Captives (Star Trek: TOS zine)

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Zine
Title: Captives
Publisher: Pulsar Press?
Editor:
Author(s): Diana King
Cover Artist(s): Merle Decker
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1981
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Captives is a Star Trek: TOS h/c R-rated 160-page novel by Diana King. The story is dedicated to Carol Frisbie. The zine won a TrekStar Award.

Cover art by Merle Decker

Slash or Gen or Something Else?

While the Star Trek Zinedex lists it as gen[1], the Beyond Dreams Press database lists it as K/S [2]. In the zine, the author makes no mention of the story's genre, but the story is a very strong pre-slash, if not slash, one.

"There is some controversy when this novel is included on any list of K/S stories. As the novel ends, Kirk and Spock are together again, not lovers...yet...although there is the distinct possibility they may soon take their relationship to a sexual level." [3]

About a Possible Sequel

In 1984, the author was asked about a sequel:
Whenever this question is asked, I always feel highly complimented and very touched. Unfortunately I always have to answer in the negative. When I wrote Captives, I was doing two things: First I was telling my own fantasy about Spock’s having to drink a slave dealer under the table in order to buy back an injured Kirk; second, I was trying to work out my own explanation of a way (aside from pon farr) that they might come to the point of admitting a physical interest in each other. I ended the story where I did because to continue it (and resolve Kirk’s hang-up about his mistreatment on Orion) would have meant writing another 50 to 100 pages of heavily psychological stuff. I’m just not very interested in that part of the story, and I couldn’t do it justice…. [4]

Some Excerpts

"Anger is even more of a trap than love. Logic, rationality, discipline: these are the only things that work. Control must be maintained. Besides to hurt him, consciously and deliberately, would be unthinkable. I could not do it, especially when he is already in agony. He cannot take that kind of pain for long. No Human could. He must have relief soon. If only there was a way to reach him. If I only I could touch him and ease the pain, and let him rest." (page 19)
"And all the while, another section of his mind was reflecting upon the strangeness of the experience, of running his hands over the body of a another male -- his superior officer, as well -- in this intimate fashion. Something he would never have sought permission to do. Something he would not even have allowed himself to imagine doing. Ordinarily, they had very little physical contact, and that -- with one exception -- only of a most casual nature... Not that he found it repellent or unpleasant not. Quite the opposite... When Kirk opened his eyes, the agonized embarrassment was back in them. So was the blush on his cheeks... It took only seconds for Spock to perceive the reason: Kirk's organ had begun to rise and harden again, and this time, clearly, he was responding to his friend's nearness and touch, not to any woman's." (page 80)
"Solemn brown Vulcan eyes looked directly into the bright Terran ones, searching for any slight doubt or hesitation, finding none. 'Is it really possible,' Spock wondered, 'that one of these days, this proud, free-spirited man will come to me and willingly grand the submission no one else can have?' Kirk saw the warm light in Spock's eyes and had no trouble guessing the thought behind it. He was pleased that he felt no trepidation -- well, hardly any -- over the prospect. He found himself staring at the pointed Vulcan ears and speculationg whimsically. Hie expression must have grown quissical, for Spock suddenly asked, 'Is there something wrong?' The daydream shattered by the question, Kirk blinked and flashed him a quick, brilliant smile. "Not at all... Your move." (page 160, the last paragraph)

Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

Kirk is injured and captured by slavers; Spock rescues him and assists in his rehabilitation. This was one of the better examples of the genre [hurt/comfort]. It won the 1982 TrekStar Award for Best Writer.[5]
Full of angst, hurt-comfort, and deep emotional connection between Kirk and Spock. While not strictly slash, it is very strongly pre-slash in tone. [6]
Kirk is taken by a slave trader while on a planet to pick up a gift for Spock and Spockʼs only hope is to manage to buy his captain back from his new owner. [7]
I was so impressed with this author's writing. The simplest description of how effective the writing was, is that it was written so simply. I was seldom even aware of the writing; I was just following the story, and it was a can't-put-it-down story. It's an enviable thing, to read something that seems as if the author was never groping or grasping for words; yet the words weren't dull or first-level. It was plenty vivid and emotionally expressive. Kirk is captured by Orions and sold as a slave; Spock has to pose as a slave trader to rescue him. This was the first half. When they finally got back safely to the ship about halfway through, I wondered with what in the world DK was doing to fill up the whole second half. Not a problem. They had so much to work out between them; and I never got tired of their approach-and-retreat or the interior-monologue scenes. There were some beautifully heartbreaking scenes, in their individual thoughts and in their conversations (and in their not- conversing) when I despaired of their ever coming together. The whole thing was imaginative and convincing, exciting, painful, erotic, true to character; a wonderful read, and with intense issues, such as Spock's possessiveness. There was perhaps one "fault," though I don't know how this could have been worked around any better. In the second half, we get at great length all the nuances of each of their feelings for the other, and about themselves, too. It seems this could have been established earlier; but I see how DK wouldn't have wanted to slow down the first half with all of this. Actually, I'm not even certain about this evaluation, because at the same time, I think she made it seem as if these very nuances were only coming clear to each of them now, after this experience, because of this experience. However, when I was reading it, I thought, hey, we're only learning now how Spock has felt about his captain since the very first day? Only learning now how Kirk has felt all these years about his sexuality? Etc. I see this would be a difficult novel to structure. (I see any novel would be difficult to structure!) There is no actual sex between Kirk and Spock in this novel; nor does it end with even physical affection. I don't think it could be called pre-K/S though, because the sexual nature of what's going on between them is never veiled, and there is sex in a dream, etc. It's just that sex between these two, in these circumstances, after what had happened throughout this whole novel, would have been extraordinarily powerful I'm sure. [8]
Most of my life in fandom, I have not been a fan of the hurt/comfort or get stories, and while 'Captives' has both of these elements present, it also has a good storyline that holds the reader's attention. In 'Captives,' Kirk is taken prisoner by a group of slavers on a planet involved in delicate political negotiations with the Federation. Rather than risk a diplomatic incident by rescuing him by force, it is decided that Spock must masquerade as a slaver himself and simply buy Kirk's freedom. In the process of doing this, Spock is forced to face some truths that he has never confronted before about himself and Kirk and the feelings involved between them. His dilemma is made more intense by a lingering mental contact with Kirk which permits him to experience Kirk's physical distress. For his own part, Kirk is drugged, beaten, and sexually molested, and generally mistreated. He eventually falls victim to a local disease which adds to his discomfort (and Spock's). The first half of the zine focuses on Spock's efforts to rescue Kirk, while the second portion provides the reader with an insight into how Kirk and Spock learn to deal with and act upon the many things they have learned about each other during their ordeal... The theme of K/S is present over-all and there are one or two explicit passages, but for the most part, the theme is treated tastefully and in an inoffensive manner. I personally liked the author's use of restraint in regard to the developing relationship between Kirk and Spock. No hasty conclusions are reached, no sudden decisions are made. There are plenty of 'ifs' and 'maybes' left at the end of the story, as is true of all budding relationships. If there is a fault in the story, it is in the fact that there is a great deal of narration that might possibly been more effective if it had been handled as dialogue, but over-all that is a minor point when considered with the whole zine. [9]
