The Price of Freedom

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Zine
Title: The Price of Freedom
Publisher: E.J. Press/Kathy Resch/Reprehensible Press (see below)
Editor:
Author(s): Jean Lightfoot
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): The Southern Cross
Date(s): 1986
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek, Kirk/Spock, Star Trek/The Original Series
Language: English
External Links:
front cover
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Contents

The Price of Freedom is a 216-page Kirk/Spock slash zine, written by Jean Lightfoot and published by E.J. Press in 1986, with art by The Southern Cross, some in fold-out pages.

NOTE: the flyer calls this novel "The Price of Freedom" and the zine cover is titled "Price of Freedom."

From On the Double: "As a courtesy to the editor, Reprehensible Press will be handling this excellent zine."

Summaries

The novel follows Kirk as he risks his career to find Spock, who has been abducted to a world far from Federation space and enslaved. Kirk must find a way to get Spock and himself to freedom in the midst of a civil war.

From the flyer: "When Spock disappears, Kirk risks everything--his career, his life--to follow. The trail leads to a planet populated by a race related to the Romulans--a planet where Kirk can't possibly disguise himself as a native. He must traverse the length of a war-torn land before his quest is successful. He finds Spock the captive of the absolute ruler of a country torn by civil was. But his joy in finding Spock turns to horror--for Spock has been made into a drugged plaything--so changed by the chemical he is addicted to that he is capable of betraying Kirk without a single thought."

From Gilda F: "Kirk rescues Spock from slavery, only to find their problems have just begun as they attempt to make their way off the planet and to freedom while Spock goes through drug withdrawal."

Some Author Comments

From a 2005 interview with the author:
Writing The Price of Freedom was absolutely a compulsion. I was working a very boring job at that time, one that I could practically do in my sleep, and thus had plenty of time to daydream about the plot of this story during the work day. I’d get home, and the first thing I wanted to do was write. I would write about six pages each evening, by hand, on yellow legal tablets. That’s all I could do before my hand became too tired to write any more. But my brain was constantly working on the plot.... What is the price of freedom from emotion? I’ve wanted to explore that question since the release of ST:TMP. What would it mean, to be entirely purged of emotion? If freedom from emotion were possible, would there be any reason for ethics? Would every action—one that harms or one that heals—have the same meaning? Without emotion, could anything have any meaning at all? I wanted to find some means to strip Spock of emotion—albeit temporarily—to put him in a place where he truly felt nothing—no trace of feeling of love, friendship or even loyalty to Kirk. This novel was originally inspired by a conversation I had with two people: the Southern Cross, and “J”. (EJ Press was the publisher of The Price of Freedom and Day of Vengeance. I’m “E” and my publisher was “J”.) The Southern Cross, of course, did 21 amazing pieces of art for this novel. “J”, The Southern Cross and I had been discussing a mid-70’s gen h/c story called Summer’s End Part 2 by D.T. Steiner (this story, published in Metamorphosis #2, 1976, has Spock kidnapped by Romulans and brainwashed into betraying Kirk.) The conversation sparked two questions that I used as the basis for this novel. The first question: What would it take to get Spock to betray Kirk? That tied into my question about the implications of true non-emotion. I didn’t want to use something with permanent implications, like brain surgery. As I wanted this story to take place in relatively primitive conditions I needed something they could deal with under those circumstances. My roommate at the time was into Starsky/Hutch fandom. She held several video parties at our house. At every one of these parties, they would play a favorite episode from Starsky and Hutch called The Fix, where the bad guys hook Hutch on heroin. After seeing that episode any number of times, I realized that drug addiction was the key to my story. An alien drug was the tool I needed to accomplish my goals: causing Spock to be completely free of emotion and, in that condition, to be able to betray Kirk without a qualm. I do wish I’d explored a bit more about the implications that this drug could be as psychologically addicting as it was physically: Spock finally has the chance to truly feel nothing, to achieve a long-sought goal he has desired his entire life. I didn’t go into that aspect as much I should have. Two: The emotional power of extreme hurt/comfort. I’ve always liked h/c. In classic h/c fashion, the hurt and the comfort are intended to both illuminate aspects of their characters and to bring them closer to each other. Rape stories add another complication—the personal violation, the difficulty of recovery, of regaining of the ability to trust and love. Then there was the second question that arose from my conversation with “J” and The Southern Cross: If you broke Spock as far down as D.T. Steiner did in Summer’s End Part 2, could you ever bring him back? I needed extreme events—rape, torture, drug addiction—to get Spock to the point where he would betray Kirk. And then, I needed to bring him back. In the writing of the latter part of the novel, I realized that the Spock’s prime impediment to recovery are his memories, his nightmares, his guilt over his betrayal of Kirk. Three: Writing The Price of Freedom also allowed me to incorporate a couple of ‘world-building’ ideas I’d been playing with for years. —Why does Spock always have to be the one who is different? In TOS, when they’re on a planet, he often has to wear a hat or hood to cover up his ears. Why not have Kirk be the different one? Why not go to a world where the people are related to Vulcans/Romulans? —ST:TOS did a fine job of showing a racially integrated crew, but almost every alien race they meet is ‘white.’ Fanfic has, for the most part, carried on that same concept. Or, if the Enterprise does visit a planet where everyone is a color other than ‘white,’ then that becomes the focus of the story. I thought it would be interesting to portray a world where no one is “white”—but not have that be the point of the story. After all, on Earth, people of European descent are a relatively small minority. There’s no reason to think that other worlds, at least Earthlike ones as postulated in Trek, wouldn’t also have significant ethnic variations. I liked the idea of a planet where neither Kirk nor Spock could ‘fit in,’ where they both would be obviously alien. [1]

