Saturday, 26 September 2009

Hack and Slash

It takes a couple of things to make good slash: people you might want to see naked; sex scenes that don't sound like mediocre porn; a pre-existing relationship generally of a non-sexual nature and realism. I want realism in my slash. I want to believe that these two characters could actually have been harbouring secret desires to investigate the insides of one another’s pants and I want to believe in them while I'm reading the resulting fun.

But it can only happen if there's a hint, just the tiniest hint of it there in the cannon.

And that's why I'm not buying all the Firefly slash I've had a mind to read. And I'm all kinds of raw about it.

Now like any normal person, I want to get Captain Mal's suspenders off him. I just don't believe that Simon, or Jayne or (god-forbid!!) Wash, does. I don't believe the great big mercenary with a penchant for seedy whores is actually hiding a secret desire for some tight little Captain ass. I don't believe that Simon is actually a simpering queen who clearly couldn't get it together with Kaylee only because he was actually warming Mal's bunk most nights. And I don't believe, not anywhere in the gorram 'verse, that Wash would rather be banging the Captain than Zoe.

And this is a very great pity, because I certainly don't want to be reading any of that Hetfic that pretends to be slash either.

The delight of slash is the fact that it’s inside the cannon and outside it at the same time. So why wasn’t Joss Whedon, one of the few people out there making TV who actually acknowledges the slashiness of some of his scenarios, able to inject that into Firefly?

It should work; there's even a bit of set-up - Mal looks distinctly uncomfortable when in Heart of Gold, Nandi asks him if he's "sly" and would maybe prefer one of her boy-whores - I'm happy to read this as coming-out angst - but not when its immediately followed by prolonged heterosexual activity of a very unslashy (and frankly out of character) nature. Joss, I love the Captain, but what were you thinking?

Maybe I’m being unfair blaming Joss for this problem. He’s made a good job of the set-up. Mal only “leans towards womenfolk.” Simon, with his girl-pretty face and long-lashes is a classic bottom and let’s face it brawny and bad-facial hair Jayne could have walked straight out of nasty 70’s porn.

So why can’t any of the many slashers I’ve been trying get it right? The characters often sound right and while they still have their clothes on, they respond right or at least up till the point when their eyes mist with passion and they start fumbling with one another’s gun belts. Leave the belt on Mal, leave the gorram gun on.

To illustrate, “Shuddering with desire, certain he must be dreaming without knowing it, Simon whispers, "Yesss." The word is barely out of his mouth when Mal lunges in for a vicious kiss. As he plunders Simon's pliant lips, he slides a leg between Simon's and grinds it against…” …you get the idea…

And it’s not just the adjectives I’ve got a problem with here…I just don’t believe it. And I don’t believe it because over and over again it’s the same scenario with only the tiniest of character set-up to justify a couple of pages of gay humping where the banging bodies could be anyone’s.

To all the Firefly slash writers out there guilty of these crimes against character – bloody stop it now! Dong ma?

I want a scenario I can believe. I want Mal heart sore and truthsome finding some comfort in a buddies arms, or just a little too drunk on U-Day to make it back to his own bunk. And I’m sorry, but Joss, you didn’t give us that buddy and so far my researches have found no re-working of Jayne or Simon or Wash by any well-meaning Firefly slasher that’s been able to make that happen.

And slash generally only works if our lovers are buddies or well-matched rivals. So in other fandoms – Blake/Avon, or Harry/Malfoy or for something a little more vanilla, Kirk/Spock.

I’m petulant. I’m upset. I want my slash and I want it now.


  1. I like slash in general, but I agree with you. When it really works is when there are strong homoerotic clues in there all along--when the relationship is perfectly plausible, even probable, but the writers of the canon have left it a bit latent. I think I sussed even in late primary school that there was something going on between Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin, for example, and today there is a lot of hilarious fan fiction on them. I provided links to some of it in a very tame post called 'Slash and Burn'.

    V did a slash-o-metric post on Pizi/Ying Xiong, the heroes of the new Taiwanese police drama series, with some very good screen caps as 'evidence'. Check it out...

  2. Hmmm... well i agree with you, i would maybe buy Simon and Mal but i don't think joss had any intention of pursuing that.

    I can see your obsession with firefly is at its peak and i have to say you should watch Serenity. It answer's a lot of lingering questions. Besides you get to see River (by far the best character) in all her glory.

    Got to be honest didn't know who Blake and Avon were (still don't) but i youtubed them and found a video and they are VERY creepy (and not in a good way) maybe its a generation gap or maybe they were just freaky men in lycra suits.

    Love a good rant

  3. Ah freaky men in lycra suits...mmmm...

    What you need is the episode with the