An interesting story, well-plotted and well executed. The story is divided Into two parts -- the first filled with action (Kirk captured and suffering while Spock struggles to save him) while the second consists more of dialogue and musing (as the characters recover from the events of the first half and decide Its impact on their lives). CAPTIVES is a story of a developing Klrk/Spock relationship, a get Kirk story and an excellent look into the characters of both top Enterprise officers. Throughout the entire flist half, this reviewer remained glued to the page, eagerly awaiting the success of Spock's rescue mission, and In fact read well into the wee hours to reach the end of the zine. Basically, the premise of the story Involves Kirk's capture by petty criminals while on the planet Orion. Disgusted that the Federation officer they intended to rob had little cash, the sadistic characters take Kirk and mistreat him while waiting to sell him into slavery, a practice which is still legal on some parts of Orion. King has done a good job of integrating the personal story of Kirk with the background intrigue -- the two herein are irretrievably linked. The Orion political situation is tense. Most of the planet's population desires membership in the Federation, while rebel forces controlled by wealthy slave owners and dealers stand to lose out by such an affiliation. The Enterprise cannot simply break Kirk out. An incident would result, casing a breakdown m membership negotiations. Spock has to wheel and deal to save Kirk. We are told the story of what is taking place both on the planet with Kirk and aboard the ship as Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew attempt to ascertain what has befallen their Captain. King does what she excels at --creating new characters and extrapolating their culture while interweaving them with strong performances by minor Trek characters as well as the Big Three. On the planet, the reader has the advantage over Kirk. The Captain does not speak the Orion language and is therefore confused as to what is happening to him most of the time. We are allowed to understand the characters there and even peek Into their points of view occasionally. The effect adds to the suspense rather than limiting the enjoyment. Aboard the ship, Scott, Uhura, McCoy, Sulu and Spock work with local authorities as they speculate on Kirk's possible fate and determine ways to effect his rescue. Some portions of these scenes do rehash what the reader already knows, but in general they serve to Increase the draw and realism of the story. So often, writers focus solely on the major characters. When all the familiar people are used, a story Is made more Interesting to the mass audience. Kirk and Spock are central to the plot and action though and their portrayal is accurate. Both emerge as strong yet vulnerable. King has a knack for capturing what is generally referred to as "aired-Trek" characterizations. In this latest work, she has done it again; the characters ring true, though in this instance what has occurred would not crop up on TV as an episode. (rats!) As a get-story, CAPTIVES touches on what must be a favorite fantasy — Kirk as love slave. The Captain certainly is vulnerable throughout, though of course he retains his strength of will as he tries to survive. Through injuries, humiliation and illness, however, King somehow manages to refrain from inflicting permanent damage. Kirk sees, and the reader along with him, what a nasty world he has fallen into and learns the consequences of bad behavior, yet extreme violence is avoided. This makes the story no less compelling, the danger no less real — yet anyone who usually dislikes and is upset by the violent works of fan fiction should not find CAPTIVES to be among the more disturbing. Those who like to read "pain and agony" though, will not be disappointed. King has achieved a good balance here as well. The reader is not the only one who knows Kirk is suffering. On the Enterprise, Spock feels the pain his friend is enduring through a tenuous mind link between then, the existence or which the Human knows nothing. The device of the accidental link, formed during the melds they've had In the past, has been done before, of course. It works well during the first half of the story, though. What's the point of Kirk suffering If Spock doesn't know about it? The link also functions to draw the two closer together. The relationship up to this time has been of a deepening friendship, but Kirk's danger and the use to which both male and female owners on Orion might put him force Spock to confront his own escalating feelings. Of course, a rescue is finally effected. In the most powerful scene of the novel, Spock poses as an Orion dealer and wins Kirk from an opposing bidder through a drinking contest. Spock's becoming inebriated is done in masterful fashion and the scene has its amusing aspects as well as painful ones. Once back aboard the Enterprise though, In part two, the tempo of the story changes,. It is hard to fault the writer here — CAPTIVES would not be a complete novel if Kirk did not deal with his experiences on Orion and he and Spock did not attempt to answer questions about their changing relationship. Concentrating on conversations between the principals and their inner musings about the situation, the second part of the novel lacks the compelling force of the action-packed first half. Any more plot complications at this stage, however, would seem contrived. In the second section, the accidental bond becomes the area of contention as Kirk finds out about It and Spock wrestles with his emotions and guilts... [10]