Gallery

Artwork has been uploaded to Fanlore with the publisher's permission.

Reactions and Reviews

[art]: This novel was a great story! However, the story could be nil, and you'd still get your $20.00 worth because of the art. There are no covers, but inside are TWENTY Southern Cross pictures -- THREE of them foldouts. One of the foldouts is similar to the cover of SCATTERED STARS II, so you know when I say the art is fantastic that it's true. Not every picture is that stunning, of course, but overall the art is superb and, at least, seven of the twenty in my opinion are the type you stare at and maybe even use as a starter for a fantasy. This is NOT art one just flips through. If one were a beginning K/S addict, this book would clinch it. [2]
It is with great pleasure that I write these comments... Never mind I got the zine within three weeks of ordering it, which has got to be record time. The zine is a masterpiece. It's been a while since I've held one in my hands that had the capability of arousing such deep emotion. If you think that this novel is your typical K/S slave story, let me tell you that it is not. Instead it involves the progression of the mind, body, and spirit of one once free who is forced into such a situation, and then the slow painful restoration of that individual. The novel truly has something to say, and is told with a rare understanding. The illustrations throughout the novel by The Southern Cross, in keeping with her magnificent style, manages to accurately convey the emotions the characters experience in the story. The illos, in my opinion, are wroth the price of the zine one their own. K/S fans, don't miss out on this one -- it is destined to become a classic. [3]
A K/S novel — well written, by the author of DAY OF VENGEANCE — and both plagued by the same problem: dryness. The story should have knocked your socks off. Everything was there! A plot! Good writing! Incredible art! And yet, when I finished and by the time I'd read the next zine on my stack, I'd almost forgotten the story. But I do remember it, and that tells me something. Regardless of the dryness and the stand-offishness that the author seems to impart to the novels that she's written, I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. The primary reason is because of the artwork. Scads of traditional and innovative art from The Southern Cross. I feel this artist to be one of the few honest-to-god artists in the K/S field, and I am very sorry to hear that she's had problems with an east coast editor (admittedly, a rumor), and might not do any more K/S. In fact, I've written her, pleading for her continuation (as have many more of you, I'm sure). The pieces of art tell the story as well, if not better, than Ms. Lightfoot. i'd kill to see the originals. You must see the art, and the story is worth reading, just not as exciting as I would have wished or expected. [4]
This novel has the antagonist give Spock a drug which forces him to become totally unemotional, yet physically dependent on the drug. The justification seems to be that since Spock's master cannot force Spock's emotional/sexual cooperation, he will use reverse psychology and force Spock to eventually do anything for another dose of the drug. And since Spock doesn't 'feel,' the plan works. I thought the writer did an excellent job of setting up the character of Spock. She writes from his point of view often, using believable terms and phraseology that Spock would use. The writing is excellent. When she writes from Kirk's point of view we see a compassionate, very real Captain Kirk. In fact I fell in love with this Kirk as I read this book. He is emotionally strong and understanding which is exactly what Spock needs most to recover once Kirk rescues him from his nightmare. The love scenes toward the end are stirring and beautiful. The novel left me with a feeling of fulfillment and contentment. I loved it. As an added plus, the artwork by the Southern Cross melds perfectly with the story. The scenes are depicted in exactly the way the author describes them. Most of the art is haunting, all of it is inspired. I was really amazed at how perfectly this zine came together. And I was extremely impressed. This is a must read for all K/S fans. The price is a little steep but well worth it for the half-toned art and 300+ page story. Definitely a zine to be savored and reread again and again. [5]
