Broken Images

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See also Broken Image (disambiguation).

Zine
Title: Broken Images
Publisher: Jumping Dik-Bat Press
Editor:
Author(s): Beverly Sutherland
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): April 1983
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: online here
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
The cover of Broken Images, art by Merle Decker, showing Kirk torn between two universes.

Broken Images is a slash Kirk/Spock 285-page Mirror Universe novel by Beverly Sutherland, published in 1983 by Jumping Dik-Bat Press: Victoria Clark and Barbara Storey of Nome.

The zine is illustrated with full page black and white drawings by Ann Crouch, Merle Decker, Connie Faddis, and Signe Landon and borders drawn by Caro Hedge.

"Broken Images" won a 1988 "Federation Class of Excellence" Surak Award and a 1984 K/Star Award for Best Long Story.

The zine is online here.

Discussed in Not Tonight, Spock!

See Sexuality in K/S Fiction: Anal Intercourse and Sexuality in K/S Fiction: Anal Intercourse Prolonged er uh Continued.

Summary

In the episode 'Mirror, Mirror' Kirk, Uhura, McCoy and Scotty are on a diplomatic mission to Halka and are beamed aboard the Enterprise during an ion storm. It immediately becomes apparent that while they are on their ship, they are in another universe. And a barbaric one at that. They find their way back to their own universe and life goes on as normal. But, years later, Star Fleet sends them to Halka again. Only Kirk beams down, only Kirk beams up...in another ion storm and screaming in pain for Spock to 'put it back,' before collapsing to the floor of the transporter room. Our Kirk finds himself in a peaceful universe, one ruled by Vulcans. But he is not captain of the Enterprise, he's the first officer. Trapped in this world, Kirk goes on a mission with the rest of the crew and is severely injured. To save his life, Spock mind-melds with him, an action with far more consequences than Spock imagined. In his pain for his missing bond-mate, Jamie, Spock has bonded with Kirk. And if the bond is not sealed during Spock's pon-farr, a time rapidly approaching, the Vulcan captain will die.[1]

The Story Behind The Zine -- From the Author

From A 1984 Interview with Beverly Sutherland:

...in the case of Broken Images, I was trying to make a point about the genre itself. My aforementioned best friend & co-editor does not care for K/S. She's not really opposed to it; she just can't see the characters in that light. Her right. It's not a source of conflict between us. I was, however, very enthusiastic about the possibilities of K/S & electrified by novels like Gerry Downes' Alternative 2 & 3 & Susan K. James & Carol Frisbie's Night Visions. I wanted her to understand, if not share, my enthusiasm. I set out to write a K/S novel that kept the characters in character, that wouldn't become K/s or k/S, with a premise that a non-K/S devotee could accept as believable. Since I really consider K/S an alternate Trek universe, just as Kraith, Sahaj, & Night of the Twin Moons are alternates, it seemed logical (there is a bit of Spock in me, after all) to set my novel in an alternate universe. I used the Halkan gateway, having duly considered its triteness, because to me the odds of Kirk & Spock encountering a second such gateway were even less credible. I designed this alternate universe with Spock as captain because I wanted to have a believable reason for Kirk to be vulnerable enough, dependent enough on Spock, that any threat of Spock's death would be catastrophic. I set out to rob poor James T. of his captaincy, his friends, all of his support systems & self-image, & finally his health--all the while trying to maintain his innate strength & masculinity, his ability to bounce back & take charge.

Broken Images started out as no more than that little kernel of an idea, the structural detail that I wanted it to begin & end in the Lika'ashi's transporter room, & Kirk's eventual return to his own universe. I finished the first major section, without the prologue, ending on the night of their bonding. I let the Mariom section "cook" for a while, then tried to write it. Someone pointed out to me that I was repeating the structures of scenes I'd done before, if not their exact content. Large block. I went off & wrote some other stuff for a year or so until I'd taught myself the writing techniques I needed to know to finish Broken Images, letting it simmer on the back burner.

I have no idea where plot elements come from. I start with a problem for the POV character to solve, then my sub-conscious takes over, devising situations that will show (not tell) how the character solves his problem, how he is changing, etc. There are always surprises. In "Resting Place", I had no intention of writing a McCoy/Kirk love scene. Their conversation over dinner just appeared on the page. McCoy & Kirk took over. I called Darien in a panic because I was afraid she'd object, & I didn't see how I could avoid what seemed to be happening. Good editors are rare & wonderful creatures. She adopted a wait & see attitude, I drew a curtain over most of the details (who did what to whom didn't matter a bit), & it came off. At least the feedback has been positive.

My big surprise in Broken Images was the realization that I was writing a monster of a novel to place Spock in the position of having to bond with Kirk to save Kirk's life--an inversion of the Spock in pon farr plot. At Vicky & Barbara's insistence (I seem to have been blessed with marvelous editors), that story became the epilogue. I wrote the prologue from Spock's POV to match it & lay ground for it. Also to present a familiar Spock to set off his alternate as a more clearly separate individual. My concept of Confederation culture had its root in Al-anon & other such groups. The Confederation Vulcans are enablers. They try to protect people from the consequences of their own actions. They also have a not very healthy need to be in control of everything, & they control by manipulation. Rather like the United States, in fact. We can't seem to get it through our collective heads that the Prime Directive works much better in the long run. Finally, I tried very hard to integrate all the love scenes so that each was necessary, had a definite purpose, & showed something important about the characters-- changes in their relationship, personal growth or lack thereof, & so forth.
I am planning a sequel, but it may take awhile. It has to incubate while I meet other commitments. Several people have approached me or Vicky & Barbara about continuing the tale themselves. I am flattered by the interest, but please, no. That would make it impossible for me to do my own sequel, & I don't want to get involved in the kind of quality control Jacqueline Lichtenberg exercises over Kraith. It's just too costly in time & energy. I do know that the sequel will take place in the Confederate universe, will reintroduce of the Orion characters as well as the Vulcans, & take advantage of some plants & a few plot threads I deliberately left untied. It will also deal with Spock & Jamie's changed & changing perceptions of themselves & each other! Jamie has to become a little more "real" to me before I start it. Right now he's a very new "velveteen rabbit."

The Story Behind The Zine -- From the Publisher

In 2007, Vicki Clark discussed the inspiration, the creations and the launch of Broken Images in an interview published in Legacy:

The Idea

The first time we met Beverly Sutherland, Barbara Storey and I were attending a convention in Boston in 1980, the Boston Bash. This was after the first issue of “Nome” was out. There was a panel in one of the rooms. It was a small convention. These panels weren't held in the main room but in smaller rooms. The person in charge of the panel said she'd prefer it if we sat in a circle. The panel was about doing fanzines, the problems and processes.

We all went around in a circle. Barbara and I were still pretty new; we’d done one issue and were a little shy so we didn't say too much. Other people who had done one or two zines did a lot of talking. Beverly Sutherland was one of the people in the group. She and and a group of other people had done a zine called “Mainely Trek”. The idea was to publish as many stories as possible from people who lived in Maine. They also decided if they got a good SF story they'd publish that as well.

