Fiction written by fans (hence a subset of fan fiction) which has characters of the same gender from fictional works having sex. A classic example is Kirk/Spock, pronounced aloud as "Kirk slash Spock." Stories about sex between characters of different genders is not technically slash, but just adult or erotic fan fiction. Pornography for fans, but often quality smut.

Fan fiction featuring homosexual acts, relationships, or desires, generally as a major component of the plot. Slash usually involves two or more male characters as the romantic leads, although stories featuring multiple partners of mixed genders are usually categorized as slash. When stories featuring female same-sex relationships began to appear, there was some debate among slashers, but femmeslash is now widely recognized as a subgenre of slash. There has been some move to include heterosexual non-canonical pairings under the rubric slash, but this is not widely accepted.

Slash as a recognizable genre began in the late 1960's with the development of K/S, stories depicting a romantic love between the characters Kirk and Spock from Star Trek: The Original Series. This was different from earlier stories which had depicted male bonding and platonic love between male characters on television.

The name slash derives from the virgule used to separate K/S, and differentiate it from friendship stories, designated K&S.

Slash makes explicit the homoerotic subtext prevalent in many tv shows. Classic pairings for slashing include Starsky/Hutch from Starsky and Hutch, Han/Luke and from Star Wars. More modern objects include Qui-Gon/Obi Wan from The Phantom Menace, Clark/Lex from Smallville, and Blair Sandburg/Jim Ellison from The Sentinel.

Slash usually draws its subjects from tv, particularly cop shows and sci fi. However, movies, books ranging from the work of Anne Rice to the Bible, and the plays of Shakespeare have served as fodder. Of late, and controversially, RPF and RPS or real person fiction/slash, have been gaining in popularity, focusing largely on pop musicians such as the members of *NSYNC, Britney Spears, and Eminem, as well as actors (e.g., the cast of The Lord of the Rings as directed by Peter Jackson), and professional athletes, although there are rumors that people were writing similar stories about Led Zeppelin and The Beatles as drawerfic in the 1970's and before.

Slash fan-fiction is particular genre of fan-based writings that stars one or more characters from a movie, tv show, or book in a romantic or sexual (typically the latter) pairing that does not usually occur in the actual plot of the respective media.

Legend purports that the original Slash story was one that featured Kirk and Spock doing the nasty. Jessica Sinclair in her article on supports the theory and suggests it as being an idea that emigrated from England in the 60s.

Slash remained an underground thing until the advent of the internet, where, like many things of proper culture, it proliferated in the unfiltered web.

The term slash was coined after the "/" symbol, which was used in the story codes to signify what kind of pairings occured: m/m would be a gay male pairing, m/f a straight pairing, etc. The gender letters were often replaced by character names producing such results as "Harry slash Snape" or Harry/Snape (or in even more shortened forms, H/S). Slash, however, has a very strong conotation for being of same-sex or bisexual pairings. Heterosexual slash is often just called erotic fan-fiction.

While Slash tends to proliferate for popular shows or cult favorites, sometimes more obscure shows attract a very strong slash fan-base. Examples include the Invisible Man TV series, Hercules: the Legendary Journey, and the Pretender.

Slash is often debated, as typically the larger fanbase shuns the slash fans. Arguments over whether it is right to use someone else's creations in that manner abound, though the debate usually remains only on a moral basis as few copyright holders try and take fan-fic writers to court and the legality of gets entrenched in the battle between free speech and intellectual property.

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