It is normally difficult to get me to read yet another slave novel, but reviews and comments from fans I trust made this one sound interesting. When I read it, I wasn't at all disappointed. The plot and characterization were well done. Spock is given a drug that essentially accomplishes the goal of Kolinahr without effort. This makes it a very attractive drug for someone like Spock. It is not astonishing that he becomes addicted to it. I was especially impressed by Jean's description of the process of addiction and of recovery from the drug. She has a great grasp of the dynamics of this experience. A friend of mine who is a recovered alcoholic has also commented about how on-target Jean is in this novel in her writing about addiction. One thing did puzzle me, however. I am not entirely clear about what happens to Spock's discipline under the drug's effects. Does the drug suppress discipline and replace it, and if so how does it do that? Even with this point unclarified, THE PRICE OF FREEDOM is a masterpiece of the slave genre. I was so happy to see Jean Lightfoot's name among the authors so I can rant and rave and tell her how much I enjoyed her novel. I've ready many of the "old classics" and enjoyed them, but PRICE OF FREEDOM still ranks as my all-time favorite K/S zine. I don't really know if "enjoy" is exactly the right word, I cried and finally sighed in joy at the end when the two lovers were able, to once more join in the healing fulfillment of their love. I am so sick of stories where either K or S find the other as a drugged sex-slave; and although the rescuer feels sorry for his mate, he is also somehow sexually aroused at seeing his mate in such a state of helpless bondage. Jean's novel doesn't do this. Kirk finds Spock, after great struggle and sacrifice. He is not in the least aroused at Spock's state, he is rightfully horrified; he is even more determined to somehow get Spock out of the hell-hole he is in. Jean's description of drug addiction and the emotional state that keeps an addict hooked, keeps him from wanting to withdraw and get off the drug rings completely true; as a recovering addict, I know exactly what Jean is writing about. The withdrawal scene was electrifying, as was the final love scene. One thing that is realistic is that Jean makes it quite clear that Spock still has a long road of healing ahead of him. Too many K/S stories show rape/slavery trauma being completely wiped out by a single sexual encounter. PRICE OF FREEDOM avoids this trap. Thanks again, Jean, for a wonderful read! [6]
This novel is a good K/S story. Spock disappears, and James Kirk risks his career and life to look for him. But when he finds him, Spock is a drug-addicted stranger. It is a sad sort of story, so I would handle with care when reading the emotions. [7]
This book is first class. Ms. Lightfoot is a quality writer, well worth reading. This is the kind of book a reader can re-read. But... The sudden disappearance of that army vehicle was annoying. While it's true that traveling in that manner made a lot more sense than walking the whole distance, traveling on foot would have fit the story in a better vein. And the story felt too long. What she wrote was well written, and not boring, but it seemed to have unnecessary areas, like the meeting with Jhalek and Tsaepai, and then staying with them. I don't think any reader will be disappointed with this book and I do recommend it. [8]
When I first read THE PRICE OF FREEDOM, I was bowled over by its realistic treatment of drug addiction and the process of recovery fron addiction, but on re-evaluation I now realize that Jean Lightfoot may have focused on the drug issue at the expense of the equally necessary process of rape recovery. We are told that the reason why Spock didn't have to go through this process was because Spock was bothered more by what happened to his mind that what happened to his body. Yet rape, like drug addiction, has mental after-affects. I now find it difficult to believe that Spock could be ready for sex with Kirk so soon after his rescue from slavery. We are expected to believe that his only problem was the addiction, and once he was cured of it , K/S could proceed without the kind of painful doubts or Kirk that he knew Kirk was not E'uwazi, his prior owner/rapist. Well, sure he'd know that intellectually, but this issue of making a separation between rape and loving sex is an extremely difficult one for rape survivors. It should not be so simple a matter. So THE PRICE OF FREEDOM is flawed in the area of rape recovery. [9]
The editor's flyer for this novel states that when Spock disappears, Kirk traces him to a war-torn planet where Spock has become the drugged plaything of a local lord and is "so changed by the chemical he is addicted to that he is capable of betraying Kirk without a second thought," Since I find it difficult to imagine a Spock who would betray Kirk in order to gain access to a drug, even a drug he is desperately addicted to, this plot summary made me wonder if the story would mischaracterize Spock. Fortunately, it didn't. It turns out that while Spock is capable of betraying Kirk, he doesn't do so in order to get the drug. Rather, when Spock is under the drug's influence, he is literally incapable of exercising his own free will and will do anything his master, Lord R'uawzi, tells him. In fact, far from the mischaracterization that I feared, the portrayal of Spock in TPOF seemed to ame to ring very true. He does his Vulcan best to escape, to resist, but even a Spock is mere mortal flesh in the end, and the story manages to make this point, and his altered state as the pleasure slave