Beverly talked briefly. She was the only one from that group at the con who stayed after the end of the panel. Everyone else dispersed. She came up to us and introduced herself. She said, "I really would have liked to have heard from you two; you hardly talked at all but you did the best zine here."

We met that evening for a drink and had dinner with her. We told her about our plans for a second issue. She asked us about the Townsley Convention scheduled for NY in 1981 for Washington Birthday weekend. (We met her in the fall of 1980.) We said, why don't you come? She said, maybe I will. She did, and she got to meet some of our friends, including [Billie Phillips], Ellen Kobrin, Carol Hunterton and Toni Cardinal-Price.

After the convention she was staying in New York for a few days with a friend. She came to my apartment and she mentioned to us that she was working on something that was going to be a slash story and that it couldn't be published in “Mainely Trek”. She was wondering if we'd be interested in taking a look at it. It would be more than a story; it was going to be quite long. It wasn't completely written, but the title she had come up with was “Broken Images”.

We agreed to take a look at it and she ended up sending us probably 1/3 of it. As soon as Barbara and I read it we said, this is one of the best things we've read in slash and we immediately told her we were very interested in publishing it. This gave her more reason to keep working on it. She worked on it very steadily from then on. It was pretty much finished by the fall of 1982. Then it came to us for editing and revision. She needed very little line editing.

The Production of the Zine

We aimed to bring “Broken Images” our for MediaWest in 1983. That particular year, MediaWest Con was the first of the summer conventions. MediaWest was at the end of May; Space Trek in St. Louis was in June, Shore Leave in Baltimore was in July, and August Party (also in Maryland) in August. We had a lot of conventions to go to that summer. Barbara and I also brought out “Nome” # 6. That was a big year for us. We knew “Broken Images” was wonderful, one of the best things that had been written in the fandom. Beverly did not come to MediaWest. She decided to to to Space Trek and stay with us in New York between Space Trek and Shore Leave and go with us to Shore Leave. But she couldn't go to all three.

The MediaWest Launch

"We arrived at MediaWest that year with “Nome” #6 and “Broken Images”. There were at least two or three people who came up to us on Saturday morning. One of them was Lois Welling, who never cared for K/S, and she came to us and said, “you know so-and-so, my roommate, bought “Broken Images” and I was up all night reading it. This is wonderful, it has really changed my mind, you've convinced me that this is possible.” Two other people said the same thing – “This is the best thing I've ever read in slash, I am so glad I saw it. I hope Beverly writes more.”

The Author's Preface

This novel has been in preparation for over four years. I outlined it before the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That outline changed very little in the course of the writing, and for the purposes of this story, neither Star Trek feature film exists. I did, however, adopt the term T’hy’la from Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of ST:TMP.

In the matter of times and ranks in the Confederation universe: obviously there are different designations of rank, and there is a different system of measuring time. I made a conscious decision not to invent these alternate terms, since I find them a burden to keep track of in my own reading, and in this case, those devices do not affect the story. There are always people to thank. First of all, Vicky and Barbara, my editors, who took one third of a novel and its outline and bullied, cajoled, and supported me until I had produced the last word of the epilogue. Without them, Broken Images would still be in large measure an unruly collection of ideas running around in my head. Then there is a boss who deferred his own work so that I could have exclusive use of the word processor for two weeks. That we have made our publication date is due entirely to his generosity. The artists who have brought the scenes I wrote to life belong in a category all their own. They are all busy people, and yet they found the time to produce that one extra bit of effort. Ann Crouch , with family and farm to oversee, who did two more drawings than she bargained for originally. Merle Decker, who in the midst of producing her own novel, found time to do a cover and interior illos for mine – as well as turning my terrible sketches of Confederation uniforms into usable drawings for all the other artists to work from. Connie Faddis, who not only understood exactly what I meant by “broken images,” but who asked us if she could do an extra panel for the last chapter. (We didn’t mind at all, Connie.) Signe Landon, who made room in a busy professional schedule for one more fan project. And last, but not least, [Caro H., who draws the most beautiful borders to order, when the only description you give her is “Make them look Vulcan.” I asked Vicky to write a poem. She did. It’s perfect. And then Irene, friend for more years than either of us care to count precisely, wrote one tying together all my themes. To both of you, for adding your special art to mine, thereby enhancing it, my deepest appreciation. Proof readers are the unsung heroines of the galaxy. Irene stayed up until midnight the night before grades were due to finish the epilogue. Amy came from California expecting tours of local scenery and spent most of the time helping me put italics into the word-processed final copy. I claim any typos remaining.

So here you have the product of two years of writing and two years of writer’s block. Please enjoy.

Gallery

A fan says:
Although the illos were done by 'big name' artists, I found them slightly static and not up to the quality of emotion in the story, with the exception of a few by Ann Crouch and Connie Faddis.[2]
A fan says:
The illos, by Merle Decker, Ann Crouch, Connie Faddis, and Signe Landon, are well-done and thoroughly in harmony with the story...[3]

Art is included at the publisher's request.

Reactions and Reviews

1983

BROKEN IMAGES is a "Kirk/Spock" novel. For those of you new to fandom, this means that Kirk and Spock have a homosexual relationship in this novel. The "Kirk/Spock" or "K/S" novel became popular (and controversial) about 10 years ago, Many fans have made very firm position statements on this issue, and it is hotly debated at conventions. Let me be right up front with you and tell you that I believe K/S to be a distortion of the series characterizations. Therefore when I tell you that this zine is good, you better believe it. K/S fans might even consider BROKEN IMAGES a MUST READ. Courting fate, Kirk again attempts to beam up to the Enterprise from Halka during an ion storm. For the second time an interdimensional transfer takes place, and Kirk finds himself materializing on the Lika'ashi. As before, everything is the same, but different. The crew immediately attempt to return him, but they are not successful. Kirk is stuck. He is taken into protective custody and tested and questioned while Captain Spock is indisposed. Vulcans are a bit different in this universe. They achieved space flight early and dominate this section of the Galaxy with the Vulcan Confederation of Planets. Vulcan peacefully gathered all the local sentient races into the Confederation using trade and aid. They believe in the opposite of the Prime Directive. They believe in massive aid to undeveloped races. The Vulcan personality is also different -- more open and emotional -- but still very reserved compared to Humans. Vulcans also dominate the Space Service. Few Humans rise high in the Space Service because they are considered too unstable to command. Kirk's alter ego Jamie is the exception. As first officer of the Lika'ashi, Jamie is/was one of the highest ranking Humans in the Space Service. Since he can't go home. Kirk considers citizenship in this Confederation. He is also put to work as helmsman. From the start Kirk finds it difficult to take orders from Captain Spock, but he manages. Eventually Kirk is asked to swear allegiance to the Confederation. He finds he cannot because he cannot recant his oath to uphold the Prime Directive. He is taken into protective custody and sedated. Captain Spock continues to see him. Spock questions him about conditions on Mxrtha (Capella IV) in his universe. They seem quite similar except with Orion rebels replacing the Klingons. Spock takes Kirk along in the landing party. While there, Kirk saves Spock's life when he takes the Kligat thrown by the Orion rebel Sulu. Spock melds with Kirk to provide Vulcan healing techniques -- a big mistake for him because it creates enough bond with Kirk to prevent Spock from bonding with another mate at his impending pon farr. Kirk survives and eventually learns that Jamie and Spock had been bonded in the Vulcan Way of the Warrior. Spock barely survived the breaking of the bond, but Jamie is surely dead. When Kirk is better, he swears to the Confederation and immediately collapses from a post-operative infection. Again Spock saves him. When Kirk recovers, he learns of Spock s impending death in pon farr and why. He eventually bonds with Spock, and bonds with Spock much deeper than Jamie had. And this is just the start of BROKEN IMAGES. Kirk and Spock have a number of interesting adventures which only deepen the bond. But Kirk is not Jamie's identical twin. Kirk finds that he is still a leader and soon becomes one man trying to summon the future with the twin causes of Human rights and the Prime Directive. Will Kirk continue to be happy subordinate to Spock? And IF he finds he CAN go home to his own universe, WILL he go? Let me be right up front with you and admit that I am a sucker for a well done ST mirror universe story. The Confederacy is developed subtly, without lecture, and with a wealth of detail that will enthrall the trivia fans. I must admit that it did take a while to get used to the Confederation's laid-back Vulcans, but they seem to be much easier to get along with than their Federation counterparts. Sutherland creates a number Of major Vulcan characters for the novel, and they are quite entertaining. I found T'Pring's brother Syllin particularly interesting. The storyline has several good incidents in it. I hesitate to describe any for fear that I will destroy some of the wonderful surprises that await the reader, but I am sure that Ms. Sutherland would be pleased to know that I cried over the capture of the Orion rebel ship. I am a sucker for injured children, too. And yes, truly, the K/S relationship is integral to the story. This is not one of those cheap ripoffs with only enough plot to get us to a sleazy X-rated sex scene. Kirk and the Spock in this universe are both alpha males and charismatic leaders in their own right. The whole point of the story is that in a marriage, one tends to lead and the other to follow. Can two leaders be happy together? Now if they were just fellow officers and good friends, the story of their friendship would be very interesting, but not remarkable. But because they are telepathically bonded, the question pervades all their activities, public and private, right down to their sex lives. Can two be joined as one, and yet remain separate individuals? It is the very intensity of the problem that makes BROKEN IMAGES so remarkable.[4]

