Spock Enslaved!

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Zine
Title: Spock Enslaved!
Publisher: Love Child Press
Editor:
Author(s): Diane T. Steiner
Cover Artist(s): Karen Flanery
Illustrator(s): Karen Flanery
Date(s): August 1974
Medium: print
Size: 156 pages
Genre: see article
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: much art is on this tumblr[1]
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

front cover, Karen Flanery. Leonard Nimoy commented on this zine cover in his book I Am Not Spock: " ... The cover of one of these fanzines in particular shows a very well done drawing of Mr. Spock stripped to the waist, his lower portion covered for the most part with a draped toga exposing one bare leg, his hands manacled and a belt from the manacles chaining him to a post. The obvious suggestion is that Mr. Spock in this case is a love slave, much in the same way that women have been used for years in erotic and semi-erotic literature. I suppose in this case, turn about is fair play…" [2]
back cover, Karen Flanery

Spock Enslaved! is a gen h/c novel with sexual overtones (aka pre-slash). This fanzine has 156 pages and was written by Diane T. Steiner, with illustrations by Karen Flanery. It was one of the first Star Trek fanfiction full-length novels.

This story was discussed in To Slay or Not to Slay: Why We Write 'Get-em' Stories -- & Love 'em!.

Summary

This story was mentioned in Star Trek Lives!, and it includes a lengthy description and analysis, along with excerpts, of Spock Enslaved!.

Summary from Agent With Style:
When the landing party that has beamed down to a planet named Atlantis discovers that the economy is based on owning and selling slaves, they object, and are captured and turned into slaves themselves. The Prefect finds Spock fascinating and pulls him from the state slave pool to become his own personal slave. At first Spock refuses, but learns that his resistance causes Kirk and McCoy to be brutally punished, so he gives in, doing the most menial tasks as well as the most objectionable whenever the Prefect snaps his fingers. On the outside, Spock may look and act like a well-trained slave, but on the inside, he is burning with plans to stage a slave rebellion -- no matter what the cost!

In Demand

This zine, as well as The Sensuous Vulcan, was in much demand, and even more so as its author became difficult/impossible to contact.

A fan writes in Datazine #21 that she has put an enormous amount of time and effort into tracking down the publisher of Spock Enslaved! so she could buy a copy or to ask her permission to photocopy this zine. All her letters, sent to three addresses, were returned. She finally put in ad in Interstat asking to buy a photocopy of Spock Enslaved!, and obtained one that way. Shortly afterwards, she got letters from 58 fans who wanted a copy of her copy or who asked to "rent" hers." She asked for help in locating Diane Steiner to ask for official permission to make these copies.

From Boldly Writing: "Many fans, in the time period from 1975 to 1982, claimed they were going to find all the editors of the out-of-print fanzines mentioned in Star Trek Lives!, to get permission to reprint them and provide copies to all fans who wanted them, None, including the fan who wrote this issue of Datazine, ever succeeded."

"The thing you have to remember about "Spock Enslaved" is that there was nothing like that before. Looking at it today, it's BFD, but at the time it was really unbelievable. Much like the first interracial kiss--today it's not even worth a blink, but at the time you'd think the world was coming to an end."[3]
"I was like a woman possessed until I had my own copy. It was more a case of, Wanting is better than having - to paraphrase the Vulcan. It was a big deal back then and it seems so tame now. Is it us or the world that has changed?"[4]
"It was not so much the hype as it was one of the few early K/S novels to deal with an A/R or A/U [equals] Alternate Reality or Alternate Universe."[5]

Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

... The cover of one of these fanzines in particular shows a very well done drawing of Mr. Spock stripped to the waist, his lower portion covered for the most part with a draped toga exposing one bare leg, his hands manacled and a belt from the manacles chaining him to a post. The obvious suggestion is that Mr. Spock in this case is a love slave, much in the same way that women have been used for years in erotic and semi-erotic literature. I suppose in this case, turn about is fair play... [6]
The fanzine was offset, 156 pages, and was a novel-length story about the Enterprise crew stranded on a planet with an ancient-Roman-style society. Fans who have heard of it and not read it seem desperate to do so. I, on the other hand, found so many inconsistencies, questionable plot turns, and contradictions that I wrote my reactions directly on the page. (One fan who read my copy said that she found my running commentary far more entertaining than the fanzine itself.) I have heard some fans say, in retrospect, that the popularity of Spock Enslaved! was due to its sexual overtones, rare in a fanzine of that time. I myself found such references irrelevant to a certain lack of believability in the story itself, however." [7] In spite of this mixed reception, or rather because of it, many fans fondly recall that Spock Enslaved! was among the first zines that they purchased. "At a recent fannish tea party, a group of slash fans were discussing their first zines, and we found, to our amusement, that Spock Enslaved! was the top contender. That cover has a lot to answer for. [8]
There is a famous story in fandom of Mark Lenard, the actor who played Spock's father, wandering the Dealer's room with some handlers at a convention. He came across a copy of Spock Enslaved!, with its cover of a nearly naked Spock in chains, and stopped and stared long enough to worry his handlers, before sighing dramatically and mock whispering, "Oh my son, my son". [9]
Reviewers often take the tack of either praising a zine to the high heavens or slashing it to pieces. Despite the title, I won't indulge in the latter practice. It isn't fair, nor does it give a true picture of the victim.

SPOCK ENSLAVED has unfortunately been the victim of too many derogatory reviews. Granted, the novel has its faults -- but what piece of writing doesn't? It has its good points, too, and I wish to point them out.

Taking it from the top, the situation opens with the Enterprise visiting a rather Romanesque planet named Atlantis, It's not a very pretty world, for slavery is a wide-spread practice, and cruelty is the norm. In fact, it's a rather brutal way of life - though academic, for -Star Fleet's orders will not permit their interference, despite the fact that Spock discovers some of the slaves may be Vulcanoid aliens. Then the situation ceases to be academic, Octavian, the Prefect, captures all the Enterprise crewmen who are taking leave on Atlantis and destroys Enterprise (or so he believes). His main interest is in acquiring Spock, for he does so like the erotic types. It's a dandy set-up, but in this reviewer's opinion, this is also the point where Miss Steiner makes her one, big goof - and that is in the characterisation of Spock. I realise the entire point of this novel is the testing of Spock, and the testing of his friendship with Kirk and McCoy, but I don't believe his reactions to this testing are quite true to Spook's nature and Vulcan training. Spock is told, in no uncertain terms that if he doesn't cooperate, he will place his friends, Kirk and McCoy in grave danger, From there on out, he is subjected to just about every form of degrading treatment Miss Steiner can think of (though I suspect she originally thought of some other details but couldn't put them in without limiting sales to those over the age of 18) This, of course, is designed to break Spock and it does. And this is also where I must disagree with Miss Steiner's characterisation. Spock's Vulcan pride combined with his human pride, very quickly leads him to rebel against the indignities which have been perpetrated on his person, and despite the fact that Kirk and McCoy could be killed as a result of his actions, he kicks over the traces (more than once) and raises pure, unadulterated, Vulcan hell. I cannot believe that Spock would do this - not with the fates of his friends in the balance. A Vulcan, I believe, would retreat within himself, co-operate and wait until he had the chance to rebel, and do it successfully. Still, that rebellion would be constructive and not the anger /shame-motivated defiance which Spock exhibits during the first hours and days of his servitude. (Many humans would not allow themselves to be broken this way, and I can't see Spock giving in to such impulses.) His final rebellion is far more logical in that it was geared toward an overthrow of the government and freedom for the slaves. Contrary to outward appearances, this was not a violation of the non-interference directive, as Octavian had been knocking down alien ships for years, and many of the slaves were of alien-descent. He was a menace to the galaxy and in this case, I do not believe that General Order Number One would apply. As to Deeja; I can't take issue with Miss Steiner. Given the situation, for Spock was very nearly killed because of his rebellion, and Deeja nursed him until he regained his health, it was not really out of character that Spock turned to her. Just because Spock's a Vulcan doesn't mean he can't have a woman from time-to-time, (I'm not an advocate of only one every seven years) and he was perfectly set-up for this. Besides, the mind melding sequence between the two was one of the most beautiful that it has ever been my pleasure to read. As to plot - it was well-constructed and fast-paced. It is, as the title indicates, a Spock-oriented novel, With Kirk and McCoy more or less used as background figures, but I've no quarrel with that. The zine, on the whole, makes for good reading, and despite my criticism, or maybe because of it, I enjoyed it immensely.