What terrible things the writers let Kirk go through.... All what the imagination can come with he has to go through... for the joy of us readers and for Spock to rescue him! In this novel Kirk has a real bad time. On a private mission to Orion he is assaulted. Because his assailants find nothing of value, they decide to bring him to a region where slavery is still possible and they sell him as a slave. Kirk tries to escape but is captured again and as punishment he is beaten severely. He has some broken ribs and a sore ankle, because a kind of dog has bitten him there. In the mean time is the crew of the Enterprise looking for their captain. With help of the local form of police they find out that he was assaulted. The police have an idea what had happened to Kirk and where they have to look for him. Due to the recently started negotiations between the Federation and Orion this must be handled with care. Some Orions don't want to join the Federation and they form rebel groups and they rule large parts of Orion. There is a kind of link between Spock and Kirkt and Spock is able to feel the pain Kirk is suffering. The link is a result of frequent mind melds between the two of them, but Spock had not told it to Kirk. It has an effect on Spock's concentration and controls. At least they find a way to free Kirk: After locating him they cannot just beam him out there, because of the precarious political situation on Orion. The only way to get him free is to buy him from the slave-owners. And so Spock goes, disguised as Orion and with a new kind of device with which he can tap from the memory of a former Orion slave-dealer, who is now helping him to get Kirk free, to the place where an auction will take place in order to by Kirk. In the meantime Kirk's suffering is increased. He is infected by some Orion disease, a coughing disease. His trachea and lungs are inflamed and he has to cough violently. That gives him terrible pains. Just imagine: violent cough attacks when your ribs are broken... Ouch! Spock is able to buy Kirk, but in order to do so he had to join a drinking contest. Under influence of the alcohol he calls something in English with only Kirk understands. I still wonder why the Orions didn't react on that. Spock get Kirk out of the house but he collapses because of alcohol poisoning, but fortunately Kirk is able to call the Enterprise and they are home. Kirk recovers slowly and Spock is embarrassed about what he had said to Kirk in his drunken fit and he has to acknowledge that his feeling for Kirk are more then friendship. When Kirk finally remembers what Spock had said on the auction, he realizes that Spock wants himt just as the slavers had wanted his body, and he is confused. Spock tells Kirk of their unintended bond and of his feelings. Kirk does not know if he ever can feel physical love for Spock, and they decide to break the bond. Kirk is thinking this over and over and finally comes to the conclusion that he does not want to lose Spock. When he has an erotic dream about Spock he changes his mind. There are still some obstacles to overrun, but in the end they try to start with their new relationship. This is really a wonderful story. It is well written, has a lot of angst and quite a little comfort, but there are no false sentimentalities. Kirk is very real in his continuing resistance to his imprisonment, to the humiliating thins done to him. On the other side, he is realistic enough to see that he cannot escape, that he has to accept what his captors do to him. Finally, Kirk is struggling with his accepting of a relationship with Spock, and his turmoil of feelings and thoughts is very well written. Spock is as logical and Vulcan as ever, And yet. there is that weak spot in him for Kirk. He knows of the link between them, but he hesitates telling it to Kirk, because he is afraid this easy rapport between them will vanish. During the story he realizes his growing feelings for Kirk and the necessity to keep his distance from him, because Kirk does not reciprocate this feelings. This novel is a good example for the ongoing discussion weather a story is K/S or not. It contains almost no sex. There is only that erotic dream from Kirk. And yet it is a very K/S-story. very romantic and full of feelings. The novel would be perfect when in the end there was a little tasty sex-scene... but as a whole I consider 'Captives' one of the best zines I have read. [11]
Terrific detailed story of Kirk being kidnapped, sold into slavery, Spock to the rescue, and the emotional aftermath. Poor Kirk is really put through the old proverbial ringer with domination, injuries, illness, drugs and a hefty dose of lechery. Spock's attempt at rescuing Kirk is fraught with wonderful tension and edge-of-your-seat scenes. The manner in which he masquerades as an alien slave trader is one of (he most imaginative things I have ever read. The rescue involves an implant that connects an Orion with Spock mentally so he kind of absorbs all the other's knowledge. Comes in very handy when one wants to pretend to be someone else. (I wonder if it works with pod-people?)'

