Against the Fall of Darkness

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Star Trek Fanfiction
Title: Against the Fall of Darkness
Author(s): M.L. "Steve" Barnes
Date(s): 1976
Genre: het
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links: Against the Fall of Darkness; archived link

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Against the Fall of Darkness is a het Star Trek: TOS story by M.L. "Steve" Barnes.

It was printed in ...A Handful of Snowflakes and Other Trek Tales.

This fiction was the author's published fanfic and was mentioned in The Development of the Kirk/Spock Relationship: Its Foundation in Fan-Fiction (1978).

Author's Comments

From the zine: "This is the first Star Trek story I ever wrote. At the time I put it down on paper I had not yet read a single fanzine story so if there is any similarity between it and any other writer's theme, I can honestly dismiss it as 'creative coincidence.' The story was accepted by a small zine on the Eastern Coast that promptly folded so I don't believe it has ever been in print. My husband has a soft spot in his heart for this particular work, he says it's my best—so, Don, this is for you. S.B."

Fan Comments


... Steve's first effort ...and one of her best. The story takes place long after Kirk's days on the Enterprise—he's now old. senile, alone, and living on a planet which is Starfleet's equivalent of a nursing home. The loyal Mr. Spock still comes to see him every week, A rather touching story. Wish it'd been longer tho. [1]
Kirk and Spock are old men. Kirk is in a nursing home for retired Starfleet officers, decrepit and senile; Spock is still his faithful friend, visiting him every week. It's a touching character sketch, but I hope their lives don't really end that way. In summary, [this story and the others in this zine] are good stories even though they sound suspiciously familiar. Anyone who likes ST fan fiction is almost sure to enjoy them.[2]


Barnes' story deals with an aging Captain Kirk as a bitter and senile old man living in a nursing home. There, Spock visits him and tells him stories about the Enterprise to keep his hopes alive, while it is actuality lost or destroyed. I was reminded of Tennyson's poem about Ulysses. In it, Ulysses is an aging king who has outlived his heroic past. Tennyson suggests that the heroes of yesterday become tyrants of tomorrow, unless, perhaps, we do away with them today. I found the story well-written, but depressing. I don't agree that Captain Kirk would become that useless hero-turned tyrant. For one thing, he would not shut himself off from the world. A man whose life has been spent in the exploration of the strange and bizarre would not be afraid of change, whether it can be sudden tragedy, or the inevitable old age. I envision him a the founder of a new colony, open to alien climates, exulting in life, possibly starting a dynasty (at last). Kirk would watch the young men vying for leadership in this new world. He'd work with and nurture those showing courage and promise; circumventing the destructive ravings of others. A realist, always able to roll with the proverbial punches, Kirk would be in no danger of becoming a senile old fool. He would accept tragedy and turn it around to use in building an exciting and different world for himself and those to come after.[3]


'Against the Fall of Darkness' - four older officers each fighting off the advent of death. Two spend their time arguing, the other waits for the weekly visit of the fourth, so he can relieve his dearest memory. This ensuring his survival for another week.

Of the four tales [in the zine], the last is my personal favourite, it tackles the question of 'old soldiers never die...'. Never mind that it isn't quite correct or original, the telling is important. Each character is spot on, but I do hope they will not come to this end. Steve Barnes created, within these tales, her ideas of how the Trek characters are and as far as I know, no more were written on these themes by her. They provide some answers to early feelings about the way fans felt about situations created in the series. Well done! Recommended for serious zine readers.[4]


  1. ^ from The Neutral Zone #5 (July 1976)
  2. ^ from The Halkan Council #19
  3. ^ from Datazine #34
  4. ^ from Beyond Antares #28