The weird and wacky history of Star Wars slash

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We had The Atlantic looking at The Force Awakens fan fiction last week, but now there’s a historical look-back at slash in the fandom from Lady Business at Livejournal. Behold! Fans actually asking permission to fandom! Letters from the fan club president! “Fandom is about celebrating the story the way it is.”

The spectre of all this was still hanging over fandom when I first found it in the ’90s, believe it or not. (Or maybe I just knew a lot of zine folks in the Star Ladies.) It wasn’t until after The Phantom Menace – and the huge and (officially*) uncontested slash fandom that came out of it – that the paranoia eased.

* There were flame wars. Oh, were there flame wars. But Lucasfilm stayed out of it. Slash bans – like the infamous one at TheForce.Net’s Jedi Council forums that was only removed last year – were solely coming from fansite owners and operators.

No more slash restrictions on TFN’s Jedi Council boards

As far as venues for Star Wars fan fiction are concerned, the fan fiction area on TheForce.net’s Jedi Council message boards may very well be the oldest still-active fan fiction community on the internet.

slashing-action2They were also rather infamous for a well-known rule that precludes fanfic that features same-sex relationships. (Often called slash and/or femslash.) And now, it’s allowed. Writes moderator Grand Admiral Jello:

I can now announce that MS has decided that the lifting of the same-sex romance ban applies to canon and EU characters as well as original characters — it’s a full lift, in line with the existing PG-13 rules about opposite sex romances. I’m sure we’ll have something official-ish soon, but we thought you all should know ASAP so there’s no uncertainty that this is a full lifting of the ban.

The first announcement this morning left the status of slash with existing Star Wars characters unclear.

The Jedi Council boards have always had a rating restriction of PG-13 and under for fanfic.

Slash fanfic has been around in various fandoms since (at least!) the days of the original Star Trek. In Star Wars fandom, slash exploded when the popularity of Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan back in 1999 practically created a subfandom out of whole cloth – and LFL stayed hands-off. Slash has been a hot-button issue among fans ever since – and occasionally before. But as the times change, both in society and in fiction, good on the TFN owners and moderators for finally putting the ban where it belongs – in the past.

The fandom minute: Defending TPM, subtext, politics, cake, and other things you do under the cover of night

Rebuttal. Big-time prequel fan Bryan Young has begun his response to the 90-minute Phantom Menace review that was going around a while back.

Presented without comment. Karen Miller, whose Star Wars books have been enthusiastically received by certain areas of fandom, wants folks to know that she’s not writing homoerotic subtext into her Clone Wars books. Okay then. (It seems the rant was inspired by this thread. Sigh.)

If we ever see an Essential Guide again… Suggestions for a book on GFFA politics. Dan Wallace is game!

Cakes! Clone Wars’ fame continues to spread with an impressive Republic Gunship and an adorable Jabba with Rotta. (via/via)

Crass fansumerism. Chewbika or soap? A bank?