There are drawbacks and difficulties to this novel, however. Not enough sex (boy, am I spoiled!) and some meandering, unclear writing with lots of POV changes (those drat things!) and plenty of telling-not-showing. The sex is of the "romance novel" variety—lots of melting into each other's arms and darn!—instead of a nice, fully-realized sex scene at the end, they just talk about how they will be doing it soon.

Also, there's an almost funny element—unintentional. I'm sure, but Kirk and Spock continually insist (especially Kirk who insists the loudest) that they are not homosexual. It reminded me of the TV show, "Seinfeld", the episode where the characters kept insisting they weren't gay but "Not that there's anything wrong with it."

But it's still a very exciting read. Kirk and Spock's mental link (Spock experiences pain along with Kirk) and their unspoken feelings for each other is portrayed expertly. And talk about expertly done— this author creates an entire, fully-realized alien culture and society. I so admire the skill and talent to do so fully and completely.

One of those scenes that you'll never forget is the drinking scene where Spock engages in a ritual/contest to win Kirk. Boy, that was so exciting and so wonderful while Spock succumbs to 90 proof! And heart be still when Spock leaps up to proclaim: "Take your hands off him! He's mine!"

The second pan of the novel centers around Kirk and Spock's difficulties in establishing their relationship. I enjoyed a lot of it, there was good emotional angst with questions of bonding, love, sexual needs and fidelity. The only difficulty I had was all this material was presented as in-depth inner dialogue of both of them—with lengthy inner psychotherapy and the ability to explore all facets of the emotional issues. Not only were they able to explore inside themselves, but they discussed everything together just as easily. With this kind of ability and this much insight, I found myself wondering why they had any problems.

But I must say that I still enjoyed listening in on all the neat, juicy emotional stuff. I really loved all the ideas about their bond and their lives together.

I highly recommend Captives [12]
Captives was a really good read, it very nearly makes my top ten list! It has just the classic style that I like, which may have something to do with the fact it was published in 1981. despite its age I would thoroughly recommend this novel. It is really almost h/c rather than K/S as there is no real nookie at the end, I wish there could have been a sequel, but I guess it's a bit late to ask for this now! The basic plot is that Kirk gets kidnapped and basically sold to a slave dealer, perhaps not very original to us today but it's well worked out, how the government is reluctant to help much for political reasons. Kirk and Spock's realisations of their feelings are well described, especially Spock's. There are some lovely moments, when Kirk is rescued and afterwards, and I love his gift to Spock (a chess set done with pieces in the likeness of the crew). All in all a well worked out story with simple but strong plot and nice characterisations. My only complaint is that we didn't get to see them seduce one another at the end, because if they had done this in the same tone of the whole novel it would have been really lovely not to mention sexy! [13]
The basic plot of CAPTIVES is very simple. While buying a birthday present for Spock, Kirk is captured by Orion slave traders who plan to sell him as a piece of exotic erotica, the ultimate destination being a pleasure house in Bazrahd. The legitimate government of Orion Defuses to interfere in the matter -slavery being quite legal in the area in which he was captured -and Spock has to find a way to recover Kirk without directly involving the government. And there is an additional complication. Kirk is both ill and injured, and Spock can feel his pain through a tenuous mindlink that has grown up through the years. Now I realize that the slavery bit is not the most original storyline in Treklit, but few have done it as well as Diana King. Her forte is characterization, and while the story proceeds to a conclusion somewhat slowly by action/adventure criteria, the reader is allowed to savor to the fullest each and every indignity heaped on the loyal pair. The story has hurt/ comfort, K/S and hetero-sexual sexploitation elements; however, Ms. King skillfully manages to be erotic without being particularly explicit. The last third of the novel, in which Kirk and Spock attempt to deal with the "unwanted and surprising emotions" developed during Kirk's recovery, contains extremely well-done introspection on the part of the characters. And there are some nice, tacky scenes for us dirty old ladies to savor. For example, slaves are customarily given an aphrodisiac before being placed on the auction block, and the potential buyers are allowed to examine the merchandise publicly and thoroughly. Kirk's auction is one slave auction you're not going to want to miss. And then there's the incredible drunken Spock ... but that would be telling. Now: don't get me wrong! this isn't just another trashy novel. This is a professional quality piece of adult literature done with love and skill. If for nothing else, buy it to see how characterization is done. [14]
At the very limit between h/c and slash, this novel shows Kirk captured by slavers, and Spock masquarading as a slave buyer to rescue him. The lenghts to which he'll go and his reactions during the process will bring about a few realizations about the nature of his feelings for his captain. Skillfully written, with a bit of old-fashionness in the style, this is a true classic of hurt/comfort. The abduction and rescue were compellingly and cleverly plotted and paced, with original ideas to make Spock pass off as a planet's native. Great angst and introspection due both to circumstances and feeling confusion, and some nice bits of tension as well. [15]
Urgh! Not a necessary addition to a fanzine collection. I don not think that either character would have this happen. The possibility of this type of slavery exists in the UFP but the 180 degree turnable is not the right conclusion, I feel. [16]

