Killing Time (Star Trek tie-in novel)
For other works with this title, see Killing Time.
|Creator:||Della Van Hise|
|Medium:||tie-in novel, print|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
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After years of fannish whining about how horrible pro Trek books were, and how fans could do it better, a prolific K/S writer and publisher sold Pocket Books her Trek manuscript. This book was Killing Time, a Star Trek tie-in novel by K/S writer Della Van Hise, published in 1985. While not outright slash, "Killing Time" definitely depicted a Kirk and Spock closer than most pro Trek books did.
Killing Time is also notable for the publisher mix-up that resulted in there being two editions released, the first being much more slashy than the second.
"Killing Time": The Fanzine
Some fans believe that the pro novel started out as a proposal for a zine. In 1981, a fanzine titled "Killing Time" was listed "In the Planning Stages" (to be available in early Fall 1981) in Datazine #12, and an expanded ad was placed in 1983 in T'hy'la #2. This fanzine was eventually retitled Time Out of Mind and sold in that form.
From the Datazine #12 ad:
'Killing Time' by Keith Donovan and Nathan St. Germaine, edited by Della Van Hise, published by Pon Farr Press. PFP is proud to be able to offer a new ST novel, which we feel will offer the best of several worlds. It deals with a Jim Kirk and Spock from an alternate time line who accidently discover themselves stranded in our time line with no way home and several obstacles to overcome just to stay alive. Having been marooned on 20th century Earth for four years when the story begins, Kirk and Spock discover that they must enlist the aid of select humans in order to pilot the Enterprise back to their own universe, and even so, their chances of survival are slim. It is told from the point of view of Jeremy Karlsen, a NASA technician who becomes involved in their cause and finds his own life crumbling around him as a consequence. It also details the relationship which develops between Kirk and Spock, offering perhaps a more painfully realistic view of two men stranded out of time and out of place. Certain K/S elements are included so an age statement is required. ALSO, BE ADVISED THAT KILLING TIME IS SET IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE (of sorts), so the characters are often different than the aired-Trek heroes.
For many years there was a matter of some confusion regarding the connection between the zine Time Out of Mind and the pro novel sold under the title Killing Time. In 2012, one of the authors of Time Out of Mind clarified the relationship between the two works: "The fan novel [Time Out of Mind] is its own creation with its own cast of characters, none of which appear in "Killing Time." It was written before the novel "Killing Time."... Never was "Time Out Of Mind" even a template for the pro novel...."Time Out of Mind" was simply another, separate time travel story.”
The Plot of Killing Time: The Book
The novel is classic fanfic, concerning a Romulan plot to travel back in time and change history. This results in an alternate universe where Spock is the captain of the Enterprise and Kirk is a drug-addicted ensign, with massive amounts of angst on the part of both misplaced men.A few quotes from the original printing show that the subtext was barely sub:
"Why do you care?" Kirk asked at last, meeting the Vulcan’s eyes. And Spock felt himself weaken under the human’s scrutiny. He glanced away from the intense hazel globes. But the stakes were too high to permit intimidation to interfere with logic [...] The Vulcan shivered, glancing forlornly across the room to the discarded shirt. Yet he knew that no amount of clothing could cover his psychic nakedness; Kirk could strip him to the marrow with a single question. "I can offer no logical explanation," he replied truthfully.
In seven years as command of the ShiKahr, [Spock] had never met a human who could arouse such forbidden feelings, who could wrestle emotion from him as easily as turning on a light.
The Publisher Mix-UpTeresa Nielsen Hayden summarizes how there happened to be two editions to this book:
Paramount Studios loathes K&S, and when the MS was sent for approval someone there marked all those passages for deletion. Time passes; Pocket prints 250K copies and ships out some 100-150K of them [before they notice they're still there]. Killing Time's been on the stands for a while now, and even though Pocket is pulling every copy it can lay hands on, and shredding the copies in their warehouse, it's much too late to get them all back. Apparently, somewhere in the period circa Mimi Panich's departure from Pocket and Karen Haas's arrival, an unidentified and gremlinish hand went through the MS and carefully marked `STET' next to all the passages Paramount has asked to have deleted. 
