Star Trek XI fanfic loves and peeves
What do you love about Star Trek XI fanfic? What do you hate? What little details drive you up the wall? Got any canon tidbits to share, so people will be able to include them in their fics? Suggestions on writing better fics?
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Lurkch

I have read a few mpreg (male pregnancy for anyone unfamiliar with the term) stories, but find most of them hit on some of my pet peeves. The one I like best is Home I Also Cannot Go. While I was trying to figure out why I like that one and the others less so (other than that fact that it focuses on my favourite character), I started making a list of what bugged me (in general) about mpreg stories. It was a short trip from the list to plotting my own mpreg story so really what I'm doing here is looking for more story fodder.

I am curious as to what other people like/dislike about these types of stories or what they would like to see, but haven't yet. Here is my list of peeves:

1. There's no biological/scientific explanation offered other than vague mentions of Vulcan biology (and yet, it's a natural function).

2. Baby goes in the back door (for slash stories) but comes out via C-section ... in women babies go in and come out through the same hole so by extension ... yeah, that wouldn't be a popular choice in males, but it would be logical ;) If it goes in naturally, it must come out naturally.

3. Too often it's unplanned and a surprise (this one applies to preg stories in general for me).

4. The pregnant male acts like a stereotypical pregnant female.

5. Nobody (other characters) has a problem with pregnant men even though it's not natural for humans and the crew are mostly human. Old prejudices may be gone, but new ones take their place--this one should be a biggie but it's often not.

6. The stories are (almost?) always slash (I don't take issue with slash itself; I just think mpreg need not be restricted to slash).

7. Raising kidlets on the starship (again, this is a more general preg story peeve rather than specifically mpreg--I suspect it comes from those who were first introduced to Star Trek via TNG, but I could be wrong).

I write S/U so that's the pairing my story will be. I have solutions to all of my own peeves in my outline (which is my usual motivation for writing fan fic), but I'm open to adding others or at least letting my muse look through them.

What about you? What do you like/dislike about mpreg stories? What would you like to see?

6/17/2010 #1
letsplaypretend

oh, you might not even care about the answer to this anymore ;) i'll give it to you anyway, though, because this is a biggie for me.

i really have one major peeve about mpreg: it's wrong. there is, honestly, no way that a male could get pregnant. not only does he not have the necessary functions (men dont get period, people, no matter how much women wish they would), they don't have the, for lack of a better word, equipment. where do they carry the baby? in their ass? how about the stomach? yes, i imagine the acid in there would be wonderful for the baby.

and honestly? i dont think that's going to change in the next few centuries. get real.

i don't have a problem with number 6, of your list, but the rest, yes, are minor peeves of mine.

12/29/2010 #2
Lurkch

I'll grant you that there is, currently, no way for Human males to get pregnant and that's not likely to change since that's how our species has evolved and anything we develop technologically to get around that is bound to be less elegant and more messy than the default. Actually, male human pregnancy wasn't even on my radar when I wrote the original post because I'm pretty much a Spock fan.

Vulcans can have any kind of equipment writers want them to have. Parthogenesis and androgenesis occur in some species on Earth so it's not such a stretch that aliens might have that as a pathway to reproduction, even in males. Depending on the sex selection system (humans use X/Y, XX being female and XY being male), it might be possible for males to have daughters (some sex selection systems in some species work the opposite where two of the same chromosomes mean a male and two different chromosomes mean a female).

As for where the fetus would develop if there were no womb, ectopic pregnancies (dangerous, yes, but some have successfully allowed the grown to term in the peritoneal cavity) are known in human women. But then, if you're designing aliens there's no reason males can't have a biological capacity to carry a child. Monthly periods actually aren't necessary for reproduction, so there is no need for males to bleed every month.

12/29/2010 #3
DB2020

With regards to letsplaypretend's comment, I'd say that the Star Trek fandom is particularly suited for mpreg. It's entirely plausible. And, in fact, if you watch Enterprise, there was an mpreg. So technically mpreg is canon. Just not in the fashion most fanfics do it.

In a futuristic setting, wherein there is technology that can disassemble and reassemble particles to transport living organisms, I think they would have figured out a way for men to become pregnant. It's something people are researching even now. How many parts of the human body can receive implants and alterations? Fast forward two hundred years, and it's more than plausible that men could receive an artificial womb implant.

1/10/2011 #4
DB2020

Just throwing my two cents in here. Sorry if I say things crudely. It's kind of hard to beat around the bush on this subject.

