Spork! An Erotic Love Story
by Karen Hellekson — Independent Scholar
December 24, 2009 – 15:37
The blogosphere has been abuzz with chatter about “Spork! An Erotic Love Story.” This audio slash fanfic has been both lauded (by bloggers) and reviled (by some humorless people in the comments) at sci-fi info sites like BuzzFeed, SciFiWire, and io9. Alas, the authorship of this hilarious artwork has been elided by misrepresentative journalistic headlines. Somehow, it’s all about Zachary Quinto.
SciFiWire’s headline reads, “Totally NSFW sexy Kirk/Spock slash as read by Trek’s Quinto,” and io9’s headline is “Zachary Quinto fulfills your Trek slash fantasies.” (Wait. This might be true. But they don’t mean it the way I’m taking it.) However, BuzzFeed is the worst:
Zachary Quinto reads a piece of gay slash fiction detailing an erotic encounter between Spock and Captain Kirk. In my opinion, The real triumph here is that he really nails the dynamic between the two characters and does a great job capturing their voices. [BuzzFeed]
Does he? Does he now?
He does not.
I realize that it’s really interesting to say, “Hey! Zachary Quinto is reading a Kirk/Spock slash story!” It conjures up images of a fangirl phoning up Zachary (he’s on speed dial, I bet) and saying, “Hee! I wrote this pretty hilarious slash fanfic. It would be awesome if you would read it aloud for an MP3 recording. Would you?” Of course Zachary (they’re on a first-name basis; see above re. speed dial), casting all caution to the wind, and careless of the ire of the owners of the valuable Star Trek franchise, his agent, and many, many lawyers, would happily agree.
But that’s not what’s happening here. Zachary Quinto read the Alan Dean Foster–authored Star Trek movie tie-in. “Spork” is a transformative artwork made out of a commercially available audio recording authored by Foster and voiced by Quinto.
Two authors, cirrocumulus and jiaren_shadow, took this audio recording and recut it to create a new artwork. As a story, it’s short and hilarious—longtime slash fans, like me, will get a kick out of it and think it’s adorable. As an audio, it’s a stunning technological masterwork of cut and paste. The authors of this audio aren’t just going for the words; they’re going for speed, tone, and emphasis, all to add to the hilarity. As the two authors of this transformative artwork say in their December 20 post at LiveJournal community ontd_startrek, where this little gem was posted, “This turned out surprisingly ribald for having been edited together from something almost entirely innocuous.”* It’s true: check it out, do, but it’s not work safe.
Let’s credit this properly, shall we? The artwork that everyone is citing is called “Spork!” and it’s by cirrocumulus and jiaren_shadow. The source text that they transformed was written by Alan Dean Foster, who transformed the 2009 film into a novelization. This text was in turn transformed by Zachary Quinto when he read it aloud. The text is set in a universe and featuring characters originally created by Gene Roddenberry and rethought and transformed by J. J. Abrams.
Get it? Get it? The layers and layers and layers of referentiality? This is why I love fanfic, my friends. And you can get in on it too! Check out “Spork!” and admire it for not only its cheesy goodness and technological flair, but for its place in the pantheon of the Star Trek metatext.
Just don’t say that it’s by Zachary Quinto.
*I’m purposefully not linking directly to the original post at ontd_startrek. See here for an explanation of why.
This text is copyrighted under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. This post was originally written on December 23, 2009. It may be freely copied anywhere. If you read this document a site other than its original, I may not see any comments you might append, and I’d love to hear from you. Please comment at the original blog post if you wish me to see your remarks.