An 1981 Exchange of Letters Regarding K/S

In 1981, the year "Captives" was published, the author and a fan had an exchange of LoCs in Trekism at Length #2.

Some excerpts:

Ginny T. wrote:
...I find that I am beginning to actually resent the casting of my beloved Kirk and Spock in the homo presentation which seems to be so prevalent in fan fiction! I think it would have been healthier to have used Rand, Chapel, or Uhura in the role of ‘Captive’ and Kirk, Sulu, Scott, or one of the other crew members as ‘Rescuer’—and infinitely more believable....

I truly feel that Diana King created the classic form of ‘characterization rape’ [17] in Captives—due probably to the accelerated popularity of soft porn and homosexuality in ST fan writing. And I deplore the trend whether I stand alone on the issue or not!

The original concept of the K/S relationship, to my way of thinking, was the slow development of a brotherly acceptance of each other’s weaknesses and strengths—they become, in essence, ‘family’ because of the strain and danger in their world of starships and space exploration. However, recently the personalities of the characters have been so bent out of shape by the various writers forcing homo endings on the captain/first officer or human/Vulcan association that fans have been led to believe that is the only logical conclusion! I offer here a new ‘problem’ for the readers to assess; if Kirk and Spock are, indeed, brothers, literally family (as unspoken adoption or because of the linking of minds as sometimes happens between human siblings), is not a homo situation also classified as incestuous? Is not that the actual description of such a homo relationship rather than simply a form of sexual expression that wishful thinking writers are attempting to force upon fandom?

In a time of the destruction of hero images (beginning with Watergate down to Billie Jean King) isn’t this K/S theme more of a cop-out than trying to explore realistic male connections between two very intelligent, physically attractive (to the opposite sex—without any doubt), dedicated Star Fleet officers? (Besides, who’s going to mind the store while Kirk and Spock are wrestling below decks during a Klingon attack!) This about face of two very virile men is hard to understand.... The premise presented by the writers of a K/S homosexual theme indicate that the officers could ‘have their cake and eat it, too,’ an almost incredible concept in light of the importance of their functions as captain and first officer of a prestigious starship....