Going off of Lurkch's #2 comment. With regards to an mpreg dealing with the birthing as a c-section, I think that's the more plausible way to do it. A lot of women have c-sections, too. So the argument that it has to come out the same way insemination occurred doesn't really hold true. Add to the equation that a man probably isn't going to be dilating anywhere down there, the birth would have to be a c-section. Anything else would likely hurt the baby.

#7, I disagree. While I do think authors should take the time to build some measure of plausibility and address the question of whether it's appropriate for officers to have their children aboard, it's not out of the question. Essential personal on long term peacekeeping missions would probably be allowed to take their families with them. It might be frowned upon during TOS/XI era, but that's more a reflection of the 1960s than the actual Starfleet policy. And as per TNG kids on a Starship is canon. Picard was flying into just as much danger as Kirk with a hundred or so kids aboard.

I agree with a lot of your peeves. Some authors don't seem to understand that a trope like mpreg needs to be handled thoughtfully and have things explained. It's not as simple as saying mpregs are common for the setting.

1/10/2011 #5
mattmetzger

Going off the "in and out" comment - if it's remotely 'natural' then, yes, there would have to be a way for the baby to come out naturally, or evolution would have killed off any and all male child-bearers the moment they tried to have a baby. If it can't get out, 'mother' and baby both die. So either you need to build in an instinct to essentially rip it out (probably not the best one in pre-history/pre-medicine to ensure the survival of the 'mother' so, again, it would die out) or have some way of the baby naturally exiting. Same reason human women have wider hips than the men - so the baby can get out.

(Of course this is all totally unnecessary if you go the future-tech route and bypass the 'evolved alien biology' route. Then, c-section away, obviously.)

Then there is the other issue. I don't think a lot of mpreg writers realise quite how well adapted women are to having babies. We men? We are NOT adapted for that. Not in the slightest. Men cannot handle nearly the amount of strain on the body that a baby creates - for one, a woman's organs are designed to be able to accommodate a baby. They move. For another, the hormone cocktail that makes a baby healthy - a lot of that can't be produced by a man, or in the necessary quantities. Then there's the immune system. Women are already documented to have trouble if their immune system mistakes the baby for a parasite. Men, who are not designed to have anything whatsoever there, are just going to kill it. Their immune system would go insane and terminate the pregnancy a week in.

In a future world, yeah, you have a lot more scope to get around these issues. But in the (very few) fics I've read, and the (very many) people have gushed to me about, people don't even think about these issues. It simply is not and will not be NEARLY as easy or successful for a man as a woman.

For #7, I'm in two minds. They never really addressed the issue of kids in TOS. (I never saw Enterprise so that could, for all I know, kill what I'm about to say.) But Starfleet is a) military and b) evolving as much as the next governmental organisation. It is entirely possible that in the time period between Kirk and Picard, somebody realised that all these people quitting their jobs to be with their kids was a huge drain on resources, and amended things. There's also the species difference - while TNG, Voyager, DS9 and so on showed human kids, Andorian kids, etc. - they didn't tend to show Vulcan kids. We very rarely saw Vulcan children. I would be very interested to see a fanfic explore that within the realms of rearing a family on-ship.

To my personal opinion: mpreg puts me off. It is, for me, akin to asking me to enjoy you describing in graphic detail EXACTLY what happens when you kick a man in the crotch with steel-toed boots. It's not at all logical, but it makes me squirm in a very unpleasant fashion, and I just don't want to know. Couple that with the fact that pregnant men seem to turn into women in these fics, ack. Trust me: moody guys don't tend to cry, whether it's hormone-induced or not - we are much, much more likely to blow a fuse and smack each other around.

Go for it, write it, whatever - hell, fanfic's here to let us mess with the 'verse anyway we like ;) - but I'll be steering clear.

4/20/2011 #6
DoubleTorpor

Matt! love you and your stories, but your icon CREEPS me out. I get the shivers just thinking about it.

You said...Then there is the other issue. I don't think a lot of mpreg writers realise quite how well adapted women are to having babies. We men? We are NOT adapted for that. Not in the slightest. Men cannot handle nearly the amount of strain on the body that a baby creates - for one, a woman's organs are designed to be able to accommodate a baby. They move. For another, the hormone cocktail that makes a baby healthy - a lot of that can't be produced by a man, or in the necessary quantities. Then there's the immune system. Women are already documented to have trouble if their immune system mistakes the baby for a parasite. Men, who are not designed to have anything whatsoever there, are just going to kill it. Their immune system would go insane and terminate the pregnancy a week in....

Couldn't agree more when it comes to pregnancy...one advanced Biology class could almost convince one that pregnancy is flat out impossible for *anyone*. However, I have a story rec for you that might please you in how it deals with these issues. It's a WIP, but I'm hopeful the authors will bring it home. If links don't work, it is called _No Man's Land_ by Written jointly by shoreleave and mija.

