Alternative: Continuing the Epilog to Orion

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Zine
Title: Alternative: Continuing the Epilog to Orion
Publisher:
Editor:
Author(s): Gerry Downes
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1979
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Alternative: Continuing the Epilog to Orion is a Kirk/Spock 135-page slash novel by Gerry Downes. It is also known to fans as "Alternative 2/3" or "Alternative 2."

front cover (the back cover is blank)
the title page

It is a sequel to Alternative: The Epilog to Orion. This fiction, along with two others, was reprinted in The Compleat Alternative.

It required an age statement to purchase.

The fanzine publisher chose not to credit the artists. Some of the art is by Gayle F., Gerry Downes, and Pat Stall (Stall's illos fold out to four times the size of this full-sized zine.).

This zine was discussed in Not Tonight, Spock!. See Sexuality in K/S Fiction: Anal Intercourse Prolonged er uh Continued.

Origins, Prequels, Sequels, and Inspirations

Gerry Downes also wrote a short (16 page) "Insert For Orion" which was never published but which still exists in copy form. It was meant as an insert to the first zine, and explores the consequences of Christine watching Kirk and Spock make love at the ship swimming pool.

From the Title Page

"Alternative is the story of a love that transcends artificial considerations, written to honor those few who love another truly and who, twice favored, discover this love returned. May you find such love yourself, to light your days."

Summary

{{Quotation| Alternative: Book Two and Three -- Continuing 'The Epilog to Orion,' both in one volume. It explores the Kirk/Spock relationship as a reality rather than a fantasy and the language is more explicit than used in 'Epilog to Orion.' In Book 2, Kirk is injured and the shield that has been built between them is destroyed an the [[|bond re-activated. By the end of it, they have built a relationship that, while it may not be all they had hoped for, it is workable. Four years later, in Book 3, this compromise solution causes the relationship to disintegrate in a crisis -- Jim Kirk begins to search for the man he used to be, and Spock, who loves him very much, can only stand aside and watch, and hope. [1]}}


Author's Introduction

From the zine:

On a mission of exploration near the Great Nebula in Orion, the mind of James Kirk is invaded by a strange and lonely creature, the consciousness of the nebula itself, an entity driven to desperation by its knowledge of impending mortality...the creature is afraid to die alone, and it seeks through space for a friend, a mate...a match. The invasion is very subtle at first, a heightened sense of perception, expanded sensory awareness -- but when the Enterprise is close enough the creature took its full possession of the Captain and Jim must fight a mental battle to preserve his integral identity.

He lapses into a deep coma; Spock melds with him, joining McCoy to the meld also — they find themselves in a barren landscape...the desert of Jim Kirk's mind. And they find Kirk, exhausted, near death from heat and thirst — in an attempt to turn the Captain away from his loyalties the creature has appeared to him as Spock, and has tortured him as Spock. Revived and strengthened by the presence of his friends, Jim determines that he must temporarily yield to the monster to fully understand his intentions and to devise a plan to counter them. The Enterprise is drawn into the heart of the nebula — for the creature has decided to destroy the ship and everyone aboard so that Kirk will have no choice but to stay with him forever.

The Captain comes to himself enough at last to rage defiance at the creature, promising that he will become a tormentor himself, or a devil, but never ever a friend, and that he will fight against the creature to the end of time itself if need be...and when the creature leaves his mind, Jim Kirk is truly alone. Believing his ship lost and
his crew also dead, he has no reason left to live...but the Enter
prise has not been destroyed.

This time, when Spock touches the Captain's mind, there is no landscape or world of any kind...there is only emptiness, and despair, and a sense of being and having been lost. An emotional appeal is needed, and McCoy's strength makes it possible for Spock to project the strongest feelings he can...somehow the forbidden words take shape -- Jim, I love you. It is enough to reverse the withdrawal process; Spock and McCoy leave, though their caring and support remain to help Jim recover. Afterward, McCoy is puzzled...and worried.