In conclusion, the novel was top-notch as an action-adventure type story. Due to the mis-characterisation of Spock in certain places, I feel that as a Star Trek story, it was not as good as it could have been, (at least, not if it is supposed to have taken place in the canon, Star Trek universe; but that is a different argument altogether.) Still, as a writer, I know that we each tend to view a character a bit differently, and in all fairness to Miss Steiner, I must grant that perhaps she sees the character of Spock a bit differently than I do. Perhaps, to her, Spock could act as he did and still be quite in character. At any rate, I do recommend SPOCK ENSLAVED. It's an enjoyable piece, and after all, that's the goal of any writer - to provide the reader with entertainment. The fact that I can take issue with the author over certain items only proves that I did enjoy it, otherwise I would not go to the trouble of expressing my feelings on the matter. It is well worth its price, and no doubt, will continue to set thinking minds awhirl as each reader draws his own conclusions.

What more can I say? If a piece of fiction makes a reader think, it has earned a place among the devotees of its genre. [10]
This is an action/adventure novel about the enslavement of Spock, Kirk, and McCoy, and their struggle to regain freedom. 'Spock Enslaved' is a Spock novel. His Vulcan veneer is broken down by a variety of forces; the humiliation of slavery, pain, love -- Readers will find that Spock has changed somewhat, as have the relationships between the three leads, especially between Spock and McCoy. I found the plot to be unconvincing in spots, and Spock's emotionalism a bit excessive, but the overall quality of the writing is good. The Flanery illos are, for the most part, excellent. [11]
Talking about the high price zines can fetch in auction - how about over $170 for a copy of SPOCK ENSLAVED? I can't remember just what it did fetch, if only because I can't remember exactly what the exchange rate was a couple of years ago, but at about the $170 mark the auction was stopped and it was suggested that they start again, but neither of the bidding parties was willing to give in. I can understand it, I suppose after reading STAR TREK LIVES, I was desperate to get my paws on a copy, and when I finally did, well - I was never so disappointed in anything in my life. [12]
'Spock Enslaved' has been getting a perfectly awful reception from most of my correspondents... which is a pity for such a major work so long-awaited. I've met several fan-written Spocks I couldn't believe, but this is the first one I could neither believe nor respect. Where is our Spock's almost suicidal resignation in the face of overwhelming odds. Isn't he the one who usually suggest capitulation whenever the Enterprise is overmatched or walks meekly off stage in front of the villain's phaser? Where is our Spock's careful regard for the Prime Directive? Isn't he the one you'd expect to say something like, 'Par. 2 Sec. 3A clearly states that Starfleet personnel finding themselves stranded on someone else's world will rapidly and unobtrusively assimilate themselves into the culture of same with teh Federation's best wishes for a peaceful and productive life in their new home? Where is our Spock's Vulcan sexuality? Isn't he the one who requires spores, pon farr, an Atacachron, or a pointed-eared seductress for arousal? The point which loses him my respect is this last: where is our Spock's awareness of history? Isn't he the one who would know that a slave revolt led by a handful of aliens would inevitable result in barbarism or a reversion to despotism? A fan-written Kirk might have done these things (fighting beyond hope and reason, ignoring the Prime Directive, falling in love, bringing a whole civilization crashing down), though ST's Kirk would have tended toward a plot-plan-push til' it gives approach, but not Spock. After reading 'Spock Enslaved,' I went back to 'Metamorphhosis' and re-read 'Summer's End.' Now, that's the story 'Spock Enslaved' should have been. [13]
[Name redacted] describes 'Spock Enslaved' as a 'major work so long-awaited.' It is of major length, major cost, and long-awaited, yes, but is it is not of major importance. 'Spock Enslaved' is a one-shot story which adds nothing to the overall view of ST. There's nothing wrong with that -- but it doesn't qualify as being an important contribution to ST literature. S.E. has a fair plot and moves along smoothly from scene to scene. But the characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy are somehow warped out of shape. And the bias of the whole story is drastically pro-Spock; I felt as if I were reading a propaganda rag instead of a ST story. [14]
One of the zines I borrowed was Spock Enslaved, which everyone was desperate to read. Even then, I found it the funniest thing I had ever read. It had a cover with a half-nude Spock chained to a pillar. When I got into Blake's 7 fiction, I wrote a story in which Avon is chained to a pillar on a matriarchal world and has to be rescued by teleport, still chained to the pillar. It was published in Susan Batho's 'naughty' fanzine and that wonderful writer-illustrator Lana Brown did a delightful Svon chained to a pillar which not only made it to the cover but was re-used in following issues. Out of curiosity, I Googled 'Spock Enslaved' -no text publication as far as I can see, but lots of discussion, including whether or not it was slash fiction. Not that I can recall. It was, in fact, Mary Sue - ultra-Mary Sue of the Sweet Young Thing Dies Pregnant With His Child variety. Which, incidentally, makes its way into original Trek on TV, only 'The Paradise Syndrome' was a lovely episode, Mary Sue or not. I admit that stories like "Spock Enslaved" are guilty pleasures for me, however I laughed at the time. [15]
And yet, with all their faults, Mary Sue stories re often the springboard for fine writers who become some of the best that Star Trek fandom has to offer. For example, D.T. Steiner, in 1974, wrote a story entitled SPOCK ENSLAVED, which is, by any standards, a Mary Sue story. Even so, it has some valuable points to offer, and does so quite well, despite the general premise of the story. While SPOCK ENSLAVED was better than the usual run-of-the-mill Sue stories, to compare this with Ms. Steiner's work is certainly a compliment to her improvement. If it takes a Mary Sue story to get a new writer started, then more power to Mary Sue, and special thanks for her contribution. [16]

