3-4-All Prompt #10 – Character Sexuality/Relationship Mixes

Well Admiral Jespah been on and has issued some New Orders: –

Well we seem to be headed into a cloaked Romulan minefield of character sexuality so I shall proceeded head at dead slow. Since this is the issue that does tend to get people wound up, when it shouldn’t. I shall answer these questions because it’s fair to ask them, about this part of human nature that is so often ignored in stories.

I don’t have good answers but these are mine.

So if you easily offended go look at pretty pictures at Trekcore instead.

 

Questions

There has been a dearth of even minor characters with, shall we say, less mainstream sexual preferences and relationships. Often, a character would behave in this fashion if in the Mirror universe, or under some sort of duress.

Q1. How would you change that?

A1. Without a time-ship I don’t have any way to change the mistakes of the past. So I guess all I can say is by trying to include such characters in my future works, not as guest of the week or minor petty officer on deck nine but as one of those major characters at the heart of the series.

Q2. What would happen to canon characters if their preferences or their relationships were changed? Beyond the obvious choice of bed partners, how would known characters change?

A2. Would they change? Should they change? I don’t see that they should be any difference bar bed partners.

Well that my view from the outside, maybe I’m wrong but I think that would not be a problem in the Warp drive era onwards in the Trek verse.

So I just can’t see how if Reed, Scotty, Troi or Kim would be any different if their sexuality was made an lmspr one. 

Well I’ve also look at Jespah own answers at http://jespah.adastrafanfic.net/2013/09/25/character-sexualityrelationship-mixes/ and SLWalker answers at http://ramblin.boldlyreading.com/2013/09/25/sex-and-sexability/. These seem to suggest that they don’t see it making a real difference either.

Q3. Are there circumstances under which characters would behave differently but still within the fullest context of canon?

A3. Not sure I fully understand what this question is driving at but I presume you’re asking if Q show up and clicked his fingers and made everyone sexuality the reverse of what it normally is would it break cannon? Then the answer is no.

Alternative are you saying if AOS Scotty had a relationship with Keenser while stuck at that ice station and then chased M’Ress on Enterprise (well she is on my AOS verse Enterprise) would that break cannon?  That my answer would still be no, it would all still be in the fullest cannon for me, since there is nothing in cannon to contradict it.

Q4. Have you created any original characters that follow less mainstream preference/relationship models?

A4. Yes, but sadly at the current time I’ve only reveal two of my characters who are Schick the Xindi Insectoid and her lover Jolene Lallason, who are in a firm committee lesbian relationship for the still in development AOS Excalibur series but they have made their Ad Astra debut in the forums Weekly Free Write #099 IDIC. I do need to add more such characters to get a fairer balance on the Ariane, Argonaut, Excalibur, Trireme, Ganges and Ketcheleb, I suspect Romulan lmspr will be a big challenge.

 

I think perhaps part of the problem for me is I do mock/torture my characters at times and I’m perhaps worry that someone might get the wrong impression that I was only picking on my lmspr characters for their sexuality rather than just (miss) treating them like every other character.

I freely admit I don’t write enough lmspr relationships in my stories, partly as I try to stay away from exploring characters sexuality, since I feel my attempts at private relationship do seem clumsy and so I focus on their professional relationships instead, this is despite knowing that sexuality should be an integral part of the character generation.

No sexuality is it as bad as no face for a character?

No sexuality is it as bad as no face for a character? 

But on reflection maybe ignoring the issue is perhaps worse than just writing something second/third rate and a bit of a cheap characteristic. I think the biggest problem is I do write from my own experience and while I can get what men like in their women and so I think I can envisage what could be appealing about a women to another women or hermaphrodite Xindi – Insectoid, but I’ve always struggle with what women see in men and so I do struggle with what men see in other men or hermaphrodite Xindi – Insectoids. Perhaps this is a empathy failing on my part.

Q5. How do you get across their inner workings without continually announcing in every other paragraph something like, I’m gay! Now, let’s get a pizza?

A5. Further to my last answer when I do try to write such characters, I do try to treat them as just another character, unless the plot revolve around the character personal relationship with a potential love interest or a relationship issue with another character. I can accept that I don’t try hard enough to get the balance right, which is something I should endeavour to do in future.

