Crossroads (Star Trek: TOS zine)
|Publisher:||Pon Farr Press|
|Author(s):||Alexis Fegan Black|
|Cover Artist(s):||Chris Soto|
|Medium:||print zine, fanfic|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|External Links:||online flyer|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
From Gilda F:...dealing w/ Spock's 20-year deception, Kirk's resignation from Starfleet & his subsequent involvement with a "human" Spock from another realm. Twists & turns, treachery & triumph.... Meet a Spock who has left Starfleet, presumably forever, and a Kirk who has resigned his position due to high-level treachery within Starfleet Command and the Federation High Council. Separated, each must learn to cope with his new life until, inevitably, they meet again in a volatile confrontation that threatens to tear them both apart. During Spock’s absence from Kirk’s life, the human has found someone else – someone who, in another reality, is Spock… or might have been…
When Spock leaves Starfleet, Kirk is sent to another Earth by a mysterious woman and meets the man his lover would have been if he had been born looking human.
"I can’t decide if you’re crazy or just stupid!” the pseudo-Vulcan said, taking Kirk by the shoulders once more and shaking him violently. Then, leaning closer until their faces were less than an inch apart, he asked in a whisper, “Do you really want to die, James? Is that it? Because if it is, you don’t have to run around looking for someone to kill you. If you really want to die, just say so. I could break your neck right now and save you the trouble of trying to get yourself killed in the street!”
Kirk’s eyes flared. Go ahead, his mind taunted. You can’t kill a dead man again… He looked up into the menacing glare, understanding for the first time that the madman was serious. He paled noticeably, coming to grips with the truth.He did want to die...
Reactions and Reviews
CROSSROADS was another novel I picked up in Houston this year, and it was one that, when I first started reading it, didn't think I was going to like. The basis of the story centers around Kirk being accidentally transferred into a parallel universe of sorts. This comes after he and Spock have parted company, not under the best of terms. Spock has been called back to Vulcan to position of Supreme Counselor, well after he and Kirk had become lovers. This, of course, doesn't set well with Kirk, and after resigning his Starfleet commission is when the novel begins. While in this parallel universe - a Vulcan-dominated alternate Earth - Kirk meets a man by the name of Michael, a man who would have been Spock had he been born in another place and time. Essentially, Michael is an often-brutal individual, an "iceman", with volatile emotions that are always held just beneath the surface. His interaction with Kirk is sometimes tense, sometimes tender, always nerve-wracking (especially to Kirk). CROSSROADS is a wonderfully written endeavor, with each word having substance and meaning. There is nothing extraneous here; in fact, I wish there had been more. That's not a complaint, just a plea to Ms. Black to write one more story where we learn more about Michael I have a suspicion that a few fans won't like CROSSROADS because it treads that fine line between being K/S and being a "menage". In my humble opinion, I would have to say that CROSSROADS is not a menage, in that Kirk, Spock and Michael never actually engage in sexual relations together. It is more of a triangle, I suppose, if labels must be applied at all. But that triangle does do justice to all three characters, and there is a happy ending where all the loose ends are tied up neatly. So even if you've heard that CROSSROADS is a triad, I think most fans would find that it's worth giving a chance anyway. If you're like me, you'll see that Ms. Black's writing and her carefully-plotted story-line are more than adequate, and that the love triangle is just that - a love triangle. Of course, there are the ups and downs of any relationship that involves more than two people, but it is those "bumps" that make this novel engrossing. It's definitely a page-turner, and I was inspired by the science fiction element s that blended so well with the love story. The covers by Chris Soto are emotionally expressive, printed in slick white stock, and more than likely destined to be nominated for an award this year. And Marilyn Cole's interior work is every bit as good as the pieces she did for SOJOURNS. Th e K/S kiss on the title page is, without a doubt, the best K/S kiss I've ever seen. Also my candidate for an art award in this year's Suraks. CROSSROADS is 230 pages plus art and incidentals, presented in a two-column format, slightly reduced, and obviously done on a typesetter. Printing is clean and clear, with few typos if any. There is a lot of reading material here, with beautiful quotes at the beginning of each of the chapters. The blend of flashbacks and present-event happenings make this the best novel of 1988 as far as I'm concerned, with believable characters and fascinating plotlines. This is my strongest recommendation of the year, with SOJOURNS comning a close second, and FETISH by Jenny Starr right there in the running, too. If you like longer, more involved stories, any of these three novelwould be your best bet. 