Fans have wondered for years who that helpful hand might have belonged to. The situation led to a small wave of K/S writers who someday hoped to be pros changing to writing under pseudonyms. (See also Fans Turned Pro.)
Differences Between EditionsIn an undated explanation, one fan writes:
A fan in 1986 offered up this summary:There are at least fifty changes from the first version to the revised version, some as short as a single word, others as long as a paragraph or two. Most of the excisions involve scenes in which there is physical contact between Kirk and Spock (for example, describing the warmth of Spock's hand on Kirk's face during a mindmeld). But there was also a sentence that described Spock's realization that Kirk was the person Spock was meant to spend his life with. Copies of the original can still be found in used bookstores and at conventions, so this book isn't completely lost yet. If the cover has raised letters for the title, it's likely to be the original; if not, check anyway, because at least some copies without raised lettering have the unexpurgated text. Better yet, just check page 41 for a passage that begins, "I understand that you were probably playing with dolls and wearing lipstick until you were twenty!" That appears only in the original. 
The first difference is on page 26. In the original, Kirk touched Spock's hands and Spock put his hands on Kirk's shoulder. Not so in the new release. The second difference is tnat Kirk's drug addiction was made less severe in the approved version; more like someone who has prescription sleeping pills and cannot live without them. Thirdly, Spock's pon farr was handled more delicately in the new edition. Finally, in the last chapter of the first release, Kirk says, "You may be the only Federation citizen to be sued by the Romulan Praetor for child support" while the words "child support" were deleted from the new version. 
Later printings of the novel removed the most obvious slashiness, though plenty still remains. More information on the different printings and a comparison of the original and censored text can be found here.
Killing Time's Author Comments on the Different Editions
In 1985, the author explained why there may be different versions of the novel:
"There have been a variety of rumors concerning Killing Time, most of which are quite amusing... In a nutshell, the unedited manuscript was inadvertently put into print. As most writers are probably aware, a book goes through many different stages in pre-production... Killing Time had at least three different editors at the publishing house, plus an addition editor at Paramount, plus the copy-editor. Each of those editors is responsible for certain aspects of the publication... To my understanding, what happened was that an earlier version of the manuscript went into print -- a version which did not reflect the changes requested by one or more of the editors. After the book was in print and headed for the Best Seller's list, the error was discovered... Regarding the rumor that it was 'pulled because of questionable material,' to my knowledge, this simply isn't accurate. I've also heard that it was pulled because the plot was too close to the fourth movie -- a rumor which is among the funniest to date. In my personal opinion, and not to reflect upon the views of Paramount, Pocket Books or anyone other than myself, there is 'questionable material' in any publication -- as well there should be. If all writing was done by formula and told us what we already know, then nothing is done to advance the characters or the imagination or the readers. In addition, I would also like to point out that most people see exactly what they want to see. If someone went looking for 'questionable material,' in Killing Time, they could find it... Just as beauty is in supposedly in the mind of the beholder, so is questionable material."
Starting in 1987, the author began selling copies of the novel’s first printing in fan published adzines.
A 1987 ad in Datazine #50:
I have a very limited supply of the (infamous) first printing of the 'Killing Time' (the professional novel), complete with the 'good stuff' later edited out... signed by the author.
A 1987 ad in Communications Console #4:
"The controversial professional Star Trek Novel! These copies are the original first-printing edition from PocketBooks, before subsequent editorial changes were made by the publishing company &Paramount! Signed by the author! Supplies limited."
In 1988, the author began offering copies of the original manuscript. From an ad in On the Double #8:
"The original manuscript as first sent to PocketBooks. After years of controversy, see for your self what changes were made between the original MSS and the first printing of the professional Star Trek book. Signed by the author." 
The Rumored K/S Version
"The 1983 tie-in novel Killing Time by Della Van Hise was and still is thought to be originated as Slash Fic about Kirk and Spock. The truth is, according to author Della Van Hise, the original printing was from a non-proofed, and therefore "not approved by Paramount" manuscript accidentally sent to the printer. Paramount discovered this and ordered the first printing run pulped. An edited second printing came out shortly thereafter wherein most changes were minor single sentence or word changes. But this led to unstoppable rumors that an original K/S version of Killing Time exists. The author says, "There is no such manuscript." 
