Desert Heat

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: Desert Heat
Author(s): Gayle F
Date(s): 1976
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links: Desert Heat at the KS Archive

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from an undated rough draft
from an undated rough draft, lacks the "alien scent, sharp as wood smoke" description in the final edition

Desert Heat is an early, influential K/S slash pon farr story by Gayle F and the first in the Cosmic Fuck Series.

Desert Heat was first published in The Sensuous Vulcan in 1977, but was written and circulated hand-to-hand earlier.[1] It was reprinted in Naked Times #2 (1979) and in The Cosmic Collected (1986) which compiled the whole series. It was included in the Kiscon Art Cards from Kiscon.

The story is famous for being the first appearance of the double ridges on Vulcan penises, and thus shaped fanon for countless K/S stories.

It is also known for S'Kandarai. A fan in 1984 wrote:

I've noticed that any number of writers have adopted (and adapted) [Gayle F's] creation of the S'kan'dari, the Vulcan version of the Theban Band, and usually without citing the source, (which, incidentally, is her series DESERT HEAT). [2]

In a Series

Gallery from "The Sensuous Vulcan"

Gallery from "Cosmic Collected"

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

Kirk and Spock are stranded on a desert planet with Spock suddenly going into pon farr. Spock talks Kirk into tying him to the bed, but he refuses to leave to save himself. Kirk slowly talks himself into taking care of Spock's needs. [3]


Next we come to the K/S sex theme, which I will state right now, is not one I support in general. [Gayle F’s] “Desert Heat” is good, though.

It is the first of four stories in a given universe, but I haven’t read the others so I don’t know if the quality and/or my liking lasts. Gayle’s own illos accompany it — if you like her style, I think they are good representations of it. [4]


At last, I could read "Desert Heat" and enjoy the first part of the whole series last, but it was worth the wait. [5]

Thanks for printing it. I've given up hope of ever getting my copy of Sensuous Vulcan. At least I got to see one story from it. A pretty good start to Gayle's series. [6]

I'm one of the probably-few people who ever got a copy of Sensuous Vulcan, so I had read it. I think it suffers from [my] having read the next two stories in the series before I'd read DH. There's nothing I can put a finger on, but I find it a degree unsatisfactory. I've read Between Friends, too, but can't see McCoy joining it -- or either of them wanting him to. I think I'm looking for a hint of the permanency which came later -- more of a hit than there is in DH, that is. [7]

This story was worth every minute of waiting. I only wish I'd read it first, before the rest of the series in Thrust and Obsc'zine. However, I sat down and devoured the entire series in what sitting --- gad -- what an experience! [8]


Many K/S stories show either Kirk, Spock or both being inhibited by internalized homophobic assumptions. This is not to say that the stories or authors are homophobic, but that their characters are embodying a pre-conscious stage that exists in gay men before the formation of a positive identity.

In "Desert Heat" by Gayle F.... pon farr provides the perfect scenario for homosex performed as a grim duty. "No one is asking you to enjoy it, mister. Kirk says to himself as a rebuke. It hasn't occurred to him that it's possible for him to enjoy it. His mind has dismissed the idea that he might have an inclination toward homosex. Perhaps this is because he has been attracted to women. The homophobic assumption involved here is the theory that any man who is attracted to women or who is even capable of having sex with women can never have a homosexual component in their make-up. [9]


Great story, astonishing pictures. I love it. Spock goes into pon farr, and only Kirk is available. What makes the story is Kirk's most natural reactions— distaste, pain, and irrational anger at Spock for his pleasure. Then the meld and their melded lovemaking, beautifully written. A real pleasure to read, not a false note. [10]

This is a Pon Farr story (I understand one of the "originals" with this theme). It is most definitely NOT a rape story. 'Spock goes into Pon Farr, and tries to spare Kirk the consequences, physically restraining himself. On his own, Kirk makes a decision to be Spock's receptive in order to save Spock's life. The way the author delves into Kirk's ambivalence over his choice and the significance of it is very compelling. [11]


My first K/S story, the one that got me hooked, was "Desert Heat" by Gayle F from SENSUOUS VULCAN. Even though I first read it several years ago, and many times since, I have yet to come across a story where the sexual relationship is as natural an extension of Kirk and Spock's friendship as this is. After all, which of us would not do anything in our power to save the life of a most beloved friend? In addition, there are some lines in it which are truly memorable, such as Kirk's saying, "How can someone stand with the back of their mind to you?" So few words, so much imagery. I used this story to introduce two friends to K/S. One was hooked as I was, and proceeded to devour every K/S zine I managed to lay my hands on. The other, while not becoming involved in K/S, still found the story very natural and moving. (I'm still working on her!) I would recommend this story especially, and the zine in general to anyone just beginning to read K/S. [12]