1984

'BROKEN IMAGES' is long K/S novel, an alternate universe story in which ST:TMP and ST:WK have not taken place. The premise: three years after the Mirror Universe incident, the Enterprise returns on a diplomatic mission to persuade the Halkan Council to authorize dilithium mining. Unstable conditions around the planet are worsening, increasing the likelihood that it may act as an uncontrollable gateway to infinite numbers of alternate universes. Federation scientists believe that the planet's large deposits of dilithium contribute to this instability, and want to mine the crystals for that reason. During the negotiations, Kirk insists on transporting back to the Enterprise, even though this is dangerous because of an ion storm. This time random factors do not operate in his favor, and he is again transposed into a parallel universe. Beverly Sutherland's new universe, however, is not the savage, irrational empire from "Mirror, Mirror": It is very civilized and rational indeed, and Vulcans are in charge of everything. The Enterprise is now the Lika'ashi (a Vulcan term with an equivalent meaning). The United Federation of Planets has been replaced by the Vulcan Confederation of Planets. There is no Prime Directive against interference with less-developed cultures, Spock is in command of the ship (which has a crew consisting almost entirely of Vulcans), and it appears that Kirk has been stranded irretrievably in this new and alien environment.

The main theme of BROKEN IMAGES, and also the novel's greatest strength, is Kirk's confrontation of, and adjustment to, his changed situation. We know Captain James T. Kirk as someone who is accustomed to command and comfortable with the exercise of authority. But his new world is one in which Terrans rarely advance to positions of great responsibility in Starfleet, and in which large numbers of Terrans dissent from Starfleet, and in which large numbers of Terrans dissent from Vulcan hegemony, however logical and benevolent it may be. Kirk's counterpart in this universe, called by the nickname Jamie, was more than content with his subordinate position. Our Kirk is not. But Jamie was lost during the transporter malfunction, and Kirk is told that he probably would not long have survived transportation to the Enterprise. Kirk's own difficulties in adjusting to his new status as involuntary guest/ well-treated prisoner are more than exacerbated when he discovers, after some time has elapsed, that Captain Spock and Jamie were bondmates—and that Spock will die in the very near future, unless Kirk agrees to establish a bond with him. BROKEN IMAGES is the history of that discovery and its aftermath. But it is far more than merely another K/S story. The book is primarily a study of the command personality and the effects of cultural shock. Kirk finds out—the hard way—that things he learned from experience in his own universe do not necessarily hold true in the world of the Vulcan Confederation. He is forced to question all of his most basic assumptions, including some he holds about himself. This process is lengthy, difficult, and painful. There are almost no false notes in BROKEN IMAGES. Beverly Sutherland's novel, indeed, has so many strengths that it should appear to virtually all Trek readers. If you like relationship stories, if you like hurt/comfort, if "what if?" attracts you, your expectations will be fulfilled by work of a very high standard. And that frequent complaint about character-development fiction, absence of plot, cannot possibly be made about BROKEN IMAGES: there's no scarcity of plot whatsoever. In addition, the book is a magnificent exploration of many of the possibilities of the K/S premise. Some of the plot strands in BROKEN IMAGES promise intriguing opportunities for future development. One hopes that Beverly Sutherland will write more in the future about what it's like to be a non-Vulcan in a Vulcan-dominated galaxy.

Another story which readers may wish for is one which runs parallel to this, an account of what happened on the Enterprise after Jamie appeared there—particularly the effect on Spock. BROKEN IMAGES was Kirk's story, and that was its strength—but Spock's story has not yet been fully told (which should give many of us grounds for pleasurable anticipation and generate many letters urging the author on to new accomplishments). BROKEN IMAGES is a beautiful book in every possible way. Beverly Sutherland is a skillful and eloquent writer, whose narrative reflects deep love for the world of Trek and respect for its people; there is no character rape here. Her novel is free from annoying loose ends and inconsistencies, and the alternate universe premise is developed in an interesting and convincing way.

The illos, by Merle Decker, Ann Crouch, Connie Faddis, and Signe Landon, are well-done and thoroughly in harmony with the story, as are an initial poem by Victoria H. Clark and concluding verses by Irene Roberts. The quality of the editing is generally excellent and lives up to the high expectations one expects from the publishers of NOME. There are almost no typographical errors. (Pon farr is spelled throughout with only one r, but that seems to be intentional.) The use of different type faces, including italics, is effective and appropriate. According to the author's preface, this book was more than four years in the making; Beverly Sutherland took the time to do it right, and it shows.