That sudden surge of emotion, the shift to almost compulsive attraction
had seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once -- could it
also have come, at least partly, from Spock? He asks, and Spock explains
that since Jim has such a dynamic personality, there is always a danger
of becoming...submerged in his emotions; McCoy decides this is explan
ation enough.

Later, Jim Kirk has the strangest dream — he is again in the desert
he imagined, only this time he is with Spock, his Spock, and they are
 caught up in the fever of pon farr... Jim has never considered a relation
ship like this before, but he begins to think about it now, and often,
 unaware that the initial stage of a pair-bonding has accidentally taken
place -- a pair-bonding between himself and Spock. When Spock senses these
thoughts, he sends some cautionary messages of his own, but with typical
human optimism Jim turns all objections away. Spock goes to him and per
suades him that this relationship should not be — they meld for a last time,
and Spock uses the analogy of the room-divider screen to help Jim build an
impenetrable barrier to shield himself from the attraction of the bond.

Jim is safe now, protected...and Spock is totally, completely, and finally
 alone

Its Origins

In 1978, rumors of a sequel to "Epilog to Orion" (which fans and Gerry both casually called "Alternative #2) were afoot:
I've also heard that Gerry is coming out with an ALTERNATIVE #2. Great! (For the uninformed, ALT is Gerry's Kirk/Spock zine… she's the first person who ever dared to print the theme...adult theme, so you must be 18 or over.) [2]

In 1979, Gerry wrote extensively of this sequel in Stardate: Unknown #5's editorial:

ALTERNATIVE II -- I'm working on it, honest. The book will consist of two stories (I'm writing the last half of the second one now) and four pieces of poetry. Gayle F has done one pen and ink illustration forit; Pat Stall had done two gorgeous paintings and has two more nearly finished. I have one pencil foldout done... Ruth Kurz, who is a new artist (to fandom, that is) does beautifully delicate charcoal work and she is planning one illustration for it, also. I have six or seven more illos planned myself, but they are still to be drawn. Present plans call for the outsize work to be reproduced as near to origianl size as possible -- they will almost be posters, folded and bound into the book. That will be all the art in the zine, and it should run 100 pages, the column text reduced format. And yes, they get back together, and no, nobody dies at the end. I hope to have this zine done around the end of May. It just depends on how much time I can get to finish the writing and drawing -- and the typing will be monumental. So for the next several months, do not expect to hear anything from me -- just figure I'm working, and be patient. I do not plan a large print run, so be sure you have a SASE on file if you're interested. This is kind of a private venture for K/S fen only, and once A2 is gone there will be no pass around xeroxes or reprints. One time is IT. And be warned, it will cost-- but I plan to make it a book you'll want to treasure for always.

Sample Interior

Reactions and Reviews

1993

Alternative 2/3 is a long and intricate novel, kind of hurt+hurt+hurt/comfort, but with a nice scene at the end. I've heard that the k/s shit storm after they came out drove [Gerry Downes] from fandom and she hasn't been seen since. Too bad if true. [3]

1999

This zine is totally awesome. I had a yen for some K/S h/c so I skedaddled to the annual Star Trek Creation Convention in San Francisco in its ever diminishing capacity. The west coast zine dealer Jim Rondeau was there, and I was able to get my hands on an original Nightvisions for $25.00 and Alternative for $10.00. It was the best investment I ever made. Alternative is a page turning novel. It is an even mix of Star Trek adventurous gen with a K/S relationship. It is tightly written and well fleshed out. (Did that sound right?) There is something in there for everyone. You have a developing K/S relationship, action and adventure, diverse characters, hurt/comfort, angst, Vulcans, all set in the canon universe. This is one of the best K/S novels I have ever read. It is right up there with my all-time favorites Broken Images, Bloodstone, and Lifeboat. This novel is a mega must read. A thousand raves around the world.[4]

2000

I always liked her sequel novel, "Alternative: Book Two/Three" -- well-written (of course), different take on how such a relationship might progress (and one not to the liking of some fen, as it did not progress in a very romantic manner, as I recall). [5]

2003

The second book will be much better, I told myself. How wrong I was! Perhaps I am prejudicing the reader unduly. Let me state for the record that I am a Spockie, and in fact such a Spockie that I not only empathize with Spock, I become Spock, and I have ridiculously little tolerance for Spock being made to suffer in any way. I am well aware that many of you enjoy reading about Spock suffering beautifully, so I am certain that those of you would enjoy this book as much as I despised it.