of Lord R'uwazi, very believable. Some of the best-written scenes in the novel deal with Spock's experience of withdrawal as he and Kirk find themselves stranded in the middle of a war. I can't say whether these scenes realistically depict withdrawal or not, but they are extremely effective in making the reader sweat right along with Spock and Kirk. It takes richly detailed, highly observant writing to achieve this kind of gritty immanence, and the author does it well. The author's talent at characterization also comes to the fore in these scenes. It is, for instance, a measure of that talent that when Spock curses and reviles Kirk because they are out of the drug and Kirk can do nothing to obtain more, Spock's actions do not seem out of character. In the hands of a less capable writer, Spock's reviling Kirk would been a violation of Spock's character. But sufficient groundwork has been laid so that the reader is persuaded that Spock could revile Kirk under the circumstances. That Spock's curses are in Vulcan - "Mate Stealer," "Defiler of Water" (there's probably no lower varaint on Vulcan than a defiler of water) -- adds to their credibility. The characterization of Kirk is also very satisfying. Kirk truly undertakes an epic quest to find and save Spock, and his love for Spock shines through everything he does. The author doesn't once present Kirk as other than a completely mature, courageous, selfless, and dignified individual. This is a welcome contrast to the too frequent stories that show Kirk as wimpy or shallow or effete. And yet the portrayal isn't one dimensional. This Kirk isn't a super hero, but a hero on a human scale, who sleeps on a makeshift bed on the floor so Spock can have the single narrow bed in the shelter they find, who meets Spock's curses with love, who just keeps wearily putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, without the power of the Enterprise and his crew behind him, Kirk in this story often seems very frailly human. And yet he is never weak. There are some scenes in the novel that are less than successful. Most of these occur early in the story and are dissatisfying because they lack emotional impact in a situation where they should have emotional impact. An example is the scene in which Spock is first raped by R'uwazi. The difficulty is that the clues given the reader to Spock's emotional response while keeping his character consistent with the Spock of the series is one of the hardest problems that faces any writer. We may know that some part of Spock is damaged by the rape, but Spock is going to cauterize that wound so fast that we aren't going to see the metaphorical blood. And yet, if the rape is to have emotional impact on the reader, it has first got to have emotional impact on Spock. With care, there are ways of conveying Spock's response to a traumatic event without having Spock responde overtly. The author could, for instance, have had Spock begin to shudder briefly when he realizes what R'uwazi is about to do, and then have Spock control his feelings as the act is taking place by desperately repeating over and over in his mind a Vulcan maxim meant to foster control, but have it be a maxim taught Vulcan children because that is the only one he can think of at the moment. Overall, despite of the emotional flatness of the scenes dealing with Spock's response to his enslavement and brutalization, this novel is very emotionally powerful. The second half of the book when Kirk and Spock are struggling to escape the war-ravaged planet easily makes up for the deficiencies in the earlier sections. Spock's guilt and shame that he was unable to resist the effects of the drug, and Kirk's devotion to Spock, are so exquisitely drawn that they are deeply moving. If there is anyone out there who hasn't read TPOF yet, I recommend it. [10]
This novel-length zine (216 pages) is a very satisfying read. To summarize briefly, Spock is captured by Orions and sold as a pleasure slave to a petty dictator. The planet he finds himself on is inhabited by a race similar to the Romulans. The story revolves around Kirk's search for him and how he helps his friend when he discovers he has become addicted to a drug which removes all traces of emotion. Spock's ideal state? This is definitely not the usual type of slave story. The author keeps both Kirk and Spock completely in character. There is nothing weak about this Spock. Upon finding himself in a difficult situation, he uses his many unique abilities to arrange his escape. There are several twists to the story which keep the reader involved throughout. I find it refreshing that finally it is Kirk who must worry about the shape of his eyebrows and ears! Lovely writing, a good plot, love and sacrifice -- what more could you want? [11]
I approached this novel with u much trepidation as Courts of Honor. After all, the last page I've read of "Courts" was page 63. After two months. When I finally do read a K/S novel my attention has been known to wander, and I decide to do something else.