An example of this debate can be found on the Orion Press website:
"Once Pocketbooks’ editorial staff realized that this novel had been printed with K/S material (allegedly by mistake), it was quickly pulled and replaced with an expurgated version. It was subsequently learned that Della van Hise released the deleted, sexually explicit K/S scenes (along with others) to fans of that genre, allowing the readers to see the naughty bits which had been excised. Pocketbooks purportedly learned of this, and put an end to it."
In a 2011 interview Della explains:
"I also discovered that the reason my professional Star Trek novel was pulled after being on the shelves for a few weeks was because one of those adamant anti-K/Sers took it upon herself to bring it to the attention of TPTB at Paramount that 'Della Van Hise is a K/S writer! gasp· And there is another version of Killing Time that is outright homoerotica!' Well, nothing could have been further from the truth. Yes, I was a K/S writer (never tried to hide it ) but there never was or will be an 'alternate version' of my pro book. If people chose to see overtones of K/S in it, maybe it's because there were overtones of K/S throughout Star Trek itself."
Reactions and Reviews
Alexis Fegan Black comments in November 1985:
On other more "general" TREK news, I'd like to ramble around about the recent censorship of a certain STAR TREK novel. In case there's anybody out there who hasn't heard, KILLING TIME was temporarily out of circulation because of a mix-up at the printing end. Apparently the wrong version of the manuscript was inadvertently put into print — which resulted in one hell of a hullabaloo at Paramount and Pocket Books when the error was discovered. According to rumors (from an extremely reliable source), the book was pulled out of circulation for awhile because it allegedly "alluded to the possibility of a homosexual relationship between Kirk and Spock". Gasp! Who would have believed it! Who would believe it! I've read the book myself (about a dozen times…), and from my own personal standpoint, there's nothing vaguely resembling a Kirk/Spock relationship anywhere in the book, unless, of course, we begin to suspect the dear boys because of their friendship. At which point, we'd better start suspecting every male on the face of the Earth (or other world) who has a close male friend. I've also heard from a hell of a lot of K/S fans who say they've looked for K/S and can't find it, so... I think the David Gerrold's of the world have made a lasting impression on the powers that be at Paramount… Now… I also have it on good authority that some rabid anti-K/S activist is responsible for about 99.9% of all the hassle with Killing Time. Some people make it their business to send fanzines to Paramount. 
A fan named Karen in 1985:
I read this book four months ago, right before I went into Basic Training. It was and one of those hard to put down books, and I managed to read it on the plane before I even got to the Reception Station at Fort Dix. I was fascinated (to coin a phrase from one of my favorite characters) by the idea presented in the book, that a single event changed in the past can change the course of history in the entire galaxy.
It also made a good deal of sense that history could not be changed without also causing a lot of changes to occur in the lives of people of the future. In KILLING TIME, history was changed by a ship of Romulans who knew both the real and the changed course of history. But the people who were most affected by the change started having conflicts within themselves -- they "remembered" the other history. And, as a result, many of these people started to go insane, especially among the Romulan population. The Federation people, Kirk and Spock among them, mainly had bad dreams at night, but these dreams also haunted their waking hours. It was finally decided by the Romulans that they had to undo what they had done in order to resume the real history, and prevent their people from all going insane. With the help of the now-Captain Spock and Ensign Kirk, the Romulans do manage to change history — back to what it originally was. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It shows that no matter the well-meaning or evil intent of changing history, it doesn't always work out for the best. In fact, changing history will probably never turn out the way you want it to. It could be that changing history a decade or so back wouldn't have that much effect on the present, but attempts to change history centuries in the past would definitely have a detrimental effect on the present, especially if the people involved weren't killed outright, or never born, just changed in little or big ways. I imagine it we had examined the world that the living Edith would have produced, we would have found the same situation people unable to cope with what they had become.I rate the book an 8, mainly because we get to see our favorite characters in different roles. 