BROKEN IMAGES is not merely one of the best K/S stories ever written, by any standard it is among the major achievements in the entire universe (universes!) of Trek writing. Readers whose personal tastes cause them to avoid K/S zines ought definitely to reconsider in the case of BROKEN IMAGES; anything this well-written should be for everybody, whatever its theme. There's no valid excuse for missing this one, so east aside prejudices and assumptions, remember IDIC, and prepare for an un-put-downable and most rewarding experience. Rating: VERY, VERY Highly Recommended for all adult readers.[5]
After reading the first few pages of BROKEN IMAGES, I admit that I thought: Just what fandom needs...another transporter malfunction/Mirror universe K/S story. I already picturing Spock (with beard) having his violent way with Kirk (complete with cute gold lame bolero). Luckily, I read on. BROKEN IMAGES is probably one of the finest, and best written, works of ST fiction ever published. Although the novel contains ample suffering, love, pain, soul searching, and sex to satisfy the most ardent K/S fan, it transcends the genre to be simply an excellent piece of science fiction writing. The author creates another universe (not the Mirror universe of "Mirror, Mirror") in which Vulcans are the dominant race (an idea tantalizingly suggested at the end of Della Van Hise's "A Question of Balance"), populates it with interesting, believable characters,drops Captain Kirk into it, and follows him through his adjustment, relationships, and enough different adventures to fill a whole season of televised ST episodes. The Vulcans in this universe are less emotionally constipated than those in 'our' universe, and their Spock is Captain of his ship and an alpha male to equal Kirk, while their Kirk (Jamie) is the First Officer, who, like our Spock, has no wish for command. The key to the story is the fact that Jamie is Captain Spock's bondmate, while in Kirk's universe, he and Spock are still 'just good friends.' There are other differences between universes, plus enough similarities to keep Kirk off balance. The pros and cons of this alternate universe's scheme of things are weighed against those of the familiar Federation, making a statement about political orders and personal outlooks and values. Kirk's values and very nature are tested and discovered. This is a beautiful zine. The editors of NOME have met their own high standards of excellence in layout, printing, graphic design, etc. It is well bound (with screw posts) and was obviously lovingly proofread and edited. Although the illos were done by 'big name' artists, I found them slightly static and not up to the quality of emotion in the story, with the exception of a few by Ann Crouch and Connie Faddis. I highly recommend this beautiful, powerful tale of Kirk and both of his Spocks. It is definitely bound to be a classic on the order of NIGHTVISIONS; a novel to be read and re-read. (A non-Trekker friend of mine read it and was instantly transformed into an ardent ST and K/S fan.) It will be fandom's loss if, as she plans, this talented author devotes herself exclusively to pro writing in the future. She is definitely one of the best, and BROKEN IMAGES is her finest work.[6]

1987

The K/S I prefer is that which brings an added insight into the characters involved in the story. The best example of this can be found in the fan novel, BROKEN IMAGES, (written by Beverly Sutherland; a NOME special). In this story, Vulcans, not Terrans, are in control of the Federation. This change in perspective gives an extra insight into Vulcan philosophy and psychology. This universe is witnessed by us through James Kirk (or our universe) who must face a series of crisis situations in this new reality which are similar, yet so different from what he has ever had to deal with. During this time, Kirk forms a relationship with the alternate Spock (who is the captain of a starship). This relationship begins as a necessity; a convenience for one, and the difference between life and death for the other. But as all relationships will, if they are meant to last, this one grows into a true friendship and a full sexual bonding. Yes, of course BROKEN IMAGES has its steamier scenes... This is K/S, folks! but what is more important here is the growth of love, the intriguing 'what-if' scenario put to the test, and the insight it gives Kirk (and us) into our own Star Trek universe. This is the kind of K/S I like, and the kind of K/S there seems to be more of these days.[7]

1990

This is an alternate universe story that is very believable. I liked Ms. Sutherland's characters and how she even took some well known Vulcans in our universe and gave them new positions and duties in the old universe. I also liked the idea that James Kirk didn't just fall in love with the alternate Spock; he had to get to know him first and that took time. Also Kirk's knowledge from the other universe was shown to be as much a help as a hindrance in places, and this, dare I say it, is logical.[8]

1993

Broken Images --one of the best fan novels written (but remember Spider's Law...Nothing is so good that someone won't hate it) A different sort of Mirror/Mirror tale.[9]

1995

Broken Images is vintage K/S with all the richness and flavor of the best K/S stories. It's also wonderfully, satisfyingly long. The novel should delight both those who prefer the energy and novelty of earlier K/S and those who prefer the more sophisticated modern variety.

The first time I tried to read this long K/S novel, I got about halfway through and couldn't continue. The problem was that the author had made a major mistake with the POV and the events of the prologue, and after about 100 pages I just couldn't take it anymore. I'll get to that in a minute, though. K/S withdrawal and the fact that the zine was borrowed finally forced me to pick it up again, and I'm glad I did. This time, knowing what to expect, I read the story straight through in virtually one day and couldn't put it down.

Broken Images is the story of how Kirk carves out a place for himself in an alternate universe where he is not and never was fit for command. Even though "our" Kirk is certainly a fit commander in our universe, in the alternate one he'll never get up to speed with the realities—the history, the present political situation, the attitudes—of a universe he was not born into. This is a terrific problem for Kirk.

The novel also has him create a mating relationship with the alternate Spock, who is suited for command in his universe just as his Kirk was not. Make no mistake: this is not just another version of "Kirk goes to another universe where he's bonded to Spock so he comes home and recreates that relationship with his Spock," which we've seen so often in Mirror stones. Nor is it a tale to titillate those who get off on a dominant Spock character.

Broken Images is far more realistic than either of alternate universe, where the Enterprise is the Vulcan ship Lika'ashi, is complex and believable, fully portrayed. You could really believe it exists. It is, dare I say, more believable than the Mirror universe, which was the mainline universe's "evil twin" and of which we got only an hour's glimpse. Beverly doesn't resort to the simplistic interpretation of an alternate universe as a mirror opposite. Instead she creates a subtly different universe, a society more peaceful than the Federation, because the orderly Vulcans are running things, benevolently and logically. The new universe is attractive, tempting, even aside from the question of Spock. This backdrop makes Kirk's problems all the more insidious. The question of upholding the Prime Directive, for example, is a really fine problem for Kirk, and I loved his solutions, both of them.

There are so many things to love about this novel. The Way of the Warrior, for example, more logically and fully explained than any interpretation I've seen. The slightly different Vulcan attitude toward emotion—it's still not good taste in public but is permitted to an extent among family and close friends. The modifications of Surak's teachings, which make this Vulcan society well-adjusted and psychologically healthy, unlike our universe's Vulcan, which raised an unhappy Spock. Kirk's learning Vulcan, and McCoy and everyone speaking it fluently, because it's the lingua franca in the alternate universe.

The supporting characters are fully drawn, and there are so many to enjoy: Syllin, Skarl, McCoy, Sarek, T'Lem, Heather, Suron, Commodore St. James (!) and more. I enjoyed "living in" this universe with a Captain Spock who has all the qualities of the original and then some. He's not as tortured as the Spock of the series, much more like the resurrected Spock of the movies except for his one insecurity—needing Kirk so desperately. A sexy, self-assured, but still very Spockian Spock.

The characterization of Kirk is also great. 1 loved the struggle inside Kirk to try and squeeze into a life that doesn't quite fit him, like a suit of clothes tailored for someone else, almost the same size but not quite. This Kirk has the courage to risk great pain and harm, even death, to take his rightful place and give his counterpart back his own life.