But, due to a break in the flow of newly published zines, I decided to read this gorgeous original edition (gloat, gloat) that I had bought at Shore Leave. Okay, okay... I'm getting to it.

I couldn't put it down.

It reads so easily and so smoothly with a reasonably fast pace, that I finished it in three days. A veritable record!

Even though I probably don't need to relate the plotline to anyone (I mean, aren't I the only K/Ser on the planet to have read it?), here's a memory refresher. Spock is kidnapped and sold into slavery to a nasty, evil lord on a planet inhabited by a Vulcanoid race. Despite the similar ancestry, Spock is regarded as an exotic alien.

The evil lord (a terrific villain) drugs Spock into submission. Eventually Kirk saves Spock and they escape into the wilderness against a backdrop of war and insurrection. This reminded me of some Shakespeare plays where a character would run on stage and recount all the war goings on that would happen off-stage and the audience wouldn't see.

Spock goes through terrible withdrawals from the drug while he and Kirk stay in an isolated cabin in a forest with a couple who were also fleeing the city. However, there were some problems with the novel.

We never really get to know this man and woman as they seemed to be characters created only to point up bigotry, prejudice and uneasy race relations. Not that the story should have focused on them, but I was never really made to care what happened to them. Their emotions went from fear to distrust to a kind of cold acknowledgment, so even when the woman and Spock share a conversation, I felt distanced.

And nothing comes of Kirk and Spock's encounter with this couple once they leave the cabin. Finally, after a long time and much travail, Spock comes out of withdrawal. When Kirk returns to the cabin and sees Spock awake and alert, but doesn't say anything about it, I was surprised. After all, the author had so nicely built the tension of Kirk having to care for Spock, that to ignore its conclusion was almost shocking.

Some very confusing sentences were scattered like potholes throughout this otherwise very well structured and clearly written story. Ones where the noun (or the object of the verb, or something) would get lost by the time we got to the verb, so you don't know who's doing what. (I'll bet that makes a tot of sense...)

And there's a very exciting scene where Kirk engages in sex with Lord R'uwazi's wife and some slaves while R'uwazi is 'out of town'. Very exciting, except it leads to nothing and goes nowhere. I didn't even understand why Kirk did it. let alone if there were any consequences. No one ever mentions it afterward.

Time and time again, an exciting situation was set up. reaching a climatic point, then just dropped. Another example of this was when Kirk masquerades as a visiting businessman in order to rescue Spock. We think R'uwazi suspects Kirk and we wonder when he will strike. Is Kirk being set up? What's going to happen? Then, just as Kirk and Spock are about to leave the palace, R'uwazi reveals that he knows who they both really are. My heart stopped beating. I held my breath.... Then, he lets them leave. No problem. What, no fight? No trap? Not even an argument? I think Spock tells Kirk something about it at the end. but that ain't good enough! Again, this happened with the evil lord's denouement. Unsatisfyingly, he dies or something 'offstage'.

And almost every time Kirk or Spock fell asleep. they would awaken suddenly, instantly, jarringly or with a start. This got pretty tiresome after about the fifth time.

Sometimes, in novels or novellas with lots of plot, K/S becomes incidental. There might be lots of action, characters and drama, but K/S is dragged along like so much background baggage. Here, K/S is certainly the central focus, although mostly in the latter part of the novel For most of the first part, Kirk and Spock are either physically separated or Spock is drugged or asleep. Nevertheless, especially because of Kirk's wonderful angst over Spock, this qualifies as top-notch K/S.

There are also some excellent descriptions of Spock's experience with the drug. Really beautifully written images of his physical and emotional trauma. His torment and anguish were powerfully portrayed. I thought it was some of the finest K/S writing ever. Every moment of his guilt and pain was so vivid along with his love for Kirk. The writing here was exceptional.

