A la récherche de l'avenir

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: A la récherche de l'avenir
Author(s): Geneviève Lapierre
Date(s): 1978
Length: about six single-spaced, double columns
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links:

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A la récherche de l'avenir is a slash Star Trek: TOS story written by Geneviève Lapierre and illustrated by Wendy Pearson. It was published in 1978 in the Canadian club zine, Starbase MTL #6.

In the story, Spock and an OMC named Val are lovers.

The story's title is in French, but the story itself is in English. The English translation of the title is "Looking to the future."

It was a responsefic to The Rack, a story written by J. Emily Vance. In "The Rack", Spock and Kirk are falsely accused of being lovers. The resulting difficulties make Kirk decide to commit suicide. The conflicts regarding this story illustrate the differing views of ownership, permissions, unauthorized sequels, and shared universes.

The Author's Introduction to "A la récherche de l'avenir"

"A story is in many senses an exploration into one of any number of alternative realities. The following short story is an investigation of the consequences of a novella that appeared in Contact 4. In "The Rack" by J. Emily Vance, the careers of both Kirk and Spock are threatened by a rumour that the two of them are lovers. Starfleet bureaucracy accepts the rumour without question and attempts to separate the two men. Events are brought to a head when Spock — disobeying a direct order from Admiral Lewis — risks ship and crew to save the lives of Kirk and seven other people. Faced with a choice between court-martial or the command of a new ship, the Avenir, Spock chooses to leave the Enterprise rather than destroy both his and Kirk's careers. Kirk, weakened by his injuries and the constant strain of fighting an uncaring and even hostile bureaucracy, is unable to face life without Spock. The Vulcan, worried because Kirk has not appeared in the transporter room to see him off, makes his way to the Captain's quarters and finds Kirk lying dead on the floor, an empty bottle of pills in his out stretched hand. We are left with one question: What happens to Spock?"

Controversy

This story was written as a responsefic to The Rack. The controversy was that "A la récherche de l'avenir" was done without permission.

The story probably wouldn't have gotten a lot of notice without the personal statement issued by the authors. [1]

A personal statement by Bev Volker, April Valentine, Nancy Kippax was printed in Scuttlebutt #16 in 1979:
This letter is directed to the editor of the Canadian-based zine, Starbase M.T.L.. Last year, the zine published a story titled "A la Recherche de l'avenir' by Genevieve Lapierre... The word 'avenir' in the title refers to the ship Spock was offered in 'The Rack.' In our story, he turned down that command. However, in the 'Starbase M.T.L.' story, yet another inspired by 'The Rack,' Spock goes on to become the captain of the Avenir. That wouldn't be so bad. There have been other 'take-offs' done on 'The Rack.' having themes and content with which we disagreed. The difference is that the authors of these stories and editors who wanted to print them at least contacted the editors of Contact, wherein 'The Rack' was published, to receive permission. In this case, none of us was contacted. At AmeriCon '78, [the editor] proudly showed us the story, and we were rather upset. We requested that since the story was printed without permission, an apology appear in the next issue of 'M.T.L. saying he hadn't realized that an okay was necessary. He agreed. Now, the so-called apology has arrived. John states that the Lapierre story was submitted late but was too good to leave out of his zine and he didn't have time for the 'protocol' of writing to 'Contact's editors. His editorial goes on to say that since the character the story is built around, Val Kaminksy, played such a small part in 'The Rack,' he thought everything would be all right. John does mention that 'The Rack' authors were upset at the direction taken by the story, but emphatically states that he is apologizing for his 'failure to follow fannish etiquette and not for the content of the story.' Complimentary copies of his zine were given to us with the stated hope that all would now be settled. Well, it isn't. The problem may have arisen due to John's not asking for permission to print the story, but he seems to think that he would have received that permission. He would not have. First, the character of Val Kaminsky WAS of minor importance in 'The Rack,' but he was a character created by J. Emily Vance, and for that reason, NO ONE may develop him or give him a history EXCEPT J. Emily Vance. Secondly, the whole point of 'The Rack' was that Kirk and Spock were not lovers. In the Lapierre story, Spock is having an affair with Val Kaminsky, a gay who made a pass at him in 'The Rack.' Not only did Lapierre tamper with the Vance character, she tampered with Spock as postulated in 'The Rack.' Lapierre has made a mockery of the Kirk/Spock relationship in our zine -- indeed, in all of fan-fiction -- by stating that with Kirk dead, Spock would jump into another man. The third point, though, is the most serious. In the Lapierre story, there is a flashback scene in which the first meeting between Spock and Val is recalled. And there, lines of dialogue DIRECTLY FROM THE RACK HAVE BEEN USED. There is a simple word for this sort of thing. It is called plagiarism... Other creators of universes in fan fiction have been plagued by plagarism and the time for it to stop is NOW! [2]
In 1980, a fan named Mary Lou D commented on "The Rack's" authors' complaints:
And for something completely different! I was considerably amused to see in the final issue of "Scuttlebutt" an indignant denunciation by a set of zine editors, of another zine, which had appropriated a character from one of their stories—used and distorted that character! The complaining zine was one guilty of grossly distorting Mr. Roddenberry's characters, and failed to see the humor of the irony. Look at it as sensitivity training, girls—now you can understand how Gene Roddenberry must feel, and how fans feel when they buy your "Star Trek" zine and find it's nothing of the kind. Sweet revenge—and the bitter bit! [3]