The Author Responds to Some Less-Than-Positive Reviews

The Halkan Council had a less-than-positive review in issue #2. In issue #9, the author writes a very, very lengthy response to them, some of which is excerpted here.

About allegories and such:

"The foregoing is an allusion, a metaphor, and an allegory, all in one, and maybe that is part of the problem with SE for some people. As a certain Alice learned, and a certain Spock in SE, and all of us at one time or another for that matter, 'Things are seldom what they seem.' The sub-theme of the story is exactly that. Whether you love it or hate it, it's supposed to make you say, 'Now, wait a minute here!', stop and read between the lines, and mostly, think about the whys and wherefores.
It's a multi-level story for a number of reasons. Number one was the nature of the subject matter and what I wanted to deal with, without going too far, as it had never been explored in fan fiction before (to my knowledge), and I value my life like you wouldn't believe! I also trusted that I could say what I wanted to without hitting the reader over the head on every page. but subtlety has its drawbacks. When you have to go back and explain yourself, like I'm doing now, you're in trouble!
The second reason the story isn't all on the surface has to do with my own personal philosophy. I believe that personal 'reality' is to a great extent subjective, and that much of what you get out the story depends on you. I know what's 'real' for me, but how can I tell you how to define your 'reality'? I don't know what it is to you. I can't say THIS IS IT!. That's playing god, and I don't believe in the writer as god.
By letting you ponder the characters' underlying motivations much of the time, and allowing your imagination room to function by filling in the implied 'off-stage' scenes, I'm leaving you some leeway for your own interpretations and theories. (Star Trek used this technique much of the time, thus acknowledging that its viewers were intelligent and didn't need to be beaten to death with the point.)...

About Spock’s emotions:

Yes, Spock was emotional in SE, but he also displayed emotion on the series, mainly when it had something to do with Kirk that involved a danger of harm to him, and WHEN there was something Spock could do about it… Remember [in SE] that his thoughts did not turn to murder and revenge after all he’d endured at Octavian’s hands until Octavian hurt Kirk. (Forget the girl; she is a catalyst, though not a true one, as she is affected, too. She intensified and complicated the plot, and I had my reasons for using her, but I’m not sure if I would if I were writing SE today. Certain aspects of my thinking have changed in the two years since I wrote it… In retrospect perhaps I should have left her out.