Anything written by Ms. Black is, I think, by definition, a good read. Her choice of words and usage is always beautiful, and her style a joy to read, if sometimes a little over-analytical. But there were two things about this novel that disturbed me. First, it seemed to be the same plot she has already used a number of times: K & S in an alternate universe where they meet and fall in love with one or another of their alternates, ultimately forming a threesome (or foursome as in "Question of Balance"). "Time Out of Mind" used this same plot. I was looking for something new. And, a personal preference, I realize, I would have liked more K/S and less K/M. The other problem revolves around her depiction of a black "hole". There's no real hole there, you know. It's a lump of collapsed matter so dense that its gravity won't even let light escape. It's not a tunnel. Being told that it is hollow, and one could emerge from the "other side" insults my intelligence, no matter how well written. Alexis always writes a good story. But this one's basic flaws prevents it from joining my list of all-time favorites. Crossroads is the type of novel that one sits down with early in the evening with every intention of reading from cover to cover. If you haven't got that kind of time, don't pick it up until you do. Alexis' characterizations of Kirk and Spock, are on the mark, especially given the unusual, circumstances they have found themselves in. She is also true to the characters of the more minor characters, such as McCoy and Nogura, or at least true to what we know of these characters. Her descriptions and characterization of the additional major character, Michael, are so well crafted I had no difficulty whatsoever picturing him in my mind, nor was it hard for me to believe that Kirk would find Michael as compelling as he did. The plot devices used to first cause the rift between Kirk and Spock and then to breach it are interesting, detailed and well thought out. I did not find myself having to suspend my disbelief in order to get on with rending the story. This is a novel that will definitely be on my re-read list. Not only will it be a pleasure to re-read this particular novel, but, as with much of Alexis' work, it also deserves one in order to reach beneath the entertaining surface story to all the complexity beneath. 
I've just read "Crossroads". Though A.F.B. has explored the two-Kirks-and-a-Spock and vice versa, others have also done this. It is one of the few situations that has not been done to death. The establishment of a three-way bond makes this story unique because Michael is violence-oriented. Read Hawkings' new book, A Short History of Time. Black holes may not be black and string theory changes everything. The black hole passage and explanation was not well written, but the concept is not absurd and does fit the Star Trek universe premises about warp drive. 
Spock returns to Vulcan ad Supreme Counselor, and Kirk learns that his whole career in Starfleet, including the relationship they had shared, was an experiment in understanding Humans. Disillusioned by the betrayal, and the knowledge that Star-fleet was aware of the experiment, Kirk resigns and disappears. In fact, he has been sent to an alternate universe, where he meets Spock's avatar, Human in appearance and who has rejected his Vulcan half. The two form a bond. Spock learns that he and Vulcan have been deceived by T'Pau, his predecessor as Counselor; using his position he begins to change Tradition, then returns to Star-fleet and demands that he be allowed to search for Kirk. Nogura, anxious for the return of his best team, permits this. Using a blend of logic and intuition Spock enters the other universe to rescue Kirk and his own counterpart; then, aware that Kirk cannot chose between two aspects of Spock, joins them in the 3-way bond. This in a very strong, powerful story, which held me enthralled all the way through, and left me satisfied despite a strong objection to menage-a-trois stories. The fact that Kirk's two bondmates are aspects of Spock did help acceptance. It is not an easy story, but it is a memorable one. Not everyone will agree with the characterisations, but I found the interpretations intriguing, particularly when dealing with Spock's realisation that he had been manipulated. The K/S scenes are explicit, but do not dominate the story; they are used rather to illustrate aspects of the relationships, rather than for their own sake. However, as usual, do not order this zine if the theme offends you. This is a story to read slowly, and which makes the reader examine the implications. Well worth considering. The covers are exquisite. 
This is a novel where throughout most of the story Kirk and Spock are separated. This usually undesirable (to the K/S reader) scenario was gotten around nicely by having frequent flashbacks of what had been going on between Kirk and Spock before—wonderful sex scenes for the most pari—while the main story goes back and forth between what's now happening with Kirk and what's now happening with Spock. worlds apart. This structure worked very well.
it's too involved to spell out even if I wanted to, but we have Spock on Vulcan facing having to do the VuJcan oiler thing with a proper Vulcan wife; while Kirk meets with foul play of a sort and is sent to an alternate reality, where Earthers are slaves to Vulcans. There are lots of interesting premises, details, side-trips, peripheral characters and such, for the most pari all smoothly integrated and believable. Good Starfleet stuff, political machinations, goings-on on Vulcan, and more. None of it is scrimped oven all of it is fleshed out, though not overty. The only place where things are done "overty." perhaps, is too much in the psychological head-trip department, iterated and reiterated about the sides of Spock, for instance.