A fan comments in 1985:
In 1985 a Trek zine publisher noted that K/S writers hoping to publish professionally should keep the challenges the novel faced in mind:I just finished Delia Van Hise's Killing Time -- the latest Pocket "pro" novel. Please, please do a campaign to kill sales for this book. It's all the worst K/S cliches: Kirk is a love object, an incompetent who would be a hopeless loser without Spock to prop him up; the minute Kirk and Spock's eyes meet "across a crowded room" they know. And, of course, everybody else knows -- even the lowliest Romulan knows "these two" belong together. (Low violins on the word "together.") The plot is standard K/S fare -- an alternate universe where, separated, each has sunk or risen to his rightful level -- Spock is a Captain, Kirk a hopeless misfit, a drug addict, unpopular, mistreated -- given a last chance by being stuck on Spock's ship as a lowly ensign. Spock takes one look at that "golden hair" (never mind that it's brown) and "lovely hazel eyes" and his heart goes "boom-boom-boom." It's done so cornily (standard K/S, I warned you) that it's only fit for reading aloud to mock! There are Romulans about, to provide an enemy, a semblance of a plot, and to keep the censors at bay -- a quickie pon farr on Spock's part, solved by a quickie with the Romulan Commander (of "Enterprise Incident" fame). She's now a big deal in Romulan politics, but women are really discriminated against there (never mind that this directly contradicts the series) and she kidnaps Kirk to blackmail Spock into playing games with her (besides the one.- mentioned above). Kirk and Spock, of course, have an instant telepathic bond (we delicately avoid any suggestion of sex in this context) and Kirk signals Spock with it. So, our resourceful hero rescues his golden-haired darling just in time for a quick flurry of action before we restore everybody to their "proper positions" in the universe as we know it. I could spend another page listing the reasons why Van Hise's background set up makes no sense -- suffice it to say, her logic won't bear any inspection. What keeps Marshak and Culbreth marginally decent is that they have better sense -- they verge on K/S but see it as a partnership of "mythic" proportions -- not an unequal love match. It affronts me that Pocket published this -- I have no objection to K/S as a genre, so long as it stays where it belongs -- as a genre, not as published, authorized Trek! Please encourage your readers, to avoid this book!
"As most of you have undoubtedly heard by now, the professional Star Trek book, KILLING TIME by Delia Van Hise, was temporarily unavailable because of hassles with Paramount and PocketBooks, What you might not know is that this was caused primarily because of "K/S" — and the misunderstanding of it which runs rampant at Paramount. Basically, for anyone who has read some of the pro Trek books, it's easy to see that "allusions to K/S" are a lot more prominent in other books than they were in KILLING TIME. So why was KT singled out? Mainly because the author had an involvement in K/S writing and editing which went back several years rather than because of the content of the book itself."
In 1986, another fan comments on the published tie-in novel and concludes:
"'Killing Time', as a pro novel, is a failure. The thing would have been much better had it been written as straight action-adventure, without the K/S element; it also would have been better had it been written as 'straight K/S', which of course would have made it an entirely different story. Whatever the author's reason for doing it the way she did (and I believe it was a conscious decision), it just doesn't work. It doesn't work as straight Trek, and it doesn't work as K/S. Killing Time is not the work of a K/S writer whose basic K/S instincts sometimes cause her to be carried away when attempting to write straight Trek — Ms. Van Hise is a much more skillful writer than that. The inclusion of the K/S aspect in the novel was a deliberate choice, and one which remains unfathomable to me. But I do know this: the disappointment I experienced with Killing Time was all the more intense because I realized that with one whole hell of a lot of editing, this novel could have been one whole hell of a lot better.
In 1987, a fan comments on the lack of K/S in the book, and the author of the book responds:
At my first reading of that novel, I was not yet a K/S fan. In fact, I didn't know K/S existed. I was just a fan enjoying a very well-written ST novel. Then I head about the controversy and, having become enlightened to K/S, I re-read the noel. I still think, even searching for K/S, that there was none to be found. Sure, someone with an active imagination could insert K/S motives between the lines and behind the scenes. But they weren't there, in black and white, to be read. Perhaps the controversy grew out of the fact that the author has written K/S material. Maybe "Killing Time" was originally a K/S story. That's beside the point. The novel that I read was not K/S." The editor notes: ""Killing Time' was never written as a K/S novel either as a fanzine or otherwise. No other version exists." 
Also in 1987, the fan who prepared a line by line comparison of the changes made between the first and later editions comments:
In 1991, one fan writes:Although I can understand to some extent some of the changes that were made, some were major mistakes - that of Spock's inner turmoil regarding the unasked-for meld with Kirk. The editing goes against Spock's character and that should not be allowed. If at all possible, endeavor to acquire a copy of the original. It is a much easier story to read - it flows instead of jerks. To Della, an excellent story and my congratulations on having it published. 