[At my first con], a dealer was selling used zines. So I bought some not really knowing what it was I was buying. I took tham home and after reading a couple, I really wasn't impressed. They were gen zines and badly written. But there was one in the lot I had bought called THE SENSUOUS VULCAN and a story called "Desert Heat." I had not thought of Kirk and Spock that way before and I was shocked. After reading the whole story, though, I thought under the circumstances, it's plausible. "Desert Heat" is an excellent story with which to introduce someone to K/S. There is a good reason for what happened and that makes it believable. [13]

People talk today like old fandom never had harder edged stuff, like it is something that M. Fae personally introduced into fandom (not a slam on M. Fae, I've never heard her agree--) Gayle F wrote two of the harder edged early stories, 1) Mirrors of Mind and Flesh -- short on plot, long on imagery and sex and betrayal and lowering of barriers, and 2) Desert Heat--a four story collection with one of the first "Spock rapes Kirk in pon farr" stories. [14]


Okay, okay, I'm probably one of two people who haven't read this [zine] (the other probably being my mother), but it's one of my huge collection of unread zines and therefore subject to my incredibly insightful, penetrating, discerning (sounds like Spock's eyes) scrutiny! So for that fine other person out there, this is for you.

This [Desert Heat, Beyond Setarcos, Night of the Dragon, and Between Friends], is a series of connected stories concerning Spock going into pon farr while he and Kirk are left for a week on an abandoned planet. So, of course, Kirk has to help out. The stories continue back on the Enterprise, and Kirk has to help out some more. In the last story, McCoy helps out, but more on that later.

I'd already heard about [Gayle F's] writing being a lot like her sexy, ultra-explicit, fantasy artwork. Well, it's not exactly like it. There's a bit too much of "he licked his chest, abdomen, legs, knees, ankles, feet, toes,..." (not a quote} for my taste. Then, there's lots of "telling" not "showing". Also, the characterizations are a little strange. For the most pan. Kirk is unrecognizable and Spock is cliche with his exacting, logical talk. The rest is inner thoughts that are so heavy with a kind of emotional poetry, that I was confused as to who was feeling what and especially, why.

The style of writing was frustrating to me. Done in short, clipped sentences, I had to work really hard to visualize things and believe me, there were lots of things I wanted to visualize) The use of repeating verbs didn't help imoi?), nor did leaving off nouns and the objects of verbs, and the "ands". Example: "Dropped his pants, kicked them away and jerked off boots, socks." There are many more examples, but you get the idea. Also, there are lots of hes, hims, and hises that totally confused me as to whose, whats and wheres. [15]


In keeping with the intensely personal nature of the holiday, I intend to take the phone off the hook and disconnect the doorbell. Then I will pour myself a glass of Midori (green melon) liqueur and a dish of strawberry sorbet. Then I will reread [Gayle F's] "The Cosmic Collected" from cover to cover. "Desert Heat", which begins this collection, is the first K/S story I ever read and is still a damn good place to start. [16]


Uh.....When did Slash start? I have to really believe that someone somewhere back in the 60's was watching, say.....Star Trek....and wrote in a loose leaf folder all about the exploits of Kirk and Spock and ....whilst she was writing this diatribe the thought occurred to her that it would be so....sweet...dare, I say, have the two in the same bed...simpatico, just friends.... And then it gets good.

Actually I did know someone, back in the dark ages, that actually, truly on a stack of zines (good ones, not crap) did this. She was about 16 at the time, about 1968. If anyone, I do mean anyone, did 'em before then...they were as deeply entrenched in the dark parts of fandom (or light...) as she was.

I read (or actually, saw) my first slash fanzine in 1977. I was innocently enough in the living room of the above mentioned persons' house, and saw a fanzine sitting on her coffee table. The zine had arrived by mail just that day AND she had not had time to hide it from underage *(me, I blush)* eyes. I snatched it up as she never stopped me before and... to tell the truth I was terribly freaked out. There were DRAWINGS in this zine. DETAILED drawings, my friends. I was totally stupid then--I thought they were hurting each other! (In a good way, right?) She turned red, snatched said zine away from my grasping hands with a, "UH, UH....never mind about that? Wanna see CONTACT?" (A very smarmy and straight zine of the era--hurt comfort extraordinaire) It distracted me enough to, Sad To Say, miss out on my true exposure to slash until 2 years later....

