a writer who inserts an idealized version of themselves in their own fan fiction n.; such a story or character
‘Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky,’ thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. ‘Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet—only fifteen and a half years old.’ ]
Too willing are we to smatter down a Mary Sue story and call it high tragedy, or say, ‘I don’t care if it’s dumb, if it’s about Spock.’
These are some things that MENAGERIE’s editors don’t like: 1) Mary Sue stories—the adventures of the youngest and smartest ever person to graduate from the academy ever and ever get a commission at such a tender age.
Why is it that seemingly bright, intelligent women turn out to be teeny boppers who want nothing more than to sleep with and/or marry and have lots of babies by crewmen on the Big E. Ah, yes, this sounds like a typical Mary Sue story and everyone is supposed to hate them anyway, right?
There is no way to discuss fan fiction or characterization rape in fan fiction without discussing the worst offender: the Lieutenant Mary Sue story. Mary Sue stories are typical groupie fantasies in which, usually, a writer transfers herself from the 1970 era into the future by means of the Guardian of Forever, a time warp, or other device of time travel, and finds herself in the Star Trek universe. In general, Mary Sue is a single, thirty-year-old female, who is incredibly beautiful, super-loving, super-intelligent, super-everything.
Writing about women would seem to be the natural project of a women’s community, but in fact the set of genres dealing with women have had a troubled history, and none more so than ‘Mary Sue’. Mary Sue is the youngest officer ever to serve on the starship Enterprise. She is a teenager, tall and slim, with clear skin and straight teeth…. She is usually highly educated, with degrees from universities throughout the known universe in all fields of technical and cultural studies (or an equivalent head of her class in Starfleet Academy).
Fan writers also work to efface the gap that separates the realm of their own experience and the fictional space of their favorite programs. "Mary Sue" stories, which fit idealized images of the writers as young, pretty, intelligent recruits aboard the Enterprise, the TARDIS, or the Liberator, constitute one of the most disputed subgenres of fan fiction. So strong is the fan taboo against such crude personalization that original female characters are often scrutinized for any signs of autobiographical intent, though there is at least one zine which proudly publishes nothing but "Mary Sue" stories.
‘Mary Sue’ stories, as the fans call them, are utterly reviled, even though such stories are often the first story that a fan will write. A ‘Mary Sue’ is any story where a young, bright, gorgeous new ensign (usually a transparent stand-in for the author) falls head over heels for Kirk or Spock.
The Quebecois linguist character is so borderline Mary Sue it comes close to grating.
It’s a Mary Sue story. A pretty ordinary woman from a small town…goes to giant interstellar empire and is immediately taken into the confidence of the highest officials and has sex with some of them…. She’s instinctively brilliant at politics, playing superbly in the big leagues in spite of being inexperienced and clueless.
'A Trekkie's Tale' in Menagerie
"Mary Sue" appears as a character in the 1973 citation; we are interested in any pre-1990 cites that reference Mary Sue as a type of story, character, or writer.
Last modified 2022-04-10 02:42:56
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.