Of course, everyone knows of the superb Southern Cross illustrations accompanying this novel. They are dramatic and powerful, enhancing the story and visualizing the scenes perfectly. They took my breath away—especially the one of them kissing! [12]
... the story simply overwhelmed me. I did not expect to like it at all from the description in the zine flyer (Spock held prisoner, sexually abused, addicted to drugs) but thank goodness I decided to give it the flip test! I opened it to page 30 or so, became totally absorbed within moments, and immediately went back to the beginning, started reading, and didn't put it down until I got to the incredible, satisfying ending.

This novel had a tremendous impact on me. My absorption was total. I can't say enough about the richness of language, the pacing, the incredible sensitivity toward the characters. By that I mean all the characters, not just the boys. Never once was I tempted to flip on to "the good stuff." Throughout, this is Kirk as I love him best-heroic, tragic, doggedly determined, idealistic, canny, indefatigable and downright beautiful. I was sympathizing with him so hard it hurt! The 'guest stars,' too, won me over right away and I found the plight of the refugees on this backward planet all too real.

No story since Courts of Honor has wrenched the kind of emotional response from me that this one did. I cried through most of the second half, which I read in record time because I almost could not bear to suffer like that. But the payoff! It was beautiful, satisfying, believable, and made all the agonizing worth it.

Totally aside from the beautiful story, ohmygod, the art in this zine!! The Southern Cross illos are gorgeous, gorgeous, each one more moody and compelling than the last. The one of the first kiss is absolutely riveting, still find it hard to breathe when I look at that one.

I am so glad I got my hands on this thing! [13]
So far, Price of Freedom is the best k/s novel I've ever read. Bear in mind please that I'm a Spock fan, so if there's anything in this review that you Kirk fen take offense, my apologies in advance. Not that I don't like Kirk, not at all. But the Spock in this novel is absolutely the best I can imagine, in fact, every move of him was exactly what I would expect of Spock under such conditions. I always think it is illogical for Spock to feel extreme shame and guilty after the sexual abuse. I know it's the common symptom of rape victims, but as a Vulcan, Spock should have the Vulcan common sense that physical is unimportant as long as the mind keeps pure, so to speak. I am not saying there wouldn't be anguish deep down (oh, I love those parts in k/s stories), but outwardly, he should be able to maintain his calmness.

I always feel Spock should have a much better control than most of the h/c stories allowed him. Spock might feel hurt, desperation, or whatever emotions inside, but outwardly, I would expect him to keep his cool calmness to his best ability—not rigid non- emotion, but the gentle calmness which can almost fool everybody. Spock's vulnerability lies deep, deep inside, he keeps it a secret to almost everybody, the only one who can get a peek now and then is of course Jim Kirk. And what a sweet Jim here we have in PofF! Caring, loving, understanding and infinitely patient...mmm, my confidence in Kirk is partially restored. Some of the stories I read online in ASC and ASCEM (Domino Dancing, Do Right Woman, and DRV et al) really made me think twice about K/S pairing. I was beginning to think it's not necessarily a perfect pairing—I was being unfair to Jim, but I did think Kirk was not good enough for Spock. On the other hand, he is the only one who can ever be accepted by Spock, and by me for that matter, so guess I'll just have to cope. All the iron control of pain and emotion together with the brave escape attempt made Spock's final defeat by the drug so much more dramatic, and infinitely more acceptable by me than an easy fall. The shame and drug induced pain Spock felt was so vividly described that I had no escape but to ache for him. And after the torturous withdrawal passed, Spock's reaction is also very much believable—what hurt him most was not the sexual abuse, but the loss of control. However he didn't overreact, he didn't turn away from Jim. True, he kept his distance for a while, but that's quite understandable. And when he's ready, with Jim's help, he became our Mr. Spock once again. Their talk was superbly done—maturity showed in every word. Neither he nor Jim was totally under control in the conversation, but they at least tried and were successful for most of the time; the words were calm and revealing, each of them exposed their soul including the pains to the other, and was comforted by the other one. But each still had his own reservations— as in normal life, no such complicated problem can be solved overnight. What we saw here was only a bittersweet beginning. I've been over so much about why I love this novel, put it simply, it just felt real. Some of the parts I don't like in this story are, interestingly, also because it felt so real. Especially the degradations Spock underwent. I know they are normal (for drug users nowadays at least), yet I couldn't help feeling uncomfortable, and the fact that I know these are inevitable in reality only made it feel worse.

