada” which implies general benevolence but ALSO implies a standing heavy military force; and historians will note—HI ANTON—that the term “armada” has only ever really been connected with the Spanish armada, eg a heavily ideological force primed for invasion.)

So we could conceivably extrapolate a few things from all this: Harrison, as a member of a self-identified terrorist organization on a planet reeling from significant attacks (Earth) wants to reclaim a bit of control for the betterment of “the common man.” (There’s no such thing as an upper-class terrorist.) It would make sense that one method such an individual could see would be wanting access to government-controlled properties—eg M-class worlds that Starfleet visits but regulates the colonization of. Going back to the historical Harrington, he would see land lying fallow that working people should have access to. Therefore it would make sense that he would want access to both the land as an ultimate goal and the destruction of Starfleet as a method to get there.

Alright, folks. DISCUSS.
caitri: (Is that a Firefly)
Mal: "Ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. Know what the first rule of flying is? Well I s'pose you do, since you already know what I'm 'bout to say."

River: "I do. But I like to hear you say it."

Mal: "Love. Can know all the math in the 'verse but take a boat in the air that you don't love? She'll shake you off just as sure as a turn in the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughtta fall down...tell you she's hurtin' 'fore she keens...makes her a home."


And lookit what [ profile] avictoriangirl made!!!!!

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