Excerpts

Excerpt:

I am frightened of your trust, Spock, frightened of your love. I am no Jim Kirk. How did you stand his death? I see the pain in your eyes when his name is mentioned, I seethe way you suffer at his memory. Lying here, in your bed, I know that if I raise my head and looked at the chair where our clothes are heaped in an untidy pile, I will see his Captain's pin glittering on your uniform shirt. Did he know the burden of guilt he was placing on you, I wonder, when he swallowed those pills?

What did you feel when you walked into his cabin and found his lifeless body crumpled on the floor?1 Was it despair that caused you to take your phaser and point it at yourself? Or was it the sudden realization that Starfleet was right about the two of you, even if they were wrong about the sexual nature of' the relationship? Was it that, the realization that sex was only a technicality, that he must have loved you more than any woman he'd ever had in his bed? You didn't pull the trigger. When you decided to live, could you have known that you saved my life as well? Why did you live, Spock? Were you really stronger than he thought? Stronger than «ie was? I will never tell you this, but I'm scared of him. It's hard to compete with a ghost. He's haunted your life so long that I wonder whether you'll ever be free of him. Is he with us now, even? As you lie here in my arms, do you regret the fact that you never felt his arms around you? I hold my silence. I'll share you with him, Spock, if I have to. I owe him that much, at least, for the present that the two of us share and the future that we hope for together.

Excerpt:

He considers that semi-seriously and shakes his head. "No. The concept of 'anima' and 'animus' was a useful one at the time and is somewhat applicable now, but it did not go far enough. He considered 'male' and 'female' as opposites to be balanced in the right proportions within each individual. Vulcans know that apparent opposites are merely two faces of one coin, made of the same metal, worth the same amount. Similarities are more important than differences."

"Is that why you fought Starfleet?"

"No. I fought them because they killed Jim. They were so self-righteous, so sure that they were right and we were in the wrong, so lugubriously consoling afterwards — and so damn self-satisfied the whole time, that I became — angry. I decided that I would do what Jim wanted: I would become the "best damn Captain in Starfleet" and I would change Starfleet as well. They had taken away the only person I had ever loved but they would not repeat that experience for anyone else. I would do what Jim had told my counterpart in the alternate universe to do: I would summon the future."

He speaks forcefully despite his outward calm and his eyes spark with remembered anger and deter

mination. It is strange to me to think that few others would read more than Vulcan non-emotion into his demeanour. How can they not see? Despite all he has done for them, very few in Starfleet, fro:: the admirals to the filing clerks, have learned anything about him at all. It is only here, on his ship, his Avenir, surrounded by his motley crew, that he is at home, that he is with people who know the code in which he signals his emotions. He is so much more relaxed now than he was when I first met him, that I wonder how often he must have been misunderstood before. Probably Jim Kirk was the only one who understood him.

Excerpt:

"You really did love him, didn't you, Spock?' I asked. I remembered the two of them together, the way he risked embarassment to rescue Kirk, half drunk on alcohol and stress, from the taunts of that fat slob Gulliver. "Why didn't you become lovers?"

Spock had shrugged, deliberately using the human gesture as an additional comment. I was impressed once again with the way in which he'd matured, relaxed, since then. Somehow, in the gory aftermath of Kirk's death, he had reached within and found himself a whole man with a purpose in life and the anger and strength to carry it out. "I don't know," he said. "We were just never attracted to each other sexually. Until the rumours started, it had never even occurred to me to consider it as a possibility."

"Do you regret it?"

"I regret... him." His lips pressed tight together, dark eyes filling with pain and a little wetness. "But sleeping with him...." He shook his head. "I don't think we would have worked in bed together. There's a passage in an old human novel, Val, to the effect that the people one likes most often become friends while the people one starts off disliking may become lovers. I liked Jim from the moment I met him."

References

  1. Boldly Writing writes that the authors of The Rack "...were upset that someone had written an unauthorized sequel to their story, The Rack... No one I know of, however, remembers this unauthorized sequel."
  2. Scuttlebutt #16
  3. from Interstat #28 (February 1980)