But that's just minor, so if there're any new fen out there who haven't read this gem yet, go get it! One more word about the artwork, well, what can I say? They are just THE best! [14]
This was quite a saga. On the verge of becoming lovers, Spock is captured and turned into a sex slave through the use of drugs which he becomes addicted to. Kirk will stop at nothing to find him, break the addiction, and bring him home. I mostly enjoyed this novel, although I thought it ended a bit too fast. I would have liked more of the happy resolution. The novel is illustrated, and wonderfully so, by The Southern Cross. [15]
Usually when I sit down to write an LOC, I make it a point to comment on stories in new zines rather than older ones, with the hope that it will boost sales of the zine that particular story is in. Personally for me, it is very important that K/S zines survive and flourish especially in this technical age because without zines, K/S might never have been born over thirty years ago. Also, as far as I am concerned, reading a K/S story on the internet doesn‘t hold a candle to the tangible feeling of holding a zine in your hands. But for this time around, I decided to review this novel, which was originally published 24 years ago for two reasons: 1) at the time I bought the zine in 1986, the K/S Press didn‘t exist and although I may or may have been subscribing to another letterzine in those days, I certainly wasn‘t contributing any LOCs (and if there ever was a story that deserved an LOC, it‘s this one) and 2) the editor Kathy Resch (who also just happened to write this now-classic story in three months and in longhand, no less) has kept it in print for all these years, so anyone reading this review who doesn‘t own this novel yet has the opportunity to purchase it with relative ease. So that being the case, I decided to give this tremendous piece of work the homage it deserves.

The story begins with Kirk and McCoy, on extended leave from Starfleet, looking for Spock, who has gone missing. They soon discover he has been captured and sold by a slave trader. While McCoy eventually has to give up the search due to a family emergency, Kirk presses on, determined to rescue his Vulcan. Eventually his search leads him to the planet Erohmela, where he discovers that Spock has become the property of one Lord R‘uwazi. Posing as a wealthy mining contractor, it isn‘t long before Kirk is able to wangle an invitation to meet R‘uwazi and not much longer after, he is reunited with Spock. But that reunion is far from the joyous one Kirk envisioned, for he soon discovers his once cool, calm, and collected first officer is now little more than a drug addict. Worse, the drug he is addicted to has the effect of turning him into little more than an automation, an unthinking, uncaring being who does nothing except what he is told. Under Kirk‘s careful questioning, Spock reveals that, as much as he is able, he desires the drug for it gives him the opportunity to discover ―the perfection of non-emotion. I had never thought to find this state. It is a revelation‖. But he soon reveals that the supposed peace the drug brings is quickly lost once the effects begin to wear off. Unable to bear the thought of Spock suffering through the effects of withdrawal on a daily basis, especially since R‘uwazi makes use of Spock ―sexually, but only at the times the drug is wearing off. He refuses it to me until I have done what he requests‖, Kirk wastes no time in effecting a successful trade with R‘uwazi and soon finds himself the official ―owner‖ of Spock. He takes the Vulcan to the relative safety of a nearby city and slowly begins to wean him off the drug. But the process is slow, very slow, and there are times when Kirk, despite his best efforts, gives in to Spock‘s pleading and begging when the desire for the drug becomes too strong. Kirk‘s carefully laid plans, however, soon come to naught as rebellion strikes the city, forcing the two to go on the run. They soon find themselves not only without shelter, but also without the drug Spock so desperately needs and with no way to get more. Fortunately, thanks to the kindness of two strangers, the former need is soon met, but without the drug, Spock is forced to go through an agonizing withdrawal that threatens his very life. For Kirk, he can do little except remain at Spock‘s side, offering what little comfort he can as Spock suffers through his nightmarish ordeal. The next few days prove harrowing for both, but finally it is over. But the joy and relief Kirk feels now that Spock is seemingly himself again prove short-lived, for while the addiction is gone, the memories are not. At first they seem to be almost as difficult to overcome as the addiction itself, but in the end, they are no match for the love these two men share, a love that can overcome any obstacle, no matter how insurmountable. You know, recently a new novel came out written by an award-winning author. While those awards were for stories she wrote in other fandoms, because of her reputation, this new K/S novel got a lot of hype before it was published. After I bought the novel at Shore Leave this year, I discovered the author had been a K/S fan a number of years ago, but had never written a K/S story before until this new novel. So when I sat down to read it, I did so with great anticipation, but by the time I finished the novel, I was more than a little disappointment. Not that the novel wasn‘t well-written – technically it was – but it lacked that certain emotional ―punch‖ that makes a K/S story unforgettable. It was almost like writing this novel was more like a chore for the author rather than stemming from a passion for the fandom. I may be completely wrong about that, of course, but regardless, the end result was by the time I‘d finished the novel, I‘d already forgotten about it. I mention this because unlike the above novel, ―Price of Freedom‖ is, from a technical standpoint, not as well-written. But those technical flaws do not, in any way, detract from the overall emotional impact this story has had on all those who have read it. It stands as an excellent example that it isn‘t the technical aspect that makes a great K/S story – it‘s the passion and love with which the story is written. And in this case, the passion this author has for these two men and the love they share is reflected in every word she put on the page. This novel is filled with those moments that tend to stay with the reader long after the last page is read. For example, there is a point early in the story where Spock is branded and his ears pierced. At first he believes both are to designate that he is now R‘uwazi‘s property, but he soon finds he is mistaken. While the brand does indeed signify ownership, the earrings mark him as a whore. He does his best to convince himself the term is meaningless (―Why allow such an emotional reaction to a word, a mere sound?‖). But it does affect him, just as it affects the reader. It‘s hard to take – this proud, dignified Vulcan who has achieved so much in his professional life now reduced to little more than a prostitute. Of course as his situation progresses, that becomes the least of his worries, but it still stings none the same. This is just one example of many as to why this novel is considered a classic in the world of K/S. Personally, I‘ve lost count of the number of times I‘ve read it over the years and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. For it symbolizes that you don‘t need to be a great technical writer to pen a great K/S story – all you really need is passion.