About good and evil:

Seriously, what I wanted to do was say some things I felt about Spock and the Vulcans. To tell you what that [is] requires some background explanation. True confessions time. I'll admit, without shame, that I have always been a horror movie and story freak, long before I ever heard of the term science fiction... I think I like them because the question of what is Good and what is Evil in man has always held some sort of a horrifying fascination for me. If the man has a dual nature, as he seems to, what holds it in balance? And most of all, WHY, discounting religious explanations, does a man have a higher and lower, good and evil nature?...

About it being Spock-centric:

All which leads in a roundabout way to Spock and Vulcans. I will admit without shame that I am a near Spock megalomaniac. I believe [the reviewer] said she felt as if she were reading a 'propaganda rag.' Well… maybe. I would like to apologize to Kirk fans… for my ‘backstage’ handling of him in SE.

About Kirk’s kitchen duties:

It has been pointed out to me by a number of people that in a society portrayed in SE, Kirk would not have been regulated to the kitchen doing dishes, with his physique. Another part of the house, yes; the kitchens, no. He wouldn’t have gone untouched by Atlantean hands for 79 years.

On Vulcan sexuality:

…I’m of the ‘first pon farr is the onset of Vulcan puberty’ school… Have you ever stopped to consider Spock’s age in Earth-analogous terms? I figure [Spock’s age] to be at about 17 during ‘Amok time,’ which would be late for the onset of puberty in humans, but given a Vulcan’s much longer lifespan would not be out of reason. I also believe that Spock’s first pon farr also triggered his human physiological counterpart to where he could be as functional as any human at all times. He could complete the sex act out of pon farr, if he let himself. Humans can suppress and sublimate their sex drive, but it’s still there. Ditto Spock. There is only one kind of corporal ‘Life-force’ energy; it’s what you do with it that counts. You can write symphonies, paint Mona Lisas, napalm babies in Vietnam, give sexual pleasure to someone, etcs…”

In conclusion:

That’s what Spock Enslaved is all about. I don’t see it as a get Spock story, but rather a ‘test Spock’ story… Now, ask yourself, what would it take to drive Spock to the edge and force him into a confrontation with himself? What does the Vulcan part of him hold sacred? Honor and dignity. Are Vulcans a proud race? You bet your Saurian brandy they are! (Recall Sarek’s behavior in ‘Babel’; he didn’t take well to being pushed around, verbally or physically, and Spock admitted that he would be very capable of killing if the reason seemed logical to him.) Would you ever want to cross a Vulcan in any way? If you harm his dignity, you have endangered his IDENTITY, his place in the universe, and his sense of himself, which would be far worse than death to a Vulcan. And if you do that, I think you would be inviting the buried savage to wake from his long chromosome sleep and destroy you in the most efficient way.

References

  1. reference link.
  2. "I am Not Spock."
  3. comment in "Spock Enslaved" dated September 15th, 2012; reference link.
  4. comment in "Spock Enslaved" dated September 15th, 2012; reference link.
  5. comment in "Spock Enslaved" dated September 15th, 2012; reference link.
  6. Leonard Nimoy comments about "Spock Enslaved!" in his book, "I am Not Spock."
  7. from Boldly Writing
  8. Morgan Dawn's recollections, February 8, 2011
  9. a fandom legend
  10. by Rebecca Ross in Southern Star #2 (1976)
  11. from The Halkan Council #1
  12. from Not Tonight, Spock! #4
  13. from The Halkan Council #2, the review that the author wrote a detailed response to in issue #9
  14. from The Halkan Council #2, the review that the author wrote a detailed response to in issue #9
  15. Sue Bursztynski Blogspot, posted 3.24.2010, accessed 9.19.2011
  16. by Christopher Randolph in Enterprise Incidents #6 in The Many Faces of Fan Fiction
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