Killing Time by Della Van Hise (pro ST novel #24, 1985) which one can buy "censored" in stores or uncensored as a genzine from Pon Farr Press is NOT K/S. I do believe Ms. Van Hise has gotten into loads of trouble because people think it is K/S. It's a WONDERFUL story. I was lucky enough to buy the pro novel before some imbecile who disliked words such as "bullshit" and "naked" (SHOCKING!) "censored" it. The original version and rewritten version are both good. I prefer Della's original because it's more detailed about how they are "one" - mentally NOT PHYSICALLY. This book has absolutely no homosexual contact between Kirk and Spock. It's one of the few "pro" novels that's memorable. It's not K/S, but it's still good. 
In her book Boldly Writing Joan Marie Verba offers her memories of the novel, and of fan reactions in Interstat:"The appearance of Killing Time disturbed many fans. Community members who do not generally object to K/S were concerned about the allusions to sexuality-allusions that occur not specifically in the content but in the language Van Hise used to express content, and which language is read as sexual in the group. Fanwriters worried that the book would call undue attention to their own works. Both the fans of the genre and those who object to homoerotic fiction in the community protested within the community and to the publisher. Pocket Book pulled the book and issued a revised edition in which all the quotations but the first given here were deleted or extensively revised. A number of other smaller scaled excisions-referring to pliant flesh and psychic nakedness-stripped the book of its more obvious markers, although enough remain to cue the regular K/S reader that the book situates linguistically in that genre."
Killing Time got the most press, mainly because Pocket Books accidentally put the initial version of the manuscript into print instead of the edited version. The initial version, the first printing, nonetheless sold 150,000 copies before the revised second printing came out. Fan reaction was mixed. In September, Deborah L. Bruno said, "Killing Time...may be a somewhat familiar theme, but it is well-handled, and brings out some interesting ideas. The alternate Kirk and Spock are well-drawn and believable." In the same issue, Ruth Berman said, "Killing Time...is an example of extremely bad writing...it must be in the running for Worst-Ever-ST-Novel."
The agent for many of Della's Star Trek fanzines wrote this about the novel:
"It is interesting to note that Della Van Hise was also the author of the professional STAR TREK novel, Killing Time - a book which was deemed "too hot to handle" by the powers that be, and recalled by the publisher for its now-infamous hints of a romantic relationship between Kirk and Spock. The first edition still exists in its original form, for those lucky enough to have obtained a copy prior to the recall, and shows the reader a glimpse of what Ms. Van Hise later turned into a much more revealing and delightfully vivid depiction of the love and sexuality shared by these two beloved characters. As Alexis Fegan Black, Ms. Van Hise wrote over 15 novels, a multitude of novellas, short stories."
A book review published on the Orion Press website states:
"Killing Time, by Della Van Hise, is a fascinating mixture of the good, the very good, the quite excellent, and the utterly and irrevocably out of line. If you are familiar enough with the Trek underground to associate the name of the author with various K/S publications, then you can begin to understand what I mean when I state that Killing Time is sissified K/S in a glossy, soft-soap package made commercially palatable so as to be acceptable to a general audience."
In 2004 a fan expresses puzzlement over the two versions of the book:
"My favorite Star Trek novel, though, is Killing Time by Della Van Hise. I can still read that one, and I admit that I enjoyed it even more after learning that the original printing had been pulled and edited to remove the supposedly "slashy" K/S bits. Which, by the way, still puzzles me, because I got hold of a later printing out of curiosity and discovered that they'd cut only the physical contact in certain scenes, but left all the mind-melding and telepathic bonding and expressions of deep friendship intact. It was, in other words, okay for them to declare their profound and special relationship, but not to be touching each other (well, okay, there was the one part where Spock was lying on top of Kirk, but the rest of it was hand-on-the-shoulder stuff) while they did it. Weird."