One of the best things about this novel is that it discusses the impossibility of Kirk's becoming someone else just to love Spock. In so doing, Broken Images takes on one of the nemeses of K/S fandom. How many times have K/S authors altered Kirk's character, even subtly, just to bring him together with Spock? Beverly Sutherland does not make this mistake, though she alters Kirk's entire universe and even Spock (as the alternate Spock) in order to manage it. She does, however, eventually reunite the originals, and she takes the time at least to tell us why this new bonding will work better.

Which brings me to the major flaw in this otherwise terrific work. The prologue of the novel takes place in our universe, from Spock's point of view, as Kirk blunders into the transporter accident that transposes him with his alternate from another universe. The last scene of the prologue shows us the alternate, Commander Kirk, kneeling on the transporter pad clutching his head and screaming: "Spock. Spock, please! Put it back!" The rest of the novel until the epilogue is from Kirk's POV in the other universe. And that was why I originally couldn't force myself to read this novel. After 100 pages or so, I still hadn't found out what happened to the screaming Kirk in "our" transporter room, and I soon learned from a friend that I wasn't going to. There is no continuation of that scene anywhere in the book, not even in the epilogue. Only the epilogue deals with "our" universe again, and we never get to look in on what happened in Kirk's long absence.

The problem was one of expectation. The author set up a great, suspenseful scene, leading me to expect I was going to get to see the resolution of that scene, and then never followed through. Also, by giving us Spock's POV in the prologue, she led me to expect I'd see that POV continue in the body of the novel, but that didn't happen. I felt almost as displaced as Kirk when the story shifted to the alternate universe and stayed there. The result is that I didn't pay much attention to the next 100 pages and eventually stopped altogether in frustration.

Had this book not been a K/S novel (a genre for which I already have a weakness) and had it not come highly recommended by other K/Sers whose opinions I respect, I never would have picked it up again.

It's not just the prologue that's a problem. Hundreds of pages later (eleven Terran months later for Kirk), the author picks up Spock's POV again to show us how Kirk got back to his own universe and how our Kirk and Spock bonded. Trouble is, she gives us only about twenty pages of this. So "our" Spock's characterization is necessarily given short shrift. Worse, the resolution of the relationship is glossed over, even though a bonding between "our" Kirk and Spock requires much more justification by the author than a bonding between Kirk and an alternate Spock. The author was trying to tell two stories here, and though she did beautifully with one of them (Kirk's adventure in the other universe), she missed the mark with the other (Spock's experience of retrieving his Kirk and bonding with him). There was no room for Spock's POV in this book. Either the novel should have shown both POVs, interspersed, or it should have been written strictly from Kirk's perspective. Beverly could have written a second novel from Spock's POV (and I wish she had; I crave more of her work!). A few of the adventures in the alternate universe could have been cut or shortened, giving the author more room to explore fully what happened when Kirk returned, and how he and his Spock got together.

I'm making a point of this flaw because it's an important lesson for anyone interested in why an author needs to control the point(s) of view she uses in a story and why it can be a fatal flaw to start a story in one POV and then switch to another without fully exploring the first POV. If you do that you're leading the reader to think the story's going to be about one thing, and you whet her appetite for that, then you pull it away and substitute something else. Nothing dulls (he appetite faster. This is what I call pulling a fast one. It's more frustrating than Lucy with the football for poor Charlie Brown. Here the frustration is even worse than usual because of the emergency the author left us with on our Enterprise.

Still, I offer those criticisms for academic purposes, in case other writers want to read Broken Images and see clearly why POV is so damned important that some of us seem to harp on it continually.

For all practical purposes, though. Broken Images is a wonderfully well-written novel. It's bereft of the elegant, poetic language I so love; nevertheless, it's written clearly and straightforwardly and is paced so well that you don't notice the language much, anyway. Besides, Beverly is the author who—with straightforward, clear, unpoetic language—made me weep uncontrollably over her fine story "Resting Place," and incidentally inspired me to write three poems to get over it! Her workmanlike style takes you where she wants you to go just as surely as the best poetry does.

Any K/Ser should find Broken Images an ultimately satisfying experience. It's one of the K/S classics, a must-read for any serious K/S fan.[10]

1998

During an ion storm on the planet Halka. Captain Jim Kirk is transported to the Vulcan space ship Lika'ashi where Vulcans dominate and just a handful of humans serve in any capacity. Thus begins Broken Images, a well-written lengthy parallel universe novel which is worth checking out of the zine library if you don't own it or have never read it. In this new universe, Spock is captain, with, as Kirk observes, "an indefinable sense of power lacking or hidden in his first officer." Quite early on, and after one attempt is made, it is determined that another exchange between the two universes is impossible and Kirk is stranded and has to make the best of his lot. Jim then goes through an adjustment period, including a period of depression, (he has a break down over a chess game with Spock) over the command he has lost and the dear friends he will never see again. There is a McCoy in this universe, but he is not the head doctor. We also know that Jim and his Spock were friends, close friends, but just friends. As the weeks go by, Jim learns that he has exchanged places with Captain Spock's first officer, a human named Jamie, who had the highest rank of any human in the fleet. What we learn of Jamie is through the reflections of others. He appears to lack Jim's command abilities and initiative. Indeed, at times he seems like a kind of wimp who takes back seat in the Vulcan chain of command. At one point when Kirk attempts a daring rescue, McCoy tells him how Jamie wouldn't have tried it in the first place. But Jamie does have one skill and that is serving his Captain in bed. Spock and Jamie were bonded. After a time, Spock decides to keep Jim on board his ship rather than sending him to Earth or Vulcan. He is trying to find the right place for this human who was a captain, but also wants Jim to take an oath to the Confederation, which Kirk refuses to do. Kirk is then relegated to the status of non-person and confined to his quarters until a significant event occurs on the planet Mxrtha IV that sets off a chain of events which eventually lead to he and Spock bonding. There is a nice blend of action and growing relationship between Jim and Spock in this novel. The bonding ceremony and later the bonding night (Spock is in pon farr) is as sensuous as I have ever read. The two go through many highs and lows in their relationship. Again, Jim and his Spock had been no more than friends and he initially has problems in entering the type of union he and Spock come to share. And Captain Spock had been used to dominating Jamie in all aspects of both their professional and personal lives. It almost all falls apart for them after a violent rape on the planet Mariom. Jim later observes that they started out as bonded lovers and had to become friends who trusted each other. I don't want to give away too much of this story but the two reach a point where they have the most loving wonderful relationship, and then the author of this zine does almost the unthinkable! At almost the conclusion, two very dramatic events occur and one of them makes absolutely no sense in view of what we know about Kirk and Spock's former relationship. Such a well though out zine and such a lousy ending. Not a happy one at all to my way of thinking. But don't take my word for it. Do check this out of the lending library and see if you agree.[11]
I must say that unfortunately I am not one of the "most fans" who like Broken Images. The more I read, the more I felt uncomfortable so I had to quit—just before Kirk was about to agree to form a bond with that alternate Spock. I browsed the whole book only to find out very disappointedly that there was no mentioning at all about our Spock until at the very end. And what a damn ending! This novel upset me a lot...