 

Television programs and films naturally cater to worldwide audiences and have investors for which they need to show profits. That can hamper all forms of creativity, including the creation of less mainstream characters of any sort, and not just in the sexual arena (e. g. minorities, obese persons, persons with disabilities, etc.). Throw away the budget!

 

Q6. How would you rewrite a canon episode or film to showcase a character (main or not) with a less-mainstream preference?

A6. Badly.

Now for the more detailed answer I honestly don’t know, maybe for Enterprise I would make Trip Tucker the lead gay just to remove all those awful Vulcan nerve pressure massage scenes with T’Pol or at least get that completely wrong relationship out of the show. Heck he could then at least give Reed a better response to the T’Pol question in that Shuttlepod One scene! “Malcolm she is wrong race and the wrong gender”

shuttlepodone_435

Perhaps for TOS I would consider make Sulu / Chekov relationship a little more.

For TNG, I would change Yar sexuality and make that naked now scene in Deanna quarters an opening to make it a deep looked at Yar damaged upbringing on that failed colony and Troi supposedly open Betazed culture, rather than the draft Data is fully functional line. Then at least Deanna would have a good reason for calling her daughter Tasha.

Yar & Troi?

Yar & Troi?

For DS9 I’m not sure who I’d change maybe it be Bashir, though as Jazdia / Erzi Dax having been both genders in the past they could of up either or just one of her to full bi-sexual.

As for Voyager, Tom and Kim might of made a good gay couple.

A very alternate wedding on USS Voyager.

A very alternate wedding on USS Voyager.

Though while speaking of lmspr, I can’t help think that Kathryn Janeway seem to enjoy the struggling in bondage in those two captain Proton episodes and a couple of other episodes a little to much.

Though I suspect that was that just my over active male imagination as work? Still it might explain another reason she was afraid to hook up with a crewmember or Q 😉

It all to save the ship.

It all to save the ship.

again?

again?

I still sure she not enjoying this!

I still sure she not enjoying this!

Bonus Questions!

Q7. Have you read others’ non-mainstream characters?

A7. Yes

Q8. Which are your favorites? Which relationships are the most believable?

A8. I’ve to go with Jessica and Justine by TemplarSola who just edge out Paul and Clark from Teri Lynn’s Heritage series but to be fair it’s a close run thing.

Q9. Which scenarios, outside of relationships, are most believable for these characters?

A9. The volleyball game fallout from Interlude – First Kiss

Q10. Again, throwing away the budget, what would you do if you could make your own new Star Trek series from scratch, where at least one or two characters would be out of the mainstream?

A10. The bottom line is I’m not sure how I would tackle it, I mean being British I saw the bashing the BBC took for both modern Dr. Who and Torchwood from a supposedly liberal minded public and press for daring to be a little more liberal with character who had less mainstream sexual preferences and relationships (lmspr) for some of the main characters (i.e. Captain Jack).

Well if it was up to me I can think of three ways I be tempt to try: –

A) I’ll be tempted for that reasons mention above to set a show entirely in the Mirror universe, focus on the Terran Freedom and Empire restoration movement. Since it seems more acceptable to the powers at be, to show more lmspr in that verse. Since the Terran Freedom fighter are more likely to have unusual relationships in order to survive and likely accept any body who will fight against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.

So I would use that as Trojan horse to break in the less mainstream sexual preferences.

Mirror Fun

Mirror Fun

B) My next idea would be to do a vessel and/or starbase increase the number of aliens who have different biological and cultural relationship, i.e. Denobulans and Andorians or Vissians and then use that as a metaphor for lmspr, once that bed in I would then introduce lmspr humans into the senior crew and try to highlight the hypocrisy of most anti-lmspr views.

Tri-sex race the Vissians.

Tri-sex race the Vissians.

I admit neither idea A or B is ideal and so part of me would just be tempted 

C) To bring the excellent Vanguard book series to the scene.

charliexhd452

But then that also seems a cop out. All I can say is I would try to include major & minor characters both human alien with lmspr relationships and try to find a way to organically integrate it into the series.

Q11. How would you handle showing the differences for HBO, or PBS, or ABC Family, if any of those networks deigned to carry your show?

