Alternative: Continuing the Epilog to Orion
|Title:||Alternative: Continuing the Epilog to Orion|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
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It is a sequel to Alternative: The Epilog to Orion. This zine has several art pieces by Pat Stall that fold out to four times the size of this full-sized zine. However, the fanzine publisher chose not to credit the artists, but according to signatures some of the art is by Gayle F. and a fan who signed her artwork with a little "G" and a big "D" (possibly Gerry Downes). This fiction, along with two others, was reprinted in The Compleat Alternative.
It required an age statement to purchase.
From the Title Page
"Alternative is the story of a love that transcends artificial considerations, written to honor those few who love another truly and who, twice favored, discover this love returned. May you find such love yourself, to light your days."
Alternative: Book Two and Three -- Continuing 'The Epilog to Orion,' both in one volume. It explores the Kirk/Spock relationship as a reality rather than a fantasy and the language is more explicit than used in 'Epilog to Orion.' In Book 2, Kirk is injured and the shield that has been built between them is destroyed an the bond re-activated. By the end of it, they have built a relationship that, while it may not be all they had hoped for, it is workable. Four years later, in Book 3, this compromise solution causes the relationship to disintegrate in a crisis -- Jim Kirk begins to search for the man he used to be, and Spock, who loves him very much, can only stand aside and watch, and hope. 
Reactions and Reviews
Gerry Downes published the final part of the Orion series called Alternative: Continuing the Epilog to Orion. This 135 page novel picks up the story where Epilog left off. It is now almost a year since their final meld. Disaster strikes on an innocent shore leave, and Spock is forced to initiate a meld to save the captain’s life. The severed bond is reestablished. Drawn together once more, Kirk is determined not to shorten Spock’s life nor leave the ship without a commander should he die. The answer appears to be to keep the bond at a lighter level through the sexual relationship both men want and need. Four more years pass and Kirk finds they have grown too dependant upon each other. Their solution makes both Christine Chapel and Areel Shaw (Court Martial) very happy women. A Vulcan healer helps the two men find their way back to each other. 
The second book will be much better, I told myself. How wrong I was! Perhaps I am prejudicing the reader unduly. Let me state for the record that I am a Spockie, and in fact such a Spockie that I not only empathize with Spock, I become Spock, and I have ridiculously little tolerance for Spock being made to suffer in any way. I am well aware that many of you enjoy reading about Spock suffering beautifully, so I am certain that those of you would enjoy this book as much as I despised it.
The second book also has some truly beautiful moments. There is a wonderful sequence early on when Kirk and Spock are alone together on a planet, swimming just off shore; after some teasing, as well as more serious talk, they kiss deep beneath the waves. What follows, after they surface, is even more intense: although they have decided to postpone a Vulcan bonding, Kirk improvises a more primitive, and classical, form of bonding. It would be difficult to describe in a few short words the emotional resonance of this passage (and clearly I'm not up to the task). The other scene which sticks out in my mind occurs at the end. In a very dramatic, and cinematic conclusion, Kirk and Spock meet on Vulcan after days of separation (I won't spoil the location—it was too good) and the first few lines of dialogue could have leapt right off of the silver screen.
This, however, was small consolation in the face of the story itself, which depressed me for days. You see, Spock and Kirk do not go into it equally; Spock wants the security of a bond, but is too timid to demand it, while Kirk, fearing to lose his independence, or his command (or something) strings Spock along for years, right up to, quite literally, the eleventh hour. At the nadir, Spock, who has been carrying on a sideline affair with Chapel at Kirk's insistence (as the doughty captain fears that they are becoming too close for their own good), is actually dumped—yes, dumped!—by Christine Chapel. This struck me as a low blow. Chapel, whether literally or by implication I cannot remember, even asks Spock why he puts up with such second-rate treatment from Kirk. (She is off to marry a man who can love her "exclusively." I will spare you my generational reaction to the distinctly seventies sexual morality of Alternative, part two.)
Spock endures everything stoically. He suffers and suffers. In the last section of the story Kirk abjures him, verbally abuses him, accuses him of tampering with his mind, attacks him, and generally acts like an ass, while Spock holds out, in the hope Kirk will, at the critical juncture, come around. Finally, after a walk in the desert and a talk with his own Vulcan Yoda, Kirk reaches an epiphany about their relationship, and just in time too, because Spock has gone into pon farr. But I cannot tell you if this new leaf is truly a change for the better, or just as smudged and ink stained as the old one, because they bond and the story ends, as if there were nothing left to tell.The art in the first book is nothing special, but the art in the second volume is truly extraordinary. The reproduction quality is excellent. Several full-size paintings are printed on fold out 11x14 pages. There is a depiction of the kiss described above which is particularly beautiful. The art in fact is what continues to compel me to hold onto my copy, since I can't bear to part with it. 
This zine is totally awesome. I had a yen for some K/S h/c so I skedaddled to the annual Star Trek Creation Convention in San Francisco in its ever diminishing capacity. The west coast zine dealer Jim Rondeau was there, and I was able to get my hands on an original Nightvisions for $25.00 and Alternative for $10.00. It was the best investment I ever made. Alternative is a page turning novel. It is an even mix of Star Trek adventurous gen with a K/S relationship. It is tightly written and well fleshed out. (Did that sound right?) There is something in there for everyone. You have a developing K/S relationship, action and adventure, diverse characters, hurt/comfort, angst, Vulcans, all set in the canon universe. This is one of the best K/S novels I have ever read. It is right up there with my all-time favorites Broken Images, Bloodstone, and Lifeboat. This novel is a mega must read. A thousand raves around the world.