...At first, before I jumped to the end of the story, the major reason I didn't like what's going on is that I don't like Captain Spock. He is so different from our Spock, and I can't imagine Kirk would have agreed to bond with him. if not for the reason of saving his life, I mean, he is a nice person, good captain, but he doesn't fall into the category I drew in my mind in which Kirk would be interested sexually. To me, he seems to be more mature and less smart than our Spock, understandable in the universe he is in, but much much much less attractive. And he and Kirk didn't even have the same experience - I always assume the uncountable times they faced death together and the mutual trust they shared are two of the major reasons they would finally become lovers. So when I went to the part where Kirk so easily accepted the male bonding concept and was willing to try ...I don't know how to describe it... I felt real bad for our Spock, for he was out competed unfairly in my opinion. I also noticed Kirk was somewhat attracted to alternate Spock even at the very beginning, due to the accidental bonding or not, it's either unbelievable (if I am to find an excuse for Kirk so I'll still be able to enjoy K/S later) or disgusting (too harsh a word, but exactly what I felt for a little while when I was extremely disappointed of Kirk). So I quitted.

After that, I read a little bit here and there in the middle, got the impression that these two captains fell in love quickly and were bonded even more strongly than before the exchange. Well, I can accept that, for once they were bonded, there was no reference whatsoever from which I can get a feeling of what is going to happen. I even planned to finish the story later.

Then I went to the end.... what a conclusion! It ended all my interest in the middle part of the story and „„ Oh, poor Spock! Kirk dismissed the idea of coming back almost immediately after he was told it's possible, so in my point of view, there is no doubt he loves the current Spock, And the only reason he finally decided to return to his own universe was solely to regain his captaincy, his personality, his this, his that, in a word, his intact image of himself, but not even a hint of his own Spock. And he knows he would not survive the sever of the bond unless our Spock bond with him. Although he seemingly rejected Spock at first, he finally got what he wanted—his life, command, everything plus Spock as a bonus (but only as a bonus, no more). I couldn't help the feeling that Spock had been trapped, no matter he loved Kirk or not. he actually had no choice at all Though the author tell us from the meld between our two boys that to Kirk, the alternate Spock was actually a substitute for our Spock, I can't believe it! For one thing, the other Spock would have noticed it through their bond long before if it's true, yet there was no mention of it at all Maybe I missed it somewhere, but I doubt it From all I read, the author tried very hard and used 80% of the content to describe the establishment of an extremely strong bond and deep sweet love between Kirk and the other Spock, then in one paragraph, she abandoned all these, how could I believe it?

And that stupid discussion of wolf and lamb-Spock, lamb? I can accept Kirk as controlled wolf, but Spock as lamb? No way! One reason I like Spock is that he is so strong, physically and mentally (maybe not emotionally, but that's another thing), yet he controls his strength, never show off, but always ready when needed. He is capable of command but simply doesn't desire it (Galileo Seven not counted in, I don't like that story either) So in my universe, Kirk and Spock are at least equally strong. The fact that Spock works under Kirk's command is only because he prefers it, like he chooses to not show his strength, and this makes him even stronger in my opinion.

And at the very end. when Spock stated he wanted Kirk to hold him but not the other way around. Kirk seemed to have finally found his intact image again from this statement. Does that mean he wants to be in command all the time in their relationship? If so, he is even worse than I can tolerate. Nevertheless, it seems to me their relationship is not a fair one. What can Spock gain from it? Sure, the bond, but throughout the whole story, I felt that this kind of bond is like a drug addiction - once you get it, you will enjoy it but will never be able to want to get rid of it. Is that a desirable outcome should Spock had any choice, after he knew that Kirk had already formed such a deep bond with the other Spock? Somehow I doubt it. I'd rather the author stopped at the middle of the story than to bring this humiliating end to Spock -a substitute, dominated by Kirk, a lamb and still enjoy it, how dreadful!

Well, I know I am becoming more and more unfair toward Kirk and the author, for after all, it is a very good novel - for Kirk fans. So I'd better stop here. I know the early K/S stories are mostly Kirk "on top", and I found I could accept it and enjoy it though I'd prefer a fair chance one or Spock "on top". But this story is the limit, I don't think I can go any further. No matter who's on top. I anticipate at least wholehearted love to Spock from Kirk, (seems no one ever doubted Spock's love toward Kirk, doesn't it?) [12]

1999

I was very surprised to see such a negative review of Broken Images in the last KSP. I think this is the second-best K/S novel I've read. My favourite is still Jean Lightfoot's "Price of Freedom" -- but damn, this one is good. Intricate yet believable plot nifty alternate universe, fascinatingly different alternate Kirk and Spock—what's not to like? Oh -- and quite a bit of absolutely scrumptious sex, woo hoo hoo. The concept of our Kirk being wolf to our Spock's lamb did strike me as laying it on a bit thick -but then again, it is only tossed off in passing, hardly essential to the plot. I had no trouble at all seeing how a Spock who'd grown up in that universe, where Vulcan dominated the Federation, could become a confident and natural leader - much like our Kirk. My guess is the reviewer didn't like that universe's version of Kirk, Jamie, the quiet one who was not a commander born. But you know, again, given the setup, it is quite credible to me.

Likewise our Kirk's reason for accepting a Bond. He believes he can never go home again, never see 'his' Spock again. He knows that this Spock is going to die as soon as his pon farr progresses enough, that only Kirk can save him because of Spock's previous bond with Jamie. And he realizes, as he thinks about it, that he can't imagine letting any version of Spock die, if he can prevent it. And once they bond, they find they suit each other very well, in bed, and are very happy together. But this is still our Kirk, the born commander. As time passes, it becomes harder and harder for him to accept the subordinate role, always fighting his instincts. He begins to honestly lose track of just who he is. And again, I find this believable. He loves Spock, he wants nothing more than to be happy with him but he is losing himself, losing his ability to trust his own actions and instincts - if this process continues, one day he may very possibly get both of them killed.

At which point he is informed that they can reach his original universe after all, and also learns that, contrary to what everyone told him. there is a chance that Jamie is still alive. And he realizes that in his own universe, Jamie has nothing. Not his bondmate, and not Starfleet either, not really. He cannot command a starship, he is neither emotionally nor psychologically suited for that role. And they cannot just let him run around loose because Kirk has too many enemies who would be delighted to seize Jamie and hurt him. And our Kirk begins to feel very guilty. He has everything that was Jamie's, and Jamie has nothing. But he knows that he cannot just up and leave Spock - Spock would not survive a second disbonding.

So he tells the VSA - open communication, and lets find out whether Jamie is even still alive. They do, and he is. At this point our Kirk has no honourable course left to him. but to agree to the exchange, and let Jamie come home. He does this even knowing that he himself will not survive unbonded. It breaks his heart to leave Spock - but he has stolen another man's life. He cannot do that. He must go home again, and let Jamie have his life back. And to me, that is very much our JTK.

They make the exchange. We find out that Captain Spock did survive, and is reunited with Jamie. But our Kirk tells McCoy to keep our Spock away from him. Because he knows that if Spock touches him, his pain will force the Vulcan into a bond whether he wants one or not, just as Kirk could not ignore that other Spock's pain. And he doesn't want a coerced bondmate. This is when our Spock has to do some thinking, about what he wants and why - and this is when he finally admits to himself, why he held off on consummating his bond to T'Pring, and why he took experimental drugs to delay his next pon farr - that he does want Kirk, has always wanted Kirk, that they will be fit and proper mates for one another. And when he goes to Kirk and admits that Kirk accepts him, knowing it is truly what they both desire. And they Bond, and it's lovely.