A11. No idea, not being American so I can only answer for the British networks 

  • BBC

I’m presuming most of you have seen BBC America or BBC World Service and so know what the channel output is like. I think as BBC has historically been the home of Star Trek in the pre satellite/cable days, I could see them carrying Trek and given how Dr. Who has been allowed to move into lmspr relationship when it not to graphic. I think they would be no problem with a new show as people would kept they clothes on or were hidden behind bedclothes. The focus would likely to be more dry and drama driven. Perhaps with an historical context, since BBC tends to do period drama better than new Sci-Fi. So I might go down the route of maybe a T.I.C. series. So that it can then visits all the other eras as part of winning the temporal cold war.

Opps - Broke the future again

Opps – Broke the future again

  • itv

Since they very similar to BBC, these days but more commercial minded, so I think the only difference from BBC would be advert breaks and slightly more interested in getting the rating, they might allow a bit more nudity, but not enough to upset their sponsors. I refer to Primeval for an example of what you could expect.

i.e. a lot of bedroom/bathroom scenes with people in their underwear for no logic reason. So I suspect an AOS Series maybe on the USS Hood or the USS Excalibur

trekxihd1212 

  • Channel 4

Well it would be made on a shoestring budget and the independent free nature means it fit in but I fear they might be slightly over graphic with lmspr sex scene, but would have the conviction to try and explore the deeper issues of lmspr’s. So I guess this be like TNG in later sessions, perhaps an after the USS Titan Series, to keep alien mark-up costs down.

Admiral Riker

Admiral Riker 

  • Channel 5

O dear that could well just be low budget PWP series, just for the notoriety of doing a gay trek, I think I would run a mile from anything Channel 5 wants to do with trek.

  • Sky One

Well as the rich Satellite channel with style over a substance approach at times, I suspect the show would be like AOS STID but with even more pointless semi clad characters and none plot required sex scenes, but they would want it a bit more Battlestar Galactica style perhaps a re-visit of the Dominion war, perhaps a different front with a re-cast Alyanna Nechayev as the G&T Show recently suggested, as she wouldn’t care one jolt about her crew sexuality as long as they follow her orders. 

Alynna Nechayev will order anyone to their death for the UFP

Alynna Nechayev will order anyone to their death for the UFP

Q12. Do you read slash (male-male relationships) or femme slash (female-female relationships), either on Ad Astra or elsewhere?

A12. Yes, I’ve occasional read both these type of slash and must admit the non-graphical ones I can on the whole make my peace with but what would be PWP, well sadly it don’t click for me.

Q13. Aside from PWP, how did the authors bring home ideas about their characters’ sexuality? Was it clichéd? Did it succeed? Was it hit or miss?

A13. Sadly a lot of the slash I’ve seen could be classified as Porn Without Plot. PWP-I’m so glad Jespah blog said what those initials stood for, which hold no real interest to me, as plot is somewhat important to me when reading stories. So I classified a lot of them as miss.

Well I hope I’m not offend anybody but that is my two penny (£0.02, €0.02 or $0.03) worth on this delicate subject. This has been a hard blog to write as I’ve endeavour to try and make sure I get my thoughts down clearly.

Cheers for reading, all constructive comments are welcome as always.

Till next time take care and keep writing.

False Bill

3 thoughts on “3-4-All Prompt #10 – Character Sexuality/Relationship Mixes

  1. janetgershensiegel

    A brave man indeed!

    I know, it can be a bit of a minefield to talk about such things, and tackle them. And you’re right; I didn’t really realize the difference with British versus American TV (mea culpa!). Essentially the idea was to look at risqué cable, public television and mainstream family-oriented viewing. Truth is (and I didn’t know it myself until I started digging), but these day’s it is the family channel that’s been the most daring. Go figure!

    So I thank you for tackling this, and for putting out some ideas of how you would integrate more IDIC relationships/persons while still respecting canon (and you’re right; canon should be more or less unaffected by these changes – Star Trek is a pretty big tent). I believe that all of your ideas could work. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bill Oldfield

      Well either a brave man or a fool, time will tell.
      Thank you for commenting.

      No fault on your part Jespah, I appreciate that some would argue
      that you could say UK TV is becoming more American in some ways and thus you would say that sky1 = risqué cable, BBC = public television and itv/Channel 4 are mainstream family-oriented viewing (depending upon the family I suppose) but as I felt you answer those so well, I though it be more interesting to look at it via a different lenses of channels by using the more traditional way of thinking of UK channels.

      Well let’s hope I can improve my stories by incorporating some of these ideas. 🙂

      Reply
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