Lovers can, and do, divorce each other. So what happens when the flame cools and Kirk or Spock tire of the situation—one of them transfers? In reverse, brothers cannot completely separate themselves—they are forever members of a relationship no matter how far apart they may fluctuate mentally or physically. The quality of empathy and concern will always be there whether they choose to admit it or not...I think that was what Gene R. originally intended when he created the characters—they were more deeply committed to each other spiritually, to a level that a sexual one could not attain! A sexual liaison can occur anytime, between almost anyone, for more or less impersonal reasons. But a true brotherly (or sisterly) involvement only happens between two completely sincerely concerned individuals and can only be terminated by the death of one of them.

How much more intriguing, interesting and difficult that relationship would be for a writer to explore! And with the Vulcan mind connection, how much more believable and realistic! The superficial titillation of sex between the two beings is, unfortunately, becoming passé because the theme has been done over and over so many times.

I feel that the characters of Kirk and Spock are above that level, for one reason because during their journeys around the galaxy, they have discovered and learned about so many alien sexual practices, both bizarre and acceptable, that homosexuality suddenly seems terribly childish and insignificant on reflection. And, since the sexual revolution of the 20th century, human (as Vulcan) sexual habits became more mature and [were] eventually assigned to priority levels of lesser importance in the evolutionary process. Procreation finally was accepted as the chief purpose of sex, and after allowance of teenaged experimentation and resulting boredom, 23rd century mankind relegated other more mentally stimulating practices above those of sexual properties. The Vulcans had arrived at the same conclusion much earlier in their evolution, resulting in the perpetuation of Pon Farr as the only means of continuing the species!

Kendra H’s ‘Characterization Rape’ in Trek magazine #13 (Ed note: reprinted in The Best of Trek #2, published by Signet) covers the question quite adequately, I believe, when she responds to the K/S homo theme (back in 78!): ‘But I wonder if it wasn’t the result of writers having nothing left to write about.’ Can’t we find writers out there in fandom who can rescue Kirk and Spock effectually from the sexual mire in which they have become entrapped by insensitive writers?
Diana K. responded:
...But now I suppose I should say something about this business of ‘characterization rape.’ The problem as I see it is that Ginny is arguing from a premise I consider faulty: namely, that to present Kirk and Spock as lovers (or even potential lovers) is, ipso facto, to push them out of character, to ruin the characterization. Obviously I don’t agree....

To me, it seems futile to rehash the Great K/S Debate. The arguments generate much heat, but little light or movement. What it boils down to is that some of us can accept the idea of Kirk and Spock as lovers, and some of us can’t....

Some of Ginny’s over-all bias about sex comes through when she says it would have been ‘healthier’ to cast a female as the captive, when she speaks of the ‘about face of two very virile men,’ and when she gives her view of what the prevailing sexual attitudes will be in the 23rd century. I question whether it is really ‘healthier’ to imagine a woman being menaced and molested by Thellis and Merlis [characters in the zine]. I don’t see that becoming lovers would diminish the virility of Kirk and Spock one iota. And as for the 23rd century, I don’t think the people there will regard adult sex as boring and unimportant, and I prefer to believe that they will regard a homosexual relationship as neither unhealthy nor childish—nor immoral—but rather as just one possible (and not even permanent) choice out of several—all of them fulfilling under certain circumstances. I also think Kirk and Spock would be more broad-minded than some of their 20th century fans are.