In 2009, a fan discussed and reviewed the book:
In 2009, a fan artist was inspired by the novel (and the discussions surrounding the novel) to draw art pointing out some of the parallels between the 1985 novel and the newly released Star Trek (2009) movie:LET US BEGIN THE BEGUINE. Book starts off talking about the crew's whacked-out sleeping patterns. Spock goes and talks to Kirk and they both admit insomnia and fucked up dreams. Kirk's eyes are hazel and twinkling, as usual, and they have this kind of awkward banter back and forth trying to find out what the dreams were about and as the reader you're like OH MY GODDDD THEY'RE DREAMING ABOUT EACHOTHER AAAA then Kirk deflects and asks if Spock's eaten yet so they get ready to go food up 
So, I read this Star Trek novel... 
In a 2012 tumblr post, one fan laments:
"I'm gonna crrrrrrrry....My edition of “Killing Time” isn’t the original version super-slash-filled version.... UGGGGGGGHHHH. I mean, the 2nd version is said to still be somewhat slashy, but I’d really love to have the original thank you.... I’m gonna go cry now. WHY COULDN’T THE FIRST EDITION BE THE ONLY ONE??? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LET ALL THE FEELS BE AS THEY SHOULD? Also, would anyone be willing to sell me an orginal copy? No? Okay. Sensitive shipper problems."
In 2012, writer Nathan St. Germaine offered her take on rumors regarding the novel:
“The pro novel called "Killing Time" was written AS gen for Pocket Books (no slash version ever existed, nor was the first edition recalled because of "romantic subtext, merely it was reissued due to an editorial snafu at Pocket Books itself) and it was never an edited or "filed" version of a fan story.” 
- from Datazine #12 (1981).
- November 26, 2012 e-mail to Fanlore from Nathan St. Germaine.
- Pg 121, Killing Time
- Pg 174, Killing Time
- Ansible. Ansible 44, 1985
- from Star Trek: The Lost Books, post by Steve Roby
- from a letter in The Propagator #17
- "Many people have asked about the story of "what happened with KILLING TIME." Suffice it to say that the whole lengthy story of exactly what occurred is told in Della's essay in Naked Times #10. Now, with this list of changes, we now present to the readers of OTD, we hope this gives a more complete picture of the transition of KILLING TIME from the "way it was" to the "way it is." from On the Double issue #5, 1987.
- lexx_the_flex: "Homoerotic Star Trek Novel "Killing Time" - uncensored vs. censored", posted 28 Sept 2009 (last accessed 22 Feb 2010)
- from Della Van Hise in Datazine #38
- from Datazine #50, ad submitted by Della Van Hise
- author's ad in Communications Console Vol. I, issue #4 (1987).
- author's ad in The Zine Connection #14. This author ad also appeared in On the Double #8 (1988).
- [TV Tropes page on Ascended Fan Fic accessed November 26, 2012.
- Orion Press editorial note on the Killing Time book review here, accessed November 26, 2012.
- From Three Letter Words: OMG by Kit Hammonds.
- from the editorial in Naked Times #8
- from TREKisM #46/47
- from The Propagator #12
- from Not Tonight Spock issue #12 (1985).
- from Universal Translator #30; the author of "Killing Time" comments on this review in 1989 and says: "I know from experience that people will occasionally attempt to attack a writer's work through what I would consider a more personal attack. (i.en the "review" of KILLING TIME that appeared in the defunct publication, UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR). I have since found out who wrote that review, and that it was intended as an attack against me rather than against the book itself. Apparently this person was going through some rough personal times and was lashing out at everybody who got in the way. I just happened to "get in the way" that time. And while I would have welcomed hearing this fan's comments to me, I wasn't interested in reading them under the guise of a review when her complaints were, in the end, entirely personal." from On the Double #10
- from On the Double #3
- from On the Double #5 (1987).
- from The LOC Connection #30
- page 238 Enterprising Women.
- Boldly Writing page 70, referring to comments in Interstat.
- About the Authors page at FanzinesPlus, accessed November 26, 2012.
- Kristen Brady's Killing Time book review here, accessed November 26, 2012.
- comment The New Voyages dated 2004.
- 2009 review of the book, for more see a Recap of Killing Time/WebCite (with macros) by stablercake, on ontd_startrek
- I'm gonna crrrrrrrry plaguedbyinsanity's tumblr post dated Jan 2012.
- November 26, 2012 e-mail to Fanlore from Nathan St. Germaine.