There's also a lot of nifty Vulcan stuff all through this novel, which strikes me as well worth using in other stories; supporting characters, including both McCoys, who are well drawn, and some truly lovely artwork by several different artists.

My favourite picture is one with Captain Spock in uniform, and our Kirk in his bathrobe. He has just told Spock something that surprised and amused him -and the artist caught them both perfectly. Spock with that not-a-smile he has. and Kirk looking at him full of love, looking all rumpled and tasty and, hmm—well, just-laid" is about the best way I can describe it. Scrumptious.

So, folks, don't write this one off. We all see these things through different eyes. You might find that you like this one as much as I do. For there were only a couple small changes I'd have made, and they are minor and unimportant. Check it out, if you haven't already. I give it a definite Two Dicks Up.[13]
... it's one of my favorite K/S novels, too! ... As a "what if?" scenario from Kirk's point of view, I find Broken Images absolutely convincing, and the alternate universe is compelling and so beautifully done. I think the novel's one weakness is the final section from Spock's POV, mostly because his motivation isn't developed enough to balance with Kirk's in the rest of the novel. But with just a little reading between the lines...hey, I still love this story! [14]
... Spock is no lamb, and that in this novel there is never any deep sense of how our Kirk feels about our Spock. This novel is an example of a Spock-pattern I see a lot in stories, and don't really understand. This Spock-pattern is gentle and non-violent at the core, not because he is controlling himself. He is sexually inert, naive, and embarrassed by nudity, and he has never admitted to himself that he loves Kirk. After the boyz start having sex, he loosens up and Kirk notices him making jokes. My question is, where does this guy come from? The Spock I see on screen is frequently sarcastic and sardonic, he chucks McCoy's chorus girls under the chin in "Shore Leave", he does everything but use the L-word about Jim talking to McCoy in "Bread and Circuses", he seethes with barely-suppressed violence in "Plato's Stepchildren," he diagnoses everyone's feelings in "Requiem for Methuselah," he does the Vulcan Finger Shimmy with the lucky Romulan Commander while under no external influence, and he generally stalks around vibrating with controlled power and sexuality. Yummy, yummy. I can't figure out if the people who see the lamb-Spock are ignoring canon that's important to me, or if they're seeing it differently. I tend to associate the lamb-Spock with writers—such as Sutherland or Leslie Fish who are Kirk-worshippers. In their cases it makes me feel as though their Kirk is almost vampiric, sucking away Spock's power and sexuality (and not in a good way). Or as though they see the Kirk-Spock equation as zero-sum, so that the only way they can make Kirk strong, heroic, commanding, and sexy is by weakening Spock. I'm stumped: you tell me.[15]
[2005]: Kirk is back at Halka and transports up in an ion storm (he never learns!) and ends up in another parallel universe. In this one Spock is a captain in the Vulcan Federation and his counterpart Jamie is First Officer and bonded to Spock. This Kirk does not have our Jim’s command-driven personality. Kirk appears to be stuck in this universe, Spock is suffering from a broken bond and they all believe Jamie to have died in the transference from the bond breaking. Kirk tries to adjust to his changed situation. He bonds with Spock to save his life and ends up loving him dearly. However over time he find it harder and harder to control his natural dominating personality and feels he is losing himself. This is a great novel with a lot of the original characters, all slightly different and plenty of interesting new characters, mostly Vulcan. Eventually an opportunity arises to go back to his own world. Contact is made and it is discovered Jamie is alive and the transference takes place with a lot of heartache involved.

The best part for me was Kirk back home and he bonds with his own Spock in a very loving meld and they make love. It would have been neat to have a final chapter with Captain Spock and Jamie rebonding as you come to care for them as well.

I enjoyed the whole story and it is definitely one I would love to own and reread.[16]

2004

...it was my very first K/S zine. I've since found others that I like better, but will never forget the thrill of that first K/S experience. Your words make me want to read it again—something I've not done for years. I do recall vividly walking up to an orphan zine table at my first con in 1984 (I think) and scanning for what might be that mysterious and tantalizing thing called K/S. I picked up Broken Images and flipped through the pages, nervous as a cat and wondering all the while if anyone was looking over my shoulder. When I read the words "He had to get to Spock. Spock needed him", I was hopelessly and forever hooked. Somehow I knew that Spock didn't need Kirk to help him solve a computer problem. I knew. This was what I'd been looking for! I read the passion and the desperation in those few words and couldn't wait for more.[17]

2007

This is the slash novel that made me believe in the K/S premise. Before I read this novel, I had been reading Star Trek slash for several years. When asked about slash, my reply had been, "Well, it's great one-handed reading. Then I read 'Broken Images' by Beverly Sutherland. This novel was brilliantly conceived and magnificently plotted! I watched both Star Trek episodes written by Theodore Sturgeon right after reading BI, and I have firmly believed since then that Sturgeon had K/S in mind as he wrote them. Hurt/comfort doesn't get any more intense! Need, romance, love and lust doesn't get any better! [18]

2008

Most K/S fans absolutely love Broken Images. It‘s considered to be one of the classic, must read K/S novels, and is wonderfully written with a very interesting plot. In this novel, another ion storm on the planet Halka switches the Kirks from two different universes. The James Kirk from one universe ('Jamie') winds up in our universe, and our Kirk finds himself in a completely different universe. Not the Mirror universe, but another universe where Vulcans are in power. Instead of the United Federation of Planets, there is the Vulcan Confederation of Planets. In this universe Captain Spock and his first officer Jamie are lovers, whereas in our universe Kirk and Spock are just friends. Captain Spock goes into pon farr and our Kirk mates with him to save his life. He even falls in love with him and bonds with him. He even falls so much in love with him that when a way is finally found to exchange James Kirk and Jamie, our Kirk‘s first reaction is to say no and stay with Captain Spock, despite the problems he‘s having adjusting to that universe. Finally, our Kirk returns to his own universe, but with a severed bond that will kill him unless our Spock bonds with him.

I love everything else this author has ever written, but while I liked many parts of ―Broken Images‖, overall it doesn't really work for me as a true K/S novel. One part I liked very much was our Kirk‘s struggles to adapt to that universe and his place in it. Plus, the author came up with a very interesting and well thought out Vulcan culture that she explores in the novel. But most of the novel focuses on the Captain Spock of that other universe and his relationship with our Kirk. Captain Spock is a fascinating character, but he‘s nothing like our Spock. He‘s a completely different person. In this alternate universe, Captain Spock is the leader and Jamie the follower. Captain Spock is the dominant partner, and is protective of his weaker mate. Jamie is the one who turned down a command of his own to stay with Captain Spock. The dynamics between Captain Spock and Jamie are almost the reverse of those between our Kirk and Spock.