Now the crux of the story is Michael, who is basically an alternate Spock, a human-shad ow-Spock, a half-Vulcan also but with his human side dominant, in ignorance and denial of his Vulcan aspects. A man of dark nature. Kirk realizes this is the unknown Spock he must try to understand—this is why he was sent here.
Especially necessary when a character such as this is not named Spock. it was good here that we were continually reminded this is sort of really Spock, an A/U Spock, or else it would be unsettling that Kirk has such strong feelings, and more, for this guy. Even though the scenano of Kirk loving Michael might make for shaky K/S, it doesn't mean Kirk is portrayed out of character, nor does it really diminish the Kirk/Spock love because, after all. Kirk has every reason to believe he is here in this other reality for the duration, and this is the closest he's ever going to get to having Spock.
Through the flashback sex scenes we learn how it had been between Kirk and Spock, and we also learn this through comparison with how it is for Kiik with Michael- Lots of nchness and depth here Meanwhile, there is Spock's story, on Vulcan and elsewhere—his angst, his search for Kirk.
The whole story of how Spock and Kirk (with Michael) eventually find each other again is exciting stuff. The jeopardy and the relief from it are welK timed. Enough jeopardy to get us edging toward the edge of our seats, but not overdone, such as is sometimes used with little purpose other than to string us along when nothing else of substance is really happening in a story.
Then, oh shit, I thought, I hate this, here it is: the meeting of Kirk and Michael and Spock. This is terrible—I know someone's going to get hurt. This was really bothering me. Sometimes uncomfortable or distressing, sometimes powerful scenes, between Spock and Michael, between Kirk and Spock, Enlightening and relevant stuff, how it had been and how it might be. A satisfying exploration. There is a very interesting revelation that resolves this entire emotional drama, near the end, in a meld between Kirk and Spock. What I thought was the end of the story was interesting in light of the plot, but it was all tactics and strategy, and I didn't want this incredible love story to end with gen Trek stuff. But there was more after that scene. I was glad.
I, who basically like the idea of threesomes and more-somes, was at first losing some of my sympathy with their angst over this. But later on in the story my feelings about threesomes became more clear in reality I might feel they're desirable, but not in my K/S thank you, unless they're only one-night-stand threesomes —those are fine. Two Spock's and one Kirk—not a problem for me. So I can dig that these three would be together, but I realize that at the end of the story I want the third person to go away. For the very end. I want it to be only the two of them, Kirk and Spock. Richer for the experience of sharing themselves with another, for sure, but after it all, just the two of them.
The author used this foretelling device, such as in: "It would turn out to be his second worse decision." I have mixed feelings about doing this. I know it's a valid and often desirable device, but I didn't care for it here.
Here's an amusing detail I just have to share: Kirk takes the express from San Diego to Vulcan! Where do I catch that?) (I wonder if they ever get around to moving the spaceport from Lindbergh Field out to Miramar.)
Wonderful art: Covers by Chris Solo art lovety, moody. Sad in Ihe sense that each of them is alone and pining, you can just tell—Kirk on a beach, Spock on Vulcan. Interior art by Marilyn Cole is gorgeous, though two of the pieces are Kirk with Michael and Spock with Michael.A very rich reading experience, but I was left with mixed feelings. 
I collect K/S novels because I like long stories. I find A.F. Black writes not only long ones, but good plots. She is also good at writing threesomes in a believable scenario. I enjoyed the heart in this one. Kirk, who is hurt by discovering Spock has not only returned to Vulcan, but had lived a lie while on the Enterprise, leaves the fleet in anger. Through the unsolicited help of a mystic, he finds himself in another universe. There he meets a more Human version of Spock. A man who calls himself, Michael.
Don‘t get bogged down in the feasibility of the science –although she wrote it pretty reasonably for my taste. Concentrate on the heartfelt love of Kirk, and to a lesser degree, Spock, in this tale. Spock realizes he hurt his lover deeply and had been tricked in returning to Vulcan. He goes in search of Jim—along with the Enterprise and crew. My only complaint was once they are reunited I felt the story put things too easily in a pretty package. But the make up sex is well worth the read. Through Michael we learn of a Spock raised as a Human trapped on an Earth that is conquered by Vulcan. Although Jim can‘t help but be drawn to him, he realizes the differences help him to understand his Spock a little more clearly. Once he returns, bringing Michael, his new love realizes Jim‘s desire is to be the 'stuffing of an oreo cookie' because he can‘t choose between them. So he confronts Spock. The trying to come to terms‘ between Spock and Michael was an interesting way to 'self-analyze‘ Spock. What would you do if the person you loved, and who loved you, also fell in love with a different version of yourself?It‘s an interesting scenario.