The second book also has some truly beautiful moments. There is a wonderful sequence early on when Kirk and Spock are alone together on a planet, swimming just off shore; after some teasing, as well as more serious talk, they kiss deep beneath the waves. What follows, after they surface, is even more intense: although they have decided to postpone a Vulcan bonding, Kirk improvises a more primitive, and classical, form of bonding. It would be difficult to describe in a few short words the emotional resonance of this passage (and clearly I'm not up to the task). The other scene which sticks out in my mind occurs at the end. In a very dramatic, and cinematic conclusion, Kirk and Spock meet on Vulcan after days of separation (I won't spoil the location—it was too good) and the first few lines of dialogue could have leapt right off of the silver screen.

This, however, was small consolation in the face of the story itself, which depressed me for days. You see, Spock and Kirk do not go into it equally; Spock wants the security of a bond, but is too timid to demand it, while Kirk, fearing to lose his independence, or his command (or something) strings Spock along for years, right up to, quite literally, the eleventh hour. At the nadir, Spock, who has been carrying on a sideline affair with Chapel at Kirk's insistence (as the doughty captain fears that they are becoming too close for their own good), is actually dumped—yes, dumped!—by Christine Chapel. This struck me as a low blow. Chapel, whether literally or by implication I cannot remember, even asks Spock why he puts up with such second-rate treatment from Kirk. (She is off to marry a man who can love her "exclusively." I will spare you my generational reaction to the distinctly seventies sexual morality of Alternative, part two.)

Spock endures everything stoically. He suffers and suffers. In the last section of the story Kirk abjures him, verbally abuses him, accuses him of tampering with his mind, attacks him, and generally acts like an ass, while Spock holds out, in the hope Kirk will, at the critical juncture, come around. Finally, after a walk in the desert and a talk with his own Vulcan Yoda, Kirk reaches an epiphany about their relationship, and just in time too, because Spock has gone into pon farr. But I cannot tell you if this new leaf is truly a change for the better, or just as smudged and ink stained as the old one, because they bond and the story ends, as if there were nothing left to tell.

The art in the first book is nothing special, but the art in the second volume is truly extraordinary. The reproduction quality is excellent. Several full-size paintings are printed on fold out 11x14 pages. There is a depiction of the kiss described above which is particularly beautiful. The art in fact is what continues to compel me to hold onto my copy, since I can't bear to part with it.[6]

2007

Gerry Downes published the final part of the Orion series called Alternative: Continuing the Epilog to Orion. This 135 page novel picks up the story where Epilog left off. It is now almost a year since their final meld. Disaster strikes on an innocent shore leave, and Spock is forced to initiate a meld to save the captain’s life. The severed bond is reestablished. Drawn together once more, Kirk is determined not to shorten Spock’s life nor leave the ship without a commander should he die. The answer appears to be to keep the bond at a lighter level through the sexual relationship both men want and need. Four more years pass and Kirk finds they have grown too dependant upon each other. Their solution makes both Christine Chapel and Areel Shaw (Court Martial) very happy women. A Vulcan healer helps the two men find their way back to each other.[7]

References

  1. from an ad in Scuttlebutt #13
  2. from Fantasia #2 (February 1978)
  3. comments by Sandy Hereld on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (March 16, 1993)
  4. from The K/S Press #37
  5. comment by a fan on a private K/S mailing list, quoted anonymously (July 29, 2000)
  6. from The K/S Press #77, as part of a review of The Compleat Alternative
  7. from The K/S Zine: The Time of the Beginning 1976-1985