I would have liked this novel a lot more if it had switched back and forth between our Kirk in the other universe and our Spock in this universe, and let us know what Spock was doing in our universe while Kirk was in the alternate universe. But that doesn‘t happen. Also I would have liked to have read a lot more about our Kirk and Spock when they are reunited once more. But there are only 24 pages at the end of the novel after our Kirk returns to this universe, and really only 10 pages with Kirk and Spock together, in a 286 page novel. Our Spock is hardly in this novel, and this is another reason why 'Broken Images' is not one of my favorite K/S novels. It‘s really a 'K/with somebody other than Spock' novel rather than a K/S novel. It‘s very well written and very engrossing, but I wanted to see more of our Spock, and a lot more of our Kirk and Spock together! Anyway, I did enjoy this novel quite a bit – it just didn‘t have enough K/S in it for me. (However, I think mine is a minority opinion – every time this novel is discussed, quite a few fans declare it is their favorite K/S novel.) [19]

2010

Broken Images is by Beverly Sutherland, who also wrote "Resting Place", an AU from TWOK where Spock did die and Jim chose to follow after a year of sorrow and loneliness. That one knocks me on my arse every time I read it and this is another damned good read...

[much explanation of plot and other interesting stuff snipped]

...Some folks think Jim is OOC in this one; I disagree, he is himself and tries very hard to make things work in both universes. This novel also has tons of amazing artwork; my personal favourite pic is of a rueful-looking Captain Spock being nuzzled by his sleepy and affectionate, half-dressed Human bondmate and it is gorgeous art. Finally, there's one last thing I really like about this novel, and I nearly forgot to mention it! The author has invented a whole bunch of new Vulcan culture, since in this universe Vulcan, not Earth, rules -- and yet it meshes very well with what we already knew from such folks as the wonderful Ted Sturgeon and DC Fontana. This new Vulcan is, like our, primarily peaceful -- but in this timeline Surak's teachings are somewhat modified. The Vulcans practice suppression and control, but primarily of violent emotions, not of all. These Vulcans smile, they frown, they laugh, without ever seeming out of character. The Warrior culture is still practiced here, the Warrior rituals giving strength and better control to those who practice them. There's a sequence where Captain Spock, along with Jim, leads a ceremony for a bonded pair of Warriors, to help them weave their bond more closely, and the writing is just gorgeous. There's a dance the Warriors do at the end of the night, before retiring, where they dance ever closer to one another without touching at all, and the UST is delicious. I'm a total sucker for S'Kandari stories, and to find that mixed in here just made it all the more fun for me. The new parts fit smoothly together and I've borrowed at least one of them myself for another story -- the Vulcan clan office of T'schar'vi, the Arbiter of the Way. This was Captain Spock's medical officer, and it was he who melded with Jim before his bonding, to be sure he was willing. Just another example of the care and polishing that obviously went into this one. And for those like me who are hopeless Vulcanalia junkies, what's not to like?

So, if you like a rip-roaring adventure AU with lots of lovely sexytimes and art and thrills and all, this is the zine for you!! [20]

2011

You'll get my Perestrioka, White Rabbit, Lucifer Falling, Whisper of a Kill, Injured Innocents, Choices, Cosmic Collected, Broken Images, Second Grace, Harlequin Airs, Pandora's Box Affair, Primal Instincts 2, I Still Have Plans, and a variety of multi-media zines [out of my hands] only after my body is dust.[21]

2014

Beverly Sutherland was a great writer and a wonderful person. Her death is a great loss to her many friends and to our fandom. I am so glad this novel is being posted here for a new generation to read.[22]
I dislike most AU stories, but I found this one extemely interesting.[23]
Glad to see this posted! One thing though, is that there is explicit rape in this story, arguably on more than one occasion. The way the rape is dealt with - ie., its aftermath - is also very problematic by present day standards. I'm putting that out there as a trigger warning - I'd say the story is still very much worth reading, but I'm sure that many people - myself included - will find a good part of this story quite disturbing.[24]
[regarding chapter 5]: It is fascinating to read (or re-read) this story from the vantage point of 30+ years later and see how fandom's expectations about the characters and their society have changed. In 1983, K/S fans had to work against the pervasive counter-argument, "but they're not gay." Now, it's pretty much a given that the guys are bisexual or primarily gay and that 23d century Federation society has at the very least given them permission to express their sexuality, and indeed, actively encourages it. Of course, our own society has evolved to the point that marraoge equality is the law in most of the United States.[25]
[regarding chapter 6]: An interesting narrative choice, to begin this chapter, more or less without expanation that a significant period of time had passed, reveal first that Kirk had rejected Spock, and then eventually s how how it happened. I am not sure that it totally worked, but I found this very skilled writing, and appreciated the fact that in the end the conflict between them was shown vividly.[26]
One thing I love about this story is how creepy the alternate McCoy is - his loyalty to Spock at all costs, even if that means sacrificing Kirk, and his ostensible concern for Kirk which is still subsumed by that overriding allegiance to Spock. It's also so interesting how subtly she addresses Spock's response to that - what does Spock think about McCoy's actions, especially in relation to whatever love he has for Kirk? For instance, he justifies McCoy's actions in a way that makes me think he might be in denial about how serious they were... [excerpt snipped] ... It's not quite clear where Spock's priorities lie - his own need for self-preservation vs. his motivation to protect Kirk. And maybe that desire to protect Kirk stems from his guilt over what he has ultimately done.[27]
[regarding chapter 7]: I think this is one of the most beautiful and erotic bonding/pon farr scenes I've read.[28]
A wonderfully written story, thanks for posting it!... We now perceive some motives and tropes as cliched, and I love the careful, gentle and profound approach which can sometimes be found in old fanfiction. The author seems to write as if stepping with awe on some unexplored and exciting land, and the reader gets to feel a part of it.[29]

2016

It is a crackin' good read that stands the test of time and shows us how an AU story can deepen our understanding of the canonical universe.[30]

References

  1. from Agent With Style
  2. from Not Tonight, Spock! #3
  3. from Universal Translator #21
  4. from TREKisM #32 (1983)
  5. from Universal Translator #21 (1984)
  6. from Not Tonight, Spock! #3 (1984)
  7. from an LoC in On the Double #2
  8. from The LOC Connection #14 (1990)
  9. comments by Sandy Hereld at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (April 5, 1993)
  10. from Come Together #18 (1995)
  11. from The K/S Press #20 (1998)
  12. from The K/S Press #27 (1998)
  13. from The K/S Press #30 (1999)
  14. from The K/S Press #31 (1999)
  15. from The K/S Press #35 (1999)
  16. from The K/S Press #103 (2005)
  17. from The K/S Press #90
  18. from an ebay seller in 2007
  19. from The K/S Press #147 (2008)
  20. from The K/S Press #164 (2010)
  21. a March 24, 2011 comment on a mailing list, quoted anonymously
  22. comment by Dunyazad at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, November 23, 2014
  23. comment by WeirdLittleStories at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, November 23, 2014
  24. comment murt by at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, November 23, 2014
  25. comment by Dunyazad at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, November 30, 2014
  26. comment by Dunyazad at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, December 3, 2014
  27. comment murt by at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, December 12, 2014
  28. comment AshayaTReldai at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, December 12, 2014
  29. comment skaylin by at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, December 14, 2014
  30. comment by kslangley at What was your first fandom?, August 28, 2016