Another point: I must take exception to two other statements Ginny makes, one about fans being ‘led to believe that is the only logical conclusion’ and the other about ‘a form of sexual expression that wishful thinking writers are attempting to force upon fandom.’ I hope there aren’t too many people who share these views. The pro-K/S people I know have no wish to ram their preferences down anyone’s throat; they just want to be able to read and write and print their kinds of stories without being censored or accused of defiling Trek. Many are like me in saying that there are many ways of looking at the Kirk-Spock relationship and that some, but not all, of these involve a sexual dimension....
Ginny T. responded:
...I certainly can protest [Kirk and Spock becoming homosexuals], especially since I feel it is a distinct departure from the established outlines of the characters’ original creations. Once again I must refer to Kendra H’s article ‘Characterization Rape’ which says it all so well.... I have accumulated a good cross section, I believe, of fan fiction with many treatments of episode continuations, Mary Sue, hurt/comfort, and ‘adult’ interpretations—the latter seemingly dominating more recent publications. As a result, if one wants to read material above the 6th grade level, one must indulge in ‘adult’ zines or suffer slow starvation! However, I have found two or three mature zines that used adult themes sparingly, enough to attract adult readership, yet retained a sense of good taste that allow almost anyone to read them. But then there are various shades of ‘sexually explicit’ zines and some of them can be good reading for those forewarned adults who choose them. Again, I feel the extremes do not relate to the original concept of Star Trek but would fit almost any cast assigned to the writer, otherwise....

As for the great K/S debate—I did not join the Star Trek movement to become involved in political, personal, or sexual controversies! I am merely exercising my rights as a reader to express an opinion of a theme which I feel is out of character....

One final argument, since the homosexual hue and cry has been ‘homosexuals are born, not made’ does this mean that Ms. King believes the opposite by presenting an obviously heterosexual male (Kirk) as a budding homosexual (after all these years)? I find that hard to accept. Or that our two macho Star Fleet officers of vigorous physical and mental indoctrination could be so wishy-washy as to be bi-sexual? Somehow that doesn’t ring true to me...

Diana K.’s final response:

...Naturally one’s underlying assumptions about sex will affect one’s view of the K/S question. If I have read Ginny’s two letters correctly, some of her assumptions are these: first, that procreation is ‘the chief purpose of sex’; second, that sex is ‘of lesser importance ‘ among both human and Vulcan activities; third, that sex is, in fact, ‘one of our present human weaknesses’ which needs to be overcome...; fourth, that sex therefore would not be the most important element in a close relationship between two people; fifth, that to be either bisexual or homosexual is surely to be weak (‘wishy-washy,’ ‘childish,’ definitely not virile or macho). Of all of these, the only one I can possibly agree with is the fourth....

If you find that your views are in line with Ginny’s assumptions, then you are probably as indignant as she when you encounter K/S literature. You probably agree with her that having Kirk and Spock admit a sexual attraction for other and begin a physical relationship would not only take their attention away from more worthwhile pursuits but also would—in your eyes— diminish their manliness, rob them of their heroic attributes, and make them unworthy of your respect. Hence, unwilling to see them thus degraded you apply the term ‘characterization rape’ to a K/S story. But I suggest that the problem is not so much the way the author has presented the characters as it is the way the reader perceives the characters through her own specially-colored glasses, and if any rape is taking place, it’s on the readers’ side, not the writer’s....

In spite of all that, Ginny and I are in agreement now and then. For instance, we agree that the Kirk-Spock friendship is a wonderfully complex relationship, and that there is a great deal yet to be written about it that does not involve bedroom antics. I’m all for writers (me included) turning out good stories exploring other aspects of the relationship. But does that mean that K/S writers must stop? What’s wrong with having your cake and eating it, if you can actually find a way to do it?...

References

  1. Star Trek TOS Zinedex: Contents - C
  2. The K/S Zine Database
  3. from The K/S Zine: The Time of the Beginning 1976-1985
  4. from Not Tonight, Spock! Interview with Diana King
  5. Joan Verba: Boldy Writing page 61
  6. from an eBay seller in 2006
  7. from Gilda F
  8. from The K/S Press #2
  9. from Datazine #10
  10. from Stylus #1
  11. from The K/S Press #22
  12. from Come Together #32
  13. from The K/S Press #46
  14. from TREKisM #19
  15. 4 September 2009 Master List of K/S Favorites *Updated Nov 19, 2013*, Mary Monroe
  16. from Beyond Antares #28
  17. She is commenting here on the article Characterization Rape: An Examination of Fan Fiction.