Due, seriously, take a shoe to that icon.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6904258/1/No_Mans_Land

5/22/2011 #7
mattmetzger

Terribly sorry, DoubleTorpor, forgot to check back for replies. Whoops! Anyway, yeah: I didn't even take advanced bio or anything like it. I took basic bio and sex ed, and even I know there is just no way a man survives that kind of trauma to the body. I mentioned mpreg to the medical student I live with once, and she looked at me like I'd suggested ramming a firecracker up my ass for fun.

I thank you for the rec, but honestly, I won't read these kinds of stories. I know I should give everything a chance and all, but...yeah. I can't. Mpreg is just...yargh. YARGH. And I don't even know what yargh means, but it means something unpleasant.

Also, icon? I keep that icon precisely because it creeps people out. I'm the kind of guy who would keep a tarantula in the kitchen if not for the landlady :D

9/7/2011 #8
AceHodges

I have been looking for someone who can come up with a rational argument for ages. Most other times, people would yell at me and accuse me of being homophobic and disgusting. I am neither homophobic, or disgusting. (To my knowledge)

That's one thing, though. I do not mind slash at all, (if it's written well) but mpreg is just one of the stupidest things I have ever encountered. You have basically listed all of the arguments against it that I could ever think of. It's entirely impossible, and just plain stupid. I can see why people would want to have that sort of fantasy, like "I feel sorry for that couple because they can't have children. Oh, I know! I'll create this world where men can still be men without any of their organs changing, but still be able to carry a child in their stomachs for nine months."

It's a kind romantic gesture, but it's also a ridiculous one. If two men want to have a baby, there's nothing wrong with adoption! I'll just try to convince these other people who will ignore logic and go straight for the fantasy of it.

And as for that icon, KILL IT. KILL IT WITH FIRE.

3/14/2012 #9
Lurkch

Thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to post.

This topic has drifted from what I originally intended, but that's okay (On rereading my initial post I see that I didn't narrow my question down as much as I should have). :)

If anyone has peeves about mpreg in aliens though, please post as that hasn't had much response so far. I have similar objections to human mpreg for many of the reasons already mentioned, but I'd be interested in peeves that don't involve human biology issues (and maybe ones that do involve Vulcan biology issues--not that there's much to go one there).

I've come up with a #8 since my initial post:

Peeve #8--Not only is the mpreg a surprise, but after about 5 seconds thought the mpregee is THRILLED not only to have this thing taking over his body for X number of months (and that lovely little transition at the end) but also at the prospect of taking care of it for, probably, two decades.

3/16/2012 #10
mattmetzger

Dunno if you want this anymore, but...

Essentially, with aliens, apply the logic. I would still call Vulcan male pregnancy extremely unlikely even though we don't know what a male Vulcan is carrying around in his abdomen. But what we can see is similar: the Vulcan head is roughly the same size as the human head, in adults and in the few babies we've seen. Coupled with a similarly narrow hip on male Vulcans, that implies if Vulcan males can have babies, it's extremely difficult. Again, the females seem to have a wider hip than the males, implying that they and only they have the babies. Vulcan women also have breasts, whereas males don't, implying that only they feed the baby. It makes sense for the birther to also have been the food source, so this again implies Vulcan men don't have babies. I seem to vaguely remember some species in TNG where the men had the babies, and everyone sceptically pointed out the extremely obvious hourglass figure on the female alien as a derp move by the costume people/writers/everyone else. In slash couples, as well...there'd have to be vaginal (or the equivalent) intercourse rather than just anal (the natural in and out someone already mentioned). You'd probably notice that in a partner, so surprise!pregnancy (in the holy shit you can get pregnant?! sense) would also be fairly unlikely, or render the pregnant guy's partner pretty stupid.

That's a looooong paragraph.

I wouldn't say these are peeves because one of my major ones with Star Trek is that the mpreg fans have been handed quite possibly one of the only universes where you could possibly make mpreg plausible...and they always make the human pregnant. *facepalm* But these are definitely things that need to be considered.

6/28/2012 #11
Lurkch

Heh, yes I'm still interested (the story this question applies to is still in the plotting stages as I'm writing several other stories first and I'm quite possibly the slowest writer in the universe). Your input has given me another plot point to address the issue of head size, so thank you for that.

I agree on the *facepalm* aspect of making the human male in a human-alien relationship pregnant. If the author puts enough thought into it I can go along with an alien male pregnancy, but I'm not buying a human male pregnancy without some serious technical intervention every step of the way.

7/1/2012 #12
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