Thank you, Ruth Kurz. You naughty!!! [17]


The zine The Sensuous Vulcan] contains both adult and K/S material, but is mainly known for a story by Gayle F. called “Desert Heat.” Kirk and Spock are temporarily marooned on Setarcos, a desert planet, while the Enterprise is sent on a rescue mission to deliver serum to a plague planet. They were to help an alien scientist who shares his cave dwelling with them, but he dies before the story begins. Spock has unexpectedly gone into pon farr and this time there is no McCoy and his trusty hypo to come to their aid. Spock is deathly afraid he will perceive Kirk as a rival and succeed in killing him while in the throes of the fever. He begs the captain to leave the area, to head for an oasis days away, but before he does, Spock wishes to be tied to the bed so he cannot follow and harm Kirk. The captain does bind him but, of course, he refuses to leave his friend. Kirk must ask himself what he is willing to do to save the life of his best friend and comes to the conclusion there is no sacrifice too great. He forces the sex between them, impaling himself on Spock’s aroused penis against the Vulcan’s wishes. When the fever is broken both men find they can accept what has happened, and they return to the Enterprise.

The story is beautifully written and rings absolutely true to the characterization of Kirk and Spock as seen on aired Trek. There is no excessive hand-wringing on Kirk’s part, and even now almost thirty years after it was published, it still retains its power to impress with its beauty and eroticism. Gayle was the inventor of Spock’s pointed tongue, but more importantly she’s the person to thank for a Vulcan’s double ridges, almost universally accepted today as fan canon. Of that Gayle says: “I wanted to do something both alien and sexy.” I would say she succeeded. Her illos brought her vision to life, and were printed in red in The Sensuous Vulcan.

“Desert Heat” was reprinted in Naked Times 2 in 1979, this time with the illos printed in black, and again in The Cosmic Collected, published in 1986. This last zine includes “Desert Heat,” and three other stories that complete the tale: “Beyond Setarcos,” “Night of the Dragon”—each published in Thrust in 1978 with illos by Gayle—and the final and fourth part “Between Friends.” [18]


Desert Heat and sequels by Gayle F. TOS. A classic Pon Farr cave fic from the early days of K/S, to which we owe the fanon Spock double-ridged cock. Feels surprisingly not dated at all, with great angst, passion and tenderness between the heroes, with hot and rather realistic male-on-male sex and thankfully purple-free prose. The sequels are also very good, with a special mention to the 4th and last installment Between Friends, featuring an amazing Jim/Bones/Spock threesome. [19]

I could start out this review by saying that this is one of your typical Kirk-and-Spock-are-stranded-on-a-planet- and-Spock-goes-into-Pon-Farr stories. I could, but I can‘t because there‘s one very important factor that separates this particular story from all the others – it was, if not the first, then one of the very first of those stories ever written. And what makes it even more significant – it is in this story that we first read about those famous 'double ridges' that adorn a certain Vulcan‘s penis – a feature that has made its way into hundreds of K/S stories ever since.

Like the author I profiled in my previous LOC, this particular lady is more known for her fabulous artwork than for her stories. And while Shelley Butler still actively draws and writes K/S, sadly, Gayle is no longer active in the fandom. Still, she leaves with us a fabulous legacy of artwork and stories such as this one, which have and will continue to leave an impact on the fandom.

Since, as I said, this is a 'Kirk and Spock stranded, Pon Farr' story, there‘s really no point in me going into details of the plot, since most of us who have been reading K/S for awhile already know what the plot is. But as rich as the history of K/S is, there aren‘t a lot of stories that we can point to and say, 'This is the first story where (insert plot used numerous times here)' or 'This story is where this particular aspect of Kirk or Spock was first mentioned, which has now become the norm'. So when we CAN point to such a story, it is well worth a mention, as well as a read. And when that story is written by a very, very talented lady who was an original original when it came to K/S, reading that story, either again or for the first time, becomes that much more special. [20]


3.5/5: Another classic case of "it was rape but it's okay because he liked it", this time on both sides! Amazing. The writing style is pretty hit or miss. It wasn't too bad, but there are definitely better fics out there.[21]


  1. ^ The Foresmutters Project. Bibliography of early, early K/S (accessed 31 August 2009)
  2. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #9 (1984)
  3. ^ Halliday’s Star Trek Zinedex (TOS) - Title Index, Archived version
  4. ^ comments in Right of Statement #1 (1978)
  5. ^ from an LoC in Naked Times #3
  6. ^ from an LoC in Naked Times
  7. ^ from an LoC in Naked Times #3
  8. ^ from an LoC in Naked Times #3
  9. ^ by Linda Frankel in "Sexuality in K/S Fiction: Internalized Homophobia" from Not Tonight Spock! #10
  10. ^ from The LOC Connection #3
  11. ^ from The LOC Connection #9
  12. ^ from The LOC Connection #37
  13. ^ from The LOC Connection #57
  14. ^ by Sandy Hereld from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (Feb 26, 1993)
  15. ^ from Come Together #10
  16. ^ from The K/S Press #20
  17. ^ June 1999 comments at VenicePlace
  18. ^ from The K/S Zine: The Time of the Beginning 1976-1985
  19. ^ 4 September 2009 Master List of K/S Favorites *Updated Nov 19, 2013*, Mary Monroe
  20. ^ from The K/S Press #152
  21. ^ K/S Fanfiction by