A fantastic, classic novel it has been my pleasure to review. [16]
I would like to make it very clear that this is a K/S zine and make no mistake about it. But it has one very outstanding feature. It has a plot! A very intense well-worked, absorbing, disturbing and mind-bending plot. Spock is gone. Kidnapped. Kirk walks away from Starfleet, his career, even away from Leonard McCoy to go after his beloved friend, the one person in his life he has just come to realize he does not want to live without. He sells all he owns to buy information, makes deals with low-lifes, stalks back alleys and sneaks about until he locates Spock. And he does, on some God-forsaken pit hole of a planet. Spock has been tortured and forced to become addicted to a hideous love-drug. Kirk schemes, degrades himself, finally wheedles the sale of the almost-mind-wiped Vulcan from his owner, a sultan-like monster who has bought Spock from an Orion trader. Kirk gets Spock away from the place of captivity, but then has to find a way to not only get him away from the planet's political upheaval and back to the remote area where a shuttlecraft awaits, but he must find a way to wean Spock from his drug addiction. As a long-time member of Al Anon, I have been acquainted with my share of people trying to rise above the horrors of chemical dependence, and I know that what this author is writing about, is about as plain as you can get to the truth of the agony they go through to achieve a life which is again clean and sober. This author is writing about life at its basest, and its most painful. It is a disturbing story, graphic and very real. It set my teeth to grinding more than once. And I could also feel the agony of Jim Kirk, trying to stand in support of someone gripped by something far beyond his own control. Loving him, but despairing for him. It is a beautiful story. And the K/S parts are not overdone, but loving and cherishing. Some of the slave stuff is graphic and saddening, but it is necessary for the story, and vital in setting up the struggles yet to come. I found that I could not lay this zine down. Did not want to lay it down. This is an excellent read if you are so inclined. Lightfoot has done a marvelous job with a difficult subject. If you know someone who has a problem with chemical addiction, or love someone who is currently battling his or her way out of this hell-hole, you may want to read The Price of Freedom in order to get some small idea of what it is like. You will be left shaken, as I was. My only gripe about the zine is the terrible proof-reading job and the idiotic number of typos throughout. The art by Southern Cross is... what can I say...Whew! This is an ARTIST! [17]

References

  1. from The K/S Press #110
  2. from The LOC Connection #33
  3. from Datazine #45
  4. from On the Double #1
  5. from On the Double #1
  6. from The LOC Connection #3
  7. from The LOC Connection #3
  8. from The LOC Connection #20
  9. from The LOC Connection #24
  10. from The LOC Connection #31
  11. from The LOC Connection #37
  12. from Come Together #12
  13. from The K/S Press #6
  14. from The K/S Press #35
  15. from The K/S Press #83
  16. by Karen P from The K/S Press #158
  17. from The Trekzine Times v.1 n.2
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